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It Takes Three?

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shrinkChrist. Anyone read the appalling crap “The Benefits of Couples Therapy After an Affair?” at HuffPo? The unicorns are feeling frisky. Must be the cool autumn weather.

But before I tear into the author (and “relationship expert”)  Larry Cappel for giving us such tin-plated insights as “when a monogamous relationship suffers an epic failure like an affair, both partners are at least somewhat at fault” — I just want to ask: How many dreadful therapists are there exactly? Can we just make a list? Some sort of compendium that if you have the misfortune of being cheated on, you could just run the name through some quack registry first?

Because I would like to spare chumps the $150 an hour to sit on an uncomfortable sofa and be affronted with the question of how you “contributed” to the affair.

No really, you have to OWN it chumps. How you missed the “signs.” How you made her fuck her boss. How you drove him into the arms of Russian hookers. How you ran up those charge cards for the trinkets, vacations, and PO boxes. Wasn’t you? You didn’t sign for that? I don’t think you’re being entirely honest, chumps! Don’t you feel “at least SOMEWHAT at fault?”

Come on, you don’t have to eat the whole shit sandwich. Just eat it somewhat. Take a nibble.

Larry Cappel wants to help you.

He doesn’t want you to be complicit in your own abuse, oh no, he’s here to take you on the magical journey of reconciliation! “The journey can be one of transformation, changing both of you for the better — even if you decide to go your separate ways after all.”

See, the problem is you just don’t know how to communicate. It’s because you never asked what’s wrong that your husband had to go out and spend $2,700 on happy ending massages last month.

So the contribution to the affair by the “innocent” partner is bigger than you might think. It’s not speaking up when intimacy starts to drop off, and it’s not admitting that the relationship needs serious help. That’s why it takes three to have an affair. This is a great opportunity to bring couples therapy into the picture to teach you how to communicate in healthy ways.

Right. Because no one in therapy ever gets cheated on. That, like, NEVER happens. I’ll tell you what also doesn’t happen according to Larry Cappel,

…There are some people out there who engage in affairs regardless of their partner’s attempts to reconcile the relationship. However, these people are relatively rare

Or just inconvenient to your unicorn narrative that Both Partners Are At Fault for Cheating and just need the services of a quack therapist like yourself to right things? Because there’s a vein to tap there — the sad desperation of betrayed people who want to make the scary go away. Oh Larry, tell me what I did wrong and what I can do to FIX this so it never, ever happens again. I’ll never contribute somewhat-ishly again!

What offends me about this man’s “therapy” is that it in no way considers betrayal harmful. Oh sure, he pays it lip service, but he gives himself away in his therapeutic suggestions. There’s zero power imbalance in infidelity. There’s no offender, just co-conspirators. No one is chumped who wasn’t in on the gig.

Once each of you has acknowledged the hurts, you can then move on to exploring what went wrong. You’ll discuss each partner’s opinion on what happened and give them equal weight.

Can you imagine giving this advice in the case of addiction? Or fraud? Or physical abuse? (Instead of emotional abuse, which IMO is what infidelity is).

Hey, Bluto, what’s your “opinion” on what happened when your wife showed up in the ER? Bitch asked for it. Okay then! Let’s give that narrative equal weight to “he pushed me down a flight of stairs and threatened my children.”

Infidelity is a victimless crime! It’s not about getting over on another person, or more kibbles, or endangering chumps in any way. Hell, it’s not even about fucking around for the sheer selfish pleasure of it!  No, it’s about deep, subterranean currents of neurosis.

When the events and facts are fairly well understood, you can then start looking deeper to understand what emotional and psychological dynamics were at play that led to the affair.

It’s DEEP. You need Larry to understand why. Call him. He accepts credit cards and PayPal, but not insurance.

Finally, you’ll start the process of learning new ways to relate that are healthier, and that foster a sense of connection and intimacy.

Because that was the problem, chumps — you weren’t relating in healthy ways. You were building a law practice and she was fucking her boss. You were raising your preschooler, pregnant with your second, he was having three-ways with his co-workers. You were saving for retirement, she was spending the 401K on vacations with her personal trainer/fuckbuddy. Okay, just because you didn’t KNOW about any of that doesn’t EXCUSE the fact that it’s UNHEALTHY.

See, they cheated because they didn’t feel “connected” and “intimate.” Nothing says “I’m ready to get closer now” than the threat they’ll cheat on you again if you don’t keep them happy. Be vulnerable! Because that’s worked so well already. Just leave your doors unlocked and hand ’em your credit cards too while you’re at it.

You want to reconcile and accept your part in the cheating? It takes three — a cheater, a chump — and a quack.

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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.
  • OMG, CL. I was trying to forward this to you to make a barf bag out of, however, I see that you already are one step ahead of me. What a douche.

  • “When the events and facts are fairly well understood, you can then start looking deeper to understand what emotional and psychological dynamics were at play that led to the affair.”

    At that point, why on earth would you want to?!

    I have a friend who is a LICSW. She refuses to accept couples with infidelity issues. To her, it’s beating a dead horse, er Chump.

    • My therapist too. She’s in her mid-late 70s and she’s lost count how many times she has seem the exact same thing.

        • My friend is true blue. I’ve known her for 30 years, and she is a no BS kind of counselor. When I told her how X had cheated and stolen money from us, she was only surprised that he got caught. She sensed he was somehow “off” from the get go, and tried to tell me as much when we were planning the wedding. But I had my blinders on.

          She has never known a couple to successfully reconcile, especially after therapy. Once the feelings are out, it’s hard to unring a bell.

          • I guess it depends on how you define “success”? Anecdotaly, I have known one couple who have “successfully” reconciled in that they are still married and now are happily married (both of them). The affairing spouse had exactly one affair in the 1980s. They remained married, but things were not good through the 1980s, 1990s, 2000s. The rediscovered intimacy well into their 60s in the 2010s.

            I know of more than a few others who reconciled and are still together. Out of all of them, only one couple never had a repeat experience, but that marriage is best described (IMO) as “an uneasy truce”. The others continued the pattern of betrayal, trauma, and reconciling over and over and over.

  • Yeah, it took three for my ex…..himself and the “worms” (as my daughter calls them), his two co-worker affair partners with whom he had separate affairs and group sex, for 17 years.

    So actually with me it makes four,

    My part in this? Oh raising the three children, running the house, buying and taking care of our home and a vacation home, working full time as a litigation attorney, having the better income which allowed him to switch jobs whenever it became too much for him. Oh wait, there’s more I did wrong too– Trusting him to keep his promises, believing in him and that he was the man he pretended to be, and of course loving him or at least loving the man I thought he was. Silly me.

    • I was the higher earner too, and he switched jobs because they became “too much” quite often. There was a huge management turnover a few years ago, and I’ve been miserable…but I couldn’t quit…someone had to be the adult. It is the first desk job I have ever had in my life…So between being miserable, menopause and sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day I gained weight. And that was one of his main reasons for cheating….he was working out, jogging and using facial creams that he bought with my money to boost his self esteem while I was working, guess I should have hired Dr. Cappell too!

      • Toni, my story almost exactly matches yours. The sense of entitlement is recurrent. They take everything we have to offer without any sense of reciprocity or shame in taking too much.

        My cheater used to be a smelly chubby slob. I loved that smelly chubby slob. He transformed into a guy who went to the gym regularly (on my dime) and frequented a coffee shop twice a day (on my dime) because ‘home-brew just wanted strong enough’. He would proclaim himself “spoiled” and pat me on the arm for “holding down the fort”, all while the m-f was being unfaithful. I most certainly no longer love this fit, clean-cut, shameless, selfish asshole.

        Having broken free from him, I now weight 50 pounds less, look about ten years younger and finally feel authentic hope that my future will be a happy one. I hope you can use the energy you pored into your asshole cheater and divert it back to yourself. You will certainly be a better steward of that investment and appreciate it much more!

  • That shrink is probably living large off the $$$ he charges chumps to take the blame for their spouse’s cheating. I myself don’t accept even ONE PERCENT of the blame for my ex’s double life. If I had a dollar for every time I begged him to have sex with me, begged him to come to bed earlier instead of sitting up looking at the computer all night, begged him to make me a priority instead of his endless EA with coworkers and friends, begged him to focus on our marriage, begged him to tell me how we could make things better….. heck, I’d be able to retire on those dollars.

    I did everything I possibly could to make that marriage work…….. but all that effort was in vain. How could it work, when I was married to a compulsive liar, a black hole of endless need for stimulation, attention and adoration, a manipulator and con artist? We went to therapy years back, and he just lied to the therapist. We went to Retrouvaille during our bogus reconciliation, that just gave him even more creative ways to hurt me and manipulate me.

    There was NOTHING I could do to make that marriage work, and I think that is true for many, probably most, chumps here. A marriage cannot work if one partner is already gone. As for me taking some share of the blame…… nope. I was certainly not perfect, but I was a damn good wife. The constant cheating was my ex’s choice, and he bears 100% of the blame.

    • “I did everything I possibly could to make that marriage work…….. but all that effort was in vain…..”
      Thanks for these words, Glad. I have cut and pasted your post into my file of inspirational messages, which I open and read during my dark times. My divorce should be finalized within the next month if all goes as planned, and I need positive reinforcements like your words to see me through these times. Keep ’em coming, folks … there are a lot of us listening and processing all the good advice.

      • CT – I told a friend that I “fought and fought for that marriage,” and her comeback said it all: “Yes, Red, but you were the only one in the ring.”

        GIO is right – once they emotionally leave the marriage, there’s nothing you can do to get them back. Especially since they may have months’ or years’ head start in disconnecting from you.

        • Red, your comment “they may have months’ or years’ head start in disconnecting from you.” shows me why we don’t see them hurting like we do after D-Day. They were already gone. So they have no feelings for us anymore. As we’ve pointed out here in the past. If they do cry or feel sorry is because the gig is up and they are sad the secret is out.

          • And there is a huge difference between being truly sorry for what you have done, and feeling sorry for yourself that you lost your nice comfy life where your ignorant spouse did all the work in the marriage/family/household so gee- now you have to take care of yourself and its just sooo hard. boo-fucking-hoo.

            • Oooh, this is BIG time what is happening w/my ex! He has twice tried to convince me to attempt reconciliation, once very seriously and repeatedly about 6 months after I kicked him out, and again recently just a trial balloon (kinda fun to shoot down!). But even in discussing this, it’s ALL about him, how unhappy he is now, how hard all this is (oh, that was so unpredictable!!), how he never actuallly decided to end the relationship …. NO remorse, regret, recognition of the pain and damage he’s cause; he’s missing his comfy life majorly. Too fucking bad.

              What burns me the most, though, is that he did not think for one second about his kids before deciding to again get involved w/another women, then he IGNORED the kids’ pain through the separation, brushed them off many times when he had said he would be with them, lied to them, but now he isn’t liking the results. NOW he sees the kids drawing away from him, he doesn’t like that. NOW he’s decided to apologize to our daughter, who is very angry w/him. What does he say in apology? “I’m sorry you suffered with the separation”.

              Is that a whole category of apology? No recognition of his unique responsibility, that HE caused that suffering, no recognition that HE did things that were very very wrong, that he lied and cheated and neglected them, that HE broke up his kids’ family for really not much at all. Shall we call it the coward’s apology, the snake apology …. any suggestions?

              • I called what my ex did the “drive-by shooting apology”.

                After the luv child was born, six months before the divorce was over, the ex said this to the kids through the window of his truck as he was getting ready to drive away: “I didn’t wait until the divorce was over before getting involved with XXXX and that makes me an adulterer, and I’m sorry.” And then he drove off before he could get nailed with any questions or comments.

                And even that was a lie! They were doin it for at least 2 years before the whore decided her biological clock wouldn’t wait on the court system.

