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Very Evolved People Who Stay Friends

Did anyone see last week Sunday’s New York Time’s Modern Love? Here’s the link. The writer is one of those very evolved people who forgives her cheating husband, reconciles, later divorces him, but still considers him her best friend, as well as his new wife.

I don’t relate to being friends with your cheating ex at all.  I can’t help but think there is this snide undertone here that implies, hey, if you aren’t copacetic with infidelity, rise above, and be closer to the cheater than before? Well, you just aren’t as evolved as me.

Reading this article, I wonder — okay, if this marriage was so worth saving, why did you leave it? She thanks him for his “understanding,” like she understood his affair. Which, btw, he doesn’t sound the least bit sorry about! He marries someone else and all three of them hang out as friends. It’s like Sister Wives or something. Isn’t this just the bee knees for the cheater?

Don’t you wonder with those folks who are exes but still hang out with each other and their partners if people are faking it? Oh, a shit sandwich. It’s not really a shit sandwich, in fact shit is a very acquired taste and only people with really sophisticated palettes can appreciate a shit sandwich.

NooooOo. It’s a shit sandwich.

Playing nice with your cheating ex and his or her latest flame doesn’t IMO make you more evolved, forgiving, and sophisticated. It makes you weird and probably undatable. “Oh, we’re spending Thanksgiving with my cheating ex! I thought we could bring sweet potatoes!” Healthy people don’t sign up for that.

I’m not saying make voodoo dolls and wish them all ill — I stand with “meh.” Be indifferent to them — and learn to VALUE the people who treat you right! Friends do not fuck other people when they are married to you. They just don’t. Friends respect you. They care about you. If you have to eat a giant shit sandwich as the price of admission to be “friends” with someone? You need a new class of friends!

Sermon over. I hope tomorrow’s Modern Love is better.

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  • Here, here. STBX wanted to be friends, come over and have dinner once or twice a week with me and the kids (me cooking, of course) and just generally pretend like he wasn’t serial cheater. I did it once, at the very beginning and was immediately ‘fuck this news’.

    Sorry, this is the man who cheated for years it turns out so no, I don’t want to be his buddy. And the little girl who was sending him naked pictures and banging him on the side? Nope, don’t want to be her friend either.

    It really does boil down to the fact that someone treats you like shit and you’re going ot keep hanging out with them? I don’t think so.

    • Exact same thing here. STBX wanted to have the family dinner thing too, lasted a week and I just couldn’t stand being around him and feeling like a prisoner in my own home, playing along with his little delusional “I’m a family man” charade. Sorry, but cheating on me with hookers for a decade definitely disqualifies you as a good family man.

      Even now, a year after D-day, he still tries to unload onto me all his work woes, and what’s happening in his life. I tolerate it (though don’t respond to it) since we’re still crafting the settlement and I’m still walking on eggshells, but I long for the day I can finally just be NC and only have to communicate about finances and kids. He is the Great Ruiner, not my friend.

      • Hahahaha…a few months after I kicked him out STBX tried to have some chats about his work and prospects, etc., probably because I was always great at guiding it. So we talked one night and then something came up about the affairs. I got irritated and told him to leave.

        He texted me on his way home, saying ‘you always ruin everything by bringing that stuff up’. Right buddy, right. That’s when I knew NC was the only way to go. I’m not perfect and sometimes get sucked into it but in general he knows nothing about my life and I care little about his.

      • Oh, and I get the walking on eggshells. We still haven’t got a settlement, mainly because he’s furious he has to pay for me after me being a SAHM for years and simply wants to chuck me to the wolves since he’s the one who makes the money. I started out trying to be nice and reasonable about it but realised I was dealing with a lunatic so am pretty hardcore now and have become even more manipulative than him when dealing with his crap.

        • I also was a SAHM… to start with mostly because that’s what HE wanted me to do (perhaps I would have made this choice anyway, but we’ll never know). Then I was never GRATEFUL enough to him for being able to stay home. And he did SO MUCH… um, like go to work! Which he would have been doing whether or not I stayed home. Or whether or not he was even married. Going to work is not going above and beyond as far as I’m concerned. And I was under the impression we were still equals and he was not my benefactor… but I guess he had other ideas. But yeah, he tries to talk to me about his work crap still. But I literally cut him off and say I will not talk to him about that place because it’s the entire reason we’re getting a divorce. (His affair partner is is dental assistant that he refused to fire because I should just “trust him” and “it’s like turning off a switch”)

          • Ah, my first post and then I see there is a diff Erica posting below… oops 🙂 So, this will now be my name to differentiate.

          • Arnold, I guess I can’t reply to your actual post, so I will reply here and hope you see it. When I say I stayed home mostly because of him, it’s not totally true. Though he is the one that always said he would want me to stay home. To be honest, when we started dating, we were so young I hadn’t ever really thought about it yet. Definitely not in any serious way. I don’t really think girls grow up just looking to meet a man to support her so she can stay home anymore. But, then the time came and for many reasons it did make sense. Maybe it’s the fact that he’d been saying it all along that made it feel like it wasn’t my decision. And then the fact that he was so crappy about it when it was what he wanted all along was annoying. Regardless, I am actually very happy I did get this time with my boys at home.

            In general, you could say I basically gave into him on all major choices in our life. But he acted like I always got my way because I picked what to watch on TV more, or where to go eat. We moved to this small town so we could be close to his even smaller hometown so he could practice dentistry there. Because he had to live on the water, of course. Not near it, or with a view of it, but ON it. So even the fact that we live in this town rather than his hometown and he had to drive 30 min to get to his work was a big deal and eventually we were supposed to move to his hometown so he could be on the water. But I really didn’t want to move here. I sort of got him to look into some bigger cities that were also near the water, but he didn’t seriously do anything about it. Now that I remember, I guess he basically threatened to not marry me if I wouldn’t come here! And yes, now it seems clear I should have taken that as the massive warning sign that it was and gotten out then. But at the time I just knew I loved him and had been with him over 5 years and I couldn’t conceive of a future without him… even though I was still young. I think fear of the future/unknown is relevant no matter what your age. The fact that I ignored these massive warning signs is also how I know I would have stayed in this marriage through pretty much anything other than what he did to me. I was even willing to stay after the infidelity! It was only how he acted after it was discovered that was the final deal-breaker. My insanely misplaced loyalty is also why I hope I will eventually be grateful that this happened to me because it got me to finally wake up.

            So you could say the decision that I would eventually stay home with the kids was already made when I decided I would move here. Because I had clearly already decided to sacrifice my career for his and what he wanted.

    • Wow, that happened to me too! He bomb dropped, moved out of the house and directly in with the OW and then had the audacity to want to come over several nights a week and have dinner with my daughter and me (I cook the meals) and then we all play board games or watch a movie together just like old times. Maybe he could come over early and go swim out at the pool first with the kid while I cooked dinner. Are you serious? The crazy thing was I thought about doing it for the same of the kid for 24 hours and then I woke up and told him no. When he walked out the door he lost that privledge. Talk about wanting to cake eat.

  • Egads. After reading the story, I am convinced this poor woman has lost her marbles and is so messed up she thinks anyone with an ounce of self esteem would bu into this bizzare story.
    She is , definitely, really invested in trying to get folks to believe she is “highly evolved”, to the point where I just want to throw up.

      • She doesn’t sound highly evolved to me. She sounds as if she wants to appear as though she’s highly evolved.

        She sounds as if she likely had a revenge affair and now needs to forgive her spouse so that she can feel better about herself.

        This type of to easy “forgiveness advice” and “remaining friends advice” is likely why affairs are on the rise.

  • It makes love, partnership, marriage meaningless. When I choose to love, I love with passion. To be able to switch gears to friendship, especially, after being lied to and deceived would be impossible for me. It’s not evolving. It’s whitewashing. It’s making everything in life generic, neutral, bland, numb.
    No thanks,. I think I’ll evolve 100mph in the other direction of my cheater.

    BTW I briefly dated a guy whose wife cheated on him and she went on to marry her cheater (he was also married) and she still held this guys b-day parties at her house and they all spent holidays together, etc. he constantly referred to her even after being divorced for 10 years. It was so unattractive and pitiful that I had to let him go. He did have hoarder tendencies so i think he had a hard time letting anything go.

    • She had birthday parties for him? I’ll bake a cake for kibbles? I think that’s what this “friends” thing is — a way to hold on to kibble supply. And for codependent shit sandwich eaters to keep getting “validation” from the narcissist in their life.

      Yeah, I can see why you’d pass him up!

  • Funnily enough STBX and I used to say that if we ever split we’d stay friends because we were best friends. He mentioned this to me after dday. I pointed out that that didn’t include finding out that he was banging any dingbat who crossed his path.

