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Dear Chump Lady, Are they all this way?

Dear Chump Lady,

I LOVE your blog. In a society that basically condones cheating and keeps urging women to just accept it and reconcile it is SO refreshing to read. Thank you.

I’m a young lady that grew up in a society that basically says women should expect to be cheated on and that we should just accept it. Men in my society are allowed to marry up to four women (but the women are not *insert eye roll*) and the ones that don’t? Usually they have mistresses that they look after (have children with them, give them a house, car and care for them. Sometimes more than they would their wife).

I used to think that it was just men in my society that were unable to control themselves or chose to behave this way due to the blatant sexism in my society and their sense of entitlement. But after living in other countries I still hear the same old story “Most men will cheat. Get over it.”

I’m currently in a relationship with a guy and I’m in love for the first time. He’s wonderful and everything is going really well. I find myself wondering a lot lately if he will cheat on me. Now I consider myself to be confident and attractive so this is not a self esteem issue. Its just that with all these stories (some on your blog) and things that I’ve experienced (Guys I know that worship their girlfriends that turn out to be cheating or vice versa) I can’t help but worry.

Chump Lady, Narcissistic men aside, do all men cheat? Are some men more prone to it? Is there a way to tell if a guy would cheat?

Confused

Dear Confused,

No, all men don’t cheat. Of course not. Are some men more prone to it? Sure — those with bad character and entitlement issues. Now, it’s a real problem if you live in a culture that legitimizes that sense of entitlement, but that doesn’t mean that you Ms. Confused have to tolerate that shit.

If you read this blog, you’ll see that many men are cheated on too. Guys who were faithful and true, who invested of themselves wholly and got blind-sided. Infidelity isn’t just a man problem — it’s a woman problem too. In your culture, for every piggish man that cheats, is a woman putting up with being a crumb — who is tolerating the disrespect of not being a full partner, whether she is agreeing to be a mistress, or wife #4. Both sides have bought into this crap. Both sides are perpetuating it.

Women’s oppression is real — in your country and in mine (hello, I live in Texas — have you seen what the legislature is trying to do to our reproductive freedoms?) — there are consequences for riding against the tide. Maybe in your country, if you don’t put up with infidelity you’re unmarriageable. But things aren’t going to change if you don’t get uppity.

We don’t get any guarantees about other people. I have no idea about your boyfriend’s character. But the good news is that you’re in control of your own character. As you write, you’re attractive and self assured and you know your worth. So if that boyfriend of yours cheats? You dump him. You have control of your own boundaries. Would that be painful? Absolutely. It hurts like a motherfucker. But you know what hurts more? Staying with a cheater.

And every time a young woman like you dumps a young man who cheats, she sends a message to her generation — I’m not tolerating abuse. My mother may have tolerated it. My grandmother may have tolerated it, but I am NOT tolerating it. Change starts with you.

Now, as to how to find a good person who isn’t inclined to cheat? While I don’t think there are any guarantees, I do think you can improve your odds for sure. Have you talked with your boyfriend about his values? How he feels about infidelity? How he would feel if you cheated? How he feels when other people cheat? Does he demonstrate good character in other parts of his life? Is he empathetic? Does he treat you with respect? Does he love his mother, or his sisters, or the other women in his life? Does he treat those people with kindness and respect?

If your culture is rife with infidelity, perhaps you need to date outside your culture. Or find a fellow pioneer in who’s in the This Is Bullshit camp.

In my own story, I found a fellow chump. My husband was formerly married to a serial cheater. He gets it. He’s also just a really decent person. I observed him closely as we were dating, and in a story I repeat a lot around here, early on I noticed his kindness and care taking. While we were enjoying a weekend together, I got a chest cold. It came on rather quickly, and he immediately ordered me a cup of tea. Room service, stupid expensive tea. Whatever was in his power to make me feel better in that moment, he made it happen. And that’s when I realized EFFORT IS SEXY. This is a good guy.

Surround yourself with people who make effort. Who reciprocate. Who check in with you and demonstrate through their words AND their deeds that they care about you. And be that person to the people in your life. That’s the best insurance policy I know of to choose a good one.

But if you don’t choose a good one, don’t worry, you will survive. Loving someone entails risk, no getting around that. Feel secure in your own strength, that whatever happens to you, you will live your life with integrity. That you can control — and a good character is its own reward. By not accepting abuse, you’ll inspire others to do the same. And by choosing a partner who treats you with kindness and respect, you’re setting the bar for other women to expect the same sort of treatment. All you get to control is you — but you alone can do a lot. Sounds like you already are! Best of luck to you and your boyfriend.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I agree with CL – there are certainly signs that the person (man or woman) is prone to cheating, but I don’t think there is any 100% way to tell if they will. I, too, have heard many stories about spouses who seemed completely caring and loving but were leading double lives. CL is right, though – just know your worth, know your boundaries, and accept that loving someone is a risk. There aren’t any 100% guarantees of anything. There is some risk involved in loving someone, there’s no way around that. All you can do is use your best judgement and the information you have at the time, listen to your gut, and don’t spackle.

  • Hi Confused,
    Even though my ex husband turned out to be a selfish coward, I do not believe that all men cheat (and I know not all women cheat, as I had never even THOUGHT about it when married). Personally, I look forwards to finding a nice guy who will truly be there for me, and will set a good example for my children.

    As an aside, I still agree with the others that we need a chump dating service. I am surprised there are not folks in my neck of the woods (as per the forums).

  • The older I get, the more I tend to believe that cheaters are relatively common. In my 20s I would’ve told you that maybe 10 to 20 percent of people cheat (slightly higher for men versus women). Having just turned 50 I’d tell you more like 50 to 60 percent.

    The good news? You only need to find *one* good person. That’s one good person out of *millions* who are out there. Framing it that way makes it less daunting, I think. It’s a big haystack, but there are many, many needles in there!

    And FWIW, put me in the camp that says a good place to start looking is the ranks True Chumps. Serial cheaters do a great job of selecting for positive qualities like honesty, dedication, loyalty, and a willingness to do your best and make the best of every situation. Why let that pre-screening go to waste? Finding someone with such qualities makes life as a couple pure bliss compared to life in Cheaterville.

    • I read that the only reason the women stats are slightly lower is due to the inclusion of women over 60-65. Apparently, they do not cheat as frequently. But, some studies indicate that in the 25-45 demographic, women cheat more.
      No big deal.
      I’d say do as much vetting as possible and look at the friends and family of your prospective partner. Get outside opinions and listen. Lust blinds us to the red flags.
      If you educate yourself, you may be able to spot these types.

  • Personally I never thought my H would cheat on me, he hated cheaters, made it very clear how he would feel if I cheated. I can see how his cheating has changed him very sad. This is his only time that he has strayed (yes it is I know that to be true).

    • oh yes… mine too! He would shake his head every time some politician got his nuts tied in a knot and publicly humiliated. Watch out. And the double standard. yuck.

    • I read a Psychology article… something along the lines of if someone suddenly starts saying “i’d never do that” … when you didnt ask them the question in the first place… then it means their head went there because their head IS there.

      My ex was vehemently anti cheating. Come to find he’d never been faithful to any woman ever. But it’s a nice way to bait and switch!

      • Mine tells the kids how wrong cheating is. Seriously. He was a serial cheater and he says this with a straight face and apparently much gravity.

        • Mine actually told my son “You should be glad you have me to set an example of how not to live your life”

          Do as I say, not as I do. Same as it ever was.

      • That’s depressing but then I think of the # of times he accused me of cheating ( all so ridiculously not true) I could never fiqure it out but well….

  • Look… really, really “nice” guys with “great values” and “integrity” can cheat. My really great guy (married 25 years on the 21st) was a serial cheater for at least ten years. Some are even completely doting as Duck said. and some are wonderful in the beginning and the second the ring gets on the finger. BAM! Some, the change comes with children or with moving or with a life crisis like a death or the loss of a job or all of the above. And with some, there IS no discernible change.

    I think that CLs list of what to look for is excellent, but just to emphasize a few points and some of this also depends on a guys age and experience.

    At any age… how is or was his relationship with his mother/sister? If not so great… that is not a good thing— unless he’s in therapy for it and stays there. yes, stays there.

    Is he insecure? did he complain that his last GF said he lacked something, like aggression or that she emasculated him? Really? this dude has poor self-esteem. Ever hear a woman complain… “that man defeminized me!” right. there’s no such word. A man who isn’t confident in his masculinity is apt sooner or later to seek out that VALIDATION from other women… LOTS of other women. In fact, there won’t be ENOUGH women to ever validate him because its like a bottomless pit.

    Believe him when he says that he’s “impulsive.” Believe him when he says that he’s a maniac in his car, or that he has “trouble” at work. Don’t believe him when he is always blaming others and then really don’t believe him when having just said that, he looks at you with goo goo eyes. He’s already fucking with your vulnerable head.

    Don’t make the mistake of thinking… “if only I remain very attractive, slim, sexy, well-groomed… and give him everything he needs…” that he will remain faithful. That’s Chumpthink. Men remain faithful to fat, frizzy, dowdy women in baggy sweats and birks. (no offense to all you fine birk aficionados!) Men also cheat on SUPER MODELS. The way you look has absolutely nothing to do with it. nothing.

