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Chump Lady Asks a Favor

narcissistegokibblesHi Chumps,

Hey, I need some feedback. As I might have mentioned, I’m writing an infidelity support book and I’m shopping for agents.

I created the Chump Lady blog to be the sort of place I wish existed when I discovered I was cheated on. A sort of one-stop shopping for strategy (what to do when you’ve been cheated on), decoding of tactics (ego kibbles, the “pick me!” dance, cake, etc.), and support (trust that they suck).

Most of all, I created Chump Lady because I thought the Internet and Amazon inventories were lacking the commonsense “leave a cheater — gain a life” perspective. Which I find odd, because divorce is often the way marriages go after infidelity, despite our best efforts and all the hopium the Reconciliation Industrial Complex wants to sell us. Having lived it, and gotten to the other side with my soul intact, I wanted folks to know that hey, not only was it necessary to leave —  life gets so much better when you do. All that energy you were hurling at a narcissist, you may now invest in yourself and your improved life. I also believe we can love again after infidelity and choose better next time.

So today, I’m asking for your perspective. I’m sure many of you have been Amazon chumps and read the infidelity literature out there. What agents want to know from my pitch is — how is the Chump Lady message unique? Is there anything else like it out there? Does it fill a niche?

What I want to know is — has it helped you? Would you like to see a book (and some snarky cartoons?)

I will include all these responses with my proposal. Sort of crowd sourcing, market research. I believe that we need some other voices out there on life after infidelity. Please tell me what you think.

I’m amazed every day at the wisdom, humor, and kindness demonstrated here. Thank you so much for this community and the time you take to help other chumps along the way.

All the best,

Tracy (aka Chump Lady)

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • ABSOLUTELY!!!! This was the first site that made me feel like I was NOT the crazy one in everything that was going on. You fill a very important nitch that talks about NPD and how it relates to infidelity, marriages etc…..This was the first place where i truly heard the message that this really had nothing to do with “My” issues, I think that you could also put some more stuff in here about handling these types of people in the courtroom with custody property etc….but this absolutely fills a niche….it talks about the fact that there is a new kind of people out there today, that really are out only for themselves…and for people who are raised to give everyone the benefit of the doubt….that is a very dangerous propsition in the world today. I would have NEVER EVER EVER believed someone could be so down-right evil, until I had my own experiences and then read this blog.

    Standing in line for the book!

    Just my 2 cents!

    • Tracy, your writing is excellent and there is a real need for the information you pass out.
      In my obsession to understand all this infidelity business, to wrap my brain around it and figure out who/what I was dealing with in my Xw, I found almost nothing like the info you provided.
      I had to piece together research on cheaters, cluster B personality disorders, and divorce. You put all this together in your writing.
      As you mention, there is a real dearth of support/information re the most common result of cheating: divorce and getting the hell away from the person. It seems many of the books I read just assumed that staying together was possible and desirable.
      In fact, my independent research turned up info that only about 30% of couples remain together after cheating and a small fraction of those folks are ever happy together.
      Yet, there is all this misinformation about the possibility of a stronger/happier marriage etc. It is , simply, untrue and makes those of us for whom this was not a possibility wonder what we lacked(as if the infidelity itself was not enough to undermine confidence and self esteem).
      I think most betrayed spouses would benefit from seeing the reality of the aftermath of cheating vs this fantasy that is sold on the “pay for reconciliation services” sites.
      I get the word out to whoever will listen re your site. And, everyone that I tell about you is thankful for what you provide.

  • I think what’ you’re offering is a unique perspective that gives strength to those hit by infidelity and are floundering all over the place, freaking out and not always having the strength to do what is best for them. We are so used to being there for our partners that we dont’ know how to be there for ourselves and you provide hard-hitting, profane and deadly hilarious advice that makes more sense than a thousand therapists (except mine, of course).

    Let your agents know that a Chump Lady book would fly off the shelves because anyone who has been hit by the horror of cheating will treasure this book and find ridiculous amounts of strength…and some great laughs along the way.

  • Chumplady website was the ONLY website (and trust me I’ve read many!) that was reality. I read book after book, and all they did was make me live in fantasyland with false hopes and dissapointment that my husband wasn’t doing any of the things written in the books/websites about reconcilliation…However, when I read chumplady, I was relieved to see EXACTLY the things my cheater husband was doing…and I wasn’t crazy or doing anything wrong! To date, I have yet to find any other reading material that “tells it like it is”…and be able to laugh about the craziness of it all! WRITE THE BOOK!

  • It’s not only the message that allows us to see clearly while also get to the place of who cares if others don’t understand – but the way it’s delivered. It’s funny because it’s so true. And in a time when “everything goes”, anythings alright, each behavior and hurt can be excused, you bring us back to a place where the question of character, fundamental right and wrong and the lessons learned in kindergarten still apply. Your barometer of behavior is steady, accurate, on target and most of all helpfully correct.
    I’ve thought of you and this site as the perfect hair salon and stylist – you know, the one you find and hope never moves, is too old for maternity leave and will cut your hair til you die. Someone you can’t live without.

  • Hello CL !

    Here’s my pitch: it’s not just that you have a minority opinion on cheaters (at least on the internet and in popular publishing), or that you are a role model for success after infidelity, it’s the very earthy, quippy, perceptive and optimistic way you deal with the material.

    Role modeling is an important part of what you provided. Your blog reminds me of a post I saw with a woman who had been raped – she showed herself smiling and happy, strong and self assured. And the many comments she received from other rape survivors stated that just seeing her like that had helped immensely.

    I compare finding your blog to finding the “Girlfriends’ Guide to Pregnancy” (V. Iovine) when I was pregnant. Even though there was really nothing incredibly revolutionary in the actual material, the way Ms. Iovine presented it: truly like an older, wiser, but realistic friend, with a cheerful, funny matter-of -fact manner, made it my go to book in pregnancy.

    You give two very similar gifts to the those who have been slammed hard by infidelity: comfort and cheer. Comfort that we are not alone, that we are not crazy, that we are not the ones at fault for the catastrophe of families disintegrating. And you also you provide that much needed chuckle! That chuckle makes us all realize that there is a better world out there. How fantastically therapeutic to actually laugh at the jerk who trashed my life! Priceless! Thinking it’s worth hours and hours of self-actualizing therapy. LOL.

    Best of luck with this. Your work deserves to be out there, as it will undoubtedly help so many.

  • CL, one of the biggest differences I notice here vs. what I read about everywhere else (the one exception I can think of being Lorain Hoff Oberlin’s guide to divorce and separation for women) is the fact that the RIC demands that the BS take some of the blame: “What did you do to cause his A? How were you neglecting her so that she had an A?” I was guilty of that myself before it happened to me– I mean, why would you destroy your entire life by running off with someone else? It must be because your spouse is so horrid that he/she drove you to doing something desperate!

    I think it’s so incredibly important to get that message out there– that the cheater’s A is a reflection of what he/she lacks (whether it be appropriate boundaries, coping mechanisms, morality, etc.). It seems like every portrayal of an A that we see or read about in the media paints the betrayed as sexless, bitter, or screwed up. We don’t see portrayals of devoted, caring spouses and their children who are blindsided by the other spouse’s completely selfish and narcissistic behavior. We don’t see the ripple effect of As either– the financial devastation it can cause, the way that the kids are affected, the ugly court battles over custody or money. All we see are the two cheaters who are “meant to be,” riding off into the sunset, away from their horrid ex-spouses who didn’t understand them or “meet their needs.”

    I was lucky enough to find you pretty quickly and to find folks on SI who were supportive of my attitude that cheating was a dealbreaker and, perhaps more importantly, it wasn’t MY fault. I don’t think that many people are as lucky, and frankly, I find it irritating as hell that if people find out my XWH cheated, they will likely think to themselves (or even ask me if they’re tactless enough): “What did you do to make him cheat?”

    They need to hear the real answer to that question, loud and clear: NOTHING.

    • Absolutely perfect pitch, thank you!

      I too was blindsided when my STBX dropped several bombs on me the past few months, confessing his “love” for a co-worker, and when I turned to Google as my second therapist, it was articles filled with “how to affair-proof your marriage” and “taking responsibility for some of the blame”…wait, what? I knew this wasn’t my fault, so what the hell?

      As much as I love my therapist, she sees through the “marriage counselor” lens and this blog was the ONLY thing that confirmed my decision to leave the asshole for good. When you look up NPD on the internet, you get a lot of medical mumbo jumbo–this blog is real, and spot on, every single post.

      I am SO thankful I stumbled upon this blog.

  • In my early days with a counselor she kept asking why I couldn’t see what my ex for who he really was while we were married. I argued that I wasn’t the only one, many people were as surprised as I was to find out he wasn’t the quintessential family man. My oldest son told me “if Dad was truly unhappy with you all that time he should win an Academy Award for hiding his feelings.” My youngest son told me “I thought Dad was a real family man. It’s taking awhile to adjust to the idea that he wasn’t.” Many of our friends were shocked as well. is the only place that really explained the dynamics of being in a relationship with a cheater. When my ex left after 31 years he laid all the blame at my feet and it was devastating. He never said he was unhappy, never wanted to go to counseling, nothing up until D-day. It was then he told me we had nothing in common, that I was unhappy too, and when he looked into his future I wasn’t in it. He let me play the pick me game for awhile but never had any intention of staying. The experience made me feel so crazy I wanted to jump out a window to stop the emotional pain I felt. Really, I think people who discover they’re in a long-term relationship with a cheater deserve a medal just for surviving. Not everyone does. opened my eyes to the dynamics of these relationships and validated my experience.

    • Yep, I was also in a marriage where there was no indication this was coming and it was a shock. CL helped me deconstruct the whole thing. And my therapist, who also kept asking me to see Ex for who he really was/is. CL calls it as she sees it and it’s great to have someone who isn’t afraid to say that people who act this way are ten kinds of fucked up.

      By the way, CL, don’t let them take out the profanity. 😉

        • ABSOF-ING LUTELY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          that is what makes it because YOU KNOW we are ALL thinking it!

          besides you make such wonderful entertaining NEW combinations of the same old potty words…….

          • There were several months during the divorce process that I couldn’t think of my ex without also thinking “F-U.” It was exhausting. I’m normally a quiet, sweet person and it felt like some crusty old sailor had invaded my head. So, CL was a kindred spirit. Like a friend saying “Go ahead and cuss! It’s okay, considering what you’re going through.”

            • Lyn, that’s almost what I told my 10-year-old son the other day. He had yet another crap skype call with his father that left S10 in tears. When I was hugging him and asking if he could tell me what happened, he asked if just this once he could say bad words (he’s not allowed to swear lol) Knowing my soon-to-be-ex, I could understand the need and told him yes, just this once. S10 was embarrassed at first but after a minute or so he came out with “Dad’s a fucking bitch!” 😮 LOL I had a hard time not laughing, especially when he said he felt better just saying it.

              • Ah, go ahead and laugh. It’s ok. I’m so sorry for your son. I have three who’ve been screwed over emotionally by their coward father and I have a soft spot in my heart for what the kids get put through.

    • Lyn, you said it perfectly. I, too, was blindsided and emotionally devastated after almost twenty years of marriage. In the early weeks, I really felt I couldn’t go on. I felt so devalued — like thrown away garbage. Thankfully, I found this site. CL gave me the language to characterize what I had been dealing with — spackle, unicorns, kibbles — all of these words gave meaning to what I had actually experienced and finally made me understand what I had been up against all these years with my narcissistic, cheating STBX. I’ve felt validated here, supported, and encouraged for the first time since all this heartbreak began. I’m back in therapy now with a GOOD therapist who understands what I’m talking about, and I have been of greater support to my daughter in these last few days than I have in months — I feel as if I am getting stronger every day. I would love to see a book by Tracy!

  • The way I think your perspective is different is that it does put more of the onus on THEM, the cheater. Other books want you to both take responsibility. And I think that is fine. For later! To think about how you could be a better partner in general… I’m all for self improvement (unlike cheaters, typically). But your perspective that you didn’t deserve this, even if you were a horrible partner, is very different. We chumps are used to taking responsibility and feeling like we’re never good enough. Then it’s like we get cheated on (the ultimate way to say “you’re not good enough”) and then read a book in which that perspective is validated, and we just eat it up. Makes us feel shitty and work even harder to be “better” for our partner. When the truth is we, and probably nobody, will ever be good enough for them! What we need is to take back our life! (like you say)

    You describe cheating as being caused by a character flaw in the cheater, one that has basically been observable in other ways for a long time. The red flags. Most books tend to act like it’s circumstances that cause the cheating and that even “good” people cheat. Like cheating just “happens” to you because you get too friendly with your co-worker or something. The circumstances are just what the cheater uses to justify their behavior.

    But I would say one of the most important points you make repeatedly is to watch what they DO. Readers of your book/blog are also reading the Reconciliation Industrial complex literature, and we all pretty much had hope. Your point is just to open their eyes to see whether they are actually “reformed”. Don’t listen to their words as much as watch their actions. Talk is cheap and easy. Doing the work is what is hard. And cheaters don’t usually do the work. Also, most books skim over all the nitty gritty details of how exactly a cheater can screw up during the “reconciliation”. These books just seem to assume the OW/OM is immediately out of the picture and your spouse is back behaving. And how often does that happen??? So when your spouse doesn’t just shape up automatically, you feel shitty again. Or wait, now I remember a bunch of shit about how your cheater might be “mourning” the loss of their AP and to be understanding. WTF is that?!?!

    I’d also like to see more in the cheating literature in general about addressing the fear of being alone, fear of an unknown future. Overcoming guilt about the children. Fear about money. I especially think for older people it might be important to know you can start over at any age and still have a higher quality life. Maybe you won’t have as many material trappings, but a positive sense of self worth is much more important. I believe it is fear that keeps many people with them. It is a scary scary thing to change a HUGE part of your life, but it does pay off, and people need examples of that I think. I think maybe books about considering divorce might cover this sense of fear? But most people newly dealing with infidelity won’t likely go to those books yet.

    That leads me to the one problem your book might have… is that people that are still clinging to the hope of saving their marriage won’t want to pick it up. Maybe they won’t turn to it until later on after their cheater inevitably disappoints them? So, that’s the only thing… how to get the most people to read it and be honest about the material without scaring away people that may not quite be ready for all of it. I’m not sure “leave a cheater” is the very first thing you want to lead with, is all I’m saying. I think it is really about first getting your self respect back and realizing it wasn’t your fault and then seeing what they DO (ie. fuck up further) and then leaving them. Not that I believe in that automatic 6 month waiting period, but I think the people that are buying these books are not the ones that immediately went out the door. They are the ones trying to fix the situation.

    • Good points aE, thanks. The tack I am taking on a CL book is that it is not a book to save your marriage, it’s a book to save your sanity.

      I think people in reconciliation could read it and use it as a litmus test. Does my cheater measure up? As you point out, are they DOING the things they should be doing? I start from the point of decoding WHY they are NOT doing those things — they have vested interests (cake). I think it’s a different POV from literature that assumes they will do the right things, as you point out.

      • Yes, I think it’s hard for chumps to get their minds around that your spouse is essentially just using you (and their AP) for cake. It’s almost like they don’t have “feelings” but do look at it as vested “interests”. And more specifically THEIR interests.

        We just don’t think that way and its so hard to process. And to accept that this person you thought you knew so well is actually completely different than who you thought they were. Turns out they are someone you actually shouldn’t even be around and don’t even share basic morals with.

        • Yes, the cake thing is BIG. I look back now and remember Ex saying we ‘could do a lot of the same things’ but he’d be seeing OW while visiting me and thekids for dinner and drinks, etc. That happened exactly once and then I was all ‘fuck that shit’ and never did it again. Boy, did that idiot want cake. Cake should be a very long chapter, loaded with myriad examples of just how hard they’ll work to keep eating cake.

          • oh yeah, that’s why they always still want to be friends with us even after we have the good sense to leave. That way we can still listen to their complaints about work, people, etc…. basically still be there for them emotionally (while they continue to provide us with little to no emotional support as per usual) and now they can even sleep around and don’t have to bother to hide it since you’re broken up! So, it’s even better cake! (unless they particularly like the thrill of going behind your back I guess)

            I kind of tried to be friends. Or at least friendlier with him than I am now at the beginning for the kids and because I think it took me a while to still fully accept that we were not together anymore.

      • I loved the blog u did on if the cheater is really sorry, he will go to counceling, get a postnup, admit it was fun, ect. That is the moment I knew, he really wanted to not do the real work and I needed to get out. When we went to counceling, it did nothing but lower my self esteem, always blaming myself, to keep trying harderon false hopes. You helped me see! It’s him who fucked up, I’m Okay, and I can make it. You have given great legal counceling! Your site protects we victims, not by pitying us, but giving us inner strength and letting us see others going through similar situations, and surviving. I tell everyone about your blog! They can’t believe how well I’m doing and I say, it’s my friends, family and chumplady that has helped me get through. Thx!!!

