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Dear Chump Lady, Will anyone get it?

Dear Chump Lady,

Dday was late April. Unlike many of your readers I was strong and kicked him out straight away. We have two kids so it hasn’t been easy.

He denied everything even after being caught red handed with the texts. And then after I kicked him out he stupidly updated his iPhone and all the texts came though on our home iPad!

So at this point I had the texts, her number, and proof. I even called her and once she knew it was his wife, she hung up and texted him again in a panic! Ha! I was reading it as it came through. They work together and see each other every day.

It has been six months and he still won’t admit it. And I’m over getting to the truth. I have seen a lawyer and we are separated. Will be able to get a divorce next year. (I am in Australia and you have to wait a year post separation to file for divorce).

I am taking the high road and remaining calm. I did lose my shit when it first happened and told his mum and sister. They were in shock because his brother cheated on his pregnant wife and, at the time, my husband made a big deal about how wrong it was. Relationship with his brother has been strained ever since.

He won’t admit this to anyone and he has told people we have separated and there had been issues! Yeh fucker, the issues were you were screwing a coworker whilst I looked after our two young children and took my mum to her chemotherapy! Nice huh?

My sister tells me that most people would know something happened. I took my vows very seriously and for me to kick him out and lawyer up so quickly is in her mind proof that most people would get what happened. My question is do they think that he cheated? Do his mates hear it and just go “Righto mate!” but their wives go “um, that doesn’t sound right”?

Does the cheater realise eventually that even though they’re denying it and the ex-wife is taking the high ground, that yes everyone gets it?



Dear Chumpmum,

I applaud you for navigating this so well, and so quickly. No pick me dance. No limbo. You acted very decisively. Well done!

You’re just hung up on a couple newby chump mistakes — a) caring what people think and b) wondering when your cheater is going to Get It.

Last one first — Does the cheater realise eventually that even though they’re denying it and the ex-wife is taking the high ground, that yes everyone gets it?

Really depends on how delusional they are. The truly disordered — lies are truth, truths are lies, reality is all situational. Even if he’s aware that his narrative is transparently idiotic — expect him to stick to it. These people cannot lose face EVER.

Expecting him to feel shame or disgrace is pointless.

But! But! He condemned his brother for cheating! His takeaway there was feeling superior to his brother. He got kibbles from his brother’s fuck up. See, I’m the Good Kid — he’s the Fuck Up. The takeaway wasn’t Cheating Is Wrong, my poor pregnant sister-in-law. The takeaway was — see how I sparkle? See how he doesn’t? Don’t you love me better?

It’s all very inconvenient to his self image that he’s guilty of the same transgression. Hellooo cognitive dissonance. So, he’ll stick with his narrative that you suck and this is your fault, thanks very much.

As for what other people think? You don’t control that. You only control you. Oh, and guess what — taking the “high road” as you put it, does not include maintaining your ex’s image. You were cheated on, that’s the truth. You may tell whoever you want to tell. You didn’t do anything wrong telling his mom and sister. That’s not losing your shit. Losing your shit is lighting his car on fire and emailing their sexts to all their co-workers. You just told the truth about what happened to you. BIG DIFFERENCE.

So you want people in your life to make an informed decision about his character? Tell them what’s going on with you. Don’t be emotionally sloppy about it (although many chumps have that tendency in the early days, I know I did). Some people prefer handy phrases like “We’re divorcing because I didn’t like his girlfriend.” But most people aren’t going to ask you. So, IMO, I wouldn’t volunteer it, but if asked? Oh, lay it out there. One person will tell the other 50.

Infidelity is not your shame to wear. It’s his. Telling folks allows the good ones to support you and show you kindness. And telling sorts the wheat from the chaff. People who don’t care about your ex’s cheating? You don’t need those people in your life. The “neutral” I don’t want to judge human blobfish — these aren’t your A list social circle. Avoid them.

Will your ex get it? Best chance of that is go no contact on him and let consequences rain on his head for a few years. He probably won’t give you the satisfaction of reaching out and telling you he sucks, but the guy has to live every day with his suckitude. You know the truth. Live that truth. Keep being your awesome self. That’s enough.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • “Unlike many of your readers I was strong”


    I personally believe everyone here is very strong. Just my 2 cents.

      • what do you think not surviving looks like?

        I’m just curious, because I admit, I’ve gone to this support group and when some of the chumps are still INSANELY angry after years and haven’t left for who knows what reason, and I do find myself getting frustrated. Because they are so unhappy and miserable and aren’t doing anything to fix it other than to complain or be angry about it. That type of thing reminds me of my ex-husband who never saw solutions, only problems.

        Trust me, I understand the anger, I went through it too, and oh boy, I can still get angry if I want. But my anger now cannot reach the levels it was at in the beginning. And some of the things these women were saying YEARS later were things I was thinking/saying in the days immediately following Dday. That is how fresh it seems to still feel to them.

        I’m not saying my choice of leaving is “right” for everybody (hell, if my ex had tried a little harder during our “reconciliation” I woulda definitely stuck around for longer… so I’m glad he didn’t). I’ve seen some that are decently reconciled… they might have accepted too much blame as far as I’m concerned, but at least they seem decently happy remaining in the marriage. And I sincerely hope it turns out well for them. It’s the ones that stay but are still ridiculously angry that I question. And I wonder how long it should take for someone to either leave or accept it and try to be happy.

        • When I think back to the white-hot rage I felt a year or two ago, I realize I’ve come a lot further than I give myself credit for. These days, I do get angry about the way my ex lies and manipulates my son, and I am very angry about his not paying child support, but the rage at the situation itself is gone.

