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On Saying “Fuck”

Recently Chump Lady got taken to task by a commentator on HuffPo for saying “fuck” too much. The person wrote to say that he himself says “fuck” on occasion but found my usage of the word “fuck” offensive. Another commentator said while she agreed with the message, she thought my potty mouth did my writing a disservice.

To which I say — Christ on a crutch, you mother fucking pansies with your delicate ears. Really? You find the eff word offensive when discussing infidelity? Huffington Post is crawling with trolls who post the most misanthropic, depraved shit — to wit, the man who told the mother of three, a betrayed wife of a deployed soldier that she was to blame for her husband’s cheating because she didn’t give him enough sex — THAT is not offensive? That raises no hackles? But writing the word “mindf*ck” with an asterisk is beyond the pale?

I know, getting in a huff about trolls is pointless, but taking offense at the word “fuck” does raise questions about the language we use to describe infidelity. So I’d like to take this opportunity to discuss my profanity with you.

My salty language is intentional. Before I started Chump Lady, I was writing about infidelity and giving advice on support forums while dropping eff bombs left and right. Not deliberately, but simply because nothing short of vulgarity felt remotely satisfying in describing my anger and sense of injustice. There were no words. And the closest words I could find were the darkest and the most shocking. I realized pretty early on that I was unable to write about the experience of infidelity without cursing.

Using euphemisms to describe cheating sanitizes the experience of betrayal, minimizes how willful and destructive it is. That is why my language is deliberate. You will not read affairs here described as “a mistake” (singular). I do not use the term “wayward,” I say “cheater.” I prefer “chump” over “betrayed spouse.” And yes, I say fuck a lot.

When you have been cheated on, you have been lied to, gaslighted, had your words used against you. You cannot truly cheat on someone unless you verbally abuse them as well — make them doubt their perceptions of reality, deceive them, humiliate them with language. If you don’t believe me, look at any comment at Stupid Shit Cheaters Say and how almost every example is a cheater turning the betrayal back on the victim — well you were so cold, that’s why I couldn’t divorce you. The problem here is your emotions. (Not what I have done.) I am not defined by my “relationships.”

Chumps need to take their language back. Call a spade a spade. Not feel compelled to speak in polite, hushed tones about what happened. Hell, it’s huge for chumps to speak of what happened at ALL! Many walk around with this shame, feeling responsible for the cheating (how could you not with all the feeble minded self-help gurus asking you what you did to contribute to the “environment” that “made” them cheat? Don’t you feel accountable?) So many chumps feel compelled to keep secrets, to maintain the image of their cheater — it is understandable that chumps speak in euphemisms, shielding others from the unpleasantness.

Chumps, it is okay to be ANGRY. To call a mindfuck a mindFUCK. To curse a blue streak if you want to. Unvarnished language is plain language. Everyone understands invective, it’s completely democratic. No one has to guess what you’re hinting at. Unlike cheaters who delight in obfuscation and word salad, who want you to believe that cheating is Very Complicated and you wouldn’t understand it because you’re not as clever or sophisticated (or as broken and wayward) as they are.

Oh fuck you, you fucking mindfucks.

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  • Well said, Chump Lady.

    One reason we so love your columns is that you speak the unvarnished truth about cheating. That means the factual truth, but the emotional truth as well.

    Don’t let the dainty-eared put a crimp in your tongue. F*ck ’em if they can’t take strong language. You do for infidelity what Creighton Burnette did hurricaines (shout out to you fans of “Treme”):

      • It amazes me that cheaters who have fuckbuddies hate the word fuck.

        What the fuck do they think they were doing when cheating. They were fucking their fuckbuddy.

        I mean the words, fuck, fucking and fuckbuddy are much more descriptive ways of describing the affair partner and the sexcapades they engaged in while married to the women or man they were suppose to love and cherish and……make love to.

        I think anyone harmed by a cheater doesn’t think the affair partner is anything more or less than a fuckbuddy and anyone harmed by a cheating spouse would not object to using the word fuck or fuckbuddy or fuckhead to describe the cheaters or their affair partners or their antics in bed.

        If anyone objects, they must already have a fuckbuddy of their own or are planning/yearning/hoping to have one.

