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Gaslighting: What They Said, What It Actually Was

gaslightingToday’s Friday Challenge is gaslighting.

Okay, not the cheeriest of subjects, but consider the deep vein of mordant humor. “Who you gonna believe? Me, or your lying eyes?” Richard Pryor mined it and you can too.

Tell CN the most outlandish mindfuckery dumped on you. We recently did an entire discourse on hickeys. But I’m talking about the mind blender stuff, not the physical evidence. The faux concern that you may have a mental illness. The insistence that Viagra are vitamins, and you KNOW he has a mineral deficiency! (And a moral one, but they don’t make supplements for that.) Her nebulous unhappiness that can only be expressed through solo yoga retreats and your continual self improvement.

Any bullshitty bullshit they DARVOed in your direction.

TGIF. You’re NOT crazy.


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.
  • “You said you didn’t like having sex with me.”

    No, what I said (over 25 years ago during that one and only abbreviated marriage counseling session) was I didn’t want to have sex with someone who was having sex with prostitutes at the same time. Yet, it was always and would forever be my fault. Insert eye roll here and count down another day until Tuesday.

    • Ahhhhhhhh. Prostitutes. Just found out today my Fw gave me high risk HPV. After a few minutes to process he says:
      -So there’s no way for them to screen me before it could turn into cancer?
      -your dr said they saw no lesions, so you’re fine
      They cannot think of anyone but themselves! I’m a crying wreck, telling him to talk to his dr about his health. They redirect and put it right back on you. That’s a skill. WTF!

      • I am so sorry for you. My FW basically busted out that same special narc move on me. Not “Oh my god how could I have done this I am so sorry I put you at risk like this and I will never forgive myself.” Nope. Just “So what does this mean for ME?” Asshats.

        • I’m not processing it well honestly. Any advice? No energy for anger anymore. Haven’t slept well for over a year. Eating fruits and veggies though. Lol

          • My new solution to almost everything that brings me down or puts me at risk is red and near infrared light therapy. I find it helps with sleep too. Fruits and veggies are great. If you can get out and walk in nature that helps. I find journaling and meditating really helpful too in processing and also regrounding my own self. You can get the small portable red light and near infrared combo – worth every penny. Check out

            • Thank you! My mom learned about this and had me use in the 90s a bit. A year before she died of cancer she was looking for natural ways to heal and feel better. Will be researching again!

          • Check out the Betrayal Trauma Recovery website and podcast. I found it 5 years too late, but it is a life saver. They have trauma specialists available to chat to.

            • BTR has changed a lot over the last year and all of the chumps I know and have formed a tribe with think they are toxic now so please be careful. They fired all of the best coaches and are ringing the register now….

            • Thanks for the info. I’ve tried to find therapists but they’re all virtual. One I found spent the entire session telling me I absolutely had to enroll in their marriage intensive the next morning. Then she would work more with me after. Uhhhhhhh

              • It takes a while to find someone who’s not a cash register (ready to re-chump you) & someone you click with. Hope you find someone good!

          • There’s no way you could possibly be processing this well. There is no level of “wellness” compatible with this discovery of what your FW did to you.

            I’m at a loss for words, BetterThanAWhore, just want to say that my heart goes out for you and that I hate your FW on your behalf and wish very bad things for him. For you I wish health, that this virus never causes you any more harm other than the sadness and exhaustion you’re feeling right now, and that these feelings dissipate soon.

            Also wish you a very fulfilling and peaceful life away from the source of the evil. I don’t know if you’re already divorced, but wish you get there ASAP.

            I am not comparing things, you’ve been dealt a huge blow, but I wanted to say that I feel your words, I know how it feels to be too exhausted even for righteous indignation and hope you regain your strength soon.


            • #Sometimes … AWWW

              #Betterthanaw*ore … This is a study that came out in 2021 its in regards to male-to-male “hugging” but the information on HPV is enlightening …

              I’ve also seen a potential vaccine for HPV … Have you looked into that?


              I hope and pray it gets better!!

            • Thank you for the kind words, it really helped. I’ve spent 22 years moving around with military husband and haven’t developed close friends since I knew we would move again soon. CN has been an amazing support, even if it’s just from reading.

              • Sorry to just now be responding and for your horrible situation. Some divorce support groups are really good–sometimes sponsored by churches but usually you do not have to be a member of that church, etc. Also there may be online groups for HIV positive and high-risk HIV positive individuals. That might be preferable to going in person to that group (online would be easier for me). Many hugs and thoughts to you and I wish you the very best in your new life. If you can try to find a counselor just for you–not a marriage counselor. I would make it plain when making the appointment, that I am not interested in RIC or anything but counseling for ME! Time to focus on you. You were very generous in telling your X that he needed to check on his health. Such a narc that he thinks of himself more than you. TYPICAL.

      • I was a fool. She was grooming pubes in the tub while I was in the room before she was leaving on a tropical work trip. “I’m going to be wearing a bikini” she says. What about the bottle of wine in your suitcase? “It’s so expensive at the hotels”.

        After 23 years I’m now divorced. Two families devistated which involved five children and two spouses that were not cheating.

        • I’m so sorry B-Mac. I feel your pain. X left after 17 years married, 19 years together. The cheating broke up two families and traumatized 4 children.

          Now the evil ones are living happily ever after, and the rest of us are processing trauma and picking up the pieces of our shattered lives.

          But I take much comfort in the fact that they’re ultimately getting exactly what they deserve – each other.

          • Living happily ?
            I doubt- but they have to pretend and make the right impression. Otherwise they will look like fools

            • This is so true Hetty. Its what happened to me and they only lasted 18 months.

      • Tell him his d!ck’s gonna fall off. He can easily disconfirm that, but his alarm will be fun for a short while.

        • Lol. Did tell him he needs to look IN his p-hole, a-hole and throat for the rest of his life for lesions and tumors. His eyes got huge. Did read about an anal-pap that they’re researching. Yes please-give him one! He will have fun asking his base dr for that one without explaining why he needs it. Bet I will be blamed, he won’t say why he really needs it.

          • Did you tell him that hpv causes more cases of throat cancer then smoking?! He will need to get vocal cords checked for warts..big fun

            • A college mate died of hpv. And one of his cousins also contracted it. Cousin had much better insurance and caught it sooner. Required a mandibulectomy and full flap reconstruction. Don’t google these if you’re prone to queasiness. Both were divorced and I’m guessing cheaters.

      • Better, I am sorry and know the anger you are feeling. My cheater husband gave me herpes. I think he may have passed to me by way of his affair with his office manager. Leave your fuckwit in the dust, go no contact, focus on you and your health. Exercise regularly and eat right. I took up hiking. Working out regularly and hiking has lowered my stress and Cortisol levels. You will feel better mentally, physically and you will thrive.

        • Sorry you’ve had to deal with that! I’ve been doing “forest therapy”-in Japan they literally prescribe walks in the woods to help with depression, anxiety, overall unwellness. It does help. Take one of my boys to gym regularly too which helps.

        • My fuckwit cheater ex also *forgot* to inform me he had herpes. He had his meds shipped from a secret online pharmacy to a Dropbox in another town. And yes, he passed it to me, knew I had a breakout and didn’t tell me even then. “You must have gotten a bug bite down there” was his explanation. I believed him until I found the secret bottle of meds hidden with his secret cp collection.

          After he was arrested, I talked with his most recent former wife (the “crazy” one who just walked out on him one day. Yeah, I should have seen that red flag waving). He had had herpes since long before they met, according to her. Guess FW figured I just didn’t need to know that in the years we were together. Of course I doubt he told any of his adult friend finder sex buddy dudes either.

      • Doesn’t take consorting with prostitutes to get HSV, HPV or any other STI.
        It just takes a fuckwit who doesn’t give a fig for their partner. I know that from sad experience.
        First time I told him that I was diagnosed with Chlamydia (had no idea that existed, doctor had to tell me it was sexually transmitted), cheater ex said “YOU must have picked that up somewhere”. And walked away.
        I was so shocked that I didn’t respond. I already felt humiliated and then he seemingly accused me.
        Should have wondered why he didn’t get angry, I mean if he really thought I was cheating, wouldn’t he have reacted with some emotion?
        With subsequent infections over the years (Chump supreme over here), he gave multiple non-answers and mansplained the percentage of HPV and HSV in the adult population as evidence that “everyone has it”. No, you evil asshole, only people who don’t care where they put their diseased penis and don’t use condoms get so many STIs. And their unfortunate partners who love them.
        And he also explained that it was “normal” that I had a near constant battle with UTIs, yeast infections and BV. Maybe “normal” for the various skanks he fucked, but until I met him that was never an issue for me. And my doctor didn’t think it was “normal”.

        • Oh no! So sorry. It is beyond my imagining how FWs think so selfishly. Wiring must be off somewhere. Mine said he always used condoms with the prostitutes, but he went down on them! Effing went down on them. Condoms aren’t 100% protection from HPV because skin still touches. Oral though!!!!! Sick just thinking about it.

          • Went down on a prostitute??? ????????
            WTF??? Why on earth would someone do such thing?

            I can’t help but think this abusive asshole might be making this story up to further devalue you and break your spirits. They are that sick.

            On the other hand, my FW XW told me she went down on a notoriously promiscuous guy. I guess some lost souls do feast in Beelzebub’s banquet.

            Please tell me you are at least physically separated from this abusive piece of shit.

            • Unfortunately no. I’ve got five boys the youngest 6. Haven’t worked since I followed him everywhere and raised kids. Scared. One of my boys has a feeding tube and needs a lot of medical care. Every time I try to apply for a job something happens with kids and I’m at the dr again or with them at home. No family nearby either. Working on preparations, but am going at a snails pace. I will get there though!!

              • My heart goes out for you and your kids in such difficult situation. No wonder you’ve been feeling exhausted.

                I’m sure you will find *your* way out in *your time*, you’re mighty. Snail pace is fine:

                “Little snail,
                inch by inch climb
                Mount Fuji.”

      • How about a punch in the nose to that rotten, no good fw! Get a lawyer and sue him for all his money for giving that to you. He’s a rotten piece of filth.

      • So sorry to read this, BTAW. Fuck him and save your compassion and energy for yourself. I don’t think you should add pressure by expecting yourself to process this “well,” either, as Brazilian Chump commented.

      • If not giving a fuck is a skill then yes……yes it is. Only guilt they feel from it is that they might have to clean up the mess of you telling someone about it and ruining their stellar reputation. No worries though, they’re already formulating how to gaslight everyone else too and throw you under that other bus coming down the road. Sorry, but you HAVE to do YOU now.

    • Here’s one I just got:
      After reconciliation, he started to have some slightly concerning behaviors. When I told him I didn’t like what he was doing, and it was reminiscent of previous behavior, he said, “you have to manifest what you want to happen. If you keep thinking bad things, bad things will happen.” WTF?? So, if he cheats again, it’s really MY fault because I “manifested” it? Mindfuck blender here I come.

    • “I was thinking about you!”
      “You are just so sexy, I could hardly handle it and it drove me to….”
      (Up to 100 texts a day, usually imitated with an image sent by my FW after I left the house each day for a grueling job he made me take so he can stay in America and get his green card) “We are just friends. In hindsight I shouldn’t have ALLOWED her to text me so much. If I feel anything for her it’s annoyance.”
      “You are imagining things because you have low self-esteem.”
      “There were months that I didn’t….It was only x minutes each time over 29 years… really not that much.” (All the other minutes when not actually engaged in acts of betrayal mean he was faithful for most of our marriage!)
      “I always loved you, even when I was….”
      “I wanted you to do it with me, but I was afraid to ask.”
      “I thought you did it too?!” (Knows I have been faithful to a fault….even through years of physical abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse,….)
      “I’ll do anything you want.” (Except the things you keep asking me to do and I never do.)
      “I can’t live without you…..but if we have to divorce, just wait until we get the green card…..” (I just need to use you for one last thing….and then you’ll no longer be of use to me and I’ll be able to live without you then.)
      “I only clicked on that link so I could block it.”
      “I never hid my phone. You could have looked at it whenever you wanted.” (In other words, it’s your fault you didn’t know sooner….if you had only not been so trusting of me.)

      • All of this hits home. Sorry, Indentured Chump. Sounds like you managed to get your head out of the blender?

        • It’s surprisingly been very difficult to resist denial. After much reading, therapy, and group sessions in my Rescued group therapy, I am starting to accept reality. I now “trust that he sucks” and am trying to come to terms with 29 wasted years and the fact that I “bred with FW.”

    • The last time my ex tried to Hoover me (unsuccessfully!), he talked about having the best sex his life with *me* “that time” a few weeks before (not the back scratching, truck fucking OW’s he lived to email about going down on). I thought it was funny because one, the sex had NOT been great for me, at all, and his claim was simply not believable; in fact, it was kind of nauseating, even at the time. And two, he was making it up, because he had already said the same thing about a different, recent time we’d had sex. He was grasping at straws and getting his stories mixed up. Almost comical to see a gaslighter in action, pretending to be empathetic and earnest when you KNOW they are lying.

      • So true about the sex being so very bad after D-Day……really it was always bad and selfish, but I was enjoying it in the belief that it was exclusive… was MY bad and selfish partner….and now, post D-Day, I understand the horrible, painful positions, embarrassing man displays, lack of interest in my body (which has been pretty damn good from 17 years old to D-Day at 44, even with 3 pregnancies….now suffering health deterioration from Partner Betrayal Trauma).

  • Suddenly after 30 years of marriage he was manscaping. I was like what’s up with that.. he said well I wanted to try it out?? Ok that’s not fishy. I believed him at first. I got my ducks in a row pretty fast after that abs left 4 months later. He said later well I wasn’t cheating I was looking!!! Divorce is now final…. Bye!!

    • My ex-wife said the same shit! I was initiating foreplay with her one night and said, “oh shaved?” Her response was “yeah you’d know it was shaved if you touched me every once in a while.” We we’re very active and just had sex the day before her response and of course I was very much into touching her.

      • Mine bought an adjustable stand for her phone all of a sudden for like $50.

        When I asked her why she needed it she said it was for watching “makeup tutorials”. The woman never wore heavy makeup…

        Wasn’t until I found her search history after she left saying basically “ILYBNILWU” that I realized it was so she could have phone sex and do strip teases for her online AP.

        After I found out “ILYBINILWU” turned into “you’re emotionally and verbally abusive”. They all play the same game.

        • They sure do. Before D-Day, I was the kind, gentle, supportive husband. After discovery number 2 and the word spread about why were divorcing, I suddenly became angry abusive man who deserved it.

            • Same here and I hardly ever get angry, it’s reeeeeeally difficult to get under my skin.

              I think most of the people who lend their ears and nod to the character assassination have skin in the game. The lies just get too incongruous with known facts and previous talks.

          • My STBXW read the book Gone Girl and for the last 5 years has told everybody I was “verbally, psychologically and emotionally abusive.” She told everyone that is why she is leaving me. Now that it has come out she cheated the people who chastised me are now realizing who she is but there are still a large number of people who give me the stink eye. On top of all the trauma of betrayal and the financial impact I also have to deal with character assassination by someone who I loved and cherished for 22 years.

