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The Affliction of Being Single

So I was reading some of the editorials around French president Hollande’s philandering, and I was struck by this bizarre moralizing that really the most important thing to do in a situation like this is suck it up. Maintain the relationship. Recognize that the man (sorry, it’s usually always a man) needs his little bits on the side to feel vital. His job is not to embarrass you publicly with his philandering. Your job is not to ask too many questions. The essential thing is that you Keep The Family Together.

And not become one of those pathetic single people.

This nugget of crazy from the Daily Mail.

No, if you decide to stick with a cheat, you have to suck it in — the pain, the devastation, the depression — however much it hurts and humiliates. Just as Victoria Beckham did when David dallied with Rebecca Loos. Or as Hillary did with Bill.

These women kept the tears and the rows behind closed doors, rose above the fray in public — and today are still happily married, with children unscathed by divorce.

Instead, Miss Trierweiler appears to be following Princess Diana’s blueprint for seeing off the mistress — brief the newspapers, play the victim, get the public on side in the PR  battle . . . and lose your man in  the process.

How ironic that the hospital Miss Trierweiler fled to is the same one in which Diana later died — divorced, alone and a stranger to happiness.

Yes, the ones who suck up their humiliation are inexplicably happier for it while those who “play the victim” — well folks… they die. Alone and unmourned. “Strangers to happiness.”

Personally, I prefer being estranged from the happiness that comes from marriage to a remorseless cheater. But I guess I’m just a victim that way.

I like how these moralizing idiots blame monogamy for society’s ills. It’s not infidelity that breaks up homes, no, it’s the unbearable demands of monogamy. We all need to be a bit more understanding. This from the UK’s Telegraph.

The self-righteous twentysomething me, most ignorant of what she was most assured, would have abhorred the French distinction between marriage and sex. Thirty years later, I have seen too many good-enough relationships go to the wall over some infidelity, with all the bitterness and wild regret that comes in its wake.

The other day, a girl sobbed on my shoulder over her parents’ break-up. The divorce was seven years ago, and the girl is now 26. Infidelity hurts like hell, but divorce can cause lifelong devastation.

The Anglo-Saxon marriage model insists on monogamy or bust, and where has it got us? The highest divorce rate in the EU, with 42 per cent of marriages in England and Wales breaking up. And one in eight fathers never seeing their children.

I know married friends of both sexes who have had secret affairs but re-embraced their families with a feeling of immense gratitude and only a glittering shard of regret. Men, it seems, find it easy to forgive their indiscretions, but harder to forgive their wives’s. Quelle surprise!

Many moons ago, I was the Other Woman and I can honestly say that I am so glad my lover didn’t destroy his family for me, even though I would have crawled over broken glass to be with him. Now I have children of my own, I understand what I couldn’t then.

The Daily Mail and the Telegraph are conservative newspapers. But this Save the Marriage at all costs idiocy isn’t confined to the right — Dan Savage the outspoken progressive loves to trumpet crap about being “monogam-ish” and that fucking around is okay, so long as you keep the family together.

At whose expense? Really, you cake-eating cheater assholes — AT WHOSE EXPENSE?

The chump’s, that’s who.

It’s “just sex.” Hey, so you got an STD. So you’re humiliated. So you feel disrespected. Suck it up. You’ll be happier for it! You won’t be pathetic and alone. You won’t “lose your man.”

No, eat the shit sandwich. It’s good for you. It’s a noble sandwich. You really want your daughter sobbing on some journalist’s shoulder six years on about your selfish, selfish divorce?

Apparently leaving cheaters is why 1 in 8 children in Britain don’t see their fathers. It’s not that those fathers ran off with some floozy (or really you drove them to it probably with your demands of fidelity). It’s not that these men are character impaired. No, it’s that you didn’t do a good enough job of sucking up your pain, outside the public fray. You had to be the VICTIM, didn’t you?

God, enough with the chump shaming! It’s not an affliction to be single. Accommodating cake eaters is not a happy marriage — it’s abuse. You aren’t going to die alone, unmourned, your children forever scarred by your actions. (But that’s a hell of a good prediction if you keep being a serial cheater.)

Chumps on the other side — SPEAK UP. Your kids are doing fine? You don’t say! You found new love? Gained a new career? Have deeper friendships? Feeling so much better since you kicked the shit sandwich diet?

If we start telling the truth, I hope the discourse will change. First, that “sucking it up” does not result in happiness. It ends in misery. At best a soul-numbing limbo. Second, that chumps are more than our fucking relationship status. We have worth outside our family, outside our marriage. We have souls that are more than narcissist satellites. Third, that WE are the heroes who keep the family together, not the cheating assholes checking out for an afternoon fuck. Don’t ever say we don’t think about our children and then USE those children to guilt us into staying with some cake eating asshole! We reject your mindfuck.

Finally, there is no bitterness and “wild regret” leaving a cheater. There is only relief.

The bitterness comes from being judged by the sort of half-wits that write these columns. That chumps are somehow less than for being cheated on, and our pain is very inconvenient for everyone. Fuck that.

Chumps — you’re MIGHTY. Don’t ever forget it.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
      • This prevailing attitude is exactly why we need a voice like yours, Chump Lady. Truth is still truth even if it falls on willfully deaf ears. (Also, the endless repetition of a lie does not turn that lie into truth, no matter how hard the cheaters try.)

      • Keep on exposing them here as you have been, Tracy, when you find such articles. At the very least, someone hurting and doing a google search will stumble on your truth-telling website.

      • I see this playing out in the life of a friend of mine. Her husband cheated on her with his drill Sargent when he went to boot camp. Not only did she forgive him, but she’s still married to him, moved several hundred miles away from her friends for him, and often posts on facebook about how miserable she is (they actually had an argument on a facebook thread…swearing at each other and everything. The whole nine yards), yet every time I try to say something a long the lines of “You seem unhappy” her very UNhelpful friends jump down my throat with garbage about how this is the life you learn to live with as a military wife and she comes out with something like “He’s so special when he does XYZ.”

        She’s flat out in denial, and her friends are not her real friends. They aren’t legitimizing any of her feelings when she expresses some kind of unhappiness with the way things are, they just brush it off as “the life she signed up for” and tout something stupid about how military wives are super tough and strong and shit.

        I’m sure there ARE some military spouses with a will of steel and who are faithful and love their partners, and keep their relationships strong by supporting their homes while their partners are away, and whom are good friends to their fellow military spouses when times get tough.

        These women are not such people. They are pretty much stamping down any feelings that go against the grain that my friend has. And she completely internalizes that. I can tell she’s completely miserable.

        The biggest kicker? She recently told us that some of the women on the base gather for lesbian orgies while their husband’s are deployed. She doesn’t take part in it, and doesn’t really know what to do or say about it. I find myself pretty speechless too. But, I’m not really surprised that these same people who are pretty much telling her to suck it up are cheaters themselves.

        • Kara, your last sentence said it all. If one out of two marriages end in divorce, how many of the half that stay married are only in it out of fear for their status, fear of financial ruin and fear of being alone?

  • Wow. The world is upside down. That the perpetrator of a crime should be accommodated while the true victims have to run the gauntlet of society’s censure. The victims have always wanted an intact family, but not at the cost of continual betrayal, abuse, and manipulation.

    • That seems to be an ultimate deception of the cheater. The idea that in wanting to have an intact family, the chump obviously neglected something in their marriage that was the trigger for the affair, and thus “deserved” it.

      Trust that they suck, period.

  • Mighty indeed. I have no regrets outside my own blindness to my ex’s cheating for so long. I could have been free four years earlier if I hadn’t been spackling so much and believing in that unicorn of our “perfect romance”.

    And AMEN to the counter on who ruins the family and children’s lives. What example to we set for a child to model on if we are some sniveling, deluded, chump??? As our kids watch the cheater spouse exhibit BAD life choices again and again and never get called on it? What example would that be?

    I hate what my cheating SOB did to my kids – not via divorce, but by cheating and showing absolutely no regard for family, children, fidelity, honor, nada. They now see him as a free meal ticket at Christmas, where they receive gifts and gladly take the money. Pretty good payoff for enduring him for an hour once a year. My daughter put it best – “Once in a while, I see a shadow of the dad he used to be – in a joke or in burying our gift in a ton of plastic bags in the gift box. But they are just momentary – and then it’s back to what he actually is – a man I don’t recognize anymore – certainly not the father I once knew. Now he’s just this acquaintance who we meet once a year and who gives us gifts.” They recognize him for what he is. No hopium or sparkle there. And the truth is always so much healthier than some sort of delusion created by the sacrifice of a poor, beaten down chump.

  • That’s the thing that always bugged me about Dan Savage. As funny and insightful as he can be, I just never could get with his idea that if you don’t want to do every freaky sexual thing your partner wants to do, whenever they want it, you shouldn’t be mad that they cheat. Because their sexual satisfaction is more important than anything else.

    *Gag*

  • Frankly, I think there’s a lot of thinly veiled misogyny in these types of articles. While the more progressive individuals use gender neutral language, usually the person eating the shit sandwich over and over again is a woman. Most men who have a cheating wife at least get the crowd support cheering them on as they leave. (She’s a whore, dontcha know?!) I feel for men who get screwed in the court system after being cheated on, but I don’t see the total lack of social support. Women who are cheated on/abused are expected to remain silent or forever endure the questions: did you fulfill him? Did you stop having sex with him? What did you do to make him so angry? Why did you pick such a loser to have children with/marry? And the Dan Savages of the world are just as sick as the patriarchal idiots that populate the right. He thinks it’s “okay” to demand group sex, anal sex, whatever to “keep your man.” How regressive is that? Is this what the feminist movement stood for? That’s what we get? That’s hardly empowering. It’s interesting that we always end up in the same spot. Perform for approval or face the social ostracism.

