Chump Lady Blog Is on Huffington Post Today

Hey, well of all days to get published, I’m still in Minnesota at a Lutheran retreat center attempting to understand the vagaries of the USDA National Organic Program. (To wit — why is sewage sludge forbidden as an input but conventional hog manure is perfectly acceptable? Or fucking poultry litter? There is ARSENIC in poultry litter, people! And it’s okay to sprinkle it over “organic” farm fields. It’s an outrage. Write your congressman.)

Segueing from shit to infidelity for a moment, (not such a jump) Chump Lady was happy to receive notice of publication on the front page of the Divorce section at Huffington Post. This means I’m inflicting my cartoons on a larger reading audience! And some hard-won wisdom on what not to do when you’ve been cheated on.

To anyone finding this blog for the first time — welcome!


  1. Dani says

    Nice work! I hope that brings an abundance of traffic your way. This blog is oh, oh, oh so important. Thanks for all you do in helping us fellow chumps on our path to chump recovery!

    P.S. “Addition by subtraction” (I read that somewhere on here) is my new motto. And it works in so many different areas of my life, not just with my dumb-ass, oh, I mean STBX. Thanks for that!

  2. Arnold says

    Where can I buy stock in this website? I imagine the $$ will be flowing your way.
    A lot of people have been hit with this deal and it is great to have a decent support site like this.

    • says

      LOL Arnold. I don’t make any money on CL. I paid $ to put it up here and torture myself with WordPress plug-ins. According to the blog conference I went to this summer I’m supposed to sell e-books or ad space. Not there yet. I consider it my karmic public service announcement. I just wanted my “lay your burden down” message out there. Also, frankly, I got fed up with being scolded on SI.

  3. Kristina says

    CL, the thing is, your wisdom transcends “just” infidelity, actually, although obviously that’s a core audience for you. But the things you’re saying have a greater resonance because they are actually about setting and maintaining healthy boundaries for oneself and then operating from a position of agency and self-care.

    There are many ways to be made a chump in a relationship. Or, wait, no… there are many ways one makes oneself a chump in a relationship. No one is a chump simply because they were betrayed. The chumpness comes if the response to the discovery of betrayal (or any other kind of marital/relational brutality — physical abuse, emotional isolation/abuse etc.) is not an immediate position of self respect and self care and self protection.

    Women especially, but I think there are some men as well who are falling into this trap more often these days, do not do this enough for themselves. Your words, and the words of other strong and self respecting women blogging today, could (and hopefully will) help myriad people start to think about making healthful choices.

    What do you think are the reasons that women DON’T immediately see betrayal as a deal break? I’d be curious to hear your response. I have long suspected it is to do with a feeling of not having options (and of course with women earning .80 on the dollar STILL, that is not a straw man fear) but I also suspect that there is some kind of a societal belief that is deeply ingrained that says women must stay married and fix bad marriages just, evidently, “because”. But then… “because” why?

    • Nord says

      I think it also has to do with the amount of time invested. I was together with STBX for nearly 20 years and two kids. It was hard to walk away, even though I could see what a complete dickwad he was/is.

      It’s a lot of history, the kids were absolutely DEVASTATED – I mean literal puddles of tears on the floor. Their pain was worse than my own to me. It was VERY hard to make that final decision.

      I did it in the end but I do get why some can’t. There’s a lot tied up on a long relationship and some part of you thinks you can somehow make it right. So you try, perhaps, for myriad reasons.

      • Kristina says

        I absolutely get that, Nord. There is a lot at stake for sure. Believe me, I have been there. And I suppose that there is a moment where a person says: “I should give this a try, at least.” I hope your kids are doing okay now. I’m sure that you’re taking the right precautions in terms of making sure that they are heard and that they have an outlet for their feelings and are validated in those feelings.

        But see, for me, this: “part of you thinks you can somehow make it right” is just an impossible concept to fathom; though I absolutely know it exists and is real to so many people. But for me, it is an impossibility in my mind that anything could be made right in most of the betrayal situations I’ve encountered.