        • I was referring to people who become suicidally depressed after the betrayal and the gaslighting they’ve endured. I dealt with some pretty severe depression, but luckily was able to afford good counseling to help me recover.

          • oh okay, didn’t realize you meant it in the literal sense. I was just thinking about people that live on, but maybe never heal from the situation.

        • One of the things that helped me leave was attending COSA meetings… And seeing partners there 10/20/30/40 years later still being cheated on regularly… And as you say, very angry. I didn’t want that future for myself!

          • ugh. Yeah, I’d go to the meetings early on (mine were Beyond Affairs Network… BAN…aka pro-reconciliation) to vent and cry, etc. Then I went hoping to help others… and still sometimes vent and cry. But I would end up leaving feeling useless and depressed. I decided they weren’t helping me and I wasn’t really helping anyone either… because I didn’t have the patience for the cheater and maybe the “right” pro-reconciliation outlook, so I stopped going.

    • Chumpymum, I don’t think you meant to insult anyone but I agree with witty29, that was an unfortunate word choice. It’s great you didn’t fall for any of your STBX’s bullshit the way most of us did. However, you had full disclosure of what was going on due to a awesome (for you) technical idiocy on the part of your husband. Most chumps don’t have that info laid out for them in bold, that was a piece of grand luck.

      As for taking the high road, and will people get it? No, they won’t get it unless you tell them. Even the clerks at the grocery store know that I got a divorce due to abuse and cheating. When a couple of them said they hadn’t seen my ex lately, I flat told them I was free of an abusive cheater.

      CL is dead on about wheat from chaff on friendships too. I lost a friend of 18 years because she wasn’t sure she believed what I told her “because she wasn’t there”. Fuck those people, if you don’t trust me and believe what I say? you are not my friend, you suck.

    • I think what she meant was that unlike many readers she kicked him out right away, which she considers herself strong for doing. I’m not offended and I don’t see a problem with her choice of words.

      • I forget how CL has worded it each time she has said it…. but I was echoing the sentiment that there shouldn’t be a Chump pissing contest.

        I don’t think there is value or benefit to hierarchically compare each other in terms of what we did or what happened.

        Maybe that’s something that helps you, but I reserve the right to dislike it.

      • I agree JB, that is what she meant.

        Lets all support eachother here, despite her brave words her life has been blown up and we all know what that feels like.

        She should have to say things ‘perfectly’ to get our understanding.

        • “Let’s all support each other here….

          …. and let me go on to make a passive aggressive bitchy comment about a fellow forum member”

          Hypocrisy, table for one!

      • There are different kinds of strengths. I wish I had left when the sh–t hit the fan but stayed hoping. I’m here now because I chose to stay while he is undergoing some serious medical stuff. I think I have been very strong. Maybe it’s chumpy strength and there are days where I have given in to overwhelming sadness (last Christmas sucked) And who cares if anyone gets it? You don’t always have to come out on top just have to feel you have done the right thing.

      • Ok – ignore the intended compliment then, if that makes you feel better.

        I’d prefer you refrain from the bitchy comments though please. I think that will make this a nicer place for all of us.

          • I made a comment in the forum saying I thought everyone here was strong. It was clearly meant as a compliment. I neither addressed, criticized, nor admonished the letter writer in any way. Just a compliment for the forum.

            In response a member here made an unprovoked passive aggressive attack. You seem to be indicating that asking that member not to attack me is wrong. Is that correct?

            In my opinion you are making an additional, irrational and unfounded attack – and you are categorically demonstrating bullying behaviour.

            I don’t understand why either of you feel the need to demonstrate such animosity, but I do realize that something within you is causing you pain hence the need to lash out at me.

            As such I wish you health and healing and happiness.

            • Wow, Witty, this is the absolutely first time EVER I have seen sniping in Chumplady.

              Just remember that we are all hurting here. The OP, despite her brave words, is hurting, she is in agony.

              Therefore, what does it matter how she says what she says? She DID do a brave and very decisive thing, which a lot of us fellow chumps are too shell shocked to do, and that she ‘didn’t quite say it right’ – so what.

              I am sorry you felt attacked by me. When I responded, I was acknowledging to the OP that she had indeed, unlike me, done a brave and decisive thing.

              That’s all.

              • I agree what she did was brave… but Im not sure the purpose of the initial comment, “Unlike many of your readers”, regardless of what she was referring to.

                Personally, when something strikes me as odd or possibly insulting I ask myself (before I respond or get upset) , “What was the intention of that action/comment?” Seems to be a superiority complex to me but I can only assume. I dont think her intentions were to hurt or insult anyone but that comment had nothing to do with her story.

                The sentence would have been perfectly fine without the initial comment. It would have been a complete, thoughtful sentence regarding HER situation. Not sure why there had to be a comparison. Perhaps it feels better? Clearly there is a feeling from the letter that she cares what others think, that they will judge; perhaps because she does the same. I dont know, neither here nor there, it was written. Some people agree and some others dont. Lesson should be learned for all to watch what you write. You have plenty of time to edit. No need to get too angry though… save that energy for more important things 🙂

              • Objectively, there was no attack by Patsy. She was defending a word choice used by another that offended some. Let’s not read “attacks” or “lashing out” or “bullying behavior” into what appears to be a gentle defense of another, regardless of one thinks of the word choice at issue.

              • So it doesn’t matter how she says what she says… and yet you are insistent on criticising me for how I say what I say?

