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The Unified Theory of Cake

Cake eating is the preferred Nirvanic state of the unrepentant cheater. It’s the situation in which the cheater has the affair partner (AP) and the spouse. (“Having your cake and eating it too.”) In fact, cake is a preferred lifestyle for many.

Ideally, the spouse is unaware of the AP, because that means the cheater has unfettered access to cake. After discovery, however, many cheaters will go to tremendous lengths to maintain cake. Cake eating is confusing to chumps. Chumps tend to think of affairs as competitions – it’s me or him! Or what does she have that I don’t have? Chumps see marriage through their own lens, of monogamy and commitment to one person. If they are not committed to me, a chump thinks, then they’re for the AP. So who’s it gonna be?

Cake eaters do nothing to dissuade a distraught chump from this line of thinking. They would prefer a competition in which they are the center of the drama — all attention is on them! And a catfight ensues over their fabulousness. Cheaters would prefer you not discover their cheating, but if it must be revealed, this is how they’d like to see it play out. You try harder to win them back and maybe if you’re lucky, they’ll choose you! (See “The Humiliating Dance of ‘Pick Me’!”)

The goal of cake is not to choose. Chumps often go painful round after painful round as the cheater “commits” to the marriage and then retreats. Swears to be faithful to the spouse, and then is caught again with the AP. Makes promises to both the chump (and the AP), and breaks them. The cheater is NOT trying to decide between two people – the cheater is trying to maintain cake. Cake eaters are NOT confused. They are deliberately trying to maintain an unfair situation at your expense.

Cake eaters act vague. They need time. They appeal to you for patience. They feel very, very sorry for themselves. They’ll assert that they’re trying very hard to appease you (they’re not, but they may throw you a bone like marriage counseling, or sex, or paying attention to their children), but you’re soooo unreasonable with your demands. Cake eaters are defensive when you question their commitment or the sincerity of their remorse. They really just want you to leave them alone and let them get back to the business of eating cake.

There is only one way to deal with a cake eater and that is to take away the fork and leave. 

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I love cake and think the only reason for having it is to eat it so the expression confuses me.

    I suppose the idea is to have it when you really need it – conditions change, injuries, mist comes down. Being out in the cold with no cake sounds like it could be as scary as stimulating…

    If I may comment on your article. I must say I love the clear cut style – maybe even more clear cut than real life. I am drawn here because I see some of myself in the cake eater though thankfully it has never been fully played out into the emotional gore. They say that humans behave so as to fulfil human needs so is it not possible that there are more sides to us than monogamous nuclear family life requires and that by being attracted to different types of others it allows you to validate different facets of yourself?

    Some people might be clever enough to really get that from different poets or writers and so on but some might only get it from live interaction. I hope this is not just dismissed as the voice of ‘entitlement’ or ‘fog’ but that cake eaters, actual or virtual can come forward and put their side even if it includes dignifying deceit in some sense. I expect that aspect sort of dissolves in the light of day. If this comment causes any distress to anyone who has experienced infidelity or been betrayed this way then I apologise. I really do.

    • Deceit is never dignified.

      At first I thought this comment was spam — Chump Lady gets confused by word salad like: “conditions change, injuries, mist comes down. Being out in the cold with no cake…”

      But I’ll assume you’re for real and would like to take the position that hey, poets are not enough and sometimes, some “dignified deceit” is called for so you can “fulfill human needs.”

      I’m all for fulfilling human needs and one of those needs is honesty. If you want cake, then you should be open about it. (See my rant on “monogamy-ish.”) I don’t judge swinging or polyamory or whatever lifts your skirt. I do judge deceiving people. Pretending to be monogamous so that you can GAIN ADVANTAGE over another to get your sexual jollies? That pisses me off.

      Cheaters always like to say crap like “real life isn’t so clear cut.” My ex was fond of the expression “The truth is always somewhere in between.”

      No it is not. Living your life with integrity is pretty simple. If you’re married, don’t fuck people you aren’t married to.

      Cake eating is obscenely disrespectful. It’s emotionally abusive. It’s narcissistic. I encourage anyone dealing with a cake eater to dump them immediately.

      • For every horrific, selfish & cruel act there is in the world, there are people that can rationalize it and follow through with it without a care. However, as has been pointed out by others, they sure don’t want the tables turned where they are the disrespected fool (Chump). Otherwise, there would be rules that were the same for everyone in the relationship. I feel it is the ultimate in childishness & immaturity!! It is hard to have respect for someone who feels the rules are different for them. I hope there is a special wing in hell for those who can do this and have “fun” getting “attention”, “love” & “sex” from another & not giving a thought to the one who has their back & who they committed to exclusively. This man is nothing but a little boy with pubic hair & a hard on. Not attractive to grown ups!

