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Dear Chump Lady, Why be friends with cheaters?

Dear Chump Lady,

Why are people still friends with a cheater after knowing they deceive/lie, cheat, and steal from their spouse/partner/family? In my mind, once I know someone is a cheater, I would not want to have that person in my inner circle.

Why? Because, hell, if they could treat their loved ones with such disregard, ruthlessness and disdain, what would stop them from treating me in the same manner?

What type of traits does a cheater exhibit? Dishonesty. Lack of integrity. Selfishness. Greed. Thievery. Disloyalty. Disrespect. Who wants to lean on a person like that? Would they really have your back when the chips are down? Don’t bank on it.

Care to weigh in, Chump Lady?


Dear Rose,

Well, in the wise words of Sister Rosetta Tharpe above, good friends are hard to find. I think most people require some maturity and wisdom to differentiate between people who are good friends and people who aren’t worth warm spit. It’s a youthful mistake — it doesn’t take much for folks to gain access to your life. You share a dorm, an office, a sport and consider that person, by reasons of proximity and history, a “friend.” With time, I think some people learn to edit better. That might be because of painful experience, being burned by a user. But some people don’t learn to edit, or they edit for the wrong reasons (i.e., you’re not part of the Cool Kids Club).

Look, if you got tangled up with a cheater, you liked sparkles. Other people like sparkles too — especially as friends. It’s easier to manage without the deeper commitment. Sparkles reflect well on us. We want the charming dinner guest. The person who projects themselves as the “winner” in life. When the darker side of sparkly is revealed, well, people often buy the excuses that are peddled. They were in a sexless marriage. Their needs weren’t being met. It’s true soulmate love and it Just Happened.

I once bought such bullshit. Until infidelity happened to me, I was very ignorant about cheating. I had a very fuzzy notion of what it all meant. I don’t think I’m alone in this. I was able to watch stupid romantic comedies and root for the star-crossed cheaters. I didn’t think of cheating in terms of shattering betrayal and pain, I thought of it in terms of naughty, edgy sex. Or revenge on a Bad Partner. Popular culture is chock full of this WTFever, Mistakes Were Made attitude towards infidelity. You got cheated on? Big shrug. What did you do to make that happen?

Many people don’t feel terribly conflicted about being friends with cheaters, because infidelity hasn’t happened to them. (Well, at least not that they’re aware of. That “friend” may be boffing their spouse as I type.) They weigh the good qualities against the bad, and if they haven’t been personally affected by the “bad” — they may come down on the side of friendship. Also consider, many people reconcile after infidelity. If the chump can eat that giant shit sandwich? Well, it sets an example for the other people in that couple’s orbit. Shit must be pretty tasty!

I should also add that some people do reform, do the requisite hard work on themselves, and don’t reoffend. Not everyone wants to shun such a person, nor should they.

The most painful issue around friendship, IMO, is when your marriage breaks up and people either side with the cheater and believe the character assassination or they want to remain “neutral.” This is when you find out who your true friends are — the ones who have your back. The folks who have a clear moral compass and aren’t afraid to call a shit sandwich a shit sandwich. Hold these people dear, and fuck the rest.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Yeah, I think the neutral ones piss me off almost more than those that went with him. Those I get–they buy his rewrite of what transpired, they have a long history with him, etc. It’s the ones that say they’d rather stay on the fence that hurt hte most, particularly when they know the truth. I think ‘really? you want to stay friends with that piece of shit, the one you KNOW cheated on me numerous times and tried to downplay it after I found out?’

    I actually called one friend out on it and made it clear that I was backing out of the friendship if they felt they could still be close to STBX, mainly because I had been there for her so many times when she needed me and I was insulted as fuck that she would not be there fully for me, after knowing what had happened. I suppose it’s ‘unfair’ for me to ‘make’ her choose ‘sides’ but honestly, it was such an insult when she tried to stay in the middle. She did come around pronto but it left me feeling a bit leery of her for a bit.

  • Interesting topic. Since STBX and I share many many mutual friends – those we met after we were married, it’s a very tricky and complicated issue. Some of these people are friends of mine because STBX knew them first. I don’t feel the need to make them choose sides – especially mine. I figure that he needs friends in this pathetic state he’s in. I am fortunate to have many very close and loyal friends. And I am really leaning on them right now. And I must admit to feeling a little uncomfortable when some will take my side and shun him. Perhaps this makes me a super chump. But I guess I’m a believer in Karma. Eventually true colors come shining through, if not in this particular situation, something else down the road. And if some of these mutual friends choose to side with him, rather than with me – well fine. I’m better off without them as “friends.”

    • I am in the camp of I am okay with neutral and only angry with the mutual friends who buy into the ex’s assassination campaign.

      For my part, with our mutual friends I gave “just the facts Ma;am” to them. I didn’t embellish, I simply told the truth and backed it with proof…..emails, cards, etc.

      And, I told them I thought our marriage was good, which I did. And they all know I never ever badmouthed my husband to them in the past.

      I used to be a person who straddled the fence with cheaters, too. So how can I now fault someone for straddling and remaining neutral.

      I knew people who were cheating on their wives or husbands, and I stayed quiet.

      But I won’t be friendly with any known cheaters going forward, unless they did a major transformation and went straight.

      But, If other people want to befriend cheaters, I will understand because I once did it.

      I don’t want a liar and deceiver and thief in my life. CL is right, cripes, is they can steal from and lie to their own supposedly beloved spouses and children just to eat cake and boff some strange, what chance do I have a them being honest with me.

      And, I WILL be outing cheaters to their spouses, if I learn someone is cheating.

      I will never just look the other way and mind my business because the mutual friends that I am really really really angry at and disappointed in are the mutual friends who KNEW my husband was cheating and chose, instead of informing me, to mind their own business.

      A spouse who is being cheated on has a right to know and it is for the greater good, IMO, to tell them. Sure they may at first get angry, but once it sinks in and they see the proof, they will likely be happy you told them, I know I would have.

      Also the thing about the romantic movies about star crossed cheaters. They make me barf, now. But in the past, I was guilty of falling for the romantic crap and not really thinking much about the poor chump who was cheated on.

  • For me the most difficult thing were family members of my STBX who didn’t as much call me or inquire regarding my filing for divorce. I would have hoped for at least a, ‘I’m upset to hear about the divorce’ statement, at bare minimum’.

    I always liked my inlaws. When my sister- in- law’s marriage was hit with cheating and passive aggressive behavior and her filing for divorce 10 years ago- I was on the phone with her immediately trying to speak with her AND her STBXH. I was sad about the divorce revelation and I wanted to see if things could be patched up or if my speaking with both of them would help. I was stunned to learn that her husband had moved in with another woman etc., because he seemed so nice and they had been together since they were 18 years old.

    In 2012 when I then filed for divorce I thought I might get a phone call or inquiry from my sister-in-law. I got absolutely no phone call, card NOTHING. It really hurt.

    I received no inquiry except for one niece who stated that she hoped I and her uncle would get back together. When I told her that was highly unlikely and started to talk about the reason and disclose a detail- she cut me off immediately saying, “Well I’m sure there are two sides to the story.”

    It’s strange. I think they know that my STBX was a jerk to me but if they know the DETAILS then they must either deal with the disruption of their vision of my STBXH. It’s much easier to avoid the truth- that way you don’t have to change how you think of the individual or my STBXH. You can still retain that vision of him as a funny, goofy uncle that you liked.

    In many ways, we as chumps were like our ex-relatives before D-day in that we both avoided the TRUTH and facing what our spouses or partners were. Avoidance of the truth is just SO much easier!

    • I think you’re spot on with the ‘they don’t want to know the details because it will fuck with their vision of the cheater’ line of thinking (although you said it much more eloquently 🙂 ).

      I see how a number of my inlaws have their heads firmly planted in the sand and you know what? He’ll fuck them over, one way or another, at some point.

      I’m not into sides but no, I’m not going to continue a relationship with anyone who knows the whole story and still accepts STBX into their lives in any but the most superficial way. Why? Because if someone treated my friend the way STBX has treated me they’d be lucky I didn’t pull out a baseball bat.

    • You are my twin! Everything you said happened to me. I was so close to my MIL – I thought she felt the same. My ex moved to a neighboring county & his family lives out of the area so all of our friends stayed with me. Six months after the fact a friend told me my ex emailed her husband & her husband read (rather typed) him the riot act. My ex apparently assumed that everyone would agree with his faulty logic. I felt so loved when she told me.

      • Hurt:

        I am glad to hear your friend’s husband read you cheater the riot act.

        I remain convinced, not all men cheat.

      • It’s just better and healthier to be no contact. It’s so sad but its a real consequence of cheating. So many family , friends suffer the consequences. The cheaters just carry on and whoever accepts them they gravitate to.
        It’s stress all around.

    • I had the same thought, Sara8. I thought I would have heard something from my sisters-in-law, but they have remained silent. Oh well, I guess they knew what their brother was up to all along. Got chumped by him and then by them…good to know.

      • Suddenly single:

        Yes. It’s good to know. I like being informed and aware of people’s motives and feelings.

        At least then I have control over deciding whether or not to keep them in my life.