                You simply don’t get the hypocrisy in that? At all? lolololol Wow. Just wow.

                Thank you for the thought policing. Please feel free to educate me on what and how I word all my comments – I can’t wait!

              • @ Wastedheart

                at·tack [uh-tak] Show IPA
                verb (used with object)

                to begin hostilities against; start an offensive against: to attack the enemy.

                to direct unfavorable criticism against; criticize severely; argue with strongly: He attacked his opponent’s statement.

                There was no need for Patsy to be hostile about me or criticise me. That’s not “reading” anything – it’s simply calling a spade a spade.

  • Chumpmum, you did a great job by standing up so solidly against his infidelity! Wow. It sounds like you’ve handled everything great. Telling his family about what he did is perfectly understandable, although they will hear his side and most likely sympathize with him.

    I told my mother-in-law that my ex was in love with his married coworker, so she decided to ask him herself. He told her they were just good friends, and my MIL believed him. It didn’t surprise me since he’s such a good liar, after all he’d fooled me for years. But I understand that my MIL loves her son no matter what, and will continue to give him her support. That’s just what mothers do.

    • No, it’s not what mothers do. It’s what mothers who raised cheaters do. I will not forgive my xMIL for throwing me under the bus and taking her son’s side. Not once has she called to offer support–only pre-reprimanded me for her own bad behavior–“badmouthing” the ex. She and xH’s father had a very ugly divorce, before, during, and long after, all sans cheating. And so she decided that I would probably do the same to her cheating coward son, and wrote me a letter to tell me not to. I don’t badmouth my xH to the kids. And she should focus on the damage HER son has done to my kids. I will never forgive xMIL for legitimizing the relationship between xH and the twat troll.

      • Strongly worded, but essentially true.

        My brother’s SIL (his wife’s sister) was cheated on by her husband who got his girlfriend pregnant. The wife had MS and was recovering from melanoma. They were childless, and it was the added insult that not only did the OW get the husband, she got the baby, too. All very, very hard for everyone.

        And the Cheater’s father went to his DIL’s parents (my brother’s inlaws) and atoned for his son to them. Said straight up: “I am ashamed of what my son is doing to your daughter; she doesn’t deserve it; we did not raise him this way ~ and we repudiate what he is doing. Please don’t hate us!” And they followed through. They were there for the betrayed DIL through the divorce and they were clear in their disapproval of what happened.

        Now, of course there was a new grandbaby, and I suspect when the dust settled after the divorce, they found a way to interact with their son and his Wifestress. But they went “on the record” to his son, his mistress and their former DIL’s family that he was wrong to do what he did. That made a *huge* amount of difference to her ~ and to her people.

        Too many in-laws refuse to do this one simple step ~ because the Narc will forever punish them for it. My former in-laws were the Blobfish. They say how ruthless my Ex and his Wifestress could be to anyone who stood in their way ~ and they caved. I don’t find that evil ~ but I do find it weak.

        • My XFIL and XMIL moved into my house about 9 months after dday. They needed a place to stay and it was offered to them. I put my issues aside to help out. That is what I was raised to do. Well my XFIL sat beside my stepdad and told him that his son gets half. No, I am sorry for the pain that my son has caused to your daughter or his children. Just that he is entitled to half. We were married for almost 16 years. Well, in the divorce, he didn’t get half, didn’t even get enough to buy a descent used car because it was my money in the first place and the judge recognized that. For him and his family (his father is a cheater also but she stayed and seems miserable to this day) – they can have one another……..Adios mother fuckers…..

          • I forgot to mention that the XFIL had the gall to text me soon after dday telling me that the bible speaks of forgiveness….. Are you fucking kidding me??? It also speaks of thou shall not commit adultery, lie, covet thy neighbors wife, and so on. But of course most cheaters use it how they see fit. It is just ridiculous….

            • “I forgot to mention that the XFIL had the gall to text me soon after dday telling me that the bible speaks of forgiveness”

              Wow tahts just… wow. It talks about repenting too…. was him saying his son gets half, is that according to the bible too? so which laws is he going to live by? the Bible’s or man’s? Sounds like he likes to use whatever fits his motives. What a jerk!!!

      • Stephanie you are bang on.
        My ex MIL was also a victim of cheating husband, raised a cheating son and did the exact same. Believed the “just my friend chestnut” even though they were together only 3 months after he left. She’s been welcomed with open arms into the fruitcake family.
        And they wonder why my kids want nothing to do with him.
        Yes of course it’s my bad mouthing him!

        • Same here. Bomb drop 6/23/13. Husband is bringing “friend” home for Thankgiving 5 months later. Friend is 10 years younger than me and unknown until September. ExHusband didn’t speak to XMIL until after BD. Even XBIL doesn’t buy the friend crap.

          Enmeshing XMIL will believe anything he tells her – so I sent XFIL a chronology of his son’s infidelity and offered to produce receipts.

          Haven’t heard anything – don’t expect to, but at least he knows what he has at his holiday table – a cheating son that abandoned his wife and a whore.

        • Although my MIL initially believed his side of the story, it’s really no concern to me what she thinks any more. It just doesn’t matter. I have my story and he has his. I actually have proof in writing of his affair, but I’m not going to share it with his parents. They’re elderly and don’t need the drama. As CL says you can’t control what other people think. My kids were grown when D-day came, so I don’t have to deal with sharing young children. My in-laws live very far away so neither me or my kids have much contact with them.

