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When Good People Have Affairs — a Smackdown

Thought I’d point out an awesome smackdown of the idiot book “When Good People Have Affairs: Inside the Hearts & Minds of People in Two Relationships” by Mira Kirshenbaum. A reviewer named Elisabeth takes on every ridiculous assumption — that’s it’s better to lie and “be kind” than tell your chump the truth, that affairs can improve a marriage, that cheating is “necessary,” ad nauseum, and she disarms each claim with bad ass charm and intelligence. Go check it out on Amazon here.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of reviewers — cheaters (aka “good people”) just love the book. Perhaps the chump collective can do something to change those numbers…

Without further ado — here’s “Elisabeth” taking on the cheater apologists. 

— CL

There is too much validation for the poor coping mechanisms which lead to choosing infidelity without sufficient warnings regarding the dangers. Though the author discusses the dangers; she lacks fair balance.

The premise is good: Help men and women who are having or have had an affair to understand why they did or are doing this. The paradox of being both saint and sinner can be confusing.

CLAIM # 1 — “Most men and women who have affairs are good people”

It’s pointless arguing if a cheater can also be a good person because people should be judged by their character and treatment towards others, NOT by their inherent self-worth. The real question then isn’t are these good people, but are they good partners? Whether or not someone can be a good partner and true friend will depend on their character (character shapes behavior).

Someone with good character is someone who is honest, trustworthy, fair, respectful, responsible, and loyal. It doesn’t mean this person is perfect, but it does mean this person makes a genuine effort to live by these virtues.

A cheater’s energy, in contrast, is spent justifying why they avoid these virtues.

Someone with good character is also consistent in practicing these virtues…they’re the same to your face as they are behind your back.

Cheaters, however, are two-faced.

So when judging someone’s character, I believe actions should speak louder than flattery.

I don’t believe in handing out “good people” trophies to those who lie and cheat on their spouses — just so they can feel good about themselves. Feeling good should come from doing good, to yourself and to others.

CLAIM # 2 — Cheaters “passionately want to do what’s best for everyone”

This claim certainly isn’t true during an affair. People who have their spouse’s best interest at heart don’t make fools of them for being so trusting…or reward their faithfulness with an STD…or gossip about them behind their back. It’s nonsensical to claim this.

However, could it be true that despite showing a total disregard for their spouse’s feeling throughout, they nonetheless want what’s best for them during a divorce? A dramatic shift in focus seems unlikely, however I was willing to read this book to find out if any cases like this existed. What I found in the examples given was a consistent level of narcissism before, during, and after the affair.

One woman, Emmy, thought her husband complained too much and was too critical, so she cheated on him. Next, she wanted to leave him for her new lover, but that’s not all…she also wanted to leave with the kids, too!

If this woman “passionately” wanted what’s best for everyone, then how was it best for her husband to be without his kids…or best for the kids to be without their father?

CLAIM # 3 — Cheaters are not users

The author claims cheaters are not users because users are people just trying to get away with something.
Well, here’s what one man, Josh, did:

  • he created “hopefully secret email accounts” so his wife wouldn’t find out he was contacting his mistress
  • he told his wife he was going on business trips when he was really meeting his mistress at a hotel
  • he told his mistress he was doing everything possible to leave his wife for her, but never had any plans to do so

So, aren’t those examples of trying to get away with something?

The author also says users only care about getting what they want. Well, after Josh’s mistress dumped him, he kept his wife around (whom he never wanted to marry in the first place) because if he divorced her, he’d lose the job his father-in-law gave him and time spent with his baby. He used her to get what HE wanted.

It’s not surprising the author can’t recognize a user because her own advice involves using others. Here’s some advice she gives cheaters wondering if they should stay married or get divorced:

“Suppose what’s closest to your heart is your kids. Well, which path enables you to spend the most time with them and makes their lives easiest? Most people say that it’s the path of staying married. Okay, then. Your decision has been made for you.”

So just like Josh’s case, instead of setting a no-longer-loved spouse free to find someone who would love them…they’re kept around so the cheater can keep certain perks of married life. Not only are they being used, but they’re also denied a say whether to stay married or get divorced. Instead, it’s just assumed they’d want what the cheater wants.

CLAIM # 4 — Cheaters are loyal

The author claims cheaters avoid leaving loveless marriages because they’re so loyal…but as Josh’s example shows, it’s not loyalty that keeps them staying put, but greed. And with others, it was fearing financial payback from an angry spouse or losing their kids’ loyalty.

Loyalty isn’t just about showing up everyday. It’s also a faithfulness to the commitments you make to someone, which cheaters don’t have.

CLAIM # 5 — Cheaters “feel so guilty”

The author claims that cheaters “lie awake at night feeling guilty and scared”…but in her examples, what caused those sleepless nights wasn’t guilt over the act, but fear over the consequences that would follow. They worried that divorce could financially ruin them or cause them to lose their children’s love. They worried their impatient affair partner might tell on them to their spouse, etc…

But when worries are guilt-related, the focus is on the consequences to other people, not themselves (all the worries mentioned in this book were self-focused).

Also, fearing punishment for a crime committed isn’t the same as feeling guilty over committing that crime. There are people sitting in jail cells right now who aren’t sorry for what they did, they’re just sorry they got caught.

The cheaters in this book acted like martyrs, feeling entitled to cheat given all they had to put up with at home. And you can’t both feel entitled to do something and guilty about doing it at the same time.

The author nonetheless believes that cheaters suffer from too much guilt, so she advises them to “stop feeling guilty and start feeling like the good person you really are”.
To help them do this, she gives advice which ends up minimizing their crime to a misdemeanor.

One such advice is telling them to “just write it off as something you really needed”…which implies that (1) adultery is such a minor offense you can casually “just write it off” and (2) adultery is a need rather than a want.

To further stress the “need” factor, she tells them to view adultery as “just an opportunity to take something off your to-do list”…as if it’s perfectly normal to put “commit adultery” on your to-do list.

What I saw in the examples, however, wasn’t too much guilt…but too little.

One woman, who was married to a man, wanted to know what sex with a woman would be like….so she pushed aside her fidelity vows to find out.
And yet, the author claims when people cheat, “It’s the last thing they ever thought would happen.”
Um…you sure about that?
After the affair ended, the woman LAUGHED and said, “I really am straight”.
But if this woman “feels so guilty”, then how could she laugh about the whole thing afterwards?

Shame gets a bad rap because it’s such a painful emotion and it can be used against you, so I understand the temptation to rid yourself of it completely. But shame has a positive side as well. Shame makes you aware that what you did was hurtful and wrong, and hopefully that painful awareness will prevent those who actually do feel guilty from engaging in that act again.

But take away that guilt and where’s the catalyst for change? Where’s the apology?

CLAIM # 6 — Cheaters “somehow fall into” an affair and “all affairs are accidental”

This claim implies affairs happen mysteriously — without any effort on the cheater’s part at all — as if they just ran into some bad luck.

But affairs don’t happen TO cheaters, they happen BECAUSE of them…because they made deliberate decisions which guaranteed an affair would happen.

The author even says, “Let’s face it, it was a line they were hungry to cross”…meaning, cheaters are aware the line is there.

Therefore, knowing beforehand that certain lines shouldn’t be crossed (which is why cheaters lie when they do cross them) and knowing beforehand that crossing those lines could lead to divorce means this is NOT some innocent, accidental mistake. It’s an intentional violation.

So this wide-eyed innocent “It just happened” excuse is a cop-out.

Another cop-out is claiming affairs are “rarely planned”. If you don’t plan on starting an affair, then why accept someone’s inappropriate behavior towards you or engage in it yourself? Or as one blogger put it…if you don’t plan on starting a fire, then why strike a match?

CLAIM # 7 — Cheaters were “hungry” for love and were “pushed into doing things they wouldn’t do otherwise”

First of all, cheating is voluntary. No gun was put to their head, so they weren’t pushed into anything involuntarily.

Second, people have choices in life. When grown adults are “hungry”, they can either (1) work on the marriage if issues can still be resolved or (2) ask for a divorce if they can’t.

People who invent an option (3) commit adultery, do so because it’s much easier to run away from your problems than deal with them head on.

Passive-aggressiveness develops overtime, not overnight. So, even if they’ve never committed adultery before, coping with problems in a passive-aggressive manner IS something they’d normally do. When people carry a victim mentality into a relationship, they’re an affair just waiting to happen.

Much later in the book, the author finally tells cheaters to hold themselves accountable…however, if she’s also telling them they’re selfless, they didn’t use anybody, they’re such loyal people, it was all an accident, and were actually pushed into doing it…then what would they hold themselves accountable for?

Also blocking accountability is the pitying, poor baby tone she uses throughout, saying things like “all they wanted was their share” of love (never mind that cheating itself shows a lack of love for others). Phrases like these imply cheaters are just victims acting in self-defense…and so, why would they apologize for that?

