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Dumped with ‘You Deserve Better’

you suck valentineHi Chump Lady,

New chump here. I’m about two months out from D-day and a ball of confusion.

My ex-boyfriend and I had almost reached the three-year mark when I discovered texts telling a friend he had “ended it with OW”. Turns out he had been cheating with a coworker for four months and “ended it” three times.

The confusing part is that he showed “true remorse” as you describe it in your book. He was truthful and immediately admitted to all of it (without sparing my feelings), took total blame for his actions, and urged me to tell family and friends so I would have support. He agreed to go to couples counseling and then several days later HE decided he didnt want to work on the relationship because I “deserved better” and he didn’t want to waste my time in therapy when “the damage he did was too great”.

He called what he did “self-sabotage” and said he “ruined the best thing in his life and he doesn’t even know why”. He even paid for my movers and storage to move back across the country. Obviously I agree that I deserve better, but somehow I’m still pissed??

Some backstory — we were long distance the past year as I was finishing up grad school, and I had just moved across the country so we could live together. He insisted we sign a two-year lease and told me after I discovered his affair that he looked at engagement rings this spring (my bestie corroborated this). He was adamant that he was very happy in our relationship — but that there was something wrong with him that made him do this.

On top of all this, he is a public defender and I thought he was the most empathetic and selfless guy in the world. (The AP is a public defender too and seems like a good person — oof).

I know this is so messed up, but I’m somehow upset he didn’t even want to try and fix it. I know logically it is a blessing because he sucks, but for some reason its a huge ego blow that he didn’t even want to try and fight for our relationship, and just chose to take the easy way out and fuck the OW for a while.

Can you help me trust that they both suck?? Its hard to hate him when he seemed like a good person and he wasn’t even a jerk when this all went down. They are both “public servants” and it just seems like two good people got together and now I’m the chump that has to rebuild.



Dear NAPS,

When someone sends you mixed signals, it’s really just one signal — get out. Either that person is manipulative, or has a spine of silly putty, or both. And you can’t work with dishonesty. Well, not if you want to stay sane.

I know it’s disappointing. You miss the boyfriend you thought you had, the one who wanted a commitment, a two-year lease and a ring. And you got a cake-eating coward instead.

Sometimes the hardest mindfuck of all isn’t cruelty, but faux kindness. I’m not arguing for cruelty, but it’s direct. You know where you stand. Faux kindness is a fog of impression management.

He agreed to go to couples counseling and then several days later HE decided he didnt want to work on the relationship because I “deserved better” and he didn’t want to waste my time in therapy when “the damage he did was too great”.

He should’ve been direct with you: “I don’t want to work on the relationship.” PERIOD. Full stop.

You do deserve better (OF COURSE YOU DO!) But you got whipsawed by his agreeing to go counseling (i.e., the damage is NOT too great) and then reneging. He’s set it up as he’s Only Thinking of You — he doesn’t want to waste your time, he’s damaged you too much — how noble.

You know what doesn’t waste your time? Breaking up with you honestly. “I’m sorry, I want to see other people. Please don’t move here. Please don’t invest further.”

He called what he did “self-sabotage”

How about calling it agency? He was two-timing you because he wanted to. Sabotage makes it sound like he’s got a split personality, some guerrilla warrior persona who just lobs bombs at his life. Pity him. He can’t keep a good woman.

This is your cue to do the pick me dance and bolster him.

“ruined the best thing in his life and he doesn’t even know why”.

If you were, in fact, the best thing in his life, he’d act like it. First off, he wouldn’t cheat on you. Second, if you believe in unicorns (I don’t), he’d be making those counseling appointments himself and going. He didn’t.

He doesn’t know why?

Again, it’s that Cupid-Is-A-Sniper sabotage excuse. Gosh, he has no idea how he fucked his co-worker while letting you move cross-country.

he showed “true remorse” … [he]  took total blame for his actions…

No he did not. He says he has “no idea” why he did it.

but I’m somehow upset he didn’t even want to try and fix it.

I’m glad he at least paid your moving costs. Least he could do.

he is a public defender and I thought he was the most empathetic and selfless guy in the world. (The AP is a public defender too and seems like a good person — oof).

People’s careers have very little to do with their character. Ministers, firemen, cops, teachers, lawyers, nurses… name the profession and CN has a cheating ex who had that job. Public defender isn’t a data point. (Unless you want to argue that narcissists are drawn to helping professions, impression management and all. Then the temptation is to write off all ministers, firemen, cops, etc. You can find disordered people in the grocery aisle. No one has the market cornered on them.)

it just seems like two good people got together and now I’m the chump that has to rebuild.

He could be sending the OW mixed signals as well (cake), after all you weren’t even living in the same town while that was going down. Anyway, it doesn’t matter. He’s a mindfuck. It’s not a waste if you learn from it.

You’re young, you’ve got a brilliant future ahead and a graduate degree. He’s a fuckboy you used to know.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • “If you were, in fact, the best thing in his life, he’d act like it.” Amen. Actions speak louder than words. Ignore the words. Look at the actions. NAPS, enjoy your new life free of this two-timing double-talker! Congrats!

    • In the early post dday days when I would cry on the phone to a good friend about husband’s craziness she would hear me out & then say, “watch what he does & don’t listen to what he says.” She was sending me on the way to no contact – life saving advise.

    • This covid Narc seems like he is ALL about impression management – even the public service. Its all mind fuckery.

      • Many baby lawyers take public defender positions as a career step to more highly paid criminal defense attorneys. I would not give a PD too much “public servant” credibility until they have been there for 10 years and turned down other job offers.

        • I was an advocate for DV survivors and saw many a scammy, scuzzy criminal and civil defense attorney representing batterers (who specialized in the most nauseating kind of victim blaming) who started out as a PD.

          Related to that work, I did some useful skein untangling about the mentality of abusers and their enablers. There’s just zero chance that abuse enablers– including scammy attorneys and side plates (batterers all cheat as a rule even if not all cheaters use fists)– are “nice people” when you boil things down to brass tacks. They may front as nice people but effectively never are. There is a need to victimize but they outsource it to others and feed their aggression vicariously.

    • “He’s a fuckboy you used to know.”

      Spot on, CL. A pin I put on my Pinterest board – ” Don’t do wifey shit for a fuck boy”. Words to live by.

      • Chumpnomore6 –

        I LOVE that quote! I would have to shift it to “Don’t do wifey shit for a fuck girl”, but it WORKS!

  • I’m convinced that counseling is pointless when cheating is involved.

    Counseling can help with things like communication issues and behavior changes, but it’s only a means for cheaters to bullshit and blame shift.

    This guy wants out but doesn’t want to be seem as a douchebag. Take the money and run.

    • Kim, you did a better job than I did of putting it in a nutshell:

      “This guy wants out but doesn’t want to be seem as a douchebag”

      I spent 26 years in a marriage with a person who wanted out but didnt want to seem like a douchebag so he tried every which way possible to get me to end it and I was having none of it. I look back on it now with incredulity.

      • My counselor called him out – “That sounds like cognitive distortion. You don’t think you are a bad person, so you couldn’t have done bad things, so you are distorting reality to make it so the things you did aren’t bad.”

        My ex: “Maybe that is true.” No remorse or further introspection.


      • This is what my ex claims but he also sobbed and screamed and begged any time I got close to ending it. So it was like you wanted out so you were nasty to me but then when I suggested separating you would snot faced beg and sob and be on your best behavior for awhile?

        Fucking why? I’ve determined he’s just evil and the entire point was he enjoyed messing with my head and abusing me.

    • “I’m convinced that counseling is pointless when cheating is involved”


      • Marriage counseling is worthless when cheating is involved. Individual counseling is priceless.

        • Individual counseling for the victim, perhaps. The cheater will use individual counseling to learn to better rationalize and justify his own behavior.

          I’m not a huge fan of counseling in general, personally, except for the very straightforward and accurate kind that one receives on this blog.

    • So true! The road that leads a person to lie and betray another is so long and rocky, even if someone is 100% committed to change, it takes years to repave it into something good. And that’s all personal work, not couples work.

    • My ex is a covert narc who lied in MC after DD#1. I did what a lot of us do — make excuses for his “slip up” and believe he is truly remorseful.

      We split after DD#2 — the first thing he said after my discovery was “I deserve to be happy.” (So I deserve to be lied to, cheated on, deceived and stolen from?)

      After talking (ok sobbing) to friends, I find out about multiple “indiscretions” and when I call him on his lies in MC, his response was “of course I lied. You were there.”

      He went to a therapist on his own — twice. Was told to buy a book on unconditional love. Which he never read.

      Therapist bought his fake remorse, telling me it was my decision whether to end the marriage. I stayed, of course. I was a child of divorce and didn’t want my daughter, who was 10 at the time, to come from a broken home.

      Of course, it would have been much better for her (and me) to have walked away then. He would have had far less influence on her — his image management has fed her sense of entitlement.

      • “We split after DD#2 — the first thing he said after my discovery was “I deserve to be happy.”

        I think we married the same guy.

    • “The guy wants out but doesn’t want to seem like a douchebag.”
      That is exactly what mine did. While reconciliating after DDay 1 he admitted he regretted getting married.
      He never had the guts to be honest. I only wish he would have gave me some money and not the other way around.

  • I have developed a theory that we chumps get so much bullshit shoveled at us that every once in a while they stay something very true and we miss it. This may be one of those things:

    “he didnt want to work on the relationship because I ‘deserved better’ and he didn’t want to waste my time in therapy when ‘the damage he did was too great’ ”

    Like CL said, you do deserve better and it sounds like a wimpy George Costanza “its not you, its me”, but it also might be true.

