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Being Thankful for Your Cheater

Should I be thankful I was cheated on?

I’d like to think if God had some wisdom to impart, that He could find a better way to do it than put my ex serial cheating husband on my life path. I mean, hey, God — a burning bush, a colorful United Methodist brochure, a lightening bolt! Really anything other than an shambling, bald, federal employee who couldn’t keep it in his pants.

And yet, if not for my experience of infidelity I would never have met my husband. (Otherwise known as the Great Blessing.) Before him, I would never have experienced living in Lancaster County, Pa. (one of the most beautiful places on earth) or being a farm journalist, or discovering a love of pickled beets. I wouldn’t have lived in a Civil War era farm house. I wouldn’t have learned to weld. I wouldn’t have moved to Texas, have ever owned cowboy boots, or met my friends here.

Heck, had it not been for creepy, serial cheating ex-husband, I’d probably still be living in D.C. editing books on macro-economics and chastising authors for their improper use of serial commas. I’d have loads more money in the bank, that’s for sure. And I would appear to the world as exponentially more normal. Just one divorce instead of two. Let’s face it, two makes you freakish. As Lady Bracknell might say, “To lose one husband may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose both looks like carelessness.”

And of course, were it not for my serial cheating ex-husband, there would be no Chump Lady. I’d have no wisdom to impart. I’d still be a proto-chump, ignorant of my ignorance.

So, should I thank my ex? Was this all just a big blessing in disguise?

Oh fuck that noise.

Look, it’s not that I want to stay trapped in my victimhood (I can read the HuffPo comments now “What IS it with Tracy Schorn that she is so OBSESSED with the trivial matters of infidelity! She must be fueled by rage or irritable bowel syndrome or fallen arches.”) It’s that I really hate the smug read on life post-infidelity as “Tut tut, it’s over. Let it go. Find your compassion! Heck, find it in your heart to be friends again some day!” Vomit. Worse is when the cheater claims responsibility for your happy ending. “See? It was all for the best.” (Read: What I Did Wasn’t So Bad. I Was Aware of the Larger Plan All Along. I Did This For Your Own Good.)

No. Whatever I created for myself after the chaos and destruction of infidelity is on ME. I did that. Yes, cheating was the catalyst, the hurricane that razed my city, but I rebuilt. That’s still on me. And all the good people who helped me through it. My cheater had nothing to do with it. Apparently he’s still the same old lard ass preying on single mothers and fucking around.

Listen, I like the Pollyanna viewpoint. I do. I look at my first marriage — a huge waste — and I think, hey, I got my son out of it. It was worth it whatever bullshit I went through to get my son. But for some reason, I balk at that “it all worked out for the best” perspective when I consider my serial cheating ex. Really? I had to go through that shit? Cheating and rages and protection from abuse orders and scads of therapy? I ordered that combo plate of dysfunction?

Why do we minimize infidelity as “comfort” to chumps? Would anyone say to the Jews  — “Oh, I’m sorry about the Holocaust. But hey, you got Israel. Look on the bright side.”

Infidelity is no longer part of my life — thank GOD — but just because I rebuilt a new life with a better partner doesn’t make cheating any less WRONG. What came after does not excuse what went on before. Yes, it’s legitimate to point out that I think about infidelity to the degree that I blog about it, but I do that because I think there is so much bullshit out there. So much blame the victim and forgiveness is imperative and reconcile or die nonsense. Chump Lady is a niche, and I apparently have this niche all to myself. I really don’t think you can heal from this unless you know what you’re healing from. IMO? You’re healing from abuse. See it for the injustice that it is, figure out your chump role in all of that (why did I dance? Why?!) and absofuckingloutley gain that life!

And yet it is a cold, hard fact that I met my husband BECAUSE I was cheated on. (Big reveal) I met him on surviving infidelity (not that they encourage that, they very much do not). He PMed me after I’d given some advice, said something snarky, very similar to the sorts of things I write here. He noticed. We began writing back and forth and became friends. Nothing romantic, but later when I went to Jazzfest in New Orleans with friends he decided to meet up with me because he said he wanted to take me to lunch. There, in front of Solomon Burke, the world’s sexiest 400lb man, crooning “Cry to Me” I met him, and there in New Orleans — a destroyed city that came back to life — I met the man that became my husband.

Cosmically weird, right? Cosmically weirder still, I was introduced to him on an infidelity board that encourages RECONCILIATION.

“Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.” — Walt Whitman

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  • Maybe I should go on surviving infidelity to find my next spouse. Sounds like you hit the jackpot. I will never thank my cheater of a husband for anything. Even for his sperm donation for our two children. Our kids are who they are because of me, not because of anything he did. If our kids grow up to be nothing like their dad, I will have done a good job. I wrote about equating my STBX to a pile of dog crap on my blog –

    And that’s exactly what he is to me – just a pile of dog crap that I have to unfortunately try to co-parent with.

    • I should say, I don’t encourage anyone to go on SI to meet a spouse. Even jokingly. They really, REALLY frown on it and crack down on any flirtation or meeting up IRL in their New Beginnings forum. I cannot dislike SI, because it offered me a lot of support and was a wonderful resource, and of course, because of that site, I met my husband. But SI and I parted ways — they sent me a rather nasty fuck off note for a post I made on MY blog (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, if you’re curious). And I asked, nicely, to remove my membership. And thanked them, sincerely, for the site. They’re skewed toward reconciliation, and that is their right, it’s their site, and it is founded by a couple who reconciled. I don’t have that message.

