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Dear Chump Lady, I’m angry at the people who knew

Dear Chump Lady,

I have a great deal of anger toward people who knew about my wasband’s cheating, but didn’t do anything to help me.

Like telling him that I was a good person who didn’t deserve this, and if he didn’t tell me, they would. I feel betrayed by them too. I realize that in this day and age, people feel it isn’t their business and stay out of it. But there were several circumstances that I realized in retrospect were perfect opportunities for these people to help me, and they didn’t. People who provided alibis. The other woman’s housemate who I had been friends with for 30 years.

Of course, most of my anger is at my wasband. But I am really angry at these people too. They could have saved me from a lot of pain and torture. I guess what I really am is hurt that these people watched me twisting in turmoil, knowing that things were not going well with my wasband, but not understanding why. When I found out he was cheating, all of his behavior made sense. And I realized I wasn’t crazy. I knew what to do, and I got a divorce. I could have gotten out almost two years earlier if these people had chosen to help me. Is it unreasonable of me to refer to “helping” me? I don’t remember reading discussion about this before in your blog.



Dear Angry,

Well, it’s an issue that  has comes up sideways. Someone will write who is in an affair (an unwitting OW), and wonders if she should tell the poor chump about to marry this cheater the truth. YES! I shriek from the sidelines, TELL! But they worry that it’s stirring up drama with someone they want to go no contact with, and I never hear from them again. They’re more focused on their own relationship with the cheater, and the chump is sort of theoretical, or an embarrassing problem they’d just as soon forget about.

You are that embarrassing problem. And those “friends” are usually more concerned with the fallout with the cheater. I get it. Really I do. I had one of the OW at my WEDDING. How’s that for fucked up? Didn’t know that until much later, but as the divorce was going on, she tried to befriend me. Us against that Rotten Cheater. (She did admit to being an OW in his last marriage, and then stayed his “friend.”) She knew he was cheating on me with the other long-term OW (getting a sense of how fucked up that marriage was?) and neglected to mention it. But was quite happy to enjoy the canapes and open bar at my wedding.

So, I get it. These people suck. So that’s one category of people who won’t tell you — because they’re boinking the cheater themselves (that may be the OW’s roommate in your story, for example). Then there are the people who know about the cheating, but don’t know you very well. They either don’t want to jeopardize their relationship with the cheater, or they worry that if they told you, you would freak out on them and blame them. So their choice is don’t tell = No drama. Tell = Drama. They choose no drama. The Golden Rule doesn’t occur to them, they THAT would want to know.

Which takes us to our next category — they don’t tell you because they assume you already know. You either forgave him or you worked out an “arrangement” — that’s probably what your cheater told them. (You look miserable? I guess you’re not so happy with that arrangement.) It’s a lie those friends want to believe, because it alleviates their anxiety that they should tell you. (Oh Bob said they have an open marriage. Bob said Mary forgave him for his little indiscretion. Phew! Off the hook! ) If they know you, they may think that it’s pretty preposterous, but they WANT to believe it.

Then there are the people who think it is a virtue to Not Meddle. I guess if there were an arsonist dumping gasoline around the foundations of their 100-year old clapboard house, they wouldn’t want to know. With the reasoning that “arsonist” is an ugly word and maybe he has a good reason to be spilling gasoline. Let’s not connect those dots. The only thing we have to lose is… everything.

My point is, Angry, people usually don’t tell you for selfish reasons all their own, that have everything to do with them, and nothing to do with you. These people are NOT your friends. It may make you feel better to confront them now that you know and tell them “Thanks for NOTHING, you asshole!” — and why not? You’re not going to see them again and shouldn’t want to. Why maintain civility?

All you can do, going forward, is be one of the people who tells. Be brave. Meddle. Tell the truth if you know. Ask if everything is okay if you suspect. Be a good friend. That’s the beauty of a new beginning, Angry. You get to fill your life with the worthwhile folks and jettison the rest.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • I guess there is no easy way for these so-called friends to tell you he is cheating. But they couldn’t be such good friends if they didn’t (especially the housemate of the OW). If you think it will make you feel better and if you won’t be upset if they will no longer be your friends then tell them. We as women are so often told how much expressing our anger is unattractive but I think it is cathartic. Maybe you could have a big party and tell them all at once. “I have gathered all of you here together to tell you what jerks you were (are) and how much you have hurt me!” I don’t know because I know if my friends knew they would have told me right away!

    • It’s funny. I recently told a betrayed wife that her spouse was cheating on her- and told her who the OW was.

      And it was interesting- because I am merely an acquaintance. But her close friends- who were friends with the OW and the BW?

      They all stayed out of it.

      But I didn’t. I admit- it was a disappointing lesson in watching people fail to do the right thing.

        • She accepted it, no blaming the messenger, followed him and caught him at the OW’s house that night. Busted it wide open- and exposed to anyone who would listen.

          The OW has since been exposed as a serial OW, and I mean hugely serial.

          The BS has handled it with about as much class and grace as one could, while talking zero crap.

      • I think at the end of the day it comes down to personal self serving. Anyone close has an investment in the relationship with the cheater, the chump and maybe even the OW/M. I am constantly surprised at the selfishness of our culture that doing the right thing never is an option when there’s a chance that the blowback could somehow hurt the person with the information to tell. I think an acquaintance – with much lest investment and much less to “lose” had more freedom to be ethical than someone who is constantly weighing the “what’s in it for me / how will this hurt me” mindset.

        People in personal relationships seem to most often operate in a fog of grey area – the idea of right/wrong is too black/white for people to find palatable – they want “wiggle room” when dealing with difficult decisions. Most-sadly – like to just hang to the back of any situation and then, no matter who goes under – they stay afloat. It’s not noble. It’s not honorable. It’s not right – but it’s human nature.

        • I think you have a point. So many lives are intertwined with particularly a long-established couple. I know that my divorce has torn a lot of relationships apart. It’s been incredibly destructive and hard on a lot of people, not just me and the kids.

        • How should the situation be handled if the lady chose to stay in the marriage?

  • I can certainly understand being angry that people you believed were your friends knew and never told you. I’d want to know. Is it possible I’d shoot the messenger and or go into denial about? Yes it’s possible but I’d still want to know. The truth will set you free, even if it pisses you off first.

    I don’t think any betrayed spouse should be held accountable for their reaction of the news. There is no right or wrong response to a shock in my opinion.

    As far as being the OW and having an obligation to tell, if I could go back to that time I would. Of course when I told him I told my H he came back at me the next day and told me he told his W everything. Which I don’t believe. I think he was afraid that me or my H would contact her and it was his way of controlling the situation. When I told him I confessed to my H his first response was, “Where is he?!” and “OMG I’m scared!” LOL He may have told, but he’s a pathological liar so who knows.

    I had printed every single email we ever exchanged, pages and pages. I had a whole file of them. Plus a card he had given me that he signed. I burned them all. That would have been more than enough proof. But I wasn’t in that mind frame at the time. I just wanted rid of anything that had to do with the whole mess.

    Then 4 years later I hear he was having an affair at work. So now I know about our EA and this. Plus I had the knowledge of the fact that he had called me 8 years earlier. Then a year ago he emailed me. This guy clearly likes to play with fire. THAT’s when I should have said, “Enough” and forwarded it to his wife along with the apology I feel I owe her.

    This was on FB email. I immediately deleted it and didn’t respond. I just wanted him to go away and stay away. Then he emailed me on gmail a week later. I told him to stay the fuck away from me , deleted my account and blocked him on FB.

    I don’t know any way to get in touch with his W other than FB. I don’t have a personal email and I guess I could see if they have a published home number or mail her a letter. But then I feel like I’m a crazy stalker trying to damage their lives. She is on FB and last time I checked her page the “send message” button wasn’t public. I have since checked and now it’s enabled.

    So EA was 5 years ago, then contacting me again almost 1 year ago, as far as his other affair while likely true, I have no proof, it was hearsay.

    He seems to fool around quite a bit, so I’m sure she’s in the same position as you, many around her who know but just stay out of it. How awful. They’ve been married 20 years. I hope she will be free of him someday.

    • I don’t buy that it would be terribly difficult to get in contact with his wife, Lasso. That does not have the ring of truth to it.
      You should tell her of your role in damaging her marriage.

      • Thank you for the input Arnold. I did see a suggestion below of sending an anonymous letter. I suppose that’s an option. But how do I know she would even get it? He may have control over that one. If I were to do it I would want it be anonymous. I’m not real savvy when it comes to that kind of thing.

        As far as the role I played in damaging her marriage, I also damaged mine and my family. I don’t want to be responsible for causing more damage and bringing more drama into my family.

        The more I consider what I know about this guy, I find him kind of scary. I’m not sure I have a full understanding of what he would be capable of doing because I don’t think like he does. Nor would I ever want to!

        I had said to my husband a while back “I wish I could tell her how sorry I am.” My H used to be in AA and I asked him about the making amends part, he said “you make amends unless doing so would cause harm” He didn’t directly say it but I don’t think my H would approve. Do his feelings count in this? I think they do.

        I also brought it up in therapy and said “I’d love nothing more than to out him and his W deserves to know.”- admittedly at that time I was also wanting revenge. The therapist said, “That’s true, but it can’t be from you.” We moved on to other things after that.

