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UBT: ‘You Were So Perfect, I Had to Cheat’

mindfuckchannelBWUsually cheaters run chumps down and blameshift their affairs. You Weren’t Meeting Their Needs. You suck. They love you, but just not in that clandestine-hooker-profile-rent-a-room kind of way.

Yet every now and then chumps get this particular bit of mindfuckery from the self-pity channel:

“I cheated because I was insecure and needed a distraction. I suffer from low self-esteem and every time we were together I just kept thinking ‘What do I have to offer this perfect woman?’ and it ate me up. Cheating gave me the distraction I needed to escape my thoughts.”

(This is an actual bit of mindfuckery sent to the Universal Bullshit Translator.)

I give it points for sophistication. To simply blameshift — “You suck, ergo I had to cheat on you” — is like being attacked with a blunt force object. Maybe a hammer or a piano leg.

To say “I had to cheat on you because you’re too perfect” is like being assassinated by a radio-isotope-poison-tipped umbrella.

It’s cunning! It’s clever!

What’s a chump to do with this? Be flattered? “He thinks I’m perfect!”

Be angry? But you can’t be angry because a) he just flattered you and b) he is a Timid Forest Creature who suffers from low-self-esteem! Any anger directed at him could cause the esteem indexes to crash and could result in calamity — an affair with Josh Duggar. A three-way with the Subway guy.

Look, I don’t know, but it could be DIRE. This man is so distracted by your perfection, there’s no telling what he might do!

How about you stop being so perfect and loosen up a bit? Let this affair(s) slide. Show us your humanity Ice Princess, the one without all the morals and boundaries and shit. Let your hair down and slum with Mr. Low Self Esteem until he feels less threatened by you. You could have an affair too and let him watch! That would even the score.

Or how about you help him with his insecurity? He just betrayed you, yes. Risked your health, humiliated you. I get it. But why not bolster his self esteem? Compliment him! “Lovely sweater you’re wearing today, Conrad!” Did he wipe the crumbs off the counter today? Notice!!!

Or how about you answer the cheater’s question: “What do I have to offer this perfect woman?”

Nothing, dude. Absolutely nothing.

This column ran previously.

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Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • IMO, it’s a form of projection. It’s a sentiment that would work on them, so it should work on everybody else.

    It’s the same world-revolves-around-me mindset that thinks: “If I’m happy, then everyone around me is happy.”

    • “IMO it’s a form of projection.” Exactly.

      On DDay I got, “You think you’re so superior.” Um, who *literally* just admitted they felt entitled to run around town and hunt for a girlfriend while their wife was keeping dinner warm for them at home?

      • Agree with projection. Also, the TFC and covert narcs are used to putting themselves down to get a hefty dose of pity kibbles and weasel out of consequences. This tactic works well on empathic chump types. 🙋🏻‍♀️

        I also got: “You think you’re so perfect,” “Your psychologically stronger than I,” and “I have one one person for emotional support.” [Namely: the OW]🎻 He added that they were sleeping in a new apartment (the scary unknown!) in a borrowed bed held together by hockey sticks and tape. Said he was “sad every day” and confessed to being “weak” and “impulsive.” He complained repeatedly that I, Spinach, “got everything” and am “sitting pretty.”

        Note: That there’s a slew of suicides in his immediate family always made me worry that he’d spiral down and kill himself. A low-energy, depressed-seeming guy, he used my concern effectively for decades.

        • What kills me is that he never said, “You [Spinach] must be in so much pain after what I did to you.” It was all about *his* pain and sorrow. Unbelievable.

          He truly thought everyone should console HIM after he confessed to the affair and I stormed out of the house.

          His adult kids also wish he would acknowledge their pain. Just once. Instead, he insists that “this is between your mom and me” because he is a covert. narc who thinks he suffers more than anyone else.

          He owns the sad lane. Always has. Even his profession (physician) seemed to justify his sour moods. And, of course, the suicides…

          • I still feel the disgust that I comforted him as he cried because he cheated on me after 28 years. He never once has acknowledged that I was hurt. When I told him he gave me an STD he told me I was trying to ruin his new relationship. He hasn’t ever acknowledged the pain he caused or is causing to our adult daughter.
            They are awful people.

            • Lynn I have that same disgust. I comforted my husband when he talked about how hard it was to move out. He told me how bad the OW felt because she “broke up our family” and how hard it was for him to deal with that. I was in such deep shock that I didn’t know what to do. What I should have said was “fuck you – you’re an animal for thinking like this” but instead I just sat there and listened to how hard it was for him to have to deal with his new life and his new girlfriend. He talked about how they have a special bond over it all. Un-fucking-believable. To this day, any chance he gets, he tells the story about how their love triumphed over it all. Funny thing is…he’d been cheating on me for 15 years. She was just the last one, and the one I found out about and kicked him out. He wanted to stay married to me and have her on the side. But…now they’re together and it was the “big love” that I could never produce for him. That’s the story and he’s sticking to it. He does nothing to take care of our daughter – he’s moved to another city. Mic drop – he’s gone. Now it’s me paying for my daughter’s therapy with money that I don’t have. At times, I feel like the world’s biggest doormat for letting him talk to me like that. But, the truth is I could not do anything else I was so devastated and gaslighted. My brain was scrambled beyond belief. They never acknowledge the pain they caused because they simply don’t care. It’s hard to comprehend, but they really don’t. I agree, they are awful, awful people.

              • Reading your story sounded so much like my own. After discovering overly friendly texts from a customer of his, that I knew my ex found attractive (called her “yummy”) after her husband had cheated on her ending their 32 year relationship. My loser swore he would never cheat on me because he knew how much it would hurt me. He promised I was the person he wanted to be with. Within two months They were carrying on. I discovered this when he ended our 32 year relationship 5 months after the text conversation. He invoked my trust to buy time to see if he could make something happen with miss “yummy” OW. She was only too happy to actively pursue him. Women know when men find them attractive. How a woman who had had this done to her less than 2 years earlier could do this is also beyond my comprehension. The sneaking and secretive encounters filled him with endorphins. Suddenly, he realized how unhappy he was with me. Funny…he never told me that after I spent 32 years sacrificing for him. He told me “we both feel so bad about this” and the classic: “I’ll always love you, I’m just in ‘in’ love with you”. He even said he didn’t want to leave me until he was sure this thing would work out with his little whore. I am only 5 months from all of this and am completely devastated. Tuesday feels like a long way off for me. I cannot comprehend how a person could articulate that they know how much betrayal will hurt the person who has stood by them for 32 years as a tool to get my trust so he could see if he could make it work.
                They are truly awful people as you said. They care only about themselves. My challenge is they live 10 miles away and I know our paths will cross. It makes me sick to think about seeing them together. My life will never be the same.

          • S@35,

            This seems to be a cheater trope.

            I too never got any acknowledgement by Ex-Mrs that her actions must have been painful to me, and she then compounded it by completely invalidating our childrens’ rightful sense of hurt with a single sentence … she said “Lots of your friends’ parents are divorced and their kids are fine and so you will be fine.”

            Not once did she lift a finger to make certain that the kids were fine or to ensure that nothing that she did caused them distress.

            She was (and is) a POS.

            LFTT

            • Douchecanoe repeated the line “everyone has a right to be happy” over and over on his way out the door. The kids blamed themselves for years until they matured and truly processed his departure and lies in therapy. But while they were young, his words instilled a deep fear of abandonment that kept them in line during his parenting time leaving me to deal with all the challenges of the teen years on my own.

              • I remember that one too. My response (because I was trying to convince XW to go to a few weeks of marriage counseling before jumping into divorce) was “yes, but why can’t you try to be happy with me first?” (which I still think is a reasonable response under the circumstances: 17 years of marriage and 3 children still in the house). XW somehow heard this as “you only have the right to be happy with me”, reported this lie to her therapist, whereupon she and therapist agreed that I was threatening her life, and that XW should immediately move out. She did, and spread the word that she was courageously leaving her violent husband.

                Incidentally, the only act of violence (such as it was) occurred when XW became convinced that I was damaging her car at work (because it was picking up dings and scratches, as happens to every car ever that is parked regularly in a public lot) so she (or probably AP, actually) put a nail through the sidewall of my tire in revenge.

              • I also got..”I have to go do this before I get too old”…meaning he had to have an S&M relationship before he got too old, AND he was sick of paying hookers.

            • I got quoted the trope “kids are resilient” . It still pisses me off. Yes, kids are resilient – they can bounce back from a lot of shit – but that doesn’t mean it’s A-OK to make their life more difficult, either deliberately or through negligence. The irony is that the “kids are resilient” saying is meant to reassure parents who are concerned that they can’t protect their kids from all of life’s slings and arrow, but in my XW’s mouth it was twisted into some form of permission to ignore their needs and interests.

              • My ex FW said the same thing. Right before he moved out of state and settled for two weekends a month and the summer with our 10yr old daughter. She went from happy to depressed and by 13 began harming and was baker acted. Not all kids are resilient. Abandonment leaves a lifetime scar. But for FWs it’s all about their “happiness”.

              • I got the same shit from my wife. “He will be fine”.
                She was setting the stage to leave. A month before she told me our son15 told her out of the blue that a tough decision would be which parent to live with if we got divorced. That was a month before DDay. When she told me that I said “how and why did that come up. “. I was so naïve. I asked if any of his friends parents were having problems because we weren’t.
                Now I realize she was setting the stage to bolt

              • ‘Resilient’ gets thrown around a lot these days. Coming from an FW like your wife, IG, it’s garnish on a word salad. Fuckwits look pretty resilient, compared to chumps, in the aftermath of ddays. Was I more resilient when I was spackling all those years? Am I not resilient because, in spite of all I have accomplished in the past year-and-a-half, and despite outward appearances, I am incredibly sad and lonely? Or because I live in the middle of nowhere and refuse to try online dating?

                Don’t get me started on the virtues of ‘vulnerability.’ Like ‘mindfulness,’ ‘forgiveness,’ ‘judgmental,’ etc., these terms can be conveniently manipulated for manipulation and rationalization.

            • “Lots of your friends’ parents are divorced and their kids are fine and so you will be fine.”

              She said that!?! No. Not ok.

              On the bright side, sounds like your kids are way better off without her.

              • TBT,

                Funny old thing, but none of them has ever said that they miss her.

                They are now all adults and the fact that all three of them (18, 22 and 25) go out of their way to limit their contact with her is their absolute right …… and there is f*ck all that she can do about it.

                LFTT

          • Spinach35, the “You think you’re so perfect,” infuriated me. My mom, the ON (original narcissist) said a version of this to me on the regular. It’s a lead in to false equivalencies.

            I’m so glad I found CL, told X to GTFO, divorced — I got away from this abuse.

