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Dear Chump Lady, Why blame the chump?

Dear Chump Lady,

Why are these so called experts so rabid about blaming chumps for their part in creating a situation where they got betrayed? Can’t they just admit that cheaters are sick fucks?  Ugh.

I loved my ex-husband and he knew it.  I did the whole forgiveness thing and he acted remorseful and ultra loving.  Our marriage went bad, he was bad.  I have no responsibility or accountability for his dysfunction.  Blame his mother!

WTF is wrong with these people that insist in blaming us???


Dear Carol,

Good question. I think the bigger question you’re asking here is why is infidelity such a big shrug in our culture. Something we should tolerate in a marriage, work through, and stick with — unlike, say, alcoholism or physical abuse. (Other things chumps have been blamed for “driving” spouses to in the past too.)

If you understand the cultural assumption, I think you will understand the blame.

First, I think it’s a result of poor critical thinking. We don’t make people DO things and control outcomes (ah, that we did… if that were the case, that winning lottery ticket in New Jersey would be MINE!) Shrinks perhaps are guilty of getting too deep into the weeds, looking at the “causal” influences that drive behavior. Oh, he must have deep neurosis, insecurities, and inadequacies that drive his desire to cheat. The marriage must be deeply unfulfilling and it’s that environment (created by the chump) that creates the conditions in which cheating occurs. So if we change the environment (bad chump! improve chump!), we can fix the cheater. And if we shore up the cheater (poor sausage, what did that bad self-loathing make you do?), we can improve the marriage.

This is why I like Dr. George Simon’s work, because he debunks that whole poor sausage, inner neurosis shit, and says essentially, no, what you see is what you get. They have disturbed characters. They actually DO think they deserve to behave appallingly and don’t feel one bit ashamed about it.

The more cynical of us would point out too that the whole Reconciliation Industrial Complex is predicated on fixing cheaters and chumps. And you’re not going to keep a cheater in therapy unless you put part of the rap (or all of the rap) on the chump. Chumps are usually good codependents, so they’ll take that shit sandwich out of desperation to save the marriage. Yea! I can fix this! I control this outcome! Show me how! Sell me that book! (Cue Dr. Tammy…) The couple goes round and round, and the therapy bills go up and up, because no one is prepared to call the cheater on their shit. (Reconciliation is a delicate thing, don’t scare the cheater away!) Oh sure, they have to admit they cheated, but that’s easier to admit if you have a bunch of therapy-approved “reasons” why it happened. (Bitch set me up.)

Second, chumps get the blame because IMO a lot of people view the dynamic of an abusive relationship through the lens of who they identify with, or essentially, who they’d rather be — cheater or chump. And let’s face it, the Devil always gets the best parts. People who haven’t experienced infidelity can fantasize about an affair. All that crap is in our popular culture — the star-crossed lovers, the harridan and the poor long suffering husband who has his head turned by the ingenue. We’re wired to find other people attractive, or sexually fantasize about people who aren’t our partner, that’s all very natural. So when it comes to imagining who we would be in the Hypothetical Cheating Situation — a lot of people are going to go with cheater over chump. They can fantasize about being edgy and bohemian and risk taking for hot sex. They can’t imagine being used, abused, and defrauded. (Very sucky fantasy there.) To avoid guilt (or critical thinking) about who we identify with, it’s helpful to come up with reasons for Why Chumps Deserve to Be Cheated On. They were controlling, sexless, withholding, etc. They held our hero back from reaching his Full Creative Potential (insert your cultural cliche here). Now the sexy fantasy can move forward. Now we don’t have to feel bad about cheaters we admire, because hey, they had their reasons.

Third, I think chumps get the blame for cheating because our culture excuses it. Lots has been written about whether or not we live in a more narcissistic age (I think we do and perhaps this is fodder for another post). Articles, like that last one by Dr. Tammy on HuffPo, point to technology as a reason why cheating occurs, gosh, it’s just so easy! So let’s everyone lower our expectations about monogamy. But I would argue that Ashley Madison isn’t the reason that people cheat. You’d never know Ashley Madison exists if you didn’t go looking for it (but, counter the Tammys, it’s so easy to look!) No. You cheat because you gave yourself PERMISSION to cheat. And that comes from within. And, IMO, that inner conversation has changed for a lot of folks because it’s cool to be a narcissist.

Some people, yeah, are wired wrong. They’re truly sociopaths. They’re going to be hurtful monsters because they’ve got zero empathy. Nothing in their head sets off alarms that actions are wrong. In the parlance of shrinks, they have “no adaptive anxiety.” But not every cheater has a personality disorder — some are just greedy, permissive, piggies.

Eons ago I was a student at the London School of Economics, and my favorite class was Prof. Donnelly’s “The Ethics of War.” I remember this fascinating discussion about the history of submarines. For years, the technology existed to build submarines, but the British wouldn’t do it because it was considered unsporting and sneaky to come up on people from below, attacking them from under the water. You might say, oh, but all’s fair in war — and you’d be wrong. There were lots of rules about engaging in combat. What changed, argued Donnelly, is the ethics. The culture had to decide first that it was okay to fight this way. The British had to erode their ideal of what was sporting and what was not. And only THEN could the technology go forward to build a submarine.

We don’t have guillotines for babies. Even though we could build such a contraption. For baby guillotines to take off with any great success, first we’d have to agree as a society that it’s okay to guillotine babies. (To use an extreme example. We have no reason to execute babies, oh but I’m sure more evil minds could invent one… but we can think of reasons why we need to use submarines to spy on and attack our enemies.)

Chumps take the blame because it’s a way to erode the ethics around cheating. It’s a way to give PERMISSION to the act of cheating. And that’s why I think it is so important to speak out about infidelity as a chump. To take on the commenting trolls at Huffington Post or the boorish uncle at your next family gathering. Dude, cheating is pathetic. It’s what losers do. It makes your dick look small.

So, go fight the good fight, chumps. Don’t take the blame!  

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  • Fantastic post, CL. And completely spot on.

    So many try to take the blame on themselves because we know, deep down, that we do have the capacity to change and I think we also know, deep down, that our cheaters do not.

    god, cheating sucks balls.

  • Imagine how much business would be lost if counselors and therapists said, “You’re probably better off ending this marriage” every time they encountered somebody whose spouse was a serial cheater. Imagine how many self-help books offering various techniques for turning you into a moral pretzel would not be sold.

    The economy depends on Chumps remaining Chumps. We must increase the number of Chumps!

    • My therapist, who was our therapist, did tell me I’d be better off without him. She actually said ‘how in the world could you ever trust him again?’. thank god for her. She saved me from anymore doubt, along with a few good friends.

      • My therapist totally did the “he’s damaged goods” thing – no if’s and’s or but’s – not worth your time – exit stage “right” in no uncertain terms. God, so what I needed to hear at the time. And, then there was CHUMP LADY!! What is it about the intent to do the right thing? So unexpected sometimes.

        I think we should all fly to Texas and have dinner at Tracey’s house…. CL, you would like that, right?

        • Oh…. and an update – you know the “Decode…..” thing CL did for me? When I first found this site – it is apparently making the rounds now to various support groups around my city (chump and divorce (suspect chumpdom) support groups) – in the form of “dramatic” readings. Not what I expected at all but, it was very funny…. totally on point and snark at its snarky best. I have never joined one of those groups, but, I think I know how it all got started from the original “Shrinks R Us” gathering out by the airport that held a half day seminar on technology’s effect on the family – which apparently included some discussion on narcissism gone wild…….

          Geez, things on the internet can have serious legs!! Party on.

    • Mine did … first appointment he told us to “find a way to separate” and that our story would not have a happy ending. He didn’t even try to book another appointment. Just told me I’d never get what I wanted in terms of remorse and basically to get the hell out. Best $190 spent ever.

      Of course, my STBX wanted another session to convince the therapist the marriage was salvageable. The therapist obliged and my STBX was given a list of things to do to prove he wanted to save the marriage. Did he ever do any of them? Nope. Of course not.

      • My STBX went so he can now say ‘we tried counseling and it didn’t work’. Erm, yes, it’s difficult to work on the marriage when you’re banging your sidepiece regularly.

  • I don’t take responsibility for anyone else’s behavior, especially not the cheater’s. This is new for me. Previously I felt a lot of responsibility for his image and took on a lot of his responsibilities. Maybe people blame us because we allow them to by assuming they have any say in the matter. Ignorant people are welcome to think what they want. When people believe dumb things it’s likely they are just ignorant–so why give two sparkly shits what they think? My ex idiot and his vapid troll have to live with what they’ve done. They can try to justify it, to rationalize it amongst people who choose to believe it, who live by cliches, who lack judgement. If it makes the two of them feel good that they can fool the blind or the similarly pathetic–have at it. Smell y’all later. I run in different circles, thankfully. I no longer am stained by his reputation. He’s on his own to live with the consequences of his poor choices. I no longer have to. That part feels good–not being partnered with an aging liability. I miss my best friend but I’m realizing that guy was made up in my head. That’s the part I’m interested in correcting–why didn’t I believe myself when I knew there was something seriously wrong with him and the people he surrounded himself with?

    • Totally agree Stephanie…..he has fallen into his safety net of real losers…like serious repeat felons. I gave him respectability, and now I have to walk away with my head held high, even though so many people are baffled…they loved him because I did, and they know I’m a good person, what’s not to love. I am trying so hard to figure out why I let myself fall into this….

      • It’s truly liberating, really. But we have a job to do, and that is to figure out why we were so comfortable with our choice for so long, when something from within was warning us. Why did I ignore myself? My ex has a close friend who has been married and divorced three times, who’d advised him to just go get a “massage” rather than get a divorce. The guy is disgusting. I bought his sparkles, hook, line, and sinker. I thought he was daring and cool and wise, when, in fact, there was no evidence of that. He and the ex’s fuckbuddy are FB friends. (I know, I shouldn’t look but I do.) So everything is all good, everyone approves. Likely there has been some serious misrepresentation to the “friend” as there had been for years to the ex’s sympathetic mother. (MUCH easier for the MIL to blame me than to blame her disgusting son and his revolting fuckbuddy.) Yesterday I cared. This morning I woke up and thought, “Woah–what is it about ME that turns down my bullshit meter around people who smell like that??” I’m thinking a LOT about that today. It’s a good lesson.

        I like to get along with people. I’ve been wrong about some good people. I don’t like negative peer pressure when I dislike someone who is unlikeable. I’m afraid of being isolated and ostracized and abandoned. I’m used to being told my feelings don’t matter. And you know what that makes me? Vulnerable to abandonment and being blamed for it.

        Bullies quickly learn who they can and cannot bully. Haha–I think that may well be the real reason victims are blamed–because we tolerate bullies. We are chumps who are beginning to wake the hell up.