      • “All is fair in love & war” Except I didn’t know there was a war.

      • I would only add that a functional open relationship/ poly relationship wouldn’t leave you feeling like you were doing the pick me dance all the time. It wouldn’t leave you feeling like the benefits were only going one way and that your boundaries were being disregarded.

        • Exactly!
          There is s big difference between

          “ we love each other, yet we will be seeing others on the site, followed by rule x and y”


          “ we love each other and I promised you monogamous relationship, yet you are the only loyal, faithful spouse( chump) and I fuck whoever, however and whenever I feel like, Regardless of how much damage I cause( not to mention risk of killing you and our kids in a process with an HIV virus”

          For every “ cake eater” who is trying rationalize case nr2- no need.

          It’s simple, and if you don’t see the point – good luck with your life.

    • My ex called cheating…continental. As if only for the upper class. He had an effen analogy for EVERYTHING. Oh yeah, when he insulted you, he did it by pretending to give you a compliment. Only to cut the jugular.

  • It actually wasn’t spam and it wasn’t intended to be meddlesome. I will look up’ word salad’ rather than take it as a slight. You are right enough. Your forum is your own so even if my question remains open it has no place here. Your strength is your black and white clarity. feel free to delete it. You can be strident without baiting you but this one wasn’t bait.

    • I appreciate your impulse to examine thoughtfully what you truly want. My point is, if you love cake — be authentic about that and don’t get married. Or voice your condition that a marriage be open. That isn’t cheating. Absolutely monogamy isn’t for everyone — so if it’s not for you, fine. You owe it to your partner to let him/her know that.

      • Exactly. If you don’t want to settle down, or you like the whole polyamory thing, make sure EVERYONE knows intentions. It sucks when you promise people love and trust and then welch on it. Find others who like to sleep around and party. Don’t prey on somebody who wants to have a monogamous committed relationship.

  • This looks like so many affairs. The cake eater promises to end the affair but just puts it on hold while they “work on their relationship” with their life partner.
    At the same time they are telling their affair partner that they are “working on separation”
    Marriage Counseling if very popular among cake eaters, this gives the a forum to tell their tale of woe and conflicted emotions. they are also keen on talking about pre-existing marriage problems and deflect away from the affair as the problem

    Taking your fork and leaving is fine in theory but a committed cake eater will pursue you. If you have kids they will use the contact to try and open up the cake store.

    But here is a warning.
    The effects of this on a previously committed spouse are downright dangerous. The person who previously loved you is now abusing you. The longer you allow this to go on the more damage will be done to your psyche and with that your security. Your sanity is at stake
    Anxiety attacks, panic attacks and even full blown PTSD are likely if you allow this to continue.
    We are not encouraged to avoid things in relationships, but avoidance is a valid way of dealing with a cake eater.
    Don’t engage with them.
    Avoid them

    • Absolutely, Ing. WORD. The strongest thing you can do is NC all the way. Cake is the drug, no kidding about going to any lengths to achieve the Nirvanic state of Cake — they will mindfuck time and again to get cake. It took me FOREVER to figure this out.

      • The cake is the golden egg laid by the goose in the fairytale ‘jack and the beanstalk.’

    • PTSD so important-many,many years since I got away. Biting me on the bum now

  • Why is it that a lot of cheaters seem drawn to the type of “word sald” deal that Claum uses? MY XW was similar. Phrases like “the chemistry became sexualized” or this “mist ” deal referenced by Calum would definitely appeal to her.
    A good friend, an author and publisher looked at some of the things my XW wrote to me, where she would, in effect, justify her cheating with new agish sounding phrases that made no sense to me.’
    I asked my friend, who is more literate than I am, to interpret.
    He said that my XW seems drawn to “opaque language” and he felt it was because it allows her to lie to herself more easily.
    One gets the feeling in reading Calum , as well as my XW’s stuff, that these folks consider themselves, somehow, just a little bit more evolved, above the rules that apply to the mere peasantry. They have an air of feeling superior, such that the rules do not apply to them.
    Yet, if you really look at how they act, they act in a manner that is less noble than others, more dishonest, more selfish etc. How that constitutes superiority is a mystery to me.

    • Arnold, I read that in another of you posts and it struck me a advanced mindfuckery, “the chemistry became sexualized”, it would have been funny if you had said “I know what you mean, the common whore spread her legs like so many low class women before her! I know I would not have thought that fast either, being lost in the hurt of how unique she is trying to make it sound.
      As if to say this is not COMMON cheating, this is special…yeah, right.

  • Think I will go “validate different facets of myself” before the “mist comes down” because being without cake sounds as “scary as stimulating” and I might “dignify deceit ” along the way.
    God, my XW has a soulmate.