Later in the book, she also advises cheaters not to blame their spouse for the affair…however, when mentioning her own husband’s affair, she says, “I wasn’t blameless.” So if she believes blaming the victim is wrong, shouldn’t she take her own advice?

With so many contradictory messages, it’s unlikely any of this advice will be taken.

CLAIM # 8 — Cheating is wrong, but also necessary

The author says affairs are wrong, but also says they’re “very much needed” (she even compares having an affair to playing hooky at work because you really needed a break)…so again, she’s driving home the message that affairs are needs rather than selfish wants.
She also calls affairs a “radical but necessary procedure”….as if abusing your spouse’s trust is some necessary rite of passage.

She also calls affairs “therapeutic”, claiming they can “wake up” a stale marriage. Well sure, throwing a temper tantrum (which an affair is) can get you a lot of attention, thus feeling “therapeutic”, like it’s “waking up” everyone…but it’s also a manipulative and obnoxious way of getting attention that brings unnecessary stress and trauma to the victim.

I noticed the author had a flair for the dramatic, too. One example is when she advises cheaters (who want their spouse back) to make a “huge, showy, passionate plea” for forgiveness.
But sincere apologies don’t need showy theatrics. It’s only the insincere ones that do.

The author claims she’s not encouraging affairs…but also says this about affairs:

“It’s often better to find out and be done with it than to endlessly yearn and speculate.”

So, doesn’t that sound like encouragement to “be done with it” so you won’t torture yourself endlessly speculating if your ideal love is out there?

She claims affairs are wrong, but also says this to people who’ve already cheated:

“When people regret leaving their spouse for a lover, one of the reasons they most often cite for their mistake is not giving themselves the opportunity to see their lover as the person he/she really is.”

“If you’re thinking of trading up, to minimize the risk of getting a lemon you’d better make it one hell of a test drive.”

What the author is advising here is an extended affair…an opportunity for cheaters to test if their affair partner is worth leaving their spouse for (or as the author so tastefully puts it, “trading up”).

But in order to do that, they’d have to continue lying to their spouse about their whereabouts and continue making important decisions without their spouse’s input….all things that make affairs wrong in the first place. So, how can she say affairs are wrong and also give affairs an extension period?

Perhaps she believes the ends justify the means…even if those means include lying and denying your spouse any say in the matter. However, that’s the same mindset cheaters have…so this mindset needs to be challenged, not encouraged.

Also odd is how the author treats married cheaters the same way she treats HONEST singles dating two people at once, wondering whom they should marry…as if their dilemma is the same as someone who’s already made that decision. Even the advice she gives singles in her other book, “Is He the One?” is recycled in this book for married cheaters…again, as if they’re one in the same.
But they’re NOT the same.
Both may have multiple lovers, but their ethics are very different…and, therefore, should be treated differently.

CLAIM # 9 — (Implied claim) Cheaters are the exact opposite of everything they should avoid in picking a lifetime partner

It’s funny so many reviewers have called this author non-judgmental when she devotes nearly half of the book helping cheaters judge which of their two partners is worthy enough to be picked by them…all the while not judging cheaters themselves, except to judge them as good people.

She advises cheaters to avoid picking any partner who is dishonest, unreliable, makes bad decisions, creates unnecessary tension in the relationship, is a user, a flake, doesn’t keep their promises, has too much self-pity and is unsafe.

She’s just described a cheater! However, since the author doesn’t advise cheaters to have their partners grade them, too (using the exhaustive checklists provided in this book), the implication is that cheaters don’t need to because they don’t possess these negative qualities. But they do. And if these descriptions are cause for rejection, then the cheater would be rejected by their partners, too…for the exact same reasons.

However, by sparing cheaters this reality check (and possible rejection), it’s likely they’ll conclude the real problem all along has been their two partners. So even though, later in the book, the author advises cheaters to patiently listen while their spouse vents their anger towards them…do you really think cheaters will listen to a spouse who doesn’t flatter their ego the way this author does?

CLAIM # 10 — Cheaters should NOT confess their affair to their spouse

The author advises cheaters not to confess their affairs…not even if asked point blank. She claims confessing will only hurt their partner and not make the cheater feel better. And so, they need to do “what’s best for everyone” and not be one of those “truth worshippers” who do confess.

Now, confessing CAN be selfish if you’re just using it to get yourself off the hook. However, that’s not the point of a confession…neither is it to sadistically hurt your partner or make yourself feel better.

The point of confessing is to give your partner the gift of knowledge. It shows a willingness to relinquish control and allow your partner to decide — for themselves — what’s best for themselves…rather than you deciding FOR them “what’s best for everyone”.

It takes both courage and flexibility to do this, since a confession runs the risk of losing your partner forever. However, that’s also the risk you knowingly took when you cheated. Part of being an adult means facing the consequences of your actions.

Also, the definition of cheating is using deception to gain an unfair advantage for oneself.
The unfair advantage gained during an affair is keeping a marriage intact, keeping your spouse’s trust intact, and being allowed to have sex with your spouse through deceptive means (withholding the truth).
Continuing to withhold the truth after the affair is over would still grant oneself these unfair advantages.
Therefore, continuing to deceive your partner after an affair has ended would still be cheating even though the affair itself has ended.

And finally, you have to look at the logic of this advice — if the problem you’re trying to fix is solving problems using deception, does it make sense to solve the problem of deception with even more deception?

In the acknowledgement section of this book, the author sarcastically thanks those who didn’t want her to write this book.

But perhaps these people weren’t objecting to ANY book being written to help cheaters make better decisions….but objecting to THIS book being written. And I don’t blame them!

Not only does the author let cheaters off the hook and keep them in denial with all her seductive flattery and excuse-making…but she also creates an imbalance of power by having cheaters call all the shots. It’s favoritism and it’s wrong.

Some reviewers have called this author courageous — basically just repeating what the author already says about herself (she calls herself “such a rebel”) — but really, all the author is doing is telling cheaters what they want to hear.

REAL courage would be telling them what they need to hear….even at the risk of losing popularity votes and book sales.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Where do they come up with this drivel. I scrolled down your column and just about gagged on each number. Not worthy of more comment.

      • More and more I’m just left with no words. Just a feeling of satisfaction that comes from walking away. My reaction requires no explanation. I do cherish that freedom.

        If others want to peddle shit sandwiches, I’m sure they’ll find plenty of willing buyers. But not me. I don’t care for it, thanks.

        And I cherish the strength in my decisiveness, largely thanks to this website and my fellow chumps.

        God, it feels a little like what I imagine “meh” to feel like. And it’s not even Tuesday.

      • If that is the case, Mira must be making too much money already. There are far more cheaters and those chumps who reconcile with them than the ones who make the courageous attempt to leave the cheater and gain a life. But what a shit money is that!

  • I wonder how she explains # 6, when many cheaters pay to be on Ashley Madison, (250.00 to start , plus a monthly fee ) etc., to find a AP.
    That is no accident , deliberate deceit !

    BTW.. heres a site that deal with divorce due to cheating, with kids, as it is happening.

  • This was great! She really gutted this book and exposed it for what it really is– an opportunity to allow narcissists even more ammo to lie, blameshift, and see themselves as the victims when they cheat.

    Mine was one of those who found his AP on Ashley Madison, and I’m sure he’s one of a giant number that I don’t really want to contemplate. But even those who end up with co-workers, friends, neighbors, etc.– whatever. You are making choices when you flirt, spend too much time together, have crappy boundaries, and then, ultimately, cheat.

    I’m sure that there are many of us (or even all of us) on here who had an opportunity to cheat and didn’t give it a second of thought. I’ve certainly known men who came across as a little too friendly, and I made sure to behave in a frosty but polite way that let them know that I was not in the least bit interested. It is possible to do– one only needs to possess self-control, common decency, and respect for one’s partner and one’s self. That’s what cheaters are lacking and what they need to have pointed out to them, and they don’t need any more excuses for their crappy behavior than they already get reinforced by TV shows, movies, and novels that all glamorize cheating.

    Basically, CL needs to write her book. 🙂

    • Thanks MO. With my recent computer troubles, I just learned today that I lost 4 months of work. Gone. I won’t bore you with the details (I was backing up, I thought. But with the LAST hard drive fail in August, it hadn’t backed up since then, turns out, because program was looking for my “old” computer — and didn’t alert me.)

      All to say, had a good sob about it, but back at it. It’s just not going to be as early as I thought. But I’m working on it. Goddamn it, the thing will be written. Just a bit heart broken today. 🙁

      • That sucks!! I’m so sorry!

        What not to say to an author whose computer has just crashed:
        * It was meant to be.
        * Well, if your computer wasn’t happy….
        * At least you had some of your work backed up.
        * Get over it!
        * Look at the bright side!

        We could go on and on. Old hat by now, eh?

