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Dear Chump Lady, Do I tell what she’s done?

Dear Chump Lady,

So I’ve been chasing the unicorn of reconciliation for over a year now, but we’ve finally separated. I’ll be filing for divorce within the next month and here’s my question. We hadn’t been telling people (mutual friends) in case we got back together and so they wouldn’t have this stigma around her. Since we are really pretty done, my question is this: Should I tell everyone what she’s done and the reason the marriage ended?

A vengeful part of me wants to shout it from the rooftops, but another part of me just knows that it’s that small-minded part of me that is looking to hurt her like she hurt me.

Thoughts? Sage advice? A firm kick to my ass?


Dear Ron,

Congratulations on your resignation as Propaganda Minister. Welcome to your new vocation — Authentic Person! In your new life, your reality is your OWN! Isn’t that wonderful? No longer will you have to couch your language so as not to upset your cheater. No longer are you responsible for maintaining her image and polishing her legacy. Nope! The only narrative in your life now is yours and yours alone.

You don’t have to speak in the royal “we.” You don’t have to present a united front. And you don’t have to keep her secrets. That means, Ron, that the decision to tell or not tell is yours. IMO, it is not vengeful to tell people the truth about what happened — it’s just the truth.

This is the peculiar thing about cheaters. On the one hand, they don’t think they did anything to be that ashamed of. I mean, get over it already, right? They tend to go on thinking that they are perfectly splendid people and utter profundities like: “I am not defined by my relationships.”

On the other hand, most cheaters go absolutely ballistic when exposed. Even after you divorce them, they feel entitled to your propaganda services. That might be keeping their sordid secrets, or using the banality “we grew apart” as your public reason for divorcing. If you tell what they DID? Oh my God, you are a wretched person for speaking of it!

But they are not wretched people for doing it. The crime is exposure. Not crime.

If your wife is truly sorry for cheating on you and feels bad? She would LEAD with her humility. “I fucked up. I cheated on Ron. We’re divorcing.” That’s not the narrative? She wants your silence? Then Ron, she ain’t one bit sorry.

I say sing like a bird. Tell whoever you want to tell. I’m sure the chumps can share how they told people. And trust me, if you don’t tell, she’ll get there first and paint you as a Terrible Person Who Drove Her to It. Someone has to fill in as Propaganda Minister and it’s going to be her, most likely.

When you speak your truth, a couple things happen. Callow people listen and may think “Oh, well, people cheat. I wonder what Ron did to make her do that.” Useful information — expunge these people from your life. The other thing that happens is good people come out of the woodwork and say “I’m sorry Ron, you totally do not deserve this. How can I be there for you?” Useful information — hold these people close.

If you are never authentic with people, you will never be close. You’ll have a world of acquaintances.

Now, I’m not saying be emotionally sloppy. Although, face it, most of us chumps, including myself went through a very sloppy phase. You don’t want to drape yourself over your nearest coworker and bend his ear about the sordid shit your wife was up to. TMI. So, have some boundaries. If you feel the need to talk — DO IT. Post on this forum, lean on close friends and family, get a good shrink. Personally, I had to blab my way to the other side. I needed 6 million reality checks. You may need that too.

But when people ask why you are divorcing, I think it’s totally legitimate to just say “she cheated on me” and leave it at that. It’s not your shame to wear — it’s hers.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • I personally had no problem whatsoever telling people why we divorced. He’s a cheater. That’s not my shame or my sin to bear, and I see no reason to help the ex cover up his personality disorder any longer.

    I have no doubt that the ex tells people he meets these days that I am the one who cheated or that the divorce was all my fault and doing. Whatever. Nothing I can do about his lies. But I’m certainly not going to whitewash what he did with some bullshit about “we just grew apart.”

    • CL is right about not being sloppy, though. Not everyone needs to know every detail of your life story. I am guilty of telling too much to too many people, and I regret a lot of that now. Not because I feel any guilt about telling what the ex did, but because most people really don’t give a fuck, and there was no need to share my private life with them.

  • I told those who mattered to me. STBX tried to project the shame of his having an affair with a former student on to me, urging me not to say anything, lest he get in trouble. Because it would have been so bad for the family, for the kids and me, if people knew…

    When I started telling people we were getting a divorce, he was pissed. He told me that our private business shouldn’t be discussed with people not in the family. Why? I didn’t do anything wrong – he did! And the whole “we grew apart” thing – no, I was in love with him. And people knew that. So for me to end the marriage would have had to have been for a major reason.

    A few months back I ran into a former coworker of his, whom neither of us had seen in quite a while (STBX wanted employment in a place less visible to those who knew OW so that things wouldn’t be perceived as too odd that they were together. Slick). The coworker asked me how STBX was. I told him “Oh, you don’t know? STBX and I are getting divorced – he’s been having affairs with former students for the past ten years, and he’s currently living with one.” He was SHOCKED. And let me tell you, saying something felt GOOD. I don’t have anything to be ashamed of – I’m not the cheater. I more than held up my end of the marriage; STBX can go spackle himself.

    • Yay! I love your last sentiment!
      He’s been telling everyone that she’s his ‘friend’, and I ALWAYS refer to her as his Mistress, or the Homewrecker. Drives him crazy. I also tell our friends if they ask what happened after 32 yrs- I got tired of being Mrs. Slut.
      That being said though, I also tell people that he still has many fine qualities, and part of cares deeply for him, and I’m still doing him favors when I feel like it. I just want everyone to know that there were dealbreakers, and I’m proud of myself for living my standards!

  • I posted it on my facebook and tagged him…..over 500 people found out about his affairs in about one hour. Not the smartest thing in the world, I was getting phone calls from all over the world about it, and was completely overwhelmed…..but there was no way I was going to let him perpetuate his lies that we ‘grew apart’ or it ‘just didnt work out’.

    I thought we were happy, and he maintained that facade to anyone who would listen, about how much he loved me.

    He was the ultimate cake eater, and I will tell anyone who asks. I will not protect him. This is his shame to wear, not mine.

  • Information is knowledge – knowledge is power. TELL whomever you want. CL is so right – cheaters see no harm in cheating but really HATE it when they get beat to the punch in the image/crisis management game. My ex is a prime example. When I found him out – I told immediately the 5 people closest to me in my life. Trouble for him was – two of them were family and one other was someone who’d been friends with him long before I came along….but who was so outraged at his betrayal she immediately came to my aid.

    The ex then had the nerve to demand that I not even think about telling the OW as she had her own time frame to let him down easy and was afraid that I’d ruin that carefully laid plan. To be candid – my first response was “Why would I want to give pain to someone else like I am feeling?”…..but after two weeks went by I realized that I was complicit in the affair by not coming forward and letting this poor husband know that his wife was sending crotch shots to my husband and cheating voraciously on him while he worked hard and looked after their two kids. So I blew the whistle on her (appropriate I think since she enjoyed blowing my husband so much) and foiled her little plan. My husband was livid – but I didn’t even give him a chance to do a number – I just let him rant into a voice mail and then deleted.