    I just went on a date. It was nice, but he hasn’t called and that got me to thinking of all the things he said that I was probably trying to dismiss.
    1) he has ADD.
    2) he’s a lawyer, but a few years ago, he couldn’t make ends meet and had to borrow a lot of money.
    3) I found his X’s blog (another story) and she said that he was “needy” and needed constant reassurance that she loved him. (blech— on many levels because the blog was not anon and she said a LOT of other highly personal crap too!)
    4) he asked me a lot of VERY PERSONAL questions like when was the last time I had sex and then chastised me later on because of my circuitous route to those answers. He said, that if I was a witness, I was the type that he’d have to coach for a WEEK. Seriously? I may be a bit on the airy, dreamy side, and although quite an open person, it was our first fucking date and I don’t need to be cross examined with the intimation that I’m a dumbfuck. (i am sometimes… but again. first. date.) Isn’t that a put down??? YES, LAUREL, IT IS!!! What scares me, is that I wouldv’e gone out with him again. I even thought that he was sexy. :(((

    Why? I remembered the ROMANTIC THINGS HE SAID… Like the way he suddenly said… something… like your hair as we were walking… the way he looked at me… the way he said how lovely I was as we were parting. (so lovely, that he hasn’t bothered to call me up in five days.)

    Thank you dear God for space… to realize. I would’ve sooner or later (I’m sure!) and I’m not saying that I won’t go out to dinner or a movie with him, but he is not relationship material!

    • Laurel sounds like a lovely first date. Run if he calls again! (LOL) He is not even worth a dinner or movie.

      • he was negging you Laurel, look it up if you don’t know the term. Do not date him again, and on a first date if the guy asks you intimate questions do not answer them. Also, meet for coffee first time or lunch so you aren’t stuck all evening. That guy is an asshole, you can do better and you deserve it. I have not yet gone on a first date but I have a list of red flags in my head that will cause me to say “it was nice meeting you but I have to go”. BTW, how did he treat the waitstaff?

          • A neg is a way to make a woman feel less than or self conscious which lowers her guard by subconsciously causing her to want to prove she’s better than that. Sometimes it’s a compliment with a put down in it that is non-obvious. Or as Laurel says, he asks inappropriate questions then makes her feel like something is wrong with her for not answering – then we she does answer he tells her she did it wrong. I’m willing to bet when she told him the sex info he said something that made her feel inadequate about it. The other stuff this guy said implied she was stupid, but in a way she didn’t really clue to until she got some distance – that sort of implication also makes you feel insecure so you want to show you are better than that. That’s what he was doing with the thing where he’s saying if she were a witness he’d have to coach her for a week. See? He’s saying she is stupid without saying it and it tweaks our insecurities.

            Simple negs are like this: “you have beautiful eyes…are those contacts? I like your nails, are they real? in both cases he knows the answer. So he didn’t exactly treat her like shit and insult her in an obvious way. Instead, he complimented her with a subtle dig thrown in because the purpose is to target her insecurity.

            • HE’S insecure. and then he was telling me about this woman on Match and the first thing she said was… “you’re the kind of guy I could marry.” LOLOLOLOL and yes, we had a good laugh at the outrageousness of that one, but then he went on to say… “I mean is she some kind of raging co-dependent?”

              I dunno… have any experience with that, honey? I just thought she sounded like a nutcase. alright. we’ve already established that he’s bad news, but I think this is good because most of us are scared shitless to even go on a date. I know that I am, but in some ways it was also a good thing. I think I’ve not only learned a lot, but its being able to put it into practice, that’s the acid test.

              • Laurel,

                I’m currently reading a book about being Narc/Psychopath free. Your date? Yeah – he just met all the criteria. Was he driving the signature “creepy guy” van?

          • I googled and found in Urban dictionary. good word, what an asshole! And why the hell are you calling yourself a “dumbass..sometimes” Laurel? From everything thing I’ve read from you I KNOW thatat’s NOT true. Bad news that!

            • oh, no… I am quite a dumbass sometimes. That’s why I know so much. I’ve made every mistake in the book and paid dearly for it. I don’t think that its appropriate to talk about it here, but just know that I’m far, far from perfect.

              Wasband took our children and my older son’s GF (a doll) up to see his family in Canada. Of course, I can’t come. I couldn’t even pay my respects to my dead MIL… why? I’ve probably said it before. They’re all so fucking cruel.

              I’m so upset. I HATE being alone. I work alone. I eat alone. I watch TV alone… I spend waaaaaaaaaaaay too much time at this fucking laptop— alone… and I go to bed–alone. but of course, I did that for the last 15 years even though, I had a sad sack o’ snoring shit lying next to me. clapped out from a day of wacking off— in private, of course.

              it just hurts so much. I’ve lost so, so, so much… I WANTED to go away with my FAMILY. its all I have… and I’m really trying. really, really trying. its just one of the bad days. it’ll pass… thanks for listening.

              • Laurel,
                You will be fine! When your kids get back, they will have stories, but they won’t tell you if you seem too raw.
                My X took the kids out of state the first Christmas after the divorce. They were 21 and 20. He dumped them at his parents’ and went to see his gf’s mom. I didn’t find out until much later and I guess it’s because the kids were trying to protect me.
                Your kids know who the sane parent is, and they will be back. Don’t worry.

              • Laurel,

                I know how you feel. My children are grown and I live alone. I spend most of my non-working hours alone. It is quite an adjustment. I have good friends, but I spent so much time away from them during the marriage taking care of the intact family (and trying to keep the STBX from pouting if I DARED do anything too assertive or independent) that the dynamics of those friendships have changed. I am working to shift them somewhat. There are days I find strange comfort in the aloneness because I don’t have to please anyone but myself. Other days, it is overwhelming. I am, however, learning to enjoy my own company. We all have the bad days (this has been one for me) but as time goes on, we’ll have more better ones. Take care of yourself.

              • I like to think its all a play. We have no control over it. Sometimes we’re up, sometimes we’re down. Have a helluva a cry, Laurel, you deserve it. When you’re done, go buy something indulgent for yourself! Real ice cream (not frozen yogurt), a sassy mani-pedi, a decadent candle – a treat just for you. Don’t worry about the puffy eyes…wear your sunglasses indoors and pretend to be someone mysterious.

                Well, that’s all the stuff I do when I’m feeling like the fire hydrant instead of the dog, which is to say “often.”

                Hang in there. You’ll be fine – not the first time you’ve had to recover from a kick in the gut. ((((Hugs)))))

              • Thank you all so much for the kind words. The kids don’t come back. My older son is 23 and lives in Boston and I’m lucky if I get a day with him here and there and my younger son, 18 has autism and lives with his dad and well… he has autism, so its all on his terms.(we don’t take crap from him though, or at least, I don’t) One of my issues was that we NEVER went away. NOW, they are going away. And why? Wasband’s deadbeat, but also very “nice” father who “died” 3 years ago will be there.

                confused?

                I say “died” because supposedly he was— dying, in Johannesburg and my underemployed h dropped everything to book a ticket with his sis… the very next day and it set us back 4k that we absolutely did not have. Sure, he could’ve gone— in a month and the ticket would’ve been half the price! And there were thousands of other dollars sent to him, over the years of money we did not have. I was so angry I couldn’t see. Geeezzz, I dreamed that last night. It was night and for a while, I could not see a thing… hmmm…

                Meanwhile, deadbeat granddad couldn’t manage to make it to his only sons wedding 25 years ago. He had already remarried and alcoholic woman with 3 children, two who have spent time in jail on drug related charges. THAT is where his money went (and on FOUR, huge German Shepherds!) Not on his OWN children or grandchildren. I lost all respect for that man years ago. But………….. he is very, very nice. very sweet. So sweet I’m gonna puke.

                Still… he is my children’s grandfather… some people it seems… can fuck up all they want… and hideously so and it doesn’t seem to matter one iota.

                Oh, he cheated on his first wife too… of course!!! Wasband’s mother. Domineering, overbearing and critical… but maybe it was because she was married to a fucktard. Yes, I think that might be why. May she rest in peace.

              • Laurel,
                I was very obviously a HUGE dumbass too…in matters that involved him! And he obviously knew that I would be…and took advantage of that. That is NOT your IQ Laurel, or mine – it’s our IQ with them! I’m sure one of their biggest fears is us beginning to use our brains. Being a Good Loving Kind person does not make you a “DUMBASS” but It sure makes us feel that way…

          • I found something in Urban Dictionary because I hadn’t heard of it either. But wow, you should look at this site. This is guy to guy, giving advice on how to neg beautiful women so they will date them. This crap is so chilling, it could have been written by Machiavelli:

            http://www.seductionscience.com/2010/negging-women/

            Thanks for using that term, Datdemwuf…holy crap, what an education I just got.

            • yep… I’m paying that one forward too… I realize now, that my date was full of negs. Now, I’m on high alert for them.

          • I was thinking that too… I have thought the same thing when I’m interviewing a potential client– that there are certain things I need to say… Okay, time to go. Nice meeting you. bye bye. I just remembered I left a cake in the oven. One time, and I know I was NOT speaking loudly, but the potential client told me to shhhhhhh… seriously. I was only making a comment about the drapes (like these could work if you want to keep them) and the homeowner (they hadn’t closed on the home yet) was talking to her h and I could barely hear them as they were about 20 feet away with a wall in between us! It was only later that I realized that she was already putting me down.

            next.

