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He Says ‘It’s Not What It Looks Like’

mindfuckDear Chump Lady,

I feel crazy, that my mind can even be wavered, or try so hard to not believe what my eyes saw!! I just don’t understand how someone could be so cruel, how someone could treat another person like this?

I have been dating this man for 14 months, from day one, he has been crazy about cheating and it has been the topic of many discussion. Supposedly his first wife cheated on him and how he would never live that way again!!

We have had (at least I thought) the best relationship that I can remember, fun, laughs, the most amazing intimacy, a real connection. Daily he sent me texts snd statements of his love and compliment after compliment about how much he cherished me.

This past Saturday evening, I came home to his house that I had moved into, to find him running to the door naked and his neighbor in the house also naked. He tried to distract me at the door, and then I heard “Who is it?” so I pushed past him and saw his neighbor running from his room to his bathroom. I went into the bedroom and her clothes were on the bed with a bottle of lube!! He kept trying to convince me nothing happened and was confusing me with so many statements. He let her sit in the bathroom as we argued, and then somehow got her clothes to her and she snuck out the front door!

As I am typing this, I realize how ridiculous, blatant and obvious this all is, but I cannot believe he would do this. We talked repeatedly about our future, getting married and a life together. He told me repeatedly how much I made his life better!

I had texted to tell him I was on my way that night, I had been out with some girlfriends as he tailgated and went to a football game with his buddies.

He has sent countless texts about how it is not what it looks like and that his neighbor just walked in his house and got naked while he was in the shower! He came out of the bathroom and saw her there. I know crazy!

My question to him: if that were true why did you not rip her out of that bathroom and make her confess?
He has sent text after text saying I am his everything and it’s a misunderstanding! I realize only a fool would believe his story, but my mind and my heart cannot wrap around why he did this to me?? Please, please, please help me understand why?? Please help my heart not want to believe that everything had been a lie? Why would he do this?

Is he a pathological liar that convinced himself of his story??

Oh, I forgot to mention he erased their texts from that day! I feel so foolish and so hurt. I am 49 years old and I am such a great person, how could someone treat another person this way?

Thank you for listening,


Dear Carey,

I have no doubt you’re a great person, which is why you’re going to block his number, and send someone else over to his house to collect all your stuff. If he persists in trying to contact you, you’re going to follow that up with a letter from your lawyer warning that you will file criminal harassment charges if he persists.

A great person like you is not going to waste another second on a disordered creep like him. I know you miss the lie and the love bombing, but you don’t miss HIM. The real him is the guy you caught schtupping his neighbor. And then GASLIGHTS you that you didn’t see exactly what you saw.

That’s how stupid he thinks you are. That’s how flamingly entitled he is. He can come up with the most outlandish story and expects — demands! — to be believed.

My question to him: if that were true why did you not rip her out of that bathroom and make her confess?

Don’t question him. He’s a lying liar who lies. Believe what you saw.

Oh, and if she was some sort of psychotic neighbor who just shows up naked (to do what? borrow a cup of sugar?) she’s not a reliable witness either.

He has sent countless texts about how it is not what it looks like

He’s testing your stupid. He wants to know how badly you’ll work to be his chump. Enough to ignore reality? He gets a big high off of mindfucking you, which is why he persists. He wants to bend you with his lies. It’s a power trip.

You read this as, oh, he cares! He doesn’t want to lose you!

Well, he probably doesn’t. You’re kibbles. Everyone’s kibbles. No one’s special. He likes multiple sources of supply and if you want to stick around and do the abuse cycle (incident, honeymoon, tension… incident) he’s happy to arrange that.

This is not what “cherished” looks like.

He has sent text after text saying I am his everything and it’s a misunderstanding!

A misunderstanding? You interrupted him having sex with another woman. That’s a misunderstanding the way invading Poland is a misunderstanding.

Please help my heart not want to believe that everything had been a lie?

Tell your heart to take a back seat. Of course you want to believe him, because it’s much nicer to feel like you have a solid boyfriend who adores you than to feel heartbroken and betrayed. Avoiding the pain gives you spackle — the lies you tell yourself to stay. The polish you give the turd.

Feel the pain. Stick with reality. Protect yourself.

You’ll be okay eventually. Chumpdom is not a permanent condition. It’s entirely curable.

Why would he do this?

Because he can. Because it doesn’t hurt him to hurt you. Because he’s not that deep. Because he uses people. Because he had lube and a willing neighbor. Because his dick was hard. Because he’s not a good person. Because he future fakes and love bombs. Because he enjoys mindfuckery.

There. That’s all the skein untangling I’m going to allow today.

Shorter answer: WHO CARES? He did it. Is it acceptable to you? No? END IT.

Is he a pathological liar that convinced himself of his story??

No. He absolutely knows he’s lying to you. Deception is his basic operating manual.

And even if he were some delusional creature who believes his crazy stories (I am the Queen of Siam! I shall wear a tea cosy on my head! Dance the minuet!) — you’d still have nothing to work with.

I feel so foolish and so hurt.

He’s the fool, not you. You did absolutely NOTHING wrong believing that you’re worthy of love and commitment. He’s the idiot here. We don’t go through life expecting people to be total frauds. (Well, I probably do after 38 million of these stories… but I have blog poisoning…) People with double lives are aberrant.

It’s normal to feel hurt. You bonded. Humans are wired to bond.

Now then, Carey, remember you’re a GREAT person. He demonstrably is not. Ergo, you must dump him. Get your things back from his house.

But leave the lube, so he can go fuck himself.

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.
  • PS — the whole “he hates cheating” thing? Again, a chump test. Either he wants to you say, oh no biggie. So you’re complicit. Or he’s trying to throw you off the trail with I’m a Moral Man Who Must Discuss Cheating. Or he really wants to know how much you hate it, so it’s extra delicious when he gets away with it.

    It’s a combo plate of suck.

    • The hardest part of chumpdom is accepting the person you were in love with is not the person they actually are. When you come out of that fog, that’s Tuesday.

      • Absolutely spot on 100%. It took me years to accept that the person who was so fastidious and vocal about Integrity was, in fact, a morally bankrupt hologram trying to throw folks off the scent. So disappointing to see that it is one of the basic moves cheaters deploy. ChumpLady, thank God for you.

        Carey, he is a liar and thankfully your evidence could not be clearer. This fool has no imagination. Reminds me of the Bridget Jones’ Diary bathroom scene. Do get tested for the STDs and block him.

    • Chump lady! Your response is brilliant. Reminds me of the great Richard Pryor line… “Who you going to believe? Me? Or your lying eyes?”

      • That’s the same line that I immediately thought of as I was reading this!

        I became such a spackling wizard during my marriage that when D-day came my FW thought that I would keep trusting his “reality”. He told me I said and did things that I did not and then was astonished that I rightfully called out his mindfuckery and called me crazy.

        Run away from anyone who tries to make you doubt objective reality! These are not people that you can have an honest discussion with, let alone a relationship.

      • “…but I cannot believe he would do this.”

        Unpack that statement. When a chump (or anyone else says) “I cannot believe….”, that is the setup for cognitive dissonance. You see things with your own eyes…but you “cannot believe he would do this.”

        I know it seems like just a phrase, but yes. You CAN believe he would do this. It’s just that you prefer not to believe what you seen.

        This is a typical type of statement found by law enforcement in statement analysis. Criminals will say “I cannot recall…” It’s not that the criminal doesn’t remember that he robbed a bank or killed someone. He CAN’T recall it, meaning that he doesn’t want the consequences of admitting what he did.