    After that – all bets were off. My oldest daughter was so angry she emailed every contact of administrator and teacher (my ex and the OW are both teachers who met doing the NEA goosestep together) in her district and telling them what had gone down (besides the OW). I stopped even trying to pretend with people and if they asked – I wore the truth like a badge of honor. After all – I hadn’t done anything wrong – he had – why should I be ashamed?

    After the divorce, he accused me of doing everything I could to “Pad my shoulder to cry on” with people – but I was way past crying at that point. And I recognized what he was really so pissed off about – he was mad that I had gotten out ahead of the story and made sure he couldn’t spin it any other way but with the truth. And believe me – he tried. For a man who said he never gave a shit about what people thought – he certainly did. And he didn’t like it that he was no longer “Good time/good guy” Charlie (not his real name). He didn’t like that he was not accepted, not respected – in fact – he hated that people really saw him for what he was. From his children to his family – the emperor had no clothes (not that he was wearing them most days anyway what with the affair time)

    Am I sorry? Not one tiny little bit. The truth sets you free – it really does, And I was thrilled to put my long dormant communication degree to good use and absolutely beat him at the PR game. It gave me a bit of my own back, if you know what I mean. So don’t hesitate if it feels right to share – you are not her PR handler anymore. Best of luck.

        • You’re still in the habit of protecting him. Even concealing his name despite the unlikeliness of any of us running into him or knowing who he is. That mindset gets to you.

          • “Still in the habit of protecting him.” OMG. Epiphany. Because that’s what I’ve been doing for the past six months. I stopped calling him my husband and referred to him not as “my ex” but “the ex.” For the distance, you know? I found that writing out his name gave me the creeps. That plus the fact he has the same name as my Dad and one of my brothers…crap.

            His name is Bill. And he’s a lying cheating fucker. Who used ALL the same excuses that all cheaters use to excuse his bad behavior. Fuck but they are boring, unoriginal fuckers.

            And that’s another thing. I find I use the “fuck” word now. A lot. Because I no longer give one. *grin*

            CN rules. I found out about BILL’S affair six months ago and just now feeling better. More laughter, less tears. I wish I’d found you all months ago.

    • Great Char!!! You and your children deserve kudos! Nobody shall try to make a fool out of you in future. You are my Hero!

      • Anudi – I cannot guarantee that I won’t be foolish again at some point in my life, but this definitely made me grow up a lot. I am definitely stronger, wiser and – somewhat sadly – less a romantic idealist than I used to be. Hard to buy into happily ever after when it blows up in your face. But I haven’t given up on love……I’ll just never be so guileless in falling into it again. It’s the old Reagan axiom “trust, but verify.” 😉

    • Mine did the same thing. He was fine with it all, until people started finding out what ACTUALLY happened.

      It was all “I still care about you.” And “I want you to be okay,” until I started opening up to my friends about what he did. Then it turned into “You just can’t accept the truth.” “You keep misconstruing what happened,” and “You don’t understand, I was unhappy,” and how could I forget, “You need to stop telling lies about me. You have a problem.”

      Yeah. It was all well and good until people started finding out what an asshole he is.

      That’s cheaters for you ain’t it? They will cop to anything that makes them look good. But the minute something threatens their perfect image, watch the fur fly.

  • Another great question and another great response. Ron, I agree with CL about not being afraid of telling the truth. For me, if someone asked, I stated it in simple terms first….”my husband had some issues he needed to deal with outside the context of marriage”. For some people, that was enough of an answer and they moved on to the next topic. I file these people under the acquaintances category. Friends who know me much better asked more questions. “What were the issues?” And then conversation goes where it is meant to go. I also found it a tremendous stress relief to just tell the truth. I didn’t have to hide it anymore. When I left my husband, I gathered my team at work up into a conference room, gave them the nuts and bolts (no details), and let them know if they sensed me getting a bit weird, that was why. You know what they said? We’re your shoulders to stand on. Awesome.

    I have been able to keep boundaries because when I learned of the affair, I gathered just enough information to get the “bigger picture” and spared myself the gory details. I’m sure I could have pried them out eventually….lord knows you give my soon to be ex enough wine and nuggets of information will fall out all over the place. Or catch him on the phone when he’s on a bender and the same result will ensue. I’m sure you’re operating with a completely different level of info having been in reconciliation, Ron, but for anyone in the stage of discovery, my advice is only get the necessary amount of facts you need to know what you need to do. I think the gory details amount to torture and emotional abuse. Who needs those images in your head?

    I know we worry about beating the ex to the punch in these situations…almost like damage control mode so our friends and acquaintances don’t look at us and think, “well, weren’t you inadequate?”. Your real friends will never do that to you. Even if I shared just a little with some people, I found I had friends I didn’t even know I had and made new friends through mutual experience. My WH has mostly dumped the friends we had together….they haven’t heard from him at all since the proverbial s**t hit the fan. He had friends at work I rarely or never saw (including the OW) so I didn’t worry about them at all. The funny thing? He’s probably staying away from our mutual friends because of what he *thinks* I’ve told them, but I’ve actually tread very lightly on the mutual friend scene. Perhaps fear of the unknown actually works in our favor, and then the absence speaks volumes about them.

  • I think each person who experiences betrayal should examine their own motivations as to why they would or would not tell, and understand that there may be unintended consequences.

    If it were just the two of us–I would walk away and not think twice about it. I don’t care who knows, but I’m not going to go around announcing it to anyone other than my own personal support system. If THEY tell, on the other hand, that is not something I would be upset about 🙂 I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction of knowing how he’s destroyed my ability to trust anyone going forward…and that is what would be discussed…people love drama. If my friends or family want to have a go at him for what he did? That’s on them. I control me.

    But my case isn’t just us, I have a child to consider. People are cruel and there are some in the families that don’t like him in the first place and some that don’t like me. Not everyone has the same caution when it comes to the mental health of the kids involved. If my daughter were old enough to understand, then that may be different, but right now, she’s not. She doesn’t need to hear that her father is a piece of shit who lied and destroyed her family. I don’t care about his family knowing–I’ve already told some of them what he’s done (some don’t believe me, some think I did something to cause this, and others agree with me that he’s a slimeball)—but they all have the same motivation as I do in protecting my daughter.

    When there are all adults involved, then I say, if you want to tell and you are sure that you are willing to take on those people who will ask you what you did to deserve being cheated on…then do it.

    Unfortunately with these NPDs—no amount of public humiliation is going to change what they did, and at least for me, I want it overwith as quickly as humanly possible. I don’t want to know what he’s doing, or with whom, unless it effects my daughter’s well being. I want to forget that I ever allowed him to come anywhere near me, and I think that when the whole world knows, you have no control over how long this subject will continue to be brought up.

