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Did Your Cheater ‘Let Themselves Go’?

Hi Chump Lady,

My cheater started disintegrating when he started cheating, so it was obvious something was going on.

Of course, I thought it was a brain tumor.

He worked from home in a beautiful home-built office looking at the Pacific Ocean.

Life was grand as hell.

He let his ample hair grow and it went up and sideways.

He quit working out.

He was grumpy and mean.

He was getting fatter.

He was drinking more.

He was spending nights in another bedroom and, appeared to be staying up 1/2 the night, based on his light on.

He would hit his trading desk in the morning and be so tired he’d collapse at the end of the day at 2pm.

He wouldn’t get out of his housecoat and didn’t brush his teeth….like all day.

Always napping.

Neighbors said….He’s not aging well.

Haven’t seen this phenomena mentioned in your column yet, so, how in the hell was she attracted to him during this time!



Dear SheChump,

Well, I don’t think these people bring out their best selves for one other. (Reason #3,247 not to pick me dance). But it’s an interesting point you’re making. The general trope is that cheaters start gussying themselves up as they cheat. Brazilian waxes, new aftershave, sexy underwear. But what the chump sees is a very disagreeable person who cannot be happy.

(A show of hands for how many people thought their partners had brain tumors…)

I think both phenomena can be true — the affair partner is getting some Better Fuckwit and you’re getting Mr./Ms. Snarly Von Surlypants. How can you expect them to be tripping the light fandango when you’re oppressing them with the shackles of monogamy, chumps?

SheChump, your letter is today’s Friday Challenge. CN — how did your cheater let themselves go while they were cheating? Was this an observable thing in your case? Or were they shiny and bright and suddenly better groomed? Or both?



Also, an announcement on the podcasts — a new one was just released on Patreon last night. We interviewed Christina Pavlina of Jane Does Well who started a nonprofit to help women navigate divorce after her divorce. (Don’t Get Mad, Build an Organization.) We’ve been on a bit of an irregular schedule because Sarah is in the middle of a house move and I’ve been traveling, but we’ll be back to a normal weekly schedule again starting next week.

Please do me a solid and follow the podcast, review it (if you enjoyed it), and if you’re feeling extra generous, consider supporting Patreon, where you can get it early and ad-free. Thanks!

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.
    • Mine was and still is (post divorce) a greasy Jesus. He looks terrible, and routinely smells bad. It started with his AP, she dumped him after the divorce, then he moved on from there with the current girlfriend. He also only wears concert t-shirts and dirty jeans. He’s 55 and we parallel parent 2 teenagers. I’ve had numerous friends comment on his “interesting look” when they see him around town. And then we do a collective eye roll and start laughing.

      • So many of them seem to regress, especially the older ones – from about 45 or so on up. I’ve seen chumps wonder about brain tumors frequently, and I’ve wondered if it might be early onset dementia. I wonder how many of them actually do progress on to full blown dementia. At any rate, it frequently seems to be some kind of regression to at least a teenage rebellion stage…..I have to wonder if they regress at some point to the loaded diaper period again. It’s definitely a rejection of anything adult.

        • I see a lot of regression to teenage rebellion years, not only with my ex, but the exes of my divorced friends. They are just flat out refusing to “adult” from paying the bills, keeping their living space clean, looking presentable, actually having a job, etc…the only thing my ex is interested in doing is going to concerts in his free time and has the audacity to ask me to rearrange the parenting schedule so he and his girlfriend can get to whatever concert is on their social calendar and not be late. I always say No. He’s ridiculous, selfish and only cares about himself.

        • Teenage rebellion and we are the bad mommies trying to make them mind. His bathroom = absolute filth. But like any indulgent teenager, he’s both defiant and proud of his new, $1,000 guitar and weekly guitar lessons.

          • Haha, mine has his 3 very expensive motorcycles and motorcycle racing camp — and had to borrow money from our son to get the down payment for a crappy little house in a nowhere town so he had somewhere to live. #winning 😂

      • Because FW had always been heavily lefty, I think the dirty Jesus thing would have been a less shocking transformation than the “fascist gigolo” look FW suddenly adopted because that was about the level of the tradcon AP’s taste. In any case, he started getting those awful, long-outmoded “fascy” haircuts (tuft on top and buzz cut sides– horrible), manscaped himself into a barbed wire hedgehog and sported stretch skinny jeans which accentuated his ever-trendy and rapidly burgeoning midlife-affair-binge-drinking-cirrhosis-gut. His gut actually became an engineering marvel, sort of like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater or, in his case, Fallingfollicles.

        It’s curious that, for all his manic efforts to feel young, he and the AP managed to booze and gorge themselves into bloated, blowsy, balding and sagging heaps in such a short time. In all the family photos during that period he always has his head tilted way back to hide the trebling chins. Even his cousins were joking that I must be getting so thin because FW was eating all my food but I chalk up the effect to vampirism.

    • Mine was greasy (from working as an auto mechanic, but he was certainly no Jesus).

  • Interesting point. FW did exercise less and drink a lot more. Kids asked if his beer belly was a boy or girl. Lol He was using escorts though, and you don’t have to look good you just need $100.
    He really started letting himself go when the “depression set in from seeing the pain he caused us”. Heaviest and greasiest he’s ever been. Don’t buy the depression excuse though. He doesn’t like the consequences of everything.

  • I believe Mr. Sparkles truly has zero sense of self (or if he does, it would be a person who wears a metallica shirt, blue jeans, and high top sneakers and Tony Manero {Saturday Night Fever} combed back hair)… instead he “mirrors” the style and nuances of the person he is with (except he keeps the hair the same…lol). I never really picked up on this until after the discard and I started reading up on narcissistic personality disorder. Creepy.

    But my biggest tell was that for all the time he was supposedly at the GYM, he wasn’t looking any more trim/fit, etc. It’s like that Jimmy Buffet song… “you call it jogging, I call it running around”.

    TGIF Chumps – you’ve got this!

    • I mentioned to my Cheater – while patting his belly – that he should see one of the trainers at the gym, because he had quite a paunch for someone who spent at least five days a week working out.

    • Mine did the same! All kinds strange new habits and preferences. For a while he was all “I’m getting a motorcycle, I’m thinking of shaving my head, does this vest look good?”-he was sleeping with some motorcycle dude. Then it was music neither of us had ever listened to, a genre he previously didn’t like, then it was all kinds of new and different foods-stuff his AP was cooking him when he was on “business trips”. The final straw was a sudden conversion to being a gym rat, but he could only go to this gym 30 min away- he was having sex in the locker rooms. Every new partner brought an interesting and varied set of things he became “into”.

      • Jeez, are these weirdos actually just shopping for personalities? FW started shifting from lifelong lefty to libertarian-ish during the affair to the point that one of his closest friends went ballistic on him, like “Who tf are you, man?” Empty vessels.

    • Yes. Mine mirrored my personality. Once he had picked which woman he was schtupping to marry (I found six, mostly teenagers), he instantly changed into her.

      He had been wearing upmarket and sleek solid color shirts and black suits for years, then suddenly he was only wearing plaid and tartan. Hair went from short and neat, to greasy and long.

      They don’t have their own personalities. Mine even told me that he, “Doesn’t know who he is anymore”.
      I tried to de-spouse my house, but there was nothing to de-spouse. He left his entire wardrobe behind when he moved out, taking only sex toys and essential oil burners.

      I believe he is at the psychopathic end of NPD, and so does my psychologist after reading the diary she asked me to write.

  • Oh, it was getting disgusting, here is a almost 60 year old guy sunbathing to get tan. He also used to be very conservative, like right wing red conservative and he comes home with a manicure and pedicure. His toenails were painted. He was sporting new fancy Eyewear young kids were wearing. Just gross. So funny now, but then I realized I had no idea who he was anymore.

      • I was ready to hear that his toenails were blue since he was moving away from being politically red.

        • I’ve been super confused lately on that toe nail polish on men’s feet. Is it now a thing that straight men are doing toe nail polish? I’m especially curious as there is a young man in my office who is very manly, yet he has toe nail polish ( a mint green) and I just am wondering….he is very ambiguous about it and I don’t want to ask in case an answer isn’t one he wants to give. I like him and really don’t care one way or the other, just curious.

          • I’ve always been super confused about toe nail polish on women’s feet. Or their hands, for that matter. Along with fake talons. But that’s just me, I guess.

            • Agree with Adelante. I don’t understand heavy make up on women or men either. Drag queens are scary looking to me, but then so are circus clowns. I’m a tree hugging dirt worshiper, and in general let people be themselves. It makes my life easier.

            • I’ve never been able to stand the feeling of polish on my nails. I also work outdoors a lot doing things that a manicure can’t handle.

            • I always assumed there was a subliminal class/social status message with talons and manicures – see, I don’t (can’t) work with my hands as a manual laborer, they’re merely decorative. I’m part of the leisure class!

        • Was he cheating with just women, or men too? Something that….unusual….makes me wonder if he was also exploring his sexual orientation. I’ve never seen a man paint his toenails before.

          • No nor me!
            In the late 70s and the 80s I knew a few lads who’d wear nail varnish, usually black, and even a small bit of make-up like because they were into punk or Goth but never ever, heard of a fella painting his toenails before today!

    • My ex paints his toes, wears the goofy eyewear, and was sporting camo joggers on time I saw him. Fancies himself quite the dapper man these days.

  • Such a great challenge!

    My ex used to scream at his father to get in shape. I mean SCREAM! His dad was overweight and had a huge belly from overeating and zero exercise.

    Now the ex is the one who is insanely overweight with a disgusting belly that starts right under his man boobs! 🤮 He never had the good sense to eat things like fruit or vegetables but I cannot imagine what or how he chooses to eat to cause that kind of weight gain. And clearly exercise isn’t in his vocabulary.

    He’s had a heart attack, heart surgery and tells the kids he’s “dying”. But apparently hasn’t yet! His complexion is awful and he looks like terrible.

    He used to be a well-dressed, attractive man and now looks like a sad, pathetic schlump. Guess she wants him in the ground even faster than I do! People who see him IRL or in photos from mandatory family events, don’t even recognize him. Only see him about 2x a year and every time I’m amazed at how much heavier and worse he looks!

    We all age, but he looks about 15+ years more than he is.

    So much for living his best, wonderful life.

    • It’s probably beer that causes the weight gain. Fuckwit worked nights and when he got home downed a six pack of Boddies before slinking off to bed. No wonder he had a beer belly.

  • Wow, this story sounds similar to my ex-FW! He gained 100 pounds partly because he started eating a second lunch of junk food every day from the gas station across the street from his office, (in addition to? instead of?) the packed lunches we prepared together on weekends. Our babysitter fund went to the gas station. Also, he would stay up until 3 am with headphones on at the computer, doing who knows what, while eating a family-sized bag of chips. He stopped caring for his long, curly hair, that was such a source of vanity, and it started forming dreadlocks. He didn’t clip his toenails until they got very long. He napped a lot, and his paychecks would decrease because he was paid hourly and was too tired to work 40 hours a week. He developed loud snoring. He refused to go to a doctor about it for about 5 years, until I forced him to go for a sleep study. The CPAP resolved the snoring, but nothing else improved. He was too out of shape to want to take our kid camping with the scouts or do any outdoor activities so I became the active parent. I thought he was having a midlife crisis. He told me I was the cause of our marriage problems and that I needed to go to therapy to fix what was wrong with me. I believed him, went to therapy, and eventually figured out I wasn’t the problem. I still don’t know why his AP and subsequent girlfriends were attracted to him.

    • Never again, I was shamed into going to therapy to supposedly “fix our marriage” when it wasn’t anything I was doing at all also. That’s when I discovered that the problems didn’t lie within me. My therapist went outside the boundaries a bit and told me that I might want to retain an attorney.

    • Apparently we were married to the same man. Mine came home from work and immediately sat down at the computer, finally going to sleep around 4 or 5 in the morning. I had to be the active parent because of lack of interest. I totaled the bills one month and put him on a budget for lunches, as he was spending $30-40 each meal (some receipts I saw and it was all him). And just like you, my “trust issues” were the problem. One therapy session in I was notified of the cheating.

    • Money? I don’t understand that either. Maybe it’s……nah, who am I kidding, I don’t understand being attracted to that either. Maybe it’s all they can get but I’d rather buy more batteries.

  • Have no idea what my ex looks like now as I’ve not laid eyes on him since the day I walked out.
    I didn’t see any physical changes or increase/decrease in grooming or general upkeep prior to my leaving. Therefore, I assume his next victims will be dealing with the bristles of too-long nose hair in desperate need of trimming as well as the skid marks on the sheets too. What a catch!

    • Last time I clapped eyes on fuckwit was in Court, 5 years ago. He looked like shit then, but I haven’t seen him since, so like you have no idea what he looks like now, and don’t give a flying fuck either. 😈🤣

    • Mine still comes on occasion to pick up our emancipated daughters who live with me. Last time I overheard one tell the other that the Grim Reaper was here to pick her up. I asked why they call him that and they said he gets out of his car to lurk on the sidewalk and wait for them. That day I took a look out the window and gasped when I saw him. He actually looks like a ghost. He’s been losing the pigment in his skin and is now growing a beard to offset the almost total lack of hair on his head. Unfortunately, the beard is white so the whole look is rather spectral. It nagged at me for days as to why he would grow a beard. Then I googled “balding middle aged men with beards” and found the Men’s Health article he must have read. Sadly, he’s no Jason Stratham or young Bruce Willis.

  • Mine was the opposite. He started lifting weights and running. He suddenly bought a lot of new clothes. He had been an overweight slob for years so it was noticeable. I have always been a fitness freak, but he never seemed to notice so I knew it wasn’t for me. I checked the call log, and there she was…

    • Same here, I was happy when my FW lost his beer belly and I helped him pick out new clothes (face palm). Just couldn’t figure out why he had become so mean to me. Eventually I connected the dots.

