The Redeemable Cheater Fallacy

I often get characterized as believing “once a cheater, always a cheater.” No, I don’t believe that. I have no idea if you have a redeemable cheater. (I’m skeptical.) Their iffy potential doesn’t matter, but yours does. That’s the radical position here.

***

The first rule of writing publicly, they tell you, is Never Read the Comments. But hey, I’m a chump and rejection is my superpower, so I’ve been known to read the commentary about this blog.

I encourage anyone trying to make a convincing argument about anything to read their harshest critics, because that shit just makes you stronger. Last year I had the honor of listening to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg address an incoming class of law students at Georgetown. She talked about her friendship with fellow justice, and jurisprudence arch nemesis, Antonin Scalia. Apparently Scalia was a hoot at dinner parties and had very fine taste in rugs. (They shopped together.)

However, when it came to matters of law, the two couldn’t be further apart. Take for example, the decision to allow women to attend the Virginia Military Institute (a public institution). Scalia wrote the dissenting opinion (to not allow women in) — but before he released his opinion, he first gave it to Justice Ginsburg.

Well, said Justice Ginsburg, Scalia was a formidable opponent and he tore her arguments to shreds. And all that did, she said, was make her more determined. A sneak peek at Scalia’s attack, gave Ginsburg the opportunity to redraft her opinion and NAIL THAT MOTHERFUCKER DOWN. (Um… not her exact words.)

He just made her stronger.

So with that inspiration in mind, let’s discuss this recent Reddit thread.

My problem with CL, which is the same problem I have with a lot of people here, is that she doesn’t allow for the possibility that different cheaters are different. IF you are someone who has an unrepentant cheater and can’t see it, she’s great. And maybe truly repentant cheaters aren’t terribly common, but they absolutely 100% are not as rare as she makes them out to be…

I guarantee there’s been cases of people who did have a cheater that would have never done it again, who were convinced by CL to leave because according to her, cheaters never change.

She takes her experience with an unrepentant serial cheater and projects it to all cheaters. That’s as wrong as if someone who had sucessfully reconciled were to say “I did it, anyone can.”

My problem with her is that she doesn’t just say that redeemable cheaters are rare, she comes very close to denying that they even exist.

Ah, the Redeemable Cheater fallacy.

The argument goes, that the message here (Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life) might make you scurry away and miss an opportunity to reconcile with your cheater.

They were going to come around! And I scared you off. Not all cheaters are the same! You might have an Exceptional One! Let’s deconstruct this, like RBG.

It doesn’t matter what kind of cheater you have. It matters what what you will tolerate.

This blog is all about YOU, the CHUMP. I know that is radical in the infidelity discourse, but I have zero interest in going down the rabbit hole of cheater potential. Can they change? Will they do their therapy homework? Will that affair fog ever dissipate?

See what I did there? I put all the focus on the redeemable cheater. We get so mired in untangling cheater skeins of fuckupedness, that we don’t stop and ask ourselves what WE want. It always comes back to — IS THIS RELATIONSHIP ACCEPTABLE TO YOU?

People in reconciliation squirm away from this question. They muster defenses of the cheater. Their potential. How thoroughly the affair partner has been vanquished. NO. The question IS — are you okay staying in a relationship with someone who is capable of casually betraying you? Can you live with those mental gymnastics?

You do get a vote.

Your needs matter. It’s totally OKAY to have a deal breaker.

If you bond deeply and love with your whole heart, betrayal is devastating. It’s not a “bump on the marital road” — it’s an improvised explosive device that just cratered your armored vehicle.

You can stay with the saboteur and engage in a lifetime of peace talks… or you can walk away from the flaming mess.

Yes! But maybe it was a one time kind of sabotage! They got drunk and built a bomb! This wasn’t an experienced, serial bomb-maker! It was a kid with a pressure cooker and some nails! 

Look at the crater and tell me what kind of difference that makes.

How redeemable they are does not matter.

Let’s say your business partner embezzled $50,000 from you. They are NEVER going to embezzle again. They promise! Do you still want to stay in business with them?

Cheaters may very well change. I don’t argue here that they can’t — I argue that entitlement feels great, and humility and consequences do not. To cheat means you can suppress empathy (or have none). Character change is slow and painful and its rewards are not immediate. I don’t think this is an attractive path for most cheaters, redeemable or otherwise.

And the fact remains that if someone embezzles from you, and transgresses to this degree, you cannot reasonably be expected to ever trust this person again.

Sure, the redeemable cheater could go on and form a new business partnership and never steal from the till, but they destroyed YOUR relationship. It all comes down to risk and what you’re willing to tolerate. (See point #1.)

I am projecting my experience and we cannot draw any conclusions from millions of other experiences.

How nice and reductionist this is. Well, Chump Lady is just One Bitter Woman’s take on infidelity. Or Bully For Her, That New Life Thing Worked Out. Do not draw any conclusions!

Ah, instead of the cheater being exceptional, I am exceptional. Got it.

Except that I’m not exceptional. My story is very ordinary. What’s not ordinary is that I shared it. Because most people graduate from chumpdom, go on to lead better cheater-free lives, and do not look back. (Why would they? Why would you want to revisit the painful shit storm?)

I keep the place going because 99.9 percent of the advice out there sucks. And I want there to be the kind of resource I wished existed when I went through this. And now there is.

Leave a cheater, gain a life. Draw your own conclusions, CN.

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OneDaySomeDay
OneDaySomeDay
6 years ago

Oh boy, I was in that thread right there. *Blush*. Oh well CL, I stood up for you.

Leavingthecrapbehind
Leavingthecrapbehind
6 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

OMG….my ex perv …Dancing Dick from the great State of Indiana was also an embezzler! His charges: Theft by deception.

Deception defines the Dancing Dick- perfectly. That is who he is and what he does best.

Canadian Chump
Canadian Chump
6 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

This person might be someone I know.

Last year, after confronting my husband about his affair with his ho-worker and kicking him out of the house, I immediately told the OW’s husband. He didn’t believe me (and was actually quite rude to me). Eventually, this guy had no choice as OW (his wife) asked him to leave their home; and soon after, my Cheater-Ex (her boss!) moved into her home with her four children, and my 6-year old son was there 50% of the time.

I ended up becoming friends with this guy (OW’s chump husband), introduced him to CN, and we shared information to help support our children. He ended up moving back to Toronto as he needed to focus on his career.

My Cheater-Ex and the OW broke up – (gee – not that romantic with 5 kids!). I texted OW’s chump ex-husband to see how he was last week, and he said he was moving back to the west as him and wife are trying wreckonciliation.

I wish him well and happy he will be in the geography as his kids…. But, my sense is that his cheater wife needs a break from the kids.

You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink…..

OneDaySomeDay
OneDaySomeDay
6 years ago
Reply to  Tracy Schorn

Hell yeah! Rock on CN and CL.

I mean it’s for anyone to decide what they do with the viewpoints you present here. And I guess that’s all that was discussed there. The person you quoted stated that ‘his’ issue was this. Not for him. And yeah then he was kinda like: She says this and if people believe this they will miss out on that. And that’s what irked me. He says he doesn’t want you to sort of think for others, or say what others need to think, but in the end he does it himself.

Bit hypocrite. Otherwise this is a good person on that subreddit.

anon
anon
6 years ago
Reply to  OneDaySomeDay

I want to thank you for this site. I’m not married to a cheater but a lot of the questions and stories on here reflect things that happen in life, just not to the extent a lot of people here have experienced. And learning coping strategies or boundaries is never a bad thing. You make me think about uncomfortable topics and that too is not bad thing.

I found my way here via Captain Awkward’s site. Someone mentioned it, I was curious and came looking to see.

Auntie Griselda
Auntie Griselda
6 years ago
Reply to  anon

How right you are. I’m now in a good healthy relationship but I come here from time to time to ensure my compass is still calibrated to True North. There are some good home truths here about unacceptable behaviour, double-talk and deception that can apply to one’s relationships with colleagues/bosses, friends and even other family members. Critical thinking is the most underrated skill in life.

AlsoAnon
AlsoAnon
6 years ago
Reply to  anon

Hi there Anon… I come here because my FOO has a narc, I come here to remember that (person) sucks and to beware. I’ve learned so much, it’s very helpful.

ClearWaters
ClearWaters
6 years ago
Reply to  anon

Exactly, Anon, this is the place to learn how to think critically = honestly about many problems that occur in life. Even after I reach Meh I will still be here.

Tempest
Tempest
6 years ago
Reply to  anon

Welcome, Anon. Both CL and Captain A are great sites for learning healthy boundaries.

violet
violet
6 years ago
Reply to  OneDaySomeDay

I went to Reddit and read his comments. Hey, cheaters “just” accidentally get drunk and fall into some woman’s vagina. “Random” unicorns actually exist, and that mean CL just won’t acknowledge all the hard work they do to reconcile! It’s not fair, gosh darn it that CL won’t give cheaters the opportunity to prove how trustworthy they really are! Excuse me while I puke.

I can picture this guy siting in his underwear, watching TV in his recliner, drinking beer after beer, complaining to anyone who will listen how unfairly he has been treated for his “mistakes.” Married and divorced probably at least twice, cheated in both marriages, and unable to find a woman who wants to put up with his selfish crap. Full of justifications for his infidelity with claims like,”It happened during the company’s annual convention in Las Vegas, so it doesn’t count.” He’s not a bad guy, he just wasn’t given the “chance” to redeem himself.

The lack of insight is staggering. CL is a convenient way for him to avoid accepting responsibility for his conduct. He doesn’t want to do the hard work of trying to figure out why he cannot maintain a stable relationship. After all, it is so much easier to blame someone else for why he is alone. CL’s truth cuts just a little to close to the bone.

He has a female counterpart. She cheated because, gosh darn it, she wasn’t getting the attention she deserved. She wanted her marriage to work, she really did, but the house needed cleaning, the kids had to be cared for, the bills didn’t magically pay themselves, and her husband didn’t even acknowledge her most recent hair cut. Surely, she shouldn’t be expected to tolerate that kind of abuse! Sure, she screwed her husband’s best friend, but it didn’t “mean” anything. Her husband won’t give it a rest and forgive her this minor transgression. Poor, poor pitiful her.

Cheaters hate CL and CN because people can come here for the truth, not some babbling bullshit. Redemption and reconciliation require acknowledgement of wrongdoing, reflection of the pain that was intentionally inflicted, commitment to change, and years of hard work, all of which are antithetical to 99.999% of cheaters.

When dealing with cheaters, why look for a unicorn is a herd of jackasses? As Tracy has so accurately portrayed, a jackass painted white, with a fake horn glued to its head, is still a jackass. Thanks, but no thanks.

Johnn
Johnn
6 years ago
Reply to  violet

Now for the truth. I broke up after3 mos to follow my heart and I told her this 1month later she calls cause she pregnant. I say” let me pray on this and get back with you.” Pray gets reply is “YOULL MAKE RIGHT CHOICE”. So all move in together and for years nothing but ex still my friend no Fkn and she heard voicemail confirming I wouldn’t Fk her. Than I’m constantly being accused of cheating while I’m finding her sexual profiles. It gets bad she breaks up and we both part. I than FK 1st time but she is stalking me so I can’t make new work 6mos later we try again but she is constantly accusing and getting caught lying saying you lookin for me but I’m at Shaka house and you never checked there.hmmm. Than we have her getting crazy mad when I tell her our neighbor FK other neighbor hmm. I’ve never laid next to her and been a cheater. She broke up every time while constantly threatening to FK

Sucker Punched by a Saffa
Sucker Punched by a Saffa
6 years ago
Reply to  violet

Watched the ugly bff (big fat f*cker) Harvey Weinstein climb into his car, saying to the reporter “We all make mistakes”

Uh,no most of us don’t make his kind of mistakes…

Would love to hear from his first wife Eve Chilton as to why they divorced…Yuck-a cheater and a harasser/predator !

Tempest
Tempest
6 years ago

“Mistake” = stripping naked and chasing women around a hotel room

“Mistake” = raping some of those women

“Mistake” = being such a liability to your company because of your appalling behavior that your OWN BROTHER turns you into the media

Emma Thompson got this right about Weinstein: ““I don’t think you can describe him as a sex addict,” Thompson said. “He’s a predator – that’s different. He’s at the top of, as it were, the ladder, of a system of harassment and belittlement and bullying.”

nomoreskankboy
nomoreskankboy
6 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Wowza! Hit the nail on the head, as usual!

OtherRebecca
OtherRebecca
6 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Bingo Tempest!
Well phrased, as usual <3

Doingme
Doingme
6 years ago
Reply to  violet

How is it they have no insight? Cheating requires agency. It’s a deliberate act requiring much more than having sex. The paper trail proves contact through texting, lying to meet up, spending money, driving to the hotel and swiping the credit card. Mistake my loyal ass.

It’s a choice cheaters make.

Auntie Griselda
Auntie Griselda
6 years ago
Reply to  Doingme

When cheaters say they ‘regret’ their cheating, you have to speak fluent ‘Cheater-eese’ to understand what they mean. They’re referring to their own disappointment that the cheat-y sex wasn’t as hot or fun or intense as they were anticipating it would be. And that’s why they have no intention of repeating the experience, hence the waffle about ‘making mistakes’. The mistake was that the OM had stinky breath, cold sweats, and made weird humming noises during climax. Or perhaps it was when the OW’s wig flew off in the middle of the drunken act before she passed out cold and wee’d the bed. Or when the OW/OM started boiling bunnies and talking about what kinds of table decorations they want at their wedding reception after a tastefully short engagement between the two of them, of course. ‘Regret/mistake’ only means they want to flee the affair partner they thought would be so wonderful but who they sadly discovered to be an actual sack of shit.

The ‘regret’ is all about their disappointment and ‘buyers remorse’. It’s not for the Chump. They simply mean to have this epiphany and rediscover their marriage vows long enough to repel the now-needy and demanding creature they had disappointing sex with.

That Is Not A Thing
That Is Not A Thing
6 years ago
Reply to  Doingme

Let’s spare a thought for the drunken cheaters who make a mistake on a work trip. No forethought, no planning, no emotional connection. Sex is just sex. Is that… better? For a chump to live with the thoughtless spontaneity of the betrayal?

SuzQ
SuzQ
6 years ago

Well said. To carry the thought a bit further: Why would the cheater want to go to all the trouble of sneaking around and lying? Why not just leave? Either he loves the activity of tricking and humiliating the chump because it is loads of fun AND/OR he is sticking around for Chump’s money and services.

Both were true for me. The douchebag would bring his secretary to our house for holiday meals and prance around like a fool because he was so thrilled with his achievement, and he would screw her in our bed when I was out of town. He could never live his lavish life, which included entertaining the whore, on his salary. Both of them are parasites.

Feelingit
Feelingit
6 years ago

Oh so such a magnificent revelation in simple terms!

KarenE
KarenE
6 years ago

Exactly! Either the affair was a big deal, in which case it was clearly way way more important than the cheater’s relationship with the chump. Or it wasn’t a big deal, in which case the cheater was perfectly willing to hurt and betray the chump for … not much.

Sounds like lose-lose to me.

