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5 Ways to Decode a Non-Apology Apology

assholesorryIf you’re a chump you might have a hard time distinguishing between a real apology and a non-apology. Welcome to Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse. GINR is full of weak-ass apologies that upon closer inspection don’t really convey sorry at all. If you’re a chump, you’ve probably put a lot of stock in weak-ass apologies. Maybe you even begged for a weak-ass apology, got one, and inferred great depths of humanity from it.

Today I’m going to give you a primer for decoding bullshit apologies, courtesy of the Universal Bullshit Translator. If you see any of these in play, you don’t have a real apology — you have bullshit.

This Isn’t The Real Me

Don’t be fooled. Uh yeah. Yes it is. Con artists love to disavow their true shitty selves. They know you love the hologram, so they’re going to insist that the hologram is really them. Did I cheat on you? Well kinda sorta, but that wasn’t the REAL me! The real me loved you all along! In fact, I only cheated because I have such a deep fear of intimacy that I can’t really face how very deeply I love you. And I have toxic shame about that, so you’re going to need to do some bolstering here. Because the Real Me is someone who could never hurt you! Lying to you was a kindness, because I respect you so much! And who would you rather believe in? Some hurtful, lying asshole, or a person who LOVES you?

Shitty people do shitty things. That is who they ARE. It’s not a midlife crisis/affair fog/optical illusion — it’s a choice made with agency. Pickled in deep entitlement. You want to convince me that’s not the real you? Don’t be sorry — be different.

It’s All About Me

The biggest giveaway with bullshit apologies is that the “sorry” is about them — how they suffer. How this hurts them too. Hurts them more, really. How no one really understands their intrinsic self and how tragic that is. What a journey that selfhood has been, and really this Terrible, Unmentionable Thing they may have done was really all for the best! Because it has led to such personal growth!

Unmentioned? The people who were hurt. You’re just bit players in the narcissist’s epic narrative of selfhood.

You have faults too!

Crap apologies are full of false equivalencies and straw man arguments. Well, I never said I was perfect. Uh, perfect wasn’t the standard here — basic decency was. Well, you’re not perfect either. In fact, the way you make coffee is positively criminal. That’s your cue to defend your position on flavored coffees. PUMPKIN SPICE IS A  VALID COFFEE FLAVOR AND IF YOU DON’T LIKE IT YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN COFFEE! Pumpkin spice is not a crime equivalent to betrayal. Getting you to go there and defend yourself and admit you have faults and aren’t perfect positions you nicely into the corner of We Both Brought Issues to the Marriage That Made Me Cheat.

Pay no attention — SQUIRREL!

Wackadoodles like to create drama that diverts attention from discovery of their malfeasance. Caught them cheating? Look for the Hail Mary play of suspected pregnancy, threatened job loss, or I’m Going to Flunk This Important Exam And It’s All Your Fault For Bringing Your Pain To My Attention.

The con is trying to ratchet your anxiety and concern and direct it elsewhere.


Bullshit apologies are full of euphemisms and Orwellian spin. It wasn’t a decade of seeing hookers, it was an “indiscretion” (singular). It wasn’t a sustained, active double life, it was a “mistake” (singular). What’s not minimized, however, is your reaction. Too bad you can’t be the bigger person and forgive me for this trifle. God, you’re really overreacting. If you took offense (at this singular, trifling, irrelevant mistake), then I’m sorry (that you’re so unperceptive). 

Got a bullshit apology? Go no contact and trust that they suck. You’ve got better things to do than stick your head in the mindfuck blender.

(You can also send all your non-apology apologies to the Universal Bullshit Translator, who’s always up for a snack and a laugh.)


You get a week of Chump Lady classics while I’m on vacation. 

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
    • The important thing, Loulotte, is that you know now. You’ll spot any future mindfuckery.

      I think classes in spotting manipulation should be taught as part of a lifeskills program in high school.

        • The assholes just aren’t that clever. There’s a fairly predictable set of tricks that they use, which rely mostly on hacking people’s desire to give the benefit of the doubt and assumptions that others also want to be good people. If you’ve ever blocked these manipulators, they don’t move on to some kind of super-advanced technique; they keep trying the same things again, they rage, or they ghost you.

  • FW, soon after getting caught, in a petulant tone; “Okay, so I’m not perfect!”
    I got the I loved you all along mind fuck, too. The false equivalences, the minimization, even the fake suicidal ideation squirrel. I didn’t buy any of it, which enraged him. Gee, nothing says remorse like flying into a rage because you, a prolific, proven liar, are no longer believed. He said sorry many times. He acted sorry no times. The math is simple.
    He even said an apology doesn’t require that the behavior which one is allegedly sorry for stop. He claimed it’s “just a social nicety.” What a handy rationalization for people who aren’t sorry they’re assholes and are never going to stop being assholes.

    • I just searched google…. First use of the phrase “fake suicidal ideation squirrel.” I think that is going to be my new phrase to drop into conversations. Would make a great T-shirt with the right drawing.

    • Raising my hand on the “fake suicidal ideation squirrel.” Like everything the LCL does, it was very performative, replete with social media posts.

    • He considers himself an authority on “social niceties”, qualifies to school others on the subject…..

      Thank you, OHFFS, for my daily dose of much-needed laughter.

        • And that’s why I keep coming back to this site–for not only the insight and support but also for the laughs. Of course, CL leads the way in brilliance and snark, but, my God, I’m not sure I’ve ever been on a forum with such a smart, funny, and thoughtful group of commenters. 🤗

    • “Okay, so I’m not perfect!”

      He says this as if this is shocking news. “But we thought you WERE perfect.” lol

  • Once someone close to you lies, it’s over. You can’t trust them. They are putting their gaslighting first. I see that now. My bad was believing the “apologies” and staying. They apologize because they got caught and to continue getting cake. There’s no remorse. The relationship is doomed.

    • This feels very accurate (save for kids and teenagers who are figuring life out). I can get past all kinds of weird things in friendships and relationships, but outright lights (especially about critical issues) are absolute deal killers.

  • On Dday after hearing the list of my many faults and some great projection, there was never any apology. Most of what came out of his mouth was how horrible I was and a list of what he thought my mental issue were (oddly enough he checks the box on most of them so projection???).
    After I filed, he was going to “give” me another chance with him because I would lose so much. I politely declined and told him anything he had to say can go through the attorneys. I now believe that he was generously offering me the ability to do some world class pick me dancing, since without the triangulation things were probably not as much fun.
    Needless to say, after almost four months out from the final divorce, I did not lose anything but about 200lbs of ugly cheater.

    • … “he was going to “give” me another chance with him because I would lose so much.”

      I got the same ‘limited time offer’ from Mr. Duplicity. Fuck him and the horse he came in on.

      • Gah, fumblefingers! Trying again.

        I got “I’m sorry I made you feel that way.” Which is just another non-apology.
        My response: “Don’t be sorry about my feelings. My feelings are my responsibility. Be sorry about your actions.”

        Which, of course, he was not.

        True remorse requires empathy. Sociopaths have none.

        • His false apologies even were directed at the kids..”I’m sorry you feel stuck in the drama your mother is making”… Said drama was me filing for divorce after the kids found his named pics of him and AP. They just don’t care about anyone but themselves.

    • Oh my God, ^^this^^. SO many times, yet just one one of many crazy things in the weaponized apology tour.

  • Ashamed to say I begged for an apology for weeks. This is what I ultimately got:

    Cheater: I’m sorry.
    Me: what are you sorry for.
    Cheater: For how it all went down.

