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Decoding ‘I Haven’t Been Happy For a Long Time’

crushThe other week someone asked me to decode, “I haven’t been happy for a long time.” (Also sometimes expressed as “WE haven’t been happy for a long time.”)

It’s trotted out when the chump is looking for an explanation as to why their family life just blew up.

Well DUH. “I haven’t been happy for a long time!”

This statement presupposes a number of things:

A) That the cheater’s happiness is the most important thing (and is a valid answer to the Why Did You Commit This Dreadful Betrayal?)

B) That they’ve silently suffered for a long time and gee whiz, isn’t it time AT LAST! that they experience some true happiness?


C) How could you be so dumb that you never noticed how unhappy they were? Heck, how could you not notice how unhappy you were until they pointed it out? (WE haven’t been happy for a long time.)

This sends the chump into apoplexies of self-reflection. Well, yes, I am sometimes unhappy, but it passes. Or… hang on, how could I have missed my spouse’s cosmic misery? Apparently it was long and went on for EONS. Am I just that insensitive?

Of course you have no way of challenging this “I haven’t been happy for a long time” statement because you are not in their heads. You have no idea what they feel. So if you say, “BUT YOU LOOKED HAPPY. You had kids with me! We went snorkeling in Barbados! You drank the coffee I brought to you every morning! You said you LOVED your birthday slippers!” the cheater can just say, “Nope. I wasn’t happy.”

But you looked happy. Happy enough anyway.

“No, I was full of sorrow. Every minute. My life was a burden of grief and misery. At night I used to gnaw at the invisible chains that kept me tethered to you.”


So chumps, how are you supposed to interpret this “I haven’t been happy for a long time” crap? Here’s a few ways to look at it:

1.) Take them at their word. Okay, you’ve been a miserable sod for decades. You, cheater, are responsible for addressing the things that make you unhappy and adjusting your life accordingly. While as a loving spouse I want to support you, if your needs are not communicated to me, there is not much I can do to help you.

2) Don’t accept responsibility. If the cheater was so unhappy in the marriage, they had ethical ways to go about ending their marriage — beginning with trying to save it first. Or getting out honestly before they told all their “troubles” to a sympathetic fuckbuddy.

3) They’re bullshitting you. Cake is delicious. They were probably perfectly happy with you and the services you provided — paycheck, child-rearing, air of respectability. It wasn’t until they were busted at D-Day that their Great Unhappiness was revealed. Blameshifting their “unhappiness” on to you is an invitation to do the pick me dance. Oh, you’re unhappy? How can I make you happy? I can control that! I can WIN your happiness! Let me TRY HARDER!

And guess what, they’re probably pulling the same shit on the affair partner. Oh, my marriage makes me so unhappy, but I must stay for the children! I am a noble slave to convention! Woe! And the affair partner goes, I will PROVE to you that I can make you happy! I can control your destiny! I can WIN!

Cake, cake, wonderful cake.

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  • I read the very first sentence to this post and blurted out “Oh that Fucker!!!!”. This was LTC Fuckface’s most pathetic whine repeated in marital counseling. ( Quick reminder to any new Chumps, don’t waste your time or money on Marital Counseling with a known liar and cheater.) That poor dear afflicted Hero was not happy and he had not been happy for a long time.

    That statement was nothing but a lie designed to denigrate me. He wasn’t happy. He had to fuck his HoWorker. He wasn’t happy. He had to fuck the 32 year niece of his High School buddy. He had no choice. He wasn’t happy.

    Strangely I have photographic evidence that he appeared happy. FaceBook Memories validate the assumption he at the very least looked like a happy man. If he was so unhappy he was at the very least perpetuating another lie that he was happy.

    He never once concerned himself with my happiness or the happiness of our children. I asked him in therapy why didn’t he mention this and what was he going to do about it. He just stared at me. He stonewalled the Therapist too. Just stared at her with that flat dead shark’s eyes gaze. When she told him that those were fair questions and deserved an answer he refused to respond. Therapy was a waste of time with that liar.

    He’d already announced that he wouldn’t change. I deeply regret every moment I spent desperately trying to fix my marriage.

    • I am so sorry. I also regret trying to save the marriage. It’s a horrible feeling. I’m 4 yrs out and still in pain. I hope you are finding joy

      • FuckWitFree, I think my joy will be a daily routine once LTC Fuckface quits dragging me back to Court. Here I am divorced and it is still like being married. He is still financially abusing me. He is still entitled to do what he wants. That Fuck is violating the Judge’s orders. Karma has his address.

        • 33, this is inexcusable and I would certainly like to give Ms. Karma a push if it were possible for me to do so!

        • Mine is doing exactly the same. 5 years of bullying by any means he can, including pending Court case about money. B******d. can’t get at me directly or through the kids, hopes the Court will make me renegotiate AGAIN. Not a chance.

    • I find it almost amusing to consider that Major Cheaterpants would have told you the had he been promoted to LTC, he would have been happier. That shows how arbitrary the Fairy Dust of Happiness really is.

      Thank God that I only endured 2 or 3 marriage counseling sessions with him. He was so full of lies and accusations.

      To some degree, I accept that he wasn’t “happy”…he quit maturing the week after we got married when he declared that “the good part of marriage is having someone to blame everything on”. I thought he was joking. He was not joking. He remained an immature twenty-something boy who refused to mature or gain wisdom or resilience. He just blamed his wife for everything with the result that 1) he couldn’t cope with anything and 2) he had nothing but contempt for his wife.

      At the end of his 40s, he tried to catch up a time or two, but by then he had a trail fo fuckbuddies and horrible secrets to keep. He did not figure out how to cope. It is tragic, really.

      • Unicornomore, it is a tragedy. I often ponder that fact. He blames me for not making COL. He turned down a Battalion Command, but that wasn’t it. It was my fault for being a different racial demographic than him. That is why he didn’t pin on that brass.

        He is the bad actor in his own tragedy.

        • FW XW is a Major CheaterPanties and I’m pretty sure that if she turns out never getting promoted to Lieutenant Colonel Fuckface it will be this chumpy little professor’s fault somehow. Sure it will not have been ex-AP’s fault for having exposed their affair in the workplace, his being her subordinate (and having a bad reputation of his own). Maybe a little, now that he is an X too. But sure as hell it will not be her fault for having a workplace affair and enabling abhorrent, unprofessional behaviours of his. It will be my fault to whomever lend a ear to her sad sausage stories. She just couldn’t focus on her career because of the divorce, or because I “abandoned” her yadda, yadda. And there will be a grain of truth in this. All my heavylifting in the marriage allowed her to focus on getting promoted.
          I herein refuse to say ‘focus on her work’ because whomever is having a workplace affair is most definitely *not* focused on work. Rising through the ranks in the force she joined is pretty much a matter of impression management and doing favors and being a sycophant to the right people in the high (and low) places. All things in which she excels. It’s no coincidence the affair started (or she became sloppy) right after her last promotion. Maybe she thought I served my purpose and if she could just make me vanish into the good night there would be no fallout.
          And yes, 33yaC, FWs have a hard time abiding by court orders, they just go around doing whatever the fuck pleases them, these fuckers.

          • Oh yes, BC, his failure to be promoted to LtCol was surely my fault and not because he refused orders that time or when he was over weight limit or fucking the sales rep from the company he was contracting with.

            I can’t count the times I was left with all the heavy lifting because all he had to say is “I have to work” and any questioning from me would be met with an immediate accusation that I was an “unsupportive military spouse”. God only knows how many side-fucks he managed with that excuse.

            I think he was careful to fuck laterally and up to avoid accusations of harassment. He was always SO quirky, avoidant and hostile about his work relationships.. it all makes so much more sense now.

        • Same playbook, different profession. My ex blamed me for not making Full Professor.

          • Just *everything* is our fault, can’t you see? It’s just “the endless sea of our fault” Hell of a Chump mentioned yesterday, citing Fourleaf, if I recall it correctly (I can be misattributing, and it is a shame, because the phrase is nothing short of brilliant).

          • It really is the same playbook! I was blamed for the fact that he didn’t get into med school despite the fact that I gave him lots of ideas for his essays, edited his drafts, encouraged him to study more and retake the mcat (he refused), and encouraged him to apply to a more diverse set of schools. He told me “you should have set a study block in my calendar and sat next to me and opened the prep book and said it’s time to study and studied with me.” I’m happy he said that though because in that instant I realized that I actually went above and beyond and his dissatisfaction had nothing to do with my efforts. Apparently everything I did on top of being a full time PhD candidate in engineering wasn’t enough. I should have been his baby sitter too ????

            • What you’re describing is so similar to my experience with my FW ex boyfriend.
              He got fired from his job, and I let him come work with/for me as a stopgap measure. The plan was for him to enroll in college on the GI Bill.
              Well, he didn’t really want to work with me painting houses (and it showed) but he also didn’t want to look for other work, and he ALSO didn’t want to go to school.
              So he sabotaged the process at every turn while I worked my fingers to the bone to keep us afloat.
              I was calling the college admissions office on his behalf, signing him up for the admissions test, basically enrolled him in college. Due to his sabotage it took a year.
              When I finally left his lying, cheating ass a year later, he said, “I never wanted to go to college, you forced me to!”
              Just like I “forced” him to introduce me to his kids, and later to move in together.
              Wonder why I didn’t use my formidable powers to force him to be truthful and faithful..?

        • A Battalion Command is a MUST to be promoted to COL. That fuck just tried to make YOU the heavy because he didn’t want the responsibility or the stress.

      • You are so correct! My friends said that my ex acted like Kenny Chesney, (sorry Kenny) driving around in his Jeep, top down, drinking music blaring, in the acres of our back property! I would think, he is 45 years old ! WTF!
        He never matured – even an inch after we got married. He just used me, and and my career, to fuel and pay for his inner child/teenager years. I should just have married Kenny, at least I could have traveled outside of my backyard!

      • My Ex described marriage as a zero sum game, and this was to a marriage counselor. I also heard I wish my wife were here so Could blame her….. for ….. whatever.

        He was also looking for a secret recipe for happiness, like it was a smoothie you can concoct.
        Gretchen Rubins “The Happiness Project” sat on his desk for years.
        I was never everable to explain or get him to appreciate what he had – A loyal family that loved him deeply for who he was. He rejected all of us en masse. Happiness cannot be manufactured, it was staring him on the face and he could not process it. He also viewed me with “contempt” as if I was holding back from all his possibilities. If only I would….

        What did him in was like the song says, “looking for love in all the wrong places”. His crappy, destructive, dysfunctional value system and FOO doomed him. He had the best education money could buy and still made nothing but bad decisions, and arrogant about it as well. He was a good provider, but viewed his family(me and kids) as grifters.

        I have now reached a point were I accept he was bottomlessly shallow and nothing would change that and he very well might be happy now just hanging out in sportsbars and on golfcourses, with women desperate for what he had before he screwed up

        • “he very well might be happy now just hanging out in sportsbars and on golfcourses, with women desperate for what he had before he screwed up”

          Experiencing pleasure, yes. Happiness, no. They have no capacity for it. They are just too selfish and shallow. Happiness is a deep contentment and peace within yourself and with your life.
          But since FWs do consider getting enough shallow pleasure to be happiness (having never experienced real happiness) in his alleged mind, he’s probably happy.

        • My stbx rejected us, his “ungrateful family”, for standing in the way of his destiny with a stripper/prostitute. How dare I be angry, hurt, bewildered, devastated that he’d brought a literal sex worker to my home two nights in a row. He needed time to gain perspective, to see if marriage and the ties that bind (hold him down, damn it) was what he really wanted. After all, he didn’t realize that marriage vows meant forever, the plans we’d made weren’t ones he had made (casinos, strip clubs, drugs, etc). He blames me for the anger our children feel (boys, “all men cheat—monogamy isn’t natural”). He’s in year two of his paid relationship with the 19 year younger escort. He claims to be deliriously happy, shed of the “old, boring, unworthy” wife. Some days I literally cry for hours that the facade of what I thought my life was and what the future would be.

        • I realize bottomlessly shallow is an oxymoron but it seems to fit. Hopelessly shallow?
          Happily shallow? Basically without hope for full human development

    • Thirtythreeyearsachump,
      I had a similar reaction.

      It’s a gut wrenching awful moment for we chumps — every insecurity, every blemish, one too many inches in the wrong places and not enough in the right places, etc. it all hits us in that moment — “you’re inadequate so I found a lamp post that makes me happy.”

      My own experience states that it takes more than a year of work on oneself to realize, “wait a minute, I’m happier without the freak!”, but until that point it’s an awful rollercoaster of what if’s and how can I.
      Just yesterday, I was thinking “gosh, I was insensitive that time she attacked me for not putting tomatoes on her sandwich. Had I just … wait a second! I’m happy and she’s not around. Hmmm. No, no. She can’t have me.”
      To all ye future chumps, when you read this article, embrace it real quick and do as CL says.