        See, the thing is, and this is simply my opinion, the B in BS doesn’t go away. Even if someone adds an “F” in front of it. A FWS, maybe. But if a person stays with a cheater, he or she will always be in a marriage in which his or her spouse betrayed him or her (I’m trying to be sex neutral here, but it does muck up the flow of a sentence, doesn’t it? :) ). It may not be ongoing, but it will always be there. How can anyone fix the ongoing psychic damage that knowledge does? That is relentless, and that is life-long. What a soul killer.

        If you break away from that situation, on the other hand…you leave that “title” (if you are willing to leave that title) in your previous marriage. You are truly a FBS, I guess. Or, if you are really lucky, you no longer think of yourself as a betrayed spouse, but as someone who has the strength to walk away from the toxic and seek a cleaner better life that doesn’t require fixing.

    • crazy cajun says

      Kristina, I’m a man and I’m not sure why I didn’t run my XW off the moment I found out about her affair? In fact, after I found out about that one, I found out about 6 others, with friends, guys she met online, mailman, random guy at the ATM etc. and still, I tried to hold on. I was the King of the Chumps!! LOL!! I think it was for a myriad of reasons. First and foremost, I was still in love. Then for the sake of the kids, then for the sanctity of a long marriage, then because I was a man and have the idea that I can fix anything, then being a Christian who believes that all make mistakes, I could forgive and forget, then because she is disordered and therefore not her fault (bullshit psycho babble reasoning) and finally because I didn’t want to be alone. Boy, did she play me for a fool, but I let her!!
      But now that chapter is closed and I’m still alive, not alone, because I have my kids (thank God!!), my friends returned and I have my dignity!! What I also learned was some people (my XW) have a different set of values…they are wired differently. They think of themselves first, then others. THEY CANNOT BE FIXED! In fact they do not deserve one more minute of your time, remove the cancer and soar free! I’m still glad that I tried to make it work, because it made me stronger in the end…kinda like making a sword, you have to put it in fire, beat the hell out of it, time and time again until you finally have the strength of steel! When I finally closed that chapter of my life, it was soooo easy because the fire and the beating was soooo hard!
      So, to all of my fellow BS friends, be strong, follow CL’s advice, she has it right and it will all be over before you know it!!

  4. Arnold says

    Kristina, women cheat just as much as men. And, most studies show that for men, it is not an immediate dealbreaker more often than it is for women.
    When a woman cheats, she most often leaves the marriage despite the man’s willingness to take her back. The same is not as often true for the reverse situation.
    Women initiate 70% of the divorces in this country. So, it does notseem they are overly socialized to preserve the marriage.
    As for not having options, that is not true in todays world. Not to turn this into a battle of gemders, but, take a look at how betrayed men fare in divorce , especially as it relates to custody.
    In any case, I do not agree that not immediately taking resolute action makes one a chump. I think one has to factor in the trauma and shock. It takes some time for the average person to recover and begin the jettisoning. Not sure aht youmean by ” a position of agency” or ” resonating”. Those are some of my “word salad: indicators. But, it may just be that I do not occupy that high of a plane in the transcendent paradigm of higher evolutionary translucency.

    • Kristina says

      Arnold, I didn’t mean to exclude men. I do know that women cheat as much as men.

      I am not a huge fan of statistics. Stats can be used to support any side of an argument and numbers are easily manipulated. But, in fact, your 70% of women who initiate divorce actually provoke more thoughts from me. Because I would wonder, if the figures are true and accurate, how many of those 70% of women are filing at LAST, rather than right off the bat, after sticking it out and trying their hardest to fix whatever was wrong with little to no help from their husband.

      Because let’s face the fact, a common recurring thread on infidelity forums, largely started by women, is: Why won’t he just ask me for a divorce? Why does he continue to torture me?

      My shrink gave me a very neat answer about that, actually, and that was: Men linger in marriages with or without outside “relief” but largely detached emotionally from the situation and merely fulfilling the role of “provider” because those sorts of men are looking for their wives to serve as surrogate mommies and pull the trigger for them. They want a divorce, they don’t put up a fight over it once the wife finally says: “enough is enough here”, but they do not want to actually be the one to call it. Meanwhile they have been passive aggressively (or aggressively aggressively) acting out within the context of the “marriage” torturing a woman half to death in little and/or big ways until she finally is too exhausted to NOT file. It is the cowards way out. But then, cheaters typically are a cowardly lot, no?

