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Cheating on the Pregnant, and Other Acts of Abandonment

I was reading Modern Love in the Sunday New York Times yesterday (one of life’s great pleasures). It was a story about a women in her 40s who falls in love with her boyfriend’s child and ultimately decides that what she really wants is to be a parent. Care taking a child exhausts her, but being so utterly needed, leads her to experience a kind of intimacy she’d never known before. I was struck by this passage.

I was overwhelmed by her vulnerability. I’d been single for so long that feeling this needed came as a shock.

The act of parenting a child that wasn’t hers (and who she ultimately says goodbye to, as the relationship doesn’t work out), inspires her to become a parent — a single parent — to step out of single-hood and independent living, and into the world of 24/7 responsibility.

I had to contrast that noble sentiment with the many posts and letters I get here at Chump Lady. Stories of abandonment. Cheaters walking out on small children, or established families with ties decades long, or men who cheat on pregnant women. Or people who blow up their marriages just as the couple ages toward retirement. And a leit motif occurred to me — the contempt for vulnerability. The fear and the cowardice that cheaters exhibit when faced with responsibility. Just when their partner needs them the most, they check out.

Not all of them check out to your face. For many, their entitlement leads them to the double, cake-eating life. Hey, I work a job, I provide for my family, I DESERVE to fuck around. That’s my reward for the “trap” of commitment. Some don’t even do that. They’ve got a working spouse supporting their ass, and they must manufacture some other excuse. But they’re all the same kind of Peter Pan. They want to live in the Never Never Land of Adolescence, where you get a veneer of adulthood, without any accompanying grown-up responsibility. That’s why these douchebags make such lousy partners — because they expect the other partner to do all the heavy lifting of life’s drudgery.

And yet, that drudgery is where the intimacy happens. Anyone who has taken care of a dying loved one, or a cranky toddler can tell you of the bonds that grow from that day-to-day care giving. The constancy. Meeting another’s vulnerability head on and staying there. Each day, every day. It’s not fun, sitting in the surgery waiting room, or going to work with baby vomit in your hair. But it’s meaningful to the people in your life who rely on you. You’re the lodestar from which your loved ones navigate their lives.

And it’s natural to expect some mutuality. When you’re that caretaker, you assume your loved one would do the same for you some day. That’s the social glue that holds us all together. What’s so repellent about abandonment and betrayal, is that it is a violation of that social contract. It’s looking at vulnerable human beings and your obligations to them and saying “No thanks, I’d rather not.” Or “I’ve got better things to do.”

I think there is a special ring of hell for men who cheat on pregnant women. Before the male readers of CL jump on me, I think women who walk out on their kids reside in another ring of the inferno (and Newt Gingrich or John Edwards cheating on wives dying of cancer have their own Skybox) — but indulge me on this one. Men who cheat on pregnant women IMO are the LOWEST of the LOW.

Nobody grows up knowing how to be a parent. You learn by doing. But the woman doesn’t get a lot of choice in the gestation of making a human being. This isn’t a pro-choice/pro-life statement. My point is, if you’re intent on continuing a pregnancy, you’ve got no choice but to have this being CONSUME you. And in some cases, threaten your health. (I had pre-eclampsi and two months of bed rest, I should know.) You’re not feeling terribly sexy by your third trimester, and you’re definitely not feeling it when you’ve got an infant attached to your breast like a barnacle. It’s hard to make a human being and ego kibbles simultaneously.

So to cheat on a new mother? A pregnant woman? It’s the ultimate betrayal, IMO. Here’s a woman making a CHILD for you, and you cannot step up to the plate? Really? Is it scary, all that responsibility? You poor sausage. You’re a Very Special Person and the Rules Don’t Apply to You, so I think you should get a pass. Or — did you provide something for this caterwauling nuisance and the stretchmarked bitch who spawned it? Health insurance? A roof? Support? Well, I think you deserve a REWARD then. I mean, you do So Much, and where the fuck are the kibbles? They aren’t what they used to be, that’s for damn sure. Go screw someone on Craigslist. You’ll feel better.

Or walk out. That’s an option too. They’ll manage without you. Because this is all about You. If kibble production is down, workers can be replaced or outsourced. The important thing here is the kibbles. That pink, shrieking bundle — okay, it might provide some kibbles in a few years if you groom it right, but it’s fuck all useless right now. What to do… what to do…

Cheaters live in a magical reality. As super beings, they don’t imagine that they will ever be vulnerable one day. I’m sure they’ve had bad days or even the occasional crisis, and the chump, of course, was there to soothe their fevered brow. But I mean old age, infirmness, helplessness. THAT shit will never happen to them! But they can sure see it approaching for the chump — so better trade in now. A younger source of kibbles means more production with less input costs.

When a cheater dumps you when life has you down and especially needy — older age, or small children — it’s a gift. I know, it doesn’t feel like a gift, it feels like a kick in the teeth. They were NEVER going to be there for you. It was just an illusion. The veil was lifted, and now you see what you were living with all along — your loneliness. Oh, hey, NOW it makes sense. That’s where they were! Checked OUT. Their abandonment is a gift because now you can shore yourself up and create a new life with people who WILL be there. Who respect the social contract. Who are moved by vulnerability, who feel the intimacy in that, who WANT that intimacy in their lives. They’re out there. Those people don’t have to be partners or new spouses even, they can just be the good people who love you.

You will know love, and be loved, because you can connect. You can empathize and have compassion, and experience authentic intimacy. The narcissist can never know these things. They just flit around from vapid hook-up to shallow relationship. And when things get hard, they’ll bail, or make the other person miserable. Just like they did you. It’s what they do.

But they don’t do it to YOU any more. Thank God for that.

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  • I feel like this post was written directly to me. As I just posted in Chump Chat this weekend, I am 21 weeks pregnant with a 2 and 4 year old and my H is having an affair. He loves her and can’t decide between us. Oh wait…and banging a nurse at his grandma’s nursing home. Yeah. Putting those texts I just found in the baby book. Weeee…

    I will trust that you know what you are talking about. As hard as making the other person miserable…it is a nice bit of fun knowing he is already cheating on her. Hahahaha. You are so special, he’s leaving his beautiful wife and kids for you… No, it’s because I know about his cheating, kibbles ways and you are an idiot who thinks she’s gotten a price. Jesus.

    But, this does suck, I’m not gonna lie.

    • I suggest, despite the crazy situation, that you take away his entitlement and no longer give him the option of ‘deciding between the two of you’. Fuck that. He wants his sparkly affair partner? Let her have the damaged goods.

      If he can cheat when you are pregnant with two small toddlers in the house what’s he going to do if something out of the ordinary knocks him sideways?

      I am so sorry you are in this situation but I would guess you’re relatively young. Think of Nora Ephron. Her husband cheated when she had a small one and she was pregnant with the second. She walked and never looked back, other than to write a very funny book about it.

      It will be tough but do not let this man bring you down to his level of fucked upness.

      • Oh, I’m no longer an option. I kicked him out 2 months ago. He just likes to still put the moves on me and had told me it was over with OW. Then I looked at his phone on friday while he didn’t have it guarded within an inch of his life. Not only is he still with the OW, but banging a nurse. Took pictures of the texts, didnt say a word to him about it. So, unknown to him, I called my lawyer and this week am going to file.

        • I’m sending you all the strength in the world. You’re going to be fine because you’ve got the guts to protect yourself and your kids. Enormous admiration for you for being so strong.

        • Tallula,
          I am going through a bad time now but had been through it before with a 1 year old. I did what I had to do and my daughters are my champions now. We are proud of you, be strong, I am so glad that i did the right thing and left my first husband, all of this is making me remember that I got through that one, I can get through this asshole too. XO

    • Hang in there and look at the “bright” side. My ex denied what I feared was an affair with co-workers while I was pregnant with our third child 14 years ago, and he convinced me and my family I was crazy to suspect him. Turns out I was right- he had been cheating for years by then, and he continued to fool me until last year when I caught him and quickly divorced him. I am now 51. Wish I knew 14 years ago what I know now (serial cheating, porn addiction, group sex, as well as even worse things I won’t repeat here). I’ve moved on and am dating a very good man, but I would love to have those stolen years back. And my children are old enough to feel their own sense of betrayal and abandonment.

      • That is almost my age, just 2 years younger. I figure I have many years to be happy, and want to spend no more time being told I’m nuts and the one with the problem. Hugs to you, you give me hope!!

        • Hugs to you too Tallula, it truly does get better once you are rid of them. Going no contact was the way for me. He’s so useless, and his coldness and detachment so against everything I thought I knew, that every contact is an opportunity for him to perpetually disappoint and stun me. I don’t give him that chance anymore. My children (ages 24, 20 and almost 14) feel that the poison has been drained from our lives and we are finally free. We are thankful that we have each other- 4 people who truly love and respect each other and enjoy being together. You are clearly a very smart and strong woman, you will come out the other side better off…in fact it sounds like you already know that and are 3/4 of the way there.