    • I have to say in all fairness that Calum wrote to me off the board and liked the site, and was a bit mortified by that post. He asked to take it down and I meant to get around to it and didn’t. So, yeah, it’s word salad. I don’t know Calum’s story, but I’d like to believe he’s not a bad person or a cheater. Just someone muling infidelity over without having EXPERIENCED it. The tendency to intellectualize it evaporates when you’re on the receiving end of it.

  • That’s the thing , though, CL. When you really try to take a look into what someone like Calum is saying, the vague, opaque phrases, they really aren’t very well thought out. So, to call it “intellectualizing” may be gibing him too much credit.
    Rather, it seems to me, that someone like this merely spews out a string of sort of catchy sounding little blurbs in the hopes of sounding hip and evolved and deep.
    Look at what he is really saying, without the “mist descennding” or the “validating one’s full self” crap. It is just someone saying that, like everyone else, he or she , occassionally, sees someone other than his spouse as attractive and that there is a sameness aboutbeing with one person long term. So, wouldn’t it be nice to have an arogasm with that new person.
    There is no “validating” through that. What does it even mean to be “validated”.Without even seeing or knowing Calum, I can “validate” that he or she is another run of the mill human being like the rest of us, dealing with the same issues and crap we all do.
    It is just that some of us do not go for this gibberish that aloows us to fool ourselves into thinking we are special cases.

    • See Arnold, you took the trouble to parse all that. I just kind of read right over it and thought… bullshit.

      But thanks to your comment — I’m going to post on Cheater Word Salad soon!

  • Liked your piece about this bullcrap. I hope Calum does not trip on his man purse and that his beret matches his outfit. Guy probably has a graying ponytail.

  • My Cake Eater told me, “There’s all kinds of truth,” when I asked him to be honest with me about his affairs.
    When I found a condom in my husband’s toilet kit while looking for a band aid, I was knocked to my knees. We were in another country and he was out for a run. I called him and said, “I found it.” He figured it out and asked what I was going to do. I hung up, packed and left with the rental car. Drove about 50 miles, stopped on a beach and thought about walking into the waves but eventually turned around and went back. I should have kept driving, left the car at the airport and headed home. Instead I went back. I didn’t speak to him for 24 hours and he didn’t apologize or beg me or grovel. He was quiet. I gave in. I promised to be more everything. I look back at the person I was then and feel sorry for the poor thing. I’d like to go back there and give myself a hug. I never even asked who she was, never asked him to stop seeing anyone, just assumed he would because he’d been caught. I doubt he stopped for a minute.

    ” You try harder to win them back and maybe if you’re lucky, they’ll choose you!” I felt this way. I had won. He wanted me, not whoever she was. I clung to that for a few more years.
    Thanks, Chump Lady. It’s will be one year from the last and final discovery. It’s been a shitty road but most days are good. I’m glad I found your site.

    It didn’t last long.

    • There’s all kinds of truth?! Can I nominate that for cheater word salad? Mine was fond of “the truth is somewhere in between.” I realized that “truth” for these people is situational.

      Don’t beat yourself up for assuming he would quit because he was caught. That’s just you applying your moral compass to him. That’s what YOU would’ve done (if you could imagine doing such a thing). Be kind to yourself. I think one of the hardest things to get over after infidelity, isn’t even the cheating itself, it’s forgiving ourselves for being duped. How we let ourselves down by accommodating such shittiness in our lives, making yourself smaller and smaller.

      Time to make yourself bigger and bigger! It gets BETTER. Really.

      • My husband’s favorite is “Everyone has their own truth” or “That’s YOUR opinion of what the truth is, mine is different”.

        • Debbie L, I hear you, sister.

          “Everyone has their own truth”

          Almost word for word.

          And then eventually through gritted teeth, “You’ll never find out the truth!”

          Oh, so there are more sordid details? Well, I’ve learned enough, thank you.

          • Many people get suckered on this concept: Truth is not an absolute, it’s all relative.

      • I got ‘the truth is somewhere in between’ a lot, too. I also got ‘It was bigger than me’; ‘I lie because I can’; ‘I can’t help it if we have different sex drives’; ‘People cheat on other people – get over it.’; ‘I’m bad you’re good. So what?’; ‘I’m having a mid-life crisis’; ‘I don’t believe in monogamy’.

        Etc. Etc.

  • One of the reasons I love you:

    No it is not. Living your life with integrity is pretty simple. If you’re married, don’t fuck people you aren’t married to.