        • “Why did I ignore myself?”

          In large part because you respected the opinion of a person you trusted with your heart. Admirable.

          And a second large part is that as a developed human being you recognize the possibility that you might be wrong. Admirable, again.

          These are two reasons why you are not a narcissist. The fact that you recognize yourself as a chump means you have earned a measure of wisdom and won’t be ignoring yourself anytime soon. Without being a narcissist. Really admirable.

    • Steph, I could have written all that myself. My friend asked me, when I was upset with the inlaws and their reactions, why did I care about their opinion and why did I need their approval? It really made me snap my head up and think and it changed my view and attitude quite a bit.

      Like you STBX and his little OW can justify all they want: they still know what they did and he sure as hell knows what HE did for years. I am no longer a part of any of it, nor do I want to be.

      As soon as I get more work I will be able to cut ties with him financially and it will be fabulous. So if anyone needs to hire me I’m ready!

  • It sucks massively and tears countless families apart every year. Then my STBX just shrugs his shoulders and goes with the story of how “we had a good ride” and our marriage just “lost the passion”, how there was equal blame, etc. Twatever loser.

    I did put spying software on our home computer, which is how I finally got confirmation of what he was doing. Originally I hope that it would help me see what he was so unhappy about, (the software showed me every convo he had with the OW) so I could change and then he’d be happy and faithful. Im sure its shocking to everyone that he was constantly changing what he wasnt happy about, and no matter if he was happy or how happy he was – the cheating train just kept a chugging down the tracks.

    Im bailing off this ride, cause I can see the wreck up ahead.

    I made lots of mistakes as a wife, Im not even close to perfect. But I did honor my marriage vows, I understood although sex is an important part of marriage its not the ONLY important part, I felt that marriage is a life-long commitment so that when you do go through bad times you stick together and work it out till you get back to the good.

    I guess his views on marriage were “hey, my penis isnt happy, so its time to move on”. Never mind the 2 kids or 20 years we’ve been together.

    Too bad he didnt share any of that with me, man up and say he wanted out. He just kept screwing around, lying in counseiling until I was half nuts. Then when I filed for divorce, he could say “well she’s the one that wanted out”. If Im such a horrible bitch of a wife, he should be happy Im setting him free. I should wish his ho-worker/gf luck, she’s gonna need it.

    • Oh brother…STBX said to me at one point ‘we had 20 good years and now you’re smashing it to bits with your hatefulness and rage’. This was after I found out about years of cheating and apparently my anger was teh problem, not his wandering dick.

      And yes, STBX’s ho-worker is going to need a guardian angel because right now she thinks she’s the cat’s meow and has won the big prize. I give it 1-2 years before he actually cheats physically but figure he hasn’t given up his online flirts even for a nano-second, especially considering he was banging and chasing other women whilst already in his ‘true love’ affair with her.

      • Oh yeah.. I heard “I can’t believe you’re just going to throw away all our history… all we had.”

        Right… that was us who stomped on our vows and our commitments. That was us who lied, cheated and abused. It was us who Threw Away the whole deal. All because we FINALLY said, no more.

        All I have ever asked of the X is to own what he did. He can’t even do that.

    • Angie None of us are perfect, we all make mistakes and don’t even live up to our own expectations let alone someone elses’s but I think us chumps beleieve in love and the vows we take, richer, poorer sick, healthy . Reading your post I see my future. My H who I still love says he wants a divorce but can’t seem to make the next step. I know that if it goes on like this I will eventiually have to be the one who starts the proceedings and then it will be my fault. God I hate this.

      • He probably wants you to do it so he can say that you’re the one who filed. But who cares? Don’t get in a pissing match about it. It’s just one more way of him trying to control the narrative. Take his power away by doing what’s right for you.

        • I have stopped responding to my STBX garbage, because he will believe whatever makes him feel better about what he’s done so anything I say just falls on deaf ears. Why waste my time, when I dont care anymore what he thinks of me. He can blame me all he wants, as long as he does it from his own apt then I dont give a shit. He has also now gone through my cell phone, purse and found a journal I last wrote in 7 years ago. In the journal I was bitching about him, so now he takes that as ammo to toss in my face that I “never loved him”. Trying to balance out the scales so he doesnt look so bad? *sigh* You can’t argue with that kind of reasoning, because you wont find logic where there is none. Distance, no contact and time to get on witht my life.

          • I have been lucky to have no no conversation, except for 1 or 2 devastating “reveals” where I asked questions, and he gave me some horrifying answers….
            But mainly lucky because when we would argue in the last year or so…he just made NO SENSE! I mean crazy out of space statements that would leave me confused, upset, and wondering when they were going to come get me a lock me up! Then he would skip out the door to have sex with whomever….Boy I bet he misses that cat and mouse game because what a good mouse I was! We ALL need a medal, hang in there chumps!

  • Yes, Great post, CL!

    IMO, Couples therapy with a cheater is huge waste of time and yes, of course its hard on the pocketbook. Shrinks aren’t stupid. They’ve got a couple of $200/hr patsies sitting in their office and of course they want to keep them COMING BACK FOR MORE! So, yeah… I was thinking along the lines of Timeheals that the shrink isn’t going to sit there and say to the cheater. “you suck. how could you do that to your wife? what on earth WERE you thinking?” Same thing with those weekend “intensives.”

    Can’t “fix” what was never there to begin with.

    For the betrayed spouse, these painful therapy sessions end up being largely even MORE humiliating and damaging as they become re-traumatized by their worst nightmare that it WAS something that they DID or DID not do and that the “poor cheater” couldn’t help himself. His mother ridiculed him and his father beat him with a stick and if ONLY you were a better cook, a better lover, more patient, more accepting of whatever HE wants… then, he wouldn’t have NEEDED to stray.

    Fine. Well, then tell me… why doesn’t he/she take up cooking or fixing old clocks or some other out-in-the-open-healthy hobby as a means to escape from his own FOO trauma? (poor baby) What does his trauma have anything to do with fucking over the one person that he portends to love more than anyone else on the face of the earth?

    He does it because he’s an entitled ass.

    Hey, shrinks. Hear this! The jig is up! The emperor is butt neked! Stop blaming the VICTIM!

    no charge.

    • PS. My 90 yr old mother is a marriage and family counselor LOL who’s written two self-help books and yes, she still works! However, we’ve had many, many discussions about this and she agrees with me.

      • You Go Laurel! My BF seems to LOVE delving into FOO issues in therapy. THAT must be why I cheat! Well, guess what? I have FOO issues too,and I DON’T cheat! No fuckface,
        you cheated because you wanted to.

  • It’s been almost 30 years since I read the Tom Wolfe book The Right Stuff about the early days of the space age program, and the ballsy fighter pilots who were drafted into the manning the new space ships. I remember vaguely, but I can’t find the quotes, about a phenomenon described in the book that kept a lot of pilots going after they saw their buddies crash planes and die in fiery infernos. They’d point to errors that the pilot had made, or something in his personality that caused the crash. This way they could stand apart from the guy and safely say, in effect, “That would never happen to me.” Blaming the victim made the survivors feel safe.

    “MY spouse would never do that to me because I keep tabs on him/her.” Or any of a million other reasons why “MY spouse would never do that to me because” I keep myself looking good, or I have sex whenever he wants, or I never ask for sex from her, or I buy her flowers or cook dinner for him and help around the house and give him/her their freedom. “That would never happen to me.”

    Well, you can SEE why it happened to him/her. Why, they’d let themselves go, or they probably never had sex, or she’d picked one of Those Guys who obviously are predatory in their quests for side action–I mean, couldn’t she tell when she married him???? That would never happen to me. *I*’m different.

    In my case, It Would Never Happen To Me because I was mature and had picked a mature guy who actually wanted kids before I did, you see–a guy like that is Going To Stick Around. My husband is well-educated, and Statistics Show that well-educated couples have lower rates of divorce. Also his parents were divorced, and that divorce had hurt him, and my parents weren’t divorced, so we each came to the marriage knowing that divorce is wrong. And we loved our kids. And then it happened.

    In hindsight, sure–I now see what I didn’t see. In that way, I suppose, you might blame me for picking him. But did I CAUSE him to hit up his ex-fuck on Facebook? Did I cause him to book a flight to Hawaii to be with her? Did I cause him to book Motel 6 rooms or drive to a lake to fuck her in our family car? Did I cause him to lie to me and to his kids? Did I cause him to pick her over his family? Did I hurt his reputation? No–in no way did I do that, and in no way am I responsible for his behavior, in spite of not being a perfect wife.

    That’s on him.

    • I bloody well hate when people say ‘well, you should have picked a better mate’ like STBX showed me that he was a cheating narc while dating. Or ever, actually. Seriously, does anyone think I would have married him and had children with him and spent 20 years with him if I had known he was living a double life? Get real.

    • This is a great thread. And it’s correct. If someone changes their mind/wants to change the terms of the marital arrangement, all they have to do is “man-up” (“human-up?”) and announce it. That said, Stephanie mentions something very interesting above. She says that, “I now see what I didn’t see.” Stephanie, it’s none of my business, but if you could lay out in general terms what you now see, the “tells” (to borrow a term from poker) that could have told you what kind of player (no pun intended) you were really dealing with, that would be great.

      I think there is a real Chump Movement out there, a kind of anti-narcissism backlash. CL often cites history. Well, we are leaving a time of debt-based prosperity (“borrow against your house and spend!”) and are headed into a period when bills are going to have to be paid. I think this presents a kind of global warming trend that will be favorable to the honesty and transparency that chumps are demanding. I also think that this will undercut (somewhat) narcissism, which has gotten raised to some kind of high value by our society.

      In any case, I want to think more about this warming trend toward modest, moral behavior. I think it’s coming. And I think CL and all these contributors are pushing the needle in the right direction.

      • David–lots of antisocial behavior that I spackled over, is what I now SEE. He broke up with me TWICE before we were married. Treated me like crap–“Don’t tell anyone we’re seeing each other.” There were warnings from my friends who did not like him–that sort of thing. I won’t bore you. Truth is, he just wasn’t that into me, but I refused to acknowledge the truth.

        • Thanks, Stephanie. You are not boring me at all. Your comments are great.

          We should probably work on a check list of warning signs. I sometimes contribute as “Chump Son,” since the chumping phenomenon is not limited to marriages/romances. The classic (and maybe most common) pattern is narcissistic man marries co-dependent woman, but there are other kinds of chumps out there, and it’s important to recognize when we are being “chumped.” It can be hard. Chumps are naturally nice people (and often emerge from families where some kind of abuse-and-co-dependency pattern was present.) We want to look at the bright side. We are good at rationalizations, at overriding our gut when it says, “Watch out!” We look to ourselves first, thinking, “Well, maybe I did something….” But really we need to sharpen our own early morning radar. Some warning signs I’ve noticed, both my observation and experience, are:

          –Lots of innapropriate rage, serious anger-management issues. Does this person make you “walk on eggshells?” If so, you may have your flaws, but something is wrong with them when they consistently create this atmosphere.

