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What If He Changes for the OW?

fraudfoilDear Chump Lady,

I called off my wedding three months before the big day, after discovering that my fiance was sleeping around with multiple women, including his ex.

Anyways, as stupid as it sounds, I feel like I was completely blindsided. He was so amazing to me and he was the one who pursued me all this time. I mean now that I look back, maybe there were red flags. Anyways, I know I don’t want to be with someone like that, but I have this fear — what if he changes for the next woman? What if he takes the lesson from this mistake and becomes the man I thought he was?

I honestly feel so silly as I am typing this, but I would love your opinion on how I can overcome this fear. Just to give you some idea, he never really took ownership of his mistake and said he was just having fun, even blamed me in front of his friends for the whole thing. I don’t want to ever go back. I want to move on and be happy again. Please help. Thank you.

Carmel

****

Dear Carmel,

You miss the lie. We’ve all been there, Carmel. The man he pretended to be, the creature you fell in love with, the heady intoxication of love bombing, the unspoiled Eden of trust… The lie felt good. The reality sucks.

Reality is your friend here, however. Reality is this creep pretended to love you, conned you into a commitment, let everyone else invest deeply in that con (hope you got the deposits back), and cheated on you with multiple women.

So now you’d like to swap one lie — the hologram you fell in love with — for another lie — the person he could be if he “changes.”

Sorry Carmel, the person he is is that guy who “never really took ownership of his mistake and said he was just having fun, even blamed me in front of his friends for the whole thing.”

That’s the REAL HIM.

Betraying you was a bit of “fun.”

That’s your prize there.

What you’ve got is a classic case of “Trust That He Sucks.” The hopium vapors are still dissipating. You’re still clinging to the wreckage. Let go.

1.) Let’s buy the reconciliation narrative for a moment that he’s changed (he won’t, but okay). The Wizard of Therapy gives him a new heart. Now you’re back together again and he’s wonderful! He’s so into you! He wants to commit to you forever!

You’ll never trust him again. How could you? He was super into you before the whole time he was fucking other women. He’s really good at fronting lies. The who-he-really-is question will haunt you. It doesn’t matter if he changed, he destroyed the trust.

Still convinced he’ll change? Here’s a study an alert chump turned me on to, about serial cheaters. Shock! They go on to cheat again. Clearly they aren’t succeeding at the 17K fuckwit ranch retreats.

2.) It doesn’t matter who he is for the next woman, he broke this relationship. You must rebuild. I know that’s exhausting, just thinking about it. All that time and love you invested in this person — can’t you get that investment back? Nope. You can only learn from it. Whatever those red flags were? Pay attention. Fix that picker. Go be awesome without him.

3.) He’s sick to do this. If you really need to detach, keep reminding yourself of this. Healthy, sane people who make good life partners would never do this. Only really disordered, shallow, mindfuck freaks do this. Courtship, engagement — this is supposed to be the loveliest part of romance — it’s the high. It’s life before kids and a mortgage and the disillusion of a thousand annoyances. He couldn’t even sustain THAT. He couldn’t even be there for you when it was wonderful. Now imagine who he’d be if you had cancer, or your mother died, or you lost your job.

Time for that cliché — you dodged a bullet.

Please don’t stand up and take another hit.

***

This one has been updated. Trust That They Suck is evergreen.

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  • Similar story and similar worry here.

    But I know that even if he is faithful to his newest fiance, he’s still a lying cheater that got off on deceiving me. When I kicked him out and didn’t try to reconcile – that was the first time in his 55 years that he got significant consequences for his bad behavior.

    Maybe that does help this current woman. It doesn’t matter because what he did to me, and to others before me, is his true dark heart.

    • They dont change. My ex got engaged to a woman I knew. From the outside it looked like he had changed for her. After she kicked him out, I talked to her. He got worse. So if they do change, it isnt for the better. They just get better at image management.

      • Yup. I had a dangerous ex in college who was already a skilled liar and sociopath at 21. By that age, he already knew how to isolate people, create plausible deniability, and do smear campaigns to harass his victims and throw bystanders off his tail.

        He learned to cover his tracks better as he got older and by his 30s married a younger woman who was naive and willing to overlook ridiculous behavior. By then he’d started moving across the country every few years, changing friend groups as he burned bridges. He got smart.

        His image management only worked on the vulnerable and gullible in our 20s. He’s in his 40s now and I have no idea how he’s doing, but I have no doubt he’s honed his skills.

    • Same here. Divorce was the first time in his entire life he had real consequences for his abuse. And my divorce attorneys were the first people in my entire life to stand up for me

  • Am I understanding this statement from the study correctly?

    “Those who knew that their partners in the first relationships had engaged in ESI were twice as likely to report the same behavior from their next relationship partners. Those who suspected their first-relationship partners of ESI were four times more likely to report suspicion of partner ESI again in their next relationships.”

    So if you are a chump once you are more likely to see the signs in the next relationship? Or once a chump always a chump?

    Help a tired sister out!

    • That’s one way to read it. Personally, I see it as there are a lot of entitled people out there. Date for character and reciprocity. And fix the picker best you can, but at the end of the day, there’s you, your resiliency, and what you’ll tolerate. I don’t think chumps are doomed. And I have a hell of better data set than that study of 1600, or whatever it was. Millions in CN.

      • Ever thought about a study using your data set? Like the January 6 hearings, it would provide real data/facts to silence Big Lies

    • I focus on the fact that it’s not clarified in the study whether the same chumps learned how to avoid the signs (some people even after being cheated still don’t consider it a dealbreaker, sadly). The fact that the study didn’t seem to consider that as a variable is very odd. It also doesn’t clarify whether they suspected ESI in their previous relationships at the time or subsequently, in retrospect. But to be honest, this study feels shady all around.

    • I think that second statistic reflects the reality that if you think your partner is cheating on you but you don’t have hard evidence, and divorce, you carry the effects with you. In a subsequent relationship you are hyper-alert for similar behaviors, and as a result never fully trust your partner.

      • And here lies the biggest tragedy of all. A part of you dies and is never truly available to a person that is worthy

        • Perhaps an unavoidable small part but I decided that my cheater was not going to take from me the ability to trust. I’m remarried to a guy who is as loyal as a labrador. I do have an occasional crazy thought but they are outlier bursts that leave as quick as they arrive.

          If the disillusion of a thousand annoyances doesn’t kill me (he has bought 7 butter dishes since we married) we will grow old together.

          • I keep telling my daughter that annoyances are different from character issues. No one will never annoy you (7 butter dishes???) but a worthwhile partner will be wide open to discussion if you have questions/concerns about any matter of character. My daughter seems to have married a man of fine character, it’s easy to spot the differences when we’ve been through the FW shit storm – and I’m not even talking about the cheating, just the FWing. (Hey I think I just made up a verb.😜)

          • What an angel. He apparently doesn’t mind if you eat butter. lol.

            Full disclosure: one of the many things klootzak criticized me for is that I enjoy butter. It’s clearly so much more immoral than him being a lying cheater.

            • Using butter was one of my failures, along with occasionally ordering french fries, cream in my coffee, all frowned upon.
              A cheater who portrayed himself as highly moralistic and superior.

              • Oh fuck! I was married to one of those assholes too! He would even refuse to eat dinner in a restaurant if he could look down his nose at me telling me I had no “self-control” for being hungry!😡 I only ever weighed 20 lbs over the weight we met at & that’s because I had given birth!! It’s hard to believe I spackled so much for someone who never deserved me!!!!

  • Carmel,

    Who your Ex becomes for his AP is irrelevant (and bear in mind that Cheaters don’t change in the main, they just move onto new victims). What matters is who he was for you. In this case, he was unworthy of you.

    It may help if you frame this in terms of “he sucks and his AP won a turd.”

    It does get easier; in time you will realise that you dodged a bullet here.

    LFTT

    • My struggle—-it is hard to think I dodged a bullet because i was married for 30 years…by all accounts happy, etc….until he walked out, filed, and is now remarried to AP….. to my knowledge it was his first affair…..I cant help but believe he is just happy …. if it took him 30 years to totally implode our family I doubt he will do that again. i welcome thoughts, observations, help in understanding……

      • Pennstategirl, I have the same story as you. Mine left after 20 years, married his child bride and by all accounts they are happy. He got incredibly old really quickly after leaving us and I don’t see him trading his young wife (who he brought over from another country after a business trip) for anyone who would date him now. He may be prone to cheating but he will probably keep his current hand. Whether or not she will trade up after the green card is finalized remains to be seen…….

        I’ve written it all off as a bad investment. If he’s happy, whatever. If he gets dumped, I wouldn’t be devastated 🙂 ….If I never date again, I’ll be ok, living life on my own terms. I’m just glad I survived those first few years. Hang in their newbies, it gets so much better.

        • Getting……I have to reframe it as a bad 30 year investment……Mine left for someone HIS age (60)….Idk if thats better or worse than leaving for a child bride…..But, in the end I guess it does not matter……As my therapist has been telling me for 3 years—EH choices reflect on HIS character and inability to connect/bond…..not mine. For that I am grateful.

          • Penn State girl. It took me all day to take a deep breath and respond to your comment because it pains me so much

            I was also married for 30 years, aIl tho I was calling divorce attorneys very early in the marriage because I knew there was something wrong with him.

            I never left. I felt I had to stay to protect my children and I had to keep trying to hold my life together and maybe I had enough ego to believe that I could keep the marriage together, but in reality I couldn’t.

            He was abusive emotionally and sexually and online cheating. Yet, he was very upset that I divorced him, he was very upset about the divorce settlement and he promised in the mediation that if I accepted the settlement he would never talk to me again and he has held to that.
            My divorce attorneys were only trying to protect a woman who had been married for 30 years and who is now in her late 50s
            We have two adult children and he does not communicate with me.
            His business was destroyed in Covid but he has since recovered apparently at least publicly on LinkedIn etc. very well, he is dating women that I know he considers to be more professionally accomplished than I am and potentially better looking at now

            I believe he is happy and I believe he will never be in another situation like he was with me, because he will probably never have children with anyone else and have to make the kind of sacrifices that narcissists cannot make

            Like you, I believe mine is happy and I have a hard time believing when people try and comfort me and say oh they’re miserable on the inside – I’m not so sure. It doesn’t take much to make a shallow person happy
            This sunk cost in this relationship causes me huge pain and the shattering of our family destroys me. And I don’t think he cares that much
            I will also Take any input from anyone who has been able to relieve the pain – I’ve been divorced about a year and it’s not getting any better, Sometimes as he moves on, it actually gets worse

            • I feel for you Meanwell. No contact helped me, and it also helped the ex to move on without a backward glance. I think he expected that I would make more fuss, beg, plead but I moved to divorce as soon as I had the emotional and physical strength (I lost a lot of weight dangerously quickly and was physically very weak). Coming to terms with the fact that he didn’t care about me, that I was just another body to fill in space for 26 years while his exgf was married to someone else and on another continent, has been very hard. People say, ‘it was a long marriage, he did care at some point’ are wrong. The ex really didn’t care. It would have been comforting if he had shown that he cared at some point and I would have grasped at that. The fact that he took to no contact so readily reinforced for a long time the view he expressed that I was worthless and that he was doing the right thing. And of course he had been in a relationship with his exgf since the age of 17, and it lasted as an emotional affair and then a physical relationship for which he left me until to date, so 39 years, longer than my relationship with him. I believe that the ex is happy now, insofar as he is capable. He hasn’t changed for her, but is who he is with her and she accepts his alcoholism which pre-dated me, his sulks, his dullness, his discontent, his petulance etc. And I am better off without that as we age, although that is often a bitter pill for me to swallow.

              Where I disagree with you, and it’s a small point, is that having or not having children predicts future behaviour. People with strong narcissistic traits can’t change the way they behave unless they invest in doing a lot of work on themselves. That work isn’t done while in a new relationship. The fact of children is irrelevant because there are a myriad of other areas for them to be selfish about. I don’t have children but the ex was very capable of being narcissistic regardless.

            • I don’t think they’re ever truly happy. They’re good at image management and manipulation.
              They can’t run away from themselves or who they are.

              Normal people don’t walk away from a 20 or 30 year relationship as if it never happened.
              Walking away without looking back is intentional, one more twist of the knife.
              A person who is happy doesn’t enjoy intentionally hurting people.

              Trust that they suck.

            • Mean—–I am sorry my comment was so upsetting to you; God knows we have had enough pain to last a proverbial lifetime. I hope you are feeling better today. Untangling the skein….it NEVER leads to an understanding, acceptance, resolution of the “why”. Brit made some observations a few posts down and they are exactly what my therapist has been trying to get into my thick Sicilian head for the past 3 years. My gosh…SO much support here in CN….Wisdom born of pain. And, IT DOES GET BETTER even though some days are worse than others. Be gentle and good with yourself…sending you a hug.

