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What NOT to Say to a Friend Who’s Been Cheated on

Chumps, I’m sure you have some (cough) well-meaning people in your life who have said exactly the wrong things to you after infidelity. Either out of schadenfreude, ignorance, or you’ve-got-chump-cooties-don’t-touch-me! syndrome. So, at the earlier suggestion of anotherErica, I have compiled a list of What Not to Say to a friend who has been cheated on. Feel free to add to the list in the comments. I’m sure you guys can top whatever I’ve got here.

1. “There are two sides to every story. I like you both. I just want to remain “neutral.”

Thanks, because that’s exactly what a friend in need needs — Switzerland.

“I just want to remain neutral” is really about that person and their comfort level. They’re saying that it would be difficult for THEM to negotiate their social life with this knowledge. They’d rather go back to a safer, happier time when they could think well of you both and not have awkwardness. So, let’s pretend, deny the ugliness, and make them feel better, okay?

If you’ve got a friend who feels “neutral” about cheating, I’d say let them keep their neutrality and you take your friendship elsewhere. Neutrality says a lot about their character, and none of it good, IMO.

2. “You know, if you just work harder, you could save this.”

This person supposes a) that you didn’t work hard to save this and b) a marriage can be saved when one party is completely checked out. The former is insulting, the latter is delusional. HelloooOooo blame shifting. Anyone who wants you to accept fault for another’s cheating has no knowledge of infidelity and should keep their pie hole shut.

3. “I’m so glad I don’t have that kind of drama. The biggest problem I’ve ever had with my husband is when he bought that old TransAm.”

This is an actual comment I received from a co-worker. Because what chump doesn’t need smugness? Actually this person probably does have problems bigger than a TransAm. Word around town was that her husband was gay. But again, comments like this are all about the person making them and nothing to do with you. Your experience is very threatening. Let’s make you Other. You’re a person with Drama. Me? I don’t have drama!

4. “I’m so glad Brian would never cheat on me.”

Okay, I’ve put smugness twice. People, DON’T BE SMUG! This is another actual comment I got from an old college friend, who came to visit me post-divorce. This is what I said: You think I chose this? Do you think I married someone I KNEW would cheat on me?

This is another case of “Ew, keep your chump cooties away from me” with a dash of schadenfreude, I suspect. Young people these days call such people “frenemies.” If someone fell down a well, would you say “I’m so glad I’m standing up here where it’s warm and dry. I could never be so clumsy as a to fall down a well!” If your friend falls down a well (or in the case of infidelity, is pushed) — throw them a rope! Don’t stand there with your bare face hanging out, congratulating yourself. If you think stupid, smug thoughts — please keep them to yourself.

5. “It’s about time you got over this.”

People don’t heal on the time lines we would like. A true friend recognizes that you’re grieving. The best thing they can do is listen, be present, and realize it’s a process the chump is going to have to work through. A friend should do what you would do for anyone else who suffered a sudden loss — bring a casserole. Offer to babysit. Sit with them awhile.

One gift that results from getting through infidelity is greater empathy, and a loss of smugness. Chumps, there are new chumps freshly minted every day. Be a friend. Lend a helping hand to a fellow chump. You GET IT, and so many people don’t. I’m of the opinion that you’ll “get over it” faster if you’re allowed to grieve, and that includes getting pissed off that you were chumped. It takes time, but with love and understanding (and a few casseroles), you WILL heal.

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  • 5. “It’s about time you got over this.”

    The biggest challenge I encountered from my sisters was why I couldn’t just “flip a switch” and be “done” with XH. It was black-and-white to them. He cheated, end of relationship, end of feelings. NEXT!

    When I tried to explain to them that it didn’t work that way, that you just don’t set aside a 30 year relationship overnight, they got annoyed. “I’D be done in a heartbeat,” they’d tell me. Hopefully they’ll never have to find out.

      • I agree. Unfortunately, I think you have to experience being cheated on to totally get the unbelievable pain it causes. I think it’s one of the reasons most MCs suck at advice in dealing with MC after one spouse has cheated.

        • It’s like having a child – it changes your whole perspective on life. There’s what you think it will be like before, and the reality of what it’s like after. People with no kids just don’t get it. Neither do those who have never been cheated on.

    • That’s how I *thought* I would react, too – over in a heartbeat – if I was ever cheated on. Then it actually happened to me, and I didn’t feel that way at all. It took a long time to process it, grieve, and try to save it, before I was even ready to leave.

    • Thankfully (I guess), it has only been my XW who told me to get over it and move on. “Life is too short” she says. Yep, life is too short to get back into a dating pool (that I was never completely comfortable being a part of in the first place – I’m really introverted) too soon and risk screwing everything else up.

      It wouldn’t be so hard, except for a few things like being betrayed, depressed, losing most of my self-esteem, and having to regain my confidence and manhood. I’m happy I have this site and my family (my dad is a chump by his second wife) who can understand these things. You can’t really relate with someone about things like this unless you’ve been through it yourself.

      • CW, my STBXH, before I went NC, kept telling me to “stop playing the victim” and “get over it”. Like after 36 years I’m going to just head down to the bar and pick up some guy to live with for the rest of my life. I guess it made sense to him because that is apparently what he did on one of his out of town “business” trips, and he is shacked up with his OW even as he does everything he can to delay the inevitable divorce.

        I can’t even imagine dating – the very idea seems absurd to me right now. Trust someone? I’m a pretty profound introvert myself and it’s agonizing to me to even think about opening myself up to someone that way, to possibly be betrayed, ridiculed, and manipulated all over again. Maybe once the divorce is finally over I will feel a little more hopeful, but right now, no.

        I love the O’Brian Aubrey/Maturin novels, and there is a line in “The Letter of Marque” that keeps coming back to me. Jack Aubrey, a post-captain in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, is convicted of (falsely) rigging the stock market after being set up by vengeful traitors in the government, and as a result he is stripped of his commission. He becomes the captain of a privateer, but his reason for being has been taken away, and no longer in the service he feels “he was as it were flayed”.

        Every day there is something that makes me feel that way, as if I were flayed. Now that I have filed for divorce I am feeling a little better every day, but I am still raw. I can’t imagine anyone ever being close to me again. Not after this. And anyone who trivializes my experience by telling me to “get over it” can go straight to hell.

        • They do all say the same thing. I (along with the kids) was told to get over and stop playing the victim as well. Literally a few weeks after dday we were all told this and told that our reaction, our devastation was out of proportion. I think it has to do with them not wanting to face what they’re doing to people who loved them deeply. Who knows if that’s the reason…all I know is that it turned my heart cold to realise how little everything meant to him.

  • Some classic bad advice and comments I received shortly after Dday:

    * what about the kids?

    * Kraft, you’re just being stubborn , wanting to leave her.

    * what are you going to do if you leave her? Every woman your age ( I was 46 at the time) has let themselves go.

    * She’s (STBXW) just a dishonest person. It’s just how she is.

    They’re totally ridiculous statements looking at them now, but then, I was so naive, gaslighted and projected by my wife, I seriously considered what they were saying.

    They were comments from 3 different people. I now know all 3 of them are cheaters.

    • Knowing that they are all cheaters has just disqualified them as respectful people. I simply can’t listen to anyone I don’t respect.

    • Kraft–Yes, “what about the kids? Kraft, you are being selfish. They should be brought up in a 2 parent household filled with destructive arguments, gaslighting, lying, diminishing self-esteem, and infidelity.” “Yes, let’s continue this abusive cycle of how infidelity is acceptable behavior”. Idiots. Good for you Kraft for breaking the cycle. As my sister with Tourettes would say “Fuck’m, fuck, fuck fuck’m”

      • Thanks Redless,

        I can honestly say that CL and reading this forum got me across the line in leaving my abusive wife. I’m not out of the divorce woods yet. But I’m so glad I made the move.

  • I have a friend who is several years divorced and lives in a blended family with new husband and his kids (part time.) She has her daughter most of the time (I think her ex has her 1 day a week, plus every other weekend.) I don’t know the circumstances of her divorce. But last week I was confessing to her that I was having such a hard time dealing with the fact that my daughter enjoys spending time with the OW (who is over 20 years my junior), while being the typical moody sassy teen with me. She said “You’ve really got to get past this and move on.” Here I was making myself vulnerable by expressing something that was difficult for me and was basically told my feelings were invalid. (It’s not a shit sandwich it’s gourmet! You should be liking this by now, you loser.)

    • Teenage kibbles are so rare and precious, I’d be mighty pissed if the OW got them.

      I recently bought my son a hoodie. Great risk, because just the fact that I bought it conferred mom uncoolness on it. But he loved it, and even gave me a hug! I was like “a teenage kibble! A KIBBLE!” I got something RIGHT!

      It’s okay if I, as a mother, must endure the loss of kibbles — because I tell myself, oh that’s how teenagers are. It’s a narcissistic age. But if they were freely tossing kibbles to someone as undeserving as an OW? I would totally SEETHE.

      • Sweet hoodie story! 🙂 I have rare moments when I find something to do with DD that is of interest to her. Boy do I suck up those little kibble crumbs! From friends who understand, I am told that girls are much more difficult than boys. And I’m beginning to believe it. Damn those hormones anyway! Plus, this is just plain hard on all kids – no matter what their ages or gender. So I understand my daughter’s surliness. But it still sucks the life out of my remaining self esteem.

        And don’t get me started on a couple weeks ago when OW walked into a bar/grill at 10:30 at night with DD to “get a little snack.” STBX told me he was bringing DD home from an event at 11:00. So I took a little time to myself to go out on a Saturday night and listen to some friends in a band. Imagine my shock (and theirs too, I imagine) when the 2 of them came in the door to make direct and immediate eye contact with me.

        Yes, it’s going to take me a long while to “get over this.”

          • It was tough, Jim. I said to my DD (OW walked right past and went into another room) “I thought you were going to be brought home by your father.” “Well my plans changed.” ARGH!!!! I then said “I don’t think it’s appropriate for you to be in a bar at 10:30 at night.” “But Mom, it’s _________.” (meaning a place we come to eat quite often, her dad performs there, so I have brought her out to hear a 1st set of his band.) But my biggest beef was with her father for not telling me that OW brought DD home instead of him. OW then came up to me all sweet and sugary telling me “We just came out for a little snack. You can bring her home. It’s totally your call.” I was so taken aback by the entire episode that I wasn’t sure what to do. I knew that dragging out my DD with me would have caused a scene that she would never forgive me for. I simply told OW that I was going to go home and that I would see DD there. They left immediately. I later told DD that I need to be informed when things change and that we needed to set some guidelines – all three of us.

            • Sounds like your ex is ducking out on the work of parenting and getting OW to do it for him.

              Hang in there and your daughter will realize who really cares for her and is being a good parent. It may take a while.