    • I do believe that ALL of my STBX husband’s family either said “everybody is entitled to make a mistake, don’t feel bad” to him, or, “I’m not judging.”. Well, I fucking well am, and I judge them to be a bunch of weasels (not to bad mouth weasels or anything– I’m sure weasels re perfectly moral in their own way.) I no longer speak to the sordid, rotten stinking lot of them.

      But the cherry on the shit cupcake has to be my former brother in law who cheated on my SIL, then married the hoebag he met on Adult Friend Finder…nice! He has referred to her “great good sense.”

      Um, no. I do not think that means what you think it means. I’m just waiting until she decides to go for #5, and he gets a cheater’s true reward.

  • Cheaters suck. I have no time for anyone who is actively cheating on their marriage, or even anyone who cheated in the past but doesn’t vehemently regret it. Almost as sucky are the neutrals. You watched someone gut me and my family but have no opinion about it? You are either a person who actually dislikes me or you are a sociopath.

    Sometimes we outgrow friendships, or gain clarity over time, and the best thing we can do is cry “NEXT!” on move on to better people. They are out there if we put forth the effort to find them.

    • I weeded out a few over the last year and you know what? I don’t miss them. They were a drain in other ways but we had been friends ‘for a long time’ and I realise that the whole affair biz simply brought to light that fact that they weren’t really great for me or my life. So I made room for new people, essentially, and have met so many new and wonderful people this past year and oddly they’ve been a bigger support than some of the old friends.

      • Yes. Exactly. “Weeded out” is apt. Cheaters and the cheater-friendly are weeds in the garden of life.

        And the “make new friends but keep the old” saw is just plain wrong. New friends, when made with a better understanding of shared values and goals, are the ones that are gold. Old friends that don’t stand with you in hard times? Forget silver. More like . . . lead (weighs you down, of little value, poisonous, etc.).

        Improving the friend-picker goes along with improving the partner-picker, I think.

        • Yes, improving the friend picker is one of the bonuses of this. And a necessary component.

        • In case anyone is thinking about severing ties with a “friend” whose cheating makes them impossible to be around, here is an email I sent to my best friend since 5th grade and the best man at my first wedding, who was also a serial cheater who argued vehemently that his decades of secret infidelity made him a more self-assured and content husband and his marriage stronger and more secure. Names changed, of course. This was almost 3 years ago, and I haven’t second-guessed the decision for one second.


          I am writing to make it clear that we can no longer be in touch. I’ve never before told anyone anything like this, and it pains me to sever a relationship that goes back to childhood, so an explanation seems in order.

          I don’t know what EX-WIFE told you about our divorce, but it resulted from revelations that she’d been unfaithful countless times with numerous partners over more than a decade. When she continued to hide affairs in marriage counseling, and refused to acknowledge the hurt she caused or make an effort to change, I had no choice but to file for divorce. I can’t begin to describe the hell it is to uncover by bits and pieces a betrayal of this scope, to submit your 12-year-old’s paternity for genetic testing, to submit yourself for STD testing after 24 years of monogamy, to deplete your life’s savings to ensure legally that your child is not taken 2,000 miles away to live with an alcohol-abusing, sometimes violent, anti-social stranger, to hear that son cry himself to sleep night after night . . . .

          These events affected how I feel about you, JOE, because you are a cheater, too. I have known this for years, debated it with you, felt uncomfortable and even complicit about it, but didn’t before understand the devastation and life-altering pain that such betrayal causes, especially when children are involved. Until I was on the receiving end of infidelity, your affairs were a difference between us that made me queasy. Now this knowledge of how you have willingly hurt other people in the way I and my children have been hurt, lived a lie in your marriage for years and years, brought pain and destruction into other families’ lives for your own petty gratification, make it impossible to include you within the circle of people I respect and want to share my life with.

          We are very different people, JOE, with very different values. Those differences are enormous and set in opposition to each other. I’ve always admired your cleverness and wit; however, the fact is that other than a long shared history we really don’t have much in common. Not when it comes to the things that matter most.

          Moreover, it wouldn’t surprise me if you and EX-WIFE had an affair as well. You have overlapping histories of infidelity, both were opportunistic and used the same workplace to find partners, both justified cheating in a similar bloodless and compartmentalized way, and both found it easy to say things that aren’t true and were very good at hiding things. Given all this, you wouldn’t expect a reasonable person to rely on a mere denial from you or from her to conclude it didn’t happen, would you? This suspicion, whether true or not, also makes it impossible to continue a friendship with you.

          If you find some remorse for your actions, begin living an authentic life and develop some empathy for the people you hurt through infidelity, starting perhaps with some intense and difficult counseling, you might end up a different sort of person. But the narcissism that usually leads someone to become a serial cheater also makes it almost impossible to practice the self-criticism and empathy such a transformation requires. And, honestly, I’ve never seen a strong impulse in you to criticize yourself other than jokingly, or identify with others more than momentarily. It was striking to note, for example, that your first contact about the disintegration of my family involved you telling me that YOU were “devastated to hear the news,” YOU were “confused and hurt.” Why? Because I didn’t talk to YOU about it. And that if the tables were turned, YOU would’ve handled it differently. The fact that you couldn’t imagine why, when confronted with devastating marital infidelity, I didn’t seek comfort and support from you, a defiant and long-term cheater, speaks volumes about your inability to put yourself in my position—and the wide chasm that divides us.

          You wonder in your email how I am adjusting to my new life, and I have to tell you: Very well. I am not ending our friendship because I am in some sort of paralysis over my divorce or an angry funk. After much therapy, I have (mostly) passed through those stages. On the contrary, moving out of my toxic marriage has–after deep pain–resulted in one of the most joyful years of my life. I have re-examined my goals, my ideals, my interests–who I am as well as who I want in the second half of my life. Distancing myself from people who don’t share my values or don’t have my best interests at heart, who don’t know how to be friends in the way I understand that word, has left more room for folks who can be supportive and caring and bring out the best in me as I bring out the best in them. I truly wish you were one of those people, JOE. I really do. But . . . it just isn’t the case.

          While I am certain about the decision set out in this message, it was not easy to reach. I suppose that’s why I put off sending it all these months. I considered you my best friend for the better part of four decades. We grew up together, and you will always have a place in my heart, even though our friendship has ended. I will miss you.

          I wish you the best of luck in all things.



          • Nomar, incredibly well-written letter. I am so sorry.
            We should have more people take a stand on such depravity such as cheating and hold them accountable for their actions.
            As a person that has been cheated on, I can’t be friends with people that actively cheat. Plain and simple. I do believe people can change for the better and not only remorseful, but make the necessary life changes to be become an authentic person. Make amends. I would continue to encourage them in that road. Joe sounds like he just does not get it and is very self-absorbed. Despicable. I applaud you for taking a a stand for you, your kids, for integrity, and morals. Joe can go eat shit.

          • Rock on, Rockstar. That is awesome. I don’t have cheater friends, but if I knew I did, I wouldn’t have them for long.

  • “Avoidance of the truth is just SO much easier!” – I think that’s pretty much it right there.

    I think it’s also what CL said, when it’s not happening to you personally, you just kind of sit on the fence.

    I’ve observed some pretty odd friendship dynamics around infidelity.

    When my own father cheated and parents split up they both lost all of their friends. My opinion is because both are very narcissistic. My mother was always about impression management and she was a very jealous person. When my parents divorced she couldn’t face the shame of having a failed marriage and continuing to see her friends who were still happily married. My dad is just an a-hole so he never had any real friends other than the couples my parents were friends with.

    I have two friends from HS and their story is beyond strange. The two of them were closer to each other than I was to them so I saw this as an outside observer and heard the story from one of them. I’ll call them Mary and Sally. I heard Mary’s side of it.

    Sally was getting married and Mary was her maid of honor. Mary found out that one of Sally’s closest friends was boinking Sally’s fiancé. After Sally got married, her now husband and close friend were still boinking. This close friend was also married. They were all a part of this very close knit group of friends. The men and women.

    Mary really cared about Sally and felt she had to do the right thing. So she told Sally what was going on with her H and her other friend. Everybody ended up becoming royally pissed off at Mary and labeled her a trouble maker. Mary never shared with me all the details of what happened in the fall out. But in the end all was swept under the rug and all remain good friends to this day. They just talk about each other to other people.

    Mary told me after that she will never get involved again. Can’t say that I blame her!

    I think it’s just human nature to see the good in others. Maybe some are more cynical and street wise and call a spade a spade. But over all I think people try hard not to be too judgmental. I think the line between using good judgment and being judgmental has become blurred in today’s culture.

    As far as sparkly people. If you look at my life and look at the serial cheat I had EA with you’d say he’s the one who is “normal” and I’m the dysfunctional one.

    He didn’t come from a broken home, he went to college and grad school and became a professional. He’s a school principal, has a nice wife and they adopted a son. He’s a good guy all around. He’s friendly, social, nice to people. He’s fun because he’s in a band and sports his wild tattooed rocker side on weekends. He’s dynamic!

    Me, broken family, I was depressed in my younger years and a poor student, dropped out of college, worked odd jobs. Kind of drifted away from all the friends I had when younger. Married a nice guy had a kid, lived a quiet life as a SAHM. But I am very neurotic and had a lot of issues I never dealt with. I became more of an introvert. I lacked confidence and self esteem. Sparkly ex came along I and took the bait. Until then I had been with my H in a committed relationship for 16 years. Not once ever did I cheat in any way or think about having an affair. Because of my background I think I was capable of dipping my toes into the infidelity waters with a person I had a history with. But ultimately I knew it was only more dysfunction and I needed to get help. It was the straw that broke the camels back.