          • It’s all a mind game. I have suicides in my immediate family. my stbx wife uses that to tell me how depressed and unfun I can be. That’s why she had to cheat. It’s all about them. It’s always all about them.

          • @Spinach, you literally just told my story. The immediate family suicides, him owning the sad lane, the older kids wishing he’d acknowledge their pain instead of pretending like this was an issue between him and me and not a betrayal by their father to them.

        • It’s amazing how their “compliments” (like “you’re psychologically stronger than I”) only come out when it’s related to their comfort or privilege. When I told my ex he seemed distant and distracted he said, in a self-satisfied way, “That could be. I hadn’t noticed. You’re so much better at reading my emotions than I am.” My concern was kibbles to him.

          And yes, they only “pain” they can acknowledge is their own.

          • “You’re so much better at reading my emotions than I am.”

            I’m my experience, comments like this could be shortly followed by accusations of my lack of concern and understanding. Which would then be followed by a compliment and declaration of love. And then by an accusation of not caring about his feelings, or of dehumanizing him. Guess what, FW? I have absolutely dehumanized you now! It’s the only way my brain can make sense of the fact that the person I lived with for 15 years wasn’t real.

            • B&R,
              Reading your comments all I can think about is the mind fucking that comes with these FWs. You got put through the blender or the meat grinder that is the cheater hell. I’m so sorry you had to get so messed with by him. I did too- I get it. It’s part of the continuing torture of trying to get your head around the idea that someone who claimed to love you could be so cruel. The thing is- it’s horrible to be at the receiving end of this shit. But the wiser I get the more I realize it isn’t me- it’s him. We were the hapless victims of their behavior and it isn’t fair, but it also isn’t you. It’s hard to heal from gaslighting that was as bad as yours, but you got this! Fuck that abusive asshole and go live your best life.
              Hugs

            • “Guess what, FW? I have absolutely dehumanized you now! It’s the only way my brain can make sense of the fact that the person I lived with for 15 years wasn’t real.”

              So true! I still have to find a way to make peace with the fact that that person wasn’t real or to give up untangling altogether. I mean, okay, that person wasn’t real and this is clear now, but then just WHAT was this THING that roamed erratically through (our) life(s) lying, defrauding , abusing and destroying without any noticeable qualms everything they themselves should hold most dear? What kind of being does that? What to expect from them from now on? Sometimes it’s difficult not to try and guess because you bred with the thing and it can still harm your kids. Sigh…

    • I still wonder how folks, narcs or normal think that I wasn’t happy is a valid reason to pilage and abuse another person.

      I wasn’t happy so I embezzled a million from my company, I wasn’t happy so I robbed a 7-11, I wasn’t happy so I raped and killed a woman, I wasn’t happy so I took my neighbors car out for a joy ride and crashed it.

      And yet I wasn’t happy so I sexually/financially/emotionally betrayed my trusting spouse, seems to work. Oh well they weren’t happy.

      • Funny. I wasn’t happy either. I felt very unappreciated by and unattractive to my spouse. But I didn’t run off and find a fuckbuddy to make me feel better about myself.

        • Same. I wasn’t happy either, but here’s the kicker. I’m not sure I admitted to myself that I was unhappy. I was numb, the frog in the boiling water, half dead but thinking she was at a spa, floating in a warm bath.

          It’s only in retrospect that I have the emotional distance to view my relationship for what it was. It’s like needing to stand back from an impressionist painting to get the full picture.

          • Spinach – this is EXACTLY what it’s like. Even to this day, I look back in horror and disgust that I even allowed such a sorry excuse for a human disrupt my life for as long as I did. But as you said, it was a slow boil. I thought I was fine. I was not.

            • Me too. Only in hindsight do I realize how awful it truly was! As far as happiness? As Gandhi said: “Happiness is when what you think, what you do and what you say are in harmony”. So, happiness will be elusive to these f***wads forever. One thing for sure is that WE were not the cause of their unhappiness.

            • The slow boil is a thing, isn’t it? Funny thing I did think I was happy even though life was hard and getting harder every day. It took me the complete uprooting of mine and my kids’ lives (and FW’s for that matter) for me to realize the hellish, ever worsening conditions I’ve been living under for two decades. You just shrink your needs further and further more to the point at which you survive from crumbs and is grateful for them. Maybe if I could see clearly (without attachment for my previous illusions) I should be grateful for my FW XW’s cheating. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back and what made the scales fall from my eyes. I am 100% sure I would be still living under her whip and regarding myself happy and her magnificent if it wasn’t for her horrible, disgusting cheating (it would have to be just as gross as it was for it to work its charms on me; run-of-the-mill cheating wouldn’t do the job, I would probably have forgiven her by now). The extent to which I have deluded myself appalls me now. I think the sunk costs are a large part of the explanation.

              • It is a slow boil thing for so many I think.

                “I think the sunk costs are a large part of the explanation.”

                Also, after 21 years it is so hard to think those were lies. While I was loving, and helping my ex in his career; he put on the act of family man. I even remember thinking once in response to something he was doing to irritate me, “oh well he isn’t perfect, but at least I don’t have to worry about divorce” This was probably about two to three years before his house of cards fell.

          • Yup. I had accepted unhappiness and unfulfillment and a lack of appreciation as normal in a marriage.

            • yes yes yes to all of this. So much chaos and mindfuckery going on… I also thought it was normal, or at least, the best I was going to get. After all, we had “graduate” from one marriage counselor… oh… but we had to go to a fourth one? Well, you know, all marriages need “tune-ups”… on and on and on.

            • Me too. I have seen that in my parents marriage and assumed it was just the way things are. In every marriage one of the two had to get the short end of the stick to get things going. That’s why I think it’s so important what Tracy says about modelling dysfunction to your kids when you stay with a fuckwit and making them prone to lopsided relationships down the line. Unfortunately, I don’t see this very reasonable advise anywhere else. In fact, staying for the kids is sort of praised as self-sacrifice, but people fail to notice the long term consequences to these very kids. I would have fallen easily for that if it wasn’t for reading from this blog and finding that the alternative makes a lot more sense.

          • Cheater told me I was unhappy that I could never. be happy. I was happy and didn’t understand why he’d say I wasn’t happy. I went on a crusade to prove how happy I was.
            I put my needs aside, I made a point to smile more, not to ask anything of cheater and tried harder to please him, to prove I was happy.
            I realize now it was projection, saying I was never happy justified his cheating.

            He was right, how could I be happy living my life trying to please someone who didn’t appreciate me?
            So, yes, I thought I was living a life in a spa when I was actually living a life of torment.

          • I wasn’t happy either, but I settled for less and lived on hope. I also found contentment and happiness from friends and my daughter, my work, nature, cooking, etc. I didn’t feel entitled nor did I think it was my god given right to get everything I wanted all the time. My ex was so hedonistic he was never happy with what we had, he always wanted more and better. Apparently that included his wife and child- we just weren’t good enough!

            • Same here, though if anyone should ask (myself included) I would say I was happy. Had no idea what was going on and have lost sight of my own needs.

        • Same here. I mean I was happy for many years, good and bad because I thought we had a solid marriage and loved each other.

          The last year was hell on earth for me, I was clearly emotionally/mentally and financially abused; but not once did I even consider fucking strange.

          I did consider that maybe I should kick him out, or maybe I should get me to our preacher; but those are the right responses to a bad situation; not fucking strange. If he were so miserable with me why didn’t he file for a D, or get to our preacher.

          I can answer that; because filing for D or talking to our preacher wouldn’t give him the thrills of a 17 year old boy on his first date.

          He didn’t tell me what was going on until someone filed an ethics complaint on him. Even then he didn’t tell me that, he just said he was in wuv, and I was chopped liver.

          I didn’t find out about the ethic complaint until about a week after he left.

          I think the plan was to still use Susie as his front for another year until the election was over. Whoops someone threw a wrench in that plan.

        • This! I honestly didn’t realize how truly unhappy I was in the marriage until I was out of it. I just pushed down every negative and rationalized that few marriages are ever truly happy. Sought my validation via work, parenting, and a strong network of friends.
          Now, I smile more, laugh heartedly, and seek joy in every moment.

      • Yes, the mind games are just so delusional. I actually made a log of them for a while to remind myself why I had to get away.

        Later during the divorce, my attorney shared with me some of the bizarre things that my ex told his attorney. Mine was scrupulous about attorney-client privilege and said little about me, but got a kick out of how much his thrice-married attorney blabbed about the irrationality. Mine would charge me for just a fraction of those phone calls, saying that he ethically couldn’t condone that much talk but would listen for nuggets we could use in court if we had to. Ultimately my ex crossed the line too many times with trying to manipulate his sixty-something divorce attorney. His attorney figuratively kicked my ex to the curb, and we settled.

        Just let it go and get divorced, OK?

      • Yeah, contrast with chumps: I wasn’t happy so I turned into a pretzel, made my needs and feelings small, went to therapy, tried to figure out what I was doing wrong and how I could be better, did all kinds of mighty things… I think it’s important to look at the comparison. Opened my eyes.

        • Agreed, I was the one doing all the dancing, I went to therapy trying to figure out what I was doing wrong and how I could be better. Read all the marriage improvement books. Cheater wasn’t dancing or reading books on how to improve your marriage or going to therapy.
          In his mind I was to blame and he’s perfect. I hope that attitude bites him in the ass in his relationship today. If you never do anything wrong how do you learn to improve in future relationships? you don’t. Infatuation will eventually fade and he will be the same miserable jackass looking for someone to blame for. his unhappiness.
          I never thought to question him. I accepted the blame.

          I’d question him today and wouldn’t think about pick me dancing.

    • This. I’ve been explicitly told that, many times: I thought you’d be happy for me, because I was having so much fun and this was a really rare opportunity. And everybody does it, come on ice princess, you think you’re some saint that never exploited a natural disaster to mate poach someone else’s partner and then gaslight everyone about it?

      Then when he first broke up with me, (before schmoopie dumped him and he wanted to come back) he said he expected me to be over the breakup in three days so we could still go on a casino vacation and have fun. His explanation now? He thought I’d be relieved about not having to be married anymore. Because *he* will be relieved to not be married anymore, now that the wife appliance is broken and saying no to things he wants, so why wouldn’t I be?

      Weirdly, he also said he thought it would be “like in Grace and Frankie, where the women are relieved when the men tell them it’s over.” And I’m like…that’s not what happens in Grace and Frankie? Like, at all? They get furious and go take possession of a beach house and become empowered. FW will literally rewrite actual television shows in their minds, not just their own lives.

  • I got this. “You’re the kindest person I know”, “You are an amazing wife and mother”. “You are so naturally beautiful”. “I love you deeply and never want to leave you”. “It wasn’t you”. The mind-fuckup is brutal. Especially when this shit is being said and you keep finding the affair. It’s so hard to wrap your head around it. And yet you still pick-me-dance, trying to remind him about how great your life is together. It took me a long time to realize that it wasn’t me. It was never me. He truly is messed-up and he sucks. Learning about the hookers helped. Ciao, ciao loser.