    If he had broken it off and gone back with OW a couple of times, it is because he wanted to. He had a main relationship and he chose to enter a stealth one because he wanted to. Most relationship talk is trite as there are only so many ways to describe the same crap people have been doing to each other for thousands of years, but in some instances …we are wise to hear them when they tell us that they dont care.

    My Cheater tried to “postpone” our wedding 2 weeks before it happened using a lame excuse and I used all my energy to convince him that his excuse was silly…what I didnt hear him ay is that he didnt want to remarried to me. Some people are very weak and do not have the strength to stop a relationship in the moving-forward stage…that is likely how some (mostly) men end up with 2 or 3 families.

    What you suffered was a blow, an awful blow that feels awful and is a bit embarrassing but is recoverable. Much can be learned from it and growth can happen. We all have to learn how to discern real goodness from the fake and most of us step in shit along the way.

    • Thank you – its incredibly embarrassing to have to move back home and rebuild my life while he gets to continue eating cake. I don’t think he was lying when he said he thinks I deserve better. I do believe he is self-aware that he is a POS – he just doesn’t care.

      • NaPS:

        Embarrasing is when our socks don’t match or when we’re told our zipper isn’t zipped. You may be feeling humiliated instead. We’ve all been there. The root of that word is humility. A healthy dose of humility given your circumstances is appropriate. It’ll help you focus your radar and tune your antenna to better frequencies when it comes to a life partner.
        Remember, you have healthy feelings and feeling embarrased and/or humiliated are good things – they are parameters that let you know when you’re outside of your lane. Your ex has no such healthy feelings or ability to self-regulate toward finding meaningful relationships. You’re the prize in this world. He was just a shiny imposter and has been exposed. You’re going to get through this and be better for it!

      • I hear you. It is so embarrassing and humiliating to go back home (I moved myself and my two babies back into my parents’ house because we had nowhere else to go) while the FW eats cake, lives it up, and enjoys the honeymoon period with his APs.

        Hang in there. Play the long game. Things get *so much* better for chumps on the other side.

        • Thank you both and I hope you’re right. Sure doesn’t feel like I got the winning end of the stick right now. Right now I am clinging to the fact that my life is authentic and I have no reason to be ashamed.

          Fourleaf thank you for sharing. You are incredibly strong and your babies will benefit because of that.

          • Yes, in this very moment, it does feel awkward and on the losing side of some random line in the sand to rebuild while he pursues a relationship with his coworker.

            (In the first few months of my doomed marriage, I thought of packing up and leaving – knowing that so early in, no one would fault me… I didn’t do it. I’m glad I have my children and I like my life now but dang I paid mightily for my decision to stay)

            You, however are wiser and grounded in truth and reality (albeit unpleasant).

            He and OW get to move forward with a liaison started in betrayal. They suck and every day they wake up and are still their sucky selves.

            I am old enough to have had awful experiences with people who were massively sucky to me and in the few years after the events, they seemed to triumph. As more years passed, however the overall suckinous of the way they chose to live caught up with them and they crashed. Here, however, we encourage a journey to Meh so that you don’t have to wait until they crash because prior to that happening, you won’t care

            • People like that don’t self reflect.
              It’s just collateral damage that doesn’t matter to them.

              The chump will be vaguely remembered but mostly forgotten as the fuck wit continues down his road of failed relationships.

              There’s not a lot of sunk costs here so best to leave the debris in the rearview.

              Having the benefit of long time hindsight, I view this is as good lesson in realizing the kind of people who are in this world and the kind to avoid.

              • “People like that don’t self reflect.”

                Oh so true!! One went to his grave unrepentant, one is demented and lost, one crashed and has a miserable life (that is all everyone else’s fault, of course), one seems to live above the fray for now, but I dont care

          • Yes it’s embarrassing to have moved across the country for someone who was involved with someone else. It indicates that you trusted someone who was not trustworthy.
            Your radar did not pick up signs of his being a cheater. He had one shred of honesty when he blew it all up and moved you back.

            Imagine how much more embarrassing, humiliating it would have been if you had stated for months or. years spackling over his bad behavior. His talking about shopping for a ring is his saying I’m not a bad guy , see I really cared. He believes his own BS.

            Sadly painful now- taut is a small embarrassment compared to what could have been far more catastrophic if you had had taken steps to build a life with a cheater and delayed seeing him for the double-talker he is.

          • I think I like the word “humbled” better than “embarrassed” or ‘”humiliated.”

            We feel embarrassed because we learn from early days that getting “dumped” or having someone drop us for another person somehow reflects badly on us or shows us as “less” or a failure. In fact, the person who SHOULD be humiliated and who SHOULD be the object of scorn is the cheater.

            It’s OK to feel humbled, in a good way, to see yourself as like other people, as someone who will experience both the highs and the lows of life.

        • Yes. I was living in my mother’s spare bedroom for four years while my husband was living in our marital home (while I continued to pay half the mortgage because it was our one asset and I wasn’t about to lose it) and then in a home he rented with the OW. It was humiliating and humbling.

          But believe me, his life was far from rosy. They were always broke and in debt. Later I learned that they were fighting (physical fights) and depressed and miserable. OW was hospitalized after a suicide attempt. She ended up leaving him four weeks after they moved in together. He killed himself a few months later.

          Meanwhile, I paid off all my debts (besides my car), sold our home (and since he died, I got all the profits), and now have a little apartment that is all my own where I live with my son (and I got full custody by default). I’m free and I’m happier than I’ve been in a decade. Maybe happier than I’ve ever been.

          Hang in there. It may look like the cheater is “winning” and coming out ahead, but no matter how far they run, they take themselves along. They don’t change, and life isn’t sunshine and rainbows for them. I made the mistake of moving back home (because he asked me to) for a few months near the beginning of our separation and it was absolute hell. 10x worse than it had been before. If he’s showing you he doesn’t want to be married to you, take the opportunity and run.

          Being an authentic, healthy, resilient, honest, and caring person works out so much better in the end.

          And yes, he’s right. You DO deserve better. Go out and get it.

          • Oh ISawTheLight I am so sorry. Thank you for sharing your story, and I’m so sorry for all the pain you experienced. Its clear you are strong and resilient, and have come out the other side better than ever. As they say, “wherever you go, there you are” – and luckily we are the honest and authentic ones. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement.

          • “Hang in there. It may look like the cheater is “winning” and coming out ahead, but no matter how far they run, they take themselves along.”

            Excellently put.

      • You dogged a bullet. You haven’t dedicated years of your life to a marriage based on lies and you do t have children with the man, so you can make a clean break. And you’ve discovered Chump Nation and can learn from the experience of other chumps.

        Good riddance! Trust that he sucks and go forward into your beautiful life.

    • I think my wasband also gave hints that he wanted to end our marriage & I missed it.
      I think women especially are trained by society (or it’s in our nature) to keep nurturing a relationship…and we nurture beyond the expiry date.
      Yes, my gutless wasband could’ve spoken up instead of embarking on an affair, but that’s how he is. He avoids confrontation & goes underground.

      • My STBX husband once randomly said out loud, ‘I want a divorce.’ It was such a mind game. As soon as I acknowledged it, it’s like he acted like he never said it. It never happened. I told my Mum. We were both confused. Everything seemed fine. I put it down to grief as he had just lost his Father, the one person he said he was close to.
        Of course years later, in hindsight, that was just the beginning of the mind games, cheating, lying, discarding etc. All the while doing the impression management and acting like the stand up family man, business owner, community leader etc. I was blindsided. Porn addiction escalated to much more.
        Anyway, I missed that big hint! Any wonder though. He was always manipulating things. I really didn’t realise how much until I learned to trust myself again, bit by bit.

  • Since he’s a lawyer, let’s go legalese today.

    Cheating is hard evidence, way way beyond a reasonable doubt, 100% proof positive that someone is not a good person. Good people don’t lie, cheat, defraud, deceive, betray, fuck over, hold people hostage.

    (When you are cheating you are holding your spouse or partner hostage, with the help of an accomplice).

    If someone is married or in a committed, exclusive relationship, they are unavailable to me. Off limits. Full stop.
    That’s called good boundaries.

    Con artists, sexual predators, murderers, serial killers and other types of criminals are experts at impression management.

    Cheaters may not be sitting in the same section as those types of offenders but they are in the same ballpark.


    This is the lifeboat. Please jump in.

    • Thank you VH – its important to remind myself that he is NOT A GOOD PERSON, no matter what he does for a living.

      • It truly doesn’t matter what they do for a living. Mine works on the side as a children’s entertainer and dresses up to raise money for charity.

        • Mine did countless hours of volunteer work for a charity that works with autistic adults. Everyone thought he was an amazing philanthropist. It was all impression management. I’m autistic and he used to use it as an insult (because he didn’t believe me), saying I wasn’t autistic I was “just an idiot”, which shows what he REALLY thought of autistics (our son is on the spectrum as well). Behind closed doors, he was horribly abusive to me, emotionally, mentally, verbally, and physically. No one knew. Just me. He could switch it off in an instant if there were anyone around to see. He’d scream abuse at me in the car on the way to an event, and the moment we arrived, he’d be all smiles and the life of the party, while I’d be shaking and on the verge of tears. He used that to convince all our “friends” that I was antisocial and crazy. I never knew how to act or what to say to people. I didn’t dare tell the truth because I’d pay for it later if I did.