    I’m not going to allow some outside person to twist what they’ve heard and it gets back to my daughter at some later date. Sometimes, keeping things within a small group can avoid very painful, unintended consequences for innocent parties.—no matter how much he deserves a public flogging.

    • Abby, I totally agree with you and feel that its best to take a higher road than some I’ve heard, while STILL being truthful. While the fantasy of “payback” scenarios are deeply cathartic, the reality, as you say is that a lot of people won’t know what to do with the info and it could very well backfire. So, while I agree to say something like he was cheating, or leading a double life, or some very general statement that there was rampant infidelity, I think its best to leave it at that. As you say, these people don’t change; won’t understand, will twist the truth anyway. Hell, most people do not change and we can’t control the filter that they are processing this information through. so, the KISS method (Keep It Simple and Stupid, if you don’t already know that acronym) is probably a wise move.

  • The day after my second big D-day nearly two years ago, when I found out about my wasband’s double life that had been going on for at least nine years, (after he lost his job) I emailed his sister to tell her that her brother was an internet predator who then went on to meet these women in person and that I needed to take steps to leave him. She was completely shocked but supportive. (at the time) When my wasband got wind of it, he said to me:

    “That was wrong of you to tell her that, Laurel. This was between US.”

    The state rests.

  • “No longer will you have to couch your language so as not to upset your cheater. ” Good to remember, especially on a holiday when I am feeling lonely.

    My therapist suggested I say, “Oh, he had some compulsions he didn’t seem willing to give up.” That’s worked well. As others have said, people have been kind when I’ve said this. The first time I told an acquaintance, I cringed for the next three days wondering why I had been so stupid to be open–how embarrassing, but I received the kindest card from her that said she’d been thinking of me, how special she thought I was and that I didn’t deserve it. She even included a Starbucks card so I could give myself a treat!

  • I told people. I definitely told people. Interesting, the advice that came back to “not air it around”…came from old friends of wasband who were cheaters themselves. I guess they band together. Women friends of mine who have been chumped– they are 100% with me. (As far as I know I don’t have any men friends who are chumps– I guess, net, that’s a good thing! )

    The strangest responses are from people who compare my 25 year marriage to their experiences of running multiple relationships in their youth–sort of cheating, but more like open relationships, but then again, I wasn’t there…anyway, very judgemental, as in, “you’re over reacting” (WTF) ; “I can’t make moral judgments about everyone” (not asking you to– this is a very specific case, not a hypothetical…) ad nauseam.

    And then, for me, there has been the pervasive phenomenon of the disappearing friends. Other chumped women friends tell me this happened to them too– people just evaporate–as if you have cancer. So I’m honest anyway, because that’s who I am. But it’s sad, and weird, to discover that the people I thought were my friends have bailed when I needed them the most.

    But I’m all about telling. It’s your power–to own the narrative. “We split up” implies that we went our separate ways by mutual agreement, not that in fact one of us was a lying, cheating, fucker, and that one of us was an honest, loving,trusting spouse who got betrayed.

    I wonder if more people heard *real* betrayal stories instead of that TV BS , it might hold less popular culture appeal?

    • I know… don’t some people say the dumbest things? That goes for “taking sides.”


      (sorry to shout)

      and how is one supposed to react when discovers that her loving husband of 23 years has been carrying on with multiple internet and in person affairs for the last nine years, three and a half of them, when the wife was the soul wage earner in the family?

      my wasband is the last one anyone would suspect, too. I had already moved out, unannounced to neighbors, six months earlier, but our next door neighbors gave him a going away present when he moved a month ago.


  • One more bit to share that could also be useful….

    When I started opening up to friends about what happened with me and my WH, I was pretty amazed at how every last one of them opened up to me about their marital issues (to differing degrees, but as we all know there is no perfect marriage). In the subsequent weeks, I found the friends who faded out likely couldn’t handle what had happened in my marriage. I got the sense with one particular friend it struck a few too many chords with her and she’s not ready to deal with her own situation yet, and I just become a painful reminder. I guess what I’m saying is sometimes our story strikes a nerve in people that they would rather not have struck. When this happens, don’t think it’s you.

      • Now I’m on a roll….

        And, in response to my observation about striking nerves, I also think it’s a bit scary to some friends to see someone willing to take steps towards a divorce and reclaim their life. It actually is a show of strength, and not weakness. I think that can become a source of the “comments” or even “criticisms”, as well….all the nonsense of they weren’t willing to fight for their marriage, they weren’t sexy enough, they didn’t *whatever* enough. The truth is by sticking out all the crap times you were fighting like hell for your marriage but were smart enough to recognize when it was time to pull the rip cord. The freefall is fun and all, but at a certain point you realize you need to save your goddamn life and not end up a broken pile of bones on the ground. Yes, I used to jump out of planes so skydiving analogies come naturally to me… are taking a bold leap of faith getting a divorce. That is to be celebrated.

        • This is so true, Atticus! When I left my first, very early marriage to a charming, smart, sexy, loving … alcoholic, within a few months I looked so much happier, healthier and generally better that a male colleague said ‘I have to keep you away from my wife. You make divorce look good!’.

          People may react badly to our situations because of THEIR concerns and issues, not ours. I try to be understanding – but I do know who my real friends are.

  • I had to tell people at work as my H’s affair changed my plans to collect SS and work part time. They are incredably kind and supportive. We are still together at this point and when people ask how I am I try and put an uptone spin on it. I have also told them about his affair/reconnecting with an old girlfriend on facebook. I have not told his family ( and neither has he) but my 2 sisters know and are so completely supportive and wonderful.

  • My take on it is if you’re friends with me, I will tell you he’s a POS cheater. If you’re friends with him but also friends with me and the opportunity presents itself, I will tell you he’s a POS cheater. I told him that he better tell his family because if he didn’t, I would. (I’m closer to his family than he is.) If he didn’t want anyone to know, he shouldn’t have done it. I won’t lie for him and spout the ‘We grew apart’ BS.

    • Kay G

      I got the “We grew apart”, the “Marriage wasn’t working” line. Pretty funny how he couldn’t say this before he found the OW. He’s the one that finally left and wanted a divorce. He talked his Dad into putting on a back room for him. Now he can go back and forth between his Dad’s and the OW.

      • Of course they can’t say they’re unhappy until they have their plan B in place. We can’t possibly expect them to stand on their own two feet, they need someone to prop them up.

        Living with his dad again…. That’s what I would call living the dream. What a loser.

        • Kay H

          It gets better. His father is an alcoholic and his sister and her daughter live there. They all are heavy drinkers and like to party. I’m just wondering when things start to fall apart for the ones that do us wrong.

          • If he’s living in that situation, I would say that things are already falling apart for him. I will stick by my ‘what a loser’ statement.