  • Yeah, Mike’s big thing was we’re going to be friends because at some point I mentioned that I’ve stayed friends with some of my X’s. I told him I wasn’t staying friends with someone who took a flamethrower to my life. He said that was “harsh”. No concept whatsoever that what he did turned everything to sand/dust. Oh, and I would really like Leah too under “radically different circumstances”. The Universal Bullshit Translator had no words. I agree – the woman who wrote the article sounds pitiful. I sure wouldn’t want to date anyone like that. It just sounds super painful like where serious illness comes from eventually.

    • STBX told me about several of his affairs that ‘they’re really nice people and you’d like them, I think, if you got to know them’. I told him to piss off and sent him on his way.

        • My CW used a lot of the SSCS lines, but one I remember in particular was in reference to one(!) of her OMs: she said that he reminded her a lot of me, he had the same personality and mannerisms (or some shit like that) and that he and I probably would have been good friends.

          Do they just make this shit up?

          After I came out of the mind-numbing stupor that followed her ridiculous statement, I mumbled something like “He’s nothing like me” and walked away. She was genuinely stupefied. Here she was thinking she was paying me a compliment, when she instead paid me an incredibly disrespectful insult.

          • I think all ego kibbles look the same to cheater. Hmm, you were pretty good kibbles. *They’re* great kibbles! You have kibbles in common! You know, ME!

            I don’t know how else to explain it.

      • Ugh, me too! I got the, “You guys would probably be friends.”

        He doesn’t seem to remember the friend I dumped when I discovered that she was a cheater wackjob. But I’d treat him and the OW differently. Right.

        • I found out, in bits and pieces, all the affairs he’d been having for years, including what was a ONS with a very close friend of mine that they considered taking further (but she decided not to and he commended her on being such a good friend to me). When I found out about her I dumped her out of my life and his reaction was ‘I really don’t understand why you’ve chosen to push X out of your life. It makes no sense’. Incredible, eh?

        • Why oh why do they always say, ‘you’d like her – you two could be friends?’ NO!!! Why do people try to normalize something that is fucked up? Of course, I’m one to talk – I did. I admit it. I had a case of temporary insanity where it actually in some wierd sick way made sense. Thankfully, it didn’t last long because as my daughter told me, ‘Mom your bullshit meter is way to strong to believe that crap for long.’

          I’d say this lady is the quintessential wack job, but I am still with my husband, so I may be right up there close – at least I have regained enough wits about me to be outraged! And at least I want nothing to do with the bimbo he was with, who had the nerve to call me and tell me it was all my fault she couldn’t work at the office anymore!!

          I know my reaction when the oxygen came back to my head, and I started thinking like a normal person again. This lady is in such deep denial I just wonder what’s gonna happen if she ever regains consciousness?

          • I, uh…I don’t LIKE liars, cheaters, nor thieves.

            So, no, I would NOT be friends with a woman like the OW. I don’t like people who knowingly hurt children–any children, and certainly I will go to the ends of the Earth to protect my own children from a woman who so callously poisoned my children’s home.

            My xH is to blame–he let her in. I don’t like him, either.

            Not going to be friends.

            See, I’m highly evolved that way.

      • My ex said that to me too! I told him that any woman who would sleep with a married man is, by definition, not a nice person.

      • a few days before I discovered the affair, he told me I should “try talking to (the OW), she’s fun to talk to”. Still bugs the shit out of me that he said that. That he looked me in the eye and said that.

  • I think it would be way easier to be friends with an ex if the marriage died a natural death instead of due to infidelity. The writer ended up leaving her husband for reasons unrelated to infidelity years after they had reconciled. His new wife was not the AP, so she has no reason to dislike her.

    It would be completely different if he had left her for an AP. That is unforgivable.

    • Fair point. If we had decided to divorce due to just thinking things had come to a natural end I think I could be friends. But finding out he was a serial cheater? Not in a million fucking years.

    • Well, it made me wonder if she was spackling and it did die from infidelity. Either the first affair or his lack of remorse or subsequent affairs. New wife not being an AP, yes, I’d just pity her — but I still wouldn’t want to be “best friends” with the ex.

      That HuffPo panel I was on, about being jealous when your ex moves on (I couldn’t relate) — there was a guy who was friends with his ex. And he and the ex and the BF and him and his latest GF all have dinners together and I thought — ick.

  • When I read that article I felt the ick coming off it too! You’re not a better person just because you can ignore the past, or pretend it didn’t cause any damage.
    Funny that my ex thought we would get on so much better after we split. Like we would be friends. I had to tell him that I was positive that he wasn’t my friend. Friends don’t do that to each other. It was weird how hurt and confused he seemed when I instituted no contact. He was hurt and confused???? GAH!!

  • I think people like that are either:

    A. Hanging around because deep down they want front row seats when the new shiny love begins to tarnish. They want details and drama.

    B. They are the same people who have trouble letting go of anyone. If you look around these people have lots of “frenemies”. They are surrounded by toxic people in their life who continually stab them in the back, bad mouth them, use them and generally add nothing to their life. But they keep them around, they keep trying to fix them, or make excuses for the bad behavior or hang on because of the handful of good times they had.

    Sad really. And a total waste of time and energy.

    • Thatgirl — I think you’re totally on to something, especially B. That’s a one of the “children of alcoholics” signs too — unswerving loyalty to people who treat you like crap.

      • WOW, CL!

        My ex is a C.O.A. Father abused him, mother turned a blind eye to it, and he was played and treated like a whore by every white trash boyfriend he had before me. Yet he never stuck up for himself (still doesn’t), and was constantly getting walked on.

        I treated him like a king, then he turns around cheats, destroying my heart and my life without seemingly a care in the world. But I was the one who got treated like the bad guy!

        Thank you for my a-ha moment of the day! It’s not really healthy to sit around and try to intelluctualize or make sense of our ex’s actions (or play little Freuds), but that one little sentence really put the puzzle piece in its proper place.

        <3 <3

        • Hey Chris, welcome! It sounds like your ex prefers people to treat him like crap. You need to find a healthy person who revels in being “treated like a king.” What’s not to LOVE?! Other givers are out there! And yeah, don’t spend too much time trying to untangle the skein of fuckupedness.

    • I kind of like the idea of A, because I know a friend of mine said she actually did a cartwheel across her living room when she found out her ex and the skanky one who he ran off with had broken up. I kind of get that. You may not want them anymore but I understand getting a quiet satisfaction when the ‘perfect soulmate love’ falls apart.

  • This bugs me as much as Reconciliation with a cheater. If infidelity is up and divorce is down, does this not mean that we are TOLERATING being treated like shit?

    The cheater has to have consequences and that includes NOT getting their life back, you know? Not the spouse, not the kids & cars & picket fences & their standing in community.


    • Well said, Bunk. I guess that we shouldn’t be surprised that some of the cheaters in our lives are surprised that we won’t be friends with them. Where do they see the consequences in our communities? The Petraeus scandal is probably the closest we’ve come recently as an example of when cheating has consequences, and even then, many people were opining on how he shouldn’t have lost his job over his “private life”! My STBX was stunned when my friends/family cut him out of their lives. He felt that his behavior was something that should be kept private between the two of us; I should have come up with some vague statement about how “things weren’t working out between us, so it was a mutual decision to split.” Hell, no. I’m glad that he’s no longer welcome at my family’s holiday get-togethers, and I’m glad that life is tense and awkward for him when he runs into one of them somewhere.

      • Hahaha…STBX also wanted to go the ‘things fell apart’ route, not the ‘I’m a massive serial cheater and she found out’ route. I refused to go along with his fairy tales, which seemed to shock him at first, then really piss him off…even more so than the facebook blocking.

        • They are all the same! I blocked mine from my facebook page…took him about two weeks of wondering aloud to everyone “what is wrong with my settings? Facebook is screwing me up! I can’t see her page!” (with me doing crickets) for it finally to dawn on him that yes, I blocked him (yes, I guess in some ways I’m still 14 and enjoy watching his realization).

          Mine also went to ELABORATE lengths to pretend everything is great between us, even to the point of pretending to still live at home, a full year after I kicked him out. If anyone knew we had split (because I said so, never from him), he’s always insisted we were “working on it”. Pfffft! He’d park his car at my house when co-workers came to carpool with him to work, just to maintain his delusion! Nuts!

          He is very fully invested on his delusion that he is a “good” guy, and can’t seem to come to terms with the truth, nor can he actually man up enough to admit his actions to anyone else, because yes, they are “private between us”.