        Never say, “I can’t believe” something when your well-being hinges on believing it. It’s OK if you “can’t believe” how awesome a concert was or how someone pulled off an event at the last minute. Then “I can’t believe” is just a figure of speech. But when you have EVIDENCE that something happened,

        A good friend always mocks the “I can’t believe” line with “I had no idea…”. Sometimes we do get blindsided but most of the time, on reflection, we had more than a clue that the cheater was a cheater, eg., in this case, his protestations that he hates cheating. Why would there be “many discussions” of cheating if he wasn’t trying to lull you into false security?

        And finally: “I just don’t understand how someone could be so cruel, how someone could treat another person like this?” You “don’t understand” because you are projecting your values onto someone who is willing to cheat. He’s not like you. He is just fine with being cruel, with treating you badly, with hurting you. He’s ON BOARD with cruelty and lack of empathy and abuse. You don’t need to “understand” these people. You just have to know a bad person when he shows himself to you.

        • *…what you HAVE seen,” not “what you seen.”

          Ugh. A million dollars for an edit button…

    • I would also add that if a guy regularly talks about how his ex cheated on him, even if he’s not a cheater himself, he’s not close enough to “meh” to be dating again.

      • Yes. As I guy whose ex cheated on him, I agree. It took me a year before I could meet someone and not immediately blurt out the entire story. I was definitely not relationship material during that time.

        • STBX has been divorced from his first wife since 2013 and I still have to hear about how she cheated on him for a year.

          Just like I have to hear about EVERYTHING else about her. All. The time.
          We’ve had tons of arguments about it over the years. For a few years now I tend to just tune out when he’s talking about her. No point in complaining when he’s just going to keep doing it.

          • Sounds like he needs to talk to a therapist. And he doesn’t respect your clearly stated boundaries.

            • Sorry, I misread your comment.
              You will soon be rid of him and his boundary violating whining.

    • My ex (The Python, a sneaky snake if there ever was one) is another example of someone whose previous wife cheated on him (I did get third party verification of this) and he tried to portray himself as CL describes it so well: “I’m a Moral Man Who Must Discuss Cheating.”

      It was totally intended to throw me off!

      Plus his “I Hate Liars” speeches! Only after a duped affair partner ratted on him to me (at first she believed his BS about being divorced, then caught him in a lie and through internet research found out he was married) did I learn he had been lying to me about all kinds of things throughout all the years I’d known him. What a great way to throw you off the scent of their duplicity – squawking about hating cheaters and liars.

      Shakespeare knew all about this ploy: beware of people who “doth protest too much” regarding infidelity!

    • My ex used to trash people who were unfaithful, and was proclaiming how much he believed in fidelity to his friends right in front of me…When he’d been fucking his coworker behind my back for two years at that point.

      I also got the “it’s not what you think”. Pretty sure I interrupted them one night. He answered the door in his pajamas, but she didn’t come down for a few minutes and when she did, half her bra was out of the top of her shirt, like she’d dressed in a hurry. My ex said “she just stopped by for a few minutes to check on me” because he was sick. LOL. Sure. Later, in the discovery phase of our divorce, he admitted that they had “prearranged for her to spend the evening with him”. I knew it, but I was called crazy, paranoid, and jealous for suggesting it at the time (we were living separately, but hadn’t even filed for divorce or a legal separation, and I had most certainly not agreed it was okay to see other people and even so it started years before while I was living with him and hey, if you’re going to do it, at least be honest about it so I can move the fuck on).

    • Shaggy has a song about this very type of situation. She should listen to it… “It wasn’t me.” Listening to that song just once will give her perfect clarity.

      He’s a compete douchebag and my guess would be that he cheated on his ex-wife. She only has his word that it was the other way around. I’d bet good money that was a lie given his actions.

    • Yep mine was big on the cheating hate. All part of the love bombing and gaslighting unfortunately. They know it’s a no go for someone like us so put on the act.


    Run like your hair is on fire.

    Thank God you aren’t married to him or have children with him.

    Get your stuff, go No Contact, and have a good cry.

    And stay No Contact. And get some help with your boundaries.

    This is your brain on dopamine. That’s all. Separation feels like cold turkey, because it is.

    And Carey, please get back to us here and tell us how you are.

    • Carey,

      It’s truly a shock to reconcile that the man that you have been ‘in love’ with and trusted is really a liar and a fraud and a user.

      There’s quite a few of them out there.

      Leave immediately. Else years of your life will be wasted listening to and believing this liar.

      It doesn’t get easier to leave if you wait.
      You just feel more used.

      You didn’t see what you saw? Of course you saw exactly what was going on.
      This fraud is gaslighting you.

      Get out today. Go no contact. Learn about narcissistic personality disorder.

  • Carey,
    My sympathies on your situation, but welcome to CN.
    I am only 8 months since my DDay and though I am mostly debilitated by my severe depression of having fallen for a freak and the 8 months of “me time”, you are so lucky you found CL— listen to her, read the comments and get yourself right, which it sounds like you are taking the first steps toward. CL’s kindness and compassion is in her truth— this dude is no better than a used bottle of lube and all the gaslighting in the world will never change that fact. It’s strange how the freaks will go to the extreme of reality shifting to save their beautiful view of themselves. You got this Carey, do as CL says, read her books, follow the steps. It is not easy, in fact it’s really shitty to be chumped, just about the most evil thing someone can do to another person. But, you’re heart is strong and so is your will. No contact. He sucks. You will begin to rebuild, your life will open up. 8 months in and I’m so depressed and so lonely, but, I am free of a repulsive FW and my current life at its worst is so much better than the absolute best moment with my freak. Every day gets a little bit better, then a lot worse, then a little better than catastrophically worse, but I’m free and I’ve surrendered to the realization that I was chumped and a woman I loved is basically a used condom on the street. No contact. Remember he sucks. You got this, you are an amazing chump and your life just got better. Believe in CL she cares about us.

    • And you are doing great work for yourself! Daily it’s a journey along a path that can be beautiful and scary.

      But I found myself more alive as I walked through both parts and that awareness became my salvation. I became proud of myself for surviving the hard steps.

      Way to go!

    • What an excellent observation! We talk a lot about *why* the FWs try to convince us to stay, or come back, to believe in the relationship and future they *clearly* have no respect for or interest in really having with us. But I hadn’t really thought about it this way before: “It’s strange how the freaks will go to the extreme of reality shifting to save their beautiful view of themselves.” YES! All of their efforts and whining and promises and love-bombing are about convincing *themselves* that they are these wonderful partners/people, that they have all of these things to offer–that they are the real deal! They need us to keep believing in the illusion so that THEY can keep believing in the illusion.

      • perfect answer, Suse “They need us to keep believing in the illusion so that THEY can keep believing in the illusion.” YUP

      • “It’s only a paper moon but, it wouldn’t be make believe , if you believed in me. (my lies)”

        • What the cheating freaks do, in fact EVERYTHING they do, is for impression management, checking in the mirror, self, self self. How dare we try to get them to focus of what they are actually doing to another breathing human?!?

          I’m convinced that if the planet was devoid of all narc fuckwits we’d have 12% of the population left. If that much.

  • Why, oh why: did they treat all of us this way? Question of the year. The answer: “Because they can (or could).” Cheaters lie, cheat, and don’t value their loving and very genuine partners. It’s brutal but true. Walk away and be glad he only conned you for 13 months.

