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Grieving the Affair Partner, Don’t Make Any Decisions! and Other Nonsense

Oh Tammy, Tammy, Tammy.

I’d taken a break from commenting over at HuffPo Divorce for a couple weeks. Just general life business and sorting things out on this blog (check out Chump Chat everyone!) But just when I decided to peek back in, Dr. Tammy Nelson is at it again with the most dreadful infidelity advice for chumps. It’s a bit subtler than her other stuff, but the same old, same old of We’re All Guilty Here, and — this was a fresh bit of hell — both parties must “grieve.” Left unsaid is who’s grieving what. Yeah, the chump is going to grieve the marriage. But the cheater? To achieve that New Monogamy Dr. Tammy thinks we’re capable of — they must grieve their affair partner. Hey, we all gotta grieve.

Instead of feeling polarized into the good spouse and the bad spouse, the two of you will begin to realize that you each share responsibility for what happened in your relationship before the affair.

Yeah, let’s not get into a pissing contest of who the Good spouse is and who the Bad spouse is, let’s look at how we BOTH made this happen.

Tammy? If someone goes out and fucks other people while married to you? That makes them the BAD spouse. I know I don’t have a PhD or anything in sexology from a diploma mill in Orlando, but I think I can still play the Sesame Street Game of “One of These Things Is Not Like the Other.”



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  • Holy Sh*T …yes let’s go back to the beginning…back to when you were first married…back further to when you were a child…back further to when you were just a sperm and an egg…yes….all the way back….because surely you had a 50 % cause in why the other cheated…you have to be at least 50 % at fault…because we all know there isn’t just simply mean ,selfish,self serving fucktards that would sneak around and have affairs on their own…nooooo…..YOU HAD SOMETHING to do with it…riiiiight !!! while you were at work…worrying about kids…worrying about the ecomomy…worrying about them on their drive home…somewhere in there you were causing 50% of X’s finding away to hook up and fuck some Ahole…RIIIIGHT…while we sweated and sacrificed and thought we had been doing all this for our future together and the well being of our children ..what we were actually doing was subconciously prying her legs apart and sending mind messages for her to fuck her best friends husband….YES now we have it…thats how the real human nature works …has to be…because of course I was at least 50 % responsible for that! – the other 50% went to me killing myself day in and day out trying to survive…and look after my family…while these selfish shits gets bored and need to find something exciting in their lives and don’t give a F who they throw under the bus to get it !…..hey believe me – I did sit around and blame myself…after all she said I “made her”….there is nothing more fucked up then a NPD…you go crazy trying to figure out their methods and actions and stupidity…but once you read enough about it you can pretty well see that your not insane…that YES someone actually does these bizarre things and lies and spins and parades and the fucking DRAMA is endless. Learn who and what they are and then you are the puppeteer…you learn how to react to them…how to deal with them, talk,walk and never to listen to their bullshit blame game ever again. It seems Tammy must be that kid on the playground who after the bully has kicked your ass everyday that week says “WELL YOU MUST BE DOING SOMETHING FOR HIM TO KEEP DOING THIS” …thats right its my fault he’s a bully…well we know different …there are just POS people out here period. NPD spouses are just that. Can’t change them, Can’t fix them – Just have to deal with them – But we sure as hell won’t take the blame for them!

  • I *still* have the giggles from reading it – what an utter pile of shit… Although eerily reminiscent of my “thoughts” (insanity) when I was in the Amazon phase.

    I was thinking “jeez Tracey has to get a load of this crap” so I was glad to see you weigh in 🙂

    • I’m glad to see a host of other folks weighing in over there too. About 99% of them so far saying this is a load of crap.

      One great comment compared the article to the advice her mother got from a priest when leaving an alcoholic — what did you do to drive him to drink? Same attitude here, only cheating.

  • Oh now I get it. As long as you admit that you contributed 50/50 to your spouse’s decision to cheat, there is still hope for a fairy tale ending. Guess that’s what I did wrong:) This woman makes me want to scream. She is reiterating some of the absolute worst advice I got right after discovering HIS (not our) affair. Namely, that it was a bad idea to make any quick decisions. Total crap. I lost precious years of my life waiting for him to show a morsel of compassion. I wish I had followed my heart, my hurt, and my rage and left him on d-day.

      • Dammit Nord, what a shame that would have been. Losing a lying, cheating, loser, abusive asshole. Bummer for you.

