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He Doesn’t Seem Upset About Losing Me

Dear Chump Lady,

I’m 25. He was my first everything. He told me all the good things and everything I needed to hear including “You have nothing to worry about, I’m going to take care of you for the rest of our lives.” We had only been together for just over a year, but I was sure I wanted to spend my life with him. Then came D-day, that was 2 months ago. I finally put my foot down and got him to show me his phone (after months of lies and manipulation), and found what I had been suspecting.

I don’t think he ever physically cheated, but what I read was enough for me to end it and walk out immediately. What followed was a week of pathetic attempts at getting me to reconsider, which started with gaslighting — “It’s not what it looks like, I would never cheat on you, we are just friends.” (Which, might I add, could’ve been true because the OW also supposedly had a boyfriend of her own, but that didn’t stop either of them from crossing boundaries) and ended with a shallow half-apology — “I messed up, it was like an internal battle in my head, I don’t actually care about her and I only hid it because I was scared of how you’d react and you were already insecure, this is just how I talk to all my friends.” (Which again could’ve been true because I’m pretty sure he had an inappropriate relationship with at least two women) “…but I won’t do this ever again, I’ll stop talking to her if you think it’s necessary.”

What a joke. I blocked him and have been no contact ever since. The first few weeks were agony, but I am so grateful I found your blog. It gave me reassurance that I’d made the right decision in leaving him, and helped fuel my anger to push through. It also helped me recognize the RIC bullshit from the therapist I met with.

Overall, I think I’m doing pretty okay. I am spending more time with friends, focusing on school and on myself, trying new things I’ve always wanted to. Most days I feel fine. But here’s the catch – even though I Trust That He Sucks and don’t ever want to get back with him, I can’t help but miss him. The thing is, CL, he was my best friend before he was my boyfriend. We’d known each other for nearly a decade before we dated. And he was everything a friend should be — he was caring, supportive, offered me comfort and guidance whenever I needed it. He was my safe space — and I truly went into it thinking I knew everything there was to know about him.

Even though I have accepted that I was wrong and that he couldn’t be the partner I needed him to be, I still can’t wrap my head around how okay he seems to be with losing a longtime friend. I find myself wondering why it’s so hard for him to actually apologize and try to retain the friendship, or at least to part with some form of civility/peace from both ends. But he’s made no such attempt and from what I hear (through other mutual friends), is going about living his life like as if nothing happened. How is it that easy to move on with your life without receiving forgiveness from the person you know you’ve hurt? And more importantly, how do I stop waiting for an apology that might never come?




Dear Anonymous,

These are all classic chump, untangling the skein questions. Why doesn’t it hurt him to hurt me? How could I have been so wrong about this person?

Because he’s not that deep. What you see is what you get. The remorse isn’t there because he doesn’t feel it. And what he can gin up (for impression management, or to avoid losing a kibble source) is full of blameshifting excuses.

Look, no one wants to admit they fucked up or were wrong. It’s a very uncomfortable place to be — but he PUT himself in that space. Moreover it doesn’t seem to discomfort him. So, that leads me to conclude that either a) He doesn’t think he really fucked up (he feels entitled to cheat and it’s a bummer you discovered it). Or b) He thinks he fucked up, but lacks the maturity and depth of character to make meaningful apologies (no blameshifting) and behave with humility.

What would that look like?

Respecting your boundaries.

With great pain, but clarity, said this behavior was a deal breaker for you. And you acted on that — you dumped him. Sorry accepts this consequence. Not sorry fights with it. He proceeded to tell you not how HE was wrong, but how YOU were wrong.

I only hid it because I was scared of how you’d react and you were already insecure,

The problem isn’t what he did (have inappropriate relationships with other women while letting you invest monogamously in him) — it’s your reaction to it. He blames you for his secrecy. He blames you for an imagined reaction. (You’re scary!) And he insults you. (You’re insecure.)

Not. Sorry.

This is not a person who has the raw materials to be your best friend. He cannot be honest with himself, or with you. Moreover, if we judge him by what he just said — he doesn’t think you’re a worthwhile person. He doesn’t believe in your best self. No, he thinks you’re an insecure ogre who controls him.

And here’s another red flag, Anon.

He told me all the good things and everything I needed to hear including “You have nothing to worry about, I’m going to take care of you for the rest of our lives.”

You don’t need a man to take care of you for the rest of your life. That’s some patriarchal bullshit. You aren’t a Disney princess. You can take care of yourself quite nicely, thank you. Those “life time” patronage offers come with strings. Like second class citizenship to He Who Takes Care of Everything.

Relationships should be mutual. You bring things to the table. He brings things to the table. You support each other. That’s how friendships work, and healthy romantic partnerships are the same. No one is The Giver of All Good Things and you the grateful supplicant. Because God giveth and God taketh away. Don’t give some narcissist that power.

Also “take care of you for the rest of our lives” is over the top. Only bullshit artists say over-the-top shit. You are the sun! The moon! The stars!

You want grounded, authentic people in your life. Those people are prone to awkwardness, not hyperbole.

I saw this advice posted recently. If you’re a young, straight woman, heed it.

Can I get an AMEN?!

And to the good guys out there who may feel slighted — this goes for you too. You don’t want a person who needs external validation so badly. You want someone who loves you for you. Everyone at every stage of life should be investing in their best selves, but especially when you’re young. Go build your education! Your career! Your true friendships! Go galavant around while you’re still free of large responsibilities!

Anon, don’t waste two seconds on whether this fuckwit misses you. His acceptance of you, the value he puts on your love does not matter. He shat on your love, which is stupid. Do you want a stupid person’s opinion of you?

We all miss what we thought we had. That’s normal. The trick is to go build a new life that eclipses your old life. I say that a lot here. But you have the advantage of youth. You’re learning painful lessons some of us invested decades before we learned them. Stop waiting for “sorry.” It’s not coming and if it is, it’s meaningless. He did it because he COULD. Because it doesn’t hurt him to hurt you.

Not. Worthy.

Move forward.

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.
  • Dear Anonymous – That’s what’s called a red flag. Cheaters often wave them when they don’t want to do the thing they’re promising.

    You’ll be alert to other kinds of red flags in the future and use the information to move on sooner. It doesn’t seem like it now, but that discernment will protect you from greater pain.

    Stay no contact for your own wellbeing. Fill your life with healthy activities and people.

  • When I married in 1973, one of the strongest reasons was because we were so compatible and best friends. We loved the same books; loved a lot of the same movies (except boxing movies, but I sat through Rocky many times to please him). We threw magnificent dinner parties.
    But … he was cheating the entire time. Leaving him meant a serious dent in our social life which had pretty much fizzled thanks to the addition of 2 toddlers.
    We have seen each other many times over the 40 years since I left. Now we occasionally see each other at grandchild events and at things like large Thanksgiving dinners. It is still a temptation to want to discuss books with him or movies, but I don’t. My now-adult daughter says we still read the same books and have installed the same streaming apps based on old television series/movies.