      I do think it’s funny though, I know of two other couples who married as a result of meeting there. And several others who dated for awhile. Which leads me to believe a chump dating site isn’t a bad idea. LOL.

      • You should open up a side business – plentyofchumps…. I just found out about a website called Plenty of Fish. Who knew the infidelity game would be so educational for me? aff, plenty of fish, certain parts of craigslist for the social crowds that have the same interests… I’ve learned so much. One more thing I won’t be thanking my spouse for.

    • ETA — I can relate to having to co-parent with “dog crap.” Think of it as parallel parenting. And remember, it’s FINITE.

  • “Whatever I created for myself after the chaos and destruction of infidelity is on ME. I did that. Yes, cheating was the catalyst, the hurricane that razed my city, but I rebuilt. That’s still on me. And all the good people who helped me through it. My cheater had nothing to do with it.”

    Love that!

    And also the story of how you met! Awesome!

  • Loved this!

    I vote for a chump dating site. It would be nice to meet others who have also been rehabilitated by Chump Lady.

  • The monster I was married to left a trail of devastation in my life and I am still trying to recover the financial and emotional pieces, though divorce has been final over a year.

    I am not thankful to HIM for anything, but I am thankful to God/Life for giving me the shove to get me out of that hellhole of a marriage and into a chance for a new life. If it wasn’t for the freak’s mind-boggling level of infidelity (I have never heard of anyone who cheated as much as my ex, not here or anywhere) and finally dumping me, I might not have ever had the courage to file for divorce.

    • Dear Glad,

      I think you may have hit on the answer here. It seems a mistake to “thank” someone who hurt you. That seems like a chump-trap, if you ask me. Often, chumps stay in little whirlpools of suffering because some third party tells them to “be thankful for the good in a person….” And yet if the person is a narc, then that’s a trap. The narc won’t always be bad. What’s the sense in being bad all the time? The trick, if you are a narc, is to produce some rationed niceness from time to time to keep your chump on the hook, to keep that chump cleaning up after you/doing the dirty work/raising the kids, etc. So if we extend this “thankful” notion to post-breakup, it strikes me as a suspicious cousin of the “thankful and trapped” that I’m describing above. (After all, that rationed narc niceness just creates the eggshell surface of normality that the world sees, but it leaves chumps walking on eggshells.)

      So, I like Glad’s comment, right above. Be thankful that life showed you a better way. No need to thank the person who hurt you.

      CL, I, for one, am really glad that you are a blogger. This is your calling, and you do a great job. Thanks again, “GladIt’sOver,” for that comment. You give life/God the credit, and you give the narc what s/he deserves: your anger (at first) and ultimately your indifference (“meh”).

      • I think “little whirlpools of suffering” is a brilliant phrase.

        And I agree with Glad and David — no, don’t thank the person. Just get away from them and thank the universe for getting away safely.

        • Thanks, CL. A writing compliment from you means a lot.

          I would also return the kudos.

          CL, I thank YOU for creating this space where we can work out these ideas. In fact, it is hard to separate good from bad. And narcs are good at offering some good strategically, sharing some ego-kibbles, to keep their chumps hooked into bad relationships. It can be really hard to figure out what good comes of things/what bad. I know of one woman who dumped her narc. She has great kids from him. (I say that she saved his seed!) So, it can be hard to figure out this question.

          In my mind, however, in the case I know, had the chump-mom in question not dumped the bum, the kids would not be doing nearly as well as they are. So, in the end, she should be grateful to life/God for the kids, proud of herself for having shown them how to live (when to stand up and not take it any more), and realistically regarding of her ex, seeing him (ultimately, after letting herself be angry) as the “meh”-worthy piece of turd that he is. But — wow! — it is an existential tangle!

          Anyway, many advances have been made, and your concept vocabulary (“meh,” ego-kibbles, the dance of pick-me, untangling the skein, etc.) provides powerful tools. I also think that you are not the least bit out-of-step or old fashioned or unenlightened to simply ask wandering partners to be honest and transparent about what they do. Why conduct a secret experiment (an affair)? Have some guts, ask for “space” and move out. Maybe we could come with a catchy, CL-term for this particular devious gutlessness for which there is no excuse.

          Anyway, thanks again for the kind words. Let the discussions continue!

  • “…a burning bush, a colorful United Methodist brochure, a lightening bolt!”

    CL you are f@cking hilarious and awesome!!!!! Loved this whole article (as usual). No, I don’t have to forgive my lying, cheating, disgusting fraud of an ex. Even though I have an awesome new man in my life (I like your name for you husband, “The Great Blessing”), I still feel wounded and stunned by what the ex did over our 25 year marriage and that may never go away. You have helped me more than any other single thing I have done since D-Day, and probably most helpful of all was realizing that what my ex did was abuse. That knowledge made sense of what I was feeling and experiencing; all the pieces clicked into place. I am not weak, I am not wallowing. I don’t need to forget, shut up, move on, be friends, and pretend it was no big deal. I certainly don’t need to accept my “half” of the blame. I was violated and traumatized. Oddly, acknowledging that has been a huge leap in my (ongoing) recovery. Thank you for speaking for us.