    • I got “for everything that happened”. And then he proceeded to justify and excuse his behavior, and continued to lie about the timeline. When I called him out on some obvious discrepancies, he got angry and said it didn’t matter. Then he blamed me for his cheating and let drop the information that he had shared some very private medical issues I had with OW. I stopped listening after that and left.

    • I got: “I should never had said that,” and “it was mistake trying to talk to you about my life.”

      He was never sorry for what he did – only that I found out. Hardly a surprise to me now that I fully understand that people do what they want and no more or less. He wanted to lie, cheat, steal and deceive. Why would be sorry for doing what he felt he was justified in doing?

      A mistake is accidentally putting your spouse’s iPhone through the wash. That’s something you apologize for. There is no possible apology for willfully abusing and deceiving another person.

      • “it was mistake trying to talk to you about my life.”

        Riiight. The “mistake” wasn’t fucking some ho. It was admitting to fucking some ho.🤡

        When they start talking about my life instead of our life it is over, anyway.

    • Cheater: I’m sorry
      Me: (in tears). Sorry for what?
      Cheater: You know…everything

      Thanks very much…I want a power point presentation with fkn bullet points of what you’re sorry for. It’s never going to happen and that’s ok.

    • yes!!! this is the same bullshit I got the night I confronted him. “I’m sorry it happened this way”, ah but you won’t apologize for lying to my face for the past 6 months? I gotcha bud.

      Then I spent more days (ugh @ me) spoon feeding him his own damn apology 🙄

    • Oh gosh, I got one like that! On yet another attempt to suck me back in to ‘trying again’, he said he was sorry. I asked what he was sorry for. He replied ‘I’m sorry things worked out the way they did between us.’

      Drives me nuts that it took me so long to learn to ask that question. I had been projecting, too.

  • On the day I confronted my husband, who was returning from a trip to Scottsdale with his mistress, he tried to bring up the strangest things. Chores. Who wiped down the counter. Politics, which we had to stop talking about because my husband’s opinions had become increasingly bizarre. How he thought I would be grateful since he wasn’t bothering me with his sexual requests anymore. I can see in retrospect he wasn’t so much sorry as terrified about what was going to happen next. He did not want to lose this cushy gig he had going with a working spouse, a house in a nice area, and two great kids. When I reminded him I remembered about his IRA account his eyes got as big as saucers. It’s not remorse, it’s fear.

  • The closest I got to an apology when I told him I had discovered his affair: ‘I know you think I’m a complete bastard, but I do care’. He couldn’t stop himself from gaslighting! The ‘but’ negates the previous clause. His statement that he cared therefore cancelled out any thoughts that I may have had about his existence as a ‘complete bastard’. The mere fact that he said he cared was sufficient to wipe my perceived thoughts out, grammatically. I didn’t think he was a complete bastard because that would have implied that he had a character and personality no matter how flawed. He was and is a pathetic, cowardly wimp! He was wrong, yet again!

    • Any apology with the word “but” in it isn’t an apology. “I’m sorry I cheated, BUT….(false equivalency). It isn’t an apology, it is either justification, or in the “but I do care” mind-f*cking. “I CARE! Therefore, it we split up, it will be YOUR fault, nevermind what I did!”
      Oh, and the “what I did” are nearly always spoken of in vague, nebulous terms. Multiples APs, sex-workers, on-line dating profiles and hook-ups, financial abuse, years and years of gaslighting and lies….those are just “things” and minimized.
      Really, you should be more tolerant. Now excuse me while I go gag.

  • I got the I’m sorry I…., but you….! You know the sorry not sorry apology. The “I did something wrong but what you did was worse” or “I am sorry for what I did but you made me do it “ apology. Anytime a “but” follows an apology, it is not really an apology but gaslighting.

  • When I confronted my fiancee about his sleeping with a mutual friend, he reminded me that I had slopped coffee and stained the the livingroom carpet a few months earlier. ” I guess we both make stupid mistakes!” I just turned on him and walked away.

    • I was told that his having a massive, secret sexual world was the same as me leaving the lights on in a room when I left it. Because both are disrespect.

      • I think my ex liked to compare his constant lying and deceit to my leaving my shoes by the door when I took them off when I got home. Sure buddy, totally the same thing. Also, he had never before mentioned that being a problem? Like, it was normal in the house I grew up in, if it bothered him, why didn’t he say something?

    • The comparison only works if the coffee was boiling temperature, was deliberately thrown into someone’s lap and resulted in skin grafts.

  • The closest I ever got to an apology was “I never regretted cheating on [first wife] but I regret cheating on you.” Wtf. This after 6 weeks of pure mindfucking and a 7 page list of all my issues that caused him to cheat, and the fact he “just felt really disconnected for the last couple of months.” Goodness, why on earth do you suppose that might be? Also one of the first things out of his mouth on DDay besides “I thought you knew” was “I fucked up, and then I let it compound.” Hmm yes, I screwed up and screwed my employee and then eh, I accidentally compounded the “mistake” by continuing to screw her for another 5 months.

    • the 7 page list sounds families, although the items may be different. i got a few funny ones. “you used to have nice legs” and “you don’t flirt with me. a man needs to feel desired” and “you didn’t wear those leather gloves i bought you in 2006”.

      there were weaponized items on the list, best avoided, even in light hearted conversation. the meanness is too much.

    • Mine was “I don’t love you and I don’t know if I ever did because you…[squirrels about how I didn’t welcome family members who came to stay in our home indefinitely]” for over a month. FINALLY he admitted to EA. But it was unrelated to his lack of connection to me. “We” still had problems. Another month later, he admitted to sexual compulsions. Again, WE still had unrelated issues. Could it be his disrespectful attitude? The way he devalues me? His entitlement?

      And, years later, “I’m sorry.”

      What are you sorry for?

      “Everything I did.”

      Covered all his bases but I still doubt he has any idea what he should be sorry for.


  • So many fake apologies. He wanted to let his heart run free, stay married. It wouldn’t matter if he spent marital assets on a sex worker (she’s had “hard life” and “deserves to be spoiled”). I was being selfish to deny him the chance to experience life apart from our family and work (the obligations that came with being an adult, G*d D*mn it). He would always love me but needed this time before he got old and could attract sex workers 20 years younger… yeah, count me out.

  • After she repeatedly cheated & whored around with 4 other men in just a few months, rubbed my face in it & gave me an STD: “I never intended to hurt you, Blue. It was a learning experience. Sorry IF I hurt you.”
    Such classic covert Narcissist BULLSHIT makes me want to throw up a little in my mouth…

    • Yes, it’s hard to decide which is worse (how ’bout both?) — “Sorry, BUT…” or “Sorry IF…”
      IF?!!? As in, you have no idea if your behavior gutted your spouse?!

    • Aside from cases of severe mental illness/incapacity, ignorance is no protection under the law. Whether or not someone knew it was illegal to drive drunk, they’ll still go to jail if caught doing so. By the same token, what someone “intended/meant/was trying” has zero bearing on actions which are defined as abusive/wrong in most cultures, especially when repeated.

  • I got,

    Sorry BUT:

    “You’re not perfect either.”

    “It takes two.”

    “I only lied about one thing.”

    “If it had been a two-week affair or a two-year affair, you never would have forgiven me.”

    “You slept far away in the bed.” (Queen bed. What?)

    “You (meaning me, Spinach) are so vindictive.”

    “I’m not who you thought I was. I’m not who I thought I was.”

    “I think you can love two people at once. Do you want to get back together in, say, 3 years?” When he saw that I was speechless, this clueless FW revised his request, “Ok, 5 years?’ WTF?

    “I just fell in love.”

    “We bonded over sick patients.”

    “Her [AP’s] husband emotionally abused her.” (Oof. Frying pan to fire.)

