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Holy False Equivalence, Bat Man

Hey, you make mistakes too! Did you forget to renew the car registration? I think that’s entirely on par with a seven-year affair. No one is perfect. We all brought issues. Moving on!

Sound familiar?

A false equivalence is when the comparison between things differs by many orders of magnitude.

Your Friday Challenge is to share the most mind-bending false equivalencies you heard from your cheater. Wednesday’s UBT had a doozy — comparing the chump’s spinal fracture (and down time) as equal to the FW’s escort habit.

It’s hard to top that, but we’re the largest assemblage of mindfuckery on the interwebz, so lay it on me CN.



Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Ex loved to say he had a right to feel threatened/jealous about the handful of men I dated over 20 years ago (and haven’t had contact with since) because I was insecure about his ex-wife, who he was married to for 15 years and he constantly used to triangulate me. (She had his kid, she knew his family a lot better since they were together since their late teens, etc.) Dating someone for two months and a 15-year marriage are not “the same thing,” you idiot!!!

  • He said I caused his 16 month affair because I was “really rather unpleasant” when he was teaching me to drive the year before.

    • i hope you run him over. and then parallel park like a boss. #gah

    • Rebecca, same thing. I asked him why he did these, and he said I refused to go out late at night (after a big dinner and party in our house). This was 10 years ago. I thought it was ridiculous. I could not even remember what he was talking about, but he was not joking. I then asked if there was anything else that he was unhappy about, he said “ no, I can’t think of anything else.”

  • Asshat couldn’t even think of something stupid so he sputtered out the catch all “this is about US”.

    Nope. Pretty sure I didn’t have sex with HoWorker/Wife.

    • Wait–I just remembered (I’m so glad this shit isn’t occupying my brain 24/7).

      “I never would have thought of HoWorker/Wife if you hadn’t suggested her”.

    • I love the this is about us. Sure, it isn’t about the fact that you had a backup and as soon as you stepped foot out the door (after months of an emotional affair) you decided to be with her. But it’s all about us. And how I didn’t meet his sexual needs.

      • Didn’t realize you were also married to Asshat!

        They really aren’t original. So tedious!

  • There was that time that now Ex-Mrs LFTT (who, amongst other things, is an alcoholic) insisted to anyone who would listen that I clearly have a drink problem …. because I don’t drink as a matter of personal choice.


    I got a spam warning the first time I submitted this.

    • My husband pulled that one too.

      I don’t drink. One summer, 12 years ago I had 6 coolers over a 3-day long weekend. So he told me I was an alcoholic because I drank “consecutive days.”

      I drank one night (2 rum and coke) during the pandemic as well.

      Other than that I haven’t touched anything since 2003 because my father is an alcoholic and I didn’t want to become one.

      Yep, real alcoholic. So dangerous. From the guy who got completely blasted and had to go to treatment and relapse prevention for it and got placed in the exact same class as my Dad. If you are ever wondering if you repeated a family pattern, that’s the most uncomfortable way to find out.

      • Mine also constantly called me an alcoholic….even when I stopped drinking for two years just so I didn’t have to hear it. From a FW who drank at least four beers a night on a light night…who frequently got so drunk he’d pass out, but if I had a couple of glasses of wine at dinner once in awhile, I was a boozer…

        • My first husband (not to be confused with my other FW whom I lived with but never married and mentioned in the previous thread) would drink 2 magnum bottles of wine a night (equal to 4 regular sized bottles), drunk dial god-knows-who for a couple of hours, and then pass out. He even broke his neck falling in the shower while drunk but even that didn’t stop him. But I was the filthy addict because I enjoy some of the devil’s lettuce now and then.

            • I would never say that out loud because I don’t want to bring bad karma onto myself, but…yeah.

      • YES, major facepalm to realize I had married my <alcoholic, cheating> father!!!

    • Asshat must have used this one to his family and friends. I had access to his texts and that’s what he texted to his brother–I’m always “lit” every evening. Whatever.

      What was funny was when I did pain shop right after the divorce, every Instagram photo was of them eating with a bottle of wine next to them.

      They suck and it’s not all wonderful in Asshatland.

    • One of my (many) ‘problems’ was that I didn’t drink as much as the ex, a functioning alcoholic from a barely functioning alcoholic family. I was ‘puritanical’. My liver thanks me every day for divorcing the ex. I have a pink, healthy tongue now, not a grey, furry one!

  • Decades after planning a vacation to south beach followed by a cruise he complained about my disinterest in attending the chocolate fountain event. Mind you he never ate candy or sweets. It was a complaint he used to gain empathy from OW over 15 years later.

    • Mind you when we arrived in Key west he insisted on walking to the southern most point rather than taking a cab when I had a stained ankle.

  • I wore the wrong shoes to a ‘meet and greet’ networking event for his alumni. We went shopping and he picked out the shoes I wore.

    And, that’s why Mr. Duplicity was “forced” to fuck any and every kind of strange orifice he could find.

  • I pointed out that he had not been there for me, while I was pregnant with his child and struggling with pre-eclampsia, because of his antics chasing after ho-worker. And this was why I was asking for a divorce.

    And he was like, “Well, what if I had left you when you’re mother was dying of cancer??”

    I asked him to explain. He said, from 2007-2008, after my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, I was depressed and was barely having sex with him and was crying all the time and would barely get out of bed, so I wasn’t there for him. And how would I have felt if he had left me in the middle of that??

    Because my mother’s terminal cancer diagnosis was somehow the same as his tragic case of wandering dick, apparently.

    • In an especially callous round of “Its Not What I Did, Its How You Responded To It”, after a moment where I explained to him how horribly cruel his behavior was (while courting Schmoopie and lying about it since already married with kids, minivan and dog) he said “If this is your reaction, you wouldn’t do well if one of our kids died”.

      I think he was trying to say “worse things could happen, so this isnt a biggie” but what he did was so fucking horrible that our kids dying was the only thing he could come up with that was worse.

    • It’s…gross the number of men who take less frequent sex as an offense deserving of grief on the same level as your mom dying.

  • I didn’t clean the house good enough so you know he needed to cheat. I am three years free, thankfully.

    • Same. Even while I was working full time and dealing with postpartum depression. And he was working part time, chasing his photography dreams. Trust that they suck.

    • Same. I did not vacuum often enough.

      Hilariously, after I moved out, the house turned into something that looked like squatters lived there.

    • Same – I got this peach of a line all the time – “The fucking floors need to be done and sometimes I have seen grains of salt on the counter” If you don’t clean them I will have to…. (the “and you’ll live to regret it” part is silent of course. Every tiny task he thought would waste his time became my job, (ordering little things he wanted or needed, negotiating with anyone like contractors, guessing what time dinner needed to be on the table and hot, etc) and if he had to do any of it literally made him insane with rage and self entitled to do literally whatever. Houseplants looking a little underwatered will always force a great husband go jack off on Facebook Messenger with “a friend”. It’s documented in the scholarly paper “the FW theory of relativity”. I started to look forward to the silent treatment actually which is not a great way to live….. Hey OW, he’s all yours – no give backs!!!! Byeeee!

      • I’m so sorry that you had to deal with that but in a way I am grateful to read it. I have a young friend (married only 1 year) whose FW is a textbook narcissist and very verbally abusive. I’m so worried for her (emotionally and physically) so I keep urging her to read this blog. She says there is no reason to as he is not cheating… but there is so much great information on here about abuse and narcissism. I am going to tell her that people on here talk about being yelled at for not cleaning well enough (as she is going through that on the regular) and try again to coax her to read this. Thanks, CL & CN.

        • The Verbally Abusive Relationship By Patricia Evans is an excellent small book for understanding just how awful verbal abuse is.

          • I have just ordered this book. I concur with all who note this site is a resource to educate ourselves on the consistent FW bag of tricks, whether we got here by being cheated on or some other way. (For frame of reference, imagine being the sibling of a major FW, whose mindf**k and attitude of entitlement poisons adjacent relationships too. And, of course, it all traces to a family of origin that fostered wrong belief that verbal abuse was to be overlooked for harmony’s sake).

        • Tell her my mother used to yell at me and my sister at the top of her lungs to clean our rooms, the bathrooms, etc. and it was never good enough for her. We never did it right, there was nothing that satisfied her.

          She’s a hoarder in a junk filled house now.

          Doesn’t have to be a cheating relationship for it to be abuse.

        • Suggest to her the book “Why Does He Do That? Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men” by Lundy Bancroft. It was eye opening, to say the least, and is available as a free PDF online.

      • Oh this reminds me, FW used to never lift a finger around the house day to day without being asked, and then he acted like I was asking him to murder a panda, but every now and then he look around in distaste, especially if we were having visitors and would do random jobs like dust the window sills, or if I pissed him off with a pithy retort about some lame accusation, he’d do something like dust the leaves on a big lily I had. If that’s my worst fault, a dusty house plant, I’ll take it.

        • And although I never got him to admit it, I think the resentment that lead to his cheating was seeded because he couldn’t go on an overseas holiday event connected with his hobby group because we were having a baby. A lot of our couple time and family funds went toward his interests, with no blowback from me because I believe it’s important to have passions to pursue, but unfortunately schmoopie ended up being someone connected with that interest and she very happily added grist to that mill from the emails I saw later between them. How selfish of me to not time the birth of our child around his calendar.

          • In light of my comment below – How dare I have a child at an inconvenient time for him?

        • From the moment I knew that FW was having an affair, and also secretly visiting his Schmoopie’s house when her husband wasn’t there, I completely stopped cleaning our house so it deliberately looked like a pigsty – as I knew he would never invite her over to shag in our home if it looked like shit.
          When my first husband’s schmoopie (who I believed at the time was a family friend), visited our house with her husband and kids, she proudly told me how she would renovate our home. I didn’t realise they were having an affair at that time, but LIVE AND LEARN I say!

          • When the ex stated his only connection to our house was his clothes in the closet while the kids were within listening distance, They became his problem. I never picked up, washed, or folded his belongings again.
            That was one grenade he launched that I could take action against. I slowly did the buzz phrase, “quiet quitting.”
            He quit years before that

          • That wouldn’t have worked with my ex’s schmoopie. She was apparently over all the time, during covid and after, once I’d moved out. When I went to the house (I hadn’t been there in over a year) to show the realtor around, it looked like a complete pigsty – toilet black inside and growing things, rotting food in the fridge and on the counter, mouldy dishes in the sink, bathroom walls covered in mildew, tub so full of soap scum you couldn’t see the grout between the tiles, dust all over everything, trash everywhere (there were at least 5 empty laundry detergent bottles in the laundry room, things like that), the yard completely overgrown, etc. I don’t know how she spent any time there. I wouldn’t have used that bathroom if you’d paid me. It took almost 50 hours of hard work for me to get that place to a point where I could put it on the market.

            But one of the reasons he cited for his cheating/leaving me was the fact that I was a lousy housekeeper. Go figure.

          • Wow you’ve given me a sudden clarity and insight of my own situation. Thank you!

      • This is me! I started treating his silent treatment like a ‘party’ because it was a relief. He didn’t like that AT ALL.

    • Same here. It was all he could come up with. I did everything that was done, and kept it up plus worked full time, his volunteer work to gain his status, and most all of the child care. I worked many times into the night while he was either out riding around with the guys or snoring in his chair. Oh and in the summer I mowed the lawn and when the house needed painted (inside or out) I did it.

      I actually didn’t mind the yard work or painting. I did do housework grudgenly though. After he left me for his adultery partner, my house work was so danged easy, I even started to enjoy it.

      However down the line when I decided to remarry i told my now husband if he wanted a spit shine house keeper, he might as well keep looking, because I am not a maid. He said, we will hire someone to help because we both work.

      And that is what we did.

      • Dude, yes! How easy the housework has become! It is unreal. My home is so much cleaner than it ever was and I used to damn near kill myself trying to maintain it. After getting rid of him and his hoarding and his filth, it is effortless. Blows my mind how different it is without him.

        • Strange that you would mention hoarding, as mine was very much a hoarder too.