    • My therapist got me to see, finally, that what STBX did (and continues to do) was abuse. You can’t cheat on someone for years while making longterm future plans and giving no indication that anything is wrong and NOT call it abuse.

      I am letting it all go…but I’ll never forget. Ever.

      • I’m with you Nord, again, that’s exactly what my ex did. He was the most “loving” and “adoring” husband and father, all my friends would say how jealous they were. I was thinking this morning of a phrase he always used–he’d say: “Who has it better than me?” to explain how great his life was with me and our kids. I suppose it’s all sort of ironically funny now, although none of us are laughing. He walked out on D-Day and has since not seen his “adored” children, NOT. ONCE. So even though he’s out of all of our lives the abuse and trauma to my children continue. No I will NEVER forget.

        • Same here Kelly. She always said had perfect family, kids ,husband and she walked away. Said wanted to renew marriage vows in Bali. Load of crap!
          Now she is so bitter because boys refuse to meet chainsaw man. They own the consequences of their affair. She now has shingles.
          Nord it is abuse. Pure and simple. But they don’t see it. To them as narcissist they think everyone should move on and accept the new paradigm.
          All this is just hard work. We will never forget it that’s for sure

          • What I find amusing is that STBX keeps telling me to move on. Yet I don’t bring any of it up. I sometimes do respond during the settlement negotiations by pointing out exactly why he owes me quite a bit, because in his mind he owes me nothing–I’ve been replaced and too bad if that makes my life difficult financially.

            His cheating? Don’t much care anymore other than it’s why I’m in this mess. But for him it’s TERRIBLE if I bring it up. It means I haven’t moved on and am ‘dwelling on things’ and ‘obsessing’. I’m not, of course, I’m simply saying that years of cheating while lying to my face means that yes, he has to continue to live up to certain promises and commitments he made and tough shit if he doesn’t like it.

            Move on and get over it – I truly hate that phrase.

            • God I hate that “why doesn’t he just move on”. Because groceries you’re two years down the track than me living in gaga land.
              I live in reality world and you’re about to re enter reality.
              They just want everyone to accept their crap behaviour and forget it ever happened. Good luck with that!

  • Yeah, the whole “you drove me to it” is really starting to piss me the fuck off. STBX and I took the kids to a baseball game this weekend and he STILL thinks there is a chance. “I’m not saying I’m done yet. But…then launch into reason HE doesn’t want to be with ME” I feel so done, but the worst part…somehow it ignited a mini bit of hopium in me. Bletch!! I HATE being pregnant during this shit. I have a counciling appointment tonight and I really just want to come home (he’s watching the kids & putting them to bed) and I feel like just unloading on him tonight. None of this crap is on me. If I was such a shew, you should have divorced me. Or never married me since you have apparently being screwing woman since the jump. Now, I will divorce you!!! I’m really mad today!!

    I love my kids, still mad that I’m pregnant, and I’m not thankful for any of this crap. But, I won’t let it make me bitter. Ok…today I”m bitter. I really fucking bitter.

    • And I forgot my A at the end of my name. A for adulterous alien abusive asshat.

      • Hang in there Tallula, you know these assh*les do it on purpose, they’re only happy when they feel they are in power, and as soon as they get the power back they decimate you yet again. Just wait out the hopium feeling, you know it will pass. And bitter sometimes worked for me (and still does)–it’ll give you strength to kick him to the curb. Be strong sister!

        • Too true. Just today STBX did something during an email exchange that really showed me that it’s all about control, power and trying to pull my strings. I didn’t bite but laughed instead: he is finally well and truly transparent as to his real character. What a git.

          • And I try to remember this. He was freaking out since I went NC 2 weeks ago. Then he invited me to the baseball game…and I stupidly went. Dang it, me!! I had gone for a run in a park yesterday. Watched all the families on a sunday bike riding. Ya know, stuff we always did. Well, he came over to do yardwork since I said I was going to just do it. Guess he didn’t want the neighbors to see his preggo wife mowing the lawn. While we were working in the backyard “I haven’t given up. I just needed you to know that.” Sigh. Hopium climbs in. WHAT?!?!?! Hello, sista? Smack, smack…Then I go to my phone and read the screen shots of the texts between OW #1 (who he loves) & OW#2 (side/side dish fuck nurse at gma’s nursing home) I found on easter. Yeah. Yeah. Remember ?. This is the guy who is banging 2 other people and tries to keep banging you. Yes, he tried at drop off, after the game, and at our house. He doesn’t love anyone but his dick. Oh, and I swear to god at one point during the weekend he said “I only make love to you. ” Barf…ok, but it made me feel mildly important. God, I’ll need therapy forever…

            • When he said, “I haven’t given up. I just needed you to know that,” I think you missed your cue to swoon at the specialness that is him and the Great Opportunity he holds out before you . . . if only you aren’t the one to “give up” first.

              Yeah. Riiiiiiiight. WTF-ever.

              NC is the only way out of this emotional cesspool.

              • What’s funny, right after he said that, he looks at my face and said “you don’t need to answer. I just wanted you to know.” Cause my face said “I already gave up, buddy” But then, a few hours later. “Wait…a chance?!?” Smack. Back to NC!!

            • “I only make love to you”?! WTF? Can I put that over in the Stupid Shit department? That’s a classic.

              I cheat on you — that’s abuse — but reserve my special “love” — that’s abuse — for you.

              He’s a sicko.