          • I’m so sorry that happened to you. ☹️
            I hope you are feeling good about yourself now. Some people truly love to tear their ‘partner’ down, mine did it too. We get to rebuild our self-esteem ourselves ( and with help from loved ones if we’re lucky!), and it ain’t easy!
            Peace to you, and your son!

      • Dear NAPS- maybe he is serving the public, or maybe he is hiding out in public service because he can’t compete in a more competitive legal job.
        Don’t be fooled into thinking he is a good guy.

  • I go to a divorce group through my attorney’s firm that focuses on high-conflict divorce. I’m six months out from finally being able to close my file with them, but still need some sanity and hope with others working through similar issues. Their in-house therapist leads it. So one of the things we talked about this week was how to judge when someone shows remorse. How appropriate!

    When it’s low-grade remorse (“I forgot your birthday, let’s do lunch,” “I forgot to put the garbage out,” “I’m sorry that I said that,” etc.), I’m good. That sort of remorse ebbs and flows with friends and family who are close by. My relationships with them are 95% good, and of course, there are times I scrape them too and have to apologize.

    But then the big, ugly character-based betrayals and fake remorse like NAPS experienced have to be called out for what they are. My breakup and divorce were messy and ugly, and there was no doubt that I had to get away from my ex by the time the judge signed off. No doubt. There was indeed some fake remorse, and even his attorney called him on that.

    One of the gals that came last night shared that her STBX tried to drink himself to death and is in the ICU, potentially not going to make it. This betrayer showed all kinds of remorse when she caught him in an affair and financial irregularities. He promised he would always take care of her (forty-plus years of marriage) and then hired an eight-person legal team when she got her own attorney. Many months of crazy now. She only found out about him being in the hospital because his legal team sent her attorney some legal documents that led to questions and then the background.

    Yes, fake remorse. Even from the ICU, he is trying to make her life miserable. Just sick…

      • Yes, my situation and my friend’s situation could well have been so very different. They could have stuck to the story that they were going to be decent about it, but there was too much temptation to poison the past and set fire to every bridge on the way out.

        I remain thankful, as does my friend, that I conducted myself with dignity. She said that if her estranged husband does indeed pass, she will have some level of peace because of how she handled the separation and divorce.

      • This. The OP’s boyfriend wasn’t remorseful, he was relieved to be able to more easily end the relationship. He probably wanted out before he ever cheated.

        That is no insult to the OP. It’s happened to many of us. It’s no shame to be rejected by a cheater. He isn’t a person of value, so he naturally isn’t really happy and comfortable in an intimate relationship with a person of value.

  • When someone sends you mixed signals, it’s really just ONE signal – get out.

    CL, that reminder is priceless! Whether in personal or casual relationships, it’s SO true.

    This poster dodged a bullet. Cheaters aren’t in it to go the distance. Partners are only useful objects to play like chess pieces on their board of life. Costumes to try on as they wander through life trying to find an identity (most never do). A crutch to lean on while they dip in and out of wonderlust seeking a fix for an empty hole in their soul. It’s a lifelong bomb-drop of collateral damage everywhere they go. . Growing up is something not all people choose to do. Be thankful you got out.

    • Thank you, you’re so right. He is someone with a lot of long-term relationships that all have ended around the two-year mark. Of course he told me I was different.

      I don’t think he can be alone and I told him as much. Clearly he is just going to continue to fill that void with the OW.

      • My ex too. As things were falling apart, he told my brother he was going to be alone to work on himself. What he was already working on was lining up more women. There was a series of those until he finally cheated on the last girlfriend with the woman he ended up marrying only a couple months later (I’m sure there was stealth, reframing about the current girlfriend and him already being broken up and only “co-habitating” during COVID, etc.) Never once was he alone. No, because then he would have to really take a look at himself. There is nothing wrong with you or anything more special about her. You were just useful to him until you saw too much. He is cutting you loose because you can no longer corroborate how awesome he is, and based on what I’ve seen posted here and know firsthand from my own boyfriend, thank goodness for that. Some of these asshole decide to punish those who see behind the mask, or con them into giving them more (sex, love, attention, shelter, money, etc.). In a way, he did the best he could do for you based on who he is, which is still a lying, cheating, coward. You ARE worth so much more than that. Best wishes to you as you move forward.

        • Spot on.

          Mine fed me the “I don’t deserve you. I need to be alone.” line, but he had already been in a relationship with OW for several months.

          He wasn’t alone for an instant. He couldn’t be alone.

          He used to call me at the beginning of COVID and cry because he was all alone (our son was staying with me full time because I was able to work from home). I found out later he was basically living with OW all through lockdown.

          He strung me along as long as I was useful. But I knew him too well and he couldn’t bear that. He needed OW who was blissfully ignorant of who he was, and so had no problem stroking his ego 24/7. I called him out on his bullshit. Once OW saw through the façade, she left him. (She’s as much of a disaster as he was, though.)

        • Thank you ChumpOnIt. Your comment made me remember something he told me that chilled me to the bone: “You knew me too well, I didn’t want you to fully know me”. Woof. We just got too close. Best wishes to you as well.

          • Once you know then you become the enemy. They are in it for the stroking -not the reality check that happens in a relationship with accountability.
            I was held hostage to future faking- If I wanted the marriage I had to be silent about the gaslighting, the boundary violations, his people pleasing of random strangers, while being unable to be real or honest with anyone in our life.
            I think that’s what is meant by “ shoot the messenger”.

            • “If I wanted the marriage I had to be silent about the gaslighting, the boundary violations, his people pleasing of random strangers, while being unable to be real or honest with anyone in our life.” This describes the “relationship” – I simply could not understand why he would curry favour with random strangers, and not me and the kids (unless he was feeling kibble-deprived). It was a constant insult. Thanks. Chumparella for hitting that nail

            • Good point Chumparella, they are in it for the ego strokes

              You can’t call them on their shit like you do with healthy people or they find another person to deceive with their act

            • What is it with being obsessed with what random aquaintances think of them, but cruel and contemptuous with their supposed ‘nearest and dearest’? I’m sorry but I’m glad in a way that it’s just not me that’s had this, it’s obviously one of the pages from the cheater playbook.

  • In the narcissistic, disordered minds of cheaters, “You deserve better” actually translates to: “You don’t deserve me.”

    • This.

      I was amazed at how “You deserve better” effortlessly turned into “I deserve better.”

      • “You deserve better” is true, coming from a cheater, but they weaponize that truth to manipulate their partner into accepting the discard.

    • Because, of course, the cheaters cast themselves into the rolls of actual victims, and giving this sentiment (you deserve better) lip service flows naturally into their “self sacrificing nice guy sad sausage” they project.

    • “You Deserve Better” comes across as an attempt to sound like a nice guy, when the actual translation is more along the line of, “I want to sleep with whomever I want, whenever I want. Oh, you don’t like that? You don’t deserve me.”

      Yes. You deserve MUCH better. Good riddance.

    • My cheater said “You deserve better” and “I’ve done too much damage” (to reconcile).
      Same same with the sad sadz of the “Nice Guy”.

      Even in my devastated post D-Day mess I knew instantly that the UBT of that was “I (Cheater) deserve better than you (Samsara)”.

      We all deserve so much better.

    • The marriage and family therapist who does videos I follow online, I can just hear him pointing out that this guy”s utterances…each and every one of them….are fundamentally about himself. Some are less obvious than others. None are true empathy for the person he hurt. Ergo, no apology happened. Imho. Hugs.

    • And. “ actually I DESERVE BETTER.
      I deserve some one who will not look under the mask.

  • “Two good people?”

    That’s how your head is framing it?.

    Paying for you to return home lest you find out the degree of the fuckwittery. The big reveal of who he really is.

    These user abuser lying frauds do not act based on what’s best for the chumped. Else they wouldn’t choose to act that way in the first place.

    The damage he did is too great? Believe him – you don’t know the half of it.

    There’s a lot of these kinds of people in the world – learn about them to avoid this situation in the future. They prey on good people – like you.

    • Agree. I agree with all of this. It’s hard in the early days to stop thinking of our former partners as “good people.” It’s really, really hard.

      But actions speak volumes. When you have to book an appointment with your doctor and get tested for STDs… this is not the consequence of being associated with a good person.

      Please get a full range of STD tests, Original Poster. Your health is important.

      • Thanks all. You’re so right. They are not good people. First thing I did was demand he get tested and that he pay for mine.

        • It’s worth thinking about why your framed this situation as them being the “good people” that deserve a happy ending while you are stuck rebuilding. It’s a subtle way of putting yourself down.

    • “The damage he did is too great? Believe him – you don’t know the half of it.”

      My gosh, is this true!! The more you find out, the worse it gets! Definitely was for me! Still shocked at some of it! We really don’t know the half of it!

      • ““The damage he did is too great? Believe him – you don’t know the half of it.”

        My gosh, is this true!! The more you find out, the worse it gets!”

        Yup! Even after he left for the last time and married the Wifetress (GF#3), I was still finding out things I never knew! I found out that he had an affair with GF#1 before he and I ever had kids but then he dumped her and started building a family with me. After our second child was born, he had a one night stand with a mutual friend of ours (I don’t count her as one of his GFs; she’s too little of a blip on my radar, to be honest, and I didn’t find out until years later) and after that one night stand he reconnected with GF#1 and left me for her officially this time.

        *A lot * of that was information I only came by long, long, long after he left me after DDay#2 and married GF#3/Wifetress.

        To my surprise, I wasn’t shocked and didn’t care that much. It’s not that I’m at meh about it (I’m not), but learning all that new stuff just didn’t phase me. It was like unneeded “DVD extra bonus material.” It didn’t change the fact that I had just lived through the main part of “Pain: The Movie” itself–what did I care about the bonus extras?

