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A Reminder About the Chump Lady Manifesto

Dear Chumps,

I appreciate that you read here, I appreciate your support of the site, I am moved every day at your compassion for your fellow chumps and the wisdom that you share with each other.

But I want to get one thing straight about my site — it’s about LEAVING cheaters. See? Says so, right up there at the banner and the cartoon — Leave a cheater, gain a life. That’s my point of view and I’m pretty unapologetic about it. Everyone is welcome to read here and be part of this community. EVERYONE. Chumps, cheaters, reconcilers, unicorn chasers, kids of cheaters. It’s a big tent, and you’re all welcome under it — so long as you keep a civil tongue. Infidelity is a subject that understandably riles people up. It’s painful. The entire process of discovery and sorting your life out afterwards sucks donkey balls. You have my deepest BTDT sympathies, I hope you know this.

But I want to be clear — if someone posts a comment you don’t agree with, or offends you — make an articulate counter argument, ignore it, or find another blog to read. But don’t get ugly, or you’re gone. No “fuck you’s” at fellow chumps. Just had an instance of this weekend and I edited it out. I can delete your comments, by the way. WordPress comes with an edit function.

The flashpoints seem to be around instances of — surprise — leaving cheaters.

Now, you might find this hypocritical of me, as I was the original chump — four DDays, can you top me? — but I don’t have a lot of patience for willful chumpiness these days. That’s the POINT of this site. To be the bucket of cold water. The threaded pipe. The 2×4 of common sense leveled upside your head. I am here to say — LEAVE the motherfucker. There are a bunch of places on the internet where you will get handholding, and people who will vacillate with you on the merits of staying with a cheater — but Chump Lady is not one of them.

Sympathy feels good. 2x4s not so much. I know the process is fraught and no one “gets it” over night. No one is going to beat you up here for being a chump — but if you want to STAY a chump? Yes, you’re going to get called out on that. I know every addict excuse there is to take a toke on the crackpipe of hope — I lived it. I want chumps to move forward, to have faith in themselves that it GETS BETTER. To draw boundaries and enforce consequences, hard as that is.

I will be your biggest cheerleader if you want to get out of a toxic relationship. If you want to stay stuck in one? I can’t help you. Direct yourself over to Marriage Builders or some such.

Sorry to go all school marm on you guys, but the blog is growing and we’re getting more voices here every day. I think you chumps are inspirational, and I deeply value your participation on this site. After the spot of ugliness this weekend, however, I wanted to be clear about the message here. And to let readers know that I will ensure that all commentary here remains safe and respectful — but that doesn’t mean the message (leave a cheater, gain a life) will be diluted.

Thanks for your understanding.







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  • That’s why I respect you, CL. You are an advocate for the self-respecting position, and that’s rare on other forums that deal with infidelity!!

    Rage on! Even if you save one out of 10 chumps from going through the multiple d-day gauntlet, you’ve won!

      • I was a two ddayer…and was nearly ready to stick around for another one. I found this site after I decided to bail but it’s saved me when I’ve felt wobbly.

  • Nothing has helped me heal more than you and this site. NOTHING. For that I will always be so grateful to you, Tracy.

  • YES! This site is an incisive beam of light cutting through a very murky landscape. It has been inspirational and central to my healing.

  • I have danced the toxic tango and I prefer your tune!

    “Leave the Cheater, Gain a Life” has been the best mantra for me.

