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‘Kids Are Resilient!’ and Other Things Cheaters Should Never Say

Here’s a familiar scenario: A chump, distraught over impending divorce, will worry about the kids. Invariably, the cheater blithely says, “Oh, don’t worry about the kids. Kids are resilient! They’ll adjust.” Meaning, they’ll adjust to the affair partner as their new step mom or step dad. They’ll adjust to new living arrangements, new holiday schedules, or a new school. They’ll suck it up and everything will be fine!

I hate it when cheaters say that.

Because… it’s true. Really, for the most part, over time, with one sane parent — yes, the kids will be fine. Yes, it will be painful as hell. Hopefully, everyone will get some therapy. And then, like it or not, the new order eclipses the old order, and the new order becomes new normal. Yeah, even if normal for the cheater and their new fuck friend du jour is chaos — the kids will adjust.

I know it’s unjust. Everyone chokes it down, and eventually puts themselves back together. What’s infuriating is that the cheater — the agent of chaos — sits smugly from the sidelines and pronounces it All For The Best. Like this Herculean thing you have accomplished — survival — is no big deal, really. All along they had a Master Plan. You have to break a few eggs to make an omelette. They could see that everyone would really just sort things out — and hey, we should be friends. “I don’t understand your hostility.”

Even if your cheater is living in a HUD foreclosure in some crappy suburb, eating ramen noodles for dinner, and  owes you months of back child support — things are fabulous with them. Really.

Well, good. We were so worried. The only thing that matters is their happiness. (Vomit.)

It’s a pernicious sort of mindfuck. Making their narcissism seem like it was really altruistic of them. See how nicely you moved on? And the kids turned out okay?

Here’s the thing — you ARE better off without them. The kids WILL be okay, eventually. It still doesn’t make what they did okay. And it is ghoulish of them to imply that it does.

I dunno. I think it must be like when white people say “nigger.” YOU DON’T GET TO SAY THAT. White people? You are NOT the oppressed minority here. You, from your lofty heights of historic privilege, don’t get to use that word. It may never trip lightly over your tongue, do you understand? You don’t get to appropriate that experience! Back the fuck off!

Resilience? Survival? Chumps — you own those words. Cheaters? Back the fuck off.

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  • Well, they may or may not be ok, is the thing. Infidelity and other forms of domestic abuse take a tremendous emotional and financial toll on kids. I don’t think you have to look far to find grim statistics for divorce outcomes on kids. Flippantly declaring that “Kids are resilient!” is a weak as shit attempt to absolve a cheater of much deserved guilt and shame. Infidelity and abandonment is NOT giving your kids their best shot at life. The trauma can be emotionally crippling both immediately and long term. Second-best is sometimes our only choice as Chumps. But this is not what I would have chosen for them. Pain and loneliness, confusion, doubt, humiliation–all of it and more came to my kids as a result of their father’s cowardice. That they are seemingly doing well in spite of it is not an excuse for their father’s actions. They’d be even better off in an intact and functioning family with their parents both in the home, not sharing resources with an intrusive whore. As a parent, you’d think their father would want the best for his kids, but apparently he can’t deliver. His failure does hurt his kids.

    • Actually what I believe hurts even more is a mom who stays with such a person “for their sake” I believe that its the opposite. Its for the sake of the children to leave. His infuriating comment is totally inline with the fact that he felt entitled to cheat and lie, in the first place.

      That’s just plain wrong, but a cheater who glibly dismisses his own heinous actions and in such typically condescending fashion is clearly not in touch (and doesn’t want to be either!) with the devastation that he’s so capable of creating. Its his script that he’s a “good guy” so of course the kids will be fine! grrrrrrrrrrrr

      There are no medals given for martyrdom. Kids eventually find out all. Do you think they go… “Oh geeeeezzz, Mom stayed with daddy fucktard who couldn’t manage to keep his dick in his pants, just so that she could keep the family in tact… thanks, Mom. You rock!”

      errrmmmm… no. not exactly. They will feel intense guilt for something they should not need to feel one iota of guilt about.

      That’s why I feel that its for the sake of the children to leave. Leaving is healthy and staying is not. Its easier to stay, but at what cost?

      • I agree, Laurel. Staying for the sake of the kids is absolutely counterproductive. From an anecdotal perspective, I’d say that one of the major reasons that STBX started his affair was that his father was able to carry on a long-term affair. His parents stayed married, and while STBX really despised his father, things “worked” because his parents led very different lives for 5 out of every 7 days. His parents never really addressed the issue of the OW, and his mother encouraged her sons to listen to their father.

        The upshot is that even though STBX disliked his father, he also hero-worshipped him. His younger brother also revered his father. The younger son divorced and remarried 5 years ago, and now STBX has opted for his own affair. They learned that affairs were okay. Even though they may have sensed the dysfunction in the family, from their perspective, their parents’ marriage worked.

        Both parents are now deceased, but not a day goes by that I wish that his mother had had the courage to divorce her cheater for the sake of her children.

  • My kids shouldn’t have to be resilient. I can forgive every cheater since the beginning of time if they only hurt the spouse or significant other. They were a piece of shit. We married them. Lesson learned. But when they drag children into the equation, I ban them to hell. Hurting children is not okay.

  • Humans are resilient. A healthy adult can survive without food for about 40 days. (

    That’s not healthy. Or right. And the effects will remain.

    Change or die. The cheaters can say the kids are adjusting. People who are held hostage to another person’s whims – like BS and the kids – often adjust over the course of the marriage to the whims of someone who cares nothing for them. You want to know who else adjusts to difficult circumstance because they have no choice? Like BS and kids they also love the person hurting them.

    People with Stockholm Syndrome.

    People are resilient.

    • Well said.

      And that’s the thing, chumps won’t allow themselves to think “kids are resilient” I should leave. God forbid, we be “selfish” and get the hell away.

      We *are* resilient, and that should be some comfort. Doesn’t make what they did right, and we’ll certainly be a hell of a lot better off without them.

  • My ex frequently told our son (13 at the time) that leaving was the best thing he could possibly do for the family. The NPD ex told our son that he had only felt passion for two women in his life, (and I was not one of them) and it was abusive for son to remain in an intact family where his father felt no passion for his mother. Oh, and that it was also abuse that I didn’t want to hear two months straight of Christmas music every year. Ex conveniently left out that he was fucking two married women, and planned on quitting his job ASAP.

    It’s been three years since Dday. Ex has spent those years trying to fulfill his “calling and destiny” of becoming a famous actor. His OW didn’t leave her husband for him after all, he lost his house to foreclosure and was evicted, he filed bankruptcy, he’s been living off unemployment for nearly two years which just ran out, he has no job, he owes thousands of dollars to all sorts of people (including me and the IRS), he has never become famous, to put it mildly. Ex lives in his sister’s spare bedroom, and even that seems to be coming to an end. Yet he still describes himself as a motivational speaker whose life story is very inspirational and courageous. Because he “dared to follow his dreams.”

    Totally delusional, lying, sociopath cheater. I hate the fact that he still has dinner with our son twice per week. What a horrible influence on a teenager.

    The past three years have certainly been an exercise in survival and resiliency for me. And you know what? I’m the one who should be the motivational speaker, not that sorry piece of shit liar.

    • Hey GladIt’sOver, we should start a ‘Chump Circuit’ of motivational speakers! You can be the first star! I bet once the word got out, we’d have lots of audience.

      Please don’t tell my your ex actually gets contracts and makes money as a motivational speaker; saying that’s what he is is one thing, but getting other people to believe him ….

      • LOL, Karen, he wishes! He recently did a freebie talk at the local boys and girls club. He made our son go along, since it was their evening together. I got a text from son halfway through, “Dad is sure not a very good speaker.” When son got home, he said there had been around 25 people in the audience at the beginning of the talk, only 10 left by the end.

