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Long Distance Relationships and Double Lives

Red flagDear Chump Lady,

I got broken up with by my long-distance boyfriend. He was my first boyfriend and almost all my firsts. We had been together three and a half years when he told me the distance was too much and we didn’t have enough time for each other, but he still loved and cared about me.

We were meant to move in together the end of the next month, so I didn’t understand the problem. He dragged out the break up, even having a two-week break from communication just to still end it with me. Anyway, we agreed he’d drive up to say goodbye properly. On this meeting, he told me he couldn’t even think about touching someone else and that he could change his mind in a few months and might want to get back together.

What he didn’t know was that the night before I had seen photos on Facebook of him at a beach with a girl who was wearing his jumper (during our ‘break’). I confronted him and he told me it was a one-night stand who he ended up getting on with and that’s why he broke up with me.

I had messaged the girl as I couldn’t be certain he was being honest. So, I was right to be as she told me they’d been speaking for 6 months on Snapchat and the ‘one-night stand’ was them meeting up for the first time and they had met every weekend since. She had no clue about me as he had told her a fake name and said he lived near her (a 5-hour drive from where he actually lived). Basically telling her he was working nights whenever he was with me so he didn’t have to text. Some really thought-out things to not get caught.

On confronting my ex again, he admitted this and started blaming his mental health (he had struggled with dark moods for over a year but always refused help) saying he downloaded Tinder as a distraction, but set the location far so he wouldn’t ‘physically cheat’ on me. And then said he was going to get help and he was sorry (no intention of reconciling with me though).

I carried on speaking to the girl and we swapped stories and ultimately he was living a double life. Even using words like darling which he had never said in his life. She said she was finished with him for obvious reasons but then I found out she’s still seeing him because in her words ‘she can’t walk away’. I found out that he told her that he chose her, where as to me he said he broke up with me because of the guilt, but after a few weeks he was going to break things off with her because of all the lies he’d told her about his life.

Because of this I feel like by confronting and telling her, I’ve opened up the opportunity for them to have a normal relationship (he even said he was glad it happened). And that he has gotten away with what he has done to me (and quite frankly her). He has blamed it all on his mental health and as someone who also struggles I don’t think it justifies the extent of what he did.

I’m not one to be angry at the girl, since she didn’t know. But the fact that she decided to carry on with him after finding everything out that he’d done just makes me see her as stupid. She even posted pictures of them on a trip on Facebook (it soon got deleted) without a care for who would see it. I can’t help but dislike her now after she gave me the ‘I’m a girls girl’ speech yet is now playing happy relationships.

I don’t know how to heal, I do still love him as those feelings don’t go away that quickly. I can’t stop looking on social media seeing if there’s any clues whether they’re still together now. And I have seen him taking her all the places we went (and I planned). But at the same time I don’t want to delete him so he can see my best life and regret it. After all he was still telling me he loved me till the last day.

I just feel like I have come out the ultimate loser while he is now playing happy families and I can’t seem to get over the anger and sadness of it all. The worst is I keep having dreams about different situations and wake up extremely anxious and like I’m about to have a panic attack. I know the meh will come eventually but right now I can’t even see it in sight.

All the best,

Ultimate Loser

****

Dear Winner in This Shitshow,

Sweetheart, you sound really young. I know it hurts, but you just lost a loser. This was not someone worthy of pinning all your dreams and hopes on. He’s just a fuckboy, and those are as common as dirt.

Best thing you can do with pain is learn from it. So I’m going to go through your letter and highlight all the red flags and faulty thinking. And remember, I’m doing this not because I’m some bitchy editor with a red pen who wants to drink your tears, but because I’m a former chump among chumps who’s done all the naive, dumb things too.

I wised up, and you will too. How to have a relationship is a skillset, and we’re always learning. But the first rule is: “Is this relationship acceptable to me?” Not as you imagine it could be, or want it to be, but as it is RIGHT NOW. Take a hard look at the evidence.

Did you want a 3.5 year long-distance relationship? Did that feel very satisfying? I know he was a first among firsts, so you don’t have a lot of data points to compare with, but there are a lot more guys out there who are more available — in every way. Emotionally, physically, geographically.

I’m not saying LDRs can’t ever work, but they aren’t ideal. Especially when you’re young and don’t have a lot of dating experience. It’s like a relationship with training wheels — a lot of dreaming, hoping, and anticipation, punctuated by some great in-person together time. (And some LDRs don’t even have that, but romance scams are another column.)

A LDR means you miss out on all the every day intimacies and frictions of a regular relationship. You’re putting yourself on the shelf, (see Hopium), when you could be next-ing him. Or having a love that grows and deepens based on actual lived experience. Not texts and screen time.

Sadly, LDRs are perfect for scoundrels like your ex. It’s so much easier to conduct a double life. And my educated guess is you and Beach Girl aren’t the only chumps in this story.

Now, let’s look at those red flags.

We had been together three and a half years when he told me the distance was too much and we didn’t have enough time for each other, but he still loved and cared about me.

It’s okay for relationships to end. I know we’re dealing with a freak here, but freak or no freak, people are allowed to break up with us. It hurts, of course. But being rejected is the risk we take when we put ourselves out there. It is totally survivable — and you get to do the rejecting too! (See first lesson: Is This Relationship Acceptable to Me?)

This guy wasn’t breaking up with you, however, he was lining you up as Plan B (Q, Z…) Otherwise known as cake. Don’t ever be someone’s option. That’s not winning. That’s being a side dish on the pussy buffet.

He dragged out the break up, even having a two-week break from communication just to still end it with me. Anyway, we agreed he’d drive up to say goodbye properly.

You know what says “Goodbye”?

Goodbye.

And then no contact. Rejection doesn’t get better when you prolong it. You were doing the Pick Me Dance. Thinking your presence could change his mind. Ugh. No! Life is not a romcom. He’s not going to have an epiphany. He’s going to feast on kibbles.

he could change his mind in a few months and might want to get back together.

The proper answer to that is:

No answer because you’re never putting yourself in that situation to hear such garbage because you’re never meeting someone long-distance to break up, OKAY?

Failing that? Total derision.

derision

I confronted him and he told me it was a one-night stand who he ended up getting on with and that’s why he broke up with me.

And this is where you decide he’s a cheater and that’s unacceptable. So you will not be policing his social media, or following up with his latest Twinkie, because he cheated on you and that is UNACCEPTABLE.

By wading deeper into this shitshow, you’re demonstrating to him that he still has centrality. That his explanations (from a lying liar who lies) could have meaning.

Pay attention to the evidence — he confessed to a one-night stand (it’s worse, of course) — and that’s a deal breaker.

Move swiftly to no contact.

She had no clue about me as he had told her a fake name and said he lived near her (a 5-hour drive from where he actually lived).

A fake name? So he’s quite an experienced fuckwit. Probably has a closet full of disguises and a twirly mustache. My point is, he’s a villain. Trust the suck.

On confronting my ex again,

That’s not trusting the suck.

There’s no point in confronting him, because there’s no person to hang a conscience on there. He’s an empty human suit with a sack of lies.

Cheating, first clue. Fake name, second clue.

saying he downloaded Tinder as a distraction, but set the location far so he wouldn’t ‘physically cheat’ on me.

Says the man who has been conducting a long-distance relationship with you. So what was his radius? Saturn?

She said she was finished with him for obvious reasons but then I found out she’s still seeing him because in her words ‘she can’t walk away’.

We don’t control other people. What she does with the information is her business. Apparently, she wants to pick me dance for Rodney Dangerdick. Or whatever his FW alias is.

You don’t tell her because you want to clear the field, you tell her because it’s the right thing to do. And then you LEAVE IT ALONE. Because (first rule!) this relationship is not acceptable to you.

I can’t help but dislike her now after she gave me the ‘I’m a girls girl’ speech yet is now playing happy relationships.

It’s hard to respect. But she’s a dimwitted stranger. Not a member of the universal sisterhood.

I don’t know how to heal, I do still love him as those feelings don’t go away that quickly.

You wasted 3.5 years on a fraud. The love feelings will go away with no contact. Get mad, and vow not to waste one more minute of your precious life on this creep.

I can’t stop looking on social media seeing if there’s any clues whether they’re still together now.

Yes you can stop. STOP IT. Chump Lady is reaching out through the interwebz and slapping your hand. STOP LOOKING. START CONCLUDING. He’s a fuckwit. He bamboozles people. She’s one of his latest bamboozlettes. You were one, and now you’re not. Hallelujah.

And I have seen him taking her all the places we went (and I planned).

They aren’t original. Hold out for a man who can plan his own goddamn dates.

But at the same time I don’t want to delete him so he can see my best life and regret it.

That’s the pick me dance. STOP IT.

They don’t regret anything. Oh hey, is there soft-serve ice cream at the pussy buffet? That’s what they’re thinking.

You were of use to him. That’s it. Shut down the social media. Block. You don’t need a portal into his life and he doesn’t need one into yours. Do you really want a fuckwit hoovering you? Offering you the prime position of Option #1,753?

I just feel like I have come out the ultimate loser while he is now playing happy families and I can’t seem to get over the anger and sadness of it all.

Oh come on, this guy’s happiness is as genuine as his fake name. Did you just tell me he has dark mental health issues? Do you really think he found happiness with a woman he didn’t even share his identity with? What Hallmark movie are you freebasing?

Stop caring.

If he’s happy, sad, constipated. STOP CARING. Put yourself first, because he sure didn’t. You’re a person who deserves a whole relationship with a sane, whole, healthy adult. Hold out for that.

You’re going to grieve for awhile, but the trajectory is a lot shorter when you go no contact.