              • Yes, yes you can. You can’t make this stuff up. I looked at him and said “Did you really just say that. Out loud…” He goes “What?! It’s the truth”

                Yeah, sicko is right.

    • Bitter works. I like bitter and I like the rage. It’s the sadness that got to me. I’m past that point now thankfully.

    • Oh Tallul(a) :/
      Fuck Him! That makes me so mad for you, it’s no joyride being pregnant and we are all here for you…what is wrong with these people, I mean why oh why do they think it’s OK? I know it sounds childish but I would seriously like to see al of thier asses beaten!

      • GIve me a bat. I’m with you. Thanks for the support. Clearly, I need it. I haven’t been wobbly in awhile. Feeling very dumb. I hate that I do still love this man. Crap.

    • Tallula ~

      I did what you are doing. It was the hardest thing. If at all possible, have him leave the house, and set up a schedule for visitation. You and the kids need some normalcy. Is there anyone else, besides him, who can help you out? I stayed in the marital home for over 2 years for my kids ~ and getting him to leave me alone (especially at the beginning) was very hard.

      I was lucky and had met a nice man (also divorcing his wife), who later became my boyfriend and best friend. But in the beginning, he just made himself present for me ~ I actually credit my Ex for helping the relationship along, because it provided a good reason for my New And Improved Man (NAIM) to be over so much. See, my tears, my anger, my pleading to leave me alone meant very little. But ~ and it must be a guy thing ~ have a 6’2″ man around the house just hanging or watching TV made it really hard for my Ex to try his shenanigans. And in short order he stopped trying. No opportunity for ego kibbles.

      Maybe you have a friend, or a brother, or a sister that intimidates your Ex just enough to have around for awhile. My NAIM called it “being tall” (my Ex was something of a Napoleonic guy). NAIM never had words or anything, he just co-existed in the same space, being “tall” ~ being present.

      I am a feminist to the core, but I found that going back to gender roles works. Find a trusted friend ~ a strong male if possible ~ to become helpful and present for your family. These little narc cowards scurry like roaches.

      • Thanks!! He doesn’t live in the house anymore. We have a visitation schedule, he invited me to go to the baseball game with he and the kids. Kinda hard to date 23 weeks preggo 🙂 My brothers would probably assault him if they were there. It’s my fault for going to the game. When I went NC, drop offs were quick and painless…well, for me. He was pissed off. Of course I would like a good co-parently relationship, but I can’t skip the step of moving on and emotionally detaching first. Ick.

        • Oh, and I have plenty of people who would do the yardwork and stuff. Heck, I’m willing. He just doesn’t want me doing it. I know that is sincere. He lost his mind when he came by to shovel the driveway 3 weeks ago (yep, 1 foot of snow a week before easter). And my H wouldn’t scurry. While I do believe he is a narc, my H comes from a seriously abusive alcoholic home and he is SUPER aggressive and would LOVE to fight someone. Yeah, fun. Me having the talk with him tonight would be to just restablish boundaries and tell him I hate him.

          • Yikes! Don’t be alone! Seriously!

            And don’t tell him you hate him — to a narc that’s kibbles. Be indifferent to him. If you file, (remind me, did you file?) have the lawyer tell him. If he’s “super aggressive” you need to be very careful.

            • I agree with CL ~

              I think of that line in “Goodbye Earl” where he “walked right through that restraining order and put her in intensive care.”

              Please be careful ~

            • I was kidding, I’m not going to tell him that. I haven’t filed yet. In my state we can’t finalize the divorce until the baby is born, but I saw a lawyer last week. Interviewing a few more. When I did discuss divorce with him, we both have a desire to go the mediator route. We don’t have much in assets and I handle all the finances. He doesn’t even have the passwords, so really, I’m the one that could screw him. So, I’m taking it a step at a time. My IC is our MC too. We have only gone together once, so I could tell him to move out. So tonight I plan to discuss with her my next move.

      • At the bottom of this mine lays a hell of a man :Big Joooooooohn, Big Bad John.

  • I’m not thanking STBX for anything. I’d thank him if he did something nice for me, which cheating isn’t. If, to him, I didn’t warrant the truth, then certainly now, he doesn’t warrant any thanks from me.

    • On behalf of those of us who follow this site, thanks for the information.

      My Ex’s sister (“the sister of my heart” as I call her), who stuck by me when it got really hard, told her parents that just because I may come through this and stick the landing, it doesn’t excuse what their son (her brother) did. She used the image of the tornado at Joslin, but its the same idea. I told her when I heard that often those of us who have had our lives destroyed by this storm do what storm survivors do: we pick through the wreckage trying to find *something* we can salvage because its too heartbreaking to realize we’ve suffered a total loss.

      And that need, the need to find something to salvage, can afflict the friends and families (especially children) after an affair blows the doors off a marriage. While I cringe when I see my Ex-in laws try their hardest “not to judge” so they can keep me and their son in their orbits, I also feel sorry for them. In the end, they and my children are left with the same crappy choices I had. And I know how hard it was for me to do what needed to be done.

      I made a personal rule only to lash back when someone had the unmitigated balls to actually say these ridiculous platitudes *to my face*. If people could manage not to rub salt in my wound, I’ve left them to unravel the skein of my Ex’s fuckedupidness all on their own. Good luck with that ~ hope you have better luck than I did.