  • Yeah, it is simple. But, with statements like that, you are going to have a lot of trouble looking cool and hip to the beret wearing, petulie oil smelling, hipsters who have evolved translucent cognition through resonating paradigms of consciousness replete with validation amidst the enfolding descent of the mist.
    BTW, did you notice that Calum claimed, in his first sentence, to be too dim to understand the expression about one having one’s cake and eating it too? That expression has been around forever and is well understood by almost everyone. Yet, he was “confused” by it, as he only understands eating cake.
    Well, if he is that dumb, it is no wonder he writes as he does.

    • For what it’s worth, the expression is “You can’t eat your cake and still have it.” Somehow or other it
      got twisted around to “Have your cake and eat it, too.” The original expression better illustrates the idea.

      • In French, “avoir le beurre et l’argent du beurre” (have the butter and the money to pay for the butter)

  • My cake eater is making cake (literally) in the other room as I write this.

    I’m telling her I’m leaving on Monday, after my stepdaughter’s birthday party on Sunday.

    It’s been a shitty three years. I did all that you said a BS shouldn’t do, and now at last I realize that the reconciliation is a mirage. She’s narcissistic, is not accountable, and untrustworthy. She thinks that paying lip service to reconciliation entitles her to having us act as if nothing ever happened. This while she refuses to stop working with her AP: the lawyer that she retained to see to her daughter’s (my stepdaughter’s) custody case.

    This is my second marriage, I was also the BS in my first. This time around, I’ve found the right group therapy, and have lived the last years mindfully. I’ve finally learned, deep down inside, how fucked up codependence is, and how my fantasies of reconciliation are unicorns.

    The years aren’t a total loss, I’ve learned, and become closer to my stepkids. I am stronger for it, a healthier, happier adult, and a better father to my kids and stepkids.

    Now let’s get rid of cake eaters.

    • ww — good for you. (((Big hugs))) It’s hard stuff. My second marriage, although brief, was to a serial cheater. And it really killed me to divorce twice. It kept me doing the reconciliation thing for over a year — the most painful period of my entire life.

      Living with an unremorseful cheater is death by inches.

      Yeah, ditch the codependence. The best advice I read was that if you’re a codependent — your path out is actually quite easy. Recognize your worth. And find another giver. You’re a giver, and you need to find someone like you. That’s IT. Reciprocity. Go find it, it’s out there. You have to let people in.

      Abusers? Cheaters? It’s a much, much harder path for them (which is why I am so skeptical about R). They have to give up the entitlement. The ego kibbles. Having it their way all the time. They have to share the cookies and realize they are not the center of the universe. MUCH HARDER PATH.

      I’ve been happily remarried for a couple years now. My husband is also a former betrayed spouse. I think that works — BSs should hook up! He’s a giver too. It’s wonderful.

      Good people are out there. And I don’t just mean romantic relationships, but all relationships.

      • Dear Chump Lady,

        Can we have a connecting wire among givers?

        I mean, I find all the people out there looking for potential mates to be suckers! Maybe, the experience of being in a serial cheater husband’s trap for long 14 years with a 12 year old kid has made me “very skeptical” about ever being a possibility of getting at “truthful relationship”! I feel this happens to a lot of BSs! So, while the cheating spouses seem to get too many takers, the BSs seem to have a hard time figuring out, whether all the good ones are already taken. What is going on here? Do you see any common thread among BSs in this aspect? If you do, kindly, lead BSs in their quest for finding another giver like themselves. Since, you’ve successfully transcended this phase, this will be very insightful and beneficial to co-dependents or givers or BSs or whatever shade they wear, in one of the most uphill task in resurrecting themselves.


      • I guess I need some serious counseling – I’m not attracted to nice, giving, respectful men. I’m seeing a great guy – former BS and a giver but there is no “spark”. Maybe it’s just too early, I just want to be friends. I’m so trying to improve my choosing skills and even stopped dating for a while.

  • Two time loser here, as well. First wife serially cheated for years. Second wife took it up about 4 years in(doing her old boyfirend and the frozen food delivery guy((these are the tip of the iceberg, I suspect)) )
    For those of us who have been through this in more than one marriage, we need to really hone our selection skills. ANd, go really slow before geting physical(my second wife “accidentally, became pregnant).
    My GF now was betrayed. She is a giver to the max. Best GF I have ever had. She is really good looking, to boot.

    • Lucky you, Arnold! My husband is a former BS. I think givers need to hook up with other givers. It’s bliss.

  • Arnold, your experience seems like too much to bear. I was relieved and please to reach the end of your post and see that you have a loving and lovely girlfriend.

    A question for those who have survived and thrived…What if you’re older (early 50s) and not quite pretty? Who’s going to want me? Even if I did find someone, how could I ever be sexually intimate relationship with someone after learning everything he did–young Hong Kong prostitutes, a Russian mistress in her 20s…? Convincing me I was damaged sexually…It just seems impossible. He did a number on my sense of self, alright.
    It gets better, right?