        I want to do the right thing Arnold. But I don’t want to bring more harm to his family or mine. I think the window of opportunity has closed on this one.

        • Here’s the deal on Aa and confessing infidelity. Lasso. Bill W, in addition to beong an alcoholic, was a serial cheater. In the early days of AA, the foubding members had to assign men, on a rotating basis. to keep Bill off of the new, young female members.
          So, AA seems to have adopted this policy of not telling because “doing so will cause ffirther harm”.
          It is complete, self serving BS, that is directly attriibutable to the politics of keeping Bi;; W’s proclivites under wraps to preserve the A machine.
          As for your therapists advice, I think many of us see a “credentialed””professional” as having some sort of monopoly on what is right in these siituations. In reality, just like the members of my profession, they are often incompetent and give bad advice. We just want to beleive, due to fear or weakness, that these fplks know what is best.
          I see it all the time in my profession. A judge or distinguished looking lawyer(nice white hair etc) is a fool, an idiot. But, the public really, really wants to beleive these folks are wise and have the right answer.
          Many of my classmates ate now white haired judges. iwnetoto class with tem and had case with them, and, they are idiots(but, again, they look the part).
          I cannot conceive of any real , valid reason that you do not have a moral duty to tell this woman. You are grasping at straws(alleged fear of retaliation (c’mon, really). relying ont ehadvice of a therapist who may well have finisihed at the bottom of his or her class in grad school, and AA advice that stems from the policies designed to protect a serial infideliter founder.

            • Retaliation – yes really! Pathological narcissists/sociopaths can be very dangerous people Arnold. If you look into anything written about these kinds of people the bottom line is to get away and stay away. No contact.

              To me getting in touch with his wife is another form of contact.

              If you want to believe I’m doing it just to evade taking responsibility for my actions I can’t control that. I understand your feelings on this. I get the message.

              I am not afraid to face HER. I’d love nothing more than to have a sit down with her and answer any questions she would have for me and to tell her I’m sorry.

              But yes, I am afraid of him. He did a real number on me when I was younger and I allowed him to do it again. While I’d like to save his W from possible future grief and heartache, I have others to think about. Most importantly my daughter. She does not need her mom to be wigged out and stressed from more drama. And I have no idea what could happen from doing this. Neither do you for that matter.

              It’s not going to happen.

              • Yes, but you are still here, fine and well. So , the number he did on you must not have been all that dangerous.
                Look, very few NPDs are dangerous unless you are in a reltionship with them. The “danger” to an outsider is very remote , if it exists at all.
                I hate NPDs. But, there is , in reality, very little to fear from them unless you get into an emotional entanglement with them.
                Do you want his wife left in the dark forever?

  • Well, again excellent blog, Cl.

    I am right now in the middle of such a dilemma. A woman friend, not a best friend, but someone I socialize with and like quite alot, is married to a man that I recently heard rumors about.

    I have no proof but the rumor is that he frequents prostitutes, and has for years, and he has escalated to having an affair with a somewhat slutty neighbor.

    The other issue is that this woman, the wife of the man who is the subject of the rumors, was just diagnosed with cancer.

    I wonder if she developed cancer because she suspects something is going on.

    On the other hand, if she has cancer and doesn’t know, will it be harmful to her health for me to tell her.

    If this woman were strong and healthy, I would not hesitate to mention the rumors.

    • This is a HUGE ethical question. All of us know how absolutely devastating it was to learn about being cheated on. The psychological toll and physical toll was tremendous. I could only believe that knowledge and fallout would fuel the spread of cancer and that absolutely sucks for the betrayed spouse. This reminds me of the horrible betrayal that Elizabeth Edwards had to endure with her cheater pants husband John Edwards- life was so unfair for such a wonderful woman!

      If I had cancer, I’d not want to be robbed of anymore time with my kids and the ones I could love and trust. I suggest that you ‘tell’ the woman but ‘tell’ her family around her as well because this woman needs a cocoon of support and a soft place to fall. If she knows the truth though, she will be able to make some changes to her last will and testament and provide for her kids and loved ones- not the cheater pants husband! Hell, he’d take what money he could get and spend it on the OW. What a slap in the face THAT is for the kids!

      • Hi Hope49:

        Thank you.

        It is quite a dilemma. I wrestle with it daily.

        Learning of my husband’s infidelity did destroy my health. I know this and that is why I even hesitate one moment to tell this person.

        Also, If I had solid proof rather than just hearsay, I might be more inclined to inform her.

        I am angry at those who knew and did not inform me. It took away my choices, and despite it ruining my health for awhile, I still was glad to know that my then husband was cheating on me.

        The spending issue irks me, too. This woman is like me, cautious with household spending and does not spend a lot of money on frivolous things for herself. Also, money is a bit of an issue for them, at this time. This women mentioned it.

        So, if he is seeing prostitutes or an OW he is carelessly spending the money she saves.

        Cheaters are rally selfish and self absorbed, just the spending issue alone, shows that.

        Sigh. I am really conflicted about this.

        • Sara8, this woman is likely going to have to undergo radiation or chemo treatments, right? Her immune system is going to be compromised and the LAST thing she needs to be exposed to is the cootie germs, possible STD’s that her body would have to deal with fighting off.

          Is there some sensible person around her you could talk to? Perhaps, they’ve got suspicions as well and or evidence.

    • Cervical cancer, by chance? That IS an STD.

      If it’s cervical cancer, maybe she can be given a pamphlet of information about how cervical cancer occurs.

      But, really, what proof DO you have? If it’s just rumors, I don’t know how I feel about telling her. What if she herself is having an affair?

      If you don’t know the woman well…I just don’t know where the line is.

      • Hope59 & Stephanie:

        It’s not cervical cancer. If it were, I would definitely apprise her of the rumors about her husband.

        It is ovarian cancer.

        I am concerned about STDs because of her illness, and the fact that I don’t have solid proof is also holding me back.

        I am going to take Hope’s advice and tell someone close to her who knows her better emotionally and then they can decide what to do with the information. I am going to suggest trying to get better proof and will turn over the names of the people who are at the source of the rumors so that they may talk to them directly.

        • Who did you hear the rumor from? Someone closer to them both who would have more knowledge? Lean on that person, or find out something more specific that you could share with someone close to her. She’s still got time to write him out of her will.

          • CL:

            The people spreading the rumors are other neighbors.

            The wives are telling people that this woman who has cancer, has a husband who has been seen with the OW and has prior bragged to their husbands about seeing prostitutes regularly.

            Apparently one husband who knew of the prostitutes, told his wife after seeing the sick woman’s husband with the OW and knowing that his wife has cancer.

            The husband also knew that the OW had come on sexually to several men in the neighborhood.

            Yee gads, it all sounds so jerry springer.

            I have no personal concrete proof.

    • Rumors not facts Unless you have concrete proof I would not run to a woman who is fighting for her health with that kind of information

      • That is why I haven’t told.

        Still, the rumors are coming from good people. These are not people who mindlessly gossip. It seems they too are concerned about her health and the issue has only come to light after the woman was diagnosed.

  • Think of infidelity as an As*hole Filter for your friends and acquaintances. Those who know and don’t tell? They are as*holes. Perhaps as*holes you have known a long time, but as*holes nonetheless. Figure yourself lucky to have them identified for what they are so you can get rid of them. They will be replaced soon enough with better folks. It would be hard to find worse.

      • I’m sure my X’s mother knew. A whole bunch of people knew for that matter. There is very little possibility that I’ll ever have to run into my X again – I’ve blocked every way he could get hold of me but….. his mother – I could possibly run into her. I had another brief talk with my Mom – who I wrote about here before having dementia….. It’s very weird, when I talk about what happened to me, she becomes crystal clear for anything I might need to talk about regarding my X’s betrayal. My Mom told me that I have NO OBLIGATION to be nice to his mother. She like gave me permission to be as nasty as I could muster up in the event that our paths cros. What was it someone said above “Thanks for NOTHING ASSHOLE”. I might change it up a little but, you get my drift.

        On a slightly different subject, I have to stop talking to my Mom about this….. God, Mothers never stop hurting for their children even when they get to be my age. Mothers are a wonderful thing – it must be so difficult to feel the pain for another human being like that – for their whole life. Its selfish of me because I’ve discovered that my Mom “comes back” for me when I talk about this stuff with Mike and sometimes I just desperately want her back. I guess we never stop being a daughter/child in a way.

        Parents should be cannonized.

        • All of you should be cannonized. Whatever pain I’ve experienced from all this I know it can’t be compared to the pain that all you mothers and fathers must feel and what it must take to navigate your way. Any expression of admiration I make will sound trite. You must be made of tougher stuff than me for sure.

        • I recently reluctantly found myself speaking to my xMIL at a school function. We made small talk at intermission about what a great job my child was doing in a performance.

          I’d written the woman off–she never offered sympathy, never asked if I needed anything, never gave any indication that she was horrified by her son’s behavior. No, she chastised me pre-emptively: I must not Put The Children In The Middle.

          So, there I was, two years after I’d last spoken with her, and it didn’t take her 60 seconds before she was hinting that I was standing in the way of a good relationship between my betrayed child and her son. Would I please encourage my child to answer her son’s texts, would I please allow my child to attend breakfast with her and her son in the morning? As if I was Poisoning The Children’s Minds against her wayward son, as if his own actions weren’t enough, without any opinion from me whatsoever, to influence my children’s thoughts about their father.