            • The film adaptation of Gone Girl is one of my FW XW favourite movies (in part I think because of her years long crush on Ben Affleck). She asked me that we watched it together because someone recommended it to her but she’s been always affraid of scary movies. ???? Little did I know she would turn our lives into a B class horror movie years down the line…

              I can’t stand to watch the movie anymore for obvious reasons besides the fact that I just can’t root neither for the psychopath wife nor for the cheater husband now that I’ve been cheated on.

              As for the stink eye, I get it big time for years now from many of her acquaintances and parents from our sons’ schools. It sucks donkeys’ balls to wonder what the FWs have been saying behind our backs.

              • I recently saw one of my old neighbors (I moved out) who my FW XW still talks to at the post office a few weeks back. The first time I had seen her since the divorce. I have babysat her kids, cooked dinner for her and her husband, and drank beer on the their porch.

                I said… Good morning, nice to see you… and got the evilest stink eye in the world, a giant huff and then no response. She simply walked away. God only knows what FW XW is spreading about me to cover up for her multiple affairs.

                You would think they would’ve figured it out when FW XW had a full-time man around a week after I moved out.

                We say it all the time around here, but it couldn’t be more true: All.the.same.playbook.

              • Strange about Gone Girl. My FW XW read only two books in the entire 18 years we were together. One was a book I I bought for her in the early stages of our ‘relationship’. The other was Gone Girl. She, too, made a big song and dance about reading it.

        • “After I found out “ILYBINILWU” turned into “you’re emotionally and verbally abusive”. They all play the same game.”
          My ex played the emotionally and verbally abusive card to get the house in the divorce. She told all of her friends for months so she would have witnesses. Then two weeks before D-day told me I had been getting black out drunk and verbally abusing her nightly, and the reason I didn’t remember any of this is because I blacked out. Uh, no that never happened. She used it to hang access to my kids over my head. Consulted an attorney before a DIY divorce. He told me people will lie to get what they want, and the courts will believe her. So I gave her the house. She had wrecked it anyway and accumulated enough hidden credit card debt to destroy any equity in the house.

          • That sucks. So sorry. I am gearing up for a screwing even though I have evidence because,as I have learned from too many people who have been through this there will be no justice. ” Look at it as a business deal. A shitty business deal. Better days will come”. Dear and trusted Chumped friends have told me this and I have to believe them.
            Strange that 9 guys I know have been through this. My psychiatrists buddy says it is because moral people attract each other. Maybe, or maybe we are just trusting idiots

        • Exactly the same route for me. I Love You But I’m Not In Love With You. Then: your verbal abuse is too much – no wonder I looked elsewhere.

          18 years together. Haven’t been in the same room as her for 3 years now. Nor will I ever.

    • Ya wish I realized that manscaping meant cheating- it would have saved me 10 years. ????‍♀️

        • All that is necessary in a business for employee theft to occur is an honest employer and a deceitful employee. Same thing as adultery: you never think your one true and honest ally could be a liar and a thief. I actually found an earring in the floor of the passenger seat, showed it to him at the time of discovery, asked him “Where did this come from?” and he said “I don’t know” and I believed him. I believed him. So painful to think I loved and trusted him that much.

          • I found a hair tie in his truck — he said it was his, from when he used to have long hair. He did have long hair years prior — so how come that hair tie was in his cup holder? Most people use their cup holders more than once every few years.

            • I found a stray earring in his car, too. He said it was his daughter’s. I found inexpensive mini-shampoo in his shower that wasn’t mine. That, too, belonged to his daughter, though she had her own bedroom and shower upstairs.

              Oh, and the text he sent, playfully requesting that his pillow be returned? That was meant for his daughter, too,

              She was 17. And she’s the one who told me he had cheated. When I confronted him, he said, ‘How could she throw me under the bus like that?’

              I was like, you threw yourself under the bus. She just took the accident report and gave it to me.

        • Chumps aren’t stupid. We’re good, honest people who assume the best of others, especially those we’ve committed our lives to.

          Cheaters have no idea how to love people. That’s stupid.

      • The manscaping is so tell-tale that it’s become cliche.

        X’s best friend (Best Man at our wedding) was engaged yet screwing a cocktail waitress at pub he frequented. She set her sights on him so convinced him to allow her to shave his pubes as “fun foreplay”. Naturally, the very next encounter with his Fiancé turned into a massive fight when she saw the evidence and confronted him with WTF IS THIS??!!!

        Yep, cocktail waitress managed to blow up that engagement. She’s now married with kids to “Best Man” and thinks she’s special. Honey, if he’ll do it with you he’ll do it to you! Oh, and birds of a feather flock together. He is Xhole’s bestie for a reason. All their buddies screw around and follow Man Code to the max.
        Good luck with that!

        • The man scaping would have been weird.

          Our situation was before man scaping or even woman scaping was a thing, aside from bikini shaves/waxes, just your basic clean up.

          Whore was only five years younger than us, so I don’t know if she was waxed into a pre-pubescent twinkie or not. She was the town whore, so I am sure she knew stuff I never dreamed of. If you are going to live off married men, you better know your stuff.

          My now husband never even suggested I get waxed. He is older than me, so it likely wouldn’t be in his mind anyway. If he did ask, I would have to tell him you get yours yanked out by the roots first then I will consider it.

          • “She was the town whore, so I am sure she knew stuff I never dreamed of. If you are going to live off married men, you better know your stuff.”


          • “If he did ask, I would have to tell him you get yours yanked out by the roots first then I will consider it.”

            ???????????? Nice one Susie!

      • When the affair-manscaping began (don’t get me started about the gigolo shirts and stretch skinny jeans), I said I wished he’d stop since the sharp body stubble was irritating. Also his technique in bed had devolved and became enthusiastically cloddish. I was creeped out and started withdrawing.

        He responded to the comment about stubble by howling about how critical I’d always been, referring to incidents at the beginning of the relationship when I’d told him he was hurting me in bed and that I’d “broken” him.

        Unbeknownst to me at that time (but later came out in the “full disclosure” part of the RIC debacle), the AP was regularly performing painful Cirque de Soleil porn gymnastics that never gave any woman an orgasm in the history of sex or orgasms and bleaching and waxing her bumhole every two weeks without a single complaint. She aslo washed his socks.

        Who can compete with that? Furthermore, who wants to compete with that? Ouch. It’s like the affair turned him into the equivalent of a slobbish, man-eating bear. I have no idea if this is true or not but as the lore goes, once bears are conditioned to human flesh, you can only shoot them. Once conditioned to porn banging, cheaters become irrevocably terrible in bed.

        • I’m so sorry you went through all that – double YUCK!!

          * tiny side note: there is not enough evidence on the bear question to make any kind of determination as it has happens so little. There have been several instances where a bear came across a dead human and did eat it and rangers killed the bear “just in case”. Lots of lore around why humans need to kill big cats, wolves, bears, coyotes but really the evidence is not there and most livestock can be well protected with a little ingenuity.

          • BUT there is lots of evidence that once cheating assholes get a taste of living the deceptive life they can not go back and should be euthanized (humanly) – for the good of humanity.

        • ????????”enthusiastically cloddish” !!! YES! I remember being so grossed out.

        • I’m laughing really hard right now at your XH gigolo shirts and his contortionist/laundromat AP. No one can compete with that, LOL, you didn’t stand a chance in this freak contest.

          So glad you can look back to these things and describe them in such a cathartic but delightful, humorous way! You’re mighty as hell, Hell of a Chump!

          • I have to admit it really is cathartic to share and find common ground. I love being a member of this club even if I hate how we all got here.

            “Contortionist laundromat.” ????

          • Right? I was struggling to find the right words to describe it. Ouch, oof, ow, wait, not that, your elbow, Jesus, stop… Ah, the joy of sex. ????

        • Thank you for your post, Hell of a Chump! My ex also began shaving his pubic area out of the blue. Said he thought I might be more interested in him if he did it. What?! About a year later, he shaved his chest. I, like you, told him that the chest stubble was not comfortable for me! That made him angry. I told him, “just grow your chest hair back!” Nope, he wouldn’t. About a month later, two days after Valentine’s Day, he left me for the work wh*re. I could not get this guy to brush his teeth before having sex with me (yea, halitosis is a real turn on!) but, out of nowhere, some 29 year old something got him to manscape. Nice.

        • Yes, I seem to recall something about jogging, or working in the woods. I hadn’t even asked about it, because he was very eccentric – and “free,” and “particular,” and “private” – and I believed in letting him do him. Plus, by then I’d learned not to question anything odd – such as extreme secrecy around his phone, etc., etc! Everything was “normal.”

    • My ex began shaving her pubes and said it was to prevent yeast infections. D-day was a few months later, and it made more sense.

      • Actually full shaving and waxing increase risk of every kind of infection, including deadly MRSA. The CDC lists MRSA as sexually transmissible. Some people are silent carriers to boot.

        • Also, women who wax it all off often go commando, claiming it’s “healthier.” It isn’t actually healthier (less between you and that rarely-cleaned PVC bar stool, etc.) but airing out the junk becomes necessary if you wax because any swampiness can trigger invasive thrush or worse in all the micro-wounds left by the razor or plucking.

          Gross but true. My doc says she’s seen horror show outcomes and can’t understand why anyone does it.

            • ☝????This.

              Pubic hair doesn’t cause yeast infections, unless maybe a woman doesn’t wash and dry regularly and properly. Tight clothing (namely cycling shorts worn for hours in my case) causes yeast infections.

              A ????

              • I had this problem for years until the doctor explained to me to always wash my private parts only with acidic soaps (3.5 – 4.5 Ph factor(. Normal soap starts with 5.0 factor. Since then I’ve never had this problem (or only shortly).Be careful because many intimate soaps actually have wrong Ph factor.

              • Especialy if you don’t live in a country that has bidets, there’s always virgin coconut oil as insurance. Natural antifungal, good for hair, skin, metabolism, etc., etc.

      • Mine always played the prude and pretended to be ashamed of letting me going down on her because of her pubes. I never had a problem with that. All of a sudden (affair in full throttle, unbeknownst to me), she’s gone full brazilian (it’s so sad that among so many achievements we brazilians have become known for THIS). It spilled out in wreckonciliation talks that the AP had erectile dysfunction and sometimes reciprocal oral sex was all that was possible (but she “admitted” to me that he was very good at that, had lots of experience, which I lacked for being… faithful?). It turns out he was grossed out by her pubic hair and asked her to get rid of it to make it easier for him. In her “defense” ????, there was nothing to be grossed out, the guy is a manscaped pussy (oops…)

        We had sex (oral included) so many times after the waxing off, I feel sick. How could she do this to me? She had been the only woman I had sex with, we were together since teen years.

        • “She had been the only woman I had sex with, we were together since teen years.”

          This in reverse for me and my ex. I was totally giving with him, thought what we had was special. It is vomit producing.

          • Exactly! I thought we had something very special, rare and precious. It is heartbreaking, sort of a loss of my innocence.

        • The overlap sex. Oh God.

          I carried alcohol wipes long before the pandemic when I had kids and realized how much this cut down on strep and flu (along with pristine diet, etc.). To me, being put at risk for STDs was the biggest, grossest violation. I’d never had an STD in my life and to be endangered by marriage was horrifying.

          FW thought I should be reassured that he got three separate rounds of STD blood panels over the course of ten months. Instead I had a screaming breakdown because 1) there’s no blood test for HPV, no test for men for HPV at all (and the deadliest strains don’t have visible symptoms); 2) online labs notoriously miss a lot, particularly herpes which can require a specialized western blot; 3) his repeat testing, which he kept secret even from the AP, proved he had suspicions and knew in his gut how shady and ick that creature was.

          I still feel sick thinking about it. So exactly– how can anyone do that to a trusting partner?

          • “To me, being put at risk for STDs was the biggest, grossest violation.”

            To me too, HoaC, and an incontrovertible testament to their utter disregard for our well-being. We meant literally nothing to them.

            I have been reading some posts of yours and from SuckerPunchedbyaSaffa about the long term risks of HPV and the fact that there is no test for men and all this information made me very angry. My FW XW is a health professional with a masters degree in infectious diseases. I have to ask again: how the hell could she do this to me, for God’s sake?

            She had overlap unprotected sex with both me (we met virgins both of us!) and a notoriously promiscuous guy. I have solid reasons to believe she got knocked up by him at a certain point, so there was definitely semen involved. And then she finally happily let me go down on her!!!
            Cheating is not a criminal offense (as my FW XW told me many times since Dday #2) but given the health hazards involved, sometimes I wish it would be.

            • It is scary. My Dday was in the midst of the aids break out, and by his own admission he had been “dating” for ten years.

              I did get tested. Back then the test was expensive; my dr however did a panel that would show it even though it was not a specific test. I came out clean.

              I also had a couple outpatient surgeries within the next few years, and at that time they did auto aids testing. So I was fortunate. He was a whore monger, and she was a whore, and no telling how many others he or the whore had sex with.

              She is living in a run down seniors trailer park now. I imagine she is giving blow jobs to old men, trying to get one of them to leave their wives.

              • I’m very sorry you’ve gone through this scare and glad you came out unscathed, SusieLee.

                But the AP… you would have to see with your own eyes to believe. My XW (his boss) helped cover up some property damage his then wife (also a cop) did to the lab they worked together when she (his XW) confronted another subortinate of my FW that was his AP at that time. Or so I was told; I’m going through my revisionist chump stage right now: could it have been already FW the AP’s AP and that’s why she was so invested in covering things up? But I seem to recall some text messages that confirmed her story, so I really don’t know, veeeery confusing this cheating thing. Also caught wind of him having sex with men ocasionally and apparently she knew of it and was okey-dokey with that too (I don’t mean any offense to the LGBTQIA+ community, it is just unlike what I thought my FW XW was into).

                Point is he is very promiscuous and this is undisputable. So is (was already?) my XW, since her current boyfriend is the fifth man she dated since her affair blew up in her face in ends of october 2020. I am shocked by the contrast between the saintly impression I had of her ever since we met and the sheer reality of what she is. The money I’m spending with therapy is worth every single penny. I didn’t know shit about life.

              • Response to Mr. Brazilian,

                I get enraged when I think of how cheaters endanger chumps’ lives (AIDS, hpv). The only thing you can do now is be vigilant about your health check ups, including annual visits to the dentist.
                The man from uni who died from hpv presented with a growth in his throat and it spread to his neck. He posted updates on a GoFund page which I read after seeing his obit in our alumni magazine.

              • Response to Sucker Punched by a Saffa:

                Thank you very much for all information you and Hell of a Chump provided about HPV, I was totally oblivious of this threat. I did run STD tests after Dday but as you said, some things inevitably fall through the cracks.

                Also thank you so much for your advice regarding my health, I will try to follow them. The importance of talking to a dentist about it would not have naturally occurred to me.

    • Yes, the sudden desire to improve their appearance which they come up with stupid excuses for.

      Mine wanted to dye his hair. He said it was because when we went out he didn’t want people to think he was my father. I thought that was super weird because we are the same age, and though he does look a bit older, it’s certainly not anywhere near that much. That got me wondering if he was losing his marbles.