    • Duped, I’m attending a wedding this Thanksgiving to a friend who is 76 (and the groom is 73). There’s always a new beginning out there. And hey, no one looks like a super model in their 70s. Per intimacy — get an STD check. If all’s clear, you’ll be good to go.

    • Duped. You were gaslighted. This is incredibly damaging and rips your sense of self apart. One of the things you may not be thinking about right now is that there are an almost equal number of males out there in the world that were also gasighted Also in their 50’s and also not looking as gorgeous as we once did.

      Forget the lies about your sexual dysfunction. Get yourself screened for STD’s for your own peace of mind and get fit.
      It gets better!! Really.

      • Thanks, Ing. I was tested as soon as I found out and got a clear bill of health.Well, except for those precancerous cells and the HPV but you can’t prove that…

        It’s surprising, but it shouldn’t be, how deep the damage can go. I didn’t imagine it would affect other areas of my life. While remodeling I had to be talked off the ledge a couple of times by the sweetest contractor because I was sure subcontractors had plotted to cheat me because they knew they could. It seemed so real and then so embarrassing. I also have caught myself thinking my dearest friends didn’t think about me like I thought they did. I guess it takes a while for things to surface and then you have to deal with them.

        Anyway, thanks for your kind words. They help.

        • My now ex gave me a parting gift of incurable STI and I’m in my 50s, tell me how it gets better?

          • Dear datdamwof,
            I was fortunate and caught it early enough that it should be no problem. I’m fortunate that I can afford regular health care. So many cannot.
            I don’t know what I’d do if I’d contracted something in curable. That seems like the most callous of actions cheater could do. I’m sorry.
            My “gets better” was meant as the layers of damage slowly slough away giving you time to consider each one. Iof i felt any twinge of sympathy or longing for him, i would imagine him in the middle of one of his most sordid behaviors and it was like pouring poison on what was left of my feelings for him. I’d imagine an enormous dandelion shriveling as I poured acid on it.
            There was a time I did not believe I would be able to think about the cruelty of his deceptions and almost laugh in disbelief that anyone could be that fucked up.
            Take good care of yourself.

  • New to this site, and I LOVE it! wondering if its ok to tell my story as I love the feedback from other posters?

  • I tried to win back my cake-eating WW for 3 years. Can you imagine lowering your self worth for three freaking years, believing all the double talk, lies, half-truths and false reconciliations? It’s the most painful, sordid existence that I’ve known. And I’ve been through close family deaths and tragedies before their time.

    I’m going through D now, and while painful at least I finally see a light at the end of the tunnel, and I can believe it’s sunlight…no longer an oncoming train I’ve witnessed the past three years. Recently, I’ve started a tentative friendship with a wonderful lady, also who was a former BS (not from marriage but a 3 year engagement), and the giving character is night and day.

    • Don’t be too hard on yourself Sadman… Trying to “do the right thing” is what us chumps do. Some of us do it for 3 years, some for a lifetime. Just be thankful that you have recognized the unicorn of reconciliation for what is is and are moving on… It is still painful, but totally worth the walk through fire. At least that is what I’m hoping. You’ll get there… and I’ll get there… and all these chumps will be there with us. THANK GOD FOR CHUMPS!

  • Do you consider an emotional affair in the same light as a physical affair? My spouse keeps telling me “she’s just a good friend.” I’m not buying it but do I end the marriage because I think he’s lying to me? Is he just trying to pacify me by agreeing to marriage counseling? Do I really want to wait around while he “works through whether or not he wants to be married?” Seriously, I think he’s pushing me to file for divorce so that he doesn’t look bad.

    • Hi Heather, If I were you, I would put on my PI hat and start investigating. Your husband could be giving you trickle truth about what he is really doing. It is possible he is only involved on an EA, but more than likely is having a PA/EA.
      He will gaslight you, manipulate you, and lie to you so he can keep his “friend” and marriage. Please, please please do not take his word for telling you the truth.
      I tried every which way to investigate myself when I had suspicions, but everything was in lockdown. I bought a voice activated recorder (small device, inexpensive.. Best purchase I ever made.. Literally.). Went out one night. Caught him chatting w his mistress. For 2.5 hours. Found out everything I needed to know. He could not deny anything as I had evidence from his own mouth in his phone conversation.
      My opinion is (not everyone agrees, but ultimately is really about you think anyway..), is an EA is just as damaging to the marriage/relationship as a PA because it is an affair of the heart. He is putting up a wall with you, you are his wife. You should be his confidante, emotional support, and friend.. Yet he is allowing some strange whore to take your place???? Hell NO!!! That means he has no boundaries in place. Disrespects you. And is giving his heart to someone else. NOT ACCEPTABLE! Ask yourself: Are you okay with that? And Heather, he should not have any secret friends. If the person is spending time with your husband that you do not know about (calls, emails, texts, meetings), she is no friend. A person must be a friend of the marriage.
      Respect the boundaries in place. sounds to me he is scared of you finding out what he is doing. Cheating. And will do anything to keep you away from finding it. Marriage counseling? Cheaters love that! Do whatever you can to get to the truth. And ask yourself what you will/will not accept. How do you think you deserve to be treated? I say if you have proof he is cheating. Retain a good lawyer and serve him the divorce papers. Good luck Heather! We chumps are here for you!!!!!

