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Dear Chump Lady, Should we call cheaters out?

Dear Chump Lady,

I was amazed to find out that my ex (before D-Day) would attend holiday dinners at the affair partner’s (AP) house with all of her family there. Now the story that the AP fed her adult daughter was that my ex was in a bad marriage, and although he still lived at home with me, we lived completely separate lives (news to me of course).

So the rest of the AP’s family was fed this crap too, but still they must have suspected. And yet they seemed to accept and welcome my ex into their intimate family celebrations.

I don’t really know what they thought (except for AP’s daughter – I had the fortuitous opportunity to talk with her when I drove by AP’s house and saw my ex’s truck parked out front. AP’s daughter was very interested in talking to me when I told her I was the wife. She thought he was creepy and knew something just wasn’t right.) Now four years later the daughter seems to have accepted ex and embraced him into the family. I have to say this pisses me off that these assholes are forgiven like that.

It seems that many of us accept cheating in our midst without standing up and doing anything about it. In my work place, one of my employees was actively having an affair. I didn’t know what the hell to do about it. Fire her? Call her on it? Phone up her husband (who she had just married months before)?. In the end I did nothing. Time took care of it and everything blew up and she is now divorced and living with the AP. But I feel like I should have done something. Probably because so many people knew about my ex and the AP for YEARS and nobody said anything until one day when my best friend noticed that he drove down a certain road in my area all the time and wondered out loud to me as to where he was going? (Hence my drive by of AP’s house and seeing his truck….the beginning of discovery).

I feel that cheating is quite accepted in our society and in fact glamourized to a certain degree. When I have discussions with people who have not experienced cheating or cheated themselves, cheating to them is “whatever”. But it sure is a different story when I talk to people who have been cheated on…..whoa, that shit sandwich never goes away.

What do you think? Should we stand up and yell “cheater, cheater” when we become aware of a cheating fuckhead or just stand by and let it take its course? Should I fire my cheating employee?


Dear Maggie,

I fielded this one out to my employment lawyer husband on the question of can you fire an employee for being a cheater. (Disclaimer — I’m not a lawyer, I’m a chump, so get proper legal counsel. And my husband works in Texas, not wherever you are, so keep that in mind.) He writes:

It depends on several factors (standard lawyer response, right?). They need
to seek the advice of an employment lawyer in the state where they live.

If they are a union employee, their collective bargaining agreement likely
gives them rights above and beyond the typical “employment at will” employee
(i.e., can only be fired “for cause”). If they’re not a union employee, in
TEXAS, it would NOT be illegal per se to fire someone for infidelity. but
you have to be careful to be consistent to avoid creating the appearance of
discrimination based on a protected factor. For instance, you can’t just
fire the cheating men but not the cheating women, which might draw a lawsuit
for gender discrimination. FWIW, I’ve heard stories (unconfirmed) that it
was the policy of Ross Perot’s company, EDS, to fire employees whom it
learned were cheating under the rationale that any person who would betray
their spouse would betray their employer.

Also, it’s not unusual when the affair is between two employees to just fire
them both for creating a personally unsustainable situation at work (e.g.,
Marsha won’t talk to John, because he dumped her, and John is perceived as
playing favorites with Jill because they’re known to be dating). But to fire
one and not the other (e.g., the man but not woman, or visa versa) would be
a problem.

My advice? Judge people at work based on how they perform at work. PERIOD.
Anything else is asking for trouble. Once again the rules applies: If it
feels good, don’t do it.

So, sorry. It sounds like you have to keep working with Miss Cheaterpants. But you have my permission to dislike her and give her as many status report assignments as you want. Maybe insist that she write all her business correspondence in Comic Sans 24 pt. type. Or declare that the dress code now include clown shoes… But only for her job.

Oops. But that would feel good, so on the advice of my lawyer — don’t do it.


On the larger issue of calling cheaters out in your personal life? Sure. Go for it. It might make you unpopular, but hopefully not with the chump that’s finding out. (Although there are the sorts that want to kill the messenger, which is a risk you have to consider.) I think it’s perfectly okay to not be “neutral” when a friend divorces over infidelity. I think it’s fine to not buy the narrative that the cheater is spinning, and if they try it on you, to say “Oh really? I heard you were fucking strangers you met on Craigslist. Huh. Funny how folks grow apart…”

As for the OW’s family? You don’t control that, so let it go. Either the apple doesn’t fall from the tree, in which case they’re all a bunch of moral midgets. Or, they love this woman and have to hold their nose about her personal life — which is VERY common, and something I think most of us are guilty of. Keeping the peace for family harmony. Even if that peace is brokered over your crushed soul. They don’t know you. They know her. Most people will choose awkwardness over confrontation. Now, they may gossip behind her back. They may secretly despise your ex-husband. But they’re not going there over Thanksgiving dinner, KWIM?