      • Yes, working on the work and getting off the rollercoaster sure helps. Wait…tomatoes? I’m sure they’d blame dust for their unhappiness. They must be so so so happy now with new schmoopies…wait, they aren’t?!?……

        • Omg! Mine did blame dust for his unhappiness! He said the bedroom must have too much dust in it because he sneezes when he’s in there. So he is allergic to our bedroom hence he must fuck strange and move out of the house.

      • I’m so GLAD you didn’t put tomatoes on her sandwich.

        I’ve noticed that, in retrospect, all the things FW tried to make me feel terrible about now look like good ideas and crack me up. I only wish his memory hadn’t been so fuzzy and he’d been able to come up with better examples of terrible things I’d done. Did it make him feel bad when I said I thought the show Survivor was garbage long, long ago? Yay.

        • I bet it did and yay for HOAC! Mine hated for me criticize the stupid shows he liked.

          Once he complained about the sandwiches I packed for his lunch not having enough lettuce. I fixed that. I just never packed the entitled little bitch another lunch again. No wonder he had to cheat. ????
          I smile at those kind of memories.

      • My ex held a grudge against his first wife (of 20 years) for not saving a chicken thigh, his favorite piece, for dinner when he was late getting home from work. One of my many flaws that he complained about was that he liked his ramen noodles plain and I made mine too fancy. Small wonder he had to cheat!

        He didn’t want a wife, he wanted a personal chef.

        • Lol! Bagged salad revisited.

          I think we need another Friday challenge on the trivial things we did that allegedly made them so unhappy. There are newbies that haven’t gotten in on the action and I ❤ those hilarious stories.

    • This bears repeating: “Quick reminder to any new Chumps, don’t waste your time or money on Marital Counseling with a known liar and cheater.”

      Can’t stress it enough, Newbies! Spare yourself!!

      • In my case, the FW refused to go to marital counseling. He said, “No. No. There’s nothing they would say that would make a difference.” Those words devastated me because I was trying so hard to save my marriage. But for once he was telling the truth. He didn’t want to waste any money or his time working on the marriage because he was already out the door.

      • Don’t risk your life going to marital counseling with a known abuser, either.

      • x wanted to go to a marriage counselor at the last minute–just before D-day– but then told me he couldn’t get an appointment with any of the three MCs his individual therapist had recommended. Ummm. He’s a liar, so….

        Anyway, this was lucky for me, in retrospect. What kills me is that he, the liar, told me that his indiv therapist had advised him to go to therapy with me but NOT to mention that he was having an affair. Sooo, my guess is he would have used therapy to fortify whatever reverse-engineered justification he planned to use.

        Fuck that. Glad it didn’t happen. Dodged one.

        • That is so truly awful. The therapist advising a client To not disclose A fundamental and foundational issue. It pains me to read it.

          My husband also went to a therapist who asked him why he bothered to tell me after he had an emotional affair with an Employee

          Just what liars need – permission and reinforcement for lying. Absolute zero regard I think in this case for women but for anyone who’s being betrayed

    • I think marriage counseling is futile in most situations but with a cheater and liar it’s a total waste of time and money. The goal of the counsellor is to keep you working with a known abuser so you come back. It’s just more abuse.

  • This is just about as perfect a post as can be made on this subject. As a partner in a committed relationship, we are not responsible for the happiness of our partner. It is the individual’s job to figure out why they are unhappy, and determine what would make them happy, Then, have an open and honest conversation about it with their partner. The partner can then determine what, if anything, they are able and willing to do to support their partner’s happiness. This is what a responsible adult in a relationship does. Anything less is DARVO (Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender).

    • In the last two years when I started dating (after 5 years post divorce), I said to my date, “Are you happy?” His reply was, “Yeah. For the most part.” My reply, “Good. Because it’s not my job to make you happy.” And when I recently to my son’s wedding and was giving my toast, that’s one of the things I said. “It’s not your job to make the other happy.” I wish I had known that years ago, but oh well…, better late than never.

    • I would agree but would also venture to say that ‘happiness is not a destination but a journey’. FWs are both immature and unable to truly understand emotion. They cannot empathize or sympathize they can only simulate what they think the response should be. That is why they are only able to form shallow attachments.

      Happy People don’t go around floating in clouds of bliss. Moments of happiness are brief, and fleeting. Just try hanging on to them! People are happy in the pursuit of things: solving difficult problems, woodworking, caring for their kids and watching them learn—the things we find productive and rewarding are as diverse as people are. Heck, sitting in my clean house, exhausted after cleaning all day (and it still isn’t perfect) make ME happy. For a little while I sit and enjoy it, a cuppa tea and watch my dogs and cats snooze and I’m at peace. Then it’s bedtime and I wake to the daily grind again. Still, I would say I am happy, despite life’s imperfections.

      There are people whose natural state is happiness regardless of the circumstances. There are those like the FWs who rely on external circumstances to tell them how they feel. They cannot or will not internally regulate themselves, and as such, are only as good as the last thing they did right. And when you need constant admiration and adoration (not just recognition) then the already low self-esteem is in the toilet. Thus the need and entitlement for cake. And why they tend to chase the ‘high’ of new relationships constantly and are often risk takers (high) and thrill seekers (high) and adrenaline junkies (high).

      As mentioned before, the happiness ‘high’ of lottery winners lasted in average only a year. Then people reverted to their baseline happiness levels. Though their problems likely changed with life-altering amount of money, they were the same people. As we say with the FWs, wherever you go, there you are! It is a pity that FWs can never escape themselves: their pathological self-loathing and deep-seated insecurities.

      The true danger to chumps, their children and society is when these narcs slide into sociopathy and psychopathy. When the thing they enjoy, the things that make them ‘happy’, the things which break through their numb existence is hurting other people. Badly. Even killing. And the chumps who are conditioned to serve these monsters follow along, sacrificing their lives to feed the beast.

      This is why chump lady is one of the best online resources. A grounding. A slap in the face or a dousing of cold water so we can WAKE UP! from the hypnosis and reconnect with reality. I had a women’s group and a wonderful counselor who told me I was being abused when I had never recognized this before. She was a real live lifeline for me. But chump lady gives me daily strength. I do not have to accept the narrative fed by the FW ex. Or the RIC. I am allowed to take up space, feel my own feelings and live my life my own way with my own opinions. I am not alone. What happened to me wasn’t uncommon. There is no need for shame or guilt. I can and will survive. Then heal. And then hopefully thrive again.

      • You sound like you’re already thriving! Good for you. What wisdom albeit learned the hard way.

      • ????wherever you go, there you are. ????sacrificing their lives to feed the beast. ???? chump lady is best … reconnect with reality

  • Ah yes, the unhappiness shield. It’s like magic. By saying they haven’t been happy they seemingly shore themselves up against criticism and set the stage that they are pure and their chumps are villians in their stories. These are the sort of narratives that invite you, the chump, to take all the blame on your shoulders. The FW will be all to happy to put it there.

    • Exactly. FWs don’t understand that no person can MAKE another person happy. Not in a deep and meaningful way. The only person responsible for your own happiness truly, is yourself. The best we can do for others is discern and recognize the things that bring happiness and either get out of their way or provide what aid we can to their journey—like giving a partner or a child the time or resources to pursue a passion. This is what love looks like: caring about what is important to the loved one. And exactly what is absent in cheater FW relationship. No reciprocity.

      • I also think it is very telling that FWs will take as much resources as they can get, bleed you dry of time, energy, money and emotion. And they do not feel bad about it (entitlement). They take it as their due. They need it, after all (charm, rage, self-pity). Huge RED FLAG.

        The fact of the matter was that my FW was a miserable covert narc drama king alcoholic. I bent over backwards trying to help him. To please him. To make him happy. Nothing I ever did helped. My Herculean efforts were never appreciated either. I was criticized for not doing enough, though eventually I had taken on nearly all the jobs in the family. He took more than I had to give and I let him.* I could never be happy either because he wasn’t happy*. It was a never ending misery for me. And like Sisyphus I kept trying for a different result for decades. I forgave DD#1 thinking it was a one off. I forgave DD#2 But drew a line in the sand and so he went farther underground. DD#3 —I didn’t want a divorce, I fought it, but I am a person of my word, and finally realized I had nothing to work with. I gathered up the shreds of my dignity and self-respect and put the wheels in motion.

        You see, anyone who could do what he did to me, the cheating, lying, in the name of his own happiness, at the expense of mine, was never my friend. Never on my side. In fact, ‘sleeping with the enemy’ seems appropriate.

        • Amen to all you said, OnwardAndUpward, here and in the thread above this one. And how well you said it all! This part cut deep: “I could never be happy either because he wasn’t happy”. Sisyphus really sums up what it feels like to live trying to please a FW. The best we can do is quit the job and let the rock roll.

          • And maybe, when the rock rolls, perhaps they’ll be hit by consequences?

        • Onward and upward
          Thank you for putting your thoughts. It is my story too! I went after him eventually and got a 50:50 settlement and he openly vilified me from then on! 8+ years on, he’s only in my life as a side show as I watch my adult sons dealing with his crap but his denigration of everything I did and thought I was to him, still hurts!
          People like them are not worthy of our time and I’m still a work in progress!

    • Things got so bad before D-Day that I finally started reaching out to people and repeated FW’s DARVO charges of how miserable he’d always been and how I’d “broken” him to a close friend who’s an attorney. She started chuckling and laughing uncontrollably and said, “Um, yeah, yeah, sure, blah blah. Please. He’s CHEATING.”

      From professional experience she recognized the spiel as a tell-tale earmark of all cheaters.

  • Just wanted to say I have a new ad network and we’re still working out the kinks. The new site is going to take some adjusting for awhile, but if anything goes hinky for you, email or message me on social media. Thanks.

    • I wondered what was going on. For me, there are so many giant ad spaces that the post was almost unreadable. I’m on a Mac laptop. I know it’s hard to design a site for all the different devices people use, and I’m sure your new and improved web designer can make it better.

  • Oh yes… “I haven’t been happy for a long time.” Not only did FW use that as an excuse, he would just stare at me when I tried to ask what that meant.

    FW even tried to put a number on it… “I haven’t been happy for 3 years!” To which I responded “you mean, when my dad died 3 years ago and I was grieving?” Stares. Crickets.

    Then in court for Pendente Lite, his flying monkey idiot attorney questioned me on the stand: “Is it true that FW hasn’t been happy for the last 7 years?” My response was an honest “What?! No.”

    FWs are ridiculous. Seriously just can’t take responsibility for their shit choices. It’s still mind boggling that they all do the same thing.

    • MichelleShocked , Oh yes! Because it is legally your responsibility that the cheater be happy! Why his happiness needs to be brought up in a Court of Law. I wonder if the Judge rolled their eyes?

      • The judge did indeed roll her eyes! She awarded me “more than maximum” for temporary financial support. FW’s attorney was pissed ????

        I must applaud that judge for seeing right through a FW. I was thankful it was a female judge that “got it.” Several judges in our county were men known for being more lenient with men — not caring if there was cheating and abandoning of wife/kids or not.

      • Why is their unhappiness/happiness more important than ours? Just NOPE.

        • Agreed. I got “It wasn’t that I was unhappy in our marriage” at one point. On another day I asked him “why is it that your happiness is all that matters? What about mine?” Got the crocodile tears on that one. Funny after it all ended, he tells all the Switzerland friends that we hadn’t been happy in our marriage in a long time. Um, what? Missed that memo.

    • MS, I got the “ I haven’t been happy” spouse too while I was grieving the excruciating suffering and then passing of my awesome mom to breast cancer. I was 2000 miles away from her with three babies under the age of 3. He was annoyed I couldn’t bounce back faster from the pain.
      He would yell at me for feeling angst and sadness, and didn’t have a drop of compassion, only was able to see he was losing out on the deal. He also told me he was jealous of our children because I gave them so much attention. WTF?! Aren’t these OUR children and shouldn’t you be thrilled I am taking such excellent care of them and love them to the moon and back?
      He just couldn’t handle any real life issues and wasn’t getting enough attention according to him, so made his way to a mistress, who he stayed with for 8 years and confessed to me many years later, he wouldn’t have gotten through that time ( my mom dying) without her.
      Who was there for me, FW?! It was my dying mother, not yours. Why is it always about your needs?!
      I had a great deal of guilt thinking I ruined our marriage over that period for many years, I should have risen above the grief faster I chastised myself, and been happy and gay every second so my husband could still love me. I destroyed the love we had.
      But that wasn’t even near realistic.
      If you are there for the good times, you need to stay for the hard ones too. Cheaters don’t think that way.
      They just want the good times and if you aren’t providing it 24/7, there is always someone else out there ready to fill your shoes in a New York second.