      Come to find out later he was afraid people would think he was younger schmoopie’s father when they were on dates. They literally had more dates in five years than I had been on dates with him in 30 years.

      • For years I would have to repeatedly remind ex to trim his scraggly eye brows.
        Then one day I noticed he was spending what seemed liked hours in the bathroom with a magnified mirror trimming not only his eyebrows but his sideburns and mustache. He’d have every hair meticulously trimmed and even. One day I told him with his mustache so evenly trimmed he looked like a porn star. Little did I know that is probably the look he was going for.

        Red flags I ignored because “he wasn’t that kind of guy.”
        I thought it was because with age he realized he needed to take better care of his appearance.
        When I mentioned jokingly if he was going through a midlife crisis he’d chuckle and tell me I had quite the imagination…, that I should write novels, or find a hobby, had a low self esteem.
        “You know me Brit, I’m not that kind of guy.”
        Like a good Chump, I again shrugged off my gut feeling.

        • “One day I told him with his mustache so evenly trimmed he looked like a porn star. Little did I know that is probably the look he was going for.”


        • Interesting. Mine went from scraggly eyebrows and believe it or not had several long hairs growing on his nose (not in but on the end…ewww) that he paid no attention to. Then poof nose hair shaved off, eyebrows trimmed, manscaped, elliptical purchased which he loudly had the Bluetooth playing Iron Man while he worked out. Mind you this is a 5’5 290lb senior.

          Then he, in the most bad acting sort of way, grabs my arms and says “Would it please you if I shaved all my body hair?” I looked at him like he was nuts. Then he asked me to teach him how to bring me to an organism with his hand… meaning of course I was the goat to teach him that he’d use on someone else. By then by time I was onto him. He thought he was successfully gaslighting me relishing how clever he was. I blew his mind when I responded that he stunk at pleasing me in that way and felt he was unteachable.

          • Off-topic but I must respond to the part about the nose hairs. My husband has those and for some reason they make me gag when I see them (yuck!). He doesn’t seem to notice them but I insist on plucking them off when I happen to see them. Gross!

            • sleepyhead,
              My ex had nose hairs that were so long and he didn’t seem to see them! It grossed me out!! I’d tell him, “you should trim your nose hairs” as gently as I could. He’d take his finger and poke the nose hairs back into his nose as if that solved the problem.

              It’s funny that for AP he decided to shave his chest and pubes – but never trim those damn nose hairs or unruly eyebrows. The weirdest part is his back and butt is covered in heavy dark hair…The things he decided to manscape just never made sense to me.

              Oh well, her problem now! She gets to deal with the skid marks and butt hair left on the toilet seat and the shedding in the bed sheets. All immense turn-ons (major sarcasm)!!!

              God, it’s so nice to share this stuff with people who experienced similar!!! Cathartic!!!

      • “Yes, the sudden desire to improve their appearance which they come up with stupid excuses for.”

        So true. Just remembered, a few months before Dday, fuckwit got himself contact lenses and a really expensive pair of sunglasses. I asked why, and he said it was so his specs didn’t steam up when he was fishing. (in the *Gambia!). I said, but won’t sunglasses steam up? He gave me such a filthy look. ????????

      • “They literally had more dates in five years than I had been on dates with him in 30 years.”

        That pisses me off. It’s not that we didn’t want, weren’t worthy of, or couldn’t have gone on dates or enjoyed intimacy with other men/women if we’d wanted. Cheaters feel entitled to all of it at our expense. Chumps aren’t even human to them. We’re just wife appliances, Cinderella’s.

        I made the choice to set aside my desire and satisfaction to be with someone who struggled with alcoholism, depression, etc. He was never a great lover to begin with, but I decided that other things were more important to me. I was young and fit and attractive, yet I was practically celibate. I internalized the devaluation and shut down my sexuality. I did not see myself the way others saw me, and I pretended not to notice men who showed interest. FW grew lazier and grosser and more distant, and I told myself I didn’t care about romance. I grew to feel numb, ugly, and unlovable. When I discovered that he’d been cheating for years and deeply into porn the entire relationship, I was really, really angry.

        • And in case that was misleading, it goes without saying that dates with our partners were welcomed (and likely attempted by us until we got tired of the inevitable rejection or disappointment) all along…

        • That sucks, B&R. I’m sorry he made you feel that way. What a terrible thing to do, especially to a lovely person like you. He deserves to have the crap beat out of him. I make no apologies for feeling fuckwits deserve violence. Unfortunately, it’s illegal, but the far worse harm they do to us is perfectly legal! ????

          I did the same thing as you- I went numb. But I certainly didn’t have to be celibate. He was a constant, demanding sex nag and pawed at me all the time. I felt like a piece of meat. He told me it was because I was so irresistibly sexy, he loved me so much, bla bla. After Dday I knew for sure that was all bullshit. He’s just a disgusting pervert who objectifies women. Of course he was into porn as well, like any misogynist. So glad he’s gone and nobody’s grabbing at my body parts and chuckling in a creepy, predatory way. I didn’t even realize how gross it was because I was so used to it.

      • Once mine left for the 21-years-younger AP, he shaved his head (and chest…and pubes). Guess he didn’t want evidence of the gray hairs and bald spot. Now, he’s just bald. If only men realized that we all know they shave their head to cover for the receding hairline and it makes them look sadly pathetic, they might accept that the little girls for for younger men. Though he shaved his head, my ex still looks like a much older man (wrinkles, age spots on his bald head). He and his APnowWife don’t fool anyone. What I don’t get is her father and mother are only a couple years older than my ex. WHY would they want their daughter to marry a man 21 years older than her? Why would they not talk her out of it??? Wouldn’t family gatherings be awkward??? Calling them Mom and Dad when they are only 5 years older than him??? I just don’t get how these things work. Built on so many fakeries and lies! Why would you not want to live your authentic self???

        • Two comments in response to yours.

          A friend’s now ex-husband (married his much younger mistress, wife #3 for him plus they have two little ones as he approaches 60 ????????) started to dye his graying chest hair. ????

          I recently heard the older son of Howard the Whoremonger mated with a twenty-one years younger woman. J. is in his early sixties, he is a charming narc who works in the food and wine biz and his “in laws” are just a few years older than him. Awkward. I put in laws in quotes because I don’t think he and the baby mama are married. Howard’s wife never left him because of a very rich lifestyle;she came from working class roots and wasn’t going back. Each of their three kids has a multi-million dollar trust fund and the mother warned them about user types starting in their teens. I imagine J. opened an account for his son and maybe kicked some money to the son’s mother. Several women wasted valuable fertility years with J. hoping he would marry them.

        • I don’t get it, but it is hard to talk a young person out of marrying anyone.

          I wonder if it could be they are just holding their noses and anxiously awaiting the day this disaster hits the wall.

        • I don’t want it to sound like a condemnation of age-gaps between partners, but I can’t help but feel this as unnatural, but what do I know?

          I used to think the 10 years age-gap between my parents was huge and that it explained some of their marital problems. The difference between the worth of life experience alone favours a lopsided relationship from its inception. In my parent’s case, there was also my father’s street-wise ways and already ingrained bad habits and my young mother’s (16 yo when they met) naïveté and financial dependency. My father was a life-long cheater, but not a liar, what sometimes seemed to make things worse, he would rub his affairs on her face to humiliate her.

          Just yesterday my FW XW (who by the way was highly critic of my parents’ age-gap – my father is a “disgusting pig”) disclosed publicly (about time, poor guy!) her relationship with a guy 20 years her senior. What boggles my mind is that my XILs were around 20 when FW was born. They already had family gatherings and since they are always awkward and everybody gets shit-faced in these, things must have gone well. I bet they’ve got to bond on their passion for Roberto Carlos & Erasmo Carlos. ????

          I don’t know… this doesn’t look like a good match. The street-wise and ingrained bad habits of my XW are going to destroy this naïve mate in no time. ????

          • Actually, I think of myself as already unsuitable for someone my own age after all the shit I’ve been through, I feel like one hundred years old.

            It’s weird because though I never had an optmistic outlook on human’s nature on the average (see my abusive cheater father above), I felt I was safe with my then wife. Then my whole world went crumbling down and I ended up a little cynical (my XW calls me that now, but she spells it with an initial “s” and thinks it means an altogether different thing ????).

            • My husband is ten years older than I.

              My fw and I were both 40 the year of discard, divorce took a year to finalize. Initially I honestly figured I would never remarry. I knew I would likely have a relationship, as I was still fairly young.

              But, H and I took a long time to get to know each other. Dated three years, engaged two. It has stood the test of time.

              At age 40, 40 year old men were just not appealing to me. And I worked for DoD, so I met plenty of them, and I just had no interest in them. I wonder if it was because I just felt older. I do remember thinking to myself when one flirted with me that I did not want to put another man through mid life crisis. (Note: I don’t believe in MLC as an excuse for any bad behavior).

              • Dear Susie Lee,

                I did state that I meant no condemnation of age-gaps in couples, but I feel obliged to an apology to you, since our interaction here in this forum and reading about your story in my lurking days have helped me and inspired me so much.

                I want to say I have the utmost respect for your journey and am glad you’ve got to replenish your amazing life with trust and love (in this order, as you said) once again, after this dreadful experience we wish no one had been through. Maybe one day I will find someone to trust and love again too, time will tell. It just doesn’t look like that now.

                About age-gaps, non-fuckwit people have their personality already solidified by their forties, so I really don’t think 10 or 20 (or 30, who am I to say?) years make much of a difference in this setting.

                I was talking about adult people (like my father) who target very young potential partners. And was trying to light-heartedly mock my FW XW’s current victim (not that he deserves to be victimized by her, I really have some sympathy for him). But being in a somewhat bad mood yesterday I think I may have come across as disrespectful and ask your forgiveness.

                Love to read your comments and to have the honour to interact with you every now and then. Best regards!

            • “I think of myself as unsuitable for anyone my own age after all the shit I’ve been through,” I feel like I’m a hundred years old and have nothing in common with other people. If I we’re to explain to someone just some of what I’ve been through with Cheater they would think I was making it up and run. Can’t say that I’d blame them.

              I was once optimistic and believed most everyone was trustworthy and had a conscious. When my life imploded so did the belief that people thought like I did.
              People I trusted were my friends, neighbors who I had taken care of when they were sick, had over for dinner, babysat their children turned on me.
              A couple weeks after Dday neighbors were telling me I needed to move on. Cheater has moved on, why can’t you? They were having him over for dinner, inviting him to go places with them on weekends. That was he beginning of feeling like an outcast.
              Although now I feel that it was the trash taking itself out.
              They’re not my tribe. =)

              • For BrazilianChump,

                I took no offense at all. Just musing. Like you I want chumps to be open to a new life with or without another partner.

                It is tempting in that time to put a wall up, and for a while maybe that is good. I just don’t want these cheating liars to steal our whole lives after stealing so much of our time already

                Yep when you are 18 or 20s, ten or twenty years can make a huge difference, as you get into your 40s and fifties it doesn’t as much. Unless it is a huge gap, and in that case there will be some health issues; which if both parties are free and recognize, can work.

    • My brother who is FW told his wife, that the flirty text messages I saw was a conversation I snooped on between him and her, his wife. He renamed her name to something else, so I thought he was cheating. He laid the groundwork in case I tell on him. I laughed and realised he’s not very bright. What a stupid excuse.

      Context: I went to brothers house until I could find a place to stay after my DDay3 and discovered his secret life. Brother is now divorcing her, blaming her, playing mind games with the whole family. She spoke to me and I confirmed all her suspicious, didn’t have to say much. I hope she gets out safely, my brother seems to be malignant narc and more dangerous than my FW. Also bro FW and ex FW are still buddies. I’m no contact with both of them.

  • I only cheated and had a second baby with my side whore because you accused me of cheating.

  • Oh I have so many:

    “I thought we were in an open marriage” because early in our dating days before we were serious we had been on dates with other people.
    “I thought you knew.” How? What with all the explicit secrecy… “I mentioned their names to you.” Oh so I’m supposed to wonder if ever female you talk to is an affair partner?
    “I thought you didn’t want to have sex with me.” There’s like no evidence whatsoever for this and in fact a lot of evidence for the opposite so I have to assume this is projecting?
    “It was just a phase.” That lasted for a decade?
    “It didn’t take up much time in my life.” The serial cheating did however take a way a lot of time that he could have had for us and our lives.
    Pre-emptive on the manscaping, “It’s cleaner.”

    • Of course, there’s also the straight up denial when confronted with all his half dressed selfies. “There’s only one.” I describe the ten or more I saw…

    • I also got “It didn’t take much time.” Which, aside from whatever it says about his lovemaking skills, is mind melting. Apparently, fucking you over is a time management issue. Like he read the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and should get a gold star for multi-tasking.

        • yes, I got that excuse that he never took time away from us, he only did it when I was busy working a 2nd job or chaperoning a school band event or out with my friends. As if that made it ok.

          And when I was out with my friends it’s because we were running, or having a feminist empowerment movie night.

        • 5 years later and that one still twists me in knots. The theft of time and energy from our family….what we could have been and done….what my kids could have done with 2 involved parents, we always felt like there was something wrong with us because we couldn’t get it together like other people.

            • “The theft of time and energy from our family….what we could have been and done…”

              It is hard to get past, that is for sure.

              Had I known even a few years earlier that he was not committed to our marriage. The laughs, the fun, the sex was all pretend for him. Had I known there was a third person in my marriage; I would have made different decisions.

              I would have gone full time to work, I would have taken more college classes, I would have known that I needed to make decisions on the possible demise of my marriage; even if I had decided to keep working on the marriage.

              But, reality is he didn’t want that. He needed me supporting his dreams while he quietly determined if he wanted to stay or leave. He needed me stable and making decisions based on what he told me, not what was real.

              Again, it is so hard to get over that.

              But, we do and some of the scars remain.

              • That still kills me to this day. My ex convinced me it was ok for me to stop working – he made enough money and he wanted me to be happy. So, I did stop working for four years. Meanwhile, he was testing out affair partner.

                It’s the most cowardly of cowardly to keep your long-term spouse and best friend in the dark. He could have subtly hinted that I should get a job again. He could have not let us sell the house I loved so much to move to another state for him. He could have not let me waste so much effort in designing a new house that I’d never live in. He could have not let us adopt a dog that I would later have to take care of with limited resources. But, nope…he kept his secret and then just abandoned me with nothing. Removed me from his health insurance without telling me. No home, no job, no familiarity with the area in which he left me, no friends, not a primary care physician, nothing.

                At least I now know who he really is and to keep away!!!

          • I agree this is the most infuriating. He mostly ignored the kids until he left. Now he finally acts like dad and suddenly cares about their activities, actually has to do homework with them, etc. The fact that he steps up when he HAS to, but never stepped up before ???? Imagine if he had given a FRACTION of the time he gave to schmoopie for the last decade to our kids instead. I don’t even care about the image management, I care that he was neglecting the kids in favor of a double life.

          • This, too.

            ANNNNNNDDDDD, the award for most optimistic spin on the tirades and projection: “He MUST still CARE!”, “He is just so tired (from not working, caretaking, adulting….)…”, “I just know if I get X right THIS time, it will go back to the way it was”. What a fucking chump.

