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He Denies He Cheated… And Our Friends Believe Him

Mindfuck blenderDear Chump Lady,

I am 33 years old and two months post-discovery of my ex-fiance’s affair, which was two months long with a sleazy girl who had nothing to lose. I discovered it through social media. My ex denied, denied, denied — poorly, he is a terrible liar — and tried to silence the affair partner and have her delete photos and tweets (she essentially documented the whole thing on Twitter without naming my ex — but it was obvious — and she detailed the sex things they did too).

I didn’t rage or anything; I told him to own it and tell me he was sorry; he refused, since he “couldn’t be sorry for something he didn’t do.” But he DID do it, of course. He kept saying, “You don’t have proof!” I figured it out, I was right, and he got caught. I am one thousand percent certain it happened — NO doubt– and walked away.

Still, my ex stayed denying it to anyone who would listen, and this keeps getting back to me. I’ve started avoiding social situations. (I live in a downtown scene where everyone knows each other.) It makes me feel like my head is in a blender — like he’s handing me a glass of orange juice and insisting it’s blue. Ultimately, it was this behavior that made it easy to walk away. No apology, no remorse, and fucking with my head? Screw him. The breakup has rocked our social circle and been very traumatic for me, though I know I made the right choice.

Matt DEFINITELY wants me back; he is a greedy cake-eater, and I made his life very comfortable. Thus he has been sending messages through people — he is also a coward — and every time I see one of our MANY mutual friends (he is very well-liked and the more social one), they say: “Matt says he didn’t do it.” This has happened with six or seven people. It infuriates me — the head in the blender thing again — and I don’t know what to say. I am SO SICK of hearing “Matt says he didn’t do it.” It makes me FOAM AT THE MOUTH.

I have found myself obsessively thinking of comebacks for hours. That’s why I’m writing you. I just need one line. I don’t want to be rude to the people, and I don’t want to say anything negative about Matt (it would make me look bad). I want to shut it down and not ramble on and get angry. Can you think of a good comeback? I honestly HAVE to stop obsessing over a good one… I am losing hours of my life…every day. I feel like I can’t face people until I am armed with the right words to say. Please help! 

Thanks,

C

Dear C,

You don’t need a one-liner. You need an exit strategy from this social circle.

Matt is triangulating others with his gaslighting. When they report to you “Matt says he didn’t do it,” they’re as much as saying they don’t believe you. They Fail to Understand Your Hostility. They’re putting the onus of what Matt did on you, and your reaction to it.

Hey, you just cancel weddings for the sport of it! You must be making up some imaginary slight. Boy you’re overreacting!

These people — these Switzerland friends — have sided, they just don’t want you to think that. So they feign concern. They still associate with Matt. You’re obviously heart-broken, but they live in some alternative reality where Everything Should Just Go Back The Way It Was so they don’t have to rearrange their social calendars or reform opinions.

If they’re going to reform an opinion of anyone — it’s YOU. You’re being irrational!

No wonder you’re furious. Nothing drives a person stark raving bonkers more than having her reality denied.

One liners? I’m sure Chump Nation can come up with some for you. “Didn’t like his girlfriend.” “I prefer to marry Matt monogamously. He wasn’t on board.” Whatever.

But the big picture here is IT DOESN’T MATTER. The people who don’t have your back, who cannot be there for you in a time of great loss and heart break, ARE NOT YOUR FRIENDS. They’re casual acquaintances. Who cares what they think?

Hang in there, C. You lost a fuckwit and his merry band of losers. Better days ahead.

This one ran previously.

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  • Poor sad sausage. He was a fiance. He screwed the town bicycle. He’s a poor choice for a husband. Business decision = you fired him for incompetence.

    These people are a bunch of drama lamas. Not a care in the world for your well being or future. Fire them from your inner circle.

    Remember silence speaks volumes.
    Next!!!

    • I like the framing of it as a business decision – marriage isn’t just about love, after all!

  • Absolutely everyone sided with my ex, welcomed the new woman, and cut me out of the social circle. I cut ALL those people out of my life. I am much happier for it. I saw a lot of them at his funeral, and they all said (after saying – with surprise – “You look GREAT”, like they expected me to be a hot mess) things like “We haven’t seen you in forever! We should hang out!” Not a one has followed up. They don’t care about me and never did.

    Go make NEW friends, find a new circle. People whose values align with yours.

    Also, you ex doesn’t want YOU back. It’s impression management. It doesn’t look good for him that his fiancée left him and says he cheated. Good for you for walking away. Now walk away from the rest of them, too. They aren’t “mutual friends”, they’re HIS friends. They’ve showed you that very clearly.

    • Same, all the mutual friends sided with ex-wife, and ex-wife continues to tell everyone she didn’t cheat, despite the fact that I have dozens of emails, text messages, and cards from her discussing the multiple affairs she had, and of course the fact that we got kicked out of couple’s therapy due to her compulsive lying to our therapist (she was in the middle of a two-year affair with her boss while we were in therapy for three other past affairs and was doing everything she could to hide it).

      Her excuse for the divorce was that I was going through mental health issues (and I was, due to the years of cheating, lying, and gaslighting) and that she simply couldn’t take it anymore because I wasn’t getting better (mainly because I was still living with the person who traumatized me).

      Screw ’em, I don’t hang out with any of them any more and the people who truly matter know what really happened, and my life is way better without any of those supposed “friends” in it. And surprise, surprise… in the year since I moved out and been 100% on my own, my mental health issues have all but dissipated. And like you… I hear… “You look great” if I see any of them in public. Yeah, no shit I look great, I got rid of 125lbs of lying, cheating trash from my life. Yet, they still somehow think I was making it all up. Not my problem. Liars lie and if they can’t figure it out, oh well.

      Moral of the story… cheaters will do anything for that impression management and it’s best to let people think whatever they’re going to (you’re not going to change it anyway) and simply move on.

      • LM
        Going through same thing with STBXW. Because she is so “sweet” nobody wants believe she did what she did. 9 months since DDay and then finding out she has been doing it fo 7 years with multiple men. I have finally given up trying to convince our “friends”. From what I hear she is all over FB and IG posting crap. Very difficult shit sandwich to swallow. Anyway glad you are doing better
        Stay Healthy
        Btw love your name choice
        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=HmSo4zhYsRg

        • My ex wife is this social butterfly and a lot of people don’t want to believe who she really is!

          • Sirchumpalot, I feel this….our pastor who had known her all of her life told me ” New York nutbag, the one thing that I will always be assured of is that crazy bitch never lies” until I showed him proof.

          • Ugh! People are so stupid.
            I had sort of the opposite experience. Everybody knew he did it, they just didn’t care, because he’s such a “nice guy” they figured he must have had his reasons.
            I don’t talk to or see any of them. If the choose to conveniently believe in his fake image despite knowing he’s a slut and a liar who lost his family by being a dirty bastard, they’re not my kind of people. The trouble is that most people are that kind. All they really care about is not rocking their own little world and they’ll gladly sacrifice what’s right and true.

          • In exactly the same boat. I no longer have any contact with her and about 98% of our mutual friends. She turned her family against me and even, for a year or so, our teenage daughter.

            I got fed up with people indirectly intimating that I had gone crazy simply because I didn’t ‘get over’ her cheating on me throughout our 18-year relationship.

            As CL rightly points out, Switzerland friends are not friends at all. Let them keep their Nazi gold so long as you keep your sanity.

        • I got that too. “Oh, she’s so little and cute and nice, we don’t believe she would ever do anything like that.” It’s all part of the narcissist mask… they convince people they’re harmless (including their spouses!), which gives them the space they need to pull this stuff off. Most narcissists are charming on the surface!

          Sorry you are going through that as well. Your real friends will know the truth and anyone that has to go public posting on social media is doing it strictly for manipulation purposes. Just keep reminding yourself of that.

          • Yes, when people start in with me on these “he’s so nice/sweet/good looking, he could NEVER have done this”, etc, I tell them “Yes, this is exactly why Ted Bundy killed so many women and got away with it for so long. He even had fans in prison, you know” and they go 😳

            • I believe a woman actually MARRIED Ted Bundy as part of the court proceedings during which he was found guilty and sentenced to death for the murder of young women in Florida.

        • What you wrote sets off lightbulbs. When you say your ex seemed “sweet,” I can remember believing people’s bs so I give some bystanders a pass for their own chumpiness. I son’t hate them, but here’s the thing: I still don’t want to be around them because, at the very least, they daftly let sharks swim in their tanks and it’s not safe to be around them.

          I’ve packed my bags and left that foggy, chumpy place and only want people with solid radars around me and my kids now. The present-me might not even have hung out with the old me, though I think the old me would have been at least open to learn from the now-me. But it did take old-me a long time to wise up.