          –Segregation. Just like it’s bad in race relations, it’s bad in relations, period. Does this person try to privatize your relationship? Does he/she try to create unilateral lines of communication? Does he/she not like your friends (and vice versa)? Is the other person into isolation? Frequently families with problems — let’s say with an abusive father (though it could be Mom) — will be run like little secret societies. It’s taboo to tell anyone “the family business.” One key: Can this family have guests? If you can’t do overnight guests, if your spouse vetoes that because it’s too stressful, it can be a sign that he/she likes to keep the rest of the world walled off. Transparency and outside light almost always embarrass/remove the power of narcissistic characters.

          –Blaming others. If there are problems, it’s always someone else’s fault.

          –In men, narcissism is often accompanied by workaholism or hobby-holism. Does this guy play video games all day, play golf constantly, etc?

          –In men, I’ve seen guys who complain constantly about work, about the burden of supporting a family. A family is not a burden, it’s a blessing, but if they don’t see it that way, then that’s a bad sign.

          I’ll try to think of others. The problems with the ones above is that the last two, for example, would only surface after you really are involved with someone, so they work less well as early warnings.

          Thanks again, Stephanie. Great posts!

          • Thanks, David–those are excellent. There are probably volumes written about the you’re-about-to-be-chumped warning signs. Don’t forget the classic: accusing others of chumping him/her. My ex was SO afraid of being shamed by an affair–by being made a chump by ME! (He really is the chump in this situation, now, but he put himself there by screwing a loser.)

            • So, he was trying to pre-chump/preventively chump you because he was so insecure?

              Wow. Sounds like quite a character.

              I’ve been thinking, not just about imminent chump warning signs, but about long term warning signs. Although young folks will always make mistakes, if we taught more narcissism recognition skills, it would be a good thing. The way our culture is tilted, narcissism is glorified. So my thinking is that CL is really the tip of the spear of a kind of movement, an anti-narcissism movement. Early recognition help some folks.

              Every little bit helps.

              • My ex narc was in a way opposite of the isolation route, sort of. Yes, he was a major workaholic and when he came home he always had to have scores of people over. He never wanted to be alone with me and that’s how he kept me isolated from him. He still is doing the same things-keeps himself and Ow frantically busy, entertaining, constantly socializing, holidays, business functions… That was my life before he left and it was empty, meaningless, exhausting and lonely. Constant validation from others. I like to socialize too, but it’s important for me to have down time and meaningful connections with real friends, family and those I care about the most. I have found a good balance now and feel so much more satisfied and content. I actually feel sorry for that poor woman who took my place!

        • Akkk! Stephanie, my X asked me not to introduce him to people….I ALWAYS thought he was shy…he just didn’t want to get caught! Have thought a lot about that lately…

        • Hi Stephanie – as I read “he just wasn’t that into me,” my first thought was that someone like that is never really into anybody else – other than his/her own self. And David, love the poker analogy. The Kenny Roger’s song “The Gambler” comes to mind.

  • These cheaters also blame the people who don’t simply condone and admire the fact that they have blown apart a family or two on their way to finding their “real true love.” I had a mutual acquaintance of my STBX and mine tell me this story the other night:

    She said “I saw STBX and AP at the bar a few weeks ago. STBX introduced me to AP and then left to go to the bathroom. AP then started asking me for advice on how to deal with going through a divorce in a small town. I guess because I have been divorced. What she doesn’t get is that I got a divorce because we decided to end our marriage – not because one of us decided to leave for someone else!”

    And I immediately realized that STBX and AP don’t even seem to think there is anything wrong with the fact that they destroyed two families as a result of their affair. In their eyes, the problem is with the members of the “small town” who must be too unaccepting of their love, rather than with how their relationship came to be.

    Blame the chumps. Or at least blame those who feel badly for the chumps.

    • Yep– my idiot STBX and his moron OW, both parents with small children under the age of ten, think that what they are doing is glorious. They didn’t destroy two families! They didn’t hurt their children! They left terrible relationships to create The Ideal Family together, where the stepsiblings are happy and loving and can’t imagine how life could have existed before The Perfect Blended Family. They are the heroes in this epic tale that is Their Love. No one was hurt or damaged who didn’t deserve it– the BSs are terrible people that they needed to escape.

      I can’t believe that I was ever married to that man. He once seemed so practical, forthright, and honest. This is a man who pores over his tax forms, crossing every T and dotting every I. Now, he just seems totally looney to me. The kids keep telling me things that make me shake my head with wonder. STBX and the OW seem more like teenagers whose parents disapprove of their relationship– but they will be together, no matter the cost– than 40-somethings with children and bills to pay and chores to do. I’m waiting for STBX to get a tattoo and a motorcycle… should be any day now…

      • something not so great….. my X’s oldest daughter wrote me an email about – I forget what – and at some point she mentioned that she could appreciate that my responding to her would/could be like rubbing salt in the wound…. which it was especially because there’s just no way that she didn’t know and assist the whole yucky shit that went down. I suppose I should have been nice, and its not like I wasn’t, I just didn’t respond at all. I felt bad because she actually did the best she could accepting me in her father’s life – it must have been hard for her but I don’t feel good about any of them now – there’s so many who must have known and just would shine me on…. I can still feel all the humiliation down to my toes. I just despise them all – probably unfair, but true. I cut all contact with anyone who has any point of intersection – a clean break was the only reasonable, save myself, course that I could see.

        I never had children of my own….. and it was something I wanted and it just never happened – I was really really looking forward to the X’s grandkids – they were funny and cute and I felt like maybe I would be a part of their life….. guess not.

        • I’m with you, Erika. Loved the family aspect of being with my X. Not having children of my own but having wanted them. I had a good relationship with his grown daughters and loved the grandbaby visit. I understand your not contacting your X’s teen daughter. There are so many reasons why she may have known but not done anything. But I’m glad you are putting yourself first in knowing what you can and cannot do. And then doing what you can and letting go of what you cannot.

          • Actually the X’s daughters were grown and in the time he and I were together – several grandkids were born – so I got to participate from the beginning with them – really bad idea to get involved with other people’s kids. You get really attached and then, they’re gone. Just like that. It just not possible to bridge the gap after an event like this. There’ s a “new” step-grandmother now….. and his daughters always wanted him to date her, not me. I was replaceable is all and I’m not likely to make the same mistake again which is too bad because I think I was kind of good at it.

            I certainly enjoyed it and was looking forward to what might be. Oh well.

      • MovingOn I see the teenage thing as well. I think it’s why STBX likes to stir up shit with me when things get boring with OW–because then they get back to the dynamic of the evil wife/nasty mummy thing, where they have something to fight against together so that their great love will prevail.

        It’s very juvenile and I refuse to play their game.

        • Nord – I got that “our love against the world” battle too – the “the alliance of lurv” …. all the excitement of secrets and finding ways to steal away so they could talk/fuck/eat lunch – and then, he’d spend more time with me at which point they could get so worked up missing each other that the stolen phone call or email / text or maybe even a stolen kiss down the street must have just set everyone’s loins aflame – For several months I didn’t actually know I was in a “battle” though….

          In a moment of clarity I decided I was finished being the boogeyman in the game – I refused, REFUSED to be the clingy, needy, crazy girlfriend holding on for dear life so they could ally themselves and fight together against me – and their “love would prevail”.

          Nope, not me – wasn’t and won’t be me. BTDT I walked – It felt like walking thru fire, but I walked.

          And at times, it still feels like fire – but he’ll never know.

          • They still try to do it…I get weird emails accusing me of strange things and STBX fairly regularly tries to stir up shit with me. I assume he needs the excitement and to feel like he’s still doing something wrong. I don’t know. It’s a mindfuck of epic proportions and I just leave him to it. He seems to need/thrive on drama but he’s going to have to find it somewhere else.

            • I havent gotten the “true love” story from STBX and the OW, in fact he’s still claiming that what he was doing wasnt really cheating that Im ending our marriage for no reason. Let’s check the facts shall we, that have occured just with the latest OW over the past 3 years:

              1)sitting in his car after work to grope each other and have make out sessions
              2)writting letters to each, online and on paper, about the explicit details of what sex acts they wanted to peform on each other
              3)he bought her lunch, candy, soda etc that they shared at lunch break at work
              4) having discussions online about what a terrible unloving wife I am. Amazing how she knows all about me and why I do or say anything over the past 3 years when we have never met
              5) he admitted to me the first time I caught him with her that the only reason they had not had sex was because they didnt have an available bed to do it in.

              Oh yes, I can see how I totally misread that “friendship”.

            • Weird how the X was always accusing others of being “drama queens” – turns out he’s the one who needed all the drama – big drama, big sighs, lots and lots of self pity – god, when I get any perspective on it at all I just feel disgusted. Its disgusting.

  • When STBX came home after he began his short-lived therapy, he told me the therapist told him that I needed to take responsibility for my part in the demise of the marriage/shat caused him to cheat.


    I had no idea STBX had been cheating on me for about half the time we had been together. STBX never told me he was unhappy with the marriage (indeed, he seemed to love the perks of being married – never having to clean up after himself, never having to do bills or budget our income, limited child-rearing duties (because he was soooo busy grading papers/lesson planning, he had to focus on that…and apparently, going online to see which of his former students he could start “talking” to…)). He was always affectionate with me and always said “I love you.”

    So, was I supposed to be a mindreader and figure out that, no, he’s really miserable! He just HAS to find a 17-19 year old “friend” to talk to! And if that leads to sex with one of his former students, well, he was “sad” and it MUST have been my fault!

    That’s a bunch of crap. He didn’t feel unhappy – he felt entitled.

    I KNOW I’m not perfect. I have a temper and I yell more than I should. I’m tight-fisted with money. But I’m also understanding, able to see things from others’ point of view, and willing to compromise more than I should for my own good.

    I don’t see how, if he was so miserable, the “hey, I think we need therapy” talk would have been worse than the “I’ve had/am having an affair” talk.

    And while STBX continues to beat the “let’s all take responsibility for the affairs” drum, he stopped going to therapy after the therapist told him that his affair was ridiculous and that he should stop and recommit to the marriage. “What, are you going to leave your family? Move into an apartment with your AP? Of course not” was what the STBX reported to me that the therapist said. And that’s EXACTLY what he’s doing now – living in student housing with his 21 year old former student soulmate. Edgy!