When it’s your own in-laws selling you down the river? Same deal. No one is “winning” here. They’re stuck with the Cheaterpants couple and it’s probably not the Norman Rockwell scene of family bonhomie that you imagine. It’s like imagining that the cheaters are going to be So Much Happier Without You. No, Uncle Chester is still an alcoholic. Aunt Doris still dominates the conversation about her scrapbooking adventures, and your father-in-law is watching Fox News. Nothing to miss here. Move on.

You only control YOU. That’s it. You want to call out cheaters? Go for it. Bring a megaphone if you want. But you can’t expect other people to join you in your outrage. If they haven’t lived it, they probably don’t get it. And if they don’t have the empathy to imagine it? There isn’t a megaphone loud enough for them to hear it. I’m sorry.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • “You only control YOU”.

    To me this message is one of the key distinguising characteristics of this website, IMO.

    Too many other websites are willing to pander to codependent behavior and beliefs, and there is no shortage of people willing to tell you that you may have done something to cause your spouse to cheat, and you can change your behavior, and they will stop.

    That message sells apparently. But it doesn’t ring true to me at all. I know I could be perfectly miserable in a relationship and not cheat, and I have experiences to prove it 🙂

    The only way I am going to cheat is if I give myself permission to cheat, and that means not caring or thinking much about what kind of impact that sort of thing might have on the relationship and not caring that I might be lying and gaslighting somebody to avoid discovery or not caring how they feel if it is discovered. In short, it would have to be all about me, and I’d have to not care about how the behavior affects others and what it says about me.

    I only control myself, and there’s nothing I can realistically imagine anybody doing that can make me cheat unless I give myself permission to do that, betraying my deepest-held core values.

  • A family that would include someone’s married AP for holiday dinners is the very family where the OW learned her behavior, IMHO.

    Back when I was married, I thought my ex’s large family was some sort of Norman Rockwell group. So close, so loving, so supportive, so happy to be together whenever they could. Now that time and distance have erased the fog, I see how truly messed up they are. They are all cheaters, they all badmouth their spouses to each other, they are unbelievable hypocrites and liars and there is all sorts of bizarre, immoral behavior going on in that family.

    Cheaters and the disordered often learned their behaviors at home. Their families are fine with their behavior, because chances are, that’s the norm for that family.

    Like CL says, all we can do is control our own actions.

    • Same here. In fact, up until he needed their support for his crusade against me, he couldn’t stand the fact that his family was a bunch of smash mouthing gossips.

      Well, well, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. They’re all so tight now……

    • My cheating wife was the last hold out on the rest of her 3 cheating siblings. (some cheated more than once, and divorced 3 times for cheating) Now that she’s part of the club they all have something in common.

      At this point I still feel that the FIL and MIL still like me. FIL and I spent many hours in the woods and on the water together over the years. However he hasn’t been told the reason for the upcoming separation. He most likely already knows as most parents figure this stuff out. I am expecting that to all change.

    • Not sure I agree with that totally. I understand what you’re saying however when I was in my early 20’s my sister who is older than me by three years was an OW to a much older man. My parents found out and were very upset, never accepted it and did everything they could to stop it. My parents were very moral upstanding people and they didn’t agree or go along with it. My sister was ‘the black sheep’ of the family and never listened and went on to make many more disastrous mistakes in her life. We grew up in the same family, shared the same upbringing and environment and yet we are like polar opposites. Sometimes I think it’s just a matter of genes and/or different personalities. Having said that, I understand that the dynamics of the family often breeds certain characteristics too.

  • I was very upset with the number of people who were former colleagues in my ex’s work environment who couldn’t be bothered to come and tell me what he was up to. I was so distraught that I nearly called a couple of them to open up a conversation with “So — have you been fucking my husband too?” Whew. Glad I let that phase pass.

    Anyway, the divorce is over and a couple of years pass, when the main secretary, who is my age and I always considered to be a great friend gets ahold of me and wants a letter of recommendation. It seems she’s been let go for “financial reasons” and they tell her she won’t be the last. In actuality, she’d been eased out so that the ex’s new wife could have her spot. So we finally got together to compare notes about what had been going on, and let me tell you, the ex is lucky he doesn’t have a bullet in his ass.