    • “I did everything I possibly could to make that marriage work…….. but all that effort was in vain. How could it work, when I was married to a compulsive liar, a black hole of endless need for stimulation, attention and adoration, a manipulator and con artist?”

      I swear they make these people in a factory – I also was married to cheating manipulator model #1. He cheated the entire relationship, the whole while we dated and all through our marriage. There was a carousel of OW, some new he picked up here and there and others were “friends” that pre dated me. Some would come and go, some he were just phone and email flirtations that he dropped when either he or they would lose interest – but there were 2 that lasted my entire R with him.

      When I hear these relationship helpers spout off about joint responsibility and 50/50 ownership of marital problems I wonder exactly what percent I could possibly own in a situation like mine. He had no intention of being a real husband from the very start. I had zero chance. He married me because I was a good catch, I was useful to him, that’s it, that’s all. I was a tool that he liked to use to manage and finance his life, while he did whatever and whomever he liked.

      I’ve read on a few infidelity boards, and I’ve come to think that this type of person is not all that rare. They do what they like and to hell with everyone else. They “act” like they care only so long as it benefits them. Cheating is not their only issue, but it’s often the one that gets the most attention. These people are very selfish, they have boatloads of bad habits, they lie, they’re sneaky – generally a big ball of disorder that needs someone loyal and stable to guide them through life. This is why they marry chumps, not because they love us, they love what we do for them – and those are very very different things. I fail to see how any chump owns even 1% of that.

      • I agree that cheating is only part of the issue. It turns out that ex is a liar in many other areas of his life and he’s wildly sneaky. I see it now with the crap he pulls on the kids. And he’s a massive bully. Now that his charm no longer works on me he rages and bullies and threatens and is generally one of the biggest assholes I’ve ever met. Funnily enough, I have a message from him from a few days ago where he’s raging at me about whatever and I realised that he might be screaming but he manages to sound weak while doing it. It’s the sound of panic and fear and hatred because I WILL NOT PUT UP WITH HIS SHIT ANYMORE. I realise now that that’s his whole problem: I’ve wised up and although it broke my heart to get to that point where I really saw him for who he actually is I’m ok…but he is not. It scares the crap out of him, knowing that he can never put that mask on with me again.

        This makes me feel quite powerful today. 🙂

        • Good for you Nord!
          We had been leading up to this for awhile, and he WAS NOT liking it. If I hadn’t been in so much pain, I swear it would have been comical. As it was when he saw that I was seriously not going to let him push me around anymore he ROARED, with a very entitled obvious expectation of (although he didn’t actually say it in words) “Don’t you remember who I am??? You listen to ME -WOMAN!!!”

          After several tries and realizing it wasn’t working, he basically slunk off. That’s what is so great about NC – letting them try somewhere else…maybe one of the whores or a mirror…a narcissist’s BFF

    • This is true for me too. I literally tried everything except accepting his cheating. I just couldn’t do it to myself anymore.

      And you know what? He thinks it’s all my fault and I wasn’t “supportive” enough for him.

      He told me I am the one person on this planet he hates most.

      It’s disturbing and funny at the same time. Sure, you cheated on me, destroyed our marriage and you hate me. OK THEN…

      I mean, how do you respond to something like that? Crazy Making.

    • I’m with you Glad. I was a damn good wife and my only fault was being too good and capable for Asshat.

      It doesn’t take three for an affair. It just takes one asshole. There’s always some desperate person out there with their legs open who is willing to overlook the inconvenience of a partner who is married.

      That counselor needs to find a new profession. Sewage treatment operator, garbage man, manure spreader…the shit he’s spouting now gives him transferable skills for any of those.

  • One of my best MC stories, the rare times I was able to get him to go….because of course “I” was the problem and I was spending thousands of dollars a year in therapy to fix me….Fuck? If I only had that money back….

    But I digress…we had this lovely “IMAGO” couples therapist who took some skewed sympathy to me…but STILL came back to me with his solution that “I” should just give in and lose that weight that caused me exnarc h to not be that “into me”. Weight? I’m size 4 and weigh 115. Yes, that was the problem as to why he fucked around, lied incessently, downloaded porn like there was never a woman to be seen again on earth, his 6’4 frame would throw me (5’2) into the concrete floors when I was finally getting that HE was actually the problem. But “Just” take that issue off the table so he cannot use it anymore. Really?

    Finally, the last actual psychiatrist diagnosed him as NPD…and told me ‘leave’….against his own risk of his license. THIS is responsible and HE actually did save my life….he knew I would have stayed and stayed and stayed to work on it forever. He told me “he will never change…and you need to leave”….”Go start a new life for yourself”….

    So I did.

      • It would be great if there was way to somehow come up with a list of the good therapists and the ones who are a waste of time and $$.

        Mine was pretty good. Although he didn’t come out and say it. He knows my cheating wife is messed up and I should get out.

    • Well done!

      I have to say that the whole issue of weight within the context of the cheaters’ excuses for affairs rings hollow. Yes, I did need to lose weight at Dday, but you know what? OW is nearly 4 inches shorter, yet outweighed me by 10lbs! Blaming an affair on a spouse’s weight or hair loss or whatever–well, that’s just gaslighting, a pathetic attempt to shift blame onto the victim.

      By the way, I did lose my extra weight. I realized I’d gained it by starting to make what he liked to eat. Prior to our marriage, I ate loads of fruits and veggies. After we were married, I started to make more and more foods laden with starches, since that’s what he likes to eat. The calories were killers. I’m now eating more protein, and a whole lot more veggies. It’s been a long road, but I am now back to where I was when we were first married, when I was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, or so he said.

      And yes, now he tells me I’m too skinny. 😀

      So that advice about losing weight so that you can take your weigh off the table of excuses? I call bullshit!

      Also, good riddance on that NPD. Glad your therapist called it like he saw it!

      • Quite frankly, if someone says they cheated because you gained weight (especially after kids and in middle age) then they’re an asshole. I can see if someone became massively obese but a bit of weight gain? Give me a break. What are they going to do if you get ill or in a car crash and disfigured or whatever? Shallow fucks.

    • My exh/NPD’s previous wife, after I contacted her post-discovery, told me that when they were in therapy post-discovery of his multiple affairs while married to her that he would only get worse. She needed to get out of the marriage because women who stayed with men like him consider suicide eventually. He did get worse. After 15 years with me his activities included but I’m sure were not limited to: Russian and other Eastern European prostitutes purchased by the week, thousands spent on porn subscriptions and “special” gifts sent to his on-line favorites, $100,000 in debt spent on his proclivities and need to act like a big-shot when traveling for work, if there actually was work.
      Therapist was right. I considered suicide many times over the two years it took me to get over the worst of the pain. NPDs don’t get any better as they age.

      • “NPDs don’t get any better as they age.”

        I know it’s naughtily non meh, but on the rare occasion I do like to remind myself that my ex (zero friends, distant family, no woman sticks around for long – already balding and slightly pudgy) is going to end up very alone, and likely very bankrupt.

        Fingers crossed 🙂

  • CL, here’s the truth. Every cheater has an exit affair. He/she took sexual intimacy, emotional intimacy, physical intimacy and gave those to someone else. How is that not exiting? The cheater has walked out of the committment door and slammed it shut. If the damn thing locked on him/her afterwards….well, sometimes Chumps get a grip and keep the door shut.

    • That’s right. How can you “work on the relationship” when there is NO EFFING RELATIONSHIP.

      Some version of quackwatch for counselors of all stripes would be a really good idea.

      • We should have a quackwatch section to report these jokers.

        The Therapist version of “dontdatehimgirl.com”

        That guy is terrifying.

    • Absolutely. I took my XWH’s A as proof that our relationship was over. I didn’t see it as some sort of bump in the road that we could get through with good counseling. He always knew that cheating was a dealbreaker for me, so as far as I was concerned, this was his way of showing me that we were done. How do you have unprotected sex with a stranger that you met on a cheaters’ site while still having sex with your wife and be able to claim that you want to save the marriage (which he did, and I refused)? I was happy to install a deadbolt on the door and shove a bookcase in front of it once he slammed it shut! There wouldn’t have been any other way for me to live a decent life.

    • I think in the chump’s mind it could be seen as exiting because of the intense betrayal we feel and the inability to understand how someone could do that to someone they “love”.

      But so many of these cheaters actively DON’T want to exit. At least in the physical sense. They want all the benefits of marriage plus a side piece of of cake. Emotionally, you could argue that they were never actually there in the first place. Because I feel if you had a real, healthy, deep emotional connection with someone, they wouldn’t be able to do that to you. You know, like what we felt for them and imagined they felt for us.

      That’s the scariest part… how intensely we felt about them… how sure we were they felt the same way… and then… WHAM!

      • another Erica, you’ve described my ex to a T! Neither of his affairs (7 years into our relationship, and then again after 6 more years) were ever intended as exit affairs. He just wanted cake, and lots of it. He never expected me to find out about his second affair (he was out of town for work), and really never had invested that much time, energy or emotion into our relationship, once the initial infatuation calmed down.

        But I was connected enough that I figured out he was cheating really, really fast – and he was SO shocked when I kicked him out! TO ME, he made a clear choice to end our relationship by getting involved again w/another woman. He claims to this day that he ‘never thought about that’ and ‘didn’t decide anything’ and ‘didn’t remember’ having promised never to cheat again, even if he was unhappy w/me …

        • “didn’t remember promising never to cheat again, even if he was unhappy with me”…

          the gall that he could claim that something so fundamental was somehow optional for him… And I feel sadness that the deal was made in the first place… specifically the part “even if he was unhappy with me”. As if that could ever be a reason… and sounds like you accepted most of the blame for that first affair like a good chump does. I know I did. The only reason I ended my marriage was because he was unwilling to completely cut out the OW from his life. It was only later after I kicked him out that I discovered this site and I really learned I didn’t need to accept ANY blame for his actions.

          “Never thought about that”. Fucking dumbasses.

          They are shocked when we end the marriage because they think we think like them (just like we think they think like us). And they think if it’s too inconvenient for them to end the marriage then it would be too inconvenient for us to do so as well.

      • “Emotionally, you could argue that they were never actually there in the first place. Because I feel if you had a real, healthy, deep emotional connection with someone, they wouldn’t be able to do that to you.”

        My husband’s sex addiction counselor believes this wholeheartedly. Counselor says you have to emotionally distance yourself from the partner long before you cheat. The counselor had my husband attempt to figure out when he started emotionally distancing himself. The counselor had everyone in the family try to figure this out as well. (This was individual counseling, so my husband relayed the information). My husband’s estimation and my estimation matched up – 10 years earlier. It was easy to see in hind-sight, but neither of us saw it in real time. My husband’s addictions started in the sixth year of emotional distancing. My husband was emotionally detached from everything, including himself. Those 10 years were all an act, a very good one, except in hindsight.

    • One thing I don’t understand , why aren’t Family Law & Divorce Attorneys marketing their services to “chumps”? Why do MC, have the “market “cornered ?
      I would think that if attys posted online the dismal stats that less than 30% of marriages last after an affair,etc.. they would make $$$$$ and save “chumps” the pain, the bullshit that goes with false recon and D ‘D-Day # 1, #2, #3…….
      IMO if there is cheating …. the relationship is irreparable .

    • You’d think they could still make money on just chumps by themselves… we’re the ones that want to do the inner work.

      However, married people also have more disposable income to waste on therapy rather than chumps that seek out free advice on the internet!

      • I firmly believe in heavy-duty counseling for the cheater. Cheating is like an addiction. The substance is the dopamine high from infatuation and all the kibbles that entails. The cheater needs separate help. The victim needs separate trauma counseling. If the cheater comes clean and gets his/her act back together as a fully empathetic human being (never with narcissistic personality disorder), and the victim is getting excellent trauma counseling, I don’t even see why marriage counseling would be necessary in relation to the cheating alone (if that is the only issue with the relationship).