  • Interesting! I would wonder what an OW would see in him too except maybe he was mirroring her? Yuck, if that’s her style. My ex mirrors whomever he’s with I realized. With me, he was husband next-door & dad type; with the AP, he straps on the toupee, designer duds & off they go to get their Botox. He was minimally doing this while he was with me (being covert & all) and seeing her. He must of kept the toupee & his designer clothes in a rental storage because I never saw them. But a friend happened upon him one time & remarked to me afterwards how my husband looked. I was puzzled because it made no sense. I thought the friend was crackers & my then husband just laughed it off when I described the friend saying he had a whole lotta extra hair all of a sudden. SheChump, my ex-husband is a hologram. I don’t know what yours is, but I hope it was his guilt making him combust from the inside… or him & his AP are now living their lives as piggies.

    • Maybe it’s just easy being a piggy…..all you need is a bunch of mud to wallow in and you eat whatever your snout can find. It’s a pretty low level of existence but….a lot of them seem to seek it out. They seem to reject their lives of accomplishment or responsibility or higher aspirations for pretty basic physical sensations. Very debased way of life for so many of them.

    • Orlando, what a strange story! The image of a toupee stored or stowed somewhere will stay with me!

      • I don’t think the toupee still occupies a storage unit. I think it moved in with the AP lol. Apparently the toupee only comes out now for FB pictures. Mustn’t have FB pictures with a bald head 🤣

  • Mine was already a sports nut playing sport often so was in reasonable shape …..then he joined the gym with me …he started working out until he threw up ….yuk …..I had no idea that he was about to leave for a woman who was way more disordered than he was….they knew each other from high school. They married and it wasn’t pretty ….epic fights that gave him injuries that he couldn’t hide. He told me he fell off his bike ….I hit a little too close to home when I said it looked more like he went a few rounds with Mike Tyson …I had no idea at the time. He got a real winner …play stupid games …win stupid prizes

  • Oh my God. At first, he dropped about 50 pounds, got new clothes, a new, expensive haircut, etc. Then after his self admitted statement that he was not monogamous anymore, and wanted to be a free gypsy soul, he settled down with the girlfriend and her kids in the rented house with her pets that he despises. A friend of mine saw him in public out somewhere and snapped a picture of him, and it looks like he gained all the weight back plus another 20 pounds and wears those big tent like polo shirts, and has man boobs and below shoulder length stringy, greasy Jesus hair with balding on top. She told me that it looks like he is dying, his hair black to cover his gray! She said she had to keep staring at him because she was so sure that it could not possibly be him. But it was! And to think that this greasy unkempt bag of lard and lies was criticizing me!

  • I think I mentioned this before. My fw was generally a clean person, and I did notice a new shirt (pink) that I questioned him about. He said he bought it, I suspect whore bought it and he was just flaunting in to me, while laughing at me.

    Anyway, one exception was that he had worked part time with a construction guy many times through the years, and he always came home and took a shower immediately etc. The last time which was in the year of discard he worked a job with them and when he came home dirty and smelly he grabbed me and tried to have sex. I pushed him away and said how would you like for me to be smelly and dirty, he said he just wanted to get it all done before his shower. I was pissed.

    He took a shower and did apologize, but in hindsight I wonder what that was about. It was one of the almost non existent times in our 20 years that I turned him down, so it wasn’t like he made a habit of it.

    • Wanted to “get it done before his shower”? What, were you part of the job?

      • “…he said he just wanted to get it all done before his shower.”

        Ooo ooo. What romance? What smooth talk? Forget a clean shave, soft music, and candles. Just say the right words, and you’ll charm the pants off your partners.🤣

  • Recently I saw a picture of The Limited. He looks like a creepy predator. And the ho looks like a perfect match. Who said you couldn’t put lipstick on a pig.

    It’s funny how X always commented on how well I aged.

    Looks aside the two of them are very well suited and belong together.

  • FW went the other direction … he was suddenly working out at a gym every morning, losing weight… and started asking ME for tips to improve: “how do I whiten my teeth?” “Can you help me pick out some clothes?” “Which pocket square and tie should I get?”

    He was a total cliché

    But… he still started looking WORSE. Once FW left and moved in with AP, FW (an almost 50 year old man) had started dressing like he was in his 20s… but without any taste. He switched from his conservative clothes (classic jeans and button down Brooks Brothers type shirts) to dark wash skinny jeans with bright contrasting stitching. Funky shoes. Different modern shirts than he’d ever worn before. I couldn’t help but laugh at him… it was such a jump in personality (yes, my hand was up for the “did you think he had a brain tumor” question — both hands up!)

    And then FW started aging dramatically. He got very bald very fast. What was left of his hair turned grey. He slumped. He looked OLD.

    I was still less than one year out and not yet divorced and people were saying “you’re lucky you got out anyway… he’s so much older than you.” I’d say “he’s only a couple of years older than me — he’s still in his late 40s.” People would look shocked and I was told repeatedly “I thought he was in his 60s!” It became a common theme — everyone thought he was 20 years older than he was. It was so weird. His own son called FW “melted ice cream” (he still does).

    I think the sickness of who they are will show no matter what. They rot from the inside out.

    Separately — I’ve already listened to the podcast this morning with Christina Pavlina of Jane Does Well. WOW she is mighty! And she did what I had only dreamt about — helping others through divorce. She put her money where her mouth is and even made positive changes with the laws. Great podcast! And I’m a proud supporter of Patreon 🙂

    • I’ve seen that phenomenon of them starting to look as ugly on the outside as they are on the inside as well, with my first serious boyfriend as it goes.
      When we were together, decades ago in the 80s, he said some lovely things to me; I think it’s called “negging” these days. One that came back to me when I saw him a couple of times in the early 2000s was ” When we’re older, you’ll be fat and frumpy and I’ll still be slim and fit and able to pull the birds!” Nice! I also got “If you finish with me, you’ll never get anyone else!”. Also nice!
      Anyway, fast forward 20 odd years and he’d got fat with a bloated, red face, only in his late 30s but looking nearer 50! I told my mates that he reminded me of a malevolent toad! A few years later my best mate and I saw him around her way; I pointed him out and she declared in astonishment ” WHAT? That short, stubby twat?” We burst ourselves laughing, as you would, hehehe!

      • Or maybe the sparkles wear off, and we see them for who they are? The superficial qualities we never cared about become visible? When you love someone, you care about what’s on the inside and many of your partner’s imperfections are endearing. Meanwhile, I find even the most “attractive” men repulsive if they don’t have attractive personalities. Arrogance and entitlement are immediate turn-offs. Cheaters, obvs.

        I never cared whether ex was at his most or least fit — just wanted him to be healthy and happy. I thought it was nice when he made an effort to groom or look nice for dinner out or a romantic night in (though never “nagged” about this) and I appreciated him showering before bed (because he was filthy!!), but other than that, I didn’t care. (FWIW, my standards were way too low and I should’ve expected more from him.) Once he started cheating and being an asshole for several years before dday, after dday and during the mortifying and hellish reconciliation phase that followed, and then after I left, I became more and more repulsed and annoyed by him. I think his increasing slovenliness was intentional, a passive agressive way to make me feel unworthy and unattractive. I really wish I could erase all those years of being secretly cheated on, gaslighted and devalued from my memory.

    • Your comment is very interesting – I’ve heard in the past that people come to look on the outside….what they are on the inside and I think there’s a lot of truth to that. I see that esp in public figures because we can see them change over decades and the nasty ones do tend to rot from the inside. It’s not just getting older, it’s getting uglier like the picture of Dorian Grey. After a while, aside from actual health issues like disease, you get the face you worked on for a few decades inside.

    • MichelleShocked our stories are very similar. My FW started gussying up for awhile and seemed quite happy. But he would also vacillate and look tired, old and grumpy. He’s 6’4” and now people tell me he looks small and frail. He lost all his hair quite quickly. My daughter says he’s “losing it” because he doesn’t have a job anymore but he’s starting a hard apple cider business by brewing it in his garage. He used to own a business and was a consultant. I don’t have a clue what the hell is up with him really because I have no contact but this is what I hear. And yes, our entire family thought he had a brain tumour 🤦🏼‍♀️

    • Skinny jeans for men are out now apparently! They were NEVER my favourite on any man but super slim, snake-hipped young men and teenagers could get way with them…just!
      I doubt they were ever really intended for middle-aged and older men though. Their legs are either too scrawny and knobbly or too chunky and skinnies do them no favours at all! I’m relieved my X never went in for them, he’d have looked ridiculous in them!

  • When he was cheating under the guise he was “poly” he started shaving his nether regions. He started going out on weekend nights and stuff trying to pick up much younger women. As he has ZERO game he never hooked up. Then when I left he lost weight and he started running. The night our son was hit by a car on his bike and was in TRAUMA we had to sit in the “your family member may die” waiting room. He went on and on about his running habit he picked up at 58. (Son did eventually heal after 3 surgeries in a year, of course I was there through all three) Eventually when he never found the 25 year old to love and cherish him in a way I could not, he became MGTOW (Men Going Their Own Way it’s SUPER TOXIC look it up) he bought a super expensive rack set of weights that is better than most gyms. Never uses it and will not let the teens touch it when they are there at his house. He is chubby and greasy looking. He looks VERY unwell and I worry about what happens if he up and dies because he has zero family as my kids are still teenagers.

  • SheChump raises an interesting question. Ex-Mrs LFTT put a lot of effort (using my money before I shut her out of my bank account, which we used as the joint account) on waxing, haircuts, expensive underwear and makeovers for the benefit of her AP. But this was all undermined by her alcoholism (her leaving me and the kids meant that she no longer needed to be a “secret drinker” and hide it, so her alcohol consumption went up …. particularly as her AP is also a very heavy drinker) and a very unhealthy diet (she’s a vegetarian, but she substituted carbs and dairy for meat rather than healthier alternatives). She was, at one point, quite literally “twice the woman I married.”

    So I would say that my experience supports SheChump’s hypothesis.


    PS – Having ignored years worth of “you need to take better care of yourself” from myself and – since our separation – our children, Ex-Mrs LFTT had a heart attack 3 months ago. This does seem to have driven her to adopt a healthier lifestyle ……. She’s still a piece of shit though!

  • My FW took up jogging and suddenly had an interest in consuming a lot of fruit. I encouraged both of these habits cause why not — turns out they’re OW-fixations. He basically erased the version of him that I’d been with for 10 years overnight, and substituted the OW-imitating version of himself, which he remains to the current day.

  • Always disappointing to see so many of us shift over from addressing shitty behaviors to cruelly insulting aspects of appearance that apply to many of our fellow chumps and edging into insulting people for having disabilities, being part of other cultures/groups, daring to love someone we think they shouldn’t, etc.

    I usually feel like I belong here, but on days like this, I have to stop reading so I’m not just constantly fielding language that says I don’t deserve love, and I REALLY don’t deserve a healthy sex life, and I should hate my ugly useless self, all because I don’t physically (or medically) present correctly in their eyes or like the same fashions others do.

    And as I don’t believe those things are true, I don’t want to read that ugly shit.

    Maybe think about it more before you pick on someone for being overweight, or liking a fashion style you don’t, or being disabled, etc. I’m sure we all have plenty of shitty character, voluntary hygiene failures, and absurd attempts to seem younger that we could focus on when describing the failures of cheaters without descending to engaging in a circular firing squad.

    I won’t know if that happens, though, because I’ll wait until Monday to participate, now that I’ve seen the ugliness at the start of the day. Not interested in a day of seeing awful things that apply to me that I can’t ever unsee. But other folks here who need this forum may feel less damaged if some folks start being more careful, and that would be a positive thing.

    We’re all chumps. The more we uphold one another’s humanity, the better, says me.

    • I’m sorry. I actually thought about this possible perspective as I posted. I’ve gained a lot of weight and gotten older and I know FW could certainly mock me in a similar way. But I think the point of these posts was to allow us to vent. So many of us fear that when FWs leave us, that they have IMPROVED and will continue to. That FWs will be better for the next person. We feel like we may have been the ones holding them back. In my case, it was crazy making to see FW actually get healthier and more fit when he was leaving me. But in truth you could see that the “happy healthy” thing was a facade — and the stress was still aging him rapidly. You could see the sinister in him coming out.

      Please don’t see these comments from any of us as attacks on anyone but FWs. Everyone here is just venting.

      • Thanks, MichelleShocked, it’s kind of you to be thoughtful and receptive, and I appreciate it! However, your comment above isn’t the sort I’m talking about. It might be a little painful for those who are sensitive about aging, but you weren’t openly insulting about aging. You didn’t call him a wrinkly disgusting old man. You just talked about it in the context of his overall behaviors and HIS view of his aging, and yours, and others.

        From my point of view, you truly were just venting, and you didn’t say anything that’s cruel or grossly judgmental.

        I see the comments as I see them, and what I see is, some actually ARE attacks beyond just their FWs. When a person characterizes a thing that’s true about me and others — things we can’t change like a shirt — with words like disgusting, or ugly, or gross/ewwww, or [fill in the blank with slang term that makes a person’s unharmful trait sound like a failure], they are describing that trait in a negative light, not just that person. You did a great job of addressing character, so your comment didn’t bother me in that way. I appreciate that a lot.

        I’m not reading the comments deeply today, but I’ll still open the page a few times and search to see if anyone replied needing support for feelings like mine. Of course, I expect I may feel some negativity, too, from people who felt defensive when I pointed this out. I feel good about my human-kindness ethics. I also know my (sometimes uncomfortable) voice also helps some people who don’t reply because that’s not their personal jam (and supporting them really the primary motivation behind my original comment.)

        • I hear you, Amiisfree, but am torn. It depends on whether we judge everyone harshly and shallowly, or whether we only judge the ones who hurt us harshly and shallowly. I’m hoping the vitriol is isolated to our cheaters and fed by schadenfreude. I know mine is. Humor turned against our tormentors is a joy to me, but if it were turned against innocents it would be horrifying. I still think of Mighty Warrior’s description of her ex’s special pouched underpants and his “meager package” from several months ago and it continues to make me chuckle. Even right now.

          • I think it’s pretty easy to simply say so at the time so it’s clear (like “his meager package, which is a huge irony in his case because he’s so judgemental”. Context helps.