          But I smiled all sparkly-like and said, “Oh, of course!” I did remind her that my child may have already made plans with his friends, but I would certainly pass along the message that the victim grandmother wished to see her grandchild for breakfast, (lest his indifference be seen as a sign of “poisoned mind” syndrome.) Or, “ex bitter spouse” syndrome, not to be confused with “my dad’s an asshole for lying and choosing some fuck over his family and my grandmother is insufferable” syndrome.

          Oh, she knew. SHE knew. She told herself and me, that “it takes two.” Yes, well, it did take the two of them to book hotel rooms and vacations and secret meetings in his car, to text each other on secret mobile phones and to chat on the phone from the garage or my kids’ empty rooms.

          That would suck to have to come to the conclusion that your son is an asshole. Better to blame the wife and even the kids. What a sick woman. Good riddance.

          • Yeah, as soon as it was clear I was divorcing the idiot my MIL pretty much shut me down and the rewriting of everything started, with her right in there. It’s all my fault, I’m bitter, scorned, etc. I poison the kids, yada yada yada.

            The whole family is so full of shit and I don’t deal with them anymore. THey’re not worth the aggravation.

            • I have to say if I ever told my MinL about my H’s affair she would chew him a new a–hole over the phone. She has already told me I put up with too much s–t from him.

          • I just don’t get that. Stupid question: Do parents blindly believe in their children like that? What do parents see about the weaknesses in their offsprint? I know it must vary……. I took over my Mom’s adorable shih-tzu when she was no longer able to care for him. I loved this dog more than myself but he had separation anxiety and when I left him alone he would scratch the door jam and pee on the floor…… I could at least acknowledge that he peed on the floor…… I mean I didn’t go like “Yay!!! Smitty!!! Smitty right or wrong!!!!” I loved Smitty but I was aware of his little foibles – large or small. And, I worked on solutions – I never stopped trying at least – and just because I recognized his limitations didn’t make me love him less.

            I know he was a dog and they aren’t children….. I just have trouble getting in my head……

            • Altho I guess I’d have to see if my Mother sees my issues in my life…. Like independently of the things I tell her. I wonder what she thinks of the bad choices I’ve made in my life….. never thought of it quite that way. Its not like I haven’t done some really screwed up things. I wonder if I asked her what she would say and if her observations would surprise me.

            • I have two kids and am fully aware of their shortcomings as much as their great qualities. I call them on their shit when they screw up and praise them when they are great. If they ever pulled this shit on anyone I’d be first in line to tell them what’s what…and I was that way long before this shitstorm hit.

              One of mine told a big lie about a kid at school to a friend of his. I found out and I made him call the friend and confess that what he said wasn’t true. He cried and stormed and was horrified and shaking and I think it was the worst phone call he ever had to make….and it made him look bad in front of his friend, but tough shit. He was starting a rumour and I wasn’t having it. I hate lying and always have and won’t tolerate it.

              My MIL, on the other hand, is one of those who lies by ommission or simply changes facts to make sure she, FIL and her kids come out of anything and everything smelling like roses. Wonder where STBX gets his stellar qualities, eh? Talk about a big red flag I should have paid attention to.

            • Not all parents believe their POS kids. A lot of in-laws support the betrayed spouses. It’s really lovely to see that.

              On the other hand, realize, the apple often doesn’t fall from the tree, and some of the FOO’s are a pretty good indication of why the offspring are such POS’s.

              • So true Stephanie. Makes sense since enabling parents continue to support the bad behavior in their grown children, they will continue with that bad behavior. Parents helped to create the monster and support the monster. The parents have a lot to answer for. That is why it is so important to hold your kids accountable for bad behavior when they are young and do not bail them out of every jam they are in because of poor choices they make. Sometimes one of the best lessons learned is dealing with consequences in poor decision making.

              • Yep, in my case I became aware that my STBX’s mom was an “OW” too… Seems she “dated” STBX dad while he was still married. Between my wife’s spin (Lies) about us “drifting apart” to her family, and STBX being a fully accepted and condoned legacy OW; yeah, my name is Mudd to that crew… Don’t give a shit, other than I hate the stench of lies from STBX, who ironically was named after a porn/Hustler model (YUCK!)

              • My in ;aws told me my wife is a patho;ogical liar and that I was much better off without her.
                I still play golf with her brothers and dad and still am invited for dinner and breakfast.\Pisses the Xw off immensely.

          • Oh and Stephanie – ick and double ick – I can’t imagine having to be nice to any of these people like your xMIL – It would make me homicidal at the very least or something like “Don’t ever approach me in public again, if you do I’ll have you arrested for assault……” or the like. Let’s make life like really inconvenient and expensive for them…… I have all these observations of her life in particular… things I kept to myself – God, it would be so easy to be so unkind…. and it wouldn’t actually involve getting anyone arrested….. Truth is my Mother was, as an adult and a member of society, so much more substantial than my X’s mother is……

            • I think my inlaws, particularly my MIL, are very scared of me because I know all the family secrets. I know EVERYTHING, because they used to have a bit too much wine at dinner, particularly MIL, and spill all sorts of things.

              This is why I think they’re desperate to discredit me. It’s funny because even my kids think they’re whacked out, along with most of the people who knew everyone. I was at a luncheon yesterday and the people there got onto the subject and were just ‘your inlaws are fucking crazy and manipulative’.

              Weird thing is STBX’s huge shitstorm has impacted the rest of the family as well, as now people see how they all behave and are not interested in having them in their lives. I can’t say it doesn’t make me happy. They deserve every bit of crap they get, as they’ve treated me appallingly.

  • WEll, at least one friend knew he was screwing around because she was one of his flings. Nice, eh? After I found out we met and talked and she felt ‘really bad’ for not telling me he was screwing around. then again, she cheated on her partner for years so I don’t think it was a big deal to her.

    I just don’t deal with cheaters at all, ever, anymore.

  • Cheaters are sick with a horrible disease called Asshole Disease… The bad news is that there is no cure.. But research and tests are being conducted currently, and time will tell if some cheaters will respond positively to treatment.

      • Isn’t that the truth? Fatal indeed! To cheaters’ families, spouses, and loved ones.. The cheaters themselves? They do not care they are assholes and nor about the wreckage they leave behind.

  • I have a real dilemma on this front. In the process of trying to discover the truth about my STBX (there I said it), I found out about other affairs going in in this “social” circle. OW’s from my situation has a previous AP who now has a new AP, so I currently have a list of 3 BSs who I have not informed. These are not not friends, just people I cross paths with, but they all have young children.
    I am trying to deal with all the pain that my ahole of a husband has brought to my family. My poor kids are just devastated with all the fighting and being afraid that dad is going to leave. I just can’t bring myself to forward that pain onto these other families. I see their kids at school. Their lives are ok. I know it’s not me who is fing with their lives, but I can’t be the one to drop the bomb and blow up everything they trust. I just can’t bring that kind of pain to their doorstep.
    Chump lady, I agree with everything you say. I would want to know. It’s not fair that they are being chumped. They are kept in the dark and so many of their friends know and nobody is telling them. It makes me so furiously angry. Still, I just want to leave those poor kids in blissful ignorance as long as they can have it.

    • quicksilver, you bring up a really good point. People don’t tell because they assume the mantle of blame. You think YOU will bear the burden of crushing those kids and destroying their childhood. No, that’s on the cheater. Not you. It’s a similar fear chumps have when divorcing a cheater… how can I do this to my kids?

      Some other ways to look at it — if you tell, the cheater could stop cheating (I know, unicorns, but still). Could help to know the world isn’t going to keep his secrets for him. The chumps now get to make an informed decision about their life — stay or go. If unicorns are real, maybe their marriages will be better for knowing. And they can save the thing. What they have now is NOT real, and could not be healthy. Chumps get gaslighted, blamed. Wonder why they’re unhappy, going crazy. The truth frees them from that nightmare.

      Also, say the families break up. Now those children are not having dysfunction modeled to them. After the inevitable pain — and it is horrible to go through, no question — they regroup. Kids are resilient. Better they know the truth about both parents, then think one hangs the moon (but isn’t around a lot) and the other one is unhappy and overburdened and cries a lot.

      My point — you don’t know everything is blissful and happy as is. With the chump or the kids.

      • You’re right, CL.

        eople don’t tell because they are all too willing to assume the mantle of blame for the fallout rather than blaming the cheater.

      • I’ve thought of a million ways to do it. I have voice recordings, pictures, and lots of details. (Uh by the way). Actually I left out OW’s best friend’s affair too.
        CL’s comments are spot on. I haven’t left the ahole because my kids don’t want me to. I am working up the courage. I know I will get there because of all those reasons. Mostly what I am teaching them about what is ok and what is not. I guess I really need to take care of myself first, and maybe then I will be able to face some of the peripheral shit in my life. It’s the right thing to do.