    • he said that to your son,Glad? what a total asswipe. Or “how to screw up your kids without really trying.”

  • The research on kids and divorce is actually pretty clear;

    – parental conflict is bad for kids

    And that’s whether the parents are together or not.

    So kids of divorce don’t do well when there is a lot of conflict between their parents, and especially if parents try to drag kids into the tussles, or use the kids as weapons.

    But kids who live in homes where there’s a lot of conflict and/or unhappiness, but the parents stay together, also do very very poorly.

    So my kids at least are somewhat more likely to end up better off now that their dad and I have split, because there has been quite a bit of conflict about his consistent negativity, attempts at micro-control, and general nastiness. Then add in the first affair and the 2 incidents of serious physical threats, and it wasn’t very good for them. (Ironically it had gotten much better over the year leading up to the 2nd affair/split, because I had told the ex I was ready to leave because of his nastiness. He shaped up a fair bit.)

    In addition to their having a much more peaceful home life since the split, my kids also benefit from their being old enough NOT to be obliged to spend 50% of their time at their father’s, and from the ex being quite generous with $ so far (not quite sure why he’s doing that, but I won’t argue!).

    But I still hate and despise the ex, because it would have taken SOOOOOO little for my kids to have a HAPPY intact family. His narcissism and negativity robbed them of that; the affairs were just the last straw.

    I often have thoughts like bev’s; I chose him, I took the risk, in the end he sucked, my bad. But my kids did NOTHING to deserve this man’s selfish stupidity and its effects on their lives.

  • My X also spewed that garbage …”kids are resilient.” The therapist ask him if he was just talking to people that would say what he wanted to hear? Like other “f***ing cheaters.” OW? Scumbag friend? Cheater uncle?

    Thing is…they’re not here to help kids pick up the pieces and persevere. But, I am! And I’ll be damned if we miss a beat! I’d freeze this time in life if I could! It’s awesome. This is life…this is living…this is heaven on earth! While your kids are home and you get in on every minute of it. This is what I live for! Not some golf game everyday, dinners in a restaurant, and all the BS that really doesn’t matter at the end of life. Cheater scumbag is too stupid to even know what he’s missing.

  • My ex cheated on me 30 years ago when I was pregnant with my 4th child . The OW divorced her husband for mine and they lived together for a year. She had 2 girls 10 and 11, my children were a daughter 9 and 2 boys 6 and 8. I did the pick me dance and he decided to come home. We stuck it out for 30 years. He now decided he couldn’t live without her and found her after an expensive search on the internet. I now find out after extensive counseling that my ex was passive aggressive and what I though was a marriage was just me pouring on the spackle and being in love with a man who was emotionally abusive to me. I kept thinking if I tried hard enough he would love me. My DDay was July 7, 2012 he had been living a double life for 18 months. I applied for a dissolution of marriage and it was granted on August 30, 2012. She moved into my house 8 weeks later after I removed the furniture I wanted. My children are now adults . My oldest son cheated on his wife and is now divorced. My ex gave lecture after lecture on the evils of adultery to my son when we were worried his marriage was in trouble. My daughter never married and now tells me she didn’t want to marry because she was afraid she would end up unhappy like I was. The OW told my husband 33 years ago and told him now children will be fine and they will adjust. My adult children do not speak to their father . My oldest son is the only one to have any contact with him and the OW but it is very limited . He calls him the biggest hypocrite on two legs. How anyone can say cheating does not affect children is insane. Things may look somewhat normal but my children now say they remember everything about that affair the first time and have not forgotten the day their father took them to meet their new mom, after all they were going to take my 3 older children and let me keep my new baby since they were going to have one of their own. They are both in their early 60’s and live in this make believe world where everything is sunshine and happiness because they are together again. The OW just ended marriage number 3 so you know she is a great catch. They don’t feel what they have done has hurt anyone. I gave up 44 years of my life with this man, but hey it was worth every bit as long as he is happy. Screw my kids . I found this site a few months ago and you have all been a lifeline for me Thank you so much for saving my sanity!

  • Most people are resilient if you believe the data in the most thorough empirical following studies into grief and resilience.

    Heck, something in the neighborhood of 70% of the people who have suffered horrors like surviving genocides that wiped out their entire families were able to hold down jobs and stuff like that within 6 months, and they were back to their basline “happiness” within 2 years.

    Saying people are resilient doesn’t absolve anybody of anything or negate any harm or suffering that was inflicted on people though.

    It’s not like judges at the Hague said, “Well Slobodan Milošević, your troops raped and murdered ethnic albanians in an attempt to purge them from former-Yugoslavia, but hey, the survivors who didn’t wind up in mass graves were mostly resilient, so it’s not as bad as it sounds”.

  • Read your website and usually agree with most of it. Until the slag about white people at the end. WHF about that? What does that have to do with anything about leaving cheaters and gaining a life, seriously? How the hell does that remark have to do with what this site is about? The only people who say nigger these days are black people. It seems to be perfectly socially acceptable for them to use this disgusting term, but woe to anybody else to use it. The most racist people these days are blacks. Ever watch standup comedy with black comedians? Constant racism towards whites. Nobody calls them on it. Chris Rock, Dave Chapelle, etc. horribly disgusting racism against whites, and that is perfectly okay. You have seriously dissapointed me with your attack on white people. Racism towards whites seems to be socially acceptable these days. SHAME ON YOU CHUMPLADY!

    • Shame on me? Read a bit more carefully. Only black people can say the N word. White people should never say it: “White people? You are NOT the oppressed minority here. You, from your lofty heights of historic privilege, don’t get to use that word.”

      “Resilience” should not be appropriated by cheaters. Cheating is a power game, it’s unjust, IMO, it’s oppressive. It’s gaining advantage over another.

      Chump can be a slur. It means idiot. You got played. You’ve been duped. I use the language “chump” to take back the experience — similar to the way gays use “queer” or “dyke” or blacks say “nigger.” I’m not black, or gay — I don’t get to joke around or claim the experience behind those insult words.

      My point is that language is powerful — and it’s an insult when people who commit infidelity trumpet “resilience” as a virtue.

      • Playing b-ball in the inner city growing up, we all, blacks and whites called each other nigger. We were brothers, ball players. No big deal.

    • Debra, you will provide some data to support this claim that “the most racist people these days are blacks”.

      Aside from the implicit irony in trying to sum up a “racial” group as more racist, there’s a problem with this as a response to why people ought to be sensitive to the fact that there was 300+ years of institutionalized oppression of a people based solely on the color of their skin, and though things have improved since the abolition of slavery and desegregation, there’s still quite a bit of that illness lurking out there.

      I did dig this statistic up from Gallup:

      96% of blacks approve of interracial marriage while 84% of whites approve of interracial marriage (at least according to this poll). That paints a rather optimistic picture for the future (so let’s hope it’s true). What it does not do is substantiate your claims. In fact, it contradicts your claim.

      I see that this issue hits a nerve with you. Perhaps you should consider why?

    • ETA, my attack on WHITE people? Debra, they don’t make people much whiter than me. (Anglo-Saxon Midwesterner SPF 40).

      You think black people are the “most racist” people? You’re free to leave my site.

      Any discussion that dissolves into Who Is The Most Racist Minority is going to get trashed.

      I misread you at first — I thought you misunderstood me. But OMG, you understood and you think white people are discriminated against because they can’t say the N word. Just WOW.

    • I don’t watch much comedy, so i can’t speak to that part of your post, but I think you misunderstood CL’s metaphor. the N word was paid for by the deaths of twenty million souls at the hands of white slave traders and owners, and perpetrators of other racial violence. The N word is an artifact of that time that black people have bought with blood and own in entirety. For white people to use it is to be willfully ignorant of that tragic price.