      But in case they can’t ~ in case they really have to conclude as we all have here that infidelity is a character disturbance and not some sort of life error (like forgetting to file your taxes on time), then I’m here. And waiting with some nice wine or something stronger.

      I don’t want my kids to know that their father is a shit. I don’t want his parents to know that their son is a shit. But he is a shit. I can’t make that go away. And they will be in for the same world of hurt that I was when I finally had to admit it to myself. They may choose to hide as long as they can ~ and I’ll pity them and stay close if I can.

      • It helps to realize that their relationship with the shit is their responsibility, not yours. Lay that burden down. You don’t have to manage his image or help other people untangle the skein, or whatever. You know your truth. They’ll have to arrive at their own truth about him, assuming they ever get there.

        I hear you on ridiculous platitudes. A couple of the more unsympathetic things said to me were “I’m so glad my husband would never cheat on me!” (Ye-ah. Because I was so certain…WTF.) And “Gee, I’m so glad the only drama I’ve ever had in my marriage is when my husband bought a Trans-Am.” (Her husband, fyi, is gay.)

        • Dearest CL ~

          Let’s start a list of these, too! 🙂

          “You never really know what goes on inside a marriage.”

          “These things happen.”

          “Our *only* concern is about the grandchildren” ~ this one really got my goat because it implies that their parents *don’t* care about them while we wade through all the muck. I remember being upset when my Ex first started moving things out, and I was told by his mother that my being upset wasn’t “what the children needed.” I told her in no uncertain terms that what the children *needed* was an intact family and a father who wasn’t careening through life like a drunk driver while all around him everyone was scurrying to get out of his way. Didn’t go over well.

          And, now that its legally over, “It’s time to put this whole mess behind us.” ~ I can smell the whitewash from here.

          • OMG!?! I’m so glad my inlaws are dead. Yes, it sounds terrible…but they were pretty aweful people, so I could only imagine having to hear that stuff.

            My SIL hasn’t contacted me and the other one doesn’t know what is going on. But, no way he told her all of it. I know her H is SOOOOOO pissed at H. Oh well, it is what it is. Better than hearing stuff like this. Wow, just wow.

            “It’s time to put this whole mess behind us.” Until they do it to the next one…

          • How about a well meaning mutual friend, after meeting the EW’s affair partner (very small town) telling me: “He’s not a bad guy, I was surprised”!

            I responded that anyone who would f@@k my wife, while he was married as well, isn’t REALLY a nice guy…….

            • My SIL, who was a great support at the start and very angry with her brother, got to the point after a year where she said about OW ‘she’s very young but actually nice…except for, you know, what she did’. I stopped seeing her after that because she also was making the ‘these things happen’ noises, despite knowing that he was a serial cheater,which I helpfully pointed out.

  • Solomon Burke factoid: In Nick Hornby’s novel, “High Fidelity,” Rob tells Laura that SB’s “Got to Get You Off My Mind” is “responsible for our whole relationship.” He explains that he always played it while DJ-ing in clubs even though the song would always “clear the floor” because it was so hard to dance to. Yet Laura managed to dance to it, and she did it well. There’s no mention of the song in the John Cusak movie, though SB is mentioned briefly.

    I guess the lesson is: If you find someone who can dance well when the music gets difficult, don’t let ‘em get away!

    Also worth noting: SB fathered at least 21 children and had 90 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchidlren at the time of his death. The man was a force of nature.

    And I dare anyone to watch this video of him singing with the Rolling Stones and not smile: “600 pounds of joy” is about right, Ron.

    • Okay, I can’t help myself. In honor of chumps everywhere got to add a link to Solomon Burke’s duet with Jerry Lee Lewis on “Who Will the Next Fool Be?”:

      “You know, after all is said and done /
      Girl, you wouldn’t be satisfied with anyone /
      When you get rid of me /
      Who will the next fool be?”

      • That’s awesome! I love JLL too, but Solomon Burke just eats his lunch on this one (really, he looks as if he’s eaten several lunches). Great version! I like Bobby Blue Bland’s version of this song too!

    • Okay, as long as we’re sharing Solomon Burke clips — here he is in great form. What a show man!

    • The whole High Fidelity movie is just wrong. Chicago? REALLY? They don’t set it in London, for starters and if they must choose a US city known for its soul music, I think they should’ve chosen Detroit. JMHO.

        • Yeah, Hornby never translates well to film (don’t get me started on “Fever Pitch”). But locale aside, “High Fidelity” the movie has some good lines (e.g., “If you really wanted to screw me up, you should’ve gotten to me earlier.” And, “Then I lost it. Kinda lost it all, you know. Faith, dignity, about fifteen pounds.” Sound familiar, fellow chumps?).

          Plus a band that changes its name from Sonic Death Monkey to Kathleen Turner Overdrive? Priceless.

    • Ha! I just read a book where the main character talks about the whole ‘if you can dance with each other you’re halfway there’. Great book, by the way, about cheating ending a marriage. It’s called ‘Diaries of a Fleet Street Fox’.

  • yeah, “thankful” isn’t the word I would use to describe it. But I do also realize it was almost inevitable since he was who I chose as my partner. That also does not mean I blame myself either. However, if the cheating hadn’t happened I would have been trapped in a marriage that was getting worse and worse to a man that I didn’t really know…. a selfish, selfish guy that I would have never been able to please. And because he is who he is, it really was just a matter of time. If he weren’t a cake-eating cheater then there could have been a chance we could be happy, but since that is who he is, the cheating really just put our marriage out of it’s misery.

