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Living with Uncertainty

I remember once upon a time when my life was going to Hell, a friend wrote me a cheer up email and ended it with a quote from Bob Dylan — “I embrace the chaos.”

I laughed. When you’re in a free fall, you’re going to go splat on the pavement whether you “embrace” it, or not. Really, when life is shit, it feels more like chaos is trying to embrace YOU than the other way around. But I loved the quote. The lunacy and the hubris of it — Hey! Chaos! I not only accept you — I EMBRACE you! Bring it on!

There is a real peace that comes from understanding that you can’t control everything. As we say a lot here at Chump Lady — you only get to control you. And let’s face it, most of us aren’t even very good at that.

I’m a big believer in acceptance. Manage what we can, let go of the rest, and the wisdom to know the difference. So, I get rather puzzled when people criticize the site for being all “black and white” and intolerant of “uncertainty.” Sure, I believe there are some moral absolutes — “don’t commit adultery” comes to mind — I’ll cop to that. But I’m neither tolerant or intolerant of uncertainty. You may as well say I’m intolerant of gravity. Chaos is a force of nature. To live is to be uncertain — unless you’re Rand Paul or that Long Island psychic.

And chaos has an element of creativity as well (which is probably what Dylan meant). From the mess comes reinvention, recreation. I believe my life is a testament to that.

So to make living with “uncertainty” some sort of virtue, and to speak of it in New Age terms (to be Zenner than thou?) strikes me as weird. No, strike that, it strikes me as spackle. I think the argument goes something like this:

“My spouse cheated on me. I can’t know for certain if they will ever cheat on me again. So I accept that uncertainty. You angry, bitter folks over there — you think you have this figured out. That by leaving a cheater, you’re CERTAIN it will never happen again. You’re certain it’s wrong. You’re certain you know what to do if you’re cheated on. And you’re certain you can prevent it from happening again.” (To which, I wonder — hey, if we’re so certain about everything, why are we so angry? I mean, we control all outcomes, what is there to be pissed about?)

It seems nutty to me — I can’t be certain if he’ll cheat on me again, so I accept all uncertainty.

I’ve discussed this mental gymnastics before — to reconcile you have to live with the knowledge that the person you’re intimate with has betrayed you. You cannot unring that bell or unfuck that whore. That’s the shit sandwich and there is no avoiding it. So you tell yourself, okay, well I can’t control everything. Any number of things might happen if I reconcile — life is uncertainty! Those who bail do so because they can’t master the mental Zen art of dwelling with uncertainty.

Let me tell you, Unicorns, there’s a hell of a lot of uncertainty in divorce and single parenthood. We embrace the chaos over here.

The difference is we have a choice — not to live without uncertainty — but to live without a cheater. THAT cheater. The one who cheated on us — not some abstract cheater in our futures. Fuck the Devil you know. The world isn’t all devils. Maybe there are more out there, maybe not. We don’t know. We’ll jump off that bridge when we come to it.

The point is, we have confidence in our self-knowledge — what we did that was chumpy, what was spackle, and what was bad luck. We have faith in ourselves. We know that we’ll be just fine without the cheater and the deliberate chaos they sowed in our lives. We understand chaos and we’re not looking to manufacture it or invite people into our lives who embrace the fuckupedness.

We have deal breakers. We refuse to live amorphously without them. (Maybe I have a boundary, maybe I don’t… it’s a work in progress… it’s “uncertain.”)

We understand that we don’t control everything or anyone. We only control ourselves. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to Atlantic City and putting all our money down on “Fucktard” and spinning the wheel. Yes, life is risk, but we manage risk. We weigh our investments. It’s okay to walk away from the casino. Sure, sometimes you pull the slots and hit Unicorns. But usually the house wins.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • You have a strong and clear message in this post.

    But it would be better if you found a way to address certain people without using a derivative of the r-word.


    Take the pledge, drop the words and near misses from your vocabulary.

    I am sure you mean no insult- so it would be awesome to just avoid it. 🙂

      • Chumplady:

        I have to agree with Isolde, if that doesn’t upset you too much, your constant drumbeat that ANY reconciliation will turn out to be false not matter what the circumstance is insulting to people who are in R or who have attempted R.

        I am not a dope.

        I was chumped but that doesn’t mean I am stupid.

        I Still maintain, had my ex husband acted properly, when it was important to me and refrained from going to strip clubs while we were reconciling, we could have reconciled. His continued disrespect was my deal breaker.

        Is he a sex addict, I don’t know. I could provide a link that says he is, but then you could likely provide a link that says he isn’t.

        My ex is miserable and remorseful now, but IMO it’s too late, at least for me, but others may feel differently and that’s okay, IMO.

        Black and white thinking is insisting that there are no extenuating circumstances in an infidelity situation. And, I am starting to see that here.

        At first I did not see the rigid thinking displayed at TAM here, and that is what I liked about your blog. It seemed to be opened to all opinions, without judgment or blame.

        Unlike TAM who insists all people must forgive a cheater, I was attracted to your blog because I didn’t think it was a bully pulpit with an agenda. That seems to have changed.

        If other opinions are not welcome here, and only your opinion or those who agree with your stance are welcome here, why not warn people of that in your header in BIIIIIIGG LETTERS…….”NO DISAGREEMENT ALLOWED OR YOU WILL BE RIDICULED AND SHAMED AND CALLED OUT IN A SUBSEQUENT BLOG.

        How long have you been married, Chumplady? Five years? Less? Do you realize that there is no guarantee your husbuand will never cheat.

        How do we know he may not eventually succumb to some flirty client who continues to send him pix of herself in a bikini.

        If you get back to me when you are both 90, I may say wow, you picked a good one, but I thought I picked a good one and I was wrong.

        My ex husband CHANGED. He was influenced by cheating clients, acquaintances, a society and media that makes cheating and strip clubs and porn viewing okay to do as well as exciting and edgy,

        Being chumped doesn’t make us an expert. It simply makes us a more aware chump.

        • To Add”

          My ex husband was also influence edge by a flirty women, who sent him pix of herself in a bikini relentlessly and liked to talk dirty in her emails and texts.

          I saw the emails, texts and heard emails. This OW was definitely the aggressor. Those type of women are rampant today.

          My subsequent sleuthing has not turned up any prior affairs. So, I am fairly certain this was his first. Doesn’t matter, doesn’t make it right. But it may be a nod toward my point that people change and can be influence by other people.

          • sara8 – I respectfully disagree with your characterization of how ChumpLady responds to people who are current in, or have previously attempted reconciliation. In fact, I think she has gone out of her way at times to say “it wasn’t for me, maybe it will work for you” when you consider what the site’s motto is.

            I am speaking as someone who is currently giving his cheating wife a second chance (although “in limbo” is more accurate than “reconciling”).

            Even with this article, CL is not attacking Elle – she is merely countering her argument. Even more to the point, CL is defending her own position.