      • Funnily enough, during one of my pregnancies I suspected something weird was going on and when I asked him what was up, I was, naturally, ‘crazy’. I look back now and all the signs were there…I just didn’t see them because it never occurred to me that someone would cheat on a pregnant woman. It actually never occurred to me that people would cheat. It just seemed like something from a soap opera.

        • Oh, Nord, I hear ya!! When I pulled up his texts friday and saw that he was sexting 2 woman AT THE SAME TIME…and I don’t mean in the same day, I LITERALLY mean the same time…and Hours later he’s all over me. I was like…Huh, this shiz actually happens. And I’m married to it. Huh….

          • hahaha…I had something similar: he was out with me telling me and all our friends how fab I was, texting OW and telling her he loved her AND making plans to hook up with a third woman the next day! Busy little fucker he was! He must have felt like Mr. Sex on Legs. And then, 36 minutes later, it all came tumbling down. And he’s stuck with final OW who is very young and very….dim.

          • Oh Tallula I had mine sexting 3 women simultaneously, sexts flashing by with a gap of 30….45 seconds,. All this while testing me as well.

            Apart from the dexterity of typing I really wonder at their ability to carry on 3 simultaneous threads.

            When counsellors talk about recovery how is this brain which is wired to this level of insanity and rush ever going to be normal?

            How is this man ever going to find excitement n happiness in a normal one on one relationship?

            No way in he’ll is it going to happen.

            • Word! My councilor last night was all, whaaaa?!? Yeah, don’t think he ket her in on that in the appointment he had before mine. Hehe. I told her I I bought a book on manipulative people (thanks chump lady), she thought that was a good idea!

  • I think men who do this are messed up. Whatever happened to masturabation? If your wife cannot have sex, beat off, for a while.
    And, you are right, it is a blessing to get these folks out of your lives. A cheater was never going to be there for you down the road if the chips are down.
    Look at the fucktard John McCain, for example. After his wife lost some of her vitaltiy due to an auto accident, the guy was cheating on her all over the place. She needed him at that time and he abandoned her.

  • Oh, and in one of my husbands more “honest” moments, he said “Yeah, I’m that guy. I’m John Edwards who cheats on his cancer stricken wife. I should just kill myself. ” But then he says I should pity him and not be mad at OW, I should be mad at his abusive parents. Frankly, I’m mad at all of you. Because you all suck.

    Oh, and Arnold. I seriously have no idea how much husband has time for sex with anyone else? During pregnancy, I’m turbo charged and after giving birth I made sure he was taken care of. Yeah, it’s about kibbles, not sex. That excuse is BS in most situations, but is very mind boggling in mine…

    • ugh, it’s all about them, even their “honest” moments. They love the pity. And don’t get me started on the vague suicide threats. Mine cheated when our kids were 2 and 6 months old. Today, going on 2 years later, 1 month after the divorce has been finalized, he writes me how depressed he is. I’ve gotten 3 I’m depressed texts since he dropped them off yesterday after their Easter weekend with him. Today was “We should be on the deck together drinking lattes and watching the boys play in the yard”. Ugh. I’ve grown a lot because about a year ago I would have responded and gone on about how none of that stuff wasn’t good enough for him before, etc., etc. Now I just don’t give a shit.

      • Poor narcissist wants a latte…

        They do the self pity thing because it’s chump bait. It worked for them before — oh, let me make that better. How you suffer!

        They’re hoping it will work again. It’s just fishing. As soon as they’ve got you, it’s back to the pick me dance for you.

      • You give me hope!!! Mine is constantly texting how much he misses the kids, and I was biting. So when I just looked at his phone texts with these fine ladies, I found out that the 2 times he canceled on the kids (making a 4 and 2 year old SOB) last week he was banging the nurse one night, and the potential love of his life the other.

        My obsolute favorite is when he texts me “How is the baby, kicking up a storm?” Now I just want to text back “He’s trying to get out to kick your ass, fucktard.”

        • LOL!

          Can you block him? Who wants to read his texts? UGH. I’d have him put it all in email, so you can document it for your attorney. Time to NC this creep.

          • Texting is how we communicate. I have them all backed up on the ole computor for my lawyer.

            I told him yesterday that I’m done with any family time and no more random texting. This morning he texted “I hope you have a blessed day!” WTF? He never says shit like that? But OW is a “Repost if you love your daughter!!” Type. Barf. Now it just makes me laugh. Documentation. And I just don’t respond. Blarg.

      • Why do they do this? They cheat, they want a divorce and then when it happens they are oh so sad. I think they are not in touch with reality. Actually that is what my therapist said about my H today. She is trying gently to nudge to the realization that this marriage is over.

        • My therapist told me flat out that STBX never grew up. I did and he didn’t. He still thinks he’s 25, a total stud, super cool and the big swinging dick that everyone wants. He’s a good looking man, no doubt about it, but he’s also going bald, has a tough time staying on the slim side these days and his career has stalled. I loved him anyways. The young current OW is sparkled by his tales of past success and future faking. But he can’t seem to get his mojo back and I do believe that the blame for this has somehow been laid at my feet.

          Whelp, my mojo is coming back and my prospects longterm are probably better. Not financially but career growth and satisfaction. As I put it all back together I secretly laugh as one more brick is mortared into place because he had me as his full support system and now I’ve got all that strength and brains and moxie for myself. I will laugh in his face the day I can tell him to take his money and stuff it…and when the big success I’m working on comes through.

          He’ll still be the middle aged balding guy with the stuttering career and a young girl by his side and I’ll be soaring, hopefully with a full and loving partner by my side…who is close to my age and wants to share an amazing and grownup future.

          I WILL get the last laugh.

          • I have the same kind of guy! Wrinkled face, age splotches on his balding head, missing teeth, brown teeth….and a huge barrel on the front of him from booze. Between his erectile dysfunction…….and empty wallet (from paying webcam hoes and alimony)- he’s not much of a catch at age 60. In his mind….He’s Brad Pitt.

            He’s on dating sites (Sugar Daddies, Naughty Date, Craig’s List)- begging for sex from strangers between the ages of 18-30. It’s pitiful.

            The sad thing is that I promised to love him till the end. I would have done just that if he hadn’t been such a disgusting old slime ball.

      • “Yeah we should be. Too bad you F* that up. Don’t worry though. I’ll find I guy to sip lattes with.”

        • That’s pretty good, sounds so nonchalant it would really irritate him. Too bad I can’t even entertain the thought that we should be doing anything together anymore.

  • After dday I was contacted by various people, one of whom told me that STBX cheated on me when I was pregnant with one of my children.. I remember that pregnancy: he was distant, worked all the time, was almost pissy at the birth, like I was keeping the very long labour going just to piss him off. I look back now and it all makes sense.

    And I think he’s one loser motherfucker for sticking around for so many years after that and still cheating…and still, even today, blaming me for him not getting enough attention.

    Oh, and did I mention that during that pregnancy a close family member died? Yes, I wasn’t giving him enough attention because I had a few other things on my mind. What a douche.

    • Oh, I love the “not giving them enough attention” crap. My H just confessed 4 months ago to an affair and multiple in the beginning of our marriage. He said the beginning ones were just about sex and that he knows something is wrong with him. But, since we had kids I gave him less attention and he fell in love with this last one. Poor guy. Giving our kids too much attention. Makes sense. Poor guys…

      • Basically what they’re telling us is that they’re just big kids themselves, with the egos of kids, with the self-centredness of kids, with the neediness of kids. Well, fuck ’em. I spent years catering to him and now it’s time to cater to me. I want someone to actually give to me a bit for a change.

    • great! where was this information back then??

      Are you glad these people tell you this information now? I feel like finding out more at this point just threatens to bring me back to some earlier stage of recovery. At some point along the way I heard some stuff from the OW’s husband that made me think they might have hooked up a couple years earlier for a while and then stopped before they later went “on again” which was the affair I found out about. It kinda bugged/freaked me out, I thought about looking into it, etc. and then I was like, Why? It does me no good now to find out he was even worse than I thought and just was kinda bringing me back a little to the early days after DDay. We’re not in reconciliation. It’s over. Finding out more at this point doesn’t help at all.

      • Oh man, I had OW’s XH message me on facebook telling me all this crazy stuff and that my H was texting him crazy stuff. I blocked him, OW and saved all the messages. The less info I know, the better. He’s a cheating scum. That’s enough for me to know. If it was that important, ya’ll should have told me at the time…

      • The info came in the first weeks and maybe month or two after dday. I still discover little bits and bobs by accident these days (most recently when I got a new phone and updated it on my computer and somehow all his contacts ended up on my phone…fun seeing all the women) but even when I see or hear something I just blow it off and move on. I don’t need any more details. I already know he’s a rutting pig and I’d rather not dwell on it. Sure, I was tempted when all the contacts appeared but after reading them through and thinking about it I realised it simply didn’t matter if it was 6 or 60 women. He’s a serial cheater and the details no longer interest me.