  • Well, fuck me. I had no idea we could use profanity here. Why the fuck was I so fucking ignorant? That blows my mind like a motherfucker.
    Sam L Jackson is excellent at this type of thing, BTW.

  • Some personal supporters of mine told me that they have been offended when my eff bombs have dropped left and right after I found out about the betrayal the cheater wasband acted upon. They told me they understood I was traumatized and stressed but that I should reel it in to remain dignified and and classy. Really????
    I say “Fuck that shit.”
    I agree with you wholeheartedly CL that there are no words to describe such filthy, vile acts a person does to their spouse/partner by betraying them in the acts of cheating.. And the best way for me? Calling a spade a spade with a many choice words.. Wayward spouse ??? No a fucking CHEATER!!! After enduring all the lies, deceit, emotional/mental/physical abuse the cheater puts the cheatee through, gaslighting, mindfucking, etc.. The cheatee is chumped.. Terminolgoy is spot on CL… After the PTSD the chumps go through–shock (horrible stage), denial, (lovely stage of pick me!!!), grief (bottomless pit of letting go and the emotions of sadness, depression, etc that go w it), anger (that piece of SHIT, MOTHERFUCKER!!!), and finally acceptance (perhaps the stage of reaching indifference–meh.. I don ‘t know, not at that stage yet) … A person can fluctuate between stages and can vary from person to person as to how long they reach the last stage of acceptance.
    In my personal experience my potty mouth has been pretty loud and free.. And helping me to heal through this jungle maze called picking-up-the-pieces. And so fucking what?
    My therapist told me that dropping eff bombs can be a good stress reliever.. I also found this to be true. Chumps, we have been put through hell and back be proud of that for taking your power back and if you want to flip the bird while doing so good for you! What I am offended about is cheating and all the other shit that goes with it.
    Now when going home to visit mama, be sure to rinse your mouth with a little mouthwash first before giving her a kiss hello.. 😛 Hahaha!

  • But fuck is totally my favorite swear word! And your blog would not be nearly as hilarious or truthful without it.

  • Let me be the odd person out here. I don’t wince at people use profanity, but I don’t use it either. I was taught that a lady doesn’t swear and whatever could be said with a curse word could be said without a curse word.

    Truthfully I don’t find profanity shocking, I find it distracting or boring. Maybe it’s just because I’m online a good deal or because my siblings enjoy listening to the uncensored version of various songs, but they don’t matter to me. The only time I notice is when there seems to be nothing but profanity, in which case I roll my eyes and want to send the person a dictionary.

    If you feel that the best way to express/explain yourself is swearing then go ahead. I’ll read on without blinking. But I’m not so quick to dismiss the people who ask others to tone it down.

    In regards to the things people say in the comments, you’re the article writer, they are the commentators there is the difference.

    • I agree too. I’ve never been one to curse, even at the worst of times. I’m not going to let his behavior change me that way. It has changed enough already, but I’ll keep my essential self, and who I want to be.

      That said, it doesn’t bother me to read it, especially when used for a specific purpose, as in “mindfuck”. I can’t think of a better, more succinct way to express that idea. IRL, I can’t stand being around people who are cursing – makes me cringe. 🙂

    • Me, I find profanity fascinating. I always felt that if one could say something without profanity, one could say it even better using a lot of cursing and motherfucking swearing. I am often offended if there is not enough profanity used, but that is just me.
      My parents taught me that a true gentleman is almost always profane(of course, they were institutionalized. the crazy motherfuckers).

      • Fuck, Arnold, that’s fucking profound.

        My STBX was fucking his fuckbuddy. That’s all she was obviously because he doesn’t want to marry her.

        Why mince words.

  • Offhand, I can’t think of anything more worthy of swearing. It releases stress and adds an underline and exclamation point. Why not?

    Fuck away, Chump Lady!

  • Thank you, CL. I really, really needed to read this today. It has not been a good day for me; I’ve been brimming over with anger and resentment. It’s nice to see how I feel written on the page by someone else. I’m having one of those “he gets off scot free to live happily ever after while I trudge through the muck” days.

    So fuck him.