    • KT,
      I guess men who are BS also get those questions…more so, in many cases. Was this guy not a man enough to keep his wife satisfied enough…etc.? Traditionally, women have been getting societal support, when they open up about their spouse’s infidelity. But, the unanimous advice is to “suck it up” especially if you have children. With men however, society is more liberal. Once the storm of public disclosure is over, they move on with or without children. Women are more stuck-up in most cases. Partly the fault of their gender and training and partly the societal pressures against moving on.

      • You guess?
        But I have to agree though there seems to be less questioning on the men’s part whenever their wives cheated/left them….
        But I’ve seen several cases when it was the young wife who cheated on their very old husband and then the reaction of most people were like ”what do you expect,she’s young and he’s old,it will be a matter of time”

  • Hmmm..advice? What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. But somehow I doubt they’d stick around with a smile on their face if they own spouse cheated on them.

    As for being alone: I felt more alone when married to my cheater STBX. Horribly alone, painfully alone. Actually being alone is ten times better than how that felt. Seriously.

    • Beautifully said Duck! I agree with every word. Personally, I’m going through the alone phase right now, and it’s okay. So much relief compared to the abuse I tolerated for so many years at the hands of a disordered STBXW.

    • I also experienced the weird, indescribable loneliness when trapped in a marriage to a sociopath who appeared charming to those outside of the marriage. Only I knew he was cheating on me, lying constantly, abusing drugs, treating me horribly. I was miserable. And so profoundly lonely.

      Now I live on my own. I’ve been in my apartment since August, divorce underway, still getting my bearings. And I sometimes feel pangs of loneliness, but nothing like I felt before. I often enjoy my time alone. I think now that the suffering I endured was two pronged:

      1) I was lonely for real understanding, as I was stuck putting on this absurd “happy” show while I was dying inside. A lot of my relationships were less than genuine, because I was working so hard to pretend.

      2) I lost myself. I didn’t have my own genuine self to keep my company, as I was stuffing her down, ashamed of what I had become.

      Hell, I would take spending a night in with a good book and my self respect over a minute spent in that hellish existence ANY time.

      • LilyBart you have described perfectly that last era of my marriage, other than I didn’t know about the cheating and there weren’t any drugs…that I know of. Everything else, though, yep.

        • Yes, my counselor said I was supressing myself to stay in my marriage. I was so focused on trying to connect with my ex that I disconnected from myself.

            • Double yup. Scariest thing is that I simply didn’t notice it happening because it was so gradual. My therapistpointed out that that is classic abuser behaviour. It doesn’t happen overnight; instead it happens over time.

      • You have hit it on the head. There are different types of being alone. My married life had all the same ingredients as yours and plenty of nasty extras. I felt like a nuisance and was often told by my stbx not to speak or talk. I thought this was ok, made excuses for him and now I see that I was lonely and was being driven mad by his behaviour which he normalised. Now I am four weeks post him moving out and I am so glad that experience is over. Now I am alive and alone. And I can scream shout breathe laugh with all of my being. Hallelujah.

        The press definitely does have an effect on women feeling like sucking it up is the best way forward. I did this for 5 years and they were the hardest 5 years ever. Diana did not die alone or unhappy she was in love and loved and she was with her man. And anyway if I had been her on that deathbed I would have been happy that I had had the courage to live the life I deserved rather than suffer because of the opinions of others. She knew her worth as we all know or at least are beginning to know and realise ours.

    • I agree! The loneliness of a “roommate” type marriage is far worse than being alone! My STBX moved out last June. A few weeks ago my mother commented that everyone knew I was miserable, except me. I now feel like the weight of the world is off my shoulders, even though that weight has been replaced with financial, career, single mom weights!!

  • Another jewel, CL!

    Blaming the victim is one of the worst vices in the history of humanity and is used by indiscriminate power-seekers everywhere, from warmongers to genocidists to governments to schoolyard bullies on down the line … and this includes the cheaters.

  • Every serial murder had (in their own minds anyway) perfectly reasonable, logical and justified reasons for killing all those poor saps. So why is it that when you change the word “murder” into “cheater”, so many people just buy into it and agree? Its a word salad used to make selfish and shitty behavior seem just fine and dandy. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. Its easier to “explain” infidelity and make it acceptable than it is to remember that honor, respect and commitment aren’t just pretty words who’s meaning fades away before the ink on the marriage liscence dries.

    • Angie,

      “Every serial murder had (in their own minds anyway) perfectly reasonable, logical and justified reasons for killing all those poor saps.”

      THIS! Exactly! Living with a cheater is a form of soul murder. I compare it to the difference between emotional abuse and physical abuse (in which emotional abuse has already and is taking place in addition to the physical aspect) – if and when the abuse finally becomes physical, the damage is then visible. With physical death, there is a ceremony and evidence of your demise. When you are walking around dead on the inside, your physical body is still visible so no one notices you’re nothing but a shadow. And this is preferable to the living and knowing that comes from being free to experience yourself, how exactly?

      I remained with my vomit-spewing, shit-covered beast from the lowest depths of hell through several bouts of all kinds of cheating and inappropriate behavior. Each time I stayed, what it indicated to him was that he didn’t have to respect me or our relationship and his rancid-assed behavior was A-Okay with me. What it indicated to me was that I didn’t deserve better and that I had little to no value. That’s better than being single? Where? Planet Marquis de Sade?

      I welcome any one of these head-up their asses, monkey balls sniffing jackasses to spend 6 months with the character and personality disordered flaming turd from Satan’s ass to whom I am still technically married. I’d be interested in seeing their take on infidelity after spending some time with that porn-addicted, panty and chin-dildo wearing asshole. If they were still able to find their way home at the end of the six months, I’d be surprised.

      I’ll take SINGLE for $200, Alex!

      • OMG, Princess, I love love love your rants. They are downright empowering and thoroughly enjoyable all at once! Thanks for brightening my day again!

  • Ouch! CL, oh so accurate. I’m sure I’m not the only one who felt the public scrutiny of judgement of others we know.

    But what I found was the biggest kick in the guts while I was down was the psychology profession.

    Get therapy! See a good psychologist! ……..was the standard advice. In my experience, a huge percentage of these supposed “professionals”, and I use that term very loosely, are at best, totally useless, but in some cases, disordered mindfucks themselves. Their standard lines goes something like ……”the reason for the affair is that there were problems in the marriage, and both parties most own that. There are 2 sided to every story. Etc” we’ve all heard it.

    It’s one thing to hear this from naive friends, but when you seek professional help in your moment of weakness and vulnerability and you get told that “you have to own your share of the problem ( your spouse cheating on you), or worse (my experience with the first psychologist)………”let’s talk about what you ( me, the victim of infidelity) did wrong in the marriage that lead your wife to cheat”. I sat there for the next hour in that first MC session, under the blowtorch about my faults. It still haunts me now.
    Arsehole!

    It’s one thing to hear this from naive folk, who don’t know any better. We were all there once. But it’s quite another to get naivety, or worse, manipulation from the profession who are supposed to be there to help us in our moment of need.

    Okay, rant over.

    • So, it appears that men suffer from the same social bs… In that case, we have a sick society. Good for you getting away from the cheating jerk.

    • Sorry that happened to you, Kraft. It is like yet another betrayal. Glad you did not internalize any of it. I often wonder how many of these professionals are cheaters themselves.

    • I was lucky that my therapist wasn’t like that. It was she who actually pointed out to me that the final OW actually was and OW. My therapist was a smart and sharp woman. I got lucky.

      I bet if she knew all the things I found out after the fact, she’d have been even sharper. XD

    • I am a psychologist by trade, and am acquainted with quite a few others who believe that bad marriages don’t cause infidelity– infidelity causes bad marriages. ALL marriages have problems. I have yet to see a perfect one. Mature adults find ways to problem solve and work out relationship differences in such a manner as to make conflict resolution a “win-win” situation for both partners. Sadly, once trust has been destroyed by a cheater, it is damn near impossible (but not totally with certain highly motivated people) for them to learn how to do this.

      Marriage is all about trust, honesty, integrity, dependability, reliability, and honor. Sex and even “love” come in second to these attributes because over the span of a lifetime marriage, we will fall in and out of love with our partner many times. There will be times when we just do NOT like them and other times when we see them though the soft focus lense of the original pairing. Marriage is not supposed to MAKE us happy; it is supposed to make us married. We are to be able to be happy in an of ourselves and then share it with our mate. Cheating, adultery, infidelity…or whatever you like to call it, is not an answer to personal unhappiness, and the betrayal of trust that accompanies it cuts the legs right out from under the honorable institution of marriage.

      That having been said, marriage is not for everyone. Some people are just fine in the single or even celibate state. When we get over the notion that we MUST be “mated” to be happy, and choose to think of being single as a state of freedom (much like we felt when we were young, single, and not looking to get hitched yet) and behave accordingly ( by having a full life anyway) we tend not feel like some kind of social pariah. We tend to be a content single person.