    But it’s my fault too, right? I mean, it was my family who kicked them out of the house (yes, I am ashamed to admit, I was so afraid of life without him that I agreed to having the OW – LIVE WITH US. I tried so hard to keep that marriage going – my family caught wind of the situation and promptly kicked the two of them out of the house). And I was the one who filed for divorce. So surely, because that was my fault, I should be an adult and take responsibility for my part in this?

    NO WAY. I’ve been a responsible person my whole life. But I REFUSE to take responsibility for his crap any longer. I’m sorry he and the OW had less than ideal upbringings, but it is their responsibility to rise above that. He cheated because he felt like it. The OW got involved with him because she has no boundaries. The affair is their responsibility, NOT MINE.

    I’m a MEGA chump – I mean, who allows the OW to live with them? I kept thinking if I tried harder, if I did what he wanted, he would see how good I was, how good our marriage was, and that he would stop the affair. And that the OW would see what a good person I was, and she would not want to hurt me and she would stop the affair.

    Yeah, they let me think that because it was in their best interest. They let me take the blame and be miserable because that was my “responsibility”. They “cared” about me only as long as I was of use to them; once I wasn’t, they got explicitly mean. Starting fights. Sending email/text harangues.

    Well, they can bring it on. They want to blame this chump? They can go ahead and do that. Because THIS chump REFUSES to blame this chump anymore.

    • Bizarre. Parts of your story are so similar to mine. Never any mention of unhappiness, I Love You multiple times daily, everything chugging along nicely…and him chasing younger women and having affairs with those who thought it fun to fuck the married guy. And he still will say to me ‘But what about YOUR part in this?’. It’s mind boggling.

    • Bargaining stage of grief brings out the “mega chump” in a lot of us. Don’t beat yourself up for too long, just learn from it, and don’t run the Motel 8 for OW. 🙂

      Your ex is super creepy — like pedophile creepy. High school students? W.T.F.?! He is a lawsuit and a criminal investigation away from some serious ass karma. Get away from him SOONEST.

      • “He’s a predator” is what my family told me. I couldn’t see it at the time (or for 18 years together with him). He hid it well when we were first together – my family (some parts of it anyway) can be very traditional (as in Old World/males in the family have to vet potential suitors). He passed all the tests.

        So, so, SO done with that relationship. Wish I could go total NC, but my youngest is 9…so 9 years to go…

          • No fault state…only concrete proof of anything was with 18 year olds…so it’s unseemly, but apparently legal. At least, those are the ones I know about…

      • Really…I’m sure you are not alone….I did some (I see now) incredibly stupid things in the past, that I now see (of course) how they must have been laughing behind my back while fucking in my bed.

        I actually FED, and CLOTHED several of what my daughters called “Mom’s skinny girls” and I know now they were sleeping with him. The anon letter I got at work I now know was from a woman I helped/he was fucking 10 years ago!!!!! I hate myself I really do…..

  • The biggest problem here that I see is that the “professionals” are suggesting, wait — no — they are absolutely stating without any kind of irony, that the state of the marriage prior to the affair is the cause for the cheating. And therefore, the BS who was a part of a marriage that was unfulfiling or not great, or crappy or whatever, is partially to blame for the affair.

    That’s logically not at all a compelling argument. Because ultimately, the cheating has nothing to do with the marriage or state of the marriage or the betrayed spouse at all. It has to do with how the cheater copes with stressful or unhappy or unfulfilling situations.

    Healthy people don’t cheat. Healthy people say: “I’m really not happy, can we work together to fix this?” or they say: “I’m done. Let’s get a divorce.” Unhealthy people cheat. And it is not one’s fault that a person is unhealthy other than the person him/herself.

    Okay, but all that said. I wonder about D-day 2 or d-day 3? I mean, it is still not their fault that they are being cheated on. But isn’t it their own fault that they are being hurt again? I mean, at this point, they know who the cheater is. At some point, the BS is knowingly placing him/herself in harm’s way and I lose patience then. That’s like someone who keeps banging his head against a brick wall and then wondering how come he’s always got a concussion.

    Why in the hell do people do that? I just don’t get it.

    • Meh, I dunno. Healthy people probably cheat too. Not as often, but they cheat sometimes because they are human, and humans make mistakes. Healthy and happy people cheat sometimes. It doesn’t make it right.

      They certainly aren’t being compassionate toward their spouses when they do cheat though.

      Now people who cheat over and over…, that’s another animal.

      Once in a long life is an anomaly. More than once in a marriage is a pattern if you ask me.

      • I don’t know. I think that cheating, even once, is symptomatic of someone who has problems coping. I don’t believe that people who cheat, though, ever cheat “just once”. I think that they have inability to cope well and they seek external validation.

        I think that either they cheat repeatedly, but maybe only during “crisis” periods or they have other sorts of unhealthy coping mechanisms through which they cycle in order to make themselves feel better, but it is always unhealthy, always coming from external sources.

      • The last time out with mine….after she had cheated on me 2 days after I bumped our cabin to the best cabin for my son’s wedding cruise. I got phone calls afrom friends and caught her cheating. she opined that she hoped I would find a woman that loved me…….I put her on the bike and rode her home with no word…….hit a couple potholes to aggravate her psychosomatic bad back and dumped her with no word. when she texted that she wanted nothing to do with me I opined…..good whore! cost me 3k to cancel that cruise. she broke me……purposefully. and Dr t thought I was harsh and crossing Ines.

        • STBX told the kids-in front of me-that I’d get over it in a couple of months and find a new guy as soon as that happened.

        • Chump, you were getting way weird with your posts. Sorry, had to block you. Join up again when you’re feeling more lucid, otherwise, I’m going to have to work from the assumption that you’re a troll.

    • I think they call those people masochists, or at the very least they are in massive denial of the truth. They don’t want to know the truth; they don’t want to believe in the truth; they aren’t interested in any other version than what they have believed to be true for so many years. And yeah… I do get it–completely. It sucks knowing that the past 25 years of your life were predicated on a lie— that the person you chose to spend the rest of your life with, is NOT really the person you believed them to be and that this other person (that some people think he might be) is not someone you can tolerate, therefore, you’re going to stick with version A; that other (gross) being doesn’t exist.

      (except that he really does)

      • Laurel, you know, I was thinking about this the other day.

        I am very hardcore against reconciliation and because of that I’ve hurt the feelings of lurking reconcilers who read this blog (which, you know, I don’t get that either…but…). But I honestly just DO.NOT.GET.IT.

        That said, I am always trying hard to understand the way people think. And I don’t know if it is masochism as much as it is about fear. I honestly think that these people who choose to reconcile are just simply terrified.

        As much as I think that cheaters cheat because they enjoy the feelings of being in control associated with cheating, I think that people who reconcile are also doing it because they too are controlling and they can’t let go of the image of what they thought they had, so they will control that image into being.

        And is that masochistic? I think it is, actually. But I also think it is indicative of some kind of unhealthy power dynamic that is inherent in the relationships they are in.

        Bottom line, it boils down to fear. these people are afraid. And I feel so sorry for them.

        • Agreed on counts, Kristina and I have also concluded that it is fear that drives people to stay in an unhealthy situation. Its not easy to leave. I think its the easier path to stay, but at what cost? It took me years and then I just had to figure out a way to go because I felt like my heart was going to collapse on itself. I can’t say that I’m exactly flourishing–just yet, but at least, now, I have some real hope.

        • I think fear is one reason. But I also think diminished expectations is a very valid reason, too. After being told for so long, that you are shit, so you deserve shit, you simply expect shit. So when all that shit is thrown in your face, it’s like… well.. I deserve nothing but shit, and now I can’t even keep that, so I need to make myself better to at least deserve shit.

          For me it wasn’t so much fear, as total self degradation and deprecation.

          Infidelity is abuse. All the social constructs and parameters that apply to physical and emotional abuse should also apply to infidelity. I think that is one of the things a lot of us are on here to further… no?

          • Good point Tamara.

            I think that goes along with fear though, or feeds it. If a person is without a sense of self worth, or doesn’t understand how to enforce boundaries or can only self-define as a part of a dyad (so that any relationship is better than being alone), that feeds into the fear I’m talking about.

            Someone who really understands who they are and has proper boundaries in place (not those dashed-line boundaries that can be rubbed out and redrawn as necessary) and who self soothes rather than seeks self defintition via their relationship with others is less likely to be terrified to make changes. Because they know they deserve better and that sometimes “better” means not being in a relationship at all. There is no shame in being on one’s own, but so many people are just petrified to be on their own or have a sense of being unfulfilled or unhappy on their own or missing a puzzle piece or whatever and only feel complete when they meet someone special who fills that hole.

            The problem there is — if there are any holes, they need to be filled by the person him or herself. They cannot and should not be filled by someone else. Because that someone else might not always be there. Or the reliance on that someone else to fill that hole can lead a person to stay where they are being hurt.

            As soon as you forgive someone for cheating, as soon as you give that person a second chance, you are saying: “I can be had; I do not know my own value.” And that cheater knows it. And they will capitalize on that. They may never cheat again, but they will devalue you in other ways. And there are tons of ways to be unfaithful in a marriage. You don’t have to just fuck someone else to be unfaithful.

    • I forgave one affair and thought we sorted that out. Turns out it was simply the one I caught…he was back at it within 6 months, during a time he openly admits was ‘99.9% perfect’. So yes, it was all him. But now he likes to say our home wasn’t happy in the months leading up to dday. That may have something to do with the fact that he went nuclear with his cheating during that time, which was a time of outside stress in our lives.

      I stayed because I thouht it was a one-off. I had no idea it was a lifestyle. Dday two was teh end.

      • “99.9 % perfect”


        What’s that like? A windshield that is 99.9% uncracked? A brake in your car that will work 99.9% of the time?

    • This is a great bunch of lines. Just great:

      “Healthy people don’t cheat. Healthy people say: “I’m really not happy, can we work together to fix this?” or they say: “I’m done. Let’s get a divorce.” Unhealthy people cheat. And it is not one’s fault that a person is unhealthy other than the person him/herself.”

      • Thanks David. I really do believe this.

        There is no health in cheating. Not even once. Not even a drunken ONS. There is no health in that.

        It is a flawed coping mechanism that people who struggle with self esteem apply to make themselves feel better. It is the same as drinking to self medicate, or gambling.

        Can it be triggered by a bad marriage situation? Sure of course. If someone is unhappy in a marriage or relationship they might very well be tempted to get a quick fix. But a healthy person doesn’t do that. A healthy person says; “I’m unhappy, how can I fix that feeling without doing damage to other people and myself?” And that person acts on it appropriately.