ICanSeeTheMehComing!
ICanSeeTheMehComing!
6 years ago
Reply to  Doingme

Bravo, DM… fully agree! It wasn’t “one mistake”, it was a SERIES of PURPOSEFUL DECISIONS.

OneDaySomeDay
OneDaySomeDay
6 years ago
Reply to  violet

Uhm, not to rain on your parade, and of course I don’t know if it’s true (because internet), but this person is a betrayed spouse/chump himself. He’s as far as I can tell reconciling. I don’t know how well it is going or anything. But please, he’s not a cheater trying to defend reconciling. He’s a betrayed who is more pro-reconciliation.

notwhoiwas
notwhoiwas
6 years ago
Reply to  OneDaySomeDay

Thank you, I’m the poster in question and this is basically the case. The only thing I’d clarify is that I wouldn’t necessarily say I’m pro-reconciliation. I’m anti-projection. I’m against anyone who takes their experience and situation and tries to apply it to everyone else’s situation.

Unknown
Unknown
6 years ago
Reply to  notwhoiwas

I’m pro-reconciliation, too, but in order for people not be naively conned by their already-bad-risk partners, they need the proper EDUCATION.
Wouldn’t you want to be able to predict a more accurate future for your relationship? You’re really willing to just “wait and see”, when someone is trying to at least show you what you should be seeing and not seeing in your relationship, in order for it to be a constructive one?
I surely would have liked to have my eyes opened by someone the first time, so I wouldn’t have wasted more time than I should have.
I would have had a totally different outlook deciding to reconcile, if I’d had the tools to decide with! I perhaps would have still gone forward with it, but I would have made different, more empowered decisions.
Don’t you want that, too?

I believe you may feel at fault in your relationship and you’re trying to benign both of your behaviors. Call it a gut feeling, that I’m having.
If it’s so, I know how much harder that makes it to make a judgement call on your abusive spouse.

That Is Not A Thing
That Is Not A Thing
6 years ago
Reply to  notwhoiwas

One thing CL and CN do NOT do is define cheating. Over and over, the question is: is this relationship acceptable to you? More deception, less deception, unrecoverable betrayal or tolerable betrayal: CL doesn’t project those, she gives chumps tools to evaluate the behaviors. She also has an article on true vs. plastic remorse. A one night stand vs. years of theft: one party has still made a unilateral decision, and that requires reckoning.

OneDaySomeDay
OneDaySomeDay
6 years ago
Reply to  notwhoiwas

Ah thank you. Sorry for misrepresenting and misinterpreting.

Geode
Geode
6 years ago
Reply to  notwhoiwas

Anyone who doesn’t like the CL message should get off this site and find one that suits them. After I finally accepted there was no hope for my husband and our marriage, I found the reconciliation boards, especially the ones that support staying with a “sex addict,” disgusting and dangerous. So I stopped visiting them. See how that works? It’s really very simple.

Doingme
Doingme
6 years ago
Reply to  notwhoiwas

Then what exactly is your situation? And we’re you ever a cheater or hooked up with a cheater?

ANC
ANC
6 years ago
Reply to  notwhoiwas

You can read approx 16.5 million other people’s experiences. All flavors of the same vanilla with different sprinkles on top. None of whom are projecting anything upon anyone.

CL has had her own experiences which she has written about. You can read everyone else’s experiences too. No projection. Just the same sick story with various attributes.

No one on this site would shame you because you are reconciling. Most will tell you, been there …. done that and the result was X. I would say most WANT you to be successful in your reconciliation. Please stay, please post and know whatever you choose, you have a virtual support network here.

KarenE
KarenE
6 years ago
Reply to  notwhoiwas

I don’t think it’s projection at all. I think when we see A, B, C, and D, all in a row, it’s not unlikely there’s an E coming along after. Humans are very powerful pattern detectors, and one of the things that got me hooked on CL was seeing my experiences echoed so clearly, so many times. And I like that CL also addresses what a truly remorseful cheater would look like, and what they would do. I’ve never seen one, but at least I might recognize one if I did!

Of course, I’m one of the Chumps who thought they had a remorseful cheater, one who promised SOOOOOO sincerely never to cheat again, no matter what, even if he was terribly unhappy in our relationship, etc. We did all the things you’re supposed to do, therapy, more time together as a couple ….. I bent far far over backwards, ‘repairing’ my couple, making sure our relationship was a great place for the cheater to stay.

Of course he cheated again, of course he did. Entitlement, low empathy, extreme hunger for narcissistic supply, and being perfectly comfortable with lying … those things don’t go away.

For me, I don’t regret that I tried to save my kids’ family. But seeing the damage cheater narc did to our kids, while I spackled and carried so much of the relationship and family responsibility, I SOOOOOO regret not leaving, the first time he cheated.

SuperDuperChump
SuperDuperChump
6 years ago
Reply to  notwhoiwas

Good luck to you, Pardner. I hope it all works out.

Btw…how are those mind movies that are on a continuous loop in your head? You know, the ones that Mother Nature has cursed males with….regardless of different, individual situations.

Beating the shit out of the other guy won’t even stop them.

Has that MC told you everything you’ve done wrong that allowed an affair to happen?

Did you write down the list of things you’ve got to change and provide her in order to fix this? Because…you know…you were at fault, too.

Has that MC brainwashed you yet into accepting the “fact” this is “Our Affair” instead of “Her Affair?”

How many days after D-Day did you send her some flowers? I bet they were gorgeous!

Best of Wishes with that Ghost in your brain…because he never goes away.

Laughing Gator
Laughing Gator
6 years ago
Reply to  notwhoiwas

Don’t you understand that it takes a very selfish conscious decision to cheat in any form ? That if you truly loved your spouse and valued your marriage you would NEVER CHOOSE to do it !!

Chump Lady is dead on that 99% of people who cheat are selfish and are sad that they got caught and have to face consequences–NOT that they did it !!

You are either a cheater yourself who had to face consequences or are a chump who is deep in denial. If you really were cheated on (and I was and it destroyed my marriage) then would you be willing to hire a Private Investigator to track all of the “sincerely repentant cheater’s” communications, and whereabouts ?? Would that “repentant cheater” be willing to sign a Post nup that if they get caught cheating again, they get NOTHING in the divorce ?

People who cheat suck and a truly “repentant cheater” IS a unicorn because it takes lying, deception, and usually stealing marital funds to do it. Someone who can do that is 100% of the time a POS.

SuperDuperChump
SuperDuperChump
6 years ago
Reply to  notwhoiwas

Chump Lady once stated that she doesn’t buy a cookbook about Texas BBQ….then bitch because there aren’t any vegan recipes.

cheaterssuck
cheaterssuck
6 years ago
Reply to  notwhoiwas

That’s not what happens here so you clearly STILL don’t get it. This site isn’t about projection. This site isn’t about the cheater. It’s about the chump and what’s acceptable to US. If it’s acceptable for you to be in a relationship with someone who cheated on you, then by all means, have at it!

So many of us here were not married to serial cheaters (myself included). I stayed for three years post dday and it turned out to be a complete waste of my time because cheating was a deal breaker for ME. And really, I’m the only one that matters in that equation because my ex made unilateral decisions about my health, finances and future without my input. He had his say and eventually I had mine. Unfortunately it took me three years to come to the realization that cheating didn’t work for me but better late than never.

This isn’t a pro-reconciliation site…and really do we need any more of those? I submit that we do not. Just rock on with your reconciliation and I am sure you can find support at one of the gagillion websites that cater to that activity. You’re not going to change what this site stands for and your reconciliation success or failure won’t have anything to do with Chump Lady or Chump Nation.

violet
violet
6 years ago
Reply to  notwhoiwas

Denial is a powerful emotion. This is a person who wants to think his cheater is somehow different than the rest. She isn’t.

SuperDuperChump
SuperDuperChump
6 years ago

After a year of attempted reconciliation with a serial cheater my research conclusion became:

“Much like The speed of light, the suckable of my wife…while approachable…can never be equalled nor surpassed.”

Feelingit
Feelingit
6 years ago

Sound research! I would give you the Nobel prize super duper chump.

I am ruminating and becoming angry this morning about a comment that cheater’s aunt made last night after I told her for the third time children and I could not attend her daughter’s wedding reception bc cheater would be present and it would be too uncomfortable. She said the children are caught in the middle. This morning I am thinking they are NOT caught in the middle. They know right from wrong and they know he wants them to be ok with his bad behavior. He treats them horribly. They would not lie and play games with him but he has done that to him. There is no middle ground in betrayal. It is black and white.

I just told her yes it is sad but I wonder if I should tell her she is wrong or if that is just futile

GetMeFree
GetMeFree
6 years ago
Reply to  Feelingit

Why not give the children the choice? If they want to attend the wedding with their father, they can. They are old enough to decide. You, on the other hand, will not be there.

Of course, you already know how your kids feel and that they most likely won’t want to go with your ex. But this way, you are not the one making the decision for them. And his aunt can get off her high horse. Only people who want to bury their heads in the sand and want everyone to get along regardless of the huge amounts of betrayal and hurt that has been caused are delusional. They just want everyone on the playground to get along. Reality is that there are some people on the playground that you should not play with.

Feelingit
Feelingit
6 years ago
Reply to  GetMeFree

They have chosen not to go.

My lawyer called me today to let me know stbx wants to take adult children’s deposition in the case. Once again confirming he has absolutely no empathy for them and he is the crazy one. I can’t for the life of me figure out what benefit this will be to him. He is the one complaining about cost and it will be costly. My lawyer has told his lawyer we do not condone it. Lawyer told me just to sit back and watch it backfire on him.

He is trying to intimidate.

Just when I think nothing surprises me, he does.

GetMeFree
GetMeFree
6 years ago
Reply to  Feelingit

I bet he thinks that if questioned they will admit that you have colored their opinion of him. My STBX accuses me of this often. A narcissist never sees that they may deserve the kids disdain. They are always a victim.

SuperDuperChump
SuperDuperChump
6 years ago
Reply to  Feelingit

Wouldn’t call her….

Speaking of the “middle,” she has put herself in the middle of something that is none of her business.

Do as you please with you and yours and leave me and mine alone. Your opinions have no validity when it comes to my decisions.

dolly
dolly
6 years ago

I am one of those you are writing about, focusing on him redeeming himself and not my own needs. He’s doing everything he can. The problem I am having is with me.

Since I read the post the other day and comments, I got to thinking (and writing) – this I think refers to the point you make in your post.

“…my original belief about cheating…”if you cheat, it’s over.”  By reconciling, am I being untrue to myself? I can not seem to get past the “how could you do that?” even though my husband and I have discussed this question ad nauseum.
How big of a chump am I? Am I kidding myself thinking we can successfully save our marriage, or am I in the middle of the ‘pick me dance’, not knowing when or if the dance will end.  If we reach another tough patch in our marriage, will he choose to stray again? What example am I sending my sons when they see that their father screwed a whore and I took him back? What does it say to me as to how low of a standard I am willing to settle for in a life partner, a husband? Don’t I deserve more?”

Lifeisgood
Lifeisgood
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

I faced similar tough questions. There’s more than just your marriage you have consider. I stayed 4 years before finally announcing I no longer wished to be his wife. Staying was a mistake.

Once I knew what sort of duplicitous character my ex was capable of being, I couldn’t talk about my personal life to anyone but my inner circle. I avoided talking about him and it became obvious to all that something was up… Which makes things awkward and you come off as strange. By staying with a cheater, YOU have to learn to compartmentalize. Post dday, i could no longer airily discuss banal family activities to anyone. For 4 years! it felt fake and forced. Once I knew what my husband was capable of, no matter how reformed he swore he’d become, I could no longer be nonchalant about him or our life together. I couldn’t even answer simple remarks such as, ‘what a beautiful picture with you two and the kids!’ Because I knew the truth – my husband stole from us and fucked around on me regularly for years and all I could offer back to such remarks was a tight lipped smile and a polite ‘thank you’… Followed by an immediate conversational topic change.

Talk about screwing you up.

My advice. Get out.

Chumptitude
Chumptitude
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

Dolly – That was the most heart wrenching part of DDay for me. Knowing that my spouse, the one that had nursed me through my pain of being cheated on in my previous LT relationship, the one that has been so compassionate to his mentor after her husband cheated on her, the same person had been fucking a grawhore for over a year when I found out…

The level of duplicity was and remains staggering (thanks shared custody)…

When I stumbled upon the secret email address he used with his mistress, >500 emails flipped the switch for me to “beyond unreasonable doubt.” He was ashamed and I became the biggest threat to his reputation… Cue to the three channels of mindfuckery we’re all very familiar with here at CN… Abrupt switches from charm to rage to self-pity…

I remember not being able to stay in the same room as him yet having to live in the same apartment, our daughter was 8 at the time… I remember that disgusting feeling of having no “good choices.” I could either stay and destroy my self-respect, or I could leave and destroy my kiddo’s belief in families (because I knew by then that this was not going to be one of these conscious uncoupling thingies…)

I was moved out and initiated the divorce 3 weeks post-DDay#1. Things went from bad to worse when he moved his mistress into his apartment 4 months later. Having to share custody 50%/50% knowing that our kiddo was exposed to that kind of mindfuck is the hardest thing I ever had to do… Or so I thought… Classic cheater tactics during the divorce proceedings, it took me 16 months to divorce that rabid cluster fuck, and the punches have kept coming through custody craziness I can do nothing to stop because so much harm has to be done to our kiddo before the courts would even consider changing our custody plan… All this to say to chumps that share custody that Meh is very difficult to impossible to achieve when a chump has to be the sane parent gobbling down shit sandwiches on a continuous basis…

Even in this difficult situation, I am still very secure in my decision to divorce him after DDay #1. I have had proof after proof now about how much he sucks… For example, two months after our divorce he married his mistress, and their union was so special they proceeded to hide it from everyone for over a year… Even to his own daughter to whom he lied when she asked him if he was going to marry her… He said no when they has already been married for months…

We have a number of years left in shared custody, and yes it is awful, but it would be far worse to have killed my soul to knowingly remain married to a person with that level of suckitude.

CurlyChump
CurlyChump
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

This is such a painful decision, and my heart goes out to you. I kept offering my cheater another chance because she “had a hard life” and “never had the chance to learn about commitment” and “was recovering from FOO abuse and addiction” and “trying her best…” I, too, had history of neglect and abuse, and I had been alone, scared, and in need of support. So I “gave her the benefit of the doubt” and kept investing in her, encouraging her, loving her “no matter what” because what happened to her “wasn’t her fault.” But while having poor communication skills to resolve disagreements in a mature manner might be something a person can fix by making a concerted effort, having a HUGE ego and NO empathy for others is part of a character disorder that makes narcs fundamentally unable to have mutually loving and respectful partnernships. You are NOT a bad person for believing you have value and deserve to live without this kind of earth-shattering betrayal and chronic pain.

PoliteWitch
PoliteWitch
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

Dolly, I’m in the same place. Blaming myself for his affair. I’m not perfect but who is? I can’t take the pain but I know whatever happens I have no choice. Can’t eat, sleep, think straight & I shake all the time with my heart pounding. This sucks so bad

Feelingit
Feelingit
6 years ago
Reply to  PoliteWitch

So many of us know that pain. Politewitch reading your post makes me think: no contact is the only answer. No one should ever give an asshole cheater the opportunity to cause that pain twice.