              • Saw this. Thank you. Do not apologize for your comment it is not your fault that the reality of our situation is painful. I am glad you posted and I feel a shared experience. So many 20 30 40 year Chumps responded that was really good to see. We can help each other heal
                I hope people continue to post their healing journeys And sending a hug back

        • he will maybe be happy and delluded.. got a younger wife or bought a younger wife? even if she doesnt trade him.. she will most probably cheat on him… when I was young and abroad i met girls like that married to old rich guys so that they could get a better life… well both of them cheated on the guy they were with… one was a serial cheater… the other fell in love with a younger boy and created a mess of tears and drama… not sure one can be happy living a fake life

        • Me generalising perhaps but I think men who gravitate towards young women from other countries have avoidant attachment, ie, do not prefer true emotional or intimate connection, rather they enjoy doting company that does not challenge, converse, question or otherwise threaten them. It’s why they can drop marriages for teen brides – they were never truly attached in the first place.

          • I see older men that pursue younger women from other countries as pathetic losers. The countries are usually 3rd world and the younger woman is desperately looking to better her life. In a way she prostitutes herself. The funny part or I guess what we would consider karma is that the initially submissive, ego stroking young woman turns into a banshee after she has secured the dumb sap.

      • PSG,

        It’s hard, but I’m now at a point where I just don’t care whether Ex-Mrs LFTT is happy or not. What I do know (and which makes me very happy) is that she’s no longer making my life miserable by cheating/lying/stealing/manipulating/gaslighting and, because she has so little contact with our children (11, 16 and 18 when she left us, but now 18, 23 and 26), she’s not making their lives unbearable either.

        As an aside, I am very confident that she’ll be doing to her AP what she did to our kids and I, so I actually feel pity for him. I guess that he thought that he was hooking up with and eventually “won” his ex-girlfriend from when they were both in their early 20’s …. I know now that they had an affair when he was newly married and before she met me and then returned the favour when she was married to me and he was divorced.

        He should have done his due diligence; what he actually won was a lying, cheating, narcissistic and abusive alcoholic ….. he is one dumb b*astard.

        LFTT

        • LFTT—TY for your thoughts—-what does CL alaways say?? They never trade up??? Although I cannot say I was unhappy because of EH’s behavior during the marriage (I am a Hit and Run), I honestly can say that he also is a dumb bastard because he married a serial adulterer….. he was wifetress’ 5th affair and the only one dumb enough to marry her and in the process throw not only me but his 2 adult daughters away like garbage…..as wifetress did to HER family. As you said, they HAVE to be pitied…..No integrity, empathy, or character whatsoever. So much for EH being an Eagle Scout or Altar Boy…..YIKES.

          • PSG,

            I’d say that both of our f*ckwits traded way down. My SIL (her half-sister and who Iget on with very well) still – 7 years out – cannot believe that Ex-Mrs LFTT traded me and our kids for her AP; in her view, he has the square root of minus f*ck all going for him. Similarly, Ex_Mrs LFTT’s relationship with our kids is utter garbage …. and all of her making.

            More fool them and “go us and our kids.”

            LFTT

      • Being happy =/= changing into a better person though. I can’t say if you’re ex is happy or not but there are plenty of people who do horrible things and are quite satisfied if it gets them the things they want. I had a family member who was badly beaten during a mugging and at the perpetrator’s sentencing, when they were supposed to show remorse in the hope of leniency, said that it wasn’t worth it because he didn’t get very much money off the victim.

        • LC……you are so correct……there is a world of difference between being happy and being a good/ better person…..

      • Take a hard look at the ex’s living circumstances. In my case the poor dear would have had to compromise on some aspects of his ideal sailing dreams. It has taken me a while to see it but what he wanted was someone who was PASSIONATE about sailing opposed to someone who was happy to just vaguely enjoy it.

        • EH’s living circumstances are such that he moved to a new city very far away with supposedly a new job that doubles, an already excellent income….HOWEVER, his 2 adult daughters have not spoken to him in 3 years so I would say his ‘living circumstances’ are pathetic, unimaginable but his own fault. The love, respect and support of my daughters is priceless.

      • Isn’t the question here not whether he is happy but whether he changes for this new wife? He may indeed consider himself happy, based on what passes for his values and priorities, which don’t include loyalty, honesty, fidelity, caring about the effects of one’s behavior on one’s family, etc. So happy is as happy does–and his happiness rests on unsavory behavior he will further warp his character in engaging in the mental gymnastics to justify his actions.

        • Adelante,

          I suspect that they don’t change. I think that they just move on to a new victim; a victim who hasn’t seen them for who they really are yet. There is nothing worse for a Cheater than knowing that those closest to them see them for who they truly are.

          LFTT

          • You nailed it Looking forward to Tuesday.
            I ripped the mask off when I discovered he was seeing prostitutes, Craigslist Randos and 2 mistresses (he’s with second round draft pick now; she thinks she’s #1).
            In FW’s mind, I am evil and should be banished as I discovered who he is. AP is on a pedestal as she idolizes him ($).
            It’s very clear to me. THEY are the ones who live in a fog.

          • I suspect they only change when they’re too old to get it up and, even then they probably just take up new, gross behaviors. Whoever ends up the last one standing with these guys is in for hell on earth.

      • Penn,
        Same story here for me.

        It’s hard….really hard….excruciatingly hard…But, I’ve realized that someone “being happy” and “pretending to be happy” are not the same thing. My ex certainly “seemed happy” for our entire dating history and 25 year marriage. I was figuratively hit by a 2×4 when he said “we aren’t happy.” But he left with a list of discontents – shallow though they were. I think he “pretended to be happy” until he found another victim. He could not bear to be alone so he monkey branched. It sure sucks to realize your reality was a mirage. I don’t care if he lives to 90 with his 21 years younger wife. What I care about, and need to work on, is being able to trust another person – friend or romantic partner – whole-heartedly again. That’s the painful legacy he left with me.

        • Duped…..I got the discontents too…..Number 1 being he “he came after the kids and the cats”….My therapist met with him ONCE for one hour and told me he is very unhappy and angry on the inside and it has nothing to me…..she told me to run like my hair was on fire….. he filed for an annulment 2 months ago, to my shock and disgust, and the priest in the diocese who oversees these matters told me that after reading my EH’s 9 page “testimonial” that the priest felt it should be annulled on the grounds that EH has mental issues and was clearly never able to function in a sacramental union (Catholic Church) I have declined to participate and told the priest/diocese to not apprise me of anything further. A Mirage, indeed.

      • He hid the last affair from you pretty well, you can safely assume that there may have been others you never found out about. And why wouldn’t he do it again? It didn’t take him 30 years to implode your family, it took him making one selfish and destructive choice.

      • I think your husband’s “unhappiness” was that he was a little bored with his normal everyday life with his family.
        He married his affair so he wouldn’t be alone and as justification for destroying his family (and undying and divinely ordained love, of course).
        He is probably now living reasonably contentedly with his new wife and keeps his feet still and his trousers zipped, since he has no desire to go looking for a new companion at his age.
        Asshole-behavior, justified by the right to personal happiness.

        • Covert Narcissism at its finest and if ANYONE can be TRULY HAPPY knowing they devastated and destroyed those they were meant to keep safe, thats the very definition of disordered.

          • Good point! That says a lot about them- like being happy with your new $ even though you robbed an elderly person to get it!

            – I’d like to see a Friday challenge with analogies.
            « Being happy with your cheating partner is ….
            or something along those lines

          • Exactly this👆 I asked for an apology for destroying our family, our marriage of 27 years & he just laughed at me,
            like a madman,
            then said he’d done nothing wrong, after previously admitting he was cheating,
            then denying that he ever said that, gaslighting gold medalist,
            he hasn’t spoken to our sons in over 4 years but that apparently is their fault….
            I still have to share a house with this twat till the sale goes through,as he won’t leave as the girlfriend dumped him!!
            I wear earphones at home a lot & can’t wait to be free, almost Tuesday

          • YES pentstategirl!
            I’ve recently seen pics of FW and AP posted and they’re with many friends celebrating Canada Day. Camping, Pot luck dinners, adult drinking games, their new travel trailer. FW is smiling in most pics. But, our daughters psyches will never be the same. He lost the only person who truly loved him (myself. AP likes money).
            He had such contempt and harboured so much resentment towards me (after his mother died, who he had estranged relationship with). Yet he faked being “happy” right up until he abandoned – then announced to the world “we weren’t happy.”
            He had a life most men would give their right arm for. Yet he was miserable, bitter, angry and a serial cheater.
            Does that sound like a happy fellow?

            • Chumpadellic….It sounds, as someone said in a previous comment, like an empty husk of a person.

          • I remember klootzak not wanting to take out life insurance. He said he didn’t want to “waste” his money on a benefit he would never see. He said it was just to make me sleep better at night so eff that’s. I asked how to raise our child if he predecessors me. He said to sell off everything we own and figure it out. So he didn’t give a damn for his own child, either. On the heels of his father dying, I would have to take him out of his school, sell the house and everything, and move off to someplace else. Gee… no disruption to the child’s life at all. Klootzak just didn’t care for anyone but himself. Disordered, indeed.

            I know that anyone he hooks up with or even marries is just a means to an end. He doesn’t know love at all. And I don’t care.

      • Who knows? Who cares? I couldn’t and didn’t know anything about his feelings and intentions when he was cheating. Everything I believed in good faith was a lie. I know less now. Isn’t it perpetuating the abuse to even care, especially when it’s over? If it does help to give him another moment of my previous mental energy, then why not say he’s super unhappy and go on with my life?

      • There’s nothing worth understanding. He is a person of no integrity. Zero. I doubt it was his first rodeo… probably just one that was available for him to monkey branch to.

        It’s not worth sticking your head in the blender to sort out. Fuck that guy. Move on.

      • Dear PennStateGirl,

        Your doubt is understandable. I was married to Boss Hogg for 29 years with two great kids. Your “…to my knowledge it was his first affair…” I would bet my new house that it wasn’t your FW’s first rodeo. Why? Because they lie. They don’t just tell lies – they LIVE them. And sometimes it takes multiple affairs for them to build up to the total discard. But even if that isn’t the case – he is still the same soulless shark-eyed cockroach who deceived and dumped you. No prize. He will not change because he cannot. And even IF he could, it’s irrelevant- he blew up what you thought you had with him. He devalued you.

        They implode faster as they age.

        My soulless X remarried (not to the AP I discovered – to MY knowledge), and she is stuck with his rapidly-declining health and his sleeping all day. If he were upright, he’d be cheating. He likes the power imbalance. They ALL do, that’s what cheating is about. Otherwise, they would end one relationship like adults before embarking on another. Nah. Being faithful is boring to them – and not something they are good at.

        So, PSG – you DID dodge a bullet! You get to rebuild a life for yourself, and as daunting as that feels to begin with, it gets easier & better and BETTER. This is the polar opposite of winning the fateful pick-me dance of looking over your shoulder, marriage policing, and STD-testing for the rest of your life (#askmehowiknow). Bonus: no invalid adult diaper changing and ass-wiping as your reward for your love and faithfulness!!!

        Trust that he sucks, you Nittany Lionness!!

        • ChumpDiva…….THANK YOU for your observations and comments….they truly mean alot and are taken to heart. Living a Lie…CHECK. Soulless, shark-eyed cockroach….CHECK. Deceit and Devaluing….DOUBLE CHECK. I have been NC since shortly after DDAY. Its been 1 year since divorce was final and I see it getting a bit easier and somewhat better. This Nittany Lionness (LOVE THAT!!) sends you a WE ARE roar!!!!!

      • Me too pennstategirl. It was 29 years then 4 years of wreckonciliation.He left for schmoopie #2( that I knew of). He’ll behave ( or pretend to) because she’s of use– a sex toy, sugar manna,mommy and nurse. Its painful to say the least.

  • 3 years and 2 supplies later he’s found the ONE. She’s moving in soon and already has a kid so it’s a ready made family.

    I’m NC but my kids report that he’s EXACTLY the same but worse.

    They don’t change.

    • My uncle was odd. That was my family’s attempt to explain his disordered behavior for 40 years. He was lazy, chronically unemployed and underemployed, borrowed money he never paid back.

      The mask came off when he found a new sucker (his 2nd wife) and didn’t have to fake it anymore: He robbed my grandmother’s house, left town with numerous outstanding debts, and filed a frivolous lawsuit against my dad trying to get his hands on their mother’s money. When the lawsuit didn’t work, he stalked my father and started committing arson.

      His reign of terror ended thanks to Covid. He died in the first wave, because nobody was gonna tell HIM to stay home.

      The guy was a piece of shit to his dying day. I tell survivors not to look for signs of change, because it never happens. Value systems are baked in by the time a person hits adulthood.

  • According to Jr. (our son), Cheater #1 cheats on his current girlfriend and treats her like crap more 20 years after our divorce. Same ole, same ole.

    • If anything, they treat the next one worse because crime is always escalated.

      He blew up and showed his antiques very early on in his new relationship. Imposed his conditions on this younger, more impressionable model. When he met me, he had nothing going on for him, while this one he was able to impress with work achievements and wealth, so he could get away with more and he knew it. All his resources are bargaining chips.

    • My father treated my step mother just as bad as my mom. Then there was his live in girlfriend who he didn’t treat very good either. They don’t change for anyone else.

  • “he never really took ownership of his mistake and said he was just having fun, even blamed me in front of his friends for the whole thing.”

    Yeah, my eyes just rolled all the way to the back of my head and now they’re stuck there.

  • Cheating is a character disorder.