  • Thank you so, so much for starting this blog CL… Ironically, my first DDay was the same time you started the blog.. April 2012. Found you in November 2012. I was in a BAN support group, but I found that a lot focus was on the reconciling aspect.. Not gonna hapoen for me.. So I stumbled upon your site on Google and I was relieved and excited that you promote to LEAVE the cheater and GAIN a life.
    Those early days after finding out the truth of your SO/spouse cheating is the worst emotional and mental pain I have experienced… DDay 2 was so much worse than the first.. The pain was so bad mentally and physically.. DDay 3 was the time I finally said, “I am done. I am officially done.” So tired. Of the abuse, manipulation, isolation, loneliness, after discovering his dirty cheating secrets.. He wanted me to keep it quiet (Nope. I sang like a bird).. I had to ask myself.. What am I really trying to save?? He has been a terrible friend, mate, and husband.. I know deserve better than this.. He WON’T treat me with the love, honor, respect, and dignity I deserve. No support, no friendship.. What do I want? I want to live authentically and joyfully.. I wrote out things I have wanted to accomplish (he never suppprted), the kind of role model I wanted to be for my daughter (A woman that stays because she is afraid of the unknown?? Compromise my dignity and self-respect? No way), my life goals.. etc… I decided to get the hell out. Right away. And I did it! Friends and family rallied around me, I am forever grateful.
    To others that are know your spouse/SO is a cheat, liar, thief and don’t know what to do: Please ask yourself some very hard questions… Examine where you see your life in 5-10 years with and without the cheater. How do you want to be treated. What type life do you want to lead? What kind of person are you? Do you live by your own lights?
    Being betrayed is, I think, one of the worst emotional pain there is… BUT there is life and light at the end of the tunnel. Make your life happen. Take charge.
    Thank you Chump Lady for being an inspiration to us all. Not only did you leave the cheating… Most importantly… You gained a LIFE… A life FULL of joy, authenticity, and wisdom..

    • Ha! I finally sang like a bird as well after allowing him to keep me quiet for a couple of months. Something snapped inside of me and I just started telling everyone. Up until that point they all thought he had fallen for some young thing at work and was having a mid-lie crisis. WEll, no, he’s a massive liar and cheater and had been doing the double life for years. So I started talking. Best thing I ever did. It killed any chance at R and that’s what I needed. Now I’m free. Poor as a bloody church mouse for the time being and dealing with his crazy fairly regularly but FREE. And you know what? I rarely get frustrated or ragey anymore…and in the last few years of the marriage I was frustrated and quite angry at times but didn’t know why. Now I know why and now that it’s gone (him) I am quite Zen-like most of the time, kind of like I was before I ever met him.

      SEriously, to all those wobbling and wondering what to do? Don’t live waiting for another dday. Just get out , struggle through and you will find that spark inside of you again and you will live fully again…much more fully than if you stayed with a cheater.

      • Isn’t that the truth! STBX and OW were pissed when I named names – hey, I’m too loyal for my own good, but cheating on me, pressuring me to do what I don’t want to do because I was a mess after 2(!) ddays in a short period of time, and making me feel that I was the one who wasn’t right (grief will make you do things you don’t want to do) – you better believe that I’ll tell everyone everything I know! I wasn’t the one who did something wrong, so why do I have to hide? I’m done being the face of STBX’s respectability. People need to see the two of them for who and what they are.

        • OW is still pissed I told her partner she was sending STBX snatch shots of herself.

          And yes, sing like a bird. I slowly told people close to me, then widened the circle. Now, if people ask, I simply say he’s a cheater and I found out about a number of affairs, kicked him out and am divorcing him. Not one person seems to think there is anything wrong with me being quite upset about what I found out, other than him and his family, who now say I’m ‘crazy’. Yup, crazy me, super pissed off to find out he’d been cheating for years. Who woulda thunk that would make someone enraged.

      • Nord –

        Good for you! Though I find it kind of annoying that apparently people would have been “fine” with him having a mid-life crisis and falling for some young thing at work. That is still a shitty shitty way to treat your wife and kids. It is still a massive betrayal. Is one affair supposed to be no big deal or something?

  • Enduring their contempt while you disengage needs all the focus you have. Wavering, hoping for shiny unicorns and taking the blue pill (Matrix – I used to wonder why I loved that film!) stops you from grasping the truth that the bastardo has a new game plan.

    Meh we come!

  • Echoing what the others said– I am glad that I found this site since I feel that I needed something to “graduate” to after being on another site. There came a point where I just needed someone to whack me upside the head and say, “Yes, you DID make the right decision! Reconcile? Are you nuts? Stay for the kids? Are you TRULY nuts?” Plus, my anger over how STBX appears to be getting off scot-free has been really intense lately. Coming here reminds me how much I need to work on getting to “meh” and how much better off I am without him, no matter how wonderful his life seems to appear to me.

    I also LOVE the metaphors on here. Figurative language really resonates with me. I’m anxiously awaiting my spackle mug. 🙂

    • His life may or may no be wonderful. Who cares. Your life is wonderful because you’re no longer with a person who disrespects you and does not value you. It can only get better from here.

