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Infidelity *Is* Abuse

And a big hairy pox on those who think otherwise.

Yes, the unicorns are at it again. Leading the sparkly unicorn brigade on HuffPo today is the always insipid Vicki Larson. I’m sorry Vicki, if you google yourself and find yourself here — you’re talking out of your ass. I know you think you’re a chump, one that has successfully remained “friends” with your cheater (for the children!) and find forgiveness to be “essential” — but you’re dead wrong when you think that affairs can be positive and transformative forces for good.

You know what is a positive and transformative force? Chump self respect.

Refusing to eat the shit sandwich, because you see it as — hey! — a shit sandwich. Finding the strength to leave an ABUSIVE situation — is transformative.

Apparently I’m mistaken.

With all due respect, Tracy, infidelity isn’t abuse in many people’s minds, as I’ve written:
If all infidelity is abuse, than what are we to make of those who stay married to a reformed philanderer, and who find the affair(s) transformational in re-creating their marriage? What are we to make of the many “experts” who suggest people try to work through infidelity — when not one of them would ever suggest working through physical abuse. We don’t call IPV “transformational.”
I think it would be better to advise people to assess the situation — was it a “just-sorta-happened” one-night stand, with remorse and a promise to change, or was it a long-term affair? There isn’t a one-size-fits all answer. But, yes, confronting someone with the evidence — “This is what I know” — is essential.

Let’s take this apart.

Infidelity isn’t abuse IN MANY PEOPLE’S MINDS.

Well, that’s an interesting caveat. People’s minds tell them all sorts of unhealthy things — have another cookie, snort that coke, things aren’t that bad! (spackle)… Sure, lots of people would like to think infidelity is not abuse, it’s oh, a midlife crisis, it’s “brokeness,” it’s “waywardness” it’s everything except a very willful choice based in entitlement. People imagine all sorts of self serving nonsense.

What are we to make of those who stay married to a reformed philanderer?

Skepticism about reformation. Hey, if unicorns are happy, God bless them. I tend to believe that people who cheat usually continue to do so, and unless they get shit loads of therapy, go through life as dry drunks — all the entitlement without the sexual acting out. Not super fun partners. So what do I make of it? I feel sorry for it. I feel the chump could do a lot better.

and who find the affair(s) transformational in re-creating their marriage?

Now you’re smoking powdered unicorn dope. Affairs are BAD things, not “transformational” things. I’ve said this before — saying that infidelity improves marriage is like shooting off your kneecaps improves your tennis game. No, infidelity cripples marriage (which was probably in a weakened state to begin with). It doesn’t strengthen it.

What are we to make of the many “experts” who suggest people try to work through infidelity

I call those experts quacks. Members of the Reconciliation Industrial Complex of which Vicki Larson is clearly a part.

I think it would be better to advise people to assess the situation — was it a “just-sorta-happened” one-night stand, with remorse and a promise to change, or was it a long-term affair? There isn’t a one-size-fits all answer.

My comment was that infidelity is abuse. It wasn’t what I think you should do — bait and switch there, Vicki. Whether they fucked someone one time, or hundreds of times — it’s betrayal of the most intimate, destructive kind. It involved many selfish choices, willful decisions. Decisions that risked a chump’s health, their children’s home life, and their well-being. I’ll leave it up to chumps to determine if a one-off is worth reconciling with — but a serial cheater? No, never. It’s all abuse. If someone slugged you once, it doesn’t make it less of an assault if they keep hitting you for years. Hitting someone is assault. Pure and simple.

This is what I know” — is essential.

Whoa, I thought forgiveness was “essential”! So much is essential….

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  • You know, I agree wholeheartedly with you, about affairs not being transformative (in a positive way) for marriages. Reconcilliation is just a couple of sickos sticking it out for all the wrong reasons, afraid to face change. Reconcilliation is not brave, it is cowardly.

    That said: I do believe that affairs can be positively transformative to individuals, that would be the betrayed people who wake up and say: “I deserve better than this shit…” and bounce. Also, potentially, for someone who is a cheater and who says: “This is really fucked up of me. I obviously do not respect this person to whom I’m married, and I’m out, but my cheating is also about me not respecting myself, and I need to fix that about me.” And then that person also bounces and works on him/herself.

    However, all THAT said, people like Vickie and others who do things that do not allign with my personal value system, meh… I don’t let it get to me. I figure those people are living their karma. No need to get wound up about it or start arguments or try to debate them. They are who they are because of the choices they make and that’s their path. Trying to convince them that they are wrong is like them trying to convince me that I’m wrong. Haha. It is fruitless.

    Good post, CL!

    • Shit, Kristina!!! Thanks for calling me a fucking coward! Pretty broad brush you are using there. You have no idea what I went through. 2 years of therapy (including Gesault the EMDR for PTSD) and yet somehow I’m a fucking coward for reconcilling. Awesome. Yes your comment struck a nerve because some of us who do read this blog are Reconcilling.

      • Take it easy Dave.
        I think what Kristina s trying to say is because the cheating has occurred by its very nature for what it is how do establish trust. Trust is also a very broad theme.
        Maybe in reconciling there’s a lot of compromise and some things you just let through to the keeper. We all have different values on what is good and bad to each other.
        I went down the reconciliation avenue for many months but I turned into James Bond. The only thing I didn’t have was a camera above the bed but boy did I get ever so close to proceeding with that. I wanted the rock solid proof which I received from mail and text. At this stage she thought I was on board and all the while she was cake eating.
        I don’t know if reconciliation is cowardly but it’s familiar and we don’t want to loose what we have. It’s not until you completely lose something that you can truly look at it with some perspective and value it properly.
        Kristina has many valued contributions to this site and I would hate for future ideas to stop. It helps us all.
        Good luck with your marriage. It’s achievable if both parties are fully committed forever to each other. Only time will tell

      • Well, to be fair to me, I never said: “Hey Dave, you’re a fucking coward.” I’m sorry that you took my words personally.

        Baci has done a good job of diplomatically parsing the subtext to my, admittedly, hard core stance that reconciliation is cowardly not brave. He’s got it at the granular level, as well, thank you Baci.

        As I see it, reconcilliation is really about stasis. For some people it is preferable to suffer the sorts of things you describe, than it is to manage the uncertainty that is inherent in change (i.e. divorce). That goes for cheaters and BSs who decide to reconcile. I think they are both fearful of change. Cheaters flirt with it but ultimately usually lack the gumption to see it through or hope that their BS will manage it for them and BSs absolutely cannot tolerate the thought of it. At all. My opinion only. Mileage will vary.

        Anyway, be confident in the choices you have made, because you obviously know what is best for yourself and my opinion simply does not matter to your gig and have no bearing on what you’re attempting there. I hope things work out for the best for both of you.

        • I’m not going to win this game. I get that there is a certain perception on this blog toward reconciliation in general. However, the blanket statements and name calling make an already difficult situation that much harder. While i recognize the comments are not directed at me, it does feed into an already fucked up image the world has of the person who choses to reconcile. The world already sees us as suckers as well as chumps (even if not to our faces) which compounds things even further. Yes, I viewed Kristina’s response as an attack and responded. I don’t have to read this blog anymore if I’m that sensitive. It’s just a double suck for us that chose to reconcile because the world thinks of us as to “sickos and cowards”. My thought is that Kristina wrote what everyone is thinking. What makes this blog so good is it’s not politically correct. It is raw and unabashed honesty that is unseen anywhere on the web.

          Please understand we have been reconciling for over 3 years. If at anytime I want to bail I would be fine with divorce. My marriage isn’t better, its different. Before the discovery our marriage was good. I am the husband/father everyone wants their husband to be. Problem is guys like us get fucked. So, my marriage was good before it is good now but I will never have a second of blind trust in anyone ever again. The Human condition is selfish to it’s core. Does it suck to think this way? Not for me. It works and is the new normal.

          • Dave mate don’t give up. Just because some don’t chose your route doesn’t mean it’s worth a red hot go.
            I throw in my $5 worth.
            I have two friends that tried to reconciled and both the cheaters cheated again with different people from the first time and they are divorcing. No third chance so to speak and in one case far more damage because husband cheated with wife’s best friend 2nd time. Some here will say told you so but that doesn’t mean reconciliation in every case is doomed.
            And mate don’t let anyone belittle your stance “I’m the husband/father everyone wants their husband to be. Be very proud of that. You only have to read the posts here to see there are many women that have been treated like shit. Some here would crawl on broken glass to find someone like you( as long as all the sheep are in the top paddock- as they seem to be)
            My ex always said she had perfect kids, perfect family , perfect home and of course perfect husband. She still chose to cheat. She lived a double life for many years so I’m unsure whether all the sheep are in the top paddock with her although she normally has all her marbles. I believe and it’s IMO only that in a few years if not sooner she may regret the last few years. I mayb wrong. Who knows.
            If you are reconciling because you think it’s the right thing to do for other people or you are scared of the future without yor wife then maybe you are reconciling for the wrong reasons.

          • Once again, Dave, it was not personal. This is not a “fight”. It is merely opinion.

            I think that people who reconocile with abusers (and that’s what this article is about — cheating *is* abuse) are codependent and as such are laboring under an illness with someone else who is equally unwell emotionally either because the cheater is another codependent or because he or she is narcissistic or whatever else might feed into their passive aggressive desire to cheat instead of face problems head on.

            I do not believe cheaters who are not given consequences, and by that I mean are shown the door, really ever face their demons and change. The second and third chances they are given by people emotionally to unstable to walk away simply validate their choice to cheat, because it served as a “wake-up” call to make the BS change his or her ways. Sara8 mentions a BS who realized that she was bossy and changed her ways which made it better for the cheater. I’m sure it did. But that does not scream successful reconciliation to me.

            This is all simply opinion, though. I’m not saying that I’m right and everyone else is wrong. As I said in my initial posting: “people like Vickie and others who do things that do not allign with my personal value system, meh… I don’t let it get to me. I figure those people are living their karma. No need to get wound up about it or start arguments or try to debate them. They are who they are because of the choices they make and that’s their path. Trying to convince them that they are wrong is like them trying to convince me that I’m wrong. Haha. It is fruitless.”

            Dave said: “However, the blanket statements and name calling make an already difficult situation that much harder. While i recognize the comments are not directed at me, it does feed into an already fucked up image the world has of the person who choses to reconcile. The world already sees us as suckers as well as chumps (even if not to our faces) which compounds things even further.”

            And I say: Dave, I’m posting my opinion on a forum where the theme is: “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life”. I’m not going around to pro-recon forums and foisting my opinion on people who do not share my values about self esteem. It is not my job to couch my opinions so that I don’t offend people who are willingnly taking part in an unhealthy process. It is up to the people who are doing the reconciliation shuffle to own their choices, live into them, and stand by them without being upset over the opinions of others who disagree.

            Look, there are plenty of people who are down on women who divorce their husbands for any reason, but their opinions do not factor in my decision making process. I act on what I know is best for me and my child and someone who disapproves or dislikes it, that’s cool. Go with God. But it does not make me doubt myself or feel bad about who I am or the choices I make.

            If you are happy to be reconciling and in your not-better-but-different marriage, then good! The opinon of anyone else does not matter. You are still you whether or not everyone in the world thinks you’re a chump for forgiving your wife and staying married (not everyone does, of course, many many people think recon is totally doable). As long as YOU know you’re not a chump, then fuck ’em!

            And like I said, I wish you both the best of luck. I sincerely do.

          • Please don’t tar an entire gender with the “Problem is guys like us get fucked” brush.

            I’ve never said that all men are bad because of what my ex did.

            Bad people will do what they do regardless of who you are. It’s a reflection on who THEY are.

            Like Baci said.. good women would crawl over broken glass for a good man. I think that’s why some people react vociferously to the reconcilers… perhaps they can see that the good person might get hurt again, and they don’t deserve it. Not the first time, not ever.

            Best of luck.

      • Dave:

        I do think reconciliation is possible if the cheater works at it and their behavior changes consistently with no more acting out or shenanigans.

        My reconciliation was a false one, and I think people need to be on the look out for ongoing misbehaviors to prevent being gaslighted in a false reconciliation, but I, too, believe that a marriage can work after one cheating episode, if the cheater is truly remorseful.

        I don’t automatically believe once a cheater always a cheater.

        I don’t think that someone who chooses to reconcile is a loser or a dupe, there are too many factors involved and that need to be considered regarding the infidelity.

        That is why I even tried to reconcile.

        For example on one board there was a woman whose husband cheated who freely admits that she was mildly abusive toward him and way too bossy and she has toned the bossiness and eliminated the abusive behaviors and comments.

        I wish you continued success in your reconciliation.

        At in person support groups I have met people who have reconciled and in some cases the betrayed spouse says that thing are better for them because the cheater has recognized and eliminated a lot of selfish, self absorbed behaviors.

      • I don’t agree that reconciling makes you a coward. I think it takes strength and courage to carry on after being hit with betrayal whether you reconcile or leave. I do hope you are being treated better now though, because you deserve better treatment.

  • THANK YOU for saying what I have said for over two years now and yet people look at me like I’m just “exaggerating.” It is ABUSE. My STBXH slammed me with the Triple Crown of abuse: his infidelity abused me emotionally, physically and financially. Does that make me a victim? Damned straight it does. Do I choose to continue to live as a victim? No.

    I don’t know if you realize this, CL – but finding your blog has been the most empowering thing to happen to me since I separated. I thought I was a bad person, or not healing properly, or a vindictive, bitter bitch because I felt that the FACTS of infidelity were not the honey-coated “it takes two to make/break a marriage”, “let’s all be good friends with our exes” variety. It is WRONG – but I never heard anyone put it out there so plainly and with such basic common sense logic until I started to read your columns. THANK YOU for verifying that I’m NOT nuts, bitter, or broken – I’m just calling a cheater a cheater and saying that they should be dealt with decisively and with a clear, unicorn free eye. Your columns have made such a difference to me. THANK YOU!