    As CL says, “they don’t magically get a personality transplant because they’re with someone new.”
    They cheat because they can.

    “Trust that he sucks.”

  • these folks are empty and you can’t fill empty, although they definitely try: sex, alcohol, drugs, work, shopping, etc.etc. it’s definitely tiresome.

    carmel, repeat a mantra:

    1. he is incapable of intimacy
    2. he is unwilling/unable to address his issues
    3. our relationship was destined to fail because of 1. and 2.
    4. i deserve better

  • I’ve struggled with this. In my imagination, I see x and now wifetress supremely happy together–puppies (ugh, I heard they did get one), unicorns, sunny skies, a fish with every cast (his personal fantasy), rainbows, gourmet food, and great sex. I feared that I was simply not right for him and that she IS right for him.

    I suppose there might be some truth to that. Both are cheaters after all. They might argue that the heart wants what the heart wants, and forces beyond their control, like powerful magnets, jammed their genitals together. Now that they are finally able to bask in their love that was MEANT TO BE, they are finally content.

    Alas, the mind plays tricks. Both are cheaters. x is a covert narcissist. He’s moody and mean. Not always, but often enough that I made excuses for him for 35 years. Soooo, I know he can’t/won’t change no more than I can change.

    Recently I received unexpected confirmation that x is the miserable FW I know him to be. I heard from an accountant that we both use that x “has changed” and has been sending “really angry” emails. lol. And this person was someone my x used to try to impress.

    x’s mask is off. He can’t hide Mr. Hyde.

    I’m mostly at meh, and yet, I’ve got the 🍿 ready.

    p.s. Here’s the real kicker and what I should focus on: I AM HAPPIER now. FW really wasn’t right for ME. And I’m fortunate to have a new partner in my life who likes to say, “His loss is my gain.” No rainbows here or puppies (although I love them), but we do enjoy a good gourmet meal now and again.

    • Similar timeline (and fears) to your story.

      I just remembered that my divorce lawyer’s assistant said FW acted confused and irritated at being asked to drop off my few remaining personal papers at the law office. Once he got there and realized he recognized the assistant from another setting, he turned on the charm. I had always thought I was married to the “nicest guy in the world”. It was image management.

    • My first FW found another cheater who was absolutely as materialistic and shallow as he was/is. As far as I know, they are still together. I don’t envy either one of them, since I know who they are at their core.

  • Don’t be me… after 35 plus years of marriage I found out the affair was only
    the tip of the iceberg. I had red flags before we married but I loved him so that I ignored them. Please realize your lucky to find out now as painful as it is.
    Don’t waste your love and youth on a cheating narcissist. Good luck stay strong 💪🏻

    • Right there with you, Kathleen. Also 35 years. Also ignored red flags. As I’ve written here before, I saw so many 🚩🚩 that my 22 yo self must have thought I was in a parade.

      ((Hugs)) to struggling chumps. If you’re feeling particularly shitty today, please remember that it gets better. At first, we feel discarded and put the cheater in the lofty position of chooser. But flip that. These people suck and have poor character. We don’t choose THEM.💪

      • Same here 32 yrs married to this thing. I was a stupid 21 yr old virgin who believed all his lies and stories thought I had found the man to spend my life with. ignored that red wave completely and later on I made excuses for them. Divorce will be final in the next few weeks and that woman no longer is here I am a new person. I like the new me much more.

        • If we could have seen their true face from the start, I think most of us would have run the other way. So even though I did the pick me dance and tried to “get him back”, when I finally recognized that this is who he really was all along, I was done and walked away, emotionally as well as physically. I would never have married the man I ended up divorcing.

          • I SAW—–“I would never have married the man I ended up divorcing”……I will add this to my list of BEST insights on CN

          • So true. If 36 years ago he had told me how many people he had f***ed, that he couldn’t keep it in his pants when a girl came on to him, and that he looked at porn mags when he worked, I would have run the other way.

          • Same here. Once I saw who he really is and read more about it and realized there was no fixing it, that out the nail in the coffin. My fear of divorce and sadness about it ended. Once my brain absorbed his true nature, I was emotionally done and ready to get out. Then when he announced that I should find a new place to live? Wow… well… be careful what you’re wishing for there, asshole!

    • Same here! 31 married, together 35. I was a madly in love naive 17 Yr old when I met FW. Like others here there were just so many red flags. Oh how I wished I’d dodged the bullet. But I didn’t and over the years my needs became non existent. I was happy if FW was happy 🤦🏻‍♀️. Then discarded like we all are in the most cruel way. I hit the floor, stayed there for a while then slowly crawled up and out of that dark place. I’m happier now. Life is different, there is no drama and that’s real nice. DDay was July 2020, divorce and settlement finalised this April. I AM FREE!

      Hugs to everyone, especially the newly chumped. If I can navigate this shit show you sure can, I promise it really does get better. ❤️

      • Yay for you! It really does get better. There was a time when I didn’t believe it ever would. But it does. I love hearing stories like yours.

  • People rarely change deeply. Rarely. What you see is mostly what you get.

    If there’s an attitude that drives them to do things that are destructive to the relationship, RUN! That can of course be cheating and/or a belief that they consistently know best and that you are flawed. It can be gaslighting and stonewalling. It can be drugs, alcohol, or other addictions. Any of that, and you need to find your way OUT.

  • I used to call ex Mon Prince (My Prince) because I thought he had rescued me from other men. Well, my prince turned into a frog (or maybe always was). It does appear as if he has changed for Schmoopie. He used to be the particular one who wanted to control me. I twisted my self into knots trying to please him and never could. Now he is doing the same for Schmoopie. He is always trying to please her and it’s never good enough (or so the kids tell me). Apparently his soul mate is just a more extreme version of himself. This used to bother me but not any more. He is now getting a taste of his own medicine. He can be the one spending the rest of his life trying to please someone who can’t be pleased. Meanwhile I am free and independent and only having to please myself. That’s karma.

    • “Apparently his soul mate is just a more extreme version of himself.”

      I can’t imagine better “Karma”.

    • CIR check out Sam Vaknin’s Doormat turns Psychopath. He probably gets off on looking like a downtrodden victim of nasty fish wives.

  • “You’ll never trust him again. How could you? He’s really good at fronting lies. The who-he-really-is question will haunt you. It doesn’t matter if he changed, he destroyed the trust.” One could argue that my STBX did all the right things for reconciling our marriage. But intimate partnership is neither sustainable nor enjoyable if there’s always a niggling sensation that the cheater is lying (even about his feelings). The who-he-really-is question has indeed haunted me. That is no way to experience a marriage. He moves out this weekend.

    • Good for you! This is a big leap toward moving on. Make sure he takes ALL the crap he purchased over the years, not just the useful stuff for his new, single life, so you don’t have to deal with it down the road.

      • Thank you, Sunrise! Appreciate the encouragement. I trust what you say is true – that him moving out helps me move on. We have children still at home, so it’s complicated in that way, but I’m hoping him being out of my day-to-day will bring some relief. How did you know he’d purchased so much crap?? 😉 It’s funny you mention this – it’s one of the things that excites me about him leaving – less stuff in my house.

  • Who isn’t nice when they are doing whatever they want and getting their way? He wanted to marry this woman but that didn’t mean he was going to do anything for her, dedicate himself to her, consider her. This man is probably ‘nice’ to a bunch of people and ‘treats them well’ superficially while betraying them. He might be pleasant with everyone but he’ll also be stabbing them in the back. He’s a monster. So sorry this happened to this woman that’s traumatizing. Pure evil.

    • Robin, that’s it exactly- who isn’t nice when they are doing whatever they want and getting their way?I recognized that it was easy for FW to act as the “nice” guy, because he never took on any responsibilities! Never had to remember anything! Never had to be anywhere on time!! He “helped” often in the beginning, dwindling to not much at the end. But I caught on that his “helpfulness” was totally an act that he did for impressing others. And on his business trips, he was “getting his way.” When he came home, he could weasel out of things by claiming forgetfulness or jet lag.
      He did get irritable when I pressed him to do something.

      Grrr… he just lived like he was happy go lucky because I picked up the slack! For 9 whole years before the first DDay!

  • They don’t change for the cheating accomplice. That relationship included you, therefore they are not faithful or loyal to cheating accomplices either.

    Healthy people don’t do secret double lives. Cheating is a flashing flaming neon warning sign visible from space. A tsunami warning, air raid siren, and glowing red flag all in one.

    I’m not willing to consider anyone with a history of infidelity if I ever date again. I think it’s best if people who are cool with cheating stick together.

    Of the 4000 books I bought during my Amazon Chump phase, ONE LINE from Shirley Glass’s book Just Friends jumped out at me and stuck in my brain.

    “A MAN WITH A HISTORY OF INFIDELITY IS A POOR CHOICE FOR A LIFE PARTNER.”

    This was in the chapter “To The Affair Partner” (?!!!!)

    Shirley, why am I buying your book?! And why are you sticking with your cheating husband?!

    But thanks. That one line was worth it.

    It doesn’t matter what changes he makes. I will never trust him ever again. Let someone else have that fool’s task.

    Ted Bundy was a Really Nice Guy to his girlfriend and her daughter.

    I wouldn’t want to be her.

    • Well put!!

      I would add that even if they never cheat on the new partner, their poor character–lack of faithfulness and loyalty–will emerge in other arenas. For instance, even a grocery-store run is fraught: they’ll lie that all the milk in the store had expired instead of admitting that they forgot to look. When your tool kit includes lying, there’s no limit to the deception.

      And someone who knows the cheater is a liar and/or was part of the affair knows damn well what that person is capable of. Hard to believe there can ever be true trust.

      Of this we can be certain: all cheaters lie. And the lying won’t end EVEN IF they are happier somehow with another partner.

      I stay away from liars with shitty character. Onwards and upwards, Chumps!! We deserve better.

      • Further, I don’t believe people who cheat and lie are “happy”. I believe they think they are, but I fail to see how anyone who lies is capable of happiness or joy. They just don’t occupy the same room IMHO.

        Back to serial killers; they get a lot of pleasure out of torturing, raping, killing….I wouldn’t define that as “happy”.

        Bars are filled with people who are acting all happy at 2am. Drunk isn’t happy, but it can sure seem like it.

      • Ex went on to marry a woman who wasn’t born when we married. She’s not the Owhore & we’ve never met. But since Ex has shown himself to be a lying sack of shit one of 2 conversations with new wife had to have happened: 1. He never told her his 24 yr+ marriage ended with HIS cheating meaning his foundation with her is built on lies or 2. He told her the marriage ended because of HIS cheating & she believes his lies that he’s changed – another foundation of lies.
        So no matter what he projects to the new people in his new world, his life is a lie.

    • I own a company.

      I would never hire an accountant or a bookkeeper with a history of embezzlement no matter how much they claimed they changed or how long ago they claim it happened.

      If I hired a bookkeeper or an accountant and found out they had embezzled and hidden this fact from me, that would be all the more reason to fire them. If they are going to work as bookkeeper or an accountant, it’s not going to be for me.

      Cheating on a partner is not in my history. Even in my early years when I was an active addict/alcoholic (age 15-22), I never did that. I was 19 years old, in college, and out on a date with an older man when I saw a tan line on his wedding ring finger (meaning white skin in a ring around his finger when the rest of his hand was tan). I quickly figured out he was probably
      married. I was pissed and told him to take me home immediately. I was a really messed up kid with plenty of issues and no self esteem for sure, but I never cheated or was a side piece. Maybe I had more self-esteem than I realized.

      There are legions of people in the world who are OK with cheating, and I don’t want to ever be with one of them.

      • We had an accountant (2011ish)that was discovered to have commingled our investment funds with his personal funds. We didn’t discover it, we trusted him, another client requested a a forensic audit. He had taken $32000 from the ex and another $32K from me.

        He had the audacity to ask if he could still do our taxes after our funds were returned (via his mother-in-law, to avoid jail). Cheaters cheat and think you should be ok with it.

      • Velvet Hammer wrote, “I would never hire an accountant or a bookkeeper with a history of embezzlement no matter how much they claimed they changed or how long ago they claim it happened.”
        I don’t own a company but I am on the Board of a very large HOA (our Contingency has over 4 MIL in it). As you could guess, it’s very difficult to find people willing to volunteer for the Board. We had a guy that owns 2 rental units volunteer and he was duly ‘elected.’ He had the qualifications — loads of Board experience and some stints as Treasurer. When he began pushing to replace the current Treasurer because she was resigning, I looked him up in the courts system. He had declared bankruptcy several times; he had lawsuits against him etc. I began a behind-the-scenes campaign to not allow him to have the position. One of the Board members wondered aloud if I was being vindictive. It’s still surprising to me how much people are willing to overlook.

  • The “you dodged a bullet” comment is something I’ve heard often. Yet, I feel like it went through me! Why do people say that if you actually married the FW?
    Now on to Paul Newman and the show about him and J. Woodward on HBO.
    Apparently their kids wanted it made to pay homage to their amazing parents. They were cheating for 2 yrs while he was married. Tons of wreckage for 1st wife. Yet, their FW marriage is revered as are they.

    People seem to really accept betrayal when the FW couple seem happy….it makes it all ok. Think Brangelina at the time. OW is rarely slagged for her complicity. Ugh.