            I frequent this site b/c I enjoy the perspective this site offers. I read TAM & others to get the reconciliation viewpoint, I don’t come here for that. Nor have I ever felt like CL was insulting me for believing unicorns might exist for me.

            As far as your comment about “[flirty women] are rampant today” – that just sounds like you are making excuses for “those type of men” who would seemingly fall “victim” to their wiles.

            This successfull, relatively fit/attractive, mid-thirties [currently] married male has NEVER had a problem being faithful to his wedding vows. Despite being in a marriage that the reconcilation crowd would say laid the groundwork for my wife’s affair (ie neither of us was getting all our needs met or completely happy – I just didn’t sleep with another woman to fill the void).

            • Rimis:

              I am glad you have a differing opinion.

              My opinion is that believing we can pick a mate that will not cheat going forward is like looking for the unicorn. So, we will agree to disagree.

              Sorry your wife cheated.

              I don’t think only men are tempted to cheat. Hope I didn’t give that impression

              Cheating among women is waaaaay up.

              So, I am an equal opportunity type in thinking that women can be just as tempted by societal mores, and a man that is too pushy, and the right opportunity and situation of physical attraction and emotional connection collides.

              • I think I am much better equipped this time around, Sara. Once I started researching personality disorders and looking into my own naivete, I began to see reality. I am pretty confident that i can spot a potential cheater now.

          • Plenty of maried men don’t fall for “flirty women.”
            Plenty of married men draw the boundaries immediately .( strike 1)
            It is about the character of the cheater, not about the assertion that a certain type of woman is out there.
            First no boundaries, then cheating( strike 2), then acting like the reconciliation doesn’t mean that much(strike 3). How often do we have to see partners treating their spouse this way ( same MO, same results) for people to realize that it ‘s a wash, rinse, repeat cycle that goes on and on until you decide how many strikes is finally too much. And R doesn’t work when you are busy blaming the woman who tempted your husband. I would bet that CL could tell someone all the parts that were b.s and all the parts that were not making this a true reconciliation on his part, would you have listened? No. But that doesn’t mean she should stop preaching. He could have blocked her from contacting him and could have reported her if this were a work situation

            • Yeah, blaming the ‘temptress’ is kind of silly. He was a grown-assed man and fully capable (unless she drugged him or cast a particularly evil spell) of saying no, politely drawing his boundaries, whatever. The dude wanted some strange and he got it. Sara, it sucks but it’s reality.

          • Sorry, Sara but I don’t get what your point it. The message of this site is right up there in big letters already. Leave a cheater, gain a life. That’s pretty difficult to misinterpret.

            As far as other sites and what they do (although my experience with TAM was that they were all for divorce, actually) that has no bearing whatsoever to what CL does. This is her site, bringing a message I believe she thinks is important. If you dont’ agree with that message you’re obviously welcome to go elsewhere.

            As far as your husband and your various explanations for why he did what he did? I get that you probably still love him and that this broke your heart but Sara? What you’re doing is called speckling. Any man or woman worth their salt would have shut down any hobag who was coming on to them, flat out. Society, clients, media…all irrelevant. The fact is your ex wanted to and chose to bang another woman. It sucks. Be grateful you left that cheater and gained a life.

        • Sara8, I am not anti- R. If cheating is not deal breaker for you, there are other sites, that support your view. In fact the majority of infidelity sites on the web, apparently, which is why I created this site. For those who chose NOT to reconcile, didn’t receive the chance to reconcile, see reconciliation as a dead end, had a remorseful spouse but still chose not to reconcile, reconciled and had false reconciliation, and many variations therein.

          I am not against people who reconcile. I do not ridicule them. I make strong, reasoned arguments against R. (Which, btw, if you’re in R and you can’t deal with a strong reasoned argument? You’re too fucking fragile to R, IMO.) I think their odds of reconciling successfully are LONG. I wish them every happiness if they make it work. I think the majority of people in R, however, are kidding themselves. They are in marriages that endure, but are not “better” for the infidelity.

          I have said many times here that I do NOT think once a cheater, always a cheater NOR do I think that every cheater has a personality disorder. However, most people who read here, and my personal experience, was with Serial cheaters — who are IMO utter fuckups and disordered, whatever name or affliction you want to call them.

          I’ve been married two years, Sara. Three this summer. I’ll let my husband respond to your character attack that it’s inevitable he’ll succumb to some bimbo in a bikini.

          No one has EVER said you are stupid for being chumped. We ALL were chumped, Sara. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. There is nothing wrong with loving and trusting someone.

          I do, however, find something very wrong with the attitude that 99.9% of all men suck, do porn, sext, wait til your 90 hope he’s a good one, I’ll stay single because no one is faithful, etc. If that’s the case?

          No one can guarantee you will love again without risk. Love is risk. Love makes us vulnerable. That said, just because you got chumped, doesn’t mean you can’t improve your picker, and shore up your boundaries. Sure, even “good” marriages succumb to infidelity. And if you felt it was that good, and the cheater that awesoem in every other respect, by all means — SAVE IT.

          I’m sorry it didn’t work for you Sara. I truly am. But if you want to pick a fight with me, and accuse me of bullying — find another site. I don’t relish banning people. Every voice is welcome. Better yet, spend the time and money and create your OWN blog.

          Oh, and those loose women who throw themselves at married men? They don’t have super powers and magic vaginas. Their charms don’t work on guys with boundaries and character. There ARE men that are faithful, and it doesn’t take a super human effort for them to stay faithful. The whole hate-the-hussy school of infidelity makes me roll my eyes into the back of my sockets. Yes, that was ridicule. No one can make you cheat. You CHOOSE to cheat.

          • Chumplady said: I’m sorry it didn’t work for you Sara. I truly am. But if you want to pick a fight with me, and accuse me of bullying — find another site. I don’t relish banning people. Every voice is welcome. Better yet, spend the time and money and create your OWN blog.

            Good grief: Is disagreeing with you seen as picking a fight? Or is it open discourse?

            • You said I was “bullying,” “ridiculing” — and then you insulted the character of my husband and my marriage. So yeah, IMO, you’re picking a fight.

              • Chump lady’s posting: [Chump Lady March 8, 2013 at 11:47 am

                You said I was “bullying,” “ridiculing” — and then you insulted the character of my husband and my marriage. So yeah, IMO, you’re picking a fight.]

                Good grief, CL, I posted some hypothetical situations pertaining to you and your husband.

                Why such a reaction to an opposing opinion.

        • “How long have you been married, Chumplady? Five years? Less? Do you realize that there is no guarantee your husbuand will never cheat. How do we know he may not eventually succumb to some flirty client who continues to send him pix of herself in a bikini.”

          Sara, Chumplady and I have been happily married for almost three years. I assure you I will not cheat on her. I was previously married for more than 20 years before that marriage ended due to my ex-wife’s serial cheating. I never cheated or came close to cheating in that marriage, despite flirty clients and co-workers and plenty of stress in my family. My parents have been married more than 50 years and have never cheated. I am one of 5 brothers and sisters and to my knowledge none of us has ever cheated. I don’t think I’m that unusual. I think it just seems that way when a person has their life turned upside down by a cheating spouse and spends a lot of time on infidelity-related websites.

