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The Canard That Cheaters Have Low Self Esteem

If you spend any time on reconciliation boards, you’ll read a lot of creative excuses being thrown around about the deep shame and inadequacy that cheaters feel. Really, it’s there buried deep under their secret cell phones, dating profiles, and FOO issues. The whole time they were screwing around on you, somewhere deep in their black little hearts was a sense of… inadequacy and self-loathing.

It took DDay and being carted off to therapy under duress for them to realize that gosh, they suffer from low self esteem. They needed the validation of an affair… and hey, they’re really fragile right now, so they can’t deal with your distress about being cheated on. Their issues are complicated. But perhaps you could do a bit of bolstering? You know, BE there for them during this difficult time of self awareness? Hold their hand, and maybe reinforce how much you care and how much you value being with them? Because you know, if this self esteem thing flags again, they might be out trolling Craigslist. It’s a delicate thing.

Now read on a cheater board like and see how much low self esteem you spot, as the cheaters dish about how they keep their affairs secret, the best places to fuck, and managing the occasional guilt pang. (“It passes. Hang in there!”)

Newsflash chumps — cheaters don’t suffer from low self esteem. On the contrary, they think they’re splendid. It’s YOU who are lacking. You don’t appreciate them enough. You don’t fuck them often enough or well enough. You’re a little dim.

Cheaters cheat because they feel entitled to cheat. You know who feels entitled? People who think they’re better and more deserving than you are. Not people with low self esteem.

But wait! No, it’s really their low self esteem that made them gin up this false self! The arrogance and entitlement is just masking deeper inadequacies! It’s their insecurity that makes them have to puff themselves up so much!

Hogwash. Their arrogance and entitlement is actually masking deeper arrogance and entitlement. If you do any reading about schoolyard bullies, you’ll see that this myth, that bullies suffer from low self esteem, has been debunked by researchers. Actually, bullies are little narcissists. They think they’re tops and feel perfectly free to trample over anyone they deem a lesser being. What they need is for a nun to whack them with a ruler and shame them in the name of God. Not a self esteem intervention.

Similarly, cheaters don’t need your patience and understanding. They need a whack upside the head with a divorce summons.

Why do chumps persist in thinking cheaters feel bad, really somewhere deep down? Because we need to think they’re human and they care and we matter. People in reconciliation especially need to see their cheater as sad, soft sausages who didn’t act with agency. Also, chumps tend to project their moral world view on cheaters. Boy, only someone really sad and depraved would do such a thing, ergo, the cheater must be sad and depraved. No, the cheater actually ENJOYS being “sad” and “depraved.” At your expense. They weren’t thinking of you one bit while they were getting their jollies.

If you think I’m wrong? Go read on those cheater boards — they’ll admit it to each other. Just not to the chumps in their lives. The truth has the unintended consequence of a decline in ego kibble production as the chumps take umbrage. So better to just go along with the low self esteem narrative… more kibbles in that. Tell me again how great I am. I suffer from low self esteem.


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  • I think that the “low self esteem” thing might sometimes be true. But sometimes the gunman holding up a convenience store does so because he didn’t get enough attention at home. He should be booked along side the much more common druggie robber who was trying to get enough money for his next hit.

    Many cheaters are trolling for their next hit, not having side dishes because of self esteem. Among the people that do suffer from self esteem issues many, many of them do not go out and have affairs.

    But for every one legitimately mad person pleading the insanity defense with a valid problem, there are hundreds claiming the same thing in hopes it will work for them.

  • The one-time, accidental affair, the “I can’t believe I just did that; I’m so horrified; how could I have let this happen” etc might be able to use the low self-esteem, not as an excuse, but as an explaination for how it could happen.

    I would say pretty much anything else on the creep-o-meter is blatantly disrespectful, over-the-top superiority complex entitlement issues.

    My Ex manipulated a therapist into telling him that he needed to focus on himself and his low self-esteem right now. I asked him if he had told the therapist a) he had an affair, and b) his wife was about 2 heart beats from taking our daughter and moving back home to my family 3 states away. His response: No, I didn’t tell her that.

    I asked him, Do you think your therapist might have a different take on the situation if she had all the details? Even he stated the therapist would have a different set of instructions.

    i think much of what is repeated is based on bogus theories built around half-truths and out right lies.

  • My students are always very surprised when I tell them that prison inmates have high self-esteem (which is really self-regard, or narcissism).

    I like this article:

    I think that my STBX, despite not being very conventionally attractive in the physical sense, certainly regards his brains and talents VERY highly. I think that made it very easy for him to have an A– after all, I should be satisfying his every whim because I should feel so very lucky to have him!

    I never saw that before– it took some time and distance for it to sink in.

    • My X most certainly has a really exaggerated sense of his own cleverness. That’s like his ace in the hole thing…. he’s just like impossibly clever. And it’s true, he is really smart and good company, clever company, entertaining company – so other than the fact that he has no character or personal integrity…. and is basically a chronic underachiever – someone who just could never realize or live up to any of his potential…. all that cleverness adds up to someone who just love his own emails. And that’s about it.

      • Erika, that makes a lot of sense. When I think about it, mine is also a chronic underachiever (especially in the eyes of his parents… he didn’t become a lawyer/doctor/accountant and is only now getting a graduate degree). I think he used me as an excuse for years (moved to what he felt was a crappy area to be with me, so it limited him in the job market), but honestly, the only thing holding him back from what he thought he “should have” was him. It was easier to blame me, though, instead of breaking up with me years ago, moving to a really “great” place to live and then flopping without me as an excuse. I’m sure that he’s hoping the OW is the answer to all of his problems, and if/when things don’t work out or change for him, he’ll just blame her as well.

    • Seattle

      I agree. I lurk on the doccool site briefly. It is sick. The cheaters are so delusional about themselves and their sick self absorption, and they do bolster each other so well.

      I can’t read more than a couple of thread at a time before i have to click off because if I read too much of their ideologies I will become a hermit.

      • What’s ironic about that site is that there’s a lot of complaining that they’re not getting enough attention from the person they’re cheating with because that person’s spouse is in the way. Boo hoo!

        There’s a lot of whining about feeling alone. And, oddly enough, some complaining that their cheating partner, once discovered, went NC on them and went back to their wife/husband. So ridiculous and insight free! I would laugh if it wasn’t so pathetic and didn’t remind me of my own problems.

        There’s even a whole section of people bemoaning DDays and how *their* lives were destroyed. It’s quite astonishing that they don’t recognize that they are solely responsible for their predicament. Good God!

        • Sad in seattle:

          You are spot on about the whining.

          It really makes me laugh when an OW is moaning about being left alone for the Holidays or on weekends.

          I find the OWs complain about that more than Other men.

          Also even though they are sitting home alone, while the cheater is home with his wife at the holidays, or on weekends, they still insist that their lover loves them more than the wife.

          These women are truly delusional. They are just tame fucks that are cheaper than a prostitute to most cheating husbands.

          The OW outed my ex and several of my counselors told me that this type of thing with OWs is extremely common. It’s the OW hoping to push the wife out of the way on dday.

          This rarely happens with the man unless he is single and his cheating lover is the one who is th married other woman.

          The sad thing is that a lot of the men don’t want the OW even after their wife leaves them.

          It’s an eye opener for sure, reading the threads at the Doccool site.

          What a bunch of sad sack loosers.

          • Actually, there was a hilarious thread I read on this morning about trusting the person you’re having an affair with.

            Here are some hysterical excerpts:

            — This OM I can’t possibly see having the time to see anybody else. He’s busy as it is. I see him 3-4 days a week on average, he works, has W, kids, etc. Plus he’s usually in contact most of the day and all night. I trust him or I wouldn’t be sleeping with him. Plus he says he needs an emotional connection in order to have sex with someone.

            — I am very serious about a monogamous affair once we agreed upon it. Even when I didn’t know if it would work out and I really wanted to see other people to look around, I was very dedicated to upholding my agreement with him.

            — I trust my O/W implicitly, but then our situation is unique i think because weve known eachother for so long. In my mind, if she says shes not seeing anyone else, she isnt.

            • Sad in seattle:

              That is hilariouis…..trusting and affair partner to be faithful.

              What a hoot. Just shows how delusional cheaters are. They are delusional about themselves and their affair partner.

              I bet this person’s spouse thinks he/she is too busy to cheat too.

  • Every cheater i have personally known was grandiose. I think NPD is the common denominator among cheaters. I am serious. The way these folks think.the entitlement , especially, is really evident if you look and listen.
    If I have low self esteem, am I , really , likely to go peeling my clothes off with strangers? Fuck, no. I feel too shitty about my attractiveness to put myself out there like that.

  • I have to say, entitlement or no aside – what absolutely blew my mind the most and still does…. what I was TOTALLY unprepared for was his self-pity. I should post the letter he wrote me – since we all seem to kind of enjoy his prose… It was like someone’s idea of a caricature of self pity – not what I was expecting at all – so I didn’t know how to respond, so, I didn’t and went into radio silence from there – when I think back on what happened I still can’t wrap my brain around it –

    Now they’re free to have little pity/victim fests together – she’s a victim of all the men and relationships in her life and he’s a victim of, well, as near as I can tell, pretty much everything.

    Unless I experienced it for myself, I wouldn’t have believed it was possible.

    • Jesus, when I was still speaking to my xH, that’s all I could get out of him, and of course, before I realized what he was doing, I was all jumping to attention, just like my pattern.

      High alert! Man is unhappy! DO SOMETHING!

      Then it was pointed out to me at another forum that this is par for the course. These guys are SOOOOOOOo self-absorbed, and yet so un-self-aware. My ex fucked over his entire family, met the LOVE! OF HIS LIFE! and all he can do is whine about how unfair everything is, how miserable he is, wah wah wah.

      When I realized what he was doing, it sort of became an interesting phenomenon.

      I’m of the belief that it is another symptom of depression, just like taking off with a fucked-up entitlement-minded whore was.

      Well? What can I say.

      Good one, fella. Enjoy your new life.

      • Yup, I remember those days. ‘You’re unhappy, pumpkin? What can I do to alleviate that for you? I know I’ve got some problems I need to deal with but hey! You’re my special bunny and my focus must be on you!’

        What a load of crock.