    One last ugh….many of these cheater stories are about serial cheaters. Some of us were dumped for a singular act of betrayal – a twu wov cheating partner.
    These FW’s don’t seem as horrific on paper and they can justify their behavior more easily (we didn’t mean for it to happen, I wasn’t happy blah blah, I’ve never even wanted to cheat before).

    It just seems that cheaters are always judged on the quantity of their betrayals, or the length of a betrayal. And although it’s frighteningly worse for STI’s, it only takes one short betrayal to bulldoze the life of the chump.
    I have to remind myself the the FW in my case sucks big time and is no prize, even though he seemed pretty perfect apart from the hit and run.

    • I got dumped for a single “twu wov” AP and it felt pretty awful. He even told me that he wasn’t like those other cheaters because he actually loved her. I told him that made him worse because it means he actually put a lot of time and energy into forging this relationship with her. I feel fortunate that the AP is a bit of a head scratcher. I don’t think he’s upgraded and neither does anyone else. I can see how it would be hurtful for the world at large to approve of the replacement.

    • Zip, thanks for bringing up Newman and Woodward’s affair. I had always admired those two and, until I read the NYTimes article about the moving this am, had no idea their marriage started as an affair.

      Dammit.

      Also, re your comments about your own marriage. It’s especially tough if the cheater “seemed pretty perfect apart from the hit and run.” Ugh. I’m sorry.

      • Zip articulated what I could not……Yes, I was a Hit and Run. TY Spinach for your insights…..Our stories are amazingly similiar. Pick your Poison……Hit and Run v. years of abuse, arguing, etc…..I guess in the end all that really matters is the YOU life a live of honesty and integrity. Baby steps to meh…..

        • Thanks Penn and Spinach,

          It’s just …. some FW’s are so obviously horrible, some OW’s are super obvious downgrades-
          Then there’s the A. Jolie do gooders in the world, and the Newman, Woodward couples who were philanthropists.
          The list goes on – the Julia Roberts who are still happily married to the married guy she poached (and said it was the best decision she ever made).
          I’d like to hear CL’s thoughts on these type of cheaters – the ones who simply think they met someone better and or more suited to them (often younger where male FW’s are concerned) and go for it.
          Some of them live happily ever after with no consequences.
          It’s harder for the chump to not feel like the loser, when the FW’s and cheating partners have a lot going for them
          ( besides integrity of course).

          • The cheating do-gooders…I struggle with this too. Julia Roberts seems so cool, but it’s real, real hard for me to reconcile her mate-poaching. Same with Newman/Woodward. Whatever the hell happened to Newman’s first wife Jackie Witte? Like seriously, what happened? She had to sit and watch N/W skyrocket to fame, wealth and “power couple” status? How awful.
            For years, along with so many others, I adored the entity that is Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, until I read on this very site (then went and researched) that their relationship began as adultery. Yet the world brushes it all aside. Hanks’ first wife Samantha Lewes died at age 49. It’s hard not to wonder if it was a result of having to watch Hanks/Wilson end up in a position similar to Newman/Woodward.

            • Not Hanks and Wilson too :((.
              This is my point. FW in my case was Tom Hanks nice, not perfect- but who is? They aren’t all difficult, obvious scumbags across the board.
              I think it’s easier if the FW in your life was problematic in so many ways beyond cheating, that it feels like coming up for fresh air to be rid of them.

              What do we do with the ‘nice people’ cheaters?
              Their kids don’t seem to mind that that’s how mom and dad got together…..so romantic.
              It’s all reframed as just having been married to the wrong people.

              So Tom Hanks is a fuckwit?!?!??!!!

              • I’ve been married to a “nice guy” cheater too, Zip. Everyone – I mean everyone – loved him. I sometimes find myself wishing he had demonstrated more tangibly terrible behaviors. Like you mention, maybe it would be easier cutting him loose.

              • Yes, ex was super nice & then, one day he wasn’t & 3 weeks later he was gone. If there weren’t legal repercussions he would have totally ghosted me. After all these years my brain still manages to burp up a “what the hell happened?” memory.

              • Yes! I’ve been married twice. 1st H was extremely problematic (diagnosed personality disorder etc), it turned out to be a very very challenging and hurtful relationship.
                Although very painful to have a broken home and all the losses, I’ve never envied any of his many subsequent partners.
                But FW was all super catch wonderful man until DDay.
                And OW is young, gorgeous and successful.
                Sometimes I feel like this story doesn’t fit.
                It’s more like the Tom Hanks betrayal ( what little I know of it).
                Much harder to get on with things and feel lucky to be rid of them, when you really liked being with that person!

              • I’m going to throw this out there, Zip, and see what everyone thinks…I do think there can be situations where you simply marry a person who is not as suitable for you as someone else might have been. It happened with my FW and me. Married almost 25 years; he cheated for the last 6 years of the marriage. I think we both knew we were “settling” for someone who was not perfect for us, but I was 29 and he was 32, and no one else was on the horizon, so we did it. I knew when I got married that someone more suitable might come along, but I made a promise to him, and I never looked for that more suitable person. He, on the other hand, was probably thinking, “this will work for now, but I can always get out of it later via a divorce.” I don’t think he had cheating on his mind when we got married.

                Fast forward and yes, he ended up cheating because he wanted out, and that was clearly the wrong/immoral way out of the relationship. But what is often presented as the moral alternative is to get an “honest” or “fair” divorce. I personally don’t believe that the correct/moral/right alternative to cheating if you’re not satisfied in a marriage is to get a “fair” divorce because there is some point in a long-term marriage at which the detrimental reliance by the other partner is so great that a
                “fair” divorce is not a moral option either. I read an article about infidelity recently that put it pretty well. “As a moral actor, he has a responsibility either to make it work, as earlier generations did, or not to be there. But the ‘not to be there’ must also be seen seen through a lens of moral responsibility, because where there has been very substantial reliance, ‘make it work’ may be the only moral choice.”

                I know this is a bit off topic, but sometimes when I think about, what I’m really upset about is that my life was blown up and 25 years wasted. How that happened (whether he cheated and left, or just left) doesn’t really matter. Cheating is immoral, but so is divorcing absent a mutual decision. There should be some consequences for just walking away after so much detrimental reliance by a spouse, even if you don’t cheat first. Does anyone else in CN from a long-term marriage ever feel this way?

              • CBN, I completely get you.
                The end of a marriage is traumatizing if one person doesn’t want it or didn’t plan for it – cheating or not. People give up a lot with the assumption that marriage will ultimately serve them. Years ago, expectations weren’t so high and people worked with what they had. I also think it’s horrible if one just abandons this huge commitment, without really exhausting all possibilities for mending the union. Otherwise, what the heck is the point?

                Having said that, I think the worst is when people carry on an emotional affair, which leads to sex, and then weigh the pros and cons of who would be the better choice for a partner. You end up with the betrayal of the quick end to your marriage as well as the betrayal of being cheated on and simply replaced.

                Although it’s never ‘equal’ when people split without the cheating, at least it’s a little less skewed, and $ hasn’t been spent on the intruder etc. They both have to start over. Although there’s always one person in the relationship who will be at more of a disadvantage having to start over.

                But I take extra issue with people dumping their partners – affairs or not, only to end up with a younger partner. I could write a novel on that, but I won’t!

    • Paul Newman allegedly engaged in an affair with Nancy Bacon while he was married to Woodward, and there were rumors about other affairs. Of course, that’s a wrench in the works of the ‘happily ever after’ spin that Newman and Woodward put out about themselves, and supposedly Woodward was upset about it being publicized.

    • Paul Newman’s son Scott from his first marriage became a drug addict and died from it. Gee-I wonder if he turned to drugs when his father abused his mother and abandoned them all (Scott had two sisters) for Joanne ? What do you think fellow chumps ? Of course, Paul became a hero when he started a foundation in his late son’s name. Kibbles for him. No-he was a terrible father, doing what he did to his first wife.

    • ah that would explain Paul Newman’s famous comment “why go out for hamburger when I have steak at home”
      thou doth protest too much

    • Zip…great points! What you said also reminds me of Amy Grant and Vince Gill.
      I love their music and I’ve always thought Amy was a talented beauty, but they hurt both families with the affair back in the day.

      They’re still married, and their betrayed spouses moved on with life, but (even as a fan of their work) I’m bothered by how unapologetic they were about cheating.
      The children on both sides were deeply hurt, but Vince and Amy justified their actions as “twu wuv”…the country star and the Christian pop princess who were destined to be, no matter the cost.

      They denied the affair at first, saying that they were “just friends”.
      Years later, they admitted that the affair started while they were working together on the song “House of Love”. Vince’s wife Janis had also found love notes from Amy to Vince, and (it was rumored) Amy’s panties in his golf bag.

        • Agreed, Meanwell. Vince is a talented guy for sure, but he did his first wife and kids dirty. His ex-wife (Janis) was a beautiful woman too, and seemed like a good person.

      • The Christian pop singer 😂.
        Wow, are there any celebrity marriages that didn’t start off with cheating?
        I prefer the stories where twu wov didn’t work out!
        Remember LeAnn Rimes….

        • Right Zip, LeAnn is another one! I loved her music back in the day.
          But it goes to show that we shouldn’t look up to people sometimes.

          Lol yeah, that’s how I think of Amy. She was like a Christian Britney Spears in the late 80’s-early 90’s. A pretty girl with a wide appeal to mainstream audiences, and she could sing different types of songs.

  • Sometimes we Chumps can’t see the forest for the trees. Being chumped reverses that blindness and equips a chump with laser vision forward. That laser vision then becomes a valuable and powerful tool for living a quality life ahead. Part of our personal growth and development is the awareness that things aren’t always what they appear to be. Under the veneer of superficial impression management and dysfunctional coping skills lies a person capable of using, harming and victimizing others. It hurts temporarily to have what we thought was stability and security with a mate ripped away by a Cheater. Ultimately, as time reveals, we’ve been equipped as a result of the experience to carve out far better models of relationship with self and others in the future. Embrace the loss now for further gain later!

    • Latitude, you are so right about this. I think maybe that’s what hurts the most for so many people who have been chumped.
      It’s (as you stated) the realization that nothing is as it seems.

      People who lie without remorse or guilt are built differently.
      It might be learned behavior from childhood or a coping mechanism (they feared consequences, so they lied to avoid trouble).
      I think that is part of the cheater’s mentality. Deep down, they fear consequences and don’t want to take responsibility for anything.
      They lie and deny until they can’t anymore.

  • They don’t change. FW APPEARED to change for the next woman. It made me so angry and hurt to see him treat her kindly and do things with/for her, compliment her, all the things he didn’t do with me at the end. BUT at the same time he was being “kind” to her, he was STILL treating me like crap. If anything, he was far more cruel to me when he was in the new “happy” relationship than he had been before. It LOOKED like they were happy, with their sparkly social media relationship. A fairy-tale romance. All mushy, lovey-dovey, etc. The reality was VERY different.

    I know a lot of chumps don’t get to see it, but I did. OW left FW a few weeks after they moved in together (they’d been seeing each other for about 4 years at that point). Four months after she left him, he killed himself. He left a note (a 24-page letter). Suffice it to say, they were MISERABLE. She left because he became…scary and abusive. The same things he’d done to me, he did to her. Maybe worse. Their home wasn’t a happy one. It was the home of two disordered, selfish people, who were both depressed, anxious, and raging alcoholics. Screaming matches. Physical fights. Lies. OW not only left, she fled the state and changed her phone number. And while it took about 8 years for him to show his true colors to me, it only took four years with her.

    The other thing that really helped me get over this “what if he changes for her” fear was to realized that EVEN THE GOOD TIMES were abusive. He didn’t CHANGE who he was when he started treating me horribly. It was just the next step. The charm, the gifts, the compliments, the taking interest in what I had to say, the sympathy – it was all MANIPULATION. I saw it happening to OW right in front of my eyes. Seeing it happen to another person showed me very plainly that what I had thought was true love and sweet romance was just love bombing. He followed our relationship playbook with OW almost exactly. The same compliments, the same activities, the same dates to concerts or restaurants. I had never been “special”. “Our” things had never been ours. They were just his MO. The “compliments” were done in a way that molded me (and then OW) into exactly what he wanted. Most of them were backhanded criticisms (“you’d look so good in pigtails. I like women with high pigtails.” And then when you’d do what he wanted, he’d shower you with attention, so you’d do it again and again.) I could see that FW was abusing OW from THE VERY START. I saw him criticize her. I saw what it did to her. And yet, like me, she didn’t see it as abuse. Once she was looking at some Funko Pops in a store. She collected them. FW thought they were stupid. But instead of saying outright that she was dumb to like them, he said “I don’t get it” and when she tried to defend the fact that she did like them (with conditions like “I only collect X ones”) his answer was “it’s okay to be wrong”. Once he made a comment about the size of her butt (to be fair, it WAS huge), and while he was behind her, I was not and I saw her face. I watched the pain in her eyes. It was only for a moment, but her face FELL. She shook it off and made a joke, but I knew that it had hurt her. And that night she did not finish her dinner, which was very unusual for her. Over the next couple of years, she went from a normal weight to being so thin she looked sick. And I knew exactly why. Because that’s what he liked. He never came right out and told me (or her) to change. He did it subtly. (I saw all these things because I was pick-me-dancing so hard that I was still around, and also FW was lying and saying she was just a friend, and she was our coworker, and her kids played with our kid, so I got a wonderful /s/ front seat for their relationship.)