      • My XMIL and XFIL play the fence…..they are liars. They are polite to me and my son, but then gush over the OW (who was married when they started screwing and is his boss) and her house and they buy pressies for her kids and not their own grandson – not sure if it’s to impress her or what – but neither my son (who is 16) nor I are impressed by them supporting their son’s behaviour even after I told them what he was doing and he admitted it after he moved in with her weeks after I booted him out. They are just as trashy as he is.

        • I never heard from my MIL and FIL again once the separation occurred, and it was a 20 year marriage. I understand they will always side with their son, but they could at least have wished me well. I can only imagine the lies my ex must have told them….. at the very least, the usual bullshit about how the marriage “was never any good”, that I “didn’t love him enough” and that “he felt no passion.” I know for a fact that ex told his parents he and I had an agreement that after we reconciled, I was going to work full time and support him while he pursued his acting “career.” He said I reneged on that agreement, refused to support or believe in him, and “shocked him” by handing over divorce papers. Needless to say, there was never any such agreement, but maybe his parents bought the lie.

          • This happened to me too Glad – even the Christmas gift magazine subscriptions from my in-laws to me were immediately cancelled when STBX left – they couldn’t even just let them run out. The only heard from them once, when they sent a sympathy card when my mum died, which I threw away.

            MIL cheated on STBX’s father, who was a teacher – she took up with another teacher in the school that of course STBX attended (small town). She ended up marrying an old boyfriend from high school who was a chump himself, having been deserted by his first wife and left with three small children on a farm. Of course there was a nasty divorce when STBX and his sibs were small. All of the kids ended up cheating on their chumpy spouses; I was the last one to find out about my cheater. If what happened with the other two kids and their APs is any indication, STBX’s AP was welcomed into the fold with open arms.

            STBX had years to feed some kind of story about my inadequacies to the in-laws but you know, I really don’t care. So many FOO issues in that family I can only hope that my kids stay far away from them now, and that I never have to deal with any of them again. A relief, really. Now I can concentrate on the people in my family who really matter to me, and not waste time, money and travel on people who are so shallow just because they are “family”.

      • I absolutely agree with Stephanie. IMO MIL is more disgusting than the cheater because she chose to support him without acknowledging the damage he has done to his daughters!

    • I told my mother-in-law that my STBXH was having an affair with a work colleague. At first she was horrified and appalled at his behaviour and supportive of me. STBXH told her the affair ‘wasn’t a proper relationship’ even though he moved straight in with the OW after I kicked him out. I haven’t heard from her since I told my STBXH I was filing for divorce on grounds of adultery.
      His sister’s marriage broke up due to her husband’s infidelity. His family were all extremely (and rightfully) furious about it. My STBXH was extremely vocal about what a steaming pile of shit his ex brother-in-law was for cheating. His sister never contacted me once after I exposed the affair to offer support. I guess what is ‘acceptable’ behaviour changes depending on who is doing it.
      No doubt his family have received a full history re-write of our marriage. My STBXH is very good at self pity and making out everything is anyone’s fault but his own. I really don’t care what lies he’s told them to justify his shabby behaviour. I don’t care how much spackle they use to accept what he’s done and the OW. What I do care about is that they know the truth about why our marriage ended and they do. Deep down despite all the lies, blame shifting and crap about how they ‘never meant to hurt anyone’ (yep, the relationship that ‘wasn’t a proper relationship’ soon turned into a romance of Hollywood proportions where all the players were at the mercy of all powerful fate out of their control) everyone knows it’s all glitter on shit.

  • Chumpymum, good for you!! Chumplady is right- they NEVER get it. They are dazzled by their own sparkle. They cannot give up their grandiose image of themselves. And they don’t care about other people seeing them as “nice” or “having integrity.” They like being perceived as their entitled selves, superior to all. Don’t walk, Run!

    And we are all strong when we need to be. My lawyer gave me a plaque: “Women are like tea bags; they don’t know how strong they are until they get into hot water.”

  • Chumpymum, I applaud your decisiveness and strength. Chump Lady is spot on in her reply to you. I particularly appreciate: “Oh, and guess what — taking the “high road” as you put it, does not include maintaining your ex’s image. You were cheated on, that’s the truth. You may tell whoever you want to tell. You didn’t do anything wrong telling his mom and sister. That’s not losing your shit. Losing your shit is lighting his car on fire and emailing their sexts to all their co-workers. You just told the truth about what happened to you. BIG DIFFERENCE.” I wish you continued strength and resolve as you navigate the shit bombs of infidelity. We are here for you.

  • “You didn’t do anything wrong telling his mom and sister. That’s not losing your shit. Losing your shit is lighting his car on fire and emailing their sexts to all their co-workers.”

    That made me snort out loud! HILARIOUS! (Ok, raise your hand if you thought about doing both of those things to your cheating ex. Me, too! And put their shit in plastic bags on the lawn. With the sprinklers on? ME TOO!!)

    But THIS was BRILLIANT! I am so taken aback by your ability to see so clearly, Tracy:

    “But! But! He condemned his brother for cheating! His takeaway there was feeling superior to his brother. He got kibbles from his brother’s fuck up. See, I’m the Good Kid — he’s the Fuck Up. The takeaway wasn’t Cheating Is Wrong, my poor pregnant sister-in-law. The takeaway was — see how I sparkle? See how he doesn’t? Don’t you love me better?”

    This has come up millions of times, and I never ever thought of it that way. Thanks for solving a mystery!