          Its funny, I heed and hawed for a long time because it was difficult to reconcile the man I thought I knew to the man he actually was. But the day the psychologist he hired to do the sexual deviancy evaluation (which I insisted on to make sure my kids were safe) called me set my heart in stone. The psych told me that he had been doing evals for 20 years on the worst of the worst sex offenders for county prosecuters, and in all that time, even the most hardened offender showed emotions and tears at some point in the process. He told me my STBX never even blinked, and encouraged me to get out. When a professional tells you he’s a sociopath, you believe him. Haven’t looked back and am finally feeling peaceful about everything.

          • My therapist told me to run as well. She told me he was toxic (this after maybe just short of a dozen MC sessions) and that he would never stop, that cheating is his hobby, for a variety of reasons (many of which have to do with his smothering mother).

            I too waffled for a bit and went along with the pretending we were working on it but after maybe two months I realised the whole thing was a joke. He was NOT the man I thought he was at all, he just had me fooled for roughly 20 years.

            I’m still amazed that anyone could live that way for that long, pretending that all was ok while screwing sidepieces when the opportunity arose. And THEN have the audacity to blame me for whatever far-fetched randomreason he comes up with, depending on which way the wind blows.

            Ah well, once I get the money thing sorted he’ll REALLY be freaking out because poof! His last bit of control over me will be gone.

          • OMG Dawn. If you’ve got a sociopath, just thank God you got out, and hope he leaves you and the kids the hell alone. I’m about to review a book here, (I have it up in my box to the right) “The Psychopath Test” — read it! These people are FREAKS. I think my ex was one as well. I heard NPD/Borderline from shrinks.

      • Yes, my xH tells people, “Oh, Stephanie and I ‘split up.'”

        We just “split up.”

        How passive and spineless can you be?

        Not, “Oh, I walked out on Stephanie for an alcoholic ex-girlfriend I found on Facebook. It was awesome–I lied and cheated and was having sex with TWO women there for a while. Even the kids bought the lies, hook, line, and sinker! But, you know, in the end, I realized that the woman who encouraged me to lie to my family and stab them all in the back–she’s the one, man, and Stephanie just can’t appreciate the beauty of it all. Weird. I just wanted us to all be friends because that would have worked out really well for me, but Stephanie is really missing out. Maybe she’ll evolve some day. So, yeah, that’s what I did!”

    • I agree. I can understand the betrayed SAHM needing to get her ducks in a row and hanging out in the marriage temporarily for practical reasons. But other than that, I think divorce should be the go-to response.

      • I should have gotten my ducks in a row but I was so pissed off I kicked him out straightaway. Now I’m screwed financially but at least I don’t have to look at him.

  • Oh. My. God–aNOTHER awesome post!

    I feel the same way!!

    If I were EVER to spend time with the ex then it would be out of pity. And I don’t have time for it. Kinda busy.

    Oh, it’s always from these people, “Oh, you’re not friends? Oh, so you still have some unresolved issues. I see. Kinda bitter–no, that’s cool.”

    Uhhhhhhh, nothing “unresolved” here. I am resolved to not waste my time with losers.

  • “THE big surprise was days after his admission, when I stumbled upon a part of myself I hadn’t known was there anymore, a part that was compassionate, loving and empathetic. Without planning to, I began trying to understand. It took a while, but as the days passed I really did begin to comprehend the whole picture. “

    THE big blessing is that almost two years after her admission, I have yet to stumble upon a part of myself I hadn’t known was there in the first place, a part that was fatuous, shit eating and co-dependent. With total premeditation, I started from the get-go to take care of me. It took a while, but as the days passed I really did begin to comprehend the whole cheater.

      • Bede:

        I am glad to hear you skipped the empathy part. I did not, like a typical in denia fool.

        I wouldn’t say I was co-dependent, but I was all too willing to have empathy for my Cheating STBX.

        One aspect, I had empathy for, and now kick myself about, is that I read that the cheater when the affair is discovered, and ended, is often grieving the loss of his friend, girlfriend or whatever you what to call his co-cheater.

        I now can’t believe I felt sorry for him about his loss. The ass wipe was dating while married to me, and he was spending our money on her, instead of me. He was also putting a lot of time and energy into her that he should have put into the marriage.

        And, Here’s another head slapper, I actually had the idiocy to feel sorry for his co-cheater at first, when he begged me not to tell her husband ’cause her husband would beat her.

        I though poor thing, maybe she was stuck in an abusive marriage. Not realizing at the time that so was I. Headslap again,

        The husband when I did tell him, was not a wife beater, and was a sweet, hardworking, totally oblivious guy. He was so nice, even his in-laws liked him.

        I felt upset about showing him the letters, emails, cards, texts because she was the aggressor in the relationship and it was obvious in the letters, and other communications, but in the end, despite how hurt he was, he told me I did him a favor.

  • I read this last week! I wasn’t as offended by the fact that she was friends with her ex as everyone else seems to be. I figure — to each his or her own. It wouldn’t be my style, but if she is so inclined, go for it. I’m not sure I felt that she was advocating that this is how it should be, only that this is how it is in her case.

    Bottom line for me: this is precisely why data suggests that adultery is not a leading cause for divorce. When I read this I thought: aha! These two “reconciled” and as soon as the kids were grown they divorced. If they were polled, they would say the marriage did not end because of infidelity. Eyeroll.

    But you know, I guess it is not surprising that she’s a pride swallower. She swallowed it to keep him with her when she discovered his cheating, after all. Evidently she is a long-time connoiseur of all manner of shit.

  • I did get the impression she was saying “Look at me. Aren’t I incredibly evolved etc”.
    This is a spin off of the cheater “word salad” deal, where some idiot , trying like hell to be super “evolved” may have actually convinced herself that she empathizes with what motivated her cheating husband to betray her.
    I’ve read countless stories and talked to hundreds of betrayed folks, and not one has told me that after a while he or she came to understand or empathize with the cheater, other than to understand that the cheater is disordered or severely fucked up.
    There is just a tome of condescension in this woman’s writing, the same kind I have felt from cheaters who are drawn to the new age gibberish/word salad deal. You can feel the air of superiority oozing from the writings.

  • Hi all – I’m new to this blog and have been voraciously reading away! I agree with a lot of what’s said, both in the posts & the comments, but I had a couple of questions.

    Do you differentiate between a serial cheater (multiple affairs) and someone who f-ed up BIG TIME in having one affair and now they have extreme remorse and regret as well as shock & shame at their actions? These two types of people feel very different from each other. Do you think they should be treated differently? And, curious, do you think reconciliation is possible with the latter type?

    I also wanted to share my perspective on this article, with much respect to everyone who might have a different perspective than mine. I actually didn’t read the article as the author thinking she was more enlightened or evolved than anyone else. I viewed it that she was sharing her own situation, which is contrary than what many would think would/could happen after an affair. She didn’t seem pathetic or weak per se, but she did seem a little insensitive to others dealing with affairs. For example, I cringed when she used “mere” before the word “affair” because affairs mean different things to different people and it’s not empathetic to place one’s perspective on affairs to anyone else. Every affair is different – different people, different reasons, different context, etc. As related to my question above, maybe her husband was not a serial cheater but made a horrible, tragic decision and deeply regretted his actions.

    Curious to hear everyone’s thoughts!

    • Erica–

      My cheater wife may fall into that later category, had one big thing (and several smaller things), got caught, and now deeply regrets what she did, takes responsibility for it (after much teeth-pulling), and has been spending the last three years trying to prove herself worthy.

      Problem is she had a lot of screw-ups along the way. She denied the affair at first, then attempted to blame me for her actions, wanted to keep contact with him, refused to get herself help (“there’s nothing wrong with me, I’m not crazy!”), would let her shame and embarrassment at being labeled a cheater keep her from being totally honest with me and herself, trickle-truthed and gaslighted about what really happened and who else she was involved with, and so on and so on.

      But after a couple of weeks or months of this, she collapsed on the floor and wailed for hours, aghast with herself when the weight of the question I had asked her: “Do you have any idea what you’ve done to us?!” finally hit home and crushed her. She was inconsolable.

      Was she faking it? Was she devastated to finally realize that she’d never see her OM, “Mr. Right”, ever again? Was it genuine remorse over the affair that was overwhelming her? Or was it a little bit of both?

      I think it was the latter. She knew her time with him was over. She also realized, for the first time, just how much damage she had done. None of her excuses were sticking, she’d run out of ammunition, and she knew it. It was then that she pledged to prove her worth to me again. And she’s been trying for the past three years.

      To tell you the truth, I’m not really impressed. In fact, I could care less what she does. If she’d wanted to save the marriage that bad, she had plenty of opportunity to do it instead of screwing around with three different guys.