      CL’s point is that betrayers in their apalling indifference to the financial and emotional chaos they foist on those who have every right to expect honorable behavior, have no right to gloss over the pain they inflicted.

      Obviously, white people alive today were not part of the slave trade. But the scars on the African American community are still evident. Family wealth and family poverty tend to be passed down, generation to generation.

      Similarly, the wounds of children may seem to heal, but the violated trust alters the direction of lives

    • Debra,
      One of my son-in-laws is black (I’m white) and he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body. One of the main resons I like this site so much is because compared to so many others there is INTELLGENT helpful posts by CL, as well as the quality of the comments. She was giving an EXAMPLE – how you percieved it as an attack on “White People” I have no clue.

  • I find this situation to be very frustrating. I agree that my kids will “be okay” and appear “resilient” to STBX and his warm body, but that’s only because I will be on the other end, holding them when they cry, reassuring them when they express fear and doubt, getting them into counseling in preparation for the big wedding and move-in this summer, etc. My STBX has NO friggin’ clue how much the kids wish we’d get back together and that the strongest feeling they have toward the OW and her kids becoming part of their family is “meh.” He’s likely convinced himself that everyone is supremely happy, and why wouldn’t it appear that way when all he does is play Disney Dad, taking the kids with OW and her kids places and constantly buying them stuff?

    Of course, STBX and his skank will take the credit– they have a PLAN (if any of you remember the email I posted from STBX). Obviously, it will be their combined sensitivity, nurturing, and wise decision-making that will boost the kids up and make them feel secure; it won’t have anything to do with the fact that I provide a steady and secure environment that will hopefully make up for their pathetic attempts at parenting.

    And, in the end, even if their horrid relationship implodes, my kids STILL lose out– because in all likelihood, it will get ugly over at Dad’s house, and they’ll have to endure whatever hellish environment those two create, and if the relationship ends, the kids will have to deal with a father who will not be mature enough to put their needs first and be a real father to them. They’ll likely have to deal with his grumpiness, short temper, sulking, and mood swings. I wish that the OW would wake up one morning and realize what in the hell she’s about to do (since I can’t count on Captain Needy to do so) and pull the plug on the whole arrangement. But, since she has the emotional intelligence and maturity of a tween (my apologies to all tweens), I’m quite sure that she and STBX will pursue this childish fantasy until its unpleasant and bitter end, messing with my kids while they do it.

    I wish that adults could just be mature. If you can’t be mature, then please don’t have kids. Kids need grown-ups to raise them, not grown-ups who still think that they’re kids.

    • I agree with you MovingOn. If the kids end up being okay it’s because of the strength and the love from their chump parent. We are the stable ones, the ones that put the pieces back together. We’re the ones that answer the hard questions they ask, the ones that see how they are affected on a daily basis. Tonight I was putting my kids to bed and there was a shuffling sound in the halfway. My 6-year old son whipped around and saw our dog. He said, ‘I thought it was Daddy.’ (Daddy moved out two months ago.) My heart broke once again. What a selfish fucker my husband is to put himself first. ‘The kids will be fine,’ he said. And he should have added ‘thanks to you’. My kids know that I love them and will ALWAYS put them first. I don’t believe my kids hold that same belief about my husband.

      • MovingOn and Kay H, you are writing what my heart feels so often. I honestly believe that my ex has never stopped to think about what breaking our family up means to our kids, just like he never wanted to think about how his negativity and entitlement affected them, and now doesn’t think about how his current behaviour affects them.

        Although shared custody with each parent getting the kids half the time is absolutely the standard here, and what the kids initially expected (having seen several of their friends dealing with that), he has NEVER asked for that. I worked out what the kids wanted and how to arrange that, made a custody suggestion and he accepted it without any arguing, just ‘OK’. That means they spend 85% of their time with me. I’m glad he accepted, but think what it must mean to the kids that he never even asked for more. At one point he asked them to sleep over one weeknight each week, and they refused, but made it clear to me that they understood he was asking for that because he hates to be alone, not because he wanted THEM near.

        And of course I am the one holding my daughter when she cries, reassuring my son that we’ll all be OK. He doesn’t see that stuff, because he isn’t close enough to them for them to show it to him. So he can assume everything’s fine!

        He has a very small apartment near our house, which he initially did not prepare AT ALL for their presence. Not enough dishes for all three to eat together, no proper beds for them, not enough towels. I insisted he fix the place up better, but one of them still sleeps on an inflatable mattress. He says he’s keeping the small apartment so he can afford to continue to pay extra support so we can stay in the house, but he doesn’t think of the message it sends the kids; I have no plan to make a home for you. You are visitors in my little apartment, that’s all.

        I hate that he’s so fixated on our not losing this house. I know that, given the separation, it does make it easier for the kids and me not to have to move as well. But if he had put just a tiny bit of effort into our relationship and our family, the kids would have their home, WITH their whole family in it.

        Fucktard. He should never have had kids, and I really really regret making him my children’s father.

        • Karen,

          That stuff about not being able to afford a bed or bigger apartment because he spends so much money keeping a roof over your heads sounds like classic cheater-martyr speak. I hope you don’t let him guilt trip you.

          You deserve to stay in that house and keep up your kids standard of living and school system, friends, etc. You do have them 85% of the time, after all. He is the one that made the choice to have an affair. If you moved from your house in order to reduce his support payments I really doubt he would spend that extra money on a bigger apartment for the kids, or on anything for the kids for that matter. So don’t listen to his crap and feel sorry for him and his relationship with the kids. Unfortunately, you can’t fix that for them. Only he can do that. And I don’t think a bigger apartment is going to do it. It’s just a symptom of a larger problem…

          • I agree, another Erica, it’s all, in the end, about who my ex isn’t.

            He hasn’t yet tried to use the house or the money to guilt or control me. Initially, he wanted us to stay because he thought he was coming back. TOOk me a while to realize that, because it was SO not an option for me. IDIOT. Now he may be using it to reduce his guilt, make himself look better to his mom (the only person left in either family or our circle of friends who still talks to him), and provide future leverage. What he doesn’t know is that I am now UNLEVERAGEABLE. (If that word exists …)

            Any talk about how unhappy he now is has drawn blank stares and a change of subject from me. Any suggestion I should go along w/any ridiculousness in future because he is generous w/money would result in my immediate offer to put the house on the market. We’ve had a year to adapt to the separation, so would manage fine w/a move. Our daughter would FREAK, and that would be on him (but then she’d adapt just fine, because that’s what she does after freaking! But he doesn’t know her well enough to know that!)

            And I no longer try to insulate my kids even from the worst of his parenting, although I do do a little ‘coaching’ when he really has no clue how to handle something that’s important to the kids, like telling them about his ‘new girlfriend’ (the OW). It’s a big relief to leave that relationship up to him, now.

          • What about those situations where the cheater keeps the kids, gets child support and has the affair partner living with her? In my case, my XW works, has a boyfriend with a decent job, and gets 30,000 a year from me, tax free.
            I got three years on my friend’s couch before I could afford a small condo.
            Here’s a situation where being a good parent and husband with a good job bit me in the ass.

            • That really sucks. To have your cheater get custody of the kids, and she is living with the AP. That must be really hard. **hugs**

              • It is this fucked uplegal system. For some weird reason, no value , in terms of who was the primary caregiver(who almost always gets custody) is given to the efforts of the breadwinner.
                It is as if supporting the family financially is nowhere near as big an indicator of caregiving as day to day , hands on care. Yet, each is equally needed to raise the kids.
                Any spouse that consents to this tay at home parent deal is taking a huge risk, and guys, in particular, seem to still be susceptible to believing in the old paradigm, where mom stayed home. They are crazy to do this in this age where women cheat as much as men and initiate 70% of the divorces.
                You are just hosed if you buy into the parent staying home deal, when it comes time to vie for custody and to challenge spousal maintenance.