          I wish you the best of luck in finding your way through your infidelity ordeal and would urge you to reconsider being able to trust again. We chumps let our cheating spouses steal years from our past; we shouldn’t let them steal our futures as well.

          • That is the key, refining one’s picker. Yes, it is not 100% accurate, but mine is way more attuned now. There is no way my GF would ever cheat. I can tell , really.

          • Mr Chumplady.

            Well, I am glad to meet you. 🙂

            You and Chumplady are both lucky to have each other.

            I wish you both a long and happy and cheating free union.

            • Hey Mr. Chump Lady!
              Just wanted to say nice to meet you also! I have not been treated well in the past, but I do know alot of family members, women, and men that have been successfully married for years and there was no infidelity involved to my knowledge. I also think that I have made some very poor choices, and certainly will be more careful in the future, If I have a romantic future. In any case I just want to Thank you for taking good care of CL. Everyone deserves to be treated decently, and appreciated.

        • Sara8 –

          “My ex husband CHANGED. He was influenced by cheating clients, acquaintances, a society and media that makes cheating and strip clubs and porn viewing okay to do as well as exciting and edgy”

          This sounds like my husband… even the first affair part and the woman being the aggressor. But I don’t think he CHANGED. I think he was always this weak person that had no real set morals. I just didn’t know it because he said all the right things to me. Only tiny little cracks in the foundation might have hinted at who he really was. My husband allowed himself to be tempted and then to finally cross the line, I’m not going to blame others for his choices. He did not distance himself and he justified it being okay because everybody (or at least others) was doing it.

          Like you I still like to believe unicorns exist. I was really really hoping, no, expecting, my husband to be one. I gave him his chance to prove to me he was and he failed. And finding that out was almost like being betrayed a second time, albeit much less traumatic than the first.

          CL’s opinion on reconciliation might be more pessimistic than some here but she does state it pretty forthrightly at the top of the page. And there are a mix of voices here. Granted not very many from a successful reconciliation, because this probably wouldn’t be the right site for them and they choose to be elsewhere.

          • Another Erica said: [CL’s opinion on reconciliation might be more pessimistic than some here but she does state it pretty forthrightly at the top of the page. And there are a mix of voices here. Granted not very many from a successful reconciliation, because this probably wouldn’t be the right site for them and they choose to be elsewhere.]

            Another Erica:

            So then you agree, opposing voices are not welcome here. It wasn’t billed that way initially. It was simply a place that was really tough on cheaters.

            Why not just post right in the header that opposing voices not welcome, start your own blog, or this is not the right place for anyone who disagrees that reconciliation for everyone is a unicorn.

            Good grief, I voice an opposing opinion and out come the pitch forks and torches.

            I chose not to reconcile, and believe me, I was banned from TAM for being tough on cheaters, but the attacks here are not different from the opposing voices that were attacked en masse at Talk about marriage when a differing opinion is voice.

            I don’t care if I am banned from here. So what? It just proves my point.

            • What your point, Sara? Be as tough on cheaters as you want — that’s cool. And you can put down Other Women. Condemn away! But anyone who want to stay in the triangle of fuckupedness, or reconcile — we need to be supportive and understanding?

              Because this is NOT a reconciliation site. It’s in the banner, it’s in the About Chump Lady. It’s in the experience of the people who read here and post here.

              This is site is OPEN to all view points. I get letters and posts from people in affairs. That’s different than ACCEPTING all view points. I’m very clear about my POV and what this site is about — expressly NOT saving your marriage. But look ahead and create new, improved life for yourself.

              You want to make a compelling argument for R? Then make it. In 468 comments, I don’t see that. I see you stating you’ll never be able to trust again and everyone sucks and men are vulnerable to loose women, that’s why they cheat. There’s no happy ending. It’s all unicorns. But not reconciliation, let’s be OPEN to that. But leave a cheater? That’s a sentence to a life alone not trusting anyone.

              Your POV is not what this site is about and yet you’ve got 468 posts. Sorry it took you that long to clue into the fact we’re not pro-reconcilation at Chump Lady.

              • Chump lady said: [Chump Lady March 8, 2013 at 12:22 pm

                What your point, Sara? Be as tough on cheaters as you want — that’s cool. And you can put down Other Women. Condemn away! But anyone who want to stay in the triangle of fuckupedness, or reconcile — we need to be supportive and understanding? ]


                To clarify: Are you saying I am putting other women down?

                If so, ARe you aware that people at other forums are saying that you are disrespectful to other woman and putting down other women for the choices they pursue.

                Also are you really counting my posts? That’s weird. What difference does the number of my posts make?

                Have you actually read them?

                Do they make a compelling argument for R in your mind?

                To my mind they just leave the possibility that R might work for some. For the most part they sound pretty angry at cheaters in general.

                I am not megolamaniacal or despotic enough to make a compelling argument for or against anything in this world.

                I have no agenda here other to inform other woman to be alert to the clues and to make them feel normal when they feel as if they are crazy.

                My only argument is that people need to be informed so that they can make the best decision for themselves.

                I don’t think anyone should let someone else do the thinking for them. And, never disagreeing with someone is kind of cultish and unhealthy, IMO.

                My opinion is that people involved with someone who cheated needs to be Informed, but informed realistically and in a way that makes their choices feel accepted.

                Part of empowering someone IS encouraging them to make their own decisions without undue influence.

                Why does that lead you to proclaim I am making a compelling argument for R. Where on earth has that come from.

                Again, have you actually read my posts here or at TAM?

                You say you’re not pro reconciliation in the above post but then you say you support if if someone wants to reconcile.

                Indeed your use of the word unicorn implies that reconciliation is as non-existent as a unicorn a mythical fairytale creature that no one has ever seen.

                You keep saying that your open to other opinions. But you are clearly not.

                You seem really annoyed by my audacity to voice an opposing opinion. So annoyed you are clearly threatening to ban me or hoping to run me off.

                I am Kinda’ confused.

                There are plenty of blogs out there, CL, so if you must ban me, for voicing an opposing opinion, go ahead.

                If you do that, it’s no great loss. I am looking for intellectual open discourse, I thought I found it here, but maybe not.

            • Sara8,
              Go back and read all of Chump Lady’s blog posts dating back to April 2012. She has been extremely consistent on her opinion of leaving a cheater and gaining a life. She has had many readers and posters of her blog–unicorns, chumps that left, OW/OM, and chump adult kids. She has always welcomed all of us and different opinions. Yet the name if the blog remains: LEAVE a cheater, GAIN a life. Chump Lady believes in leaving the craziness of people who CHOOSE to cheat and putting the focus back on the chump by living a healthy and authentic life. Learn to trust and love again. Reconcilers are not bashed. Chump lady will tell them the truth about whether or not it is false, perhaps the chump unicorn wants to drop the burden. She encourages the chump to stop putting focus on the cheater and placing that much needed focus on themselves. I applaud and am inspired by Chump Lady and Mr. Chump Lady. A great and real love can be found after pulling yourself from the wreckage and loving yourself first. Rock on Chump Lady. Love your blog, your message and you!!! You are one cool chick!!!!!!!