        • Oh and one more thing, I always see statistics given about how many couples survive infidelity, how many men/women cheat, but where is the survival after divorce statistics and how much happier a person is to have left the cheater vs continue in the harmed marriage.Maybe, find statistics on how many reconciled marriages, end up divorcing in the future. (I personally know 2) No one speaks of that. What are the stats of a cheater being a repeat offender? And I think these sites like Ashley Madison, should be shamed upon! I just saw where they are now expanding to Japan. It’s as if the cheater is given a free pass but no one sees the pollution from the destruction they’ve left behind. It’s all about being self absorbed and having “fun.” I think it’s the Pinocchio story, have fun, become a jack ass in the end.

          • I have a friend who divorced her serial cheating ex, then remarried him, only to divorce him again two years later. She said she just didn’t feel the same about him, couldn’t get past what she’d found out. After reading CL I’d ask “why SHOULD she get past it? Why is the responsibility of repairing the relationship her spouse broke on HER shoulders?”

        • I always blamed myself too. Kept thinking I should try harder, it was my fault. It was eye opening to realize he didn’t feel the same. His only concern was staying in control. He didn’t think like I did, didn’t have the same feelings. Hard to face but essentially true. I was raised in the church and there’s a lot of shame attached to the failure of divorce. But CL helped me see that my ex was like the owner of the slot machine who kept me coming back by letting me win every once in awhile. I finally understood that he was the owner of the slot machine so it was never going to happen. His goal was to never let me win. That was a big realization for me, and a great metaphor.

      • CL– just a thought– maybe leading the book with a quiz entitled something like, “That’s Not Remorse– It’s Regret” would be helpful. That’s something that I might notice when I’m skimming a book at a store, and to have an immediate place for feedback about my cheating partner would be helpful. If a BS had a concrete list of red flags in front of him/her– the cheater hasn’t gone NC, isn’t transparent with his passwords/whereabouts, gets angry when the A is mentioned–I think that would be a great way to help get the BS grounded and thinking about what to do next while he/she is still in shock. I’m someone who loves an easily-accessed checklist; when I was first dealing with the fallout of the A, I didn’t feel like I had the energy to wade through long chapters of self-help books. I wanted immediate feedback, which is why I liked your blog so much– I got pithy, salient responses to many of my questions, and I didn’t have to hunt around for them in a giant tome.

        • That’s a great suggestion. I’ll do a post on it soon. I’ve thought of something like that — like hey, unicorns! This is what actual remorse is supposed to look like. Thing is, you realize pretty quick how most cheater fall very short. That’s why so much advice is padded with appeals to chumps to be patient, oh wait! they might come of the fog! sorts of nonsense.

          Really, you must do the things that are counter intuitive. Detach. Look at actions, not words. Don’t try harder to “fix” it.

          I might re-title it — That’s Not Remorse — That’s Bullshit.

          • Tracy …… I wonder if you could get a book out by Jan. 1, 2014 ?
            In reading I see that more people file for divorce in January than any other month.
            There is speculation, as to why, perhaps, New Year, New You …. starting off fresh, can file jointly for the previous year, the holidays are over , as to not upset family gatherings, etc….
            My point being, to have a “launch” and declare Jan.,
            “Infidelity Awareness Month ” !

      • Another Erica has a good point. I like your tactic of first diagnosing whether the cheater is Doing All the Right Things in the first place (i.e. doing the work), so that BSs can figure out if they are in false R (most likely) or real R (however rare), because when you’re smoking Hopium you have to know the answer to this before you abandon the quest to save your marriage.

        Leading with the message “I just discovered I was cheated on… now what?” might get people to pick up the book in the first place, ones who still want to save their marriage, too.

        In my case, I was on a hopium-high when I first found CL, after dday. I Googled something like “what to do when you find out you’ve been cheated on” and came to CL’s staple article “I just discovered I was cheated on… now what?”. So, my point is, that I was still at the height of my hopium stage to save my marriage when I found CL. I would not have found CL otherwise, as I had no intentions of leaving my cheater at the time. But since I was looking for general advice on what to do after I’ve been cheated on, that got me in the door. I’m so glad it did.

  • The market is saturated with books pandering to those distressed to the point of desperation in their attempts to save their marriages, and there are plenty of books offering rationalizations for bad behaviour, encouraging betrayed spouses to engage in codependent manipulative behaviour themselves, and there are even books that encourage the betrayed to be compassionate toward the cheater.

    There is a dearth of literature encouraging the betrayed to show themselves true compassion and encouraging them to enforce healthy boundaries, and the few books out there that do manage to do this tend to be mind-numbingly dry reads.

    Your humour helps make that bitter medicine palatable. If you can do in a book form what you so often do here on the website, I think that would be a great help to many people.

  • My dear Chump Lady,

    My significant other got me hooked on you through your Pick Me post which was carried on Huff Post – what a mind bender. I was Classic.
    23 years ago I moved to a town far away (600 miles) from my work, family and friends to be with my STBX. The years of his infidelity, blame and abuse coupled with my commensurate belief that it was MY job to make it work, then the final showdown 22 months ago, and his ongoing lack of “interest or time” to spend on ending this farce have depleted me. His shiney public demeanor and ability to blame me has left me lonely and voiceless. Your site has given me comfort and the vision to see reality, regain my self esteem and know there is a life out there for me.
    I have found nothing like this available. Early on I found a site that told me to :run – don’t walk: away from a sociopath. That was it. and I didn’t believe nor did I really understand. “Why – I can fix this.”
    I agree with Bubbles that guidance for handling the NPD/Sociopathic cheater in the legal arena would be comforting. Particularly since the STBX wrote the “you’re not the boss of me” book. Frustration notwithstanding, it sure racks up the legal costs to repeatedly ask for information…
    I am one of the few that has found a loving, supportive mate to allow me to struggle through this mess with honor and consistency. He’s always there when I need him and backs off when I need to go it alone. He’s helped me learn to rise above it all. Karma.

    My best to you, Tracy
    Your blog has given me many hours of comfort and laughs – best of all guided me to a place that I can break the bitter unsmiling shell and be myself. Thank you.


  • Oh, and I forgot to say that I have laughed and laughed while reading posts on CL. Laughter is so healing! One day I was reading CL posts to another friend who survived a long-term relationship with a serial cheater. Both of us almost fell off our chairs in the restaurant we were laughing so hard. My friend was really suffering that day and it felt good to make her laugh.

    • I agree! You’re going through so much shit, it’s nice to have a laugh about it sometimes too. Especially coming from someone who knows what the hell they’re talking about (ie. has been through it).

  • That is very good news, Tracy! I’ve been hoping for you to get this info together in a book format for a very long time. I’ve read quite a few books about affairs and reconciliation, and your no -nonsense style, layman vocab mixed with humor is something that is not out there, and is very empowering to those of us who have been chumped! I really think it will be a big hit and become the ‘bible’ for those going through this!
    Dr. Phil’s recent book, says some similar things but he does not quite get it like you do! Having gone through it yourself, like all of us here, we know the tactics such as blameshifting, gas-lighting, taunting and flaunting, and the script they all use, as well.

    I’d be very excited to see a book and I believe you will open up a lot of eyes out there, for those going through it and also the rest of society to help cut through the bull shit of what everyone believes about affairs, about emotional abuse, about narcissism, entitlement, and how this can happen after so many years of marriage.

    You have empowered me so much, like no other book, like no other family member or good friend, or even my therapist. I hope I can empower you also!

    Since this happened to me, I also feel the need to reach out and help others going through it, and there certainly is a lot of it these days in our society. I’ve been thinking about volunteering in the community at a woman’s shelter and perhaps putting together a program or support group to help others get past this trauma, get away from the abuse and go on to lead a better life. Your book would be very helpfull! I should mention that I have a background in the rehab/therapy industry.

    Do it!!!!

  • Tracy…. This is a brilliant idea. In a nutshell… your site (and support) have brought me 3 ideas that I haven’t found anywhere else…

    1. I’m not a bad person for not “fighting” for a fucked up marriage to a fucked up person. It’s okay to fight for myself instead.

    2. This has happened to other people. I am not alone in this misery.

    3. Tuesday comes… and the misery ends.

    • Amen……dani

      Tuesday comes…..and one day you get to Meh….and the misery ends….and you find some sort of peace.

    • Hi Tracy (Chump Lady)

      You’ve created a unique platform and an important resource for people who suffer their partners, who cheat on them. I strongly recommend writing a book and reaching this information to as many as possible. Countries and contexts which are very different to you also have substantial takeaways from this bold initiative called Chump Lady. Chump lady is one of the best thing that happened to me post D-day. I wish it benefits as many poor souls as possible, who were chumped and sucked off energy and wits by emotionless cheaters, who could be personality disordered, character disturbed or plain flawed. It is also a resource for kids of infidelity.

      It is a necessity and one of highest order for betrayed spouses and partners. YOU STAND OUT.

  • Victims of infidelity *need* to hear what you have to say. It nourishes broken hearts and gives sad folks the strength to get up off the floor and start walking toward a better life. In world that never stops peddling Chumps emotional junk food (packed with high-fructose reconciliation syrup and artificial excuse-atives of every kind) you serve up a table brimming with truth, support, common sense, and humor. It is comfort food for the betrayed soul.

    Okay, am I the only one who’s hungry now? Hungry for a Chump Lady book, that is!

    So write, Tracy–Write!

  • CL, I did it all before I found your site. I talked to friends and family, ad nauseum. I spent a small fortune seeing a counselor. I read legions of Amazon books, some of them useless, some tangentially helpful in that they talked about getting over a lost love, or a runaway husband. But nothing helped long-term or actually hit the nail on the head until I found your site in December 2012, 8 months after my D-Day. In reading your blog, I immediately saw that you GOT IT in a way no one else (including myself) had. Even the simple terms you used were SO RIGHT: chumps, cake-eating, pick-me dance, skein of fuckupedness, etc. etc. Suddenly the disparate, blurry and reeling experiences, emotions and views that had kept me unbalanced came into sharp, clear focus…no wonder I felt so betrayed, I had been abused and abandoned by the one I trusted most; no wonder my emotions spiraled through the stages of grief over and over and over again, I was alternately doing the pick-me dance and then was sorrowful when my ex showed no real emotion or concern; no wonder my supposedly adoring husband of 25 years was able to cheat on me for decades and then pick up and walk away like he did without a backward glance. this was not unusual for people like him, he’s probably an NPD/sociopath or at least has a lot of those traits. And no wonder I had to get and stay no contact, he was never going to change and contact with him just pulled me back in and damaged me more. Also, my ex had cheated on me in the most heinous and outrageous way for literally decades, and I did not know anyone who had gone through anything like it. Through CL, I also learned that I AM NOT ALONE–you, CL, went through it, all my dear friends on this site went through it. Until you name it, you cannot deal with it.

    Before CL, I was blind and confused, stumbling down a dark and alien passageway, usually panic-stricken and desperate, sometimes pretending to be o.k., but NEVER NEVER out of that dark place, often thinking that I would not mind if I went to sleep and did not wake up. Once I found the words, the common-sense advise, the hilarious viewpoint, and the absolute dead-on common sense of CL, and once I found all my fellow “chumps” (by the way some of the best people I have ever encountered), I started to really heal. I realized I couldn’t and shouldn’t be “friends” with my abuser ex. I realized that I did not have to forgive in an instant or stop being angry that my children had been so damaged, but that I would start to get through this and work at becoming “meh” (brilliant). And then, in my new stronger and hopeful outlook, I met a wonderful new man to whom I am just recently engaged. He is wonderful, so NOT sparkly, and so real and sweet and true. And I truly don’t think I could have gotten to the other end and out of that dark place without CL and her knowledge, wit, and unique yet absolutely brilliant perspective of strength, courage and hope.

    • This post makes me so happy. I love to hear how people’s lives are so much better after the nightmare. Congratulations to you!

    • Kelly – you said it so well. CL is a Godsend to those of us who are looking around thinking what the hell just happened here. Your non-sparkly new partner sounds superb.

      CL – Write your ass off. There will be so many who will read and appreciate it.

  • CL, I have been reading your website since my husband dumped me in January 2013. I am seeing a therapist, talking to supportive friends and family, AND CHECKING YOUR WEBSITE ALMOST DAILY for the much needed sanity checks. Only those who have experienced infidelity (you and your readers) truly understand what it is to be a Chump.

    The essential point you keep underscoring is that we, the Chumps, need to focus on ourselves and not on the Cheaters. A future happy life is predicated on this. The Cheaters are already “taking care of themselves” and it is essential to stop letting them mindfuck the Chumps. I spent 20 years trying to understand, guide and support my Cheater until I finally realized that my life should also be about ME and not just HIM. He sees nothing wrong with the status quo. He told me “It is okay to be nice to me.” He is part of the “Infidelity is really no big deal. Grown ups just get over it quickly.” trend of thinking. When you have spend decades with someone who is unrealistic you tend to lose a complete grip on reality yourself. YOU ARE AN IMPORTANT PART OF THAT REALITY CHECK.

    I have checked Amazon and there are no books like yours. A very good agent needs to take you on as a client and should trust that you fill a niche that is currently ignored. I have wanted to write to you more than once expressing my profound gratitude. You have helped me from caving in on myself and unjustly blaming myself for what is not my fault. I now know that it is not too late to be a role model for my daughter that excludes chumpdom.

    • Yep, my ex is part of the ‘just get over it immediately’ world view. Good luck to him with that. I didn’t get right over it and reading here helped me understand why. It also helped me see, along with my therapist, that I too have needs and that they deserve attention and no, ex was not interested in helping me fulfill them. Now, finally, my energy and attention is on me and my kids and my friends and MY WORLD, not his. And you know what? Every day gets better and better and CL was a large part of that happening.

      • Good for you Jamberry. Good for you. I love this thread because it shows us all, including Tracy, what amazing work she is doing.

  • This site has been very helpful to me. Unfortunately I found it after the majority of my mistakes had already been committed and the divorce was settled. Had I found your advice I would like to think that I would have recognized myself then and ended my own suffering so much sooner. I would hope that I would not do the pick me dance for 18 months while I was gas lighted and she ate cake. I would hope that I would recognize her as a sparkly person who did not really contribute to her own marriage so much sooner.

    Even so, I have realized that she isn’t unique because of this site. Seeing that others had similar experiences and hearing the absolutely unique perspective that the course of action with the best chance of a positive outcome would be to move out and move on has been invaluable. I was well on my way to leaving my chump days behind before I found your site, but you have helped me to realize how fucked up I had become and that galvanized my resolve to make sure it never happens again.

    This site is wonderful and if I had had access to it when all hell was breaking loose I would have been much better off. Thank you!

  • Yes-yes-yes. What everyone else has said. Please write your book. You’re such a wonderful writer–that needs to get said (often!).

    And what you have to say is SO important. Even the ‘moving on’ section of SI, or whatever they call it, is full of …regrets…woe is me…what did I do and all that nonsense. And that’s the closest thing there is to your message.

    Your message is so true, so authentic. It gives Chumps permission, and a route to reclaim dignity and their own lives.

    It’s so strong. It’s reality. Really– They do suck!. It’s not us. We didn’t do anything to cause our partners to betray us–that’s why they call it b-e-t-r-a-y-a-l.

    Otherwise, it’s just splitting up (which is fine, just another, different animal. Different pain and all that. Nobody likes to get dumped.) But getting Chumped and then Dumped? Whole other universe of pain.

    I’ve realized that, for me, “the fog” was really the world of self-sorrow–spackle really–that I sunk into for the years of misbehavior. In effect, I submerged my real self in order to prop up the sorry-ass marriage and the sorrier-ass baby-man (my term for him) to whom I’ve been shackled lo these 25 years.

    The Fog ain’t nothing to do with their affair endorphins–it’s our oblivious pain. Boiling frogs, right.

    Please, please write your book.

    You have so much to say, and you say it so well. It’s such an important corrective to the messages out there.

    On a more academic note, what you say fits completly with the new scholarship on the effects of affairs and betrayal on loyal partners. To wit, the trauma perspective (as opposed to the copdependency perspective of family therapy.)

    Your work is completely in synch with the vanguard of family therapy (and even sex therapy), which is recognizing and publishing that (a) they suck); (b) it’s their fault; (c) it’s excruciating and traumatic–PTSD-level traumatic for partners ; (d) partners should get the hell away, there’s no fixing them…and so on. I can sent you the scholarly citations if you want ’em, but I have no doubt you are more than capable of getting what you need.

    In short, you rock, you are a life saver, and your book will go on to save more lives.