    Once he thought he had OW roped in (she’d stuck with him through our wreckonciliation for three months, started the affair when he was very obviously married, and then they had signed a lease together, so I guess he figured she’d stick around through anything) he stopped treating her the same way. Living with someone is very different than spending weekends doing fun stuff with them. There are bills, chores, and in their case, three kids under 8. He couldn’t keep up the façade, and she got to see first hand that I hadn’t been inventing my stories of abuse as a way to smear his good name out of spite.

    They do not change. These sorts of people (in my case I’m 99% sure my ex was a narcissist) do WHATEVER IS EXPEDIENT and will get them what they want. In the case of a new victim, that is being kind and charming. In the case of the ex they want to destroy, it is being cruel and abusive. But it is two sides of the same coin, and it is all about them getting what they want. It was NEVER about you. Not the love and not the hate.

    Not all cases may be as dramatic as mine, but know that even if they stay together and seem happy, they are not actually capable of real happiness. You are, and you got out. You are now free to live your life and be happy. I dont’ envy either of them anymore.

    • Wow. You described it so well, that type of abuse. That’s exactly how my ex is and it is so hard to explain. Because people will dismiss it as not abuse because it is so subtle. But it wears you down. I didn’t see it as abusive until I got away from it and could breathe again and realized how screwed up it was. Now that I’m away from it, it shocks me that I lived like that for 20 years. I’m glad you made it out too.

      • It took a good year or so of being out of it to see how bad it was. And that’s the whole point. They start so subtly and escalate so slowly that by the time it gets really bad, it doesn’t seem so bad to you.

        He broke me down until I had no confidence, no self-esteem, I blamed myself for everything whether it was my fault or not, and he’d excised most of my personality and replaced it with his so I didn’t even know who I was. Even after he almost killed me, I STILL wanted him back. Yay for trauma bonds.

        Looking back, I don’t know how I lived like that. I’m just glad I survived, and was able to rebuild myself. I’m glad you did too. It’s pretty scary once you can get a more outside view.

    • ISTL, I really resonate with what you write – how even the good times were abusive. My cheating ex husband was manipulative and emotionally abusive long before I had any inkling he was a cheater. In fact, I used to claim I would overlook cheating if only he’d give me the love, affection, and validation I was so starved for.
      My cheating ex-boyfriend OTOH was an expert love bomber. I really believed I was the love of his life. But in the four years we were together, every good experience we had,when there was that ticker constantly creeping across the screen of his brain, with its stream of sexts, OW and prospective OW, clandestine plans being made, etc etc.
      He tainted everything. Every good memory. And now that I finally have the hang of No Contact, the thought of ever being in his presence again sends a cold shiver down my spine.

    • You very accurately described much of what I have lived except that klootzak hooks up with many many OW. But the live bombing and then subtly making you change yourself. Reaching the point where you don’t know who you are any more because you have pretzeled yourself to be who they wanted. And they are the same with the OW.

      I remember while in the RIC, I raised the point that klootzak used a very unique, cutesy nickname for me. And when I found the trove of emails and texts, I found that he was using that same nickname with OW – both ones he had relationships with before me and before/during our relationship and during. And I didn’t want to hear him call me that ever again. EVER. He thought I was being unreasonable and the counselor looked at me and just said, “Well, it could just be that he isn’t very creative.” But it was that me and all OW were just the same to him. Interchangeable. So I would never envy them or believe he has changed. I know the nickname he uses with them, the dates he takes them on, gifts he buys, and how he is slowly working on criticizing and changing them. He boils the frogs. It’s a modus operandi.

  • I was prone to this thinking as well. He separated from us without a formal announcement using our home as a revolving door for fresh clothes, a meal or scrounge for what he wanted. My insides would twist thinking he was being the person I thought he was for someone else. He was going to concerts but just couldn’t get me a ticket. Nice dinners but without his family. Etc. I knew these things because he’d tell me in his distain filled voice to hurt me. We were young and started with nothing. At this point “ he” was wealthy because it was all his and he could do what he wanted.
    His rental cover ended and he was around more often, more angry and more abusive. I finally realized he was a horrible partner and dad. I literally would have died if I had not left. He was never going to be different for us and with him around it shut down any thoughts he’d be different for anyone because he said he was never going to leave. He is an entitled prick. I had 33 ys invested.
    The divorce was the first consequence he’d ever gotten for his shitty lifestyle that he could not control. He couldn’t bring anyone in to blame which left him wholly accountable. Thank god I did not listen to his shit that we could handle this between us, we can be friends but did go through the court system for a legal agreement. He’s still steaming and using the court for post divorce abuse. I hope the last time was the last time.
    I don’t hear anything concerning his lifestyle now but during the divorce I got a text from someone claiming both he and his father abused her and she got away. She said the ex ran and his father claimed a medical emergency when the police arrived. It may have been fake or bait because she asked if he ever abused us saying he would deny it to everyone even when no one asked if he did. I replied yes but it was in court and I’m not discussing it. I sent my attorney the text before replying because she initially was texting my DD this shit. He dealt with prostitutes. My guess was that he was paying one to stay and using for whatever he wanted and she realized that money wasn’t worth it. I tried to untangle something that was not my problem.
    My point is that I don’t think they change anything other than their manipulative tactics. Everyone can be useful to him. He has always played that if he feels you need him or he perceives you have less than him, he’ll use you until there is nothing left – until he can use you again. If he perceives you have more than him, he’ll use you to get what he wants, condemn you for some perceived slight towards him, abandon you until he needs you again. As my therapist said, “ you are always in their rolodex, they always circle back around.

    .

    • My inner dialogue changed to – it doesn’t matter if he becomes what I thought he was initially for someone else. It will never negate his abuse towards us.

  • The new narrative we chumps must adopt is, “Who gives a shit if this asshole DID change?”

    Cheaters don’t change, but let’s say they could. My response to that is, “Who cares?” This is a radical shift, because we blame ourselves and think the abuse and betrayal are somehow a reflection on US and OUR value. We take the cheater’s refusal to change personally, but why? We don’t have the power to change anyone.

    We MUST reject this line of thinking, including our fears that the asshole will magically change for someone else. This fear isn’t grounded in reality. People are consistent. The perceived inconsistency comes from believing their lies. If we ignore the lies and look at reality, cheaters are actually very consistent in their douchebaggery.

    I have never seen a disordered wingnut change. Personality and values are pretty set by age 25.

    • “cheaters are actually very consistent in their douchebaggery.”

      True. Same with non cheaters, we are pretty consistent. My fw treated me like shit our last few months, basically cut me off the last three months. I never once thought of cheating. I never started lying, I still treated folks with respect. Yes we can improve our skills and demeanor but inside we are who we are. That isn’t a bad thing, but at our core…

  • In his emails to his online AP/catfisher “sole mate,” Fraudster admired her necklaces (worn to highlight her inflated cleavage) and sent her gift cards to buy more, along with tens of thousands of dollars for specific needs and just to make her happy with him. . He refused to buy jewelry for me, although for a while after we married, he’d give me birthday and Christmas checks labeled “engagement ring fund” and already marked VOID so I couldn’t actually cash them. Grandson caught him dumping out and sorting through my jewelry box, so I don’t doubt he stole some, along with my emergency cash.

    Months into separation, he took his new “Life Partner” (a different woman) to the most outrageously expensive resorts at peak season; for vacations, he’d taken me to free rustic company cabins that were always filthy. Life Partner lasted a few months, followed by wining and expensively dining a few other women, then he started a week-long love-bombing of another woman, and within three dates, he had asked her to move in and introduced her over the phone to our child as the new mom he was marrying. Fourth date was later that week on her birthday, and she dumped him. I’m guessing it was because he didn’t give her any of the hundreds of two+-carat diamond engagement rings she had on her Instagram pages.

    It bothered me that he was giving them things he’d been unwilling to give me, although to be honest, I’d never waste our hard-earned money going to five star lodgings at Christmas, or going to breakfast at restaurants that charge $12 for juice. I think the big spending was his attempt to cover up his insecurity about his deficiency as a partner and person.

    His behavior had seemed so out of character that I thought it must be a stroke or similar medical problem, and I feared it was temporary and someone else would end up with the man I thought I married. But looking back, and going through bank records and financial papers, I discovered he’d been screwing me over financially for at least two decades, stealing from me and my family and hiding marital assets. He has character deficiencies and makes no attempt to fix them.

  • “Kind” others, and an AH to you?

    I call that “manipulation”.

    Con artists do it all the time.

    OJ Simpson was very charming to affair partner Nicole and an AH to his wife Marguerite.

    Wonderful people don’t screw around with people in committed relationships, and wonderful people in committed relationships don’t screw around.

    This is a major mindfuck hurdle for most chumps, the old How They Treat Other People mindfuck.

    How they treated YOU, their CHILDREN, the people closest to them, tells the truth about who they really are. And those bloodstains do not come out.

    • It’s interesting you bring up OJ. The first time OJ hit Marguerite, she hit him over the head with her iron skillet. He never hit her again. He did cheat on her.

      Obviously it’s very well documented how he treated Nicole.

      Some people only respect a skillet to the head.

    • “How they treated YOU…the people closest to them, tells the truth about who they really are.” I have wanted everyone else who is in relationship with my STBX to know this: how entitled, arrogant and mean he can be behind closed doors. But it feels kinda crazy-making to try and convince others of this fact. Everyone else sees only his sweet, charming side. (Though my mom did say to me yesterday about him, when I explained that his main concern as we divorce is that I will “bad-mouth” him to the kids: “So self-centered.”) When I try to explain to others the ways he’s hurt me – aside from two years of adultery – I feel like they think I’m exaggerating or that I’m “bitter”. *sigh*

  • So a bit off topic..I’m 71, married 30 yrs, DDay 5 yrs ago; divorced 4 yrs, pretty much at meh – actually my ex just turns my stomach when I see him at family function. Started dating this very nice man who is my age. Problem is I just feel empty. I am not interested in having an emotional or physical relationship with any man. I am content to carry-on without that bother. It has been a long time since I have felt loved or loving towards someone I just feel like a permanent scar has formed around my heart and sadly I’m ok with that. Anyone else feel like this? Like I am just d.o.n.e. With all that. Hugs! Cheaters suck so bad!

    • I’m with you. Younger but totally on your page. Also married 31 yrs.

      I feel that society makes you think you have to be in a relationship…. partners are referred to as ‘the other half’ or ‘my better half’. I struggled with being on my own, feared being alone, scared of being lonely. But here I am enjoying myself. I’m not against meeting someone. My heart is open to it but I have a long list of what I simply will never tolerate. I’m ok being with myself and single. I mostly can’t be bothered 😁.

    • Same here. I’ve had asks, but none were at all guys that I wanted to get to know better. I’m not looking either.

      I spent so many years largely feeling like a single parent that it wasn’t that odd to be a single parent, frankly. Sure I was freaked out when we first separated, but after a year of being apart long-distance, I realized that I was fine. I saw our marriage with wiser eyes and refused reconciliation. I had no trust and no hope left. Zero.

      So after several years of working three jobs, parenting the college kids, and paying the lawyers, I began enjoying my single life. I have paid work, volunteer work, and lovely friends. The adult kids stayed in the area, and we enjoy being around each other. They have nothing to do with their father, their choice.

      Seems OK to me.

    • At our age, husbands are far more dependent on their wives, and wives tend to yearn for independence. It’s a reversal of where our marriages started out — and that’s when our roles and relative power would have been established. I have no urge to remarry. When I left my husband, I left 75% of my workload.

    • I feel the same. I think of it as a scar left from the 36 year marriage (one year post divorce). It is a strong scar that keeps me from feeling sexual desire for anyone, let alone sharing a home and finances, and getting to know stepchildren and family history. I have accepted this as a natural reaction to what happened to me.
      I had 36 years of practice at being unavailable to men & not tuning in to any natural attraction to someone other than my husband.

      This scar It may never heal to the point that I want to seek out intimacy. Old habits of not flirting, & showing only platonic, neighborly interest are deeply ingrained.
      I accept that my life is full with my work, my volunteer work, my hobby groups, my adult children, and grandchildren, so full, that meeting and spending time with a strange man is unlikely.
      I am lucky to find my thoughts drawn more to “should I plant tulips or put in a rose bush by the front door?” than determining where & how to meet unmarried men & being constantly on the lookout for red flags.

      Like someone recuperating from food poisoning, I just don’t feel like eating yet.

      • That is an interesting thought..yrs if being a good wife-(my term). And being in the work place with men-seeing them as colleagues and collaborators rather than anything sexual. Hadn’t thought of it like that.