      Ours is not an ideal situation. It’s taken a long three years, but she has begrudgingly accepted the fact that I no longer love her, that I no longer have respect for her, that I will never forgive her for what she’s done and that our marriage is now purely out of convenience sake (the divorce will clean out even the betrayed husband in a no-fault state!). I’ve set those terms to her because after cheating, she is no longer in any position to bargain. She either accepts it or she doesn’t. I’m not rewarding her with over half my money for being an oversexed whore.

      I guess you could say this is her just reward for cheating: a lifetime of misery in a loveless marriage, so close to the very man that refuses to love her anymore. Part of the consequence of cheating, I guess.

      I looked at all my options after the discovery of the affair. Thought about getting revenge on her lovers, or taking them out. Nah. Not worth my time. Just end up in trouble anyway. For what? Them? I don’t think so. Instead, I decided I’ll let my cheater wife have another chance, but with a radically different arrangement than what she had or what she was hoping for!!

      Now she gets to do all the things she didn’t do while she was fucking around: cooking and cleaning, pay the bills on time, do the grocery shopping, clean the kitty box, work a job, buy me beer and cigarettes, and entertain me when I’m in the mood. A house mouse, if you will. She gets to do all the things that she blew off while she was hanging out with her “friends”, and all without a thanks or a compliment or an “I love you”. Everything she lied about to her family friends and lovers about how “bad” her marriage supposedly was: now she gets exactly that!

      Karma’s a bitch!

      • I have to ask something: why not just forget about the financial implications and get out? You don’t love her, you’re kind of torturing both her and yourself, you’re stopping yourself from finding a fulfilling relationship…maybe it’s time to cut your losses and move out and on?

        As bad as it is for her to be in the marriage right now isn’t it just as bad for you?

          • CL & Nord–

            We place different value on love. For me, what is love? I don’t know it. It’s now foreign. Love no longer exists to me.

            And I have no desire to pursue it or slog through all the personals and online dating racket filled with other screwed up people just to start another “fulfilling” relationship.

            Fulfilling relationship. What a fricken load of crap that is. To me, it just isn’t worth the hassle now. Some people need to be in a relationship or they feel lost or lonely or incomplete. I’m comfortable either way. She can stay or she can go, I don’t care either way now. She knows where the door is and she can hit that bad boy anytime she likes.

            That’s what value I now place on love. It may still be important to you and if so, that’s fine by me. Have a ball with it. But love means nothing to me anymore and I’m completely at ease with that. Love is as trivial as remembering to pick up my scripts at the pharmacy.

            And no I don’t see myself tortured at all. She might be. And the schadenfreude I’m now enjoying, after she spent almost three years pursuing eight different men online and in person, making sexual contact with at least three of them, is warranted in this case. If she’s miserable, she brought it on herself. Now she has to own her shit. A lesson to be learned, I suppose. I hope she’s smart enough to learn from this.

            For me, things are now a little better than I thought they’d be. Once she finally stopped bullshitting me and lying all the time, things seemed to get a bit easier to cope with. There’s no more fighting (much). We are quite civil to each other. I don’t have to deal with her fucked up family anymore, she’s kicked them out of her life (they were encouraging her behavior). I don’t celebrate or acknowledge her on her birthday, Valentine’s Day, or our anniversary. No gifts, no cards, no flowers, no dinner, nothing. She doesn’t deserve it.

            And that’s the way it shall remain.

      • I am all for consequences,RJ. But, what do you get out of this deal? Are you free to have romantic relationships with others. like she did? Isn’t it lonely as hell, staying with such a miscreant?

        • Arnold–

          See my answer above.

          You talk like I care about relationships or fear loneliness. For those lonely, sappy, romantic fools who are all googly eyed over love, relationships, romance, whatever, hey man, more power to them. Have at it. Knock yourselves out. Go watch some romantic comedy or some feel good crap on Lifetime. Have a blast. I could give less than a damn.

          You ask what do I get out of this deal? A repentant wife that does everything I ask and has no say otherwise. No back talk, no arguments. She maintains the household leaving me free to do just about any damn thing I want. Drink beer, watch the game, play my drums. Whatever. Bonus!

          No more unexpected visits from the poor white trash in-laws mooching for money. They’re gone and out of my life forever. They are no longer my problem. Bonus!

          I don’t have to concern myself with making sure she and her narcissism feels loved and wanted and appreciated and cared for, like I used to knock myself out doing day in and day out for seventeen years. Now I don’t care. Bonus!

          No more fretting over what gifts I’m going to get for her and hustling to get reservations at that fancy steak house she likes. Now I just buy more ammo for my guns. Bonus!

          Sounds like a deal to me.

          As far as being free to go out and find romantic relationships, she offered to let me go do it if I wanted to, she said she deserved the pain and hurt. First, see my above answer. The number of hot little blonde cheerleader types throwing themselves at my feet is exactly, umm, let me see here, oh–ah… ZERO!!!

          Second: yeah right, my stupid little cheater wife, let me go out and bang some chick, so now you can claim I cheated on you and now you can take 100% of my shit with alimony for life. Yeah…I’ll get right on that bad boy.

          Come on, Arnold. You’re smarter than to ask that question!

          • Hi RJ:

            I am so glad you didn’t take the bait to have a revenge affair, while married to her. I agree it is likely a trap and a way for her to gain equal moral ground.

            I do however think you are understandable bitter about finding someone that won’t cheat, but those people are definitely out there.

            In some ways now after being cheated on our eyes have been opened to the red flags for a possible cheater….the things they say and do are so obvious now in retrospect. For example my husband always made light of someone in the press who cheated and would make excuses for them.

            I am bitter, too, but I haven’t let that cloud my judgment or totally destroy my own trust in my own judgement. I educate my self about cheaters so I can better recognized one. I even lurk on cheater’s forum and OW and OM forums to get their mind set.

            In any case, stay for now, but I do think there will come a point where you are no longer bitter about love and will be miserable with your miscreant wife. So prepare for that.

            Also just a caveat: Her “on good behavior” act can not be sustained for too long. It is obviously not the person she is at heart. She may be complying out of fear or desperation, but that most likely is a mask for her underlying anger and resentments.

            So keep an eye open and be ready to gather evidence for a divorce settlement that will be better for you,

    • Welcome Erica!

      Per the author and her cheater — from what she writes, no, he didn’t seem one bit sorry about his affair. In fact, he’s so staggeringly insensitive as to think she’ll comfort him over his “loss.” And I take “mere” affair to be… well.. pretty condescending. Oh to you poor idiots, it’s a big deal, but to me? It was “mere”! I had *empathy* for him (unlike you), I even sort of “admired” him for it.

      Yeah, it just struck me as all rather warped. But different strokes for different folks.

      Per the serial cheater question — big question. I have a post way back in the archive called a Spectrum of Cheaters. I don’t think all cheaters are serial cheaters. I agree with what Arnold writes in his comment to you about a long-term affair being just as bad. Everyone has their own deal breakers. And I do think it’s important to distinguish (I don’t think porn is the same thing as an EA as a PA, etc.) But, all that said, the problem with any infidelity is, the cheater often only cops to what they think you already know. Oh, it was one affair. Oops, no it was a LTA. Oops, no there were others. Oops no there’s a dating profile. Etc, etc.

      It’s got to start somewhere, and I do believe that some people just screw up, ONS sort of thing. I think the difference is, as was said, they cannot keep living the lie. Disordered people are really good at living the lie. It’s like breathing to them.

      Whatever sort of infidelity you’re dealing with — a once off, a LTA, a serial cheater — it’s all devastating. You can read about my skepticism about R all over this site. It’s not that I don’t believe in it. I want to believe cheaters can change. It’s just that I don’t see many convincing cases of R — people who can go the distance. Triggering, being the marriage police, the cheater having to do the hard work to win the betrayed back. I tend to think once you’ve fucked someone else while married, you’ve put a bullet in THAT relationship. Yes, people recover from gunshot wounds, but they’re usually not the same afterward, or healthier for it.

      Whatever the outcome — as a betrayed person, you are asked to make an investment. Of your time and love and life — in someone who has just proven themselves to be a bad investment (they cheated on you). Maybe their stock will soar again, but it’s a very risky proposition. Only you can decide if you want to invest. And how much.

    • Hi Erica:

      I do think there is a difference between a serial cheater and a one time affair.

      Really, IMO, and remember all my posts here are only my opinion, not saying otherwise, A serial cheater is hopeless. Leave a serial cheater and save your sanity, IMO.

      On the other hand, a one time cheater who is truly remorseful may be someone to reconcile with.

      The really important issue, IMO, is trust. Without trust in a relationship, there really is no relationship, particularly a marriage. So the real question is can you live without really ever REALISTICALLY being able to trust the cheater again.