PoliteWitch
PoliteWitch
6 years ago
Reply to  Feelingit

I wish no contact was feasible right now but we have 2 young autistic kids who will be devistated if he wasn’t around. It will set them back on so much progress they’ve been making. I’m actually more afraid for them than myself. I really don’t know how to handle this. Thank you so much for responding. I’m finding this “support group” community is empowering me! ????

Doingme
Doingme
6 years ago
Reply to  PoliteWitch

PoliteWitch

Children with autism need structure. Do not stay with a man who creates chaos.

Once you leave him HE will be able to do the heavy lifting 50% of the time. They will get used to the new routine. It will be difficult at first however they will embrace it over time.

I think you have a right to be fearful. Yet as many of us have found our walls sing once we exorcise the abuser.

Face that fear and allow him to live without depending on you to do all the heavy lifting.

You’ll get a break and have time to take care of your needs. You think you can control everything. The way to get control is to deliver those consequences. Divorce him. Live your life.

Doingme
Doingme
6 years ago
Reply to  Doingme

And this does not make you a bad mother. You will be able to give them more because your X is s manchild.

Feelingit
Feelingit
6 years ago
Reply to  PoliteWitch

Politewitch, I don’t know your story so I can’t speak to your situation but I do think that looking after yourself first is most important. You have said that you have physical reprocussions and not dealing with that can only be to the detriment of your children. I don’t have autistic children but I do have children with ld’s and it is a part of who they are.
You say it is important that he be part of their life but it is his responsibility not yours to make that happen. Kids sense this. My 12 year old told me within weeks of his dad leaving, that he already felt his dad wasn’t there for him. I was clueless.
The kids hated seeing me the way you are describing yourself and once I stood up for myself and realized I don’t have to take his crap, I got their support. I now think their anger was at me because I was not showing the values I had been teaching them.
Now, their anger is at their cheater dad because he has gone against those values and is unrepentent.
If your cheater will not be there for those kids if you hold him accountable (autistic or not), you don’t want him there.
It is not easy but it is better.
Kids will defy the odds with one sane parent. Despite the years of gaslighting and believe me , I still question myself frequently, I would like to think I am that sane parent and it contributes to my children doing amazingly well and horrible stress.

Hugs and strength to you. What is best for you, is best for your children.

peacekeeper
peacekeeper
6 years ago
Reply to  Feelingit

Feelingit,
You always give such good, knowledgable, and excellent advice, in a loving, kind way.
You have such a good heart!
PoliteWitch needs people like you. You understand.

Feelingit
Feelingit
6 years ago
Reply to  Feelingit

Under horrible stress not and

dolly
dolly
6 years ago
Reply to  PoliteWitch

PoliteWitch, we have 2 autistic sons as well. My kids have been making progress, but my youngest is fighting mental health issues from social anxiety due to his autism. Last year he felt the world would be a better place if he wasn’t in it. Because of a number of issues, we are also in a terrible financial position. Until those things get resolved, I can’t even think straight. I know exactly what you are going through. I wish I had some answers but I don’t… just try and be kind to yourself – what he did reflects on him, not you. His decision, his fault, not yours xo

peacekeeper
peacekeeper
6 years ago
Reply to  PoliteWitch

Oh Polite Witch,
You are such a loving, caring Mother, always putting your children first.
It has to be so very very difficult.
I am so glad you found CL, CN. There are so many experienced Chumps, like Feelingit above, who can listen to you pour out your heart and offer you advice.
I am sorry for your hurt and pain and I send you love and many many hugs.

MightyChris
MightyChris
6 years ago
Reply to  PoliteWitch

Hey, I guess you’re early into this. I’m 7 months down the line & just wanted to say, it does get easier. Just hang tough & focus on yourself. You cannot afford to have any space for him in your heart right now. 1 thing; it was not your fault. Repeat after me: “It was not my fault”.

Remember, he broke the bond you had, not you. It’s likely you didn’t do a thing to deserve this, but if you cut your toenails in the dining room or left the loo seat up, that’s not justification to cheat. Nothing you did (short of cheating yourself) can ever have been justification for him to cheat. You owe him… NOTHING. You owe yourself all the love and care you can muster.

Seriously, if there was something wrong in the damn relationship then it was his duty as a responsible adult to bring it up and try and address it first, and second, to end the relationship in a normal healthy way if there was no hope of fixing whatever issues there were. But I’m betting that didn’t happen, because he’s an asshole shithead. How do I know? Because he cheated.

Cheaters (both men and women cheaters) have major character flaws that led them to act like this. It’s nothing to do with you. They would have cheated sooner or later on ANY partner due to those major character flaws. But for, I don’t know, waking up 5 minutes earlier on the day you originally met this guy & having never met as a result, another woman would be in exactly your place right now.

I had 6 “amazing” years with my wife before she cheated & the relationship felt great – but as soon as I had a down spell (ill, low energy, feeling down), she lost interest & went elsewhere. In hindsight I realized that all the tough times I thought we’d been through together that would bond us, were me supporting her. As soon as I needed support she was out of there. What i’m trying to say is that, those of us in relationships with cheaters are basically sitting on an unexploded bomb, and sooner or later, the smallest thing will trigger it. It’s nothing to do with us, just our dumb luck that we’re the ones in that position.

So, I say again; It’s NOT your fault.

slowtolearn
slowtolearn
6 years ago
Reply to  MightyChris

Yup. AFTER he cheated, he then told me about how unhappy he was, and the petty things that bothered him, like my leaving the lights on in rooms after I left them. Yeah, that’s definitely a deal-breaker and justification to cheat–thanks for the insight, asshole.

Dolly
Dolly
6 years ago
Reply to  PoliteWitch

Polite Witch It does suck. But I have to say, I don’t blame myself for the affair. I take my responsibility in the problems we had in the marriage. His affair was his choice his fault 100%. He showed no character and a total lapse in judgment and integrity. Do not blame yourself for one minute. HE did it. HIS choice. I was like that for the first four months, lost 20 pounds from stress. No matter what you choose to do it will get better. Hugs. xoxo

PoliteWitch
PoliteWitch
6 years ago
Reply to  Dolly

Your mouth to God’s ears! Trying to stay positive & keep telling myself that no matter the problems we had/have doesn’t justify his actions. After 15 years together I still can’t believe this is happening. Thanks for the comments & hugs. Back at ya! ????

KathleenK
KathleenK
6 years ago
Reply to  PoliteWitch

Polite Witch – your physical symptoms say severe trauma. I hope you have access to a good therapist to help you through this horrific time. Ugh those symptoms are so horrible and uncomfortable. Take good care of yourself. And no, you are not to blame for the affair. A man of integrity would tell you he is unhappy in the marriage and you would either work on it together or get divorced. He has no integrity. ((Hugs))

Feelingit
Feelingit
6 years ago
Reply to  Dolly

Dolly, rereading all these posts this morning and seeing so much great advice.

Just want to say as an outsider, I see you continually attempting to justify his behavior with we were in a bad place. He says he made a bad choice.

The key to me is you were both in a bad place and you were able to keep from making that bad choice. Think more about what lead to the bad place. We’re you equal partners getting there making equal efforts communicating to get out?

My guess is no and the bad choice could ultimately be the fatal choice.

I think I sounded a lot like you the first few months post dday. Stay here and keep reading.

I hope your husband is genuine but I am not hearing it in your writing..

I see that in my own but only with hindsight.

ZHUCHI
ZHUCHI
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

Reading your post takes me back to that sickly sickly daily feeling of yucky half awakeness. Where everything has lost colour and is in slow motion. Where the brain is endlessly trying to win out over the emotion.

Mine did “everything he could” too. But looking back, he didn’t really. He still left the occasional intentional pinch in there to confuse and agitate me so he could get some kibbles. An example: a girl he worked with texted him, he shut it down. I could read his response. BUT, how does girl get his number? Because it’s in the emergency contact list. Why does she feel ok texting him if he is allegedly making his boundaries clear at work these days? Because she’s young and silly. I need you to tell her it’s not appropriate and not to do it again. Ok I will when I next see her.

Suddenly he never worked he and shift as her anymore and never saw her to talk to her. Just never had the chance. He enjoyed me anxiously asking him every evening. But he was so plausible and seemed so contrite and “frustrated” by fact their paths hadn’t crossed.

Guess what. After I realised I couldn’t betray MYSELF anymore and kicked him out after 18 months of supposedly flawless reconciliation, he had moved that girl in to his apartment 10 days later.

That endless questioning of self is not a life, it is torture.

Doingme
Doingme
6 years ago
Reply to  ZHUCHI

Your problems were going on long before her, then he had an affar. So what’s going to make that better?

And no affection at home? PLEASE, you’ve got to be kidding. Affection? He was fucking. And what happens when something else comes up that requires your attention? He sounds like a taker Dolly.

Doingme
Doingme
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

Dolly

Think about the other woman for a moment. What did he tell her to justify having sex with him? Ask him. I’m sure he’s going to blame her. Yet she doesn’t have children with him or invested years in a relationship with him. YOU HAVE.

It’s a chumps mistake to listen to his narrative. Does he frame it as if HE was the victim? Therein lies the answer.

Yes, you’ll hear how he wants to avoid the consequences and avoid true remorse. It’s what they DO.

Have him sigh ma post nup. Watch the rage.

Dolly
Dolly
6 years ago
Reply to  Doingme

Actually I did ask him. He takes full responsibility and does not blame her at all. He doesn’t frame himself as a victim either. He acknowledges we were in a bad place he emotionally detached from the marriage. The skank he cheated with was a woman he’s known for 30 years. Her husband filed for divorce and she went to him for help. He’s an attorney. He referred her someone but of course had to “help“ and make sure everything was in order and they begin commiserating about them miserable marriages and one thing led to another. I’m the one who blames her partially because 1) he knew he was married, and 2) I really believe she manipulated the situation to her advantage. She’s wanted him for 30 years and the timing of both marriages crumbling worked to her advantage. And when I say that to my husband, he says it was his decision
I said I don’t worry too much about phone calls tracking etc. I meant that I feel comfortable for the most part he is being honest. However that doesn’t mean I don’t look.

Doingme
Doingme
6 years ago
Reply to  Dolly

So when you were in a bad place you agreed to see others? So he was vulnerable? And the timing of their divorce was when you were having problems and he cheated? Sorry Dolly. Look at the timeline.

Dolly
Dolly
6 years ago
Reply to  Doingme

No. Never agreed to see other people. But we were both disgusted. We both felt like the marriage was over but due to financial hardships and our kids, divorce wasn’t really an option.Her husband filed in September 2015, there were less than six calls to him between then and March 2016. We started having problems in February 2016. Their phone calls ramped up in April and when I took my kids to the beach at the end of June, that’s when things got sexual. Credit card statements show him taking her out during the summer, nothing before that. I had done the research, his story confirmed what I found.

Dolly
Dolly
6 years ago
Reply to  Dolly

Should say our problems hit the peak in February 2016, we had been unhappy prior to that but still managed to have fun occasionally and do family things together.

Traffic_Spiral
Traffic_Spiral
6 years ago
Reply to  Dolly

Feelingit: Gee thanks. Although, like CL says, this stuff is both common and predictable. It doesn’t take a genius to make some good guesses on what the 800th verse of “I’m Henry the Eighth” will say.

Feelingit
Feelingit
6 years ago
Reply to  Dolly

Traffic spiral:

Wow! You said what I was thinking with a spectacular prose that is dazzling yet poignantly clear.

Traffic_Spiral
Traffic_Spiral
6 years ago
Reply to  Dolly

Eeh… Dolly, you call this a “lapse” but what you describe sounds a lot more like an intentional, ongoing set of lies, betrayals and conscious decisions.

“they begin commiserating about them miserable marriages and one thing led to another.” BUT “She’s wanted him for 30 years” and “tried to get my husband to go out with her saying she’d end the engagement” and “Occasionally her mother would visit and she’d visit my husband, sometimes going to lunch – The skank would tag along.”

So… he just started hanging out with a woman he knew wanted to fuck him, and making her his #1 confidant about his marriage troubles… and whoopsie, sex happened? Yeah. I should say so. Was there really no one else he could talk to about his marital troubles? Male friends? Pastor? Online reddit forum? Counselor? Family member? Siri? *Anyone* other than the recently-single woman with a 30-year goal of getting into his pants? That’s who he picked? That wasn’t a whoopsie, that was intentional, and it led to exactly where such things usually go.

“Their phone calls ramped up in April and when I took my kids to the beach at the end of June, that’s when things got sexual.”

How exactly did that thought process go? He waited for this. Planned for a time when you were busy with the kids and scampered off to bang the skank. That’s not a lapse, that’s intentional foresight and planning.

“Credit card statements show him taking her out during the summer”

Putting incriminating info on his credit cards was a lapse. Planning dates and spending your family’s money on her was thought-out and intentional.

“He was never interested romantically.”

Didn’t stop him from having sex with her, did it? Or stop him from all the other times he took her out during that summer? But even if that’s true, does that make it better? That you meant so little to him, he was willing to betray you for some needy swamp hog he didn’t even like that much?

“she was drinking too much, smoking too much pot and on anti anxiety, anti depressants, had that stomach surgery cuz she weighed at least 300 lbs”

And yet he still decided to fuck her This wasn’t Megan Fox breaking into his room wearing a whipped cream bikini, this was him seeking out the desperate skank he knew had a thing for him and making use of her friendly ear for alllll his marriage woes, and then making use of her friendly vagina.

“I may be taking the Pollyanna approach but until I’m proven wrong (and I am one hell of a detective), I do believe him.”

1. You can’t *prove* things like “once we started having trouble, he intentionally sought out the one person he knew would fuck him and started talking about how much he didn’t like his wife in the hopes that she’d meet him halfway and start having an affair” but… you could definitely deduce it.

2. You believe him, but you also believed him every time he lied to you about the affair (just think of all the lies that were necessary to keep his actions hidden) so what’s changed in your perceptive abilities that lets you know that when he says he won’t ever cheat again, this time he really is telling the truth?

3. Maybe you really are a great detective, but is that what you want in your marriage? To be constantly checking on him like the parole officer of a con artist?

slowtolearn
slowtolearn
6 years ago
Reply to  Dolly

You were both having problems with the marriage–but only one of you chose to cheat.

dolly
dolly
6 years ago
Reply to  Dolly

Doingme – our problems were going on long before her.

dolly
dolly
6 years ago
Reply to  Dolly

Doingme – Did not touch base with her ex, but know mutual friend. She has autistic sons (so do I) – she is nasty POS but always had a thing for my husband, her mother was his secretary in his first job. When he broke up with his GF, 9 yr relationship, she thought she had a chance. He dated different people for a while then met me. She meanwhile got engaged to her ex but tried to get my husband to go out with her saying she’d end the engagement. He was never interested romantically. Occasionally her mother would visit and she’d visit my husband, sometimes going to lunch – The skank would tag along. When H filed for divorce, he was at the end of his rope, she was drinking too much, smoking too much pot and on anti anxiety, anti depressants, had that stomach surgery cuz she weighed at least 300 lbs. She was nasty to him (I read their court records) – He actually thought he’d ‘wake’ her up but she called my H for help. I checked the phone records going back a year before the filing and there was nothing, so I believe him as to the timeline. He felt sorry for her because of the autistic kids. He was pissed at the husband’s behavior because he knew the challenges we had with our sons. He believed every word she said when she made her husband sound like an abusive, negligent asshole. Then they began commiserating about their unhappy marriages and she gave him the attention he was lacking at home. I don’t believe he went out looking for an affair. We were unhappy, she was around, it was a perfect storm. I may be taking the Pollyanna approach but until I’m proven wrong (and I am one hell of a detective), I do believe him.