          I recall a few learning moments about– for better or worse– not falling for appearances when I first started working in media. Not everyone is worse than they first appear. Some are actually better. But all are more interesting than their masks.

          For instance, regarding “sweetness,” on separate occasions I met two famous actresses, one who’s since gotten Oscar nominations and wins for playing really hard-edged characters. In real life she was a delight. Non-narcy, a little self effacing, funny, generous.to younger women, married to the same guy forever, etc. Then I met an actress famous for her infantile voice, trembling lower lip and playing “vulnerable” roles very credibly. Yikes, shark-eyed cannibal in RL– at least to people she viewed as obstacles or disposible. She also got an Oscar nomination but never won.

          Moral of the story is that all the world’s a stage. Dichotomies may be particularly honed or extreme in performers but it’s something present in everyone. Including me. That was the hardest thing to face! I used to have an almost constipated sense of honesty and it took several encounters.with true evil to figure out that the ability dissemble is just a defense system, neither good nor bad on its own but dependant on what it’s used for– say, protecting the innocent or exploiting the poor, evading danger or killing puppies, etc., etc..

          Anyway, it’s not a matter of whether people wear masks at various times– we all do– but what the mask is compensating for, whether the mask ever voluntarily comes down and what’s lurking beneath when it accidentally falls off.

          I think for actress A, she enjoyed playing craggy roles becuse of her soft underbelly. It’s fun to play badass when you’re not. For actress B, hiding her inner flesh eating cyborg required a mountain of whipped cream and hyper-compensation to the point a critic said her characters were steadily regressing so much she’d end her career as a fetus.

          Another thing I learned is that it’s harder to see through the bs of the opposite sex, especially if you’re the target of the charm-gun. My learning curve was even longer in that sense (because… chump). For example, back when I felt too introverted, I would fall for “charisma” in men as if the thing I thought I lacked would rub off.

          Now I get my own charisma from the charisma depot. I use it as a can-opener to get things done in difficult or dangerous situations. Then I’m real in private. I wear the mask; the mask doesn’t wear me. My close friends are the same and we share notes. It might seem Machiavellian except none of us are doing anything unfair, illegal or cruel. Instead we’re just conceding that there are unfair people and situations in the world that have to be navigated. The more aware of this I become, the better I get at sniffing out dangerous fakery in others. Don’t kid a kidder as they say.

        • The way I look at it is: she fooled me for years, and I lived with her and didn’t see it. How can people see if they only see her for short periods. She can act real good. These people are not my loss.

      • I had/have mental health issues due to her being/having BPD/narcissism. I am in EMDR. No one has told me she didn’t cheat. But I lost a lot of friends because of her impression management. They said that I have lied, told half truths or am acting like a victim about her cheating. It is almost as painful losing close friends as the cheating.

        • Dear Sirchumpalot, so sorry for what you went through.
          I experienced mental issues as well because of narcissist abuse. I cannot focus on things anymore the way I was able to, and I actually feel like my IQ has dropped. I am constantly tired and distracted. I used to be sociable but no longer. For months after it happened I couldn’t even speak to friends and family on the phone. I couldn’t cook, I had flashbacks even while driving, nightmares… It is getting better but I fear the ability to stay focused will never return.
          I wish you all the best, nobody deserves this.

      • People always sort of know or have an inkling when someone is lying and covering something up. People who are friends with people who are untrustworthy are not people I want to know. Niether do I want to hang out with people too stupid to see it. Glad you have moved on from all that.

      • Yes, you were being driven crazy by a FW. This point isn’t driven home enough on CL – all of the anxiety, twitching, jumpiness, depression we all had with the Cheaters GOES AWAY when we get rid of their lying asses!! The body KNOWS! Or the subconscious knows. Or they both know. It just takes time for the rest of ourselves to catch up.

  • What happens when it’s your own adult children doing this?! “He is happy” “He is having fun “. 4 years of this shit sandwich. I feel like I dodged a bullet and that his ho-worker was a huge gift to me. But my kids, I have remind myself that they haven’t been in love, been married etc. that’s the only way I can move on and avoid that subject.

    • I had same experience. I taught my kids his happiness, feelings were the most important in the family. I taught them, mom was the least important in the family. Me changing and no longer accepting shit sandwiches was met with resistance. They mistook my kindness for weakness.

      • Holy!!! 😳 I never thought of it that way!! I ALWAYS put him first as well. They are following what I modeled. 🤯 Thank you for this insight.

      • I have a friend who worked a full time and part time job, took care of the three kids completely on her own, completely dedicated to their needs with sports and social lives and school AND maintained the house and acreage and animals. She did it all. And because of the way her FW treated her for 25 years, with zero respect, gratitude and acknowledgement, her now adult kids treat her like shit. She divorced the FW and he died of a heart attack (alone of course) 5 years after the divorce. He’s been dead for 2 years now, and her kids still treat her like shit. The legacy of her FWs abuse lives on through her children. It is horrible to witness how this amazing woman gets treated by her family. But, she has accepted that it is what it is and doesn’t wallow in the injustice and pain of it, and she has accepted that their behavior and narrative is out of her control. She can only control herself. She does regret staying married to the FW for so long, and wonders if she had left sooner if things would be different.

        • Similar story, I didn’t take care of a farm but I did everything for my son. Signed him up for after school activities, volunteered in his classrooms, chaperoned field trips, music lessons, attended all games, practices, band performances, hosted birthday parities, made holidays special. Cheater was the distant father, away on business trips. Today son is an adult and treats me like shit, I wasn’t invited to his wedding or told he and his wife had a baby girl. The baby is 6 months old and I’ve never seen her. I’m sure to FW’s delight. I never imagined my son to be the image of his father but sadly that is what he’s become. I have no control over what my son thinks. To save my sanity I have to accept the harsh reality, this is who he is. It isn’t fair or justified but I’m done trying to convince him or anyone of my worth.

        • I am in the same boat. My two adult sons absolutely do not care what their father did to me or our family. To me, it feels like another betrayal. In some way, I think that they choose not to accept the truth about their father. My younger son actually asked why I choose to play the victim?

          • Not My Fault, if your ex is like mine, how well they know how to gas light! Mine said I wanted to be a victim , or I was upset , angry or what ever because I wanted to be. I was to thin skinned or took things wrong or or. They triangulate to devalue and keep the truth and blame far away from themselves! So We might guess that this is perpetuated with the kids. It’s hurtful but what can ya do , the kids will have to make up their own minds about it. I’m letting resilience and fortitude be my revenge. Pushing forward !

      • OMG, Hcard: Gotta keep dad happy. “They mistook my kindness for weakness”. This is one of my favorite phrases; I just keep forgetting to use it when appropriate. The entire subject of someone not believing a chump who knows something for a fact triggers me. If FW did not want to take the consequences, then he should have not done the deeds. Actions speak louder than words. Also when I hear someone describe a cheater as “she was so nice” or whatever BS I just think or say people do not usually change. If they cheated and are now “so nice” they want something.

        • This thread has prompted a thought and as I dont have many here it is – I mistook my ex’s weakness for kindness. He got away with blue murder cos he was just soooooo nice. Ergh!

          • Moral weakness I should say – not a physical impairment that causes one to have difficulty zipping his fly up at work

    • I would maybe just answer back that one person’s happiness shouldn’t come at the expense of another’s, that being happy doesn’t justify hurting someone else. Selfish people usually become happy by leaving behind a wake of people they used and abused. We don’t condone a swindler’s actions by saying “but he’s rich now!”

      • “We don’t condone a swindler’s actions by saying “but he’s rich now!””

        Good statement. Don’t know why so many folks blow past the deeds to well he/she was unhappy. Folks, he/she stole my time, lied to me, stole money, was emotionally and verbally abusive etc. But blow past it many do.

        My own mother in law who I adored, when blood began to take over said to me “you guys got married young, he just wants his freedom”. First of all, getting married young does not absolve one of crimes against another person, and second of all no he didn’t want his freedom, he wanted to marry the town whore. Of the two of us, I am the one that got her freedom.

        But, she had to find some excuse and I guess that was the best she could muster.

        • My ex SIL sent me a text during the excruciating divorce process saying “ well, you can find happiness too!!”
          Yeah, she’s blocked too. Thank God.
          She was always too loud, too selfish and too controlling, a wannabe version of her older brother who she idolized, the serial cheater.
          His family was chock full of takers, what’s in it for me folk. But takers that ‘appear’ to be givers, the very worst kind.
          The lose of her in my life is in the positive column of my divorce outcomes.
          I got rid of two narcs for the price of one,serendipitous! 😊👍

    • I get it. 🙁 FW and OW just joyously announced their engagement. The thought of my kids attending and supporting that…and thus justifying what they did to me and to our family makes me nauseous. It’s been hard to eat all week since I found out. I can only imagine how painful it would be if they also gave me a commentary about how ‘happy’ he is now. (He always appeared happy when we were married…🤷‍♀️) I know he lied and cheated for years but hey! Let bygones be bygones! Be happy that he is FINALLY happy and has found TRUE love. 😢 Yeah. No thanks.