      Can that go the other way? Yep. Sure. I’m sure that of the men who file, many of them probably have also been tortured half to death by wives hoping they will do the dirty work for them.

      My opinion only. Mileage may vary on that.

      • Dani says


        Man, your shrink hit that nail right on the head!!!! And I think the same scenario is just as easily played out when the gender roles are reversed. It really is an entitlement issue (as CL so often points out), not a gender issue. Cheaters, whether man or woman, are basically the same. So the outcome for the spouse/partner is the same, also regardless of gender.

        So nice to find a place, and a group of people, who have no problem calling a spade a spade… My separation is very, very new. But this forum is helping me so, so, so much to stay on track.

        THANKS TO YOU ALL!!!!

      • Nord says

        Yep, your shrink nailed it. I’ve been thinking along those lines for awhile and hadn’t quite sussed it out as well as you/your shrink but bingo. Quite a few people told me after I kicked him out that I had mothered him and fixed erything for him and generally had served as that sort of person in his life, so when he rebelled he had to rebel by being PA, like you would with a parent. NAturally, he’s gone running back to the parents he could never rebel against and they’re now fixing everything for him….and just got completely off topic….I blame it on my STBX. I feel like blameshifting today. :)

    • RJ says


      Good points. When I discovered my wife had cheated and I confronted her on it, divorce had not even crossed my mind. Maybe that was partially due to shock and/or disbelief, but I think at the time all I was concerned with was finding out how and why she did it. Getting answers was my first priority and when I questioned her I was calm and thoughtful. She denied everything of course, but I came prepared with the proof.

      I didn’t actually get angry and consider divorce until later, when the gaslighting and trickle truth from her started up. And those things are what has done the most damage to any kind of reconciliation. In my effort to understand this whole mess I remember reading somewhere that betrayed spouses typically don’t start to heal until 3 to 5 years after discovery of the affair. I think that’s about correct. I’m on year three now. But what’s amazing is that I’ve read that if the marriage is to be saved, reconciliation is supposed to take place anywhere from a few weeks to a few months after discovery.


      If a BS doesn’t actually begin to heal until at least three years, how in the hell is reconciliation even going to be possible during that time? The resentment and anger towards my wife hasn’t really started to subside until now, yet I feel like a failure for not concentrating on “reconciliation” during that whole time. I’ve been told by her and others that I’m the one giving up on the marriage by not trying to “reconcile”. Do they not get it? How can a BS even think about reconciliation when they still have mind movies of their spouse humping some jackass running daily in their heads? Don’t they understand that she was one that gave up years ago?

      At this point it would be easy to just say: it’s time for divorce. Well, I’ve looked into that too, and Arnold is correct. Betrayed men get the shit end of the stick, especially if they live in a “no fault” state. You see, in a no fault state, the courts don’t care if your wife screwed the entire football team. The judge will simply split the assets and debt 50/50 and send the both of you on your merry little way. The only exception would be that if the wife had spent marital money on her fuck buddies, she’d owe that money spent back to her husband (in my case she didn’t).

      So here’s what I get when I divorce the cheating wife: lose half my stuff and savings, and since she makes a fraction of what I make and doesn’t have her own health insurance, I’ll be ordered to provide her alimony and benefits so she can “maintain the standard of living” from the marriage.

      She gets laid and I get penalized. Perfect!

      Then there’s the stigma that goes along with betrayed men: what kind of a chump guy can’t keep his woman satisfied to the point where she had to go out and find it somewhere else? It’s wrong and it’s ignorant, but you know that’s one of the first things people think of when they find out a man’s wife screwed around on her husband.

      Explaining to people that it wasn’t like that at all, and that she was being a selfish pig: Now there’s something to look forward to!

      • Nord says

        That sword cuts both ways: a stay at home mum who is completely reliant on her ex only gets half and is faced with fights for child support and alimony and possibly re-entering the work force after many years spent building her husband’s career.