Shore yourself up, fix the picker, and know that better days — and better men — are out there.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Changing names for new dates is really a double red flag. And yet, he still gets caught in his own not very clever deceits. Shaking my head how early in life cheaters start. How easily you caught him. Sweetie, you’re not a loser. Despite the gut wrenching pain, you’ve escaped even greater future pain and distress. I promise you, though, everything will be okay. Maybe not tomorrow but soon. I promise. So let him go and treat yourself good. Hugs

  • UL,
    I’m here to tell you if you hadn’t discovered the double life and had married that guy, it would have been so much worse. People like that make terrible parents, and there is nothing worse than the guilt of knowing that you condemned your children to so much pain and misery.
    I’m sure it appeared to my ex-husband’s previous wife (I suspect she divorced him for cheating, but I’ll never know) that he changed his ways and became a good husband and father. We were married for more than 20 years and had 3 kids. I had no clue that he was cheating, until he outright told me because he was tired of the effort of hiding his other life from me. He was also tired of me. Watch Dateline episodes if you really want to be cured of your feelings for this guy, and pay attention to how many cheaters kill their spouses.
    You dodged a bullet, and I bet lots of older chumps like me will be commenting today to share their stories and tell you so. This guy won’t change, even though he may appear to from an outside perspective. It may suit him to look like Mr. Family Guy for a while, even a few decades. It’s Socially Expected, after all. He needs to build up enough evidence against his partner of torturous tea drinking, abusive refusal to put curtains on windows, etc to justify coldly discarding her and the kids when he reaches middle age. Then, when the kids refuse to speak to him, he can say she alienated them and/or they are selfish and he shouldn’t be spending his hard-earned money on them.
    Empathy is hard to discern in someone, and it can take years to see a person in an situation that truly shows they have it. I think there are some previous posts here that discuss it. Empathy comes with a desperate need to keep the scales balanced – empathic people feel a strong, often uncomfortable sense of obligation when someone does something for them. Anyone can be generous and do things for others, but people with empathy sacrifice – they do for others when it is really hard for them. It hurts them when someone else is hurting. And they don’t care if anyone knows they did it. Many people think my ex is a great guy because he does things for others. They don’t realize he only does it when it makes him look good, or when it doesn’t cost him anything he really cares about. Like his penile freedom.
    Best of luck, and I think you signed your message wrong. You are a Winner. You escaped. I hope you go on and find someon amazing.

        • Me too. I was this letter writer 20 years ago. I’d give a lot to go back in time and leave the first time my ex disrespected me, before I wasted a decade on him. They never change. If anything, the lies and the abuse only get worse.

          Don’t be me, UL. This guy is worthless dog shit. Don’t waste your life fighting over a literal turd.

          My ex ended up marrying his next victim. By the time they got engaged, she was a shred of her former self and running around parties catering to him like a frightened servant.

    • Yes about the lack of empathy and only doing it when it gives them narcissistic supply.

      I was in my second year of law and I came down with a horrible flu that kept me from class and even eating for days. The first day I felt able to eat more than a few crackers I asked my ex to make me a little rice. He refused, saying he needed to get to his job of part time youth sports coaching. I pointed out practice did not start for 2 hours. He needed to be early, he said.

      I went back to bed because I was too physically weak to stand at the stove. About half an hour later, the door to our apartment opened and he came in. He said on his way to practice he drove past a car broken down by the road and stopped to see what was wrong. They needed a jump, and he helped them out. He said it then “occurred” to him that if he had time to help a stranger he had time to make me (his wife!) some rice.

      At the time I actually thought this was a good sign that he was helping out more. It did not last.

      • Translations provided for newbs, including the OP.

        ” … I pointed out practice did not start for 2 hours. He needed to be early, he said.”

        He was meeting Shmoops.

        ” He said it then ‘occurred’ to him that if he had time to help a stranger he had time to make me (his wife!) some rice.”

        She stood him up.

    • “Many people think my ex is a great guy because he does things for others. They don’t realize he only does it when it makes him look good, or when it doesn’t cost him anything he really cares about. Like his penile freedom.”
      100% this CC! 👍
      I recall a time I shared a quote with ex FW:
      “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”( John Bunyan)
      After I read it, he looked confused and said he didn’t get it.
      I now understand why.

      • “Many people think my ex is a great guy because he does things for others.”

        Mine too! He was forever helping friends move, bringing coworkers treats, doing favors for others, heck… he found out that my coworker loved a certain kind of ice cream treat and he’d randomly bring it by for him when he would pick me up from work. My coworker would turn to me, beaming, and say, “Oh my gosh, your husband is such a nice guy!!” Everyone thought so, including me.

        Until, of course, he decided my usefulness had ended. It was shocking how quickly his well of niceness (when it came to me) dried up. He wouldn’t even get the door for me or acknowledge my presence. He became so cold; I literally felt like he thought I was gum beneath his shoe. I felt like he had been replaced with an alien.

        He kept helping friends with favors and random sundae deliveries though. He’s very charismatic and good at buttering people up. When folks found out about all his cheating they were capital S Shocked: “How!?! He’s such a nice guy though! He always helps out and asks for nothing in return!”

        Sorry to jump on your thread. The “he always does nice things for other people” comment triggered some memories.

        • Mine did “nice things for other people” by asking me to buy/make/do the nice things.
          Hurt like hell when I found out that the nice things I was doing were for his girlfriends.

        • Yep, my ex was also the king of “favors.” Always the guy to run and get everyone coffee on a trip… well, that’s pretty low effort considering he was going to get himself coffee anyways. Towards the end, he told me, he cancelled a study session for his CPA test because a “friend” was upset and needed to meet for lunch. (This same friend we had many heated discussions about boundaries, etc.). The next week, I asked if he could move his study session back home while our daughter was napping so I could get errands done before Christmas.

          He went on and on about how he couldn’t possibly take a study break with his test coming up. I pointed out he had no problem blowing off an entire study session for someone else’s wife, but couldn’t take a ten-minute break to drive home for his own. All he could come up with in couples counseling when I called him out was, “Yeah, I don’t why.” Unfortunately, our waste of a counselor completely failed to press him on that issue.

          • So many words. His manipulation style is all about talking until you give in. He does it to the kids. I see their eyes glaze over and they submit.

        • Four-leaf, I had the same experience! She was so nice until she wasn’t. Like with you, it was as if she had been replaced by an alien. She actually told me she had just been pretending before. These people are not genuine.

        • “Many people think my ex is a great guy because he does things for others.”

          It’s easy to hide behind impression management, which only goes so far. Impression management fades under stress, adversity and exposure. It takes time to get to know someone.

          “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.” – John Wooden

        • I will always remember during discard after I found out about the OW, FW let a door slam in my face when I was bringing in groceries. He always held the door open. He prided himself on being a gentleman. I heard him talk to OW once and he was so nice to her on the phone minutes after he abused me and thought I did not hear. I always thought it was because he did not love me anymore so he wasn’t being himself around me. It took me awhile for me to realize he no longer needed me so he could drop the act and I saw the real him- everyone else saw the fake. Realizing that changed me and helped me trust that he sucked.

          • This is very triggering. Exactly what the ex did. It is a very damaging part of the devalue. I was left feeling like the lowest of the low when I saw him gazing with loving affection at his 22 year old niece (he had some serious boundary issues there) and seconds later looking at me with hate written all over his face. Three years later I have nightmares about that.

            • Mighty Warrior, so sorry!
              I could have written this and had a similar experience with his niece. It was cringeworthy to watch and I’m sure she felt it but handled herself well.
              FWs are creepy AF. It’s no wonder we have nightmares about them. STILL! – 6 years out.

        • My FW built a sofa for his “best friend” (who he was trying to court into OW) but never for me
          …went on long trips abroad and brought back souvenirs for his mom and sister but none for me
          …. Went into the pub to buy another beer, asked everyone around the table what they wanted to drink but not me

          My best friend who was my roommate at the time noticed all these things and was very concerned.

          It is a very special brand of hurt to feel neglected by the person you love and ashamed that other people see it so clearly

          So long FW
          Trust that they suck
          I am at meh

        • Fourleaf, it is just so textbook how these Narcs behave.
          They groom everyone around them. That painful discard you experienced triggers me also. I was the gum
          Under the shoe, while my long time friends and even family were contemplating how bad I must be to live with for Xhole to to leave me. Ummm he was living a double life, folks. He replaced me, our two teenage daughters (AP has two teenage daughters) and even our Dog! (They bought an expensive pure breed).
          Love Bomb
          Devalue
          Discard
          Wash, rinse, repeat.
          It’s what fuckwits do.

      • Country Chumpkin said:
        “Many people think my ex is a great guy because he does things for others. They don’t realize he only does it when it makes him look good, or when it doesn’t cost him anything he really cares about. Like his penile freedom.”

        Oh, does this sound familiar!

    • Piggybacking on this excellent comment to add…

      Dear UL,

      We’re not exaggerating when we say you dodged a bullet. My aunt ignored every red flag and married a loser like your ex. He spent the next decade torturing her and their children, then ANOTHER decade suing her repeatedly and dodging child support. Her hair fell out in clumps from the stress and she eventually died from cancer (I’m sure exacerbated by years of being terrorized).

      Her ex spent the day of her funeral shit talking her on Facebook to all his cronies about what a crazy bitch she was, then tagged my aunt’s family so we’d see it. These monsters have no shame.

      People like this are missing the human empathy chip and they don’t change. They also inflict damage that literally kills their victims.

      You have no idea the damage you dodged with your ex, but trust you avoided years of trauma, even injury and death. Safe people don’t behave the way your ex did.

    • 100% agree on this. Wasted 32 yrs on someone I thought I could fix. I was there through all the crap years of it. I suspect now he had several little affairs throughout our marriage but I found out at the 28 yr mark and the second and last one at the 30 yr mark. I hate that i wasted yrs. Our kids want nothing to do with him and that is my fault according to him. They are adults and they grew up in the house and saw him for what he was without the mask.
      UL you dont’ see it now but you have dodged a big bullet.