    • If he hadn’t been such an inveterate cheater, do you think you two would have made a go of it otherwise?

  • Everything CL said is true.

    He was “best friend” during those years because it didnt cost him much. Once you were in a relationship where he was faking monogamy, he would have needed to truly invest and be faithful to be who he claimed to be and he wasn’t willing to invest that, so he invested little in you while he did whateverthefuck he wanted.

    And it’s true that the “forever” promises ought be seen with a healthy dose of skepticism until they have shown themselves capable of such and until then, assume its all flowery gibberish.

    Sorry this happened but Im glad you didnt invest 20 years in this baby-man.

  • “He shat on your love, which is stupid. Do you want a stupid person’s opinion of you?”


    • True and I use this concept in other areas of my life. There are 4 women (my mom, cheaters sister, OW, and husbands XW) in my life who have betrayed me and/or treated me like shit. OW is probs the only intelligent one in this group but they are all horrible people whose opinions carry zero weight with me.

      As I don’t value their opinions, that includes their opinions of me. Actually, none of these women even know me (yes, I do mean my mother -even predementia – does no know me. We are acquainted but she has zero knowledge of me as a full person). Why the fuck would I value the opinions of people who don’t even know me?

  • I suspect he didn’t view your friendship the same way you did. Unfortunately that happens even with friendships that don’t turn romantic. And it would never be the same anyway.

    Opposite sex friends become trickier as people get older and parter up…boundaries become really important. Find yourself some good women best friends.

    You’re young….your whole life is still ahead. Fuck this guy and the horse he rode in on.

    • Personally I’ve never had an opposite sex friendship I didn’t have to carefully watch boundaries with, sometimes on both sides. Once you start laughing uproariously together it’s not a far jump to other things if you’re not careful….that’s nature in action. It’s usually not very practical and especially if you’re in a committed relationship, it’s best to have same sex friends. Unless the oppo is very old and ugly, lol.

      • I have to second this.

        One of my pet peeves is movies where the woman has a boyfriend or is engaged and yet, say, goes on a one-on-one picnic, or bike ride, or long walk, etc., with some single-and-searching guy she just met. And we’re all supposed to believe she’s too clueless/careless to be guilty of anything but friendliness.

        • Movies & TV shows and how they promote, or excuse, cheating or set up cheating scenarios, etc….like you’re describing…is a topic I recommend to CL. There are so MANY of these and it’s done so casually and when they’re not actively promoting infidelity they’re trying to get the spouse/partner to be a good little chump and “forgive” it. The presentation of infidelity in our media is pretty consistently PRO and it IS conditioning. A lot of powerful people like to cheat, it goes along with their competitive, narc personalities.

          • Agreed! I have been re-watching the original seasons of “Sex and the City”. There’s cheating and it is treated so poorly. Well there is a lot beyond cheating that is handled poorly, but the cheating is so icky. I watched the show when it originally came out in my pre-Chump days. I saw it through a very different lens this time around. Funny to see Carrie say she “made A mistake” when she cheated on her bf continuously all over NYC, sure, “a mistake”. Even the writers of fictionalized tv shows borrow that page from the international cheater’s handbook.

            • I always hated Sex and the City, it just portrayed such a negative modeling of relationships to me, with promiscuity and cheating highlighted. Unfortunately I think it had a lot of impact on people, especially young women and that’s what I mean about conditioning. We are conditioned to regard relationships in this very destructive, unhealthy manner that encourages and winks at infidelity.

      • “Nature in action” is an excuse for FW behavior. It’s not “nature” forcing someone to act on an attraction to a friend (of whatever gender).

        • ITA, Apidae. One can certainly have opposite sex friends with rigid boundaries in place. Nature does not determine our actions. We all have free will.

      • Interesting topic. I have LONG not been a fan of opposite gender friends but dont expound on it for fear of looking dorky. It is comforting here to see others who share that opinion. I cant think of a single female friend my husband has. We have developed some nice couples who are friends…which has been nice

        • Well…..there’s reality, which is how oppo sex friends work in actual real life and then there’s the fantasy that there’s not much difference between men and women and shit doesn’t happen. Of course it does. How often does a cheater describe their doxie as a “friend”? He/she’s only a “friend”. Very common and that’s often how it starts off…..hobbies, gaming, neighborhood events, etc. You have stuff in common, you enjoy each other’s company, you find each other attractive (amazing how much more attractive people become when you have fun with them) and you start laughing and flirting and then…..THAT’S AMORE!!!! Isn’t that how most of us got with our partners/spouses in the first place?

  • This ex BF/BFF sure does like gaslighting you, Anonymous! Like all covert narcissists do (read up on that subject, you’ll probably see more traits of your ex there). Bunny Knox’s comment is what I hope my young daughter aspires to (thank you). I’ll snapshot it to show her.

    • P.S. leaving your ex was bad-ass! I can still miss my ex sometimes but know that he’s not worthy of me too. Those things can be true at the same time. It doesn’t mean that we should ever get back together with them though. It just means that they meant something to us at one time & now we’ve let them go because they didn’t take good care of our heart.

  • A thing I post here (in some form or another) every so often fits today:

    No body parts have to touch, or be stuffed into, any other body parts before a person’s behavior qualifies as cheating.

    Lying, deceiving, sneaking — these are all cheating behaviors.

    If a partner behaves in a way the partner knows doesn’t fit in the relationship agreement, and especially if the partner hides that behavior from you, that partner is cheating you out of the relationship you believed you were in.

    You don’t have to confirm that some narrow definition of sex has occurred before concluding that a shitty partner has cheated on you. Cheating comes in many forms, including financial. The ultimate point is, you don’t have to accept that shit, and you don’t need a person whose ethics clearly suck to agree with your conclusions to justify them.

    • “Lying, deceiving, sneaking — these are all cheating behaviors.”

      I remember long before Dday/year of discard, that fw would announce he was going to stop smoking. Then I would walk into the garage and he would hide his cig behind him, like I couldnt’ smell it. If it was obvious he would make a joke and say caught me..etc.

      It was an obvious red flag that he was a sneaking liar; but I attributed it only to the cig issue, because I knew quitting was so hard and he was trying. It wasn’t like I nagged him about quitting. Now I think he just did it for the thrill of deceit. That man was so fucked up, I sooo wish I had figured it out earlier. Even if I had stayed with him longer, I would have made different decisions in my career and financial decisions. That I know.

      • It makes you wonder how stupid they think we are, doesn’t it? In the final days, XW would bring her phone to the dinner table (which was against the family rules that applied to everyone, but particularly I was trying to set an example for our teenage daughter), hide it in her lap and text on it during dinner. As if I – and our daughter – wouldn’t notice it! I even called her on it a couple of times and she got all offended that she had to obey the rule that she had agreed to and that applied equally to everyone . Come to think of it, it was a perfect metaphor for her attitude towards the marriage as well: rules for thee but not for me. Frustratingly (but not surprisingly) she still acts the same way about the terms in our divorce settlement.