Doingme
Doingme
6 years ago
Reply to  Dolly

Dolly

My experience has always been that the problems begin when they start looking.

Have you touched base with her ex husband? Why not ask him?

Chumped but good
Chumped but good
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

You do deserve more!

Lost 220# Deadweight
Lost 220# Deadweight
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

Dolly-
The simple answer is yes, you deserve more. Fear of the unknown can paralyze us and puts us in a position to compromise ourselves, and what we truly deserve (to be with someone who isn’t willing to sacrifice a marriage and family for some easy pussy) Fear of raising kids alone…. I’ll make it work instead. Fear of getting divorced….. I’ll stay and then wonder if I made the right decision. With enough distance comes clarity….. distance yourself and make a an educated decision based on what you can live with, not one based on fear.
IMO: I promise you, if you go NC and work through you and your feelings, he’ll eventually reveal himself….. be prepared either way.
I was married to my “soul mate” for 12 years. Things got hard with our daughter who has significant mental health issues and his PTSD manifested itself in a terrible way. I made excuses for him for months, did the pick me dance…. all of it. He continued to get caught….. he just can’t be alone. Bottom line, I cannot be willing to set myself on fire to keep another person warm. That’s just ridiculousness. Trust me, once you are healthy, you won’t want to be attached to someone who is broken and who so easily gutted you. I’m a therapist who would tell you to run, good hearts don’t cannibalize their kindred.

RockStarWife
RockStarWife
6 years ago

Lost Deadweight said so eloquently, ‘I cannot be willing to set myself on fire to keep another person warm. That’s just ridiculousness. Trust me, once you are healthy, you won’t want to be attached to someone who is broken and who so easily gutted you. I’m a therapist who would tell you to run, good hearts don’t cannibalize their kindred.’

I have ‘put myself on fire,’ probably almost literally, in the foolish hope of maintaining a relationship with disordered people who abused and mistreated me. It’s great to remind oneself that ‘good hearts don’t cannibalize their kindred.’ Some of my exes HAVE repeatedly cannibalized their kindred, including me.

If I had gotten out of these abusive, unhealthy relationships much sooner, before the relationships had completely down the tubes and all my self-esteem was Missing in Action, I may have avoided incurring severe long-term trauma (good psychotherapy to even partially undo decades’ worth of damage is time-consuming and VERY expensive–I could have avoided all that) and possibly prevented some of my more recent relationships from falling apart, or more likely realized early on that those relationships had no chance as my partners were going to consciously try to harm me, or more often, use me, not consciously try to harm me, but harm me by acting only in their self-interest (ego-stroke, free, convenient sex with Ms. Right Now, who is killing herself to prove that she is worthy of being considered a candidate for future wife, until woman who they considered Ms. Right came along). I got relationships all wrong. (Most) men will chase ‘b–ches’ (women who know their worth and don’t expend any energy tolerating crap) while mis-treating, disrespecting (sometimes in subtle, subconscious ways), and finally dumping loving, loyal women who waste their valuable lives catering to jerks. I should have acted like a ‘b–ch.’ Now I am working on becoming a healthy, not bitter-looking ‘b–ch’ although I think that I have virtually zero chance of finding a decent partner with whom to form a mutually happy, healthy committed romantic relationship, because I want to be treated decently by people in general for whatever time I have left. I am the queen of ‘suck it, and see,’ reconciling with cheating, lying exes for 30 years! Going back has NEVER been a good idea! I just allowed cheaters and liars to hurt me more by putting myself in the middle of the firing range without armor–they had better aim the second time around because they had the practice of the first round! (Odd that I never went out into the middle of the firing range while I was in the miltary, but psychologically, I expose myself to danger all the time!)

Dolly, please don’t let yourself become severely damaged (depressed, angry, jealous, and unproductive) like me (and likely my kids). Live the wonderful life you deserve!

Sucker Punched by a Saffa
Sucker Punched by a Saffa
6 years ago
Reply to  RockStarWife

Rock on RockStarWife ! Here’s to becoming a bitch in a good way…a babe in total control of herself,who knows her worth and won’t be trampled on and used by anybody-romantic partner,family member,boss/colleague or friend.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T
B-I-T-C-H

What would you male chumps like your badass acronym to be ?

dolly
dolly
6 years ago

Lost#220Deadweight – I hear what you say, but this is where my internal battle goes: In your case, you said your H continued to get caught. Until mine shows me differently, this was not an ongoing thing. We had problems (no excuse) and his frustration took him elsewhere. When I found out, it ended and he has been not only talking the talk, but walking the walk. As a therapist, assuming he is a one time cheater, do you think there is there the possibility that he learned his lesson, is willing to do the work, and things can work out? And on the other hand, my value of loyalty and trust make it hard for me to accept what he did. That’s my struggle, I’m sure what many others have gone through as well. If there was a DD#2 I don’t care if it meant I’d be homeless, I would leave him.

MotherChumper99
MotherChumper99
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

Dolly: Insist on a polygraph if DDay #2 is what you need to make yourself a priority and kick his cheating ass out.

Our MC didn’t believe X and insisted on one. X refused. I kicked him out. Months later several other women came forward with proof of years of cheating. He said not to respond to them- that they were Nigerian phishing scam…. NOT! One was his client and one a former co-worker! They had emails, receipts, pictures, etc. He had been fucking around for 18 years!!!!! A total con artist. Told me the DDay 1 woman was just a texting flirtation, no sex, etc. total lie! I found a hotel receipt and then called her and she admitted everything! He is a complete and total liar.

I am so glad I did not prostitute myself by letting him continue to abuse me in exchange for his income. I’m better than that and my kids deserve a better example of a mother than that.

Btw—X “said” all kinds of things to try to control the facts and prevent consequences but his actions didn’t match.

So glad I kicked his ass out after the 18 weeks of the hell after DDay 1. Life is unbelievably peaceful and truthful today. I have to work harder than ever to make $, but I feel great about myself. Not a cheater in sight and my kids respect me.

Twitching
Twitching
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

My Presbyterian pastor husband said he was being transparent too. He gave me his passwords. He even put spyware on his own phone so I could see all his texts. He took me to marriage counseling and an expensive marriage retreat. I spent over a year like this. I would have stayed for the children. Heck, I loved him deeply. I would have stayed for me.

He didn’t, however, show me his secret extra phone paid for by his mistress. I couldn’t see how he skyped from his work computer and had secret emails, secret Facebook names, and a whole other life. I discovered all that a year later when I put a voice recorder in his car, which I did because I FINALLY decided to trust my gut.

They take it so secretively deep that it’s hard to find.

I had no job, no home, and 2 children.

I had to ask for help.

Now I live in freedom and peace. My children are doing great, I have full custody, and my house is my own. I worked like a dog to get it that way.

You can do it too.

KathleenK
KathleenK
6 years ago
Reply to  Twitching

Twitching – you are very mighty indeed. Inspirational. ((Hugs))

Feelingit
Feelingit
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

Dolly, I have only recently come to realize that if the chump knows he/she would never cheat under any circumstances, and expects the same of his/her spouse then even one cheating episode shows that cheater doesn’t respect/love the spouse as much as the spouse respected/loves cheater. Who would knowingly want to live with that.

NOREGRETS
NOREGRETS
6 years ago
Reply to  Feelingit

FeelingIt,

You are spot on! That’s why I kicked mine to the curb after 5 years of not knowing he was cheating and finally finding out. Have a lawyer retained. It only took once with me. Thanks to CL and many of the CN. I’m getting the book Leave a Cheater Gain a Life in the mail and I can’t wait.

Lost 220# Deadweight
Lost 220# Deadweight
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

Give yourself space and you will gain some clarity. Someone being in your same space makes it hard to make good decisions. How I found out about the continued cheating….. because I dug and found the evidence. Had I not dug, I would still be oblivious to cheaterville and homeslice.
One cannot make good decisions when we are double minded; we have evidence but seek to believe something different.
I would recommend that you don’t compromise anything about YOU. Loyalty and trust…. you have EVERY right to question that, he fucked with who is supposed to be the most precious person in his life. And for what? A piece of ass? Attention? An escape from responsibility? Question is will you be able to handle the possibility of a DD#2? It would have literally killed me and I just wasn’t willing to take that chance. I am too valuable and precious to risk that chance.
Do I think ppl can be a one time cheater? Absolutely. Does that put pressure on you to ensure it doesn’t happen again because “you had problems and he took his frustrations elsewhere?” Absolutely. If he shows humility and remorse and allows you to take as long as you need to feel safe again with him (could be years, could be never) then only you get to decide if you are willing. YOU not HIM. Hugs to you…. I seriously hate that you’re on CL because you’ve been cheated on. No matter what you decide, no matter how shitty it was, you did NOT deserve to be cheated on and if you are ever made to feel that way, I would caution you with trying to reconcile. Adults handle things like adults, not running to another person for comfort/sex. Again, hugs to you!!!

GetMeFree
GetMeFree
6 years ago

I told STBX that he needed to find somewhere else to stay while he got himself to a doctor and into counselling. That lasted about 6 hours before he was with OW#2 (and I didn’t even know about her yet).

It was my fault that he starting shacking up with her…I kicked him out, it’s not good to be alone, he had no where else to go…

Yes, they show their true colours, and quickly.

Regina
Regina
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

Dolly; from one that stuck around awhile. Yes, you lose respect for yourself in my opinion. If you go against your own principles and boundaries to excuse wretched behavior, your self esteem cannot help but be affected.

KathleenK
KathleenK
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

Dolly,
I think you are a reflective person who needs more time. I stayed with my cheater x for longer than I should have because I am a person who needs to be quite sure. It just took me more time than some of the other chumps. I wasn’t so much pick me dancing as telling HIM to pick me dance. And I watched him oh so carefully and learned more from my therapist and CL and when I made up my mind I was 100% sure.

Be kind to yourself and give yourself a little time. The clarity that comes gives you the strength to do what you need to do. I do tend to idolize the strong chumps who kicked their cheaters to the curb immediately, but I had to respect myself, and that’s just not me. I also had to heal some from the trauma of Dday. I just couldn’t think straight.

defeatedchump
defeatedchump
6 years ago
Reply to  KathleenK

This really resonates with me – I’m still there but every day feel stronger and I’m having therapy so that I can resist any psycho manipulation when the time comes. I’ve wavered and believed he has changed and have waited three years. However, every now and again there’s a tiny incident which gives me that ‘gut feeling’ – e.g. last week him being really angry and insulting over an apparently random man at a party, who it transpires was the steady boyfriend of one of my husband’s Schmoopies 20 years ago – so is he still jealous over someone else all these years on? I’m training myself to listen to the gut instead of repressing it. He says I’m imagining things and putting a narrative on something that doesn’t mean anything – he just doesn’t like ‘that sort of man’, but my gut is saying ‘not quite right’. So I will keep vigilant so that I know when it’s the right time to go – CL has it in her book, that the urge to know more and more details after D-Day is so that the Chump can experience the last straw and feel ready to ‘trust that he sucks’. It’s a version of that – stay with the ‘reformed’ one until it’s absolutely obvious even to the most stupid of Chumps that he hasn’t changed. I wish someone had told me years ago what he was doing – but would I have listened? Doubt it – low self-esteem and urge to spackle is so great.
This site is the only place where these thoughts can be shared and we realise we are not mad or bad after all – just sad.

GoWithYourGut
GoWithYourGut
6 years ago
Reply to  KathleenK

KathleenK,
Well said!!

GetMeFree
GetMeFree
6 years ago
Reply to  KathleenK

Great post, KathleenK. We were traumatized by Dday. We believed in marriage and working through problems. We didn’t want to give up an intact family for our kids. Sometimes, it takes some time to to wrap your head around it all.

By staying, I can live with the knowledge that I gave my marriage another chance. I set boundaries after dday#1 and when he crossed those and there was a dday#2, I was given undisputed proof that my STBX lacks character and empathy and that will not change.

Do I wish I had kicked him out after dday#1? Yes, but I fear that I would have been wondering about the “chance” that he may have been able to change and our marriage could have survived. Now I have no doubts about ending it.

GoWithYourGut
GoWithYourGut
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

Dolly,
I truly believe that people make mistakes. I truly believe that not ALL cheaters are cheaters for life. I truly believe that should someone cheat, s/he can repent and not do that again. But the keyword here is: REPENT. (On dictionary.com, in the origin of the word: c.1300, “to feel such regret for sins or crimes as produces amendment of life,”—-> Note: ‘as produces amendment of life.’ THAT’S THE IMPORTANT PART!)

I gave my STBX a second (technically third) chance. And found out with D-Day#3, that he had not repented. Lawyering up (this past July) was easy at that point.

And like CL always says: What are your deal breakers?

You said that up til now, cheating was a definite deal breaker. But now that you’re confronted with it, you’re re-evaluating that deal breaker, because now you have to. And life is hard. And it’s not always Black & White, even when it seems like it is. Because there’s a lot of other shit involved, like kids.

I let a lot of shit slide under the proverbial carpet because of my kids. I guess it was more important to me that they grow up in a house with two parents. (Was I being selfish? Because I really don’t think I would have handled the whole: having to send my kids to “his” house, and being without them on a daily basis.) Also, because: IT WASN’T ALL THAT BAD. While there was A TON of egg-shell walking, there was plenty of laughter and good times. And not for nothing, when he wasn’t around, things were calm & quiet. It was enjoyable.

So you’re wondering if you’re doing the right thing…the answer? Only time will tell.

But I would highly suggest you create a list of “deal breakers” as they apply to this current situation of post D-Day. And present him this list, and in order to reconcile, which includes repenting, he’s going to do a hell of a lot of really hard work to GAIN BACK YOUR TRUST. And for the most part, cheaters who aren’t repentant, aren’t gonna do it. So if he balks at this, run.

If he loves you, and wants to save the marriage, he’ll agree. He won’t put up any resistance. He’ll be SHOWING YOU HIS REPENTANCE. Not just telling you (like my STBX). It is 100% in your right to require complete access to all phone records. Passwords to social accounts. A need to know where he is 100% of the time, with proof.

Then, you have to ask yourself, how are you going to handle having to patrol all of that. Because it’s tiring. Exhausting. Ask yourself: is it worth it? Is HE worth it? And I’d add on to that list, that there’s no time limit for “bringing it up.” My STBX always conned me into believing that I needed to prove how much I trusted him. Don’t let that happen.

And as far as your kids are concerned, if you proceed with reconciliation, you’re showing them that sometimes people make mistakes (even ginormous ones), but that people sometimes get 2nd chances. And that your family is worth fighting for.