      • Your kids can’t justify what your cheating spouse did to you and your family. No one can. It’s not justifiable.
        What they can do is accept what has resulted in order to maintain a relationship with the man who wrecked the family. That’s a shit sandwich for them. It’s also one for you because looking at it from the outside, it appears that they have no consequences. But we never know what’s going on inside a situation. The best way to navigate this situation is to understand that many cheaters are monkey-branchers, going from relationship to relationship, often like aliens who land on a planet and strip it of its resources.

        What a FW does after you leave is something to ignore as much as possible. Trust that they suck. And trust that if you concentrate on your own life, many kids will come to see the truth.

        • This is my everlasting hope! But I can only control myself and no one else! That has been my motto for almost 4 yrs now. I love my kids and understand they need to move on to feel strong in life. I never wanted them to endure this situation their father putting them through this.I have zero control over! I would have kept them close to me and never let them feel the pain, but I can’t control this either. So if I have to hear “he is happy” from them and they want to believe it, I will endure that for the rest of my life because I want them to be able to live a normal life. I just needed to vent my shit sandwich to someone because keeping it inside has been so painful and difficult, ty everyone!

      • I wish we had a vote button that was along the lines of, ‘I vomit in solidarity.” I’d use that one often. Like here.

      • ChumpyMcChumpFace,
        Wait, the kids were invited to the wedding charade? Fuck that.

        Sucks!! We’re here for you, ChumpMcChumpFace. Cheater weddings are all about image management and justifying the affair. These marriages are like laundering money. The relationship starts out illicitly but then…voilà (launder with a marriage)…and it’s all white dresses and goodness. Ugh!

      • Chump McChump face, Yes it’s a resurrection of pain. The thought of him finding a new love and commitment. But me thinks of it as superficial a Union born out of lust and sex deceit and lies. I prefer depth an honest person of real love and devotion. Mine has a photo posted of them that looks just like me and ex in same location . I shrug my shoulders .

    • It would be really hard for me not to reply sarcastically “well as long as Dad is happy that’s all that matters” and repeat as necessary. When they are older they may realize dear old Dad was all about himself.

    • I’m facing this now mid-divorce. It calls for superpowers, which I don’t seem to have, to hear the garbage fed to my adult children. Daughter told me that STBX told her his lawyer said —- blah, blah, blah — wife isn’t entitled to a dime, don’t give her a thing. (This after a 30-year marriage). STBX said he wants “Mom” to be secure, to live a happy life, and “he’s going to take care of her.” This while he’s screaming he won’t pay a penny, calling for my deposition and harassing my therapist. It’s impression management and the height of arrogance. Normally, my daughter and I don’t talk about the divorce, but she was so shaken and confused after the visit, I opened the Pandora’s box, which seems to have confused her more. 😢

      I’m not sure how to balance the truth without confusion and drawing her into a he said/she said battle. Keep my mouth shut? She asked for information about what was going on, but it was too painful. In the future, should I eat these whopper shit sandwiches? There are so many.

      • I meant to post this in response to Sweet Chump Girl’s post above about what if the impression management is with your kids.

        • It really is a pickle. All I can say is sometimes I slip up and the truth comes out, when this happens I see my daughter’s face. I learned after that I can control myself for her benefit and keep telling myself I love her and I don’t want to see that hurt face again. I have moments I can do it effortlessly and other times I disappoint myself. We are all human! We are allowed to feel how we feel. But we also have adults or kids that need guidance and joy again. Go with your intuition and take a breath. Remind yourself before you say it “ will this hurt her/him”. That has helped me do the “wow, cool, bummer”. I send you love and strength through this new journey!

      • I think you can tell your daughter you don’t wish to put her “in the middle” or discuss the details of the divorce progress, BUT she can find/read the final divorce agreement filed with your important documents, if needed.

      • You could show her any correspondence with your lawyer or any official paperwork. From a kids perspective, they may love the parent but appreciate the truth. Kids are more resilient than you think. I was that kid and I had a decent relationship with my dad while thinking he was a jerk. Its been 34 years and his true colors came out more and more over time and I still keep in touch but am busy with my own family dont really care much about him and I feel great about that. My meh.

      • It’s tough. I said a little too much to my daughter (in retrospect), though it was more about how much it was affecting me rather than what her mother was doing (daughter already knew, basically, because she’d broken into her mother’s phone).

        Don’t lie and don’t abet lying. You can correct a deliberate misrepresentation on the part of STBX, but do it as gently as possible (“that’s not what the proposed settlement says”, or “actually, we haven’t agreed on that”) with minimal editorializing.

        In my experience, it’s never a good idea to force the kids to take sides. They want to be able to trust and love the cheater, and will react badly if that is taken away from them.

      • Vomit the truth like gas station sushi! Don’t be me, covering his ass at every turn. Truth is not an F bomb. It’s the truth. Do you want your daughter to not know how to handle a shit sandwich? Strangely not only did I model coddling a narcissist, keeping his image as a good guy. Until I stopped, bless CL. I find I’m still modeling how, to be an adult, get older, handle life. Maybe even eventually how to die. It’s not just about swallowing the divorce and it’s done. Even adult children are watching. Wish my mother wasn’t so horrible, I may have chosen better. At least left at first degrading remarks

  • I agree with Chump Lady. I know she is entirely correct — from personal experience. I also know that actually leaving perceived friends and relatives is one of the hardest things I ever had to learn to do.

    I think that when we first get the sense we are being lied to and cheated on we don’t want to believe it. We would rather doubt our perceptions than find ourselves duped. Then we decide to just “check it out to be sure”, and we discover the awful truth. If we have such a devastating, hard time, is it any wonder others won’t want to believe it? It is awful to find that someone you believed in was really a deceiver. Friendships are often based on having good times together. There is nothing good about finding you had such a traitor in your midst.

    But living in a toxic environment and trying to prove that other people can act in such a devious and disgusting manner, especially to someone they are supposed to love, is a recipe for disaster. If you stay and try to convince others who don’t want to believe, you are wasting the most precious limited commodity you have. You are wasting your time.

    Once you leave a toxic relationship — spouse, lover, relative, purported friend – you start to actually listen to yourself and value yourself. You may find things you want to change about yourself, because you think it is a good idea, not because someone else tells you to do it. You become more discerning when starting friendships in the first place. Just going to the same school or being in the same club are not enough. People who truly love you celebrate you. They value time with you. They reciprocate. Your circle may not be as big as it once was, but you can rely on the people who make the effort to believe in you. Fair weather friends are really just acquaintances.

    It may be lonely at first. I understand you want to defend yourself. But your time is worth more, and you will build a new and better life. Trust Chump Nation. We have lived this, and we know.

  • When I learned of my FW’s affair (he had discarded me before that) and then he wanted to reconcile. I was very confused and one of my guy friends said something extremely wise to me “you’re very caring, you made life easy for him. Of course he wants to be back with you but it doesn’t mean he loves you, it means you’re convenient”.
    trust that they suck!

  • “If you choose to believe a liar that is your business, but don’t mention his name to me again”

    • “I found evidence that he was cheating and that broke my heart. Please don’t bring up his name to me again.”
      And then C should dump anyone stupid enough to try to manipulate her this way.

      • I like this. My first thought for the pithy statement the LW wants is, “I have evidence.” But your suggested phrase is better, because it warns off those who would keep at it.

      • I’ve actually used a form of a response that I learned here on CN: “He decided to have a girlfriend. As his wife, I disagreed. So I divorced him.”

  • Many people believed the ex’s ‘drifted apart’ story. Few could believe that he had chosen to blow up our lives for the exgfOW who had dumped him twice before we met. We were together for 26 years! He denied an affair with anyone to all and sundry. My answer was to largely change my friends and dump the mutuals who believed his lies. I had nothing to say to those people and they had nothing to say to me that I wanted to hear. Occasionally they contact me and I ignore them. That’s my come back; silence. I know the truth and that’s all that matters to me.

    • Replying to myself to add that I refuse to be an active participant in other people’s crazy drama. The world is bonkers enough without looking for trouble. They can gossip, speculate, ruminate as much as they want but they won’t do so with my consent.