        • Preya, but that would never happen – why? Because they would bolt.

          My H had a ‘very patient’ counsellor who would talk to him about his depression, and what a horrible shrew I was. Maybe I was. I think I was. But I was trying, and really trying, to get him to notice that a) I exist b) there were some problems c) could he take them seriously so we could move forward to a better place?

          I am still a bit confused as to how that makes me abusive….

          Anyway, back to the counsellor: the one question she did NOT ask was: how does your sense of superiority get you into situations that end up hurting YOU?

          No, she did not ask that question. Because she knew she would never see him again.

  • the only stab XH & I ever made a couples therapy – the therapist met first with me, listened to my story of hurt and betrayal, then proceeded to draw these interlocking circles on a piece of paper and launch into my co-dependency…… next session: we met with him as a couple -and he and XH (was also a therapist) proceeded to “talk shop” and discuss common acquaintences . I refused to go back.

  • I refuse to a accept that the socks I left on the floor compelled my wife to cheat with a procession of losers.

    After three MC, the last one was good. She told me to run.

    • It took THREE, eh?

      Sadly, this is why I never pushed my kids to go to counseling after their father walked away. Too many of them are quacks. I was really justifiably concerned that they would make the problem worse, not better.

      *shudder!*

      • I often think that there needs to be a distinction drawn between MCs and therapists. MCs are in the business of keeping the couple together, not telling them they’re better off splitting up. Therapists don’t necessarily have a horse in the togetherness race.

    • Oh no! Not socks on the floor! 🙂 I make a point to leave my socks on the floor until noon some days just to experience the freedom. rofl.

      • I’ve learned that a great many MC’s are more fucked up than the people they “treat”.

        I would have had better luck talking to my barber Tony.

          • Ok, now I’m triggered… The N married his hairdresser named Wendy last spring. To this day I am sure she is oblivious he was in an over 6 year r/s with me that overlapped most of his courtship of her. By chance, I found out he overlapped us the same night and immediately went NC. He has made many attempts to talk to me so he can continue having cake. He also doesn’t know I know what I do but I’m done as dinner!

    • Hahaha…ex said that me asking him (5 million times, mind you) to not leave his clothes all over the house was one of the reasons the marriage was ‘unbearable’. Yes, me not wanting to go room to room to pick up after him and asking him to leave all his clothes in the hamper or the bedroom was what made his dick perk up at the sight of any half-attractive woman for many years. Who knew.

      • Cheaters tend to have the dumbest excuses for their cheating. You’d think they would realize how stupid it makes them sounds, but apparently not. My ex claimed my not being enthusiastic about playing board games was one of the reasons our marriage failed. Oh, and he said our son was subjected to constant abuse because I would complain if ex played nonstop Christmas music from Thanksgiving to New Years. He told our son that was abuse and son was better off having his parents divorce than be subject to a disagreement over hearing The Carpenter’s Christmas Album played over and over.

        • Gladit’sOver

          He subjected you months of Christmas music and when you complained he called it abuse. No wonder you didn’t feel like playing checkers.

          It’s no wonder he was forced to cheat…duh….

  • The way I put it to my ex, after the first affair, was that I was 50% responsible for the problems we had in our marriage prior to the affair, but that HE was 100% responsible for the affair and the whole other set of problems created by that breach of trust.

    My ex actually admitted, about 6 months after I found out about the second affair and kicked him out, and just after I had repeatedly refused to even consider reconciliation, that he had not only made ZERO effort to maintain or repair our relationship at ANY point over 14 years, hadn’t even ever thought about doing anything like that, but that he had repeatedly rejected many of my efforts to do so, then felt resentful that I had reduced how much I tried.

    He said ‘I don’t know why I’m like that. It causes me suffering too.’

    Guess that makes him stupid as well as incredibly selfish and entitled.

    • Wow! Great article! And all that needs to be done to make it entirely relevant to non-Christians is swap out ‘sin’ for ‘lack of character’ and ‘dishonesty’.

      So glad to see there are therapists out there who GET IT!

    • Thank you for posting that article notyou. I wish my MC had that approach. Unfortunately he did not and even asked my XH if he would ever be able to forgive me for being pissed at him. Forgive me? But he was the one who was sneaking around and screwing someone else’s wife. Yeah, divorce was final 2 weeks ago and the douchebag ex pinned the affair on me, stating that it was a loveless marriage and that it was far over before his affair. Wow, really? Nobody told me that. Asshole. Anyway, thank you for that interesting read.

  • It took four in my situation. The OW was married when she took up with my STBX. She actually sent me a message to say that she hadn’t planned on getting involved with my husband but I was such a shitty wife that I drove him to her. This advice came from a loser who was cheating on her third husband with mine. Which one of us was the shitty wife? Hmmmm. If her ex & I had just been better partners, our spouses wouldn’t have had to go trolling online for sex! She’ll cheat on my STBX too if she hasn’t already. Payback is a borderline personality disorded OW.

    • “Payback is a borderline personality disorded OW.”

      Amen, sister.

      In my xH’s case, payback is an alcoholic BPD OW.

      • Apparently the BPD OW has both drug & alcohol problems & has ordered STBX into AA. He’s denied that he’s an alcoholic for years tho his drinking was long a problem in the marriage. I drove him to drink too, right?

        • Oh, mine blamed me for his drinking…if I had just tried harder for him to stop, he would have stopped and even brought up how my deceased (for only 3 years) Father would be so disappointed that I couldn’t get him sober. My dad hated him. Should have listened to my dad.

          My ex is with an alcoholic as well, and constantly proclaims how sober he is while posting pictures of the beer he is having at a bar. His last ironic update was: We are here in service to others as our payment on this earth.

          Meanwhile, he cheats on his wife, tells her he hates her and wishes she were dead, abandoned his dog, life, job, car, family to go be with Alcoholic unemployed Bipolar “artiste” who breaks his nose.

          He literally has no idea how fucked up he is. I almost feel sorry for him, because he is so personality disordered. But I don’t because he told me to die because I didn’t have the wherewithal to stick around for more abuse.

          Jesus. Just typing this out is giving me shivers.

          • I got blamed for ex’s drinking but nope, not taking that rap. He’s a grown man just as I am a grown woman. We make our choices about this stuff. I drank too much for a period of time, realised it and stopped. It wasn’t difficult to do and I’m glad I faced up to the fact that I was overdoing it for awhile. No idea about him but since final OW isn’t much of a drinker I figure he’s doing it on the sly.

      • In my ex’s it is TWO ugly, manly looking histrionic/borderline OW’s….oh wait, he dropped them and has moved on to picking up random women in bars.

    • After Dday, but before I moved out, ex told me how HARD all his affair activity was on him, and how he CRIED about it all. When I was dumb enough to “reconcile” with him six months later, he again told me that all that cheating with the two OW had been so HARD and he really hadn’t been as happy as he’d appeared. He assured me that his OW was also really agonizing over how HARD it had all been on the both of them. Poor, poor babies. My heart just bleeds for their pain. NOT!!!!

        • So true Arnold, If my H even ever admitted to the affair he would say it was because I was such a witch. Sure he can’t understand that knowing he is sexting/texting everyday with the OW telling her how much he loves her isn’t making me a little mad.

        • I have an opposite hypothesis here:

          “They consciously create marital problems to weave wool on their spouses’/ other involved people’s eyes. This is for sheer control.”

        • Oh for sure. I might as well set my ex and his skank up on a date! I was such a bad bad wife. Wanting intimacy, sobriety, respect, happiness…I was a MONSTER.

        • My ex texted me a few weeks ago, 15 months after his second affair led me to kick his ass out the door, and after he neglected his kids and lied to them for almost a year (until our daughter figured things out). We had been texting about practical kid stuff, then he said ‘I feel so bad’. I responded with ‘why?’ He answered ‘because I hurt you and the kids’. After a stunned 15 minutes, I texted back that I didn’t even know what to say to that. End of conversation.

          It’s so hard on them, the poor babies!

      • Mine cried buckets of tears for weeks and wanted me to comfort him because he was in love with his married coworker. The problem wasn’t him but what an inadequate wife I was, my inadequacy MADE him fall in love with her. It also made him feel guilty to come home to me after he’d been with his AP on business trips. Supposedly these feelings of guilt were his sign that something was wrong with ME. Believe it or not, I actually believed some of this crap until I found CL.

  • It’s funny. I was fortunate in this department. About a year before dday my STBXW was pushing for marriage counseling and I couldn’t figure out why. Looking back this was so she could tell me she was having an affair and blame me for it. We never did it and im glad.

    Fast forward to 6 months after dday. I got free therapy through the state because im a state worker. I went to one session. She told me that my STBXW and her AP were in a fantasy that they will never come out of it. Heartbroken but now informed, I got all the info I needed. Then I prepared for divorce.

    Accept what you cannot change and move on. Be the survivor not the victum.

    • Oh I like that TennisHack625. “Be the survivor, not the victim”

      Like any person I admit I’m not perfect but I was consciously trying to make myself better for our marriage and our family all the while she was consciously having an affair and keeping it secret from me and our kids.

  • OMG! I love you! I was suppose to be aware(because my brother in law and sister in law knew there were problems at least a year before I did!) so hey! I should have known while I was working 12 hour shifts switching from days to nights every week to pay the bills…I knew I had not “cherished him” with weekly oral sex…so hey! I should have known that he was seeking “solace” from an old girlfriend while I was trying to get our son through his senior year and into some of the best colleges in the state..I should have doubted him when he told me that they were just old, casual friends that sent occasional texts such as “hope you have a great father’s day” I should have known that I was abusing him while taking care of his aging and then dying mother in my own home.
    But to his credit. He told me in those fateful last f’up 4 weeks before I pulled the cell phone records…that marriage counseling was a scam…I did pay $ 45 bucks for an online group called “Save the Marriage” that is a solo way to try to restore a relationship with a cheater! …and was responsible for giving me the mind blowing idea to check his cell phone records ( the account was in my name all along–I’m such a huge fucking CHUMP!) and he and she were busted! My advise was to give him a “boundary” which I did and he left 2 days later….good riddance!

  • “To clarify, there are some people out there who engage in affairs regardless of their partner’s attempts to reconcile the relationship. However, these people are relatively rare and in this article I’m focusing on relationships that showed signs of distress before the affair began.”

    Um, no fucking no, not rare. Chump nation has shown me that I am not alone in “working” to fix what’s wrong and being met with nothing or blame/guilt. It is the chump who notices problems and tries to work things out, not realizing their partner has already betrayed them. And for the cheaters, they don’t get any marital distress until you find out they are cheating and tell them it’s time to divorce. Then they will lie some more to keep you and their AP. This guy is an absolute asshole, he can’t have his head up his ass because he doesn’t actually have a head – ok that was harsh, he has a head but there isn’t an actual brain inside.

    • I wish for an edit button. On second thought this guy does have a brain and the article proves it, he wants money, he needs clients. I am sure plenty of cheaters will convince their spouses to go do MC using his rationale, I think this guy is another money grubbing asshole

    • You know, it strikes me as I read this……it’s a wonder that any marriage counselor would even try to counsel a couple for “reconciliation” where one spouse is a cheater.

      How exactly do they think they are ever getting the truth from a probably sociopathic pathological liar? What good could working towards R in MC possibly offer the betrayed spouse when it is almost always built on lies, and if by chance the cheater was telling the truth for once they would never really know it anyhow!

      • “How exactly do they think they are ever getting the truth from a probably sociopathic pathological liar”

        But they don’t get the truth = that’s the point. By therapist #4 my ex had learned what to say and what not to say… the first few were terrified by him. She thought he was a gem. LOL.

  • I refuse to accept that my socks on the floor was cause for my ex-wife to cheat with a succession of losers.

    Before any marriage counsellor even suggests the Ws had cause to cheat they should be given a dossier on the affair partner.