    • I feel the same and I’m sad about that. Dumped at 59 (for his 52 year old exgf), I’m now 62. I was previously a passionate, warm very sensual woman. The idea of having a relationship with a man now leaves me cold. In spite of all the ongoing therapy, I’m not willing to take the leap of sending out signals that I’m interested in another relationship. I have found, too, that women are wary of me being around their husbands/partners – they should be capable of realising that the last thing I would ever do is become the OW. Even some men look at my finger and hurriedly mention their wives! When I’m walking my dog, wearing the scruffiest outfits! UK society doesn’t know what to do with older divorced women. Perhaps, sometimes, I pity myself and my situation, and I project that feeling on to others. Just another part of the difficulty of gaining a life after a long relationship ends in the brutal betrayal of one spouse by the other. I have no children so will never see the man I shared a bed with again. It often feels quite weird.

    • I was very enthusiastic right after my divorce, but now when I look at other men I just feel nothing. And I have no desire to take on the kind of emotional punishment that I went through in my marriage
      I think we just burn out.
      I would like to say something Pollyanna like never give up etc., but I understand, My heart and soul feel empty as well

    • Hi Thrive

      I’m not sure you do need to be OK with a heart impervious to love.

      A few members have mentioned EMDR and its efficacy. I have found it to be very effective in dealing with my childhood traumas. All of us on this site are dealing with trauma from infidelity and a lot of us with trauma from the past as well. EMDR can heal trauma and do so relatively quickly.

      Yesterday I mentioned to my therapist that I was unable to muster any enthusiasm for another relationship (I also feel like you, numb and detached) and she said it wasn’t surprising given that we haven’t neutralised the trauma from my abusive relationship yet. So I am very hopeful that once we have de-fanged that monster my heart will be healed and I will be able to trust again. I don’t want to just exist I want to live.

      We all deserve a full life, one not defined by the ghastly behaviour of our exes.

  • I find myself sometimes having the same fears, but I think they are an internalized projections of my insecurities.

    When I find myself speaking these fears out loud to my friends or therapist, I can almost laugh at how ridiculous it sounds. Sometimes our mind is able to convince ourselves of fantasies.

  • Overcoming the fear that they will be better for the next woman… and that the next woman is therefore better. It’s such a toxic patriarchal mindfuck.
    Both in my 18-year marriage, where the nail in the cold, hard coffin was his affair with Justafriend coworker AP, and in my subsequent relationship with the Lying Cheating Loser, I overfocused on the OW and my cheating partners and underfocused on myself and what I could in fact control. (Spoiler alert, it’s myself. Myself is what I can control.)
    My ex-husband installed Justafriend AP as official girlfriend the very week I moved out of our house. She used to starve herself during the week so she could eat at the restaurants he’d take her to on the weekends and still remain the petite size he demanded. (She confided this to my then 13/14 year old daughter…)
    It’s been 12 years since I left my marriage. Ex-husband is now a full-fledged alcoholic. He and Justafriend broke up after a couple of years when she wanted to move their relationship forward and he dug in his heels. Ex has basically been single since then. His (formerly our) house looks like shit, and our kids can’t stand to be around him. I’m 95% no contact, 5% grey rock. On rare occasion, a feeling resembling guilt pops up, and I think he wouldn’t be such a wreck if he were still married to me. And I do believe that is true. But then I think, if he wanted to stay married to me, he should have been a good husband to me. And he wasn’t. Ever. Regardless of the cheating.
    When it comes to the LCL, he actively tried to enhance the illusion that he was New and Improved after I dumped him. We remained in contact for a couple of years after I dumped him (this is your brain on hopium) and he’d miss no opportunity to paint himself in a better light – he was drinking less, he was an honest broker, he was even *happy* – all so I’d get the message that it was my controlling, overbearing self that made him lie and cheat for four years straight.
    The one positive thing about being a No Contact fail for all that time is that I got to witness first-hand how he blew apart (what remained of) his life. He’s estranged from his mother and siblings. Has no relationship with his two young adult kids (my former bonus kids). Has no home of his own (lives with an older female coworker who is in love with him). Has fathered two babies with different women within the past two years.
    Yep, definitely a paragon of success and happiness.
    Meanwhile, I have the life I always wanted. The life that would never have been mine had I stayed with either of the two fuckwits I picked.
    My obsession with comparing myself to the OW has also died down. It’s a function of the pick-me-dance that continued to play in my brain long after my body left the dance floor.
    I pity any woman who has the misfortune of encountering either of my exes. And then I shrug and remind myself, not my pasture, not my bullshit.

    • “Regardless of the cheating” I said the same thing. Take cheating off the table and he still hits every other spoke on the wheel of abuse and post divorce wheel of abuse. Once you accept and see it, you can’t ignore or unsee it. Then it comes to making your own decisions.

    • Wow, so many similarities to my situation.

      I very much focused on OW and wondered why she was better than me. But she wasn’t. Not on the outside, even, but for SURE not on the inside. It was when I realized that she truly had shitty character – she cheated on her husband, she slept with my husband, she was nasty to me, she was a total hypocrite that I stopped thinking she was better or that I was at fault because I was somehow deficient. I AM a better person, because I did not and would not do the things that she did.

      FW dragged his feet in the divorce, which I’m sure annoyed AP. My lawyer thought he did it on purpose so he wouldn’t have to marry her. But he had me replaced, publicly, almost as soon as I moved out (privately it had happened before I left). I too smoked the hopium for a long time and got to see quite a lot. AP lost a significant amount of weight and I know exactly why (FW had called me fat when I was only 130 lb). I finally had enough and went grey rock/NC (we had a kid so I couldn’t go completely NC). And FW’s happy life imploded. They were both alcoholics with no self control and a lot of anxiety, depression, and anger. AP left him. He was broke and struggling. He hadn’t had time to line up another AP so he was all alone and couldn’t deal. I was completely over him at that point, so his hoover attempt failed. He’d completely cut off his family and mine and so had no one. Even our kid (8 at the time) was starting to see things, commenting that daddy is a hypocrite, etc. FW finally took his own life because he couldn’t see a way out, and his public image was tarnished by not one but two women accusing him of domestic violence. I too felt briefly guilty, thinking that he wouldn’t have killed himself if I’d recognized the signs, etc. But he made his own choices and ensured that the people who actually cared were nowhere to be found when he needed them.

      Meanwhile, my life is the best it’s ever been. I am happy. I am peaceful. I am content. My kid is doing great (his anxiety and stress are gone). I can live life on my own terms. I’m no longer being abused, not even through the courts or by having my name smeared to my “friends” or whomever. For the first time since I met FW, I am financially stable. I even had enough money to book a vacation (something he and I could never afford), and I’m looking forward to being a solo traveller.

      I briefly pitied AP, but in the end, she chose to get involved with a married man, and chose to believe his lies about me to the point where she also abused me right alongside him. She deserved whatever she got. Maybe she’ll learn her lesson (or not). Not my problem. My ex is dead and can’t hurt anyone else.

  • Velvet Hammer wrote, “I would never hire an accountant or a bookkeeper with a history of embezzlement no matter how much they claimed they changed or how long ago they claim it happened.” She mentioned the Shirley Glass quote, “A MAN WITH A HISTORY OF INFIDELITY IS A POOR CHOICE FOR A LIFE PARTNER.”

    What bothers me are the many friends who say, in essence, “Just because he lied, cheated and stole from you doesn’t make him a bad friend for me.”

    Cheaters’ actions show that they’re bad people. Let’s keep speaking up to change the narrative.

    • >Velvet Hammer wrote, “I would never hire an accountant or a bookkeeper with a history of embezzlement no matter how much they claimed they changed or how long ago they claim it happened.”

      GREAT quote.

      Why do we beat ourselves up and treat our personal standards so differently from common business sense??

    • ““Just because he lied, cheated and stole from you doesn’t make him a bad friend for me.””

      What they don’t want to admit, or maybe it never occurred to them, is that he has already lied to and used them. My fw would tell me he was out riding around with the guys, or he would tell me the mayor needed him to work late. Or Sam’s horse got loose again and I have to go help him find it. Sam’s horse had a knack of always getting out at night.

      He also I am sure when friends asked to “make plans lied about how I couldn’t, I was busy etc. Pairs nicely with the “Susie never had any time for fun” bullshit.

    • And you say to those friends, “If you can be friends with someone who lied, cheated, and stole from me then you don’t actually care about me. I deserve friends who care about me as I care about my friends.”

    • “What bothers me are the many friends who say, in essence, ‘Just because he lied, cheated and stole from you doesn’t make him a bad friend for me.'” I’ve had this implied to me about my STBX, as well as the AP (we had many mutual friends). Ugh.

      • I simply cut every last mutual friend out of my life, and I’m better for it. Anyone who was supportive of his affair and who was happy to believe his lies about me is no friend of mine. Most are still friends with AP.

        Yes, I lost most of my friends. But did I? I’d rather have the few REAL friends I have now than the huge circle of “friends” I had with FW.

    • ‘Just because he lied, cheated and stole from you doesn’t make him a bad friend for me.”’ ???!!!!
      So they are very aware that he lied, cheated and stole from you?
      If someone murdered your dog would they also stay friends with him, because they don’t own a dog?

      Once people I have been educated to the fact that cheating is abuse, you would hope that they would not want to stay friends with somebody who abused their friend.
      There’s a huge blind spot re this in our society.

      Not your friends.

  • I think it is not a question of whether they changed but how long they can keep their mask up. Up until the day he dumped me out of the clear blue sky when I came home from work one Monday, my ex acted the part of a devoted husband madly in love with me.

    The very week before he had left a voicemail on my work phone when I was driving in so I would have it when I arrived before a stressful day, telling me how happy he was, how I was the perfect wife,ch and how much he loved me.

    The night before he dumped me we cooked dinner together, played with the puppy he had surprised me with for Christmas, like everything was wonderful.

    Then he became a person I did not recognize, literally overnight. Anyone capable of that level of deception is an empty husk and any decency is only at their discretion.

    • Our anniversary was days before and he wrote something along the lines of, “I love you more this year than last but not as much as I will next year.” Meanwhile he’d been with AP the night before. Sickening.

  • I get this. Even after I accepted the relationship was over I kept thinking at some point he has to see me as a human being, he has to realize I’m a person, and the mother of his child and someone he spent 20 years with and at least be respectful. But no, that’s not going to happen.

    I remember one of his shitty whore pedophile friends whom I actually thought was my friend in the beginning, I told her it hurt that he moved his stuff out on my 40th birthday and never even acknowledged it. Instead he bitched at me that I didn’t pack his stuff well enough. She sniped at me, “If he had told you happy birthday, you’d be mad about that! You don’t know what you want!” I said, “I’d just like to be treated like a human being through all this. I don’t understand why it had to be so ugly. He could have just normal divorced me instead of trying to destroy me.” and she went silent and then changed the subject.

    I’m two years out and I still have moments where I’m like, he has to realize how fucked up this was someday, right? He has to! But he doesn’t. He’s never going to care. He had fun smearing me and making up lies about me and tearing me down and insulting me and lying to me. It was all fun for him. He’s never going to regret it or feel an ounce of guilt for it because he and his fucked up friends do not see me as a human being. They see me as a thing to use for their entertainment. There’s no fixing that. That kind of affliction does not get better. That’s who they are at their core. They are monsters.

    • “Even after I accepted the relationship was over I kept thinking at some point he has to see me as a human being, he has to realize I’m a person, and the mother of his child and someone he spent 20 years with and at least be respectful.” – Me too. It never did. I remember being so upset when he stood by and let his AP disrespect me, even in front of our child. I told him “If one of my friends disrespected you in front of our kid like that, I would no longer be friends with that person”. But he was not only friends with her, he was “dating” her. And he was obviously fine with her making threats, yelling at me, trying to get me fired, etc. Even more, he had her stalk me online (or approved of her stalking me online).

      No, they will never care. To his dying breath, FW blamed me for where he ended up. He blamed everyone but himself.

    • I went through a six month horrendous discard, called me names, told me he never loved me and only married me because he felt sorry for me. He spent our wedding anniversary with his AP but told me a pack of lies about where he was. I know how you feel Katiepig, but this is all on them not us, they are completed messed up disordered people and I know it’s hard but try and look forward. Hugs.xx

  • Yes he will. He will get better at hiding it. Very unlikely he will look at himself and WHY he made those choices. He with either get better at hiding it or learn the lesson that this will result in the loss of cake, which he likes. It’s not a genuine ‘changed behavior’ as he is really just pushing down his narcissism temporarily.

    Mine “changed” in the ways I had wanted him to be for his new lovah. That said, I believe deep down he is still the same person and he just learned to give her *these* things that I had been asking him for. I would bet money that anything new would require the same level of debate and negotiation and advocacy and that’s not a world I want to live in.

    So yes, they change, sort of. But they are also still the same. It is hardest when you bought the lie and didn’t see the other side but if you could, I wonder if you would really want him.

    • I think they pick up tips from every partner they have, to use on the new partner. FW did things with AP that he had refused to do with me, I think because 1) he knew that would upset me and 2) he had learned that a partner would like these things. Two birds with one stone: upset his wife, further entrap his AP.

      • “I think they pick up tips from every partner they have, to use on the new partner.”

        Truth.
        My FW was constantly taking his whore to places he had gone with me in order to romance her, but was chagrined to discover she didn’t enjoy them. The restaurants weren’t trendy enough. The parks and nature areas were “full of bugs.” Sporting activities we had done were all “boring.” All she ever wanted to do was drink, party and eat greasy food. So he did those things.
        He had tried to learn from me how to woo her, but didn’t take into account that she is a shallow, spoiled, selfish, lazy little bitch. Some FWs might learn how to aptly and advantageously apply what they learned from previous partners, but he is not one of them.