      • Tracy,
        How Awful! But we will be faithfully and patiently waiting and I honestly get goose bumps thinking about how many lives you will help save once it’s out. I can clearly picture it years from now, in huge numbers/dog eared/highlighted being passed from fiend to friend, father to son, woman to sister etc…. Kind of like Dr. Spock childcare-books. I am actually looking forward to the day that several people close to me are “ready” for me to pass on your website to them. NOT counting the ones I’ve already told.

        And you have done all this for us for Free! How can I ever Thank you? XO

      • So sorry to hear about your computer woes. I’ve had something similar happen and it’s so upsetting. Maybe you could back up to on online source like Dropbox?

        • I did — to Crash Plan. It worked like a dream the first time this happened, but after I replaced the hard drive, it was looking for my old computer. So, essentially, it’s been working in the background, backing up nothing for 4 months.

          UGH. I think the only fool proof way to do this is with an external hard drive.

      • That really stinks, Tracy. I’m sorry. Hope the last four months have given you more wisdom that will lead to an even more awesome book.

  • I liked the review by Atsenaotie:

    “My problem is with the chapters on how a spouse involved in an affair should determine whether to stay with the marriage partner, or leave the marriage for the affair partner. These chapters presume that the affair partner is thinking clearly and rationally. It has been my experience and the experience of many others that this is simply not the case.

    An affair is a fantasy relationship built on conditional love. Any conversation topic or activity that would undermine the fantasy is avoided. Add to this the lies the spouse involved in the affair has told him or herself, and others, to rationalize their involvement in the affair. All combined, there is no way in which the person having an affair can accurately asess which partner they are truly happier with, which partner is the “better” partner, or is meeting their needs.

    Many participants find their involvement with an affair to be addictive. Until the participants break this addiction and the accompanying rationalizations, there is simply no way for them to make an informed decision about returning to the marriage or leaving it for the affair partner. To do otherwise is akin to having a drug or alcohol addict make decisions on further drug or alcohol use while under the influence”

  • This was the only book my cheating ex-wife would even look at during our false reconciliation (she wasn’t interested in any of the books our counselors recommended, which I bought, highlighted, and even bought in audio versions for her). Even then she hardly cracked the spine. Seemed like she just liked the site of it on her nightstand, the title reassuring her that, yes, despite all her hurtful actions, she was . . . good.

    Riiiiiiiiight. WTF-ever.

    The pinnacle of the Pyramid of As*holes is occupied by those folks who sell chumps false hope by telling them their actions were substantially to blame for the affairs of their partners and that by changing their behaviors the chumps can prevent their spouses from cheating in the future. For any mental health professional, I consider that malpractice. But just below them are these sh*t stains who comfort abusers and explain their abuse of spouses as natural, spiritual, inevitable, or even sometimes “for the best.” Just sick, sick, sick.

    • ‘But just below them are these sh*t stains who comfort abusers and explain their abuse of spouses as natural, spiritual, inevitable, or even sometimes “for the best.” Just sick, sick, sick.’

      You mean like my ex-inlaws then. 🙂

      • yes–mine too! Ugh. Is there such a thing as a positive trigger? Because every year since D-day as the holidays approach I get a little extra spring in my step when I realize that I don’t have to spend this time with that wretched redneck refuse I used to call “family.”

        • At first I missed all those family times but now, as I see how they’ve sucked final OW into their world of weirdness and that nothing has changed, just a new person replacing me and ex MIL still manipulating the fuck out of everyone I realise I’ve dodged a major bullet and I no longer feel all stressed out because she still wants things her way, no matter what. Now I do it my way, demand what I want for the holiday schedule in a fair way to ex and the rest is no longer my problem. Feels good, to be honest. 🙂

        • Haha “wretched redneck refuse”! Love that Nomar, keep going with those positive triggers 🙂

      • Nomar, during false R I did the same with my ex, when he told me he was having trouble with the book recommended to us, “Getting the Love You Want : A Guide for Couples” by Harville Hendrix, I too bought him the audio version. what a waste of time and money.

        • Yeah, kind of pathetic in retrospect, isn’t it? As if giving them another chance wasn’t enough, we made the threshold so very low for winning us back. I mean, all you have to do is sit in your car while you’re driving from point A to point B and *listen to a goddamn recording* and THAT’S ASKING TOO MUCH?!?!? Jeez, Louise!

  • Best deconstruction of a dump truck load of mindless drivel/ psycho-babble that I’ve read in a long time. Are you sure you didn’t write that review under a pseudonym CL?

  • Just the thought of that book made my blood pressure start to rise. There are so many BAD people in this world. I think the author of that book is likely one of them.

    • Yep, because she cheated on her husband. So this is basically an abusive narcissist giving fellow narcs and pat on the back. So wrong.

      • Ooops never mind, her husband cheated on her and as another poster pointed out , she’s trying to untangle the skein.

        • Well that makes sense. It’s really about her. He’s a “good person” and that’s why I stay.

        • Well, at least she’s making money, which will do her in good stead when he cheats again and she finally has to face the reality that she’s a chump.

  • It seems the people that write this kind of crap are the ones that have had affairs or are on their way to having one. There is more and more of this attitude out there all the time as our society falls to the lowest common moral denominator. Sadly the majority of the women I’ve met since my marriage ended, ended their own with exit affairs because they felt “Unfufilled”. Just reading this stuff makes me want to find a monastery and forget about relationships…( Just venting, dating is not going well;)

    • Sadly I think you’re right. The woman who are betrayed are home with their children and those that are actively looking are the ones who scare me. A few friends have tried to set me up and when I get to the question of infidelity and hear “but the marriage was already over” I know to run. I sympathise (sympathize?) with the Moms raising kids, I am one of the lucky guys who got mine and I am starting to think dating is only for empty nesters

      • Don’t despair Chuck. I have a kid, and my husband has two kids. (One was at college when we married, and one was still at home.) So… inching toward empty nest, but not there yet.

        It’s harder to date with kids, but certainly not impossible. If anything, you’re more aware of not wasting your time with someone who’s not right. You got better things to do at home. Makes you choosier, IMO.

      • I’ve had a few dates tell me that yeah, the marriage was already over in all but name when they hooked up with someone new. I just politely finish the date and move on. I know there are good men out there who are like me: looking for a nice person to spend their life with and eventually we’ll find each other.

        • Yes, if it’s “already over in all but name” then they’re still married. Except for those countries that put people into legal limbo for well over a year between filing and finalizing, dating while being married is cheating. It just is. That said, if I were living in one of those countries and if someone I wanted to date gave me that line, I’d want to have proof of the filing. We’ve seen at least one chump who fell for that line, only to find out that he was cheating on his wife AND with her.

      • Chuck,

        I kinda feel the same way… like I’ll never meet a good guy with kids because in general, the good guys must still be with the mother of their children! I know there are guys like you all who, like me, were left with pretty much no choice but to divorce due to our spouses cake-eating behavior… cause I read about you here… but you seem to definitely be in the minority out there, especially on those dating sites.

        As one of those women, I’d say we’re out there… we go actively looking and then what we encounter makes us want to just stay home with our kids for a while, and then it repeats… maybe until, miracle of miracles, we do meet someone good? Probably somewhere other than the internet…

      • Don’t despair – we’re out here – but you are correct – we are largely home with our precious ones too, wondering if great guys are out there 🙂

        My best advice would be to take your time – finding the right one is worth the wait.

  • Awwh, no sympathy for poor baby boo? Didn’t he always give me a kiss on his way out the door to meet his schmoopy of the day? Didn’t he faithfully call me on his way back from the cheap motel? And, didn’t he always say, “better now”, when I asked him how his day was? Such a prince. He knows that I filed for divorce yesterday and this morning he e-mailed to say “I hope you have a good day”… Fucking nuts. Does it really matter if they know how twisted they are or if they don’t know any better because of their equally screwed up FOO? I’m pretty sure the only remotely feasible response is to cross the street to avoid them. (and the clueless cheater groupie who wrote this book) PS Chump Lady, I’m sorry to hear about your computer, same thing happened to me. It really sucks.

    • Congrats on filing lindadanette — and hey, I hope it IS a good day. That email sounds a tad passive aggressive.

      And thanks for the computer sympathies.

  • What makes me mad is if the roles where reversed and the cheaters got the same shit sandwich they dished out they couldn’t handle the pain! They are truely weak, self serving people, who justify what they do to get what they want without regard to the painful consequences. They just don’t want to get caught. It’s just FUN for them to hell with we chumps.

  • Hey Mira – “Good people” don’t lie, cheat and have affairs. And dumbasses who think they do, are just that, dumbasses.

  • The bit in claim #8 – “When people regret leaving their spouse for a lover, one of the reasons they most often cite for their mistake is not giving themselves the opportunity to see their lover as the person he/she really is….If you’re thinking of trading up, to minimize the risk of getting a lemon you’d better make it one hell of a test drive.” – is especially cruel.