      Even is a cheater is remorseful, IMO, they always need to be held accountable for their time forever going forward. Many cheaters start to resent this accountability issue, after a few years, even the remorseful ones, and IMO that creates problems for the betrayed.

      Also, there is the issue of trickle truth. It seems a lot of cheaters don’t recognize the importance of coming clean about all their affairs or escapades, immediately. Too many times a hurt spouse only finds out years later that there was more than just one affair. That is unfair and usually sets recovery back to day one of discovery, IMO.

      As for the perspective. I think that is the point. Everyone here is offering their read on this woman’s words about staying friends with a cheater. Their perspective is that her opinion sounds condescending. Obviously yours is different and that is okay.

  • Erica, I would draw a distinction between the type of person who has a ONS while drunk or something and a serial cheater. But, i would not distinguish between a serial cheater and someone who had a long term affair with just one partner vs serially cheating with many.
    The reason I would not is that both long term affairs and serially cheating require such a depth and duration of lying. A normal person just could not pull this off , long term. His or her health would suffer and it would eat at him or her too much to do it for any length of time.
    Yet serial cheaters and long term affairers keep up the deception for extended periods of time and do not seem affected. One has to be fairly practiced and comfortable to do this over a lengthy period of time.
    I really see no meaningful distinction between those who cheat with one person for a long time and those who do it with a number of people. The net result is the same, the theft of a long period of the betrayed’s life, while the cheater has a lot of fun and sleeps like a baby. Who cares how many people the cheater does. It is the duration and the comfort level with lying and stealing that they display that makes them unfit for a committed relationship.

    • I would stay I agree with the One night stand distinction… that seems easier to forgive because there was no long term lying. Though how can they live with the guilt I would wonder… I guess that’s how the betrayed partner finds out in the first place? a guilty confession? The problem with that type of affair is how hard it is for the betrayed partner to monitor (if they are working on reconciliation of course would want to monitor comings and goings until trust is reestablished). How easy it can be to get away with and how easy it could be to happen again… especially if the person travels a lot for work. How do you trust that it won’t? I think someone that has one long term affair (hopefully not TOO long term, a ridiculously long term affair is probably another “type” of affair)… while completely devastating that they could essentially live a double life and turn your entire relationship into a lie… at least you are more likely to believe that it wouldn’t just randomly happen again with someone else. That it took time, there are warning signs and if you work on things in the marriage and on them having better boundaries and not continuing to be totally selfish and amoral 🙂 there could be a chance at reconciliation.

      • Totally agree.

        A normal person could not come home everyday and look their spouse in the eye after just having wiped the last of Eau de Booty Call from their body for any length of time. I’d say anything over a week’s worth of active lying and sneaking would be too much for someone who isn’t actually a normal person buy a true liar and life thief.

        It takes some serious fucked up magical thinking to allow a person to serial cheat or have a LTA. And that magical thinking is never saved only for chasing skirts. No. You will find they use their magical thinking other places in their lives too – with their family, with work, with how they manage their money – these people are fucked up and live in an alternative universe completely sustained by their magical minds.

        No normal person wants to live there with them. It will eventually drive us insane.

    • Excellent points, Arthur. I never quite thought of it that way. Thank you for the enlightening words.

      Yes, it’s a theft of a long period of the hurt spouses life. A period in which the betrayed spouse knew something was wrong and noticed the cheater was spending less time with them, but attributed to stress or work issues rather than cheating. So sad.

  • i stayed friends with my cheating and abusive ex wife.partly for the sake of our son.
    anyway it was one of the stupidest things i ever did.people who lie,cheat,use,abuse and manipulate -lie,cheat,use,abuse and two ways about it!!!!

    i want to thank chump lady. u ROCK!

        • What a nerve, calling you to fix her flat. Why didn’t she call the wonderful, perfect, fun, soulmate, other man?

          I am glad you didn’t keep your word to show up. She didn’t keep her word to stay faithful. Actually it wasn’t just supposed to be a word, commitment to the marriage was suppose to be a vow not just a statement.

          I know, I know, it’s hopelessly old fashioned to take marriage vows seriously.

  • Erica, glad you found us chumps. Sorry you are here… here’s a link to one of Chump Lady’s best. My cheater is on the spectrum. Maybe yours is too. You may come to find after you read s’more and do some thinkin’ – that us recovering chumps are on a spectrum of our own too…

    You will search long and hard before you find a better place to soak up the kind of input you need to get you on the road to meh. But if you don’t think that’s a great destination for you, no one here will dis you if you think your marriage can be saved.

    But all of us from the Chumpster herself down to chumplings like me will tell you that while you need to find your own way to deal, you also need to keep in mind that whatever you do should come from a place of solid, unabashed self interest and strength.

    Your cheater may be very, very sorry, but most have this in common: they don’t really have your best interests at heart no matter how sexy they look in sackcloth and ashes… Furthermore, there is one issue that is sadly unchangeable forever – you got cheated on. Good luck! Think well and stay who you are.

  • Continuing to be friends allows the cheater to just continue to eat his cake. He’s lost his wife in the wife-role, but he should still be able to get something from her… what could it be? that’s it! friendship! In fact, maybe she can do almost everything she used to only now I don’t even have to feel bad when I get laid elsewhere! My STBX pulled this on me too. Um, no thanks. The other thing about it that annoys me is that I find it almost insulting the way he says “we were always really good friends” because it feels totally condescending and insinuates… yeah, we were good friends, we just weren’t that hot in the sack and that’s why I went elsewhere.

  • Gotta confess. I used to mow the lawn and put up storm windows for my first ex, a serial cheater par excellence. Of course, there was no internet back then and i just stuffed a lot of this anger and felt it was all my fault.
    About a year ago, almpst 17 years post discovery, I wrote her a letter, outlining everything i knew about her cheating. She had no idea I had such good evidence and had been claiming for years that she merely had “inappropriate relationships where “” the chemistry became sexualized”” “.
    I just told her that now that our kids were adults, i wanted no contact with her unless she gave me a detailed timeline with names, dates, etc.
    I have received on text message from her since then, where she feigned being my disabled son texting me that he missed me.
    I merely replied “affair partner details”. Have not seen or heard from her since.
    I am ashamed, now, that i was not meaner and nastier to her all these years. I thought I was doing it for my kids, but, really, I just did not want to confront her. I , somehow, thought that I was being the “bigger person” or some such shit.

    • Arnold–

      That’s why I’m doing what I’m doing now while I still have the chance. My POS cheater wife gets the subtle, passive-aggressive, “mean and nasty” treatment while she’s still here and thinks she has hope. It’s the least I can do and it’s what she deserves.

      Once she leaves, I lose that chance to repay her for all the misery she’s put me through these past years. So I have to make my time count.

      I never bought into that “be the bigger person” crap, or even the “best revenge is a life well lived” or some nonsense like that, not even from D-day. Here’s a newsflash to all those who think your ex-cheater is all wrapped around the axle and crying rivers of tears in anguish just because you’re now happily married to Jake; the faithful and committed yoga instructor with the flat abs who saves puppies from drowning and gives your mother a bouquet of flowers every Sunday when he visits to change the oil on dear Mom’s car.

      Your ex-cheater is a narcissist and doesn’t give a shit about you or who you’re currently shacked up with. All they care about is themselves.

      You are not that important to them because your success or failure doesn’t advance their agenda or ego, because it’s always all about them. In fact, they still laugh at you behind your back because they managed to play you for a fool and had the best sex of their lives right under your fricken nose.

      If you think the best revenge is to think that your ex-cheater tortures themselves and gives a crap about how wonderful your life is now; then YOU’VE become the narcissist.

      So as far as that whole fabulous life thing goes: yeah, so I divorce the bitch and now, being broke and homeless, I can go out and get that fabulous life now and show her how great I’m doing. I’ll get right on it. Not that I hadn’t been trying for 46 years to have a fabulous life already. No, I’ll just flip a switch and have a Manhattan apartment, a sexy blonde trophy wife that knows 101 ways to make a man orgasm, and a fat bank account that magically refills itself every month.

      Get real.

      • RJ —

        Your situation sounds grim. And i wonder how long your wife is going to do her ashes and sack cloth routine before she’s out screwing around again. (Not very, would be my guess). If she cheated with that kind of impunity before, what’s to stop her now? You’re not exactly handing over any kibbles.

        Also — just my perspective — as someone who has been divorced twice and both were pretty ruinous — I recovered. I came back. I reinvented. And in my 40s, I’m rewarded with a wonderful marriage to a loving, amazing man. I wouldn’t miss a minute of this life and regret the time I spent in miserable limbo with the other two. Yes, it was extremely painful — emotionally, financially — in every way to divorce and start over.