    • I went through the same thing, LeavingToxicTown. My ex was a serial cheater that said the same BS to me. I finally realized he sucked when I found out about hookers (after having 2 long term affairs with coworkers and friends). It was the final straw. I only wish I had left so much sooner

    • LTT – my manipulator hit me with, “you were so far ahead of me in maturity, wisdom, and just life, in general.” He was 50 and a decade older, in case you’re wondering. I still haven’t figured out how he could think blaming his fkry on a lack of maturity would make him a sympathetic character.

      • Yep, same as “I have not been happy for ten years and I never loved you” How do they in their minds make that an excuse for destroying someone. If they never love you, how on earth is that your fault. I mean they are the one that lied, how in the hell can it be your fault if they never loved you.

        Please understand I get that the “I never loved you” and “I have been unhappy for (random years) is unadulterated revisionist bull shit, but my point is how do they hear those words and think it makes them look like the good guy.

        • Ex told me after he moved out and was with AP, he’d never been happier in his life and leaving me was the best decision he’d ever made.

    • Hear hear!!! I got this all of the time….”I appreciate everything you are”….”I love you so much, you’re my everything”, “you and (daughter) are the best things in my life”….

  • I’d guess this tactic is more common among cheaters who have moped along to counseling. They latch not the RIC’s idea that cheating arises from feelings of inferiority and use it to excuse their shitty behavior and blameshift onto the chump. Implied is, “If you had let down your guard and been less of a robot I wouldn’t have been driven to cheat,”as portrayed in cheater and pedophile Woody Allen’s “Hannah and Her Sisters” and so many other ostensibly sophisticated romances.

    Fuck that noise. Cheating is always about entitlement, about *too much*—rather than not enough—self esteem.

    • I believe that there’s a similar narrative whiplash going on with bullying. For a couple of decades there was this idea that bullies suffer from a lack of self-esteem, but now the explanation is trending to too much self-esteem (ie entitlement).

      • I remember that low self esteem trope and when it started changing.

        I fully agree with both bully and cheater (who are really just bullies) in most cases low self esteem is not their issue, too much self love or whatever you call it is. At least in imo.

        Whatever their issue, low self esteem is not a part of it. I think that is what RIC and folks wanting to try to live with a cheater want to sell or believe.

      • Many years ago my therapist told me the exact same thing!…bullies don’t lack self-esteem. They bully others because……they can.

        • Bullying is based on entitlement. “I have the right to trample others and disregard their boundaries because I’m me.”
          I was happy to hear that two tormentors from my childhood died horrible deaths. Hope they’re roasting in hell !

        • Until they get knocked on their ass (figuratively or literally), then they blame someone else and relocate to find new victims.

        • Exactly – my therapist said abusers abuse because they’re abusers. Not because they’re lacking in self-esteem, had bad childhoods or were dropped on their heads as babies. They abuse because they want to and it achieves their goals.

      • Egotism and high self esteem are different animals. Self esteem is healthy self regard based on things that matter, like your character and your positive accomplishments. Ego is shallow and phoney self regard based on superficial stuff like looks, money, power, notches in the bed post, etc. It’s based on lies egotists tell themselves about how awesome they are, whereas self esteem comes from your truthful and not overestimated worth as a person. Egotism is always an overestimation of worth.

        Egotism is used as a replacement for healthy self esteem in people who do not possess it. So people high in egotism are indeed low in self esteem and overcompensating, but they are not aware of it. It shows in their deeds. People high in self esteem don’t make assholes of themselves. Egotists always do. Examples of egotists would be people like Elon Musk and Donald Trump, and of course, our super duper speshul ex fuckwits.

        Cheating is about feeding an overgrown ego, not self esteem. Self esteem does not need to be fed by externals. It is internal. It might be temporarily bruised and battered by being fuckwitted on, because when we love, the loved one’s regard becomes to some extent integrated with self regard. However, if it is fundamentally strong it can’t be erased by what other people do to you or think of you. Fuckwits, and abusers in general, try to erase your self esteem and are enraged when they fail. I do think they envy a chump with self esteem and resent the chump for having what they do not. Egotism can be fed by putting other people down. Self esteem can’t.

        • Interesting. I was just reading about this today in an article on evil. Basically, it said that there were 4 conditions under which people commit evil acts. One of them was “threatened egotism” which is the theory that people with unstable and over-inflated high self regard become volatile when they perceive their view of themselves is being challenged. That seemed spot-on from my experience and observations.

          I’m not sure that this theory necessarily fits my FW, but I do believe cheating is an evil act.

          • Got a link to the article? It sounds great.

            I know my fw’s evil acts were about threatened egotism. He is incredibly insecure and constructed an overblown ego to compensate. Of course it was shoddy construction, so it was easily threatened. I’m smarter than him, and a better person, not that I ever said those things to him, but he knew it himself and it filled him with rage.
            Being lazy and a whiny little bitch, instead of trying to improve himself to be more at my level, he punished me and downgraded with a dumb amoral slut even lower than he is.

            Another basis on which people justify doing evil is tribalism. They attack outsiders to the group they identify with in order to preserve a sense of belonging to something. You can see this with fws too. They have decided the chump is not part of their tribe, so they seek a more like-minded, low rent person for an AP. You will notice that their friends have the same kind of fucked up beliefs and attitudes that they do. This was also in play with my fw. He hung out with other spouse-haters who had drinking problems. They made fun of me because I don’t drink. That’s all it takes to be considered an enemy outsider by tribalists. It’s often about envy of something the outsider is perceived to have cloaked in some kind of insane bigotry. Example; Nazis perceiving that Jews had money and business acumen. That’s an extreme example, but it’s operating on the same principle as fw perceiving that I don’t need to silence a critical inner voice with booze, that I can face the world, and myself, cold sober. To messed up weaklings like him, that’s an unheard of amount of courage, whereas to healthier people it’s nothing out of the ordinary. The envious tribalist tries to turn something that is a virtue into a deficiency and an excuse for hate. Heh. They SUCK. All we have to do to be better is be normal. It’s a low bar.

            Tribalism results from the lack of a stable, authentic personal identity, which fw and his asshat friends definitely do not have. Losers one and all.

            • Great thread, so much food for thought!

              “Self esteem does not need to be fed by externals. It is internal”.

              “when we love, the loved one’s regard becomes to some extent integrated with self regard”.

              So, so true!

              “Egotism can be fed by putting other people down. Self esteem can’t”.

              “people with unstable and over-inflated high self regard become volatile when they perceive their view of themselves is being challenged”.

              “They have decided the chump is not part of their tribe, so they seek a more like-minded, low rent person for an AP”.

              WOW, my FW XW’s choice of AP is just incomprehensible for me, but this line did ring a bell.

              “You will notice that their friends have the same kind of fucked up beliefs and attitudes that they do”.

              Check

              “All we have to do to be better is be normal. It’s a low bar”.

              Well said!

  • No matter how you try to dissect their reasoning, it always seems to come down to them amend their feelings. Low self esteem? I don’t think so. They value themselves above everyone else. My STBX justified his cheating by saying that I worked too hard at my job, keeping up the house and even keeping our son in activities while making sure the kid did homework. He had to find a young Schmoopie who did not have these burden and could focus on him. Then it got down to being older, menopause and not giving in to all his desires.
    Everything you do or don’t do will justify having an affair. Focus on your home and you kids? Yep you made me cheat. Take care of you aging parents? Yep that made them cheat. The simple fact is that we chumps don’t matter in their world.
    I honestly will be glad when this is over. I just want to be able to live a life where I am not accused of ruining someone’s happiness. Of course once he is free, I doubt that he will be truly happy and will find more things to whine and blame others on.

    • I think it comes down to their belief that happiness is external. It’s everyone else’s responsibility. It’s based on circumstances. My ex would always blame his unhappiness on things around him: “I’ll be happy when…I get a different job, I finish this project, you lose weight, I get a new girlfriend, I’m successful, etc., etc. etc.” Except that when those things happened, he found something else that was preventing his happiness. And he never learned that HE was responsible for his own happiness. I (or anyone else) could never “make” him happy. When I couldn’t fix his life, he threw me away and blamed me for everything. He thought OW would solve all his problems. She thought it was my fault that he was angry and miserable, and that she could cure him. That once they got rid of me, he would be his “real” happy self. She learned the hard way that it had nothing to do with me. They were absolutely miserable together. She eventually left him. After that, he finally gave up and killed himself. And even that he blamed on OW, and me, not on himself. (He left a long, LONG suicide note.) It was like a last “fuck you, see what YOU made me do?”

      I’m not sure some of these people are capable of happiness. I don’t think my ex even *wanted* to be happy. He thrived on drama. If there wasn’t any, he manufactured it. Something to be pissed about. Some imagined slight to rage over. He’d purposely start fights on social media by saying inflammatory things, then sit back and watch the fireworks. My ex had no idea what contentment or peace feels like. I don’t think he even wanted that. Contentment is ordinary and therefore as bad as death. He had to be exceptional. When he couldn’t be that, he opted to check out and leave the legacy of being the hapless victim of fate and all the people in his life who just didn’t appreciate him enough. To die of old age, happy and content, was never in the cards for him. Even at the end, he made it all about him, with no thought for how it would impact others (like our 9 year old child). I think he actually wanted me to suffer and have to clean up his mess for him. I suppose the joke’s on him, because I have never been happier or felt more freedom and peace than I do now, as callous as that sounds.

      • ISawTheLight,

        Every time I read your posts, I’m struck by how awful your ex was. I’m so glad you’re happier now and hope that your child is thriving as well.

        Your comment resonates with me. My x shares a lot of your ex’s characteristics. He embraced his misery, loved the sad drama of his life. Dying patients. Multiple family suicides. A father’s early death from cancer (and he’s convinced himself he’ll suffer the same fate, of course). An overt narc might brag about being the smartest or richest person in the room. Mine “bragged” about being the saddest.

        I’ve lived my life on a suicide watch of sorts. He used his moodiness and depression to manipulate. My kids and I walked on eggshells. He resented us for that, too. #nowin

        • #metoo. I was on suicide watch my entire multiple decades-long marriage. Another family member had succeeded and depression was in the family history so I took it seriously and tried to help.

          It I don’t want to detract from people who really need help. But. In the last year after DD and before divorce he threatened suicide probably five times. I told him I’d call 911 for him and went about my business. He had cried wolf one too many times. It’s several years later and he’s still kicking. All it ever was was Kibbles and self-pity channel. So glad that is not my life, my responsibility or in my kids’ lives anymore.

          • If a manipulator threatens suicide, meet that challenge with the threat of putting them in a psych hold for 72 hours.

