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Dear Chump Lady, How could I have avoided being the OW?

Dear Chump Lady,

I met my ex at work. Everyone at work said he was single. I also didn’t sleep with him for 6 months to be sure it was right first.

Found out a year later that he had a girlfriend of 4 1/2 years and was leading pretty much a double life. I did question a couple things during that time that made me suspicious, but he turned it around on me, disappointed that I had no trust in him.

So eventually I ended it shattered and broken, and there was no one to support me because I’m the conniving OW. She’s the poor girl he’s committed to. He’s proposing to her on Christmas day with a 20k ring and I know this because he threatened that if I did anything to jeopardize it, I would pay.. I shouldn’t hurt an innocent person and ruin her life, blah blah blah. He’s decided he’s going to be good from now on so I should just accept it and move on.

Now how could she not have known all those nights he didn’t answer his phone or come home that he was with someone else?

If anyone can tell me what I could’ve done differently to avoid this happening then please do so because in my head, I ticked all the boxes. 

Come Christmas day, I’ll be feeling like a trainwreck knowing he’s popping the question. I’d like to believe in karma and that it’ll eventually come back but I don’t. I know there’s nothing I could’ve done to ask for this that’s for sure. I’m crushed.

Signed,

Linda

Dear Linda,

Wow what a charmer. He threatens you and he’s two-timing cheater? Linda, what exactly is here to miss? Please look at my last post “Trust That They Suck.” You need to really trust that he sucks. What about this abusive, lying, double life leading asshole makes you want more of that? Do YOU want to be the chump who gets the $20K ring? People who are dog turds need a lot of sugar coating to hide that stink — the diamond ring is just sugar icing on the dog turd that is him. It’s a sparkly distraction from the reality that he’s a sociopath.

Seriously. People who are capable of leading a double life for 4.5 years (and apparently hiding their girlfriend from all their co-workers for that long too) are disordered wing nuts. Healthy, sane people with functional moral compasses cannot pull that shit off. The only people who can convincingly pull off scams that compartmentalized and depraved are sociopaths and Cold War spies (there’s probably some overlap there). Normal people that you would want to commit your life to do NOT juggle two realities.

His long-term girlfriend is not getting a prize. She’s being conned.

You asked: Now how could she not have known all those nights he didn’t answer his phone or come home that he was with someone else?

Oh! And you answered too! I did question a couple things during that time that made me suspicious, but he turned it around on me, disappointed that I had no trust in him.

He blame shifted and gaslighted you and her both. That’s how. He’s a mindfuck and you fell for it. She did too. Feel some compassion.

Now, how could you have avoided being the OW? I don’t think you could have. You asked people you know and see every day if he was single, he apparently was single. You took it slow. You thought you had a green light. I find you innocent of knowingly hooking up with someone who was spoken for. The only part of your story I find murky and which you should rightfully beat yourself up about it is how long after you found out he had a 4.5 year-long girlfriend did you dump him? How long did you spend doing the Humiliating Dance of Pick Me? And how exactly do you know about his engagement plans? Really, that one has me curious.

You did the absolutely right thing in dumping him. Now I’d like you to go one step further and tell that poor woman. If you don’t want to tell her, email me at info@chumplady.com and I’ll tell her. Linda, I was that idiot chump and I wish to God one of the OW had clued me in before the wedding. It would’ve saved me a lot of devastating heart break and expense. Instead I skipped merrily along into my future, moved to another state with my child, bought a house (with my money), financed his career move, and THEN the OW called me — 6 months in, by which point I was totally fucked.

So everything in my being is imploring you to tell that woman what’s going on.

Fuck him and his “hurt an innocent person and ruin her life” — that’s PROJECTION. That’s exactly what HE has done — he’s hurt two innocent people and is ruining their lives. That’s on HIM, not you. You didn’t know — and now that you do, you should do something with that knowledge.

People can go to jail for threatening you. I would get your attorney to write him a no contact letter, stating that any further contact from him will result in harassment charges. If you work with him, I would look for a transfer ASAP or a new job. That shit is unsustainable. I would also tell your HR department — he could be fired for creating an environment of sexual harassment. Yes, even if it was a consensual affair. (My husband is an employment attorney, he sues workplaces for this sort of thing all the time.)

In short Linda, you’ve got a lot of that “karma” in your hands. Use your power. I would not out him as revenge. I would tell that poor woman compassionately. And I would do it soon, before Christmas if possible. (Although I suppose if you wait until after Christmas she can keep the ring as some sort of consolation prize for wasting 4.5 years with a sociopathic cheater.) Send her the evidence — people need to see proof, so the cheater can’t gaslight them. And then, protect yourself and go totally no contact with that asshole. Utterly, no contact.