              • Sara, CL is very, very clear in her message and if people don’t like it they are, of course, free to find another place to discuss their views if they’re not comfortable with the views here.

                I have to say, though, that pointing out what people are saying on other forums is…odd. Who cares what people are saying on other forums? Should that somehow make CL – or any of us here – rethink our views on CL’s message? It’s kind of like when my STBX will spout at me ‘people think you’re crazy/bitter/nuts’ or whatever – the message being that because other people don’t approve of my views or what I think about my situation then I am somehow wrong.

                I don’t take any notice of that kind of thinking and don’t think CL should either. People can have any opinion they want, just as I can, just as you can, just as CL can.

              • Also, to note something: a blog will give a post count for anyone who posts on the site, so to imply that CL is running around counting the number of posts you’ve made is not correct.

            • S8,

              You know, not every forum is for everyone to say everything. I like baseball, but if they kept interrupting Monday Night Football to talk about how much better baseball is than football and how football sucks and how people who watch football are making a big mistake, I’d have a problem with that, too. I tune into MNF to watch football, damn it!

              Please consider that this is a site with a stated perspective. CL’s perspective. That’s why most of us come here. She puts a lot of time and effort into crafting ***that*** message and delivering ***that*** message with clarity and humor, which we appreciate. In all candor, we don’t come here to here your very different message, which you voice often and at length and repeatedly making the same few points, increasingly to the extent of thread-jacking or making the discussion about you and how you perceive yourself being treated. This particular thread for example.

              Since you disagree strongly with the perspective upon which this site is built, you may feel more comfortable at another site. That’s not coming after you with a pitchfork; it’s simply a practical suggestion. It’s okay to divorce websites, just as it’s okay to divorce spouses. If you have been thrown off one or more pro-reconciliation sites, and are upsetting people at a site that’s not pro-reconciliation, you might also want to consider that your manner of communication might profit from some fine-tuning.

            • ” but the attacks here”

              No attacks, under specific conditions does R work and rarely ( if not exceptionally) does the cheater bother to implement them. That is reality, not an attack.

        • “Do you realize there is no guarantee your husbuand will never cheat.”

          It is more likely that your x who cheated would have done so again. It is not about a ” guarantee” that any person out there will never cheat. So you are acting as if the odds on someone who has already cheated are the same as the odds of anyone out there- anyone out there who has not cheated. Wrong.

    • My niece and nephew (twins) are autistic. And I’m sorry, I love “fucktard” and I would of course never, ever call someone who has developmental disability “retarded.”

      But it fits certain cheaters — retarded in the slow, unformed, obstructionist sense of the word.

  • True Dat Chump Lady!! Way to preach the truth loud and clear from the effin rooftop! Fucktards??? Ain’t got time for that shit.. 😉

  • Nice Chumpster! Hey, if the Athenians come after you with a cup of hemlock, you can hide out here. It’s Minnesota in March though – “God’s way of showing people who don’t drink what a hangover is like…”

    Jantelovenly yours, Bede

      • I am in the frozen Tundra, as well. This place is really nice 8 months of the year. Then, it sucks.
        Anyway, I read a piece from a website by some couple. Wayne and Tamara(you can google their stuff).
        Surprisingly, they are bot very much anti-reconcilliation, despite having a religous bent.
        Here is what they say about infidelity, sort of:
        It seems there is evidence that, fundamentally, we, as humans, want to be loved exclusively in the romantic way. They point to some evidence demonstrating this.
        So, if your spouse cheats on you, it is pretty much irrefutable evidence that she or he does not love you exclusively. You now know with certainty that this is the case.
        So, it is best to bail and seek someone who will love you exclusively.
        I have never understood or bought the claims by either the cheater or the BS that the cheater still loved them during the affair or that the cheater loves them now.

        • It might help to read the book passionate marriage.

          The section about “normal marital hatred” is intriguing

          In it they talk about how uncomfortable people get thinking that it is okay to occassionally hate your spouse and that it is even normal.

          What is unhealthy is to refuse to admit these feelings of hatred and to acknowledge they are normal and temporary.

          It happens in all romantic relationships, and in personal relationships of any type.

          We can occassionally hate someone, torment them, and still love them. It’s part of being human.

          That is why people end up married two three four times in a lifetime.

          They don’t understand the normal ups and downs.

          They have unrealistic expectations. If they can bring these expectations to reality, then they likely have a chance of staying married.

          A majority of non personality disordered cheaters have unrealistic expectations of a marriage. When the going gets tough, or they feel hatred toward their spouse, they think they have fallen out of love so they cheat.

          But then when they are faced with losing someone they only hated temporarily they may change. Some may not change, but some will.

          Is it okay to have deal breakers. Sure? But they need not be the same for everyone.

          If cheating is a deal breaker, fine.

          But if it’s not a deal breaker for someone, why ridicule them. Does anyone really have definitive answers regarding human relationships?

          • Realistic expectations? Seems to me the whole website is about realistic expectations. Isaac Newton said an object in motion tends to stay in motion, an object at rest tends to stay at rest. Well, cheaters tend to cheat.

            You stated above “I Still maintain, had my ex husband acted properly, when it was important to me and refrained from going to strip clubs while we were reconciling, we could have reconciled. His continued disrespect was my deal breaker.”

            Kinda seems he was consistent, CL’s main reason for the blog is to note this tendency among cheaters in general. Your expectation was unrealistic. Your disappointment is something all here can relate to, but you seem to have a blind spot in this dustup.

  • “Sure, I believe there are some moral absolutes — ‘don’t commit adultery’ comes to mind — I’ll cop to that.”

    Yep. And if more of us thought that way, perhaps infidelity would be less rampant. Instead, it seems as though we’re supposed to be morally flexible. I think that’s why people default to uncertainty. Nothing, apparently, is certain. We aren’t supposed to “judge” people when they cheat. We aren’t supposed to get involved when we are certain that cheating is occurring. Hell, there are people who assist the cheater in his/her subterfuge! I’m not surprised that people tolerate limbo, false R, cake eating, or a life of paranoia instead of leaving their cheaters. If we’re “not sure” that cheating is bad, then the decision to leave is also not clear.

    My parents grew up in the 50s and would likely be viewed as “old-fashioned” by some today. However, I credit them for giving me a backbone. They taught me that betrayal is betrayal. There are certain things you can work through and certain things you can get past. Infidelity is not one of them, and I’m grateful that I was taught that stance. I think that they saved me from a ton of heartache and additional DDays by making it clear that cheating SHOULD BE a dealbreaker.