    “I’m sad every day.”

    “You got everything.”

    “I just have to move on.”

    “It’s untested love.” (Guess he wanted to enlist me in some worry that his relationship with the AP might not pan out.)

    “I don’t always have an orgasm when I’m with her.” (Yep. He told me this. His wife. I guess I was supposed to feel sorry for him. #sohard)

    [Note: When cheaters say, “I’m sorry BUT…. ,” I think they need to apologize to the poor conjunction for asking it to re-route the entire apology.]

    • ““I only lied about one thing.””

      I got this too. Upon finding out I spoke with a lawyer when he’d prefer a mediator. “It’s as if you don’t TRUST me.” Ummm…. I don’t, why would I? “But I only lied about one thing.” The one thing is a YEARS long affair.

      • Right. That “one thing”. A single affair encompassing 7 years (in xFWs”s case) involving hundreds of hours of planning, secret email addresses, financial transactions, vacations with the AP while telling me he was elsewhere, etc. etc. It is THOUSANDS of lies. We know the drill, here at CN.
        It isn’t “one thing”. It’s a lifestyle for these people.

    • Ah yes, the good old “Only”.

      “I only ever lied to one person, and it was only about my activities in the sexual sphere, and they were only lies of omission.”

      Of course … well, I never ASKED him, when he got home from work and we sat down for dinner with the kids, “So, did you get to the brothel at lunch time today? Oh no, that’s right, you went to the city, so did you have your usual afternoon at a gay sauna fucking thru glory holes and sucking cock?”

      And so when he talked about his day, his week, his month, for over ten years, he didn’t happen to mention any of that (or the huge amounts of porn) … only lies of omission.

  • I’m happiest never hearing -ever again- anything that rolls off his insincere tongue.

  • I got many apologies. None of them meant anything.

    Words not matching action is called manipulation.

    Refusing accountability is called gaslighting.

  • I’ve posted this before. The closest I got to an apology was an invitation back to our marital home to talk. Tea was served. Then I got to hear about the dissociative state he was in as he was feeling oddly close to the many friends who had passed away. Including the late husband of the woman he had been fucking, I presume. I can’t recall any significant apologies in 30 years. I tried “modeling” apologies for him. Boy, did that piss him off. It’s not that they don’t understand.

  • From FW shortly after fessing up to the affair: “I do take ownership of my actions and decisions. I did allow this relationship to continue and blossom. [AP] made a concerted effort to move away and end this. I take full responsibility for what happened, but the question of why it happened is more difficult. I’m not trying to avoid culpability, but the roots of this are deep. There is a soft voice of defiance in me that keeps me going. It may be irrational and indefensible, but, if I didn’t have it, I’d be lost.”

    Feel free to UBT this!!!

      • what is the soft voice of defiance? i’m thinking a sibilant murmur, preferably spanish, in my ear. “darling, do not despair. i, javiar fernandez, son of fernando, will not let you give in. to give in is to give up, and you must fight, FIGHT. rabia, rabia contra la luz moribunda.”

        i’d rather clean my closets and that says a lot.

    • “There is a soft voice of defiance in me that keeps me going” means “you aren’t the boss of me.”

      • ^^ absolutely this! Mine essentially pulled the same type of thing in his list of grievances with me. We had had several 3somes and after DDay when I was incredulous as to why he needed to have an affair when I had just 6 weeks prior let him have sex with someone else, sure enough on his list was massive offense taken to my use of “let him” (it was triple underlined lol). Definitely a “how dare you think you can moderate what I do.” Entitlement at its finest as usual. Their need to believe they are above all social mores and agreements definitely “keeps them going” alright.

    • Yet he’s still referring to his cheating as “what happened” — a thing that took place, without any vote on his part.

      • Ah yes, the use of the good old “passive voice” of the thing, the “what” that just somehow “happened”.
        Distancing (lack of accountability), minimizing (whatever it was, it wasn’t that bad) and also lack of agency on their part (it wasn’t me, and if it was I didn’t mean it but if I did you deserved it <– hat tip to the Narc's Prayer)

        • Mistakes were made.
          PS (since I’m having flashbacks to the Watergate hearings now): Isn’t it weird how so many cheaters seem to be channeling Gordon Liddy?

  • I got no apology. The closest I got was the blameshifting “Our problem was communication. But I didn’t feel I could talk to you.”

    • No apology nor explanation here either. Just an “I’m so confused” so my response, “if you are confused about our marriage let me help you to the door.” And that was basically all of the communication I got. He then spread the “I’ve been unhappy for years and we’ve been fighting for years” narratives to anyone who will listen. And evidently we had “friends” who agree that a) I must have deserved this b) somehow it wasn’t so bad and they have chosen to support him.

    • I got this one too. He felt he needed to “walk on eggshells with me” instead of actually communicating all the (faux) issues that led to him cheating, because I would get upset and he simply did not know how to handle someone whose primary response is Flight? I have no idea what that means to this day. It’s impossible to have any meaningful relational discourse with someone whose “primary response” is lies/deception/blameshifting/justification.

      • I got this load of crap, too. How he couldn’t have a conversation with me about “who he was”, because I would shut him down. Such BS. I finally sent him an email, and said, “Fine. Here is your opportunity. Who are you? I want to hear about this.” He came back with. “It comes down to I want a place for everything, and everything in its place.”
        So his way of addressing that was creating chaos??

        • FW: “You, Ivy, are the spouse appliance and you must be in your place when I want you, for everything that I need, and kibbles whenever I need it.
          She OWhore, is the COO of Ma Dick, and must be in her place when I want her to do everything I need especially for Ma Dick, whenever I need it.
          They, Kiddos, must be in their place when I want them for everything that children must do to reflect glory and kibbles to their parent, whenever I need it.”

          There’s no chaos that isn’t crystal clear to a FW!

  • Oh, I received so many apologies I couldn’t even count them all. And at first they did seem genuine. Like he truly didn’t mean to hurt me. But after some time has passed, he started showing his true self again and trying to blameshift and mindfuck in many different ways. It actually worked for a while, my brain truly was in a blender and I danced the pick-me dance for a few months. But when I put all the bullshit together and did the math, I just saw everything for what it really was – bullshit, manipulation, trying to escape the reality of consequences. These people have no real substance. And yes, he was very sorry for the first 6 months, but I realized he was sorry for himself, sorry for what he was about to lose (“cosy normal life facade”, wife, family, friends, etc.), he was going crazy, didn’t sleep, didn’t eat and lost like 10kg from how sorry he was. But not about hurting me, just very sorry about the consequences he was about to suffer.

    • “But not about hurting me, just very sorry about the consequences he was about to suffer.”

      That’s it!! That’s exactly it for so many cheaters, including my very own FW.

      If apologies aren’t backed up with actions, they are worthless. So many cheaters seem to “apologize” to avoid consequences and/or to soften us up for the divorce. We wouldn’t try to extract a lot of money from someone who feels SO BAD. Would we?

  • More:
    “I’m sitting here wondering what I have done. The kids hate me and have disowned me. I have lost all credibility and integrity with you and I wonder if I’ll have to go back to seeing patients in the future. My sister talks to me sparingly. The die is cast. I can’t reset the clock. It’s a case of the chickens coming home to roost.

    Of course, I anticipated that much of this would happen. I’m not surprised. I talked about it seriously with [name of therapist]. But when it happens and the venom flows and history is distorted, I have difficulty bearing it.”

    Again, feel free to UBT.

    • “My therapist told me that if I kept cheating, there would be consequences, so that isn’t a surprise. But when people actually dish out those consequences and my view of history is challenged, I can’t handle it.”