    I do think, too, that some people sort of identify with being honorable–they want to think of themselves TO themselves that way. And then they cheat. I never saw my ex so angry as the first time I called him to his ugly face, a liar. He could no longer honestly say that he wasn’t. Or, you know? Maybe he was upset that *I* finally knew what a scumbag he is….

    I’m not insulted by the letter-writer’s comment that she was strong, unlike a lot of the people here. I didn’t even notice it, frankly, until others pointed it out. I take it to mean that she didn’t waffle, didn’t play the pick-me dance, didn’t wonder whether it was ok to call a lawyer, etc. She was just immediately decisive. I think people are tooooooooooo quick to be insulted and offended when none is meant.

    Wasn’t it you, Tracy, who shared the brilliant quote: A gentleman will not insult me, and no man not a gentleman can insult me. –Frederick Douglass

    Keep that in mind. Seek to understand.

    • I agree Stephanie, didn’t even notice the strong comment when I read it. I knew what she meant.

    • Had a similar situation initially (2 cheating brothers-in-law : my sister’s H, and my STBX’s brother.) For years it was, “Oh how awful, I would never do that, yadda yadda.” Eventually, he sort of came clean that he was jealous of those two since they were getting fresh meat on the side.

      So he went out and did the same. yech.

    • Ill note for future reference that my intent to compliment is wrong – and when others dont understand that intent, I will be subject to passive aggressive behaviour, criticism, attack and ridicule.

      Thank you for the education and thought policing! Kudos to you for being a paragon of virtue and for correcting my bad behaviour.

      • I’m sorry if I offended you. Perhaps I misunderstood what you were feeling and/or wrote. Yes, we should stick together.

        • Witty, I’m especially sorry that I wrote this on a public forum: “I think people are tooooooooooo quick to be insulted and offended when none is meant.” I didn’t consider how it could be hurtful, and now I see that it was uncalled for. So, I am sorry if I put a damper on your day.

          • You did not put a damper on my day at all. I appreciate your apology “if” I was offended lol. Like our exes apologised “if” we were upset by them fucking other people lololol.

            Yes I tend to be offended by being attacked for no reason but I do also consider the source.

            Given I’ve been here nigh on a year and do not recall being “sooooooooo offended” by anything to date really, I was certainly bemused by your desire to attack. Especially given that I know I’ve always been 100% supportive of you in my every response to you to date.

            If it helps… My ex put me in a coma in 2 separate incidents within the week after dday. He indeed nearly succeeded in killing me the second time. On another occasion in the same timeframe he smashed a large hallway mirror over me and then called the police as a cover to say I’d tried to slit my wrists to cover the multiple cuts all over me. I still have a large scar on my left palm as a result.

            And yet, to date, I read other people’s stories and think they had it worse than me – perhaps I haven’t expressed that very well.

            • So yes – I believe I am strong despite not leaving immediately. And having read others stories, I also believe some others here are far stronger than me.

  • I still suffer one of these newby chumpy things sometimes: caring what other people think.

    I guess I try not to too much and I think I’m doing good and then one day something will happen and it bugs me again. In fact, just the other day a friend (not a close friend, but still) said something like “I feel so bad, you being a young mom… I mean, I know how gross I felt right after having the kids…” and then, what started out as a nice sentiment (though possibly a bit condescending) turned into her insinuating I wasn’t having sex with my husband and that’s why he cheated on me. This particular friend’s dad cheated on her mom sometime in the last few years and she also seems to believe it was her mom’s fault as well… she told me that she was “difficult to live with”. Ugh.

    Intellectually, I know I shouldn’t care what people think. I know the truth about the situation. But I can’t help it. It’s like you try to share the truth about your ex, and still you end up taking some of the blame. I think that’s why chumps don’t like to tell… people just don’t get it and they end up assuming you had something to do with it.

    • I know what you mean, aE. I have had “friends” say things like “I always thought he was extraordinarily good-looking” or ask me “How was your sex life?” Or another one, “And you didn’t KNOW it was going on?” All of that says to me is that a) he had license to cheat (how could he not, he was so good-looking?) or b) our sex life must’ve sucked (it didn’t–we didn’t have sex enough but that was because of him) or c) that I was stupid not to know it was going on (guess what-he was an incredible liar).

      And like you said, something that started out as a nice sentiment turns into something that leaves us feeling bad–them actually giving your ex a reason to cheat or blaming us. People like that are not our friends.

      • aE and SIJ,

        I have to agree totally. And as if so called “friends” having those distorted views isn’t bad enough, the whole MC and psychology prefession preach it and self perpetuate on it. ………………….Billable hours “$$$$$”!!!!

        Fuck them all!

      • seriously… why can’t these people just tell the chump that the cheater an asshole and call it a day? That’s all the needs to be said.

        Maybe CL should do a story for the HuffPo on what NOT to say to your friend that just found out they were cheated on. People need to be educated!

        I guess at least them saying idiotic things makes it more obvious that they need to be avoided as much as possible in future.

  • Will anyone “get it?” As CL says, some will, the good ones will.

    But the most important thing, Chumpymum, is that YOU get it. YOU know the truth. YOU know right from wrong. YOU know, finally, the story of your own life, a treasure that cheaters steal from chumps the way that organ-transplant-blackmarketeers steal kidneys from unsuspecting business travelers in urban myths. Because knowing that truth allows you make better decisions moving forward. Good luck and Godspeed!

  • Chumpmum,

    I second any sentiment that resembles “Meh, who cares if your Ex or anybody else ever gets it?”. 🙂 It’s irrelevant to a new life without them. You’ll get there once you really let go of any neurotic need to control what is not within the realm of your control… and most likely because what is within your control is just perfectly fine.

