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Musings on Giving a Shit

It stands to reason, that if you don’t like someone very much, they can’t hurt you very deeply. There just aren’t that many emotional sunk costs. I suppose some people swan through life quite superficially, never giving very deeply of themselves or committing too much. Nonchalance as armor. Apathy as an insurance policy.

Yet, I don’t think most humans are wired to be that way. We’re wired to connect and bond. And we’re not alone in this either. Scientists have discovered that other animals display empathy and social interdependence. Even a rat will stop and help a fellow rat escape a cage instead of choosing a treat for himself. (Yes, even rats are more altruistic than cheaters.)

But it seems to me that we live in an age of cynicism. It probably began with the David Letterman irony of the 1980s and is now in its halcyon days with reality television, celebrity culture, and the sociopaths on Wall St.

It’s cool to be a narcissist! And there’s a shit load of money to be made. Sure we laugh (ironically, of course) at the Kardashians. But who doesn’t want their own reality TV show? Or youtube channel? Or personal brand?

It’s an era of I got mine and fuck you. It’s in our politics. It’s in our culture. It’s in that stuck up playgroup mommy who won’t ask her kid to get off the swings already. Of course, sometimes all this entitlement comes back and bites us in the ass. Bernie Madoff goes to jail, for instance, and we all tut tut. But then some board of directors approves CEO salary raises for a hundred other Madoff wannabes. Some of us caterwaul, more folks admire the moxie and wonder why they didn’t go into finance.

Narcissists are nothing new and oligarchs have been with us always. But we didn’t have social media to blast their lifestyles in our face constantly and make us want to buy crap. No, the fabulous people in days gone by had the good sense to build their castles far away, hide behind giant hedgerows, and not give interviews. Now, it seems, the more dim-witted among us, (like cheaters) look at those lifestyles and think — yeah, I deserve that. I’ll get mine and fuck you.

It’s not a good time in history to be a chump. Was it ever? Well, it used to be infidelity was considered dangerous and full of tragic consequence. If you were a chump, society understood that you’d be full of rage and might even kill someone. We had “crimes of passion.” I’m not saying go shoot affair partners (we’re all about “meh” here at Chump Lady) — I’m saying that sympathy used to reside with the chump, and outrage was clearly directed at the cheater and the “home wrecker.” We understood that the pain of betrayal drove ordinary people to extremes.

That’s been the conventional wisdom going back through the ages. To the Bible with Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery. To Shakespearean tragedies. Othello weeps and agonizes, before killing Desdemona just on the (wrongful) suspicion that she’s been unfaithful. “Yet she must die, else she’ll betray more men.” Elizabethans understood that to cheat on someone who loved you was to destroy them.

My wife! my wife! what wife? I have no wife.
O insupportable! O heavy hour!
Methinks it should be now a huge eclipse
Of sun and moon, and that the affrighted globe
Should yawn at alteration.

Or check out the old British folk song Matty Groves. Lord Donald’s wife cheats on him with Matty Groves. He finds the couple in bed and tells the naked man to have one of his swords and strike him first, before asking:

“How do you like my feather bed? And how do you like my sheets? And how do you like my lady who lies in your arms asleep?”

Lord Donald kills Matty Groves and when his wife says she enjoyed fucking Matty better than him, he drives a knife through her heart and buries the cheaters together in the same grave. “But bury my lady at the top, for she was of noble kin.”

Or the blues song Frankie and Albert (also known as Frankie and Johnny) — where Frankie shoots her unfaithful lover.

“Boohoo, boohoo, boohoo, Frankie cried, ‘Baby what have I done? I shot the only man that I loved with a Colt 41.’ She shot that man, ’cause he was doing her wrong.”

Today? In our culture? Iago would say to Othello — “Dude, get over it already.” Lord Donald would probably commit murder suicide from the shame. And Frankie and Albert would go to marriage counseling, where the shrink would ask Frankie why she wasn’t meeting Albert’s needs. Maybe she should spice things up things in the bedroom, so he wouldn’t go back to Nelly Bly.

There was a time when we understood that infidelity drove people out of their minds’ with pain. Now it’s a big whatever. Did you get played for a sucker? Well, that’s your fault. You expected too much. What did you do to make them do that? And Get Over It Already!

Maybe you cared too much. Sentimentality is for suckers. Commitment is for chumps. There’s a “new monogamy” now which is really no monogamy at all, because only unsophisticated rubes expect people to keep their promises to them. You fell for that? Did you give too much? Well, that was your choice then, wasn’t it? Surely you didn’t expect reciprocity. Didn’t you have a Plan B? You put all the eggs in that basket? That was sure dumb of you.

My cheater said to me after D-Day, “Don’t be such a Pollyanna. Everybody cheats.”

The problem wasn’t that he cheated. No, the problem was that I didn’t manage my expectations of him properly. How dare I be upset that he didn’t keep his commitments! My heartbreak was just a symptom of my naivety. Of being an unsophisticated Pollyanna.

There isn’t anything wrong with chumps for assuming that their partners would be faithful. There is something terribly wrong, however, with a culture that thinks you should shrug at infidelity, and better yet — be friends with the person who betrayed you. Have Thanksgiving dinners together! Be progressive and evolved! Do it for the kids!

Lord Donald didn’t throw dinner parties with Matty Groves. He told the man who fucked his wife to put his pants on, take his best shot — and then he killed him.

I’m not advocating chump violence. I’m advocating understanding. Chumps are entitled to their grief and anger. The world must recognize once again that infidelity is life altering, tragic and terrifying. That betrayal is not a big shrug. It is fully human to love completely. We are wired to bond and it’s not naive to do so. We are not unsophisticated to expect people to honor their commitments to us. On the contrary, chumps are a better class of people because they DO honor their commitments. Which is a damn sight better than I can say for the narcissists in our culture who take, take, take and want to exhaust every resource for their personal glory.

It is better to give a shit. It is better to be a chump. (An older but wiser chump.)

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  • I, too am proud to be a chump now. I no longer am ashamed of my husband’s cheating – because it was HIS choice, his doing. Not mine. I was committed to marriage and our family. He wasn’t.

    As far as the over-evolved psycho-babble about “just get over it”, I think it serves all the people who say that. It serves cheaters (obviously), it serves friends of the couple who don’t want to “take sides” and lose a friend, it serves family who don’t want to admit that their loved one is a hurtful scum, and it serves people who just don’t want to deal with their own emotions about the subject and/or hear you talk about it. But guess what? I don’t buy it for a minute. People only say that stuff if it hasn’t happened to them. People who’ve been cheated on (in a real relationship, where they had a lot invested, not just high school, thank you very much) don’t spew that kind of stuff. Because they’ve been there and know how much it sucks.

    My STBX wanted me to “get over it”, quickly, and then act like it never happened. But it wasn’t because of any over-evolved life-perspective. If the tables were turned and I had cheated on him? He would have been livid. Probably would have gone into a rage and shot the other guy.

  • I am not religious, but my first thought was “Amen, sister!”

    I am proud of my commitment, and the fact I did my best with the information I was provided. I am a proud chump.

    • This had been modified from a quote some one sent me a while back.

      “you will reach a point in your life when you realize….