        But worth it. TOTALLY worth it.

        I just think you deserve better. But it’s not enough to deserve it – you have to step out on faith and go for better.

      • RJ:

        I agree about nixing the revenge is sweet thing. If your wife is a narcissist, it won’t effect her.

        Not all cheaters are have full narcissistic personalities, though, they may only have a lot of narcissistic traits.

        Still, forget about revenge, just do things to please yourself.

        If you stay with her though and are treating her as you mentioned in your post, I suggest you block her access to your bank account and hide your credit cards, because she is likely seething and obviously being a cheater she is selfish.

        If she has Full blown NPD she also likely lacks empathy if she is a psychopath she has no conscience.

        So by staying in close proximity to her, you are making yourself vulnerable to her manipulations. Do you really think she is happy being pinned down and having to clean or cook when in the past she did not. She is seething, I have no doubt, based on basic human psychology and the psychology of selfish people who will cheat on a spouse anyway.

        Protect yourself, my friend.

  • Yeah, my thoughts, too, CL. Since the wife is NPD, she is not going to take this too long. She is doing it to get “kibbles” etc and , when those are not forthcoming, she will just revert.
    I have been through this twice, too. I slept on a friend’s couch for almost 3 years post divorce, so I know what RJ is talking about re suffering financially.
    But, at 58, I am okay, financially, now. I will not be able to retire as soon as planned, but living like a pauper for 3 years taught me that i need very little to be happy.
    So, RJ, even if you have to sacrifice, I would say it is worth it to get away.
    And, I agree completely with their lack of suffering and caring not that you are “living well”.
    I used to defend criminals. Their victims thought that they would spend their time behind bars ruminating about all the pain and suffering they inflicted. These guys never gave such a shit and were only worried about getting out and doing it again. NPDs, all of them.

    • If the wife is a normal human being she hopefully won’t stand for it for long. What he’s doing to her, how he talks about her, that entire situation is incredibly abusive. She’s obviously either co-dependent as hell (or affraid for her life — all that talk of guns underpinned with the seething rage + all that extra ammo buying is frankly menacing and rather frightening to read) if she’s staying and accepting the kind of abuse he’s heaping on her.

      I may be wrong about this, since others are only kind of saying: “Oh, well, he should just move on and find love elsewhere….” but I’m going to hazzard a guess that she’s not the only one in the family with a personality disorder. Where the hell is HIS empathy or ability to emote beyond rage? He’s treating her like a fucking object, for Christ’s sake. He cares about his money and not losing his bank account. Remember the psychopath review and the discussion about crying over a dead dog but NOT a dead daughter? Here it is playing out in black and white right in front of us. He’s undone because of the money and willing to torture another human being over money. He feels gleeful that he has a “house bunny” who he uses sexually from time to time. And the big bonus is he gets do do whatever he wants, including buy more ammo for his gun. Not. Normal. Sorry, but it is just not.

      Yes yes… I know he’s hurt because she strayed. But holy cow, let’s not justify or ratify abuse. We say again and again — if a person is unhappy in a marriage, end it. Don’t inflict abuse (either by having an affair or by torturing someone half to death emotionally).

      • Yes to everything Kristina said. Betrayed sposes can behave badly as well. Another reason to leave a bad marriage: it does not bring out our best selves.

      • I think you need to factor in PTSD and fundamental attribution error inot you analysis, Kristina. We do not know how recent her abuse of him is, and how far along in the recovery processRJ is. He is hopping mad, that is for sure and, also, very, very normal-Sounds like he has tolerated her abuse for a long time now and needs to vent.
        In the aftermath of the type of abuse he has endured, it is wrong, IMO, to label his behavior either abusive or the result of his own personality disorder. Many folks act out of character for a while after being abused in this way.
        No one is holding a gun to this woman’s head to stay, if she wants out.
        I highly doubt RJ is feeling “gleeful” after having been abused by this woman in one of the most extreme ways. He is , obviously hurt and angry and that is very much expected.

        • Hurt and angry, yes. Abusive objectification and a psychopathic lack of empathy or regard for her as a human being — no. If he hates her, get out.

          Abuse is not okay, not even in response to abuse.

        • Arnold

          I agree. My impression is this guy is incredibly hurt and his behavior is a way of acting out.

          I don’t feel sorry for his cheater wife. I do think she deserves to be objectified as she objectified him, and I don’t have any qualms about a little harmless revenge. The gun stuff sounds like bravado to me.

          It seems some people seem to think it crazy that a victim of a long term cheating spouse, a spouse who exposed them to hIV and other deadly STDs like hepatitis C, and who used marital assets to wine and dine a stranger or buy them better gifts than they buy the spouse, or who has been gaslighted by the cheater for years, might want some revenge.

          Hogwash. It’s normal to want revenge and IMO, and the PTSD is also a given. The PTSD being cheated on causes in the hurt spouse is only an aspect of infidelity that has come to light in the last few years.

          This guy sounds like he has PTSD.

          Also, who knows how she humiliated him while in the affair.

          The OW in my STBX’s cases was emailing my spouse complaining about her husband’s body and how looking at him made her BARF, but when outed she didn’t want a divorce because her husband provided a wonderful lifestyle for this parasitic woman who never worked a day in her life.

          Maybe this guy found emails describing him similarly.

          I am just lucky that my spouse never bad mouthed my looks or physical features, he mostly complained about me being too practical and intellectual, but if he had said I disgusted him physically, I think that would make me act kinda’ crazy, too.

  • Holy crap. Just read RJ’s reply to someone describing his wife’s behavior. It does not get more abusive than that(8 guys, three consumated physically-Holy Crap).
    Anyone exposed to that behavior and the attendent gaslighting etc(and her family was in on it) is going to be severely traumatized. Three years of that abuse. I understand, completely, the desire to pay her back. This woman is a monster.

    • Stop. You are defending toxic, abusive behavior in RJ. All, and more, that he endured has happened to each of us (or close). Just as nothing justifies serial cheaters…. Nothing EVER justifies treating a human being, even a defective one, with daily scorn, contempt, derision, and abuse.

      Just like those who say what our Cheater did wasn’t so bad – don’t minimize prolonged agony of another.

      • Head case:

        RJ is reacting to being humiliated, cheated on, lied to, gaslighted.

        I am willing to wager a lot of his aggression is just talk. IMO, it is cathartic for him to get it here. Venting will actually help him NOT be physically aggressive toward his cheating, lying spouse.

        What he is saying here is sort of like journaling.

        I said a lot of things I didn’t mean after Dday. A lot of people talk about how they still love the cheating spouse but could still have visions of “gutting the cheater ” every now and than. It is normal and doesn’t mean they will act on it.

        With that said. RJ, don’t do anything crazy, your cheating spouse is not not worth it.

        If your staying for finances, again, as I have already mentioned, protect yourself. Separate bank accounts, keep your credit cards at the office, See an attorney sooner rather than later in case you decide to bail.

  • She “strayed”, Kristina? The woman had multiple affairs, gaslit , blameshifted, trickle truthed, got her family in oin it. I think “stayed” is a bit of an understatement. How about she systematically tortured her husband for 3 plus years.
    Gee, I wonder why he is pissed?

    • Something just seems off to me with RJ’s stories. I told CL I felt bad for posting before because my telling of my EA may be triggering for BS. It wasn’t well received and I never looked back an anymore responses.

      But this is beyond weird and dysfunctional. CL’s site is “Leave a Cheater gain a LIFE” not coexist in extreme dysfunction! And RJ was judging me?!? Too funny!

      RJ started out on this thread in response to Erica asking about serial cheaters and one time cheaters who seriously F’d up and felt extreme remorse. He said his CW was the latter. As his rants get angrier and angrier it comes out this isn’t the case at all.

      RJ which is it?

      I remember RJ comparing me to his , what does he call her POS cheating W. I was and am nothing like her. But RJ and whoever else can think what they want about me, you don’t know me and I don’t take it personally.

      But I thank God that I and my H do not handle things in a more evolved way. If only for our child’s sake. I certainly hope you two don’t have any!

      But something about all of this doesn’t add up. I’ve read plenty on NPD, Sociopaths, infidelity, family dysfunction, been through years of therapy, and I have NEVER heard a tale like this.

      It isn’t helping anyone as far as I can see… except RJ who is getting quite a bit of attention.

      • I think this reaction is fairly common. There is a natural desire to pay back for all the years of abuse and the humiliation etc.
        Eventually, I think we get over it and move on.
        But, Rj is only three years in. 2-5 years is said to be the recovery time. And, his wife’s behavior was particularly egregious.
        I don’t think there is anything more “evolved”(God, I hate that word) about the way you guys are handling things, lasso. Your behavior was not even close to this guy’s wife’s, although it was loathsome.