      • Yes, agreed too. I didn’t discover the affair until after the ex had left me for exgfOW. With hindsight there were many close friendships with women, including office wives, over the years – two in particular. Once I found out about exgfOW, I was done (he has never admitted the affair). I’m remembering this morning how enthusiastic he became about the ‘Serial’ podcast, out of nowhere and perhaps three years after it began. It was an exgfOW recommendation! Like a fool I started listening to it, so that we would have an interest to share. I don’t blame myself for being made a fool of – if he had told me about the affair(s) I would have divorced him immediately and he knew that. But emotionally being made to look like an idiot, a figure of fun and derision, is a huge wound to my ego.

    • ” … there is nothing worse than the guilt of knowing that you condemned your children to so much pain and misery.”

      + eleventy million

      Do not ever risk this.

    • My thoughts exactly, CC. They’re horrible parents, and that’s what I feel the worst about years later. My poor son. I chose very poorly for him. He asked me at 15 if I thought he’d turn out to be a cheater like his father. Broke my heart. A kid should not be pondering these things. (I didn’t tell him, btw. He found out from the police. Long story.)

      And every time I finish one of those Dateline episodes, I think maybe I dodged a bullet for real.

    • This is so well written and accurate of narcissists who are incapable of empathy. They indeed do things for others, but there is always a catch. It is usually to align themselves into a better position. There must always be a payoff down the road.
      The kicker is when they discard the Chump, everyone will point and say, He’s such a great guy… he fixed my kitchen faucet. His wife must be a total beyotch to live with.
      They glean all that sympathy and soak it up like a kitchen sponge.

  • Im glad this chump found CN soon after the “break up” (its hard to break a relationship that didnt really exist for the other person – ask me how I know). This nice young lady would do well to listen and act on every well placed piece of advice and go no-contact. Her Hopium detox will be hard but necessary.

    Ultimate Winner, youth is brief and it would be tragic to spend another minute on this cheater.

  • Dear Winner,
    It’s hard when the FW is your first. I get it. Mine was my first everything. He was, I thought, my true love and my soulmate. He told me the same when, I figured out years later, I was only his Plan B.

    Winner, you dodged a bullet. I long-distance dated, lived with, married, and had children with my FW. All the time he was scouting out other girls until he found one that he felt comfortable dumping me for. I took him back when that fizzled. Eventually he dumped me again and left me for the third girlfriend (that I know of) who he married after our divorce went through. I can’t even begin to properly describe the agony I went through.

    Winner, you dodged a bullet. This man, have no doubts about it, was a grenade ready to blow up your entire life. Lucky for you, he went off early.

    It’s still a grenade though and it still hurts. And I know it hurts sometimes even more so when these grenades are our first loves. I’m so sorry.

    Now, take a deep breath, remind yourself that he is not a quality human, block him on social media, thank your lucky stars that he lives far away, and go no contact. No contact is the best gift you can give yourself; it’s a blessing.

    • So, yes yes and yes. Oh darling, I’m finding it hard not to sound like your loving mum, and … is matronising a word?? Which I do not want to be.

      CL noted, you sound young … well, this guy is your first everything … likely so. It really, really hurts, but as others have said: it hurts more when it’s decades down the track, children born, and THEN you realise they are shallow, self-centred, lying freaks. I’m using CL’s word there (freaks).

      Take off your rose-coloured glasses, sort out the proportion of this guy that you have wished for/invented in your head, and then projected onto his sorry hollow ass. HE”S RUBBISH!! You (and the others) have been bait at the end of his hook. Go out and find real, honest, caring people. Who actually see and care about the real, wonderful YOU. Bond with those ones. They may not work out in the end, for all kinds of reasons, but that’s ok, all part of growing up. But DO NOT waste time or your lovely energy on a vampire like this one.

      • Oh, I’m using “matronizing” every day from now on!

        And none of today’s responses are matronizing or patronizing. Rather they are big warm hugs to the writer from CLN.

      • Good advice. STBX was my first everything, Married 32 yrs the last 6 he spent cheating. The pain of looking back over your life to see it was all a show. The good times were all fake. It hurts. The bad well, those we brush over and bury because we don’t want to face that those were the REAL times. I resent that he has stole my peace of mind, my youth and my heart he has destroyed. Trust is a fragile thing and once that is gone there is nothing left.

    • This makes me feel better. My FW was my first everything too. I truly believed we were soulmates brought together by God. Ugh.

  • You’re a winner, not a loser. People like that don’t change. The first time I caught my ex cheating he told me it’s because he thought he had cancer but he didn’t feel like he could tell me. So my feelings of betrayal and anger went to feeling sorry for him + feeling like I’m an extra shitty person real quick. We cried together and he swore he’d never do it again. A few years later I was dumb enough to marry him and surprise surprise he did it again, with several women. During one of the dates he used his colleague as an alibi, saying they just found out he has stage four cancer and he was asked to throw the leaving-for-treatment do. He came home after midnight absolutely beaming he was so happy. Then finally I caught him at a restaurant with another woman while he was supposed to be visiting his friend who has Crohn’s and is so unwell he can’t allegedly even leave the house (not true – I know that for a fact). So not only was he cheating, he also used just really damn low and horrific cover stories for his actions. I am sorry if he has issues but he made a choice. And like some others here have already said – at least you didn’t make the mistake of staying with him and marrying him. It hurts, yes, but you will get over it.

    • That’s despicable.
      I’m trying to see any logic behind “I had to cheat because I thought I had cancer.” There isn’t any. What a ridiculous excuse. That guy *is* cancer!

      • My Cheater had a rage problem. He raged twice before marriage bad enough to cause any reasonable person to not marry him. After his first rage, he said he was upset because he missed his parents/family (they were far away while he got an education in the military).

        I now believe that his rage was tactical and meant to cause a fight because we were headed to an event where one of his friends from school would be. I think she was his midweek gf and I was his weekend gf and us being in the same place was dangerous.

        I had pity on his poor self missing his family and he was opening up to me in sharing that. 🤦🏻‍♀️

        No, he was just a manipulative cheater who raged to control me

        • I’m sorry you went through that, Unicornomore. But it sounds awfully familiar!

          As I was leaving my last Cheater, he said, “I used to have hissy fits just to make you do what I wanted. It worked very well.”

          The FW admitted to having tantrums to control me!

          • Yes, and I think the degree of rage was guided by his need to throw me off balance. I remember one where he was extremely verbally violent and horrifically rage-driving at the same time. I was traumatized and terrified to to point of muteness. I think that is exactly what he wanted. We were going to a work event that he could not avoid. I think there were OWs there.

            Stupidly, he claimed he was upset because he did not know the way to the event…at the pro football stadium in town (the biggest building in town you can prob see from space )and every person within 10 miles of it could give directions in their sleep

      • My exFW said he cheated because he found out he had skin cancer and he thought life was too short. I was so distraught at the time I actually felt sorry for him and *almost* excused his cheating. But when I look back I realise, even if he was dying, what a stupid thing to do to spend what little time you have left exploding your family and spending precious time going through lawyers and divorce court. What an idiotic, stupid excuse.

        By the way, he was also cheating on me at other times, as I found out later, even before he got cancer. So in the end it was just a stupid, sob story excuse.

  • Thinking that these liar fuckwits will be better partners with someone else they dropped us for is our brain’s way of trying to make sense of it. But it’s not reality. They are shallow, self serving, disturbed narcissists. Always looking for new thrills and dopamine hits. The new one won’t be the last. I wasn’t the last, fuckwit’s gfs aren’t the last. They are incapable of having genuine relationships because there’s nothing about them that’s genuine. Don’t spend more brain bucks on him.

    • “They are incapable of having genuine relationships because there’s nothing about them that’s genuine.”

      That hits the nail on the head. Thanks so much. I really needed that reminder today

  • Winner – In general, people don’t spend a lifetime with their first love. Aside from the distance and deception, were both of you finished with your education and able to support yourselves? Had you met each other’s families and were those relationships healthy? Were you on the same page regarding future children and spending?

    This is your opportunity to establish your own values.

    • I know a few people who married someone despite being their first and it went well, but some people stick with bad partners BECAUSE it was the first and it can be a train wreck.

      My husbands niece married her “First Everything” guy. He is a fucking train wreck. He can’t keep a job and the last I heard is that the niece “doesn’t know” how much money he makes. This is not going to end well.

      • The ex dumped me after 26 years for his first and only true love soulmate. He had to wait that long for her to become available again. In the meantime I was useful: I helped him with his career; gave him a free home when he was homeless after walking out of a job (or had been fired after failing his probationary period); encouraged him to run for exercise; supported him in learning to swim; paid over half the bills without realising I was doing so while he squirrelled secret money away; helped him build up a healthy pension pot; helped him get on the property ladder so that when I was dumped I had to give him a lump sum to stay in my home while I got my head together. I could go on and I can see that I had been manipulated into becoming a mother not a lover. ExgfOW did very well out of my years of slog in stressful roles. And then when I left such a role because of the death threats leading to burn out, he told me it was my fault for not taking better care of myself! It makes me laugh that he had never lived with exgfOW. I hope she’s enjoying the ride! My message to her: ‘be careful what you wish for’.

  • I believe impossible expectations are the driving force behind finding ourselves in unsustainable relationships.

    For one thing, we start pairing off for a “lifetime” relationship at an early age. I remember two little girl “rivals” for the affections of my youngest son in preschool! Really, it was not cute. I figured out my own mother was reading my diary when I was in 5th grade, because she was worried I might have a boyfriend. Seriously, I lived at home and had an 8 pm bedtime, she drove me to and from school, and allowed almost no outside activities. Exactly what type of trouble did she expect? The myth of finding “the one” and living happily ever after permeates our social structure so that even children feel the pressure. This girl sounds young, she should be enjoying positive firsts in her life like graduating from school, finding an adult job, enjoying activities with her friends, positive rites of passage into adulthood! Tracking a cheater on social media, finding out other girls are as foolish as she is about manipulative young men, and believing she can control this type of situation all spell future trouble for her.

    The FW-in-training already knows there are many foolish fish in the sea. If one relationship “fails”, just move along to a new fishing site. No real consequences. Life pattern established!