    The lies they spin to justify what they are doing are IMMENSE, and people go along with them just like Hitler said they would. I supposedly was sexually abusing my son. I mean, why would a man LIE about something like that? When my well adjusted kids were not showing any signs of being screwed up and actually loved their mother — he had a reason for that too. They had Stockholm Syndrome.

    Anyway, that made the whole affair a righteous crusade as far as everyone was concerned.

    Boy did it freak the ex out when he found out that the old secretary and I were talking……

    • If a man were telling the truth about something like that, he should be going to child protective services, not off having fun and then leaving the kids with you.

      • Exactly. He couldn’t use that lie with the court during the custody mediation, hence I ended up with custody.

        I’m sure he got a lot of mileage (kibbles of sympathy and outrage) over that particular travesty of justice.

  • I love this site CL and check it daily to see what’s new that you post. You are really great at cutting through the shit and telling it the way we NEED to hear it.

    I say expose always, because as the saying goes ” If you didn’t do it, there would be nothing to tell”

    • I love your saying. ‘If you didn’t do it, there would be nothing to tell.’ In the beginning, I told only a few people. The more time goes on, the more people I tell. Maybe not specifics but I do say that my husband found someone else and decided to move out to be with her instead of myself and our two kids. That’s his shame, not mine. I think he’s an asshole and if people still want to associate with him after hearing that, then they are no friends of mine. I don’t know if his whore’s friends (if she has any) knew he was married but if they did and they accepted him then they all deserve each other and they can live in their messed-up reality which contains no morals or honor.

      • I agree, I have had absolutely no compunction with sharing what my ex did if it comes up in conversation — cheated on me for 17 years with two co-workers who I thought were family friends, including group sex. I got it down to one sentence, it says it all. There’s more (and worse) things he’s done, but that’s enough. What anyone chooses in terms of a business or personal relationship with my ex after that is their problem, but they can’t say they weren’t warned.

        • What I like to say–and try as I might I cannot say it with a straight face–is, “Well, my ex husband found an ex hook-up of his on Facebook, and they decided they were soul mates.”


          “And so, as it turns out, they were Always Meant To Be Together, and He Never Loved Me–you know the story. No, it wasn’t always funny, it was pretty traumatic, really, but, I mean, who does that? My ex, that’s who.”

          Anyway, I’m mostly sad for the kids, now, that they have that guy as a father.

          • Ah yes, Stephanie, my husbands’s “main” AP tells one and all that she and my ex have always been the “Loves Of Each Others’ Lives” and are getting married. It was horribly traumatizing and I can tell I have post traumatic type remnants from the massive deception. My kids won’t even speak to him, nor does he try very hard to see them (he hasn’t seen them since D-Day 16 months ago). As our oldest son says “I am so ashamed of him.” Great legacy for your 3 beautiful children. But don’t worry, despite all, my ex considers himself a massive success and wonderful catch and so does his borderline personality disorder AP.

            • I love when they have a main AP and then some backups. Mine was the same. Number one girl thinks she’s the real deal and that the others ‘didn’t count’.

              • yep, my ex “has em lining up” on, and main gf is either clueless or just looks the other way…or maybe SHE’S doing the pick me dance now 🙂

  • I found evidence in writing of my ex having an affair with his married coworker. I thought long and hard about whether it was “my duty” to expose the affair to her husband. I talked to several people about it including my counselor. This is what I decided: coming from me it would most likely not be accepted as truth (jilted wife wants revenge). I would be better served to put all my energy into rebuilding my own life (suggested by my son). Exposing the affair would bring what my ex wanted faster (for his coworker to leave her husband). They are all adults, they could be a happy threesome as far as I know. I did, however, share the document with my kids and parents so they knew the truth. As far as I know my adult kids have not confronted their father about it, which is their choice. However, they have had fun asking all kinds of questions about the coworker’s husband just to watch their dad squirm.

    • I disagree with you there, Lyn. If the husband in your case was me, I’d want to know. If I had no other suspicions I can’t say for sure that I would take your word for it, but at least you would know you weren’t letting someone else be screwed over without their knowledge in the way you were.

      • I understand your feelings, ANR. I really struggled with what to do. However, I know the AP’s husband has been told I’m crazy by my ex and most likely wouldn’t believe me. He’d think I made the document up myself. I HAVE thought about dropping it in the mail anonymously, though. My ex keeps the document on the desktop of his work computer. He doesn’t realize he’s still backing that computer up to Dropbox, which I can access from his old laptop (now mine). I wouldn’t want to mail it to the AP husband’s home where she might intercept it, and he works for the state government so I think an intern opens his mail. There are others who have strong suspicions about their affair so eventually I think it will blow up without my intervention.

