He Says a Friend Signed Him Up for Those Dating Sites

friend signed him up for dating sites

He says a friend signed him up for those dating sites she discovered, after what she presumed was a three-year monogamous relationship. She dumped him, but now she’s second guessing herself.

***

Dear Chump Lady,

My boyfriend of 3 years (now ex) had an emotional affair back in July 2023. I couldn’t believe it. He was the best man I had ever met, so nice and calm. He convinced me it was a total mistake and promised it would never happen again. In fact he said he did it because I had some toxic, immature behaviors and as long as I stopped them, everything would be fine between us.

I was a chump so I chose to reconcile.

We were in “love” and I do admit I’m pretty immature and have terrible communication/problem solving skills. So I went to therapy and worked on my internal issues. With the exception of some arguments, we were doing great.

However, I never stopped thinking about how he was so good at lying to me back in July. It was a 7-day event of trickle truthing and he would shutdown every attempt at me trying to find out the full extent of what happened. To be honest, I probably only know 40% of what really went on. There’s so much I’ll never know.

Anyway, skip to 8 months later. On Monday night I had a massive urge to check his texts for the first time since July. And I found texts from Bumble and Tinder with login codes. I lost my cool and had a very toxic meltdown where I verbally attacked him and threw some of his things off the furniture I paid for (we had a lot of financial problems too where I paid for a lot so this pissed me off).

He denied, denied, denied.

I gave him so many opportunities to explain the unexplainable but instead he grabbed his Apple Watch from hands, changed the passcode and let me walk away. I broke up with him. There was no going back. I went back to pick my things up yesterday and he told me it’s over but I should know that the texts were fake and an enemy (I know about this weirdo who has indeed been messing with him for years) signed him up and that’s why he got those texts.

I almost feel embarrassed to admit I kind of believe him and now I feel so bad that I acted crazy and ended things. On the other hand, my rational brain doesn’t understand why he didn’t tell me in the moment or why he took his watch away and changed the passcode. He’s also a master at lying with a straight face.

Anyway, how do I stop being a chump and crying every moment over how much I regret my decision? Surely he’s lying… right?

Best,

Naive Nobody

***

Dear Naive,

Yes, of course he’s lying.

If a friend signed him up for dating sites, I’m the Queen’s corgi. You’re just so used to being mindfucked and he is so insistent about his ridiculous narrative, that you’re doubting yourself. Wouldn’t it be nice to have three years back? And that great guy you thought he was? Welcome to the bargaining stage of grief.

This guy is a total fraud.

Let’s review.

He convinced me it was a total mistake and promised it would never happen again.

Mistake. Singular. An emotional affair is a series of decisions to invest your relationship energies elsewhere, and conceal the investment. He’s minimizing.

In fact he said he did it because I had some toxic, immature behaviors and as long as I stopped them, everything would be fine between us.

Now he‘s blameshifting his shitty behavior on to you. Your toxic behavior made him do it! See how the battlefield changed venue? Now you’re on the defensive about your behavior and the focus is off him. He’s also selling you a false sense of control, that if you master your behavior, you can control his.

This is bullshit on so many levels.

Let’s say for the sake of argument, you’re toxic. He could do many ethical things in response to your perceived shortcomings. Boundaries. Difficult conversations. Dumping you. Hiding a double life with someone else is not in the toolbox of Healthy Adult Behavior.

It’s more likely you are not toxic, you’re human and are probably trying to make sense of his baffling behavior. Whatever you are, you aren’t superhuman. You don’t have magic powers to make him do anything. Blameshifting his affair on to you was reason enough to dump him. He is not healthy relationship material.

So I went to therapy and worked on my internal issues.

He’s cheating. You go to therapy.

Explain that to me. When in this story does Mr. Fuckwit go to therapy to deal with his issues? Oh right, the problem is you. How convenient.

I never stopped thinking about how he was so good at lying to me

Because he’s so good at LYING TO YOU. Read that sentence you wrote when you wobble.

And he stonewalls.

he would shutdown every attempt at me trying to find out the full extent of what happened.

This should also stop your second-guessing. You’ll never know the truth from this guy, because he’s in a sick power dynamic where he holds all the answers and you just wonder. He ENJOYS that. That’s what his behavior says.

I found texts from Bumble and Tinder with login codes.

Oh, it’s that sneaky friend! Sending him login codes. With different time stamps. That remain undeleted. What a wily friend, with so much persistence.

I lost my cool and had a very toxic meltdown

I became righteously angry that he had once again deceived me after I took him back for cheating on me. There, I fixed it for you.

Why are you labeling yourself toxic and not HIM?

threw some of his things off the furniture I paid for (we had a lot of financial problems too where I paid for a lot so this pissed me off).

Did you throw a television out of a 10th story window? Were small animals hurt? Did you dangle him over a balcony? Or just his action figures?

All things considered, you showed restraint. Attacking things is not ideal, but neither is an abusive relationship with a deadbeat cheater. Chumps can attest to many broken dishes, picture frames, and pummeled pillows after D-Day. Did you set a car on fire?

No? Forgive yourself and move on.

I gave him so many opportunities to explain the unexplainable but instead he grabbed his Apple Watch from hands, changed the passcode and let me walk away.

Because that says “I’m full of transparency and would like to explain!” Where are the apologies? Now would have been the perfect time to introduce that devious friend. But instead he had to wait to conjure that nugget of mindfuckery.

I went back to pick my things up yesterday and he told me it’s over

He’s trying to pretend he’s finished with you AFTER YOU DUMPED HIM? LOL.

A mysterious cabal of weirdos

I should know that the texts were fake and an enemy (I know about this weirdo who has indeed been messing with him for years) signed him up and that’s why he got those texts.