      • Ha. True.

        Also what a load of mixed metaphors! The die, the clock, the chickens…

        He’s a coward hiding behind idioms.

  • I think this one is my favorite. It describes probably the most often used gaslighting technique for cheaters.

  • Ah yes. The non apology apology. Arseface used the passive voice. ‘If what happened to you had happened to me, I’d be angry too’. As if he hadn’t been the architect of what he had done to me. As if all the lying and cheating,the secret underground harem hadn’t been engineered and constructed by him.
    He was pissed off that I pointed out what he termed his ‘ shortcomings ‘, a word he chose to minimise and sanitise his squalid ,sordid double life. He actively managed his harem, constantly adding to and subtracting from his stable of fuck buddies. A stone cold sociopath. Interacting with him to try and get some accountability was throwing my energy into an abyss. A complete waste of time.

  • Oh, the drama… My ex once told me a friend of ours was sending him nudes and pornographic pictures of herself having sex with other people. This was literally within months of giving birth to her third child with her chump husband. I was hurt, disgusted, but glad he told me (ha ha) and I just cut her off. I found out her and her husband were constantly fighting about her cheating so he knew. I think he was staying for their kids. She simply became dead to me, no muss, no fuss. I looked her up awhile back out of curiosity and she’s divorced now. Good for him.

    That wasn’t enough drama for him, I guess. So he alerted her bdsm sex groupies who then proceeded to attack me for bullying her. Since I wasn’t talking to her, that’s bullying! I had no right to not be her friend! This was all when I was dying of an undiagnosed autoimmune disease and had been mistakenly diagnosed with schizophrenia just a few weeks before. I remember having to keep my phone mute at my full time job and eventually had to change my number. He sicked degenerate perverts on me either for his own entertainment or to cover up something worse he was doing, or maybe both. And he did it at one of the lowest points of my life when I was desperately trying to function. They’re simply evil.

    • Oh my KP that’s so fucking awful. What a total wanker. Trying to push you over the edge…. Then he could play the poor sad widow is my guess. Glad you’re free of that and hope you’re recovering.

      Ive enjoyed your posts here. You truly say it as it is. They’ve helped me a lot.

  • Enjoy your vacation!

    And if new chumps are on the fence about no contact or even separation, think of it this way: Chumps need to not LISTEN to cheaters. They need to observe their behavior. That’s best done at a distance. Truly remorseful cheaters will understand that they have broken trust and that there will be and should be consequences for that. So asking Cheater to move out for a year, stay low contact about kids or business only, and do the individual work of change is the smart move. Yes, that opens up time and space for a Schmoopie, but if the chump is hearing how “sorry” the cheater is, there shouldn’t be an affair partner or a hooker in the wings anyway. This gives a chump a chance to get their head out of the mindfuck blender and learn to pay attention to what people DO and not what they say. It gives chumps a chance to reconnect with themselves and figure out what kind of marriage or relationship they are willing to go back to–and whether the cheater is capable of being the right partner. It also tells kids that the Chump won’t tolerate emotional, psychological, physical or financial abuse. Will it cost more money? Maybe, if Cheater has to get an apartment. But it gives the Chump time and space to do their own work–to stop minimizing themselves and their needs, to stop enabling an unplugged partner, to get real about finances, and to come to terms with the fact that a good-looking face or toned body or great career or big paycheck is not the core of a marriage. Honesty, reciprocity, affection, and respect–all those things we want in real friendships–are the core.

    • And if your state allows it make it a legal separation. This allows you to settle custody and financial separation while the iron is hot and they are still pretending to be sorry. You are still married and can stay on each other’s healthcare plans.

      If you somehow have a unicorn then you never have to get divorced. But when they inevitably never change converting a legal separation to a divorce is quick and uncomplicated.

  • This is a golden oldie for sure! Reruns are wonderful! I’ll never tire of them— there really is a cheater playbook! My XH, who when caught was only sorry he was caught, said, “you MADE me cheat because you never bought me a comfortable chair to sit in.” WTF???!!! Married 25 years. XH made 7 figure salary as a law firm partner. It was so absurd that I was speechless…..

    • i love this story. the comfortable chair. this could, paradoxically, be an ad for lazyboy loungers.

  • My favorite is “I’m sorry IF I EVER made you feel like you weren’t enough.”

    It’s so dismissive. Like there’s a possibility they didn’t do this. If you tell someone directly “you made me feel worthless/disrespected/betrayed/not enough” this is a statement about how they hurt you with their actions. It’s not a possibility it’s a fact.

    Throwing in the qualifier “if I ever” is a fake sorry because it’s still not admitting to actually doing the hurtful action, nor is it accepting that action had the hurtful consequences.

  • I believe that the majority of cheaters fall into at least one of the psychologically dysfunctional categories known as Cluster B Personality Disorder. I read about these categories when I was searching for an answer to the “Why” question that has plagued us all. I also believe that there are some dysfunctions that these folks are more likely to have in addition to these disorders. I am not a licensed psychologist. However, I understand the term comorbidity. It means there may be two or more disorders going on at the same time.

    I believe I had to untangle the skein when I was young, so that I could figure out what was acceptable to me, and what the best course of action, or defense, was for me when dealing with these folks. I have known many, in my family, and at work. Again, I am not a professional, but once you become aware of these disorders, it is hard not to notice the similarities of the symptoms. You can shorthand it to these people have shitty characters, and if they do one thing, they are more likely to do another. One of the things they do not do is take responsibility for their actions. They never truly apologize, because they believe they are never wrong.

    My Ex once told me he was sorry for whatever it was that had made me angry. He just wanted to move forward and end our conflict. So, he wanted a blanket apology for all transgressions, so that he could do them again and claim he had no knowledge that that action had made me angry before. He also wanted no consequences. Sorry, no deal.

    I have a sister that I believe is an alcoholic, and may well be borderline, too. She has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, she won’t label herself, but she does take medication. She knows she is not supposed to drink with the meds, knows alcoholism runs in our family. Still, she does whatever she wants to do, admits to nothing, blames everyone but herself for her problems. When she tries to diagnose others (me) and her diagnosis is rejected (you need to take pills because you have too much stress, and the pills will reduce your anxiety) she becomes furious that her “well-meaning advice is dismissed.” I have explained she is not a doctor, and I am not her patient. I have calmly told her I see doctor’s regularly for my diagnosed health problems, and I will follow my doctors’ advice. This caused her to go into a tirade of insults peppered with judgy adjectives.

    These folks can seek help. They rarely do. I think they may not be able or willing to be “cured”. They want the world to conform to their wishes and standards. The advice the web sites I visited gave was consistent. 1) Set boundaries based on what is acceptable to you and enforce them. 2)Avoid these people if possible. 3)Remember, you have to take care of yourself.

    It is not your job to “save” or “fix someone who does not want to be saved or fixed. Chumplady offers excellent advice to chumps who are in a relationship with a cheater: leave and gain a life. This is the same advice you should follow for all toxic people in your life, IMHO. I am happier now than I have ever been in my life. I have sorrow that some people I loved had to be cut out of my life in order for me to be happy. I would have liked for the situation to be different, but I accept the reality of what it was. To me, I cut out the cancer to save what was left of my life. I maintain my boundaries to keep new cancers from coming in. I believe if I had not done this, I would already be dead.

  • My favorite line from the cheater was after standing there and telling me he, had been “dating” for ten years, he had been so unhappy, and he never loved me; he looked at me with a straight face and said “I am just not a very good liar” I remember to this day just standing there with my jaw dropped.

