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Hate On Me, Hater

Wonder if I gave you diamonds
Out of my own womb
Would you feel the love in that
Or ask why not the moon?

One thing that seems to be a near universal experience among betrayed folks, is that after a divorce, the cheater hates their guts. People are just BAFFLED by this, and rightfully indignant. Hang on… you cheat on me, eat cake, refuse to fix your marriage, compel me to divorce your sorry ass — and now you HATE me? WTF?! I mean, haven’t I suffered ENOUGH?

And by hate, I mean  — runs you down to friends and neighbors. Tells their family lies about your conduct and their innocence. Acts like a jackass in a divorce and either refuses to settle a divorce, or prolongs custody litigation for shits and giggles. Attempts to poison your relationship with your children. Behaves condescendingly or brazenly insults you.

And nine times out of ten, the cheater got what they wanted — Unfettered access to their fuckbuddies! Alimony! Child support! All the wedding dishes!

But still they HATE.

What is that about?!

Chump Lady cannot get inside the head of cheaters, but let me posit a few theories.

1. No more cake. Chump Lady’s first rule of infidelity is the Unified Theory of Cake — that cheaters’ ultimate goal is to attain the Nirvanic state of cake eating. To have all the comforts and securities of marriage, with all the illicit fun and hijinks of cheating. When you divorced them, you took away their cake. And it’s really a lot of work to get back to a perfect cake situation again. For one thing, you need a good caliber of sucker, and you were a terrific sucker and suckers are hard to come by. Alas, the affair partner (AP) is not a good caliber of sucker, because the AP is already aware they’re a cheater (but they probably will try and cultivate the AP anyway). And if they wound up with the AP, now there is a vacancy they have to fill.

It’s all very distressing to the cheater, and this is clearly your fault.

2. Spin and image control. If the cheater is saying rotten things about you to other people, this is probably not anything new. This is what they had to tell themselves and others to justify their cheating. But now that you’re divorced, what was once a contained threat to their image (you did not know they were blackballing you), is now an uncontained threat, You might be out there telling people unflattering things about them… and (gasp) true things about their infidelity. The cheater needs to claim the narrative first. And cheaters are method actors. They have to live the part. Whether they hate you or don’t hate you, believe the lies they tell, or don’t really believe them — it doesn’t matter. They need to behave as if they do. Their image as The Real Victim Here is paramount.

3. Divorce is very unpleasant. People can be so judgy. They had a nice place in the firmament, and now they’re single. (If only for a few weeks, perhaps.) It’s a lowering of status. The financial repercussions are no fun. The kids need to be bought off and placated with Disney crap. It’s a lot of effort and there’s court orders and shit. Judges ORDERING them to do stuff. You know how they hate it when you’re the boss of them.

4. This is not what they expected. Maybe the cheater left for the AP. And now instead of getting diamond earrings for Christmas from her husband, the AP gives the cheater a copy of Microsoft Office Suite. The fantasy is dying. And this is your fault for not doing the Humiliating Dance of Pick Me and wooing them harder. You didn’t fight hard enough to save the marriage!

Someone needs to take the blame. It can’t ever be the cheater.

So, betrayed people — if you find yourself on the receiving end of hatred from your ex, do like Jill Scott does in the song above — laugh. Go ahead and hate on me, hater.

You can try as you may
Break me down when I say
That it ain’t up to you
Gonna do what you do

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 think cheaters are narcissists with serious attachment/abandonment issues.

    It freaks them out to be dismissed and not coddled and pursued and fluffed and admired.

    I think that everything you postulate is true in the case of my ex. The man walked out on his family (“I left you, not the kids….” but he complains that he rarely sees the kids) and is angry that I finally unleashed all the unflattering truths I’d kept inside for the sake of harmony and love (“You need to fix your teeth and wear better shoes. And I’m going to enjoy being with another man. Oh, and I’m better than you.”) Mean? Yes. Deserved? Yes. He’s angry about that. He’s angry to find that Mrs. Sprinkle-covered Turd (yes, she is married, too) doesn’t touch up her sprinkles–she can’t afford them and wants him to pay for those sparkles, but he has rather large child support payments to make.

    Of course the fantasy crash is all my fault. Of course my mean words land on target. Of course he’s realizing I was smarter than he is all along.

    His beloved mummy must be wondering why, if I was the problem all along, her wittoh bunny isn’t happy now that he’s with his soulmate. Probably still my fault for “poisoning” the children’s mind with memories of their father leaving.

    That would make a guy very angry.

    • “Fluffed and admired” — the cheater as a downy cuddle toy or flaccid pillow! Love it!

    • Golly, we must be living each other’s lives. My STBX is so angry and really doesn’t like it when I point out what a loser he is and how jacked up his life is. And his mommy? She still keeps in touch because I think she holds out hope we’ll get back together at some point (even told me we could divorce and remarry later, ‘once this is over’) but she has his back all the way because her precious little boy couldn’t possibly be an asshole.

      Nice article, chumplady. You hit the nail on the head once again.

    • ‘It freaks them out to be dismissed and not coddled and pursued and fluffed and admired.’