      • I’m so sorry for all you’ve been through, Chumpasaurus45. I hear you. FWs just can’t exude one single drop of authentic compassion for anyone. And they’re only in for the good times. And I just can’t wrap my head about this overwhelming need for “attention” they say they feel. What the fuck is this?

        • “They’re only in it for the good times.” Absolutely! Be it partnership, parenting… they’re only in it for the fun stuff. The heavy lifting that isn’t so ego gratifying or entertaining, that they’ll leave to anyone else.

      • I bet for a while there you got down on yourself thinking that’s why your cheater cheated, because you were grieving, or taking care of the children and not giving him the attention he craved. Yep. I was right there too. It was years post divorce before I realized that cheaters don’t care if life is nothing but full of good times. Cheaters will cheat anyway because they feel they’re entitled to do what they want. And when they’re caught, well…, they hadn’t been happy for years.

      • chumpasaurus45, it’s all about entitlement. They want what they want, when they want it. Period. Don’t get in the way, and whatever they want will constantly change.

        I say let them all go back to their mommies who can indulge that for them. Out with the entitled trash who are narcissistic time bombs.

      • Chumpasaurus, I think we were married to the same narcissistic FW. Zero empathy.

        FW was cold when my father passed away… and angry that I was grieving. And he was jealous of our son as soon as he was born… pooooorrrr FW. Now he had to share my attention. And that continues even now… he’s so jealous of any attention his son gets. You can see that FW wants his son to fail — FW has to prove he’s “better.” It’s disgusting.

        I should have seen the red flags. When we met in our mid 20s, FW would lament how his mom paid more attention to his youngest brother and loved that brother more (which she did… and was clear about it. She’s narcissist #1 and the super spreader of that family)

        And that dope FW CRIED in his early 30s when his nephew was born on FW’s birthday. He CRIED “now no one will remember my birthday.”

        Oy vey

        • Sounds familiar, cheater was also jealous of our son the moment he was born, the day I brought son home from the hospital he told me I was paying too much attention to our newborn. Jealous of any attention my son would get. Any award our son won in school Cheater would downplay..then tell a story about an award he had won in school and how much better he was than everyone else. If I were to congratulate my son on an award Cheater would say I complimented my son too much.
          I thought parents were supposed to be proud of their children not in competition.

        • They’re all so similar. My FW cried once because a friend’s three year old had a birthday party the same weekend as his birthday. I got him a cake and gift and people told him happy birthday. But he cried because the three year old got a party and it overshadowed his birthday and he felt left out. He was in his 30s. What do you even do with that? I think I even asked him, “Are you serious right now?” because WTF? He was an adult man and father and he was crying because a toddler had a birthday party at the park? I just… I don’t miss the ridiculous drama. It’s nice to be off the crazy train.

          • Ex fuckwit caught cheating 2 July, his birthday was ignored 8July,
            He said “ he could never forgive that”
            he was 62!!!!

      • You are mighty.

        I believe that what makes people great is not that they suffer. What makes people great, what I most admire, is what they accomplish IN SPITE of their suffering. When people transcend their human condition and refuse to succumb and rise above! The definition of CN is resilient!

  • My take away concerning cheaters: they all lie, they will say they are happy/unhappy to get what they want or cover up, etc., etc. They are ticks and must be removed and smooshed.

    • I’d like a “Laugh” vote! “They are ticks and must be removed and smooshed.”

      • Amazon Chump,

        Pulled off with tweezers and ????! ????????????????

    • They all re-write so much history…

      My ex made the claim that he was unhappy with our move to a new place, and he had never wanted to move to where we were living. I called BS on that one, reminded him when he seemed stressed when we were in escrow on the new place, I asked him, “Are you happy with this house? If you’re not, we can back out right now and keep looking. I want you to be happy with where we are living.” He said no, insisted he wanted to move and the house was fine.

      • Oh my! Same exact story for me! We were moving (into my current house which I love) and I said three times, YES, THREE TIMES, “Are you sure you want to do this? I’m going to the bank tomorrow.” I had to insist because I experienced too many times where he would pull his fake shit on me (that he had never agreed) so I was adamant in making him say that he was okay with buying this house. He said ‘yes’, so I went and got the loan. A few years later (approaching DDay 2) he said in his sad sausage way, “I never wanted this house…” I called him out immediately by saying, “Don’t give me that shit! I asked you three times and you said ‘YES’!” But in his sad sausage way he replied, “I just gave up…” What a loser and a fucking coward I was married to! I’m so glad he’s not my problem anymore.

        • Ugh. When the roof of our house leaked soon after we moved in, he blamed me for “forcing” him to buy it. What??? So, basically, when I was upset about the leak, he decided to make me more miserable by blaming me. We couldn’t deal with it as a couple. Once he unloaded his bad feelings on me (the human toilet/receptacle for all his bad feelings) I guess he felt better/unburdened.

          That’s pretty much how it was.

  • I truly believe my ex was unhappy- he also had a very negative view of the world (condescending and disrespectful too) though he had what I would describe as a good life: made lots of money, owned his own business so there were no pesky bosses, a wife who, while certainly not perfect, supported his lifestyle, while making her needs very small. Still he was unhappy. I knew he was unhappy. How many years I danced around his unhappiness (and derision and disrespect of me and our kids) before I discovered the multi year affair with a 20 years younger employee, whom he had to pay off to not sue him. Still – he dumped me because of my inability to make him happy, meet his needs. And even as I read what I am writing I still feel sad. Like Spinach said yesterday, moving forward, mostly happy that I’m no longer in that world, but still sad. 3 years out. I used to be happy – still put on a happy face, and hope I get there someday.

    • You will get there. Be kind to yourself. Yes, I agree with you. Your ex was unhappy. And he’s still unhappy. He’s not a happy man. He’s looking for something else to make him happy. And trust that you will never have made him happy and he would have continued to pull you down because he hated to see you happy. He wanted to make you as miserable as he is. But now you no longer live for a miserable person, you live for yourself. Be happy. It’s a choice.

  • Yes! And this was followed by…
    “If I would have stayed with you, I would have DIED! You just want me to DIE!!!”

    • XP-Chump, translation “I wish you would die. I want you to die.”

    • XP Chump and 33–mine told me flat out to commit suicide like my brother did…he tragically passed years ago due to suicide. That was a huge cosmic wake up slap for me. And traumatic, of course. He never blinked an eye.

      • I’m so sorry for your loss, and chillingly callous dismissal by your ex, FuckWitFree.

      • Can’t get colder or crueler than that. Trauma inducing words. So sorry.

      • That’s despicable. Truly despicable. I’m so sorry he said that to you. And I’m sorry for your loss.

  • I remember this statement. It was confusing to me until I (1) I checked with friends, who confirmed that XW had told them she was happy just a few months earlier, and (2) the exact date of “I haven’t been happy in X years” kept on changing (from 6 months to two years to 10 years to 15 years, and then back again), so this was more an excuse invented on the spot than some deep secret that she’d been nursing.

    I don’t even think XW was lying – I am pretty sure that once she got well and truly sucked into the affair, she rewrote our marriage in her own mind, making herself the long-suffering, unhappy victim. So I would add another possible reason:

    D) they retroactively invent unhappiness as a societally acceptable excuse for having an affair.

    • D) they retroactively invent unhappiness as a societally acceptable excuse for having an affair.

      This it it! Definitely. I think my WXH and OW made up a story about star-crossed lovers that they knew each other long ago. Before I got smart and blocked them on social media I saw someone reference “their love story about finding their way back to each other after all this time.” Funny, when she and her BS moved to town and met us there was no indication that they knew each other previously. He likes to think he’s a good actor but he’s not THAT good.

      • I agree with your observation that they invent a societally acceptable excuse.
        The FW would always tell the MC’s “I can’t make her happy,” or “nothing I do makes her happy.” I didn’t have any proof of recent infidelity. He portrayed himself as long suffering and gave the impression that he was faithful all along and working hard on the marriage.

    • It’s awful that they rewrite the whole marriage. Mine even said she knew she made a mistake marrying me on our honeymoon.

      • Mine reached back to his marriage proposal.
        He claimed that I did not react the way he wanted me to.

        • If only he had had some alternate to the wedding and marriage after your so-called “poor” proposal reaction. Damn shame he was locked in like that.

      • Mine said that too! Cheater playbook. Of course mine had one of my bridesmaids give him a BJ so there that.

    • “they retroactively invent unhappiness as a societally acceptable excuse for having an affair.” (100% true IG!!)

    • And I would like to add:
      E) OW told me that you told her you cheated on me and she wanted me to know the truth. (See it really is your fault/is not my fault.)

      • I’ve got something along these lines too, TuesdaysR4Healing. Her “friends” got her convinced I was having an affair, so she thought she could have one too. Un-fucking-believable. I have never had nothing but very short small talks with those “friends” of her (workplace sycophants and enablers) up to that point. How could they come to the conclusion I was having an affair? But this excuse died out of its own nonsense and she never used it again, only once. What she tried to do next was to convince me that taking care of elderly parents, autistic adult brother and kids during the pandemic was *an equivalent betrayal* to her taking her AP to our family’s home for booze-soaked fuckfests. They will throw anything at you when they get caught to see if something sticks.

        • Wow!! How awful of you to think of others and help them. Think about how many people you were supporting vs the FW who felt they deserved that energy instead. Selfish! I had my first 4 boys close together and went through deployments and moves. The last two were sick and in the hospital during deployments. The younger one is still not well and has a feeding tube. It’s ridiculous to have to explain to a FW that I had to divert energy from him in order to literally keep my son alive! If I had gotten a fraction of that energy or support……..

          • I recall reading this part of your story here before, BTAW. Here is to yours and your children health and peace. It is a shame you not only wasn’t supported through all these struggles but had to explain your obvious priorities to their FW father.

        • “They will throw anything at you when they get caught to see if something sticks.” Yep. The accusations keep changing but the important thing to remember is that they’re all confessions one way or another.

    • Part of it is that the rewriting of marital history provides a conscience-assuaging justification for Shmoopies. I worked in a really top-down, high stakes field that was filled with raging narcissists, pervs and frantic climbers. When I was an intern, I had more than a few professional side-piece coworkers “confiding” about their escapades with married overlords. In retrospect it’s like they were trying to bathe in virgin blood to regain lost innocence by cornering someone actually innocent into nodding along to their creepy narratives. It’s a hostage situation because people like this are, as I learned the hard way, invariably politically dangerous, backstabbing shitheads in all ways so you can’t put them off or say anything.

      Anyway, I’m not sure if male side-dudes/mate poachers are as prone to hunting for “heroic” sounding rationales as she-poachers but that seemed like a big thing with side-chicks. They seem to love to describe themselves as “empaths” lol. They image manage their own sleaziness, competitiveness and aggression by telling people they were “rescuing” the cheater from a terrible marriage. Cheaters’ narratives about how awful their spouses are are a form of foreplay and possibly also a way of future-faking to the APs that the marriage will eventually end and the APs will be victorious.

      Come to think of it, female chumps have often reported how their cheaters claimed to be “rescuing” Shmoopies from abusive relationships so maybe it’s a unisex bit of BS.

  • I got this thrown in my face as well in the week leading up to DDay and Discard (3 years ago tomorrow, in fact). At the time, I twisted myself into all the knots of accountability that CL describes above, like some kind of bizarre string game. Later, with some clarity, I found 2 things really interesting about the IHBHFALT line:
    1. When I inquired about the unhappiness, it was strangely all things about *me,* not about him. I wasn’t exercising enough; I wasn’t spending enough time with him; my interests had diverged; I was arguing with him too much; I never seemed happy with him; I wasn’t having sex with him enough, etc. There wasn’t a SINGLE THING on the list that was his responsibility (he disguised some of the problems with “we” statements instead of “you” statements, as in “we don’t have sex enough,” but I had learned to do that translation years ago). Of course I know now that this is how narcissists work: they think all their emotions are caused by external forces, so if they feel bad, it must be your fault…. But I didn’t know that at the time.
    2. I could tell from the sheer smugness with which it was delivered that IHBHFALT was functioning as some bass-ackward kind of vindication. It was like a moral savings account of some kind, as in “I was unhappy for a long time, but I stayed in the marriage for *you*; by doing so, I deposited far more moral credit than my infidelity and abandonment are debiting, so you have no right to complain. In fact, I believe you still owe me.” This attitude was completely incomprehensible to me during the divorce process, but it was very real. He really acted like the aggrieved party right up until the end and was SO INDIGNANT at the merest hint of a suggestion he had done *anything* wrong.

    • “It was like a moral savings account of some kind, as in ‘I was unhappy for a long time, but I stayed in the marriage for *you*; by doing so, I deposited far more moral credit than my infidelity and abandonment are debiting, so you have no right to complain. In fact, I believe you still owe me’.”