        • OMG – CL, I realize in my statement above, I too made a sweeping generalization “Girls are much more difficult than boys” that comes off entirely as insensitive as the examples you are citing at the beginning of your blog today. I. Am. So. Sorry. I know for a fact that it depends on the individual kid. For example – I would have really struggled having my own brother for a son – good grief. And I have other friends with huge challenges with their teenage boys. So my friends, with boys of their own, trying to make me feel a little better in my situation with my daughter, are unintentionally giving my comfort by perhaps minimizing the struggles that others may be having with boys.

          Parenting is hard! Parenting teenagers is harder! Parenting teenagers through divorce sucks to high heaven! (Not to minimize the problems of parenting younger kids…..)

          Okay, time to quit while I’m behind.

          • Oh no worries. We frequently wish for daughters over here, imagine that they’re easier. My imaginary daughter likes to shop with me, and unlike my son doesn’t want me to drop him off and park a block away, so we’re not seen together. Not that I shop a lot… it’s just I imagine a daughter wouldn’t fling herself on the ground and writhe and shriek (okay, my son hasn’t done that since he was 4, but the message has been conveyed many times since I HATE SHOPPING!) Problem with a teenager is, they want New Stuff. And they grow out of their clothes. Ergo, shopping. We now drop him off, give him a set time, and if a purchase isn’t made, it’s not happening for awhile.

            My imaginary daughter thinks I’m awesome and she likes BBC dramas and has a sweet tooth. My actual son likes zombie movies, video games, and potato chips. My imaginary daughter is an English major. My actual son’s worst subjects are English. And history. (The two things I have degrees in.) My imaginary daughter is cheerful! My actual son finds me mortifying.

            But you tell me actual teenage daughters are not a delight? Hmmm. I’m going to have to think on this…

              • OMG is right!
                My (now grown) daughter had an absolute melt down tantrum in a mall at 16 over a pair of shoes! Some how or other she ended up getting them which was no easy feat, the mall was 150 miles away. She. Never. Wore . Them. We still talk about that….:/.

            • I have two teenager daughters. One would bankrupt me shopping, if I’d let her, the other HATES to shop. S11 tolerates clothes shopping but would rather buy toys or video games.

              They’re all good at English. 😉

            • I don’t have children, but I do have brothers and sisters. My mother said that every time she thought that girls were easier, one of us did something that immediately made her think that boys were easier.

              Parenting is hard. My one act of self-preservation was not to reproduce with STBX. I knew that I’d be a single parent from the get-go. Worse, STBX is extremely inconsistent in his behavioral expectations. He’s awful with the dogs, and is worse with our nieces and nephews. For him, it’s all cute until it isn’t. Ugh.

            • Tracy, don’t worry, your son will grow up and actually enjoy being with you. I went through something similar with my son when he was a teenager, and now, as a young adult, he loves it when I visit (lives in another state). Our bond just keeps on getting stronger without the cheater ex in the picture.

  • 3. “I’m so glad I don’t have that kind of drama. The biggest problem I’ve ever had with my husband is when he bought that old TransAm.”

    To be perfectly honest, I have had a similar internal dialog/reaction without voicing it to many stories posted here. In the end, I decided not to post such a thing because it would be insensitive, but for me this kind of internal dialog from “this story is distressing”, and then I switched into self-ego-soothing mode long enough to actually thinking about typing it.

    The co-worker in question may not be a bad person, I think. They may have actually been distressed by what you told them (empathy), but then they switched into self-soothing mode and made it about themselves (not empathy).

    I agree that it’s an insensitive thing to say to somebody, and I can see that such a comment is self-serving, but I am not convinced that the thought doesn’t cross most peoples’ minds when they encounter something that is distressing and–for a brief second–imagine happening to themselves. I think I could forgive such a comment, but… it would definitely not be helpful or consoling.

      • TimeHeals, what you pointed out sounds like the difference between sympathy and empathy. One can sympathize and be quietly glad it didn’t happen to them. Empathy requires a lot more since they have to feel your pain and it’s uncomfortable and difficult especially if they have not been chumped.

    • Well, she actually had a similar reaction to another coworker’s grandchild’s brain tumor, so I think she’s just actually truly insensitive. But I get what you’re saying. Who among us hasn’t thought “there but for the Grace of God go I”? Grateful, of course, that’s it’s not you. But most of us are wise enough to keep our mouths shut.

  • This is a very interesting discussion. When my STBXW’s father’s affair came out I may have said things that may have seemed insensitive only because I didn’t understand it. I was always raised to hate the sin not the sinner. Unfortunately, adultery has so many sins attached to it, it does go to the core of the sinner.

    If I condoned his actions, which I never would, she didn’t trust me. She had me on a very tight leash after she found out about him. I had no choice but to openly condemn him by saying that I lost respect for her father. Well this backfired huge. She was so ashamed by her FOO. That’s when the spring broke in her head and she turned from Cinderella into the Wicked Witch.

    Basically, I got her father’s penance. It was a no-win situation. Infidelity is like Cancer that goes through a family.

  • My sister, who has been incredibly supportive in the main, still irks me occasionally when she says;

    “Well,….. he obviously wasn’t happy” (whilst not daring to say directly to me, how the hell did you not notice something was wrong?!!!!)

    Another one is,
    “I would never have let someone treat me like that, I would have divorced them straight away”

    (yeah, really, of course you would!!!!!)

    My least favourite, and particularly hurtful one is (for those of use who spent a considerable amount of years invested in the relationship and now find ourselves infertile/childless etc.)

    “Just think yourself lucky there were no kids” – yeah, that’s some consolation to a woman who put (initially) her needs to one side and waited patiently for a cheating procrastinator to want to start a family with them or not, as the case may be.

    When people say the above that I want to scream – no!!! I never deliberately set out to not have kids with the cheating fuck- I just put it off until we both left Uni, got semi-decent jobs, travelled, had fun like we both planned to, then set up our own home and we could financially afford to – only for me to nearly die (twice) in hospital whilst undergoing an emergency hysterectomy. He married me the following year (we had been together 12 years by then) because he couldn’t bear life without me and ironically ran off fucking whores 4 years after that. I was fucking hoodwinked, I should have asked for a refund!!!!!

    Now, the fact that I don’t have kids with him is actually to my advantage now, but people, in particular women, who know that you don’t have kids with your Ex (and this is not criticising those of you who have kids, if you know what I mean) should think before they say it……not all of us are blessed to have had kids with our exes, but we are still ‘valid’ ‘Ex-Wives/Partners’ regardless, some of us have more responsibilities as a result of that liaison.

    • I think what they are trying to tell you is that a clean break is possible without kids being involved, and that’s rarely the case if there are kids involved. Also, divorce takes much longer usually if there are minor children and custody issues, and custody issues tend to be very contentious.

      My ex-wife couldn’t get pregnant Turned out to be–most likely–polyps blocking her fallopian tubes. These were basically eliminated by placing her on birth control hormones, and she was on those until our marriage was officially over.

      I agree that children are a blessing, but… I have to tell you, just watching my dogs spend a couple months mourning her after she left made me glad I wasn’t dealing with a child or two who had been abandoned and who might spend the next 18 years trying to figure out why they cannot connect with their mother while I deal with the fear that dysfunction in their lives might be the result of my poor choice in a mate 🙁

      I sometimes also think I missed the boat on having children. I am 50 now, and I can’t imagine an age-appropriate partner who is capable of having children, so that ship has sailed, and I missed an opportunity.

      But in all honesty, I think people who are dealing with this crap and who do have kids often have to eat a lot more crap sandwiches.

      • Time Heals;

        Your comment about missing the opportunity to have children made me sad. 🙁

        I’m torn. I’m so very glad I have my kids but it is crappy that they have to endure so much pain because of my poor choice of partner and his poor choice regarding fidelity. I wish I could spare them the pain of an emotionally absent father.

        Coulda, woulda, shoulda

        PhysicsGal

        • Sorry, not my intention. It’s a crap sandwich. We all have had to eat crap sandwiches, and if we knew what we were getting into, I have no doubt most if not all of us would have chosen differently, but you operate based on what you know, and hindsight isn’t terribly useful 🙂

          I feel for you. I really do. I can’t even imagine how hard it is. Like I said, watching my dogs when they were in mourning broke my heart over and over. But you do what you gotta do, right? I started walking my dogs twice a day, and they became a higher priority in my life. I can only imagine that the desire that it is known you are there and can be counted on is even more intense with children, so at least your kids have one parent who really does value connection and commitment in their life and who is really looking out for them.

      • TimeHeals:

        I am very happy that I have not had children with my STBX, but I do like children and would have liked to have had them. My life doesn’t feel empty without them, but it is odd that children were in my plans and now they aren’t there.

        Still, I have a cousin who divorced her cheater about 20 years ago. She’s remarried since then. This is a second marriage for them both, and it’s lasted far longer than either of their first marriages did. Her current husband had a daughter, and they now have grandchildren. My cousin always refers to the grandchildren as her own.

        I think this is very likely the scenario I’ll follow, assuming I meet someone else.

        At any rate, I guess I’m trying to say that I think that those of us who didn’t have children and are past our child-bearing years can at least have a shot at the grandchildren. 🙂

    • My heart hurts reading these posts.

      I’ve said before that my biggest regret of my marraige was having children with a husband who clearly didn’t want them. I had multiple miscarraiges, then had our daughter and adopted our son. They have not seen him since he left over 5 years ago.

      Their pain is terrible, but has lessened over time. My guilt about choosing a bad man to be their “father” comes and goes. I would tell you though, when the time is right, perhaps consider adoption. For me, i has been an amazing journey and my son is truly a miracle and a gift (even on the bad days…lol). If you want to be a parent, don’t let that incredible journey be a dream that your ex-spouse stole. Hugs to you all.

      • I agree ReDefining, there are so many options nowadays. I was just having that conversation with a lesbian couple with whom I am friends. They just got married in Delaware. I told them they should adopt– theynhave been together for decades, they love children, and they would provide a great home. Don’t let anything stop you if it’s something you want. We’ve allowed enough years of our lives to be squandered by our exes- I say no more!

    • I don’t personally get upset when people tell me the “at least you didn’t have kids” one because I am very thankful for that, overall. But I agree that, for me, it also brings up the fact that my chance at having kids now is very slim. For it to happen the stars would have to align pretty quickly as far as healing and meeting someone new and then getting to the point of being ready to have kids. I try to not think about it too much… (If I were a person that was 100% sure of wanting kids, this would be much harder for me. I was still going back and forth on the idea up until the day dday.)

    • “Just think yourself lucky there were no kids” – I got that too. So apparently the last 33 years don’t mean as much with no kids.

      • I think that was my original point…. bogieb.. but I am thankful in hindsight that we didn’t and have come to terms with not being able to have them.