  • Wow . . . I really needed to read this post and all the comments. This is my first summer divorced after 23 years married to a serial cheater. After D-Day #3 I kicked him out and filed for divorce. He proceeded to move in with Schmoopie and she has replaced me on all our traditional summer trips and activities with family and friends. I have been obsessed with researching how likely this relationship will survive and if he will cheat on her too. I think deep down I feel if this relationship with Schmoopie fails it will prove I wasn’t to blame. I know that is messed up thinking and nothing I did made him cheat on me. I’m in therapy and working on gaining back my self worth and rebuilding my life. I’m grateful for Chump Lady’s book which gave me the courage to leave and this community of amazing chumps who have modeled moving on and gaining a life!

    • No, no, no,! You are not to blame!
      Keep reading CL & comments, and LACGAL until you can EASILY say to yourself out loud “I am not to blame. I showed up in this marriage. I was a good wife.”
      Your XH probably blameshifted & DARVO’d enough over the years, at the same time keeping away from you the truth about his cheating, to the point that you began blaming yourself.

      Every person has more or less the same tendencies to be irritable at times or unfeeling and impatient at times. This does not mean you are to blame. The cheater is at an entirely different level of
      horribleness; he has hit the jackpot level of cruel and abusive.

  • I actually hope that my ex is better to his subsequent lady friends and can find a good one that’ll stick around. Cheaters and the like can’t be alone, when he’s alone it’s been hell on me and my kid. He finds ways to cause trouble, harass me, be mean to the kid…just emotional chaos. This idea of a clean break seems miraculous. I wish my ex would have just gone away.

    • I was actually upset when the OW left him. I knew my life was going to get harder. I feared for my kid. For better or worse, OW was a dumping ground for his emotions and a buffer between him and our kid. Plus I suspected I’d get a hoover out of it too, and sure enough, I did. I was not at all moved when he called me crying and looking for sympathy. He hid the fact that OW left as long as he could, but I’m a good detective and figured it out, so my attorney asked him point blank during one of our custody hearings and he had to admit it. (He blamed me for her leaving, too, LOL. He said she couldn’t deal with the stress of my vindictiveness during the divorce. And I was thinking “I just want to be left alone”.) He couldn’t be alone, but OW left suddenly and he hadn’t had any time to line someone up to replace her. I was having none of it. So he completely fell apart.

      He died about a year ago (self inflicted), and I’m not going to lie – life is a lot better now. For me and my kid. I never wished harm on him, but it is miraculous to be completely free of his abuse (and chaos, once I took care of the mess he left behind) forever. I refuse to feel guilty about feeling this way. He made his choices, and they came back to bite him in the ass. Not my circus.

      • Thanks for sharing. This absolutely resonates with me. I wish my ex no ill will, but I want him to just go away and leave me and my kid alone. And like you, I refuse to feel bad about that. He never will tho cause he’s needy, is obsessed with the impression mgmt of being a “good father” (haha, he emotionally terrorizes her), and needs her to help watch his girlfriend’s young children.

  • He won’t change for the next woman. My Ex is still seeing the woman he met when we were still married, their relationship is hell, probably worse than ours was. A leopard doesn’t change his spots!

  • Sorry to be a Debbie downer but my ex has totally changed for his AP/ wife .
    He never ever wanted children so much so he said he’d leave me if I got myself pregnant or brought it up again . He’s now got 2

    He was never on social media Facebook was the devil . He’s now all over it as is she posting their lovely photos of walks and picnics where as he wouldn’t even walk to the shop for milk for me !! Picnics were crap and if he wanted a sandwich he’d have it at home as there’s football/golf/darts/cricket to watch that’s what weekends are for .

    He’s never going to cheat on her or her him . Mine was one that just leaves a total vanisher

    They do seem like the perfect little family . Even after 3 years with glimpses of Meh it does make you think was it me ? As he’s giving her everything and more that I ever asked for

    • Give it time. The stuff you see on FB is carefully curated, and nobody knows better how to curate reality than a Fuckwit.

    • Karmeh,
      I think their life circumstances may change (kids, jobs, habits), but the point is that core character does not change. Your FW remains a liar, betrayer, and a cheater. Even if he is not actively doing those things to your knowledge. Being conned into having kids by some lady doesn’t mean his character has improved. It means he has more sources of kibble. Being on social media is a fabulous way to manage others’ impressions of your success and collect still more kibs.

      I also think cheaters use cheating as a way to jettison themselves from a lifestyle sometimes. Maybe his reptile brain recognized that doing socially encouraged things such as fatherhood and social media buy in would earn him more attention than the alternative. And you don’t know how many emotional or physical affairs he is conducting. Anything for kibbles — THAT will never change.

    • From personal experience: Facebook is a lie. Our life looked good on Facebook. We looked happy. My real life was absolute hell. On Facebook and Twitter FW and AP’s life looked like a fairytale come true. A happy little family. All “you’re the most beautiful woman in the universe” and “I love you so much”, etc. The reality was they were raging alcoholics, AP was suffering from depression and crippling anxiety (I have never seen so many medications outside of a pharmacy). They got an abortion (not sure why) and AP spiraled down so badly she tried to kill herself and was hospitalized in a psych ward. They were having screaming fights in front of the little kids. Fights that got physical (both parties). They were completely broke. But up until the DAY BEFORE she left him, you’d never have had a clue from their social media. It was all smiles and cutesy photos of her dancing in the kitchen.

      I learned none of this until after FW killed himself in despair.

      What you see is likely not anywhere close to the truth.

    • Give it some time. My first cheating ex never wanted children,
      had 2 with OW, she got pregnant with first while we were still married. He never did anything around our house. He literally would sit in the dark and complain until I changed the light bulb. He became Mr. Handy with her. It used to piss me off until I heard through the grapevine that they were divorcing because he had hit her. He could be verbally mean but never raised a hand to me. The mask can only stay on so long.

    • I can relate because my horrible narcissistic ex is having the married life with the big house and 3 kids–the life I wanted to have with him that he claimed he didn’t want–with someone else. It’s a terrible thing.

      But there is more: He was so controlling I think he made those claims simply to frustrate me. If I wanted it he had to find a way to oppose it. So your ex may have said those things not just to hurt you, not because he actually meant them.

      Secondly, having kids are a great way to extort money out of parents. It’s entirely possible that becoming a husband and a father is a way to get dollars out of either his parents or his in laws.

      The game doesn’t change, but sometimes the turf it is played on changes. For example, while he denied you children, he may be financially abusive with her.

    • Karmeh, this is a case of confirmation bias. You are trusting in and believing what you see on the surface because it feeds your self-blaming narrative that you were not enough, even though you know from your own experience that your ex is a cruel and selfish person. Nobody is cruel and selfish with just one person. Being with you did not cause those character traits. They are part of who he is.
      He might put up a better front now, but unless there was some sort of miracle which changed who he intrinsically is as a person, his character is still the same.
      Just listen to yourself talking about his “perfect little family.” There is no such thing as a perfect family and the shit most people put on social media is not a reliable indicator of what is really going on. The very fact that they feel the need to front as a “perfect family” is evidence that there is some bad shit going on behind the scenes. Happy people don’t feel a need do impression management.
      I don’t know why you’re so invested in believing this, but obviously you are and it appears that even the combined wisdom of CL, CN and your own experience with that turd can’t seem to shake you out if it. Please look at why you are so stubbornly clinging to the idea that his mistreatment of you was your fault. IMO you have a trust that he sucks deficit which you have not addressed.

    • Karmeh, Please don’t create a fantasy world for your ex so you can suffer more. He may have superficially changed what he does, but he hasn’t changed his character (or more precisely, his lack thereof).

      “He’s never going to cheat on her or her him.” You literally have no way of knowing that. You are not psychic. Please stop telling yourself that.

      You are pain shopping. Stop checking up on his life, stop looking at his social media. CL preaches no contact. I think being a little more strict with your no-contact will set you free and help you feel a lot better.

  • Why doesn’t anyone ask:
    What if he/she DOESN”T change?
    (cause he/she won’t)
    And acknowledge he/she changed YOUR relationship so that is done. done done.

  • It took a long long time for my ex to change. Meanwhile I had a front row seat to all the drama as he cheated on one woman after another and then finally got played big by a con-woman-prostitute-cocaine junkie. This last event caused him to find Jesus (via another woman) and then dump her to marry the virginal church secretary. He got permission to marry said church secretary because he lied to the pastor and told him that I was the adulterer. That was 25 years ago and they’re still married.

    My daughters resent that he is a better and more responsible grandfather. Unfortunate circumstances meant I was raising one of the grandchildren who will be going to college in the fall. As the years have passed, he has chipped in money to help raise her — he will be paying half her tuition in the fall. He babysits the other grandchildren and even has them overnight — something he didn’t do as a father unless the woman he was living-with/dating took care of them.

    • It gets harder to secure new supply (APs) as you get older. This sounds like curbing himself to make sure he’s taken care of in his old age, and impression management with his new circle (church people). He must be reformed if a church secretary (and a virgin!) wanted him. But you note that he lied to get her. So, he hasn’t changed, he’s just changed tactics. Ditto with his financial contributions to his grandkids – insurance policies so he’s taken care of as he ages, and impression management. Self-centered, narcissistic people can be very generous to people who they think will be useful to them. My ex volunteered for a charity and spent a lot of time and energy on it. But then never failed to drop the fact that he was on the board of directors of said charity to anyone who would listen, particularly therapists, judges, magistrates, custody evaluators, etc. in our divorce. It was one of the ways he hoped to prove he was a good person, and stave off all my allegations of domestic violence.

      • I love your perspective and it’s spot on. A new supply of APs! Now that my older daughter is in her 40’s, I get a lot of her perspective. She is pretty appalled by his fundamentalism, and was particularly peeved to discover he was teaching a class at the church to single fathers emphasizing their duties as fathers. She wishes he had been a Disney-dad. She feels he abandoned her — no going to games, no taking the two of them on vacation, no real substantive time with them. I found out about the virginal secretary when the AP partner called me to boohoo about the fact he dumped her to marry a virgin.
        His narcissism showed up again once his mother aged and he brought her to their home for his wife to take care of — along with her own disabled mother. True to form, he began working longer hours to avoid being at the house. When both mothers had passed, he retired and his wife took a job so she could get her social security quarters. This privately puzzled me because in their church the woman is not supposed to work outside the home. I guess like Amy in the People of Praise, exceptions can be made.

        • “I found out about the virginal secretary when the AP partner called me to boohoo about the fact he dumped her to marry a virgin.” WHY? Why do AP’s think we will offer them sympathy? I do not get it.

          In my case, after AP left FW (for abuse) she offered to help in my court case (?!), maybe thinking that we were both victims and could bond over it or something. She also tried to be friends with me after FW died. She kept calling, emailing, texting me. I finally told her where to shove it and to never contact me again.

          Sheesh.

  • I’ve been struggling with these feelings myself. Whats making it worse is FW is set to inherit 2 million dollars and a couple of houses outright, so as we’re raising our daughter, I’m not only going to have to hear about him finding someone else but hear about him taking that person on all these fabulous trips to other countries and fulfilling all these dreams I had for our life together. I have to remind myself on a daily basis that no amount of money could ever make me trust or love him again, feel secure in his presence, or take away the painful reminders of what he did to our family that I still see in everything. I shouldn’t envy whoever marries my ex next any more than I envy Melania Trump. She’ll have all his stuff but he’ll have 2 million dollars more to buy hookers with than he did when we were married, and on being unfaithful in general.

  • They haven’t changed for the OW.

    The presence of an OW/OM proves a lack of change.

    And even if someone has cheating in their history, it’s a chance I am not willing to take.

    Cheaters change partners, not themselves.

    What would really hurt is if he was the nice guy he was pretending to be, and had ended our marriage without cheating, and was taking time to be on his own on recovering from the divorce.

    (Like me! 😍)

    Some losses are just oddly wrapped gifts.

    • And, moreover, even if he did change, the issue would be HOW HE TREATED ME. That’s a dealbreaker.

      Please have dealbreakers!

    • “Some losses are just oddly wrapped gifts.”

      Yes. In the end, the affair was the best thing that could have happened. I was the sort of woman who would have hung on and continued to put up with all the abuse, maybe for the rest of my life, and been a miserable shell of myself. Him dumping me freed me to heal and be happy. Cheating was crossing the line for me, and so once I had absolute confirmation that he had indeed cheated and lied to me, I was able to cut the last emotional ties and truly walk away from it all. He became someone else’s problem. Meanwhile, my life was just getting better and better, in spite of the continued abuse from him. I stopped caring what he and AP did. Happy? Not happy? It was irrelevant to me. I was too busy with my own life to bother about theirs.

      But he didn’t change for her, not in the long term. Once I stepped out of the triangle and went mostly NC (just child- and finance-related stuff), their relationship started to implode. She eventually left him. She was many thousands of dollars poorer and had to start over. He didn’t see the point of living once his “nice guy” image started to crumble (TWO women accusing him of domestic violence? That looks BAD) and he had no one left to take care of him. So he took his own life. I was so glad that I was far away from all that chaos, even if I had to be the one to clean up his mess. I was always very competent with practical stuff.