    As adults who have been raised with impossible expectations, and who have learned the dangers of false dreams, I believe we need to try very hard to change the narrative. CL does a wonderful job of teaching the chumps of the world to figure out what is acceptable to them and live their life accordingly. Coming here and reading provides us a safe place to learn, a good place to heal, and lets us know we are not alone. Beyond that, we should also do everything we can to change the narrative, we need to be active in conveying a different message to our children and their children.

    I believe that we must provide a safe space for our children to learn and grow, and to allow them to believe in creating their own futures by working toward finding their own path to their dreams. We should not be taught that we have to find “the one” and live happily ever after. We should help our children learn that there will come a time when they might want to pair off and have families of their own, but there are many important steps and things to prepare them for that decision at a much later time in their life. We might physically mature at a young age, but emotional maturity comes much later. Our brains don’t mature until well past puberty.

    Young people should not expect to make the right decision the first time they experiment. There is too much pressure to get it exactly right the first time. That unrealistic expectation needs to change, you learn from your failures, and we need to accept that concept. If we do this as a society, we will learn to be much kinder to ourselves, and hopefully to others.

    • “I believe impossible expectations are the driving force behind finding ourselves in unsustainable relationships.”

      Sometimes, yes. But as we chumps know all too well, often our expectations are quite reasonable and the partner pretends to meet them, while doing the opposite the minute our backs are turned.
      Having reasonable expectations doesn’t protect you from the bamboozlers who fake an entire persona in order to get others to invest in a relationship with them. Some of them are so effective at faking it and so underground with their creepy behavior that we can go a long time (perhaps even forever) without a clue as to who they really are. Unfortunately there isn’t a way to protect yourself from that other than hiring a P.I. to investigate everybody you date.

      • I think that unrealistic expectations are part of the problem for the general population but for chumps it is more. Much more.

        In most relationships the getting-to-know-you phase is just that. Spending time learning each other. Part of what makes relationships attractive is that there is someone who has spent the time and really knows you, warts and all, and loves and accepts you anyways. But FWs are not ‘honest brokers’ as CL says. While Chumps are sharing honestly with an eye towards compatibility the FWs never do—they want to use Chumps. They store up information a Chump shares like the CIA building a profile case. They literally are trying to ensnare or catch you, because they are at least self-aware enough to know that if they showed their true nature, people would run for the hills. Then they mirror back what they think you want to hear (although actions not matching up to words is a RED flag) in return for attention, money, effort and then eventually being a good wife appliance. While they pursue their ‘real’ shallow interests of me me me and my genitals.

      • “But as we chumps know all too well, often our expectations are quite reasonable and the partner pretends to meet them, while doing the opposite the minute our backs are turned.”

        Yep and I would be willing to bet that it happens in many, many cases. You can never really know someone, but certainly taking your time and drop kicking them at the first sigh of betrayal is good advice.

        Like it or not the longer the marriage (bond) the harder that is to do (physically, emotionally and financially).

    • Portia, the points you make here are so important. Is it possible for your first BF or GF to be a wonderful life partner? Yes. Is it likely? No. I’m 70 and I can recall the 1950s when it was common for teenagers to marry, often as a result of “shotgun” pregnancy because birth control was much less dependable in those days but sometimes because a couple was wildly in love at age 18 0r 19 and the boy could get a job in a mill or a factory that provided the kind of minimalist lifestyle that was common back then–little apartment with hand-me-down furniture, old car, and Simplicity patterns for making the girls’ clothes (a yard of fabric = a skirt). But the world doesn’t work that way anymore. Housing, cars, clothes, cell phones–all expensive.

      I hope this young woman takes up your suggestion that there are things she should (really must) attend to before starting to date someone else. If she’s spent 3 1/2 years in a long-term relationship with this guy, what other aspects of her life has she neglected? Who is she without a relationship? Who is she, period?

      If I could change 1 thing about my life, it would be to not build my life around a man. Get a life first. Find out who I am and then see what kind of person might be right for me.

      • Exactly. My parents married young, as did their parents. I thought it was normal to marry young and build my life around a man. An important aspect I missed in my FOO culture was how little happiness there was in these young marriages, especially as they aged. Who I was, and what I hoped to be was always second to my husband’s needs. Sexual attraction may be strong, but it is not enough to carry you through a lifetime of marital experiences if you are not compatible in other ways. Women without a husband were considered dangerous, and abnormal in my FOO.
        My expectations, and the habits I formed were based on what I was told I should do. I didn’t have time to let my “self” develop and mature. I don’t remember ever deciding who I was, until I was in my 40’s. I completely re-examined my life and belief system and realized I had been programed to be a chump. I ended up rejecting much of the FOO training I received and becoming a very different person. It was a transformative experience.
        I cannot change the past, but I wonder what my life would have been like if I had taken the time to learn who I wanted to be before becoming a useful wife appliance.

  • My now wife and I did a LDR. We got to know each other in some ways better because all the physical didn’t get in the way. The bad part of LDR is you don’t have a lot of one on one interactions because when you met up it’s like your first date over and over again. After 5 months she moved to my city and we shortly after got married because it’s so expensive here. Basically we had to get use to being around each other on a day by day basis. LDR are very hard and I don’t recommend doing it as a person can hide who they really are! My wife hid some red flags 🚩 on me as she only showed her good side. 3.5 years in a LDR is long time without one of them moving closer I’d a huge red flag 🚩 to me! I bet the writer was a side piece the whole time. 😕😕😕

  • Beach girl is currently in the phase where she probably thinks she’s special because he “chose” her. She’ll find out real fast Mr. FakeName cares about her about as much as he cares about the collection of old cords and batteries in the kitchen junk drawer. Let her have her I’m Speshul phase. She has her own shitty fate to look forward to with him.

  • “…so he can see my best life and regret it.”
    Yeah, they don’t do that. If you’re still connected on social media, I bet he has you unfollowed/muted. Looking at your best life holds no interest for him. Not while there’s new kibble out there, from new women who don’t know what a sorry piece of shit he is.
    I know because I did exactly this following my breakup from the Lying Cheating Loser. My “best life” at that point was a performance for him, but designed not to look thus.
    They. Don’t. Care.
    They care about themselves, and about feeling good in the moment. To the extent that they have relationships, it’s to extract value from them, not provide it. They’re energy vampires.
    OP, if you can’t bear to block him on socials yet, at least unfollow and mute him. Maybe delete the social media apps from your phone and only access them from a tablet or laptop that isn’t with you 24/7.
    In retrospect, my performative best life was pretty lame. I wish I would have been more present in it, and less preoccupied with whether a Lying Cheating Loser saw my fabulous post and felt a pang of regret.
    I’m currently living my authentic, mindful best life. The worst day in my post-cheater life is still better than my best day shackled to a Lying Cheating Loser.

    • Yeah this. It’s putting on a show for someone who isn’t watching. It’s a waste of time and energy to try to perform “best life” for someone else who didn’t care about it when he was there. Plus, it’s not really your actual best life. It’s pick me dancing.

      Facebook has a nifty little thing called “take a break.” It’s not blocking, but it makes it so you don’t see everything this person is doing all the time. If you can’t bring yourself to block him yet, click the Take a Break option.

    • I agree that when it comes to us, they really dont care

      but

      I am positive that had we divorced and gone separate ways (instead of him dying) that after my good life was established, he would have looked at his train wreck and claimed that splitting was all my idea.

      My husband 2.0 has traits that Cheater hated (tall, white, higher military rank than him) even while I was pretzeling myself to make him happy, he would say “you want a tall white guy” (and at the time, I really didn’t- I wanted a nice person who prioritized me). His narrative would have become “Unicornomore left me for a tall, white Colonel…I knew she would do that someday”.

      • I was reluctant to include his comments about race but he did bring it up…like one day I was going to make some racist slur when I got mad at him – it was like he was poised for it to happen so he could use it against me. No matter how mean he was, in 29 years I never said any such thing. Gods honest truth, I thought he was beautiful…his skin and hair were magnificent. I wish his character had been all beautiful as his exterior.

        • That “you want a white man” thing… I bet he knew just how to manipulate that, so that he could get away with ever more. I bet he noticed that you’d go out of your way to be extra “fair” and put up with his insufferable behavior whenever he said, “you want someone else”.

          Something similar happened to me. My toxic Ex had a birthmark on his face, so I dismissed a lot of things as a legitimate insecurity of his. He’d accuse me of wanting to date other men, and I’d double down to make him feel more secure. Way too late did I see how much I chose against my own interests there: letting him wreck friendships, etc… He kept accusing me of dating others, which was a drag, but I just blew it off as his insecurity.

          Ah, the overconfidence of the innocent… I would have taken f he had accused me of something bad I had actually done (like not changing sheets on the guest bed when he visited, or cracker crumbs in the bed, etc). No excuses, but I was college age then.

      • My wife’s cheater ex husband is 5’ 3” and was military. I am 6’ 2” and not military. Wonder what her ex thinks??? 😂😂😂

    • “Maybe delete the social media apps from your phone and only access them from a tablet or laptop that isn’t with you 24/7.”

      –This is a good idea for everyone but especially for people who struggle with pain shopping.

  • I wish someone had sat me down and given me this talk back when I was just dating. Though I don’t regret the existence of my children I could have done without all the pain. Be mighty, Winner of the Shitshow, be mighty. It only hurts for a little while.

    • Not to sound trite but when ChumpLady injects humour into the posts I can’t help but laugh- at the beginning the jokes registered but I was so deeply unhappy that I had lost all joy.
      Keep reading ChumpLady and the comments- notice how you feel emotionally afterwards. Hopefully you will feel the relief and sense of community: and soon also find yourself laughing at the snarky comments when you come to terms with how truly pathethic the cheaters invariably are x

    • I was actually truly concerned my exFW was constipated. He was spending hours in the toilet and I begged and begged him to see a Dr. Turns out he was just in there messaging Schmoopie and probably sending d**k pics 😒

  • You learned a valuable lesson at an early age, luckily younger than many of us. Look for the red flags, listen to your gut instincts, and carry what you learned into your other relationship.