    • “On a more academic note, what you say fits completly with the new scholarship on the effects of affairs and betrayal on loyal partners. To wit, the trauma perspective (as opposed to the copdependency perspective of family therapy.)

      Your work is completely in synch with the vanguard of family therapy (and even sex therapy), which is recognizing and publishing that (a) they suck); (b) it’s their fault; (c) it’s excruciating and traumatic–PTSD-level traumatic for partners ; (d) partners should get the hell away, there’s no fixing them…and so on. I can sent you the scholarly citations if you want ‘em, but I have no doubt you are more than capable of getting what you need.

      In short, you rock, you are a life saver, and your book will go on to save more lives.”

      I second that – with every fiber of my being.

  • You have the uncanny ability to articulate the truth–to put words to our feelings, to be our guide out of madness. I’ve always felt that you brilliantly shine a light onto all the recesses and corners of our brains, dragging out all the thoughts so that they can be examined and explained and put away neatly, rather than crammed into a jumble to be dealt with–perhaps traumatically or tragically–all over again.
    As already stated, you’re helping us to regain our confidence–no, it ISN’T the betrayed ones who are guilty, and you explain WHY! You empower (I hate that word, but I just used it) us to reclaim our dignity and pride, to not be afraid. You allow us our anger, and temper it with smart humor.

    I am SO grageful to you, CL! You are the voice of reason.

  • I think you need a series of books… I will start with one suggestion that maybe you have not touched on yet or I missed it:
    Define “infidelity” and the influence of the internet- (frankly, some people dont think there is anything wrong with emotional affairs or crotch shots!)

    Now for what is unique and has helped me from your Blog:
    1. The cheating is about Them- it takes two for marriage to work and one to deceive to kill it- trust is so fragile- I really liked your sister-in- lasw’s article in praise of fidelity
    2. The description of the narcissist needs to be associated with cheaters- and use the term “wingnut’- also that they will not submit to a partnership and it is about “entitlement”
    3. Particularly after a long term marriage the grieving and pain is horrendous, and that pain needs to be Validated by friends and family to help the healing; that the – “oh just get over it” is harmful and as you say denies our reality and neutrality supports the betrayal.
    4. Those who cheat on pregnant wives, ill spouses, or after long term marriages deserve a special place in hell for having a “contempt for vulnerability”
    5. Those who knowingly cheat with a married spouse also have a special place in hell.
    6. What does a bad marriage counselor look like- they avoid labeling the cheaters- (mine said I was not allowed to use the word liar after my husband admitted to many lies!!) – no money for therapists to be made by demanding the truth- You need to call this therapy community to task!!
    7. What it means to be a grown-up in delaying gratification and waiting for the bigger payoff.
    8. YES, keep your potty mouth , your art work , and your humor

    Our sick society desperately needs your voice- And you provide comfort to us Chumps
    as no other writer that I have been able to locate- and Thank you for that-

  • Wow—great thoughts and analysis above.

    I only have two points to add:

    1) The one thing that may work against you with these agents is the potentially “negative” connotations that the “Leave A Cheater. Gain A Life” meme has. The reason those Amazon Chump books do so well is that they pile on the Sparkle and Spackle so that the chumps can reunite with their cheaters and live Happily Ever After. The agent could then over-simplify the fuck out of your message with a terse: “Are you telling women to break up their families?” *gasp* Even with a 51% divorce rate in this country, marriage books are still cute from a very traditional “Men Are From Mars…” cloth. Very spackly and storybooky. He’s a cheater? So what! Embrace his differences!!!


    2) This is where you can emphasize that your niche is one of self-empowerment and re-invention. That’s also where the brand is unique as any book that even broaches the subject of divorce has an aura of self-pity around it. Chump Lady is a giant “FUCK YOU!” to any husband or wife who thinks it’s okay to have their side-piece cake and eat it too; plus CL gives the power back to the chumps deserve it the most. The chumps who actually have to find peace from the broken pieces of their hearts in the immediate aftermath of their destroyed marriages/relationships.

    Chump Lady also has the ability to tap into the “now”, the tapped-in, dialed-in 24/7 world of sexertainment that we all live and breathe in, where temptation is literally a click away. Infidelity, dysfunction, cake and ego kibbles have all been around since the Bible. Same shit, different names. Only difference is David didn’t bang Bathsheba after meeting her on Ashley Madison. That’s the world we live in NOW. Cheating has never, ever been so easy. But the results are still the same. We’re the ones left with destroyed marriages, doing the Pick-Me Dance, being steady kibble suppliers, spackling until we finally put a stop to that nonsense and go Meh…also a hard task in the Smartphone Era.

    So yeah. Chump Lady exhaustively encapsulates cheating in all of its devious forms, the Chumps who get chumped, and it can capture both Infidelity in the 21st Century and how we can piece our lives and broken hearts afterwards. A very important topic that will resonate with a lot of people, touch a lot of hearts, and empower a lot burnt spouses to shed their ChumpSkin.

    Good luck!! <3 <3

    • Cl… Yes !
      Great gift item !
      Do more tee shirts, mugs , do a gift basket…give as a Wedding gift, or even better Happy Divorce party !
      Whenever I learn that someone is getting a divorce, I always ask,
      “should I express sorrow, or offer congrats “?
      It is usually the latter….. divorce isn’t always a loss, often it is a VICTORY !
      Go Tracy !

      • Hey !
        After the book is out , why no pitch a reality/sit com to Andy Cohen for Bravo !
        We all like the laugh !

    • Yes, you may be perceived as the bad guy in not promoting reconciliation after infidelity, as that may lead to more divorces in our culture and a break down of the family unit as we know it, however if you expose infidelity for what it really is, ie narcissism, abuse, entitlement etc. and a result of a society that is increasingly becoming more and more out for the ‘individual’ and not the family, then you expose the real enemy which is not divorce, it’s infidelity and the attitudes that contribute to such. Hopefully then the book will be seen as a positive to our culture and preventative to divorce. If you can dispel the myths that surround infidelity, ie, that both partners contribute to the breakdown of a marriage, that there’s a huge amount that happens behind closed doors etc. then perhaps it will again be frowned upon in our society again as it should be and not liberated as it seems to be now. Perhaps you can help to resanctify marriage again and those that have the essential character traits to uphold it.

  • Just in case you were wondering about international experiences: no, there are by my knowledge no Dutch sites or books that come near you and your message. You opened my eyes after getting stuck in therapy-land (“just give him some more time, he is in love and confused right now, don’t force him to any decisions”) and Amazonia (mostly translated books and some real gems about forgiveness and how to mend your marriage after infidelity).

    The only thing I wonder: I often think I should have found you right after D-day. But I’m not sure if I would have listened to your message when I was still so addicted to ‘hopium’. Would it have made a difference? For now I think the whole – incredibly painful – process might have been worth it, I might have needed it to fall out of love and into action to get divorced and over this. To know that I gave it my all, even if it was the stupid ‘pick-me’-dance and other things that did not have a chance, because he had checked out ages ago.

    Just trying to find out where your book would fit in. Would I have appreciated it as a present? Maybe after the first shock and confusion. Hope I’ll never have to recommend it to any of my friends (I have had to recommend your site to several people already… bittersweet).

    • I can see where some wouldn’t be ready to hear the message but I also think it would plant the seed and they would hear that message when they’re ready. At the end of the day, there’s a hole in the market and she will fill it. And maybe start the revolution of saying ‘fuck this shit of coddling and romanticising cheaters’.

      • There’s a place well before ‘meh’ that’s a necessary breakthrough point that could be called the FUCK YOU barrier. Before I hit that and crossed it, I didn’t so much spackle as I did overanalyze things. Got lots of Amazon books, to be sure.

        The condescension and disrespect that gets heaped on us chumps is unbelievable. A good FUCK THIS SHIT shakes off so many shackles. A well deserved FUCK YOU aimed right at the cheater is liberating beyond belief. I never fought dirty or called names. I’m sure it shocked him.

        Noun, verb, adjective; Fucker, fucking, fucked. Got the lingo down.

  • I have a closet shelf of books I ordered from Amazon to try to understand what happened to me. Although some were helpful in sections, none had the clear, direct voice as your writing, Tracy. None explained what it feels like to betrayed nor gave exact advice to move on. I’d buy extra copies to hand out to other chumps and friends and relatives of chumps! In fact, some of my friends have read this site to help them understand what I’m going through. You have a gift of clarity and firm compassion. I’m so glad you have shared it.

  • I just discovered the wonderful CL blog recently, although my Dday was over three years ago, and my divorce has been final for more than a year. Despite all that time, this site is a LIFESAVER. I still struggle to comprehend what the fuck happened, still struggle with wondering “is it me or is it him”, still sometimes deal with the “fear he’ll be better with someone else.” All that despite the fact that I had never met or heard of anyone with a crazier, more narc fuck-up than my ex. He takes infidelity and delusion to an entirely new level.

    But here, I read so many stories that are similar to my own. It is such a help to see that it wasn’t me at all, he just followed the typical path these NPD cheaters take.

    I recently donated a whole stack of reconciliation books to the Goodwill. I hadn’t even had a chance to read most of them before the bogus reconciliation ended. And it occurred to me….. why was I the one even reading them? I never cheated. It is horrible the way the betrayed spouse is expected to do all the work, futile work, to “save a marriage” that cannot be saved.

    Your book is sorely needed. I’ll certainly be buying a copy.

    • When I donate my reconciliation books I am going to write the words “For real help, Please go to” in several pages.

    • Hah! I think most chumps end up in Amazonia, reading up, analyzing, doing all the work. No wonder, the cheater is far to busy keeping the steady cake supply…

  • I find your message – the CL “line” if you will, lol – to be an especially strong voice for empowerment against the emotional abuse entailed in a relationship with a NPD/serial cheater type. It is consistently reaffirming of the validity and normality of the Chump POV and way of life (that is, the Owning and Use of a Moral Compass.) It completely leaves off Figuring Them Out, which has been a powerful bit of realization for me. Why does he do it? Who the fuck cares!? I get to go be happy now, and OMG – the free time! What to do, what to do . . . so many options!! Really, my newly found free time is an embarrassment of riches and to be reminded not to squander it trying to Figure Him Out, has been a real help.

    I’m not sure how helpful this will be in your book endevour, but I have to say one thing I find so very useful and helpful about the CL website, is that it is provided in Tiny Little Bites – just one post to read through, every day or two. I found the prospect of trying to read a self-help book (no matter how germane or relevant or transforming) utterly beyond what I could manage until recently – and even now, nearly six months post D-Day (and 1.5 months into separation and divorce filing) – it’s really about how big my appetite is for each bit of CL nourishment.

    Given that, I wonder if a book that is something like, “Finding Your Real Life After Infidelity” (or whatever it’s called) would have a best-use format in a day-by-day worksheet type thing. Maybe a handy referral of the Basics of Cheating up front (like your permalinks on the right side nav here) but then, just a Message a Day kind of format thereafter.

    I couldn’t even make it all the way through basic codependency books when they were first (rightfully) recommended to me in therapy a few months ago, and they are written for people in crisis. I’m hardly an inept reader, either – it’s just that the degree of shock and crisis and grief altogether, sort of wipe out one’s ability to take in bigger, longer ideas encased in a full length BOOK.

    • …I mean, day-by-day workBOOK, not worksheets. Sorry. I’m envisioning a sort of journal thing.

      • Each of us come to this blog with different levels of crazy cheating spouses (some crazier than others) and at different times after our D-Day and at different time length before the marriage was derailed by infidelity. But Tracy has is telling us what needs to be done how you should think. For me it’s all a matter of where you are in you personal healing before you will truly comprehend the words she and the posters has written. I was able to find this place rather soon after my D-Day and I have read it daily ever since. Either the writing has gotten better or I’m understanding what is written with more clarity. I am very interested in seeing your book.

        I like the idea of a journal section. This would be way better than including recipes for shit sandwiches..

    • That’s useful. Thanks. I find a lot of the stuff out there very dry as well. Which is why I think having cartoons and humor helps leaven the heaviness of the subject matter.

      Besides, the pomposity of cheaters is funny as hell.

      • It is funny as hell!

        I can’t count how many posters on this site have written: “You can’t make this shit up” after posting about some inane, unbelievable thing their POS cheaters did/said.

        “Stupid Shit Cheaters Say” is case in point.

        Plus, all of the stories about our cheater’s temper tantrums. I still chuckle about the cake-eater who slid down the stairs whilst in a sleeping bag

        • LOL – DuckLinerUpper! I just cracked up here in my office, realizing that you remembered my very *special* XH scooting down the stairs in a sleeping bag! That eventful, final DDay happened a little over a year ago, and I’m so glad I feel like I am light years away from that lunacy.

          The ChumpLady book should probably also feature a chapter on “Bat-shit-insane Tantrums and Other Rides on the Carousel of Crazy.” Step awaaaay from the Crazy.

          • Me too, me too! I snorted in laughter again just reading DuckLU’s recall of BB’s account of her ex shimmying down the stairs in his sleeping bag! Yes, that is a mental picture I won’t easily forget……

            And I like the idea of a chapter about “Bat-Shit-Crazy Tantrums, et. al.”

  • I have to give this site SO MUCH credit for giving me hope, strength and resolve to push my divorce through against the XH who would undoubtedly still be content to keep eating at the all-cake buffet if I didn’t put a final stop to it. I was certainly an Amazon-chump in the immediate aftermath of discovering the affair and for a few months of false R. I highlighted and underlined my way through “Not Just Friends” and “The Monogamy Myth” and countless other titles – of course, I was the only one putting in effort and XH kept on screwing dingbat OW while telling me he didn’t “mean for me to get hurt.”

    Tracy, you were able to translate what I was feeling in my gut and present it in a way that finally *finally* became crystal clear in my mind: I didn’t cause this. I didn’t create this. I sure as hell don’t deserve this. And best of all – I can be happy again after surviving this. Your birthday post was one of the first ones I read when I first came across your site – and it continues to stand out for me as a fantastic and realistic story of hope that I so needed at that time. (My little a-ha moment was when you said: “Know what’s sexy? EFFORT is sexy!” And it dawned on me that XH failed fantastically at making any effort. In so many facets of his life. All kinds of potential was there, but zero effort.) It gave me hope that *I* would get to a better place, with better people in my life. And I definitely have!

    It was also around the time that I found ChumpLady that I decided to stop marriage counseling (and to finally stop eating the shit sandwiches that kept being placed in front of me) and to focus the counseling efforts on me, to forgive myself for apparently selecting such a shitty spouse and for “not being able to see this coming”, and to learn to let people show me who they are instead of spackling on top of potential.

    Even though my divorce was finalized in March, I continue to come to this site several times a week to read (and re-read) your posts and everyone’s comments. There are so many helpful resources here, and I am continually grateful for the support, reinforcement, encouragement and reminders that life is SO MUCH BETTER without having to spackle, prop up, excuse, and provide constant crisis-management skills to the cheater. And it is. It really, really is better.

    Thank you, Tracy – this site, your words, & this community are so helpful and healing.

  • Your site has literally given me sight and made it possible for me to live and laugh again! I wasted so many years trying to figure out what the hell happened in my 20+ year marriage which ended in divorce NINE years ago. I would have ruminated for the rest of my life if you had not explained the kibbles and the dancing and the spackling and the cake and the skein! Oh my god, the skein! Pure torture. Most importantly, I would have continued to spackle and encourage my adult children to keep in touch with their NPD father. Call me uber chump!
    You are performing a public service by exposing the NPD’s and other PD’s by dragging them out from under their rocks and exposing them for what they are: kibble snarfing sub human character disturbed predators. You have convinced those of us who were cheated on (and that includes our children) that we deserve a better life. Thank you from the bottom of my heart

  • Oh Tracy, this is all so wonderful and you will do it. If my mother could have two books published, the first in her 70’s and the second at 85 (!), you can too. (they were by McGraw Hill, BTW. both times. Her second book was rejected by everyone else, but the original publishing co. ended up doing them both.)

    I want to add a few things if I may that I would love to see in your book (if you already haven’t thought of them yourself. And of course, you can ignore any or all of this if its not right for you.) I am hoping that you will reach an even larger audience by bringing to light, in the book other personality and psychiatric disorders that can lead to infidelity in addition to narcissism. My wasband is passive-aggressive and always passive. He just lets life steam roll him down. He doesn’t try or fight for ANYTHING. There can also be other outside influences such as job loss, lack of support from family and/or friends, disabled children, financial reversals, low self-esteem (although that one is a symptom of something else, I believe) and other maladies such as addictions, be it to sex, alcohol, gambling, porn, even homosexuality… on and on which can lead to cheating. None of these have anything to do with their spouse or relationship, but they can greatly undermine it.