        This is my situation and after nearly 15 years I’m faced with re-entering the work force in a rather specialised career where I’m up against young folks who don’t mind making very little to get their foot in the door. And him? He’s an executive who bitches about money constantly. This while he travels and parties and buys electronics to play video games on with his young OW. I get the kids 80% of the time, no money, no job and a career that stagnated a long time ago.

        And I get 50%, which means my standard of living plummets and his goes up.

        So yeah, that’s a two way street and basically no fault means BS is fucked.

      • Arnold says

        I healed faster post divorce and once I got it through my skull that my XW was a disordered POS and I would never understand her fucked up view of the world.

  5. Arnold says

    This is not a women vs men issue. We are all betrayed, wronged humans. Women have been cheating like this for centuries, and, are doing even more , now. Men are just as likely to try to preserve the marriage. Men are put in an equally bad position post divorce. Women cheat for sex as frequently as men do, but are socialized to deny it.
    Anyone read that stuff by Michelle Langley?

  6. Arnold says

    We come at this fromn slightly different angles,Kristina, although we have both been betrayed. seems each gender wants to put forth its own agenda re who has it worse and who is more abusive.
    I can tell you that i know a lot of guys whose wives are uncommunicative, poor listeners, superficial as hell (the female equivalent of the husband sitting around drinking beer and watching foot ball. it is just their superficial interests do not involve boxscores, but, rather shopping and gossip).
    Langley hits on a lot of the problems with women cheaters, their poor problem solving skills, their poor communication skills, their expectation of clairvoyance and the princess syndrome.
    Just like men cheaters, these folks, rather than being emotionally neglected and deprived, are the neglecters, themselves.
    I hat the whole gender finger pointing deal. For every woman claiming emotional neglect, can find a man who feels the same way.
    Bootm line it is a useless pursuti, trying to paint either gender as more downtrodden. But, the fact treamins that cheaters , regardless of gender, have entitlement issues, lack empathy and problem solving skills, and are dishonest.

    • Nord says

      I think all the attributes you outlined can be put on men: switch princess to prince, the lack of communication, the expectation that the other person should be a mind reader, the shallowness, the emotional neglect (which they then try to pin on you, generally because you weren’t able to read their minds).

      It’s the same old story, the same old song and dance no matter which gender we’re talking about: it’s someone else’s fault they were ‘forced’ to cheat and no way in hell are they going to take responsibility for their own actions.

      • Arnold says

        Exactly. But, for some strange reason, there seems to be the notion that men, as compared to women, are less communicative, less emotional, and less interested in emotional support, on some of the sites. Some folks even go as far as claiming that women cheat for different reasons, in general , than men.
        What a crock. I cannot tell you how many times, when I still had my looks, that strange women approached me for sex out of the blue. No emotional connection,nothing. Yet, there seems to be this weird notion that women want more of an emotional connection than men in order to cheat.
        Cheaters, regardless of gender, demostrate poor communication, poor morals, dishonesty, lack of empathy etc.
        If you are a male BS, however, you are likely to hear how you “emotionally neglected” your spouse as a justification for her cheating.
        Just like women hear those stupid things about weight and desirability etc.

  7. Arnold says

    I’d say that common thread, re the torturing of the betrayed spouse cuts across gender lines. I know some really abusive, BPD/NPD women who have both cheated and made their husbands’ lives a living hell.
    We can get sidetracked bythe fact that after having been cheated on by a memeber of the opposite gender, the temptation is to paint the entire gender with a broad brush due to the pain inflicted.
    I know many kind, sensitive people of both genders and cannot dsicern any appreciably higher % of such in either gender.
    Bad , mean, disordered people of both genders are out there.

    • Kristina says

      Arnold you have this idea that I’m saying only bad stuff happens to women. I am categorically NOT saying that.

      Please believe me when I say this: I absolutely do know that women cheat on their husbands and have bad coping skills and emotionally isolate their husbands and all the rest. I really do know that quite well.