    • Laurel,

      I wish you were my neighbor because I would invite you over for coffee and a chat. Parts of your post made me laugh out loud. Now, with that out of the way, let me just say – Fuck that Guy!!!

      I just finished reading a book or a blog (I read so much, so many places I find it hard to remember where I pick up my little nuggets of knowledge) and they listed some of the things to look out for as far as avoiding narcissists, which they also referred to as con men. I’m sorry to tell you but I think your date just won Jeopardy.

      Having adequate resources but finding themselves in financial trouble? Check. (Now of course, in the past few years, all sorts of people have run into financial problems, so it COULD be attributable to the bad economy). ADD? That might be that Narc boredom and always having to be busy to which so many people have made reference. While the EX may have her own issues – her description of him as being needy and seeking constant reassurance? Check. Asking you a lot of PERSONAL questions? That is the big $200.00 prize winner!

      If he had called you and you two had gone out again, I’m thinking your narc-o-meter might have started flashing red or the robot from Lost in Space would have appeared from out of the bushes chanting, “Danger, Ms. Laurel, Danger!”

      I agree with zyx321 – we need a Chump Dating Service.

      I’m sorry he didn’t call, but I’m thinking you’re lucky he didn’t call.

      • Thanks so much guys! It was a “coffee date” and then we went for a walk. I wouldn’t say that he was sparkly, but the put downs, personal-none-of-his-fucking business questions were obvious issues. I found negging in the urban dictionary.

        http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=negging

        yep. that’s the one.

        The ego feels bruised… but then… I realize that I didn’t pass the chump test. He had trouble MAN-ipulating me. I would need a week just to be trained to answer the questions in court. GIVE ME A FUCKING BREAK!!!

        Besides, the GF just dumped him with the “I-need-space-BS” (code for seeing someone else) and oh, something else I learned in the blog… she got arrested for ASSAULTING her X husband (although, what kind of pussy has his wife arrested– I guess… unless it was like every day and she would not stop) AND then, arrested a second time for assaulting her husband’s girl friend. (after they were separated) And folks… this is a woman who sold a multi-million dollar home in Brooklyn, went to Barnard College— LOL (but then, so did Martha Stewart) and writes on the Huff Po with a considerable following. Claims to be rehabilitated now.

        Or maybe, they’re just waiting to see what fucked up thing she’s going to divulge next. Just an interesting aside, but maybe some relevance as lawyer-can’t-make-ends-meet-dude was with her for three plus years.

              • guys, are you kidding? Did you forget that she’s a convicted FELON and I know lots of people who’ve worked with her because I used to live very near her in NY, and they all say the same thing! (and its anything but nice things)

                YES!!! I agree. she’s friggin talented. LOVE her style… very inspiring to me as a designer, but she’s not someone I’d like to be friends with.

      • I thought it was interesting that so many of you mentioned your cheaters getting bored easily or possibly having ADD. My ex couldn’t sit still for a minute. Always had to be doing something. It was exhausting just to watch him, always made me feel lazy if I wanted to sit down or take a nap. Now I take naps whenever I want to. LOL

        • Lyn,
          Mine too! I always called it “nervous energy” because it seemed to stem from him being uptight. (Wondering why he wasn’t hearing back from his latest ho? Worried the angry one was going to lower the boom to his wife? Did being stuck at home with the family have him itching to be elsewhere? Who knows what had him so worked up). He half-joked that he had ADD and I now read that serial cheaters tend to have ADD or ADHD (not sure which or if it’s both). At any rate, all of his activity made me feel lazy and wrong, too. So I nap all I want now, as well!

          Other things I do now: He never wanted to go to movies – I go now! Alone or with a friend, I am back at the movies, baby! I eat at the restaurants I choose – no more negotiating until I give up and we go to his choice – invariably a sports bar with scantily clad servers. And I accept more social invitations. Telling people “I’m divorced” is so much simpler than fighting the urge to tell the truth about my marriage, which was “I’m married to a guy who has deigned to have sex with me twice in the past seven years, but who spends an inordinate amount of time on his cell phone and laptop. He likes to eye-fuck other women when we go out together, so we don’t do that anymore. He seems mad at me all of the time and pretty much leaves my son and me to our own devices every weekend while he does what he wants. He buys and pours the wine then calls me a drunk when I have a glass too many. He travels constantly and wants me to slay the fatted calf for him every time he returns from a business trip, after I’ve worked a 60-hour week. I don’t cook often enough for his liking, and it bothers him a lot that we don’t eat as a family every night.. He’s very angry I stopped sleeping in his bed, but I have no hope of getting laid so why lay awake all night next to his tossing, turning ass as he lets SBD farts all night? Of course, he’s angry with me, but doesn’t want to talk about it when i attempt to broach any of these topics. Dear fellow dinner guest, do you think something may be awry? Do you think he may be a chronic liar and serial cheater? And a pig? Me too, but I’m too afraid to face what that will do to my life, and the life of my son. Thanks for listening.”

          Nah, “I’m divorced” is way easier. Even with the “feeling other” from the couples crowd (which I think I put on myself more than anyone else does), it’s still the better alternative. Besides, there are many others of us out there and we’ve come through the fire to be better than we were before. Bent, not broken…like that Pink song.

          • YOu got the buying and pouring wine and then calling you a drunk? I got that as well. Ex used to watch the bottle like a hawk and when I would top up our glasses he would seriously watch to see that we got the exact same amount, because God forbid I had a touch more in my glass than him. I used to laugh about this but now I look back and think ‘that is really fucked up’. Another thing: after dday I got some weird email from him saying that he was sick of being a fat, stumbling drunk. Apparently it was my fault he drank too much at times (and I did as well, to be honest) and the only way to stop was to fuck other people.

            • ahhhhh… projection. Not all people with ADD, cheat but I believe that it really ups the odds. And I have a theory that all serial cheaters… have ADD, diagnosed or not. As a matter of fact, undiagnosed, untreated ADD is going to make it almost a 100% odds that at some point, the sufferer is going to self-medicated with something or things.

              Parents who think that medicating their kids is the same as drugging them are just plain wrong and playing with fire.

              If they had diabetes would they say that giving them insulin is drugging them? no, of course not. If they had cancer would they not give them anit-cancer drugs. no, of course not.

              But a mental illness is not (immediately) life threatening… but it does put ones life at risk… untreated and creates as I said an increased chance that the sufferer will self-medicate and sex can be a wonderful drug for the ADD brain.

              • My NPD ex has raging, untreated ADD. He himself often spoke about what a struggle school had been, how he could never pay attention no matter how he tried, how behind he always was and just couldn’t learn. As an adult, absolutely no time management skills, no impulse control, no understanding of consequences and a constant need for intense stimulation.

                Our son inherited the ADD, and ex was VERY against meds for son. I finally gave up on that one. When ex came back wanting bogus reconciliation, I made it a condition he got his ADD treated. He tried meds for ONE DAY, then announced they didn’t help him and that was that. In his book about himself, he wrote about how no one should ever use any form of meds at all, that you should never listen to anyone who suggests you need to change in any way because they are just “holding you down” and are “nay sayers with their negativity” preventing you from following your dreams.

                It’s pretty clear at this point that the ex has some fairly severe mental health issues, though, far beyond NPD and ADD. He’s completely delusional at this point, crazy.

              • oh Gawd… child abuse. It absolutely is… now, we got our ADHD son on meds at the age of five and admittedly, at first, I was like… I can’t believe I’m giving my son amphetamines. But then… something miraculous happened.

                We got our son back.

                Now, at 23… he’s just amazing. Oh sure. he still takes a bus from Boston to Albany on his way to Toronto and upon arriving in Albany, realizes that he forgot his passport. Yes, anyone can do this… but with him… this is to be expected. Still… he called me up today… so sweet. huge heart.

                and get this… when he started college and a music conservatory… he went without his Concerta. noticeable, but he muddled through. along about half-way through his sophomore year, he hooked up with free counseling that was available and by the middle of his senior year… decided, of his own accord, to get back on meds. He realized that over-all, he still needed it and was able to function better with it. He was more focused. Less impulsive. and quieter. He did notice that it did effect his creativity, so when he had a gig, he took less and made sure it was earlier in the day.

                Glad… your husband is a complete and utter hopeless ass. so, so sorry. hang in there and don’t give up the good fight! I know that I’ve had to spit blood advocating for our children. Hub would just let it all… steam roll over him… just like everything else. At least, he was always behind me. 99% of the time. very supportive.

                Not treating the ADD WILL undermine the child’s self-esteem. no question about it. Constantly failing and getting into a trouble, does not turn a young boy into a confident man.

            • God, Nord…what an ass. Mine would drink as much as me, too. He got CASES at a time of my favorite wine from a business contact (totally against co policy, but that’s the same co that turned its head while he sexted and emailed with a coworker on their equipment and their network). CASES…! Ugh. I think he was trying to medicate me so I’d be easier to gaslight.

              • Mine didn’t get cases but we went through a phase towards the end where we were definitely drinking too much, side by side. But of course it was me who was the problem. Funnily enough, after I kicked him out I was drinking a bit too much to just sleep and finally the kids laid into me about it so I stopped. Now I’m a ‘wine with dinner’ kind of lady again, with a few fun nights with mates where we have a bit too much and get silly. But it’s a normal kind of thing, as it always was before things went pear shaped.