        But it isn’t just bad marriages that trigger cheating. Nord has talked about her husband reaching for women like others reach for a bottle during times of stress. That could be a bad time in a job, that could be a stressful time surrounding death in the family, that could be just about anything that triggers the need to self soothe. And these people don’t know how to do that from inside out, they can only do it from the outside in.

        • I would add too that I don’t think all cheaters are cake eaters. I think most are, but not all. I think some use cheating to blow up a relationship that they are too gutless to end maturely. They walk out with the AP, or create drama that causes the chump to pull the plug and be the bad guy. I’ve seen that dynamic a lot, and I think it’s different than the I Want a Double Life cake eating narcissist freaks.

          • Yes, agree with you. But the fact of the matter is, when the screws are put to those people, very often they don’t stand by their choice to actually blow up their marriage, they get to feeling guilty because the BS obviously is in a lot of pain and didn’t really deserve it, so they stay in the marriage that they wanted out of out of some sense of obligation or the fear of giving up control.

            Of course those people will go on to cheat again too, or act out in other ways.

            But that’s not about cake and narcissism, that’s about codependence.

  • People blame chumps for the same reason they blame rape victims, because if the person was doing something to cause it then I can make sure I don’t do that and it will never happen to me.

    • Totally agree, GreenGirl.

      No one ever thinks it’s going to happen to them … and then it does. And then all the crap about blaming the chump goes to hell.

      • The chump is used as an underpinning for the demented’s misbehaviour. if you do not see it at once and vacate you are doomed.

    • Agreed. It goes along with the ‘what made him hit you, what made her drink, what made them do whatever’. Nothing ‘made’ them do it other than their own choices.

  • Have any of you guys heard of an Aussie named Peter Fox – see the link….

    he talks about R – and spells out really carefully what the offender has to do – AT A MINIMUM…. which paints a pretty good picture of how to make a unicorn – no wonder it doesn’t work very often, as these people are short on character to begin with and then they have to develop some kind of super character to put things back together. And in one of his hyperlinks he said something interesting about the whole “intent” thing (as a general comment on nacissism) – that “intent” thing being something my X said over and over and OVER and why did it make me so CRAZY??? More insult to injury… Of course CL articulates the whole thing really well. Peter says:

    “1.3 Denial of responsibility
    We all have these traits and under stress, we handle things differently. Narcissists opt for this as the only method of existence – under stress or not. It is their default position.
    Denial of accountability drives their default position of me-me-me no-responsibility, I’m-right-you’re-wrong to an extreme. It can end up sounding like the dead parrot sketch.

    The disordered narcissist rarely carries their duty of responsibility to the heart but nevertheless will depend on others to do so and on others to validate their worth and identity. At the same time they try to annihilate them. They can do that overtly such as by verbal bullying or covertly by undermining and unaware forgetfulness.

    They are so exclusively focused on themselves that they will say they ‘never meant to hurt anyone’. They believe that is true. To those left cleaning up the wreckage in their wake, the oft repeated claim of no harm intended is unconscionable, unprincipled even inhuman.

    We struggle to find words to describe the shattering of a core belief that at bottom, to be human is to feel contrition and remorse for hurt caused. The disordered narcissist does not. The psychopath can not.”

    Anyway, I think the stuff he says is pretty interesting….. and helps one understand, considering the people we’re dealing with, why failure is like a given.

    • Yeah, i got the ‘I never meant to hurt you/never meant to have this happen’ thing, which means he never meant to get caught.

      • and at the time I know he talked about the whole intent thing, never meant for it to happen….. wasn’t looking for it, it “just” happened thing ….. as some sort of way to “comfort” me – and it got stranger and stranger…. his communications with me became utterly toxic, ugly, aggressive, poisonous and he obviously thought everything he was doing was because he is “a nice guy” – all I could do was cut off any access he had to me – I’ve said before, if some guy was doing/saying the same things to one of his adult daughters he would have been crystal clear about how toxic and cruel it was – he would have been homicidal.

        But, because it was him…… not so much. Kinda blew my mind because it was such an abrupt about face…. then again, all kibble is good kibble.

    • I always admired the construction of my ex’s apology: “I am sorry that I hurt you, but I had no choice.”

      Wasn’t nobody’s fault, okay? Fate is, you know, inexorable ‘n stuff.

      • I got the “well I owed up to what I did and in the end it didnt make any difference to you”. The only things he owed up to were the ones I had found proof of and confronted him on. Its not like his guilty conscience got to him and confessed to me. And frankly, when we got to the 4th time of me busting him and him “owing up to what he did” I didnt really give a shit anymore. You cant keep doing the same shitty things over and over, and expect that saying you’re sorry will wipe the slate clean.

  • Chump, your posts are kind of freaking me out. I don’t mean to offend you but are you drunk or just rambling or…?

    • I don’t wallow, Nord. I don’t like hashing, rehashing, overhashing, permahashing what my ex did to me and why i have every right to be mad. I was mad. Really mad. Then I realized, as Tracy says, that you control you, they control (or not) themselves. Bad things happen. All the time. In the grand scheme of things, my small tiny island of pain is nothing–there are serious problems facing this world….and continually sobbing about what an asshole my ex husband was and is—gets me nothing. That’s all I’m saying.

      When people don’t like what they’re hearing, Nord….just for the record, they start with the name calling and the putting down. Just saying. It was uncomfortable for my cheating, philandering sister to hear that she caused pain and nobody wanted to be around her—so any advice for her to clean up her act became a personal attack.

      When people wallow CONSTANTLY and find others that wallow constantly—it’s just a self reinforcing feedback loop. Hearing that the constant “let me top you on that sick story”—is getting you nowhere….

      • I think its hard to differentiate wallowing as opposed to doing the necessary work to process pain. I agree that it’s a balancing act – I don’t think anyone here is interested in embalming their pain and being a forever victim. But, pain has a trajectory and in order to get past it, you need to engage – choose that pain to get past it.

        And I totally know what you mean when talking to cheaters about that fact that they are causing pain to the people they “love” and suggesting that they might want to clean up their act……. yeah, they’re not so into that kind of dialogue. I had to write those people out of my life – I can’t stand listening to it anymore.

        • As they say, the only way out is through. I can’t think of a more sane way to plow through this storm than right here on CL with empathic people who are weathering the same turbulent times.

          I would not call the work that is being done and support we are giving here “wallowing.”

          It’s kind of funny… my STBX claimed certain primal urges and needs as his reason for cheating, along with a statement with regard to the “fact” that believing marriage was forever was not practical nor realistic.

          • I’m adamant against wallowing, FWIW. After “leave a cheater” is “GAIN a LIFE.”

            Gain a life is where the energies need to go. But the leave a cheater is hard, painful stuff. If that’s “wallowing,” Ohfuckingwell.

            • I resent the characterization of grieving as “wallowing.”

              I think to say that people are wallowing when they are really grieving and/or trying to process what happened to them shows a lack of empathy for other people and the way they grieve.

              Plus, and this is a huge thing….if you read what a person is merely writing on the internet about an issue, and then you declare that they are “wallowing”….you really show your ignorance because you don’t know a damn thing about that person and their life. You only know what they are writing on the internet about ONE ISSUE in their life.

              I dare say that the vast majority of folks who are posting here are moving on nicely with their lives, living productively and are an inspiration to their friends and family. You can’t do that if you are “wallowing.”

              Just because you post about your infidelity experiences on the internet doesn’t mean you are wallowing.

              Mean people suck.

      • Abby,
        I don’t like to “wallow” either but a very big part of my having better days ( and they are getting better) is being able to talk to people who are in/have been/ or were in the same place. Finding out the person you trusted most in the world would throw away so many things that you agreed to build together, not the least being the financial part is a mind altering experience….MARRIED OR NOT. I had a husband that died years ago and I can honestly say that this situation has made me feel incredibly LONELY, more than I EVER have in my life! Till I found CL I had no other way of expressing my feelings and getting support from people that understand ME. And I really don’t give 2 shits about married or not married. I don’t get your point either – You can call it wallowing if you want, truth is, everyone takes a unique amount of time that works for them to get over things. And here there is support…now if it does not work for YOU …Is a totally different story…

        • Dear Toni – it is really LONELY in a way that’s completely different. I didn’t have the relationship that many here had, but that lonely thing is hard. Time just stretches out in front of me sometimes and I hate it. Down to my bones. Don’t know how or why I made him such a big part of my life….. I want to change my job, hell, my city – I just want out. I’m working on it but it’s still hard. Altho, 5 months NC on Friday. Still counting….

          • Hi, I’m reposting this because it ended up in the wrong place and I wanted you to see it Erika, if you are still reading this thread.

            my fucktard, was my VERY best friend. I could tell him ANYTHING. and I did. He was my rock. the guy that picked me up when the world came crashing down around me. (unless it was one of his family members bullying me. then he was mum)… but then my rock turned into quicksand– just one ginormous sinkhole and now… nothing. and yeah… it sucks. I just started with a new shrink today. I like her a lot. She likes to talk and i like shrinks that talk.

            I can’t go no contact (I wish that I could) because we have an 18 yr old with autism who’s aging out of the public school jurisdiction. We’ve always worked well together on that front.

            I’m lonely too… a lot of the time. I have a tendency to isolate but I’m trying to get out more. I have some lovely friends close by now. They’re women that I dance with. Its tough. We just have to reinvent ourselves in a way. We didn’t ask for it or want it, but for whatever the reason, here we are… and I for one, intend to make it a blessing!

            it just has to be!


            • that’s very sweet Laurel – I did follow it. My X had certainly assumed the role of best friend altho we didn’t have the history of marriage and children like you did – I guess that’s what bonding is about. I trusted him, loved him, LIKED him and he just tossed it out like I was garbage. I’ve never felt like garbage before in my life, not like this.

              Yeah, the NC thing is a big deal and I’m in a position to do that where many others on this site are not. You guys must be made of tougher stuff than me is all I can say

              Keep the faith and thank you for trying to get to the right thread – this particular post tweaked a lot of people – I got the thread and thank you.

          • Hi, Erika, I tried to repost this… because I commented to you, but it ended up too high. Its the last one I wrote above this one.

      • Abby… I hear where you are coming from NOW, that I have stepped away from the crazy and am feeling better/stronger and more able to move on. There are times when I don’t come to CL because I don’t need to. However, CL was the ONLY THING that normalized all of the pain and suffering I was experiencing upon Dday. My friends couldn’t help since they had not experienced it. It was and continues to be my support group. Even if I say nothing (and I don’t that often), I come here when I need to. The people here, and their stories, show me what is true about being chumped. And that helps. So it DOES get me somewhere. And I can promise you that that somewhere is not negative. Coming here keeps me focused on me, reminds me who that asshat really is. Maybe its because I haven’t grown strong enough yet. And that’s okay. I can’t make myself be something I’m not. It’s a process and I will get there when I get there. I’m not engaged in R, I’m not doing the pick me dance, I am working towards D… but I still have to have contact with my ex. And that can be hard… so I am so thankful that CL is here. I don’t wallow here, I just feel okay. And for a long time I didn’t feel okay. Okay is great!!!!