            • KayH

              I’m sure he’s living with the OW more than the father. And I’m sure he’s thinking he’s Dad won’t be around too much longer, due to the heavy drinking and that he almost died in October. Their a method to my EX’s madness..after all it’s ALL about his happiness. Dday was on June 28th. He told my son about his “friend” on July 1st and on July 2nd my daughter met her while she was over Pop Pop house for her cousin’s b-day. He wasted no time. Now that the relationship has been established, he now wants to spend time with his kids…obviously having the OW involved. She has no kids, is a nurse…not sure if she’s a LPN or RN, but she makes good money. All they do is drink. EX couldn’t be bothered with the kids, now he wants too???? Why now?????

              • My jackass is the same. Never paid any attention to the kids. We’d beg him to go to the movies with us and he’d say there was nothing he wanted to see. Last weekend he had the kids and he took them to the movies. I wanted to say incredulously to the kids, ‘DADDY took to you the movies???’

  • I have not only told people I’m close to that the POS cheated, twice, but also that he made zero effort to maintain our relationship and actually turned down my efforts over the years, w/examples. So his line of ‘we grew apart’ doesn’t carry much weight. Not that he’s tried that on anyone but his only friend. He disappeared from contact w/our mutual and family friends, most of whom made it very clear to me that they didn’t want to have anything to do with him anymore. It was very reassuring to me; I had expected more people to have the ‘these things happen’ or the ‘I don’t want to take sides’ reaction.

  • I told close friends and family immediately and asked them to let others know that we were through so that I wouldn’t have to keep telling the story. Telling close family and friends wasn’t about slamming the STBX. It was because I knew I was going to need the support from the people who care about me.

    Also, I visited his parents the very next day to tell them. Again, nothing mean or petty; just the truth. Given his propensity to lie, I felt I wanted them to at least know the facts. You can’t control people’s reactions; I know that. Fortunately, many friends and family have been great – including his parents.

    The friends or family who’ve not been supportive or who’ve warned me that “this just didn’t happen to me, it has impacted them too” are folks that I’ve simply let go of.

    Let’s get something straight here — there is no grey in this scenario. It’s black and white. He was/is dead wrong in his actions, lies, omissions, etc., and I will not accept someone who tries to paint it otherwise.

    I have a clear conscience and telling folks the truth is my way of pushing back against the perception that what he did is somehow acceptable.

    • “I have a clear conscience and telling folks the truth is my way of pushing back against the perception that what he did is somehow acceptable.”

      I like this. Well said.

  • I’m not going the “we grew apart” BS. I don’t plan to go into the gory details. I do plan to say that he cheated on me. If I think they know OW, I’ll say that I found out he was cheating on me with OW. After that, there’s not a lot more to add.

    I think that he’ll be really unhappy that I’ve told my family. Both his parents are deceased and his brother is a bit of a loon. Mine’s the nearest he’s had to actual family in the last 25 years, and he’s going to lose that in the divorce. My suspicion is that he hasn’t thought about the collateral damage of his affair.

  • THANK YOU CL and everyone contributing!

    I’ve been trying for a year now to reconcile and I’m finally just done. In that time I’ve told my mutual friends “We’ve agreed not to tell our mutual friends yet” and they provide as much support as they are able to with the limited details that I provide or allude to. But it’s just so clear when people say what happened for me to say “She cheated on me”. They immediately “get it” without me needing to go into any more detail. It’s going to be a long ugly road (this is my 2nd D, but this one is a lot harder than the 1st) but it’s been a long time coming.

    She isn’t telling her family the truth. They better not ask me anything cause I’ll dispel the lies (or half truths) that she’s telling.

    Thank you again,

    • Welcome to CL, Ron. Hey, as a fellow two-time divorcee — (((big hugs))). I know it sucks epically. For myself, I had this attitude of “failure is not an option” in marriage #2 — and my ex took that as license to eat cake. It can be especially hard to leave because you don’t want the mark of Two Failed Marriages.

      There is a good life after this, Ron. Fix your picker best you can. I’m happily remarried three years now — and I’ve met a lot of people with similar stories to mine. One was an older woman I met at church, very similar story of marrying young, divorcing with a small child, remarrying an abusive man, and then getting out and finding love again. She told me she met husband #3 at a party and thought — OMG he is so kind to me. I need to be with a man like that. And she later married him. They’ve been together 35 years. Her third marriage, his second.

      My aunt’s story (look in the archives or search for “the walls in your house sing”) also has a similar story. Her now-husband’s wife ran off with the local priest and left him with two teenagers! She was divorced from an alcoholic womanizer. They’ve been married 27 years.

      All to say, we recover from our life fuck ups. Often very happily.

  • I’ve had my ways of telling people I’m close to (the unvarnished truth), and people I’m not close to (“too much stress for too long with too little support.”) I found out that my ex went to the people I’m closest to in my family, and tried to convince them that I was an utter scab of a person, a wastrel. One person believed him to some extent … and I’m no longer close to this person. Breaks my heart.

    Ron, you’ll know who your true friends and kin are through this … I wish you well.

  • Ron, she’s already run you into the ground, a lot worse that you may realize. Because I have some decorum, I never said boo to anyone about what my estranged wife had done to our marriage. Little did I know, she had already started dogging me to everyone, every chance she got. With NPD’s… its all about image control. Manipulation. Spin. I don’t care if you take it on the chin with your fucked-up sense of fairness, this is the voice of experience talking here. It might be others advice to “take the high road”, and, in normal situations, that’s solid. But your already 20 points down late in the 4th, so you had better start taking some 3’s. You *need* to put it out there what she’s done. And how disappointed you are with her.

    Personally, I was utterly shocked at the trumped up shit I was slandered with. But as the weeks and months have gone by… I have come to understand it’s not about me. It’s her narcissism. She must protect, at all costs, her image. When you go off-script, look out, because it gets worse.

    • My aunt tried to take the high road in divorcing her alcoholic husband. Didn’t go into details with anyone but her closest friend. Just quietly filed, went NC, and tried to leave it to the lawyers. When she stopped responding he emailed everyone claiming that she cheated on him. Because she was trying to take the high road many people had the wrong idea. Eventually he had to go to the hospital because his liver gave up on him and she rebuilt her life with her sons without any man making an appearance, so the wheels came off the lie. But that was eventually.

      Ron, your ex may be getting her story out there. If that’s the only side what are people going to believe?

      • Decorum … the high road … quietly filing, etc. That was the road I chose, and continue to choose. My ex tried to trash my character to a few people in my family (interestingly, he didn’t do this with any of my friends, as far as I know). I’ve done all my trashing in my journals — writing it out, out, OUT. A very few cherished and trustworthy friends have heard me rail, witnessed my rage (I set all his cards and letters on fire in one friend’s backyard). These friends saved my life.