  • Low self esteem- my arse.

    It’s just an excuse along with all their other behaviour once they get caught.
    Once caught they have to come up with low self esteem, uncontrolled emotions, indecision on their wants and needs, question who are they and their relationships bla bla bla!
    And they act like this because they know us chumps will feed them kibbles!
    Why do they cheat? Because they think they won’t get caught!
    Why do they consider cheating?
    Because they think they are entitled to and every other person does matter. They don’t care. Thats not low self esteem. That’s reckless thoughtless behaviour.
    The more I spend time here the more I’m convinced its virtually impossible to reconcile after an affair. – there would be too much low self esteem for starters and I can’t live with that- I have enough of my own!

  • I think they have sociopathic tendencies, for real. I’m not sure they have higher than average self esteem, but then I suppose we need to agree on the term in the first place.

    Was just reading over at doccool and there are a lot of trashy women posting there, bragging. I see false bravado. I know the type, extremely defensive and knee-jerk, “DON’T YOU JUDGE ME!”

    I’ll judge you, whore. You’re a whore. You deserve the misery you’re headed for, you deserve the filth you share a bed with, you deserve the emptiness you’ve created for yourself.

    They act like they think they’re better and smarter and sexier than the wives, but they are trashy and vile, and certainly lacking in respect from anyone else.


    As for the men they fuck, men like my ex husband?


    They’re gross, too. Good riddance.

    • You just don’t get it. You’re not as sophisticated or enlightened like they are. The sexual revolution happened and you poor, dear chump, are stuck in a 50s housewife dress still believing things like marriage vows are sacred, people should consider their children, and spouses should be respected.

      Poor, deluded fool. But don’t worry, in their great benevolence they’ll be happy to enlighten your spouse.


      • Honestly, I think I’m lucky that after years of cheating I found out about all of it and he fell in love with the young skirt. Now she can waste God knows how many years of her life trying unsuccessfully to keep him happy while I get to live the rest of my life toxic asshole free.

        It’s all win win from here on out.

        • Nord, you are spot on. The fact that he is elsewhere is indicative of two things. First, your own self esteem, which is healthy and second, the fact that he recognizes that about you and knows you cannot be played. You are unchumply as they come, my friend. Be proud!

          • I don’t know about me being unchumpy (I am, after all, in a fight to the death for the coveted title of Queen of the Chumps) but yeah, something made me get super truthful and public about what he did, knowing that it would destroy any chance of R. I think my sub-conscious was taking care of biz, because my conscious mind was freaking right hte fuck out and still thought I could fix him.

            Yes, I was slightly insane at the start of all this bullshit.

      • Greengirl:

        You must have been talking to my ex’s Ow.

        In some of the emails I read she was saying exactly that. She used terms like the circles she travels in, implying that the skanks in her circle were so much more sophisticated than the average housewife because they were willing to spread their legs for ego kibbles and other treats.

        And, yes, she was enlightening my ex to all her sophisticated ways…..burn phone, paying cash for dates and trips and hotels. If the wife or hubby gets suspiscious, “deny deny deny”

        When caught, she talked about next time, and how to hide things better.

        Sick stuff.

  • We have projected our moral compass onto them so it’s the same with low self esteem issue.

    If I were a man and had to pay someone to have sex with me, call the person and then wait for 3 hours for them to be free ,then have sex with the woman knowing very well that just a few minutes before god knows which man has been in there I defi would think I have low self esteem.

    If I were a man and I would have sex with a married woman knowing she is sleeping with her husband and a couple of other men then it’s low self esteem in my book.

    If I have a married female colleague who the whole company knows is the CEO’s mistress, and is alleging with other male co workers, clients, suppliers and yet say any man would want to have sex with her once and then have sex with her I would think I am a desperate guy with low self esteem.

    If I go on adult fiend ( naah, that’s not a typo !) finder and pick up a women who say they are married or in a committed relationship but are looking for variety and are interested in threesomes orgies group sex etc etc and I have sex with them then I would think I have low self esteem.

    If I beg my wife not to leave me, if I dupe a woman into believing that I am separated and have filed for divorce and then have sex with whichever woman is available and hookers as well I would think I have zero discerning qualities and low self esteem.

    If I say my teenage daughter’s teenage girlfriends find me a 50 yearvold man “hot” I would go straight to a counseling couch.

    If I simultaneously sext three fuck buddies for 3 hours non stop I would think I suffer from low self esteem.

    When the woman I have duped discovers my treachery and duplicity says she is leaving me I tell her she can’t do it because love is supposed to be unconditional and I can’t u derstand why she wants to leave after discovering that my divorce story is a total sham and I have been sleeping with other women and hookers as well and I tell her she is a liar and a deceiever because in days bygone she had promised me to be with me forever then I am stupid.

    When this woman tells me to get help and read up on sex addiction I turn around and tell her you are a sex addict because you are the one reading up about it then is it low self esteem?

    It definitely would be low self esteem if I were doing all this. But that’s ME AND MY MORAL COMPASS.

    As about my X its just plain vanilla GREED and ENTITLEMENT.

    It’s thinking he is better than anybody else and we women should just be happy that he graces our lives with his presence and should be happy with whatever crumbs he throws at me.


    Its not LOW SELF ESTEEM they suffer from , they are afflicted with HIGH SELF ENTITLEMENT?

  • Oh yes , in the last conversation I had with him I told him that he is happy only with women where he has to stand in a queue with othe men to have sex with her, and he cannot handle a woman who makes him the top priority in her life.

    Competitiveness at it’s sickest?

    • Huh? Well, if there is a queue he can tell himself she’s Very Special (not very easy) and he is Very Special because really, he is her favorite. (Every paying customer is her favorite.)

      Delusional. But it must work for him.

      • Yeah, in a deep, misunderstood “Me so horny, me love you long time” sorta way. Probably sparkly “soulmates” too. (barf)

  • I thought STBX had low self-esteem for a long time. Why? Because his mother told me that she had low self-esteem and he got it from her…’cause it’s catching or something.

    Turns out they’re both narcissists and manipulate people around them in order to get things their way, no matter what. MIL was great to me after dday until I saw a lawyer and then she backed off. When I started telling people the truth about what happened she became a near enemy. Same with STBX. I blew wide open the carefully constructed veil of perfection and my god, they’re STILL pissed.

    I don’t know if that’s low self-esteem or a sick need to perpetuate an image in the face of all evidence to the contrary. Either way it’s fucked up and I don’t care what causes it anymore. I think we all spend a lot of time trying to figure them out and it’s a waste of time, really, because it doesn’t matter why they are that way…they just are.

    • Now my wife is in the lead role from one of those sprocket jumping, wow and flutter riddled, scratched acetate “This is the face of mental illness” PSA flicks, brought to you by Thorazine (and Thalidomide). Agreed, they just are… Fucked up, selfish psycho assholes, ALL OF THEM, but not lacking self-esteem!

  • imo with men anyway who have low self esteem tend to be more introverted or maby even shy and lacking social skills necessary to be very successful at getting into romantic and sexual relationships. ..

    .there are now expensive seminars and books and online communitys for men to be successful or more successful at meeting women. meanwhile there are a minority of men who never need such a thing …men are expected to make the first move,but what if they dont???

    i think relations between the sexes totally suck.

    there are a lot of lonely people out there

    maby old fashioned morals about things like sex and marriage and courting were an attempt to limit NPD behavior?

    people are marring later and later and marriages are less and less successful

    i think the way we meet and date and marry isnt working and is getting worse and
    some how we need to find a whole new way.. .because i dont want narcissists to inherit the earth.. if one bad apple spoils the barrel what does one narcissist do? or two or three or ten?

    • That’s an interesting theory! That courtship and marriage were an attempt to limit NPD behavior.

      It certainly seems like the culture has tipped more toward NPD and away from honoring one’s commitments and considering others.

      • Chump Lady and Mark:

        I agree, I think society is definitely encouraging pathological narcissists. We not only encourage them, we reward and celebrate them.

      • Because you’re assuming that their need for kibbles comes from a LACK of something (like self esteem) versus an attitude (I deserve more of the good things of life).

        • But we’re being innundated in the media with the concept that we do deserve happiness, right? But what we aren’t often told, and the thing that self aware people know intrinsically, is that we must EARN that happiness and, moreover, that happiness comes from within.

          Someone with a low self esteem will look around and say: “I deserve to be happy. I’m not happy. Everyone else is happy and they are happy because they have THINGS. I want things. I deserve things….I am going to get happy by getting things.” Those things can be material or other sorts of things. But that’s the entitlement bubbling up.

          Someone with high self esteem does not envy or require external validation or rely on entitlement to have happiness. They just do not.

          • STBX absolutely needs constant external validation; his many online flirtations that went on day after day, all day, one right after another, while having me and whomever he was banging in real life points to him having an overweening need to constantly be stroked.

            As far as happiness he told me point blank this his happiness is more important than anyone else’s and that OW makes him happy. No thought as to what he could do to contribute to that but he even was posting, at one point, smarmy crap on his FB page that was all about how when he was a child he just wanted to grow up to be a happy person.

            It’s funny now but at the time I wanted to take his happy and stuff it up his cheating ass.

  • I think that what your saying is for the most part accurate. I see from those that are involved the adultery lifestyle a sense of entitlement and narcissism that I would suggest are more prevalent than those that choose to remain faithful in their relationships.

    Having said that, I do believe that in a lot of cases that there are underlying emotional reasons why many turn to infidelity as a means to cope. Not at all saying that it is excusable, but I believe it to be true.

    • Doccool

      Well, turning to infidelity as a ways to cope shows a lack of integrity and something else lacking within the cheater for sure…..Perhaps a sense of morality and empathy for the people they hurt, like spouses and children, when engaging in emotional, physical, financial infidelities.

      Cheaters steal time and money and connection from their own family to feed the urges in their penises and vaginas. They may be natural urges, but people with integrity once married keep their penises in their pants and their panties on their crotch.

      Even worse, when Cheaters cheat they blame their spouse in order to justify it and when most cheaters get caught, they blame their spouse for not paying them enough attention

      In reality, it’s obvious to even a blind cow that the cheater is the one disengaging from his family to cheat.

      Sounds a bit shallow to me.

      But then again maybe you’re right, they are cheating to cope with whatever is lacking within them.