    After three MC, the only one that was effective was the one who told me to run.

  • Wow. Expert ignorance!

    I begged to know why my exh was so angry with me when he began withholding sex less than a year into the marriage. I knew it was anger and I knew he was expressing that anger in a passive aggressive way. See, like Larry, I have a big giant brain full of insight into human behavior. It’s called experience and paying attention to others’ actions. Revolutionary stuff, I know. But my “nice guy” actually convinced me that I alone was the problem. Oh, once in a while he’d admit to being a poor communicator (as in, “poor me, I just can’t communicate how you need me to”) or that he was stressed by his cake job “poor me, I’m so stressed about my cake job that I can’t have sex with you for seven years.” Oh, in addition to the passive aggressive withholding and self-pity, I suspected he was cheating on me. So I nailed it on all counts.

    So we went into counseling, where we were told we needed to have a date night. Date night with a man who eyefucked other women right in front of my face. Where we might run I to one of his many APs, since they were legion and lived in close proximity to our family. More humiliation for me?! Yay, let’s get to Hooters post-haste!!

    I could go on and on about how flimsy Larry’s advice is….how utterly useless. But I’ll just say that my ex “sex addict” h spewed all this same shit to me as he simultaneously begged me to come back AND continued to screw around on me. It actually started the day after I discovered two of his many side pieces…How “we were both culpable, we had problems,” etc (no shit, Sherlock, that’s why I dragged you to MC). That says all that needs to be said about Larry’s expertise on this subject.

    Larry, don’t you realize people like us don’t need castigating from the so-called mental health community? We kick ourselves enough. We debased ourselves to these BPD, NPD, sociopaths FOR DECADES because we are / were doormats. Hearing this drivel again and again is depressing. Depressing because there are still so many Neanderthals like you who actually believe this crap, who haven’t done the real work of identifying cheating for what it is – selfish, narcissistic, childish, etc. Listen, I knew the mistakes I was making in the marriage every goddamned day – he told me. Not directly, then he’d look like the abusive asshole he is. No, he was much more subtle. He was playing mind games with someone who struggles with anxiety and depression. Who does that? Same guy who blames his spouse for his cheating.

    As to “relating in a healthy way…” In your practice, do you believe that trust is the basis for a successful relationship? If so, you have to admit that relating in a healthy way – without trust – sounds a little naive, if not completely idiotic.

    No. None of us a perfect. We yell sometimes. We cry and fart sometimes. Worst of all, we fell in love with deeply flawed, entitled children with no impulse control and not a shit to give for the families they destroy. For most of us, our greatest flaw is in our review mirror. Getting hit by a bus, preferably. (My “meh” is arriving by slow boat).

    Sorry for the semi-coherent rant…this one got me and I’m punchy-tired…good night!

    • movin_on, I love you! thank you for ranting exactly what I feel but cannot get to come to the surface, even after 2 years! thank you, thanky you, thank you!!!!

    • Brilliant, movin_on! You said exactly what I’ve been through — it’s uncanny. We will survive this and get to “meh.”

    • *Applause*

      My ex didn’t want to have sex literally the day we got married – we went to a fancy hotel from the courthouse and he suddenly felt “ill.”

      If I initiated at all thereafter, he would push me away and say that he hated “planned sex.” SMH.

      • We didn’t have sex a single time on our honeymoon in Hawaii. Not surprising, considering ex had told me I was a “nymphomaniac” for wanting to have sex three times a week. We were both in our mid-twenties, healthy and attractive. I hardly think 3x a week sex constitutes a problem at that age. I’m sure most guys would have wanted it 3x a DAY.

        Sigh. Yet I went ahead and married him. THAT is what I take responsibility for, THAT is where I carry the blame. His cheating, however, that is 100% on him.

            • My ex always had a poor sex drive that there were times I suspected he might be gay! Now I believe he was just always a passive aggressive misogynist!

            • My STBX had a hard time with once per week, though he always talks a big game. Now, apparently, he’s saving himself for the OW. It took me about a month before I realized that this was a longer dry spell than typical.

        • Glad– We fought on our wedding night, ex was “drunk” and started a stupid fight. Nothing was sacred to him. My ex also was not as interested in sex as the average 20-something where both parties were young, healthy and attractive. I was not very experienced, but early on thought my ex was simply not “good” at sex when we did have it (I have my theories on that, I too think he’s hypersexual and perhaps a closet homosexual, and that eventually he could not even perform “normally” after all the group sex, porn, etc.). Anyhow, I have read that narcissists are into group sex, orgies, “sex addiction” and are often hypersexual, yet will withhold sex from the spouse. Ours fit the profile.

          Anyhow, I wish sometimes I had run away on my wedding night, divorced him, and never looked back.

          • Ditto 🙂

            “early on thought my ex was simply not “good” at sex”

            My ex was supposedly very Christian.. so I chalked it up to lack of experience.

            Turned out he’d had more sex than most people have hot dinners, but you don’t have to worry about technique or satisfying a hooker, so apparently he just never bothered learning.

            Hindsight….

      • I’m glad I could give voice to some of you and highly appreciative of the kind words. That was cathartic!

  • I was lucky that I went just once to see a MC with my STBX. It seemed the thing to do, after all. The counsellor gave us each a questionnaire to fill out, then told us that the problem with our relationship of 36 years was that I was the “high functioning” partner and STBX was “low functioning” – and that he resented me for being “high functioning”. She then asked me what I thought I could do about it. I was appalled. I told her someone had to be the grownup in the relationship and that there wasn’t anything more I could do, as I had reached my limit. She said she “detected a lot of anger” in my voice. No shit.

    I didn’t know he had moved in with his OW at the time, as he lied about it to me and (at least in the joint counselling session) to the MC. But I did know that her suggestion that maybe he come over to the house and mow the grass as a sign of good faith was a non-starter. Lazy bastard hadn’t mowed the grass in years, or done any other work around the house for that matter. What a waste of time and money, and what a source of additional cake for the STBX as he listened to the “professional” make my competence in life a reason for him to screw around because he was “low functioning”, poor baby.

    I have my suspicions that many of these disfunctional cheaters go for counselling so willingly because it’s another way to hear their chumpy partner blamed for the cheating partner’s poor choices, and sanctioned by a “professional” at that!

    I wish I’d found this site two years ago. Even if I had kept looking I doubt I would have found a MC half as effective as the lovely chumps giving advice here. Just reading the piece on “knowing they suck” has gotten me through some really bad nights recently.

    • you nailed it, It was my ex’s idea to go to MC, the MC I saw made the whole thing a shared issue, she even asked me to “help” my ex get through his separation from his OW because he had formed an attachment. Sweet baby deity, seriously?

  • I just read all the Huff-Po replies. All of them. There wasn’t a single one that agreed with the author. Just varying degrees of what a load of shit the story is.

    It seems that the only people who “believe” this tripe are therapists trying to earn money. I guess they wouldn’t have much of a future if they told the truth to chumps: ” Your cheating spouse is a deadbeat, self entitled abuser! There is no good reason to stay with them. RUN!!!!”

    • True Kraft! Almost all of them condemned. What a respite 🙂 I hope the world is becoming less accepting about cheating!

      • Thanks anudi!! Well, thanks to CL, hopefully people’s attitude towards the unacceptable abuse that cheating is, will be changed for the better.

  • In my case, I can’t fault either of the 2 counselors we saw for giving bad advice. The first time was after reconciliation. I had agreed to give the marriage another try under the condition that we went to marriage counseling. I asked STBX if he preferred a male or female counselor. He said female (probably because he assumed he could charm her into taking his side.) After the 2nd session when she supported something I had said and understood how I might feel a certain way – aka called him on his shit) he stormed out declaring that he “just got ganged up on by two women.” Chump that I am, we never returned to counseling, but I still wanted to give reconciliation a try. The second attempt – about 6 years later – STBX quit going after one session. He claimed “That guy isn’t going to help us. He’s worthless.” I went to the 2nd session myself. The therapist told me that he felt sorry for me during the session with my husband. But I remained chumply for another 11 years. I guess I take responsibility for not buying a clue.

    • Yeah, my ex, during our few session of counseling together, ended up very angry because, you know, we talked about his cheating and this was, to him, giving him a hard time and making him feel bad. Apparently we were supposed to be there to discuss why I made him do it and how I could fix that. Or something. I don’t know, actually and I don’t care. Therapist refused to have him there after a certain point, saying I was the one who needed support and basically that he was an asshole. She knows her stuff, my therapist. 🙂

      • Exactly, Nord. I always felt that my STBX was expecting to hear the therapist validate that yes indeed, I was the one who needed to change. (to be “fixed”) I was the reason our marriage was not working. He of course was driven to cheat because of how horrible it was to live with me.

        • Mine didn’t even blame me at first (not until much later when I refused to believe he wasn’t still cheating which was most inconvenient and annoying for him) – instead he said it was because my cat died. And his ex wife’s cat died, so he was afraid this marriage was going to end up like that one…

          I did have a few good laughs with friends over a glass of wine over that one 🙂

        • I remember our first session, when ex said I hadn’t been there for him emotionally so he found someone else to be there. This was right before I found out about all the others. When I told the therapist at our next session about the other ex went nuts and basically said all I wanted to do was make him feel bad. He honestly wanted to go with some fucked up narrative about him being a devoted husband for years and whoops, he met someone when I wasn’t there for him. Of course, I WAS there for him and always had been but I was just old hat, the wife who was always there and it just wasn’t exciting enough or something. I believe he mentioned some crap about sparks and connection and I just stared at him and said ‘you think you’re going to feel sparks like we did 20 years ago? Get a fucking clue’.

        • If only you had “plan A’ed” your cheating spouse, ala Willard Harley/Marriagebuilders. Perhaps you could have made up for all your failings that led you spouse to cheat.
          Yikes! Willard believes this shit( he has a 100 percent success rate with reconciliation, don’t cha know? Ya, sure, you betcha.

      • I’m pretty sure STBX agreed to counseling expecting the therapist to say I was partially to blame. She did not. She said my expectations of him were not unreasonable. I think he also wanted someone in the room when he told me he wanted out of the marriage. It took him three sessions to end it but it wasn’t a waste of time. My therapist had three hours to observe him in full BS mode. I’m still seeing her & her insights about him have been very helpful.

  • wow another idiot who blames me for the affair. nice. as I am on my 8th day of 12 hr shift at work to support my family, dealing with a daughter who thinks drug use is okay and not harmful , that’s what I needed. ex walks away with no responsibilities, tells everyone its my fault ( I just got old and boring) and my daughters a screw up because I raised her while he enjoyed life (golf, bars friends both male and female). I am just to tired to even write this note. so to stupid therapist I say “just join the long fucking line of blame and be prepared because when you get to the front of that line i will unleash the full force of my anger. a word of warning though i am a scorch the earth kind of girl just ask the idiot ex”. the only blame i take responsibly for is trusting someone who said they loved my everyday of our marriage.

  • In our therapy sessions the therapist did not know he was having an affair. (At least I think she didn’t know…) She suggested ‘date nights’ and having more sex. Um, ok. Chump that I was we went on date nights and he took me to the restaurant where his AP was working. And sex? Sure. Why not? I let him have his cake and eat it too.

    If a therapist tells you an affair is “common” and that “good people make mistakes” and the “real work” happens after everyone acknowledges the pain, I might suggest you run.

    • At least your therapist didn’t know. Mine told me after the fact when I called to explain Dday the he always thought the real problem was that my husband was having an affair. WTF? maybe he could have mentioned that.

  • Looking back (which I don’t do all that often), it was this kind of advice that encouraged me to try to reconcile after the first D-Day.

    Trouble is, I was taking on responsibility for a lot of crap that wasn’t mine. Don’t get me wrong; I am far from perfect (there are socks on the bathroom floor to prove it even as I type).