      Who matters….

      Who really never did……

      Who won’t any more….

      Who always will !

      Hopefully this will help put the people who have hurt us into perspective.

      They just don’t MATTER anymore !

  • This is a great post and I also say, “Amen!” Sometimes I wonder what will become of my son, growing up in a world where entitlement, narcissism, unbridled greed and fame for nothing more than self-absorption is not only the norm, it is celebrated.

    “Law of attraction”, reality TV, worship of vacuous “celebrities” who are famous for nothing more than their own narcissism, the overwhelming message of “follow your dreams and let nothing stop you”, and the loss of integrity, commitment and responsibility as traits to be valued have left our society overwhelming a dog-eat-dog world where sociopaths rise to the top and chumps are left bloodied.

    There are times I wonder why I still cling to outdated values. It would be easier (and I admit, sometimes it looks like a lot more fun) to live like my ex. Pure self-interest, no responsibility, do whatever I want, whenever I want with whoever I want. Life as a never-ending party. But that’s not who I am, and when I really think about it, I’m glad.

    I prefer being here with the chumps to being out there with the cheaters.

    • I actually don’t think life as an “never ending” party is very happy, ultimately. This is not an argument in favor of wet blanket-hood, (I like parties too), but someone has to be the adult sometimes. There is meaning in work, and no meaning in cutting corners and foisting responsibilities off on others.

      I think commitment has HUGE rewards. But with that comes huge risks, too. I think it’s braver to live life when you jump in with both feet and commit to things. If it doesn’t work out, choose better and commit again.

      Superficiality is soulless. It’s fine in small doses, but it isn’t nourishing. Most people, if they aren’t disordered wing nuts, want nourishment. I still believe that. And I also think most people have integrity and value it in others. As a chump though, it’s important to realize (as we all have painfully realized), that not everyone plays from the same rule book.

      I think chumps win at life. I think they’re happier. They make friends better. They’re better at their jobs. They’re more resilient. They get back up. They have humor about adversity. And chumps have each other’s backs. I’d rather be a chump than a Kardashian any day.

      • I do know that the never-ending party would get old after awhile. And at the end of the day, I believe there is more contentment in a life of integrity than a life of hedonism.

        But right now, I’m feeling slammed, I guess and bitter, if I’m honest. The ex went to a family wedding 2,000 miles away over a month ago, and still hasn’t come back. I don’t believe he IS coming back. He’s staying with his dad, who charges no rent and is paying him to do odd jobs around the house, and he’s having a good time reconnecting with old friends. So basically, he’s abandoned our son.

        Meanwhile, I’m now 100% a single parent, receiving only a small portion, if any, of the child support ordered and being the sole provider for my son. I love my son dearly and I am so proud of what a fine young man he is growing to be. But I admit, there are moments when I feel so SLAMMED, so TRAPPED, so ALONE, as I struggle to make enough money to keep the lights on, struggle to feel good about myself again, struggle to overcome this adversity. And the ex is having a great time with no responsibility, no cares, no worries or remorse. I know his life is nothing but a mask over an empty shell, but still, it stings.

        I’m lucky though, to be out of that mess, and rebuilding a new life. I know that.

        • I know how you feel, GladIt’sOver, my STBX is living the high life — going out to parties, going on dates, drinking, partying — just like he’s twenty again. And while I know in my heart that I wouldn’t want that life again (I did those things in college, it got old, and I wanted to settle down and build a family and make something of my life), I, too, find it galling that he’s living a seemingly carefree a existence while I struggle hold on to our home, to make ends meet, and to provide a standard of living for my daughter that somewhat resembles the life she had before he left. And I feel exactly the same way many days — slammed, trapped, and terribly alone. I’m trying to be as positive as possible and to see the bright side of not having to live under his thumb…but there are those days when I just find the injustice of it all overwhelming. When I was growing up, if a man did this to his family, he would be completely ostracized by the community. But even some of our best friends that we had as a couple just don’t see the big deal in any of this.

        • Glad – it’s okay to sometimes feel bitter about what has happened. Nothing about what we’ve been put through is fair and we all have our good days and our bad days in terms of dealing with the fallout. If we don’t acknowledge those feelings we’ll just let them build up and eat at you from the inside. Your head knows all the right stuff (he’s a loser living an empty life, you’re building a new, better one), but sometimes your heart and emotions aren’t always on the same page. Happens to me too.

      • I agree– my kids and I recently read the children’s novel, Coraline, together. I loved when we got to this part, and my kids and I talked about it:

        “I don’t want whatever I want. Nobody does. Not really. What kind of fun would it be if I just got everything I ever wanted just like that, and it didn’t mean anything? What then?” ― Neil Gaiman, Coraline

        I know that I could probably have gone out and gotten into another relationship already so that I could enjoy the sex, the attention, the romantic sparks, etc. But honestly, at this point, I don’t think that it would mean anything– at least, not the way I’d want it to mean to me. It would just be a superficial distraction. I see my XWH living his life this way, and I just think… how defeating. How depressing. Instead of fixing himself and bettering himself, he just found something to distract him, a plaything, so that he wouldn’t have to face the ugly reality of his character. He didn’t try to be resilient– he found someone to lean on, to help him hide from himself, instead of doing the real work of living an authentic life.

        I try to teach my kids that every day– the things that you will feel proudest of in life are the ones that you worked for, and when you stop and take a break from that work to enjoy the fun things in life, that makes them all the more fun. A life full of “fun” when things are just handed to you? Yeah. Neato on paper, soul sucking and deadening in real life. I imagine that you have to do more and more to enjoy the high, and at some point, you’re going to bottom out.

        If I had to hazard a guess, most cheaters just want to run after the easy, the fun, the thing that takes minimal effort. They feel entitled to what they want when they want it, and we chumps are the perfect match for them before we find out what they’re up to. We work twice as hard, put extra effort into making our cheaters happy, and we don’t feel entitled to anything– we feel we have to work for what we’re given. Cheaters lap that mentality up since they have to do very little for us and enjoy being treated like royalty, and they especially enjoy it when we continue to behave this way AFTER DDay– they learn that the cake buffet hasn’t been closed after all, so it’s business as usual.

        CL, you need to create a PSA. We need famous people and everyday people to go on screen and say things like, “Infidelity is abuse… when you cheat on your spouse, you cheat on your whole family… the affair is the cheater’s fault… don’t let them eat cake…” People need to see that infidelity destroys lives just as surely as drug addiction and physical abuse do. I’m sure that there are many more of us out there than we realize. I often wonder how much we could change things if we found the power as a group to speak with one voice.

        • MovingOn- YOU are a good mother. I can tell. Your kids will learn to love deeply and with understanding if you keep that up ( in spite of their father).

          • What a great post, MovingOn…I want to do two things now:

            Order a copy of Coraline to read with my son
            Convince CL to sell a t-shirt (or mug, or bumper sticker) that says “Chump Pride” (love that from David’s post below).


            • Amy,

              Did I say that? I can’t find it, but I totally agree. Chump Pride is key. We are NOT ashamed of being nice, trusting persons. Yes, we have learned to be more discriminating in the future, but we are who we are, and we will continue that way.

