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Worst Gift Ever?

Well, it’s been awhile since I’ve run this challenge, which was originally inspired by my birthday post describing some of the Worst Gifts Ever that I received from a FW (a pen… a tie-dyed motif license plate cover…).

It takes some consideration of your partner to come up with a good gift. FWs tend not to tune in to the needs of others. So gifts are either impression management (BEHOLD! I PRESENT YOU WITH A GILDED PONY!) or something they have around the house (BEHOLD! I PRESENT YOU WITH A TICTAC!) or nothing at all. They suck at gifts.

But weirdly you may never suck at gratitude for their shitty gifts. OMG, a tictac! I’ll treasure it always. Not: I’ll need to discuss a pony with the co-op board… They had to expend an entire kibble to give you a gift, however much it inconveniences you, so you better return their investment with extra kibbles. (OMG! We’ll name a museum wing for you!) This is how the game is played.

Your challenge today is to tell me about the weirdest, crappiest gift you got — AND how you repurposed it, or imagine repurposing it.

Legendary CN member GladIt’sOver once received a half-eaten box of Wheatena cereal, which has been immortalized as a cartoon. Because nothing says “I’m thinking of you” like a box of used whole-grains.

How could we repurpose it? Cook it into sludge and force feed it to certain members of the legal establishment? Spoon it in, then hands over their mouths until they swallow or choke? (Chump Lady is feeling very stabby today.) JUST A YOUTHFUL PRANK! That I cannot recollect BUT I KNOW IT WAS NOT WHEATENA CEREAL. I have NEVER choked anyone with hot malted goodness! I was busy earning MERIT BADGES.

Sigh.

Bad gifts. Tell me about them. And TGIF!

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Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I once received a ‘Dawn of the Dead’ DVD – some limited edition version in a fancy box. It must have been for someone else as I’m not a fan of horror films.

    He apologised and said ‘I thought you loved this film’. It was definitely for one of the OW he was probably woo’ing. We all blend into one ????

  • A taco holder. God forbid he hold a taco with his precious hands.

    A worse offense. My engagement ring was purchased from Kay’s jewelers the same day he asked my father for permission and proposed (a real planner!). I wanted an antique ring, but he didn’t like that idea. We had many, many issues with Kay’s and the ring had to be returned several times for resizing, missing stones, bent band, etc. I told him I loved the ring, but I never wanted to shop at Kay’s ever again, the customer service was horrible.

    On our wedding day, he sent a gift to my room, I opened it. A necklace from Kay jewelers purchased the day before. I was sick and should have known then (not to mention, he cracked his head open the night before our wedding because he was drunk and had to get 8 stitches, but that’s another post!)

    Against his will, I returned the necklace after the wedding (still proud of myself for that!). I took the money and bought myself a ring in Mexico on our honeymoon. Found out years later it was fake. Much like our marriage. But, I love that ring. It’s priceless to me now. A good reminder that all that glitters isn’t gold.

    • I am so glad to hear that someone else returned jewelry behind a FW’s back! My FW gave me a beautiful pearl necklace with matching earrings and bracelet from Tiffany & Co. only problem is I am super low maintenance – outdoorsy, athletic, no makeup, ponytail kind of person. Not to sound ungrateful, but never have I thought to myself “you know what would look great with this yoga pants and hoodie ensemble – pearls!” I returned them and bought myself new skis instead. I’ve had more fun on the skis than I ever had with FW…

      • I got a necklace with a huge glitterball kinda thing dangling from it. Expensive (we couldn’t afford it), I hated it and in any case I NEVER wear necklaces!

        • I think FW’s try to use lavish gifts – in your case a gigantic disco ball to wear around your neck – to temporarily distract you from the fact that they cant keep their d**k in their pants…

        • The jewelry thread has reminded me: a couple of years before D-Day #2, so during Long-Term Discard mode (14 years elapsed between my two D-Days), we were vacationing with FW’s family. On Christmas (even though we’re Jewish), we exchanged gifts. My ex-MIL gave me earrings, clearly having asked FW what I would like. The problem is that I hadn’t worn earrings since around 1996 – I had let my piercings close up after my cancer treatments, when I couldn’t wear earrings for a while.

          Which means that FW and ex-MIL hadn’t noticed that I had not worn earrings for around 20 years. ???? I thanked my ex-MIL, but of course I never wore the earrings.

          • My guess is your FW figured she would “borrow” them to wear and then just keep them, “earning” herself an extra gift!

          • Ah, MIL gifts can be even worse than FW gifts. MIL gave me dollar store clip-on novelty earrings that flashed light on and off.
            She also gave used items from garage sales constantly. We found bedbugs in one of her gifts and told her we’d never accept gifts from her again. She didn’t listen and tried to give us a used teddy bear missing one eye for our grandchild. ????
            Like mother, like son, but even FW wasn’t quite that stupid and passive aggressive.
            He did like to re-gift stuff he got from OW, though. They did not contain actual bedbugs, just whore cooties.

      • Yeah. Jewelry from Tiffany’s doesn’t get my hackles up. There are far, far worse gifts that show the chump that have no value.

        • TT, I think the feeling of having no value doesn’t come necessarily from the cost of the gift. It’s the reality hit that your mate has no idea who you are, what you do, value, what you even wear.
          It’s that moment of recognition- that your “soul mate” knows you about as well as a stranger on the street. And quite possibly that stranger could tell in an instant, “That woman is a no maintenance kinda gal, could never imagine pearl earrings on her…”
          My X gave thoughtful gifts. I have nothing to contribute.
          He even sent his first (?) EA partner who lived across the country, a card that told her to go to a restaurant near where she worked on her birthday- and there waiting for her were all her favorite foods, starting with a lovely bowl of Onion Soup! What a thoughtful guy! That took an understanding of what she liked, preparation days in advance, timing, and research. Yes, what a guy.
          Sigh.

      • My cheater actually liked to spend money and loved to shop, so I often got relatively good gifts because that was in his wheel-house. I do now wonder how many of the expensive pieces of jewelry were connected with poor behavior. There was one Christmas when he went out and bought a ton of crap …I returned almost all of it. I think he was punching a card.

        My only daughter doesnt wear much jewelry and I dont know what to do with it. There is one necklace that is timeless and fabulous and I will wear that til I die.

      • My ex would buy me jewelry (from Kays) for every holiday for the first 10 years of our relationship and then would complain that I never wore it. When we met I was in the military and there were definitely limits on what I could wear and then I was work from home and there wasn’t much reason for me to dress up to sit at home by myself.

      • I got a child’s necklace purchased at Service Merchandise once. $14.99. I know how much it costs because I returned it that same day. I fished one of his credit cards (we never had joint accounts)out of his wallet and gave it to the cashier and asked to see their most expensive ring in stock. I bought it and wore it for several years. He never mentioned the ring or the bill.
        Otherwise, most occasions before and after were giftless ones, save for the cheapest kitchen appliances he could find.

    • FW bought me a silver ring as a promise ring. The only other piece of jewelry he paid for was a Mothers day present that both my daughters had to guilt him into buying. Lots of last minute stuff. Got a six pack of socks one year under the tree. They were from the local Grocery store. For petes sake.

  • A pan. I’d decided not to use non-stick pans anymore and just cast iron. Said it repeatedly. Repeatedly!! Got a huge non-stick pan for Christmas. Utter shock when I opened it and then fake thanks. Kids wondered why I was so mean to dad. Wtf!!
    Newlyweds and money is tight. Shared bank accounts. He buys a shotgun right before my birthday and we have no money now. Three months later he writes me a check FROM THE JOINT ACCOUNT to help pay for an airline ticket for a wedding. Uhhhhhh

    • How symbolic of himself– a Dupont “forever chemical” pan that couldn’t even be ethically dumped in a landfill.

    • Mine always bought a new set of tires for his truck the week before Christmas. I spent all year figuring through horribly tight budgets (which were never his problem, he gave me his paycheck – it was up to me to figure out how to make it cover everything the family wanted or needed and obviously I was inept at that little job as he pointed out to anyone who would listen) to buy gifts for the kids and close family we would be spending the holiday with. He had no interest.

      Then his last paycheck before the holiday – he would cash it on the way home from work and go shopping alone for gifts for the people he wanted to buy for. So here we arrive at family events with small gifts for everyone, mostly handmade (my year of planning and hard work) and a few lavish gifts for the “important people” with his name on the tag. And the kids…….. here are the practical gifts mom spent months budgeting for and choosing and making….buried underneath the awesome flashiness of whatever dad picked out yesterday and wrapped and signed from just himself.

      And of course, the kids never saw that I didn’t have grocery money for a couple of weeks afterward or had to get permission to pay the electric bill late.

      It is amazing what you “see” once you break the spell.

      • This. Spend a lot of money when they know a necessary purchase is imminent. Mine took my car to emmissions testing with the check engine light on and knowingly had it fail. $3500 repair right before school tuition is due.

  • His gifts were just meh. The only one that stood out was a sweater that I got for our last (not that I knew it at the time – D-Day was coming) Christmas together. The ugliest sweater that I had ever seen. It was HUGE. I put it on and was swimming in it. Of course he told me on D-Day that his AP was younger and fitter than me. I’m a size 4. Now I completely see it as devaluing. It was given to charity – I never wore it. The hurtful thing is the gifts he helps picks out with my son are thoughtful. It’s a seriously f’kd-up type of cruelty.

    • I also got a sweater in my ‘last’ Christmas. However, I was 5 months pregnant with twins. He bought the sweater in my ‘normal’ size. I suppose I can wear it this Christmas. Or just return it.

      • Give it to a homeless shelter close to wherever he lives. That’s what I did with a jacket FW often wore when with the AP.

    • I feel there is some projected ‘body dysmorphia’ going on with cheaters in how they perceive us, or how they want us to perceive ourselves. On the last Christmas, I received a sequined sweater, kinda pretty, but in a size L. Turns out in was a children’s L, and clearly too small for me…? did he want me to feel ‘too big’? It was accompanied by a silver bangle, but it turns out it was plastic painted with silver, probably a $1.50. I also discovered it was purchased at a store/location where he spent the weekends with his Schmoopie and she probably picked it out. It looked ‘sparkly’, but it was all just cheap discount store crap, like him. The last Birthday before DDay, which was completely ruined in other ways, I got a box of clothes from a store I purposely hadn’t shopped at for a decade, filled with the ugliest old lady clothes including a pair of ‘NYDJ’ jeans (they supposedly make you look a whole size smaller!) in a size 12. I wore a size 6, which he could have easily discovered. I could fit myself in one leg of those pants! Just Infuriating. I’m pretty sure he was flirting with the saleswoman and bought whatever she threw together, completely ignoring the fact that none of it was remotely close to my own style. In the early years, he was a pretty great gift-giver, but once he was investing himself ‘elsewhere’, all consideration went right out the window. I didn’t have high exceptions, but damn, it’s like he made it a point to be so far off the mark to mess with my head. Fucker.

      • Science might agree with your theory of externalized body dysmorphia and that the “eye of the narcissistic beholder” is pretty bizarre. It seems like some classic features of certain personality disorders are displacing, externalizing and projecting onto others the traits that the disordered person denies and dislikes in themselves.

        For instance, some researchers conducted a study to find out if narcissists’ typical self-reports of being “highly attractive” and “of high mate value” were reliable enough to support conclusions of a series of previous studies claiming that narcissists *are* especially attractive. The researchers discovered that the higher people scored in traits of narcissism, the more inaccurate those people were in assessing their own attractiveness which, according to narcissists in the studies, is “very high” relative to other people. The study undermines a common theory that high attractiveness in an individual is a risk factor for developing narcissism (“mud causes rain”). Instead they found that narcissists, due to their narcissism, tend to believe they’re much hotter than they are (“rain causes mud”).

        One theory of narcissism that seems pretty enduring is that it’s overcompensation for deep feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing that narcissists externalize to other people– tarring others with the narcissists most shameful attributes; and which narcissists displace onto others– engineering conditions to make other people feel as bad about themselves or as depressed, empty and unloved as the narcissist secretly feels.

        Personally I wonder if a lot of cheating narcissists tend to also project perceived negative traits of APs or toxic members of their families of origin onto chumps. Transferring negative traits from themselves or whomever is their current supply to victims could have a dual purpose: first it’s the process by which they can idealize themselves and their supply of the moment and secondly it helps to create an burnable effigy of the victim that justifies any kind of mistreatment the narcissist wants to dish out.

        The weirdest projection in my case was before D-Day when FW accused me of trickily trying to get pregnant out of the blue— after I’d had three children, vowed for years to have no more and had asked him repeatedly to get snipped. Meanwhile it turned out the AP was flushing her birth control pills in the hopes that getting pregnant would force FW to stop stringing her along and dump his family. His projections also came down the physical features. He made a crack about my “big feet” around that time. I’m almost 5’9″ and wear a US7.5/EU38. It’s a very common shoe size but maybe looks a bit small relative to my height. Turns out the AP was 5’3″ and wears a US9 which is average but maybe not the “ideal” FW projected on the AP during the affair. He made all sorts of other accusations towards me during the pre-D-Day DARVO stage that made no sense but, if you sum the charges up, perfectly describe FW himself, his creepy AP or his toxic mommy.

        The weirdest thing of all was how FW’s view of me seemed to shift overnight and, when this happened, he so deeply believed and invested in his deranged perceptions that it was nearly spellbinding. At first this made me self conscious about things I never typically worry about or bother thinking about, then I wondered if he was psychotic.

        • This – “feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing that narcissists externalize to other people– tarring others with the narcissists most shameful attributes; and which narcissists displace onto others” – is 100% my ex. Monitored my glasses of wine while he was the spiraling alcoholic, generally treated me like the unlovable, unworthy, amoral loser when he was the one imploding our family. On the last Mother’s Day of our marriage, he gifted me with a hate-filled verbal attack in front of the kids. His affair didn’t last more than 3 months (after 8 years I believe) once I (knew about it and) GTFO. So he’s the same miserable, self loathing cynical, judge-y little b***c he revealed himself to be 8+ years ago. Hasn’t done his therapy and isn’t even in recovery. My kid’s scout leader just told me last week that my kid is so much happier when I’m the parent accompanying him to troop activities and not his dad. Validating for me, sure. But so sad for my kids.

        • HellofaChump, thank you. This more accurately describes my FW than any of the pop psych narcissism stuff out there.

          OW was fit, and shortly after DDay was the first time FW actually said he’s disappointed with my post-pregnancy body. I am a size 2 (although no less wrecked by pregnancy than any other mom). He projected toxic mommy traits onto me (according to his own therapist), when he was the one that actually was quite like her in being nice on the surface with seething resentment beneath, obsessed with being attractive and highly dependent on external validation, and oh yeah being a cheater too. She cheated on both husbands. He’s also more attractive than average (I think, hard to judge now when the sight of him makes me queasy) but not nearly as attractive as he thinks he is.

  • For Christmas one year, I received a pair of inexpensive scissors and an extension cord. His reasoning? I don’t allow people to use my fabric scissors and I was always looking for an extension cord (he always carried them off, I don’t know what he did with them). I should have known something was up.

    • An extension cord and a scissors are terrible gifts! But the worst part? He probably picked them up last-minute and patted himself on the back for “knowing you so well” and for being “clever”.
      Ugh. Just gross.

  • The last Christmas we were together I received a printed copy of a picture of a car stereo he said he had ordered for me on eBay. It never arrived. Thinking I could use my “gift” to line the cat’s litter box or to light a fire.

    • The gifts they say are “on their way”. They can claim anything is “on its way”, but don’t dare ask them when it will arrive. Mine did that, too.

    • Sounds like the print out I received of different types of massage offered at my favorite spa. Funny how I never got an actual gift certificate. I think the fat loser knew his sociopathic mask was slipping off and was about to be dumped. He stole my credit card number and I ghosted him.

  • He never got me any gifts. I used to buy him gifts all the time. He said the reason he never bought me anything because he was not good at buying gifts. And I acually bought that crap. I recall one weekend day when we were at the mall with our Granddaughter. He drug us around looking for a Blue tooth. Later I found out he bought it for skankella with my debit card. I later found out he bought parts for her car. Looking back what a huge chump I was.

    • There’s always an excuse for their crap behaviour, eh? My Ex didn’t try to claim he was bad at buying gifts (which btw is basically putting a sign on their own forehead saying ‘I am not an an adult and I make zero effort’), he claimed he had ideological problems with ‘Hallmark Holidays’ that were just intended to create a consumer frenzy. He said he preferred to give gifts or flowers on random days, or days that were important in personal ways. I guess those days were on the calendar marked as ‘never’.

      Oh, and to make his excuse more truthy, he also said he didn’t want gifts, when I asked what he would like for his birthday or Xmas. Then was all sulky if I didn’t get him anything, or got something small.

      He did get me a couple of nice gifts early on, while invested – by consulting his ex-girlfriend about what to get, or buying me something his ex bought for herself. Sigh.

  • My narcissist rarely acknowledged my birthday or holidays, so gifts weren’t frequent for either occasion. More often than not, I received nothing. Cash in an envelope was given from time. I would occasionally get a gift certificate for a mani/pedi, only to find out those certificates were purchased in pairs. One for me, and one for the AP across the street.

    But, the worst gift I ever got was a trailer hitch. Yes, a trailer hitch. We both own trucks, and his thought was since his was newer, he’d keep the mileage low and the vehicle in pristine condition. So, whenever he wanted to pull his trailer and toys around, he’d use my truck. Thus, I needed a trailer hitch. Did I mention that I was never allowed to drive his truck, so when he took mine, I was left high and dry? Par for the course in that marriage.

    • OMG the matching presents. I and the AP were basically interchangeable or something. Gifts from ex were pretty generic, but sometimes he’d pay attention when I pointed something nice out in a store and get it later. On my birthday during his affair he bought me a very nice necklace out of the blue, which I found surprisingly thoughtful. I learned after D-day that he’d bought the same necklace for schmoopie for her birthday (same day as mine – I did say interchangeable, but two decades apart of course.) just in a nicer colour. So I suspect she had been the one to point it out as nice and he was happy to have it pull double duty. Same reason they take APs to destinations we liked – laziness!

      I set it aside along with my wedding rings and other sentimental jewelry to have melted down and remade into something nice, but never did get around to it.

      • Gifts for the AP!! Ugh.

        On a trip to Ireland, x asked me to help him by a gift for his mother, which seemed odd to me because he didn’t make a habit of buying souvenirs for her. And she wasn’t Irish, which might have warranted an exception.

        Of course, I found out later that the gift I helped him find was for the AP.

        To this day, it shocks me that he could lie so easily. This was one of thousands and thousands of lies. I was clueless and vulnerable. I trusted that man. Dammit.

      • Matching gifts ✅. Saw in her social media we had the same (cheap) necklace. Thought it was a coincidence at the time. Ha.

        • I once bumped into the OW on the train to work. Eeeek moment. I saw she had exactly the same type of coffee mug he got me. I thought, it’s good getting a new wife cause you can just recycle your gift ideas, and had a little chuckle to myself.

    • I have never owned a truck but experienced the same thing. When we first married, we moved overseas and since my car was old, klootzak convinced me to sell it before we left rather than pay four times its worth to ship it over the ocean. So when we arrived he bought a car, ostensibly for me. It was the kind and color he wanted. He paid for it so I just shrugged and let him have his way.

      Five years later, we had a different car give up the ghost, so he went and bought another car supposedly for me. Then he took the first one (surprise!) and his car became a relic that sits undriven in the garage collecting dust.

      But wait; there’s more! He doesn’t like for “his” car (the one he bought me overseas which thanks to someone on here I will now call the cheater two-seater) to get dirty so if there is dust, rain, pollen, anything outside, he takes my car to go and leaves me stranded. Because I have a child and my car is the only one with a back seat and car seat for our child. So maybe my worst gifts are cars he bought that he only rarely lets me use.

      • Oh yes, been there done that. “My” car (from before we were married) had a back seat, so once we got married it was the family car. His car was a two-seater and was exclusively his.

      • Mine bought me a car, that I had to make the payments on and tried to take it during the divorce. When he screamed at me that he was going to report it stolen during the divorce, I went and traded it for a new vehicle, that I picked out and I made the payments.

      • Mine bought me a car several years into the marriage; I’d bought them myself until 2 kids later I couldn’t afford something that was safe & reliable enough. So I was happy with the used Forester. Then he went and bought himself a newer, nicer Forester with all the extras – so of course mine was the family car, and my name wasn’t even on his car. Whatever, I thought, he paid for them.

        Then divorce, when I find out it’s all marital/joint money anyway and he didn’t “buy me” shit. We’re at the AAA doing a title transfer to get his name off my vehicle and he’s trying to be nice (as in, trying to get me to be nice and say thank you – kibbles!) and says he’ll pay half the cost. Well he was 30+ minutes late to meet there, so I just said “knock yourself out” even though I knew what he wanted.

        Later he starts low-key arguing with the admin doing the title transfer about having to pay sales tax. After she already explained that you have to in our state. It was $30. After she gave him his own personal explanation of the same thing, I said to him “At least you didn’t do things equitably and put my name on your car; then we’d have to pay it twice!” He transferred money to me via his phone and showed it to me right there. I said thank you then because I could really use the money, but also because the amount he transferred was $15 less than half the total cost (he sat there and did the extra math to subtract half of $30), and I just love getting confirmation that divorce was the right choice!