        • Ok. Quicksilver I’ve been where you are.
          I received an anonymous letter. I just didn’t believe it because I was so in love. But now I wonder who wrote it. Someone that either cared about me and the boys but more likely wanted to damage ex and stop her going to NY. An anonymous letter is easy to discredit unless you provide real hard evidence in the content.
          The kids want you to stay. Of course they do. Even now my boys want me and ex back to where it was. They now realise its very unlikely. Therefor the AP ( chainsaw man ) is just been rejected outright by the boys.
          When you expose the affair trust me all hell will break loose. They will go off the planet and you will witness anger like nothing you have experienced.
          However focus on the kids. Timing is important and you really need to be prepared. I exposed after 6 months and I had hard proof. Emails and copies of text messages. I spoke to his wife and she filled in the blanks.
          Credit to you for putting the kids interest first. Us guys have trouble controlling ourselves but you girls seem to be resolute and stoic. The kids will be better off.

  • Its also possible that some of them didn’t “know” they suspected by didn’t want to do anything without proof, or talked to the cheater and he/she gaslighted them too.

  • Wow.
    A few years ago my daughter called me to tell me she saw my X with a OW in his truck, somewhere they definitely shouldn’t have been together. Big blow up, with him telling me it was someone I knew, and he was just giving her a ride. I believed him, and not a week before this LAST big bang my daughter was saying she STILL feels uncomfortable around him for making such a mistake! I was never mad at her, she smelled a rat…and how right she was! Now I am weeding people out too, I actually talked about it in comments in CL’s last post. And I know lots of other people must have known because it was so rampant (he told me, got letter at work, etc) I am not so much mad at them because I knew they were shitty people. But I DO feel embarrassed, and hurt, and sometimes just want to hide because I feel like such a fool. What a skein of fuckedupness…

    • I’ve weeded people out as well. Most inlaws, but also a number of ‘friends’ who were either judgemental, not supportive or just assholes about the whole thing (as in ‘get over it’ two months after dray). To be honest it’s opened up space for new people in my life and the friends I have around me now, both old and new, are fantastic and amazing and part of my moving on was getting rid of people that weren’t good for me.

      I wouldn’t necessarily say they were bad people, just not the kind of people I care to have in my lie anymore.

  • I was and still am furious when I found out that so called friends knew. They knew for a 1.5 years before I caught the bastard. They saw me, so friendly and super sweet during that time. I confronted the couple afterward. The husband in person, the wife in email as she also befriended the OW on FB. Husband hooked wasband up with his divorce lawyer.
    You know, even before my life was turned upside down by infidelity, my thought was if I had solid proof that someone I know or care about is being cheated on, I have a duty to do right by that person and let them know. Even anonymously. If it was just a rumor? I would not go there. Rumors are just that.. Gossip and nothing substantial to back it with. I would not approach someone unless I knew without a shred of doubt that it was true.
    And now, after my life and my beautiful daughter’s life has been rocked severely by infidelity, it is VITAL to tell the betrayed spouse when you know what is going on. As a betrayed spouse, I am angered that other people knew my marriage was a fucking sham and did NOTHING to enlighten me. So called friends that supported his cheating ass while I was bewildered and deeply saddened as to what I could do to make my marriage better and why things were only getting worse. NEVER in a million years did I think wasband was a cheater. NEVER!!!!! And when I caught him finally, it all made sense. When I asked him who knew, I flipped my gourd because I saw these people at a relative’s wake and they were so sweet and friendly. It was then that wasband told me that guy was a serial cheat and his wife cheated on her fiancée to be with this old tool. Nice. Real nice. Way to keep it classy. I also had no freaking clue about this couple’s history. I deleted them both from my FB friend’s list and my life.
    Nomar, well said about the asshole filter… They have been filtered the fuck out. I don’t tolerate fair weather friendships nir assholes in my life either.
    Some people might shot the messenger. Cheaters will paint the messenger as a meddling busybody no doubt. It is a touchy situation. But affairs are vile, disgusting things and it is not right the betrayed spouse be abused needlessly. The only way for a betrayed spouse to get their power back is in knowing the truth.

  • Funny. The wife of a childhood friend o my hisband’s outed him. And brutally so and told me she did not approve of his behavior. The funny thing is stbx claims, to tho day two years later, she isn’t my friend and told me to be mean. At this point who gives a fuck. I am just happy someone told me

  • I would recommend mailing an anonymous letter. It IS better to know. It would be a kindness you would be doing for the BS.

    Ex was involved with a mow in my case. I knew her and her husband quite well. I discovered their affair and was devastated. And I told her husband. I did it because I would have wanted him to do the same for me. He was VERY grateful to be told, although it hurt us both very much.

    Fast forward to today: he is now remarried to a lovely woman and is very happy. I am still working on my recovery, along with ex’s daughter. She wanted the truth as well. We all wanted the truth.

  • This might be a little off point, but what about a common friend (a female, so mainly her friend) who accepts the POSOM, invites them over as a couple (in fact on one occasion invited me and them to her home at the same time!), but still wants to be friends with me?

    I find this to be absolutely INSANE and I told her exactly that. Once you gave your approval to that relationship which ravaged so many people on both sides, you are no longer my friend. I’m almost positive that she was not aware of the affair pre-dday, but does anyone have any thoughts as to what is going through this persons’ mind? I’m baffled.

    • I’ve dealt with that and finally decided that while I don’t want him I do not want to be around people who are close to them. One couple really struggled with this and I just left them to figure out what worked best for them and what felt right. They took some time to think, came and talked to me and said they just could not be friends with him and particularly not that woman.

      I wasn’t going to make any demands. I figure it’s up to people to figure out how they want to handle it. I can only deal with my life and what works for me and if people want to be friends with these assholes then good luck to them. I won’t have any part of it, mainly for my own sanity and need to move forward without that crap tainting my life.

      • I would imagine we’re in the vast majority on this one. Maybe it’s just that people who haven’t been cheated on don’t understand the pain.

        • True, Jeff, but I have a friend, another betrayed spouse who HATES her ex for what he did, who just loves to chat up my ex and be nice to him at school events. I really don’t get it. I haven’t confronted her about it, but I just don’t get it. I think if I chatted up her ex and told him, “oh, you must be SO PROUD of your sons,” she’d flip out. So why is it ok to talk to my ex who did the exact same thing??

          I for sure will not be friends with anyone who befriends POSOW and xH. REALLY not sure why anyone would want to be involved in that hot mess, anyway.

          • Stephanie, that really is strange. I don’t get it. I would confront her if the friendship means a lot to you and is worth saving. It really is about loyalty. Where is her loyalty? After being betrayed herself, I would assume it would lie with you.

    • Jeff, I am so sorry. Clearly this person is NOT a friend AT ALL. She invited you, your ex wife and the tool OM over to her house??? She is either a complete moron, an unfeeling woman, or over-the-top insane… Or all three. Either way Jeff, she is not a positive influence in your life. She can’t keep all three friendships. Walk away from that toxicity. Rally your close friends and family around you now. Lean on them for love and support. I read your previous post yesterday on CL’s blog entry. I am happy to hear you chose to take care of yourself and your family than beat your head against a wall trying to salvage a sham marriage with such a selfish, shallow person. Good luck Jeff.

    • Welcome to my world, Jeff. My STBX is in the music biz. I think marriages breaking up and new couples forming (regardless if they form before a marriage is over or if the BS of the “out-going” marriage is aware) is accepted as “The nature of the biz.” Most of our mutual friends are very sympathetic to me, but at the same time accepting of STBX and his new girlfriend (who is also in the biz.) It seems they are confident I will find someone new and be just fine. We’ll all be just one big happy, accepting family.

  • I heard Dr. Laura say 20 years ago in an interview, that if you really know about the illicit behavior, then tell- Why?
    She said to grant the betrayed spouse THE DIGNITY OF KNOWING – then the BS can decide what to do with the information- confront, ignore ….

    • I used to be a fan of Dr. Laura. She’d probably blame me for my spouse’s betrayal, however. Frankly, she is the reason I never ever strayed–she was swimming upstream when she pointed out that infidelity and resultant divorce is DEVASTATING to children. But toward the end of her commercial radio stint, she was fond of sort of telling women that they had a lot of control in marriages, insinuating that it’s no wonder a lot of men leave. I used her advice to justify being decent to my ex, until I just had enough–but, of course, when I’d given up, because his behavior had grown so bizarre, it was as the ex was beginning his affair.
      Anyway–she definitely has some strong opinions. I used to really like a lot of what she said, but a lot of it not so much–and especially now that I’m divorced from an abandoning adulterer.

      • Stephanie:

        I never heard of dr. Laura prior to learning of my ex’s cheating.

        But, now that I have I think she is a moron, and perhaps partially responsible for men feeling entitled to cheat.

        There are more psychologists who claim the opposite. They say assuming to much responsibility in the marriage and being too cautious with spending and making life to easy for a husband is what causes them to cheat because they begin to see you as their mother.

        They advocate allowing the man to take care of you and allowing him to spend money on you.

        • I do believe one of my mistakes was in not insisting he take better care of me, not asking for help.

          So, you may be on to something.

          The next guy! 🙂

        • There are more psychologists who claim the opposite. They say assuming to much responsibility in the marriage and being too cautious with spending and making life to easy for a husband is what causes them to cheat because they begin to see you as their mother.