    • Char,

      Thank you for the TRUTH, well written! 🙂

      It is extremely refreshing to have a website that finally tells the truth. It is abuse!

      Thank you CL! :):):)

  • I’m with you 1000% CL. Its abuse and lots of people make deals with the devil every day and then go, “seeeeeee? we’re great. no better than great. we’re better than EVER!”


    Hey, sure. Just because you (not “you” but the betrayed spouse) say it, makes it true. gag. Its just that I saw your now “better than ever” totally “transformed” partner on Craig’s List and Lava Life with penis shots galore telling all the hookers, whores and unsuspecting lost-head-in-the-sand-trying-to-make-the-best-of-it chumps (like me) that he was SINGLE but just wasn’t into “the lame bar scene” and then I gave up looking because I knew everything I needed to know. (but not before I got his cell phone number just to confirm.) Oh, you don’t want to hear about it? blow the smoke away? the fantasy? the belief that you so desperately need to believe that what you see is very real. Well, you were a chump and now you’re just an idiot, lady. You were told and you went with his version. “She’s a cyber stalker, hun…” (I am, but only because I’m trying to save your stupid ass, when I really should be trying to save my own!) You believed a pathological liar. its all smoke and mirrors. Mind boggling, ain’t it?

    and lots of those so-called recovery folks are not at all ashamed to take thousands (and thousands) of your hard-earned money on “intensives” to get your “marriage back on track.” Some of them don’t even have any training whatsoever. Just “experience.” Those are the devil’s whatever those ugly little maggots are called. (I’m Jewish so not really up on that.)

    One of my fave excuses for piggy behavior is, “oh, he was abused as a child.”


    fair enough. so was I and I undoubtedly have life-long issues from it. But one of them was not trying to fuck over my husband by betraying his sacred trust. In fact, I used to fantasize about some man making advances, only to rebuff them by saying. “I’m sorry, I do find you very attractive, but if S ever found out, it would destroy him.” And then, off I would go.

    All the while, my “sensitive” out of work hubsand was out there procuring as many pussies as would have him.

    Its abuse. and not only is it abuse of the partner. Its self-abuse. People who cheat do not love themselves or if they do, then they are without a soul.

    So, tell me, how can a person get back what they never had in the first place?

    Great post as always CL!

    • The other issue that this blog raises is the marriage counselors and psychologists who refuse to label cheating as abuse and thus traumatize the faithful spouse yet again.

      These counselors, the inexperienced ones, are too quick to let the loyal spouse share blame or to label the loyal spouse, an enabler when in reality they are traumatized as badly as a PTSD sufferer that has been raped or in war.

      I really think that the counselors need to tell the cheater point blank that he/she is an abuser and they ALONE need help. That cheating is NEVER okay, when married. It is a sign of serious personal personality dysfunction that needs to be addressed.

      The counselors need to point out that if the loyal spouse was really an difficult and they needed to escape into fantasy, then the cheater was free to divorce, not cheat and lie, at least in the USA and the rest of the free world.

      They need to point out that cheating is about control and taking away the choices from the loyal spouse by operating in secret and being passive aggressive about grievances instead of asking to discuss and address any issues that were causing problems in the marriage.

      These counselors also need to point out to the cheater, that the loyal spouse likely did not feel the marriage was perfect but they chose to be realistic about marriage in general and not look to escape into a silly fantasy world.

      Lastly they need to point out that a date with an affair partner can never compete with a real world marriage and it is unfair to expect that.

      One of the things I hear often with cheaters is that my OW or OM treats me so special and nice…..but they need to be told by counselors that they need to grow up and realize that the affair relationship is all fake and could never compare to a real relationship.

      • Well put, Sara8. I went to a specific counselor based on the advice of a friend who had used her after her divorce. Bad move on my part – she was a total marriage-reconciler, no matter how horrible the background was and how traumatizing it was for me to even be in the same room with him. Wasted several months there trying to figure out why I wasn’t healing (cause I was still be triggered by sight of xh, and she insinuated that it was my fault).

        I think the counseling kept me in a bad place, and retraumatized me further. ChumpLady is the best counselor. Seriously. When I found this site, that is when I started to heal.

        • I had a lovely (i think he was a nice person actually but just needed a backbone) marriage counselor who saw me after d-day and his mouth dropped from all the weight I had lost and spent the first ten minutes of the session discussing his concern for my health. Meanwhile, my spouse is stringing me along, cake eating, you get the point. Of course nowhere in this session did he call out my spouse and tell him to take a look at what his behavior had done and to quit playing games. I have gotten more help from chump lady than three counselors and probably $10,000.00 in therapy sessions.

      • Very, very well said Sara! I was part of the lay it on the BS, both are to blame for *her* affair, R industrial complex. You know, our “nobody is a loser, just the last winner” cesspool society of no responsibility, ethics, accountability, etc.

        I was told to work on myself, improve my relationship skills, work on what WW says is wrong with me, basically to win her back. (we know that dance)

        WW got a pass; with me being told by the the quack MC:

        “The other cheater at her workplace is just a symptom, quit obsessing over this”. I literally told her that’s fucking crazy, and sure enough WW continued to throw this MC validated sentiment at me (gaslighting), all the while strengthening her ‘bond’ with POS.

        Also had the POS MC tell me:

        “Look, she already said there was no sex, so drop it”, concerning STBX saying “we didn’t even hold hands” and I all but called the MC a stupid ass. Yeah, I tell the MC about the hotels paid with cash for “meetings” off work time, some tied in with work, business dinners running past midnight during a work week, STBX being busted by the other BS when she caught them together on a motorcycle (morning after D-day, where she stayed in a hotel that night) and by STBX own admittance of “being interested in someone else” for over a year, who she works with 10-12 hrs a day, and you believe the shit that she didn’t even hold hands? MC would give a dismissive look (as if STFU), STBX would just nod, cry, and use this to gaslight me.
        At one point STBX was crying when I flat called her a liar, STBX violently ran out, and sat in the car crying and pissed off. MC said “I threw her under the bus”, and I should go out and apologize to her”. I didn’t, but rather made that the last visit.

        Sure enough, she admitted it was full blown sexual earlier this month… But then a week later she said she only admitted it was sexual, because that is what I wanted to hear??? Mindfuck express, and only gives a tiny glimpse into how dark her soul is… Staggering levels of inhumanity!

      • sara8

        It is interesting that you would bring up PTSD. I have also read about it (I believe) in a journal online…not shocked!

        CL, I am curious about your opinions on this subject.

        • Anne and all:

          Anne: Yes. post infidelity PTSD is increasing being recognized by psych pros. It is real.

          Dawn, jay, pearl:

          I initially found counselors who were all to willing to blame me. Then I finally found a good one.

          The best type of counselor is one who deals with sex addictions. Infidelity is a sex addiction, and these sex addiction counselors no about all the tricks the cheaters use to get sympathy.

          Most marriage counselors use the sex addiction as an excuse to forgive. A sex addiction counselor put the blame squarely where it belongs…..right on the addict and their compulsive addicted sexual acting out behaviors.

  • Whoa, wait a second. She writes, “What are we to make of the many “experts” who suggest people try to work through infidelity — when not one of them would ever suggest working through physical abuse.”

    Let’s go back a few decades. It wasn’t so long ago when divorces were rarely heard of, and if a woman did divorce her husband, it was taboo and a dark mark upon her. Women were expected to stay in their marriages and “obey” their husbands. The “experts” during that time certainly felt the “marriage” was more important than the wife being beaten, or otherwise abused, let alone what happened with children.

    But fast forward to today, and the “experts” say, never stay in physically abusive relationship, protect your kids. “Experts” and their opinions change. What we put up with years ago is not what we put up with today. I think the “experts” she refers to are stuck in their own timewarp and have obviously never been through it.

    ChumpLady said in another article something to the effect of, thanking the cheater for cheating on you and granting you the chance at a better love/life is like a parent losing a child to a drunken driver and them thanking the drunken driver for allowing them to become a better public speaker at MADD meetings. It’s utterly ridiculous, and I think of that concept often.

    • Let’s not forget that many studies show that women physically abuse men just as frequently, yet guys are supposed to suck it up and take it.
      Just saw a movie “Side Effects” at least 4 instances of femal on male violence, yet no sign of shock form the audience.
      Men were expected to ride this physical abuse out. And, Lord help them if they tried to convince anyone their wife was verbally or emotionally abusive.

      • Arnold:

        Affairs are emotional, physical, financial abused from both genders.

        There is no double standard here. So, not to worry.

        Also, I am glad that the police are now starting to take husband abuse seriously, when they are called to a domestic dispute and the signs are there.

        In my town woman are carted off to the police station, if they are physically abusive, just as often as a man who police deem is the abuser.

        Alas, emotional abuse is still allowed with spouses as well as children.

        And, financial abuse, by spending marital assets, is not even considered theft yet.

        It’s really sad.

      • Arnold – as Sara said, there is honestly truly no double standard.

        Wrong is wrong, period.

        Many many many years ago my stepfather revealed to me that my mother had often been frequently physically violent with him. No surprise – she had been with myself, my brother and my father.

        I was pretty young, but I told him that her behaviour unequivocally wrong and that he should leave immediately. Poor man. He was eventually free of her but not before she had a few more pounds of flesh out of him – literally, figuratively, and financially.

        • I was just responding to Dawn’s narrative re women being abused and encouraged to stay back in the day. Seems the same could have been said of men, who, undoubtedly, were also being abused and encouraged to stay and who were equally stigmatized by divorce.

          • Hi Arnold,

            My point wasn’t made to say that only men abuse women. It was only an example to show that “expert opinions” change with the times. Infidelity by either spouse is abusive, as is any physical harm, obviously. I hope that by the next generation, not only will women abusing men be as well-recognized and abhored by society as men abusing women, but that infidelity will not be tolerated or glorified in society.

      • I had to reply to this article because I feel very passionate about the content. I went on omg website and responded to the bs there I had to!!! Her arguments are laughable!!!

  • I’ve been reading a lot of Alice Miller lately. She has published a lot on how people cling to “happy happy” visions of things to protect their psyche.

    This whole “I forgive you” (aren’t I a great person!) phenomenon seems to be prevalent in the US – I can’t recall experiencing it in the UK. There we call a spade a spade, and an a*hole an a*hole.

    My ex wanted us to be “friends” after we split. I told him I don’t have friends like that …aka morally and spiritually bankrupt and just plain psychopaths. His first wife had remained “friends” with him. Want to know why? From her: because she was terrified of him. He threatened to murder her when she left (fled more like – she moved from CA to FL) – and darkly warned that as a prosecutor with a lot of cop friends, he’d get away with it.

    I feel sorry for Ms Larson really – I think she is trying to convince herself more than anyone else. It’s likely much easier to put the rose spectacles on, especially if you need to coparent with a degenerate.

    • “I’ve been reading a lot of Alice Miller lately. She has published a lot on how people cling to “happy happy” visions of things to protect their psyche.”

      I would agree with Ms. Miller, except I would say they are protecting their egos, not their psyches. But that’s semantics, I imagine.

      But you know, speaking of the “happy happy” thing — isn’t Facebook predicated on this very thing? I always get a kick out of people who post all kinds of happy wonderful things and the reality is so very different.

      When you head on over to the recon sites, where people are supposedly so happy in recon, you see the real truth. People posting things like: “five years later and I still think of the other woman every single day…” and THAT’S the BS posting that. Really? That’s a happy reconcilliation? You’re still obsessed with the person your husband was fucking 5-7 years ago behind your back, but you’re also maintaining that you’re “happily reconcilled?”

      Or people saying: “do the triggers last forever?” Give me a break. The triggers last as long as you are living with the trigger. When you boot the trigger to the curb, the triggers will eventually stop. You may still be put off by the entire concept of courtly love and love overcoming obstacles (usually a husband or wife) in popular culture, but at least you won’t be twitching and having mind movies and all the rest.

      Anyone who is actively involved on a support forum claiming they are happily reconciled are nothing of the sort. If they were happily reconciled, they wouldn’t be on a forum. They’d be living their lives.

  • Thank you, CL, for telling it like it is!

    That ANYONE in this day and age can look at infidelity as anything other than abuse (on several levels, as a previous poster stated) is mind-boggling.

    My STBX could have exposed me to an STD (physical– I got lucky that it wasn’t worse than yeast infections), used OUR money to buy her fancy meals and whatever else I didn’t find because he paid cash (mental/financial), and then messed with my head and heart after I found out by stating that he “wasn’t sure” what he wanted to do and how he thought he “loved her” and other bullpucky, cake-eating crap (emotional).

    How is that NOT abuse? Why on earth would I want to stay?

    More importantly, why on earth would I want my children to spend lots of time with that person? It is my dearest hope that, as the primary custodian, my influence completely overshadows whatever selfish, entitled behavior my kids see when they are with him. I know that many people state how their cheater spouses are still “great” parents, but really? Are they great? How can they be great when they’ve thrown their family life in the trash in order to pursue a selfish fantasy life? Sorry, but those people are NOT great parents– I don’t care how sweet and involved they are with their kids. Great parents commit themselves to their family lives and work to improve them if they aren’t going well; they don’t find a convenient escape hatch from which to eject themselves out of their family lives. The very fact that they had an A disqualifies them from that title, and they don’t get to earn it back until they do some hard work on themselves over the course of several years and demonstrate that they’ve changed and that their children are more important to them than instant gratification and unicorns.

    CL, you need a talk show. This message needs to be widespread, and it isn’t.

    • Thank you, Moving. The way you express the “great parent” contradiction resonates with me. It really was a selfish fantasy life that my STBX traded in for his kids’ security and happiness. He is forever telling me that they are the most important thing in his life. Well it’s obvious they aren’t. He isn’t just abusing me with his A, he is abusing our children.

      • Quicksilver:

        My ex’s OW gaslighted her husband after she was outed by claiming the her four young children were the most important thing in her life and she would never neglect them to have an affair.