      • Rose,

        Love those voice activated recorders! After my XH promised he ended his PA, he started going into the office an hour earlier every morning. So, yep, went to Walmart bought a VAR and put it in the office. Bingo, he was going in early to talk sweet nothings with her and plan their weekend get away to New Orleans for his birthday.

        • Nomojoe,
          Way to take your power back by finding out the truth! Best of luck to you. Hope you kicked Joe’s lying, cheating ass to the curb where it belongs.

    • Heather, one more thing, you said, “Do I really want to wait around while he “works through whether or not he wants to be married?””
      That is a line that buys a cheater time. He can continue to stuff his face with cake eating. He wants both. Why make him a priority while he treats you like an option? Don’t wait around on him. You deserve a good man that will love you. Respect you. Be faithful to you. Be honest. Someone you can trust. Find out the truth. And make the decision to make YOU the priority. Keep us updated Heather. We are rooting for YOU!!!!!

    • Hi Heather, this is how my husband started. Emotional affairs. And in my opinion it’s worse than a physical affair. They make you feel crazy for questioning it and then you question yourself. PLEASE, TRUST YOUR INSTINCTS. While he swore up and down they were friends and that’s not what he wanted with her, guess who he lives with now? I squashed my own gut and learned a lot from that.

      My heart is aching for you right now. Please, get yourself a good therapist and a lawyer. Also know that you are a good person. No one deserves the bullshit he’s dishing out. He may be confused but he’s lying to you and it’s simply not okay. Start working on you and being the best person you can be. It’s a tough road but you will get through it, either way it turns. xoxo

  • EAs are indication of this person’s psychological problem! PA on the other hand would mean having some kind of “entitlement”, due to being more “clever”, “desirable”, “rich”, “gifted” etc. etc., more narcissistic. While PAs can go on without EA (so PA is less dangerous of the two), EA necessarily culminates into PA, if given a chance (for example a secluded place to meet up).

    Whether EA or PA or both! How does it matter? Ur hubby is not committed into the marriage. His level of commitment is the problem…not you 🙂 .

    At this point, evaluate how much investment you’ve put in to the marriage, already. How you can plan to salvage, a lot of things, what you built together (even if it means to dupe him into thinking that you are chasing the unicorn of reconciliation, while you are working on the other)! CL’s page on “how to leave a cheater”, is very instructive. Even if you decide on one chance at marriage therapy etc., kindly draw a time-limit. A carefully thought out strategy of investing in just as much, is desirable at this stage. After a threshold is reached, pull the trigger!

    Your life is more important than all this shit!

  • I used to use the same theory when discussing the sitch with my ex. Except I used Donuts. Cakey, but not quite cake. Very entertaining read!

  • Just wanted to add; I realized my ex wanted to have his cake and eat it too – WITHOUT baking any cake, without bringing home any flour or butter or eggs, without earning the money to buy those things, so he could have cake at home. He wanted a great marriage, with NO effort on his part, no giving, no thinking of me or of his kids.

    Then he tried to convince me it was MY fault he was screwing around. Yeah, right ….

  • Does he want his cake still?
    After 16 years my husband started an affair with a girlfriend from 18 years ago who dumped him after 3 years because he was down (lost his job) and she was too young at 20 to deal with it. fast forward 16 years met him on FB and within 4 weeks he has said the I’m not in love with you I love and care about you but I have feelings for her.
    He is now spending every weekend at her house with her children and coming back Monday night to our house so he can go to work and the gym.
    We don’t really talk only hello/goodnight and I have started the divorce but every night he annoys the dog to get a reaction me I don’t cook or wash his clothes anymore he moved into the spare room and went and bought a new bed as the other one was hurting his back we are getting divorced and will be selling the house so why bother as he is telling friends he is moving in with her soon I am not working at the moment so he says you can go out during the week but have to stay at home at the weekends for the dog or get rid of him it’s his dog! It’s like he is reliving his 20’s going to bars where he used to drink seeing her and going around with the biggest ego he is happy for his work friends to know and family oh and FB friends but not our neighbours as they don’t need to know what the f@@k is going on is he a cake eater or is he just starting a new life ?