      A person of integrity would simply ask for a divorce if they couldn’t cope with their spouse or being married.

      A divorce is so much less harmful to the psyche of the spouse.

      I am just curious DocCool, are you a cheater or a hurt spouse of a cheater?

      • >>>>>I am just curious DocCool, are you a cheater or a hurt spouse of a cheater?

        Actually, I am neither. It’s a long story and I certainly don’t want to hijack what is an interesting comment thread.

        • Hi Doccool:

          I actually already drew the conclusion that you are neither. A writer perhaps?

          Can you post a link to your story.

          It sounds intriguing.

          • I run a controversial website about infidelity that up until now, has primarily explored the topic from the point of view of the adulterer.

          • Doccool,
            Why run a website that encourages people to treat their families like shit, betray loved ones, by acting out in selfish, disgusting, immoral ways in cheating, lying, and stealing? Helping to degrade our culture and society. That makes me sick.

              • Yes, the doccool site actually has a moderator that advocates that people NOT CHEAT.

                The site is a place for people to discuss affairs and the aftermath.

                The Ashley Madison site is the one that promotes cheating.

                Personally, I like being able to access the inner thoughts or the cheaters. As I have mentioned, it is a good way to spot one in the future and to avoid that person.

                These days I won’t even socialize with someone if I learn they are a cheater.

                Before learning of my ex’s affair, I did have a few acquaintances who were cheaters and I sort of had an “it’s none of my business” attitude.

                Not anymore. And, going forward I will enlighten the spouse of a cheater.

    • Infidelity is a coping mechanism, absolutely. People who can cope with disappointment or disenchantment, or hurt don’t make a choice to cheat. Because cheating is just a plaster on an infected wound. People who have appropriate means of coping make the choice to solve the problem by facing it head on. So if they are disappointed they sort out what is disappointing/disenchanting/hurting them and they fix it.

      Look, there are a lot of crappy marriages that need tons of work. The EASY choice is to cheat. The tough thing to do is to actually face the crap marriage head on and either fix it or call it quits. Cheaters look for the quick and easy fix.

      And I think they are also assuming that their spouse will forgive them if they get caught. And nine out of ten times, they are right. Their spouse not only forgives them, but BEGS them to stay and fix things. Which then amps up the excitement in the marriage for a while. That does not solve the underlying problem, though, that the cheater copes by cheating.

      Funny thing is — I think that cheaters as a personality type, by and large, would not be so forgiving of someone who cheats on them.

      • >>>>Infidelity is a coping mechanism, absolutely. People who can cope with disappointment or disenchantment, or hurt don’t make a choice to cheat. Because cheating is just a plaster on an infected wound.

        No question about it. Some drink, some do drugs, some gamble. Others try and escape in thrill of an illicit relationship. There is an affair “fog” that happens when an EMA begins, and I believe it is akin to a buzz that someone who abuses drugs or alcohol might feel.

        • I believe it… because any new relationship has that “fog” I think. The problem is you aren’t supposed to have new relationships while you’re married.

          I had a brief friends with benefits situation happen recently and yes, it was ridiculously exciting to feel like that again after all this time. In fact, that is a crazy understatement of how into it I was. But the fact that my husband was feeling that way about someone else when he would come home to me and our children makes me feel even more sick about what he was able to do and that he was able to live like that.

          If you need the constant thrill of new romance you should not be married. Marriage has a lot of pluses to it, but intense physical passion is not one of them. It’s nearly impossible to keep that level of passion over the long term when “real life” starts to intrude. Guess that’s why we call ’em cake eaters. Gotta have their marital benefits and new romance benefits.

          • Erica:

            Exactly. Why get married.

            There is no reason to get married today, unless a person wants to be married and settled in.

            Cripes, single people can even adopt children, today.

            So that’s the question that bothers me, why do the cheater marry at all?

            Maybe because cheating is so much more thrilling than just dating. Why not? There’s the added element of deception and the forbidden and mindfucking someone who trusts you.

      • isn’t it hilarious that they can actually think cheating is a quick and easy fix?! I don’t see what can possibly be easier about living a double life and then having it blow up in your face. Yes, yes, having the balls to tell your spouse that you’re unhappy and then working on the problems would not have been fun either, but seriously, think shit through!

        It’s like when I was telling my STBX to fire his AP/assistant if he wanted any chance of saving the marriage… and he was trying to say why he shouldn’t have to… I was like, “how could you possibly have thought this was going to turn out any other way?!?!” Seriously, you will be found out, and there will be consequences for your actions! You fucked over the person who trusted you completely.

        Do you really think 9 out of 10 forgive? (I ask as somebody that, sadly, really wanted to forgive – or at least work on stuff – if only he’d done anything to take responsibility for his actions)

    • Welcome to the site Doccool.

      Adultery “lifestyle”? Really? Does it come with matching throw pillows and a magazine subscription?

      Sorry, that choice of words makes me think of nudist colonies or glossy Conde Nast shelter rags.

      Calling fucking around on someone a “lifestyle” is dressing it up awful pretty. Oh, furtive blow jobs in the parking lot at lunch are just part of the lifestyle!

      But you’re on to something…. I sure think people see it that way. They’re not deceiving and duping folks for their own benefit, no, they’re part of an edgy, sophisticated “life style.” It’s elite!

      • Thanks for the welcome. Your site is incredibly well written, witty and informative.

        Fair enough, it was probably a poor choice of words. For some though, it truly is a lifestyle choice, although a curious one to say the least. It wasn’t my intention to glamorize the choices people make by my poor choice of words, rather it was to point out that very often the behavior mimics those that abuse alcohol and drugs to cope. I don’t excuse that behavior for that reason, and like the vast majority of your commentators, I am of the belief that if you are unable or unwilling to remain faithful to your spouse, then you owe it to them to divorce.

        • Thanks for the kind words about the site Doccool. But if you feel this way about cheaters, that hey, if you’re unwilling or unable to remain faithful, get a divorce — why run the doccool site? To observe cheaters like bugs in a jar? Do you feel like you are sanctioning their “lifestyle” by providing the board? Are you just amused by it? By them? Or don’t want to say?

          I would guess you have not been affected by infidelity directly, because if you’d been a chump, that shit would piss you off. Much harder to feel a sense of remove.

          • >>>why run the doccool site?

            That is a good question. I did not start the site as a hobby. I will try and make a long story short. I am a an affiliate marketer that at one time promoted a lot of online dating sites. I bought a portfolio of sites from someone that included doccool. I tossed up some forum software and a few articles and added some advertising banners and for a few years basically didn’t touch the site. It grew despite my indifference. I ran more than 50 sites in many different niches and this was just another site.

            The site has grown and some might say that it has become infamous. I am not exactly comfortable with that.

            >>>>Do you feel like you are sanctioning their “lifestyle” by providing the board?

            Sometimes I have felt that, yes. I try and temper that by telling myself that there are people that are not themselves having affairs that are gaining insight from some of the discussions. That is borne out by the search terms I see people arriving at the site for. Although the subject matter can certainly be off putting for some, there is certainly insight to be gained by reading about people that are actively involved in cheating on their spouses. In fact I would say some of it is damn fascinating.

            Having said that, I have slowly changed some things about the site, removed the banners to affair dating sites, added some more content that could be seen as less enabling and I hope that over time it can evolve in to a site that explores the issue from all sides rather than the one sided slant that has permeated it until now.

            >>>>>>I would guess you have not been affected by infidelity directly, because if you’d been a chump, that shit would piss you off. Much harder to feel a sense of remove.

            I don’t doubt that for a second.

        • I agree with you Doc.

          The thing is, your forum does for “others” what Surviving Infidelity does for BSs, it provides a community to share experience and to cope. People want to feel justified in their choices and they want to know they are not alone.

          I will be honest, I had one look at your site some time ago when Sara8 mentioned that she read there, and I found the rhetoric nonsensical. But then again, I feel the same about Surviving Infidelity and other BS forums. In the end, neither sort of forum isn’t about dialogue or discourse or real change or forward movement, it is about finding an echo chamber so that one’s bad life choices can be reified.

          • Interesting perspective Kristina! Echo chamber… hmm. I have to say I was most helped by the 2x4s I got to not be a chump. Although it didn’t feel that way at the time, of course. There’s a place for sympathy too, and people being in the trenches together. I suppose it’s what you want to get out of the experience.

            On SI, it’s “what can I do to make this person recommit to our marriage?” or “how can I recommit”? on Doccool its probably various ways of how do I get the cheater to leave the marriage for me? I suppose CL is unique on the web for saying “No, LEAVE the cheater. They suck.” It’s all about CAKE. Step awaaaay from the cake.

          • I do think the the support forums helped me to decide NOT to have a revenge affair.

            The people who had one talked me out of it, and the BS’s talked me out of it.

            So for me it served a helpful purpose, because I am glad I didn’t have a revenge affair. I am sure it would have made me feel worse.

          • CL, that is PRECISELY why CL is a different place. You encourage discourse and we don’t get bunched up knickers if we don’t agree with one another.

            And this is also why I said, when I first found you, your forum has a wider appeal than you may have initially imagined. Your message: “stay clear of these sorts of people who cheat” can help singles who are prone to dating emotional nitwits (me), BSs (obviouisly), current or former other persons (as long as they are wanting to be clear of a cheater).

          • >>>>>on Doccool its probably various ways of how do I get the cheater to leave the marriage for me?

            Yes, but that is changing. More and more and little by little there are other voices that are starting to provide the opposite view. Those voices are not always welcomed with open arms by the membership, however we tightly moderate the forum and make it absolutely clear that ALL points of view are welcome as long as they are delivered in a respectful way and the forum rules followed. One of our moderators is totally and openly anti-affair and offers advice and insight that belies those beliefs.

            >>>>>Echo chamber
            Any discussion forum that becomes an echo chamber totally sucks. it becomes nothing more than a circle jerk and nobody learns anything or gains any real insight in to the condition. The best forums promote debate, challenge predefined thinking and allow respectful discourse. A challenge for certain when dealing with such an inflammatory topic, but a worthy one I think.