  • C
    I like the idea of a good one sentence answer that is persuasive and cuts him to the bone.
    “He wouldn’t be able to deliver what I needed in a marriage”

    “The risk of him giving me an STD far outweighed the benefit of marrying him”

    “I realized that he wasn’t able to provide what I would want in a husband”

    “In time I would outgrow him mentally and emotionally”

    If talking to a woman add
    “But maybe he is right for you”

    Have a great day everyone

    • I was gonna say, these make the chump sound like she’s pretentious, but the “maybe he’s right for you” is exactly the undercutting we were looking for!! haha

      • haha. I also like:“The risk of him giving me an STD far outweighed the benefit of marrying him” And maybe add, the other, “but, by all means, you should get together with him.”

    • “But maybe he is right for you OR your sister (if the person talking to you is a man).” I had to add that to your last comment. I think that does it.

  • Could not agree with chump lady more, bail on that social circle. There’s nothing for you with this gang. One liners generally don’t change minds actions do. Your living a better , honest, self caring life will speak volumes and will have far more agency in terms of how you are perceived by this collection of yodelers . But really do you need validation from them? Hell No! You’re mighty and your character will always introduce you. Still if you want a good one liner I’d say ” prisons are full of people who didn’t do it”

  • When I was sitting in counseling with my ex and he was continuing to minimally participate while changing his story about his whore based on what he realized I knew, there was one point where he said “well its not like we went to a hotel”.

    I looked at him and replied that he had zero incentive to admit it if he had. There was silence in the room.

    All that admission would do was make him look like an even bigger piece of shit so he had nothing to gain.

    The counselor later suggested I dump him, which I did.

    The point is that if you feel compelled to respond, all you need is this:
    Idiots: Matt says he didn’t do it.
    You: why would Matt admit it to anyone?

    Nobody will have a response.

    • “well its not like we went to a hotel”. Oh brother. Give that man a lollipop.

      x did got to a hotel and slept in his and AP’s respective marital beds. Re the marital beds, I think he wanted credit for thriftiness. “Hey, I saved money.”🙄

      • Right? I did offer him a cookie when he said he didn’t know why I was so angry because he paid the mortgage and did some chores (I paid for everything else which was more then the mortgage).

        He surely deserved one for contributing to the household…..must have been that above and beyond attitude that entitled him to a whore.

        Your ex’s schmoopie sure is lucky that she got a guy who didn’t think enough of her to pop for a room 😅

        • Haha. Well, he rented his share of hotel rooms, too. Turn out that in nearly 3 years, they bedded in lots of places. Hotels, our bed, her bed, the Jeep…🤮

  • Here’s your response to your friends:
    “So do you think I’m stupid or do you think I’m a liar? Because if you believe Matt, then you believe one of those two things about me.”

  • I wonder what happened to this writer. As painful as all of this was for her, she’s “lucky” that this went down before she was married. She was able to course correct early. I hope she did.

    It’s upsetting enough to be subjected to gaslighting by an intimate partner, but add gaslighting by proxy and you have a truly destabilizing situation. It brings to mind “Rosemary’s Baby.”

    x did admit his affair to everyone, so I didn’t have to deal with that. On the other hand, I’m sure his reasons are not rooted in reality.

    I suspect some of my former mutual friends agree with x that I’ve over-reacted. They help him minimize what happened and feel sorry for him that Spinach and adult kids are NC. As one of his close friends put it, “Affairs happen all the time.” Shrug. Shrug. Who cares? Spinach needs to get over it. Poor, poor TFC.

    x laps up the pity. I suspect it’s his primary source of kibble now.

    Oh, the wifetress must still be a source, although I’ve gotta think she’s losing some sparkly newness and that he might have resumed his decades-long porn habit. One of his reasons for leaving me (wife of 35 years) was that he didn’t need porn with her. Who can blame him for leaving me? He was trying to kick his porn habit.

    • To clarify. I wrote that “x did admit his affair to everyone.” I understate. I think he wanted to brag about it, to put it on a billboard. Look at me!!! I landed a younger, attractive woman. And I think he miscalculated that all of his guy friends would be jealous just as he assumed that they would want massive upper-thigh fish tattoos once they saw his.

      He was wrong about both. What a stupid ass.

    • My gosh. What a loser. I’m glad you got rid of him. And I hope you’re well into living in Meh!

  • I agree those friends are not friends, but here is my one liner. He says he didn’t cheat. You answer “ And you believe him?” Like they are the biggest idiot, a look that says how stupid. Tone is everything

    • I think it’s effective to answer stupidness with a question. I often kick myself that I don’t think of good question-retorts in real time.

      To the nurse who said, “I love you both,” I wish I’d asked, “Really? So you love people who cheat and lie?” I don’t know. Maybe it was better that I didn’t engage at all.🤷🏻‍♀️ I remind myself that it wouldn’t have mattered. Also, this nurse wasn’t my friends. No loss to me. It was just the principle of it all that irked me.

  • “Thank you for sharing.” That shuts it down pretty well unless the commenter is extremely obtuse.

    Seriously, get out of that toxic social circle. They aren’t even Switzerland friends. Switzerland friends would have the sense to not even bring him up in conversation and try to keep their social life comfortable. No, they are acting on his behalf. Flying monkeys. You need to go NC with the whole group.

    • MrWEx, I smiled at your response. When I did say anything, which was rare, and I’ve been hard core no contact for well over 2 years now, my answer was ‘thank you for your feedback’ with a small smile and a nod. It drove the ex crazy and mutual friends couldn’t work out whether I was being rude or not.

  • Confirming my then-husband was cheating on me after 30 years together was so hard, I had little energy left to convince others. It wasn’t consequential in terms of my divorce settlement, though my lawyer added the term “indignities” to the reasons for the divorce. If there was a moment when family and friends could have intervened, I was busy spackling. Pursuing a divorce when cheating is still being denied is like cutting off your own trapped arm. There’s no benefit in having an audience of people who don’t believe you and won’t help.

  • I hope this writer heeded CL’s advice. Not easy to be chumped–ever—but being able to do a course correction before marriage is a blessing.

    Gaslighting by an intimate partner is bad enough. Gaslighting by proxy (i.e., through “friends”) is another level of awful.

    x didn’t gaslight about the affair. He was open about it. In fact, I think he wanted to shout it from the rooftops, to brag to everyone that he was a stud who landed a younger woman.

    Most friends sided with me. A couple of his close friends probably think the kids and I overreacted and feel sorry for x that he’s lost us all.

    I suspect his main source of kibble now is this pity from friends.

    Oh, I suppose he also still gets kibbles form wifetress. Gotta think she’s become less sparkly now that he’s been with her for a bit. Who knows? He once told me he didn’t need porn with her. (That he would share this info speaks volumes. Doesn’t it?) So, I guess one of his reasons for leaving me was that he was simply trying to kick his porn habit. 🙄🤦🏻‍♀️

    • Ugh. This is a repeat by me. My first post didn’t seem to register, so I actually re-wrote and re-posted.

  • I hope this writer heeded CL’s advice. Not easy to be chumped–every—but being able to do a course correction early on is a blessing. Gaslighting by an intimate partner is bad enough. Gaslighting by proxy (i.e., through “friends”) is another level of awful.

    x didn’t gaslight about the affair. He was open about it. In fact, I think he wanted to shout it from the rooftops, to brag to everyone that he was a stud who landed a younger woman.

    Most friends sided with me. A couple of his close friends probably think the kids and I overreacted and feel sorry for x that he’s lost us all.

    I suspect his main source of kibble now is this pity from friends.

    Oh, I suppose he also still gets kibbles form wifetress. Gotta think she’s become less sparkly now that he’s been with her for a bit. Who knows? He once told me he didn’t need porn with her. (That he would tell me that speaks volumes. Doesn’t it?) So, one of his reasons for leaving me was that he was simply trying to kick his porn habit. 🙄🤦🏻‍♀️

  • I broke up with my social circle after leaving the cheater.

    One friend insisted that I should understand WHY he did it so we could work it out (bitch, what do you think I’ve been doing the past 2 years? that’s what led me to leave!) and one didn’t think my ex should support me financially at all (which he wanted to do out of his own accord – thank God at least for that!), since it was “my decision”.

    I swear people suck so much that most of them make the cheater look like a GOOD PERSON.

  • My XFW is also the social one whereas I’m the more introverted one. He is extremely charismatic and when he left (twice) it was easy for him to pull many of our friends away with him (they attended his wedding to the Wifetress, etc). Some of our former friends I’ve never heard back from after the last D Day. Many friends dumped his butt because his cheating was very public (even so, they don’t reach out to me) but many stayed on his side of the line.

    The fallout from affair explosions seems to always include an involuntary shrinking of the friend and family circle. I lost a couple good friends who were on my side after the last affair explosion because I lashed out in sorrow and anger. They said “forget this” and have never reached out to me again since. I regret those losses.