  • A gift card for gasoline. He picked it up at a convenience store last minute on Christmas Eve. I put a lot of effort and thought into gifts (not necessarily expensive but thoughtful). Broke my heart. I felt absolutely worthless to him. Many years I bought my own gifts. Told me that I wasn’t his Mother so he didn’t need to do anything on Mother’s Day. Then the kids were upset too.

    • Fuckwit said the same thing to our kids about Mother’s Day and the lack of a singular gift that he could have bought with the kids.

      This is not normal. And my kids understood that when he said that on Mother’s Day-

  • Bike rack for car as a Christmas present. There was snow on the ground and I never asked for one since I would ride locally with the kids. He needed an excuse to put a hitch on my car so he could use it to tow his project cars. He scheduled the appointment for adding the hitch the day after Christmas and picked up another crap car that afternoon. He was so hurt that I called out his bull$hit…

  • 3 crates of vintage porn magazines

    This was for my 30th birthday (17 years ago) and it was our first birthday together. We were still in the fun new phase. I think someone had passed them along to him that same day. He and his friends collected and shared funky old stuff. So, he just gave them to me and said ‘happy birthday hahaha!’ I loved him so much that I tried to play it cool. He probably used those magazines daily. It hurts to think about myself on that birthday.

    That was the worst, but other than that some lame jewelry with zero thought or attention to my taste. Of course when I mentioned this the gifts stopped altogether because of how unappreciative I was.

    I am an excellent gift giver. I take pleasure in remembering what people need and want. I gave up giving him gifts years ago.

  • Gifts were always FW’s forte, because his family are all about gifts. Meaning they had to be good & costly. As a young family, that was a financial struggle to meet their bar. The worst thing? Cards. He always gave humour type cards, ones usually with sexual innuendo, never a loving one. I never could understand why I didn’t get a “love card” when I was in the thick of marriage but it was because only one of us was.

    • Ugh, ex’s family was incredibly materialistic too. Spent $ means you care, and even if no one wanted the gift — it was so incredibly skewed from what I understood about gift giving. One Christmas we all paid to rent a cabin and spend the time together, but ex and I still wanted to get everyone something despite the fact we already spent a decent amount of money on the trip, so we budgeted and got small but (I thought) thoughtful and useful things based on each person. We had a bit leftover to spend on his dad so we got a small gift card to Home Depot since he was there all the time, and he purposefully put it among our things and said something snarky like “you clearly need this more”. So fucking glad I’m done with that bullshit.

      • Actually not fair to all of them — it was truly mostly his narc father. That guy is shacked up with a woman down their dirt road in Texas (can’t get much lazier than that!) from what I heard.

  • The ex “never had time” to purchase a gift. I would thoughtfully shop and wrap and he’d go right behind me and hand cash to the recipient. I learned from my therapist that it was devaluing my efforts. He’d give the gift one would return according to him.
    Initially he’d shop at a gallery that opened until midnight Christmas Eve. I got a nice doorbell cover from there however we didn’t have a doorbell.

    • No one would return
      It stayed in the Christmas decoration box for probably 20 yrs. My mom died in 19 and I had to fix and sell her home. I took it out and placed it on hers. I hope the new owner enjoys it.

      I also got a pair of boots AFTER I’d saved two yrs and bought a pair a month before. The toe style and color he gave me was not my style. I traded the ones he gave after we left for a carburetor replacement on my truck. The truck, he drove up and presented me. I also got the payments that came with it. I never got to choose my vehicle after I was with him. I traded that for a fence in my yard for our new puppy. I got a used vehicle I love.

    • OMG! I wish you could go back in time and make him eat that book while you eat an ice cream sundae. The GALL! (And why is that even a published book???!!!!)

      • It’s a terrible idea for a gift–NurseMeh’s husband was clearly a dolt in his intentions.

        However, just to set the record straight, it’s actually a quite a good book. The author, who is an academic, wrote a series of books (in the early aughts) and the first one I got was “Strong Women Stay Young.” Fitness guidelines recommend both aerobic exercise and weight training. Those two books weren’t insulting, they were about fitness and about weight training, and the emphasis is on building strength (not body building, but muscle toning–think Michelle Obama’s enviable arms). Fitness guidelines recommend both aerobic exercise and weight training.

        One point of weight training is that by cultivating muscle, you not only boost your metabolism (because muscle cells burn more energy) your body becomes slimmer, even at the same weight. That’s because muscle is denser and literally takes up less space than fat. About 12 years ago, I took regular weight training classes at my fitness center (which is hospital affiliated and is really health-oriented), and I never looked or felt better.

        I’m not trying to lecture here–just want to clear up misconceptions about the book. It’s about health and fitness.

        • And I am absolutely NOT defending NurseMeh’s ex’s choice of the book for a gift after she gave birth. That was an idiotic move.

    • I got the full set of TaeBo exercise videos after giving birth to our first child who died soon after birth.

      • Oh my God. What a horrible loss to be dealing with, and then to have your “partner” deliver additional blows, instead of supporting you… I hope you are well free of that abuse.

  • I have a purple fuzzy robe with faux fur around the neck that is definitely not my size or style hanging in the back of the closet. I can UPS that to anyone that would like it. Never worn. Would be nice with the cool weather starting.

  • I got sexy underwear (well trashy underwear really) about 10 sizes too small (and I wasn’t big anyway)! I returned it, took the money and bought a pretty tablecloth and pocketed the rest! One Christmas he got me nothing at all and my heart broke when my youngest asked where my gifts were. It broke my heart – not for me but for my kids)!

    • Ah, the lingerie.

      I got lots of sexy lingerie.

      Always felt that it was more for him than for me.

      RE: “One Christmas he got me nothing at all and my heart broke when my youngest asked where my gifts were. It broke my heart – not for me but for my kids)!” That’s the worst!

    • Oooh I’ve had that too. Christmas one year I had him and the boys shopped for, wrapped, etc. He looks at me on Christmas Eve and tells me he’s heading out to shop for my gift, and asks how much he has to work with dollar-wise (so using the joint account). I had thought he was done ages ago so was confused and there was maybe $12 in the account from bills and everything coming out. So to save face in front of the kids in the morning, I researched different things we could get so I would have something under the tree. He went out and got me the $10 clearance fleece pj’s I found and tossed them in a gift bag we had around the house. That turned out to be the second year I got nothing for my birthday three weeks later too.

    • My ex could usually manage one “meh” gift for Christmas — never wrapped though. I bought presents for our kids, him, my family, his family. — Including stocking staffers for him and the kids (and his mom and brother when they came to visit over Christmas). I would always fill my stocking too usually with stuff like lipbalm, a new nail polish, some Andes candies or whatever. So everyone else got to unwrap 10-15 gifts and I got one that wasn’t even wrapped most of the time.

      However he decided to start picking at me because I bought myself stuff for Christmas. The next year he swore he would do better. That year I got 2 pairs of socks and a cheap throw blanket in addition to my “big” present – silverware. But he didn’t do anything for the stocking. The kids were so excited about theirs that they didn’t notice, but I was fighting back tears and trying to pretend it was all okay.

    • Same with stockings. Mine had nothing but the gum or mascara I bought myself. Kids were upset, as they got older they’d put something in mine…

  • Nothing. Sometimes I literally got nothing. His excuse? “You buy everything for yourself and I can’t pick better than you.”

    Or he would do a last minute “grab anything” gift. One time he literally walked into a fancy department store and bought a giant (fake — under $100) cocktail ring for me because it was the first thing you’d see when you walked in the door of the store. I was a stay at home mom with a toddler — and he gave me a giant cocktail ring? To wear when exactly? I returned it.

    He was still second to his narcissistic mother for shitty gift giving. Her crappy gifts were so epic that it was a running joke with my girlfriends who couldn’t wait to see what I had in store for our white elephant Christmas parties lol

    • Ohhhh the narc-MiL shitty gift giver!

      She would give my kids unwrapped things from the grocery store with the receipt taped to the back. Like one year a Raggedy Ann video to my 10 yr old son. She would say she was really the cool nana because she made it easy for the kids to return whatever and just “get what they want”.

      • Ex-mil was also horrible at gifts. I learned Christmas was a chore to her. Her husband was Scrooge. Initially she acted like she loved it and would sad sausage about having no decorations etc. so I bought her a really nice artificial tree. She used it a couple of times I believe. That was a way the ex manipulated me too. My family does all holidays and I have great memories of everyone together. He said his never did anything so I went above and beyond to make things special. Zero help or appreciation from any of them. Mil would talk behind my back about how I spent for the kids on Christmas. Her little Boo boo had to dish out so much money. When they were little I’d buy their Christmas from the used toy store.

        Anyway, we still laugh at the Christmas she opened and split a pack of tube socks between the ex and DS. He was like 5yo with these adult tube socks. I put them in ex’s drawer at home. I guess she modeled his thoughtfulness. Nothing wrong with socks but…..

    • Oh the MIL gifts!! One year I got an electric can opener!! Most other years I got the ‘gift with purchase’ or a 2-for-1 of something she found on sale on QVC. She didn’t even try to hide the fact that she had the other one. oof.

      • Me too, Kim. Does anyone remember The Slanket, the blanket with sleeves? You could order it off TV.
        My XSMIL gave one each to FW’s golden-child siblings. FW and I got the “free with purchase” booklight.
        She didn’t try to hide it either. So smug.
        I don’t have anything against booklights, but this one was cheap junk and was a clear message that we were an afterthought.

        XSMIL and FW hated one another for 25 years.
        The joke is on him now though. She moved in with him to the marital home after I left. She Took my place as Domestic Appliance.
        Lucky for me they can make each other miserable and I don’t have to lift a finger to do it.

      • Ahhh, the MIL gifts, I practically forgot about that. One Christmas we found ourselves in our home state for the actual family gift exchange ( usually stayed home for Christmas and flew up after).
        So I was able to see how my MIL just showered gifts on her two daughters and I got a full length white slip, which I made a big fuss about cause I didn’t want to make her feel bad, like she should have!
        ( use to wear a white uniform to work as a nurse but had now been in ICU for the past 7 years wearing scrubs everyday, which she knew)
        I sensed she was a bit embarrassed for me to view the gifts to her children. I thought I was considered her daughter until that point. I treated her like royalty and got very thoughtful gifts that were always her favorites ones for all special days.
        I also found out after D-day that she knew all along about her son’s decades long cheating frenzies. I had three kids under the age of three when she found out and he told me she said to him “ don’t tell Chumpasaurus”.
        Her son was more important than the safety of me and her grandchildren she so ‘greatly loved.’
        If I ever meet her in heaven, I’m going to kick her in the shins.

  • Pearl earrings.

    Let me explain:

    Our birthdays are within 4 days of each other. During the first year of our mirage (thanks, VH), when we were young and living on a tight budget, we bought bikes a few weeks before our birthdays and agreed (AGREED!) that these would constitute birthday presents to each other.

    His birthday rolled around first. I made a special dinner and wrote something heartfelt on a card.

    He sulked and sulked and sulked and sulked for days. Of course, I had no idea what was the matter. #silenttreatment #manipulation

    On my birthday, he tossed an unwrapped box at me. Pearl earrings. No card.

    When I explained that we had an agreement, he stormed out.

    From then on, I always made a big deal of his birthday. He was like a child that way. Even our own kids thought it was weird when he demanded a celebration and expensive gifts. And it had to be on his exact birthday, so no weekend celebration if his birthday fell on a Thursday. When I say “demanded,” I mean in a silent way. He was able to exert his will without yelling. #covertnarc

    After D-Day, when I was more or less NC, I did not wish him a happy birthday, which I think crushed him.

    When my birthday rolled around, he wrote, “I want to acknowledge your 60th birthday and offer best wishes.” To me, that was another unwrapped jewelry box flung my way. The subtext was, “I am acknowledging your birthday even though you had the bad manners to ignore mine.” It was all about him and his birthday. I know that man.

    So glad to be free of the mindfuckery.

    • I got a pair of diamond earrings tossed at me across the yard as I was sitting outside for our anniversary which was never acknowledged. As they were airborne he said he had bought them for DD but her ears weren’t pierced.
      Little did I know he had a stash of them. I gave them to her a few years back. She gave them back to me.

    • FW birthdays are the worst. I’m glad to be free of them.

      After FW flew the coop to live happily ever after with GF#1 (which lasted half a year, I think), my birthday rolled around. He dropped off a card that he had signed, clearly forgetting that the two of us had previously joked about how neither of us liked cards. “You don’t get cards for someone special,” we joshed, “You get cards for co-workers or the like. Y’know… people you just want to be polite and nice to but aren’t really that important. If someone is important then you go out of your way to get them something better than a card *snark snark*” (This is neither true nor untrue; I know many people who place great stock in cards. This is just what we, as a young couple, had agreed upon concerning birthday cards.)

      So, knowing this, I stared down at my very own birthday card and nothing but a birthday card from the man who, while he was living with GF#1 at that point, I was still married to. I knew what it meant and it broke my heart. I, truly, would have rather gotten nothing; a card was such an overt dismissal.

      Hooray for being free from FW birthdays.

    • The exact birthday thing baffles me. Ex FW is May and was the same. Juggling 4 kids and end of school insanity aside it didn’t matter. It was HIS day. For his 50th he was married to now ex wife #3. He planned a huge trip out to Zion for everyone – except 1 daughter as she was on track to make nationals in her sport. He couldn’t go even a couple days later to include her. So what happens? Now ex wife #3 finds out his cheating and paid escorts 3 weeks before and tosses him out. She took all the kids – including daughter that actually missed qualifying by a fraction – on the trip and even invited me along. I had to work but they all had fun on the trip!

  • A tube of acne medicine. It’s true that I had period break out’s, but!!?? I don’t know if I kept it. Probably used it.

    • Neveragain, what a horrible person!

      Now I am picturing a cartoon of a birthday cake but instead of frosting it has acne cream. But you don’t know this until you take a bite.
      The birthday cake is like cheater, nice looking on the outside but toxic when you take a bite.

  • I got the mystery gift. There was nothing for me at Christmas. My kids noticed. He made a big show of looking for the great gift, he got me. Had to be there somewhere. Dang, where did he put it , can’t remember. No worries it will turn up. It’s really wonderful, I’m going to love it. Of course there never was a present, just bad acting. These seem so funny, but really are hurtful. Why did we not leave before our lives blew up? We were devalued, used, yet we stayed.

  • Seven weeks after our wedding, my new husband gave me nothing and did nothing – but did wish me happy birthday on the morning of my 40th birthday. The next day he went to the drugstore and found a belated birthday card and a tiny gift box of tea that he left giftwrapped on the table for me to forgive and forget.

  • Ooo. Ooo. Another one. This one turned out to be a guilt gift.

    On the day he first fucked the OW, he ran to Nordstrom and bought me a very expensive business suit/outfit. I was teaching at the time and had no need for such clothes. Also, they were 100% not my taste.

    How do I know it was on the day he first had sex with her? I found the receipt when I was doing a post-D-day clean out. He’d told me when they first had sex. Oh, guess what? It was on his birthday. That must have been her BD gift to him. “Meet me at x Hotel, room 222.” So upsetting to think about. Still.

    Anyway, it was a thoughtless guilt gift. Took it back immediately.

    • Spinach, I’m wondering if you could tell something was wrong when he gave you the suit?

      I had a very weird birthday right after he started cheating. I told him i didn’t want to do anything. I mean it would be nice if he made dinner or something, but we hadn’t made a big deal of my birthday in years (def since having kids) so I meant “nothing” when I said it.

      So he surprised me on Friday (as I’m coming home from work all tired) that i need to pack, and pack for kids to go to grandmas, because we’re going to a hotel. I hate going to hotels. They smell like bleach and I like having all my stuff right there. Well it was the most expensive hotel in our city, a 5-course dinner all the way across town, a comedy show back on the other side of town, and basically the polar opposite of nothing.

      It felt horrible, just icky, and i felt extra bad because i wasn’t grateful in the least and just wanted to leave.

      Turns out it was a guilt gift, but I didn’t find out until almost a year later. So why did it feel bad? Was it because it was a bad gift (and mean what crazy person wouldn’t want an extravagant evening out, or expensive new clothes)? Or do we just sense the creepy desperate insincerity of it?

  • My cheater was a super gift giver, oddly. But my sister’s cheating husband was a doozy. He gave her….a box of lotion infused Puffs! Because he made her cry so much and her nose was always red. He actually said that.

    However, when she expressed dismay at such a stupid gift, he became enraged. He tore all the Puffs out of the box and threw them around the kitchen.

    You couldn’t make it up.

  • Gifts? You got gifts? I would have danced quite a few rounds of pickme for a gift. It would, of course, have been paid for with money that I had earned myself, because he was a deadbeat in the work department too.
    Thankful to be older, wiser, and single now. Every gift I buy for myself is perfect…. but the divorce was the best one.

    • Perfect! I, too, give great thought to getting myself the perfect birthday present now! And as my friend reassured me while I wrote yet another $2000 check to my attorney during those months……..”it’s not an expense. It’s an investment.”

      It certainly was an investment. Anyone else notice how low your monthly household expenses are without a FW? I swear, my grocery bill went to about 30% of what I was spending for the two of us, my electric bill and water bill are about half. I buy a large pack of toilet paper about every 3 months instead of every two weeks. It is so weird!!! He was like a having a family of rats living in my house!

  • He always joked that he didn’t get me anything. Two Christmases before he left, he didn’t lie. Nothing. No apology, no explanation.

    For my birthday a few months later I got a bottle of coke, a chocolate bar, and an amazon gift card. Apparently that’s all he could find at the pharmacy on his way home.

    Best gift was when he walked out 3 days before my birthday. And had enough nerve to wish me a happy birthday when he picked up my kids for a short visit.

    • That’s deliberate cruelty coupled with spoilerism. It’s weird how abusers always behave like they’re exacting revenge for some mysterious unknown offense. I think it’s because they create these demented narratives in their heads that paint victims as ogres and monsters who somehow deserve sadistic treatment. Being cruel on special occasions is a typical thing in personality disorder. So glad you’re free of that psycho and thriving.

  • During our separation and during Covid quarantine, I received an Amazon package in the mail addressed to me. When I opened it, I found a novel by Mark Danielewski and a DVD (the JRR Tolkien biopic that had recently come out). I thought FW had made a mistake putting in the delivery address, so I texted him, and he got SO ANGRY that I would question his GENEROSITY in giving me a GIFT. I was like “last week you told me you hated me and never wanted to speak to me again, so why would I think you’d sent me a gift?”.

    Later, he tried to use the gift as leverage to get his own way (“I can’t believe you’re being so difficult, when I was nice and sent you PRESENTS”). I told him never to send me another gift ever.

    Most birthdays/christmases he’d just give me cookbooks (which I do love, but which didn’t take a lot of thought since he knew what writers I enjoyed). I always put a lot of thought into the gifts I got him. He didn’t do the same for me. And if I didn’t show enough (his idea of enough – I am a lowkey person) excitement, he’d get angry.

    Gifts from FW were not fun. He thought he was buying my compliance, and they always came with a side of expectation from him and most of the time I was punished for not fulfilling his expectations.

  • For my 40th birthday, my friends took me on a girls’ weekend away with a hotel, fancy dinner out and a trip to a speakeasy. I arranged to be back for my actual birthday, figuring that my husband would have something special planned. I arrived back on my birthday to find that not only was that NOT the case, but he hadn’t gotten me anything, hadn’t arranged for the KIDS to get me anything, and thought that “babysitting the kids” was “my present.” Then, moments after I walked in the door, since he’d been “stuck home with the kids all weekend, he asked if he could go out (one guess with whom). In front of the kids. I was so stunned I said “ok?” and he walked out the door.

    LOL. I’d forgotten that.

  • I drove a mini van which I loved. Ex insisted on buying me a BMW for my birthday. I told him no thank you, I like my van and it was paid for. He was relentless.
    One day while wee were out running errands he stopped at the BMW dealership and said that I insulted him by refusing his gift. He pouted, had my brother call me to tell me how much he likes his BMW. I finally gave in.
    When we get home he tells me to show the neighbors my car. I didn’t really want it o begin with and it seems tacky to gloat about what I got for my birthday. If it had been a puppy or something I wanted it would have been different.
    Eventually the neighbors did see my car and I told them it was my gift from shithead. They asked for rides in the car so I gave them rides. (feeling dumb the entire time). Something just didn’t feel right.

    A couple months afterwards cheater decided he wanted something different and moved out.
    Leaving me with all the bills, and house expenses, no support and I wasn’t working.
    During our hearing, cheater requested that I pay him for the car. Cheater claimed that I constantly complained about having to drive a mini van, I drove him to the BMW dealership and wore him down with my nagging until he bought the car. I told the judge , he’s lying it was a birthday gift.
    She said if you have nothing in writing that it was a gift then it wasn’t a gift. I needed to give cheater the money for the car.
    Then she added, unless you know someone who will come to court and tell her they knew the car was my birthday gift.
    I thought this would be easy, all the neighbors knew it was a gift.
    What a surprise it was when I discovered my entire neighborhood had come down with amnesia…
    No one remembers the car being a birthday gift.. or my birthday. Was it your birthday Brit? says one neighbor who has a daughter with the same birth date as I do.