          • Echo chamber…brilliantly stated. That’s exactly what a lot of those sites are like. just reflecting back what people want to hear. ‘Really? You think that email we just picked apart for ten fucking pages means S/HE IS FALLING APART/HITTING BOTTOM FINALLY! Whoot! I can still save my marriage!’

          • Nord: ‘Really? You think that email we just picked apart for ten fucking pages means S/HE IS FALLING APART/HITTING BOTTOM FINALLY! Whoot! I can still save my marriage!’

            Yes. that’s precisely what I am talking about. They become tremendously defensive, too, when their worldview is called into question. This is illustrated brilliantly by a thread that is going on in the divorce section. Someone posted that it is too difficult to look in at the recon forum, because it hurts them since they were not able to reconcile, so they stay away from there. In that thread there was a brilliantly stated position that said: I too stay away from Recon, not because it makes me sad, but because there are many marriages there that seem miserable and the things that those people do just to stay married don’t seem healthy. It was couched much more politcally than I’m stating, but still, the point was made. And sure as can be, in came a one of the biggest codependents on that forum and she took a very defensive posture — as in “well, not ALL reconciling marriages are as you are saying.. and if my marriage was like that I’d get out right away.” The thing is, and everyone there must be able to see this, that person’s marriage is PRECISELY like the nightmare that the divorced member described. This woman’s husband’s affair is supposedly long over, but she is still obsessed with the other woman and is constantly stalking her on facebook and cooking up revenge fantasies. She’s as far from reconciled as can possibly be. If she were really reconciled, reading someone say: “I don’t buy most of those reconciliations..” would not bother her as much as it did.

            She relies on the echo chamber to give her the justification she needs to maintain the sham of a marriage in which she’s existing. And I don’t see that as helpful, honestly. Sure, of course sometimes people swing a 2×4, but it is always like:

            “gently, IhatehimbutIlovehim, he’s not behaving in a remorseful manner.” (when describing a dude who has been chronically unfaithful and the BS is staring down d-day 25) it is time to 180 him and get him into counseling.” What the fuck? Gently? 180? counseling? Good grief.

            How about: Get the fuck out, you’re being a masochist and this is not the day and age where martyrdom is rewarded with beatification.

    • My therapist says it’s like an alcoholic who, even after years of being dry, almost always reaches for the bottle one again for whatever reason they can come up with.

      • I can’t read the recon sites anymore. I think the issue is the BS doesn’t seek outside help or can’t look at the marriage with some perspective. He’ll it took me forever but with a lot of research work and therapy I look back at me marriage differently.
        What really was the ice breaker, the 4×2 ( we call 2×4 down under ) is the access I had to the communication between the ex and OM. my ex lived a double life for so long or she just couldn’t let go of either of us.
        So unless you come to fuck me this is reality moment many people are stuck in this limbo, can’t do any better, moving on is simply too confronting, the kids, money bla bla bla holding on to reconciliation ( because it feels like the safe option) is the main desire.
        Some people live a miserable life. That’s what I have learnt in the last year along with a host of enlightening things about relationships and people

        • Kristina, I know what you’re saying: a lot of people are supposedly reconciling when in reality they’re simply enabling someone treating them like shit, then basically bending over and handing their abuser some Crisco.

          I didn’t find SI until long after I kicked STBX out. I was on another site where they kicked my ass and told me to file. I ran, of course, because I wasn’t ready to hear that (two weeks out). Then another site ignored me and a third site (yes, i was EVERYWHERE) encouraged me to be tough but also felt that me and STBX were somehow ‘meant to be’ and all it would take was some tough love.

          I wasted a lot of money on some really stupid books that ‘helped’ me ‘understand’ him. My therapist has them now–I thought she could use a few laughs.

          Basically, I’ve rarely seen a relationship last long-term after infidelity. It might limp along for a few years but either the cheater cheats again, both partners are miserable or the BS finally says ‘fuck this shit’ and bails.

  • Canard? More like a preposterous joke.

    Did Archie Bunker yell at Edith because he had low self-esteem?
    Did Ah-nohld cheat on Maria and impregnate his family’s maid beause he had low self-esteem?
    Did Hitler invade Poland because . . .

    Okay, maybe the Hitler reference takes the point too far. But you get the picture. The simplest explanation for Person A treating Person B badly is that Person A thinks it’s okay for him to do it. Whether we call that a sense of entitlement, egomania, a superiority complex, or anything else, it is 180 degrees away from Person A thinking he/she is somehow worth *less than* Person B or anyone else.

    • Nomar — YES to all of your questions.

      None of those guys have a sense of self. They are all ego. That’s precisely why they act the way they act.

      They don’t treat other people badly because they are self secure. They treat other people badly because they are terrified they will disappear if they don’t self-define against others. They must “other” someone in order to feel validated. It is the ultimate identity crisis. They can stand no opinion other than their own. Of course, you know, Hitler is a really extreme example of this. Stalin too.

      • I think you might be overthinking this, confusing a lack of self-examination with a lack of self-esteem, and even perhaps projecting your own values onto scoundrels.

        Arnold did not boink his maid because he was “terrified he would disappear” if he didn’t. He boinked her because he felt it was fine and dandy for him to do it. And I think he think he felt *perfectly secure* in this assessment of himself and his actions.

        • He did not consciously think that, no. but that is what drove the impulse. He is all ego, which is terribly fragile. And ego is what is driving Maria to consider reconciliation too.

          But of course I may be wrong.
          It just makes sense to me.

        • “Confusing a lack of self-examination with a lack of self-esteem” Yes, I think so nomar. I see your thinking Kristina, I do, but my gut doesn’t ring true about this for my STBX. He has unbelievably good self-esteem. His mother adored him. His counselor is fishing around for self-esteem issues. It’s a waste of counselor’s time. STBX says, and I resoundingly agree, he did not feed his soul, his spirit, for over a decade. There was nothing inside him, and he started filling that nothingness with garbage in the form of sex. STBX lacked self-examination, connection to the spiritual, connection to nature, connection in a deep way to anyone, including me. This stuff is in part an intimacy disorder.

          • Yes. Because, as I see it (and so probably does his counselor and that’s why the counselor is pushing him that way) people who are unable to connect intimately with another are self impoverished.

            That’s not to say that these people realize it about themselves, they probably THINK they have a great self esteem. But the reality is that they have a powerful ego. They themselves confuse their egos and egotistical posturing, with self esteem. It is NOT the same thing.

            Counselors would of course recognize this and act accordingly. Obviously they won’t attack their patient by saying: You’re so wrong, you’re all ego.” Because that would put the person on the defensive and put a stop to further forward progress. Counselors typically have the thankless task of helping people to come around to the correct assessment of themselves. People won’t be told who they are, they have to come to that realization organically as possible because otherwise they will not see a need to change.

            Anyway, it has been my experience that the most raging of the narcissists I’ve met in real life are the ones who have absolutely no concept of the self. They talk a good game, they seem to believe the very best about themselves, but they are tragically vulnerable to criticism. And that’s because all their “self esteem” comes to them externally.

            You all are calling it self esteem and I’m calling it ego. I think we’re actually on the same page. We’re just using different terminology.

            Ego is not self esteem or self knowledge. Ego is a lack of it.

  • I am a former betrayed spouse turned wayward. I could have made the statement that my wifes affair damaged my self esteem so I needed to reclaim that in the arms of another woman, but I won’t. The truth of the matter is my affair was an aggressive response against my wife for her transgression coupled with a massive feeling of entitlement to have an affair of my own.

    Yes.. my ego was a little bruised, but nothing more. I thought then and continue to think rather highly of myself. I don’t need my ego stroked, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t welcome the opportunity.

    The appropriate response to my anger and frustration was to either work through those feelings and remain faithfully married or to eventually divorce my wife. I know there is no excuse for my actions. I know I was entitled to feel hurt and angry. I was not entitled to act out in a measure of revenge.

    The most frustrating thing about it all.. I am now damaged goods. When faced with the prospect of meeting someone new, I will have to be honest about it. For some, it won’t matter, for others it’s a huge issue. All things being equal.. I miss being the faithful spouse who never cheated on anyone in his life.

    • What a refreshingly honest post regarding a revenge affair.

      IMO, the only type of affair that is forgivable in a marriage is a revenge affair.

      It’s still wrong, IMO, and we as betrayed spouses only hurt ourselves if we have and affair due to wanting vengeance.

      However I still think it is a normal response to such an intimate betrayal.

      It’s the first thought that comes to mind when someone finds out their spouse has been sneaking around behind their back and stabbing them in the back, while they have stayed at home, watching their pennies and keeping the home fires burning.

      I had so many opportunities to cheat, yet I remained faithful despite all the typical issues that haunt all long term marriages. I trusted that we would get past the issues because we had such a great history together.

      It was very difficult to turn down opportunities to cheat during my false reconciliation with my cheating ex.

      Also, if anyone can change and be a faithful spouse once again, IMO, it’s a person who had a revenge affair.

      So forgive yourself, but please stop having the affair now. You got even and got it out of your system, now go back to being who you truly are.

      • My affair is long over. It was relatively short lived and did not result in any separation or divorce. However, It managed to horribly complicate matters along with compromise my own moral standards.

        What I hadn’t realized then, but realize now, that my wifes affair was truly the end for us. Even years later.. I find that I can’t truly forgive.
        She has been quite good since she was found out, even better since I was and she really doesn’t want to divorce. Thus.. she hasn’t taken the news well. Though recently .. the anger toward me has been .. to paraphrase… “See how good I’ve been? Why did I even bother? You’re just going to divorce me anyway”

        But if I am to hurt her, better from me being honest with her and myself, rather than engage in self-destructive behavior.

        • This is interesting, thank you for sharing. If I may ask: what is self affirming about staying in a marriage that is long over?

        • Hdan:

          I have talked to people in which one spouse had an affair and then a revenge affair ensued, and seriously some say it settled the score and enabled the two to move forward with a fresh start.

          I thought about that but decided against it.

          Still, have you been to counseling.

          You said she’s been good since the affair and even better after yours.

          As mentioned, I have heard this numerous times.

          Can you both seek counseling to see if you can both now be loyal to each other, if not maybe divorce is a good option.

          IMO, if you do decide to stay together, at some point you DO have to choose to let it go.

          Forgiveness will likely never happen, but you both can let the pat go and start new. But first, IMO, you both need to realize that forgiveness will never happen.

