Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about Chump Lady.
1. Are you a fat, sexless, bitter, femi-nazi that lives in a bunker writing missives against cheating men?
2. Okay, how about bitter? You’re bitter, aren’t you?
Actually I think I taste rather crunchy and sweet, like granola.
But bitter, as in angry, pinched and mean? No. I’ve moved on after infidelity, I’m happily remarried, and a pretty jolly sort. But I do write in strong terms about infidelity. I think cheating is about power and greed. It’s about maintaining an unfair advantage over a faithful partner, and so I have some choice words to say about that. Chump Lady is written for chumps, the underdog, the people who have been cheated on.
Anger is part of that, and from anger comes a lot of humor, really. If you can laugh at some of the absurdity and pomposity of cheating, you can take some of your power back.
The “bitter” thing always surprises me, because I did not start this blog in the throes of infidelity discovery. I began it many years out (my DDay was in 2006), from the vantage point of arriving on the happier side of a new life. It’s precisely because I’m further away from it, that I think I can write about it with some perspective. I created Chump Lady to be the sort of place I wish had existed when I found out I’d been cheated on. I wanted some hope that I’d get out of this thing sane. I write to let people know that yes, you’ll get out — and it’s possible (IMO probable) that you will have a much better, happier, saner life without a cheating spouse.
3. Is that your real hair?
Do you think I would choose this hair if I wasn’t born with it? Yes, this is my real hair (if you’ve seen me on HuffPo Live). It’s naturally curly and I’ve come to peace with it. I’m not (as some have suggested) hiding behind my overgrown mop. It actually looks even more ridiculous short.
4. Who draws the cartoons?
I draw the cartoons, and write the blog. I’ve been a published cartoonist, my work has appeared in Brain, Child magazine and I once sat on the velvet sofas on the 20th floor of the Conde Nast building and showed my portfolio to Bob Mankoff of the New Yorker. (My one brush with cartoon greatness.)
They start as pen and ink sketches and I scan them into Photoshop and add color.
5. Do you think all men are baddies and they just cheat on women? Why do you hate men?
I try very hard to make Chump Lady a site that is gender and orientation neutral. I’m absolutely flummoxed when people comment on HuffPo that I pick on men, or think all men are cheaters, and all that garbage. OF COURSE infidelity affects men! Unless men are cheating with other men (that happens) or with goats (I suppose that happens too), they cheat with WOMEN. So yes, women cheat. And yes women cheating is every bit as vile as men cheating.
I find the whole which-gender-has-the-shorter-end-of-the-infidelity-stick debate really tedious.
I also get annoyed when people try and categorize Chump Lady as a women’s site. This happened to me at a blog conference this summer. Some young guys were critiquing my site (I’d asked them to, that was the point of the panel), and one said “Oh, this is for chicks.” I explained that no, it was for chumps. He replied, “whatever.” And the other one said “Don’t be afraid of your base. Men would never read this.”
Well, men do read it and my first letter came from a guy. (A straight guy, although gay men have written to me as well, off site.) So a pox on the haters!
6. Who are you really?
Is this an existential question? My name is Tracy Schorn. In my other life I’m a journalist and write mostly these days about organic farming, and have recently trained to be an organic inspector. I live outside Austin, Texas in a small town with my husband and my son, two ill-behaved dogs, and an aloof cat.
7. You’re not over your ex. If you were over your ex, you wouldn’t write this bitter blog.
I am over my ex, thanks for asking. If you were mugged, and then went on to teach self defense, would you say you were hung up on your mugger? If you had cancer and did public service campaigns about screenings for early detection, would you say you had a cancer obsession?
The point of Chump Lady is to help other people navigate the trauma of infidelity. Insomuch as I talk about my ex, it’s to relate my own experience to that of others. My ex is a stranger to me (frankly, he was probably always a stranger to me). I feel “meh” about him and truly feel sad and scared for any women that get tangled up with him, as he’s a first rate mindfuck.
I am over my ex. I cannot honestly say if I am over the experience of infidelity. It did forever change me, and I don’t think that’s all bad. It’s made me stronger, less naive, and more appreciative of the good people I have in my life. It’s also given me a great education on personality disorders and manipulative characters, which is invaluable. I think the greatest lesson I learned from infidelity is that I have blind spots. I assume that others perceive the world in the same way I do. That what I wish to believe can bias me from what is.
After infidelity, I try not to let my heart trip up my head as much. I’m all about the evidence now, and not the potential.
8. Judgmental much?
Yeah, I’ll cop to judgmental. Frankly, it makes for better reading. I have opinions. Foremost of which is that infidelity is not about sex or unhappiness or muffin tops or WTFever — it’s about greed and advantage. If people are unhappy being monogamous, they should be open about that and let their partner make an informed decision. If people are unhappy about their marriages, they should get therapists or divorce lawyers. I don’t tend to buy excuses and I have a sharp tongue. (I come from a long line of women with tongues far more vicious than mine. “Judgmental” is my birthright.)