    I’m stress what CL has already said – zero contact with him and her. You don’t owe them a good-bye. You block them both on all social media and your phone, and then delete their numbers. This is a few things it will do just for you.

    One, it keeps you from pain shopping. Every time you look at photos or texts of him or them, you are just causing yourself additional anguish. It hurts like hell to see someone you love, who treated you like garbage, be happy with another person. Take it someone who has been there – you don’t need more pain.

    Two, by breaking that chain on contact, you make it harder to reach out to them and you’ve just blocked them from causing you more anguish. That distance is what will allow you to feel and process your thoughts, free of them. Zero contact isn’t a tool though to get back at them. It’s not to make him jealous or to manipulate. It’s to protect you in order to heal. I blocked my ex husband as soon as our house was sold and the divorce was final. That was 4 years ago and it was one of the best decision I made for me.

    Lastly, don’t try untangling that skein that is him and her. You can’t always figure out other people’s motivation and problems. If you keep going down this rabbit hole, it just gets deeper and darker and that’s not a place you should be. He’s a fuckwit for the lying and cheating and that’s all you need to know. Someone who goes to that depth of concealing and manipulating has already learned how to cover his tracks. You will never be able to trust him again.

    Go be your mighty self and find someone who genuinely wants to be with you.

    • So true MissBailey. I would add that if she needs to say goodbye for herself she might handwrite a letter to help process what you want to acknowledge and then burn the letter. I found those small rituals did me a world of good.

  • It always saddens me to read of a young man or woman who is forced to experience this hell at such a vulnerable time in their lives. I remember reading a book by an economist years ago who wrote about the inherent imprint of the first purchase experience. For example, when you purchase your first home, the interest rate you obtain on your mortgage becomes the expected standard by which future similar decisions are based. We are then wired to expect the same, which in effect forces our rational thought process into a quandary when faced with a different scenario the second, third, or fourth time around.

    In theory, I believe the same holds true for relationships. And it feels like the rug has been ripped out beneath us when our first love feels so real and true when, in reality, it wasn’t. When your first is a liar, they steal your agency to make good decisions while in the relationship because you have no factual basis to work with.

    The world is your oyster, dear one. While it may not seem like it now, you have dodged a bullet! You know have an imprint that can be your “what NOT to accept” in your life going forward. You have the gift of red flags to avoid that you didn’t have before. This makes you mighty and formidable as hell! You are now a force to be reckoned with … embrace that power and you will find others who will embrace that in you as well. And that is damned sexy and attractive to those worthy of you.

  • God, is anyone else sick & tired of these defects using mental illness or depression for their “I’m not responsible for my shitty behavior” card. It is so demeaning to those actually suffering from depression.

    • Absolutely KB22. If it’s not depression then it’s FOO issues, childhood abuse, “sex addiction”, or my FW’s current favorite, “attachment disorder.” He’s cycled through all of those excuses and is seeing a shrink for his “attachment disorder.” I’m thinking the real attachment disorder he has is being inordinately attached to his own dick.

      • haha. But, seriously, I agree that it’s frustrating when they use mental illness to justify infidelity.

        x told me that I had already broken our marriage vows BEFORE he cheated (the “in sickness and in health part” of the vows) because I didn’t always support him when he felt extremely depressed. WTAF?

        Also, because I am “psychologically stronger,” he knew I’d be ok if he cheated. 🤬

    • I suffered from depression and PTSD (officially diagnosed) for years while living with abusers.

      Funnily enough, I’ve never abused anyone in turn! Fancy that.

    • Right! I believed it was “depression”. The withdrawing from me, the coldness…. that fool wasn’t depressed, not in the least. He was F’ing a girl 20 years younger.

      • Ugh. I felt the same way. He withdrew in the months leading up to D-day. Silent treatment. Moody AF. I thought he was depressed and was struggling with retirement. I empathized! I also examined my own behavior. Had I upset him?

        Damn these cheaters. They abuse our trust.

    • When FW’s first secret affair girlfriend was discovered, FW told me that he suspected he had slide into cheating because (1) he felt like I didn’t care about him anymore (I doted on him but, admittedly, having two babies in two years had commanded *some* of my attention away from him) and (2) he was still suffering from the death of a childhood friend many, many, many years ago. He said, “I think when he died I was fundamentally changed and I’ve never processed that grief.”
      His childhood best friend whom he was fond of but had never brought up in conversation until, y’know, *all the cheating started happening.* I didn’t buy that then and I don’t buy that now. That was his answer on why he thinks he cheated on me with GF#1 and GF#2. With GF#3/Wifetress is was true love (again), however.

      • I think they just throw out statements & look to see the reaction of the other person. If their spouse believes it, they roll with that excuse. If their spouse, or counselor, get concerned, they get more mileage out of it. But nothing is real, and their story eventually changes.

    • YES. YES. YES!

      I have a mental illness and last I noticed it doesn’t come with a “get out of jail free” card.

      If I’m wrong, can someone tell me where to get mine? 😄

  • Dear Ultimate WINNER, If he was that invested in you, he would not have been creating dating profiles – fake or not. Poor guy was lonely? He had a myriad of options to ease that loneliness, but chose dating websites. The sad reality is that you were way more invested in the relationship than he was, and will ever be. As my sister once put it, “I don’t go shopping so I won’t be tempted to buy.” That works in relationships, too.

    He told you it was over. BELIEVE HIM. Grab a hold of your dignity, and let that loser go. Block him and the OW everywhere. Do what you can to prevent yourself from stalking either of them. And remember that your very best friend is NO CONTACT. If he texts/calls/emails – do not respond. If you must respond (though I can’t imagine situation where you would have to), single syllables are good. “How are you doing?” “Fine”. “I miss you.” “Would you like to have coffee?” “No” etc. etc.

    UW, he has been ABUSING you. Messing with your brain, making you dance. And if he is doing it now, imagine what it would be like in 8-10 -20 years. It isn’t going to get better with this dude. It will only get worse. Please get an STD panel run.

  • This reminds me of my 20 something self. This was in the mid 80’s. Long before Facebook and cell phones. I was head over heals in love with a guy who joined the Navy. He eventually got stationed out in California which was great for him because his hole family lived 45 minutes from his base. We did the LDR thing. The late night phone calls and snail mail love letters. I worked a lot of overtime to afford plane tickets and bus tickets to haul my “in love” self out there 3 or 4 times a year. We finally decided that i would move out there. I bought my ticket and I was heading out one last time to go apartment hunting. I was sooo in love and couldn’t wait to get married. 2 nights before I was heading to California I got that life changing call. The “I’m sorry but I met someone a few months ago” call. I was devastated. I thought my life was over. Luckily there was no pain shopping. No internet. No Facebook. It was automatic No Contact. The one great saving grace in any breakup. No Contact. Now I look back and thank the Lord above he made that call to me. We would have never made it.

  • I’m thinking these alleged dark moods he gets in are about receiving narcissistic injuries rather than actual depression. He isn’t even deep enough to be sad.

    You did indeed dodge a bullet. I’m guessing he’ll be a serial cheater for life. I know it hurts badly now, but you’ll recover and eventually meet somebody who deserves you. The first step is keeping off his social media and blocking him. He is not going to regret losing you. I know it’s hurtful and hard to believe, but there are perfectly lovely chumps who were married for decades, yet the cheater still didn’t regret losing them. They’re so shallow and self-absorbed that people are interchangeable and are mere objects of utility to them.
    Your ex FW is one of those people and he’ll only get worse, not better.

  • i’m so sorry you are going through this, listen to Chump Lady

    guys like this NEVER CHANGE, they just change their tactics, eventually some become more and more abusive

    if they ‘go to therapy’ it is just meant to string you along

    as much as it hurts, let it go and move on, block them on social media, do not go back to look because you are just torturing yourself

    i had to get a qualified therapist, grieve the loss, decide i was better alone than being f***ed with by sociopaths and move on making my life the best it can be on my own

  • One of the red flags that I worry about is him doing this so young. There’s a psychologist who says that the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath is that one is born and one is made but they’re both dangerous. I don’t know what’s the deal with this guy but this one has been up to no good most of his life for him to already be this much of an expert. The unbelievable amount of relief you going to feel in a couple of years is going to be the best thing in the world for you. He is somebody else’s bad news.

    Because he has moved on you’re going to certainly miss all the STDs he could give you, or the amount of money he could steal from you for his pleasure, or the gaslighting which he is already so good at. Thank your lucky stars he dumped you. It is a gift, treat it as such

    • When I worked for an environmental publication, I thought it was interesting that serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer’s father was a theoretical chemist which, at least in the training stage, requires lab time. Back when Dahmer was a child, the safety codes of professional labs was terrible. People who worked with dangerous, untested, DNA-morphing chemicals weren’t provided adequate safety gear and would come home in the clothes they worked in. But I don’t believe that this could have been the only factor. I think something else, something traumatic, had to have happened in Dahmer’s childhood that set things in motion.

      One of the reasons I was interested in this and why I have a kind of thorn in my side over it was after reading the works of geneticists who argue against the idea that human genes code for behavior and against the eugenics theory of the “born criminal” which is arguably the linchpin of all totalitarian cults and war-driven societies because it justifies convenient killing without due process, even killing children (because… “demon spawn,” “bad seeds,” “born killers”). Because the concept makes war and its collateral more “sellable” to the public (“all those children killed in drone attacks were just future terrorists anyway”), there’s been a sciency-sounding campaign about every decade to resurrect the zombie concept from its fascist grave. A few of the latest “born criminal” scientific putsches are the grossly racist “MAOI/Warrior gene” Maori longitudinal study arguing that Maori (and other curiously brown races whose native lands happen to be curiously sitting on massive oil deposits) are genetically more violence-prone; and Hare’s brain scan scam that doesn’t account for the fact that a large percentage of violent psychopaths in prisons had taken or are placed on brain structure-altering drugs and/or may have had closed head injuries in the course of traumatic childhoods (in other words, their criminality may not be visible nor genetic even if brain injury can make an already violent individual more extreme). But the brain scientists and geneticists who support the “born criminal” concept get the big grants and publishing deals, typically filtered through the arms, mining and oil industries.