          Also, the spouse who cheated first, can not express to much anger over the revenge affair because, IMO, they have no right to. They instigated it.

        • how “good” she’s been? – awesome, and I probably would have had to listen to that kind of crap at some point with my husband had we stayed together long enough to really give reconciliation a go.

          I don’t think NOT cheating on your spouse involves receiving some kind of praise and a medal. It’s not being super “good”. It’s kind of a basic thing that you should expect your spouse not to completely screw you over.

          But I don’t think a revenge affair could ever hurt anywhere near as much as the initial affair. Its definitely not as unexpected. They might even get some ego stroking out of it. After all, it was really about them, not you. And yeah, you give up your moral upper hand. Now you can’t play the “only one of us is a liar/cheater” card in your arguments. I gotta admit, I liked playing that one. It was one of my strongest plays 🙂 I do understand how a revenge affair might happen though. If the whole thing just got swept under the rug and you didn’t really deal with it very much it could be the only way you felt you could get some self respect back. But it’s not really going to help anything. Though it could be argued what could possibly help the situation other than getting out of it completely?

          You should stop thinking about her… how to hurt her, etc. and think about you and how you can be happy in your life again.

    • Welcome to the site Hdan. I appreciate your candor and I’m sorry your marriage sucks. I have to say, I can’t get worked up into a big lather about revenge affairs, although I know they’re revenge, and just make a shitty situation much worse. As you point out, it’s still entitlement thinking, as you felt entitled to the revenge.

      Some relationships are toxic and bring out the worst in us. Best to realize that and just get out honestly as soon as you can.

      • I think revenge affairs are just as bad, honestly. Not because the cheater didn’t deserve a taste of his or her own medicine, but because someone who is a good person (the BS) does something that is self degrading.

        This is why reconciliation, in my mind, is such a losing proposition. It is simply a perpetuation of a karma that should and could have been cleared when the infidelity was discovered.

        But oh well… people will do as they feel they must. No need to bang heads against the wall over it.

        • Well, just to play devil’s advocate, once the marriage vows are broken in the marriage, is the person having a revenge affair, really cheating?

          I am not sure a revenge affair is technically cheating being that their are no longer any marriage vows to break, they have already been shredded by the spouse who first cheated.

          I do know in many religions cheating is grounds for a marital annulment which in some churches means the marriage never existed.

          I do think revenge affairs are likely harmful to the hurt spouse for various and numerous reasons, and akin to jumping into a relationship too soon after a breakup.

          but I am not sure I would label it degrading to the hurt spouse to indulge in a revenge affair once the marriage vows have been broken.

          I often hear hurt spouses, particularly men, lamenting on how they passed up this opportunity or that in order to honor their marriage vows, and are now very angry about that.

          So why would indulging themselves now, be degrading. It’s the spouse who first cheated that degraded themselves, IMO.

          As for a reconciliation being impossible. In my case it was for too many reasons to mention.

          But Just like not everyone MUST FORGIVE, not everyone must refuse to reconcile, simply because I believe it’s not doable.

          I think in rare cases it may work. For example if the spouse was in a sexless marriage without an illness being the root cause, and that was corrected somehow through therapy.

          Or if the spouse is a away for a long time like three or four years. It’s wrong, but a bit more understandable then because the spouse is not ignoring their spouse to cheat.

          A drunken one nighter, might be something I could see as gotten past, if it was just a one time thing.

          My marriage could no longer work, but I don’t think that is true for all people or marriages. It depends greatly on the situation and circumstances surrounding the affair.

          I have nothing invested in hoping absolutely NO MARRIAGE can ever be saved following an affair. I actually hope otherwise.

          However, I do agree it’s rare, and as Arnold once noted at TAM, most divorces when delved into have an infidelity at it’s root, either in the distant past or present.

          No doubt infidelity destroys the trust, but again it depends on how much was destroyed and how often and in what way.

          I have always agreed with the statement that outsiders can never really know the truth of what goes on between two people in a marriage.

          It may look good from the outside and be a sham, and it may look terrible from the outside and really be good or at least working for the two that are in the marriage.

          Sometimes outsiders may be able to see the truth of the marriage, but whose to know for sure.

          • Sarah8 — loved your comments. On April 12, 2016 I caught my wife having an affair with her old boyfriend. She will admit to indisputable facts. Cheaters are liars and lying spouses always lie to themselves and everyone else.

            Our marriage ended when she MADE THE CHOICE to have a long term emotional and physical affairs. She loves another man. She risked everything and lost everything. We have four kids and the OM has three. My wife’s CHOICE resulted in two divorces and seven children processing adultery. I CANNOT think of a more SELFISH act !!

            We have listed our house for sale. I can’t look at her. After the sale of the house I don’t ever want to speak to her much less see her.

            MOST IMPORTANTLY I WANT TO COMMENT ON REVENGE SEX. I agree with you that it shouldn’t be considered cheating. I am not waiting for the lawyers and courts to decide when I can have sex again.

            It’s only been a month and I am in a great place. Yes I am still angry hurt …. But I won’t live in the past.

            I have found someone who I like spending time with. Prior to learning of my wife’s affair of more than 5 years, I could not envision having sex with another woman. I can’t have sex with strangers or professionals ( or gingers). It’s nice to feel a woman cares about me. We are going to have sex soon and I am going to enjoy it.

      • Yeah, well, perhaps he was entitled to the affair. Deal was broken already etc. Entitlement thinking can be accurate, IMO.

        • I agree, Arnold, sometimes a person is entitled to do something,, and doing it is then not something done out of a sense of narcissistic or false entitlement.

          IMO, if a spouse cheats, all bets are off.

          I still think a revenge affair is likely harmful to most betrayed spouses because they are not likely thinking clearly.

          but I do agree that once the marriage vows are broken, the betrayed spouse is certainly entitled to an affair, justifiably entitled, not simple feeling falsely entitled as do most cheaters, and the betrayed spouse has a right to feel entitled without being judged by anyone.

    • Oh Hdan, I’m sorry and that is something I can completely understand. I am happy I never cheated but I do know that after teh first dday I certainly thought about it in a way I never had prior. I’m glad I didn’t do it but if it’s a one time thing and you know it’s wrong and are dealing with the issues I think it might be a blip. I hope so. Good God, getting cheated on sucks ass.

  • I’m going to disagree with your assessment that these people do not have low self esteem. They not only have low self esteem, they have NO self esteem because they don’t understand the concept of “self”.

    You’re equating self esteem with ego, as I’m understanding you. In the sense that, someone who is egotistical is also someone with a high sense of self esteem. Not at all the case, actually. Ego is the front that makes up for a lack of selfhood. The more self aware one becomes, the more the ego shrinks.

    People who cheat have absolutely no sense of self at all. Period. That doesn’t mean they aren’t egotistical. In fact that means they are COMPLETELY ego driven. That’s why they look for external validation when faced with crisis. That’s also why, when they are caught, they do not live into their choice to destroy their marriage, instead they flip flop and try to reconcile, and bring things back to the status quo; plus then they are getting the ego feed of being wanted by the spouse they’ve betrayed.

    Someone who has no self esteem thinks like this: “Oh, I’ve lost my job, and it is not my fault; my former bosses are assholes and they are the ones to blame for this happening. Plus, my partner was always putting so much pressure on me to spend time with him/her, it is actually his/her fault that I wasn’t able to dedicate myself to the job as much as I should have. Plus, my partner keeps being critical about this and is blaming me, and it isn’t my fault. I’m not to blame, someone else is at fault. The only person who understands me really is this old highschool person I’ve been in contact with on facebook. She/he isn’t criticizing me, she/he is the love of my life.”

    How people with a sense of self think: “I’ve lost my job. This is scary and it sucks, but I’m not going to crumble, I’m still a good person and I am going to get a new job and in the meantime, I’m going to do what it takes to support myself and my family by working together with my partner to get through this. I’m so busy looking for a job that I don’t have time for facebook.”

    People with a true sense of self don’t have to cheat, because they KNOW WHO THEY ARE, and they understand how to self soothe. If a person has a sense of self, he or she will just ask for a divorce and manage that fallout before cheating. Ego driven people use the validation of others to bolster their understanding of themselves.

    Someone above said something about not all people with low self esteem cheats. That’s absolutely right. There are some people who have a low self esteem who look for validation of themselves in other ways. How about this: “My husband (or wife) has cheated on me. I’m going to fix this. We’re going to reconcile.” That’s a low self esteem hard at work. That’s a person who thinks the best he or she deserves is a (reformed) cheater for a partner. That person is also ego driven. This Sad in Seattle person who has recently posted is a good example of an ego driven person who doesn’t cheat. I say she’s ego driven because, amongst other things, she said when he doesn’t call she gets to feeling physically sick. His call is what is holding her together, his call is the ego kibble she is seeking. Without him, through whom she has self-defined during their relationship, she has no sense of who she is. And she is rebelling actively against gaining selfhood. The spot on advice that would build her sense of self that was provided by CL and others here was rejected by her in favor of reengaging with her source of ego-bolstering supply.

    Self is solid and constant and feeds on itself. Ego is fragile and changeable and feeds on the opinon of others. There is no way that a person with a strong sense of self cheats. Someone with a strong sense of self ends the marriage first and is married to a person who will allow the marriage to end, if it comes to that, without resorting to a histrionic episode of codependent panic.

    That said: I’m not excusing cheaters or giving them a pass on not having a sense of self. I’m not saying that cheaters should get more attention or babying because they have self esteem issues. In fact I’m saying: stay the fuck away from the ego-driven members of society and seek the confident people who have an understanding — a TRUE understanding — of who they are. Because you can’t force or help or fix a person so he or she has a sense of self; the only person who can develop selfhood is the person him or herself.

    • Kristina:

      I agree with both you and Chump lady.

      Cheaters are highly narcissistic if not pathologically narcissistic.

      Narcissists, go though cycles of valuing and devaluing their victims, and narcissists also go through cycles of valuing and devaluing themselves.

      The difference between narcissistic types and more functional well adjusted people is that when a narcissist feels devalued by themselves or by others such as a spouse, whether real or imagined, they then suffer a narcissistic injury to the psyche.

      In order to re-balance themselves and start to value themselves they lash out at someone else and attempt to hurt them.