        • I could always tell what FW was up to based on whether he laid his phone down face up versus face down. They really do think we’re stupid.

    • Here, here! Amiisfree, you nailed it!
      Shitty behavior, crappy treatment, and dishonesty are all ample reasons to exit a relationship. Like Dr. Omar Minwalla so succinctly states, once they start thinking about building the basement, the abuse has already occured.

      • Divine,

        “Shitty behavior, crappy treatment, and dishonesty are all ample reasons to exit a relationship”. YES!!!! I’d argue that these factors are why I left more than just the cheating. It’s all wrapped together, of course. But for example, I only know of one AP. My logic and this site tells me there may be decades more, but FW will never admit to those and I’ll never uncover them, nor need to. I just assume there probably were. But the AP that got this divorce ball rolling is out of the picture. (Again, my logic tells me that they could reconcile at any time, but for the time being, it’s over and I think there is a good chance it will remain so) But the rest of the bad treatment I got leaves my choice to leave cemented. And that’s probably true for many chumps. Cheaters are entitled, and entitled people act like jerks in MANY ways, not just cheating. The cheating is often the straw that breaks the chump’s back and makes them take action to leave, but once they do, they realize that there was a whole lot of other bad behaviour that they do not miss.

    • When they start doing stuff that they can’t show you or talk about…’s cheating. That’s where the energy is going.

    • So true! My ex flirted with lots of his female friends and with his cousin (distant relation). It always bothered me and it would make him so mad when I pointed it out. He would gaslight me and make me feel stupid for suggesting it. He had no boundaries and didn’t want any imposed in him. Cheating is not just physical. Disrespecting your wife by hanging on other women qualifies too.

  • It helps to think of people like this like a life-size cardboard cutout, or a store mannequin, or a blowup doll, or a cyborg like the Terminator. The indifferent response they exhibit to being found out that they use hearts and commitments to others like toilet paper is evidence of how they are wired. The relevant facts are in. “Why” doesn’t matter to me.

    It’s like realizing the house is on fire and wondering why. on a hot stove. All that matters is that I’ve realized the house is on fire and I need to get out.

    I was friends with Traitor Ex the Pimp for two years before I dated him, and dated him for seven years before we got married.

    Even without the fraud, under normal circumstances, being a friend, being a romantic partner, being a legal spouse, being an affair partner are all different kinds of relationships with different dynamics, and those dynamics change each time you transition into a new kind of relationship with the same person.

    • “It helps to think of people like this like a life-size cardboard cutout, or a store mannequin, or a blowup doll, or a cyborg like the Terminator.”

      Indeed it does. I think of them as humanoid alien life forms, because they seem human on the surface, but they lack a normal range of human emotions.

      • Good analogy. Cheater is definitely a cyborg. That’s how I see him.
        He love Arnold andTerminator is one of his favorite movies. I see the resemblance. Nothing behind his eyes
        His reptilian, pure evil eyes are unforgettable.

        In the late 80’s early 90’s cheater also loved the movie “Death Becomes Her” with Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep. He’d watch it when ever it came on HBO.
        He’d laugh at the extremes Goldie Hawn and Meryl Streep’s characters would go to look young.

        Who knew that someday Cheater would be married to one of these characters.

      • Conversely, I imagine them thinking of their shmoop du jour (and possibly all other people) as colorforms. Picture kinda boring? Just shoehorn this diff colorform on the board. Much more interesting …. to them. Ppl are interchangeable objects that exist solely for their amusement.

    • I call FW a pod person. He looks and sounds like my husband, but he was replaced somewhere along the line by an alien I genuinely don’t know. An alien that can impassively watch me sob in public while he tells me he has been cheating on me for almost a decade–and eats an entire meatloaf dinner, with pie!, while everyone in the restaurant gets progressively more uncomfortable because of my tears.

      I know that this is the person he must always have been but the shift is so marked. I knew when he changed, I saw it. I saw his behavior with our daughter and myself shifting and him building an emotional wall between all of us, but I thought it was depression following the death of his father. That’s even what he told me it was. I don’t think about it as much as I did in the beginning (I’m almost 11 months post-DDay), but it’s still wild to me that he could ‘change’ so completely from the man I knew for almost half my lifetime.

      • “I saw his behavior with our daughter and myself shifting and him building an emotional wall between all of us, but I thought it was depression following the death of his father. That’s even what he told me it was.”

        Mine also told me that. But he didn’t really give a shit about his father. After Dday I found out that when he said he was visiting his dying father, he was actually on dates with his whore. He let his father die alone so he could romance a serial cheating, drunkass bitch with the mentality of a spoiled 13 year old.

        • Wow. In this case, FW was super close to his dad, so I know he was there. I was there, too. And I do believe he was devastated by losing his dad. BUT he’s using his dad’s death as an excuse to cheat and that’s just gross.

  • Anonymous – over those ten years, you grew up. He didn’t.

    I promise you that someday you’ll be laughing about what you ever saw in him.

  • Anon, I don’t think you fully trust that he sucks. You believe his ridiculous lies about being “just friends” could be true. They could not, because A) he’s a lying liarface who lies as often as he breathes, and B) as CL memorably put it, adults fuck. They don’t just send sexy texts and leave it at that. Friendships between straight men and women are only like that if they are FWB.
    I think you have a way to go to banish your old ideas of who this guy is from your thoughts. It will take time, but you will get there.

    Why doesn’t he care? He’s not normal. He isn’t like you or I, he’s a creature that lives only to please himself with superficial, ego-boosting pursuits. He doesn’t see other people’s humanity, he only sees their utility for him. To him, losing a person is like losing a vacuum cleaner. He can just get a new one to suck up his bullshit. He’s practiced at manipulating his vacuums and it’s just a game to him.

    I’m sorry you’re dealing with this. I have been exactly where you are. My FW walked away from not just myself, but our daughter as well. It doesn’t bother him. We aren’t important to him because we no longer believe he is the person he was pretending to be. Since he can’t use us to massage his ego and maintain his facade, he’ll just find somebody else to do it, someone who is equally replaceable. This is what these people are, almost like alien life forms in their lack of authentic human feeling. It’s hard to accept, but accept it you must.

    • I think part of what delays the trusting they suck bit is when the abuser is question is a sort of quasi-split personality which, at least theoretically, a lot of abusers are. Something I heard said about batterers is that, whereas someone with full blown dissociative identity disorder might have floor to ceiling walls separating each different persona, some batterers have “office partitions” between their various guises. While a central, organizing and evil persona that is aware of all the different facets exists and directs which “face” is shown in which circumstance, that central persona doesn’t rear its head at all times and may be kept somewhat remote even from the perpetrator themselves.

      If that sounds like sad sausage pathology, bear in mind that the quasi-split persona thing has been attributed to serial killers. In FBI prison interviews, Denis Rader, the BTK killer, dubbed it “cubing”– the ability to nearly fully invest in whatever “face” he was showing the world at any given moment. It’s how he managed to fool his entire community into thinking he was an upstanding, mild-mannered citizen for decades.