        But I get your point… I feel the same way about Al-Anon meetings. They are wonderful for some people and yay for them. But I can’t stand all of the rehashing of pain and suffering… And that’s why I don’t go…

  • Unfortunately, I have absolutely no idea what you mean.

    Does anyone else understand Chump’s narrative?

  • I am particularly sensitive to the blaming issue. I know, deep in my heart, that I was a good wife. I adored my husband and it showed. But, he still cheated on me. And leading into his betrayal being discovered, he was ever so careful to try to relieve my concerns when I talked with him about my growing concern that something just didn’t seem right. “No, Sweetie, I wouldn’t do that to you, I love you, Sweetie. It’s just work; I’m stressed. I’m sorry Sweetie.” But, once it all imploded, SUDDENLY, in a split second, it was all my fault!!! LOL I was the love of his life one minute, his “Sweetie” that he loved and was so proud of, and then WHAM, he had a laundry list of my faults that caused him to f*ck a co-worker. WTH???

    It left me with a raging case of PTSD.

    Then, many of our friends took the position that I *had to be* making it all up. There was no way he cheated on me. The fact that he admitted it to me meant nothing to him. One friend actually said that he probably had to say he did it because I just wasn’t going to believe anything else. LOL I heard through the grapevine that a group of folks were talking about it and the consensus was that even though he *seemed* to love me and things *seemed* to be good, they probably just didn’t know what was *really* going on behind closed doors. Insinuation –> I was a “closet bad wife.”

    Then I get to listen to these so-called professionals go on and on about the chump contributing to the state of the marriage and the state of the marriage being the catalyst for the cheater to cheat. They say that, and then try to say that they aren’t blaming the chump. ???? How is that not blaming the chump??? Of course it is blaming the chump.

    But the thing is, they can’t prove that the marriages where there was infidelity are anymore compromised than an infidelity-free marriage. So, how is the state of the marriage a factor in infidelity? From where I sit, it seems like a lot of the folks who don’t cheat have “ok” marriages, and a lot of the folks who do cheat have “ok” marriages. An “ok” marriage being a marriage that isn’t perfect, but there are just normal, run of the mill issues…say, for instance, stress related to money. Why then is an “ok” marriage considered a risk factor, or a reason, for a cheater to cheat? And the chump in an “ok” marriage has to be accountable for his/her part in creating an ok marriage that was fertile ground for cheating. It makes no sense. The only thing that does make sense is that cheaters cheat no matter how good things are. THEY are the common denominator, not the state of their marriages.

    It seems like it is a knee jerk reaction for people, from the cheater to professionals and everyone in between, to blame cheating on the state of the marriage, and by extension, something that the chump was responsible for.

    I have friends who have awful marriages…they fight all the time, there is no love…and they don’t cheat. For every cheater there is a chump who didn’t cheat, but they were in the same marriage. If its the state of the marriage causing cheaters to cheat, why aren’t both spouses cheating?

    Of particular interest to me today, on HuffPo, was the blogger who came to the defense of Dr. Whoever She Was who posted the most recent Blame The Chump blog. She actually commented that if a chump loved their spouse, they would stay and work it out. She repeatedly referred to the decision to get a divorce as “walking away.” And she said that “walking away” was “easy” and that the harder choice was to stay and work through the issues, to end up with a better marriage. She went on to say that those who “walked away” would not heal and they would be unable to enter loving relationships in the future. I was stunned at her ignorance. Her remarks were wrong on so many different levels. And yet, this woman is considered some sort of “expert” about relationships.

    I guess I’m going to have to stay away from HuffPo. There seems to be a whole group of people trying to sell their books on infidelity over there. And they all dole out the same sad thing…the cheater wouldn’t cheat if the marriage was better. Yeah, right.

    One word keeps coming to my mind as I reflect on the things that these people say. That word is, cruel. They are cruel.

    • Carol – like what’s up with the “Sweetie” thing?? I swear, after a while, he stopped saying my name, like ever. And he was ever so careful to assuage my sense that something was up – but, it was more like, I should just trust and believe and it hurt his feelings when I questioned his behavior and the strength of his bond to me and our relationship.

      I loved this man…. and it made no difference at all.

      • Erika, same thing here. I loved him so much. Heck, I still do and likely always will. I believe my love for him is truly unconditional, but I sure wish it wasn’t. 🙁 But, I don’t like him, and I’m healthy enough that I’m not interested in being abused. You are right; it didn’t make any difference that we loved them. I have often said that I never had a chance. There was nothing I could have done to prevent his betrayal.

        I wish I could get to the point where all the “noise” from these moron so-called experts doesn’t bother me. But, it just goes all up and down me that they write books blaming the betrayed spouse. Just once, I’d like for one of them to go through what we’ve gone through, and then let them remember all the crap they wrote.

        • Carol,
          You were in love with the illusion he fed you and you believed in the man he pretended to be when he was with you. The real him is really a vile, immoral, empty, emotionally stunted person.
          I too was in love with the illusion the STBXH fed me. When I caught him in the disgusting affair, caught him lying about our financials, etc., I could not fathom how he could be so malicious, sneaky, deceiving and hurtful. The horrible choices he made are unconscionable to me. The ruin he created, The hurt and pain he caused my daughter and myself is truly shocking. But guess what? That is the REAL him. The liar. The cheat. Thief. Manipulator. Hypocrite. Coward. Abuser, and extremely selfish. The man I truly believed and I knew? I admired, was so proud of, loved that man fiercely and loyally, but that man was a complete fraud. It hurts terribly, but it frees me from ever loving, respecting, trusting, or believing in him again because it is all fake. And once you can distinguish that, it will help you to trust that though you feel that love, it is for a myth of a man. save that love for someone who truly deserves it. I am outraged and saddened most days still. But one thing is certain, he will never enter into my inner circle as a my husband, my companion, or my friend. He is shut out completely, for good. I must coparent for our daughter’s sake, but that is it. Friendly? No flippin’ way. Civil? Yes I am, again for our daughter’s sake.
          I despise the real person I see, I look forward to the day I can look at him, then past him as I will feel nothing, but complete indifference. Not even love because he is my daughter’s father. He does not even deserve that. Nothing. Just civility for my daughter’s sake.

      • My STBX called me sweetie, our daughter, his OW, etc. Its not really all that special. Frankly I think he went to that so he wouldnt accidentally use the wrong name.

        • I got to the point where I just hated the “sweetie” and “dear” shit – just use my name…. SAY MY NAME!!!! – He’s was calling me sweetie and dear when he was telling me about banging his neighbor…. it was surreal.

        • Omg,yes. I am now and have always been ‘sweetie’. Less chance of using OW’S name! Bahahahaha

          • I was “Baby”, the couple of times I talked to him on the phone after DDay, he called me that a few times, then apologized, corrected himself…and then waited for me to say it was OK….I just ignored it…let him get his kibbles from the new “Baby”. I Directly Thank CL for that!

          • Well, thank god my cheater hasn’t made THAT mistake. We have never really used terms of endearment, but his emails to his various girlfriends were all addressed to “sweetheart,” “sweetie,” and “babe…” Blech.

          • My xh called me and the OW “hon”, both verbally and written. After I found out I realized that my xh had not used my name in years, literally years. I don’t think I was a real, whole person to him.

    • Okay… let’s just say for argument’s sake that there is even a tiny bit of validity in what the “experts” (not) are saying. (I don’t think there is, but this is to make a point) To that end, what IF the cheater, instead of putting so much energy into looking for freshfuck all over the internet, took ALL that time and energy— even half of it and put ALL OF THAT ENERGY into his marriage, and then HE wouldn’t have the need to stray! Gee, maybe if HE changed, his wife would be a better wife? But no… SHE, is the one who needs to change, first? Its a vicious circle out of which there’s no escape and that’s the trap of couple’s therapy. I advise strongly against it for this very reason.

      Of course, in probably 99% of all cases, the state of the marriage is not the reason. I know dudes who cheat even before they marry and then they never stop, until they are caught. (forgive me guys if I speak only of men cheating… I know that women cheat, but my experience is not with women. lol)

      It takes TWO people to make a good marriage. It does take effort, but the effort should be fun. (I hate the word “work” in this case) I tried and tried, but passive-aggressive predatory partners who never want to go out and fall asleep routinely at 9:00 PM make for lousy spouses.

      Cheating is not about if the marriage is “working” or not. It is not about sex drive or looks or “chemistry” (eyes rolling) or anything like that. There are men who are married to raving, shrieking, haranguing bitches who never would think of straying. (they might be drinking themselves into a stupor, but having sex with another woman would be out of the question.)

      There are TONS of other situations having absolutely nothing to do with the relationship of the couple that cause people to cheat, as well. My husband and others cheat to “self-medicate” to make themselves FEEL better, but at the expense of making someone else feel worse. Only I do believe that most do not even give that factoid a second thought. My h lost his job, had no friends (close by), or family. We lived in the middle of fucking nowhere… he was relegated to helping me with our two very high maintenance kids (which I very much appreciated and told him so, very, very often.)

      I have to admit that I too was very depressed and sometimes I’d fantasize about other men. (h got so that he refused to even touch me) but the scenario in my fantasies was always as the man made his advances towards me, I would always put out my arm and say… “no, I think that you’re very attractive and I’m extremely flattered but fucktard would be absolutely devastated if he ever found out.”

      In the meantime, the man who I feared would be trashed if I ever cheated on him was fucking around all over town.

      • My take: I think cheaters, and those folks who think cheating is justified due to marital issues, have very unrealistic expectations on marriage.
        I consistently see the message , in some form or another, that cheating is understandable or justifiable if there are problems in the marriage. It is as if our marriage vows contained a silent clause where all bets were off if things were not exactly perfect or up to expectations.
        Well, I feel the reason we take these vows in the first place is because sometime ago, people realized that there were bound to be problems in the marriage. So, we took a vow in order to assure that we would remain faithful regardless of imperfection.
        But, today, if one partner fails to meet the other’s expectations, even if they are unrealistic and never expressed etc., society seems to endorse cheating as the solution.
        And, of course, it is often overloked that the cheater, in most cases, was equally or even more imperfect.
        I am so tired of hearing a cheater describe all the lengths he or she went to before resorting to cheating. I bet if you asked the betrayed, the story would be completely different.
        Do folks really beleive that a person with so little integrity, such poor communication skills, so little empathy, such poor problem solving skills was the “perfect” one in the marriage, the one imploring the other spouse to communicate or go to counseling?
        Sadly, I think many people do buy the cheaters version portraying the betrayed poorly and the cheater so glowingly.
        My girlfriend and I have a mutual acquaintence who, in a past marriage, cheated on her husband with upwards of 50 men. Now, this woman is in a long term relationship with the father of her child, a new man.
        She has cheated on him, as well, and has justified it to my GF by describing her partner as abusive and mean etc. I had to tell my Gf that she should not just accept this in light of what we know about this woman and her penchant for lying and cheating. My GF was buying this entirely until I pointed out the lack of credibility and character of this woman.