    Sometimes, thankful is actually the opposite of how I feel about it. Sometimes it pisses me off that it took something like this for me to actually think about myself and what I deserve or even to think about whether I was even happy. I mean, he had me thinking I was just an unhappy, pessimisstic person. But because I am probably too loyal (ie. chump), I know I would not have left for any of these vague “unhappiness” reasons anyway.

    I’ve learned a lot about myself, grown a lot since the infidelity. And I have more learning and growing to do! It is like starting over, but yes, older and with kids. Which definitely presents it’s challenges, but better late than never. Maybe someday I will even meet my own Great Blessing. And since this shit happened maybe I’ll even be able to identify him now. That being said, I don’t THANK my ex for doing this to me, and I never will. I would have much rather he had turned out to be what I thought he was in the first place. I will not be thanking anyone for treating me like shit. Even if it turns out to be what I needed, it’s not like he had my best interests at heart when he did it. I also won’t be forgiving him. I will simply be “meh”.

    • Wow, I had the female version cheater, with the same unhappy marriage. I too would’ve endured without the betrayal. That’s what I get asked the most. WHY did you stay with her for so long?

      It’s really hard to answer that question, without getting a little angry at myself.

      • I think it’s that frog boiling analogy people have used, it really happens so slowly you don’t notice… I’d like to think if I hadn’t met him at age 19 and had a clue about healthy relationships (or ANY relationships) I would have stood a chance. But who the hell knows, you can be vulnerable at any time for a variety of circumstances.

        Hindsight is 20/20 anyway. Just gotta work on my foresight now…

    • Ditto anotherErica.

      The only thing I’m “happy” about is that I’ll never look back with regret. She crossed the line and I left ASAP. No pick me dance here. See ya!

      • wish I could say the same, though my pick me dance was relatively brief. He didn’t even bother to string me along there properly. I guess that’s how sure he was I was bluffing about ending it. It’s good he continued to underestimate me… who knows how much time I could have wasted there.

        • I did the pick me dance for a bit but then I smartened up and said ‘fuck this shit’. That’s when he got angry. He was very nice when I was still wanting him to say he loved me and would come home and make it right. As soon as I made it clear I was divorcing him and had had enough he went full evil.

    • Gah! I too got the attitude that I was some sort of negative, pessimistic person because I was pretty depressed the last year of our marriage. I didn’t blame him for my unhappiness, I looked at myself and was trying to figure out why I was unhappy. And the reasons did have something to do with him but also to do with the fact that I had let life become about everyone else and had forgotten to take care of me. He liked it this way, of course, but when it reached the point where my brain was fighting me on this and literally telling me subconsciously that I had to do something for me I sunk into a depression and could not function for a bit.

      Did he ever ask what was wrong? If I was ok? Could he help me in some way? Be there for me as I had always been there for him? Of course not. He wasn’t getting all the attention he needed so he went and found it elsewhere. And this time (he’s a serial cheater) he found a replacement instead of a sidepiece.

      Sad git, my STBX

      • Nord, we have frighteningly parallel lives. Depressed for many years, I looked everywhere but at my ex for the reason. A year before D-Day I had to take a month out of work so low had my depression sunk. MY ex loved it, he could demonstrate to everyone how much he really “cared” while making sure everyone knew I had “mental problems”. I didn’t have to worry about that pesky R, he never looked back after D-Day. Within weeks he said he was going to marry one of his group sex AP’s (a long-time “family friend”). What pitiful excuses for human beings.

      • nord,

        I also literally think they (ie. narcissists) bring out the worst in us. Because they are always looking down on people and comparing themselves and trying to prove their superiority to others you can’t help but get swept up in it a little. Even if it’s just listening and agreeing with them. Or trying to help them “fix” the problem… which is never fixable for a narcissist. I’m not a crazy Pollyanna or anything but his attitude about others was just messed up.

        Hear you on the not thinking about myself. The funny thing is I thought I did think of myself… but the reality was I only considered my wants regarding superficial things. Like I’m not some martyr that only wears sweats from 8 years ago and won’t buy herself anything nice. And I bought myself the books, etc. I wanted. But I didn’t think about anything REAL I wanted, like new skills/hobbies or friends or what I wanted careerwise or spiritually. I never took a step back to think about myself in any big picture kind of way. I did think I would get to some of that when the kids got a little older… but I’m not sure if that would have ever happened. And this is where I deserve some of the blame, obviously. In fact, relying too much on one other person for my happiness was a mistake I made that I won’t be making going forward.

  • Thank him? No.
    I like CLs comparison to physical abuse. Like her, I had to deal with both. No one would tell me to thank him for grabbing me by the neck, jerking me out of my car and throwing me to the ground. They would tell me to leave him. No one would claim that I succeeded because of the abuse, they would say I succeeded in spite of it. I would be considered brave and strong for finally standing up to him, not bitter and angry.

    Not fair.

    As for rising from total destruction; I left the Abusive asshole in Florida, and moved to…..
    New Orleans. Where I am eagerly awaiting Jazz Fest.

    The strength and resilience of this whole city gives me hope.

    • When is Jazzfest, know I can look it up but it’s been creeping in my mind and I really need to GO AWAY, and if so many single women are……..