        Yet, that’s exactly what the lying ‘ho was doing.

        I really think the laws need to be change regarding affairs.

        Why aren’t theft charges able to be filed, when someone misappropriates marital assets to spend on an affair partner?

        My ex stole money from our marital assets to spend on his ‘ho, and as others have noted, so much of it was in cash I will never see recompense for it.

        Why isn’t it easier to sue or to jail someone that cheats and gives the faithful spouse an STD?

        Why isn’t it easier to sue the cheating spouses affair partner for alienation of affection?

        IMO, it’s because so many high level people in society cheat. Thus, it has been getting easier and easier to dismiss cheating in a divorce settlement.

        It does need to be labeled as emotional abuse, but the problem is emotional abuse against spouses or children is not yet a crime.

        • You are so right.

          It’s my opinion that the average Joes are looking at Tiger Woods, Charlie Sheen etc and normalizing their behaviour. As a society we are not holding these people accountable.

          I now live in a state where alienation of affection exists – which I am grateful for, god forbid I ever encounter a similar situation.

          Incidentally – I had a $1 clause levied in my divorce documents in case it turned out I had contracted an STD or HIV etc from my ex’s prolific hooker use. The $1 can be levied up as appropriate, but the important part is that it’s in there and therefore retrospectively enforceable. Thankfully it was not ultimately required.

            • No way. They aren’t looking at them.

              They are looking at “successful” other women — the ones who actually “won” the married man.

              That would be Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Anniston, the country singer chick I can’t remember her name, but the one who has all the twitter fights with the BS, and the list is endless… so many famous men leave their wives for the other woman. Of course they are ALL narcissists, so… that’s not a great set of models for anyone.

              Other women never believe they’ll get cast off. They always think they will be the one to make the difference, they will be the one with the happily ever after.

            • Anyone – male or female- who participates is equally accountable. Leann rimes is already sensing what is coming to her.

              I for one can’t wait to see it.

              • You and me both. I somehow got into following that story and wow, if anyone deserves a big old dose of karma it’s Rimes. She makes the other women in my situation seem like nice people (which they are, because STBX told me so).

          • Wow Fallulah! Smart cookie you are! We weren’t married, but I work at a job where I get tips so I had “easy cash”. How I wish I had saved some….I gave his (mostly) unemployed ass so much $ and now I’m behind on the bills..I am having a hard enough time but mostly it is anger at myself for being such an idiot…

            • I hear you. I had SO much anger at myself for falling for it. Wandered onto a site from a link here for manipulative or something similar. The link is on the right from CLs interview with a psychologist…. He talks about being compassionate with yourself as you look back – I enjoyed it. I’m not at a computer right know but let me know if you’re interested and I can try to trace my steps.

              The anger goes btw … Slowly, but eventually. I was left with the knowledge that ill never fall for that bs again – I’m thrilled at how quickly I can pick up on the red flags these days. Best of luck to you 🙂

            • Oh, me too, Toni. I feel agravated for hanging in there as long as I did in the crappy marriage before the affair happened. The affair launched me because it was my deal break, but I put up with a boatload of nonsense prior to that.

              So my main source of “boy what a dope” kind of gets directed squarely back on myself.

              But onward. It is a good thing to be forward moving.

      • Mine says the kids are the most important things in his life and he would never do anything to hurt them. I just look at him and think ‘you really are one dumb fuck, aren’t you’. He also told me, at one point, that his happiness was more important than the happiness of the kids.

        • Same Nord same! Same shit- different continent!

          I’ve thrown a bomb into the family home. Blown it up. I’m sorry it’s ok but you’re the most important people in my life. ( I still need access to you )
          What choice do kids have but to go along with the crap from our exes. It’s only much later they can form a mature opinion.
          In my case I think the boys have a pretty good grasp on the situation.
          My ex virtually demanded why she can’t be happy and have chainsaw man and then I receive an email stating he’s not the answer. They are looking for a acceptance. They need to verify the relationship.
          A train smash is still a train smash is still a train smash…………..

          • Funnily enough both kids have figured out that their father does not prioritise them. They love him but they absolutely see that he is number one. My older one told me today, when I was driving him somewhere and we were having a good chat, that his dad is weak and that his dad has lost the right to tell him that lying is wrong, that cheating is wrong, that you should treat others the way you want to be treated.

            I agreed and said it’s just one more reason to live your life honestly. As I told him, if you’re unhappy and want to leave a relationship or marriage that might hurt the other person but if you do it honestly you’ll not only retain their respect but also your own self-respect. His reply? ‘Dad has done more damage to himself than anyone else, I think’. Smart kid.

    • I agree, hard to be a great parent when you are committed only to your own selfish interests that DO NOT include your family AND making excuses for your bad behavior even to your children! 🙁

      A talk show sounds great! How would that be…going against the grain of society!

  • Hey Vicki, you are so right… It’s exactly like my Uncles family that had 61 souls murdered at Auschwitz; now Hanukkah shopping is so much less stressful for us survivors!

    Vicki, GO FUCK YOURSELF, and the unicorn you rode in on!!!!

    • Jay,
      Well, the f-word is extremely extreme. I, too, have had relatives murdered in the Holocaust, and my mother survived 4 years in the camps, from ages 12 to 16.
      Let’s not confuse the systematic murder of 6 million Jews, gays, etc. with infidelity.
      I’ll leave you to clean up after the unicorn …

    • Jay — just how do you equate the Holocaust with infidelity? (BTW, my mother spend 4 years in a camp, and lost everything, including her parents.
      F*ck you is extremely extreme wording when people don’t agree, don’t you think?

  • I don’t care if this woman classifies it as abuse. Just like I do not care that my XWs are also lableled NPDs.
    Cheating is wrong on so many levels and it affects the betrayed in many ways, none positively.
    There is the health risk. The gaslighting and blameshifting. The theft of the betrayed’s time and finances. The vitiation of all fond memeories of the relationship. The destructuion of self confidence.
    I think calling it abuse is too mild a term. It is torture and it is very deliberate.
    Almost invariably the cheater torments the betrayed for months, like a cat playing with a mouse. It is part of the thrill.
    All affairs are revenge based IMO. It may be hidden, but if somone cheats on you, you can bet they are paying you back for your alleged deficiencies in failing to meet their unrealistic expectations and “meet all their needs”with clairvoyance.

    • Yes… I got the “meet my needs” speech.

      The funny thing is, my needs weren’t being met either, yet I didn’t cheat.


      • Oh a big ol ditto for me. I literally was told that “he was forced to go outside our marriage to get his needs met” He hadnt exactly been ringing my bell either, but I didnt use that as an exchuse to find a fuck buddy ho-worker either. Whatever….

      • Mine weren’t being met either. You know what I did? I tried to talk to him about it, many times. You know what he did? Fucked anyone willing.

        • Me too Nord, me too…now he’s telling people “We didn’t have sex in 2 years, I had to sleep with the OW” (new girlfriend all along), when he wouldn’t even talk about it, had been cheating since Day 1, and I have to hear this shit from mutual friends? I have been popping off people left and right lately verbally. It’s OK tho’ Fuck them too! I probably will never have sex again my self esteem is so bad, but I have my pain to keep me company right?

    • Arnold I disagree with the revenge slant. Many are just about entitlement.
      If it is revenge then maybe that’s why so many fail. Revenge is a dark place to be

    • I think all affairs are not based on revenge, though I do see your point and completely understand why you feel the way you do about it.

      I think all affairs are actually based on control. I think people who imagine themselves somehow martyred or out of control in their lives someway, or that their happiness is actively being thwarted by others (which strikes me as tremendously paranoid) are the ones who get that entitlement going and who then say: “well to hell with this, I’m done being under his/her thumb; he/she can’t control me anymore, I’m going to get me some happiness.”

      If there is a revenge aspect in it, then that would seem to me to be collateral to the bigger picture.

      • Kristina, you hit the nail on the head! EXACTLY what my ex used as an “excuse” to legitimize her affair. Since I would no longer stand for over $1k a month losses at the local casino, I was putter her under my thumb, and a control freak….. Therefore, she was entitled to cheat, and everyone will see it as her reward for putting up with such a control freak. Never mind the financial needs of her two sons………

      • Well, then how about “entitlement to revenge”.
        It may just be semantics, but I feel that the cheater , in most cases, resents the hell out of the BS and ,eveni if he or she keeps it to him/herself, there is some nose thumbing going on.
        Baci, I bet if you dug, you’d find your wife was pissed off at you about one thing or another that led her to feel justified in doing this to you.

        • “Baci, I bet if you dug, you’d find your wife was pissed off at you about one thing or another that led her to feel justified in doing this to you.”

          Mine does; throws out a lot of times as her affair justification:

          “Drug her to this God forsaken place”… “You were never serious about buying a home”…

          Yeah, no shit bitch after your crappy attitude; so, lets buy a house where you say you don’t like to live, have you up and leave for a unplanned transfer/job change, leave me behind again for many, many months to sell the home, and move the crap as was with the last move… Same thing bringing up the SAHD angle. Happy as shit when she was all “it works great for us”, and glowing at the praise (kibble engorgement) by her envious friends, then stone cold bitch saying I am a lazy bum, *I* made the choice, so deal with it (career suicide), I’m jealous of her, and “if you think your getting any of my 401k, pension, and alimony to sit on your ass at the beach, I’ll go to jail first, or not allow you to divorce me, do what I want, and live that way”.

          Can’t make this up… Angry, entitled, BPD rage at its best. I never thought I could hate her, but I can now.

            • I agree, will try, as hate is too active, too much headspace, too much negative energy wasted where there need be positive energy… I guess my hate of her is mostly for how she has treated my daughter; I expect a lot of people to be shitbags, my STBX is now one, but to harm the person she adamantly said was the most important person in her world, yeah right… Her selfish actions say otherwise, as do her words when she looked at my 17 y/o DD and said:

              “I don’t see why/how this affects you so much.”

              Not hard to hate after hearing this with my own ears, and watch my daughter collapse sobbing uncontrollably. Nice job cowardly STBX sending her off to near womanhood with the gift of cruel minimizing words and actions, in an already messed up time in a kids life… This makes me boil with hate!

              • Oh that makes me furious for your daughter!!! It actually just made me feel sick to my stomach. My mother used to eagerly put me on the floor in tears, just because she could. With just that same kind of disdainful, dismissive bullshit statement: “I don’t see why/how this affects you so much.” Gaaaah!!!!!

                That is SO typical of someone who is completely wrapped up in her own feelings and thoughts and has no understanding why someone else might feel differently from her. Really what your x was saying is that she doesn’t understand how or why your daughter can’t just go along with what it is that she (your x wife) wants. Your daughter’s feelings are invalid in her mind, because they run counter to her own and they make her question her own actions. Your daughter’s response is reflecting an ugly image of your wife back to herself. And she can’t tolerate it.


                Jay, I’m so sorry. I’m sorry for your daughter, and I hope that she knows that her feelings are valid and that she’s not crazy or wrong for feeling sad about the things that have happened in her life.

              • Thank you Kristina. I appreciate your support, empathy, willingness to share your painful story, and keen insight. So grateful to have others tell me their view of the elephant, as it allows me to have, and incorporate puzzle pieces I never knew existed.

                Again, thank you!

          • Yeah, we made the decision for me to stay home when we started moving around for his job. Now? ‘I carried you for years’ is just one of the gems he’s tossed my way. Career suicide doesn’t even describe the situation I put myself in. I’m not sure I’ll ever recover my career or get myself in good financial order.

            • Funny too is I did work seasonal/part time “real” jobs as the situation dictated, still cooked 95% of the meals and not microwave, bag-o-shit meals, did the car repair/service, all home repair/upkeep, day traded the whole time making decent $$$, very tidy home, kid pickup and drop offs, and where she did not even know or care about a 401k years ago, I got her to start investing in hers, actively managed it, and made *her* a shitload of cash.

              She climbed up the backs of a lot of my family, for them to have the pleasure of being pissed on from on high. She is a completely self centered, BPD ravaged, entitled C-word who lives in a world (work) where she never hears “no”, nothing ever is her fault, her feet never touch the ground, and you better say how high when she says jump. I called her on this shit, and I guess she figured as a “slave”, I would follow right along.

              • Oh yes, I did a lot of investing because he would blow through money without a thought, so I’d take money each month and put it aside. If he got a bonus I’d invest part of it. Well, one thing I’ve done is demand that I get the investments. They’re not as much as they used to be (guess who plundered them) but it’s something so it’s mine.

            • Nord, mine said something similar. When I asked him why he cheated, he said, “I was taking something back for myself. I’ve been paying more than my fair share for our entire marriage.” Entitlement extraordinaire! I told him he should have just sent me an itemized bill. Damn, when did raising a family become a financial scorecard? Plus, like you, we made a joint decision that I would work part-time while raising our sons, a decision I will never regret. But I did spend almost 2 decades committing career suicide. I don’t know how old you are, but if it makes you feel any better, my career took off after I turned the big five-O! I guess I’m a late bloomer 🙂 Of course, as soon as I started “pulling my share,” he cheated. WTF?

        • But it isn’t revenge. Resentment breeds entitlement for something better. It isn’t like: “Oh, I’m going to get him back.” If it was really about revenge then the cheater would shoot the BS not cheat on him/her. That would be direct retribution.

          They just want better for themselves. It is entirely self-motivated and has nothing to do with the BS.

          That’s a tough pill for the BS to swallow, I know. Because honestly, it completely others the BS, it makes them irrelevant. The reality is, the cheater would have cheated on anyone, it wasn’t THAT betrayed spouse that was the problem; it was the cheater who is the problem.

          However, the position that you’re taking Arnold is the one that cheaters would like to sell to the BS. Because it puts the BS on the slippery slope to thinking: well…maybe it WAS something about me. Because let’s face it, it is not gratifying to know that we, as BSs, simply did not figure into it at all.