      • Now when I read comments like yours I just want to cut and paste and forward to x …but that would be breaking no contact right? 😉 only joking 😛

      • NotYou that was one of the best descriptions of marriage and cheating I’ve ever read. Thank you. That was just brilliant. I always knew there were and would continue to be times when I’d look at my husband and wonder how in hell I marrie dhim because he annoyed me so much. But it was part and parcel of a long relationship. There were also times when I adored him as much as the day I fell in love with him.

        He thought there was something wrong with feeling less than blissful 99% of the time. He didn’t get the whole up and down thing.

    • I feel blessed that two months after d day I found a shrink who totally got it. She had this in her FOO and her sage wisdom and empathy is worth every penny. She had practical tips and coached me on the pitfalls and traps. With her help I have been able to navigate the divorce, games, ptsd like a boss. Anyone in the NJ Philly area, Dr Lisa Blackburn has your back.

    • Kraft, sorry to hear about your experience with a psychologist. I was lucky. Our marriage psychologist was a Christian–total “must stay married” kind of professional. After 15 minutes, my STBXH left to use the bathroom and she leaned over to me and said “I hope you aren’t going to go back to that guy, are you?”

    • I gave up on therapy when the therapist tried to tell me I’d chosen him knowing he would do what he did cos that’s all I thought I deserved. What I decided was I wasn’t the one who needed therapy so bah bye!

  • Just plain old silly. The daughter is sobbing because her parents got “divorced.” And why did they get divorced? Would she be happier if she had an “intact” family while she witnessed her mother being cheated on, miserable and pretending, and betrayed? And is that the answer, the parent who can fake it best is the best person? The parent who is a perpetual victim will make it into heaven? Honey, someone should ask MY daughter what she thinks about that, and I daresay most of our daughters, and see what they would have wanted us to do! On top of the hurt my ex caused my daughter, the bigger hurt would be to stick with him in a lie of a marriage and eat THAT shit sandwich. My daughter wants me out, free, happy and loved; it is her only consolation after what her father did.

    You know, I want to give these people the same advice my father gave me early on in my life about handling almost anything–“BE A MAN.” Meaning stand up, face what you’ve done, admit your mistakes, try to make reparations, take the consequences, and move on. These people need to be “men”– they need to understand that if someone cheats, someone else will be understandably upset, probably will not be able to forgive and forget, the family is irreparably broken, and the marriage likely will be dissolved. When you cheat on your wife (or husband), be a “man” — you understood that it was wrong, that it risked the children’s welfare, that you risked divorce and great harm for everyone you promised to care for. So take it like a “man” and SHUT UP about it once it happens.

    I’m a woman, but my dad’s advice has always been the best ever.

    And as my mama always said: “They have no one to blame but themselves.”

      • I’ll go for that DDW, gotta get with the times. 🙂

        Dad is an old Italian man, but his wisdom encouraged me to become a lawyer, be independent, and kick ass once I found out what my ex was all about!

  • It’s easier to use words to explain shitty behavior than it is to actually conduct their lives with honor and integrity.

  • Some of the most miserable people I know are those that stayed with a serial cheater. It’s really sad to watch two aging old farts go at each others juggler instead of ending the tragedy earlier and moving on. Anger, willful abuse through negligence, and a living in a house were there is NO love is just pathetic! And the adult children that grow up in homes where this behavior is accepted have major mommy/daddy issues.

    There are instances where couples can work it out and I applaud those that are successful. It takes a lot to begin to heal. But you gotta to know there are a lot of mind games being played on both sides in those sick marriages that don’t divorce. I mean some really sick shitz!

  • I dunno – seems to me that Sandra Bullocks’ life has been absolutely fabulous ever since she left her skeezy cheating ex!

  • I continue to be shocked by the attitude, expressed above, that infidelity is bad, but it’s divorce that really destroys the children…..

    Huh?

    So staying in a bad marriage where there may be infidelity or various forms of abuse is GOOD for the children? Ridiculous.

  • My newest counselor is a man and I really like him. Although at one point he started in on how choosing my cheating, lying husband was somehow my fault. I said, ‘Whoa, NO WAY are you going to blame the victim (me) for his bullshit!’ No, I did not ‘pick’ a lying cheating husband. I picked what I thought was a wonderful man and I was truly, madly and deeply in love with him. The counselor backed right down and never brought that horse shit up again. My fault! Right.

  • My husband abandoned our marriage, so I never really had a choice. Before I knew for sure and I was begging him to stay, I said if it was someone else, I could forgive him! That was said under the false belief he had a soul and felt remorse, which he does not.
    When my suspicions were confirmed, though, the shit hit the fan and there was no putting the toothpaste back in that tube.

    I love to read, naturally, and think books contain magical spells that cure all problems. So imagine my horror when most books on infidelity do not focus on my singular-by-myself healing process reconciling the total fuckery I was left to deal with but my marriage’s healing process, which there was none.

    I assume no blame for my ex-husband’s inexplicable behavior. I was sore that family law provided no hope for any sort of relief or justice. If those “marriage is forever no matter what” advocates really gave a damn about my marriage, they wouldn’t be penning shame literature, but focusing on ways to protect chumps and their children. So they can drop the holier than thou act.

    • Dr, My husband did the same. Abandoned our marriage, our children, our life. Was there anybody else… no, of course not honey, she’s just a friend until a week later he was at her place and moved in a month later… oh surprise, surprise its been going on for about 18 months. I was a total chump for 20 years. She wasn’t the first “friend” but the one that he finally went with. Do I feel sad, somehow I’ve failed my children by being single now. Hell to the NO!!! Do I regret not kicking him out years ago after the bites on his neck, the not coming home, the too busy doing his things HELL YES!! Are my children suffering because of it and because I’m single and playing mum and dad. Not even a little bit. My son even said to me, he hated having his dad at home anyway, all he did was yell and be angry and aggressive and my daughter said she feels sad that she missed her childhood because of having a dad who couldn’t be bothered to be a man and be there for his family. So being single is bad and raising your kids by yourself is somehow a terrible place to be, I don’t think so. Why don’t these so called “people” who write these articles speak to the kids who know what this is all about, I think they would be very surprised at the response. Idiots!!!

  • CL, your post makes me want to change into my superwoman costume and single-handedly rescue all chumps still living in Shameville.

  • OK, I’ll speak up! I am PROUD of myself that I walked out. It took me freaking forever to finally do it, but it’s accomplished now, and being single is beautiful. In fact, it’s the part of life I almost missed out on, having gone from parents, to GF, to BF who then turned into (cheater) husband. I can do whatever I want now! Last weekend I drove myself down the Coast Highway, past redwoods and beaches, stopped wherever I wanted, bought honey by the side of the road, and no one second-guessed or criticized me, it was soooo good. I enjoyed a three day weekend with my sister and drove myself back home.
    What’s to be afraid of? Being free and independent?
    I did that thing we chumps do in my marriage- tried harder and harder as he got more and more selfish, and made myself small.
    Now my life has been ‘reset’, and I’m going to grow! I hope those fraidy cats that tell people to stick their heads in the sand while being totally disrespected, find the truth someday. Being real, and true to your beliefs, is where it’s at, Baby!

    • “Now my life has been ‘reset’’, and I’m going to grow!”

      This is interesting to think about. I have realized since my ex abandoned me out of the blue, that I have found myself returning to things I loved long before him. I had sat them aside, not because of him, because life got busy and whatnot. I now I am drawn back to them and am actually pursuing those interests. Grow indeed!

  • Here in the UK most of us ‘strangers to happiness’ who’re in the know have renamed the Daily Mail – we call it The Daily Fail.

    Enough said.

  • I was encouraged by friends who grew up with cheating, fighting parents who told me that they WISHED their parents had divorced. I think the real damage done to children of divorce is when one (or both) parents try to maintain power and control over the other, especially when using the children as a tool towards that end. Or when children are physically or emotionally abandoned by a parent. It is clear to me that kind of behavior is typical of the cheater, and so is the blameshifting when they say it’s the divorce that caused all the problems. If parents can maintain honesty and respect with each other, they can create a healthy environment for their kids after divorce. Cheaters don’t specialize in honesty and respect.

  • The irony about all of this is – Once someone has been cheated on and betrayed, the opinion about staying in a marriage with a cheater suddenly changes. The people that spew the stupid BS about staying married to a cheater and getting over it for the sake of the family have probably not been cheated on. Until someone feels the sting of betrayal by the one they trusted the most, they really are in no position to judge others or offer useless opinions about sucking up anything.
    It is so easy to offer stupid words as a judgement when you haven’t experienced what it feels like to be cheated on and lied to for years for yourself.

    • I agree. I’ve gotten PLENTY of advice from people who have never had to deal with infidelity, so they do NOT know of which they speak. It’s infuriating.

  • I’m liking being single. I sleep better. I have time to contemplate expanding hobbies (almost forgot what those were).

    Next project: DAW/Midi studio? I have a hankerin’ lately to explore music composition and synthesis and maybe make use of my many guitars that have been idle since around the time my ex moved in.

    Who knows? Could be fun.

  • Yes! Thank you Chump Lady. Once again, you’ve knocked it out of the ballpark!

    I, for one, am PROUD to be alone. I am HAPPY. My two teenaged boys are THRIVING. Life is wonderful and full of promise and hope now that I’ve left my cheating ex-husband far, far behind me. Tell THAT to the stay-together-despite-everything pundits out there.