  • Jazz Fest is always the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May. Awesome line up this year…. though no Solomon Burke.

  • I’m thankful that I have boundaries. I’m thankful I live in a country where I can exercise basic human rights. I’m thankful for my friends and family who supported me. I’m thankful that I have a great job to support myself and my kids, and that xH also has a good job so he can send a check over every month while I do the parenting. I’m thankful that I didn’t lose very much time with my kids, because “sharing” custody of the kids would have killed me–I didn’t do anything wrong, and so there’s no reason to be cut off from half of my kids’ lives. I’m thankful that he has the decency to pay for half the kids’ tuition and room/board in college–he has no legal obligation to do so, but for some reason has found some imperative to do so, and that’s great. I’m thankful for the good times we did have, the good parenting he did give to our kids.

    I have a lot to be thankful for. The cheating was just the line in the sand. As many have said, it was the ticket out of a not-great marriage to a very confused man.

    • Unlike Walt, I have not left as soon as possible, and Stephanie, you reveal why: “sharing” custody of the kids would kill me. I didn’t do anything wrong, so I don’t want to be cut off from half my kids’ lives. Even though my wayward wife is the SAHM, I do a majority of the parenting IMHO, and I earn 100% of the money. But, as a man with a cheating SAHM wife in a no-fault state, I’m not confident I could ever get 60% of my kids time, so I procrastinate, analyze, research, log, read, and consider ‘R’ – anything to not lose my kids. I have never been so utterly terrified or devastated.

      So yeah, while everyday I give thanks to all I have, especially my children, I’m not ready to thank my wife just yet for her betrayal, selfishness, or narcissism.

      I know I need to get my wits about me, see a lawyer, develop a strategy and do the best I can. If it goes to court, I’ll be scared, but I will fight hard.

      But then, maybe she is telling the truth and has stopped the affair and, unlike last time, hasn’t just gone even further underground, and I should attempt one more ‘R’? Surely she’s not ever using that 2nd iphone I found hidden in her file cabinet?

      Yes, I am full on in the crazy time phase. I can’t live like this much longer.

      • It sucks to lose time with the kids. I have about 65% custody, but that’s mainly because I’m still a SAHM. That will be changing soon and it breaks my heart to think of seeing them less. STBX is an ok dad in that he takes care of them and makes sure they’re fed, etc. but at his house it’s fun times while here it’s me doing what I always did: guiding, making sure they eat relatively well, get their homework done, have friends over, etc.

        It is unfair and fuck that we lose time with the kids and all the other crap. STBX was never around all that much so he doesn’t really suffer.

      • BuddyF? She cheated more than once??? R “AGAIN”? You found a hidden iPhone???

        Dude, you’re NOT in reconciliation — you’re in hell.

        I know the custody split for men can be absolutely hell — but you should talk with a lawyer about 50% custody. Also consider that in many states after the age of 13 or so they can choose which parent they want to live with.

        I want you to consider something else too — you can’t hold this all up by yourself. And in trying to so, you’re modeling terrible things to your kids. I know that’s awful, because you’re trying so hard to protect them, but staying around, dying by inches, accepting abuse, you’re teaching those kids that when people abuse you — you TAKE IT. You try harder. You teach them the chump/cheater, abuser/codependent model. And you risk that one of them will think… gee, cheater/abuser that’s where the power is. I gotta be one of those people and avoid chumpdom!

        Consider it another way — leaving this marriage, you have the chance to model good things to them. Yes, you won’t have the same time — and that’s a tragedy. BUT what time you have will be FREE of your wife’s toxic drama. You can be the best dad you can be (and you sound pretty awesome now). And you could some day model to them what a happy, reciprocal relationship looks like.

        No lie, divorce is hard on kids. I had to put my son through TWO of them. But they do take their cues from you, and they persevere and adapt, and yes, eventually thrive. My son loves my husband. He’s an honor roll kid, who does a sport, has lots of friends, and is kind and empathetic (for a teenager anyway! LOL). He’s turning out just fine — better than fine really.

        It’s not the end of the world — but it could be the beginning of your world. You deserve happiness. You deserve to not live this way.

        • Cl that is such an important point! What we model for our kids….. I worry about what I showed mine.

          Buddy, not only do you run the risk of one of them thinking being a cheater is powerful, but, as in my case, there’s a very real chance that they will eschew relationships altogether because they “will never do THAT.” I have three otherwise well adjusted young adults, none of whom have serious relationships because of what they witnessed as “love”. It seems that I not only passed on my blue eyes, but my cynicism, too. It is my largest regret.

          Buddy, you deserve better. Most importantly, your kids deserve to have a happy healthy parent. It is best gift you will ever give them.

          • Geez Tamara that’s my experience exactly. My 24 year old son fears he may be genetically destined to be a sociopath/NPD like his dad (he’s not, but he can’t help worrying). My 20 year old daughter, a sophomore in college, refuses to even date, she holds all men at arm’s length. Tamara and Buddy, our kids need one sane parent, and its gotta be us, it certainly won’t be our exes.

        • CL, she has had just one affair. I caught her, agreed to NC, ‘R’ etc but since then I’ve discovered she went back to the AP. I did not confront her this time, but instead have been secretly planning her exit. Yes I did find a secret phone as part of this discovery. Yes, being free of this so accurately put “toxic drama” sounds refreshing – a new beginning indeed.