    Q. Know how to lose between 105-220 unhealthy, life-shortening pounds without dieting?

    A. Let go of (or dump) a cheater and move on.

  • I struggled with the “get it” part as well. I WANTED people to know, but exH and I worked at the same place. I took the high road for 9 months. I think folks suspected (why else would the 18 yr marriage end the year after he was on leave for a year, away from the family?). Once STBX tried to move in the pregnant girlfriend/AP against the divorce agreement, I opened up a bit…. And then when he got married without knowing how she will treat his kids, and planned to move away…. I started mentioning the infidelity. Best way to respond when people said “married? New baby? Kinda quick.” (Only 5 months post divorce) Actually, not apparently, as they were together….

  • First off, ChumpyMum, I admire you for not wasting time waffling around, doing the pick-me dance and pursuing the sparkling unicorn of reconciliation. I wish I could have back the years of my life I wasted frantically spackling over my ex’s horrendous behavior.

    You ask if others will get it….. Yes, a lot of people who know you both will guess he cheated. Very, very few of those people will actually say this out loud, ask you directly what happened, or express any sort of disapproval to him. Most people don’t really care that much about infidelity (until it happens to them), and tend to adapt the old, “two sides to every story” attitude.

    You ask if HE’LL ever get it. I tend to think not. Most cheaters are at a minimum selfish and immature, and at a maximum, are personality disordered. Those aren’t characteristics that go with self-reflection, personal responsibility, remorse or regret. The disordered are experts at blaming others, rewriting history and moving on in self-entitled smugness.

    Nothing to do but lawyer up and move on. It is a nightmare roller coaster ride, but eventually, most likely on a Tuesday, the sun comes up, the ride slows to a stop, and you get to walk out into a healthy, new life.

    • That’s a nice visual, I like it! It goes in the (growing every day) CL library of wisdom to read on rainy days.

    • Chumpy mum, you’re awesome, and so is the technology that allowed you to see so clearly. I do feel it is very important to tell the truth of what happened. I decided when it happened to me that my entire married life had been filled with lies, secrets, and misconceptions, and fear of speaking out. I was never going to allow any of that in my life again. So I TOLD- I spokethe truth. It was liberating and therapeutic for me, and I felt stronger and stronger every time. Often the reaction was horror, support of me and our children, a few people who said “I never saw what you saw in him anyhow,” etc. Anyone who was not supportive (there was only one and her husband is probably in neck deep with my ex), I made a note to cut out of my life. And because I told, I got it out of me, it became HIS problem to deal with, not mine. What’s the big secret? If it wasn’t too bad for him to do, it certainly can’t be too bad for me to say. 🙂


    This is Louis CK describing the difference between having believes (“my little believies!”) and actually acting on them. Its funny, but its pretty accurate as to how the Narc thinks. It may even sum up how the Blobfish or the indifferent think when faced with a truly brazen Narc.

    It also made me laugh out loud to hear it ~ better than crying….

  • My STBX’s sister called me and asked what my cheater would have to do to apologize. I explained that beyond the shit-pile of his cheating was the insurmountable fact that when confronted with the evidence, he looked me in the eyes, his all sparkly and sincere and said, “I would never do that to you”. She proceeded to tell me that she had been someone’s mistress, aka fuck buddy, for 20 years (Runs in the family). Then the cheater comes home from work, sits me down and tries to parrot what I told his sister back to me!!!! And he couldn’t even do it!!! That was the moment I knew no unicorn could ever change my mind. I went from hopeful to outta here in two second flat. My petition gets filed on Monday and I hope that suckwad realizes that his only escape is to sign the agreement. I am not making his life easy anymore.

  • Chumpymum, I wish I had your strength and composure early on when I discovered the truth.
    At the beginning I was very calm and for months did the pick me dance.
    My exes affair also began at work. I have since found out through court documents that they have known each other for 9 years. Chainsaw man is the GM of a major outdoor products co and Groceries provided temps and recruitment to the coy.
    She told everyone that would listen that we separated two years before we actually did.
    I got the “he’s not important, my family is the most important thing bla bla bla.

    Only when I got full access to her iPhone and copied their love emails etc that I realised the the truth. You will and I still don’t get the truth from them. They will lie and lie.
    I received a letter from an anonymous writer telling me that she was taking her lover to New York for the marathon. She denied it and feed a story about a jealous co runner in the group. I believed her as I trusted everything she said during our marriage. Now I believe nothing. If she says its raining outside I would need to go outside and verify it.

    I also live in Australia and you need to be careful. I would hate for anyone to go through what I did. I read on other sites that exposure kills the affair and at the time I wanted to kill the affair. In one 48 hour period I wrote to chainsaw mans parents in New Zealand, groceries employer, the eight runners that went to New York. I wrote on chainsaw mans company Facebook page that he was having an affair with my wife and anyone should contact me etc. they left that up for 3-4 hours which surprised me.
    Groceries went berserk. I mean BERSERK!
    I had an AVO but on me. I then broke that by sending further texts later the worst calling her a selfish animal. No threats. Just offensive in er eyes as the texts told the truth and there were many of them. She spent little time with the boys and weekends were devoted to chainsaw man. I had huge resentment and just couldn’t believe this was the woman I was married to. For breaking the avo I was arrested, strip searched and held for 9 hours. I was given a bond and criminal record. I appealed and won. The judge said having experienced what I did I was very reserved etc.