            With the ever present: I didn’t want to have sex with YOU, she did things you have to pay for, AND it didn’t take that much time. Sigh.

            CL–I do love me some “Atomic Habits” and “7 Habits”. I fully concur that mine (and yours apparently) received said gold stars and high-fives.

            #good riddance

          • “we always felt like there was something wrong with us because we couldn’t get it together like other people.”

            I felt like this often too.
            Id constantly ask for his help & support with housework but he’d look at me blankly. I ask why getting a coffee would take 2 hours etc
            Lies upon lies.

          • My cheater somehow squandered around $100,000 in the pursuit of his AP, then came to me wanting ME to declare bankruptcy to salvage the family finances. At that point, I already knew what was going on, but he did not know I knew, so I forced him to withdraw the necessary funds from his retirement IRA. His family lived three hours drive away, and he wanted ME to ruin MY family name and my personal reputation by filing bankruptcy…He got on his knees and said, tearfully, “I’m really worried about our financial situation”…. OUR situation? I don’t think so.

      • Ah yes the gaslighting of it’s not that bad it didn’t even take up that much of my time…..

        “It only happened a few times and in total was less than 1 hour.”

        Really? 4OW * 2each = 8 times/60 minutes = ~7.5 minutes each.

        Well I guess in that case it’s all just fine! What a fucking moron of a FW. As if this wasn’t the biggest waste of my word problem math skills ever!

        • “In total it was less than an hour”! What in actual hell. What’s the big deal, right! OMG. My ex said something similar–“We really only had sex once in 2 years.” Wow 2-year affair with a masseuse and apparently they just talked while he was naked in her massage clinic.

          • In addition to all of their other special skills, they have their own unique counting calculus. My FW told me some random shit like “The UPS guys would be laughing at me for getting so little action!” What in the actual fuck does that even mean? Oh that’s right – I don’t care. Here’s the thing:

            1 million lies * 4 OW * eleventeen thousand gaslights + 20,000 drinks + loads of weed + some recre OW meds + 1 erotic massage parlor (and that wasn’t even his fault, she attacked him!) / 12 years = 1 less unicorn caretaker

            • “12 years = 1 less unicorn caretaker”

              ???????????? That’s brilliant. xx

      • That’s hilarious. My FW was always bragging about his multitasking abilities too, now I know what it really means!


        • Mine too! I’ve never looked at this brag through the double life angle… I just assumed she thought she could get away with doing a half-ass job with many tasks at the same time. ????

          Concentration and thoroughness were never her forte. One task at a time is sooooo boooooring! ☹

          Thanks FuckThatShit, it all makes a lot more sense now ????????????

          • ExFW was the same! Always had to multitask because doing just one thing was too boring. He just couldn’t be bothered to do anything properly. I should have figured out waaayyy earlier that included being married and get the hell out…

            They’re all walking around like they’re geniuses, that is just too funny!

    • “I NEVER let it (7 year affair) affect our marriage in any way!” (years of verbal, emotional abuse)
      “I never lost sight of my love for you”
      “I was just trying to claw my way back to you” (claims OW was blackmailing him into staying with her)

      • Yeah, mine claimed OW was scary and a stalker and practically raped him, and also threatened him with suicide. That he knew she was a
        mistake almost instantly and wanted nothing to do with her. Well, the emails, texts and voicemails from that time tell an equally sick pathetic, but very different, story. He was not innocent, and he was not unwilling. If they agreed to end it (“I’m going to sacrifice my life to B&R’s happiness,” essentially), he’d write the next day, “I can’t bear thinking of you with another man. I miss you!” It never stopped, but n fact – the random communications (and who knows what else) all those years. She wasn’t even the OW I originally learned about, who he’d been “with” the most recently.

        Within a week of me leaving, he and the stalker had reconnected. I doubt anyone knows the truth about who she is and what they did – which is yet another reason why I now live two states away.

    • OMG I thought we were open with no discussion!! YES that is me! How crazy. Then he would say I met so and so and I was like who??

    • >“I thought we were in an open marriage” because early in our dating days before we were serious we had been on dates with other people.

      This one hit hard. I got: “You’re overreacting. You and I were never together and I don’t owe you anything. You’re taking this [infidelity] too seriously.”

      Uh, no kidding?? We were dating and he’d just told me he loved me and asked me to move across the country for him. Not only was he cheating, but I found out later he’d been hiding a whole ass fiancée from me.

      • My heart hurts for you. I’m jumping to conclusions about your age. You sound young. What a horrible thing to experience when you’re building such a deep relationship.

        You’re not “lucky” you weren’t married to him — and at the same time, this is a dark gift. This painful disaster opened your eyes.

        It is going to be hard as all get out to really get to a place where you feel you can trust people deeply again. That’s how it is now. I know because I’m not really there yet and it has been…6 years. I was with my wasband 20 years. I don’t regret it – I have great kids. You’re in a position now to look through clear lenses about people going forward to some extent — we can never know exactly what goes on with others in their hearts.

        If you feel like you need it, get a therapist to help. Lean on friends. You have got this.

      • This happened to me too. I found out much later that he was already engaged when he met me; yet he flat out denied even being involved with anyone else whenever I asked, which was several times over the year we were together. And during that time, he went on a trip supposedly to visit family, in which I found out much later that he had married her. Then came home to me after the honeymoon, saying nothing about what he had done, and he continued enthusiastically with our supposedly exclusive live-in relationship.

        Here are some of his gas-lighting gems:
        “I won’t be able to phone you and maybe not email you either (on what turned out to be the wedding trip) because the phone reception in (European country) isn’t reliable.”
        ” I didn’t have time to phone or email you (on weekend business trip within the USA) because as a consultant, they are paying me a lot to be available to the clients early from breakfast until I fall asleep” (yeah, he just wanted to give full service!).
        He also had a cell phone charger that magically either stopped working properly or got lost every time he went on a weekend business trip, and for some reason, there was never a handy place to buy, or a colleague from whom to borrow, a new one–and this from a guy that was constantly buying ALL the newest and fanciest gadgets for phone and computer.

        He always had an excuse not to show me pictures of him from previous years other than work pictures, saying he had very few and that they were “in storage”; yet he was the kind of person who was constantly taking digital pictures of pretty much everything he did. He put almost no information on his facebook page other than where he worked and where he was born, supposedly because he valued his “privacy”. It still doesn’t have his relationship status as married, so he is probably still philandering and lying to both women about it.

        Here is some of his DARVO/entitled bullshit:

        “I thought I was only going to be here a couple of weeks while I was job-hunting, and I was having doubts about getting married to her but I couldn’t bring myself to tell her because she was spending so much money on the wedding. So I figured it would just be a short affair with you, and if you never found out about eachother, what harm could it do?”

        When I found a bag of used sex toys in his car as I was putting groceries in the trunk: “those are from a former relationship, I meant to get rid of them, I just left them in the car because you are snoopy and might have found them in my room”. (yeah, he was going to donate them to the animal rescue league?)

        • Tech failures are so useful as an excuse. When he was running scared of the financial stuff, I got ‘I was in New York and couldn’t access email’. Or he’d commonly be somewhere ‘remote, with no wifi’ when my solicitor needed a response from him. It was primarily intended to make me think he was off being a hot shot lawyer or off with exgfOW on an exotic holiday. In fact it just made me laugh and validated my opinion that he’s a liar and a fool. It is also comforting that she is the beneficiary of his lies and foolishness. He hates being laughed at so I enjoy chuckling at his expense having exhausted the tears over the last 2 years.

          • It’s a thing. There are many of us who have found ourselves holding a bag of dicks. It’s definitely a thing. A gross thing for sure, but definitely a thing.

    • I also heard, “I thought you wouldn’t care,” from the first cheating ex-husband.

      “What made you think I wouldn’t care?”

      “Well, we never talked about it.”

      So all of the discussions about being exclusive, how my family was a bunch of cheaters and I didn’t want any part of that, how cheating was a deal breaker AND the discussion about faithfulness in our pre-Cana classes didn’t count.

      Turns out not. Didn’t count. Oh, and he was fucking the nun who led those pre-Cana classes.

  • Wow, there are just too many but I think the ones that get me the most were:
    1. Menopause and hot flashes are just an excuse. It is not a real thing.
    2. You care more about our son than you do me (yep, staying home with a sick kid is fun, supporting your kid through all the growing years is not a responsibility)
    3. You care more about your job than anything (no but it is nice to have two incomes)
    4. You have destroyed me (a little DARVO here)
    5. You are mentally unstable because you know that everyone does (fill in the blank)
    6. Schmoopie is my friend and you don’t want me to have friends
    I think the classic one now is where in going through asset division, he tries to point out that I am crazy to our attorneys when I am solid grey rock. I have not responded with more than “I have to check with my Financial person”, “agree” or “don’t agree with that”. He gets no engagement from me because I am not allowing him to push my buttons. I suspect he is suffering from kibble withdrawal.

    • I also got “You cared more about our son than you did about me!”

      Gee, really? Hey I am so sorry I spent all of that time breastfeeding him and holding him and caring for him when he was a newborn, and then through infant and toddler and all the way through all of those years. And after having been absent and cheating and lying all those years, I am now regularly lectured by FW about how he is worried about my mental health – this after he decided to drop numerous self-disclosure bombs on me out of nowhere at the start of the pandemic – and our son’s secure attachment to me.
      Narcs are experts at DARVO. They are the eternal victims.

      • It just seemed that he was like jealous of our son.I know it sounds weird but that is how I felt. They are so helpless when they are babies, need to be watched constantly as toddlers, then came activities, then being a teenager and by the time he was able to drive it lessened a lot. Now he is out of college and has been in the Navy for four years. He was not a mama’s boy but FW was not always there for all the activities, events and so forth. He is an adult now and doing well. He found out about FW and has no contact now which of course is my fault. I am NC but FW tries to bring his grievances through the lawyers. Annoying but I no longer question myself about his shit.

        • Their narcissism and entitlement is so much a part of who they are that yes they are in fact jealous of anyone who takes the attention off of them, even if it is their own newborn baby. As CL says: they suck. They suck the life out of everyone. They suck at showing up. They suck at being present. They have no empathy and are emotionally dead to anything but their own feelings. The only things they don’t suck at is the things they care about: their image management, their sexual satisfaction, self-aggrandizement, and getting away with secrets and lies because it makes them feel so powerful. After all, deceiving an idiot would be so easy and so wouldn’t give them the rush that they need. I am not stupid, which is why it was so fun for him to chump me.
          THEY SUCK.

          • My ex was jealous of our baby. His abuse really ramped up after our son was born. He was angry that I spent so much time taking care of the baby (a NEWBORN). Years later when both he and our young son got sick at the same time, he got really pissed that I took better care of the sick child than I did of him! Geez. I might add that he NEVER took care of me when I was sick. Not when I had a severe injury from childbirth. Not when I had post partum depression. Not when I got a lung infection that nearly killed me (very similar to tuberculosis, though not contagious). Not when I had a severe cold or the stomach flu. All I got was his anger that I couldn’t do the things he wanted me to (like clean or have sex with him or work) or told to stay away from him because I was gross and he didn’t want to get sick. He called me a ball and chain around his ankle, a dead weight, lazy, said I was exaggerating my symptoms as an excuse, etc., etc. He resented having to “carry” me financially. I dealt with constant verbal abuse. It was so bad that at one point I told him I wished I hadn’t gotten treatment for my lungs and had just let myself die. (Yet when HE had surgery, he demanded to be waited on hand and foot and milked that shit for MONTHS. And he expected me to pay his bills, even though we were separated and he was all but living with OW.) Looking back, I can’t believe I didn’t leave him years earlier.

            After we split, he pawned the kid off on me on “his” days any time he felt the least bit sick or tired (or wanted a weekend with the howorker). I NEVER refused my time with our son, even if I was under the weather.. It’s called parenting. I kept careful records of all the times he refused to take our son (sometimes requiring me to miss work – and he’d threaten to leave our son with OW if I didn’t, which he knew I’d go out of my way to avoid since she is horrible), and it served me well when we came before the magistrate.

        • “It just seemed that he was like jealous of our son.I know it sounds weird but that is how I felt.”

          No, it doesn’t sound weird at all, I think you’re spot on, CFANM. I felt the same at times regarding my XW and our kids. And she told me once that she got into the affair because she thought I didn’t need her anymore and the kids and my job would provide me with happiness. She was right, albeit lying.

          • BrazilianChump, I know these people cannot stand anyone getting attention other than them but it would never occur to me to be like that. Guess that is what made a me a good chump. I just remember how tiring it was to have a newborn, work full time and do all the cooking and cleaning. I was always exhausted. Kids take up a lot of time and energy and I was determined to be a great mother like my mom was. My dad was pretty great too but my mom was actually a homemaker. I never remember my dad chiding my mother about giving me or my brother too much attention. It seems unnatural.
            Although I worked, I tried to be there for my son and cheer him on at sports, academics and what not but it really takes two parents to be fully engaged. I am just glad my son appreciates everything I have done and still do him. Although he is almost 26 and in the Navy, he still gets excited when I send him packages with his favorite stuff in them (okay junk food and assorted stuff from his grandparents). I am just happy that soon I will be FW free and can redirect some of my energy to my volunteer work.

            • “It seems unnatural.” – it is.

              “Although he is almost 26 and in the Navy, he still gets excited when I send him packages with his favorite stuff in them” – ????

              ” I am just happy that soon I will be FW free” – ????????

      • This. They are jealous of their own children. Our young teen didn’t want to go to bed on time and got salty about it, and FW said to me “You wouldn’t let any other man talk to you like that.” I was so creeped out. Like, yeah, he’s a child not a man, and I’m his mom not his partner, and it’s normal that teens are disrespectful and want to stay up all night playing video games? Also, all the kid said was “No! I won’t go to bed! I’m not tired!” not anything abusive. A FW’s issues permeate every relationship they have.

        • It’s also so gross when they stand up for or get defensive/ protective of you, when in reality they are the worst transgressors and don’t give a shit about you. I hate thinking about this. It’s so confusing for the chump and for everyone else who also get sucked into the story that the cheater dotes on and would give their life for the chump.

          • Oh yeah, he just told me again the other day the same thing he always used to say: “I just want you to be happy.” Sure buddy, well you didn’t when I was a heap on the floor and that’s when it mattered.

            • Or… ever. I heard that so many times, too. I really did genuinely want my ex to be happy, so much so that I put him first in every way. I don’t think I *ever* uttered the words, “I just want you to be happy.” CERTAINLY not to justify my poor behavior or invalidate his feelings.

              • And, come to think of it, cheaters don’t respect or care about chumps’ health, security, sanity…

                Our happiness is not even on the radar. If anything, though I will avoid the skein, they are sadistic and want the opposite. I honestly don’t know if they care or plan enough to want that, but I do have a bad habit of misunderestimating fuckwits.