      Anyway, there’s such a thing as weaponized genetics and neuroscience. Until recently, the MacArthur Foundation was funding the “Law and Neuroscience” project to create a sort of genetic “Minority Report” style legislation to catch criminals before they strike. It’s what political philosopher Hannah Arendt dubbed “the objective enemy”– one who doesn’t require due process, action or proof to condemn– in her book, The Origins of Totalitarianism. The Soviets justified this on the grounds of defunct Lamarkian genetics (heritability of acquired traits) and the Nazis did this with a perverted form of Mendelian genetics.

      So given the dodgy political history of the “born criminal/genetic zero empathy” theory and the scientific gymnastics that are needed to support it and then the feasible counter-explanations by more conscientious independent science, I suspect that psychos are “made” one way or another. It could be a combination of congenital injury (toxic or from violence: most fetal injuries happen in the course of DV) coupled with desensitizing home environment or just shitshow childhoods alone. High rates of substance abuse in disordered individuals surely don’t help. And, rather than providing an alibi for offenders of all stripes, focusing on the social causes of social evil provides A) a chance to stop the process in subsequent generations (get away from abusers before they infect your children); and B) a chilling clue about what these people are capable of. If they are in part “reenacting” abuse from childhood, this means the harm they cause is on some level intentional. The bad things that happen to people around them aren’t accidents even if the offender’s drive is (yawn) “unconscious.” And if psychologists ever have any success in altering these patterns in some disordered individuals, all it proves is that these individuals can stop themselves but mostly don’t. So never “rob” an offender of their well-earned consequences and run, don’t walk, to the nearest exit.

      • Dhamer’s parents were profoundly neglectful and actually abandoned him when he was a teenager. They both moved away, left the family home with him still in it. I suppose they must have sent him some money or he wouldn’t have survived, but that was it.
        One friend he had as a teenager theorized that he killed and ate his victims because that way, they could never leave him and would, in his twisted view, become part of him.

  • You got burned. It hurts and he did it sneakily but it still burns & hurts. Don’t put yourself in a position for him to do it again.

    Block him. Ignore him and eventually you will be SO relieved you did so.

    I am sorry for your pain.

    In the future, date people you can be with regularly. To see how they behave under normal circumstances. Good days, bad ones, boring ones.

  • “She’s one of his latest bamboozlettes.”
    Hahaha, yea she is for sure!
    And you, Ms. ultimate HUGE winner that doesn’t know she won anything yet? Dodged a soul destroying adventure your life wanted no part whatsoever in. I can promise you that with full certainty.
    I know you are hurting, it’s because you are real with values and emotions and a heart capable of loving, of course it hurts horribly.
    The guy you pine over and think you’re missing out on is a hologram of a man. Nothing to work with there.
    It hit me when you said in your letter,
    “he was living a double life. Even using words like darling which he had never said in his life.”
    I too, had one of those double life FW holograms to deal with.
    Some of his texts to other women I saw one of the three times I cracked the code on his iPhone read like a 99 cent Harlequin romance novel, “ oh my captain, I so loved to dance with you, when will we do it again?” from the unconscious Schmoopie of the week and his response “ yes, darlin’, I so loved it too and I love you!”
    He always added the same closure on all his collection of women, “ XOXOXO”. ( even I got that closure, until I told him never send that in a text to me ever again once I started to see who he was, some made up character that could morph like a chameleon)
    My nickname forever was “ Mug”! ( even a boat named after me)
    I never got a “darlin’” or “my love” ( another gf email I saw) or “ I can’t wait to walk the girls” ( one Schmoop that had two labs that I guess he was enthralled with walking when we had two dogs of our own that he NEVER in their lives walked).
    It’s because they are up to their eyebrows in bullshit and aren’t living a life, they are playing a game with ppl’s lives to get what they want from them. None of it is real on any level at all.
    Absolutely none of it. I know that’s hard to understand, I still struggle with the concept myself, it’s a lot to absorb.
    Let what CL so wisely shared with you soak in:
    “Do you really think he found happiness with a woman he didn’t even share his identity with? What Hallmark movie are you freebasing?”
    He’s not changing for # 867, it’s just who he is, a liar, a manipulator, a cheat.
    He’ll morph into the next fake identity that works for the next prey that shows up and the next one and the next one and the………
    Get yourself out of the lineup!! He’s no good and he isn’t finally “ living the dream” with the next Tinder titillator.
    He isn’t a real person! He creates his identity as you would make a certain fishing lure to attract a particular fish you are looking to catch. Then when you throw that fish back in the ocean half dead and gasping, you grab a different lure for the next variety of fish you feel like catching.
    And it has as much significance to them as fishing too, just a little sport to entertain them and then move on from.
    I gave my lying deceitful fisherman 44 YEARS of my life! Don’t you dare do the same!!
    There are good men out there, don’t waste one more second on “ Rodney Dangerdick” and his rubber mustaches.
    He truly DOES suck!!!
    You didn’t lose anything at all, you won your life back. You are the winner!
    Go make it count. 🌷

    • All true, except for me I like to use “wire monkey” vs hologram

      She bonded to a wire monkey, just like I did; only she can get out early. I lived with a wire monkey for 21 years. He totally hid a double life, then he went on to cheat on the whore. Only difference between her and me is she deserved it. She knew what he was, I didn’t.

      I hope it was as painful for whore as it was for me, but I doubt it was; her focus was a meal ticket.

  • Honey, he’s a psychopath who lives double lives and gives out fake names. He’s never going to regret anything he does. You dodged a bullet. Beach girl is a moron and she’s going to have a huge amount of regret eventually because psychopaths don’t become nice people for anyone. For all the two of you know, he has several more women hidden and maybe some kids or some criminal activity like drugs or rape victims. Maybe he gets plowed up the arse by transgender prostitutes every other Friday and already has HIV and Hepatitis C. If you haven’t, you should get tested. You really need to get tested. You don’t need to know the details of his depravity but you need to know your disease status. Get tested.

    People with secret lives should be run screaming from. You have no idea what he will do and if you were to stay with him, you would never know. There is no trusting someone like this. He could secretly be a pedophile for all you know.

    You might laugh but I was married for 20 years to the nicest guy ever who everybody loved and he was doing all those things I mentioned above. I had no clue. That’s the horror of psychopaths with secret lives. Run screaming and be thankful you dodged a bullet. Beach girl is going to have to learn the hard way. Some people do, don’t be one of them.

    • Katie Pig is spot on. You need to get tested for std. Some of them, if left untreated, can cause infertility. Or worse.

  • He’s lied to you, cheated on you, tricked you, fooled you. And who knows what else.
    Get angry! It’s a good path out of sadness.
    Don’t look back, go forward.
    Use this clown as a lesson, -there are devious, sick people out there.
    As others have said, you got out, just think if you had married him. You’d never have a moments peace. I was the marriage police in my “entanglement”
    Trust me – it’s a special kind of hell on earth.
    Now, go live your best life!

  • Dear Winner in This Shitshow,
    I know it’s hard to see it. And you feel like the “ultimate loser,” but please listen to CL and all of Chump Nation. I tried to put myself in your shoes… because I was there 26 years ago. I was in a 5 year relationship with my “first” everything. 6 months in person. 3 years long distance (he was overseas and sleeping with anyone he wanted). Then we landed in the same location and spent about a year in an apartment together. We got engaged. There were red flags everywhere. People warned me about him. I was in my 20s…of course I thought I knew better. He would cheat and make excuses. He became abusive. When he called the police on me, I finally snapped out of it.

    But by then I needed therapy and meds …. Ultimately I moved away. It was a lot.

    So please believe this group that we’ve been there. And you are so blessed that he can be COMPLETELY out of your life. Do the work to break free. It’s hard but you’ll be grateful.

    I’m so very grateful that I didn’t marry that guy or — G-d forbid — have kids with him.

    You seriously dodged a bullet. Now be kind to yourself and know that it takes time and self work to get over the attachment. Sending a huge hug

  • I remember when I was young and dated a FW (who was my first everything) I thought it was a shame that it didn’t work out. Boy did I dodge a bullet there (caught a few more later in life though). This horrible narrative that society and movies/books feed us that “romance” should be a certain way and drama is “normal” perpetuates FW antics. They suck. So much. Fast forward to present day I had to mourn the loss of a 20-year relationship (16 married) and feared how I would support my children (and myself). I now worry that my children will fall for the lies of a FW in their own lives. I hope my children learn how to spot red flags and have the confidence to say “No” to people who don’t treat them well. If someone even half-way breaks up with you that should be enough to close that door and never ever open it again- they are telling you that you are not enough (which is THEIR loss). FWs will suck the life out of you if you let them (I watched my mother suck the life out of my father who died at the age of 69). So glad I opened my eyes at the age of 48 and my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.

    • Great points about cultural mythology. My women’s lit professor in college had a rant against the damaging effects of sentimental, lovelorn pop music, what she called the “doormat format.” I think one of the first steps to break away from abusive situations is to stop mooning around and listening to that crap. If someone is going to mull, it’s better to listen to “f*ck you” songs instead. There are lists of them online geared for different demographics. I remember listening to this one my sophomore year of high school when Larry the douchey junior was toying with me. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JIuYQ_4TcXg Still a great FU ballad.

      • I haven’t been able to listen to music- pretty much any music, since my final D Day on Valentine’s Day 2018. I’m so vulnerable to music, and especially “doormat format”. Love that term!

      • There are a wonderful collection of “my x was an asshole” songs on the airwaves these days like
        abcdefu all sung by young angry women. Love them

  • You are the WINNER!!! You deserve so much more than what this fuckwit has to offer you, which is less than nothing. I am sorry for your pain, but as CL says, the pain is finite. You will emerge from this experience some day and your life will be much better than it ever could have been with him.

