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“Chump Chat” anyone?

Hi folks,

It’s been mentioned to me before as a request, and I’m just trying to take the temperature of readers — but would you be interested in a forum feature on this site? I will still keep blogging, so you can keep reading the fevered mutterings that go on in my head, but I thought a forum would be a way to keep the conversation going amongst you, instead of having to fish backwards through the posts here.

I’m just in the thinking it through stages, so maybe in the new year. Got a name though! “Chump Chat!”

Leave me your comments, yay or nay, or ideas of what you’d like to see.



Ask Chump Lady

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  • Do you mean “Discussion Forums?” I think Chump Chat is catchy! It would probably help to structure it so that we can choose a general theme (not reconciliation!) I’d be keen on headings like: Best Advice; Lessons Learnt; Inspirational films/books/people and …Who said miracles couldn’t happen!

    • Yes, sorry not to have been clearer — discussion forums. Not a lot of “rooms” to begin with, maybe three or four. I like your headings!

      I like the idea of creating my own emoticons… like a unicorn, if anyone says anything too delusional. Or a vomiting unicorn… hmm.

  • I’m still inexperienced with communicating on sites so am still learning!

    I like your idea of creating emoticons. Good for linking right and left side of brain (pop psychology alert!)

  • How about a forum for “What’s a Chump To Do?” You know, when you’re facing a situation (e.g., possible reconciliation, divorce negotiations, childrearing issues, starting over, etc.) and you want the collective wisdom of a bunch of people who might have faced similar issues before you. You can just type in a brief description of your situation and perhaps the path you’re thinking about taking and then ask for advice.

    I was stunned after my first D-day how the collective wisdom and collective predictive powers were so spot on whenever I made such requests at SI (before I was banned).

  • I think Chump Chat would be helpful. There are things that people have referenced in their responses to you that I would like to have dove into, but didn’t really know how to without it seeming like a huge digression from the topic at hand.

  • I think a forum would be a good idea, if you have the time for it.

    IMO, it’s a good way for the non-reconcilers and the wanna be non-reconcilers to support each other.

    IMO, too many times the betrayed spouse is told, as I was repeatedly told at TAM, after trying to reconcile for a year with my STBX while he continued to engage in disrespectful behaviors, that the betrayed spouses are just being vindictive by divorcing a cheater, and that forgiveness is a must.

    There is no consideration given to the studies in the last few years that show the betrayed is typically suffering PTSD and that the cheating spouse is often a major trigger for ongoing sadness or depression or even rage. Some Marriage counselors and psych pros are not even yet aware of these recent studies.

    • Wow. I fail to see how divorcing someone for cheating on you — i.e., having sex with others, exposing your spouse to disease, betrayal, disrespect, emotional abuse (gas-lighting, blame shifting), etc. — is “vindictive.” What is cheating then?

      Forgiveness is a very personal thing. Frankly I think it’s enough to not wish them dead. There, consider yourself forgiven. The state of “meh” is my idea of forgiveness. I realize that’s not evolved enough for some people, and too unkind for others. As I said, a personal decision.

      Appreciate your input. I’m not going to ban anybody for not drinking the R Koolaid. On the other hand, if people in successful R’s want to argue with me (RollercoasterRide from Hero’s Spouse has posted here in the past), they’re welcome to join in.

      As I said, still in the planning stages…

      • Oh my goodness…. You make me laugh out loud sitting all alone on my balcony.

        “Frankly I think it’s enough to not wish them dead. There, consider yourself forgiven.”

        If I ever break no contact, that’s what I’m going to say. “Well Dear, I don’t wish you dead. There, consider yourself forgiven. Now run along.”

        Chump chat is a wonderful idea but no one could ever match the Chump Lady wit and honestly, that’s the true charm and healing in this blog. You are so fucking funny. I love it! (I tried to find a word to replace fucking – I never used to be so crude, but nothing else really modifies quite as magnificently.)

        • Sunshine, thanks! I wouldn’t quit blogging. I just thought if I made a forum there would be a safe harbor for people who don’t want to be thought Less Than if they don’t reconcile. Sort of a Koolaid-free zone. I don’t intend to do stop writing, only just have a place where folks can create and continue their own conversations with each other.