                Final OW doesn’t drink at all, by the way, which makes me laugh since ex used to say he never trusted anyone who didn’t drink at all. His mother is an alcoholic, by the way. Not a falling down drunk type, just the type who HAS to have a glass of wine with lunch and with dinner and who gets very pissy if that doesn’t happen.

          • Sometimes I think ADHD might contribute to the need for “excitement.” Towards the end of our marriage (which was crazy making) one of the many things my ex was crying about was that he could never sit still like his older brother. He always had to be moving. Now that we are divorced I hear he travels constantly. He always traveled a lot, but now it sounds like he’s never home, even though he bought a half million dollar resort property that needs a lot of care taking. My counselor said he is all about acquisition. Once he gets something, he moves on to the next thing he wants. He casts aside what he’s already got because the thrill is in getting the next big thing.

    • He sounds like my serial cheating ex – also a lawyer. Also constantly asked what I liked about him (handy to keep my focus off other areas, and also for him to pretend to be what I wanted).

      I’m glad you spotted him so quickly!

      Two things I have also learned:

      1) If they say “youre not like other women” – you are a woman. sooner or later you will be like “them” and then there will be trouble
      2) 9.999999 times out of 10 – if they say their ex is crazy, THEY MADE THE EX CRAZY. or its lies… either way its a no go.

      • oh yeah… I mean, she wasn’t crazy when she married you, was she? (maybe “crazy” about him) now, what changed??? hmmmmmmm… let me ponder my feeble brain around that one… hmmmmmm…………………………

        • I always wonder how someone can be with a person who portrays their longterm partner as crazy. I can see saying it about someone you had a short relationship with (I had my share of nutty boyfriends when I was young and we all probably did), but you spend a couple of decades with someone and then portray them as crazy…and people BUY THIS SHIT? And it comes on the heels of the person being caught cheating–or in my cases a serial cheater–and I’M the crazy one? Yeah, um, no.

          • Oh yeah, people believe that shit because during our entire marriage our Horse Turds of Love have done “image management” – AND WE’VE HELPED THEM DO IT!! We’ve spackled, duct-taped and super-glued the relationship (most of the time, unwittingly) for so long that when the relationship comes apart and they’re looking all composed and reasonable and telling people, “we just grew apart,” and we’re saying, “uh, no, that stinkin’ piece of shit from hell BLEW us apart,” we look bitter and crazy.

              • Negging example from my ex:
                We had just met and he called within 3 days. Talked on the phone for awhile but he didnt ask me out. Next day he calls and asks me out. By this time I realized the military lifestyle likely wasnt for me and I said no thank you. I am flattered but it is not the lifestyle I want. So we can be friends but that would be it. His response? ” what, it’s just dinner…I might not even like you”
                Stupid me rose to the challenge…oh so charming and witty he was! 6 months into dating was the first lie. I dumped him. He posted a woe is me facebook note about how he has no luck with women so he is going to ask to be deployed…boo hoo. I fell for it. Asked for him back and the lies got worse and worse including the double life. 5 years I doubted myself and stayed addicted to hopium….grrr

              • My ex is gooood at image control. He’s a step ahead of this and says every girl he dated/was engaged to/ married to is a wonderful person. She simply grew tired of him and dumped him. Yes, the serial cheater as the victim. Oh he plays the game well!

    • Well what if his mom and sister are psychos? I would think that if he was chummy with them, that would be a bad thing.
      And, not all guys who are insecure will cheat. Insecurity does not mean lack of integrity.

  • I’m really struggling with this. Although I know not all men are cheaters or predators, I still am afraid to get involved with a new man, because I just assume he will turn out to be a monster like my ex. I don’t want to risk going through hell again. I don’t trust men anymore and I cannot imagine what it would be like to have a man genuinely love me and be faithful, honest and caring. Simply cannot imagine that.

    • I’m going through this too. It has been 2.5 years since my divorce was final and I am *still* terrified of going through that again.

      • I have those feelings as well. I haven’t met anyone I like all that much yet but even though I’m dating I do have a difficult time feeling like I could really open myself up to someone again. I thought my ex and I were best friends and shared everything with him. He currently uses things against me that I told him…and tells other people things that I shared, stuff that no one else in the world knows. It’s such a breach of trust, well beyond the cheating, that I can hardly wrap my head around it.

        • And that’s really about the final hurdle isn’t it? I was discussing this with my IC with respect to my overall problems and where some of the fear and anxiety comes from. I am a ways out from even thinking about “dating” but it really boils down to being able to trust yourself again. We have fought this battle and have all these scars and it is more about being able to trust ourselves, not so much the other person. We feel as though we made such a catastrophic mistake when picking before that subconsciously the person we really don’t trust is us. We don’t want to have to try to survive that kind of hurt ever again. The key is believing that we’ve learned from where we’ve been and feel that we’ve learned enough to make a better decision about where we want to go – and have the confidence and trust in ourselves to believe we are capable of making the correct decision.

          • If they are interesting and want to take me to dinner fine, long walks fine, go to movies watch football on TV (hope they have NFL ticket) fine. Get involved NO NO NO NO NO NO

            • I would just like to encounter someone with whom I can do some of the things you mention AND have an intelligent conversation. Do people READ anymore?!!! I have attempted to have a conversation on a couple of occasions with people who have LIVED long enough to have more information than they possess. I’ve wanted to ask them if perhaps their name used to be Rip Van Winkle, because based on the knowledge they have, they have obviously been asleep for AT LEAST the past 20 years. That’s another reason I love the people who post here – they have brains and rational thoughts. Just when I thought all hope was lost . . .

              • Of all things, my divorce lawyer turned out to be like a male version of me. We held the same views on many, many things. It was so weird. I actually looked forward to my meetings, which drug on and on (I was only billed for time spent on the divorce) as we conversed over a broad range of subjects. He was about 8 years older than me. Obviously, his practice was not very busy. Lots of oversupply in the lawyer field.

                While he has the two qualifiers that I would look for in a man (has a full head of hair indicating decent blood supply to the brain and doesn’t drive a mid-life crisis ego car) I would never spoil what we had by dating him. Pity.

              • Yeah, and some of these folks are not even current on Kim Kardashian’s latest stuff. Sheesh!

    • I think there are so many of us on this site who just cannot fathom there is someone out there who can truly love us for who we are. We have been changed forever by the serious let down of our relationships with characterless cheaters. I was married for 20 years, and there are some days that I still cannot believe what has happened to my family over the last 2 1/2 years, how my family exploded from my ex’s affair with his best friend’s wife. There may have been more affairs, I am not sure, but, that was the one I found out about, so, it was the last one for me. I cannot see myself giving MY everything to another person at this time in my life. I know I need to work on me, and I am trying. I had thrown myself into making my youngest two daughters (twins) high school years wonderful (which I think I would have done regardless of the divorce, but, my focus was strictly on the two of them) and now they both are ready to go to college. It’s time for the focus to be on me, I just have to figure out how to do that. I think there are so many of us on here that have to figure that out, maybe being alone is the way to go. I just don’t know. I just know I don’t believe I have it in me to trust another man the way I used to trust Uncle Daddy.

  • Confused: To answer you question from a male chump. NO not all guys cheat. One of the things my cheating wife told me recently was that was one of the things she loved about me. She knew I would never cheat on her. Trouble is I thought the same thing about her, until she turned our world upside down.

  • This is another good post, and I will add my experience as well. My lying, cheating ex was also a chump. Divorced his 1st wife b/c he caught her in bed with another guy. Said he could never, ever hurt another human being the way he had been hurt. Also had a great relationship with his (single) mom and 2 sisters (no brothers). Was very attentive and loving to me. A real family man. Had a best friend who was a serial cheater and lamented how the guy had no soul, because of how he was betraying his wife. All this while leading a double life.

    So, there were really no red flags in the areas we’d typically suspect, but there were definitely other red flags. He was violent (punched walls in anger), alcoholic, and couldn’t keep a job more than a few years. He had no long-term friends. And probably most importantly, he behaved very immorally in other areas of his life (work, etc.), which showed his lack of integrity, which finally ended up carrying over into his personal life (our marriage). All this to say, the guy can seem like a perfectly wonderful, caring person who says and does all the right things (and even be in therapy for his “issues”) and still be a lying, cheating sack of you-know-what. To me, though, the main giveaway with my guy should have been the lack of integrity. As they say, no honor among theives.

    • ugh… and I know in typical chump-fashion, we tell ourselves shit like… “well no one is perfect.” Or he’s working on things. Or he seems so evolved (ick) and he’s so kind. (double ick) My husband had a lot of friends when I met him, but systematically, except for maybe 2 or 3, they all fell by the wayside.

      • Laurel, you are so right. I told myself that his drinking and issues were his to work out, and that I would support him to do that, but as long as they didnt affect me and our family there was only so much i could/ should do. He needed to help himself, and who was I to judge? Now I know better. And yes, my ex was the exact same with the falling-by-the-wayside friends…

      • Same here. My ex doesn’t really have any friends; he does have a brother (who is married, with children) and wonderful parents, close cousins, etc. But he is NOT close to any of them. They had to chase him to get a conversation.