You’re grieving what you THOUGHT it was, what it could’ve been. You’re grieving potential. The mirage of him. The actual him sucks and is no one to miss. Good people exist, shore yourself up, get some therapy on this one, and move ahead.

But do tell that poor woman, please! And check back in and let us know how you’re doing.

 

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I hope this women tells the cheater’s girlfriend.

    Also, I hope she has an attorney draw up a no contact letter and have him report the treat to police.

    She needs though, if she contacts the girlfriend to be prepared to, at least initially, be called a liar and a crazy jealous lady because the boyfriend will probably spin it that they were Juuuuuuuust friends, and you are a crazy lady who fabricated a fake relationship between you and he.

    Be prepared to show proof of the affair to the attorney, police and the poor fiance

    • Darn…..treat should have been “threat”

      But in a way his threat is a treat, because it can be used against him.

    • Exactly what I was going to say, Sara. The girlfriend will not believe her and could very well latch on to her as the bad guy and that can mean stalking and causing problems for her if they still work together.

      Linda, only out him if you’re doing it because you think she deserves the information as a human being, and be prepared to be treated badly in response. Don’t do it if you’re looking to try to break them up. First of all, it won’t work. And secondly, that’s just a self-defeating way to bring more drama into your life.

      Otherwise, just learn from the experience, accept the fact that you dodged a bullet with this yo yo, and move forward with your life leaving him in the past where he belongs.

      And going forward, pay attention to red flags. Even if every co-worker you have is saying he’s the best thing since sliced bread, TRUST YOUR OWN GUT. They always show you who they are. It is only because of our own projections that we miss the signs.

      • I don’t suggest telling because it will break them up and he’ll be free and suddenly want to commit to Linda. (Delusional scenario, but chumps in the thick of the humiliating dance usually suffer from it..) Or tell because for the revenge factor. Or don’t tell because of the threat and the resulting drama.

        I say tell because fuck the cheater who is trying to frighten and intimidate you. Stand up to bullies! Expose the sociopaths. They operate because we keep their secrets. They know this, and it helps them snow the next person.

        There is absolutely no guarantee that the GF will listen, that’s why I said show some evidence. And that’s also why I advise to do this with compassion, as someone who was also duped by this asshole. I say do it because it is the right thing to do, and then let go of the outcome. Detach then and go NC. But clear your conscience first.

        I don’t know a single betrayed person who didn’t want to know. Who didn’t feel more of a chump because people around them knew and they didn’t, and not one told them. That could’ve spared them from terrible pain and years of wasted life.

        Kristina, yes, they wave red flags and yes they show you who they are. But they’re also damn good manipulators and liars. We often don’t know what we’re dealing with because we see the world through our own moral compass. It’s inconceivable to most people that someone could conceal a double life.

        People have red flags in courtship. Most people’s faults and minor dramas can be forgiven or excused, or have actual plausible scenarios. We give the benefit of the doubt to people we let into our lives. No one is really immune from duping if they make themselves vulnerable in a relationship. That’s what intimacy is — it’s risk. Yes, get better boundaries and better filters. Judge relationships on healthy things like reciprocity and respect. But I do shy away from telling people — geez, you should’ve known better! when they got tangled up with someone truly disordered like this. She DID dump him. She did wise up. It hurts to be played.

        • “People have red flags in courtship. Most people’s faults and minor dramas can be forgiven or excused, or have actual plausible scenarios. We give the benefit of the doubt to people we let into our lives. ”

          Yes. We use spackling! My STBX will lash out at me when he gets home from a stressful day at work. I used to spackle over that, thinking, “oh, he’s stressed out from work.” “He has a physical problem with excess adrenaline that causes his temper to flare under stress” (and this is true). Now that I see he’s a lying, cheating scumbag, I realize I’ve been spackling over his complete lack of respect for me as a human being. Why doesn’t he flare up at work at those who deserve it? Because he can take it out on me when he comes home.

          Before I knew he was a cheater, I used to let him know that it was inappropriate for him to take it out on me. Now, I just smile sweetly and make some idiotic comment about how silly I was to have offered a different perspective on X than his (obviously true) one. Both responses are ego kibbles, but now I figure that since I’ll be leaving him in the foreseeable future, it doesn’t matter.

          He’s been leading a double life with me for at least 6 months, possibly longer. And this may not be his first AP. She’s aware that he’s married and cheating on me. She absolutely does not want to break it off. They both deserve each other.

          Linda, you did the right thing. This guy is a slime bucket, and by breaking it off, you’ve saved yourself much grief. Sure, go ahead and tell the fiancee she’s being duped. Be prepared with evidence. Be prepared to be yelled and screamed at. The only real message to get to the fiancee is that when you discovered the two-timing, you dumped him because you couldn’t trust him. You’re telling her because he lied to her, too. Both of you deserve men who can love and treat you with respect. This guy isn’t right for either of you.