      • “Forgiveness is a very personal thing. Frankly I think it’s enough to not wish them dead.”

        I love this. If that’s the case, I’m not at the forgiveness stage yet. 😉

      • I agree, Chumplady:

        I never reported anyone at TAM for arguing with me about their choice to reconcile, and in some cased I even may support reconciliation. It depends on the way the cheater is described as behaving on Dday and afterward.

        The first and ONLY TIME I reported a post at (Talkaboutmarriage)TAM, a post filled with curses and off topic ranting about the false claim that I “would never give a cheater a break”, I was banned, within seconds.

        I actually enjoyed reading other opinions, and seeing the rare but real handful of reconciliations. Those real reconciliations helped me to realize my own was a false one.

        The only caveat I had in those cases was to stay alert in a manner similar to lord Mayhem. I think once a cheater is caught or confesses They should never be trusted again. They must be an open book and willingly not begrudgingly.

    • Betrayal, desertion, etc. as trauma: Yes. Your entire world goes belly up. No solid ground to stand on; *nothing* makes sense. I’ve come to calling it ‘relational treason’.

      As for ‘psych pros’ not having a clue … oh, yes.

      There’s no expertise like experiential expertise — to have gone through the fire, and emerged alive and sane with humour and heart intact — that’s the ultimate knowing.

      • If you want a site that really tolerates and encourages berating cheaters, check out “chatcheaters”. CL has been there. Those folks, like “muffinman” are really brutal to those a-holes that wander in.

        • I know this is a little old, but Muffinman here. Thanks for the props.
          I wear your words like a badge of honor.

    • Arnold, just having those places mentioned makes me think how sweet and uncomplicated things are around here the way they are. But I am down with CL trying anything she likes. You know it will be cool and there’s no rule sez she can’t bag it if it turns out to be too funky.

    • Arnold:

      We should at least invite them over. The mods at TAM who have reconciled, can’t handle the truth and at least they would have to read it here at CLs forum.

      Can you imagine? Their frustration levels would go through the roof because they could argue with us but could not ban us for thinking once a cheater always a cheater and if one reconciles with a cheater they best be staying alert for the rest of their lives.

      • Here’s the thing, Sara (because I hate getting tarred with this brush) — I don’t think once a cheater, always a cheater. I think there is a spectrum of cheating (have a cartoon and post by that name there). I’m not hostile to R — I just have seen so few convincing cases of it. And it may be in those Rs that the cheater doesn’t cheat again (although I think that happens a TON) — it’s that the cheater was a crappy partner to begin with and doesn’t give up the entitlement thinking and acting. (Kind of a dry drunk.) And/or too much damage was done by the affair(s) and neither party (but usually the cheater) is willing to go the distance.

        I do believe a BS feels they have to, as you said “be alert for the rest of their lives.” You earlier posted that once caught a cheater “should never be trusted again.” From the cheater POV, they probably think, what’s the point? I can be good (and it’s so hard to be good) and I’m never going to be trusted again! I think for R to work, YES, eventually after a shitload of hard, hard work you DO have to trust them again. That’s the scary risk. A marriage cannot function without trust. You cannot forever be the marriage police.

        And cheaters — to be so good to do the hard work? Would have to get a sudden hit of maturity and stick-to-itiveness that they heretofore haven’t had (cheating being immature, selfish, and escapist). That’s why R is this painful slog with a ton of counseling so both sides can heal — I don’t see a lot of people able to stick it out. Or they do, they endure, but it’s a weird truce — not a happier marriage (as is often claimed, and if it is – I truly hope that’s the case! I don’t want people unhappily married.)

        What CL is about is — I do not think you are less than if you do not WANT R, or you tried R and it failed, or you had false R and don’t want to give it another go. I don’t think R is the Gold Standard after infidelity. I have a healthy skepticism about R. I think a good divorce is preferable and starting over in a new life.

        I want to believe that people learn from this including cheaters. I think the sociopaths in the mix, the serial hard core, no, they do not change. But I do believe some people don’t cheat again and feel awful about it — a couple of them posted here before Arnold drove them off with pitchforks. I gotta say though — serial cheaters with no remorse? Don’t look back.