              Chump Pride is a great idea. Chumps who set boundaries are critical. Chumps who are careful and determine in whom it is worth it to invest their trust and sympathy….. That’s the goal. Chumps who look carefully before they leap into love…..

              Thanks again for the kind comment.

              Chump Son

      • Agreed, its Much braver to commit to tHings. Take guts to stay and work things out, even when the gOing gets tough. Entitled people are only in when the weather is fair. It’s easier to cut and run, so they do.

        Another reason it’s good to be a chump ( a caring person) is because cheaters hurt people. A. Lot. They leave their families in ruins, scars on the hearts of their own children. Chumps don’t tend to leave destruction in their wakes. Something to be said for that.

      • CL, I am laughing at your comment about the same rule book. I told douche bag that in my book he was a bad person….. his response was “I am a good person. There are always other books”. Wow, problem solved! Just pick another book. LOL What an asshole.

  • “There was a time when we understood that infidelity drove people out of their minds with pain. Now it’s a big shrug. Did you get played for a sucker? Well, that’s your fault. You expected too much. What did you do to make them do that? And Get Over It Already!”

    Thank you, CL, for this today. Finding out about the affairs, and the whole false R and aftermath, made me feel as if I was losing my mind. I had never grieved for anything or anyone like I did these past two years, and I’ve been through the deaths of close relatives.

    And my kids have gone/are going through it, too. The ever sensitive OW told my daughter, when my daughter asked the OW why she went for a married man, knowing he was married, “Shut up. Get over it. Your mom was okay with it.”

    No, don’t tell my kid to shut up. No, my kids won’t “get over it”. No, I wasn’t okay with it. I was hoping that my husband (now STBX) would see how much he was hurting us, and how much we loved him, and that he would stop having the affair. I was hurting and my kids were hurting and I wanted them to stop. I told, asked, begged, pleaded – but he still loves me! He’s told me and the kids he still loves us! The grief and depression were horrible.

    But after a while, and with good, sound advice, like looking at what STBX DOES, rather than SAYS, the grief subsides. And life goes on. And life gets good, and better, because I’m not hoping for someone to change – I’m making my own change, for my kids and myself.

    Keep the posts coming, CL!

    • Those words are going to bite OW in the ass when he cheats on her. Which he will. But she’ll deserve “Shut up and get over it.” Every crow black mouthful.

    • OW, as quoted by Ex, said around the time I found out about all his affairs ‘My father cheated and they got divorced but I was fine within a year and your kids will be too’.

      Well, more than 18 months later and they still hate her and they still think their father is pathetic.

      I wonder how she’ll feel when he cheats on her. I only hope she’s not dumb enough to have kids with him.

      • “I had never grieved for anything or anyone like I did these past two years…”

        This resonates with me also. I felt like someone murdered someone close to me. Maybe murdered my ideal of them, or killed some portion of my brain and soul?

        The point being there is a violence to this kind of betrayal. You don’t shrug off violence (abuse of the heart) very easily. That is quite naive and unsophisticated in my opinion.

  • Thank you CL. And fuck you to all the people who have told me “its just a divorce, you’ll find someone else!”. Ya muthafucker, Im finally finding myself.

    • I’m so thankful for the couple of friends that just stood by me the whole time and allowed me to vent for hours and validated that I was wronged, would be ok, and ex was an a**h***. Sincerely, I learned the true meaning of friendship by going through everything.

    • Don’t you hate “you’ll find someone else?”

      Like they’re on sale at Wal-Mart.

  • Well, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised our exes don’t give a shit, since neither does society or the divorce/legal system. My ex was entitled to get at least half our savings, plus 2 years’ worth of alimony from me though he cheated on me throughout our 25 year marriage. I was not only dealing with the terrible revelations that he never did actually love me as he professed, that he had fooled me all along while having themost outrageous and disgusting of affairs, and realizing that he squandered away the best years of my life….. all while simultaneously dealing with the reality that he was entitled to have me subsidize his disgusting lifestyle and affair partners with alimony (you know, the money I worked so hard for and used to pay for our house, our cars, our lifestyle, and to put our children through college/grad school). He of course never stuck at any job long enough to make decent money so I made so much more and did it all. Post D-Day I had to manipulate him to get rid of him without the indignity of paying him alimony (as an aside, I read articles on how to manipulate a narcissist or sociopath, it’s scary but it worked at least to have him sign off on alimony). But anyhow, back to CL’s point, why should these cheaters be treated like decent human beings when they have so horribly abused us and wasted our lives? The legal system says that is the case. I think there should be a revolution, and another way that starts is with changes to our laws which say it’s no big deal to cheat, don’t worry, you have equal right to your spouse’s money, equal rights to see or have the kids, equal rights to your spouse’s retirement account. FUCK THAT! It is amazing more chumps don’t turn to violence when, after they are destroyed emotionally, they are told from the legal system that it is no big deal and after everything your spouse stole from you, hey, they get to get even more. Again, I do not advocate violence, I’m a big advocate of “Meh,” but just sayin’…….

    • Yeah, it is weird that if this person were your business partner and they defrauded you, you’d have a case. But if that person is your spouse? No, give them half.

      I think infidelity is so common that judges just shrug. But I do think some care about affair partners and children — at least they did in Va. Not introducing “dates” to children, no sleepover provisions, etc. were the norm. The last judge I had with my son’s dad (no infidelity there that I’m aware of, but then again, I’m a huge chump…) wanted to make sure his GF of many years didn’t come on their vacations if they were sleeping together. I really don’t care! Between the two of them, she’s the saner adult! But I liked that the judge cared.

      When it comes to divisions of assets though, no I don’t think they care who is at fault. I had this happen to me — my cheater moved me from a fault state to a no-fault state. Conveniently he never sold his home. *I* did. So when we married and bought a house, all my pre-marital money became a joint asset in that new house. Then 6 months into the marriage — D-Day. And I was FUCKED. 50% of all that money that went into the house was legally his — even though it was a marriage of 6 months and he defrauded me with infidelity. I fought HARD to get decent settlement off of him. It didn’t make me whole, but it was pretty close. I also paid off some of his personal debt to get a better mortgage rate. Again, super chumpy me.

      The fact that he was cheating the entire time? Utterly irrelevant to the court. No fault. I was duped and it’s legal.

      And I know I got off much lighter than most of the chumps here. Men who are married to serial cheater women — who get every other weekend and pay CS? IMO are the most fucked of all. They’re the sane parent and the wingnut gets the kids.

      • Yes CL, my experience has given me incredible sympathy for chump-husbands who are usually the ones who absolutely have it worst in these situations– they get to lose their wives, lose daily contact and custody of their kids for the most part, lose half if not more of their savings and retirement accounts, and owe alimony pendente lite for a few years so their POS wives can live it up with their AP’s in style. Here in Pennsylvania, the only thing infidelity cuts off is post-divorce alimony. And no one blinks an eye because the wife deserves this, right? I don’t know how these guys keep their cool, god bless ’em!

        • Yes, as much as I hate it that my POS STBX will not be forced to repay the marital assets he’s spent on the affair (mostly because getting him to pay would cost more than he spent!), I really think that men with cheating wives have it worse for all the reasons you mention, Kelly.