      • Agree Nord! There is no point in sitting around wondering about what is good or bad in the cheater’s life. We really only move forward when we focus on our own lives and live them independently of what they do.

        Obviously that is easier in some situations than others (kids ad a wrinkle to things); but really, the best thing about leaving a cheater is that we’ve left a cheater. Getting that crap in the rearview mirror is the best!!

        • Just a tiny speck in the rear view mirror is what he needs to be. I’ve got kids so there is some contact but I’ve got it down to 3-5 word emails maybe once a week. It’s bliss.

          • I know. That’s why I need to work on it. I still see him far more than I want to because of the kids; it’s especially triggery when I have to drop off/pick up at the martial home like I did today (which I left voluntarily, but it’s still full of bad memories). I’m just dealing with a lot of anger lately; I may try to get back to my IRL support group if I can.

            • Let him pick them up, perhaps? If I dtop the kids off I literally pull up and they hop out. Same for him. i’m good with that. I’ve seen him in person once in the last six months. He looks like shit. 🙂

              • Mine are still in car seats, and the youngest still needs help getting in and out, so I’m not quite at the “drop and ditch” stage yet! I have been seeing him far less these days, but I think that another part of the problem is that when I do have a little interaction with him, he’s been acting somewhat bitchy. I don’t care why; I just don’t want to have to deal with it, and I also feel that he has no right being bitchy with me. But, that’s why I’m here– it helps to get whomped with the “They’re delusional, will never think like you, so stop trying to figure them out” 2 x 4. I just need time, the finality of divorce, and this crappy weather to go away in order to be less angry and more “meh,” I think.

  • CL – what can I say, you’re a lifesaver. God, I shudder to think where I’d be now…. it’s almost unbearable. Blows my mind.

  • Best website ever, and I hope you continue to for years to come.

    I was stuck over on SI for a long time, and literally stuck in limbo for several months. It was truly awful. I was wracked with guilt, TONS of fear, grief, regrets. But I was so scared of making the wrong decision, that I sat on that fence WAY longer than I needed to.

    Once I started coming here, reading the COMMON SENSE advice that is doled out, instead of the delusional advice elsewhere, it really gave me the confidence to say, “No, its not okay, and it will never be okay”. Once I hit that turning point, I gained my mojo back, my sense of self and capability, and no longer lived in fear. I have been SO much happier since I made the decision to divorce. A complete 180. Without this site, I would have sat in limbo, probably at least another three years, and completely fear-ridden and depressed. Thank you for the time and effort you put into this blog, CL, for giving us the needed “permission” and push to see the truth, and be able to accept it, warts and all.

    • Same here. When I initially caught him cheating, I went to SI. And while reading other’s stories helped me realize I wasn’t alone or at fault, I wanted out of the marriage. I did not want to reconcile, because I knew for me I would never be able to look at him the same, or even touch him again. I needed a place to confirm for me that leaving was the only option for me. CL was that place.

      I come here everyday, and everyday I heal a bit more. Today, I am happy and relieved that I don’t “have” to stay with a cheater. I knew in my heart the day I found out I was done. I needed to hear from someone else that I wasn’t a quitter, or a bad wife for him cheating. (Or crazy as I am positive he told his skank, he is one thing, and that is consistent in making sure his family and friends believe it is all my fault. And, frankly, I don’t care what they think about me. I’ll never have to see or speak to them again!

  • I just now read my very first post here. i love you already. I don’t want to fix it I want my life back. The pain is Bad, glad I found this…shall be spending my afternoon here and want to Thank you in advance…and the sympathy? Don’t want that either…

    • You’ll get sympathy but also firm advice. Good luck and know that you will get through this, one way or another.

      • Toni – it’s empathy, not really sympathy.
        As Nord says, it’s firm advice and it’s from good people that have experienced that Bad, intense pain and are coming through the unbelievable nightmare, and gaining their lives back.
        We all wish you luck.