          • I think it might be common just because it’s more likely to occur with disordered, unhealthy people. There are nice people who are hoarders but I think disordered assholes are probably even more likely to have issues like that.

            But yeah, it was really bad. I had to put out absolute mountains of junk on three consecutive bulk trash days AFTER he moved out and “took his stuff.” It was unreal. Our apartment was so stuffed full of furniture. I remember fighting with him once because he wanted to buy another chair and I was like where the fuck would we put it?! We already had at least one too many chairs awkwardly stuffed into our small living room. I could never get the house really clean because I was constantly trying to arrange piles of crap.

            • After my ex moved out and I was getting the marital home ready for sale (he’d been living there for a few years, and I was living with my mother), I had a junk company come and haul away TWO DUMPTRUCKS full of his stuff. He was definitely a hoarder.

  • Adding insult to injury I planned a horrible birthday vacation in Georgetown. Repeatedly I told him to bring a suit jacket and tie for a reservation I’d made at the Cintronelle. Nope, it was too much to ask. And the rooftop pool? He heard too many horns. Next up, Kennedy center. He refused to take a cab. Instead we crossed a dangerous highway. Museums and the cathedral were criticized. You call this a vacation? I’m sure it drove him to cheat; he complained about it to everyone.

    The one and only time he planned or paid for a vacation was weeks after DDay. Good luck with that.

    • How dare you plan a vacation? 🤪
      Same here. I planned ( and put on my credit card) a 25th anniversary trip to Mexico, with a stop in LA first to see Donald Fagan, one of his favorite musicians. He complained up to the day we left- why do I want to go to Mexico? Oh, such a hassle to pack and get ready!
      It was a beautiful vacation, but I guess I’m still wondering why I always had to plan everything? I suppose a card with his name signed was enough for 25 years with FW.

      • How dare you plan a vacation? 🤪 I love this, and ‘How dare you!?’ needs to be the name of this Friday challenge.

      • That’s so relatable. I remember our last vacation with friends was just a month before he dumped me. I asked him to look at two cabins to help me decide which one to rent and he got pissed. That was asking too much of him. After the divorce, a “friend” told me that he had been planning a wonderful vacation for me on our next anniversary and that’s how she knew he really loved me. I was skeptical since he wouldn’t plan anything and would scream at me for asking for him to participate as little as just having an opinion about the cabins, but he planned a whole vacation? Right. So I asked her where this wonderful vacation was supposed to be. She gasped and said she couldn’t tell me that, it was none of my business!

        Right… That’s when I started to think she was fucking him too.

  • All pain was always a competition.

    Your brother just died a horrible cancer death? I’m even more sad. I miss him too, PLUS I have been home alone all the time for weeks missing you.

    You just had emergency abdominal surgery? It’s harder for me, I have to do all the housework and shopping while you recover.

    A grownup sexually assaulted you when you were a child? I know just what that’s like. A grownup called me a really mean and gross name when I was a child, but it was worse because it wasn’t just one time, it went on for years.

    You were scared and sad while we were apart after D Day 1? It was double for me because I had to deal with how bad I already felt, plus face how hurt and angry you were on top of all my own feelings.

    Etc., ad infinitum. Gold medalist in the pain olympics. Charm, rage, self pity.

    • OMG!! Yes with how things are always harder for them!
      *me: just had part of cervix cut off from his gift of hpv-now precancer
      FW: this is so hard on me seeing the consequences of my actions, (I’m not recovering well and he’s angry that I won’t stop bleeding and he has to drive kids around now WTF!)
      *me: just don’t think I will ever trust you again after the hookers and happy endings.
      -FW: I know. I can’t trust you either. All those times you said we were going to try.

    • In the Dilbert comic strip, this person is known as “Topper.”

    • Mine had “sympathy pains” throughout my pregnancy and at the time I thought it was sweet. Now I look back and I shudder thinking about it. I thought it was empathy, turns out it was the exact opposite of empathy.

  • Mine said one of the reasons he cheated was because I’d seemed depressed. Well I’m sorry, I’d just had a miscarriage that resulted in me having to have a D&C. But yeah, all my fault for being a sad and hormonal wreck! How could I!?

    • Yup. They’re awful. I got that too. Pregnant every 2 years, deployments, sick kiddos, me being sick, no nearby support since we moved around, him being checked out. Poor FW just felt like I didn’t want to be there, yet he’s the one that left and replaced me. He literally left yet felt that I did. Those aren’t equal.

    • My FW’s complaint was that I didn’t need him.

      Guess he proved me right.

    • I’m sorry that you had to go through that, Katie.

      My story is very similar. I was recovering from my 3rd miscarriage and the news that I could not maintain a pregnancy so my dream of being a mom was gone. During that time of sadness & grief, I was too needy and wasn’t paying enough attention to him, so he just HAD to have an affair.

      On top of that, he wasn’t even upset about the miscarriage because “it’s different for guys, there was a baby and now there isn’t. We will just make another one.” Ugh. I should have run away right then, when his true character peeked out for a moment.

      • I’m sorry for your losses Life Is Good. They are disordered and don’t have normal feelings the rest of us do. Only silver lining to my miscarriage is that I’m not tied to him for life by having to co-parent with him.

  • Oh let me count the ways…partial list I didn’t wear pink, I had unstructured hair (curly and was complimented by others all the time), I wore clothes that I and other people like but he didn’t, I stayed in shape for myself not him, I went to bed at 10 PM instead of staying up late with him on work nights……………………..But that’s ok cause he’s praying for me. Twat!

  • Ex told me he cheated on me because I don’t like sushi and I care about the environment (and he found it stressful to try to buy environmentally responsible things).

    I didn’t even know what to say at the time. WTF!?!

  • The kids slept in our bed.
    From the time I had the first kid, I became a married single mother. I definitely made it easier myself by bringing them into my bed. They weren’t tucked in with me. It was a nightly migration. I got them to stay in their own beds in a shared room at the ages of 2 and 5 because he angrily said when he comes home he had better not find a kid exhaustion didn’t matter. He should have said when I choose to come home. He continued to come in whenever, music blaring, not caring he would awaken us, scavenge in the kitchen and crash on the couch.
    Note I lived with my mom for a year and a half of those five years undergoing cancer treatments because I instinctively knew he would be useless because I was already a single parent. I had a new born and 3 yo.
    I would still let them climb in the bed if they didn’t feel well. I refused one night and gave the reason. They said what does it matter, if he comes home he sleeps on the couch? Ding ding. They were right. My brain was pure mush at this point from the chemo, trying to recover and alone. He was being a controlling asshole.
    The excuse of the kids slept in our bed was given when they were 15 and 18. I learned he had been having affairs since I was pregnant with the first. 33 yrs of abuse and life is awesome after divorcing his disordered self with all his erratic behaviors and drama.
    He’s kept me in court throughout the years and I know through his actions he has hated me probably for the majority of our relationship and marriage but it still doesn’t stop him from circling back. A recent blocked voicemail of his snot crying self saying he knows how much I hate him but please begging for me to call him. Only saved to use as harassment if he takes me back to court. I’m considering changing my number.

  • I was told that I deserved his being involved with Susan of Seattle because I was “defiant” in fact, I “defied him at every turn” which was odd because I was (for a long time) a very compliant wife. (We lived in the city he chose in the house he chose, drove the cars he chose and went to the church he chose.)

    I asked him for a single example of my defiance and he said “you use bleach in the laundry when I expressly forbid it”

    Yes, we had 3 school aged kids with expected levels of poop-smear underwear and muddy socks and I DID, in fact, add bleach to the wash water when I did white laundry.

    We did enter a wreckonsillyation, but trust me, my days of true compliance were done. No I wont move, no I wont combine paychecks (my money went into an escape fund), no I wont agree to that major purchase….

    • The horror! You bleached your whites! I’ve never heard of such scandal!

    • He “expressly forbade” you? You’re a hero if you didn’t immediately go pour bleach onto everything he owned….

      • Like I said, I was very compliant for a long time and he got used to having a lot of power. There was a time when his forbidding would have altered my actions but once I realized that he was using the power I had respectfully given him (trusting that he would keep my best interests in mind) to manipulate me. I changed right in front of him and he hated that.

        There was a time in wreckonsillyation where he was trying to start a business …I had saved like $20,000 for the kids college and it was decided we would take out school loans and give him the $20,000. (yea, bad idea). I walked in on him and his dude business partner scheming about some business idea and asked a really, general question. I was told to shit up and leave them alone. They were scheming with my money and insulting me. I went into online banking and took my money back. He went ballistic…we ended upstairs in our big closet with him ranting and demanding but by them I was wise to his manipulations and I took a “Oh yea, so what will you do about it?” response.

        Back to laundry…once I accidentally washed a new towel with something of his and got lint all over his item and he went nuts. He forbade me from touching his clothes in any way. OK. Which let him washing his own stuff for a number of years until he backpedaled on that one

    • As someone who is VERY chemical sensitive to bleach and would not be okay with it either, FUCK HIM (not literally). If he is indeed chemical sensitive like me, you talk about it in a reasonable way and work together to find suitable alternatives. You don’t FORBID things with your spouse. He just sounds like an abuser looking for an excuse.

      • If he were sensitive to substances and I used them anyway to torment him, that would be bad on my part. He had no such sensitivity…he just had a general preference but ruled with an iron hand.

    • How else do you get your kids skid marks out???😆
      Interesting that FW was always doing laundry seemed like a lot for 3 people. ( yes she did the laundry when we moved to a house and did all the cooking. I took care of the yard, pool, automotive and fixed everything)
      Would not let me handle anything. A week after Dday the writing was on the wall. She went shark eyes and I knew she was gone. I started doing my laundry. I had to pull her clothes out of drier and saw it was full of sexy panties I had never seen before. They weren’t new either. That is when I “snooped” and found draws of lace and crotchless panties, dildos, nipple clamps, butt plugs. I could not believe what I saw and how the Eucharistic minister had hid all this from me. Also found separate bank account.

      ” That’s why I am leaving because you went through my things”

      Hmmm by the evidence and my lawyers it had been going for 6 years with multiple men before I went through your things

      • This is THE CLASSIC FALSE EQUIVALENCY OF CHUMPDOM…It wasn’t that she lied, cheated, stole and endangered you and your kids, its that you looked for proof that something was up and looked in her stuff/phone. My mistake was not seeing the false equivalency stupidity as what it was …literal proof that there was nothing to work with. (But I smoked Hopium after that, still)

    • LOL! One of my exes (a classic disordered personality, from right before I got the tools to spot such slime a mile away) said his major red flag about me was, “You don’t like to be pushed.” Snort!

  • Boy, given what’s going on in the United States right now I wished I had something to offer here. We are in the golden age of false equivalencies on so many levels for so many reasons. My ex simply ran away on a drug bender with her boyfriend and literally refused to tell anyone – including her own children and family – where she was for 5 days. I found her using the find my phone app and we all figured it out on our own. Maybe her false equivalency was her telling me she just needed someone to talk to who understood her #druguse.

    • In the SW US. My D-Day was something similar than this. I’m sorry Stephen.
      I understand the pain of a betrayal of his own young babies and I for a drug induced bender where he convinced himself and everyone else in the house he had a job (we lived with his family). He had a rich girlfriend that would give him tranquilizing forget-me-nots, I think they call them. I knew he had a problem with this stuff in the past but finding out he cheated was hard. His mom knew and told me after I found out. I never impressed her either. He also introduced my oldest to the AP as well. This went on during pandemic as well. I felt unsafe in so many ways. I wish I found this site sooner but hopefully you enjoy reading here as much as me.

  • His having a deceptive, secret sexual life was the same as me leaving a room without turning out the light. Because both are disrespect.

  • I was 39 so, obviously, he had to cheat. I mean, he was too good to be with a 40 year old woman, right?

    • Mine wasn’t that explicit but he started having “performance” problems in our early 30s and apparently started cheating when I turned 40 so…

    • Mine talked about this too. I was 38 and it was just disgusting and I needed to accept that men don’t want women my age. He told me that I was an embarrassment to be seen with because everyone thought I was his mother. He was too good to be stuck with an older woman like me as people still thought he was a “little boy in high school.”