        I do await the day he cheats on the simpering OW though. She’s young, thinks she got a big prize and is a complete twat the few times we’ve had contact. It’s irritating that this idiot who fucked my husband and then cried about feeling badly about it is a snot to me. Well, she’ll be crying for different reasons eventually. Even now I don’t think it’s all sunshine as he spends most of his time texting the kids to come see him when they’re not with him. Seems the bloom is off the rose and he’s bored out of his tits. Hahahaha….

    • I’m sorry nord. That really sucks. Why do people tell you after the fact? Happened to me too, happened to my husband. It’s like they come out of the woodwork — hah! I always knew that guy was a cheater! Let me tell you… Really? Because when I was LIVING it, you kept your mouth shut, and let me waltz down the aisle with it.

      • Yeah, it’s all ‘whoops, I thought you’d never find out’ or ‘I thought you knew anyway’. Well, no, I didn’t know. thanks for thinking I’d be dumb enough to hang around while my husband banged other women. I’ve dropped every single one of them from my life.

        One woman took me out to lunch, basically to get info for another friend. Two days later I realised she was the one who several years prior had sent my husband an email about seeing him at lunch with some woman and basically calling him out on it being inappropriate. But she never said a word to me and when I realised all this I dropped her as well.

        A couple of STBX’s friends said to me that ‘this is man stuff, we have to be there for our friend’. Well good, be there for him….but then I told one of them how STBX had fucked his wife while their son was a baby….and then again after they broke up. He’s no longer friends with STBX.

        These assholes think it won’t happen to them. And then it does and they’re SHOCKED I tell ya!

        • Yeah, my best friend is married to his best friend. I know he has known about OW for awhile, but he had no idea about the others, much less this nurse. My bestie said he actually threw up when she told him about the fact that he is banging 2 OW right now. But, thanks for thinking one didn’t warrent a heads up, friend. Asshats, all of them.

          • Here’s an interesitng thing: a friend of mine was with a guy for 7 or 8 years. They split up and a couple of years later one of her friends told me that she knew my friend’s partner had cheated during the whole relationship but she had always felt uncomfortable saying anything. I was just ‘huh’? You knew and said nothing for YEARS????

  • Child birth, from being newly married ,going through the whole deal is the most awesome experience. Why would anyone want to fuck that up. Sure it’s hard work at times and us guys have no idea of the actual pain during birth, although having gone through every second of our first sons labour I have a rough idea, the responsibility of having children is just plain awesome. My sincere apologies to any of you who have no children. I understand it can be a life choice and I cannot begin to undertsand the terrible experience of losing a child.
    I’m sorry but there’s a lot of stuff out there that I didn’t know existed until I got involved with this mess. It’s opened my eyes about humanity. The good, the bad ,and the sick, sad and just plain fucked up worlds some people live in.
    I never thought in a million years I would have experienced what I have in the last few years. I truly had my head stuck in the sand and I have had feelings and pain I didn’t know even existed. I’ve made so many mistakes too.
    It’s so easy for us to say about turn and walk away but when you are the one that needs to do the walking its darn near impossible to think straight and make the correct decisions.
    This Easter my ex has spent virtually no time woth the boys but all the time with chainsaw man. I don’t get it. I had dinner with my girl friend at her place but wasn’t late. Otherwise was with the boys. Don’t think they didn’t notice what is going on.
    Not only has chainsaw man abandoned his daughters but he is keeping the boys mother from her sons. He’s doing a grand job of fucking up four children’s lives without him probably realising. It’s all about his narcissist behaviour. It’s very damaging.
    If any of you have experienced this sick behaviour of your partner cheating during child birth etc I only hope that you realise what I awesome patent you will turn out to be. I have a couple of friends who are the worlds best mothers because they raised their kids immediately after child birth when their husbands took flight. The husbands are gone and live real fucked up lives. The mothers are awesome and if we ever go to war in this country I’m having them in my team. They’re the best! ……. And their kids know it

    • Baci,

      Yes, were thinking about fatherhood the way we chumps ASSUMED our husbands were thinking.


    • I love your post, Baci, but as a woman I have to tell you that you’ll never understand the actual pain of childbirth. 🙂 🙂 🙂

      • Yes I agree Nord but it did take many days for the imprint of my wedding ring on my fingers and hand from Groceries squeezing my hand for hours. At one stage I had tears from the pain but of course I’m being feeble and a sook.
        That’s the hardest thing in this that you can no longer share these wonderful experiences. They are only memories with a little resentment due to the position we find ourselves.

        • Yeah, that stuff sucks. STBX will send me something every so often about the past and I just ignore it. Maybe one day we can look back together but I doubt it. Too much damage and he’s too hateful.

          so all that history is stored up inside each of us with no one to really share it with.

  • AMEN!

    Thank you for this entry, CL. This also described my situation very well. Three young children, two with health issues, and he gets an online hookup because his “needs weren’t being met.” Yeah, buddy? NEITHER WERE MINE.

    A good friend of mine is in remission after battling cancer. Not too long ago, she said to me, “If you were the one who had cancer, he never would have been there for you.” I think I shrugged at the time and said something like, “Who knows?” Now, though, after some reflection– I know that she was absolutely right. This was the same man who slept in the L/D rooms while we were waiting for our babies to arrive; he couldn’t even muster up the excitement I imagine other men have when their wives are in labor (and I was NOT in labor for days like some women are… the man couldn’t deal with being awake for a few hours). I’m sure he would have completely shut down if I had been in the hospital for a serious illness; I imagine he likely would have been annoyed with me because he had to visit, take care of the kids without my help, etc. I’m better off on my own because if I were still with him and looking to him for support, I imagine that I’d be vastly disappointed. At least I know who will be there for me if I’m in serious trouble, so I’ll turn to the people who actually love me and want to help me.

  • Dear Tracy:

    I have read your blog and posts at Huffington and I have to say, I am extremely concerned about you.

    It seems you have had three prior marriages, or maybe two. I am confused, though, because some posts claimed you left both for cheating, but then one states you left one due to that husband’s mental illness?

    You talk about people abandoning children and wives, and speak of vows and honor and claim that people need to dump every cheater, never reconcile and pick another chump to marry in order to avoid being cheated on in a future marriag

    But, that is where my concern comes in.

    It is IMPOSSIBLE to know who will cheat.

    No one unless a psychic can predict that. So some stay and try to make their marriage work after cheating, but others move on and convince them selves that MAGICALLY, they can somehow know who will cheat going forward.

    How do they do that? Do they cross their fingers and touch the unicorn’s horn, or do they now somehow after being conned once, now forever going forward become adept and seeing another’s soul so well that they can magically KNOW, who will or will not cheat?

    I am concerned that if your latest husband has an affair, you will be terribly blind sided because you have convinced your self your husband will never cheat and thus you will be very vulnerable, actually more vulnerable than prior, because you will be blind to the clues, having already convinced yourself that the new husband will never ever never never cheat. Huh!

    Yes, it’s true that certain types of professionals are at higher risk for cheating such as trial attorneys or emergency room doctors, so maybe avoiding those professions and others, can lessen the chances of an infidelity.

    But there is no foolproof way to ensure that a particular soul will cheat given the right opportunity and time.

    Curiosity and hormones and boredom plague the best of us, too. Just ask any loving loyal spouse who was totally blind sided by a spouses jekyl and hyde personality while in an affair. I believe the psychologists call that a split self affair? Yes, No?

    Yes, yes, a serial cheater is LIKELY (note likely) a scumbag reprobate but a person who cheats once may be redeemable, and salvaging the marriage may be a wise thing. Your spouse can finally be the spouse you deserved from the getgo. Not always, but many many times, it works out just that way. Ask any experienced marriage counselor. Oh that’s right marriage counselors no nothing and you are the self-proclaimed all knowing infidelity guidance guru.

    Does the betrayed heal from the wounds. No. The wounds scab over and turn to a scar and the scar eventually fades. Life is tough. Marriage is work and if a person makes one mistake and reforms should we simply abandon them?

    Should a person stay with a cheater?

    Well, IMO, a person should only stay if the positives in the relationship outweigh the negatives after the infidelity and based on whether or not the cheater is remorseful and in a way that the loyal spouse can see the remorse because the disloyal spouse has changed their behaviors. No more solo outings, being home when they say they will, spending time with the spouse and family again…….and on and on.

    As for someone who promises you they will “never cheat.”

    Well, those people scare me the most. They are usually the ones who have cheating on their minds, if they are not already cheating.

    Those people scare me almost as much as does the betrayed spouse who claims they found a new spouse who will never ever never never, no matter what…. cheat. …..and they will happily ever after ride off into the sunset on the saddle of the perfect marriage.

    As for marrying someone who has been betrayed as a way to avoid being cheated on again because they can feel another betrayed spouses pain.

    Hmmmmmmm! Well, now they know better how to cheat and likely not get caught because they know all the cues and clues.

    Also, have you done your homework on how many Betrayed spouses remarry and then confoundingly cheat on their new spouse?

    In any case dear Tracy while your giving unprofessional advice to others, perhaps you could be well served by opening your mind to the advice from your readers. … Objective Advice from the outside looking in.

    Here’s my advice. You appear to be far too hung up on your ex husbands, can this lead you to possibly be ignoring your marriage to vent your ongoing ever present rage on this blog?