You know what’s a sure sign you’re dealing with a fuckwit? They have mysterious enemies to blame all their shadiness on. This used to be the provenance of evil twins. But here it’s the nefarious frenemy who signed him up for Bumble.

That “weirdo” who “messes” with him is probably a current or former fuckbuddy. Or some other person he screwed over. The problem with double lives is they often collide. Not everyone wants to be a character in his two-bit drama. In Weirdo World, you’re the probably the mysterious friend. Ever consider what he tells his affair partner about you? “Naive is just this troubled ex who keeps signing me up for dating sites.”

Run away from the puppet master. There is absolutely nothing to salvage.

how do I stop being a chump and crying every moment over how much I regret my decision?

Stop regretting your decision! You did the hard thing — you dumped him. You stopped being a chump. That’s HEALTHY!

You’re just grieving what you hoped it would be and the time you wasted on that dream. But don’t confuse the dream with the fuckwit.

Better days ahead, Naive. Chin up.

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Josh McDowell
Josh McDowell
1 month ago

My boyfriend of 3 years (now ex) had an emotional affair back in July 2023. I couldn’t believe it. He was the best man I had ever met, so nice and calm. He convinced me it was a total mistake and promised it would never happen again. In fact he said he did it because I had some toxic, immature behaviors and as long as I stopped them, everything would be fine between us.”

It’s never their fault, always yours. You are the disorder one, you need the counseling and to work on yourself. I am glad you left him, a few years is better than a decade or decades with a loser like him.

FuckWitFree
FuckWitFree
1 month ago

Right. It was my fault for harboring the STDs I had from him and didn’t know and having so many miscarriages that drove him to fuck more strange. It’s a miracle I’m not in prison. He’s still busy spreading his infections which should be punishable by law.

OHFFS
OHFFS
1 month ago
Reply to  FuckWitFree

🤬 I am so sorry. He is subhuman.

Stepbystep
Stepbystep
1 month ago

He could do many ethical things in response to your perceived shortcomings. Boundaries. Difficult conversations. Dumping you. Hiding a double life with someone else is not in the toolbox of Healthy Adult Behavior.

That’s the bottom line. Whether a relationship lasted three months or 30 years, choosing a hidden, double life rather than a truthful conversation is toxic.

Orlando
Orlando
1 month ago

I think you made the right decision in leaving him. Don’t bargain your self-respect down to his basement level now. It’s not an easy decision when we still love & care for someone, but it doesn’t mean it was the wrong decision. Once he started an emotional affair – if that’s all it was, my doubt remains high on this – and started signing himself up on dating sites (my friend’s ex gave her a “disgruntled & jealous co-worker signed him up for it” excuse)…it’s a big sign that he has emotionally CHECKED out of your relationship already. He is emotionally checked out of caring about you. Yes, they can pretend to still care if you offer them some value still, like for sex or buying them furniture….but that’s as deep as it’s going to get now. Your heart is no longer safe with this dude, I hope you guard & protect it from him.

One last time
One last time
1 month ago
Reply to  Orlando

That was a bitter pill for me to swallow. We’d have problems and she would say she wanted a divorce. Later she would come back apologizing and thanking me for believing in her and us. I now have accepted she checked out months, probably years before the betrayal. I was blissfully unaware, or at least only believed the parts I wanted to. It hurts realizing that your “other” was faking it for so long while I was still all in.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago

Dear Naive,

You’ve been living with an abuser for three years and it’s going to take time to recover from it. If the therapist you were seeing didn’t point out the above, I would get another who specializes in trauma recovery and who understands covert abuse tactics. I’d also encourage doing a deep dive and educating yourself as thoroughly as possible about intimate partner abuse– red flags, subtle tactics, psychological effects, etc.– because clearly your innocence about it isn’t protecting you.

But don’t feel bad– it’s not like your innocence over it wasn’t “touchingly innocent” enough to “inspire” a shitty person to get a character transplant. Innocence is never protective. The idea that it is is just some bullshit sold to us by cultural myths like, say, when Cindy Lou-Who manages to melt the Grinch’s green heart. No bigger lie was ever told. It’s like the idea that a bull won’t gore you because you’re a vegan. The only people who want totally defenseless, naive partners are abusers. Every normal person wants a wise and assertive partner who can spot a con job, competently defend themselves, their homes and finances and, eventually any children in the mix.

As far as whether you were, in fact, a victim of abuse, the dead giveaway was that, after this predatory asshole pulled a stunt that would be universally shattering and traumatizing to any normal person (cheating), you’re the one who got trotted off to therapy to work on yourself? Did you consider that some of the behavior or communication tactics you feel could be “toxic” or “immature” were part of a natural gut reaction to living with a spooky, unsettling liar with seriously impaired empathy who’s putting your health and sanity at risk? Did you consider that you were reacting on a gut level? The fact that you don’t seem to have any close friends around helping you to maintain some perspective about the gaslighting mindfuck that’s being pulled on you also suggests that he’s incrementally socially isolated you over the past three years. That’s abuse. It also sounds like he’s financially exploiting you. More abuse (which, especially if children are involved in the future, is considered on par with violence because of the far reaching destructive effects). And I don’t believe for one second that his affair was just “emotional.” To quote CL, adults fuck. Which means you’ve likely been exposed to STDs without your consent. That counts as physical and sexual abuse.

Rather than second guessing yourself for leaving, you should be thanking your lucky stars you got out when you did. But, again, it’s going to take some recovery and awareness to fully understand just how much danger you were in. Fortunately, there’s a kind of a revolution going on in the arena of domestic abuse advocacy and research whereby advocates and researchers are beginning to understand that most survivors count emotional and psychological coercion and control to be the most devastating, paralyzing aspect of it, even more than physical assault.