        • Yup, when I informed the AP’s ex (after she suddenly divorced him), he STILL didn’t believe me. You see, the AP, her best friend (a second AP), and my ex (we were all “family friends”), and they had regaled him for so long with how mentally unstable and pathetic I was, that he thought I had hallucinated the whole thing. It’s funny now, because I literally had to say to him “I know that they told you I have mental problems, I do not, I am a successful trial attorney and anyone in our community would laugh if you told them I am nuts.” He later learned everything I told him was true, and he called me to apologize. He told me that for so long my ex and his AP’s had been on a campaign to demean and defame me that he always just assumed it must be true. That was right before he had to DNA test his two sons to determine if my ex was actually their father.

          • Well? Don’t leave us hanging! Was your ex the father?

            • Oops, sorry, no my ex was not their father. He was annoyed however that anyone could think that might be the case.

      • I told the spouse of my STBX’s AP… I found him on a truck website and joined up and sent him an email. I am glad I did. It was not malicious, vindictive, or negative, just factual. He did respond back….several times. I told him that I just wanted to make sure he was aware and that they were having unprotected sex (they have children as well) and that I do not plan on contacting him again. Well, he has contacted me several times after that through that website. The last time to tell me that they bought a boat and things are going okay for them. I told him that that is great and that their lives are none of my business. Good luck. Last I heard she was screwing another married cop and was arrested for her dui and hit and run (she is jail deputy on the sheriff’s dept.) so maybe things have since changed. I really don’t care – not my problem. I kind of laugh every time that guy logs onto that truck website, I hope I pop into his head……
        On the flipside, I would have wanted someone to tell me but those pos cops stick together. Too many people sit idly by and do nothing. How can things change if nobody stands up for themselves and what they believe? If I look like a fool or a crazy person for it, good, than stay the fuck away from me. LOL

      • I agree he should know. It’s not up to you to make him believe you. But I would give him a heads up. Just calmly let him know that he might want to check into what you’ve found out. He may think you’re crazy but you can’t control that. And then be done with it.

        I know that my cheating wife’s friends knew well before I did. Obviously they are no longer my friends.

  • I heard a talk radio psychologist field this question 20 years ago and I always keep it in mind. She said that if you actually Know that someone is cheating on their spouse, that you should tell the spouse in order to grant them the DIGNITY of knowing the truth- then they can do with that information what they wish.
    I agree with this totally. If only someone had granted me that dignity…

  • My XH’s first AP (from 20 years ago) recently posted a YouTube film of her ordination to the deaconate in her Episcopalian church. That is just wrong on so many levels. It reminded me that the X told me she wanted to have an affair because some other women in her church (yup, same church) were having affairs. WTF? At the time of the affair, AP was about 50 years old, married with two teens. My X was 33 and had me and two small children at home. So I’ve been thinking about calling her out, but I don’t think I have the guts even though I live in a different state now. I should add that he didn’t admit the affair until the end of our marriage in 2004. These things really stick with you, don’t they?

    • This is different. I think church higher-ups should be informed.

    • Ah, Clergy….. I’ve learned, sadly (not to generalize, but hey–I’m generalizing!) that clergy are a group particularly prone to infidelity. I suspect is is related to the personality that the work requires: wants to be special, the center of attention, wants to be able to give ‘that certain something’, to have unquestioned authority…. lots of things about being clergy resonate with NPD, when you really think about it. (Not to dump on the many, many sincere folks who really do the work in order to help others or because they have a calling.) It just happens to be a job description that is written to a T for a manipulative narcissist.

      Take, for example, my ex-father in law, both a minister and a professor of theology–had affairs all his career–continues to, into his 80’s, affairs with all possible genders (I have no issues with his gender choice, it’s the betrayal I can’t stand). Worst of all, affairs that I would label as abusing a power dynamic: affairs with students, graduate students, members of choral and other musical ensembles he directed…in other words, lots of sex with multiple partners in situations where they were dependent on him for some kind of professional or personal standing. Classic, classic mindfuck.