9. How come you get to write for Huffington Post?
They asked me to. I started commenting, was asked to participate in some HuffPo panels, and then was kindly asked to submit a blog. From there, I got put in the roster. I am not paid, except in exposure to this site and the nebulous recompense that is “building your brand.” But I am very grateful to the producers of HuffPo for the soapbox they have given me.
Nice to know this stuff. I am always amazed when folks expect one to not feel some bitterness about this. How incredibly naive.
Same with expecting a person to live a life without judgement. How can one possibly navigate this existence without it?
There are many people out there who just go through life without doing a lot af analysis. Thye latch on to phrases like “you are bitter” or “you are judgemental” without really thiniing about what they are saying. They just like the sound of these phrases, much like the cheater likes thee “word salad” type language you describe in an earlier article.
The problem with trying to explain to these folks that these feelings and judgements are perfectly normal and appropriate is that the fact that the person was drawn to the catch phrases in the first place, probably , means the person is too dumb to get it when you explain.
This whole ordeal has made me aware of just how many clueless people there are running around out there, folks who just react to the latest craze or stupid ideas without thinking.
Like you , Tracy, the research into infidelity has led me to learn about personality disorders. I had no idea why my XWs were acting as they did until reading about these. The infidelity was just one of the things I dealt with in those relationships. Now, I am pretty good at spotting folks who I should avoid.
Criticizing a betrayed spouse for exercising judgment (e.g., right/wrong) is kind of like criticizing a sailor for relying on a compass. E.g., “Why are you so hung up on, like, *directions” and stuff?” “Stop being so naive–*everyone* gets lost you know.” “Sailing into a hurricane ins’t the problem; your emotional *over-reaction* to the hurricane is the problem.” Etc.
Bwahahahaha, Nomar! I’m going to adopt that simile for my own (and send you a bill for a coffee-soaked laptop).
love it, Nomar.
I think people don’t equate infidelity as something that is quite as serious as it is to those of us who have gone through it.
I think that there are some people who prefer to rugsweep when it has happened to them, regardless of whether they stay in a marriage with a cheater (reconciling) or divorce the cheater.
I feel like the comments you get at HuffPo are overwhelmingly positive and it surely provokes a lot of debate, which is a good thing. Whether people think it is valid or not, you are raising the consciousness about this issue. And the thing is, each day new people are being faced with betrayal and need positive ways to manage it that go beyond: “oh, just forgive him (or her)…important to give others another chance…” etc. etc.
Those weirdos who remark about you being bitter or fat or unsexed or whatever — I would, if I were you, just ignore them; I wouldn’t validate them in any way. They are attention seeking knot-heads. Don’t give them any attention and they will go away to bother other bloggers. Sensible people see the truth.
Thanks Kristina. I’m really not that bothered, but I thought I’d write nice summary that I can point to next time someone calls me a bitter femi-nazi.
Also, I find reacting to the haters kind of amusing. But it’s just a stronger version of a lot of prejudice out there about infidelity. Frankly, I had some of my own prejudices until it happened to me.
I am bitter. So what.
I am bitter about being betrayed by someone whom I trusted and who pretended to be someone he was not.
Until someone has been betrayed by a long time spouse, they really likely can not relate.
Like chump lady, I am sure I will get past it someday, learn from it and be amused by it.
At this point, it has only been about a year since I learned I was being cheated on, so I think it’s okay and NORMAL to be bitter at this point.
Prior to being betrayed, I did not really think being cheated on the spouse, I struggled to start several businesses with, and whom I adored, despite all his many faults, would cause so much pain, self doubt, distrust and paranoia.
Cheating is about the cheater taking power and control and taking liberties without giving the faithful spouse an informed choice to continue in the marriage.
I actually respect people more who ask for an open marriage. That request at least alerts the faithful spouse and gives them options, instead of leaving them with no option but to be the clueless and faithful spouse who honors their vows and sits at home watching their spending, while the unfaithful spouse is out having sex, and spending down the marital assets.
Gee, I must be a real Boetch to have the audacity to be bitter, about that, less than a year out.
I really appreciate your site and I’ve read a few! You just to cut to the quick. I started this awakening two and a half years ago. Classic infidelity experience with fogging, gaslighting and manipulation. He just preferred to have the advantage to intimacy in our relationship. It was very painful to absorb so many betrayals. He just piled it on at the end telling me he’d been a “fake husband” and quoting Groucho Marx (I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member. ) This is after 27 years. Lovely.
I have had an amputation which was dreadful but didn’t compromise my basic integrity.