  • It is ALL about self-respect! Thank you for this site and what it embodies.
    Being chumped, leaving the cheater AND finding that life does indeed get better is a long, hard journey. CL, yourf site, your stance, you advice and all our fellow chumplings’ comments have been invaluable to my healing.
    My 25-year-old daughter and I were talking yesterday about how she walked out of a 5-year relationship with her boyfriend – they loved each other deeply, they stood together and faced the painful facts and emotions of her sexual assault, subsequent abortion, anxiety/panic attacks and court-case (with her being cross-examined by a big-time defence-lawyer trying to put the blame for the assualt by the cab-driver on her. (She was drunk – in emotional pain about her parents sudden separation due to cheating) They had history and a deep love. Yet, she knew there would be issues down the line for them. She left the relationship and told me that she would not have had the strength to do that given their shared-history if I had not left my 27 year marriage (31 years together) with her father.
    She gets that it’s about emotional survival (and subsequent thiving) to leave a relationship that has deep bonds, whether they’re forged by time or shared, profound history.
    When I left what I thought was a happy, great marriage till the shit hit the fan, the biggest factors were the example I would be setting for my children by staying and the knowledge buried deep down under the pain was that I deserved more. I’m not saying I didn’t do the pick-me dance, wobble horribly, ,etc – I did all that -and I am mortified about it sometimes.
    6 long, hard years down the line, and my son and daughter tell me how proud they are of me – and that I did the right thing.
    Oh yes CL, keep this site as it is. Your manifesto is wise and is all about self respect.
    I thank you humbly.

  • Thank you Tracy for providing this site to bring like minded people together.
    It’s amazing how similar some of our stories are but being here kind puts us on the same page.
    I must say the first time here is like a bungy jump. That’s when you tie a huge elastic band to your feet and jump off a bridge and spring back up.
    That leap of faith
    The jump heading for death down below only to spring back up just before hitting the bottom
    Knowing that although its scary you are actually safe
    Knowing that 1000’s have jumped before you and survived.
    Also as Nord has said when you tell others there is no going back! This site also helps enforce these feelings.
    It’s crazy to go back even though sometimes you wish all the crap would just go away.
    It’s a learning curve and I learn something new everyday from you guys.
    Keep focused on you and keeping taking that extra step

    • I agree that the stories are all so similar. If nothing else this site stands as a “helping witness” telling you you’re not alone, not crazy, your cheater is not special. I think just knowing there’s someone else like you, experiencing what you’re experiencing can make all the difference.

  • I see Chumplady as a place where truth is in charge and what we *want* to hear is often bound and gagged and duct-taped to a straight-backed chair in the basement. Feelings *will* be hurt by this arrangement; it’s inevitable. But it can’t be any other way, since all of us initially want so badly to hear that our broken marriages can be patched up and saved, sometimes to the point of wanting that reconciliation more than we want to save ourselves.

    To anyone bruised by the frank advice offered here, I hope they come to understand that it’s offered with deep empathy and a sincere desire that we all find our way to something better.

  • I LOVE THIS SITE. The best one EVER about cheating.

    What I love most is how it cuts straight through every BS excuse cheaters make. All the reading I’ve done on infidelity – All the “It can make a marriage stronger” or “The majority of men and women will have at least one affair” “Humans aren’t meant to be monogamous”

    Oh and don’t even get me started on HuffPo where all the mistresses love to brag and all the affair supporters and “new monogamy” assholes experts share their stupid advice to sell a book they might as well call, “Affairs Are No Biggie”


    I was never so happy in my life as when I saw CL’s first article on HP! I was jumping up and down – FINALLY A SANE PERSON! YAY!!!!!!!!!!

    Thank you CL

    • @LoT
      “Oh and don’t even get me started on HuffPo where all the mistresses love to brag and all the affair supporters and “new monogamy” assholes experts share their stupid advice to sell a book they might as well call, “Affairs Are No Biggie”

      YES THEY ARE!”

      My STBX once told me that a woman at work matter-of-factly said that her husband had had an affair and she had one and they’re all right now, and that “affairs are no biggie.”

      If that’s the case, then why do cheaters try to keep them secret?

      • People who understand that affairs aren’t a big deal have a very high level of social/emotional intelligence. They’re aware that the majority of people around them haven’t reached this highly evolved level. Only a very special few.

        But because they are incredibly compassionate and loving human beings (so much so that it can’t be confined to just one person) they protect those around them by keeping their affairs a secret.

        They keep it a secret out of love and respect for their spouses and other loved ones.