  • It’s never what it looks like. Your brain is too small to comprehend. Just like mine when I found an empty box of Viagra, new bedsheets and dirty wine glasses in our home when I’d been away. But it’s okay because it’s not what it looks – he just had a once in a lifetime spur to clean the mattress and the bedsheets got ruined and Viagra he was just trying for himself. The whole box 🙂 I think it’s important to remember what CL said. You miss the nice things he did, not HIM. The other day I was like man I miss having a cuddle and doing stuff with someone but then you gotta say to yourself yes but you don’t miss the cheating, the lying, the gaslighting, the feeling like you’re being paranoid and going crazy. It’
    Mine was also sorry and even crying when I caught him the first few times. The last time he didn’t even apologize – at a restaurant on a date. That’s when I told all of my friends and told them you need to not let me back off because I’m weak and I love his good sides, but that’s not all of him. A month after that came the Viagra mishap and that’s when I think I was finally like f**k this.

    • I found two wineglasses once, when he had told me he was alone the night before. He tried to get me to believe it’s because he had had two different types of wine. In 18 years I’d never seen that man get a fresh glass when switching from red to white or vice versa. Besides, one of the glasses had a set of very feminine lip marks on the rim. He really must’ve thought I was an idiot with all the blatantly obvious lies and excuses he made.

    • ???? the ex MIL’s favourite song! She’s 82! Admire her spirit but I do wonder why this song in particular. Possibly because the whole family lie and cheat and her husband and all three sons have had affairs. It’s the family anthem!

    • When I listen to Shaggy, I hear all the old calypsos and the bragging of bird-dogging men! We grew up listening to this one, which always furrowed my brow as a kid. My grandfather also literally shtooped the woman next door (okay, it was two doors down).

  • This man is a player and a manipulator, plain and simple. If he can be like sugar to you and do something like this, he’s trouble. I’m older and the thought of negotiating the dating world with someone like that turns my blood cold. I’ll stick with my female friends and volunteer buddies, thank you.

    My divorce attorney had a saying, “If it smells like garbage, it is garbage.” After the initial interview and faxing over my credit card for the retainer, my attorney called his attorney and then called me. His summary was, “His attorney is going to regret this.” Oh my. That was just the first of many prophetic statements.

    My ex played his attorney at first too, but that didn’t last either. My ex tried the sugar with a side of manipulation with his attorney, and that blew up in his face. By the end, his attorney was telling my attorney just how much he despised his client and how he couldn’t wait to get rid of him. His attorney told mine to tell me that he didn’t know how I had ever stayed married to my ex for so long.

    Better that you found this out now than later. It hurts like crazy, but this is good in the end.

  • Carey: get a full panel of STD tests. This is NOT the first time he fucked around on you. I found my local health department to be cheap and thorough.

    I am so sorry you walked in on this.

    • Agreed. Take it from someone whose “this isn’t what it looks like!” and “how dare you accuse me of cheating on you!” husband gave her an STD.

      Bonus insanity which fits in the theme of today’s absolute “what you see is not what you see” gaslighting: when I confronted my cheating FW with objective proof of him having an affair (Good lord, I had an STD), he quickly said without missing a beat, “Well, it didn’t come from me. You got it in the hospital having our baby. Hospitals are full of germs.”

      I felt like you did, Carey. How could this man stand there and say something so cartoonishly untrue? Was he insane?

      I think the answer isn’t that they are insane (although it certainly feels that way) but rather it’s that they think that little of us.

      “You got that mysterious STD in the hospital, not from me” = “My neighbor showed up naked; I had nothing to do with this” = “That wasn’t me; that was my identical twin that I’ve never told you about before.”

      And then, watch, they begin to get angry… really angry when we (or any sensible person) don’t believe their yarns.

      Run, don’t walk, away. And get checked for STDs. Your health is so important.

      • Here’s another one…Years before the final discard…”You must have gotten herpes from a toilet seat”, even though he KNEW I’m OCD about triple toilet seat protectors in public. Or that it was sitting in my body for 30 years and finally showed up, OR 5 years after that after he admitted he was in love with his brand new coworker/solemate and the tests showed I had Hep B that wasn’t from HIM, that it also must have been dormant in my body for 30+ years. The first time with the Herp I believed him in spite of what my doc said about sexually transmitted herpes, etc, because I believed anything hub said no matter how ridiculous, but eventually science won over distorted reality and gaslighting. Always get checked and then get rechecked in 6 months because some things take that long to show up in labwork. Divorced for 2 years now after a contentious 3.5 yr divorce process. I can’t believe he still wanted to be “friends” but I’ve been completely no contact for 18 months. Impression management for his double life, I guess, but I don’t play that game. He burned the bridge of someone who adored him. When you’re done, you’re done. Listen to CL and CN, it helped me so much.

        • Is he a 12 year old with his “you must have gotten herpes from a toilet seat” ?

          • My ex said that too basically. But blamed cloth rags (ran on the sanitary washing cycle like diapers) because our household used composting toilets.

            Come to find out years later, after D-day, that he still doesn’t have herpes but never answered the question of if he would wash himself in between unprotected sex of howorker and me.


      • Yes, they get ANGRY and rageful and throw major toddler scary tantrums because you don’t believe them.

        If only capital crimes were allowable at times…

        • ANNNNGGRRRYY doesn’t describe it when I uncovered the condom box in the trunk of his car. HE LOST HIS SHIT. CALLED ME EVERY NAME IN THE BOOK FOR ASKING THE QUESTION: “What are these for? You had a vasectomy 3 years ago.”

          I was so stupid—he said it was for “my protection” bc he was having a “tingling” on his dick from an exposure 15 years prior. Turns out, the dirty whore (AP#2) had herpes but it was ok that they didn’t use protection because they both had it! I stayed faithful (even after after DD#2 at year 18) as we were “working on us” and “our communication” and all this other RIC horseshit. AP#3 apparently had it too and there wasn’t any protection there either.

          I was unafflicted by any STI prior to our 23 years and guess what, after #2 and #3, (#1 was at 1.5 years, #2 at 12 years and #3 at 20 years), I had an outbreak and Just fucking ended our sex life. I couldn’t …I couldn’t let him near me.

          The fact that I ever let him on top of me after discovery of the box of condoms EXEMPLIFIES SPACKLING. I covered over what my eyes saw and what my mind knew, for the sake of keeping his lying ass another decade? But I’m “the insensitive bitch who stole his kids and ruined his life”. Sure. Let’s go with that.

          The nurse who did my blood screen and smear test (active sore, so could be tested) held my hand as I bawled and bawled. Silent tears just streaming down my face. I was so humiliated by so much, but especially by the knowledge that I didn’t just walk out that day I found the box. I can rationalize the “whys” but I am ultimately responsible for that decision to believe him over my lying eyes.

          Yep. This is what we’re warning you of OP. Run. Go N/C 100%. Your mighty just saved your life.

  • Wow. This should be a no brainer, right?

    But cheaters have been given such a pass in our society that, even when caught, the chumps question their own perception. And if the chump shares the story, they are scrutinized rather than supported.

    Carey, the only response which will protect your future and help you think more clearly is No Contact. It won’t stop the pain, because you have been assaulted and need time to heal. There is no downside to removing yourself as a target of his cruel behavior. Read through the CL archives for your next steps.

    • “cheaters have been given such a pass in our society”… Like Monica Lewinsky executive producing “Impeachment”, the made-for-TV dramatization of the Clinton cheating scandal, and getting to decide how the chump wife is depicted?

      Apparently Monica turns briefly intio Rosa Luxemburg when comparing the class differences between herself (victim) and Hilary (ogre).


    • I think it’s more personal than that: the world gives us a totally false view of intimate relationships. When one party transgresses in an abusive way (cheating, lying, diverting funds), the answer is: work harder on the relationship; fight for the relationship; urge the cheater/liar to “fight for the relationship.”