Back when I worked in advocacy for survivors of abuse, the focus was mostly on broken bones and bruises so that there was little support for survivors who dealt with mostly psychological coercion (by the way, I learned back then that virtually all domestic batterers cheat; in fact, I came to believe that domestic violence may be nothing more than the violent enforcement of one-sided monogamy). But since statistics show that abusers who engage in something called “coercive control” (subviolent emotional abuse– including cheating) are eventually more likely to engage in violence or even intimate homicide, the emotional aspects of abuse are being taken much more seriously in a legislative sense, especially because about 60% of domestic homicide cases didn’t involve any prior reports of violence.

For starters, I recommend the book Coercive Control by forensic psychologist and veteran advocate Evan Stark (or any of his work over the past forty or so years). Or the website, books and interviews about coercive control with national advocate Dr. Christine Cocciola. Other commenters here can recommend further resources. In the meantime, I wish you strength and healing.

chumpdiddlycious
chumpdiddlycious
1 month ago

Thank you so much for this post!! It is spot on in every way, and also very frightening. I plan on reading the book you recommended. I’ve read Why Does He Do That? by Dr. Lundy- who has worked with literally thousands of abusers, and The Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist by Debbie Mirza as very good resources. Also, for those of us in the midst of or planning a divorce, Slay the Bully: How to Negotiate with a narcissist and Win by Rebecca Zung, Esquire.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago

I also read Bancroft and Mirza. Right in the throes of ongoing trauma, the accessibility of those books is really important. Both authors manage to break down and simplify a ton of complex information. On the slightly less accessible side is a book that I think is more of a clinical version of Why Does He Do That?– The Batterer by Canadian criminologist Donald Dutton.

Dutton seemed to lose his mind later in his career but, like Bancroft, he initially studied abusers like bugs under a microscope for decades and some of the associations and observations he makes are still mind-blowing and under-recognized. The fact that he started out so “right” and faithful in his scientific work and then ended up almost recanting and pandering to the radical men’s rights movement reminds me of how Freud initially figured out that some of his female patients were survivors of childhood sexual abuse and then, under pressure from professional peers, completely switched the theory around to say, uh, babies, er, sexually desire their parents… Maybe it’s a classic gutless freak out like, “Oh my GOD, I’ve become a feminist! The boys’ club will destroy me! Quick, whistle Dixie!”

It’s too bad but it’s also too late for him to take back his earlier, excellent work. Certain theories explored in The Batterer like “masked dependency” and “deindividuated rage” are so spot on that they’ll probably light up every synapse in the brains of most survivors of both emotional and physical abuse.

chumpdiddlycious
chumpdiddlycious
1 month ago

Thank you, Hell of a Chump! I will look that up. All this information is painfully clarifying, but I have such a strong desire to understand better how and why I put up with his abuse and lies for so long.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago

Why did you put up with it? Of course all chumps have hopes and dreams of lifelong love and family stability on the one hand. But, on the other, there’s always fear. Even emotional abusers can start making the ganglia at the base of your skull start reacting as if your life were at risk. Or the lives of children in the mix. Abuse always has the specter of death around it even if barely tangible to the conscious mind.

Like my mother used to say, human beings without the capacity for love are just nasty apes. Given what a dangerous species we can be in an historical and statistical sense, I’m betting that the very fact our unconscious lizard brains pick up on subtle or covert signals that someone very close to us may be empathy impaired alone probably sets off ancient alarms. Reduced empathy = danger. Add coercive tendencies-= more danger.

If those alarms clash with conscious perceptions and visible evidence (because the abuse is covert), it might cause a kind of paralyzed indecision. But more than that, I think humans understand in a hardwired sense that trying to break free of an aggressive, coercively controlling member of our species increases the danger that individual poses. It’s like having a tiger by the tail and the risk of getting proverbially (or literally) mauled skyrockets if you let go.

So, in short, consider the idea of Stockholm syndrome/captor bonding. Think back and list every single even slightly intimidating, unsettling thing this ex ever did and said. For instance, was he an angry driver? Did you ever sense rage lurking under some white-knuckling, retrained external behavior? Did he, say, explode into curses if he stubbed his toe or experienced a minor inconvenience? Did he like to bring in the opinions of third parties into disagreements (like “other people say I’m nice and great to work with” or “Our friends say you’re imbalanced…”). The latter is a way to insinuate that he had the ears of “the crowd” and the power to reputationally destroy you if he felt like it (no joke if that leads to job loss or loss of child custody). Did he ever do something “accidentally” that left you injured or ill? Was there just something in his eyes, gestures or tones when angry that left you reeling?

Subtle, exhausting terror campaigns are what abusers specialize in. But they also seem to have a keen sense of how they time this stuff. Some wait until you’re vulnerable or recovering from loss to pull out these tactics like pregnancy or financial dependency when raising small children or following job loss or a death in the family. This coupled with punishing you any time you have a success or spend time with close allies can gradually boil you like a frog over time until your world becomes smaller and smaller and you have fewer and fewer supports and external things on which to anchor hopes, sense of self and sense of a future.

chumpdiddlycious
chumpdiddlycious
1 month ago

Oh Hell of a Chump. Yes, yes, yes, and yes again. It’s eerie- do these guys all read the same manual? Wtf. Yes to the driving, the cursing, the panicked feelings. Punishment for success- this last episode a few months after I graduated. Yes to attacking more when I’m vulnerable. Yes. Oh shit. Ouch. That’s what I’m trying to get back. A sense of myself – who I was before I was ground to dust. Who I was before I put all my money down at the table betting on family and one of those marriages that last a lifetime. I believed enough for us both, so I tried. It takes two to make peace and only one to start a war. But I kept trying, forgiving. All such a waste, except my two sons. And now I’m afraid he will screw them up. He has suddenly, after 16 years of total neglect began to pay attention to my 16-year old. My son has suddenly decided he wants 50/50 custody when before he wanted me to have 100%. It’s breaking my heart and I want to scratch and spit.