      • Yes that Would be the worst scenario, losing custody and having to pay alimony to a serial cheating wife. Plus having to check the paternity of your kids. …..ouch

      • In Kentucky a cheating spouse seeking maintenance can’t get it. A friend of mine didn’t have to pay maintenance to his cheating wife. He had to pay child support, but not maintenance, even though she was a stay-at-home mom who didn’t work.

  • Thank you Chumplady, for saying this so well. The world needs more irony and detachment the way Texas needs more August afternoons.

    I refuse to feel shame for the love I felt, anger for the effort I gave, or regret for the path I took. To the extent I failed in my first marriage, well, that failure helped make me who I am. And though the person I became is far from perfect, I like him. He ages well, I think.

    I will leave the shame, anger, and regret for the cheaters, who earned it. Just because they don’t own it doesn’t mean it doesn’t belong to them.

    Rock on, Chumps. Rock on.

    • nomar, you said it perfectly: “Just because they don’t own it doesn’t mean it doesn’t belong to them.”

      • Great line nomar. SW never took any ownership of any of her actions.

        This all sucks. Watching your wife destroy a marriage with cheating AND take her kids away that I loved with all my heart but they aren’t mine, so I’ll never get oy see them again, sucks big time.

        I hope meh comes soon. I was involved in a charity kickball event today. I was the umpire. Back in the day, umpiring was my thing. I’m the 2 time umpire of the year in our state, 17 years of college baseball and 3 years of minor league professional baseball. I had so much fun but I had no one in the stands for me. I wanted to look up and see my family laughing and being part of a great charitable cause for our community……….the walk back to my truck was so long and so lonely. I got in the front seat and cried for a good 5 minutes.

        I know she sucks and she is a cheater, liar and a thief. And that I’m better off without her. But I sure missed her and the kids today. Or at least what I hoped was going to be our life with them. I’m a few weeks away from our engagement date and in a year from that, SW is on her second guy and lived with him longer then we shared a married home. She doesn’t want to pay me the money that she owes me and lives high on the hog with Shrek.

        And it only seems like this community gets it.

        • Hang in there Eddie. We all have those lonely walks some times. You know who was in the stands for you? Your dignity. Your self respect! You’ll grieve who you thought she was, and more, what you hoped your future would be. But, Eddie — that future is totally possible, and it’s out there for you — with someone else who is worthy of your love. Fill your life with good people, friends who will sit in those stands for you. They’re out there. When you feel defeated, take some comfort knowing that you did the right thing escaping that marriage to a wing nut user. I feel sorry for her children, but you can’t save them. They’ll have to figure their mom out on their own.

          I’m impressed with how you’re out there giving back to your community and filling up your life. You’re navigating this shit well.

        • Everyone of us here has had those terrible, sad and lonely moments, Eddie. A few weeks after my D-Day, the counselor I was seeing suggested I’d probably start really feeling better in about a year. I was aghast…I didn’t want to wait that long to stop feeling so awful. But he was right. You are obviously a kind, caring and decent man, and you will get to that better place, don’t give up. And to paraphrase someone’s beautiful comment on CL not that long ago (sorry I forget who): hold our hands and we will help you, some days one leading, other days another, depending on who feels stronger that day. We understand.

  • Dear CL,

    I am so blessed that you posted this today… As I really needed to be reminded that his multiple affairs are NOT all my fault. In fact, OW (now new wife) sent me a text last week saying something along the lines of: “If I had been a better wife and not given him a reason to stray then it wouldn’t have happened” ; yes really she said that… WOW

    But Karma can sometimes be a bitch, she tried to have an order of proctection taken out on me, cause I replied to that text with some unkind words about Karma and her weight…Well Karma won!, judge tossed the case against me out and issued a mutal restraining order… Now, she CAN NEVER be around me or my daughter… ever!

    • A simple response that I’ve found handy, and have sadly had the opportunity to convey to OW:
      “if he did it with you, he will do it to you.”

      • Yep, I’ve used that line as well… I really feel sorry for my daughter who has suffered greatly…that she will be forced to deal with another divorce, as I don’t think a relationship built on lies, destruction and that much baggage will last… But hey I could be wrong… OW really hasn’t tried to be nice to me or even apologetic… She reminds me of John Edwards’ mistress… yuck!

  • CL,

    Wise words, as always. I also think zyx321 is onto something regarding Chump Pride. Call it Chump Survivor Proud.

    I would disagree on one particular, however.

    You say that we are wired to bond. I think that is true…of healthy people. I think that healthy, mature, together adults are wired to bond. Now, that doesn’t mean they all have to marry and have children and fit some domestic mold. A healthy person can be wired for all kinds of solidarity, to spouses, to kids, to friends, etc. etc.

    A healthy, normal person.

    Yes, that person (the healthy, normal one) is wired to bond.

    But, as we all know, narcissists are not healthy. I don’t think they are happy either. The literature on this is huge and complex, but basically it says that the narcs, way deep down, don’t like themselves, so they build huge defense mechanisms that become offensive manipulation tools. They are too scared not to manipulate. They are not close enough to anyone to really trust anyone else, to show weakness, to admit fault. Those n-folks are not any longer wired to bond. Even if their condition results from a bad childhood, Chump sympathy for them is not appropriate. Their wiring has gone off, has short-circuited along the way. They are wired to manipulate. They can talk the words, but they don’t feel them. So, that’s why they seem sincere one minute and can become hurtful the next. They can do 180 degree turns on us, etc. So, beware those who are not wired right. Not all of us are wired to bond. Just the healthy ones.

    Chump Son

    • Most advice doesn’t apply to narcs. They are just not wired the same way.

      On a similar note, that is what I’m already finding frustrating about people giving advIce to me. ….”oh you should have acted this way in your marriage” they don’t reaLize that normal boundaries don’t work with narcs. Unless you’ve been close with a narc yourself is really hard to understand this.

    • By the same token, many of us chumps are of the codependent flavor – that’s part of the reason we get so invested. Our damage and inability to “truly bond” results in an unhealthy attachment to the sparkly narc. There doesn’t have to be any malicious intent on either side for there to be a destructive and ultimately unfulfilling “bond”. I know I loved my stbx and he really did love me – our damaged parts fit each other perfectly. Rather than growing and helping each other, our marriage just became an unbalanced load that finally spun out of control. He would say that I was a worthy person, but his selfish actions communicated otherwise. For better or worse (ha ha) his final betrayal was my wake-up call – “Hey, I deserve better than this and I always have!” I agree that we are wired to bond, but those of us (and them) who are miswired have some extra work to do. Unfortunately, narcs don’t see anything wrong with themselves (despite the self-loathing) so it’s everyone else who is fucked up – a terribly enticing match for those of us who tend to take responsibility for all the wrongs in the world.

      • So true mzmama,
        I thing this is part of the reason I don’t want him to get crushed by Karma..he will do it to himself. And if in the off chance he ever attains any measure of success he will still be miserable. I gradually became aware of this over the years – just didn’t know there was a name for it. Now I need to work on ME!

  • This is a great column. I think about this subject often.