    Guess who got stuck paying the lying ass $60,000.00 for a car she didn’t want in the first place.
    I didn’t have a job, funds came from my share of the house while he rakes in $350,000.00 a year.
    Happy birthday… a birthday gift to remember.

    As a side note, the female judge was enamored with ex. She’d. say good morning Mr. Shithead when she walked into court room, smiling, unable to keep her eyes off him, she’d then ask how he was doing this morning. Cheater said I’d feel better if I wasn’t here. She burst out laughing, and laughed for what seemed like 5 minutes maybe it was three but whatever it was it was too long and exaggerated. She’d do this after almost anything he’d say, laugh as if it was the funniest thing she’d ever heard.. I hate her.
    .

    • I was so fortunate to get a really good lawyer.

      FW in my case had bought a caddie (used but still expensive). My lawyer negotiated that he get his car back and he had to take over all the bills since he primarily ran them up on stuff he wanted. Plus I got a years temp maintenance to pay me back for the money he spend on whore. I could have gotten three years, but I couldn’t hack it longer than that.

      I didn’t get any money, but did get our one little apartment sized property and house that was fully paid for. I took that and my barely above minimum wage job and walked away. Luckily for me he sold everything but the marital house soon after our D was final. (His mother was living in the marital house). Technically if he had defaulted on that I would have had to take over payments, but he didn’t. And shortly he found a property for him and whore out of the county, and he built a tiny MIL house attached to the big house, then he sold the marital house.

      I am sure he made a profit on all the property he sold, but I don’t care as I couldn’t pay for any of it anyway, and didn’t want to be bogged down by it. Also, little did I know but within a few years he would be in bankruptcy because instead of reinvesting his money, he gambled it all away.

      I ran my credit reports regularly to make sure I was not on the hook for anything.

    • Oh God, you had Miss Prissy from Foghorn Leghorn as a judge?! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9MrCLKhJ–A

      I know the type because FW in my case seemed to gather an instant fan club among a particular breed of provincial biddy wherever he went. These women were often in positions of power or were gatekeepers to something important so I felt like a hostage having to witness their cringy “girlish” giggling and flirting– two older maternity ward nurses, the passive-aggressive anesthesiologist for one c-section, three terrible fawning RIC therapists in a row, etc.

      How that kind of behavior isn’t categorized as sexual harassment is beyond me but I suppose these kinds of disordered women go under the radar because they come off like asexual church ladies. But apparently beneath those drab exteriors lurk wild 50-shades fantasy lives and a collection of pocket vibrators. It may be that not too many men set boundaries against the pawing, particularly if they never had any boundaries to begin with. FW would sit there passively taking in the flattery like a ham being glazed. I realized over time that his fans were all followers of a certain daytime soap because they would often compare him to an actor I’d never heard of until I looked the actor up. Yikes, tacky, no. I hadn’t married FW for appearance so hadn’t taken him for a potential himbo.

      The AP turned out to be just a somewhat younger version of soap-fan church lady. I heard from two of her former colleagues that she was an officious dick with peers but had a tendency to go boneless and giggly whenever any man with status or expensive shoes walked by her desk. She was also called to account for favoring male mentees in her capacity as mentor at work. I have seen her future and it’s Miss Prissy.

    • What an awful pair of human beings – your ex and the judge.
      This reminds me that I really dodged a bullet. Ex kept saying I needed a new car and he really persisted, but I didn’t move and was happy with the car I had. A few months later, he left and I have never been so relieved I didn’t let him get a new car.
      I still have my car and he’s had about 6 more cars since we split.

  • Last one (I think):

    A vibrator. He handed me the wrapped box on Christmas. No warning. I opened it in front of our kids and then mumbled something about it being for sore muscles. ????

    Sent it back.

    • That reminded me Spinach, about a yearish before discard he bought me a vibrator at one of those stores at the mall. Made a joke of it, but wanted to experiment. Of course I went along. I thought later maybe he got it because he knew he was going to drop kick me, so since I was obviously never going to have another man in my life (I mean who could replace him) he wanted me to be able to take care of myself. Whatta guy.

    • I got a vibrator one Christmas too. I had been having pain, later diagnosed as vaginismus which can be caused by psychological trauma (gee I wonder what trauma I had been experiencing?!), and STBXFW decided it would be a good idea to “loosen me up down there”. How thoughtful. A gift for him that would cause me pain.

    • Oh mine too! This must be a classic cheater move. A package arrived UPS, I hadn’t ordered anything, mysterious. I went into my bedroom to open it (thank GOD!) because out flopped a huge dildo. There would be no way to hide that from the teenagers!! I was mortified, he thought it was hilarious, of course. It was heavy enough I could have beat him senseless with it, lol.

      • Honestly, my FW was so sexually charged and driven to cheat that it was *me* that got *him* a sex toy. He was actively discarding me for GF#3/Wifetress (and I could feel it coming; this wasn’t my first rodeo), so, in the wretched death throes of my very last panicked pick me dance, I bought him a flesh light. (Was I stupidly hoping that he’d turn his energy to me and the sex toy instead of GF#3? Yes.) He was into strippers, porn, and the whole nine yards, so I thought he would enjoy it and maybe even use it? Heck, at the very least I thought he would laugh and consider me forward thinking and sexually progressive (in his estimation).

        He was, instead, furious with me. He told me he’d never use something as gross as that and he demanded I return it (I did). I felt humiliated, ridiculed, and cowed. I apologized for days for getting him something so stupid. I felt small everytime he looked at me disgusted and said “How could you think I’d ever use something like that?!”

        That coming from the man who cycled through porn, one night stands, and extramarital girlfriends. That was rich. Maybe he just didn’t like that it was something “fun and dirty” that was coming from me.

        I think back to days and moments like that and wonder *why on earth* I was trying to keep him in my life?! He was not a keeper but I was trying so hard to keep him.

  • Honestly the gold necklace he gave me at the end of the year of discard. By then I knew he was running around, and given that he had never gifted me with any jewelry (sans wedding rings), it felt like here is your gold watch; your services are no longer needed.

    I didn’t keep it, he left NYs day, and the next time I saw my daughter in law, I gave her the necklace.

  • When FW bailed on our marriage and family (without telling anyone) gifts were the first clue. First, on Mother’s Day he got me nothing. Then on Christmas Eve he said he needed to do some last minute shopping, he was gone ALL day and nearly ALL night. What fabulous gift did he get me after bailing on his family on XMas Eve? Socks.

  • I usually received nothing from exFW for holidays. He couldn’t be bothered. He set out to ruin all holidays for me and the kids. All the major holidays especially Christmas was so stressful between pleasing him and his entitled family, making it special for the young children and since I work healthcare, usually working at least a partial shift during the days. I ended up crying by the end of Christmas Day because I was so stressed; and I don’t cry.

    My first Christmas after the last D-Day was so much fun and relaxing, I had a party for all my friends and family and we had so much fun! It was like a huge smelly fog was lifted!

  • Mine didn’t even remember my birthday. Once I told him at 3 pm that he forgot. I got a sundae from Braum’s when he got home.

  • Actual gift? The toaster – when I was on a wheat-free diet for health reasons.

    The most hurtful one was my 40th. He asked my 16 year old daughter for ideas and she sent him multiple pictures and links to jewelry (all well within budget). My birthday arrives and nothing. Well, he says, daughter didn’t reply to his inquiries so he had no ideas and opted to get nothing at all. But we could go shopping together! Ok! let’s go! Oh, he didn’t mean NOW.

    My daughter later showed me the texts and emails she sent him and she was furious he threw her under the bus. When I confronted him about that, he claimed he’d FORGOTTEN that she had sent him ideas.

    • Doubly shitty for not only getting you nothing, but putting the onus on your daughter and then “forgetting” she did in fact help him on top of that but not before he threw her under the bus. Bye bye, asshole. UGH.

  • The ex liked to give me (and others, no doubt) Willow Tree figurines. He had a particular fondness for the ones of couples embracing. He gave me the one called “Promise” (a couple embracing face-to-face) twice. Twice for the one called “Together” (male embracing female from behind as she looks adoringly back over her shoulder at him), as well.

    Apparently, when hitting the Hallmark store to grab last-minute gifts designed to charm one’s assorted partners, it’s tough to recall exactly which deeply thoughtful and meaningful things one randomly grabbed last time.

    Nifty thing about redundant wooden sculptures, though, is that they make fine kindling. Also, there’s something darkly artsy about how they burn. Been awhile since I looked at the series of photos I took of those faceless couples surrounded by flames as they were gradually reduced to ash, but I remember the entire exercise of photographing the progress of their demise as both figuratively (see what I did there?) and literally satisfying.

    • That sounds awesome! I burned the large naked women posters that were all over his shop building in the firepit. All those years, I overlooked this thing he collected. As soon as he revealed his ugly hidden life, it was easy to see that the posters were only the tip of the iceberg. Creep. He’s disgusting. I do not know why I ever worked 40 years to make him appear respectable. He never was.

    • My ex liked them as a last minute gift two. He left a bunch of his shit at the house for me to finish packing for him (or he offered rhat just leave it and he would pack and take it in a couple months) and i just tossed them in with his crap that I haphazardly threw in boxes.

  • Mandalorian Chia Pet

    I think I let it sit in a shelf collecting dust for a bit and then I trashed it when he was out of town.

  • The only decent gift I got was the Xmas before the New Year’s DDay. Guilt much? Also, a card saying I deserve more. Truer words were never spoken.

  • Not one, but TWO massagers the Christmas I was pregnant with his child, because he didn’t want to massage my sore back all the time from working retail (or, you know, carrying an 8lb bowling ball in my gut). One was handheld and one was a plug in one (and the only outlet available was by the least comfortable chair).

    He got a top of the line gps from me that year and a full stocking.

  • My first FW over 14 yrs gave me:
    – 2 shot guns (that were actually for him)
    – 2-3 sets of mud tires (that were actually for him)
    – 2 different four wheelers/ATV’s (that were actually for him)
    – shotgun shells (for him)
    – a scope for my my grandfathers antique rifle (that he used and demanded he keep during the divorce)

    (Insert eye roll here) I’m sure you get the picture.

    Oh! I did get one gift that was intended for me. After a huge fight one of our last years together before Christmas when our kids said “I must have been bad because I had no presents under the tree” 2 days before Christmas, he did (cough cough…thoughtfully????) give me a pair of fuzzy lined ugly dark shit brown crocks with a $100 shoved in them. Yay!!! What a joke. I wore those ugly things around the house like slippers and used the $100 to get my hair done. Geez.

    2nd FW who ended up being Bipolar would give me lavish gifts after one of his abusive episodes (especially the physical ones) and if he didn’t think my reaction was worthy enough he would melt down into another episode. It got to the point where I couldn’t express enough gratitude or excitement for him as it was never enough so another manic and abusive episode would ensue. I ended up fleeing for my life in a 24hr window and going into hiding.

    Thankful I’ve been out for years now.

    • Abusers ruin everything. I hope you don’t have PTSD flashbacks when you receive gifts now. After I was stalked by a psycho coworker when I was an intern, I had serial nightmares about receiving deliveries of massive, alien-looking asian lilies wrapped in what looked like crinkly transparent body bags. It took forever to shake off that ominous feeling whenever receiving flowers.

      • So scary! I would occasionally get panicked when I saw random stuff on my doorstep or at work after I fled and went into hiding. Thankfully, he didn’t know where I moved and I changed jobs quickly so he couldn’t find me.

  • He rarely gave me anything, so this was pretty easy. He bought me birthstone earrings for my birthday one year. I don’t really care for my birthstone, and I had mentioned that quite a few times over the years prior. He called me ungrateful and took them from me (no idea what he did with them and really don’t care, lol).

    The other was a lovely set of stemless Murano wine glasses at Christmas. This was about 2 weeks after he had tearfully promised to drink less. I kept them in the box and put them away. But I sure did take them with me when I moved out 6 months later!

    • Oooh, that reminds me! He got me a (crappy, cheap) necklace with a gaudy green stone. “I know your birthstone is emerald” Guess what? My birthstone is sapphire. Guess whose birthstone WAS emerald?

  • Ugly dragon statue with a crystal. First gift while dating. Not my style or taste. But it was his. I returned it and he got mad. I didn’t see the red flags. I’m an idiot.

  • Mines not so much a bad gift (and there were plenty of those), but a marriage long reminder of what I did to him.
    Back in the early 2000’s the movie My Big Fat Greek Wedding came to the theater around my birthday and I wanted to see it. My now XH never mentioned my birthday that year and I finally said I wanted to go to dinner and see that movie for my birthday. He had no response so I knew he didn’t want to go. I even picked a restaurant I knew he liked to make it more palatable to him. ????????‍♀️
    We went.
    For the remaining 20 years of our marriage I heard on a regular basis (every few months), about how he had to sit through that stupid movie. He even brought it up as one of my awful qualities during the separation fights before the divorce. How I made him sit through that stupid movie.
    It was my birthday, I just wanted to go to a movie.

    • They have so little to choose from when attempting the blame shift that they do often have to pick utterly harmless things. Let’s see—he betrayed you, but let’s talk about being forced to munch popcorn in a movie theater. Not even close to equivalent, but it’s what they do. (Can’t tell you how many animated movies I sat through when the kids were small. Not what I would pick, but it was fun to hang out with them, and Milk Duds were a bonus. Normal people don’t fester with resentment over putting loved ones first.)

  • It took me so long to realize how thoughtless he was because I was groomed by my narc mother who was also a horrible gift giver. I can’t really remember anything that she got me growing up. I do remember always having to share a birthday cake with my brother (golden child) who had a birthday 2 weeks after mine- we definitely waited till his birthday to celebrate. One year my father spent an enormous amount of time effort and care on a gift for me. He had to hide it in the basement while he continued to work on it. My narc sister tried to spoil the Christmas surprise for me by showing me the present in the basement, but fortunately I was too gullible to notice. That Christmas I received the BEST present ever- My Dad had built me a very intricate doll house that was a replica of our own house- I loved that doll house and played with it all the time. After I grew up and moved out (and my father died and I went low contact with my mom and sister) my sister gave that dollhouse to her two daughters to play with without my permission. I was so pissed when I found out. I’m completely no contact with all of them now. I used to make amazon lists for the FW for gift ideas and I once put an incredibly cheap (under $5) pair of earrings on my list hoping the FW would upgrade to something a little nicer, but NOPE got me those cheap-ass earrings. The last Christmas we were together he went to a book store on Christmas eve and picked up some random books, then asked my two boys to pick which one they wanted to give me. One of the books was something I would actually like- with beautiful photography of all the national parks. However, this was right after he asked me for a divorce (and I hadn’t told the kids anything yet) and while I had been paying for our vacations to some of the national parks and had hoped to continue this, the divorce and my new financial situation would make this impossible. So that book of national parks just made me cry so much. He must have known this which is why he picked it- it sort of looks like he’s picking something I like, but he knew damn well there would be no more vacations. total ass.

  • The long-stemmed red roses were the worst. Was he ever actually with me for a birthday or an anniversary? Nope. Never. But those flowers showed up like clockwork, including on the day before dday. Pretty sure he had the relevant days in his calendar, and made the affair partner of the moment send them.

    In any case, have never been a fan of red roses, and happily buy the colors that I do like (orange is the fave, especially at this time of year) for myself now as the spirit moves. The ones in the grocery store are perfect.

    My daughter’s boyfriend has given me red roses a few times. Actually a thoughtful gesture from him, so that was fine, but will never be a fan.

    • There must be a handbook for FW. Mine did just this same thing. Dozens of red roses appearing on my desk with fulsomely inscribed cards “ALL my love forever” which would be read by my co-workers, who all knew he was cheating. I think the deliveries marked the days after he was with OW.

      • Oh yeah, the unsolicited guilt flowers! And then the confusion and/or indignation when you’re not grateful enough, a package deal. I almost forgot this.

        After DDay FW did NOT want a divorce/consequences. The Valentine’s day after I filed he sent flowers. It was delivered while I was at work and the delivery person called me. I was busy and not running home for FW’s bullshit. I knew the flower shop was two or three minutes from my office so asked if they could bring it to work.

        Well they did, and turns out it was a massive embarrassing pink extravaganza of ugly. I mean to the point that I was concerned about being able to take it home. I tried to give it to the secretary/admin but she didn’t want it either. Besides, she pointed out, the card was made out to our children.

        Said children are two boys, at the time 5 and 7. Admittedly the elder boy was obsessed with flowers when he was 2 y/o, but I could think of about 7,463,982 things they would like more than $250 worth of pink flowers. It was just a ploy so I couldn’t throw them away or leave them in a random cemetery.

        I wasn’t NC yet, and texted FW to tell him No Thank You. He said it was for the kids. I told him he knew that was bullshit and anyway the kids didn’t want it either. He’s still a passive aggressive Nice Guy but at least he didn’t send anymore flowers.

    • Ex FW gave me red roses every valentine’s day, despite the fact that he knew I didn’t really like red roses. I like the pale peach one. WE HAD THEM AT OUR WEDDING.

      But red roses, every time.

      I used to save the dried petals. I have the petals of every rose he ever gave me. One day I am going to burn them all.

        • I live in an apartment complex, so nowhere to burn them, unfortunately. I’ll probably add OW’s boudoir photos to it (found those when I was cleaning out his house) and maybe her letters as well.

    • Use to just love to receive red roses. Until I saw on our visa charges a florist order to Colorado ( we lived in Florida) and that was Schmoopie’s #1 that I knew of, Valentine roses and I also got them that year)
      I hate that he tainted red roses for me and most everything else that showed up in my life for the last 44 years I was with him.

  • 1. After coming home from an overseas business trip, he presented me with a cheap, large hair clip. I had short, cropped hair at the time. I never said anything because it was the “thought” that counts. (What thought was that, anyway?)
    2. For my birthday one year, he gave me a FitBit, despite my saying in the days and weeks prior that I didn’t want a FitBit. He really wanted me to lose that motherhood and chump trauma weight. I was, of course, the ungrateful bitch when I spoke up. But allowing myself to express my anger and hurt was the real gift.

  • Fly fishing gear for me because he liked to fly fish.

    Our relationship in a nutshell. We did what he liked.

    Most gifts fell into one of three categories:
    1. Gifts that reflected his interests: fishing stuff. sex stuff (for me to wear)
    2. Gifts that allowed him to show off his wealth/generosity (expensive jewelry)
    3. Gifts that were 100% thoughtless, i.e., not my taste at all.

    • Spinach I never got fly fishing gear but all the gifts I received from XH were also things he liked and wanted to do. ????.

      • Raising my ✋ Me too ! I got golf clubs and a tennis racket to accompany him on the course and court. All about him.

        • Yup, snowboard pants, and I still can’t snowboard 20 years later. Every weekend possible, snowboarding. I used those pants to scoot on my butt down a mountain in the Alps while tears froze on my face. FW was a snowboard instructor and said he would teach me, but apparently has a limited amount of patience.

    • Totally reminds me of the Simpsons episode where Homer bought Marge a bowling ball and actually had “Homer” inscribed on it.

  • I once received a gilt Buddha head statue for our anniversary. Same size as a human head. Usually got nothing so that was unusual. It sat on the top of a cabinet looking like a decapitated head in our dining room. That about sums it up symbolically: the gold veneer over the grotesque. He states he is Buddhist btw, and I am not. I left it when I left him. As for the Wheatena, that would look great in a cat litter box.

  • Well, the actual worst (so many awful things to choose from) was probably the necklace with the diamond crucifix pendant given for the last Christmas when his plans to marry the last affair partner were apparently well underway.

    A diamond crucifix for the betrayed spouse—perfect embodiment of everything he gets wrong about life.

  • I had to think about this for awhile since most of FW’s gifts were a middling meh: not super awful and never great… just standard. This was always slightly disappointing as I often would go out of my way to get him personalized gifts, like ordering a specially made tie or personalized license plates for his car. But I don’t have any memory of any gift that was similar coming from him… just standard, “I bought this for you from the store” gifts. However, I don’t want to complain; a gift is a gift and, I thought, that’s just the way he is. I just noticed that he never got me the same kinds of thoughtful and unique or personalized gifts that I got him.

    However, reflecting further this morning, I suddenly remembered one personalized, specially-ordered gift that came from him. It was during the discard phase as he was feathering his nest with GF#3/Wifetress. Out of the blue, he presented me with a set of handmade earrings he had ordered from a hobbyist on Etsy that he had become good online friends with. He wanted to support her business, he said, so he ordered a pair of earrings for me. (This Etsy hobbyist is not GF#3/Wifetress, for the record; she’s kindof a nonentity and has never featured heavily on my radar for anything except this.)

    I knew my husband was seeing another woman again, just like during the GF#1 years, and I was losing weight, panicking, not sleeping, and had started doing on antidepressants while I tried to figure out what I could do differently this time to make him value me. This was the reconciliation hell that I have spoke about earlier that I would never wish upon my worst enemy–reconciliation is hell.

    But, at the time, I saw him pulling away again, “sneaking” into the arms and bed (he didn’t sneak very well) of another woman, and I desperately wanted him to stay with me and our babies. So I was THRILLED and buoyed by the idea that he had gotten me–me!–a gift.