      I think that’s what victims of relationship abuse think they “miss”– that pathologically invested and very convincing disguise that abusive personalities wear. I mention this because thinking that disguise is real enough to miss that “side” of someone isn’t necessarily a measure of weak mindedness or gulability on the part of the survivor but a measure of how incredibly diabolical and convincing those false personality constructs can be– convincing enough to fool the abuser themselves.

      • “While a central, organizing and evil persona that is aware of all the different facets exists and directs which “face” is shown in which circumstance, that central persona doesn’t rear its head at all times and may be kept somewhat remote even from the perpetrator themselves.”

        The remoteness of the central persona describes my FW. He can hide his rancid core even from himself. He believes in the face he is presenting at any given moment except when it is his ugly core persona. When that does come out, he tells himself it’s actually out of character and only happens because somebody provoked him. He is fully self-deluded about who he really is. He believes the horrible things he did were because I did something to instigate a “fight.” A “fight” is what he called it when he was being mean, because I defended myself against his cruelty, therefore justifying the cruelty in his delusional mind. Whether it’s serial killers or just serial assholes, I believe the only cure for the rot inside such people is death.

        • So why didn’t you use that magical bippitty boppitty boo to reduce carbon or save war torn orphans or something? Why waste those god-like powers making perfectly wonderful upstanding citizens turn into sadistic psychopaths?

          I was just reading about “externalization of responsibility” in a study on dark triad and academic cheating. Cheating/plagiarizing students were found to be more likely to hold professors responsible for their own academic performances. Seems to be the common denominator among freaks– blame everyone else by ascribing magical powers to them.

  • The man who was my first boyfriend at 17 and my friend for many years after that ended up being my stalker. I came from an abusive family and what should have been red flags just felt familiar, even as his mental illness progressed. The good news is that I got safe and got help. Now months go by when he never even comes to mind. Walk away. Do not try to be friends. If he realizes he needs help, he can get it elsewhere.

  • AMEN, Chump Lady! Anonymous, please heed this advice. I wish I had done so over 30 years ago.

      • They’re adults now so OF COURSE the happiness of their father’s wandering dick is far more important than the thousands of ways he shortchanged his wife and children.

        LW sounds like a real prize too.

    • This is a topic I have given a great deal of thought to.

      I wonder if my adult children (married with kids) will be given the opportunity to plan their father’s funeral (he’s in poor health) or if the AP will. Don’t know their marital status.

      I’m guessing there is no place for me at the funeral which makes me pretty sad even if we’ve been divorced for many years at this point. Not being able to see him buried seems like it will be hard, especially knowing that my children will be there.

      Crazy the things we think about.

  • “The trick is to go build a new life that eclipses your old life.”

    And that, dear Chumps, is the real deal.

    You won’t get there overnight, and while you’re still healing it will be hard to imagine some new life that could ever be better than the life you thought you had, but it can be done.

    As a side benefit, focusing on building your new and improved life will get your mind and heart untangled from the FW faster than anything else. But you’re going to have to use your imagination and conjure a picture f what you really want in life. T’s not that hard. In most of our cases it is only a matter of looking back and figuring out the dreams we relinquished in order to join our lives to someone who promised the sun, the moon and the stars…then failed to deliver even the minimum requirements of loyalty and faithfulness.

    • HB,

      I couldn’t agree more. Having done just that over the last 8 years I can be confident of 2 things: firstly, that the life that I have built with our kids (aged 11, 16 and 18 when their mother walked out on us, but now 19, 24 and 26) is infinitely better than the life that we had when Ex-Mrs LFTT was in it and; secondly, that there is not one aspect of the life that we have now that would be better were she still a part of it.


    • You’re point that it is hard when you’re still healing has given me a bit of a boost Hunny Badger, so thank you!
      That horrible knot of pain and anxiety in my solar plexus has gone, thanks be to God, but I’ve sort of stalled in terms of getting the house ready for sale; I’ve so little money and not much help, am very low in energy and have no friends here. I’m very lonely at times! It didn’t help that NHS Pensions gave my July payment to X either, that I had to fight for the whole of July and 1st week of August to get it back and that in the end, it took a letter from my solicitor to get them to admit they had a “duty of care to our pensioners” and give me my money! It knocked the stuffing out of me TBH , drained me!
      However, I had a much longer sleep last night, am feeling more rested than I have for a while and , as I said, your comment has comforted me. I’m only in the 5th month of separation, still stuck in a place I have never felt I belonged nor liked and so am probably still healing. I do have hope!
      My X hasn’t said sorry either- not even a fake apology, never mind a genuine one, not even an admission of adultery ( albeit he’s not denying it anymore either!) although he’s been behaving himself for a while now and he’s also sort of reaping what he sewed, making a mess of things, so a bit of a Sad Sausage as well, feeling sorry for himself, lol! My best friends reckons he’s regretting it now! Tough!
      But no apology! TBH I don’t want to hear it for now anyway as I don’t trust him an inch. I know what I know, that it’s because he’s not wired up properly as well as being a coke-head, not my fault and so long as he doesn’t cause me any more problems, that’s all I want from him for now!

  • Yes, he used to be my best friend. When addiction and mental health issues dominated the narrative, I had to admit to myself that he was not my best friend. I had to walk on eggshells with him every day, and that’s not what friends do. Finally, it imploded, and he took off twice, making the second one long-distance. That’s not what best friends do, either. They also don’t threaten divorce as many times as he did before taking off.

    When he finally called to say he wanted a divorce, I thought, “Whatever.” I had been emotionally preparing for a long time. When I told our college kids that evening, they hugged me and said, “About time.” He supposedly cried and cried. I had been crying for years and was just flat.

    Yes, I struggled later with all the promises made, particularly when we attended a bunch of weddings in a row. But I take a more realistic view now. Ultimately, I meant my vows, which my ex probably did then. But then he didn’t. Words are cheap, and his actions spoke volumes about just how little I meant to him.

    Thankfully, the next chapter has been so good, though. No regrets about how it all ended up. Getting there was painful but worth it.

  • Anonymous, users like this guy always have many women they are stringing along at any given moment. They say they are friends with everyone (I bet the others thought you were another “friend,” too) and expect you to be cool about it. If you say you are uncomfortable with all these female friends, he will act like you are a Neanderthal who doesn’t accept that men and women can be just friends.

    The truth is, they keep a harem going for the kibbles and cake they can get out of it. The women he is “friends” with will be on his list for decades. Dalliances with all of them when given the chance and through his future relationships they will still be texting/calling/meeting on the sly. Why would YOU want to be friends with someone like that? Why be friends with someone you trust sucks?

    Because you haven’t really accepted he sucks yet. People like him with a broken moral compass, they can’t hang with you. If you were in high school, you wouldn’t want to let someone like this sit at your lunch table. He is shallow and uses other people. Who wants friends like that?