    Fast forward this year and groceries moves in 200 metres to end of road. I drive past and allegedly tell chainsaw man to go back to NZ and look after his daughters. Re arrested. Same thing.
    Be careful pissing them off.

    Two weeks ago I was called by a woman at chainsaw mans coy to do some work for her. I went to the house and quoted the job. She wanted to go ahead with it. I then said to her who I was and if chainsaw man knew he might be a bit beturbed and I am happy to walk away if she does nt want to proceed. She then opened up and asked a bunch of questions.
    Everyone at his work had been fed crap. What’s happened now is chainsaw man and groceries have lost all their credibility and integrity. They have lied to their co workers. Portrayed a false life. They own it.

    As of two weeks ago groceries looked me in the eye and said chainsaw man fir two years thought we were separated. She has lost her marbles. As Arnold said last year in my first posts the facade will crumple.
    All they have is each other. The boys 18 months later still refuse to meet him. They have a good relationship with mum but they chose who they want to hang with.

    Chumpymum, trust me others get it. People can’t believe the shit I’ve gone through. For example the first time I was arrested was on Melbourne cup day. The alleged offences occurred months earlier. The second time was on my 50th birthday again the alleged offences occurred many months earlier. When I exposed I really really really must havepissed them off. When they gave me the “50th birthday present ” they further damaged their reputation in the community and with the boys , their friends and their parents.

    I won’t talk with groceries now. It’s all lies and it’s all fantasy. It’s incredibly sad.
    Thank god for some great friends and this site.

    I was paranoid that chainsaw man would take everything. He bought a black Volvo SUV and sent text messages that he can’t wait to e with the boys etc. I pictured them taking the boys to Souths games. None of it has eventuated. Remaining calm is the most important aspect and its taken months and months for me to learn.
    Chumpymum just keep on doing what you are doing. Cut out the people that don’t support and love you. Just walk away from them. You will often find they are also cheaters.
    Be careful exposing. It can create big monsters. Narcs hate been exposed.

    Good luck

  • Chumpymum, I admire your resolve and strength. I am not a weak person but I was not strong in packing up my bags after the first affair. Heck, it took me 23 years and two more affairs before I left the marriage.

    My ex and I work in companies that interact quite frequently, so it has been awkward. Initially, I didn’t tell much except to my closest co-workers, and then people started seeing them together before the divorce was even filed. So, he outed himself. Thereafter, I gave myself permission to say if people ask, “We’re divorced because he cheated.” I don’t care what people think. If they think he cheated because of me, then be it. People’s opinion of me is none of my business. It really isn’t.

    Stay strong, focus on having a better life for yourself and your children. You deserve it. Forget who knows and doesn’t know. They don’t have to live your life, you do. Live authentically.

  • I think it’s such a natural response to want people to get it, even though you may not care what others think, because this is such an injustice and the consequences are not quite severe enough for someone to do this kind of thing to a loved one. You were so invested in this person, and this person abandoned you, and is skipping off into the sunset, not giving a shit, and you’re left in the ruins. It totally and utterly sucks.

    For me, the only comfort I can get is that he deserves to be with people who will never “get it” because they are in the same disordered boat he is. They all deserve one another so they won’t pollute the lives of sane and loving people.

  • Chumpymum,
    Like you I kicked my cheating husband out pretty much straight away, two days after confronting him with evidence of an affair he’d denied for months. Fortunately I was able to commence divorce proceedings immediately on grounds of adultery.
    It wasn’t because I was strong, it was through pure rage. After two days of watching him cry through self pity and not remorse and listening to him blaming me for his shitty behaviour something just snapped.
    Like your husband my husband had an affair with a work colleague, I found proof through reading his text messages and when confronted he still tried to deny it.
    I think you can tell people and still take the high road. Actually I think taking the high road is often overrated. At first I told his family, my family, my close friends and our close mutual friends. He was denying the affair to friends and his family. If I hadn’t have told people the truth he would have been peddling the ‘my marriage was unhappy for years’ bullshit. You don’t have to spill all the gory details, I just say ‘I found out he was cheating and we are no longer together’.
    Yes, people do ‘get it’. Decent people do not admire lying cheats and the people that do are not worth your time. I have lost ‘friends’ who wanted to remain ‘neutral’. I have never asked anyone to choose sides but that doesn’t mean I won’t. My husband hated me telling people, was furious that I’d told his mother and accused me of making him ‘lose’ his friends. It also helped that literally days after I kicked him out and was still trying to scrape my life off the floor and he was still trying to deny the affair the honourless, narcissistic OW was posting all over Facebook and Twitter about how ‘happy’ she was and her ‘wonderful man’ (‘Look at me! I sparkle so much! I destroyed a marriage! I win the prize!’). People did ‘get it’ but only because I didn’t allow my selfish, cheating husband to control the narrative.

    • Alice, your story is so similar to mine! My ex cried with self pity too, and blamed me for everything. It still amazes me how similar they act. My ex didn’t tell anyone we’d split, not even his older brother who was supposedly his “best friend.”

    • Alice, this: “Yes, people do ‘get it’. Decent people do not admire lying cheats and the people that do are not worth your time. I have lost ‘friends’ who wanted to remain ‘neutral’. I have never asked anyone to choose sides but that doesn’t mean I won’t.”

