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Dear Chump Lady, Do I get revenge through the media?

Good morning Chump Lady,

I’m a 53 year-old male living in Vancouver, Canada with a question about revenge!

I recently found out my wife of 14 years has been cheating on me with mutual friend of ours. I knew something was up with my wife, but didn’t know it was a so called friend. When I checked my wife’s phone records, I saw his name pop up like about 3-4 times a day! When I first approached her about this, she said were just friends and texting, not to worry, no harm. So I text our friend and ask him. He says the same thing.

First time fool here, so I say “no problem,” but then two weeks later I read her texts and there was a pretty bad sexual text. “I miss you between my legs.”

Second time fool, wow I was devastated. So here’s my real question — he is a married with a high-profile job in our city. I have thought about using the media to bring him down and down hard, so I’m asking your advice, do I or don’t I, bring my hurt to him and his family?

Last Time Fool

Dear LTF,

Well, that would be delicious, wouldn’t it? The other man surrounded by a scrum of reporters, stammering, trying to spin his sexts. “You misunderstand ‘between her legs!’ I mean, yes, Mrs. Last Time Fool and I enjoy the occasional game of Twister. A family game! We also reminisce about our wholesome recreations, like Bible study and badminton. I utterly resent your insinuations!”

And then he is presented with his penis photo tweet, and he has to explain how Bible study gives him a boner. He resigns in shame, as his world falls apart.

Ah, revenge fantasies. Problem is, fantasies rarely come to life the way in which we imagine them. Could be you approach the media, and they don’t give a flip. Public figure has affair. Ho hum. (Although maybe instead of the media, you could approach his political opponent. I’m sure they’d run with it.)

Thing with lobbing grenades is, you don’t want to stand too close to them after they go off. Bad way to die. Used to be those poor guys in World War II had to carry grenades around — an explosive held together by a PIN. (Whose design idea was that anyway?) Then they came up with grenade launchers. Much better idea to throw explosives from a great distance.

So think grenade launcher. If you’re going to set off an explosion, better to do it from a position of safety, far from the resulting fire storm.

You’ve got damaging information on this guy. Give it to your divorce attorney. (You’re going to divorce your cheating wife, right? Because she’s the real problem here, you understand that, right? It could be any guy between her legs. She just chose this doofus.) You get the divorce you want, with the custody arrangement that suits you (assuming you have children), and you don’t go to the media with the Other Man’s extracurricular activities. It sure would be a shame if you had to depose him.

Don’t think revenge, LTF, think leverage.

Get safely away from both of these cheaters before you lob your bombs. Or defuse your bombs if that’s what it takes to get away. The important thing is to GET AWAY from them.

And more than the media, tell the Other Man’s wife what’s going on. She deserves to know she’s been chumped. You didn’t cause the pain she’s feeling — her husband did. Telling is always a kindness — you’re giving her the dignity of the truth. On the advisement of your lawyer, however, you might tell her after you’ve safely extracted yourself from this situation.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • If we’re going to go by judging people by their actions rather than their words, as much as the fantasy is encouraging, keep it a fantasy. Your revelation are your words–you will be judged by the act of revenge. Is that what you want? Keep your dignity. They can try to strip you of it by treating you like a chump, but that doesn’t mean you have to give it away in your hurt or anger.

  • “Don’t think revenge, LTF, think leverage.”

    This is the best advice you’re going to get. You can use this to your advantage, and besides, once you tell the other man’s wife, she’s going to probably blab it to the four winds herself.

    I found that staying clean was the best route. I didn’t lie when people asked me what happened, but I didn’t go out of my way to destroy him like I could have. He’s doing that all on his own. If I wanted to, I could have let everybody in his world know, including his boss. I could have probably got him fired for some of the things he was doing. But that’s ok . . . I’m letting it all swirl down the toilet like it should.

    Sorry you have to go through this.

  • I say tell the man’s wife and you BOTH use the tempting tidbit as leverage in your divorces.

    Truth is, if you blow up his life, he’ll probably find a way to take you down with him. You better have proof that can be validated, or he’ll sue you six ways to Sunday for libel. That’s the way people like he and your lovely wife work. Your divorce will make the War of the Roses look like a game of Candy Land. One thing, as well, that you haven’t considered, and that is the collateral damage beyond yourself. If this turd (that screwed your turd) loses his job and is so publicly disgraced that he can’t find another one, his wife and perhaps children will suffer the consequences and probably to a greater degree when it comes to support. They don’t deserve that.

    It’s a delicious thought, and it should stay one–a thought, though you have my permission to name names in private conversations, especially among your wife and your common friends and families.

    Other than that, use that anger constructively to get what you want and move on in a way that will leave your wife wondering why the hell she decided to step out. NC with her is mandatory.

  • LTF – It sounds like you’re more mad at your so-called-friend, than your wife. You said you suspected your wife already…..but was surprised it was with this friend. His betrayal was almost worse, because you weren’t suspecting it? Am I on track here?

    CL’s advice is sound. Extract yourself (divorce) firmly but peacefully, otherwise use all the leverage you need, through your attorney. If he’s a public figure, he’ll want to keep things quiet. You won’t have to threaten him with this, if he’s smart, he will know this already.