    Since I ended the EA I have since learned from a good source and good friend, that I wasn’t the first, I wasn’t the last and the reality is he’s a serial cheating slime.

    Until then I always believed HE was the normal one and I was the one with issues. He was a good person, I was a bad person.

    He’ll never be the one sitting on the therapists couch.

    He seems to come out smelling like a rose no matter what he does. I mean I heard he was investigated for an affair at work. But it seems like nothing came of it.

    My friend is a teacher at another district. She works with the spouse of someone who teaches under Dr. Douche and that’s how she learned about this.

    So Dr. Douche is very successful, popular, very likable, all around nice guy. Whatever people know about his cheating side or whatever rumors they hear, I think they just kind of think “Whatever” , he’s never done anything bad to me.

    But just because a person has a ton of friends doesn’t mean they’re close friends. It’s quantity over quality. I’m sure whatever friends he has that know what he’s like wouldn’t trust him with important stuff. But he makes for a good drinking buddy ya know?

    Bottom line infidelity is dysfunctional. But who doesn’t have some kind of dysfunction in their life? Problems with kids, addictions, money, marriage. I think many people just kind of say “So? Infidelity is your issue, I have my own issues, let’s not talk about it and poor me another beer!”

      • Lasso:

        I think your post makes sense.

        I am one of those people who doens’t really consider an EA to be cheating.

        If it was heading for sex and I love you’s were exchanged, but only ended due to being caught, the that IS an affair.

        But if it is just hanging out and talking, even maybe a coffee or a dinner here and there, and the two never profess love or interest in sex, than IMO, it’s not something that I would consider and affair.

        I wouldn’t like it and I would put the kibosh to it, but it’s more of a boundary thing than an affair, and the problem with it is it could easily lead to an physical/emotional affair.

        • Glad it makes sense to somebody! Sara8 – It began as a few friendly exchanges, but very quickly turned into, “I always loved you and just never realized how much.” “I still love her but I don’t think she loves me anymore” “What we have is nothing compared to what you and I had” – This one is funny. Because it seems like it’s exactly what we had, instead in her case much worse because she’s wearing a wedding ring, not his high school ring.

          I just kind of took it all in and all the feelings I had for him when I was younger I felt for him again. “I love you” was exchanged. Sex was the furthest thing from my mind. I’m guessing not from his. But I don’t know. I’ve heard that some cheaters just enjoy engaging in emotional affairs.

          I believe my feelings for him were sincere if misguided. But definitely not so on his end. They never were. Not when we were 18, not now, not ever.

          What I represent for him is someone who worshipped him, adored him, loved him. Which I did when younger, even though he treated me like crap. That’s what he wanted from me again. Ego kibbles. He used our “First Love” history to get them. I was gullible, naive, didn’t understand my own issues , didn’t know anything about personality disorders, didn’t know anything about anything. I was going thru life on auto pilot. The EA for me was definitely an escape into fantasy land.

          I knew the whole thing was going to blow up in my face eventually. Telling my H was the only thing I could think of to do to make it stop. To bring it out in the open. That brought it into reality and ended the fantasy.

          Someone said to me once, “Secrets make you sick” I believe this completely.

          • LOT, I thought you did kiss him, though.

            I mean, okay, I know it was primarily emotional, but there were I love yous exchanged and there was a kiss, and the kiss makes it a minor physical affair.

            I’m not trying to call you out really, but I think it is important for cheaters not to minimize what the reality was because it slows the really hard work towards healing.

            I admire your courage in posting to this forum, though, and absolutely welcome you.

            • Kristina – You are right. I absolutely appreciate your honest comments as well as anyone else’s on here. I have a good feel of the posters on here who give their honest opinion in a constructive way. I also understand others who probably want to beat the living crap out of me. I get it.

              Yep. We kissed. Two times. So there was physical contact. Crossing that line was what pushed me over the edge. I drove home that night in a state of hysteria. (Meaning intense fear). Not fear of getting caught, fear of the entire situation. I knew I had taken a dark turn with a really bad, bad, man. That’s why the next day I told my H everything. My therapist told me that took a lot of courage. To this day I still struggle with that one. Was it courageous really? I think part of the reason I told my H was more of a way of saying, “Protect me from this. You’ve always been my protector. Protect me from this man!”

              Why couldn’t I protect myself? Why couldn’t I have told him from the get go “You were always a cad and still are!” ?? I knew this yet didn’t want to believe it. I wanted to believe I meant something to him. That I always had. This was going to make things right for me in someway. Instead I was weak and ended up hurting my H and daughter. My D was 5 at the time and she didn’t know what was going on. But I still feel overwhelming guilt that I was emotionally checked out for a period of time and wasn’t present for her.

              I still struggle with reasons behind my actions. There isn’t any single reason. There are a lot of things that led me to that place. None of them are due to my H failing me in any way though. It’s me failing him and myself. I’ve failed myself many times.

              If it hadn’t been this EA I’m sure something else would’ve manifested in some way.

              I just wish it had been something else. Anything else than this particular person. I truly see him as evil.

              I mean look at this way. Do you think if he had been upfront and honest with me and said, “I’m not interested in leaving my wife, you seem to have a good thing going too, so let’s just have some fun together like the good ole days!” I would’ve have been game? I realize now I should’ve been able to read between the lines and see that’s where he was going. But I fell for all the love BS. And to me real love isn’t meeting secretly in hideaways and lying to everyone about what we’re doing.

              Gullible I know. Lesson learned.

              • LOT, you have such a great opportunity for growth here, though. I mean, it was a stupid choice to make, it hurt someone you cared about. I think you’re facing the consequences insofar as you’ve been separated and you’re trying to do a good job of co-parenting and it seems like you have a pretty copacetic relationship with your husband.

                What I do notice about your posts is that you focus a lot on the badness of the xMM. And I do understand that, because what the hell? These guys are mindfuckers, many of them. They seriously do promise the moon and stars and they are very good (as many BSs here have shared) at displaying a strong persona to the world, a persona that often has nothing to do with who they really are as people.

                But in the same way as I get kind of itchy about BSs who are constantly projecting anger outward towards their cheaters or the other people in the mix, I get kind of itchy about cheaters or other persons who focus primarily on the married affair partner or the other person in their situations (trying to be gender neutral makes concise statements next to impossible, hahaha). So, in other words, other women spend a lot of time moaning about how they were duped by a bad married man. Or a cheating wife gripes because she was seduced by a narcissitic other man.

                In the end, what have you done, as someone who did cheat, to dig into the reasons you cheated. What have you changed about yourself that put you into that situation? Because a tragic or jarring situation can do a lot to push someone back on the “straight and narrow” so to speak, and sometimes that can be for a long time. But if the work is not done, the next time there is an existential ebb or a crisis of self, the unrepaired cheater (no matter how penitent he or she seems) will revert to the coping mechanism of choice, which is to seek ego snacks via cheating.

                Anyway, I’m glad you took my comments in the spirit in which I meant them. I really do think that Chumplady’s advice, in most cases, is useful to all kinds of people in a variety of relationally challenging situations.

              • Kristina – It’s funny you said you noticed I put a lot of focus on MM. I’ve noticed this myself. I really don’t even want to be rehashing the experience and all the details. I’ve noticed it hasn’t been good for me.

                I think I try to explain my situation, thinking it may help others, even lurkers, to understand this type of person. In the process I go off on a tangent!

                I’m going to try and only post what I think could be helpful and nothing about him specifically, more just about cheaters and cheating in general.

                I think I worry too, because I don’t want to mislead someone new to believe I was a betrayed spouse. So I have to mention my EA, then feel a compulsion to explain the entire background. That isn’t necessary.

                It’s very difficult to post here as a cheater cheater pumpkin eater!

                I also think, in my case, I’m still trying to convince myself that the MM never loved me, not because of who I am or that I’m deeply flawed in someway, or not good enough, but because he’s just a dick.

                I’ve done a lot to build my self esteem and confidence and sense of self in healthy ways. Going back to school has been the biggest one. I’m close to graduating and I think going back to work is going to be very good for me.

                What I’ve done is I’ve been in therapy on and off for the past 5 years. There is no stone left unturned in my history. Believe me when I tell you, it isn’t a pretty one.

                I’ve been told I probably have PTSD, I’ve also been told, because of my history with this guy, it could be something called a trauma bond.

                Overall I’m doing very well with making it up to my family. Not sure what will happen with my marriage. That’s a whole other topic board!

                At least I know if we end it, it isn’t because either of us has someone on the side waiting in the wings. If it ends I know it will end peacefully but with a lot of sadness for both of us. I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it.

                I agree this site is great and CL does an amazing job. Your posts have also been among my most favorite and you’ve also opened my eyes to some things. So thank you!

    • “A lie is the easiest way to delay consequences.”

      I started to collect little quips like the one above after DDay.