      I am six months older than him. That’s it. I think back on the people he worked with who would meet me and gush how fantastic I look and ask me what my secret was and I always thought it was super weird. I’m pretty sure he was telling everyone I was older than him our entire marriage so they probably thought I was at least a decade older than I was. LOL

        • Yes, that’s it exactly. He was just arrested for attempting to meet an 11 year old for sex. He’s a literal pedophile.

    • my ExFW always joked: when she is 40 I will trade her in for 2 20-year olds. I always thought of it as a lame joke but there was more truth to it than I could ever imagine. He apparently had a threesome with 2 young hookers – he confessed to this on DDay so I think this was something he was especially proud of (since I only got little slivers of confessions and this he voluntarily shared with me).
      He was 3 years older than me and was very sensitive about his age. He always bragged that people thought he was younger and was struggling with the fact that his hairline was rapidly receding.

  • There were too many to relate here, really small things that justified him taking off to the beach to live like a single man. Sometime later, when I pointed out that wasn’t the action of someone who cared about their marriage, he said that his family was responsible. It was just one big fat blameshift in a recently retired man. It wasn’t like he was an impulsive teenager who didn’t know any better.

    I was slow to figure it out but finally got that his big actions spoke louder than words. There was no path forward with him. When he called to say that he wanted a divorce, he asked me why I wouldn’t reconcile as if I had never told him (I had). His response was, “I botched up.”

    He had picked a high-end attorney who was known for skirting the edge of the law and brutal tactics, so I was careful to pick a good match. We got it done. Then he blamed the “crooked attorneys” during closeout. No, mine was not crooked. He was very fair and efficient in his billing and was relentless in getting it settled without court. I can only imagine the stories he told about the divorce. But there’s always someone to blame…

  • In July 2021 (1 month after divorce; 2 months after final DDay) I got, “You always rammed church down my throat.” That’s funny because he got saved in December 2019 and stood up in front of our Sunday school class and gave his testimony, so I assumed we were on the same page about church.

  • Mine still refuses to admit he was cheating. Despite all of the accumulated evidence he maintains they were “just friends.” No need for excuses, just deny everything forever.

    • Me too. It makes recovery so much harder because you gaslight yourself. My biggest crime was buying a greenhouse and not growing anything in it btw.

    • Yes, funny about that!… “I swear I didn’t do it – but here’s my list of what’s wrong with YOU!”

    • 2 days short of 10 years officially divorced and 13 years from DDay, ex refuses to admit that there was an affair.
      So stupid but I could care less.
      Kids and I (and everyone else) know the truth.

    • A colleague FW just got divorced and has/is screwing his nurse. Appears it has been going on for years. Nurse has a small child. I feel so bad for her husband ( I hear he just found out). What makes me angry is most people buy the narrative that nurse had to have affair because “marriage was over long time ago, husband won’t sleep with her”. I know friends of the husband and they say not true at all. He was blind sided and a wreck. I told them about this site and ordered him a book.
      Amazing how people can justify betrayal

  • I have had two relationships, my marriage and a long term boyfriend after my divorce, when they ended one of their shared complaints was that I made more money than them. Yes, I make more money, I have two masters and I work hard in my career. You both barely graduated high school. Both of them benefited from my income and my children benefited. I didn’t hold it over them, I just am not like that. I live in a small southern town where I grew up and live a modest lifestyle, because I have no desire to “keep up with the Joneses”. I proudly shop at Walmart and don’t mind telling people that I bought something at Walmart.

    My now husband is the opposite. He’s an accountant and tells me I need a raise. I let him do my taxes when we were dating close to a year, because why should I pay someone to do it when I am dating seriously an accountant? If he said one word, I was going to tell him to shove it. He said nothing. That was one of the many signs that he was it.

    Your partner should want you to do well, it isn’t a threat to their ego. If your partner does well, it benefits you and the family also. I don’t understand why men have such an issue with this.

    • Happy for you Gonegirl! I’ve always said that, too. A good partner will be thrilled you’re successful! My X was always throwing up roadblocks to me, but I went to college as an older student, and got my degree anyway. Why would you want your spouse to fail? ( because you are insecure, and maybe jealous)

    • Good for you. That’s one of the reasons my FW cheated. I make dramatically more than he does.

      • Can’t win can you. I made less.
        I so had a better degree and that wasn’t fair

  • He had to move out with zero warning (which I had reason to believe was to initiate or rekindle an affair) because I didn’t let him choose the finish on our new kitchen appliances. The truth of that was I didn’t want them replaced at all, but he insisted, and he asked for my opinion on the finishes because, per him, I have better taste than he does. (I did keep a really nice house.) I didn’t really care but gave my opinion because it was asked. He then purchased them, making his own decision to follow my opinion, and that was what drove him to leave: “I really wanted stainless steel but you made me get black.”

    BTW, He let me know after 16 years together that he was moving out in 48 hours VIA EMAIL. We were both in the house at the same time, he didn’t have the balls to say it to my face. As another friend noted (someone who was originally his friend rather than mine, btw),”Coward.” #ClassAct, #StainlessLove #StainlessForever

    • Mine let me know in a random phone call, “Okay, I can help you with that. But, There’s something else I’ve been wanting to ask you. Can I have a girlfriend?” Forty year marriage. He moved out with his clothes two weeks later because the “potential?” girlfriend was already planning their wedding. Haven’t talked to him or seen him since except on zoom at the divorce hearing. These are weirdos!!! Such a waste of my life!

        • “!!!!!”

          This reply is so elegant that it borders on poetry.


      • If my husband of 40 years asked me that, I’d say “You can if we divorce.”

        Or “You already do, clearly. There’s no other reason to ask me such an asenine question.”

        Aaaaand still divorce.

    • I forget the kitchen episode. In wreckonsillyation, he bought a huge house we didnt need and could not afford. His job was shaky and I knew it. We needed a new stove and he decided we would completely redo the slightly ugly but perfectly good kitchen. The changes he suggested would be at least $25,000 that we literally did not have (and oldest son was just starting college, so we were bleeding money). He was so angry that I refused to spend the $25,000, he bought the cheapest stove he could find to punish me. I hate cooking, so I didnt care.

      For a whole host of reasons, I still live in that house. I did redo the kitchen and its lovely, but I waited until I could afford it.

  • Here is one for the books:

    “Your mom said mean things to me and you didn’t stand up for me.”… so I had to go down to my man cave, get online through Adult Friend Finder with Karen and jerk off together.

    Down the road, I got:

    “You put our son to bed every night and then stay upstairs.”… so I had the sadz and made plans to f*ck a Craigslist hooker while you took our son to a friends birthday party the next day.

    The thing about cheaters to remember is – they all sing from the same choir book. TGIF Chumps… you’ve got this!

    • He once told me that one evening when he was considering leaving the family, he went to each persons room about 9pm and knocked on the door. I told him I was getting the then-2nd grade girl in pajamas and both boys were busy with school work. He decided that our refusal to engage him in that precise moment meant we did not value or need him an the decided to leave for Susan. Golly…putting child in pajamas was quite a ghastly thing for me to do

  • “You’re always buying stuff on Amazon! I had no control of our finances at all!!” (So, you can see why he had to sneak around and spend thousands from our IRA for sex workers!)

    “And I never had a mail key!! I didn’t even have control over the mail!!!” (No, this is not out of A Doll’s House..he just refused to carry keys with him, so his key was in a basket in the kitchen).

    “You lie too!” (There’s a difference between “who farted?” “Not me!” And “I was in Florida for a work training event!” When you were actually with Schmoopie…)

    • One of my ex’s gripes just before he left was that I threw out junk mail addressed to him and shredded credit card offers to him. He had told me to do that for years because “he didn’t want to be bothered.” The policy changed. Got it.

      So after that, I began giving him everything and watching all that stack up, un-looked at. When he took off, I faithfully grew the stack and gave it to him the two times I saw him in the weeks after. Then when he was truly gone and looking for a place to rent, I sent everything to the hotels where he was staying.

      Finally, he got a P.O. box in the area he was planning to stay in and got his address changed with the post office. I still got the junk mail but decided to ditch it. I think once or twice a medical bill came which I forwarded to him. It wasn’t much.

      I still wonder why credit card offers and junk mail become such an issue.

      • I think it’s part of their “you’re not the boss of me” thinking: “Oh, look, she’s so controlling! She won’t let me have my own mail! I’ll show her!” Just part of how they justify the logically unjustifiable.

        • I agree. There was other illogical garbage than an outsider would laugh at.

          He asked me to pack his “blue pills” and male hormones during separation. He had left with a few bags and wanted those early on. They nearly filled a suitcase. I knew the message, “I plan to cheat, you jerk.” But no, it was for when we got back together. How could you believe anything else, dear wife? I even took pictures with my phone for potential evidence.

          Later, my attorney asked if I knew if my ex had committed adultery or not (still a for-cause reason for divorce here). I cited the suitcase, which totally cracked up my 69 y.o. attorney, who said, “We truly can’t make these things up, can we?”

        • Or he had secret credit cards he didn’t want her to know about.

    • You spend too much. I only spend on getting to work, train tickets and petrol for the car.
      So yes getting food for everyone, new clothes when needed, paying all the utilities, including car insurance sort of justifies ow then

  • I caused her to feel depressed, I caused her unhappiness.

    It was I who checked out, not her. She needed to find her happiness again.

    • The whole “causing another to feel ….” xyz is such blameshifting. We feel emotions because of our own thoughts. She sucks!
      My XH said that I “made him feel inadequate.” That was baffling. I adored and respected him. He felt inadequate because HE was thinking thoughts …. Or, it was all a lie to try to get my reaction. They suck!

    • Same. Apparently I had “decided the marriage was over a long time ago” and simply wasn’t telling him. He of course magically knew which made us “basically divorced already.”

      This is why they call NPD “crazy making.”

  • After I showed him the evidence I found of his affair (I was totally blindsided and devastated), he yelled “I hate that you love math!” What?! How does that even come to your mind?! Note: I’m a banker. 🤦🏻‍♀️

    • I honestly think many of these cheaters just spout stuff and they don’t eve remember in the next two minutes what they have said.

      My cheater said in to our preacher that he had always tried to get me to be more self sufficient, and in the next sentence said but “I (meaning himself) am a controller”.

      First of all I was and have always been self sufficient, so that was a lie, but he up until the beginning of the year of discard, didn’t want me out at night, he insisted on handling the money, he insisted on making all major decisions etc. It wasn’t that I couldn’t it was that he would not allow it. I had two choices either go along, or leave. I made the wrong choice, I spackled, because I thought his good points outweighed his faults.

      • “I honestly think many of these cheaters just spout stuff and they don’t eve remember in the next two minutes what they have said.”

        That’s exactly what they do, Susie. My FW would also completely contradict himself in the same conversation, even the same sentence. They just throw out whatever weird lie enters their empty noggins. Since they have so few coherent thoughts, they seize upon anything that makes some sort of batshit crazy sense to them. They toss it out recklessly, unable to put it through a filter to see if it’s logical.

      • Yes, they spout off and dont even keep track…in one evening, I was accused of being both “too sinful” and “too Holy”

    • FTW: “I hate that you love math!” 😂. Like a 9-year-old’s comeback.

  • I never bought him a comfortable chair to sit in, therefore he had to cheat….. XH made seven figures. I’m
    A lawyer, not a decorator- “buy your own damn chair asshole!”

    Funny thing… x left our beautiful dream home— 5 bedrooms filled with our 4 precious children’s things everything we’d collected over 26 years to live in a ground floor studio with a mattress on the floor.

    • First 2 yrs after FW moved out he in lived in an apartment over a Dollar General in an armpit of a town 50 miles away. Early on I had contact with MIL & she once remarked FW was disappointed that that Dollar
      in General didn’t have the steamer he needed in stock. Boo hoo. Up to that point I think I had been in a Dollar General a few times but after his move out it was probably a decade before I went in one again.