        • Mine was as bad as his and maybe worse. Yes, it was worse. Should we constantly pull out the measuring stick of pain? I am 3 months out. Walk away. Grieve. Cry. Scream. Writhe in pain. I don’t really give a flying fuck what he does, but I’m not going to listen to someone disclose abuse and pretend it’s somehow justified.

          You Get through it.

          She’s been enduring this for 3 years? No true Narc would last that long, LOL!

          • Oh, pleeeze> He has disdain for her, contempt etc. That is not abuse. She brought this on and is freee to leave. This woman deserves this treatment and if she does not like it, she knows how to leave. Abuse, yeah , right.
            IMO, anyone who could do this with 8 men and involve her family, gaslight , blameshift etc has to be NPD or ASPD.

          • Headcase:

            An NPD personality will endure something distasteful if there is something in it for them. In this case, the wife does not want to let go of her lifestyle and has not yet found a suitable man to take her in.

            Most married men do not want to marry the affair partner. Not so for women. They do often want to marry the affair partner. Men do occassionally, but it is much rarer.

            I agree that RJ should move on, but he has stated that he is staying for financial reasons.

        • Yes it is most definitely abuse! Look up the markers for emotional /psychological abuse. Emotionally abuse can be much more damaging then physical or (cheating) because the damage can’t be seen-verified. It’s the same part of cheating that can be so devastating to all of us, eg., the lying, gaslighting, deceit, etc.

          It’s absolutely normal to desire revenge. I think up scenarios everyday. It’s the daily following through with it and getting off on it that makes it abusive.

          Do we know if she can really leave? Does he hold something over her that he will use? Is there a threat? Or, is she already gone and he’s making up this revenge Cinderella scenario for our benefit? And his- cause he’s getting attention.

          • There are women’s shelters. An abused woman can always leave. They only have themselves holding them back.

            This woman deserves no defense. She is a cheater and a liar.

            If kids are involved there are child protective services. If this woman was having affairs, though, she was neglecting her children no doubt, so I don’t think she is all that worried about her children’s futures or welfare, anyway.

            This guy can’t be too dangerous, after all she was sneaking around and having affairs, she obviously has a lot of time to herself and he obviously was not possessive or controlling or she could never have gotten away with what she did.

            Likely even now, although he may expect the house cleaned and dinner on the table whereas in the past he did not, she still has a lot of alone time….time to get away.

            The OW in my STBX’s case was like this woman. She was a pampered princess married to a wealthy loyal man who trusted her on girl’s nights out and girl’s only vacations, etc.

            She did NOT want a divorce, until she could replace him with someone she was both physically attracted to and who was wealthy enough to support her parasitic lifestyle.

            She talked about how whenever she was angry at her spouse she would take pleasure in cheating on him while pretending to love him.

            She had had numerous affairs and one offs, but was looking to change out her spouse for someone she thought met all her standards for the next spouse.

            The OW targeted my STBX because she was physically attracted to him, and she thought he was a nice enough guy to care for her four children, and she also mistakenly thought he was far wealthier than he was.

  • Hi all,

    Thanks for the comments. Very insightful. LONG post here – just warning you! 🙂

    I hadn’t seen the cheater spectrum post but agree wholeheartedly. My H is perhaps closest to the ‘exit cheater’ profile (unhappy in the marriage but didn’t know what to do) with a BIG dash of something like mid-life crisis (though at mid-30s I contend he’s still too young for that). The woman he cheated with was a married work colleague who propositioned him and he accepted, despite the fact that he wasn’t ever attracted to her or emotionally interested in her. (I believe him on this front – have now seen many, if not all, of the emails between them plus knew his perspective on her before their affair started.)

    Our life context was that he had been working in a nearby city for 2 years but left his job to relocate back to where I lived (where he had lived for 10 years and where he would come every weekend) because we were expecting twins. We had done fertility treatment for about a year before getting pregnant and in that time he (erroneously) felt he was a mere sperm donor to me. He was deeply sad about leaving his job, an agency he founded. He was also finishing his doctorate and just starting the incredibly-brutal academic job search. None of this is an excuse he gives or that I offer, to be 100% clear, but just sharing the context. He looks back now and describes that time in his life as “an acute state of depression & deep panic”– he didn’t feel like I deeply wanted HIM, he narcissistically feared that he was going to become second fiddle (3rd fiddle actually) to babies, and when this sicko (BPD, from what I can tell) propositioned him he dissociated and went ahead. The affair lasted about 5 months, and they’d meet up about once every week – 2 weeks when he would go to that city to wrap up his work there. I found out 5 days – yes, 5 days! – before our twins arrived because he had ended their affair but she was emailing him that she missed him, had developed real feelings for him, etc. I discovered by seeing an email she sent with his response that he was freaking out, feels horrible, doesn’t want any contact with her again, was sorry that she developed feelings for him but they weren’t mutual, etc. I was SHOCKED and HORRIFIED. Devastated. Our twins could come at any moment & here I am discovering that my husband, my former best friend, had had an affair! The word “devastated” barely scratches the surface of how I felt.

    The next few months were a blur of hurt, rage, and a raw sometimes-brutal-to-hear-honesty (on both sides). We’re almost 2 years from DDay and have worked incredibly hard. I go to IC weekly, he goes to IC twice a week, we go to MC once a week. We talk about our relationship ad nauseum and to our surprise we were complimented the other day by our new MC who said that in all his years practicing he’s never met a couple more insightful about the inner workings of their relationship. (Felt nice to hear, after all we’ve been through.) My H is incredibly remorseful and feels “horrified & shocked” that he could have done this. He is cited by our friends as “the most loving, involved dad they know” — which makes him feel all the more ridiculous for having feared their arrival (believe me, I mention this to him frequently)! Plus, he shows me more appreciation & love than I could have imagined. I’ve changed, he’s changed. Challenge is that I still can’t commit to him because of my pride and the strong feminist in me doesn’t think I should ‘give him’ reconciliation. And I still trigger at times, especially around sex; I still have moments of disbelief where I think ‘how in the world could he f another woman for 5 months! and when I was pregnant!’ (I’ve now met quite a few women whose H’s cheated during pregnancy… maybe that should be its own category on the spectrum?!) 😉 I have days where I feel positive and days where I still feel pessimistic. As someone here mentioned, you can’t wipe away that you’ve been cheated on. For the recovering perfectionist me, that’s really hard to accept.

    So what to do? I’ll be honest – many of the perspectives on this blog have been somewhat depressing to me, which is why I asked the initial question about serial killer (er, cheater!) vs. something else. Even though some perspectives bring out the pessimist in me, I appreciate & crave all perspectives in the hope that at some point in the (near) future I can synthesize it all and form MY own perspective. I’m not there yet.

    That said, I welcome any thoughts & comments. And apologies for the long ramble. It’s always cathartic to share one’s story, so thank you for indulging me!

    • Erica,

      You’re two years out. You do pretty constant therapy (weekly) plus MC. You still trigger sometimes around sex. You discuss your relationship ad nauseum (I understand the urge, trust me). Your pride is hurt. You cannot “commit” to him.

      Your words.

      Hon, it doesn’t sound happy. At all. I know these things take time, but if you’re looking for pessimism, IMO you’re painting a pretty bleak picture of R. Personally, I think cheating on someone while pregnant is the lowest of low (although quite common from my reading of infidelity boards). You’re vulnerable, you’re sacrificing your body, health and well-being to bring a new life into the world — a shared venture. To be betrayed at this point in your life — Wow. You need your partner as never before when you’re pregnant, and that’s when he let you down. Frankly, what I hear you saying is you don’t know how to feel SAFE in this marriage. However good he’s being, however sorry, however there now as a dad — I don’t see you feeling safe.

      I’m not pessimistic about life after divorce, after infidelity. For me, it was the gateway to a much happier life. Yes it was scary as hell, and painful. But the pain was finite. It seems to me in R the pain goes on and on and on. It is a kind of mental gymnastics to live with that knowledge and will yourself to trust again.

      We all have hurdles with trust. People, even our intimates, let us down sometimes. For betrayed folks moving on after divorce, we can get flinchy too. But there is a spectrum of betrayal, like I suppose there is a spectrum of cheaters. It’s not an EA or a slippery slope thing (although those can be deal breakers for some people). It was a physical affair for months while you were pregnant. That’s a LOT to get over.

      Look, I lean toward the “leave a cheater” side. Obviously… that’s what the banner on my site says. I don’t advise that because I want gloomy outcomes for folks. It’s because i want to encourage new ways of thinking about life after infidelity — it’s okay to lay this burden down. Or not. It’s such a personal decision. I’m just saying as someone reading your words — you don’t sound like you feel safe in this relationship. And I think that is totally, completely understandable.