    “I ordered these for you,” he said, giving me the envelope with the stamps still on it. My hands shook as I opened it; he hadn’t done something this thoughtful in ages! Wasn’t he sneaking off to GF#3’s place all the time? Perhaps he was conflicted! Perhaps he did, genuinely, want to stay with *me*, his loyal wife! This specially ordered gift proved that, didn’t it? My heart was dancing with pick me joy and hope.

    It was a pair of the most gaudy, brightly colored earrings I had ever seen. They were huge and made out of femo or some kind of air-dried clay and would have dangled down to my chin. They were… bizarre.

    For context: my personal style for jewelry is minimal and monochromatic. Like, silver studs for earrings. Maybe one simple but understated necklace if I was feeling fancy but nothing more than that. He should have known that. He’d known me since the 90s and my style had never really changed. I never would have worn brightly colored dangly giant clown earrings. And these ones were… obviously made by someone who was learning how to make jewelry… I guess that’s the most tactful way to put it. (They were giant, ugly, and sloppily put together.)

    I guess I was too revved up on hope when I opened the envelope. I couldn’t hide my shock and utter disappointment; there was no time to prepare a proper, polite poker face. My face must have dropped because he knew that I didn’t like them and I had nothing to hide behind except sputters of “Oh, these are… um… interesting” followed by weak protests.

    He was upset that I didn’t like something that he had specifically and specially ordered “just for me.” I retreated to another room feeling numb and panicked (Had I just put the last nail in the coffin by not gushing over those strange homemade earrings?!? Was this a test I just failed?!) and disappointed and confused (How could he not know that I would not like them? He knows I don’t wear stuff like this and yet he got it for me anyway…? Has he never really even looked at me…?).

    In the end, I remember thanking him for thinking of me, apologizing for my disappointment, and assuring him that I would try them out one day. I, of course, threw them out after he moved into GF#3’s house. Good grief, those were the ugliest earrings I had ever seen. The whole experience was bizarre.

    (And I can’t even say “Well, it probably was a purchase for GF#3/Wifetress that he accidentally gave to me” or anything like that because those monstrosities were customized with my name.) So heartbreaking but ultimately just downright *weird*.

  • Hmmm, the FW rarely bought me presents, but there are a few bad ones that I can remember. One bad gift was the gas logs for the fireplace. That was for him as much as for me. He kept the house in the divorce. I was not mentally in a place to have them removed and installed at my new house, but I really wish I had.

    Then there was the time he bought me an entire set of pots and pans for Christmas. I was just a wife appliance and those were to help me be a better appliance. Also, we already had nice pots and pans and they weren’t needed.

    The very worst was on Mother’s Day one year. We had five children and I told him I desperately needed a nap. He took all the kids out and when they came home he had bought for himself a fancy expensive bike along with the bike shoes that you clip into the pedals.

  • Fraudster didn’t get me an engagement ring, but years later, noticing the much larger REPLACEMENT engagement rings his friends were buying their wives, he started giving me checks with “for your ring fund” on the memo line. Across the body of the check, he’d write “VOID” in large red letters. I didn’t want a hug ring so I told him I was ready to get one, but he always claimed he hadn’t “given” enough yet and told me to keep saving them up. Now for the repurposing, but bear with me.

    Early in our marriage, whenever he had business trips, I wrote little poems about the specific trip, the location, what he was planning to do there, successful outcomes for his goals, and put them in his packed clothing. He let me know that he would be very disappointed if the didn’t get them for every trip, and FOR EVERY ITEM OF CLOTHING: every pair of socks, every undershirt, every shoe, etc. So I wrote them. I didn’t realize he actually saved them in large plastic bags.

    Later, I discovered he had fallen for a catfisher/romance scammer and was planning to marry her. He said it was because she was so generous with other people (because she asked him to send checks to her “friends” and their families) and was the best writer he’d ever seen. Most of her emails were disjointed, so I asked how he could think that. He pointed out the “poetry” she’d written. They’d be things like,
    “Good morning my lover, you light up my day.
    Never has there been a brighter blaze of glory than the light you bring each day. Good morning my love.
    Yo babe, nothing’s better than waking up to see your eyes like suns.”

    In short, they’d be completely different styles all run together. It took me two minutes to Google, and they showed up immediately under listings such as , “Fifty ways to say good morning to your lover.” The idea was to use one at a time, not send a chunk of them.

    When I found the bags of my sticky note poems, my initial idea was to put them on a canvas or poster board, print out the nonsensical “poems” she written, then criss-cross the latter across the former. I’m still going with that, but I’m going to add his “void” checks to the mix, and call it “Void.” And maybe violate my own NC and send him a picture.

    I’m going to make a second piece. Recently, he called to give me his phone number and to tell me, “There was no other woman. It was all in my head.” I know of three women he proposed to while we were married and our divorce played out, but I’ll stick to the first. I’m going to print that out in large type, and paste it over the many emails he sent her, showing him holding tens of thousands of dollars of gift cards with the codes scratched off (so she could cash them in without the physical cards), criss-crossed with the long reciepts of the $7k he sent via Western Union, which he denied doing. And I’ll collage in his emails about the credit cards he sent and paid, bank transfers from our account, etc. I think I’ll title it, “There was no other woman.”

    For my final entry, I already repurposed the other gifts he gave me, primarily sports equipment I didn’t want and was physically unable to use. I could never return them because he’d either lost the receipt or bought it as a final sale, but conveniently he could use those very items, so they weren’t wasted. Our separation coincided with the pandemic, and all the gyms were closed. He, of course, wanted all of “his” equipment back. I put it on Craigslist and was able to sell it for top dollar, which I promptly used for attorney’s fees to divorce him.

    • Goodfriend, is he in SAA? Mine is and that’s where he learned the “it was all in my head” excuses. If I hear “it wasn’t real” one more time my head might explode. He had actual sexual contact with actual humans, but SAA has given him a tailor made excuse to use that expertly makes him a good guy who just happened to have things happen to him. 30 year stripper habit? Nope! Not real. It was all fantasy. Except that it was real. All of it.

  • Oh I have so many!
    FW and I were born 3 days apart in late December (one sign that I so mistakenly clinged to, “that we were meant to be”). Let’s see, for our last holiday together, for his birthday/Christmas, I knitted him a scarf, I bought him a bottle of his favorite $$$ liqueur (green chartreuse) and after searching high and low, I found a coupon for an antique train ride (he was a train lover!), where he can ride on a traditional coal-powered train with the conductor (also $$$). I did all of this because I was so excited and in love (still bitter about this). He was going to be in Australia with his mom (who is widowed), and he made such a terrible fuss about not wanting to spend 3 weeks with her. So I also organized letters from all of his friends wishing him a happy birthday, and I packed them in a box and told him to open it on midnight on his birthday. He said it was the best gift he had ever received.
    In exchange, I received tickets to the opera (which I love, but it’s the standard mother’s day gift he gives his mother every year, so not much thought went into it) and he brought me back a kilo of “sand” from Australia where he was on holiday. He wanted to make me a flower of pot out of it (the idea was quite lovely) but the flower pot never materialized.
    On other trip when he was coming back from Ireland, as I was helping him unpack, he got gifts for literally everybody except me. so to make it light and funny he gifted me a roll of toilet paper that he had stolen from the hotel.

    later when the discard came, he said that me organizing these letters from all of his friends felt intrusive and too embarrassing, that I contacted all of them without his knowledge. At the time, I felt so ashamed and I apologized for this lovely gift.
    I think it was probably embarrassing because his naive partner (me) was reaching out to all his friends for such a cheesy gift full of love, not knowing that he was trashtalking me and talking behind my back about “not being attracted to me anymore” and “having doubts if I am the right one” and ofc, finding other women attractive.

    Meh! I had forgotten all of this. thanks for the friday challenge, CL!
    It reminds me of one of the endless reasons why he sucks!!

  • He gave me the black plastic utility box for my truck that was in his parent’s garage, leftover from a truck that he had totaled. I liked it and appreciated it.

    But that is not the gift we are talking about.

    I had the box on my truck for a long time when he decided to re-live his glorious four-wheeling teenage years and got a used beat-up four wheel drive truck.

    I came home one day and found he had taken the utility box back. The one he gave me. Without telling me, asking me, after he had definitely given it to me and I had been using it for a long time.

    Christmas rolled around (do you hear the bells of doom tolling?)

    When we were at parents house unwrapping gifts. There was a very big box from him to me, that he insisted I open last, in front of his family. By this time, I had been waiting for a few years for him to ask me to marry him. And our first Christmas together, he had gotten me a very nice ring (not an engagement ring) wrapped inside a little box inside a series of larger boxes, like Russian nesting dolls.

    Could this be The Ring?!

    He wanted all the attention on me as I opened the giant box, the last gift to be opened at the family gift unwrapping. The Box beckoned me, basking in the glow of the Christmas tree lights, all eyes of his family on me, also glowing in anticipation and delight.

    It was a black plastic utility box for my truck. Like the one he gave me and took back.

    His sister saw my face and said, “I don’t think that’s what she was expecting.”

    • The last gift he gave me was on my birthday, which is in September. He handed me a watch from Costco. It was in the box, unwrapped. Not my style, it sat on my dresser. It was given to me with so much lack of emotion that I wasn’t motivated to wear it.

      DDay came a month later in October. I gave it back to him. He said, “But this is your birthday present!” Yeah. I want a birthday present from a guy who is cheating on me, and cheating on me when he bought it. Yep.

      After I found out who she was, I could see from her Facebook pictures it was very much like something she would wear. I would not be surprised if he gave it to her or got her one just like it.

      Blecch.

    • And now I’m reminded of something else he did. He had been hinting, in the weeks leading up to my birthday, that he was ring shopping and that he was going to give me an engagement ring for my birthday. That morning, he strutted in and proudly handed me a box. Too big for a ring, but I thought it may have been a bunch of nested boxes, as you did. Opened it up and there was a (very) cheap car stereo, obviously an “open box” deal, with one of the knobs missing. It didn’t even fit in my dashboard. He then told me that the “rest” of my gift was that he would install it for me. I ended up with a jerry-rigged, trashy-sounding radio that was a minor improvement over the old one (whoopee, it had a cassette deck – yeah, I’m old as dirt). When I eventually sold the car, the buyer took it out and handed it back to me because it was such a piece of crap.

  • Early on in our marriage, for Christmas one year, I was presented with a filtered coffee machine……
    At the time I hated coffee. FW loved coffee, especially filtered coffee. So he bought it for himself really but wrapped it up for me.

    He also bought me a car one year… Sounds lovely doesn’t it, you know we needed a family car so why not buy it for me for Christmas because then he doesn’t have to even think about getting me anything else. To the outsider it looked like he was so generous!!! We would have got a car in January anyway as that was the plan.

    For his 50th I booked us into a plush hotel, all the family met us for a meal then the next day he had a massage… All organised by me as I knew he’d love all the pomp and ceremony and having everyone revelling in the awesomeness of him…..and he did. For my 50th he mirrored the celebration. To the outsider that too would have seemed a nice thing to do but he just wasn’t original, he heard what my desires were but never listened to them. I’d have preferred a farm stay in the cotswolds (beautiful place in the UK).

    For our 30th wedding anniversary I organised a fun time, bought him gifts, had an amazing card designed, the family all joined in, a ball was had. He contributed nothing only his wonderfulness to be looked at and admired. He played at happy families…… We didn’t make it to 31. DDay happened a month before.

    All the fun still happens. The celebrations, parties, family time, holidays, laughing, enjoyment…. Its minus a FW. He contributed none of the good, only the drama and its better on this side. Much, much better.

    Hang in there newbies, love to you all CN ❤️

  • The only thing I got on my birthday was typically an excuse about why the gift didn’t arrive in time, but was definitely on its way.

  • A set of 8 melamine plates from Amazon that were an odd shade of beige that didn’t coordinate with anything in our kitchen or decor. And they were salad plate size, so really too small to use for most outdoor meals. I’m all for some plates that can be taken outside, but he likely picked the cheapest option and didn’t care about the details.

  • An alarm clock. Mind you, I already had one that worked perfectly well. It was this ridiculous space ship looking, overpriced thing from Brookstone. It was for Mother’s Day. I looked at him confused when I opened it. He said, “I hate your clock.” Wow. He got so mad later when we were with his family later that day and I told my SIL, “at least you didn’t get a clock for Mother’s Day.” Cue the tantrum later about how awful it was I embarrassed him & not how hurt my feelings were over the “gift.”

    I returned it and got a heated neck wrap instead.

  • Vacuum cleaner on my 50th birthday, gift certificate for something he knew I’d never use. I would give hints for what I wanted-never materialized. I gained a great life by dumping a FW.

  • Who can forget this poignant scene from Love Actually?

    In this clip, Emma Thompson thinks that she’s going to get a beautiful necklace that she saw in her husband’s pocket. It was intended for her husband’s secretary and mistress.

    • Such a great performance by Thompson!

      Not sure if this is accurate news (source: Glamour Mag!), but I found this online: “Indeed, Emma has admitted that her tearful scenes were so persuasive because she was having her heart “very badly broken” by first husband Kenneth Branagh, who was having an affair with Helena Bonham Carter. The couple split after eight years together when he began an affair with Helena.”

    • Emma brought real life experience to that movie. Husband Kenneth Branagh cheated on her. She nailed it in the movie, probably because she didn’t need to act…..

  • When we was first together before married at 18 and I found out I was pregnant he said he had a huge surprise for me. I was so excited thinking something amazing to show his love. It was a battery and a bulb for a baby mobile his sister had handed down to us from her child. I said what?? and he acted like I was ungrateful. Ove the years they never got much better (only a few times did he really try I think and maybe that was the guilt of his low self esteem cheating arse behind my back) yet I would overly and with great thought buy him gifts, book shows and concerts, holidays for our 40th etc. I have thought since about a Christmas gift I had repeatedly mentioned even to MIL (his major narc issue of control I now identify) which I think was 2019. Weirdly I now know August 2019 was my first DDay but I didn’t at the time see that as I believed his crap about his mental health and feeling low so wanting to move out. Anyways, he got me a spider catcher! Yes but guess what I’m not scared of spiders he is! So basically it was for his benefit. When i said that he said ‘oh to save you babe when you save me’. I told MIL about it to my dismay and she didn’t see why I was confused. Mmmm I think I should have known then and clearly my intuition sensed something after the August DDaay but I pushed it down as we chumps do. The this last Christmas he was MIC a lot and complaining, up n down moods etc. I knew something was wrong but again gaslighted to believe that it was due to work, helping son with his house etc. What did i get for Christmas? Collagen masks (apparently saying I worry I needed face cream is why) and these were bought from his work on Christmas eve along with a load of other crap I didn’t want that he’d got. I however bought him an apple watch the day I had an operation to THANK HIM for looking after me before he actually hadn’t which helped him have his affair as he would use the watch to message and ring her! I bought him running shoes, clothes etc and even got him a light to wear so he was safe running (with woman he was wanting to have sex with) as well as paying for all the Christmas present for family and friends. Lesson learnt – pay attention to the first time your gut tells you they don’t really care, I’d have saved 27 years time. Oh and lots of money!

  • She bought me an apron for grilling saying “I Like Big Buns.” I hated wearing aprons, she probably wore that more than I did and she still has it. Maybe she’ll get a new apron that says I love fat guys since her partner is on the obese side of things.

  • The same sweater. In THREE different sizes. Because he figured at least one would fit and wasn’t that so super thoughtful gosh!

    I took them all back and got clothes I liked which he never noticed.

  • Hmmm. That would probably be the piece of stiff, scratchy, cotton floral fabric from Liberty of London “to make yourself a scarf” – along with a 5 pound Liberty voucher (I live in Australia where Liberty isn’t). Or the bucket of chrysanthemums he gave me on mothers day – two days after I emphatically commented how much I dislike chrysanthemums. Or the drab 1950s kimono with moth holes. Yeah, its the (lack of) thought that counts.

  • $200 cold hard cash. During his intense use of hookers period. It was at Christmas. My dad was dying of late stage cancer at 62. The kids were 3 and 7 and I had done all the work to make the holiday seem magical. But in return, $200 bucks, not in a card or folder or anything to spruce it up. Straight from my paycheck as he had (and has) no income. Boy was I a cheap hooker! FW. That money can help pay the interest on my legal fees, sigh.

    Runner up: the Christmas before all our sh*t went down, he got me “permission to get a pet bird.” Not a bird. Not even help finding a bird. Just his grandiose permission that I could find myself a pet. Ugh. FW presents are the worst.

  • He literally tried “dick in a box.”

    Dick-in-a-box is a joke song by a comedy group on SNL. It’s basically guys singing about cutting a hole in a gift box and well…putting their dick in it to present as a “gift” to their girlfriends. It’s meant to be a joke about how bad a gift that actually is.

    …my first cheater actually did this. Only with less effort. He stuffed his junk in an empty kleenex box.

    After telling me for a week that he had a surprise for me.

    …yep. That happened.

  • Ah, the FW gifts. Awful.
    I guess the gift that ought to have told me everything I needed to know about our future was the engagement ring (spackle, spackle, spackle). He asked me what kind of ring I wanted so I told him. A half eternity band with diamonds and rubies (my birthstone). He asked didn’t I want a solitaire? No. I don’t like them. (Besides, I have rather large hands and a small single diamond would look silly. And I certainly couldn’t ask for something large enough not to look lost on my hand. I was brought up better than that. Besides, he couldn’t afford it.) He made a huge deal of my opening the box. What was inside? A solitaire. I’m sure I had a look of utter confusion. He said that he looked at what I wanted and he thought no one would know I was engaged. I told him I would know I was engaged and he would know I was engaged. He raged that I didn’t know how to receive gifts and how ungrateful I was, blah, blah, blah. So I wore it. And it did look silly by itself. After we married I’d stack bands on either side of it to make it look less so.
    That ring was the first thing I sold after I left his sorry ass. I was surprised at how much I got for it. It was WAY under-insured, he had no idea that it was a rather fine stone (D in color, VVS1 in clarity). It was small, just under a carat, but a very, very good stone.

    • May I ask where/how you sold it? I have quite a nice diamond of a similar size and the jeweler offered very little for it. It’s in a beautiful (and expensive) platinum setting by a designer that no longer exists. I think my ex paid about $6,000 for the diamond in 2007. Apparently, synthetic diamonds are so good now (far cheaper and without the human rights issues) that no one wants “real” diamonds anymore. I have been holding on to the ring trying to decide what to do with it.

  • In 32 years nothing he ever gave me stands out. Usually lame, not my size or taste. Often he gave me a gift and got him one too. Bike, Golf Clubs, Kayak, roller blades, gun, 4-wheeler (he got KTM motorcycle). If I got jewelry he somehow would have his birthstone added in. smh. The absolute most hated thing I ever got was for my 40th bday. It was a gold “handcuff” charm. Uhhh OK, weird since there was no chain included for a necklace or bracelet. Later he admitted he had given the same charm to AP. I “LOST” wink wink that charm, I never wore it and actually tried not to read into the message of handcuffs! Learned that he was not thoughtful or original.

  • OK, so the worst one was… a divorce. Or a “divorce promise”, since I eventually had to file myself. Literally a couple of days before my birthday, in the middle of watching a movie, he announced that “a divorce wouldn’t be so bad”. No explanation, then insisted on watching the movie. I guess I had reached my expiration date… oh and on my actual birthday a couple of days later, I got a “feminist” coffee mug. As an explanation, or a reminder? I’ll never know. I used it for a while, trying to puzzle it out having my morning coffee by myself. Now it is a plant pot.

    • FTS, nothing says “I stand up for women” quite like betrayal and gaslighting, right? My FW’s AP has a LinkedIn profile that boldly proclaims “Servant Leader”. Her other social media is littered with sparkles and girl power posts. After finding CL, I did stop that pain-shopping, but it still eats my lunch…girl power my @$$. With friends like these, who needs enemies?

      • That’s right. I guess gifting me a divorce was his way of empowering me… 5 years later that mug cracks me up… I’ll gladly take the feminist label and I am raising my children to recognize a strong independent woman when they see one.

        • “I am raising my children to recognize a strong independent woman when they see one.”

          This hit me right in the heart this morning. I’ve got happy tears!

  • Ooh, it’s so hard to choose. There was the stairclimber for my first Mother’s Day to lose the baby weight. Then there was the perfume I found in the closet that had been intended for Schmoopie but I discovered it first, only I am allergic to perfume. Then there was the $250 spa certificate for my birthdag which was lovely but later found out was a sales incentive give to him after purchasing three $500 spa certificates for his lady friends. It’s hard to narrow it down.

    (Also a perfect post for today, my birthday, and 5 years fw free!)

  • The Gifts got smaller and had no relevance. Amazing now how I missed it for years. She was quiet quitting the marriage.
    I threw her a 50th birthday party and 3 months later for my 50th I got a small cake. Not that I wanted a party but at least let’s go to dinner. I now realize that was 2 years into her affair.
    For Christmas of 2020, exactly 6 months before a blindsiding Day she gave me nothing. I had an artist do a high end picture of our dog. It was something she really wanted as well as gave some jewelry she liked. She looked at me dumbfounded and said “oh, your gift isn’t here yet.” 2 hours later she shows me a picture of a political figure and says this is what I ordered you. I’m not political and gift had no significance for me but I spackeled.
    For My Birthday, 1 month before DDay she gave me beef jerky. Only 1 bag and no card.
    Father’s Day, which was the day before DDay, she gave me nothing. She gave my buddy 3 shirts. When I asked her she said “your son gives you a gift not me” For the 15 years leading up to that day we always gave each other cards and gifts. She then offered one of the shirts she was going to give our friend.
    Sad and heartbreaking.
    PS
    If anyone wishes to obtain a picture of polarizing political figure that was expensive and not wanted reach out to Tracy and I will mail it to you.