    Will you miss the cues and clues because you are too busy insisting you know for a very fact that your present husband will never cheat?

    I think the magical thinking of thinking we can know that a spouse will never cheat is exactly the too trusting mindset that got most betrayed spouses cheated on in the first place.

    Actually, I won’t say I think, I will say the the statistics show that in the majority of cases, most loyal spouses were blindsided.

    Hence, trust no one going forward. Don’t act like a paranoid whacko, but stay alert. Never again allow yourself to be lulled into the mindset of believing that your new spouse will never ever cheat on you.

    Expect and anticipate that your new spouse is capable of cheating and can and maybe will if the right mix of ingredients confronts him or her.

    Those mix of ingredients include things like a rough patch in the marriage, boredom with sex, disengagement due to work schedules, an aggressive pushy affair partner who has no morals and likes the conquest of taking a married person away form their spouse, Stress, fear of aging, mild impotence, usually remedied by the thrill of illicit sex with an affair partner.

    There are a lot of legitimate reasons a once good, non-Personality disordered person can turn into an evil one who indulges in an affair.

    The psych pros label them as disassociation leading to splitting. Also, acting out, delusional projection, distortion, denial, addictions, compulsions, etc., whatever you call it. It is real. Doesn’t make cheating right, but a one time affair does not mean a person is permanently irrevocably equal.

    Now to preempt the amateurs who will claim that anyone who defends a reconciliation after an infidelity is using the defense mechanism intellectualization to hide from their painful emotions.

    Well, that would only be accurate if the cheater failed to immediately end the affair, was not remorseful and did not make a concerted effort to reform and to make the loyal spouse feel safe again.

    As, I have said, serial cheaters are likely the least redeemable of any type of cheater.

    ’nuff said. I doubt you will print this. You have a reputation for failing to post posts that refute your own personal psychological profile of the cheated on and the cheater. Also, a rep for posting one post and giving your rebuttal, but never allowing the original poster to continue the discussion.

    It is fun to have the last word, but it is not healthy to need to have it.

    • You’re “extremely concerned” about me?

      Well, as my father (the Methodist minister) likes to say — there’s a thin line between the prayer list and the shit list.

      For the record — I was married for nearly a decade from ages 25-35 to a man who suffered from OCD/hoarding/depression. Then I was single for awhile, quite happily, and married my second husband. It was a brief, disastrous marriage. He was a serial cheater, which I discovered after I financed his career move to another state (a no fault divorce state), and bought a house with him, and quit my job. The OW called 6 months in. I tried R for over a year — all false R — and left him. Then I was single for awhile, and resettled in a new life, and I met my third husband.

      So yeah, I’ve been divorced TWICE. Read into my character what you will. Quitter! Chump! Flakey person who blogs!

      I don’t think you’ve read my blog very carefully if you think I argue that ALL cheaters are disordered or evil. I think cheating is narcissistic. That doesn’t make someone an NPD or a sociopath. They made be just a low grade asshole. And maybe they’ll change, after someone divorces their ass. I hope so.

      I trust my husband. He trusts me. Feeling secure is a GOOD way to go through life. I don’t sleep with one eye open. The point is getting healed so you do love and trust (and yeah, be vulnerable) again. If he were to cheat on me, of course, I would be devastated, but I’m also strong enough to rebuild, I’ve done it before and if called on, I could do it again.

      But I don’t anticipate that particular trauma. Nor does he anticipate it with me.

      Perhaps you’re Sara8 with a different handle, but yes, of course, we don’t know. But we CAN know when people are not respecting us, or when we are spackling, or recognize when our relationships are toxically lopsided. We only get to control OURSELVES. And that’s the important thing.

      I believe — and my remarriage is living proof — that there are GOOD people out there. I’m smart enough now to know that I deserve a good relationship, and I know what one feels like. It’s light years away from a bad marriage to a disordered, selfish person.

      This whole you can’t trust anyone, woe! woe! POV is really disturbing.

      I’m concerned about you J…

      • Sara8…that’s the name I was trying to think of. Yes, I do believe I recognised the theme.

      • Hmmm! I see assumptions from you and assumptions from your poster as well …The man here who admits he is being insulting (attacking), simply because I disagreed.

        I could make similar assumptions. But, that would not lead to a productive discussion, would it?

        You are not on my prayer list or my shit list. What an assumption.

        I simply said I was concerned about your stated belief that you have somehow become suddenly more able to discern that your husband is not the type to cheat.

        That’s not possible and I see that your response tempers that belief some and you mention that although you are not overly paranoid (which was my suggestion) you are still aware that it is a possibility. ( also my suggestion in stating “stay alert”)

        I am glad to hear that you are on alert.

        The sad truth, as you likely well know, Tracy, is that there is no type that cheats. People just do it, sometimes.

        Look up disassociation, in particular of those psychological reasons for a one-time out of character affair, that I mentioned.

        I also disagree with your very admirably loyal, but rudely accusatory poster.

        I did not allude to the fact that Tracy has a rep for engaging in certain closed minded behaviors with those who disagree. I actually STATED THAT CLEARLY. Right?

        We shall see, If I am correct. So far she has not engaged in all the behaviors I mentioned. But will that last?

        Her post seems to show that in many ways she is doing exactly what a handful of gossipers at Huff claim she will do, as are you, her follower.

        I agree though facetiously using the word rep, was perhaps too flatteringly misleading for some, and could seem too strong.

        So a correction: Chump lady has a handful of gossipers. To some that is a rep. But the fact is, she is engaging me as the gossip suggested she would, at least thus far.

        But you are right, it does not a reputation make. Sorry, no insult intended, simply overstating a fact in a possibly flattering way.

        Wouldn’t a blogger love to have a reputation on the net or anywhere. Oh well, my bad.

        Am I again being facetious. Yes. I am not a follower of the Chump lady’s philosophy. I merely find it interesting albeit concerning.

        I do think it is expected that Chump lady distorted my trust statement. Being on the alert is what I said. Not being paranoid.

        It seems to be very typically that 98 percent of betrayed spouses claim they were blindsided by the affair. Hence, the need to stay alert. Only intelligent I believe.

        I thank you for your concern regarding me, Chump Lady. Your concern is appreciated. No harm meant, by it, I hope. I will take it in the spirit in which it appears to be offered……a helpful genuine spirit, as was mine.

        My concern was sincere. I hope yours is too.

        The bottom line is: if you found closure by cutting lose your cheating spouse because as you say: “it was a deal breaker”, then why all the vitriol? Why bother? Why would someone even want to think about it?

        Why are you posting anywhere and everywhere stating that a reconciliation is a unicorn, and arguing with and belittling anyone who posts otherwise?

        Some people have reconciled why does that enrage you, still?

        It is not nice to insist that other people don’t know their own reality. There must always be leeway.

        Just as I have given you some leeway in possibly being accurate in choosing a man who would never cheat, but simply advising you to stay alert.

        Why not do the same for those who reconciled. Instead of insisting it’s impossible, why not say it’s time to trust yourself again. If YOU believe your reconciliation is real, than trust yourself. Be alert for a false reconciliation, but don’t be paranoid. Trust is important, but it should be a naive trust.

        You say it’s wrong to never trust again, But saying no cheater can reform and that 99 percent of reconciliations will fail, is not very trustful……, Yes, No, Maybe?

        Just as it was presumptive of me to presume to know what your spouse will or won’t do in the future. Is it not presumptive of you to assume that a remorseful spouse is only putting on an act?

        I expect this rebuttal will never appear, that’s Tracy’s rep, um er gossip or whatever.

        I hope I am wrong.

        • Correction:

          Meant to say: It should NOT BE A NAIVE TRUST. My bad.

          Love and light

        • Trust people who haven’t given you reason to NOT trust them.

          I think it’s a bad risk to continue to trust people who have GIVEN you reason to not trust them.

          You are the one who wrote: “Hence, trust no one going forward.”

          If you want to live a life trusting no one, and you’re happier for it — more power to you. I don’t care to live that way.

          As for gossip and WTFever — are you in the 8th grade? Pssst! Want to know what Missy said in the toilet stalls? She thinks you’re conceited! hahhahaah!

          I’ll work from the assumption that you’re some middle school troll, and leave it at that.

          • That was Fing awesome CL…! I’m new to the Troll thing, but I DO know some theatre..what a laugh. Thank You!

        • Why would you write such a long and boring missive to someone who doesn’t really care what you think? And why would you be worried about some woman on the internet who is just doing her thing as she sees fit and providing a forum for people to discuss this particular area?

          If you don’t subscribe to the CL viewpoint there are loads of other sites that will welcome you into unicorn land. Please, go find them and let us get on with our fun. We’re having a blast here, laughing at the stupidity of our situations and trading stories. I can’t imagine how that could bother you or anyone else in any way. We’re hurting no one and CL has thankfully provided a sanctuary for those of us who think cheaters suck and should be given the heave ho. You don’t agree? Go to SI or some other site where they’ll tell you to have your spouse take a polygraph and be forced to live on a short leash.

          good luck. I, like everyone else here, will lick my wounds, engage in some serious gallows humour and then skip merrily into a cheater-free future.