    Staying together just for the sake of “having someone” is nonsense. Assuming children will suffer endlessly because of divorce is bullshit. We all have it in us to live the best lives we can, but we have to stop listening to the crap out there and listen to our own voices.

  • Actual convo from yesterday’s MC session :
    Me : So, do you think someone who has ZERO empathy can suddenly gain empathy?
    Therapist: Yes! Yes they can. Empathy can be learned.
    ( mind you, I am NOT talking about the lessons we teach our young children about empathy, I am talking about a 50 yr old male who does not possess it and suddenly is “recommitted” aka love bombing after being outed of his decade long double life.)

    Uh… My gut is telling me NOT to drink the Kool Aide. Who the hell wants to live with someone who has no conscious, no accountability and no regard for their partner or children?

    • Oh, I think most people can develop empathy. It comes later for some people than others. The thing is, what are the odds of somebody at age 50 suddenly becoming empathetic toward somebody who they’ve already treated badly? Not good. Heck, he may never “grow up”. If he does “grow up”, then maybe it’s the loss of somebody close that “teaches” him that.

      So the real question you should have asked your MC was… what are the odds, and if it was you…? LOL

    • When I was in MC with my ex we did exercises and my ex could not put himself in my place, he told me “I can’t do that when you are wrong” and he couldn’t do anything else that required empathy. In particular were exercises where we would switch places. When I told the MC what he said, she assured me that these things were hard for a lot of men, I should work with him. YEAH, I worked with him as he continued to cheat and lie to me during MC.

      ANC, if he reached 50 and has no empathy then it’s going to be a hard slog to gain it. Don’t drink the kool aid, let him go find his empathy all by himself. What you have is what I had, an MC who wants to save your marriage at any cost, even if it destroys you in the process. Our MC was dedicated, so I was to forgive every fucked up thing he did and let him do some more because he “needed to find himself”. This went on even after the MC said she thought my ex was BPD (I got raged at for that afterward). After I got the protective order the MC had the nerve to ask me for payment for the last couple sessions because ex didn’t pay. I told her in no uncertain terms that she helped him keep me in an abusive marriage, if it were not for her persuading me; I wouldn’t have contracted an STI or had a gun pointed at me. She knew he was the one that insisted on seeing her, and if she wanted more money, I told her to go after him. I never heard from her again.

      • OIOW, it’s a “sucker’s bet”. Yeah, I concur.

        Standing up for yourself and what you know is right is a no-brainer. One unintended side-effect might be that it’s a teaching moment. Not because that is what you are trying to do. Because all you are, hopefully, trying to do is live an authentic life and stand up for your own values.

        If he learns something, that’s bonus points in the whole larger environment-view of things. At 50, it’s unlikely, so don’t hold your breath. But lightening strikes, somebody does win the lottery not matter how unlikely it is, and it could happen.

        But … when I got to the beach, I swim. Over 100 people a year are attacked by sharks in the US. My chances of winning the lottery are almost as good as being attacked by sharks, so I swim.

        • Thanks. I’m feeling quite pressured by both the MC and spouse to smoke the Hopium. Can’t do it. It feels like sucking -it-up and enabling the facade. Ironically, the individual therapist that I’m seeing to get my shit together is giving me more legal contacts. Attys with experience dealing with narcissists and sociopaths. And lots of advice on navigating my way thru this shit.

          • I am in the camp that thinks you need to be AWAY from the soul-sucker to get better. Help yourself now, do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes. Separation can be just the ticket, and your fog could clear, and let him go work out his problems himself.
            You can’t see the answers when your deep in the pain, no matter how many counsellors you talk to. Just what I’ve observed- you need distance from the cheater!

      • I asked my ex once, just after we separated and he couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just immediately ‘get over it’ how he would feel if he were in my shoes – if he had found out what I had found out. What if he had discovered I had been cheating on him with multiple men and had been lying to him for years. His response: I can’t imagine that. I can’t put myself in your shoes. I have no idea what that would feel like.

        It stunned me because he really didn’t have any ability to understand how another person felt. And then it hit me: all those years of him desperately wanting me there and freaking out if there was any indication I was less than pleased with him – it wasn’t because he loved me so much or wanted to make sure I was happy in our marriage, it was about him wanting me in that role at that time – it was about him. And it became more and more about him until I nearly disappeared. Scary that I didn’t even notice any of that happening.

  • Thank you for this. Yes, my cheating husband betrayed and abandoned me and it hurts like hell. But even at this early stage of dealing with it, I would much rather be where I am right now than entertain the thought of shoving shit sandwiches in my face-hole for the rest of my life because GOD FORBID, otherwise I’ll be SINGLE!

    I’ve had more peace in the last two months than I’ve had in YEARS. I’ll figure it out as I go. But if the best I can do is a man that cares so little for me as to break every fucking promise he’s ever made to me, I’ll stay single; Thank you very much.

  • CL,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Did I say thank you?

    “Finally, there is no bitterness and “wild regret” leaving a cheater.” FOR REAL AND FOR TRUE!

    I initially experienced sadness, but came to realize living with a controlling, emotionally abusive, cheating ass had caused my brain chemistry to alter and caused me to suffer PTSD symptoms. That wasn’t regret. That was a need for a readjustment.

    I do not regret leaving my STBX – at this point, I regret not leaving him sooner. How can choosing a life free of chaos and betrayal be worse than living with constant lies, deceit and disrespect? How is being constantly in a state of hyper-vigilence, checking phone records, penis policing, attempting to sniff out signs of further infidelity like McGruff the Crime Dog, living? Been there, done that, got a trophy and a free trip. I’d rather have the peace that comes when that’s not my worry. I would rather live alone with my truth than be in company with him and his lies.

    Just keep dispensing the cure CL. Those with the incurable disease will find you when they are ready to be healed.

  • I personally can not wait to be officially single. All during the 9 months of affair denial, marriage counseling, separation, and false reconciliation – I suffered from repeated eye infections, ongoing insomnia, weight loss, the growth of gray hairs (never had those before!), weird rashes/skin problems that flare up STILL when he causes me stress, anxiety, panic in certain situations that remind me of something hateful he did. As soon as he left the eye infections went away within a week. I threw away so much eye make up thinking it was infected – when in fact what i needed to throw out was my husband!

    The peace i feel now when I come home Is so much better than it was before, not just for me
    but for my daughter. With him out of the house I’ve realized how much he really
    belittled me and the things that make me me. It was always in small, insidious ways that weren’t blatant but still caused major and doubt in myself

    • Having issues with my kindle – going to finish my thought down here….

      Now that my STBXH is gone, I feel no shame in being single. I relish it, I rejoice in it, I seek out the quiet. I can come home and sit in silence while my daughter plays with her toys, no TV on and radio and phone calls all at the same time. It was my ex that needed all the distraction, my ex that feels the shame of being alone sooooo much that he sought out any and all attention he could get. The problem with that is it will never be of any quality and it will never he enough. I’m enough all one my own. I will be enough for my daughter and teach her the right lessons. There is no shame in demanding to be treated with respect ajd if that means you end up single, then so be it.

      I’m loving it so far!

    • Rjam, the peace is priceless, the doing without the crap. On the skin stuff, get checked for HSV 1&2, it can show up in weird places.

      • Oh believe me, that thought has crossed my mind! I did the full STD test in September and have been back to the doctor since for several things (rash incliuded). It looks like dermatitis and I’m trying to get in to see a dermatologist (which takes MONTHS to get an appt for some reason). I’m planning on doing another STD screen in May when I go to the gyno just to be extra sure (the first one was at a Patient First since they were open on Sunday andI didnt want to wait – let me tell you how embarrassing that was). I realize this may be a bit too much info, but for all of us chumps its waaaay better to get checked out, even multiple times if need be, than to wonder. It’s just another one of those wonderful shit sandwiches we have the pleasure of being forced to eat.

  • Nope! Being with a cheater is much worse than being single. Why is it that we seem to live in a world where there seems to be such low standards for decency and values? That every shitty choice is explained away by this or that? That cheaters are “nice” people who made mistakes and that gosh, they love you but aren’t IN love with you and all that…garbage.

    I get so tired of being blamed for my STBX’s cheating. I get so tired of being told to take my 50% of it. And hearing, “Well, there’s two sides to every story.” And all that. It’s damn exhausting.

    So if I’d stayed with my cheater my child would be grateful? Would that child be grateful to know years later that good ol’ Dad (or Mom) was a cheater, a liar and manipulator but gosh, we sure had some great vacations! What a mind*ck for a child. To me, that’s just passing the skein on for your kid to unravel.

    For all the agony I have endured over the cheating and end of my marriage, I sincerely hope that my child learns that it is not ok to betray your partner, gaslight and blame shift. My bet is that it makes a HUGE difference to any child to live an authentic life. It’s not easy to divorce, but kids suffer more when they are lied to and denied a home that is kind and loving. I’m modelling that for my child and nobody gets to tell me that is a bad choice.

  • What’s wrong with living a life of independence and integrity?

    What’s good about fake togetherness when really there’s betrayal? And how is that good for kids?

    These articles are silly. Glad that CL has skewered them!