          Wow, I told him several times in the last few months that I “wasn’t his Mother”. I’m really beginning to thing he cheated more and became more blatant about it because I started my own Biz (in addition to working full time) and I was less under his thumb, I really think that he thought I would completely lose it and beg him to stay, give him more and more $ etc. Thank God I didn’t…maybe I’m not quite as stupid as I feel?

          • Toni & Stephanie:

            Toni, I think my ex hated the fact that I was his equal. I contributed half of my own money for business start ups and work as hard as he worked to grow them.

            His OW was a mindless ditz who never worked and never cooked or cleaned and had nannies.


            I agree, I should have not been such an equal. I should have let him do all the work, like his OW allowed her husband to do. He adored her, until he saw proof she was a cheater.

            At first he was in denial, then called me back and listened and reviewed the proof, and then, he divorced her…..pronto.

      • Dr Laura cheated in the past. So many folks we would not think of doing this have.
        Barbara Wlaters, Charles Kuralt, Arnold Palmer, Paul Newman, Paula Zahn are a few of the ones that come to mind that people are surprised by. McCain, Guilliani, Edwards, Clinton, JFK, Roosevelt, Thurmond, Bill O’Reilly, etc.
        Kuralt really surprised me.

  • So for those of you who did get the news from someone else, how did they tell you? Is it better to say it to their face, or do it anonymously? I am not concerned about whether they believe me, that is their issue. I also don’t care about revenge (much) at this point.
    One of these BS is physically abusive, and I am concerned about possible violence to her or to my STBX (who is still my kids’ father). I am also worried about what my husband will do. He will probably figure out that it was me. The main reason I haven’t left him is that he has threatened me, and he threatens to use the kids to hurt me.
    I guess I have to say, there may be some very complicated reasons that people don’t tell.

    • Yes there are complicated reasons and sometimes backlash. That is why an anonymous letter is often the best alternative.

  • After reading all these posts I am reminded of a story that happened to another couple(2 actually) I knew. The wives were best friends in like forever, as couples these 2 vacationed together; one of the husband’s got the other a good job in his company ect.. Then one of the husbands had an affair. the other couple knew but didn’t tell the wife. After all was said and done the couple reconciled but cut their friend couple out of their lives because the wife no longer trusted them!

  • Lasso, I totally related to what you were saying. I was first a married chump who was so lost, I became one of a zillion OW (to a sex addict) only I didn’t know that he was attached. (not married but with a live in). At first and then I spent several months rationalizing before I realized what a sick fuck I was truly dealing with. (a few years later, I discovered, that I was even more of a chump than I had at first realized and have since left my sad sack o shit husband.)
    Now… I DID tell her! I grappled with this decision for weeks and then decided that I would want to know that the love of my life was actually a suppurating whore. I wish to God someone had clued me in. Its a long story. but bottom line is…
    leave her be. she’s a big girl and if she doesn’t want to know, then she doesn’t want to know. The man I was involved with, I call him “predator” went to rehab and then the day he was sprung was out in full force on many sites and craig’s list… I made the mistake of contacting her again (after finding her blog. omg!) and she called the cops to have them warn me.
    Warn me that I’m trying to look out for her???
    you see… its all fucked up. up is down and down is the depths of hell and the laws of the universe do not exist. She fervently needs to believe that whatever crap he’s telling her MUST be the truth. No matter.
    It still boggles my mind. some people need to hear the truth and others abhor it.
    some seek healthiness and some are masochists.
    so be it.
    In closing. in these cases, there IS no right. In the world of the totally fucked up its ALL WRONG. and unfortunately, as hideous as you and I know that it is… there ain’t a thing we can do about it. That is the road that she will have to travel on her own and for her and all chumps in denial. (myself included), I wish them Godspeed!
    xo ~ L
    ps: if I had to do it all over again, I def WOULD still tell her, because he was so recklessly out of control and she had a right to know that she was being subjected to life threatening disease. But then, I shouldn’t have followed up on it. that was my mistake. so, we have this place to say what we WISH that we could. Oh, I so get how you feel, but don’t go there. It won’t help. xo

    • Thanks Laurel. Yes the denial thing I think is another reason why I think telling her wouldn’t do much on that end and possibly bring more harm to mine.

      What began our EA was running into each other at a reunion party mutual friends from HS had. He was there with his W and son. I was there with my H and D.

      He came up to us and said “Hello” I introduced my H to him. I walked off and they even stood and chatted for a bit. Then I came back and my H moved on to talk to other people.

      I was never introduced to his W. She stayed off in a distance the entire night. This guy practically never left my side! He said, “I promised myself, If I ever saw you again, I’d tell you how sorry I am for how I treated you when we were younger” Me, “I forgive you” Ugh!

      I wasn’t facing my first love, I was facing a former abuser. I’ll spare the rest of the details cuz it isn’t necessary to rehash it all at this point and to stay on topic.

      But looking back, what I find odd, is, if your H is spending the majority of the night at a party talking to the woman he dated for 3+ years in HS would you just stand aside and ignore it? Not even walk over and introduce yourself or make your presence known?

      A friend of mine who was there said, “Everyone was gathered at one end, and you and he were standing alone at the other. His wife started to look for where he was, she saw the two of you, stopped and then turned back and went to sit down.”

      Now please DO NOT mistake this as my blaming her thinking she’s wrong in some way. That’s not it. I once WAS her. He did the same thing to me at parties in HS! When I’d call him on his shit he’d tell me I was insecure, needy, jealous etc. He ripped me to shreds! He is an emotional abuser and who knows what kind of damage he’s done to her.

      I don’t know if she was afraid because of what he would have done to her if she had, if she’s used to him doing this, if she knows and just accepts it. I just don’t know! But it was odd.

      I asked my H if he was bothered by the fact that we spent so much time talking that night, and he said, “No, I never considered him a threat, but then again I didn’t know about your history with him.” Which is true, I never spoke of him or our relationship in the whole time I knew my H. So maybe it was the same experience for her. She just never thought it was anything to worry about.

      But then I hear of his affair at work and that it was investigated.I’ve heard he’s always had a reputation for chasing skirts in the school districts he works in. If I AM hearing about this how is she not hearing about this?? I suppose it could be because it’s okay to tell the OW she isn’t the ONLY OW, but nobody wants to tell the spouse. Don’t go there! That’s kind of nuts when you think of it. But I’m certainly grateful to have been given more clarity on how twisted this dude is that’s for sure.

      I get that so many BS’s have gone YEARS without a clue as to what was happening. But in this case it’s just so difficult to believe she has no idea what he does.

      To be honest, thinking about it twists me up inside sometimes because I fear for this woman not just because I know her H is a cheater, but because I know how hurtful he is in a number of different ways.

      My guess is she’s got more to deal with than just cheating.

    • Laurel, you have no idea if his wife wants to know. The vast majority of BS s do.
      How is she supposed to “travel the road” on her own, if she has no knowledge of Lasso’s abuse?

      • No, no one does. I don’t know the entire story, but I was under the assumption that the wife already had at least part of the story and if that’s the case, then no, I think that it should be left alone. Otherwise, I did say somewhere else, that it would good to clue her in, anonymously if she’s completely in the dark. I wish someone had done so for me. Instead, I got to read about their five plus years “conspiracy” to commit adultery.
        I should think that the wife would be more concerned about her husband’s abuse. He’s the one she took vows with.

  • I think OW and OM should tell their victims, regardless of the victims’ potential reaction. Look, as an OW or OM, you inserted yourself into your cheater’s family. You helped destroy it, potentially.
    So, do the right thing and let the innocent know what you did so he or she has some control. It’s not right to so this and just slink away.

  • As I mentioned before, this is such a sore point for me.
    If people had told me, I wouldn’t have emigrated with my XH. I made a HUGE decision to leave my beloved (sunny) country of birth and am without family or my friends in another hemisphere. It’s cold and it’s grey and it rains a lot here. The lack of sunshine where I am is a huge issue for me.
    If people had told me, I would never have emigrated with him – I was innocent of the facts and I loved my XH so very much. I was totally focussed on my family (as we all are) and doing what was best for my children and their future. Where we lived was not safe and I made the decision thinking that together we would create a safe, stable environment for them.
    If I had known, I could have made better, informed decisions about my life and my children’s future.
    I still haven’t contacted ANYONE who was part of our lives except for my MIL and Brother-in-laws ( who didn’t know) and lovingly support me. They are in contact with my XH again recently.
    I don’t contact anyone purely because I don’t know who knew or who was part of it, so I cut them all out. It’s actually a shame, because I have isolated myself from contact with my history. It’s anger and embarrassment on my part.
    This issue keeps cropping up and I am really interested in these posts.
    I am not at peace with this at all.

    • sorry about what happened to you. is there any way to get home? having been a military dependent I saw this a lot.

      • My children are both in University – just about to finish.
        I wouldn’t deliberately put myself in another country to where my children are. They would be better off staying and getting into the job market. They were very young when we moved, so this is where they have lived most of their lives.
        Besides, I could never afford the cost of moving countries again.

    • I have a similar situation except I moved around a number of times to different countries to support his career. He was banging people the whole itme. And people knew.

  • I can understand a bit why people wouldn’t say anything before. what I don’t get is accepting the affair partner after the shit hits the fan. if you know this person helped in destroying a family, why do they think its okay to accept this person into the group as a friend, meet her/him etc. or if you know your friend is having an affair with a married person why would think it was okay to get together when you know he/she has a family at home (who don’t know anything is going on). are these people as morally corrupted as the affair partners?