        • Well, given that I was an absolute basket case I kept trying to not day divorce but something inside of me kept making me say it. I consider that my sub-consious, which has probably been trying to get my attention for years and finally had enough and ignored by stupid conscious mind, which was obviously completely incapacitated at the time.

          • I know what you mean. Just when we are in the most need of good advice and can’t think straight, well-meaning people are telling us to disregard our intuition. I believe, they really are trying to help and if you are like me, at the time you probably wanted to believe there was still hope. But, I truly wish I had done what I knew was right at the time and left. I would have saved myself so much grief. btw…your ex and mine sound like twins separated at birth.

            • Yes, I wish I had done what my gut was screaming but although I kicked him out right away I still had hope. And then I didn’t because he was such a dick and so disrespectful. This is the man who told me, a few weeks after I kicked him out, that marriage means nothing.

              amazing, isn’t it, how alike they all are?

  • Well, I guess I’m the lucky one here. I don’t have to think that I was 50% responsible because he never wanted to reconcile or talk about it….he couldn’t run away to live with his partner full time fast enough. Unless that makes me 100% responsible for his cheating and lying to me and the kids?
    Maybe I should post on HuffPo to find out.

  • New Monogamy my ASS! It’s either monogamy or it’s not! She puts a 3 letter word in front of it to sell books to people that are already scared and in crisis. Regardless of my feelings, or what’s happened to me I HATE to see how much money the Chumps of the World will part with. Who are these experts that manipulate language,

    CL, you should sell some unicorns!!!

  • “Our ability to remain monogamous is becoming more difficult in an age when cheating is easier than ever.”

    Really? Funny, I don’t find it any more difficult to remain monogamous, even after being cheated on with multiple women over many years. You would think being the victim of a serial cheater would start to weaken those boundaries, especially now that it is easier than ever to have an affair. Although I will give her this – the internet helped my cheater. He did all his hunting online – either on Ashley Madison or he lied and said he was separated or single on the regular dating sites. He was careful to pick women who lived fairly far away, so there was little chance of being discovered.

    “Marriage as we know it will be totally different by the end of this century. The couples that manage to stay together and make it work will be the ones who decide to create fluidity and flexibility in their partnerships, and find ways to make monogamy work for them.”

    Hah. By fluidity and flexibility, I guess that means if you are cheated on, in order to stay married you MUST learn to eat the shit sandwich, and be flexible and accepting of your partner’s desire to fuck others. Serial monogamy at its finest – the cheater is monogamous on a daily or hourly basis. “Monogamous” with the one he’s boffing at any given moment. What – do we have the morals of hamsters?

    Where did this person obtain her “Phd”?

    • When I was a teen, the boys said PHD stood for Pump em – Hump em and Dump em…God I have’nt thought of that in years! :/

    • Funny, isn’t it? I have no problem remaining faithful to someone. When I’ve felt the relationship was over I never had a problem telling the boyfriend that I thought it was time to move on. I didn’t cheat to get out of things nor did I jump into another relationship. I handled it with as much respect for them as I could, even if I knew I was hurting them. And mostly I was treated the same way.

      then I married STBX.

  • Sometimes people are just bad people. And those bad people may have an affair. It’s about choices and taking responsibility. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to blame people for our other poor choices? “She made me hit her,” or “It’s his fault I drove drunk.” Whatever.

    And the worst part is that douchebag cheaters LOVE to blame other people for their shit. This crap only adds fuel to their narcissistic fire.

  • Of course it’s my fault he had an affair according to him I’m such a bitch. I can only imagine what he would say if the shoe were on the other foot and he was the one who was cheated on. Oh I guess I would still be the bitch because I cheated!

  • I just finished a book from the library called “Surviving an Affair” that was so ridiculous that I couldn’t even finish the damn thing. I figured it would be R sympathetic, but would mostly offer advice about how to move on and what’s best for you. I was wrong. Most of the book was explaining to the reader that the affair is “their” fault, too, and if you don’t fix what “made” your spouse cheat, then you’re to blame. LIke the cheater had no other option but to cheat because you’re a giant failure at being alluring and spineless. There was also a painful anecdote about a man who waited around for his wife to come back and leave her lover for almost a year, and how this was the “right thing to do” because “people need time.” All of this from supposed “psychologists.”

    There’s so much of that self-help bullshit out there that only causes people more misery. It’s a shame.

    • These are the kind of books that keep people like us from moving forward because they try to make you feel guilty. Been there, done that!