        This was originally about comments that you don’t really want to hear, and that is one of them.:-)

  • Comments that are said and then the reality:

    “You should go after the AP”
    There were several and that would be considered assault of what I wanted to do to them. 2 years prison to maim, 20 years if I completely lost my shit.

    “I would have kicked her ass out”
    She is on the deed too. Nobody can kick anyone out. Someone has to leave.

    “Stay for the kids.”
    My parenting was being constantly undermined by her. How do you raise the kids with morals and values when the mother is a ****. For the record, leaving my kids was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, well…other than organic chemistry.

    “This will destroy your finances”
    I’m married to someone I don’t trust. My finances can be corrected later when I’m completely in charge of them. Cut my losses now.

  • I’m so glad you brought up this topic again! I’m pretty Meh, when it comes to my ex these days but I’m still trying to figure out who are my real friends.

    This is what I’m dealing with. My ex and I had many couple friends in our small community. The woman all met first and became friends and we’ve raised our kids together. We had coffee mornings with the kids, then we all started going out for dinner together as a ‘ladies’ night. We introduced our husbands to each other and they all got on great. We had many get-togethers and planned events such as Christmas parties and golf tournaments. We had lots of fun together and have all known each other for about 18 yrs. The woman all celebrate each one’s birthdays with gifts and going out for dinner, and the men have poker nights etc. The woman call our group of 7 ladies ‘the sisterhood’ and we’ve been thru a lot together and one of the ladies has been battling cancer which we’ve all been supportive to her. So, then comes the split ups- 3 couples at once. Mine was the only case of cheating ( actually he led a double life for a number of years).
    So the attitude of the group is that they still invite everyone to the events and leave it up to the couples to duke it out as to who is coming. I told them from the beginning that I have no contact with him and that I don’t intend to do that, but to discreetly tell me if he is attending and then I will not. It has been really hurtful to me that they have been neutral in my case, and in fact he brings his OW now into this group and although they don’t think much of him and her they tolerate it for the men’s sake, as all the men are still friends too. This year, I told them I would not be attending the big Christmas party and probably won’t anymore, cause dealing with this crap just causes me too much grief and all I want now is peace. They think I’ve been trying to make them pick sides and am now angry that they continue to tolerate this arrangment. I don’t even want to continue with my outings with just the women ‘sisterhood’ because I see these friendships as lacking. I really didn’t get the support I was counting on and just can’t fake it.

    No, they really don’t get it…but is that reason good enough to throw away the friendships? I also have other mutual friends who have been very supportive to me but continue a relationship with him as well. One of these friends voiced her stance as ” good friends will support each one of you.” They still think he’s a great guy.

    I’m really torn over this. In my experience the only ones who really get it are the ones who’ve been chumped and know first hand, but should for the ones who don’t? Is it narcissitic of me to expect them to miss out on group events on my account?

    • If they still think that he’s a great guy then there’s something lacking in them. You don’t people like that in your life.

    • I’m sorry, these people suck. What their actions are saying is that they value their social life and their historical configuration more than you. The men like him? If I were those women, I’d be looking at my husband a lot differently.

      I’ve seen that advice of oh invite who you want and let the couple work it out — I don’t like it. I say, make a choice, take a side, be clear about it. They’re taking a side by including him, they just don’t want to admit that.

      I’d say — hey, if I got mugged, would you invite my mugger to dinner? Well, conducting a double life and deceiving me for years is a lot more intimate an injury than being mugged.

      But he’s such a Nice Mugger… and the guys really like him…

    • movingon51, they aren’t good friends. I would be so hurt by their attitudes. I grew up in a small town so I know the challenges of a limited social circle. Any hope of expanding your social circle outside of your small community? Much easier said than done but it seems like you need new friends. A long history with them may not be enough to keep connected to them.

      Now divorced, I told a close friend that there were challenges in my marriage that I “own”. She wouldn’t even let me finish my thoughts. She is civil to my ex’s face for the sake of our daughter and because she is basically a very sweet person, she doesn’t hate him but she wants him to own his shit completely. I am not allowed to own any of it for him. I will love this friend until the day I die.

        • I have similar experiences as well Moving on and I read this yesterday and it seems to be so true.

          “It is very tempting to take the side of the perpetrator. All the perpetrator asks is that the bystander do nothing. He appeals to the universal desire to see, hear and speak no evil. The victim, on the contrary, asks the bystander to share the burden of pain. The victim demands action, engagement and remembering.”
          — Judy Herman

          Trust that they suck as CL says…..who needs friends like that, they are better enemies…..but it hurts and it cuts deep becasue you see that they never really valued anything about your relationship…that is a hard pill to swallow….I’m still trying.

  • Mostly I got fantastic support and understanding from family and friends, but my MIL, who was probably trying to be decent, said something that made me cut contact with her and all of his family (after sending a very nice note explaining that I needed space, like, forever).

    She said the dreaded “Maybe it is for the best. You were both so unhappy.”

    This enraged me! This was no he said/she said situation! It made me feel as if I bore responsibility for her alcoholic, narcissistic, autistic, amoral son’s unhappiness. Granted, I did NOT make him happy. No one could. To frame the situation as if it was just a matter of two people who did not make each other happy is to completely whitewash over how shitty and emotionally abusive he had been to me for years, how completely absent from the relationship he had always been, and how hard I tried, like a super chump, to make him happy and make things better.

    In my extremely fragile state in the weeks after d-day, I knew that I needed people around me who were 100% on my side. Not surprisingly, his family could not provide me with that, so I cut them out of my life. I really don’t hold it against them. And having them all out of my life has likely really helped to speed my healing.

    • Oh yeah. It’s all for the best. Part of God’s greater plan. (eye roll)

      IMO, getting this guy out of your life, yeah, is probably for the best. Leave a cheater, gain a life. But that’s the last thing you want to hear from your MIL. To me it sounds like she’s minimizing what her son did. Doesn’t matter, because hey, you were BOTH unhappy. (i.e., you were BOTH at fault.)

      • I agree the MIL is minimizing what her son did, this happened to me to. At first ex’s mother told me to divorce her son for cheating on me. But, after he pulled the gun on me and moved in with the OW his MIL started on the path of how the issues were not all his problem. I will never forget her saying “Ex tells me that you don’t shave your legs”. Srsly, she said that to me right after we had a conversation where she said my ex told her the gun was not loaded…for the record, the gun was loaded. So, if I ever wondered if the ex’s mother had anything to do with how he turned out, there ya go.

        • My x-MIL said to my ex (her son) when she found out he had a new girlfriend 3 weeks after our separation…”I’m glad you aren’t lonely dear.”

          Wow.

          • My ex’s older brother went through a period of insanity, which included an affair, putting a down payment on a car that cost $100,000 and bizarre statements about becoming a talk show host (you can see craziness runs in ex’s family). This BIL did snap out of his craziness, and did reconcile with his wife, and I am actually still very close with them, the only people in my ex’s family who ever spoke to me again after the dday.

            Anyway, during the time BIL was having the affair and appearing to be in some sort of bipolar manic stage, his mother was sending him newspaper clippings and magazine articles on getting back into the dating pool, meeting women, online dating, etc.. of course, she herself was a major cheater in her own marriage to ex’s father. The father, to his credit, told BIL to put his dick in his pants and get back home, and I know he said similar to my ex.

          • My xMIL told him it wasn’t his fault, because he was all alone in a new city (his choice – he had to get away from me).

            She is a huge reason why he is how he is.

            She visited him straight away in his new house, and hasn’t contacted me once.

            • I know we’re not supposed to look to their mothers or others as to why they are the way they are – hell, they’re grownups, right?- but I swear my MIL is the main reason my ex is the way he is. The other reason is his father.

              • Just because we’re not supposed to spackle by blaming infidelity on their FOO issues doesn’t mean that FOO issues aren’t hugely influential.

                I’d read that according to one study, for example, sons of fathers who cheat are more likely to cheat than sons from families where the father doesn’t cheat. That said, people can still tell right from wrong. Cheaters choose to do wrong.

              • My XH is the poster child for FOO issues. He is the oldest of 8 kids, and there isn’t a normal one in the bunch. I used to think that his sister, the baby of the family, had escaped the curse of the negligent alcoholic parents, but recently learned that she staged a sham wedding to get money for a vacation, and is actually super involved in a polyamorous lifestyle. So glad to be free of them all!!

          • Mine said, via my ex’s sibling, that she was glad he ‘had support during this difficult time’….the support being the final OW.

        • Dat, wow, can’t believe she said that to you……I think my MIL has a similar outlook in looking at small things about me to justify her own son’s behavior. It’s her way of staying in denial, I think.

          • Yes, I was told ‘but you two fought’. Yep, we certainly did. After 20 years we had our arguments like any other couple. Was this a reason to cheat? Probably not, since I didn’t cheat…over and over and over again. I laugh at that stuff now but there was a time when it made me nuts.

        • Dat, my MIL told me, right after dday, that maybe we could make ourselves more attractive for one another, with the unspoken meaning being that I wasn’t hot enough for him anymore. Then she met final OW. hahahaha

        • “Ex tells me that you don’t shave your legs”
          Wow, I can’t believe she said that. And you can feel free to tell her that I shave my legs, and my ex left me for the OW and never looked back. 🙂

          • honestly NortherLight, I didn’t shave in winter any more cos ex cut off sex with me for years, he told me he had physical issues and I stupid chump did a soul search and decided I could live without sex because I loved him. I was so damn stupid. So yeah, with no possibility of sex I didn’t bother sometimes. fuck him and the mother he rode in on.

    • My in laws – and my in laws in general – pulled all sorts of crap trying to make excuses and generally trying to make like it really wasn’t all that bad what he did. Well, the result is that I have no contact with them. I tried…I really, really tried but in the end I realised that every time I saw them or spoke with them I got pissed off or upset and it simply wasn’t worth it. Add to that they took OW into their homes and lives almost immediately and yeah, I washed my hands.

  • Here is one I got;
    “Well at least you were not married to him and don’t have to fight in court” ( meaning spliting up finances)…gee thanks! I understand divorce prosses drags the pain. I did not know that feeling of betrayal came with a price tag. Is there a price on emotion? Does it come by the lbs or prepackaged? What is the monetary return on years spend toghether? I, did not know there was a such stock option I could invest in?…

    • RisingPhoenix, the emotional toll of divorce does make it worse because you have this person connected to you in ways that aren’t easily broken. It is not just about finances, your spouse can drag out the divorce for years, he can REFUSE to leave the marital home and you got now recourse. If you live together they don’t have the same rights. I KNOW this is why my ex talked me into marrying him. It really is harder to split after you marry and it’s not chump change to divorce.