            • And in view of what I’ve said below, it’s obvious that I’m the least qualified person to be judgemental about anyone’s looks. However, I’ve had to take bullying and comments about my looks for about 50+ years and I don’t feel guilty about criticising the ‘package’ of the ex.

          • M1, thank you so much for mentioning the pouched underpants. I was going to mention them in my comment below but thought it could be overkill. I’m glad it made you laugh. The ex was a good looking man and probably still is – I don’t know as no contact for over 3 years (and that was on Zoom in the horrendous mediation). He was horribly cruel to me during the discard and what I say about him is very mild. However, until I got them straightened in the year before I was dumped, I had ‘English teeth’. I was and I still am very sensitive to comments people make about crooked teeth. My parents were neglectful in many ways, and I’ve done a lot of therapy around this issue. The ex contributed to my feelings of absolute ugliness. He never made me feel beautiful, desired, sexual. I totally understand where Amiisfree is coming from. I still enjoy a laugh at the Chantenay carrot’s expense though. You’ve given me a laugh this morning by reminding me. Thank you!

            • Chantenay Carrot!! Ok, Mighty Warrior, you made me belly laugh that time!
              American here, and almost perfect teeth. I didn’t do anything to deserve them, it was random genetics for the perfect bite and fluoridated water to protect them from cavities. And they are on full display when I read your posts.
              My first full time civil service job after divorce was in the appellate public defender’s office. They were all bullies; the attorneys, legal secretaries, everyone. They picked on me – my eyes were close together, I had dandruff one day, etc. They extended my probation period, they made fun of me by calling me Sunshine in a really snotty tone, implying that I was naive. And I was to some degree. They bullied each other, too. I was supposed to be cowed. Instead, I quickly deduced that all except two were assholes. I asked one of the nice ones why they were so mean, and he said that hazing was necessary to see if people could “take it.” I asked why anyone would want to ‘take it.’ Why live like that? He didn’t have an answer. I left within a year. He left sometime after, transferring to another, less toxic and more collegial office. He’s still a nice man, still with his original wife, still loves her and their children and he still knows she’s twice as good a lawyer as he is and he’s proud of her.
              The thing is, there’s nothing wrong with us: bullies just say whatever to hurt us. Your teeth, my eyes. Laughing at them brings them down to size. The bogey man under the bed is just a big dust bunny, maybe mixed with some hairballs and miscellaneous cat barf.
              You have a wonderful way with words and you’re one of the reasons I keep coming back here. It’s a pleasure to read your contributions.

        • I don’t know if this will help but the only thing that seems to downgrade anyone’s appearance in my eyes is if they’re an objectifying, exploitative, shallow and hypocritical piece of shit in their own right. I was raised by artists and quite honestly go around seeing beauty in everyday people. As far as I’m concerned, character is the only glamor. Not kidding. From the time I was a kid, one of my favorite paintings was Picasso’s (never mind the fact he was an epic FW) portrait of Gertrude Stein. And my biggest actor fan crush is on Tony Shaloub, mostly because he’s been married and reportedly faithful to the same partner forever. In my eyes, there’s nothing more beautiful than loyalty and integrity.

          I think what a lot of people here are doing is pointing out the hypocrisy of FWs who go around judging the “hotness” of fuckable targets while not exactly being centerfolds themselves. But I agree that this should probably be qualified very, very carefully. To quote a Russian poet, “the price of brevity is blood.” I think we should all be very specific about whatever irony we’re trying to highlight when it comes to FWs “letting themselves go.”

    • Amiisfree, This is the TRUTH. Keeping my side of the street clean, focusing on myself, trying MY best to be a functional human being. It never makes me feel better by making someone else smaller.

    • Amiis, I think the comments pertaining to the cheater’s changing physical appearance (whether for the positive or negative) are not meant to mock their appearance, but as part of a group (victims of infidelity), to show how the infidelity affected their appearance and what some potential warning signs might be. I would seriously doubt that any of the posters here would claim to be without any physical flaws or arbitrarily make unkind comments about a person’s appearance without provocation (i.e. “hey look at that (random) woman across the street, she’s fat and losing her hair….”)

      The act of being cheated on exposes the unsuspecting partner/spouse to lies, fraud, financial deception, gaslighting, mental anguish and the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. It is an emotional and physical crime. To discuss how one’s spouse changed physically during this time is to share insights and possibly help shed light for someone who is in the initial throes and confused. And, yes … the “venting” helps to purge the injustice.

      I’ve always believed that the way a person lives his/her life will eventually show on their physicality, many times without fault. Most alcoholics develop a look, or an alcoholic bloat. Many lifelong smokers develop smoker’s lines around their mouth. Mean, nasty people can develop faces etched with nastiness. People, even very attractive people, who endure long stretches of financial adversity and struggle start to develop a worn look. And so on. Losing weight/gaining weight, new hairstyles, different grooming habits, new wardrobes or taking less care of one’s appearance are often indicators of an extramarital affair. There was a famous “playboy” who died a few years ago. Although he lived to be a ripe age, I think his lifestyle, the promiscuous, indiscriminate sex eventually “chewed” away at his body and became etched on his face. Just my opinion.

      Love is love. When it comes to one’s physical appearance, sure, a case can be made that people who are viewed as more “beautiful” in terms of societal measures have an easier time attracting a mate. But physical beauty is certainly not, by any stretch, the only standard to find love. I’ve known women who were considered physically beautiful have a hell of a bad time trying to find a suitable mate and have lived their lives primarily single, and I’ve known women/men who are not considered to be physically attractive to be in loving, warm and wonderful long term relationships.

    • I’m sorry that you feel this way but reality is reality. I’m overweight, it’s not attractive and it’s not healthy. That’s just the way it is. I don’t get upset because other people think fat is gross….because it IS gross. That’s just the way it is. When people describe their exes as getting fat, greasy, unwashed, not taking care of themselves….that is what it comes down to for people like that…. not taking care of themselves. For whatever reasons. Sometimes there are medical reasons but most of the time, they just don’t want to take the effort. I think as a society we need to stop being so hyper-sensitive and just recognize that some behaviors are unhealthy and how you look reflects that. If someone calls me fat, I say….yup, that’s right. Even I find it unattractive, because it IS. That’s just reality.

      • To me this is all salient to the discussion because when I got to about 140 pounds for a time, Cheater treated me like I was vermin. He mocked my appearance and I found a cache of photos of me he kept on a hard drive and they were possibly the worst photos of me ever taken – I believe that he kept them to show potential OWs, work travel buddies and to look at them himself to justify his betrayal.

        Him “letting himself go” while having more stringent expectations for me was yet another element of unfairness that he dumped on me in the course of his betrayal.

        Cheater gaining weight did not make me think he was no longer beautiful, I really liked his looks even when he was chunky.

        He told me during our marriage that his goal was to earn enough to get a trophy wife. I was a wonderful wife to him regardless of how I looked and theft that he was the person who let his looks go was part of the bigger Cheater picture.

        FTR, I am positive that had I been fat, my parents would have been deeply ashamed of me…their love was not strong enough to have worked with that. My current husband might not have started dating me if I had been fat (I know that sounds awful and now that were married Im sure he would stay with me if I got chubby but start dating?, probs not). Ive lived my whole life knowing that the acceptance I get from those around me is conditional and fragile.

      • Don’t apologize for my feelings, and don’t assume your perspective of what is attractive (or healthy) fits everyone. You get to decide what you feel, and others get the same freedom.

        • And I guess also, it bears saying that it’s easy to character another as hypersensitive, but it dances ominously close to parallel with “the problem isn’t what I did, the problem is how you reacted to it”, a trope our cheaters have all fed us all too often.

          I frequently hear words like sensitive, and hypersensitive, and triggered, and crybaby, as weak, and similar sentiments coming from the mouths of people who want to justify their own lack of willingness to work toward choosing better behavior. If I say something shitty that objectifies another person, and the person who fits in my target zone tells me it’s a shitty thing to say and they didn’t deserve to be spoken to or about that way, that person isn’t being weak. “Don’t be shitty” is a reasonable boundary. A mature, emotionally intelligent adult can feel the sting that comes from hearing that, receive and validate that feedback, and consider behaving better, and even behave better without clapping back. I watch it happen in my own lived experience regularly. It’s not some strange magic. It’s simple loving kindness.

          Acknowledging impact and adjusting behavior without attempting to recharacterize the other person’s perspective of our behavior based on our original intent is wise and compassionate. We, here, frequently point out that cheater apologies are weak because they lack all of these characteristics. It seems reasonable to hold ourselves to the same standard.

    • Amii, After losing 41 pounds during the paralysis phase of discard, the limited, looked at me and said, “See, you look happy.” I had never felt so low. I too was triggered by relatable comments regarding looks and health issues.

      • Ah, the sky-high-cortisol diet. I couldn’t keep weight on no matter what I ate during the worst of the DARVO stage of FW’s affair. But my weight returned to acceptable as soon as I lost a 170 LB FW. I also lost the heart murmur, have a lot more energy and color in my face again.

      • I understand your experience. I know what triggered is, and I wouldn’t put my own feelings in this forum in that category — but I do absolutely have empathy for you.

    • I can relate to this, because my FW was already 3 years younger and blessed with hair that doesn’t fall out or turn gray (his mom is in her mid 70s and still a full brunette). At 3 years older than him, with not gray but SNOW WHITE hair, I feel basically invisible to men my age, and definitely look older than him or his 10 year younger Schmoopie. I try not to let it get to me, because I honestly think he is a narcissist and she is a sociopath, so who cares if they are cute? Still, I find it aggravating that I dedicated my cool, young-to-middle aged years to this jerk. Anyway, take care friend, you’re in good company and I am glad you’re here.

      • Over time you’ll be quite surprised by how going FW-free is good for the complexion. But fuck vanity and objectifying standards: the real point is to be feel healthy and vital again. For that I might recommend supplementing to repair cell and immune damage caused by stress like natural D3, high dose C, magnesium, a good probiotic and prebiotic and a decent multi (with micronutrients like molybdenum and containing methylcobalamin B12, not cyanocobalamin. The latter is the toxic form found in cheap and crappy vitamins– avoid). But time and finally sleeping well can also have have miraculous effects.

        Other tricks:
        — Natural physical sunblock (check reviews on Environmental Working Group to find ones that actually work and won’t slowly poison you). I always wear it, even in winter, but still try to stand in a direct sunbeam for a few minutes at noon just to boost natural D.
        –Valerian at bedtime and for middle-of-the-night waking can help. Smaller doses also help with daytime anxiety (Gaia brand is probably the purest form).
        –Crank up fresh vegetable consumption (or frozen vegetables which, to me, are the world’s greatest tech advancement). If organic is too expensive in stores, check out local farm shares.
        — Ditch sugar, fructose and carbs and use natural sugar subs like monk fruit and miracle berry. People like Hallie Berry who use a veggie-heavy keto diet to reverse diabetes report a few bonus effects like dewy complexion, decrease in arthritis symptoms, faster injury recovery, fewer infections and even shoe size returning to pre-pregnancy. Who wouldn’t like a whole package of (sugar-free) bacon for breakfast? (Well, some don’t but there are vegan versions of keto as well). It makes sense that keto is a good general anti-inflammatory and all-purpose recovery strategy because its original use 100 years ago was to reduce seizure frequency in epilepsy, a condition which is increasingly tied to inflammatory processes (why one of my sons started on the diet which led to his sibs and I eventually following suit).

        Prematurely snowy and silver hair have been all the rage for awhile, btw– salons charge a lot for it.

    • I wrote my comment to Chumplady late at night, on my way to bed. It was a thought that hit me. I was really surprised she posted it, but, here I am 10 yrs after divorce and this is what I thought, my memory. I had nothing malicious in my comments, or man/physical bashing. This is what he became. Completely different than he was. I was really really scared he actually had a brain tumor and I reached out to everybody at the time. I had NO idea it was an affair. So, I’m sorry you thought a rather fun starting post turned ugly for you.

      • Don’t apologize for my feelings. You get to feel what you feel. Others get to do the same.

        • I have just realized that you’re the same person who wrote the original post. I believe you did not vitriolically use physical traits to identify ugliness in another person as your main feedback. You talked a lot about behavior and character. You didn’t use words that made it sound like people who are aged, or overweight, or short, or landing somewhere besides some extreme polarized version of their perceived gender, lack value as people or are inherently disgusting. So I don’t really see a problem with what your original post said.

          There’s a big gap between describing how a judgmental, objectifying person thinks others should look like magazines while they couldn’t be further from that social ideal and cruelly insulting others’ appearances. There’s plenty of both going on in this comment stream, and I am speaking to the cruel insult variety of comment, not the original post (from SheChump).

          • From my perspective beauty comes from within, and the reality is we all age, and are susceptible to disease, and may or may not be considered attractive to people who determine such things. I determined my Ex’s to be attractive because of their abilities, and I never did think they were just “handsome” in a movie star way. They thought they were handsome, and sexy, and brilliant and … etc. In addition, they felt entitled to judge others on physical beauty, even as they aged, and developed medical problems due to their lifestyle. My point was they lived in a fantasy world where they were a superhero, and everyone was a potential sexual partner because of their porn thinking.

            In my opinion, no matter how pretty one may be on the outside, porn thinking rots them on the inside.
            What is evil on the inside seeps to the outside. Everyone changes as they age. I do not look the way I did when I was 18. The difference is I am aware of how I look. In addition, I am not attracted to 18-year-olds as potential partners. Aging is not “letting yourself go.” Living an unhealthy lifestyle is a choice, however, and the consequences of that choice could be “letting yourself go.” My Ex’s made unhealthy choices, and they had health issues because of those choices, and they died relatively young. They lived in an alternate reality, and it killed them.