      • Cheater ex once asked me “if we were on the ocean and needed to get on a lifeboat, would you save me or the kids?”
        I answered honestly that I would save the kids and if I also had to go, then I would. Who WOULDN’T sacrifice their own life for their children?
        But he brought that up decades later as some kind of reason why he cheated on me relentlessly.
        Okay, but you cheated for many years before that so I call bullshit.
        And I also call bullshit on any other “reason” cheaters have. If they have enough “reasons” to cheat and feel justified, then why all the lies and secrecy?
        And if they’re so butt-hurt, then why not have a conversation with their partner to resolve their issues?
        The answer is that they are inadequate pieces of shit.

        • What a load he pulled.

          Any decent human knows children are always saved first. Unless he is totally messed up, had you asked him the same question he would have answered the same way.

          And yes it is odd that we are all so awful we deserve being cheated on, but we aren’t awful to divorce before cheating. How convenient.

          And exactly what marriage issue does dipping your wick in strange fix. Not one of them.

          My ex cheated for in his own words ten years. If he had come to me and said Susie, you just aren’t cutting the mustard; I am going to seek a Divorce; but of course I will make sure to pay child support and I will help you for a year or so until you get on your feet; I would have of course been hurt, but I wouldn’t have tried to stop him.

          I didn’t try to stop him after he had been cheating ten years. I secured a lawyer to take care of me; but I never once begged, or even ask him to reconsider.

          He came back once and he was the one that initiated it. I kicked him out after a week. He also hoovered three other times after that, but after the first mistake of “trying again” I said nope.

          No they don’t leave because for their own good they aren’t ready to leave. When they are ready; they have no issue drop kicking us over night.

    • Yup. He didn’t help care for our son one bit. Didn’t get up and change a diaper one time. Has never been up with him when sick or cleaned vomit. Couldn’t cook dinner. Fuckwit did the laundry because he wouldn’t let me probably because I would smell skank on his clothes he always changed as soon as he got home. But I washed all the loads of diapers. And my son and I are close and he is jealous and has accused me of trying to exclude him. The nerve of him to say I cared more for our son than him when I was the ONLY one caring for our son.

      And yes… he is “just friends” with all these OW. I didn’t want him to have friends. I asked why he didn’t have any male friends. No answer.

    • I got the whole “we’re just friends” thing when I found him texting a 17-year-old girl. He was 50 years old at the time. I told him, “Fifty-year-old guys CANNOT be friends with 17-year-old girls!” When you hear yourself say that line, it’s time to leave.

  • Is it possible to gaslight oneself? My ex told me (after D day) his whole plan to simply replace me with schmoopie. In their thinking, I would tuck my tail between my legs and step aside from my life with my three kids and schmoopie would be the new mom and wife. I asked him what I was supposed to do and he said, “I don’t know. Get an identity?” When it became shockingly clear to him and schmoopie that they weren’t actually going to control the narrative, he called me a sore loser.

    Epilogue: As soon as I got out of their way (with kids in tow), ex and schmoopie crashed and burned. Ex spiraled and ended up in rehab for alcoholism. Which is what he blames his monstrous actions on, I’m sure.

    • I got the exact thing. The plan according to him was “we would divorce, I wouldn’t say why, he would pretend it was really hard. Then after 5 months he would introduce everyone to her and everyone would be happy for him. And she could take our daughter to get their nails done together”. Long story short, it didn’t turn out that way.

      • What is wrong with their brains that they miscalculate so phenomenally! Where does that ego come from? The totally loss of touch with reality. JustDone, I’m glad you fought. Stay mighty!

        • I have no words, but I agree with this 100% They really, really lose touch with reality.

          • I think it’s because for so many of them, their reality *is* fantasy.

            After Dday, and I’d kicked out the shit bag, I was going through a load of his stuff to pack up for him to collect. I came across a sheaf of emails he’d sent to his estranged daughter. One of them described how he’d done a parachute jump over Wembley Stadium, the parachute failed, and “I broke every bone in my body”. Needless to say, it never happened. ????????????

              • ????????
                Yep. The thing was, and which most struck me, if that had actually happened, wouldn’t there have been a huge media phantasmagoria about this event? ????????????

            • Spectacular or dramatic things that never happened or at least no one other than the FW has the faintest recollection of… tell me about that!

            • Mine was a marine and told the shrink that he was traumatised from seeing people killed right in front of him. He never saw a war zone, did Embassy duty and the most traumatic thing that ever happened to him was getting pulled over in the bus lane in Switzerland!

              • Ex fuckwit was a para. He told me he was seconded to the SAS and was in on the Iranian embassy thing.

                My brother, in the CTU, told me he’d met quite a few SAS in the course of his work, and said the last thing they would ever do is talk about it. They just *don’t*.

              • I had a FW like that
                Same lines, never saw action
                Accompanied with large crocodile tears….

        • Sick bastards both of them, Elkay and JustDone.

          Mine I think expected me to have a psychological breakdown and either get commited, hurt her and go to jail, kill myself or confront and get killed by her AP, anything would do.

          They have everything figured out, they’re geniuses, these delusional fuckers!

          • They really do think they have it figured out, and if you don’t follow suit, watch out.

            My fw said he figured I would move to Texas near my dad. I said “why on earth would I do that, my job and life are here”. He just had it figured in his deranged mind that I would fall apart and not be able to function without someone to watch over me.

            Fooled that ass wipe, I did way better than he did; and he was the one who moved out of town in shame.

            I did move to another state several years later, (not Texas) but that was a job transfer that was beneficial to me.

        • I really do think most of them at some point lose touch with reality. I honestly believe my fw thought that though he was leaving me for another woman, had admitted he “dated” for half of our marriage, had stolen thousands of dollars in funds to romance the whore; that I would continue to do the D procedure as he had it planned out.

          I think he also honestly thought he could get his workplace situation under control, pull another con and get to keep all his ill gotten gains at my expense. I think for a short while he really thought he could pull it off.

          I think going to the dark side is a step by step process, and first the toe is dipped in, they they go all out and for a while it is wonderful, then the walls start to move inward and they go stark raving nuts.

          It makes no sense otherwise.

          • “I think going to the dark side is a step by step process, and first the toe is dipped in, they they go all out and for a while it is wonderful, then the walls start to move inward and they go stark raving nuts.”

            I does seem things go this way.

            For a while I thought FW had graduated from the stark raving nuts stage to a better, calmer place, but she seems to never hit the bottom.

      • My ex did a family tree school project with one of my son’s and I wasn’t even on it.

        • This one gets the prize! I choked laughing!

          I have accused my adult kids of helping him carefully clip around my face in the family photos and to add in her ugly mug. 40 years married. 3 months after the divorce is final he marries her. Sometimes I get hit hard with the reality that it’s a wonder he didn’t just murder me and hide the body.

          There HAVE to be people scratching their heads, saying, wait…..that’s not the same one….is it? He parades her around like nothing has changed. They live in bizarro world.

          I sometimes giggle to myself thinking how his mother (who was always a pain in my behind but I was always good to her and tried, 40 years!)….she’s in a dementia ward now. Hope she still asks, “Who is this?” everytime….haha!

        • The Immaculate Conception of your pregnant virgin husband. Happens all the time!

      • Yep I got that one. I was meant to tell everyone we had a rough marriage and the split was mutual. He lies low with OW for a month or two and then voilà! He emerges with his newer, better, younger woman who gives him the S&M lifestyle he always wanted. Yay! We would all be so happy for them-I would embrace the new woman as my friend and my daughter would join them in their happiness and they would go on to have kids together (he pointed out kindly that at 50 I was past it) and they would be the awesome family all together. ???? You can’t make this shit up.

      • I am sure that was the plan for fw. His problem is, someone dropped a dime on him and filed an ethics complaint.

        However, once they moved out of the area, I am sure they got real creative on just how his first marriage ended; especially when he was trying to become a preacher. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t divorce himself so in pretty short order he pissed everyone off at the church, and the preacher asked him to find another church.

        I only found this out recently when my son/daughter in law were telling me of some of the crap his dad and whore pulled.

    • Oh yes they love to blame their addiction to alcohol. Except the profundity of the problems really become glaringly apparent when the sobriety doesn’t do a damn thing to change the narcissistic entitlement and default to lying.

      • Exactly. Sobriety has had astoundingly few notable effects on his overall lifestyle/treatment of others/general air of hating everything and everyone.

        • And do not even get me started on the AA mindfuckery of the chapter to the wives…….. FW told me to read it so that I would “understand.” Seriously? That is the biggest bunch of bullshit excuses for their horrible behavior and a condescending mindfuck to keep all of the chumps busy speckling and grooming the unicorns. No thanks.

          • The Big Blue Book was written in the 1950s, wasn’t it ?! Time for a new edition.

          • It wasn’t even written by the wife, as is claimed in the book. It’s just more gaslighting.

      • When my ex became cold and hard and detached after he became “sober,” I attributed the change to his sobriety. He even grew physically hard and sharp. FW reeeally played it up, and he scrupulously took advantage of me – letting me leave my job and apartment (he had a cabin in the woods through work and had beefed me to join him – but then he needed space for recovery) to care for his hospitalized mom and caretake her house and animals while he was in the woods fucking a young intern.

        There I was, worrying about how hard the change must be for him, and I was so understanding and supportive that I gave him all the time and space he needed, at the same time taking care of everything and being there at the drop of a hat whenever he needed me. Researched recovery and how to help, tried al-anon, sent him a Bissell Van see Kolk podcast trauma… God, it’s mortifying. I was hanging on by a thread, but I didn’t matter. All that mattered was him. It went on like that for years, with that OW and others. I don’t think I’ve felt truly safe, happy and relaxed since his rock bottom, turned cruel sobriety… then everything that followed, and now pandemic uncertainty and isolation. It’s so tiring and lonely, but at least now, away from the root of the problem, I think I stand a chance at settling down and feeling “normal” and safe again some day.

    • Elkay, this is exactly what happened to me. I would go, she would keep the house, the kids, and all the things and the creep affair partner would simply replace me. Well, she kept the house and all the things. She had wrecked it anyway. She would pull things apart after watching a home improvement show, but then never get to the improvement part. She had destroyed any equity in the house with credit card debt with nothing to show for it. I now think she might have been gambling. I was too busy working and doing all the childcare and housework, shopping, cooking, to repair her damage. She was a stay-at-home mom who did nothing all day. I kept my pension. Kids were 50/50 by law.

      • That’s a lot to carry, thingsthatmakemegrumpy. I hope you can breathe more easily without her chaos to manage and your pension secure.

    • OMG. The EX was so like this too! He didn’t have a Schmoopie at the time (since he was into prostitutes, not girlfriends), but his plan was that he that we would all stay living together, and I would keep doing his laundry and cleaning, and we would put on a front of still being married at church so no one would just him, but we would get divorced secretly so that I would stop nagging him about the prostitutes. I said no. His next plan was that he would get an apartment nearby where he could have prostitutes as much as he wanted, but he would come and go as he pleased from the house, have dinner with me and the kids, and spend holidays with us. He even pointed out enthusiastically that he already had a housekey, so it would be “easy.” Because, you know, the difficult issue here is key replication.

      What an idiot. Now I live hundreds of miles away and the two of the three kids don’t even speak to him.

    • Wow, I could have written this. It was never explicitly stated, but Ex and Schmoopie definitely thought I’d just quietly disappear. LOL. He definitely hyped her up as “new mom” to our son (UGH!). He was literally replacing me, as I watched OW slowing morph into me (or at least me a few years before) – she started dressing like me, doing her hair like me, cooking my recipes, etc. and he also took her to all “our” places, and did all the same activities with her than he had done with me (movies, concerts, restaurants, vacations). It was truly creepy and surreal. I wasn’t the only one who noticed that OW was turning into me.

      Ex also accused me of having no life, never acknowledging that the reason I didn’t is because he systematically shamed and insulted me for anything I did for myself (hobbies, friends, even what books/music I enjoyed) and demanded all my time, until there really wasn’t any “me” left. I had to start from scratch and rebuild myself after he dumped me for his coworker. When he left, I literally had to look back to what I liked as a teenager and start there in order to find myself again. My life for the last 15 years had centered on him completely. It was hard and took awhile, but I am very happy with who I am now, with a great life.

      I finally also stepped out of the arena when it came to the two of them. I stopped engaging with him, stopped caring what he a schmoopie did, ignored every attempt to bait me. I focused on my own life and walked away from all that (though I didn’t back down when it came to divorce/custody – in fact I fought very hard for what was mine, which enraged him. He didn’t want me to get ANYTHING in the divorce). They also crashed and burned without a mutual enemy to fight. They were both alcoholics with violent tempers. OW tried to commit suicide but he got her to the hospital on time, and she spent some time in a mental ward. And he moved in with her a month or so later. OW eventually left him because she claims he was abusive to her (they lasted all of four weeks in the same house, even though they’d been “dating” for four years; she had NO IDEA what he was like to actually live with. I could have told her, but what do I know? I’m just the bitter ex.). Ex rapidly spiraled out of control and ended up killing himself a few months later. He was completely broke and couldn’t find a way out (he had rented a big, expensive house with Schmoopie and was left holding the bag when she fled). He blamed me for all his money problems (funny, once I separated my finances from his, I had money to burn, paid off all my credit card debt, bought a car, got my own place, etc.). His lawyer dropped him for non-payment. I was winning every battle in our custody dispute. He just fell into despair.

      • ” but Ex and Schmoopie definitely thought I’d just quietly disappear. ”

        Yep it is so common.

        My fw actually had our settlement planned where I would be stuck looking after his mother for the rest of her life, while having to interact with him and whore non stop.

        He was so surprised when that dream fell apart. When I told my lawyer what he wanted (keep in mind I was still dazed and not thinking clearly) He flat out said NO, I can not in good conscience allow that. If that is something you want, you will need to hire another lawyer. Thank God for that young many, he literally saved me from a life of hell.

        I am sure his whore was so excited for the life they thought she was going to step into, that another woman had helped him build. Within a few years they had filed bankruptcy, and were living in a tiny one bedroom apartment. And that was luxury compared to how she is living now.

        There is an old saying behind every successful man is a good woman. Lots of truth to it.

        • Yup. OW had no idea how much of my husband’s “success” was my doing. I was the one who pushed him when he made his first film to do it right, and I financed the equipment we needed. without that first film, he wouldn’t have made the second one, nor would he have gotten the job that he held for many years, nor the job after that. And certainly she had no idea how much of the burden of managing finances/household fell on me. Once I was gone, he fell apart in many ways. It enraged me that she just got to step into a life that *I* had helped him build, without having had to put in the blood, sweat, and tears it took to get there. My husband was a penniless waiter when I met him. She “fell in love” with a successful man, who owned a house and a car and had a good job and some success in his creative endeavors. NONE of which he would have achieved without me. SHE never had to scrape his depressed ass off the floor and get him going again. She eventually wised up and I hope realized that he was very different from how he presented himself to her.

  • I got the classic; the box of condoms in my luggage after a business trip was for masturbating…

    • After dday I discovered she had had an IUD fitted which she said was to help with menopausal symptoms. Turns out is was prescribed at the beginning of her 3 year affair with an ashley madison rando. She said she always used condoms. I suppose it’s just about possible so I didnt push it.