BUT (always a but)…ONLY IF YOUR CHEATER MAINTAINS REPENTANCE.

And never forget, you’re allowed to change your mind. Say you’re on this reconciliation road and you discover you’ve reached the end of the road, that’s ok.

In the end, you have to do what’s right for you. You just have to go with your gut. It’s telling you something. Even if it’s something you don’t want to hear.

Working It Out
Working It Out
6 years ago
Reply to  GoWithYourGut

Good post. At the end of the day, each of us will do what is best for us. I find CL &CN invaluable in telling it like it is. If something said here causes someone to rethink the decision to reconcile, that’s a good thing.

ChumpSaidBuhBye
ChumpSaidBuhBye
6 years ago
Reply to  GoWithYourGut

And keep in mind that there isn’t any way to know whether the cheater is really practicing dependence or managing to fool you. Oh he pleaded and pledged that he would willingly and without hesitation, do ANYTHING that I needed to reconcile.

So I followed the relationship police handbook to the letter. I had the tracker on his phone, knew what I assumed were all his passwords, had access to his phone and laptop. Even access to his checking account to monitor transactions, and he never socialized without me.

But I didn’t have access to his workplace computer. He works, I work, and that means that I couldn’t monitor him every minute of every day.

It turned out that while he was “doing the hard work” and showing me true repentence, he was getting online during his work day, playing Sad Sausage on social media with an account I didn’t know about, and sucking up attention and kibbles from a woman who he had convinced that he was in an abusive relationship and afraid to leave.

I don’t know if she was his exit strategy, if he was trying to build a long distance relationship with her, or if she was just a convenient kibble dispenser. She lived across the country, but that’s no real barrier. She was completely sucked into his victim scam. She was emotionally invested in him too.

He told her that he was being completely controlled and socially isolated, a virtual prisoner who didn’t even have control over his own money. He lived in constant terror and fear. He couldn’t escape or I’d cut off his access to his bank account, and use my tracker to hunt him down. And if I was enough of a sociopath to completely control him, who knows what kind of physical harm I might do to him.

He wasn’t sneaky enough and checked that account on his laptop and didn’t log out properly one time. I gathered my evidence and waited to confront him. He never suspected that I knew.

One night not long after that, in a casual conversation, I asked him offhandedly who (her name) was. He skipped a beat, and at first he played it cool. But when I started laying out the evidence, he lost his cool. He started desperately lying, but I had evidence to refute all the lies. He got more and more panicky and spun completely out of control. Then he turned on me and verbally attacked me. He called me crazy, said I was delusional, and I’d imagined everything I was accusing him of.

That was the last time I ever spoke to him. The next day, I sent him a no contact notice, changed my phone number, locked down my social media, and deleted and threw away every piece of evidence that he’d ever been in my life.

So, the cheater doing the hard work, showing true repentence, living in remorse, are all mind games we play with ourselves because we want to trust again and feel like we have some shred of control. In reality, every minute we’re not directly monitoring them is an opportunity we give them to betray us again.

GoWithYourGut
GoWithYourGut
6 years ago

ChumpSaidBuhBye,
They always, eventually, leave a crumb, don’t they? And what a crumb you found!

After I found my STBX’ crumbs of evidence with D-Day#2, he presented the “contrite, I’m going to change” demeanor, even offering to install a tracking device in his van, which I laughed at.

Tracking him meant nothing if I couldn’t track the whore, too; not to mention the mental exhaustion it would cause me. Totally not worth it.

dolly
dolly
6 years ago
Reply to  GoWithYourGut

GoWithYourGut – thank you – I agree with everything you said. I keep reading different blogs, posts, etc because sometimes I think things, or feel things that I don’t quite get, and coming onto blogs where infidelity is addressed, I see that what I’m thinking/feeling isn’t unusual or wrong. I am struggling right now between staying/leaving. Unfortunately, there are two outside factors which also affect my decision, the first is my younger son who is struggling with major social anxiety/depression. The second is finances. We are broke. So until those two things get resolved, I am unable to justify upsetting the family further. It is disastrous right now. I don’t really have to monitor my husband, while slow at first, he now is very up front with email, location, phone calls. I feel his efforts are genuine, he will talk whenever I feel triggered or upset. The only obstacle right now is ME. At this point, I have to continue with the status quo for now and try to figure out what is best for me.

Chumptitude
Chumptitude
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

Dolly,

AS CL/CN consistently showcase, it does not matter what your cheater or your family or his/her family thinks: YOU can decide what you do upon finding out you are cheated on whether to stay or to leave. YOU get to determine what is a deal breaker in your marriage/relationship.

Leaving my X after DDAy#1 and having divorce papers stating me as the plaintiff will forever allow me to tell the story and provide proof to whomever wants to see it that his detestable behavior killed our marriage, and my getting a divorce was about getting the death certificate…

I’ve posted the list below in earlier CN threads but it bears a repeat, especially for new chumps. I would highly recommend that you and all new chumps read Lundy Bancroft’s “Why does he do that?” When I started reading, I saw my whole married life in a new light, and was shocked to realize how many of my life choices had been the result of having married a very smart manipulative covert cluster b. As I was seeing his true colors post- DDay#1, I started observing his actions and only communicate with him over email… That changed the whole dynamic and allowed me to realize how manipulative my X is, and how totally void of human decency he truly is… I haven’t talked to him live for over 3 years, don’t even say hello at drop off or pick up, and that is fine by me.

The list about what real remorse and contrition looks like. Please do observe your cheater, most can pretend up to #3 or #4 quite well due to the image management threat you a posing by having proof of their manipulative and duplicitous nature… Few will go beyond that…

1. Admit fully to history of psychological, sexual, and physical abusiveness toward any current or past partners whom the cheater abused. No Denial and minimizing, no discrediting the chump’s memory of what happened. A cheater can’t change if s/he keeps on covering up parts of what s/he has done.

2. Acknowledge that the cheating and other abuse was wrong, unconditionally. The cheater needs to recognize the false justifications s/he has tended to use, including blaming the chump, and to talk in details about the reasons why the cheater’s behaviors are unacceptable without slipping back into defending them.

3. Acknowledge that the cheater’s behavior was a choice (as opposed to a loss of control). Cheaters need to recognize and fully comprehend that, during each incident, there was a moment of giving oneself permission to become abusive and a choice about how far to let him/herself go.

4. Unconditionally recognize the effects of the cheater’s actions and abuse on the chump, on the children, and demonstrate true empathy for those. The cheater needs to talk in detail about her/his cheating’s short-and-long term impact, including loss of trust, anger, fear, and loss of freedom and other rights. This of course, has to come without a poor sausage routine of feeling sorry for her/himself or talking about how hard the experience has been for her/him.

5. Bring to light her/his pattern of controlling behaviors and entitled attitudes. S/he needs to speak about the day-to-day tactics of abuse s/he has used to mislead the chump. Equally important, s/he must be able to articulate the underlying beliefs and values that have driven those behaviors, whether these beliefs include considering her/himself entitled to constant attention, looking down on the chump as inferior, or believing that one isn’t responsible for their actions if “provoked” by a partner.

6. Develop respectful behaviors and attitudes that replace previously abusive (and now stopped) behaviors. Chumps will observe examples of such behaviors as improving how well s/he listens to the chump during conflicts and during more peaceful times, carrying her/his weight of household responsibilities and child care, and supporting the chump’s independent pursuits. The cheater has to show in observable manner that s/he has to come to accept the fact that the chump have rights and that the chump’s rights are at least equal, if not higher than the cheater’s at least right after the cheating is discovered.

7. The cheater shows observable signs that s/he has reevaluated and changed his distorted image of the chump, replacing her/his previous distorted view with a more positive and empathetic view. The cheater starting to show appreciation for the chump and pay attention to the chump’s strengths and abilities are signs that the cheater is starting to recognize her/his previous habits of exaggerating her/his grievances against the chump and her/his distorted view of the chump’s perceived weaknesses. Note that this is extremely hard to assess when dealing with a cluster B with sociopathic tendencies.

8. The cheater has to make amends for the damage s/he has done. The cheater recognizes that s/he has a debt to you and to your children as a result of his/her entitlement and abusiveness. S/he can make amends by becoming consistently supportive and kind, and by putting her/his own needs on the back burner for a few years. S/he can also make amends by talking with people whom s/he has mislead about the cheating and the underlying or blatant abuse, and admit to them that s/he lied. Making amends also includes spontaneously paying for objects that s/he has damaged. Note that, at the same time, the cheater needs to understand and accept that making amends is not equivalent to wiping the slate clean, that all the amends being made still lead the cheater to a place where s/he might never fully compensate the chump and other important persons who have been hurt by her/his behavior.

9. Fully accept the full weight of the consequences of her/his chosen course of actions. No whining about, or blaming the chump for problems that are the result of her/his cheating or other abuse (e.g. the chump’s loss of desire to be sexual with the cheater, the children’s tendency to prefer the chump, or the fact that s/he is on probation).

10. Fully commit to not repeating her/his abusive behaviors and walking the talk. S/he should not have an unconditional and steadfast focus on her/his values change, as well as her/his attitude and behavioral improvement. No name calling, no blameshifting, no impatience with the pace of her/his probation. If s/he does backslide, s/he cannot justify the return of her/his abusive attitude or behaviors by saying, “But I’ve done great for X months; you can’t expect me to be perfect!” No bitch cookies for displaying basic courteous behaviors!

11. Accept the need to give up her/his privileges and do so. No more double standards, no more flirting, no more taking off with for girls/guys week-ends while the chump look after the children, and to being allowed to express anger or disappointment while the chump is not.

12. Accept that overcoming cheating and related abusiveness is likely to be a life long process. S/he at no time can claim that her/his work is done by saying to you, “I’ve changed but you haven’t,” or complain that s/he is sick of hearing about the cheater, or abuse and control and that “it’s time to get past all that.”

13. Be willing to be accountable for her/his actions, both past and future. Her/his attitude that s/he is special and above reproach has to be replaced by an unwavering willingness and ability to accept feedback and criticism, to be honest about any backsliding, and to be answerable for what s/he does and how it affects the chumps, their families, and especially their children.

Fellow chumps, I hope this outline will help you realize that you are worthy of respect and that it is your right to break up with your cheater at any point if they do not show contrition or are not willing to take the steps above. Forge on CN :)!

MotherChumper99
MotherChumper99
6 years ago
Reply to  Chumptitude

Cheater X do ALL that?! Yeah, right…..NOT.
????????????????????

Feelingit
Feelingit
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

Dolly,

It didn’t apply to me because cheater left but one of the best pieces of advice I have seen on this site is get a post nup agreement. Make sure it is to your advantage. That will go along way in gaging remorse and repentance. The financial troubles work both ways, he may be playing you because he can’t afford divorce.

Also I hate to hear you say you are the only obstacle. That is an attitude you need to change. You did not cause him to cheat. He created the problem and if you are feeling uncertainty, it is not an obstacle, it is a guide telling you something is off, proceed with caution. I think go with your gut has one of the best handles on this site for a reason.

RockStarWife
RockStarWife
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

Dolly,

I ‘get’ much of your predicament. I was both a mother of young children, one of whom has special needs, and a grad student earning virtually no money at D-Day #1.

One reason I stayed with my husband was I knew that if I separated from him, he would get time alone with our kids, which he eventually did–after he left me, and he might physically harm them, which he did while I was not around to protect them. I stayed with my husband to be a human shield for my children.

Another reason I stayed was I had virtually no income. You say, ‘I don’t really have to monitor my husband.’ Please think again so you don’t enter the haunted house I entered! I thought that I could trust my husband. Guess what? My husband was siphoning money from our accounts, money that he had promised to invest in our kids’ college fund, to pay for sex with prostitutes. I am not telling you to stay or go, but don’t assume that ‘quiet’ = ‘good’ in terms of protecting your kids and you! Please, today, set aside your rightful share of your community assets and keep a close eye on your accounts! If I hadn’t moved several thousand dollars (less than that to which I was legally entitled), my kids and I would not have had money to run when we needed to and money to hire my FOUR legal teams! I would have stayed even longer in a situation in which I felt as though I had to barricade my kids and me in my kids’ bedroom every night to protect us. Another benefit of moving the large portion of our community property into my sole accounts (I told him an hour after the transfers.) was discovering how he truly felt about me. I immediately realized that he was ‘all about him’–his narcissistic sociopathic self came out in its full, scary glory! He has repeatedly told people, including lawyers and judges, who have never punished him for perjury (saying that I stole from him and molested children), that HE had to divorce me because I stole his money. He even had police come to our home to search me, although HE was covertly taking stuff from ME. So then I knew what I was dealing with–a monster, not a contrite, repentant cheater. Your case might not be as extreme as mine, but don’t assume that it won’t. Good luck!

Lyn
Lyn
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

dolly, you need to be really good to yourself. I hope you’ve got a good emotional support system and maybe a pastor or counselor to talk to. What you’re going through is really tough…

GoWithYourGut
GoWithYourGut
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

Dolly,
The main reason I stayed to “reconcile” the first time, was because of finances. I was a stay at home mom while the kids were little, and never had a career. And he made enough to support us completely. But around the time of D-Day #2, he was selling his business to his partner, who didn’t have the finances. And my STBX was making some seriously poor choices financially.

So, after D-Day#2, we “separated,” which consisted of him turning our family room into a bedroom for himself. And I was never really good at staying angry at anyone, and he seemed really contrite, and was so sad…so I let him back in. Or at least I thought I had.

But I never did trust him again, and he didn’t really work at gaining it back. Just sort of pawned the responsibility onto me. Basically gaslighted me into believing that it would be up to me to show him how much I trusted him. Also the fact that he cheated because he “didn’t feel loved,” so I had to prove my love to him.

Also at the time of D-Day#2, our one daughter (who is actually the one who found the evidence that he was cheating, and thankfully shared that info with the guidance counselor at school, who told her to show me!) was in the middle of therapy sessions for anxiety. She was 12 at the time. So I understand that struggle, too.

In the end, Dolly, you do what you have to do to survive. And if that’s sucking it up, and doing the best you can right now, you do it. I vowed to myself (like so many others) that I would wait til my youngest graduated. And I put on a really good show! Even to myself. (It’s much easier to handle walking on eggshells and living with someone you don’t trust and mostly hate, if you feel you’re in control of the shit storm.) (BTW, D-Day#3 occurred in July, two years before my youngest graduates. So didn’t quite make it to the goal, but I’m good with that.)

In response to this comment you made: “The only obstacle right now is ME,” I’d like to say: You’re in mourning. You had this relationship that died. In it’s own way. Sure, you still have a relationship, but the dynamics of it are now COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. Mourn that loss and change. Allow yourself to grieve it, FOR HOWEVER LONG IT TAKES. This isn’t something that has a time limit.

If your husband, who for now is still contrite and feeling guilty, starts complaining at all over why you’re not ok, or why you’re not reverting back to the person you used to be, STAND TALL AND TELL HIM, THAT THIS SHIT HE CAUSED ISN’T SOMETHING THAT’S EVER GOING TO GO AWAY.

Tell him that you can’t take something like that and make it disappear. You just can’t. And that’s not a threat, it’s just a fact.