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago

There used to be an old phrase in divorce that I’d like to revive: MENTAL CRUELTY. It’s as abusive as any physical kind and may leave longer lasting damage, especially if the victim has been trained to blame him or herself.

M1
M1
1 month ago

Rest in Peace, Evan Stark. We are so grateful for your life and work. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2024/apr/07/evan-stark-obituary

OHFFS
OHFFS
1 month ago
Reply to  M1

That’s terrible. RIP.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  M1

OH MY GOD NO!!!!

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago

I’m so glad to see coverage of his passing in The Guardian: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2024/apr/07/evan-stark-obituary

“Stark revealed a phenomenon that he explained had been hiding in plain sight. His research helped to show that coercive control is domestic abuse at its most dangerous: its presence or absence is a better indicator of a future homicide than the existence of physical violence alone.”

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago

I know that Stark has educated and inspired advocates for several generations but it’s not like the issue he’s been spearheading– coercive control legislation– is in the bag yet. Of course there are others who will try to fill his shoes but, if anyone’s honest, it’s quite a pair of shoes. Along with Anne Filtcraft and a precious few others, he literally launched the domestic violence shelter movement in the US and UK as well as providing a lot of clinical research in support of it. What a loss to the world. RIP.

susie lee
susie lee
1 month ago

I remember about a month before he left for o-whore, we were at our newly bought river property (that I didn’t want to buy, but he insisted). He had put a Christmas tree up and we were there mid December for the weekend. He asked me to take the tree down, so I started and then after removing a few decorations I was just angry and said, I am not going to take this down. He said “oh real mature”. He was ephing whore with abandon by then, and I just didn’t know about it. I knew something was wrong with him, but I had not admitted to myself about what it was yet.

But my point is he had the nerve to call me immature. What I was was angry, and I just couldn’t figure out why I was angry.

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  susie lee

So often true that the best defense IS a good offense.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  susie lee

Yeah, exactly. Your instincts are going berserk but these fuckers won’t put us out of our misery by confirming what our basal ganglia know to be true. It’s a form of psychological torture and then they do the Roman circus thing of giving us a “thumbs down” for our supposedly “erratic” responses which, in hindsight, make perfect sense considering all that was going on under the surface.

Leedy
Leedy
1 month ago

“It’s a form of psychological torture and then they do the Roman circus thing of giving us a ‘thumbs down’ for our supposedly ‘erratic’ responses.” Oh dear. This happened to me, chronically for six years until I found out about the affair. It’s just so sad that I was treated this way.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  Leedy

Not only sad but conceivably dangerous. People are still forcibly institutionalized, maybe even more than in the bad old snake pit days. They can still lose employment, critical social support and reputation (or custody of children if that applies) due to being falsely cast as crazy. Being crazy-baited/gaslighted for one’s understandable response to deception and psychological abuse is coercion, full stop. Even if you don’t “quite” feel vulnerable to fallout from this campaign, it’s still incredibly threatening because you can sense the intent. Even if someone close to you is too much of a weenie to actually follow through on completely destroying you, the intent alone is devastating.

Leedy
Leedy
1 month ago

“The intent alone is devastating”–yes. Ultimately I figured out that at some level my ex-husband wanted to annihilate me, all the more so when I found out about his affair and insisted that we separate. The wear and tear from having that hostility directed at me was huge.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  Leedy

It’s very scary. It’s what people don’t get in a lot of these situations like the story of Jennifer Dulos. She moves out on discovering the FW’s affair. His treatment of her would make it appear he couldn’t wait to get rid of her. But nope, he threatened, harassed and eventually killed her.

Leedy
Leedy
1 month ago

Yes–and how terrible.

Viktoria
Viktoria
1 month ago

This chump’s story brings back some “fond memories”.

Financial D- day was some years ago. He claimed he would “never lie to me again”. I believed him.

He sexually abused me during my marriage. When I tried to advocate for myself about this, (appealing to his empathy for me, haha) he told me that something is wrong with me because of “teen sexual activities” from 40+ years ago, that I refused to admit to him that were the cause of my “hangups” (there was nothing in my sexual history that I did not tell him). I knew that he was trying to blame me for my own abuse but at the time I did not understand why he was so insistent on this narrative about me.

When infidelity D- day happened, and I left him, he said these gems:

“Someone stole a pic of me from Facebook and created this fake Zoosk profile of me. It’s just a form of phishing.”

“Those texts are horrible. I was hacked.”

“That’s not me.”

“If I found texts like that on your phone I would be livid. But I would want to talk to you, and hear your story” (Hear my defense.)

“I can explain, they are fake. Someone created them and planted them on my phone to threaten to expose me, for extortion.”

“I want to meet with you and your friends to prove my innocence. I can explain them all and prove they are fake.”

(A year later) “I can’t prove they are fake…”

“You probably created these texts and placed them on my devise in order to have an excuse to leave the marriage.”

Apple Corporation: “Yes, I’m sorry, you are correct; they are all real.
They are not fake. He did not get hacked.”

Still dealing with grief and severe trauma but no regrets leaving eX!

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  Viktoria

OMG, lying liars lie. It’s stunning sometimes the extent to which they’ll keep lying even when the truth is obvious and undeniable. The jaw drops. Maybe at that point the intent of the lies isn’t so much to convince you as to protect their own image of themselves to themselves. Maybe people like this always start with lying to themselves first.