            • your situation is bullshit. It’s got to really suck when the cheater seemingly holds all the cards. I can’t imagine sending that kind of money and knowing that it’s subsidizing the cheaters stupid lifestyle with their AP and maybe the kids get a small part of it. And you had to basically turn your kids over to the cheater. I do believe it’s more difficult for a male chump to leave because of that custody bullshit. There is no way in hell a cheater is a better parent than a chump.

              we’re chumps here first and foremost. Hopefully you identify with us as chumps rather than as ex-wives looking for money. I’m sure you realize that as fellow chumps we have also been screwed over and are just trying to get on our feet and take care of our children. I’m not going to feel bad or guilty about taking money from my cheating, piece of shit ex. Nobody should, no matter how hard they try to make you feel that way.

            • Arnold, that sucks. It is unfair for sure. Cheaters should get zero benefits from their actions.

              I’ve sometimes thought about the husband of the OW my ex was fucking and trying to win away from her marriage. I knew both the OW and her husband. She was a SAHM with two very young, autistic boys. She would pay a babysitter to come watch them in the mornings so she could fuck my husband in the back of our minivan.

              I’m not certain, but I believe they are divorced now. Her husband desperately did the pick me dance, but I assume these days, he pays her support while she looks for someone new to cheat on.

              I myself was a SAHM for the second decade of my marriage. Though he was totally in favor of it at the time, and used to tell me how proud he was, the ex now says it was horrible and selfish of me to be homeschooling our son, and I should have been working.

              Ironically, though I barely am getting by now, starting myself in a new career, I make more money than ex does. Well, he’s basically been a bum the past three years, so I guess it hasn’t been that difficult.

              • Agh, the narc ex of a friend of mine turned the ‘stay at home’ part totally on her as well, when they separated.

                She basically gave up work she enjoyed, stayed home when their daughter was little, and then worked only very part time, because HIS work required tons of travel, often last-minute, and often long trips (weeks and even months). Because of the type of work he did, there was no way he could earn a living otherwise.

                But when they split, he told everyone that he had worked hellish hours in hellish places and worked so much and never been home SO THAT she could be home w/their daughter. And that now it wasn’t fair that he had to pay some support after sacrificing himself so much for what she wanted.

                Plus of course he asked for and got shared custody, 50% each (because that’s the standard here) WHILE still assuming that she would take over the childcare whenever he was travelling. She was supposed to continue accommodating his schedule, even after he cheated long-term (and of course, as usual, that was not the only self-centered thing he’d done). Fortunately my friend set limits on the accommodating, it was too wild.

                The only satisfying thing about that whole situation is that he lost both his wife and his AP, because he tried to eat cake for too long. And she found SUCH a nice guy, less than a year after the separation. YAY!

    • Prefacing to say, I don’t think every cheater is a sociopath — but I read in the New Yorker magazine this interesting research on sociopaths. They did this experiment with cards — the game was rigged, so that eventually the person loses. Most participants (non-sociopaths) figured it out — that it was a losing game. But! they discovered that sociopaths could only see card to card. Just play by play, without seeing the meta picture. If I play this card, I will lose. This pattern means this consequences. They couldn’t connect the cards. Life is card by card.

      I think a lot of cheaters have this disability as well. They see impulsive action, and impulsive action, and don’t connect the big picture. (I will lose my family. My children will suffer. I will sleep on an air mattress.)

      Maturity requires seeing the big picture. Delaying gratifications. Accepting that some sacrifices will be asked of you. Seeing a bigger reward. Understanding consequences.

      • Good point. Narcs don’t seem to connect the dots. I can recall having a father who could yell all night but then seem very perplexed when someone brought this up to him later. (“That kid never forgives…..”)

        Yes, I think dot-connection deficits are definitely part of NPD behavior.

        • Not about the ABILITY to connect the dots, I think, as most narcs are high functioning in other areas of their lives. About entitlement; right now I want to yell all night. Oh, and now it’s the morning and I want everything to be normal and pleasant. Make it so!

          That’s why they’re so astounded when there ARE big time consequences to their behaviour. In their minds, what they’re doing is perfectly reasonable!

          • I agree, Karen. My NPD wife was smart and could plan. She just had a huge sense of entitlement and was surprised when folks were offended by her selfishness.

          • I agree, too. Very well said, Karen. They see the dots, but don’t feel at all compelled to connect them. Too much trouble for the entitled. You make an excellent point.

      • I can see that my ex doesn’t connect those dots in his personal life, reacts to how he’s feeling in that moment, doesn’t think of medium or long-term consequences even just for himself, never mind for his kids or me, or his mom ….

        BUT, I also see that his capacity to delay gratification and plan for long-term goals works just FINE in other areas of his life, primarily work and studies. And his bad temper doesn’t show around very often in those arenas, totally controllable. So it’s not about some kind of brain-based impairment.

        Which leads me to the conclusion that for him, it really is entirely about entitlement. ‘I shouldn’t have to think of any consequences, everything should go my way all the time, and others have to accommodate to that, I have the right to show negativity and bad temper as often as I feel like at home, which is OFTEN, because everything should go the way I want at home, and I should be getting kibbles constantly, as well as being allowed to blow off all the stress I build up during the day. And BTW, if things aren’t going exactly as I want at home, or even if it’s just that I’m away from home a lot and therefore don’t have access to the kibbles and the sex provided there, I am entitled to cheat.’


        • Karen, I wanted to quote your ENTIRE post. Same here– mine does just fine studying for his advanced degree, carefully preparing his taxes, working with his investments, etc. Mine has also shown qualities of honesty, a strong work ethic, delayed gratification, etc. I guess that, when it came to his personal life, which clearly wasn’t as important that he felt he had to maintain the same ethics that he showed in his professional life, he just felt he had been “patient” long enough, waiting for me to turn my focus back to him (while I raised the children pretty much alone and juggled that with my part-time work life and other household duties). When that didn’t happen, he felt entitled to have an A. I mean, after all, he provided for the family, mowed the lawn, did the taxes, and didn’t rob banks, so he should be allowed to have some fun!

          Huh. When was it going to be my turn to have “fun”? Instead, he’d make some noise about how I should go out with my sister or go get a pedicure, and then he’d call me on the rare occasion that I went out and want to know when I’d be home. Some fun.

      • That is interesting about the card-game research. In my STBX’s case, I think it is mostly entitlement, since his bad behavoir was mostly at home and he kept it contained while at his job.

        Either way, though, it was bizaare to watch. He would say mean things and then an hour later wondered why everyone was retreating from him. He seemed confused by it. Despite me telling him why “well, you just were mean to me an hour ago. Plus, you never apologized. So, no, I don’t want to be all cuddly with you right now.” Or, “Well, you just yelled at the kids, and you wonder why they don’t want to sit on your lap. They don’t recover that quickly.” He would make a comment about us being too sensitive, or we just need to get over it, or some glib, half-ass sorry that obviously wasn’t genuine. Ugh.

        Regarding the cards research – there may be something to it. My STBX was more impulsive. He certainly was not mature or WISE. Wisdom looks at the big picture, the end game. He couldn’t do that when smaller impulses got in his way (which they always did).

        • A comment like, “You’re over-sensitive” is right up there with “Kids are reslient” (coming from a narc). The “Your over-sensitive” line is a red flag. A better person (like a Chump) would say, “What’s wrong?”

          • The comment, “You’re over sensitive….” could also be a form of gaslighting, couldn’t it?

            • Yes, it is mindfuckery. Saying “You’re too sensitive” means that their neagtive, callous actions were actually just fine. It’s *you* who has the problem! (Not.)

              It also says “Oh, you’re hurt? Oh well.”