  • This is a really sore point for me and a part of me that I haven’t managed to make peace with. Many of our friends knew, because my XH approached at least 10 of the woman in our various circles over the 31 years together (that I know of) to have sex with them with lots of flirting behind my back. Some friends just stopped hanging out with us, and I suspect the wives must have told their husbands and they diplomatically cut ties with us. Some of the women were flattered and flirted back and how far it actually went, I don’t really know. He only admitted to what he thought he should admit to.
    No-one told me. I carry this around with me – I am so embarrassed. While I know that I have nothing to be ashamed about, I carry the embarrassment, the hurt of not knowing who I can trust.
    “Friends” contact me on Facebook from South Africa (where we lived most of our lives) and here in Canada where we emigrated to and I keep minimal contact, if at all. I just don’t know who knew and who was part of it. In effect, I have isolated myself, which my logic tells me is a real shame. It is something I need to address I know – it’s part of the unhealed pain of our divorce.
    Did I tell friends if I knew of any cheating going on? No, I didn’t. I didn’t understand all that it emcompassed. So I can’t judge people either for not telling me.
    Which means I am still practising avoidance tactics by keeping myself to myself and not making contact with friends from our marriage. Something I obviously need to address.
    By bringing this subject up, it makes me realize that I need to face this.

    • I am so sorry. That is HORRIFIC that no one told you. It is absolutely a double betrayal. I don’t understand why people do not believe that others are not capable of handling the truth. I a m very sorry that happened to you.

      • Yes Leslie it was more than double betrayal.
        That’s what makes this forum of loving, caring broken-hearted souls from different corners of the world so amazing to be part of. Not only do we care about each other, but all facets of this mess we find ourselves in are topics that need to be raised and dealt with. This is something I have avoided facing, and perhaps it’s time to contact some friends who have tried to be in contact with me & I have just ignored their attempts. Some are from South Africa (we emigrated to Canada)& they didn’t know that we divorced – they would ask how my ex & thechildren were & I would send a curt reply that the kids & I were fine & if they wanted to contact the kids father to look him up on Facebook. Of course they were all shocked, & would ask about it. Because I didn’t know who was involved I ignored all further contact. (Some were women he had told me he approached.) There were two couples in Canada who told my ex they couldn’t accept what he had done to destroy our family & they were cutting ties with him. My Work friends were marvelous support. I have moved though from that town we lived in as a family – it was hard to move on there because I caught sight of him often ( he is now living with girlfriend # 3) and the town was not thriving economically, hence my move. It’s lonely in a city though and harder to make friends when you’re in your 50’s

  • It also depends on the kind of friend.

    If it’s a work friend who are friends with them because its good for the office and don’t know you, they might not care enough to rock the boat. They’re not the one betrayed and they have no reason to root for anyone. It the cheater wants to go out for drinks after work they’ll nod when he/she bitches out the spouse, than go home and be perfect husbands and wives. Not their problem, if the friendship ended it would be annoying at worst.

    Then there are the bosoms buddies. They are like family and should be treated like the in-laws in regards to sides. They may already know your cheater’s worst and while they would never go into business with them or want their sister/brothers to date the cheater, they can put up with some deficiencies. They may have become desensitized after knowing about affair after affair. Or they may brush this off having been spakeling for this particular friend for years. They’re chumps too.

    Then there are the good friends and causal friends. They’re the ones that will leave the cheater. The casual friends will think, “what a horrible person” and walk away or be charmed by the sparkles and stay. The good friends will see how horribly he treated you and take you side and will be cold to the person. They were caught up in the facade and feel just as betrayed when they see what’s underneath. Or they will block up their ears in a vain attempt not know the truth.

  • I had a good friend– well, we became friends because we worked together– and when I went on maternity leave, we drifted apart. During the time I was away, I learned about how she was having an A, and when we finally managed to get together for coffee, I was disgusted by the person she had become (or maybe the person I finally saw once my blinders were off). We still work together, but we are definitely not friends. I blew her off a bunch of times to make that clear, and now I keep her at arm’s length at work. I couldn’t believe how she had treated her husband– not the most exciting guy on the planet, but he has always seemed steady, devoted, and thoughtful (which she bragged about on many occasions, so she saw those qualities at some point). I couldn’t believe she’d ditch him and her innocent baby to go chase rainbows with her Unicorn Man.

    Anyway, I don’t know why anyone would maintain a close relationship with a cheater. There’s no way that I was able to; even if cheating didn’t bother me, the ramped-up narcissism certainly chased me away.

  • I just don’t get wrapped up in other people’s drama and I don’t drag others into mine. He can keep his friends. I don’t need them to validate me. If “our” friends side with him — fair enough, their choice.

    His family have been wonderful to me. His mother said immediately, “you will always be a member of this family.” and she’s been good to her word, I’m invited to every family gathering and I’m afforded the respect I deserve as the mother of his child and their grandchild. Sometimes I go to the events sometimes I don’t. Actually, my son is the one who determines that. If he wants me there I go. I can take or leave it, actually.

    I give people who are involved in affairs a wide berth, usually. That’s really self destructive behavior and I don’t like the drama that always ensues.

    What’s the worst to me is trying to remain friends with people who reconcile. They actually always look sick and dirty to me. Even before I was a betrayed party. I just think they look old and played out and typically the betrayed has been moaning and bitching about the betrayal and telling all the stories and venting and trotting out all the “truth” for everyone in the circle to see (and it’s like: oh my god! I didn’t need to see those pictures that your husband sent to his girlfriend…gross”) and then after that they decide to reconcile and everyone else has to get on board and support the marriage; which usually then means villifying the affair partner (and one of my former friends tried to draft her girlfriends into the process of cyber stalking this other woman and we all said: “no way, that’s crazy behavior”). No thanks! That’s a really fucked up situation and the cheaters are smarmy and weak at the same time and the BSs appear just pathetic.

    In our circle, people who have reconciled have honestly lost all of their friends. Of course they are probably glad of it, because they get a fresh start and can bond together against all of us who, in their minds, are no longer friends of their marriage.

    Thing is, we’re not. Their marriage, such that it has become a quest for a unicorn, is a sham.

    • I haven’t had that experience, Kristina — of a betrayed person talking trash about their spouse. The OP, yes, the spouse, no once they’re in R. And at a certain level I respect that — if you’re going to do it, jump in with both feet and commit to the unicorn. The people I know in R are silent about the cheating and not many people know about it. They eat the shit sandwich in quiet or try to forget about it. What else could you do in R?

      I had a friend I broke with (her husband’s affair was part of it — serial cheater, he wished her dead and joked about it with the OW, sent a video “joke” — ha ha she blows up in a car crash — if you can eat that shit sandwich, you can eat anything) — she told me at one point she stays because she doesn’t think she has better options (enough money to not work), other times she says she loves him. Just realized despite a long, shared history and kids in common, we don’t share values. I could never be around her H for a second without wanting to punch him. He of course, is happy I’m out of the picture. She just looks emaciated and unhappy, but trying hard to convince the world her life is enviable. It’s sad and inauthentic and I hope for better days for her. If she badmouthed him, I’d take it as progress really.

      • Well, she ebbed and flowed, actually. Initially, when she first found out she trotted out all the evidence, showed us all the stupid emails. She wanted to share her truth, and we got that because of course we were her friend and wanted to support her, but honestly, we were all like: “no, really? Why is she oversharing with us.” Because we did not need to see the emails or the photos and whatever. All she had to say was: “he cheated on me.” and we would have thought he was a dickhead.

        Then finally they decided to reconcile and then she expected all of us to just say: “righto. Now he’s a good guy. He stayed.” No one can stand him, we know way too much about what he is. He’s awful. But we were expected to play nice. Except when she was mad at him, and then she would vent about him.

        Meanwhile she spent a better part of two years stalking the other woman (who had dumped him and had moved on with her life). But we were subjected to endless stories about what this former other woman was doing and rants about how could she move on with her life and just go on while she (meaning our friend) was so miserable and still living the reality of betrayal.

        In the end, the situation was so messed up that we’ve pushed them out of the circle. They have huge issues, both of them, and they are toxic attention seekers. Bad bad form.

      • When my ex and I were in our false reconciliation, I talked to no one other than psychologists about the affair.

        It was only after I filed that I sang like a bird.

        It has also been my experience that people who reconcile don’t out the cheating.

        • My experience has been that those who successfully reconcile do out the cheating.

          I suppose that’s why anecdotes do not data make.

          • Yeah — laboring under the philosophy, I suppose, that more eyes on the cheater will make it more difficult for him or her to cheat.

            So then he or she not only has his or her spouse as a babysitter, but their entire cohort of friends.

            Thing is, I can’t imagine wanting to be the babysitter of the husband of another woman. Yeesh!

            But, I get that for some people it would feel comforting to know that their cheating spouse has a ton of eyes watching. Nothing like that for rebuilding trust. haha. 🙂

            • Not what I meant at all, but I suspect we come at this from very different angles.

              I was just pointing out that there are other observations to be made.

              And maybe think about not slamming betrayed spouses who work towards reconciliation. Because it’s pretty hostile to say they look sick and dirty.

              You might want to think about why you feel that way.

              it probably has very little to do with the people reconciling, and far more to do with your perspective.