      An affair is emotional abuse, it is a passive aggressive form of abuse and it is only a form of domestic abuse that is least likely to harm the abuser.

      • They don’t have to be narcissists, Sara, though they certainly may be. I think labels like “narcissist” gives a person who is lazy to develop his or her selfhood a pass or an excuse or the “why” they do things.

        I think that the wound is not to the psyche, the initial wound to the psyche is what led to the overdevelopment of the ego in the first place. The psyche is in there and wants to be free, and by free I mean wants to develop to selfhood; but if the ego is overdeveloped in an effort to protect the psyche, if the person has never learned how to be “self” first, then the psyche cannot and will not ever be free.

        It is really tragic. These are sad people. But…sad people like this can be dangerous. They need to be avoided.

        • Kristina:

          I agree the cheaters are sad, maybe mentally ill and yes sad or mentally ill or both or either can equate to dangerous, sometimes.

          Nevertheless regarding labeling: The id the ego and the superego are simply concepts.

          They are labels assigned by Freudian psychologists.

          From wikipedia:

          [Id, ego and super-ego are the three parts of the psychic apparatus defined in Sigmund Freud’s structural model of the psyche; they are the three theoretical constructs in terms of whose activity and interaction mental life is described.

          According to this model of the psyche, the id is the set of uncoordinated instinctual trends;

          the ego is the organized, realistic part; and the super-ego plays the critical and moralizing role.[1]

          The super-ego can stop you from doing certain things that your id may want you to do.[2]

          Even though the model is structural and makes reference to an apparatus, the id, ego and super-ego are functions of the mind rather than parts of the brain and do not correspond one-to-one with actual somatic structures of the kind dealt with by neuroscience.]

        • It is tough for me to admit this, but I do feel some sympathy for NPDs. Often they suffered severe, undeserved abuse in childhood.
          I wonder why some abused kids go the NPD route, while others either overcome it or go the co-dependant route.

          • The people I know who had horrible childhood abuse, and I knew a few…. are exceptionally empathetic and kind people because they know what it means to be on the receiving end of something horrific. They’re not patsies, just very…. what’s the word… the only thing I can think of is empathetic. Good listeners – astonishing integrity – all there somehow….. and the ones I know who seemed to have it all? Not so much.

          • well, some narcissists actually were revered as children by their parents. Given everything, never question, never challenged, never made to learn how to behave independently. They are enabled and coddled and if you were to look at their lives from the outside you might say: “wow, what a lucky kid, to have parents who love him/her so much.”

            But that’s not realistic, and it doesn’t allow the child to develop selfhood. It sets that child to grow up feeling entitled to the ego kibbles. They only know who they are as defined by parental figures who showered them with kudos and love and attention. And when they go out in the world, when that doesn’t happen consistently, they panic and behave badly and they go searching for that reinforcement.

            Again, lack of self understanding = overdeveloped ego.

            Daddy’s girls are the prime example of this. Daddy loved them, showered them with attention and presents and adoration. And then when they get married, they expect the same sort of ego feed but they just don’t get it, because normal men want a partner in a marriage, not a daughter or a child. Or, maybe they do get spoiled by their husbands, but even THAT isn’t enough because the pit of not having a sense of self is absolutely bottomless; no one can fill that empty spot except for the person herself. But she thinks someone SHOULD fill it. So those are the women who go looking for another daddy who will love them like their daddies did, and it doesn’t matter if they are still married.

            They are childish in the extreme.

    • “People with a true sense of self don’t have to cheat, because they KNOW WHO THEY ARE, and they understand how to self soothe. If a person has a sense of self, he or she will just ask for a divorce and manage that fallout before cheating. Ego driven people use the validation of others to bolster their understanding of themselves.”

      just wanted to quickly thank you, Kristina, for this brilliant post. I am printing this out, in its entirety, right now.

      STBX (who has just been served with my divorce filing, btw – the countdown to freedom is on!) recently admitted (more like pretended) to have “such low self esteem,” and that his “inability to appreciate the long-term consequences of his short-term wants is a systemic problem… he’s going to have to make big changes in his life” etc.
      Cause the shitstorm he’s found himself in since DDay hasn’t been bad enough to inspire any real change or effort to develop selfhood. But now he knows he needs to! Doesn’t he deserve kibble from me for admitting he needs to do something about it? Isn’t it enough just to mention it? Oh, but he’ll get around to actually working on that some day. In the future. Promise.

      The absolute divorce hearing can’t be scheduled soon enough.

    • Kristina-

      Awesome post. It actually clarifies some stuff I’ve read about narcissists and cheaters.

      Weirdly, thinking about my STBX’s lack of self actually is the one thing that brings out any tender feelings for him. I guess I almost feel pity. It is so sad to be solely driven by others opinions. And the fact that this guy I loved and have kids with and who appears so normal-looking and acting could actually be completely empty inside does break my heart just a little bit more.

      My one problem is where you say to stay the fuck away from them – I spent many many years with him and had no real idea until the cheating. Yes, at some point in our relationship I realized he was a bit more self-absorbed and materialistic than I thought. But that was it. I just worry about my ability to identify this person in the future in any kind of timely fashion.

      • Healthy relationships are based in reciprocity. Look for that. Your partner should delight in your happiness. It should hurt your partner to hurt you. Simple concepts, but when you think of being with a narcissist, you’ll realize how you were lacking these things. It’s always about them — their needs, their happiness or unhappiness. You don’t factor in much.

        You can have a healthy relationship, no worries. Don’t traffic in kibbles.

        • I think that there should be reciprocity for sure!

          I would, however, warn that in the early stages of a relationship with an emotionally unavailable person, they can seem very interested in reciprocity. They do all kinds of future faking, they make it seem like they are very keen to be in a relationship and they do all the right things.

          Until they suddenly don’t anymore. Sometimes they don’t anymore after a relatively long stretch — like, after the marriage license has been signed. Because it is all fun and excitement and ego-feeding right up until the point that they realize they are risking abandonment and are emotionally vulnerable. Marriage does that to people sometimes.

          • I agree, Kristina. In my case, the red flags really started flying when we had kids. Suddenly, my life was filled with child care and the usual stresses and concerns of parenting. Perhaps STBX felt he had been “abandoned,” so he had his A. That worries me– if, in the future, I find someone new, will I fall for it again? Everything will seem great until something big comes up, and then he’ll start showing his true colors?

            I will say that if there ever is a next time, my family is under strict orders to tell me exactly what they feel about him. They all disliked STBX and had him pegged from the beginning (scarily so), but they wanted to support me and not drive me away. They did try to hint gently, but I was ALL about the spackle, so I just got my putty knife out and wiped great big gobs over any little holes they tried to make in his image.

            I’m going to go buy that spackle mug now…

          • Moving On,

            That is exactly when things went downhill for me as well.

            From eyebrow raising “huh?” pre-child to outright abuse post-child.

            It must be something in the water that some people see a child as an excuse to act like one.

          • My husband never did ALL the right things… in fact some of his dumb-frat -boy-more-concerned-with-drinking-than-being-a-gentleman actually made me think he was “real”… he wasn’t laying on the charm, etc. Now I realize these small things just showed he didn’t really respect me or think of me before his own needs. Ah well, 19 year olds like to be treated shitty I guess. I will be looking for a gentleman this time around.

            But yeah, after kids and me staying home (which he wanted) stuff really got bad. Basically he resented that I got to stay home and also I was never “grateful” enough about it. Plus, I’m sure I also failed at keeping the house clean enough etc. It’s also entered my mind that once I fulfilled what I was good for (ie. helping him to carry on his awesome genetics… you know, creating the ultimate ego kibble) I wasn’t of much other use so he could feel free to fuck around.

          • Moving On, your story sounds so similar to mine, from the feeling a bit sorry for him to realising at some point, even vaguely, that he was a bit self-centered, to him realising he wasn’t number one fulltime after the kids came and thus the A’s started.

            Basically, the way I see it, is I was dealing with an emotional infant who wants all the attention all the time and little things like giving up a bit of yourself for your kids never really made it through to that knucklehead.

            Honestly, I think we all spend so much time trying to figure it out and what it really comes down to is that they’re selfish assholes who think the world revolves around them and if real life with a real partner and real family gives them a dose of reality they don’t want it. So they go find non-reality, where they are the most fabulous thing walking God’s green earth and their ass is kissed 24/7.

            Basically, they’re sad empty shells.

        • Here’s hoping! I will definitely pay attention to red flags and I’m not going to put up with selfish bullshit this time around. I did spackle over some small stuff that I thought wasn’t a big deal, and taken individually they weren’t, but they did add up… apparently all the way up to eventual cheating!

          Anyway, I didn’t go through all this crap and break up my family just to go and settle for someone else who doesn’t treat me right.

          • Another Erica’s quote:
            [Anyway, I didn’t go through all this crap and break up my family just to go and settle for someone else who doesn’t treat me right.]

            I am not even going to look for anyone else. I am just going to be my own best company.

          • Sara8,

            I’m not actively looking, but don’t want to shut myself off to it either.

            As a SAHM I just need to freaking socialize with adults more in general! Looking forward to going back to school…

      • AE, that’s the trap, or hook, if you will, for people like you and I (and others of us who have fallen into situations — sometimes repeatedly — with the self impoverished). Maybe we can sense the sadness down there. Maybe at some point in the mists of time in the relationship, we were given a glimpse of their need. In my case, I go for the promise of potential. The idea that there is something there, underneath it all, that is soft and sad and needy and if I can just get BACK there, get him to reveal that side to me again then I’ll feel better about MYself.

        We want to get behind the ego and the persona, and while we’re waiting for that to happen we project our good qualities onto these folks (i.e. spackle them). For a while, as it suits them, they allow us to hang our projections on their hook, because it suits THEM. And then they reach some kind of crisis point and they cope how they cope. The end result is that the hook is withdrawn and try as we might, we can no longer hang our projections (spackle) on them and we see them for what they are. And we are surprised to see them without the mask they wore (and that we kept hanging back up on them each time it started to slip).

        How we identify this? I don’t know. I can only speak for myself and the way I do it is to focus on myself. It does me no good to understand what my ex’s pathology is. I need to know what MINE is. Once I know what I do and why I do it (spackle) then I can learn the things that trigger the urge and I can curb it. That’s what I do. I’ve been pretty successful, actually, in keeping myself clear of nitwits.