    • Mine claims that he’s not a good liar too. Thirty years of cheating, gaslighting, betrayal and deceit but he thinks he really never lied. “Lies of omission but I never lied. I’m not a good liar.” Bullshit!

    • What the heck. Is this a common cheater thing? After telling me that he assumed I knew he was cheating he said he kept “waiting for me to ask” and he would have then told me, because he’s a bad liar. Do they really believe this?

    • A few years ago FW and I were joking around and he was saying what a terrible liar I am (true). I said, I’d know if you were lying! He stopped laughing and said, “No. You wouldn’t. I’m a very good liar.” I laughed nervously and let it go. On DDay, after confessing to 7 years of serial cheating he said, “I told you I was a good liar.” Completely without emotion. Like, made my blood run cold, Dexter-levels of sociopathy.

  • Love this classic! Such a needed reminder. My STBXFW did every, single one of these.

    This isn’t the real me – “I didn’t know what I was doing! I loved you the whole time!”

    It’s all about me – “This has been the worst time of my life! I cry every day. I’ve never been more miserable” (no mention of me or his children

    You have faults too – “You’re throwing our family away! Why do I have to be perfect?”

    Squirrel! – He will literally cough over words he doesn’t like. Every time I say “divorce” he coughs or clears his throat loudly. Then he’ll quickly do a 180 in the conversation and flip it to something he likes.

    Minimization – I swear he is the king of this tactic and he learned better verbiage thanks to SLAA. That’s where they teach them that cheating is “acting out”. And that only certain types of cheating are “bottom lines”, all others are in some gray area that are apparently ok for the “addict”. My STBXFW will also lump alllllll of his cheating (30 years worth) into one “mistake”. Um…yeah. 50+ sex workers, numerous EAs, several stalking incidents, but sure…you made “A MISTAKE”.

    I love rereading these classic posts. It’s so helpful to remind me to stay strong and wait for the judge to sign those papers!

  • This reminded me of an Old Classic memory in my failed marriage. XAss loves the projection, he’s all about “You Have Faults Too!”. The scene: Me for the first time ever refusing to have sex with him after he’s just come back from another trip and he’s been treating me with disregard and disrespect publicly and privately. I also for the first time ever, confront him with my suspicions that he has been having affair(s). He immediately deflects to accusing me of having an affair, ten years ago, because a friend was in a hotel corridor where supposedly I was in a room with my mom talking about having an affair on my husband and this person heard it through the door and told him about it so there! What about that huh??!!! It was absolutely bug fucking nuts. To this day he refuses to admit his behavior, it was all on me.

  • The non-apology is still happening. One and a half years after the divorce I received this from the XH:
    “I am willing to make whatever amends need to be made to try to repair the damage I inflicted on you and the family.”
    Ok, what am I supposed to do with that?
    He was master of throwing an idea out and I would believe that he was serious about it. I would set out to do all the work, only to find that he had forgotten about it. Maybe the boozy business trips (with hookers) took his attention away.

    I know what he wrote above is one of the 12 steps, and the next is that he WILL make amends. His statement left me confused. Am I supposed to think of how he can make amends? Does he? I am still in the dark, and since NC has been so nice, I ignored the letter.

    • “whatever” is also a word that should not appear in any true apology. He should know, VERY SPECIFICALLY, what amends to make.
      And again, all talk and no action. You don’t announce your willingness; you frickin’ MAKE the amends.

    • I’m sure he wants you to do the work for him. But I think I’d just turn it back around him and ask him to articulate the damage he did and what he thinks would make amends.

    • Yea, ignore the letter. Step 9 is clear that that making direct amends should not happen when “when to do so would injure them or others.” If you ever need to address his amends making, you could simply send him the text of the 9th step with the last part in bold and state “I was traumatized by your abusive behavior and infidelity. Your amends would injure me in many ways. Please leave me alone.” This statement is clear and uses 12-step buzzwords that he should be learning and living. Indeed, guidance on the 9th step is pretty clear that direct amends is not appropriate when you’ve destroyed your marriage through infidelity. For this, a cheater should work on living amends, which is simply living your life in a better way.

      • Good suggestions.
        I hate that he used to bring up the “when to do so would injure them or others” phrase to justify why he never owned up to the cheating. He kept doing things on business trips and of course I had no proof of each instance. Until some credit card charges and bank transfers showed up.
        I now believe what I heard from a lot of people. “If his lips are moving, he’s lying.”

  • I’m got the “We were in it together” mindfuck. “I know your religious values won’t let you admit this, but you were enjoying it! You told me to go out and have fun! And I did! I could tell by the smile on your face that you knew all about it! You don’t remember? Well, I do! You definitely knew about it and approved it!”

  • This is one of the Classic best. This one chapter in the book to decode BS is GOLD! If it’s about THEM it is over period. My STBXH said I needed to ” get over it, “the D day I was just getting aware of. He gave me 6 months to recover and then I better NOT MENTION IT AGAIN”or that meant I was not a Christian and I did not have true forgiveness in my heart. I locked him out and filed.

  • Oh I could write a book! He apologized, a lot, always “I’m sorry that I hurt you”. Well yes, lying, cheating, gaslighting, manipulating, defrauding me of my financial independence, emotional abuse…those things hurt but I never got the apology for those things.

    I also got a long list of the ways he was better than the Average American Male that included wiping his pee dribble off the toilet seat 😂 What a lucky gal I was!!!

    • I got a long list (pages and pages) of how mine was better than the average husband and father! What assholes these people are. I couldn’t believe he had the audacity to type it all out, but there it was. All the reasons he “went above and beyond as a husband and father”. Are you fucking kidding me??? I didn’t even read it. DELETED.

  • I think back to when Ex and I were dating before we got married, and a couple of red-flag incidents I ignored. I was so hurt by his behavior both times, but when he saw how much he hurt me… cue the waterworks. He was so good at the crocodile tears and feigning emotional intelligence and empathy. When a man is literally on his knees bawling that he’s so sorry he hurt you, 20-something me believed it must be so.

    What I should have reflected on wasn’t that he was sorry, it’s that he was capable of that behavior in the first place. I would never tell friends that I thought someone I loved was “stupid.” (I’m not, by the way.) I would never rub my genitals on my partner’s face, thinking they were asleep, and laughing, like some crude frat-boy prank.

    I forgave both those incidents due to his theatrical apologies, and was willing to excuse the behavior as him being “immature,” we were still in college at the time. Why 20 something women put up with such awful, dumb, shitty behavior is beyond me. I know better now at least, and accept no more excuses for such BS. To quote Lethal Weapon, “I’m too old for this shit.”

    • Yes, my ex said a few awful things when we dated. I called him out on them, and he began slapping his own face! I was totally dumbfounded. I know now it was not remorse but manipulation.

    • I heard a gem a couple years back:

      Don’t give the benefit of the doubt to the person that caused your doubts.

  • I was able to cut off the apologies thanks to this website. I was still making a lot of stupid mistakes but the timeframe was shorter than it would have been. At a few points I even said to her “stop mindfucking me” based on her doing or saying the same things that others were reporting on this website (I am still amazed that there is a universal pattern for cheaters and chumps). I was also able to help her children as she gaslit them.

    It is still a process to Tuesday though but I think this website helps me wander through the process on a straighter path than the one I would have taken without it. Example, when she ran away from home I left, got a hotel room, then an apartment, and saw a lawyer the next day. I still tried to reconcile but in the background everything was set up and all I was waiting on from her was an active sign that she was going to change. It never came so three months later the papers were ready for the courts. Here’s a tip for those stuck waiting for their attorneys to finish papers and get things filed: do your next years’ taxes while waiting and when December hits tell your attorney all of your finances are predicated on your tax returns and refunds and they need to get the papers filed before the end of the year or the IRS will consider you still married and you will lose a ton of money.

