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More craptacular advice, Part 2

Following up from yesterday… tried and truly lousy advice on infidelity continued…

4. Explore what the marriage was lacking that led your spouse to cheat. Because only when that absence is filled, can the marriage be sound! Chumps love this because it gives us a false sense of control. Ah! The problem was ME. Our marriage! I can FIX this! Send me scurrying over to the self-help aisle so I can figure out what I did wrong and how I can shore things up to make the cheater stay!

Fool’s errand.

I’m not saying you don’t suck, maybe you do. Maybe your marriage sucks dreadfully, but that’s not what lead your cheater to cheat. They cheated because they felt ENTITLED to do it. Of all the available options to address their unhappiness and their problems with you, they chose betrayal and risking your health and well-being. They went with cake. And let’s be clear, it’s CAKE. They didn’t ask for an open marriage. They didn’t just get a divorce lawyer and leave honestly. No, they organized their life through a series of many, many choices to cheat on you. To keep whatever it is you’re giving them AND get whatever the fuckbuddy is giving them.

What’s “lacking” in this scenario is the cheater’s character. There’s a hole in their soul, and no amount of filling on your part is going to plug that sucking drain.

If you suck, fix you for you. If your marriage sucked, well, you suffered the same bad marriage and didn’t cheat. And if your’e doing the pick me dance, clearly you were the more invested partner. You’re willing to try harder and self examine. Cheaters? Not so much.

5. It was just a mid-life crisis. There is no magic term for cheating that makes it not cheating. I’ve written about this before, but the MLC is bunk. People’s personalities are pretty formed by adulthood and “crises” can hit at any stage of life. Calling it a mid-life crisis dresses up a set of selfish choices as a syndrome. It’s not so personal, because it’s so common and pervasive. It’s like the Terrible Twos! It’s an ugly little stage of development that they’ll grow out of. Bullshit. Adults are grown ups. They SHOULD be developed by now. If they’re not? You’ve got bigger problems.

6. Don’t tell your family, or friends about the infidelity, because if you reconcile it will be too awkward. If a cheater wants to reconcile, part of showing remorse, IMO, is putting on your big boy/girl panties and being accountable to the people closest to you. Yes, I fucked around on this person you love. Face the awkwardness! Cheaters cannot have it both ways — it’s not a big deal, get over it… but I get to maintain my secrecy about the affair (which is a Minor Thing Really).

It’s personal who you tell, but if a chump is not telling so the cheater can save face? You do that at the risk of not getting the support you deserve. You’re not obliged to keep their secrets. And keeping the chump isolated from support is a common tactic of serial cheaters. It’s not your shame to wear, it’s the cheater’s. And if you’re ashamed of reconciling? Well, that should tell you something. Your reconciliation is closeted. So how authentic is it?

I’m not saying broadcast it to all and sundry (but if you want to, that’s okay too — but the bitter, batshit thing tends to stick more) — but to the people you’re close with? If they love you, they’ll be there for you. Who doesn’t need more of that?

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  • I could never figure out #6. STBX didn’t want me telling anyone I had filed for divorce because (as he put it) “people don’t need to know our business.” He even introduced me to a work colleague at one of our children’s school events as his wife, even though 1) I had already filed for divorce, 2) he had already told me that he had affairs because he had “gradually fallen out of love with me” (barf!), and 3) he and OW “couldn’t wait” for the divorce to be final so they could marry (OW’s words – but apparently no divorce was necessary for the affair to begin!) and 4) he and the OW were already living together.

    He just didn’t want people knowing HIS business, which was that he cheated.

    • We sat in a parent teacher conference last fall (we went together) and when a teachers asked if there may be something going on at home that might be affecting our daughter’s grades, I told her. We walked out of the room and STBX said “I don’t think you need to go blabbing our personal business to everyone.” Seriously? It’s not alright to tell a teacher of our child that we are gettinga divorce? That’s not relevant to how she’s performing in school?

      • So typical that the cheaters see the cheating as a much smaller problem than how people *react* to the cheating. If you want to TALK about the cheating with family and friends? Why, you’re immature and hurtful. Really? Because blowing your boss in the car at lunch time is so mature and considerate of your family?