      I don’t think the person was saying you don’t have the same pain of betrayal, I know you do! (jedi hugs). They were trying to cheer you up by saying that have escaped another layer of pain on top of it. Believe me, paying over $30 grand to get away from someone, and having them take half your shit because you married them? it does make it worse. It adds insult to injury when they refuse to sign a reasonable settlement, in fact the settlement I proposed would have been approved by a judge if we were not married. Over the years I made sure he got his retirement up to speed and ensured I could retire early, now? I probably don’t get to retire, not ever.

  • I sometimes want to scream at “friends” who don’t take a stand. I don’t expect my friends to be rude to my STBX but I do wish they would cut ties and treat him with civil manners only. I just don’t think people who have not been on the receiving end of this “get it.” They can’t. And I find the more I “try” to get them to understand, the more exhausting it is for me.

    I find people do want me to “get over it and move on,” but it’s a process. I don’t tell anyone ever to get “over” grief or sadness. It just makes them feel guilty on top of the sadness they are experiencing.

    Unfortunately the loss of friendship is another blow that comes with infidelity and divorce. People do and will take sides or avoid all together. It sucks and it’s not fair. For me trying to stay connected to the people that were part of my former life is a way of staying attached to him. I do have great girlfriends that have supported me but I’ve also stepped away from people who were more “couple” friends. I’m slowly realizing that being with these people doesn’t help me move forward. I now am starting to know who is really here for me and who I will need to let go of. I think that in time as I build a new life, new people come into it and these people will be there for me.

    • This is exactly where I’m at, then some. So many layers of loss but actually it’s an opportunity to get it right this time with our eyes wide open. My life is filling up again with friends that I know I can count on, but I still feel very let down and disappointed with friends who I’ve known for many years and just sat on the fence or just avoided the whole situation. I’m learning to close that chapter of my life now too.

  • After telling a long distance friend how my ex nearly shot me, it went like this (summarized):

    her: “well, if he calls me I won’t repeat anything you said to me Dat”
    me; “are seriously going to take his calls?”
    her: “I can be friends to both of you”
    me: “Well, I can not be friends with someone who would have anything to do with ex after what he’s done to me”
    her: “you can’t tell me who to be friends with” and “I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened, there are two sides to every thing”
    me: “you just called me a liar” and “I’m not telling you who to be friends with, I’m telling you WHO I CAN BE FRIENDS WITH” Click.

    This person called and left messages about how I was in her “secret circle of friends”, the few people she loved…but of course I couldn’t tell her who to be friends with. I gave the fuck up on her, ended up having to call her back one more time and repeat myself because she kept ringing me. Just remember that when someone pulls this crap on you.

    I am not telling you who you can be friends with, I’m telling you who I can be friends with.

  • I was blown away by the fingers pointing at me. I was one of those who did not give my brother the support he desperately needed. I was so glad to see the back of his wife that I stupidly forgot that as much as I disliked her…..he loved her. He loved being a husband and father. He died too young and I never got the chance to tell him how sorry I am that he had to go through the hell he did. For all of us idiots out here I am so very sorry we didn’t get how deep your pain is/was. Reading your comments on this blog has brought me to tears more than once.
    For this season I wish you surcease from pain and wish you joy and hope and good friends to support you.

    • Thank you, Watcher, for writing that. I sometimes want to send a link to this site to everyone who really doesn’t get it so that they can read with their own eyes the enormous pain people go through and the horrible stories that people have to tell. But then I’d give away my safe spot so don’t bother. But reading what you wrote gives me hope that people will get it. And your brother loved you, I’m sure, and he probably understood.

      • Ditto Nord, ditto. I’d love to post this very thread on fb, it really is such a great lesson that so many need to read, but I won’t. One, because this is my safe place. And two, … well, see #5 above.

    • Thanks Watcher. The people in this site understand the pain, the bewilderment and as a result give me the continuing strength to recover, because they’ve been through the unspeakable. I think we chumps understand that most people, unless they’ve been through it, can’t fully get it. I’m sure your brother knew that as well and knew you loved him.

  • “I just want [X] to be happy. If OW does that, well I’m okay with it.”

    This gem was said by my sister-in-law (after having just been through a hellish divorce which I helped her and listened to her pain). I loved her. She told me I will always be a part of her family and her “sister,” but has never once contacted me since the divorce proceedings began.

    • My ex’s sisters, who are all crazy cheaters themselves, said, “Well, spouses come and go, but siblings are forever.”

    • Thewatcher, so sorry.

      It really really hurts, and your regret over your brother is the sort of regret that is so healing.

      Sorry for your pain, and hope yours gets processed along with ours. You sound a lovely caring person.

    • Chutes, so many of us hear that we’re ‘daughters’ and ‘sisters’ and aprt of the family but in the end we’re not. For me two decades were pissed away and I was told by one of my ex’s siblings, who was extremely close to me, that final OW was ‘nice…except for that fucking your husband bit’. It’s quite astounding.

      • Nord, I have also heard that the OW is “nice.” To one person who said that I said that I didn’t think people who went after people they knew were married (or in a committed relationship of any kind) were “nice.” The person didn’t have a response after that.

  • I HATED the comment “Well, at least your kids are grown up.” They were all gone in college out of state. That does spare them some direct involvement, although people underestimate their devastation. And there were no issues about visitation. However, from my perspective, I felt like if I had kids at home I would not be in an empty house all the time. I was totally unprepared for being all alone and actually functioned best when one of the kids was home for a short visit.

    There is also an implication from that statement that the cheater was some kind of long-suffering hero who did the right thing by staying until the kids were gone. That only works if there is mutual agreement on that plan.

    I think when your kids are older it’s just different, not easier, than when your kids are young.

    • Losing my husband at the same time my kids married and moved away was a triple whammy. The grief of empty nest combined with the grief of abandonment. Yippee! One day I was a wife and mother, the next week I was shopping for one at the grocery store. It was so disorienting!

    • Rosalyn,
      I totally agree.
      I have been through worse, including the death of a husband at a young age, but I had my kids to focus on. Now they worry about me. I hope I get better soon. It’s almost been a year but the consequences of his actions keep rearing up and knocking me down.

    • My oldest son, 32, has been really hurt by all of this. He’s sensitive, looks like his dad, and was always close to him. Then, for four years he had to watch him drink heavily, openly cheat on his Mom with the neighbor, and generally act like an embarrassing, impulsive ass. He’s pretty mortified and confused, talk about not knowing where your loyalties lie! I hope we can all get over this in time.

  • “there are two sides to every story.” that is exactly what people say to you when they do not want to believe what you have to say. They would not say it if they already sided with you.

  • “1. “There are two sides to every story. I like you both. I just want to remain “neutral.”
    If you’ve got a friend who feels “neutral” about cheating, I’d say let them keep their neutrality and you take your friendship elsewhere. Neutrality says a lot about their character, and none of it good, IMO.”

    I’ve been addicted to this site for the past few months and agree with pretty much all the advice. This though, I can’t get on board with. It’s too extreme.

    A friend of mine (A) was dating this really great girl (B). My husband and I loved her, so we were surprised and upset when A told us he had been cheating on her…while she was pregnant. He tried to justify it but we told him he was dead wrong. We told her we supported her because she was a wonderful person and he had obviously made a stupid decision.

    We remained friends with both of them because A was our friend and B had become our friend (B is now godmother to our child). Now, several years later? He’s with the girl he cheated with and has three kids; B has been in a serious relationship with our friend C and B & C live together with B’s son & C’s son. C’s son is with our friend D…who cheated on C. ALL OF THEM…A B C & D get along well. They co-parent, babysit, pick each other’s kids up from school, hang out together and work together as a huge family. They do get the occasional odd look, but hey…it works for them.

    My husband and I choose neutrality because we were friends with all of them. We didn’t pretend like cheating was fine, we voiced our opinions when asked…and that was it. We maintained our friendships and helped create a positive environment where all parties could co-exist peacefully. There have been bumps on the road, but overall, this is the best possible scenario after what went down. So no…my neutrality does NOT mean I don’t have good character.

    • It’s not your character I would necessarily question. It’s your boundaries that I wonder about. I do question the character of your friend, Mr. A, however, and I wonder if your friendship means remotely the same thing to him as it does to you?

      I haven’t always had the best, healthiest boundaries, so I am not just throwing stones here. A good friend is somebody who you would be there for if they needed you, and they would be there for you too if you needed them. Are you sure this person is a good friend?

      • There’s nothing wrong with my boundaries. They are clearly defined and neither I nor anyone else oversteps them. Yes, my friend Mr. A does have character flaws and that’s something I’ve shared with him. We can do that because yes, my friendship means just as much to him as it does to me. Yes, he has always been there for me and has, on a few occasions, gone above & beyond. He can be terrible in relationships (I’m also friends with his girlfriend/children’s mother), but he is hands down, a wonderful friend to me, my husband and our children. And to be honest, he’s a good friend to B too, something she acknowledges.

        I hesitated even writing this message (and this reply) because I didn’t want to cause any waves in a “safe space” for chumps. I felt the need to speak up though, because chumps need support and cutting off friends because they’re not reacting the way you want them to react is not a good way of getting support. If a friend is blaming you for your partner’s affair, then yes, by all means, cut them out of your life. But cutting them off because they want to be neutral? Not necessarily a good idea. Maybe they like the cheater better. Maybe they’re terrible at conflicts. Maybe they don’t feel the need to get involved in another couple’s problems. Or maybe, like me, they can acknowledge the wrong, criticize the cheater, support the chump, but maintain friendships with both.

        • This is exactly my problem with friends who stay neutral. What kind of a person can lead a double life, lie on a daily basis, gaslight and blame shift and financially rob their spouse of almost 30 yrs, devastate and deceive their kids and other family members and yet still be considered a ‘great guy ?’
          Maybe they like the cheater better? Well he is definitely more sparkly and the life of the party…. But his character ?no to me his actions show who he really is at the core but some friends chose to overlook all that. Maybe because he’s a good friend to them and all the betrayal etc just didn’t affect them?

        • Chumpblocker, I get your point and it sounds like your friends parted fairly amicably. Since you’ve been reading here I think you know that in most cases, our spouses didn’t just cheat on us once and give us a divorce/break up. They went far past the point of being able to forgive, they were abusive, manipulative, gaslighting assholes. I doubt you’d have remained friends with your buddy if you knew he cheated on his GF for 10 years, or that after she found out he convinced her it was her fault, reconciled and continued his affair. Yes, there are shades of grey depending upon what happened. It sounds like what happened with your friends was bad judgement and contrition.