Chumpasaurus45
Chumpasaurus45
1 month ago

Reminds me of the poster the other day that told the story of the magically appearing giant chicken, her 6 year old purported, had thrown all the eggshells from the trash onto the driveway. (Really funny stuff!)
Your FW’s ‘ giant chicken’ is the weirdo acquaintance from work who signed him up for Bumble and Tinder, sending the passcodes to his phone you happen to stumble upon. And his solution to putting your mind at ease about this was to change the security code on his phone. Easy fix, it doesn’t exist if he says it doesn’t exist, move up and on from that!

You are dealing with a lying liar who lies here. Trust that he sucks.
You know it, CL and CN know it, and he knows it. Stop gaslighting yourself into believing there may be some validity to the tall chicken shit tale he is weaving for you. There is absolutely NO chance that could be true. So, put the spackle back in the garage and let yourself rip down those walls he is lying and deceiving you behind.

I’m sorry this happened to you. You did not cause him to cheat on you by any loss of control angry behaviors you imagine you did. That boat don’t float. It is not you!!

Three years is a heartache to spend with a loser, 38 is a Shakespearean tragedy. Don’t be me.
Don’t second guess yourself another split second. Someday you will be able to see this as the most critical and life saving decision you have ever graced yourself with. But for now you will grieve deeply what you had hoped you had and then lost. That was never present. He didn’t wake up one day and morph into a cheating A-hole, it’s who he is.

Way above love, it is trust, feeling safe and secure with a person, knowing with full belief they have your back. You don’t get that with a FW. You can’t build anything worth having on the stack of lies they will continually deal out to you.

You are not naive, Naive. You are wounded and sad he turned out to be such a pos of a man to knowingly hurt you that badly.

Put your mind at peace, you are making the absolute right and only sensible choice here. Break complete contact with this con man.
Let him scroll Bumble and Tinder to his little heart’s content, but just not on your couch or in your life.

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  Chumpasaurus45

I think “Magic Giant Chicken” should become a permanent part of the Chump Nation lexicon.

JeffWashington
JeffWashington
1 month ago

Can’t say I had the balls to punch my FW’s ticket when D-Day hit. Wish I did looking back on it. I imagine I’d be going through the same “did I make the right decision?” stuff. Along with the associated “how could I have been so stupid?” or “why did I give my love and life to a fuckwit?”

The answer to all of those questions is “you didn’t know until you did and you have the choice to stop being this person’s victim.” I have to remind myself of that a lot.

Remorse about “what you lost” is a normal, healthy part of the process. After all, you were thinking rationally and ethically about the love of your life-he was not. You asserted a boundary and he made the decision for you.

You have to protect yourself. Clearly he was not interested in keeping you safe or else he wouldn’t have cheated.

When you are having remorse like this, ask yourself: is that lack of trust what you are ok with? That you are going to get fragments of a poorly concocted story? That it’s probably happened a lot more than this but this was the time you happened to catch him?

The bit where he changed the pin on his smart watch tells the whole story to me. You were right to leave.

Relationships-romantic or otherwise, are built on trust and openness.

And let’s just say hypothetically that he was being 100% honest(he’s not). How OK are you with somebody like that having enemies that have access to his phone number? Particularly if we was less than forthcoming about what they were doing? Also-he has easy enemies if all they are doing is signing him up for dating sites instead of having him SWATed or slashing his tires.

Sounds like that problem is a new phone number (or blocking other numbers) away from being solved if we’re being rational or he was being honest. Restraining orders. All that kind of thing.

So what if you are toxic sometimes? We all are! We let these morons into our hearts further than we let anybody else. We trusted that they wouldn’t abuse the wonderful gift of our love just as we wouldn’t abuse theirs(I have found out A LOT about my need for reciprocity in my healing process.)

Mine accused me of toxicity as a reason for her cheating. And I can be. I’m human and have wants and needs and problems and dreams. As do they. And well, she had every opportunity to help me work on issues, real and perceived, and instead elected to graze in greener pastures while I still paid her bills and gaslit the hell out of me/got caught in a web of lies. All of that instead of “leaving if the problem was really that big.” Sounds like yours did the same. Does that sound like somebody worth regretting the loss of?

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  JeffWashington

Just to repeat my own past comments about FWs refusal to set normal boundaries in the typical course of relationship negotiation by saying, “Hey, you’re stepping on my toes in this way and we need to talk about it.” Instead they save up every real or imagined breech in a little blame bag until they’ve saved up enough “blame chips” to justify (in their twisted minds) a major betrayal.

Furthermore, there’s a Roman circus aspect to living with a covert betrayer because it causes all sorts of unsettling gut feelings that makes victims more prone to sleep problems, mood swings and, consequently, more erratic behavior. Somewhere in everyone’s basal ganglia people can sense when they’re being put at risk so it’s really not a great context in which to judge someone or oneself or make sweeping assumptions about preexisting psychology or behavior. If some of it seems like carryover from previous relationships that’s one thing but even then being covertly abused is not an ameliorating factor. I’d wait for dust to settle following a brush with abuse before trying to decide what is baseline behavior or simply reactive behavior.

Chump-Domain Cleric
Chump-Domain Cleric
1 month ago

This is so important. If someone is healthy and ready for a relationship, they can communicate their problems. Even if we take a FW at their word (that your behaviors magically caused infidelity), the BEST CASE SCENARIO interpretation is that they’re inadvertently admitting they can’t communicate in a relationship or set proper boundaries, and therefore, should be considered unavailable.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago

I think it’s obviously highly unsafe to admit even the most minor personal problems/challenges to a person who is dedicated to collecting reasons why their own abusive behavior is “your fault/doing.” To the extent that normal humans depend on fair and honest feedback on behavior from the people close to them in order to improve, grow and mature, being with a blameshifting abuser can potentially paralyze personal growth– at least in the sense of not promoting it and making it very risky to engage in that kind of self reflection.