        • No one can tell you if you’ll have a heart attack. Not without being a wizard. No doctor, no nurse, no specialist, no family member. But those who had a heart attack in the past learn to recognize symptoms. They get the same feeling, learn to look for things, know what to avoid doing. There’s no guarantee that you’ll never had a heart attack if you follow these five steps. But you can learn what to look for so next time you won’t be caught off guard. What are the other options? Pretending that heart attacks don’t exist? Claiming they’re inevitable and we should just expect them?

        • Sweetheart- not all people “just cheat.” It takes a special kind of person (one with a very low moral IQ) to cheat. Normal, decent people are full well aware that cheating will hurt their spouse/partner….destroy the family unit……and cost a shit load of money in divorce court. Only an idiot would take cheating as casually as you do.

    • There is some ad hominem stuff going on in this post. Also some allusion to a “reputation” that probably does not exist.
      These are techniques employed, frequently, by the disordered( I suppose saying that is, itself, sort of ad hominem)

      • No, she’s referring to Vicki Larson. She posted here and they wound up in the spam filter. We messaged on HuffPo, when I realized her comments were going through, I found them and published every single one of them. She’s now an approved user, if she wishes to post again. I guess that’s my “reputation” as a jack-booted thug censor.

        I let crazies post here, unless it gets too out of hand. For example:
        “thinking we can know that a spouse will never cheat is exactly the too trusting mindset that got most betrayed spouses cheated on in the first place.”

        Ye-ah — our TRUST got us cheated on. It’s All Our Fault for trusting. Good to know.

        • “Ye-ah — our TRUST got us cheated on. It’s All Our Fault for trusting. Good to know.”

          I knew it! It wasn’t just that I didn’t give him enough attention or fabulous car/nursing home sex. I TRUST too much. Dang it. Next relationship I’m putting GPS chip in the guy. That’ll keep him from cheating…

        • Tracy:

          You know that is not true. You delete people who disagree, even intelligently and politely.

          Fibbing is rude.

          • I can categorically state that CL does not delete people who disagree. She will block the few crazies who have wandered in – one I believe last week who obviously had gone off his meds – but everyone else is let through.

            And, quite frankly, even if she did block people why in the world do you care? Seriously. What concern is this of yours? Are you the….INTERNET POLICE???

          • Hey J, Boo-fucking-hoo! Its her blog so she can post or block whatever she wants too. You dont like it, blow.

            • CL’s site is the most empowering and “right” thing I’ve experienced since my ex-husband’s secret life was exposed just about one year ago. It is the fear that keeps us trying to hold on to the cheater- the desire to continue with the life we thought we had (and which for me I NEVER actually had, it was an illusion)- and to hold it together for the kids. CL has so got it dead on! Continuing or trying to continue with my now-ex would have just allowed the abuse to continue, and permanently cemented me into a pathetic and subordinate position of doing the pick me dance for the rest of my life, and looking over my shoulder besides. All three of my children have told me they are happier now with their father gone than they ever were before. It was as if we were being slowly and secretly poisoned. We now realize that we are so much happier and healthier without that influence in our family life.

        • Theres a program you can use that captures the IP address, geographic location etc etc you can use – free of charge – that will give you a lot of information on “J”

          Takes about 2 seconds to install. Let me know if you’re interested 🙂

        • Chump lady, why is this poster like sara8 he’ll bent on trying to convince you that your husband is going to cheat as well?

          Can’t she be happy that two chumps have found love and trust and faithfulness?

          All in see here is an attempt to shake your belief in your husband and your marriage.


  • My father has got all the cheaters beat on this subject.

    In the early months of 1966, my father was living with one of his paramours. Mind you, he had a wife and four children at home, with a fifth on the way.

    My father actually SENT his paramour over to the family home to knock on the door. My father’s first wife answered the door, very noticeably pregnant with my (half-)sister.

    The paramour instructed my father’s wife that she needed to divorce my father because “He doesn’t love you anymore. He wants to be with me.” (?!?!??!)

    My father’s wife told the paramour to pound sand, gave birth to my sister that summer, and actually STAYED in the marriage…

    …Until 1978 when my father walked out of their 18-year marriage for good…this time for an 18-year-old girl….an 18-year-old girl who gave birth to me a few years later.

    That was my Dad! Narcissist-in-Chief…

    • He takes the biscuit, Chris. Wow. Or rather his “paramour” does. Gotta hand it to him.

      He must’ve been considerably older than your barely teenaged mother.

      You and David-chump-son should meet up. You could dish on NPD fathers.

      • CL,

        One slight point of divergence: My father was difficult and used sly verbal abuse with me (which I permitted to go on for too long), but he was constrained by old fashioned morality and he did take his role as financial supporter seriously. That said, his flaws were deep, but different from the guy above.

        The guy (above) takes the cake. Wow. Amazing.

        On another note:

        CL, your post today was great. I know that it really spoke to the situation of a friend of mine. I’m sure it will resonate powerfully and in a helpful way with a lot of people.


        I didn’t really get the long post’s worrying about you. To me, you seem very together. You are a very gifted writer with a strong message based on experience. And I think the chump solidarity movement you have started is a good one.

        Keep up the great work!

        • I should add one thing.

          On the sly verbal abuse, “which I permitted to go on for too long….” That is where my chumpness came in. Chumps are taken advantage of, but we also sometimes chump ourselves by trying to please, to be flexible, to be tolerant, to “understand” others. This is how the wine of our virtues gets turned into the vinegar of self-destructive vice. That’s part of what’s drawn me to this site.

          The other BRILLIANT thing that you do here is you create a whole new vocabulary of counter-narcissism using very simple words to put across concepts that often are expressed in psychological terms: chumps, ego-kibbles, the dance of “pick-me,” etc. This simple, direct and even blunt language works really well. Sometimes counseling vocabulary can get so complicated it obscures more than reveals. You lay it out there in plainspoken terms. You are sort of the Harry Truman (whose bio was called “Plain Speaking”) of advice-giving. So, keep on writing!!!

      • He was 36 at the time he and my mother met. And, as I’ve mentioned in other comments, my mother was just a year older than my oldest (half-)sister.

        I was born into dysfunction. Crazy part is I didn’t grow up with that NPD-In-Chief. I grew up with the old man on the couch watching his golf tournaments who very rarely left the house. I couldn’t believe all the stories that my half-siblings told me were about the same guy!

        He either grew up or simply got older. Who knows…

        • It is interesting that as he got older, he got less negative/destructive.

          One other virtue of CL’s site is that it does offer safe space for talking about issues. When posting as “chump son” and exploring my own chump issues, I probably said more here than I’d said to a half dozen other people in my life. We are often taught that these things that go awry in relationships either (1) didn’t really happen (“It wasn’t so bad, was it?”) or (2) that they are secrets (just “the family business”). Narcs (narcissists) thrive on compartmentalization and secrecy. They don’t like competition. So, a sunshine spot like this, where are both public and anonymous, does a real service.

          Anyway, Chris, that does sound strange, how he seemed to grow out of his antics. Did his health fail? People do seem to get worse and probably, in some cases anyway, can get better. Even so, NPD is really structural and it rarely changes, at least from what I’ve seen.

          • Oh my god do they EVER thrive on secrecy! My MIL is also a narc (seems to run in the family) and in her eyes (along with STBX’s) the big crime here is not the cheating but the fact that I told people and no longer protected her son from himself. She’s always been like this: sneaky and underhanded and truly the root of all evil in the world.

          • His health did fail in the last couple of years of his life (he died at 66). But in his 50s he was still active and vibrant. He just didn’t leave the house except to go grocery shopping or play golfing.

            And no, golfing was NOT a cover story. He lived for that sport.

            You make an interesting point, though, and you’re right: NPD ISN’T something one grows out of. But yeah. I couldn’t believe my sibling’s stories about the same guy. They grew up with the handsome, young Lothario and I grew up with the lazy-ass who rarely got off the couch on the weekends.

            I’m still in my 30s so I don’t know what 55 feels like. But if I can pull a left-field comparison, the actor Warren Beatty was a NOTORIOUS cheating scumbag. If you looked up NPD in the dictionary, you’d see a picture of Warren’s admittedly handsome face.

            But look at him now. He’s 76 and seemingly settled down with a wife and four kids. You don’t hear stories about him running around like you used to.

            Whereas Jack Nicholson is about the same age and pissed away a 16-year relationship with the lovely Anjelica Huston to knock up some flight attendant.

            So even if the NPD doesn’t go away, maybe the motivation does? Who knows.

            • I think the rumour is that Beatty still sneaks around, but is more careful about it.