        I took him home to meet my family, when we returned, I kid you not, his mother sent me an email and in that she said ‘I hope he did not annoy or alienate anyone’

        I have friends I inherited from him. They were his friends, not anymore. He only has some drinking buddies, but no good friends. Why can’t they even hold on to friends? It is not that hard, right?

        But then, he also has bad relationships at work, his boss, I quote ‘is killing him’. Really?

        He’s a piece of you-know-what, problem is I still love him.

        I am the Queen of the Chumps.

      • My ex speaks to his Mom like she is either mentally challenged (she most definitely is NOT) or a horrible, abusive skank (which, by even his accounts, she was a pretty good mom). He berates her, screams at her, calls her stupid, and she just laughs at him. Used to tell me she lets him talk to her like that because eventually he does what she wants him to do. She feels (I guess) it’s his right to caterwaul about carrying her laundry to the laundry room at the apartment complex. Shit… I used to think that might be normal, even though I would have never in a billion years spoken to either one of my parents with disrespect. Tried the hysterical belittling ONCE as a teenager, got my ass kicked thoroughly by my own Mom… It should have been a huge red flag his treatment of his Mom. For what it is worth, he hates his younger sister because when she was 12 years old he smacked her for backtalking him (he was 13) and she retaliated by throwing a can of pineapple at his leg. He still harbors resentment over that (so he used to tell me). I would tell him to snap out of it, he was an adult. His response, at 40 years old? “I fucking hate that bitch!” A can of pineapple almost 30 years ago…methinks he doesn’t like women all that much, what ya think? What would make me think his abusive behavior to the women closest to him was ok? Almost normal! What was I thinking?! His karma…three spectacular daughters. Now as adults (almost) only deal with him to get money or stuff from him. They don’t like him much at all. and that is sad.

        • Ex’s entire family will dredge up things from 20, 30, 40 years ago that someone did when they were young (or even not) and discuss it for hours, like this one tiny moment in time defines who they are. Example. a relative sold a prized item that he owned to fund a trip as a teenager. Ex’s family thought this was a bad decision. That relative is now in his 40’s and Ex’s family STILL brings this up, saying ‘what a shame said relative sold that prized item. What a mistake-prized relative could have had such a different life’. Mind you, prized relative is now very successful by any estimation and very happy with a family, etc. Ex’s family also brings up things about members they don’t actually like (they like the relative who sold the prized item) and will hold one little thing against them for eternity and discuss it like it happened yesterday.

          Considering that I exposed ex’s actions relatively widely I figure they’ll be talking about me into the grave.

          • I should add that the relative sold the prized item at the age of 16…and the family is talking about this ‘bad decision’ more than 20 years later.

  • Hi Chump Lady and all you sweet en kind people that support each other on this website.

    I’m a 56 year old male from the Netherlands. Found this website by chanche (did I?). I’ve been reading, almost non stop, for the last 30 hours. It simply is impossible to stop reading. It’s like only now the Matrix becomes visibele, only now all the pieces of the puzzle are in place. I cannot imagine there will ever be a thriller that’s more scary to me than reading all these testemonies of Chumps who were believing they were truly loving their angels but really were fucked by the devil himself. Like I was.

    It’s more then 20 years ago since my ‘only true love’ dealt me a mindfuck for which there is no forgetting. And ever since I’v been fighting trust issues en unhealthy ways of coping with these issues.

    Right now I feel an almost bottomless sadness , yet at the same time it seems like anger, anger, fear and self pitty are finally beginning to fade. Incredible. Don’t know if I ever will love again, but I don’t worry about that. Think I gonna live again. Ther is so much to say.

    Love and gratitude to Chump Lady all you Chumps here

    Bert

        • Dawg, I hope you find someone to talk to. 20 years is a long time to be carrying this around. I always thought therapy was a crock but when this hit I was beyond shattered and managed to see my way clear to a therapist. Maybe I just got lucky but she saved me from completely falling apart. A good therapist will help you find your worth again.

          • Yes, I know, 20 years has been way and way too long. Thing is, I did the ‘Pick Me Dance’ (don’t we all?) but when I saw it was going nowhere I left and never looked back for the next 10 years. The first 3 of those years my X tried to reconnect several times but my anger towards her always made me decide to not go that road again.

            But the more my anger resided the more I discovered I still had lingering feelings for my X. Now that really pissed me of, like in Clapton’s ‘Old Love”:

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gJlVIxrmcM

            I started getting deep regrets like maybe I shouldn’t have anger and pride get the better of me but instead stayed with my X. I still had vivid recollections of how I felt after she cheated on me but since there was no physical or raw verbal abuse afterwards just mere stonewalling I often thought we should have been able to steer relationship dynamics in a better direction.

            Now, finaly, I know for sure I nevertheless WAS in a powerstruggle with a woman who had a narcistic personality disorder and my loveaffair with her would have gone nowhere. I know it WAS the right decision to call it quits more then 20 years ago. That knowledge feels like being liberated from a lot of shackles.

            • In a way I envy you that you got away before you wasted more years of your life with this woman. Then again, maybe she’s had this hold on you anyway and you didn’t do as much with those years as you could have? You’re in Holland, yes? Are you Dutch or an expat? If you’re an expat has that made things harder? Are there kids?

              • @Nord

                I’m Dutch born and raised and there were no kids involved. There really is no need to envy me and you can bet that this woman kept her hold on me anyway. But I became an expert in denial. Most of all that I had a big, big problem in trusting women. It would made me feel weak and questioning my selfesteem. Of cours you can’t have that: feeling weak and vulnerable, especially being a male. Instead I just lowered my expactations and thus became unable to maintain a true and meaningful lovelife with the women who have been throwing me their lifeline since then. Yeah, I really knew how to hurt myself. Not to mention these women.

                I appreciate you asking me these questions. It realy helps to clear my mind about what’s been going on in my life during all these years. Wish you good Sunday.

    • Bert, there is plenty of reason to live even without a “relationshi”.
      In fact, IMO, this whole “relationship” deal is way overrated. Many, many people have wonderful, fulfilled lives without the chains of a relationship.

  • Welcome Bert! If you post on here and participate, I think you will find that it helps you. Sorry about your X, and all your sadness. Most of us have been there, and slowly it gets better 🙂

    • Welcome Bert! Glad you found us. You still have a lot of living left to do and there can be a good life after betrayal.

  • Bert – I had the same experience when I first found the Chump Lady site. I called it the “rabbit hole” for the first few weeks, because you start reading and you really can’t stop. Some. Much. Truth. Here. So much Validation, revelation. Welcome! I already had my beliefs about not buying the “So,what responsibility can you take, FLBright, for what happened in your marriage?” “Uh, None! You want me to take responsibility for being strong willed and opinionated, I’m fine. I own that. And frankly, LIKE that about myself. But, noooooo, no. No one will lay at my feet that I’m responsible in any way for the betrayal by my then husband. He chose to walk into those massage parlors all on his one, that is a matter of his own integrity! Or lack thereof.” But finding a community of smart people (and so many!) stating the same stance gave me fortitude that I have drawn upon. Truly a gift. Happy Birthday, Bert 🙂

  • CL – I grew up in Texas in the 70’s. I know what you’re talking about. Near a relative’s house in Dallas there’s a restaurant called “Boobs, Brews, and Barbecue.” You wouldn’t see a sign like that where I live now.

  • @ FLBright

    Indeed, the rabbithole. Even now so hard to believe, the reality and our own peception of that same reality.

  • I don’t believe that all men cheat. However, the only man I’ve ever met who didn’t cheat was my father – and I can only say that with the knowledge I have. There were parts of his life to which I was not privy, as he and my mother separated when I was young. My father was pretty straight-laced, though (an example: he never drank in front of me when I was growing up because he said he could not advise/lecture me about not doing something he was doing in front of me. I loved him so much for that).

    I have always struggled with this because I’ve always felt that it would be more difficult for people to cheat if they didn’t receive so much cooperation from people willing cheat with them. None of them seem to realize that all that sparkly they’re seeing is just some cheap glitter being held on by homemade paste.

    These days there seems to be some type of unspoken acceptance of the fact that people cheat. There was a time when at least a level of shunning was involved when someone was found to be a cheater. These days it could well be your ticket to your own reality show. WTF! Can we bring back stoning? A scarlet letter perhaps (A for asshole maybe? FC for Fucking Cheater perhaps?)? For the men as well as the women?

    Part of being a Chump is our ability to believe, hope and love, in spite of adversity. Being part of the Chump community also allows you to hear from men who have been just as devastated by a cheating spouse as women, which enables you to sustain that belief and that hope that there are not just good and faithful women, but men as well.

    You are so right CL when you say we ultimately have control over what happens – we don’t have to put up with that lying, cheating shit or the lying, cheating shitters. Does it hurt to let go? Hell yeah, if you have genuine feelings! We are all the Walking Wounded testimony to that. But we are also the living example that it can be done. To paraphrase some of our elected leaders, if we give into terrorists, then the terrorists win. Screw that!

    • I agree that cheating is not much of a big deal in our society anymore. I think that is just part of a bigger issue, though. Commitment, integrity, self sacrifice, responsibility and maturity are certainly not traits much celebrated these days. Instead, our society is all about narcissism, self interest and self promotion, whatever makes you feel good, instant gratification, unbelievable sense of entitlement, “follow your dreams and don’t let anybody tell you no”, and a general lack of caring about anyone other than one’s self. That mindset leads to cheating and abandoning one’s family the moment things get difficult or dull.