    • OMG, I got this too, after I found a wrapper in the dryer. “Well, I’d just put lotion on my hands, and….” (he had terrible eczema on his hands. I literally can’t believe that I actually bought that excuse.

  • The miraculous appearance of a whole drawer of new underwear, all from a brand famously worn by gay guys who want to look good with most of their clothes off:
    “Well, its good to have well made underwear. The cheap stuff wears out quickly.”
    “I need briefs, not boxers so that my legs don’t get spotty.”

    Staying late at work all day every day:
    “It was really busy, I’m a bit out of my depth and I don’t get much support from my bosses.”

    Becoming more withdrawn and distant:
    “I think we need an open relationship if we’re going to survive. Don’t worry, I’m not going to fall in love with these people!”

    Response to me reassuring him that dropping a pizza on the floor didn’t matter:
    “I don’t have the emotional energy for this!”

    Response to me asking if there was someone else:
    “Why is that important?”

    Challenged on lying and manipulative behaviour after the inadvertent admission of cheating:
    “I never lied to you, I just didn’t reveal certain things, which is very different.”

    Response to solicitors letter requesting the return of a key after being locked out of my own house:
    “You client became threatening and aggressive, hitting out at a piece of furniture. My client does not feel safe knowing your client could access the property without notice. Your client also stole the shared dog from the house.”

    Final direct message sent by him in response to a letter before action sent to him by my solicitor:
    “I’m sorry for the way things happened. We haven’t spoken in months. What do you say we sort this out one on one?”

    The list goes on.

    • Oh, the gay underwear. I got that one too. He actually had the nerve to tell me that he thought he was buying his usual tightie whities and didn’t realize they were skimpy bikinis in bold colors and prints. When that didn’t work, he claimed they were on sale, in his size, and didn’t care what they looked like.

      Even though I knew he was lying I actually went to Target late at night to look for the package the bikinis came in. When I saw them I burst into tears and, as a young clerk tried to comfort me, I spilled the whole story about how I suspected my husband was gay.

      • Was he gay? Not that cheating with men is any more acceptable.

        Mine (heterosexual) got me to buy him boxer/briefs in bold colors because he “needed the support” of briefs and “the ventilation” of boxers. And bold colors hide the stains . . . I can’t believe I bought him all new underwear so he’d look better with his pants off. And I didn’t even use marital funds.

        The ex who was cheating with men wore tighty whities.

    • Response to me asking if there was someone else:
      “Why is that important?”

      SAME. When I asked if he had been seeing other women, the answer I got was, “What’s that got to do with anything?”

      • I got, towards the end of our marriage, “I don’t think that’s any of your business.” The same answer I got, by the way, when I asked him exactly how much credit card debt he had.

        • It’s a yes or no question, not giving you a straight answer is your answer.
          It’s lying by diversion.
          Translates to yes.

          When I asked if cheater was seeing someone,
          I got, “I’m not that kind of guy.”
          Translation: I’m not that kind of guy at this moment. not the kind of guy that you know of.
          I’m that kind of guy when I’m on a business trip.

    • I could tell when he was traveling for work if he was planning on getting any action. He would pack boxers with bold colors and patterns. Silky boxers. He was in the military and wearing uniform at meetings when he went. And nobody needs to change their undies at the end of a work day. He would wear standard cheap briefs with his uniform and boxers for the ladies.

  • ‘I was doing it for you! I thought it would relieve some pressure on you! I picked someone I thought you wouldn’t be threatened by! I lied because I love you so much! I didn’t want to hurt you so I kept it hidden!’

    Etc. Etc.


    • Yeah, he was having sex with other women because ‘I wasn’t as into it.’ Which is totally and complete bs in all ways. But thanks a lot fw.

  • My ex told me the reason we rarely had sex was because we were “always fighting” and that he could just tell I wasn’t in the mood. I don’t remember how many times I told him he wasn’t a mind-reader but he would scoff at that. As for the fighting, I don’t remember all those supposed fights. When I started seeing through his BS I realized that he would pick fights, usually just about minor things, and that gave him an out.
    Unfortunately, it took me decades to realize that he was a very covert narcissist and as well as gay. He wasn’t having sex with me because I was a woman.

    • They’ll say anything. If you hadn’t fought you’d be blamed for that too: my XW told me that she knew I didn’t really love her because we never fought. And then she told the kids that she and AP had true love because they screamed at each other. Just to be clear: AP is a screamer. He screamed at his wife and threw things at her. Despite this “evidence” of how much he loved her, he still cheated on her (with *my* XW) and dumped her.

      • My XH told our couples therapist (when we were stupidly trying to reconcile) that we never fought, which was maybe a bad thing. He said we lacked passion. He told me later that AP is capable of saying extremely cruel things to him so I guess they do truly deserve each other.

      • Yep the only complaint fw could muster up about me was I wasn’t a spit shiner housekeeper. I wasn’t, but I also was not a bad housekeeper.

        The fact that after 21 years of me being devoted to him, that was all that he could muster up, I take as a compliment.

        In part because I knew it was bullshit, but also in part because I knew whore make me look like Martha Stewart in comparison of our house keeping.

        Had I been a spit shiner; he would have said I spent too much time worrying about the house and ignored him. In fact that is the very thing he said about his sister. She spent too much time on her house and not enough on the kids.

        We took her kids with us a lot when we did fun stuff, including camping and boating.

        • “I wasn’t a spit shiner housekeeper”

          Yes, this was one of fuckwit’s many complaints about me. Except he phrased it as I was “a lazy cunt, you never clean anything, this house is a mess!”

          Funnily enough, his mother said to him, “chumpnomore6 never sits down! She’s always cleaning!” ????????

          • Yep, I was working a full time job, taking classes at night and still doing his political and civic crap; I should have stayed up all night and shined the baseboards, that would have kept his dick in his pants.

            I honestly don’t get where he came up with that; I visited a lot of friends and with very few exceptions I was as good or better at house keeping than they were.

            The good news is he lived the rest of his life with the whore who was really a mess.

            I remember my son telling me that he saw his dad once get all over her because the canned goods were not properly stored. Son said there were mouse traps on and round furniture, papers all over the place and dishes in the sink etc; but old dad was stressed over the canned goods not lining up.

            It was one of the things my current H who is a sweetie and I had a conversation about before we married. I told him if he was looking for a spit shiner house keeper, keep on looking.

            From the few things my son told me it sounds like his dad got more anal and controlling the older he got. He was bad enough with me, I can’t even imagine…

            • ” I remember my son telling me that he saw his dad once get all over her because the canned goods were not properly stored.”


              Mine had a melt down of Titanic proportions when he found I’d put the fly/wasp spray in the same cupboard as the tinned stuff. He accused me of trying to poison him. ????☠️????

    • Women weren’t my ex-h fw’s type either. It’s a shock when you realize all the mean accusations were just hot air because you could never have a certain body part.

    • Seen Too Much says: “I realized that he would pick fights, usually just about minor things, and that gave him an out.
      Unfortunately, it took me decades to realize that he was a very covert narcissist and as well as gay. He wasn’t having sex with me because I was a woman.”

      Man, does that sound familiar. Second cheating ex-husband was a covert narcissist who would pick fights with me whenever he thought I *might* be wanting sex. Then he’d stomp out of the house to go see his “friends” because I was too angry to be around. It was only after I divorced him that the chance comment from the wife of one of those friends put the pieces all together for me.

  • What always comes to mind is her telling me:

    “I just don’t know how we will go on, if you’re making such a big fuss about me meeting with him.”

    This was shortly after she met the other man. I’ve known her for years and instantly recognized how her behaviour changed. She told me this after having already lied to me countless times and kept everything hidden, which I learned about later. She always framed my reactions as the actual problem. She made me believe that I was crazy and jealous when I expressed my worries about her cuddling with a man she’s only known for 2 weeks while I was away to visit family. Laughable in hindsight.

    Followed by the very clichee:

    “I’m just looking for a friend. Nobody will come between us. You don’t have to worry about him.”

    Cut to her breaking up with me one month later and starting dating him. I still sometimes struggle with me being very chumpy and clingy at the end of the relationship. But I try to remind myself that it was a natural reaction to the mindfuckery back then and that I know better now.

    The thing with her is… is honestly think she lacks the self-reflection to be aware of her gaslighting. Her new lover is free to experience it for himself.

    • Not to forget the great and often times repeated: “I didn’t tell you because I didn’t want to hurt you! I care so much about you!”


      • I got “I didn’t tell you because you’d get angry with me and I don’t like it when you’re angry.” Well no shit Sherlock!

          • Oooo… I got a variation of this mind bender after d day when he was worried I’d make a scene: “She didn’t think I should tell you because she doesn’t like drama”.

            I replied “if she doesn’t like drama, maybe don’t fuck married men?”

            [Oh and he didn’t tell me about the affair (because of course not) I found out and confronted.]

    • See my comment immediately above, about being blamed no matter what you do.

      I was blamed by my XW for *not* being jealous enough. She told me if I really loved her I would monitor her more closely and refuse to allow her to travel to work conferences. (where she was conducting her affair(s) – which I guess was her point?)

    • “…always framed my reactions as the actual problem.”
      I got this constantly.
      It did make me feel crazed.
      Hard to read all these. All pretty familiar. ????

  • In case anyone is interested, the origin of the term is from a movie with Ingrid Bergman. He’s deliberately trying to make her believe she’s insane (so he can steal from her). So, gaslighting is more than lying, it’s … “how dare you think that! are you okay? I think you need a psych eval. are you forgetting AGAIN? I guess I have to call a doctor and get you on some pills. no wonder the kids don’t like you.” etc etc etc.

    • Gaslighting is designed to get you to question not only reality but your ability to know what is real. Of course for someone to conclude they are going insane they must be able to reason logically, and people who are in the grip of insanity are not able to reason logically. Gaslighting destabilized us mentally because we are unable to trust our sense of what is real and don’t trust our own minds–which is what our abusive gaslighting spouses count on. If we are off balance, constantly questioning our perceptions and doubting our ability to perceive things clearly, they can act with impunity and defend themselves by pointing to our instability.

      I spent decades in a marriage in which my perceptions, perspectives, and feelings were constantly invalidated, my analyses were dismissed as irrational or faulty, and I was regularly told I was “hard to live with.” As a result, I learned to doubt myself, to defer to my husband’s “superior” logic and reason, and not to question or challenge him. Turns out it was all manipulation on his part to create an atmosphere that let him do what he wanted secure in the knowledge that if I did have doubts I would second-guess my own conclusions. I still don’t know the extent of his deceptions and all that he did, but I am now content to know I don’t need more details. I know enough. And foremost among those things I know now is how he did to me what he did. There’s nothing wrong with my mind. There’s something disordered about his.

      • I still doubt myself. I’ve been no contact (except for absolute necessities, like mail forwarding) for over two years, but three decades of gaslighting has left me with an awful lot of baggage to unpack.

      • “Gaslighting destabilized us mentally because we are unable to trust our sense of what is real and don’t trust our own minds–which is what our abusive gaslighting spouses count on. If we are off balance, constantly questioning our perceptions and doubting our ability to perceive things clearly, they can act with impunity and defend themselves by pointing to our instability.”

        The earliest gaslighting I remember is when he was in the military early in our marriage. A WAC at work at befriended him, and when she went on vacation she wanted him to keep her car.

        I questioned that and he told me I was crazy because she was and old lady etc. (she was 40)

        He brought her by one day to introduce me to her. She was just average looking, but in hindsight certainly “doable” I hate that word. Anyway, I never bought it, but shut up because I wouldn’t have won that argument.

        A few months later he was sent to HI, and I am sure he found women there to replace her. I was there too, but I didn’t have a car and I was home taking care of our son; so that was no issue for him.

        • Same here. During the last few months he would come home early in the am, after being out “riding with the guys” I would say why so late. Then he would spin yarn about how so and so was having marriage problems and he was counseling him.

          If I had asked who it was he likely would have gone into; if you don’t believe me then we have issues. All lying and bullshit.

          I saw the movie Gaslight for the first time in the early sixties; I understand the pure meaning of it.

          But, I just think the lying such as “I am going to work a security job tonight, a friend has had someone break into his trailer a lot of times” He even came home the next morning with a full blown story of what went down. Was it real, it could have been; but I doubt it, though at the time he did it I didn’t doubt it because he had already taught me not to accuse him.

      • We were married to the same man. Except that EXH didn’t cheat. The gaslighting eroded my confidence and self-esteem so much. Then each time we had a kid we had to move states away for his job.

        But I wasn’t the one that couldn’t make friends. He tried to isolate me but I broke out of that.

        It was all projection, I know that now.

      • That’s it! Your second paragraph contains a description of my marriage as well.

      • I literally felt like I was going insane. He convinced me I had a totally shit memory and that things never happened, or didn’t happen the way I remembered. He never said that, etc. He tried to convince the magistrate that I was mentally unstable and dangerous (suicidal, homicidal, delusional, you name it). He told me no one liked me. That they just pretended to for his sake. He had a story or an excuse for everything that was happening right in front of my eyes. If I questioned his actions, he called me paranoid and crazy. He would goad me into fights and then call me irrational and impossible to talk to. He’d physically intimidate me and corner me, and if I so much as tried to push him away from me, he’d claim I assaulted him without provocation. I was blamed for EVERYTHING until I started to believe that it was all my fault. I’d apologize if it rained and ruined our plans, or if the car got a flat time. It is unbelievable how much he broke me. I too learned to “defer to his ‘superior’ logic and reason”. It’s hilarious, looking back. He called me emotionally unstable and volatile and said I was irrational. But he was the most emotional person I’ve ever met. Everything was about how he FELT. (And at the same time he was saying I was too emotional, he was also calling me a cold, lizard-like, overly logical, emotionless robot. And yet he saw no contradiction in this.)

        Turns out, I have an incredibly good memory. I also started writing things down in my phone Notes – dates, times, what happened. I saved every text message and email. I did monitor his and OW’s social media, and figured out the lies (where he was and when and with whom). When it came time for our divorce discovery, I had concrete evidence for everything. He mixed up all kinds of things, conflating one incident with another, wrong times, wrong place. I am a damn good detective and can construct a very fine argument based on logic and evidence. When I suspected that OW had left him (he didn’t admit it for months), I did some sleuthing and sent my lawyer a timeline with various hints I’d picked up from many places (music he wrote, emails, phone calls, social media, things my son said to me, etc.). The paralegal also read it and remarked that I should have been a Private Investigator, as I made a really strong case (I was also 100% correct).

        Gaslighting is so awful because it’s slow and insidious, and takes a LOT of work to recover from.

    • The earlier British one is better because the husband is also having an affair. The movie is much more open about it, while the American one only hints at it.

    • Actually, the closest movie description of ‘gaslighting’ is Groucho Marx’s ‘Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?’ In the movie, Bergman clearly sees the lights flickering yet her husband claims she’s imaging things.

      Yes, it’s a very cruel manipulation, making you question whether you’re capable of knowing/ correctly perceiving reality at all. Very damaging.

      • “Actually, the closest movie description of ‘gaslighting’ is Groucho Marx’s ‘Are you going to believe me or your lying eyes? ”

        LOL and true!