    FUCK. HIM.

    • That’s right… FUCK HIM! It’s taken me a few years, but I’ve come to realize that I like myself. I can look at myself in the mirror and be really good with what I see. Him? Not so much. It all comes around. We may not see it, or even know about it, but it does happen. You’re awesome just for being able to say FUCK HIM. It’s not easy, but in the end it’s a hell of a lot easier than living with some mindfucker whose only goal is to make themselves and their little friend feel important.

      Just sayin”…..

    • Ffffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuccccccckkkkkkk my STBX and his skank. I wish they would both feel the pain they have caused….right fucking now!

  • When I spoke to my ex about his affair I politely used the euphemism “slept with”. He was furious saying he didn’t “sleep” with anyone. I said OK… fucked someone else. He said “you don’t need to be so vulgar.”

    seriously dude? I was the one that was vulgar?

    They hate to see the ugly truth.

    • Hahahaahaha….mine said I was vulgar as well when I said ‘hey, I’m not the one currently fucking a 20-something after fucking every dipshit that crossed my path’. Ha! Too funny. They really are all the same. How dare we call their special soul mate schmoopie love anything but what it is? Fuck. Them.

      • Agree, chumplady.

        I don’t normally curse a lot, but when referring to my STBX and his fuck fest with his fuckbuddy, I feel there is no reason not to describe the situation as succinctly and accurately as possible.

        Infidelity is what is profane, not the words that simply succinctly describe it.

  • Good to meet you in person at T-giving.
    I agree with you here. The only thing I would add is that I believe mother-fucking (as in “mother-fucking pansies”) is hyphenated. I know this seems like a small thing but it clears away (for those who need things cleared away) the possibility that mother is having her way in the garden. Likewise “man eating chicken”). John.

  • Apropos of language, I’m proud to announce that I earned my first-ever “bounced from a site for calling a cheater, a cheater”. Heh. I didn’t even drop any f-bombs. Just pointed out the disgusting “oh! poor me! “narcissism of the serial OW who wrote the article, pointed out that she was scum, and so narcissistic that she never even mentioned the damage she inflected on the partners, children and other family members of the men she so casually sought and fucked.

    Hey-o! My comment was deleted as unsuitable. But not before the inevitable cheater defense of, “if not me, somebody else would’ve fucked them”. I’m so sure.

    Blog & thread here, if you need a good emetic:

    • Had to stop reading after a few comments that were along the lines of ‘she’s baring her soul, it’s hard for her’, as well as when she says she’s ‘trying to take responsibility without blaming herself’. Give me one huge fucking break on that one. Not blaming herself for screwing around with anyone and everyone whist married? Who should she blame? The pool boy?

      • I read it. Yes, the howler was she is “trying to take responsibility without blaming herself.” Uh, yeah — taking responsibility DOES mean blaming yourself. It’s YOU taking the blame for the situation YOU caused.

        To me, it’s just a lot of narcissistic, I’m broken! caterwauling. The emphasis isn’t on what she’s done to whom, but that she’s a poor sausage who didn’t know better, but regrets it now, and pays lip service to all she’s hurt.

        A lot of the comments there are taking pains to be supportive. How hard this must be to write! To bare your soul!

        I dunno. OTOH you want the OW to be sorry. OTOH, it’s often this sort of inane blather.

        It reminds me of “Luella” here:

  • Why is it that when you call a homewrecking fucker on her shit you are being insensitive because, after all, she’s so brave for telling everyone how shitty she’s been? As if her behavior ISN’T something she should be ashamed of?

    Real badge of courage there.

    That whore is bragging.

    If I hadn’t stolen your purse, someone else would have! Doesn’t make you less of a thief.

    • Omg priceless I’ve been called not classy because of this same thing. They can do whatever… Destroy whatever and I’m supposed to put on my pearls and be June Cleaver? Fuck that shit!

  • Never one for holding back the obscenities, you can just imagine what infidelity did to my “potty mouth”. I come from a tradition of women who drop the f bomb if they put a run in their panty hose. My kids are used to it. When they were younger I would just say “cover your ears, mommy is saying a bad word.” My little boy would catch me and say “bad word. bad word. if I didn’t warn him.” OH well.