So hang in there, Dolly!! Hopefully you ended up with one of the very few who actually wants to repent. And if not, hopefully staying with him until you can move on isn’t too horrible or long.

slowtolearn
slowtolearn
6 years ago
Reply to  GoWithYourGut

Great post. I also wanted to wait until my youngest graduated, but my asshole had other plans.

Dolly, I truly understand your position but please ask yourself how small you are willing to make yourself and your needs in order to stay in this marriage. You want to do more than “survive” — you deserve to thrive and live a honest, authentic, rewarding life.

ChumpNoMo'
ChumpNoMo'
6 years ago
Reply to  GoWithYourGut

Great post. I agree with all you said

GoWithYourGut
GoWithYourGut
6 years ago
Reply to  ChumpNoMo'

Thanks, ChumpNoMo’!

ClearWaters
ClearWaters
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

Dolly,

My cheating husband (almost 40 years of marriage, two episodes of cheating that I definitely know about, many others in hindsight) tried to reconcile.

This sums up his efforts:
1) “You didn’t marry the wrong guy! You married a guy who just made a mistake” “Just”? “Mistake”?

2) Text from cheater on the day of our would-have-been 40th wedding anniversary (three days before divorce was final): “I betrayed my promises to the priest, but I will always love you”. What about his promises to me?

3) Famous Last Words huffed and puffed under our roof as he stomped out of the house for the last time: “But I’m NOT a chicken!” (chicken is slang in my language for a promiscuous man.) Imagine putting them through the Universal Bullshit Translator… “I only cheat on you with one woman at a time”. Do I want someone who has this level of moral reasoning?

4) He is full of debts, has a shit pension. I have no debts and I have a life pension of my full salary …. I think self-interest is really where his “attempts” to reform come from.

RockStarWife
RockStarWife
6 years ago
Reply to  ClearWaters

Clear Waters,

That ‘I just made a mistake’ defense makes me see red! I got that from my lying ex-boyfriend after he lied about lying! While in counseling with a really stupid psychotherapist (don’t know how she made it through high school, much less her master’s program), I got after a couple minutes of stating some basic facts about my marriage, my husband’s adultery, ‘You have to FORGIVE; everybody makes a mistake.’ I felt COMPLETELY invalidated. I found a new psychotherapist for my family.

The (extremely low) level of moral reasoning in these cheaters/liars, some of which have IQs in the top tenth of 1% of society, is really astounding. Academic IQ does not equal emotional IQ which does not equal ‘goodness’ (aka character). I finally quit banging my head against a concrete slab trying to explain basic ethical principles to my now-exes. Fortunately, my friends tend to have great character (integrity), very high emotional IQ, and, in many cases, high academic IQ (not a requirement to be my friend but something I admire in these friends).

Khris
Khris
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

Dolly,

I was in the same boat and will not offer advice, but just some questions that I asked myself at that time:

– Everytime their phone rings are you going to wonder?
– Everytime they are on the ipad are you going to wonder?
– Everytime they leave the house are you going to wonder?
– Everytime they have a meeting/dinner/work late are you going to wonder?

Is that how YOU want to live?

WonderNoMore
WonderNoMore
6 years ago
Reply to  Khris

Yep, that is it in a nutshell. That very unique ‘feeling’ that results from the experience of wondering, hence my screen name; Wonder No More.

Lyn
Lyn
6 years ago
Reply to  Khris

In my case I always wondered, then I started stuffing those emotions and denying what I suspected. I just wanted to keep my family together. Not a healthy dynamic.

RockStarWife
RockStarWife
6 years ago
Reply to  Khris

I’ll add to what Khris stated so well, ‘Every time he (liar) opens his mouth or writes something, are you going to wonder?’ I do with my lying ex-boyfriend, who I thought was my friend for decades, as well as my lying, cheating ex-husband. I can’t even enjoy the ‘good memories’ (e.g, memories of trips lying ex-boyfriend and I took together, parties we attended together, meals we ate together) because I always ask, ‘What was real?’ I am struggling to enjoy three DECADES of my life because the taint of dishonesty, a fine toxic powder, has landed on all the memories of my late adolescence, early adulthood, and middle adulthood! I hope that you won’t add to the already existing damage by hanging around to accumulate more things to doubt and thus damage.

Hurt1
Hurt1
6 years ago
Reply to  RockStarWife

Met at almost 19, dday at 45 – my whole adult life. How many of those years were real. I’ll never know.

Amiisfree
Amiisfree
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

You’ll get a lot of advice on this. I tend to be tender with the heart of a person in your shoes because I acutely remember the intense pain of that spot.

Here are some things to ponder as you struggle with your two highly undesirable options and I am basing the questions I’ll pose (to which I don’t need public answers) on the following knowledge:

Humans learn to survive and grow by analyzing and adapting to their experiences. You have been intimately betrayed. The past will never change and you, therefore, will never truly fully “get over” the trauma the cheating has inflicted on you. Yeah, you can and will heal more and more over time, sure, but no sane person ever completely forgets about being harmed.

So, knowing that, can your cheater fully accept that things will never be like they used to be, that you will always need more (work, acceptance of your pain, reassurance, information/transparency, etc) from him than you used to in order to feel safe enough to stay? This means:

* He will have to eat crow while you process your pain and grief and remain fully present for you every single time, with no exceptions, without changing the focus to himself (nothing like “aren’t you ever going to trust me again?” or “this hurts me too, you know” or “I know I hurt you, and gosh I’m sorry, but…”)

* That he will never again have your total admiration or trust without any tinge of suspicion whatsoever from you

* That he will have to listen effectively to what you need and deliver it without complaint including adopting new behaviors like not watching certain movies/TV, not joking cutely with others in a way that could be construed as flirting, not joking about cheating or making sexual jokes about your gender, etc.

Can he accept these things without questioning them or resenting you? Can he be present for and with you without taking your need for him to be tangibly accountable (which you’ll need so you can feel safe enough to stay) as a personal affront to him?

If he can’t give those things, it won’t work anyway. That’s a reality. Eventually, if you can’t heal because you’re not safe, your ability to suppress your needs will break from exhaustion. And eventually, if he can’t fully embrace accountability and change, he will resent you enough that he will act out until you leave. These things are just how we’re made.

I wish you peace and strength.

MissDeltaGirl
MissDeltaGirl
6 years ago
Reply to  Amiisfree

Great post, Amiisfree. Newbies, heed her wisdom.
“Eventually, if you can’t heal because you’re not safe, your ability to suppress your needs will break from exhaustion.”
This statement is so true and applies across the board in life — regardless of the reason you don’t feel safe: Toxic workplace, abusive parents, noncheating but assholeish partner.
I nearly drove myself into the ground working for a narcissist for 15 years. Not sure which one was more damaging, that job or my cheating exhusband.

Sunflower36
Sunflower36
6 years ago
Reply to  Amiisfree

If a cheater was really capable of doing what it really takes to earn back trust and truly care about the spouse they cheated on and can rise to the occasion of the hard work it would take to eliminate all the baggage that comes with infidelity, then they never would have cheated in the first place.

Its the myth of perpetual motion. One of those things that looks good only on paper…or while toking on a bong….nothing more.

Peacekeeper
Peacekeeper
6 years ago
Reply to  Sunflower36

Sunflower36,

“they never would have cheated in the first place”
THIS,
If it doesn’t hit a Chump sooner, it does later.
It always hits, whether they stay or go or whatever.
That is why we are all here.
Damage control, struggling to put all the impossible pieces back together, holding each other up.

But, always remember, Chumps are good people, it is not us.
Sometimes, as we walk along life’s path we will witness something very odd, strange,
Suddenly we may come upon a few tiny tiny flowers growing through a slab of cement.
The scene takes our breath away. We stoop to feel, could these tiny beauties be real. Yes, velvety soft, real flowers growing threw cement.
Moments like this take our breath away.
Chumps would notice the flowers, cheaters would stomp on them, not even noticing they are there.

I have to keep remembering, “they suck” to have cheated in the first place!

Be True To Yourself
Be True To Yourself
6 years ago
Reply to  Amiisfree

Amiisfree
OMG, you are brilliant. This is me. My cheater just can’t and won’t give me what I need to heal and yes, I can tell he is resentful when I try to get it.
This will forever be a stumbling block, not to mention the fact that I will never trust him again.
I know I have to go, and after 40 years, four kids and grandchildren it’s unbelievably scary and painful but I have to do it.
Thanks Amiisfree and CL and CN, without you guys I would never have seen the light or plucked up the courage.
Love you all

chumpsrushin
chumpsrushin
6 years ago

We are in the same boat. I’m just starting to row away and it is going to be ok.

Janet
Janet
6 years ago

I believe in you!!

I’m so sorry you’re going through this. But you only live once… give yourself a life without his abuse. Trust me – what happened was a blessing in disguise. It’ll be hard for a few months, but believe me when I say you never had what you thought you lost.

You’re finally free, friend 🙂

– Janet

kaycan
kaycan
6 years ago

You can do it. We believe in you! Hugs!

Feelingit
Feelingit
6 years ago
Reply to  Amiisfree

Great advice amiisfree! I don’t know about Dolly but it really makes me think can you live with having to have to tell him what the proper parameters are. He cheated and he says he is sorry but he should have known that was outside the parameters in the first place. Once Eve ate that apple, there was no going back.

If dolly’s X is repentant and she is still here that says a lot.

It may seem hard to leave and go on but good choices usually aren’t the easiest and the hard part will be outweighed by gaining a life at the end. It is unlikely you will break free of your insecurities about him if you stay.

Hugs- I know it sucks!

RockStarWife
RockStarWife
6 years ago
Reply to  Feelingit

What Feelingit said: Can you live with having to have to tell him what the proper parameters are? He cheated and he says he is sorry but he should have known that was outside the parameters in the first place.’ My ex-boyfriend might not have cheated, but I know that he gaslit, lied to me, and disrespected me in very obvious hurtful ways, even after I told him that these things were hurtful! I believe that there is a passage in the Bible about Jesus saying something like, ‘Forgive him, for he knows not what he does.’ These unethical people who became our mates and partners KNEW EXACTLY WHAT THEY WERE DOING AND THAT WHAT THEY WERE DOING WAS UNETHICAL AND CRUEL! What they were/are doing were/are NOT ‘mistakes.’ They are self-serving acts of aggression. I can also tell you that between D-Day #1 and the day my now ex-husband filed for divorce four months later as I forgave my husband all types of abuse and chronic infidelity, I did not have even ONE peaceful hour. Anticipate the possibility of that type of torment if you stay. My healing would have started DECADES sooner (and thus my life would have evolved much differently) if I had physically and emotionally fled the scene shortly after the abuse/mistreatment started.

Chumptitude
Chumptitude
6 years ago
Reply to  RockStarWife

RockStarWife – Great to see you back on CL, you have been in my thoughts, and I am glad to hear that you can now call your cheater your ex-husband.

You have gone through hell and I hope you’re well on your way to Meh, your wisdom and strength are an inspiration as I forge on, thank you!

Lola Granola
Lola Granola
6 years ago
Reply to  Chumptitude

Amen to that.

slowtolearn
slowtolearn
6 years ago
Reply to  RockStarWife

All of this – every word!

ICanSeeTheMehComing!
ICanSeeTheMehComing!
6 years ago
Reply to  Amiisfree

And that he will have to show you his credit report every year and get an STD test every year…

Mine didn’t change… he just took his subterfuge deeper.

Newlady15
Newlady15
6 years ago

Oh boy that brings back a memory. When I asked him if he used a condom he said ” no she’s clean” I said how on earth do you know that? He said “she’s not like that.” Whaaaaat??? Oh she’s willing to f@ck a married man burn”she’s not like that”. Smdh

ANC
ANC
6 years ago
Reply to  Newlady15

You must also have been married to the same jackass as me. Clients, co workers, escorts the LT mow. God. They were all ‘clean’ according to him.

Seriously, it’s six degrees of separation. I have screwed nearly all of LA and Orange County, SF, Atlanta, Columbus in the US alone by virtue of these clean skanks with the whore. And sadly I never got to experience any of the pleasure 1st hand. #annualSTDpanel

Soldiering On
Soldiering On
6 years ago
Reply to  ANC

That’s what I told my kids during “The Talk”–use a condom because you’re not just having sex with your partner, you’re having sex with every person that partner has been with.

My daughter’s reaction: EWWWW!!

My son’s reaction: Eh. Guess which one I had to take to a doctor for an HPV test??? Talk about the Gift that keeps on Giving.

unicornomore
unicornomore
6 years ago
Reply to  Amiisfree

“If he can’t give those things, it won’t work anyway. That’s a reality. Eventually, if you can’t heal because you’re not safe”

Boy Howdy…good explanation.

I was in wreckonciliation for 7 years and I did not heal…I made moves towards healing and he (who was too limited to find any other coping mechanism other than blame) would say something that would rip the scab off and I would start over.

Healing was a possibility for me, if he had done a number of things I could list here, I might have done rather well…he didnt do those things though.

I actually trusted him after the affair and I think that he may very well have not cheated again, but I had NO EARTHLY IDEA how much cheating preceded the affair that I caught him in. He worked hard at keeping the door to that closet nailed shut and that is where 90% of his energy went, NOT into helping me heal.

This fucking mess manifested itself EVERY DAY. He liked to move…(he self medicated his mental illness with distraction and going somewhere else was a favorite solution). I did the move thing (7 major cross-country moves) until DDay after which I refused…the kids were older and needed a stable home. We had a home, I had a job…no Im not going to chase that particular windmill – but if he hadnt cheated and melted down, I surely would have (I was readying myself to move that very year). THE REASON I DIDNT MOVE WAS HIS BETRAYAL (repeat 1000 times). Every fucking day he whined like a 6 year old that I wouldn’t move completely ignoring his responsibility in how we got to this impasse. He died in the house I refused to leave…I still live in it, in fact I need to go spread some grass seed.

Capricorn
Capricorn
6 years ago
Reply to  Amiisfree

Amiisfree
Love this reply. I don’t post much now as I’m busy doing the getting a life thing but this topic was the cornerstone of everything for me. Once I realised it was my choice to decide what I could live with it was soon all over. All done and dusted from ddays to divorce in 12 months. The further away the ddays get in my rear view mirror, the better my life becomes; the surprise and delight of seeing my anxiety decrease not increase, the feeling of my having my own agency and capabilities, the excitement of being at the helm of my own life, the sudden calm in the household. The thought of having stayed and tried to reconcile becomes more the stuff of nightmares the further out I get.
The process of divorce after infidelity is awful no question but pales into insignificance living with the constant threat of further cheating. Once that trust has gone it’s best to steel yourself and strike out for your own value.
I had much fear. Huge fear of the divorce and what would come next. All of which has proved unfounded. I also underestimated my capacity to live a full and happy life on my own terms.
As CL says, it’s not about them. It’s all about you. The question of whether they can change or not is beside the point. The damage has already been done. My vote is to take responsibility for your own well being and make that new life.

MissDeltaGirl
MissDeltaGirl
6 years ago
Reply to  Capricorn

Loved hearing from you again Capricorn – you have always posted compelling comments.
“The process of divorce after infidelity is awful no question but pales into insignificance living with the constant threat of further cheating.”
This is a powerful statement here.