          • This reminds me of my dad, who I loved. I think he may have been disordered. He , definitely, was an abusive alcoholic.
            The younger siblings never go the full falvor of his abuse, as he stopped drinking and, undoubtedly, his testosterone levels decreased as he aged, mellowing him.
            But, for my older sister and I , he was a monster when we were young. He would rage, and verbally abuse us. My sister recalls him kiccking me up the front stairs, although I don’t remember that. Most nights, we prayed he would pass out drunk before he set his sites on us.
            I think NPD’s do mellow with age. They also lose some of the options they had when they were younger and more attractive. Perhaps their mortality staring them in the face causes them to reflect on what they have done/do.
            Bottom line, my younger brothers and sisters had a completely differenet experience with my dad.

    • Chris:

      Like I said: Serial cheaters are a different breed. Most are not reformable. Although, I would never say never. Maybe when they can no longer get it up they repent, who knows, but I will never say never

      My point here is it is sad how the Chump lady insults and belittles the comments of those who disagree while holding her own words up as a gospel of sort.

      I expected that and I was warned.

      Sad, she otherwise could have a very helpful message for some.

      But on the whole she can do a lot of damage to others. Sad.

      • Sad? Is it sad? How sad is it? Really sad?

        Look, J, I have no idea what your point is in coming here and stirring up shit but really, you’re pissing into a headwind. No one cares and I for one will laugh at you and your delusions. CL is great, this site is great, we’re all managing to have a rollicking good time at a moment in our lives where we’ve been ripped to shreds, even if it’s only when we come here and get into pissing matches for the title of Grand Chump of Them All.

        Let us have our fun, go play in another sandbox or simply enjoy the amazing humour and compassion of everyone here.

      • You’re confusing. I can remember off the top of my head people who disagree with her not being blocked. It’s there in black and white for anyone to find.

        How long have you been rewriting reality for? Is this a chronic problem?

  • Wow. I have never heard of CL having such a reputation. I doubt that is true and I doubt the above poster can show evidence of this.
    I also feel that, while there is no guarranty that a future partner is not going to cheat, there are ways to educate oneself so as to spot these tendencies in them. Essentially, look for entitlement and lack of empathy signs.
    I do agree that for a certain small % of BSs who are predisposed to getting over this, if they have a truly remorseful cheater on their hands who will give up the affair quickly and not blameshift, they can reconcile.
    Problem is that most people are simply not wired to tolerate this type of abuse and not wired to let it slide even if there is true remorse.
    I know, the “pay for reconciliation service” sites and experts say otherwise. But, it seems there is a huge inflation on the stats involving reconcilliation.
    So, really, with all due respect to these “marriage counselors” who suggest reconcilliation is not a longshot(and I have talked to two who say otherwise, that it is an extreme longshot even with remorse etc), I think the advice to bail, cut your losses and take some risk out there , again, is the best.

    • You doubt what I say is true?

      Based on what, Sir? Have you read the emails. Have you hacked the collective computers?

      Magical thinking at it’s best.

      A longshot is far and away from saying something is an impossibility.

      Doubting another person’s perceptions, particularly someone you never met, is rude, and irresponsible don’t you think. I mean if Tracy thinks her husband will never cheat, who am I to doubt her reality.

      Didn’t you all become incensed when I did that to Tracy? Even politely and tempered with many modifiers?

      • J, why is validation of your rambling, Thesaurus fueled rants by this particular blog (and it’s “followers”) so important to you? If you don’t like what you read here, and think you are being ostracised, then why are you coming back for more???

        Seems to me that it is you who will believe no ones opinion, but your own. The hair standing on the back of my neck makes me think you are my cheating Ex Wife!

      • Well cite some evidence of the alleged “reputation”.
        Oh, guess you backed off and now refer to it as “gossip”.
        I have no problem being rude to you, J. But, seriously, doubting another’s perceptions seems rude? You seem easily offended.

      • If you’re saying CL doesn’t post all emails you’re right. She sifts through the many she gets and writes about the ones that raise issues that are relevant to the view point of this board. I don’t think she makes any bones about her standpoint…and that’s why many of us are here, because we want this standpoint as we go through a tough period that demands we be strong in the face of some pretty crazy stuff.

        Again, WHY DO YOU CARE?

  • My ex cheated on his first wife when she was in late pregnancy or had just given birth. I don’t think I ever asked him the exact timing. I do know that the OW told his wife, they separated and then he slept with the OW again.

    He expressed such remorse about this when he told me that I believed him and truly believed he would never cheat on me. Wrong. Very very wrong.

    • That is very sad?

      But you are not everyone in the whole wide world.

      Sorry that you were likely married to a NPD or other Pd

      • And that one, J, got you banned.

        I’m sure you’re some hydra-headed troll that will create another identity, until then, fuck you.

        Take all the pot shots you want at me, but when you start mocking people with real problems coming to a safe place to talk — you cross a line. So FUCK OFF.

          • I recall now what a really shitty hangover always felt like… That hopeless sense of stupid vertigo – gray malaise forever. Impotently pissed off at whoever did this to me. But it was me… I feel like a part of my mind has been stolen. “FUCK OFF” says it so well. Thief

        • thank you for that, Tracy. don’t understand why someone feels a need to get on someone else’s blog and shit all over them and in such rambling fashion too.

          • Thank you CL….sounds like someone does not like anyone sticking up for the good guys…

        • Thank you CL, some of us Chumps are still too fragile to fight alone. You and your website are a great source of comfort and strength.

        • My guess is J is a scum bag cheater desperately trying to justify his/her actions. People like J think like children- no ability to understand the consequences of their actions.

      • go fuck your overly verbose self j.dont like what CL and the rest of us have to say? go take a hike bitch!!

  • Tallulah, you have buoyant spirit that clearly comes through your words. Lucky children to have a plucky mother like you.
    I didn’t have children with my exh/npd. All women should work soon after having children, he’d say. It’s good for them and for the child. I think it’s up to each woman what she wants to do, but I knew it would be hard for me. I have a job that requires me to be emotionally giving, work long hours and is emotionally exhausting. I had a mother who didn’t have much to give to me. I couldn’t do it that way. Instead, he said, we had a lifelong adult romance. Hmm..well, he had that apparently but with affair partners and prostitutes.
    I helped him through a couple of serious health crises. I’m good at that sort of thing. If I stayed home with the flu, he’d disappear for hours, not check on me and seem put out that I wasn’t getting better fast enough. Better to be done with him before he requires nursing him through his old age that’s fast approaching.

    • Ugh, I remember that feeling of inconveniencing him when I was sick, yet if he sneezed he’d take to his bed and play like he was dying. towards the end I was so sick of it, particularly after one incident when we were at his parents and his mother looked at him and said ‘you seem tired, go sleep for the afternoon’ and he did…leaving me to deal with kids, cooking for his parents and everything else. God, what an asshole. I should have left even without the cheating.

      • Wow, yeah. What were we thinking? My husband has to get up at 3:30 in the morning for work. Mind you, he goes to bed at 8, but needed a nap everyday. Also, said nap could not happen in the bedroom but in the living room where our 4 year old who hasn’t napped since he was 2, would be playing. So for an hour or do he would tell at him to be quiet, I would yell at him to go in the fucking bedroom where he could close the door, he wouldn’t and I’d end up taking my don somewhere his dad wouldn’t yell at him. Wtf?!? I can say, the past 2 months have been blissful at nap time!!!

  • J-
    I’ve been lurking on the chump lady site since December 2012 but this is my first post. In that time I have literally read everything in the archives so I feel pretty confident in saying that I’ve never read that she thinks that one time cheaters are “permanently irrevocably equal.” (I’ll assume you meant evil-Hey who doesn’t hate autocorrect). To the contrary, I’ve read several times that she thinks that people who cheat one time and do the hard work can someday have a great relationship; albeit with someone else. Not because they are evil but because infidelity ruins THAT relationship.

    I know about this firsthand. My husband was a one-time cheater. He had an “exit affair” at a time in our marriage when things were really bad for both of us. He had poor coping skills and a sense of entitlement. As far as I know that was the only time he cheated so I went down the reconciliation route. Here I am 3 years later and I still don’t trust him. I’ve stopped checking up on him because it was making me crazy but also because I just don’t care anymore. This does not make for a healthy marriage. There can be no intimacy in a marriage without trust and for the life of me; I can’t imagine trusting someone who does that.

    If I’m honestly reflective, I realize that CL is correct on this point-his cheating has ruined our relationship because I don’t trust him anymore. That’s not fair to me and as CL has pointed out; it’s not fair to him either.

    It might not be what people want to hear but if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, I’d prefer not to have anyone (like a marriage counselor) tell me it’s a cow. CL tells it like it is.
    Thanks for keeping it real chump lady!

  • I think that is the case for most BSs. They never get past this and regain trust in the cheater.
    But,there is a big business out there in convincing folks thay can happily reconcile. Makes those who cannot(the majority of folks, IMO), feel somewhat deficient.In fact , most betrayeds divorce and move on.

    • yes, its very big business! Just ask Patrick Carnes (and all of his disciples and wannabees) :/ I once saw this couple. The wife was ONLY working towards a master’s in sex addiction, and her hubbie, THE “recovering” (very, very doubtful) sex addict had NO TRAINING WHATSOEVER, except that he fucked his wife’s sister in every room of the house. I know… I know… and NOW, their marriage is BETTER THAN EVER!

      right. of course it is. :[

      So, the two of these sex addiction grifters run weekend intensives (at about 5k a pop!) and were preying on vulnerable women on another site I’ve commented on.