  • I have been on a steady diet of shit sandwiches since Christmas. Admittedly the diet began voluntarily at Christmas for the kids. I stood on a little ledge, held my ground regarding spending a fake Christmas together. I gave Roy Christmas Morning, settled for Christmas Eve. I knew no matter what direction I went with the entire situation I was screwed and I chose to let go of the battle and start a new tradition for us on Christmas Eve. For the kids, I allowed Roy to go to my parents’ house Christmas afternoon.
    The week before Christmas, Roy demanded the family van back if I wouldn’t make the entire payment. Rush around to get a good solid pre owned car in budget, even though it isn’t really.
    Gave up a peaceful holiday with my family so the kids didn’t feel guilty about their dad being all by himself. God forbid.
    Dealing with Roy’s pedophile brother and no contact order.
    Dealing with Roy refusing a generous (per my shark lawyer that I can’t really afford) visitation schedule.
    Dealing with Roy saying I am NOT disabled contrary to 3 specialists who say I am.
    Dealing with Roy saying he can’t live on what he is making due to child support and alimony. Really because God knows we are just frickin living it up on that amount you graciously “give” me every month.
    Dealing with Roy filing for ME to pay his legal fees since my assets are liquid. You are a fucking peach Roy. You buy the kids toys every single time they are at your house, you take them out to eat at least 3 x per weekend, you go to auctions and buy stuff (poor penniless fucktard asshole) and turn around and sell it on Craigslist for a profit (side business is pretty profitable considering all those fucking postings I am printing off to give to the lawyer).
    BEST filing since Christmas, he wants his equity in the house I am living in paid to him, AND I AM TO REFINANCE THE LOAN. Excuse me you wondering dickwad, I BARELY qualified for a loan to get a car. How the fuck am I going to refinance.
    Last week I realized I was falling back into isolating, pretending all was fine in the world. Hiding out on the computer while I covered myself in shit sandwiches and sucked it up.
    New Year, New me. Fuck you Roy.
    Let’s look forward to the retirement account, stocks, bonds, pension, social security. How hard you try to fuck me now is how hard I WILL fuck you then.
    I am not a dyson. I will lose my suction after you keep filling me with shit. I am done.
    My boys are doing awesome considering they have only known about the divorce for a short time. Much better than they were a year ago. Letting them see me upset, not hysterical, allowing them to express their feelings, not teaching them to be a fucking dyson.
    How dare I be upset he stuck his dick where it wasn’t suppose to go. (uh, sounded better in my head saying it that way).
    Even bigger, I am pissed off that if he wanted to fuck a skank, WHY didn’t I get some cake out of the frickin deal? I got treated like shit before, during and after. I wasn’t the perfect stepford wife no matter what I did. Dam, I might have even over looked him doing Dallas (her name, for real ppl) if he would have been a decent husband despite the sloppy bitch on the side.
    Fuck you Roy. I didn’t ruin this marriage, you did. I may have contributed to the slow agonizing death. I may have fought you too much and hid too much of myself to let you completely overtake me. I may have lied to fuck you over in the end.
    How does the shit sandwich taste Roy? Cuz by the end of this whole deal, you will be eating a steady diet of them.

  • My personal experience was choosing divorce after infidelity, drinking and drugs made my marriage unbearable. As difficult as it was to accept that decision (failure, loss, loneliness, shame, etc, etc), it is one I am extraordinarily grateful for now, because I can answer Chumplady’s questions as such:

    You found new love? Actually, when I was least expecting it….
    Gained a new career? Reinvigorated my career and have a much better focus on what I want to get out of my job
    Have deeper friendships? I actually see my friends now and have made new friends.
    Feeling so much better since you kicked the shit sandwich diet? You have no idea….I have found a wonderful sense of self and peace, I think mostly by always believing I would find it and doggedly sticking to that belief.

    By contrast? My neighbor learned a few years ago her husband had a fling with a co-worker. Because she had young children, and didn’t want to put them through a divorce, she chose to stay with her husband. She now lives her life monitoring his every move and they fight like cats and dogs. I have been woken up in the middle of the night hearing screaming, objects smashing, and screeching tires as one or the other takes off in anger and frustration. This all transpires in front of their children…..please tell me how this is better for them? The simple answer is it’s not. No one will ever convince me that living with one parent who works at keeping the environment in check with the values of a decent person is detrimental.

    The writers of the “suck it up” bullshit should probably stop believing what a celebrity publicist is working hard to keep out there in the public eye. If being a “family man” is good for the “brand”, that is what they will put out there. The truth gets buried deep.

  • I totally agree with you, CL! Thanks for your great insights here. These editorials remind me of two mindfuckeries that pack a real punch in today’s culture:

    1) Monogamy is the culprit. It’s unrealistic and unobtainable. Duh. That’s the whole point! Monogamy IS highly UNNATURAL. Like all higher standards–integrity, justice, respect–these principles are designed to civilize human beings (who left to their own devices might pinch the hot yoga teacher’s butt, plant a bomb in their snotty neighbor’s mailbox, steal the spoiled-rich kids’ Air Jordans . . .). Well you get my point! There’s a reason why we submit to UNNATURAL principles. We prefer a civilized lifestyle. And heck, no! You can’t be monogamish. Higher standards aren’t ishy: they’re either/or, no gray areas. Period. . . Take that you cheating, pinching, stealing son-of-a-bitches.

    2) Cheating is an “indiscretion.” Indiscretion is defined as: following an impulse without forethought. An oopsee daisy I slipped up! A minor boo boo I fucked my co-worker, honey, she was wearing that pink sweater again. Wheww, damn glad that indiscretion is under the bridge, darling, now lets hurry up to 9:00 church. . . In my opinion these polite little benign spins on adultery are the most lethal. They inoculate everyone–they take out the venom of the adultery–and do great harm to those who are betrayed. This is why I think we as chumps are easily pressured into sucking it up. The gory details of the sex and the clandestine meetings of our exs and their OWs are glossed over into polite sounding indiscretions. This kind of attitude normalizes otherwise horrific, horrific! behavior and permits these -cktards to pass below the radar of public outcry undetected for what they truly are . . . while all the while the critical spotlight is cast on the (un)suspecting chump . . . if that ain’t mind-fuckery at it’s best I don’t know what is! . . . The chump has to quickly rise to her/his: No, I’m not a lesbian. No, I’m not a victim. I actually don’t think being single is an affliction . . . Oh, but thank you so much for asking, I’m near perfect and god-forbid I’d ever think of screaming hysterically, sticking a steak knife in my cheating spouses back, and 4-wheeling over his OW and her stickin’ little ass. Ohhhh, nooooo, I’m too polite and too normal to commit such a silly little indiscretion like that. 🙂

  • I think there’s this unreasonable pressure placed on us by society that people must be coupled, and that you’re a social failure if you’re single past a certain point in your life. Think of wedding invitations, parties where you’re “supposed” to bring someone, and on and on. What’s so wrong with being single? It isn’t like we’re all antisocial hermits living off the grid in that cabin twenty miles from anywhere. There’s nothing wrong with monogamy either (despite what the “more sophisticated” Europeans may think). When it works, it’s one of the best things around. When it doesn’t, chumps like me wonder if living out the rest of my days single is really all that bad, or even preferable.

    • I’m alone and I don’t want to be. It took therapy to make me realize that it was her, not me, who was flawed. She did a number on my self esteem.
      So, I’m out there looking. But, not settling just so I won’t be alone.
      In the meantime, I’m OK.

      • Jim, there is nothing wrong with wanting love and companionship, I did. Shortly after D-Day, I decided the last story in my romantic life would NOT be the woeful tale of what ex did to me. Take your time, “fix your picker,” and find the authentic love you deserve….

        I remember in the months after D-Day, I read a book (from Amazon of course) written from the Christian slant (I am not seriously religious but it was helpful), and the writer said she felt that G-d was speaking to her and telling her over and over: “Let go and I will bless you.” That phrase has come to me more than I’d like to admit in the (many) days since D-Day.

        You will get there 🙂

  • I think about the legacy Princess Di left. Her two beautiful sons. I think their marriages will know a greater authentic love and you can bet their Mom’s experience had a lot to do with how she raised her boys. They are easily better men than their father.

  • Wait, you mean I was supposed to kiss him on the forehead as he left for OW’s car, AND do his laundry?

    —————————–> No. No, I don’t want to. <————————————

    • Probably best not to. She seems very full of herself and a little off (she boasts about how she could use multiple aliases to harass the site). She probably was an OW and bought the lie that the wife was horrible instead of seeing that guy was using her.

    • She was a troll who posted here a few times until I banned her. She posted one of her comments on that link, you can see why I blocked her. Mocking people for being cheated on, insults, etc.

      She’s a nut job, but one with little influence. I’d rather respond to the nut jobs who have columns with major newspapers.

  • Those UK newspapers print some retarded stuff.

    Had a peaceful evening at home; my 14 year old daughter talked to me for about an hour; had beef bourguinon for dinner, turned out pretty good; my 19 year old got home, ate and told me about her new college classes.

    What’s missing? Let’s see: no getting the stink eye and having to try to guess what I did wrong or missed doing due to faulty mind-reading; no having to hear a litany of complaints, all selections drawn from the same list; no eruption of temper that makes the teenagers sound mature; no having to witness relentless texting, e-mailing, and phone calling to persons mysterious.

    It’s a lot to have to do without, but I try to manage!