            • I have done something like that after FW cried wolf for the third time in a month. She grabbed a kitchen knife in front of our kids right when I was there to pick them up and told me I was not going to be divorced, I was going to be a widower. I disarmed her too easily and no one got a single cut or scratch (does it look like someone who’s really bent on killing herself?). I called the cops (they did nothing, she’s a cop); called the ambulance (it took forever for them to show up); she took benzodiazepines in excess of the recommended dose and began to faint; I took her and the kids to my parent’s house and her to the ER the next morning; doctor wanted her committed and hell broke loose; FW attacked me and the nurses physically; at one point threw her phone on me and almost shattered it against the wall; tried to escape the hospital by running twice (was detained once by me, once by a security guard); refused to take meds and fought the nurses physically over that; begged me crying to please not let them commit her. I wasn’t feeling strong enough to make that big a decision and called my in-laws and asked them to take the decision in their hands and take care of her if the decision was for her discharge. My FIL said he wouldn’t come because he had to watch the dog (I’m not kidding); my MIL arrived a few hours later and signed for her discharge. The next day FW showed up in court and demanded (pro se) that the then amicable divorce be halted (what has ultimately cost me thousands of bucks and many months more). Right after that she showed up at my parent’s house, wreaked havoc, physically assaulted me once again and tried to take the kids with her. My lawyer recommended that I filed for a restraining order and told me I was very likely to get one that would cause FW to be unable to contact our children for some months at least. The holidays were near and I didn’t follow through for fears of what she could do to herself. Few months later she was drinking and partying heavily again with her pals; blowing up her spending to new highs; putting my kids in the company of a revolving door of strange men and just making every single thing she could do to make my life miserable. But never again talked about suicide. In fact she is right now flaunting her sudden enlightenment on instagram. As fake as her sudden depression.

          • As someone who has gone through that particular Hell, trust me when I say that when you’re suicidal, you don’t threaten. You don’t tell anyone. You don’t want attention when you’re in that kind of pain. You don’t want an intervention. You want to die.

            I’m not saying that people who threaten suicide aren’t in pain. I’m just saying they aren’t truly suicidal.

      • ISTL – no it is not callous. It is your truth. And I am glad that you have found peace. Above all, I am glad that you do not blame yourself. These monsters are manipulators and their intention is to cause pain and drama. I am glad that you are now free.

      • “Even at the end, he made it all about him, with no thought for how it would impact others (like our 9 year old child)”.

        OMG, this is awful. So sorry you and your kid were put through this!

  • It does sort of answer why many FWs cheat down.

    Those that haven’t been chumped (or just don’t know it yet) like to assume that there was something wrong with the Chump when a FW leaves them. That just feeds the FW and they can play victim.

    But then you see Maria Shriver, Elizabeth Hurley, Tiger Wood’s gorgeous ex wife, Jennifer Garner, Shania Twain etc —all cheated on for the nanny … or someone less successful or far less beautiful. The FWs ends up cheating with someone who will swoon for them…. will tell them how great they are… and do anything to be with them. While the chumps are kicked in the teeth because the FW is really JEALOUS of them!

    In truth, I think these fragile-ego’ed narcissistic FWs like to “win” a great wife then break them by cheating with a random hooker (see: Tiger Woods and Hugh Grant) or the regular nanny or neighbor (see Mutt Lange, Ben Afflek, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robin Williams)

    What a bunch of abusive jealous assholes FWs are. Losers

    • Wow. This really resonates with me. I do feel like everything he did was a massive (conscious/subconscious?) FUCK YOU!

      • Wow! Same! A big FU, indeed!

        When I told my x that it was as if he’d killed himself, his old life, he said, “Better a suicide than a homicide.” I think that might have been a mask-slip moment. I wish I’d paused a second and asked him to clarify.

        I think that, for some reason that only his disordered mind can justify, he wanted revenge for something I did, like having a good relationship with our kids and being able to socialize at a party. He was always jealous of that. He stabbed me with his affair to make himself feel superior. I tend to doubt it’s had that effect.🤷🏻‍♀️

      • Oh… I think it’s very conscious. But FWs gaslight us and everyone else by saying “chump was too perfect. Woah is me”…or some other garbage to make chump the bad guy and play victim. More masks. More gaslighting.

        But that’s also why I’m with CL and always say to tell your side. Don’t keep their secrets anymore. FWs RELY on the fact that chumps are good and will keep quiet. And if you don’t… out come the flying monkeys to support them. Just tell your story. The people that matter will see.

        My idiot FW is now afraid to go anywhere near where I go or the people we used to hang out with. Everyone knows and he’s fully outed and hated. I recorded his abuse of his son and the jig was up. Everyone who thought he was “quiet and nice and a good father” got to see and hear the demon behind the mask. He can’t figure out how to get the mask back on now except to meet new people and stay away from everyone he knew before 😂

        • “But that’s also why I’m with CL and always say to tell your side. Don’t keep their secrets anymore.”

          This a thousand times over. DO.NOT.PROTECT their image. It will be at your expense. They WILL.NOT protect you, at all.

          It has been many years for me, and I am here due to his treatment of our son a couple years ago, not his cheating. But, I learned so much in hindsight; and that is I still had anger at myself because I didn’t tell my story. I honestly don’t know what he said to anyone, but I should have told my story to a few strategic folks, and them told them is is no secret, folks can believe me or not.

          I didn’t do it because we shared a grown son and I didn’t want folks to think he was as awful as he really was. I also think I was just so humiliated. I didn’t want folks to know how awful he was that last year and that I put up with it. I was scared, so many reasons; but if I had had one person tell me to shout the truth; I might have done it.

          My dad did tell me over and over that I had nothing to be ashamed of, that he is the one who should be ashamed and hanging his head etc. I didn’t even tell my dad the whole truth. I never told my dad, he had stolen thousands from me to spend on the whore, I didn’t tell him he blamed my housekeeping, that he said he had cheated for half our marriage, and that he never loved me.

          So that is why I am here, to keep telling baby chumps to shout it from the rooftops once they know it won’t affect their settlement. You have to protect you first.

          • Susie Lee, please stop blaming yourself. None of us knew the right things to do when DDay happened and the FW’s mask came off.

            Most of us got shitty advice from people who said to keep our mouths shut — that it was no one else’s business… that if we exposed the FW that there was no chance of reconciliation. I got plenty of that garbage advice.

            But in my case, when I figured it out and confronted FW, he walked out immediately and moved in with AP and never looked back. There was no choice for me. No way for me to pick me dance.

            And my therapist told me I was no longer FW’s secret keeper. So I reached out and told the story to protect myself.

            You can still share. It’s never too late. The truth is the truth. Do whatever you need to. Have you always wanted to tell a good friend but didn’t? Get together and have some wine and have a good chat. Why the hell not? 🙂

            But even if you choose not to share anymore, please free yourself from any guilt for choices you made. You were dealing with a FW

            • Thanks Michelle, oh I have shard it all here. Also, about a year and a half ago, I shared with my brother.

              I just want to help those who are just beginning.

              I have been blessed with a joyful and calm life post fw. I want everyone to have a chance at that.

              I don’t blame myself at all. I did the best I could. I know that.

              Really about the only thing I regret was letting him come back, though it only lasted for a week. I knew better when I did it, so I regret it.

              When I kept quiet I didn’t know better.

              Oh and I do regret that my dad didn’t live long enough for me to tell him the whole story. But, of course I couldn’t help that.

              I did tell my husband the whole story before we married.

          • Susie, I felt the same as you. I thought it would be more dignified to keep things to myself. I also didn’t want our son to hear anything bad about his father.
            I was also ashamed because I worked hard at maintaining the nice family image. I volunteered at school functions, PTA, band parent etc.
            Foolishly I thought that cheater would also keep our personal lives private.
            Meanwhile Cheater was on a smear campaign. (I found out later began before he abandoned me). He eventually alienated our son from me with his lies (another story).
            He told people I was mentally ill, an alcoholic, refused to go to therapy, bad Mom, terrible housekeeper, never happy.., I never loved him.
            Portrayed himself as a caring husband/victim to my abuse. When I first found out he was bad mouthing me, I thought people who knew me wouldn’t believe him. I also assumed people would see through him and know that he was lying since he was bad mouthing me to everyone, school janitor, my sons teachers.. anyone who would listen.
            Surprisingly people sided with him, people who I thought were my friends were having him over for dinner. I felt so humiliated.
            Now I’m glad I found out they were not people I want as friends. I see it as the trash taking itself out. Birds of a feather…

        • “I recorded his abuse of his son and the jig was up. Everyone who thought he was “quiet and nice and a good father” got to see and hear the demon behind the mask”.

          I audiotaped some disturbing things, kids related. Have shown them only to my lawyer and a close friend. Wish more people could see the devil behind the mask, but the ones who saw did turn their backs on her and she resents that bitterly.

    • I also agree with your premise that FWs cheat with someone who will swoon for them, and that the FW harbor a jealousy against the chumps. I have secretly recorded phone calls between my FW and his AP. She is falling all over herself telling him how wonderful he is, when she was not hinting that she needs money. It was blatant manipulation. It was sad to hear these conversations.

      For a while, I felt guilty that I had not provided my FW with enough ego strokes in our relationship. But over time I realized that he was a man-boy who had never matured. No one was giving me ego-strokes in our relationship, and I managed to be a loving, responsible, successful adult without cheating.

      • “She is falling all over herself telling him how wonderful he is, when she was not hinting that she needs money. It was blatant manipulation. It was sad to hear these conversations.”

        Yes, this. I didn’t actually hear the conversations, but the whore was a single mother with three kids and none of the fathers of the kids had a pot to piss in, so no help from them. She had tried to “poach” several married men before she found the idiot stupid enough to fuck his direct report and keep it secret for years.

        That is the part that got me the worst, that he was just.so.fucking.stupid. He could have used his uniform and captains bars to hook up with many local whores who would have no power and could easily be disposed of. Hell it is what the other officers did. But, no he chose a short fat troll, with three big assed kids to feed.

        How could I have thought he was so smart, forget the decent part; I actually thought he was smart.

    • I read somewhere that when the wife earns more than the husband, the likelihood of cheating by the husband increases to a massive percentage. I know I was paying for all his little adventures. It is a very effective way to destroy a high achieving wife’s self esteem.

      • Thanks for posting this. This is new information to me but it certainly fits. More evidence about just how ridiculous and common all of their BS is.

      • I didn’t earn more than my XH, but was far more visible in our community and had WAY more friends. He hated being known as “Ivy’s husband”. He wanted me to answer the phone, “this is MRS. FW”, and not use my first name at all.

        He criticized everything I did, from cleaning, to attire, to grooming, to career, to faith, you name it, I didn’t do it to his standards or desire. He tore me down to build himself up. His secretary was far more to his liking, and willing to put up with his BS.