      I also feel like sex is no longer considered anything special. It’s just another bodily function, like taking a dump or letting out a belch. People sleep together so casually, with people they barely know. I’m not a prude, but I’m not going to sleep with a guy on the third date. I barely know him at that point, yet so many guys will dump a woman who doesn’t put out by the second or third date.

      It’s funny, because I don’t consider myself conservative, but when I look around at popular culture these days, it seems I AM really conservative. I consider it just taking commitment seriously, valuing myself and having boundaries.

      • Glad,

        You are so right and I’ve often articulated this in conversation. Most of my friends get this and say the same thing, and none of us would consider ourselves “conservative.” I don’t really believe that a sense of responsibility and common decency is a conservative concept – it’s just a human concept. I think the lack of human decency and a lack of feeling of personal connectedness with other people, whether they live next door to us or across the ocean from us, plays out in all kinds of ways and settles like a cloud over our personal relationships. Anytime you have a TV show which implies that a connection and love can be found by contest (I’m looking at you “The Bachelor”), it is a clear indication to me that we have lost any clue as to what a genuine relationship and love actually looks like. No wonder the few remaining sane people end up on sites like this. THANK YOU TRACY!!!!

      • I do think you’re right about the culture of me-ism that is running through all aspects of our society today. However, there have always been selfish, rotten people, in any era (in fact, it seems that evolution selects for them!). My view of the world is very colored by my youth being spent in the days of Hippiedom. We really thought we’d change the world, and figure out all it’s problems- sigh. In those days of free love, and communes and exploring polyamory, there were people who wanted devotion and fidelity, and then there were those who wanted to take advantage of anything goes, and broke lots of hearts! At least women got out of alot of their chains- my Mom went to college to ‘catch a college educated man’ and my generation of women went to expand our minds and to be able to support ourselves. It was an amazing change, so quickly. It’s one of the reasons no woman should give away her rights and freedoms to an abusive spouse- we just got those rights!
        I dont think that sex has become less special to anyone with a heart, and soul, just to morons that are cold-hearted, or really confused by life these days. If anything is to blame for so many confused people now, I think it’s TOO much information, and TOO easy access to deviance like porn. But, you know, if you have some brain cells, you make wise choices about all of that!

        • PattyToo: “However, there have always been selfish, rotten people, in any era (in fact, it seems that evolution selects for them!)”

          THIS. I actually read something written by a biochemist who was married to and divorced a narcissist and she actually posited a theory that there seem to be more narcissistic people because there actually might be. She said that during any type of disaster, natural or otherwise, we Chumps would be more likely to, because of our giving and caring natures, to share our resources with others and by sharing the already scarce resources, we Chumps might compromise our survival possibility. On the other hand, people like narcissists would only be concerned with their own survival and be less likely to share with others in order to ensure their own survival. Consequently, in an evolutionary sense, more of them would be likely to survive. I found the concept fascinating as a theory as to why there APPEAR to be less Chumps and more disordered types.

      • Glad, I totally agree. I feel like some sort of fossil for thinking that sex should wait until you really get to know the person well. Now, it’s like sex takes place where the first kiss used to be.

        I guess I don’t see what all the rush is. You’re certainly right when you say that much of that mindset comes from our instant gratification culture. I think that a potential relationship is more exciting when you take your time and don’t rush everything.

        It’s like the kid who is given everything exciting when he’s young like my XWH– sports car at 16, fancy trips over family vacations, every technological gizmo as it became available– that kid turns out to be bored with life as an adult and is always looking for the next possession to give him that rush of excitement. I think that fits my XWH perfectly. Honestly, I think that the only reason that we spent 17 years together (aside from my spackling) was that he couldn’t find anyone else to give him the rush he felt entitled to. No woman in real life ever wanted him. He had to use Ashley Madison to find someone as desperate to cheat (and likely also unable to find someone IRL) as he was.

        I hope I’m teaching my kids to resist instant gratification. It’s depressing to see how much of it exists in our society today, especially when it’s delayed gratification that brings true satisfaction.

        • I have thought about sex in future relationships and I’ve decided that I won’t have sex with anyone until I feel I can trust them and the relationship is going somewhere. I’ve had fuck buddy offers and while it would be nice to be physically close to someone I’m just not up to that sort of thing. So if I meet a man and like him and he is interested I figure he’ll understand that I don’t want to jump into bed with anyone right off the bat. For me it’s when I feel ready or not at all.

  • “I don’t believe that all men cheat. However, the only man I’ve ever met who didn’t cheat was my father”

    Wow,

    Time to broaden your circle of acquaintences?

    From what I have seen in terms of polling statistics (which is not much different from my anecdotal experience), more don’t cheat than do cheat by about a 4-to-1 margin.

    Unless you are going to go all the way back to junior high and count that time Ted kissed Jenny out by the monkey bars when he was going steady with Audry, and then “women” wouldn’t fare so well either.

    • LOLOLOLOL!!!! Thanks for that TH!!

      I would LOVE to broaden my circle of acquaintances where it was wide enough to include men who didn’t cheat. I have been trying. Even my father’s brother was a cheater. Can you suggest a geographical location that might work for me? 🙂 There is a school of thought that says you keep repeating certain experiences until you learn the lesson. I’m determined to pass the test this time because I am not interested in having to take another make-up exam.

  • Chump Princess,

    “I’m determined to pass the test this time because I am not interested in having to take another make-up exam.”

    You pretty sum up the scare of dating again! LOL. Well, I’ve been also thinking big time…Do good men exist? If they do, how to find them? Chump dating service seems to be a good idea!

    • For me…, I’m just hoping I haven’t turned into the poorer, less-handsome version of George Clooney minus the dating models and such.

      I’ve been married. It wasn’t quite what I expected it to be.

      And now… I am pretty darn happy and don’t want to mess that up. It seems there are more possibilities now. Don’t get me wrong, I have two high-maintenance, medium-sized dogs, one of which definitely cannot be stuck in a kennel, so that keeps me from planning weekend getaway’s to some tropical paradise on a whim, so it’s not as if there are no restrictions, but… I can go out hiking with the local hiking club if I want, go see a movie with the movie club, go out to eat with the dining out club, have people over if I want, get up and start my day early if I feel like it, and it all happens without any real drama or irrational weirdness for the most part 🙂

      I like the calmness and joy in my life now. I can be doing something mundane, and actually enjoy doing it (for example, the other day I was driving back from McDonald’s with three egg McMuffins–one for me, and one for each dog–and I just couldn’t wipe the silly smile off my face, and I started laughing for no reason other than I was just happy).

  • Hi Confused,

    No, not all men cheat, nor do all woman cheat, either. I do think, in our “Western”-ized culture, that cheating has become equal-opportunity for those people in life that are more narcissistic than others. Its called “cheating” for a reason. They are stealing from their spouse on every front: Intimacy, time, emotion, energy, financial… you name it. Put aside any religious or cultural condemnation *or* tacit approval for cheating – you know its wrong by its very nature.

    So what keeps any person from cheating? Why not? Everyone recognizes that stealing is wrong, even those that do it. And, I would say, everyone has an ego, too. Everyone has a *degree* of narcissism. It’s why we take showers.

    Now, as I said, I am a male, closing in on 50. So, do I want to stick my dick in every woman I see? Let’s assume for argument’s sake that I do. And in a further flight of fantasy, let’s say that .01% of those woman that I see *would like to fuck me too*. Yay! I can get laid!

    But, I am married. And, cheating is wrong. Stealing is wrong. And so, my ORDER of priorities is a fairly simple check point. Given my “want”, and the “opportunity” to cheat, my “need” to satisfy my inner-self keeps the pants on. The thought to cheat may enter, and it exists stage left just as fast. Same as driving a Ferrari, or winning the lottery, or hitting a hole in one. Its just not going to happen, and as boring as it may seem, I really don’t care. In my order of priorities, I don’t need to prove that I am something I am not. I know that last concept is a bit tangled. So if I was to cheat, I don’t prove that I am some stud muffin (which I am not), but I do prove that I am an asshole (which I am not).

    I don’t know how you know this about your boyfriend (or girlfriend) other than gaining more knowledge about NPD and it’s signs. In my case, all of the signs were there, and indeed even beyond the sparkle, I knew my STBX wife was deeply vain. I did trust her, obviously, and thought she had morals. This is the fatal mistake, but hindsight is always 20/20. Best you can do is try, and posting here, gathering more information, etc. will better equip you to make a good choice. I wish you the best.

    • Good points, Chump Man, and actually the same logic applies to women. There are definitely lots of hot guys around and sadly some of them ask you out whether you’re married or not. But all anyone has to do is say no and not put one’s self in a vulnerable situation with someone attractive. Very easy for people with morales, not so much it appears for those without. And now that I’m single, same thing applies to the cute, married guys who ask women out. Apart from the fact that it makes me both sick to my stomach and incredibly sad for their wives (since we here have all been through that wretched hell), it’s really incredibly easy to say no (and tell them where to go). Thanks for reminding us, Chump Man, that cheating is a choice in life and some men actually do choose no.

    • Hi Chump-man,

      I am so happy at your reply. I could thoroughly relate to your reasoning (no gender issues there!). It is all about priorities and character. period. I congratulate you from the bottom of my heart. You are a Real Man. That is the test of manhood : strength of character. (Same for Real woman: Strength of character!). Kudos.