  • He had already cheated on me twice, was emotionally and physically abusive and he told me, “YOU are the one that needs therapy. You constantly track where I am. It’s not normal!” He was in the Wal-Mart parking lot for over an hour because he was “going to shop”. This was during the height of Covid when they closed at like 10 pm and it was midnight.

    • It’s almost comical when they are so bad at lying too. What’s crazy is that they believe their own stories after a while

      • I know it. At first he was shocked and didn’t believe me it showed he was in the parking lot on Find My Friends. Then he was “thinking” and then I needed mental help.

    • Yeah, my FW liked to spend long amounts of time in large parking lots too. I confronted him with it and he told me he was “thinking.”

      • Mine liked parking lots too! Turned out he would park and OW would meet him in random parking lots or residential areas.

        Once he told me he was up the street “thinking” and he would be right back. He was… two days later.

  • In response to being caught lying:
    “Men tell ‘yarns’, its part of who we are, its a tradition”

    In response to being caught in some version of relationship with a single OW which later turned out to me most of 29 years:
    “I had a bad moment”

    In response to lengthy and specific description of how his cruelty & betrayal hurt me:
    “If one of the kids died, you wouldn’t do very well”

    • “In response to being caught lying:
      “Men tell ‘yarns’, its part of who we are, its a tradition”

      I got something similar. I’ve told this before, but after I’d discovered the texts boasting about fucking the rat faced whore, he came over to tell me,” It was just lad’s banter! Nothing happened!” ????????

      • Also, when I discovered the rat faced whore was living with him in the flat he was supposedly doing up for us, ” she’s just helping me decorate, she sleeps in the spare room.”

        Aand, “there’s nothing going on! This is all for us, and you’re making it really hard!”

        Quite a few more, but remembering them all makes me so angry at his blatant lying, the assumption I would believe all the blatant bullshit, and still fury at myself for actually believing his evil crap.

        Just one more(????) before I found out, he texted me his van had broken down, and he couldn’t get home, so ” rat faced whore has kindly offered me her sofa”.

        I believed that one too. ????????????

        • I understand your anger.

          It took me a long time to put down the anger at myself for being so stupid, and realizing I wasn’t stupid, I had been conned. He had worked a long term con on me, and he used my trust and love against me to pull it off.

          • Yes, Susie Lee-
            It’s so important to reframe it.
            We weren’t stupid, they were lying, sneaky, miserable excuses.
            When I find myself getting worked up about it, I shift to: what miserable lives they lead. How awful to be them.
            Just sorry our paths crossed.

        • Chumpnomore6

          Your comment just reminded me. FW was taking a college class towards the end of the year of discard. He had conned me into buying a river front property.

          Anyway keeping that in mind:

          He had a bunch of study sheets that I had written for him for test studying, I always did that for him, even when we were young and he was at the police acadamy.

          Anyway, he came home in a panic one Friday after work and he couldn’t find his notes. We scoured the house and cars, couldn’t fine them. So a lightbulb went on over his head I guess and he said he probably left them at the property (about two hours away) So, he said he needed to do some work at the property, so he would go there and hopefully find the notes, get the work done and study all weekend. I said I would go and he made excuses about why I shouldn’t go. It was cold, (which it was) he needed to spend his time studying etc.

          So yeah he went. I am sure those notes were never lost, and I am sure it was a great weekend for him and his whore and her son.

          • In the vein of “Oh no, you dont have to go”

            Cheater was in the Marine Corps. Every year on the birthday of the USMC, marines and their partners attend a formal Ball. Its a huge thing and something to look forward to. Many couples get a hotel room and make a date of it.

            I was dressing for the Ball…full make up, glitzy gown, heels…my hair was in hot rollers ready to be fluffed up. 1st grade daughter comes in our room and said “Im gone miss Mommy tonight” and without looking at me, asking me or anything, Cheater said “Well then, mommy will stay home with you”.

            For me it was an evening to reconnect with the man I loved and I really looked forward to it. He knew I wouldn’t disappoint daughter once he said that.

            I took off my gown and put on jeans. He went to the Ball alone in his fancy uniform. God only knows what or who he was trying to avoid.

            • After D-day, klootzak never took me to another ball. We used to go to both the Navy and submarine ball every year. He came up with a different excuse every time. When I had our son, well then it was that I had to be home with the baby. After that he claimed his next command didn’t bother much with those silly balls so if we went there would be no one sitting with us that he knew. He also extended this to command Christmas parties. Magically this new command didn’t hold holiday parties. All the others did, but not this one. One of his coworkers is a fellow narc and heavy drinker so klootzak always wanted to invite him over. The guy always came with his designated driver wife and she her loose lips told me there had been a Christmas party. This was after the last one before he retired, of course.

              I don’t think he had someone he didn’t want me to meet. I suspect he had spun a narrative to everyone that I was some horrible shrew and didn’t want anyone to meet or know me as anything other than what he said. Because then when he went on work trips and hooked up, if any if his colleagues saw him with other women, they would wink and nod. There would be no way I would find out. His commands had only one or two women working at them. He was mostly picking up women through online services – Tinder, Ashley Madison, Tinder, Craigslist – and randos at bars.

  • The ex had his own set of car seats in his truck for our twins. All of a sudden, he started taking them out of his truck and leaving them in the garage. When I questioned him about it he said it was “to let the leather seats ‘Rest’ so they didn’t get permanent indentions from the car seats.” I told him that was kind of stupid and that it had never bothered him before. He immediately blew up, asked why I always questioned him about everything, and told me that I didn’t know as much about vehicles as he did.

    Turns out, he had purchased a shop close to where AP lived, and they would meet up there, pull their vehicles inside, and get their groove on in his backseat. Like freaking high school kids.

    • “Like freaking high school kids.”

      I think that is the primary thrill for a lot of these fw’s. They want to feel 17 again, and once they feel that excitement; they will not stop.

      Some of them, like I am pretty sure was the case with my ex fw; cheated right out of the gate so technically they never grew up emotionally, and were never really committed to the marriage.

      He certainly pretended to be and used the marriage to get him what he wanted; but real commitment was neveer there. Couldn’t have been.

    • Yup, my FW also liked getting it on with his AP in the backseat of his truck. After DD1 when I’d found text conversations that mentioned spending time in his truck, he still swore it was just an emotional affair and they were just “listening to music and talking” in his truck.

  • I get confused over the difference between lying and gaslighting.

    To me gaslighting is trying to make be think I am crazy, or there is something wrong with me and it would be things he said to undermine my self confidence. Like “if there are two ways to do something, you will choose the wrong way” I was objectively a good looking woman, yet he never really complimented me. Not even the usual “you look great” when we would go out. I think that was his form of gaslighting to make sure I didn’t feel worthy. Other people did, and he would just blow it off.

    My ex was just a huge liar “I am going out to ride around with one of the guys” “I am at a meeting with the mayor” Likely a lot of the time he was claiming to work part time security jobs he was with the (a) whore.

    I was not in the habit of questioning him as when I did question him about a woman early in our marriage, he told me the ole line “you are crazy” and “if you accuse me, I might as well do it” Now that is gaslighting. And it worked.

    • I used to get lying and gaslighting confused too.

      I sorted it out in my mind as – gaslighting happens when you have PROOF of reality via your senses. You plainly saw or heard something happen and when you asked the other person about it they lied and insinuated there is something wrong with you.

      Another way I think about it is two people have to witness the same event at the same time for gaslighting to happen.

      Both parties witness an event at the same time + one lies about the nature of the event both just witnessed + then says the other person’s senses are inaccurate and not to be trusted = gaslighting

      • “I sorted it out in my mind as – gaslighting happens when you have PROOF of reality via your senses. You plainly saw or heard something happen and when you asked the other person about it they lied and insinuated there is something wrong with you.”

        Good definition.

        • So when he started acting distant and I said to him “you seem to be ignoring me, and not talking to me” his answer was “it is work stress, I just need space”

          That was just lying. He was acknowledging he was being distant, but lied about the reason.

        • Like when you literally catch him with someone and he tells you he was with “no one” but he knows you saw him because you FUCKING CAUGHT THEM!! Ask me how I know.

      • A good example I ran into was “my ex and I are 100% compatible, you and I are not compatible in a lot of ways”. When I brought it up later, she said “I never said that, you are trying to force us together by your accusations”. One thing gaslighting does is put you on the defensive and question was you saw or heard. To contract gaslighting you have to trust yourself and hold of to the reality like a pit bull.

      • I experienced both, but I do think each plays into the other; so that eventually the whole relationship is just a lie.

        • Yeah, I feel this so much. Every damn thing was a lie… and that is, in and of itself, manipulating my reality.

      • My husband would TEXT me things toward the end… then DENY he ever said that.
        I had saved every text.
        I would copy and paste and send him the “proof”
        Then there’d be a short pause before he’d reply…
        “Well I guess I did write that, but it’s not what I meant!”
        I think that’s gaslighting, too.

      • My husband would TEXT me things toward the end… then DENY he ever said that.
        I had saved every text.
        I would copy and paste and send him the “proof”
        Then there’d be a short pause before he’d reply….
        “Well I guess I did write that, but it’s not what I meant!”
        I think that’s gaslighting, too.

        • That is all too familiar, TMT. My ex would say some shit thing, and then he would get angry at me if I expressed hurt or called him out because what kind of monster would actually MEAN something like that? How could I think he could mean what he’d said? It was always, always impossible.

      • Check out the Betrayal Trauma Recovery website and podcast. I found it 5 years too late, but it is a life saver. They have trauma specialists available to chat to.

      • Though I could not prove it, I plainly saw that my husband was pulling away from me, treating me like shit and I asked him what the problem was. He said nothing, just work stress. In truth he had been actively in a relationship with another woman for at least three years, likely six years.

        So to me that is gaslighting even though I had no proof, he knew but and he lied to alter my perception of reality. He not only was lying, but he was attempting to manipulate my reality for his own benefit.

        To me that is gaslighting whether there is proof or not.

        That is why I think it is a thin line.

        Lying is not always gaslighting, but gaslighting is always lying.

  • “Co-worker has is a friend — she’s so nice “

    “Wow — by coincidence coworker has to run to Sports Authority at the exact same time as us to buy sports gear for her sons while we’re here!” (Her young boys, meanwhile, were ALONE at their sports at the time… she bought nothing and just chatted with FW and said hi to me then left)

    “Co worker is having a BBQ after work and we’re invited. It’s for coworkers and neighbors. Bring son.” I showed up and she screeched “I didn’t know YOU were coming! (It was really a crucible to get our sons together to prove they’d get along —- they don’t. No one else from the office was there)

    “Can you show me how to when my teeth? I was just wondering how”

    (After laughing at texts on his phone after 10pm) “It’s just work”

    “I need to go to coworker’s house after 8pm to make international calls with her for work “

    “There’s a company dinner. Only employees so you can’t come. I think it’s only me and coworker.”

    I trusted. I forgive myself for it but it still sucks.

    • My ex-h was hooking up with his married howorker for years & I didn’t have a clue. I found a Google search on his iPad of “how to leave the love of your life.” I immediately asked him point blank if there was someone else? He looked & me & said how he could hardly handle 1 woman so of course there isn’t a second woman. Yeah I was so hard to handle working FT, running a biz, & caring for our 2 young kids while he worked out of town. Lying comes so ez to them.

  • “You live to emasculate me,” said the man who wore eyeliner and nail polish on by his own choice and long before I came along.

    I still am not 100 percent sure why I needed Hepatitis B vaccines after we divorced, but I name some guesses.

    • OMG, your comment just reminded me of a bizarre thing.

      The first time my blood test results showed what my FW called by a portuguese term I guess is the equivalent of “serological markers” for hepatitis B, she wept while longly staring at me, as if overwhelmed by pity.

      I asked her if it was something serious, she told me no, it only meant that I have had the disease at some point. Then I asked her why she was so sad then, and she said she was just sorry for me (very unlike her). Then I asked her if it could have killed me and how could I have caught it. She told me that yes, I could have died, and *since it could not have been sexual transmission* I must have caught it when I was 4 yo and had my tonsils extracted.

      I don’t have a clue if any of this make sense, and just don’t know if she has the said markers too, but the way she looked at me and wept silently was very odd. I just recalled that and feel funny now.

      Maybe it was nothing, I don’t know.

      Another problem with long term gaslighting, I guess, is that once you recognize you’ve been at the receiving end of it, you may start to revisit some odd but otherwise innocuous epsiodes with a suspicious mind, like I’m doing right now.

      Thing is, my life with her was full of awkward moments and experiences I don’t fully understand. This was one of them.

      (I just googled up the term she used, that would translate literally as “immunological scar”, but I don’t think it’s the same; I can’t remember if it was herself who ran the tests, she is a pharmacist working in a lab and has a masters degree in immunology)

      • I think after DD, all of us have to revisit our personal history with a detective’s eye and wonder, “What was really going on at that time?” The things I accepted without question! The silly excuses and improbable tales he told! It just kills me to think I was so easily lied to.
        My entire life has had to be rewritten.

        • So true. Why was that woman *really* screaming his name on my porch that one night ten years ago? I don’t believe anymore that she had an unrequited crush. There’s only one reason a woman shows up at a man’s house screaming his name in the night, and I know that. He just lied and I wanted to believe him so much that I did.

        • Oh, I know! Like that time FW went on a 4-day trip to fly from airport to airport to “see humanity,” using his pilot friend’s free airline vouchers. Did not cross my mind that he was cheating. Even when he mailed to say he loved me and that it was possibly his most selfish, of many selfish things of late, and that he couldn’t wait to come back and hold me.

      • “Another problem with long term gaslighting, I guess, is that once you recognize you’ve been at the receiving end of it, you may start to revisit some odd but otherwise innocuous epsiodes with a suspicious mind, like I’m doing right now.”

        My ex was a park ranger, and he had a dirtbag law enforcement boss who he hated. The two did battle (peas in a pod, turns out), and FW was full of contempt and vitriole for him. One thing that really got to FW was that this guy, late thirties/early 40’s and married, was constantly after this young intern. The whole time, my ex was sneaking around with a different, younger intern.

        A lot of smoke and mirrors and projection became apparent after ddays. Friends also told me about some weird things FW said to out of the blue cover his tracks (like commenting on the awfulness of cheating when a country song came on the radio, or going out of his way to say how disinterested he was in porn, to name just a couple) when none of us even suspected him.

        I don’t actively try to piece it together now, but sometimes the realizations come anyway. I’m really glad that I no longer feel like “understanding” it is the key to my survival, because that was a lost cause.

  • When we were first married I would find various belongings of ours broken, ripped, or smashed and he would feign ignorance about it. I was young and trusting and I honestly could not figure out what was going on in our house. Was a stranger breaking into our house? Was there a wild animal getting in somehow? A poltergeist?

    He would listen to me wax on about how some item “couldn’t have broken itself, it’s like a monster chewed it up, how could it get broken without moving from it’s regular spot…” and he would just nod and say, “I know, that’s so strange! It’s really a mystery.”

    It took me way too long to accept that it was him, and he enjoyed the charade. I’m just starting to accept that he also would hide/steal things of mine, and I’ve had a few experiences where I’m rather certain he set small booby traps for me, hoping I would trip or fall.