        I had fantasies, believe me. Revenge in every form. I acted on none of them. (One is that I choose two of his co-workers — the two who like him least — and take them out for lots and lots of drinks on a Friday night. I stay stone-sober, and am wired for sound. Heh.) I once read, “The best revenge…is no revenge.” I’ve stuck by that maxim; I went NC immediately (except for the inevitable necessary discussions about practical matters), and stayed that way. Heh — he told me, before he moved out, that his choices were for “self-preservation.” So have mine been. (Aren’t they all, in the end?)

        The truth is so simple, isn’t it? … and after our fundamental trust in that one person’s goodness and integrity has been shredded, we have to trust *someone* with what’s real, or else. *Someone* will be there to receive the truth, and stand at your side. Not to take sides, but to be right there beside you; to help you stay on your feet; sometimes to literally hold you up or just hold you when you’re practially deranged with grief. (We have to learn trust all over again, in the most fundamental ways…It feels so bizarre; it reminds me of how close relatives of someone who’s died have to prop themselves up right after the death, to take care of the funeral, etc.)

        I turned to a very few ‘tried and true’ friends. Two of them are my right and left hand now. They matter to me more than any lover I’ve been with.

        Ron, choose *one* person you can trust at this harrowing time when your trust has been ruined. Someone you’d want by your side at the funeral of the person you love most in the world. Go from there. Never mind what your ex is saying. I did this, even as my ex’s actions nearly did me in (I was ill at the time of discovery…and my health got much worse for a long time). I tore at my journal and totalled a lot of pens. My three saviours: TRUE true love in many forms (from those few trusted friends and kin), my cats and dogs (the ability to touch and be touched, to snuggle and sleep with them, to cry all over them, etc., truly kept me on the earth during the darkest nights. Their care was the one routine that I could not lose — they kept me *caring* at all), and writing, writing, writing. (Some form of private expression, for your eyes only, uncensored, let ‘er rip … will keep your sanity intact.)

        Your character and choices will say more than words ever could. In the meantime, do what you must in the practical matters … and document. “Get it in writing”– your own. Get it down; get it out. (I plastered directives, reminders, and quotes all over my walls during the first four months. Love me some Post-it notes and mural paper! 😉 ) Your time will come; your voice will be heard.

        • I just can’t TOTALLY take the high road. I’ve started telling a VERY SMALL (2 so far) subset of mutual friends and have found some support where I really didn’t expect it and deppened some friendships as well.

          I am glad from a self-preservation perspective to have told who I did, why I did it, and what I got out of it.

          I’ve tried journaling but it just doesn’t help as much as feeling “heard” by another human being. I really need that human connection in my healing process.

          I can say with confidence though that this thread, and all the comments/responses have helped immensely. And I do mean IMMENSELY. I can’t thank you enough.

          • Ron,

            I think as men we expect ourselves to bear the pain stoically, no matter what. That is a fool’s errand, not the high road.

            I am proud of myself for living with what I had learned until I could act on it with some sense of balance. This was especially important to me to protect my kids.

            Over time I told a handful of people, friends in common, who had my respect. They mirrored my reality back to me with love and kindness. I don’t know exactly what they did, but they stopped my wife’s encroachments on my boundaries.

            You don’t need to tell everybody. But you do need to tell somebody.

            Good luck to you.

  • My own advice is born from personal experience on the way to meh.
    My STBX went with the story of ‘his life was hell for 2 years prior and the OW was just a friend’.
    He sold this rouse to everyone who would listen, including his family after we separated (he is a salesman).
    I stayed quiet unless questioned and people asked and I told them the truth. He started an affair while we were married. End of.
    Eventually people started to put 2 and 2 together and since the AP put on her Facebook she was in a relationship with him before we had even split they quickly figured it out.
    Some don’t care and have no issue with that, others see him for what he is and I retain my dignity.
    The real friends will stick by you.
    I think over broadcasting can make one look desperate and come across as being bitter.
    You don’t want that.
    Aim for strong, honest and dignified. Then when you do spill the beans it carries sooo much more weight!
    Good luck.

    • I’d go with the truth. That’s what I’m going to do with my octogenarian mother. Mind you, she knows that the OW has been creeping around the sidelines. She knows that STBX’s father had a long-term mistress. When I indicated to her last year that OW was being inappropriate and I was having trouble getting across to STBX that he needed to draw his boundaries better, she flat out told me that he may want to follow in his father’s footsteps, but I wasn’t his mother, who put up with it.

      My mother says she’s a big fan of marriage, and she supports it. That’s why it’s so important that the two people involved love each other. If there’s something that interferes with that, then they should divorce. I expect that she’ll support me 100%. Also, she’d probably eviscerate STBX–at least verbally–if she ever saw him again.

  • I believe in the truth. Not too much detail. Even for 85-year-old parents. I’m sure they have experienced a myriad of things in their lives and will appreciate the truth. They will likely know exactly how to support you and who cares if they are disgusted with H? It is what it is.

  • I told with no guilt about his cheating, had no problem telling since he told our oldest daughter 2 weeks after I kicked him out that the ow was going to leave her husband and they were going to live happily ever after. My oldest told her sisters this development, who, in turn, told me what their father said. So, I had no issue letting people know, whom ever asked that the reason we were getting a divorce is because I had no use for his married girlfriend! PS: she has yet to leave her husband to live “happily ever after” with him in his one bedroom apartment – this all happened in October-November 2011. almost 2 years later, the ow is still with her husband. So, telling was never an issue for me. As I told him when I retained an attorney, you started this, I will finish this the way I want to. Including telling all what a rat bastard you really are.

      • “you started this, I will finish this the way I want to.”

        Yeah that is good! Filed for later use.

  • I wish I had told everyone the truth from the beginning. We worked at the same place, and I did not want pity. But, I think it important that folks know the truth. You can keep it straight forward.
    Now that exH is leaving and moving overseas, folks ask me about the kids. And now I tell the truth:
    ExH is marrying the AP, starting a new family, and moving away from his kids. His choice.

    • My STBX (what’s that mean by the way) works with me as well. It make this all more difficult as she’s here daily and I feel like I can’t get much needed space from her. Her car is always there and while I don’t bump into her regularly, there’s that fear that I will and it alters my behavior and attitude. It will be “interesting” as we go through the divorce process.

        • HA! I’ve been struggling with what to call her and have just kept calling her the wife since she technically is. This whole group is amazing. I used fuckedupedness in a sentence last night to describe the whole thing and now think of reconcilliation as a unicorn.

          You guys are changing my vocabulary and the way I think. Thank you because I really needed to change my thinking.

  • Initially, I kept things quiet because I thought we were trying to reconcile. But he just took the affair underground and continued to cake eat. When I found out, I got mad and exposed them to everyone at their work. He got mad and moved out. He later filed for divorce without telling me and got mad when I told the kids. Apparently, it was supposed to be a secret from everyone, including me and our kids. Like…we weren’t going to notice?

    “All you can think about is making me look like the bad guy,” he said.