              • Hi Isolde,
                I will never bash anyone that is trying to reconcile and save their marriage. I wish you all the best in your journey and give you a lot of credit for giving your spouse another chance. What a big heart you have!
                I was working toward an R for two months after DDay. It was a false R. Had 2 ddays in tjevteo month time. So I said no more and never again. Did not look back. I gave all I had in that relationship, sacrificed too much if my wellbeing and I had nothing left to give. It takes two people to save a marriage after cheating. The unicorn was not real for me. He kept on cheating. I walked.
                Just please make sure that no matter what,your spouse’s actions matches his words.
                On that note, I think it is your right to tell whomever you want to tell. After what you have been through, you need all the love and support you need right now. Telling friends us not about babysitting the spouse, getting revenge in the spouse, it is getting help and hopefully receiving it. As like anything in life, when the chips are down you will find out who your real friends are. Good luck Isolde.

              • I understood your perspective, Isolde.

                I’m sorry if my opinions of reconcilers offended you. But they are simply my opinions and I stand by them. You needn’t take them personally.

                Reconciliation is a struggle. Hang in there and good luck to you!

  • In the early days after dcday you’re sorting out who you can trust, who knew and whatvfuturevfreindships will be.
    After I realised that its over red rover and I had done some therapy- you know the type smacking me over the head with a 2x 4 I put up some boundaries vo protect myself. First to the in laws who I saw several times a week and they came to our home every Sunday morning. I just drew a line in the sand. I want to remember our relationship as been full of love and happiness.
    I felt and still do that I have been devalued. As Billy Joel put it-
    i get put in the back
    In the discount rack
    like another can of beans

    I ve been replaced by CSM. The super CEO, cool , calm, no ties , plenty of money, ooze success.
    I don’t want to make small talk and don’t want to discuss infidelity when they want it to go away. Their daughter fucked up but she was unhappy bla bla bla. You can’t win that one so why try.
    Next all the girls at work because they knew about it. Meh
    The boys still have full access to all the family but for me it’s all meh.
    I use to love my ex unconditionally ( which since I’ve learnt I don’t as there were a few conditions like don’t fuck other men) but now friendships have conditions and boundaries.
    The family thing is based on CSM being around. As soon as he fucks off ill talk but ill never be close as I used to.

    As far as friends are concerned the best way I have been offered to handle it is this. You cannot be friends with your ex. You must completely detach until you are swimming in meh. Drowning, drinking meh until you arevasvhappy as a duck in shit. Then and only then you can begin a new friendship with the ex. Start right from beginning and use boundaries where appropriate. I know of a number of people that get on well with their ex because they are in meh and the ex is just that, just an ex. No anger, no jealously , nothing.

    I think the best analogy I’ve heard on infidelity is chump lady’s throw you down the stairs. It’s the only thing people can relate to. It sure as hell feels like it.
    If people have started their affair by infidelity they don’t give a fuck about you and support ex.
    In my case everyone knows. Many f the boys friends parents are in same shit but different day. So they bounce off each other.

    At the end of the day though friends don’t give a fuck about infidelity and you king on about it. They just want the old you back. That’s hard because you are scared and been thrown down the stairs sometimes breaks some bones and costs money.

    I detest the proposition that there was something wrong in the marriage. Detest the proposition that it coud ave been anyone that came along ,it’s just Chainsaw man was there at the right time.
    Wrong. Santa Claus doesn’t fuck other people’s wives and he must get heaps of opportunities with mums sitting on his lap!
    I detach from friends who peddle that shit.

    Thank you to all of you. I don’t know your faces. I don’t know what country , state , colour.
    You have been so helpful in gaining some perspective and insight into this mess.
    Only yesterday the ex smashed the back of her car into a bollard at a petrol station and for three minutes I was going to save her but then I thought of how you will judge me. I then thought meh.
    Thank you for being friends. I never thought I would be here. I browsed sites and became very dissolutioned but found a haven of love and support.
    Thank god for good friends.

    • Baci, we’re all over the world but the feelings are more or less the same. And we’ll all be ok. It’s hard and it sucks but this place has been a great forum for openly talking about the suckfest that we’ve all been handed.

      Makes most other sites look like their peddling, as CL says, snake oil.

    • I hate too when folks will figure “yep, problems in the marriage = cheaters pass”…
      Complete bullshit, as if the logical conclusion to a truly “bad”/unhappy/unfulfilling marriage = go fuck someone other than your partner. No, what it is, is a cheater spouse who is childishly bored, wants butterflies, too fucking shallow, emotionally stunted, and selfish to realize and appreciate the comfort and closeness a long time love provides. So, when the SHTF with friends finding out, it’s all blameshift, lies, and “poor me”. Fucking amazing how folks who have never been dealt this shit, have no fucking idea how badly it hurts, and to what limits cheaters will lie and protect themselves at ALL COSTS. (yeah, I’m in a shittier mood than normal day today)

      Shit, my STBX friends and some of her family equate her affair to being married too young, married for a very long time (WTF, I thought that was good?), and “I’m surprised it took this long”! FUCKERS! No assholios, it was the extramarital fucking, and other casual family destroying hookups for over a year by the STBX that did the trick, Got that! Pathetic too, is not one of them even remotely “blames”/admonishes her; they fall right in with the she tells blameshift lies, and that gave her the right to cheat. UN-FUCKING REAL!

      Yup, I’m fucking sick of cheaters too, and all their apologists, “lets give them the benefit of the doubt and second chance” crowd, the “they suffer too” asswipes, MC who look to the BS as the issue needing to be fixed, enablers and neutrals… Fuck’em all!!!

      Lastly Baci, not sure if you meant be friends with a cheater ex or just an ex. I truly think had my wife wanted to D because she was (fill in the blank), and truly wanted it, I could see being friends post-D, especially since we share a daughter.

      As it is with her being a long-time, completely unremorseful cheater, me/daughter suffering unreal levels of pain she couldn’t have cared less about, as well as her sub-human actions/comments/attitudes post D-Day, not to mention financial ruin for me, NO fucking way. Friends; I would erase her from the earth if I could, then clap the erasers clean.

      • Wow, I got the ‘you married too young’ thing as well from one of his relatives. I was just ‘are you fucking kidding me? We didn’t marry until we were nearly 30.’ Idiots, the lot of ’em.

      • Um.. Sounds like she is surrounded by group of spacklers. I am in a similar boat Jay, and I too am deeply hurt. I am also stunned that they use anything at all as a crutch for why he cheated. We were married only three years and he was cheating. But they chalk it up to all the stress he faced too young. Please. Where is your common sense people? He downright lied about the marital history too, but I am not surprised. That is what they do. Damage control. Fact: Cheating is emotional and psychological abuse amongst others. Cheating should never be justified or excused. Ever. If the cheater was so damn miserable get out or get help. These spacklers are a bunch of assholes and continue to enable the nonsense. To be honest Jay, they really aren’t friends to anyone. Not you, not the cheater wife, not her family. A friend would tell her what she does not want to hear but desparately needs to hear. She sucks and needs to be called out on it. Jay, the time will come when you will have repieced your life back together, and found happiness again either with a woman that deserves the gifts you bring, or moved on contentedly alone. But her? She will still be that stunted person. Why? Because no one holds her accountable. And no growth will take place. Bottom line Jay? You are both two very different people with polar opposite value system. She is reckless, ruthless, uncaring bitch. And her group of friends coddle her. Let them. She will continue the same cycle. It is not your job to fix her or catch her when she falls. You focus on you now. You deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. Seek out and hold to those people that do. Hang in there.

    • I will never be friends with wasband. Not in this lifetime. I coparent with him for the sake of our daughter, but that is it. There will be no friendship whatsoever after what he has done to me, to our daughter. Our family. With a friend like that, who needs enemies? He really wanted to strike up the friendship bit, but I told him to fuck off. The person I trusted most in this world, thought had my back, thought was my protector, thought was my best friend, gutted me and left me for dead. But then gives me a friendly wave of “let’s be friends!”. If it wasn’t so sad I would laugh. But so am too sad and too angry. I am reaching a cold indifference, I will always have that scar in my heart. Cold indifference is what he will get from me. At best.
      If I reach forgiveness, that also will be for me to just let go of the deep hurt and overwhelming pain. My stance with him will remain the same: cold indifference.

      • Same Rose
        I don’t want to know her.
        She had the cheek to say to my 13 year old son he can stay with her tonight but chain saw man will be there so if he doesn’t want to see him stay downstairs. What sort of fucked up selfish mind thinks like this. They just feel so entitled.
        They don’t deserve our friendship.
        The person that was my best friend ,that I gave everything I had is gone. It’s hard to accept and believe.

  • I disclosed what happened to some friends and her family. I got, mostly, favorable results.
    But, one really has to be cautious in ths , bearing in mind that just about anyone who has not been though this vastly underestimates the extent of the abuse and is also inclined to blame the betrayed.
    So, in disclosing I tried to be really calm, matter of fact, no advocacy for what a whore my XW had been even before I was on the scene. I also did not fully describe how devestating it was for me to avoid the claims that I was self pitying and “pretesting too much such that it would lend credence to the smear campaign that she conducted to justify her cheating.
    I have mentioned this before, but a betrayed spouse or anyone involved with an abusive disordered type, really has to consider how he or she comes off to an observer. I learned his trying cases. Even if you have a really valid position and lots of evidence to support it, you still have to consider how you are coming off to get best results.
    The “fundamental attribution error” dangeer is real. Folks see you in your traumatized, confused, angry, hurt state and some of the weird, out of character behaviors and assume this is how you acted in the marriage pre discovery. This plays right into the cheater’s characterizations of you used to justify the cheating.
    So, remain calm and polite and not too anxious to sell your position. LEt folks come to you to inquire and act normal, if possible.