            The majority of people in this world do not even vaguely resemble supermodels. When you reject a person based on their physical looks alone, IMHO you would be a very superficial person. Most of the comments seem to be about the hypocrisy of the cheaters. A few may be simply cruel. But the chumps are talking about people who betrayed them and hurt them in so many ways that it is hard not to be a bit vindictive. In addition, when you realize that your spouse has decided to cheat with someone who is younger, or less attractive, or less successful than you are, it stings. You wonder WHY? During the love bombing stage of courtship, I was told how attractive I was, and what a wonderful wife I would be, and how lucky he would be to have me, blah, blah, blah. It turns out that the real attraction was my usefulness. The other stuff is nice to hear, but if it is insincere, I would rather not have my life wasted.

            Don’t let other people’s anger abuse you. You are very eloquent, and thoughtful. Words spoken in anger are like arrows which pierce the heart. Put up your shield, and don’t let arrows aimed at others accidentally hit you!

      • I always bear in mind that gallows humor has actually been shown to increase survival rates among POWs. And after 19 months of emotional torment before D-Day, I needed to laugh like someone who just lost an arm in a wood chipper needs a tourniquet. Part of that stress was experiencing a sense of horror and concern watching FW mutate during his affair (also suspected brain tumor). One of the ugliest parts of it was how he started acting like all of life was one big strip bar where he got to rate every woman on sexually objectifying standards, particularly because I actually knew an older neighbor of my parents who did that sudden dirty-old-man thing as one of the first behavioral signs of the brain cancer that eventually killed him. Anyway, D-Day freed me from that prison of worry. Oh, nothing so tragic, just creepy. And imagine how hard I laughed looking at the bio pix of FW’s barfly AP. That’s who he was comparing me to? Yikes. Obviously I was releasing a lot of angst and pain for having felt picked apart for so long. It was also natural for those harsh fluorescent beams to turn back on FW for awhile. Who was he to judge women according to appearance??

        Amiisfree’s comment has just reminded me to always qualify that highly selective, very limited visual effect. As I said earlier, I can honestly say those harsh fluorescent beams never fall upon decent, normal, garden variety people. There’s great beauty everywhere if one just has an eye for it and I appreciate it all the more without a FW waving their menacing, creepy, objectifying perviness like some diabolical religious censer spreading toxic smoke all around. Without that “toxic perv smoke” choking the air, I don’t naturally feel envy for younger women. At most I worry for their safety but generally enjoy seeing women own their sexuality and rarely pass up a chance to give a little boost (cool hat, nice hair, love that tatt, whatever) because I think it helps build women’s immunity against exploitation to know that other women love and support them. Also I’m a total hedonist and love to see people smile. I’ve also never let my kids judge others by appearance or reduce them to sexual traits. Consequently they never do and now they even call out objectifying ads and media material.

        But all the same, aren’t objectifying FWs just cruising for a dose of their own medicine?? God help me, it’s so tempting to bash them in the heads with their own “perv censers.”

    • I’m really sorry. I wouldn’t want to be hurting any fellow betrayed person at all. I don’t think anyone else would either.
      As MichelleShocked says below, I’m just venting and I admit, being angry and slagging my X off does help ease the pain a bit, as he made me feel so rejected and like I’m too old for him now at 62 because he cheated on me with an 18 year-old girl! She was young enough to be my grand-daughter and as I’m older than him, it’s really wounded me in my sense of myself as a woman. Also, as I’m only 5 months out from making him leave, I’m still a bit raw. In fact, I’m quite down today, still very isolated and the loneliness gets to me, especially at weekends.
      Anyway, I am truly sorry.

      • As with the others, I read your original post and I didn’t see cruel insults based on appearances and traits. The theme I’m seeing is that people who weren’t cruel are apologizing and people whose comments were rather more unsavory lean the other direction. I didn’t see cruelty in your original post. I appreciate your willingness to consider and offer apologies. That takes guts and heart and those are nice traits. I think you are describing an experience and drawing comparisons, which has the context it needs to express your ideas fully, and I don’t see any need for apology for that, personally.

    • I think the comments about cheaters aren’t so much about gaining weight, aging, etc. We all age and most of us gain weight. It’s more along the lines of how delusional they are by not aging gracefully, laughing at their crazy attempts to look young when they look ridiculous or looking really bad due to leading an unhealthy lifestyle.

  • Well he was never the world’s smartest guy, in retrospect I think it was probably me who kept him looking respectable, making sure he had clean and appropriate clothes for whatever he did, although if he was just at home or on holiday that sort of thing I left him to it and just accepted that he looked a right scruff, hard enough keeping him looking clean and tidy for when it mattered
    Once he was with OW he was on his own. I had persuaded him to take his suit rather than donate it saying that there would be times when he needed it, if only weddings and funerals etc
    He did wear it for his father’s funeral and it has a big stain down one side of the jacket, if I didn’t know that he didn’t eat it I’d have said a yoghurt stain, but you get the picture. He didn’t take the clothes brush with him ok, but he could have done something about it, even a bristle hair brush would have worked. Well one job less for me. Think he might have been bought a shirt, he was wearing a pin collar shirt which he’d never ever wanted to wear before. The rest of us were wearing black, nothing wrong with colours if that’s what the family asked for, but no one had asked for that. She was wearing a colourful jacket. Another funeral u saw him at he was the only one wearing a bright red jacket.
    He’s given up with his beard which has grown king and bushes out, all grey and it looks ridiculous but not my problem
    He was a disgusting slob, he really only regularly bathed if he was going out and there would be women there, didn’t bother if it was men only, obviously I didn’t count as a woman
    Not sartorial/grooming but his mum died first, he missed it, as he got the last possible train which was held up because it was held up for safety reasons
    I’d gone with my son, but when I thought I’d go on the train I’d looked at the times, and had ruled that one out plus the one before and the one before that because what happened if there was a delay, I’d be late
    Thank heavens he wasn’t with me, I’d have got the blame for that

  • Patreon is so lovely! Got the podcast and appreciate the gift of listening to the voices of brilliance!! Thank you Tracy. I have no idea how you keep it up, I’m very grateful to you Chump lady.
    But on to the topic at hand.
    My X2X got creepier IMO. Creepy glasses, shaved abdomen and pubs. Greasy hair slicked back. Belly got bigger because to relieve the stress of a dark 2nd life he had to eat crunchy things so chips and peanuts all over the couch..candy wrappers..eating like a squirrel prepping for winter. Up half the night looking on porn sites and on the hunt for the next victim. He was doing strangers and a coworker but was able to find a gal on line to move to Kansas and Marry him as of yesterday. My divorce was Final in July. So I have to say he got both creepier ( he would say Sexier) with the shaving and cologne and also tubby with the snacks and sugar treats constantly are hand.
    I’m so grateful to be free and he’s remarried now. New babysitter

    • I couldn’t understand how, as my FW had become a cocaine addict, he never lost any weight and remained a bit chunky.
      Then I started to notice how much high G.I. carbohydrate he ate. He’d get through a couple of boxes of cereal and several loaves of white bread a week, I’d buy multi packs of crisps and savoury snack stuff and he’d eat the lot in a few days, he’d ask me to buy 4 packs of isotonic sugary drinks from Aldi and then top them up from petrol stations plus he was a one for ice-cream cones from the petrol station as well, eaten in the forecourt and couldn’t understand why I never wanted one. I didn’t because they’re too sickly-sweet and if I’m having an ice-cream, I want to sit somewhere nice to eat it, not in a bloody petrol station!
      It seems like lying and cheating gave him a craving for quick glucose hits!

      • Interesting how the cake-eating is often quite literal. Once someone begins to indulge every impulse, it’s like the brakes come off. I witnessed the same thing during the affair and FW even began raging about only being able to eat “healthy” at home. Eventually seeing the “secret affair credit card” bill made it clear why. He and the AP were binging like hogs at a trough on sugary mixed drinks and over-priced, over-processed bistro food to the tune of about $40K over the course of 18 months. That’s got to be about a truckload of sugar and cancer/dementia-causing emulcifiers. Consequently both bloated up and ended up getting his-n’-hers root canals during the affair (likely also because the bacteria that cause caries can be “sexually transmitted).

  • XH was in great shape physically when he was with me: I love cooking and made healthy meals every night for our family, and we trained for and ran half marathons and lifted weights for our hobbies together. I’m also a non-smoker and no -drinker and go to bed early and rise early. I look younger than my age. In the past 8.5 years since I told X to GTFO and got divorced, he has aged rapidly and his health is destroyed. He’s been hospitalized for overdosing and falling and fainting and chest pains 5 times this year. AP, also an addict/alcoholic but 15 years younger than us, has developed epileptic seizures at age 42. She’s been hospitalized several times this year. They are a mess. Meanwhile, my fiancé and I are in fantastic health. We are fit and exercise daily and eat well.

    • Your way of life was too demanding for him, he had to do too many things… like an adult. With her he can do anything he wants…..and it shows. No discipline, no structure, no responsibility, just let yourself go. The idea of living like this unfortunately is appealing to a lot of people because it involves the least amount of work and discipline. Being faithful is part of being disciplined too, sometimes it takes work to stay on the path. If you go off running through the brambles, you’re gonna look like you just ran through the brambles.

    • Lol, I felt a bit like I’d performed some “build-a-bear” service for the benefit of side pieces by organizing a healthy lifestyle (mostly for the kids) which, at least at first, also made FW fitter and healthier than he would have been otherwise. Well, that build-a-stud project was quickly undone during the affair.

      • She must have been well pissed off when the “beauty” she’d poached turned into a beast! Sure, that wasn’t what she’d gone after at all, was it, lol?
        John Lydon comes to my mind “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?”!
        Funny how it backfires on so many FWs and APs, isn’t it?

  • In the last year of our fake marriage (MIRAGE) I do remember him all of a sudden wanting Cool Dude black underwear. Though he most likely had a secret sexual double life the entire twenty-seven years we were together, he did ramp up on the grooming before DDay, only to have definitely disintegrated these last five years. I don’t think dishonesty enhances your looks.

    Traitor Ex the Pimp came to Back to School Night last night. I don’t know why; from my vantage point across the room, he was looking at his phone most of the evening. Our daughter has not spoken to him in almost four years and he knows nothing about her. He’s made it clear she is not a priority in his life, but for some bizarre reason thinks it’s important to put on a show like he cares and comes to Back to School Night.

    He will be 59 next month but looks like a teenage drug dealer who is rebelling by also refusing to shower or dressy appropriately for an event. His clothes looked dirty. His hair, which is not the kind of hair which should be long (I do like long hair on guys BTW, something he refused to do when he was pretending to be married to me) is longish, in a way that looks like he’s neglected to cut it, not in an on-purpose styled way. It looked uncombed and dirty like he was sleeping in a dumpster when the alarm for Back to School Night went off and he jumped out, got on a motorcycle and drove down without a helmet.

    His face is unnaturally red and he looks haggard. He looks awful and I have heard that from friends who have run into him. It looks to me like running a secret illicit Asian massage parlor and escort service with the Craigslist cockroach is wearing on him.

    He is on a train with a brick wall at the end of the line. I’ll take my clean clear sober bullshit-free average life on my own with our daughter any day of the week. My house looks like a bomb hit it, but that’s a mess that can be cleaned up. The mess he caused can never be cleaned up and he has to live in it.

    • At the end of the day, a loyal person and a cheater are like oil and water. I will never understand cheaters and side pieces expecting loyalty from each other. It’s like shopping for your dream car at the salvage yard. The last thing I would want is an intimate partner that is fine with fucking his family over.

      • Yes, the last think I wanted was a guy who fucked over his first family. That made dating hard because most of the single middle aged guys DID fuck their first family. Finding a partner like the dear guy-chumps here is hard, but possible.

    • Oh yes, the switch from lifelong tighty whities to Cool Dude black underwear, I should have known. Also the expensive baseball cap laser light hair to regrow hair…

      • OMG, the scam laser hair growth helmet. FW kept one at the AP’s. Somehow that thing ended up in my basement hidden under a stairway. Then I spotted a mallet and construction goggles nearby and you can guess the rest. But don’t worry, I recycle.

  • Apart from becoming the angry, snarling discard monster, mine didn’t try to look better — he tried to become John Wick. Grew his hair out, attempted a beard that would only grow in patches because of his drug use and low testosterone. I’m serious about the John Wick thing though, because he was mega-obsessed to the point of watching it twice a day for about six months.

    When he left, he died his almost entirely grey hair jet black. Painfully artificially jet black. And he dyed his beard for about a year. His paunch got bigger, he looks like a long ago feral cat who discovered snacks and daytime television.

    So now he hangs around his house everyday in the same schlumpy adolescent work out clothes he used to sleep in every night. Doesn’t work out. His rosacea is in full bloom once more. He is just a middle aged slug who never sees daylight and wears a lot of polyester. When he leaves the house for business, his suits look cheap and ill-fitting.

    John Wick would be ashamed.

    • I love John Wick and one of the things I love most about the character is… loyal he is. He loved his late wife dearly, changed his life for her, and is absolutely loyal to her memory. He loves his dogs. He’s loyal to his friends. He’s not only sexy – I mean… IS Keanu Reeves playing him after all – but I love that quality of loyalty and being able to stick to his path with his own sense of honor. None of these guys are ANYTHING like John Wick. They couldn’t even understand this character.

    • Oh my, what an image.
      That was my point. My husband disintegrated the more he dived into the affair.

      • I think that disintegrating as they go deeper into an affair is the norm. I wish more men would be observant of it when they see their buddies do this and see it as the warning it is.

        I think many men say to themselves “I can flirt, that would hurt my marriage”, “I can touch her, that isnt really cheating”, “I can have sex on a business trip…what wife doesnt know won’t hurt her”, “Im only leaving her, not my kids, I will never hurt them”, “I will need money for my apartment, wife won’t know if I put the mortgage money in an escape fund”, “Me and new wife need a place to live, I will use the kids college find and pay it back someday”.

        At some point they find themselves doing things even they thought was unthinkable early on.

  • Mine went in 2 different directions….at first was using fancy face creams, shampoo and exotic teas. He was still in the military and had to stay fit. He had always been a Head & Shoulders shampoo. Folgers coffee kinds guy and his new fanciness was all OW influence.