    We chumps are people, not objects to be discarded when cheaters want to “trade up”.

    But that’s how cheaters think of others in their lives, isn’t it?

    • I’m bound, bent and determined that my next one is a “trade up” in everyway, even if I have to test drive the newer models 😉 “Living well is the best revenge” , and I intend to.

      • Yes – it’s the chumps who deserve better, not the cheaters!

        Actually, for us, just removing the cheater from our lives improves our lot.

    • And cheaters rarely ‘trade up’. Usually they end up with someone who is more needy and fucked up than them.

    • Yeah, test drive all you want while married. I’m sure your vows included that.

  • As far as I’m concerned, a good person by definition does not lie, cheat and betray the very person he/she promised to honor and remain faithful to above all others. It makes me feel sick to know I live in a world where apparently, being a “good person” means absolutely nothing at all. Mira whatever-her-name-is must either be the biggest cheater around, totally delusional or disordered if she actually thinks cheaters are concerned about their spouse, want what’s best for everyone, or are loyal. Seriously, WTF?

    • “It makes me feel sick to know I live in a world where apparently, being a “good person” means absolutely nothing at all”

      Exactly, Glad, what’s the term, doublespeak?

  • Thank you Elisabeth for the exhaustive deconstruction of this hardcover quackery!

    I don’t know who Mira Kirshenbaum is but based on the review she not only over-thinks and over-intellectualizes the FUCK out of cheaters and their cheating ways, but one gets the sense that the author suffers from a little Chumpholm Syndrome, as he tries WAY too hard to understand cheaters and seems to portray them as being more cerebral and complex than they really are! She gives her affliction away when she claims that she “wasn’t blameless” for her husband’s philandering.

    That leads me to think that she’s still blaming herself for her husband’s affair(s) and still trying to work out why her marriage failed with this ridiculous book. In short, she’s untangling the skein of her husband’s fuckupedness. Just because Kirsenbaum is the “clinical director of the Chestnut Hill Institute, a center for therapy and research in Boston” doesn’t mean she’s incapable of Chumpdom. Especially when she spends 209 pages essentially saying: “I don’t know why my husband cheated or why yours did either but dammit I’m educated and I’m going to figure this out for all us! ACT NOW! BUY THIS BOOK! SAVE YOUR MARRIAGE BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!!”

    There’s really not much I can offer in addition to the comprehensive review above, but my opinion is in order to take this book seriously and put it into practice, you as the Chump need to:

    a) Completely devalue yourself as a person, and as a committed/devoted spouse.

    b) Throw a jackhammer to the Lady Justice statue and knock over the scales that she’s holding up, scales that are otherwise tipped heavily in your favor. In order for this to book to work, your decade(s) of love, devotion and commitment need to be on an equal playing field with the affair partner’s, even though he/she has known your spouse for about 5 minutes.

    c) Be ready, willing and able to put your OWN feelings of hurt, heartbreak and betrayal on hold as you empathetically hold your cheater’s hand and rationalize his duplicitous behavior. Be ready to accept all of his lame-ass excuses as 1000% valid and be prepared to shoulder any and all blame for his piss-poor decision-making. In short, be prepared to come up with solutions to manufactured problems and be willing to dismiss/diminish a controversy you had no part in creating.

    d) Whoever the cheat partner is, be prepared to compete with him/her as you both audition for the role of Spouse, a role you’ve already legally secured after years of commitment. But that doesn’t mean anything right now. Can you see how conflicted your cheater is right now? Poor thing doesn’t know which partner to pick! So you better be ready to bring your A-game, lest you lose your marriage and your livelihood to the affair partner, whom your cheating spouse has known for 5 minutes. If and when that happens, it’s YOUR fault.

    e) Any lights on in the house? Turn them off. Don’t like the darkness? Too bad. You’re better off in the dark as your cheater is out galavanting. You see, the truth is only going to hurt you, and will probably only hurt your cheater more! It will create all kinds of unnecessary drama and tension and if you’re not careful or start asking the wrong questions, you may just “push” your spouse right into the arms of his/her paramour! We can’t have that! That would be YOUR fault!

    In all, be ready to sacrifice every ounce of integrity, humanity and self-respect you have and hand over every imaginable advantage to your cheater in the midst of any explosive revelations. Be prepared to dance the Pick Me Dance HARD, to sweep his/her affair(s) under the carpet as No Big Deal, because dammit you need to be the strong one here! Forget your own heartbreak. It’s ALL about your cheater.

    I hope you know how to bake because this type of false Reconciliation is akin to baking your cheater a delicious chocolate cake for him/her to chow down on every single night, even after he/she has returned from a wild rendezvous in some cheap motel room. And after they’ve finished stuffing themselves with all the cake they can eat, be prepared with paper plates and tin-foil so your cheater can take left-over slices to the affair partner.

    Do anything less than that and you’ll lose your marriage….

    This book is another entry in a long and depressing line of Be The Marriage Hero Even Though It’s Not Your Fault And The Odds Are Hopelessly Stacked Against You cheating books.

    But the sad reality is that these types of self-destruction (NOT self-help) books wouldn’t sell and probably wouldn’t exist if they didn’t tell us Chumps EXACTLY what we want to hear at our most vulnerable and heartbroken moments. Thus while our cheaters are out doing whatever the hell they want like rebellious teenagers with beer money, we’re stuck home rummaging through these pages, internalizing all of the self-defeating advice, and looking for even the slightest glimmer of Hope that They Love Me! They Really Love Me! They’re Gonna Wake Up And Pick Me!

    There’s Hopium and then there’s Hopium On Steroids. When this is all happened to me, I would’ve been the first one to buy this book, pen and paper in hand, copying down all of the “pertinent” bits, writing out the categories of affairs that the author describes (“See-if” affair, Ejector-seat affair, Distraction affair, Unmet-needs affair, Panic affair) and seeing where my cheating ex fit in. And then, like the Chump I was, I would’ve desperately searched the rest of the book for the hope that I could save my relationship post-mortem.

    If I had that mentality, then I know there’s millions of other Chumps who felt/feel the same way. That’s why books like these are a hopeless con.

    Chumps need self-empowerment, not self-hatred. I think we’ve been through enough at this point.

    • Fantastic post, Chris, as always. We’ve all been there and I still squirm when I think about how easy it was for me to buy into some of the crap bill of goods being sold as ‘advice’. Best thing one can do is walk. Just walk, lick your wounds in private, tell whomever you want to tell about what happened and move forward. I sort of did that but I still engaged and argued for far too long and it’s the one true regret I have. He didn’t even deserve the right to argue with me, mainly because he was never going to ever take responsibility for being a serial cheater. He was always going to minimise, lie, blameshift, etc. Well, now he’s doing it to others and I’m well shot of the whole thing.

    • Chris, awesome post. And if you and I were in a support group during our false reconciliations, we would have supported each other through the silliness and futility of it all. We are all so fortunate we are on this site – no more BS, no more feeling it was our fault, no more lifelong suffering and realizing it is never too late to start an incredible, authentic life without the cheater baggage weighing us down.

    • Brilliant post, Chris! Chumpholm syndrome is freaking awesome wordplay!

      I double dog dare you to post this as an Amazon review of that book. 😉

      • Chris that was a great post.

        I too read this book and thought it was ridiculous. Cheating is a choice. It’s not because you are ‘drunk, unhappy, unappreciated, unfulfilled, fucked up by family, lonely’ and every other excuse. Cheaters cheat because they want to. They cheat because it feels good TO THEM. It’s not complicated.

        • The chumps have their issues, too, and yet chose to remain faithful and work on the marriage tirelessly. It boils down to character, pure and simple. Cheaters and their supportive spouses who have not stumbled upon CL make it complicated to survive.

  • Cheater ex is probably reading this and getting more ego kibbles. He had told me after the first affair that “my parents think I’m a good person.” Yeah, right, especially since they didn’t believe me when I told him you had an affair. By the time the third one happened, I felt vindicated that there was finally proof I had been telling the truth all along.

    Stupid books like this is what keeps despondent chumps in the “fog.” I really want to leave a review but then I have to read the book. I might die from gagging.

  • Shaking my head here…So it’s not only OK, but in some cases even desirable, for a cheater to deceive, lie, drag their spouses through the “pick me” dance, and then rip every shred of self-esteem and hope from them? It’s books like this that, whether by accident or because the author was too damn narrow-minded when she was writing this crap, make it even easier for cheaters to justify their actions.

    Mira and Elisabeth can’t see the forest for the trees, I believe.

  • Can’t wait till CHUMP LADY’S book comes out. I will buy multiple copies and pass it out to friends who are “being chumped”

    • Me too. I wil buy at least a dozen copies.
      This Mira woman is fucking nuts, apparently.

      • Thanks guys. Wait four months longer, now that I lost my computer data. (Sob.)