          I do have experience with that, my first SO (12 years) cheated on me, he found someone he liked and realized that he wanted children (I didn’t), he never admitted to having sex with her, said only a kiss. Although I didn’t believe him entirely, The difference is that he didn’t have sex with me afterward, he confessed to what he’d done and when I told him it was me or her he decided to leave. He didn’t gaslight me, pretend to reconcile or any of the other abusive shit. In other words, we got together very young, we grew apart, he found someone else, he screwed up seeing her before telling me, but I could forgive that since he treated me with integrity after that. So he and I split amicably and I have remained friends with him for the last 20 years. He married the girl and I was friends with her as well (she’s gone now).

          • hit submit accidentally; meant to add

            The kind of cheater where it really is a one off, truly fucked up one time and realized it, feels horrible about the damage they’ve done, confesses, is truly remorseful, apologizes and is honest that they need to split? Those people are like the reconciliation unicorn, rare.

            • This argument reminds me of Rev. William Lawson’s eulogy of Ken Lay where he compared him to James Byrd ( a black man who was dragged to his death–hate crime) and said he was “lynched”, and went on and on about all the people he helped (which included large sums of money to his church).

              Sure, let’s overlook the fact that the money and gifts were token amounts compared to the 10s of billions defrauded from investors and the 45 billion defrauded from Californians, and let’s overlook that the blackouts his criminal enterprise he oversaw created actually resulted in deaths of actual human beings. He was a great guy.

              It’s an enabler argument, IMO. I don’t find such associations necessary or easy.

        • “Maybe they like the cheater better.”

          Well, there’s an excellent reason for cutting that person out of your life.

          You just defended “neutrality” with “maybe they like the cheater better.” Which, may I point out, is not neutrality.

          • My response was before you posted “Maybe they like the cheater better. Maybe they’re terrible at conflicts. Maybe they don’t feel the need to get involved in another couple’s problems.”

            If that is the case then friends like that, I don’t need.

    • “A” cheated on a *pregnant woman.* A woman you have so much regard for, that she is the godmother of one of your children.

      And you’re still friends with this creep? Your actions are not neutral. You stayed friends with him, you created a “positive environment” for him to hang out in. Which minimizes what he did to “B.” Hey, fucking around on your pregnant wife/girlfriend isn’t so bad that we can’t be friends!

      Part of the problem, IMO, is that B (and D) are chumps who feel they must be sophisticated and “friends” with the people who cheated on them. Which I’m sure gives you the green light to feel self congratulatory about your “neutrality.” Unless they are unbothered by infidelity, and the colossal betrayal that is cheating a vulnerable pregnant woman — I would think socializing with their cheating ex’s is a giant shit sandwich. If nothing else, it’s terribly un-meh of them.

  • The most hurtful line I’ve heard so far has been “well, I hope you can work it out for the sake of your child.”
    Left me speechless.

  • Two great lines from people that made me want to put my fist through a brick wall.

    “This happened because you allowed it to happen”

    “There are two sides and I try not to judge”

    I had to hold my breath and walk away on these comments. Need I say more.

  • Friends who want to stay “neutral” about someone who has gutted me and my family?

    I don’t think “friend” means what these people think it means.

    I need neutral friends like I need fishnet condoms and a Styrofoam hammer.

  • I thank God that my closest friends were (and still are) so extremely supportive right after the nightmare of dday and the earliest days of the separation. These were all friends who also knew ex well. Maybe because my ex went so very crazy and his cheating was so extreme, there was no “picking sides” or telling me that “two sides to every story” crap. The few mutuals who still are on friendly terms with ex are not close friends anyway, and they were no great loss. Overall, though, I don’t think my ex is still really friends with anyone who also knew me well.

    My own mother is probably the worst at saying things that hurt. More than once, she’s told me, “Well, YOU married him,” “Well, YOU took him back,” and she always has to compare her marriage to my bio father (who admittedly was a cheater and a horrible person) to mine, and make out that her experience was worse. I don’t want a friggin’ competition with my own mother, and NO, her experience was NOT worse. Hell, at least he paid child support and alimony.

    My brother also had a hard time dealing with the aftermath of the divorce. He hates ex with a passion, but feels I need to get over it. Not long after the divorce, he started telling me not to talk about it anymore. That not only made me feel rejected, it made me feel stupid and like something was wrong with me for still being in pain.

    • Glad, I’m so sorry your family wasn’t more supportive. Sometimes people think they can make you feel better by telling you they have it worse. Maybe it’s their way of telling you to suck it up, but ignoring deep grief is the worst thing you can do. It’s great you have some good friends to talk to.

    • Glad, I understand. Certain close family of mine declared what my ex did “too upsetting” for me to talk about in their presence, even in those first critical day, weeks and months when I needed to talk about it and get support. Sorry to inconvenience or upset you!

      Once I started dating and got engaged, my mother and siblings declared that I was “rushing” (despite it being 1 1/2 years post divorce, wedding is not planned until next year, and my whole family has known and adored my fiancé since the 1980’s). Hey, I’m not an Italian widow, my ex cheated on me in the most brutal fashion imaginable!

      Other acquaintances tried telling me that they felt ex really DID love me….Really? At what point over the 17 years of his cheating, gaslighting, group affairs, having his AP’s in our home as “family friends”, etc, did he “love” me??

      Like you, my ex’s actions were so incredible, so disgusting, so against how he pretended to be, that I have lost no mutual friends and he has lost most if not all. The only friends he maintained were a few (maybe 2) friends of his own, but even most of them have found it difficult to look him in the eye. The few that still remained friends w him I assume are perverts and into deviant sex like (or maybe with) my ex, and I write them off too.

    • I was having a conversation with my mother the day of my divorce. After I gave her the details of the court proceedings and describing my ex’s unbalanced behavior and unkempt appearance. She became exasperated with me and exclaimed, “Robin you got divorced too fast.” I was taken aback when she knew he abruptly abandoned the marriage and intentionally kept me in a 2 yr limbo status (he refused all forms of communications and I had to hire a detective to get his new residence to serve him). I quickly changed the conversation to a safe topic and a few minutes later politely hung up the phone.

      I had to remind myself that my mother is an “old school chump”. She stayed 21 years in an emotionally and physically abusive marriage. My father throughout the marriage had a string of affairs that he flounted in her face. While my mother suffer throughout this miserable relationship in silence. Maybe, she was trying to console me in her own way. Maybe, she was uncomfortable with the fact that I escaped my cheater. Maybe, she felt it wasn’t right that I should keep this mess silent like she did in her marriage.

      I am having a hard time reconciling the fact that my mother’s hurtful statement devasted me more than the ex’s abandonment. I haven’t spoke to her in over a year because of that statement.

      • Robin, your mom’s statement had everything to do with her and nothing to do with you. She chose to handle her miserable relationship in a different way than you. I think your way is a lot healthier and you’ll be a lot stronger for not putting up with a cheater. When my mother’s father abandoned her family leaving 5 kids, the shame was so deep they told people he’d been killed in a car wreck. Divorce used to be seen in a much different light than it is now.

      • I agree, that statement had everything to do with her and nothing to do with you. She cannot be compassionate to you, because she was never compassionate to herself. You were brave. You divorced. She didn’t. To support you, she would have to call into question her own life choices. The spackle would crumble.

        It’s very sad. I’m sorry Robin — I’d be hurt too. I think it’s one of those areas you’ll just have to Chernobyl if you want to have a relationship with her. Board up the topic, never go there.

        • Thank you for acknowledging that my mother’s abrupt words had nothing to do with me. Your honest words reconfirm that I was right in my decision. I almost started to doubt myself but then I got angry. I was right to leave. I deserve respect. I am not a doormat.

          I am making every effort to change this long generational family pattern. Male relatives consistently cheating with women passively accepting this abuse. I rocked the boat by not remaining silent.

          Not sure if I can deal with my mother’s criticism at this point in time. I know some will say that you only get one mother. Unfortunately, it is a very complicated passive-aggressive relationship. It is best for my emotional health and recovery to remain no contact with my family.

  • “You must have done something to drive him to that.”

    “Well, these things happen!”

    “Maybe he’d want you back if you lost some weight.”

    “You should go fuck a lot of guys, that’ll show him!”

    “Boy, I just don’t take sides in things like this, I hope you work it out.”

    All things people said to me.
    I was gob-smacked by how many people thought it was my fault, or that I could have done something to stop it. Honestly, it was like everyone was acting like his being with me was such a huge favor at all, that I should have been grateful for what crumbs he threw me.
    You really do find out who your friends are when shit like this happens!!!

  • I did not get too many insensitive comments as I did not tell people there was cheating involved for the first 7-8 months. I waited until after the divorce was finalized. And when I did finally tell them of the infidelity, most were sympathetic, simply said “I had no idea, I cannot imagine he would do that,” etc. Me, too! Nice to hear some validation.

    My feelings were hurt by the two close friends (to both of us) to whom STBXH confided in about the plan to move pregnant girlfriend in with the kids while I was overseas on a work trip. They did not tell me, did not want to get involved. One was so distressed she told a third friend…. and the third friend confided in me!

    It will take time to repair the relationship with one, but I think it will come.
    It is already repaired with the second. As she pointed out, he lied to her as well, claiming the new wife was NOT an AP, etc. 2nd friend had dinner with exH and the new wife, and said it was very, very awkward. She said contact has slowly been dropping off. She rarely hears from him now that he has moved away.

  • I think a lot of the advice depends on which sex is giving the advice. As a man virtually every woman in our circle was convinced that the failure of our marriage must certainly have been the result of something I had done, even though I had the kids with me full time. Most avoided me like I had some sort of disease for a better part of a year.

    Luckily for me most of my male friends had already been through this, pretty much what I got from them is ” For the first six months you’ll sometimes feel like putting a 38 in your mouth or aiming for a rock face at 100mph, but trust me, no one is worth that…you feel that way you call, I don’t care what time it is…

  • First time posting, but I have been reading this for a while to get through this. My story is similar, unfortunately, and maybe I’ll have a question to post soon once I get brave enough! 🙂 (I wasn’t brave enough to answer the ‘dating questionnaire’ ).

    From my sister in law: “You don’t know what goes on behind closed doors.” I never felt the same about her after that. This after her brother lied, cheated and pretty much abandoned our kids by moving over an hour away to live with the OW. I told her I can understand that comment regarding taking responsibility for problems in the marriage, but to justify cheating? NO. (And I had confided in her at times about issues we had had during our marriage.)

    From my mother in law: “Something drastic must have happened for him to do this”. Um, yes, your son lied and cheated and abandoned your grandchildren.

    From a mutal friend: “Oh, I just feel SO SORRY FOR HIM”. (!@#$%^). I can barely talk to this person now. I know we are supposed to NOT expect people to take sides if they were friends with both of us, but to SAY YOU FEEL SORRY FOR HIM? BECAUSE HE LEFT HIS KIDS? To me that is pretty much singlehandedly raising three teen/pre-teen children because he CHOSE to abdicate almost all his parental responsibilities? I just can’t stomach this one. I told him he CHOSE to leave the kids. He (the friend) still doesn’t get it and brings my STBX up every time I see him. I cringe when I do see him.