    Right after Dday, I learned that she had bought him the shampoo he had in our shower, so I threw it across the room. Being in the ill-advised Pick-Me dance stage, I replaced it with a different brand but I added Holy Water, so he got a shot of Holy on his head everyday whether he liked it or not.

    He moved away “for a job” claiming he and OW had broken up, but she lived in the town he was working in, so our wreckonsillyation was fake an he started to show signs of stress (and was by then out of the military) and gained a ton of weight. He was “home” only a few days a month but blamed me that he was fat. Once I was driving him to the airport to go back to his job city (chumpy move) and I kept trying to catch glances at his fat self without him noticing.

    They later broke up for real and he moved home and (entirely on his own) bought a wildly expensive house we couldn’t afford then came the real estate crash of 2008 and we couldn’t afford to sell it and he griped about it every day all day. He tried to grow his hair long but never got his thick black hair to the ponytail stage and it had so much body it was goofy looking (I have some pity for him on this one). Then he died.

    I had a dream about him last night…my brain is forever trying to create situations where I get to be with new husband but first husband doesnt die. In my dream last night, Cheater looked exactly like the chubby old dude with awkward hair that he was just before he died and newhusband looked like his today self. In the dream Cheater had to come to where me and new husband were and he brought a new GF who wasn’t OW. He never had a gf after OW Susan , so I invented this person in my imagination – she was goofy and unattractive (which was comforting) blond, very short, quiet and had a huge smile and I was nice to her but thought “good luck with this, gal” .

    • What vivid dreams, Unicornnomore! No more spicy food before bed, LOL.

      When I have dreams about C#1, they always take place at my parent’s house, the home I grew up in and my dad is always still alive. The dreams often repeat the patterns and situations when C#1 and I were first married and working on our fixer house. Dad and I are trying to problem solve, and C#1 makes nonsensical comments that are neither productive nor helpful. I think it’s my dad trying to communicate with me that he’s still watching over me. If he had still been alive when C#1 pulled his BS, I think I might’ve been a widow, not a divorcee.

  • FW added manscaping (attributed the razor recommendation to a “gay client”) to his fitness and hygiene routine. The area which was yucky was the first floor guestroom he moved to following a major surgery. It smelled like mildewed laundry and I asked repeatedly why he wasn’t returning to our bedroom so I could clean it. I’m pretty sure OW was in that room.

  • But wait there’s more! My cheating first x2x went to the Golds gym every Night and found his AP there. He looked amazing and I could not believe the transformation. When D day hit right after delivery of my daughter, and he filed immediately..I actually grieved that sculpted body which had never looked better. I cried one day on his baby visit that I had no one to have sex with and he said…and I quote…hey do you want to do it one more time with me? I said sure, tell your AP and get ready for more child support if I get pregnant again. I was super pissed he would do me and her. In reality he had been into cake for at least 2 years if not 3 so a pretty reasonable request now that I look back right? Missing cake for sure. I had my place. OK so fast forward 1 year and now 150 ++ more pounds on, big gut, moody and sullen. Ms AP got her man alright and welcome to him! Not the Golds gym hunk she poached him for. She knew I was pregnant too and with a 6 year old. I went no contact with her and only communicated with X gold gym guy. This was 35 years ago ….and then I married” a nice guy” who turned into a creepy cheater after maybe 15 years but i stayed not knowing he was really a dark soul. I do believe this is a progressive, cheating so they are creeps under wraps for awhile.Dont be fooled like I was and DO NOT GO BACK.THEY DO NOT HAVE CHARACTER TRANSPLANTS. No hysterical sex, it is awful!!!Bless Chump lady who walks in the light. I never would have believed it

    • “No hysterical sex, it is awful!!” Yes, you are right.

      I wish that I had some warning about hysterical bonding…I am a very self-aware person and the immediate, intense increase in libido for him (after he told me he was divorcing me) came out of no where and I had no idea why and it was dreadfully intense. I thought my body was reminding me that I loved him. I now think that it was a primitive inner force telling me to do the “Pick Me Dance”. But as you all know, the Pick ME Dance is a terrible idea.

      Looking back, it scares me how intense that was and I seemed to have no control over it. Part of it was fear that at the age of 41 (back then)I would not have an intimate partner for YEARS if we broke up. (I was living a very serious Catholic life at the time and sex before an annulment was unthinkable for me and a divorce and annulment would take YEARS. Im still a believer isn the core tenets of Catholicism but not practicing it as strictly as I used to.)

      I did nothing ill advised like revenge-adultery or whatever, but let newbies know that this is a thing, be warned and cautious.

  • No, he didn’t let himself go. He did get nastier though. And impatient with me especially and the kids.
    The ex was suddenly working out more, started cycling and then I also noticed trimming/and or shaving his pubic hair.
    Had more ‘meetings’ to attend, worked later and longer and started picking fights with me. I know, I know ….. ALL the classic signs were there (with hindsight), but not having the mindset to cheat, it didn’t even cross my mind as he appeared to be a devoted husband and father, lacrosse coach, a regular really nice guy. Never as much as a murmur that he was unhappy, still told me daily he loved me. By then we had been together for 32 years, I thought he was just working too hard for us and our teens, taking on too much and I tried really hard to take as much pressure off him and accommodate his extra ‘responsibilities’. Turned out this was not his first rodeo, that he had always been cheating our entire time together, he was just getting sloppy or too entitled. For whatever reason, he tried harder with the latest OW – maybe because he was dreading his 50th birthday, who knows, I no longer care or even think about it.
    Occasionally, if I’m ruminating or hurting, as it’s15 years ago that I left the lying, cheating POS, I now give myself a hug and show self-compassion to that younger, genuine, naive, loving woman who tried really hard. I finally get it that it had nothing to do with me, it was a character defect that he no longer cared to hide from either our kids or me. It took me a while, but a steady diet of Tracy’s wisdom and wit and a sense of belonging to CN has led me to a place of peace and contentment. I thought it was the worst thing that ever happened to me (besides the deaths of both my parents within a year of each other), that I would never stop hurting or recover and I was truly devastated. And here I am, as happy as a lark, free, comfortable in my skin. All thanks to CL, CN, Time. In that order.
    Hugs to all.

    • “Had more ‘meetings’ to attend, worked later and longer and started picking fights with me. ”

      Same for my situation, and when I questioned him he said it was work pressure. Since the change coincided with his last promotion, I bought it for almost a year, then as he amped up the meanness, I started to figure it out.

    • It is wonderful how many people Tracy Schorn has helped and healed and comforted, and let so many people know that THEY are not crazy, THEY are not wrong. It shows how much good one person can do. Thank you, Tracy Schorn, I preach your name everywhere I go for those who have been betrayed. You have been a godsend to us.

      • I second that!
        Thank you Tracy, for keeping us grounded in the reality that cheats cheat and lie because they are wired up wrong, simple as that!

  • Sounds like your FW was having some psychological problems. But dont untangle. Either way an unsuitable mate.

  • FW was always fit and extremely proud of his physique. He retired a few months before D-day and joined a gym because, he argued, he now had the time. I felt happy for him! He lapped up the attention from his attractive, younger female trainer and increased his workouts. He bought protein powder and started to lift weights. He got a massive, upper-thigh fish tattoo that I’ve already mentioned too many times on this site. [Found out after D-Day that the AP got one too. Twinsies! ] He had hemorrhoids removed. He started taking Viagra (first practicing on me).

    And he became very forgetful. Example: he neglected to turn off the grill after cooking dinner. I noticed the flames in the am. Yes, I thought he either had a brain tumor or was in the early stages of dementia. I felt sorry for him. Turns out that maintaining a secret double life is really, REALLY hard. So many things to juggle!! The mind is bound to fail at times.

    I have no idea how he looks now. Don’t really care. If I had to say, I’d wager that he still tries to look good because he’s always prided himself on being trim and in shape. The AP is quite a bit younger, so I would think he has an incentive to spruce things up so that he’s not mistaken for her dad. But who knows? He’s a heavy drinker. Doubt he’s stopped. That can take a toll.🤷🏻‍♀️

      • Yes. He never got that. He assumed she liked him, that he turned her on.
        He once had a lap dance and told me that the woman (who could’ve been his daughter or granddaughter! 🤮) told him he was “hot.” And he believed her.🤦🏻‍♀️

        Tips indeed. Yeesh.

        • OMG, mine did this too! He had a lap dancer promise him a blow job if he came back with a condom. “I think she liked me” is what he told me. No you idiot. She just wanted to get paid! He said another stripper, who he gave a lot of money to, “needed him”. Yeah right. She needs your money you insanely stupid man.

  • My FW got fat. Went from a 34″ waist to a 42″. He even developed an impressive set of man boobs. Schmoopie got thinner. He must have told her I was fat (I’m 5’8″ and 120 lbs.) so she engaged in a raging combination of anorexia and bulimia.
    Charming pair.

    • ExWifeof SparkleDick – FW didn’t tell AP you were fat. She saw you. And has been competing with you ever since — trying to be as thin. Sounds like she’s been living in a Hell of her own making. (or he also contributed to it… saying you were thinner and making her feel bad about herself)

      • @MichelleShocked
        Probably. She did see me once. When my attorney deposed them about f*cking each other. I do admit I looked rather fabulous that day. She looked as you suspect a Schmoopie would look. Kinda pathetic. I won’t repeat what my attorney said about her. It wasn’t nice. At all. And I hugged his neck after he said it.

  • Mine went out of his way to get in very good shape for the AP. They broke up and he dropped the uber-fitness plan. He lost muscle/gained weight, but he was still in the realm of where he ad often been while with me.

    I 100% thought he had a brain tumor. Not because of the fitness regimen, but because of spiritual ideas he had adopted. He went from being basically 100% non-religious/non-spiritual and a complete skeptic to believing the most out there concepts around. I don’t judge those that have similar beliefs, I never have. But HE always had. And it wasn’t like he dipped his toe into that world, he was diving into the deepest of deep ends. It was such a change for him and in such a major way that one day as he was going on and on about these beliefs to me, the idea of “oh my gosh, does he have a brain tumor?” crossed my mind. It seemed to suddenly make it all make sense.

    His infidelity introduced so much chaos into my life and so much of it was hard to wrap my head around, but his new found beliefs are STILL that hardest for me to grasp.

    • It is weird how much they change. My ex went the super spiritual route for a while, in fact he started college to become a preacher. But, he got tossed out of one church and frozen out of another.

      Honestly when my son told me he was wanting to be a preacher, I just didn’t hold back the laughter. Then I corrected myself and said well maybe he has changed. He hadn’t. That didn’t last long, he then started gambling, guess the preaching didn’t provide as big a kick as illicit sex. He had previously cheated on the whore after they married, (son said she had left him a coup0le times for his cheating) but no way was she going to release that meal ticket. I can only assume his rapidly progressing emphysema put a stop to a lot of that, then he turned shortly to the preacher thing, then abandoned that for gambling.

      It is only recently that I read of the ever growing connections between adultery and gambling.

      • They’ve done studies that show that people who cheat seem to have a higher tendency towards risk taking behavior – it may be genetic actually, I seem to recall that (which doesn’t mean everyone has to do it, of course!) but I think the tendency to do these kinds of risky behaviors – cheating, drinking, gambling, fighting, physical abuse, being in professions like the military, police, etc – all seem to kind of go together and it involve personalities that are risk taking and usually extraverted and it seems to be genetic. Salesmen are another big category. My 1st cheater was both a salesman and military. And a pilot, LOLOLOL. So he was the trifecta of risk taking and a serial cheater. Fortunately we never married but he dumped me unexpectedly after a few years and took of to another state with another woman. Just up and left, not even a word to me. Never heard or saw from him again.

        • My FW is prone to risk-taking behaviour too, particularly with driving! He had a van and clipped someone else’s car in a local car park because he was under the influence at the time. I only found out about it when plain-clothes guards came to my door about it, and the woman was in a right bad mood about it and all; probably because that sort of thing is usually a uniform’s job, and beneath her but still. That cost him 180 Euros but he still didn’t learn because a few weeks after the guards turned up, he drove it drunk again and into the ditch, writing it off altogether!
          Then, a few weeks after I had made him move out, he got the sack from work for being intoxicated whilst driving a work’s van! He could have maimed or killed someone but yet, he bought a van for himself and drove to my house TWICE! The first time I could tell he’d had a few, then he came back again later and he was well oiled plus probably coked-up and had a bottle of cider he was swigging out of, but it was alright because he was only driving it between here and his mother’s place so of course, nothing bad could POSSIBLY happen, could it?!
          He must have sold that van and then bought a car but last week the guards took it off him because he was driving around the city with no road tax nor insurance on it! So, stupid risk after stupid risk and he just does not seem to ever learn! I’m so relieved it’s not my problem anymore!

        • I think the common factor is a need for external stimulation and validation. Cheating, gambling, drinking, risk-taking generally – it’s a pattern.

  • My FW lost so much weight she could enter a locked room by sliding under the door. Her hair was also coming out in handfuls. I was concerned and asked her to see her doctor. She of course blamed me for causing her so much stress. Well, I suppose it is hard to juggle a husband along with screwing at least two co-workers and dealing with the contempt of the others in the workplace.
    My bad.

  • This was my experience! When I caught him “talking” to a girl 18 years younger than him 7 years before Final DDay, he was thinner than he had ever been! When I caught him talking to someone else right before Final DDay, he was fatter than he’d ever been in the 20 years I had known him. Like 40 or 50 lbs heavier than normal. So I thought there’s no way he’s fucking somebody else while that fat. Well, I was WRONG. And I have no idea how many women or how many hookers there were, but it was more than one of each. So gross.

  • my 60-year-old X did a lot of shopping for clothing but his style changed to a much younger look: designer jeans and tight t-shirts. tattoos. running shoes. he’s has a 41-year-old AP who has tattoos, etc. etc. keep in mind that they’re both executives.

    i haven’t seen him in a couple of years but my daughter recently said that he’s changed his appearance/demeanour/countenance so much that if she saw him on the street, she wouldn’t recognize him. she only sees him once/week at his house, a limited environment. then she commented on his black, shark eyes.