        The problem with places like SI and TAM is they put their thumb on the scale for R, no matter what sort of situation you’re in.

        • I totally agree with your point of view, in all it’s posted aspects, Chumplady.

          A discussion forum is after all about discussion and people in both camps should have their say.

          I wasn’t driven off by pitchforked comments from those who chose to reconcile, I was banned because I deigned to defend myself, politely, without cursing or specifically targeting another member. I simply spoke of personality disorders and how most are not curable and I also mentioned that the statistic on successful reconciliations is highly suspect because most Marriage counselors do no long term follow up.

          That means if a couple divorces ten years later and infidelity is the reason due to ensuing lack of trust or an inability to ever trust the spouse, the MC doesn’t get the information.

          It’s also kind of self serving logic for a cheater to leave someone whom they have cheated on, if that betrayed spouse wants to reconcile, simply because the cheater feels they can never be trusted. Once it’s known that the divorce was due to cheating, likely no future spouse will trust them.

          I am ensuring that the divorce records show that my STBX was the cheater so that he can’t later turn things around and make me the villain, as some cheater have been known to do.

        • to me this is the most open to R that you have appeared from everything of yours that I’ve read. I have actually felt you were perhaps a little TOO anti-reconciliation for my taste. Though at least you were funny about it 🙂 And maybe it’s because you actually did give it a real try and know how crappy it is. I wasn’t even given the opportunity because my dumb-ass STBX couldn’t even meet my basic requirement of cutting her out of his life in order for us to even really begin to attempt to reconcile. He did stop the affair and shouldn’t that be enough? But I do think that as insanely crappy as this is, that an affair can also a wake-up call that could force you to work on problems in the marriage that you had been ignoring (or in the cheaters side, had been looking for relief by going outside the marriage). I’d say it’s a wake up call for a lot of things, actually. Not that I’m saying any marital problems justify cheating because I totally don’t believe that. But I’d like to think your marriage could be happier once you actually take a hard look at it and work to improve it… how happy could it have been in the first place for an affair to take place? But, while in some ways I think the marriage could be better (that is how I would describe it rather than “happier”), the innocence and idealism of it would also be gone. How that would actually FEEL, I don’t know. I know it would take work… and maybe you’re right that the average cheater isn’t willing to put in the work. I know mine wasn’t. He was unwilling to suffer any real consequences from his actions at all. But I’d like to think reconciliation is possible and that the marriage quality can be improved as long as you do have two people willing to do the work.

          • Sure the marriage could be happier — but that’s not what they’re deciding to work on. It’s a selfish escape — a unilateral choice that leaves the marriage far worse than it was before. And the “happiness” quotient only goes one way — to the cheater. It’s at the betrayed person’s expense. Yes, I suppose you can recover from that — but I don’t think many marriages (which were as you argue shaky to begin with) recover from the further assault that is infidelity.

            To improve you need maturity and coping skills, and generosity and respect for your partner. All of which are obliterated by cheating. Besides which, to cheaters cheating feels GOOD, so now they have to be a grown up AND you’ve taken away their play thing. It’s a slog to get to “good” again… and it will never be cake.

            Yes, I’m sure some people do wake up and value what they had. I think they are a minority.

            As for the argument that cheaters cheat because something is missing in the marriage. No, something is missing in them. Yes, some marriages are truly dreadful — and cheating is a gutless reaction to that, when the healthy thing to do is recognize you need to be out honestly.

            I take personal issue with the “something missing” trope because my serial cheater was cheating on me from DAY ONE. He never didn’t have a double life. So what exactly about me and our relationship drove him into the arms of another woman?

            Cheating just boils down to selfish escapism. It really doesn’t have much to do with the BS at all.

          • Respectfully, I wholeheartedly disagree. A marriage must have trust and even the most ‘successful’ ‘truly’ reconciled BSs admit to not having 100% trust. That is settling. And a marriage that has been wrecked by infidelity will also never ever have equality. Ever. I don’t see how it can ever be a true partnership when trust and equality are lacking.