      And this: “Of course I know now that this is how narcissists work: they think all their emotions are caused by external forces, so if they feel bad, it must be your fault…. But I didn’t know that at the time.”

      Yes, 1000 times yes!! This is a brilliant observations that applies to my situation perfectly. Thanks.

      X is a covert narc. He’s always blamed external factors for his unhappiness. Twenty plus years ago, when he left one job complaining about the other docs, I remember telling him that the problem could be within him, that, if the new job didn’t work out, he should examine his role in his own misery.

      Alas, my guess (ok, I’ll admit that it’s also my hope #notatmeh) is that x (now married to the AP) is not happy still. I bet he continues to blame external factors. I’m probably the chief blame target, although it can’t be as satisfying to blame someone who is 100% NC.

      Who knows?

      A true covert narc, he ENJOYS feeling that he is the least happy person in the room. No one could possibly know his pain. He’s always embraced this role. #eeyore #darvo.

      Bottom line:
      I’m confident he feels that:
      1. He’s suffering more than anyone
      2. What he did is wrong, but what the kids and I are doing (NC) is worse. (He actually said this.)

  • It’s funny how they say they are unhappy and the other justifications of cheating AFTER they get caught cheating. They don’t sit down with us and have a honest conversation! Funny also that we didn’t cheat when we were unhappy in the marriage…

    • Bingo!

      Reverse engineering a justification ex post facto.

      I do wonder if they know it’s BS or believe it.

      • I’m pretty sure they believe it.

        This, actually, is what I find scariest: they make something up to justify the action that they want to take, and then fall for their own propaganda. It means that you can’t ever trust anything they say: they can legitimately, honestly promise something – but if their situation changes they will find some way to legitimately, honestly believe that promise doesn’t apply (or never existed).

        I’m thinking, in particular, about my XW’s promise that she would never try to change custody in order to move with the kids. I think she is sincere when she says it today. I also think she would find some exception that nullified it if she got a job offer tomorrow. I am perpetually practicing defensive parenting, and she is perpetually aggrieved because she honestly believes it’s not necessary.

        • I agree. They believe their bullshit. When I said, “But our wedding vows were ’till death do us part'”, he said, “That was at a different time.” He convinced himself that those vows were only valid as long as he ‘felt’ like keeping them. Or maybe he was trying to convince me, but like sociopaths, they’re going to write their own narratives to suit their own desires. Best to treat them as recommended by FuckWitFree, ‘like ticks that must be removed and smooshed.’

          • I don’t buy that they believe their own bullshit. If this was indeed the case, they wouldn’t go to the lengths they go to prevent everybody from knowing what actually happened and wouldn’t live in fear of being unmasked. As for their rationalizations, if they truly believed them, how could they retain the capacity to recant them quickly and completely during hoover attempts? I would rather say they don’t believe anything, that they will adhere to whichever narrative is more expedient to their immediate objectives at the moment. Truth and lie are devoid of intrinsic meaning for them and are a matter of tactical value only.

            • I agree they go to great lengths to hide what they did. But they rewrite history to justify their actions. My FW wasn’t happy that when he was talking to a neighbor I walked up and asked if FW told him we were divorcing? Of course he didn’t! Then I told him about how he lied about working in another city and how he was really in the neighborhood around the corner shacked up with his AP during the pandemic. The neighbor was shocked and later the FW said “Does that make you happy to do that.” I replied aren’t you proud of what you’ve done?
              While visiting his family with the kids for Xmas, he didn’t tell people we were divorced when people asked about me, I was just vacationing somewhere else. Then the last night, he tells his family that we are finally divorced and it was because he was unhappy and there’s no one else. Meanwhile he married the AP secretly in November-not telling his kids or family. Our daughter knew and was showing everyone the wedding pics whenever he left the room, so everyone knew he was lying. He still never mentions her existence to his kids. He lives in an alternate reality.

          • Having known how my ex lied to others , how could I even think he could be honest with me? It effected my respect of him when he lied an stole from others . And how well he could completely rewrite an event to suit how he liked things . His scripted ideas were so far from truth but he would use this ruse to distort and confuse and not except culpability for wrong doing.

  • Yes, I also got this line. It is amazing how a chump has the super-power of making a FW unhappy for years. We just have the awesome power to make people unhappy just by being ourselves and making our needs small. Yep. I am no longer buying into that. I realize the RIC (and I went through that but did not last a full month) tells the chumps that and we believe it and try to introspect. Sorry, but I don’t control the happiness levels of others. These FWs have choices and the logical choice would have been a honest conversation that would have sparked the decision to divorc, however, FW cannot do that (guess the honest part has something to do with that).
    I am currently working with my attorney (and FW with his) to iron out the final settlement and his lawyer brought that BS up as well. Okay, FW and FW attorney what is that supposed to mean in the court of law?????? Guess that just gives him license to argue every point. I think we finally have come close enough to reach an agreement. My hope is this will be over soon and that I can move ahead with a life free of the FW drama. Schmoopie can have him and she has a prize that is 32 years older and has no relationship with his adult son and is a walking cloud of gloom.

  • I hate this excuse! You know what? I was lonely and unhappy too, but coped differently and didn’t fuck prostitutes! Marriages and life in general are not full of happiness all the time. How boring would things be if everything was perfect all the time? When you make a commitment to somebody, you’re doing it with the knowledge that there will be hard times, sickness, struggles along with the joys, smiles, laughs, and accomplishments. You plan on going through all those experiences with your partner. FWs that use this excuse are lying to themselves too. Guaranteed they were still unhappy while screwing strange. My FW chose to have less than 12 hours total of orgasms with hookers (figured with his stamina, phone records and bank statements, we are looking at more likely around 2h) and threw his entire life away. I know for sure he’s not happy now!

  • When I heard that, I said, “So what that means is that you’re either lying now or you’ve been lying for a long time.”

    What is so tragic, and what he is too dense to realize, is the massive damage that statement did to our daughter (he also explained to her that he left because he had not been happy for a long time), who also believed he loved me and our family, because that is how he was acting.

    He can share the Best Actor Oscar with Will Smith.

    • Agreed. IHBHFALT is gaslighting! Thankfully I had family and friends to help me reality check the statement and say, ‘funny, he seemed happy.’ It does mess with the kids too because it makes them question the reality they thought they knew. If they see through the statement, then they start thinking, ‘what else is he lying about?’ Then they lose trust. Either way it is damaging.

    • Velvet, I wish I’d had it in me to give this perfect response: “So what that means is that you’re either lying now or you’ve been lying for a long time.”

      Not that it would have made a difference or that he would have understood….

      After D-day, when I was SO angry and confused and had yet to go NC, I remember foolishly sending him a picture of the two of us smiling on top of a mountain after a sweaty climb. It was our 34th anniversary. What I didn’t know was that he was deep into a multiyear affair when the photo was taken. Anyhoo, when he saw the picture after D-Day, he said, “Well, yeah, I *was* happy on that day.”

      His logic:
      1. His happiness was paramount.
      2. It was my responsibility to keep him happy. When I slipped, he was justified in cheating.

      • The comeback was on the tip of my tongue because I was unfortunately practiced at using it.

        Just one example:

        For an entire year, while I was pregnant, we were in negotiations on The Dream House. He watched me cry numerous times over not being able to close the deal. One month before my due date, the sellers got a new agent and lowered the price. When I suggested making another offer, he said, “Who buys a house at Christmas? Let’s wait until after New Years.” The house sold to someone else on Christmas Eve, for 250K less than we offered. Much later in a therapy session, he said, “We were never in a position to buy that house.” (Which was also BS).

        After DDay (eleven years later and still in the same very tiny unfixed-up vintage starter house) I realized how uninvested and checked-out he was and that he had never wanted to buy another home with me. I always wondered about, and could never understand, his failure to fix up our house or move until DDay.

        • “I realized how uninvested and checked-out he was and that he had never wanted to buy another home with me.”

          Ugh. These epiphanies hurt. Just when we think we’re at meh, we get an oh shit, so that’s what that was or wasn’t (or that’s what that meant) realization.

          These toss me back on my heels. Only chumps can truly appreciate how upsetting it is to put two and two together after the fact and realize how we were played.

          And then we berate ourselves for missing the signs.

          • At this point, for me the epiphanies are less “toss me back on my heels moments” and more “aha moments” in the spirit of “of course that what he was doing!”, and then I place that example in the mental folder that identifies that particular tactic of his.

        • In our marriage, we owned 6 houses…3 of them he bought without me ever stepping foot in it. The last one, I saw the house but it was a foolish purchase because we couldn’t afford it, but he bought it anyway.

          For one of the purchases, I had traveled to the hew place, picked an agent, toured homes and picked out like 6 for him to pick from. He arrived after me, fired the agent, threw out all of my picks, started over, made one offer I didnt agree with then bought a house I had never seen.

          And I was SO USED to his disrespect, I didnt think much of it.

    • This is why you tell your children their other parent has broken their marriage vows and you can no longer be married. Otherwise, nothing else makes sense. They will grow up with the idea that if I am unhappy I should abandon my commitments to solve the issue. Lying and cheating is normalized as a life skill.

    • And as I always say, if I don’t like a restaurant, I don’t keep eating there.


      I’m not a fan of the new “thumbs down” button here. I won’t be using it, so if your comment gets a “thumbs down” it won’t be from me. For me, anonymous disagreement without any explanation isn’t helpful and is triggering/upsetting.
      I do wish we could edit or delete posts.

      Peace out.

      • I don’t like the thumbs down button either. I scroll on my phone and have accidentally pressed it, sorry to anyone who was confused!

        • There is indeed this risk of accidentally hitting the thumbs down while scrolling (more so if you’re right handed). I wonder if I ever did so, and apologize: I don’t really mean to use it ever.

      • Velvet, I agree with you. So I’ve been keeping an informal eye on it, and have noticed that since the new site went up the only day I saw any numbers on the “thumbs down” button was the day after the Oscars on the Will Smith post.

      • VH, I’m new here, but I think the same. I’d be shaken to the core to get a thumbs down at this point of vulnerability. I won’t use it.

        • I got all my skin ripped off on DDay and it hasn’t grown back thick enough for “thumbs down” votes on my comments. I dislike the whole “like” concept in general.

          Having a “thumbs down” option here also makes me vulnerable to non-chump trolls, unlike before where people would have post something if they wanted to sucker-punch you here.


  • It’s interesting that these cheaters always say that they’ve been unhappy for years. From my perspective, now that I’ve been out of it for a long time (today is my 11 year divorce-iversary!) my ex was angry, not unhappy. After 20+ years of marriage and 5 kids, he seemed to decide that his life wasn’t what he wanted and he got angry about it. Of course it was my fault and the kids and I were the enemy. His own parents basically stopped parenting when he turned 18 and his younger siblings have issues from that. I guess he thought that 18 years was enough time wasted on parenting? It doesn’t really matter. I have been no contact for years, as have most of the children, and we are all much happier for it.

    • I also think it’s anger and not unhappiness that they feel. They feel trapped in a life they no longer want. They just want out and they are angry, it’s all our fault they are so unhappy.
      I was told I was “ a 160 lbs weight around his neck”.
      There is no other journey they see but their own, nothing else even makes the grade as counting to them. They don’t even think a second about how they hurt their kids too.
      After our 38 year marriage, my ex told me he “ didn’t want to take care of anyone anymore” as one of his reasons for leaving.
      That line still haunts me 5 years later.

      • He told you you were “a 160 lbs weight around his neck.” That is SO cruel!

        What a fucker! Also, he knew he’d hurt you with the comment about your not wanting “to take care of anyone anymore.” So mean. An extra turn of the knife just in case the affair didn’t do you in. God I hate these cheaters. #allaboutthem

        I’ll just add here that I think x wanted to parade around with a much-younger woman. As Colbert would say, “I gots me one!!” That he himself is older than I, wrinkled, and too thin (muscle wasting) is lost on him. He sees Brad Pitt in the mirror.

        Hope he’s mistaken for her father.

        • I do think so many of them including my fw, do try to blow up the bridges and do the whole scorched earth thing.

          They really don’t seem to want to leave their cast offs with any dignity or memories.

      • This is awful, just awful 45. How denigrating and insulting. I hope someone wants to stop taking care of him when he reaches the diapering part of his old age.

      • And yet I’ll bet you were the one doing most of the “taking care of.”

      • Chumpasaurus45, I received very similar comments. Two gems after 26 years: ‘I’m wasting my precious time’ and ‘I don’t have time for people who are ill’. In 6 months I had injured myself quite badly in a skiing accident and my dad had died. These not unusual life events were detracting from his happiness. ExgfOW from school was overseas and, bar reading her sad little poems, she wasn’t particularly time consuming. I laugh at the ‘precious time’ statement coming from a man who regularly watched men pulling trucks at the end of ropes with their teeth and other similar sporting activities on tv. It all exemplified the emptiness and cowardice inside. I don’t know what I saw in him. The work I have had to do and will be doing until I die is on why that was good enough for me for so long. The bar for what was acceptable to me was set very low!