      A marriage, for sure, is a contract. Regardless of the state’s laws (where “no fault” may be the rule), chumps don’t sign up to be duped, lied to, cheated on, defrauded, and given STDs. And the same goes for non-married “partners” who pushed for cohabitation and then f*ck the neighbor when the chump is at work. There’s nothing to save if you are in a relationship with someone who lies, cheats, and fails to keep their word. You can’t make a con artist have values that match your own.

  • Makes me upset with myself at how much I wanted to believe the ridiculous lies. Be glad you weren’t yet married to that sucky man.

  • Carey, you deserve so much more than that cheating liar. It is time to retrain your brain to see him as the enemy. That fuck endangered your life every time he had sex with you after fucking someone else. I sincerely doubt it was the first time he fucked the neighbor. He took away your right to consent. Then he tried to gaslight you. He is abusing you.

    Leave that waste of oxygen. Read and reread Chump Lady’s response to you. Read all these responses from your fellow chumps. We have seen this same cycle of abuse and left our abusers. You can too.

  • Carey, Run, get tested for STDs and go completely no contact. You saw what you saw. Two naked people equals cheating. Don’t not invest any time or headspace on this FW. CL is 100% on the money with her advice.
    I invested way too much in a cheating FW. Be glad you are not married to this POS. I am going through the divorce process. Any time he enters my head, I just watch the videos he made with Schmoopie that he accidentally left on my son’s iPad. That gets me out of any type of feeling toward him other than contempt. Get out and be free of a cheater.

  • I spackled over reality for too many years. I was married with 3 young children – was petrified of exploding their base.

    Denying reality led to middle of the night anxiety, random crying, inability to chat about my home life with friends and eventually, extreme depression; the sort where you struggle to get off the couch.

    Your body knows what your heart is reluctant to admit. Trust your gut. Get away from him.

    When I finally left, the first year was filled with struggle. Not going to lie. But after the survival hump of sorting out the logistics of moving, setting up new routines and a household, my life got immeasurable better in all areas. I wouldn’t have the contented and stable existence I have now if I was still with loser man.

    7 years out – amen to freedom from the disordered!

    • I am in the state of falling into extreme depression. Seeing a therapist next week to figure it out.

      • Am sending you much positive energy, ((Chumpiest)). You are not alone – come find us in the Chump Lady Nation subreddit if you need to vent!

      • Dear Chumpiest, I am so glad you are seeing a therapist soon. I’ve had multiple depressive episodes during my 34 yr marriage and always assumed they were from my family of origin stuff, and certainly there are issues for me to address around that. I am a classic codependent. When your partner is hiding secrets it’s literally impossible for them to have true intimacy, true connection. Your love is real, we are hard wired for bonding and attachment from the day we are born. You did not become stupid because you did not see it coming. You did not hide. You trusted and loved, that’s a wonderful thing. Our partners deceived us, they are disordered. Depression is treatable, it gets better with good meds and continued therapy. I’ve had to make myself do what I thought was impossible when I was depressed. Yet I did it, am doing it every day. We are worthy of respect and love, it’s a birthright that never goes away and sometimes we must point this arrow of loving towards ourselves. It may feel odd at first. It did for me.
        Being my own loving parent plus cheerleader had to be learned. It’s not only possible, it is highly likely if practiced. Please know that you are not alone in feeling depressed, it’s part of the fire we walk thru towards freedom. Holding u in my heart today as you heal.

        • Thank you for such an empowering post, Carolina! I’m discovering loving myself is rewarding in ways I hadn’t imagined.

    • Lifeisgood

      Same…3 small children and the amount of bs, gaslighting etc. resulted in:
      Physical symptoms- from migraines to unexplainable body pain

      “ the body keeps the score” was my eye opening tool

      I’m better/ after EMDR, pills and total shift from believing others to trusting myself
      I’m better

      It sucks, it’s hard… but I’m not giving up on myself.

      • Hi Anna, ‘The Body Keeps the Score’ was my eye-opener too. What a fantastic, compassionate book. Plus EDMR. Still far more cautious and dating-averse than I used to be, but I’m not sure that’s a terrible thing.

  • Here’s how they do it.

    They keep testing your boundaries to see what they can get away with.

    I just watched a terrible true crime documentary about a pedophile that had been playing catch-and-release with the criminal justice system in Florida….for FORTY YEARS.

    He lured a financially, emotionally, and mentally vulnerable woman and her three little girls from a dollar store to his white van to a Walmart, where just before closing he said he was going to take the oldest, eight, to the McDonalds inside store for hamburgers. The surveillance video of him leaving the store with her was the last time the little girl was seen alive.

    In retelling the story, the mother relays so many points where she felt uncomfortable and, like any predator, he reassured his target with lies. She ignored her instincts. After watching the documentary, I kept thinking that this poor mom just did not possess the boundaries that would have kept her out of the situation altogether. At the end of the day, the predator is responsible for the crime they perpetrate, not their victims, but victims can have blind spots or lack boundaries or other issues that make them vulnerable to be preyed on. This man kept getting arrested and getting released. The local justice system had mushy boundaries too.

    Cheaters, while not seated in the same section as a violent serial pedophile, are in the same ballpark, IMHO. The crime may be different, but their MO is the same. The big one? Using other people for their own sexual/etc gratification.

    No, I am not responsible for his cheating. But I have been doing a lot of reflecting on the relationship and seeing where I stayed when I should have left. Where were the blind spots? Like this mother, my hand was on the door handle of the white van and my radar was going off, but I kept going along for the ride. I want to learn as much as I can from this.

    (When I was about 16 years old a man was able to lure me from the junior department of Macy’s, to the restaurant of the mall, to the inside of my car in the parking lot, where he said something weird and offensive and I told him to get out. There but for the grace of God go I. I did not have the boundaries at the time to not go anywhere with a strange man…..)


    We can’t always read a situation before we get into them for a variety of reasons, especially with expert liars. We trust. We can’t always detect the lie. But WHEN my gut goes off, WHEN I get the memo, and it’s time to leave, I want to make sure I am able to act on my own behalf and protect myself by walking away.

    • And for anyone here who is distracted and confused by the physical attractiveness of the cheater, I noticed that one of the mug shots of the child murderer when he was young looks just like Steve Perry from Journey…

    • … this pedophile, people with ulterior motives and harmful intentions assess your vulnerabilities and then exploit them, pushing on your boundaries to see how far they can get.

      This man sized up the mother in a flash, and managed to get her out of the dollar store, then into his van, then to a Walmart, then separate the oldest child from the pack. It happened in her presence, one incremental move at a time. By the time he suggested taking the oldest child to get McDonalds food for the whole family, she was well under his control, and by proxy so were the children. Systematic, one step at a time. The boiling water got turned up one degree at a time.

      This is usually exactly how anyone who deceives defrauds and betrays and fleeces you operates.

      One change for me post DDay is that a man I am acquainted with from my Goodwill donations made a Good Samaritan gesture. I turned him down. I thought about it and realized I did not know him nearly well enough to accept the gesture. I would not have done so before DDay.

      • I think all young people, especially women, should be required to read and discuss with a sensible, emotionally healthy adult Gavin de Becker’s “Gift of Fear”. It explains loan sharking where a person attempts to manipulate another with an unsolicited favor or gift.

        • This book is really great. There is a story in there about a family that were neighbors of my parents. It was interesting to see it in this book. I just pulled another one of his fear books off the shelf to read.

    • Retelling this story is a public service, Velvet.