    • So sorry Maria! Is he a cake-eater? The better question is- do you want to be treated as the fall-back girl, dog-sitter, motel for the week? Don’t let him use you anymore!
      You seem to almost know you want, and are making choices to help yourself, but you need to realize how much he sucks. He’s not who you thought he was, he’s this guy, the one that comes around as it’s convenient, is mean to his own pet, and clearly enjoys USING women. Very sad, you deserve better. Keep going on that divorce! He won’t change. Read everything Tracy writes over and over until your heart and mind align and you start to find Maria again!

  • I’m baffled. He had a EA not PA (yet) for 2 months, I found out, talked to her, wrote her letters, I think she ended it, and I think he hasn’t talked to her since March 2013. I monitor cell phone/house phone online, and I snoop alot. I haven’t found anything.
    We’re getting along OK, sex could be better. He won’t say “I love you”.
    I can’t tell if he’s recovering, trying to forget her, and we’ll get there, or if he’s lying, planning and biding his time until he’s ready to go.
    I’m a pretty smart person, but I can’t figure this out!

    • kathy, you need to read more posts here; he’s not recovering at all! And why on earth would it be YOUR job to talk to his AP????? Check out especially the posts on ‘Reconciliation and Remorse’ and the recent one on ‘How Can I Trust …’

      You need your eyes open, and if you’re going to try the reconciliation route, you need to demand WAY more from him!

      • Yes, unfortunately you have become the dreaded Marriage Police. Are you happy? Wouldn’t a healthy relationship cause you happiness? Your guy sounds like he’s on the trail of other women, it doesn’t usually end well.
        When my X was in his last, really huge and sexual, affair (EA and PA), we started having wonderful sex almost daily. He was high on cake!

  • AAH
    The self-serving nonsense continues…

    I got an acerbic email from my OMGP-STBX about how he had information about a situation between our 15year-old and myself which ended with the folllowing drivel:

    “…My right to know as a parent about anything that may have had some serious emotional impact upon my daughter is important and just that – a right.” (I’m gonna hurl)

    Well the fact was my daughter and I had an arguement about her demanding me be on-time-to-the-minute and the fact that she is always late and rude about it… typical teenage stuff.

    After some serious editing – my first drafts always say exactly what is on my mind – I replied with facts a-b-c and went on to volunteer the tip of the iceburg regarding our daughter’s psychotherapy (2x a week). I closed by saying:

    “Quit casting aspersions. You chose to lead a double life which continues to have, in your words, “serious emotional impact on my daughter” that you certainly weren’t forthcoming/inclusive about.”

    His reply OF COURSE made no further inquiries into her wellbeing… “Thanks for being forthcoming and filling in the blanks that were of concern in this matter”.

    WTF is wrong with this man? Filling in the blanks??? He obviously just wanted to stick his sun-damaged, pock scarred chest out and crow. No genuine interest in our daughter at all. Just his ego. Yum-yum.

    • mmburned, you have no obligation to provide this kind of info to your ex. Your daughter is 15, she can communicate what she wants. You’re right, he just wants to look like a good dad who cares about his daughter, AND to rub in the fact that your relationship w/your daughter is not a perfect one (just as nobody’s is! Especially when they’re teens!). He’s looking for ego kibbles!

      You can reply just with; ‘I will immediately inform you when there is anything going on that could have any serious emotional impact upon your daughter, and I assume you will do the same.’ AND NO MORE!

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  • Mine says at a fast pace and high loud pitch “I’m not going to talk about it” so it is a shut out as to what is going on.

    Only, wow, that I’m not going to talk about it sort of is telling.

    Really don’t understand how that is supposed to not let me know the affair is going on when months ago me and our children were told it was over and he was going to stay in the marriage, only he still needed time, he just doesn’t know what he is doing.

    He has said he doesn’t know what he is doing a long time, it brings to mind an image of him running down a sidewalk with a straight jacket on, not that it happened, but hearing that…I flash on the image.

    I wish he was in a straightjacket, it would explain all this.