      During a conversation with a long time friend (also long distance) told me if my ex called she wouldn’t repeat anything we said. My response was that if she was going to have any contact with this person who nearly shot me then I could not be friends with her any longer. She told me “you can’t control who I’m friends with, I can be friends with both of you”. My response was simple:

      “I’m not telling you who to be friends with, I’m telling you who I can be friends with”.

      She called a couple of times to convince me I was being unreasonable, how I was in her “super secret circle of friends” but she would not allow me to control her, to tell her who she could talk to. Insisting she was still friends with everyone she’d ever met, blah, blah. I talked this out with my therapist and my BFF because I was in such a bad place that I needed validation. After that I returned her calls once and said the same thing “I’m not telling you who to be friends with, I’m telling you who I can be friends with”. And, “If you need to insist on being in contact with my abusive ex, I cannot be friends with you”. She chose to end the friendship, fine by me.

      This kind of shit is hard to deal with, it’s manipulative – it’s meant to put you on the defensive and make you feel like you are being unreasonable. You state a boundary and the manipulative person refuses to honor it and then tries to insist you are controlling them by holding firm. Read this again, because it’s important, if someone turns things around on you then you should really pay attention. Take any statement like that and switch positions – you will usually find the person is making a self serving and inaccurate argument.

  • CL quote”People who don’t care about your ex’s cheating? You don’t need those people in your life. The “neutral” I don’t want to judge human blobfish — these aren’t your A list social circle. Avoid them.,”

    CL, you’re full of gem quotes like this.

    This is a great quote to live by no matter what stage of the chump journey you are. There is a special “something” all of chumps share. Uhmm? Maybe it’s decent honesty.

  • Thanks Kelly,

    In my early chump days , early post Dday, I used to consider all neutral opinions as valid. I now know that many “neutral” people are either, at best, incredibly niave, or more likely have PD issues of their own, or at worst, are cheating scum.

  • Well I didn’t give a shit what her screwed up family thought. Just mine. Even that was interesting. I have 5 older siblings. Oldest brother is the only other divorce and I saw what his cheater wife did to him so I tried to learn what not to do. 2nd oldest brother is a playboy, so his advice what limited. 3rd oldest is still happily married and tends to be more materialistic than me. He had empathy and advised me to treat it as a business transaction. Good advice! 4th oldest brother is a confirmed bachelor. He’s always been kind of the scorekeeper. Never married, no kids, but yet thinks he’s the expert on marriage and family. I got a lot of disbelief from him but, I told him I’m not looking for advice only help. If he has none to offer then just be aware of the situation. My only sister who is happily married said the usual, well there must have been a problem in the marriage for her to do this. I told her yeah, that’s like saying when a man hits a woman, she probably deserved it. Lets blame the victim. She didn’t get it but, she’s still not happy with my STBXW for what she did to me. Of course I had to tell my 84 yo widowed Mom just to let her know.

    At the end of the day only you have to be happy with your life. People think whatever they think.

  • I was rather surprised at how people reacted to some of us saying that the LW’s sentence “Unlike many of your readers I was strong and kicked him out straight away.” was unfortunate phrasing. I saw witty made a comment about it that I thought was valid. I really hate the posts that came forth from it, I don’t think that’s really us and some peoples feelings got hurt. I read every post and I think there was a lot of misunderstanding on everyone’s part in subsequent posts.

    So to clarify what I meant; I don’t think the LW meant anything hurtful by it. I don’t know why she wrote it that way, doesn’t matter. It didn’t bother me at this point in my life, I don’t expect people to always use the right language, I was pointing out it was not the best. If it was a judgement, I don’t give a shit, for myself it was no big deal. I know I’m strong, I don’t need anyone to validate that.


    I posted what I did because I know that when I was first out of my abusive relationship I beat myself up. I BLAMED myself for not getting away sooner, I BLAMED myself for being weak and stupid and blind. I BLAMED myself when he nearly killed me. Most abuse survivors do this, so I wanted to make it clear to any abused chumps reading this thread; you are not weak, you are strong as hell. If you are trying to get out but haven’t made it yet, don’t give up, you can do it, you are STRONG. If you are being sucked back in, don’t give up, don’t go back, you are STRONG. The particular path you take to freedom has nothing to do with your strength, and everything to do with your situation. Do NOT BLAME yourself, you are not weak, in fact your own intuition may be guiding you down the only safe path. Only you know how to get out alive. (stay strong, and jedi hugs)

  • Emailing the sexts is “losing your shit?” Nah, not if you’re a good writer and do so with your batshitness held in check. The key to consider the audience, and of what they may or may value.

    I actually DO plan on emailing their shared coworkers and the board of the AP’s company and a few 3rd party vendors some of the sexts and clandestine plans they made together! Sorry, but these cheaters did not earn the right to their privacy in their shared workspace. Will the company be embarrassed? Could it cost them some $$? Not my monkeys, not my circus. Hiring shitty people sucks, chumps.

    I know none of them would “care” that “I hate him.” (And I actually don’t; the AP is a meh blob to me.) But when your wife is contracted to work for the company where her AP works, and they made plans to avoid certain people at conferences and luncheons, and oh yes the AP’s brother must be factored in since he lives in the area where they’re hooking up next month … yeah I think they might question the character of both of them.

    You can’t convince me his company won’t consider them both liabilities, when some potentially batshit crazy husband literally a half a world away is successfully reaching out to scores of people across the world who won’t appreciate being embarrassed by them both. And so what if they shake their heads, and don’t care?

    Again, not my concern. I will have done what I could do. Maybe someone there will reach out to the AP’s wife, if he has one. I have no other way of doing that, or even knowing about her existence.

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