    • I always go back to the fact that there were two people in the marriage but only one of them chose to cheat. If it was so bad why didn’t I go out and cheat?

    • The ” sweetie” thing cracks me up, because mine called me “babies.” He never called me that before the affair, and I think that’s what he must have called his AP. in fact, I think he kept confusing who he was texting and talking to a lot. It really gave me the creeps.

  • “Every one is worthy of love, except him who thinks that he is. Love is a
    sacrament that should be taken kneeling.”

    ~ Oscar Wilde

  • I think the issue here is honesty and transparency. OK, let’s say you were a Chump and you weren’t perfect. That’s not the issue. You did your best. Your partner always has the option to say something like, “I need some space. I’m moving out to think things through and I may see other people. Of course, you have the right to do the same.” Now, that might not be totally truthful if there is an other person, but it’s pretty darned close. It’s not nice. It’s sad. But it’s honest and lays the issue on the table. Instead, some of the most hurting people here report that their spouse deliberately misled them (eating up the ego-kibbles from both partners, maybe even getting off on the clandestine nature of the affair). It’s sad when relationships run out of gas. But it happens and it’s understandable. It’s a whole other thing when folks are “testing other waters” in secret, deceiving their partners, not just with sexual betrayal, but also by letting them think everything is OK, and then setting their official partners up for a d-day (read: Omaha Beach). So, I think the dishonesty thing is critical in the harm done. A break up is painful, but it can be normal, above-board, and without manipulation and deception. I think at lot of these folks like segmenting others, keeping folks in boxes and roles, and being the middleman (or middle person) who absorbs all the benefits.

    • Exactly, David.

      I almost think I could have forgiven my ex-husband the cheating, but what I can’t forgive is the mind fuck that went along with it. The “I love you Sweetie” at 1:45 pm on 9-12-05, and then the “I’m not sure I’ve ever loved you” at 2:00 pm, the same day. Literally, that’s how it went down, when, at 1:46 pm, I told him that I could no longer believe he was faithful.

      I refuse to take any blame for his cheating. I didn’t miss anything, I didn’t ignore red flags, I wasn’t in denial. As soon as there were signs of something amiss, I addressed them, and I kept at him until we arrived at the point of no return. I was a loving and devoted wife. He certainly acted like a loving and devoted husband to my face.

      My ex-husband has issues that he kept hidden very well. Of course, the experts that hang out at HuffPo would like everyone to believe that I *should have* known about these issues, and the fact that I didn’t was my fault. I don’t believe that. Some people are just really good at making everything look lovely and normal. I am not going to blame myself for trusting my husband and for believing what he said.

      • ooohhhh… sociopaths are so scary and my h was very much like this too. He’s the consummate “gentleman” and very “nice.” (except when he isn’t) I’m the feisty one. (really, Laurel??? you’d never know.) ;] Yep, I’m feisty (YEARS of advocating for two neurologically different children) and I’m far from perfect, but I was always honest with him and after he left his cyber sex open… I asked him point blank many times what he was up to and instead of coming clean he would mock me saying things like he was working for the CIA.
        Of course, being the more animated of the two (that actually doesn’t take much), i’m sure that its assumed that I DROVE him into the arms of countless women that he trolled for on the internet. Once I found a list of phone numbers, years ago (before D-day 2), although I had forgotten about it until recently. I got a hold of one woman and told her to fuck off. She said, (indignantly) “I have no idea what you’re talking about… I’m a mother… I have six children… I wouldn’t do that.”

        dumb bitch.

        • Yeah, I’m the feisty one as well,which alllowed STBX to play his nice guy act to the hilt. I was the one who took the arguments with the school or with whatever, while he sat back and was ‘supportive’. I used to even joke about this, saying that people thought I was the one being an ass sometimes when I was really doing it at the behest of him. Wow, so much learned during this time, which can only be a good thing.

    • I agree. To me, the cheating was bad enough. But, it was the “theft” of my time that I really resented.
      It was as if my spouse was sayinmg to me, “your years on this planet have less value than mine. I deserve to have all this fun, romance and excitement. You do not. You were put here to subsudize my prowling and recreation.”
      Fact is, (although it is difficult to be objective about this) at the point in my life where my first wife was serially cheating, I was, probably, more physically attractiv ethan she was. I , most likely , had more opportunity to “upgrade” than she did. Yet, I refrained, in reliance on our agreement.
      I resent the hell out of that. Someone stole from me and got over on me, and I can never recoup this years.

  • I’ve noticed to that huff post is publishing more and more crap like that article. i wish they would stop. its like having the shit kicked out of you by thugs wearing steel toed boots, who steal your money and leave you for dead. and as your struggling to breath some jerk wonders over and mumbles “tough luck” then steals your coat and boots. the lives they ruin when people believe that garbage must be very high?

    • They do it because it drives click rates and comments as everyone dukes it out in the comments section. I don’t mind,actually, because a good debate on this issue is a positive thing, no matter what triggers it.

    • They’ve got the OW blogging about how ugly and controlling the wives are, the “marriage experts” telling us we have to take “accountability” for our part in our dysfunctional marriages (as if they know what our marriages were like!) and the sex expert telling us that we take the “easy way out” by “walking away” and that we carry our dysfunction with us, we can’t heal and we’ll never be in a loving relationship, because we were supposed to stay married to the cheater in order to heal.

      CL, you should write more blogs for HuffPo. Those chicks think they know so much and they don’t…you are sooooooo right….they have NO critical thinking skills.

      • I agree.

        I go back to the honesty issue here. (Sorry to get repetitive.)

        When these great enlightened types say that forgiveness is the way to go, that it’s not so bad, etc., they are advocating lying to your partner. I’m not saying folks can’t have any kind of marriage that they want: exclusive, open, semi-open, open on alternate Tuesdays, etc. Have any marriage that you want, but just negotiate that deal up-front with your partner. What’s the big deal about that? You married her/him. Just communicate your needs, and if the marriage notions don’t match, then move out.

        There is nothing enlightened about systematic deception, and there is nothing to apologize for if you wake up and find that you have been deceived.

        • Sorry, didn’t finish the above.

          There is nothing enlightened about systematic deception, and there is nothing to apologize for if you wake up and are angry to find that you have been deceived.

          I forgot “are angry.”


          • Good points, David. I find it really irritates me when people say ‘hold your head high and move on’. Yes, I know, and I’ll get to that point (actually, more or less am now) but that takes a lot of time and, for me, a lot of therapy. Why? Because when I discovered STBX was a serial cheater it utterly knocked me over. I was so completely shocked at what he had gotten up to – and how cheesy his pickup lines were – that just acknowledging the truth about him took me eons. I had a really hard time facing it. Once I did I got PISSED and my rage was HUGE. He lied and decieved for years while letting me chug along like life was glorious and wonderful.

            And once I got pissed he started to hate me. He preferred the broken Nord, the one who couldn’t really believe he was this shithead asshole who regularly trolled for women wherever he could, even amongst my circle of friends.

            Do you realise that he had a fling with a friend of mine and has said to me that he doesn’t understand why I don’t talk to her anymore ‘since we didn’t actually fuck’. Like I believe that, first of all, and second of all, who gives a shit? They got together to screw around. How far it went is irrelevant.

            Fuck, now I’m getting angry again.

            • Your ex is a total mindfucker, Nord. Jesus. Don’t let him talk to you about that crap. It is so unbelievable what kind of nonsense comes out of his mouth.

              I really think your husband is one of the worst asses I’ve ever heard about. And I’ve heard about A LOT of asses.

              • Do you know how fucked up it is that it took me just about forever to see that? And that there are people who know the whole story and still can’t quite see him as this incredibly fucked up guy?

                And this is why they are no longer in my life. They can all suck it.

            • Its the “new flexible honesty” 🙂 or flexible transparency and I’ve written a book about it by the way…..

            • Whoops, I think I’ve said “Hold your head up!” If so I only said it in the sense that WE have nothing to be ashamed of….although I really did at first, feel ashamed…

  • Dear Chump Lady, my D-Day was almost a year ago. I wish I had discovered this website earlier, but thankful I found it now! I am officially late for work this morning because I can’t stop reading (and laughing out loud at times). You’ve GOT it, everything you say is so spot on, makes so much sense, and is so liberating. Following you now on Twitter. So THANK YOU. I’ve gotten better advice, support and input from this website than the hours of therapy, well intentioned support of friends and family, and volumes of books I’ve devoured over the last year. The rest was good, don’t get me wrong, but this is the best. Oh and almost a year out, I can tell you that moving on, leaving that piece of dog poop behind, and having no contact is best, and that there are better men (and women) out there…..but I better get showered now get myself into the office now!

  • I have been reading you, Tracy, for awhile–and with your background (educational and personal), I was waiting for this existential argument to come up.

    First, and I know I’m gonna get flamed for this—but this really needs to be said—marriage, along with a lot of other things in life, are human constructs. They’re a set of rules that someone thought up, for whatever reason, and we see marriage and these other rules as a way to have a civil society.

    That said. Biology and human nature don’t give a shit about our nice little rules. Here is an example: I am a vegetarian. That is by choice. Biologically, when we evolved as humans, we killed and ate other animals, anything we could catch. Indiscriminately. But we evolved to what we are now. Now it is a choice to eat meat or not. But in lean times, in desperate times…I will revert back to my neanderthal ways. I don’t doubt it for a second. All of my high horse bullshit to the contrary, about how meat is murder…won’t mean a damn thing.

    Cheating is a shitty thing to do, but promises, marriage, contracts, therapy, religion, blogs….are human constructs. I think that the reason therapists don’t tell people “GET OUT NOW” (like my divorce attorney told me, ‘You two should NEVER have gotten married!”)—is that many people don’t want to hear that. Cognitive dissonance. Grief journey (denial….anger…..bargaining…)—WHATEVER.

    Just like this blog, therapists and friends and support groups exist not because they exploit (in some cases) the situation, it’s because if people thought rationally, unemotionally and without the idea that “We made a promise in front of God (human construct again)” and I am going to hold you to it—-you would see cheating as what it is—a man or woman’s inability to deny their most basic instincts to procreate with whatever and as widely as possible—and leave the situation.