      Hi Timeheals,

      Your perspective on options (more options now!) is very interesting and appears true even though I haven’t checked it out for myself (too scared yet to even test it out, yet). Also, the part of just being “happy” is hitting home for me during quite a few hours of the day. Am I approaching meh? 🙂 I fully agree it does become better!

  • Quote from CL: In my own story, I found a fellow chump. My husband was formerly married to a serial cheater. He gets it. He’s also just a really decent person. I observed him closely as we were dating, and in a story I repeat a lot around here, early on I noticed his kindness and care taking. While we were enjoying a weekend together, I got a chest cold. It came on rather quickly, and he immediately ordered me a cup of tea. Room service, stupid expensive tea. Whatever was in his power to make me feel better in that moment, he made it happen. And that’s when I realized EFFORT IS SEXY. This is a good guy.

    Surround yourself with people who make effort. Who reciprocate. Who check in with you and demonstrate through their words AND their deeds that they care about you. And be that person to the people in your life. That’s the best insurance policy I know of to choose a good one.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________

    My husband was like this. If I got sick, he doted on me, cooked soup for me and just took care of me. He looked after me and did all kinds of things for me. When I was suffering from an ailment, he even would search the web to see what might be wrong with me. And guess what? I found out that he was cheating on me all through our 21 year marriage. His kindness doesn’t mean he will not cheat. Means absolutely nothing. I will never trust another man. They are useless.

    • when I was with my ex and I would get sick, he would panic and freak out. He took care of me but I look back now and wonder if he was worried about loosing him meal ticket and caretaker more than anything else…

      • I really can’t remember my husband taking care of me when I was sick – as in really taking care of me. He might bring me a bucket or a glass of water or something, but take care of me? Not in his bag of tricks. I have a relatively strong constitution and usually don’t get sick, but the few times I would get flat on my back sick, or broke something or had a surgery – many times he would leave and be gone for hours, and not to work. He wasn’t good at taking care of the kids when they were sick either, which is why I normally took off from work. I ALWAYS took care of him, even for the simplest ailment. And I just realized what I shared is a microcosm of our entire relationship.

        Maybe I should change my name to Pitiful Chump instead of Princess Chump. WTH!!

        • erm no… nothing wrong with taking care of your loved one when he’s ill. That’s NORMAL! He’s the one with the problem! Mine would say, “well what do you want me to do?” or “I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.”

          and that is true.

          he was raised by monkeys.

          • Mine would bring me food or something but actually take care of me? Now that I look back, no, he didn’t. He seemed almost annoyed when I got sick. Guess me being sick meant he wouldn’t get his full on Nord attention. Actually, in the weeks leading up to dday I had been sick on and off and he was always ‘working late’ while I took care of the kids, etc. whilst ill. He wasn’t working, though. He was off banging the other woman while his sick wife was home looking after the kids. What a dick.

  • And yes, they are all that way. My husband’s actions of kindness was just a front. He is a phony lying cheating asshole!!

    • Hi Marie,

      You have a right to your anger and resentment. 21 years of abuse would cause anyone to feel the way that you do. I would hope over time that you might come to find someone else that earns your respect and renews your hope in all of (man)kind.

    • Marie, I divorced my XWH because he was great at living a double life. That he could be intimate with me, still act as though he cared about me, and participate normally in our everyday family life was disturbing and something I knew I could never get over. I knew that I would never trust him again.

      I know that you’re hurt and that your husband has really devastated your sense of trust in others. I get that. I was there once as well. Just remember that he’s one person, and you don’t want him to have that much influence over how you see others. I believe that my XWH is a scum-sucking bottom feeder, but I’m not going to let his actions influence what I think of all men. Will I be careful in the future? Absolutely. Will I take my time and not be swept up by romantic gestures that are ultimately empty? You betcha. Will I proclaim that all men are pigs, and I’m taking a vow of chastity? Well, I could, but I don’t want one man’s actions to make me bitter about all men and relationships. I want to be happy. He doesn’t get to take that away from me, and your husband can’t take that away from you!

      There are decent guys out there. We just didn’t pick them when we got married, I’m afraid. Hang in there. You sound like you’re riding the anger part of the rollercoaster.

    • Marie, you were betrayed. By ONE man. That does not make every man a cheater. I understand your anger, and your cynicism, but to say that all men are “useless” insults good men everywhere, and especially the good men on this blog.

      You’re welcome to post here, but I don’t tolerate hatred — of any gender or orientation. Further such comments will be deleted and you’ll find yourself banned.

      • Make sure those cartoons show how ‘useless’ all men are. 😉 (Marie was a trip! She should probably get some help, because carrying around that kind of anger is not good).

        • Yes, Marie was interesting. I didn’t understand her making her personal situation a blanket indictment of “all” men (and I’m the person who hasn’t met any man – except her father (maybe) – who doesn’t/didn’t cheat). Her anger was palpable. My impression when she kept the interaction going was that perhaps she had been self-medicating (read: drinking) and ended up here to vent.

          Either way, thank you Tracy for your vigilance and I really hope that Marie finds her to way to some help. That type of anger is not healthy, physically or otherwise.

          Yes, I know, I’m a Chump.

  • Chump Lady is so obviously not a man hater. I think you, Marie, have made it quite clear that you are a man hater. I’m not quite sure now if you are a man disguising as a woman actually. I’m a woman who was with a serial cheater and I have no idea if and when I’ll be ready to date again, but I certainly don’t think men are “useless.”

    Wishing hate on someone makes you a very, very sad individual. We come here for support to begin new lives. You are entitled to stay stuck in your life, you seem to want to stay tormented, but the rest of us wish to move forward.

      • Bud, at this point I hate my husband’s AP. She was my friend and coworker for many years. She helped decorate for my wedding, with my family, and the whole time she was in a relationship with my husband. they slept together 33 days after we got married. I hate her more than I hate my husband most of the time.

        I’m hoping that someday I don’t hate her. I’m hoping some day I’m “meh” towards her and towards my STBXH. I’m not there yet; I’m assuming my angry feelings towards her will outlast my hate for my husband.

        I think anger and hate are good for awhile. You need these feelings to decide to move on without your cheating spouse. You need these feelings to catapult yourself into a new life. I don’t however want these feelings forever. I don’t want to live wih hate inside my chest. It’s way to time consuming for me.

        I wonder on a daily basis how to get the hatred I have for her to start going away? I wonder how to stop thinking of the both of them to go away? I make myself tired.

      • I said this towards Marie b/c she had some weird anger towards Chump Lady and basically said some not so nice things.

  • Marie,

    Chump Lady is far from a man hater or an anyone hater. If anything, this website exists because she is a people lover, including men. The people on this site are not “bashing” men, we are “discussing” people who present with a lack of integrity and concern for the welfare of other human beings.

    I recognize you are in a world of hurt right now and need to lash out. I get that. I hope that you find a safe place to excise your pain and anger so that you can move forward and find some kind of peace even after having this terrible thing happen to you. Wishing you the best.

  • Wow! Great post and response, and really interesting comments.

    I think that Ms. Confused’s situation is different from what most of us have probably experienced in our relationships with cheaters. I’d venture to guess that the vast majority of our cheaters tried to keep their affairs secret, and for the most part weren’t truly interested in marrying their AP. In a country where polygamy is legal, there’s no secrecy and the man does wish to marry the OW. Of course, it sucks to be the wife who’s told to make room for Wife #2 or #3.

    Here’s where knowing the laws of the country would be helpful. Does the country place restrictions on the practice? In some countries, it’s possible to have a marriage contract that forbids polygamy. In others, the first wife must consent to having a second wife, and both the first and second must agree to the third. I realize in practice that the wives may not be able to object, even if they’re unhappy.

    Once you know the law of the land, then as CL says, you control only you. Not all men cheat. I would bet money my father never cheated on my mother. I don’t think either of my brothers have cheated on their wives. Chump Man didn’t cheat on his wife. So, not all men cheat. That’s the given.

    The real question is whether your man will cheat within a context of a culture where men are given an out. That’s why CL’s advice about talking about values is important. Take that a step further by seeing if his actions align with his words. Does he say he respects women? Then his actions need to say it, too. Once you are convinced he’s the genuine article, then see if it’s possible for the two of you to negotiate a marriage contract outlining that polygamy and cheating of any sort are forbidden. Find out, under law, what kinds of protection you can be offered.

    That said, I think that there is no guarantee that you won’t pick a cheater. As others have said quite eloquently, every time you love someone, you make yourself vulnerable. You can’t help that, unless you’ve clearly made some bad dating decisions in the past (i.e. you tend to date people who are ultra needy or who have substance abuse issues, or who are pathological liars, etc.). If you have made consistent bad dating decisions, then therapy can help you learn why you pick losers.

    I think that after I divorce my STBXH, I will wish to take some time off from dating. I’ll want to work on some therapy. If I start dating, I’d like to meet someone who loves me, will stay true to me, and who treats me with respect.

    I hope that things work out for you, Ms. Confused. It’s definitely going to be harder for you if you’re living in a culture where cheating is sanctioned if it can be covered up with another marriage contract.

  • Gina August 9, 2013 at 11:32 pm
    Why are you here then?
    __________________________________

    Really? Then CL must be exhausted!!!!