    It wouldn’t matter, though, if I was perfect in all respects because the dysfunction that lead my ex to have trouble holding jobs and had her ruminating constantly on every past perceived wrong done to her since childhood, the irrational magical thinking, using people and expecting them to fill the gaping void she always felt, the fear of heights ( even stairs were a problem) , and so on… none of that was mine to own. And more importantly, trying to play court jester or sympathetic ear to somebody who constantly demanded that I play that role was sucking the friggin’ life out of me.

    I would ask the good doctor this: if everything is to be given equal weight (murder victims play a role in their own homicide?), then why am I so much happier now? Why does a future seem so bright, why am I healthier , and why do I have so much more energy now that the malignancy has been removed?

      • Oh yeah, that’s understatement if anything. The second floor of the local mall was an experience in terror apparently; she’d walk next to the shops (as far from the railing as was possible and even if it was against the flow of pedestrian traffic). That didn’t bother me that much, really. It is just one tiny symptom of the twine ball of twistedness that demanded appeasement: no tall buildings, death grips on escalators, no rollercoasters, no panoramic vistas. All of these things were apparently linked to some terror allegedly the result of a “childhood rope bridge incident”.

        There were a lot of things like that. And then there was the “I am an empath” (from somebody who genuinely had problems with empathy–ironic) and “I may be psychic” things that didn’t show themselves until year 3 or 4 (after marriage) and which really got out-of-hand during the affairs.

        • There is absolutely no excuse for cheating or being a horrible human being. I understand the phobias, though. I have a lot of phobias, especially for various forms of transportation: I am too terrified to fly (though I have a few times), I’m scared of boats, trains, buses. No way I’d go on a roller coaster. Can’t say I’d be too thrilled to go horseback riding, skiing or drive real fast, either. These phobias don’t interfere with my daily life much, but are definitely a problem over a lifetime.

          I am sure my ex uses my phobias as an excuse for why he had to cheat on me. I know the cheating is all on him, but having a lot of anxiety and phobias definitely makes me hate myself and blame myself for not keeping my marriage.

        • There are phobias and then there is attention getting. TimeHeal’s ex sounds like the latter. LMAO at “the childhood rope bridge incident.” Oh the pathos!

          I’m afraid of heights myself.

          The whole “I am an empath/psychic” I have magic powers weirdness, sounds like it borders on mental illness. I have a cousin who is bipolar — when he talks like that, then we know he’s off his meds.

  • According to Larry Cappel’s logic, his spouse is 50 percent responsible for giving stupid and cruel relationship advice.

  • After reading the majority of all your comments it seems like a lot of you are way past me in healing. How long did it take you to stop blaming yourselves? I constantly wonder if I could have done something better. Or what if myself to death. I know for the past 11 years I was mind fucked into believing that it was me, I just don’t know how to stop blaming myself.

    • I went through the exact same thing – I was more angry with myself than with him.

      But the truth is, if you knew what you know now, you wouldn’t have done what you did. You have new information – you can’t apply that to the situation before you knew it.

      So it comes with time RC – slowly – and far too slowly at times. But it does come. You’ll have more realisations and memories and finally the puzzle pieces will start to fit together and you’ll start healing.

      Are you in therapy? That should help a lot. But only if your therapist is not a total jerkoff like Larry Douchebag.

      Trust that it will happen…. one more day of feeling crappy is one day closer to feeling great. (((Hugs))))

      • Witty,

        Yes I’m in therapy. I actually started the week after she dropped the bomb.

        It sucks because in her fucked up thinking she takes no blame for her actions. Like everything she did was normal. ugh, I hate this shit.
        I’m very angry with myself, namely allowing her to come back the first time and not standing up for myself.

        • Oh good – hopefully it is helping?

          Of course she doesn’t – people who take blame for their actions tend not to do shitty things in the first place. But like CL says… trust that they suck.

          YOU know that her actions were not normal, and that’s all that matters. What she thinks/wants/feels doesn’t matter squat any more. Eff her, and the horse she rode in on.

          I hear ya on the reconciliation attempt – I think virtually all of us tried. Didn’t you get the whole “but I love youuuuu”… and “I’ll do anythinnnngggg” spiel that we all got? The promises and declarations? You spent x years trusting your partner – you thought you could rely on that experience. Now you know you couldn’t.

          Your willingness to try again shows that you are a good kind person – and her repeated betrayal shows that she is a scumbag. Plus if you hadn’t attempted reconciliation you may always have wondered “what if she changed?” and that’s not a way to live.

          You did *everything* in your power to fix the marriage. She effed it all royally. That’s all on her. As long as you’re moving on now, that’s all that counts.

          Be gentle with yourself… you’ve been to hell and back, so you need to be your own best cheerleader right now. Imagine how you would talk to a friend in your situation and treat yourself like *that*. And we are all here for you too 🙂

          • Witty,

            Yes she is good. Though I have no frame of reference because I’ve only gone to her. She tends to pull out things that I haven’t thought of or may not want to say.

            I thought I did everything. The only thing I didn’t do was move to her home town…..which is a shit hole…..and now I’m there because she moved there and I refuse to be away from my kids.

            I never got the “but I love youuuuuuu”…..lol in hind sight should have been my get out warning. I did the pick me dance so much and so well I could have won award on any number of reality tv shows. I know that I lost who I was when first EA occurred, and should have told her to eff off then and there (a what if). I then went into this internal battle with myself. Thinking that this was all my fault. I was really young, and I loved her so much. I thought that if I gave more of myself to her that it would fix it all. I was in the ring all by myself. 3 years after we married I started to fight that loosing battle.

            I’m not gentle or easy on myself. I fight an internal battle, as I’m sure a lot of you are or did. I don’t know, this is getting to me. I’m tired of hiding how much I am hurting and I’m tired of just saying I’m okay. I want to be great, I want to have a huge smile on my face, and be really loud about it. I don’t want her to affect me any more. I want to be free of the feeling that I failed. I don’t want tears to well up in my eyes when I type on this blog. I want to slap that smug look on her face when she tells me I’ll move on. Yeah bitch I know I will and I’ll be better off for it. Or the small jabs she takes saying that I bring the worst in her. I didn’t eat that shit. I told her I wont take the blame on how she acts or reacts to how I say something.

            • It has been a few years since mine went down and I still get tears in my eyes from time to time reading posts or comments here. There’s still that sensitivity. Like you I wish it were not there, but I trust that I will get to “meh” … being here is helping me do that, and hopefully it will do the same for you.

              I know you want it to be overnight but that’s not a magic wand any of us can wave. Keep on keeping on and you will make it through, I promise 🙂

              Btw… have you thought about or tried antidepressants? They kept me relatively sane when I was going through it – the emotional rollercoaster was awful. Medicine can help 🙂

              • This place has been an educator for me, and is helping me greatly

                I’ve thought about meds….Don’t want to. The roller coaster I’m on is a kiddie one. I eat the pain, and cauterize the wounds in my mind and heart. I know it isn’t going to go away over night and in the past few weeks after a backslide, I am accepting it slowly.

                Thank you Witty for you kind words.

    • RCCola, one thing that reallly helped me get past the self-doubt was sitting down and making a list of all the things I did to maintain, repair and improve my relationship w/my ex, and all the things I did that might have undermined it. Then I did the same for my ex’s contributions, both positive and negative. Somehow seeing it on paper (well, on the computer screen!) made things a LOT clearer. I would add to the lists as I thought of more stuff, and would re-read when I was feeling crummy.

      For the ‘what ifs’, I wrote those down too; maybe if I had done this, that would have happened. Written down, most of them were highly unrealistic, highly unfair, or unlikely to have led to ANY positive change. And I was shocked to realize how many of them I HAD tried at one point or another!

      These kinds of little exercises help to remind me to trust that he sucks – ’cause it ain’t me!

        • RCCola, you might ask your current therapist to recommend someone that is certified in EMDR – it’s not only for PTSD, it can help you process so much faster than talk therapy or CBT. As one of the wise ones here said, you have to work through it before you can put it behind you.

          I’ve always been a “woulda, shoulda, coulda” kind of person, kicking myself to death over how if only, blah blah. It’s a bad way to beat yourself up and it’s just not true. I can tell you, I have changed on that a great deal after the EMDR. You actually work through your memories and explore this stuff. I would not be at all OK if I hadn’t done the EMDR, highly recommend it.

  • Did y’all also catch his follow up post?

    “You have been wronged but if you stay stuck there that is a victim stance and if you stay stuck there you are liable to have the same thing happen again.”

    So you know – if he/she cheats again, that’s on you too.

    *rolls eyes*

      • Ok, maybe I’m the slowpoke here but I just had a lightbulb moment……

        Mr Cappel has no sign of ever being married, or having a wife, or kids.

        One of his specialities is treating gay men….

        *NOW* I get the women hating lololol

        • Not sure that’s fair. Three of the people who helped me most through this are gay and they are in no way women haters. Cheating happens in gay relationships and the pain is the same. We’re all just humans.

          • Not all gay people. I have known millions for years – I am a total fag hag.

            That being said, I *have* known a few gay women haters. I couldn’t understand Larry’s latent anger towards women… and this would explain it for me.

            I could be way off the mark too 🙂

      • I think ” victim” gets a bad rap( like”judgmental” or”bitter” ).
        It is an entirely accurate term for the betrayed.
        When did ” victim” become a pejorative term?

  • …There are some people out there who engage in affairs regardless of their partner’s attempts to reconcile the relationship. However, these people are relatively rare…
    This was NOT rare in my case. IMO it is more rare that the cheater initiates and takes serious the gift of reconciliation.

  • Oh My God you are on FIRE today Tracy!

    Larry must have been playing Chump Bingo and you managed to call him out on every concept from the “Book of Chump”. B4 (innocent partner) BINGO, I am a bit dissappointed he was so transparent in his blatant “ambulace chasing” that you didn’t get to dissassemble at least a better more complex bag of nothing.

    Rock on Tracy, Rock on.

  • Ex and I went to a MC at the beginning of our bogus reconciliation. I said practically nothing, ex spoke for more than an hour. He laid out his sex with men, his affairs with OWs. I forget all the details, but don’t recall him excessively blaming me.

    At the end of the consultation, the MC said he didn’t recommend our reconciling and basically that we should go ahead with divorce. He didn’t really tell us why he thought we should split, so I don’t know if he saw ex as gay, saw him as an irredeemable cheater, or just thought we were unsuited for each other.

    Anyway, we didn’t take the MC’s advice, and the “reconciliation” dragged on for seven more months. It finally ended when ex said he saw no reason to work on the marriage because he didn’t think I’d ever accept him if he didn’t get a job. Yeah, I’m just really unreasonable that way. I expect a man in his late 40s to be able to contribute to the rent, go figure.

  • Ok. I’m dealing with a narcissist sociopath myself.

    I went to counseling, first with my partner. To my counsellor’s credit, she basically told me in the first session that he had been emotionally absent from the marriage for at least the past 15 (of our 20) years, and that I needed to accept that and move on. She also asked me to come back for one on one sessions.

    At the first one on one session, she actually told me that he was a narcissist who had been emotionally abusing me for all these years, and that it had taken everything she had not to want to slap him silly in that first session.

    Unfortunately, in the following sessions, she started to ask me questions like why I had stayed in it so long, and how could I not have seen these things? Really? She was starting to sound like my partner.

    I dropped her and found chumplady. So thank you.

    Has anyone considered that perhaps Larry’s advice is twisted the way it is because he himself is a cheater… Or maybe more accurately, has NPD? Hmmm… Would seem obvious!

    I have one question for Larry: if it’s true that the cheater cheated because of some problem they perceived with their chump, then wouldn’t any normal individual bring that topic up for discussion? Why would it be the chump’s duty to a) Recognize this and b) Do something about it?