  • Soon after I discovered his online affair, I confronted Fraudster with bank statements proving tens of thousands in marital theft. He assaulted me and tween, who tried to stop him. Tween’s therapist notified DHS and created a treatment plan that required Fraudster to write a letter of contrition and apology specifying what he did, which would be read to tween. Fraudster, an aspiring singer/songwriter musician, wrote and recorded a song, “I’m Sorry,” with his usual “moon-June-spoon-baboon-platoon” lyrics that totally evaded responsibility. He was sorry that “pain and worry came your way.” Talk about passive voice evasion for causing them. He then tried to monetize it by putting it online, with some smarmy comment about how it would help people. He had a note that it was about being sorry for things in he saw in his life, and then scrubbed even that apology by changing the note to say IT WASN’T ABOUT HIM OR HIS LIFE, just written generally to a help those who needed a way to apologize. He literally cancelled his apology and any acknowledgement that he did any wrong.

    Since his “sorry” song wasn’t enough, he had to write the letter. He took FOUR MONTHS, and was unable to see tween during that time. He needed help from his therapist, tween’s therapist, and their supervisor to come up with an acceptable letter. They read drafts, where he claimed he was wrong to trust a woman he tried to help online by giving her advice, because she didn’t have a job. BTW, first therapist read the final letter to tween, who derided it as insincere. Then Fraudster read the letter to tween over Zoom, with therapist present. Tween had gathered up evidence of Fraudster’s wrongs to him, including stealing from Tween’s bank account against court orders, leaving porn in Tween’s bathroom, etc., and let him have it. Tween refused visits, and now legally fraudster is not allowed contact.

    I just checked the site to get his quote. Couldn’t find the song anymore, but I found this gem, from his song, “Young Girl on my Arm.” Yes, this is the same guy who wrote that he couldn’t wait til he could parade his hot babe around town, so everyone would envy his 65+ self.

    Here’s his note from the site (errors are his):
    “This is a song to all mature woman who’s man has left them for a young chick. There is hope for you that a man will love you for all you are.”


    • Just found the song. He’s retitled it, “right by you,” and per his comment: This is a full band remake of an earlier song of mine named “I’m Sorry.” This is a more general apology that isn’t intended for any specific person or event. I hope you find solace in it.

  • ex apology to me after 2 year online affair before they left for twu love , im sorry for hurting you , its me not you , that was it after a 24 year marriage , cold as ice .

    • I got something similar, in the (snail) mail.

      The letter started out “I am sorry for the way I treated you, I don’t know why I acted like a dirt bag”. It was before the D was finalized, but I am sure he found out I had gone out for dinner with a co worker, whom I didn’t even meet until I changed job facilities, almost a year after he left me for the town whore. (Our D took over a year to complete).

      I don’t remember what the rest of the letter said, by then it didn’t matter. And for the record the reason he acted like a dirt bag was because he was a dirt bag.

      • My ex referred to himself as a dirtbag, too! I caught him doing it in sad sausage/gloating emails to one OW, describing how he “felt” after he would come back from fucking her in his truck to home cooked meals and a clean house, courtesy his clueless partner appliance. He would describe himself this way — dirtbag, monster, etc. — but he wouldn’t try to change. He just wanted pity and forgiveness and comfort and kibbles. And then if I agreed that he was a dirtbag — his own words — he got defensive and made me out to be mean and abusive. Even if I just was upset or hurt, he’d put words I never said in my mouth and then get angry at me: “What do you think I am? Some kind of monster?! At least I’m not a rapist or murderer.” (Ha, autocorrect tried to make that ‘Taoist’ instead.)

        Dirtbag is too kind a word for our exes, Susie Lee.

  • When my X had a hot date lined up with a teenage male prostitute, and really needed to offload the wife for a few hours, his go-to strategy was to pick a fight and throw the most toxic and unfair accusations at me, and then storm out of the house. He’d come back hours later, acting as if everything was just fine.

    If I ever tried to bring up the things he’d said, he had one stock apology that he recycled for every argument: “I don’t remember saying that, but if I did, I shouldn’t have and I’m sorry.”

    I don’t even need the UBT to parse that one: “You are imagining things again and I’ll offer you a non-apology just to shut you up because you’re the one who’s crazy.”

  • About 30 years into my 40 year marriage, it occurred to me that we were in a cycle. It was hard for me to admit that my marriage oddly looked exactly like an abuse cycle (which I was studying in my new job.) I spackled another ten years….. sadly.

    With a covert narc, it is increasingly worse behavior, sneaky, bullying in ways that others do not notice, disrespect until a tipping point where he blows up at me….then apologizes…. deeply in pain that he was such a bad husband, he didn’t deserve me, how could I still love a person so horrible as him? Would I please, pretty please give him one more chance to fix it? To become the person he knew he could be if only I could give him another chance.

    …. I’m shamed to admit I did the cycle many, many times over the years. Only towards the end did I see – from an advantage point outside of myself – that it was a very predictable cycle with the same script and the exact same result. He would be a sweet for a few days and then we would start right back into the disrespect and asshole behavior. In the end, he blew up the marriage. I wonder if I ever would have done it myself.

    • tallgrass, sometimes when reading comments like yours (and many others today, I forget that it’s cheating that initially brought us all here. The cheating really is just one aspect of the cycle of abuse. Once we’re out, we can finally begin to see it. I’m sorry you feel ashamed. Cheaters suck and that all sounds terrible — and it’s also completely normal and understandable that you stayed. I think you seem lovely and compassionate and strong.

  • I wonder if “I never stopped loving you” can sometimes be chalked up to extreme mental compartmentalization coupled with the fact that whatever passes for love for FWs is apparently very forgettable. Once FW found out that people in his office knew about the affair and he and the AP were being mocked, he swore he’d only declared “wuv” to the AP and disavowed “wuv” for me because she’d demanded it. He seemed ready to die on that hill. He wrote this in an online journal entry and said the same to several therapists. But I think once the affair was exposed, his narcissistic ego was embarrassed to be associated with the AP and he simply disremembered ever investing in anything that made him look bad. And, also typical for narcissists, chumps suddenly look better while walking away.

    But who cares what FWs perceive? The important thing is that what passes for love in FW’s shriveled little soul doesn’t pass for love in my book. It doesn’t matter what he believes he felt. His very use of the word “love” is a lie no matter where it’s applied and it would have been just as untrue if he’d sworn the reverse. He and the AP routinely drove drunk on the freeway with the other in the passenger seat. How is that love? They were both aware from the start that the other was willing to screw over innocent people. How is that lovable? And no one had to strap a rat cage to FW’s face to make him disavow me a la Orwell’s Winston Smith so it could never have been love to begin with.

    What’s interesting is that, when it comes to food, qualitative judgments are made but, according to bad mainstream advice columnists, we’re not supposed to do this when it comes to “love”– either love felt or love received. I remember taking the kids to an ice cream parlor that always had a line wrapped around it on summer nights. Two of the kids gagged and the one who ate a whole cup was sick for a week. Their doctor said that, because the kids had never eaten junk food, they’re chemically “naive” and can’t adjust to it. I recounted the incident when driving past the place again while my mother was visiting and she pointed out that the red flag was that everyone waiting in line was over age 75, had probably lost their sense of taste and were so steeped in chemical crap that their bodies no longer reacted immediately. But a blob of synthetic goo laced with high fructose corn syrup is not “good food” even if it’s popular. Fungi allergies aside, organic black truffle duxelle isn’t “bad food” even if it makes people raised on Velveeta gag. This isn’t an argument that people should be forced to eat food they don’t like. But isn’t there something wrong with the idea that love is always in the “eye of the beholder” even when the expression of what that individual calls love causes harm to others, can change on a dime and even if the object of it is obviously harmful?