  • Mine lost a few pounds, toned up, began buying more stylish clothing and accessories (eyeglasses, etc.). He traded in his old, inexpensive sports car for a newer, flashier one. I was thrilled! These were all things I had been encouraging him to do for years. Unfortunately he wasn’t doing it for me, but for all of the desperate-for-a-man women he was meeting at his various MeetUp groups over a four county area (and in various other states he visited on business trips). He also deleted his Facebook page – so I couldn’t tag him in any family photos.

  • My Ex’s were never as attractive as they thought they were. They went downhill from there. Living a dissolute lifestyle is not good for your health. I didn’t marry for their looks, they could carry on a conversation, and had potential. That was all my chump self needed back then, a whiff of potential. I was a “fixer” back then.

    I believe they never interrupted their roaming ways. Marriage was just a stop at the useful, security store for them. Both had secret porn habits I found out about, too late. I think porn is like a brain tumor — it weasels its way into the thinking of the porn addicts, and all potential partners are a series of interchangeable parts and are all “hot for it” all the time. Porn behavior is not based in reality but is a twisted way of thinking about other people’s usefulness and lifestyles. Porn users insert themselves into their own fantasy world, and they don’t see their own growing bellies, or unkept hair. In their minds they are a Superhero, rescuing the next AP from some dire sexless world. Their sex is magic and solves all the problems they have. It is complete fantasy.

    The physical deterioration from living a life in the secret sexual basement is a very real thing. It is sad to watch. New underwear, or new scents, or going to the gym does not change who you are. It’s fine to make changes which make you feel better about yourself on the outside, but you have to work on yourself on the inside first. I actually looked and felt better after my divorces because all the stress of living with a cheater was gone. Stress would have killed me. I was lucky enough to figure out how to educate and care for myself to fix my picker.

    The Super Heros were killed by their own kryptonite. The Super Villian lived inside their own minds.

    • “I think porn is like a brain tumor — it weasels its way into the thinking of the porn addicts, and all potential partners are a series of interchangeable parts and are all ‘hot for it’ all the time.” Yes! I agree. And it desensitizes the viewer so that he actually needs more and more–more porn, more extreme scenes, more partners in real life, different positions, sexier lingerie. It just escalates.

      As I wrote recently (yesterday?), my ex said that he didn’t need porn with the AP. No shit! She was the new thing, the porn actress come to life. Alas, my guess is that the bloom is off the rose and he’s back to his daily porn habit.

      • Same! My ex “used” his AP to attempt to replace porn, which he had a serious addiction to. Porn was one of the few things he did actually admit to being a problem and had even more shame around it than he did about his affair(s), incredibly enough. He admitted it escalated and he ended up using more and more and seeing more and more “extreme” acts which he claimed he “didn’t want to see,” yet I later learned he started doing did these acts (choking, domination, bondage, etc) with the AP, and yet he didn’t think that had to do with his porn usage. He actually blamed this new fetish on me, because I’d been dealing with a very serious chronic illness for many years and I couldn’t “put his needs above mine” (sexually or otherwise), so naturally full submission to his desires with no concern for one’s own desires (and making his desires the only focus) was what he craved to “restore balance.”

        Whatever porn he was watching was apparently so bad / shameful that he refused to tell me, so I’m now guessing (having learned of its existence here) that he was paying for and interacting with live cam girls. He actually said to me that his addiction to porn was so bad that he felt the affair was “healthier” for him than porn was, and that he was using less of it now that he was with her. Eventually I found out that 1) that was a lie, he escalated to paying for porn as their affair deepened, as I discovered on our bank records, and 2) they had lots of cyber sex and photos were sent, all based on his requests for positioning and style and acts. So essentially, he attempted to replace porn with an AP, which didn’t even work.

        He also felt so entitled to this form of sex; he rationalized after d-day that since I couldn’t meet his sexual needs that were genuine needs (not desires, but true needs), he should be able to get it elsewhere, and really I should have encouraged him to do so. TBT, we had many conversations that lead to me asking if we needed to open our marriage, such was my concern for his ever worsening depression that I couldn’t “fulfill his needs sexually” (which at the time I just thought meant more frequency, not fetishes) but he always claimed he “didn’t want that,” and even though I didn’t either, I would have gladly taken it over being cheated on, which was a fear I expressed often. Yet he also said that this form of sexuality was “dark” and that’s why he couldn’t bring it to me… he was doing me a favor, you see! I was so pure and now I was free to have a “healthy” sexuality with someone else. Of course he refused to see how much my sexuality was damaged by his actions, because in the end he believes it will all be for the best. He was yet again “martyring” himself for me and protecting me. It’s all been for me! He gave me everything! Why can’t I see how selfish I am and how selfless and giving he is?

        I regret so much that I made my husband’s sexual needs the focus of my very limited energy (he made me feel guilty if I had extra energy and decided to take a short walk, for example, rather than have sex with him) for so many years. It was selfish of me to do otherwise, you see, because he did so much for me in terms of caregiving and paying the bills when I was recovering from a serious neurological injury that nearly killed me. If I felt too sick to have sex, or my vagina was too raw or painful (I had chronic vaginitis for years that “suddenly” disappeared once we separated), I would get his passive aggressive anger / depression and silent treatment thrown at me and feel such guilt and worthlessness. My first thought every time my vagina exploded into pain and itching was my ex’s state of mind at not being able to have sex, never my own pain. My desires didn’t matter sexually, and that was the point. He was really only in a good mood / acting truly loving after we had sex, so if I wanted him to not be depressed, it was my job to fix it.

        Once I started getting better and wanted sex to (also) be about my desires and interest again, he started to withdraw. I didn’t understand. He was so desperate to have more sex for all of these years; now that I had more energy and really wanted it too, why wasn’t he celebrating? I later realized it was all about control: someone giving and him taking. There was no reciprocity, including with the AP. Porn teaches this. He even complained once (as we were divorcing) that the AP was starting to bug him by telling him her problems too much; he was going to have to put a stop to that, he said. She was meant to give to him, that was their relationship (although she apparently “liked this” and he “returned” this favor via very expensive dinners and room service and who knows what else, to the tune of $4000 a weekend, all of which I figured out later). He said he felt he gave too much to me while I was sick and resented me for it (he only later admitted this once the mask dropped; he was by all accounts a “struggling but loving husband” while I was sick), yet while I was sick he also said once that he feared me “getting better and no longer needing him and leaving.” I never understood why or how he could think that. He was my best friend and partner of 23 years (since we were both 19!) — I loved him madly, why on earth would I leave once I was better? Why wouldn’t we both just be ecstatic?

        Anyway this is getting long and off topic; just getting it off my chest I guess. Thanks for reading!

        Oh and P.S. My health recovery has SKYROCKETED since I divorced him. Turns out years of living under abuse and gaslighting is really quite bad for your health. Who knew?

        • “He actually blamed this new fetish on me, because I’d been dealing with a very serious chronic illness for many years and I couldn’t “put his needs above mine” (sexually or otherwise), so naturally full submission to his desires with no concern for one’s own desires (and making his desires the only focus) was what he craved to “restore balance.””

          Wow. That is some twisted, evil “logic.”
          Dude’s a misogynistic, sadistic, massively entitled POS. Whatever woman he’s with now, he is guaranteed to be abusing. He’s abuse-o-sexual.

          I am happy your health improved with the removal of the porn slob tumor. 🙂

    • “Their sex is magic and solves all the problems they have. It is complete fantasy.”

      As I have matured and had time to think through and really know for sure how it was, I really think that this aspect of adultery is totally underplayed. In the efforts to blame the BS I assume. It is I believe totally (at least when the affair starts) about the thrill of illicit sex. Then of course for many as they have more and more illicit sex the spouse starts to not look as good and they think the “magic” with the adultery partner will last forever. In other words they are 17 again.

      I guess they think because we stayed faithful, it was because they provided magic while we didn’t? Who knows what these shit heads think.

      • I think they’re after the ego boost of somebody else fancying them as well as the thrill of sordid, illicit encounters. It’s also a way of getting one over on us if our sex drive has revved up and driven off like mine did, and every other long-term relationship I’ve been in. I felt bad and guilty about that for a long time but I’ve realised that every time it was because THEY weren’t meeting MY needs! My needs to be treated as a person, a human being, to be able to trust and rely on them, to be prioritised and cherished. I kept an unconsciously-driven physical distance with all of them because to put it bluntly, they were all abusive to me in some way or another, either overtly or covertly.
        The RIC and FWs love to DARVO us chumps with their “unmet needs” but when are OUR very real unmet needs, such as for prioritisation, empathy, truth, love, respect and loyalty, ever taken into account? They don’t seem to think WE have any needs but then, we’re only appliances, aren’t we?
        This is why so many of us end up ill when they’re with us, and our health starts to improve once we’re rid of them, especially if we can maintain No Contact. They are literal poison!

        • I remember my XW telling me “you never say you love me”; I responded “yes I do”, to which she responded “yes, but you have to because you’re my husband”. I think this pretty much sums up the entire dynamic of the “sordid, illicit encounters”: the same words and actions from the AP will be more meaningful than from us, precisely because the AP isn’t supposed to say those or do those things. In a perverse way, AP got more credit with my wife for saying he loved her than I – her husband – did. I’m sure it went double for him because he was married to someone else, so my wife got the thrill of hearing and doing things that he was supposed to reserve for his own wife. Once they go down that path there’s really nothing we can do: no matter how good we are (and I was, objectively, an extremely supportive husband; XW reported a conversation with her coworkers a few years earlier where she had characterized me as “my saint of a husband”; it didn’t occur to me that being a “saint” was maybe not an attractive quality to her) our efforts will never outshine the AP’s because they are *expected” rather than new, shiny, and surprising.

  • In retrospect, one of the red flags for FW’s cheating was his sudden interest in shaving his pubic area. Silly me, I believed his explanation of “The hair gets so long and it gets caught on my underwear” (FW wore boxers, so explain how this is possible) or, “The hair gets caught in my zipper” WTF?? Really? Honestly, I was far too busy taking care of four kids and working to care too much about it.
    Actually, I have since realized shaving your pubes is de rigueur for the graphic close-up pictures you plan to take of the men and women APs you will be with. The pictures of FW and his various APs at expensive nudist resort weekend getaways look better when your pubes are shaved too.
    Of course, hindsight is 20-20. But I wish I had called him on his bullshit when I saw it. I wish I had connected the dots. I could have saved myself 36 years, a whole wasted lifetime. Maybe this will help someone reading this to connect the dots a little faster than I could.

    • For a long time I thought how stupid and horrific to take pics and post them. And I do still think it is stupid to post naked pics, unless of course sex is what you are selling. Then I guess pics are a must.

      But, then I remember that I let fw take nude polaroid’s of me when we were young. I asked him about those pics when we D’d, and he said he had destroyed them. Who knows.

      But back then of course I trusted him and never thought about anyone else seeing them.

      I kind of wish I could see them again, now that I am 73. They were at least done tastefully (I insisted on that), not spread eagle or anything like that.

      • I never understood the appeal of dick pics. It’s not like when I’m attracted to a guy I demand him to unzip his pants so I can see what he “really” looks like. It’s not the prettiest part of the human body in general and most of these pics are very unimpressive.

        • I know, I mean to say, just WHY?? Do they think it’ll send us mad with desire or something? The sort of men who do that have no notion nor understanding of female sexuality at all. They think that because they’d love to get photos of women’s nether regions, we must feel the same way about photos of their nethers!
          I’ve never come across a woman who does though, have you?

    • Lucky, your post helped me. FW shaved down there when we were dating 20 years ago, yet more evidence his porn/hookers/etc went way back. Although him taking me to strip club on our honeymoon should have been a red flag…

      • “Although him taking me to strip club on our honeymoon should have been a red flag…”
        There was a story I saw about a FW who disappeared on his honeymoon. The bride was terrified and called the police. He was later found in a some run down shack, surrounded by porn. Your story isn’t that bad, but it’s still pretty bad.

  • Oh and another thing. This one is kind of funny to me. At my grandsons HS graduation in 2010, my now husband and I sat across the room from my son and the ex. Son asked us to join, but I said I wanted to sit on the lower seats.

    Anyway at the time we had bought a new camera with a zoom lenz, and I was just kind of looking around. I spotted my son and his wife and daughter, then I spotted my ex fw and the whore sitting below them. I was horrified and also amused.

    I handed the camera to my H and said see where “son” is over there? Now look at the old fat guy with a long beard, and so he did. Then I said that is sons dad. He looked like an old frumpy mountain goat. His beard was down below his ample belly. It shocked me. I am so glad I missed out on that.

  • X was always very handsome.
    I didn’t notice any grooming changes, only that he started to pick fights and of course that is always the precursor to the big reveal : “Me & Co worker have… er… gotten close…”
    SHE is the one who went through a total metamorphosis- lost approximately 75 pounds, got a few tattoos, a new “do” and tossed her husband out.
    She is 20 years younger than me.
    I told X at the time: “Youth” – isn’t catchy. You’re still OLD.
    Fast forward 4 years?
    They are still together.
    He looks like dead man walking.
    He left me for youth and a better life. He found neither.
    I’m sure she wonders what happened to that handsome guy.
    I’m glad he degraded on her watch, and not mine.

  • Raising my hand for “I thought maybe he had a brain tumor.” But my ex not only had his side piece but also his “inner woman,” and when she’d make an appearance his behavior and what he’d say was off the charts strange.

    • Honestly, there were times when I thought I was the one with a brain tumor or early-onset dementia.

      Here’s my pop-psych reasoning (apologies to any folks reading this who are actual professionals in this area): I think this happened because my subconscious and body were aware that something was wrong, but my conscious mind wasn’t. This dissonance must have caused confusion, which is why I became forgetful and was extremely stressed. I was miserable.

      Only other chumps can appreciate the devastation of the devaluation/discard phase. It’s hurts like hell. I didn’t know what was going on. I just knew that he was sullen, seemed to want to go in separate cars (always with a good excuse), and ignored me on walks together. I thought he was upset about his recent retirement, that he was having trouble adjusting to this new phase. I should have been more alarmed then when I googled information about how to end my life.