          • Human nature being what it is, I think many BSs , who would have been more than happy to work on the marriage, are way less inclined to do so, after having been cheated on.
            For me, I would be much more invested in making my CS’s life a living hell from then on out. Sorry, no Ghandi or Mother Theresa here. You mess with me like this and you pay, big time( How neanderthal, eh? Well, looks like I have to give back my beret and petule oil)

          • I have no doubt thst things may be missing inmost marriages. last i checked, my vows did not include the caveat that all bets were off if anything was “missing”.
            I think that is the problem with how society is brainwashed to view marriage and fidelity. that the vows are only meant to be taken seriously if you have an absolutely perfect marriage/partner.
            Well, the reason there are vows , in the first place, is because it has long been recognized that people are imperfect and there will be problems in a marriage. That is why people “VOW” to be faithful. If things wer always going to be great, why would we need vows?

          • Erica said: “Not that I’m saying any marital problems justify cheating because I totally don’t believe that. But I’d like to think your marriage could be happier once you actually take a hard look at it and work to improve it… how happy could it have been in the first place for an affair to take place? But, while in some ways I think the marriage could be better (that is how I would describe it rather than “happier”), the innocence and idealism of it would also be gone.”

            Erica, IMO, Not all people who cheat are in miserable marriages. If you read the books the psychiatrists and other psych pros say that many cheaters had happy marriages, and if they didn’t they were the typical long term marriage issues. All marriages have issued.

            Still, even if the marriage was truly miserable, that is why they have divorce courts. I think cheating is a way to gain control of the spouse and to slap them down a bit, by saying “see I can replace you”.

            That’s a given, every spouse likely has the opportunity to cheat. But the faithful ones who honor their vows just say “no”, or if truly miserable ask for a divorce or counseling.

            Cheating is one sided. The cheater gets to have all the fun and ego kibbles and extramarital sex, while the unsuspecting spouse sits at home being faithful.

            I think there are some cases, where the man my have truly had a mid life crisis, and can stop cheating, but the hurt spouse will forever need to play cop simply for their own peace of mind.

            How good is that for a marriage? How in any way can it make for a happier or even stronger or better marriage. That is so crazy for a marriage counselor to even say that.

            What the marriage counselors should say is that a marriage can survive, and with perhaps better communication, but the marriage will never ever be the same.

            IMO, if your so unhappy, divorce. If you find each other again, then you can remarry and maybe in that case the marriage can be stronger.

            But cheating and lying and having sex with someone else and exposing your spouse to STDs and humiliation, etc., will never make for a happier or even better marriage.

            The hurt spouse will always feel put down, used, humiliated, decieved, distrustful, if they are a normal human. Denial however is a powerful defense mechanism and the reconcilers who trot around proclaiming their marriage is stronger, better, yadda yadda, are in denial, if they are human beings with normal intelligence and human emotions.

        • I must be one of the few who TAM told to run. I only posted there a few times and didn’t even tell my whole story and they were all ‘run, run, run!!!’. I wasn’t ready to hear it (first few days and weeks after dray) so left in a hurry, but they saw what I couldn’t see: my serial cheating fuckwad of an asshole STBX was toxic beyond words.

    • CL–

      Absolutely. This site needs a real discussion board. The comments section is ok, but we need a much more flexible and dedicated place to discuss things. Discussion with other betrayed spouses is the best (and maybe the only) way to deal with infidelity.

      Part of my coping strategy as a BS is to be able to read and learn, but also to discuss my thoughts, on occasion, with other BS’s on how to deal with the betrayal and the aftermath it entails. In my case, anonymous internet discussion is all I really have, as I won’t allow myself to be sucked into the “blame the BS” game by going to counseling, and I have no friends who are BS’s (they’re the only ones who know what you’re talking about and can empathize). Family can only help so much.

      Perhaps the moderators from Chat Cheaters and Couples In Trouble (two BS-friendly sites) will volunteer to moderate your board?

  • Actually I think you’ve got a unique way of hitting the spot with “key terms”. Perhaps “Instead of a shit sandwich”, “Forget Fuckedupness” and “Two Fingers to Forgiving or Forgetting!” Feel better already!