      I was addressing those 70% of female filers and speculating on the situations that brought them to file. I also said this about the 30% of men who filed: “Can that go the other way? Yep. Sure. I’m sure that of the men who file, many of them probably have also been tortured half to death by wives hoping they will do the dirty work for them.”

      Cheating is an equal opportunity bitch slap. I’m not at all debating that it hurts women more than men or whatever.

      What I’m interested in, and I’m so glad to have found this blog because I see a lot of common sense at work here, is what keeps people stuck in place in bad situations and, probably more so, what makes a person finally say: “Enough. I’m done. I’m risking the unknown because what I have here is beyond horror.” And that ability transcends infidelity and carries over into other abusive relationships as well. And that’s why I was complimenting Chump Lady in the first place. Her thoughts are great for her core audience, those of us who have been betrayed in a committed relationship; but, and especially with the exposure on HuffPost, she has the potential to reach a wider audience as well. And that can only be a really good thing for others who are struggling in crap situations but don’t know quite how to get out of them. That’s what I meant when I said her words could resonate and help people in many different relational situations act from a position of agency rather than a position of fear and victimhood.

      • Arnold says

        Another factor which I have noticed in the “willingness to stay ” with the cheater, seems to be the way the betrayed views the sanctity of sex. I know the views on this fall along a wide continuum, with some at one end viewing it as no more than a pleasurable bodily function, like taking a good dump or eating a good steak(not simultaneously, hopefully).
        Other view it a sacred . Most folks are somehwere in between.
        But, it does seem easier for the folks who view it as recreation etc to take their cheaters back.

      • Arnold says

        Krisitna, I suspect that even those who were not the filers would often claim they were tortured. The Cluster B’s seem to be an equal opportunity type of affliction(well, okay, maybe slightly more women are NPD, ASPD, or BPD. But, it is not that great of a disparity. :).
        And, the women are gaining on men in terms of their emotional evolution, as well.

  8. Arnold says

    I think one of the keys, Kristina, is recognizing that you are being abused. See with the disordered abuser, a mask and mirroring is done in courtship. And, abuse is reamped up gradually(boiling frog/tepid water deal). Throw in isolation, repeated , subtle ambient abuse(eye rolling, silent treatments, derison etc) and gaslighting(denying having said or done abusive stuff) and , by the time you may figure it out, one is pretty depeleted.
    And, i think you will find that many abusers target nice folks with some dependency issues. Not every victim is co-dependent, but kids and vows and loyalty all keep folks in past the initial abuse.
    Lots of good sites on this. BPDfamily, Shrink4men and menwhoareabused( really good for the guys, as there are not too manysites for abused men). Shari Schreiber is really good too.
    This is why I was so happy that CL started this site. It is about the only one where betrayeds are given straight info, IMO.

    • Kristina says

      Completely agree, Arnold.

      I think the that many people don’t understand that emotional isolation (i.e. “stonewalling”) or physical isolation (i.e. not engaging in physical intimacy) is abusive. I didn’t. I mean, I just thought my H was introverted and so in response I, who am already extroverted, became this shrieking harpy, at first, and then just went along, at last. He was introverted, but he used his introversion as a weapon against me. Very hurtful, but beyond that, he was a great guy. No, I mean it. He was a really great guy. And how do you just up and leave a really great guy when you have a kid? That’s not an easy choice to make.

      What I think a lot of folks who are betrayed forget, or miss, or don’t realize, is that long before there is an affair (which is a huge flapping red flag waving in the air and slapping them in the face), there are often already symptoms of serious emotional abuse happening. As you said: Sighing, eyerolling, gaslighting, ignoring. All of that is bad enough and warrants a serious conversation that goes something like: “Stop freakin’ devaluing me in this relationship because I matter and if you don’t wake up and work with me I am done.” But then lump on top of that an affair and it seems to me that the path to the exit is impossible to miss.

      And yet, so many people do not take it. Or take a long time to take it. And that’s tragic.

      • Arnold says

        I am a bit confused. A “great guy” who used his introversion as a weapon? Can’t reconcile that.
        And, why would anyone become a shrieking harpy in response to genuine introversion? Wasn’t he introverted when you dated?