    • MovingOn, in reading your comment I have to say that this ‘flexibility’ is a HUGE problem in our society. No moral absolutes is a problem. Everyone can just run around an be as CL says a fucktard. It’s really crazy! We then have to endure reading articles and paying our money for therapists who say that we need to compromise, understand, etc. etc. What?

      My parents were depression era folks and divorce wasn’t an option. They were married for 58 years until my Dad passed away from Alzheimers at age 85. My Dad died at home and my mother cared for him until he died sleeping next to him. One thing I know is my Dad NEVER cheated on my mom. He was a good looking man too and caught the attention of several women, but he just got flustered if any woman gushed over him- cheating was just not something he ever did. My mom was not always kind to him and nagged him a lot but he never took it out on her by cheating.

      Sometimes I wish I could just transport or ‘beam up’ a man like my Dad to this planet. Someone who had a solid moral compass. I will definitely be picking someone with a similar moral compass in the future. Things are going to be WAY different. Like you I look forward to moving on. . .

  • I was driving home from work today..the time that I typically feel that cloud of dread swamp me..the X and I were together for an hour or two before sleep…and instead of the COD I thought HEY! MY LIFE is not so predictable anymore that I am going to dread seeing his truck there EVER again!!!
    I don’t know what may happen tonight or tomorrow etc. for the first time in years I actually thought…It might be something good! I don’t know what will happen ever, no one does, but I have hope!!! What a very confusing and beautiful thought, and then I see this post… 🙂

  • Yay! I think you have summed up Bayesian Inference without mentioning Bayes or giving a lecture on statistics or subjective probability 🙂

  • I had some bad news this week. As people here know, I’ve not served my STBXH. I discovered back in October that he’d been cheating on me since the summer. I’d had inklings, of course. The sudden cessation of any kind of sexual activity was a huge clue. Finding his cell unlocked was another. I immediately looked up what to do when you discover your spouse is unfaithful, and found both this site and another site that’s not necessarily pro-reconciliation. Both said the same thing: don’t confront your spouse! Get yourself to a lawyer. Line your ducks up in a row. Get the exit plan together and go.

    That’s what I’ve been doing. My financial ducks have taken longer to line up. I’ve made less than my STBX–a lot less. But since he’s been spending his money on God knows what, very likely the OW and her family, I’ve had to stretch my considerably less income, which means putting more on the old credit card. I went on a job hunt, got a much better job, and then ran a credit report on myself. My credit’s too weak, but I think I can get it to be pretty respectable in 6 months.

    Then I thought there’s the possibility that my STBX will lose his job. Oh well, then he’ll likely take his 401K and pay off the house (stupid move–he should be working on his resume, and even the OW says that, since he’s really employable). That’s okay. I’ll just have to pay out his part of the house. That gives me a nice house for what I’d have to pay for a foreclosed house.

    But the point is that even though STBX still irks me no end, and I find his conversations with his AP so cliched to be banal, I feel as if I’m focusing more on me and what I can do and what I want. I’m focusing on my future and my goals. I may smile and nod when he starts to pontificate about his world, but it’s my choice to do so.

    I can’t control his cheating, though I take a bit of a perverse delight in making a bit harder for the two of them to spend time together. I think this is his first affair, but maybe it isn’t. I can’t tell, and really, it doesn’t matter. He can’t unfuck that woman. He can’t be faithful after breaking faith. He can’t be true after breaking his vows to me.

    What I can do is focus on my future and build a good one for me. That’s all I can control.

    This site helps me remember that.

    • Good for you kb!!! You took the ball and you’re running with it! I wish I’d found out sooner and done the same! Can’t wait to hear about his reaction when he finds out he’s not as clever as he thought he was. Good luck to you and God’s speed!

    • Wow! You still haven’t confronted him about it?? So you know that he’s lying and you watch him lie to you?

      Good luck with everything! You sound pretty close to ready to me. Maybe you should set yourself an emancipation date! 🙂

    • KB:

      I am so glad you took the time to get your financial ducks in a row.

      Good luck going forward. I would love to hear about his reaction, when he learns he’s been outed, too. 🙂

  • ” you cannot unring that bell or unfuck that whore” Quite possibly the most faboosh line EVAH!

  • Best rebuttal ever to the “better the devil you know” argument that is rampant on pro-R boards. Thanks CL.

    • the “devil you know ” argument has never made sense to me. Your odds would stillseem to be better with a new person vs a known cheater.
      And, the argument ignores the fact that, in many of our cases, we are now wiser, more aware that there are these things called “personality disorders” and more aware of the red flages.
      I cannot imaging, now, that i would not pick up on a disordered person relatively quickly now. I have come across many and recognize them now.

      • Arnold:

        I agree if your two prior cheating ex’s were both disordered you are now more aware of the red flags.

        But, not all cheaters are personality disordered.

        IMO, thinking that you can pick someone who will never be influenced by changing societal mores is dangerous thinking, IMO.

        It makes us complacent.

        IMO, the internet and cell phones have changed the rules of the infidelity game. It’s now much easier to form a relationship with someone, right under your spouses nose and while lying next to them in bed or in the next room.

        Unless………………the spouse insists on transparency

        I never looked over my spouses shoulder while he was emailing of texting. I never questioned his need for going into the garage or another room to seek privacy when a cell call came in. I respected his privacy.

        I was too trusting and my ex was not transparent.

        • Sara – you were not too trusting. You believed that your ex took your commitment as seriously as you did. That is normal. And of course, he wasn’t transparent because he was hiding something – his affair!! I understand that technology has made cheating easier than ever. My stbx started his A on FB and I also blamed technology in the beginning. Believe me, he was more than happy to let me continue shifting blame away from him. When I look back, I can’t help but see how ridiculous that was. A website or cell phone don’t make people cheat. They choose to cheat. It really is that simple.

          I now hold him accountable for his cheating, 100%. How he did it is meaningless. He did it and that’s what counts.

          • Hi Sher:

            Thank you for the vote of confidence.

            But you are misinterpreting what I mean when I mention technology.

            I don’t mention as a out for my ex. I mention technology because it makes it so easy for the cheater to carry on an affair right under the nose of the spouse

            So, that begs the question, unless you remain lois lane or Nancy drew in every relationship going forward, you may well be chumped again, not because technology makes it so easy for anyone who doesn’t snoop to be chumped, right as you sit in bed next to your spouse watching TV.

            I don’t have all the answers, I but I do know that everyone who knew my ex thought he was the last guy that would cheat.

            He was not deemed personality disordered, either by any of the psychologists we visited.