          Insignificance hurts. But there it is. In the mind of a cheater, the only person of signficance is the cheater him/herself. They literally can’t be bothered to seek revenge. They are too busy seeking self-gratification.

          • I also must add, when I’m saying they want better for themselves, that’s just a bunch of crap. I’m not saying the actually deserve better. But I’m saying they are playing the martyr so that they can justify their own behavior.

          • Well, I think many BSs do , inititally, feel responsible, as the cheater always seems to point to alleged deficiencies as justification. But, the key is to see that their expectations were unrealistic and childish.
            I have no way of knowing what motivates all cheaters.In my case, my first wife braggedabout the physique and endowmwntr of one of her other men. So, I know she was invested in hurting me.
            I go the “not meeting needs ” deal from bothe XWs as justification. And, like just about evyer Bs here, my needs were more neglected thant theirs.
            I think cheaters are evil, mean , cruel assholes, every one of them.

        • Absolutely. The pissed off list runs three pages just in the introduction!

          Question: What is involved in both of us sitting down and resolving these issues( on both sides) so we achieve a favourable outcome

          Nah, fuck that, let’s turf a grenade in the marriage and blow it up. If the children are in the vicinity oh that’s just collateral damage.

          Resentment plays a big part on both sides

      • My ex said he was angry at me and that is one reason he gave for the affair

        What was he angry about?

        I was too cautious with our money and I wouldn’t let him buy a fourth car and this one was an expensive exotic car.


        Because we were both self employed, pay our own health insurance, have no pensions and I paid the bills and was already juggling our or rather his over spending.

        As it was, he was already the big spender, very extravagant with his clothing and other things, while I shopped discount clothing stores and never bought frivolous items, as he did.

        I also got all the other bull crapola, like the sex was stale. …..Well, hello? It was stale for me, too. But I was realistic about the reasons. He was not.

        And all other stuff like I didn’t pay enough attention to him. She made him feel special. yadda yadda yadda.

        He felt special…..what? She was a ‘ho who was cheating on her loyal husband, what part of that did he fail to see.

        • what sex? my h hasn’t touched me in 12 years. we don’t have “chemistry” he says. (he has tons of chemistry with busty babes on the internet however.) He didn’t feel “adored.” Hmmm… the surprise trip to Las Vegas for his 50th followed by the surprise party for 20 at his fave restaurant??? I would’ve done more if I could. I adored him.
          Its all the same tired lame excuses because they can’t face that the real problem which is that they are entitled, selfish pigs. Still, its so difficult to get one’s head around, isn’t it?
          I have heard that a man should not love a million women, but love one woman, a million ways.
          now, that’s hot.

          • It’s astounding to find out just how fast the sex goes from regular to nada once there’s an affair. My STBX simply stopped being interested. When I found out he was having an affair, I no longer wanted any sex from him. Sex with one person means having sex with everyone they’ve had sex with, and I wasn’t comfortable with having sex with his AP. I knew that she’d had multiple affairs, one-night stands, etc. Ick. Major turn-off.

            And truthfully, I now have the distance to see just how much of a spoiled child he really is. Truly a cake-eater. Apparently the OW is tired of his reluctance to dump me in favor of her (after which, she can dump him in favor of someone else, as that’s her pattern once she’s married). But again, it could be part of their on-again/off-again affair drama. Personally, I think they both get off on the drama more than anything else, which again shows just how spoiled and self-centered he is.

            • One marital therapist told me that if i didnt start having sex with my husband again, I’d be giving him a legitimate reason to cheat on me this time.

              So there I was … having sex with a man I knew was continuing to fuck 20+ hookers a week.

              My stomach is currently churning (again) at the recollection.

  • Most generous explanation for this latest dumb HuffPo column: Stockholm Syndrome
    Most cynical explanation: desire for attention and book sales
    Most likely explanation: sloppy thinking /self-delusion

    Her book project is described here: ( ) Hey, she’s already raised *****$135***** on Sounds like her opinions are resounding with almost a half-dozen people around the world.

      • CL!!!??

        $135.00 ?!?!?!?! If I EVER get caught up/ahead the first thing I will do is donate to this site! You and the chumpettes have been here for me since Day 1 since I found you! Many other sites just wanted me to sign up for workshops etc….must be alot of trolling for wealthy Chumps going on out there. I can’t Thank You enough. XO

      • Hahahaha. You know, a lot of these “experts” give mankind the same sense of entitlement that Satan gave Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. I wonder what the true origin of their “wisdom” is? Maybe they should mull that over for a sec…especially if they are Christian.

    • Well, 5 suckers, I mean, people TOGETHER have been willing to contribute a COMBINED $135 toward the writing of her book (about $27 each). Which is 4.5% of her goal of raising $3,000 to write the book.

  • Infidelity is abuse. Full stop. Closed case.

    As with many things in life until you experience it yourself you have no concept as it is actually psychological abuse with apologies to chumps that experienced physical abuse due to infidelity. It’s hard to see the evidence because you’re damaged badly inside.
    Drug abuse means nothing until we see the destruction of the victim or consequences of their behaviour on others.
    I initially thought reconciliation was very possible. I didn’t want to lose everything that was so important not just to me but my ex and our two boys. However staying in the triangle is totally unhealthy. Often the abuse continues then it becomes a real shit fight.
    There however is a huge difference in dealing with a cheater on a ONS basis versus LTA or multiple affairs.
    The ONS deal has fuck all cruelty and disrespect to the family compared to the planning and execution of a LTA. I don’t belittle a ONS for a second but it has a completely different make up to a LTA. A LTA is a total head fuck.
    Like many things in society we have allowed infidelity to prosper. Our value system as a society ( some of us still retain a strong value system) has diminished. Technology has given the cheater new powers. The power of iPhone poetry is incredible strong. The cheaters no longer have to be physically together. They can mash their bodies in fantasy land and cypher space without the mess. Its a very strong and important change compared to 20 years ago. Thanks Steve Jobs! Just like the Internet these new technologies have advantages and a dark side that can cause massive destruction.
    The abuse from infidelity strikes at the very core of our existence. We all seek love whether we are human or animal. Most of us value it as if it was oxygen. We take oxygen for granted until we can’t breath. Most of the time we don’t even think about it.
    Too often us chumps take love for granted. We work on the idea if we treat our partners how we expect to be treated we expect the same in return. If only it was that simple.

    • Baci, I agree with you.

      But I would say this: There is no such thing as a one night stand. Because there is not just a “one time” cheat.

      All that means is that the cheater prefers quick and dirty, and not as easily trackable, affairs to more significant (from a time-investment perspective) affairs.

      Show me a dude (or woman) who claims that it was “just” a ONS, and I’ll show you a cheater who has a trunk FULL of just ONSs. They cheat because they cope with their problems by cheating. It makes them feel more in control of the shit that they can’t control in their lives.

      “He just had a one-nighter” means you’ve only caught him the one time. There were others and there will be more. That’s why: Leave a cheater, gain a life.

      • I’m also going to say: ONSs are gateway affairs to something longer-term. If someone gets away with ONSs for long enough, at some point that person is going to get themselves in a more serious affair, possibly one they imagine to be emotionally focused, in an effort to use it to leverage themselves out of their “unhappy” marriage. Whether they succeed or not will be determined on the level of self respect their betrayed spouse has for him or herself. The stronger the BS the more likely the cheater will find him/herself out of a marriage.

      • IMO there is so much invested in a LTA. It really means the cheater betrays the children and friends etc because the cover up is continues. The ONS most times just about sex. The cheater knows they are cheating on the spouse but the kids probably don’t come into it until the guilt sets in.
        There’s just so many lies, spending of money and time in a LTA that it goes to another level.
        I didn’t believe the once a cheat always a cheat deal but now I really can see it in the ex however I only have absolute proof of chainsaw man. If what his wife says is correct then he’s a real problem boy.

        • I just think that for someone to go into a LTA, in which there IS such a huge investment, that person has tested the waters before. It is a progression.

          So, when ONSs don’t fufill the need anymore (which, of course they wouldn’t because the hole these people are trying to fill in themselves have nothing to do with sex — no pun intended, really) then they move on to something that has a longer buzz of good feeling associated with it. And once they realize that they can abuse the trust of their partner and actually get away with it, they just keep on with the longer term relationship.

          The thing is — even if the person has never cheated on their spouse before, doesn’t mean they have not cheated before. They probably always ended relationships when they were younger by lining up another warm body before they took the plunge of breaking up.

          Because that is how they cope. It is how they feel good about themselves. And they are terrified to be alone because they cannot self define sufficiently without someone else reflecting themselves back to themselves.

          A really good way to tell this is to figure out how long a person has been on his or her own after ending a significant relationship. I don’t mean going out and dating, I mean linking up either by rushing into another marriage or shacking up or whatever after a split. They ease their pain by jumping into a relationship and then that’s a great relationship until it goes bad.

          You would be astounded to hear the number of men with whom I’ve been on dates who come right out and admit to having affairs. It is mind boggling. The thing is, I imagine that there are a significant amount of women who would fall for the line they hand out, which is along lines of: “Yes, I did it before, but I would never cheat on someone like you…” or “Yes, I was broken then, but I’m soooo much healthier noooowwww…”

          Of course I know better. 🙂 But I also know quite a few people who have been married to people who they knew cheated before in other relationships, and then cheated on them and it somehow came as a massive shock. How is that freakin’ possible?? People are who they are. Leopards do not change spots, or at least not easily. But why do we look at leopards and insist that with us, they are actually zebras?

          • Kristina, spot on.

            “Lining up another warm body”.

            Exactly the case with my ex in previous relationships. I just can’t get my head around the serial cheating because I don’t have hard proof if it ever existed before. It’s not worth finding out.
            I just feel pity for them. Just a stage of detachment

            • I was the next warm body after my STBX split up with his first wife due to……infidelity. He claimed that his ex cheated first so he cheated to get back at her. My god, I can’t believe I was that stupid.

              Now that Ive filed for diviorce, he’s got his ho-worker lined up for his next warm body. I found a convo online where they were discussing how long they have to keep it quiet before they can be seen in public as a couple. Im begining to see that they are really perfect for each other. Sheesh.

              • I found a handy guide/opinion (for other men seeking local hookers) on 10 of the most recent hookers mine had slept with – what they offered, what they didnt, their looks etc. How one had given him an extra freebie because he’d reviewed her negatively in the past.


            • I think you shouldn’t go searching around for the “truth” of the past. You know what you need to know, you have gotten yourself away from it. End of story, and good for you.

              Of course going forward, if you choose to become involved again with someone new, you’ll have an improved lens through which to view your choices, and that’s a win for you.

              Digging around in the past of someone who has nothing more to do with you beyond being a coparent to your children really serves no great purpose. You seem very pragmatic and healthy. Good for you!

              • No. Far from healthy. This shit consumes me thoughts when I’ve got enough on my plate.
                I heavily resent what both of them did and over such a long period. The damage to four children ( two on either side)
                They are both desperate new to move on and to draw the children into the relationship. The children this far have said no thanks.
                I need to stay James Bond for the boys.
                I’m still not clear of it yet but thank you for the support.

          • Kristina, wouldn’t you rather they tell? My ex told me HE was cheated on (liar) by his two ex-wives. He had the whole sad puppy patter down. He done therapy, realized he wasn’t the best husband, didn’t have any “bitterness.”

            New to this chump thing, I thought he sounded so evolved! Hah.

            I’d much rather they tell you, so you can next ’em. And frankly, if they did cheat and did the hard work, and take full responsibility, while you may not want to risk it, I’d want to (at some point) know that too.

            I give them some points (although maybe clueless points) for telling you.

            • Oh absolutely, I’m glad they tell. But I’m equally suspicious of the ones who say they were cheated on. I feel like that is projection.

              But yeah — coming right out with the truth like that, if I somehow rugsweep or ignore that red flag waving in my face and proceed into the relationship, then there is something the matter with me and I am the one who needs serious couch time. LOL

            • Before we buy a car, a house , a new dog have babies we want to learn as much TRUTHFUL information as possible.
              I’m currently working on a telepathic drug that discloses all truth and I’m going to change the world. You guys can have free samples for your exes.
              Question: what would the world be like I wonder????
              Yes we need the truth so we can make informed decisions.
              Why don’t we have the strength to just be honest with each other and close a relationship up with little consequence. Why is there so much pain for everyone particularly the children?

            • Dear Chump Lady,
              Youre dead on. Cheating is undeniably abuse, anyone who thinks differently either has cheated, is a cheater, or a chump in denial about their cheater. They have to trivialize and minimize what they are doing or have done (or what their cheaters is doing/has done) so that they can continue to live in denial. For someone to see and truly understand the devastation they have willfully, senselessly, and callously caused means theyd have to admit to being just as much (or more) a despicable, vile, disgusting human being as a man who beats his wife and kids senseless everyday. Thered be no one or nothing to blame for them doing what they do/did. Theyd have no more excuses or justifications to convince themselves that despite their actions they arent truly horrible people doing truly horrible things to a truly innocent undeserving person.
              The indescribable emotional pain and total annihilation of other human beings isnt their fault, at least not ALL their fault, because. .. insert FOO excuse, or problems with the relationship, or their emotional state, etc here… Abuse is inexcusable under any and all circumstances, intolerable, an abuser can never change, they dont deserve to be forgiven and should never ever be given second chances. Abusers belong in jail.
              Thats why cheating isnt abuse. .. unless youre the one its happened to and understand the ache for the part of you that was stolen, the part that died because of the cheaters cheating. It isnt abuse unless you experience the sudden abrupt shift in your view of the world and everyone in it, including and most importantly your view of yourself and your entire life. Afraid, mistrusting, pessimistic, anxiety, paranoia, wondering if/feeling like something is terribly wrong with yourself, the hurt, etc etc etc…
              Abuse is exactly what cheating is someone you love and trusted with your life that you believed could never would never hurt you… hurt you. They chose to, they wanted to, and they genuinely dont care (or dont care enough)about hurting you.