        For the record, I used to do runway modeling. I have a Master’s from a prestigious university. I rose to the top of my field in a highly competitive industry, where I was admired for my talent, work ethic, and ability to get along with my peers.

        Good riddance.

        • Ivy, I actually chuckled at him wanting you to answer the phone as “Hello, this is Mrs. FW”. What a jackass! It says so much about him. I considered pursuing a doctorate (not in medicine) and my FW said he would support me in that endeavor as long as I agreed not to use the title Dr. He didn’t want to be Mr. & Dr. FW.

          What is up with that??? This was before the discard and before I realized what he was. But it was difficult to reconcile that attitude at the time. I guess I just couldn’t recognize what I was dealing with at the time.

          Dumbasses – the lot of them.

          • Early on in our marriage when I told my then-husband that I was going to go to graduate school, he piped up with this memorable line: “As long as you don’t lose your femininity.” What the actual F!

            So many🚩🚩🚩🚩.

            Honestly, I can remember being both pissed off (how sexist!) and secretly pleased (ooo, he thinks I’m feminine). Guess I learned early on to hunt for compliments in these little breadcrumbs. *sigh*

      • Wow Whitecoatburnout, that’s spot on for ex FW. He never got over the fact I had a PhD and he could not get into grad school, and that I out earned him for most of our marriage… he of course made sure I came out with zero $$. Financial abuse is the worst. He settled for OW who I know for a fact he thinks is dummer than him. Never mind that our kids are collateral damage of his messed up mind games.

      • I went to work in the school cafeteria when my son started first grade. We just never had money, and I wanted my son to have some things above the basics. What happened in retrospect is that he was spending the money that should have gone to our family on his own pleasures, I doubt it was exit whore, but likely back then random whores.

        So, he said that I would keep a separate account and that money would be for “extras”. He managed the rest of the money; and honestly though I knew the basics and had access to the account, and credit card; I trusted him.

        In effect all the money I earned was transferred out another way to his pleasure. My guess is from the beginning he lived his double life like a single man, and of course my “extra” income helped him pay for it.

        The silver lining is whore found out real quick once I was out of the picture how generous he was with his wife. Bet she missed me.

        By the time we D’d I had been working for DoD for three years. Within a few years I was out earning him, and he was shortly to crash and burn financially, by his own hand. Both our salaries were public knowledge by law.

      • I used to never discuss my promotions, awards, achievements with ex. When he made fun of my job, I would join in. Gosh, I didn’t want to damage his male ego.

        • I was earning more than $500,000 a year and giving it all to him to manage and never questioning his expenditures because I didn’t want to threaten his male ego. I was really careful about it. We bred and showed very expensive pedigreed cats for years and literally nobody in the fancy knew I was a physician, because I consistently made an effort to not outshine him. His last OW was the building slut who was passed from married doctor to married doctor, until she got to MY office and I was female, so she banged the office manager, my husband…in my office, on my exam tables.

      • Your describing my stepmonster’s niece’s situation. She was the earner (finance) whilst her husband farted around (grad school plus cheating). I saw him out and about, flirting with other women and his wife wasn’t at these events. Maybe that’s what caused her breast cancer. I heard through the grapevine of her recent death. No online obit or death notice and one would think her jackass husband was single, based on his Fuckbook profile. I feel sorry for their daughter who just finished uni.

    • The commonalities with cheaters is striking, the very 1st two comments whiplashed memories for me. How I was accused for preparing a Friday meal at home when he had began a new “go out to the bar each Friday routine “ and I wanted to sabotage that. He knew from the very day we met I didn’t care for the bar scene and yet this became a later form of friction because he became drawn to bar atmosphere and how he met pick up girls , two that I know of. He blamed me for being stronger than him and so not as likely to fall into cheating and yet his jealousy oozed over . It was attention overload with him , then he wanted constant sexy pose photos , He pushed the envelope on most everything , the NEED for attention was great, the need for excitement , fighting , drama at his work and pushing me out of my comfort zones in many ways to physical assault and verbal abuse that became much worse while he actively cheated .prior he would fill up with watching porn or looking up women online , there were probably hookers in Nevada also. That’s where he found his ow . I am curious if anyone’s ex took their photos past to present and completely reorganized them to suit themselves? Any time I look for a photo I have no idea where it might be , is this not totally bizarre when someone tries to rearrange your life in this way? Some weird control factor?

    • MichelleShocked, that’s a really good point: “fragile-ego’d narcissistic FWs like to ‘win’ a great wife then break them by cheating…” and often, by cheating down.

      I had never lumped myself in with those beautiful celebrity chumps but I do think I was a pretty “great wife” in that I’ve lived a life of service, I’m well-educated (not just my degrees but I have pursued a broad range of interests and subjects), I like goofy fun without using substances, and I took care of The Python through his brutal cancer ordeal.

      The women he went out with were nanny-ish in that some were waitresses at his favorite restaurant (subservient in his view), and all of his conquests swooned in text messages I was able to read (because he entered his phone password once when he was sitting right next to me).

      I hadn’t thought of him as jealous of me, but it makes sense. He made up accomplishments which I only discovered were bogus after he cheated. They really are abusive losers.

    • Mine, for the longest time, would say that “I was jealous of him”. I actually told him to look that word up in the dictionary. There was no reason to ever be jealous of him and if he was successful, I would have instead been proud!

    • Totally! This was my experience. FW was definitely punching above his weight with me, his OWs were sad pathetic people. But he got off on manipulating both them and me. His Schick was that he was the giver and nice guy of the relationship and I was the bitch. He was soft spoken, kind, empathic etc. It was all an act. Looking back, the gross manipulation was mind bending. During the time when I was marriage police I found more evidence of his secret life, and I confronted him but he turned it round to me being the bad guy as I was confronting him on the 10 year anniversary of his mum dying. He had me suicidal from me being such a nasty person and begging him to stay. The mindfuck is something that I’ll never get over

    • In dv research, it’s called “masked dependency.” They cheat to both hide from themselves and dilute their infantile dependence on/fears of abandonment by primary partners whom abusers paranoically convince themselves are deliberately trying to disempower and destroy them.

      It’s just a theory but, like any good theory, facts and identifiable patterns tend to cluster around it. For instance, it could explain why so many cheaters become vicious and act as if cheating were legitimate revenge for some supposedly terrible thing the victim did. It wasn’t what the victim did but what they or any partner could do– abandon the abuser.

      I know this could sound like a bid for amnesty but it’s apparently a form of attachment disorder found in the most lethal domestic abusers.

      • I wonder if DV advocates read Marie-France Hirigoyen’s Stalking the Soul. She wrote about that pattern, where the abuser just goes all out to destroy their victim, for reasons no one understands. I’m not sure if she mentioned the “masked dependency” theory, but all of them try to explain the abuse which makes no sense.

  • The chumps supposed perfection is a device that works for every channel the cheater tries:

    Charm Channel: “Don’t you know you’re perfect? I’m not even close, that’s why I had to cheat.”
    Sad Sausage Channel: “I had to cheat because I’m not as perfect as you.”
    Rage Channel: “So I cheated! You’re not perfect!”

  • I got the “your’re too perfect thing.” My conclusion was a bit different though. I think for my ex, cheating was a way to be more powerful. Change the rules of the game, so to speak. It’s like he was thinking: “I can never compete with this perfection and look good. I’m not a good or successful guy. But if I cheat on the side and have my own thing going on, I’m more powerful and I win!” Sick and crazy, I know. But I think that is what happened.

  • All these cheaters are all the same. Blameshift and blameshift some more. My ex said I was boring and did not know how to have fun. I did not give him enough compliments and he was sure I would not care if he went out with my cousin. She was always happy and never complained. Geez, he never complimented me ever. Actually used to insult me almost daily. And I did not go out and cheat.

    I have realized that he would have cheated on me no matter what. He would have cheated with anyone. It just so happened my cousin was the low hanging fruit.

    • “My ex said I was boring and did not know how to have fun. I did not give him enough compliments”. These are exactly the reasons I got.

      So he cheated with a younger girl with very little life experience who thought everything he did/said/wrote was MIND BLOWING. It never occurred to her that she felt this way because she was actually kind of stupid. She constantly told him he was amazing, thanked him for deigning to be with her because she didn’t deserve him, and told him he was a god on earth. She changed her appearance, tastes, habits, everything to be exactly what he wanted (which was, in essence, to make her into me ten years ago). He had to do exactly nothing to have her bowing and kissing his feet (or wherever). And she believed everything that came out of his mouth. She literally dropped him a curtsey when he opened doors for her. Gross. I could not be this person, and I don’t want to be.

      • THIS ^
        APs loved FW. He is so AMAZING! Smart, handsome, rich, brilliant, funny, charming, the greatest catch ever! Except that he was cheating and they knew it (and they knew me and our BABY too!). But hey, what a great guy! I can’t even say they were dumb or inexperienced or naive because they knew he was a cheating FW. But he sure was an dreamy one…

      • Gross! Sounds just like my ex and his young AP’s. FW has too much of an ego and image to admit he did it for kibbles, but he loved the adoration, cheap, easy and superficial as it was. One AP: “Let’s burn down the house with true love, god’s love.” (Wow! FW felt like god after getting this from some girl he hardly knew. I would’ve been freaked out, queasy and embarrassed, in his place, to get a letter like this from some young dude.) “You make me feel like I am made up of the most precious gems in the world. Like every woman deserves to feel at least once in their life” Made up of! (And this was when she was a very much secret and hidden side piece he flattered, fed occasional meals, and went down on – and that’s about it, from what I gathered.)

        He must’ve been a special guy, to be getting attention from such a special girl. There’s much, much more from both sides that is excruciatingly embarrassing. FW: “Am I not the luckiest man in the world?” “I’d drive to Ohio tonight for half your apple.” (Huh?) “You are one hell of a woman.” (Woman! And this said, of course, when “ending” it aka putting her on the back burner. And simultaneously calling me the best person he knows.) Speaking of gems… I would love a site where we could post the texts, emails and letters between FWs and schmoopies.

        • Oh god. I have a SACKFUL of OW’s love letters to him. They are the most ridiculous, over the top, embarrassing things I’ve ever read. My skin would crawl if someone wrote to me like that. It’s too much. Here’s this chick declaring her undying love to a guy she met TWO MONTHS AGO. So much ego stroking. They are disgusting.

          I got a good laugh out of them. Particularly the one where OW is encouraging my husband to tell me about her, so we can all be one big happy family because “she seems to like me and was having a good time the other night”. I was fuming the whole evening, but I guess I’m a good actress (and yes, OW used to come over to our house with her kids – ugh!).