        I just found it interesting that he began dating GF#1 literally *years* before we had even had kids and before I even knew she was in the picture and that STD he gave me might not have even come from GF#1 at all… it might have come from Miss Mutual Friend/One Night Stand.

        The biggest reaction I had to learning more about the bonus material was “Huh, how about that. So that’s why Miss Mutual Friend unfriended me on Facebook suddenly and out of the blue years ago. I had always wondered about that but now, timeline-wise, it makes sense. Oh well.”

        That said, the FW’s secret life really is “the gift that keeps on giving” if you want it to be. I don’t know anything about his current life, I don’t go digging into his past life, and I trained my friends, long ago, to stop telling me about all the things they learned that he did. I don’t need to know anymore. I know enough. Stop feeding me FW’s Greatest Hits; it’s a crummy album of one hit wonders and I don’t want to listen anymore.

  • Chump Lady provides insight and wise advice about cheaters, but not in order to help people accept/live with them.

    Very few people actually marry their first love. Or second. It would be like making a lifetime commitment to your first employer. Break ups are necessary so you’re available and ready when the right person comes along.


  • If NAPS is reading this, I suggest looking up “Communal Narcissism”. They are the type who looks like “the most empathetic and selfless guy in the world”. But when the chips are down, and the moment of truth hits, they show their true colors. Selfish, oblivious, the damage they do doesn’t signify.

        • Dr Ramani has some videos on this type of narcissist on YouTube. They are worth a listen.

          She’s worth a listen generally.

      • Oh, this is explains a lot about my cheater. I was absolutely blindsided by her betrayal because she made such a big deal out of being a good team player and benefactor.

        Like, we once witnessed an accident and she strolled up to help the victims, cool as anything, while the rest of us stood on in frozen horror.

        She was very contemptuous of parents who struggled with night wakings, bottle rejection, defiant behavior, whatever. “It’s so simple! They must be stupid.”

        So imagine my surprise when we actually had a child and she resented him for not posing for her photo ops and sitting quietly in his bouncy swing while she looked at tiktok!

        But now it’s all coming together.

        • Yo, Dracaena,
          I checked out your sobriquet because I’d never seen the word before, despite being an avid reader. When I read:
          ~ modern Latin, from Greek drakaina, feminine of drakōn ‘serpent, dragon’ (the genus Dracaena includes Dracaena draco, the dragon tree). ~
          I snorted an ounce of fine Chardonnay up my aged nose. You’re forgiven, since your wit provided me with the best laugh that I’ve had all day. ❤️

          • Glad I could help!

            Will I ruin your fun if I tell you that it’s also the genus name of a popular office plant? I kind of feel like that makes it even funnier.

    • This is really interesting. Thanks for sharing. I have a “perfect” and “kind” FW who was cheating when I was pregnant and left myself, our newborn, and my older son when caught…talk about actions not meeting words. I’ve seen his dark side and it’s terrifying. However, most have not seen this side of him. To the public he’s a humble, charming man who works with special needs children. He purposely chooses occupations where he is the hero so I’m not surprised that OPs FW is a public defender. He is obsessively on time and follows our parenting plan to a T. I think this type of narc is one of the most difficult to deal with as there is a sense of loneliness where people don’t understand how this wonderful person could be as awful as you claim. I almost wish sometimes his narc rage wasn’t so well hidden.

      He will often go out of his way to charm and impress the people at our sons daycare by stopping in with extra diapers, lingering to chat about himself etc. He certainly had me fooled. He seems to match up with this communal type pretty well.

      • Mine is the same, except he’s a teacher! He was cheating while I was pregnant and when I found out he turned into pity me for a while and then just turned really nasty. No-one else sees this! It is difficult!

  • I feel for you! My FW is spinning around in his own “pity” dance. While I’m doing the damn pick me dance. It’s difficult to tell remorse from pity sometimes. Remorse can be worked on, but pity is all about the FW staying where they are and forcing you to feel something for them: regret, hope, or even a pull. Mine has been home for a few weeks and is feeling effects of what he’s done. The challenge is whether or not they want to live like that by themselves or try to make amends and repair-whether or not you stay together.

    • Mine quickly moved from so-called remorse to, “I’m here, aren’t l?” and “I need to move on and forgive myself and you keep revisiting. It’s in the past why can’t you let it go?” Then back to first statement. I also had a dream early on in our relationship where he told me, “ I cheated, what are you going to do about it?” And that basically summed it up.

      • Oh this sounds so familiar. How can he heal his sex addiction if I keep bringing up the cheating, the random prostitutes. Poor soul, he can’t live with me, the person he destroyed, betrayed, of be around the family he decimated.

        • Holy “”/&&:@. Our FWs know each other. “It was just sexual. I paid them and it was done. Never wanted anything but you though. I’ve hurt you so much, how could you still remotely care about me?” Wah wah wah wah. His pain is so much worse than mine. WTF!! Not like women have the same options when not getting any at home. Gross looking male escorts out there. ????. Lol

        • Yep, he’s ready to move on, so you should be too. They have very little room for introspection or real change, it smells suspiciously like lipservice doesn’t it?

  • Be very grateful that you didn’t marry him!! You will be ok. Give it time. You know he’s right about one thing, you deserve better. We all do.

  • He broke it off with OW three times? I’d bet money that OW was pushing him to break it off with you and his response was part of his pick me dance with HER. You cannot trust anything a cheater says, not the beginning, nor the middle, nor at the end. Lying liars lie. She won (hee hee) and you should be glad she’s hanging that sack of feces over her mantle and not yours.

    • Thank you. As he is clearly making no effort to learn, change, or grow from this, she is welcome to him.

    • My husband asked me to move back home after three months. It was horrible, and within a week he was abusing me worse than before. I stuck it out for three more months. He never broke off the relationship with the OW. I am now convinced that asking me to move home was for three reasons. One was to see if I’d be so grateful that I’d let him do whatever he wanted (have his cake and eat it), two was to be able to say he’d “tried” so I would go quietly and not fight too hard in the divorce. But I think the main reason was to test OW to see if she’d hang around and wait for him. She did, and so he dumped me again and got “back” with her. I often thought about what crushingly low self-esteem she must have to have put up with that. I didn’t have concrete evidence of his cheating (he lied). If I had, I would never have tried to reconcile. But her? She knew without a shadow of a doubt that he was with me, living with me. And she decided, in the words of his divorce paperwork, to “wait for” him. Which tells me he had no intention of making things work between us.

      She “won”, and I’m sure that made her feel good about herself for awhile. Then she found out just what prize she’d ended up with. And she left. She even emailed me to apologize a few months later (BS non-apology, but still).

      They were both messed up, selfish, cheating liars. They deserved each other. It completely fell apart once I stepped out of the triangle and left them to themselves.

      • Pretty much same scenario for me. He called about a month after he discarded me for the whore. Wanted to come back. I caved, I was still heartbroken. I honestly knew it was likely not going to work, but I was willing to give it a chance.

        Within a week I had to kick him out. Almost as soon as he moved in, he started treating me like shit. Cold shoulder, not wanting me close to him. Idiot that I was, I still figured out fairly quickly what he came back for. I had ownership of the car until our D was final. He would take the car each evening when I got home and go around the neighbor hood doing his political canvassing. The neighbor across the street told me later he was telling everyone we were working it out.

        Anyway, he just used me to get the car for a few days. Also, I assume he figured he could then tell the neighbors, well I tried but she kicked me out. Anyway, that is how much I meant to him as his wife of 21 years and the mother of his only son (as far as I know).

        Yes she “won” also. I am also sure she took her victory laps. Because we shared a son, I know those victory laps were likely short lived; but of course it doesn’t ease the pain in the short term.

        When I kicked him out, I said you know you could have just asked and I would have loaned you the car. (he was making the payments on it).

        • Same for me to re: reconciliation or “yes, I will do anything to work on our relationship!” It was Hell; I wouldn’t wish reconciliation on my worst enemy.

          Don’t let them hoover back. Don’t take them back.

  • Hi all- NAPS here. To be clear I said I was moving home and he volunteered to pay for it. But boy was he sad when I said I was moving…as if he thought I’d stay in that hell hole of a town he asked me to move to??

    All theses comments are hard to hear as I really thought I had a good one. Alas…

    And for the record, the OW knew about me. So maybe two low-life attorneys who don’t respect me deserve each other. Bet that’ll go the distance.

    Thanks Chumps

    • IMHO, if he was a good person or a good public defender, you would be first on the list as a member of the public he defends.

      Big hug to you. I heard a detective once say, “we only know another person as much as they will let us.” No one can see until they see. All we control is our response when more is revealed. You were unaware. More has been revealed. Now you know more. Cheating indicates emotional immaturity and moral bankruptcy. It’s a game and the only winning move is to walk away and not play. His accomplice, aware he is a lying liar who lies, and a traitor, CHOSE him. They both chose someone with very serious, glaring, neon, visible-from-space character defects. ????

      There’s nowhere to go but up when you leave the relationship school dunces to each other. You’re saying NO to bullshit and on your way to the top of the class. Stick with the winners, and by definition, cheaters aren’t winners. YOU win.


    • You WILL get through this. Remember, cheaters, by definition, are not “good people”. I can’t promise that the community will see them for who they are or that he’ll get his in some sort of karmic retribution. What matters is that you’ve escaped, even if it wasn’t exactly voluntary on your part. You get to build your life without being tied to a fundamentally dishonest person.