    • I should ad tht one way to do this is to act simply amazed that it happened vs appearing angy. Do not try to emphasize your pain too much. Act somewhat surprised and bewildered, amazed at the cheaters actions. Tyr to describe them in objective terms , as if they were a science experiment gone wrong. Have a wry smile or wistful deal going on.

      • I agree, Arnold.

        I just presented the facts of why we divorced, I didn’t complain or bad mouth him. I just presented the truth and I didn’t have to act bewildered, because I truly was.

        • I did the same Arnold. Calmly wrote to a number of people and told the truth. That’s all it was about telling the truth and not be people to believe for one nano second that the relationship began legitimately. To this day the one thing that gets up my nose is chainsaw man has little consequence. If it turns to shit he just walks away.
          It’s so important that people know the truth.
          She of course went berserk telling me I’m controlling and every other colourful word under the sun, some of which I didn’t know she knew. If I was controlling why was she able to have an affair for three years. Ah that’s right I looked at her phone every night.
          The cheaters will degrade you at every opportunity and you just have to live with that. That’s life. The truth always prevails.

  • I actually have a friend situation I’m trying to figure out myself right now.

    I’m pissed because probably our one pair of true, really close mutual friends have I guess decided to just drop both of us. We had individual relationships with them and also hung out as couples. They kind of tried to support us (mostly me because STBX didn’t want support from anyone apparently) during the 6 months when we were attempting to reconcile (if that’s what you can call it) but it seems like once I kicked him out and we were on the road to divorce they decided they didn’t need us anymore. Literally, my friend was volunteering to come out and visit when my STBX moved out and I even threw out dates and she acted like it was going to happen and when I was checking back about it (I wasn’t going to let her off the hook on it… even the fact that I knew she would try to bail says something), she let my text go unanswered for 3 months. I’d almost written the friendship off at that point but then she did call me and apologized in her message (but not again when I finally got her on the phone). So then I was beginning to accept that we are just going to be lesser friends when it seems like she has now cut me off completely again. No xmas card like she usually sends, I called also just after xmas and no return call. I’m not sure when the last time we talked was, maybe October? (ah yes, she was late wishing me a happy birthday).

    This was someone that I would previously have considered one of my best friends, she was one of the only 2 people I told about the infidelity for the 6 months until I kicked him out. I’m not going to speculate as to why, I’m sure there are many reasons. But at the same time pretty much all of my other (married and unmarried) friends have actually stepped up if anything. So I’m currently debating telling my her that I am pissed that she wasn’t there for me and good-bye, just to get some closure out of the situation. My therapist says I can “own my feelings” and to feel free to do it if I want. But part of me also wants to tell her just so that she knows how it does hurt me and so she doesn’t just get to just walk away without hearing that from me. It’s almost like another betrayal to me in a sense. But then the other part thinks that’s kind of immature and maybe I should just let it go. But I was willing to let it go before when she semi- brought it back to life only to basically dump me again. Now that I think about our friendship more, she has always been more selfish and also acted like she thought her choices/philosophies were better than mine and I have always offered her a lot of support and didn’t get a lot back. So, basically I’m past the point of wanting to be her friend again. I’m better off without her in my life. I’m just debating whether I just let it go or verbalize something to her about it (actually an email because who knows if I can ever get her on the phone again). Any thoughts?

    • I thought about telling a few people what I thought about their reaction but only one person actually heard it. I just said ‘I need you to be my friend right now and if you can’t then step away’ kind of thing. She stepped up to the plate.

      • yeah, by the time I really noticed she was already gone, maybe I didn’t notice her withdrawing as much cause she lives in another city. Plus I was trying to give her the benefit of the doubt and not expect TONS out of her because she was also married and maybe it freaked her out more (back when she and only one other person knew and my other friend was not married).

        So I already had lower expectations out of her… and then I told other married friends and they actually stepped up. While she disappeared. Ugh.

    • another Erica, I think you should say something to her and see what if any response you get. It may give you some insight into why she couldn’t or wouldn’t be there for you.

      Perhaps she feels some ‘guilt’ for some reason. 1) Maybe she had inklings about your STBXH’s cheating and never shared them with you. 2) Maybe she was part of your STBXH’s cheating past. 3) Maybe she has cheated on one of her partners and this was something you never knew and she didn’t want to disclose. 4) Maybe she valued you and STBXH as a couple but now that you are not a couple she doesn’t want to be part of a relationship with you Why? She has insecurities about her life and husband- being involved and seeing you moving on and away from your STBXH is not something she is doing or wants to do.

      One way or the other you’ll get some kind of closure on the hurt. She’ll either respond to you or she won’t. At least then you’ll know. You’ve been betrayed by your husband and now one of your best friends. It really sucks but the abandonment of a former ‘friend’ might hurt less if you at least know the reason she gives for cutting you off.

      • Hope,

        I’m 99.9% sure it’s not 1 or 2, and probably 90% sure it’s not #3 (though I do think it’s possible she could since I’ve thought a bit more about our relationship and have realized she is pretty selfish). I think it’s #4. She also does have a good friend that is staying with her (sort of) because she left her husband after she’d been cheating on him. I actually think that situation going down is what got her to call me after the first time she cut me off… I was just too useful as a person that had experienced infidelity that she could tell the story to. She claims she doesn’t support what her friend is doing, yet is still letting her crash there. So, I guess she is kind of able to be there for someone. And yeah, when she told me about it, I obviously was not on her friend’s side, but I didn’t get all riled up and go off about it or anything either.

        I know that since my stuff happened she has said to me how she knows a lot of friends our age who all of a sudden are getting divorced. So maybe it is worrying her. And I know she and her husband have some issues (who doesn’t?). And she’s been having a hard time getting pregnant with #2…

        Either way, I don’t really give a shit what her reasons are (I doubt she would even really acknowledge them, probably just make up some bullshit). Just like I don’t give a shit what justifications my husband had for cheating. The deal is that we were best friends, I’ve been there for her in the past and I expected her to be there for me now. Since she couldn’t (or wouldn’t) I don’t even want to be friends with her. So, really I just want to make sure she realizes what a shitty thing it was to do and say good bye and good luck. That’s where the immature thing kinda comes in… because I will freely admit I want her to feel bad about it…

    • You know the old saying,Erica : A friend in need , is a pain in the ass”.
      Apparently, this woman is/was not who she appeared to be.

  • What I don’t get is a person that has been cheated on big time by his wife (now his ex after multiple affairs) Is acting like my stinking-lying-cheating-bastard STBX’S BFF. I mean WTF I can’t stomach his XW and we have shared some war stories. So how can he stand to be chummy with my STBX?

    • I suppose, and I’m only guessing because I don’t know your situation, because he is able to compartmentalize how your stbx treats him from how he treated you.

      He doesn’t have to be married to him, you know? So he can just concentrate how they work as friends.

      On the other hand, if his wife had multiple affairs and he stayed with her after at least a few of them, he may be someone who hooks into relationships with people who are the sort of people who use cheating as a coping mechanism. So… he is attracted to something in your husband, and he can remain friends with him for that reason.

    • yeah, that sucks. I can come up with some reasons, like he just is using him for his own benefit… such as just another single dude that is more available for hanging out. But such reasons are still bullshit – I can’t understand being friends with a cheater after having already ended a marriage due to infidelity.

      • I actually do have one friend who was already on the road to divorce (hadn’t filed yet, but had been talking about it for a year) when she fell in love with a vendor for her business. Her husband NEVER knew about it, no kids, d done in 60 days, etc. HOWEVER…they had been having REAL problems in their marriage for years:
        no sex for two years (in their late 20s, no kids), he started painting his fingernails black and wearing her jeans. He was like a rockstar without the band. He told her that he looked better in her clothes than she did, etc. etc. Did tons of damage to her self esteem. We all were astounded she hung in there for so long.
        Her affair was the what got the divorce actually going, (between when the affair started and the divorce was finalized only three months passed) but he was abusing her in a bizarre way and the marriage truly was broken for so long before that.. She had been trying to get him to counsiling for 3 years. They never spent time together, he went out every night without her and basically just ignored her to do “god knows what”. He truly made her feel like no other man would find her attractive (and she is gorgeous)!
        Even though she is a cheater, and it def. was an “exit” affair, I just don’t see her in the same way I do other cheaters. For some reason I give her a “pass”. Her ex to this day never knew about the affair and I am 99% sure the marriage would have ended soon anyway. Maybe I am rationalizing this siutation, but it just seemed so different to me.
        She has been beyond supportive of me in what I have been through.

        • Yeah, well, Leslie, are you sure you have the whole story or are you just hearing it from her. Cheaters lie and rewrite marital history.
          I bet everyone of our cheating spouse told people something similar.

    • i was a total idiot trying to stay friends with my ex long after i caught her in an affair and years after the divorce.the truth is that i still had feelings for her… took a long time but i eventually wisend up and have been NC for about 2 years.