    • Dr Chump, rather than gifting that picture forward, how about giving it a more fitting send-off? Perhaps a bonfire, or posted on the target for ax throwing, or (recommended by my divorce recovery therapist) put it on about 10 bags of ice in the back yard and crush it with a baseball bat. Include a pic of your ex, while you’re at it. Don’t forget your safety goggles.

    • Ugh. Reminds me of my last bd before d-day. He took me out to dinner (nice), but he chose a restaurant that wasn’t great, presumably to save $$. I’d already been discarded, and he was planning his exit. I just didn’t know it. I chalked it up to his nervousness about money post retirement. But that was a spackle move on my part.

      • Marcus.
        Would rather not say but She doesn’t know who Stalin or Mao where ????. 22 years together and I turned a bling eye to her low IQ. I would lie to myself and say she is smart she is a nurse. In. retrospect isn’t. Just good at playing the victim

  • This is odd…I’m wracking my brain because I know my ex gave me gifts, but I can’t for the life of me remember what any of them were. I wonder if that means my brain has suppressed those memories into oblivion, or if his gifts were just that forgettable.

    • Me too! I literally have no recollection of XFW giving me anything (long time ago of course, so it’s all thankfully blurred). He hated Christmas (I loved it), so no presents as Christmas was all a “big corporate conspiracy”. He would always pick a fight shortly before my birthday as an excuse not to recognize it. Then in a move that seems to be common in these responses, he would expect a huge fuss and birthday cake on HIS birthday!

  • Eight years into our marriage, I got a beautiful new Yamaha baby grand. I called it the “guilt piano”, because a few months before that I found 6 very steamy love letters from his mistress in his suitcase after his return from a two month sea tour ( I always unpacked it for him, so makes me wonder in retrospect decades later if leaving the letters in there for me to find was part of the whole trauma-drama-chaos that so defines a narcissist’s life.
    They thrive on the disruption to every single event, maybe it’s what makes them feel that much needed,center of the universe and the main topic to deal with and discuss continually.
    He was screwing one of his female engineers on the ship at the time. Unfathomable situation for me to absorb,I could not even comprehend slightly it was a thing. We were still in the ‘can’t keep our hands off each other’ infatuation stage of the relationship, even after six years of dating, so 14 years together with no kids yet and crazy in love ( at least I was, it was like living in a fairy tale, completely surreal) How can you even WANT to cheat when you have someone home that adores your entirety?!
    Man, I was very dangerously in love.
    He was actually a phenomenal gift giver, very thought out and personalized, perfectly wrapped by him, mostly over the top level of extravagant, made me feel a little uneasy with the excess, but I also felt very cherished.
    He did better buying me clothes than I did for myself and was always gifting me something or writing some heart melting sweetness in a card. He was an artist too, so would paint so many oils of me, lol. It could cover half the walls of my home if I allowed him to hang them, lol. ( no way!) Very over the top when I look back on it!
    We corresponded by letters since he sailed six months out of the year ( two on/ two off) and writing can bring you to a level of closeness that seems to transcend the normal ness of every day living. I couldn’t even imagine ever loving someone more. It really felt like I was cherished and loved too, and the most blessed and grateful woman on earth.
    I don’t know if I’d be able to tell the difference, honestly, between real and fake love. I think that’s one of the reasons I vow to myself to never get involved in another intimate partner relationship. The predators are able to make you believe no one in the universe could possibly love you more and you genuinely start believing it yourself.
    To realize that was never the case is such a mind fuck, I don’t think a day goes by even four years post divorce that I still don’t internally shake my head in complete and utter disbelief and confusion over what happened to my charmed life. It’s beyond any earthy comprehension to me. “If it seems to good to be true, it probably is.” That statement feels like one of the 10 commandments for me now.
    I did get a cement mixer for Mother’s Day one year. We did so many high level home improvement projects together and I made him promise to not go over the top with gifts for me that year. I am not a high maintenance person, but the showering of gifts I would routinely receive would make anyone think differently. He would get annoyed with me if I wouldn’t let him buy me a new car and that I wasn’t as materialistic as he was. He actually said to me that it irritates him that I don’t want anything.
    My current car was perfectly fine to me. ( it was another over the top 50th bd gift and I certainly didn’t need a replacement!)
    I think, now, they were all guilt gifts, just like the piano over 30 years earlier. He had constant an multiple ongoing affairs throughout our entire marriage of 38 years and I think showering me with gifts help allay some of his guilt for hurting me so badly.
    I imagine the wifestress is being showered with unlimited extravagances in my place now and feeling completely immersed in a pool of over the top love and caring, being unaware as yet,that it’s all for the purchase of her soul.
    Too bad it’s not possible to warn someone how deceived they are being. But, she knew she was screwing with a married man, so I believe she also deserves the consequences she will inevitably reap.
    She is unable to foresee the magnitude of those consequences, being more than anyone could possibly pay.
    Schmoopie was married 20 years back to a man who physically beat her and she has a 30 year old son. Unlucky for her, she’s found yet another narcissist, but this one will beat her verbally, emotionally and psychologically more painfully than any physical beating inflicted on her.
    I think the only thing that could save her is he is aging out and less razor sharp and focused on destruction as he had been in the past. He’s way older than she, so if she can hold on to the cracking tree branch for as long as possible, she’ll get his sizable wealth to pay for her lengthy trauma therapy.

  • My birthday was a few months after the first DDay. He bought me a skillet. When I asked why, he said it was because he knew how much I like to make everyone pancakes.

    I felt this gift to be inadequate, so later that day I grabbed a couple of his credit cards and went on a bit of a shopping spree. When I returned with essentially a new wardrobe, including shoes, accessories, and cosmetics, I began very methodically clipping the tags and gently hanging the new items. Humming. In front of him. When done, I gently and wordlessly set his credit cards down on his bedside table. Once he finally caught on, he was nearly apoplectic. He demanded, “How much did all THIS cost me?!?!”

    I (with zero emotion) responded, “about four hookers and a hand-job.” and quietly left the room.

    It was never spoken of again.

  • FW got me a desk lamp and a keyboard for my 1st mother’s day as a mom, while he bought himself a huge desk and a gaming computer, and some chick in Colorado he knew from high school a beautiful food basket from some of the local farms for her birthday. A utilitarian gift for the useful wife appliance, I suppose. Ugh.

  • Hard to decide between the gift cards for my 50th birthday or the Fitbit he bought me during my anorexic depression period after D-day.

  • I got a vacuum cleaner like a year or two into our marriage.

    She took it with her after our split caused by her 4 year affair.

    I still sort of miss the vacuum. (It was a Dirt Devil!)

  • While we were divorcing in he was in another state living carefree with the OW, my ex bought a book for my 4-year-old son to give me for Mother’s Day. It was something along the lines of “How to Raise Resilient Children.” Don’t have a FW for a father, that’s how.

  • He bought me a size of xs super short yoga shorts after having our first son. I was a size 12 at the time. I asked him to return them and he was deeply offended.
    after baby #2, he told me he deserved the affair because I hadn’t lost the baby weight fast enough.
    I’m so glad he’s gone!

  • Actually a very lovely present but his whole attitude about it nearly ruined it for me.

    The last birthday before D-day we went to dinner with my Mom. She gave me a gift at dinner that was a watercolor of me that I never knew existed. I was so excited because it was painted by a friend who was gone. When he got home, WXH gave me his gift and it was a different watercolor of me and our DS by the same artist that we saw on display at a local art gallery. I was thrilled but evidently I didn’t get as excited as I did when I opened Mom’s gift. He pouted all night. I didn’t really notice but Mom did. Figured out later that he was probably deep in the A at that time. I love both paintings and they make me think of my friend, not pouty attention seeking Mr. Poopy Pants.

  • A chia pet and a bag of reeses cups for valentines day… and a card he didn’t bother to put my name on or sign.

    The evening before the last valentines that we were together, our daughter mentioned that she had helped wrap his present (a custom beer stein) and that he was going to really like it.

    He got upset because he thought we weren’t doing presents (we always presents for valentines and there had been no discussion of that changing that year), so after dinner he grumpily went to Target and got, I swear, the first vaguely valentine-y thing he saw.

    Later found out he’d been obsessively writing and rewriting a letter to AP for the two weeks leading up to Valentines so I guess his wife slipped his mind.

    • I got Reese cups too, for the first couple years. Then those stopped, and he rarely ever (if ever) remembered my Bday again. Up until the year of discard. He sent me flowers at work exactly one month before my actual birthday. That was 6 Sep, and my Bday is 6 October. I called him to thank him and he said since he always forgot my Bday he thought he would send something early this year. I still don’t know why he did that, but I wonder if he knew he was about to accelerate the discard so he did that. Who knows.

      Anyway Dday was Christmas day, and he was gone the day after New Years. Also I just remembered that he gave me my Christmas gift that year a couple weeks early. A gold necklace which I guess was my “retirement” gift. He had never bought me jewelry before.

  • One year I got a bottle of bubble bath “wrapped” in the bag from the drugstore he stopped at on his way home. No card. At the time, we were living in an old house with no bathtub, just a shower.
    The previous year I got nothing, he completely forgot it was my birthday.
    He blamed me for forgetting; apparently the date of my birth was “too hard to remember” because it falls one day before a major holiday.
    So sorry I was born on an inconvenient date.????
    There was never a year (during a marriage that lasted over four decades) that I had a birthday cake that I didn’t make myself. And we never had any family or friends over, again because my birthday was too close to the holidays.
    But we would have huge parties every year for him; usually a keg of beer and a massive feast that I would spend a week shopping and cooking for.
    The perks of being married to a chump; you get tons of kibbles and don’t have to reciprocate.

  • A brand new car he registered in his name only “because it was easier”. I had to pay him for it when we divorced.

  • Fathers Day I did a card and small gift from the kids and maybe out to eat for the selfish narcissistic man child I bred with. Mothers Day zero for me. The last Mothers Day there I was folding clothes. He was watching me standing there. drinking his coffee. Notice not helping . I asked him what he did for me for Mothers Day. He sorta shrugged his shoulders . I said that’s right nothing and that’s exactly what we are going to do for fathers day. He didn’t like that and stormed off mad. How dare you treat them like they treat you. Oh the duplicity – can we blog that one in the future?

  • Birthday gift? Hahahahahahaha Hahahahahahaha aaaaHahahahahahaha!!!
    What is this thing—“birthday gift“—of which you speak? All I ever got was the query, “So where would you like to go out to dinner for your birthday?“ Mind you, dining out is something that *FW* enjoys doing. We dined out all the time, it was nothing special. And it didn’t matter if I dropped broad hints for weeks ahead of my birthday—I was going to get a dining out experience. And I knew better than to suggest a restaurant that I liked but he didn’t, lest I receive a grumbly stink eye as the chaser to my birthday greeting.

    Anyway, that’s just a funny story now—long behind me. I actually *do* know what a birthday gift is now because I am in one of those reciprocal-style relationships, and have been for the past seven years. Sometimes I get jewelry, and sometimes I get something super useful, like a new pair of hiking boots. Always I get something that has been selected with loving care, plus a handwritten card.

    • Dinner out was my usual birthday “gift” too. And he always took me to the same restaurant for my birthday, so exactly zero thought had to go into it. The RESTAURANT gave me a card. Not FW.

      • I received a birthday cake from a restaurant owner during a cycling trip, not the loser I was dating. Also a card with a photo of the owner, his son and me. Loser was not in the photo and whinged about it !

  • An extremely heavy braided synthetic throw blanket in the middle of a summer heatwave. It looked like it had been made from fiberglass insulation and would have been perfect for moving furniture. When searching through accounts after D-Day, it was obvious he’d originally gotten it for the AP in winter to match her couch but there was some huge delay in delivery so he waited for an occasion to gift me with it instead. I think it got thrown out immediately but can’t remember. To me the blanket fiasco was evidence of FW’s sweaty exertions to juggle a double life. He was a minute away from calling someone by the wrong name.

    After D-Day when my lawyer was working with a PI to sleuth the particulars, I learned Schmoopie was a self-described interiors fanatic and had posted embarrassing pictures of her studio flat along side pix of the swanky homes of well known designers. The PI sent me the link and asked if I recognized anything in her flat that might have been stolen but he added, “Somehow I doubt it” with a green “nausea” emoji. Considering her level of taste– like her awful, copied-from-photo framed pastel drawing of Easter bunnies (not yet boiled)– I could see why FW got her that hideous thing. She hadn’t even Photoshopped out some of the stains on her tacky sectional which she apparently liked to bonk on. FW later admitted during the RIC ordeal that he was pretty sure not all of those stains were left by him. The blanket was intended as a cum barrier.

      • Someone might top this and steal my prize for ickiest story if they received any hand-me-down sex toys. 😀

        • The fat loser who stole my credit card number (during my birthday overnight ?) gave me a cheap, black phallic shaped vibrator and announced to me that he had used it. Said with a smirk. I already suspected he was porking other women while dating me. He probably used it with other women. “I used the condoms to masturbate”. “I left my cell phone in my car.” I already had the jackhammer of all vibrators (Hitachi Magic Wand, original version purchased at Eve’s Garden in midtown Manhattan in the late 90s a female friendly store that was several stories up in the building) which I didn’t like because that version was on and off only, no speeds to choose. I had left it at his apartment and didn’t bother to ask him to return it since I didn’t want to see the sociopath again. He’s an electrical engineer and I joked he was building bombs after seeing his workspace. Who wants to die by a short circuited sex toy ? Or contact a nasty infection from a dirty dildo ?

          When are you going to write a book Hell of a Chump ?

          • Were you dating this slob after getting exasperated with preening narcissists and thought he’d be nerdy and different? Friends and I have jokes about that (frying pans and fires) because of the rise of the narcy misogynist tech geek.

            I keep wishing someone else would write the book on the role of sexual control and double standards (“sexual license for me but none for you!”) in domestic violence but no one’s focused on that specifically so far. I think it’s partly because DV victims are urged to stay silent about abusers’ typical cheating since this might “color” bystanders’ perceptions (lurking preexisting biases, in other words) that victims’ motives to file reports are “petty” and retaliatory. Because of this, the issue of sexual double standards in intimate partner abuse is the pink elephant in the room that no one discusses in the clinical arena where a change in thinking could make all the difference in policy and law and the way victims are treated by the public. So when the kids leave the nest, I think about getting a degree related to science that would give me the creds to make the case. Something I discovered as an editor for environmental issues (you’d be amazed how similar that is to squaring off against abusers and abuse-apologists) is that if you frequently quote influential experts and show a solid understanding of their positions and theories, there’s a higher chance they’ll read your arguments, potentially be influenced themselves and then use their greater influence to advance a previously neglected theme.

  • Not any of the cheaters, but a dipshit I dated in college gifted me a childhood toy of his – a demonic-looking Pegasus puppet that’d clearly been sitting in his parents’ attic for years.

    He said, “I know you said you liked unicorns…”

    Yeah, when I was 6.

    And a Pegasus isn’t a unicorn! One’s got a horn, the other has wings!

    We were broke college students but it wouldn’t have been hard to make me a card or something. This was just half-assed.

    I dumped him weeks later for other reasons, but let’s just say his idiocy wasn’t restricted to gift-giving. I mailed the puppet back to him after dumping him and incredibly, he was insulted about it!

  • The worst was when he forgot my birthday altogether. This wasn’t typical of him. He often gave gifts that were over the top and sure to bring attention to himself as giver of the fantastic gift. None were personal.
    What was confusing to me is that it was so difficult to give gifts to him. He used to claim interests in cooking & golf, then I realized that he only cooked on special occasions, to get the compliments. If it were just us at home, he liked it when I was too tired to cook, because then we could go out to eat. He golfed just enough to be able to talk about the game with coworkers. He never took the golf lessons I gave him. He had no other hobbies or interests. He spent his free time in front of sitcoms or any movie that happened to be on in pre-internet days. After the internet, he’d hide his face behind the computer, and yet he had full view of the family room from his office. He would creep us out by not paying attention to us, then interjecting comments every once in a while.
    I think the computer was his escape into fantasy land, probably p**n sites after I went up to bed.
    I learned to not expect gifts by the time he descended into LaLaLand, and gradually came to say “let’s just go out to dinner” for birthdays.

    I had a long term marriage & many kids. Birthdays came to be a chore that was my responsibility. I hate certain parts of my history. I never asked myself “is this relationship acceptable to you?” I continued to berate myself for not giving lavish, over the top gifts or fun parties, and did not look at the fact that my XH dragged on the impression that he was the fun, normal, generous one way past the point of him not actually doing those things anymore.

  • The holiday after I learned my ex was buying sexual favors at massage parlors, he got me a gift certificate for a massage parlor. WTF!!! Fortunately it has all been so blurred by time that I can’t even remember now if this was for Christmas or for my birthday.

    After the divorce I sold all my “fancy” jewelry that he had given me, including my engagement ring. I had thought some of it was real. It looked nice. I netted about $150 on the sale.

    I conclude this post with a celebration of the fact that I will soon celebrate two years post divorce!

    • Isn’t it great when you can’t remember the details of events that you once feared would be traumatically burned into your soul forever?

  • My worst from him was I got a T-shirt for Christmas — he gave his mother a $3000 painting (they have enmeshment issues)

  • I’m sorry to say, but I was and am still the one terrible at figuring out gifts for others. I’m unfortunately best when you tell me what you would like, and then I try like crazy to get it. The last Christmas I was w/the FW XW, she wanted a special flannel bathrobe.

    I made sure to get that (I clearly remember her wearing it as she came downstairs the morning after D-day, when my eleven yo son hugged her and cried after I told him his mother had been unfaithful to me w/her boss), as well as some jewelry (I can’t remember if she asked for that or I tried to guess what she might like. Probably the former????), and some other stuff she again probably asked for. I don’t know if it was that last Xmas, but I also remember searching hard for a succulent plant she asked for at Xmas in the last year or two before D-day.

    The FW XW was very good at giving gifts. That is, until the discard started. Those last few years especially, but I think it started slowly after she got upset w/me and totally blamed me for, in her mind, getting her pregnant w/our son, our youngest.

    [As I’ve mentioned before, she very abruptly and unilaterally told me she wanted no more children six years after our youngest daughter was born, w/no discussion of her decision and after six years of me repeatedly making clear to her that I was hoping for one more try. I was so angry about it and at her that I shut down emotionally and physically w/her (no sex, or touching, and I was emotionally cold).

    No, I’m not proud of that. I can only say that I felt betrayed. I felt I had been led on, being allowed to believe that she was possibly open to it, when really she wasn’t. If she had said no earlier in our marriage to more children, I might have reacted better. Maybe not.

    But a discussion w/me instead of just telling me the way things were unilaterally going to go might have made a difference, too. I’d like to hope so, but I don’t know for sure. As always, I know I’ve got my own issues to work on, and am far from being perfect.

    But a major goal for me in our marriage was to make my wife happy, as often as I could (certainly not always, but I tried). She even told me I was an uxorious husband early on (she was a Latin language geek, and had learned the word in our high school’s Latin language class that she took and I did not. Look up the definition if you’ve never heard it. I hadn’t ever heard of it when she first applied it to me, either). Not a strictly true portrayal of me (I’m not exactly a submissive guy), but again, I think like many husbands I tried in my way to make her as happy as I was able.

    But w/her, it was frequently her way or the highway, and I was lucky if there was any discussion of things. And usually I acquiesced, unless it really mattered to me. This really mattered to me.

    So, after a couple of months of me being frosty to her (and inside, feeling the awful mix of loving her so much it hurt but at the same time feeling really betrayed by this same person…huh. Just realized this was foreshadowing how I’d feel at D-day and the Pick-Me!-dance period), she approached me wanting to have sex, but w/me wearing a condom.

    I said no. I told her if we were going to have sex, I wasn’t going to use any protection (and I was still so angry at her, I couldn’t figure out how that would happen, except that she was outwardly beautiful, and I am a strongly cis heterosexual guy). She accepted that, and shortly afterwards proceeded to climb on top of me to get what she wanted.

    It was the most surreal sexual experience I’ve ever had. Still so angry at her, yet loving and lusting after her enough to let it happen. I’m pretty sure she got pregnant from that, as nine months later our son was born. But we did have sex like that a few more times in the following weeks, mainly at her request. No protection on my end as I had originally stated, and she never bothered to do anything on her end.

    When she discovered she was pregnant, she angrily confronted me. I was not completely surprised (we were always dynamite at getting her pregnant), but I was shaken, tearful and remorseful when I told her that though I knew she didn’t need it, she had my blessing to get an abortion if that would make her happier and solve the problem for her.

    She refused, saying she would never do that. And so, she had our son, and yet I’m pretty sure she never forgave me, as in her mind, it was totally my fault she got pregnant. She never wanted to take responsibility for her part in the conception.]