  • he cheated mercilessly early in our relationship. years later, 2 years into an engagement I found recent flirtatious message he sent to an ex that he missed having “fun” with her and hinted that “he’s not married yet” I ripped up the marriage license application in his face and left. He then declared that he’s DONE with me and he can’t do this anymore because I’m a runner and I always leave. I had the gall to leave before his birthday. Nevermind that HES the LiAR and CHEATER. what an entitled ass.

    • I love the thought of being “a runner” – hell yes! We should all be taught to run from people like him.

    • That sounds like “You can’t fire me! I quit!” Cheater edition!

  • He had been pushing for us to have another child, but I was uncomfortable because I kept catching him in lies (He’d say he was traveling for work, but was taking mini golf vacations for himself, no work involved, even though we had a kid at home, and I was doing most of the parenting and housework (I still worked full time)so he could study for the CPA exam.) I insisted on couples counseling before we had another kid. I complained about his lying and taking off because adulting was just too much (this was after the financial infidelity years prior). He countered with complaints about my leaving my shoes by the door when I’d take them off when I got home. Because three pairs of heels is totally the same thing.

    • Oh how horrible of you not to find time to organize your shoes in between working FT and doing all the childcare while he played. 😡

  • Oh this one got thrown at me often.

    I had a very angry abusive ex (I’ve mentioned him a few times) who hated a certain pair of heels I have. He would call them “slut shoes” and the one time I tried to wear them when he wasn’t with me he accused me of trying to get attention from other men because “women don’t go out looking that good if they don’t want attention!”

    He compared me going out wearing heels without him to him walking into a gay club without a shirt.

    So according to him, women wearing heels in public is the same as a man going to a gay club shirtless.

    I still have those heels.

      • I should wear them grocery shopping. I have some gothy pants and a shirt that says “Witch Queen” that would go perfectly with them. The shirt glows in the dark too.

    • Reminds me of the Chicks song:

      “Put on, put on, put on your best shoes
      And strut the f*ck around, like you’ve got nothing to lose”

      • I love them! They are black heels with red ribbons and bats on the buckles.

        • Hello Kara! Your FW sounds crazy with the heels you have. “slut shoes”? He accused you of trying to get attention from other men because “women don’t go out looking that good if they don’t want attention!”? Yeah sure. Or could it be that he frequents a prostitute that has the same model?

          • Nah, he wasn’t frequenting sex workers, he just thought that if I was dressing up and he wasn’t with me, then it MUST be because I was out trying to get other men to look at me. Because women only dress up for attention. When I told him I dress up for myself because it makes me feel good, he said “What, me telling you you’re beautiful isn’t enough?”

            He told me that if what I was wearing would be inappropriate for a little girl to wear, then why am I wearing it? So apparently I should only be dressing up for him, and if he’s not with me, then I should be dressing equivalent to a little girl.

            At first he said what would I say if I saw my grandma dressing in “slut shoes” like that. I said my grandmothers can wear whatever they want and as long as they don’t fall and hurt themselves, I don’t care if they wear heels. Then he changed it to little girl.

            He was a really huge slut-shamer. He told me that dressing a certain way will attract attention and it doesn’t matter what I feel, men are gross and I should be aware of what they will do to me (victim-blame thinly veiled with faux concern for my safety.) I told him men who are going to be gross are just going to be gross. I’ve been harassed wearing sweatpants. He told me then I shouldn’t “up the ante” by going out “looking like that” meaning….I guess anything like an adult woman given the standard is clothing appropriate for a child.

            He wasn’t a frequenter of sex workers, but he was a frequent mind-fucker.

    • You, a straight woman, wearing heels that might attract men is the same as him going into a gay club and trying to attract other men… That’s how his mind works.

      So he cheated on you with men too, right? I had one of those as well, he would occasionally say something super weird and unexpectedly gay like this too.

      • No, he’s not gay. He was just drawing a false equivalence. He’d never been to a gay club.

        The equivalence he was trying to draw was me going out in public wearing heels is on the same level as a man going into a gay club shirtless. The point being to get sexual attention.

        Because he believes the only reason women dress up is to get male attention. And he would argue to the point of yelling at me that this is the truth. It was a hill he would die on.

      • He cheated on me with some girl he knew in high school. He maintained they didn’t get together until after he dumped me, but I’m not stupid. He’s one of those “deny it forever” types, even though everyone on my side looks at the evidence and says “yeah, he cheated.”

    • Hi Kara,
      I bet you looked great in those heels. An abusive Ex got angry about a party outfit I was wearing, saying that I looked so stupid that men would hit on me because they’d think I was dumb. I was in shock, and didn’t go to the party. (A modest outfit too) After I left him and my head cleared, I realized that he didn’t want any competition, and he wanted to poison my mind so I would male attention as an insult rather than appreciation. Possessive jealousy like that is a red flag.

  • You see- one time I got mad at him for ruining the oven by not taking a plastic lid off of a baking dish so he just never did anything in the kitchen again because I’m just an awful shrill dramatic harpy for no reason.

    • Malicious compliance. You ask for a simple correction and they turn it into an attack on them.

      “Please don’t leave plastic lids on things in the oven, it melts and creates a fire hazard.”

      “FINE! I guess Ill never do any cooking or go in the kitchen ever again because I am just too stupid and incompetent to be trusted there!”

  • After 35 years married and many red flags I ignored, he finally told me “I fell out of love with you because you nag”. Meanwhile he was still sleeping with both of us
    When I discovered the truth I served him divorce papers. Wasted so many years. 😥

  • We’d been together nearly 40 years, and thought we had a great relationship because we never argued, let alone fought.

    After several D-days, when I insisted we go to counseling, we were surprised that the therapist didn’t give us a gold star for our peaceful home. She led us to uncover that it was because FW must always be in control, and that I, hating conflict, would submit to whatever he wanted. I was so well trained by my FOO, religion, etc., that he never even had to raise his voice – so good was I at anticipatory accommodation.

    Reader, this revelation created conflict! FW considered what the therapist was pointing out, and then in outraged defensiveness, nearly jumped from his chair pointing at me and crying, “I made ONE mistake (his ongoing affair with ho-worker) but you’ve been LYING to me for all these years!”

    By the end of the session, FW had promised me and the therapist that all that was needed to fix our marriage would be for ME to stop LYING to him about my true feelings. 😳

    Turns out FW didn’t actually want that at all. He hated learning that I didn’t like the same foods, TV slows, or his ho-worker, or his his abuse made me feel. Suddenly he was openly complaining that I’d changed, and I wasn’t the same sweet girl he’d married!

    • My FW complained and bonded with his AP over the way I folded laundry/put dishes in the dishwasher/the frequency I cleaned my car/etc. In our couples therapy, he talked about how I miss matched a dark grey sock with a black sock of the EXACT same pattern. He said over the years these were examples of me “not putting in any effort” and being “aloof”. Almost all of his complaits are of similar calibur. Added up over time, it meant I was a bad wife, who was aloof and didnt put any effort in. Thats why he had the affair. Lol I cant make this stuff up! The silly thing is im a very tidy/clean person! He also glossed over the fact, that we have two young children I was raising while he was out golfing and f**king his AP, worked full time, and that I was doing my masters full time – All the while making time for him/family/friends. But yes, while the laundry was being done, detailed attention was lacking. I was busy doing just a few other things. Ergo – his justification for a 2 month affair.

  • I was unconscionably hangry on a vacation to Sicily in 2005. We were dating and just returned from a deployment. He willingly vacationed with me the following year, proposed in 2008 and cheated in……..2018. and his excuse was the one day that I was hangry in 2005.

    Oh and I don’t like CrossFit. Not fitness in general, just CrossFit. Which he knew by 2008/2009. And cheated, again, in 2018.

    I was NOT a superstar wife by any means. He could have picked any number of imperfections. Makes me wonder if he literally just didn’t pay attention after the honeymoon phase. Which makes sense, that’s what it felt like.

    My response to all this bullshit was “Why did you even marry me then?”

    • ^ I guess that was as much FW’s “excuses for cheating” as it is “false equivalency.”

      So the one that really hurt my brain was:
      When he was arguing with me about whether I really wanted to divorce him over cheating, I said “you took a vow, forsaking all others!” he came back with “Well YOU said, til death do us part!”

      So I was breaking my vows by imposing consequences for the breaking of vows? That were already broken?

      Rather than following him into this false equivalency spiral I just called my lawyer and documented that he threatened me. The more I saw how absurd and self serving everything he said was, the easier it was to keep marching toward meh.

      • Once FW asked me (on my BIRTHDAY) if I would remarry if he died. I said I didn’t know, but maybe, since I was still young (I mostly said it to get him to shut up, because I didn’t really want to talk about him dying and he WOULD NOT LET IT GO). He was SOOOOO offended and angry (“you said I was your one and only!”). I guess that’s why he decided that it was fine for him to fuck someone else while I was very much still alive. He brought this incident up numerous times in arguments during our separation/divorce.

    • Dontfeellikedancing they treat their life partners the most humiliating way and then come up with the most stupid reasons. My ex- husband and I shared same interests. We had fun together. We would sit and talk for hours about books, nature, tennis, baking and many more, except alcohol. He drinks a lot and I might have a glass of wine rarely. I do not enjoy it. When he started acting horrible out of a sudden (I did not know anything about his double life then), he was saying that I was not fun enough just because I did not drink and go to a bar with him every single night.

  • Let’s compare “You never walk down to the lower yard” (when I took care of all the perennial beds around the house) vs. “I haven’t seen you sober in 3 years.”

  • One of the many “yeah I cheated…but you” reasons he gave was he didn’t know how to handle us watching things with dead dads in it because they didn’t make me uncomfortable I guess ?? My dad deserted me at 22 when my mom kicked him out for cheating (shocker!) and then died years later and my ex wouldn’t take the answer of “it doesn’t bother me because I had 6 years to grieve my dad’s death before he actually died!” as a real reason. He really stuck to the dead dad thing as a reason and explanation on how I don’t ‘talk to him’ about anything.. except I did, and we’d already gone through the dad stuff 5 years ago when he died! It was like I didn’t grieve the way he expected me to or that I should’ve dwelled on it for years after when the reality is HE wasn’t there for me when shit originally happened in 2012.

    Also “you worry about money too much and I know I’m bad with money”. I won’t apologize for not living in the fantasy world where racking up thousands of dollars of debt because you want to buy bullshit is okay. This one really pissed me off because at the time of confrontation I’d been trying to figure out how we could get a bit of ‘fun money’ together for a small vacation… while he was spending money on plane tickets and hotel rooms in expensive cities.

  • Before I retired, I did pediatric hospice in a big children’s hospital. My STBXH said I” changed “during that career and wasn’t as receptive to his constant demands for sex. Therefore, because of my distance he HAD to find sex outside our marriage to meet his needs, so I deserved his multiple affairs as he was forced to meet his own needs. I know if I had cancer or a back injury or GOD FORBID needed him, I’d be left right there at the hospital, chemo clinic or at home. I will thank him as soon as this divorce is final, for showing me WITHOUT A SINGLE DOUBT, that he 100% sucked. Other folks have to return 70 x7 before their cheater- lier shows his/ her true feathers. Not me. I’m soon to be free of a man who did not love me at all.

    • I was already floundering in the mirage when XAss’s Grandmother’s health began to decline. Witnessing how his father and my X were handling her illnesses (which they said she was exaggerating – a 92 year old woman!) and how they subsequently treated her until her death a few years later, freaked me out. I think that was one of the contributing factors that finally got me off my ass and to a divorce lawyer. If he could treat his own grandmother, who pretty much raised him and gave him the sun and the moon, how would he treat me if/when I became ill? And then I took a long hard look at how he treated me during my pregnancy with his long-wanted son (who he tried to turn into a mini-me and blames me for the kid not being that.) which was pretty much very non-attentive. And I knew that he would never be there for me when I needed him to be.