        [insert line of barfing emoticons here]

        • Well, the fact that cheaters don’t want anyone to know they are a cheater implies that the cheater knows that what they did is sleazy, shameful and disgusting.

        • Nord, he wants the world to see how amazingly supportive he is. And I do give him credit for at least attempting to do things that are for the benefit of our daughter (he does enough that aren’t.)

          Who mentioned that they once thought they could try to be like “The New Adventures of Old Christine?” I truly think that is his goal. That we carry on as best friends who have just decided we can’t be married any longer. I have to be in the same room with him for the sake of our daughter. I NEVER want to be in the same room with OW again as long as I live.

          • STBX wanted us to be friends and even though I would eventually see that OW is a nice person (along with all the other OW) and that in a year or so (this was said shortly after dray) we’d all be having dinner together and getting on like old pals.

            Ermmmm….no. I have nothing against her, to be honest, because she’s just another dipshit who got played by him, so to be honest I think I’d rather sit down and have a meal with her than with him. He totally grosses me out. The idea of sitting down with him and making nice is absurd. The man is an abusive fuckface.

            • Is there some sort of script that they follow? Seriously, STBX almost immediately after disclosure talked about us all being friends (when I someday found someone else….gag.)

              But the problem I have with OW is that I was doubly betrayed. I thought we had become friends (or at least professional friendly acquaintances.) My STBX is a musician who performed with her. (Yes, the music biz is ripe for this kind of shit.) And I did like her – she’s fun, friendly, super-sparkly, intelligent, etc. etc. She had a relationship with my daughter too. So they both played me – and my daughter. I think she and STBX thought it would work perfectly. Just substituted her for me and they (her young girls and my daughter and them) would be one big happy blended family.

              I’m obligated to have an ongoing relationship with the father of my child. I am not obligated to have one with OW. Puke.

              • r louise – I like the OW as well – I thought that we would be friends… maybe even good friends. But, if I’m honest with myself, there was always this flirty thing going on that made me uneasy – and everybody in his incestuous little neighborhood nest was concerned about how badly her boyfriends treated her!! She was just a pure VICTIM and it was non-stop. I remember thinking the whole drama was awfully strange. I mean, who does that? Especially people in their 50s? That neighborhood was way way too much into each other’s business if you ask me. I felt the need to keep a wall up around most of them – didn’t know exactly which ones were former fuck buddies…..

    • Seriously– mine felt that his A “was between the two of us.” He was genuinely pissed that I told my family members and close friends and that they disowned him completely. He also became enraged with me when someone he occasionally works with found out about it and mentioned it to him. He clearly thought that I was going to keep his dirty little secret, and I don’t think that he anticipated the kind of fallout he’d experience once it was exposed to the light of day.

      Now… I don’t know who he has around here. He has one good friend here; any of his other friends and all of his family members are long-distance. I imagine that’s why he’s now introduced the OW to our kids; the silence must be a lot louder than he thought, so he’s hoping to have her around more so that he doesn’t have to face it.

      • Yes, STBX was anxious to introduce final OW veryquickly to the kids, long before they were remotely ready. It became a HUGE argument that went on for months between the kids and him and he simply would not respect them or what they wanted. It was all about what he wanted and tough shit about their delicate little kid feelings. He’s scarred them with this crap and for that I’ll never forgive him. It’s unreal how selfish he was and still is.

        • My STBX did the same Nord. Funny, out of the four children he picked 10 year old daughter to show a photo of him and OW hugging. He said something like “this is dad’s special friend, would you like to meet her?” Strangely, he never showed or mentioned anything to our other children. (10 year old has my shy, easygoing personality) She cried herself to sleep that night. Selfish asshole.

  • Heh…I’ve tol everyone. It didnt’ start out that way but word got around and people asked and yeah, I eventually told loads of people. Not gory details, of course, but enough that they know he’s a serial cheater who’d been lying to me for years. Do I care if people think I’m bitter? Not really, mainly because I’m not. I was seriously pissed off he fucked with my life and I was pissed off for quite some time. Now? I make great jokes about it and have them rolling in the aisles.

    Midlife crisis? Pffft. I was lacking? Double pffft.

  • My favorite minimizing technique so far as been to refer to her affair as “a mistake” as if it was a singular “oops”, and not three months of systematic lies & betrayals.