    May all those columnists be confronted by the very situations for which they so eagerly proffer their sage advice. With that steamer on the plate before them, let’s see them “rise above the fray!”

    • Yes, the incessant texting……the incessant thoughts of him somewhere else…..who needs that shit? I will NEVER return to that place, to that feeling, to that scenario. Ever. Again.

      • Yes, I didn’t realize (duh) that ex was cheating (for at least 15 years!), but oh yes, the incessant texting, nonstop emails, and feeling that something was off but not knowing what, feeling depressed and unhappy and not knowing why, feeling alone in a crowded room. What’s that saying? “I can be alone all by myself,”

  • It gets to a point where you have to leave because of the insanity. The lies. The cover-ups. The gas-lighting. It gets to a point where you have no hope left and you have to leave. Only then does your reality become , well “reality” and you begin to live an authentic life. I think my child prefers the authentic me over some “fake” marriage with an OW involved. Staying together for the kid would have been a big mistake, because everything was “fake” and I was miserable partaking in the delusion that we were “better together.” I think kids appreciate those who don’t “suck it up.” I certainly hope my kid doesn’t “suck up” ANY injustice in his future.

  • Please don’t believe anything your read in The Daily Mail (or as it is affectionately known by anyone in the UK with half a brain cell, The Daily Fail). It is a dreadful old rag only fit to be used as toilet paper.

    Sadly, far too many people swallow the line that you should suck up your misery for the greater good of your children, in the face of discovering your other half is a philanderer, who has lied to you, reneged on his marriage vows & spun a web of deceit around himself. I’m sure this “suck it up” myth is perpetuated by all those who want to have their cake & eat it – of whom there are far too many.

    I’d really like to see more shame & less tolerance for cheaters. It isn’t sophisticated, it isn’t clever, it isn’t a way to “save your marriage” it is just plain wrong & I can’t understand why society persists in trying to justify affairs.

    This site is so great at redressing this view & I tell everyone I know about it. I’m inspired every time I visit.

    Being single rocks! I’ve been completely properly single for two years now. I left ex-H nearly 11 years ago & then had two fairly disastrous relationships, which involved me apply liberal amounts of polyfilla (spackle) to cover up further narc gorges (crevices simply aren’t big enough for these walking, talking self-absorbed monsters). So, I stopped and I LOVE being single. I love it so much, I can’t ever see myself dating or being in a relationship again. I could write a whole essay on why I love it so much – but I’ll spare you all.

    • Should also have mentioned, I have two children. They are wonderful, happy, well-balanced young people. They are much happier not being with their narc Dad. Without me ever having to say a bad word about him, they see him for exactly what he is. They have judged him by his actions and that just about says it all!

  • The writer for the Daily Mail was an OW, no wonder she thinks it’s no big deal. She wants to believe she didn’t really hurt anything and she’s excusing the guy for not leaving his wife – without having to face that he stayed because he didn’t love her that much and just liked having all the benefits of a wife with tramps on the side.

  • Recognize that the man (sorry, it’s usually always a man) needs his little bits on the side to feel vital.

    Not “usually always a man”. Not even close to “usually always” in fact.

    I think CL speaks truth to power about 90% of the time but I guess I have to accept the fact that this is a woman’s blog written predominantly for women.

    I was cheated on. I wanted to reconcile for the sake of the children and because I loved my wife. She cheated again and then divorce me. Hahahaha. So I didn’t even get an opportunity to eat a shit sandwich.

    Just a remark: The choices aren’t divorce or eat shit sandwiches for the rest of your life. This is a classic false choice and straw man argument all wrapped up together. The real alternative are: (1) two people face the problems in their marriage and with support from each other, overcome them to create a marriage that both can live happily with; or (2) not (for whatever reason — the cheater continues to cheat, the betrayed spouse simply can’t forgive, one or both choose the path of least resistance over the struggle to make it work…. etc.) To argue that choice one is not better than choice 2 especially where children are involved is simply stupid.

    Chump Lady is biased toward divorce because it worked for her. Reconciliation has also worked for people. It rankles me a little to hear people with children talk about divorce as if it is a good solution. It never is. It may in fact be the least bad solution but it is an incredibly destructive evil ESPECIALLY where children are involved. And that is the truth.

    • Alyosha, I think you misunderstand me. In the case of politicians, I was referring to Hollande, the advice given to the betrayed spouse of a philandering politician is to Stand By Your Man. I cannot think of a single example of a philandering woman politician (I’m certain they exist) who was outted and her husband has to stand by her side for the sake of the family.

      I say repeatedly on this website, constantly, that WOMEN CHEAT TOO. Of course they do.

      As for divorce — I don’t know a single chump who WANTED a divorce. Of course it’s tragic, of course it’s hard on children, of course none of us should’ve been put in this situation. But when it’s a choice between marriage to a cake eater, and/or remorseless cheater and divorce? I choose divorce. One person cannot hold up a marriage alone.

      I have many posts here outlining my skepticism about successful reconciliation. I want to believe it can happen, but I’ve seen very little evidence of it.

      I have NEVER taken divorce lightly. But I don’t own that “evil.” That evil is the fault of the person who DESTROYED the marriage — the cheater. I don’t wear that shame. And I don’t think there is any shame (or feelings of responsibility for “evil”) in divorcing a cheater.

      • Wtf, A? CL doesn’t shove divorce down our throats, she simply states the facts and they are overwhelmingly pro D.

  • Being on here, reading different stories and posts, is opening my eyes to the mind fuck I got in tiny ways, just didn’t know it.
    Did any of ya’ll ever get this:
    Him (her for you dudes) in a totally shitty mood when I was in a good mood. NO matter what I said or did, he was in a shitty mood. THEN as soon as he sucked out my good mood and I was pissy and mad, HIS mood improved and he was happy?
    Explain this to me PLEASE. Have wondered about it for over 15 years. That is one thing that I still do not understand. Was his goal to ruin my day? Was it to just make me miserable for the sake of making me miserable? If I was happy or in a good mood it seemed like I did something wrong. I don’t understand to this day what the hell that scenario, which played out repeatedly over 15 years, even meant.

    • I think it’s to keep you down. Control Freaks like control! I love (but wish I never lived!) the concept I learned on here of them keeping a Chump in the ‘one-down’ position. That explained so much of my marriage dynamic to me finally! I know it’s freaky, who wouldn’t want to be around happiness? Well, maybe they think there’s one pot of happiness in the world- so you can’t have any!
      Oops, untangelling a skein….

      • Pattytoo, I just don’t understand him. I don’t care about all the shit mostly. The big picture is he is a useless ass who sucked too many of my years of happiness out of me. It’s those little things that I want an answer to.BIG THINGS, Why’d he do dallas? cuz he is a fucking douche bag loser. Why’d he make me feel like a loser who couldn’t even go grocery shopping? Cuz he is a controlling asshole. LITTLE THING, why’d you suck my happy day out of me and THEN you got happy? It happened over and over. fucker. 🙂

        • Well, I can’t remember your exact sitch, there are so many Chumps on here now!
          But, did you leave him? No matter your age (I’m 59), nice normal women are at a premium is what I’m finding. So be like Miss Kelly and start a new romance if you want one! Me, I’m falling in love with myself right now.

  • Alyosha, where the cheating spouse is a narcissist, male or female, I would have to say that divorce is a good solution. The chump partner can’t cure the narc or make them a different person, so what is the incentive for staying. Endless years of spackling, endless pick me dances, endless unravelling the skeins of fuckedupness??????

    Divorce is a good solution for those chumps. It frees them from all of that ghastly crap. It gives their children a degree of freedom from it too. Divorce in those instances is liberating and allows the chump to have integrity and truthfulness in their relationships going forward. It is utter tosh to describe it as “an incredibly destructive evil”. Shame on you.

  • Shame me all you want. It’s silly but knock yourself out.

    Divorce is incredibly destructive financially, emotionally, spiritually… heck in every way possible. Families are not designed to be broken apart and doing so causes great anguish to everyone involved.

    To suggest otherwise seems completely detached from reality to me (because it is).

    • So you’re saying I should have stayed with teh man who actually fucked my friends, his workmates, random women and got angry and abusive when I finally found out? Sorry, no. You’re really peddling some bullshit there. My kids would be much worse off if I had stayed because then I’d be teaching them to let others treat them like shit.

  • Alyosha, not my reality or the majority of the posters you will find on this site.

    The destruction of a marriage & family usually comes months or years before the actual divorce – that is just an administrative process. You are looking at the wrong culprit here – it is not divorce that is the issue but whatever preceded it.

  • Also, true clinically defined “narcissists” are rare. To listen to people on this site, you would think that 50% of the population (100% of men, I guess) are narcissists. It’s preposterous. The fact is that women initiate upwards of about 70% of divorces. Were all these spouses cheating narcs? Of course not.

    To use the “narc” example to show that divorce is “liberating” is just dishonesty for the purpose of making people feel good about their choices regardless of actual reality.

    Divorce is an evil. It may — in RARE circumstances — be the lesser of two evils but let’s be honest about what it is (ESPECIALLY where children are involved).

    • Alyosha, what do you propose as the alternative when you find yourself married to a cheater (man or woman)? A person who will not be honest with you, is risking your health, and will not stop cheating on you?

      What is your solution? Stay for the children?

      I really would like to know your solution.

  • “Alyosha, not my reality or the majority of the posters you will find on this site.”