  • I believe serial predators look for prey they can identify as superior. When a hunter searches for a prime specimen buck, and brags about how many points he had on his antlers, it is a similar thing. They want to take down the best, because it somehow enhances their prowess. If a hunter is hunting for meat to sustain him and his family, it doesn’t matter how many points the antlers have.

    In nature, predators look for opportunity, and pick weaker specimens. This is natural, these predators have to eat to survive. For humans, we seek out friends and mates with qualities that best match our own, if we are seeking a sincere relationship. For human predators, they seek out the best, so they can steal from the best. They want to punish the victim for having the very things these predators do not have, but desire. All the qualities that attract them to you are the things they resent and want for themselves. You are useful to them. So, they set their traps by love bombing and pretending to be someone they are not. When we finally figure it out, they turn it on us, trying to squeeze out a few more useful drops.

    Sorry to say, I believe these people are empty vessels which will never be filled. They have a hole where their spiritual heart should be, and it leaks away everything they try to steal from others. They have to hunt constantly to try to stay full, but it is fruitless because they will never be satisfied. They are Time Vampires, who drain you and then leave you for dead, after wasting the precious time you have to live your life. Escaping from them is the only course of action. It doesn’t matter why they do what they do. Your life matters, escape and be free.

    • “For human predators, they seek out the best, so they can steal from the best. They want to punish the victim for having the very things these predators do not have, but desire. All the qualities that attract them to you are the things they resent and want for themselves.”
      Yes. This is why, as CL says, they suck. They suck the life out of us.

    • That was DV expert Lenore Walker’s implication when she found that, contrary to the traditional view that DV victims suffered from “psychological deficiency syndrome” (low self esteem), battered women were more likely than average to have had high pre-abuse self esteem. Similar research found domestic violence survivors were more likely than average to have had careers prior to abuse.

      Seems a lot of abusers prefer hunting big game to shooting mice.

    • “They are Time Vampires, who drain you and then leave you for dead, after wasting the precious time you have to live your life. Escaping from them is the only course of action. It doesn’t matter why they do what they do. Your life matters, escape and be free”.

      ☝☝☝ this!

  • The self-esteem thing is complicated. Most narcissists have low self-esteem (and very little core sense of self), which is why they have to get emotional supply (=kibbles) from others and focus on fulfilling their own animal desires – to fill up that void. My STBX admitted at one point that she doesn’t really know who she is, and she doesn’t understand how boundaries work. Like, at all. I’m sure she fully expected me to be able to read her mind.

    I also realized just a few weeks ago – note that this was a year and a half after moving out, and more than 3 years after D-Day #2!!! – that STBX doesn’t have her own adult tastes in music, art, or anything aesthetic. She either sticks with what she liked as an adolescent (i.e., that we’re popular with the cool kids in her youth) or what she has learned about from people she idealizes (her kibble supply).

    So, a lack of real sense of self can definitely lead to outrageously selfish choices, because there’s no real core sense of self to fall back on when things get difficult in life. Other people are just kibble supply, and exist to be used. In order to have (and act on) real core values, you need to have a real core.

    I note how long it took me to realize how shallow STBX is, to reflect more on the chump experience of investing in someone with no core. As CL says so eloquently, we spackle and project our values onto our partners, since we can’t imagine not having a core sense of self.

    • My ex never matured past 17. He had the same tastes in music, films, books, hobbies, etc. and even dressed the same (90s skater punk), even though he was 45.

      He also expected me to read his mind. But he out and out said so (“I shouldn’t have to tell you what I need!”). Deep down he hated himself, which he also told me on the few occasions he let his guard down. Most of the time he postured as extremely confident. But you’re right, when things fell apart (jobs, money), he had nothing to fall back on.

      • Yep, I bet a lot of us felt like we were married to adolescents. It was fine when I married in my mid-20s – even refreshing to have a little less adult seriousness in life (esp. since I had endured cancer treatments in my early 20s). It’s not so refreshing when you’re older and have kids, careers, etc. And then you hit real road bumps – parental decline/death, job loss – and the Peter Pan act gets old real fast. https://www.chumplady.com/2014/05/when-youre-the-parent-in-the-relationship/

        • Wow, spot on! Mine had Peter Pan syndrome, always acting the fool because he “likes to be spontaneous”. I asked him when he thought he would be ready to grow up because it wasn’t a good look at 50+!

    • I don’t know honestly about the self esteem issue.

      All I know is my fw never made any bones about his need for power and money. He wanted to be mayor, he was buying property to eventually have more money etc; at least these were the things he was telling me. I didn’t everything I could to help in in civic activities, I wanted him to have his shot a mayor; honestly up until the last year, I was convinced he would eventually be a great mayor.

      Even after we D’d he came by my house to drop off our grandson, and he said to me “so are you going to sell this house” (the one I got in the settlement). I said I don’t know, depends on if I stay here or not, I will have to follow my job”. I said “I am not looking to get rich, just work hard save money and have enough to pay the bills” He said and I quote his exact words “I want to get rich, and I am going to”.

      I had no doubt at that time he would figure out a way to make a lot of money. I had not idea and was even surprised a few years later to find out from our son that he had gambled his way into almost three thousand dollars of gambling debt. He had to file bankruptcy. It still astounds me to this day that he was so reckless, he had walked away with most of our combined assets, but he threw it all away. I don’t know if she helped him gamble or it was just him but dang I was surprised.

      • Hmmm. These cheaters seem to vacillate between high and low self esteem. I don’t know. When they are in love-themselves mode, they enjoy the affair and feel it confirms their greatness. They feel special and powerful! When they are in hate-themselves mode, they seem to almost welcome the censure of others, feeling deserving of disdain. It’s as if they are both sadists and masochists. They want to hurt and be hurt.

        It’s all so head spinning and disordered. The only way to stay sane is to step away from the confusing madness of it all.

        • At least this seems to be true of my x. There’s an internal battle being waged within him. He’s a miserable human being

          His problems are internal. He can’t escape himself. Fly fishing, which requires a lot of concentration, must provide a measure of relief from his own thoughts.

          I’d hate to be him.

          • “At least this seems to be true of my x. There’s an internal battle being waged within him. He’s a miserable human being”

            I think that is so true many times. We as sane humans with feeling try to make the pieces fit, but alas they likely never will.

            His own sister told me that she thinks his biggest problem is he never really liked himself. I don’t know. I kind of think he liked himself too much, who knows.

        • At least this seems to be true of my x. There’s an internal battle being waged within him. He doesn’t realize this and blames external factors (me) and, by now, maybe the wifetress. One can only hope.

          Sex. Reckless behavior. Alcohol. Affairs. Porn. Fishing. All attempts at escapism. But he cannot escape his miserable self. That would require some self-awareness on his part and a willingness to stop playing the blame game. He’s got a black belt in blame.

        • Yeah – I use the word “narcissist” advisedly. As in most of Dr. Ramani’s videos, we can substitute “toxic person” and it still works. Pure narcissists probably have the most vacillation between states of narcissistic injury (the moping you describe) and grandiosity, or acting like they’re “all that.” I suspect that my cheater has some toxic Cluster B brew going on, involving a pinch of borderline and a touch of narcissism and who knows what else. All of these traits can slide up and down the scale depending on external stressors vs. sources of supply. I don’t need to untangle the skein more than this; STBX is unlikely ever to have a formal diagnosis. Basically, as CL says, we have to Trust That They Suck. My limbic system just keeps churning out more ways that She Sucks, like what I posted about above.

    • “My STBX admitted at one point that she doesn’t really know who she is”.

      Mine said that too. It’s frightening, isn’t it? Because you thought you knew very thoroughly who she was and then you discover it was all an act well put together. She herself doesn’t know/never knew that!

      “STBX doesn’t have her own adult tastes in music, art, or anything aesthetic. She either sticks with what she liked as an adolescent (i.e., that we’re popular with the cool kids in her youth) or what she has learned about from people she idealizes (her kibble supply)”.

      Same thing with my FW XW. I never thought about it from this weak sense of self angle, that’s very insightful.

      “I note how long it took me to realize how shallow STBX is, to reflect more on the chump experience of investing in someone with no core”.

      I’m wondering now if this is the case with my (very shallow) FW XW, and feel very sad for having maybe invested so much in a void. Had I invested it in an immature but ultimately redeemable person (or even an outright bad person, but still a person) it would be less painful.

      This no-real-self thing is sad and frightening. It’s like we’ve been putting our emotional (and actual) coins down a machine, an automaton.

      I recall a conversation we had way before DDay #1 in which she was taken aback when I told her I regarded her as a zen person (she had been talking a lot about new age stuff as of late, but didn’t seem to understand things very well; she thought zen was synonym with calm, placid, quiet – everything she never was). I proceeded to explain my meaning, i.e., that she did things she wanted to do without hesitation (no second thoughts) and didn’t seem to plan or worry for things (no anxiety at all), and that she was very effective in all she does in part due to these characteristics. It was meant as a sincere compliment, I wished I was more like her. The very fact that she was unaware of strict zen discipline and methods was all the most zen: she had no stink of zen. She seemed really surprised and then flattered by this compliment.

      Now that I come to think of it knowing fully well what she’s been up to and having read these comments on a hypothetic lack of strong sense of self in fuckwits, I have a maybe better grasping of what kind of no-self thing I was looking at.

      It’s sometimes amusing to see the lengths we chumps (I in this case) go to spackle our fuckwits’ callousness.

  • FW had to cheat because I was too perfect. That’s right, it’s my fault. I am too smart. Too pretty. Too everything…..

    At least I used to be too perfect. Now that I have morphed into someone who is sometimes so fucking angry about the fact that FW lied to and cheated on me for the better part of a decade, I am not so perfect after all. I can no longer be trusted. I am not safe. I am scary. He is just a TFC after all, and I am an angry chump. Makes me want to blast Taylor Swift’s Mad Woman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-6zyo6XX6eM

    • I used to be so hard on myself that I was so angry about the lies and the cheating. I told my therapist I didn’t want to turn into an angry, bitter person. But my therapist said to me “you have every RIGHT to be angry”. So don’t beat yourself up for feeling justifiable anger at someone who abused you so despicably. Feel it. Scream along to angry songs in the car (“Burn” by Papa Roach was on repeat in my car for awhile). Rage. Rant. Cry. Smash something (is there a “rage room” in your area?).. Let yourself feel it. In time, my anger dissipated on its own, but only after I gave myself permission to be angry in the first place. I stopped trying to let it go. And in time I found I HAD let it go. All the awful things that had been done to me lost their power over me. And I found happiness and peace. Anger isn’t bad. It lets us know we’ve been violated in some way. So feel it. And then channel it into living your best (FW-free) life. Indifference comes later. It took me four years from D-day to get here. It’s definitely a process.