    Mistake. Singular.

    Yeah, right.

    • Yep.. Same here. Wasband said, “I made a mistake!” After DDay,I made it clear to him that three years of lying, cheating, and stealing is not a singular mistake. He chose a lifestyle out of it. Can’t minimize the truth. He wanted me to keep quiet. And no way was I going to help him out of it. People know the truth. He lost the respect of many people in our community. His reputation is shot. Time to pay the piper. Consequences to actions. Why do cheaters think their reps should be protected? They are the ones who shot it to hell.
      “People who are mad at those speaking the truth are the ones living a lie. Keep speaking the truth!”

      • Of a similar vein, my husband told the kids the divorce was my fault because “I didn’t give him a second chance”. Like it was a simple oops mistake, not the 10 years of premeditated lying and sneaking around. This even after he told me shortly after D-day that he had gone “cold turkey” with the hookers for about a week after I had revealed to him a few years ago about how upset I was that a good friend’s husband had cheated on her. He knew how I’d react, but couldn’t stop himself. But yes, it’s my fault, and we shouldn’t be telling anyone his “personal business”.

        Does anyone watch Walking Dead? I loved the line at the end of Merle and Daryl’s argument when Daryl walks off and says “I may be the one walking away, but you’re the one who left.”

        So true – I love that quote.

        • Dawn…. I thought the exact same thing when I heard that line on Walking Dead. It fits many of our situations perfectly!

        • The divorce reasons STBX gave my kids was that I wasn’t affectionate enough/I didn’t love him anymore or enough/the marriage was already broken/these things happen/everyone cheats.

          Yeah, whatever dude. The kids know the deal. He keeps repeating this stuff, I think, in hopes that someone will believe him.

  • I violently destroyed #6 before ANYBODY even had a chance to “advise” me not to tell anyone that my ex was a cheater. I told anyone who would listen: Strangers at the club, my tattoo artist, Cheater messageboards, etc. Lol. Batshit? Maybe….

    The crazy part is my ex told his family (who were like my family) an entirely different (and false) narrative about our breakup. I remember that hurting me even more, thinking that his family saw me as the bad guy.

    Then I start re-connecting with some of them and they knew ALL about the cheating. Everything. Don’t know who told them all the gory details; it certainly wasn’t me. Last I heard, my ex was still feeding them the “Chris is an asshole who just up and left!” story.

    I think we need to create a special category of Cheater for my ex. We could call it the Ostrich Cheater: “Everybody knows I’m a POS and how I cheated on my partner, but I’m going to stick to my narrative and pretend that everybody believes it.”

    :-p

    • After the first shock and silence… I also told everybody and their friends.

      And yes, maybe too much detail (not the gory detail, I don’t even want to go there). First in grief, crying, desperate. Now with more anger – and I notice the latter scares off people. The ones that seem to want to blame part on midlife crisis or “where there’s two fighting…”.

    • Ugh Chris! When did they know? While he was cheating on you? I don’t like these people!

      Presumably he is an ostrich cheater because he surrounds himself with ostriches.

      • Oh they had no idea. Everything happened so fast, and in a matter of three weeks. Yes, the ex threw away our relationship for a guy he had known for three weeks.

        I wasn’t there, but what I’m told is that nobody bought his “Chris is an asshole” narrative for one second (cause they all loved me and still do). The ex then confided the truth in one family member, who then gossip-queened it out to his entire family. Hence they all knew all the crap he pulled by the time I re-connected with them.

  • “Chumps love this because it gives us a false sense of control.”
    Initially I grasped at every straw that could give me some (sense of) control. I could not change the past, the D-day moment, him or his feelings – but I could change me and my reactions to the infidelity. If I only…

    It was not until I understood there was one way to take back control of my life, to just take him out of the equation and get my and my children’s life in order, that I truly understood what happened was not my fault, not under my control and certainly not deserved.

      • Same here dutch chum and Really.

        Also, I agree with Chump Lady. These cheaters, men or women, want cake, and they want to be the only ones getting it, otherwise they would ask for an open marriage.

        When I suggested to my husband that if he thought sex was stale in our marriage, why not suggest an open marriage? Because sex was stale for me too, but I didn’t cheat. He had no answer.