      • “Dude, you’re NOT in reconciliation — you’re in hell”

        Buddy, I’m so so sorry that you are going through this, but you are indeed in hell. Talk to a lawyer, organize your shit and make a plan.p, and then follow it. Do it methodically and with your eyes wide open and with all the legal and financial advise you can get. Protecting your children is not staying in abuse. Protecting them may be getting out and giving them one sane stable home.

      • yes! See a lawyer. She doesn’t need to know about it and you can at least figure out your options. Have you considered maybe a selfish cheater won’t mind giving you a lot of custody?? Especially if you’re already doing most parenting already. Gives her more time to run around and get her kibbles. Also, I would think even in a no fault state the judge would be less sympathetic to a SAHM cheater. AND… I ended up doing mediation but did see a lawyer one time… he seemed to think just the threat of the affair being part of public record would be enough to negotiate to settle out of court.

        This whole thing sucks because they are the ones that made these shitty choices for us and all we can do is choose the way to respond that is best for us. But all the choices suck… or at the very least, they are not choices we ever thought we’d have to make. It’s like the world’s worst choose your own adventure novel! 🙁

      • I could be really cynical and tell you to wait for her next affair and THEN file for divorce and demand more than 50% custody while she is In Love.

        There’s a book I bought but couldn’t quite get through called Parents Who Cheat. I do think you do a disservice to the kids when you take abuse.

        I would think that the sooner you divorce her, the sooner you’ll be off the hook for alimony, as well. No fault SUCKS for dads who support “Stay at Home Moms” who are actually Fuck-around-when-you’re-out-working-your-ass-off-“moms.” (And it sucks for SAHM’s who put their careers on hold to care for families, only to have the rug pulled out from under them.)

        You gotta figure this one out, bro. Don’t put up with abuse. Don’t be a chump. Don’t fall for the lies. She’ll never respect you, you’ll never respect you, nobody will, if you put up with it. Find your legs and walk. Except DO NOT LEAVE YOUR HOME. Make HER leave. Can you afford to buy her out of your house? Give her half and tell her to have a nice day and go fuck herself?


        • Oh, and by the way, yes–if the kids are older they can decide. If you keep the home it is likely that they will want to stay with you, especially if you are positive and happy in front of them and save your morose sadness and/or anger for your private time away from them.

          Of course, one thing to consider is this: if you DO have to split custody, you’ll have something I don’t have, and that is time and space to date–to find someone really wonderful. But, of course, in order to find someone wonderful, you first have to exercise your spine, and you probably know it. Sorry to be blunt, but that’s the truth.

        • “I could be really cynical and tell you to wait for her next affair and THEN file for divorce and demand more than 50% custody while she is In Love.”

          Buddy, when I kicked my ex- out on D-Day, he went right to one of his AP’s, who promptly told her husband she wanted a divorce. They had 2 teenage boys. The AP was in such a hurry to get out of her marriage that she gave primary custody of the sons and their residence to her STBX. These histrionic/NPD women think each new AP is the “love of her life.” It may be a good idea to strike when the iron’s hot, so to speak. And Stephanie’s advise is right on….DON’T leave the house.

        • “She’ll never respect you” – that is the truth and one key reason why true reconciliation is borderline futile – a woman needs to respect her man, but she can’t respect him if he chooses to stay with a cheater, so the only way to save the marriage is to divorce the cheater in order to gain respect of the cheater, but then … we’ll everyone here gets this cruel irony.

          I predict at first she’ll be conducive to a 50% share, but unless the married sugar daddy AP revels in her availability, the bleak financial reality of her situation and her desire to save face in the community might drive her to get more kid time.

          • I predict the AP will not revel in her availability, but throw her under the bus and then she’ll want back and discover her “remorse.” Don’t buy it.

            Talk to a lawyer. Push for 50/50 (that means no CS for you, usually). And threaten to depose her affair partner. That usually makes them settle. You’ve got power. Don’t flinch. USE IT.

            And I’m sorry, because all of this sucks. Horribly.

          • You know, buddy–you stay in a marriage hoping she’ll respect you, but she won’t. What you SHOULD be after is your kids’ respect and your SELF respect. Period.

            Here’s what works–you leave the marriage (it’s not really a marriage anymore, though, is it?) because you find a shred of self esteem, which, once out from under her dark shadow, grows into a big and healthy, thriveaceous self esteem, so functional that you finally realize you don’t care about her respect any more, since you realize she lacks good judgement, and you’ve psychologically outgrown her. You, my friend, at that point, have reached meh-vana.

            DO IT!

            Maybe she’ll dry up and fall off, if you’re lucky.

            Or, for your kids’ sake, she’ll grow the fuck up and become a decent person. She’ll show up riding a unicorn and sweep you off your feet.

            Where’s your spine, man? You’ll love the new you.

      • Thank you so much for all the replies. The advice and support means a lot to me.

        • Oh Buddy, my heart goes out to you, sorry I don’t have any good advise because we didn’t have kids (Thank God!) But know that WE all respect you and I have a ton of admiration for you because you are being a good man and father. It’s ironic isn’t it? How these scum cheaters don’t respect US? Keep us posted…

  • LOVE reading your personal stories, Tracy! How ironic the way you met your new hubby and what a great place, New Orleans. Love that city.. just visited for the 3rd time this January and first time since Katrina. Touched my heart and soul.

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