            • Sara, I get what you are saying, but still disagree with the basic premise that you need to snoop on your spouse or bf/gf to ensure their loyalty – technology or not. It’s a matter of boundaries. My stbx and I both opened a FB accounts on the same day. Within 2 weeks, I received a friend request from an former fiance. He was freshly divorced and my marriage was hitting some bumps, so I politely declined is friend request. I also told my WH about it so there would be no secrets. I could have easily have hid my “dangerous” friend, but I chose not to. My stbx received an equally dangerous friend request at the same time from an old HS crush. He never told me about it, accepted her request, and the rest is history. Sara – it’s a choice. My ex and I were presented with the identical situation, yet only one of us decided to cheat. Stop making excuses for him. It wasn’t aggressive women or FB or his cell phone. It was him! Good luck.

              • Sher:

                The divorce is final. I don’t need luck. I am at peace with my decision.

                I could get hysterical and say you are accusing me of making excuses, but in reality I realize you are simply misinterpreting my stance.

                That’s okay.

                But I am not making excuses for him. I am simply pointing out that in my opinion trusting anyone 100 percent is a tad naive.

                Been there done that, won’t be doing it again.

                But if your cool with trusting 100 percent and not snooping to ensure no cheating is going on…..I’m cool with that.

              • I would not be able to relax and enjoy myself with a partner I do not trust 100%. I would forgoe a relationship first.

        • I am not sure about that, Sara. It seems to me that anyone who could engage in some type of longer-ish affair , with all the attendent lying and subterfuge, would have to be personality disordered.
          I really try to imagine what it would be like to do all that is needed to conduct an affair and I have no idea how any normal person could do it without losing sleep, weight, worrying, feeling so guilty ect such that connducting it would be impossible.
          I may be in the minority, but, I really beleive that people who have affairs are, fundamentally, different than those who do not. Their values, capacity for empathy, capacity for cruelty and selfishness are on a much different level.

          • Arnold:

            I don’t really know if that is true. But it’s a moot point. If it’s a deal breaker it is, and at the very least, if it’s not personality disordered it is selfish, immature and self absorbed.

            I think we agree on that.

            And, in another post you also agreed that you have a better picker but can’t be 100 percent sure you picked a non-cheater.

            My point is the same: There is no 100 percent certainty.

            I thought I picked a non-cheater and I did, until I didn’t.

            • There is an 100% certainty. The cheater has a 100% chance of having already cheated. We know that, and it tells us a lot about their respect and compassion for their partner.

              Now, as for future events, subjective probability is rarely 100% for anything, but… some events are less likely than others, and not all events are equally likely.

              If somebody has cheated more than once, for example, I would put the chances that they won’t do it again as being slim to none baring some intervening event like incarceration, slipping into a coma, or the first human brain transplant. You would have better chances of not having to go through that again with a random stranger most likley.

        • Hell, I overlooked a lot of the signs. Just could not beleive they would do it.
          The thing that bugs me the most is not the concept of reconciliation. It is all the propoganda out there that ells folks it is common to reconcile and that they may very well wind up with a better marriage.
          Now, those things are possible, at least in theory. But , it is abslolute BS to portray it as common or that there is a “very good chance” at it.
          It happens, But, it is a real rarity. And, some of these expert reconciliation therapist are shameless liars, looking to make moeny by lying to hurt, vulnerable people.

          • Amen to this. I can’t believe a woman actually wrote a book titled, “My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” (Anne Bercht). Talk about shamelessly promoting reconciliation for a buck. That’s why I love CL’s blog so much. She is a sane, rational (and totally hilarious) voice for those of us who have decided that we deserve better.

      • Arnold – totally agree. I could never make sense of this argument for R. We are supposed to stay with a cheating, disordered person who we know for an absolute fact will inflict great emotional harm on us, all because someone else may treat us even worse. WTF? Or, the flip side…where the BS complains that it “wouldn’t be fair” that after all the hard work of R, their WS learns how to be a better person who then may, or may not, treat a future partner better. Personally, I could never follow this logic. I honestly don’t care how stbx behaves in his future relationships. I am sure that the only thing he learned throughout our false-R was how to be sneakier in the future.

  • Great column once again, CL! And I think Fucktard suits your point perfectly, because cheaters are *developmentally disabled* when it comes to *sexual intimacy.*

    Look, science has shown that human beings are *terrible* at assessing and comparing risks. For example, people will flock to a passionate and sincere demonstration against nuclear power (which has killed 0 people so far in the U.S., at least that anyone can confirm) using . . . automobiles (which have killed 30,000 to 50,000 people in the U.S. alone ***every year since 1934***–roughly 2.5 million if you’re keeping score–and that’s just accidents and does not include deaths from pollution, manufacturing, construction of roadways, etc.). We tend to weigh risks based more on fear, convenience, iconography, narrative, and trendiness than we do on objective information.

    Objective information that every person considering reconciliation should consider includes the following:
    1. The person you married is a cheater and cheated on you in particular;
    2. While people can change, the most likely predictor of future behavior is past behavior;
    3. There are millions of people in the world who have never cheated, and will never cheat, and very often none other than your spouse who have cheated on you; and
    4. You only need to find one (1) faithful person to have a monogamous relationship.

    This information suggests that, in most cases, a person will have a better chance at monogamy by leaving a cheater than by staying with the cheater. As CL has said, you could swing a cat in a bar and likely hit a better partner, if only because that cat-dented person wouldn’t have a history of sticking knives in your back. It might be less scary or more convenient to stay with a cheater (at least in the short term), but it is almost never the smart bet for a person seeking faithfulness.

  • CL –

    “Those who bail do so because they can’t master the mental Zen art of dwelling with uncertainty.”

    This might be the first time I slightly disagree with you… I actually think those that stay stay because they can’t deal with uncertainty. Yeah, I mean they have to deal with more uncertainty than was in their lives before the cheating. But it’s a HELL of a lot less uncertainty than basically starting your life over. Without the presence of someone(s) that have been in your life for a long, long time. I know I was scared shitless of my now completely unknown future. But I knew I had to face it and do it because my spouse gave me NO OTHER OPTION (though his opinion differs on that). The ones that stay would rather be with the devil they know which means they find some form of comfort in the familiar. Even if the familiar has totally screwed them over. And I can understand that to a degree. I went through my own false reconciliation.

    I think the ones that leave are actually be more idealistic than the ones that stay (even with our sometimes complaining here about not being able to trust again, etc., etc.)… the ones that go think maybe, just maybe I’ll find someone that treats me the way I expect and deserve to be treated. And if not, I’ll be happier on my own than with this fucktard. I think we are all closeted romantics 🙂 Tell me if I’m wrong.

    • I think you misread the post. “Those who bail do so because they can’t master the mental Zen art of dwelling with uncertainty” is supposed to represent one of the “mental gymnastics” (rationalizations) of critics.

      • you’re right… I read it through yesterday then went back up and skimmed it before writing this today.

        Phew! I knew I couldn’t disagree with CL!

  • I think that people make the choice that makes the most sense to them given their value system. I think that human beings, in general, do not like to feel as though they are out of control (anthropologists would say that’s why we invent religions, so that we can trick ourselves into believing that the world is not chaotic and that there is a system or order that we can count on, even if we can’t see it).