      Too true. Mine kept bleating at one point that all he wanted was for ‘someone to be nice to him’. Erm, you’ll have to find that person somewhere else because right now I am pretty much inclined to NOT be nice to you, considering you stuck your dick into god knows how many twats.

    • Stephanie, I too was told “I left you, not our child”. Wow, is that insane? Collateral damage in their minds I guess. They choose to be part-time parents, seems like leaving to me.

      • It’s been 2 years since this post. But everyday that I’m trying my best to get through this situation with my STBX, I find myself reading a couple or more CL articles just to find strength and not go completely insane.

        It’s been 1.5 years since my x left me and my son for a married woman. We’re going through the divorce. Everyday, I get constant reminder snippets of f’d up stupid and hurtful things that happened or what he said. It’s hard. These thoughts seem to just pop-up in my head often. When I wake up in the morning or middle of the night, there goes the unwanted thoughts again. I always wonder when it will end. One of the things he did say too was “I left you, not our child”. It helps to know that I’m not alone. It’s inspiring to learn about how people get through this tough time. Thank you

  • And, yes–people are very baffled about why HE would be angry with ME.

    Well, it’s just part of his process, but not my problem.


  • OMG! Your article describes my ex-husband to a “T”. This SOB is angry that I actually divorced his sorry, serial cheating ass after I discoverd his 3rd affair with a married woman. His “side piece” got kicked out her marriage (and home) and couldn’t wait to move in with my ex-husband. After a few months of “sacking up” with his side piece, my ex-husband almost knocked down the walls of their apartment (“love nest) trying to escape. He discovered that his “soul mate” is “bat shit crazy” and needy as hell. He didn’t realize that this married woman’s 4 teenage sons would always be a part of her life. He’s complains that the teenage boys eat like a swarm of locusts and listen to “Gangsta Rap” all day when they visit. My ex-husband is angry with me, because according to him, “I ran him out of his marriage and his beautiful home”. He couldn’t believe that the court awarded me alimony (after a 25 marriage), half of his retirement, our family home, plus child support for our teenage daughter. He swears that he is now destitute, homeless and “all alone”. I asked him why didn’t he dump his “side piece” and move in with another one of his “ho’s”? It’s funny how a cheater’s “stock crashes” once the ex-wife kicks his ass to the curb. Now, even his side pieces don’t want him. I told my ex-husband my lack of respect for him goes deeper than the “Marianas Trench”. He dumped me for his “side piece”, and once he was free to shack up with her, he decided he wanted to bounce back me. He actually thought that I would be jumping up and down saying “ooh, ooh choose me”. He must have been out of his rabbit-ass mind…..the only person he’s loyal to is himself. He can kick, scream, and throw as many temper tantrums as possible, but he will never set foot in my home or in my life again. His anger and sadness makes me “Leap with Joy”. (hee, hee)

    • “He must have been out of his rabbit-ass mind”

      Love this. Rabbits — flighty, timid, not well endowed. LOL!!! Ms. Jay — good for you! And congratulations to your daughter. Tell her to enjoy Paris and say hello to the Marais district for me.

    • Ms. Jay,
      I LOVE IT, I LOVE IT!!! Well done and it is true when you dump them “a cheater’s stock crashes” !! 🙂

  • Go, Ms. Jay, GO!

    They didn’t plan very well, so they blame us for coming out smelling like roses, as if we’d planned to be emotionally devastated and checked for STD’s–and pay a shit-ton of money to get a divorce and live separately, to have our children know what abandonment feels like. Yes, this was OUR sinister plot, wasn’t it, friends?

    • The behavior of these stupid, adolescent men simply reminds us just how lucky we were to get out of such destructive unions. My 17 year-old daughter is actually “striving”; she will be a college freshman next year, and spending the summer in Paris, France. I am truly blessed that I “survived” my ex-husband’s shameless affairs, and his mean-spirited attacks during the divorce proceedings. I wish you and your family all the best and God’s Speed!

  • This is the one thing that really confused me about my stbxw. I figured out she was up to something, and when I got my proof she could deny it no more, her cover was blown and I told her mum and dad all the sordid things their lovely daughter had been up to… The usual unprotected sex, nights away with lover boy, the lies blah, blah, blah…whilst I was home looking after our children.

    The anger and venom she spat at me was mind spinningly confusing, and was so disorientating that I even found myself apologising to her at one point because I had upset her because of some debate about who got custody of a recent joint Xmas present! And she was upset because I was leaving her sorry cheating arse!

    3 days after I discovered her affair she removed any photos of me and her in our family home..I was still living there at this point, maybe that’s a normal thing to do I don’t know. But I’ve given up trying to figure out how the cheater mind works…the anger towards the cheated partner is one thing that is incredibly hard to understand.

  • People, please don’t add or subtract from this article because it is died on. 2 and 4 apply to me, and I have been stressed to death trying to figure out why I have been so hated by my ex and her AP.

    I wasn’t innocent which caused me to blame myself for years and I mean years. But, the ex and the AP has always hated me.

    I did emerge smelling like the rose.

    I felt we could shake hands and move on but not so whenever I see them they are all games.

    Now, I am confident they are just hating because their security is long gone.

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