    No more crying. No more pleading. No more spy software on the computer. No more “wanting the truth”. No more GPS tracking systems on their car. No more blogs.

    And think about this. You say….”I WOULD NEVER CHEAT. There is NO REASON to do that, I would just leave first!”

    How many people here would say that they would just willingly murder another person? I wouldn’t. Ever. But really? Put me in the right circumstances, and I will bury you, willingly. Threaten my kids. Threaten my life. See what happens.

    What I see here is that there is a lot of self righteous anger–because yes, we are the chumped. We’re the sad saps that got into our comfort zones, thinking we had it all wrapped up. I got lazy–not that it gave him any real excuse to go cheat, but people are cowards—and we all do it, every single day. You don’t confront your neighbor on how he blows his leaves into your yard (that is trivial, I KNOW, compared to cheating)—-if everyone were so fucking honest ALL OF THE TIME, what do you think your life would look like?

    I’m not perfect, not by any stretch. And I stay single because of it. I know that just the same as he felt he shouldn’t have had to put up with my various physical maladies that developed over the years or my extra 25 pounds—I feel that I shouldn’t have to put up with their bullshit, either. Dating is great, cohabiting is fine—but marriage again? Not that construct, not for me.

    • So if cheating is all based on the biological need to procreate how does that explain the 68 year old grandma banging the pool boy? Because even she can’t be senile enough to think she’s going to get knocked up.

    • Abby, I think you’re being tripped up by lots of false equivalences. Stress in a marriage is not like being a vegetarian or life as a starving caveman or having a neighbor blow leaves on your lawn or having someone hurt your children or any of those other comparisons. Not even close. Marriage as a “construct” so flimsy that breaking it is within the realm of the normal? Sounds like you’ve been drinking the cheater Kool-Aid (Cruel-Aid?) over at Huff-Po.

      My marriage was not an abstract “construct.” It an agreement and a religious sacrament several thousand years in the making formed with a rational adult who represented publicly to me and my family and her family and hundreds of friends that marriage to me was exactly what she wanted and never said otherwise. She made a choice to cheat, repeatedly, over more than a decade, with multiple partners, and hide it from me. And, yes, I *can* say I would never do anything like that, ever, under any circumstances. I certainly can say I wouldn’t have done the same under the same circumstances because, hey, I was in **the same marriage***. And guess what? Even bound only by the same flimsy “construct?” I never cheated and never even felt strongly pulled in that direction (despite what you might see as my “Neanderthal” biology).

      You sound like you still feel pain from the betrayal you suffered, as is easily understood, and I would guess that pain is the lens through which you currently view the institution of marriage. I would urge you to reconsider that view. There are many happily married faithful couples out there–many who have endured stress far greater than you or I or our cheating exes–indicating the contrary. But as long as you see marriage as flimsy, you should avoid it. It only seems endures when both partners see it as something stronger, greater, and more profound than that.

      • Whoah, whoah….wait a minute Pschorn. I am advocating quite the opposite. My divorce was nasty beyond nasty, and considering we had no kids, that was a shock to everyone. I did pretty much everything Tracy said I would do–the dance, the blame, all of it. When I realized that the more I sat there and continually thought about, ruminated over, gave my precious time to—that jerk….was just wasting my life and didn’t do jack to him or anything to rectify what he did—it just dawned on me to let it go.

        The human construct thing. I knew that was going to grate on some nerves, which is why I started out with “I know I’m going to get flamed for this…”

        Listen. I am not religious, but spiritual. I believe everything happens for a reason, and I believe you pay for what you do. I’m not telling you WHAT to do, just that you’ll pay for it, so be careful what you choose.

        I do not believe in religious dogma, so the whole “standing in front of God and accepting a sacrament” doesn’t fly with me. Yes. Promises in front of your family and friends and whatever entity you believe in is a serious thing. I did it. But I also am not going to attempt to force someone to love me or stay with me when they don’t want to—and they are too cowardly to nut up and take the responsibility of leaving.

        Nord, the 68 year old grandma banging the pool boy proves my point. Sex drive, for whatever reason, is instinctual and primal. Needs. It makes men do ridiculously stupid things when they think that they’re going to get it, as it does for women. Are you telling me that you’ve never, ever looked at a couple and shook your head, wondering WTF? But they’re happy together. It is what it is. I don’t like it any more than you do that SOME people can’t (or won’t) control their primal drives—but what is the answer? Wallow in this until doomsday—cut off their penises or defile them in some physical way so that they won’t ever be attractive to someone else?

        What I’m saying is that there are absolutely no guarantees in life, and that includes saying words in a building in front of your friends. The whole “thousands of years” thing—well….I seem to recall in the Bible (when I was a practicing Catholic) that we were allowed concubines…..and slaves….and could stone someone with impunity… cherry picking what you want to enforce because it makes you feel better, isn’t an argument.

        • Abby, I think you must be confusing me with some other blog. I’m not about “standing for your marriage” or any of that other nonsense of sticking it out with a cheater. And I’ve got a whole treatise on not “untangling the skein of fuckupedness” — as in, don’t waste your precious energy trying to figure them out. Let go.

          So what exactly is your issue with CL? That I blog? I think there is a lot of crap out there about infidelity, and this blog is a counter viewpoint to the Hey No Biggie and What Did You Do to Make Them Cheat, and Reconcile or Die. It’s pretty well stated.

          If your beef is that I believe in marriage? Okay, we can part ways there. I’m very happily remarried and I’m glad I put my heart out there again. I don’t think I’m an idiot for putting it out there before either. It’s not a crime to trust someone who makes a vow to you. That doesn’t make you controlling, or naive, or stupid. It makes you human. People need trust to function in society.

          The whole “it’s a construct”? WTFever. Where are you going to stop? Farming is a construct. Politics is a construct. My garden shed is a construct. We operate in a human constructed world. We have agency and make choices.

        • And dear God, I’m not arguing for a literal interpretation of the Bible. Straw arguments much?

          No one SAID there were guarantees. I don’t say, hey! Send me $10 and here’s your Fool-Proof Plan to Never Get Chumped Again!

          You don’t love without risk. Love makes you vulnerable. That’s why TRUST is imperative. Where there’s no trust, there’s no relationship.

    • I don’t think we can fall back on the neanderthal ways theory – to resort to that kind of intellectualizing about what is essentially just terrible psychic pain seems like a way to avoid that pain. It hurts, it hurts like hell – and that’s just the raw truth. Like a broken leg hurts…. or a torn achilles tendon (BTDT). And I suppose our cavemen ancestors probably died of broken legs…. what survival of the fittest and whatnot.

      This is relationship pain like I’ve never experienced and I just don’t think it’s helpful to “think” it thru and to assign these abstract intellectual constructs to it, you have to feel it. And then slowly, you get further and further away from it and you make conscious decisions to direct your thoughts elsewhere. And for what its worth, there are just as many theories that one of the basic tenents of neanderthal survival meant forming and maintaining close knit family and community, to be abandoned or isolated meant to die – people bonded to each other in order to survive.

    • Abby, I don’t get your point. It seems to me that you’re suggesting that just because something is a human construct, it is useless. I mean, I agree with you, marriage is a construct, and it is outdated as well. It has not kept up with the times — the gay marriage debate is proof enough of that. But just because something is a construct does not mean it is invaluable.

      The vegitarian analogy fails on its face. There is nothing similar in making the choice to go meatless and the choice to get married.

      But what on earth is your point then?

  • I’m getting the same sort of Chumps fault treatment from my cheating wife’s sister (the enabler). “You need to back off and not push so hard or you’ll push her away.” She cheats and I need to give her privacy?? huh?? I think today’s post has finally shown me what needs to happen. Kids will be devestated…….. : (

  • Bud, we chumps are often told to quiet down by in-laws because they don’t like to be reminded how horribly their family member is behaving–and often how horribly the whole family is behaving but tolerating the bad behavior. Can’t you just stick your head in the sand and be happy with the *trappings* of family life? It would be so much more convenient for everyone else if you could, you know.

    Kids will be devastated, yues, but kids come back. Mine have, and yours will, too. They only need one sane parent and TAG!–you’re it. What kids don’t need? Is a couple of decades of grown-ups modeling dysfunction and an unloving family. Grieve and circle the wagons. Then, with the passage of time, gather your strength, get out there, and make a new life for you and your children. When it doubt, pray for strength.

    • My MIL no longer speaks to me, my FIL misses me, I’ve cut contact more or less because I don’t want to hear anymore enabling bullshit. STBX could stab a baby to death in front of them and they’d find a way to make it the baby’s fault. You may think I’m pushing it but I*m not. They are highly dysfunctional, hence STBX is highly dysfunctional.

      • I knew that my in-laws would abandon me. My ex MIL thinks her children do no wrong, even though both have proven that they are terribly messed up. In her mind, they are perfect. She crucified my exSIL’s boyfriend for cheating on her, but when her son cheated on me, she claimed I was lying about it and even if he did cheat in me, it was my fault. LOL. But, what else would I expect from a woman who cheated on, and abandoned, her her husband (with his best friend). She did the same thing to exFIL as her son did to me, at approximately the same point in the marriages (20+ year point). To her, cheating is a necessary evil, unless of course, someone cheats on her kid, then it is unforgivable. LOL

        One thing I learned from my infidelity experience, is that seemingly normal people can be incredibly fucked up. I mean, just off the chain fucked up. It gives me reason to wonder if anyone can be trusted.

  • Definitely one of your Top 5 Best Analyses, CL. Hats off.

    I’d love to throw my two cents in but I’m glued to the Internets following the progress at the Supreme Court.

    But I will offer this Comment of the Day, courtesy of a HuffPost commenter: “Why should gays be denied the joy of divorce court?”


    Have a good day, all! 🙂

  • Erika,
    my fucktard, was my VERY best friend. I could tell him ANYTHING. and I did. He was my rock. the guy that picked me up when the world came crashing down around me. (unless it was one of his family members bullying me. then he was mum)… but then my rock turned into quicksand– just one ginormous sinkhole and now… nothing. and yeah… it sucks. I just started with a new shrink today. I like her a lot. She likes to talk and i like shrinks that talk.

    I can’t go no contact (I wish that I could) because we have an 18 yr old with autism who’s aging out of the public school jurisdiction. We’ve always worked well together on that front.

    I’m lonely too… a lot of the time. I have a tendency to isolate but I’m trying to get out more. I have some lovely friends close by now. They’re women that I dance with. Its tough. We just have to reinvent ourselves in a way. We didn’t ask for it or want it, but for whatever the reason, here we are… and I for one, intend to make it a blessing!

    it just has to be!


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