    • My opinion FWIW anna – Is that our culture has become very narcissistic and people aren’t good at empathizing. They’re also becoming more tolerant of narcissistic behavior. Until of course it hits THEM.

      I still have days were it shocks me at how much infidelity is minimized. I think that’s why I love this site. It’s helped restore my faith in humanity some what.

  • Lasso, Its possible that she was just all too happy to have someone take him off her tired hands for a time. living with a narc is soooooooo exhausting. Or she might be the walking on eggshells type who doesn’t want to disturb the beast. some women feel that THIS is the best they can do, or are operating from a place of paralyzing FEAR, which I must say is not completely unwarranted in many cases. I don’t know if she ever knew what he is/was up to. If she is completely in the dark, then yes… sending an anon email through a fake yahoo acct. is the right thing to do, IMO.
    just the pertinent facts. and then let it be.
    If she was told once and still doesn’t get it, well then, she will have to live with the (strange) bed she has made for herself.
    One last possibility that comes to mind is that she might have a piece on the side, herself. Oh, I hope so! :] (hopefully, not married)
    xo ~ L

    • That’s my point. I just don’t know what the situation really is. Because so much time has lapsed since the EA I feel even weirder about it. Except for the fact that he tried to hoover less than a year ago!

      The other is I don’t have a personal email address for her. I wouldn’t even know where to begin to find one. The only way I could think of would be through FB and I guess I could make up a fake account on there and do it, but I still worry that it would be tracked back to me in some way. This just seems like even more messed up dysfunctional shit! I mean, obviously it messed my life up good, and why do anything that could mess it up any further?

      I feel like whenever someone tries to the right thing, a guy like this manages to twist it around and make it work to his advantage. I don’t want to give him anything to work with with were I’m concerned! He’ll probably get caught on his shit eventually. I hear they get more sloppy and lazy in their tactics as they age.

      I’m going to let it be and as much as I hate it it’s just a price I have to pay for the mistake I made.


      • You could easily locate her. If you need to cling to this as an excuse, you must realize how incredible that allegation re inability to find someone is in this day and age.
        I understand you are afraid to face the person you abused. But, it is the right thing to do.

      • Seriously, how on earth could anyone twist this info to his advantage. More straw grasping. You are really stretching.

          • Please explain how being a psychopath gives him the ability to spin having cheated and now being outed into something that reflects positively on him.
            Do a little analysis on this. Pschopaths have no magical ability to take something as injurious as this and make it reflect positively on them.
            See, Lasso, this stuff you are coming up with makes no sense when you really exam it.
            You seem smart enough. You are trying like crazy to avoid what you know is the right thing to do.
            Bottom line, wouldn’t you want to know if your husband and some woman had cheated on you?

            • Arnold, I have to respectfully disagree with you. That IS exactly what psychopaths/sociopaths/personality disordered narcs do. They are master manipulators and have deception skills that rival Houdini! I don’t know her exact situation and again, 5 years is a long time and the fact remains that if a woman or a man wants to believe in the dream they have conjured for themselves, then there’s nothing that this person can say that will make her believe otherwise. As she said, it would take a truly good friend that she TRUSTS implicitly to tell her the truth and that is highly unlikely. Yes, its sad, but its not Lasso’s responsibility at this point. Just my thoughts.

              again. it all sucks. its so, so sad… there IS no right thing. its ALL WRONG. ALL FUCKED UP! my best, L

              • We do not know whether his wife would be receptive to the information. Again, that is sheer speculation.
                Like many of us here, the research into infidelity has led me to fairly extensive research into the Cluster b disorders.
                No, these folks do not possess all types of special powers. It is just that many of us , due to our own issues, were susceptible to them vs the way a healthier individual, with good boundaries and decent self respect would have figured them out. No crime in that. Some of our best qualities are what led us to be vulnerable and we can fix ourselves to guard against it in the future.
                But, it just is not true that there is any real danger from people like this, except the real true sociopaths. even most sociopaths pose no real danger once you are on to them.
                I know we are going round and round on this. But, the rationalizations and speculations and exaggerations re the dangers of dealing with these folks, or their spouse’s claimed likely response, sound much like the same mental gymnastics we here from cheaters re their cheating.
                I just do not buy that there is nay reason a truly remorseful cheater would not want to inform the innocent betrayed party and make restitution in some way.
                The original act was cruel and cowardly. Maintaining the dirty seret is , too.
                People who have true remorse walk the walk and do the right thing.
                And, seriously, how much of a danger could the guy pose, if lasso was able to have relationships with him on two separate occasions , yet she is still here, fine?
                We do not know that this woman has “conjured” a dream for herself. Again, sheer speculation. We have no idea if she would accept the truth.
                So, why not err on the side of telling her and letting her do with the knowledge what she may?

      • Lot, my opinion is you have a duty to tell his wife. Find her.. It is easier than you think. It is not right that this poor woman might not have a clue her husband is a serial cheater exposing her to multiple diseases and abuses. Help her LOT… Throw her the lasso if truth. She deserves that. She can make a decision on what her future is based in truth, not illusion. After reading and posting here, you understand the scope if the pain we have all endured. The years wasted. Don’t let her waste anymore. It will be so hard to face her, but that will be you owning up and making amends for becoming emotionally (and somewhat physically) with her husband in the past. Good luck LOT. Be brave and do the right thing.

        • LOT, He fooled you didn’t he?? His sparkles drew you right in at your reunion, and you fell hard. What makes you think he is not doing all he can to keep his wife in the dark? LOT, if anything you should know reading here, we are all chumps because we were effing DUPED!!! Badly!!! My response is not in judgement, but in pleading to really do right by this woman. You chose to become involved with her husband a few years ago. While they were married. It still matters and she should know everything you know. It is her right. Give her back her power!!!

          • Rose I’ve read everything you wrote. The “throw her a lasso” made me freakin cry!

            I’ve read what Arnold wrote too. I’ll take some time and think it over. I have a paper to write for school. I have to set this aside for now.

            Thanks for your input.

          • “fooled her”? No, there is a huge element of consent by Lasso in this. She is not this guy’s victim.
            Remember the old saying “You can’t Cheat an Honest Man”?

            • Yes Arnold, I do have to agree with you that in cheating, it is completely consensual by the parties involved in the cheating. The only person fooled is the betrayed spouse. Completely powerless. Clarification on that is important.
              Thanks for posting!

            • There was a huge element of consent when his wife let him talk to his old girlfriend at a party for 4 hours while he ignored her too. She already knows her husband.

              He didn’t fool me. I knew, I just chose to deny it for a month. I knew based on past experience of dating him for 3 years. She’s been with him for over 20.

              She isn’t fooled either if you go by that logic Arnold.

              • LOT,
                She might just trust him that much. They might be a couple that chats up other people at parties. Don’t bank on the fact that she does know. And who knows what the conversation was on the ride home. She could have given him the third degree and told him how upset she was that he was talking to you the whole time. And he could have pacified her insecurity ( she had every right to be).
                LOT, you do not know the husband-wife dynamic they have. It is not right this woman is not equipped with the knowledge you have of her husband. Including your involvement with this prick. You have a duty to get the word out to her.

    • No. An anonymous e-mail is easiy denied. You need to disclose your identity so she can ask follow up questions.

      • Predator’s partner listened more when she thought I was an anon friend. But when she told me that she had shipped him off to rehab. (what an effin joke!), that is when I came clean and told her that I was involved and again, I was one of hundreds… however, she suddenly put up a wall. I feel for her and understand her trauma, however, I was truly trying to help. I felt very badly for her. I felt that she had a right to know that she was being subjected to life threatening illnesses. He gave me a very nasty STD. I should’ve known better. I was such an idiot. but that’s the part that resulted as a consequence of my husband’s actions.

    • That is complete speculation re her being relieved that someone was taking him off her hands for a time. It is rationalizing at its finest.
      Yeah, maybe his wife is so grateful that Lasso had an affair with her husband that she would, in some way, like to compensate her for her sevices.
      Sheesh. C’mon. Is there , really, any legitimate reason that someone who insertted herself into another’s marriage should keep the innocent betrayed in the dark?
      We hear he is a dnagerous NPD, yet after two relationships with him, Lasso is fine and healthy. W e hear that the wife may be “grateful” that he was out of her hair(that is a new one). W
      We hear that in this day of tecnology, Lasso is incapable of locating the woman. We hear that AA recomends not telling as does her therapist.
      These are all hollow.

      • Arnold – I spent a significant amount of time on a support board for survivors of narcissistic relationships. It was a tremendous help with my healing. He isn’t the only N I’ve had in my life. The most damaging one was my mother, the second was my father. This guy was 3rd. What’s behind my engaging in this affair goes waaaaay back. When it happened I didn’t understand myself, or my history, or anything about mental health issues and how they have affected my life. It’s really way beyond just the act of cheating.

        It’s a reputable site with incredibly in depth information containing articles and research on narcissism/psychopathy/sociopathy in all areas of life. It covers emotional abuse of all kinds, including infidelity.

        I connected and interacted with a number of women who were or are still married to someone with NPD. Most if not all had been betrayed. When I told them my story they knew right away what type of person I had been dealing with.