        • Kristina, I think you are absolutely right about the hanging of our projections and them allowing us to do it.

          I think STBX liked my projections because I’m smart, savvy and have a strong inner fiber and it suited him to be seen as this person who was with someone like me. Then, after a lot of life chaos over a few years, I was slowly falling apart-my therapist said I was likely in a depression for quite some time.

          I discovered after dday that STBX had affairs on and off over the years but when I fell apart his affairs escalated and he eventually ‘fell in love’. What does this mean? It means he found a new person to reflect what he wanted. I wasn’t up to the job and instead of seeing that I was in dire straits and needed him to be there for me for a change he instead saw it as him not getting the attention he so richly deserves *cough* and found a new supply.

          It’s scary to think that someone can operate that way but once I did a bunch of therapy and looked at me I realised that I held the whole thing together and when I couldn’t he found someone else to hold things together. That’s why he was and remains so angry with me: I won’t go along with the program that allows him to just skip off merrily into the sunset while leaving me with nothing financially or otherwise.

          I’m well rid of him but won’t get into another relationship until I know I have sorted out my own issues and am healthy.

        • Kristina, yeah, I’m not sure what “my thing” is yet… though I could see that it could have had something to do with his potential. And I definitely projected my good qualities onto him… I guess I just assumed that he was the same way about certain things. He never disagreed with me. Ugh.

          He’s so annoying though. Any “tender” feelings I had the other day went out the window last night when he semi-threatened suicide again last night via text (aw, money issues at work, is afraid he won’t be able to make payroll and pay me and pay himself. he collected less this year too. here’s an idea: work all 5 WHOLE days of the week. Like 95% of people do!) and then he wouldn’t answer my texts or call. And I know, I shouldn’t have bitten and tried to contact him anyway. Grrr…

          Yes, thinking more about MYSELF is probably how I can avoid these people in future. Or at least minimize contact.

    • ‘Someone who has no self esteem thinks like this: “Oh, I’ve lost my job, and it is not my fault; my former bosses are assholes and they are the ones to blame for this happening. Plus, my partner was always putting so much pressure on me to spend time with him/her, it is actually his/her fault that I wasn’t able to dedicate myself to the job as much as I should have. Plus, my partner keeps being critical about this and is blaming me, and it isn’t my fault. I’m not to blame, someone else is at fault. The only person who understands me really is this old highschool person I’ve been in contact with on facebook. She/he isn’t criticizing me, she/he is the love of my life.” ‘

      This is a near perfect description of my STBX.

  • I think low self-esteem, fearfulness, and lack of a sense of self-agency all contribute to my STBX’s affair. He’s also depressed. At the same time, all of these things make him feel more entitled.

    He has always been afraid of being fired, of being wrongfully accused of a crime, of being somehow persecuted just because he’s “different.” He’s afraid of leaving his job at a company run by dysfunctional people who’ve managed to lose 50% of the business because he doesn’t have a graduate degree, even though his years of experience puts him up there where people with graduate degrees get paid. He’s afraid of drawing boundaries at work so that people learn that his job stops where theirs begins.

    He’s also very negative. For over 15 years, I’ve heard him say that he’ll be fired. For 15 years, I’ve heard him say that suicide is cheaper. For 15 years, I’ve heard him complain that whatever house we live in is a piece of shit.

    That said, I think that he feels entitled, and that he uses his fears and his negativity to gain attention. He wants me to tell him that he’s better, stronger, faster than his co-workers. He wants me to fuss over him when he talks about his death wish. By the way, my reaction to that has consistently been to suggest therapy, which he’s afraid of going to.

    Now he has his little fuck buddy, and she gives him these bits of ego kibble. She does complain about how poorly he treats her, after which he’ll send her roses and money and say that he’s trying to get more money so that they can have a nice life together. What she doesn’t understand is that the poor treatment is who he is. It’s all about him.

    The affair has really shown me that what he wants is attention. Yes, he has low self-esteem. Yes, he lacks confidence. But at the same time, he thinks he’s entitled.

    Me? I think I’m entitled, too. I’m entitled to a husband who doesn’t cut me off when I talk about my day at the office, who can name at least one of my colleagues, who has time to hug and encourage me when I’m down, who respects my intelligence instead of feeling threatened by it, who asks my opinion about household matters instead of dictating his judgement.

    He can be free to run off with his little fuck buddy, but he’ll not be one bit happier, and will likely be even more miserable.

    • I think that’s right about entitlement. But again, it underscores the role of ego vs self in the decision making. Ego driven people look at injuries to their egos as opportunities, actually not just opportunities, but rather moments of necessisty, to rebolster their egos. Ego is a bad thing and should be broken down, actually. But often the wound to the ego is a greenlight for people to do things that make their egos feel better, hence “entitlement”.

      The fact that their ego is hurt is “not fair” and they “don’t deserve” to feel this way abou themselves. They “deserve” better and they don’t care who they hurt to feel better about themselves. Thing is, the person they are hurting most by acting out, for example by having an affair, is actually themselves.

      Ego is not analgous to confidence. Ego is analogous to weakness and low self esteem.

  • Great discussion. I love reading the different points of view. That’s what always brings me back to this site.

    My two cents: I think that while the Entitled Narcissist Cheater definitely exists, he/she only constitutes one type of cheater. CL (and other commenters) are dead-on about the Bill Clintons, the Newt Gingriches, the David Petraeuses, the Clint Eastwoods and the Schwarzeneggers of the world: These unfaithful husbands were definitely NOT lacking in self-esteem. They’re flaming, balls-out, entitled narcissists with no cares or worries about the consequences of their actions (go back up and read CL’s description then watch Schwarzenegger’s interview on Youtube…it’s fucking SCARY how apt CL is).

    I can only speak from my own experience, and while it sounds like there’s a lot of chumps on this board who were married to Bill Clinton types, my cheating ex did NOT fall into that category. He was and is a self-hating mess, ruined by an abusive childhood and dysfunctional, self-destructive relationships before me. Cheating and leaving me behind wasn’t him enjoying his sadness at my expense as much as it was him going back to the trashy lifestyle he led before we met. Self-defeating? Yes. Entitlement? Deff not.

    I’ve always used the addiction model to talk about cheaters, and I think that’s where my ex fits in. I don’t think anybody gets out of bed in the morning intent on destroying a relationship any more than someone wants to get out of bed craving to be a junkie. Shit happens for a reason, and there’s usually some serious, unresolved stuff going on underneath the surface.

    But like an addict, if they won’t help themselves, then there’s nothing we can do. That’s how I moved on.

    On a side-note, CL, why in the world would you torture yourself by reading cheater boards? That’s like me as a recovering addict going over to Bluelight to read all the junkies bragging about how pure their latest bag was and asking for tips about injecting dope into sex organs. Stomach-churning!

    I could barely listen to my own ex’s excuses for his deplorable behavior. There’s no way I can stomach reading other cheaters’ b.s.

    • Chris, on the addict analogy (you’ll remember my brother is a recovered one) — isn’t using about entitlement? Aren’t addicts selfish? Their desire for a hit supercedes everything and everyone. It’s all about getting that drug. You need diapers? Rent? Fuck you, I need a hit. No matter how pathetic and messed up, IMO it’s still about entitlement.

      Oh and I could argue (and I did in my chumpy past) that my cheating ex really was self loathing and had an inferiority complex because his parents had 6th grade educations and he grew up rough. Not so. Really, he thinks he is delightful. He SAYS that (“I like being a narcissist!” Real quote.) and his actions said that. (He could never stop fucking around.)

      Per reading on cheater boards — I don’t much. But doccool linked to me, which I found rather peculiar so I went and had a look. Kinda confirms my theories about kibbles and delusion reading those threads, but hey they have to have some place to go. It’s interesting reading.

      • Self esteem and entitlement are not the same and don’t positively correlate. You can have low self esteem while having high entitlement and you can have high self esteem while having low entitlement. Self esteem has more to do with how we treat ourselves and others as opposed to entitlement which seeing the equity in things: “if you have that then I should have that too”. One can have a high self esteem by highly valuing oneself and others while not expecting to be treated the same by others. Likewise, one can can treat themselves as dog shit and others like dog shit but expect others to kiss their asses. Here’s an article written by a PhD. that explains it further in depth.

        Also for the future, using a message board with cheater cheatings leads to confirmation bias. Be careful. The types of people who post on those boards have zero remorse on their actions so of course it seems like they have a high self esteem and high sense of entitlement. I enjoy your blogs but sometimes your blogs posts such as this one can spread misinformation regarding academic terminology.

      • I actually contributed to John Edwards’ campaign AAAARRGGGHHHH- wasn’t that Reille Hunter interview with Oprah some of the craziest shit you’ve ever seen? She spoke in all that new agey gibberish – she wasn’t a stupid person, just a person operating in a completely different dimension. It was seriously weird.

        • Rielle Hunter.

          That’s not her real name, and obviously the name she chose to go by was advertising her true persona.

          She was a real hunter, alrighty. A hunter hunting down a multi-millionaire and then…..oops and oopsie, this intelligent capable woman accidentally gets pregnant in the age of advance easy birth control.

          I thought that Hunter was younger but not as cute as John Edwards wife.

          Well at least the citizens of the US got to see what poor judgment Edwards utilized to cope in life.

          Phew, we all dodged a bullet there.

  • Chris:

    Good post and I agree a pathological narcissist is only one type of cheater. There are the sex addicts the porn addicts, the people with narcissistic traits, the addicted to adrenal high types, the wounded types with low self esteem who self sabotage, the psychopathic and sociopath types.

    And…..I am getting a headache, now.

    As for it being torture to visit cheater’s sites. I see it a bit differently. It is torturous, but it serves a purpose. For me, personally, and I can’t speak for CL, the point is to avoid dating cheater types, if and when I ever decide to date again.

    I do think cheaters give off red flags early on. In retrospect and after educating myself, and yes, visiting cheater’s boards to lurk, there were a TON of red flags with my ex, both prior to marriage and afterward.

    They were so subtle that I missed them, but next time, if there is a next time, which I am not sure about, I will NOT miss those subtle cues and red flags.