        But it’s coming. I appreciate your patience.

        • I intend to wait as long as necessary and I intend to buy several copies and be the first one in line at the book signing that I know you will be having in my area. There are so few coherent and sane voices on this topic that empower Chumps and make us feel like winners instead of losers. You are one of the those people for which God gets thanked when people say their prayers at night. You rock CL!

      • I’m buying several copies and handing them out to every marital/ couples therapist I know!!

  • Let’s not forget that Mira Kirshenbaum also wrote “Too Good To Leave, Too Bad to Stay.” My Ex read that best seller and made the decision, he says, to cheat because that book gave him permission to cheat!! He said that none of the other reasons to dump your chump were applicable, but that one justification chapter was “If God gave you permission to leave, you’d leave.” My non-practicing Catholic Ex read this as “God gives you permission!! Just Do It!” So off he went on an endless cheating rampage. He was prone to feeling entitled, and what better entitlement than God giving you permission, meaning no consequences. Hey, if it’s OK with God, why are we chumps complaining?

    • To be fair to Mira, I read “Too Good to Leave, Too Bad to Stay” and found it extremely helpful and empowering: it was the first step for me in leaving my emotionally and physically abusive marriage. That book did *not* advocate cheating; quite on the contrary, it advised people feeling ambivalent about their marriage to get off the fence: either end the marriage (by divorce) or commit wholeheartedly to restoring the marriage. That book is actually in ChumpLady’s suggested reading list, and I am very glad it is.

      Clearly Mira’s next book is not in the same class.

      • Yeah, I put it in the box after several chump recommendations. But I’m now thinking better of it, even if her Good Twin wrote it and the Evil Twin wrote When Good People Cheat.

        I agree with the whole shit or get off the pot POV on ambivalent marriage. Baffling how she could then write a book justifying cheating. I suppose it’s her own elaborate crazy for staying. But hey, affairs are good for marriage, etc.

          • yes, and I think it got published for the $$$. It never would have made it past a proper editor. Other kinds of whores in the world, to be sure.

        • I agree, Tracy. I really believe she wrote the book to rationalize why she’s staying. In her moments of clarity, I am sure she is wondering why she is staying and why she is so unhappy, devoid of joy. It’s almost like she has to delude herself because she doesn’t have the courage to leave. I did it for 23 years, so I know that place oh so well, except I didn’t write a book. Instead, I carried on and stuffed my conscious self way down so I could not hear my own anguish cries. I lived according to what I thought I was the right thing to do. I lost my voice. I lost myself. I now look at my ex’s final affair as an incredible gift that simply keeps on giving as I wake up each day without shackles.

          I am sad for her, for never knowing that a life after a cheater is truly a life well-lived.

          • That sort of reminds me of Peggy Vaughn, author of “The Monogamy Myth”. Vaughn needs to feel that we are wired for cheating in order to justify staying with a serial cheating husband. He was a particularly virulent offender and has expressed the continued desire to cheat in the future. Yet , she stays.
            Not surprisingly her protege, some Beth women, I seem to recall, has written a book entitled ” My Husband’s Affair Was The Best Thing That Ever Happened To Me”.
            These folks need to delude themselves as the pain of facing the fact that their spouses did not and do not love them is too great.
            These folks are, actually, weaker and more traumatized than many chumps, as they need to run so hard from the truth. We should pity them. But their writings do such a disservice to other betrayed folks, it is tough not to be angry at them.

  • I have just discovered that x has started up a business. He promotes all his skills and includes amongst them that he is a parent. How come no one ever asks him what kind? Sure, bet he looks like a wonderful, doting 50 year old to his 6 month old son to his 23 year old, conceived probably in my home a month before he left. But I bet no one asks my 3 beautiful teenage daughters what kind of ‘parent’ he is to them. I guess she really is a dream inspirer, just like she promotes herself, her positive energy really is fucking amazing! They really are just shiny, sparkly people. And he had every right to seek out his joy…..and fuck us over like we were nothing. I am glad he is gone, wish he’d gone sooner, but his actions continue to make me feel like the bad person. All I inspired in him was deception, dishonesty and disrespect. Sorry if I went off track. Is it wine o’clock yet?

    • I know what it is I think, he has professional family portraits all over the internet now, he acknowledges that baby, he is in a relationship, but we never existed when he was with us, there were no photos, he wouldn’t have a family portrait, he did not acknowledge our marriage, never public comments about the kids….so my reasoning is that I was so awful he must have been desparate to get away, right? We cramped his style, she is his style? How could I let him steal my life?

      • This is pretty standard stuff. I know someone who’s father cheated and eventually had a second family. To the second family he’s super dad. The house is littered with pictures of the kids from the second marriage (no pictures of teh kids from the first marriage), the kids from the 2nd marriage are praised and carried around on virtual shoulders, shouted about from the rooftops as the most wonderful creations on earth.

        My friend gets a bit pissy about this until I point out to him that he and his sister are the ones who are super successful, doing amazing things with their lives, making great life choices, etc. The kids from the second marriage are no where near as successful in any area, they are childish and floundering at every turn and although they’re nice enough they’re just simply do not measure up against the first kids. I’ve seen this so many times and it always makes me wonder why that is. I finally realised that in many of these cases the affair couple continue to focus on making sure that they’re ‘perfect’ and that the image they project is one of perfection (particularly if the affair was exposed widely) that they drag their kids into this as well and it’s basically a mindfuck, where those new kids are merely an extension of teh cheating couple.

        It’s early so hope that makes sense and maybe someone can expand but I really have seen this a lot.

        • Nord, I’m finding this to be true. Cheater ex is doing everything to project a “perfect” relationship, to the point of telling people that they met three months after the divorce. Too funny because a lot of people have seen them together before I filed. Quite an insult to other people’s intelligence.

          • I’ve gone to carrying around a photostat of the front page of the certified copy of the final divorce paperwork in case I run into someone from the old life that asks questions. There’s the date from the clerk of the court: 6 months after the love child was born.

            My ex also had a super elaborate story built up around he and the harlot “only recently starting to have feelings for each other” in order to preserve his “respectability”. Of course, that is just the natural flip side to the lies (false witness, character assignation) he told about me.

            I feel bad for that kid — it is like a cult — and he will grow up brainwashed by the lies that are constantly repeated about Dad’s old family.

            • Hahahahahaaaaa! Assignation! Nice choice for the spellcheck!

              Character ASSASSINATION

      • I think they know they treated their kids badly and are therefore bad parents. Showing off the new kid is trying to believe they are good parents.

        It could also be something they do to keep ex-AP happy. Ex-APs are probably less trusting.

        • Well, yes, the AP knows what ex is capable of so he needs to put on the sparkles times ten. I saw this with one family, where the kids from the 2nd family remain, into middle age, an extension of their parents, with the 2nd family a little unit that works to protect their collective reputation at all costs. Anyone who doesn’t go along with it is banished. It’s like a cult. Very odd.

      • Nat1, they are just out and out frauds, my ex formed a “consulting” business with his AP’s and group sex partners, where he teaches and speaks on integrity and success in business, you can’t make this up. They just rewrite the script and start “new”, like a new scene in a play. There is nothing inside them at all that is any good. Unfortunately, we bred with these fucktards, and our beautiful children have to suffer. We let them steal our best years because under no circumstances could we imagine that soulless lying pieces of shit like them actually walk the earth, and are willing to lie to us every damn day to get what they want. And when they are caught, they just shrug their shoulders and move on, like the true little sociopaths they are.

        • Kelly, I hate your perverted ex almost as much as I hate mine. Totally delusional, calling themselves motivational speakers and “inspirational.”

          My son occasionally scoffs in disgust at the stuff his dad writes on facebook. A couple days ago it was some drivel about how ex is filled with a giving spirit, celebrating by sharing and giving out of the goodness of his heart and his many blessings. I laughed and said it sure would be nice if he felt like “giving” some of the thousands of dollars in child support he owes me.

          The true sociopaths (and I suspect many of the ex’s here are disordered) feel absolutely no shame, no remorse, no responsibility and do not even see other people as human. For the disordered, other people are nothing more than props or secondary actors in the movie about themselves that plays in every disordered person’s head.

          • For me, this is the OW. 22 andcalls herself ” the dream inspirer, inspiring teens and pre teens to fulfil their dreams and inspiring parents to have a better relationship with their kids.” Like him, she cites being a mother as one of her positive attributes…yet as far as my kids are concerned, neither of them have demonstrated any decent parenting abilities. This “new age” crap makes me sick now. The catch phrases and quotes…..bleuch chunder! He even calls himself the new age geek. For goodness sake, the new age geek and the dream inspirer, sounds like a match made in heaven.

            • Oh geez, Glad and Nat1, I was scoffing and shaking my head reading about Glad’s ex and his “charitable spirit”, which then developed to a feeling of nausea reading about Nat1’s ex and his skanky-22 year old spiritual ho. Blech is right. Maybe we can involuntarily commit them all, they are all fucking nuts.