    • NAPS, give yourself a big mighty pat on your back for doing the right thing and moving back home. I dated and married someone like your XFW. Way back in the early 90’s, I should have moved back home too when he started running hot and cold. “When someone sends you mixed signals, it’s really just ONE signal – get out.”

      To be clear, his “sad when I was moving” is just more manipulation. It leaves you thinking that maybe he did love, respect and value you. He doesn’t. His actions show you what he truly thinks of you and your relationship. Not that you are not worthy of love and respect. You are! But you’ll never get that from a FW!

      “And for the record, the OW knew about me. So maybe two low-life attorneys who don’t respect me deserve each other. ”

      Not “maybe”. They DO deserve each other! My XFW and his whore DO deserve each other! A pathological lying serial adulterer belongs with a woman who dates and sleeps with married men. A woman who dates and sleeps with married men belongs with a lying serial adulterer. Water seeks its own level.

      I’m guessing almost all, if not all of us here at CN thought we “had a good one”. We were fooled or conned and some of us for decades. I know it’s hard to see it right now, but consider yourself lucky for getting out before marriage, kids, homes and years of sunk costs of time, effort and money. If you haven’t already, go total no contact with this FW, which includes not looking at any of their social media to see if their relationship is “going the distance”. You don’t want to ever be in a relationship with a person like this, no matter how good they look on paper. This FW showed you who he truly is and what he’s capable of. That is a gift even though it doesn’t feel like it right now. ((((HUGS)))), NAPS.

    • NAPS,
      Despite all of us wanting so desperately for that not to be the way it turned out…. We don’t want to be injured/gutted by this person we trusted fully to have our best interests in the forefront of their mind, we are usually utterly shocked and devastated and many times cannot believe what they have done! My close friends all suggested my husband may be having an affair based on his behavior… never said I. We don’t believe in that! Righto! Despite you not having been married to your cheater, does not make it less painful, but thankfully you don’t have the added trauma of painful and soul crushing divorce procedures… depositions where you sit and list to the lies…. When I had my temporary hearing 2016 my ex husband’s Atty said he didn’t have an affair…. The judge said, according to the bylaws of the state of NH he is! Kind of funny that squirm I witnessed. In 1 year you will feel far differently than you do now…. Please self reflect on how you missed the signs of his character flaws. Fix your picker! We all miss the signs or choose to…. They are there even in disguise….carry on lady!!

  • I have a friend who has a son of 32. For six years he was in a relationship with an incredibly nice, clever, funny, beautiful girl who adored him. Last year he abruptly broke the relationship off. (Because he wanted to sleep with other women.) Then he missed his ex so much he begged her to take him back. She did. Now he’s just dumped her again. I found his reasons for doing this strangely instructive, as it gives some insight into the (shit) mind of a cheater. He said it was tiring having to be extra nice all the time to her, to make up for his bad behaviour. It was unpleasant meeting up with her friends and family, because they now hated him like poison. Also, on reflection, he still wasn’t 100 per cent sure that he actually really loved her.
    The lesson is: cheaters just aren’t worth bothering with, and certainly not worth taking back. Much better to just give them to the other woman as a shit present.

    • Thank you Hazel. I couldn’t agree more – and the shit present comment made me smile 🙂

    • Whoa Hazel you just covered it all. Great explanation. Clean, clear, and right to the point. I appreciate that.

  • My best friend was in the same situation as you, NAPS. She was in a relationship, long distance for 2 years and then 2 years together, they had a joint lease, there was an engagement ring and a wedding was planned for the summer. He turned out to be cheating on her, broke up with her on OW’s birthday, said the same things, the same remorse and went to therapy with her. 6 months later, he married OW.

    Recovery and healing took a long time but eventually she realized that he was just a deeply disturbed person, who had faked who he was for the 4 years they were together, and simply couldn’t keep up with the facade he had built. His true character showed.

    I wish you all the best
    I was chumped, but also discarded, and with the discard came my devaluation, lots of critical and hurtful comments about how/why I wasn’t enough. It was death by a thousand needles. So despite all the pain, there was also some relief that my FW was gone, and that I could rebuild my self-esteem.

    For my best friend, it was death by a plane crash. her ex-fiance went from prince charming to I don’t deserve you to married to another woman in the span of 6 months. She didn’t have concrete evidence of what a FW he was, all she remembered was being treated well before the discard and that caused her some major cognitive dissonance and distressed.

    As ChumpLady always says, it’s not the pain olympics but I know that your kind of discard can be very traumatic, as it leaves the Chump completely dumbfounded

    • Just to add: I wanted to share my best friend’s experience, maybe it helps you to know that yours is not an isolated case of chumphood. These disordered people have abused the trust of many good people out there.

      • Thank you for sharing, I so feel for your best friend. I had multiple friends say “I can tell he adores you” when they met him, only to realize its all a mask. Like your friend, I have realized he is a deeply disordered man with issues that another person cannot solve.
        I am so sorry for the pain you faced. It sounds like you have a strong support system in your friend, and my sincere hope is that we all come out of this a little better and a little stronger.
        Thinking of you.

  • “Sometimes the hardest mindfuck of all isn’t cruelty, but faux kindness. I’m not arguing for cruelty, but it’s direct. You know where you stand. Faux kindness is a fog of impression management.”

    Faux kindness is the worst. My FW has a hero complex and needs to be seen as a hero by his circle and his APs. Managing this image required a large amount of faux kindness that was not supported by his actions… but saying things like “I’m sorry” (but he kept collecting secret GFs) and “You deserve better” (but he kept collecting secret GFs) and “I hate that I keep doing this to you” (but he kept collecting secret GFs), etc.

    The faux kindness phases, I found out, were designed to both placate me and have me accept his new life. He wanted me and everyone else in his life to accept these errors he kept making (and the new APs that came with them) as something entirely forgivable and quickly moved on from.

    To my despair, I did keep forgiving him but I didn’t move on; his affairs affected me deeply and he hated that. The more I didn’t move on (“Sorry, hon… still traumatized by all this! Taking antidepressants now.”), the more upset he got with me. The more crueler, unkind and direct he became.

    His “You deserve better”s turned into “You know what? *I* deserve better.”

    The faux kindness phase, in my experience, is just a phase that’s intended to placate the chump and manage the good guy image of the FW. If that doesn’t work out like the FW hopes for, well… they drop that soft sheepskin pretty darned fast and opt for the direct approach of casting you as the crazy, bitter ex and themselves as the sad sausage victim that always deserved better than you gave them.

    I’m sorry. I always wanted to believe in the goodness of my FW too; I desperately wanted him to be a good person and I wallowed in the faux kindness limbo for awhile because I didn’t want to believe that I loved someone who objectively thought so little of me.

    But, over time, I started to line up all his words against his actions and I realized that every single promise out of his mouth was just self-effacing or self-congratulatory hot air.

  • my soon to be ex chose marijuana over me and ran away from home to have an affair with an ex boyfriend to prove how much more she loved pot and cheating. of course all of this came out after she came home from her 5 day bender. and there was the remorse, self-pity, I’m the victim because I did a bad thing crap. she got us a counselor, we both got STD checked, and she got into an argument with the counselor over wanting to be free and keeping her identity – a pot smoking cheater I guess. I played along for 3 months waiting to see if she really was going to change – nope. she sucks. the guy she cheated with sucks. her family enables her, they suck. good thing I’m from NY where everyone sucks in general or I’d be even angrier.

  • I will take issue with the assertion that Public Defender = Hero. Nope, no, nopety no.

    Lawyers are as variable as the rest of society. Sociopaths can be drawn to the profession for the opportunity to demonstrate their superiority in outmaneuvering an opponent in court. Doesn’t matter who suffers, watch the shiny lawyer bloviate about the technicalities, going for a win. I knew one who got really jacked up when he got on TV, doesn’t matter that he was sitting alongside his client who had shaken and bashed his girlfriend’s infant to death. I mean… TV… amirite? That murderer deserves a defense but that public defender really enjoyed himself, swaggering his way through the proceedings because he knew he would get on the local TV news highlight reel that night. Same lawyer happily hands out his business card with detailed instructions on the back for how to get out of a drunk driving stop. Yuk. I am glad I don’t associate with him any more and cringe when I think of him.

    Not all poor people are noble. Not all elderly are to be pitied (picturing my X sitting alone when 90, complaining that the kids haven’t spoken to him in 40 years. Let’s ask why, shall we?) Not all teachers and coaches are there for the good of the kids. Not all firefighters and military are heroes. The homeless guy who used to be a respiratory therapist but now is on the street? Isn’t he great, reading quietly by the door of that restaurant, harming no one? Let’s rally for him (this especially ramps up at the holidays). Oh– BTW, that guy used to molest his patients who were too young to complain and was finally caught and lost his license, his home, and his place in society. But, but!

    Sometimes we grab ahold of a story and make someone our mascot because it touches something in us. Not good without eyes open to the facts. Always watch actions, not words nor positions held. Assume nothing.

    Nonetheless, NAPS, I am glad you found us and appreciate you chiming in to reply to responses. You will recover and will be so much wiser for this, with this Chump University education that so many of us wish we had decades ago.

    And don’t ever let him hoover you back.

  • CL’s comment applies to all: “ He’s a mindfuck. It’s not a waste if you learn from it.

    You’re (valuable), you’ve got a brilliant future ahead . . . (With or without) a graduate degree.

    He’s a fuckboy you used to know.”


  • At one point she said ” you deserve better” I replied ” you’re God damned right I do!”….my favorite was “please don’t think you were second best ” to witt i told her ” I’m in shape, I volunteer, I take care of you our kids and others, I’m respected at work and in the community, I’ll never be second best to a disgusting piece of shit that poaches other men’s wives or the idiot wives that fall for his shit”

  • He may be a public defender, but he is also a thief of some very valuable years in your life. Don’t let him steal one more day.