        • Kristina says

          He was introverted when we dated, but we communicated. He talked to me and we shared time together and engaged.

          After we were married for a while, and I would try to engage with him, he would be shut down for whatever reason. And if I would say: “Hey, I need some interaction here” he would say: “well, you know I’m an introvert.” So maybe “weapon” was a strong word, but he used his introversion as an excuse for not communicating. Which is a complete load of crap.

          Thing is, he had no problem engaging, emoting and “communicating” in his other relationship. Of course affairs are perfect hiding places for the emotionally unavailable.

          But, superficialy at least, besides the introversion and unwillingness to connect, he really was a good guy. So even though I noticed the distancing (before any other person entered the picture) and I was unhappy, I did not feel like I could say: “you’re too introverted and emotionally distancing to me, I’d like a divorce.” I felt like people would think: “what the hell is your problem, he’s a good guy? So what if he doesn’t talk to you? There are so many other great things about him.”

          Anyway, he’s a wolfpack of one now, so he can be introverted all he likes.

    • Nord says

      Totally agree, ARnold. When I look back at some of the things STBX pulled when we were first dating it completely blows my mind that I didn’t walk away right then and there. But I was in love and other than one or two things they didn’t really seem like such a huge big deal.

      Now, Looking back over the years I can see that he actually did show me exactly who he was a number of times but I missed the clues. And now I watch him with current OW and he’s doing some of the exact same stuff and, on some level, I feel sorry for her, because she’s so much younger than him and just does not get that she’s dealing with a disordered guy. She thinks she’s dealing with someone charming and funny and warm. Poor thing, she’s going to get crushed after most likely wasting her 20’s.

      Anyway, yes, the signs are usually there but because BS’s are not usually disordered (or at least not in the same way) and tend to be fixers and givers and slightly dependent they get screwed over and destroyed by this because it’s often not on their moral compass to treat someone they’re sharing their life with abusively.

      And my IC says make no doubt about it, cheating – and serial cheating in particular – in abusive.

  9. Arnold says

    In my situation, if i am honest, the infidelity was a relief. I had been taking such crap for so long. But, this was a bright line.
    And, on a practical note, it was much lees complicated to explain my exit to folks vs trying to convince them that my nice looking, fun loving wife, was an abusive monster behind closed doors. Folks get infidelity as a deal breaker. Try explaining silent treatments, gaslighting, water dousings, emasculating remarks as justification for divorcing. Folks do not seem impressed.

  10. Arnold says

    Your article covers it well, CL. But I would add another factor, doubt.
    See, disordered abusers are very invested and very good at making you think you are the problem you are the abuser etc. And, once they cheat, that story gets told to a lot of people in order to justify the cheating.
    Sometimes, an abused spouse will react to the abuse and fire back. This is what they want, particularly if they can get you to do it in front of witnesses. It’s the use of that “fundamental attribution error” we talked about earlier. The witness sees the reaction but not the provocation(which is often egregious and longstanding).
    I once returned from a trip back home to see my dying father. I had traveled from California to Connecticut to see him. I visited him and he was in very bad shape(100llbs etc, suffering immensely).
    When I arrived back home, I forgot to take out the garbage on Sunday night, as was my custom.
    Now, mind you, I was emotionally and physically exhausted. And, there was still ample time to take it out, if i was just reminded.
    Instead, my Xw just glared at me and told me how selfish I was and how angry she was at me. Finally, I let it out and told her she was a selfish asshole.
    That was it. I was an abuser. I had called her an asshole.
    Once, she woke me from a sound sleep after one of her 112 out of 180 nights out until 2 or so in the morning( I started tracking it. She proceeded to describe, in detail, the physique and body of the young professional bike racer she had been out with and who she had given a “ride home”(I expect he got more than a ride home from the bar).( I later came across her journal describing how she wanted to quit having sex with strangers0.
    I knew, instinctively, what she was trying to do: provoke me to who knows what. So, I just ignored her.
    I agree with Krisitina, infidelity is , often , the tip of the iceberg of abuse.
    My research into infidelity, and my lawyer and my therapist, all led me to start researching the cluster B disorders. What an education I have had.