          • I think people can marry people that they know have cheated before and then be shocked when it happens to them because until you have experienced infidelity yourself, I don’t think it’s possible to really understand how traumatic it is. And how much of a betrayal it is. I know when I thought of infidelity before I of course believed it was wrong, but I would have completely underestimated the effects it has on the betrayed spouse. I’m also sure these people believe their new spouses reasons for doing it… I’m sure it was all the horrible ex’s fault, they just didn’t understand them, etc., etc.. And, of course, the new wife or husband is nothing like the old one and they would never ever do that to them.

            • I think they absolutely CAN be shocked how much it hurts and how horrible it feels, Another Erica. I’m with you on that.

              I do not think they should be surprised, however, that it happens. Because the person they are with has already told them who they are. That’s a huge red flag that was ignored.

              That, I think, is ego getting in the way of good sense, as in: “he would NEVER do that to me.” Or, probably more likely, the belief that a love of a good woman can convert a bad boy (read, he was deeply misunderstood and had a torturous childhood, but if I just love him enough…he will be the perfect reflection of my love) into a good one (or the love a good man can convert a bad girl — just to be gender neutral).

              • Kristina.
                I found out that chainsaw man cheated on his wife with two women either before or concurrently with ex. My ex I am absolutely confident didn’t know about the other two. But she progressed anyway. So now she has to worry every single week because he travels a lot. Good luck with that darling!
                They are both been judged by everyone.
                Now I reckon and I may be wrong but the ex will be thinking I’ve got him. He won’t cheat again because it caused so much damage.
                I do not believe that. As soon as he thinks he will get away with it he will. Glad I don’t have to put up with this shit.
                However I would like my ex to find someone that doesn’t cheat and is a great role model for the boys.

              • Baci, he will cheat again. So will she. It is how they cope. And by linking up together, they have validated their actions for however long it lasts. So this is a short-term moment where they feel really really good about themselves and they can pat each other on the back and say: “Aha! We’ve got it right. And THIS is bliss. And fuck the others, they’ll eventually come around because we are the personification of love.”

                Thing is, all they’ve done is inflate their egos and are currently living off the bloat. When the ego starts deflating, when he has a consistently rough run of professional luck or feels in some way shaky about how others are perceiving him so that he gets to feeling a little insecure, he will self-soothe the way he always has self-soothed.

                Same with her.

                Cheaters cheat. It is what they do to make themselves feel safe and secure and good about themselves. Because their entire worth is predicated on how others see them. They have no idea of who they really are.

                They are to be pitied.

              • I wonder Baci. Do you think this is your Xw’s first affair? I’d doubt it, but you know her>

          • Agreed, Kristina. Both of my XWs had been OWs when they were younger.
            I took a long time away from dating. When I did venture out, I was astounded by the number of women who , eventually, told me they had been OWs or had cheated on their husbands.

            • That is despicable Arnold. So happy you found a good woman thus time. Honestly, when the time comes, I am really freaked out to do the dating scene again. I never want to deal with a cheater ever again!!!

          • YOu’re so right about them not being able to self-define, not being able to be alone. STBX has openly admitted to the kids that he wouldn’t give up OW after I filed because he can’t stand to be alone. how fucked up is that?

            • It is absolutely fucked up but it is not surprising.

              If you dig around in the past of people who are emotionally off kilter, you will find that they go from one relationship to another and lots of times the relationships overlap.

              When we are younger, we kind of say: well, that’s how teenagers behave. But we hope that people grow out of it as they become more mature and self-sufficient.

              But people who have no sense of self cannot do it. They are the sum total of what others tell them/show them they are. It is a miserable fucking way to live. It leads to cheating and/or to staying in abusive relationships of all sorts.

          • This idea of dating a former cheater is one I could never wrap my head around.
            In reading on SI, several people claim that they would feel as comfortable or more comfortable dating a former cheater who had “done the work” and fixed him or herself. That they now know and understand boundaries, yada, yada. Sorry, but it would just be a nonstarter for me.

            I just don’t buy it. I think at best you get a dry drunk. Pretty sure my STBX is a dry drunk. And he might stay that way. He has gone through a succession of items that he compulsively buys and hoards. Plus the last OW – the one from the LTA – was a total whack job, threatened to kill him, the family, etc. I honestly think she scared the crap out of him. So no evidence that he’s on the prowl now. But he is depressed and withdrawn, gaining weight, unhealthy. Thinks nobody loves him. Gee, ya think?

            Who wants that in a partner?

            • MCJJ, you really have to consider the source when you’re reading those SI people. Of COURSE they’d agree to date a former cheater. They want to take another codependent crack at healing their relationship via proxy.

              There are a number of sensible people on that forum, but they are absolutely few and far between.

        • Fallulah Gigglepants.

          I agree. I think every loyal spouse had the opportunity to cheat, but they turned it down.

          Cheating is not about a vulnerable person meeting opportunity in the form of a slutty willing cheater. It’s about making a choice.

          I always chose to say “no” when flirted with or out right asked to have an affair by a few men and my marriage my ex was far from perfect.

          • Me, too–even before I was married. I very much remember a guy living near me. He knew I was in a relationship with my future husband. He was very much interested in me, so he asked me if my boyfriend and I had an “open relationship.” I was polite about it, as he’d been polite, and said that no, we didn’t. He never asked again, and I never gave him the impression I was teasing him. He was a great-looking guy, well-off, and liked doing a lot of the same kinds of things I liked. Sure, I was attracted to him, but I said no.

            Cheaters think they can say yes, and that no one will know.

  • What do we say about people who have made peace with their cheaters?

    Well what do we say when a woman returns to a man who hit her?

    Yeah, some people put in the work to reform and feel real remorse. Some people take a swing in a moment of anger then are horrified and never do it again. Some people go to counseling and are able to get rid of their problems.

    But most of the time when a person who returns to the spouse who beats them, it’s not considered praise worthy.

    • Wow. That’s some unvarnished narcissism on display. She doesn’t leave much unexamined… except her character. To me this summed it up:

      “So here I was in my early forties, dating for the first time, and I found it intoxicating. I am an attention addict (It’s a real disorder, People. I read about it online so it has to be true), and all of the interest I was getting really hooked me.”

      Ego kibbles. Pure and simple. Her poor husband.

  • At the risk of inviting a pile on, I don’t agree that infidelity is always abuse. While I’ve welcomed that point of view on my Web site (, I’ve respectfully disagreed that it is ALWAYS abuse.
    Conviction without compassion prevents all of us from understanding other points of view. As a woman who has reconciled with the husband who cheated on her (sex addict so LOTS of cheating; I hadn’t a clue), I’m all too aware of the vitriol that many of us are subjected to by those who subscribe to the “once a cheater…” philosophy. Women who leave are applauded. Women are stay are pitied and pathetic.
    Life is rarely black and white. Abuse implies intent to hurt. It’s had to argue that a punch or a slap can be administered without intent to hurt…which is why I think it’s much more clearcut. But cheating? We cheat for all sorts of reasons without any intent to hurt our partner. Some cheaters are assholes, sure. Probably a lot of them are assholes and should be avoided at all costs. But many others make a horrible choice. Others still are driven by addictions that lead them to do appalling things.
    Similarly women stay for all sorts of reasons that are perfectly legitimate. Their partner has sought treatment and committed to rebuilding a marriage; or an intact marriage is important to them for their children/culture/whatever…. My point is I don’t live their lives and I don’t know where their values lie. I’d always said I’d immediately dump a cheater. Yet…here I am, confident that I’ve made the best choice for myself and my family.
    I’m don’t advocate that those cheated on offer up blind forgiveness (or forgiveness at all, quite frankly). But, on behalf of all of us, I am pleading for at least a tiny opening of the mind to allow for other points of view without immediately casting those who hold it as battered women too weak, stupid or scared to leave.


    • Hi Elle,

      You raise a lot of good points, which I’d like to respond to, but feel a bit constrained by as a comment. I’ll write it out as a post tomorrow, okay?

      For the record, while I would not reconcile with a “sex addict,” or advise anyone else to, I admire the strength, determination and grace it takes to do it. You must have a very big heart. IMO I just happen to think that big heart is wasted on someone who would so cavalierly cheat on you.

    • I suppose it is possible that the cheater was not abusive. But, it seems that way more often than not, the character defect that led to the cheating has spilled over into all types of other areas and the cheater has abused in other ways, as well.
      I know both of my XWs were liars, thieves, and verbal/emotional abusers even without the cheating.

    • “We cheat for all sorts of reasons without any intent to hurt our partner.”

      Well when I drove home drunk I could have done so for all sorts of reasons. I have kids at home. I didn’t realize that I had too many. I was out of town and I had to get back home because I have work tomorrow.

      What? I had all sorts of reasons. I never intended to hurt anybody.

      What do you think the judge will say?

    • Elle:

      What kind of reasonably intelligent person with a normal IQ rationalizes that their loyal spouse will not be hurt by being cheated on and lied to.

      C’mon. There is always an angry vengeful motivation for someone who cheats or lies.

      They know there spouse will be hurt. They want to hurt them and they don’t care about hurting them.

      In one of the emails the OW sent to my ex, she talked about how she got a secret charge out of cheating on her spouse after they had an argument about some issue in the marriage.

      Her major complaint about her husband was that he worked to much. She had hired a detective to ensure he wasn’t cheating (talk about projection much) but she still whined that he neglected her by working to pay for her extravagant lifestyle.

      With that said.

      I do think that some reconciliations can work, if the cheater or sex addict accepts blame, is consistently remorseful and behaves in a way that shows he is not blaming the wife and is willing to make it up to her.

      So maybe your story will give hope to some.

      Still, I think it’s best for betrayed spouses to shake the denial. They need to confront the fact that their spouse wanted to hurt them for some real or perceived slight in the marriage.

      Good luck, Elle. Your husband is blessed to have you.

      • I gotta admit that no matter how remorseful etc my XWs were(and they were’nt , but this is hypothetical) , I would never let go of this. Maybe if they had been nice and decnt in other areas. But, they were meaner than rattlesnakes(no offense to rattlesnakes) in mnay other ways, too. Just Biatches.

        • Arnold:

          That’s a good point. If the person has no good qualities at all and is a bitch or a bastard, then let them go, pronto, if they are caught cheating.

          I do think though that some people cheat and are extremely remorseful and even embarrassed by it, when caught.

          If this type of person has other good qualities, I believe reconciliation may be possible and sometimes the betrayed spouse does end up with a better behaved spouse.

          At in person support groups I have met such couples.

          If however the cheater has NPD or BPD or HPD……..ruuuuun like the wind.

          • Sara8, you keep mentioning the term “better behaved” spouse.

            I totally get what you’re saying, and although I don’t buy it, that the cheater is reformed and reconciled with the spouse they betrayed, I think you may mean that they have become better partners. Or at least that’s what I hope you mean.

            But I feel kind of sick each time I read “better behaved”.

            Because that sounds like an awfully parental relationship. And if that is actually the case, then for SURE that cheater is going to cheat again. He or she is just biding his or her time. It is not even conscious, actually. They are not literally sitting there thinking: “oh, I can’t wait to cheat again.” They are probably sitting there thinking: “I will never ever ever cheat again, because now I’m accountable for my actions and I know what I did wrong and I’m fixing myself.” For a while that kind of: “oh, you’re so much better behaved now….” kind of codependent prattle will soothe them and give them ego kibble.

            But eventually, when things crack for them and they are feeling insecure, they will resent the implication that they are children being held accountable by a parent/spouse who judges their behavior.

            And that’s the crux of it all. If they have coped by cheating in the past, they have a HELL of a lot of work to do to fix that impulse, and I would argue that they can’t do it while they are still involved with the person on whom they cheated. Because staying with a cheater implies that they are forgiven for acting naughty. And once they know they have been forgiven once, they will act out again. They don’t see their spouse as an equal partner. They seem them alternatively as their parent or their dependent. Neither position is one that necessarily fosters a tremendous amount of respect.

            • Kristina:

              You are entitled to your opinion.

              My opinion is that things are never black and white.

              I have met strong, intellegent, Savvy betrayed spouses, at in-person support groups, who have survived affairs and come out with a relationship that is better for them. Not an improved marriage, but a different marriage.

              In these cases I can see that they are happy with the changes in their spouse, not simply acting happy. Some where doing that, and it was painfully obvious. But many were not.

              As for the term co-dependent. I think a lot of people bandy that terminology about but are unaware of what it truly means. They use it in the popular sense, rather than the defining pathological and psychological sense.

              I am also sorry you take issue with my choice of the word behaviors. But to be human is to engage in behaviors. That is why psychologist study behavioral psychology. Your are behaving in a very patterned way on this board. We all have behavioral patterns.

              We all have behaviors that we use to cope with a very complex life. And, sometimes if those behaviors hurt us or loved ones we can seek to modify and/or change those behaviors.

              Should we idealize someone and then devalue them without due consideration.

              I don’t think so. People engage in less than stellar behaviors all the time everywhere… work, at home, in social settings.

              If they realize this and are willing to modify or change their behaviors, should we continue to devalue them for being who they are and likely were when we married them, but are willing to make changes?

              No one is perfect. I am not. Are you?

              The crucial issue, IMO, is whether someone is willing to face themselves and make the changes needed to be a better person. A person the uplifts society rather than drags it down.

              I believe in second chances, if and only if someone makes the effort to change their behaviors.

              • Sara, I do know what codependent means. I see codependents everywhere like some others here see narcissists. Haha. It is very likely projection on my part. But that’s my karma to deal with.

                And I do believe that you believe in the possibility of reconciliation, I’m not debating that at all because I trust you to trust your own eyes and if you’ve seen it in real life, there it is. It is possible.

                What I wonder about is the idea that a partner can say of another partner: “you’re better behaved.” And please don’t apologize for using that terminology. I was just really curious about it and also about my reaction to it. I was questioning really just as a way of sorting through my response more than anything, I suppose.