    • I know someone like this. The ‘runaway’ spouse. Not induced by abuse, but cheating. The justification:I can’t deal with the life I built (with you)! Im trapped and must run away to schmoopie! Like CL said, they cancelled their subscription to their family. Leaving the sane spouse/parent abandoned and holding the bag: emotionally, financially and physically. They know you won’t let those kids down no matter how tough it gets. And even if you do, they don’t care (and never did really, because shallow attachment). They had options. The honorable thing would be to divorce in a civilized and responsible fashion but no.

  • My cheating XH said to me in The Divorce Letter, “I haven’t been happy in ten years, but I didn’t know it.” Yeah, supposedly half of our 20-year marriage he wasn’t happy. Yeah, right! And that’s when the confusion set in. Me thinking to myself that he sure seemed happy, content and told me all the time what a great wife and mother I was. That I was the love of his life, woman of his dreams, soulmate, perfect woman for him and more! I had thousands of what I thought were happy memories of our marriage and family life and now he was telling me that half of our marriage he wasn’t happy and that my memories were false?! And add crazier mindf*cking to the factor; the last ten years of our marriage we were closer and more connected than the first ten years. I honestly thought I was losing my mind as nothing was making sense to me anymore! And that’s when the gift of Chump Lady was recommended to me via Facebook recommendations. I learned that “I haven’t been happy” is just one of the many Stupid Sh*t Cheaters Say. Also, a family member who was staying with me for a few weeks while I was still living with the cheater, questioned him about his supposed unhappiness of ten years. He just stared back, didn’t have an answer and didn’t say a word to justify his comment about being unhappy for ten years. What could he say? What could he point to? Absolutely f*cking nothing, because the truth was, he wasn’t unhappy. He’s just a f*cking serial cheater who got caught on a date with a newly divorced whore. And now the jig was up, because he knew I saw behind the mask and saw him for who he truly is — a pathological lying serial adulterer with a harem of women in his secret sexual basement. The End!

    • That ten year thing seems to be common.

      My FW told me the night he left he had not been happy for ten years, and had never loved me. (20 year marriage).

      So i guess he was happy the first ten years, even though he didn’t love me. And he was ok with pretending to be happy. But, to be fair I was key to him getting his power in the community, and his subsequent promotion. Then he discovered he had been unhappy.

      Odd, wonder why it is ten years so many times.

    • Exactly! Mine never intended to loose the use of me . He was dumb struck when I said “I want a Divorce” He truly wanting me and all the OW’s . I was the solid mainstay . Man did I work hard in a 20 T year marriage to put up with his antics but I did love him until I couldn’t , the cheating broke me it broke the love. The adult kids have suffered as well. But the one responsible gives himself a pardon from it all.

  • Mine put it a little differently “I haven’t felt like your husband in years”. I guess I was just someone he was having sex with, raising kids with, and running a household with. I wonder how he defines “husband”.

    • Mine never outright said “I haven’t felt like your husband, but I assume he didn’t, as he had been giving emotional, physical, and financial love and support to another woman.

      I guess he was just servicing me to keep his secret until the best time to ditch me.

  • Yup. I got the same declaration. Verbatim. I was shocked and pointed out the mountains of Happiness Evidence, which apparently became null and void the moment she was busted. Weird coincidence.

    Anyway, a few years ago she finally admitted that it was a lie, that she indeed was happy, and that she “made the mistake of her life”—you know, a mistake, like getting off at the wrong exit.

    I felt a small throb of vindication but it did not last long and was replaced by sadness at a rich, enviable life pissed away.

    She’s still with AP, on whom she’s cheated. I guess she was unhappy with him too.

    • Yeah. I can appreciate the momentary feeling of vindication followed by sadness.

      Some things are just sad.

  • About 1 yr after ex ran away, he sent me a cheaterspeak email full of the reasons why I was the cause of his unhappiness. I replied to each reason (we grew about – huh?, we were just roommates – who has sex with their roommates?, he needs to see his family more often – we lived 75 miles away & saw them about twice a month. And so on.) I cc’d his parents & siblings. That shut him up for good. I’ll never know as I never heard from his family after the 1st few weeks after dday but I hope they saw both sides of our drama & concluded he was the entitled ass with the shitty character.

    • Brilliant strategy to stop the post-apocalyptic DARVO bs. Just cc the whole thing to all their contacts lol.

    • I got the “we were roommates” bs too. Never mind that he said this after he was addicted to porn, fucking around with randoms for years and working away from home. All the time he spent on those disgusting lowlives he was screwing should’ve been spent on me and our relationship. How convenient that he forgot all the times he didn’t want to have sex with me and his frequent ED when we did! Such a loser.

    • Oh, I forgot the classic one: he was upset that we had crab cakes on Thanksgiving. Who on earth feels unhappy when presented with crab cakes? That unhappiness truly belonged to him as he made them.

  • I got the alternate version: “I can’t make you happy.” To which I wished I’d replied :”try me”…

    Maybe his strategy could have been slightly improved. He couldn’t make me happy by abandoning me to fend for myself and my two little ones, showing up only when he pleased? He couldn’t make me happy siphoning all our funds towards shady business, nights out and whatever is his hobby du jour? He didn’t make me happy sabotaging my career? Gee… couldn’t I see he tried his best?

    Really that was the only one true thing he’s said (of his many parting lines). I guess even a broken clock is right twice a day. I kept thinking of it the year after and realized he was right, but not for the reasons he thought most likely.

  • I don’t think they are unhappy at all, most of them. It’s just that marriage doldrums don’t hold a candle to new relationship energy. It’s the same theme as “I love you but I’m not in love with you.” None of these things emerges except in comparison to something else. Something that as a married person, you aren’t supposed to seek!

  • The sad sausage said (right before the 2nd DDay), “You and I aren’t happy. I don’t know if divorce is the answer.” It’s interesting that I didn’t know that I wasn’t happy until he told me. In all actuality, he is not a happy person and he never will be a happy person. Happiness is fleeting for cheaters because they’re always looking for some “thing” or some “one” to make them happy. My ex had 9 new cars for himself in the last 15 years of our marriage. As soon as a car wasn’t shiny enough, or got a little ding, or wasn’t the newest and latest that he could show off, it was time to trade it in. I was like a car in a way. I lost my shine, I had a few dings, and I certainly wasn’t ‘new’. Cheaters are like little kids that need constant attention and if they don’t get it, they pout, stamp their feet, and expect you to make them happy. Unlike little kids, cheaters never grow out of their self centeredness. It’s all about them. To justify their cheating all cheaters will eventually say, “I’m not happy and haven’t been for a very long time”, and you, the chump, are expected to tap dance trying to make them happy “again”. Well, no matter what a chump does, it will never be enough nor will the chump ever be successful in making the fuckwit happy. Why? Because the cheater is not a happy person to begin with. So truly, all three ways that CL lists to address a cheater’s unhappiness, i.e., “Take them at their word”, “Don’t accept responsibility”, and “They’re bullshitting you” are all valid. It’s just sad that our chump hearts take forever to understand those three things. I didn’t learn these things until many years post divorce and I will never take responsibility for someone else’s unhappiness. I have much better things to do with my life.

  • My FW ex-husband gave me the “not happy” line as well. I told him sure he wasn’t, and the date that his unhappiness commenced was the day he started the affair with him 28 years younger work subordinate. He actually agreed. Idiot.

  • i find the word happy problematic. what does it mean, anyway?

    we can all be happier in our lives. i know i can. but i ride out the boring parts, the difficult parts, and focus on the good parts. it’s what you do in a long life. at 57, i remember the first rush of love and the ease of settling into a committed relationship after it’s inevitable smoothing out. it was fun, but the settled love was richer, fuller.

    first love is an addiction and my X is always looking for a new addiction–food, exercise, alcohol, flirting, working, tattooing, shopping. he’s hooked on whatever gives him the rush and it’s never enough. the man owns 40 pairs of leather gloves and needs another pair, it’s important to have the right pair of leather gloves for every occasion.

    as for exhibiting happiness, i don’t think my X has ever felt happy anyway. so, a more accurate declaration of “i just want to be happier” would be “i just want to feel a continual rush so i can feel something, because i’m actively addicted.”

    • re-reading this is just sad, you know? the only person in love in our marriage was me. he was existing in a narcissistic, alcoholic haze. that’s the worst of all of this. none of it was really real, but i thought it was real.

      man, i need a fun holiday from getting a divorce.

    • Or is the need for a continual rush “… so I can feel something…” because they are otherwise completely empty?

      • constructed entirely of paper-mache, m. but paper-mache dissolves in the rain. #itstrue

    • ☝️Agree. What’s “happy” mean?
      Remove 1 “p”. Make it a 4 letter word. When it’s used as a filthy, cruel, selfish excuse: “hapy”.

    • I too find the word problematic, and can relate to much of what you said. It was settled love and a committed relationship I thought I was in, and was deeply satisfied with. They though need the continual rush and didn’t even have the decency to tell us so.

  • I got this, too. UBT it if you want (apologies if I already shared this a while ago. Can’t remember): “I take full responsibility for what happened, but the question of why it happened is more difficult. I’m not trying to avoid culpability, but the roots of this are deep. There is a soft voice of defiance in me that keeps me going. It may be irrational and indefensible, but, if I didn’t have it, I’d be lost.”

    • “I take full responsibility but…”

      I’m the exception, right?

      “…why it happened is more difficult.”

      I’m complicated, right?

      “…but the roots of this are deep.”

      I’m deep, right?

      “There’s a soft voice of defiance…”

      Do not go gentle into that good night,
      Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
      Rage, rage against the dying of the light.
      –Dylan Thomas

      I’m a poet, right?

      “…I’d be lost.”

      I’m a lost boy, right? That’s a cult-classic vampire film. Wait, I’m a vampire.

      Man, I’m deep.

    • What a load of crap. Both the “responsibility” and “culpability” clauses are followed by “but” [I’m not really]. It’s telling to me that the “but” clauses are all general and undefined: “more difficult” and “deep roots.” As for that “soft voice of defiance”? He’s really in love with his vision of himself, isn’t he? And what exactly is he “defying”? The gobbledegook sounds a lot like the word salad my ex slings.

      • Adelante,

        His Ivy-league education has enabled him to generate this kind of content. lol

        p.s. Thanks for the validation that this is total BS.

    • “I take full responsibility for what happened”

      That nebulous, unnamed something is actually not at all my fault, but I’ll throw you this crumb.

      “but the question of why it happened is more difficult.”

      It’s very difficult to admit the utterly banal reason it happened. If you knew it was because I’m a prick, you might actually consider me a prick. So I cleave towards self pity as per usual.

      “I’m not trying to avoid culpability,”

      No need to. It’s not my fault.

      “but the roots of this are deep.”

      Deep, like me. Like schmoopie’s cavernous vageen. Like the Sargasso sea. Oh wait, the Sargasso sea is wide, but not that deep. I’m more of an Indian Ocean kinda guy.

      “There is a soft voice of defiance in me that keeps me going.”

      You’re not the boss of me. You can’t expect me to keep existing if I must obey rules.

      “It may be irrational and indefensible”

      Which are points in favor of it.

      “but, if I didn’t have it, I’d be lost.”

      I wouldn’t be Speshul Guy if I had to live by the same rules as you peons. Why, I’d lose my very identity. You don’t want me to be ORDINARY, do you Spinach?

  • I believe “happy” is based on happenstance. So him not being happy was due to 100% him never being content with what he had. He didn’t want happy, he was entitled. Dday #2 he also wasn’t sure if he loved AP (WTH). Since I was completely holding the illusion together that we had a great marriage, great kids, and assumed he was in love with me turned out to be a joke (on me). Until 3 decades later it was finally clear to me that he was never going to be happy, oin love bc that wasn’t his goal. We were just props in his movie. He did not want to divorce, he liked the way I held us up and made everything “happy” for the family. What I did was waste over 30 years on a person who wasn’t capable of happy, love or honesty. He ran like a coward and avoided ever being honest with me about our life. I would hate to be him and now its not my problem anymore. 6 years post divorce he is still searching for “happy”. Be careful what you wish for sucker.
    On the other hand I can say I AM happy that I put myself first and not last. They.Don’t.Change.

  • Well, my husband of 24 years HISSED that he had been “in purgatory” for YEARS…after having had a 4 year affair with the janitor at work (now called the “knob polisher”). He seemed happy for at least for the first 3 years then just distant…Actually it was ME who was in purgatory. Ugh…

    • “Knob polisher” 🙂 I need a name for the skank (now the fuckwit’s wife.) “Knob polisher” is perfect for the janitor, but the skank used to be a Family Counselor at the local University when they carried on their affair. I’m not witty enough to come up with a name for her. Somebody?