    • So true, MrWonderful’sEx. Why do these people even get married?? Just see what you are, and stay single! My X also had women ‘friends’ for decades. (He was screwing most of them) What a fake life he led. And the ultimate craziness, is that he still wants us to be married, and tells our sons I abandoned him 🙄 Waaaaa waaaa. So much sorrow for himself, the world is so unfair!

      • You abandoned him! Oh, that’s rich. He was hooking up with former classmates but he is the victim. Were we married to the same person?

        Klootzak has hooked up with so many women but in the mix with the many randos are women from middle school, high school, and one from college. He is 50 years old. One is married, one is divorced, several never got married and the rest I don’t know. But most of them knew klootzak was married and were quite all right with hook ups, nude photos, you name it. Random greeting cards for him would arrive in the mail with Eeyore on them because the poor timid forest creature FW just needed cheering up! Grown women sending Eeyore cards! WTH!?!

        And did he keep in touch with male friends from middle school? Of course not! Because he wasn’t about to have them at the house for sexy times when I was gone for a work trip. He wasn’t going to drive 4+ hours to shack up with them behind their spouses’ backs. Can only do that with the females. “Friends,” my ass. I totally trust that klootzak sucks.

      • That’s something I ask a lot – why bother to get married if you want to run around. But I think marriage is like Command Central….it’s where they go for their meals and rest breaks and then it’s BACK TO THE MISSION! Command Central provides their base and it gives them a sense of security and stability and an acceptable facade to present to the world. After all, you don’t want Dr X and Lawyer M and Pastor Y etc knowing that you’re signed up to several dating apps, you have several BDSM outfits for all occasions and you know how to fully recline the back seat of the car? Being married is very useful until the spouse appliance starts acting up and needs to be replaced when that annoying whirring sound won’t stop. Marriage is part of their persona…..not part of their soul.

        • Mehitable, “Command Central” is a great label. I have wondered “why get married if you don’t want to be monogamous?” and your explanation make sense. They want the appliance. Hell, many of them want the family life, they just want to ALSO be able to screw around on the side. (Which some people can do ethically, it’s not for me, but open marriages exist)

          But my main reason for commenting is that we see the saying “when a mistress becomes a wife, she leaves a job opening” and I think your “command central” label fits here. Once a chump leaves/gets left, the AP becomes “command central” and that’s why we see the FW then cheat on the AP. Because the FW is always going to want that extra cake. It isn’t about the people, it’s just positions, spouse and AP. If AP replaces the spouse, a new AP is then found. The FW cares about only themselves, everyone else is just an object they use.

      • It occurs to me that the marriage is a facade for public consumption and personal convenience…..the REAL life is the affairs and all the things that go with that.

  • The Cringe-ometer pegged all the way right when I read he would take care of you for the rest of your life. Oh, no. Nononono. My dad said, when I was 18, never to be dependent on a man. Get a profession so you can have your own life. He said he had a better idea what some guys were like than I did. Goofy said we should stay together because I “shouldn’t be alone”. Actually it was because he wanted me to continue paying all the bills. I think he wanted to be taken care of for the rest of his life. <hahahahaha!>. Keep being strong.

  • I could have written this letter, but I’m 60-ish, having invested almost 35 years into marriage. eX does not admit what he has done, he does not apologize, he suggests I fabricated my story, he accuses me of doing what he did (secret infidelity), and he questions my sanity. Yeah he shat on my love!

    CL’s advice is on point.

    • Viktoria
      It’s so mind bending to be accused by the perpetrator! So gross
      I’ll never understand this

    • Viktoria, your story reads like mine! At 63, after 33 years of marriage all I got was a big ration of blame shifting, suspicion of my behavior, constant interrogation by that FW. All along it was HIM!
      Seems they operate from the same play book! Hang in there!

  • Some people are just meant to be friends, nothing more. But I’ve had friends betray me too so that’s not a guarantee of anything. One woman I was very close to in my 20s ended up cheating me out of a job while I was on a vacation (she had help from the married boss she was romantically cheating with and whom she ended up marrying). So she cheated me out of a job and his wife out of a husband. It was just part of her character to be competitive, selfish and underhanded….it just needed the right circumstances to bring it out. I would guess the OP’s “friend” was the same way…. a friend/partner until something came along that he wanted. What she learned is that he will always come first for himself….and she’s a distant second at best. Better to find out sooner than later….and you can be chumped by a friend too.

  • Anon – He told me all the good things and everything I needed to hear including “You have nothing to worry about, I’m going to take care of you for the rest of our lives.”

    To all new chumps – another classic future-faking technic as CL discussed just last week

  • It’s true. One day you won’t care anything about him or even think twice about a BS apology you thought you needed.
    We have your back
    We love you!

  • Anon, please don’t put lipstick on that pig. My brother’s gf/wife was someone our entire family knew very well. All through school and college. I can not remember a single red flag. The person who abandoned her husband and children was hidden so deeply that we were all blindsided. There is nothing visible, like a red A, to tell us who they really are. The smartest thing you will ever do is protect yourself. He is having a great old time because there is no there there. He presents well but so did The Wizard Of Oz. Smoke and mirrors, they are all he has.

  • Anonymous do not give this dirt bag another thought. You are young, your whole life ahead of you. I raised 3 daughters, all who ended up to be married to good men. My advice to them at a young age was, “men are like buses, one goes by another comes along, don’t be in a hurry to ride the bus”!

    In reading CL you can clearly see where many of us, as myself are in our 60’s. I am actually 63, 5 months out from D Day. I saw many red flags, but sat there and made excuses for his shit ass, Strip club loving behavior!

    My message being, many of us saw the red flags but chose to ignore them. Here we sit much later in life reflecting should of, would of, could of! Don’t make the same mistakes we did!

    • The thing about red flags is that when you’re young you sometimes don’t realize they’re red flags. That was certainly true for me. It took decades for me to learn to read the signs correctly and identify the red flags as what they were.

      • “The thing about red flags is that when you’re young you sometimes don’t realize they’re red flags. ”

        Exactly, and for many if not most of us (certainly me) it has nothing to do with FOO. I had a loving normal FOO. It is youth and inexperience.

        What may have been a red flag, I just saw as a normal flawed human being. I also do believe men and women mature so there was that hope too I am sure.

  • Once when I was deliriously crying and begging my first cheater to untangle the skein for me he said: “We don’t love each other in the same way.”

    That’s about as close to the truth as one a can get. I loved him, I was real. He “loved” me, he was fake. He liked me for shallow reasons. I took care of things at home. I did the grocery shopping. I was a reliable source of sex. That’s about it.

    I was devastated, it barely effected him at all. He hadn’t lost anything he valued. I was 100% replaceable to him, losing me was nothing more than a minor inconvenience. As CL says, they’re not that deep. Sad, but true.

    • It’s like a fortune cookie I read about “he loves you as much as he can, that’s just not very much”

  • “he doesn’t think you’re a worthwhile person.”
    Another cut-through-the-crap crystallizing comment from ChumpLady. 👏

    He chumped you like that because he thought of you like that. And those wonderful things he once said that don’t make sense against his actions? He lied.