          • I totally agree about the spackling.

            Red flags happen and many of us spackle (aka projecting what we wish were true rather than seeing the real truth).

            Many of us continue to spackle until there is absolutely no way to do it anymore and then things come crumbling down and we feel awful about it. The thing is, the red flags ARE there. We can’t beat ourselves up for missing them, especially when some of us have a person actively gaslighting, but it behooves us all to actually dig in and really learn from the experience, to identify red flags we missed and NOT allow ourselves to be gaslighted or to go into spackle mode just because we want to believe the things we are projecting onto the people we want to love.

            Because that’s what we’re doing, you know? We’re taking our good qualities — the parts of us that couldn’t do what these people do, the parts of ourselves that are honest and decent and giving and kind, and we’re projecting that out onto people who don’t deserve the favorable comparison.

            • Exactly, that is how I described it to my mom, People that have more good than bad get taken way too often by the more bad than good, Becasue and simply becasue they cannot really fathom these inhumane things becasue they would never do it themselves, and yes it gets tricky when you have mostly seen the obvious arrogant types and then suddenly get taken in by the more passive aggressive types, But the GAME is the SAME, lie and take and never give and make you go nuts expending all of your time and emotions and energy on them rather on healthy things that ADD to your own life.

              We really all need to remember and realize.. yes there are maniacs out there, some would like to drug you then bind you up and kill you physically, Others will like to first trick you into a more invisible web then take there sweet time killing you mentally, but BOTH have qualities we cannot seem to grasp, we don’t want to see that sometimes.. but we NEED to wake up and see that.

              Don’t be FOOD for the wolves, if you would not allow anyone to do it physically to you and you would RUN from THAT? well.. why NOT run when it’s mentally also?

              Screw who cannot see it or lack of the evidence? You know when you hurt too much, and when your hurting too much – leave, Lesson learned the hard way.

        • Totally agree on the secrets, CL. I kept secrets and/or enabled some pretty crappy behaviour over the years and when I started telling the truth boy did some people REALLY NOT APPRECIATE IT, namely STBX and certain members of his family.

          tough shit. Call them out. Stand up for yourself and, even better, stand up for the truth.

        • CL, I think you have the very best intentions in having Linda expose the cheater. I wasn’t suggesting you didn’t. I actually think having you do it for her is a pretty good idea, or doing it anonymously but providing proof. The dude will still probably throw Linda under the bus as a craaaaazzzy, predatory OW. No matter how much compassion she shows in exposing the cheater she is still opening up herself to risk.

          And this doesn’t sound like it was her fault. This dude sounds like a creep of the first order.

          All I’m trying to say to Linda is that sometimes Other Persons do the humane thing and expose the cheater in an effort to clear their consciences and end up being stalked and harrassed for their good intentions. That is the betrayed spouse acting emotionally and shifting blame to the OP that actually belongs with the Cheater, but we all know it happens. We also know that some BSs become completely obsessed with the OP and stalk them online or in person and cause problems for them at their jobs. There is a risk in clearing one’s conscience because it opens us up to drama that we may not want.

          • I think that risk can be mitigated if you are completely transparent with the betrayed spouse. Which is an argument for not doing it anonymously (but I can see going that way if Linda thought it insulated her, but it probably doesn’t because Fucktard the Cheater knows he cheated with her, he knows it’s her). I would tell compassionately, with evidence, and say I know this comes as a terrible shock, if you want to call me, you can reach me at such and such a number.

            Yes, doing the right thing comes with risk. But frankly, I haven’t seen ANY cases in reading on infidelity boards for 6+ years of a BS stalking a remorseful OW/M who is NC with the spouse and who will share information. Not one. I have seen people go wiggy over OP when the affair is ongoing. And I’ve seen a ton of cases where the other person stalks and harasses the BS. That was my story.

            Everyone does their own risk analysis. To me the benefits of telling outweigh the benefits of not telling. I think part of Linda’s problem is her compassion for the BS is clouded by a sense of competition with her, from doing the humiliation dance. From thinking Mr. Sociopath and his engagement ring are a prize. Maybe the best she can hope for is to go NC.

            I still think she should tell though.

      • I agree, Kristina and all:

        The reason for telling the fiance should only be to enlighten this woman to the fact that she is about to marry a cheater and likely a man with a serious personality disorder given the way he treated Linda.