    • It is understandable to lash out at the ones supporting us. It happens. Don’t have regrets. I am sure they in time understood what you were going through

  • One script among many to consider:

    “People are going to believe what they want. I know what I saw. It’s unwise to marry a person when you aren’t 100% on board, and I can’t un-see what I saw, so I can’t marry Matt. I’m not pestering you to believe me, so please stop pestering me to believe Matt and respect my decision.”

  • My ex-wife did the same thing…my response was “Of course that’s what she says” and I left it at that.

  • Cheaters lie; the lie to the Chump and they lie to those that they fear being judged by. They lie because they hate being held to account, they lie to protect their reputations and they lie to manipulate.

    “C” needs to realise that if her Cheater’s friends are determined to believe him then: firstly they are no friends of hers and; secondly, they are no loss to her. I hope that she is doing better now.

  • Sometimes it is good to have a quick, solid line then move on. I also live in an enmeshed downtown, so I get that you have friends and acquaintances that is everyone from your best friend to your favorite barista. Being calm, cool and not getting drawn in to long gossiping discussions on this sucks in the short term but will show you who your true friends are. Everyone else will have to wait and see his long term pattern. And it is a pattern.

    Have a short blurb that your practice in the mirror. Be prepared to shut down the conversation afterwards. Even if you never say it, having it in your back pocket can help you get out again with a shield. A few conversation ending favorites of mine are:

    “Do you really think I would end an engagement with someone I loved for anything less? If you don’t believe me we clearly shouldn’t waste time discussing it.”

    “I did not take ending this relationship lightly and have solid evidence. I am hurt by the choices he made and don’t want to go over the details again. I don’t need you to intervene on his behalf, if you are not prepared to support me I understand and we should not discuss this any more.”

    People really don’t want to disrupt their own friend circle if they don’t have too. They believe what suits their connivance vs the truth. Look for the people who believe you. Hold them close. Keep your head high in your downtown and never avert your gaze.
    Don’t debate it, don’t pour out your heart and try to hold a court trial with anyone who is merely looking to rationalize their own choices.

    You are not the one with anything to hide.

  • I’ve found an exaggerated eye-roll and walking away with a dismissive wave of the hand quite effective.

    • Sometimes silence is most effective 💅

      Sometimes a disdainful shrug works better than a Will Smith slap (even a verbal slap), although I love some of the one-liners people are coming up with here. I’m reminded of CL’s aunt? grandmother? (I forget) who perfected the killer looks and one liners (these are the ones that people realize are insulting after she’s walked away with her head held high. #skills).

  • The thing that hurts a cheater most is damage to their IMAGE. Their image is their currency, their Cloak of Invisibility, their magic passport that they rely on to carry out their self-centered agendas. Like any good con artist, they need cover. Of course they’re going to scramble to keep their image intact. It’s their only “asset”, and ironically, it’s not even real. Hey, if it were a known fact that they’re a deceptive douchebag, and it gets around, how are they going to keep playing everybody that comes into their orbit?

    Rather than one-liners, get a copy of The Emperor’s New Clothes and read often to remind yourself that you are the little boy in the story who believes himself.

    Thank goodness I went to therapy as long as I did with Traitor X before DDay. There are living witnesses to his lies and they have been invaluable sources of validation and the ultimate antidote for his attempts to rewrite history.

    • “If you want to invest with Bernie Madoff, that’s your business.”

      I do like a good one-liner and relish the opportunity to deliver because I am a true smartass.

    • “Hey, if it were a known fact that they’re a deceptive douchebag, and it gets around, how are they going to keep playing everybody that comes into their orbit?”

      This is so true. In my fw’s case when he blew my world up, I believe he really thought he would go back to the way it was for him, only with a different wife.

      He didn’t anticipate that now everyone knew he had been a con man for years. He had to finally escape to a whole new community and church to start a new con. That con didn’t last as long as his con job with me lasted. But then I was not there to unwittingly cover for him, and I assume whore wasn’t good at helping him with his public image.

      I know that through my son and his wife.

  • The answer to the ”he says he didn’t do it so.” people is to look at them for just a few moments and then say ”um, are you suggesting… I’m… lying? Or delusional, wow! That’s… a lot?” Then wait for a response or walk off.

    • 100% agree. A snappy one-liner isn’t going to suddenly make shitty FORMER friends kind people. I think, if you have to say anything, you could ask them flatly, “So are you saying I made this up?”. You don’t even have to wait for the answer. These people are not your friends; they are his flying monkeys. They gave you the gift of admitting what they are so you can cut them out of their life.

      • Exactly. It can be seen as a gift to figure out who your true friends are. Altho I agree that the less said the better, I might not be able to resist some snarky comment like “so I see Matt’s got you doing his PR…good luck with that.” Then turn and walk away.

  • I didn’t have to deal with this situation either in my marriage or my subsequent relationship with a lying cheating sociopath, because we didn’t have any mutual friends (I had mine, they had theirs).
    Though when I discovered my then-husband’s affair with coworker AP, he did attempt to lie to and gaslight our three teenagers by saying things like “AP is just a friend,” “mom is insecure and overreacting” etc.
    I said very little to my kids in response. I believed I needed to shield them from the particulars of their parents’ separation and divorce so that they wouldn’t be forced to carry the burden of that knowledge, or some similar altruistic bullshit.
    Knowing what I know now, if I could go back, I would address it with them in the brief, truthful, non-editorializing way CL recommends.
    We live, we learn. And then we leave a cheater and gain a life.

    • After being gaslighted by her for years and then witnessing her lying to our teen sons explaining our divorce I told them the truth. Straightforward, no embellishment and age appropriate. I did not want them to think marriage was something to casually discard and understand the damage adultery does. Mom was furious, of course. “My therapist says that was the worst thing you could do!” “Really? Did she say anything about cheating on your husband?”

      • My ex did the same thing. I had tried to avoid splashing shade until she tried say I’d cheated on her.

        Um, no, not once in 32 years!

        So I told my kids the truth about her cheating. They were 18 and 22 at the time.

        Very hard to do. Necessary so they did not be a party to her gaslighting.

        I also outed the ex to my entire extended family.

        She had the audacity to complain that “they are my family too!” when they abandoned contact with her.

    • With hindsight I agree with you. At the time of my leaving, I was browbeaten into keeping silent about things I very much wanted our son to know. I now think that his not knowing them has had consequences for the relationship I have with him. If I’d said what I’d wanted to, that, too, would have had consequences, but we would have been on an honest footing, and there would have been consequences for my ex, too. As is, I’m bearing the burden of silence while he benefits in his relationship with our son.

      • I wish there were a button that I could click that means, “Yeah, that sucks.”

        The thumbs-up button doesn’t quite cut it for me.

      • My sons were all 29 years and older. I didn’t have to ‘tell them in an age-appropriate way’ as they all pretty much knew what was going on; however, only the two oldest were pissed royally with their dad. The youngest doesn’t have anything to do with me and yet hangs out regularly with his dad and the wifetress. It’s sad, but there’s nothing I can do about it. Just like with the fuckwit, you cannot force anyone do what they should do.

  • If it were me, I’d move and leave all those idiots behind, ESPECIALLY your ex. Then they only have each other in the group to deal with, and that’s when things fall apart. Without you as a buffer (your former life) or you as a scapegoat (your current life) it will soon be very apparent what a douche he really is. Take it from someone who was a a scapegoat in their family growing up, and later among the people close to my fw. The group becomes less cohesive and the narrative falls apart when you leave. Not that you’ll care, you will eventually be so relieved to no longer be a part of it. Your presence provides the drama that fuels this group.

    If you do decide to pull out a one-liner, ask them if they’d like to see all the evidence if they’ve got a couple of hours. Most people will back down after saying something like that, because they know you wouldn’t say it unless it was true. Maybe a few would take you up on it. Either way, you win, because then they will know the truth.

  • “He and I have different ideas of what constitutes committment in marriage”

    “What he says and what he does are two different things”

    “He just wants his cake and eat it too”

  • Thank you for this post. I’m just one month since d day. I contracted an STI after being with one man for the past 25 years. He’s been been begging and pleading that he has never slept with anyone else. He’s giving me a shit sandwich story about his STI test coming up negative. I don’t believe him. I’m starting to realize that this is the story he’s going to carry on to his family and our friends. So disgusting too I’ve had this happen to my body and now he’s going to hold THIS LIE until the day he dies. PUKE.
    Crying every night like how could I DO THIS?? Head in a blender is right.

    • Sorry for your pain Chump_NO MO. No need to waste your breath denying the lies. Hold your head high and divorce the prick. Your actions will speak volumes. These times are painful, but brighter days are ahead.