        Discussion came up about whether or not to tell and the manager of the site who I have tremendous respect for due to her extensive knowledge and just because she’s a great lady told me absolutely not to tell. So did everyone else. That chances are very high she won’t believe me. He will talk his way out of it. In fact he gets off on it.

        He told me a favorite part of his job is how in he tells parents to “Go to Hell” and they thank him for it. Because they didn’t realize they’ve been gaslighted. This guy is very evil. It would more than likely come back to me in a damaging way and he will be unscathed. How? I have no clue. I don’t have a strong desire to be on the receiving end of narcissistic rage. Call me crazy but from what I hear it’s never pleasant.

        Try to subtract his cheating from the equation. I’m pretty sure in many other ways his wife has experienced a less than stellar husband and father. Other types of treatment/behaviors that many spouses would never tolerate. She’s still married to him and accepts it.

        But the one final blow, the one that would really push her into taking action in some way would be hearing from me about our month long EA that happened almost 5 years ago? I don’t buy it.

        I’m pretty confident that over their 20 years of marriage she’s been given bigger reasons to get help or to leave him. The damage he’s more than likely doing to his son alone should be a big enough reason.

        I heard he was investigated at work but he some how managed to get out of it. He’s still there. I asked my friend how that happened she said, “I have no clue.”

        So yes as much as I am very sorry for the bit part I played in her damaged marriage, I won’t subject myself to anymore dealings with this individual in any way shape or form.

        I did it once and it nearly destroyed me but I didn’t know about NPD. Now I do and to protect myself I have to stay away.

        I think when it comes to person this destructive it has to be every man or woman for himself. It’s unjust, it’s unfair, it is what it is.

        Honestly if there would be anyone who would get through to her, it would be a 3rd party who she couldn’t find a possible motive for telling her other than they really want to help her get out of a bad situation. If I told her she would be able to come up with a motive and then dismiss it or more than likely HE would.

        • I have dealt with two NPD wives. I am not afraid of them in the least.
          It is not every one for him or herself in these situations. NPds are seldom physically dangerous and are, essentially, cowards. They only gain the power we allow them.
          You and this woman’s husband conspired against her. How is that every person for himself. You guys teamed up.

          • You’re not afraid of them in the least? Well goodie gumdrops for you. I am afraid of NPD’s and would rather stay the hell away.

            Arnold you’re right. I conspired against her with her H. I am a POS cheating narcissist who doesn’t feel remorse for her because I won’t tell her. He’s definitely not going to tell her. My H isn’t going to tell her. We’re all scumbags and cowards.

            Now what to do?

            You know about it. Would you like to tell her since you’re so big on doing right by people? You’ve been married to 2 NPD’s. You can empathize. Clearly I’m not capable. I’d be more than happy to email CL her full name. You can look her up and contact her and save her since you’re truly concerned for her well being.

            • Okay, just include your real name so she can verify and I will tell her.
              BTw, with you knowing her full name, and, presumably some details re the general vicinity in which she lives, why has it been so difficult to contact her as you claimed? Gotta keep those excuse straight, eh?

              • No, I never said I couldn’t find her. You’re twisting my words! You’re just as bad as other bullies I’ve known.

                What I meant is I have no personal email address for her. How do you find that for a person? I have no clue!

                I don’t want to email her on FB because I don’t trust FB.

                Yes I have her name, I have his name, I could easily look up their address, phone number etc. I could very easily email her on FB. If I mail her a letter who is to say she will receive it on the other end?

                I’d prefer to remain anonymous. But you’re insisting that’s unacceptable.

                I am capable of empathizing, but yes I’m terrified and because of that I’m unwilling. I AM UNWILLING.

                I understand what you think of me because of what I’ve done. Boy have you ever made it crystal clear.

                I have major anxiety from all of this and my sense is it isn’t so much you care about this woman but you want me to go through Hell and squirm and experience more punishment for my behavior.

                I’ve been through ENOUGH.

                It’s more about you being right than doing what’s right.

                I wish you and everyone on here well. I sincerely do. I truly love what CL is doing to help you and others.

                I’m very sorry that my presence here caused turmoil. Never was my intention.


              • Arnold:

                I love your posts. I read them all and agree with almost all of them. I am so glad you are here, but please lighten up on lasso of truth.

                Yes, Yes, Yes, she should tell this poor faithful spouse.

                But, yelling at her will not convince her to do it.

                She may be telling the truth about fearing an NPDs revenge tactics. I have known a few serious NPDs and BPDs and they can get scary.

                I have also read Lasso’s posts and I do believe she has learned her lesson about dating married men, being an OW or cheating.

                Lasso, please find a way to enlighten this poor wife.

                My ex insisted that he thought I knew he was having an affair, and I was looking the other way. I was not. I had no clue. I thought he was stressed about work or issues with his father.

                I was so glad when I received anonymous letters with proof. But revealing your name is much better because my ex gaslighted me for a long time, before finally confessing.

                If I had a name, someone to call, I would have learned the truth sooner.

                If you apologize sincerely to this woman, she may understand your position as someone that was manipulated by her husband, too.

              • Let’s dispense with the ad hominems, lasso. i have never bullied you. I have just pointed out where you have tried to make it look like it was impossible or dangerous to contact this woman.
                A simple cerified letter to her addrss would do the trick.

  • Jeanette…I could have written your post, exact same thing! My ex left, I thought he was struggling with the death of his mother & changing jobs, only to find out from him 6 weeks later, that he was involved with someone from the gym. He wasn’t sure how he felt about her, his words. That was it for me, and with the fact that a counselor suggested I go ahead and file for divorce. Thirty years down the drain…he has never looked back, except to call and whine about his finances, or blame me for the kids not wanting to spend time with him. I had known him since I was fourteen, now it’s just like, “Who the eff is he really?” A well respected psychologist told me expect a year for every 4 you were together to get over it. That piece of advice, along with CL, has really helped me to move forward. So cut yourself some slack because it will take time. I’m giving myself 7 years to chill & just focus on my kids…and loving my life more and more every day! Keep in touch Jeanette, we have so much in common and can maybe help each other.:-)

  • Thanks, CL. Great advice again. Amusingly (not at all), one night, I was letting my cat out of my window onto the roof (something I did every night), I got to see through the window my best friend next door neighbor’s husband getting a blow job from a woman.
    So. I had been cheated on by my ex, and both husband and wife next door had been TREMENDOUS support to me. Wife was by far the best friend I have ever had. She fed me. She checked on me. I would not be alive today without her. So. I was in shock for a couple of days and thought about this. And I decided I had to do for her what nobody had done for me. I went to him and told him what I knew. It was actually REALLY funny in retrospect because he denied and denied and denied until I said I let my cat out every night from my bedroom window and I could see right into his window. He shut up then. And seriously, he had been one of my best friends. So disappointing. So, anyway, I said that even if I wanted to keep his secret, which, after what had happened to me, I didnt, I could not keep his secret because his wife was my best friend. So either he could kill me, or tell his wife, or I would. Man, was he mad. At that time, I was pretty lost and if he had killed me, he would have been helping me out, and I think he sensed my fearlessness. Anyway, I told her. She elected to stay with him. I am fine with that, and still close friends with her although he and I are no longer friends. I no longer live next door. I respect her decision and would be friends with him if he apologized for attacking me for calling him on his behavior. He doesnt want to, and that makes me feel better about not being friends with him anymore.
    ALSO, I changed my will to leave money to the woman who told me about my husband’s cheating. I know she went through a lot of turmoil, and she cried when she told me. She is a hero to me.

    • Violet, you are so awesome!! A good, loyal, and fearless person.
      The stuff true friends are made of.

    • These posts were very timely. Yesterday a co-worker told me about a sad situation. After 25+ yrs of marriage her neighbor’s husband moved out of the house and into their vacation home about 2 hours away. This was two yrs ago and since then they have been in marriage counseling. She is doing the pick me dance big time and from what I gather he is a big cake eater and probably cheating on her. He has told neighbors that he does not intend to come home period. I told my co-worker she owed it to her friend to tell her this “Oh no” she said “I DON”T WANT TO GET INVOLVED” I told her to at least write an anonomous note and gave her the address for the Chump Lady blog.

  • Cheating is one of the most vile forms of abuse. Just as you would need to come forward if you were a witness to someone physically abused, you must reveal to the betrayed. The choices the betrayed spouse makes after that point fall on the betrayed. While this will be painful for them –you are saving them a lot of pain in the long run –they will no longer be ignorant of the truth –and potentially saving them from the spread of std’s. You need to disclose as tactfully and supportively as you can, and with as much hard irrefutable evidence as possible–to avoid the cheater spinning a crafty web of lies. Isn’t that what life is about, as difficult as it may be–living a life in the pursuit of knowledge and truth–I would hate to have lived my life living a false reality only to discover that everything that I had built my life upon was a farce and illusion. I did that for 1/2 of my life–and would have loved to have not lost so many years deluded! It takes great strength sometimes to tell the truth–avoiding hurting someone, it is a rationalization–be strong!

  • My husband (a suspected want to be cheater) says to keep you nose out of it. Oddly enough the subject came up just the other day. Of course I disagreed.