      • Carnes and his disciples re traumatize betrayed wives/partners. It’s called “therapist abuse.” A new movement developed by Dr. Omar Minwalla (Trauma model)- will eventually put Carnes and his 12-step nincompoops out of business.

  • Wow does this post ring bells.

    Mine did the whole vague suicide threats — where our 5 year old daughter could HEAR HIM — how the hell do you tell your spouse to fuck off when child is going to think you forced them to suicide?

    What kind of sick fuck puts a mindfuck like that on a little kid?

    • a very sick fuck, indeed.

      yeah… my h also did the vague suicide threats and they started before D-day. Hey, he’s depressed and for good reason, however, that is not the point. Threatening suicide is abuse. nothing more. nothing less. And, he refuses to take meds because the first two didn’t work. (sooooo??? try somethin’ else!) The last time he pulled the S-card I told him, if he ever did it again, that I’m calling 911 so that they can cart him away to the psych ward!

      BTW, he “confessed” to me, that the second anti-depressant just made him want to fuck around even more.

      good to know.

    • Mine ran off to Las Vegas with money he stole from his employer after I caught him. Before he decided to commit suicide in his hotel room- he spent some time at the whore houses in Vegas. Then….he committed “fake suicide”- racked up a huge hospital bill to pay after he got out of jail for theft. You can’t make this shit up.

  • Wow! This topic is bringing up some old wounds. The unseen scars. Years ago, when I went for my 6 week check-up from the birth of my 2nd child the doc informed me I had an STD. That I had had that STD throughout my pregnancy (but never prior), but they couldn’t give me the medication because of the potential danger to the child. I screamed, “what? He had an affair?” The doc informed me that my slime H had been privately notified and already treated…. And I shouldn’t get all upset about it after all I had a baby to take care of and these things HAPPEN! I was so young and so confused and I never mentioned it and neither did he. I had a 14 month old and a newborn. I was in shock. He’s a psychologist and was recently arrested for billing fraud!

    The problem is, I’m here because of a new guy. Think I would’ve learned? Ugh.

    • WOW. Ugh.

      Why can’t we round up these people and put them in some special place where they can just torment each other and leave the good people out of it?

      I guess that’s what they call hell? But that’s not gonna help us in the here and now.

      • I now have the cold sore version of herpes which I didn’t have prior to my ex – although to date ive never had a coldsore. Small fry, I know.. But having had several “inexplicable” thrush attacks during our brief marriage… And in tandem with the quarterly HIV tests, it felt like a huuuuuuge fricken deal and I lost my shit in the docs office when told.

        Of course mr shitferbrains, during the divorce proceedings vacillated between “omg ill never forgive myself if I’ve infected her” and “she must have had something prior to meeting her” … Conveniently forgetting as part of my immigration I was tested for everything and anything seven ways from Sunday.

        I don’t miss those days 🙂

        • Or, he will say that if HE has something, then you must’ve passed it onto him. ugh. BTW, if its HPV, it can live in remission for years or decades and then reappear later on. So, while its possible, (unless he is the only man you’ve ever had sex with), its extremely unlikely.

          • I know that the coldsores could come at any time – or never.

            But it definitely came from him, and he can’t claim I gave him anything – I had to have full panel STD tests as part of the immigration process to move here (the USA) – all were negative.

            Plus I proved he was sleeping with several hookers a week – he only admitted to about 10 but by my calculations there were at least 50 in the first three months of our marriage alone.

            • HPV is different. there’s no reliable test for men (most of them have it and have no idea!!!) and the only way that women are tested is through a pap smear and then analysis. type 16 and 18 are the two types that can cause cervical cancer. I have #16. pretty amazing, since I never have sex. :[
              I’ve had to have two colposcopies. nothing has shown up amiss yet and it might never, but its so humiliating. That’s the only reason that I mention HPV. It could’ve been in remission when you had your tests, or not, but you never know. The type that causes warts does not cause cancer and some don’t cause warts or cancer. But you can absolutely get it, even if you use a condom! Its passed skin to skin.

              • ps: I’m just so, so sorry that you were married to such a sick fuck and glad that you had the strength and courage to leave. ((hugs))

      • We need to throw bright red permanent dye on them- so we can see them coming a mile away!

  • CL
    we love you!! and thankyou thankyou thankyou.i havent posted much lately but i do read you all the time 🙂

  • Did anyone listen to NPR this morning? There was a piece describing research on why not apologizing makes you feel good. This is probably obvious to everyone else here, but it explained so simply why I never got apology from my exh/NPD about the depths of his betrayals (you know the usual: years of cheating on me, the prostitutes, the porn addiction, blah, blah): According to the research, “When you refuse to apologize, it actually makes you feel more empowered,” he said. “That power and control seems to translate into greater feelings of self-worth.”
    I was a good apologizer and stupidly thought that someday, my excellent and thorough apologies, which he enjoyed very much and would compliment me on, would show him the value of apologizing. Uh…no. They didn’t.
    Apparently, I felt the value of apologizing while he enjoyed the power from not apologizing.

    • I did hear that, nwrain. It was really interesting and compelling. I was driving so I’ll listen again, thanks for the links. I know, at first, I felt angry by what they were saying, but then I agreed. It reminded me of that bird who when it knows it’s going to die displays his bare neck to get it over with. That apologizing would make you feel you stuck your neck out and were vulnerable and your esteem would not be high after (not sure if I have it right?). But, maybe that’s what we’re missing today? Being humble? Is too much esteem as much of a problem as too little? I’ll read the links again, but really, thanks! I wanted to get back to what they were saying but forgot!

      • if its too much “esteem.” Its a false “esteem” not a healthy one, IMO. The worst are the ones who put on an entire act of this benevolent, altruistic hero. And they are immensely “humble.” puke. Don’t get too close though… cause its all a mirage and poof— its not really there! I know someone like that and he fucks around on his beautiful wife left and right. Those are the most scary types of all. It takes a long time to see them for who they are.

        That is why I caution anyone on here… and we are all pretty vulnerable… lets face it. If someone comes on like gangbusters, that is a massive red flag. Oh, he may look amazing on paper. Please remember that paper burns very easily.

    • That makes sense. If fucking other women behind your partners back makes you feel more powerful then apologizing would merely be an admission of guilt and if he could feel that guilt and truly understand, how traumatically devastating would be WHEN he is found ou, he wouldn’t–couldn’t have cheated, in the first place!

      not apologizing only perpetuates the myth inside his fucked up head that he’s a “good guy.” After all… he had his “reasons.” yuck.

      And I do believe that affairs are an act of aggression—against one’s partner. I know, I know.. they say that it has nothing to do with you.


      It has EVERYTHING to do with you— otherwise, he would tell you what he’s doing!

      (just to make clear… I believe that affairs are not BECAUSE of anything you did per se… just the fact that you exist. Its a power play. that’s all. Its a sick need to fuck over thy partner.)

    • I think the “J” must stand for jealousy. CL is a brilliant writer, who stands for what she believes in, ” leave a cheater, gain a life.” No wishywashy here, and the best support system for chumps. The stories here dealing with women who were cheated on pregnant, break my heart. I can’t believe that J person could only bash CL rather than see the good she does in uplifting the downhearted. The cheating scumbags need to be put in their place, not given statistical knowledge on why they are allowed to fuck up others lives. It’s time to stop making excuses for them, and kick their lying, cheating asses out. The people on this site are not statistics or studies, they are wounded soldiers trying to fight their way back to a normal life without the pain of living with any more betrayal.

  • A very touching post today, CL.
    Glad to see the Reconciliation industrial complex is afraid of you!

    • If you have ever been to a COSA group (based on Carnes 12-step model)- you will understand why people are sick of the Reconciliation Industrial Complex. Adds insult to injury……and half way blames the victimized spouse/partner. If you hate Chump Lady……you are probably a cheater or a so called “sex addict” (no scientific proof of sex addiction).

  • Thanks for this post today, CL. I got a lot out of it. And, whoever said most people aren’t wired to forgive this stuff and move on…that was a great comment. Thanks to everyone. I too don’t post much these days, but I get a lot out of this site.

  • the worst was having to go in after finding out he was unfaithful and get tested for diseases. at the same time was getting tested for skin cancer. it was more of a relief finding out I was clear for STD’S less concerned about skin cancer ( all clear, I am fine). it was humiliating sitting there waiting to be called in. they don’t care. the f%%% pigs.

    • Oh sweetie,

      If your doctor’s office took that attitude with you, I suggest you get a new doctor, immediately.

      I can’t even imagine if my doctor had not been supportive during this last 2 years.

      I was in tears during the entire STD testing process (all clean, thank God for BIG miracles); the nurses and doctors were so supportive and professional. If a person doesn’t have compassion, they don’t belong in the healing profession. It is a calling, not a career.

      No man or woman should ever face the horror of wondering what kind of disease their trusted supposed monogamous partner has given them–especially in this world of incurable diseases such as AIDS and herpes.