  • Wait! One more because I had 2 cheaters!! My first cheater left me on the delivery room table to show OW pictures of his new baby girl. I was told by my XH that she could not have kids, so she could enjoy his new baby like it was hers. So thank you for having this baby for us!The judge said no overnight visits until my new baby was weaned. I breast fed my daughter for 12 months!! That was the best I could do. I had no idea I was a surrogate! My XH said his new OW wasn’t wrapped up in kids like I was!! Seriously!

  • Thinking back on it there are a few that I can think about:
    1. I was 20 minutes late picking him up from the airport (I had to lead a meeting since my boss was away on travel)
    2. I did not go into the exam room with him when he went for a very minor proceedure.
    3. I worked to much so he just had to cheat because I was not home on time to take care of his needs.

    I am just sooooooo glad to be out. Ex just sucked.

  • I went to DC to visit my cousin for her 30th birthday party. It was a Thanksgiving weekend and I repeatedly asked my exBF if he was cool with it. He assured me that he was and that I should go enjoy myself since I don’t get to see her often. Few months later, his double life was revealed and I learned he spent that Thanksgiving weekend with his other (first?) gf. When confronted, he said “you left me that weekend, I needed to be around family (we live in SC and he’s from MS), and I was hungry.” LOL

  • He tells me the cheating was all his fault but if we’re going to have to work together to get through it and that eventually I “have to let it go” (for myself of course) this makes me cringe
    Telling me to let it go
    I thought we’d have done a lot more work by now.
    I got a call back from an attorney that I reached out to previously.
    Can someone tell me how to approach this? How do I finally decide it won’t work for the long haul?
    Of course he thinks it will and tells me to be positive and that it can work.

    • Nothing to work with here, if he’s talking at all about what YOU will need to do to get past the affair. That’s all on him. One of the prerequisites for any true reconciliation is for the cheater to realize that they have NO control over how long it takes the chump to heal, and to allow the chump whatever time s/he needs without judgement.

      He just wants you to forgive and forget.

      And he’ll want the same the next time it “happens” (he cheats).

      Call the lawyer back and get YOUR life started.

    • Shann, only you can say what you are willing to accept. You have to make this decision on that basis, not on what we would or would not accept.
      It sounds to me like this relationship is indeed unacceptable to you, but you are having trouble pulling the trigger because you are second guessing yourself. Why not just grit your teeth and pull it? After all, you could always get back together if indeed he turns out to be a unicorn. He will almost certainly not, but if the possibility of him being a unicorn is keeping you stuck, remember that you have the option to reconsider later, if he proves himself sincere.

      • Thanks so
        Much… pull the trigger that’s it
        And you aren’t the first person to tell me this. Why am I so afraid? I am independent I have a job go to school all the things I need to do get done by the grace of God anyway.
        Afraid of hurting him🤦🏼‍♀️? Or going through withdrawals of a “relationship”

        • There definitely is a withdrawal you go through. The trouble is that you never get out of it if you stay. You are stuck grieving the relationship you thought you had for eternity. I would say you should just make your body do it even if your emotions are telling you not to. Those feelings are normal and should not stop you from doing what is best for you. Nor should sympathy for the FW. You can sympathize if you want to, yet still leave. It comes down to caring about yourself more than caring about somebody who is, if you’re being objective, both beneath you and undeserving of your love. That frees you up to give your love to more deserving souls.

        • There is definitely some type of ‘withdrawal effect’ even when the relationship is awful and you’re the one who wanted out.
          I recommend making sure to keep busy without dating for a solid year after getting out. A hasty rebound can be as big a mistake or worse than the original jerk.Work on your mightiness first.

          Reconnect with people, places, and activities you used to enjoy before FW derailed your journey.

          If certain places or objects remind you too much of FW, replace them and over-write old memories with new ones that bring you contentment and joy.

          Discover new things and your own possibilities for growth and success. The only person you should be giving every chance is YOU. Good luck in your flight to freedom.

    • Of course every cheater is a variation on the theme and not exactly the same, but the trends are very, very clear. My FW told me I had to let it go, too. She even asked me how long it would take. When I said I didn’t know, she got mad. Hadn’t been a month yet.

      Any doubts I had were cleared up when I saw a message to her AP saying he should lay low for a few months, then get back in touch. This kind of crap seems to be the rule, not the exception. As Tracy says, “trust that he sucks.”

      If they tell you that you have to get over it, it’s because they don’t want to get over it themselves. Just past the temporary issue of your knowing, and back into action.

    • Sorry looks like him giving you a quick and fair divorce.

      Without a divorce, how are you to know that he isn’t just pressuring you to stay so he doesn’t have to split finances with you 50/50? Or maybe you do the chores or life planning or parenting – and he simply doesn’t want to do it all himself? Or maybe he just doesn’t want other people to know he had an affair?

      What is he getting out of the relationship? What are YOU getting out of it?

      Decide if you are happy with your relationship as it is now, because the “long haul” never gets any better.

  • My example is messy. She spent YEARS shaming and blaming me for the cheating because I wasn’t polyamorous like supposedly is (which I only discovered years into it when she forced me into a “polyamorous relationship” without my knowledge or consent). She worked endlessly to try to pimp me out to all of her gross friends. I did end up building a good friendship with a not gross one of her friends and she did everything in her power to try to get us together. She threatened further cheating over it. So much abuse and manipulation. Years and years into her abusing me with this excuse, I finally decided what the hell and agreed. We ended up forming a truple of sorts. But then she decided this friend was no longer okay and demanded I dump him immediately, while she was continuing to cheat the whole time. He treated me FAR better than ever she did, so I wasn’t on board, especially after she had forced me to twist myself into a mold in which I did not fit to accommodate her whims. I didn’t feel like jumping to the next manipulation because she was bored with the first one. So I said no. She then claimed I was cheating on her and it was equivalent to the years and years of her cheating on me with at least 10 people that I know of (there’s surely dozens more) along with all the other forms of abuse and constant painful infections. She cried endlessly and told everyone, including our “couple’s therapist,” how cruel I was. I guess her coercing me into a truple with her full knowledge and consent and then not dancing when she demanded it of me is the exact same as years of deception, manipulation, abuse, bodily harm, and threats.

    • “She worked endlessly to try to pimp me out to all of her gross friends. I did end up building a good friendship with a not gross one of her friends and she did everything in her power to try to get us together. She threatened further cheating over it.”

      That’s one sick freak. She’s not polyamorous, she’s actually abuse-o-sexual.

  • Also please enlighten me; for those of you who’s husband chose not to leave (by the way if he did he did you a favor) how/when did you decide enough even if it appeared he wasn’t cheating.

    • I’m not saying it’s easy to do, I’m saying it’s an easy answer to a simple question.

      That’s what pushed me over the edge.

    • Well Shann, it was a few weeks weeks after Dday that I said enough is enough and made plans to leave. I had spent that time processing what happened so was not in any condition to think straight or decide anything. However, I had seen how insincere his remorse was and I knew there was nothing to work with. If he had been sincere I don’t know if I would have given him another chance. Probably not. He made it easy for me by continuing to be an asshole while saying he was sorry and wanted to stay together. On the surface he did the right things; the post-nup, gping to therapy, ending the affair and allowing me complete access to his devices and emails. However, he was unwilling to stop lying and being casually cruel, which made anything else he did or said pathetically false. I’m certain he was not cheating, as his mistress now hated him for the way he threw her under the bus. It didn’t matter. He’d have done it again eventually, and in the meantime would have only gotten meaner. It was awhile after I decided to leave before I could get into a place of my own, and that was torture, but once I left, the sense of peace and freedom was priceless.

    • I never had hard proof. But after years of problems, I found online correspondence of his with an old girlfriend.

      I had the thought: “this is not the marriage I signed up for.”

      If someone had told you on your wedding day that this would happen, would you have gotten married?

      For me the answer was a resounding NO. I filed that day.

      • I think that’s a good thought exercise. Imagine yourself on your wedding day, your spouse is saying their vows – and imagine them saying “I promise that in x years I am going to cheat on you for x amount of time with x”.
        Would you go ahead with the wedding? Absolutely not.

    • My XH was a dishonest person in other ways and kept trying to manipulate me into participating in his increasingly fraudulent schemes. When he wanted me to commit perjury to be a partner in an enterprise of dubious legality to bankroll his flailing “creative” dream to save him from having to get a day job, I was through. Ten years together and he didn’t realize that I was the last person on Earth to knowingly participate in a financial fraud. Regular work was beneath him, but mooching and running scams was gentlemanly. I can’t respect a person like that. I was never 100% sure there was more going on than porn and emotional affairs, but I was not going to support a parasite.

      He claimed it was my fault because I didn’t believe in his talent enough. (Translation: I didn’t subsidize his illusions like his dear mama did.) Reality: I wrote his one and only successful grant application and he rested on the laurels for years. Even his bogus statements are derivative.

    • Shann, after I found out about my FW and his shmoopie and gave it a go to wreckoncile, I just one day realised that “this relationship was not acceptable to me”, that he was not good enough for me, that I thought he was pathetic, that I could never trust him again, and that everything had changed. I didn’t want to live the rest of my life being uncomfortable with someone like him.

    • From Shann: “Also please enlighten me; for those of you who’s husband chose not to leave (by the way if he did he did you a favor) how/when did you decide enough even if it appeared he wasn’t cheating.”

      For at least a couple of years, whenever we had an argument, he’d scream “I’m so mad I want to go out and FUCK something.” Something. Not someone. But I never saw any evidence of cheating, and he always insisted (when not raging) that he would never cheat on me because I’d know about it and kill him. Cheater strangled me and dumped my unconscious body on the highway. I had a new apartment and had moved in and unpacked by the end of the week, taking care to never encounter him again. I found out about the cheating much later. He fooled me for years because I was looking for other women, not other men.

      We were living on a sailboat in Florida, and Hurricane Irma was coming. (Different cheater.). He refused to do any hurricane prep until the marina deckhands shamed him into it. He came home from “a trip to the grocery store” and found Javier helping me with the prep. During the hurricane, when the city was flooded, our boat was heeled over at what felt like a 90 degree angle, and between the wind, the storm surge and the waves it was like sitting inside a Maytag washer, I found out about the “girlfriend.” He insisted they’d never “done anything wrong,” but the text chain was pretty damning. It took about six weeks for the flood waters to ebb, the draw bridges to be repaired and life to return to “normal.” For much of that time, I couldn’t leave because I physically could not get to land. I left because I was so ANGRY. He kept telling me I needed to “get over it” because “I’m not going to eat humble pie forever.” (As if he had ever eaten humble pie.) I thought if I left, I’d get over the anger faster. I left as soon as it was possible for me to reserve a rental car and took only what I could carry . . . and the dog. I started over at 62 and discovered that life was ever so much better without him in it.

      • Exsparklypants
        I never knew your story was so wild! So dangerous I am first so glad you’re ok and Better now! I am so glad you survived this and got away.
        It’s like something from a movie! And the first experience I am so terribly sorry he did that to you. And also VERY glad you got away
        Both times!
        Thanks for your inspiration

  • Shann, you have to ask yourself if this is acceptable to you. Is it acceptable to stay with someone that has harmed and betrayed you in the most intimate way possible? Someone you wouldn’t trust as far as you can spit? Someone who wants YOU to “just let it go”? How about just let HIM go! He can go work on redeeming himself somewhere else while you live a happy and fuckwit-free life.
    You hold all the power here.

    • I appreciate this! I have all the power. I def do why am I so worried about him and my step daughter I’m so mad at myself
      For getting this far

  • Picking up the wrong sandwich for him was apparently equivalent to having an affair and moving his mistress from Brazil and setting her up in a flat near our family home.

  • Oooh! I got a very recent one!
    My ex-husband told our kids he would take them to Canada for a month this summer. We live in Europe so that’s quite a trip.
    When I told him he should talk to me about those things before involving the children, he replied that hadn’t told him before I went on vacation with them. Oh, right, I took them for 5 days to my mother’s. Definitely the same as getting them on another continent for a month!