    I think you were awesomely mighty in saving yourself so readily once you knew.

  • Anonymous, when I told FW I knew everything and we were over, his first lament was: “But you and your father are my only friends!” He has a peculiar notion of what friendship entails.

    • Yeah, FW was way more disappointed in losing my ‘friendship’ than me. He kept insisting we could remain friends post-divorce. Haha. Not gonna happen, loserman. I never realized what a red flag it is to be with a grown adult who literally has no friends. He had people he talked to at work and some of them became FB friends, but he never went anywhere with them; he never got together with them outside work; he didn’t know any real details of their lives*.

      He had three friends from middle school/high school. Two women and one man. He really wasn’t close with the women. Got together once a year, maybe. Mostly FB friends. The guy is his “best friend.” A minister who lives in Korea and still managed to see him more than the women. The man knew about the cheating. The women both disavowed FW as soon as I told them about the cheating. The guy stayed friends with him though I was honest with him about how DDay went and he was shocked to realize what a terrible person FW really is. But he didn’t disavow him.

      I actually thought he had some work friendships because a handful of times over the last few years he called after work to ask if I minded him going out with his colleagues for a few drinks and he wouldn’t come home till the early hours. He would tell me it was because he drank too much and didn’t want to drive drunk so he slept in his car. So trusting was I that I would *encourage him to go to these events and spend time with people since he didn’t have other friends. I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that there were no friends or drinks evenings. He was going to hotels to bang his sugar baby and then coming home and crawling into bed with me in the wee hours.

      These FWs are sick.

  • He was NOT your true friend for a decade. He uses friendships with women as a means to an end. He roped you in with a supposed “friendship” and you fell for it. He is doing this “friendship” thing to the other women. Once you realize this you will get over him and his “friendship” To him “friendship” is a way to manipulate and control to get kibbles. My FW always had women ” friends” and the intimacy with friends confuses women especially. All romances start with some sort of friendship. F him and his “friendships”. Women are not special to him. You are not special. He casts a wide net with his “ friendships” and there will always be a woman who takes the bait. You just fell for it because you are normal.

  • “He told me all the good things and everything I needed to hear including “You have nothing to worry about, I’m going to take care of you for the rest of our lives.””

    This to me was the biggest red flag. Hello, trapped in an abusive relationship with no escape mechanism. RUN from anyone and everyone who ever says this to you.

  • The only condition under which it’s acceptable to have “secret friends” while in a relationship is when someone is a victim of DV/coercive control and is lining up ducks and protecting the allies who are helping them to escape. But then again DV isn’t a relationship, it’s a hostage crisis. You can’t “cheat” on a hostage taker. All bets are off from the moment someone raises a fist or threatens to do so and victims have no ethical obligation other than using legal means to protect themselves and their children.

    But what’s so interesting is that cheaters fraudulently hijack this “all bets are off” condition– the one criminal circumstance in which duplicity towards a partner is understandable– by typically acting as if they’re the equivalent of domestic violence victims… just like batterers do as it happens. All abusers play victim to their victims and, by doing so, are contributing to the ways that genuine victims are disbelieved and discredited. It’s a heinous and anti-social thing to do on so many levels.

    You know the old victim-blaming saw, “Don’t act like/play a victim”? It’s usually pure projection because the only people who ever “play” victim are abusers. Actual victims aren’t playing. Actual victims hate being victims, are terribly ashamed of being victims and are never graceful or “seductive” about being victims. Meanwhile abusers wallow in the distinction and turn it into seductive performance art which is probably why– ironically– they tend to be better at garnering sympathy than genuine victims. While genuine victims might put people off by being half catatonic, sleep deprived and stumbling into furniture with mismatched socks and swollen eyes from ugly crying on the bathroom floor, abusers playing victim know how to let one elegant tear decorously roll down their cheeks for the benefit of bystanders as they “reluctantly” murmur their tales of suffering at the hands of terrifying ogres.

    Playing victim to one’s own victim is part of something called “neutralization”– a learned mental trick (likely learned in abusive families of origin) that a range of serial offenders theoretically engage in to reduce the stigma of their offenses, avoid consequences and, most importantly, pave the way to repeat the offenses. Some become so practiced at it that the process becomes rote and unconscious. One category of offender that apparently does this is serial killers. Serial killers tend to mentally alter the identities of victims so that– at least in their twisted minds– torturing and killing them aren’t “morally wrong.” Not feeling as if they’ve done anything wrong helps predators appear normal and innocent so they can evade detection and avoid setting off the radars of future victims. According to the neutralization theory, Ted Bundy’s famously “harmless” appearance would be in direct proportion to the ornate depth of neutralization he needed to generate in order not to appear constantly furtive, scary and creepy. It means that he had to literally demonize/dehumanize his own victims to “afford” his own feeling of blamelessness. In that sense neutralization is like wearing a cellular level mask. It’s both to fool bystanders as well as the perpetrator themselves. There’s evidence from prison interviews with serial killers like Bundy, Gacy and the BTK killer that this was actually their view of victims.

    That’s not to suggest that Anon’s exFW is a secret serial killer but it does indicate he’s a serial something— a repeat and practiced offender of some type. He’s likely always been cheating or has always maintained a “secret sexual basement” because he’s just too bloody casual about it all. This indicates practice and a practiced mentality. His excuses were at the ready and polished. It’s completely abnormal for someone to be– or even appear– to be completely unaffected by destroying a five year relationship and a ten year friendship. According to neutralization theory, that aplomb would be a direct measure of the degree to which this guy has dehumanized Anon– cast her as somehow unworthy and less than human– and likely all women.

    The danger here is that the neutralization may fade (as fabrications tend to) and this FW might start to do the typical Cluster B “splitting” thing of idealizing Anon again at which point he may come hoovering back. But it would just be part of a fatal cycle of abuse and the devaluation– aka “neutralizing dehumanization”– will rear up again. Going back at this point would be like the myth of Persephone taking pomegranate seeds from the hands of death. For anyone not familiar with the myth, the vegetation goddess Persephone is kidnapped by her uncle Hades, king of the underworld, and tricked into marrying him. While she’s in hell, nothing on earth will grow so her mother, the goddess Demeter, lobbies for Persephone’s return. At first Hades pretends to comply with the request but then tricks Persephone into eating pomegranate seeds because Persephone didn’t know that eating the food of the underworld would condemn her to spend a third of every year in hell for eternity which is why, according to mythology, the earth has three months of winter.

    Through a modern lens, the story could also be taken as the societal cost of constructive, innocent people becoming entrapped in domestic abuse and taken out of circulation because the world loses that person’s full energy and contribution while a force of ill will– the abuser– is strengthened, emboldened and enabled by it. Imagine the collective cost of that over the centuries, what all those hostages could have accomplished for the planet and society had they not been entrapped (less deforestation? Fewer wars? A cure for malaria? Who knows). In any case, Anon has a wonderful opportunity to escape the life-draining horror of this kind of entrapment and move forward to a fulfilling, loving, constructive and amazing life. Just don’t take anything from that spooky hand when it reaches back out.