    I think I only started to clue in on the depth of everything when I was sitting on the couch one day and I watched him raise his phone and take a picture of me (I heard the camera sound). I asked him why he took a picture of me and he got really angry and swore up and down that he didn’t and that I was crazy and starting a fight about “nothing.”

    Even then, the only result of realizing something was wrong was me having a (non-violent) nervous breakdown in public that I’m lucky I didn’t get arrested for and no one pulled out their phones and recorded. My reality was melted for years and years until my brain became a set of fun house mirrors where you can’t find your way out.

    I’m sure he thought that he was telling small lies that wouldn’t hurt, but over time I lost the ability to trust my senses and rely on logic to understand the world. And it happened so slowly, over decades, that I couldn’t see my mental foundation falling apart until it broke like a dam.

    • NotAnymore that is evil – extreme gaslighting. What a horrible person. I’m so glad you got away from him.

    • I started “loosing” my car keys too – and yet I always left them in the same place! Then my purse would go missing – ditto for always leaving it in the same place. Then I’d go to get dressed to go to work and find the door to that room locked (we NEVER locked our doors). When I realized what he was doing I started removing my purse and all keys and hiding them (‘cos he would lock me and my kid out when we came home from work/school). By the time I’d taken EVERY key to the back door so he couldn’t “accidentally” lock me out, he then took a different key and jammed it in the lock. Suck f…!

      • Mr. Sparkly Pants would watch me look all over for my car keys (which I always dropped on the table near the front door) until it was too late for me to be on time for work. Then the keys would “magically” reappear on the table near the front door, and he would be nearby, smirking and waiting for my reaction. Finally I started keeping my keys in my pocket. No more issues. At the end of our marriage, I was keeping my wallet in my pocket as well.

        • I have a story about disappearing/magically reappearing keys when at my in laws’ house with FW and my kids.

          I was shaken awake in the middle of the night by a loud thump that sounded as if coming from the front door of the house. I jumped out of the bed, awakened my FIL and asked him to take hold of his gun to protect the children if needed be and went outside to see what was happening (my MIL was once kidnapped at gun point for several hours there where they live; they are too loud about how much money one of my BILs make in the US and got targeted for this).

          The next morning we realized the front door keys have gone missing, right before a family meeting in a relative’s house. It took literally hours for the keys to magically reappear inside my MIL coat’s pocket. The very coat she wore to church the morning before that, the first place she should have looked for the keys. Meanwhile I went nuts looking for the keys while dreading my sons and wife would sleep another night in that house while some stranger had the keys to the front door (they live in a relatively unpopulated rural area). I even tried to convince my FIL to let me change the locks after hours searching for the missing keys.

          When my MIL showed me the keys, she smiled, patted me on my shoulder and told me mockingly: “you were wrong”.

          We got late and all riled up at the family gathering. I just can imagine what was said about paranoid me as a way of excuse. Later on they tried to convince me that the sound I heard was from a neighbour’s garage gate closing (at 2 am). I am not convinced.

          It was few months before Dday #1 and my XW was already having an affair.

          Fast forward some months, weeks before DDay #1 my FIL showed me casually some very graphic photos of a body under a bridge he said was of a young acquaintance of his that had just taken his life over his wife infidelity.

          Fast forward some weeks more, in the middle of wreckonciliation my FIL is drunkenly confiding me he was the head of the town dead squad in his heyday and that I didn’t have to worry about the OM because he was always just a phone call away from getting hired guns in the front of the house whenever he wanted (sounds creepy doesn’t it? He might be bragging then but he did got prosecuted for attempted homicide by firearm shot approximately 25 years ago).

          I don’t know if any of this was gaslighting or things meant to mess up with my mind or even if there was a connection among these episodes, but the whole experience was frightening and I feel safer now that I am NC with this bunch.

          • Sorry for talking too much and hijacking this thread but it’s been good to finally get to talk about these things. I just recalled another scary thing that might be related to all of the above.

            Fast forwars a couple months and my youngest BIL was the target of a restraining order that practically exiled him from his hometown after punching his mother right in the mouth (the bruises resulting from the assault were awful). I have no idea what the fuck happened there, but they have wanted him commited to an asylum for some months then due to an allegged depression bout and my XW and her mom wanted me to sort things out, but I was staunchly against it. He never showed aggressive behaviour prior to the assault and he had lived one year with me and his sister nearly a decade before, so I thought I knew him well and that committing him would be detrimental to his mental health. He had always been meek and frankly the ugly duckling of the family, devalued, criticized and mocked all the time by his parents and his middle brother. My FIL once sitted me through a crazy, booze fuelled rant about how his youngest son was plotting a scam to defraud his beloved, rich middle son, and made me promise I would keep him from succeeding. I reassured him it woudn’t be necessary. Talk about crazy.

            I lost all contact with my youngest BIL (my sons never saw him again; I think it’s for the best – not my circus, not my clowns anymore) and have chosen to go no contact with the rest of the family, except for my XW because of the kids (solid grey rock though). I feel very relieved to have released this burden.

            • Sounds like that brother-in-law was roundly abused by his family members ergo he was depressed. Did they want to finish him off by institutionalizing him ? Bunch of sickos.

              • This is my working hypothesis too, SPbaS.

                I witnessed some of the verbal abuse and emotional withholding he was subjected to since he was 14 yo (he is now 38). As of late, it was often about why he just couldn’t be as well-adjusted and successful as his middle brother (more buntly: why he couldn’t get as rich as him).

                He was always criticized for wanting to go to college. Despite his family lack of support, he worked hard and saved money to get it. But by the time he got there he was unable to endure the stress and often thought he was unfitting, too old (he was in his late twenties then), etc. He dropped college soon afterwards.

                I can’t help but feel sorry for him, even though he committed such an awful act of aggression. He looked up to my XW and me as parental figures for him (this are his own words). This shows how abandoned and lost in life he always felt, because we are all nearly the same age.

                But I’ve decided not to contact him anyway. I have to choose my fights carefully now, I have only so much energy and time. But it kind of feels like a son of mine has lost his ways and it hurts.

              • My best friend from childhood lived across the street from a family with four kids. Three bio and one adopted. The bios routinely tormented the boy. I always found the mother to be cold and mean.

                I wasn’t surprised to hear he committed suicide as a young adult.

    • Dear God. That is truly *evil*. Thank God you got away from that. ((hugs)) ????

    • My Ex Wife’s jewerally would disappear. I would ask what happened to her pearl necklaces. She kept them in a jewelry case. “They must have disappeared during our moves”. I remember thinking that was really weird.

      • Mine too. She had no idea where her wedding ring went. Declined a replacement saying there were better things to spend our money on. Meanwhile, the accumulated $40,000 in hidden credit card debt with nothing to show for it, such as a replacement wedding ring.

    • NotAnymore I’m so sorry you were treated like this. Im so glad you’re free and have escaped such evil.

  • There was a lot of gaslighting, but a few instances stick out from the rest…
    1. “I spent the day up north alone and I tried this little bar my friend told me about before he died.”
    Mind you this FW couldn’t even eat lunch at work alone, couldn’t go to the store alone, and didn’t even want to go out in his shop to work on his hobbies alone. I knew he was fucking lying. He had spent the day with her up north, and I later found out he bought her a $500 ring at a little jewelry store while there. The beginning of the love bombing.
    2. “I am not having an affair, that’s your insecurity talking.”
    He had just spent the night fucking her in our RV out in his shop that he locked me out of the night before. He denied changing the locks (another example of his gaslighting). He said this to me at 5:30am while he was driving back from taking her to her car. She had parked where they work and lied to her husband telling him said she drank too much the night before, and spent the night at a friends house. I later found out the friend was one of their flying monkeys.
    3. “I haven’t been happy in 5 years. I only stayed with you last time because I felt sorry for you, but then I was happy I stayed,”
    My reply “But you told Linda you were only unhappy this past year.” His reply “I can’t remember who I told what to.” My reply “You wouldn’t have to ‘remember’ if you were telling the truth, the truth is always the same.”
    And the best for last…..
    4. “I didn’t want you to see my credit card statement because I charged a hotel room on the card, but I went and the girl didn’t show up. I didn’t want to tell you because it’s really embarrassing.”
    She must have been afraid I would find out and told him to fix it. The next thing he said a few days later was “I actually charged a hotel room so you would see it and get mad at me so this would be easier for you”. I of course laughed and said I didn’t believe a word out of his mouth, and he then said “What, me going to a hotel to meet someone and them not showing up is more believable?” I again laughed and said “I never thought they didn’t show up, that’s why I am being tested for STDs on Monday”.

  • When I asked my ex why he cheated. He said that I told him to go find someone else. It took me awhile to remember a fight we had several years prior. He wanted me to go somewhere with him on one of my few days off. I did not want to go because I was exhausted. And everytime we would go out he would insult me. And I would ask to go home. I remember getting so angry with him because he would kept harassing me to go. I yelled at him and sad just go find someone else to go with. He took that as me giving him permission to cheat. And of course I was called boring and a nutjob. She was fun and never bitched and complemented him all the time.

    • He took that as me giving him permission to cheat.

      No he didn’t. He was cheating or wanted to cheat all along. He just flailed around for some excuse for it to be “your fault”, and remembered back to that time when you told him to go with someone else.

      • You are correct. When we had that argument he was already cheating with my cousin. He had so many excuses. I was boring, I was a bitch, he thought I did not love him so I would not care. I could go on and on. I realized that I could have been a stepford wife and he still would have cheated.

  • I can’t describe how much fun it is to respond to my ex with 1) that never happened, you are imagining it or 2) You are just being too sensitive or 3) what’s wrong with you, can’t you take a joke? I get fewer opportunities now but it was fun while it lasted!

  • My ex loves the “Gaslight” movie & insisted, I watch it. I, of course, just thought it was a fictional movie. Not to my husband. My ex really relished the idea of a husband tricking his wife thinking she was going crazy. All those times, I couldn’t find my keys, purse & other things, I realize now that he hid them on me. I even accused him a couple times of doing it because I knew I had already checked that spot several times! He just smirked & said maybe you need to see an eye doctor! Of course, hiding women must of been the ultimate high for him. The OW can play his sick games with him now. I’m out.

  • He is just a platonic friend.

    That she wanted time to herself after 25 yrs together… Though never really spent any time on her own..

    That she shaved before every trip so it would be more comfortable when travelling (just never did it normally month on month or when we went on holiday).

    That she took her rings off in case someone mugged her for them whilst travelling alone.

    That she HAD to stay up till 2-3am chatting just because of the time differences..

    I could go on and on..

  • Well you never trusted me when I was trustworthy so if now you have a reason not to thats on you!

  • “You don’t listen.” When indeed I did listen and even took notes to keep track of his mind boggling word salad thrown at me to obscure the truth.

    “That isn’t what I said.” It was what he said but had become inconvenient to his lying narrative.

    “You are too sensitive.” in response to the hurt of being left out of events he had previously invited me to attend.
    It wasn’t his lies and that was the problem, it was my response to those lies.

    “It is only a problem if you make it a problem.” His response to my suspicions about his relationship with the Howorker.

    “It didn’t mean anything.” Yet he refused to call or text that same Howorker and tell her the same. Seems like that wouldn’t be professional. Which in retrospect is hilarious. He wasn’t concerned about his professionalism when he started his latest affair with a subordinate.

    He was the master of the circular mindfuck of gaslighting. I think he told the truth one time in our 35 year and 364 day mirage. I asked him if there was anything I could have done to stop him from cheating and he told me “No.”

  • On D-Day #2 (AKA, the last straw): “GPS can be way off.”

    He had told me a few days earlier he was helping a waitress from his favorite restaurant by fixing a faucet, so I saw where she lived on our Find My Friends app. Then, on a Saturday night when he said he was going to a motorcycle club meeting I saw that he was at the waitress’s house again. When I texted him to ask what was he doing there, he used this line with me.

    I told him I’m not as stupid as I look. And I told him I was done.

    (Bonus bullshit detection: I figured out what “fix her faucet” really meant!)

  • “But, you said I could have a girlfriend! I remember, you were standing right there (pointing to some weird random spot in living room) and you said you wouldn’t mind if I had a girlfriend!”

    He said this when I found out he had a girlfriend and I told him I wanted a divorce.

  • “Why are you so jealous of Schmoopie? Every time I talk about her you get jealous.” Meanwhile he worked with a lot of women and called all of them by their last names only, except for her. It was “Terri this” and “Terri that”. All the others were “Nelson”, “Jones” and “Smith”, never their first names. Then when I called him out on it he started saying: “my friend said this” and “my friend said that”. I told him to cut the bullshit because I know who “your friend” is!
    I could go on!!

    • Honestly that talking about them is such a huge red flag. And idiot that I was, I overlooked it. It even gave me a queazy feeling when he did it; but I “spackled”.

      Once we were at a restaurant, and he said M knows I hate make up. I told him it was none of his business whether she wore make up or not. (she didn’t). Another time he said M knows I can’t stand Sam Smith (a guy he hated). She evidently was hanging out with Sam Smith some, and Sam was also married to a lovely woman who was the primary bread earner in their marriage. I said again, who she hangs out with is none of your business.

      To clarify to all, all of these conversation happened in the last few months before he left, so I am sure he was trying to get me to kick him out, and I was metaphorically in the fetal position.

      I do regret not kicking him out on one hand, but on the other hand I was not mentally ready I guess; and forcing him to leave actually turned out better for me in the separation; and combined with all the lies he had told to everyone, denied him the chance to blame me. At least to anyone who mattered, or had half a brain.

  • I guess that it would be the time that – within the confines of a single sentence – that she denied having an affair and that there was no-one else but that we would have to get divorced becuase I lacked the emotional maturity to make a open relationship work.

    Or maybe it was the time that she – whilst sh*tface drunk – insisted that she did not have a drink problem, but that I had a drink problem because I don’t drink. This – apparently – makes me a lousy host who doesn’t top peoples’ glasses up often enough …. when I do top their glasses up I look like I’m judging them and the fact that I will drink tea or coffee instead makes people uncomfortable.

    I am so glad that she is gone; her AP is welcome to her.


    • About you “judging people”without saying anything, mine used to look at me and say “you think this, and you think that, and you’re…” and I didn’t even have to open my mouth. It’s amazing what a mind-reader he was!

      • There’s something chilling about discovering from what they say about you what they privately think about you–and it’s unkind, unflattering, and invariably untrue.

        • So true. You thought that was your best friend? Here’s what they really think of you.

      • Attie,

        Projection pure and simple.

        Ex-Mrs LFTT was (and is) an alcoholic but she was (and is) in denial about it. She stated to our eldest daughter that she’d recently managed to drink two bottles of wine while watching TV on her own in the course of one evening …. but she said it so in an entirely conversational manner and as if this was normal behaviour.


        • Same here LFTT! Ex was (is?) definitely an alcoholic. I had to call the police on him one time (one of many) after he had drunk 16 beers and half a bottle of whiskey and he started getting physical. He couldn’t stand up. But if you ask him he “likes his beers”!