    As for social media- BLOCK and DELETE. A small action with so much power!! Trust me!

  • You wrote that his new Snapchat Schmoopie said that he “told her a fake name and said he lived near her (a 5-hour drive from where he actually lived). Basically telling her he was working nights whenever he was with me so he didn’t have to text. Some really thought-out things to not get caught.”

    Have you thought back to how he found YOU? Especially since you have always been in an LDRT, did it occur to you that he may have given YOU a fake name. location and job history, too? You wrote that you were planning to move in together next month, but that could have been him holding out promises of a fake reality to keep you hooked in.

    You mentioned that he took his new girlfriend to the same places you had gone with him. Vacations are a means to love-bomb, and also a convenient way to keep someone from meeting your friends and family. if he didn’t make time to introduce you to his life, it may be because he lied about who he was.

    Don’t envy the new GF; feel sorry for her. There’s no need to figure him out any further, but you may want to ask yourself why you were willing to remain in such a long LDR relationship. You can find someone who is real and willing to be present for you. And keep reading Chump Lady.

  • Today I feel like I’m being an unsupportive chump, because I can’t even.

    Maybe it’s just low blood sugar, but I say this writer picked the wrong name when she called herself “Ultimate Loser”. The real way to lose here, is to get the thing you think you want more than anything else in this world: a guy who doesn’t want to be with you and will remind you of that every waking day of your life until you let go. So if “winning” means getting married, and having kids, and being reminded each and every day that he’s only with you because you made him feel guilty … just what would “losing” look like? You can walk away now, no lawyers, no mortgage, no debts, no haggling over support payments and childcare and dentist bills … wanting any further contact with him or his unfortunate “winner” serves exactly what purpose here?

    Let’s bury the myth of “closure” with a stake through its heart for once and for all.

  • If I could tell one thing to my younger self, it would be that once you catch someone lying to you there is NO REASON to believe anything they say ever again.

    They aren’t “finally being truthful” now that they were caught. They are using that moment to lie MORE. That moment is golden to them, when they can pretend they are finally fessing up – that’s when they can tell the biggest lies and be believed.

    They aren’t remorseful for hurting you – if they gave a damn about your feelings they would never have lied in the first place.

  • Dear Ultimate,

    We all know those anxiety dreams. The dreams aren’t future projections of the lonely, scary life you’re headed towards without this guy. They’re a delayed terror response from having had proximity to an effective sociopath.

    Anyone who can turn empathy on and off is *effectively* capable of anything given the right set of circumstances. So what if they cry over lost puppies in the pound or at emo movies– the fact that they have this “switch” that can selectively tune down empathy for certain people through whatever mechanism (according to criminal psychologists, this happens through an elaborate, polished system of rationalization at the expense of victims: https://mdpi-res.com/d_attachment/societies/societies-09-00046/article_deploy/societies-09-00046.pdf?version=1560246670 ) makes them disordered and potentially dangerous.

    Maybe the individual setting off danger signals isn’t “serial killer dangerous” but, say, disordered enough to drive drunk when you’re pregnant and leave you disabled or dead. Disordered enough to expose you to potentially lethal STDs. Disordered enough to placidly watch you go mad, lose your sense of self and develop suicidal ideation or a life-shortening autoimmune disease from stress while they gaslight and run around eating cake.

    Even if our conscious minds aren’t fully grasping the danger in certain situations, there’s a ganglia at the bases of our skulls with the sole function of factoring risk from a zillion bits of data. I think of that part of my brain as a kind of Mr. Peebles character–a little bald nerd with an adding machine, a pocket protector and no sense of humor or sentimentality. It just runs risk scenarios sort of like predicting pool shots based on the position of the cue, the eyesight and hand-eye coordination of the player, lumps in the felt, the lay of the balls on the table, friction, humidity, ambient distractions, everything. Then it sends the quarterly projections to your dream machine which plays out scenarios as they could potentially happen given the current circumstances.

    In other words, those dreams are your unconscious mind– which is really the smartest part of our brains (ask Einstein or the author of String Theory)– “doing the math” on what your life would be like if you remained tied to a person like this. Since you’re still emotionally tied to him, the projection is “danger, danger.” The moment you cut the emotional ties to the danger ranger, that part of your brain will stand down and retabulate the statistics based on the new, FW-free set of conditions. If that part of your brain thinks you haven’t yet fixed your picker and are in danger of falling prey to another abuser, it will continue to send anxiety signals until you improve your defense system and invest in yourself to the point you no longer derive your sense of value from relationship status which is the right frame of mind to meet someone truly great. “Mr. Peebles” is only looking out for your best interests. To stretch the analogy, he doesn’t run the “corporation of you”– those decisions are made by your conscious mind. But the company can’t run without him and he never stops sending annoying memos.

    I suspect you don’t actually love this guy. I think you’re in a “boxer’s clinch” with someone who scares the crap out of your subconscious. It’s called “captor bonding” and can be set off by merely a gut sense that someone isn’t safe.As a former advocate for domestic violence survivors, I don’t like the term “trauma bonding” which was coined by Patrick Carnes, the founding guru of sex therapy certification (CSAT) in order to remove any distinction between victim (captive) and perpetrator (captor) because abusers won’t pay for therapy otherwise. CSAT is all about placating abusers as an economic model which means that, by design, it splits the blame for abuse with victims which is damaging and inaccurate. So if you google “captor bonding” it will bring up 50 years of important research on abuser psychology and Stockholm syndrome while if you google “trauma bonding” you’ll end up with a bunch of abuser-coddling, quasi-victim-blaming modern drivel from the Reconciliation Industrial Complex.

    Anyway, while we’re in captor bonding mode, we convince ourselves that we “love” the individual in the hopes of inspiring mercy. But once your risk ganglia figures you’re out of danger, you’ll find that feeling of “love” fades to nothing. You’ll know that moment is coming when you get your sense of humor back and start making jokes about the guy to supportive friends.

    One way to bring that moment closer is to sit down and write out all the subtle, potential red flags this guy gave off from the beginning, everything he did that didn’t feel right. This will assure “Mr. Peebles” you’re building your defenses and guarding against future predators. Then you’ll start getting those weird, fun, creative and hopeful dreams again.

    • Holy moly… He’ll of a Chump you’re blowing my mind s right now.

      Here’s what I grapple with: when you have kids with one of these scary people and you want them to have a good relationship with their dad but you also don’t want them to sleepwalk through life like you did and end up with a sociopathic FW for 20 years. What do you do?

      I guess CL keeps saying tell them the truth in an age-appropriate way. My dd is 12 and super smart and I am trying to figure out what is age appropriate for her as well as build up her picker better than mine was. But probably without telling her her dad is a sociopath.

  • Ultimate Loser, Chump Lady and the Chump Nation are right. Please listen to them! You’ve had a fortunate escape from this guy.

    To paraphrase – he’s showed you who he is. Believe him!

    Go no contact, block him and his side piece on social media, and go on with your life. You can find someone much, much better!

    • Absolutely @Daughterofachump!
      I wish I had believed The FW when he showed me his true character 20+ years ago. What a waste.

  • The ex had a long distance affair with his exgf from 30 years previously. Well, not quite accurate as they never really broke up. She had her husband and kids in Canada. I was with him for 26 years in the UK. I was in effect the OW, married to him without knowing that he was not even slightly committed to me. Finding that out a couple of months before my 60th birthday was heartbreaking. Some people are capable of living double, triple lives for decades. They wait until it suits them, emotionally, financially, whatever and then they drop the family they’ve been using for what they perceive to be their real life. They are cuckoos. They fall into a cosy nest, exploit it, and leave, destroying the other occupants as they go along. It seems unbelievable. Reading here shows you how common it is. And that after they’ve gone it will hurt, but no contact will show you that the relationship was toxic and was poisoning you slowly but surely. The pain passes and you will look back with relief and thanks for your lucky escape.

  • Their relationship is doomed to fail because he’s a pathological liar who uses and abuses women.

    You didn’t “open the door” to them getting together in any way. HE cheated. HE lied. HE moved onto her because he’s a pathological liar who uses and abuses women. Repeat as needed until it sinks in.

    They won’t have a good relationship, because he’s a terrible person. Their “relationship” has no foundation on which to build except lies.

    The other girl already sounds trauma bonded. She already knows he’s trouble, yet she sticks around. Again, this has nothing to do with you. Pity the girl for taking the bullet for you and be thankful you’re out of that mess.

    BLOCK HIM EVERYWHERE. Parasites like this don’t walk away forever, as evidenced by the fact he promised you could date again in a few months while he fucks around elsewhere. Um, no, you are nobody’s Plan B. His arrogance and presumption here are delusional.

    Trust me when I say this ends when YOU say it does. Block him everywhere so he can’t come back and you can move on for good.

    I dated a delusional entitled lunatic like this in college and failed to block him. He danced in and out of my life for THE NEXT DECADE – pursuing me, disappearing again, triangulating me against other women, total nightmare. It only ended when I went no contact. He flipped his stack and still tried to reconnect with me even as he married someone else.

    These people are deranged. They’re poison. Of course you’re hurting right now at being defrauded, but with time, you’ll be so thankful you dodged this bullet. He could’ve knocked you up or given you a disease. He could’ve derailed your education or career plans. You could’ve married him and then REALLY be stuck with him.

    Trying to stay in touch is like giving your executioner another chance to better his aim. Block him and don’t look back. He’s a loser who destroys everything he touches.

    • “Trying to stay in touch is like giving your executioner another chance to better his aim.”

      Wow! That is a powerful and true statement. I will remember this one, thank you CAM

  • Please, please listen to the wisdom here. I had a very similar experience to yours… in 1988. Age 18, when he first cheated. And the last time he cheated? 2018. That’s THIRTY YEARS. I thought he was irreplaceable- ha! Please don’t be the fool I was. He’s told you who he is, and it’s not pretty. Please believe him and KNOW better is out there.