      • Thank you very much. Definitely divorcing him. I love your user name, that’s how I feel these past few weeks

        • Sorry, Chump_ NO MO. Yuck. Definitely a shit sandwich. After all the shit they put us through, we have this sense that they should at least make amends at the end. And then they escalate the abuse and spread lies when we’re at our lowest, often while continuing to claim to love us.

          The good news is, you sound like you genuinely plan to leave this loser. I think you’re pulling your head out of the blender. Things get calmer, quieter and easier after that. Until then, life feels like being tumbled in strong ocean waves. I’m pretty sure I lost my mind for a little while, because the things I listened to and stayed through are mad. You’re hurting, scared and sad, but you’re on the path to authenticity and safety. You’re taking control back after being deceived and manipulated out of your agency for a long time. Hugs.

    • Two months before my 49th anniversary, my gyn called me into his office and delivered the bad news. FW tried to tell me I must have had it before I met him and that it escaped detection through 4 pregnancies and decades of pap smears. Lying liars lie.

      • WCB and Chump No Mo: Liars lie and cheaters cheat. Heck yes, it defines who they are but not who the chumps are. It is on them. It would be interesting to know what your trusted GYNs would say just how many decades the STIs can go undetected. I know it depends on which STI…Maybe the most insulting thing here is how dumb the FWs think you and other chumps are. It is ALL a pile of tough pills to swallow. Hugs to both of you and anyone in this miserable situation. To the writer of today’s post: Hugs to you and your “friends” should not be questioning what you KNOW. You are the one living it not them. It would be more convenient for them if you just agreed with them. But friendship is not always based on convenience. Stick with CL and CN. We have your backs.

    • You ARE doing the right thing by divorcing his ass. I’m sorry you’re here but you definitely came to the right place. We’re not hateful old biddies who want everybody to get divorced; we’re just much further along than you. The pain you’re going through is what each of us experienced. Many of us went through a lot of marriage counseling and bought tons of books on how to ‘save your marriage’, and many of us went through several DDays before we finally decided to go through with a divorce. Your heart is breaking if not already broken, but the quicker you get divorced, and the more you stay ‘No Contact’, the quicker you will heal. No Contact cannot be stressed enough. Even one little ‘sad sausage face’ from the fuckwit, or ‘I’m so sorry, I love you so much…’, will fuck with your head and make you doubt yourself yet again.

    • Well you’re not doing it anymore! Being mighty is daily work, but it sure beats living with a lying cheating dirtbag. Fuck his lies…he can run his mouth all he wants, you let your actions speak for you. Let your walkin feet do the talkin, to him and any of his supporters.

  • I admit I’m going to come in with something different because, for me, it’s worked. Have one rock-solid piece of proof or gory detail that you share as your one liner.
    Because I do feel empathy for your friends who are being lied to and because it’s hard to walk away from people who might just not know 1000% like you do.

    For me, I was getting a lot of “That sucks but it’s not that bad” lines, from people I care about, and their opinion of the situation would totally change if I mentioned the STD I got, or some horrible social situation he’d put me in with the AP before I knew what was happening.
    I’ve seen people’s faces fall, and the response is like “okay, this is a whole category of awful I’ve never contemplated in my life”, so I know it’s possible for some people to just not have enough info at first.

    Plus, from you, it can be a one-liner, that you can try to emotionally detach from.

    A russian says “but I don’t think there’s a war going on” and you have a photo of a bombed theater with “children” written visible from the air. You might need to carry that photo in your pocket for a while because there’s a whole misinformation campaign going on.

    • Yes, one short line with a devastating fact and then ending the conversation.

      You don’t owe middle of the road friends your pain, your turmoil. But you don’t need to participate in harm done to you by letting his misinformation campaign stand.

      A quick truth, a “It is painful that you don’t seem to believe me or think I would end a relationship with someone I loved so lightly. I don’t want to discuss this anymore.” Followed by disengagement.

      But then I was never one to go quietly into the night.

    • That one was easy and irrefutable in my case: “Well, his baby with her was born six months after we broke up…”

  • Don’t believe everything you hear.

    Or

    If you believe that, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

  • Mine did all of this too, to our neighbors! He insisted he “never did anything physical with anyone” and that I’M gaslighting HIM and “telling him how he feels” when I tell him he’s full of shit/he’s lying to me and I won’t let it go (its hard when everything he says is so fishy. His answer is always “its not what it looks like” which seems impossible to me.) I found 10 hooker numbers in his phone, his attorney’s card with “Mary, Wyndham, 2pm” on it (which matched one of the hooker names in his phone), his username on about a dozen dating apps/registration emails for others, bikini pictures of his coworkers and friends in his spank bank, a search for “quotes for dating app profiles”, “how to meet real people on dating apps”, and “How to Take a dick pic for a Dating App profile”Profile, and a ton of other evidence pointing to him physically cheating. The neighbors think I’m just divorcing him as “punishment for wanting to jerk off” because they 100% believe him when he says he only had all the dating apps downloaded/hooker numbers in his phone to enhance his porn watching. His story is that he had a porn addiction and took it to far, and fantasized A LOT about cheating on me with his coworkers/friends/etc. but never actually took the next step and did it. Thats his story, he’s sticking to it, and he’s not given me any more information than that even though I’ve told him everything he says sounds fishy. He will act like a sad sausage a lot and go “Well I KNOW it was just a mental exercise for me, but I might as well have taken it all the way because with all the evidence I left you don’t believe that it was just mental for me.” Unfortunately my mother is an overbearing piece of work who bought the house next door to me 4 years ago entirely against my wishes, and immediately alienated our neighbors by taping a rant about our street sign getting destroyed in a snow storm and no one replacing it to our community mailbox. Because of that, everyone is siding with my ex because they think I must be a piece of work too if I’m “that lady’s daughter.” The worst part is I found searches for “Teen Dating apps”, an interactive hentai game where one of the characters is ambiguously aged and the plot is to groom her, and 3-4 hentai games with incest patches in them, but my neighbors still have this attitude that all men look at that kind of porn and that I overreacted by requesting full custody/supervised visits for our daughter because of it. One neighbor got divorced to her husband for the same damn reasons, and told me 20 years later she wished she hadn’t divorced him and that I might come to regret it too! I have a house right now and know I have to move to get away from the mindfucking (and my mom), but it sucks because I’m 34 and know if I sell I’ll have to downsize and I’ll possibly never own a home again with how expensive they are now. I know in exchange I’ll have freedom, but it’s gutting to have to sell this house because of the all the variations of “AwWw BuT hE’s sah-wee and sAyS hE dIdN’t Do It…” I’ve heard from the neighbors. The lady who wishes shed stayed with her hooker loving ex is renting her mil attachment to him while running a daycare out of her house though….I know these are not good people but it’s so hard not to feel like I’m overreacting when everyone else apparently thinks I am.

    • Hookerloverwife is an idiot and should never be in charge of children. That actually scares me as a parent. I would tell the daycare licensing board or something.

      I agree you should get the fuck out of dodge. Things are bound to get so much worse for this community. The next time you see these people, it could be on Dateline or the news. Normal people don’t play those kinds of games or let people in their homes who do. These people are really sick. You need to run for your own sanity. You are mighty! You knew something was wrong (and it is) and tried to protect your child. For that alone you should be proud!

      If you can survive this crap then you can start over and you will own another home. Every day you stay there is a day you are stealing from your future self and future happiness.

    • Gee, is he proud of wasting his time storing hookers’ #s on his phone just to pass time and is he proud of a porn addiction. It is crap to find out that your spouse is abusing you in these ways. Hookers’ #s on his phone for no reason and a porn addiction. Porn is a betrayal (IMO) and even thinking about calling a hooker to the point that one has their #s handy just in case…..That is betrayal too. The biggest betrayal though is the LIES and thinking people are stupid enough to believe this crap is quite insulting. I hope you find peace.

    • HiMowmowface, it doesn’t matter who your neighbours side with, this isn’t a competition in likeability. You know who you’re dealing with and he’s a serious piece of shit.

      I’ve just had this discussion with friends, unrelated to cheating (it was about giving a way to an ambulance on an urgent call in not a straightforward road situation). We concluded that it’s not that many people are evil, it’s just that they’re really stupid and/ or naive. This also applies to your situation, so spare your energy to fight him in court and recover yourself rather than persuading neighbours who don’t matter anyway.

      As to that grooming game, that’s seriously disturbing. Take evidence and have a chat with the police. Learning how to groom underage children is just gross gross gross.