    My point exactly. This is a site for women. The “reality” of divorce for them is different than it is for men. If you could see the other side and be honest about the effect divorce has on children you might not see it as such a “liberating” experience.

    My children are not better off. They are hurt and confused and angry about what happened to them. They didn’t deserve to have their world turned upside down and split between parents and houses. Anyone who thinks this is not destructive is being disingenuous as a means to make them feel good about themselves no matter what.

    and I say this as a man who was Biblicaly (and otherwise) justified in filing for divorce from my wife. I didn’t because I understand reality.

    • I wonder if you saw my question above.

      So you’re being cheated on and you stay for the children?

      Then how are your children hurt and confused? By your wife’s affair? Or the divorce you haven’t had?

    • My kids were angry and upset by their father’s actions and choices, which were horrendous and are ongoing. HE did this, not me. HE has chosen to reject the child who won’t accept his mistress. HE chose to destroy me financially. HE chose to fuck my friends his friends and anyone else willing to open up their legs or mouth to him. You think I was going to stay around after that? Not for all the tea in China.

  • “Alyosha, what do you propose as the alternative when you find yourself married to a cheater (man or woman)? A person who will not be honest with you, is risking your health, and will not stop cheating on you?

    What is your solution? Stay for the children?

    I really would like to know your solution.”

    I already answered the question. You do your best to work with your spouse to create a marriage that both can be happy with. If they won’t stop cheating, and you can’t live with that, you divorce.

    But let’s not blow smoke up each others asses and pretend that splitting apart a family with children is a great thing. It is not. It is a tragic and incredibly destructive thing. The kind of destruction that lasts generations. At best, divorce is the least bad choice that you can make but it is a BAD choice. You may get your life back eventually. It may be a better life but lots and lots of damage has been done to everyone involved and some of it can never be repaired.

    THAT is the reality.

    The statistics themselves don’t lie. 50% of marriages end in divorce and 70% of those divorces are initiated by women. There aren’t even close to that many “narc” cheater husbands out there.

    Again, I like 90% of your site. I just think your cheerleading for divorce and your disdain for reconciliation may do a disservice to a lot of people going through a very tumultuous time in their lives. ESPECIALLY if they have children and ESPECIALLY if they have young children.

    • Well, we have a difference of opinion. Divorce is not always a “bad” choice. It’s a healthy choice.

      Healthy choices are not without pain. In fact, they’re very painful in the beginning. Spackle and hopium, IMO, are attempts to avoid the pain of making a painful, but healthy choice.

      It’s not healthy to stay in an abusive marriage. It’s not healthy to model dysfunction to your children. It’s not healthy to be disrespected and endangered.

      That’s not “cheerleading” divorce. It’s cheerleading self protection. It’s cheerleading assertiveness.

      IMO cheating is a narcissistic act. I’ve never argued that all cheaters are full blown personality disorders, but I think a lot of them are — especially anyone who can maintain a double life for years.

      Why would you care how many women vs. men initiate divorces? Do you think we’re unfairly trumping up charges against men? We have some agenda? We adore divorce?

      Women suffer financial and emotional hardship from divorce as well. No sane person walks into lightly. Everyone on this site that I’ve read agonizes about the decision.

      But I’ll be god damned if I’ll let people think divorce is the end of their life. That their life is irreperably “damaged.” That’s not been my experience or anyone else’s I know. And it contradicts the hundreds of mighty people posting here. I don’t know a single chump who regrets their divorce. Perhaps cheaters regret it (loss of cake). I’m sure they regret being cheated on. We don’t chose the unjust things that happen to us in life.

      As for my disdain of reconciliation — I have a disdain for cake eaters. I have a disdain for cheaters who don’t do the hard work, and feel entitled to reconciliation and as many chances as it takes to pull their heads out of their ass. I feel disdain for gas lighters and blame shifters.

      I have nothing but admiration for people who try to reconcile. I tried it. Most of the people here tried it, unless their partner ran off. It’s not only a decision based in fear, it’s a decision based in nobility — of trying to forgive, of trying to right the ship alone, of trying to be the bigger person. From what I’ve witnessed and experienced however, it’s a misplaced faith. And it’s not sustainable. And the cheater does not appreciate it sufficiently.

      If you believe that some divorce is necessary and inevitable, why you would spend a moment shaming people who walk that path is beyond me.

    • I can’t speak for anyone else, but my STBX was clinically diagnosed as a narcissist. He’s the real deal.

      Many of the posters on this blog have spouses who were narcs as well. Not all, but many. That doesn’t have anything to do with the general narc-population of the world, it just has to do with the people who are attracted to this blog.

      As far as divorce? I’m not saying it’s great. It SUCKS. Big-time. I’ve cried so many tears over it, especially not having an intact family for my kids. But it’s the lesser of the two evils, for me. My STBX led a double life – he had a wife and a girlfriend at the same time. After I found out about the cheating, I did give him a second chance. But he kept cheating.

      Compared to living that way, being single again is better. It’s not what I wanted. Definitely not what I wanted for my children. But given the two options, I must take divorce.

    • Oh bloody hell…you’re one of those ‘70% of women initiate divorce’ guys? Yes, and do you wonder why? Maybe they’re being treated horrible and there comes a point when enough is enough. It would be far more destructive for my kids to see me being treated horrible than seeing that there are consequences for really bad behaviour. And this whole ‘create the marriage you want’. Erm, the marriage I wanted and thought I had was one based on honestly, fidelity, friendship, love and respect. Guess what…none of those were present. Give me a bleeding break.

  • In my opinion, very few people just up and decide to divorce for the sake of it. Most spouses of cheating partners will have spent a lot of time trying to make it work, trying to spackle over all the ghastliness & horror, trying to make their cheating spouse pick them. Chumps are usually experts in putting everyone’s needs but theirs first.

    Have you read the posts on here Alyosha? The agonising, the years wasted doing pick me dances, the trying to be the glue that holds wet cardboard together for the children.

    There is no cheerleading for divorce. There is cheerleading for truth, for dignity, for the strength & courage to realise that living a miserable, unhappy life with someone who thinks you are not worth being truthful with & not worth the marriage vows, is no life at all.

  • As I said my children are hurt and confused and angry about the situation that they had forced upon them. Their difficulty is manifesting itself in their schoolwork and relationships with fiends etc. If you were to ask my wife how her kids are handling the divorce she would say “great” (I’ve actually heard her claim this in person).

    How can she claim such a thing? The answer is easy — she’s is a selfish person who could never admit that the decisions she has made have damaged her children. She wants to feel good about herself no matter what kind of reality is staring her in the face.

    It’s dangerous to allow people to get away with these kinds of rationalizations. It allows evil to become too acceptable.

    Similarly, it bothers me to hear women here claiming that “divorce is the best thing I could do for my kids” “my kids are so much better off…” etc. etc. Bullshit. At best it was the least bad decision you could make concerning your kids. At best. Maybe you were forced to choose the lesser of two evils (and good on you for choosing the best option you had) but stop blowing sunshine up everyone’s ass about how “good” and “liberating” divorce is. It is not. Period.

    • You speak for everyone? Every child of divorce?

      I’m sure your children are hurt and confused. It’s not a permanent condition. And I don’t doubt you that your cheater tells everyone things are fabulous. Then what she did Wasn’t So Bad. And that’s what you’re really pissed off about, IMO.

      You don’t control her narrative. Cheaters lie. It’s what they do. Everyone is having a hard time with my destructive choices is not something that comes out of their mouths.

      But that is NOT to say that children aren’t actually resilient. And we aren’t truly better off without cheaters as partners.

    • Wouldn’t choosing the lesser of two evils be the best choice? What other choices are there: stay with a cheater or get away from her toxin?

    • I have found it very good and peaceful.
      Now my kids have a safe harbor, away from their mom ‘ s abuse. They are much happier than they were witnessing all the crap on marriage .
      They are safer, happier and thriving .
      Trauma from divorce seems overestimated.
      I

  • “In my opinion, very few people just up and decide to divorce for the sake of it.”

    50% of marriages end in divorce. 70% of those are initiated by women. In your opinion, were all of those women going through years of anguish with a cheating spouse?

    The answer is that that is statistically impossible.

    To deny that no fault divorce laws have increased divorce (especially by women) is to plainly deny reality.

    To deny that this site discourages reconciliation in favor of divorce is doing the same thing.

    Bottom line — there just aren’t that many true “narcs” out there. Reconciliation is the best option after infidelity if you can make it work. This site tells people reconciliation is a “shit sandwich”, it disparages the “reconciliation industry” (as if you are a clown to try it). This does a disservice to those families that could have reconciled and to those spouses to actually don’t “gain a (better) life” by leaving a cheater (not to mention gaining a better life for their children).

    • Dude, I’m married to a true narc male. His dad is also clinically diagnosed as NPD. The biggest difference in my narc’s head vs his dad’s is that he “did not leave his children!”.

      So I am in the midst of a newly “recommitted” narc in MC. My narc needs his kids like he needs the marriage, to maintain his facade. Don’t get me wrong, he is working hard with his therapists to get a handle on his fuckupness. Yea, I’ m trying too. He had a decade long second life whereby he endangered not only my health, but the health of his infant twin sons. In NO way was he ready to give up all of his cake: OW for 10 yrs, coworker fuck fest, Adult Friend Finder profile, porn sites, random escorts, etc…

      Divorce is not my first choice. Ultimately my first choice is my health and well being to continue to raise my 4 kids with values and morals. I’ve set the boundaries with him. We’ll see if he can sustain it. If he can’t do it. I’m OUT. Living a lie is worse than living with a shit head.