        HA! No, not really, they’re emotional fucktards, and they know they are, that’s why they keep it a secret.

  • CL,
    My DD was April 2010, after 22 years together. I lost count of the number of ‘chances’ I gave to ex over the following 3 months. I became super sleuth, I HAD to know the truth. I recorded conversations of my then husband and my ‘friend’ in their affair, plotting against me. I heard him lie to me and to her. The bottom fell out of my world, I was in free fall. And I thew him out.

    I have never regretted that decision, although it has been a long and hard slog. I still am not recovered. I thought we had a happy, if not perfect, marriage. I discovered he had been lying and cheating for a long time. I don’t know how long, and I don’t care anymore.

    I learned about narcissistic personalities, sociopathic/psychopathic behaviors. I came to the realization that ex is one of these people. We divorced, and I went onto another (long distance) relationship with someone who had been a BS as well, also divorced. Still I suffered. I started to feel really stuck, I was angry that he seems to always avoid any meaningful consequences for the suffering he brings to everyone who is significant in his life. I was sad that I am in my mid fifties and I have to start over in so many respects. I get scared sometimes, I haven’t worked in a long time and I plan to return to my career this year (hopefully).

    I discovered your blog recently, and I just wanted to tell you that it has helped me turn a corner, so to speak. It has helped me take significant strides toward acceptance, or ‘meh’ (I love this concept). I turn to your blog when I doubt or question what I already know to be true. I find strength, empathy and support in your words. I find hope for myself and the work I have before me in re-inventing myself. I know that time has helped, but I needed to write to you to say thank you. Thank you for your clarity and no apology message of self respect and courage and the 2×4 of truth.

    Tears of the Sea

  • Thanks you guys for all the affirmation! Wow! I appreciate all the kind words about the site — and I’m so glad it helps. That keeps me doing it. 🙂

    Now to our regularly scheduled programming…

    Thanks again, chumps rock!

  • CL,
    Your words give a voice to our thoughts. We read them and are dumbstruck with “ah ha!” moments over and over. And the comments confirm we are not alone in the quest to get out of the fog. You’ve established a community that supports each other but at the same time heals. As the community takes in new members, those of us who have moved past the original shock/awe moments of deception are perhaps able to help alleviate one moment of pain for another. Thanks. 🙂

  • Well said, as always, CL. CL stands for Champion Lady in my book!

    Let me also add one other comment. I have posted as “Chump Son” in the past. Leaving is hard, but leaving isn’t just leaving a spouse, it can also mean accepting the bitter reality that a parent or a boss or someone in our life just…isn’t very nice, isn’t interested in being very nice, and never will be interested in being very nice. (That is understated. I’m talking about narcissists, or N-people.) Once you accept that they are just not good people, then it’s very liberating. You are “leaving” them emotionally, and you have a lot more flexibility in dealing with them. So, “leave a cheater (or an abuser or an “enner” [N-person]), gain a life” is about marriage, but it an also apply to other relationships.

    From Chump to Champ. That’s the goal.

    I admire you, CL. You are a true Champ!

    • Yes David, from Chump to Champ indeed!!! I truly agree that when you leave a cheater, the strength you develop while traveling this road really does make you champion…
      My other motto I developed for myself is:
      “Live like a. champion today. Everyday.”

  • I was so fed up with the lack of tolerance on SI and MB. I never tried to ram my position down anyone’s throat. But, merely respectfully advocating divorce got me banned.
    I have come to the conclusion that paople just have different tolerances for the abuse cheaters wreak. I am glad that others feel as I do-it is a dealbreaker. This site has opened my eyes to all the common traits cheaters possess.

    • I was banned, too, Arnold, for the same reasons.

      My posts advocating divorce were far more polite than the responses from reconcilers that responded to my post.

      Sometimes, too, I was outright attacked and provoked and reported for refusing to respond to those attacks. Truly wierd. Yet those attacker were never banned.

      Also when I pointed out politely that some posters seemed to be in denial about their husbands or wives, obviously deceptive behavior, behaviors like continued contact and more texting, that by all standards suggests that the spouse was likely cheating but most likely went underground, the posters would go berserk.

      I thought that a discussion forum was meant to open every one to the possibilities so as to enlighten them to their blind spots. We all have blind spots in a relationship and we can’t see the forest for the trees.