    “You cheated on your wife, walked out on your kids, and have lied non-stop about OW. You ARE the bad guy. At least have the balls to own it.”

    He hasn’t. He’s still mad at me for exposing the affair. My crime was bigger than his, in his mind. It’s like it never occurred to him that our marital confidentiality agreement ended the instant he put another woman before me…

    • Red that sounds sooooooo familiar.

      I used the phrase “Own it” with my cheating wife several times. Problem is If they own it, then it makes them look bad.

      The common value that all of us Chumps have is “Being Truthful”. Just the opposite of the cheater. They so want so badly keep it a secret forever or make it look like WE fell out of love. or “Grew Apart”. They don’t want anyone to know about it what happened other than the select few (tools) that they want to inform and share their twisted story of how we drove them to cheat.

      They will use the “this is between you and me” line. If that’s how they feel why do they think they could share intimacy (emotional and physical) with the AP. I thought our marriage an it’s ups and downs were between us not you and your fuckbuddy. I’m sure she NEVER shared any of our good times though.

      I intend on just letting those know that I wasn’t important to her anymore so she cheated on me.

  • I was falling apart, so I pretty much blurted it out to everyone. We live in a small town and he was seen all over with her while still living with me. I was crying a lot too, and had a lot of trouble controlling that. People at work were wonderful as I work with the public (concierge) I would help plan someone’s anniversary, marriage proposal, or honeymoon, then go in the back and sob, mop up, then walk back out to the lobby and do it again.

    I told everyone enough of the whole nasty truth, it usually only took once and that was enough because no one wanted to see me cry more (if possible) But he kept throwing shock after nasty shock at me. My kids are grown and know and of course were on my side (they are NOT his kids, he abandoned his 2 w/ 2 different Mom’s years ago) I’m a pretty open person, that’s just my personality, so I don’t give a shit what he or anyone else thought about what I had to say. It was all the truth, he was aghast that “everyone knew” – to which I said “We live on a 2X4 island and you’ve been driving around with various whores, and you don’t want people to KNOW???” Everyone handles things differently, this is MY way!

  • In the beginning I only mentioned the current affair, because the old hopium had me thinking we’d work it out. Once I got some sense and realised there was no way we were going to do anything but divorce (and when a good friend told me she’d kick my ass if I stayed with him and I had better damn well start telling the real truth) I just started saying ‘I found out about affairs that stretched back an unknown number of years and so we’re divorcing’. A few close friends know the whole truth, the whole story, but most only know vague outlines. I’m ok with people knowing this because they saw us during those years and no one would be able to say that things were bad in our marriage.

    He doesn’t like it one bit and that’s his problem. He was perfectly ok to cheat but both he and OW are severely put out that I am open about not just his affair with her but his other affairs. I guess that makes her feel less special and him like a bigger douchebag cheaterpants.

    • Nord,

      I did something similar, but I tell them “by the time I realized what was happening, he was juggling a neighbor, a co-worker and a woman he met on Ashley Madison.” ‘Nuff said – the reaction is usually “wow, he sounds like a sex addict. That can’t be fixed…” People get it. I don’t run him down further, I leave it at that. And it KILLS him that the truth is out there. Sullies his carefully cultivated image of nice guy. I LOVE what Cindy said, “you started this, I will finish this the way I want to. Yep.

      My son is 9 and he knows I left because Daddy had girlfriends. I refused to let him believe that – because I moved out and filed – I quit the family. He doesn’t hate his Dad over the girlfriends (he’s too young to get it), but I am as sure as ever that his fathers’ rampant narc behavior will alienate him sooner or later. When it does, I’m ready to pick up the pieces.

      Thanks for the great question, Ron. Thanks to CL for the response and all of the wonderful follow-ups from the CL community!

      • I got the ‘that can’t be fixed’ quite a bit as well. It was one of things that snapped me out of it and realised that no, this can’t be fixed because it has nothing to do with me and I can’t control anyone but me.

        • That’s interesting, Nord. I didn’t realize yours was an SA (mine says he is when it benefits him -“I can’t help it, I’m an SA” but refused to dedicate himself to a program because he wasn’t “as messed up as those guys.”) I’m kinda glad that diagnosis has become well-known, as it helps me sum up the reason I left and people just nod since Tiger helped raise awareness of how extreme it is. Personally, I don’t think it’s an addiction….I think it’s just another manifestation of their entitlement run amok,

          • My ex was actually in SA Anonymous for awhile. I think he used the group to find more men to have sex with actually. And during his time in the group, he went to a gay bathhouse “just to test himself” and see if he was “over the addiction.” Well, not surprisingly, he failed that little test. Then he claimed all the other guys in the SA group said it was okay, he had not lost sobriety because he was just “testing himself.” He then stopped going to the group.

            I’m ashamed and astounded that I stayed married to him for YEARS more after that, and in fact, probably would STILL be married to him if it wasn’t for his finally dumping me for the OW that he didn’t even end up with. I can’t even imagine how I spackled over constant gay cheating for so long, but obviously I did.

            It’s sort of ironic that he finally dumped me for another woman, although he is still fucking men (but denying it) and I guess she wised up at some point, since she dumped him too.

            • Wow, Glad…that is a very sad story. In my heart, I just don’t think SAs can change. I’m sorry yours is as messed up as he is. It makes you doubt everything. He’s sick – you’re not. I don’t mean being gay (that’s not the sickness) I mean the serial cheating and denial. And using SA to test? He was lying…they would never encourage that.

  • We’re having the official “Mommy and Daddy are splitting up” conversation tomorrow and I’m so scared I can’t see straight. She wants to be moved out before the end of the month. I’m anxious to move forward but I’m still so scared I feel like a little kid right when my girls need me to be a man.

    • My conversation went really well with very little drama. They just wanted to get back to their own lives. Just interested in how it would affect them. I hope yours goes with that level of drama (almost none).

    • ((Hugs)), HB. Remember all the words of support, from CL and the others who post on this blog. Plus, you don’t have to be superman 100% of the time. You are human, too. You can do it.

      • HB,
        I’m sure they love Daddy, as long as they know that it will all work out in the end.

        • HB,

          Our conversation also went off with little drama. As long as they know it’s not their fault, they’re safe, loved and will still see both of you (just not together), they seem to take it pretty well. Follow-up questions will come over time, but keep reinforcing that it’s not their fault and that they are loved by both of you, they’ll be okay.

          Good luck.

    • Yeah. Because you feel. You know your gonna break their hearts. Meanwhile, I bet you wife has been pushing you to have this conversation with the kids for some time, and you have been putting it off, hoping she will change her mind.

      She won’t.

      My wife wanted us to put up a “united front” to make it as easy on the kids as possible. Really it’s all part of avoiding owning her fucked up decisions. I regret sitting with my kids and telling them that “I agree with Mommy that this is the best thing for everybody”. In hindsight, I suppose it was the best thing, but I regret sharing in the fuckedupidness.