I think every survivor of abuse should probably pause any in-depth efforts towards self analysis and criticism until they’ve had a buffer of a few years between last threatening contact.

Chump-Domain Cleric
Chump-Domain Cleric
1 month ago

Oh, no, I’m saying that the best case scenario (under the false pretension that the chump could cause the other person to cheat) is that the FW is inadvertently admitting they can’t set boundaries or communicate. But I 100% agree with that!

Last edited 1 month ago by Chump-Domain Cleric
Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago

One giveaway that a secret “blame bag” exists is if the only times you ever get dressed down about your own behavior is when you call them on theirs. The “tit for tat” is a typical emotional abuse tactic. Normal people regularly and calmly set boundaries and negotiate needs in neutral moments, not only as a means of deflecting discussion of their own misdeeds.

Velvet Hammer
Velvet Hammer
1 month ago

I’m reminded of an event from my daughter’s childhood. I think she was four or five. She had a friend from preschool who claimed to have a roller-skating pony.

Naturally, when we were over at this friend’s house on a play date, my daughter asked to see it.

“It’s invisible,” she was told.

(Welcome to the maturity level of the cheater and the side piece.)

My daughter said, “Well, I have a monster who eats invisible roller skating ponies.” She asked to go home and told me she no longer wanted to play with this child.

She is seventeen now and still has zero tolerance for BS. We still laugh about that incident with “Mean Olivia”.

You’ve gotten reliable hard evidence that you were in a relationship with a child in an adult body, and a dangerous one.

Lying is abuse. It is the theft of someone’s reality, in addition to whatever else was stolen, tangible or intangible. You can’t recover the time you spent with someone, and that loss is especially painful. You can never get the time back, but you can minimize it by walking away. The only pain medication I am aware of that actually works is time, no contact (bare minimal contact if you have children with the person), and adopting a daily practice of kindness, love (verb) and caring actions from you to yourself.

It helped me to print out a copy of the power and control wheel (Google it) and write out all the incidents I could remember from the relationship that corresponded to each category on the wheel. Writing helps because you can only hold one thought at a time in your mind; writing it out helps to see patterns and the totality.

Forget about whatever he did that falls into the Nice Guy category. Look for the harm. Truly good people don’t do things they know are wrong and know will hurt you.
Every con artist has a Nice Guy/Gal side which they employ to confuse and use their marks. Nice guys/gals don’t lie.

Cheaters and side pieces are con artists. They use people to feed their outsize egos.

Don’t feed the monsters.

Leedy
Leedy
1 month ago
Reply to  Velvet Hammer

“Well, I have a monster who eats invisible roller skating ponies.” Impressive reaction, for a five-year-old! 👏

Velvet Hammer
Velvet Hammer
1 month ago
Reply to  Velvet Hammer

PS….I was suspicious of cheating three years in. I decided to stay. I married him at year seven. Undeniable DDay came at year twenty-seven. I realized my suspicions at year three had been correct.

I wish I could keep my daughter and turn back time to year three and leave, but it’s not possible.

😪

Mighty Warrior
Mighty Warrior
1 month ago
Reply to  Velvet Hammer

I was in the relationship for 26 years. Married after 8 years. Dumped due to my ‘faults’, then discovered rekindling of his teen relationship with, by now, long-distance exgfOW. Two years in, we were at his horrible brother’s wedding party in Europe (minor gangster). Whilst chatting with female guests, I glanced round and saw my now exH with his back to me and his arm tenderly around the waist of a woman who was not a relative. My brain and my body instantly said together ‘you can’t trust this man’. I was tired, we had just moved together to London, started new jobs, blah blah. I told myself I was ‘being crazy’. It was such a small moment and it changed my life. I will never again make the mistake of ignoring my body screaming at me.

Hell of a Chump
Hell of a Chump
1 month ago
Reply to  Velvet Hammer

I always fantasize about bailing about a six months into my pregnancy with my third child.

ChumpDchump
ChumpDchump
1 month ago

I’m willing to bet $10 that you’ll magically seem less “toxic and immature” to yourself and others when you are no longer shoulder-deep in a relationship with a person who regularly belittles you and f**ks with your reality. Just a hunch!

2xchump
2xchump
1 month ago

My husband of 30 years blamed me for his sex habit, got a sex counselor that cured him in 4 sessions and told me I was the cause. He toldme that to save our illusion of a monogamous marriage, I needed help more! Once the blame is on.you the chump.RUN!! There was horrible coercion and rages that were accelerating.i had the most aware counselor who.told me to RUN NOW. He saved my life. Don’t go back, this man is wicked and seeks to keep abusing, lying, hurting you. He does not adore, cherish or love you. Leave and don’t look back. Get help for you but do not go back. Chump lady speaks the truth. It is a rotten character you have and they cannot change without extraordinary effort . And that’s too hard.

OutButNotDown
OutButNotDown
1 month ago

Tracy’s response is golden! Super therapeutic for me to read after getting out 2.5 years ago but still having doubts about the right course of action for maybe 2 of those years (during separation).

For all you newbies out there, I recommend reading Tracy’s post today over and over.

And Velvet Hammer’s suggestion to use the Power and Control Wheel to write out associated occurrences with your cheater is excellent as well.

Better days – without them – are indeed ahead!

Rarity
Rarity
1 month ago

OP, I’m not going to go into details, but both my father and my XH were disordered men who financially (XH), physically (father), and emotionally (both) abused me all while insisting that I was the toxic and disordered one.

I left home at age 18, then left my marriage at age 32. After the divorce, I had a full neuropsychological work-up done because I was beginning to wonder whether or not I wasn’t really the problem in these relationships.

You know what I found out?

I’m highly intelligent and abnormally aggressive (especially for a woman). And I have a diagnosis of “major depressive disorder (currently in remission).” That’s it.