    • I read that book too. What a load of shit! So it was my fault that he was a liar and a cheater. Wow, I guess I never knew what power I had. Lol

      • I suggest a book called ‘When your lover is a liar’. Great book. Essentially says get the fuck out but gives loads of examples of red flags and various things that certainly will help me as I move forward.

      • It’s all you. And when he gets cavities, it’s because you didn’t remind him to brush his teeth. And when she doesn’t have what see needs for work tomorrow, it’s because you didn’t put it in her car.

        It’s all your fault.

        • Lol – exactly!

          After I left my ex told me it didn’t work because I didn’t try hard enough – apparently it had nothing to do with him spending $200-400 a pop of my money for hookers several times a week. My bad.

  • I decided to read the full article and looked at some of the others; wanted to throw up!!!
    Short and sweet; did a lot of the suggestions from these articles (that IMO show partiality toward the cheater) and my spouse still cheated AGAIN, was very proud of himself, and blamed me. I am happy to say that time does heal because I now know the grass is not greener for him 🙂

    Chump Lady you are the best!

  • Tammy Nelson’s article is pure mind f&ck.
    If you buy her book, promoted in the article, you get $12.99 worth of fluid and flexible morals.

  • Moral equivalency of this type is wrong. The issue is really transparency. If someone wants to move on, they should let their partner know. The secrecy is all about “kibbles” and “cake-eating” (to quite a great psychologist; was it Freud?) I agree with CL. Most chumps are way too forgiving by nature and can be seduced into cheating themselves via high-minded notions of forgiveness, transcendence, etc.

  • When the R advocates tell you to not to make any decisions for 6 months or a year or WTFever it only gives the cheater a free pass.

    The cheater is going to cheat again. and again and again.When a person who is intrinsically a non cheater , makes some error and is forgiven, will never ever repeat that error.But a cheater by nature, if forgiven, takes that as a license to amount of therapy is going to help because that’s their intrinsic nature.whether they face or do not face consequences for their action , they cannot stop cheating.

    For us, what would be a consequence of our cheating?..losing our family, losing the person we love..but for cheaters this is not a loss because nothing matters to them more than their own fulfillment.So to expect cheaters to reform ” when they hit rock bottom” is an anomaly in itself.What we call rock bottom for them it’s replacing a 50 year old spouse with shared history of 3 decades with a 20 plus something with no history.

    For us , that would be a punishment, for them that’s a reward.

    So, when we operate from completely opposite poles, it’s a match made in hell.

    As about giving it time, the only thing that does is densensitise some chumps to infidelity.the shock and horror of first D day is more soul shattering than any other discovery.So, if you don’t act then when you are in total rage, its likely you may not act at all a year down the line.

    Acceptance of a situation and inertia is what happens when you decide to give your relationship some more time.

    In certain situation, you need anger and rage to propel yourself into making a major life changing decision. if you let that anger dissipate it’s going to be more difficult to take some action.

    So it’s a big FUCK OFF from all of us here to people who ask us to wait before taking a decision.

    I say, decide right away to kick the cheaters ass , but take your time to secure yourself financially etc before you kick him to the kerb.

    They did it with you for so many years, kicked your ass but used you for their needs, it’s time you reversed the game.

    • YEP…I asked for a seperation…I sid I’m not living like this anymore…November. “Don’t do this before christmas”…..”it will ruin it for the kids”….”I will change”….”I promise”…it was a pathetic attempt , she would make a point of exagerating every little thing like “look I made dinner”…” I’m helping around the house”…” I’m staying in. not going out with my friends”….what a great and wonderful person you are now!…all the things any other spouse would love to being married , the normal things two people do when raising a family were such feats of accomplishment to her. Needless to say it only lasted about 2 months and it started back to her being abscent. But here’s the kicker- a year later of me waiting she had snuck around and got her shit together and then announced to us. “I’M LEAVING , I wasn’t ready then but I am now”….so yes giving them time so they can change is BS…it’s so they can continue what they were doing only they think they smarter this time, covered their tracks better, OR they just get more brazen and don’t care who knows. Either way it’s done. Don’t wait ! You see the signs -RUN

      • I think they usually want it to go on their terms and that’s why so many go into rage mode when they realise it’s not going to go according to their plan. That there are consequences, many unforeseen, seems to rock their world in a strange way.

        • Oh yes when you rain on their well thought out parade… LOOK OUT!
          Yes the RAGE is something else…the drama they need to create in order to keep the “VICTIM” narrative going is literally unbelievable….I just wish more people could see it…or maybe they do and are either just as puzzled as me. I know some people see it but I wish just one of those ” FRENEMY’S” would come forth . The lies after awhile fell apart and her tale of woe held very little water but still…one of you show that you have more integrity then the morally defunct characteristics I have seen.
          yeah I know….WTF am I thinking…LOL

    • Agree!