  • I find that people side with the person in the relationship who has the most to offer… money, power, connections, etc. it’s a sad state of our current world. My ex had all of that and many people chose to believe his lies. Even after time when the truth all came out, people were still willing to be connected to him for what he may offer to them.

    • Yes, the ones that sided with my ex are the ones who want to inherit from him and those that want to play ‘happy family’ for their own ease

  • I never got an explicit admission, but I knew. There were multiple signs including how he high-tailed it far away when I asked for a separation because our relationship had gotten chaotic and abusive. Of course, I played the game for a while and then decided it was a no-go on reconciliation.

    During the intake appointment my divorce attorney said that in 40+ years of divorce law, he had never seen or heard of a spouse who ran who didn’t have either someone on the other side or a plan to throw off the constraints of marriage and live like they were single, especially after several decades and two college kids together. Then his attorney overshared with mine, and we indeed would have had a field day in court as this is an at-fault state if you go to trial. I told my attorney that I just wanted a decent settlement and to go on with my life, and I did indeed get slightly better than what a judge would award. My ex had retired early for medical reasons, so there was only so much to work with.

    My one-liner was simple, “He now lives in X. I prefer not to discuss it. Keep us in your kind thoughts and prayers.” If they tried to engage, I changed the subject. Of course, over time I figured out who was safe and who was not. I had people that I shared the whole ugly mess with, but not with most. I made a lot of new friends who had never met my ex and made new memories with them. Periodically I still run into people who knew us as a couple, and I continue the same minimal explanation.

    I haven’t seen him in four years and have been divorced for two. I wouldn’t say that time heals all wounds, but gathering positive memories and friends since then has helped a lot.

    • ” I wouldn’t say that time heals all wounds, but gathering positive memories and friends since then has helped a lot.”

      So true, I hate for folks to think they have to be fully healed to move on with life, part of healing is moving on. Some wounds never totally heal and you can have a full life with, activities, romance, kids whatever comes your way. No one reaches any significant age without some baggage.

      Some baggage is worse than other, but we can still have a full life.

      And if our heel gets wounded by “karma” that is icing on the cake, but don’t wait for it or look for it.

  • I wouldn’t be able to help myself if some third party tried to tell me what did or didn’t happen.

    “Oh, you were there?… He showed you all 178 emails? No? Hm. Well while we’re at it, any other hot takes? Who really killed JFK? Winning lotto numbers? Diagnose this weird spot on my arm?”

    They might think you’re a sarcastic b, but they’ll definitely get the point that they have no clue wtf they’re talking about 🤷‍♀️

    During separation my fabulous fuckwit sent a flying church monkey (that he’d known maybe 6 months) all the way from where he was living overseas to tell me I had it all wrong and FW was a changed man. He told me, “The ball’s in your court.” I didn’t have my one-liner ready (“Honey, this is no game and I ain’t playing.”) so I nodded and smiled and said “Ok, thanks so much! Byeee!”

    I was mad about it for a few days but in the end it’s so ridiculous that anyone thinks they can tell you what should be acceptable to you and how you should spend the rest of your life, it’s laughable.

    • Jaded, if you read the archives, there’s excellent posts on the “timid forest creature” phenomenon. You mustn’t ever bring up the affair because you’ll startle them and they’ll scuttle away 😂

      It’s a pervasive piece of RIC propaganda.

  • Anyone in this situation has to block the friend group who are busy triangulating with the Cheater X. People who don’t believe your heart has been broken are not your “friends.” I’ve said this a few dozen times over the years–there is no such thing as “mutual friends.” People who ride the fence (the Switzerland ones) aren’t friends; they’re acquaintances who often prefer to be the audience to a drama and “not judge.” The others are either Team Chump or Team Cheater.

    I have a young friend whose husband not only cheated but did so in a public and horrible way. I was always closer to him than his wife, but even before CL I was 100% on the Chump’s side, for a dozen different reasons. He’s tried to use others to get to me but gave up after a few years. No contact with monsters is a great idea.

  • C, You don’t need a clever one liner. In fact you really don’t have to acknowledge these people or if you do a simple Uh Huh or Wow will do. Then just block them and get them out of your circle and your life. I don’t have anything to do with cheaters, cheaters family, people who support cheaters, STBXs fellow cheaters or anyone associated with supporting cheaters and abusing chumps. Just don’t want anything to do with these types. Stick with true friends who integrity.

  • I don’t let friends stay in abusive relationships of lies and gaslighting. I am my own best friend.

    • Creativerational: This may be the best post of the day. We know cheater is a jerk but why would “friends” want someone to stay in an abusive relationship? Done is done. Stick a fork in that steak! But why would friends want someone to stay or even suggest that cheater is the truthful one. “Friends are abusing you further.

  • My Ex told everyone (and me) he didn’t leave me for the other woman, who happened to be our young next door neighbor. He accused me of all the things we’ve heard before. All our friends & family sided with him. Even during our separation he saw her on the sly to fool friends/family. Guess who he’s with 3yrs later and bought a house together in both their names? FooL! Yet, not one of them questioned his behavior. None of them exist in my social media or world anymore.

  • Consider answering them with a question – why do YOU think I broke off the engagement? He says he didn’t do it, but how can YOU tell he’s not lying? What if he’s lying – how would you know? What would you think if you saw the explicit posts on Facebook by the OW? What level of proof would YOU need to know if he was lying or not?
    Don’t forget to get checked for STD’s.

  • I think since he is lying ….and you don’t want to associate with these people ….tell them something that will make them see him in a bad light that they may make them think twice about him…perhaps joke about him behind his back….maybe ….foot fetish guy ? …he likes big ugly feet or something hilarious like that …but hard to shake off …..then walk away 😇

  • There is a line you can use in this situation. Here it is:

    Perhaps you are lucky to know him as a X and not as a Y.

    Example: Perhaps you are lucky to know him as a neighbor and not as a family member.

    Perhaps you are better to know her from the Mothers Club and not as a wife.

    Perhaps you are better to know him as a friend and not as a husband.

    When you deliver the light me look the person in the eye with a perfectly straight face and hold the eye contact until they get uncomfortable. The delivery is very important— when you do it right they will get the picture and scurry away.

    I perfect this when I worked for an abusive Narcissist Sociopath boss at a Fortune 100 company. It gets the point across and keeps things professional.

    Perhaps you are lucky to know Boss as a peer and not as a direct report.

  • After I found out about the affair, a friend of his asked to have lunch with me. Since she was a long time family friend, I went. She told me of all the bad things he was saying about me, but she believed them. I told her he was lying. She disagreed. So my response was” He’s been lying to me, the person he is supposed to be the closest with, why do you think he wouldn’t lie to you too?”

    • She believed all the lies but asked you to lunch? Also, telling you all the bad shit he said about you. Her motive wasn’t to give you a head’s up so what was her motive? Gloat? She sounds like a real piece of shit that had been jealous of you and couldn’t wait to stick it to you. Crazy people.

    • This: He’s been lying to me, the person he is supposed to be the closest with, why do you think he wouldn’t lie to you too?

      Yes, it’s all manipulation and fakery. One day I wrote out all the reasons I couldn’t trust my ex anymore, and then I emailed him that reconciliation was a no-go. I had believed the RIC and taken hopium for a year and threw it all away. Some months later, I decided that if his family wanted to believe him, good for them. I laid the whole thing out for the oldest sibling and his wife one last time, and then let it go. The divorce process started not long after that, and I’m sure that they heard yet more lies. He promised me “quick and easy,” which was a lie too.

      At a certain point, you have to live in the truth and move on.

    • Beanie, her behavior is so bizarre
      I’d suspect she was fucking him and having fun messing with you.
      It makes no sense to invite you to.lunch, then accuse you of lying. Definitely some hidden agenda there.

  • I’m posting this because it demonstrates how easy it is to confuse people if you are the cheater/narcissist. I watched the ex-hole in action as I was part of our business and went to meetings. He was awesome! Like a golden light flooded around him when he switched on the afflegab. People LOVED him. Now when I watch this, it makes me laugh- but I am 10 years out froma 20 year ordeal. https://lovefraud.com/why-sociopaths-succeed-style-matters-more-than-substance/

  • What They do What They Do What They do! Those people who loose interest or concern for you and follow after sparkly ones, are they REALLY your friends? I can honestly say that I had NO idea the horrific damage caused to my best friend when years ago her Husband cheated on her after a fifteen or so year marriage. I never came close fully understanding and realizing the pain of being with a narcissist and cheating on until I went through the pain/process myself. Why , because it is So much more than a cheat as we all know. Mr. Sparkles new how to collect people , his phone was loaded with women’s names for a gluttonous good vibe of I’m so wanted and sexy. His superficial personality liar cheat and thief persona are all disgusting. I keep brushing him off. The adult kids have watched me rebuild a life being single. So far I only side glance at men .