      And where as my MIL in this? He forced a “bargain” on her, whereby he could fuck whoever he wanted, but he would support her, and never abandon her (her father, btw, was a bigamist, as I discovered when the 1940 census was published…surprise! both sides of the family…). Her father repeated abandoned her family, and at the height of the depression her mother put the kids in orphanages…so she had major abandonment issues. The NPD minister had her at his mercy, psychologically. A true devil’s bargain. And everybody *loves* this guy. Wow does he ever sparkle.

      The sad ending to this story is that when they retired, she no longer had her very full work and volunteer life to fill up her time, and had to face living with him, she basically starved herself to death. He facilitated by being “unable” to care for her in her decline…like driving to Canada to secure narcotics for her addiction–he could have stopped. He could have gotten her a home health aide so she didn’t develop the 2″ bedsores that landed her in the hospital… but, no.

      So, NPD, cheater Clergy? Yeah, I think so.

      Also– my wasband’s ho-bag was prone to also fucking her ministers (so clearly, they too…), . And there is even a scholarly literature on the topic.

      It ain’t just me. So even though the plural of anecdote is data, as they say, I think there is truth here.

      • Named for Vera, WOW. . . what a SAD story that is- the poor wife! She was a chump to the very end and never breathed a moment (as we all are here) as a RECOVERING chump.

        I believe that where clergy cheaters are involved- you have a DUTY as a good American to tell and expose them! Think about it, clergy are generally operating TAX FREE under the umbrella of a church. This is ABSOLUTELY a rip-off for all of us who are tax paying Americans. I’m catholic and I have NO PROBLEM with lawsuits from victims who have in fact been victims. Bring financial pressure and we can hope for justice, transparency AND change.

      • “Ah, Clergy….. I’ve learned, sadly (not to generalize, but hey–I’m generalizing!) that clergy are a group particularly prone to infidelity. I suspect is is related to the personality that the work requires: wants to be special, the center of attention, wants to be able to give ‘that certain something’, to have unquestioned authority…. lots of things about being clergy resonate with NPD, when you really think about it.”

        All of these AND the added bonus that they can atone for their sins WHILE they’re committing them. Hypocrites.

        XH, XFIL, XMIL – ALL cheaters, all a part of the clergy these days. Each and every one of them devoting more hours to their unsuspecting flocks than they ever did to their families. Clearly, the payoff is bigger –

      • And to try and be relevant to the post– at this point, the only folk who get together in this family? the cheaters, and the new wife to one of the cheaters (my former BIL). The woman my SIL just refers to as “the slut”. The four times married, finds her husbands on Adult Friend Finder (wonder how long this go-round will last?).

        (extra karma points– cheater BIL is having an IRS audit. heh.)

        The family all knows that both brothers are cheaters–one is my wasband. So it’s 3 generations of it. Jimminy. The sister, in the middle, deals by the most astounding denial, and basically not having recognizable human relationships.

        The kids of the various relationships have stuck by their mothers– BIL has not been to his married daughter’s home in the UK since she married nearly 10 years ago (and she refused to let him walk her down the aisle). She will not tolerate “the slut” in her home, and he won’t go without his narcissistic fuck buddy/wife. His son is terribly worried that their is some kind of family taint, and that upon reaching middle age, he will suddenly do a Jekyll/Hyde transformation and turn into an asshole. His mother assures him that he will not because he does possess a moral compass!

        My own kid has yet to really face and navigate the damage that her father has wrought, but as she said, “I love him, I just don’t trust him.”. They will have to work out the relationship, such as it is, on their own. But I ache for her. I had a father who was the very picture of moral rectitude (WWII hero, all that stuff), and she has…a lying, cheating coward. And she knows it. How unutterably sad.

        So, in terms of “telling”. In this family, there are more cheaters than honest people, so even when they are pretending it’s normal behavior…maybe for them it kind of is? I sort of wish I had known all this ahead of time. What it would have meant to me, I cannot say. I probably would have done the Amazon thing, and said Oh! poor them!

    • Another episode of Weiner’s weenie — that’s just gross.

      Jon Stewart must be beside himself being on vacation just now.

  • I am a firm proponent of ‘telling’. To stand by and watch someone struggling in a marriage while their spouse is screwing around is just not acceptable to me. Lots of people, ones I considered good friends, knew what my husband was doing. Those, like his sister, that actively helped him deceive me (handling phone calls, lending their places so he could meet her) I no longer even acknowledge. Yes, sometimes the messenger gets blamed, but I could not live with myself watching another go through the torture of betrayal.