                Ultimately, saying: “He’s better behaved” sounds like talking about a child. And that’s parental. And to me, parential is NOT partnership. That’s all I’m getting at.

                I’m sure that, especially for some affected negatively by infidelity, a parental relationship with a spouse at some point in the future, one in which there is a parental spouse who lays out all the rules, with the other serving in the dependent role who is the rule follower, may seem comforting. For me it would feel the opposite. I wouldn’t want either role. One is too controlling and the other is too… I don’t know, self-esteem breaking.

                Anyway, good and thought provoking discussion.

              • Kristina:

                I am really on your side. I am. I am quite certain based on your posts that you made the choice that was best for you in your particular situation.

                The thing with the parental stuff is that all marriages have the element of the spouse being part mommy or daddy, part lover, part nurturer, part teacher, part student.

                We can even sometimes see that dynamic in same sex heterosexual friendships.

                Is it healthy. I don’t know. Is it possible to avoid those dynamics in any relationship. I don’t know.

                Maybe healthy is whatever works to improve a situation in the minds of those involved.

                Maybe that dynamic is only unhealthy when it becomes TOO imbalanced. In those cases perhaps bringing things closer to some semblance of normal balance will make things better. Not sure about that either. : )

                I am just muddling through like the rest of us. But I always enjoy your posts.

              • Well, I appreciate that you’re on my side. Thanks! That makes two of us! 🙂 LOL

                What I hope for you is that you are on your own side. Seriously. I hope that you, that me, that all of us are our own best advocates. Always.

                Again, and with much respect, I have to disagree with you, though, that all marriages have an element of parent/child etc.

                I think unhealthy marriages have that. But that’s because I personally don’t want to parent a partner, I want to partner my partner and I want someone to partner me not try to guide me or lead me or parent me or police me or check up to make sure I’m doing what they think I should be doing.

                Like, for example, one of my exes is now my ex because he was obsessed with being able to reach me on the phone. If I didn’t have my cell phone charged or had the ringer off or whatever, he would ring up and leave a gazillion messages and then when he finally would get me I’d have a lecture about answering the phone because he needed to be able to have contact with me. Er…. hello enmeshed one. His wellbeing was directly related to whether or not he could reach me. And all I was doing was watching a movie or whatever. No mystery, and I always got back to him. But there it is, he couldn’t manage without feeling totally out of control. And so he’s my ex. Needy is never in fashion, and that kind of parental crap is neediness to the nth degree. And no, he wasn’t a BS. He was just emotionally immature.

                I have no problem with the concept of learning from others, I’m with you there, but again that’s a self-motivated process, not because someone takes on the role of teacher to my student. If I see something that someone does that I admire, a way they groove in their lives that resonates with me, then you bet I’ll look into the things that he or she is on about and I might ask for insight. But I would not appreciate someone saying: “hey, let me teach you a thing or two you need to learn…” That’s way too Jim Jones for me.

                For me that means that control freaks need not apply. Nor should puppy dogs looking for a second mommy. I am not going to do it because I have a kid. Kids make things crystal clear…or at least having my child had that affect on me.

                Nurture? Of course, yes. nurture myself, nurture a healthy atmosphere, nurture a relationship and nurture someone if he is ill or hurting and needs a shoulder, but if I have to teach another grown up how to behave and respect my boundaries and to enforce his own, that’s too much. And if I ever get myself in a place where I need to be needed, well, RIGHT back into the analyst’s office I go flashing the SOS: my codependency is getting the better of me again!

                But that’s just me.

              • Kristina:

                No one is perfect. Finding the perfect man or woman is looking for a unicorn, IMO.

                It’s like that old joke…….you know this one. I thought I finally found the perfect woman, unfortunately she was looking for the perfect man.

                Part of watching out for ourselves is remaining grounded by being realistic about relationships, whether they are a friendship or a marriage.

                I don’t think there is any marriage that has the perfect dynamic that is perfectly healthy. The best we can hope for is finding someone who is realistic about relationships and a long term marriage.

                That’s one reason I am not even considering dating at this point. I just want to focus on me for now without having to think about anyone else.

                I want a period of time for me where I don’t have to compromise in any way to accommodate another person.

                If I do date, my main criteria will be ensuring that the man is realistic about relationships in general and that he realizes no one is perfect.

                I will not date ex cheaters or momma’s boys, or anyone who is 50 and has NEVER been married.

                If I date, I will look for someone who is widowed. I think that is my best bet, and then secondarily someone who was loyal but divorce because his wife cheated on him.

                But don’t worry about me watching out for me. I am tough and resilient.

              • Blah, blah blah blah blah fucking blah.
                So when he decides to cheat again, then what Kristina?
                You need (at some level) to face the fact the fact that you are married to a cheater, someone who would throw you and your kids out the window in a heart beat for a new piece on the side.
                Yeah, it worked this time for you. How about the next? We’ll be here for you.

          • Yeah, sort of like having a spouse that occassionally pulls an armed robbery, but is embarrassed by it and likes animals.

    • Elle- I have followed your blog for a long time. Your view of the world, and your ability to share your struggles along the way, has been comforting and a gift.

      Reconciliation isn’t for everyone. But people must be careful not to paint everyone with the same brush. And look at the people involved.

      And then make the best decision you can.

  • I find your insinuation that I am close-minded because I recognize infidelity as a form of abuse condescending and, frankly, insulting. I am plenty open-minded, thank you very much. But I am also strong enough to speak the truth, even when it is inconvenient. Sometimes moral issues ***are*** black and white.

    If you want to live in a world of intentional moral ambiguity, go right ahead. But don’t think you’re somehow superior for that choice. It’s your life your betting on a known cheater. But I’d think twice before you give yourself license to persuade other betrayed spouses to place a similar foolish and potentially dangerous bet.

    No one here called you “too weak, stupid, or scared to leave.” If you heard a voice telling you this, perhaps it came from someplace deep within yourself.

    • Well, nomar, I kind of did imply (um, actually stated right out) that reconcilers are taking the cowardly and not the brave route).

      But I stand by that position. I think that reconcilers like to fancy themselves powerfully brave and courageous, fighting the good fight and not going gently into that good night and all the other stuff.

      But in my mind, that’s just another way to mask codependence and dress up real pretty.

      • I think it’s both Kristina. A pretty way to mask codependence (BTDT, have the marriage counseling bills) and it’s brave. It’s misdirected bravery. It’s hard, painful work to try and reconcile, to live with the internal dialogue, to try and love someone who hurt you so grievously. I don’t take that away from people in reconciliation. I just think they’re putting their energies in the wrong place, IMO.

        • I know what you’re saying, I disagree.

          There is nothing brave in martyring yourself for a lost cause. Because no one should feel compelled to live with any kind of internal dialogue that says it is important to learn how to love one’s abuser.

          That’s not valor. That’s unaddressed illness.

          • They don’t believe it is a lost cause. They believe — truly believe — in unicorns. Or at least perhaps they do at first and then they settle into their investment.

            Even I want to believe that cheaters can change, although I don’t want to stake my own future on it. It’s just I’ve seen such scant evidence of it.

            And even if they DO change (for the sake of argument), the betrayal may still be a deal breaker for the chump. I do think infidelity destroys THAT relationship, perhaps not other ones with other people some day in the future. But you can’t unring the bell. Anywho, more tomorrow….

            • Yeah. No unicorns here.

              Just a different point of view, and no undiagnosed illness.

              Is this the discourse you desire, CL? There are good things you have written for people who have reconciled and who have chosen not to in your postings.

              But it’s unfair to assume just because you made a different decision that somehow, those who chose differently are deficient.

              I guess I don’t understand the vitriol coming across from some of the people who have responded in this thread towards people who did choose to reconcile.

              I am not threatened in the least by people who choose to leave. I assume they made the best decision for them. I wish them well. my very best friend on earth? Left. I stayed. Both decisions were correct for us.

              • I don’t think many of us are throwing vitriol towards people who reconcile. We often express our opinion about reconciliation. Virtually every single one of us attempted reconciliation at some point. Hell, after my first dday, I would have told you that I has successfully reconciled for 10 whole years… until my 2nd dday. But this forum is specifically for people who have been burned and burned badly, and want to get away from their fuckhead. If you reconciled and it is wonderful… GREAT! Then I have to ask, why are you here on a site who’s moto is “Leave a cheater, Gain a life”. We are here to get support about leaving our cheaters… not to reconcile. If you are happy. Then that is fantastic! I and truly mean that.

  • I have to say I sort of a agree with Elle about how the cheater probably didn’t INTEND to abuse their spouse by cheating. Because we’ve talked about how they are pretty much only thinking about themselves when they do it. But the other ways the cheater was treating their spouse before and during the cheating might be some emotional/mental abuse. I truly doubt the cheater was being an insanely awesome and nice husband/wife beforehand. And living a double life and lying to your spouse, acting like they’re crazy for being suspicious… that seems like abuse.

    Intention or not, that doesn’t stop the fact that when the betrayed spouse finds out it is literally a TRAUMATIC experience and that experience was caused by somebody you completely and totally trusted. Whether or not they intended the betrayed spouse to feel that pain, they did in fact inflict that pain onto us. How can it not be abuse when as a result of infidelity you literally go through all the stages of grief as if someone had died?

    I know people think I’m exaggerating when I describe finding out about the affair as traumatic. But it fucking was. I couldn’t eat (I learned that “losing your appetite” was not just some ridiculous expression but could actually happen). I couldn’t sleep. I was a zombie freaking mess for the first weeks and then the pick me dance he attempted to make me play for another 6 months also practically ruined me.

    • I didn’t want to get too deep in the weeds on the intention issue until tomorrow, but I would say, “they didn’t intend to hurt you” is irrelevant to the harm that they did.

      Drunk drivers don’t “intend” to kill people — but the laws are very unforgiving of the offense. Is it different than premeditated murder? Yes, but both get you time behind bars, and only one gets you the death penalty.

      Also, “intention” buys into the whole wretched trope that they didn’t “intend” for this to happen! Bullshit. Of course they intended it. Affairs require a lot of planning and calculated deceit. Oh, what they MEAN to say, is they intended to fuck around, just not for you to find out and be hurt by it.

      But if you were to ask them, hey, would your fucking around HURT Elle (or whomever)? They’d of course say YES. If they thought NO there is no reason to keep it a secret. So they KNOW it is hurtful and they DO IT anyway, which, IMO is — hey — intent.

      But really folks, I’d like to save the debate for tomorrow… and so now I am shutting up.

      • They didn’t have INTENTION? GImme a break. My ex-wife didn’t end up with her lips around her bosses d*ck in his car at lunchtime by ***accident.***

        • Well, maybe his dick was her “soulmate”. Maybe she felt “connection” with his dick and his dick met her emotional needs. Maybe his dick was a good communicator, highly evolved, who understood her. It was she and his dick against the world, star crossed dick seekers.

      • Awesome, awesome, awesome. Very well said Chump Lady, and desperately needed to be addressed!! Cheating is abuse in all counts. Cheaters KNOW investing in an extramarital relationship on the sly will hurt their spouses/partners/families and whether it be LTA/serial crap they DO IT ANYWAY!!! Or even the ONS.
        But Baci, I agree with you, the LTA cheaters are a total head fuck (lump the serial ones in there too). They make other plans, lie, steal, and cheat-ALL PREMEDITATED for fucking MONTHS or worse, YEARS!!!!! The emotional, physical, mental, and financial abuse is very real and horrible to experience. The intention is there. They KNOW they are hurting you, abusing you, but do it anyway. Drunk drivers know when they get I. The car and drive what the consequences could be if they get caught.. Aka DWI/DUI or worse, Hurt or kill another person, BUT think they will risk it because they can handle the road drunk. If you drive drunk once and reached your destination safely with no problems, there is a very strong chance the drunk will take that risk and do it again!!!! And again!!!! Cheaters do the same. And continue to abuse their spouse/partner at home. The cheater has control. Infidelity is definitely abuse.

    • Amen to every thing you said. As a result of his behavior during and after the affair, I am 5 foot four and weighed less than a hundred pounds. I lost two teeth from grinding at night, my hair fell out, I had panic attacks and could’s survive the day without xanax and the night without a sleeping pill. If causing that isn’t abuse, I don’t know what is.

      • Oh Pearl, I am crying reading your post. The overwhelming suffering chumps feel is and devastating beyond belief. And your story really hits home in what abuses chumps face.
        I hope beyond hope you are doing better and investing in your health. Hang in there Pearl. All of us chumps are here for you. We are here to support each other.

        • Rose,
          Thanks for the support. I am doing soooooooomuch better now and this website has really helped. I wish I had found it 18 months ago!!!

      • 6’1″ here. Went from 190 to 155 in 2 months. This was less than I weighed when I played basketball in college. No sleep for months. Yeah, it is abuse.

  • To me, intent is rather unimportant. He did do it, over and over, and lied, and just like you can’t unring a bell you can’t unfuck a ho. I dont really give a rat’s what his intentions were. Its what he did that I can’t live with.

    • Intent is important only in the fact that it shows the real lack of character, compassion, amongst other virtues in the cheater. The cheater is void of the real important aspects that make a person whole, complete, trustworthy. When a person truly steps back and sees the cheater’s real persona, there is nothing to do but leave. You can’t reconcile with the devil. And Angie, intent is also important to look at because if you choose to invest in a relationship in the future, you can use this as a guide to finding yourself a good man, not one that is driven by issues, selfish wants, bad character, or bad intent.

  • Intent.

    Well, of course there is intent to cheat. Even if it is a last-minute, ONS. At some point, you’re standing there and making a choice. Does this flirting progress? And if it does, then you had the intent to cheat.

    Did you intend to hurt your BS? Not really, because really, what your intent is, as a cheater, is to not have your BS find out. So…what they don’t know doesn’t hurt, right? In fact, I would bet you most affairs are undetected — Arnold will have that statistic, I’m sure. I think he’s mentioned this before. And if the affair never comes to the consciousness of the BS, then how could it hurt them? In the big cosmic picture, yes, it is a bad thing but they don’t know about it. It really truly hurts when they find out about it.