    From a former neighbor, told to me by another neighbor (so this was not said DIRECTLY to me): “Well, I heard from STBXH she was such a bitch anyhow”. Um, ok, let’s go back to the two sides to every story.. did he also tell you what he did to me? Like calling me the most disrespectful name a husband could call his wife? For telling me to get off my lazy a**? For being passive aggressive? For disappearing then making an awful comment to me while I was in labor with our first baby? Um, no, I didn’t think so!

    • Welcome, AL!

      What a bunch of worthless sh*theels, those folks!

      One benefit of shining the light of truth on a cheater’s cheating is that it tends to allow you to spot the lousy people in your life, the way shining a UV light on hotel bedclothes allows you to spot the “human excretions” there. Both are equally disgusting.

    • You know, All, I believe that over the decades, these cheaters tend to attract and surround themselves with people who are similar to themselves– shallow, disordered, unloving, selfish, etc. They then engage in a mutual spark-fest where they impress each other and support each other in their disordered existence, and devalue the chumps in their lives. Since he is such a great guy, they can have him. It’s all about who YOU choose to allow in YOUR life now, and your lying ad cheating ex, and his enabling friends, are not one of them! You deserve so much better.

      • I absolutely agree, Kelly. The few people I ditched from my life were brought into my life by ex. They are all gone now, by my choice, and all it’s done is made room in my life for some really fabulous new people. They really do attract people like them and now I see that very clearly. The best thing is that solo I attract people like me and we’re having a very good time.

        • I know Nord, it is astounding to me the relationships I have been able to build, even with new girlfriends, old friends from high school, etc., since departure of ex. It is as if I have blossomed and ex has wilted. A phrase keeps coming to mind from a poster long ago but I’ll try to quote-leave them to the lives they have chosen. And for us, we have finally learned not to fear allowing our light to shine. We no longer have our ball-and-chain exes who were threatened by us,

  • One friend said, ” I always thought he was extraordinarily good-looking.” What am I, chopped liver? And does that give him license to cheat? I think not. Really helpful comment.

    The second thing she said was, ” How could you NOT KNOW this was going on for so long?” Umm, because I’m stupid? No, it’s called trust, something normal people have in long-term marriages. Ugh. Again, so helpful.

    Buh-bye “friend.”

  • My MIL has said both #1 and #2, and believes them (there are two sides, and you could have tried harder)…..I’m really struggling with this. I get so mad when she says this, I don’t even know where to begin.

    I think she needs to believe these things (#1 and #2) because it’s hard to imagine her son could be such a dick. It’s much easier to point blame, and justify his behavior.

    I’m not sure how to let MIL know how wrong and hurtful her comments are. I do care about her as a person, as she does me…..but I can’t take these comments. I can’t just “drop her” (as you can do with friends who are hurtful) because me and my STBX have several young children, therefore I will be dealing with his MIL for the next 18 years. I’d really rather find a way to let her know while still preserving some sort of genuine relationship between us.

    • Actually, I don’t see why you have to deal with the MIL for the next 18 years. Isn’t her relationship with your kids up to your STBX to manage? Why can’t you have only minimal contact with her the way you will your ex regarding scheduling and such?

      I’m childless so I’m probably missing something important here.

      • Dat, the kids part is another layer in the shit sandwich. My MIL adores the OW (Mr Fabulous’ brother’s ex), and within months, the PIL were joining in on the gaslighting, silent treatment, blame shifting, the whole three ring circus. Toward my daughter as well. It is really hard for parent Chumps, because you got the Momma Bear instinct kicking in, and then some dumbass says something like, “He didn’t cheat on the DD.” WTF?! When you emotionally abuse the Momma, you have emotionally abused the kid. He pretended to be her mum’s loving partner when he wasn’t, to be honest when he wasn’t and to be a good guy, when he wasn’t. Sorting out visitation, maintenance, etc just throws another rattlesnake in the basket with you.

        DD will likely go NC- it took a year for me to get to one email per month with him. DD doesn’t like that at all, but has seen over this year exactly what made her Dad cheat, entitlement and cake.

        MiL phoned once with all sorts of helpful advice- need to be stricter with DD, I am letting her ‘wallow’ (because finding out your Auntie has been fucking your Dad for about five years is soooooo trivial), and that my PTSD symptoms were hysterical attention seeking.

        I informed her (sweetly) that I don’t think I need any parenting tips from anyone whose kids have turned out like THAT. He and his brothers have had 13 partners between them in the past twenty years, and all of us are batshit crazy, apparently, LOL.

        Still grinds my gears a bit, but NC with them has been good. When DD asked to relocate, I warned her that her Dad’s family would likely be angry, and out of love for him, might start to say nasty things about me. She said “What do you mean, start, Mum, they slag you all the time.” I said, well I criticize your father’s behaviour, fair enough. Her reply, “Mum, you know how to behave-they don’t. Dad had to get his asshole gene from somewhere.” LOVE that girl.

        Oh, and the biggie stupidest thing people say to Chumps, in my book?

        “He didn’t do it to hurt you”. Yes, he effing did-I told OW years ago I suspected Mr Fab had a bit on the side”Oh, he would never to that to you”. He already was. With her. It’s not the one big lie, that is bad enough, it is the millions of little ones, all those choices. I think the catalyst was sticking up for myself about something, but the decision to deceive and abuse was all his.

        It has been a very very rough year- DD will have issues about this for years, and it really hurt at the time, but I did find out who my friends were. It hurt like hell, but I did the “No, I get to say who I am friends with.” and it was well worth it-nothing like an emotional rape to get your bullshit detectors to go to 11.

        Chump friends-ie all of you, have got me through a lot of it.

        And to those with kids, hang in there. As DD put it, when she told her McDad she wants to move 8,000 miles away, “Dad, you made a choice. Now I get to make mine.”

        Hallelujah!

        M

        • Mehphista, you’re really hitting it today! That’s exactly it, the millions of little choices they made to lie and betray and gaslight, every damn day, sometimes every minute, over and over, month after month and year after year. That is truly the most monstrous and soul-rending abuse.

      • Datdamwuf, I agree with you. When there is a divorce, it’s the responsibility of each parent to deal with the grandparent relationship. LiningUpDucks doesn’t have any reason to have any contact with her XH’s family if she doesn’t want to. I, personally, found it to be a great relief to cut off all contact with my former in-laws.

        • The reason I don’t just want to cut off the MIL (or tell her off) is because I actually do care about her. And she cares about me….we were very close before dday. She just is really in denial about the bad things her son has done, and isn’t handling it well.

          Plus….I am so scared that she will undermine me and trash-talk me to the kids…in subtle ways, of course, but nonetheless. It kills me inside to think of that. My kids are babies still, so there is lots of room for her to brainwash them….arrgh. Keeping a relationship with her means there is less chance of her doing that.

          • You can probably assume she is saying to or in front of the kids the things she says to you anyhow, LUD. You are not her daughter, and trying to control the uncontrollable is usually not a winning proposition. Why don’t you calmly tell her these kinds of statements are not acceptable to you or the children, and if she persists their father will be solely in charge of her involvement in their lives.

  • The hardest thing I heard was “he never says anything bad about you” from my daughter-in-law’s mother. She thought I should immediately put it all behind me and be grateful I was free of him.

    Once she was texting her daughter about how I needed straighten up, about all the things I should be doing better, but she accidentally sent it to me. As soon as I received it, I texted back and asked if she meant the message for me. There was a long pause, but eventually she answered “it must be karma you received it.” (blame shift much?)

    Needless to say we’re not close. This was all at the beginning of the divorce, which my ex conveniently timed right after our youngest son’s engagement to his girlfriend. I’m sure it made a great impression on my daughter-in-law and her family to watch our family implode so soon afterwards.

    • “It must be karma you received it.”

      If that isn’t the most passive, bull-shit, weak-assed blame-shifting, I don’t know what is. As if “it” just jumped right off her phone and sent itself to you.

      What a spineless fraud of a woman. No wonder she raised such a coward.

    • No, he never said anything bad about you, HE JUST FUCKING DESTROYED YOUR LIFE AND YOUR DAUGHTER’S LIfE. But hey, no need to upset anyone by telling the truth.

  • I had someone say to me (who has, to my knowledge, never been cheated on), “I told my husband that if he ever thought of cheating, he should tell me so that I could start divorce proceedings. He would have to leave the house, because I’m not giving the house up, and he would have to support me in the manner to which I am accustomed.”

    Well, good for you. Having been through the worst experience of my life (STBX cheating), I guess I’m stupid for not having this contingency plan. Thanks for helping me to feel a-ok!

    I suppose what she was trying to say was that she had discussed infidelity with her husband, and he knew the consequences.

    • I’d laugh in her face, he wouldn’t have to leave the house unless he wanted to, that is the law. And as for him having to support here in the manner she is accustomed to? Hahahahah, yeah right she can’t make him do that either. That’s just her needing to feel that this shit couldn’t happen to her.

      • “That’s just her needing to feel that this shit couldn’t happen to her.”

        Bingo. And it’s laughable that having told her husband these things would have any effect on him not doing them. Cheaters are fully aware that their spouses don’t approve. – that’s why they hide it. More so, that’s what makes it so exciting in the first place.

    • Yeah, right. I had the talk too. He had cheated on his first two wives, why on earth did I think it would be different this time? Well, because his sister is a good friend and she gave him a really good referral. How stupid am I?

      First time posting, I’m sure there will be many more.

      • I wonder about this, catlady. Final OW is fully aware that ex is a serial cheater and I imagine they’ve ‘talked’ about this and that he is insisting he’s a changed man and/or it was only because I sucked so much (implication being that as long as she doesn’t suck as a partner she won’t get cheated on – see how nice he sets up those expectations early on? If he cheats, it’ll be her fault). Anyway, can she actually believe that he has changed after cheating mulitple times over many years? I know she’s young and not all that bright but really? I suppose she does believe he’s changed but I’m thinking she’s in for a big surprise at some point.

    • Oh yeah, big talk from someone who doesn’t know what she’s even talking about. Like the husband is going to inform her he’s cheating, and as if she can force him to leave his house or “make him support me in the manor to which I am accustomed.” What an idiot!

      She sounds very smug. If she’s ever unfortunate enough to be chumped, I’ll bet she’ll learn real quick that life rarely works like her little fantasy about dday and divorce.