    @Arnold….. your AA knowledge is a bit skewed. Not “if it will cause more harm” it’s more than that. What is the persons motive, if there is any chance it’s malicious or as the person admitted, at the time they wanted to “tell all” it was out of spite. So her intentions were off.

    Just because Bill W was able to stop drinking didn’t mean he wasn’t human. Many alcoholics have other compulsions. It’s called 13 stepping … to go after newbies. It’s still happens in meetings. As I heard one person say, look around at the people in the meeting with you today. Last year they may have been sitting with you in the bar. In other words…would you go trolling for dates at a mental hospital!! Probably not.

    The bottom line.. I would want to be told and I would tell someone else.

    • Yeah, some of those AA meeting are just hookup opportunities for some of the attendees.
      My first wife, who claims her serial infidelity was due to her drinking, would hookup with guys at here meetings.
      Two weeks after my Dad died, she announced that she and one of her male members would be flying to Chicago for the weekend and sharing a hotel room while they visited various museums. (Shortly before this, she had come home at 3 a.m. and proceeded to wake me up to describe, in detail, the physique of the man she had been with all evening).
      My dad was an alcoholic. He stopped drinking and began going to Aa meetings at night. So, instead of my mom being home alone every night with 6 kids because he was at bars, she was left to man the fort all alone every night so he could smoke cigarrettes and drink coffe with Jonathan Winters and Dick Van Dyke at their meeting in Fairfield county.
      I always loved that, the mindset: “Yes, I have been gone every night for years drinking. But, now I am recovering, once again at your expense, as your workload is the same.”
      I just love it. Instead of drinking, he got to socialize, smoke and have coffee. Meanwhile mom was grinding it out.
      At least he was not coming home drunk and mean , with us kids praying he would pass out before getting to us.
      Based on what I know of Bill W, he was a fucking NPD monster.

  • Jane, I do not agree with you–I think Arnold’s comments hit the nail on the head and the truth needs to be told. We are all human–that does not mean that because you suffer from an additiction, it exempts you from all basic moral responsibilities and disclosure of painful truths.

  • Look, I enlightened the dude’s partner and they called the cops. okay? I did contact her more than once, but that was because she shipped him off to rehab and he came back and just got right back on the whorse. I thought she might like to know… but no…

    look. there IS no right. as I said before. It ALL sucks. and I for one think that Lasso is a beautiful person. brave and courageous. we ALL make mistakes and lessons have been learned. peace and love to all.

    • So. they called the cops. That is no big deal. You did the right thing.
      Lasso has denied this woman knowledge of what Lasso had done to her marriage.
      Of course there is a right thing to do.

    • Laurel, I do not buy the statement, “There is no right.” Yes there certainly is. And I am not talking in the religious/nonreligious sense nor the left/right wing politics agenda. What I am talking about is doing right by your fellow man. The golden rule. Treat others how you want to be treated. Having a moral compass. Bottom line is, when you get involved in someone’s marriage and then feel remorse for it, that is good. But the damage was done. And amends need to paid to help out the betrayed spouse. The betrayed spouse is powerless when kept in the dark. It isn’t right and action needs to be taken by Lasso to help out this woman. She is at the mercy of a sociopath.

  • When I say that there is no right, I meant that it all sucks and there was one that was more right and that is why I told her. I felt if it was me. (and later I found out that it WAS me) that I would want to know. It was not an easy decision and again, there is no right way to do such a thing.
    My situation is different, as I am also a betrayed spouse who’s husband told me that I could date. I only knew that he was engaging in cyber sex and porn but I believed him when he told me that that was all it was. (typical) It was a failed experiment. I thought the guy was single. I tried finding someone else, but it was only one date. I liked him. I had a policy of no married men. He did confess to me after several weeks that he lived with someone. I went there and didn’t see any concrete evidence of a woman. She was out of town. At the time, I thought maybe he had made it up because his original story was that he was single. But later on, he gave me some information and I was able to find her on facebook, of course. ugh. the poor thing was very depressed and had NO FUCKING CLUE. It tore me up inside. I simply couldn’t reconcile all of this. I started coming up with phony profiles and chatting with him just to find out exactly what I was dealing with.

    This guy wasn’t just a cheater, he was in the “lifestyle,” aka for swinger, (if you don’t know) anything goes. Trouble is… his loving partner was none the wiser… It was difficult for me to let go of him. I admit that, but I did shortly after all of that. I realized that I didn’t want to be that person. It really wasn’t for me at all. Then I told her…

    It was only 2 years later that I learned that my very own darling husband, the one who told me I should date if I wanted to, had been cheating on me for the last nine years and in person. He lied to me repeatedly. This is a man who everyone thinks has TONS of integrity. I certainly did. I was so traumatized and especially after realizing some of the occasions that he had placed ads on craig’s list looking for a “friend.” I was so crazy, I called the cops who ended up taking ME to the hospital. It was the worst night of my life. They took the wrong person! I did need help, but not that kind! They treated me like I was a criminal! How hideous this all is.

    It is absolutely abuse and the most insidious kind there is, because it is not obvious say like it would be if you came in all black and blue.

    Over the years, I tried talking to him and telling what I needed. nope. We have a special needs child and another who was a massive handful. Both are young adults now.

    well, I’m gone now. Its sad. I really once loved him and enjoyed his company immensely. We were not at odds. We did have troubles, but they were external to our relationship.

    There’s so much more to life than fucking. He let go of me. I am responsible for my own actions and friends, I have paid the price.

    I have every nasty strain of HPV that God ever created. I’m going for my second colposcopy on the 12th cause they found some funny cells.

    no joking matter.

    This is why I say that there’s no right. Its all totally dysfunctional and really, really sad. I wish to God that none of this had ever happened and for it all to go away. However, I am philosophical that there’s a good reason behind all of this.

    BTW. The woman who had been living with this guy. (I call him Predator), didn’t leave and let me tell you that this dude is about as hard core as they come. She shipped him off to rehab (total waste of resources) and then he came back and yeah… totally reformed. (not). Then, I heard that they got married last fall.

    yeah, WTF is right. mind boggling stuff.

  • I just want to add. I was not cheating on my husband. I told him everything he wanted to know which wasn’t much, but he knew that I was going “out.” I would’ve told him anything he wanted to know. I kept hoping that he would uh… decide to work on himself and things? Decide that he loved me and wanted me? He didn’t want to leave me.

    I wanted to leave him. no money.
    I finally found a way. I borrowed the money from my mother.

    I just don’t know if I’ll ever be able to trust anyone ever again. Isn’t that how we all feel?

    How do you learn to trust again when the ONE person that you believed with all of your heart and soul and trusted with your very life, then betrayed you again and again?

    there were no red flags.

    very scary.

  • Okay, Chump Lady and everyone who has commented on this issue.
    Now I stand in just such a position.
    My husband owns property elsewhere in town. The neighbor who owns a lot of property is a widow. She has a new younger boyfriend, who my husband met.
    Then my husband sees the boyfriend out and about with another woman he acts like he is in a relationship.
    Last week we had a yard sale and the (very nice) woman came with her teenage son and this man. Now I have seen them together.
    She gave me her phone # so when we are done yard sale”ing” our stuff she will come and buy the rest. She and the man have started doing flea markets. She is out busting her butt to make money, you can tell they don’t have a lot and this creep (who can’t look my husband or myself in the eye) seems to be two timing her.
    So when I have reason to call her what do I say? Do I come right out and say I thought that her boyfriend (or maybe he is her husband) is someone else’s boyfriend. Do I tell her I’m not 100% sure or do I slip her a note?

    BTW, I have to do it without my husband knowing…he will blow a gasket.


    • So the creep appears to be dating both the widower and the nice woman with the teenager? And you have one woman’s number? Yes, I would tell her. Absolutely. But I would couch it in language of “this may be nothing, but if it were me I’d want to know, so please forgive me for erring on the side of caution…” And simply tell her what you KNOW, and leave it at that.

      You know that the widower considers this man her boyfriend. That’s based on something. Tell the other woman. She may dismiss it, the creep will probably tell her some story, but she will have a head’s up. And that’s a LOT.

      Also, who cares about your husband’s gasket. If you read here, I assume he cheated on you. So, take what he’d do… and throw that shit in reverse. Tell.

  • Hi Jane,
    You’re probably right, however, in this case, I would let it be because I don’t think that there is enough information. Maybe the man is the woman’s brother. Maybe they have an open relationship. We just don’t know enough and it could maybe put you in a not-so-good light, get back to your husband and be highly embarrassing. best ~ Laurel

    • Not if you get in front of that embarrassment. “I may be wrong about this, and if so, I apologize. I just thought you should know X. I know if it were me, I’d want to know.”

  • Dear Chump Lady….Thanks, I like the way you put it. When the time comes I will post how it goes.

    @Still Waters….I didn’t say it excused Bill W’s behavior, not at all….it’s a terrible abuse of trust when a counselor, teacher or someone a person looks to for help to take advantage of that situation. I only meant that people with one compulsion often have others. Quitting one will often make the other ones worse.
    The human part wasn’t an excuse…..I meant that just because he had found a way to stop drinking and other people were “following him” as “followers” of a person, religion or self help guru often do, they put that person above them either except superior behavior or accept behavior they wouldn’t accept from someone else. And they are not, they are human, just like the rest of us.

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