        When I asked if he wanted an open marriage he adamantly said no. In fact he got quite huffy.

        That melds with an article in a UK newspaper that interviewed cheaters.

        Every single one of them, male and female, when asked how they would feel if their spouse cheated on them, too, they all said they wouldn’t like it.

        What’s up with that?

        It’s about cake, and they want to be the only one entitled to cake, while the spouse sits at home pinching pennies or watching the kids. Hey I wouldn’t have liked some cake, too.

        But I realized I was married and I didn’t want to hurt my husband by partaking in the cake offered to me.

        Why aren’t cheaters charged with theft of marital assets?

  • #6.

    Almost immediately after discovering the texts and then the affair, I left the house and just drove around town. I called my two best friends crying and yelling about what I’d found. In the middle of it, he was trying to call me and I was ignoring it, so he sent me texts. I remember one that said “if you tell everybody there won’t be anything left to save”. What a fucking dick. His first instincts were damage control and threats. However, those two people were the only people that did know for the time we were working on “reconciliation” 🙂 Then when I finally kicked him out I drove some duffle bags to his work… I called him to tell him to come out and get them… and he told me just to put them in the back of his truck, like I’m his fucking bellhop. So, instead I put everything all over his AP’s car that was parked right next to his. I even put a guitar hanging off her fucking half open window. And I guess some employees actually saw me doing it. So, he got outed 🙂 Ah, well, he had his chance.

    • That is awesome! I love it. Like most people, I found proof of the affair via texts. When I saw them I immeditely screen shot them and sent them to myself. Then I sent them to about 5 close girlfriends. I knew that if I kept it to myself, I would waiver and accept one of his bullshit “explanations”. By involving my friends right off the bat (before he even knew that I knew), I has other holding me accountable to what I needed to do. It was probably the smartest thing I did in the beginning. Because after that, I became a ridiculous “pick me” mess for about 2 months.

      • “if you tell everybody there won’t be anything left to save”

        If you’re fucking someone else, there won’t be anything left to save.

        Oh.

      • Funny but I realised that the reason I told everyone is that something inside me knew that if I didn’t broadcast this I would take him back. I still did the dance for a month or two but it was more for the kids and I knew it was futile. Telling everyone made it impossible to go back. I would not only have lost my own self-respect but would have lost the respect of everyone I knew.

  • Early in our marriage when we separated (before reconciliation – yes, lesson learned…) he didn’t tell his family at all. I didn’t feel it was my job to do his dirty work, so I didn’t. He was staying at the home of a friend, and his parents showed up at our doorstep unannounced. They decided to surprise us for a weekend visit. (They live 5 hours away in another state.) OMG.

    • Oh yes, awkward when MIL showed up at our doorstep right before Christmas. (On her birthday) “Has he not made it home from work yet?” – He had been living with OW for about a month.

      • Do you remember your answer, Lina? I honestly don’t remember mine. I think I made up something (since he wasn’t actually living with “her.”) I even had to go out with them to see him play in a band with “her” singing in it. I think STBX finally told his parents the next morning. After ALL of us had a “sleep-over” together in “our” home. awkward indeed!

        • Wow r louise! Yes, I gave her the birthday gift the kids and I had purchased her, let her visit with the kids…then I told her. (edited version) Turns out she already knew, although angry. “Well! He told me he was gonna break it off with his lady friend and work it out with you and the kids!” – He eventually called her and she cut me off after that.

          My MIL was OW twice. (STBX’s biological father was married, STBX’s stepfather walked away from his wife and son to be with her.)

          • Ahh…when the MIL was an OW. I’m in that situation as well. She’s being an absolute fuck about this now that I’m divorcing her precious son. But something tells me that if I had cheated on him she wouldn’t have been quite so hung-ho about ‘cheating is ok’.

            • I’m sympathetic about the MIL, it sucks. If I had been the one to cheat on her perfect son she would have some choice words for me. If I had been a serial cheater, like her son, and done all of this to him! She would be out for blood.