              • Mine liked to say, “You can’t pin that on me!” if I told him he had hurt me in some way. He was also fond of saying that it wasn’t his responsibility to make me happy. Which of course is true, in a sense, but it WAS his responsibility to be a faithful, attentive and loving husband. Or at the very minimum to keep his dick at home where it belonged.

                Yes, the “you’re too sensitive” is gaslighting and mindfuckery. Minimizing your feelings and making YOU out to be at fault. The two very things narcs love doing best.

            • I actually use the ‘you’re over sensitive’ line, as well as the ‘can’t you take a joke?’ as huge red flags when I teach about abusive relationships (I teach college). Someone who cares about you will respond empathically to your distress, and if they actually do think you’re over-reacting, can talk about that without disrespecting you.

      • I would not call my ex impulsive, by any stretch. In fact, the final build-up to their affair (which he told me about when I questioned him) was completely not romantic or impulsive or anything. They had had several conversations about how they should “just do it”. Apparently she even gave him ultimatums or even a deadline or something (my ex was apparently a big wuss even at affair-having). And when he finally met her, he claimed he was just calling her bluff. Yeah, right. Either way, the decision to do it was so pre-meditated and unemotional it almost makes it worse.

        But, while he is not impulsive, I definitely do not think he thought through the consequences either. I remember asking him when I was attempting to force him to fire her how he could have possibly thought this would turn out any other way. Of course I’m sure they all think they’re “special” and that they’ll be able to keep it under control, maybe even tell themselves it’ll be a very temporary fling and they’ll never get caught.

        He also didn’t think through the consequences when he continued to only worry about saving his own ass post-Dday and playing both of us. Trying to tell us both what we wanted to hear while not doing what we wanted him to do. Well, what I wanted him to do. She didn’t want him to do anything, so her interests more aligned with his. Which is I guess why I left him and she still works with him. If he thought at all about it, I’m sure he also probably underestimated me and thought I would never leave.

  • Chumplady, you one of those white self hateing liberals who thinks we should just all off ourselves to better the planet? You know what the biggest hate crime ever perpetrated in modern history was? Joseph Stalin deliberately starved to death over eight million Ukrainian people during World War One! More than the Jews who died, WAY MORE than blacks who died from slavery and yet the world HAS NEVER HEARD ABOUT THIS SLAUGHTER OF THESE WHITE EUROPEAN UKRAINIANS and if they did WOULD NOT EVEN CARE! What do you have to say about this? Will you do any research about this crime against humanity? Probably not! Nobody cares about this holocaust against white european Christian people! Only black and jewish people matter!

    • The estimate is that 30 million people died under that sociopath’s control, including my uncle.

      Yes, were he alive,Joe Stalin would have no right to speak the resilience of the Ukrainians, neither.

      Glad we are back on the same page.

    • Not many people have heard of the Armenian Genocide either.

      In general, I think that it largely depends on context. The symbol we call the Swastika is a symbol meaning “all is well” to those of the Hindu faith and a reminder of Nazism in much of the Western World. I can see the difference between someone of the Hindu faith using it on a flag at a wedding and a Neo-Nazi’s arm band.

      I admit that I was taken aback by CL’s example of race language. But I didn’t feel the desire to hijack the thread.

  • Chump Son here.

    Infidelity was never the issue in my family growing up, but an NPD Dad was, one with a air raid siren voice. That all got covered over as family members were encouraged to think, “It’s really all right. We have a nice house. Etc.”

    Yes, a kid can be resilient, but resilience comes with a cost. I think that Chumps have to be careful not to stay with a bad marital relationship “for the sake of the kids” when, in fact, a bad marital relationship is what’s bad for the kids. Kids need to see adults set and follow appropriate limits and stand up for themselves. I know it may not be easy, but at the very least a parent can tell the children, “What your father did was not right. He’s not right,” (or vice-versa if Mom’s the problem.) Just spackling it over is not good.

    Very often, kids from troubled homes will be “super-good,” will try to compensate for problems at home by getting good grades, behaving extra well, often compensating for an inadequate parent. Again, the Chump should not conclude, “I guess it’s all good. Johnny’s got straight As. So what if Dad screamed all night last night…..” Sometimes these super-good kids later have difficulties. Consequently, like most who’ve posted, I think the throwaway line that “Kids are resilient” is an abandonment of responsibility by a self-focused, poor parent. Yes, the kids will survive, but we have to make clear to them what constitutes good behavior, good boundaries and responsible action. No parent should bank on the kids’ resilience as some kind of excuse for their own failure.

    • Sorry. Let me write the last sentence above more clearly.

      “No parent should bank on the kids’ resilience as some kind of excuse for that very parent’s own failure.”

  • Nice post, CL.

    Yes, kids are resilient, but there can still be scars and issues that pop up later in life when they are in relationships as adults.

    For me, this is one of the most difficult parts of my divorce. I am a child of divorce, my exH knows my history, but ended up doing the same to me that my father did to my mother. No, I do not think that parents should stay together just for the kids sake. But, marriage partners should make a real effort at their relationship before it gets to that stage.

    Overall, my exH does not fit the narc cheater profile so often detailed on this blog.
    He is calm, and settled for more financially than he was legally obligated (guilt, I presume) etc. He has made sure the kids have their own space at his townhouse (though i had to locate it for him ). He is so amiable it makes me feel unreasonable; a vindictive ex wife for taking more money that I really should. Not that he ever says it out loud. Maybe that is my guilt speaking.

    But, the kids DO NOT cry at his place. They cry at my place.
    Even though superficially he appears to be a good parent, and gets it, he does not.

    I have said this before, i think, but it is pertinent here:
    This weekend the kids find out exH’s girlfriend (AP) is pregnant, they are getting married (less than 6 months post divorce finalization), and in 6 months after the fetus comes to term, the three of them are moving overseas.

    Kids…resilient, probably.
    But this will be tough. Talk about abandonment issues. I experienced this first hand as a child.
    I am trying not to feel guilt. I refused to have the children move away for 6 months at a stretch. Overseas! So on one hand I could be blamed for working to disrupt his rrelationship with his children. But, it was exH’s decision to move. If he truly loved his children, and put them first, then he would have determined a different course. Where there is a will, there is a way. But he remains selfish and self absorbed.

    Good luck to all of us forced to be the stable ones for our children.

    Hugs to all.

    • “For me, this is one of the most difficult parts of my divorce. I am a child of divorce, my exH knows my history, but ended up doing the same to me that my father did to my mother.”
      Same here. And when he was sitting on the fence right after d-day (and I was doing the cha-cha-chump dance of pick-me) he wrote down all the consequences if he decided to choose AP.

      After “we will have to buy you [AP] a new car” and “we will have to learn each others language” (whoo, biggies – it was sort of like he was planning a trip and all about them) he wrote as an afterthought: “our kids will be angry at us both at first, but they will eventually grow over it”. Yes, it was still about them!

      It made me so mad, even worse when I read it back much later when my fog had cleared and saw the pattern, realized how we didn’t even count. How dare he make such idiot assumptions? I come from a broken home, know what infidelity does to children. He has no idea.

      And indeed, still doesn’t, they do the crying when they are with me. He is their hero and I suspect they know they should behave well. I am the one they can lash out to, since they know I’m the constant factor, the reliable one, the one that will be always there for them. They don’t even know he is planning to leave the country – if she ever leaves her husband – but they do feel he is not dependable.

      In Dutch we have a word for a slur that the offended party appropriates “Geuzennaam” – Geuzen was a slur used for the people in Holland that fought against the Spaniards. They adopted it and made it an honourable nickname. Like chump (or how my son calls himself a nerd – after they teased him with it). And since I know firsthand that children can be resilient, but shouldn’t have to be – I appropriate that term too. Yes, my children can be resilient – I will help them every step of the way. Wish they didn’t have to be, but I am not the one putting them through the test.