I’m not ODD, OCD, ADHD, bi-polar, NPD, or APD.

So I went to work on myself. Started pursuing the things that I love. Was mindful of my aggression and my tendency for my temper to flare. Advised the people in my life of my tendency for depression and how to respond if I began showing signs. Started learning about healthy boundaries, toxic personalities, and how to deal with them.

I’m 42 now and I live a very healthy and balanced life, while my XH and father continue to live disordered or semi-disordered lives.

Which is all to say: you need to work on you. Maybe you do have disorders that need treatment, maybe you don’t, but you didn’t make your XBF act like this, and you can fix yourself without him. Good luck.

(Also many of the disorders I mentioned are treatable, so please don’t despair if you have them! Acknowledge them, own them, and get help.)

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago
Reply to  Rarity

From Chump to Champ!

OHFFS
OHFFS
1 month ago

“He convinced me it was a total mistake and promised it would never happen again. In fact he said he did it because I had some toxic, immature behaviors and as long as I stopped them, everything would be fine between us.”

That was your cue to pick me dance and you did. You now see how that even when you give them the changes they ask for, it doesn’t stop the cheating. That’s because it was never about you and your alleged flaws. It’s 100% about the cheater. This kind of behavior pre-dates you even meeting him. He’s a serial cheater. Serial cheaters are emotionally disturbed, potentially dangerous manipulators.

I bet dollars to doughnuts he’s just projecting his own toxicity onto you, anyway. His behavior is massively immature and he’s pure poison.
Do not not not not not not not weaken and take this piece of garbage back.
Cut off all communication so he can’t manipulate you further. He’ll probably try to ooze back into your life when his next chump dumps him for cheating. They like to recycle their victims. Don’t give him that chance. Nothing beats a complete lack of communication for getting over somebody. Fill your time with the things you enjoy and are passionate about. Don’t sit at home agonizing about him. I can promise you the regret will not last if you start to build the life you want. It’s never a good idea to build your life around a romantic partner. You need to pursue your own personal dreams, whatever it is you want to achieve in your life. In time you will love the peace and freedom gained from not having a manipulator in your life.

Mehitable
Mehitable
1 month ago

My dear Naive Nobody – you are lucky you only spent 3 years on him – as you’ll see if you read through these archives many people have spent 30 YEARS on their lying FW so it’s good that you found out fairly early and can put him in the past. Give yourself a giant pat on the back for doing this because so many people keep overlooking incidents like this or patterns of behavior until they get really trapped with children, finances, etc and it’s so much harder to get out.

One thing I’ve noticed personally and I see it in these posts all the time is that MANY OF THE WORST ABUSERS ARE THE NICEST PEOPLE ON THE SURFACE. My father was like that and my first cheater was like that. We called is street angel, house devil but it’s not that simple. This is the easy charm of the Con Man, the guy who gets you to spend your money or your love or whatever he wants on him. And then you feel guilty for doubting him because….he’s got a good line and he’s so “nice”. CHARMING PEOPLE ARE CHARMING BECAUSE THEY WANT SOMETHING AND THAT’S HOW THEY GET IT OUT OF YOU. Some people are naturally charming with no nefarious goals in mind, but I’ve so often seen it true that the most charming people, who can seem nice as pie, WANT SOMETHING OUT OF YOU. It’s a con. It’s all a con. It’s what they call the Long Con because they’re willing to invest some time (sometimes considerable time) and effort into cultivating the mark – that’s you. Or me, I’ve been the mark, too.

Trust your instincts and believe in reality. You’d already caught him in what HE calls an EA (it was probably a physical affair as well as adults have sex. And I think this is almost always true of men. But consider – he’s in the honeymoon phase with you (2 years+ is not a long time in a relationship) and he’s ALREADY LOOKING AROUND???? Nah, can that shit. Then because he’s so “nice” (charming) you overlook it and you find out about the online dating. Why is he on line? BECAUSE HE’S A CON MAN LOOKING FOR ANOTHER MARK. You caught onto him with the “EA” and he wants a back-up plan. Could someone have created these profiles for him? It’s possible….it’s also possible that I am the last living descendant of the Romanovs….but it’s not likely. Most people are not going to go to the trouble of creating several dating profiles, what’s the point? And for him to change his password….well….he’s not interested in clearing this up – he’s interested in hiding it from YOU. I bet if you were to go on those sites with a fake picture and profile yourself….he’d probably contact you. I don’t advise this, but it’s what I think.

So….as much as it hurts and I know it does, it hurts to lose what you thought you had and also to feel you were “taken”….personally I would be grateful I didn’t invest more time, or God forbid, have a child with this POS. I would take this as something to learn from and be more careful in the future with “charming” people. Real people have faults, flaws. Real people get angry at times, or they get pissy, or they’re tired, or boring. They’re a mosaic of parts, they’re not consistently “nice”. GO NO CONTACT and involve yourself in other friends and activities until you feel like getting back in the saddle again and dating. There are a lot of great guys out there but that old saying you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find the Prince has some truth to it. We just can’t let ourselves be dazzled by bullshit during the process. Good luck!

thelongrun
thelongrun
1 month ago

I just fully realized that the FW XW was blameshifting her affair on me because in her words, “you were going through a mid-life crisis.” No, I was in depression after losing my way in figuring out a job that I could do and support our family. SHE had the affair. It’s her that had the mid-life crisis. On a positive note, the anniversary of D-day happened Saturday and I completely forgot about that until today. That’s GOT to be a step towards Meh, right?!🤣 Peace to all my fellow chumps. Dealing w/the out-of-staters today coming into VT for the total eclipse. Still trying to finish up my day working for FedEx Express. Hope everybody else is enjoying themselves! Hopefully I will soon, too.😊

Chump-Domain Cleric
Chump-Domain Cleric
1 month ago

Describing the behaviors we have in these scarios as “toxic” is actually understandable to some extent with me, but I don’t believe it teels the whole story or is the right way to frame it. Most of us react in “toxic” ways to abuse. It’s actually how most people develop maladaptive coping mechanisms – as a reaction to situations and environments that are harmful to us. Think of dosassociation – very much a disruptive symptom or disorder, but developed by the brain so victims can put a barrier between what is hurting them and their internal self. It’s protection.