      • Whore is apt. A whore by any other name is still a whore.

    • Right? My fw had been unhappy for ten years (he only told me on the day he left).

      Didn’t stop him from lettiing me work endlessly in the community service club he belong to. Though I enjoyed meeting so many wonderufl folks and enjoyed working with them; there was never a doubt to either of us that I was doing it for him, to feather his cap in the community. He has spoken dreams of being mayor.

      It didn’t stop him from letting me work endlessly to help him get his choice for mayor elected, to feather his cap and hopefully get him promoted. Again, I think his choice for mayor was the best choice, and again I learned so much and met so many folks who really did care about the community, like I did.

      Odd that he didn’t realize how unhappy he was until after he got his Captains bars. Almost overnight he became withdrawn. A few months later in the year he started to become mean and verbally abusive. What I didn’t know until it blew up was someone had filed an ethics complaint against him for his relationship with his direct report; he had helped her get hired, and also just recently petitioned for a raise for her. Guess someone had enough and it was time to out him.

      Wish they had outed him long before that. I guess the good side is being a Captain with a cushy office he had a long way to fall, and fall he did. Can’t say it didn’t put a spring in my step when I read in the paper he had been busted for “organizational purposes”.

      They don’t drag this unhappy horse shit out until they are exposed.

  • I was first sent photos of FW with the AP by a workplace whistleblower and then hired a private detective who took more. What was so interesting about the series of stealth video and photos of FW in bars and bistros with the AP was that both of them looked like someone had just killed their respective dogs or maybe like they’d both just killed their own dogs. I mean the dead-eyed, clenched-jaw sulking misery-mugs on those two. The PI’s agent reported they looked like they’d been fighting.

    After D-Day and FW’s frantic questions about how I could possibly know (I’ll never tell, hah), FW said he didn’t remember being miserable on one of the nights in question in which he and the AP both look absolutely desolate and simmeringly angry. No, he insisted, nothing particular had happened and they hadn’t just had a huge fight. That was just how they always were together.

    Hmm. The coworker/whistleblower described seeing the AP stomping into work every day looking like a hungover serial killer and only giggling and going boneless when anyone with status was near. So maybe FW achieved a kind of equilibrium if not actual happiness being with an equally morose drunken lump?

    All the same, nothing puts the lie to the DARVO-y “I’ve been unhappy in this marriage for so long” like photographic and video evidence that a FW was an even more miserable sod in the throes of an affair that was supposedly the cure for marital misery. Good thing he dropped the “I was always miserable in my marriage” argument and didn’t attempt to argue it in proceedings because he himself had put together a huge anniversary album full of years and years of glowingly smiling family pictures just a few months before the affair began. FW looks almost hysterically happy in so many of those pix. By then his stance was that he was an alcoholic and sex addict whose family wasn’t fucked up enough to keep him company in hell. Aww, maybe that’s a little more credible but note how the later summary was still festering with self-pity. Ick. That’s really the long and short of it, isn’t it? These people are self-pity bombs.

    • Yeah, my cheater XH made numerous photo scrapbooks of all of our happy family vacations (I let him keep them as picture proof of the happy family that he destroyed). He put hours and hours into those scrapbooks. People who are not happy don’t spend tons of limited spare time making scrapbooks of their unhappy life!!! On the day of our 20th wedding anniversary, he took our wedding album down from the top shelf and laid on the bed with me while we looked over the pictures from our wedding day; he never did that before! He went on and on about our wedding day, our marriage and all the years to come making more happy memories. 48 days later, I caught him out on a date with a newly divorced whore. 71 days after his date with the whore, he read me The Divorce Letter that stated he hadn’t been happy in ten years. Liars lie and cheaters cheat! The amount of BS that was in that letter (someday I would love the UBT to eat that thing up!) and all complete crap that came out of the man-child’s mouth was so mind-f*cking at the time! But CL and CN broke up the cognitive dissonance in my mind. It took time, but now I know it wasn’t me. It was never me! It was all him all the time; disordered f*cking narcissistic sociopath!

      • Yes, the DARVO charges are all the more crazy-making for being complete fabrications. You feel like you’re entering the early stages of dementia because you honestly don’t recall all the “abuse” you supposedly meted out to them.

        Growing up, one of my favorite Christie characters was Miss Marple who solves crimes by comparing various characters to the people she knew in her childhood hamlet. It later dawned on me that Miss Marple had the backstory of having been a side piece in her youth (why she was unmarried and childless) which took a bit of the glow off. All the same, my Miss Marple revelation was that FW’s behavior reminded me of a middle school mean-girl betrayal where a fair-weather friend tried to make herself feel more honest and less rat-like by saying things to my face that she’d been saying behind my back for a long time. It’s an elemental bully/backstabber routine: 1) sell others out as a way to deal with aggression and earn social chits; 2) repeat and elaborate on the bs so many times they start believing it themselves; 3) become invested in the false narrative lest anyone else identify them as liars; then 4) circle back to try out the fabricated story on the target to see if the target can be intimidated into certifying it as truth.

        That’s what gave the game away. I knew that he looked so mesmerizingly convinced of his story because he’d been saying it behind my back for some time. That led to questions of who would even be interested in listening to someone rehearse that kind of fabricated trash talk other than an invested fuckbuddy. If I’d had a lot of family money, I suppose the enabler could have solely financial motives. As it turned out, the AP had both motives.

  • April 2020 fw asked if I could do another 25 years of ‘this’. For a split second I thought he was referring to the lockdown but I soon realised he meant us (been married at this point for 31 years and the strange had begun a couple of weeks earlier at the beginning of lockdown). I asked him to elaborate, he couldn’t. I asked if he wanted to separate, he fiercely stated that he did not. I was so unsure about what he was saying to me. Then comes months of what everyone here has or is currently experiencing. Hugs to the newbies. I survived….. Just. A letter that he wrote when I returned to our marital home (he had left and after battle Royal its all mine now) stating that he needed to be happy and that he wanted me to be happy. Wtf!! Before the strange began he gave me no reason to believe he wasn’t happy. They are so disordered. Recently I was informed by a ‘friend’ that she’d been told by her ‘friend’, who knows the ho-worker, that our marriage had been dead for years. That comment stung like a mother fucker at first but I soon realised that what else could two cheating fuckwits say…. That their marriages were wonderful, that their spouses were great people. They have to say this shit, it’s all image management. When you see this, you never unsee it.

    Recently after a year of no contact (I’m grateful that my children are all adults and can navigate their relationship with Fw independently, although tbf his actions towards them has fucked that), he came to the home to collect the remainder of his items (expensive stuff which I had held hostage to secure a banging settlement, which I’ve got ????????). The friends who came with him are people who he used to complain about alot. They also used to be my friends and I’d tell him it wasn’t right to speak about them in the manner he did. They’re welcome to him now.

    Hugs to you all.

    • I heard from mutual friends who really did not believe that the ex was having an affair with exgfOW (some friends knew her and said ‘but they argued all the time’), that the ex asked after me often at the start of the split. They were unfailingly loyal to me. They told the ex that I was doing well even when the word ‘well’ was open to interpretation. His consistent response: ‘I’m happy for her’ said, they told me, with sad sausage face. He then consistently complained about the fact that I refused to talk to him. And they asked him why he was surprised about that. Thus ‘I just want you to be happy’ and ‘I’m happy for you’ is part of the act. It’s empty platitude from empty vessels. His name is no longer mentioned because I have a different, richer friendship with these same friends now. And they don’t see him.

  • Oh, Happiness, how many crimes are commited in thy name!
    Happiness is a floating signifier, and as such it works as a trump card for dishonest communicators. I think FWs approach relationships as games, and zero-sum games for that matter, hence their predatory behaviour. Floating signifiers are used to mainstream all sorts of unlogical bullshit.
    Depending on the content you ascribe to the term, happiness would elude large swaths of humankind.
    If, for instance, it included having clean water to drink, freedom of speech, not living under the constant threat of police brutality, I think the majority of the people in the world would have to be deemed unhappy, although these are quite reasonable expectations to have at this point in history. Privileged individuals may have a quite whimsical idea of happiness. Affluent societies tend to encode some minimal living standards into the term that are indeed very high bar. Media (and social media at that) tends to homogenize these expectations of ‘happiness’ not by taking the average, but by putting forward celebrity-like lifestyles for emulation. This is a recipe for keeping people dissatisfied (ergo spending). It may look like I am just ranting now and this has nothing to do with cheating anymore, but just ask yourself whether artificial beauty and living standards played no role in your infidelity story, at least in the cheater’s rationalizations (which reflect their world-view). Mine, for one, is almost all about that.
    And I am not excusing cheaters and fuckwits as just cogs of some all encompassing societal mechanism. What is wrong with the world at any given place or time in history is wrong precisely because of people like them.
    If, for argument’s sake, we agreed that happiness means a sort of harmony between the individual’s desires and his/her possessions and means of achieving them, then we would get to the conclusion that happiness is elusive to FWs precisely because their desires are self-contradictory. They are only able to mantain an unstable balance that resembles happiness for them (cake) at the expense of the chump’s well-being or consent (the zero-sum game). They need us to keep the contradiction at their core under wraps.

    • What a wonderful essay. You’re definitely not ranting.

      “Privileged individuals may have a quite whimsical idea of happiness. Affluent societies tend to encode some minimal living standards into the term that are indeed very high bar. Media (and social media at that) tends to homogenize these expectations of ‘happiness’ not by taking the average, but by putting forward celebrity-like lifestyles for emulation. This is a recipe for keeping people dissatisfied (ergo spending).”

      Yes, yes and yes.

      “ask yourself whether artificial beauty and living standards played no role in your infidelity story, at least in the cheater’s rationalizations (which reflect their world-view).”

      Totally. I think that FW’s believe this to be true even if it isn’t objectively true. FW embezzled and blew tens of thousands of family funds on cheesy 3.5 star bistros, ticky-tacky trendy bars and hotels for a rapacious AP who was 14 years younger than me and 22 years younger than FW. She thought he was rich and he thought other men envied his big conquest. Meanwhile we were in major debt due to my son’s chronic illness and the APs younger male coworkers called the AP “Tammy-wise the gutter clown” because she looks like a circa-70s Tammy Faye Bakker, complete with the thick pancake makeup to cover acne scars, and was apparently pestering younger men at work she assumed had funds before eventually settling on older, drunker, married targets with thicker beer goggles.

      Eye of the beholder and all that.Recent social research has argued that all previous studies that took the self-reported sexual attractiveness of narcissists at face value and wove this assumption into the studies’ conclusions will need to be reexamined because, as it turns out, narcissists commonly overestimate their own attractiveness. They also tend to rate attractiveness of other people on a weird scale since they seek others to adjust what they feel are flaws in their own images. Someone who feels trashy will seek out someone they think exudes “class” though their concept of class might be Trump Tower, etc.

      “I am not excusing cheaters and fuckwits as just cogs of some all encompassing societal mechanism.” No, of course you’re not excusing it. But as Stanley Milgram suggested after his infamous shock experiment, it’s not exactly an honor to be an “agentic” personality who kowtows to unethical pressures and copies the ugly zeitgeist of the moment. I find it disgustingly wormy. I even called FW “agentic” because he launched into his affair with an intern the same month the #MeToo movement launched, the same time allegations of rape and harassment against Trump and Fox News’ Roger Ailes began surfacing and when the first lawsuit against Jeffrey Epstein almost made it to trial. More to the point, the affair began just a few weeks after one of those infamous “lists of shitty men” surfaced in FW’s profession in which droves of both men and women describe fallout from working under pervy creeps in the field, the scandal blew sky high at Ivy League universities and a major “icon” of the profession had to resign for sexual misconduct.

      According to all the sleazy emails from the AP plying for expensive gifts and trips, the AP in my circumstance wasn’t a hapless innocent in all this and it’s like the two of them saw all this shit going down in the wider sphere and, instead of seeing it as a cautionary tale, they saw it as a field guide.

      So, yes to this: “What is wrong with the world at any given place or time in history is wrong precisely because of people like them.” Ever see the film Post Mortem by Pablo Larrain? I can’t swear to it but I think the film attempts to explain the mystery of why the “common man” initially support horrific dictators like Pinochet: because living under a brute bears the promise that one will get a free pass for one’s own brutality.

      “They need us to keep the contradiction at their core under wraps.” Blame– the kind learned in zero sum, dysfunctional, “kill or be killed” families of origin– is a way for FWs to deny that their underlying misery and sense of emptiness are self-generated. I’ve also suspected it’s a way to remain loyal to their own former (childhood) abusers by internalizing the abuser persona and emulating abuse as adults. “See daddy/mommy/pervy Uncle Pete! I’m just like you! So please don’t come back from the grave and hurt me again!” It’s a twisted way of groveling for amnesty. In any case, they seem to have some very dark corners in their souls that they don’t want to look at, question or have observed by others. I don’t know what’s in there but there’s definitely a smell emanating from those blind spots.