      Read Gavin De Becker’s book, “The Gift of Fear,” in which he describes the process of jumping peoples’ boundaries to get access to them, their loved ones, or their money.

  • Mine was ‘appalled’ by pornography… but was also addicted to it at the same time (unbeknown to me.)
    Mine was aghast married men on a dating sites… but was also a married man on a dating site.
    Mine said he wasn’t interested in dirty talk… but was sexting routinely
    He thought pictures in lingerie were banal… yet had a predilection for it on social media
    He wasn’t into texting… but also said he was drawn to his girlfriend because they talked via text
    Thought I wasn’t interested in sex (not true)… which is why he had to have sex illicitly
    Simultaneously had no libido… unless we’re talking for randos

    As has been said many times: Lying liar who lies…

  • For some reason this story brings to mind the way a pedophile grooms his victims

    He befriends them, he praises them, makes them feel special, he buys them gifts, he befriends their parents …..

    Then he abuses them and works them emotionally to keep them under his control

  • To this day, am still disturbed by these predator types and that they can appear so charming and are among us. The level of crazy disorder is just unbelievable at times. Thankful for this place – have learned a lot.

  • If his ‘story’ is true, why isn’t he filing restraining orders against his female neighbor who obviously broke into this house, did indecent exposure, attempted rape?? Oh yeah, she has texts from him that it was a consensual meetup to exculpate herself.

    There are good men out there, even at 49. In fact, a friend of mine met a guy a few years ago. He had lost his wife to breast cancer and she her mum, a few years earlier.

    Move on fast from this jerk.

  • “Please help my heart not want to believe that everything had been a lie?”

    “Tell your heart to take a back seat.”


    This is what helped me to survive the early days. I know it sucks because we’re trained to accept that our feelings are meaningful and valid and that denying ourselves these feelings is mentally unhealthy, etc, etc.

    All true.

    BUT, in trauma response, we have to turn those feelings off. We have to pack them in a box and put them on a shelf. We can unpack that box when it’s safe. And it’s not safe to let your heart drive the car; put it in the backseat and let your brain drive. And don’t let your heart start backseat driving either because right now that heart is a hopeful, horrible driver and its advice is equally hopeful and horrible.

    Let your brain drive the car until you’re safely away. It may take days, weeks, months, years… who knows? Let your brain drive, not your heart. Your heart is a drunk driver right now.

    You know what happens when you don’t let your brain drive for as long as is necessary? You end up taking him back and believing him when he says “I messed up; you were the best thing that ever happened to me; it will never happen again.” (Spoiler: it happened again.) My heart had the driver’s seat again.

    I don’t often give my heart the keys to the car anymore and my heart NEVER gets access to those keys when FW is involved.

  • Once you’ve recovered your stuff from his house, tell the neighbor’s husband. He deserves to know.

    • yes! Do unto others as you would have others do unto you. I wish my friends and employees had given me a heads up. Absolutely tell!

  • We were supposedly working on our marriage with a therapist.
    While in the therapist’s office I present her with a list with items checked off in her handwriting that I found in the car she was driving:
    -Name of cheap motel
    -Jack Daniel’s
    -Sex lube
    -Sex toy
    -Clothes for church on Sunday morning (!)

    I had also found these items after the deed, still in her overnight bag.
    Her response?

    “That doesn’t prove anything! Nothing happened.” Meanwhile her face and neck turned beet red.

    These lying, liars will say anything.
    “Ignore the man behind the curtain!”
    It was just the tip of the iceberg for me.

  • As simple and low tech as it sounds, a thick rubber band around your wrist might help. Any time you have those weak moment thoughts (maybe he’s telling the truth, he’s changed, he’s sorry, it’ll never happen again, I miss him, we were so good together, the sex was great, I’ll be alone forever, etc) give that band a good snap. Turns out I needed a little jolt to stop those thoughts that paved the way to getting back together.
    Play a new movie in your head instead. I am mighty! I deserve better! I love myself! I am enough! I trust that I’ll get through this!

    I am not advocating self harm with this rubber band trick – just something to change your thought patterns. If you’re inclined towards this behavior, please get help from a professional. And remember that staying in a relationship with a FW is self harm.

  • The last line of CL’s reply is EVERYTHING.

    I have no other words. The mic has dropped, right there, and I am just basking in its dropped glory.


  • And also? I bet this guy was the cheater in his marriage, not his ex-wife. I hope Carey leaves this sociopath pronto, and never takes him back.
    In all, I wasted four years of my 40s on a similar creep when I should have left after D-Day 1, a year in. Instead I smoked hopium and proposed an open relationship. Because I was that special unicorn who could navigate an open relationship with boundaries and transparency, dontcha know. And my Lying Cheating Loser could have me AND sex on the side, since he clearly wasn’t built for monogamy.
    I forgive myself for my abject stupidity. I had no concept of the depth of his depravity.
    The LCL played along with the open relationship model, but he made sure to violate every mutually agreed upon boundary, lie and gaslight, and have sexual encounters behind my back in addition to the ones he would disclose.
    In short, a complete shitshow. There is no relationship format in which you can be with a sociopath and not pay with your very soul. I’m proud of myself for getting out.

    • “And also? I bet this guy was the cheater in his marriage, not his ex-wife.”

      I’d put money on that.

    • Yeah, I was going to say the same thing; I bet he was the cheater in his marriage!

      Years ago, at my former job. I was in the breakroom with my boss. It was just me, him and another coworker. He went onto tell me some sad sausage story about how his ex-wife cheated on him. Well, the coworker kept quiet while eavesdropping on the conversation. A week or so later, I saw another coworker at the drycleaners. She was friends with the ex-wife. She said that she heard that my boss said he was cheated on and that wasn’t the true story. He was the cheater! He cheated and left the wife for the co-worker who he was now married to! At the time I couldn’t figure out why he would lie to me about something like that. But now I know! Kibbles/attention from me, an attractive younger co-worker.

      • He was dangling “woe is me !” sad sausage bait to see if you would bite. Way for him to get centrality and create drama at work. As the saying goes “when a man marries his mistress, there’s a opening”.

  • ChumpLady, you must get tired. Is this guy joking, with his attempts to cover up reality? It’s exhausting! Him holding the door shut, on the house Carey lives in, while there’s a naked woman in the room, is more than enough to write this nut off. Everything else that happened is just extra, and now he’s stalking her! Please, close your door in his face Carey, and no contact.

    • Also, so weird, that he knew you were coming home!!!! What does that tell you? (Nothing good, I assure you!)

      • There are people who thrive when the threat is imminent. I think he timed this so that the neighbor was leaving out the back door as the Chump was coming in the front door. His timing was off. Something tells me this is his favorite freaking thing. This time there was an oops.

    • At the risk of “untangling the skein”, consider the outrage if Carey had insisted the naked woman leave her house right then and there. Oh, the scandal (even though “nothing” is going on), oh the embarrassment (even though she chose to take off her clothes), oh, the damage to her marriage (even though she didn’t care about Carey’s relationship).

      Why don’t we chumps act quickly on what we know to be true?

  • Carey, you so want to believe he had some sort of psychotic episode and that is why he cheated and denied cheating, even though you witnessed the cheating. This is who he is and I’d bet this is not his first time with the neighbor. The tube of lube at the scene would be a pretty good indicator. You moved in with him so you can easily disengage from this piece of garbage. I know you look back on what you thought was a perfect relationship, but I’m curious as to how much you contributed, monetarily, to this living arrangement.

  • “It’s not what it looks like”. Oh, FFS! ????????????