  • Somebody please explain to me just how a human being(and I use the term loosely) could become such a fucking monster. 4.5 years and this guy slept like a baby, I bet.
    In many ways, besides just having been hurt by someone like this, I feel so damaged just knowing there are people out there in the world like this guy. I used to think folks like Hitler, Bernie Madoff, Bundy etc were much more rare than this. But, there really are monsters among us and this guy is ,clearly, one.
    Tell me, just how does one person do this to another, as this man has? I cannot even begin to wrap my brain around it.
    But, now that i think about it, many of us were dealing with similar people.
    Both my XW’s had been OW’s (knowingly) before I married them. No one had to fool them. They signed on for it and relished it. And, I was dumb enough to think they had merely made youthful mistakes.
    When i was young and decent looking, a married woman, my boss at the time, asked me to walk her to her car one night. When we got there, , she hugged me and I let her kiss me, briefly. She made it clear she wanted to go farther. I still regret letting her kiss me, and feel I was complicit in some form of cheating. But, I went no further and never did it again.
    But, my Xws were really invested in destroying the marriages of the men theywere involved with. What a-holes.

    • My STBX seems to have led a double life for, at the very minimum, 7-10 years, but I believe there’s a lot more, I just couldn’t get emails that went further back than that. Creepy, eh? And the thing about these people? They still won’t take any responsibility and their next victim will be even more easily manipulated. I found it scary at one point, I now just find it gross: it’s gross that someone could have children with me, move around with me, tell me he loved me all the time, build a life that involved many friends and family and much of the time be having side pieces. It’s gross. He’s gross. I’m not gross.

  • I’m having a problem with Linda’s story. I don’t sleep, get involved with, etc. any man who can’t invite me over for dinner and eventually breakfast. If he can’t invite you to his place that’s not just a red flag… That’s Nuclear! He had a relationship with his STB Bride for 4.5 years? Then her belongings were at his place even if they lived separately. There would be signs.

    My guy had his own place but I made sure he was officially single, first. On the few nights we were not together ( he mostly lived with me, but we spent days at each others homes) I never called or checked up on him. Why would I? Time apart is healthy.

    And Linda, you say he didn’t answer his phone so why didn’t the SDB bride know? It was when my man got a late night call he didn’t answer that I began to understand something may be wrong. So, I ask you-why didn’t you suspect anything when she he didn’t answer his phone?

    • Headcase:

      As betrayed spouses we are on high alert and have researched the cheating cues. It’s plausible this woman was fooled just like I was. I am not a stupid person. My cousins used to call me the egghead, as a child.

      I was blindsided by my STBX’s cheating because I too was naive and unaware of the clues and red flags of cheating. I wasn’t a cheater, had no intention to cheat, and I just didn’t think like a cheater.

      A few of the major things I missed but will not miss in the future were: texting late at night in another room.

      Smiling when he got an email while sitting next to me and than suddenly telling me he wanted to go into another room to watch a different TV show.

      Taking calls in the garage.

      Not answering late night calls. (he told me they were likely from drunk male friends).

      Not responding as quickly as he normally would to voicemails and texts…..sometimes atypically, at times, Likely when he had an affair partner, hours would go by before he would respond.

      And that’s just a few of the flags.

      I am not a snoopy type of personality. I hate to snoop and I wanted my spouse to have some freedom. I wanted to trust my spouse. I am trustworthy and I thought he was too.

      I thought space and freedom to do things apart was good for each of us. But, I was thinking as a non-cheater and, alas, I, at the time, could not think like a cheater. Could not even fathom it because cheating was not on my agenda or my radar.

      Now, after hour and hours of research. I think I would be better able to flag a cheater.

      • God, I’d forgotten the texting. His business is global and he does have insomnia. It wasn’t unusual for him to text in the wee hours of the morning. One morning, though, he exploded in anger at what was going on around the OW. I asked him, “what the hell are you doing texting her at 5am?” That was one of the times she claimed to have had a prowler around her house. Again, his emotions seemed so genuine that I assumed that because he believed her, and because I told him that she was pursuing him, he’d not get involved with her. I was chumped.

    • It’s easy to overlook flags that to an outsider seem nuclear. My first red flag was nearly 2 years ago. I had an irregular pap smear–thankfully not the HPV that causes cervical cancer, but HPV nonetheless. I could have picked that up only from my husband, as he’s the only man I’ve ever had sex with. At the time, I wrote it off to his youth, as I knew he wasn’t a virgin. Still, another red flag was that he started going back to using condoms for additional birth control. We’d initially used these, but stopped. I spackled over that, figuring that we were going back to where we’d started out.

      The other red flags were this past summer, when he told me that he needed to go over to the OW’s house because she had a tree down or because she had prowlers. I knew that she had a thing for him, and told him as much, and I also said that these were stupid excuses to see him, since she’d left the job where she’d met him. He told me that he’d told her that these seemed to be a bit thin (and I wondered at the time why he’d do something so stupid as repeat our conversation), but he assured me that really, there was a tree he had to deal with (she had lost the job by that time and didn’t have money for anyone to take care of a big branch), and yes, her kitchen window was broken, but her security cameras were all unplugged. I didn’t believe the latter at all, but I thought that he believed it. He was completely angry at the local police for failing to do their job, since apparently they’d been called but brushed off the whole incident. I didn’t believe that she’d called the police, but it seemed to me that my STBX believed her, judging from how emotionally upset he was by the whole thing.