      • Dutch-chump,

        So, the kids were treated like an after-thought, with the new car and new language challenges coming to his mind before them.

        You caught him with his real priorities. This will all become apparent to the children as time goes on.

        Hang in there.

        • Thank you. I know they will see him for what he’s worth… but as much as it would be fulfilling for me, knowing I did so much better, I also would like to spare them the hurt.

          Told my father yesterday about my upcoming divorce and why… he was at a loss for words. How could he blame my husband for something he did as well? Feels like his karma bus trip is on me!

  • The ‘kids are resilient” comment actually was said by the OW to my husband. As her own son after her divorce seemed OK, she felt she had it on good authority that my children would be fine and eventually even happy for their father. Real scenario? Oldest son moved 1500 miles away, responds to dad’s calls occasionally. Second son moved 300 miles away and won’t even respond to father’s texts. youngest daughter (now in late teens) tells me that she is NEVER getting married, as it is all bullshit, and can’t wait to go to college as far as possible from here. You know who he blames? ME! It’s ‘my fault’ the kids won’t talk to him.; I should ‘do more’ to make them comfortable with HIS decisions. Guess the fantasy isn’t quite measuring up.

  • MY XW’s cheating and moving in with the OM did affect my kids adversely. I see them way less frequently and they have much more limited access to their dad now. It also modeled incrdeibly immoral behavior and confused the hell out of them. All the values they had learned were contradicted by this behavior.

  • I think there may be less of a negative effect on kids if they are staying with the non-cheating parent.
    But, in the case of many men, in particular, the cheating wife gets to have primary custody.
    I think any man who gets into the stay at home mom situation these days is taking a huge risk when divorce happens. Infidelity means nothing in most jurisdictions and if one spouse stays at home with the kids, that spouse gets them in most cases.
    Men and women need to guard against this and make sure not to go the stay at home spouse route if possible.

    • tell me about it. But you never think this stuff is going to happen to you. You’re going to be in the OTHER 50%. The ones that make it! You don’t think you need to protect yourself from your spouse. Argh.

  • As soon as we told our daughter that we were separating/divorcing, STBX tried to blend her with OW and her young daughters – even though I had specifically asked that he NOT do so for a long time. Daughter had not even come to terms with the fact, and was shocked to hear that we were separating. When I expressed my dismay STBX about forcing her to spend time together with OW and her girls, he said “I know you asked that, but I don’t agree. Kids need to understand that relationships end, hearts get broken, life goes on. Give her some credit.” WTF? Give her some credit? I DO give her credit. Credit for being a human being with feelings and emotions who needs time to come to grips with such huge changes in her life.

    • He needs to be hit up side the head with a very large shovel. Seriously, that’s some messed up shit to rationalize introducing your whore to your child way too quickly.

      • My XW did the same thing with the OM. Tried to introduce him to the kids right away as her new, legitimate love interest. My kids went ballistic. I told them who he was and how long she had been involved with him etc. They hated the guy and were constantly questioning why he was living with them.

        • Mine did the opposite. He kept her hidden and tried to negotiate a divorce first, because he really did care what his kids thought of him. “I just want to be their hero” When it was finally found out, it was denied over and over. Unfortunately for him, she went off birth control the day he finally filed papers for real, and when he had to tell them about the new baby brother or sister well before the divorce was final, it didn’t go well for him in the hero department.

          • STBX hid her just “long enough” (he waited about seven months after we announced the D and moved out) so that he could make her appear to be just a “friend.” Shortly thereafter (literally about a month), he started making comments about her becoming their stepmom. They’re getting married next month (the kids have been acquainted with her for 5 months at this point), and neither of the Ds are even final (looked hers up online… it’s still active). They are LITERALLY getting married when the ink is barely dry on the divorce papers. It’s been pretty confusing to my kids, especially my oldest, that their father’s perspective is: “But don’t worry kids– it’s totally normal to leave a 17-year relationship and plunge right into the next one! See? See how happy we are? What do you mean, YOU’RE upset? Let’s go buy you a cookie so that you don’t rain on my fantasy unicorn parade. Leave those upset feeling conversations for your mother.” *vomit*

      • To complicate matters, daughter already knew OW, as did I. In fact, I thought we were all friends – at least professionally. And on top of it, OW was giving daughter free (how benevolent of her) math tutoring. Daughter adored her. So STBX tried to make it appear to our daughter (remember this is days after we told her we were splitting) that since we were getting a divorce (and coincidentally so was OW from her husband) they had just decided to up and start a romantic relationship.

        5 days later.

        • Yes, we were a professional family. OW was “the help” and they were introduced that way. Brilliant children of two professionals know he’s not interested in her for her mind and that grosses them out.

    • “Well, I don’t agree.” I don’t know how many times I heard that one.

      My ex tried for the longest time to negotiate an out of court divorce settlement (that he could violate with no judicial consequence, like contempt of court) and I told him that my one requirement was that the kids get to decide where they want to go and how much time they want to spend there. I didn’t like the term custody applied to them like they were prisoners. (although I ended up with sole custody)

      When his papers arrived, lo and behold, in there was the classic joint custody agreement all spelled out with times and holidays etc etc.

      When I asked him what that was all about, he said, “Well, we can agree to anything, but that’s in there for when we DON’T AGREE. Oh. And I was supposed to sign that?

      What a pos.

      • In the minds of he self-absorbed cheating spouses, “I don’t agree” translates to “My thoughts are right and yours are wrong.”


        • I would get… “If you only understood, you’d agree with me.” IOW, I was just too stupid to understand whatever BS he was trying to shove down my throat at any given time, if I refused to allow him to do so. Regardless of how full of BS it may have been, or what kind of lie it was.

          • My ex had two possible reactions to ANYBODY who disagreed with him; either they were stupid or ignorant about the question at hand, or they were malicious. I should have seen that huge red flag the day, maybe 8 months into our relationship, that he FREAKED OUT and sulked for days because I disagreed with him about whether governments should continue to fund space exploration, a topic that has NOTHING to do with either of us, I had just been reading about it in the paper. And a few months later he was furious again when I expressed an opinion different than his in a conversation w/friends about politics.

            But since my head so does not work that way, I just could not understand what was happening! How dare I think for myself? How dare I challenge his views?

            Now that I think about it, he was madder at that disagreement about NASA than I was about even his first affair. Freak.

            • I really went off the reservation politically by becoming a Libertarian. (I’m now politically agnostic) You would have thought I’d become a devil worshipper. They cannot tolerate not having their word taken as gospel.

              They are quite seriously nuts. It’s too bad they have a higher language function. It would be easier if they just limited themselves to hisses, grunts and whatever sound the Komodo dragon lizard makes before it eats you.

            • This made me remember something from my very early dating days with the ex. He used to think it was funny to pretend and slap my face in time with music on the radio. I told him I didn’t think it was funny, and asked him not to do it anymore. He got quiet and sullen, then said, “Well, I GUESS it’s okay if you don’t always agree with me.” I wish I had walked away then, instead of marrying him and staying for 20 more years of his abuse and cheating.

  • These people only look human. They are actually stuck in the primitive reptilian hind brain, usually as a result of an unbearable upbringing. What’s in the primitive brain? Only survival instincts/functions. Fight/flight, eating, sleeping and reproducing. (aka fucking — which is what feels like love to them) You have to move up to the mammalian part of brain evolution before you even get maternal caring for offspring, and even a little bit of paternal type bonding.

    They have some sort of sense that they are missing something that regular humans have, so they go on the big search for personal validation. My ex is now 4 years into going to church with the other woman (I’m still not quite convinced their wedding represented a legal marriage) and this is very reptilian survival strategy also. Camouflage. Just like a chameleon.