    • Hi:

      My STBX also had a pushy other woman. She was horned out, not attracted to her own husband, not having sex with him because as she wrote, his body made her barf. He too tried to push he away but she was persistent. She used porn and sexual imagery to lure him, although her main interest was to marry him and change out her husband, based on the email.

      He too does not want her as a wife.

      I filed because of ongoing disrespectful behaviors. Had it not been for that we might still be together.

      Yes, my husband should have tried harder to push her away, but I still blame horny married women, who are unhappy in their marriages and too cowardly to go out and live on their own and date single guys, who are so willing to spread their legs as a lure for the married men.

      These slutty married OW’s go after married men because as I have read, it is easier for these not very desirable women to find a married man that is better looking or wealthier than they could ever snag as a single guy for sex.

      Snagging married men also feeds their egos, so they actually feel superior to other women although most are a step down from the wife.

      It may not be fair but it is true than men like sexual variety whereas a woman who cheats is on the make for a new spouse, never just sex. It’s rare to find a female who only want sex and no long term real relationship, when they cheat.

      So yes, if fewer woman were predators, it wouldn’t be so easy for married men to cheat.

      • I don’t think it’s fair to characterize all women cheaters are people looking to trade up on husbands. I’m sure that’s a dynamic out there, for sure. But I think women cheaters like men cheaters are in it for the ego kibbles. I think most tend to be cake eaters, like the men. It’s a power trip.

        When the whole thing falls apart? Yes, THEN I think there is a scramble to make it legitimate and put a ring on it.

        My husband’s ex targeted married men with kids (yeah, total sociopath), one had an infant that he brought to her workplace. Playing arm chair shrink, I think it was a power trip. Ooh… you should be so invested in that life… I bet I can make you turn your back on it for ME! Also married men there is a balance of power, which is why it appeals to married men cheaters. We each get a bit on the side, no one is the wiser. Whereas a single OP is a greater threat — they will want primacy.

        The single OP is a riskier move, but one my narcissist ex preferred (you may have no other gods before me). No one gets other kibbles, JUST HIM. Problem there was the long-term OW kept blowing up his marriages (three) and expecting a ring.

        For my husband’s ex? She did marry her OM after my H dumped her — and it was a huge trade down in every way. (And he left a wife and two young kids). They both appear to be miserable. Karma.

        • Chump lady:

          I agree, all cheaters are in it to some degree for the ego kibbles. The sex for men however is far more important and for women I find in most cases, except for the rare sexually addicted women, she uses sex as a lure. That is they don’t really even enjoy the sex, it’s mostly about attention.

          This opinion is based on my own research on why women cheat and haunting OW boards.

          I need to clarify, though, that IMO, both men and women cheaters are sleazy and never to be trusted again.

          Still, I do think the sharp increase in affairs is due to married women being more eager to look for another spouse while married, rather than having the courage to live on their own. So they go after the easier target which is the long time married man whose sex life has become stale.

          As for single Other women who date married men, all I can say is they, IMO, have self esteem issues. When single, I used to laugh at married men who approached me for a date. What a waste of time, IMO, and I had no trouble finding single men to date, so why even consider a married man.

          The MOWs and single OWs who date married men either have issues, or can’t find a suitable SINGLE man.

          Studies show the majority of married men affair down, whereas married cheating women affair up.

  • Thank you for your thoughtful, quick response. I actually *feel* safer in the present than I did in the past, as odd as that might sound. I don’t think I’m rug-sweeping (or whatever that term is), I think we know each other on a much deeper level now because we have talked about the good, the bad, and the very, very ugly that we have lived through.

    I think I feel safe about the future with him but I still struggle with his past actions. Cheating on one’s pregnant wife is indeed the lowest of low. In ‘grass is greener’ moments I actually wished that he had fallen in love with someone vs having a physical affair with someone he didn’t care about. At least I could have understood the love part, even though I’m sure the pain would still be great. But we can’t wish this away, can we?!

    I’ve never been a romantic. At all. I’m not now either. I’m realistic & trying to gauge whether I will be able to move past (through) the hurt of our past. He couldn’t do more or want it more. I want it too but don’t know if my constitution will comply.

    Thank you again for your insights, and I’m so glad that you’re happy with where you are now!

    • Erica, do you feel emotionally connected to him, I wonder? I guess what would worry me is if you are in a relationship where you felt emotionally disconnected but secretly (or unconsciously, even) longed for emotional connection. That’s a recipe for disaster.

      You said you feel “safe” but do you feel that your needs are being met? Chumplady said above that your situation sounds unhappy; it does to me too. I wouldn’t want to have to be on a heavy MC/IC rotation in order to keep things copacetic, you know? But that’s just ME; I don’t want to project my own preferences onto you. If that process is making you feel happy and safe, and your needs are being met, then there you go. You’ve answered your own question.

      Just one other thing: you mentioned above that your feminist “pride” is kind of tripping you up from committing fully to the reconciliation process.

      Honestly, I think one can still be prideful and feel good about oneself if one chooses to reconcile and forgive. There can be pride in forgiveness, because holy cow, it is not easy to forgive. If you know who you are, and are confident about who you are, then the actions of others, while they may temporarily sting, can be forgiven and pride (and feminism) can remain intact. But… whether some things should be forgiven or someone given a second chance, that has nothing to do with feminism necessarily, or pride, but self preservation — it really is down to personal physical and emotional safety.

  • WTF? 5 months while you were preggers? What a piece of shit.
    You buy his reasons? They are complete BS. A 30 something having a mid life crisis? Fearing he would take a backseat to the kids(NPD, anyone?).
    Hell , I was ecstatic we were having kids(there would be someone to talk to, hopefully much brighter than my XW, during the frequent silent treatments).

  • A post about reconciliation in response to the thread. I am in it myself. Started out as the ruination of a very happy marriage, for all intents and purposes. Wife followed the classic cheater script with the trickle truth, gas-lighting, blame-shifting, lying, manipulation, etc. So did I with the shock, denial, anger, grief and am in now in acceptance. Wife finally admitted to it, and her actions are consistent with R.

  • I found out his legal separation was fake, the correspondence with his lawyers was fake, the divorce filing papers were fake, his story that his wife too wanted the divorce was fake,

    I found he was practically living in chat rooms, was flying across the country to have sex with a woman he picked upnfrom a chat room and was meeting for the first time, found that he was grooming a couple of other women by the side, found texts right thru the night to various women , simultaneously sexting three women for 2 to 3 hours, profiles on adult friend finder , found he had slept with women he picked from there, profiles on other sites clearly stating that he was looking for a wife, portrayed himself to be unmarried and 20 years younger, found unreasonable number of texts to his wifes friends, and last but not the least found he was calling hookers to his hotel rooms.

    He very clearly knew about my never ever wanting to be in a relationship with a married man because apart from all the moral issues, that’s a relationship with a dead end and why would I want to be in one?

    I walked.

    He wanted to be friends..” apart from all this we are the best of friends ”

    Rendered me speechless.

    Just because I bought his shit out of my naïveté and inability to comprehend and even think that such evil can exist doesn’t mean I will put up with it once I know about it.

    Even after six months he is unable to grasp that want absolutely nothing to do with him.he keeps sending the occasional texts on birthdays and new years.I finally sent him this.

    If someone treats you like an option help them narrow their choices by removing yourself from the equation.

    He still doesn’t get it.

    I just concluded one thing,,..they are just wired very differently.

  • During the time she had her one night stand, she was telling me how I would get along great with this guy because he was into racing old cars. (By then, I had outgrown the old-car hobby, but forget about that, mkay?)

    “You’d probably have a lot in common!”

    Do tell.

    There were a few times she expressed interest in going to see one of his races and asked me if I would be interested in that, too.

    “Of course,” I lied. Curiously, those plans never materialized.

  • I’ve found that the FWs love to tell this story. My ex went around talking about us this way while he was actually under a restraining order and all communications were in a monitored coparenting app. He would lead with “she’s an amazing mother” then go on to imply a plethora of problems that are usually not present in amazing parents, like addiction, prior affairs, depression, violent friends, etc.

    Absolutely none of it was true. None. (I’m a good mom, but I also find most of Bunmi’s mom posts more relatable than an “amazing” mom would.????)

    So when I hear this “friends with the ex,” I assume that I’m talking to the person who blew up the marriage.

    And I’ve never met a stepmom who could get six sentences past her introduction without throwing shade on biomom. Especially when they’re all saying they’re friends. So I’m suspicious of the friendship claims too.

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