      • I’m so sorry. doctor and med staff were great the last bit was to my ex. he was the pig. I shouldn’t write when I am mad, I wasn’t clear. it was kind of you to write a response. again sorry.

    • I told my doctor the whole story of my husband’s “penis activities.” She was disgusted. It’s not my job to protect his reputation. It’s my job to protect my body from STDs.

  • General Comment:

    Our visitor today was certainly interesting. She seemed to be very expert at using psych-speak in a very sly way to try and rattle CL. She kept implying that she wanted “to help,” that she was “concerned,” but I thought everything she wrote really reeked of a mind-game attack. She was also hopelessly verbose and never seemed to get to the point but to just kind of fog her way around whatever she was saying.

    This is a good site. Is it the be-all and end-all? No. No one place can have all the answers. And, in the end, folks have to do what they feel is best with their damaged marriages, imperfect relationships. CL has her point of view, which is that cheaters suck and that reconciliation is difficult, because broken trust is hard to un-break. Is she a rigid Taliban of anti-reconciliation? I don’t think so. She’s just skeptical. A hard skeptic who expresses herself really well and who is inventing a whole vocabulary (ego-kibbles, cake-eating, the humiliating dance of “pick-me,” untangling the skein of fuckupedness) that uses normally common words to describe important psychological concepts, some of them new concepts. (I personally like “untangling the skein…,” which warns us not to fall into paralysis by perpetual analysis. We may not ever understand some of the puzzling things that were done, but it’s time to move on.) In the end, this is a creative, amazing website. And, in the end, I think everyone here would support other folks in making their decision, whatever that is. This is all advice, tough advice, to take on board.

    Personally, I have found that I’ve learned a lot here. Sometimes when an idea (like co-dependency) is expressed in terms that are too lofty, it doesn’t really have traction. It’s not real. It’s some weird term that a shrink uses. But if, like CL, you can take that idea and develop it and talk about “ego-kibbles” and the like, it makes it more real, something you can really act on. I think CL is turning on a lot of light bulbs out there. If people are dealing with narcissists, then apologizing, being nice, being tolerant, won’t help. Your just up against a. dead. end. Time to move on and to become, in CL’s words, awesome.

    • I agree completely. It has forced me to examine my behavior in addition to that of my STBX. One of the biggest ways it has helped me is by reinforcing how I’m actually making the healthier choice in divorcing not only for me but also for my children. I think that too many people hold onto relationships broken by infidelity because of the guilt that they feel when they think about their kids. My home is not broken; I left that situation for a healthy and whole one. I’m grateful that CL’s site is here to remind me of that– what a disservice I’d be doing to my kids if I had stayed.

      • I was just talking with a friend of mine yesterday about the effects on my children. I come from parents who are still married 37 years later. My kids are struggling, but they are young. I refuse to allow them to grow up feeling broken because they will come from a divorced home. Fuck that. If this is the worse thing that happens to them, I will consider their lives a success!! I won’t coddle or try to make up for their parents not being married. Daddy was a cheating douche. But my kids rock, so it was worth it. Bam.

        • Tallula, my kids are older (13, 20 and 254), and have sort of shrugged their shoulders and moved on from their ex-father’s abandonment. In true narc fashion he discarded all of us and is too ashamed to face his own children–he hasn’t seen them in a year, since the day I caught him and he walked out. My kids have made a decision to move on without him.. As my oldest son says, we are still a family, he just isn’t in it anymore, and we’re stronger and happier without him. Our kids rock and so do you!!

            • I was going to say…254? You look great! Ha. Mine are 4, 2, and gestating. They won’t even remember us living as a family. It made me sad in the beginning, now I figure it will just be what they know. My inevitable awesomely hot rich 2nd husband will be a nice addition 🙂

              • Tallula,

                “My inevitable awesomely hot rich 2nd husband will be a nice addition”

                I do love your attitude.

                When you find where they are storing the hot, rich 2nd husbands, send one my way!

              • Haha yeah, only people in the Old Testament live that long (but I DO look good, thanks to getting rid of my dead-ass ex)!! Seriously, you have a great attitude Tallula, you will be fine and so will your kids. Your kids at least will know no different and they will be strong and awesome like you and because of you. Oh, and a year out from my D-Day, I am dating an incredible, successful, and kind man, and we are making long term marriage plans. He’s been my brother’s friend since high school and we reconnected on Facebook. And girlfriend, I can tell by your attitude that your hot rich awesome second husband is also not far away!! 🙂

              • Thanks ladies! Once I realized this guy is as fucked up and fucked up can be, the only thing I can do is press forward. My girlfriend and I were joking last night that I’ll be doing lunges in the hospital, keeping my ass tight so I can get my shiz ready to start dating. Ha. Not that I’m ready to start dating, but heck, by the time baby gets here we will have been “over” for 7 months, 9 months out from Dday. I do have to feel lucky that at least he does see his kids and loves them…but each week time spent with him is less and less, but he does take them at a minimum of every other weekend.

          • Personally, I think that staying with a disordered person “for the kids” is actually going to harm the kids. Show the kids how an adult (you) recognizes errors, recognizes toxic people that she or he can’t cure and then moves on with decisiveness and authority. That is modeling good behavior!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Narcissists make terrible fathers. Your kids were spared watching their father disrespect their mother in the most insidious way possible. Cheating is a form of domestic abuse.

  • My STBXH started an affair (unbeknownst to me) when I was about 4 months pregnant with my second child. This was a *planned* pregnancy so why he would choose to cheat during this time, I don’t know. While cheating, he would come home and have sex with me, too. Ugh. The texting and meetups were constant. He would go out “with friends” at all hours of the night. Any inquiries into where he was going were “none of my business.” Daily responsibilities angered him. He guarded his cell phone like a fire-breathing dragon, changing his password and even bringing it into the shower with him. His behavior was horrible…..yelling, criticism, blaming, shirking responsibility, the tension in the air was palpable. But here comes the mind-fk – there were hours/days when he would be extra-nice….we would go out for ice cream and he would cease criticism for a bit. These times gave me hope but also seriously f’d with my mind, because his moods were so unpredictable. Now, I can look back and see that he was likely compensating for his bad behavior with the OW. “Look, I’m a great husband….I go out of my way to spend an hour with my family, when I’d rather be playing video games. Now I can justify getting some on the side, I deserve it!” In hindsight, I realize those “nice” nights” were right before meetups with the OW.

    Trying to be a good wife, I just wanted to smooth things out. But I walked on egg-shells all the time. I hid my pregnancy symptoms from him because he would act put-out and angry, so I just dealt with them by myself. This time was very lonely for me.

    I knew his behavior was erratic but didn’t know he was cheating. I think my subconscious suspected, though…in the weeks before DDay, I had terrifying nightmares about natural disasters – tornadoes leveling our house to the ground, fires, earthquakes. Between his daily temper tantrums, walking on eggshells, pregnancy symptoms, and the nightmares, I was getting worn down to nothing. It’s not good to be that stressed out when you’re pregnant. When he finally dropped the DDAy bomb and told me about the OW, it all made sense, but I have to say that I wouldn’t wish that 9 months on anyone. I was vulnerable in that pregnancy and needed him to be there, but he wasn’t. And I’m not holding my breath that he would be there for me if I needed him in the future, let’s say if something *really* gets tough… a parent dying, or getting cancer, or having a truly sick child……he would bail and blame and make things worse. I’m realizing that I will be better off on my own (it would be a relief!) rather than dealing with an overgrown bully who cheats and puts my health at risk, not to mention the health of my unborn baby. Who knows what germs he picked up from unprotected sex with the OW….and how many OW there were…..I will never know, and frankly, don’t want to know.

    • My dirt bag ruined the birth of my beautiful baby girl. I caught him with porn, 900 sex chat lines and voyeuring my teenage neighbor from our kitchen window when I was 8 months pregnant.

      I was pretty much trapped in the relationship because I had an 18 month old toddler too. The day my baby girl was born- I cried so hard that my room mate in the hospital asked to be moved to a different room. The doctor decided to give me Xanax- because I was inconsolable. These monsters ruin everything.

      • He was cheating and dating / fucking women when we were trying for the baby #1, when I miscarriaged, when I was pregnant with baby 2,3,4… before dday we had 3 kids…. I thought and suspected porn addiction, maybe meeting someone… in reality, it was a full blown mind fuckery…. he had sex with countless hookers followed by sex with me- while I was pregnant and while breastfeeding ( will never forgive him risking my life and life of our children)
        All that, while playing the role of a perfect father, husband, son, employee….


  • All I could think about when I read CL blog was poor Lacey Peterson, her unborn child Conor and her scumbag husband Scott Peterson. I don’t believe in the death penalty but people like him test my belief.

    • Well, there is a good thing to think about. At least my husband decided not to kill me, just bang 2 OW. Hey, it really could be worse. So sad.

  • God bless you for this post…it spoke to my heart. My husband cheated on me while I was pregnant and left when our baby was five months old. I know how to pick ’em!

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