  • I’ve come to realize that if you reconcile with a cheater, they consider that to mean the slate is wiped clean and you have accepted and even okay’d what they did. In their mind, the fact that you took them back even though they lied and cheated shows that not only are you a chump, and therefore deserving of their contempt and continued abuse, but it also means that you have NO RIGHT to be angry or hurt in any way, shape or form about their infidelity, even if it continues. After all, when you took them back, that meant what they did really wasn’t so bad and all was forgiven, even if they never really feel any remorse or stop cheating. So how DARE YOU have any feelings or anger about it later, and HOW DARE you tell people about their cheating or abuse. Because if you were willing to reconcile but it didn’t work out, IT STILL ALL WASHED CLEAN in their sick, twisted heads.

    IMHO, reconciliation is just more of their entitlement and abuse. It lets them “off the hook” in their mind and allows them to blame you when it all eventually tanks and goes south. Once the divorce happens, they feel justified in rage at you for exposing their secret, because they see that as YOU betraying THEM. Just another reason reconciliation is a big steaming pile of crap. It does nothing but give the cheater a get out of jail free card, which they will play for the rest of their life.

    • GIO, totally true. That’s why BSs who stay with their cheaters are almost always cheated on again. “You didn’t really mind when I cheated before, so I’ll do it again :)” mentality, subconscious or otherwise.

      “if you were willing to reconcile but it didn’t work out, IT STILL ALL WASHED CLEAN in their sick, twisted heads.”
      I’m worried about this in my case, as we did false R for an entire year (less than some other chumps here, I know, but seemed like a long time to me). But I reserve my right to take as much time as I need to make a decision. It took me a year to leave, fine, so be it. It is my choice and I won’t let him guilt me into staying just because I was brave enough to try R. If he wouldn’t have kept lying and cheating during that time, I may have stayed. But he messed up his chances at R. He won’t see it that way, but it is the truth. Year or no year, R or no R, he fucked the whore. You can’t unfuck her. I’m leaving, and that’s that.

      Besides I think my STBX thinks he was completely entitled to the affair(s) anyhow, no matter what, in his own mind. Even before R, he had his own narrative that justified the whole thing.

    • This exactly describes what happened to me, every single word.

      I should have realized, after the first affair, when the ex didn’t do any of those things you’re supposed to do to repair. The affair had been quite brief, and I believed that even decent people can do stupid and selfish things sometimes. But that stuff, you know, consistently and sincerely expressing remorse and regret, working hard to re-build the trust that you’ve destroyed, working hard at figuring out why you went the route of an affair, and what exactly you’re going to do in future to never go there again, and then doing it. NONE of that got done. He did make some efforts to improve our relationship, in ways that had nothing to do with the affair, but that was it.

      I think the ex really thought I’d never find out about the 2nd affair (he was working out of town 4 days a week); I guess he forgot that I knew about the 1st one before he even fucked her. Took me about 2 weeks to find out about and confirm the 2nd one. At that point, he chose to continue to fuck this woman. ALL over for me.

      And even then he thought I’d take him back. A few months after I told him it was over for us, as he was finally moving into the apartment I ended up having to find for him, he said to me ‘this is just temporary, right?’ I thought he meant he wasn’t going to live in a rented 1 bedroom place forever, so I said ‘right’. Only several months later as he was persistently talking about ‘what would have to happen for us to get back together’ and I was persistently saying ‘not going to happen’ did I realize he actually thought that I was going to take him back. Cheesh.

      In my ex’s case I think it was a combo of seeing cheating as pretty ‘normal’; it’s what his dad did constantly, through two marriages (although the cheating was the cause of the end of both those marriages), his own personal sense of entitlement, and my high level of chumpiness, leading him to believe there would be few consequences for further cheating.


      • “What would have to happen for us to get back together?”

        “Um, I don’t know. Hell to freeze over? Let’s start with that.” Snort!

      • Karen, my X has this odd attitude too. He wants me back (we’re divorced two weeks), and keeps saying we can fix this. It’s just an ultimate mindfuck! I keep telling him 3 yrs of lying & cheating, plus me moving out, followed by 7 months of fake R are MORE than enough! I wish he’d stop begging and acting like it’s all something I should get over. My biggest prob wasn’t even the sex w/ her, which I think slowed way down during R, but he kept telling her how he loved her so, and protecting her instead of me! The final straw was him running across the street on NY’s eve, trying be there to kiss HER at midnight. See you later, pal!
        I am going NC, promised my therapist this morning. Sorry to go off on a tangent from this topic, but you seemed to have a similar situation to me, with him trying to get back together.

  • CL, very timely post for me, as I am struggling with who to tell, and how much. So far, it’s pretty much a secret, due to (false) R. If I don’t tell his dirty secret, he sure has heck won’t.

    I’m inclined to keep quiet for the moment, until our divorce is underway, to perhaps use as leverage in the settlement. This might work, or might not. My STBX is so narcissistic and deluded that he actually might not be scared of exposure, thinking that everyone else will be fine with his cheating, as he is. Deluded.

    I don’t think I can keep quite for long, though, as people will be asking me the reason for the divorce. I don’t want his whole family (who I have a great relationship with) to believe my STBX’s inevitable “We just grew apart” story, or more likely, “My ex is mean and dumped me for no reason – woe is me!” story. It would really be unfair and hurtful to me, and to my kids, to grow up with his whole side of the family not knowing the real (HUGE!) reason why we broke up, and villifying me for the breakup.

    Most of his family will be dissappointed, at the least, to learn the truth. And wouldn’t blame me a bit for leaving. Of course, he will deny it, and likely will win most of his family back, over time. But at least they would know the truth. If want to deny and spackle, that’s their choice. But it won’t be for lack of facts.

    Still struggling with how much I will tell, though, to people other than close friends. I’d like to take the high road, but still defend myself and tell people the gist of it. I’ve heard a few good ways to phrase it, such as “His values were not conducive to marred and family life”. That one is open to interpretation – it could mean that he is a cheater, or that maybe had a drinking problem, or was into porn – it could be interpreted several ways. But it hints at a big moral problem. Or I could say, “He broke our marriage vows”, which I think is pretty clear to mean that he cheated. Or, this one: “His behavior has released me from our marriage vows”, which, again, points to cheating, without spelling it out too much.

    I don’t want to go into details with anyone other than close friends, to whom I will just flat-out say “He cheated, so I left.”

    As far as the kids go, mine are too little for a sit-down. When they ask, I will probably say something like “Your father broke a very big promise to me, and that’s not okay.” I’m not going to spackle for them, or have them growing up thinking that I’m some bad wife who just decided i wanted a divorce. I don’t think spackling for them will do them any good. As they get older, I will tell the truth in an age-appropriate way, but not details of his sexual escapades. They don’t need to hear that.