      So at any rate, I spackled over those red flags because he seemed so upset. I didn’t believe her, but I believed the genuineness of his emotional reactions, so I wrongly assumed that she was pursuing him but he wasn’t going along. It wasn’t until he left his emails open that I found out that at least one of the tree calls was meant to be used as an excuse to me so that I’d not be suspicious.

      Of course, now that I see that he lied this past summer, I am not sure about how many affairs he has had. This may be the second.

      It’s not hard to be deceived if the person you trust has even a half-way plausible explanation.

      • KB:

        Note for future relationships: Immediately become suspicious if any guy I am dating shows too much empathy for another woman, so much empathy that he needs to go to her house to do chores

        If married, doing chores for any other woman but me or his mother will be absolutely out of the question and will be grounds for me to hire a detective to follow him.

        There is absolutely ZERO excuses for a married man or a man in an exclusive dating relationship to be concerned about another woman’s chores….whether they are married or single or even his hot cousin, based on some of the cheater stories I read on doccool.

        And there is ZERO reason for a married woman to enable cheating by allowing the man to be concerned about other stray women. He does chores for himself, me or his mom or maybe his sister, and that is absolutely it.

        • Sara — I totally agree with that one. My ex had these “errands” and “friends” he had to help all the time. He was a total selfish bastard, so his sudden helpful persona should have been a red flag. But, call it spackle or believing the best about someone, I thought he was truly being helpful.

          The one person he “helped” a lot, he introduced me to — as a LESBIAN. (She did look very, very butch.) Nope. She was one of the OW. Got chumped on that one.

          • My first Xw, on Christmas Day, when we were all supposed to be gathering at her sisters house with families, told me that she was not going but was , instead, heading to a homeless shelter to pass out food(she was gone 14 hours).
            What an idiot i was. when i told her sisters and parents this, i am sure they knew she was lying.

    • Yeah, but , Headcase, you are projecting your own mode of dating onto her. Not everyone spends nights together when they are unmarried. Not everyone wants to be invited over for dinner etc.
      I agree, it does seem hard to comprehend tht she would not have caught on. but, maybe her level of involvement , her interest in his place or being invited over was significantly different than yours.

      • Perhaps. I just think its very odd. So, they are co-workers and at work people say he’s single. After a year and a half does she meet his friends outside work? does she meet his family? Does she spend holidays with him? Do her friends meet him? Do her friends ask, honey… How come he never ????? Any above questions and more.

        She never goes to his place and she thinks that’s normal? Any 16yr old would know something’s not right.

        It’s different if you’re the betrayed spouse/partner. Much different. You are the identified partner to all. You are involved in every aspect of each others lives (except the secret fuck buddies). You have history, love, past, present and future. You have mutual lives (except the secret fuck buddies). So yeah, we get duped because we love and trust our partner.

        After 1.2 years, heck after one month, if you’re fucking someone and they don’t invite you into their world-you just gotta know!

        • You are right.

          She was likely in denial, but knew on some level something was wrong. She just didn’t want to believe it.

          • We have all done it, I have done it admittedly for years and more than once in life, thanks to a lifetime of getting picked on, a father that came and went for like maybe a hour once a year who I kinda only knew was my father and who was married to another woman so I was his secret child.. and then a stepfather laying his hands on me, He was the type to shoot up the house with a gun, back then they did nothing.

            So my cycle was= believe I loved someone unavailable the cowardly and selfish type and wait alone for years for them (OR) get with a very abusive guy that showed interest.

            Those were my choices, and that went on for many many years and ALL of it was the beliefs I had, on one hand I did NOT want those beliefs, I did not enjoy them one bit, and even knew it was not really normal.

            Yet I kept falling into these traps that made what I did not want to be my reality – my reality anyhow, it was a living nightmare to say the least.

            Sometimes these things start at such a young age really, that its almost a like a perfect set up… and of course a more healthy raised person would been able to avoid those things because they would not have the same beliefs about themselves or the self talk that I had going on either.

            If I got dumped at 18 years old? well it could only been becasue I was ugly or not good enough in some way, not becasue it just wasn’t meant to be.

            It had to be or mean some more severe thing. Yes I know better now, but honestly that was all I could think at 18 is I was severely flawed.. so minor sh*tty crumbs looked like something to someone like that naturally.

            Perfect prey for a wolf wouldn’t you say?

        • Yes, she spackled.

          That’s the thing about these cheaters. We all think the other person is so radically different from us, and on one level they are — they are knowingly cheating with someone.