    Some people marry because they feel pressure coming from somewhere and then they find someone who will “do.” But then… for only so long and that could be anywhere from 1 second to years later. Not all cheaters are narcissists. While I believe that they all have narcissistic traits and that cheating is narcissistic in and of itself, there can be many other situations going on in their fucked up heads that lead them to thinking that this is the best way to conduct their lives. Actually, I do believe that many don’t think at all. It’s all very reptilian.

    Not all cheaters blame their spouses. While most do, my wasband never blamed me, however, he wouldn’t take the blame either. This, I believe is the common thread, amongst most cheaters.

    Did we all have perfect marriages? Well… no, of course not. It is impossible to have a good marriage with a cheater. This is because whatever time and energy he is putting into his “hobby” is time taken away from US and the rest of the family. If a cheater would only put in half the energy into his spouse that he does into his mistress or into procuring new encounters, there would be a good marriage. A marriage is between TWO people and when there’s only ONE making any effort to sustain it and keep it vital, then I’m afraid its not going to work.

    Its so complex, because there are also sociopaths out there, who are the doting ‘PERFECT” spouse and then still go out to have their “fun.” While it seems that most people reading this blog have spouses who left them for their sextress, not all do that. Mine didn’t. He just had many, many that he either sexted or had phone sex, skype-sex, and occasionally in person. (too cheap to travel or get a hotel, anyway) He had intense performance anxiety and so virtual sex worked much better for him. Did he get any help for this not-so-little-problem? No, of course not. He convinced himself that we didn’t have “chemistry” and this is the other thread that binds them all which is DENIAL; denial that the real problem is something within THEMSELVES!

    Your message is definitely unique, CL. The bottom line is that whatever their lame excuse is for cheating, there were always ALTERNATIVES other than fucking over the person we vowed to cherish and love more than any other human being on the earth. We, as betrayed spouses have to understand that WE CANNOT CHANGE THEM. We have to decide if we can live with their cheating or not, because they are not going to change unless THEY want to, not because we are insisting and they ONLY don’t want to lose us. If we can’t live them the way they are, then it is US, that needs to change. The only exception and it is as rare, as you say as unicorns, is the cheater who comes to his spouse, OF HIS OWN ACCORD, and says that he/she has a big problem and wants to seek out help for it. No blaming. No crocodile tears. No begging us to stay. Just accepting that they are sick and understanding that there are consequences for their inappropriate behavior. But, someone tell me, when the hell does this ever happen? It doesn’t. So, the likes of Patrick Carnes and all of the other “co-addicted/reconciliation” idiots who are cramming down this plate of bullshit that the partner is “just as sick” as the cheater is, can eat shit and die! It doesn’t even make any sense. Even IF we were say, alcoholic or cold as ice. There are always other alternatives. If its so bad, then why don’t they just leave? That’s because its NOT so bad! duh!

    This is the crux of your message and there is nobody else out there telling it LIKE IT IS! The emperor is BUTT NEKED!

    I know that all of us, (your faithful readers, which are growing like wildfire) will be standing from the sidelines, cheering you on, all the way to the finish line! Your example shows us that not only does life goes on after this cataclysmic experience, but it can create a situation that while we can’t see it while swimming through the river of shit… causes us in the end, to flourish like nothing else!

    I will always be grateful to you…


    • Oh! yes, this ditto ditto. thanks, Laurel….

      “Not all cheaters blame their spouses. While most do, my wasband never blamed me, however, he wouldn’t take the blame either. This, I believe is the common thread, amongst most cheaters.

      Did we all have perfect marriages? Well… no, of course not. It is impossible to have a good marriage with a cheater. This is because whatever time and energy he is putting into his “hobby” is time taken away from US and the rest of the family. If a cheater would only put in half the energy into his spouse that he does into his mistress or into procuring new encounters, there would be a good marriage. A marriage is between TWO people and when there’s only ONE making any effort to sustain it and keep it vital, then I’m afraid its not going to work.

      Its so complex, because there are also sociopaths out there, who are the doting ‘PERFECT” spouse and then still go out to have their “fun.” While it seems that most people reading this blog have spouses who left them for their sextress, not all do that. Mine didn’t. He just had many, many that he either sexted or had phone sex, skype-sex, and occasionally in person. (too cheap to travel or get a hotel, anyway) He had intense performance anxiety and so virtual sex worked much better for him. Did he get any help for this not-so-little-problem? No, of course not. He convinced himself that we didn’t have “chemistry” and this is the other thread that binds them all which is DENIAL; denial that the real problem is something within THEMSELVES!”

    • I guess he was too passive to actually blame you, huh? 🙂 I had a majorly passive aggressive one as well who never really blamed me either. Until I got the books and pointed things out (ways I could have been “better”… ugh pick me dance), then he would kinda agree. But he could never tell me anything he could have improved on as a husband, ways he could have been better. The one time I was able to push him to make an actual response he said something about that he could have communicated better how his needs weren’t being met. Or some shit like that. I mean, he also at one point told me he had his A to AVOID hurting me, after all.

      They don’t necessarily blame you. You blame yourself, the books blame you, and AT MINIMUM the spouse doesn’t take any responsibility at all, which is how he passive aggressively blames you. Ugh, passive aggression is the worst. It’s so hard to figure out. They don’t have the balls to say anything outtright. Even his affair was conducted passive aggressively from what I could tell – he got her to initiate it…. and when he met her he claimed he was just going to “call her bluff”. Can’t even take ownership of what he did.

      They continue to act like the nice guy, while just doing whatever the hell they want. And somehow making you feel like shit. I will never be with anyone with passive aggressive tendencies again.

      • Oh Erica… you hit the nail on the head with this one! Passive aggression IS the worst. They give you NOTHING…. not even something to hate.

    • Great post Laurel. So many different reasons for infidelity. I’m with you on the Patrick Carnes stuff – completely atrocious. The first week after D-day, I joined a teleconference meeting with co-dependent spouses. I could not believe this nonsense! Really? These people felt they were somehow to blame for this. I couldn’t believe this was written up in books, etc., and a whole way of counseling existed around this bologna. I guess what I love about CL is she confirms what we already know in our hearts is true. We are not to blame. We cannot fix this. We need to get out and let them fix it themselves, if they can’t, then we get out forever. We need to choose ourselves, not the betrayers. We need to love ourselves.

  • Your site is like that best friend every chump needs – the one who comically and angrily tells it like it is. We might be only a slice of the divorce market (those who have been accepting some kind of bad behavior from their mates for some period of time), but even if the marriage was ill-conceived, even if we made mistakes, even if it devolved into a sexless union, no one deserves the pain of infidelity. I think it’s important to call out bad behavior (it’s called CHEATING for a reason!) and not gloss over the pain it causes. I’m good with accepting responsibility for my part of making my marriage untenable as long as I don’t have to take responsibility for his self-serving actions.

  • I had found information that had validated my thoughts but it also made me feel like my marriage still had a chance. Your very real and common sense approach showed me that no matter how much I tried to have him see it my way, he was never going to. I can’t help myself sometimes and still try (even though we are indeed getting divorced) but i’m getting better every day. Your site was the first thing I found where I didn’t feel alone, I felt like some people were actually in my brain telling my story word for word. And it’s completely relatable. I think you are creating a niche – there’s nothing like this out there that I have found – no nonsense, cut the bullshit information. I needed someone to kick my ass to start getting over this. This site has helped in ways I cannot quantify. I still go backwards but I come to this site and feel empowered again. I am not always good at letting go but seeing where I am now versus where I was 10 months ago, leaps and bounds.

  • I love your blog. It was one of two places on the web where the betrayed were in no way held accountable for the affair. And I wasn’t told the relationship was salvageable or that I should try to work on the relationship for the sake of the children.

    The other web site was Wayne and Tamara and I love that both of you respect the betrayed.

  • Tracy,

    We need your voice out there – your ability to cut through the bs, your commonsense advice coupled with really funny sense of humor and a dash of righteous anger! Validation on steroids. A book? Yes please.

    • firepainter you are right. you nailed it on the head as far as an explanation. It’s a Common Sense look at what is going on in the cheaters head and in the chump’s head.

  • I agree, your site/ writing is unique in that you serve as that girlfriend who will get in your face and scream “This is bullshit! Stop putting up with it imediately!” when you can’t bring yourself to actually tell any of your girlfriends IRL. Honestly, I feel like the our time spent in chump land would be dramatically diminished if your writing was part of pre-marital counseling. 🙂 Recognize the shit sandwich coming before you’ve got a mouthful.

  • hope this is not a double post…. I made a mistake after typing my message and it seems to be gone….

    I am one of the many who would like to thank you, Tracy, for your common sense approach.

    Your perspective, humor, and the support of you and others in this community have been greatly appreciated. One of my mantras of yours has been “trust that they suck.”
    This has been difficult for me, as I kept grasping the idea that even though my ex is a liar and a cheat, there must be some decency left inside. He must want what is best for the children, etc. But exH kept doing things to hurt the kids, and my feelings of anger and betrayal kept returning. But, no more. I can trust that he sucks. He will always put himself first, so there is no reason to stay angry. I just accept that he sucks.

    I think you definitely need to include the humorous/snarky cartoons. They lighten things up, and pictures often do a better job conveying information, or supporting what is written. An example unrelated to relationship/self growth information, and I did not write it (so no selfish plugs here!): take a look at “Level Up!” It is a book on video game design that my son received as a birthday gift. The author does a nice job of using humorous cartoons to get ideas across and to make points. I envision your images doing the same.

    Many thanks again for being a light of reason and sanity in what is a horrible experience.

    All the best.

  • I am REALLY happy to see that you are writing and shopping agents for a book. This book will be unique if you put in the snarky cartoons etc. because:

    1)Discovering infidelity is so DAMN painful and when you share a cartoon that makes us all laugh- that is therapeutic.

    2) All the Reconciliation Industrial Complex books talk like we should really FEEL bad for the cheater? WTF!!!! What is OUR role in this infidelity? WTF Again!!! We and other victims of NPD spouses really need to be told- it’s NOT our fault- it is THEIR !!! Your book will be REVOLUTIONARY.

    3) Here is my idea for marketing: Show a picture of the infidelity “bomb” being dropped onto a dutiful Chump’s life and how devastating it is to her/him. They struggle to stand up looking like a zombie with cuts and scars. Then show your book as a “bomb” amongst all the crappy help books out there, book after book in a book store, with pages flying about victim’s “Owning” their part in the cheating. Then show your BOOK jacket standing ALONE amongst books from the Reconciliation Industrial Complete amongst all tattered and destroyed- your book survives ALL the crap. Your book is a REAL step by step Manual of how to see the skein of fuckupedness, recognized NPD cheater spouses for what they are, and ‘kick’ living with infidelity in the ASS. Show the woman/guy picking up YOUR book. A manual showing a victim HOW to live, Go No Contact, See a cheater for what he is, surviving and THRIVING. Now THAT would be oh so cool!!!! This Manual could be like a cookbook with tabs for various sections: How to Recognize a NPD, How to Go No Contact, Trust that they Suck, The Skein of Fuckupedness, A plan to get to ‘Meh’, etc., etc.,

    4) Dont’ stop with a GREAT Book Tracy. Go on with a movie, SERIOUSLY!!!! You are
    an awesome writer and I could so see a GREAT movie happening in the future. (Starring an actress we can LOVE and sympathize with. . . maybe Sandra Bullock?)

  • My two cents…..I tried to wrap my head around what went wrong, why did he cheat, I read books, went to therapy….only after I found your site, could I wrap my head around the fact it was his truly his problem, I really couldn’t do anything to change the outcome, I finally wrapped my head around all of this – because I could finally understand it was a character flaw and nothing more…..I could not have saved this marriage and I should not participate in giving him kibbles, etc. To get over it faster (meh stage) I needed to let go, to have as little contact with the fucker as possible and to ensure my sanity not engage in the gossip of what he was doing and how happy he supposedly is….who cares? It doesn’t impact me or my life today. You helped with all of that and continue to help daily – the roller coaster ride is still going on, but it’s a much less bumpy ride because of you and your blog.

    Thank you for it, thank you from all the chumps out there who truly don’t understand these people we married and thought we knew.

  • Tracy,
    I have said this so many times and in so many different ways that I welcome you to use any of my prior Thank You’s to you.

    I have been through a lot in my life including the death of a spouse. But nothing, and I MEAN nothing pulled me down so far as this last 13 year relationship which ended with blatant cheating and confessions of him cheating the whole time. Not to mention taking advantage of me financially.

    My friends and family were at a complete loss and couldn’t reach me no matter how hard they tried. Then I found your site and it all began to make sense. I had bought 11 books and been on countless websites but your site was the only one that cut straight to the heart. It’s intelligent and well written without the self pity angle.

    The many people I’ve met on your site impressed me with the knowledge they learned from you and their obvious care and sharing. One of the many things that have become so glaringly obvious is how similar these partners are that have taken advantage of us – emotionally, financially, physically and in many other ways all the while making US feel that we were at fault. I was totally unaware of personality disorders and how rampant they are. And when the person that destroyed my “life” tried to come back and take advantage of me with threats and intimidation Chump Lady bolstered my strength giving me courage to stand up for ME and my family.

    I have often felt that you would be an amazing therapist at ANY PRICE – no amount would be too much yet you have helped us all for free. I could never repay you for I quite honestly feel is saving my life. I am in therapy now and have recommended you to 2 therapists who have seen your site now and highly approve. The therapist I see now has actually cut my appointments down to once a month from once a week.

    I was so sick and weak I blindly followed your every piece of advice because the way you write gained my trust and I can honestly say I feel better than I can ever remember feeling in many, many years, even before this last, horrible relationship. I pray your book gets published, it will be a long overdue addition to all the books out there that don’t have that common sense, personal touch, or humor. You are the first person that got me to laugh. I have gone from not being able to get out of bed to looking forward to every day because of Chump Lady. I truly love you, and all my fellow Chumps!

  • I think the perfect niche for you is bridging the gap between being a “”we “to a “me”. Once you find out your significant other is having an affair you go into the pick me dance/spackling mode. You search for anything that can fix the problem, whether it’s a cheater, an NPD or something else. There are plenty of books and websites out there that offer advice on how to fix the “we”.

    However, once you realize that “we” cannot be fixed, you need something else. You offer that. You offer advice on how to become “me” again. You offer a refuge where your readers can come together to discuss common things that all of us are sharing. Sometimes our friends and families just do not understand everything that we are experiencing. I read things here and think wow my husband must have been married to a dozen women on this sight! It feels so good to be able to relate and realize that I am not crazy.

    Your sense of humor and insightfulness combined with your experience offer all of us the true help we need. I wish you well in your endeavor to publish a book – as long as we don’t loose you here!

    Best of luck to you Tracy!

  • CL, I will not only buy and read the book, I’ll recommend it to lots of people! What you offer is SO necessary and helpful!

    One of the things that would have really helped me the first time the ex was unfaithful, and I was reading all the ‘how to fix your marriage after infidelity’ books was info about how to know whether your marriage MIGHT be fixable, and how to tell when it really isn’t, and isn’t going to be, ever.

    The Reconciliation IC books said what should be done, and what could be done, but didn’t give any warning about what to expect if your partner isn’t doing that stuff, or only half-heartedly. They didn’t talk about the difference between a fairly brief period of stupidity/immaturity and full-time entitlement and self-centeredness, often manifested in long-term or multiple affairs.

    So maybe three lists or sections;
    1. what the unfaithful partner has to be doing to show they’re sincere and working hard on reconciliation, and ways to tell whether they’re just giving lip service,
    2. non-cheating signs from the whole of the relationship that show they’re unlikely to sustain that effort or to refrain from further cheating in future, and
    3. signs from during the attempt at reconciliation that mean the relationship is doomed.

    I think this kind of info could have really helped me cut down on the spackling, which would have led me to reality a lot earlier.

  • Your blog has helped me immensely. It’s the smartest, most hard-hitting info on the subject.

    Most infidelity info is any combination of dry, long-winded, self-pitying, and just boring. Your perspective is the opposite. It’s tough, it’s real. It’s not polite. It tells you like it is. It gives insight you need to recognize the situation you’re in, then the advice you need to get out and move on with your life.

    I really like the labels (ego kibbles, skein of fuckedupness, etc.) and blunt language. It helped wake me up and recognize what I was dealing with in my own betrayal experience. Amidst all of the emotional confusion of being cheated on, you helped label it and nail it to the wall. It helped me realize that I’m not crazy and I’m certainly not alone.

    And your writing is funny. It’s essential to have some humor, otherwise us chumps can easily succomb to sobbing over a bucket of ice cream. Plus, it’s kind of boring to read nothing but diatribes about people’s sad betrayal stories (most blogs are essentially the authors relaying their own sob stories, ad neauseum, although I don’t blame them for wanting to write and share about it, I can only read so many of them). CL gives actual advice, from someone who has been there before. Practical, usable and valuable take-aways. She’s the blunt, realistic best friend that we wish we all had. The one who will tell you straight-up to leave your cheater.