    When I found the texts on ex fucktard’s phone boasting about fucking his rat faced whore and began divorce proceedings, he came round to tell me, “it was just lad’s banter! Nothing happened!” Then texted me, “I know it looks bad, but nothing happened! I’m *not* lying!” ????????

    Not perhaps as egregious as the OP’s awful story, but still illustrative of the truly unbelievable lengths these scum bags will go in order to retain cake, and test just how stupid the chump is. God they make me sick to my stomach.

  • The low quality and lack of imagination in crafting his lie are in direct correlation with his opinion of you. Surprise surprise, he used the “ bitch be crazy”. The other classic is “I was testing you”.
    Unoriginal at best.
    Listen to everyone here and block this loser.
    His opinion of you will only get worse if you believe his horse shit.

  • As a chump who is 3 years divorced and dating, I struggle with the sheer volume of these stories. So many people are dishonest and will not speak their truth and seem to think they are entitled to behave however they want no matter how hurtful it is to partners or families. They take no ownership over their behaviour and society often allows it by minimizing infidelity and the abusive tactics they use.

    I am flabbergasted at how many people have a persona that they hide behind. Casual sex is accepted for the most part so why is it so hard for people to stay single and just date in an honest manner rather than commit and cheat.

    The duality of people is confusing to me. I have dated a few people with amazing public and professional reputations that come across as loving, respectful, and sincere; however, once you really start to know them they are sleeping with multiple people with no protection and a what’s in it for me attitude.

    Why is this so common? It’s really changing how I see human nature. It feels like greed and selfishness and a disposable mindset is super prevalent.

    Take care everyone ❤️

    • I agree with many of your observations and this is why I’ve chosen to stay single.

  • He has lied to you, and he is insulting your intelligence. There is not another word to be said to him. Either he’ll try to manipulate you by being “hurt” that you won’t believe him or he’ll try to intimidate you by getting “angry” that you are abandoning him this way over what he insists is a misunderstanding.

    Line up a friend or two to help you move out. As you box and gather your things, they can run interference.

    Don’t explain. Don’t apologize. Don’t sooth his ego. Don’t defend yourself against his claims or insults. Just leave.

    In awhile (maybe a month, maybe a year) you’ll be happy you powered out of this abusive relationship.

    • I’m a firm believer in “hit ’em where it hurts” and walk away. Forever. I did this to mine. Didn’t rant or yell, just looked him squarely in the eye and told him he was a “loser, user, liar, cheat,” and just like his father (who he worshipped, but knew what he did). His face folded. Good. Hope that hurt a little, and hope you don’t forget the last thing I ever said to you.

  • As always, ChumpLady broke it down perfectly. My advice is to believe your eyes, ignore your heart, and heed CL’s words.

    My only add is that I have (slooooowly) discovered that anyone who is SO over the top with “compliment after compliment” is not genuine. It’s a technique to get you thinking that they’re wonderful, which their egos need. It’s very much a narcissist trait.

    I’m sorry this happened but I know you’ll get past it. You miss the way his bullshit made you feel- you don’t miss the real him. When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time. It’s painful to end it but in the long run it’s MUCH more painful to be in love with a lie.

  • Carey, just to add to what everyone else has said — do not engage. Trying to get him to admit the truth is a losing game, because no matter what you come up with he’s going to have an even more outlandish and ridiculous lie in response. This is one of those games that you lose the moment you agree to try playing.

    He is not going to respond to logic. He is not going to admit what he did, and his responses will only deepen your own wounds. There is nothing to be gained by arguing with him.

    My husband was diagnosed with HIV, and rather than admit what a promiscuous cheater he’d been all along … he told me he got it from a blood transfusion from before we were married. He allowed me to believe that I’d been exposed, in the earliest days of our marriage, back when we were trying to start a family, before I gave birth to my daughter by c-section and nursed her for the first year of her life. He would rather let me believe all of that, than simply come clean and tell me what he’d done. I confronted him over a decade later, and he was outraged and indignant that I could suggest it was a lie, because, according to him, he “didn’t know for sure it wasn’t the truth.” I had the worst week of my life, just because he needed to save face.

    They don’t deserve the opportunity to explain. He had one chance to get it right, and he blew it all up. Remember that when your FW thinks he deserves a second chance.

  • You want to see a FW freak out? Break free. When they tell you that it didn’t happen and try to keep gaslighting you… say “your lies don’t work anymore asshole.” Stare them straight in the eye and LAUGH and call them “disgusting” and “creepy.” And block that mother fucker.

    I served FW creep within 2 weeks… was divorced in one year… and put cameras up on my house so that he’s afraid to walk up. He hides his face. He can’t look at me. He won’t talk to me.

    Narcissists loathe to be called out. He knows I know and he hides from me and looks ridiculous. It’s heavenly ????

    Please know… this was 6 years ago… it was hard. I was traumatized. It was hard and scary and I cried and cried. But be strong on the outside… and trust yourself. Carey, have a friend go get your stuff and get that ass out of your life.

  • He’s a liar, but probably not a pathological liar. That’s pretty rare, actually. He’s just stupid. You have to be extremely stupid to think a story like that will fly. My FW is pretty stupid, but even he admitted it when caught. He’s just smart enough to know there was no point in denying it. Yours is a bottom of the barrel moron. Don’t bother trying to talk sense with this clown. Walk away.

    • Usually FWs like that douche have some experience with gaslighting and lying if they think they can actually convince a chump who saw FW NAKED with the NAKED neighbor — “that didn’t happen.” That’s not (just) stupidity … that’s someone who is used to mind fucking women. That’s someone whose mask has slipped and they are trying to forcibly get it back on and keep gaslighting a chump. It’s pretty sick and narcissistic and cruel. That’s some creepy nasty shit.

  • Funny how easily they fold when called on their shit. I was outraged that he thought I was so stupid that I would believe his BS. Him pulling that was as nasty as his cheating. Fuck them and the horse they rode in on. You’re right, they completely freak when they know you will always see them without their mask from here on out; they can’t survive without it. Their life literally depends on it being cemented to their lying face.

    • Exactly.

      Alright, be careful… it’s always a bit scary poking the bear. Some of the freak outs could get violent — so it’s really best to get free and get away from these creeps ASAP

      • Fortunately he wasn’t prone to violence, I could sense my limits with him, as I’d grown up with narcissists. He was the covert-type narcissist that slinks away when found out. One of them in my family could be violent, yes, many of them are. The lengths they will go to preserve their carefully crafted image is amazing.

        • My FW ex is also of the covert variety. So when I called him out, his bizarre defense was to stare off like “this isn’t happening… she can’t see me.” Super weird in real time. And now he hides completely and can’t look at me ???? He probably would have been more violent too but he knew that it wouldn’t fit his carefully crafted narrative that he’s the victim.

          • Sometimes really small children put their hands over their eyes because they think they’re hiding, because if they can’t see you, you’re not there. Being in a relationship with a narc is like trying to reason with two-year old.

            • When I confronted ex on dday he just stared at me. Then he covered his eyes, leaned against the door frame, slid down & said, “I can’t do this.” Do what? I asked. “Be married to you.”

              I had never ever in 26+ years together seen him behave in that manner. Still creeps me out after all these years later.

          • I have one of those! Total covert passive aggressive narc. Reading the Debbie Mirza book was incredible and so validating. He is disordered.

            He physically hid when confronted either by removing himself from the room or by doing the strange stare with creepy silence. Like a robot getting inputs it can’t process, he simply went dark and stared off into the distance. When he was brought back into the moment for any reason the reboot was sudden rage. Scary, violent rage.