          But… cheaters wouldn’t lure healthy people into an affair. They are cheating with people who also are willing to spackle. So there is always a similarity between betrayed spouse and other person. They both spackle. The other person does it on a crack they know exists, i.e. I’m having an affair with a person who is willing to betray their spouse. Betrayed spouses do it sometimes without realizing what the crack means. But everyone is spackling.

          • Agree about the spackling. Now that I’ve got some distance and can see what’s happening with STBX and OW I can, as much as it pains me, see that she’s a lot more like me than I’d care to admit (except I’m hotter, smarter, funnier, and ten times cooler). He does some pretty funky stuff, as do his parents, and she just takes it, doesn’t say a word when a word would be more than warranted. I did the same. His whole family has this weird, insidious way of being nice to you while being cruel. It’s hard to explain but they manage to get people to go along with some seriously nutty behaviour. I just feel sorry for her now, because she’s just the next victim who’s lined up and said ‘go ahead, kick me till I bleed.’

          • Bull-ficken-pucker

            Pathologize the cheater. Do not pathologize the BS.

            If you want to identify with the OW or OM than do so. But please don’t make it a universal statement.

        • True, I do not get how/why folks jump into sex so quickly these days. But, she did say she waited six months.
          I know I am from an older generation than a lot of the folks here. But, even that seems quick to me.
          However, these cheating types are quite convincing to trusting folks. I can see someone beleiving all the excuses for not having her over.

          • They get into sex quickly to get you hooked, nowadays 6 months most would never wait and many will think if they don’t have sex will miss out that is the message, but I would say in reality 6 months is a good time span, but no sooner than 8 weeks, some say 6 wekks but now I say even longer than that given so minty vampires know all about this 6 week rule thing, LOL!

  • Excellent response as usual, CL. But you left out this one:

    “He’s decided he’s going to be good from now on so I should just accept it and move on.”

    THIS is one of the primary reasons she should tell the “girlfriend”. We all know there isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that he has changed and is going to be good from now on. He wouldn’t know being good if it bit him in the ass. Hell, he probably already has another OW to replace Linda. Don’t think a cheater with a 4+ year record juggling 2 women is going to reform, on his own, overnight. Not. Gonna. Happen.

    Even if the girlfriend doesn’t believe Linda, and goes through with the marriage, at least the seed of doubt has been planted. And maybe she’ll wake up to the red flags a little sooner than the rest of us chumps. May be the best Christmas gift she ever gets.

    • Excellent point McJJ. Yes, of course they don’t reform. Riiiight, he’s on the straight and narrow now, getting married, after YEARS of a double life?

      He’s telling her that because she dumped him. See what you missed? I’m going to be a good boy for her and give her a pretty ring, could’ve been you if you played your cards right. Don’t you want to do the dance?

  • What kind of dork spends 20k on a ring? where did this whole man giving a ring deal start? Aren’t they both getting married? Is he getting a ring, too?
    Just a thought about, yet again, the stupid things men do, thinking they are knights in shining etc.
    Okay, back to my misogyny group.

  • imo part of the problem is projection.our projection not theirs. we habitually project our positive cheerful natures onto them.and add to that a heaping scoop of all too innocent trustfulness.there are natural born wolves in the world.many of them wear sheeps clothing.soft hearted people need to beware ..

    • ITA, mark– I did this throughout our whole M. I knew that I wasn’t perfect, so I was always willing to “take the good with the bad.” Well, my family was supportive and kind, but they saw a whole lot of bad that I wasn’t willing to see– they kept their opinions to themselves since I was, apparently, hellbent on marrying him– but once I told them it was over, the floodgates opened. They brought to light all sorts of things that I had “spackled” over throughout the years; it definitely highlighted what a chump I had been. But, my dad said that same thing– I had to stop projecting my own feelings and morals/values onto him because his were clearly different, and I wouldn’t be able to get past what he had done if I kept seeing STBX through the same lens that I see the world.

      I am typically a glass half full person, and I thought I could fill his “half empty” glass. Yeah, I didn’t, and I never should have signed on for that job.

  • linda
    i think the answer for anyone not wanting to be the OW or OM or be abused or used or cheated on is to reserve your feeling for someone until you really get to know them.check and investigate . after a reasonable period of time ,no one who is sincere about being in a healthy relationship with you should have anything to hide.they should have no reason to keep you from viewing their phone call/txt history.this includes social media,email, knowing their friends and family.people who have things to hide,hide things. have your eyes wide open for red flags.if something smells fishy ,it probably is.this goes for all kinds of social relationships but especially for romantic ones.
    Keep your feelings for someone under sufficient reserve so that you are not so blinded by your feelings to the extant that you ignore red flags or just dont see them at all.
    Far better to accidentally/on purpose lose a potential loser then to lose your heart to one.
    I know because im the biggest Chump there is.:( .. Kudos to Chump Lady 🙂

    • Mark, I don’t think this works. You’re advocating being emotionally detached from situations. That doesn’t leave room for a healthy relational dynamic, though I absolutely understand your perspective and what you’re trying to advocate.