    I think that people reconcile because they think: “okay, I know what I’ve got here, and I can control this situation because I can be vigiliant and play detective, and I know the guy/woman has cheated before, so I can watch for the signs and make sure that he/she is doing the “work” and getting to therapy and that we’re communicating and I can take steps and we can work together as a team and in so doing, I can protect myself from being hurt again that way. In the meantime, I don’t have to go through the chaos of breaking up a marriage and losing my house/access to my kids/my dreams for my future.” They don’t do this consciously, probably, as in say those words to themselves, but I think those kinds of impulses feed into the decision to try to work things out. And if that makes sense to those people, that’s valid. For them.

    But where I think reconciliation fails as a healthy dynamic is because it is so inherently linked to not just controling oneself, but also trying to control others. Certainly they don’t come right out and say: “I’m in a relationship in which I’m controlling (or trying to control/curb/influence) the actions of another”, but I would argue that if you must demand full transparency and check emails and all the rest, all those actionis are indicative of trying to control someone else’s actions, no matter how much you say you aren’t, if you are looking over someone’s shoulder, trying to reparent them, trying to snoop around them, trying to influence their behavior those actions ARE controlling.

    I know that I chose not to reconcile because trying to control another in that way would make me feel totally out of control because I would be banking my ability to be happy on my ability to control another adult person’s actions. I would feel out of control if I had to live with someone who I knew had chosen to betray me, because I view betrayal as abuse — sneaky abuse. It is cowardly to cheat and I want nothing to do with cowardly people who can’t figure out how to cope in a manner that is consistent with adulthood and responsibillity. Seriously, if you want to cheat, just divorce me, don’t lie to me. Just be a man and tell me and I will let you go. Trouble is, cheaters are emotional infants who don’t know what the hell they want or how to make themselves happy, and they just make bad choices to help them cope with their own insecurities.

    When I read about the hoops that the reconciling folks go through, and I read how difficult it is for them to manage triggers, and how they always are questioning their gut feelings and they can’t engage in a conversation with their cheating spouse with out either rushing to a forum to get assistance or feedback afterwards, or doing it in a MC office or without something always going back to the affair, I think: “that can’t be healthy.” But what I really mean to say is: “That is not something that would be healthy for ME.” It literally makes me sick to see people languishing that way — as I’ve said before, the people I know personally who are doing this look exhausted and kind of have this haze of crud around them. They do not seem happy and most days they admit that they are NOT happy. But I’m not posting my opinions about this on Recon forums. I’m posting those opinions on a forum that reflects my own views. And I do not feel it necessary to pull any punches or couch my words in a way that it will be easier for lurking reconcilers to bear.

    What I know is: control is an illusion no matter what you do. I have no 100% guarantee that I won’t be cheated on, none of us does and I have never once said: “By leaving, I know I’ll be 100% safe”. I may be cheated on again, but oh well. That’s the cheater’s issue, not mine. I probably will be rejected a gazillion times before I find someone else that I wish to settle down with and I will reject people too and it will be hurtful because no one likes to be rejected, but again, oh well. It is what happens in life. I am reassured that I will be able to manage all this because I can control my boundaries, and I am not in charge of policing anyone else’s (and nor would I do that in a new relationship; I will trust until I am shown I cannot trust, and if I cannot trust then I will not remain in that relationship) and that means I am controlling precisely what I can control: Me.

    I feel sad that some people reading here feel it necessary to police CL’s site to critque whether or not we’re using charged language or whatever it is that is being said by Isolde up there about using the “r-word” in a manner that is not consistent with her emotional rubrik. Or that we’re too black and white or not zen enough. Honestly, though, I’m not surprised; after all, these are people who are bent on controlling every aspect of their emotional universes and so when they read people taking a hardline stance against reconciliation, it may intrude into the narrative that they tell themselves to make their choices make sense. We all tell ourselves stories to make sense of our choices, they are not alone in that. But I suspect that because they are controlling to begin with, these reconcilers, they are probably more apt to police everything because it makes them feel safe and validated (and justified in thier choice to forgive the people who have betrayed them). I may be wrong about this. It is just opinion, though I think it has some merit.

    In the end, when our value systems do not match those of others, we have to (and they have to) consider the source. We have our karma, they have theirs. Good luck to them and we can just go on with our stuff and hold our opinions as we will.

    • Good post, Kristina. You make an interesting point, or take it one further really. I said, hey — you think in R you have to live with uncertainty? There’s a lot of embrace the chaos in divorce! But I think you’re on to something with R and control. To leave, you are taking that leap of faith. You’re giving up the comfortable and familiar. You are taking a big gamble on yourself, your ability to survive, revive, and reinvent.

      It’s changing the FOCUS, off… lets’ control this outcome to deal with that “uncertainty” (I’ll snoop, I’ll set conditions, we’ll do a shitload of MC…) to focus on yourself and what you can control — I’ll build a new life. The new life has so many unknown variables.

      The big uncertainty in R is whether or not the cheater will cheat again. The uncertainty in leaving is… pretty much everything but that.

      • CL, yes.

        I think that people who feel safest being controlling of everything and everyone around them tend to go for reconciliation, because THAT’S the real devil they know. Themselves, I mean, in the sense that they know that they feel safest trying to control all the variables. And that’s just who they are.

        People who feel safest enforcing our own boundaries and keeping ourselves safe first and foremost and have the confidence that we CAN do that and come out of it okay, tend to seek divorce because THAT’S the devil we know. We know that, for whatever reason, we feel safest controlling ourselves and making our own way independently of having a need to control (or try to control) the actions of others.

        I don’t know which is wrong or right or if there is a better or worse way to be. I just know that for me, personally, the concept of basing my well being on whether or not I can influence or manipulate or cajole, or communicate or police my spouse into behaving would be totally ridiculous and would end in me leaving at last anyway.

        I just don’t think a healthy person can live long in that kind of environment without something disastrous happening.

        • K, I would think people in R wouldn’t argue they’re trying to control all the variables. After all, not many can maintain vigilance, and live as the marriage police — so they let GO of all that and THAT is the “uncertainty” that they can tolerate. It because — those of us in the “we left” camp, cannot live with that “maybe they’ll cheat again!” uncertainty — that we bail. Because we can’t live “not controlling,” not waiting for the other shoe to drop. We don’t trust again. I think that’s how we’re being perceived.

          I think many in R don’t snoop. They trust without verifying. And maybe the anxiety eats them alive and maybe it doesn’t. I don’t know. I had false R, and I cracked.

  • Control is an illusion. It’s hard enough to control yourself without trying to control someone else. I think reconciliation may be possible but the cost may be too high. And I have to say CL’s view is her own; she isn’t the end all and be all of every situation. I love this blog. It keeps me in reality as I would love to go back to once was but now that my husbands affair has forced me to a new reality and the past well it wasn’t so rosy after all.