  • Okay, here’s one, but it’s not all that funny: Who knew that crying is equivalent to holding a gun to someone’s head in an act of forcible rape? Who knew tears are as deadly as bullets and you could, say, rob a bank merely by sniveling? By that logic, if your nose starts running near a cop, they’d be justified in gunning you down.

    The time I burst into tears after FW avoided sex for the entire week following Valentine’s Day was apparently “sexual coercion” on my part– i.e., attempted rape! Meanwhile, his demanding sex for more than a year under circumstances where I would have refused had I known the truth– that he was rawdogging the office doorknob and exposing me to God knows what, racking up credit card debt equivalent to the kids’ college funds, secretly drinking himself into psychosis, etc.– was somehow not “sexual agency robbing”?

    The absurdity of an equivocation like that would be hilarious if it weren’t for the fact that, by the time a FW is spewing such bizarre crap, they’ve usually got you over such a barrel that you’re afraid to openly disagree much less laugh in their face. Then they take hijack your stunned confusion or silent gaping as agreement. The worse the absurdity, the bigger the power flex and the more victoriously complete the indoctrination probably seems to a FW. It’s like Winston Smith sitting at the Chestnut Tree Cafe tracing “2 + 2 = 5” on the table at the end of Nineteen Eighty-Four.

    And like they say, every accusation from an abuser is a confession. I think FW’s need to jujitsu accusations of “perversion” and sexual coercion reflected his own creepiness and the fact that what he was doing was a kind of protracted rape. The blameshifting should have been obvious but the weapon he used to keep me pinned in place was so brain-melting that it banished all rational thought. He’d started making not-so-veiled threats to cast me as nuts and “unfit” and take custody of the kids away every time I called out his shitty behavior during the affair and threatened to leave. Mitigating circumstances made this feel like the ultimate thumb trap. Long story short, I’d quit work ten years before to care for and educate my chronically ill, disabled middle child full time after he was physically abused by school staff. Furthermore, I’d had to fight the school district, state and FW’s narcy mother’s accusations of “educational neglect” to do it. I already felt like I was under siege for parenting choices and FW played directly on that fear. He seemed to hold all the cards and I stopped sleeping.

    Before this, I never thought FW was capable of being so evil. The more exhausted, stressed and sick I became, the more “grounds” it felt like FW had to cast me as “unfit.” Even accusing me of sexual coercion was more hostage taking: “She forced me to have sex, yer honor! I can’t leave my children with such a monster!” Never mind that he outweighed me by more than fifty pounds and I had no history of aggression or even mental illness, he seemed so invested in his bs that I feared everyone would believe him. After that, I sank into an inert little puddle of paralyzed despair for a couple months until an attorney friend snapped me out of it. I explained to the friend what was going on and what I was being accused of and she started chuckling and said, “Oh right, yeah sure, you’re such a monster. Look, he’s cheating. I’ve seen it a million times.” She explained that when someone preemptively threatens to take child custody, it’s usually because they’re doing something so terrible that it could realistically put their own custody of children at risk. She strongly advised me to hire a PI to turn the tables. She also warned that, when a disabled child is in the picture, a typical side dish maneuver to hang onto the cheater’s money and avoid child support as well as to avoid being saddled with caring for a “defective” child is to rally the cheater to take full custody and then stick the disabled kid in institutional state care on a waiver. That put the fear of God in me. I went underground and started digging for dirt, gathering evidence and lining up ducks. My friend was right. The facts made FW look like a terrible parent, not to mention a terrible human being. Suddenly, what formerly would have been worst news in the world was the best news possible.

    After D-Day, I learned the creepy backstory of the February massacre. Because FW had decided to go on a family vacation over Valentine’s Day which left the AP only the dreaded and humiliating “side chick Valentine’s Day,” she went into a rage and staged a temporary “breakup” to punish him, likely in the hopes of expediting divorce. Since the AP had been increasingly consumed with FW continuing to have “marital sex,” FW understood what was expected. He ramped up the cruelty over Valentine’s Day as a half measure to appease the angry pussy gods or something but he’d still get spooky and menacing if I talked about divorce.

    In reality, I hadn’t gotten upset on the last day of vacation because he was withholding his precious sparkle dick. That was his willful interpretation. At the time he was starting to repel me– the booze-induced bad breath, beer belly and himbo clothes he started wearing– bleah. Instead I was crying because I felt like a hostage who’d just learned no one was going to pay the ransom. The cue that he might no longer have “sexual use” for me took away whatever tiny remaining assurance I had that he wouldn’t escalate the viciousness and destroy me.

    I think it saddled me with an extra sense of shame that I’d gotten hogtied an entrapped despite the fact that I’d formerly worked as an advocate for domestic violence survivors. Being familiar with red flags and abuse tactics but still finding yourself unable to bust out feels like being half anesthetized on an operating table where you can feel every cut but are too paralyzed to stop it. But it dawned on me that the model for domestic abuse I’d learned back in the day was flawed and incomplete and I realize I wasn’t really that well prepared. I just thought I was because everyone else thought they were. At the time, experts generally assumed that verbal threats and psychological coercion were merely overkill and that what really entrapped survivors within abuse was overt violence. Or it was thought that only the overt violence gave real “credence” to verbal coercion which otherwise might seem empty.

    That seems so stupidly wrong now. At least the rest of the world is slowly waking up. There’s currently a worldwide campaign to add coercive control statutes to existing domestic violence laws and policies because it’s finally being recognized that psychological coercion is the key to entrapment in domestic abuse even more than physical violence. It may still be a few decades before the world recognizes that cheating is part and parcel with criminal coercive control.

    However long it takes the world to catch up, I’m enjoying the glorious freedom to say, “Two and two make four, motherfucker” over and over.

    • Holy shit I’m so sorry.

      “The time I burst into tears after FW avoided sex for the entire week following Valentine’s Day was apparently “sexual coercion” on my part– i.e., attempted rape! Meanwhile, his demanding sex for more than a year under circumstances where I would have refused had I known the truth– that he was rawdogging the office doorknob and exposing me to God knows what, racking up credit card debt equivalent to the kids’ college funds, secretly drinking himself into psychosis, etc.– was somehow not “sexual agency robbing”?”

      His accusation is projection and then some. You are allowed to have feelings when being rejected. Totally normal and healthy. He, however, was having “sex” with you under false pretenses under which you would not have consented. That’s rape.

      • Thank you kindly. I still feel relieved every time anyone “exonerates” me from the charges and points out the projection. I may feel like that for the rest of my life. I’ve probably dodged sexual assault half a dozen times since the age of ten (independent and loved doing things on my own + creep magnet) and if there’s a single common denominator in any of those experiences, it’s the bizarre feeling of being tried, found guilty and lined up against a wall for something unspeakable. Rapey types seem to have this super-amped investment in the idea that their victims are “asking for it,” “like it,” are “causing it” and “deserve it” that’s hard to shake off no matter how much your rational mind knows two and two make four, not five. Their commitment to their own projections is so intense that it’s spellbinding. Forever after, you feel yourself heave a sigh of relief when people remind you you couldn’t have done anything to cause it.

        The spellbinding commitment to delusional projections should sound familiar to every chump. Cheaters often seem so convinced chumps had it coming. It makes me wonder if cheating bear some weird motivational overlap with rape, even when women do it?

    • “He’d started making not-so-veiled threats to cast me as nuts and “unfit” and take custody of the kids away every time I called out his shitty behavior during the affair and threatened to leave. Mitigating circumstances made this feel like the ultimate thumb trap. Long story short, I’d quit work ten years before to care for and educate my chronically ill, disabled middle child full time after he was physically abused by school staff. Furthermore, I’d had to fight the school district, state and FW’s narcy mother’s accusations of “educational neglect” to do it. I already felt like I was under siege for parenting choices and FW played directly on that fear. He seemed to hold all the cards and I stopped sleeping.”

      Oh my gosh, that must have been torture! He’s evil incarnate.

      “That put the fear of God in me. I went underground and started digging for dirt, gathering evidence and lining up ducks. My friend was right. The facts made FW look like a terrible parent, not to mention a terrible human being. Suddenly, what formerly would have been worst news in the world was the best news possible.”

      👏 What an inspiring story. I hadn’t heard all these details before.

    • HOAC on the coercive control law reform – I live in a State of Australia that introduced the first criminal justice response to DV in 2004, based on the Duluth Model from the US. We have had emotional abuse as a stand alone offence for almost 20 years, but it is rarely prosecuted unless coupled with overt violence. A bare minimum is verbal abuse, documented (text or recording). It is hard to prosecute something not visible and satisfy the mental element “knew or ought to have known” where the myth of “lack of insight” is still the dominant narrative.
      I routinely raise emotional abuse in applications for protective orders, but it isnt enough by itself because orders have to be enforceable by police, and how do police stop someone from doing something not visible to anyone but the victim, and often the victim doesnt know they are being abused (although no contact orders work obviously).
      The Hannah Clarke Coronial was interesting as the conclusion was nothing could have been done to stop Rowan Baxter murdering her despite the fact there were multiple missed opportunities by services and police.
      Anyway, your ex is a freak who sucks.

      • If you are interested, the Doreen Langham case is another one to look at around police response to CC.

      • Are there strict laws on recording without consent in Australia? Some states in the US make it a felony which makes it more difficult to gather evidence of CC, not to mention domestic violence. That’s a wrinkle. Another is that, even with sufficient enforcement of coercive control laws, chumps who “sleuth” to protect themselves from cheating could be falsely charged.

        • It is usually a defence if protecting your lawful interests but varies from State to State – in any event when someone is charged it has to be in the public interest, and I very much doubt a victim recording being abused would lead to charges, but I havent checked the case law – stalking is a more likely charge if you are hacking accounts, GPS tracking FWs etc as suggested sometimes by posters on SI to find out whether FWs are meeting up with APs – another reason just to sever ties instead of playing infidelity police.

          Misidentification of offenders is a big issue, getting worse for some reason, maybe because victims are fighting back, or perps are getting more cunning, or police are just daft – police have an incident based response rather than looking at context (for various reasons, including lack of time but also training) – Queensland has just changed their legislation so the primary aggressor is identified, although I am sure the system will still get it wrong .

          • Part of the issue is obviously how laws are written. Great quote from GK Chesterton,:“If you let loose a law, it will do as a dog does. It will obey its own nature, not yours. Such sense as you have put into the law (or the dog) will be fulfilled. But you will not be able to fulfill a fragment of anything you have forgotten to put into it.”

            I’m concerned that certain things will deliberately be left out of CC laws (by FWitty legislators) so they can be used as tools for punishing victims or limiting what victims– including chumps– can do to protect themselves, like gathering intel from phones, etc. In the US, proving infidelity isn’t only important in “fault divorce” states where it can impact settlement. It’s also important in “no fault” states for tracking the cost of affairs and making sure stolen marital assets are returned to chumped partners and kids. In CA, chumped spouses have managed to go after schmoopies to retrieve the value of gifts paid for with marital assets. Proving infidelity can also support tort claims for STD infections.

            Even the best abuse laws still have the “fox in the hen house” problem that policing as a profession tends to draw a very high statistical percentage of domestic abusers like many helping/rescuing professions (batterers like to play “hero” as part of the protection racket effect) and those involving aggression (violent sports, military). Mandatory DV arrest laws in the US weren’t just meant to correct victims dropping charges but police refusing to arrest and DA’s refusing to prosecute. Dual arrest laws have too often become a tool for police and perpetrators to punish victims for reporting.

            Even US states that make it a felony to record without consent have a “public interest” loophole but in some places this is impossible to evoke. It’s going to take organized agitation to change these policies. Stealth recording is so critical to prosecuting DV and other crimes (like workplace harassment, school and institutional abuse of children and the disabled, etc.) that the places where two party consent is mandated are paradise for perps.

            All the problems in legislation and enforcement make my head hurt and make me want to crawl into a hole but giving up and accepting systemic flaws and gaps aren’t options. Another quote from GK Chesterton: “What is wrong [with the world] is that we do not ask what is right.”