    Here are a few gems my husband has thrown at me over the years to intimidate me into staying with him while he ate cake…. See how many you recognise:

    Well, obviously you knew I wasn’t being faithful, because we weren’t having sex, so I had to be getting it somewhere, right?

    Remember when you found that photo of that Thai model and asked me accusingly what was going on, and I told you she was just a model friend of mine who I chatted to online sometimes? Well, obviously you knew from that, that I was having sex with her.

    You were so mean to me, always making sarcastic comments and not trusting me, after you found out about my affair with the 19 year old, that it made me feel so bad. What was I supposed to do? (Hmm… Well, you were supposed to be trying to reconcile, as you told me you wanted to. Not sneaking off to hotels to have sex).

    (Upon discovering that contrary to his claim that it was only in the past year that he had had affairs “on shore”, I.e., not just while travelling, that in fact he’d been meeting girls at hotels in our hometown since at least 2003, and me calling him on that) “Well, I don’t know. I guess I was just experimenting at the time.” (Hang on… A minute ago, you hadn’t had other on shore affairs, until you got caught…. Right? Hmmmm… And exactly what do you mean by just experimenting? Is that somehow not the same thing as having sex on shore?)

    And one of my personal favourites, when questioning him about not making good on his desire to reconcile, by meeting up with girls for sex while I was out of town a few months ago… The thing that finally got me to DDay: “Well, it wasn’t that much, only 2 or 3 times.” As if the frequency somehow makes it better? Same excuse a year ago when I called him on taking a girlfriend with him when he travelled… He denied it until I found proof… Then when he was caught, he said, “Yeah, she did come with me, but only for four days”. Oh, ok then, thanks for keeping it to a minimum, asshat!

    Do we have a place in here to post all the lamest excuses? That would be great!

  • Larry Cappel is a douche. He has no clue, and my story is the proof that what he says is absolute hogwash. My ex and I were IN marriage counseling when she started her affair. We were supposed to be talking out our problems and she started playing full contact football with our younger child’s coach. I took her out for a date night once — and she came home and emailed saying they should go to the same restaurant. I arranged a weekend in Florida without the kids. And then when the affair spilled out into the open, we got a new counselor, and went to marriage counseling for another year. And she remained the disfunctional zombie she truly is (my 50th birthday: no card, no gift – that was the final straw). So Larrs, take your crack pipe out of you mouth and introduce yourself to reality. Or at least shut the F up when it comes to cheaters and affairs.

    • Oh, Neal, I feel for you!

      I had planned for YEARS to give XH a surprise party and a snazzy convertible for his 50th birthday. We divorced when he was 48. He spent his 50th birthday alone, with a $35 bouquet of flowers from OW.

      The divorce set me back a bit, but I anticipate buying that convertible FOR MYSELF next summer, for MY 50th birthday. Can’t wait! 😉

      • In the weeks leading up to dday I had planned, with the kids, a very special Father’s Day for ex, one featuring something he loved. We were also in the midst of planning a big birthday party for him in a few months time. It chaps my ass to think that I was sitting there planning all sorts of stuff to make him feel good and happy and like he really mattered and he was off banging dingbats.

  • Tracy and Fellow Chumplings,

    This post almost made my head explode today. I am pretty damn sick and tired of reading/hearing psuedo mental healthcare providers telling Chumps that we are at least 50% responsible for the breakdown in the marriage that caused the selfish, self-absorbed, enough-about-me-let’s-make-it-more-about-me assoholic (definition: addicted to being an ass) MF’ers to cheat! Really?! Prove it! And not with some theory that you pulled out of the deepest recesses of a hyena’s ass or based on the say-so of some cake-eating, narcissistic baboons!

    What’s real is that I admit to not being “perfect.” Does the narcissistic baboon admit to not being perfect?! Hell to the No! He just wants to “live” and “be happy,” and somehow me catering to all of his needs wasn’t allowing that to occur. I supported him when he was right (seldom) and I supported him when he was wrong or delusional (frequently). I worked a full-time job, I cleaned, volunteered at the children’s schools, volunteered for all of their activities, planned all of the vacations (paid for quite a few), supported and participated in any and all of his interests and ignored mine, deferred to his authority except when doing so was unethical or legally ambiguous and would have landed him in some serious difficulty, had any kind of kinky sex with him he desired, didn’t complain about his porn until I felt it had become excessive and stayed with him to work on the marriage after his first major infidelity of which I became aware.

    In marriage counseling during that affair, the counselor never addressed the infidelity, preferring instead to focus on what we (I) could do to make the marriage better. Since he was the one who presented as sooooo unhappy, I needed to do more to try to fix that. Yes, she pretty much laid the blame for his unhappiness at my feet because I just wasn’t trying hard enough to be the wife and a partner that he needed. He was told he should work on communicating better but he couldn’t let down his defenses because it would be too painful for him. Yes, she told him that.

    So I went back to the drawing board and became the biggest Chumping Chump the world has ever seen. I brought in a wheelbarrow (as opposed to a large cooler, which I had been using) full of spackle and commenced spackling and painting the shit out of the marriage. And the narcissistic baboon’s ass lapped it up – until he didn’t. He cheated because he wanted to and he could. It had nothing to do with the marriage breaking down (even though that’s the tired story he tells – just like so many other cheaters) and everything to do with his inability to function as a mature, caring, thoughtful human being. It’s hard for a marriage to survive when only one partner is invested in the marriage 100% (that would be the Chump) and the other partner’s major investment is outside of the marriage.

    Fifty percent responsible?! I take zero percent responsibility for him being a disordered narcissistic baboon’s ass shit out by Satan’s favorite hellhound. I KNOW I did everything that was within my power to make the marriage work and to make his life within the marriage fulfilling. He did the bare minimum and sometimes couldn’t even muster that up. Even the idiot marriage counselor admitted that I was the one holding the marriage together.

    Fuck Larry Cappel and anyone who speaks or writes that tripe about the Chumps’ responsibility in the cheaters cheating and that damned bullshit about finding out in counseling where we went wrong. We went wrong when we were skillfully deceived and induced into marrying a flaming turd from Satan’s ass instead of a human. Otherwise, we’re good.

  • Great post Chump Princess!

    Over the last few years of my marriage I became increasingly unhappy. He was out drinking with his buddies when he wasn’t working. He was rarely around to help me parent. When I expressed concern about his drinking and the characters he called his buddies, I was called controlling and emasculating. I’d back off and the drinking would escalate. I could NOT convince him how unhappy his drinking was making me and the impact his absence was having on our family life. I warned him that if it continued it would eventually be the end of us. I knew that drinking in bars with unhappily married men and a single loser would be a bad idea. But no, he continued on. Ultimately he had an affair.

    We were in marital counselling the whole time he was having an affair. In fact, we were separated (a trail separation under the assumption that we both promised there would be nobody else and chump that I was, I believed) and I was doing my best to be “good” and work on my issues all the time he was out fucking her and deciding if I was dancing enough.

    He came home. (I won the pick me dance!) Unfortunately he hadn’t changed. The drinking continued. Hanging out with his loser friends continued. He couldn’t handle an emotional conversation. And he contacted his AP again when the marriage got difficult again.

    He now blames me for being “disrespectful” and for not appreciating him. He hates being reminded that he’s a liar and instead calls it “lack of candor.” And he doesn’t like to be reminded of it please!

    These people are ridiculous. There is and will never be any clarity from a cheater. Forget it. Work on yourself. Stay away from them. You are never going to find the answer from the cheater.

    • LOL, “lack of candor.” Yeah, that DOES sound a lot better than “lying, cheating sack of shit.”

  • We spent thousands of dollars on years of marital therapy with different counselors. I could have traveled around the globe twice with that money. It’s a total waste of time since the cheater is emotionally long gone from the marriage. John Gottman had said that the betrayal starts way before the affair – the betrayal of disengagement where the other party does not believe the marriage is worth saving.

    • I don’t know if Gottman, brilliant man that he is, even discusses the cake-eater, who believes the marriage IS worth saving, as long as a) it doesn’t require any work from them, and b) it gives them lots and lots of kibbles, and c) it includes a tacit agreement to allow them to continue to eat cake.

      Sigh.

  • Mini Hi-Jack (Sorry Tracy):

    While I see Cluster B Personalities frequently described here, probably some Covert Aggressives, too; and some I would hesitate to label as anything but (insider term) CAS=Crazy As Shit. There is one more PD (even more artfully subtle and insidious) which is no longer on Axis II in the DSM-IV, but is still listed in the World Health Organization ICD10.)

    The Passive-Aggressive Personality.

    They are the MOST crazy-making of all. They can engender nearly homicidal urges in the most meek people. A “Chump” who is pretty much stable upon getting into a relationship with one is almost certainly going to become a basket case during and/or coming out of a relationship with one.

    One fascinating book I read on this topic is by Scott Wetzler, Ph.D:

    http://www.amazon.com/Living-Passive-Aggressive-Man-Aggression-Boardroom/dp/B001OW5NDM

    It ought to be required reading for anyone contemplating a LRT with a “Mr. Nice Guy.” Because Mr. Nice Guys are NOT really so nice, as we can find out later…much to our chagrin.

    One Amazon customer’s review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
    Like reading a biography of my ex-husband…, September 2, 1998
    By A Customer

    I am so grateful to Scott Wetzler for writing this book. It has allowed me to forgive myself for taking the final step and getting a divorce, de-coupling from a situation which only someone with iron-clad self-esteem and unswerving vigilance could survive.

    “He doesn’t hit you, he doesn’t drink, he doesn’t run around, and he likes to cook. What more could you want in a husband?” That’s what my ex’s late mother used to say. But something was definitely wrong with this picture. He wouldn’t work. He wouldn’t talk. He wouldn’t acknowledge responsibility for anything. But he loved therapy. Years and years of couples counseling didn’t help. I found it hard to get a handle on what was wrong until reading this book.

    Wetzler successfully calls attention to the “sins of omission” as opposed to the “sins of commission” and that truly is the crux of the problem. Also, the slippery logic, the convoluted rationalizations, the comfort of paralysis, the narcissistic view of the universe. I was trying to engage in give-and-take with a passive aggressive man, and that is plain impossible. My hands just kept sticking to the tar baby.

    My ex was good-looking, intelligent, and charming. But the solitude, the procrastination, the silent treatment, the inability to hold a job, the supreme sense of entitlement, the refusal to argue or engage in any discussion of issues, blaming me for his failures, using abstinence as a weapon… In ten years of marriage, my husband never uttered my name.

    I kept waiting for the waves of remorse to flow over me after I’d made the decision to separate. After all, I was 36 when I married him. Although I should have been wise then, I let me desire for a family and my desire to “help” him blind me to the obvious.

    Now I feel as if an albatross has been removed from my neck. I have renewed strength. My self-esteem is returning. I am vigilant as a bulldog because we have two small children. PAs are basically scofflaws who discount all negotiated agreements, don’t feel rules apply to them (taxes? child support? are you kidding?), and will manipulate even little children to get their way. I am now prepared, thanks to Dr. Wetzler, to stand my ground.

    • Imagine if you will a toxic combo platter of a narc with passive-aggressive tendencies – that’s my STBX. When they say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – most of us are in Incredible Hulk territory.

    • Oh my! Am crying now Notyou. This is my ex. He even told me himself I ad nothing to complain about because he didnt do those things..”it’s not like I’m down the pub everynight am I? But he never said my name but for the rare occasion and somehow he always made it sound wrong. Must give this book a go. Thank you.

    • This is my STBX too. Once he left I started researching the whole PA thing and read Wetzler’s book. Highly recommended by the way, but I wish it had more on what to actually do when involved with a PA narc.

      No surprise, my STBX fit the profile to a T. Whenever there was something to be discussed/fixed/talked about, kids, house, relationship, he would go into the “deer in the headlights” stare and disengage for days. Thinking about it, he never called me by name, either, and there were no endearments at all.