    Now, there is a point, especially when someone is involved in a long term affair, where the cheater can see that his or her spouse is hurting. And that’s long before a real discovery occurs. Because BSs may not *know* that cheating is happening, but often (though certainly not always) they think something is not right. Like, the cheater is acting especially dickish or bitchy or being unkind, or downright cruel. There can be extreme blow ups during this period and it leaves the BS feeling awful, because what the hell is happening, right?

    And in my mind, that is when the cheater is intentionally hurting the spouse. Moreover, when the affair is brought to the light of day, and the betrayal goes underground or somehow continues through repeatedly minimizing or lying about the extent of the thing (for those who are struggling to reconcile and establish transparency and get a timeline or whatever harebrained thing people do to try to regain control) cheaters then are actively and intentionally/knowingly hurting their BS. But there I think the BS has some responsibility, because he or she at that point knows what he or she is married to and is chosing the path he or she is walking. The fact that the path is strewn with glass shards or hot coals should no longer be a surprise at that point.

    If someone shows you that you cannot trust them, do not go back thinking: “well, maybe I can trust them.” It is a fool’s errand.

    • A fool’s errand indeed. Not too long ago I confronted my STBX with proof that he’d been feeding me a huge string of lies. He told me in all seriousness that I would have to do the hardest thing I have ever done to make things better, that I would have to trust him. Thank goodness I had enough sense not to eat that sh*t sandwich. Sad thing is, a few months earlier I might have agreed.

      There’s something about being abused and put down and controlled for a long time that can make you just lose your will to fight. I was so beat down that it has taken me a long time to think seriously about D.

      I do think that cheating is a form of abuse. I have experienced physical as well as emotional abuse, and I think emotional is harder to deal with.

      • QS, you just made me think of something.

        you said: “There’s something about being abused and put down and controlled for a long time that can make you just lose your will to fight. I was so beat down that it has taken me a long time to think seriously about D. ”


        That’s spot on. And I will bet a lot of money that being so beaten down makes you feel helpless and out of control. And I will bet a lot of money that for someone who IS feeling so utterly disenfranchised from his/her own life, to have a spouse who suddenly mouths platitudes about being remorseful and joins surviving infidelity to post on the wayward forum (and get lots and lots of ego kibbles that way) and who provides full transparency to all the accounts and all the rest, it must feel like regaining control of the situation. And that’s a pretty sexy feeling for someone who has been downtrodden for a while.

        It really is an abusive cycle. I mean, I’ve realized infidelity is abusive, if one allows themselves to stick around for round two, the “repeat cheat”, but it is literally just like people who take beatings and stick around for more.


  • Oh Man this whole thread is making me feel so sick, but I don’t want to miss a word because I need to hear it. The only conversation/confrontation we ever had he answered my horrified questions like a Zombie. Said he’s done it since practically day 1. That he didn’t know what was wrong with him, that he’d never been satisfied with anyone in his life, that sex meant nothing to him, and that he’s gone off the chart and thrown it in my face because he’s “tired of lying”. I think he was being honest, or as honest as he can be. I also think that he abused me by first and foremost abusing my trust. 6 weeks later and I’m still reeling..even with NC..and the worst part of it is we live in a tiny town and he drops her off picks her up every day at the beach right around the corner that I have to drive by on my way to work Is he still trying to hurt me…EVERY Day? I was BORN here for God’s sake……I wish they would just go away / leave me alone, I am jumpy and heartbroken anew just about every day…

  • They intended not being caught!!!
    Bit like lance never intended you finding out about drugs.
    There comes a time friends when the cheater does cross the line and they know if they cheat then they will hurt loved ones. They’re intention is to fuck regardless of who it hurts. Humans seek pleasure and refrain from pain.

  • So, when is it our turn to return a little of that pain? I know, not evolved, young soul, dig two graves. blah , blah. I will have a happy life. I will pay back at some point when the opportunity presents itself.
    Meanwhile, I guess I am poisoned, while playing beautiful golf courses, enjoying my kids and hanging out with my girlfriend who is great. Yep, it’s just ruining me harboring all this resentment. Funny, though, I am happy and things are great.

  • Cheaters operate on whim and current feelings. They are ruled by the moment and what ever feels good RIGHT NOW.

    Principled people operate on morals and values. Sure, it might feel good right this instant to sneak in a nooner with a stranger, but doing it will likely conflict with who and what I am as a person. So, I will collect my head and delay gratification in favor of long-term happiness, which I earn by living according to real values, like family, integrity, hard work, etc.

    Cheaters live in a constant state of confusion and terror. There IS no order in their lives. They are slaves to their lies–because they have to perpetuate untruths and irrationality and keep it all straight and hope YOU won’t catch on. And good, worthy people will eventually figure it out and discard them. It’s a wonder they ever sleep at all.

    Can you imagine?

    Better to know who you are and what you want. Only then can you truly love someone. Cheaters love nobody.

    • Once you figure out that most are personality disordered, it makes sense that they can sleep and function with no effects. They are used to doing stuff like this.

  • Non-Chumps sometimes know that cheating *IS* abuse. But I don’t expect them to.

    I do expect a Chump to recognize that cheating is abuse. It might take a while, but it is abuse.

    I won’t ever defend my position to someone who isn’t a Chump.

  • One who is capable of crossing boundaries once…is capable of doing it many times. It is risk to continue to live under such a threat all the time. It is undergoing emotional abuse and physical abuse too if sex doesn’t give pure and flowing feeling like earlier. Why the hell can it not be an emotional abuse? In Vicki Larson’s case – she admits that she doesn’t know much about domestic abuse. Maybe, she needs to clear her fundamentals and define what abuse means to her. Then we can decide why she doesn’t consider cheating as an abuse.

  • I know from my experience that they think that they will not get caught. I actually heard a man say that he was “protecting his wife.” How fucked up can a person be?

    I think the problem here that I have deduced over the last few years is that we are assuming that the playing field is even. That our spouse is healthy and has the ability to love and empathize as we do. He may “appear” to have the ability, but in reality is severely stunted in these areas. He certainly has the ability to want to mate and have a family and normal stuff like that. But can he sustain it?

    obviously not. If only he would make it obvious and just reach out and discuss it with us. But I guess that’s just too, too scary. It IS scary, but if we can’t tell our spouses our most intimate thoughts and fears, wants and desires, then who CAN we tell?

    someone who doesn’t really mean that much to us.

    that is what happens sometimes. But its not right. Its really, really not. But again, we have to understand that dysfunctional people may not readily appear to be so.

    If a man (or a woman) wants an affair (or twenty affairs). Have one with your spouse! I told many a man… just do it. Take HER to the motel! you might be very surprised.

  • It boggles my mind that any BS would think that infidelity is not abuse. Lying is not abuse? Sure it is! And most WS’s engage in at least a little bit of gas lighting. That’s abuse! And when busted, they almost always start in with the blame shifting! How is that not abuse?

  • Laurel, exactly!
    My ex complained about our sex life (after he was busted, of course). But what he failed to understand is that the quality of our sex life deteriorated when he was having affairs! I could tell that he was no longer making love to me, he was just fucking me. And why in the world would I want to subject myself to that? Cheaters like to say that their bad marriages or their inept partners caused them to cheat, but that’s bullshit blame shifting. Bad marriages don’t cause infidelity. Infidelity causes bad marriages.

  • Hello Chump Lady,
    Well, lo and behold here I am. Yes, Google alerts got me here.
    This is nothing personal — I don’t know you, you don’t know me; we’re just disagreeing on something that both of us have experienced with wildly different end results (although we both ended up divorced in response; see, commonality!)
    Just because you and many others think infidelity = abuse doesn’t mean everyone does, thus the many people who say some people can “work through infidelity.” I’m certainly not agreeing with them, but in some cases if some people are willing to (given the individual circumstances), it might work; who knows? I don’t care — why do you? Isn’t that up to each couple to decide — not you? There is no majority consensus on what to do post-affair, no Supreme Court Justice saying “I know it when I see it.” No, it all comes down to how each of us “feels” after a betrayal, and what we want to do. And feeling is no different that saying “I tend to believe that people who cheat usually continue to do so.” Do you honestly believe that just because you “tend to believe” something that “usually” happens is any more scientific, realistic or authentic than people who don’t “feel” that the infidelity they experienced is abuse? On what do you base this on? You may “tend to believe” whatever you like, and people may “feel” whatever they like, too. Your “tendencies” don’t trump anyone’s “feeling” or even “thinking” or actions, sorry.
    I know verbal abuse, and as a teenager I experienced physical abuse. In no way did I experience my former husband’s affair as abuse. It was crappy and I was shocked and my whole world was rattled. Obviously, you experienced your former husband’s affair as abuse. Maybe others do, too. It doesn’t matter. I’m not advising people what they “should” do — dump anyone who ever cheats on them, as you are. Because, maybe that isn’t the information they should follow. Maybe, they should decide what to do with the help of professionals and/or family and friends who understand their unique situation better than you do. Maybe they should be able to make that decision on their own without other people judging them and considering them “chumps.”
    Your former husband did a really crappy thing and now you want to “save” everyone from your plight (not unlike Beverly Willett of the Coalition for Divorce Reform trying to stop “unnecessary divorces” all because she didn’t want to get divorced and thus fought her former husband for 5 years in court) I don’t want her or anyone deciding if my divorce was “unnecessary,” and I certainly don’t want you or anyone else’s judgment on how I choose to view or proceed after an affair. Not everyone is married to your former husband and not everyone is you, Chump Lady — each situation is unique. Advising people who are vulnerable and uncertain to categorically “dump him/her” solely because you “tend to believe” the cheater will “usually” do it again is misguided and potentially harmful.
    Now, please excuse me, but I need to go attend to my unicorn …

    • How dare she use her experience to help people in similar situations! That’s almost as bad as a cancer survivor talking to people with breast cancer! Burn her at the stake!

  • Let’s see if this comment goes through; my others did not.

    I’m not here to defend myself — I don’t really care what you think of me, although I am amused by some of your readers’ vile reactions, like telling me to f*ck off because we have different opinions; that certainly helps civil dialog!! But in the interest of honesty and truth, I will clarify your errors.

    I am not ‘”friends’ with your cheater (for the children!)” I am friendly with my former spouse, and not just “for the children!” There is a big difference. Forgiveness is an act you choose for yourself, not for anyone else. But hey, if you and others can’t do that, let’s move on.

    I also have never written, advised, etc. that people “should” reconcile with their cheating spouse (or as you put it: “Members of the Reconciliation Industrial Complex of which Vicki Larson is clearly a part.”) I have, however, reported what OTHERS say about it, wrongly or rightly. Again, that is a big difference.

    And my comment agreeing that addressing someone with “’This is what I know’ is essential” has nothing to do with forgiveness no matter how you want to twist what I wrote.

    But, hey Tracy — why let truth get in the way of what you believe?

    You object and ridicule the fact that I don’t “feel” that infidelity was abuse. OK, let’s change that wording to I didn’t experience my infidelity as abuse. Better? Quite honestly, none of us experiences things the say way, and you are not right and they are not wrong and vice versa. Still, do you respond to that with truth and facts? No, you say, “I tend to believe that people who cheat usually continue to do so.” You “TEND to believe”? Based on what facts and/or knowledge? “People who cheat usually continue.” USUALLY? Based on what facts and/or knowledge? How do you back up your claims? Where are your studies, your research? Why do you not link to what you know?

    I TEND not to equate infidelity with abuse. There, language you use and obviously can appreciate.

    We don’t have to agree with each other on this issue and it’s obvious we won’t. But since you are advising people about what to do post-affair (and I do not) and judging them for their choices, it is worrisome that you speak in terms of “tend” and “usually” and not in anything based in truth, facts or knowledge other than your own experience, that is, which clearly sucked. I’m sure you mean well, but that troubles me.

    Thanks for the opportunity to speak. Must run, my unicorn needs me …

    • “You object and ridicule the fact that I don’t ‘feel’ that infidelity was abuse. OK, let’s change that wording to I didn’t experience my infidelity as abuse.”

      No, that changes nothing. It’s a semantic game, as I think even you recognize.

      Perhaps you mean well, but it’s this kind of sloppy writing and self-indulgent thinking that makes many of us who have gone through the meat grinder of infidelity and come out the other side cringe. Infidelity presents the betrayed spouse with a *crisis.” Are you going to stand off to the side, add a bit of psychobabble to the mix, and . . . ***hypothesize***? Or are you going to roll up your sleeves and ***help***? I’ve read several of your columns at HuffPo and, frankly, I don’t get a clear idea of WHAT you believe or know or recommend. A strained effort at appearing *provocative* really isn’t much use to anyone. By contrast, the ideas expressed at this site are extremely pragmatic, have demonstrably helped many people, and are expressed with ***exceptional*** clarity and a gallows humor that makes it all bearable.

    • “But since you are advising people about what to do post-affair (and I do not) and judging them for their choices, it is worrisome that you speak in terms of “tend” and “usually” and not in anything based in truth, facts or knowledge other than your own experience, that is, which clearly sucked. I’m sure you mean well, but that troubles me.”

      Would you prefer her to speak in facts and certainties? That all people do this or all people do that? Saying that people tend to repeat themselves is much better. And people besides her have noticed this trend. People who come from abusive relationships tend to seek them out. Thieves will keep stealing. Alcoholics will feel seek out bottles.

      Can people change, yes, but it is hard and not many put in the work. Instead they revert to what they know and what is easy.

      Also, she doesn’t have to judge by just her experience, have a look around and see our experiences too. We don’t have to be here if we don’t want to. If we wanted someone more roundabout and sensitive rather than straight shooting and “judgmental” there are sites for that. If we wanted to reconcile, there are websites helping us do that.