  • Yes! … and how ’bout a space for wicked, wicked humour (like CL’s understanding of forgiveness)? ~ I’ve found that for every situation in life that just about undoes us, there’s a unique kind of ‘black humour’ that only those who have gone through the situation can ‘get’ … examples from my own life: After a dear friend’s suicide, we who were left engaged in some TERRIBLE funnies at the most inappropriate times — in the funeral home coatroom … while driving to the gathering after the funeral — the woman driving the car made smacking noises of disgust, saying, “I’ve got … (smack, smack) … Death Breath!” ~ We nearly went off the road, we were so hysterical … When I worked with people who had HIV in the early ’90s, there were things said that made me spew uncontrollably with laughter … etc.

    • Arnold:

      If you did drive them away, they were likely weenies, who can’t handle the truth.

  • I’m not sure how welcome I would be. We are one of those rare unicorns. 3+ years of R (which means 3 years of eating shit sandwiches). I certainly feel as many of you that SI is the land of delusion (especially the Wayward board). I spend most of my time in Betrayed Men and LTA. Those forums are part of the I can relate forum. The Betrayed Men board is not for the faint of heart. Women get pretty slammed there. Anyway, while I’m in R I’ve discovered this site. I’m beginning to reassess everything. I’m tired of being the trust police. I’m just thinking fuck-it, game on.

    • Welcome Dave! And hey, you’re not the only person in R on here. There are quite a few, actually (and probably more that lurk that I don’t know about).

    • Yeah, I miss the Betrayed Men subsection. Lots of really smart, funny guys there.

    • You don’t need to feel bad about R. It’s hard road, either way. I know one thing that made me realise that it had to be divorce was that I didn’t want to police his ass for the rest of my life. The prison warden look doesn’t suit me.

  • absolutely! would love to have a forum to correspond with chumps like me.(im probably the chumpest of them all)lol

    • We could have awards! But Mark, hey, I’m *Chump* Lady. It’s very hard to out chump me. I mean, you might take the bronze or something, but the competition is pretty stiff.

  • Tracy, I may have you beat on the Chump award. You see this is my second time to this dance. My first Marriage, ended in divorce because my X cheated. So I dumped the cheater, gained a life. Well started a life that is, only to find that 21 years of marriage and 4 kids later I am eating this shit again,with my 2nd wife ( I can hear the snickers now). See the thing about us chumps is we tend to put all of our emotional being into our relationships. Our spouses? Not so much. There is a saying out there that the person who is the most emotionaly invested in the marriage the one who is LEAST likely to cheat. Yep, that is us. The faithful chumps. That investment is something our spouses fear. They can’t match it and takes over.

    So, let’s get the chump-chat going and game on!

    • Hmm. I see you are a contender for the title, but this is also my second go around as a chump as well. First husband not a cheater (that I know of, although now I wonder), he had a mental illness he wouldn’t treat (OCD, hoarding), got completely unsustainable over time — very lopsided, craptacular, withholding… left — much happier. Single, happy. Then met #2 — serial cheater turned out. Yes, like you I did the giver role, the holding up waaay more than my half thing, in both marriages.

      The secret to happiness? Hook up with a fellow chump! Find a chump! (Maybe I should start a chump dating site…) I read that bit of advice somewhere and it stuck with me. When you’re codependent, your recovery isn’t that hard. Value yourself — and find another GIVER. (Abusers? Much harder to give up the entitlement and kibbles — much harder road). Chumps? Just learn to accept goodness. That’s your challenge.

      So Dave — there are a lot of chumps out there. Find one. Third time is the charm, I’m living proof.

      • CL, I’m the one in R’ . Even if after 3+ years of reconcilliation I did decide that I’m sick of the taste of the shit sandwich followed by liquid shit out of the unicorn horn to divorce I would be perfectly happy to be on my own. I have emotionaly balanced my investment in my marriage and reconcilliation effort that I would be ok if I divorced. I really don’t trust anyone. Even in business dealings and outside personal interactions with people. My first defense is everyone is a fraud and everyone is a liar. People can look you square in the eye and create lies of epic proportions because they are either looking for kibble or too afraid of themselves.