      It was actually funny when he finally got his own lawyer. A few weeks into negotiations last year I got a long and rambling e-mail thread from (I later found out) his lawyer, because he had never used my name in any of his correspondence (always “she” or “my wife”). The lawyer thought I was a clerk at my lawyer’s firm…..

      And the ultimate passive aggressive action was when he told me he was leaving. He said he didn’t like the way things were going, and that was it. I’ve never had anything but stares when I ask him to give me a better explanation. Or crocodile tears and statements like, “This is hard on me too you know!” or “You need to stop being the victim, and putting these demands on me!”.

      Asshole.

  • Had I read that article any time in the two years after D-day, I would have TOTALLY believed it. I would have blamed myself – as XH did – and beaten myself up. Because I DROVE him to cheat, right?

    WRONG.

    The problem with our marriage was simple: XH had to be the center of attention at all times.

    For the first decade of our marriage, he was.

    Then we had kids.

    D16 was adorable and looked just liked him when she was born. But she kept him up at night and took my attention away from him.

    D13 was also adorable, but like her older sister, she was noisy, demanding, and required my attention. Three strikes for her.

    The day S10 was born, XH was supposed to give a lecture to a group of physicians at 5 pm. I’d kept him up all night the night before because I was IN LABOR, WITH COMPLICATIONS (an asthmatic with bronchitis + advanced maternal age (38)), and all he could talk about while I was alternately pushing and getting breathing treatments was how I had better hurry up, or he was going to miss the birth. Because a lecture trumps childbirth, don’t you know.

    I had S10 at 1pm; XH gave his lecture at 5pm as planned. The guy who introduced him went on and on about how XH had just had a son THAT AFTERNOON, yet he was STILL there to give his lecture. He got a standing ovation. All I got was the story of how HE got a standing ovation. No “push” present, no pat on the head – not even a “thank you” for going above and beyond. He was back at work the next day at 8 am, because my aunt and sister helped with the girls.

    Spackle is an amazing thing – it keeps you in complete denial about what an incredible A-HOLE you married.

    These days, it’s ridiculously obvious.

    XH has 50% custody of S10 because it reduces the child support payment (the girls have nothing to do with him). But instead of spending quality dad-son time with his boy on custody weekends, he leaves S10 home alone FOR HOURS to go be a deacon at OW’s church. Not for 1 or 2 hours. Oh, no – for 8 or 10 hours. Because his “flock” needs him. Or rather, HE needs THEM – because they give him kibbles. He’s the most educated among them, so they’re impressed. They edify him and build him up – but only because they don’t know his history. If they did, they’d probably stone him.

    I agree with the others – Mr. Cappel has probably NEVER been married, and certainly not to a cheater. That’s like trying to offer childbirth advice when you don’t have a uterus or vagina; take it with a grain of salt…

      • Kay – it’s been hard not having my little guy around, especially since XH neglects him so much when he’s over there. Just give the boy access to a computer, TV, and fridge, and you can leave him alone all day – like a pet.

        The part that kills me is that S10 is a member of a very active scout group whose leader is a friend of ours. The leader posts all these cool pictures of the boys’ activities on Facebook, like camping, fishing, go cart derbies, etc. But S10 is not allowed to participate. Why? Because the activities are typically held on Saturday – XH’s new Sabbath (he became a deacon in OW’s church to impress her) – and he’d rather go pretend to be holier-than-thou than spend quality time with his son.

        HIS needs come before his children’s. Period. Then he wonders why the girls won’t have anything to do with him…

  • Red, I can related to your labor story. And I feel for you. Not being able to remember the birth of a child with joy because of these a-holes is unforgiveable.

    The absolute worst of my XH came out when I gave birth – I’ve never figured it out but it triggered something very pathologically cruel in him. I’ve moved on from a lot of things but I will NEVER, EVER get over being cheated the experience of feeling treasured, loved, and supported when I had my children.

    S23 – I had to wait from him to get home from a softball game to take me to the hospital in labor. At 2 Am while I was moaning and groaning in severe pain (rural hospital without a staff anesthesiologist – therefore no epidural and baby was nearly 9 lbs.) he kept snapping at me to be quiet because he was trying to get some sleep in the bed next to mine. The day we went home from the hospital, I had to limp into the pharmacy on the way home for hospital to fill script for the baby – because he wouldn’t take me home and go fill it or go in himself – limping and in horrible pain because of serious physical complications that took several weeks to heal and for which I was told to stay off my feet for a week.

    S18 – Upon being informed that I was in labor after dinner one night, he refused to send his buddy home – game to watch ya know. After I kicked his friend out, he was pissed off at me and went and took a nap in the den because he had a headache – after giving me instructions not to wake him unless it was really an emergency. So I sat in my bedroom by myself curled up when the contractions hit. He sneared at me in the car on the way to the hospital because I was “over-reacting” – 18 years later and whenever I drive by a certain corner at night, in the rain – that memory hits me.

    Now I recognize these behaviours as clear abuse and maybe even sadism – at the time, I just thought he was being an ass because he was emotionally stressed, blah, blah, blah….

    • What a fucking asshole. As a man, if there is ever a time to bend over backwards, the birth of your shared children is a pretty good time to pick…

      My Ex had C-section after trying to natural birth our son. Needless to say, she was pretty sore the next day. I remember, sitting down on the bathroom floor, right next to the toilet, helping lower her ass by stabilizing her body from underneath. *Why* exactly, I could not accomplish the same result from a normal position, holding her arms for example, I do not know. All I know is that I was following barked directions to a Tee. One of 18 million control freak stories I have…

      But in this case, I don’t hold any grudges. NPD or not, mommas gets a free pass during that time period.

      • You sound like such a nice, caring, DECENT man, CM. Your comment reminded me (unhappily) of the aftermath of my emergency C-section years ago: While I was shuffling back from the bathroom holding my gut together, STBX lay comfortably in my hospital bed, eating the food off my tray and cradling his new daughter in his arms while I, his slashed-across-the-belly, just-out-of-the-total-anesthesia, reeling-with-pain-and-fatigue wife asked him nicely, politely, and sweetly to please let me lie down. I got back into bed, but the next day, after my release from the hospital, he again assumed that position in his favorite recliner while watching interminable football games. Where was I? Again holding my gut together as I carried dirty laundry downstairs to the basement and came back up with his neatly-folded laundry. THAT’s the memory I use to remind myself that it was a bad, bad, bad relationship for a very, very, very long time.

    • Seriously, the shit we excuse because we don’t know any better. Or we think it’s “normal” because it’s not that far off from what we’re used to. We think we are just expecting too much.

      My ex was decent with childbirth… One funny thing though, when I was pregnant with our first baby it did actually occur to me that a plus to having a baby was that I would finally have a reason to make him kick his brothers out at a decent hour. You don’t know how many times I would come downstairs at like 2-3 in the morning and try to get them to turn the music down so I could sleep and he would completely disregard me. Later he’d blame it on being drunk… and also they were just having fun, blah blah. And I know he really does not ever want to look “whipped”. All I know is I did not appreciate him making me have to act like the bad guy in the first place, and then to have him completely disregard me in front of other people was even more embarrassing.

      It’s sad that he respected me so little and would not agree to even my most reasonable requests that I hoped a BABY would help him act like a grown up and listen to me. Well, not me… apparently I hoped he would respect the baby since he clearly didn’t respect me. I guess the late night parties did stop, but the cheating started!

      There was also a very horrible night during limbo where I had to use my children as protection from him (or really his brother) as well. I wasn’t going to share it, but now I think I should get it off my chest.

      Basically his alcoholic (went to jail for felony DUI just to give you an idea), piece of shit brother had just broken up with someone and was hanging out at our place one night… I’m upstairs and overhear him say to my husband that I’m looking hot and he wants to fuck me. My HUSBAND tells him to go ahead because we never have sex anyway (um, Dday had like just happened, A-HOLE). He goes, haha, seriously? And my husband is like, “yeah”. There was some actual convincing from my husband for him to go ahead and do it. I’m freaked out because seriously, this guy is a piece of shit and at this point I actually don’t trust that my husband will protect me from him. So, I go hide in my SLEEPING CHILD’s room while I hear his drunk brother going all over the house looking for me. I have my cell phone and I call a friend (to find out whether I’m overreacting)… then I call my in-laws (aka. enablers that let him live rent free on their property) and tell him they need to come and pick him up. That he’s too drunk and he’s doing stuff (maybe I said he and my ex were arguing and I was worried?) and he can’t stay here. They came and got him. Not too bad of a scene when they got there at least… they’re all used to him getting into “situations”. If Dday hadn’t just happened I’m not sure what I would have done, but at that point I wasn’t going to put up with that shit. My ex claims he would have never let him do anything… he would have protected me. It was just a “joke”. Who the fuck “jokes” like that about their wife?? And you know what? I still can’t say for sure that he would have stopped him.

      • OMG — aE — your ex is a TOTAL PIECE OF SHIT! Seriously, he made a “joke” about his brother raping you? Because that’s what it is — you’re afraid and skeezed out by the guy and you’re literally HIDING from him and he thinks this shit is FUNNY? I would be traumatized by such an event — not just the scariness of a drunk man roaming around the house who wants to fuck me (in his words) — but by the sociopathic callousness of the one person who is supposed to cherish and protect me — my husband.

        Boy, no wonder where that entitled asshole came from — his family sounds nuts.

        • I know CL – and it’s sad I needed to call my friend to make sure I wasn’t overreacting. And that if I hadn’t just already been through the hell of Dday I’m not sure I would have even made that phone call to get that guy out of my house. Also, this incident did not really have an effect on my attempts to reconcile. Well perhaps it and a few other shitty (but much less dramatic) incidents did reinforce me standing up and kept me from caving on my demands… but I still didn’t just leave him. I still was willing to give him a chance. Ugh.

          I especially wish the younger brother was out of the picture, but the rest of them are definitely also fucked up. Just in a more subtle way – which I find harder to guard against. It’s why I don’t like my kids spending any time with his parents… I hate it when my ex brings them to their home and pawns off his parenting on them. Yeah, cause they did such an awesome job with their own kids!

  • Marriage and Family Therapist here…while I was in grad school, one of my professors said something along the lines of “eventually, the betrayed spouse just has to get over it”. At the time, I had just discovered my husband’s cheating and I pretty much schooled that prof and the whole class on how it feels to be the chump and how dare they ever put the blame on the betrayed spouse.

    I now work in a school as a counselor, but do have plans to eventually have a private practice on the side. I am thinking about specialising in support groups for chumps.

    It always annoyed me how my Cheaters family encouraged us to go to marriage therapy. I flat out refused, especially because he said he didn’t believe in therapy (yet he couldn’t wait to get me in marriage counseling). Hell to the no. I got myself into therapy instead.

    • So you are a therapist and your husband used to tell you how he didn’t believe in therapy? Very nice of him to diminish your education/career. Not that it’s surprising.

      • Yeah…he actually said to me “don’t therapists actually have to be stable and in good marriages”. Ah, the irony!

    • Good for you Kiwi! Yes! Set up a practice for chumps — you’d be a welcome antidote to all the quack stories we’re hearing here. And I love how you stood up to your professor. Way to go!

  • He started cheating when our twins were 6mths old. We wasted nearly a year in counselling by a quack through his work, only for her to fall for his narcissistic bs and tell me I needed to realise my part on the failure of our relationship. She basically justified his affair and he has continued to throw her useless therapy speak back in my face ever since.

  • Random comment from this morning that I just had to share:

    Was picking the kids up from his place this morning and it was raining (but not bad, something slightly more than a drizzle). My ex is putting our youngest in his seat and I have the older. Ex gets super impatient and yells at the youngest to hurry up because he’s getting wet! My oldest looks at me and says that I am getting… less wet! I guess because I wasn’t flipping out and complaining about it, obviously.