  • Also, another quotable quote: “It was my job to make you happy and your job to LET me make you happy” Huh?

  • My ex’s unhappiness was apparently unnoticed even by her – hence why she was appeared perfectly happy till her schmoopy told her he fancied her. Then, like St Paul on the road to Damascus, she had a sudden revelation that we (read as me) had never made each other (read as her) happy, unlike new schmoopy who she knew next to nothing about (other than he was tall, fit and “mysterious”, so I was told). Cake moves in mysterious ways, I guess.

    FWIW I can totally get how someone in a Shirley Valentine situation might suddenly discover they settled for someone who neglected them. But we did counselling and where did I discover I’d really fallen short? Nowhere. In fact, this is one of things that hindered me reaching moving on: since I’ve utterly no idea what it was that stopped me making her happy, I can’t be comfortable knowing who I will make happy or what I need to fix to make someone happy. So every potential new relationship seems potentially doomed from the start.

    • “I can’t be comfortable knowing who I will make happy or what I need to fix to make someone happy. So every potential new relationship seems potentially doomed from the start.”

      Billy, I doubt you need to fix anything, except maybe your picker. Join the club! Please don’t give her this kind of centrality in your life. As CL would say, she’s probably not very deep and just felt entitled to cheat. In all likelihood, it had nothing to do with you.

      So don’t feel doomed. I like to believe that things will work out for chumps if we turn up the dials on our red-flag radars and act with kindness and integrity.

    • “Cake moves in mysterious ways.” Lol, amen.

      New relationships aren’t all doomed but it can seem so when we’re still in the throes of post-FW stress disorder and still have the DARVO Napalm sticking to us.

    • *Any* relationship without honesty is a relationship without trust is a relationship doomed from the start. I’m assuming you weren’t the person that was lying and cheating and sneaking around. So, don’t blame yourself or let the ex blame you. Instead fix your picker. As I said in an earlier response you can not make someone happy. You are responsible for your own happiness and that’s it. Parents bear some responsibility for their children but I feel it more of a protection and allow them to explore and FIND THEIR OWN HAPPINESS state then providing happiness on a plate. A parent can do their best to provide an environment where happiness can perhaps be grown or found. At some point the kids have to pick up responsibility for themselves and pick up the baton of their own lives and run with it.

      Billy, as CL says people with loyalty and integrity—your stock trades high. Get through the divorce, heal and set your sights on thriving!

    • “Cake moves in mysterious ways.” I’m hearing Bono croon this, now, and probably always will.

    • FWIW, Billy, I think your comfort is very important, and maybe there’s a way to reframe it a little bit. As I’ve written here before, a good friend gave me a great piece of advice soon after dday. He said I should do whatever made me most comfortable — physically, emotionally, etc. If I give myself permission to focus on my own comfort, I can feel the best I possibly can, under the circumstances; another benefit is that anyone who is interested in me is interested in the unguarded, authentic me. Not to say that interested person can’t be an FW in disguise, like my ex was. But still, it helps me take care of myself. It’s also proven a helpful antidote to internal criticism and self devaluation. When everything was still raw and I felt fragile, prioritizing comfort helped me nurture a little bit of self esteem and centrality. It allowed me to feel safer and more grounded. If I ever venture to date again, I will let my friend’s advice guide me.

    • Billy, since you clearly have the desire for your partner’s happiness, a normal person would likely be delighted with you for a partner. They’ll tell you what they need, and if it’s reasonable, achievable and not some entitled nonsense, you’ll do it, provided they reciprocate.

      Emotionally healthy people will tell you what they want. Just ask.
      FWs, otoh, play games. They’ll keep you guessing with mixed messages and gaslighting, then blame you for your inability to sort out the confusion and magically provide for every selfish whim and want they have. It’s entertaining to them.
      If, though you are genuinely listening, you can’t sort out what somebody wants, they’re either messing with your head or don’t even know what they want themselves. Either way it’s not somebody you should be in a serious relationship with.

  • The EX was more specific in his “unhappiness.” He wanted a vacation that he couldn’t take (never mind that he already had taken two nice vacations that year). He wanted a boat. I didn’t make enough money. And on and on it went. The funny thing was that he would actively undermine my attempts to improve my career outlook. If I got a full-time job, he complained that I wasn’t home enough. Basically, he wanted an unlimited supply of money and no work. Life doesn’t work that way. I realized eventually that he is just a 13-year-old stuck in an adult body, with no intention of ever growing up.

  • I was a “stuffer” then, taking on everything as my fault.

    Thankfully I figured out during the long-distance separation that sure I had problems, but I didn’t destroy the marriage. Despite being very unhappy at times, I didn’t cheat, bring ugly things into the marriage, blab marital secrets to relatives, or abandon the family.

    Frankly, I’m happier now than I’ve been in years, but that’s primarily because I’m in a much healthier, real place. The marriage is over, but I put in a lot of work in the process to get to the other side.

  • You know what CL clapback changed my life’s trajectory?

    “I wasn’t exactly the picture of happiness myself, but I still managed to keep it in my pants.”

    Forever grateful.

  • What is mind-blowing to me is that these animals destroy families — with no regard for suffering — and still have the gall to speak about their so-called injustices. It defies logic and advanced adult thinking.

    With all family members in therapy for severe trauma and emotional distress, FW — too kind a label — cannot discern a scintilla of the pain his actions have caused. Not a sliver. No counseling, no apology, no guilt. And yet through it all, he can so easily talk about his pain. Shut the fuck up.

    No sainthood here, but when I quit drinking it was first and foremost because of the impact on my family. I never talked oh-poor-me. Unimaginable. I took full responsibility and worked my ass off to regain their trust. And I sure as hell would not have sat sucking my thumb saying I drank because I was unhappy. Maybe so, but too bad. Grow the fuck up. (Feeling lots of rage after days of sorrow.)

    Through divorce, I now struggle to fathom how he thinks he deserves anything. Given my conscience and empathy, I’d be like, “Please take it all, I’m going to live in a convent.” No excuses. It’s appalling the degree of their entitlement and lack of responsibility.

    • I love this, including your righteous anger ????.

      Grow the fuck up!! Yes!! Don’t blame others for your own fuck ups. Yes!!!

      Only days after fessing up, X actually whined to me (his spouse who was sitting in the rubble wondering what the fuck just happened and feeling 100% alone) that he had only *one person* who could give him emotional support (namely, the AP). OH FFS!! It’s as if he lobbed a grenade on me and our family and then complained that an errant piece of shrapnel nicked his pinky finger.

      x is a self-centered asshole who can only appreciate his own sadz*. What a weak, cowardly man! Two and a half years later, and he’s still licking his wounds, feeling as if he’s suffered a terrible injustice (nay, the worst injustice!). Unbelievable. #DARVO #classicFW

      • Spinach, I keep going to back to Melinda French Gates: “I did nothing wrong. I have nothing to apologize for.” Righteous anger — even negotiating in divorce triggers me. As if he deserves an ounce of a “marital asset.” I am done hearing anything about his version of events. He destroyed our family and three wholly innocent people (we will recover and thrive), not to mention all the other women he dragged around and lied to over the years. I gave him so much of me. I don’t want him to have a moment of my breath. Yes, anger is so much better than the ongoing pain and grief over the loss of my fantasy.

    • Oh, they can see the pain they cause. They just don’t care about it, or even worse, they enjoy causing it.
      Dr George Simon’s oft repeated axiom “It’s not that they’re not aware. It’s that they don’t care.” is right.
      I would add another one; It’s not that they can’t see your pain. It’s either irrelevant or part of their game.

  • I pre-empted this one — when I sat him down to confront him, I already knew at some level I wanted out. So I told him I’d learned of his secret double life, and said to him directly “You can’t possibly be happy.” I skipped right over the part where I was supposed to do the pick-me dance. He was the one who cried, begged, and pleaded that he LOVED me … right up to the moment when it came time to provide for me in my old age.

  • I was told that he ‘hadn’t been happy for a very, very long time’. That had not been expressed and he appeared happy until the savage, cruel discard 3 months before the end while my dad was dying in hospital. He never admitted the affair; I discovered it after he had left. This was a runaway husband situation, not a cake situation. The thing is, I believe him. What’s changed is that I don’t blame myself anymore. He hadn’t been happy since long before he met me. He treated exgfOW badly before he met me. He was a drunk before he met me. He failed at many things before he met me. I took responsibility on to myself for his happiness and his failures. I invested every atom of my being into making him happy. In doing that I lost sight of myself. I had no idea what happy looked like. Mainly it seemed to be distraction activities, meals out, expensive holidays, clothes, lots of shallow things. I’ve said here before that life is difficult, I’m 62 and I’ve missed out on real love in my life. No children and lots of money worries, coupled with unrelentingly hard work. I’m often unhappy and lonely. But there is a hope that I can be happy with myself and that will be liberating. But I believe he told me the truth about his unhappiness. He is an empty vessel looking for a miracle to the fill the space. And that will be another failure. But one for which he can’t blame me.

    • “I invested every atom of my being into making him happy. In doing that I lost sight of myself. I had no idea what happy looked like. Mainly it seemed to be distraction activities, meals out, expensive holidays, clothes, lots of shallow things.”

      Mighty Warrior, I love your posts. I’ll be 62 in April. So much truth in what you say. Me too. My fantasy was happy family. Goodness, how I contorted myself, my integrity, self-respect, values to manufacture that lie, a little dream that really only happened at Christmas (but even then he was sexting or had at least one AP in the mix). “Shallow things” rings true and that really helps me at a time when I’m losing/sacrificing my home, my place in Maine, my cats, and so many material things. We did have lots of fun and adventures, but we did not connect, as much as I tried. He was not capable of that, at least in the monogamous way that I expected. And gosh, “But one for which he can’t blame me.” Yes. That’s liberation. Thanks.

      • Oh thank you Liberated!. That’s kind. Us 1960s babies have to stick together without the FWs. It helps so much to read our stories.

  • The FW wasn’t unhappy, not at all. Deception was his freak turn on.

    After D-day, he told me that our relationship was dysfunctional. Of course, he only had that view AFTER he spent $399 with Affair Recovery.

    Thanks to CL/CN I am no contact and I don’t have to deal with that BS.

    I’m happy – whatever that means.
    The FW will never be satisfied.

  • I got plenty of “I haven’t been happy for a long time” combined with healthy helpings of “I’ve been so lonely for a long time” and “You worked too much” as the STBXW’s primary reasons for sneaking out to see meet up and boink a much younger schmoopie for almost a year while I stayed home, watched the kids, paid the bills, and “worked too hard.”
    However, the affair started right after she got her first job out of the house in many years; a job that she said was her “dream job” that “made her so happy!” Sort of contradicts the “haven’t been happy” theme she’d been selling, right?

  • He said that “she showed me what was missing in my life.” I realized that she did reveal what was missing from his life. There were just more things missing than he realized. Like a brain, a heart, courage, a working moral compass, character, integrity, loyalty, emotional maturity, accountability, and honesty.

    And, ironically, by proxy, the Craigslist “sole mate” (whom he has cheated on and lies to) showed me what was missing in my life too. The man I thought I was married to, who did not exist other than in my imagination. It has been a relief to find the fire after years of smelling smoke and wondering what is wrong with me.

    If I am unhappy with a movie, I don’t keep renting it.

    The claim of unhappiness is a convenient blanket excuse, but makes no sense. One of the gifts of this site was learning about the Theory of Cake which sprung me from the Unhappiness Trap.

    The oddly-wrapped painful gift of all this is that I now have the chance to have the life I truly want.

    He is still not happy, BTW, and no longer can pin it on me, which is really cool.

    • So disappointing to learn something so shallow, phony and destructive can fill a hole for a person you love and believe in. Facing this hurt so much, because it meant letting go of love. I think it was the beginning of the true grieving process, when I started to accept that the person I’d loved was gone forever, and in fact, had never existed. And I couldn’t do anything to bring him back. When you see the truth in this, I think it becomes clear that no amount of trust, vulnerability, patience or forgiveness can bring reconciliation.

      • Beautifully stated. The pain too, for me, is that he continues to fool others into believing he is something other than a shallow, phony, and destructive beast. He is a master of deception and manipulation. I now accept that, rather than trying to expose him and prove my truth. At least I’m past trying to get him to change, which was my own fool’s errand.

      • B&R. I too was devastated to learn my life was a lie. I had to reframe my entire adult life and rewrite 30 years of my life’s history. So much harder to deal with than a ‘we grew apart’, I loved you before and now I don’t’ divorce. This is where the complex trauma injuries occurred, necessitating years of therapy to combat the mindf$&k and ground myself in reality. Some nights, waiting for the divorce to finalize, I’d wash up on the shores of our temporary home after work and the kids were in bed and just pat myself over my heart and affirm, over and over, im still here, im still here. Right then that was the best I could do. Thankfully, It got better and it got easier.