    Dante Alighieri – “The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, maintain their neutrality

  • In my state, you cannot fire someone for something they are doing in their private life (unless it affects work, such as an affair between a manager and someone he supervises, etc.) You CAN fire someone if they send lewd emails on the company computer or smartphone as there is no expectation of privacy on a corporate device of any kind and salty language or images is probably not allowed. Opening yourself up to wrongful termination litigation could really damage your reputation as a manager. I wouldn’t do it.

    As far as the OW’s family, it seems like you’ve already spoken to the daughter. They know. They may not care. Or they might believe the OW’s story rather than yours. As much as it hurts to masticate this shit sandwich, you may need to force it down with one gulp. Act in haste, repent at leisure. I have a friend whose cheating husband is in the Army. Totally different set of rules there. Adultery is a violation of the military code of conduct. She told his supervisor, presented him with proof, and her husband was dishonorably discharged and lost his pension. Oops…make that half of HER pension and child support and all of her benefits. Felt good initially. In the long term, not so much. Be careful, friend.

    • Yes I could have had my ex and his AP fired from their workplace because they had sex on work premises (there were recorded phone calls of them talking about it). But I knew that if I did that, I would suffer because my ex would lose his main source of income and possibly his pension. So I kept my mouth shut then fought like a banshee to get half of his pension – which I got and it pissed him off so much.

      I don’t trust my employee – I think if you’re willing to lie in a cheating scenario, you will have no second thoughts about ripping off your employer. I will bide my time and wait until she hangs herself.

  • Well, I’ll preface this by saying I’m having a very bad day. Made and kept the appointment with a divorce attorney today (it’s been a little over 3 years since Dday #2 – do I win some kind chumpiest prize?). However, about an hour before the appointment I got an email from my daughter. It included an email she attached from her husband-of-3-years’ girlfriend. He’s very tech savvy, and had blocked her previous emails to my daughter, but the girl finally wised up and used her military email (daughter is active duty), and I guess my cheater-in-law wasn’t able to squelch that one.

    Long story short, the affair has been going on since a couple of months after they married. I’m sure the AP just wants to get my daughter to leave (even though she described cheater-in-law) as a liar and manipulator. I am proud to report, however, that darling daughter may have been chumped, but she is no CHUMP. She is making plans to divorce immediately.

    There was, however, a little gift in the AP’s contact email. You see, cheater-in-law just got out of the military, and after a brief period of job hunting, they discovered a business franchise they wanted to invest in. Using her salary (and insurance), as well as joint savings, they qualified for a loan. They opened the store in a coastal town they wanted to retire in – using lots of our family contacts down there – he is even living in my MIL’s condo while the buildout and opening went on. The business just opened 3 weeks ago, and is already hugely successful – the best in the franchise. But here’s the kicker. The AP attached copies of cheater-in-law’s texts to her describing how he was just using my daughter to get the store open. That it was 100% his (she owns 51% on the paperwork), and he was just getting the finances squared away to pay off the loan and then he would file! Also stated that it was no problem – he could have my daughter bought out of the business in 5 minutes.

    I relayed this little tidbit to the divorce lawyer I saw today. He couldn’t repress a smile, and said that darling daughter pretty much won the lottery on that one. As we all know, judges really don’t give a rat’s ass about the “I love you’s” and the sexting, but cheater-in-law just basically put in permanent writing on the web his plan to defraud his wife and then divorce her. He said judges do not look kindly on that, and would award a MUCH LARGER share to darling daughter in the settlement. I think he would love to have the case, and I’m going to recommend him to her. After she contacts all the shark lawyers in said coastal town (and a good family friend is a very prominent lawyer there, current head of the bar association, so we should get plenty of references).

    So, now that I’ve thread jacked here, the point is that I think someone should always find a way to tell the chump in any situation. Obviously it helps if you have positive evidence rather than just hearsay, but definitely tell the chump. They will do with it what they will. Thank god my daughter found out before they were more financially entwined, and before they had kids. She has a good job/career (pilot) with the Air Force, and lots of good friends who will hold her up and see her through this. She will survive and thrive. Honestly, I never just loved her soon to be ex, but his family are really wonderful people, and I will miss them. By the way, she sent a copy of the damning email to his mother and me in the same email, saying he had admitted to the affair and that they both have agreed to divorce. One day people! I can assure you that the affair partner thinks she’s winning some kind of prize, but his family will NEVER accept her. They adore my daughter and will miss her like crazy.

    Will be interesting to watch her cheater father react to seeing done to his daughter what he did to me. I sent him a copy of the email, and guess what his response was? He said there was a difference – he had always loved me, when clearly cheater in law did not love our daughter. Yeah, right. I’m still trying to figure out the difference here – maybe a future post for Chumplady?