  • as i’m in the early days of chumphood, i find ruminating hard to break. lately, i’ve used the following mantra to break my thought circle:

    1. my X is an alcoholic
    2. my X has disordered thoughts
    3. my X has disordered emotions from his dysfunctional family + upbringing
    4. for all of these reasons, he is emotionally incapable
    5. and, i deserve better

    by ending with myself, i go on with the rest of my day. somedays, i repeat it all day and it works. it’s seeping in to my thinking and i feel better about myself.

  • NAPS, You DO deserve better. Sure, it hurts right now and it is hard to accept but you avoided marriage. Consider yourself lucky that you did not marry and have children with this FW. Many of invested in long term marriages before we found out about the cheating.
    Take your time to heal and take care of yourself. You will get over this especially if you do realize he sucks. Time will heal your pain and remember as CL says the pain is finite. Be kind to yourself and make sure you establish boundaries before getting involved again. Be happy that you are Cheater free and keep vigilant to stay Cheater free.

  • Good for you. NAPS-you are mighty! You dodged a bullet. I hope you are no contact and moving on with your life. It is good to be home to reenergize and regroup. No better place to be. I wish you the best. Time to put that graduate degree to work and find your dream job.

  • Hi NAPS,

    First, let me reassure you that you’re a lot stronger and wiser than you’re giving yourself credit for. Recognizing that there’s a problem with our thinking is like 80% of fixing it, and you’re there. And to have that kind of clarity so soon after discard is really remarkable. You’re not drinking his koolaid anymore, and you’re trying to find a better space for your head to be in. Good on you.

    I recognize a lot of my cheater in yours, and so let me offer something that might help you. Your cheater is a bully. He likes controlling other people; in fact, he insists on it. He’s just learned to do it in a way that makes everyone think he’s a hero, which is the nastiest kind of bully. (Why do you think he’s a public defender? Because his clients don’t have any leverage with him(b/c they’re not paying him. He gets to say and do whatever he wants with their cases, and they have no say unless he grants it.) Anyway, when I read your letter, all I read were things *he* was doing and deciding: He was moving you across the country, he was deciding to get engaged, he was cheating, he was deciding not to cheat, he was cheating again, he was confessing, he was demanding you guys get therapy, he was telling you the relationship was over…. And what were you doing? Passively accepting whatever he decided. I’m not criticizing you; I was married to a bully, and they have 1,000 ways, subtle or not, of letting you know that it’s their way or the highway.

    You were with a bully. He decided you were getting too much control over him. He decided *unilaterally* to blow up the relationship and move on to reassert control over his life. And then he manipulated you and the people around him into thinking he’s a nice guy.

    He’s not a nice guy. He’s a disordered narcissist–the worst kind, the covert type, which works in the shadows and behind closed doors to manipulate everyone into thinking he’s a selfless hero. You’re lucky he dumped you. Trust me, it took me a while to get to the point where I realized that, but also trust me it’s true.

    Now you have to take back control of your own life. Get into therapy; figure out why you need other people to tell you you’re worthwhile and OK and why your life has meaning. It’s tough stuff, but you won’t even recognize yourself on the other side of it, you’ll be so happy. You’re an amazing woman, NAPS. Let those two wolves in sheeps’ clothing devour each other, and walk on into your new life.

    Big Hugs,


    • Thank you Okupin. This brought tears to my eyes. I appreciate your perspective, and I know I have work to do. I am a people pleaser by nature, and I unfortunately didn’t realize he was taking advantage of that. Thank you for the words of encouragement.

    • I wonder if looking at engagement rings for Not A Public Servant and best friend witnessing it was also part of his nice guy disguise. I wouldn’t be surprised if he also told OW that his ring looking was for OW. Don’t put anything past these weirdos.

      With him living so far away, it was easy for him to operate his double life. He couldn’t freely operate with Not A Public Servant while she was physically there.

      I’m a cynic but believe the reason he said ‘you deserve better’ was to maintain an appearance of doing something right or noble for the good guy persona mask he likes to wear while getting exactly what he wanted which was discarding her. They always want to dump you first.

      If he waited until counseling was under way he stood a great chance she would be the one ending the relationship.

  • NAPS– With this, I tell you (many decades and kids and houses and DDs later), you will be ok. I promise. You will spend the time needed to focus on what you need AND want from yourself. Another person cannot make you whole and frankly, anyone who says they can is a liar-liar-pants-on-fire. Wish I had learned this earlier…ah well. Lessons are learned when we’re finally ready to learn them. :/

    The legal field is replete with wounded-healers–image management is PARAMOUNT. Show true vulnerability and, BAM!, another shark will eat you. He’s engaged in Image Management. Period. He doesn’t give a fuckity fuck about how his choices are hurting you. Nope. He’s wearing his “issue” on his sleeve and reaping the pussy-reward for it. That.Is.Not.About.You. This character issue is all ’bout him. Full stop.

    Run. No, seriously, RUN!!! There’s nothing to work with there.

    • LOS, I’m chuckling wryly at ‘liar, liar, pants on fire.’ Here in the UK there is a show called ‘Only Connect’ which was on tv on Monday night immediately before University Challenge. The lawyer ex insisted on watching or recording both (if recorded the show had to be watched immediately we had finished eating). I was forced to watch with him while he shouted out answers repeatedly, with ‘come on’ and ‘you must know that’ scattered amongst the shouts. I never got a single puzzle on Only Connect right, until one memorable night. A series of 4 pictures included Pinocchio twice, trousers and a fire. I shouted out ‘liar, liar pants on fire’. I was right. The colour drained from the ex’s face. He didn’t say a word. I assumed that he was irritated that I had got a question right and he hadn’t (which tells you a fair bit about our relationship). I was unceremoniously dumped after 26 years about a year later. Two years ago this week I discovered the emails with his exgfOW confirming their affair (probably going on for 10 years or so). I’d like to say that he felt shame that night. He obviously felt something. If the cap fits…

      NAPS, I’m a lawyer as is the ex. To be fair to him, he was never interested in ‘doing good’. He refused to watch the Paralympics because ‘it doesn’t look right’. He never gave of his time for anything unless there was something in it for him. Under the charm and pretty exterior, he was a mean spirited, bored and boring, alcoholic with little zest for life. He wasn’t even good at his job. You have absolutely dodged a bullet. Just because someone’s a public servant, it doesn’t say anything about their character. Public service abounds with cheaters as well as chumps, just like life!

  • NAPS may doubt herself, but I assure you she dodged a maggot-infested bullet.

    So, my ex FW was a public defender our entire marriage. Nicest guy in the world. Even though he was letting me do all the work of earning enough money for our family to live on, managing everything in our domestic life (I kid you not, he never once opened his own mail the entire 11 years of our marriage), raising our 2 children, caring for sick parents. etc.

    I worked a very stressful job, but I was proud of ‘us’ and the work he was doing. He was fighting the good fight at the public defender’s office, so when he would play video games all night while drinking whiskey (leaving me to care for our toddlers while he nursed a hangover the next day) or go play tennis for 4 hours at a time a few times a week, I held down the fort.

    He wasn’t useful around the house or proactive about taking care of things, but he was always very affectionate and loving and gave lots of emotional support. I would break down crying every once in a while from the stress of it all and he was always such an empathetic, encouraging ear.

    He never had a bad word to say about anyone, always giving them the benefit of the doubt (even when that person’s behavior was indefensible), always volunteering to help the neighbors or friends (me, not so much).

    I was his rock and I multitasked and I made my own needs as small as humanly possible because, I thought, I was just more capable than him. I assumed that made me valuable. I thought it made me a hero. This was all just spackle and chumpiness on my part. I now know what a covert narcissist is.

    I still find it hard to believe he did not love me, for a long while, and in his own way. He had a bike accident once and suffered a head injury that had him speaking gibberish. When I got to the ER he was raving, saying over and over how much he loved his wife and didn’t want to die. One time, we were traveling and I didn’t show up when he expected. When I got there a couple of hours later, her was beside himself with worry. There were times when he helped me care for my mentally handicapped uncle. These are the Pavlovian memories I would pull up all those times when he would leave to play tennis while my dad and I were doing yard work, or I was driving his mother to the hospital. Rude behavior, yes, but hardly a reason to initiate divorce over, right?

    It was so hard to reconcile the person I had married 7 years earlier with the man who I caught cheating with another (former) Public Defender. The gaslighting, cruelty, and entitlement he showed throughout our wreckonciliation was horrific. His OW was, at the time, a divorce attorney getting a divorce from another divorce attorney. When he and I discussed divorce, FW would quote the legal advice she was giving him. Uggh. Nobody recognized this horrible person. His own therapist ordered an MRI to see if there was residual damage from his brain injury that could have caused his personality to change so dramatically, but the scan came out clean.

    Over the next 6 months I wasted a lot of energy comparing myself to his OW and cyber-stalking her, even though I knew it was pointless. It was a compulsion, like googling open ended questions (‘what to do when your husband has an affair’), and searching for new places to live to start a new life without him.

    Instead, I competed in, and won, the pick me dance (obviously, with my wife appliance, bill-paying skills). He returned to ‘normal’ and I (the heroic martyr) forgave him completely.

    He left me 3 years later. Not for her of course. He demanded an open marriage after he had hooked up with some BDSM folks at Burning Man while I was home with the kids being the adult. This time, when I went online for advice, Google brought me to Chump Lady, and the rest is history.