  • I totally understood how you feel. This was me for far too long after my divorce. Although I didn’t waste any time in kicking him out, it felt like I lost and he got a shiny, new life, right down to new furniture in a new apartment. It felt like there were no consequences for him. But it’s all an illusion. It may not feel it, but his life will crumble. Start with making a list of the good things that have come from his. My ex as obsessed with clothes, so I suddenly had a walk in closet with tons of space. I didn’t have to feel inadequate, or beg for his attention. It can be little for now, but it will grow. Get a therapist. Go no contact. And believe that it won’t always feel like this.

  • UL, I was literally in your exact situation early last year. Only difference is I was the beach girl that was confronted by the “original?” girlfriend. Me and the other woman spent 2 months pick me dancing (didn’t recognize what it was at the time) and we had the “girl talks” too. Through it all, I knew the situation didn’t sit right with me and I deserved better. One Tuesday (it was actually Tuesday) during my planning period (HS teacher), I was looking for answers and came across Chump Lady. All of my answers were here. I copied links to three relevant posts, sent them to my ex via email (I know, I know I shouldn’t have lol), blocked him on EVERYTHING and haven’t looked back since. That was April 2021 and when I tell you I don’t miss him AT ALL, I mean it. I’ve lived my best life since then and have met amazing men along the way. Listen to CL so you can cross to the other side. I promise it’s much better over here. Good luck. *hugs*

  • UL,
    I envy you. You found out before you invested many years and had children. Block him on social media. He doesn’t care if you’re having a great life without him so no need to show him. Blocking and no contact is way better for the revenge factor. Don’t waste another minute thinking about him. GTFO of their shit show. They’re both getting off on your pain so don’t show them. You can do it!

  • “Rodney Dangerdick” and “What Hallmark movie are you freebasing?” – Just absolutely spot on today.

    I am so sorry you are grieving this fraud. I know that feeling all too well. Emotions are quite the weeds to chop through, especially when we love a fuckwit. You will come out on the other side. Just remember that this man uses people and doesn’t even know who he is. That isn’t winning. Maybe it doesn’t feel like you’re winning, but you are sparing yourself more agony and can go forth toward a win. Unless you like playing pretend (like this other woman seems to *shudder*), all things considered, you came out of this on top. Trust!

  • Am so sorry this happened to you, Ultimate L! You fell in love with a guy who playacted a fake version of himself. It takes time and work to fall out of love with these users and losers. Your emotions haven’t quite caught up to the intellectual reality. That’s true for everyone. Block this guy and any other chumps he’s fooled on social media. That’s the best way to get over him. It’ll take a long time otherwise. Out of sight out of mind. If it’s hard to stay no contact, keep trying. Take it an hour at a time, a day at a time. Have heard when you reach three months no contact it cements a habit.

    I think you’ll be the ultimate winner. You’ll learn from this and have a great life ahead. As for this crappy guy, the real Ultimate Loser, he’ll bounce around from lady to lady thinking having a harem makes him a great guy. It just makes him a jerk!!

  • Having multiple aliases is one of the indicators of a sociopath, and my ex pretty much exclusively did LD online dating before I met him even though he was 28 at the time. In retrospect, LD online dating seems like a great way to hide cheating behavior now that I think about it. My ex has used several aliases throughout his life and actually had the audacity to suggest one of the aliases he used on dating apps/porn sites as a name for our baby if we had a son (thankfully I hated the name and vetoed it when he suggested it, but I was still horrified when I put 1 & 2 together.) One of the therapists I saw suggested I read “The Sociopath Next Door” to clarify some of what I experienced with my ex. I definitely don’t think this is OP’s FW’s first rodeo and that he’s done this before, even if he’s young. You may feel like a loser now OP, but you are going to come out of this a winner because you’ll be free of this creep forever.

  • I’m so sorry. This truly hurts, but you need to get away from someone this deceptive. Making up names and stories is just so-so-so bad. Double lives are just a gigantic red flag no matter how you look at it.

    I had two long-distance relationships in college (guys who graduated before me), and both were disasters. One immediately decided that he had met someone better where he ended up and didn’t tell me for months because he didn’t want to “hurt” me. I couldn’t figure out his schedule and why he was stiff on the phone. He denied it, and then admitted that he was thinking the new girlfriend was the “one,” and I was not. The other one had a tangled secret life that I uncovered via a mutual friend which led to a breakup. He didn’t come clean for quite a while and then told me that we probably never should have dated. Yes, after several years and many trips to see him.

    So when I told my husband of almost 25+ years that I wanted a separation (#2), and he made it long-distance, I knew it was all a crock. I kept up the charade, but by all signs, he was having the time of his life without his wife and college kids. He wasn’t working on himself and our marriage more than a sliver, maybe. He regaled me with tales of all the women who were doting on him, and how he was cultivating their affections. I knew it was just a matter of time if he wasn’t already on the prowl. There were other signs.

    And yes, there were elements of deception that got worse over time going back to the very beginning. The divorce and closeout were so bad that I felt like I had to wall him out of our lives forever. I don’t know where the man I married went. That could be your life, dear UL. Get out of there!

  • CL has done it again! The nitwit couldnt even come up with his own holiday destinations – where have I heard that before.

  • I agree you dodged a bullet here you may be too young to recognize. You came to the right place to hear from the scores of us who gave another chance to someone who did not deserve it or us. Let someone else have the pain and confusion of the lies and cheating, and get smart early! (Send the other GF to Chump Nation too)

  • “We were meant to move in together the end of the next month.”

    Which may explain the timing of the break-up. He did what we call a “future fake.” He didn’t ever mean to “move in together.” He just kept telling you that to keep you on the hook. And finally the date of the fake future is on the horizon so he breaks up with you. His having a chick or two on the side is just business as usual.

    Look. Don’t move in with anybody until you have a year or two of actual day-to-day interaction. It’s a lot harder to break up when you have to fight over the TV and furniture you paid for or when he’s let a hidden girlfriend steal your stuff. You’re young. Get out there and build your own happy life. Be single for a year and spend time cultivating friendships, your job or career, your finances, and the activities that make you happy. Date yourself for a year. Don’t be in a hurry to be in a rebound relationship.

    • No contact.
      1. Block him on all social media. That will keep him from seeing your life and you from seeing his. Many people have explained why this is a good idea, but one reason you might not have thought about is that living your life as a social media show is KEEPING THIS CHEATER CENTRAL IN YOUR THOUGHTS. it’s just another way to keep living FOR HIM and not for YOU.
      2. Given that you have no kids, block him from having access to your phone or texts. (Also Snapchat, Messenger, etc.). Just shut that door.
      3. If you are tempted to unblock or call, have a friend you can contact to talk you down.
      4. If you are tempted to write to him, have at it but don’t ever send the email or the texts.

      You’re lucky, in a way; you won’t run into him in your neighborhood or when you go to the movies. Get on with the “gain a life” part of the program.

  • Hi everyone, Ultimate Loser (/Winner) here!

    Thank you all for your advice, I’m taking it all on board and glad I found a community like this who can share their experience and advice.

    Just some clarification on things. Age wise I’m 23 (19 when we got together and was at uni) The LD part of the relationship was never solved due to University and COVID but we did see each other rather often for a LDR. While I do suspect there might have been more than just the one, I don’t think I was necessarily the ‘side chick’ as I was staying with him and his parents (who he lives with) whenever I visited and became (and still am) very close to his siblings and cousins. All of which are very angry at him for what has happened.

    I think what is keeping me tied the most is knowing that girl has let him get away with it. But I’m starting to realise how stupid (not girl shaming, personality shaming) she must be. He gave her a fake name, said he was from where she was, would lie about mundane things, and she still thinks he’s this magical creature. The man told her he lived alone for godsake and would send pictures of himself stirring his mothers food so it looked like he cooked – that’s enough to put me of for life but for her apparently it’s a sign of a good man (LOL!). Hopefully she’ll see the turd for what it is soon too.

    I’m slowly getting there, but emotions are up and down like a yo-yo at the moment. I’m trying to get away from the karma train part and start not caring. For anyone looking/found the meh, Taylor Swift – I Forgot That You Existed as become my anthem and my point to strive for!

    Thank you all again, but mostly thank you CL for helping me through this part of my life!

    All the best,
    Ultimate WINNER!!

    • “I think what is keeping me tied the most is knowing that girl has let him get away with it.”

      I can relate completely, as someone who discovered a secret life, told the other woman he’d been duping, and she ultimately stayed. It also was a mindf*ck bc she initially had lied to me by denying their involvement.

      All we can do is share the proof with the other Chump and let go of the outcome. Part of living a cheater-free life is de-centering everyone associated to him who would hold back your progress. Hugs to you!

  • Long-distance Chump here!

    Cheaters also prey on long-distance chumps. In the first years of our LDR, my FW had many moments of “agonizing doubt” when he asked for “breaks” and went off the grid doing God knows what. Then he always come back asking for a second chance, telling me he will do a better job. He always blamed “the distance”, even after we closed the distance.

    After I was chumped (upon discovering he went to meet a previous hookup of his, who lived 3 hours away from us, who is now the OW and in a long-distance relationship with him (go figure!)), I had many moments of bitterness. that he would be a better partner to her, that he would take all the lessons learned from our LDR to communicate better, etc.

    Then along came meh, and after two years of meh, I can tell you that if a long-distance partner does not make concrete plans earlier on to close the distance, they are just wasting your time, and this is their preferred way of being in a relationship. Receiving all the emotional support but living day-to-day as a single person.

    Chumps should also have some accountability (I am talking about myself). In my case, I allowed him to treat me like a yo-yo, accepting the excuse of distance being hard. but I was also steadfast in my commitment to him. We should accept and expect better and cut our FW loose at the first instance of wishy-washiness. Easier said than done, but since this is the lesson I paid a dear price for, I hope someone reading this blog will benefit from my experience.

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