  • I can deal with the people who remain friends with the cheater. Most of them have expressed to me, to him and to others how they feel the OW is trash and how he is throwing away his life. I don’t think they are neutral, they don’t approve or buy his bullshit but I see where they don’t completely cut him off. What floors me is someone who was one of my closest friends who remained neutral but refused to call him out on his behavior. I would by on the floor inconsolably over his latest betrayal and she would just say ” i just think the world of both of you . . I love both of you.” It wasn’t’ that I expected her to at least call him a jerk once in a while but she just wouldn’t. Even his friends took a tougher stance on his behavior What is particularly puzzling about her attitude is that her husband left her for another woman when their son was two so you would think she would be more willing to condemn his behavior.
    Ultimately, we had a falling out. The really funny thing is that the day she and I had an argument and she immediately called my husband and told him she was so lucky to have him as a friend. And that was when I realized she wasn’t really mine

  • Yes! Great insights Chump Lady. Thank you.
    You know, thinking about it, I never really have had friends that were cheaters (that I am aware of anyway) in my close, inner circle. I have always found cheating to be vile, and though I might have different views than my friends on politics, religion, social issues, etc. I have never actively befriended someone that engaged in cheating that I was aware of.
    That being said, IMO I do believe people can change. Cheaters can and do reform. I do not believe in shunning a person. Family. Friends. Whatever. But I will tell you one thing, I would call out any of my friends if they were cheating and hold them accountable. I don’t believe in the stay neutral mentality. That is bullshit.
    Just as there is a spectrum of cheaters, I believe there is also a spectrum for friendship. Some are only on a very superficial level to your very closest, dearest friends that you know have your back always.
    Acquaintances. Work friends. Friends made through a common interest. Lifers.
    The STBXH had many, many superficial acquaintances. Work. Country Club. Golf. But never anything more than to shoot the shit. He always gravitated towards the grandpas. Rarely was he friends with people our own age. If he was, it was very superficial. I found that strange. One of his closest friends is a serial cheater (found that he was a serial cheater after dday. He knew about the affair. never said a word to me. would give me the biggest hugs hello). Older man. His mentor. Puke.
    STBXH always came off as being such a nice guy. So thoughtful. Help anyone out. Polite. But guess what? Nice guy image was a facade. He was so judgmental of everyone. Critical. I never understood why he did not see the good in people. After DDay, I had to acknowledge that I had to add hypocrite to the list of traits I learned he possessed that I despised. He would talk about everyone else to take the focus off himself. Makes sense now.
    I lost a few friends along the way after this whole crap affair. People I thought were good friends that would support me and my daughter. Friends we made after we were married. That hurt, no doubt.
    What hurts me the most is his family. I had to completely walk away and sever all ties with them completely. I found out what their value system is: the crime of the truth coming out was worse to them than he cheating, lying, stealing from his wife and child. They were furious when I told the truth. And the relationship between my STBX in laws and myself is gone. I will never think of them the same way again. It is one thing to love your son no matter what, but another to not hold him accountable and trying desparately to sweep it under the rug. That cut me so deep. They choose not to acknowledge the gravity, the depravity, and the devastation their son created by his actions. The things they said to me to intimidate me to be silent, I am still stunned by. But now I know. And I don’t waste time on people that treat me in such disgusting manner.
    Thankfully, I have had the support of my large family, friends that kick ass. I will always remember and be eternally grateful for the ones that helped me back up, supported me through thick and thin, and loyalty so fierce that would bite the head off anyone who hurt me and my daughter so deeply. I hold really tight to these ones. My lifers.
    Being cheated on has taught me a lot. What I will accept and not accept from people. Boundaries for myself. I gravitate toward those with a solid moral compass.
    I choose my friends very carefully. The other ones can eat shit.

    • Funny about your inlaws because mine were similar. They were very supportive and fine and ‘there for me’ while they thought there was a chance we’d reconcile. The second I saw a lawyer they closed ranks (with the exception of a couple of people) and that was that. They then enabled the affair, started helping to re-write history, put the blame on me and totally supported STBX in his choices–to the point that my MIL was telling one of my kids that OW made STBX happy and that’s all that matters. While my kid was crying.

      It took me awhile to wrap my head around the fact that a couple of decades of us being family meant fuck all to them and when I did finally face that I just dropped the whole thing. No more do I want them in my life. Their values suck, they are as devious and sneaky as their son and I don’t want it in my life.

      They now send me passive aggressive gifts for various events such as birthdays and Christmas.

      • Ugh! Nord, I am stunned!!!! What toxic, spineless people!!!! What a freaking horrendous thing to say to your child. Well, hey, what’s most important is that their son is happy right???? That is what is most important to wasband’s family too.I also got the there are two sides to every story line too. No there isn’t!! You can never justify cheating, hiding and hoarding away from your family, being absent from your family, emotionally and psychologically abusing your family. But hey, sacrificing your family’s well-being for his happiness? It is a tragedy, but I could have been a better spouse. They aren’t blaming me per se, but cheating only happens in bad marriages. Ignorant, toxic, and spineless people. Makes sense on why these cheaters are such narcissistic monster. Their families helped to create the beast. Blech. I got the best gift out of that relationship. My beautiful daughter. The rest of it, cut my losses and will never go back or look back.

        • Rose my in laws say that to the boys constantly. The boys are polite and just say they do not wish to meet him. They don’t say mum you can’t see him. They know what goes on.
          You have done what I have done. Turned around and moved on. No contact. No conflict.

      • You know Nord, that’s interesting.

        As I said above, my in laws are wonderful and welcoming to me. But I do know they hope that we’ll reconcile.

        They have themselves reconciled after he cheated, and they seem to have this hope that it will happen for my x and I. But it won’t. I think we confuse people because we aren’t at each others’ throats. I mean, we’re not BFFs, and we don’t hang out and socialize with each other beyond spending time with our son, but we don’t fight or aren’t nasty to each other. We co parent well and we’re friendly-ish. So I think that makes people think: “oh, eventually they’ll just get back together.”


        When that doesn’t happen, we’ll see how long I’m welcome at Christmas. hahaha. 🙂

      • I get the passive aggressive gifts from the in-laws too! My worst one was this Christmas where they sent a card (where they included a brief message that essentially said we HAVE to be friends due to our long history… um, that’s not a reason for friendship… and if you really wanted to be friends your only contact wouldn’t be through cards on Hallmark holidays) and included a $25 Discover gift card. The card was still attached to the form letter my STBX FIL had received as a cashback reward for using his Discover card!! He folded it up and included it in the card. Dick.

        • My in laws want same. “Go back to the relationship we had before”. Love to but ex and chainsaw man don’t value any of that. I’m the full package. All of me or nothing.
          Enjoy your new relationship with chainsaw man. Hope he visits you four times a week like I did.
          Btw in laws are wonderful people. They have suffered big time in all this. Fil still has shingles 12 months later. Things parents do for kids.

          • Baci, I am so so sorry. I too loved my in laws very very much. And I spent a lot of time w them. I spent more time with them than STBX did. They were very good to me back then. It was only after the truth came out that they became cold. And I refuse to be silent. Yes, I am getting a divorce. Why? Because he cheated. I will never have a relationship with again. Moving past hard feelings. Just Meh!

      • Same Nord.
        I now realise it could be control by in laws but think its more about pride and ego.
        They don’t think ex should given a life long sentence. Sure she did this all wrong but what is done is done so let’s all be friends and move on. That’s fine but me and the boys don’t want anything to do with chainsaw man so good luck and have a nice life.
        They tried again last night with my oldest son – wish we could name our children because they are the heroes in all this shit- he just said I do not wish to meet him.
        But they try try try.
        Reality is such a bitch

  • lost all our mutual friends and his family. hay wait…that last one was a bonus. I say” if your going to straddle the fence, don’t be surprised of I push you off”. just saying…

  • I’m only a few months post D-Day of my wife’s 3 month affair. Still figuring things out – aka a “Limbo Chump” by CL’s standards. Currently in “trying to reconcile” mode. So take my opinions with a big grain of salt.

    I’m a bit surprised by some of the comments about in-laws. Mine don’t know yet, so I don’t know how they will react if/when they find out – but I have to assume that they would ultimately support their daughter.

    Family is family. I don’t expect them to APPROVE or CONDONE it (at least not all of them), and I certainly don’t think it is right to blame the BS for pulling back the curtain. But ultimately whatever happens I expect my in-laws to support my cheating wife b/c they are her family.

    No matter what happens w/ our marriage, she will always be the mother of our wonderful 2 year old. I may hate what she has done to me & to our family, but I want my son to grow up having a stable loving mother, not someone who is shunned by her family.

    Maybe my perspective would be different if we didn’t have a young child, or if she was a serial cheater (or should I say if I “knew” that she was – I only KNOW about the recent affair). Again take my words with a HUGE grain of salt. All of my opinions are very much subject to change in the next year or so!!

    • Rimis,

      Sorry about the shit you are currently going through… this truly is a club you don’t want anyone to join.

      I didn’t expect my STBX’s husband’s family to side with me. In fact, they still probably don’t “officially” know the reason for the divorce. I think they don’t want to actually hear the truth so haven’t pushed it. I kept it secret from all family and only told my two best friends for the 6 months we tried to reconcile (unfortunately my STBX was unwilling to do anything to show me he valued our marriage… like cut the OW completely out of his life as I told him he needed to do).