SuperDuperChump
SuperDuperChump
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

You have two timelines in your past….the timeline of when the cheating occurred and the time of when you didn’t know it was occurring. Those timelines collide on D-Day. You start looking back comparing the two…and it becomes mental torture. “He wasn’t at work that day, instead he was screwing her at a hotel…and that was the day I had his favorite dish ready for him when he got home. My God, we had sex that night…..”

By dumping a cheater, you put those 2 timelines in a box on a shelf…and start creating one, new timeline.

LovedaJackass
LovedaJackass
6 years ago

That’s brilliant–the two timelines. And when the two timelines come together, we have the opportunity to re-establish truth in our lives. Brene Brown has been one of my touchstones since the days of the discard, before D-Day. My own “two timelines” are so clear in retrospect. So many things that seemed inexplicable were suddenly clear once I knew about MOW.

Female chumps may find Dr. Christiane Northrup’s book, “Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom” to be a game changer. Our bodies have intelligence or we wouldn’t be walking around upright. But what we stuff down in our subconscious or unconscious is there for the body to deal with while we ignore or deny it in our lives. Living with STBX the substance abuser, I gained weight every year and “nourished” my body with comfort food because I had no comfort. It’s all a system. Failing to deal with stuff in our lives degrades our health, absolutely, over time.

FreeButterfly
FreeButterfly
6 years ago

I love how you point the two time lines out. I hadn’t thought of it that way. Thanks!

FreeNow
FreeNow
6 years ago

SuperDuperChump, yes to timelines! We can choose to stay stuck in an abusive cheater timeline or fresh start in our own cheater free timeline. I chose me and my own life 22 months ago.

After 34 years of marriage on a cheater timeline, I almost lost my life by staying too long getting high on the hopium and cheater future promises of change. Fear can be insidious and paralyzing.

After being diagnosed with highly aggressive cancer 22 months ago I knew I wouldn’t have a future if I stayed. “The body keeps score and it always wins” -Brene Brown.

After 10 surgeries, 7 rounds of chemotherapy and immunotherapy I received my first NED (no evidence of disease) this week. My decision to leave a cheater literally helped me gain my life back. The empty blatherings that cheaters can change aren’t true and I longer sip the toxic RC koolaid.

I’m now focused on loving life, seeking joy and being grateful I listened to my body’s pleading to leave.

Looking back, I wish I would have trusted my gut decades prior and made myself my priority. I stayed stuck in a long, painful timeline with much suffering from the twisted mind and broken promises of an entitled cheater.

I have found my long silenced voice, my joy for living authentically. My body, mind and spirit not only feel healthy and happy but honestly integrated and whole. I’m 100% cheater free and well on my way to being cancer free. I’m living timeline correlation proof of choosing me and living my best life cheater free.

Chumplady and Chump Nation helped me go from slowly killing myself hooked up to a cheater’s constant IV drip of lies and manipulation to I can’t stop smiling I’m cheater free life.

Remove your cheater’s IV, give yourself oxygen so you can see clearly; stop trying to fix them and save yourself. Reality: cheaters cheat and you can only save yourself.

chumpsrushin
chumpsrushin
6 years ago
Reply to  FreeNow

Wow, Congratulations, prayers for your continued health . You are a mighty mighty inspiration .

slowtolearn
slowtolearn
6 years ago
Reply to  FreeNow

I have chills reading your story — You are mighty indeed!!

Longtimechump
Longtimechump
6 years ago
Reply to  FreeNow

FreeNow, I am so happy for you! After DDays, much gaslighting, fake remorse and wreckonciliation I had a cancer scare myself. While I lived for weeks in agony waiting for the verdict (and all that time cheater never asked about the results) I just saw the truth one day. My body was screaming at me and I was not taking it seriously.

When I look back at my life with the cheater, I always had a feeling there was something wrong. Cheater was extremely secretive about everything and I attributed it to his FOO issues but in my mind I had these ongoing silent fights with him almost over everything. Things I was afraid to voice but which were killing me from within like why would he hide his income, his business partners, why would he buy a car and not tell me about it until it was in the garage, why would he go for his business trips and be reluctant to tell me where and when and when to expect him back, what was he texting about for such a long time with “a colleague” etc etc…If I had voiced those questions (which I did occasionally) he would turn the whole thing into a fight where I would eventually apologise for being unreasonably jealous, controlling and insecure. So I learned to shut this mind chatter down until after DDay it was getting worse and all about “what if he contacts her again, or what if she does, how would he respond, how would I know that he is faithful now” and on and on and on. And I still could not voice this because “well, we talked it over, and it’s done and over and he did not want me to bring this up constantly!” I kept this mind chatter on, it would not even stop in my sleep, at some point I thought I was going crazy. This time my body said enough. And it gave me the real scare. And that’s when all the stars miraculously aligned, I discovered CL and got hooked up and found so much support and agency. My body thanked me for it. And my mind chatters stopped.

I still get the blues and not at meh yet and not even divorced yet (separated) but I am on the way there and not looking back.

I firmly believe that you will be cancer free because the main cancer is gone from your life. Now you just have to deal with the remnants and chemo kills these fuckers off. Big hug to you.

NOREGRETS
NOREGRETS
6 years ago
Reply to  FreeNow

FreeNow,

My heart is so full hearing your story and yet sad for all you have endured. I am happy for your diagnosis of being cancer free. In the time that each of has to walk the earth never let anyone not respect you, lie and cheat you, or let you believe you are nothing. God put you on this earth to be strong within yourself and you have proven that to your X Cheater and beat the cancer. You are truly MIGHTY!!!

Chumpinrecovery
Chumpinrecovery
6 years ago

Oh yeah, like when I was planning that trip to Europe with my daughter and ex mumbled something about wouldn’t it be great if the boys could be at camp at the same time so he wouldn’t be stuck being Dad alone for two weeks. I set it up that way exactly because I wanted him to get a break too and have a stress free ten days. That was my gift to him. Guess what he did with that gift. I even thought about surprising him with a week rental at a lake cabin so he could really relax and maybe spend some time there with the boys as well just before they went to camp (I was looking at places near their camp). I ended up not doing that because he got a new job and I wasn’t sure he would be able to get away. Thank god I didn’t, because it would have just been a big expense that benefitted Schmoopie. I think there was some Karma, however. The stress of being in a full blown affair and questioning his marriage gave him shingles. Meanwhile when we got back he almost didn’t even come to pick up daughter and me at the bus stop when we got into town which would have required hunting down a cab. He was also really distant and refused to kiss me or sleep in my bed. I got up in the middle of the night after waiting hours for him to come to bed to find him asleep on the couch. I was devastated. DDAy was less than a week later and I continued to be devastated for months. I still have my down moments but I am getting better.

Chumpinrecovery
Chumpinrecovery
6 years ago

Oh yeah, and after DDay he used my having set things up to leave him “home alone” as another excuse to cheat because I made him lonely. Huh? That was his idea in the first place. If he had originally said “Woudn’t it be great if the boys and I could do something fun together while you are gone” I would have made different arrangements.

ChumpDiva
ChumpDiva
6 years ago

Kaycan….this is such a beautiful distillation. Thank you!
My dday#3 (23 years in between #s 2 & 3) just devastated me. And while he appears to be sincerely (????) remorseful and working on himself, he effectively killed my very deep, committed, 31-year love for him. I have drag-assed towards the divorce I seriously NEED, but today’s topic goves me the clarity I needed.

THANK YOU, all! I LOVE CL & CN… keeping the focus on me: the only variable I can control and can extricate from the dreaded skein.

ChumpDiva
ChumpDiva
6 years ago
Reply to  ChumpDiva

I misattributed some things…shouldn’t post on the fly.
SuperDuperChump’s timelines blew my chumpy mind! But i adore what everyone shares. Y’all are giving me the keys to freedom!

SuperDuperChump
SuperDuperChump
6 years ago
Reply to  ChumpDiva

The horizontal timelines are mentally worse when you discover time & date stamped text messages. Hell, you even start looking at a calendar….and realize that when you worked overtime to buy those Cowboys tickets for his birthday, he was texting her while sitting right next to you at the game.

Then….guess what happens every time you see or hear anything related to the Cowboys.

Cheaters suck…..actually, more than the Dallas Cowboys.

chumpsrushin
chumpsrushin
6 years ago

Thank you for defining what I couldn’t quite put my finger on: two timelines. I am grieving the life I thought I had but the other timeline crashes into my thoughts during work and sleepless nights. Things are lining up: late for dinner, had to help because she had no one ( she was an alcoholic crack whore half his age, so I thought he was kind “mentoring” her) why we even helped finance a house within a mile of ours. They even had me babysit her child and then write a letter of character to the courts when she was in jail for a DUI while pregnant with my EX s child . (I found out 7 years later) . I wrecknciled for a year and then she died. I was told to get over it , she was gone, couldn’t hurt me anymore. But those damn timelines , competing for what was real and what was lies . The “aha “ moments still haunt , the events clicking into place on my reality timeline occur almost daily . Thank you for that wisdom and also to CN for the support and virtual hugs to do what we all must do to regain our self respect back as well as the respect of our children; start a new timeline by leaving a cheater and gaining a life.

GoWithYourGut
GoWithYourGut
6 years ago

This! All the times I look back and recall those moments when he and my “best friend” were actually meeting up right in front of my face, and I believed their stories! You know…the moments when I inadvertently served as her babysitter so they could go fuck.

Disgusting.

Now I’m moving on to that new timeline.

kaycan
kaycan
6 years ago
Reply to  GoWithYourGut

Yes, I had that situation, too. I even encouraged their “friendship” because neither one of them had many friends and because they had some common interests. “Yeah, why don’t you guys go and I’ll watch the kids.” Good times…

GoWithYourGut
GoWithYourGut
6 years ago
Reply to  kaycan

kaycan! I encouraged it, too!!! In the beginning, he was hanging with her husband, and I was hanging with her. And then somehow, this shift occurred, and they were “bonding.” And I didn’t see anything wrong with the fact that they were soon becoming best friends. But her husband did, so I was actually helping them have opportunities to go for chats and that sort of thing. THE STUPIDITY!! I could smack myself!

But the babysitting thing for me was more: Hey, can you take my kids with yours to the dance recital (kids in the show had to be there ahead of time), because I have this thing I have to do. And hey, since your hubby’s going a little later, too, I’ll just give him a ride.

Little did I know what she meant by “giving him a ride.”

Doingme
Doingme
6 years ago
Reply to  GoWithYourGut

And knowing they duped you made it all the more exciting. Assholes.

Golfgrrl
Golfgrrl
6 years ago

Oh. My. God.

ItsAJourney
ItsAJourney
6 years ago

Two time lines… Exactly! I’m inches from “meh” but still want to kick myself when I think back to all the times I felt guilty taking our kids on vacations alone because he was ‘working so hard to provide for us’.

But it was also two worlds; my world before I knew, and the world after I discovered his cheating. It takes a while to process the reality of it, and assign meaning.

BlindsidedbyEvilOnes
BlindsidedbyEvilOnes
6 years ago

SuperDuperChump, I love your analogy. I find myself doing that sometimes (less as the years go by), remembering a date and thinking where I was/what I was doing and what he was doing with his married whore. It can really play head games on you and take you right to your knees.

Next time I have those thoughts, I’m going to put them in a box, on a shelf and continue skipping towards my happy future.

David2016
David2016
6 years ago

I find it helpful to conjure up a particularly egregious action she committed: for example, as my mother literally lay dying, about to be transferred to hospice (where she indeed died immediately upon arrival), my XW was (I’ve now figured out in hindsight) texting the OM in the hospital hall. Among my mother’s final words to her were that she knew her son would be ok because his wife loved and would care for him.

If I reconciled with my XW, my mother’s ghost would kick the fuck out of me. She took NO shit from assholes. So for this alone I would not accept her back.

Doingme
Doingme
6 years ago
Reply to  David2016

Such low life’s David. Within a few months of my mom passing he was cheating. Yet for all I know she’s one his recycled whores.

And my mom as yours would be proud and smiling at our badass intolerance of abuse.

MightyChris
MightyChris
6 years ago

Yup.

I’m not sure I will ever leave one of mine behind to be honest. I think I will carry it forever, since my darling wife decided to use the day before our wedding anniversary to cheat, something I only realised later.

I was originally meant to be away that day (apparently, she made plans), but i’d managed to rearrange things so i’d be there the entire weekend. I remember that I was super miffed when she texted at midday on Friday (wedding anniversary being on the Saturday) to say that she was going out with some colleagues for drinks, & sorry, she knew it was bad timing but she wasn’t sure she’d get the networking opportunity again. Oh, and that she hoped it was OK, and that I probably wouldn’t be able to contact her the rest of the day since she was due to be really busy (rolleyes). I remember she got in about 10pm and, looking guilty, gave me my wedding anniversary present early. The worst thought did flash through my mind but I spackled, and I let myself believe that she’d just felt guilty for having gone out instead of spending the night with me, but since I was the love of her life, her rock, the person she wanted to grow old with etc that of course she’d never cheat.

Flash forward 3 weeks and it becomes too much to spackle over. I catch her in a lie. She denies it at first, then crumbles. The last 7 months have been a process of having multiple “Oh shit” moments as described above. Some I wish I hadn’t had. Like realizing the above.

Now, every year of my life, I am set to have 2 days back to back – day 1, 1st known date of cheating. Day 2, wedding anniversary. I don’t know how to put that stuff in a box and lose it. At this point i’m kind of resigned to carrying it around. I can’t forget it, just let it get to a point where it matters less. And the only way I can make it matter less is by building a better life for myself without her.

Doingme
Doingme
6 years ago
Reply to  MightyChris

MightyChris

The Limited used our anniversary to meet up with the whore also. I celebrate it as my freedom day. It works! Keep taking care of yourself. You deserve better.

KarenE
KarenE
6 years ago
Reply to  MightyChris

MightyChris, that box is heavy now, but it’ll get soooo light with time, that one day you’ll realized you put it down somewhere, at some point, and didn’t even notice you weren’t carrying it anymore.

I was I think 4 years out when I realized I hadn’t noticed our anniversary, the date of DDay #2 (the decisive one, 7 years after #1), or his birthday. All passed without even a moment’s notice. Never thought it would happen, I was so devastated after kicking him out (I was following my head, not my heart for sure, at that point!). Now, he’s just someone that I used to know.

NorthernLight
NorthernLight
6 years ago
Reply to  KarenE

Agreed. Over four years out now and my former wedding anniversary recently passed. I realized it was the date but it had no impact on my mood or day.

NOREGRETS
NOREGRETS
6 years ago
Reply to  MightyChris

MightyChris,

You really helped me make my decision whether to give him a chance at wreckconcilation or file. I made a list like you suggested, cried a lot, but in the end I retained a lawyer. Still NC and no looking anymore at Facebook. Please see my post today I mentioned you and some other Chumps that helped me. Thank you!