      • Thank you for this. Yes I do feel my anger. It is important and it is telling me things. Feelings are for feeling, not stuffing down just to be choked on later. I sing full blast in the car, I cry when I need to – I basically do whatever it is that I need to do to let it flow through me. It does feel like a process to me and I have come a long way since D-day. So hoping I might just be on the path to indifference too then….

      • To paraphrase a wise dv advocate I worked under: “Emotions are like colors in a box of paints. Colors can’t be good or bad. It all depends on what picture you paint with them.”

        For example, raw umber doesn’t seem very sparkly at first glance on its own but Rembrandt used it a lot and so did Van Gogh. The nonviolent activists from Otpor who brought down the dictator Milosevic were angry (and hilarious). They painted a wonderful picture in a political sense.

  • Might I suggest that the essential flaw with cheater logic is that it never adds up?

    They decide to cheat or decide that not cheating is just too much like hard work and so they cheat anyway. They then scrabble round for a reason to justify their cheating in retrospect. Rather than cause (stimulus) leading to effect (the act of cheating), for the cheater, cheating is all too often an effect desperately seeking a “cause” after then event and, ideally, one that it not attributable to the cheater.

    It’s all so much easier when you have no agency and everything that happens is someone else’s fault.

    LFTT

    • I think this is absolutely true. Because my FW contradicted himself all the time when citing a “reason” for his infidelity. “You are coldly logical and completely emotionless!” one day and the next “You are so irrational and emotional! I need to be with someone who is stable!” “You’re too good for me. I don’t deserve you.” one day and the next “You are a worthless piece of shit and you’ll never find anyone as good as I am”.

      None of it made sense. What it came down to, I concluded, is that OW was much easier to control than I was, and didn’t know who he really was like I did. He didn’t like seeing his true reflection in my eyes. He wanted starry-eyed innocence, where he could see himself reflected back as godlike and amazing. I could never again give him that, after all the shit he did to me. I would take effort. She was easy. He didn’t even have to try, and she was falling all over him.

      • ISTL, this is familiar territory. the changeable answers and blaming. i heard “you don’t love me but you’re loyal” and “loyalty isn’t love” and “a man wants a woman to adore him, to look at him with adoration” and “i get nothing like that from you” and “you’re too impetuous and emotional” and “you’re too conservative” and so on and so on.

        a year later, i see the illogical thinking and, frankly, stupidity of these comments. i mean, my X is apparently a smart man but he sounds stupid. i go to mediation and he sits there, sneering at me, trying to control a legal process he knows nothing about, refusing advice from his counsel. he looks pathetic. it’s quite illuminating.

        he too wants starry-eyed adoration and that’s an imbalanced situation if ever i saw one. so much for being on equal footing with a partner. so much for mutual respect.

      • This is so so absolutely true:
        “What it came down to, I concluded, is that OW was much easier to control than I was, and didn’t know who he really was like I did. He didn’t like seeing his true reflection in my eyes. He wanted starry-eyed innocence, where he could see himself reflected back as godlike and amazing.”

  • Soooo holll’up a second.
    If you are a good partner, when you’re not fucking strange I should let it go, because gosh you are good to me when you’re not fucking April the stripper whose style reflects my little pony-esque.
    And it’s ok because it’s really because I am good to you all the time.

    But if I treat you less good- say get mad… I also cause you to go see if April can soothe those wounds. Because I’m such a mean nasty wife.

    How’s that math? You just get in the infinity pool of its all my fault and keep on swimming.

    I want to be funny but I just can’t.
    People are assholes. The end

  • I bet if you could get my conflict avoidant phony ex to be honest you’d get something like this.

    He wasn’t dealing well with getting older, which is why he wore a shitty toupee. And while at first I thought he was confident, I was 19 years younger and so naive.

    He had so much insecurity that nothing was ever enough. He kept an ex on the side our entire relationship, had poor boundaries with his 1st wife and pretty much everyone else, and would talk about exes to me in the most ridiculously inappropriate ways. It was his passive aggressive way of trying to level the emotional playing field because he was so insecure and making me feel like shit made him feel powerful.

    He sniffed out much younger and vulnerable women. He liked having a much younger wife but he was also very jealous of me and used to on occasion rematk that he wasn’t sure what he brought to the table.

    Once I realized that honesty and integrity certain weren’t there the answer was nothing. And 40 something me was much less willing to put up with his crap then 30 something just out of an abusive marriage me.

    Even beyond cheating the insecurity manifested in many ways. He wouldn’t come home and tell me about his day….I had to ask to prove I cared. I was constantly shit tested without realizing it in order to prove I cared. His on her 5th marriage whore did a lot of ego stroking over text and social media.

    Good riddance to trash…been divorced over 3 years.

  • If they believe your morals are too high and you are damm near perfect! Why are they not stepping up their game. Work on being better humans. This is why you have to trust that they suck, they themselves are telling you, they suck

  • It’s just some horseshit nonsense to knock you off balance. Again though, the cheating is the chump’s fault for being perfect.

  • I can’t be as selfless as you.
    You’re a better person than I am.
    I feel guilty complaining you’re a good mother. ( not getting enough attention when kids were 1, 2 and 3 years old)
    You are kinder than me.
    You’re okay with aging. ( who loves aging?! I don’t love it either, Of course I want to stay active and healthy my whole life. I don’t complain on the level he does)

    You don’t want anything. ( which annoyed him greatly, I didn’t want to piss away money at the rate he did. I was pretty flawed in feeling I already had what I needed in life,he hates that in me. He wanted someone who would continually swoon over his limitless gift giving that amped up and up. That’s all fun and games, buy what I really valued in my life, went a great deal deeper than material possessions. He really hated that about me. )

    “Someday I’m going to tell you all the things I love about you.” That was a really strange one to get. (What about today you loser?!)
    I now realized if he held things like that over my head, I would continually keep jumping through hoops to get to some ethereal mark that was completely unobtainable. (The goalpost shuffle)
    I would literally take the time to enumerate lists of the many things I loved about him, so frequently, and I always share that with him.
    And what did I mean in his life? So close, I was so so close to deserving his full regard!

    Another thing that aggravated him was getting a card that said anything about loving forever, or growing old together.
    F forever love, he didn’t want love to grow and grow, he wanted all of it right now, shallow and superficial worked just fine for him. He wasn’t looking for any bonding depth with anyone, especially himself.
    He always made me feel( for our 44 years together) that he loved me BUT…….……
    I never knew what my missing puzzle piece actually was and I don’t think he did either. It was just part of the con game he played to make me feel sooooo close to being worthy of his admiration, but never fully pulling it off. Nice try though.
    Who could be as great as him though?! I couldn’t reach that kind of bar. Hopefully I wasn’t trying to attempt such a leap! (Just stay where he wants you to stay and no one gets hurt.)

    I had a toxic case of “ put-up-with-it-ness” and being way too unselfish and giving.Dangerous traits in the hands of a narcissist cheater. He was a taker on massive steroids.

    One of our continual arguments through the years was how he signed cards he gave me. ( Valentine, my birthday, Mother’s Day, etc). He would always write something about “ what a wonderful mother you are!” But what do I mean to you?!?
    That’s what I needed to hear and he knew that all along. He was aware how much it upset me and was inwardly very pleased with himself for riling me with that ongoing, very hurtful BS.
    I’m glad I do finally get what I meant to him all those many years. It was nothing at all.

    • The giver-taker pairing is a real issue. I became a giver to the eclipse of my own self. I still don’t know how to repair that. PS Some people actually do kind of hate me for it even though I’m not doing it to cause upset… I really am working hard at existing for myself…

    • Sardonic answers to stupid shit cheaters say, complete with stage directions;

      “I can’t be as selfless as you.”

      Dude, you can’t even be as selfless as a pimp.

      (Flat expression, holding fuckwit’s gaze.)

      “You’re a better person than I am.”

      So is the aforementioned pimp. Next!

      (Gesture as if ushering in a new customer.)

      “I feel guilty complaining you’re a good mother.”

      You’d actually need a conscience to feel guilty. So nah.

      (Draw out the nah several syllables.)

      “You are kinder than me.”

      Also smarter. By 100,000,000%.

      (Open arms to indicate the enormity.)

      “You’re okay with aging.”

      Don’t hate me because I’m beautiful.

      (Smug expression and a hair flip.)

      “You don’t want anything.”

      You to fuck off and die. That is what I want.

      (Making a GTFOH gesture with thumb.)

      “Someday I’m going to tell you all the things I love about you.”

      I’ll be holding my breath, waiting by the phone. The phone that has your number permablocked. Buh-bye.

      (Exit stage left, leaving fuckwit with a stunned, stupid expression.)

  • I got “I’ll never live up to your fantasyland ideals” i.e expecting my husband to not sleep with hookers IN my house. And to our sons, “No one is free from sin. People are attracted to people even if they aren’t good people,” to explain why he was sleeping with a hooker and how they should accept that! How dare our children (young adults) question his karmic love of a casino trolling, drug addicted hooker? Damn it-he wanted to know her mind! She was “fun” while I the old stick in the mud wife, was raising the kids.

  • My favorite: “I had you up on a pedestal! (Spoken with sincerity) What? When? So? And, now you are not up there. (Oops, my fault that I fell off the imaginary F__ing Pedestal.) Shame on me for forcing you to cheat. By the way, I NEVER had you on a pedestal! Delusional, Blubbering Victim and Martyr,

  • And the irony is my ex would have been thrilled to catch me doing something wrong.

    Chumps can’t catch a break – either we were so bad. Or too good.

    And In my case, my husband was right. I was stronger, smarter, lived with integrity. I coulda been the worst wicked being ever – But. the outcome was the same. Chumped.

  • These stories are always so eerily similar and very much connected, like there’s an underground railroad these FW’s can access for the ‘partner abuse manual’. It’s so bizarre!
    I find myself continually saying, yep, yep, yep to practically everything that is posted here, and might I add, with great insight and hard earned trench level wisdom. So greatly appreciate your generosity to share, the validation has been so helpful to healing. I will be forever grateful I stumbled in the direction of CN.

    My problem with any of our blog sharing is that we are all “ preaching to the choir”.
    In hindsight,we all can see the trauma that hurt us, albeit never fully really understand it, because we are aware there is really is no possible way to explain the chaos that we walked into.
    I’d like to explore and know how we can reach ppl that are still so fogged out and snowed, and unable to call out the abuse yet, they just realize something is drastically wrong and want to repair it at all possible cost. It’s so sick and disturbing.

    I wish there was a way to reach them before RIC bs takes the bite out of their wallets and souls, or some unknowledgeable therapists does more harm than good.

    Where do they go to hear, “it’s not fixable, get the hell out!”To be told point blank to rely on their gut’s instincts, certainly not their partner, who fully sucks! They aren’t picking up abuse books yet, they don’t even recognize it as abuse. How do they get to a book like LACGAL?!