          • Glad, my two older children had dinner with their father over Thanksgiving break, first time they saw him in almost 2 years. My ex went on and on about how he knew he was a “terrible” person for what he had done, and that he “thought about what [he] did every day,” until they felt sorry for him and assured him he was not. The author of the book, The Sociopath Next Door, says that the “pity play” may be the clearest indicator you’re dealing with a sociopath. Like my ex didn’t have the chance to think every damn day of the 17 years he was cheating on me and destroying our family??

            So, during this upcoming season of Holiday cheer, I will pray that our perverted, lying, cheating, motivational speaking soul-brother exes get exactly what they deserve.

            • My STBX still is blaming me for how our adult children feel about him. He tells them how this was just between us and how I had no business telling them. It is my fault that they don’t respect them. He even went as far as to call me a bad mother because of it. Told me that he thought the mother bear would of come out and protected them. Funny but I told him I saw it as the mother bear did come out and protected them from him!
              It has been two years you would think that by now he might start taking some responsibility but NO. Still my fault and still trying to drum up pity.

              • Jenn–I’ve said this before on here but I’ll say it again, and it’s something I told my ex when he complained I “should not have told the children” something he had done–

                “If it wasn’t too bad for you to do, it certainly isn’t too bad for me to say.”

                So what your ex is saying is that your “mama bear” instincts should override your honesty, and cause you to lie to your adult children to save them from mental anguish, because the stuff he did was so bad that it will hurt them just to know about it?!? Why doesn’t he say what he means– he doesn’t want to have to face and live with the consequences of his actions (that’s really at the heart of all cheaters lives, the desire for cake without consequences), and it is easier to blame you for telling than for him to take the responsibility for his own damn actions.

              • Kelly,

                You are SO right!! Their number one concern is that people will find out what they have done. It is the reason that they spend so much time discrediting us. It gives them justification!!!
                We had to have a trial for our divorce because I was “uncooperative” LMAO It was because I was NC. There was no reasoning with him so I had stopped for a year before trial. He would send me nasty emails, texts, then letters which I ignored. All it got him was a restraining order and a snicker from the court room when he started rambling. My lawyer even chucked and said ” so you are blaming the divorce on her?”
                I thought that he was going to blow a blood vessel.

                Sadly he keeps taking me back because of this anger each time accusing of something he can’t prove.
                This month he is trying to get out of paying spousal support which btw he only has to pay for a year. I am currently unemployed. He has stated that I have been turning down jobs just so that I can make him pay.
                REALLY thinks that it is still about him. I have not turned down any jobs and would like nothing more than to be working again so that I didn’t have to depend on anything from him.

                Sadly his kids see what he is doing. But I guess that is my fault too! LOL

              • They are delusional Jen, but what is funny is how powerful they think we are… and we are actually… because we are good honest people who tell the truth. That is terrifying for these pathologically, they look awfully bad to their children, thr court, the world, just by comparison. This throws them into a temper tantrum which in turn sends them into a death spiral. I think your ex is at about death spiral status, lol, obviously couldn’t happen to a more deserving guy.

      • Maybe when Ms. Mira’s husband cheats again (if he hasn’t already as of this writing), it might help her.

  • Jeez. My spouse keeps bringing up his “caveats” that he clearly communicated to his GF of the past decade. They basically focus on ” my FAMILY comes first. I will break it off with you if this harms my family in ANY way.” Thank you, Chumps! I served a shit sandwich back to him with the MC in the room. These rationalizations are a way for cheaters to believe they are not hideous human beings. This book…..the caveats…..what bullshit.

    • ANC,
      Mine also told me they all knew the rules! Well that went out the window when one decided to tell on another to me with an anon letter to my job….funny, I’d forgotten all about that till I read your comment, I was in severe shock because I had just seen him with a third…

    • Ok ANC, I know this goes without saying, but that FUCKING MAKES NO SENSE? How do you cheat on your wife and NOT harm your family. Absolute bullshit.

  • Snippet of an interview with the author in 2008 from the Guardian, the author sez:
    “One of the most contentious points in the book is the advice that being honest is not always the best policy, that more harm than good may come of the unburdening of misdeeds. The advice comes from her own experience.

    “My husband explained to me,” she begins, her eyes watering. “We’d been married for over 10 years – this was about 30 years ago – and I was very busy, I was a therapist, we had small children.” She pauses. “He got to know this woman and they became very, very close and he confessed it to me. I was just devastated. I felt the whole past, the whole meaning of our lives, of everything, was shifted for me. For years and years I just wanted to know details. It was horrible. It kept me stuck in the past. We just fought about it and were miserable. I knew that he was a good man and I wish I hadn’t known.”

    Her features crumple as she stares back at her memories. Her husband, her partner and co-founder of the Chestnut Hill Institute in Boston, where she practises, is, she insists, a good man, the sort of man you might find in her book. And like all good men, she says, he recoils from inflicting suffering. “My husband would not do it again,” she says. “I would bet on that.”

    So, this book is all about her and what she would want. And even 30 years after her reconciliation “her features crumple” as she talks about it. Oh the hell no way would I live like that. It’s telling that she says “I would bet on that” rather than “I know that”. Seems to me this book is all about justifying how she dealt with infidelity in her own marriage. Only a shitty therapist extrapolates her/his own desires to everyone…

    • “My husband would not do it again,” she says. “I would bet on that.”

      Yeah, well, millions of people in this country bet on the lottery every day. And how does that work out for 99.99999999999% of them?

      They say the lottery is a tax on people who are bad at math. I suppose in a way false reconciliation is a tax on people who are bad at boundaries.

      • Just about everyone here on this board “bet” that their spouse wouldn’t cheat again. I know I certainly felt that way. Well, that was one bet I lost big time. Cheaters gonna cheat, and Mira K. can stick her head in the ground to play ostrich all she wants, but she certainly shouldn’t be shoveling that bullshit to those who might otherwise have known better.

      • I “knew” my ex wouldn’t cheat again after the first time in 1999, hah. Wonder how many others there were between then and 2010 when I caught him again? After that i found out there was at least one friend he tried to fuck (she sent him away) and one neighbor he did fuck – I was just so naive and trusting that at the time I accepted he had a friendship with her. Oh, I just read the sample of the book, according to the author her husband had only an “emotional” affair with no sex. Yeah, keep on believing *only* what he confessed to, she’s a chump and she doesn’t know it. And, she thanks him for being 50% responsible for her book, in fact all of her books. Surprise…

        • Really,

          And these people are all getting rich just telling people what they WANT to hear, people that are Chumped should just save the money (they’ll need it) and keep listening to their lying cheating partners for free!

    • Christ, 30 years later and she’s still in tears? Makes me grateful I’m out of the whle mess. Can you imagine?

  • Cheater=Good Person.

    Reminds me of when my kids were young and our family went camping with the neighbors. One night around the campfire, we invented a game we called “Oxymoron,” where we kept going around the circle and you had to give an example of an oxymoron. I was kind of amazed that even my youngest, in first grade at the time, when someone explained what an oxymoron was and gave an example, played like a champ.

    Yeah, I’m pretty sure that even he at 6 years old wouldn’t have had any problem using the term “good cheater” as an oxymoron when it was his turn.

    BTW, my kids father did not cheat, he passed from cancer a couple of years later. Part of the mindfuckery of infidelity to me is trying to wrap my brain around the fact that I could meet and date someone who could know the depth of the pain we/I went through losing someone we loved so much and actively pursue a relationship knowing they were going to betray and hurt me even more.

    That is seriously screwed up, NOT good.

    • Can’t wait for her next book, ” WhenGood People Are Serial Killers” and the much anticipated “Benevolent Nazis and the Men Who Love Them”.

    • Dear Champ,
      My thoughts are with you. I too lost a good husband, and my cheater knew it too. We actually talked about my loss and the kids…he was so supportive. Then after a few years he starting whining that he could never compete, etc. Even though I didn’t talk about it much or have pictures up out of respect to the cheater, nothing I did was enough till he ground me down in every way. Ugh.

  • I just don’t see how anyone who isn’t disordered could buy into any of that. What a LOAD.

  • Thanks for posting, CL!

    Her books, very unfortunately, were my go-to books when I found out a year ago that my husband had a 19 year old mistress.

    This woman helped me to waste another year of my life on Hopium, only to find out I was dealing with a Narcissist.

    What I really needed was a good education on Narcissism, or!

    I spend my days still in the same house, and when I have a day where I bother communicating with my cheater… you know, as in, “pass the salt”, he immediately takes the opportunity to discuss how we won’t have enough money in the business accounts to pay this month’s bills… he just wants the money back that I took when I found out a year after finding out about the 19 year old, that he wasn’t even really pretending to reconcile!