      I honestly think that the best way to protect oneself is to learn from the hard lesson and fix what it is that is going on in us that we found ourselves chumped. If we work on ourselves and stop ourselves being spacklers and open our eyes to what we contributed to the bad relationship (I’m not saying we are to blame for the cheating, but I am saying that we unconsciously spackled and ignored red flags) so that we can choose more wisely in the first place.

      The best way to do that is to dig down into the things that we are hiding from ourselves about ourselves. Why on earth are we spacklers (which, come on, is just another way to say “co-dependent”)? What drives us to that position? And how do we jump out of that pattern.

      Mark, you mentioned that we project onto our spouses what we would like them to be, and I think that’s absolutely right. We’re constantly projecting, that’s just the way things work (I’m a Jung junkie, full disclosure on how I’m coming at this). I think one of the smart ways to go about things is to try to figure out more about who we are, the good and the bad, and integrate that more fully so that we can limit our projections and stop putting ourselves into situations where we’re not seeing people for whom they really are.

      I love this article: http://www.jungiananalyticpraxis.com/projection_lecture.htm It really explores the concept of projection and makes it pretty accessible, actually.

      I honestly believe that once we have a deeper understanding of what we are and what has happened to us and have started focusing on changing what we can (ourselves), we will stop projecting and that will limit our risk of being again snagged into a relationship with someone who is not on the up and up.

      That’s not to say we won’t meet psychopaths or narcissists, or sociopaths or whatever, they seem to be around us everywhere. But the reality is: healthy people don’t linger long in relationships with unhealthy people, they just don’t. They get out. But until we make sure that we’re on the right path as people, all the attempts in the world to keep ourselves emotionally distant and all our “affairdar” or whatever we have developed having been in a relationship with a cheater once, or in some our situations more than once, will not really serve us. Until we fix our desire and willingness to spackle, we will still always spackle.

      • I also think that those who are disordered would back off if dealing with someone who recognised red flags and said ‘hey, what the fuck is up with that’. They’d realise they didn’t have a good victim and move on to someone more willing to be their target.

        • Oh Nord, you’re quite right. As soon as you call out someone on their stupidity, if it is entrenched behavior and a symptom of their fuckedupedness, then they disappear.

          I’ve discovered this as I’ve been dating.

          Really, it is about boundaries, I guess. The disordered or emotional nitwits will test boundaries. If the boundaries hold, consistently, they will disappear. Because they won’t want to work hard at anything. They look for people with weak boundaries who are willing to spackle. If they find they can’t, they move on.

          Co-dependents move on too. I’ve met a few of them. If you won’t let them fix you, if you hold your ground in that regard, if you force them to see you for who you are and won’t accept their projections, they go by the wayside too.

          I’m not perfect myself, far from it, and in fact I’m actively not dating now because I’m it would not do me any good to rush into a relationship again, I’m just not ready yet and I’m really digging being on my own besides. But when I was dating, I could totally see the nitwits. They flee when you show them that you know what you are worth and what you deserve.

      • Gotta agree with kristina. While it is true they mask and mirror, it is also true there are big cracks we ignore.
        Since researching the disorders and looking hard at myself and why i chose to ignore these things, I have been much more adept at spotting these folks and avoiding them.
        Two years or so ago, i met a nice woman, very physically attractive who a friend set me up with. In no time, i could see she was nuts and would be a nightmare. I think in the past, i would have spackled her.

      • Kristina
        i think you are right.ive known that i have selfesteem issues since my teen years.im a bit shy and socially awkward and ive had a tendency to bond with anyone who i thought looked past my issues and just saw me for me. thankyou for the link to Jung im starting to read his stuff and i find it very informative. anyway take care and happy holidays 🙂

    • You also should not be racking your brains out trying to figure them out, becasue they like to avoid things, or topics whatever the hell it is, I would say as soon as your wondering and guessing and asking and yet they themselves cannot give the REAL answer to anything? to just run like hell, just better to read a book and get something worth knowing in your head, becasue they sure as hell won’t give you much, LOL!