    So, looking back, I now realize that her usual ability to pick gifts I liked started to falter following my son’s birth (she also made excuses about how she couldn’t wear her engagement and wedding rings after our son was born. Another telling sign, but w/her excuses about how pregnancy had altered her fingers thicknesses, I spackled right over it. Ah, hindsight!????).

    It didn’t get really bad until I burned out as a pharmacist eight years later. Then, she seemed to start getting me some clunker gifts. Nothing terrible, just not things that really fit me. DVD’s of movies and books she probably liked more than me. Things like that. It was simply a sharp contrast to her previous ability to pick almost always good gifts for me. Which I admired her for her ability to do so, not just for me, but for most people.

    It’s only in hindsight though, that I see that contrast. At the time, I didn’t care. I was simply happy that she was still willing to think of me and get me something while I struggled to find a job to help support the family in some way, all the while badly battling a deep depression and oncoming diabetes.

    So, this is probably not the norm for CL or CN. But life is not simple, is it? Lots of contradictions that exist in us.
    I’m a bad gift-giver (I am somewhat better now), but I’m generally loyal as fuck. I never had any inappropriate relationships w/any women or anyone else while I was miraged w/the FW XW. I never fucked around on her. I’m certainly chock-full of faults, but crossing the line into adultery for me has never been one.

    Hope everybody in CN and definitely our inspiration CL has a good day today and a good weekend as well. All the best, everybody.????

    • You were boiled like a frog. I was raised feminist (my dad spoke for the NOW org) so I’d always hesitated to criticize other women, even if they were awful. “Sister code” stuff. Now whenever I meet nasty women, I think of the stories of rotten female APs and tales of life with she-FWs posted by male chumps. I’m still a feminist, just one with a more nuanced view of equality: that any marginalized group– like any other group– has a right to harbor its fair share of assholes vs. decent people and still be entitled to equality. I also don’t see women as so weak that individuals should always be spared criticism if they’re cruising for it. That said, your ex was a grifting asshole.

    • “I’m sorry to say, but I was and am still the one terrible at figuring out gifts for others. I’m unfortunately best when you tell me what you would like, and then I try like crazy to get it. “

      Longrun, this is one of the methods employed by thoughtful gift givers. It’s not about mind-reading or guessing. It’s about caring about the recipient. Sometimes that is achieved by powers of observation, sometimes by asking so a wish can be fulfilled. No, you are not terrible at figuring out gifts.

      ❤️

      • Thank you, Velvet Hammer. You’re very kind.???? I now know about paying attention when I see that someone I care about really likes something. I write it down, then buy it when and if I can before the holiday or birthday (why I couldn’t figure this out sooner in life, I have no idea. My stupid gene was activated maybe?????).

        I simply thought my gift-buying ability was a bit shabby compared to the FW XW’s (could it be a product of image management for her? I don’t know). However, I guess it doesn’t matter much if you can pick out stuff people will like for gifts if you’re also the same person who will stab those people in the back by your shitty, adulterous actions and toss them aside, does it?????

  • my X bought a lot of expensive gifts for me over the years because he loves shopping. that’s because he’s an addict and it gives him a bump. but these gifts were always about status. it just filled his need for a certain narrative, the successful guy buys expensive gifts for wife and kids narrative. i’m pretty low maintenance and asked for simple things like books and a sweater. i preferred experiences instead TBH.

    each christmas he would spend WAY too much money on gifts and max out his credit cards, dip into the line of credit to pay them off and then wait for his executive bonus to pay it all off. rinse and repeat. the guy is terrible with money, he really is; never mind that he has an economics degree (ME) and manages a corporate budget of millions.

    if anything, his gift giving made me feel uncomfortable because he wasn’t happy. about anything. that’s the big realization of this month: my X wasn’t happy about anything. nothing was good enough and likely never will be.

  • The worst gift I ever got from FW was an empty box. I had bought a cheap handheld vacuum a few weeks before Christmas and he wrapped the empty box and put it under the Christmas tree. When I opened it his response was that he wanted me to have a gift under the tree since his parents were visiting and since we had a joint bank account he thought he should get some of the credit for it. The worst part was seeing the receipt for the diamond bracelet that he got the AP. ????

    • If it makes you feel better, read this (https://www.brilliantearth.com/conflict-diamond-child-labor/)and bear in mind those probably weren’t ethically-sourced diamonds.

      Years ago I saw a one-act play in NY on the subject starring fellow chump Mary-Louise Parker where one character gives another a diamond engagement ring. The fiance starts imagining she can hear children’s screams coming from the ring. Imagine the AP waking up in the middle of the night in a sweat with a screaming bracelet. Merry effing Christmas.

    • Clumpingthedaystilldivorce, this is awful. Possibly the saddest comment on this post.

      And talk about impression management!

  • My wedding ring was made out of another ring he had “found” somewhere. He had it melted down and remade into a new band with embedded diamonds (by the woman who cheated with my best friend’s fiancé, no less). It seemed weird, but he didn’t make much money and he appeared so proud of coming up with the solution. A few years later, he was having said strumpet repair a loose stone and my wedding ring got “lost” again. He did buy me a new diamond for Christmas, but I never really quite believed his story.

    Epilogue: Pretty sure I paid for my own replacement ring when we paid off his credit cards to refinance the house…. 😐

  • The last year we were together he had one present for me, wrapped under the Christmas tree. A box of Nerd candy. He pointed out that it wasn’t just ANY box of .99 cent candy because it was in Christmas colors/flavors. I was on a strict keto diet, no sugar.
    Then to put the cherry on it all, I looked at my food stamp receipts and realized he used my own food stamps to buy it for me…
    He had bought me plenty of gorgeous thoughtful gifts in the past 20 years of marriage, so I knew he was just trying to make me feel worthless and to ruin a holiday.

    • But the joke’s on him because you likely didn’t eat the candy and he was hoping to sabotage your health. I went on keto to slow the wear and tear from a series of really bad sports injuries. Bonus– I can go dancing again and my skin has never been better. Fuck that guy.

  • A blue cameo necklace. It was beautiful. The problem was he didn’t think my reaction was good enough because didn’t I realize how hard it was for him to find a blue one?! He had to special order it! So I could have one like the treasured blue cameo necklace from my childhood!

    Except, I didn’t have one in childhood. It must have been one of his girlfriends. I’ve wondered if he got us confused or if that girlfriend broke up with him and he didn’t want to waste the gift so he just tried to gaslight me into thinking I had a treasured blue cameo necklace in childhood. Oh well, either way he sucks.

  • When Snakeface got involved with Tuberculosis, there was a steady decline in the quality of gifts until the Christmas before our separation. At best, the gifts were very impersonal, at worst, they were ugly or insulting. He gave me cheap-ass green sweatpants one year, probably off a clearance rack at Sears. (I wore them for a few years. Whatever.) Another year, he gave me a $50 gift card to Red Lobster, a restaurant we weren’t in the habit of patronizing. All the warmth of a corporate gift for Employee Appreciation Month with that one! I ended up taking our younger son out for dinner, which I think was the use Snakeface intended all along since he emotionally abandoned our kids, particularly our younger son, once he started devoting days and weeks to his “spiritual path” and his related affair with TB.

    The worst Christmas gift was the wireless key finder with the locator and four key chain-style receivers. It’s true that I had a bit of a habit of misplacing my keys, but when I unwrapped the gift, he and one of our sons were watching as I did and laughing at me. We were at my in-laws’ house to celebrate the holiday with Snakeface’s family. I don’t think anyone else was really paying attention to us at the time, but it was embarrassing all the same. My sisters-in-law were getting lovely things from their husbands, I got an electronic insult.

    My final Christmas gift from Snakeface, which was about 9 months before we separated, was a Chromebook. I appreciated it quite a lot because I needed a new laptop and it met my pretty basic needs, but I also figured that he spent more on my gifts that Christmas than he had in years in order to assuage any guilt he felt about cheating on me and then dumping me once our younger son was off to boot camp.

    • I got a new Macbook Pro right before D-Day. It also seemed like a last ditch impression management gift after more than a year of cheating, gaslighting and neglect of the kids and I. I never asked for it. I prefer a PC for my work. At first after D-Day I suspected he’d gotten it for me because he’d given in to the AP’s endless whining for an ipad. But there was no record of an ipad purchase in his “secret affair accounts” so I think in his mind he was giving something to me that he’d denied to her as if that would make all things even. I used the Macbook to email my lawyer.

  • My FW got me pearl earrings on THREE different occasions. I don’t even have pierced ears.
    One Christmas he bought me a giant bong. Yes, that’s right. A bong.
    Another year, as a token of appreciation for having his daughter, he had a ring made for me. But he didn’t bother to make sure it was the right size so I could never wear it and he wouldn’t have it resized but instead screamed at me that I should do it. Yeah, in between nursing a newborn and WORKING (I was self employed so no maternity leave), I’ll just find the time to fix a problem he created for a gift to show me his appreciation. ????

  • Nothing. Ever.

    Valentine’s Day – It’s a scam run by the Hallmark people.
    Mother’s Day – You’re not MY mother.
    Birthday – Let’s just go out to eat.
    Anniversary – Let’s just go out to eat.
    Christmas – Pick something out and say it’s from me.

    All these years later I’m still surprised when someone gives me a gift.

  • I forgot other gifts– he’d “randomly” get me jewelry or flowers or the like. When I’d ask why, he’d say “I just wanted you to know I was thinking of you.” One time I jokingly asked, “What did you do?” “Nothing!” He said. “I just wanted to get you something nice.”
    Once I found out he was cheating on me with hookers, Craigslist ads, Tinder, etc people (couples and just women) and I got dates I found there was a correlation — each time he’d successfully met someone for sex I got a “random” gift. I suspect it was an attempt to make himself feel better. But I never knew til much later.

    I have donated some jewelry to auctions. Other jewelry has become tarnished with age (including my “One of a Kind” snowflake necklace I used to like and must be sterling silver) so I’m not sure what to do with it.

    I finally took my engagement and wedding ring back to the store (only wore the wedding ring for 8 days — found out he was cheating on our honeymoon) and due to the store return policies I got some store credit but still had to put down $ to get something I might actually wear (I’m not a ring person and only ever wore my engagement ring). I feel like I kinda had to since he made me pay for most of my wedding band when we went to get the wedding set!

  • 24 years of buying my own birthday and christmas gifts as he was “traumatised by giving an unappreciated gift to previous girlfriend”.

    Worst Mother’s Day gift would be a toss-up between:
    1. The hideous dressing gown – 5 sizes too big.

    2. a bag of banana flavoured tea and a tea towel covered in pictures of wedding rings with a 50’s housewife that said “Why did I have to get married? I didn’t do anything wrong!” (from the tea shop where he and Schmoops went on dates).

    3. Most recent Mother’s Day – post DD – a money plant (right before he underhandedly manipulated and bribed our youngest daughter into moving from living with me effectively cancelling our child support agreement). Oh the irony!!

    • Next Christmas, maybe you anonymously send him an adorable little pit bull puppy spawned from fight dogs and smell-trained on an old pair of his jockey shorts.

  • When we had our last Christmas together (he was already balls deep into his affair with married howorker unbeknownst to me), he gave me an electric toothbrush. I never voiced a need for one and this wasn’t an oral-b more like a cheap $20 one. About a month later, he randomly gave me an electric wine bottle opener off Amazon that he said he forgot to give to me at Christmas. He also claimed I was so hard to shop for – no he just never put any effort into gift giving.

  • My ex lost his pastor job after the affair. During our wreckonciliation, he worked at the local gym folding towels because apparently he didn’t know how to find a better paying job.
    That Christmas, after he unwrapped my simple but thoughtful gifts, he excused himself to the other room for five minutes and returned with his gift: a hastily handwritten, unwrapped “coupon” for a personal training session at his workplace. Which I’m pretty sure doesn’t cost anything.

  • FW used to go on multiple business trips per year (traveling with ho-worker, of course) and in phone calls home he’d say, “I’m bringing nice gifts for you from [city name].” The presents always turned out to be promotional swag from the trade fairs and conferences! Fidget spinners. Keychains. Dog poop bag dispensers. Cheap cloth bags. Everything emblazoned with logos of startups. Then he’d be ticked off if I didn’t respond with enthusiastic gratitude. ????

    To be fair, one time he did bring me a necklace from a very special city, but as he presented it he proudly announced, as if it was a brilliant stroke of efficiency, “I bought the same one for Schmoopie.”

    WTAF ????

  • Such an appropriate challenge as today is my birthday! The STBX never bothered giving gifts unless prodded by others (eg. on our 25th anniversary he told my ‘My sister says I’m supposed to buy you something’). The only gift he bought of his own accord, or so he says, was at Christmas one year. I had just discovered his cheating for the first time, though he didn’t know it yet, and I’m sure it was a guilt gift. He was emailing a hooker in Brazil that he had met on a work trip who told him she wanted to be his girlfriend. She also thanked him for the gift he had given her. He was due to go again in January and when I confronted him he said ‘Do you know how many guys have girlfriends in Sao Paolo?’ Ah, no, she’s not a girlfriend, she’s a hooker.

    But the one that really stuck in my memory was my 65th birthday (three years ago for anyone that’s wondering ????). He had blocked off his whole weekend for his university homecoming – dinners, etc. and none of which included me. So I phoned a girlfriend and we spent the weekend away in the mountains and had a wonderful time. I got back Sunday night and Monday was my actual birthday so I told him I wanted to invite our children over for a casual supper. He very reluctantly agreed and said ‘But you don’t want a cake, do you?’. Seeing how aggrieved he was and being the peace-at-all-costs person I was, I almost told him not to bother. Then I thought “F*** it, I turn 65 once in this life and he can find a bakery somewhere in this city and so I said yes. Well, you would have thought I had asked him crawl on broken glass to spend his last pennies on a cake. Poor put-upon dear.

    But enough ranting – I am having a wonderful day with people I care about and I hope that one day soon I will be fuckwit free. Enjoy your weekend Chump Nation!

  • Left on my porch — one mini watermelon and one decorative corn cob. No note. If there had been two mini watermelons, I might’ve seen as symbolic, but nope.
    He was offended that I did not get in touch to say thank you.

  • My FW got me a SCALE for VALENTINE’S DAY. And then defended it to the ends of the Earth as a thoughtful gift even though zero people agreed. It was a foreshadowing of what was to come in defending his rampant use of prostitutes and sugar babies.

  • My FW used to give thoughtful gifts, actually. Exception that proves the rule, I guess.

    What I loved about this CL post is the reminder of Wheatena. I used to love that stuff as a kid 50 years ago! I wonder if they still make it? Thanks for the good memory, CL. 🙂

  • My cheating narc was a jeweler when we first met. Early in our relationship he proposed with this huge diamond engagement ring. Come to find out decades later the center stone was fake. Like 2.5 carat fake. The rest of the gifts were either all beige clothing, that were nothing of my style, or the really over the top lingerie all wrapped under the tree. Early on I’d open these boxes in front of four sons and my parents and be humiliated. After the pattern was established I would wait till everyone was done opening gifts and open mine from him in private. The kids as they got older would comment on “ where’s the sexy box?”

    • WTF? That’s so demeaning, GTM. What a sick pervert.

      I don’t know about you, but even though I shouldn’t have, I felt complicit when my ex “involved” me in humiliating displays — like it somehow reflected on me. Then later, I felt guilty and icky for “going along.” Thinking back, in the beginning [years] of the relationship, I tried to communicate about how some of his nicknames/behaviors made me uncomfortable, but (of course) that went nowhere and I gradually normalized, though never liked, it. It was especially tricky because some of these things were the closest he came to being “affectionate,” and I didn’t want to hurt his feelings or make him feel rejected — especially not in front of other people. If I did protest (later, privately) he’d DARVO and I’d feel ungrateful/mean/uptight/difficult. FW is just a weak, immature loser. No wonder he was preoccupied with porn and much younger “women” behind my back. So glad I don’t have to put up with his weird comments; honking my breasts or pinching/smacking my butt in front of people (never a loving caress or appreciative word privately); saying he was going to rent me out as a nursemaid (I have a small chest and I wanted but never had kids because of him); calling me diminutive nicknames that I hated; bragging about me in embarrassing ways; sharing personal details that weren’t his to share… NONE of that was me or how I presented myself/interacted with the world. He undermined, held me back and made me small for many years. It is SUCH a relief to s

      • B&R, I am LIVID on your behalf. I lost it at “honking my breasts”. And then it got WORSE from there!
        Not only did he abuse and humiliate you, but he got off in doing it in front of others.
        That’s an entirely new level of sick, sick, sick!

  • once a beautifully wrapped sweater form goodwill. Just meant I had to go to goodwill and give it back. sigh, course no men in my life now. thank goodness.

  • That fukker x – what a poopy diaper face-sad sausage. No gift was good enough for him.
    Always the disappointed child.

    He bought crap gifts nobody liked or wanted. Or for me expensive unwanted gifts he wanted, not me, on credit that had to be paid for out of household monies I managed.

    He continues to be ridiculous. Not my (barbed wire) monkey.

  • Oh, so funny and sad reading these! I think a few things I received that didn’t fit right were actually for someone else..and I was baffled why he ordered 2 of a few high end essential oils (mistakenly delivered to the house)..explained as one for me and one for a secretary at the office….wet wipe!

  • Half a tube of used hand lotion (from a boutique going out of business sale apparently). The stuff smelled bad but it was from him so I used it. He then complained that I smelled bad.

  • Asked for a beautiful chocolate brown cozy robe and a Pandora charm bracelet as they were all the rage. Got a bright pink bathrobe, dish towels, and a new set of silverware for our kitchen. Another year right before DDay which was in January I got a crazy expensive huge bottle of perfume. I have never worn perfume, don’t like smells and am allergic to some floral scents. The bottle disappeared and looking back I’m sure it was actually for his AP and was her scent. Only way he could justify that spend was saying it was for me. Makes my skin crawl now.

  • Your comments are giving me life. I’m a baby chump (discovery was 4 weeks ago) married 15 years. He’s doesn’t know that I’m aware, easier b/c he’s travelling this month.

    I’m in the manic spy phase of discovery. This year for Mother’s Day my FW gifted a matching earring /necklace set that appeared to be made from tiny misshapen coat hangers. I told him they were perfect and noted how thoughtful that the company planted planted 10 trees in exchange for the purchase.

    He was an absolute dick the entire day, yelled at the kids, rude to the waitresses etc. (not unusual as holidays are always a nightmare)

    Last night at 3am I piece together that this MF bought this shit from one of his 20 something conquests who has an Etsy handmade jewellery business.

    He’d just gotten back from his 5 day “solo self discovery camping trip” which I’m reading is in the playbook

    Thank you all for engaging. I’ve been able to get off the bathroom floor and trust that he sucks fairly quickly because of you.

    Long road ahead, I’m feeling less alone because of you all.

    • You will be ok, and this is hard shit to get through.

      But, you know and you are holding your powder. Make sure to the best of your ability you secure any funds you can. Also, run histories of all joint credit cards and bank accounts. Go back three years.

      Oh how I wish I had done that when I first became suspicious. It was all on there. In our case he handled the money. I trusted him, and I was busy with so many other things he was tasking me with I didn’t have time to worry about it. Worry about it.

      In my case I am sure fw thought I would never think of running a cc history, I called them the next day after he left and had it ordered. Thank God I got to the mail the day it arrived before he did.

      As soon as I reviewed it, I called them and cancelled the card. I would still like to have seen his face next time he whipped out his CC to buy whore dinner and got declined.

      I worked for DoD and they had a mini branch of our bank in the building, so I easily ran the histories there.

      In our state it was/is no fault; but no fault does not cover marital financial fraud. Get as much financial history as you can.

      • I’m on all of that thanks to you guys. Attorneys have financial info. Credit checks done . I think I still have a couple of weeks before he plans to come home. I’m sure he’s fxxing his way through Europe on a “business trip”

        Just got a text msg from a friend asking for a play date today.

        I literally just saw this woman’s vagina on his laptop.

        I’m clearly not made for this duplicitous life. No idea how they do it.

        • Reply to her text message with a screenshot of that and say, “Thanks, but I prefer my kids don’t hang around whores”.

          Actually don’t, because you don’t want to reveal your knowledge just yet. But you can’t enjoy the fantasy.

      • Yes he’s a narcissist and BPD but I had no idea ruining holidays was standard move.

        So looking forward to this Christmas. Should be our first without walking on eggshells.

        Still have to figure out how to tell him I know..

            • Yes, Valentina, and more. Plan everything, read up in “ducks in a row.” Have *everything* ready, legally and practically. Hold your cards close to your chest and protect yourself n every way. Consult your lawyer and DV advocates. It sounds extreme, but it’s appropriate. Be prepared for the worst, and you’ll still probably be shocked by how ugly he gets when he is exposed, the mask slips and consequences finally arrive. Be prepared to move into a new home (or secure a temp place to go while he vacates your home). It can’t be a discussion, and you can’t let him make you feel sorry for him. It may sound cruel/harsh to you now, but he deserves no explanation beyond what is strictly necessary. If you engage, he will find a way to manipulate and confuse you and to use your words against you. That cycle of trying to leave/explain lasted months — years — and kept me stuck in a worsening abusive dynamic. In fact, it’s part of the cycle of abuse. (Look into the narcissistic cycle of abuse; it was eye-opening for me.)

              When you stand your ground and take back your power, entitled, disordered cheaters (which your husband is) get reliably nasty — verbal, if not physical, threats and abuse beyond what you’ve seen and can imagine.