    In a sentence? Spend years and thousand of dollars on therapy….or just read Chump Lady.

    I’d love to see a snarky cartoon at the beginning of each chapter.

  • CL – Your writings are the one and ONLY thing that have helped me try to work through this ordeal with the narcissistic scumbag cheater of a wife I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I was bitch slapped two months ago and am still struggling mightily.

    I can’t find comfort in anything else. Friends and family try but they’re just not helpful generally speaking. Drugs and alcohol, which use to always work to numb the pain, simply make a bad situation worse and provide no quarter. Exercise and staying busy work partially but no matter how hard I workout or how fast I walk/run….I can’t shake all of the feelings that we chumps are left to deal with.

    I cannot emphasize enough how much you have helped me. When I feel like my world is caving in I immediately go to you for wisdom and I always find nuggets that give me solace and hope. Thank you so much for your help! You have no idea how important your blog has become to me.

    On a side note, I live just a few short miles down the road from you in the beautiful Texas Hill Country. What do you say we organize Chumpfest when it drops below 100 in late Sep? Or better yet, how ’bout Cheatcon in mid-August and we can let all those bastards fry in the Texas sun?

    Again…THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! You have meant so much to me.

    • I would even pay the expensive ticket to fly over there and meet Tracy and the others. Some wise people at last ! If we blend some humor in the mix it would be a blast! Please, organize something to get to know each other and then we continue online. It would be a celebration , a boot camp not a support group (do sg for chumps even exist?)

      • I dislike cheaters, S&S, but not enough to inflict a Texas summer on them. I will definitely consider a Chumpfest complete with bbq. 🙂

        ETA — when the temps cool, which isn’t until like December. This place is craaazy. (I grew up in Michigan, so admittedly my idea of seasons is skewed.)

  • I don’t remember how I found this site. I know I was stumbling from lots of pain, hurt, some regret, from the breaking apart of my marriage of 20 years. His lying, cheating ass totally wrecked my world. And then I found the good people of the Chump Nation. Tracy, please continue to reach out to those of us who were made to feel so unspecial, so worthless, so unimportant to the ones we loved the most, and the ones that hurt us in such horrible ways. Whether it be through this blog, or in book form, I and many like me will continue to read and take your message to those who need to “leave a cheater, gain a life”. I look forward to that book and would like a signed copy, please! Write on, Tracy!

  • How is it unique????? Chumplady, you are unique.

    I am 4 years (yes, 4 – I am a real chump) ‘reconciling’. I have read 9+ books on infidelity – Shirley Glass, Rona Subotnik, Dave Carder, British Relate books (Julia Cole), Linda MacDonald, Brian and Anne Bercht – it is sad I can remember them all (if you want me to keep digging I will).
    How many forums have I been on devoted to reconciling after an affair.

    The trouble with them all (with the exception of Linda Macdonald) is that it all gets a bit sugar coated. The devastation, the soul murder of being betrayed by someone you loved and trusted, is glossed over. Don’t obsess. Say to yourself, ‘stop’ and snap a rubber band. (If you can’t, there is something wrong with YOU). There is an expectation of ‘reasonableness’ – if you meet him halfway, he will meet you halfway, and you will have a marriage better than before! He WILL examine himself and become a different person, with your love and help.

    You, Chumplady, tell it like it is: in order to cheat, a person has to be quite staggeringly selfish and unloving.
    And, what is more, you explain WHY. Nobody apart from you talks about narcissistic supply and in such great imagery (ego kibbles). Your essays are classic. (As an African, I LOVED your marxist point of Colonisation of the Mind, loved it! Yes, our abused selves ARE exploited and colonised).
    You examine and dissect and very beautifully eviscerate the make-up of the cheater, and nobody else does this. You make it quite clear that it is NOT about the marriage or the relationship or any other such thing, and all about the character of the cheater. Thank you for setting me free on this.

    After 4 years, after he angrily insisted he was changing, and gave me the deal consisting of: we ‘move on’ by sweeping this under the carpet, and I carry on doing and being exactly how I always was. You ‘going on’ means there is something wrong with YOU. Any complaints are a vicious, personal attack to be defended against. I don’t love you any more, but I don’t want a divorce. Do not have any needs at all, whatsoever. Now, STFU, allow me to behave as a single man, get back in the kitchen and keep my home and family together.

    All of this message wordless, upper class, unstated British cold, non-violent passive aggressive and ‘polite’.

    Because of your site, when I found that schmoopie co-worker OW was still in my life 4 years on, I could finally accept that this was ABUSE and to continue to stay, was to participate in my own mistreatment. And you do it without telling us what to do. Just, ‘here is how it is playing, leaving is better’ – and leaving us to catch up.

    So, yes, you are pretty unique.

    PS: your Saatchi essay is doing the rounds on British facebook. Brilliant!!

    • Oh, that’s where those hits came from! I was wondering.

      I love that you’re a South African and got the colonisation of the mind reference! Sometimes I wonder if I’m speaking in graduate school Marxist history-ese and making any sense at all. (I once created a drinking game where you had to string together as many Marxist words and phrases as you could, before taking a drink…. dialectical materialism… bourgeoisie… means of production…proletariat…)

  • I stumbled onto Chumplady while googling “how to find out if someone is really divorced”: the strange inconsistencies in my then-BF’s behavior had me seriously wondering what he wasn’t telling me. What I found on Chumplady really opened my eyes–not only to what was really going on (he was probably still married, definitely sneaking around, gaslighting me), but also to how to handle it. I went through the Hopium, the Pick-Me Dance, and finally wrote up a “Trust That He Sucks” list of all his suckage, which got me through some tough times. Everytime I’d get lonely miss him, I’d drag out that list and, by the time I got to the end of it, all desire to reconnect with him was GONE. Going No Contact and getting to “Meh” were a blessing. Chumplady didn’t just give me advice, it gave me *useful tools*.

  • Hi Tracy: (Chump Lady)

    Your advice is always, always on spot. You are direct and tell it like it is. We Chumps need to hear the truth that sometimes is right in front of us, but we’re either in denial or too afraid to make a move for our own good. We Chumps dedicated our lives to our Cheaters, our world revolved around them. You always make us believe that we deserve better, that it was the cheater that was broken, in order for them to risk everything. All the books out there make the BS feel that we must of done something wrong, or that we should try something new – to improve the marriage.

    Your book is going to based on real life experiences, not from some shrink that has probably never been married or been cheated on (that they know of)…

    You are unique, and I’ll be in line to buy that book! Wish you the best, Love You.

  • I am sure you have or you will in the future save people even from committing suicide! You are THAT good. I have translated and printed one of your articles in Greek and gave it to a friend of mine who was the biggest CHUMP and doesn’t speak English, to read. She was ever thankful. I told her to keep it in her drawer and take it out every time she was desperate. So as you see there is place for a book in MANY languages. The reconciliation industry is either after our money or our sanity. Thank you again. NOTHING like that out there. The only disadvantage I find in you writing a book is the fear that it will diminish your blogging time!

  • There is a key message that each Chump needs to take away when they are reeling in emotional pain and attempting to “Google the pain away” on D-Day. The message is this: Cheating is abusive.

    My first D-Day was over 3 years ago, the beginning of years of false R. I only came across ChumpLady a few weeks ago, Yet it has been invaluable to my healing because it was the first place where I was able to read this message so clearly and also to understand the reasons why infidelity (and serial cheating especially) is a form of abuse.

    If a clear “cheating is abusive” message had been among the search results on my D-day, I would have had the support with which to move forward with the decision that my gut was telling me to make- this is an unhealthy environment that I need to get out of immediately. I would have understood why I was in complete shock and could not function for weeks after D-Day. I would have stood my ground against my STBX when he and the counsellor and our Retrouvaille implied that a “ kind” and “strong” person forgive and realize that infidelity was not the end of the world. I would have understood why my STBX’s blame-shifting behaviour during (false) reconciliation triggered panic attacks: because gaslighting, cake-eating and repeated lying is inherently abusive. I would have understood that being hypervigilant until I felt “safe” again (as suggested by the marriage counsellor) was not a way of controlling one’s environment in the wake of trauma; rather it creates a situation in which the Chump’s entire emotional well being becomes conditional upon each individual future action of their spouse, a spouse that has been proven to be unreliable. This is the opposite of controlling one’s environment.

    The language of abuse is one that people understand quite clearly these days – we know that behaviours of abusers are rooted in control and are unlikely to change. But the term abuse is still not associated with infidelity – yet. You noted in a previous post that it took decades for domestic violence to be recognized as not the fault of the victim, and to be universally named what it is – abuse. This is the gap in the literature that Chump Lady approach fills – being the first step towards shifting the current conventional language of infidelity closer to the language of abuse.

    • Yes! Yes! Yes! So very important to understand infidelity and cheating as abuse. One month in, I was leaving a shopping strip area with my husband and I blurted out, “My God, this cheating stuff is abuse. That’s what I’m in, an abusive relationship!” Realizing this abuse is crucial to getting yourself out and fast.

    • “Cheating is abuse”

      Yes, it’s that simple. Once the chump gets that, the rest falls into place and real healing and recovery begins. Tracy is the only voice out there saying this, and it’s revolutionary. It’s like she is leading us all as we stand up and say: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna take this anymore!”

  • You guys, I am totally overwhelmed by your responses. Apologies for not commenting to each and everyone of you who took the time to post. This is an embarrassment of kibbles. And I will draw on it every day as I go through this process and write this book. You’ve given me such a boost!!!

    I promise, I won’t stop blogging either. I love the community here and I won’t quit. Also, I read things about infidelity and never cease to be pissed off, so there’s always something to say. 🙂

    I’m so touched by your stories, and your kick ass resilience. I think there is the temptation after a person goes through this, and gets to the other, better side, to just live with the happy relief and not want to look back. I know many happy people, several remarried to other chumps, who lived it and are just grateful it’s in the past. I get it. The mindfuckery fades.

    But through weird circumstances of time and opportunity and interest, I was able to create this blog — having no idea exactly how it would come together. I just had the feeling that other people felt like I did — that such a place should exist. Thank you so much for the validation that CL helps you. That means the world to me. I swear it was worth it being cheated on by that fat, sociopathic creep because that experience allowed me to meet my husband — and meet all of you. Good things come from the worst things, I truly believe that.

    Thank you again. I’m going to print all this out and send it on and hopefully some agent won’t think we’re all nuts. Or bitter. Chumps are always bitter… 🙂 Hey, we’re BETTER not bitter! Might be my new tag line…

  • CL – I can say without reservation that your perspective has been more insightful to my relationship(s) than 5 years of weekly therapy. Thanks for telling it like it is and cutting through the bullshit butter with a hot knife. I wish you’d been around as a resource when I went through a divorce from a BPD kibble eater, then went married another one. What a long strange trip it’s been.

  • Another thought: that your perspective makes it *very* clear that infidelity, mind-fuckery, and contempt for loving relation are NOT the norm, nor should they be … as is so cheaply trumpeted in other places and practices (e.g., politics, business, the money trades, etc.). The latest edition of psychiatry’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM), for example, no longer includes NPD as a personality disorder. My first thought when I learned this was that in our overriding culture, narcissism is now a norm — considered ‘normal’ — Think on ‘celebrity culture’ and how so many public figures (politicians, technocrats, the filthy rich, ‘stars’, etc.) behave. The bounds of acceptable behaviour and conduct have been blown wide open … so relational abuses like betrayal are no longer considered problematic — they’re just ‘how we get things done.’ Your thinking and approach, Tracy, is profoundly ethical … I really appreciate this.

    • Another P.S. (I’m on a roll and every comment I read twigs another thought) — The only book I’ve found (pre-publication of yours, of course 🙂 ) that helped me in the immediate aftermath (during the first year or so) was Lundy Bancroft’s *Why Does He Do That?*

      It was written by a man for female survivors of violence done by men … although its wisdom applies to everyone who has been harmed by another’s deliberate acts and mind-fuckery. Of everything I’ve read in print for adult survivors, it sets the bar. I can see your book being of similar stellar quality.

      It’s so, so rare to find thinking that is excised of all bullshit…!

      • SoOverHim, you’ll be glad to know that, primarily because of the possible impact on divorce and child-custody cases, NPD stayed in the DSM. Lots of psychiatrists, lawyers, psychologists and social workers fought for that. Clinically, the dimensional approach they wanted to use instead of the specific diagnoses makes sense, but legally, we still super need the Borderline, Narcissist and Anti-Social diagnoses!

  • So, I’m sure you’ve already been inundated with responses, but yeah:

    I discovered your page 1) a couple months before the divorce was final, b) about two months after my doctor & my psychologist had given me numerous talkings-to that what I had experienced was no where in the same galaxy as a normal, healthy relationship, and 3) about four months before I finally understood just how badly I’d been abused.

    Almost everything I had come across on the internet–or in print (and as a longtime bibliophile, if it’s in print, I’ll find it!)–was focused on reconciling. Or on letting go of the negative and embracing the positive. Or on telling the victim that they somehow asked for it because they behaved like a victim. Or that the fact you have kids with this person completely wipes out all the shitty things they did to you, and that you have to be the bigger person and let all of that go or your kids will be scarred for life.

    CL, you are the only voice I’ve found that flat out says, “it’s a shit sandwich”. “He’s an ass.” “She’s a slut.” “Marriage to the AP is a farce registered at Macy’s.” (I especially like that one 🙂 )

    For what its worth, if a publisher has any sense at all, they will option this. I suspect it will be one of those books which *never* goes out of print.

    Right about the time someone invented the wheel (and was too “busy” to go out hunting with the rest of the men), I suspect someone was also screwing a quarter of the cave-hood. Human nature being what it is, I suspect right around the first manned flight to Mars, whether that’s in 30 years or 300, there’s still going to be a need for the message: “Leave a cheater; gain a life”.

    I don’t think there’s ever going to be a time that this message will not resonate with people all over the world.

  • I so badly want to post, to support CL in her efforts, but really can’t say it any better than my co-chumps have said it.

    This is the reality of infidelity. CL has articulated my reality to me. All of the CL tenets have proved to be true in my life over and over and over again. Trust that he sucks. Don’t waste time untangling the skein. Kibbles. Cake. All of it. CL has helped me through the most difficult time in my life. Now my life is pretty sweet. That is the measure of good advice!

  • And may I just say, *when* CL’s book is published, we need to have a kick ass party somewhere so we can all get autographed copies & meet each other!

  • Simply put, Tracy – you advocate a rare perspective in this day and age of “do what makes YOU happy.” You advocate personal responsibility and the novel idea that bad behavior should not be explained away, ignored or – worse – excused. It should face real consequences. And the victim should have the right to expect that, and know that he/she is not a crazy lunatic for believing that there is such a thing as right and wrong behavior and not be willing to put up with the latter. You have given us permission to treat infidelity like the scourge that it is – not some “party game” that barely should even get a mention as wrong in social circles. You let us know that it’s okay to judge someone’s behavior as toxic, intolerable and unacceptable – and to actually call it that. You have given people who have been played as chumps by SNPD types back their dignity, self respect and a true tool kit to deal with some real “tools” in life. You have been a godsend and I count finding your blog one of the best things that has happened to me in the 3 years since I found out about my ex, his OW and their four year affair.

    Any agent would be an idiot to pass on the kind of money your book would make – infidelity is a plague in modern society, breaking apart marriages, families and myriad hearts in the name of selfishness. The number of chumps/book purchasers are legion, believe me. If you write it – they will come!

  • My husband is healing from his wacko infidelity. I filed for divorce and was carrying through with the plan, then realized he was healing. I kicked him out after two months of living with him while he was trying very hard to come out of the fog. I find your site incredibly insightful. You have a way with words about all this infidelity stuff like none other. I’m a bit different from others on your blog, but I still get a tremendous amount out of your site because you delve deeply into why all this infidelity stuff happens. I don’t have a narcissistic husband, just a man who got very messed up for awhile. I’ve been with my husband for 37 years, most of those years were very good ones. Your advice helped save my marriage. Leaving the person in the wacko state is the only way to go, whether they are trying to claw their way back to health or weather they are acting as their usual, narcissistic selves. My husband believes my kicking him out was very important to the process. I do think he would have made his way back either way, but the work happened more quickly and effectively due in part to following your advice. And, most importantly, I didn’t have to put up with him while he was still coming out of the fog. I don’t think hanging around the betrayer is a good idea during this stage, way to painful, no matter how hard they are trying.

  • What makes you unique – humor and having lived through it.

    Thinking up titles is fun and could be a good blog post. Straightforward – what to do when you’ve been cheated on. Or funny.