  11. says

    Your wife sounds like a loon! If loons were mean… and psycho.

    I get the abusive dynamics, really I do. As I’ve said elsewhere, I put the chump in chump lady. Putting it back on you, that you are the one with the problem — projection, blameshifting, whatever you want to call it — that’s the hallmark. Because normal people are self reflective. Did I do something wrong here? And you can play that game (or I did anyway) a looooong time. You know you’re with a Cluster B, or chocolate nut cluster, or whatever they are — when that person NEVER accepts personal responsibility.

    • Arnold says

      Loon? Oh yeah, you are hear in Minnesota. It is our state bird.
      Actaully, my XW is justt a mean, nasty, phony. Life is a lot less stressful without her in it.

  12. Still Waters Run Deep says


    I agree with Arnold, this is not a gender issue, women who have been cheated on are also on the receiving end of insensitivity and ignorance when it comes to infidelity. Women also are blamed for neglecting the marriage, the spouse, not being able to satisfy the spouse in bed, or not keeping her youthful looks, weight, etc. I dealt with my spouses infidelity quietly at first, trying to sort through the bewilderment and confusion and self-doubt that ensued while trying to gain information to determine when and how long the infidelity had been going on-and why, from the person I entrusted my life with and who I would have defended with the fierceness of a tiger. These answers will never be known and while it has been a number of years since the discovery, I do not believe I will ever trully heal. I will forever question what was real and what was not in my marriage.

    The issue is not who cheats more or less, or the motivating factors; there is a commitment made in marriage that is sacred, infidelity shatters the commitment and trust is violated with deception and lies instead of addressing any issues openly and honestly. Unfortunately, our society seems to glamorize infidelity and there are numerous businesses offering services to facilitate affairs.

    The vast majority of the population has absolutely no idea how traumatic the infidelity is on the betrayed spouse. And oddly, while there are so many educational programs for different steps in one’s life: mandatory drivers training, professional training, etc., two areas of life are seriously neglected, premarriage education and assessments of compatability for building a strong marriage, but also child rearing –the most critical relationships in our lives require no special preparation whatsoever.

    • RJ says

      Still Waters,

      I see your point. Regardless of gender, it seems the BS not only has to suffer the humiliation of the affair, but also gets hit with the indignity of the divorce aftermath more so than the cheater. It seems to me that cheaters are emboldened to do what they do because they know that when it really comes down to it, the penalty for getting caught really isn’t that bad.

      Society will embrace cheaters again eventually, and they know this. Sure, their worst case scenario might be having to put up with the “inconvenience” and hassle of a divorce and loss of custody, finances, etc. But it seems to me that they tend to bounce back rather quickly and sleep like babies at night, like the whole thing was just this “bad phase” they went through.

      I haven’t done any research on this yet, but I’d be curious to know what the statistics are for swinging and cheating in “no fault” states vs. “at fault” states. My guess is that instances of infidelity are higher in no fault states because of the equitable distribution laws. The message that sends to cheaters is: even if you get caught screwing around, no problem. You’ll still get half. I now know, due to recent events, that the no-fault state I’m in just happens to be notorious for cheating and the swinging lifestyle.

      The cheaters know this and are gaming the system. Screw some stranger to satisfy that weird sexual urge and don’t worry about getting busted by your spouse. Even if you get tossed out on the street, you’ll still get half your betrayed spouse’s stuff, guaranteed by the court in writing.

      This “reward” system has to stop or we’ll continue to see more and more betrayed spouses destroyed by these greedy leeches.

      • says

        Which is another reason why cheaters like to eat cake. They fuck around AND don’t have to give you half of anything. Another reason I am dubious about reconciliation.

        The financial hit is hard. Yes. But the rewards of living without a creep in your life are great. AND you can rebuild. I found another betrayed spouse. Our halves are made whole. And then some.

        • RJ says

          The simple answer here is for the state to enforce the law it already has on the books. In my state, adultery is a second degree misdemeanor that is punishable by a $500 fine and 60 days in jail. The problem is this law is rarely, if ever, enforced. I’ll bet most betrayed spouses (including me) have no idea that such a law exists.