    While I’m not advocating violence either, the husband of the other woman was a deputy sheriff and you don’t know how many times I have wondered just how things would have ended if he and some of his friends had extracted some justice. The ex was 20 years older and not in as good a shape. Would he fight for his beloved AP? Of course not! He’s a coward and he doesn’t like pain. Real physical pain — the anti-kibble.

    Everywhere you look in this country, men like my ex husband are busy scrapping the moral codes and even the rule of law. Want a fiduciary to shepherd your pension fund? Lotsa luck
    Politicians? Don’t make me laugh. Religious figures? Ahem, Jimmy Swaggart, Tammy Faye Bakker’s husband, etc etc. The whole country is a put up job, and the people with integrity are out numbered and headed for extinction.

    I always figured that the ex was missing something that would have made him human otherwise, now I find out that he’s not even as evolved as a rat!

  • “I always figured that the ex was missing something that would have made him human otherwise, now I find out that he’s not even as evolved as a rat!”

    Hilarious Chumpalicious!

  • Not for the same reasons as CL’s wrote, but sometimes the ‘mitigation’ is twisted. I met a now lifelong friend a couple years after my divorce – a newly single mom neighbor. She is very conservative religiously and she had strong internal conflicts about violating her faith because she divorced her serial cheating husband. And she told me (paraphrasing) soon after we met, “All my friends from church tell me that I have to forgive him. That he’s asked for forgiveness and he tells people he’s gotten right with God; and somehow he’s become the wronged person because I left him and won’t take him back. Everyone knows he cheated on me but I’m the bad guy, and people I thought were my friends disappeared. And my “secular” friends – mostly work people tell me I’m a good person and he is and always will be a shit.”

    • I remember when a couple I met through church divorced. It was a sudden thing, not too soon after the birth of their 3rd child.

      I didn’t know that infidelity was part of it until one of the older parishioners saw the ex-husband at church one day and told me, “I don’t know how he can come here each week–not after what he did to his family!”

      She was a wonderful woman, knew the score, and placed blame exactly where it belonged!

  • Finally! Someone who understands! Thanks, CL!

    I posted on one marriage board early on in the divorce where everyone demanded to know, why, after being with XH for nearly 30 years, I was still thinking about him 5 minutes after he left. What was wrong with me? I needed to “suck it up” and “get over it.”

    A “woman scorned?” Please. Take some Prozac and quit whining. Only a crazy woman screams at her husband for betraying her. Stop the drama and go sit down.

    So…not only are we traumatized by the betrayal, very few people are even remotely interested in holding our hand through it or offering a shoulder to cry on. The ones who offered the most advice to me have never been divorced, have never been through the emotional or financial drain, and said unhelpful things like, “I never liked him,” or “Be glad it lasted that long.”

    In the bible, adulterers were stoned. Othello killed Desdemona. Hester Prynne had to wear a scarlet letter. There were consequences for breaking vows.

    These days, all the cheating lawyers, judges, and politicians have managed to remove or reduce any and all such penalties. “Alienation of Affection” laws only exist in a handful of states anymore. Betrayed spouses have few legal recourses.

    If OW broke into my house and stole my television, I could have her arrested for theft. But break into my marriage and steal my husband? Nothing. Scot free.

    There’s DEFINITELY something rotten in the state of Denmark…

    • Yep. Hamlet killed his uncle for having what was then viewed as an adulterous relationship with his mother. Today, we’d say, “Well, the first husband was dead! What’s the big deal? They’re IN LOVE.” Claudius would also have a super slick attorney who would get him off on the murder charges as well.

      Claudius wanted Hamlet to get over it too. Instead, everyone who has been unfaithful to Hamlet in some way is dead by the end of the play. The last guy standing (well, if you don’t count the invading Norwegians) is Horatio. He was always my favorite character in the play, and it’s taken me years to really figure out why– he’s the only guy in the play that you can count on to be decent and honest.

  • It disgusts me to see that three recently scandalized politicians have surfaced again because they can’t stand to be out of the limelight. I’m in favor of bringing back the stocks in town square. Mark Sanford is running for Congress even after he made himself the butt of late night hosts’ jokes by “hiking” the Appalachian Trail when he was really in Argentina with his mistress. He was even censured! The hubris that takes to run again is mind boggling. That is equally matched by Andrew Weiner running for mayor of New York and forget Eliot Spitzeris running for comptroller. The shame and pain they caused their family members isn’t enough all ready. They have to run for office when they know it’s all going to come up over and over again for their families to suffer through again and again. How do you accept that kind of shit sandwich from your dad?

    • NPD at its finest. The world is a giant stage that is only big enough for them.

  • I think there is a difference between forgiving someone and trusting them and having a relationship with them. I believe that all religion requires of us is to let go of revenge and hatred. Going back is not always possible and anger can be healthy.

  • The truth is no one will understand the pain of being betrayed by someone who you thought you would be spending many years with, believing you will go through life together and in whom you have ultimate trust unless it happens to them. I told my therapist that I really wish he had died rather than what he did to me. If he had died I would have remembered him as a good and decent person whom I loved, I would have grieved. It is the betrayal that is so painful, and of course not just one betrayal, the reconciliation bullshit turns it into a crazy train of betrayal that is difficult to overcome. It causes you to question your own sanity, your perceptions, how you could have been so completely fooled by this person you loved. So much better if there had been an accident and he died with the secret lover rather than my finding out. I can see someone getting past it quickly if it was only a year or so, but 17 years or more? It feels like you’ve wasted your life with someone who was no partner and you wish you’d spent it with someone who was.

    • Agreed….I wish I would have spent my life with a real partner. I invested so many years, so much social capital. … and its all gone. Worse than that, it’s mostly all *bad* memories. Arrgh.

    • This past weekend, I became so enraged when i found out that i had been sucked in yet again by my stbx and the skunt he is fucking that i began to punch him repeatedly until i actually broke my wrist. that is exactly how deep the pain is from this. i am not a violent person. have never hit another person in my life. It was in that moment that i realized that there will be no working this out. no forgiveness “for my sake” no standing, no reconciliation. i am moving out on sunday with my children and beginning life anew as myself with no fucking narcississtic asshole to steal all the oxygen in the house. Thank you chumplady for saying it straight 🙂

      • Good for you NTB! I like the “steal all the oxygen in the house” line. That is exactly what I felt like. I couldn’t breathe when he was there.

        My Ex was also physically abusive, so I was never able to consciously punch him is his smug face, like I wanted to. But the night he finally admitted to the prostitutes and affairs for 7 years I ended up absolutely exhausted and fell asleep in our bed. In the middle of the night I awoke to him yelling “alright already! I get it!” I guess he rolled over in the night and tried to curl up with me like he always had, and I started to beat the shit out of him… in my sleep. I had ahold of his shoulder with my nails digging into him and was slapping him when he woke me up.

        We are as strong as we allow ourselves to be. You, and your kids will be sooooooo much better off for this.


    • ” It feels like you’ve wasted your life with someone who was no partner and you wish you’d spent it with someone who was.”

      Yes Datdamwuf, even after I have moved on and my life is so much better now, I go through periods of rage over the years of my life that he wasted using me, pretending he loved me when he never did. The future I thought was there is gone, which I can deal with, but all those years, decades he stole from me, some days I still just regress into depression and stunned fury. It’s hard to move on when you’ve been so violated, sigh…..