    If you haven’t read him I recommend Gottman on this – he talks about reconciliation in a way that blames the cheater and looks at actions.

    You will need a good counter to the Don Savage type theory that kids deserve stability so much that people should not care about secual fidelity.

    • My counter to that is kids deserve stability so much that you shouldn’t fuck around.

      What kind of argument is that? If you work from the premise that infidelity is abuse (which I’m not defining as open marriage, which what is what Savage appears to be advocating, IMO) — why not say kids deserve stability, so stay when s/he hits you. Kids deserve stability, so stay if they drink themselves to death. The kids deserve stability, so stick with their gambling addiction.

      It’s ONLY when it’s fucking around — a vice everyone can get behind — that suddenly it’s so very important to Think Of The Children.

      • I agree. I think though that there is a blurred boundary between open marriage and deciding to put up with it for the sake of the kids. A lot of stories about “open” marriages start with a couple where one person kept cheating and decided they couldn’t stop, but didn’t want to split up. Read Jenny Blocks book and think about her ego. Savage himself started with a relationship where they had agreed that infidelity would end things but after someone cheated they decided staying together was more important than sex and eventually that they should just say it was okay in advance. Savage and Block specifically point to the kids’ need for stability as a reason to have open marriage since people “can’t”be faithful.

      • Cheaters are abusive and SICK. Better for children to have one well parent focused on the children, than one abusive and sick parent with another parent who spends most of their emotional energy on the abusive and sick parent rather than the children. Staying for the sake of the children makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

  • I don’t know if it would fit in the book, but I’d love to see a piece on celebrity cheating anSd narcissism. People suggest they do it because extra masculine, but what if politics selects for ego and selfishness? If you look at some celebs it fits – Spitzer didn’t just cheat on his wife, he thought laws did not apply to him and ordered women like a dinner at the hotel. When he “apologized” he made his poor wife face the press. Edwards wanted to run for office although his wife was dying. Sanford asked his wife to advise him on his happiness with nasty one and then to run his campaign and posed kids with nasty one to help him win. When Mrs. Sanford looked back, she found a lot of selfishness in her husband’s past behavior.

    • I think politics attracts people who are highly narcissistic. I don’t necessarily mean the demented narcissism we talk about here, but this high propensity for self-love. Either their in it to save the world (pretty narcissistic to think you are the gods’ gift to the country) or their in it for fame and glory. Either way, it’s not pretty stuff motivating them.

    • Diana, you are so right. If you really look into the history/lives of cheaters, their selfishness is never confined to merely the fidelit deal. Every cheater I have known is selfish/abusive in many aspects of their lives.

  • Gee a 110 comments but here is 1 more. How has CL helped me? Recently I went back to my first letter to you and reread it. I remember when I read it for the first time. WOW it was such a refreshing and in your face answer without being mean or condesending. I don’t think there is any place else I could have gotten that persective. Over the last 7 months I have visited your blog almost daily. It has helped me understand alot about my H and our relationship. Entertained and educated me. The community here has been a sounding board and given good advice and information. You are the Dr. Phil (sorry best I cando at this hour) for chumps. You should write a book or whatever it is you are planning. A wider audience perhaps Your view is unique and should be heard by more people.

  • Hi Tracy,

    Thank you for this wonderful blog. For the past few weeks, it’s become a site that I check daily. I have to say, I get a little excited when I see a new post! It’s usually going to be a page ripped out of the fucked up script my life has become over the past 4 years. It’s a painful, accurate, and necessary, reflection of the truth.

    I’d like to offer a few suggestions for your pitch. Hell, these might serve as Blog Topics too.

    1) Cheat-Sheet Guide to Cheaters : I’m not sure how I even found your blog in the first place, but I strongly suspect it was when I was researching Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In my Chump Mode, I was, of course, looking for explanations… the Black Box Flight Recorder to the Plane Crash I am going through in slow motion (all due respect to real crash victims and survivors alike). Anyway, my point is.. there is a real dearth of information out there, besides the clinical regurgitated bullshit about NPD. It’s really about the implementation of these fuckers. It’s “Stupid Shit Narcissists Say”, but really fleshed out with a lot of concrete examples. There’s a real “ah-ha” moment to be had, when one figures out IT WAS NOT MY FAULT AFTER ALL. I got blind-sided. Mugged. Fucked Over.

    2) How to Fight Unfairly : Yes, perhaps the real answer is “no contact”, but the reality is, us Chumps might be taking our lives back over the course of some time, in which we have to deal with these fuckers. It might go against the turn the other cheek grain, but since your going to anyway, why not have some Tips and Trips to Pushing Your Narc’s Buttons. Such as, agreeing to something at a scheduled date and time, then, changing it at the last second. Blatantly lying about something stupid. Sending an “out of context” text. Returning their text, but 6 hours later. You know, wing nut shit. Why bother doing this, expending the energy? It’s called standing up. When you go off script, the Narc is bothered to no end. Especially if your in the midst of divorce, throwing some mental jujitsu your Narc’s way could be justified. Screw with them so they have less ability to deal with the task at hand.

    3) What To Do Now : Now what? What Do Chumps Do? There’s not a Chumps Support Group in my area, I checked. Dating? How do you navigate, and not just in a generic way. How Do Chumps Get Over The Hump?

    4) Guy’s Guide to Female Narc’s. I realize that you, the Chump Lady, have been completely fair and never have insinuated that these fuckers are the domain of either sex. But yet, there is a slight bias, unintended, towards men as the Fucktards, and woman, the Chump. I just think that nature abhors a vacuum, and for sure, both the general idea of a book that shits in the face of the Relationship Recovery Complex is a great idea, even more so a chapter each for The Evil Face of the Female Narc.

    5) And, of course, the world has seen plenty of Evil Male Narc’s – but none the less, round them up and expose their special talents and tactics too.

    6) Keep the blunt writing style. Fuck any publisher that tries to sanitize your shit sandwich. I can remember, a few years ago, my Ex tried to apologize for spreading her legs for another man by saying she had made a “poor choice”. NO… a “poor choice” is what you do when you forget to pay a bill on time. You “fucked up” when you chose to feed Ego Kibbles to your narcissistic self instead of remaining true to your marriage, your partner, and your children. We chumps got knocked over the head with a blunt object of treachery. It’s deserving of language that speaks of it as such.

    Best of luck and we are all here to return the favor. The Chump Man.

  • Chump Son here.

    OF COURSE you should write the book. It’s really all here. And your voice/vocabulary are VERY important. I have said that you do “blunt force trauma” therapy, and I mean that as a compliment! You take complex ideas that are often expressed in psychologeze (and then are seized by the Reconciliation Industrial Complex) and you put these terms in frank, direct useful language, putting our feelings to your own salty music! You are The Great Clarifier.

    In contrast to some above, I think you should maybe narrow the focus of your first book. I’d focus on the male narc/female chump situation, which is so classic and frequent. I’d say in there that narcissism is not limited to one gender, but that, for your first work, you are going to key in on that (noting, of course, that there are Chump Husbands, Chump Sons, Chump Employees, etc.) So, the first book is a focused product. But this could be part of a product line, a general analysis of narcs ‘n chumps, and that can apply to lots of relationships.

    I think that this book could be terrific, get you on “Oprah,” etc. You’d be great on Oprah or some such show. Our culture has become suffused in an optimism that really turns Chumps into suckers. We think that everything can be fixed. In a lot of very good ways, your message is old fashioned. There are some things in life (narcissists) who can’t be fixed, so you just gotta recognize ’em and run like hell (if you are still not attached) or go “cold turkey” and go no contact or limited contact. (Narcs are really a drug, a kind of narcissist narcotic that Chumps get addicted to). Anyway, I’d focus the first book on this classic situation, though, in the forward, I’d say, “Look, I’m drilling down on this classic kind of case, but this is a broader problem.” Heck, I’d argue we could relate things like certain kinds of economic behavior or certain big historical systems/disasters to narcissism, but, as I said, that can be the future for you.

    Now, of course you deserve a classic book, but I wonder if you shouldn’t look at a Kindle Book or something like that? That lowers costs and in this new viral age might actually prove highly successful. I think there is a sci fi book called “Wool” that has been a big success that way. In any case, talk to an agent and see what s/he says, but think about going digital.

    There are also other things you could do after the first book. You could edit a “Chump Collection” of reports from the Chump Front Line. This could widen the aperture. Chump Son would be eager to contribute the Chump Son perspective, which I think is important here. Many mothers “hang in there” with a bad dad “for the kids.” But the bad dad who drills down on his son (usually the oldest) and a Mom who dotes on the same son (to compensate for dad’s drilling) may not be doing the kid a favor. I hope a few of my comments have been helpful in that regard.

    Beyond this, I could see short video postings on YouTube. I think you should consider doing a TED talk. I recently thought of nominating you for that. I think your idea of a Chump Meeting is a good one. Frankly, with clean divorce an option, there is less reason than ever for cheating. Hell, if you ain’t happy, just have the guts to tell him/her. Of course, that doesn’t happen because the narc wants the Chump to play “the humiliating game of pick me,” because the narc wants “ego kibbles” and to be a “cake eater.” But, to be brutally honest, the Chumps also get hooked in to “savior narcissism,” (the idea that they can “save” the family, the marriage, the kids, the narc). One great thing you do is you force Chumps to look at themselves analytically, without blaming. (Chumps are big on self blame, which narcs use.)

    Sorry for this rather all-over-the-place comment, but I guarantee you I will buy many copies of this book and send them to people I know. I think beyond a first, focused book, there is a whole product line. And I think Chump Nation (I can’t recall which contributor coined that one) would respond.

    You know, Christopher Lasch wrote “The Culture of Narcissism” way back in the late 70s. It was kind of dense and wooly, but I think he saw a rising tide. You are part of the Chump Counter-Revolution, and so your first book is only the first step.

    Chump Son

      • Deborah,

        Glad you agree. I think we should nominate CL for this. I have to visit their website, but I think there is a nomination process. Folks can nominate themselves or others. CL, what do you think? I believe you’d be great.

        Chump Son

  • When I discovered my husband of 18 years had chosen to cheat, and then re-write the story of us to suit his selfishness, I was humiliated and crushed. When I met the bimbo during his parents funerals and later discovered he had brought her as his “date” while still married to me and in front of his three minor children, I was beyond disgusted and furious.

    When he told me what I discovered wasn’t at all what I discovered, my very sense of who I was became subject to my own scrutiny. Was I insane? Did those emails really detail the affair, or could they have been just “friendly” exchanges? I fell apart.

    I looked for information on infidelity and divorce, but everything I read was tempered with “the other side of the story,” or incredible stories of pain over the loss of love and trust. It was incredibly off putting and/or depressing. I was sinking fast.

    Then I stumbled upon “Chump Lady.” For the first time in a year, I found the answers to painful self-doubt. I wasn’t crazy; he was just an asshole. I found like-minded, jilted, chumps, spouses who believed in their lying partners; who made life easy for everyone because that’s just how us chumps roll.

    I found women and men who went through the same mindfuck that I had. While reading, when I wasn’t nodding in agreement, I discovered I was laughing again. I became that I would survive marriage to a lousy spouse and a self-absorbed human being. It wasn’t me. It was him, and his need to cheat to satisfy the little id who wants what he wants because he wants it when he wants it. The cost of his betrayal has been beyond any monetary amount. I’ve never been so personally disgusted with two people in my life. I trust that they suck.

    Finding Chump Lady’s honest, open, painful and (THANK GOD) humorous contributions to the healing process has been a Godsend to me as I recover from the pain of infidelity and humiliating, unconscionable gas lighting.

    [Chump Lady, do NOT let them lose the profanity! Sometimes a fucking loser is a fucking loser. No two ways about it! Good luck, you write genuine gold. Thank you for validating my feelings and the chance to express my gratitude].

  • Tracy,

    You are an amazing writer, blogger and person.
    In addition to what you do on Chumplady, you find the time to respond to questions and comments that cannot be posted.

    I am not going to repeat what every other chump has stated so eloquently.

    Your site and your advice has been a literal lifesaver for me. Your direct approach, no-nonsense understanding of what the reality of betrayal REALLY is, saved my life. After two hospitalizations, lots of drugs and 4 years of therapy, finding your site was like finding a buoy. Every other professional could reference betrayal and infidelity but no one had actually lived it! You give voice to the crushing pain we, and often our children, try to survive.

    Your concept of “Meh” and the guarantee of it happening on a random Tuesday is something no one else talks about. “Getting over” or “surviving infidelity” is not the same as “meh”. Those phrases are just words; “meh” is a feeling, a state of mind and a re-birth all rolled into one. It is the possibility of living through the pain and then being able to live a better life while never forgetting that pain. Professionals don’t realize or give weight to the fact that the pain stays with us forever. “Meh” is a way to live with it.

    I hope you find that special person who will listen to what you have done for all of us. Your book would help the chumps and also be something to help our friends and families understand that we are not crazy, we are just healing.

    If you need real names, just ask!
    You have a devoted chump base.

  • All I can say is that you started your website at the time I was three months into my relationship with a self called, “Sex Addict”, BS term. I found you 2 months after my D Day which was January 16th 2013. I thankfully was not married nor had children with this loser but I did have a very close relationship where 95% of our free time was spent together outside of work for a year. All of the confused feelings and trauma after I dumped him were overwhelming and I didn’t know how to sort through them so I went to therapy for two months just to work through my emotions so I could function again. Needless to say I am forever changed by this and will never forget the feeling of seeing a Craig’s List ad in one of many tabs on his computer when I went to check my Netflix account. I saw that and wanted to run as fast as my legs would carry me. When I asked Loser “What the fuck is this?” he replied with, “I just look”, so I said, “What is the point of that? bullshit!”. He then admitted the truth or partial truth. I let a day go by to try and let all of this “reality” sink in and broke up with him the next day. I thankfully never did the pick me dance because I knew despite all of the pain and hurt and confusion that I never ever wanted to go back to him or have him physically touch me in any way ever again. I was throwing up in my mouth a little bit thinking about what he was doing behind my back and how he put my mental health and physical health at risk without my knowledge. That reality scared the hell out of me and not knowing the full truth of what he did or how many times he did it freaked me out even more. I immed. went to my gyno’s office and asked to be tested for every STD known to humankind. Thankfully, I didn’t catch anything or I would have killed him with my bare hands.

    I know my experience is less complicated than many here who were married for a very long time and have children but I know the deep searing pain that is caused by this and how you can no longer tell what is real or not. I just tried to simplify it for myself that he never loved me as someone who does love someone doesn’t put them in harm’s way emotionally or physically. It’s almost 6 months now since my D Day and I still feel the pain and loneliness but know without question that my choice was the right one and I am so lucky to have been clear minded enough to remove him from my life immed. upon seeing that ad on his computer. I am working toward meh but not there yet but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.

    Tracy, I am so grateful to you and your site that I can’t even put it into words. I wish I started reading it when you started writing it as I would have saved myself a lot of pain. I too searched everything on the internet pertaining to sex addiction to help me understand and I kept saying to myself, bullshit about the concept of sex addiction and reconciliation, that wasn’t what I was feeling at all. Why should I feel bad for a loser who harms others repeatedly without their knowledge and why on earth would I want to try and fix my relationship with loser so that he can go back and harm me again? One discovery time was enough for me thank you!

    So please get this book written because you help men and women in all types of relationships with these losers both male and female and you are the only one speaking out loud this way without any religious bias to save the relationship or marriage.

    I’ll be damned if I listened to my loser who wanted to save the relationship by having both of us working on it. I didn’t do anything to fuck it up and I always knew that. I told him to go to therapy as he was the one who needed it. The funniest part is I was the one who wound up going to therapy! Ha. He never went and jumped right into another relationship a little over a month after our breakup.

    When I found you I said to myself, “Now we are talking” this lady knows the real deal. Run and get out and never look back!!!

    Write the book, you have helped me sooooooo much and so many others in all kinds of situations and lengths of time. It all seems to be one script regardless and you know and understand the writer of that script very well!!!

    Lots of love to you Tracy and thanks for all of your help, love and support. It’s well worth it.

    Tell the potential publishers, this is a no brainer, buy it and it will sell like hotcakes! Especially in Big Cities like New York, L.A., Texas, Chicago, places where Heathens live who don’t go to church every Sunday!

  • My dear friend and comrade in this mess–she and her sons were abandoned four months before I and mine were–sent this link to me. While I believe her H is a true textbook narcissistic sociopath, my xH is more of a passive-aggressive coward whose cheating is a bit narcissistic–but he’s not really a narcissist. Nevertheless, this is useful info. Our friendship is a huge silver lining in this mess–we never really clicked before we each found out about the other’s situation, but since then we have been HUGE support to one another.

    Here’s the link:

  • I haven’t had time to read all of the responses, so apologies if I’m repeating somone.