  • When I was Blindsided by finding a love note I Never got an apology, I never got a non-apology, I got ;
    ” I haven’t been happy for a long time and have wanted a divorce for a while, but there wasn’t a good time. In the last 3 years you got cancer, and were fired for getting cancer and had to start your practice. Then your dad died. How would it look if I had left you? I would look like a horrible person.”
    Mind you there was never a fight or a problem between us up until that point, 21 years together.
    I am 20 months from that day,(Dday) and 10 months divorced. I finally realize that any thing she would have said to me would just have been lies and Bullsh#t! It has taken time and has been painful but probably best that I went No Contact very early on. She told me everything I needed to know about us, and her with that statement. I just didn’t want to believe it

    • Maybe you never had a fight up until D-Day but was this only because you were tolerant and understanding in the face of chronic whining? Like batterers, cheaters tend to dump all the blame for their inherent misery on partners. I take with a grain of salt any article or study on infidelity that accepts at face value cheaters’ claims of “dissatisfaction in marriage” as a reason for cheating because, by nature, most cheaters seem like giant mewling babies with perpetually wet diapers who are never satisfied with anything. Just because they stop grizzling for half a second when a set of shiny keys (or rando crotches or sudden cash windfall or a bucket of bourbon) are dangled in front of them doesn’t change the general miserable sodishness.

      • “I take with a grain of salt any article or study on infidelity that accepts at face value cheaters’ claims of “dissatisfaction in marriage” as a reason for cheating because, by nature, most cheaters seem like giant mewling babies with perpetually wet diapers.”

        Also, I’m tired of all the therapists who cite this as a cause for infidelity. They’re getting it from people who are liars. It never occurs to then that they shouldn’t trust what cheaters say. They’re like APs, thinking the cheater might lie to the spouse, but won’t lie to them.

      • HOC, it is strange that she never complained and was a loving wife up until 6 months before dday. Records show the cheating went back 6 years at that time. Funny that a year before the cheating started she told me she could not believe how well her life worked out and how grateful she was for what I had provided.
        I now realize that her very bad childhood of abandonment by her father and mother’s suicide when FW was 13 were not something she overcame. I also believe that when she told me after we were married that her uncle tried to molester her that he probably did. Serial cheaters ucually have suffered some form of sexual trauma. I wonder now if her step dad, who she loved, may have done something as well. He was home in the yard when FW’s mom shot herself. he never hear anything and FW and sister found mom in house while stepdad was still outside.

        • Dr. Chump,

          I agree with your theory. Some people become as bad as what was done to them. If the nature of the abuse they once suffered was sexual, it’s no surprise when, as adult abusers, the nature of their abuse is also sexual. To me, this is the definition of *not* surviving trauma. They’re like trauma zombies who go through life acting out against the people closest to them. It’s a sick way of “sharing” one’s experience.

          This is sometimes called “reenactment compulsion” which, theoretically, is expressed both by someone repeatedly putting themselves in dangerous situations and by reversing victim/perpetrator roles and being abusive themselves. This makes me wonder if your exFW was drawn to bangbuddies who smelled like whoever abused her in childhood. It might explain the sudden “switcheroo” from devoted-seeming wife to callous soul-killer. I noticed something similar about FW in my situation. He’d been assaulted by a family friend as a kid and his mother– who was covertly incestuous in her own right and obviously trained from childhood to cover up for abusers– tried to minimize the assault and defend the perpetrator. I don’t think it’s an accident that FW seemed to be triggered into aggression by encountering hustlers who were similar to his mother or rapist or both. The overlaps are too blatant to be coincidental. And it was clear that, as he was setting himself up to be exploited, he also began victimizing.

          If casting FWs as Jeckyl/Hyde split personalities and calling the behavior “compulsive” sounds like a bid for amnesty for FWs, it isn’t. Serial killers are also said to shift in and out of various personalities and to compulsively reenact childhood abuse and reverse victim/perp roles. I’ve never heard of a reformed serial killer.

    • Ahhh, you too, huh? Yes, apparently he’d been unhappy for years. Years, I say! Had he ever said a word about being unhappy in all those years? Why, no. Over the 20 years we were together, we had disagreements. We had a few shouting, rollicking fights (verbal, slamming things). What we never had was any indication that he wasn’t in it for the long haul. He told me everyday that he loved me. He future faked like a champ. But on DDay, he confessed to 7 years of serial cheating and had been dreadfully unhappy for a long, long time. He never said anything because he was worried about my terrible temper! No, wait, it was how emotional I get. Scratch that, it was because I would never let him go. >insert eye roll< I cannot wait for this stupid divorce to proceed!


    After breaking my NC streak I checked his twitter just to see how he’s ~so excited to be the person he’s always wanted to be~ and how she’s ~equally excited to be by his side~. (BARF)

    Who knew cheating on your gf of 14 years was the first step? ¯_(ツ)_/¯

    The night I confronted him after finding out he went down this apparent laundry list of things he hated about me/our life.. which included such gems as — I stock the fridge too full, caring about my hair and makeup when we leave go somewhere, and him not wanting to be the man of the house and have chores.. my dude you are 36 years old, sometimes you have to mow the damn lawn!

    And then of course I spent the rest of the night consoling him because he was SO distraught and ~this isn’t him~. Oh please.

  • During one phone conversation (FW had asked to “talk” to me), FW apologized for everything EXCEPT the affair and his abuse, after he had let me talk (a miracle!) for an hour about how those two things had affected me. But his apologies were for “not being there” for me when I was injured, and for “being a bad husband” (so vague). I really had nothing more to say to him after that. It was definitely a hoover attempt. To this day I’m not sure why (OW not behaving? Fearing I was actually going to file for divorce?). But that was the first time that, when I imagined getting back together, the idea didn’t hold any appeal. Even if (IF) the cheating and abuse stopped, did I really want to deal with his criticisms, his controlling attitude, regulating his emotions, etc.? The road where I imagined myself going off on my own sounded so peaceful in comparison. Even though the idea was scary, it was a better life than being his wife. That was the end for me. I was done.

    After they broke up, OW sent me an “apology” that failed to take one iota of responsibility for her actions and choices (basically she said he duped her and “if” she had hurt me, she didn’t mean to – but she knew he was married, she could SEE what it was doing to me, and she clearly enjoyed “winning” him away from me). It was a textbook example of how NOT to apologize. I never responded.

  • I got :
    “I can’t do anything I don’t have a prostate anymore (actually he had undergone a resection of the prostate to reduce its size, not funny but it wasn’t the cancer he was insinuating). ”
    They met just to talk about his student, his mistress was responsible for taking care of him, that was probably why he took his dildo in his school bag, bag he took to class. For him, therefore, it was not adultery, he had the right to have a friend, his father, moreover, confirmed to him that it was his right. he also told me that he didn’t want to hurt me.

    • Did he try to give it the cultural (French) excuse? I lived in France as a student and didn’t find women to be any less threatened by the concept of infidelity than anywhere else. The interesting thing is that France has among the highest rates of domestic violence in the EU ( and “she made him jealous” is apparently one of the top DV excuses/myths ( I’m not sure but the research suggests reports that the French have higher levels of acceptance of cheating in politicians is more a measure of higher tolerance among men of male cheating considering gender ratios among deputies and senators. Since it seems the gender ratios in public office are improving, attitudes towards things like infidelity and domestic violence could shift as well.