    He now thinks he’s in a good position and is “reaching out” to mentor the kids on furthering their discipleship with Christ. Does it get any crazier than that? When they smack him down because hypocrisy drives all teenagers crazy, he just accuses them of living in the past and not moving on. No empathy; that’s a much higher HUMAN emotion.

    • My ex likes to portray himself as a “Good Christian” also. During his torrid affair after Dday, he was always saying how he wanted a family to take to church. Hello, it wasn’t a secret to him that I’m Jewish when we got married. Hilarious that he thought two adulterers dumping their spouses, marrying and then attending church would please God. He frequently gave my not being Christian as a reason why he had to cheat and end our marriage.

      This is the same guy who has sex with other men constantly, but is pretending he is straight. The same one who always used to tell me how he had forgiven himself right away after screwing some anonymous guy in a gay bathhouse, and had multiple affairs with married men and women both. Yet he’s always spouting off about how he loves Jesus, how devoted he is to being a good person and how much he wants to help others.

      I think many narcs love using religion as a mask, because it’s a really easy way to make themselves look like good, moral, normal people.

      • “I think many narcs love using religion as a mask, because it’s a really easy way to make themselves look like good, moral, normal people.”


          • and how! I took the occasion to write to the whore/affair parter’s Pastors… she advertised on Facebook that she was such a good Xtian “strong in her Faith” (not to mention fucking other people’s spouses). I asked her Pastors if that wasn’t adultery, and wasn’t problematic, i.e., a sin? Apparently they followed up with her and it embarrassed her. A lot.


            They in turn wrote me a very kind and supportive letter–and, although I am not a Christian, I deeply appreciated the lovingly offered support for the devastation I experienced.

            Months later, I discovered that she had to leave her previous church…because she fucked the married Pastor, and his wife didn’t much like it…. and she fucked other married men in the congregation. All this while she was still married. I guess for people like that, church is really just a cheater’s buffet of sorts.

        • Having an alleged monopolistic, unobstructed and direct channel to a God who metes out favor for those who are unreservedly supplicant and who dispenses with harsh punishment to those who fail in their devotion… would be a very appealing and useful false self, I would think, for a bonafide narcissist.

      • It is the hypocricy that really stinks. I’ve heard the phrase: “Standing in a garage doesn’t make you a car, any more than going to church makes you a Christian.”

        Sounds like this is true for your ex.

        There are truly good, caring Christians. But the fake ones give them a bad name. Ugh.

      • GIO,

        “He frequently gave my not being Christian as a reason why he had to cheat and end our marriage.”

        That has got to be in the “top 10” of bullshit I have read since I started reading CL, and I’ve read every single post…AND the comments….unbelievabe!

  • I asked my sister recently why kids buy into the crap their told by the cheating spouse. she told me that they don’t but that person is still their parent and know one wants to admit that they share the same genes as that horrible person. so they play nice. that doesn’t mean they agree or like it, just tolerate it. they know their being lied to.
    my oldest choose to maintain contact and that’s okay. she is still very angry and knows he is scum but again he is her father. he’s just not a subject we talk about and she alternates weekends. the youngest thinks he a douce bag and figures he never added to her life when she was little and she can’t see him adding anything now or in the future. so no contact for her.

  • Well, I don’t have any kids…so I really cannot honestly speak from experience. However, I am so impressed by all of you who, despite the fucked up circumstances you find yourself in, have risen above it for the sake of your children.

    KUDOS to all of you! You deserve a medal or something. 🙂

    The whole infidelity/divorce thing kicked my ass and I had NO CHILDREN (unless you count the fur babies). You all have done marvelously, IMO. No, I am not saying it was perfect or anything but the fact you are here and you CARE about what happens to your kids, how it impacts them now AND in the future says A LOT about you as a person. I am so glad your kids have you to fall back on, even if some days that is a shit pile of tantrums, crying, skipping school, etc…

    From one chump to another: YOU ROCK.

    • Agreed. I have fur kids, too, and I’m now glad that STBX and I don’t have children. He thinks he’d be wonderful, but I think he’d treat them the way he treats our dogs: incredibly inconsistently. While all of our animals exist to give him ego kibbles, he likes the dogs only when they give kibble on his schedule. He can’t handle it when they have their own demands on his time. I would hate to see him go all hot and cold with young children. They need to be able to rely on their parents to be there for them, not shoo them away because the parent is too tired from work.

      Here’s to our Chump parents, who all work hard to be the sane parent. You all rock!

      • Wow, it’s like we were married to the same people. My STBX was always “too tired from work”, as you said. When the kids made demands on his time he just couldn’t handle it. He liked the *idea*of parenting. But he did not like *actually* parenting.

  • “Kids are resiliant.” Yep, they are. From lots of things. Doesn’t mean you should do something bad to them, just because they’ll probably recover.

    It’s kind of like punching your kid square in the face, hard. Watching him cry and bleed, then eventually bruise up, scab and scar. “He’ll get over it.”

    Yep, he will. It still really, really sucked, though. And he suffered because of it. And you didn’t need to do it. He is resiliant in *spite* of it, in spite of your punch, in spite of you (cheater).

    I see infidelity as kind of the same thing. It really hurts the kids, either now or later, or both. Yes, they will probably recover. But it still sucked. Their life would have been better without it.

    I don’t want to purposefully *give* my kids things to be resiliant to. Life has enough growing pains as it is. They don’t need a cheating, lying, selfish parent on top of that.

    My STBX didn’t think about the kids at *all* when he was in his affair. Didn’t bother mentioning how resiliant they would be…he just never thought about them at all. It didn’t occur to him.

    • Mine too. It’s absolutely one of the worst things…”but didn’t you think about how hurtful this would be for [daughter] ?!?” …. “No, I really just put her right out of my mind.”

      How in the name of all that’s holy can you put your kid[s] out of your mind? I mean, really? No kidding? I couldn’t do that if I had to. Somebody on here had an apt description: I would saw through my own throat with my keys first…. yup, that’s about it.

      I simply cannot imagine being so selfish or compartmentalized or jargonified that one could “put one’s child out of mind” and destroy said child’s family. Unpossible.

  • From CL’s post: “Resilience? Survival? Chumps — you own those words. Cheaters? Back the fuck off.”

    Yes, completely. Speaking for my chump-self, dday was hellish. I feel like I’ve been through a very emotionally-painful war. My heart was wrenched out and put into a blender. On top of that, I had to figure out how I was going to live on my own with the kids – the money, the house, splitting the family apart, everything. I am surviving. (I hope to be thriving someday, though I’m not there yet.)

    Right after dday, my STBX made some comments about how he was stressed out, too. Stressed out?!?! That doesn’t even begin to describe it. He was glibly going about his nookie-seeking activities, leaving the heavy-lifting of everyday life to me (as per usual). He likely was getting pressure from the OW to leave his wife (me!), but that’s about it. He spent as much $ as he wanted, came home (or didn’t) whenever he wanted, ranted whenever he wanted, and skirted most all responsibility in “our” home. I was the one in emotional anguish, grieving the loss of an intact family for our children, plus the pain and humiliation of being cheated on.

    But I’m sure he sees his situation as *really hard*, too. After all, he felt like he had the hardest job in the world (not). He was never good at being compassionate or having empathy for others.

    Even if, bychance, he is cheated on by someone else in the future, I bet he won’t even understand then, either. He would probably wouldn’t spend time anguishing about the impact of a split family on the kids, which, for me, was the most heartbreaking part.

  • I definitely worry about the damage being done to my son, not so much because of the divorce, but because of his continuing contact with his father. Son is 17, so not a little child. He knows about his father’s cheating (he actually knew both women ex was screwing) and knows his dad has gay sex. He obviously knows his dad is pretty much crazy these days, has destroyed his own life and is completely grandiose and delusional. Son considers his dad a loser and crazy.