    • “He said there was a difference – he had always loved me, when clearly cheater in law did not love our daughter. ”

      They always spin it to make themselves look better. When I told XH he’d abandoned us just like his father had abandoned XH’s FOO, XH said, “We’re nothing alike – my father left town.”

      So, because XH stayed in town to pursue his AP while XFIL left town to purse his, they’re “nothing alike.” Yeah, right —

      Meanwhile, congrats to your daughter resolving all of this so quickly. Sounds like she’s definitely NOT a chump, as you said earlier.

  • I told every person we interacted with, from the grocery, tanning salon, all of them, about nearly shooting me and the cheating and that I had arose time order so let me know if he comes around…

  • A couple of points.

    First, I agree that from a business perspective, you get into shaky territory when you fire people for having affairs, even if it’s the AP of your STBX. To the extent that it’s possible to separate work and private life, it’s a good idea to do so. That’s why, if I ever happened to be invited to a hiring committee and OW were a candidate, I’d send a very nice, objective response recusing myself from the committee. Depending on how well I know the other committee members, I might have a private, off-the-record chat with them about OW’s history of going after married men. Also, I’d suggest that they do the background check earlier rather than later. However, I work for a very large organization, and the greater likelihood is that OW could apply for a job, get hired, and I’d never know.

    Second, if the AP were married or if I knew that the AP were cheating in what could be reasonably seen as an exclusive partnership, I’d let the spouse/partner know. However, I’d let the partner know at the same time I let my STBX know, or at least I’d let the partner know on my own timetable. However, what the partner does with that info is up to the partner. In my own case, this is a relatively easy thing to say, as OW doesn’t have a husband or a boyfriend.

    Third, families are all odd. I come from a close-knit family. My parents were always there for each other, and we were raised to be tolerant of each other, since my parents had many children, and unless you were willing to not sweat the small stuff and work through the larger conflict, life would have been otherwise miserable. The result is that we all know what we want, know that our siblings are flawed, but will try to support them anyway.

    Sometimes that support means standing by in order to pick up the pieces. One of my sisters married a truly evil person–a man who not only physically abused her, but abused his next wife and her toddlers. It was clear when they were married that he was a liar, and while my parents did voice some concerns, it was also clear that my sister, although still a teen, was legally an adult and thus bound and determined to marry regardless. The family stood by, and about a year later, my sister divorced the creep, who’d not only hit her, but also stole her student loan money.

    To an observer, it would seem as if we condoned the marriage, but in fact, we just wanted to leave the lines of communication open so that when things fell apart, she would know that help was available. I am pretty sure we’d have done the same thing if she’d been the OW in an affair. We’d have voiced some concerns (why is he seeing you now, before the divorce is final? Why doesn’t he divorce his wife if life is so bad?). However, if we saw that she was pretty much blinded, we’d stand by to pick up the pieces. And yes, we’d lose some respect for her as a result of the actions.

    I think if my mother-in-law were still alive, I’d let her know about her son’s affair. I would not expect her to do anything, though. The only one of STBX’s family still living is his brother, whom I’d notify. Also, and against what I think are the bil’s wishes, I’d let the oldest niece know. The family is still sweeping under the rug the fact that grandpa had a mistress. I think that’s terribly unfair to the girls, since they are young adults and need to know that adultery is unacceptable. Also, that adultery had an impact on their father, who happens to be divorced from their mother, and who happens to have remarried. I’d like that cycle to be broken, but unless there’s some honesty in that family, I can see those girls being set up for the same heartbreak.

  • I am a firm believer in telling the truth about affairs and agree that they are way too “acceptable” even glamorized in media and music today. I told the howorker’s husband and also informed him when I left. I wanted him to know that the pos was a free agent. Didn’t want him to come home one day and find his kids gone or something crazy. I don’t know what he has decided to do if anything but I know the howorker has continued seeing my stbx. I love the post above about telling the story in the cliches that cheaters use: “Well, my ex husband found an ex hook-up of his on Facebook, and they decided they were soul mates…And so, as it turns out, they were Always Meant To Be Together, and He Never Loved Me–you know the story. No, it wasn’t always funny, it was pretty traumatic, really, but, I mean, who does that?” I laughed out loud and hope you don’t mind if I borrow that!
    Also, I have always been very clear about my views on cheating: if a married man gets too familiar, if a male coworker seems to get too friendly, if I know someone is cheating – I am not afraid to climb up on my orange crate and talk about the fallout and devastation. This even before I was cheated on myself. My father was a serial cheater and I experienced first hand the destruction he caused. In fact he was so messed up, he committed suicide – a couple of years after my mother finally kicked him out.