    • Janet – hear you on the “forced new reality”. That’s the super crappy part… that we have to experience this stuff and suffer and we didn’t have ANY choice in the matter. Maybe I knew stuff wasn’t super rosy before but I kinda blamed myself for any lack of rosy feelings. Like that I was just too difficult to please (probably because he had made me believe that), the kids stressed me out too much, or something. Now I realize he was directly contributing to my unhappiness. I think the reason it wasn’t super obvious was that he is so passive aggressive. My mind doesn’t work that way so I almost didn’t recognize it and definitely not how damaging it can be.

  • I could not reconcile because I’d hate my wife and punish here for eternity. I’d throw it in her face every time she complained. I do not want to act like that, but I know I would with her.

    • Same here, Arnold. I would have punished him for the rest of our M, and it would have trickled down to our kids. I had no desire to live that way or to raise three kids with that as their relationship model.

  • Interesting takes on “control” issues. I have a question here for folks.

    It seems by my basic characteristics, I am a person with a bigger moral compass than many around me. My views are pretty straightforward. I had fewer episodes of dating but had huge number of male friends (more males than females) all my life and not one of my male friend ever crossed any boundaries that were there in our friendships (even if I was out with them on the streets at the middle of the night). By Indian standards, I am beautiful, outgoing but one who is very liberal. But mine was an arranged marriage (I had promised my parents that I shall only marry someone who they chose for me. After all, in a society full of people, who told them not to educate their daughter so much, they went against those popular voices. I could barely hurt them by my illicit behavior. Love-marriages were not as normal as they are getting now in India).

    One thing that came from all those who were around me and supported me are the recurrent opinions like: 1) I was not practical in my conduct or expectations (that most ppl cheat etc.) 2) I wasn’t controlling enough. I mean seriously, why should I be controlling? Why, when I wouldn’t like my spouse telling me about who I should be friends with even to what they wear, eat etc…why should I tell them (My ex said that I didn’t notice his clothes or give him kudos for looking good…well it didn’t occur to me…neither that I should choose his clothes or help him choose one except on important occasions.) 3) My son is 12. He is pretty independent in his thinking. I don’t see him reacting well to people who would baby-sit him with instruction sets. He is used to my grooming where I have less interest in a tailor-cut life.

    However, I sometimes doubt myself for being too off the mark than most around me. Wives should be controlling, have an intuition to spot what is going wrong, be more involved (to the extent of what I think is essentially playing controlling and controlled roles). And herein lies the problem. Is relationships about control? Is relationship to be about being invested in each other in a seemingly “intruding” ways? and the biggest of all my insecurity that: I shall change myself and become more controlling for my growing son, who’ll be a teenager soon. What-if: The mistakes (as mentioned above) or my characteristics are too liberal for him. He chumps me too. etc. etc.

    Do I really need to change for sustaining relationships? Do I need to change my expectations if in future I do decide to marry again?


    • Anundi –

      I don’t plan to change or alter my expectations in future relationships. Wait, that’s wrong. I do plan to change… I will maintain my individuality more in future relationships. Also, this time I am not going to put up with someone that doesn’t make me feel awesome. If he makes me feel like less than, or like I’m not doing good enough, then see ya later! I definitely know how to compromise and take care of my man… this time I expect the same from them.

      But I still have the same expectations of them regarding morality. That I can trust them and they won’t cheat. I don’t consider this a high expectation. To me it’s still just a standard operating procedure in a serious relationship. I don’t plan to monitor this in any way, but I will pay close attention to what it seems like his morals are right from the start. To what kind of PERSON he is. I know I could still be fooled again, but I need to be happy and monitoring and distrusting future partners will not do that.

  • CL – I don’t want you to feel bad…. I don’t know why the back and forth with S8 above – I don’t get why suddenly things got so confrontational and provocative… you put yourself out there and I respect and admire that. I don’t imagine that you need me to defend you.

    Just to say again, when all the shit hit the fan for me… I couldn’t get my bearings – like the people who are buried in an avalanche and they dig the wrong way because they can’t tell which way is up. I couldn’t tell which way was up and you helped me find my breath again. At first the breathing was very short and harsh, but, it was air and I will always be grateful. Because of you I didn’t spend a whole lot of time digging down.

    Surely I am smarter for this….. 129 days and counting. That’s 4 months and 9 days… never thought I’d be here!!! Yay for me 🙂

    • Well put Erica and Thanks againCL I contacted you and the next day in your blog was a post about my email that slapped me in the face and woke me up. Reading your “Cheating Decoded’ posts clarified things and have made me stronger. S8 in entitled to her opinion too but not at the expense of putting you down!

  • I agree with Erika who said that very well.

    I don’t know about uncertainty; most things are except death and taxes. Isn’t that way they say? But I could not live with the certainty that my husband had been lying to me for years. Laid in wait to get on the puter until that dumb bitch wife went out (making a living to support the family). Had numerous, numerous women to feed his non-existent ego.
    The man I married was so kind and had so much integrity, but something happened to that man and its very, very sad. I loved him with all my heart, but over the years he systematically shut down.

    I don’t love him any more, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t grieve deeply for what was lost.

  • The uncertainty of having to live with all physical, emotional, and financial burdens after leaving a cheater is just too much for many of us, chumps. Besides, all the efforts of reconstructing our lives. I believe most of time “R” is a choice as chumps are not able to take so much so soon when their energies have already been drained in keeping the betrayer satisfied so long. Plus, it was never more than C+ on your report card. Even chumps with good esteem tend to lose themselves over time in such company. The more are the years spent, the more difficult it becomes.

    • I have always maintained that it is far easier to stay, but at what cost? I totally DO get why many women stay. Many are paralyzed by a crippling fear of the unknown. Better to stay with the evil you know? Or some are traumatized beyond belief. I get all that and its really tough. I did stay for many years and really tried to find a way to make it work. However, I didn’t know what he was really up to. Even when I found out, it took nearly 18 months to leave. We’ve been married 25 years.

      What helped me is the understanding that IF I stayed, I would NEVER have a full rich life. He would keep me in this stifling, extremely limited, extremely humiliating position, because he’s a controlling asshole. He would never try to better himself, get a decent paying job, smell nice, wear clean clothes that didn’t have holes in them. He would never make love to me or look at me like other men do, with lust in their eyes. He’s the only one I needed that from, however. just an observation, I’ve made. I noticed the only time he looked at me lovingly, was in the presence of other people. Otherwise, he looked at me like I was an insect he wanted to squash.
      and he damned near did it.

      I found a way out. Its not easy and I can’t say that its not without its moments of extreme sadness, but I was absolutely miserable living in the same house as him… always WONDERING what the hell he was really up to.

      its no way to live.

    • anudi, you are absolutely right. Energy drained trying to hang on to a poor relationship and feeling like you could only have a C+ on your marriage report card. I filed for divorce after 20 years of marriage and it is definitely hard having spent all those years. You want something to ‘show’ for your efforts and when you leave the marriage you feel like you wasted time.

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