    • Datdamwuf – I’ve often said, “It would have been easier on me if he had died.” Glad to know I’m not the only one who has felt this way…

      • I feel teh same way, actually, except he always refused to get life insurance so I’d be more fucked than I am now, financially. I suppose I should be grateful he’s still living so he can pay child support.

    • As for wasting years – I honestly don’t feel that way. We had some good times and we have three beautiful children together.

      These days, with his white hair, wrinkly skin, and low weight, he looks 20 years older than he is, which is 50. He may have a hot 30-something girlfriend, but he’s lost the respect of his family, friends, and colleagues, and it shows.

      I got his best years. With my business shaping up like it is – and with the love and respect of my family, friends, and colleagues still fully intact – my best years are still to come.

      Success really is the best revenge…

      • Red – Good for you. That is where I want to be someday, too. As soon as I can pull myself together and be the functional & fun person I used to be. I have vague memories of what that felt like. It’s my goal.

        • DLU – you’ll get there. It just requires you to reframe some things in your mind.

          I felt like XH and were climbing a mountain together for 20+ years: getting him through school, his post doc, his first assistant professorship. We were raising kids, he was rising in his field, the mountain summit was in sight. Then, just before we got there, he threw me off and replaced me with OW so THEY could benefit from all my hard work.

          The shock was unbelievable. I was mad, furious, CRAZY. I couldn’t believe he’d done that! My self-esteem was at an all-time low.

          Then one day in the midst of the divorce, he said something unbelievable: “You crushed all my dreams.”

          Say WHAT?! My devotion to HIS career “crushed his dreams?”

          Wow. Weird!

          Because he never crushed MY dreams. He never had that much power over me.

          Looking back, that was my first step towards “meh.” He’d always whined about things – “So and so has better mentors” or “No one will give me grant money – whaaa!” – and paint himself as the victim in every situation. But our marriage? REALLY?

          My father used to say, “There are people out there that if you gave them $100, they’d whine about the way you handed it to them.”

          It never crossed my mind that XH was one of them – until he told me I’D crushed his dreams. Only another chump would have put up with all his nonsense, especially since he gave so few kibbles in return. It was like preparing a feast every night in exchange for crumbs off the floor.

          That’s when I decided that if I was going to make sacrifices for someone’s career, it was going to be my own. It took a while to “get my act together,” but I began redirecting all that energy to my own business, and it’s beginning to pay off nicely. I haven’t been this pumped in years.

          The “pulling yourself together” part is crucial, DLU. It won’t happen overnight. You have to grieve, you have to have your crazy moments. Then you need to put your “couple” dreams on the back burner and start making new dreams for yourself. You may or may not get back to the couple dreams at some point with a new person, but what’s important NOW is YOU and YOUR dreams. Once you put yourself first, it changes everything.

          You WILL be that fun person again. You’ll laugh and play and look for new amusements. Just not yet. Lick your wounds, recover from the infidelity train wreck, and then, when your stronger, move on.

          It may have been the end of your marriage, but it wasn’t the end of your life.

          • Thanks red, I Will try to put my goals first. My kids take so much energy and I’m trying to keep a good face for them, and I think that it may be doIng down my healing but on the other hand I’m glad they have been relatively sheilded from the brunt of this so far. I think I’ll feel a lot better once my divorce is underway and I’m not nervous about my stbx’s temper anymore.

      • Thanks for reminding me Red. The first years we were together and a few in between I was happy with my ex. Part of my coming to peace with it has been to realize that during the time I was happy with him it does not matter if he felt the same way or what he might have been doing. What matters is that he did make me happy during those years. It’s the last 6 years that were truly spent dying inside. Shortly after I agreed to marry him he cut me off from sex and eventually would not even truly kiss me, our physical “intimacy” was holding hands watching tv once in a while. I won’t go into how the rest slowly faded as well.

        • You’re welcome, Dat. As a rule, we don’t do things that are unpleasant, including marrying people we don’t like. I’m sorry to hear how unhappy things turned out for you. But now that he’s shown himself to be incapable of meeting your needs, you can begin to view that relationship like you might an old party dress: fond memories, but it no longer fits…

      • I really love your attitude Red, I have three beautiful children also, and just have to keep focused on that.

  • Many narcissists, who are exquisitely sensitive to criticism when they receive it, expect others to simply “forgive and forget” when they, the narcs, do something. Interactions with them are a one-way street. You offend them, and they get on their high horse. They offend you, and — well — you are just supposed to “show maturity”(!!??), “be a sport,” and “get over it.”

    It’s b.s. What you should do is set new boundaries, since narcs’ behavior is a far better indication of what they really are capable of feeling (very little) than their words.

    • Very true. Any criticism of Ex, even when we were married, would be met with some sort of ‘you’re being mean to me’ kindof reaction. Whatever, dude. People are not placed on earth to kiss other people’s asses. And the fact is, I rarely criticised him and if I did it was warranted and delivered in a nice way–but I reserve the right to say when I think something is wrong.

  • And it’s OK to get darned mad, too, at least for a while. That’s the first step on the road to Meh…….

  • It sure is cool to be a narcissist these days, but there isn’t ALWAYS money to be made.

    Case in point: LeAnn Rimes, who cheated on her husband with married actor Eddie Cibrian then ignited a media firestorm as both she and Cibrian left their respective spouses for each other.

    Rimes has spent the last 4 years playing the narcissist victim, staging bikini photo-ops with Cibrian, parading pictures of her stepchildren, whom she calls “My boys”, all over Twitter (imagine an OW parading YOUR children around social networks so publicly), and just being an absolute trainwreck.

    Well, LeLe just released a new album called “Spitfire”. It debuted at #36 on the charts, selling a pathetic 10,000 copies. By week two, the record had already dropped to #78.

    This girl came onto the music scene in 1996 and was the closest anybody in country music had ever come to sounding like Patsy, and now she’s flat on her ass. And it’s exactly where she deserves to be. KARMA!

    If anybody wants to see this Cheater get dragged through the coals, check out this link and read the comments: . Four years later, people are STILL tearing her up over her cheating.

    • God, I can’t stand that bitch. She had her stepkids singing the lyrics to that crap album, which was all about her affair with their dad and how much she hates their mother. There is a special place in hell for that woman. She is truly horrible and a textbook narc.

    • I used to love LeAnn and drool over Eddie until news of the affair broke. These days, I turn the channel whenever either one of them is on.

      LeAnn’s one of the few OW who has been ostracized to this level, which is interesting. She was a B-list country star and Eddie was (and is) a C-list actor. Julia Roberts never felt the sting of being the OW, and Angelina Jolie just ignores it. Yet Tiger, Mel, Arnold, and John Edwards have all seen their careers nosedive.

      I wonder why some people are slammed and others get away scot free? Why aren’t they all treated the same way?

      • I think Rimes has been piled on not because of the affair, which would have been forgotten or let go of relatively quickly, but because she stalked the ex-wife, did a strange single white female thing on the ex wife, tweets a million times a day about being a bonus mom and how absolutely happy and thrilled she was with her ‘new’ family, etc. Essentially she’s spent however many years rubbing salt in the wound over and over again. The she has twitter followers who stalked the ex wife as well and revealed a lot of personal info.