  • Moving isn’t always possible.

    “A decision to not marry someone doesn’t need any defense to friends, don’t you agree?”

  • Not had anyone tell me he didn’t do it but had plenty share how surprised they are, which maybe equates to the same.

    In the beginning I made sure people knew the truth. It was during the lockdown so everything was via social media. Anyone who asked after us, in a general ‘oh how’s it going’ sense, I privately messaged filling them in on the facts but not spewing out my feelings. That was saved for family and close friends. I’ve come to realise that all these people we used to socialise with are just loose acquaintances. There was two friends who came over recently to help FW clear the remainder of his stuff, it was tough seeing them, knowing that they validate what he’s done. I ignored them.

    I refuse to talk about him with anyone. If they mention him, I shut it down immediately with a ‘not interested’. This has become a discipline following a few snippets I was told about him that stung real bad. Its a work in progress. I’ve also come to realise that to these sort of ‘friends’ my situation is just gossip and drama, yesterday’s news.

    It’s all so painful. So much of a life becomes tainted. I’ve pretty much culled most of my former social circles. Those that stepped into my pain offering support are my friends. Those that let me sob and rant and sob again, they’re my friends. Everyone one else…. well, I just smile and wave at them.

  • So many great comments, not sure who’s to attach these to, so I’ll just add my own even though related…

    Loosing SF has been harder in the long run for me than loosing XW. Its something I still spend (waste) time thinking about.

    It comes back to values, though, doesn’t it?
    They didn’t value ME, just the life we had when we were a couple.

    Here’s what I’ve learned: there are other / better people out there. A whole mess of new people with whom I can cultivate a healthier relationship being ME.

    That helps me feel better about the losses.

  • How about; “I don’t give a shit. The subject is closed.”
    If that gets back to him, so much the better.

  • “Matt’s a Liar. I have solid evidence. I don’t want to talk about this with you, so don’t mention it to me again.”

    Nothing snappy, just cold hard fact.

  • Gaslighting sucks. My ex has worked harder at impression management than he ever did in our 25 year marriage. His story is this – we had a bad marriage and I was controlling. We couldn’t communicate. After we split up, he found the love of this life. It’s maddening AF. Some people believe it because he was such a nice and charming guy. It’s funny though. He moved to another city and basically left his daughter. I always wonder why people don’t focus on that. Last week I tried it. I told someone that he doesn’t live in our town anymore. She asked if/how he manages to see our girl. I simply said “he doesn’t”. Then I let that sentence hang… then I got the look of a bit more knowing and the shine wore off a little. You see, I do think people eventually get it-it might just take awhile. I wouldn’t put up with a social circle who didn’t believe me. You could simply say, “That’s okay, I back myself to know what I saw is real.” But anyone who is gaslighting you is not your friend!

    • It’s as if they are gaslighting themselves, spinning a crazy story that makes sense only to them and people who are willing to believe it.

  • If you know the OW’s name, I would just say “if you don’t believe me, you can ask Other Woman. I’m done with this conversation, find something else to gossip about.”
    I’d lose them anyways- they sound like frenemies.

  • This is previously-ran and hopefully C is now living the super-fabulous life she deserves. But since we’re on the subject, this is how I sometimes deal with creeps, Swiss citizens, flying monkeys and other toxic encounters that threaten to cause cringing trauma flashbacks for years to come: I try to lace those encounters with something that will crack me up instead for years to come– even if I have to make shit up like Nora Ephron’s autobiographical character in “Heartburn.”

    Humor is useful to preemptively off-set future PTSD. For instance, the two people from FW’s and AP’s workplace who blew the whistle on the tawdry affair to me weren’t actually personal friends of the AP’s- quite the opposite. But when, in his feverish attempt to pry out of me the source of the spilt beans, FW got all dark and surmised that it had probably been the AP’s idiot friends, I bit my tongue and let him think whatever he thought, then fully enjoyed news of the AP’s tearful hysteria and paranoia that she’d been BETRAYED FROM WITHIN!

    Then when FW’s paranoia expanded beyond suspicions of AP’s big mouth and he started thinking everyone at his job knew, I just nodded. I was really nodding at the possibility but FW didn’t know that. His freakout and the twitch he developed imagining people TRASHING HIM BEHIND HIS BACK (oh noes) were good fun.

    Welcome to Thunderdome, crotchzillas.

    Anyway, things like this still crack me up and I think have restored at least a few of the years that this experience knocked off my lifespan. I didn’t go so far as to spread rumors to a strategically-situated gossip queen that the AP caught a smelly venereal infection like in Ephron’s movie but that’s only because the opportunity never arose. I think it would have been epic to simply quote word for word from Ephron’s script, then sit back while the story shoots through the rumor mill until some Ephron fan finally recognizes the reference and the joke.

  • C.,
    Your discovery threatens all of HIS friends (they’re not YOUR friends). It makes them uncomfortable, it shakes up the status quo, especially if it was mostly couples in the group.

    They don’t want to face ugliness or examine their own relationships.

    They are not the friends you need, because a real friend would see that the problem isn’t your discovery and consequences, the cheating is the problem. They only care because the consequences involve them because of the disruption in the social circle.

    Block him and them on social media and text.

    One-liner, should you run into them:
    they: “Matt says he didn’t cheat.”
    you: “he probably told you he doesn’t lie either.”

    you: “thanks for your support and friendship – I can see I mean a lot to you”

    you: “I blocked Matt. Are you his messenger? I guess I will block you too.”

    you: “So you don’t believe me? Bye”

    you: “He’s just mad that his girlfriend wasn’t invited to the wedding.”

  • Possible one liners – Choose 2-3 people who will spread your comments the farthest.
    Be concise – make just one comment per person – leave details out and let their imagination work.
    Act like your comment is confidential just to them, and add a touch of body language – such as:

    “I really wanted to believe Matt too, but there’s sooooo much evidence otherwise…”
    *end phrase with emphatic whisper and wide eyes*

    “OMG! The evidence that I was given was just so shocking…”
    *scared eyes, shake head, slight tremble*

    “I’m just so glad I found out the truth before I married him!”
    *shake head slightly, act like you escaped something truly awful, which you did*

    Then find new friends and people to spend time with. And be very thankful you never married him!

  • I think we need some philosophical depth here. C could cite a quote from a famous philosopher Mandy Rice-Davies.

    A ‘friend’: ‘Matt says he didn’t cheat.’

    C.: ‘Well, he would (say that) wouldn’t he.’

    Or she could paraphrase another famous philosopher, Marx (Groucho, not Karl): ‘So, you think I should believe his words rather than my lying eyes?’

  • IMO the perfect one liner is a white whale. The desire to deliver the perfect statement that will make the truth evident, or somehow right a wrong, is natural, but I learned the hard way that I can’t control how others interpret or respond to my words. Truth and justice have nothing to do with this. It’s not that they can’t see, it’s that they don’t care. (Don’t remember who said that, but I’ve read it here quite a bit.) Also, if you need to explain basic decency to an adult, it’s a lost cause (to paraphrase CL). So often, my words were used against me, adding further insult to injury. If you think it’s bad when your “friends” make excuses for the con artist who cheated on and lied to you for years, wait until they learn he also physically abused you — then go on being friends and feeling sorry for him. Even better, wait until you become the liar for daring to share this ugly truth. Feel free to share what isn’t your secret to carry or be ashamed of, but don’t expect FWs or sheep to care, never mind take a stand or support you. Thankfully, I stopped wasting energy on those kinds of jerks soon after I left.

  • Yea, no contact means no contact with people who would bring you his tales from the dark side. It can certainly feel like a shit sandwich when you’re the one who was cheated on then you’re the one who loses their friend group, but I’ve chosen to see this part as a blessing. In one foul swoop you can see who your friends truly are…maybe this saves you decades of crappy friendships! For me, it ended up being a relief to tighten my friend circle to those I now know for sure are true and loyal.

    Honestly, if avoiding these assholes is not possible where you live, I’d consider moving. Forget one liners, life’s too short to have your exes bad deeds thrown in your face for years. You’ll never move on.

  • This almost EXACT same thing happened to me. My ex fiance cheated 4 months before the wedding. I got “proof” by looking at google timelines and saw he was at a hotel until 4 am instead of working like he said he was. He denied it for a day, then told me the next day he did cheat. We were going to try and work things out, he said he wanted to go to therapy and I believed him. A week later, I found an old phone of his in a drawer, turned it on, and found snapchat messages of him still talking to the AP about wanting to see up her skirt and meet up again. I knew he would lie to everyone and turn it around on me, so I posted the screenshots on my instagram and tagged them both for his friends to see what kind of person he is.

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