    • She sounds so childish, like, “when I grow up I will eat ice cream for dinner every day, and I’ll never have to do the dishes, and I’ll have a hover car, and a pony, and…and…”

        • And I want a Tesla

          but the point is that the woman is clueless. Didn’t we all have that conversation before commitment? Didn’t we all ask our SO to let us know if they ever feel like we aren’t working? I mean I doubt most people said the shit I did but I’m sure something was said. I said, “Do not ever fuck someone else and come back to my bed, I will kill you if you do, if you ever want out of this relationship just tell me and we will split”. It’s really unfortunate that he couldn’t be honest and of course, I could never actually kill anyone.

          • Yes, and that’s an interesting point DDW, I DID have that conversation w my then-husband, about telling me rather than lying if it ever came down to it. And then later in our marriage I was suspicious of his AP’s (over 14 years before D-Day), and questioned him and kept an eye out, but he denied denied denied and final convinced me. These guys know what the right thing to do if they decide to have an affair- and that is tell us and let us go free to find someone who truly loves us and who we can raise families with, grow old with, etc. Our exes knew the right thing to do, they just chose not to do it. And at least for me, no amount of telling, questioning, or even begging him to tell me, did any least bit of good.

          • Yeah, we had a conversation about how if either of us felt there were problems or that things working working well, how we would tell each other and work on it before things got bad. I mentioned that to my stbx when he dropped the bomb of dday, and he had a blank look like he hadn’t remembered that conversation. He also said he didn’t know he was unhappy before her. It was like he met her, the switch flipped, and poof, he was done with our marriage. I still find it unbelievable. But I am thankful that he just left me quickly and decisively. It was incredibly painful for our relationship to be so suddenly and completely over, but a friend told me that he hoped that it would be like a band-aid being ripped off…and that the brutal quickness of the end would avoid the extended pain a slow ending.

          • XH and I had that conversation too. Please let me know before you fuck another.

            Funny how the personality disordered forget these sacred pacts that we take.

            • But when the attorney’s show them the bottom line, suddenly they are interested in the sanctity of their marriage vows, and want to start MC.

              Personality disordered.

              You got that right.

              I’m of the opinion long-term, repeat cheaters are *character* disordered.

              • I didn’t have that conversation w/my ex early in the relationship; I thought the disgusted way he mentioned his father’s serial cheating made his opinion clear.

                But I did have that conversation after his 1st affair. We had attended a few couple therapy sessions, and he wanted to ‘move on’. I told him that if he wasn’t going to go the whole route of figuring out how the affair had happened etc in order to ensure it never happened again, then I needed to be 100% sure it just never ever would happen again. He assured me very clearly that it never would (and in those days I still thought he was a fundamentally honest person who had messed up), because he loved me. I told him that wasn’t good enough, because he might stop loving me one day, but still had to leave before getting involved with another woman again. He again promised that he would do that, would never cheat on me again.

                So, 8 months post-DDay/kicking his ass out, he wants to convince me to ‘try again’. In that conversation, I ask him what happened to that promise. His response?

                ‘I don’t remember that conversation, I don’t remember making a promise like that.’

                OooooooK. Character disordered for sure.

  • Also, some variation on, “He’s better looking than you/you’re not skinny therefore, he can screw every woman he sees, and it’s your fault.”

    Yes, I gained weight while I was married (although I weighed less when he left than I did when we were married). I was pregnant four times – that does happen. When I asked my ex to watch our daughter (countless times) so I could exercise (he didn’t like babysitters – no one was allowed to watch her but me), I was told he “didn’t have time”.

    When I tried to cook healthy, I was told, “don’t make that shit…it makes me sick to even see vegetables”…you get the idea.

    Oh, and for the record, he gained far more weight during our marriage than I did, washed his hair only occasionally, and smoked 2 packs a day. Based on that logic, I should have been screwing EVERYBODY! Ugh.

    • ReDefiningMe, I just want to tell you that how you look had nothing to do with it. Hell, the OW in my case was a poor imitation of me, from looks to income. He just wanted someone who would let him feel like the strong person while she catered to his every whim and told him how wonderful he was even if he wasn’t. It’s classic. You are awesome, repeat it every day and forget that bullshit critique.

    • Hey Redefining, let me tell you something, these guys aren’t trading up. My ex’s AP’s look manly, are simply ugly, and while younger than me look older, are not uber successful, etc. These guys trade DOWN to get the kind of women willing to engage in this kind of behavior. And hell yeah we gained weight during our marriages, who doesn’t (man or woman) especially after having children? Geez. And who the hell are our exes, Adonis? Spare me. They are ugly down to their souls. Fuck them- seriously, your ex and these so called “friends.”

      • I will second that, Mr Fab definitely chose horny and tractable over committed and smart. They call her “The Downgrade” in my ‘hood. I shouldn’t chuckle, but I do.

        • Rediningme, I can only echo what the others have said. It really has nothing to do with us chumps.

          I’m a guy. I was 45 when my STBXW cheated for the third time. I’ve kept myself in good shape, great career etc. I thought we had a good marriage.

          My STBXW is just a BPD/NPD loon. A horrible selfish nutcase. The man she chose was 10 years older, fat,bald. He looked like SUPER MARIO!

          It sounds like you will be far better off without your ex.

    • You are all so kind – I try to keep the critical thoughts far from my mind, and it works most days. It’s just one more variation on the the theme “You coulda/shoulda done something that would have magicially changed his character and made him NOT be a cheater.” Alas, there is no magic; no Nutri-Slim Character Gain bar that would have changed any of our cheating spouses into someone else.

      And thanks again – actually, the one OW was almost 20 years older than ExH (married with 2 kids of her own); 100# tops; and the current wife is 15 years younger and also a size 0. Funny thing is, I don’t want to BE them anymore – I pity them. I’m free of his lies, abuse, and bullshit – and I have a clear conscience. I’d guess the guilt that is/should be weighing on them for helping destory my family makes them far “heavier” than I’ll ever be. And when I’m ready, I can shed my weight. They’re stuck with their guilt.

  • What about the people who just don’t know what to say and simply avoid us or don’t even bother coming up with any words of comfort? I feel like I’ve lost a few friends due to this experience, which makes it much much worse. 🙁

  • “She would have cheated with anyone. He’s just the catalyst. It could have been Mike , Paul, Peter, anyone. Stop focussing on chainsaw man.”

    WTF does that mean? As far as I’m concerned they’re both wrong.

    The two people that kept telling me the above are no longer in my life

  • I just walked away from them all. I finally got clued into the character assassination job the ex had plenty of time to elaborate upon with our friends and acquaintances and realized I could spend the rest of my life trying to straighten that out and I’d only look like a desperate loser.

    But while the ex was away with OW and creating his cover up illusion, the kids and I were just bopping along, doing life together and getting truly, truly bonded. His slander goes nowhere with them because they know it’s not true. I think it’s truly a shock that he can’t BS them like he can everyone else.

    So now that dissing me isn’t going to work, the pressure is going to be on for the kids to extend adult respect regardless. Sort of a “Luke, I am your Father” approach. Yeah, but you’re still Darth Vader.

  • From out of the mouth of my supposed “best friend”, when I confided in her that my daughter’s dad had cheated on me while I was in the hospital giving birth:

    “Oh, I feel sorry for you, but he never did anything to ME, so as far as I am concerned, he is still my friend.”

    I have not been friends with that crazy bitch for a long time.

  • Chumblocker, I re-read your remarks and just sit and stare at this computer. The third paragraph where you say he cheated on his pregnant girlfriend but, hey, no biggie, just blows me away.. Well, I haven’t been chumped but my brother was AND SO WERE HIS CHILDREN!!!!!! What planet do you live on? How really nice that they all get along. Suuuuureee! Somebody got hurt pretty badly in that relationship but you and your sig. other were so modern and “with it” that you just brushed that all aside. Of course you told him off. You should have written him off. Wonder how many lies he has told you over the course of your friendship? The first time his penis pointed at the OW he should have come clean with his girfriend, but no, so much nicer to have a secret love and a sig. other and just coast along. I don’t get people like you. I did wake up to what was happening to my brother but I always felt I could have done so much more. Do you get that cheating goes to the heart and soul of a person’s self esteem? Nah. So much easier to be friends with everyone and look like good guys to all. Yeah.

  • I heard some lines similar to some mentioned already, but perhaps the one that might have most upset me was when someone close to me was talking to me and probably trying to encourage me in some with the idea of some future relationship: “Well, when you’re REALLY in love…”

    I lost it. And this was in the first couple weeks. I know the person didn’t mean to imply that I wasn’t REALLY in love with my stbxh, but that’s exactly what she did. I think she meant that when I find love again, it will be “the real thing.” But….that’s what I thought this was, so hearing that being said wasn’t too helpful. Now that I have 4.5 months’ distance I can analyze the relationship more objectively (thanks to what I am learning here!)….but…yeah. That comment was probably the worst, as far as how much it hurt me. And I still am a little touchy when people imply that next time around it will last forever or whatever. How can they know??

    • “I think she meant that when I find love again, it will be “the real thing.” But….that’s what I thought this was, so hearing that being said wasn’t too helpful.”

      Yes, very insensitive of her to say. Not to mention that it’s not only your heart that gets broken when you find out your spouse is cheating……lots of other things come crashing down, too……death of many dreams – your intact family for your kids, your finances, your house/living situation, your married family, your social friends…….it affects so much more than your broken heart. It’s most of your life.

  • my friends were great. More along the lines of “what took you so long?” support – and I hadn’t been one to tell people how bad the marriage was.

  • “I’m so glad Brian would never cheat on me.”
    This one just kills because it’s something I would have thought myself. Never in a million years would I have thought he would do this. He was the one person in my life I was confident would never ever lie to me, betray me, cheat on me. I didn’t think it was possible for him. And I think he was that person…until he wasn’t. It was a real lesson to realize that people can be all the things you think they are, until they aren’t. If anyone ever said that to me now, I would laugh at their smugness. Good luck with that, honey.

    • Yes, I agree and I felt the same way as you. (Until it happened to me.) But I think it must be terrifying for the other person to actually accept that it *could* happen to them. It is just much easier to deal with if they convince themselves that there must have been signs I missed or that their spouse just isn’t the type to do it or they have made it “beyond” the time frame where these kind of things happen or…whatever. Sigh.

      • Oh, yeah. Before I was cheated on and abandoned, I, too, was smug and had it all figured out.

        I think I know better now. I remember before I had kids, it was the same story, “My kids will NEVER behave like that,” or some such thing.

        I won’t be friends with anyone who wants to be friends with my ex. I have a lot of friends. Don’t need to be friends with someone who condones and encourages abusive behavior.

  • Right on target.

    The one point I will make, don’t write off every friend who can’t wrap their head around the insanity right off the bat. If its taking you months to figure out what the heck happened, not all of the friends who need a few weeks to come around are deadweight.

    When I moved up here, I didn’t know anyone. Almost all of my closest friends were friends with Andy for more than a decade before I met them.