        Add to that the fact that she was called a speedbump by Cibrian and responded to that by releasing video of them to some tabloids to prove the affair was still ongoing and yep, people really dislike her.

        Oh, and she says she’s a victim in this. And the husband screwed over the exwife in the divorce.

        Yes, I know too much about this woman and because of that I really, really dislike her. Normally celebs just make me laugh but this one…it’s too awful to ignore.

        • True story. LeAnn is FAR from the first celebrity home-wrecker. An earlier comment referenced Julia Roberts and Angie. Hell, even Jennifer Aniston herself ended up being an OW, as her soon-to-be-hubby Justin Theroux was somebody else’s boyfriend when Jen got her hooks on him.

          I think the fact that LeAnn made such a public spectacle of herself and the affair is what made her so immensely disliked.

          Besides the fact that she’s intensely unstable and probably has quite a few emotional issues, I think LeAnn became addicted to the sheer amount of publicity that the affair brought her. Her career as an artist dropped off years ago, her last real hit being “Can’t Fight The Moonlight” in 2000!! The fact that she met and started cheating with Eddie, himself a D-lister, on the set of a Hallmark Channel movie goes to show you how much she had fallen off the map.

          This affair has kept her consistently in the tabloid headlines for 4 years straight, feeding her massively narcissistic ego. So of course she’s going to stoke the fires for as long as she can. I’m just glad that her album tanked and showed her what people REALLY think about her.

          It’s just a mess for all parties involved. The only one who came out unscathed was LeAnn’s spurned ex Dean Sheremet. He was obviously devastated by LeAnn’s betrayal, but came out of it with a big fat divorce settlement. AND he’s remarried to a much prettier girl. 🙂

          • Ah – even more sense, Chris. Thanks! Career over by 20, trying to stay relevant by misbehaving. A cheating version of Lindsay Lohan, if you will..

        • Leanne is disgusting now. I heard an interview with her and she is *bragging* about her affair. Seriously? No class at all.

          Another reason that she wasn’t able to get away with all of this is because he country fan base tends to like their stars to at least pretend to behave. She’s not even pretending! There are a lot of country fans who are turned off by that.

        • Makes sense. No one likes a sore “winner” if there is such a thing in adultery.

          • Hahaha…I remember the ex wife saying something really funny, when Rimes was running around crying in interviews about her ‘hurt’. The ex wife said ‘No one wants to hear anyone crying and moaning about getting everything they wanted’. Kind of loved her for that.

      • People tend to notice if kids are affected. Tigger Woods had kids. Eddie had kids. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anderson did not.

    • I don’t know all the facts but didn’t Miranda Lambert do the same thing with her husband Blake Shelton? He was already married when they started screwing around. Problem is she and Blake are very popular now. They both need to watch out for the Karma buss.

      Speaking of music/singers It’s odd how now I am so quick to notice songs that deal with cheating. I NEVER paid close attention to lyrics in the past as I was always more interested in the music.

      I really like this band and have began to notice that they have a number of songs that deal with being cheated on. Heard this one on the drive home last night that made me tear up.

      I know I need to let those tears come out but it still sucks. I’d like to make a cd of songs about cheating and put them in my cheating wife’s CD player.

      Struggling a bit today as according to my cheating wife, 7/12 was the first time she fucked her her old HS boyfriend. Now I’m stuck with this date for the rest of my life. I don’t know how or if I’ll ever be able to get over dates that have to do with the adultery? Today, D-Day

      • My favorite revenge song is Justin Timberlakes’ “What Goes Around Comes Around.” Listening to it gives me strength!

      • Bud: our first D-day was July 11, 2008. I’d forgotten about it until I saw your note.

        So you know what? You WILL forget about it. Just give it time…

  • Hmmm. CL this is exactly that stage when humanity is more about being inhuman (psychopaths ruling over politics and finance around the world…n the world reeling under deep-shit recession led by their insatiable greed). The other day my son was telling me how teenagers are swearing, even at school and many such things. He was trying to understand why I have value-systems, which seemed antique in this age. And I was at a loss as nowadays there are fewer role-models and fewer examples in neighborhood, which I could point out to show that “Bad reaps bad and good reaps good”
    Then, the only recourse was to show from my life. He thought that even after doing bad things, his father was leading a good life without responsibilities. I left him with the thought that he had to choose between 1) a heart, which can feel all emotions deeply, be it joy, happiness or sadness 2) a heartless, which can’t feel any emotions, except for momentous delirious heights when they got (by hook or crook) what they wanted but an empty state thereafter….
    I don’t know what he would choose but I truly deplore the pathetic state of our narcissistic society!

  • I used to watch “Grey’s Anatomy” faithfully until they revealed that McDreamy was married and the lead character, Meredith Grey, was unknowingly in an adulterous relationship. She broke it off, but went back to him later. That’s when I stopped watching.

    A few years later, the show fired one of their supporting actors for calling another one “f*ggot.” There was a huge dust up, and the show made a big deal about NOT tolerating that kind of behavior.

    So…it’s not okay to for their employees to call each other names, but it’s perfectly okay for them to make money off a storyline featuring adultery and fornication? Typical Hollywood, cherry-picking morals. BEYOND hypocritical.

    When I pointed this out to people at the time, most were like, “Hmm. I never thought about it that way,” and kept on watching the show.

    Unbelievable, IMO…

    • That, plus the fact that one of the most likable characters (Addison) started the whole mess by cheating on McDreamy with McSteamy. So you end up liking all of the cheaters (well, except maybe not McSteamy) and it just all seems like a great plot, until you think about it.

      I think art imitates life, though. I’ve seen lots of workplaces that operate this way – lots of drama and everyone seems to somehow have sex with everyone else. Almost like a job requirement. Almsot like there aren’t any other partners in the world, except your coworkers?! I’ve seen this alot in the restaurant industry and unfortuntely also in law enforcement. Tight-knit groups who just can’t resist getting little bit closer to each other. Ugh.

      • “…like a box of hamsters climbing all over each other!”, Berta from “Two and a Half Men”. lol

      • Unbelievable!

        This was one of those MANY life lessons my mother taught me as a teen. You know, like, “Always wear undergarments the same color as your clothes so nothing shows through. Always carry a small sewing kit, money for a phone call, and spare sanitary supplies in your purse. If a married man comes on to you, always send him back to his wife.”

        I thought everyone knew these! Color me naive…

  • I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being caring and compassionate toward others (who does?), and I think most people are generally more compassionate toward others than it might appear if you give too much weight to the nightly News or the few drivers who cut you off in traffic, or the ocassional idiot who decides to cut to the front of the line 🙂

    As for politics: that’s always been a blood sport that involves tribal identification, identifying “out” groups of “others”, and that inadvertently dehumanizes and undermines our understanding of others and compassion toward them. But look at it this way, in small fits and starts and with a little back-sliding here and there, we are slowly lurching our way forward in many areas: women are able and viewed as qualified to vote in many countries, owning people and thinking of them as sub-human is generally frowned upon and out of fashion, it’s starting to be not a good thing to hate people who are gay, and though a lot of marriages fail, it seems to me that people are beginning to struggle with what it means to expect more out of a marriage, and I think somebody who stays married to a spouse that abuses them is not admired for tolerating the abuse or blamed for leaving an abusive situation if they do decide to leave it.