            I am actually grateful that our kids witnessed the stare and silence and especially the reboot rage cycle first hand without me there influencing it so they know exactly what kind of a cowardly, creepy monster their father is. I did not do that to him. That is WHO HE IS. My adult daughters and I agreed we will never be alone with him again, under any circumstances.

            The cowardice explains his abandonment (by e-mail) and that he moved 2000 miles away and is hiding from anyone we knew, including his kids. Pretty perfect actually. Stay gone, Cowardly Asshat. We got a life over here where the grownups are.

            • I wonder how many of us know that bizarre childlike disengaging “stare off”? How is that common?? Creepy as Hell. I need to read that Debbie Mirza book! Thank you

  • I could write endless paragraphs to you but I don’t want my headspace filled with toxic pollution. RUN.

  • I am obsessed with watching real life trials online, I have questioned myself as to the reason for this. I’ve come to the conclusion that I love to watch people lie and get caught. JUSTICE. Why do these idiots (cheaters included) believe they can get away with lying yet make such blatant mistakes. Do they really believe they are that much smarter than the average person? Carey texted him letting him know she was on her say home yet there he was still in his naked glory. Reality always wins. Carey you need to have a talk with yourself and figure out why you are so willing to settle for so little. We all do. Yes, cheaters take advantage of chumps but we need to do better. Sometimes I think we are not doing fellow chumps a favor by commiserating too much. I know I need to be harder on myself, I settled for so little too. Only I was married to the creeper for a long time. Demand more of ourselves and those we raise.

  • No matter how much we want to believe, or have been taught to believe the cheater’s narrative, the truth will eventually nag us into reality. Or we will finally be discarded. Either way, it will never be what we want it to be. We will never know the person we believed we were in a relationship with. It is hard to accept that we can be so involved with fooling ourselves, but when you eliminate all the other causes for our actions, that is the one we are left with.

    Evidently, this ailment is more common than the common cold — so don’t despair. Time will help you heal, no contact will help you heal, learning to set boundaries and find quality truth telling folks in your life will help you heal.. Tuesday will come.

  • One thing that I’ve learned since D-Day (actually I’ve learned rather too much, but that’s another story) is that when someone – particularly a cheater – tells you that “It’s not what it looks like” you can be pretty sure that it’s absolutely what it looks like. Two naked adults and bottle of lube; that’s sure as hell not the start point for a discussion on the finer points of French provincial cooking is it?

    I guess that one of the many things I hate about cheaters (and my cheater in particular) is their willingness to tell the most egregious lies and think that we are stupid enough to believe them.


    • “… is their willingness to tell the most egregious lies and think that we are stupid enough to believe them.”. Yes. Such utter contempt for another human being. *Ugh*.

      • CNM6,

        I think that the problem is perhaps that they don’t see other people as human?


  • This is really personal, and at first I wasn’t going to post this, but with regard to being honest . . .

    My ExH Father of my children died this week. Fortunately for my children, it was quick, and not totally unexpected. He went into the hospital Sunday night, and they disconnected life support Tuesday afternoon. While my children were trying to notify family and long term “friends” and business associates, I stayed away from the hospital and helped my children in the background. Surviving wife made a big production of not leaving his side. My sons had to struggle with having almost no information, instructions, or contact information to work with. This morning I had to help them with information required on the death certificate, because SW did not know ANY of this information. Together they made funeral arrangements, where she insisted on things like an open casket, and to be sure the obituary included her as his wife, and other things designed for her to portray the grieving widow. IMHO, all of this is image management. I am sure my sons want to respect their father’s memory, but they are doing the work of final arrangements, and she is concerned with the appearance of final arrangements. Even the long term “friends”, 3 of them, have not heard much from their dad in the past several years. I am watching family and friends struggle with what is appropriate to say, and do, because of WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE TO OTHERS.

    I find all of this a bizarre social dance with odd requirements, and even different cultural attitudes because she is Asian. My Ex was not a person who was beloved by anyone, and I am not sure he ever loved anyone but himself, though he did seem to have some feelings for his sons. He was not a good husband to me, and not to her from what I can tell. But because he is dead, no one wants to speak ill of the dead, even though it would be true.

    Since I retired, I have outlived the Love Bomber Ex, my Dad, and now my other Ex. None of them were good to me. I will not pretend they were, but I do not need to air the particulars either. I actually felt relief with each death. Mainly because I never have to experience their particular brand of torment ever again. I am sorry if that sounds cold, but for me, it is real. I think trying to glorify people who were not glorious in life is image management, and is about the living, not the dead. Good luck to the grieving widow. She will need it. I am sure he has left many messes for her to discover. I am just hoping my sons will not have to be drawn into this drama. They seem fine, and they are trying hard to be dutiful, good sons, but they are not having spasms of grief. He was their dad, and he did some things the right way for his own reasons. But they did benefit. That is the lasting result I will remember because I bred with this FW man. I lost any delusions I had many, many years ago, and thankfully I do not have to clean up this mess, anymore. This is my reward for leaving a cheater and gaining a life of my own.

    Any pain I went through then is more than offset by my relief now. My only big regret was that I put up with it for 20 years. Why I could not deprogram faster is on me, though he did try every variation of “its not what it appears to be” on me over the years. Finally, the truth did set me free. Please take anything which might help you in any way, to benefit from my experience. It may not help at all. But it is exactly as it appears to be.

  • “ it is not what it looks like “ is not just a statement which confirms how they think that the world is only revolving around them , it is also a confirmation that they think we are easily manipulated.
    My ex’s version was “ he is just a friend “ – I had seen enough texts to know he wasn’t , but she maintains this whole lie until today.
    To make herself feel better – and I’m sure they believe it.

    I’m waiting for the day when a cheater actually tells the truth .
    Won’t ever happen , if it happens , this confession would only come with strings attached .

    • It was upsetting, yet also liberating, when I found Just a Friend’s naked photos on my FW’s computer. I knew at that moment that our relationship was basically over. However, finding the pictures also meant that the gaslighting was over. What a huge relief , to no longer feel crazy, or to blame that your irrational suspicions had tainted the relationship. Nope, I was actually spot on in my suspicions, and he had no problem damaging my mental health to keep eating cake.

      If I ever get into a relationship with a man again, there’s going to have to be an agreement that there cannot be opposite sex friends (I’m referring to the type of friends who share deep info and spend time together). It isn’t good for the relationship.

  • Carey
    I understand totally. About a month before the final Dday i woke up at around midnight (during the week when we both had to be to work by 8am) and my husband wasn’t in bed. I looked around the house and couldn’t find him. I was worried so i went out to the garage. I could hear music and laughter. I turned the handle and it was locked. I banged on the door and my husband opened it and i could see our neighbor standing about 10 feet behind him. I was shocked. I ran back into the house my husband came in about 10 minutes later. I was angry and crying and he was going on and on about how there was nothing going on and he didn’t remember locking the door. And how he would never do anything to hurt me blah, blah, blah.
    I did nothing. I was at a point where my head knew this was a bad thing but my heart just didn’t want to believe that the man i loved for 20 years would do this to me.
    Mostly I was afraid of the unknown. I knew that if i admitted to myself that he was having this affair my lige would change totally and I didn’t know what i was going to do. Fear stopped me from throwing his shit out on the lawn and calling a lawyer. The relationship only made it about another month and then DDay hit and there was no going back.

  • “Guide to a Married Man” movie scene: Deny, Deny, Deny with Joey Bishop

    This is a comedy however it’s the perfect exaggeration of gaslighting:

    • I thought about this movie when I read Carey’s letter. I found this so unfunny because it is a terrible way liars treat the people who love them.