      It’s this discard/devaluation part of my mirage (thanks, VH) that causes me the most distress, even now. The word “trauma” is thrown around a lot these days, but, honestly, I was traumatized. He ignored me and was mean. Throughout that period, we had fairly frequent sex. I made the mistake of thinking that sex meant love. Silly me.

      • “I think this happened because my subconscious and body were aware that something was wrong, but my conscious mind wasn’t. This dissonance must have caused confusion, which is why I became forgetful and was extremely stressed. I was miserable.”

        I very deeply and seriously saw fucking other people as such a wild outlier, I couldn’t and didn’t consciously see this is a possibility in my life. I knew that he acted like he hated me even though I danced in circles trying to please him. This caused deep confusion and conflict in me and I was, as you said, extremely stressed and miserable.

        When he was in grad school, the kids kept us busy, I worked and he always had school commitments. We were invited to a wedding where all his classmates would be. I looked SO forward to a nice event together. It took weeks to arrange childcare and be off work, I got dressed up and he looked dashing in his military best in the wedding party. He treated me like shit and the whole day looked like he was so miserable, he wanted to crawl out of his own skin. I now realize that he was likely fucking one or more women there. I hope that he and God had a chat about that day in Purgatory.

  • My FW went from being an obsessed runner and working out to gaining about 50 pounds in a short amount of time. She was always a stylish dresser and that went out the door along with her. My “wow” moment was when she showed up to a school event in dirty vans, sweats, and a trucker baseball hat.
    Now that she broke up with the AP, I’m predicting she’ll suddenly go back to working out and dressing well. Like most FW’s, it all depends on who she is around the most. Whatever they are into, she’ll be obsessed with the same thing in a short time and start having their mannerisms and talk like them.

    Did anyone else experience that with their FW even throughout your marriage? Mine always absorbed the interests and personality traits of those around her. She would soon get bored though and drop friends like it didn’t matter and start mirroring a new one. Looking back, that’s exactly what happened when we met. I was suckered in by all the shared interests I thought we had and how much we had in common. I was young and didn’t understand what I do now. It was only a matter of time before I was the one dropped for a new one, especially when our kids started getting older and more independent.

    • “Mine always absorbed the interests and personality traits of those around her.”

      100%. As soon as he broke up with AP and lost some of the loser friends he had being hanging with, he stopped the activities he’d been doing, including drinking. He even lost interest in sports without his buddies around. They have no identity of their own, therefore they have no genuine interests or even hobbies they really care about. FW used to be obsessed with biking, claiming it was a legit interest of his, but it was just because he had a buddy who was into it. When he lost the buddy, he sold all his bikes.

  • Mine was the typical press-ups every night, rolled up skinny jeans, under armour tops, swaggering, I’m the greatest lover cheater. After I had been dumped, before I knew about the affair with exgfOW, we were eating at a restaurant. For some reason the ex looked at me, looked at the waiter, and said ‘men get better looking as they get older’. The ex was 53 and I was 59. ExgfOW was 52. I was so humiliated and the waiter clearly felt sorry for me because he gave me a compliment in response. The thing is that the ex is now 57 and exgfOW (or whatever she is now) is 56. I’m a free and happy youthful 63, often mistaken for someone 10 years younger. ExgfOW has had 4 years of bliss with the ex and I suspect that she isn’t quite as spry as she was and her bar for spryness was very low!

    • I had friends tell me that I looked like I was aging backwards after I got rid of the ex. Living with that kind of negativity is exhausting. People regularly think I’m younger than my actual age now.

      • I recently ran into a friend I hadn’t seen in years, and she did a double take. She said she almost didn’t recognize me, because I looked so much younger!

        • And it all is what it is, ultimately. I’ve suffered from a lot of bullying during my 63 years. I’m entitled to walk the planet and I do. I’ve never cheated, and I am kind (I was accused by the ex of being ‘too altruistic’). I see no reason to make the world a worse place no matter what has happened to me in my life. I do me. If other people struggle with that, it’s their problem to investigate with family, friends, therapy (I’ve spent thousands that I could ill afford getting some way close to getting over the trauma of what the ex did to me).

  • Mine got shingles. Around that time was when I had the first DDay. We were in our early 30s. Way to young for shingles to normally appear. I guess living a double life is stressful.

  • My exFW looks horrible now. He cheated our entire 30 years so he didn’t let himself go then, but now that we are divorced he looks like Hell. My SIL ran into him and thought he was a homeless man! His clothes were dirty, his shoes a mess, his hat had sweat stains. His skin is horrible and he’s gained a lot of weight (to be fair, so have I). She was shocked at his appearance. I guess when you don’t have a wife appliance to wash your clothes and help you with skin care that’s what you get. I also understand that he hasn’t cooked a single meal since I kicked him out two years ago. Literally eating out three meals a day. And he’s proud of this!

  • I thought my ex-husband was developing dementia. Both of our mothers had Alzheimer’s, and I thought that’s what was going on. Suddenly he was “forgetting” to pay the insurance bill (the only bill he was paying), having single car and at-fault accidents, neglecting boat maintenance, and falling frequently. The falls were often due to some risky behavior that even teenagers know is dangerous. I was trying to get him to the doctor for a check-up. Then he told me he had deliberately stopped paying the insurance to stick it to me.

    He also grew his hair long (because mine was short) and started wearing it in a ridiculous, scraggly pony tail. He stopped washing his hair, frequently neglected bathing, must have misplaced his tooth brush, and moved out of our bedroom refusing to tell me why. (When he did discuss it, it was because I had had breast cancer and extensive surgery, and he said, “I can’t achieve satisfaction because now your stomach sticks out more than your tits.”)

    Meanwhile, scantily clad young women his daughter’s age or younger and pictured in provocative poses started appearing as his Facebook “friends.”

    The last time I saw him, at his daughter’s wedding, he was wearing muddy crocs with his tux, and his hair was to the middle of his back, unwashed and scraggly. I couldn’t believe it was him; he looked so unkempt and ridiculous. When I married him, he was handsome, well groomed and, of course, charming.

    • “(When he did discuss it, it was because I had had breast cancer and extensive surgery, and he said, “I can’t achieve satisfaction because now your stomach sticks out more than your tits.”)”

      🤬 Evil bastard!

      Muddy crocks with a tux? What in the hell?

  • Brain Tumor – Check
    Surly FW – Check
    Oddly concerned about his back hair – Check

    He did not let himself go at first. When we first separated he spent all his time with the other woman. He met her through running, so they spent time running. She dumped him before the divorce was final. He thought I would take him back. LOL!

    For awhile after she dumped him, he spruced himself up a bit. Then he blew out his knee and had to have some kind of surgery. The self-pity was huge. After that he packed on the pounds. I haven’t seen him in years, so I don’t know the current state of his beer gut or the grayness of the beard. And I don’t want to know.

    • Yes, that reminds me that mine starting asking me to pluck his back hair! I wonder if he had an AP back then…

      • My FW had grown patches of back hair over the years as well. I missed when he used to have lovely smooth skin on his back but still didn’t get the ick for some reason. He used to mention me going over it with the No No gadget I’d bought but only at bedtime when I was too wrecked and I used to offer to wax it instead because I’d joke that it’d knacker my gadget if I used it on him. Of course he didn’t want waxing, lol, and mainly he’d just end up getting me to scratch it which I would do under sufferance.
        I still can’t understand why I never got the ick, still haven’t yet though I keep trying to. If I’m objective, I can see he’s no oil painting at all so you’d think it’d be easy but no. I suppose it’s early days and I just did actually really love him? And look what that got me! Oh well!

    • “She dumped him before the divorce was final. He thought I would take him back. LOL!”

      I just love that.

      • Mine did this too. Was so incredibly angry that I didn’t jump at being his Plan B.

  • My cheater ex-wife entered a phase where she started cheating with dudes she met playing World of Warcraft, sometimes flying thousands of miles to hook up under false stories to me and our sons about where she was going and why.

    During this time she became obsessed with WoW, played more than 1,500 hours in a year (a full-time job is 2,000 hours). Many nights she stayed up until 3 or 4 a.m. on “raids.” She started drinking while she played, and I often found an empty bottle of wine next to her computer in the morning. She gained weight, maybe 50 pounds? She was forced out of her business partnership, started a new business, and did nothing to develop it, and consequently made no money. She became someone I did not recognize and struggled to admire and cherish as I had for 20+ years.

    Put me in the must-be-a-brain-tumor camp.

    Meanwhile, when I compared the credit card bills with her travel schedule, I discovered she alway traveled with a fresh hair cut and dye job, new lingerie, and a fresh wax job. While I saw her as a wreck needing help, she saw herself as fabulous, clever, and cool.

    • That’s amazing to me. Meeting people through games. It’s those 4am ‘Raids’ that do them in…and the drinking…to me, it’s the inside working outwards.

  • Sounds like She Chump’s husband turned into Jack Nicholson in The Shining. That never ends well.

    • HaHa, Mehitable, you don’t know the half of it! He totally turned from a bodybuilder to an ogre, rather suddenly. He also tried to steal a lot of assets off me during the process. His devious mind was destroying him internally.

  • In my cheater ex’s case, there was no start to the cheating because it was a lifelong state of being in all of her relationships at all times apparently. But she was blessed with a magic metabolism and perfect teeth despite eating trash, never exercising, and not having exceptional dental hygiene. So she dressed just as sloppily or fancy the whole time because she was always cheating and DGAF about anyone else.

  • I haven’t spoken to my worst abuser cheater since 2016. But my boyfriend and I were out a few weeks ago and I actually saw my cheater across the street. I told my boyfriend he was over there and I would prefer not to encounter him. We went into a little coffee shop for pastries.

    I could still see him through the window and I noticed something…

    His bald spot.

    The man is only about 36 and has a bald spot visible from ACROSS THE STREET.

    • If he needs recommendations for a cheap shitty toupee I could out him in touch with my ex. Lol

  • In the last 5 years of our marriage, my cheater was constantly promising that he was “going to get healthy,” lose weight (which I did not ask him to do, or make an issue of…), restart his meditation practice, stop drinking… but somehow never did. The bottles piled up in the garage, the expensive exercise equipment went unused, he also moved to a different bedroom because his weight made his snoring worse (hence the promises to get healthy… so he could come back to our shared bed…), we never seemed to have enough money, and he would go on “day hikes” and come home so exhausted he would pass out in a chair. NOW I recognize that he was “hiking” just far enough away from the house to pull out his first (? or second? who knows?) joint of the day and get high, then come home and pass out. Then he would rouse himself for dinner, then “walk the dog” during which he smoked again, and called his girlfriend. I just couldn’t understand my own reaction to his behavior… didn’t the dog need to be walked? Wasn’t he entitled to go out on a nice, healthy, hike for exercise? Of course! But my gut knew something was OFF, though I didn’t figure it out for years. Sometimes I still feel so stupid about it, but then I remember that he lied to 4 marriage counselors, his medical doctor, his psychiatrist, and his counselor. If he fooled all those professionals, I never stood a chance.

    • Of course, he’s now lost 50# so… someone is getting the “healthy” version of him! But I don’t have to worry about any of it.

  • I saw a recent pic of my X and commented to my daughter that I was surprised he was able to get himself pregnant at his age.

    It’s not that he put on weight … he acquired a beer gut, which is a whole different thing.

  • Hand up on the brain tumor. I begged XH’s brother to come to see him because I just knew he was severely ill when he left me. A switch flipped and he was gone like a fart in the wind. 18 hours before, I thought we were happily married.

    Initially, my XH lost weight. Nay, a lot of weight. I saw him naked the week before he left for OW and told him that he desperately needed to gain weight as he was looking sickly. I also caught him flexing his non-muscles in the bathroom mirror. He was growing out a long goatee to go with his shaved head. Certainly not the clean-cut looking, preppy guy that I married. He was also running a full marathon every month.

    It’s been 10 years since he left. He quickly married OW. The had a kid about 4 years ago (He’s 52). My friend saw him in the parking lot of a grocery store with his skank and their child a few weeks back. XH didn’t acknowledge friend (friend was once his boss). He quickly walked away. My friend tells me he is fat! His beard is long and gray. She said she would never envision me dating someone that looked like him. Funny thing is he told me he was divorcing me because I was unattractive (physically and emotionally).

    • “Funny thing is he told me he was divorcing me because I was unattractive (physically and emotionally).”

      Where would FWs be without their beloved projection. They’d have to face their own flaws, and that simply will not do.

  • I had no idea this was a thing!

    I literally thought he would never cheat because he was so lazy and had really stopped trying to look good. He was sloppy, his hair was overgrown, his beard was scruffy, and his clothes were wrinkled and baggy (except over his little pot belly). I have certainly gained weight, so I figured this was just middle age. I always assumed cheaters started working out, losing weight, dressing differently, etc.

    This is why I was so shocked when one of his reasons for cheating was that he was no longer attracted to me because of how I looked. He looked almost nothing like the man I met, whereas I’ve always carried a little more weight. However, I always took care of myself and he seemed to stop altogether.

    Then again, when you have paid every one of your APs, I guess all that matters is your card goes through or you pay in cash. >>shrug<<

  • Mine didn’t gussy himself up for the ow–on the contrary, he completely stopped exercising, gained weight, and tried to lose it on the Atkins diet. The ketosis caused stinky sweat and breath that smelled like nail polish remover. On top of all this, he had erectile dysfunction. Because diabetes ran in his family, I made him go to the doctor. No diabetes and nothing wrong with his pecker (well, I obviously found out the truth later). He always wore the same stretched out, torn, dirty, orange sweat pants (my kids called them his “prison pants”).

    Fast forward 13 years, he is still struggling with his weight and blood pressure, and walks with a pronounced limp. His wife (the ow) has recently developed a neurological disorder and probably can’t attend to his, er, needs. As for me, yes, I’ve gained a few pounds, but exercise every day and have good blood pressure, especially for a woman of 62. And I enjoy eating a vegetarian diet–Atkins turned me off from meat for sure.