              You are amazing, Valentina. I wish I’d had your strength, smarts and agency. CL/CN deserves some of the credit, but many of us continued to spackle even after we came here, even after we knew what we needed to do — LACGAL. My missteps left me in a tough place, emotionally and financially. I made a bad situation worse for myself by turning to the very person who was hurting me for help. Until I accepted FW would only, ALWAYS make things worse, I remained trapped.

        • Valentina,

          It sounds like you’re in fighting spirit. Guard it because that’s your ticket to a new and better life.

          Consider talking with your lawyer about whether he can be kicked out of the house right off the bat. Rather than planning the confrontation in person, consider having process servers serve the papers outside the house after you’ve gotten ducks in a row and grabbed the funds you’re due. Some cheaters go into silent shock when confronted but there’s a risk him hate-bombing you and going for your jugular in such vicious terms that it might take years and years to shake it off.

          Imagine your worst enemy lurking around you in an invisibility cloak and silently studying you for years to suss out all your deepest fears, Achilles’ heels, all your perceptions of your own flaws and a heap of invented ones and then taking all of these things and mutating, expanding and exaggerating them to outrageous proportions and threatening to tell the world of your “crimes.” It’s hard for people to anticipate how paralyzing it is to be present when someone foams over with the open intent to destroy and socially blackmail.

          Merely witnessing that intent can set off some hardwired terror ganglia in the base of the skull that can drain all strength, resolve and “fighting spirit” in an instant. This can seem impossible when you’re filled with adrenaline and in fight club mode but the adrenaline is meant to compensate for underlying exhaustion and a sense of endangerment. In the face of threat, the exhaustion can rear up again. So it’s better to be far away when that explosion happens and surrounded by supporters who can help maintain your perspective. These supporters can remind you on the spot that no one’s going to believe you’re, say, an unfit mother, petty criminal, crazy, liar, that you abuse circus animals, etc. But if you’re alone with the flamer, those threats have a chance to sink in even against your will. It doesn’t really matter if what the abuser says are outrageous lies. What penetrates our lizard brains is the danger that the abuser could make bystanders believe anything due solely to the abuser’s conviction and that we could lose precious things in concrete ways because of it. This can trigger Stockholm syndrome.

          Or it could be worse than a verbal onslaught. Too many chumps describe cheaters becoming “violent for the first time” following separation. In any case, I don’t know if you’d want to be alone in a room with him when he finds out you know. Since you say he’s regularly raging, I would consider setting up security cameras around the house to brace for fallout and to gather evidence if he gets ugly.

          I’m not saying this to catastrophize or invent cause for fear but just to consider statistical risks when you’re dealing with someone who’s already proven their ability to endanger you physically and psychologically. There’s a lot of information on “spoilerism” on the web (spoiling special occasions) related to narcissism and borderline personality disorder. But bear in mind that the popular presentations of these traits often draw from much older, formal research on domestic violence. I was an advocate for survivors for several years and it frustrates me that pop-psych has hijacked a lot of these behavioral concepts and removed the scarier associations of the behaviors because this can leave victims unprepared and unaware of how dangerous these situations can become. For instance, spoilerism is one of the most common traits of batterers. In fact there are a ton of overlaps between battering and cheating in terms of abusers’ tactics, psychology, effects on victims, etc. In any case, survivors of intimate partner violence often say that it’s the psychological abuse and manipulation that’s the most paralyzing. Consider sparing yourself his big psychological tear-down scene if you even suspect he’s capable of it. Don’t let anything dent that amazing fighting spirit that can carry you through to peace and freedom.

          • Hell of a Chump, it sounds like you know him, and my lawyer. (maybe he’s not as unique as I think) So I’m in an interesting situation in that we’re Americans living overseas. He’s currently in the US and Europe for work (I think I have another 4 weeks) My attorney has suggested an order of protection (he has been violent and I have pics of bruises on my daughter) He could potentially be served at the airport if he returns. The goal being that he does not return from the States.

            The thing is that I haven’t been able to bring myself to fill out the paperwork. I worry about his reputation, his job, and his vindictiveness. I wonder if I could just threaten to file. He has spent years and thousands of dollars suing people over his reputation. (taking down bad reviews, tweets etc) Think Donald Trump and you would be close.

            He once had a therapist quit by sending him a letter saying she felt intimidated and threatened. He jokes about it. He has BPD (due to extreme trauma and neglect during childhood) but he’s in the minority of cases and has been successful financially. Although he’s been fired countless times as an exec due to his bullying he’s recently found financial success in investments. This was a result of social climbing, a grandiose personality, and Ivy league education.

            I say this about the access to money because I feel like he’ll have an endless about of cash and rage to destroy me. I’ve been a SAHM our entire marriage and feel outgunned before I even start.

            He cares about his image above all else and I wonder if I could use that as some sort of leverage. Ex. perhaps agree to sign an NDA. Do you think that could work?

            There is a tiny part of me that’s holding out hope that he’ll be fair, civil and let us go but I’ve never seen any evidence of this in the past 18 years.

            I’m even having trouble thinking about swiping the cash.. feels like stealing and being dishonest.

            I’m also talking to him multiple times a day, (he starts calling other people to find me if I don’t answer,)so it clouds my vision when he sounds so normal on the phone.

            Thanks so much for listening.

            • Valentina–

              I’m a little familiar with the international issue– enough to know how complicated it is and how few people can probably give you valid feedback unless they’re experts in it. So I don’t know if you need a US lawyer so that you don’t have problems when you travel back to the US. It sounds like your abuser may be prominent enough that an advocacy attorney who prides themselves on taking down abusers of power might help you.

              In any case, all your concerns are valid. He’s a batterer, full stop, which means nothing can be put past him. The fact that virtually all batterers cheat is a lesser known fact. In another comment here I write about my take on why this is lesser known in the arena of intimate partner violence: victims are often urged to be silent about abusers’ sexual double standards and cheating because this can be interpreted by biased bystanders and authorities as victims’ “petty” motive to retaliate out of “jealousy.” So that aspect of DV continually gets swept under the rug and the public is none the wiser about how cheating is often on the battering spectrum– meaning cheating should rightfully be taken as a statistical warning that things can get progressively and more overtly dangerous.

              In any case, abusers of power abuse any power they get their hands on and he sounds like a world class abuser. But I’m not sure laying low and playing possum will protect you, particularly if he uses the most handy weapon against you which is your devotion to your children. That seems to be the go-to of the worst abusers– paint the victim as an unfit parent. Talk to lawyers who specialize in DV and consider whether you’ll need to get far ahead of any tactics like this. You may not be able to just wave a rolled up newspaper at this attack dog or quell it with kibble. You might need bear spray.

              Three things you coud read as you strategize are criminal psychologist Donald Dutton’s “The Batterer,” advocate and forensic social worker Evan Stark’s “Coercive Control,” and the chapter on DV (also authored by Stark and his wife Anne Flitcraft) in Frank M. Ochberg’s “Post-traumatic Stress Disorder and the Victims of Violence.”

              Dutton spent decades studying batterers and spouse killers in prison settings without ever “identifying” with his subjects. He argues that consequences are the only thing that even come close to denting recidivism and disincentivizing. Dutton wrote the book accessibly and there’s a big “aha” revelation on every page that will probably convince you that your STBX is a cookie cutter case, down to his BPD diagnosis. Dutton indirectly argues against the misogynist clinical tendency to assume that it’s mostly women that have BPD by pointing out that a large percentage of batterers exhibit the disorder. Then Frank Ochberg is arguably the founder of modern psychotraumatology, the original coiner of “captor bonding” (aka, Stockholm syndrome) and it’s interesting that he chose the work of Stark and Flitcraft because the latter really attack the politics of victim-blaming in clinical settings. What this suggests is that it’s the lousy social and clinical response that many survivors encounter that contributes to captor bonding and victims’ paralysis in trying to protect themselves.

              Another reason to suggest the latter book is that, as you move forward, it could be important to understand that your abuser already has a ready-made fan club of supporters on every level who will try to break his fall if you’re concerned about him losing resources that could impact your children. You could end up regretting pulling punches if you knew how aptly abusers work the system and how far they’ll go to snuff a victim who resists. But you’re the only one in the core of that situation, you and your children are the only ones facing direct risks and so you’re the one whose instincts count. The first step is to try to get the absolutely best counsel and support from people who really understand all the stakes and risks you’re up against. If I were you I’d probably write to Evan Stark himself for potential resources. Shoot for the top in that sense. I believe your situation warrants it. Wishing you strength and clarity in making a new and safer life for yourself.

            • “My attorney has suggested an order of protection (he has been violent and I have pics of bruises on my daughter) He could potentially be served at the airport if he returns. The goal being that he does not return from the States.”

              -This is a good idea. If he has a history of violence, you and your child are at risk. Safety first.

              “The thing is that I haven’t been able to bring myself to fill out the paperwork. I worry about his reputation, his job, and his vindictiveness.”

              -If his job or reputation suffers, that’s on HIM, not on you reporting him. I never called the police when my ex was scary or threatening, because I didn’t want him to lose his security clearance (and hence his job). However, you are right to worry about his vindictiveness and how far he will go to save his reputation. That is why you and your attorney need to have as much evidence as possible, and why you need to stay out of his physical reach. Be prepared to have your name and reputation dragged through the mud. Stay strong. You’ll come out okay, but it will probably be awful for awhile.

              “He has BPD (due to extreme trauma and neglect during childhood).”

              -Stop excusing him. Plenty of people have horrible childhoods and don’t become abusers. My ex was always crying about his awful childhood and using it as an excuse. It doesn’t matter. He’s an adult who can make choices.

              “I say this about the access to money because I feel like he’ll have an endless about of cash and rage to destroy me. I’ve been a SAHM our entire marriage and feel outgunned before I even start.”

              -I don’t know how it is if you’re getting the divorce overseas, but being a SAHM doesn’t mean you aren’t entitled to his money. Make sure your lawyer gets you maintenance/alimony and child support, right away.

              “He cares about his image above all else and I wonder if I could use that as some sort of leverage. Ex. perhaps agree to sign an NDA. Do you think that could work?”

              -I wouldn’t sign an NDA unless your lawyer recommends it, but you could definitely use his concern over public image to encourage him to settle out of court. Divorce proceedings are public record (at least here in the USA), so once it goes to court, it’s all out in the open.

              “There is a tiny part of me that’s holding out hope that he’ll be fair, civil and let us go but I’ve never seen any evidence of this in the past 18 years.”

              -He won’t. He will be worse than you’ve ever experienced. NEVER go into anything expecting civility or fairness from him. It will only hurt you.

              “I’m even having trouble thinking about swiping the cash.. feels like stealing and being dishonest.”

              -Half of it is yours. But check with your lawyer.

              “I’m also talking to him multiple times a day, (he starts calling other people to find me if I don’t answer,)so it clouds my vision when he sounds so normal on the phone.”

              -Stop talking to him if at all possible. I know you can’t stop completely. Write yourself a list of the awful things he has done and read it over right after the call, to remind you what he is capable of. Listing out the way my husband abused me helped me during those times when I would reminisce about the “good times” and miss him.

              You’ve got this!

        • Make certain to have copies of EVERYTHING, and stash them with a friend AND attorney. He will probably try to deny, at first. You can show him some of the evidence, at which point he will be in panic delete mode. I was lucky to get copies of a bunch of steamy emails before the FW deleted them.
          Is his AP married? You will be doing him a favor by letting him know.

          • ivyleaguechump. I’ve been wondering about this. How much do I show him? How much do I say I know? It seems there may be multiple AP (I’m at the beginning) but so far a girl has come to my house(although she ran away so I don’t have a lot of info other than they vacationed together during his solo trip ) , there are loads of calls to two other numbers and I’ve seen my friend’s selfie porn on his laptop. My friend is married and I do plan to tell her hubby after I tell mine.

            Does evidence of the affair help with the settlement or is it used for leverage out of embarrassment? Or is it just to satisfy us and say I have an actual reason to leave? I’m struggling as I have a PI following him and am wondering why exactly and what I hope to find. It’s almost as if I need to Hunter Biden level pics in order to have a justification to leave.

            I feel embarrassed that it’s taken stark evidence of an affair for me to start thinking of leaving. He’s been violent, called my older daughter a bitch, left bruises on my younger Autistic daughter (her crying triggers him) I’ve spent years protecting them but have always felt that we were better off as an intact family.

            I’ve spent my life cheering for him, through a multitude of job losses, friendships breaking down, family disputes, and moving to 3 continents due to job loss. It feels like an assault to think that after all that effort he could disrespect me in this way as well.

            • Valentina – read through the archives and put a support team together (your lawyer, a therapist, a trusted friend or family member). You are feeling hesitant because you’re afraid of making a mistake, but safely separating will help you think clearly. Do not try to negotiate with him.

            • If he blew family assets on affairs, it can impact settlement even in no-fault regions. A forensic accountant can help in that sense as well because financial abusers are tricky. Otherwise family court doesn’t tend to care that much about infidelity in no-fault regions. But some countries and US states are developing standards for coercive control, i.e., “merely” emotional and financial abuse (read about it here https://www.theacecc.com/post/not-all-bills-are-created-equal-a-review-of-coercive-control-legislation) and he could potentially lose custody due to his history of physical and emotional abuse.

              Also read this argument about the financial contribution of caretakers/homemakers if you have any hesitation to grab assets to build a new life on and protect yourself. https://www.gobankingrates.com/money/jobs/how-much-stay-at-home-moms-should-make/ Double that to account for the salaries paid to special needs caretakers. Those assets are your due.

            • Don’t be embarrassed that it’s taken stark evidence of affairs made you start thinking about leaving. To put it bluntly, discovering infidelity in batterers removes the very last perceived barrier to actually killing victims. Faithfulness would at least suggest the batterer wanted to keep the victim alive for a purpose. So adultery breaches the terror levy– aside from the serious risk of life-threatening STDs and the threat that affairs typically invole squandering resources that any children in the mix depend on for survival. In any case, it’s usually when the danger of staying in a dangerous situation exceeds the considerable increase in statistical danger of leaving batterers that most survivors start seriously planning escape.

              The way I see it, everyone’s got a risk management faculty in the base of their brain. I think of it as a little accountant character that takes in a billion cues and data around a person and assesses potential risk. In effect, once you see someone raise their hand in violence, that little accountant figure– who’s immune to apologias and has no sense of humor– floods your senses with “fear of death” warnings. If it’s not safe to appear “disloyal” to such a person, those fears may remain somewhat subconscious so you can remain in a kind of “boxer’s clinch” for the simple reason that it actually works to make dangerous people show mercy. Captor bonding works both ways– meaning the “captor” is more prone to pull punches because of the appearance of captives’ loyalty. But that ancient instinct to lie low outwears its welcome the moment– again– that the danger from staying exceeds the real danger of escape.

              Also don’t be embarrassed if you feel really numb and surreal about some of his past dangerous abuse– sort of like it wasn’t real or “that bad.” Playing possum with dangerous people once they have you trapped is so hardwired in human nature that even battle-tested veteran intelligence specialists are never given whole parcels of state secrets but only bits and pieces because it’s well known that if they’re captured by opponents and subjected to certain stressors, they will predictably crack.Once released, these former captives are routinely given “deprogramming” therapy to undo the functional survival bond they developed towards captors DV experts have pointed out that interrogation tactics and domestic violence tactics of coercion and control are virtually identical. So don’t buy into the victim-shaming bull that not leaving immediately is proof you somehow sought or “drew in” the abuse on dysfunctional Voodoo tractor beams. The fact is that it can happen to anyone. People hate thinking about this just like they hate thinking about the statistical risks of driving on the freeway but the truth is that everyone is vulnerable to coercion. Furthermore, DV expert Lenore Walker even found that DV survivors statistically skew towards higher than average pre-abuse self esteem, suggesting that abusers vary in taste in prey with may preferring “big game” or challenging, confident victims. I suppose a tiger skin rug is a better bragging trophy than a bunny foot key chain. And abusers operate on a beat/terrorize-by-need basis, reserving the worst threats and terror tactics for survivors who resist. Therefore when someone doesn’t “get out” immediately, the first thing to consider is that the threats and coercive strategies may have been intense enough to entrap and to consider that the strength of the survivor’s resistance (confidence, sense of self worth, etc.) may have predicated the intensity of abuse.

              Being a “victim” is neutral identifier which only means someone was subjected to a victimizing force. It says everything about the victimizer and their tactics and nothing about the victim’s inherent character. It’s true that some survivors had difficult childhoods but no more than average and another interesting statistic is that it’s actually the people with harsh backgrounds who seem a bit faster at escaping than those who were completely caught off guard and didn’t have previous experience dealing with intimate abusers.

              If more people understood these things, they would treat survivors with more respect and, in turn, survivors would likely get more emotional and practical support in escaping. The old, debunked victim-blaming theories are part of the cage of entrapment. Thankfully there’s been a few gains in clinical thinking and public understanding but it’s slow progress and so survivors should be armed with knowledge to avoid the weakening effects of bystander shaming which may further endanger them, especially when they’re in the midst of breaking free and need every ounce of grit and strength.

            • Don’t be embarrassed. Many of us here have done just the same. Tried to keep our families together. Put up with abuse for far too long. I also didn’t leave my husband. He left me. Finding out about the affair finally stopped me wanting him back, even though he’d been abusive to me for years before that. I too couldn’t believe that after all we’d been through together and all I’d done for him that he could be so horrible to me. You aren’t alone.

              In my personal experience, the affair doesn’t really help with settlement, but it can definitely be leverage, especially if he’s worried about his reputation. If he spent money on his affairs, you can often get that back. It does depend on where you get your divorce.

              The abuse of the children can definitely help with custody though. I’m so sorry. My son is autistic and that just breaks my heart to hear about your daughter, because my ex used to get mad at our son when he was little for being disruptive and crying (which we later found was due to sensory issues and noise, but since my son couldn’t talk til he was three, he couldn’t tell us what was upsetting him). Big hugs.

  • My one and only Christmas present from FW our last year together was a pair of grey, mens size 11 house slippers from Lands End. Felt like an intentionally useless gift. (I wear size 9, him: size 13)

  • I was taken out for dinner for my bday and he ordered a drink for me that I never drink. Turns out I later found out it’s what she drinks. Oopsie!

  • Back before therapy to address my codependent people-saving needs, I let a poor sad sausage move in with me (much too quickly) and set about turning his life around. Replaced the rags he was wearing, helped him sort out his finances, pointed out when his work and family were taking advantage of him. Because I was footing all the expenses he had two nickels to rub together, so he went out and replaced the rims on his car with fancier rims – because he deserved nice things, too. For my birthday he handed me a Disney DVD in a grocery sack and said, “here, I got it on sale.”

    It’s funny, in retrospect I don’t even think of him as cheating any more. He was a hobosexual, over-lapping his relationships to avoid sleeping on the streets.

  • Like many of you, there are many examples of crappy, thoughtless gifts over the years of my life with LCL.

    *40th birthday trip to the mountains which I expressly asked for in lieu of a party or gifts, and had to do almost all of the planning for. I did 100% of the planning for our 25th anniversary trip, too, which we took with our young adults because his 2nd affair was going on and I was very much being discarded (although I didn’t really know it at the time – I just sensed that celebrating with *only* him would be a miserable time).

    *One year for Christmas he delighted our young children with an elaborate, multi-layered wrapped gift to me. It was my only gift that year. It had so many layers and boxes and other shapes to it so that it ended up being a giant gift under the tree. The kids laughed hilariously as I kept Russian Doll-style unwrapped each layer, only to find some insignificant and small item I already owned at the very end! I was not amused in the least. Partly because guess who always picked up 100% of the giftwrap mess? And guess who is the only adult in the household who buys the giftwrap and ensures a steady stock of it before holidays? Also I’m a very practical person and hated to see all that mess and waste for his amusement and the amusement of our kids to see something that he plucked off my bedroom dresser at the bottom. :I

    *Another notable gift fail is the Christmas when the only gift I received from him was two Snickers bars in my stocking, purchased last minute at a convenience store Christmas morning when he realized he hadn’t actually gotten me anything! It had probably been at least 10 years by then since I even liked Snickers, finding them too sweet as time went on. This was during the time of his first affair. I should point out that the book I really wanted and hoped he would give me for Christmas was given to the AP. Ouch! I never did manage to read that book. And I also asked for a bathrobe that year, which I ended up buying for myself and wrapping for myself (not an uncommon practice for me). I picked a good bathrobe and still wear it over 10 years later.

    *For my 50th birthday (after the last Dday and separation), this is what I received: a refurbished Amazon Firestick – which I had already ordered from our joint Amazon account for my new apartment. Happy Birthday to me, something I bought for myself before he even mentioned my upcoming birthday! My present that he didn’t even have to use One Click purchase to get is used regularly in my new apartment, by myself and the people I invite to my apartment (which doesn’t include him), and never for romantic shows or movies (at this point, puke!).

    Indeed, we can trust that they suck when it comes to giving gifts.

  • He proposed with a wrong-sized flashy ring in a fussy style, totally the opposite of what we had discussed. I thought, oh he’s just a guy not paying attention. Turns out he was a guy being deliberately cheap: it was his ex-girlfriend’s engagement ring! It didn’t work out with her and I guess I didn’t merit a new ring.