  • I may be overly paranoid, but I advise Linda to be very careful for her own safety if she tells the fiancee, which I concur is the right thing to do, but has risks. A restraining order and a call from her attorney to the cheater should absolutely be done before Linda contacts fiancee – and it may be best for the attorney to contact fiancee or Chump Lady to contact her along with the attorney. Cheater has threatened Linda in some fashion she did not specify. If cheater is capable of violence, being outted to the fiancee may provoke an attack on Linda. Murders indeed happen over things like this.
    I have not told the husbands of my ex-fiance’s MOWs about their multiple long term affairs yet because I sincerely believe my ex would, in a drunken rage, come to kill me where I live now, and perhaps my elderly father as collateral damage — particularly if I outted “the good OW”, my ex’s favorite of almost 20 years with whom he cheated on his first wife and still denies. I am not sure if a restraining order and call from my attorney would be sufficient deterent in my ex’s likely drunken rage scenario…but am still considering how I might tell the husband of “good girl”. I think they’re both been cheaters, but the husband is probably unaware his wife is still eating cake. Any advice?

    • Only you can assess exactly how nuts these people are. Do what you feel best for your personal safety. I don’t think every personality disorder is violent. A lot of cheaters are common bullies and wusses when exposed. But I wouldn’t want you or Linda or anyone to take a risk if you thought your life was in danger.

      I don’t mean to downplay threats and aggression — my ex was very scary (lots of guns, rages). But often the cheater plays up how “unhinged” the OP is because they don’t want anyone to compare notes and expose. Ooh… they’ll go after you. I heard that. Just like the OP hears how crazy and abusive the betrayed spouse is.

    • I doubt she has the basis for a restraining order. I worked in that field here in Minnesota when i was in law school. Most jurisdictions require quite a factual basis to issue one.

      • Not an RO. My OW harassed me — I just had my attorney send her a no contact letter, and that further communication would be construed as harassment and charges would be filed. Document, document, document. (I know… why am I telling you, you’re the lawyer.)

        I’m all for sending a legal fuck off notice. To get an RO (had a PFA on my ex), yes, they have to credibly threaten you… at least they did in that state.

        • Also CL for charges to be file at any time, the harasser or stalker has to formally be put on notice that the negative behavior has been requested to stop,

      • I agree:

        The best she can do is have an attorney draw up a no contact letter, and file a police report.

        Sometimes a call from a cop does wonders when someone is making threats.

        In fact with stalkers, the call from the police is supposed the most sucessful deterrent although event that only works in 15 percent of stalking cases.

  • Thanks CL, I understand where you’re coming from and agree on all counts. Including how cheaters threaten us but also paint us as “crazy” so that no one compares notes and cheater can remain unexposed. Color me another one of those darn Crazy Chumps…

  • I have a complaint about this post.

    Where’s the cartoon picture of the turd with the sparkly diamond ring on it???? And a heaping helping of icing and sprinkles, too?

    Just saying.

  • Here’s a twist for y’all. I just emailed CL a personalized version, but the abridged version–I also am the OW, unwittingly. Openly in a relationship, had mutual friends, integrated him into a popular hobby in my neighborhood, introducing him to things around here since they moved in from out of town a little over a year ago.

    When I found out a few weeks ago, the first thing I wanted to do was to tell the poor woman who is saddled with him–he’s a stay at home dad with a 5 year old kid–the wife is an executive at a business 3 miles from my house! (not the story I got, btw. he was supposedly a “PI” that had strange hours and was often out of town. i work long and odd hours as well, so it worked out to see each other in the mornings, when i was off—and unbeknownst to me—his kid was in preschool and his wife was at work)

    In my state, and this is something you all may need to consider when advising someone to blow the whistle or offer to do it for them—in some states, you are legally liable if you have an affair (as the OW/OM) or even talk on the phone to a married person when their spouse is unaware.

    I would LOVELOVELOVE for someone trustworthy, like LC, to go to her and give her whatever she needs, since he’ll lose everything in this state—kid, alimony (she is a 6 figure exec, apparently), house–everything. She won’t believe it though–as there has been an anonymous tipster of late (just like magic) who is feeding her info thru another source. She demanded facts and then blocked the person trying to give her facts.

    I’m just relieved to be rid of the piece of shit, really.

    • Hey, C.Lady,

      DIRTY DEEDS DONE DIRT CHEAP .

      Perhaps a “cottage industry” …. I will be happy to be a sub-contractor for you !
      My “tale of woe ” later….
      Too angry right now to compose my thoughts.
      Still in the..
      W T F ?
      W T H ? phase .
      Happy Trails !

    • Not sure he would lose custody or alimony for cheating. In many states it is not supposed to affect anything.

      • Hi Diana, as another NC resident I can tell you. They base alimony laws here on cheating (among other things. If the supporting spouse is the one that cheated, they *have* to pay alimony, even if it would not otherwise be assigned. If the dependent spouse is the one, they lose the right to alimony, even if it would have been. Also, the betrayed spouse has the legal right to go after the AP for AA/CC, whether or not they were aware of the marriage. Makes me wonder how any single person in this state enters into any relationship.
        Equitable distribution will not be affected (unless it can be proven that marital assets were squandered on the affair).

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