      I haven’t spoken to or seen his family since we separated. I’m actually irritated because they keep sending me little cards for my birthday and mothers day and xmas (I’m not sure if they ever sent me a bday card before we were separated) and I really just don’t want to have any contact with them. I want my kids to have a relationship with them (kids are now ages 4 and 2… dday was almost 1.5 years ago) but I don’t want to have any kind of relationship with them. Possibly some of it has to do with that I partially blame his narcissistic father and extremely co-dependent mother on my husband turning out to be the kind of guy he turned out to be. It would also probably be awkward because I would be annoyed that they don’t know the reason and I know they would try to pull the lets-pretend-nothing-happened-and-all-just-be-best-buddies act. But also I don’t want to be in touch partly just cause that’s his life now, not mine. It’s part of my kids life still, but not mine. Also, I have spoken once to each of his brothers and they were total a-holes… the times I spoke to them were because my STBX was pulling his suicide threats again and I was trying to get them to help out and be there for him. And one just sorta seemed like he blamed me and the other outright did blame me. Even though the brothers actually do know the reason for the separation.

      Good luck with everything. It does get better… though I think it only gets significantly better once you’re out of limbo.

    • Rimis
      Good attitude at this early stage. Any thing can happen. Stay calm and focused. If she has broken off all contact with ap you have good chance of keeping everything calm. If she is eating cake it’s highway to hell. Stay fit, eat well, and become James Bond

      • Rimis,
        Only one-time cheater should deserve a second chance, if at all! period…
        That said, do be calculative about costs and benefits of your relationship now. Having a 2-yr old indicates (sorry for stereotyping but u didn’t mention the length of your association) less sunk costs, i.e. u r lucky u have not invested a good part of your life and energy into this relationship yet! Kindly do yourself some favors now:
        1. Keep a therapist to ensure u don’t go downhill on emotional side (not a marriage counselor, please! and not somebody who expects u to do pick me dance!)
        2. I came to know of one serious affair of my husband 3 years prior to discovery of a second,…and then so many came in after careful investigation! Those 3 years went into my doing everything under the sun to keep my family intact. Also, he behaved very saintly. Little did I understand that behind his new found love for me and our son, was a careful manipulation to lure me into thinking that it was just a one time affair and he was over it. And I fell for it. I thought that perhaps the affair was good in that it rekindled our relationship! This was the sadder part. Breaking trust, making it up…n lo when you believe you are over the worst…it is there staring in your face! All the years of being fooled…what a crap! CHUMPED!!!
        3. In case of non-working women finance affects badly. In case of men it is the separation from kids! (Sorry for stereotyping,…but I see this so much in my volunteering works). So, now see a lawyer (find out how to gather infidelity evidences, how to make a strong case for child custody etc.), while you are slowly coping up! Say, your wife turns out to be just a one-time cheater. You’d reconcile with her with a better perspective of reality than an assumption that she has transformed. I assure you, this assumption shall bring in more pain later, than if you dealt with it now, in one go. Also, knowledge of child custody rights etc. shall clear the doubts, which make you go weak. Then you’ll also know how to live with your family, in a way, you are not chumped!
        I just hope you shall not suffer my fate!

  • i worked with a guy who was cheating on his wife.he seemed to be such a friendly guy.i wanted to like him.but i WANTED to tell him “you are a nasty mother fucker.” . he bragged about fucking women who lived and worked around the construction site where we worked.apparently his sexcapades got him into troubles.he was paying a lot of child support to an ex OW. he also was suspended for starting a rumor that he was about to fuck one of the company secretaries…. i told my boss that the guy disgusts boss told that he respects my moral feelings but to keep it to myself. most if not all the people who worked there knew about him and some thought it was kool and some didnt like it.

    one day we worked a bit late into the evening and he invited me to his apartment after work.we ate and talked and mean while my boss txted me asking how i was doing. i told my boss i was hanging out with (blank). my boss called me an we talked for a minute and said good bye. i neglected to push the button to stop the call.(blank) said something about” what the fuck bizznes does he have calling you after work? ” the next morning (blank) was fired lol

  • I was a pillar of support to my in-laws. My brothers-in law lived with me during their higher studies, one of them as long as nine of twelve years of my marriage. Whenever my in-laws needed financial support, we would happily donate (both of us were in good jobs that paid well…n I am a big giver). They showered love and respect in turn. I felt privileged to be a member of the clan. My son would spend vacations at his grandparents’ place. All was nice until…

    My Mother in law has been a big cause of marital trouble between her younger brother-in-law and his wife (her sister-in-law alleged that they were having an affair!). As they were staying together with my father-in-law (a man, with practically no voice in family matters and probably one of the longest suffering chumps!), and were financially dependent on them, her sister-in-law suffered the aftermath of this allegation of a different kind. She was treated like a servant, beaten up at times, sex was withheld from her and worst of all, she suffered her own character assassination at the hands of her powerful husband and in-laws (she was a housewife and a daughter of a weak man, who wouldn’t support her). A confusion surrounding the entire gamut of things was deliberately maintained. I sniffed trouble there, but couldn’t make out the actual story until I was myself 9 years old in my marriage. Then, I wishfully thought: They may not be so good. However, my husband is good. I should not rock the boat. My husband will not like to hear anything about my mother in law. Let me turn a blind eye…but the discomfort of this knowledge still lurked.
    My husbands cheating with numerous ladies came out. It was then that he displayed entitlement and rages of a different kind. The home situation was pretty bad and I asked my in-laws to intervene. They tried to apply the same rules on me that were tried and tested on some other poor souls (my father-in-law and my aunt-in-law). My mother in law also gave me a piece of her mind: You go places with your job. You will get numerous chances (implying side cakes for me too). And nobody will point fingers at you since, you are married (in our country context, single women esp divorcee would not be seen with much respect). But, if you rock the boat, tell people what is happening to you, they’ll only laugh at you and make fun of you! To control a husband is an art, and you should learn that. Just play the pick me dance…and he will choose you. You should use your domestic skills and beauty to win him back.
    I was shocked beyond words. But, later on the way sequence of things unfolded before me left no place for this shock. It was shamelessly vindictive. They were taking revenge on me and my son (for no fault of his!) for having spilled the beans. Where did their love go, what kind of detour was this?
    Later on I tried unicorn of R…strangely, they wanted to be a part of it. They wished to show to the world that nothing had happened between us…and that small matters were blown over, thanks to my immaturity in handling aroused male-ego of their son…a failure to be a good daughter-in-law and wife was paid back to me in the currency of temporary infidelity by my husband to me. But, in my mind I had made a time-based plan of Unicorn of R. If he didn’t change his cheating behavior, I won’t stay.

    Meanwhile, I started doing activities on the margins, which had always pleased me…volunteer for social work. My husband was never supportive of this, in fact, he had made me doubt that I was right person for this. I would describe his ways to make a giver a codependent in some other post…but he did. He, typically, used my job and achievements for his career advancement and then blamed me for shortages in child-grooming or house-affairs (while contributing nothing in these!).

    Therefore, when things were not working out, I severed all relationships with my in-laws. In fact, they had thrown me out and now wanted to reconcile. I just turned a blind eye. Mine was an extreme emotional betrayal: I loved them like my own parents and relatives. I thought I was an integral part of the clan and so was my son. This was broken. No unicorn of R with in-laws…I could only give my husband a chance and an year of our life!

    So, that is it…I don’t say that one should not care for one’s in-laws or friends. But yes…if they display wrong values, do keep an eye. Very likely it would happen to you too. I believed scorpions, fed them and worshiped them. But they were scorpions. So, the moment they got a chance, they bit me. I was living a dream…it was all so untrue!

  • Neutral is cowardly in a situation where there is obvious emotional abuse (and cheating fits into that category) and there is such a thing as right and wrong. I do not appreciate their attempts at neutrality if one person is deliberately causing a huge amount of pain and heartache to his/her family. And, I might add, the ones that take the side of an abuser are either very adept at ignoring the truth (usually because they are getting something for doing so) or are making the choice in order to feel better about their own misbehavior. Jerks of a feather… I have been shunned big time by my ex’s family. People I knew for many years, and what I thought were my friends. But in the end, neither were ever really there for me as support even when we were married. His fam has a tendency of siding with the ones that are their blood. And, blood is thicker than morality in this case. It’s such a clannish kind of behavior and now they are pointing their fingers at my kid and saying things like, she got her smarts and talent from our side. It really creeps me out. I try to tell her that she got them from herself, period. But they have an affect especially when they do it as a group and they praise ex man as the winner since he had this whole thing planned years before he pulled the trigger on the divorce. Turns out his second life and second wife were practically in place before the papers were signed. I, because of playing the trusting fool, had to start from ground zero and ended up fighting lawyers while helping my daughter get through a deep depression while daddy traveled with his new girlfriend. It, for the most part, has been incredibly painful to watch people behave so badly and get a pat on the back for a job well done. I’ve only seen this kind of horrible act once before, when their mother (the only person worth knowing in my opinion) died and she left a dubious will behind. I sat back and watched the cockroaches crawl out from their nasty little nests and it was an awful, awful thing to witness. Should have tipped me off that hubby didn’t do anything to stop the disrespect except write a letter to one of the offenders who had stolen loads of money from the estate. Money, at least in some families, is the only reason to take a stand. Then, you’ll be almost guaranteed plenty of good friends and adoring family siding with you. Nice guys/girls do finish last.

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