        • A woman’s agony and betrayed trust, a man’s sociopathy and abuse, played for laughs. Makes me physically ill. And outraged on behalf of the generation of people, literally millions of us over the decades, raised to be chumps in a society that considered this scene funny and acceptable.

          Chumplady, if ever there was a scene that screamed for and embodied the need to change the narrative, this is it.

    • Since I was chumped, I’ve *never* been able to deal with anything that romanticises, makes a joke of, sings about cheating. It makes my blood boil. ????????????

    • It’s not funny, is it? But it shows how these people think and how much the culture supports it as not “disordered” but just “boss.”

      I’m put in mind of a conversation I had years back — I can’t even remember now who with, but it was a white young man laughing about going partying with his frat bro friends and getting so wasted, then grabbing a taxi and being drunk and obnoxious in the cab, and oops making the South Asian cab driver obviously uncomfortable and annoyed, and lol the driver who probably had a PhD from somewhere protested their behaviour with a funny accent, and then when he got them to their location they tee hee all ran off and stiffed the guy! Ha ha, youthful hijinks!! Like, someone really expected me to laugh with him at that story! Isn’t that stupid entitlement what’s happening here when we’re invited to laugh at this gaslit woman?

      I’m also put in mind of Lundy Bancroft’s Why Does He Do That and the amount of entitlement and peer support there is socially, whether for upper middle class white men in 1967, Indo-Caribbeans in the 70s, hip hop comedians of the 80s, or pansexual hot girls of the 2020s who will steal your girlfriend, for “bad boy” behaviour that likes to own many bitches and brag about it.

      I remember joking with an old boyfriend when I was younger that if Rihanna ever propositioned him that he would get a one-time pass, and I would get one for … I actually think it was Edward Norton! These jokes I thought were ok because we genuinely knew we had no chance of ever crossing paths with these people. But I look back now and think, I wasn’t particularly happy in that relationship, and would not have turned Ed Norton equivalents down if I’d still been with that ex. My integrity was a far lower concern than validation from a person who “mattered.” And I might joke with a partner that if he gets a shot with Angelina Jolie, then I’d understand, but isn’t that the essence of the weakness right there? The world in which Angelina Jolie is so obviously better than me that like, duh, of course any mortal man would prefer to get with her … it’s pretty juvenile, when I type it out.

      I’m meandering in thought this afternoon. Like, this Joey Bishop video makes me recoil, but I still kind of love Megan The Stallion even though her songs are straight up about how she will have my man the moment I am not looking.

      What is with that?

      • I love Megan Thee Stallion and Cardi B. I think the appeal for me is how much confidence they have. Confidence and not putting up with bullshit go hand in hand. I’ve always been a doormat – I roll over and play dead instead of fighting for myself.

        The sad truth is I’m really a boss – I make good money, drive a nice car, take care of everything on my own. But my self esteem has been in the trash my whole life.

  • To clarify, I wasn’t able to *before* I was chumped, but the *personal* experience just highlights it.

  • I’m so sorry this happened. At least you have the confirmation even though chumps can be handed a court transcript and video evidence….we still sometimes have a hard time grasping how this could happen to us. It’s basically shock…..trauma. Our minds and bodies have a way of dealing with situations like this so we don’t just drop dead on the spot or do something worse……..for me it was like an out of body experience. I knew I was talking….I knew I was angry and hurt, but it was like watching me in a movie playing a part on Dday. Mine was different….she knew she was busted so she resorted to the same old tactics that had always shut me down in any argument before……blameshifting. Yes she was cheating but it was all my fault because I MADE her!!! I feel for you and it seems you’ve realized or are beginning to realize the situation that you walked in on. From the outside and the further away you get from it you’re gonna realize there’s no other explanation for what you walked in on. What comes next for a chump at least this chump is the usual self blaming and wondering what we did wrong……..when you feel like that, listen to this. Let’s refute all his lies. Lube on the bed…..ok sure maybe she is crazy….maybe she brought that and broke into the house….stripped naked and threw herself at him. Why is he naked? Did she overpower a full grown man….rip his clothes off…….then allow him to answer the door while she hides in the bathroom? Not sure why I’m even breaking this down. When you have a moment to stop you’re head from spinning it will become very apparent……and no…..don’t even think that she’s some irresistible siren that can bend others unwillingly to her needs. This was deliberate and I’m sorry he sucks……for you, not for him. I think deep down you already knew the answer and like most of us came here to try to understand how and why people can do this to each other. It’s a character flaw……a deep one… you don’t have, which is why it’s so hard to grasp because it’s humiliating, embarrassing, and confusing all at the same time. Not to mention that when you feel secure in something and that something explodes in your face it’s terrifying because most of us had no plan for “what if?” I had plans for a lot of “what if’s” but not that one. What if our kid gets hurt……what if I lose my job……what if a zombie apocalypse!!! Never had the…. “what if” that my confidant, the person I put all my trust into, the one I gave my heart to, the person that knew I cried for every Disney movie and just said my contacts hurt, the person I thought would be by my side when I took my last breath would ever be someone I would have to “what if?” for. You’re asking the right questions and you’re asking them in the right place. As always…..sorry you have to be here, but you are starting in the right place. And I still cry during most Disney movies LOL. Hugs to you.

  • The love-bombing is addictive, and that’s what you miss. It’s also not normal.

    I was there – I’m in my mid-50s and was “so in love with the FW”. He showered me with the attention I never had in my crappy marriage. I was lucky in that he moved into my place and I had the satisfaction of kicking him out dramatically. One of my proudest moments. I also never hesitated to tell people what happened, that he had been cheating on me for a year, but I never posted it on social media. That’s not my style. Humiliated? yes. But not embarrassed.

    I’m sorry that you found out in such a shocking way. But also seeing the truth with your own eyes, while he tried to gaslight you into believing a lie, opens your eyes to the real person he is, not the one you thought he was.

    These love-bombing gaslighters think they are entitled to whatever they want.

    No contact is the way to go with these people. Block on social media, don’t engage anywhere.

    Going “cold-turkey” from the love-bombing is like giving up drugs, caffeine, cigarettes. You know they are bad for you even though they make you feel good. But the longer you go without, the more you realize that it isn’t healthy.

    Best to you as you discover your new FW-free future. I’m sorry you’re part of CN, but glad you found us.

  • Carey:
    1) You’d need a whole cement truck to spackle over this (obvious) shit.
    2) I’m sure that this wasn’t the first time that he and Slutty Neighbor fucked (in your bed).
    3) I’m sure I’ll be alone in this, but I would have a chat with his ex-wife. I’d bet a case of lube that she caught HIM cheating (multiple times) and dumped his sorry ass. Tell her your funny (naked) story…I’m sure she’ll get a good laugh, and appreciate knowing that he’s still the same POS, and didn’t “become a better man” for someone else…and that she didn’t “misunderstand” him and his lies. This should provide the closure that you need to stay no contact and feel really good about it, too!
    4) How nice of you to give advance texting alerts of your ETAs to Wandering Dickhead. I’m sure that was really helpful in scheduling his showers. In the future, don’t do that.
    5) He led with the preemptive “I hate cheating pity story”…to keep you from ever even having your eyes open “since he would never do that”, and never questioning him about anything…you know because that would be insulting and hard for him. Pro tip: If they bring up something that normal people would think is obvious or assumed (like cheating or lying)…then they are talking about themselves and what they do…and throwing you off the track…and also will likely be (sooner or later) worried about/accusing you of whatever fucked up shit they are doing!

  • Good one again Traci I agree Run Carey these creeps don’t change I know I was married to one for 24 years!????

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