    Would love to see them not have to suffer years of trauma processing like we will have to and probably never fully escape the injuries incurred to our psyches, honestly.

    I feel like standing on the top of Mt Everest and warning the world, but it stays in a little small corner still, with sadly ever increasing club membership.

    CL and her loyal nation here are trail blazers in the mission, thank God it’s being taken out of the cob webbed dark crevices of society.
    Tiny slivers of light are being shined on it for sure, but it’s still a great unknown by the majority of people. They can’t see it and we can’t unsee it.
    It’s just frustrating that I don’t believe anyone is really going to be able to “ get it”, unless it got them first.

    Just wondering if there is a way to reach ppl before they have to get t-boned. 😖
    ( just venting, sorry, I’m pretty long winded with words I know, just bothers me so much for some reason today reading these posts of how f’ed up it all truly is!)

    • Great points. I often think the MeToo movement, or something like it, has to put infidelity on the front and center of what it really is – abuse. Affairs are way too minimized and sugar-coated

    • Yes – I just had a second (and hopefully last) conversation with a woman friend defending infidelity. The first was in reference to a fictional book we both read where she felt the cheater and OW had a more difficult time than the chump.

      The second was about a trusted community member who was arrested for exchanging pharmaceuticals for sex with strange men and women. She stated that people he knew for forty years couldn’t really know him because his wife “was such a difficult nag”.

      When women are abused, society still asks “what did she do to provoke it”. I now understand that this is what my (former) friend uses as her moral compass.

    • I found CL when fw blew up his relationship with our son. After my son and daughter in law told me what was going on, I immediately googled for information on narcissist’s because it was the only thing I could think of. Up popped CL.

      I am thinking that in the age of internet (we didn’t have it when I was chumped) the first thing folks will likely do is google cheating husband/wife/infidelity etc. So right there CL is reaching out, and if I run across anyone whether family or friend you can bet I will be name dropping CL and her site.

      So word is getting out.

    • Totally agree Chumpasaurus45. “They can’t see it and we can’t unsee it”. This says it all. No one can understand the horrendous lived experience of this shit. I don’t write much because usually someone has already posted my story to the quoted words and said it better than I ever could. The wounds went deep and our scars are real. Thank you for posting this.

  • I studied history in college & art history in grad school & after dday ex blamed me for living in the past. Uh no, but after OWhore fling didn’t work out he went on to marry a woman who wasn’t born when we married. He’s 59 to her 35 – met her while she was still in her twenties. Tell me who is living in the past?

    • I also got the living in the past thing from fuckwit.

      I said; “What past? You were being an asshole just five minutes ago.”

      Fuckwit; “See? That’s the past!”

      I kid you not. He actually said that.

      Fuckwits and logic. Oil and water. Shit and champagne. These things do not mix well.

  • I got this too. “you are too perfect, like a Stepford wife”. “You are the strongest person I know, you will get through this”. Asshole.

    • This. “You are stronger than anyone else I have ever met and if other chumps take 5 years to heal, you’ll be there in 2!” See, it’ll be all better real soon. “And just think, I had to live with these secrets for our entire marriage.” I have been thinking about that. A lot. ASSHAT.

  • I was so perfect at everything he “had to” and It. Was. ALL. My. Fault. Despite this perfectness, he lied, DARVO’ed, blamed, gaslighted, projected etc. for over a decade with AP#2. I was to blame because I CHOSE to take care of (1) our 5 mutual children, (2) our mutual business, (3) his mother, who had dementia, (4) my parents (dementia, much?), (5) all activities related to 1-4 , (5) the twice weekly BJ (yes, even during his affairs I would get down on my knees because “his back hurt”)…etc….But, sure, I’m the raging bitch who doesn’t want to “hang out” and get blackout drunk on the daily only to hear complaints he “wasn’t into me” so he “had to” fuck the best friend of a close relative. Sure. I am to blame for each decision along that tree.
    #nope
    And as far as me being “perfect”, I was–well, except that I was overweight which was a “total turnoff” (although when I lost weight, I became “a whore” overnight)–but I left no time for shenanigans with him (his car was a favorite locale of AP#2 and his and he wanted me to do this as well [yes, same car, same backseat]) AND I better have dinner on the table, sheets washed, kids cleaned and obedient and money in the bank (from said business where he worked less than 10 hours A MONTH)–otherwise all hell would break loose.
    #whatthewhat #perfectionismgonewild
    AND I DID IT BECAUSE I BELIEVED I WAS NOT DESERVING OF NOT THAT.

    Alas, after much therapy and ripping off the blinders, I see my marriage for what it was—ABUSE. I am not perfect, I try not to be a total dick and I give a shit about people. Full stop. In sum, I am doing the best I can and I always have. Bonus is I am now FW free. And sometimes, my kids eat cookies for breakfast and the laundry piles up on the floor and I don’t go to work. Somehow, we’re all just fine.
    #Itrust
    #hesucks

  • I got “Despite your faults, I loved you”. Right, I must have been hell to live with, and that’s what justified all that shitty behaviour? Is that what you’re saying? Pretty much that was the narrative he was pushing with friends, family and neighbours.

    • Also, ‘let’s not look at what I did, let’s look at what I was forced to do because of you’ is another way to interpret this.

  • I have a few observations to add from my personal experiences with this. (FW: I don’t deserve you. I can’t communicate the way you do. I’m not ever going to be the kind of partner you need. You deserve someone better than me. I would kill anyone who treated you this way. Maybe I’m only cut out to be a hermit. I’m broken. You’re the gentlest and sweetest person I know. You’re the best person I know. I think of you and Flying Monkey #1 as the most solid and capable people I know. Most of the good things in my life are largely thanks to you. I’ve never seen anyone who is as good as kids with you. Blah, blah, blah.)

    1. Lays the groundwork for future hoovering and monkey branching.

    2. Image management. An FW can’t get away with character assassination/blaming the cheating on the chump when family and friends know the chump is mighty and kind and has put up with a lot of BS for a lot of years. Cheaters have to say something kind about the chump, even if their explanation of the cheating makes no actual sense. Smoke and mirrors. And then, as CL points out, TFCs get pity because they are so depressed and need support and encouragement. The infamous apology tour.

    3. Chump lowers expectations/boundaries further. It’s super confusing, especially when you don’t yet know about the cheating. Chumpy me: “I don’t expect you to be perfect, and I love you for you. If you love me so much but are letting me down, why don’t you try to make a change? I’m patient and I’m willing to help.”

    My ex bragged about me a lot, in ways that made me uncomfortable, and he did give me praise. At the same time, he was constantly undermining my confidence, boundaries and autonomy; he was controlling, he gaslighted me, and he neglected my needs. A confusing mix! All the wonderful things he said to and about me functioned exactly as CL explains. And then, with devaluation/discard, it all changed and he said horribly cruel and untrue things to and about me. The final discard, which was “scorched earth,” was shocking. It came right on the heels of some epic lovebombing.

    • Bread&roses’ comment sums up my experience too, with a boyfriend who made me absolutely miserable in this same confusing way. Everyone who heard him said to me, “oh but he loves you SO MUCH” which just goes to show how accomplished these covert narcissists are at fooling people. It certainly made me feel guilty about not being happy with him!

      “My ex bragged about me a lot, in ways that made me uncomfortable, and he did give me praise. At the same time, he was constantly undermining my confidence, boundaries and autonomy; he was controlling, he gaslighted me, and he neglected my needs. A confusing mix! “

  • These cheaters keep feeding that UBT machine nonstop! Mine pulled the you’re too pretty, too nice, too talented shtick.

    They should be careful. I believed it, and left him. I *was* too good for him!

  • Basically it all comes down to this: people who cheat tell lies about everything all the time. They lie about big life events like love. They lie about little life events like why they forgot to go to the shops. They lie to spouses, children, family, friends, employers, employees, healthcare providers, banks, the electorate. The ex lied in every part of his life. They lie because that’s their character. It’s who they are. They say what’s necessary to get what they want, even if what they want exists only during that split second of telling the lie. I want her to shut up so I’ll tell her a lie about being ‘amazing’. Whoops, she hasn’t shut up so I’ll look sad and tell her that I love her but I’m not in love with her. Whoops, she’s asking questions, so I’ll get angry and tell her that she’s crazy. They are in the changing room of life trying on all the outfits until they find one that works to soothe them in that split second.

    • OMG, All of that!!

      Liar, liar, liar!

      It’s why I feel like such an idiot now, knowing that he was a compulsive liar in every area of life, big or small, but putting up with all kinds of abuse while telling myself “At least he is faithful to me.”

      Why? Why would he be faithful sexually when he disrespected me, abused me, lied to his employer, his neighbors, etc. Why would I hold onto the hope that this man of low (or seemingly absent) moral character would draw the line at sex!!!

      I’m such a fool. And I bred with this FW, so the joy will go on forever.

      • “Why? Why would he be faithful sexually when he disrespected me, abused me, lied to his employer, his neighbors, etc. Why would I hold onto the hope that this man of low (or seemingly absent) moral character would draw the line at sex!!!”

        I think so many of us agonize over that very thing.

  • It’s funny

    I absolutely do not deserve the amazing person that lies beside me right now. I never thought I’d have anyone, and somehow I found the best one

    I don’t deserve her. She’s far too good for me. And whether that’s truth or low self-esteem or both… that’s a different discussion

    But all those feelings do is make me want to try harder to be as good as she thinks I am, to he the person she tells me that she sees. To be worth her absolute trust and love, and to give her the same in return

    But then, I dont have a black hole where my soul should be, so, eh

    Cowardly, manipulative a-holes cheat. I’m many things, but I’m not one of those

  • My FW said he was driven to seek extramarital sex because I was so sexy and so innocent (Faithful? Loyal? Values?) that he wanted to see me doing “those things”.

    But wait, what? We were doing those things, in our own bedroom, together. If he wanted to see ME then why didn’t he exclusively do it with and look at me? I was in the same bed every night and morning?

    And if it was ME you wanted to see, why did you pick them?

    His response “I was thinking about YOU!”

    3 kids. It was our daughter, 17 at the time, that discovered it and told me. She tried to hang herself that Christmas, and her 15 year old brother and I heard the noise and had to cut her to freedom.

    He feels very badly for himself.

    29 years wasted. Not a one of them free of betrayal. (Including major physical violence for the first 19 years)

    Of course I’m still here, for now, because I’m afraid of the fall out for the kids if I leave (and we are Canadian and still waiting for Green-cards, and I am only allowed to work for my own construction business which FW made me start so we could stay in America to fulfill HIS dream, while he worked a comfortable corporate office job…..,divorce would mean losing the business, losing their home and friends, leaving the only country they know, daughter in college now).

    Feeling trapped.

    Thus “IndenturedChump”.

    But apparently too sexy for my husband.

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