If you’re reading on this site, chances are you’ve been cheated on, or know someone who has. You’re not part of the Smug Unknowing class, untouched by infidelity. You’re a chump. You got played and you want to know how to navigate yourself out of this pain.
I’ve got the toolkit right here. Chump Lady is not a site optimistic about reconciliation. I liken reconciliation to a unicorn, a mythical creature I want to believe in, but which is seldom seen. This emphatically is NOT a site to save your marriage — this is a site about saving your sanity.
Who is Chump Lady? She is the friend who sits with you at 3 in the morning, pours you a bowl of raisin bran, and tells you to LEAVE that motherfucker. You deserve better than this. There’s a GOOD life out there without this jerk in it. Move toward it. You’re going to be just fine on the other side of this nightmare.
So why would you listen to a chump?
Because I lived it. And I got to the other side with my soul intact. I spent several years trying to figure out what the hell happened to me when I allowed my life to intersect with a serial cheater’s. Chump Lady is the wisdom that I wish I had the day I woke up in bed with another woman’s thong stuck to me. Chump Lady is the brain dump of everything I learned (painfully, stupidly) about infidelity. (Consider this the trial-tested results of What Not To Do, flubbed by yours truly.)
I also spent over a year trying to reconcile. Enough time to know what a painful time suck that is. Another place I spent a ton of time was online infidelity forums and realized, after reading thousands of stories over six years, that affairs are terribly banal and predictable. Cheaters have their playbook.
This is yours. Welcome!
So who are you really?
Tracy Schorn. I am a journalist, cartoonist, and blogger. My work has been featured in the Huffington Post (online and video panels), Brain, Child magazine, Acres USA, the Baltimore Examiner, AARP’s Bulletin, Mid-Atlantic Horse, and Lancaster Farming newspaper (where I was the regional editor for several years). Prior to freelance writing, I was a think tank editor in Washington, D.C. (The Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University.) I’ve spent 20 years writing, editing, and imploring academics not to use “paradigm.”
A peripatetic liberal arts major, I have degrees from Kalamazoo College, the London School of Economics, and a useless masters degree in southern African history from the School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London). I also received a Thomas J. Watson fellowship in 1988 and spent a year interviewing anti-apartheid activists in South Africa.
What does any of this have to do with being a chump?
Absolutely nothing really. Anyone can be chumped. It’s a rainbow nation. What distinguishes me is that I can write decently, draw cartoons, and have created this blog, which has over 11 million views. My Chump Lady columns are regularly featured at Huffington Post Divorce and the blog was named one of the top 10 relationship blogs for 2013 by Babble, a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Co. In 2015, the blog got a book deal with Running Press (Hachette) — and was released in spring 2016 — 240 pages of advice, snark, and full-color cartoons.
But do you have any sort of background in psychology that makes you an expert in infidelity?
No. I’m an expert at being a chump. I lived it. But being of an analytical mind (years spent deciphering bullshit as a think tank editor) prepared me for parsing cheater word salad. And I studied history with African Marxists, who have a tremendous amount to say about oppression and decolonizing one’s mind.
So how did you become a chump?
In 2006, I married a man who turned out to be a serial cheater (and probably a sociopath). I discovered his infidelities 6 months after the wedding, when his mistress called to inform me of her existence. I had no clue. I had just financed his career move (he was an attorney), had a custody trial to relocate my son, left my job, and purchased a 100-year old fixer upper house with him in a no-fault divorce state. It took me nearly two years to disentangle myself from that nightmare, and a couple of protection from abuse orders. Turns out he had a double life spanning back at least 20 years.
I was stranded in Lancaster County, Pa. Amish country is a disorienting place to experience infidelity. There are about 12 last names in the county and everyone has been married since they were teenagers. Essentially, LanCo is the most wholesome place in the entire world – it has a very low freak threshold. (Buttons are scandalous.)
But I liked it there. I found a publishing job with Lancaster Farming newspaper. And after I left my ex, I bought a farmhouse on the Susquehanna River thinking I would live there forever.
But you live in Texas?*
The best laid plans… Vowing never to move my life for a man again, or remarry, or countenance even the acquaintance of another lawyer – I remarried a Texas trial lawyer. I met my husband at Jazzfest in New Orleans 2009 in front of Solomon Burke. He was also a chump, married for 22 years to a serial cheater who seduced her last paramour as a troll priestess playing World of Warcraft. (Yes, the cheaters were trolls.) Having met the only person with a crazier infidelity story than myself, it was kismet. We’ve been happily married for several years.
*I no longer live in Texas. I live in the Washington, D.C. area.