  • I am looking forward to being in a space where I can just be factual about it, and sort of mention it in passing if asked why we divorced. I knew one engaged couple who broke up over cheating before the wedding, and she handled it by telling mutual friends (like, their whole church) to ask HIM why they broke up, which speaks volumes too, I think.

    My STBX behaved exactly like the classic case outlined here: blew a gasket when I (accidentally) outed his behavior to his mother – I’d seen an email to (one of) his AP’s where he said he’d told his mother allllll about her, and how MIL could not WAIT to meet her. This woman has been my second mother for a quarter century, and that bit devastated me. STBX did not recant that piece either, when I asked about it. So I called her, in tears. She was, of course, horrified and had no idea (her own marriage broke up in a similar fashion, I couldn’t believe she would “look forward” to meeting an OW.)

    OTOH, he decided 3 weeks into (false) reconciliation that I was “obviously” never going to get over it and quit being angry, and signed up for OK Cupid, in addition to continuing to be in fairly constant contact with his AP’s, women conveniently scattered across several time zones.

    So, a classic case of “I don’t see what the big deal is, you’re way too angry” vs. “Don’t tell anyone what I did.”

    Fuck that. We separated a month ago, and I filed for divorce last week. Buh bye, 28 years of being your Hyper-Achieving, Mega-Spackling chump.

    • (I meant to say: the “Ask HIM why we broke up” scenario is only useful among close friends who have had a clear view of your own impeccable role in the relationship – not so great for a wider community who will assume they don’t know the whole story and may be inclined towards, “Well, obviously you did something that DROVE him to cheat with a dozen different women . . . ” The people who won’t realize you’ve been spackling him for their benefit all along, need to hear it from your mouth.

    • Mine called his Mother and told her he left me because of my drinking. I was dreading calling her, and when she called me first I just broke down. She told me what he said to which she said “That’s why SHE gets up at 6AM since I’ve known her and works so hard at the SAME job – unlike you” and then hung up on him to call me and find out what REALLY happened…you better believe I told her! He sure as hell wasn’t ever going to tell the truth.

  • Great post. Totally describes my STBXH, he asked me what my thoughts on why were separating are and I said very calmly and collected ” Because you are a liar and a cheater”. He informed me later on that he was hurt by that (HA!!!) because HE wasn’t going around vilifying me to his friends,so of course implying that am vilifying him! Well his truth is UGLY, not my problem, if he hadn’t done those things, then there would be nothing to tell.

    • Julie, you’re ex must be mine’s secret twin. We were texting about something, and I said that he chose not to love and protect his wife and his kids. His reply; ‘that’s mean’.

      No actually, that’s TRUE. If it cuts, YOU sharpened the knife well, then threw yourself on it.

      • Sorry we have similar exes. I think it hilarious(sorta) that they think we are the ones who are the big meanies. Last time I checked lying and adultry ARE NOT considered good personality traits! I used to say I don’t wish hell upon anyone. Now I say I don’t wish my ex on anyone.(OK, maybe just a little 🙂 )

  • I was quiet on reasons until the divorce was final, and even a while after that. But when he moved in with the OW. all bets were off. I tend to over-tell in everything, so my friends got most of the details. But to acquaintances, I would use a lighter approach. I would say something like “my husband was unhappy and I tried to get him to commit to marriage counseling to help us out, but his most recent mistress thought that counseling would be unsuccessful for us.” Jaws drop and then we move on to other conversation.

  • When I told my mother in law about her daughter’s cheating, my XW was enraged. She said” You took ten years off my mother’s life.”
    You know, it is the same old theme. The cheater, actually , causes all the damage. But, then claims that it is the reporting of their activities vs the actual actvities themselves, that causes all the damage.
    This falls in line with the fact that most cheaters are personality disordered and never accept responsibility for their actions.

    • Arnold,

      In regard to XW’s “you took ten years off my mother’s life,” it would be good to ask her, “Who is she upset with, me or you?”

  • I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again–

    I told my ex the following: “If it wasn’t too bad for you to do, it certainly isn’t too bad for me to say.”

    End of story.

  • Although we did grow apart and there were a few other reasons that contributed to the decline of the marriage – my main reason for leaving was my STBXH’s affair. The other reasons would have never been cause for me to leave. After realizing I shouldn’t be embarrased about it and think there was somethign wrong with me I told everyone with the exception of those friends that were his first. All our other common friends know and they’ve all sided with me and avoid him now. I’m amazed that he hasn’t told a single one of “his” friends. Those of “his” friends that i’m friendly with too (like their wives) i’m beginning to feel like I’m lying to them so I just avoid and wait for him to eventually say something. It’s sad because if he waits until the divorce is over to tell them, they will feel like they weren’t that important to him in the first place. Those where I am acquaintances with the wives – if he doesn’t say something and i’m put in a position where i’d have to omit what’s going on – then all bets are off and i’ll say something. Anyone who doesn’t side with you is simply not worth knowing. I”ve told my closest friends the gruesome details but if they aren’t as close, then they just are told the STBX had a long affair and lied to me in day in and day out adn that’s enough for me. Protecting the other party is not our burden. They chose to end things that way, not the right way so they have to put up with the humilation (if they are in fact capable of feeling that).

  • Although we did grow apart and there were a few other reasons that contributed to the decline of the marriage – MY main reason for leaving was my STBXH’s affair. The other reasons would have never been cause for me to leave. After realizing I shouldn’t be embarrased about it and thinking there was something wrong with me I told everyone with the exception of those friends that were his first. All our other common friends know and they’ve all sided with me and avoid him now. I’m amazed that he hasn’t told a single one of “his” friends. Those of “his” friends that i’m friendly with too (like their wives) i’m beginning to feel like I’m lying to them so I just avoid and wait for him to eventually say something. It’s sad because if he waits until the divorce is over to tell them, they will feel like they weren’t that important to him in the first place. Those where I am acquaintances with the wives – if he doesn’t say something and i’m put in a position where i’d have to omit what’s going on – then all bets are off and i’ll say something. Anyone who doesn’t side with you is simply not worth knowing. I”ve told my closest friends the gruesome details but if they aren’t as close, then they just are told the STBX had a long affair and lied to me in day in and day out and that’s all they need to understand.

  • Update:
    I’ve told some mutual friends and it feels good. In addition to it feeling good I’ve uncovered friends that have been through infidelity and our friendship has deepened because of the shared pain. I’m not telling EVERYONE, but just those people that genuinely want to know and aren’t just asking out of obligation.

    I was totally protecting her and there’s no reason for that any longer.

    I really appreciate all the responses, advice, opinions and encouragement. It’s given me more hope, resolve and yes even a little peace of mind.

    • Ron,

      Good point about “friendship… deepened because of shared pain.” Two people I confided in expressed a generosity of soul I would have not easily recognized otherwise.

      We are all members of the Loyal Order of the Chumped.

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