    Someone should seriously put a gag in that woman’s mouth for the Hopium she puts out.

  • This the first book my husband got from his therapist and I had no idea it contained so much shit! Dday has been 2 months and I am still trying to wrap my brain around everything. The OW has been around for 2 years and after being with him for 20 years, I am getting tested for STDs this week from the Dr. that delivered my 2 kids…how fucked up is that?! I went on the OW facebook and saw a picture of her on vacation and it made my skin crawl! As I have been living in this hell 24/7 for the past few months, she was able to enjoy the beaches with her husband and kids…I am so glad that life if treating her well! I feel like such a loser and can’t believe that this is my fucked up life. I have the name of an attorney, but haven’t called yet…what is my problem???

    • It took me a bit to call a lawyer too. And you can call and ask some questions before you actual feel ready to set an appointment. I did that.

      The level of shock is so hard at the beginning that it is hard just to eat and sleep, so please be gentle with yourself. And hang in there and keep reading here….Chump Lady’s wise words and the words of all the chumps in the comments help enormously. I think that is why I am doing so much better now (5 months post dday)…I am learning from the wisdom of those who (sadly) have gone before me.

      • Thanks NorthernLight…I know I need to be easier on my self, but it is so hard. I will call tomorrow.

      • Hey Annie,

        NL is right. Be easy on yourself. It’s all shocking. It’s all so fucked up. I feel so duped and now I know my STBX must’ve been cheating on me for many years. I am so angry that OW got to go back to her life (her husband wanted her back!) but mine is so blown up. I am almost 7 months in and I want you to know it gets easier by the day.

        Just remember you are NOT a loser! It will get better, I promise. He IS a loser. Hang in. We are all behind you.

        • I wish I was where you are at stuckinjax…I will keep keep moving and hopefully, be there soon!

          • I know Annie. I felt the same. Just put one foot in front of the other. That’s the most you can do. And eventually you will feel better!

    • Yes, it does get better and less hard. I thought I would never get over the shock at what my life had become. And I am not completely over it or anything, but I am no longer in that initial state of shock. And most days are pretty good, and some days are hard. There is some (still fragile) hope that has grown from the ruins and broken pieces. It just takes time for our hearts and bodies to work on healing us. Do you know the book How to Survive the Loss of a Love? I read a little of that every days for months. Still pick it up some, but that book got me through the first terrible weeks.

      • Thanks for the book suggestion…right now, I will take anything to help get me through this fucked-up life of mine. I don’t think the holidays are helping either…I keep thinking that this is our “last” Christmas as a family, which I know, it a total mind game. I keep telling myself that it will get better and something good will come from this, but I just wish I knew when it would happen. My husband thinks this will make our marriage stronger and that we can create the relationship that we both want…he wants to be the husband I deserve to have and all I can think about are the adults talking on the Charlie Brown specials; what are you saying?!

        • The book Runaway Husbands also helped me. But my husband left me for another woman suddenly and never looked back….he was 100% certain of leaving and did. So maybe the book would not be relevant to your particular situation if your husband is still around and wanting to reconcile. To be honest, the most helpful thing for me has been this blog. I have made notes of so many wise comments on here and re-read them when I need to. People here are supportive and will be rooting for you…. You will survive this. And it will get better.

          • I have read the blogs and I can’t believe how many women want to take their husbands back and want to save a marriage/family with a partner that has been unfaithful. They write about how it takes time, but now 2 years later I can finally-sort-of-maybe trust my husband…wtf? I started to wonder what was wrong with me, because I don’t think I can do this and then, I found this sweet place and I feel at home…thanks chumps.

            • Annie, my ex did not look back, he was more the Runaway Husband, but I am worried that if you stay and try to work it out, you will be stuck with a cheater for the rest of our life, with no chance for authentic love or an authentic relationship. You deserve so much more, don’t let fear keep you stuck. I am almost 2 years out from D-Day, met a wonderful man and am engaged to be remarried next summer. I often think that if I tried to work it out with my ex, I’d still be caught in the lower ring of hell– in false reconciliation with a cheater, playing marriage police, always looking over my shoulder. I would be worrying my best years were wasted and that I would go to my grave alone and unloved, the story of his horrible betrayal and cheating the story of my romantic life. You deserve so much more, we all do, and you won’t get that staying with the cheater. You know the end of the story if you stay. So get out and live your life and take the chance to find someone who truly loves you. (((Hugs)))

              • Kelly-thanks so much for your words of wisdom…I am going to keep it, read it and re-read it when I really need to hear the words of truth.

    • Annie,
      Hang in there! It’s been almost a year for me, and some days I actually wake up singing, something I have not felt like doing for many years. Also, BLOCK her on FB, it took me a while to do it and it helped me SO much…

  • I stopped reading at “cheaters are loyal.” Wait, WHAT?

    Anyway, good dissection/rebuttal. What a load of tripe!

  • My STBX told our adult children just this! This happens to good people. Like he couldn’t help it.
    A little history he was married for a short time and his wife started seeing someone right after they separated. He told me how horrible it was because they were still married. He also made me promise that I would not tell the kids that he was ever married, since it was annulled and it made our marriage the the only one.
    Well he broke his promise so I broke mine and told kids after he started telling them this line of bull. My daughter asked him if he felt that his exwife was also a good person. He became unglued and started telling her how I had no right to tell her about first marriage and she was being disrespectful. Always the twisting and turning.
    His brother in law also had an affair on his sister over 10 years ago and he still told me how awful it.
    They truly believe that they are special and don’t need to live by the same rules. The day after I kicked him out he told me that it was none of my business who he sees and what he does with his time. Unbelievable!!!

    • Jenn, my STBX became unglued (love that expression) because I told our adult children about his 5 year relationship with OW. He thought they would swallow his explanation that we had “grown apart” and both equally wanted a divorce, even though we were about to move into the home we had just spent 6 months building together. He was angry that I told them the truth (they demanded it) and now, guess what, they don’t like him too much.

      As you said, he felt entitled and didn’t need to follow anyone’s rules but his own. Too bad, he’s left with no friends, no family (except his own dysfunctional one, and he doesn’t get along with them, as they are totally mentally challenged). OW went back to her (pathetic) husband, so STBX is all alone. The kids are angry so they don’t want to see him. He’ll have to live with the consequences. Happy Holidays, STBX! Have fun by yourself.

    • Odds are very high that all of us are dealing with a NPD or sociopath.
      I noticed that many of these cheaters are drawn to new age concepts and moral relativism.
      I think it is patently absurd to say they are loyal or good or feel guilt.
      I have not seen a shred of remorse from my XWs. I have seen them assassinate my character and hold themselves out as things that they are not even close to being,
      As I have mentioned , my first wife’s sister implored me to divorce and told me that from the start she worried that I had no indea of what I was dealing with.
      My second wife’ s parents have told me their daughter is a habitual liar who has had to reinvent herself evèry few years as she alienates whatever group she joins.

      • So true Arnold. You can see a public unraveling of these NPD/Sociopaths every couple of months when there is yet another politician caught with his pants down with an AP.
        Whether we are talking Spitzer, Sanford, Weiner, etc… they all share that sense of entitlement so common in power grabbers. I found Jenny Sanford’s “Staying True” book very enlightening as a spouse who made all the mistakes trying for the elusive R while married to a total cake-eater. Thankfully by the end of the book, she recognized what she was dealing with…. To this day, when her X or his AP speak, one can sense the two of them are still in a fog about themselves and consequences of their actions. They are as you say very much into new age enlightenment and moral relativism.
        However, Ms. Sanford pays a price in the media when she stands up to her X who periodically tries to insinuate himself in her new life. They (media), who by and large must be Mira K devotees and drink her kool-aid, love to label Ms. Sanford the scorned woman. They so do not have a clue and continue to be apologists for infidelity. Thank goodness for CL and her site. I intend to spread the word. There are way too many betrayed spouses who need the validation.

        • Whenever I see that smug, reptilian, effete asshole, Mark Sanford, I would like to smash his pussified face in.

    • I actually read in my ex’s journal about how he was planting seeds to break up the marriage/family of his married coworker. He actually wrote “I don’t have to follow society’s rules. I can make my own rules.”

  • This is the first time on the chump lady site. Wish I would have found this before. Have been split from X for almost 10 months. I left when he said he wanted out. Couldn’t afford the house so got an apartment. Right after I found out he was having an affair. He brought her into town and into our marriage bed the weekend of our 28th anniversary, shortly after I left. Just reading how cruel they can be and how the OW feels about sleeping in our bed. Makes me sick. I too have been trying to find out answers and in doing so have just finished reading “When Good People Have Affairs”. As I was reading I got the feeling that the author
    condoned affairs in some way and that its the cheaters right if they are going to be happy. I have been feeling so let down and furious all alone and not having my feelings justified. Well after tonight reading all the comments I took the book a ripped it in two and threw it in the garbage. Reading it pushed me back emotionally when I felt like I have been trying to make positive steps in accepting what has happened. Affairs are absolutely gut wrenching and it takes every bit of strength to get through your days. We take the high road and keep our dignity and integrity in tack and they (x and OW) just keep digging at us, whether they are aware or not. (I do think they do a lot of it on purpose) All I can say to anyone going through it, my heart is with you, be strong and pay attention to the answers given here. I know I will keep readying and learning from this site and not from some idiotic book someone has written sentiments about these creeps having affairs.