    So, he’s only 4… I’m sure he will learn that over time he will realize that nope, in cases like that ex and I are experiencing the same situation… only he responds to it in his ridiculous, selfish way. How dare he be inconvenienced and get some drizzle in his hair!?!?!

    • LOL. His hair is more important than anyone else’s of course. You really should have held the umbrella over his head so he didn’t feel any drops.

      Your 4 year old is already insightful. Kids observe and understand so much more than we think they do.

      • Um……. “You really should have held the umbrella over his head so he didn’t feel any drops.”

        Need to correct you there Kay…. I think you meant to say “you really should have gotten rid of all the rain clouds, made the sun appear, and adjusted the temperature to his favourite ambient heat to the 2nd decimal place. And while you were at it danced a jig.”

        Amirite? 😉

      • yeah, it was funny that he noticed our different reactions (or my non-reaction to a non-problem) and tried to figure out how to explain it.

    • As much as I whine about my experience, I can’t begin to describe how much I feel for you guys having to bring up children with those freaking psychos… and what the long term impact will be on the children.

      That being said… when I see you guys, and friends IRL, going through it…. I see that you (chumps) are all doing a phenomenal job of parenting all by yourselves.

      So kudos! And hugs to your kids 🙂

      • thanks! we’re doing good… I tell myself that it’s no worse than if they had grown up with him in the house with us for their entire childhood. Which was the other path available to me. And it’s hopefully better than it would have been… although sometimes I do wish he were completely out of the picture. At least now I can *attempt* to model healthy behavior during the time they are solely with me. And parent exactly how I want to. What he does, he does. And hopefully because they can compare and contrast our separate behavior on their own they can figure things out for themselves. And hopefully I’m doing a good job. We know at least that I am willing to get rained on a little bit for them! 🙂

        • A tale from the other side (man chump raising kids) is more a tale of passive aggressive roadblocks. I really like being able to manage unfettered the homework (I was told I expected too much with five assignments not turned in) that I needed to back off and that I should let my daughter fail as THAT will teach her!!!

          Ugh.. we have almost all B’s now, assignments turned in and a stress free environment. It is crazy when you have to get past mom if the kids decide not to do thier homework. I just waited until she passed out on the couch and started the homework reviews.

          Now, minute one, hit the door, homework is out for me to review 🙂 🙂

  • I hope we all can learn from this project, especially the men in our lives.
    Most of us, aren’t happy with our bodies after Motherhood… which stretches from New Moms , GrandMoms to GGrand Moms.
    It is just the end result of giving birth, being normal and if we are lucky, living long enough to see the changes age and menopause bring.
    Most of us , don’t like it, try diligently to change it… but we eventually learn to accept our “flawed” bodies , “who we are… ISN’T what we look like “!
    We are SO much more !

    http://www.upworthy.com/want-an-honest-look-at-how-motherhood-changes-womens-bodies-here-you-go-5?c=ufb1

    • Smart Ass,
      Somewhere there is this delightful poster of a curvy women saying something (to men) to this effect, “If you want someone with the body of a 12 year old Chinese boy, then find yourself a 12 year old Chinese boy.”

      At some point in time during this century men (and women) have been culturally conditioned (I blame the advertising media) to think people should perpetually have perfect pubescent bodies.. This is totally unrealistic. The advertising media is also largely responsible for the unhealthy contempt for the feminine and unhealthy over sexualization of women in this culture…and it starts YOUNG. This video “Killing Us Softly” by Jean Kilbourne is a real eye-opener: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0cakLF_16I4

      • The intro to the meat of that video is a bit long, but when she gets to parts where she uses actual magazine spreads to illustrate how our society is toxic to normal and “real” women, the truth in what the pictures reveal will blow you away.

        Every young girl needs to see this video repeatedly until it “sinks in”..and BEFORE she buys into the narcissistic body image merry go round.

      • Thanks Notyou,
        Being” fat” was associated with gluttony , which is a sin. Being overweight was once a “status symbol” because it meant one had the money to eat meats, rich creamy , sugary foods. Poor peasants were thin , because they could only afford veggies, broth, berries.
        Fast forward to the “roaring twenties”when young flappers were “boyish” , but represented the “bad girl” which went against tradtional values.
        Along with newspapers & magazines came the notion of “advertising “… to make people, especially women who were stuck alone at home, want & desire new products new styles of clothing.
        Good advertising makes one unhappy with what they do have , in order to sell one want they have to sell.
        IMO clothing designers created this “thin culture” because it is so much easier to design clothing for a rail thin stick figure woman.They could do that in mast production. They used woman , like Audrey Hepburn and Jackie Kennedy who happened to be naturally thin to dress them , show off their designs to gain fame & fortune.
        Now men (and some woman ) have been brain washed into holding a “prepubescent boy” with big , over inflated silicone boobs… as the ideal.
        In recent years we have been lead to believe that going “bare down there” is “sexy “. Really ? I once had a very dear man I was involved with who was a sexy older man, divorced , father of two grown daughters.
        “Little girls have no curves and no pubic hair because we aren’t supposed to be attracted to them … Woman have beautiful breasts, full butts, and pubic hair because men find those things attractive .” I loved him even more when he told me this.
        Real men … desire real women.

  • Just wanted to add that today a distraught father came to my office (I am a school counselor) and told me that his wife had left him and the four kids for some sleaze she met on the Internet…she moved a ten hour flight away. He asked me how can I get her back and said that he knows he wasn’t a perfect husband and was he to blame? Sadder still when his 9 yr old daughter comes to see me to ask if I can help make her mom come home. Heart breaking….and all too fricken common.

  • Oh My, I love this- Thank You so much for this article.
    I initiated month long episodes of therapy on seven different occasions during my 23 yr marriage to my creepy perverted fraudulent DECEPTIVE, literal” jerk off” of a husband. The first one being right after he started (and kept well hidden from me) what I now know to be his astoundingly vulgar obsessive addictive habits of sexual acting out with strippers and prostitutes.
    (His favorite act at this time included a disgusting and often humiliating sex act with teen strippers in the back rooms of all nude strip clubs. isn’t this lovely). This obsession was anchored into his daily live at the same time when our third daughter was one month old. He came home, after emasculating himself this way, afflicted with “sudden onset premature ejaculation” and other sexual performance issues that were sudden, frustrating, and very obvious. I did not ignore this or any of the other very ODD manifestations that by what I now know were directly caused by his acting out sexually and were also connected deeply to his misogynistic erotisized rage fueled, narcissism, sexual addiction and the shame caused by his chosen acts of sexual deviance.
    He has been an astoundingly talented fraud. He is a fake “nice guy” and he set up, manipulated, lied to, deceived and diverted blame to me on every occasion that we attempted any therapy. These therapist unwittingly fell for his manipulative deception and therefore made themselves complicit with his abusive evil acts and tactics. He knowingly designed these manipulative therapy scenarios so to place blame on me, so he could continue to get away with his creepy behaviors undetected. The therapist did not make this a difficult task for him. My husband wanted to keep his mask in place, the man with the nice wife and family, so he appeared to everyone around him to be a nice honest family man and an all around good guy. . During the earlier therapy sessions I had absolutely no clue about the true nature of his deception, the obsessive and compulsive adultery or the sexual perversion. It was so confusing and frustrating to be assaulted with and witness to all the psychobabble as I would try to figure out what was REALLY going on and as I would try to apply the prescribed remedies these therapist gave us. Things like IMAGO and being vulnerable and trusting. These therapies, because my husband was lying, deceiving and manipulating the therapy, actually allowed my husband to further abuse and confuse me more seriously then ever.
    On our sixth cycle of therapy I knew for certain something was seriously wrong and I knew that it had absolutely nothing to do with me. I knew my partner was lying and I was not confused about this. I was not participating with his deception and lies even though I did not know for certain what they were I did know he was lying.. I also was not participating with the therapist deluded thinking or ridiculous suggestions that I was some how partially responsible for my husbands behaviors or choices. When the therapist started suggesting that I was, by the mere fact that I was in the relationship with my husband, was somehow responsible for his behaviors or that I too must be” Just as sick as he is (favorite statement for sex addicts and their therapist that plug the co-dependency lie). When our sixth therapist suggested that I was some how connected to or covertly responsible for my husbands choices or that I was somehow complicit with this by the mere fact I was married to him, every cell in my body screamed that she was nothing but wrong and there was absolutely nothing that I did that caused or was connected in any way to one tiny speck of his creepy behavior. The truth is the truth I never agreed to participate in what he actually knew was a vulgar deceptive lie of a marriage situation. I could not even pretend to make myself appear to agree with her suggestions. This is when I found a SA therapist and when enough of the real truth was put on the table with a polygraph backed investigation I immediately insisted that my husband GET his perverted sick abusive self OUT of my house and I am now divorcing his ass. ALL I EVER NEEDED WAS THE TRUTH. Obviously this SA therapist turned out to be our last therapist and round of therapy. This therapist knew better then to even look at me sideways or to call me co-dependent anything. There was absolutely no reason what so ever to even suggest this. It simply was not true. After I had the truth about what my husband was doing and who he REALLY was I had no problem making sensible, wise, clear headed, empowered choices. When given enough of the truth to know what I was really dealing with, I did so. Therapist now more then ever have to correct this outdated and deluded unhelpful practice. When we as clients REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE WITH THEIR NONSENSE then these therapist will have to correct this all to often mode of incorrect and distorted blaming or making complicit the partner of an adulterer.
    The pain and confusion caused in the earlier therapy sessions was just as abusive if not more abusive then what my husband was doing in his dark sexually creepy SECRET double lie of a life. When a professional, that you trust and are paying for insight and assistance makes matters worse by suggesting that whats going on with the deceptive cheating partner must be connected in some way to the none cheating partner is absurd and extremely abusive. When a difficult confusing marital, situation that screams something is going on with the husband(or partner) is not seen for what it is and a therapist assumes that if the marriage is having problems then both parties are always somehow responsible is often simply wrong. It also seems that more often then not it is the wife that the therapist will wrongly suggest has the (imaginary underlying) issues. Give me a break. A therapist becomes complicit with the abuser and abuses the unsuspecting partner further with what amounts to a bunch of assumed nonsense or presumptions about the wife or the situation that are not true. This is abusive and primitive distorted thinking. Therapist incorrect assumptions can cause the partner of the person cheating more confusion, causing them to become weaker by suggesting they should doubt themselves or that they ” have a problem trusting” or that by mere association with the adulterer they are some how responsible for or connected to the cheater’s behaviors. It seems apparent that this all to common psychological practice is really nothing more than an incorrect ASSUMPTION, a myth and more often then not is a seriously incorrect assumption. I have heard women describe this and have read of this happening in many “partners stories” over and over again It is often the wife of adulterous man or sex addicted men that are told by a professional that they are complicit with or responsible for,( in some round about way that has no real validity) for their partners chosen behaviors. This is MISOGYNY plan and simple. DO NOT PARTICIPATE OR EVEN CONSIDER THIS deluded LIE. Especially in the now booming business of sex addiction and marital infidelity therapy The pathologizing of the partner, most often then not the wive, with labels like co -dependents is evil and is most often smack dab WRONG.

  • Thank you Martha for bringing up therapist complicity in abuse. That’s the last thing us chumps need. They are simply serving up the misogyny that the patriarchy demands in order to keep women in line.

    The couples counsellor my ex and I went to told us that all our problems were due to me having postpartum depression. (I was postpartum but not depressed from having the baby!). Well! That resulted in another wasted year of marriage.

    Thank goodness the domestic violence counsellor I went to made sense and also, surprisingly, a pastor from a fundamentalist church said what is almost unthinkable in those circles today, that my husband broke the marriage contract so I was not bound to it anymore. I was free to leave. Wow!

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