    And Hollywood has always been Hollywood, and before that there was the theater, and going all the way back to ancient Greece, it was the tragic figures that attracted the biggest audiences, and I bet the profession has always attracted a narcissitic element since it has always had some celebrity status (it may be more enticing now that the salaries are larger). Marlene Dietrich wasn’t exactly Mother Teresa, and neither was John Wilkes Booth 😉 I bet there were scoundrels in Shakespear’s troop too.

    In general, I guess what I am trying to say is, yeah things aren’t perfect, and it would be really nice if people were kinder to one another than they sometimes are, and it would be really neat if celebrities were good role models, but I am generally grateful for all the good there is too, and that makes me hopeful 🙂

  • Chumps fight against the notion that we made the other person cheat. Our cheater tells us that, and even our counselors ask us to take our part of the responsibility for the demise of our marriage. Maybe we were guilty of trying to believe the best of a person we loved, maybe we saw signs but accepted our spouse’s explanations. We wanted to keep our families together. We wanted to believe our marriage vows were sacred. A week after D-day my ex told my son “this has been coming for years.” He had planned the divorce and settlement without ever once saying he was unhappy. No wonder I felt so depressed over the distance I felt when he came back from business trips with his married coworker. He had fallen in love with her and had been contemplating leaving me for YEARS. I first felt the distance in our marriage when he hired her as his grad student…then she worked her way up to being a co-director in his department. She is married to someone else and has two kids. But I need to accept the blame for my part in the demise of our marriage. I am guilty of naiveté for thinking two married people would honor their marriage vows. Right.

    • Ex told my kids that this had been coming for years as well. My kids said ‘then why were we planning a massive holiday for next summer?’. Ex was a bit stumped by that because how could he explain that he had planned on eating cake for that long?

  • Oh, I forgot to say sometimes feel like Johnny Cash’s first wife Vivian in the movie about his life. Nashville really glorified Johnny’s love affair with June Carter, romanticizing their relationship and casting June as his true love. Vivian was silent for years but finally wrote a book telling her side of the story. She was one classy and dignified chump!

    • Forgot all about Johnny Cash. Not sure but I believe June was married and divorced prior to Johnny. Again not sure of her history prior to Johnny.

  • “There is something terribly wrong, however, with a culture that thinks you should shrug at infidelity, and better yet — be friends with the person who betrayed you.”

    WOW. I see this around me everyday. I even had former girlfriends who fucked with married men and gave it no thought whatsoever….it was so ‘de rigueur’. It made me sick. Had to end friendships based on their cavalier attitude. \

    I know its not fashionable to give a rats ass that I was betrayed by the ONE person I should have been able to trust implicitly. What was I thinking???? Silly me! Yes, I gave a shit. Yes, I wanted a solution which kept my little family intact.

    I would rather be a chump any day than be a selfish bitch. Maybe I am being a selfish bitch in saying that too.

    I am glad I am on the other side of the whole business. Maybe it is not glamorous or chic but I still have my integrity. Yeah, for a while I felt sucker-punched A LOT. Really. A LOT. But now, I just think of my ex and realize how pathetic he is. I think that about the OW/New Wife too. She is quite possibly MORE pathetic than he is.

    I guess I have never been one that goes with the crowd. I like to walk my own path and beat my own drum, etc…sometimes it is lonely but at least I don’t look in the mirror everyday and wonder what the fuck happened? Or blame others for my unhappiness. No siree! I own all my shit. It is hard, no lie about that.

    But man, oh, man…I am SO HAPPY now! I am content and at peace. I take responsibility for all the stuff I do and don’t do. And that, my fellow chumps, lets me sleep like a baby every night.

    • I actually think it’s incredibly glamorous and chic to be a person of character and integrity. Why else would we admire the few who display this in public?

  • CL, you’ve made my day. And you are RIGHT about the killing pain of betrayal. There is no greater injury that one person can do to another. My strength began to return the day that one of my Aunties roared at me over the phone, “He’s trying to destroy you, and DON’T YOU LET HIM!!” — She probably said similar words to my mother, years ago …

    It took two years and eight months for me to feel like I had some steady ground under my feet again.

    Monogamy may not be intrinsic in humans … but cheating is a CHOICE!! There’s no one on earth I admire more than the people I know who have stayed the marital course through whatever life has thrown at them. They’re among my heroes.

    Yes, we are wired for bonded relation. It’s a beautiful aspect of humanity, and it can also be our downfall (for a while, anyway). I want someone in my life again as a beloved … and if it doesn’t happen, I’ve got my own good company, and that of the good and faithful people and critters in my life.

    You are a gem!! xoxo

      • It was exactly like that for me, except the part at the end where the betrayer gave the slightest hint that he understood what he had done. The actor was at least believable, whereas my actor was not.

      • Same here, that brought tears to my eyes, and was exactly the same….. Except I had to run upstairs and throw up, and my betrayer did not have one bit or remorse….

  • Hey, Chumplady, are you able to edit your posts once you post them?

    Because you forgot a huge part of ‘I don’t know’.

    and that is: I CAN’T REMEMBER.

    Sheesh, its amazing how much he couldn’t remember. Hugely handy! That means, he didn’t have to discuss any of it.

    • Oh Patsy, good one!! My cheater said this (and continues to) ALL. THE. TIME. And gets actively pissed that I have a good memory and call him out on his inconsistencies in the never-ending stream of lies/half-lies/bs/smoke/mirrors.

      Like I am some kind of freak for actually remembering events and dates.

      He implies that no one “normal” remembers things like I do. (He is too busy “living in the moment” – dontcha love that narc cheater entitled phrase – to remember his past words and actions.)

      • Ha! Don’t forget the “why do you always remember the negative things? Didn’t we ever have anything good? Don’t you remember those?”

        The ever changing stories are truly maddening. I will never know the extent of his abuses… and I’m finally OK with that. Don’t really need the details anymore.

    • Omg Patsy, yes. They don’t know or cannot remember.

      Me: How long have these affairs been going on?
      Ex: I don’t remember.

      Me: Where did you have sex with (AP#1)?
      Him; I don’t remember.

      Me: Where did you have sex with (AP#2)5?
      Him: I don’t remember.

      Me: Did you have sex with them when they stayed in our home supposedly on business trips, while our children and I slept upstairs?
      Him: I don’t remember anymore.

      Me: Why did you have group sex with them?
      Him: I don’t know.

      Me: Why didn’t you tell me 13 years ago when I thought something was going on but you convinced me otherwise? Why didn’t you tell me all this time?
      Him: I don’t know, I just thought we’d always be together.
      Me: How many of us?

      Me: Why didn’t you use condoms? I need to get tested for HIV and STD’s, you subjected me and your children (especially youngest whom I was pregnant with while this was going on) to this?
      Him: [?? Stunned blank look, laughs and scoffs, then says to me]: That’s ridiculous, you don’t need to get tested.

      Great closure for us chumps, huh?

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