  • In the aftermath of dday, I clearly recall one of our therapists (a “marriage” therapist) asking me ways I too had contributed to hurting our marriage. I sat speechless and blinking, I think bc I was in shock at such a dumbass question when X HAD HAD A TWO-YEAR AFFAIR WITH MY FRIEND. I eventually bumbled out that sometimes I yelled. Sooooo…X betrayed me (and his friend, the OW’s husband) and I…occasionally raise my voice. How is this a conversation we are actually having?? X sat there looking smug. Can’t believe I actually had several more appointments with that bitch.

  • I never had a come-to-Jesus moment with the FW. That there were a number of flings etc. over the years I do not doubt. He brought home two STDs over the years. The first time, I didn’t know what it was and the doc didn’t bother to tell me. The second, when I confronted him with the facts, FW claimed the doc didn’t know what he was talking about. His skank ass was out soon after. During a subsequent kid exchange, he started crying and blubbering that he still loved me. I figured that he must have seen an estimate of what the financial settlement was likely to be.

  • ManChild mailed apology letters to the kids FROM the OW’s town 900 miles away! My son saw that very quickly for the BS it was. Wish I was as “on it” at the time as my son was. Really my biggest regret in all of this is that I did not dump his shit in the front yard day 1 and change the locks. I am wiser now, in large part due to Chump Lady and Chump Nation,

  • After listing all his resentments that I wasn’t aware of going back to 1990
    His serious concern for my mental well being.

    Calling me revolting, repulsive and white trash,
    and your an ugly f***ing b***ch that no one in their right mind would want to f**k.

    “Well we weren’t getting along.”


    • Me too on the white trash. He used to sing it loud and mock me in front of my kids. Also fat and a whale and a 10 pound sausage in a 5 pound casing, and so many more mean names. and if I asked for help with chores or the kids he would call me “massa” as if I was a slave driver. Which is awful in so many ways. And now that I have broken my trauma bond I can see it all as abuse, but when it was happening, I felt so small and so bad because I was not good enough…. And he told me to go fxxx myself on Mother’s Day because I made myself a quiche and ate it with my kids on the sunny porch…since I knew that was the only celebration I would get.

      • And after that and so many unspeakable things, I finally divorced him and the AP dumped him and he went to rehab because he spent well over 2 years salary on drugs and his girlfriends and such, and sent a letter telling my kids and I that he never stopped loving us endlessly….
        They are so manipulative and rewrite their stories in their heads. No clue how much real pain they cause or why any sane person would RUN to get away from their predatory, manipulative and abusive behavior. Even after 10 months post divorce, I am still having nightmares and feel terrified by the whole experience.

        • Dobby, what a traumatizing experience with an evil fuckwit. I’m so sorry. I still have nightmares too, but fewer as time goes on. You’ll get there.

        • I have a long list of absurd stories ex made up about me. I couldn’t believe how many people believed him. A couple of stores off the top of my head, 1) I had a fender bender in the high school parking lot while picking up our son from school. I didn’t find out until months later that he told everyone I was driving drunk. I wondered why people who normally would talk to me at the school and in the. grocery store would walk in the other direction. Fortunately I had filed a police report that day. I was so humiliated I made copies of the police report (they check you for driving under the influence). I was going to mail a copy to everyone I knew. I mailed copies to my sons teachers. As I was about to send the others to other people I thought they all should know better.
          Es was abusive behind closed doors but portrayed himself as a nice guy to outsiders.
          I didn’t realize how anxious I was until he moved out. He moved out on Mother’s Day.
          He had me evicted and homeless. I could go on but I’m sure you’ve read enough.
          I’ve never known anyone so cruel.
          Glad you’re doing well and with your children.

  • I got worthless words. An email apology saying he was sorry for his dishonesty and hoped I could forgive him someday, and a promise to send me a letter soon but for right now he is working on himself. Sent at 3:45 am. Which I didn’t respond to and forwarded to my attorney.

    I have forgiven him like a bank forgives a loan.

    And he IS sorry. Not in the way most people first think when they use the word.

    • If you loan someone 20.00 and you never see them again, it was worth it.

      That goes exponentially infinitely double for a cheater.

  • The extent of her apology to me came a few years later in the former “I am not that same person any more.” No acknowledgement of the lies, deceit, manipulation or harm done to me or our kids.
    No thanks!

  • I got all of this, except “This isn’t the real me!” He couldn’t say that because he was never gonna admit he’d done anything wrong. He was especially fond of “Look over there – SQUIRREL!!” In one conversation he somehow managed to go down a rabbit hole about Putin and how we could all be vaporized by that lunatic at any moment! 😂 I think he was either trying to say we should all just cherish the moment we have and love and forgive each other and all that crap, OR maybe the point was “Look over there at Putin – he’s way worse than I am!” 😂 🙄

  • I never got an apology. On DDay he “kindly” said that it had nothing to do with me, I was a good wife and mother, BUT he didn’t love me, hadn’t loved me in years, wasn’t attracted to me, blah blah blah. Never once even a fake apology. Later when I shouted, “You’ve never even apologized” when arguing about the divorce he replied, “For what?” Tells you everything.

  • I can relate to pretty much every CL post (and inevitably the comments). This one, however… it’s like she wrote it about my ex. All of it. I had to laugh when I read “Pay no attention — SQUIRREL!” FW *literally* pulled that one after a dday.

    This is so, so good. I wish CL could write my upcoming term paper. I’m sure the professor would appreciate it, too.

  • I didn’t receive an apology or a non-apology when he took off with the OW. Just ghosted. 3 years later he attempts to talk to me at a kid’s event like nothing happened. I don’t know about you, but I don’t talk to ghosts!!! I walked away like a queen without a word 👑 💪

    • Good for you.

      And he’s so weird. What’s up with these people?

      At times, FW acted inappropriately, writing, for instance, a tone-deaf letter to the kids a mere week after he dropped the news of the multiyear affair. He wrote in a breezy, devil-may-care fashion, completely ignoring the pain and trauma of their discovering that their dad had lied and betrayed me (and all of us) for years! Rightfully so, this pissed them off. It was evidence of his cluelessness and lack of empathy, among other things. T

      p.s. He insists he was a “great dad and that it’s my fault that the kids have seized all communication with him. At this point, I doubt anyone believes it’s my doing (except maybe the AP-now-wife, although even she must be seeing his true colors by now.) #consequences #notagbacks

      • Same here Spinach. They just don’t realise that the adult children have decency and know that what they did/do is abuse.

        The ‘I was a good dad’ comment makes my blood boil. Errrr yeah….. Until they weren’t, hey.

  • I enjoy the reruns. I read every post in the beginning and now reading them again, being in a very different emotional state, is most enlightening and affirming.

    To any newbies my advice would be to read them all as they certainly help.

    Hugs to you all ❤️

  • I got a weird text apology after almost 3 years of NC. “I seek your forgiveness for what has passed between us. ” What is this strange thing that passed between us? AP? Blocked and deleted.

  • There will be no apologies because of course FW has done nothing wrong….. never had an affair, or financially abused us, or was physically, or psychologically abusive in ANY WAY. He certainly didn’t cheat with the woman that he’s not living with right now for the last 4 years lol. Honestly, FW has NEVER mentioned her by name or has ever eluded to her existence. I’m grateful I don’t have to deal with any triangulation or nonsense and they live in another state. So no “heartfelt” (bullshit) apologies will be coming. On my first Dday MANY years ago we went to wreckonciliation counseling and his apology went something like this “I’m sorry that you were hurt”. LIke= “I’ve done nothing wrong, but apparently you impaled yourself on something (invisible?), so I’m sorry about that” ……FWs……

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