MightyChris
MightyChris
6 years ago
Reply to  NOREGRETS

NOREGRETS, that’s *really* great to hear. Well done, you are amazing! Keep taking the small steps to healing, & don’t beat yourself up if you have moments when you struggle. I will find your post and have a read, but I’m glad to have helped in any small way. It feels like giving something back to the place that 6 1/2 months ago helped put me on the right direction. Gawd that time has flown by.

NOREGRETS
NOREGRETS
6 years ago
Reply to  MightyChris

MightyChris,

When I read today’s post I was waiting to see if you, Martha, or even Kim commented because I this letter from this woman put the nail on the coffin along with everyone’s response. Although the man admitted to cheating and he may appear remorseful by following the steps. What are the steps? I mean are you following someone else’s or your own? Do they have a backup plan. The guy is lawyer. How can you say you have no money. That is your excuse to stay. God, I wouldn’t want to be that woman and find out in a year or possibly longer that you wasted your life on a cheater. Life does fly by and you will never be happy because the images are there, the trust is gone, and your belief and faith are shot to hell. Hope you gain a life lady because your self esteem is going to continue to go down lower. MightyChris you and several of the Chumps after one time WE were done. A leopard doesn’t change it spots. Nor does a cheater. As long as you stay they know they’ve gotten you under their narcissitic spell. Sleep on that!!!

ICanSeeTheMehComing!
ICanSeeTheMehComing!
6 years ago

THIS… my God, yes… THIS.

Creativerational
Creativerational
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

You sound like you are in a rough spot. Like your feet are walking and your heart is smashed, but you’re in the reconciliation cycle because of something else. Examine that. Why are you ‘trying’. Ease, comfort, habit, external factors like religion culture and group perception? It’s ok to decide to not love them. Even if they are now perfect. The person they were through actions while you knew nothing means that you have agency. Your mind may try to protect you from things that hurt like a bitch. If that happens to be your spouse… so be it.

cheaterssuck
cheaterssuck
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

I did wreckconciliation for three years with a one time (that I know about) cheater. When I found chump lady I finally started seeing the light and the brightest light was that I had the agency to walk away. It didn’t matter how many times he did it; whether he was a serial cheater or if it was a mistake he regretted. It didn’t work for me anymore. I didn’t trust him at all and I couldn’t stay married to someone I didn’t trust. That lack of trust eroded whatever love I had left and I felt like I deserved better than to be shackled to someone who I no longer loved.

In my post divorce life the last three years, I transferred to a different job that allows me to learn a whole different side of the business I worked in for more than 16 years. It’s a job that has brought new opportunities and traveling, which I love! I pursued and earned my MS and I helped my elderly, hoarding parents move 70 miles from the home they lived in for 40 years. No small task. I could have never done any of that had I stayed married to the cheater. I would have been too busy in the marriage police force. And I have absolutely no doubt that he would have found a new kibble dispenser again. It’s who he is.

Dolly-only you can answer the questions you have but you have to first ask yourself the question, “what is acceptable to me?” I thought my ex wanted to really work things out but he just didn’t want to lose half of his assets. Often times that is the motivator for cheaters. Maybe it’s not for yours but they aren’t terribly original as a group.

Hope49
Hope49
6 years ago
Reply to  cheaterssuck

Cheatersuck, I think your post is excellent because it really puts skin on the cost/benefit analysis of staying with a cheater. The troubled feeling in the gut never goes away when you ‘wreckoncile.’ Doubt keeps popping up. You then are tap dancing faster and faster trying to make life ‘happy’ and trouble-free for your cheater spouse and your kids if you have them. For what? Oh yeah… That ‘Hope’ thing. Yet you know that you don’t have super powers. Had you stayed your would have been exhausted, your ex would have resented time spent working and your MS degree. I mean God forbid you spend time helping your elderly parents, right? You did good. I bet you mean the world to your elderly parents and you have no guilt cause you were there to help them out. More importantly, shouldn’t we spend our time with people who truly love us and worth time and worry?

Golfgrrl
Golfgrrl
6 years ago
Reply to  cheaterssuck

Wow. This is my life.

UXworld
UXworld
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

Exactly central to the point Tracy is trying to make:

“He’s doing everything he can.” OK, great. Is his “best” enough to give you confidence that YOU can trust him again? Do YOU want to live a life of suspicion, uncertainty, always wondering about that run to the bathroom with his phone or the questionable explanation about why he’s late for plans you had?

Im traveling at the moment and had dinner last night with the guy who was my boss 25 years ago. He’d gotten dribs and drabs of my saga with Kunty Kibbler through my social media postings and was hoping I’d share the full story, so I spilled everything.

It was obvious that I was hitting a lot of nerves as I spoke, and his comments and questions betrayed a lot of introspection in the moment. When dinner was finished and we were leaving, his last words to me were:

“I cant believe I’m saying this out loud: I’m a lot happier for you for having looked out for yourself and left that situation than I am with myself for staying in mine.”

What Tracy wants is for us to never have to say that about ourselves.

David2016
David2016
6 years ago
Reply to  UXworld

My XW has indicated that she wants to reconcile—even though she’s still with the OM. (I’ll wait for the laughter to subside.) Here’s the thing: even if she DID do everything needed for reconciliation; even if she WERE miraculously truly remorseful; in short, even if she had a brain transplant, she would still be the person who did this to me! And she would always be THAT PERSON. I would go back to the emotional criminal. Even if my resentment of her would dissipate (or more accurately, even if I spackled over the crimes) I would live a life of self-loathing. I would have to cast aside all the self respect I gathered up to leave this person. And for what? Because of hope? Potential? That’s not the life I want to live.

I have my weak moments. I still miss the parts of her that are missable. But then I remember. And then I take a deep mental breath and call to mind only a fraction of the many hideous things she did to me and our children and I sober up.

JeanM
JeanM
6 years ago
Reply to  UXworld

UX World, to me you gave a beautiful message to a friend.
Food for thought…
Imho, fate…

Tempest
Tempest
6 years ago
Reply to  UXworld

Wow, powerful story, UX. So true–who wants to live the rest of one’s life feeling like a shell of one’s self because we tolerated someone else victimizing us?

GetMeFree
GetMeFree
6 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

“Shell of our former self”

This describes perfectly how I felt between dday#1 and dday#2. RIC tells you that it takes 2-3 years to recover from betrayal. In my experience, it takes losing the cheater. I was twice as far in recovery after 6 months post dday#2 than I ever got during the 2 years after dday#1.

kaycan
kaycan
6 years ago
Reply to  GetMeFree

Yes! Once they are gone, you can recover because you focus on YOU (and the kids). When you are “reconciling,” you are 100% focused on them… playing marriage police, pick-me-dancing, sifting through “fog/trickle truth,” worrying about AP, hiding the truth from family&friends so things aren’t awkward for your spouse, feeling guilty that you aren’t over it, etc., etc., etc. In hindsight, I would have kicked him out immediately on DDay#1 if I’d known how much easier it was to rebuild than reconcile.

Tempest
Tempest
6 years ago
Reply to  dolly

Dolly–I think you are asking all the right (and painful) questions. And I think you know the answers. Everyone here has struggled to come to some kind of cognitive and emotional equilibrium on this issue. Not a fun path, but I will tell you it makes more sense with distance from the person who victimized you.

JC
JC
6 years ago

Don’t get me started on “the Chump didn’t try long enough / hard enough” bullshit!

About 20 minutes into the conversation when told my Cheater we were getting divorced, she took her phone and left the apartment.

Within minutes, I got a call from my MIL. I knew not to answer that, and I let her pleading bullshit go to voicemail.

Five minutes later, my SIL called. I answered that one. She acknowledged my right to want a divorce, but then argued that her sister (my Cheater) had never been so messed up…and this was indicative of an imminent breakthrough back to fidelity. In other words, my SIL was arguing that I shouldn’t get divorced because “it’s darkest right before the dawn,” or some other such bullshit taught in Redeemable Cheater 101.

I replied that I agreed with her that her sister has never been so messed up, but that only proved that any efforts by me to fix things were useless, and I wasn’t going to wait around for my Cheater to get even more messed up.

I said goodbye to my SIL. Desperately, she responded with the familial “I love you, JC.” I hung up on her.

Redeemable Cheater, my white ass.

Free Vix
Free Vix
6 years ago
Reply to  JC

And how did that “darkest before dawn” superlative play out in the rest of her life and ultimately mine? Oh right, it didn’t. It just stayed dark.

brandib
brandib
6 years ago
Reply to  JC

“Redeemable Cheater, my white ass.”

Exactly…

AlohaFreedom
AlohaFreedom
6 years ago

Being a chump is often a secretive thing. We know this. No one wants to admit what has happened in their relationship / what they’ve tolerated etc. When people “confess” to me that they are also a victim of infidelity, I send them here. We can feel safe in our chumpiness here. Thanks for all you do, Chump Lady!

GetMeFree
GetMeFree
6 years ago
Reply to  AlohaFreedom

I think that it also part of the reason that you are a shell of your former self during wreckonciliation. You don’t want anyone to know. If things work out, it is better that people don’t know. But keeping that all inside and not sharing it, is just another reason you are a mess.

FreeNow
FreeNow
6 years ago
Reply to  GetMeFree

Staying with a cheater is like living in a carnival fun house with mirrors that distort your image and floors that move back and forth, keeping you imbalanced.

I was a hollowed heap, with hardly a shred of recognizable self left before final DD.

Only by leaving a cheater can you stand firm, look in a mirror, smile at and admire the image of yourself staring back.

No matter what I told myself over 3 and 1/2 decades and 3 DDs, XH did not change his core character or cheating ways. I only gave him the opportunities to be more covert, dysfunctional and near bankrupt us after my working almost 40 years.

Years of IC, MC, self-help books, 2nd and final chances wasted decaded of my precious life.

I knew deep down things weren’t right. The difference for me now is that I know it wasn’t me and I deserve better.

I choose to live in a home with solid floors and walls, light-filled and clear image reflective mirrors.

I no longer fool myself into foolishly spending time fixing cheating fools.

Your truth shall set you cheater free and on a pathway to self respect, self worth, sweet calm and bank accounts with positive balances.

Almost at two years and not a nano second of regret leaving a cheater.

Better Alone
Better Alone
6 years ago

You were at that event with Georgetown Law? Lucky you, you brushed shoulders with my cheater! Anyhoo… Saw that thread too and I’m glad you’re addressing it here. It’s not enough that we have to deal with the character challenged, we have to deal with their supporters as well. SMDH. Thank you for all you do CL!

Nobody2U
Nobody2U
6 years ago
Reply to  Better Alone

I am struggling with that kind of crap too .. I tried wading through the septic tank of all the save the cheater at any cost and kept getting turd tripped on the it’s your fault not your fault but really..it’s your fault spew..I thought maybe I am just being defensive because it pissed me off on so many levels..how could they say I have no control over his choices in one breath then blame me in the next? And the amount of work I am expected to do to help him swim to safety while I drown in a smelly stew of my pride, self esteem, values etc is just something I should not have to do..call me lame lazy or half crazy but if he was unwilling to work on the relationship before he flushed it down the toilet how the hell can I believe he is actually going to put in the much harder work of repairing my broken heart, loss of respect, and zero trust? Especially when it will require him to take full responsibility for his actions when the entire system continues to give him an out by pointing the stank finger at me?! I am not perfect by any means..but I always believe if you fuck up own it..take your damn lumps learn from your shitty choices make amends when possible and soldier on. I just don’t see this waste of space doing that…he had no real excuses for hurting me( repeatedly I now know) so he went with the tried and true..blame it on the wife…I just have to call bullshit on that… I am the nicest kindest most stupid trusting believe your shit person on the planet..the more I gave the harder I tried the worse he treated me…I feel like he let me swim to the life preserver and snatched it away every time I got close..he knew I was drowning in his shit sea of lies and didn’t care it was eventually going to drown me..I just can’t see me treading in sewer water much longer. Nothing is worth this kind of sacrifice…I would not wish this on anyone..not even the morons running the affair recovery garbage.

GoWithYourGut
GoWithYourGut
6 years ago
Reply to  Nobody2U

Nobody2U,
Loved your post! The imagery is poetic. And the truths they speak are spot on!

So glad I’m flushing my STBX down the toilet, where he can wallow in his own stank shit.

LOL

unicornomore
unicornomore
6 years ago
Reply to  Nobody2U

N2U…preach it sistah. “stank finger” good image. I actually did choose the awful path you described and it didnt work. I was trying to figure out when to go based on the logistics of my kids. I had saved $40,000 in my “escape fund”. His next rage would have been my trigger to leave. God may have tired of the whole thing and opted to end it quickly & he dropped dead.

nomar
nomar
6 years ago

Redeeming a cheater? Reminds me of a TV game show I’m about to pitch to the Food Network, in which clinically depressed people try to prepare an edible meal solely from ingredients retrieved from dumpsters behind fast food restaurants.

ChumpDiva
ChumpDiva
6 years ago
Reply to  nomar

Beautiful, nomar! You cracked me up! Call me RECOVERED Dumpster Diving Diva….lol!

RockStarWife
RockStarWife
6 years ago
Reply to  nomar

Nomar,
Thank you for a MUCH-needed laugh!

GoWithYourGut
GoWithYourGut
6 years ago
Reply to  nomar

Oh my gosh!! That would be so funny to watch! Even funnier if the people involved are the Chumps cooking and serving it to their Cheaters!

KathleenK
KathleenK
6 years ago
Reply to  nomar

???????????? ok that cracked me up!

nomoreskankboy
nomoreskankboy
6 years ago
Reply to  nomar

Nomar, love it! “Dumpster Diving Divas.”

arlo
arlo
6 years ago
Reply to  nomar

Dying over here

Tempest
Tempest
6 years ago

1. Evidence shows that someone who cheats in one relationship is THREE times as likely to cheat in a later relationship. I’d bet that a person’s probability of cheating in that SAME relationship is closer to 25X more likely. No one should get a chance to re-victimize us.

2. All kinds of emotionally abusive behaviors happen during a cheater’s devalue of their spouse; emotionally abuse has no place in a healthy relationship. Once it happens, the relationship itself is no longer worth having. We are worthy of respect. Buh-bye.

3. Once someone has cheated, the imbalance of power due to the deception is so astronomical, the marriage can no longer be salvaged, IMHO. There is no way possible, short of revenge cheating, to equalize the power imbalance and have a healthy, reciprocal relationship. Who wants to have to be a lying, cheating asshole to take revenge on your cheating partner in order to retain a marriage? “Gee, I’d like to lose my integrity so that I can stay married.” Just no.

Ergo, the cheater has imploded the marriage, and it is not incumbent upon the chump to conduct an empirical test to see if they have a Redeemable Cheater. Done and dusted.

ChumpDiva
ChumpDiva
6 years ago
Reply to  Tempest

Tempest
Drop the mic! Well said, indeed.
Even revenge affair wouldn’t work. They don’t experience feelings like we do. Or they couldn’t have cheated in the first place. WE would feel like crap. They would either get off on it or use it to justify more of the same abuse or more!
Cheating needs to be called the abuse that it IS. Would we ask a beaten spouse, with broken limbs to “give it one more try, maybe it won’t happen again”?
CL is a lifesaver. CN is my new oxygen. Thanks for blessed harsh reality, Tempest!

RockStarWife
RockStarWife
6 years ago