    But after the split between myself and my ex my young son was sitting in the back seat of the car and he said to me, “what are you going to get dressed as for Halloween?” and I answered “a bitch!” We both laughed. I really am a good and loving mom. I just have a trashy mouth.

    • My kids have inherited my potty mouth and I think we’re past the point of no return. It kind of bothered me for a bit but then I spoke with a friend whom I respect a great deal and she said she too is Mrs. Potty Mouth and finally told her kids to swear where appropriate but don’t do it around people who would take offense, such as granny and the like. Works perfectly for me.

  • I had a friend, while out at dinner, get offended when I was swearing my face off a month or two after dday. He thought it was ‘unseemly’. I just looked at him and told him to shut the fuck up, I was freaking out and I would swear as needed. He doesn’t say anything to me about this anymore.

  • Fuck yeah! Going through cheating and all its various humiliations entitles you to a liberal use of curse words. If not for cursing and the release of venom it offers I think I would have gone batshit fucking crazy.

    Keep on, keeping on CL! And fuck the fucking haters!

  • **Chumps need to take their language back. Call a spade a spade.**
    Or, as we say here in Blighty, call a spade a fucking shovel.

    I have to admit to swearing more than I probably should – but never in the company of someone who’d be offended.
    For me, creative swearing is one of the great joys in life.
    Particular favourites are “Buggery-buggery-bollocks” and “Fucktard”, a more extreme type of fuckwit.

    The word “fuck” is so useful and can be applied in so many different ways – “Oh fuck, the fucking fucker’s fucked” or “Fuck off, you fucking fucker”, both of which can be highly therapeutic in an appropriate situation.

    Like you, I find cheating a great deal more offensive than cursing.

  • Say it ain’t so….. the BRITISH curse???? Must be the accent – makes everything sound so civilized. Who knew?

  • F-U-C-K-I-N-G A, Chump Lady!!! I too swear like a sailor when talking about things I’m passionate about. We’re still “ladies” anyway!

  • I hate the sanitizing of this.
    Fuck is a good Anglo Saxon word that describes as best as words can how you feel.

    I got blasted for calling her a “fucking whore” I thought for a moment and then took it back.

    “Actually I have more respect for a whore at least she gets paid . You fuckwit.”

    In fact my new GF and I both have fuckwit cheating ex partners and are constantly amazed by their level of fuckwittery on all levels.

    See. i feel better already 🙂

  • Profanity is so contextual … it would be so profoundly inappropriate for me to say “fuck” at work in earshot of families and little kids and strangers, but it is a perfectly good word to express reality to my friends. It is a respectful thing to not use vulgarities around casual acquaintances, but put me amongst my homeys and the “fucks” will fly.

    I know that OWs aren’t 100% to blame for cheating, my H was accountable to me, she wasn’t BUT he was true blue until life circumstances threw him off-balance in numerous ways at once…she saw his unsteadiness and like a shark who smells blood in the water, she swam over for a hunk of flesh. I later described it thusly: “she took the shakiness in our marriage, fashioned a dildo and fucked herself with it”.

    no other words would have so aptly described the process

    At my husbands funeral, someone came up to me and told me I was “forgiven”. FORGIVEN? forgiven for what? I was a fabulous wife. A minute later the Priest about to do his Mass walked over to me and after telling him what was said to me, I said “What the fuck was that?” Do I regret saying that? no, it was fitting. (the Priest is a grown up and Im sure he heard that word before)

  • Fuck Ya!! Whenever I talk about his cheating I have instinctively used the most vile language I can think of. He cringes every time I refer to sex acts with the howorker as fucking and has said that he didn’t even know I knew words like cock. I am an adult. I have not lived under a rock. Once I told him that I reserve these words for when I am so fucking angry I actually think about homicide. I whole heartedly support plain language in all situations but most especially in this case. This fucker is the king of word salad. When he opens his mouth these days, I just want to puke. Sometimes, when I am at work and can’t say fuck loud enough, I live vicariously through you, ChumpLady. Your ability to put this fucked up situation into exactly the words required is uncanny. And fuck them if they don’t get it!

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