If I acted the way I did with ex/FW around my current partner, yes, it would be toxic. But the only reason I acted that way around ex/FW was because I was struggling to cope with his abuse. I was a wreck… because he constantly had me unbalanced, defensive, and vulnerable. And a lot of those behaviors leveled out once I was away from him.

Perhaps, Naive, reframe it as maladaptive? It may help with healing, going forward.

Dontfeellikedancin
Dontfeellikedancin
1 month ago

We started out the story with the fact that he’s definitely a cheater, liar, and mooch. Even if his frenemy story was true (it’s not, but for the sake of argument) and even if you never identified a single one of his MANY manipulative behaviors, I would fully support the throwing of objects and dumping of this creature, based on facts alone.

He’s just not good. You didn’t owe him anything before the second cheating incident, nor do you owe him anything now. You owe yourself one precious life free from this shit. You’ll stop feeling sad when you believe that.

Helen Reddy
Helen Reddy
1 month ago

he said he did it because I had some toxic, immature behaviors

The projection is strong with this FW.

Having come out alive from my own naive phase of being emotionally abused by my first FW, I feel for this LW, and wish I could loan her my “inner guard dog.” But she’s got to train her own, because this kind of ankle-deep BS is so not acceptable.

CL said it all. But here’s my anecdote in hope it helps. When my second FW crossed my path all charm and sparkly, my empathy and good faith were susceptible again, and I thought he was great (at first, he was). But I was thankfully no longer naive when he switched to devaluing, as all FW’s do. Having read and taken to heart the lessons of Dr. George K. Simon, I now had what I call my inner guard dog, to keep my heart safe:

“I see some red flags” FW2 said, about me, when he started devaluing.
My inner guard dog raised its chin, ears at attention (it’s a Doberman, by the way).
“Such as?,” I replied, skeptically, as the guard dog stood.
“You don’t like to be pushed,” the moron answered, straight-faced.

Good dog.

Helen Reddy
Helen Reddy
1 month ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

🎯

Confused AF
Confused AF
1 month ago

Naive, girl..listen. You 100% did the right thing. He’s a liar, a cheater, a manipulator. He doesn’t love you. Trust yourself! TRUST YOUR GUT. Think about it. You had “a massive urge to check his texts”.. These urges usually don’t lie. You had that urge for a reason. You knew in your gut he was hiding something. TRUST IT. How I wish I did the same just 3 years in. Instead I chose to trust him blindly. I think most of us had some big red flags thrown at us at some point early on in the relationship and we chose to ignore them, sweep them under the rug, because we loved them so much. At least I know I did. I never found dating profiles, my fuckwit was very smooth, but there were still some big signs. Girl just run and don’t look back. Take it as a lesson and next time don’t give second chances to assholes.

chumpdiddlycious
chumpdiddlycious
1 month ago

Dear Naive Nobody,

Your post really hit home because that was me, so many times. Except I doubted myself and kept talking myself into believing or accepting his lies. And today is the day thirty years ago when I married the fuckwit. I should have listened to my inner voice that day and just driven away and never looked back instead of going to the courthouse to marry the deceiving dipshit. I told myself and everyone else what a great guy, what a happy marriage we had. And I even had two wonderful sons with him. He left (again) over Christmas- my youngest’s birthday. Moved to a nearby city and proceeded to file for divorce and flood Facebook with pictures of him and his latest schmoopie. I’ve signed papers, and honestly feel as if an enormous burden has been lifted from my shoulders. I’ve put up with anger and discontentment and lying and cheating and leaving and coming back so long I feel like a bad country song. But I am finally free of him. No looking back this time, and neither kid wants to see another “reconciliation.”

I’ve been educating myself and realizing not only what a chump I’ve been but also just how well he manipulated and abused me. To the point where I am only starting to find those pieces I left along the way in order to try and preserve the peace and get through another day. So many of the things that made me smile. He just sucked the life out of me. Two books have been especially helpful in understanding the dynamic and just how well established it is. Why does He Do That? By Dr. Lundy and The Covert Passive Aggressive Narcissist by Debbie Mirza. Both of these were painful to read as I realized they we written about me, to me, and for me. Indescribable.

Hang in there and stay strong! He is a worthless piece of turdwhistle and it would never be any different; only worse. The behaviors, the blame shifting, the confidence erosion, the abuse- and cheating is worse than beating, in my opinion- having experienced both, only get worse and worse over time. At least you only wasted three, not thirty years on the integrity disordered waste of a human being.

You are much, much, oh muchly much better without him.

Cal
Cal
1 month ago

Ah Naive Somebody, it’s ok. You wasted some time on a fuckwit. When you discovered the truth, he convinced you the issue was you – because that was easier for you to believe. You can fix you! Make it all better and it’ll never happen again!

Then he did it again. But you very quickly want to go back to believing it was you somehow.

It’s not. It never was. The guy couldn’t even manage an entire year without you finding out (he may have managed entire minutes without cheating but he’ll never tell you about all that).

Whenever you want to cover it over, go back to the cosy nightmare, remember what it really was – lies, blameshifting, more lies. Pretty sure you deserve better than that crap.

You got this!

Last edited 1 month ago by Cal