    That may sound like a recipe for disaster, but its actually worked out pretty well. Andy approached three of them looking for approval before crossing that final line into physical adultery. Of the three, the first is divorced and has a pretty low opinion of cheaters, the second is divorced after being cheated *on* and abused, and the third is now very happily married to the second. Yeah, none of them were big fans of Andy after those conversations.

    Friends 2 and 3 actually felt Andy used and deceived them (say it ain’t so!) to continue damaging me for months longer than necessary, and eventually cut him out of their life completely.

    I’m not close friends with all of Andy’s friends, but Andy lost almost all of his long-time friends because of his own choices. I have not, and will not, share with this group of casual acquaintances the more intimate details of sexual abuse & the years of terror and humiliation. But I sure as hell am not going to be silent so he can be comfortable, and people are starting to recall (because they’ve known Andy decades longer than they’ve known me) that there are some pretty clear patterns of behavior that precede me by more than a decade.

    And possibly the best–and the worst–part is Andy does it all to himself.

    People aren’t dumb. Most people aren’t worth the time waiting for them to put the pieces together, but the handful that just need a few weeks to wrap their heads around it–its worth giving them the benefit of the doubt for a few weeks. I wouldn’t suggest sharing intimate details unless you are sure those details will not be passed along, but I also wouldn’t write those few people off right away.

    Just a thought.

  • I have a friend couple left over from our marriage who have declared their neutrality. They say it is for the sake of our children ( our daughters have been insuperable since they were born 11 years ago) and have each of us over for dinner when we have the kids. It annoys me to no end, and I don’t understand how they can continue to maintain neutrality with a front row seat to my kids’ lives being messed up.
    The husband recently met the home wrecker and actually told his wife “she was nice. You’d like her.” I flipped and asked how he thought she could possibly like a woman who destroyed a family she was so close to.

    • That is absolutely cruel. Did you ask him how he’d feel if his wife left him for a richer man, maybe someone more handsome, and you maintained a friendship with her and the new stud? How would your “friend” like it if you got together now and then and said, “Oh, your ex’s new guy is really nice. You guys would really get along great.”

      Jesus Christ, do people think?

      What he’s saying is, “It’d be really NEAT for ME if all of you got along, you know, if you could find it in you to develop a taste for shit sandwiches, then I wouldn’t be inconvenienced by your divorce. At all. But now, you know, this whole thing is kind of a bummer for me.”

      I would drop his ass now. Invite their little girl to your house without him.

      Jeez.

      I’ve lost my appetite.

  • “You must have nagged him” – from my brother.

    “We don’t want to take sides…. or get involved” – from our good friends.

    Even my mother and step father still wanted to keep contact with him, having him round for dinner etc (so much for family loyalty!!). And when my mother died, the OW was invited to MY mother’s funeral (she did not come because I kicked up a stink).

    “You just need to accept it and move on for everyone’s sake Ang” – from pretty much everybody.

    • It kills me that people can react to the huge betrayal that is cheating, as if it were one of those divorces where people really do just ‘grow apart’ or figure out they never were compatible, break up honestly and in a civilized way, and stay friends, have Xmas and all the birthdays together for the kids, go on double dates w/their new partners ….. In those cases, some of these reactions might even be acceptable.

      IT’S SO NOT THE SAME! Dishonesty, betrayal, cake-eating selfishness … How could anybody except another narc want to stay friends w/someone who’s done that?

      Our family friends rallied around in a huge way and cut the ex completely out of their lives. As one friend reported her husband saying to her, when she told him what had happened; ‘I guess he’s no longer a person we know.’ And I’ll never forget our daughter’s 12th birthday, maybe 10 months after I discovered his 2nd affair and 8 months after I finally got him out of the house. Our daughter had asked if he could be at her party just for the cake, I agreed to it. Two moms of her friends, close family friends for years, arrived towards the end, nodded coolly at him, and came straight over to sit right beside me. Friends like that are a shield in hard times!

    • “You must have nagged him” – from my brother.

      Angie, I bet your brother is a cheat. My own brother came out with similar criticism towards me. I couldn’t believe it. I haven’t seen proof that he has cheated, but all the narcissistic undertones are there. I mean, who criticizes someone who has been cheated on. A big red flag IMHO.

      I can’t believe someone so genetically close could be such a jerk.

    • I’m sure the woman who was described as me by xH to xMIL was quite the bitch. However, her own eyes could have seen otherwise.

      Done.

  • One “friend” said to me “Oh, I didn’t think your marriage was THAT bad”…umm it wasn’t, but it kind of goes downhill when there is a third party introduced.

    Ex MIL told me she was “disappointed in me” ME??? “with how you’ve handled it”. Your son was the one that had an affair. After you’re chumped, handle it, and I’ll judge you on how you do.

    She also passed on a message from her mother “If they both only weren’t so stubborn, everything would be fine.” Eyeroll. No, I’m being stubborn, not wanting my cheating, lying, dirtbag scum husband back so I can feed him cake. No thanks. Stubborn I can live with. Him I cannot.

    • If it makes you feel better I told Ex MIL I was even more disgusted in her than in him. She abandoned my kids too. In her mind though they are the victims. They dont even care to know how the kids are coping. You can’t argue with an idiot!

  • My MIL said “He looking for other woman because you cook too much white people food.” (I’m Caucasian and he’s Asian) “It’s okay that he does that because he makes more money than you–you should just say it’s okay and let it go”

  • I don’t know how many of you would have had to hear from your family, who have been largely supportive of you for the whole episode of chumpdom, that:

    “What do normal couples do after 40 anyways – raise children. You’ve had 12 years of good marital life before the shit was discovered. Best period for all those stuff is over in any matrimony. Now raise the child alone – and be happy with the fact that you are strong enough to do it alone”

    Do strong women not need a partner?

    Note: It is very abnormal in India to find women remarrying, and at such a late age (39 precisely), especially if she has children. Probably, they were helping in this comment. But, boy, it sucks 🙁 !!!

  • I kicked the cheating ex to the curb in February of this year but he refused to leave the house until he went back to work overseas. When he got back to work, he sent me a text suggesting that he would be moving into the fifth wheel in my backyard at the end of his hitch. Not on my watch. So, I had a couple of the hockey dad’s move it to a trailer park in the next village. I guess he wasn’t impressed with the new location so he contacted a mutual friend and moved the thing to the mutual friend (and her husband’s) backyard. The mutual friend dropped by my office not too long after the move and invited me over for a swim. I looked at her like she had lost her mind. Laughing and gushing all over the place, she said, “Oh, you don’t have to worry…I will make sure the cabana boy isn’t home — that’s what we affectionately like to call him, our cabana boy!!!!” Hmmmmm. There are a few things that I would like to call him as well and cabana boy does not readily come to mind. Nor will “friend” ever be used again when describing her and my relationship, or lack thereof.

  • For me the worst was my MIL, in whom I stupidly, stupidly confided the day after I learned of the affair. It took her about three weeks to move from shock and horror to saying, “I feel sorry for us, we’re the ones who are going to have to deal with her!” (Meaning that my husband’s affair partner sounded crazy and would be a tumultuous addition to the family.) I actually think she was trying to cheer me up by making a little joke, but all I could hear at the time was the implication that I’d be eliminated and replaced like I’d never even been part of the family– like the AP would simply assume my position in my husband’s life and family. I was 7 1/2 months pregnant at the time and across the country from my own family, so I was heartbroken by this. Just switch us out, move her right in! Nothing else made me feel as isolated than that little neutrality joke.

    I also was shocked by the subtle shadenfreude from women friends. All of a sudden I was damaged goods and they were ‘winning.’ WTF? We’re all educated and successful women, but I guess in the end personal worth and social supremacy are established by being able to keep your man.

    • I was absolutely switched out by my inlaws. It was incredible to see how they went from ‘you’ll always be our daughter’ to ‘Nord who?’. And now they’re very upset, apparently, that I have distanced myself massively. I would not ignore them if they called but I do not reach out to them at all. And this makes me a big old bitch, apparently. Fuck them and the horse they rode in on.

      • Exactly the same Nord. Exactly. I was son they never had bla bla. They still wanted me involved heavily but I had to put up a boundary.
        They were very quick to accept chainsaw man. Of course being a CEO gave their daughter plenty of status

  • Same here, Nord (you have many twins, I am one of them).

    I think alot of it is just plain family narcissism- the Exes gotta get it from somewhere. I got seriously ‘othered’, pretty darn quick. Despite DD pulling a bit of a Ripley on Mr Fabulous and OW, though, she, like us Chumps, desperately WANTS them to be the image of a normal family that they project. Can I ask, how did you handle it for your kids, when they just want ‘normal’ and even when things DON’T kick off or go passive-aggressivetastic, the charade just exhausts them? What helped you frame the ex and his family in a way your kids could handle?

    Given that Grandad Fabulous missed sexual assault charges by a whisker, has sent pretty much actionable emails to other friends and family about me, and, Granny Fabulous thinks it is okay to be groped by her Brother in law, “Because they are all like that when they are drunk….” or buys DD (who is a Viking girl) size ten clothes, saying “You’ll diet into that”-needless to say (given also that Mr Fab’s AP was their other son’s ex) that Christmas dinner for DD is going to be Word Salad, accompanied by Roast Mindfuck with a side of Projection.

    This is probably a whole other thread, Nord, but wondered your thoughts, Or CL- how about another riff on Spackle -a family affair? Or stupid things people say to Chumplings, like “He didn’t mean to hurt your Mum and didn’t cheat on you, darling.”

    Sorry for lots of postings today, DD made it to school! Catching up with my own self, and preparing for our move- but like DD, I still have the perpetual feeling that I am going to get a two by four to the back of the head any moment…..

    Further back on the path of “Meh” than I wished……argh.

  • off subject but of interest to chumps:

    the careers that seem to attract the most psychopaths are:
    1. Chief executive officer
    2. Lawyer
    3. Media (Television/Radio)
    4. Salesperson
    5. Surgeon
    6. Journalist
    7. Police officer
    8. Clergy person (Hmm lost #9)
    10. Civil servant

    Dutton claims the careers least attractive to psychopaths are:
    1. Care aide
    2. Nurse
    3. Therapist
    4. Craftsperson
    5. Beautician or stylist
    6. Charity worker
    7. Teacher
    8. Creative artist
    9. Doctor
    10. Accountant

  • At my sister’s house, talking to her and her husband (a great guy, BTW) – “I got one of the good ones.” as she reached over and rubbed his shoulder. Umm, that’s what I thought for 30 years. I’m glad they have a strong marriage, but she didn’t have to rub my face in it.

    My mother, who had left my father when I was 14, then remarried him 10 years later: “If I hadn’t left, I would be in your shoes now.” Hu? So it is my fault because I didn’t leave when things were good to take some time off from the marriage and see if he chased me down again?

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