          • OMG, Lina. I didn’t have that to deal with. My MIL adored me. The feeling was mutual. I’m actually thankful she didn’t live long enough to witness this. She would of course have supported her son, but I also know she would have maintained a relationship with me (most likely shaking her head in dismay at her unpredictable boy.) When we were separated, she still sent me Christmas cards, birthday cards, etc.

  • Hmm, good old #6.

    Five days after D-Day, I agreed to keep a preplanned, pre-D-day holiday trip with STBX, back to her family home 7 hours away. Not even an hour in, I got the “shake-down” about nothing being said confirmation, right?… When I would not say exactly what she wanted to hear, she literally went berserk!

    She started driving the car crazy, slamming on the brakes, peeling out, near suicidal turns and lane changes, screaming I hate you, I knew you would trap me in this car, so I’m turning the fucking car around. Like a fucking idiot, I told her to just keep going to your mom’s… Wish now I would have told her to fuck off, but I swear I was afraid her driving would have killed me, or some other poor schmuck who got in the way of the raging, narcissistic cheating bitch. When I finally did start to sing to my family and friends for support, her comment was:

    “I know you’re just trying to build up an army against me.”

    I can’t wait till her work compadres get wind, via the wrong fucking guy to mess with.

  • What was lacking in my marriage? Well, maybe it lacked a non-disordered wife with empathy, integrity and half a brain. Tough to work on that.

    • Yeah, mine lacke a husband who could keep his pants on around other women and who saw nothing wrong with having massive online flirts going all day, every day.

      • Mine wanted ego kibbles. His mother used to stroke his ego daily, and now he needed OW to do it, because I dared to treat him like an adult and an equal.

        His lying ‘ho was such a phony. I can’t believe he couldn’t see that she had idealized her husband initially and than quickly devalued him like most disordered people do.

        He was perfect today, and soon he would be the guy that made her barf and that she was disgusted to look at.

        That was was her description of her nice hardworking husband, in one of the emails sent to me. Of course my ex, her new toy, was perfect in every way……for now.

        But interestingly I was starting to see that she was already devaluing my ex.

        In one email thread they fought because she went on vacation with her mother and canceled their meeting last minute. He was enraged. She was annoyed.

        • Sheesh, my MIL is one of those who told her boy he was perfect and anything that went wrong in his life was someone else’s fault. Wish I could have seen that for what it was because once I grew up and assumed he had done the same I no longer blamed others for his screw ups but rationally talked about how he handled things and what could be done to correct it. How dare I deal with things like an adult–and that doesn’t mean I wasn’t supportive or was a total bitch, I wasn’t, I simply handled it all as a grownup.

          His mother naturally blames me for his cheating and I have to say that I kind of hate the bitch these days because she threw away 20 years of knowing me almost as easily as he did.

          He’s already devaluing OW in little ways because he can’t help himself. Part of his devaluing of her, I think, is not signing the final divorce papers. Whether she knows about this or not is irrelevant…it’s that little thing that says he is in control. I actually feel sorry for her these days.

  • I didn’t even have the option of deciding for myself if I wanted to keep it quiet.

    The second (yes, you read that right, as in more than once) time my Andy decided he wanted a divorce, he EMAILED me at my JOB.

    I ask you: Who drops a bombshell like that on someone via email while they are at WORK??!!

    I was a a complete & utter wreck; left work in tears. Like an extra in a zombie movie–and I am not exaggerating. The entire building knew about it in short order. But I made a number of really intense friendships in a short period of time from it. And guess what? I know a real, live unicorn. They are the sweetest couple. (That’s a different topic entirely, but I believe they are the real deal.) So with his typical cruel and selfish MO, Andy actually succeeded in bolstering my support network.

    A week later my medical doctor diagnosed clinical shock and said I’d been there for a while now.

    The funny thing: I haven’t gone out of my way to tell tons of people all the details. I’m not trying to protect his privacy, but I’m not gushing everything to complete strangers either. Meanwhile, Andy feels the need to defend himself at every turn. I have had so many “mutual” friends contact me to say they are fed up with how Andy treats them, people in general, and his own family in particular.

    My advice to people divorcing a “crazy” person: Keep your mouth shut and let them destroy themself. They are better at it than you are.