  • wanted to add, the statement is parrot like

    he says it

    then if I start to say something

    it is repeated at a face pace


  • Exactly..Don’t prey on somebody who is monogamous in thinking.. You would be effectively taking away his or her health or sanity to meet your needs….Pretty words don’t make an ugly dishonest soul any cleaner or easier to deal with…

  • Hi, 4 days ago I found out the father of my 18month old son is seeing someone else 10 years his junior! He says he still wants another baby with me and still wants to come round and spend time together as a family! (What planet is he on!!) The weekend, as you know, has been emotional but on Sunday I started to get my act together. I know there is life after infidelity as I’d already experienced it with my first husband who cheated on me with another man – that took me 4 years to come to terms with and have the confidence to go out dating again. I thought I had found the one this time but sadly once Id given him what he wanted – a son, he started to play around. Every time over the last 12 months he has managed to manipulate his way back in, usually by making me feel sorry for him (he was adopted and had a very unstable first 2 years of his life, which is his excuse for his narcissistic behaviour). So as this is the second time of being cheated on I started reading websites to help deal with the hurt and betrayal better. I came across the No Contact theory and apart from a very brief and matter of fact exchange when collecting his son for a visit 2 days ago, I have so far managed to ignore his texts, emails and haven’t looked on his twitter, instagram or fb. But today I felt a little down and came across your website – fantastic, everyone who has been cheated on needs to read your website! your choice of phrase makes me laugh. But what made it more so was my eldest son from my first marriage ( now age 7) gave his step dad 2 cakes when he came for his visitation and reading this Theory of Cakes, I just burst out laughing at the irony that the last I saw of the cheating pig was walking away with 2 little cupcakes!! He thought he could have his cake and eat it!! Not anymore ….

  • Reading Calum’s posting my first thought was this is a bunch of BS!

    In an additional comment he says, “You are right enough. Your forum is your own so even if my question remains open it has no place here. Your strength is your black and white clarity. feel free to delete it.” —- Umm, CL doesn’t need your permission to squash your BS.

  • My adulterous ex-wife literally told me that she was confused and that she didn’t know what she wanted. She even convinced our marriage counselor that she was going through some internal turmoil about the kind of person she’s become, all the while continuing her affair. She even said out loud that she wishes she could have her AP and her husband too… very brazen. It took me a few days to realize what was really going on and I decided to drop her like a hot potato. But you articulated it so well in the last two paragraphs!

    You hit the nail on the head Tracy!

  • Oh wow. I think I believed that my STBEH was actually just a confused nark. I think he is also a cake either, he keeps saying “this is not about X” but then he has acted exactly that way. At least I need to be grateful for his honesty because he has been very upfront about not being able to offer me fidelity if we are separated.

  • I was the chumpiest! He cheated for a year with a mutual friend. Begged to stay then re-proposed. I fell for it fully. Wedding in central park–puke!! Fast forward 4 years in which he financially abused me ( to the tune of $400000), emotionally verbally and mentally abused me, then wouldn’t work and when I insisted on collecting pay cheques from the business, discarded me within 5 weeks moved in with the new woman and (Much younger than our kids)daughter within 3 weeks. She has a high paying bank job plus child support from her daughters european dad–perfect score@!@ good riddance to him and I am actually starting to feel sorry for her-the love bombing was epic and she has no idea of the raging narcissist she is with. It is hard to accept he likely did not love me at all in our 34 year marriage.

  • Know this is an old post but I’m totally going through this as we speak.

    Found out fiance was sexting a man, confronted her and she came clean that they didn’t have sex but “something happened” (as in, most likely sex but ehhh). Few days later, after feeling like I was going crazy from how she wasn’t prioritizing fixing the relationship, still talking to her friends from the gym (the place she lost her mind at and found the guy), and just thinking about how I’d been used and abused over the last year ever since she was begging me to get her a ring, I just left in the middle of the night when she was away. No word of why I left, just texted her the next day saying leave.

    Eventually I had to contact her to ask when she was moving out, she accused me of cheating and was telling everyone on her side I cheated which is why I left, I laid out in full why I left (never cheated, was always good) and she wanted me back almost immediately. Turns out, not 3 days after leaving, shes eating her “cake” out of revenge (and fulfillment I have no doubt).

    I agreed to try and fix it, but at this point its definitely looking like a no go. She pushed back on wanting to cut all contact with the guy by phone, still has him in her phone as “Papi” (its literally only been 2 weeks…..we had 5 years lol), but luckily she’s moving out because she believes the space will reignite our relationship. Already moving on, started thinking ahead, will have one last talk with her more of less saying for her own good and for her own relationships, she needs to cut contact with that gym and everyone from it because she’s become a much worse person ever since hanging out with those people (she’s incredibly impressionable).

    Thanks for writing this, never knew about this site till this week, really helping me comes to terms with things and not making me feel like the bad guy in any way (she’s definitely trying to make me the villain, luckily even all her friends agree her decision was the bad on).

    • TC – I had a similar situation to you but in 1980 (no sexting then but she did screw two other guys while engaged). I married her. I finally divorced her for her serial cheating on 7/5/17.


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