      But as they say there is never anyone so blind as those who refuse to see the reality of a situation, no matter how sadly obvious.

    • Thankfully my first forum was truthaboutdeception, which does give voice to reconciliation, cheaters trying to reform and regain trust, and BS’s call for support, but it never seemed to pressure people into reconciliation.

      Finding CL’s site reaffirmed what I already knew once D-day occurred: I’d never be able to trust my spouse again. I would have to police his every move, and given that I have enough internet savvy to know that it’s child’s play to create a new identity at the drop of a hat, he could develop a whole separate set of accounts with which he could contact the OW. The mere fact that I’d have to police his whereabouts and contacts, his email, his social media–well, the fact that I’d have to watch all those things shows that there’s no trust, and where there’s no trust, there’s no marriage.

      I’m trying to get my financial ducks in a row. CL’s site gives me support and keeps reminding me that life with a cheater is hell, and when I leave the cheater, I’ll have a much, much better life.

      • KB

        Take your time getting your financial ducks in a row.

        No reason to rush. It’s more important to protect yourself.

  • I read chumplady because it keeps me focused. It gives me hope that I can have happiness in my life agin with preperation and determination. Thank you chumplady. Don’t change a thing.

  • Indeed. Thank you, CL, so much for your site. Thank you for the 2×4’s of truth and the reminder that life IS so much better without spackle. Your birthday post remains one of my personal favorites, and it reaffirms my hope and belief that there are good, honest, wonderful people out there who are happy to put EFFORT into a valued relationship and not just “love” how much you can do for them. And whenever I think that OW is now getting the partner I thought I had, that STBX is acting super-sparkly with dingbat OW and OW’s dingbat Momma…all I have to do is re-read the “Trust That They Suck” post to be reminded how incredibly right you are. This site is so immensely helpful, and I every day I read a new post I feel like I’m taking another step away from the merry-go-round of self-created-chaos that is STBX. Thank you.

  • I’ve said this here before and will reiterate..

    This site heals and strengthens

    This site affirms and confirms.

    This site slaps and soothes.

    This site makes a Phoenix of all of us.

    We owe you one , CL.

    • Yes, I agree with all the above times 100. I think CL could have her own talk show- the possibilities are endless! CL, you actually COULD be the ‘next big thing’ after Oprah. We don’t have anything on TV that speaks to men and women who are chumps. Seriously, although I would suggest you do cable- that way you can leave all the swear words in because when you’ve been chumped you NEED to swear!

  • IMO if a person has been used,abused,lied to or CHEATED on he or she has been chumped. i dont want anyone to be a chump and i sincerely hope everyone has the means to become a Former Chump… thankyou CL you rock!!!!!

  • CL your site rocks!

    Your advice is the bucket of cold water most of us need immediately following D-Day. Nothing hurts more than wasted time, because you can never get that back.

    You have saved numerous people from wasting another hour, day, year, living with, thinking about cheating freaks. Thank you.

  • i for one would like to says thank you for what you write. for years the red flags went up but always he had a response. until i read your websight i would not have realized they were the the same responses that thousands of cheaters tell us. when i saw that my situation was similar to others i knew there was no hope of recovery. you helped me make my decision to leave. i was able to think clearer and fight for myself.
    the other websights sugarcoat the subject and make it seem like the stupid tv shows that make cheating glamourous.its not. cheating is the lowest form of deceit. it preys on our self esteem and robs us of our dignity.
    its a given that the cheaters lie to us but when we lie to ourselves, we make ourselves “chumps”.
    so say it like it is, chump lady. the hardest words to hear are always the truth and you speak the truth.

  • There was no time for me to be a chump. Ex & I had a small tiff the day after Xmas 2009 (after 24 years married w/o children) & there & then he announced that he was leaving. I was blindsided & just rolled over so to speak. He was gone within 3 weeks & filed for divorce 2 months later. Apparently the new “love” of his life was a subordinate at work who didn’t have custody of her 5 children. I had to go NC immediately in order to save my self.

    But I still love this site as I am learning how to spot a potential cheater & what to accept or not accept should a relationship with another person EVER happens.

    • So sorry you were hurt. Good for you for knowing that NC was the only way to survive. I’m sure there will be a relationship in your future when you are ready for it.

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