  • 100 lbs overweight, dressed like a hobo. He was not motivated to trim down for me though he knew I would appreciate that and even though I did everything I could to help him lose weight. Frustrated, I remember thinking, “Naahhhh, he won’t cheat.. who would want ever to have an affair with him?” Problem solved— he purcha$$ed call girls.

    • Mine had gone to seed a bit during the time we were married but I loved him so I didn’t care that he wasn’t the hench, super-fit ,sexy bit-of-rough with the body of a Greek god he was when I met him. I piled on the weight over the years too, going from a UK size 8 in 2008 to size 18 by last Spring. I lost a stone in a week and a half when he disappeared and abandoned me over Holy Week and Easter of 2022, and lost another pile of weight in May this year and am now down to a size 10-12, with some loose skin in places as I’m 62 now and it’s not as springy as it was!
      He didn’t really do much to himself when he started subtly devaluing me before he actually found someone to cheat with. He was shaving is head more often but also still spending most of his time wearing his scruffy working clothes, eating far too much carbs and sugar and not enough healthy food and was still chunky despite the cocaine addiction.
      I do remember one evening though, he’d gone to fill up the work’s van and came back saying he’d spilt petrol on his work clothes and was wearing clothes he’d normally save for “best”, though they were nothing special, just chinos and a clean top, then he went in. I’d said I could smell the petrol and he should rinse his work clothes under the outside tap, even though it was dark and cold and they’d have been too wet to wear at work, but then if they HAD really been soaked in petrol, he wouldn’t have been able to wear them either. As it was he just threw them in the back of the van and left.
      It was only later that night I realised that there’d have been a much worse smell if the clothes had really been soaked and he’d probably just rubbed some on his hands; that he’d left really, really early, far earlier than he needed to , with some feeble excuse; Oh, and the van was diesel, not petrol! I can’t believe how gullible I was when it’s glaringly obvious to me now he was off to see his little slapper for a quickie before work! Dirty, devious, disgusting git!

  • Cheating is one example of a weak-minded person’s inclination to over indulge, at least from what I have witnessed. My ex was depressed and started gaining excessive weight after she began cheating, and actually injured herself in the act. I took care of her injury, not knowing the truth about what happened. However, she continued to go downward in a spiral of depression and excessive sleep. And then about four months before she started her affairs that led to the end of our marriage, she started losing the weight at a rapid pace, I later found out through abuse of several fat burners and other unhealthy measures.
    She left me for one of the affair partners, and her weight loss did not stay for long. Her inclinations to over eat, over sleep, drink excessively, spend excessively, and so on did not end because she left me. Now she and the affair partner vape like there is no tomorrow. She did not even smoke while she was married to me, but started as her affairs began.
    That is why I point to the self-indulgent behavior. In my case, I saw it all grow in tandem with her cheating.

  • I have two divorces under my belt now. Both cheaters. Both went downhill in appearance, health, alcoholism etc. They made it easier to be gone!

  • Didn’t suspect a brain tumor, but I do suspect that aliens left a look-alike pod and the real Cheater #1 is out there somewhere on the mothership. The change was so sudden and such a 180. Someday, the real C#1 will be dropped off by the aliens and wonder why things are so different now.

    On a less facetious note, for the entire 20 years we were married (and the three years courtship before that), I was warned, needled and reminded that I could.not.gain.weight. Other women were more attractive than me. I better never say no to sex. You get the picture.

    C#1 gained 40 pounds in the first two years we were married. Showering and shaving were for work days, not weekends. Belching, farting and scratching in questionable places were normal behavior, dontchaknow. After I left, he gained additional weight, I guess about another 50 or so pounds. His hair went from thinning to totally gone. He became the neck beard champion.

    My sister saw him for the first time in years at son’s little league game and didn’t recognize him. Quote, “Oh, I thought it was a homeless person wandering through the park.” Says it all.

    • “He became the neck beard champion.”

      😆 Mine could give him a run for his money. I have it on good authority that he goes for weeks without showering since I left. What hair he has left is at the sides, is rarely cut and is left uncombed, so that he looks like Bozo the clown.

      • How about the Bozo the Clown comb over? C#1 totally RoCKs the look. I imagine even the aliens don’t want the pod person back now.

  • “He was spending nights in another bedroom and, appeared to be staying up 1/2 the night, based on his light on.”

    Diagnosis; porn addicted pig. Everything else listed fits with that as well. It rots their brains, which weren’t exactly diamond sharp to begin with, so other things tend to slide.

    My FW became a binge alcoholic while cheating. He is also a porn slob. He kept himself in pretty good shape when he was cheating because the ho was extremely shallow and would passive-aggressively goad him by ogling fit looking men. He was overweight for most of our marriage, so I should have guessed. I thought it was just a mid-life thing, trying to feel younger. He was definitely trying to feel younger by cheating as well. Now that’s all gone by the wayside and he looks fifteen years older than I do, despite all the stress he put me through. A dissolute, pointless life will do that.

    He also stopped even pretending to care about not just me, but the kids, even before the cheating. I think thay was also about the porn. He started seeing all females as worthless. It did get even worse when he was cheating.

    He started screwing up on the job. I remember him raging about getting a less than stellar performance review. He would leave at lunch with schmoopie and be gone two hours, so naturally he wasn’t as productive. He was lucky it was only a mediocre review and not a bad one. But no, according to him it was massively unfair. Typical narc.

    He let his father die alone, was dating schmoopie while he lay dying. He cried a few crocodile tears after he was gone to convince himself he cared. He had left that man to rot in an awful nursing home. Then he had the nerve to blame his cheating on his father getting sick.

    When his mother had to go to the hospital, he refused to stay long enough to talk to the doctor. As a result she did not get the proper diagnosis because she was unable to explain her symptoms properly.

    He did a lot of things like that, just being irresponsible, selfish and apathetic about anything but cheating, porn and booze.

    • DEFINITELY on the p0rn thing. Except it was me who had to sleep in another room, downstairs. Because my snoring (apnea) disturbed him, I had to sleep in my office/guest room. Also, I had fallen down our stairs and developed a phobia about going down the stairs. He wasn’t terribly sympathetic that I ended up with a concussion and bruises all over. It was evidence of my clumsiness, of course. He would stay up all night with the lights on (I could see them from downstairs) and claim that he just fell asleep with the lights on.

      He also stopped really interacting with me or our daughter much. He said it was his depression. He would come home from work and go directly upstairs. He was always grabbing food on the way home instead of eating with us, so he would “go straight to bed” because he was so tired. Nope, he had been at a hotel with his wh*re. He was putting her up at hotels near our house and stopping there on the way home from work when he was supposedly ‘training’ or ‘giving report to’ the night shift nurses coming in (to explain why someone who got off at work at 7 home never made it home before 9). If he did stay downstairs–and on all his days off–he was on his phone or iPad the entire time. Either in his car or at the kitchen table.

  • Definitely yes to the brain tumor theory. At first I was worried he had a brain tumor, then when I realized this was just who he had become, I worried he was mentally impaired and I would be eternally stuck supporting him or lose our assets to in a lawsuit to some subordinate who he was sleeping with. Very thankful the divorce is finalized before that happened!
    At first when he started having an affair, he went on a diet, started exercising and dressing like a 40 year old teenager. Soon after the divorce, he let himself go and still dresses like a teenager who is about to be 50.

  • Mine attempted a glow up that failed catastrophically. A mullet, giant serial killer glasses, loud t-shirts and white sneakers.

    Also developed a sudden obsession with exercise and weight loss, after years of sneering at my healthy lifestyle. Definitely thought Fuckwit had a brain tumor.

    Shortly before I discovered the affair, some of our mutual friends laughed behind Fuckwit’s back for the “creepy dad vibes.”

  • So interesting to read. FW went through stages of being heavy, hair being too long and unflattering clothes. Also proudly eating Junk food and leaving wrappers in the car. So with DDay (5/27/23) I looked back and thought he could let himself go bc he was seeing sex workers. The only person he wooed these past 15-20 years was himself. So interesting to learn we were all married to the same man!
    FW got serious about running during Covid and was healthy, I actually noticed once Covid restrictions eased up he gained weight, drank more and yes, now I know went back to his sex workers.
    Now that his is going to AA and running seriously he has dropped weight, is eating healthy foods and telling me he is a changed man.
    I believe him. Consequences have a way of changing a person.
    We are legally separated today (I just received the signed decree,) and thanks to everyone here and your excellent advice I have a 60-40 marital asset split in a community property state. And we have money set aside for our young adult daughters (still in college, grad school) because you all warned me the Cheaters have no problem replacing their parental duties with something new and sparkly—and all our children deserve better!

    • “I believe him. Consequences have a way of changing a person.”

      For normal people, yes. With FWs, the changes are only superficial, no matter what the consequences. They don’t change as people. They might change some of their lifestyle habits, but often even that won’t stick for long. He may have given up drinking (my FW did too) but the entitlement will remain, because it was part of the core personality all along. Some people do become entitled and self-centered due to addiction, whereas prior to the substance abuse they were not. This is not the case with cheaters, especially the kind of scum who use sex trafficking victims, which is only a bit less despicable than rape.

      I implore you not to believe your ex’s false advertising about being changed as a person. It’s dangerous, because he could hoover you back with it.

  • My overweight hairy lumberjack of a husband, overnight, joined a morning beach boot camp group at dawn, joined the local boxing gym, joined the 24/7 gym, went and had a professional shave, went to a upmarket hairstylist and shaved all his pubes off (which was hilarious as he was hairy so picture chewbacca with a perfect clear circle around his dick.) He was a serial cheater so he was cheating years before the transformation but apparently he was ageing out of the preferred age pool of his affair partners and one of the younger men (he was bi, now monogamist to a new female partner apparently) laid it out straight that he needed to look after himself. So he did, put more care and effort into him self than anything else I’ve ever witnessed. I remember the night he punched my gut once (the one and only time the abuse was physical) and it’s all because I purchased full fat milk. Insanity. Unfortunately for him this was the final red flag and my snooping started and that was that.

    • I read your post yesterday and continue to break out in giggles at your description of your exFW as Chewbacca sporting a full Brazilian! Not giggling at anything else you wrote, so glad you are out of it now.

  • Mine spruced himself up BUT started drinking. He never drank alcohol before. Became an alcoholic, upped marijuana smoking and Became grumpy and would throw his dirty laundry anywhere in our bedroom 🙄.

  • Nope, mine did not dress better or make any effort to clean himself up. It was one of the things I was shocked by when I found out he had been having an affair for two freaking years. He was an auto mechanic and would go to her house after work dirty and sweaty from working out in the heat with no air conditioning. I think she was just glad she snagged herself a man who worked. He would have been marriage number three. Except he wasn’t.

  • Omg. Omg. I thought I was the only person that thought brain tumor after married for 38 years and discovered affair. No brain tumor, just a FW ! Done and done.

  • Mine was dorky, chubby, and had bad hair when I (unfortunately!) fell for him many years ago. Like the Chris Watts pattern, one day, after I had our 1st 2 babies, he did a complete 180 and got into running to compete with a male runner neighbor/friend, and had a VERY noticeable glow up. Which, in 20/20 hindsight of course meant he’d finally secured an AP (the tip of the iceberg one that I knew of). He takes impeccable care of his physique and dresses like something out of GQ. 🙄 The new-new-new…supply suffers from an eating-disorder, and apparently he put her on weight loss medication to the point my eldest son is very worried for her. She also falsely believes they’re legally married, but he schemes to prevent the actual license from being filed with the magistrate’s office. But I digress.

    All I can say is his outsides look great, but he’s a nightmare on the inside. Like all of our cheater exes here. And I’m grateful he did not murder me during our crazy separation and divorce. Trust that they all suck!

  • Um, no, the FW XW didn’t really seem to get better or worse in appearance when she was having her affair w/her boss. She doesn’t have to wear makeup to look good, so there wasn’t anything obvious like that. And she rarely wore perfume, so I would have hopefully noticed that if she started to wear some again. And there weren’t any telltale signs of male cologne or any marks on her (not that I was seeing much of her body by that point).

    Now, I wasn’t in the best state to judge all that, probably, as I was trying to work my way out of a deep depression at the time, but nothing really stands out to me. How many people suspect anything when your significant other is schtupping the boss? To me, it can be an easier affair to hide.

    All I got was was an overwhelming coldness from her. Little to no love in any way, shape or form coming from her once she formally commenced the affair. So when she started going in for extra “work” on a few Saturdays and I was being told by her that she had three big projects she was juggling, I didn’t question it. Why would I? I was a loving, trusting chump!😡

    It was her continuing coldness towards me, when I couldn’t think of anything I had done to her that was that horrible which eventually compelled me to write my email to her, professing my love for her, telling her I knew we must be in a rough spot in our marriage, but that I knew we could work through it if we tried.

    I didn’t realize that “we” had officially left the building, and there was only me wanting our marriage to continue.

    Well, I’m very thankful now that she did this, and exposed herself to me as the shitty person she is. I would hate to have gone to my death thinking what a good spouse and life-partner I had, when really she was anything but.

    Always look on the bright side, my fellow chumps (apologies to Eric Idle 😁). They gave us a gift, in spite of their actions against us. In spite of is the important part. We survived them, and now can thrive on our own. What a wonderful gift we’ve been given. The future is ours. Let’s make the most of it.

  • I too wondered about the brain tumor. He’s gained at least 40 lbs and is probably pushing 300. He shaved his beard, which he had never done and his face is fat, bloated and red. He has jowls. He drinks daily and had been sober for 33 years. Mutual acquaintances say he dresses horrible because his clothes are too small and looks 65.

    He use to work out and take pride in his appearance. I guess the drinking, swinging and Howorker just takes up all his time now.

  • This letter led me to try and figure out what a housecoat is (or isn’t). I found this!

    I will confess that I did giggle at the image of a balding man in a flowered housecoat. Not that there is anything wrong with anyone wearing a fancy housecoat – flower patterned or not.,an%20example%20by%20Howard's%20Lingerie.

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