    CL, your site was the single catalyst that got me across the line away from my STBXW. After 3 years of painful limbo, deep down knowing that I could never except her cheating, researching about the psychology of cheats, the personality dissorders they nearly all have, it was your site, your articles, your wisdom and logic, and the forum discussion that got me there. You make it a “no brainer” decision whether to reconciliate with a cheater. Thankyou.

    At almost 2 months past leaving my STBXW, I don’t have a single regret. I’m just so happy to be finally be moving forward to a happier future.

    • I am only 3 months into DDay and I don’t have a single regret either. I think this site saved me from years and years of pain.

  • The thing is, Tracy, you WILL have people buy your book to give to their chumpy loved ones. They chumpy loved ones may not read it at first, but your book will hook them eventually, and then they will be converted.

    It’s easy for an outsider to want a chump they love dearly to leave their cheater to gain a life. That’ll be a huge portion of your sales, I predict.

    Sadly, I’m certain that I will have to buy your book for a few people before I leave this great earth. But I’ll be glad your book exists.

  • I am so PROUD OF ALL YOU CHUMPY PEEPS! And so thankful for your support here and EVER so thankful, from the bottom of my heart, that Tracy has put so much love and effort and experience into this website. What a tremendous gift for all of us.

  • Dear Tracy,
    I would have spent the last 9 months dancing as fast as I could to stay in the same place. (It would have been so “Alice in Wonderland….) I can only imagine, but, I can see the possibility in my mind’s eye and it is truly scary – it was bad enough as it was but nothing like it could have been and I wasn’t even married to the guy. I was so desperate to believe and you, along with many many others basically just said, step away from the crazy. And in case you’re not sure……. this guy is crazy……. or rather “This guy is a MINDFUCK” and yes, I meant to yell. Truer words have not been spoken.

    I think a book would be great – you seem to strike just the right chord in snark, compassion, common sense, intelligence and for me, the only light from a very dark place. I had to trust you and it made all the difference in the world.

    God, it’s so pathetic, but if I hadn’t accidentally stumbled on to your site, I don’t think I ever would have thought of just walking away. I chose my pain, I had to have a little faith and I got that from you and I’m way way better for it now.

  • Definitely!!! I read and reread so many online articles all of them advocating forgiveness and reconciliation. I didn’t understand it. It just didn’t make sense how or why you should trust that person with your everything again. Then I found this truly unique site, people with the same perspective. I felt my feelings validated.
    He cheated; I divorced him; Beginning of story…

  • Chumplady’s stance is ballsy. It isn’t popular right now to encourage those who want to stand up and say “Hey, wait just one goddamned minute, I gave you every opportunity to ‘come clean’ and ‘work on things’, and you responded by getting naked and sweaty with someone else. And then you not only lied about it, you used it as a trump card in a nasty power game involving money/children/employment/family/whatever chip you could lay your hands on, you parasitic jackass. This was not an open marriage, this was not a sexless marriage, there was no informed consent here, this was mindfuckery. So the failure lies with YOU, sweetheart.”

    No, in this age of rampant selfishness, this isn’t “popular” at all.

    Sure, if people want to have an open marriage, that’s their business. And Chumplady recognizes that open marriages and/or post-cheating reconciliation are perfectly good solutions for some couples. But the reality is that this is not the case for most people who suffer through infidelity. It’s not open. One party is intentionally left in the dark. And Chumplady is validating the experience of those people, men and women, who find themselves in the unenviable position of hearing through the grapevine that their betrothed is carrying on with someone else. She is empowering these people to say, as the French say, “Tant pis, ma belle (Too bad, honey), you treated me very, very shoddily, and I will not play your charade for one minute more, because my time on this Earth is too valuable for this kind of crap.”

    ChumpLady is not only very well versed in current psychological literature and marital issues, she is a hell of a writer. Anyone who can take her on for a book should snap her up right now. Readers will love her. Editors will love her even more. Her words are clear, concise, and carefully chosen. In a single paragraph she can provide a hug and a reality check, and she’ll use both correct grammar and the appropriate amount of profanity to set you on the right course to getting YOUR life in order.

    Because, in all fairness, if your husband or wife is fucking someone else, you damn well should have something to say about it.

    • GoBeAwesome,
      Wow! That is so well stated that I want to send it off to everyone in the world! Very well said.

  • I think your site is unique because it truly has a tough love angle. And it’s effective and actually helpful in getting chumps out of the harmful cycle of DDay, false reconciliation, and more DDays.

    You’re not kidding when you talk about the Reconciliation Industrial Complex. It’s everywhere. It’s real. You would not believe (well…y’know, you probably would…) the bullshit that I have seen on other websites concerning this shit. And not just SI. I am a member of Eden Fantasies (which is a website that sells adult toys, lingerie, etc.) and they have a general forum. Some of the threads are posted by members who have been cheated on and are looking for advice.

    And I shit you not, I am the ONLY person on any of those threads who is NOT pulling the “What was wrong with the relationship that made them cheat,” “you should go to marriage counseling to try to work it out,” or even (seriously…) “Why don’t you try having an open marriage?” line of crap.

    There is a man who started a thread a year and a half ago looking for advice because his wife said she wanted to cheat. In updates, he stated that it turned out she had already cheated and was still cheating. Every single person in that thread, except me, kept telling him that he should figure out “what drove her to do it” and “how he can work on it with her” and even how they’ve seen “marriages become stronger after infidelity.”

    He updated last week. He is STILL devastated and STILL trying to “work through it.” It’s been a year and a half! And STILL forum members are telling him the same crap. One of them even suggested they start having threesomes.

    It. Is. MIND-BOGGLING. This is the Reconciliation Industrial Complex. It blames the chump, pushes ineffective “advice” and pats the go of the cheater by giving them excuses and leeway to push all responsibility on the chump. And what good does it do? Obviously not much good at all if this “advice” keeps chumps with cheaters and just continues the cycle.

    Your blog is different and unique in it’s REALISTIC view. Cheaters don’t care. Cheaters want what they want and they will step on you to get it. Even if there is trouble in the marriage/relationship, be it unsatisfied sexual needs or emotional needs, cheaters take the most immature and selfish way out. There are a million and one ways to handle relationship/marriage issues, and cheaters take none of them. They cheat, they lie, they hurt, and then blame you for it. It is toxic.

    The truth may hurt, but it’s what we NEED to hear vs. what we want to hear. You tell us what we need to hear. You are the voice that pushes all that crap out and says “HEY! You don’t deserve this abuse. Don’t let them make you feel like you do.”

    And come to think of it, you are the only person I’ve ever heard refer to cheating as abuse, and I think you’re right. It’s emotional blackmail. It’s manipulation. And in some cases, it’s a danger to the the health of the chump. That’s absolutely abuse. Reconciliation Industrial Complex doesn’t ever call it that. It makes the abuse worse by kicking your self esteem when it’s already down with it’s “you drove him/her to this.” Your advice also has application to other forms of abusive relationships. Not just cheater/chump relationships. My fiance was abused by his father (who was abused by his own father…who raped his aunt…) and he’s coming to terms with the realization that yes, it WAS abuse. It was NOT his fault, and he need not try to figure out that skein of fuckupedness, and to not internalize the abuse. He’s about to move to a new city with me, in a different state, thousands of miles away from the abusers in his family (his brothers are none too peachy themselves) and I told him “Lose the abusers, gain a life.”

    You also have an interview and advice from a credible source on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and other social disorders that cheaters often bring to relationships. You’re not pulling this out of your butt.

    That’s what’s unique about a book by you. And you bet I would buy it.

    • Kara, you phrase the cheater shittiness in such a succinct way, I hope you don’t mind making a guest appearance on the blog.

      Talk about a homerun.

    • Members recommend threesomes to BSes? Sigh. I guess there might be a lot of people with no healthy boundaries on a forum for a site that specializes in *adult toys* and lingerie.

      Kind of like seeking marriage advice on a forum for Club Hedonism (if they have one) or from a polyamory web site?

  • I concur with the other commenters here, so won’t go into detail about how helpful this site is and how rare it is to find something with the humorous style that is so welcome while you’re mired in shit. However, here are some thoughts:

    * I have read dozens and dozens of books on infidelity, marriage repair, MLC, and personality disorders — but I don’t think there is one that ties it all together. Overcoming infidelity or repairing your marriage might be possible if you were dealing with a sane person, but the outcomes illustrated in those books are IMPOSSIBLE when dealing with a person who could be classified as an NPD, BPD, etc.

    * Speaking of personality disorders, one thing that I still struggle with is seeing what — if any — category my STBX falls into. Like others have commented, I was COMPLETELY blindsided by the infidelity and general shittiness I’ve experienced since D-Day. Even after much reflection I don’t see a history of NPD or anything that I can “diagnose.” While I think it’s helpful to educate people about how these disorders can influence the decision to cheat in the first place, what I would also love to see is something that helps illustrate the situation where these cheaters masqueraded as a completely normal person for decades upon decades and then seemingly overnight turned into a different person. (Though I suppose it’s futile to keep trying to “explain” these cheaters away, what I’m trying to say is that I think it’s possible that they aren’t aligned with a DSM-V diagnosis.) I felt much more free once my IC helped me let go of my need for a label by saying, “We may never know what happened to him in childhood to cause this behavior, but it is clear that something did, and whatever it was means he can’t be who you need.”

    * One of the things that has surprised me the most is that many seemingly intelligent people can’t seem to wrap their heads around what the cheater did. Prior to D-Day, if you had asked them in theory whether they believe that cheating is bad, they would have said, “Absolutely! If my spouse ever did that I’d kill him/cut his junk off/divorce his ass.” However, when it happens to you, they express doubt about whether it could be so bad… or insinuate that you must be exaggerating… or say that they just can’t believe that your charming spouse could possibly have done such a thing… or put forth that bullshit phrase “I don’t want to take sides — I’m friends with you both.” I’ve gotten some good advice about how to get past the realization that people like this aren’t worth keeping in my life, but honestly I could use more guidance about how to navigate the minefield of the general population that can’t truly understand what we chumps are going through.

    * I feel like we talk a lot about the fact that we need to leave and seek “meh,” but some chumps might need help figuring out HOW to do that. You have a great summary on this blog, but in book form perhaps you can expand on these issues. For example, there are some generic “divorce for dummies” books out there that list the general legal process in a clinical way, but what they don’t do is get into cautions and tips for chumps. Like with the post-infidelity recovery literature, the “normal” rules don’t apply because we are dealing with someone who is not sane.

    * What I have appreciated the most about your blog is the elegant simplicity of your message. It condensed some of what I had been experiencing into easily-understood concepts, and the humor and casual style helps these concepts make it through the fog of pain and actually RESONATE.

    So keep up the good work, and best of luck with publishers. I eagerly await the first edition!

    • I agree with this. A lot of “advice” for people who have been cheated on operates on the assumption that the cheater will be honest, open, unselfish and willing to comply with your terms.

      But the problem with that is, if they were all those things, there wouldn’t be an issue with infidelity in the first place.

      Most cheaters are narcissists and you can’t expect a narcissist to just stop being like that because you tell them to. You can’t expect them to stop being selfish just because you say it hurts you. Therein lies the issue. They don’t see a problem, so they don’t see a reason to change their behavior.

      Which is why that kind of “advice” doesn’t work.

  • A line from one of your articles snagged my attention as I was browsing through the divorce articles on Huff Post one day: “His life is closed to you and your opinion.” (Or something close to that.) That one line turned my thinking around and got me on the road to recovery.
    I looked up your blog, and everything I read resonated. “Unraveling the Skein of Fuckedupedness,” and the “Pick Me Dance” especially described exactly where I had been for 2+ years. Two overlapping affairs, secret bank accounts, repeated attempts at reconciliation, demeaning myself in attempts to please him, and futile marriage counseling. If I could only understand it, I could fix it…If I could change myself to what he wants, I could fix it…Surely he’ll snap out of it if I’m patient enough and forgiving enough..
    It helped SO MUCH to know I wasn’t the only one with 20 years of what I would call a great marriage exploding into a Jerry Springer episode. Your blog has helped me by validating, advising (No Contact!) and making me laugh out loud.
    I can interact with my ex-NPD now (only when necessary) and recognize the “Gaslighting,” or “You’re not the boss of me” or “Kibble” searching. These phrases that may sound silly to someone who hasn’t lived them hit the nail on the head. Exactly. My head is much clearer and I am much less of a chump model for my daughters. I only regret not having found you earlier.
    I read 25-30 books trying to find something to help me, paid a lot of money for counseling, and your line “His life is closed to you and your opinion” is what snapped me out of obsessing over his wasted life and start living my own.

  • You frame cheating as abuse and rightfully so, I was an Amazon chump, my first thought was divorce, those damn books out there kept me in my marriage an extra few months and I almost paid with my life. People need the validation your information carries with it. If I had gone with my first instinct I’d have been safer, the cheaters use those books to lie to you some more.

  • Tracy ~ AKA Chump Lady

    Your a gift from God to ALL of us!!! Reading everyone posts and discovering that it’s not are faults, it’s theirs has made me feel so much better. They have a sickness and we got caught up in it. The pain is awful, but coming on your site has truly helped me. I’m sure you saved a lot of people’s lives!!!

    Kudos to you!!!!

    I would love to see in your book the bullshit lines they come up with..

    I got:

    “We grew apart” – bullshit
    “The marriage wasn’t working” – bullshit
    “You hate me” – bullshit

    I also got I didn’t leave you for the OW, I was going to leave – bullshit. You could have left before, but you waited to you had someone

    I was blindsided and now I don’t exist.

    Cheaters leave b/c they have someone PERIOD!!

  • CL, I know you can’t do everything in the first book, but I hope at some point you’ll talk about “open” marriage for the wrong reasons, i.e:

    To deal with a person who won’t stop cheating – the theory being that you don’t want to be lied to, so you’ll let them have affairs – apparently if you let a liar have all the cake he wants, he won’t lie to you anymore;

    To cover up or excuse something a person has already done;

    Because one person has been pressured into it by the other.

    (I put in the quotes because I hate the name – monogamy goes with openness and honesty too!)

  • I love your advise because you are a sharp shooter. You are the reasoning for us when our hearts want to take over.

    You have shown us that “people who love us in a healthy, reciprocal way do not abuse us with infidelity and cruel lies.” Not sure where I found this quote but I still read it to my own heart from time to time.

    Chump Lady speaks the truth whereas relationship books sugar coat your heart rather than slap some sense into its readers that their spouses are losers.

  • Too bad u can’t get the cartoonist who illustrated “where the wild things are,” to do your drawings. Those big crazy eyes, teeth and claws are exactly how I like to perceive my ex. Poor man, he just couldn’t control his “natural animal urges, ” when she offered herself up to him. I like to perceive myself as Max in my future of Meh. I’m leaving them on their little fantasy island, and I’m not going to look back.

  • Tracey,
    The Blogess is hilarious and we all need to laugh more, posting to point out that she got a book published that stayed on the NY best seller list for 3 months and it was full of fuck 🙂

  • Your blog is a ticket to my sanity. I come here very often to unlearn my complicity in his mistreatment of me. Otherwise I doubt myself and revert into spackling him and blaming myself. Thank you!

  • I haven’t had a chance to read all the comments yet. there are so many. And like me, whether your pain is new or old you need help recognizing the unicorn.

    And frankly that is what I think your niche is, whether we are talking dating, reconciliation, or any other stage of connectedness (or fuckedupedness).

    Your book should be about “Recognizing when you are living with Unicorns”. How to stop the destructive charosel and regain your life.

    Thank you for everything you all have helped me to mend. I can spot narcissim in almost every aspect of my life now. Not just dating.

  • Sincerest congratulations on your book, Chump Lady! Godspeed and good luck with all phases of getting it to market! If I could write a blurb for the book jacket, I think it would be something like this, which still could never capture how great your book will be:
    “Chump Lady will help save your sanity, like it did mine, if you’ve been chumped by a serial cheater. But more than this, Chump Lady is an online community and essential reading for ALL of us in a society that has lost both its moral compass and common sense.”

  • *Yes* I would love to read the book! *Yes* your blog has helped me immensely!

    My D day was this past November when my STBXH admitted (after OW began calling our home and hanging up on me and our children) to having a 4 month long emotional affair with a co-worker. I was devastated. He wanted to “work it out” and I, in complete shock, jumped right into the pick me dance. Our false R lasted only 7 days. On the 7th day while searching for reconciliation advice I found Chump Lady. Tracy – you and all of the fellow chumps on this site have been such an inspiration. Thank you 🙂

    You put the names (ego kibbles, cake, pick me dance, gaslighting) and validation to every single thing I was going through. YOU understood.