I also see him playing charmer to one daughter, who so wants to see the hero in him, and cold to the other daughter (both adults).
I can’t imagine trusting anyone again. I keep telling myself that this is reality.
Hi Sonnet, welcome! Don’t give your wingnut ex your power. There are certainly people out there worth trusting, but obviously he’s not one of them. Wow that he’d admit he was a “fake husband”! Moment of lucidity there… a stopped clock is right twice a day kind of thing.
Thanks for the welcome. My first “coming out” post! Once certain things were out in the open, I was able to act. My problem was that I was stuck for a long time despite my gut (and dreams) telling me that I was being shortchanged. The other good thing he said before it exploded was that he had “lost his moral compass” when it seemed to be about another issue. He told both girls that he’d wanted to leave before they were born – they ignored that! It was all so muddled and then very cut-throat. I was in shock but able to function (years of practice). (Most outsiders don’t know about my “disability” at work or friendships.) Non contact is healing. Nurturing yourself is really important.
I like the way you avoid the BS. You make a clear statement of where you stand and what you value. I think it’s called a moral compass. Thanks.
To be honest, I truly beleive I will always harbor resentment and hatred for my two XW’s. I know, in this day of enlightenment and new age gibberish/concepts, that is supposed to ruin me.
But, again to be honest, it has not. My life is full of fun, friends, travel,pets, kids etc. I am having a great time. I just keep a small corner of my mind reserved for hating them.
Once again, it seems that if something gets said enough, like “anger will connsume/destroy you” etc, people buy it without any analysis and without any real evidence that the concept is really true.
Look, it is very easy to despise someone without it ruining your life. It has absolutely no impact on my job, my relationships, my golf game etc.
I think folks just like the sound of sayings like “forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself” etc. I’d rather get a new set of irons or a new driver as a gift. Forgiveness is worthless to me(and, BTW, I am normally very forgiving. Just not in cases where there has never been an apology).
Haha, I like you, Arnold.
I do think you will know peace when you realize you just don’t care that much about the xW’s, or maybe even feel pity for how pathetic they are. But then your mind switches to your new set of clubs.
Sonnet–the “fake husband” is part of a Mid-Life Crisis script. It is uncanny how similar they all sound. Mine stood over me while I laid on the couch watching TV, after he bomb-dropped me and said repeatedly, “I’m sorry! I just wasn’t a good husband! I wasn’t a good husband. I just never loved you.” All with dead eyes. He’s severely depressed, and, I fear, maybe even suffering from a slow-onset dementia, and he’s not even 50. Very, very sad. The other woman is an idiot and a parasite and she will destroy him and he will let her and he will help her and there is nothing I can do to help him. I tried for 20 years.
Stephanie, I think you have a point about the dementia aspect of men who cheat in their 50s.
Dementia can have early onset, in the 30s.
Also, dementia can cause hypersexuality and lack of impulse control.
I thought the same of my STBX, he was acting like someone who had dementia. He’s making a fool of himself and his OW was a young predator who knows how to manipulate stupid men. Dementia makes people stupid, unfortunately. But even, my STBX is not stupid enough to marry the OW.
That’s helpful Stephanie, I hadn’t thought of dementia! I did think he was having a nervous breakdown for a while. Thankfully, I no longer care about his Mid Life Crisis script – I wouldn’t accept what I used to. The best thing about the divorce is that I could focus on me and my quirky interests for a change. I’ve just returned from an evening astronomy talk and spotted Orion and Jupiter! Simple pleasures…
Love this, I have done more in the last week than I have in 10 years!
I am in my 50’s. I am , definitely, showing signs of dementia. It is just that my baseline was so fucked up anyway, no one notices(except some of the folks here, and the aliens who visit me during the night(Oh, and my 27 cats, who talk to me((fortunately, they do not give orders to kill anyone, yet)).
My STBX didn’t mention aliens or talking cats, but he did sound like an infatuated teenager, after being caught. I mean truly he sounded like a 13 year old boy, involved with his first girlfriend.
Also the fact that he said a lot of very nasty and hurtful things to me and about me, after being caught, and while in the affair while I was still clueless about the affair, yet now adamantly claims he never said any of those things, while in the affair, or after being caught, leads me to believe he is either disassociating or has a memory problem.
I have read that saying the nasty things and then claiming they never ever said them is a common theme among cheaters. Also, picking fights in order to have an excuse to leave the house was a regular tactic while STBX was involved with the OW, and that is also another common theme.
Don’t cheaters have anything else too think about ?
Heck, my life is already complicated enough without complicating it further with sneaking around and lying just to get a little strange on the side. Sigh!
I also have other things in life that I like to think about other than the thrill of new love. I kind of like the comforting brand of love that is supposed to be formed in a long-term marriage. I don’t crave the thrill of the new, the strange, the illicit.