    That’s how I learned the hard way that people can love you and be “good people”, never put you down or ‘abuse’ you, all the while hiding their true nature. Spackling is the art of making someone’s crappy bits match up with all the shiny, nice bits.

    • Whew boy. This story hits a little too close to home, so thank you for sharing it. He was always so proud and supportive of me being “the breadwinner” in the relationship, and I was always proud of the hard, thankless work he was doing. HA. I also like to believe he “loved” me in his messed up way (he never stopped saying it up until I got on my plane home) however the way he treated me is not the way I see love. So if that’s truly what he believes love is, he can keep it.

      I’m sorry for the pain your ex caused you – it sounds like both of our cheaters are trying so hard to be good on the outside they never do the work to be good on the inside. Thank you for sharing your story.

  • NAPS – it might not feel like it now but you dodged a bullet. He sucks. You get to learn from it and you have plenty of time ahead of you. From a chump with an x in a highly regarded job who was often distant, angry at home because he ‘just needed to relax’ from his ‘stressful role’ and never discuss anything except his needs. I was ‘his rock’ taking care of everything. He too cheated with a colleague. He wanted to keep me on as useful wife appliance which happened until this chump figured out that he was a serial cheater.
    Give yourself some time to recover, read & learn. You deserve way better than your x.

  • Yeah that whole, oops you found me out guess we gotta break up now gig is a real mindfuck. It’s also a lazy-ass piece of sabotage by the ex. He’s done something on purpose to fuck things up and he’s being so great because he just wants out. There’s no mystery this was just as calculated as if he’d tied you to the train tracks and twirled his moustache. He’s a public defender for gods sake, nothing would have been an uncalculated mistake. It’s all oh no I’ve done something unforgivable yhevonly thing to do is break up here let me pay for everything. He’d be surprised if you forgave him but I don’t really think he wants it either. Believe him when he says you’re too good for him. Don’t try and patch it up only to find he’s got a drug, booze or hooker habit that is his teal dark side, because there’s something creepy about the bloodlessness of this whole situation. Good luck, you will find better.

  • Hello NAPS

    Sorry for the crapfest that’s landed on your door.

    My ex told me:
    He was not good enough for me
    He would do anything to make it up to me
    It was all his fault. I was not too blame
    He was very happy in our relationship
    He couldn’t live without me…….

    2 weeks later he was annoyed cause I was ‘still upset’ and he ‘couldn’t come home to an upset angry woman every night’

    He said if I couldn’t get over it in 2 weeks I never would (correct..maybe!) So he packed his bags and left.

    At the time I too felt humiliated as I thought I wasn’t even worth fighting for. Looking back now it was all a pack of lies.

    It gets better. Really it does. You don’t need a liar in your life. What for?

    • This. The “it’s the best thing for you” narrative is just a way to dump someone with faux kindness, so that the dumpee won’t get angry. It’s also impression management.

      In reality, people want what’s best for themselves. If he thought you were the best he could do, he would do everything he could to keep you with him. He wouldn’t selflessly send you away.

      • Thank you, I agree its faux kindness. However, if he thought he could “do better” then why didn’t he break up with me for her? He clearly had her in the bag. I think he is selfish and wanted cake. And when he couldn’t have both, he chose easy. But maybe thats just me boosting my own ego 😉

        • Nope, not at all. It’s because you would challenge him to actually be decent and he didn’t want to step up. She is the easy choice. Either that or he needed to really ensure he had her on the hook before he cut you loose. I think I’ve seen that move referred to as “monkey branching”…like a stepping stone to the next victim.

    • “It’s not what I did, it’s your reaction to it” right there. This is how they reverse victim and offender. How dare you be angry for something anyone would and should be angry about? This is not real remorse. They do you a favor by leaving, but leave you feeling like it’s your fault. It’s basically the narcissistic asshole mike drop. Good riddance to that, damn the narrative they try to paint.

  • The remorse, the you “deserve better” and “I still love you”, was all an act. He still wants to be seen as the nice guy and keep the option open of circling back if nothing better comes along. If he told you the truth… he wants to play the field, screw other women, including co-workers and needs you out of the way while he is carrying on he would not be seen as the nice guy and you would shut down any potential second chances. You may be pissed because he didn’t fight for you and the relationship. He helped you pack your bags and put you on a plane back home. He sent you on your way. He may have said all the right things but his actions prove otherwise. I haven’t read everything in this post but I do hope you have shut down ALL communication with this creep. He’s nothing special and you dodged a bullet.

    • KB22,

      I think that “You deserve better” is cheater-speak for “I betrayed you. I got caught. I don’t want to do the hard work involved with cleaning up the mess that I made. But I want to leave wearing my ‘cloak of victimhood’ (TM) and have people (including hopefully the chump) think that I’m the good guy in all of this.”

      She is better off without him and he is clearly a d*ck.


  • You probably Were the best thing in his life and I’ve circled around the self-sabotage excuse drain hole with my ex too. What I learned, in too many new relationships a guy would say somehow “oh I don’t know if I’m good enough for you” and I would take it as a sign to bolster him up with “look at your character, of course you could be good enough for me, I love what I see so far” etc

    But you know what’s now a red flag for me? someone telling me they’re not good enough for me. Now, I walk. It’s like an admission in advance that they don’t Want to be a good person for me. It tells me they’re someone who will do bad behavior and use the sad sausage excuse like he was just a victim of my goodness.

    If he doesn’t want to grow up, let him not want to grow up in other peoples lives. Hugs to you

  • I can well imagine a public defender swooping in with cup of tea and empathy to right the wrongs and receive the accolades of sad-eyed victims. When he wins, he files some papers, but he doesn’t really deal with the messiness that victims experience. He is free to moves on to the next person who needs a hero.

    You expected a long-term commitment and attention to the tedium of daily life. And that was more work and less applause then he wanted to sign up for.

    I am sorry you were treated so badly, and I hope a year from now he barely even crosses your mind.

  • I wonder if helping you move back acorss the country was the price he was willing to pay to control the narrative and manage his image. He told you to tell your family and friends, but presumably your family isn’t local, and as for the latter, if they’re joint friends, he’s way ahead of you on the narrative:
    ” I discovered texts telling a friend he had “ended it with OW”. Turns out he had been cheating with a coworker for four months and “ended it” three times. ”
    So at least one of his–your?–friends knew about it, and quite possibly more, since the affair was with his coworker.
    He may have expedited your departure to clear you off the stage so he can play out whatever narrative he wants, which will undoubtedly make him look good to his friends and the next woman. I wouldn’t be surprised if he claims you had mental problems and pursued him to his city, despite knowing about his relationship with a coworker. A lot of them spin narratives that the ex was crazy, unstable, violent, etc., and knew about and accepted their other relationships.
    As so many others have said, it’s good that you’re out. You have values and standards, and he appealed because he works hard to portray that noble image. He’s got image; you’ve got reality.

    • Oh yes…..they are miles ahead in the devaluation process. Especially if they have complicit friends as my ex W did. The stories you hear about yourself are truly astounding on top of the lies they’ve been telling you. Sadly, for most chumps you find out you’re in a marathon and their on mile number 22 and you haven’t even put on jogging pants. Luckily you also have a choice to not run that rat race. Change the narrative…..they hate that and you’ll be better for it. “Virtual hug!”

  • You seem hung up on the “public servant helping profession” thing. Here’s a data point for you:

    The ONLY public defender that I know (actually used to know, as I cut him off from contacting me) is a lifelong hardcore cheater and liar (as was his baby daddy). He liked the easy public defender gig because it gave him PLENTY of glory and free time to spend his afternoons at the gym (which is where I met him) looking in the mirror, and playing like he was single. He was very good-looking, charming, and intelligent. And had a (devoted and clueless) doctor wife bringing in the money, and a double life going with a mistress and secret child. And it gets way worse, but long story.

    I also have three lawyers in my family, all of whom are NOT liars or cheaters. They are also NOT public defenders.

    Consider yourself lucky, go no contact, and be a little wiser next time. ????????

    • Also: He liked the glory and kibbles he got from being in the courtroom. I don’t recall him gaf about the people or the charity part.

      One more data point: And the (other) hardcore pathological cheating, lying narcissist (and convicted felon) that I (used to) know…a psychology grad, and was (living and studying) in the seminary to be a MINISTER when he was convicted of a felony and put in jail for a year. And thirty years later he is still a pathological cheating womanizer/liar/thief, leading a well paid mainstream life, easily finding new women victims, *acting* like the nicest guy, and snowing new (normal upscale) social “friends”.

      It’s not a “mistake”, it’s who they are. There is nothing to “work on”. Cut your losses fully, and go/stay no contact.

  • Chiming in as a chump that was completely blindsided by my discard as well. Unlike some relationships, we never fought and I truly thought I had found “the one”. Of course, no one is perfect so I would brush off things that bothered me. Looking back, over the past couple of years I can see the gradual devaluation happening but in the moment I felt like the luckiest women ever to be married to such a kind man.