  • I am appalled at how many people have said to me, “well, it must have been a mid-life crisis.” Like that explains or excuses his cheating and lying. Does he deserve a pass just because he turned 50 and poor baby (sniffle) wasn’t handling it well. Fuck that! I don’t remember checking my integrity at the door on my 50th birthday. Oh yeah…and #6 was blown to smithereens on d-day. He was livid that I told people. I also heard stupid crap like, “If you tell anyone, we’ll never be able to save our marriage.” Or my favorite – “If you keep telling people, I’ll have no choice but to go to her.” As I told him that day – There shouldn’t be anything to tell. His reputation is in the toilet, and he still blames me to this day.

    • My STBX and yours are obviously sharing the same pea brain with the bullshit they spew. Mine said pretty much the same thing about me ‘ruining’ things by telling people, that I ruined his rep–and yes, it’s all my fault. I wonder about their mental capacity at times. Was he always this stupid and I just did all his thinking for him?

  • “If you tell anyone, we’ll never be able to save our marriage.” Or my favorite – “If you keep telling people, I’ll have no choice but to go to her.”

    If you fuck that whore, we’ll never be able to save our marriage. If you keep fucking her, you’ll have no choice but to go to her cuz I’m kicking your ass to the curb, idiot.

    My son insists that I not tell his girlfriend’s parents, since the father works with my ex. Now I’m wondering if my ex told my son not to tell.

    Idiot.

    (Tee-hee. He HATED when I called him an idiot after BD. Said I shouldn’t call him names.

    Ohhhh…HAHAHAHAH! And he shouldn’t fuck manipulative alcoholics, and he shouldn’t lie to his family and run up credit card bills. Idiot.)

    Well, too late! I told a woman I know who is friends with a real talker, and, well, the rest is history. Every. One. Knows.

    (Iiiiiiiiiddddddddddddddiottttttttttttt-uhhhhhhhhhhhhh.)

    • I plan on not keeping quiet, but also not singing like a canary. I will tell my family, of course, and they will do a good job of righteous indignation all on their own. I’ll tell my colleagues, since any divorce proceedings will interfere with work. And I’m promising myself to tell exactly one of my STBXH’s co-workers–the woman with the biggest mouth in town. I will tell her not only that he’s been cheating, but also the name of the AP.

      Right now, he’s fairly respected for his moral integrity and work ethic. However, he’s boinked the equivalent of the company whore. Some of STBXH’s co-workers have dated said woman. Once. And then broke off because, as one said, he’d want to respect himself in the morning.

      Karma will arrive with a vengeance.

  • At first my cheater SOB didn’t want me to tell anyone. Then he acknowledged (thanks???) my right to tell but wanted me to tell him who I’d told. I guess for information management. Sure – whatever … Now the answer would be … Ummm who doesn’t know? Wups!

    But hey – he’s got a 5 year old that isn’t going away – so um… Yeah the confidentiality-ship sailed the day I found out. (Two months ago – yep not when child conceived or born… Much much later).

    If I’d known then – well on the upshot I’ve got a gorgeous 3 year old and 1 year old. And if I’d had a clue they wouldn’t exist. So everything came out in the right moment I believe.

    Good bye 15 year relationship. Hello single mum-hood.

    But my kids having an older brother – no way that shit is staying a secret!!!

    • Wow Melissa, that’s a story! How did you find out?

      I found out after the divorce that the OW’s son was my ex’s. (I suspected, but of course he denied it.) He pulled that shit off for 20 years plus. As far as I know, wife #2 didn’t know about his other “family” either. (I was wife #3.)

  • the only people I listened to for advice was myself and my lawyer. he was worth every penny I paid him and looked after my interests legally. worst advice came from STBX on how I should handle my finances since I am now single. it was about 2 weeks after I kicked him out. apparently he had already been in contact with his pension office months before and knew what my payout would be. I looked at him with dead eyes and told him he wasn’t my husband anymore and don’t tell me how to spend my money. I always worked hard, saved, he just spent ( mostly on himself). he’s still in debt from paying for the divorce he wanted and this summer I am going to Hawaii with my 2 daughters. karmas a bitch.

  • When I found out what my husband had been doing behind my back for years… I went and told his sister and aunt (only a few years older than him). He was very upset with me for doing this.

    He said:

    “That was very wrong of you. This was just between US.”

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