    And yet. Son does love his dad, because it’s his DAD. He still desires a relationship with him, even though his dad guilt-trips, manipulates and says/does incredibly inappropriate things with him. Son fully understands that to have a relationship with his dad, he must smile and agree with every crazy thing his dad says and does. Not to do so means a barrage of guilt trip, blaming and nasty text messages, phone calls, conversations. This has happened dozens of times.

    I worry about son internalizing that a relationship means keeping your feelings to yourself and just saying what the other person wants to hear, for fear of being punished. I worry about a teen boy being exposed to really inappropriate, deviant behavior. I worry about son being manipulated, used, guilt tripped by his father, used as a prop so the narc can post about what a great dad he is on facebook.

    Because my son is old enough to make his own decisions, I am leaving this up to him. My biggest wish is the narc moves somewhere far away and no longer has contact with our son, but it seems that isn’t going to happen.

  • My daughter is 27. About 9 months ago I discovered my husband of 31 years was living a double life. I told him to leave. She is devastated. She went to the therapist with him since she thought she could not say what she wanted to say without some help. He was actually livid after the meeting since the therapist would not let him slitheraway from his actions. Because he wants no consequences to his actions. She discovered the affair first. Kids are “noncombatants” and the cheaters just don’t care that they hurt them. Never mind the spouse.

    • Bostonirisher, I can hear your heart break, as I can w/so many of the other stories here about our kids. As chumps, I think this is the hardest for us to understand, that the fucktards don’t CARE that they hurt their own children, they don’t even think about that, or they justify and whitewash it. Incomprehensible, they really, at some level, are not human.

  • Resilience…yeah. I wonder if my dad imagined us kids would be ‘resilient’ while pursuing (mom pregnant with #4) the OW who ultimately became my stepmother. OW had # 5, then Mom had #6 (doing the ‘pick me’ dance). Dad and OW stole us all late one night, drove across country and stayed in Reno till the divorce. When my sister said “I miss Mommy” he said “You have a new mommy now”. We were never to discuss the old mommy, or the new (narcissistic) mommy would get very upset with us. She gave me “mint medication ” (sleeping drug) on those nights I awoke screaming with night terrors.

    Now we are all grown up and Dad has died. Two (out of seven) have managed to remain married. The rest have seven divorces between us. One became a cheater, others were cheated on. We all have kids.

    Most of us lead productive lives with decent jobs. I suppose you can say we were ‘resilient’.
    I am not so sure.

    • OMG crushed! That is one of the worst stories I’ve ever read! Did your mother ever find you? Did you find your mother? Why weren’t the police called? Was the Reno thing temporary and then you moved back, but he just assumed custody? Monsters!

      • After Reno we continued on to California and never went back. I know Mom got an address because Christmas presents arrived one year. As I wrote thank you notes, I was informed I did not need to write one to her. I did not see her again till I was an adult. She had gone to live with her elderly sick parents and we could not all live with them, even if she had managed to get partial or full custody. She had nothing, no legal help, no money, no job, no house, no car. This was in the early 60’s. I don’t know if she called the police; if so, apparently it didn’t help.

        Not only was no effort made to include her in our lives, but any effort by anyone was vigorously opposed, and any positive mention was met with negative assertions. When my sister at 14 ran away, flew to Mom’s and enrolled in school there, Dad flew down and forcibly removed her from the campus and dragged her home. My mom is stable and sane and intelligent and did nothing outrageously wrong, which makes this behavior that much more egregious, now that you mention it.

        I was told my new mommy loved me, and I was expected to love her. In the romantic wreckage of my life, my serious relationships have been with extraordinary liars. Not always about infidelity, but liars nonetheless. My truth-seeing and love-sensing ability is apparently impaired.

    • I’m reading this thread years later, and my background isn’t nearly as fucked up as yours crushed, but I agree with the whole resiliency unicorn.
      My parents were high conflict as long as I can remember; I never got the chance to have any of my childhood that wasn’t high conflict – my father was an emotional abuser that lacked any basic empathy. My mother was an immigrant to the United States and literally had nothing here so despite an attempt when I was very young (think 4 or 5) she didn’t feel like she could escape. They finally started divorce proceedings when I was 15 years old, and he attempted to litigate everything down to (I kid not) a set of 20 year old pots and pans and the kitchen sink. So divorce wasn’t finalized until two years later.

      And yeah, I graduated high school, I got a good paying job and stayed stable in it for 10 years until the Great Recession. Despite years of therapy and scores of different therapists giving different ‘diagnoses’ my adult relationships (romantic or otherwise) displayed the same conflict and instability as the relationship I grew up watching. None of the diagnoses were correct – for the record – I was just copying what I had learned. (NO BPD here, thanks!)

      It wasn’t until I finally, finally found the right anti-depressant that I was able to come out of this somewhat and stabilize my life. The anti-depressant was just a temporary thing, I took it for a bit and learned about healthy conflict resolution. I continue on now, and things are good. But I wouldn’t exactly call a 10+ year recovery period as “resilient” regardless of my job status and ability to not empty my bank account on a whim, have an affair/unsafe sex, or do drugs.

  • How about this one “happy parents make happy kids” and the implication being that he was going to be happy with the OW and I would eventually be happy, the kids with be happy. This was my stbx’s version of “kids are resilient.” Oh and I was on anxiety medication at the time and on the verge of a nervous breakdown as the result of his affair when he uttered these words.

  • I’m not sure if kids are resilient but my two boys are proving to be resolved towards chainsaw man.
    Been a while since I posted. I think the kids in their own way figure out how they will manage the situation they find themselves in.
    In my case the boys now know the what they have have to deal with and they have the power to deal with it. That’s very important. They are 13 and 17 so they understand what is going on.
    To recap d day was 18 months ago but really the final straw was 12 months ago when I discovered that chainsaw man really was front and centre in groceries life.
    18 weeks ago she moved in 200 yards up the road to be closer to the boys. The boys each have a set of keys to the house. I think my oldest son has accessed her house once when she wasn’t there. He goes on Monday and Thursday night. He spends 7-9 waking hours with her a week. My youngest spends 9-11 waking hours. Chainsaw man goes there on Friday night and leaves in Monday morning. He spends about 36 waking hours but of course sleeps there so the two narcissistic leaches feed off each other every weekend.
    The boys just accept that this is their new life. I have a girlfriend but she never comes to the house when the boys are there and I never sleep at her place unless I know the both boys are away. She enforces that rule. I feel like I have met the exact opposite of groceries. She sees the whole thing from the boys perspective and she has no children!
    So I guess you could call it resilience but I think it says more about the boys understanding and knowing the truth. They make up their own rules and boundaries. To this day neither want to meet chainsaw man even though groceries keeps telling them he’s a nice man and” you will love him, he’s fun”. I think there is so much of this shit in the community that they just talk with their mates and sort out in their own minds what is right and wrong. That’s not resilience. That’s realising that groceries and chainsaw man live in a fantasy and they don’t really want to be involved with it. They just want a relationship with their mum who they love to bits and they just ignore anything to do with chainsaw man. They are offended by the black Volvo in the driveway every weekend and know that chainsaw man makes mum happy so they just now go “meh” and have fun with their mates and play footy.
    It’s a different situation with younger kids
    The other thing groceries said to a friend the other week is ” she’s so glad she didn’t break up the family” which I guess means one son didn’t live separately from the other brother. Fuck me what planet are these people on. Chainsaw man of course has abandoned his two daughters in New Zealand. Thank god for viber and mobile phones!!! Sick way of thinking he can be an effective parent.
    As chumps we just have to stand back and try and be effective parents. We have to be resilient to the urge to tell these fuckwit cheaters the substantial damage they cause to every relationship that previously existed. We have to be really resilient to that.
    I think the boys just agree with chumplady and understand its a shit sandwich and you can’t change it. Just work around it and hopefully it won’t effect them in later life with their own relationships.

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