    • “70% of those are initiated by women. In your opinion, were all of those women going through years of anguish with a cheating spouse?”
      No one is saying all of them are going through years of anguish with a cheating spouse,we’re only saying if you ever come with the “women initiates 70% of divorce” thing,you need to consider the possibility that some of those women probably share the same fate as women on this site…
      Sure,there are women who cheats but let’s face it,if you go to any infidelity forum and sites(including CL),you would find a higher number of female chumps than male chumps,and these woman are also going to contribute to increase rates of women initiates divorce in statistics.

  • “Have you read the posts on here Alyosha? The agonising, the years wasted doing pick me dances, the trying to be the glue that holds wet cardboard together for the children.”

    I’ve read lots of posts on here. What’s more I’ve LIVED this shit! Your tone and attempt to “shame” me are silly.

    The quoted sentence is funny in that it makes absolutely no allowance for honest reconciliation by a truly remorseful spouse and a betrayed spouse. The years are automatically “wasted” blah blah blah.

    Reconciliation does happen and marriages are saved. The people who try it for the sake of the children are not rubes fallen prey to the “reconciliation industry” or high on “hopium” or any of the other crap terms used her to disparage the struggle of reconciliation. They are adults who make adult choices based on the REALITY of divorce.

  • “You speak for everyone? Every child of divorce?”

    Pretty much the same way that you and your experience speak for every victim of infidelity…. which is to say not at all.

    Still, I would bet you would agree that your experience is not rare. I would say the same.

    The fact that children are “resilient” is not in any way a valid rationalization of putting them through the trauma of divorce when such a thing could otherwise be avoided.

    I am saying that this site actively discourages entertaining those situations in which divorce could be avoided and I am saying that is not a good thing. You can choose to address this or ignore it and instead characterize me as “pissed off” just because I point out things about your blog that I disagree with.

    For the record, I’m perfectly calm and again, agree with 90% of your site. 90% positive is freaking phenomenal. Haha

    • I think you’re being insulting to chumps, assuming they didn’t do everything to “avoid” divorce.

      I’ve written a post on cheaters saying children are resilient. Something they have no right to assume. And yet it is true, they are resilient. It’s also no excuse to rock their world with infidelity and divorce.

      If by saying this site “actively discourages entertaining those situations in which divorce could be avoided” — I assume you mean reconciliation. And yes I do warn against it — (see Real Remorse or Genuine Naughahyde Remorse). My bias is pretty clear on the title page — leave a cheater, gain a life.

      I’m unclear on how you like 90% of this site if you’re disappointed it’s not more pro-reconciliation.

    • Aloysha, you are an idiot. Don’t like it here? See ya! 🙂

      Most of us chumps are here for a reason….so you don’t agree, you don’t get it? See ya!;) at the moment you are tying up space with unnecessary argument AND few of us agree. So….see ya:)

  • We’ve all lived this shit Alyosha – what do you think we’re all doing here!

    There are some who have managed reconciliation – not many.

    Your posts come across as really angry – which is understandable. However, I think your anger is misdirected. It’s not divorce that is the problem here, it is what drives people to think that it is the only option left to them.

    Anyhow, I suspect that this is one of those points on which we’ll have to agree to differ. For what its worth, I think there a lot of narcissists out there – that’s why there are so many cheaters. However, I don’t have statistics to back up my theory, so it can easily be dismissed – should you wish to do so.

  • “If you believe that some divorce is necessary and inevitable, why you would spend a moment shaming people who walk that path is beyond me.”

    I have attempted to “shame” no one.

    Divorce is a “healthy” choice ONLY in those situations where it is the only choice. It is unhealthy and needlessly destructive in EVERY other instance.

    My opinion is that it is, accordingly, worth discussing the reality of those instances in which a marriage could be salvaged. One can advocate “self-protectedness” while not disparaging reconciliation. You don’t do this as far as I can see.

    So yes, we’ll have to agree to disagree.

  • “Your posts come across as really angry – which is understandable.”

    And yours come across as condescending but the written word has significant limitations so I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.

    Most of CL’s stuff is fantastic and has helped me a lot but this site is heavily slanted towards a woman’s experience — which is understandable.

    We’re just talking past each other at this point.

  • “I’m unclear on how you like 90% of this site if you’re disappointed it’s not more pro-reconciliation.”

    Maybe 90% is an overestimation but I think that you try to tell the truth the vast majority of the time. Spinning divorce as “healthy” is telling a half-truth (more damaging than the lie direct), imo.

    But I’m perfectly fine with agreeing to disagree.

  • Alyosha, you, the betrayed husband, wanted to reconcile, while your wife didn’t–is that correct? If so, then you seem to be angry at CL because you think a site like hers would have discouraged your wife from reconciling when, in fact, I think CL’s point is that reconciliation is a bad deal for the betrayed spouse (who would be continually lied to, gaslighted, etc.), but not necessarily for the unfaithful spouse, who would get to continue cake-eating at the expense of the betrayed spouse.

  • ALYOSHA,
    I come from a family with a serial cheater, mom, and a reactive cheater, dad. They stayed together “for the kids”
    Genuine and honestly, from my heart, please hear what I will tell you. My sisters and I grew up with an example of a marriage. We took that example, as messed up as it was, and learned from it. My oldest sister, eloped as soon as she turned 18 to get away from my parents. Celebrating their 24th year together this summer. God love her for putting up with her husband. I have known him for 26 years and would have probably killed him a time or two.
    My youngest sister found a true prince charming that we all adored, God took extra time when he created my BIL, and they lived an incredible life together for 9 years until he was killed in a car accident.
    I married a cheater with narc tendencies and serious control issues. Out of my siblings, I am the one who swore to God to never end up like my parents and I was the one who had the marriage closest to them.
    My point is, my sisters and I never had a good example of what a marriage should have been. We only knew what is wasn’t suppose to be. I would have been my dad, a reactive cheater, if I had not woke up and left.
    I have 3 children. 2 old enough to understand what a divorce is. They know nothing about their dad cheating, I have shielded them from that, they don’t NEED to know that.
    We were in the car this morning waiting on the bus and I heard a song that made me cry. I told them what I wish to God my dad could have told me, should have told me.
    I am sorry we are getting a divorce. Please please please understand I didn’t wake up one morning and just poof, decide. It took me years to get to this point. I know you are hurting and I know you are scared. I am sorry for putting you through this. I could have stayed with your dad and not ever shown you how truly happy a marriage could be. I could have stayed and shown you that once you make a choice, you are stuck with it. We only get one single chance in life to live. I hope when this is all said and done, you learn you have the right, THE GOD GIVEN RIGHT, to be happy. Not at the expense of another, not just for a day, but deep down in your soul, you have the right to live a happy life. I hope you will see that standing up and saying this is not working is a strength and in the long term, your dad and I will both be better off, and so will you. You have the right to have whole and complete parents. If being with a person in your life means you are sacrificing important parts of yourself, you have the right to stand up and say it is not ok.
    This conversation, which I only gave you my side of, was over 15 minutes. My children are hurting, they are scared and they don’t understand. I can make them understand by voicing WHY I ultimately left. What is the point? I have been there, I have lived knowing what my parents did to each other. What the heck would the point be? To make them angry at their dad? They are hurting, but there is a BIG REASON for their hurt, as opposed to my sisters and me who didn’t understand the dynamic in the house until we were in our teens. We couldn’t name why we felt yucky on weekends and during the summer when there was no school for an escape, we just knew home was not where the heart was. They are scared because they are going down a road they are not used to. On a day to day basis, I do everything in my power to keep their schedule as structured as possible to give them some stability. They need to have x,y & z to count on because a,b & c went to hell in a hand basket.
    Divorce or staying married, both choices. The HEALTHIEST CHOICE for my children in the LONG TERM, taking every angle into account, was divorce. They need to know that being a whole person is more important than half of a dysfunctional couple.
    Be angry at where you are in your life, it isn’t fair. Place your anger where it belongs though. Setting a good example for children is the primary goal of every parent. Yes, do everything to keep the family whole and intact. Do not sacrifice your joy or soul to give them a false sense of what a married family is though. I tell them we are still a family, we just don’t all live in the same house any more.
    I grew up in a fake whole family. It is NOT a gift to children.

  • Thanks to the chump children for adding their perspective.

    Also, I reject the claim that “this is a woman’s blog written predominantly for women.” In fact, one of the things I love about this site is that both male and female chumps are part of Chump Nation. I think it’s one key feature that helps avoid the conversation slipping into a “man-hating” or misogynist tone, and instead keeps our focus on the real problem: cheating and other forms of abuse, no matter who perpetrates them. I’m grateful to all the men who post here sharing their stories.

  • Umm, but the divorce was because of the infidelity, right? So the thing that would have stopped the kids being upset was to not engage in the infidelity that caused the divorce. I think what the conservative writers are more concerned about is assets and the dividing thereof. Oh, and keeping up appearances. That’s important.

    What I found interesting about Hollande and Trierweiler (I understand them to have been in a de facto relationship) is that she was the OW when he was married to Segolene Royal. The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour. What did she think he’d do when he got tired of her?

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