        I was devastated that the husband that I thought I knew was a fake, a fraud and a phony. It felt like he died, I grieved that hard. I think I wished he HAD died; it would have been easier to bear than his treachery and facing my years of blindness and hopium. In reality, the man I loved didn’t exist—had *never* existed —and so, I eventually realized that he wasn’t coming back and that I had years and an ocean of mud to slog through on foot before I could even hope for my situation to improve. But there was nothing for it. I HAD to go forward because going back was no longer an option. Nothing to work with. No reason to stay. I chose to gain a life.

        I was in disbelief for months because I just couldn’t wrap my head around the magnitude of the betrayal. All the traitorous lies and deception, that someone would be so evil as to steal the best years of someone’s life like that and then discard them and the children created together as well. It defied credibility. In the end the evidence was overwhelming and sad turned to mad, deep rolling fields of magma RAGE mad (think LOTRs Mount Doom) at the injustice of it all. Then, I got a great lawyer who went the distance with me.

        I was surprised actually that help came and actually is still coming 3 years post divorce —sometimes from unexpected places. I never gave up. I never took a sick day. I had to move to my parents in another state, sell my home, take a new job, move the kids to new schools. I told my truth but tried not to overburden others. People stepped up. The mess got sorted. The kids got what they needed. And even financially when things seemed darkest, funds appeared unexpectedly to take care of business, kind of like the Stones ‘you don’t always get what you want, but you get what you need’.

        We managed, and my rage eventually subsided into an acceptance of what happened to me and my kids. And forgiveness for myself for allowing such a one-sided relationship to go on for so long, eased perhaps by the passing of time with NC and cultivating a calm and peaceful home. Some might think of that as boring, but I’ve had enough upheaval to last a lifetime. I’m older, wiser and have the battle scars to prove it. I managed to avoid bitterness, though dating is still beyond me. What I have to give, I invest in my children. I can still laugh and joke around and be ‘normal’. But I come here every day and still go to therapy because the trauma is real. I feel like a special ops vet (no offense to true service veterans because their trauma is very real too) because I’ve seen sh*t go down that people just wouldn’t believe and I can’t talk about it with civilians. They wouldn’t understand anyway. So thanks CN snd CL!

  • When a spouse or a partner tells you “I haven’t been happy for a long time…” I think what’s really happening is one or all of three things:

    1) They have a kindergarten-level E.Q. whereas a broken toy will set them into a tizzy. They’re furious that life has the audacity to insert realities into your marriage, i.e. illness, financial obligations, mortgages, responsibilities of raising children, the ebb and flows of intimate relations, death of loved ones, etc. The perfect Instagram life they gaze upon from the screen on their phone is real dammit, they just didn’t marry someone who understands how to materialize such perfection. And why don’t you like to hang glide in a bikini?! Kill joy.

    2) They have abysmal communication skills overshadowed by their passive-aggressive interaction. You’re the evil witch who wouldn’t pull out her magic wand and make all their challenges in life disappear. It’s all your fault; you could have hidden the mortal realities from them while dressing like Donna Reed and baking exceptional apple pies, but you refused. You didn’t kiss their emotional boo-boos and make them go away. You ruined their happiness. “LuckyandHandsome38” on Insta has THE perfect life and BMI ratio AND his wife likes to hang glide in a bikini. Communication is a necessity in any healthy relationship.

    3) They’re shallow, narcissistic twits who got bored and want a fresh hit of orgasm. Turn up the gaslight because let’s think here… (tapping fingers on desk) … “oh yeah, I haven’t been happy for a long time!” Off they run. Squeal.

    Any sane, intelligent human being with a grasp on reality and a soul understands that “happiness” is not a perpetually sustainable state on earth. That’s not the way life is designed. If we’re fortunate, we have moments filled with joy and love that lead to happy times, mixed in with moments of despair and difficulty. It’s undulating. While some people may have less adversity either through the choices they’ve made or the luck of the dice, no one remains in a state of happiness for however many years. Contentment is more achievable because it’s not based on endorphins and emotion, but of gratitude and designing a life that brings more peace and joy into it.

    While some couples are simply oil and water when mixed and better apart, if your partner believes that their happiness is your responsibility run. Partner with a human being who gets it.

  • The way I figure it, they are inadvertently telling the truth, it’s just not the truth as they present it. They only experience what they call “happiness” when high on NRE, duper’s delight, high quality kibbles from their favorite source(s), booze, drugs, porn etcetera.
    What they experience when those things are not present is boredom, which they label unhappiness because it’s a convenient excuse for cheating.
    They aren’t going to admit they are bored all the time without novelty, various substances, and cruelty to entertain them, so the narrative they float is they were unhappy being married to the chump. Truthfully, they never are happy and don’t even know how it feels. They just know the absence of boredom when they are cheating feels so much better. What they don’t know is that eventually they will be bored with just about anyone and will again feel the desire to cheat. Occasionally they get an AP who is extremely narky or borderline, has addictions or engages in some other variety of chaos, and that feels like excitement, so they will stay enthralled with -they think- that person. But it isn’t the person. It’s the drama. They will tell you they are happy in these unhealthy relationships because they actually think they are.

    My FW’s AP was an alcoholic, an obvious narcissist, a serial cheater, sexually compulsive, emotionally abusive, and was constantly attention whoring. How could I possibly compete with all that awesomeness, boring old stable chump that I am. 😉
    Mind you, I was not stable after Dday, and I think that’s part of why he wanted me to stay. He had hope that I’d provide the drams he’s into. Alas for him, I did it in a way that crushed his ego, which a FW cannot bear. Instead of pick-me dancing, tearfully begging for him to stay and pouring my broken heart out in MC, I made fun of him and his whore, insulted him, and analyzed his every stupid word in a deliberately condescending way. I threatened to out him to everyone he knew, and to spill all his disgusting secrets publically online. I made his life hell. He wasn’t bored only because he was both furious and afraid of what I’d do next. Poor FW. It sure felt good to me though. But all good things must come to an end, so I left and now he gets neither negative nor positive attention. That feels good even better. He knows I hang on to the option of airing his dirty laundry in case he ever does something stupid. Like if I find out he’s abusing some new chump, for example, or if he badmouths me to others.

  • A Hoover to be aware of with IHBHFALT:

    After dday, if a cheater claims to come clean and to have had an awakening and BEGS you to return (and they can still be quite convincing about it, the first and maybe even second… and maybe even third time around), he may claim that he finally does see how it’s him, not you, who’s been leading to his own unhappiness. He can’t believe what he’s been taking for granted. He can’t believe how he’s treated you. It’s so tempting for a chump to believe in this because it seems to solve everything. DON’T BUY IT! Remember, cheating is about character. An entitled, lying coward who doesn’t understand basic decency doesn’t just wake up overnight because he finally realizes he hurt you. Nope. He’s sorry because he’s facing consequences and doesn’t like losing control.

    Also, how many other chumps had an actual aha moment when they realized that they were pretzeling and defending themselves in response the cheater’s unhappiness (chump’s fault, of course); meanwhile, the cheater was not in the least bit concerned about their (chump’s ) happiness? The lightbulb also went on for me, far too late, when I realized I was desperately worried about whether FW loved me – as if everything hinged upon that. I just wanted to *truly know* so I could know what to do, yet not once did FW ask if I still loved him.

    Extra points if the IHBHFALT cheater tacks on “I just want you to be happy.” It’s all been one big misunderstanding. That’s *all* the cheaters wanted, all along! FWs cheat because they care so much about their partners’ happiness.

  • I heard exactly this on the last phone call post-abandonment from cowardly Cheater McFuckface:
    “WE weren’t happy. WE grew apart.”
    My reply:
    “You know who you’re talking to, right??? You wanted to be married to me…
    Crickets on the other end of the phone. Because you know… bombing one’s own family brings about bliss.
    Then I said these words to him:
    “Yeah… happiness is just over yonder, right next to the end of the rainbow and the pot of GOLD!”
    These lying, cheating POSs love to blame shift and love centrality. The whole world is supposed to circle around them sprinkling happy dust.
    Now he’s love bombing the AP and her kids to convince them he’s not a POS. That will likely become tiring and fizzle at some point. Happy Land is fleeting.

  • Thank you for this post. These were the exact thoughts that went through my mind when my FW said he hadn’t been happy, and that I’d been too needy and demanded “too much time” with him and that it was “just unsustainable” for him to be with me so much (hello? we lived together)

    “But you said you were happy when we took that trip in the woods together! You PLANNED that trip!!”

    “You seemed happy enough when we tasted all that Chinese food in Philadelphia! I was going to go on my own, but you insisted on coming.”

    “You were happy when you told me, multiple times, that this was your best relationship ever.”

    “You said you’d never had better sex.”

    “You did CHOOSE to propose to me at one of our favorite sporting events.”

    “Every time I asked you if you truly wanted to be with me rather than the other women you always ogled – you said of course, you had faith in our relationship and you’d let me know you were ever unhappy”.

    “You were the one who insisted on coming with me to meet family because you just wanted to be around me!”

    I think he was truthful in these things. He enjoyed our relationship a lot. He just said he was unhappy to justify his own behaviour. (“What I’m throwing away is something that I was unhappy with from the start!”)

  • My FW said he was like the frog in boiling water (metaphor about a frog not realizing it’s being boiled to death if the heating is sufficiently gradual) and did not realize how unhappy he was until he met his soul mate. Then he realized that he could not spend the next 25 years without her. Ugghhh. I definitely had the same reaction as everyone else here, and only after 5 years have come to realize it’s not my fault. His narrative to former friends, colleagues, etc is “we drifted apart” but my friends all know the truth–20 years younger woman made him feel better about himself.

  • I also got that line ‘The marriage has been in trouble for years’ after he got caught cheating, well I didn’t get that memo…. I honestly, (stupidly)thought we were happy, there was no trying to discuss any issues on his part, he just wanted a pity party (still does ????)
    I was in the same marriage & didn’t cheat, I never got a ‘I’m sorry I hurt you & our family’, I did the usual pick me but sadly for him, his sat nav was linked to the family computer….. says the sat nav was wrong, refuses to own his shit…
    He has not spoken to our adult sons in over 3.5 years, even whilst living in the same house. Sons moved out now.
    I was planning our 25 wedding anniversary, while he was busy meeting an ex from way back, took nearly 4 years to divorce him, he kept stalling financials, blaming me for the delays, all projection, I now know,
    I finally sold my house just last week, looking forward to moving on with my life & not having to see him or talk to him ever again.
    I don’t think I’ll ever understand how these people can all say the same lines, a whole tribe of insecure, emotionally unavailable, lying cheaters who spout the same shit in every languages found in every corner of the world……who wrote their playbook? Absolutely blows my mind……
    I’m nearly so very nearly at Tuesday ???? thanks to chump lady & chump nation

  • “If the cheater was so unhappy in the marriage, they had ethical ways to go about ending their marriage — beginning with trying to save it first.”

    Bless. I wasn’t given a heads-up that FW was unhappy at all; he just up and told me one day that he’d had an epiphany: he’d never wanted to be married to anyone, ever. It wasn’t ME; it was just his desire to be rid of “society’s expectations.”

    I was his third wife, so this came as quite a shock to me on many levels. #hindsightisathing

    This was at the very beginning of the pandemic; I was unemployed thanks to the shutdown and when I implored him to consider couples counseling to save our marriage, I was told that he’d made up his mind and that trying to salvage our relationship would essentially be a waste of time.

    We had just celebrated our wedding anniversary with a trip to a Caribbean island two weeks beforehand and were planning one of our kids’ high school graduation party.

    What I’m saying is that once a cheater mindfucks their way into the delusion that they “need to pursue what’s right for them ™” they’re not going to veer back into reality or even back into basic humanity. I have yet to meet a Chump whose FW has done the work to salvage the relationship with a positive long term outcome.

    That’s because those don’t exist.

    Get out now, mama.

  • Another great post, CL…thanks! And the comments (as always) are awesome.
    This reminds me of the film “Waiting To Exhale” (which I’m sure lots of chumps can relate to).

    In it, the wife is preparing to go to a New Year’s party with her husband.
    He tells her that maybe they shouldn’t go to the party, and she’s happy because she wants to stay at home with him that night. But then he tells her “no…you’ll be staying at home”. And then it hits her that he’s been having an affair, and he wants to leave her for his secretary.
    He says something like “I haven’t been happy for a long time”.

    It’s a very sad scene because you see the wife’s emotions play out…anger, hurt, confusion.
    She loved and supported him. She did nothing to deserve this. Chump Lady’s post really reminds me of this scene.

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