    • This is a good point. Back when I was dating STBX, and our relationship was a distance one, I had a very attractive, very successful male neighbor who knew I was dating. He was interested in me, and the first question he asked was whether we had an “exclusive” relationship. I said yes. He backed off. We were able to chat, have a beer together, but no flirting. I had a lot of respect for him, and it did take a lot of willpower for me to say no, since I did like him and was attracted. But once I’d said No, the sexual tension was dissipated. We both knew where we stood. He went on to date someone who was unattached. I wished him well.

      For normal people, that wedding ring functions as a “No trespassing sign.” It tells the potential AP to back off, and it tells the married person not to stray. Apparently cheaters can’t read.

  • I have impulses to call out cheaters. There are a few in my extended family. Okay, well, they are past cheaters (as in, 20 years ago they ran off with an OW). Even though it’s 20 years ago, I still want to give them the stink-eye and call them out on it. I haven’t yet. It was 20 years ago, and it would just be rude of me.

    But if there is a *current* cheater in my midst, I will undoubtedly feel a strong calling to tell the chump. I would have liked to know, when I was being played. Whoever posted about *dignity* is right. Having experienced this myself, I would want to give the chump the respect of a heads-up, even if they don’t believe me or want to kill the messenger. I think I would take that chance.

  • I have a question about a situation I encountered. Here’s my story:

    I have some conflicting thoughts as to what to do about a particular cheater. He did not cheat on me – he tried to cheat WITH me behind his girlfriend’s back, while she was out of town. It only lasted a week, thank GOD not years, because I finally got a brain and figured out what he was trying to do. Yes, a week too long, but doing months of um, shall we say, research, on him I discovered some very interested tidbits about him that coincided with the bullshit he was trying to feed me. He and his girlfriend, who he has been living with for 1 1/2 years and is no doubt mooching from, met a decade ago while she was still married and he had just come off of a divorce from his second wife (who turned lesbian on him while THEY were married). The girlfriend filed for divorce barely a year after the two of them met and they have been back and forth rocky ever since. He was also involved with a married woman back in the 80’s barely a year after his second marriage (to the future lesbian). His girlfriend was arrested for DUI in 2008. Lovely, eh? You gotta love online county court records. Tee hee. Anyway, he meets me in 2011, tells me all this bullshit about how bad he’s got it at home, they never have sex, she’s an awful bitch, I’m (meaning me) so awesome and God what an amazing personality and blah blah blah. Got me hooked, of course, because I kind of had a crush on him. I was happy to leave it as a crush until he fed me all that crap (I should also mention that he was a bus driver, drove my route from work to my town, and when he changed routes gave me his new schedule, and when I didn’t take the bait a week later he deliberately waited in the park-n-ride lot for me to get off the bus. Yeah, I was totally hooked at this gesture. I thought he was for real), gave me a big hug, more blah blah blah. Well, looking back it’s now obvious what he was trying to do, but back then I had no clue simply because I’d never encountered this type of personality before. I interacted with him, flirting, talking, nothing physical, not really knowing or understanding what I was getting myself into or knowing what kind of man he really was. After 8 months of this simple interacting, he asked me for my phone number before he changed routes again, but I walked away from him without giving him ‘anything’. He came back last December while his girlfriend was out of town, fed me even more bullshit, I stupidly fell for it despite my experience with him, but managed to gather the strength and tell him to take a hike after a week. I have a sneaky suspicion that he is cheating again, though I have no way of knowing this or proving it.

    Now, my question is, should I expose him? Yes, I acknowledge that I made the choice to interact with him in the first place and I’m not at all proud of it, but part of me feels I was manipulated by a very skilled sociopath or, in the very least, a narc. Another part of me feels he and his girlfriend deserve each other due to their past and that they are perhaps living a life of mistrust. He’s now retired and they are living together, in the same house, 24/7. They live in the same town as me and I’ve had numerous occasions to see him yelling at her and treating her like a big steaming pile of dog shit. But I worry that if I expose him, it will come back to bite me in the ass, simply because I did indeed play a part in this whole Jerry Springer episode. Believe me, I have done tons of introspection and have taken responsibility for my part in it. But the desire to out him is something that will not go away.

    What do you think I should do? Just leave them to their crap life or take justice into my own hands?

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