      I’m happier than I’ve ever been. My life is just lovely now.

  • I really struggled with this issue until I looked backward. I recognized that my cheater had actually managed a huge track record of deceit (toward her family, church, and friends) before me. For a 28 year old, it was astonishing how many lives she had had. Now she has a new one with AP — a new name and new family, perfectly curated image management, I assume. I don’t believe it for a second.

    Carmel, he can’t change, even if methods of deceit do. He will go deeper underground and continue to wash himself daily in the lie that his behavior had anything to do with you. And so it will go with the next lie and the next victim. It really is astonishing. Best to you and all the chumps out there who aren’t able yet to trust that the FW sucks.

  • What if he changes for the next woman?
    Which ONE??!!
    He is a serial cheater. The only thing he will ever change is his underwear in between conquests. And even THAT’s questionable.
    It will be no time at all before you begin to hear reports of him breaking more hearts. I would bet $ on it.

  • Last week HellofaChump got me to dive into the Chris Watts rabbit hole. I’m currently working on a research project involving domestic abuse turned deadly, and something HofaC said, plus an academic reference, got me reading about Watts (which I have avoided up to this point).

    I found a research-based book “My Daddy is a Hero” by Lena Derhally, a psychologist trying to answer how a man married for 8 years, seemingly a perfect husband and father up to the final 5 weeks of that marriage, could murder his pregnant wife and 2 adorable daughters. In the second half of the book, Derhally looks at various disorders that might explain what Watts did. She makes several compelling points:

    1. Chris has had some kind of empathy deficit and difficulty feeling and expression emotion since childhood.
    2. He pursued his wife relentlessly even though she wasn’t interested. Lovebombing galore.
    3. His wife was very vulnerable when he began to pursue her from both a divorce and a lupus diagnosis.
    4. He was always thought of as the “perfect husband and father” and a “nice guy.” Derhally wonders if he is what she calls a “communal narcissist,” one that gets his narcissistic supply from and bases his identify on the approval of other people, including the wider community. These people are always doing things for others, very agreeable, doing the “right thing,” etc.
    5. With 2 small children and a third on the way, with financial problems mounting, Chris starts flirting with a woman at work, a woman who is the first woman to pursue HIM–big kibbles. This relationship escalates when his wife takes the kids on a 5-week trip to visit the grandparents.

    And now, to the point. Here is what Derhally says about the affair: “Eventually if the relationship with Nikki [the AP] continued, he would most like come to resent her [as he did his wife]. They wouldn’t have ridden off into the sunset happily ever after, even if they had ended up together…What we are doing in the romantic love phase, is projecting what we want the other person to be, not necessarily wh they really are….Eventually, romantic love wears off….if we’re lucky, the romantic love phase turns into partner attachment.” But Derhally makes clear that Watts CAN’T do “attachment.” We can see this clearly in hindsight; he isn’t even attached to his kids.

    But Shanann (his wife) and the rest of us think there was the “good Chris” who appeared to be the perfect man and then there was some nightmare shift to the murderous, horrible Chris. Derhally’s book, as a whole, argues that the killer was present all along, visible in his inability to feel emotions, including actually empathy. His life was a huge mask, and then it slipped.

    Carmel, you dodged a bullet. Your fiancee is a lying, cheating crap weasel. You found out before you married him because he wasn’t as good as Chris Watts at keeping up the mask that covers his inability to feel, to love, to care deeply. Being pursued by a disordered person with a good “mask” can feel wonderful and empowering. It can also be a sign that you’re dealing with predator who senses you are vulnerable to that tactic. People with these grave deficits of honor, honesty, empathy, and fidelity do not “change” for the next person or the next. (He was cheating with his X; what does that tell you?) They simply polish up the old mask and put it on for the next victim. Trust. That. He. Sucks.

    • Look at Safe Relationships Magazine. According to her research, they can attach to anything/ anyone one. They can’t BOND which will cause anyone who they have contact with “inevitable harm”
      We who have high traits, bond easily to everything which makes some of us ripe for the picking. We are determined so we hang on for all it’s worth and they sit back and suck it all in moving on easily when they are bored or finished with the supply.

  • Well this was timely! Was unpacking old moving boxes last night and stumbled upon the journal I kept 10 years ago when dating Controlling Guy. Inside that journal was a “Trust That He Sucks” list.

    I had discovered Chumplady after dating the previous guy, Mr. Cheaterpants, and didn’t know Controlling Guy was controlling until we’d been dating for 9 months — my first “frog boiling” experience.

    So this list is TWO PAGES LONG. It includes things such as “disrespectful to my child”, “terrible in bed”, “constant ‘you’re not the boss of me’ vibe”, and even “I don’t actually like him very much”. But I wrote this list (and still kept dating him for 5 more months!) because the power of hopium is so strong: I hoped he’d be nicer like he was when we met. I hoped he’d emulate the empathy I modeled. I hoped he’d want to marry me so I wouldn’t be alone. Hey, at least Controlling Guy was demonstrably divorced, unlike Mr. Cheaterpants! Yes, I was that pathetic.

    When I heard Controlling Guy was dating someone new after we broke up, I worried that he’d be better for someone else. Fortunately a combination of Chumplady and internet stalking cured me (I discovered he had a pattern of litigation abuse, suing his ex-wife over endless child custody quibbles even though they were divorced a decade before.)

    I now know THEY DO NOT GET BETTER. There’s no soul transplant. There’s no character transfusion. And me today would yeet his sad ass into a dumpster over even a single one of the items on that old list. Being alone is a thousand times better than being with someone you have to write a “Trust that they suck” list about.

    • Thank you for your honesty about this. My dd was March 6, and just two days ago I wrote myself a list of “signs he could be a narcissist” which included incidents from the first year of marriage right through 23 years to present day. I was so committed to my vows that I completely accepted this as my lot in life. It is difficult even for me to believe now in retrospect! My pot was boiling over on the stove! Ribbit, ribbit. Sigh.

  • The suggestion that a woman should hang on until he changes has been a staple of patriarchy for centuries. In the medieval story of Patient Griselda, he does change, but only after his wife has died. I know women cheat too, but we have not built a library of stories about men who just wait for their cheating wife to change. In fact, even the cheating women with “excuses” are sentenced to burn at stake (Guinevere) or forced to wear a Scarlet Letter (Hester).

    Change comes because of consequences, if it comes at all. Patience with lies is for rearing toddlers, not spouses.

  • It’s possible that a cheater won’t cheat on his/her next partner if that partner is seen as having high value according to the cheater’s shallow standards. For example, the new partner could be wealthy, famous or extremely good looking, and the cheater is more afraid of losing that than he/she was of losing the previous chump. However, I think it’s most likely that the FW will still cheat, but will be more careful to keep it hidden than when cheating on a partner perceived as lower in value.

    The cheater does not value character and the unique personality traits of a partner because the cheaters live on the surface and live to fulfill their fantasies. My FW’s AP was higher value in his eyes because she was a drunk and a promiscuous serial cheater. He considered that “sexy.”
    So whatever crazy shit they most value, if you don’t have it you’re pretty much expendable to the cheater and he/she will not be motivated to try that hard to keep you.
    So no, they won’t change as people for the next partner, but they might alter their behavior to some extent if they feel they have more to lose.

  • Thanks for that very interesting link, Chumplady. I had no idea that anyone had done an academic study of serial infidelity.

    And thanks for everything you do.

  • Technically my grandfather counts as a one-time cheater. He was paralyzed in an accident and couldn’t leave the house to cheat on OW, who got stuck being his caregiver for the rest of his life and spending down her haul from him and her previous APs.

    To round off the karma, his last words were to apologize to my grandmother, who’d stopped caring long before. Since my grandparents never divorced, my mother inherited his property. All OW got was many years as a nurse with a purse.

  • — the person he could be if he “changes.”

    I fell for this dupe. 40 years worth. Spoiler alert. He was never the person that I projected he was “deep down inside.” Instead forty years of poopy diaper face, restless, irritable and discontent liar cheater user fraud.
    Now add x to the list.

    Glad to be free of it.

  • You know what I just want to fucking meet someone who is committed, loyal, faithful, warm, loving and points out the big and little things he loves about me. All I get are emotionally dead negative bots and I’m sick to death of it. Sorry I had to scream into the void today. Well, you are all far from being a void, but I hope you know what I mean. Feel free to scream with me.

  • I didn’t get to post yesterday and read through everything. But here’s my 2 cents.

    I knew FW for 21 years prior to DDay… married for 14. In that time he was quiet and boring. I just thought he was nice. I had just broken up from a very intense relationship and FW was a friend and introverted. He was never good in bed. He often stunk because his body was super acidic and stained all the whites dark yellow. Even when he was “wooing” me — it was eh. His effort was always pathetic. He was often out of work. I bailed him out a lot.

    But I fell in love and we married. We had a child. FW stayed boring. Then he cheated on me and moved in with his coworker. DDay was 8 years ago and he’s still with the same AP.

    And now he’s making a lot of money too.

    Am I jealous? No. Do I think he’s changed for her? No

    No matter what…. I had him at his “best.” He was in his 20s and 30s and still shit in bed and boring as fuck. There’s no special magic that would turn that turd into something better in his 50s.

    As for the money? He’s on travel all the time. They are rarely together. Sounds super fun (see: sarcasm)

    Meh

    ** they can’t change unless they really look inwardly and DO SOMETHING for real to change — FWs don’t get therapy. They don’t do the work

  • A couple years after my divorce, I got a message request on FB from a woman who “had dated my ex and of course he cheated on me” I did not know this woman, I don’t know how she knew I was married to It, nor did I know why she said “of course”. She wanted me to help her clarify some information because she was going to take him to court. I never responded to her. Not my circus anymore. I’m guessing she was one of his girlfriends when we were married and she got used just like me after I cut him off. For anyone in doubt, Trust That They Suck. They don’t change.

  • I worry about this too. Mine (supposedly though i now doubt it) stayed faithful for 29 of our 34 years), is he faithful to schmoopie? I don’t know but it’s no longer my business. If he is its likely because she is his mommy/ sugar mamma/ sex toy and he wants to keep a good thing.( and she is a thing to him, just a good appliance(s)). I’m good over here without a FW.

  • Men like him dont change. He will always have women on the side to get attention from. He likes attention. He liked it from you, he pursued you because you are probably a real catch and give residual benefits. You are probably so much better than him and he wanted you so he can present to the world that a woman like you chose him. He thought he deserves you and all the other women too. My husband was amazing to me too! He did nice things for me, was romantic, loving, great lover. Everyone was jealous of me! Yes I actually think it was real, and I actually think he was able to feel good about himself being a good husband, while at the same time having various special friends and howorkers on the side. We all loved him. He needed that as a true narcissist does. No empathy, easy to compartmentalize. Its a true mind f***. You gotta be able to wrap your head around that. The Disordered people are very different than you and I. We will never understand their brain. And unless they are Greater narcissists, they have no awareness, so they are acting on instinct. They dont know why they do the things that they do, and their subconscious protects them from shame by blameshifting. Its your fault that they do the things they do. There are only so many ways to manipulate people. They all do the same things because of this. Manipulation by being really nice, caring, attentive, yelling, blameshifting, denying. Its about control. You responded to him being nice, caring and loving, so he acted that way to get what he wanted. Mine did that too, because I responded to caring loving and great sex. Women want love so they use love to control us. Dont ever look back! Look forward! You did the right thing.

  • To answer the question, do they change for the other man/woman?
    It depends. I had an ex-boyfriend who abused me years ago, before I met my husband.
    He then went on to have a relationship with somebody else, and had a child with her.

    From all the pictures she posted online, she looked happy…he had this shit-eating smirk.
    Now it’s pretty obvious what he was doing, trying to hurt me more.
    Like “look at us, how happy we are!” After the monstrous way he treated me. He died in 2016.

    I don’t think he truly loved her. Other than her job, she is no catch.

  • Thank you everyone for these comments. I really needed to read this. I’ve been ruminating about Fuckface changing and then being his best self for someone else.

    It’s so comforting to read the incredible similarities that Fuckface has with so many of the FWs here…it’s unbelievable actually. But they aren’t unique or special. They belong to the same scumsucking evil narcissistic sociopathic monster club. I need to keep trusting that he SUCKS.

    I’m still fighting through the withdrawal of detoxing from this horrific illusion of a beautiful relationship…it’s all an unbelievable mindfuck. But I now have seen him without his mask and it’s a horror show. I’m so grateful for CL, CN, LACGAL, and all the beautiful people that God has blessed me with in my life. I’m going to make it to the other side…one day at a time, trusting that he fucking sucks.

  • You are so very lucky to find out before you’re married. Most of us here have invested years and decades, only to be left wondering wtf happened, why didn’t I know, how could I have believed him/her, and then picking up the pieces, navigating child custody, rebuilding our finances, and figuring out how to heal and move on. You got the “get out of jail card” — it may not be free, but it’s saved you something you would otherwise never get back and that’s time, most likely years and years.

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