    • Hugs to you Frannie. Sorry about your husband turning out to be a creep but glad you found your way here. There’s lots of great advice, sympathy from people who understand, and humor on these pages. It gets better. Welcome!

    • Oh Frannie I am so sorry that this is happening to you! (((HUGS))) Your story has some similarities to mine. You have come to the right place. I, too, was on sites and read a few things in the beginning that promoted the cheating false equivalency (i.e., each partner has some responsibility). Reading that stuff is like being stepped on after you’ve been kicked.

      Keep reading here Frannie. CL is always spot on and there are wise and wonderful people on this site. Take care of yourself.

  • My STBX tried that we grew apart line too and he was unhappy for a long time! Funny but he was the only one that had any idea that he was unhappy! He honestly felt that this made this justifiable!
    Sadly the kids are softening a little to his shit. This was an exit affair to him! It has been 2.5 years that they have been together and he has yet to introduce our kids to her. Our daughter thinks that he is afraid of what the kids will say to her. Still trying to protect her. I makes me wonder what kind of person she is?! Does she really think that this is a healthy relationship that doesn’t include his children? I am sure that he is telling her how “crazy” I am. He is also totally paranoid as to what I will do next. I have been totally NC for 18 months. It makes me laugh because I have done NOTHING including responding to ANY of his tries for communication.
    Sadly it does still make me crazy that he is totally happy with his decision. I have no interest in wanting him but it still hurts. Karma doesn’t catch up to all of them because he is still living the good life! I am the one alone and he is not…
    My kids want to spend Christmas eve with him so that he can give them presents. He said it was because I would want them Christmas. Bull Shit as he wants to be with GF on Christmas and not his kids. Always acts like he is being the bigger person when he is manipulating everyone so that he can get what he wants. Drives me crazy

    • Yes Jenn, they are huge manipulators and wonderful liars.

      Just remember that your kids will never hold him in high regard again (if they ever did). Of course they want presents (what kids don’t?) and they would rather have their dad in their lives (even if he is a shithead and gives them little crumbs). And what else has he got but buying them off? The older they get, the more kids see through this BS.

      And yes, what a huge red flag it would be if you are dating a man who is not close to his kids, or has kids that don’t want to meet you. Cheater!! He should have a huge red “C” tattooed to his forehead. And OW must be a real dumbass to be with someone like your X, or maybe she’s a cheater, too. They are sickening.

      • Wow! What a great idea!

        Like Hester Prynne in The Scarlett Letter… we just tatoo a big red “C” on them. Excellent!

      • I love that idea too. In my case I think she is too young to care that he doesn’t have any kind of relationship with his kids or that they haven’t met her or are even interested in meeting her. At 23 I guess she thinks she’s won, she has a baby with him, she obviously didn’t give a stuff about my family before, why would she care now. She got what she wanted. But a couple of big red c’s would make me feel better. I think theublic deserve to know who isin their community.

        • Final OW, who is still with ex, seems quite ok with the fact that she is the reason my older child has no relationship with his father. She also seems to think it’s perfectly normal that ex hates me and is full of rage towards me…after he was exposed as a serial cheater. She too is very young and I figure 1) he’s sold her a whole bill of goods about what happened and what the truth is, and 2) she needs to believe he’s not this flaming asshole or else she made one doozy of a mistake and this is not soul mate, she’s so special time.

          If I were dating someone and their child wanted little to do with them and my bf had nothing but shit to say about his ex of several decades and who treated her, the mother of his kids, as badly as my ex tries to treat me I’d be running like the wind. But final OW in my case isn’t all that bright so I figure it’ll be a bit before she figures it out. The bulb will probably light up right around the time she catches him cheating.

          • I’m sure my STBX is scouting out his next young victim, if he hasn’t found her yet. The dumber the better, as long as she’s much younger and attractive. And no doubt the story will be about how crazy and paranoid I was throughout our long marriage (the same thing he told the kids). How he will explain to the girlfriend that his kids don’t like him, I don’t know.

            But don’t you think in 10 or 15 years the OW will be out looking for a younger guy? Your X won’t look too good then. I can only hope that my STBX hooks up with someone who will dump/cheat on him later on. He richly deserves it.

            • Oh don’t worry stuck, he’ll just tell her you “alienated” them and turned them against him in your bitter insane rage.

              • You’re so right, Kelly! He has already told his attorney that I turned them all against him. What a crock! Every day of his life is a lie.

  • CLAIM # 1 — “Most men and women who have affairs are good people”

    I’m not even sure what this is supposed to mean or how it’s relevant to the act of cheating which is–by more-or-less near-universal agreement–not an ethical, kind, or empathetic behavior. More importantly, it’s a material breach of contract.

    Does it mean most cheaters don’t torture puppies? Because that’s probably true 🙂

    There seems to be some black-and-white thinking involved here: Since not every act ever committed by a cheater is bad, they must be “good”. People do good and bad things. Cheating is a bad thing. Cheating has traumatic effects on partners, children, and whole families. Repeated cheating is most certainly a pattern of abuse. If a man smacks his wife around on a semi-regular basis, he’s not off the hook for that behavior just because he works in a soup kitchen feeding the poor over the Holidays, and hence… he’s a “good person”.

    • “There seems to be some black-and-white thinking involved here.”

      Along the same lines, I’d say there seems to be some *magical thinking* here as well. As in, thinking I am good makes it so. Regardless of all the lies I tell, all the promises I break, and all people I harm. It’s delusional and likely related to mental illness. I have no doubt that Bernie Madoff, Jerry Sandusky, and Casey Anthony all consider themselves, *deep down*, to be . . . “good people.”

      Which reminds me of story of Abraham Lincoln trying a lawsuit in Sangamon County, Illinois, in which he felt the other side was playing word games. During closing arguments he turned to opposing counsel and asked, “How many legs has a sheep have?” The man replied, “Four.” Lincoln then asked, “And if you were to call a tail a leg, how many legs then?” The man replied, “Well I suppose you’d have to say five in that case.” Lincoln smiled and responded, “No, because calling a tail a leg doesn’t make it so.”

      And just so, calling yourself good doesn’t make it so.

      • Nomar, this is so true. The disordered are often delusional, twisting their every word and action into some sort of display of their imagined goodness. Big deal. Everyone does at least an occasional “good” thing. What amazes me is how many people are willing to extend the “you’re really a good guy” branch to the lying, cheating, manipulating sociopaths. I have no doubt that many underprivileged boys really were helped by Jerry Sandusky’s foundation. Does that somehow make up for all the ones he abused? Is he a good person? Either Jeffrey Dahmer or Ted Bundy, I forget which, worked on a suicide hotline and presumably helped many people not kill themselves. So does that make him a good person, even though he went out and murdered many people himself?

        I suspect Mira K is totally delusional herself, madly paddling up the shit creek and drinking the water while telling herself that her cheating husband is really a GOOD man who really LOVES her so much and can be TRUSTED.

  • So, in order for the chump collective to do something to change those numbers, unfortunately we would have to purchase the book, right? It’s the only way Amazon will allow a review. Eww… For me, I just don’t want to increase the revenue of a cheater who wants to feel all warm and fuzzy about herself.
    Unfortunately, this is a win-win for the author. She sells more books either way. Either from her adoring cheater fans, or from those of us who disagree and just want to give her bad reviews.
    The info from the back cover explains that the book “helps unfaithful partners cut through their confusion and choose a course of action that serves their best interest”. So, Fuck that shit. Not throwing a dime in her pail.

    • I didn’t realize you had to buy it to review — but I think you can comment on the reviews — and vote on those as helpful.

      Yeah, no one wants to buy a book they know is this unhelpful.

      • Yes, anyone can flag Elisabeth’s review as helpful — and that will move it to the top of the reviews on the book’s main Amazon page!

    • No, you don’t have to have purchased an item from Amazon to review it. I review stuff there all the time that I bought elsewhere or checked out of the library. If you DID buy it from Amazon, the review notes that you did so automatically, but it is certainly not required.

  • FacePalm… embarrassed and sorry. Well, there ya go. I don’t know what the hell I was doing wrong earlier, but I couldn’t do a Review for the life of me. It was telling me I hadn’t purchased the damn thing. I’ll go to my corner now.

  • This writer married a cheater btw. That’s why she thinks they are ‘good’ people. Great review.

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