            Nothing is more important than this: advocacy can’t even help the individual if it doesn’t have a radical lack of acceptance of a dysfunctional status quo. Sort of by default, the particular approach of the advocacy organization I worked with years ago didn’t just help liberate survivors but also tended to breed fresh activists. The organization had the freedom to do that because it didn’t depend on state funding. Shelters and DV advocacy organizations that took state funding naturally couldn’t include radicalization (God forbid) as part of the process and would be forced to depoliticize issues which I think hobbled the effort.

            It’s hard to explain but politicizing domestic abuse is simply necessary to the goal of individually propelling people out of abuse situations. I don’t just mean politicizing in a feminist sense, though I wouldn’t shy away from the latter. But it’s bigger than that– more a war against perpetrator mentality and any kind of abuse of power, cover up, etc. It’s Solzhenitsyn in the Gulag Archipelago, Daniel Ellsberg leaking the Pentagon Papers, Steven Biko fighting Apartheid, Kathryn Bolkovac exposing UN contractors for sex trafficking, etc. Those aren’t exaggerated analogies when it comes to domestic abuse. There was a famous DV researcher and advocate who’d formerly worked for the FBI’s Organized Crime division who said that switching from one specialty to the other was a “seamless transfer” to the degree that batterers– who seem to instinctively gravitate to positions of power where they can somehow silence victims– collectively behave like a crime syndicate complete with legions of lackeys, informants and facilitators. So, like the uprising to tear down the Berlin Wall, terrified people fighting for individual rights against an organized informant racket need the sense they’re part of something bigger for the sense of “safety in numbers” as well as how this gives meaning to experiences that otherwise might seem crushingly meaningless. Rather than coaching survivors to resignedly accept bad policies and poor enforcement as insurmountable realities, we would prepare survivors to deal with sucky laws or enforcement by sharing the history of how and why those laws and policies sucked. It would piss people off and fire them up. I think this did more than just buffering survivors against potential discouraging pitfalls in the process of seeking protection and justice but would help put people into a sneaky, underground (and sometimes fun) mentality of getting around pitfalls.

            There’s something so mind-blowing, humbling and inspiring watching someone who was formerly beaten down into a prostrate, depressed lump start to rise up like a phoenix. One of our former “clients” went on a rampage in Alaska using humor and shock tactics to raise awareness and change policies and another survivor was on Nancy Grace after a take-down of her politically prominent abuser (she used stealth recordings to expose him). No one could have predicted this considering the shape these two women were in when they first showed up. You can never underestimate the meek again after that, especially because people fighting for their lives and their kids seem to tap into some hidden human IQ reserve and often show sudden flashes of genius. I don’t know what accounts for it other than some hardwired human tendency to make ourselves as dumb as our social contexts if doing so makes us “fit in” to facilitate survival. But change the concept of the social context to include like-minded “legions” in a political sense and minds suddenly expand to that new bar if doing so will aid survival.

            Anyway, (blah blah blah, I do go on) if CC laws in their current forms are sucky and poorly enforced, I don’t think we should be “reasonable” and accept this as the necessary state of things even if we’re not directly involved in lobbying for legislation and are just trying to help individuals.

  • I missed a flight once. Caught the next one out a couple hours later. It wasn’t a big deal at the time.

    So I was dumbfounded when he brought it up, repeatedly, months later as evidence I “wasn’t perfect either.”

    Also: It “wasn’t his fault” that I’d “already gone to college.” Still don’t know what that means. Damn my tiny lady brain.

  • I remember using the phrase “false equivalency” and then wondering if he knew what it meant. Or cared what it meant.

    The OW taught him a brand-new phrase : “disparage.” Apparently, that’s how I treated him. But, you know, that was just another false equivalency.

  • I got something like “You haven’t been working hard enough to not be like your (disordered) mom since college (where we met)”. [Au contraire, I’ve never stopped trying to be healthy, unlike her, and am quite different from her as everyone around us can attest to.] Still, it gave him license in his mind to have a 3-year affair with a direct report.

    Cheater then compared BPD tears that my mom shed in front of him 14 years prior, tears shed over a rather trivial oversight that my dad had committed decades earlier, to my angry reaction to being betrayed. So wildly unfair to compare my mom’s BPD tears at the drop of a hat (common with BPD) to my anger and grief in having my 27-year-long marriage shattered!

    • There seems to be a dual insinuation here that, on the one hand, you’re “overreacting” because betrayal is no big deal and/or that he betrayed you because you’re mentally disabled. Wow, so in his mind mental illness is a free pass to abuse someone? Not that you’re mentally ill but he lunged at that false target like a cobra. So much for any humanist creds he might try to cop. What a bigoted pig.

      • That’s how I read it as well, HOAC.
        Mine quite literally said I deserved to be cheated on because I’m on the spectrum. That wasn’t even his worst, either. Even he knew that was insane, but insane statements fly out of his mouth because he does not engage what minute amount of grey matter he has.
        I posted his best effort at an equivalence further down. The fact that it’s his best illustrates his stupidity as well as his worst would. I’d be hard pressed to pick his worst, anyway. It would be like picking a favourite song, as there are so many great songs.

      • Yes, I think you nailed it, HOAC. I have long felt as if I was dealing with a snake. 🙁

        • I tend to see attitudes like that as more politically vile than simply snakey. Weaponizing mental illness? UGH. Puke. That fucking guy. How’s he different than all the pervs who gravitate to working in special education and institutions in order to rape conveniently silent victims? How’s he different from corrupt police who use excessive force against the mentally disabled because they can? How’s he different than goons under Stalin who imprisoned dissidents in mental hospitals or Victorian assholes who institutionalized their uppity wives? You can see the roots of bigotry or racism and every other kind of heinous “ism” in people like that. It must start with some subjective need to engineer reality so that people who do bad things can fabricate alibis and blameshift at victims’ expense. Collectively, this kind of psychosis creates everything bad and horrible in the world.

          Pardon my tendency to make everything epic. I don’t just personally condemn shitheads. I find it empowering to see how they’re on the wrong side of history! But it’s not about giving grandiose meaning to everything that happens in my little life. I think it just follows the idea that the personal is political and vice versa or, as civil rights chronicler and dissident James Baldwin put it (roughly), seeing ourselves in history and history in ourselves. One reason it’s important to do this is that perpetrators of all stripes won’t hesitate to fabricate grandiose political justifications for their crimes because, you know, the greater good or whatever. The only way to undercut these grandiose false rationalizations is to fight fire with fire and correct the political lens.

          Anyhow, you weren’t just dealing with a shit but a traitor to all that is good!! 😀

  • Haha…thank you fellow chumps – these are funny and sound soooo familiar with my ex-cheater’s antics. He proclaimed that I ‘made’ him stray because I drank too much – yet when I immediately quit drinking, he was insistent on ordering/buying more alcohol for me so he could continue his affair with a ‘valid’ reason (in his mind). Strangely (like other chumps) he also kept bringing up/showing me pictures of my ex boyfriend from 15 years ago. It felt like he did this to make me feel guilty about ‘having someone else’ – even though I wasn’t married at that time (WTF?). He was clearly short of imaginative excuses – plus, this was coming from a man who was married twice before me. Funny how he never talked about his past wives or why those marriages ended – had to hear from others that it was due to his wandering dick which didn’t surprise me one bit.

  • Him: Affair with my BFF of 23 years who was my maid of honor while I was going through cancer treatment.
    Me: Couldn’t keep the kitchen clean and was going to sleep at 8 because exhausted. He was bored. Not enough sex.

    • Betraying a partner who is going through a medical challenge? Those are the lowest of the scum with no heart. I hope you are well and living a cheater-free life, LD.

  • I’m going to be generous to FW and post his very best effort. He tried lots of crazy ones, but even he sort of realized they were crazy as soon as they came out of his mouth. So he cast about in the void of his brain for some sort of memory. This gem is the best he could come up with:

    In our early years, when we had two young kids and not much money, I asked FW to return a gift he bought for me which we couldn’t actually afford. I had developed a serious illness due to pregnancy and was not able to work at the time, so things were tight and I was worried. I guess FW wanted to give me an extravagant push present like his buddies did for their wives or something.

    My conclusion (AKA reality); I had to do the adulting. FW lived in a fairy land. Things were could not afford, we could not have, and I always had to be the bad guy and say no.

    FW’s conclusion (AKA conveniently historically revisionist bullshit); I was a cruel harpy and threw his heartfelt gift back in his face just for laughs. Therefore, twenty years later, it was okay to cheat for years and plan to dump me for a philandering alcoholic, if she’d ever have him. She wouldn’t. She had a chump with money.

    They are delusional.

    • It eventually catches up to most of them even if it’s finding themselves fading in an old age home and no one comes to visit. I’ve seen a lot of bullies from my childhood or bullies I encountered working in an aggressive industry meet with fates so cringy and sickening that I can’t even muster a sense of schadenfreude about it. Sometimes it was about the company they kept– sharks running with bigger sharks. Sometimes they got played out or caught or went down in reputational flames. And worse. It really doesn’t look like a fun way to live.

  • I didn’t High 5 him at a baseball game early in our marriage, which is when he knew we weren’t compatible, but I didn’t hear about that until about 10 years later when he told me he wanted a divorce (which was a couple of months after he left me for the AP). According to her ex, she had never shown any interest in sports before but now she’s a super fan. Lol.

  • I didn’t make a big enough fuss over how great he looked amping up his gym fitness routine, he once told me. (So he started an affair with a work associate instead.) That was when we were married 6 years and I was still madly in love with him and wrote him daily when he was sailing on ships two months on/ two months off. I know I made a fuss over him!
    Another time he told me he was jealous of the attention I gave our kids, ( three under the age of three) and knew that was ridiculous to admit, so he found someone who understood that and lavished him with the attention he so craved. ( that affair lasted 8 years. 20 years after it ended, FW was in between gf’s and married to me, but he tried to reconnect with her and was told by her current husband to never attempt to call her again, which was relayed from her. He had broken up her first marriage already, I guess she got wise to who and what he was.)
    Another time he told me that his mistress spends 45 mins putting on her makeup and buys $1000 dresses ( I shop at Macy’s and Marshall’s and I’d be damned if I’ll spend a grand on a dress when I can look great for a whole lot less.) That mistress he spent 6 years with. He subsequently divorced me and is currently married to her, 16 years his junior.
    Yet another time he told me he didn’t like it when I looked super good, because he knew I was doing it for him and he liked his women to do it for themselves, not for him. 🤷‍♀️?!?
    I do it because it makes me feel good, but that was not what he chose to imagine in his little head of narratives.
    Whatever A-hole!
    Good luck mistresses dealing with the constant mindfuckery. I’m happy to be long gone from that.
    He tells my kids now that I’m passive aggressive since I am no contact and he hates that with a passion. ( no more triangulation?! How can he survive now!?)
    I thought of another one of his reasons he began cheating. He said I didn’t have his friend Ray from work over to dinner one night. (25 years earlier!)
    Ray had dinner with us plenty of times at our house, but one night he ASKED me if I preferred they go out to eat after work or could they shoot by for dinner at our place. It was an very hectic three kids in HS evening and I didn’t have the time to clean up and cook for a guest, and he knew it was a really crazy day, so I took B option, which he acted like it was perfectly fine and he absolutely understood. Until 25 YEARS later, he threw it out there for the reason he cheated on me! I wasn’t social enough with his friends, lol!
    His work friends are all my friends after the divorce, they all think he completely lost his mind, which is fully true.
    The most egregious one for me though was that I was unavailable and depressed when my mom was dying of breast cancer and he had needs too. That particular mistress had lost her mother at a young age, so she helped him stay married to me and helped him understand my pain better.
    I really was remiss in not sending her a thank you card.
    Thank God she was available to blow my husband while I was grieving my dear mother’s agonizing protracted death.

  • I got “You never pay when we go out for dinner”. Let’s see, his monthly pension was $9,000 a month and mine was $200. It’s not as if we ever went out anyway.

  • When we were still consideration reconciliation I backed out on dinner plans we had to run some errands and meet a platonic female friend at Chipolte. Someone who I had never showed interest in beyond a friend.