      I tied mysel in knots thinking.. Well is it a year from when I found out? A year from when we decided to reconcile? A year from…. Ugh

      I finally set on “the truth often makes itself known without my help or deliberation”

      4 months later he contacted around 30 women in one afternoon (pros and NSA sex on Craigslist) to make arrangements for that afternoon (because I’d taken myself to a hotel for the night to escape the insanity.)

      I found the evidence ~6:30pm on a Monday night and was driving up i95 with a truck, my cats and trailing my car by 6:30pm the next night.

  • Well, I guess Tammy is right, actually. Do not mistake me to mean that I believe she is advocating is good or healthy or sustainable or anything remotely close to what I personally would do nor do I believe that what she advocates is what anyone should do.

    However, in order to have a “successful reconciliation”, I honestly think that what she advocates is what someone who has been betrayed MUST do. Also, that person must be willing to look the other way repeatedly when the cheater cheats again. Because as others have said, cheaters who use cheating as a coping mechanism and who have not had to face any consequences for their actions– and trust me when I say that transparency is not a consequence, it is just another exciting hurdle to have to conquer on their quest for ego kibbles.

    So it seems to me that the price of admission to reconcilliation is to do exactly what Tammy says. Raging codependents encouraged to apply, people with a sense that they have options available to them probably could not do this.

    Oh, and with respect to a new monogamy? Nah. This is just a rehashing of 1950s monogamy.

    I honestly pity people who are so self impoverished that they stay with cheaters. The are to be pitied.

    • I don’t see how anyone honestly would want to do this. I understand loving someone. I understand even forgiving someone and have forgiven some pretty egregious things in my life. I think two people can go on and live full healthy lives after a betrayal of this enormity. I just don’t believe they can do it together. Nor should they.

  • when he stuck his @@@@ into her I don’t think they were grieving for me. laughing at me maybe. funny, I refer to her not by name but as “f@@@buddy and stupid” he has never corrected me. honestly, I never grieved I just got even. it was a lot more fun. sorry about the language.

    • I believe this is a fuck-friendly zone Anna… Although in the opposite way to our ex-partners idea of the term 😉

  • Hey can everyone please go home now – I’ve learned from a commenter on huffpo that the pain of infidelity is only “illusory” because it didn’t hurt when you didn’t know.

    Sheesh – wish I knew that before! Duh!!!

    • Hey it was the same way with me. Before the Doctor told me I had cancer I was perfectly fine. Clearly I shouldn’t go to the doctor any more. Then I’ll be perfectly healthy for the rest of my life.

  • Well, this is why I changed my major to something in the hard sciences way back when I was still going to college: there is too much focus on vocabulary, writing papers, and presenting a “convincing” argument in the behavioral sciences and too little emphasis on empirical data (not that there aren’t some folks out there doing good work including the kind of tedious grunt work you need to do to gather data like broad spectrum longitudinal studies and neurophysiology), and chances are you will probably wind up becoming a pious, pompous pontificator because it’s the only way for you to make money with your chosen career path, and you need to believe your own BS to keep from sticking a gun in your own mouth and pulling the trigger.

    • I think it would be a shame to decry the social sciences in their entirety just because of one isolated fuckwit.

      There are fuckwits in every profession unfortunately – it’s just a shame they allowed this one to post such utter bollocks on huffpo 🙂

      • Hey, I said there are people doing good work in the field. Chances are you won’t, though, if that’s your career path unless you are doing empirical research or social work.

        I figure so long as we are being brutally honest, there is way more BSing going on in that field than most, and for most people involved, “Science” is misnomer.

  • STBX and OW keep trying to get me to say I share the blame in what happened over the course of the affair.

    Utter crap. Unlike the STBX, I never cheated on my spouse. Unlike the OW, I never cheated a wife out a a relationship with her husband by starting a “relationship” with a married man.

    If he was so unhappy and had “fallen out of love” with me like he claimed, was the only solution to that cheating? NO. Was the only solution to his “misery” to keep me in the dark, lying to me because it was easier than telling me the truth? NO.

    I cleaned up his messes, financially, emotionally, and physically. I’m not cleaning this mess up. I’m not taking one bit of blame. Too bad if that makes them feel like the “bad guys” – they ARE.

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