    • I agree that cheaters give off red flags early on. Mine certainly did. But I was so wallowing in his love bombs that I simply refused to see them. But they were there, make no doubt about it, and it’s only now when I am able to look back like a somewhat disinterested observer, that I can see them all waving about, and wonder how I managed to ignore them along the way.

      Like you, if and when I ever date again, I will be aware and on my toes, although hopefully not paranoid. And I do enjoy reading cheater sites, for some weird reason. It gives me insight and makes me realise most of this has little to do with me.

      • Nord

        I agree. It gives us insight to read the conversations on a cheater’s support forum, and in some weird way it alleviates my paranoia because I feel better armed in the future to ferret out a potential cheaters.

        The clues are subtle sometimes and often totally opposite of what we as faithful spouses would expect a clue to be.

        For example, Shirley Glass says a cheater will often herald their intent to cheat by spontaneously mentioning that they would “never cheat on you”.

        Well, my husband often said that to me, when seeing a show about cheating or hearing of someone else cheating, without any prompting form me.

        Perhaps it’s a way to set up a false sense of security in the soon to be betrayed spouse, or maybe it’s what the psychiatrists call reaction formation.

  • The Doccool site is interesting and now the owner is here on this site. Wow!
    I discovered the Doccool site as I was researching what is going on with my ex and OM behaviour.
    Here was two married people with two children each and they wanted out from their marriages. I get that. But the way they went about it-what a total mess.
    Two really intelligent well respected business people who thought they were unaccountable. I think if you asked them both to have the last three years over again they would make entirely different choices but because their selfish behaviour effects so many once they were in the mess, in the fog, crossed the line, well basically like Liam Nielson said to his step son in the movie Love Actually -“well basically son, you’re fucked aren’t you!”.
    The Doccool site made me realise how so many in this world are truly screwed up. Knowly causing grief to their AP families ,accepting their lovers whining about their wives/ husbands etc. the entitlement, the gratification, the emptiness, the sadness of it all.
    So many times the affair referred to as a drug hit. If only the cheaters could quantify the damage beforehand like the drug addict has no idea of the destruction caused by the drug until its too late.
    I must say I have to apologise to you Doccool as I labeled you a complete arsehole for even hosting such a site but if you want to give a balanced outlet then maybe the site has some merits. It’s tough reading sometimes and I have simply had to stop and turn off the iPad even though I have read three months worth of correspondence between my ex and her lover. Its all the same crap.
    In many ways we are fortunate to have all this information at our finger tips but one must filter it to some degree. At least we can make informed decisions often based on others experiences
    I never thought I’d see Doccool on this site. Miracles happen everyday!

      • Lol Arnold! I was just reading the forums. A lot of OM/OW.. I am struck by how sad, pitiful, and pathetic their existence has become. It is all wrapped up the MM or MW.. Obsessed. Waiting. For texts. (40-50 times a day… then nothing! oh no!!!! Received text—- DDay!!! He has been ‘fronted!!! Told me to wait for him to contact me!!) Waiting. For the next phone call. Waiting. For the next stolen moments on his way home from work. They are completely consumed with what MP are up to, the OP’s on the boards supporting each other on DDays (stay strong! He/she will contact you).. The emotional mindfucking they endure just to be able to hang onto the “relationship”. For what???? Crumbs. Plain old lousy crumbs. And they eat hungrily and think this relationship and this love is special. The cheater is their whole existence!!! Giving the cheater whatever he/she needs.. (Don’t be clingy!)
        Regarding the spouse they sympathize w the married men in going back to their wives! (“I have only known him for one year.. She has known him for 20..” “He feels safe w her.”). Yet they hate the wife. Very insecure and threatened by her. They desperately want it all but dare not rock the boat as it could drive the AP away.
        Cheaters???? All about me,me,me… My needs, my guilt (self-pity), my sense of obligation to my family–can’t think of divorce (bogus!), my happiness, my escape, my outlet.. I can’t read anymore, I am so disgusted.
        There is a sickness of the soul.. Of the mind… In these people. And it is terrifying. I am pretty distraught right now that there are so many people amongst us that look normal on the outside, but so fucked up on the inside. God, I never want to deal with a cheating, lying, sack of shit again… I got duped so badly the first time… Never again. Never. Again.

        • Yeah, reading over there made me realise I should have chucked STBX on the first dday, but glad I did it on the second. It’s a mindset I will never understand and don’t want to understand. Current OW thinks she’s special and even though he cheated on me for years that it won’t happen to her. When I think about that I feel sorry for her. I don’t hate her and never did, other than some initial anger in the first few weeks. I don’t want to know her but hate her? She’s just another idiot duped by STBX. Reading over there makes me see how sad so many people are and how desperate they are and really, most importantly, how hung up they are on this pop music version of love.

        • Rose:

          Good post. I mean seriously, when these cheaters hear their affair partner’s so willing to bad mouth their spouse for this minor offense or that, all typical of any long term marriage, don’t they have the intelligence to think well if we stay together, likely he/she will be badmouthing me, too.

          Aren’t these cheaters turned off by the way the affair partner disrespects another human being and the privacy of their relationship together.

          Apparently not and likely, based on the threads at Doccool, because they think they are so much better than the spouse.

          But then if that were true, why wouldn’t the affair partners just divorce their spouses and marry each other instead of cheating.

          The whole affair thing is pathetic and degrading to me. Why bother? Just ask for a divorce if you are so danged miserable.

          An affair seems like too much precious energy wasted on waiting for a text, and sneaking around, all just to get laid by a liar, a thief and a deceiver.

        • Pathetic, that is the right word, Rose. These poor cretins barely write at above the third grade level. It is depressing to see how stupid some folks remain, even as they age.
          I cannot imagine how distasteful it would be to be physically intimate with one of them. I’d puke and then become permanently impotent.

          • I swear reading that I kept flashing back to high school, a bunch of girls sitting in the corner of the cafeteria assuring Mandy that Heather is a mean girl and John will make the right choice eventually.

            I refuse to believe any of these people are adults.

  • I haven’t read any of the comments yet.
    I just read that website.
    Vile. Sick. I’m Disgusted. It’s actually WORSE than Ashley Madison, if possible.

  • I disagree. A place where everyone can “talk” and “share info” about ways to deceive the spouse makes me sick.
    Active groups of people supporting one-another in affairdom takes deception to another level.
    AM could be people just getting a one-time sex hit. (Not that I think that is OK)

    • Leslie, I am in complete agreement with you. I too read the articles and the comments. I am sick to my stomach at people supporting each other in having affairs, how not to get caught, and ways to deceive and betray your spouse.
      This is not a healthy support group but a travesty to marriage and family. Doccool and any other site like it is vile and disgusting. If people are so unhappy in their marriages, divorce the spouse before you cheat. Damn cakeeaters!!!!!

  • “they cheat because they have low self esteem?” that just more stupid shit that cheaters say.
    to anyone who says “i cheated because i have low self esteem” o boo hoo go cry me a river and GET THE FUCK OUTTA MY FACE! .. JUST MORE STUPID SHIT THAT CHEATERS SAY

  • The cheaters are looking for love in all the wrong places. Or looking for happiness at any rate. They aren’t thinking of if it will hurt someone else, they’re thinking of their own pleasure, not you.
    “No man chooses evil because it is evil; he only mistakes it for happiness, the good he seeks.” Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley

  • I do have low self esteem, it’s always been there. It led me to wanting and needing to be validated and confusing it with not feeling desirable, which online men will do readily.
    It is nice when you are not attractive and your husband doesn’t show you you’re desirable to be told that yes you really are. But then truth hits you hard. You feel even worse because it is not validation, but just a horny man who is also bored in a long relationship. You then realize that you are still stuck being unattractive and still have low self esteem and all the internet attention is making it worse, bringing it home that if you were to meet this person they would most likely not find you desirable, and since you place so much value on what others think of you and use it as a definer it causes you to sink even lower. Then you realize that you have to remove yourself from this kind of emptiness and that you would never cheat on your man, just to feel desirable for a few minutes. But you do start to wonder why your long time spouse never grabbed you, laughed with you, told you you’re beautiful and you think that maybe it isn’t you after all and that maybe it’s time for him to find someone that he does feel passionate enough about to tell or show them. And it hurts to feel that you will never have enough esteem to not let it affect your core and that yes, deep inside you just wanted that feeling of complete acceptance that you had for your partner. So you walked away from a slight possibility that there was a person who would have made you feel you were a worthy woman, and rest quietly with the fantasy thwarted. And you keep trying to figure out if it’s self esteem or if your man is not really feeling it for you, but just in denial, or if he would be the same with another more attractive, high self esteem woman. And you are the one to try and FIX stuff, FIX yourself, talk, try new clothes, FIX sex and intimacy, FIX everything to try and MAKE it feel good. Maybe he should have an affair because it might be just what the doc ordered

  • I can see that my ex does have low self-esteem. But that’s not why he cheated. He cheated because he’s entitled to lots and lots of ego kibble, and I wasn’t giving him any (before the first affair) or much (before the second one, 6 years later) anymore. And I wasn’t giving the requisite ego kibble, not because he’s not smart, good-looking, hard-working or a good cook – he is all of those things. He wasn’t getting his kibble because he clearly believes he’s entitled to it without ANY reciprocity, and because the way he copes w/his low self-esteem is by being incredibly negative and critical – not fun to live with.

    So when there’s not enough ego kibble, he gets to do anything at all to get more, no matter who it hurts. And if I’m not OK w/that, it’s because I don’t understand how complicated his situation was, and how I wasn’t easy to talk to about what was not working, for him, in our relationship. Not that he ever tried, but, you know ….

    Me, I’m a grown-up, chose to take the risk of staying after the first affair. Our kids, however, that’s what kills me. They didn’t chose this.

  • Huh well i think this is quite the biased point of view. A few things I know for a fact. Cheating is due to very low self esteam and that the cheating that took place is still unexcusably their fault. People go to therepy for cheating, people change, and I dont think they would do that just to get away with it because of arrogance or whatever. I just don’t think this is open minded at all. Sure lots of people cheat and will keep on doing it….but many do have a heart and need to make some serious changes, and so they do. Often it improves a relationship even.

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