    The night before I discovered his cheating ways, we went to dinner with some of his friends. Before they arrived he held my hand across the table, looked me straight in the eyes and said “I just wanted you to know, I know you’ve had a rough time going back to work and leaving the baby behind. I am here for you and we will get through this together.” Within 24 hours he was calling a lawyer to divorce me. They are ACTORS. This hurts now but you dodged a bullet. I have to “coparent” with this freak and it’s something I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

    • I can so relate to this, JO. My husband and I were together for 30 years, married for 25 of those years. We rarely fought – we always seemed to eventually see the other’s side. When his mother passed away, he told a congregation that I was his rock that helped him through it. His father called me the daughter he never had. A couple months before he left, he posted a photo of me on Facebook with the caption, “I’m a lucky guy.” We were building our retirement home, for goodness sake! Two months later, two days after Valentine’s Day, he told me he didn’t buy a card for me because none of them applied. Then he told me ILYBINILWY. I told him to grab his things and leave. But, the trauma that ensued…thinking I was happily married and we were planning for our later years…only to have him turn completely against me…it left me a mess. I beat myself up for years. Now, I don’t think I’d trust enough to truly love someone again – heart and soul. For some of us, THAT is what they leave us with…

  • He cheated on you and then dumped you after you found out. Yes, being dumped is hard on the ego, but it’s better than being even further strung along, so look at this as your opportunity to start over before getting in even deeper with that jerk. He is no prize, being a cheater, so nothing to pine for. Going no contact and dating other people will help your heart to heal so you can really move on.

  • My ex-best friend dumped her husband when she met the guy she left him for in law school. There was more than a year of emotional affair before she broke up with the first guy. I didn’t know enough about things like this to ask if she ever let her husband know she wasn’t happy. Back then I was in the “you have to do what makes you happy” camp. She married the AP and they’re both successful public lawyers. Their story was always: “A couple of good people who made mistakes before they got together.” I remember him telling me he confessed to his family he was in love with a married woman.

    Eventually she dumped me when I began to question her not being there for me in ways I think are reasonable if in fact we were “best” friends. I’d broken it off with her, she cried and asked to be back in my life, then reverted to old behaviours, and when I protested again, she broke it off with: “I love you / You deserve better.”

    In the years before our friendship ended, I often wondered how much of a chance her first husband had ever had. She is such a martyr/saviour type that she would see herself not being fully happy with him, but never telling him, as having acted nobly.

    The hard part is that within their professional roles, she and her new husband do good work. Every day in their work, they will be able to see that they have “helped” people out and that people are genuinely grateful for their efforts. And they may well put effort into their own marriage now: they are a legit power couple. But that doesn’t change that when, in the case of my ex-friend, they were asked to have integrity around how they made a choice that benefitted them, that they chose lying and “not hurting [betrayed person’s] feelings” as their cop-out. I’m sure they have a million rationalizations for their choices.

    What I find hard is the sense that if I were professionally more impressive, more useful to know, that she would have treated me with more respect. This is the kind of person that steps on people and uses people on the way “up.” But her tone of voice as she dumped me, with excuses and blame-shifting, was all kindness. I feel the anger rising up in my just thinking of the soft sweet tone of voice she used to say, “Oh, I’m such a disappointment to you, I know” like she was letting me down easy, while at the same time saying I’d broken her trust by telling people how her spectacular shows of indifference had confused and hurt me. What she meant is that I risked her image. It makes my blood boil to think she probably thinks she was maturely and kindly drawing a boundary when from my POV she led me on for years and then finally opted out with no accountability.

    Same with my colleagues who teach adults how to write and so are constantly getting feedback that the are good, wise, helpful women, but who will backstab, gossip, and lie to get what they want in the world of dinner parties and fundraisers.

    All to say it’s a mindfuck when people with so much public “moral capital” use their smooth lines as they step on your neck.

  • Who wants a wishy-washy guy who can’t commit ?

    Even if he stays with the AP he’ll likely cheat on her. That is who he is.

  • You know who deserved better ? I am watching Dr. Phil who is interviewing the widow and grown children of police officer Dennis Wustenhoff. He was blown up in his car over thirty years ago by his married affair partner’s husband, a fellow police officer. They deserved better. A faithful husband and a father who cherished their mother.Holy ????

  • NAPS – congratulations on finding the exit hatch on the sinking ship, and crawling to safety to the one remaining lifeboat.

    It sucks right now – you’re hurt and humiliated and have been lied to – but it will get less sucky as time passes.

    The key thing here is to maintain No Contact. There will be many flip-floppy days when you want to touch base with him, or when ‘friends’ pass on tidbits. This is normal. It sucks, but it’s normal.


    This is dopamine detox time. You need to clear your head.

    Purge your social media of any possible contacts. Delete phone numbers. Tear stuff up.

    This speeds up the healing process amazingly – and things get way less sucky way more quickly.

    • Thank you, and additionally, thank you for your guest column – the Lola Doctrine has brought me much comfort 🙂

      Since many have mentioned it, I have been NC since I returned home. Not to say he hasn’t reached out, but I have felt zero desire to contact him. I am too humiliated for that.

      Thanks for your well wishes!

      • As its author, let me assure you that the Lola Doctrine is not just any ordinary kind of true.

        It’s true in the way that the laws of physics are true.

        These people really do find their own level. And that level is WAY below you.

        You’ve just found out who he really is. And thank goodness, before you married him and had children with him. All you have now is a broken heart that’s – believe it or not – on the mend.

        I had a future-faker once as well – Cheater #3 of a series of 4. Talked engagement rings, but it was all image management.

        Do something nice for yourself today. You’ve earned it.

      • Too humiliated? To talk to *him*?? Reframe and tell yourself you are too proud and too good for him. You have self respect and you have no interest in engaging with a sleazy con artist who lives on the other side of the country. You have things to do and people to see. Reading your letter, I knew the villain was the type to Hoover hard. And you still sound vulnerable and insecure – normal after what you’ve been through. Block this guy everywhere and resist every urge to check on him. Soon you won’t care. (I lived many years with my cheater and our lives were completely intertwined; not a year after going NC, I don’t give a fuck and don’t care who he’s seeing or what he’s doing. You’ll be there in no time.)

        Anyone who is judging you with cruelty or contempt right now sucks. Don’t be ashamed that you were future faked by a master manipulator (who you wrote has a history of similar relationships.) The fuckwit is the common denominator, and you were the next unlucky victim in his pattern of abuse.

        Imagine the movie version of your life the past few years: There’s a young woman in love, working through grad school, video chatting with her boyfriend across country. Meanwhile, HE… well, cue the montage of his exploits and double crossing and lies. When this woman graduates and packs up her life to be with the dirtbag (audience knows, but she doesn’t yet), I would be screaming at the tv for her not to. Once she is there, I’d be on the edge of my seat, waiting for her to please discover him. Then I’d be horrified when she enters couples counseling, where the dude continues to lie and jerk her around (again, audience knows what she doesn’t). She had an out! But then, she gets a lucky break when creep says, “I don’t deserve you.” I’d be cheering as she packs up and heads home. I’d feel empathy and relief. In this movie version, she goes home and gets on with her life. She ignores and blocks the cheater. The cheater was really hardly a part of her life to begin with, and she recovers and gains a life in no time. Cheater is out of the picture because he’s nobody.

        You know what’s more humiliating than anything? Pick Me. What happened to you is a big deal and sucks, and you’ll need time to process and heal, but it’s almost a best-case-scenario in chump world. He voluntarily paid for something. He apologized. He lives across the country. You’re young. You can block him, no strings attached. Read here and work on boundaries, be kind to yourself and accept your worth, and I suspect you’ll come through this better than ever.

      • Oh, honey. Why would YOU be humiliated? He’s a skunk. You’ve got your grad degree AND you don’t have to relocate only to find yourself stuck in the same city with a cheating spouse 2 or 3 or 10 years from now. He’s not much of a man.

  • I trust this guy when he says that the damage he has done was too great.
    I might be over interpreting, but in my mind that means that the one affair he came clean about is only the tip of the iceberg.
    My guess is that he was cheating with more than one AP during the long distance period.

    I wouldn’t dig too much ; run and start new.
    You do deserve better.

  • NAPS: “…for some reason its a huge ego blow that he didn’t even want to try and fight for our relationship, and just chose to take the easy way out and fuck the OW for a while.”

    If you have to “fight” for a relationship, it’s already over. I’m not sure there this idea even came from. And it don’t mean that there aren’t struggles in a healthy relationship; it’s just that “fighting” for the relationship implies that it isn’t already a CHOICE. The person “fighting” for the relationship is always the one who is always committed, while the ambivalent one or the cheater just snarfs up kibbles and cake. Think about your best friendships. Do you have to “fight” for them? No.

    “Its hard to hate him when he seemed like a good person…they are both “public servants” and it just seems like two good people got together and now I’m the chump that has to rebuild.”

    He “seemed like a good person.” Yeah, right up to the point when he allowed you to move where he’s living while he was cheating with someone else. HE IS NOT A GOOD PERSON. We don’t have the data to know if she is or is not a good person. If she knew he was in a relationship, she was most certainly not a “good person.”

    Good people have character. They don’t lie. They don’t lead people on. They don’t use a long-distance relationship as an excuse to have sex with someone else. They just don’t.

    Finally, NAPS, you have to rebuild not because “two good people got together.” You have to rebuild because you were in a relationship with man who lies, cheats and takes advantage of people. Seeing yourself as the person who was left out because the other two are “public servants” or because they are true loves or soul mates or because you folded his t-shirts the wrong way is to take up where he left off and abuse YOURSELF. Don’t tell yourself stories where you internalize victimhood or blame yourself for the poor choices of people who are selfish or disordered. You’re lucky to be rid of this guy before you married him and had kids or you ended up having to pay him alimony after he cheated again.

    Fix your picker. Work on seeing yourself as worthy of a healthy relationship with someone capable of reciprocity and fidelity.

    • This! I needed this tonight. I know I am worthy, I know I am a good person but the whole ordeal was just a real blow to the self-esteem. Especially feeling like he gets to continue on with his friends and the OW without consequence…its just a bummer. But your reminders are so helpful. Thank you

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