    • Cerise, yuck! It’s so tacky to recycle an engagement ring. Maybe if it was restyled, it wouldn’t be so bad.

  • FW gifted me a microwave oven for Christmas. At my family. Utilitarian gifts were a no-no in my family (and in his family, for that matter). So that was quite humiliating for me, whatever his intentions… I got a nice revenge when splitting the furniture during mediation: “Oh the microwave is not on the list. Remember you gave it to me at Christmas !” He did not contest ????. That was just after he attempted to appear generous by letting me have the fancy porcelaine ware. The mediator said “That is of value” to which I answered “Well, only 15% is intact”. And I saw both her removing the line from the listing, and him crestfallen. That meeting was not so bad ????

  • Big fat nothing! My first birthday with him and my 17th birthday with him. I was stupid enough to hang round for another seven birthdays, because I like pain. ????????????‍♀️

  • A packet of Adriano Zumba cake mix and a cake tin left on bench, presumably for me to make my own cake so the greedy guts could gobble into his big stupid gob.

    Not bitter though.????

  • I typed a long comment with my top two and then the site crapped out before I could hit “submit comment”. Oh well, maybe I’ll try again later this weekend.
    I’m laughing and shuddering at the comments. Happy Fuckwit Free Friday everybody !

    • That’s happened to me too, so frustrating. I only write my post in my notes first now, then just copy and paste when ready to send.

      • I’m not sure if it’s my phone or the site. I’m so grateful to Tracy for creating this site and space and have recommended it to how many people ? I’ve lost count.

  • FW wasn’t a cheapskate, but his taste was questionable at best, and he was clueless about my taste, so I would tell him exactly what I wanted and where to buy it. Towards the end I was just buying my gifts for myself because he couldn’t be bothered anymore.

    The one thing I liked that he bought without being asked were these special sugar free chocolates. He worked in the same building as the store, so it was easy. He started buying them once a week, which I thought was a bit much so I (diplomatically) told him wasn’t necessary and that, sugar free or not, it wasn’t healthy to have them so often. He insisted. Said he just loved to treat me.
    So after D-day I found out the reason he bought them so often was not to treat me, but to thumb his nose at me. His whore would go with him to buy them. I guess they got a thrill over the passive aggression of him buying me a gift with her looking on. Plus he was proving to her what a great husband he was, cementing the idea that I didn’t appreciate his awesomeness. I can only hope she didn’t spit on them. So I guess the only gift he bought without being told exactly what to buy turned out to be the worst gift of all. I haven’t been able to eat those chocolates since.

    She was also present when he bought Christmas gifts for our kids. He returned the favor when she bought gifts for her kids.
    These pigs like to smear everybody with their filth, even their kids. ????

    • “These pigs like to smear everybody with their filth, even their kids.”

      Yep, and I have no doubt they love the power of pulling shit behind the betrayed back.

    • Yeah, you think the FW would try a little…
      Xmas 2019 was the height of my shitfest. He was in complete denial of fucking around but his new manscaping obsession and hidden Herpes meds told a whole different story!
      I got nothing for Xmas but his coworker got a bottle of top shelf tequila- her favorite- and a day at a spa no less. When I railed about that I was told ” OH Lollipop why do you always have to make a big deal out of nothing “. Yeah fuck him and his diseased dick.

  • My FW rung me one Christmas eve to ask what I wanted. I said nothing just come home. He yelled down the phone “so you are going to leave it all up to me” I had bought all other presents and wrapped them. I had shopped and cooked and sent Christmas cards to family and friends. He gave me and his Mother bubble bath. I had told him before that bubblebath gave me thrush. I soaked his toothbrush in it.

  • This was part of the confusion for me because my FW was actually an amazing and thoughtful gift giver…until he wasn’t. One day I got a black blouse that literally had like a small belt around the neck. One side of the blouse was faded by the sun as it sat too long in the display window (wonder why?). It made me look like Count Dracula. I was perplexed. Fast forward 10 years and we find out he’d been living a double underground life as a sexual sadist. I wish I had that blouse so that I could package it up and send it to his affair partner- affectionately called “the gimp” by me and my friends.

  • POS sent me a juicing machine via Amazon with a gift note saying “Happy Anniversary”. It arrived while he was on his way to a beach house weekend in Rhode Island with the sow-home-wrecking-whore that he had secretly been with for 3 years. I found this out much later.

    I was blindly thrilled with the gift, thinking that it was a sign of his love. ????

    I wrote him a warm thank you email and explained that the Magic Bullet my mother had gifted him and me was a better appliance and asked if he would be ok with my returning the juicer.

    He never responded so I returned it anyway. So glad that thing never entered my home.

  • The worst was not just me , but our kids as well. He claimed that because his hours had been cut, that not only would he be unable to do any presents for us{ granted I am on the 10th, one child is on the 12 and the other is the 15} But this had been a situation that existed for almost a decade. I had tried to plane ahead, but I also ended paying all the rent and bills for 2months. Later found out that his “hobby” {porn} , had cost us close to 40 000.00$. In 20+ years. And that’s just what I know about. Selfish toddlers running around in adult suits.

  • One gift was a retractable garden hose-reel. ( I had once said it would be good to have one for our garden. But as a gift!)
    Also once received a butcher’s knife. ( I had also commented that we needed one. A supstitious friend commented that a knife should not be given as a gift as it would sever the relationship! Ha ha.)

  • FW spent a half a dozen evenings leading up to Christmas “shopping”. I spent most Christmas Eve’s alone and exhausted having located gifts for everyone else, decorated the tree, cleaned the house and cooked to contribute to his family’s holiday meal. Their traditional gathering started mid-afternoon. He and his daughter (from his first marriage) would often stay until after 10 pm before coming home so we could have our Christmas. I was actually very fond of his family, but realize we never established our own tradition in 30 years. I left my ornaments when I moved out.

  • This is slightly off-topic, but still relevant I think. My FW was a widower whose wife had passed 6 months before we met. I was somewhat nervous about why he would be ready for a new relationship, but she had been sick for 10 years and I convinced myself that he had already gone through the grieving process. The thing is, he never bought a headstone or memorial for her grave. He had set up a “memorial donation fund” for it, but he never followed through with a headstone. They were married 25 years and he couldn’t be bothered to make sure her grave was marked. Can you say major red flag? I brought it up several times and he just couldn’t be bothered. I’m sure he was as faithful to her as he was to me. And yes, he sucked at gift giving. We’re older, so we had everything we really needed, so he convinced me to not purchase gifts. We did give each other cards, though. Truthfully, I’m not materialistic and I thought that was fine. The lack of a headstone, though, was not fine.

  • My fuckwit didn’t do gift giving, unless it was (something expensive) for himself, or unless he was on a trip with his sister and father, in which case he’d buy me something expensive so he could demonstrate to them what a thoughtful, loving husband he was.

  • I’ve told this story before, but it’s been a long time, so…

    Anyway, my birthday. My family gathered for cake and ice cream. Doctor FW and I were not on the best of tetms, but we had a daughter together, and I was trying hard to make things work between us. It had come to light only shortly before this that he’d been screwing one (that I know of) of the nursing students at the hospital where he was doing a certain rotation.

    He showed up with a large box, flat and rectangular. Wrapped. I was curious; what could this possibly be? Well…

    I opened it, and it was this saccharine nauseating kitschy set of three small wooden wall plaques, depicting little kids in country scenes, ie, fishing or swimming in the ol’ swimmin’ hole, walking in a field of daisies, who knows, I didn’t look that closely.

    I was kinda speechless, I mean, what does one say about a gift hastily chosen from K-Mart; a gift completely opposite to one’s tastes? This gift *might* have been appropriate for a great aunt or someone. ???? I managed to make appropriate noises, and the night wore on.

    A year later, Doctor FW & I had parted ways, (one of the many times) ???? and I showed those shitty, shitty plaques to my good friend. We were drinking, laughing our butts off, and we proceeded to destroy them in a variety of creative ways ????????

  • I had suggested we needed a drill and that became my Christmas present. The family present (his) was a giant ugly protection tv. My drill gift backfired on him. What did FW get you? I say a drill. Only when he saw neighbors and family reaction would he be embarrassed. “Well, we decided to get a family present”……

  • One Christmas I got a bubble bath set from walmart like you’d give an aunt you can’t stand.
    One Christmas he gave me a cd that his friend gave him of his garage band. Then he gave me another copy of the same cd for my birthday.
    Another Christmas he gave me a pack of gum. I don’t chew gum.
    And that would be the only thing he gave me.

  • Once I was given a men’s (yep!) gold chain for my birthday and for xmas a garden blower vacuum!

  • My ex and I both liked climbing. For my first birthday he said he needed some new crampons so for my gift I could have his old ones
    I thought he was joking. He wasn’t.
    For our final Mother’s Day, he took our children into the garden which I’d spent days planting bulbs in… and I watched my children pick all of my flowers and give them to me.
    When I got upset apparently I was ungrateful. I was always ungrateful by all accounts.

    However, I’m full of gratitude nowadays. Grateful for the weekend away that my gorgeous boyfriend has planned for my birthday, grateful for my family and friends. Grateful for my career that I’ve busted my ass to make sure I’m financially secure and grateful for my solicitor who made sure that I basically wiped the floor with that sorry piece of cow sh*t

    He now lives in rental with OW wondering why people despise him whilst I live in our gorgeous family home enjoying my full and exciting life.

    Grateful for meh

  • I regularly received “gift cards” for Christmas (also, my stocking was always the only empty one). Gift cards require Sooo much thought and effort! Yet, when people would bump into him and Schmoopie in a store, he would respond
    “she’s helping me pick pick out gifts for my wife”!

  • Nothing says covert infidelity and partner devaluation like a car filter for Christmas. When I thought FW was sneaking around to (finally, after ten years!) have a piece of jewelry made for me out one of the sentimental, semi-precious stones he mined with his father growing up, he WAS sneaking around… to meet up with the OW, not to do something special for me. I trusted him completely and didn’t piece this all together until after dday, many years later. Just one of countless disappointments and cloaked betrayals accumulated over the years. It hurt at the time, but I had NO idea how bad it really was.

    Even worse in my memory are the birthdays when he went all out — modest gifts but perfectly orchestrated days, handmade gifts and homemade meals — but he was either between affairs, guilty, or hoovering/love bombing. Or the little “no-reason” gifts that kept me believing he loved me but was just struggling with his own demons and needed time and understanding: a new kitchen aid that showed up at my doorstep while he was working away from home, a beautiful wooden box and earrings he made, a thoughtful picnic dinner atop a knoll. I was totally in the dark and ate the shit sandwiches, and even thanked him for it.

    In the beginning of the end — I still knew/suspected nothing about his double lives — I returned from a two-month residency to an empty house because FW had just left for a lucrative, temporary out-of-state job — which also happened to be where the OW he’d reconnected with lived. So FW was secretly shacking up with her to test their “relationship” out before leaving me, which he ultimately decided he didn’t want to do (weeping “I thought it was what I needed, but I was wrong!”). Predictably, while I was at the residency, FW fabricated discord and chaos, told me he needed time and space, and left me in the lurch. He did not come clean to me about his past or current affairS — so that he could keep me on the hook, avoid consequences, and maintain his nice guy image. When things ended, he could say, “We drifted apart; we weren’t even really together/we’re taking a break.”

    Anyway, the mindfucker left me a pot of my favorite soup, a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a confusing love letter/apology letter, and $400 of “mad money” that I found insulting and bizarre and returned to him (but should have kept because it is a small fraction of what he owed and will never pay me). All of this and I STILL didn’t suspect the double lives/cheating, but it was massively hurtful and unacceptable, nonetheless. CL’s head in a blender cartoon is perfect for these types.

  • Someone else’s comment about a business trip souvenir gift just reminded me FW returned home from a cross-country trip with his #1 flying monkey on my birthday and presented me with a stuffed animal howler monkey that screamed when you pressed its belly. It made our niece and nephew cry and was hideous. He bought it at a truck stop in Texas. It might have been cute and funny as a gag along with something thoughtful, but that was my entire birthday present/souvenir, along with his wonderful, sunny presence. (And he was such a gem to be around, 6 months “sober,” recovering from a major ankle surgery, and at that time devaluing me while cheating with at least two OW’s.)

  • Found a pair of what I called “ sex boots” in his closet one year( not my size) around Christmastime.
    Asked him about them and he told me it was a joke for some married woman he worked with.
    I met her at a company dinner and she sat across a large round table from us. She and he had a chemistry that was pretty obvious and she would be cackling about anything he said and exchanging comments all night. I remember it made me uneasy, I did sense an energy. ( this is before I was awake to all his shenanigans)
    I even asked him if they were intimate ( a very far fetched question for me to even formulate at this time) and what was up with this woman.
    He said she’s “just a friend” ( a direct report) and was having some marital issues, so he was being supportive. ( by placing his dick in her mouth I’m thinking in retrospect for sure, but my naivety bubble was not yet popped at that time)
    I think it is in their rule book to buy the same gifts for wife and mistresses.
    We vacationed in Sanibel in 2001( I hope they did ok with the hurricane) with my extended family and he bought me this adorable real nautilus purse. I many months later found another one in his closet. He stayed in the shop when I had left and bought one for his schmoopie. Hadn’t gotten around to gifting her yet I guess. My spackling for that one was, isn’t he so sweet to think of his mom and buy her a purse too!)????
    They are never present, these narcissists, they will always have their fuck buddies top of their minds no matter what we are doing with them.
    It’s kind of like being married to a sex addicted zombie, they look like they are there, but they have been long dead with hijacked brains and dicks.

    • “they look like they are there, but they have been long dead with hijacked brains and dicks.”

      Yep, and by the time we figure it out, they are fully bonded with the whore(s), no going back; they have devalued their former life, if they had ever valued it at all.

    • “She and he had a chemistry that was pretty obvious and she would be cackling about anything he said and exchanging comments all night. I remember it made me uneasy, I did sense an energy. ( this is before I was awake to all his shenanigans). I even asked him if they were intimate ( a very far fetched question for me to even formulate at this time) and what was up with this woman.
      He said she’s “just a friend” ( a direct report) and was having some marital issues, so he was being supportive. ( by placing his dick in her mouth I’m thinking in retrospect for sure, but my naivety bubble was not yet popped at that time)”

      Oh, were you married to my ex? Pretty much exactly the same scenario with him and his OW. She wasn’t his direct report, but she was his trainee at work.

  • The worst was a Christmas with no gift from fw (was a year with his family). I had a good freak out in front of his family and surely looked like the imbalanced one.

    The other gifts were either image management (especially when with my family) or reminders of my domestic servitude: cookbooks mostly.

  • A self portrait cartoon by her boss, who fashioned herself some kind of high tech artiste (the kind who uses apps and filters on ambiguous photos but can’t draw a damn thing). We were poor young parents and this was a little bit of cool, she seemed to think. It hung on a wall in our house for a couple of years before I decided it was dumb and ugly and stuck it in a closet. Several years later I found out they had a years-long affair (one of several) and burned the “work of art” in my back yard. I think many of these bad gifts are weird furtive statements of imagined FW superiority (they know something we don’t know, and we chumps humiliate ourselves with our ignorance and niavite).

  • I got expensive gifts twice. Both times, he announced it on facebook, with a caption of surprise for bday girl!
    Both times he kept telling me how shocked my friends must have been. “Did they say anything? They probably never seen anything like it. They must have been impressed!”
    I never put much thought to these. He was just having fun, he had no bad intentions, he was just being funny. I was naive.
    I just did not want to see that he could not live without external validation at all times. Perhaps I did, but again, I thought he meant no harm to anyone..

  • One year he kept asking if I wanted an electronic reader. I said I’d never use it because I work all day in front of a computer and preferred reading paper outside of work. I was an IT manager at the time and had enough gadgets. Of course, what did I know about me? I received one for xmas and kept up a front because we were opening all the gifts in front of his adult daughters. But he got me the cheapest one with ads on it. I put it on Craigslist the next day and sold it for $50. Every time he asked if I liked it, I said I told him I don’t use them.

  • Jackass got me a handful of protein bars–the same ones I bought every week at the grocery store. About $10.

    • XH the Substance Abuser was a great gift giver for most of our marriage. I knew he had discarded me (without moving out) when he said he wished he didn’t have to buy me anything for Christmas because he wanted to use the money to buy more Christmas presents for the grandkids.

  • So many terrible gifts from ex and schmoopie (now wife) that it’s becoming a bit of a family joke what they’ll send me or the kids (ages 15-28) next. Here’s the going list:
    Tarnished tea kettles last Xmas from schmoopie’s dead aunt’s house (in fact only gift they got for Xmas from their dad and schmoopie, who I should point out, together make over 200k a year)
    Mattress
    Cat bed
    Walking stick
    Monogrammed pocket knife
    Mug with c word on it for my 24 yr old daughter
    Tshirt with c word on it for same daughter for one Xmas (who cried her eyes out)
    Child size Spiderman flip flops for 22 yr old daughter to go with c tshirt
    Dishwasher
    Queen size duvet for my 15 yr old son’s twin size bed
    Coaster (just one for each child) of man in leopard skin speedo with the words “let’s party” for Xmas.

    My son kept the walking stick for cosplay. I kept the dishwasher because why not!? (I take advantage when I can.)

    Donated or tossed nearly everything else.

  • The first Christmas we were together, he didn’t get me anything. I had gotten gifts for him and his kids, but the day came and went with nothing for me. We hadn’t talked about exchanging gifts, so I chalked it up to that. He unexpectedly proposed the day after Christmas (I think he chose then to cover up that he hadn’t gotten me anything). The next Christmas (we were married in September), not a damn thing. We had just moved into the house we had purchased together a few days before, but I had decorated a little bit and shopped for everyone (he had 4 kids, I had none). Everyone had lots of gifts to open, including ExH. For me? Nothing. When all the gifts were opened, he said my gift was the house. The next Christmas, I sent him a picture of something I wanted in October and repeatedly mentioned wanting pearl earrings. On Christmas Eve, he mentioned something about how he didn’t know what to get me. I asked him about thing I had sent him a photograph of. His response: “I didn’t know you were serious.” I asked him about the pearl earrings. He said he didn’t know how to buy things like that. We went to Walmart that night and he bought the item from the photograph. It was the only gift I had that year besides school projects from the kids (which I loved). Birthdays, Valentines days, anniversaries, Mother’s Day – usually nothing, something bought halfway through the day (after enough time had passed that I was aware there was nothing, including cards), or something a day or two later. We weren’t married long, but I came to dread gift-giving days. Receiving gifts is not a major love language of mine, but I felt embarrassed and, frankly, unloved to have not even been thought about. That he hadn’t even tried. When he told me last summer he didn’t want to be married anymore, he added that he never felt like he got to know me. It explains a lot. He didn’t try at our marriage, either.

  • I was so excited by the big box wrapped under the Xmas tree. He rarely bought me anything – so this particular year he’d made the effort. I unwrapped it eagerly – it was a toaster!! He then said that it was a four slice toaster as he was sick of wanting 3 slices of toast and our other one only cooked 2 at a time.

  • After FWs 12 day work conference in exotic Bangkok (was actually only a three day two night conference, rest spent with a howorker in Phuket #TYforensicaccountant) I was deemed worthy of the hotel (Bangkok one) mouthwash and Q-tip pack (was for three but one was missing so two Q-tips) and yes he had the nerve to ask if I was excited to have something from Thailand ????

    Yep, mouthwash and Q-tips

  • Well over 300 responses to this Friday challenge, many of them heartbreaking. Why did we chumps fail to acknowledge out loud such disrespectful behavior? How did these (and other) microaggressions desensitize us to a relationship dynamic where we were so far down on the list of priorities?

  • I only got image management gifts. FW satisfying himself. As I’m clearing things out of my life I’m trashing EVERY SINGLE THING he gave me. Moron.

  • Years ago, then-husband gifted me with new cross-country skis for Christmas. We shared bank accounts and I also had bought him a nice gift. The skis were low-end, but still it’s the thought that counts, right? Except, the next time we went skiing, out of his car came brand new top-of-the-line skis, bindings, and boots for him, easily three times as expensive as mine, which he had bought at the same time. So, in essence I had paid twice as much as I should have for low-end skis and got to be reminded of how much more he valued himself each time we skied together.

  • Well let’s see I was given a pretty gold anklet when we were dating. I loved it. Found out it was one of several he bought. His ex had one, his sister, his best friends wife. I also received a weed eater for my birthday one year. I did do some of the yard work and tried to make that it was a necessary thing, the vacuum I did the same. I can only think of maybe 3 gifts over 34 years that were truly gifts. The best gifts were my kids, no regrets there.

  • My gifts weren’t bad, just very low effort and very last minute, either the day before or the day of (Christmas, Bday, Father’s day, etc.). They were usually either gift cards delivered by email for cool things (e.g. golf) or stuff from Home Depot (e.g. grills) that she would send one of our sons to pick up on the morning of the holiday. I even got a few gifts a few days after my bday or holidays since they were probably ordered day of. Meanwhile, after DDay, when doing some digging, I found out she had bought schmoopie’s Xmas gifts first week of December, very early, and even got a custom ornament of a fire dog (he was a part-time fireman) to accompany the designer scarf that she bought out of the bank account that I happily kept full as the breadwinner. Good times indeed!