  • I should be in bed, but I just wanted to say that I’m sorry that you’re in so much pain Marie. My wasband is a “kind man” too. Not as “kind” as yours though. Believe me when I tell you that there’s a very, very special place in hell waiting for him… For as bad as the blame shifting, mindfucking cheaters are, the kind, doting cheater is in a class all by himself.

    He’s a sadist, honey and if you hold him down, I’ll be glad to come and rip his eyeballs out…. but…

    …but even though I two have had some rotten luck… I DO know that there are some great men out there. While my bio father was a sick fuck, my stepfather, was one of the most genuinely kind and generous people one could ever hope to meet. I am so grateful that my mom married him and showed me this… I’ve known other great men too. Its okay to be angry and we must acknowledge this and our pain or it will consume us… but also, please try to find a way out… don’t lose hope… even if it seems dark and grim…

    its always darkest before…

    • Mine was ‘the nicest guy in the world’…except for the fact that he was living a double life. Marie, it sucks and I know how you feel because I discovered my nice guy had been cheating for years, including with not just one but two friends of mine. Can you imagine? It was a pain like I never felt and once I figured it out he went full asshole. The best thing you can do is divorce him, get into therapy and surround yourself with people who care about you.

  • I appreciate all the comments. I have been coming to this site for awhile now and this is my first time to comment. I think Confused’s questions are very important, maybe particularly in her culture but as we all know, in all cultures. I read this site for comfort and support. I wish it had been here when I first found out about my X’s cheating. Instead, I read so much on the internet about how to try to make communication better, how to forgive, how to work on myself, blah blah blah, that I stayed for 4 years longer than I should have. And now, I find myself dating someone who I think is wonderful (happy story–and I am in my mid-forties!), but I also find myself stressed out about whether he will cheat on me as well. Yes, love is always a risk. But I hate the hypervigilance I sometimes feel (but dare not express–lest I seem shallow and obsessed, thoroughly unattractive characteristics) because of my fear of cheating. As has been pointed out again and again, no one can babysit a relationship. I really hope for a long-lasting faithful love. But this world is full of difficulties, and this time in history affords the human race more opportunities for cheating than we ever had before. I think we all struggle with really, really wanting to trust and to show that tender and beautiful vulnerable part of ourselves but absolutely dreading the pain of betrayal (for us, again). How do others move bravely forward in the face of risk?

    • Uncertain,

      I am not at all ready to date again but I do know that there are definitely good men out there as evidenced by male friends who are faithful and true to their wives. I simply chose poorly, so I am focusing on myself to figure out why I chose who I chose and why I stayed as long as I did. I want to be a healthy person who will only attract healthy men. Are there guarantees? Absolutely not. The way I figure is that if I am healthy emotionally, then if this happens to me again, I will strong enough to pick up the pieces, take care of myself and move on. I plan to take my time, really get to know the other person, never, ever ignore red flags and have close friends vet him. I also am working to in a place where I am okay if a great relationship does not come my way (I am pretty much there), rather than be in a relationship out of desperation. No easy answers unfortunately.

    • I dated a few months after I kicked him out and it was hilarious because I was so not ready. Made a total tit of myself several times, so I gave that up for awhile and focused on myself and the kids.

      Now I’m dating again and I make it clear I need to go slow, I meet for a drink or two and just see how it goes. I’ve met some really nice guys who were not for me or I wasn’t for them but that was ok. I do find that some things are still the same: men will say they’ll call for another date and don’t, which is weird because I always figure it’s clear that while we both think the other is a nice person it’s not happening, so why bother saying that?

      Anyway, I*m just casually dating, meeting some nice people…one guy seems to be on his way to becoming a friend…I figure just taking it slow and not having huge expectations is the best way to go and I’m finding that I feel more and more comfortable as time passes and more able to be open – I think that has to do with me really knowing and trusting that my ex sucks and not being hung up on what he’s doing anymore, other than in a point and laugh kind of way.

  • As far as I’m concerned, this is CL’s blog and she can regulate it as she pleases. I do not see hate here, but I do some some entirely justifiable anger. In fact, one thing about us Chumps, and that includes me (Chump Son), is that we get INSUFFICIENTLY angry when our boundaries are tromped on. So, some anger-venting is very good. I have never felt that this site went so far as to stereotype folks. Instead, we are not stereotyping, we are archetyping. We are realizing what narcissists are and how to deal with them effectively (low to no contact, strong rules and boundaries, no compromise on those). The whole point of “The Road to Meh” is to get beyond toxic anger.

    So, in sum, this site is:

    -Teaching Chumps that they have a right to get angry when their borders are violated.
    -We are not stereotyping, we are arche-typing. That is, we are recognizing narcissism and learning/sharing about how to deal effectively with it.
    -Anger is a stage on the Road to Meh, but the Road to Meh leads to justifiable emotional indifference toward the dangerously disordered. It also leads us to develop better narc-recognition skills.

    I think that, in the end, CL is a scientist who has developed a new field called “Chumpology.” I am really grateful for and inspired by her efforts.

    But, of course, other people have every right to come to different conclusions. I wish them the best.

    CS (Chump Son)

  • Good points Chump Man.

    I think there was a thread on same sex couples…in July…He could have been a contender or something like that. Good suggestion, though!

  • PattyToo & Laurel, you asked me to share my list about dating.

    I don’t have a super concrete list. What I have is two important things (which I lost for a long time). Number ONE: I “hear” my intuition and I trust it. Number TWO: I have boundaries and I will enforce them, it tells you huge things when a person does not respect your boundaries.

    So, if someone makes me uncomfortable, even if I cannot pinpoint the reason, I trust my intuition is correct – something is off about the person, I’m on guard. They will usually exhibit a behavior that shows me what my intuition already picked up. If we are talking and I say I don’t want to discuss a subject, I am setting a boundary. For example, asking when I last had sex, if he doesn’t respect my decision, he asks more than twice, I will bail. He just told me he does not respect me.

    Here are few obvious things on a FIRST DATE that will cause me to say “Hey, nice meeting you but I need to go” (guys, all this applies to both genders):

    he treats the waitstaff badly
    his compliments are digs (negging, see posts above)
    he’s telling me stories/history and he is the “victim”
    he’s telling me ALL his ex’s are crazy or awful, he’s the victim in all his relationships
    he makes mean jokes
    if I object to mean jokes and he says I’m too sensitive or other “crazy” type comments (gaslighting)
    he refuses to drop a subject after I say I do not want to discuss it, he doesn’t respect “no” is a complete sentence

    A site that has helped me almost as much as my therapy did is Captain Awkward, if you need help with boundaries and many other issues, her posts and the comments on her site are terrific, like CL she moderates.

    So happens there is a recent post for online dating scaredy cats like us: http://captainawkward.com/2013/08/07/500-online-dating-for-scaredy-cats-or-why-the-overthinking-it-tag-was-created/

    And the Awkward Army has a name for the kind of person we are trying to weed out, “Darth Vader’s”, here are two posts on spotting them that are well worth reading, the second post link is on the page: http://captainawkward.com/2012/03/16/friday-questions-about-darth-vader-feelings______/

    Here is a “green” flag post: http://captainawkward.com/2012/07/16/300-my-relationship-is-awesome-yn/

    CL, I hope you don’t mind my posting these links. I really think many chumps could learn alot from both the Captain and the army of commenters.

    • Thanks Datdamwuf!! I loved the advice on this link. I have no idea when I’ll really be ready to date, but the information in that link is priceless. I was laughing out loud, but it was all so true.

  • Thank you so much datdamwuf for all of the links. I think I found them all.

    I understood why Marie was banned but I still felt badly for her because her lashing out was, I’m sure, born from an unspeakable pain that we all can relate to. Its so overwhelming at times that it feels like it will consume me… I feel like I’m being punished at times. I’ve also become aware of certain situations such as fatigue, hunger, thirst, time of day, barometric pressure, humidity levels, air temperature that can exacerbate symptoms of sadness and despair.

    I guess it goes without saying, but we must all try to eat properly, get enough rest, exercise (I am so lucky that I have my dancing which gets those endorphins pumping and feeds my soul like nothing else!) And of course, we need to avoid alcohol and drugs unless they are prescribed medications and even then, if we are on something, it may not be working or could be making things worse!

  • Just want to echo what Chump Man said. Chump Son here.

    I post regularly and infidelity is not my issue. That said, much of what applies to chumps, particularly women chumped by narc men (and I’m not saying that’s the only pattern, just the one that I’ve seen/experienced the most), really applies to my situation as Chump Son. I never feel that references to wasbands or to the dorks whom many of the female posters were lucky to lose in any way applies to all men or to me. Not in the least! This is a great place to be HUMAN and to talk about non-narcissistic relationships, counter-narcissism strategies and narc-recognition skills.

    CL is a Professor of Advanced Chumpology, and I’m honored to be a student! She has recognized the condition and is working on the cure! Move over Dr. Salk!

  • You know if you are going the route of a dating web site it is worth your while to get a nice picture taken of yourself. Glam shot (you don’t have to go over the top) Talk to a photgrapher find a good color for you. We never think we look good in photos. I look like my mother. If your a church memeber they often do picture directories (Olan MIlls is very big in this area ) an you can get the photos retouched and all.

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