    She used this as fodder the time she blew off plans we had to have sex with some random guy and lie to me about it.

  • So many examples to pick from! Let me see one of my favourites was submitted via his solicitor – in relation to an inheritance that was meant for our sons that he spent it was noted that I had spent money in the marriage….on going to the dentist!

    $50,000 gambling debts, spent son’s inheritance vs going to the dentist.

    Nothing to see here!!

    • Apparently we were broke because I bought organic milk. Not because he bought electronics and got thousands of dollars in speeding tickets and traffic violations, and spent $100 (at least) on alcohol and $60-$100 on comic books every week. Nope. $4 of organic milk ruined us.

      They really make no sense.

      • Me too! Organic Milk and frozen raspberries apparently are luxury items purchased only by people who are spoiled rotten and don’t care about saving money for retirement.

  • False equivalence is, apart from a DARVO trick, borne of the inherently competitive nature of narcs and pathological envy. Every interaction they have to come out on top, or at the very least you must lose and be inferior. Anyway, mine were:
    – post separation, I told FW I wouldnt seek child support if he contributed to significant expenses, so he contributed a minimal sum for a few weeks coupled with spamming me with abuse about why the children and i needed internet, power, water etc. Why did I need a $25 phone card?! (Says the man who had multiple phones). I then sought child support so I could be free of the prick and he said “well I guess we’ve both done things we said we wouldnt”. Oh the twisted mind of a FW.
    – pre separation – parked his car in one morning thus delaying his travel to work by 40 seconds. He was gagging to get to the office for some mysterious reason.

  • She may have broken our marriage vows by schtupping the plumber repeatedly, but she assured me that my being generally not up to standard -was also- breaking our marriage vows. Affair, bad dishwasher loading — Potato, pot-ahto.

  • I didn’t play video games sometimes.
    I asked him to get a job.
    I got too depressed after the affair and “spiraled”.
    I have a mental illness.
    I had an online friend i talked to.
    I was afraid of sex after the affair and his “consent accidents” which justified more affairs.
    Hmmm what else.
    Oh!! I became less spontaneous and less likely to go on random road trips during COVID19.

    These were all the justifications

  • I hadn’t ‘contributed anything to the mortgage’. Like everything else that came out of his mouth, this was a blatant lie, easily disproved by documentary evidence. I married a repulsive person because I did not value myself enough to recognise that I deserved much, much better than him. I have changed!

    • I respect that- and so happy you recognize!
      Marrying someone because you didn’t know you deserved better. Now you do♥️

  • I was a hypochondriac because I have a serious disease that limits my diet, coupled with some comorbidities, I’m not doing so great and I’m under 40. I do not participate in normal activities, I have to wear a mask, and it’s been much worse since knowing him, he was slowly poisoning me by not believing in my disease. I had what I was sure was a staph infection, which happens when someone who is immunocompromised is underfed, overworked and underslept. I was at this point unable to even do things for my young diapered children. He was in the home just not helping. Doing whatever he wanted on the computer. I asked him to take me to the ER. I wasn’t feeling good and I needed help. He said if I “get to the ER and they say it’s not a staph infection, then I need to get help professional help for being a hypochondriac.” He thought I was making it out to be worse. So…I get there, aaaaand its a staph infection, gee. I need antibiotics for a week or so and ointment daily. I ask a tech there if what EX said to me was abuse? He asked if I felt unsafe… I didn’t realize I would go to a hospital for saying yes. However, it was the happiest mistake, I learned how to get out from that visit though. It just takes a much longer time when coercive control has affected one like I was. I needed caseworkers and a team of therapists. Took 4, to find out that was able to talk me out of leaving, with a safety plan. Thank goodness for you all! Happy Friday!

  • Mine suddenly decided we didn’t have things in common any more (clearly- like APs and dating apps!)

    • LOL, I got this too. After 15 years of having quite a lot in common. That was why we got together in the first place. I guess I wasn’t enough of a die-hard Star Wars fan (like OW), and focused a lot of my attention on…our kid and taking care of our family. OW basically pretended to be interested in everything FW liked (I knew most of it was fake) and he bought her act.

      He also said “we never talk anymore”, but would basically give me one word replies if I ever tried to start a conversation. Turns out he was already “talked out” because he discussed everything with his “she’s just a friend” and had nothing to say to me by the time he got home.

  • I didn’t remember the anniversary of his brother’s death over 20 years before; the nurse who would become the OW did console him that day. This led to some hugging and…

    We have a weird mix of death and sex here.

    p.s. CN, that he never acknowledged the death anniversaries of my parents et al didn’t register with him.

  • He had the two-year affair with the howorker because I didn’t “do my wifely duty” and care for him when he hurt his back and got depressed. The howorker rescued him from his depression.

    It was during Covid, I was homeschooling two young kids and teaching college full time whe he got to go into his national lab job because the gov’t deemed him an “essential worker”.

    Um… I’m not responsible for you, man-baby.

    • Is there any chance the affair was already happening, and he used that as a convenient excuse so he could try to shift the blame? Looking back and knowing what I do now, my sad sausage ex’s “depression” coincided with the times he was up to something and needed a cover. I accordingly backed off, made excuses for him, did what I could to support his mental health even though he sure wasn’t helping mine. Both pity and rage became dead giveaways at the end. Neither of those are nice to be around, especially when you’re always the one who’s to blame.

  • At the MC after online affairs on dating chat sites, first brought up that I bought a used car for my daughter in her 3rd year of college (over 10 years ago) without first discussing it with him. Wanted to but he was inebriated most evenings around that time. Covered and paid off with own personal funds. All kids have been out on their own now for several years.

    • GLC – Just curious (not that it matters now) – did the MC take apart the false equivalency or invite your rebuttal?

      This conversation generally moves pretty quickly to determining that the relationship isn’t acceptable to US chumps.

  • FW would never take me away for a stress free weekend because he “never had the time or money”. Yet that’s what he did with AP when he got caught. So I said “once you got the time and money you took that thing?” BTW he’s retired and a millionaire. No time? No money? Nice try FW.

    • After I got past the horrendous pain of being dumped for the town whore, I then had to dig through my credit card and banking records and discover that while he could never remember my birthday, valentines day or even bring me an occasional gift, I usually paid for our dinners out because after all in my mind it was all our money; I discovered the thousand he had paid out to keep the sex flowing from the whore. She was his direct report so I imagine it cost him even more than if she had just been a random townie whore. (which is all she was to the other married men she attempted to poach) He was also paying for silence.

  • 8 months since DDay. Going thru divorce after 21 years of marriage. He left me for someone he met on Tinder after 21 years of prostitutes and sex hook ups from dating apps and frying his brain out on porn. During discovery, my lawyer found groups he was in related to cross dressing, trans women, bisexual relationships etc. I had NO idea this was an interest of his. According to him “mistakes were made” but the problems in the marriage were 50% my fault since I “didn’t respect him and talked down to him and wasn’t a cheerleader or friend.” He wanted hookers AND respect from a wife. He said his AP made him finally feel heard and she’s a really good person who cares about our 4 sons that she’s never met! He told our sons that mom never met his emotions and we should have broken up a long time ago. The older teen boys don’t speak to him but apparently it’s ALL my fault. I should have told them the marriage wasn’t working out according to FW.

  • I was just home from the hospital after a total knee replacement, and I had to struggle down the stairs to the bathroom every 15 minutes to pee a tablespoon. We lived in a three story town house, bedroom on the top floor, kitchen and living room on the main floor and bathroom three steps down from the kitchen. If I stayed downstairs on the sofa, I still had to struggle down a short flight of three stairs to get to the bathroom, but at least I had access to the refrigerator. If I were upstairs in the master bedroom, I had no access to food or cold drinks for the whole day because of course he went to work. So he’d help me get downstairs, go to work, and leave me on the sofa until he came home.

    Evidently I had a Catheter-Induced-Urinary-Tract-Infection — or CAUTI to those of us (including him) who work as nurses in surgical intensive care units. I clearly needed antibiotics. I called the doctor, who advised that she couldn’t do anything for me until I came in and gave a urine specimen. Fresh knee replacement; I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t even get myself out to the car without a walker for the parking lot and a cane to get down the steps to the parking lot. I asked him to take me to the office to give a urine specimen, and he said he couldn’t because he didn’t feel well. He had a cold. And this — this is the thing I will never forget. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “I know this must seem strange to you, me complaining about my cold when you have a potentially lethal post-op infection. But it’s a Really. Bad. Cold.” I was so shocked I couldn’t even come up with a counter. He did, eventually, take me to the doctor’s office to donate urine — after he took a nice, long nap and just before the lab closed, so I had to go another long night with no sleep because I had to struggle down the three steps to the powder room with my cane every 15 minutes to pee a teaspoon. The next day, the doctor called in a prescription for antibiotics, and it took him most of that day to feel sufficiently rested and medicated with cold medicine to go to the pharmacy to pick up my antibiotics.

    And afterward, he told everyone — his family, friends and our co-workers (yes, we worked in the same surgical ICU) that I didn’t take care of him when he had a really. Bad. Cold.

    • He may win the prize for most self-centered! Feel bad for you, but so glad you are away from that man baby. Internet hugs!

  • Alcohol abuse is not comparable to mild self harm when under extreme stress, which I temporarily and privately struggled with during the hardest times in my relationship. I was very ashamed, so this comparison–made as an accusation sometime during wreckonciliation, for some bizarre and unfounded reason–was a false equivalency, totally irrelevant, and just plain mean. The overt and covert alcoholism (and other secret addictions I only later learned about) had a major impact on my life for over a decade before my ex got sober, and I compassionately supported him and never once shamed him or held him responsible for the harm he caused me or the risks he took with my life. I should have, though.

    Being cheated on and duped by your “partner” for at least seven years and losing nearly everything as a result is not the same as losing your father to cancer. This came up multiple times, as an accusation against me, when my ex was digging himself a hole and had nothing left to fling at me. He actually screamed in my face while he was assaulting me, “You don’t know what it’s like to lose your father!” True, and…? It was so crazy and fucked up. I of course had nothing to do with his father’s death (and in fact never met him), never pretended to know what it must’ve been like, and never compared it to any of my own personal losses or struggles. Again, the irony is that I was very sensitive to his loss and grief for the entirety of our relationship, and making an effort to respect his needs and feelings and to honor his father’s memory.

    Making a promise is not the same as following through on one. Saying you’re trying doesn’t mean you are trying. Claiming you are sorry does not magically undo very real damage. Hurt caused “unintentionally” still hurts. An OW may very well be a superficial fling, and she is most definitely not worthy of a chump’s attention, but that does not make the infidelity “inconsequential.” Bitch cookies.

    Being in a longterm partnership with a con man is not “better than married” (how my ex charmingly and convincingly described our fifteen year relationship, to me and to others). Especially when you have invested years in that partnership but have no legal agreements to protect yourself.

    Describing something that happened, asking questions, sharing your feelings, or explaining your response to someone else’s actions towards you is not an accusation. It is a statement, explanation or question. My ex’s frequent angry accusation, “Stop accusing me of x/y/z!” was a knee-jerk reaction, and it was always confounding and exasperating for me. DARVO, plain and simple. Projection, too.

    There is just no winning when someone is using false equivalencies to manipulate and hurt you. Disengaging — big picture, not just in the individual “argument” — is the only healthy and productive response.

  • I got a myriad of false equivalences over the 3 Ddays, but the last one will stick with me forever, and was a major catalyst to freedom: He had to cheat because I’m “boring and wear yoga pants”

  • My very short-lived 1st husband (the marriage lasted 13 months) called me last year & he tried to convince me that I didn’t try “hard enough” in conveying the problems I had with him. He cheated several times including me finding him passed out naked on top of my friend. Yup, apparently it was all on me not “conveying” & not on his alcoholic binges & cheating. When I called him out on his gaslighting, he hurriedly got off the phone. No accountability still after 25 years!! At least he did me a favour & didn’t hide his cheating leaving me to waste 20 years on him like my second husband did.

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