          However minor this punishment might seem, if the law were to be enforced as it should be, the cheater’s experience of being arrested, booked, prosecuted and thrown in jail with the other criminals (and now having a “record”), most likely be fired from their job and instantly be seen as unfit to have custody of the children, would give the cheaters something worthwhile to think about. If the law was enforced, the consequences of their actions would be very real.

          As it is now, cheaters get to keep their jobs, have their freedom, have a clean record, keep their friends, have a shot at custody of their children, get to screw their new lover, scoop up half their spouse’s loot, and generally live life large and get away with it.

      • Arnold says

        Yes, and they hit the ground running, oft times, with their new romance already firmly established. So, you get to sit by and watch the two love birds in their bliss, while you are in a shambles.
        I know for me, it really added to my suffering, watching these two idiots fawn over each other, oblivious to what they had done to another human being.You see this often in the attitude of affair partners, as they completely ignore the pain they helped inflict.
        And, in order to avoid giving one’s cheating spouse even more gratification for his/her inflated ego, one has to pretend to be unaffected. God forbid you give your cheating spouse the added ego boost of fighting over him/her. They eat that up.

    • Kristina says

      Still waters,

      Something you said here really has piqued my interest:

      “The vast majority of the population has absolutely no idea how traumatic the infidelity is on the betrayed spouse. ”

      I think that’s right. But I often wonder if people who relatively quickly make a break from a cheater actually have the same amount/type of trauma that people who enter the reconciliation dance experience.

      Because the thing is — the vast majority of the population probably believe that as soon as they would find out they were cheated on they would leave. Right? They think the trauma would end with the divorce (and I think they would be right to a degree, because then a person can move on — as CL’s tagline says: “leave a cheater, gain a life”). But they don’t consider the fact that many people don’t divorce, but try to hang in there and fix.

      It seems to me the trauma lingers longer with reconcilation. The trauma is there day after day after day and gets into bed next to you every night. It is my thinking that the vast majority of the population can’t understand, can’t even begin to fathom, how someone would put themselves through that.

      But they don’t know until they are in that position.

  13. Arnold says

    I think it varies from person to person, Kristina, as to which avenue causes more trauma. But, I do think there is a lot of misinformation out there about the likely prospects of successfully reconciling, that cause some folks to try too long.
    It’s absurd to accept the figure some of the “pay for reconciliation services” sites bandy about.
    And, I need to plead guilty as regards my pre-existing notion about the severity of the trauma this inflicts. Just like just about everything else, until I had experienced it , personally, I was unaware. Most people who have not been through it are.
    But, there are a surprising number of folks who have experienced this, I now realize. Thye, usually, understand.

  14. Still Waters Run Deep says

    I cannot express my thanks enough for this website–it is a wonderful source of useful information and support! Back to the topic at hand… The main mitigating circumstance in my case for not rushing for a divorce once my spouses infidelity was discovered and instead trying to see if I could save the marriage was for the sake of our child. I have witnessed too many divorces and the toll that it takes on the children. Fortunately, despite having dealt with years of the stress of insidious comments, blame shifting, silent treatments and rages that ultimately exhausted my common sense and took a toll on my health, self esteem and fortitude I was able to sort through the bull **** and look toward a future. One’s self-esteem is laid low in the resulting aftermath of discovery, the effects are so damaging–I understand why people do choose to stay and work things out-even if there are not children involved; the cheating spouse has drained them of their self-worth and led them to believe they will never find anyone, or they are living in the unreality that they will capture what they believed they once had in their relationship with their spouse. I agree with Kristina, it is unfathomable to me how one can go on day in and day out, at the side of their cheating spouse.

  15. Arnold says

    Exactly. Still waters. By the time I was at the end, I was unrecognizable. It was like navigating a minefield tryong to avoid silent treatments and rages. Throw in the fact that my family was far away, kids, and the constant, unremitting, relenless blaiming , and one is in a world of self doubt.
    Thank God for the infidelity. It got me out.

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