        • Oh Dave, that’s sad. If you truly think everyone is a liar and a fraud, well, then there is no point in divorcing and starting over, because better the Devil you know, right? I think if you get out THEN you get to do it right, and have the kind of relationship you deserve — even if that relationship is with yourself for awhile.

          I’m optimistic. There are AMAZINGly good people out there with big hearts. I live in a really small town in rural Texas and I stumble over super kind people often. A middle-aged neighbor adopted two orphans from China, kids who would’ve rotted in an institution somewhere. That’s brave and epic. There’s a woman in our town who owns a seedy bar and every year she buys xmas gifts for all the poor kids. There’s my husband who is a plaintiff’s lawyer and represents poor working people on a contingency fee. The world is full of kind hearted people, who are often fellow chumps. Don’t let this crappy experience rob you of ability to trust and be intimate again. I get being a two-time loser — ME TOO. Third time was the charm. Single life was pretty peaceful and sustainable as well.

    • Dave:

      I agree with your statement that the spouse more emotionally invested in the marriage is he least likely to cheat.

      Shirley Glass mentions that same thought in her book “Not Just Friends.”

      I used to quote Glass at Tam and wow did I get jumped on by both cheaters and reconcilers.

      I understand why the cheaters need to believe that the betrayed spouse did something to make them cheat, but I can NOT understand why a reconciler would support that notion. Denial, codependance, fear, lack of money, perhaps those are all factors. I don’t really know.

      But I agree, Dave, I was definitely more emotionally invested in the marriage and I was definitely the giver. Even the marriage counselors pointed that out to me and my spouse during sessions. One even pointed out that my husband was selfish and spoiled based on his own description of his childhood and upbringing.

      My STBX was the adored prince. He got everything he needed and wanted in life, even if the parents had to take out a loan against their home to give it to him.

      My parents on the other hand, gave their kids more than they needed, with in the limitations of what they could afford without taking out a loan, but none of us ever always got everything we WANTED.

      • Hmmm….seems my STBX was separated at birth with yours, and you and I are soul sisters. Therapist also said that my husband was a selfish brat and that I am the fixer, the giver, the one who sorts it all out.

        Well, now I get to put all that sorting out energy on me. And it’s doing amazing things. FOR ME. 🙂

      • I think BS sometimes need to believe the ‘we’re both responsible for the affair’ bullshit because at least it means there’s something they can DO, it means they have some control over whether there is a reconciliation and/or future affairs. Accepting responsibility means we weren’t powerless in the creation of the affair, therefore if we just up our game and do everything right, we aren’t powerless w/the cheater.

        Except, of course, that we are powerless, as we always are. We can’t control what others will do. And our working harder to be closer to perfect will NOT ensure a good outcome to this shitty situation. It’s just more kibbles to the cheater.

    • Ha…I am a sure nominee: found out about one affair (with MY co-worker) maybe 8 years ago. Forgave far too quickly and we carried on. he convinced me to quit my job and life carried on with me being a SAHM (see what a great nominee I am?). ON this second dday, roughly a year ago, turns out he’d been cheating right along, even in the months following dday #1. He cheated with a friend of mine, with people he worked with, was grooming loads of others, told one dipshit he hadn’t ‘fallen in love’ in more than a decade….yep, I’m your biggest competition, Dave!

      Oh, and this time he’s ‘in love’, despite cheating on her while he was cheating on me. Not even joking.

  • CL, not sure if you’re still following comments here under this post, but one tool many forums have that would be neat here is a “search for all posts by this commenter” command. Maybe we could have a way to star posts too.

    I for one, would not mind being able to star posts of my own where I made a point or ran an idea out there that is one I may tend to repeat… We all have our bag of mantras and other nifties that have occurred to us as we travel the chump highway – looking for the “recovering” exit, and I like tools that allow me to keep track of what I spew, and limit the amount of “spewage”. Just a thought…

  • Dear CL,
    I have only just recently discovered your blog, and I am 2.5 years into my experience with my cheating exh. I threw my cheating spouse out relatively soon after discovery, we are now divorced and I am starting over at 52. I love your perspective and would welcome a chat feature to your site. One reason being that those with more experience can reach out to support those who suddenly find themselves in hell.

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