  • There’s nothing I can really add to CL’s answer and the other members who contributed that wouldn’t seem redundant. One of the hardest concepts to grasp emotionally in life is that there are people who simply don’t connect or bond on the level other more present and grounded human beings do. It’s tricky because when things are new and shiny, it takes a lot of careful attention, truth-seeking and observance to identify these shallow beings. Think buying a gorgeous new sports car with a lemon of an engine. Always take time to examine under the hood.

    To Anon, I’d only add that you’re still young and while your picker didn’t seem to fail you (as you mentioned, he was your “first” in many aspects), I’ll say good for you that your boundary dial reacted perfectly by realizing – even if it took awhile – that he was unfaithful and that you would not accept it. You left. You didn’t stay, like many younger women do, and make excuses like “well, he is still young so perhaps he has some wild oats to sow before he settles down” and BS like that. I’ve been guilty of that in youthful relationships. Not only was my picker incredibly distorted by my low self-esteem, my low self-esteem was constantly sidling up to my brain, thinking of “intelligent” excuses as to why it was permissible for the love-interest du jour to treat me like a piece of crap. (Shudder.)

    How to identify these emotionally deficient beings? It takes a diligent and observant eye. When you’re in the initial throes of the start of a relationship, the cyborgs are usually on mark sprinkling fairy dust in your eyes and orgasms in your loins. It’s dizzying. I’d say pay careful attention to how they treat others who are not the shiny, new you toy.

    For example: 1) Assuming they have sane, decent parents who are alive – how do they treat their mother/father? With respect, or do they treat their parents, who have been supportive but are now very familiar, as an annoyance? 2) How do they treat children and animals? Even if they don’t want their own children or are allergic to cats or dogs, do they ignore them? Do they have compassion for them? Do they show at least a modicum of kindness? (and all who are vulnerable and cannot do anything for them?) That’s a biggie. How a person treats someone who cannot be of equal service to them (quid pro quo) is paramount. It’s a huge character flag. 3) What have their past relationships been like and how have they ended? For instance, if the man is over 30 years old and he describes ALL of his past girlfriends as “crazy / psycho / troubled” or something similarly insulting and one-way fault finding, pay attention — RED FLAG flapping in your face. My ex has a brother who never married. Typical playboy in his younger days (nice looks, respectable cash flow and living in a nightlife city.) He had something in the field of 7 “fiances.” Of course he never made it down the aisle, the engagement rings were a “time biding” maneuver because all of these “fiances” would move in with him and within a year or so, start to crow about getting married. And of course, all of the “fiances past” were “troubled,” “needy” or “high maintenance,” etc etc. You fill in the flaw.

    I recall the first time I heard the saying “always marry someone who loves you a little more than you love them…” I thought it sounded callous and manipulative, conjuring up an image of a glamorous showgirl lounging by a pool while some overweight, unattractive schlub with deep pockets catered to her every whim. Upon further reflection, I can see some nugget of sense hidden within that theory. I think generally speaking, women put in much more time, effort, and nurturing into sustaining a romantic relationship / marriage than a man does. We (women) do the heavy emotional lifting and care to put the antiseptic on the emotional wounds that come along with long-term relationships. Which may be why it’s usually women who file for divorce first. A woman will take on the role of the determined relationship work horse while the man, even if he’s “unhappy,” will use her as a wife appliance, doing as he pleases, until one day the woman’s pressure valve explodes. “Hello, divorce lawyer, I need to get out of this!” Perhaps the theory of finding a man who “loves you a little more” is a way of trying to level the relationship playing field.

    Good luck Anon. You did well by recognizing and respecting your boundaries. Stay smart, stay alert and do not allow an unworthy man to suck dry your wonderful, precious youth. It goes by quickly.

    • I thinik one reason women file first, is because the men just flat out don’t want to. Even though my ass-wipe left me to marry the town whore, he wanted me to file.

      I refused for two very good reasons. He stalled for a couple weeks or so, but in the end he caved and filed. I would have filed had he refused, but he caved.

      • Honestly, I’m 62 yrs old and I’ve never personally known a man who has filed for divorce. Always the wife first, even if he wanted to divorce. Especially with the gray divorces. Men – again, generally speaking – do not do well living alone, particularly when they are older. They NEED a body next to them to help clean, feed them, have sex, whatever. Men also don’t file first because even if they have an OW, they need a back up plan (wife appliance) should the affair fizzle out. Finally, it give them “pity credential” after the fact … “My wife left ME. SHE filed for divorce, I didn’t want to break up our family.”

        • You make many good points, but I think this one is the main reason: “My wife left ME. SHE filed for divorce, I didn’t want to break up our family.”

          I remember my dads second wife (my mom had died) telling me that her truck driver husband told her he wanted a D, and then left to live with the whore on his truck route. He sent her money for the two kids and they were separated for a long time, finally one day he came back and told her she needed to file because the whore was wanting to get married. Asshole just didn’t want to file, like other cheater/liars he was a gutless wonder.

          This was way back years ago, so D wasn’t a prevalent as it is now. Still, ass hole should have owned his own shit, but they don’t want to own it.

          I have heard some call it chivalry to let the woman file, I call bullshit on that one.

          • Just to be clear my dads wife never once referred to the whore as a whore, that is all me. I call a whore a whore.

        • Also this is why I think the stats are skewed for divorce. I always read that women want more D’s than men because they file most often. What is not reflected is why they file, and I am betting the majority of them file because of their spouses adultery.

        • It’s often just about money too. If the man is the breadwinner, he doesn’t want to lose half of “his” money. If she was the breadwinner they don’t want to lose their life on easy street.

          It’s a stark reminder that cheaters are HAPPY with their lives while they are cheating. They aren’t anguished, ashamed, torn, or any of the things they will pretend to be after they are found out. They are giddy and having a blast. They are only sad they got found out and the party ended.

          • NotAnymore, yes, yes and yes. My FW fell in love, had a years long affair, eventually told me. He told me only because he wanted to be with his AP. Things then dragged out for quite a long time. I was in shock of some sort, and he was walking a tightrope, he wanted AP but also wanted to NOT be the guy that left his family for an AP. (He had years to realize that one can’t have both! It astounds me that he took years to tell me and THEN started trying to figure out how to extricate himself without looking like the ass he was. Did how this would look truly never cross his mind in all that time?)

            The goal was always that we would separate. He wanted that because she was so much better than his lame ass wife, I know this because while things dragged out, he let me know all the various ways I failed him. In detail. Frequently. I, of course, now also wanted out because I didn’t want to remain married to a cheating liar.

            Well, things were drawn out for so long that things ended with AP. And now FW is going to be wife-appliance free. And the sad sausage is out full force. Treats the entire divorce situation as something I decided on against his will. It’s enraging. He cannot grasp the concept that this entire situation was what HE desperately wanted. The fact that he told me he wanted out to be with schmoops is supposed to be forgotten now that AP is out of the picture. It’s almost scary how insistent he is that we could just stay together. He’s big mad that I am discarding him so heartlessly. No, I am not joking.