    That evening (while he was supposedly working a double shift) I took action. I called my family and friends (my STBX hated them and I had sadly drifted away from almost all of them) and told what was going on. Around 10:30 that night my best friend drove me to the OW’s house, my mini-van parked in her driveway and all of the lights off in the house. (emotional affair my ass) I did not cause a scene or throw a fit, I calmly backed out of her driveway and I took my mini-van *and* my dignity back. I literally left my cheater in the rear-view mirror. I gave STBX and OW what they truly deserve. Each other. Bless their hearts. (sorry, I’m a Texas girl)

    When I stopped the spackling and filed for divorce he showed me who he really is. I have since found out he is a compulsive liar and serial cheater. (probably our entire marriage) He has pretty much abandoned our 4 children. Without Chump Lady I would still be stuck in the reconciliation industrial complex. Thank you! Can’t wait for the book!

  • Tracy, you will be the one I credit with saving my life and the lives of my kids. Even though I am in therapy with domestic violence counselors, I get more help from your site every day. It was the affair that brought me to your sight, but you have helped me most in dealing with the abuse. I haven’t left yet, but I am getting ready and it will happen this year.

    Other resources gave me some insight, but you provided unmatched clarity, and more importantly, the strength to stand up and protect myself.

    Your humor makes it all so much more bearable. I love the previous title suggestions that make me laugh out loud. That’s what sets you apart, besides your message.

    Please, write the book.

    • Thanks qs — I’m going to pray for your safe escape from that marriage. I hope those domestic violence counselors are helping you make a plan, and you and your kids get out ASAP.

      • Thank you, yes we have a plan. I am waiting so that I can be completely done with him and not have him making the rest of my life hell. Wish me luck. I am a Field Marshall now!

        • QS,

          As someone who has also been down the DA road, if you are anywhere in the Midwest area, you can pm me if you need help.

          I’m also curious: About 10 – 15 years ago I had a friend named QS online — we were both members of an online writing community. We lost touch around the time “Andy” came into my life (and *there’s* a nice neon sign I completely missed in the moment!). If this sounds familiar, you can pm me on FB if you think I might be someone you once knew.

          • Sorry, no connection past or present (wish there was). Quicksilver came from a song that has given me inspiration since I acknowledged the abuse almost two years ago.
            I’m taking back my hope, taking back my goals,
            Taking back my memories, and my soul
            This brand is forged to my crusade
            Quicksilver, the future belongs to the brave

            I live on the coast. I haven’t endured anything like the abuse that you have, but your story is also an inspiration for me. I am finally starting to believe that I can get away. I would be lost without all the support and advice here.

  • CL has helped me tremendously by “keepin’ it real.” While I am still trying to reconcile with my serial cheating WS, I’m going into it with my eyes wide open as to the likely outcome. Whenever I’m hopeful my WS will change or give up the AP, I’ll read or re-read a post about cake-eating, the fog, kibbles, etc. to fortify myself against the likely disappointment. CL has definitely softened the blows for me. We’ve been told by our MC things about my WS after months of therapy that CL lays out there front and center from day one. CL is like the Clift’s Notes everyone who has been cheated on should read.

    • Yes, that is a perfect description. I’m still obsessed with the book title because I want it, (woops, narc here?) here is what this post inspired:

      Unicorns: living with them or not, the cliff notes.

  • This was the first site that treated the betrayed with respect. All the other ‘experts’ of infidelity hinted there must have been *something* the betrayed had done that led to the affair. You are also one of the few who doesn’t try to guilt the betrayed into staying in a marriage “for the sake of the children”. Good intentions do not excuse a bad decision. Thank you again and please keep writing.

  • Tracy has a way of putting things that appear to be so complicated to the rest of us in the most simple and logical way. We have been brainwashed to take 100% responsibility for our spouse’s unhappiness…this is the first sight that tells the REAL truth…without all the whitewash. All marriages have problems. We all have choices. The cheater made the choice to cheat. Why is that our fault?
    If I kill someone, is it my spouses fault? Ridiculous, right? The world gives cheaters every exception in the book so that they don’t have to take responsibility for their own behaviour.
    Chump Lady helped me figure that out. The $$ that I paid my therapist only made me feel like his choices were my responsibility.
    Her perspective has done more to help me recover from the damage of infidelity than any single other thing that I can think of.

    • Starlight, OK. I’m expanding my preferred book title. you are kind to share:

      Unicorns: living with them or not, the cliff notes; how to survive the damage of infidelity.

      This is so true. Infidelity was the singular, most impactful event in my life. It colors all my relationships, made me doubt my sanity, pull away from life, change jobs, stop dating….. I wish this site (and book?) existed when I played the role of the betrayed.

      I really feel so much better after finding people who were chumped (damaged) as much as I was, and who understood, and overcame the pain.

  • I think a book from your perspective would an excellent resource for the those of us who’ve become chumps at the hands of our cheating spouses. I was directed to your blog about halfway through my journey from discover last March to divorcing the cheating bitch I was married to which was final on June 25.

    I had been posting on Love Shack when a responder sent me a link to your blog. Not only did your blog validate to me the direction I chose was valid and decidedly the right thing to do, it gave me some much needed laughs with your in your face, no holds barred style when my spirits really needed a lift. I jerked the rug completely out from under my serial cheater almost immediately upon discovering what she had been up to. Reconciliation was not an option in my mind, but I had a hoard of unicorn chasers chastising the hell out of me for dumping her ass so fast and not even exploring the possibility of reconciliation. My thinking was I didn’t cheat, so why do I have to bust a gut trying to fix the unfixable to ease everyone else’s mind. She did not deserve being treated fairly. She deserved what she got, a swift kick in the ass to the curb.

    A resource in book form of your practical take on cheaters would be a most VALUABLE asset. And you are right. You do gain a life once you shed yourself of a cheater. Two weeks out from being final, and I feel better about myself than from before discovery. I’m in for a copy as I think it would help me avoid fucking up and choosing poorly again.

  • I am a longtime daily reader but have only commented once before. I must add my voice to the chorus encouraging you to write this book (and to your publisher-to-be!).

    When I was serially cheated on, I did not know of anyone else who had gone through similar circumstances; I knew I was the gold medalist of the Pain Olympics. What Chump Lady and this community showed me was that I was not alone, my pain was not unique, and there is an amazing pattern of behavior demonstrated by cheaters…their behavior seems archetypal. The frequent posts, good humor, and insightful comments have truly accelerated my healing. I am very grateful.

    Over the past year, I have learned that I do know numerous Chumps…they all get directed to the site, and I’d buy them all the book, and the t-shirt, too! Let the games begin!!!

  • All of the above, what else can I say. And yes, I will buy the book for myself and I will stock on supply for others who need it but do not realize it yet. This forum has been my reality check and a life saver. I do read a lot on the Internet, if it exists, I’ll find it. Prior to discovering this forum, I was regularly reading several others. Not any more. Now this has become my one and only go to place that directs me and helps me live my life to the fullest.

  • Hi Chump Lady! I am new here and I love it – I recently got out of an on/off relationship with a man who definitely would have put me into a broken marriage years down the line if I didn’t get out and stay out. From the not-married to him, in my 30’s viewpoint, I would definitely read this book also, I love coming to this site when I start to miss him and seeing what he will do to me if I let him!

    I will say I think “It’s Called a Breakup Because It’s Broken” has some similar redeeming qualities, but it is aimed more at the childless, dating, maybe recently married and doesn’t focus on cheaters/abandoners (mine didn’t cheat that I know of but abandoned until I broke up with him regularly). It is aimed at everyone breaking up and so doesn’t have the IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT theme this site does which is SO needed! That book does have a great format though.

    Thanks for the site, you have saved me from who knows how much misery in my lifetime!!

  • Tracy, you are hilarious, straight talking and sincere. I once had a library of books on the subject of infidelity. The only one that was any good was Lundy Bancroft’s “Why Does He Do That ‘Inside The Minds of Angry and Controlling men’.”
    The problem I had with most other books on the subject of infidelity was their sugarcoated attempts to somehow explain and justify the cheater’s behaviour and somehow point the finger at the one who’d been cheated on (me), leaving me with awful residual feelings that I was somehow responsible for what he had done. Their over analysing of and over complicated attempts at giving reasons why a cheater cheats just compounded my grief and loaded on guilt that didn’t belong to me.

    Your unique and honest slant is beautifully refreshing and unvarnished and your humour and strength of opinion just helps me immensely to put things in perspective. I live in Ireland and your blog has such a universality about it, I think your book would be relevant anywhere in the world.

    Best wishes and much luck.

  • Your site and your perspective are very unique. You empower the the BS by showing rationally and logically that we are in many cases setting ourselves up for a round 2 on the infidelity train. You tell us what deep down inside many of us know but are terrified to admit. You explain characteristics and disorders in cheaters that many of us have either ignored, misunderstood or spun in order to stay married. You are succinct. You encourage us to demand a better life for ourselves. You tell us not to accept mistreatment, abuse, or neglect. You are incredibly witty; infidelity is awful, but you have a special way of making it seem ok to laugh about it.

    Places like SI lean so heavily towards reconciliation. One is made to feel as if they are a bad person if they don’t try to salvage their marriage. There is an air of superiority in the reconcilers. I have seen them say over and over how it takes a much stronger person to reconcile than to divorce. I think that is just plain wrong and quite judgmental.

    I also appreciate that you don’t throw religion into the subject. You appear to be fairly progressive in your ideas regarding gender. So many “infidelity experts” are religious fundamentalist using their misogynistic theology to strong arm women into staying with their cheating husbands.

    I think people need to hear what you have to say. I would buy the book.

  • Yes, please. The world of Chumps needs your book!
    I was on the crazytrain this Jan, searching all over the internet for insight, typing in things like ‘narcissist cheating husband’ and ‘cheating husband wont leave other woman’. I felt so pathetic and helpless (and all my life I was told I was pretty damn smart). I felt like I was running through the woods in the dark! I found lots of articles, some other blogs I started reading weekly, and then – OMG, I found ChumpLady.
    The true insight, the unvarnished smack-in-the-face advice, and mostly your LOVE of kindhearted people was a revalation. There really aren’t words to descibe how much you helped me. And, how much the other chumps helped me feel not alone anymore! I read ‘Stupid shit cheaters say’ and laughed til my stomach hurt, everything about your blog was so perfect for what was ailing me.
    Thank you, you’re the greatest, and I think your book will actually change the mindset of relationships all over the planet.

  • I can’t thank you enough for your words of wisdom. Once I found out about my husband’s affair I called him out immediately and told him to get the hell out. My therapist told me “not to rush it.” I’m so so glad I didn’t listen to that therapist. Once I held to my guns that he needed to leave, he turned a 180 on me, threatened to take the kids and came home drunk and threatening. Only when I lawyered up did he leave and make me a decent offer on support.

    I too have looked everywhere for the necessary support on how to leave a cheater and there’s nothing good out there. THIS is the place I have found that is insightful, well written and the responses by the readers tell me time and time again that I’m not alone and I did the right thing to save my sanity.

    It’s been a very very difficult time in my life. If I hadn’t found this blog it would be worse. In book form, it would be a best seller. Society needs to understand the ramifications of infidelity on spouses and their children. There’s nothing sexy about an affair – it’s a mindfuck of enormous proportions. I think a book on spotting a cheater, leaving a cheater and how to move on with your life would be an enormous contribution to the relationship literature and help so many.

    Thank you for everything you’ve done CL.

  • CL, for your pitch I think you have something to offer people who have neverbeen cheated on.

    One of the messages out there is that everyone cheats and it is just human nature. Therefore you need to work hard to “affair proof” your marriage – generally by giving your partner everything they want. Even then the suggestion is you can’t be sure.

    It is actually a relief to think that the key is finding someone with integrity and you can relax if your spouse is not narcissistic.

  • I’ve been cheated on and with (unknowingly). Chumped both ways so to speak. My perspective may be odd, and quite frankly whatev’. I’m a truth teller and a’holes who are so selfish to be a predator upon their own relationships and commitmets are one thing. Those that make double lives and lie to attract innocent others into a web of deception are another cut from the same cloth….however I digress and I hope you will allow my thoughts.

    This site is wonderful and I wish I would have had access to such wisdom when I went through my valley of lies, gaslighting and finally the light at the end where I knew it was really not me, but him. Speaking of being cheated on here. When I discovered I was unknowingly being cheated with I told, gave all evidence and backed off…Immediately.

    If you would consider. I think it may be important to consider that the mind of a cheater is quite possibly an entitled personality type. Meaning it does not matter if you have a GED or a PHD. There is no education level or class like relationship ed that will fix a very broken sense of self. Some will just use the lessons to improve their craft.

    There are very common traits with these types. It does not matter between education, profession, status levels, early family, or abuse. It may be worth fleshing this out a little. As it is not the victim’s fault…EVER.

    My .02

  • Cindee….
    look on CL ‘s site to the far right in red caption “Featured Articles”.

    “How to leave a Cheater.”

    “I just discovered I have been cheated on, now what ?”

    “What NOT to do when you have been cheated on.”

    I think this will help you greatly.
    In other words….. kiss his sorry ass to the curb !

    What ever you do …. DO NOT drink the reconiliation “Kool- Aid”

    Keep Calm
    and read
    Chump Lady !

    • KICK…… KICK… KICK …not kiss….freudian slip.
      I think I was thinking
      “kiss my ass !”
      Sorry … take care babe.
      Hope & Hugs to you !

  • Dear Chump Lady,

    Awesome opportunity for you.
    How I think your writing/blog is different.
    You are not a therapist, counselor or any other professional…you are a chump.
    Sort of like 12 step groups where the people relate to another addict, alcoholic etc.
    Your writing style
    You are so open about your own experience.
    Your phrases “trust he sucks” etc.
    You already have a following.
    To have this information in book form makes it easier to recommend to other chumps who may not know how to navigate a blog.

    Good luck,


  • I haven’t had time to read any comments above, so apologies if my comments are a repeat.
    If ONLY this information was available to me earlier, I would have saved myself years of pain-filled confusion, depression and mental angst. The information Tracy imparts is practical, wise and insightful from someone who has been in the situation, and not merely read about it in a text book and then dares to counsel people going through the pain of betrayal.
    For me it was a life-saver.
    I wasted too many years trying to understand WTFH?!? – my “part” in this was that I didn’t have a penis and a vagina and it was not anything I did or didn’t do (as ALL the books out there insisted that I was in-part responsible). Tracy helped me untangle that mess – my “responsibility”, his entitlement and the Forgiveness issues I was trying to deal with.
    My growth and inner peace since finding this site has been phenomenal.

    It’s a long, lonely, terrible road to be on after a betrayal. Tracy gives a map, some road signs, a destination. Along the way, there is humour, compassion, a kick-in-the-pants jolt of reality. She has been on that road. Knowing that, and “meeting” others on the way has helped me realize that all is not lost – and more importantly that I am NOT lost. I am now finally able to travel and re-negotiate my life after it was totally shattered. It’s on my terms now. Tracy paved the way for me to realize that after what happened to me, no longer has the power to define me.
    I am in the driver’s seat.
    Thank you Tracy and all fellow Chumps I met and continue to meet on this different route we find ourselves on.

  • The best thing to do is get on with life which has been easier for me than for others.I am financially independent from my ex-wife so I understand that when you may depend on the cheater financially, that it is not so easy to move on.The only connection I have with my ex is our children which we have joint custody of but I don’t try to keep contact except with dealing with the children.So if you don’t have a hobby or interest get one and move ahead.I understand that could be hard for a mother or father who has devoted so much to their family that maybe they don’t have any hobbies but that just will open a door to new experiences for you.Anyway I think this websight has been beneficial to those of us who need to be told to move on and get that toxic person out of our life.

  • I was re-directed here, so I’m assuming you still need comments. I only discovered you yesterday, when I was in so much pain I thought I would crack. Somehow I happened upon the Unicorn of Reconciliation. OMG, I laughed and laughed. I haven’t read any books on the subject (cheater, not Unicorn). Over the past 2 days I have searched for some sort of answer, my God “WHY?” and am still astonished that this Narcissistic personality disorder is discussed here, too. I thought I was going to lose my mind. Where have I been? I never considered an actual disorder. In support of you, Chump Lady, I can offer that I haven’t read anything so far that addresses this issue with such wit. The humor is so, so important to me. I was here yesterday, and came back. Your book has probably been published by now. Where do I buy?

    • Hi Jo, give me about 10 days. It’s all done, I’m waiting on a Library of Congress number. Sorry for the delay. If you read through the site, you’ll see I had a tragic computer death around Xmas (lost 7 chapters — thought it was backed up… and it wasn’t.) Persevered and this month it will be out. I’ll make an announcement soon. Thanks! And welcome to the blog!

  • “In a world filled with bullshit, you deserve to know the truth”

    You are the truth.
    Anything else out there is complete bullshit.
    That’s your niche

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