Maybe my STBX is right I am boring and the wild OW was fun.
Sara, I too, love the “comforting brand of love that is supposed to be formed in a long-term marriage” and thought I had it after a 23 yr marriage plus 4 yrs of being together, instead I was also thrown away like a piece of gargage and replaced by a manipulative, phony, OW who gives lots of ‘ego kibbles.’
I often relate it to a favourite book I loved to read to our kids when they were little, called The Velveteen Rabbit, who becomes worn, a little shabby, and losing his shape after ‘years of being loved’ but becomes “Real.” I like to think that I became real, and developed a sense for what’s really important in life and what’s on the inside that’s so much more important than what’s on the outside.
My STBX also did all those things to me, the gaslighting, crazy-making, blaming and critisizing for the last few years of the marriage when he was having his affair unbeknownst to me, when previously we had gotten along for 20 odd years very compatably IMO. I asked him once when he was finding fault, ” Why did you marry me then?” and he replied ” Because you were pretty!”
Well the thing is, he never was pretty or good looking, and I saw past it! I chose him because of all the good qualities I saw inside him and I just thought he did the same.
I was a SAHM for many years while he developed his career and business and I took my job very seriously and have also been the caretaker of both our elderly parents for years. He told me upon leaving that I needed to ‘develop myself.” The irony of it all is that I did develop myself all those years of caring for kids, parents, home, pets, you name it…I developed a sense of what’s important in life and REAL. He developed his business and became financially successfull, but seemed to lose perspective for the REAL stuff. The whole family has been affected by this, and everyone is very hurt including our dear children and parents.
I see him now buying like crazy, cars, fancy house, holidays, ….it’s one fix after another, but I know that none of those things will ever fill up the large hole in his soul where all the real things should be.
No he is not ‘developed’ and he is not ‘real.’ Sad really!
Chump Lady, I just wanted to Thank You for your website, that I read every day and helps lift me up!
I am sorry to hear that the only thing real about your ex is that he is a real jerk.
All the caretaker things you did would cost a fortune if he had to pay someone to do it. But like too many mid life crisis men, he did not value the jobs you performed for free.
I am willing to wager however that he will someday. His new gal can’t keep handing out ego kibbles forever. That gets old, and if she does continue handing them out, she is likely cheating on him.
I sometimes visit boards where women who cheat post. The talk about feeding the spouses ego and acting as if everything is good at home. The spoil him and treat him extra special exactly when they are in an affair. Many of these women have been OWs to married men or married a man they were cheating with.
One of the things I notice about the OW in my case is that in the phone texts I read she mentioned cheating on her husband when she was angry at him. She said she would smile at him and then go out with her affair partners and get a little charge out of jerking him around that way because she was angry at him about some minor marital issue.
I have talked to men who regret leaving their wives for the other women. One left his wife and son for another women he was seeing, and years later he told me he finally realized how mean and shallow this woman was and how he wished he had never left his spouse, but it was too late, she had moved on and although still single did not want him back in her life.
The sad thing is that this guy accused his OW of being mean and shallow, but never realize that those words also described him as well,
Your husband sounds like he is going through the classic male mid life crisis, and he will wake up from it someday. But, he also sounds kind of mean and shallow himself. I doubt he sees himself that way though.
I also doubt he is as happy as he appears.
Yes, he is a real jerk! I wondered if he was going through the classic mid-life crisis too and belonged to the Hero’s Spouse for a while but never really stood for the marriage , although I stayed on my own til I was ready to move forward. I’m not sure I believe in that theory and tend to believe he had tendencies like that all through the marriage-selfish, narcistic, controlling and was always needing validation of some sort, but he was able to find some balance and control for many years. He threw me and the kids some crumbs or a bone every once in a while and we were happy enough. Seems since the business after many years of struggling became successful, his ego went through the roof and off he went!
The OW believe it or not, was left by her husband for a much younger woman and so she was a BS herself and knew the pain, but turned around and did it to me! I have been told many stories by my kids and friends about her and she seems royally f*&%ed up and I believe is a functioning alcoholic.
Yes, I do believe he will be sorry one day…but that’s his problem now. Since he’s been gone, I feel such relief(although I did grieve for quite some time), like Chump Lady points out….I felt so oppressed, controlled and colonized and now I feel free!
I went on and met a wonderful man and we have been together for almost 2 yrs now and what a difference! I could never go back to what was now, and wonder why I put up with so much for so long.
There is a better life on the other side!
Moving on 51
Glad to hear things are good, now.
As for wondering why we put up with it. We all do. I realized however that we are just the types of spouses that put more into a marriage and are the type to accept people as they are and to not get bent out of shape over what may initially seem like minor faults.
When we find out that there are other MAJOR FAULTS, like cheating and lying, well then our eyes are opened.