            But a really interesting side note? He talks about missing his family. He doesn’t like living on his own. He doesn’t like being alone. He says these things very specifically. But he doesn’t say that he misses me. If he did say that, I’d know that what he misses is just using me as a wife-appliance, but I still find it interesting that as manipulative as he is, he hasn’t realized that error. If he wants the appliance back, he might want to pretend he misses the actual woman.

        • “My wife left ME. SHE filed for divorce, I didn’t want to break up our family.”

          This was a huge part of the dynamic here. He didnt want to be THAT GUY who dumped his wife and kids, he wanted to be pitted and supported. He tried EVERYTHING to push it and I refused to do his dirty work. Odd that I was finally ready to file…probably would have done so within months if he hadn’t died.

  • For many years I allowed by sexually abusive spouse to take me over. I waited for him to do everything in the house. He bread crumbed me and would not allow me to get experts. I got afraid to drive so he drove me everywhere, I let him pick all our vacations because he paid for them. I let him decide when he’d come home and whatever he did was ok. I lost myself and all my boundaries because I was afraid to lose him. He future faked and left me just enough rope to imagine he loved me. But he did not. He told friends he used my kind heart to his own advantage. So words are cheap, actions are everything and not just the charade actions and the twilight zone of love bombing in between neglect and abuse. Look at the whole picture and change those color blind glasses that don’t see red into real vision to see behind the mask. My XH became more and more entitled and more and more abusive. I waited too long like the boiled frog..i.almost died in the process. Dont let this happen to you. They are masked men…they have no soul. Leave and stay gone. This person is not human and he does not care at all. Believe it.

  • I think we all look for people to make connections with so we can have friends. Life is more enjoyable, IMHO, if you have friends. Unlike some other folks here at chump nation, I believe you can be friends with someone of the opposite sex. I am not in a romantic relationship with anyone now, and I have more male friends than female friends — but here is the thing, our friendship is based on mutual interests, and we enjoy certain activities together. That’s it. I don’t have to be BFF’s with everyone, just as I don’t feel the need for a romantic liaison with anyone at this time. I have boundaries with everyone in my life. Different rules for different folks on different occasions.

    When I was young, I felt pressure to have a boyfriend, to have a circle of friends at school, I didn’t know enough about human nature or boundaries to protect myself. I was heartbroken several times because my expectations and assumptions were unrealistic. I believed people had attributes and powers they didn’t really have, but I wanted to believe they had. I trusted too much and loved too easily. I didn’t realize my worth as a friend. I did not think of using other people, or cheating, or stealing, so I was so surprised that other people did. I am sure I believed people were better than they really were. Growing up was a series of reality adjustments to my frame of reference.

    In this particular case, you are 25, and only knew him for a year. You did the right thing to protect yourself when you felt devalued. You have good instincts, and hopefully you will develop better powers of observation, as you move through life. I think you are pretty awesome, and if you will only drop the weight of worrying about him, soon you will be much happier. Keep reading. Chump Nation is full of great teachers. We’ve walked the walk, so we can talk the talk. I am sure you will be fine, soon!

  • ‘Relationships should be mutual. You bring things to the table. He brings things to the table. You support each other. That’s how friendships work, and healthy romantic partnerships are the same. No one is The Giver of All Good Things and you the grateful supplicant. Because God giveth and God taketh away. Don’t give some narcissist that power……..
    Only bullshit artists say over-the-top shit.’
    Excellent advice for all ages

  • Hello Anonymous–this might be small comfort now, but in time you may be grateful that your ex’s response to your hurt was so pathetically inadequate.

    Both of my cheating ex-husbands fell short in the same way you describe. Like you, I longed for a heartfelt, healing apology. (One of my husbands was sporadically capable of that, but his main settings were blameshifting and a truly scary level of rage.) And yet it’s precisely BECAUSE, to quote CL’s words, these partners “lacked the maturity and depth of character to make meaningful apologies . . . and behave with humility” that I decided in each case that I had to give up on my partner and move on. Since in each case I loved my husband deeply, if by contrast either HAD come to me with a humble and loving heart, and really enfolded me in a comforting way, I might have been lured into reconciliation, thus signing on for what doubtless would have been more years of deceit and hurt.

    The hard part, still, is the task of making my peace with the fact that I so misjudged each of these people. But at least I can keep working on fixing my picker!

    Take care.

    • My 2 cheaters did the same as yours. My first one just dropped me immediately upon DDay. No apologies, just blame. #2 tortured me with stories of how great he was and me useless to him retired as I was. I’m so thankful neither of them begged and pleaded and cried real tears. #2 Cheater said he was crying and put my hand to his face to prove it but those were crocodile tears as he faked all these events. Since the tears did not follow apologies, did not follow…I will never do this again, did not follow how wrong he was…I could not even consider going back. There was no remorse, only arrogance and entitlement and no sorry. The tears have to match behavior. No RIC for me and no cure either. Keep up the good work!! Do not be fooled!!

  • I feel positively overwhelmed by reading all of these comments.. Thank you to CL and CN, I’m grateful for your advice and support ❤️❤️❤️

  • Dear Anonymous,
    I’d like to add something to all the other good advice you’re hearing here. You might be dealing with a loss of confidence in yourself, that you could be so wrong about this friend. I just want to say that this is a normal part of being a young adult in her twenties. Part of life is learning how “friend” means something different to people, how they differ in expectation and bonding ability. You don’t get to avoid this, even if you’re “perfect” and lucky enough to never run across some “Clever Hans” who only apes friendship to get something from you. Your’e doing better than many, so don’t feel that a normal learning experience is a personal failure.

    Elizabeth Gilbert isn’t a good role model, but she did tell a good story about how she discovered that some “friends” are toxic.

  • You got my amen on that! Every human being has to stand on their own feet and discover their own strengths and weaknesses. That’s how we grow and become the people we were meant to be.

  • It reminds me of a quote- if you ever find yourself struggling to choose between me or someone else, choose them. Because you’ve already made a choice by allowing someone else into the equation. People who do this type of shit are heartless, period. When you love someone, I mean really love them you are unable to cause pain for them because it’s ultimately like causing pain for yourself. Although it’s a tough pill to swallow, they DONT miss you or care about losing you. It’s unfortunate but true. Obviously they are telling you all these things so they know exactly what it is they should not do. Fact of the matter is, they decided to anyway. They didn’t just forget everything promised, they made a conscious decision to do something that they knew was going to really hurt you and they didn’t care about ending the relationship. Also, someone can be sorry, they can tell you they’re sorry but until their actions reflect what they are saying, I would be very careful about the interactions with them. They had the capability to really harm you and they took it before. Why wouldn’t they do that again? I have lived this. In no way am I saying my ex husband is even remotely sorry for what he did. I’ll never get an apology probably ever but that’s not for me to concern myself with. That’s between him and is conscious- if he has one.

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