      People here want to break free of bad relationships. Downplaying what we have suffered by trying to convince us it is not abuse is like trying to convince a person lying beaten in the hospital bed that it wasn’t that bad when __you__ fought with your husband. Thanks for letting us know. Can you go away now so we can get comfort for those who understand us.

      • While I appreciate your comment, GreenGirl I am NOT “trying to convince” anyone of anything. Tracy referred to my article (which, again, isn’t trying to convince anyone of anything; perhaps you might want to read it for yourself so you can understand exactly what I wrote) otherwise I imagine none of you would have heard of me; I never posted here before I was presented with inaccuracies of what I have said. I came here to set the record straight, not with any other agenda.
        “Would you prefer her to speak in facts?” Yeah, especially if someone is advising other people who are struggling and vulnerable what to do instead of what one “tends” to know about something that “usually” happens; don’t you like the truth, too?

        • I love the truth. That’s why I like that she acknowledges that not everyone will have her experiences, that in fact she can only speak of tendencies not complete facts. You seem to demand that she speak in certainties, then say that not everything is as black and white as she says. I don’t think I understand you.

  • Actually, words DO mean things. We are not talking semantics.
    If you truly believe “Vicki, GO FUCK YOURSELF, and the unicorn you rode in on!!!!” is “extremely pragmatic” and furthers the discussion on whether all infidelity is abuse (and whether I consider it abuse or not in my case is none of your concern or anyone else’s, quite honestly), then we truly have nothing to discuss. (Although I will admit, it was expressed with “***exceptional*** clarity.”) People resort to attacking a person and using expletives instead of engaging in a civil discussion and sometimes agreeing to disagree when they are close-minded and think in black-white absolutes. As we all now know, there are 50 shades of gray, and I’d say many more than that.
    And, I don’t “recommend anything” — I’m not an advice columnist as Chump Lady purports to be. I report on what others have to say; y’all can make your own minds up for yourself.

    • Uh, one question: Why do you feel compelled to come to a site that advocates ideas about infidelity with which you vehemently disagree, berate the victims of infidelity you find there, and engage at length with people you claim won’t let you talk and generally treat you horribly?

      • Good question, nomar. I came here to clarify what Tracy wrote about me, which was wrong. I am not “friends” with with my former husband; we are friendly (there’s a difference). I did not forgive him “for the children!”; forgiveness is for oneself, not others. I am not a member of the “Reconciliation Industrial Complex”; I have never nor would I ever advise anyone to do anything unless asked. I didn’t reconcile, either.
        So, why did I come here? Because Tracy wrote about me, she presented what I have written incorrectly and the truth and honesty really matter to me, personally (as one might expect from someone who has experienced infidelity), and professionally (I am a journalist).
        I also, for the record, have NEVER berated “the victims of infidelity,” as I am one myself (although I am done with the “victim” thing).
        As I told Tracy in an email exchange, my comments are nothing personal; I enjoy reading her columns and her sass. We disagree about whether infidelity is abuse — I didn’t experience it at such — and that’s OK. Do we all have to agree? The world would be incredibly boring if we did.
        Hope that answers your questions.

        • Well, okay. But I think you should be realistic about advocating your relatively permissive attitudes/impressions/inquires/whatever-you-want-to-call-them about infidelity here. You understand that most people posting here have had their lives and in many instances the lives of their children utterly shattered by cheating, right? You wouldn’t go to a site for people who have lost family members to drunk drivers and argue that attitudes about getting behind the wheel after a half-dozen highballs shouldn’t be so “black and white,” would you?

          Being aware of the audience you’re addressing might go a long way to understanding how you’re received.

          • Again, I came here to correct inaccuracies, to present the truth. What exactly am I advocating?
            Again, I AM a member of “the audience” (aka the victims of cheating) — I just didn’t know we all had to have a Vulcan Mind Meld and believe the same exact thing and act the exact same way.

            • You want to see if we disagree? Hop over to the post: Dear Chump Lady, Is She Just a Fuck Up?.

              You will get to see us disagree with each other about mental illness and what effect that has on deciding to stay with a cheater.

              We disagree with each other. It’s just in this case we all disagree with you. You want everyone to agree with you instead? Go find a message board that advocates reconciliation and bug them.

      • I said it was like going to a hospital, finding someone badly beaten by their spouse, and saying __her__ fights with her husband never went that way. Not very helpful, rather condescending, and libel to make the person in the bed cry, stare at her stunned, or try to hit her.

    • 1) I agree that cursing at someone does no good.

      2) You can on a site full of hurt people, dismissed their pain, and started poking holes in their wounds. You’re welcome to do and say as you please, but don’t be surprised that people here might not be welcoming to you in return.

  • Vicki, a couple of things: first, there is no university degree offered for becoming an advice columnist. Chump Lady started this site because she felt, quite rightly in my view, that there were a lot of sites out there offering false hope and peddling some pretty dodgy advice and information and she felt very strongly that people don’t want to face the truth: a cheater is showing you who s/he is and one refuses to see the truth at their own peril.

    Secondly, I don’t understand why you care so much why this little corner of the internet disagrees with you. The internet is KNOWN for people not agreeing. Why do you care? i strongly believe cheating is abuse and I strongly believe that anyone who has been cheated on should walk away immediately.

    You may not agree. That’s ok. But you seem to be taking all of this incredibly personally and really, we’re all just hear to have some dark laughs and support one another in what most of us agree is the toughest thing we’ve ever been through.

  • I’m sorry, I broke out laughing reading this article and comments. The unicorn isn’t something to be messed with LOL. You are right on with everything you say and your examples i.e. shooting off a kneecap to improve your tennis game, is blunt, straightforward, and lastly HONEST. I think this is an article the masses already love and I’ll gladly share along. Great post!

  • Wow…this blog touches on me in so many ways.

    After 6 years of marriage, one day I hear the words “I love you, but am not in love with you anymore” come from my wife. When asked, she denied there being “anybody else.” A quick look at the cell phone log (which I had never done in 6 years of marriage) showed 300+ text messages to the same number in two weeks. My memory kicks in, she had been working out a ton, lots of new “spicy” underwear, odd mood swings, much more sex than usual. I immediately went into panic mode as my last girlfriend cheated on me so I know the “signs”. I went down the “bad” path and obtained far more information than I needed to see. She had a notepad in her purse (that she planted to see if I was spying on her) that was particularly destructive to my self-esteem and ability to trust her. The bottom line: I was loosing my wife to one of her co-workers.

    When confronted, she blamed my selfish behavior for the affair and basically justified having no guilt about it because “I was going to leave you anyway”, about a week later she said “I want a divorce.”

    I was a happy single person when we met, but somewhere along the way I became dependent on her (bad, I know). When she asked for a divorce it brought out an anxiety attack of a magnitude that I had never felt before. The divorce request combined with the affair had me puking in the bathroom multiple times per day, I lost about 15 pounds in less than two weeks. My mind literally got locked into “loops” that I couldn’t get out of, or stop. I went to a psychiatrist and he prescribed a few meds that reduced the anxiety, but I still had trouble thinking of anything but “save my marriage.” The psychiatrist had a sit down with my wife and myself and helped us work out a few of the biggest issues. I wanted to her stop the affair, and she wanted me to help more around the house. We both agreed to do this and work on our marriage, however, not once did she ever show any guilt (or even apologize) for the affair, and when it was brought up it was still “I was going to leave you anyway.”

    Fast forward to a month ago: Over the last two years I went through my “cycle” a few times, gaming like crazy, then guilt would set in and I would start doing more around the house, but the fact she never apologized for the affair kinda ate at me, and I never felt I could really trust her again. I am a forgiving person when I detect sincerity, but she had none.

    I would periodically check her phone/email/facebook for “odd” behaviour, maybe once or twice a year. Then she started acting funny again and I checked. New long distance relationship with another man (which she had already denied is a “relationship”, but knowing her past…) and started heavily seeking attention from men online.

    When I confronted her about this new relationship she denied it, then moved out (to an abused women shelter, with our children). The whole time she has been telling her friends that I emotionally abused her because I checked up on her and invaded her privacy.

    There is so much more to this story though. I really have a hard time looking at her as anything but a liar and cheater, but still for some reason want to save my marriage because I love her. I tried to commit suicide the week she moved out, and the doctors put me on a new med and it helps with some things, but I still get really, really depressed. I am released and back to work, but still have a hard time focusing, well, obviously as I am writing this from work.

    Maybe I am in the wrong place and everybody here will hate me. Not like I haven’t made stupid or overemotional choices before, this would just be another.

  • I’m so happy I found this site!! You guys are my new best friends!
    Infidelity isn’t abuse?
    Three months after I caught my cheater sneaking off to a motel room with the librarian I suffered “Takotsubo cardiomyopathy” also known as ‘broken heart syndrome’
    I came ‘this’ close to dying over the asshole. I spent four days in the hospital. They were at a Mariner’s game.

    The only good thing I can say about him, is that he felt so guilty he gave me all his money. She shares her’s with him. Together they make over 6 figures. I make 2. Not only did she take my cheating lying husband, she took my security and my retirement and I guess my so called future. (Dreams of motor homes and deserts in the winter and a house paid for) It felt real to me at the time. I thought we were working on the same dream. I never had a Plan B. It wasn’t like I was 25 when he walked out the door. I was 53. (Now what!??!) A year after the cheater left me I lost my good job in the building industry when the economy tanked.
    One day my daughter asked me, ‘Mom, do you call your friends?’ and I answered, ‘What am I going to say?” My husband left me for another woman and I lost my job?” Wow, real fun friend. I refused to talk to some people for over a year. I just couldn’t. My humiliation was that complete. (See an earlier post why…spoiler alert….they had just came to our second fake wedding…..renewal of the vows. Ha!)

    I didn’t talk to some of them for over a year. I was beyond devastated. I lost 20 lbs in 2 months. My hair fell out. I couldn’t sleep and I couldn’t eat and most the time all I could do was drink and take up smoking again.
    I live in a relatively small city where lots of people knew us and all I wanted was to be swallowed up by the earth. I wanted to move a million miles away but I couldn’t even make 50.

    They both got good jobs at a prestigious university on the east coast and moved 3000 miles away. She went there three years before him. He stayed here and did everything for me (except leave her) I ate a lot of shit sandwiches. How sick is that shit? I think I’m finally free. Y’all say a prayer for me.

    In the meantime…however….(things do get better boys and girls)… I have gotten my dream job. I work in a field where every day I make a tiny difference to the betterment of mankind. I work with smart people who happen to have psychiatric disabilities (oh how I relate!) I admire them more than words can say. They are my hero’s and I’m the conduit that makes their lives a little safer.

    I live in a doll house on a piece of beautiful spacious earth. I have the same friends since I was a child. My favorite aunts and uncles are still alive. I have a good daughter and a fantastic little grandkids. My friends and family adore me.

    I’ve dated but nothing serious. Don’t even try to go there. I make it clear that I’m here for a ‘good time, not a long time’ and the decent, cool guys get that.(Maybe, just maybe, I’ve learned to LIKE living my life the way I see fit…popcorn for dinner?)
    I’ve made some fabulous male friends along the way and some are as wounded as I am and that makes a bond. I’ve also made some of the best girl friends of my life.

    I’m going to Cancun next month to explore the Mayan Ruins…with my one of my new girlfriends…will send pictures (<;

    • I am really glad you found your dream job. The same thing happened to me. I got divorced, the economy tanked and I lost one job, got another that paid less, lost that, got another that paid even a little less. Now at this point I had moved in with my parents. I lost that job. I found another one, but not in my field, that paid better because it was piece rate and I’m a hard, fast worker. But the job sucked, so I found another job that paid even better in my field that I really like and now I’m back up to where I would have been had I kept the first job and been given cost of living increases all these years. I also moved out of my parents house, made some new friends, got my own little place and am saving up for a new used car as mine is pretty old.

      Oh and my ex-husband? Well he remarried someone new (him and OW didn’t work out) and it made me feel like what is wrong with me? It felt like I’m so bad he has to ask for an open marriage and have affairs when I say no, but the first thing he does once single is commit to monogamy with someone else? Turns out he didn’t commit to monogamy. His new wife agreed to an open marriage. He gets a GF and a wife. He breaks the contract with his wife over the GF. The GF breaks her contract with him to sleep with several other guys unbeknownst to him and her BF. Now, he’s heartbroken that she “cheated” on him by breaking the contract even though he broke the poly contract with his wife, even kicking his wife out of the house and living with the GF for a week. His wife now gets a BF and he demands she gives up said BF, because he’s now lost the GF and what he says goes. His wife does not give up the BF and instead sees him behind my ex’s back. He finds out by spying on her even though he gave me crap for the same thing! This is what my life could have been? This is the kind of Jerry Springer Soap Opera I’m missing out on? No wonder we choose to get cats, lol. I don’t think it’s called being a crazy cat lady, I think it’s called being a sane lady who realizes that animals are better than some spouses. Can I get an AMEN?!

  • Hello Chump Lady,

    Sarah P. here again. I have encountered so many messed up stories recently that I find myself on your site daily. You are the only one willing to state the truth, even if uncomfortable.

    Even though you wrote this several years ago, it will eternally be relevant. Always.

    I have mentioned in my articles that infidelity is abuse and I absolutely believe it. If people want to reconcile, I help them figure out if that is what they want and why and if it is even possible. But, infidelity is abuse and that must be taken into account. Can someone stay in a marriage and recover it when they have been abused? Well, that is up to each person to decide and even if they reconcile, they were still abused by their spouse. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but it doesn’t matter. The truth is The Truth and infidelity is a form of abuse and has aspects of emotional, physical, and even sexual abuse to it, if you examine all aspects. My answer with my ex was a hard NO. There was nothing to reconcile and he got to talk to attorneys. I very much see what he did as abusive. I wish this message of infidelity as abuse were common across infidelity sites even if they are recovery sites. Recovery or not, it does not change the truth of what happened and what happened was abusive.

    Many blessings,
    Sarah P.

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