    Your friend betrayed you in the worst way, and he deserves to rot, but you don’t have to worry because as soon as his wife finds out, he’ll be up to his neck in his own mess.

  • I agree with the above, with one caveat. You may have to make a deal with the devil and not tell the wife in order to use your leverage to the utmost. In order to negotiate a deal that protects your children and finances your wife will probably make you promise not to spill the beans. You have to worry about yourself and your financial future, and maybe child-related issues, first and foremost. Of course, maybe there’s nothing much that you want or need in terms of a financial resolution or in order to protect children. If so, definitely tell the wife.

    • X did make me promise not to tell OW’s husband. In my confusion I didn’t and had guilt. (Shows me for having a conscience according to Dr Simon, unlike the character disturbed who don’t.) He found out about six weeks after me and I still don’t know if he knew it was a cheating situation. He has moved on, appears happy and even remarried at this point so I don’t worry too much anymore. (I don’t know him, just snooped on fake book). There were four kids in that family and I didn’t want to be the bomb that exploded their world, maybe this would all blow over etc. During that confusing time I did have thoughts that if I told it would backfire as far as divorce finances or custody. I wanted x to stay in lala land and feel guilty for what he did, not get mad at me and feel righteous for a bigger battle.

  • As much as you’re tempted, do NOT go the revenge route. It will NOT turn out as you expect, and the momentary high you get from embarrassing them will not last. Your cheater will also turn it around to say, “See what I’ve been putting up with? I HAD to cheat!”

    No, go the high road. Tell OM’s wife, and then, as CL said, use the text as leverage.

  • Hello LTF
    I’m a fellow chump on the other side of our country. I agree with all the chumps here and Chump Lady. Take their advise. We have all been full of revenge on the OW/OM. And anyone who took such revenge regretted it later. Keep your information close to your chest and use it to you advantage. The best revenge is getting it financially, remember taking the high road with dignity will always win in the end. They have no morals, self respect or dignity. You do, keep it, hold your head up high. I feel you can tell other person involved as she deserves to know, but protect your interests at all cost. Lawyer up and get away from them all together. You’ll be in for a long emotional ride but you will get through it. Keep reading Chump and learn. Good luck.

  • LTF, I have the same issue with a husband of 14 years: In January, I discovered he had a one year affair with a colleague…I kicked him out immediately on DDAy but then I started gathering information that he doesn´t know I have yet. During the past two months, I confirmed two other affairs, and I have the emails and chats to prove it. In the meanwhile, I act like an idiot and allow him to blame me, I feed him kibbles so I can get the divorce agreement that I want. So focus first on what your objective is (I hope it is not to stay with your cheater) and how to best benefit yourself and your children. Then after the divorce is finalized you can show her how much you knew and also inform her AP´s wife and give her the information that you have already gathered and advice her to carefully plan her way out since she has to deal with a high-profile idiot (this will be sufficient revenge and you don´t have to participate directly).

    If I were you, I would check your wife´s emails and bank accounts and get one of those voice activated tape recorders to track a conversation with her OM. It will be painful, but knowing more will shield you in the divorce process and allow you to not want to do the “pick me dance” or enter into a false reconciliation. My suspicion is that if your wife has had this one affair, she probably has had others ….SO SORRY YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS! But read this blog often and it will help you to avoid making many mistakes and to keep your sanity….Warm wishes and best of luck!

    • I do sometimes daydream of a time when I’m might come face to face with my ex and tell him how stupid he is to put incriminating evidence on a public server. All I’d have to do is mention the name of the document I found. It was labeled “The Secret.” Isn’t that hilarious? It would be fun to watch the recognition come alive on his face.

    • Although I agree with collecting evidence– you need the evidence to be “clear and convincing”– I would consult a private investigator first. You want to be completely legal with anything you collect.

  • Revenge would be sweet but I just couldn’t do it. My ex husband misappropriated funds from a job many years ago. Admittedly he went on to work very hard which he is still doing but still scamming. He is now working back at the scene of the crime. Whether their records go back far enough, I don’t know but I would just need to hit the ‘send’ button and he would be known for the scammer and cheat that he has always been. Oh how I have thought about it but I just couldn’t do it. It is nice to dream though!!!

  • My experience as a lawyer who handles some pretty crazy sexual harassment cases on behalf of employees is that the media cares about this stuff far less than you’d imagine. Unfortunately, it’s just very . . . ordinary. Pretty much every workplace in every town in every country on the planet. Plus you should understand that plenty of journalists f*ck around on their marriages as well (Whoda thunk that jobs being in front of cameras attract narcissists?). IMO, the media isn’t likely to care unless the affair involves a truly high profile person (meaning, something more than a city official) PLUS either a safety concern (like someone with top secret information, Lt. Gen. Petreus) or a high degree of hypocrisy (like a famous televangelist). Even then you’re likely to get passed over if a small airplane has an emergency landing on a golf course just before 5 p.m. No one is leading their newscast with a story about a city councilman having a sad affair with a family friend.

    More importantly, CL is right that this info is leverage. Use it to get the best situation possible for you and your family. If you wife is in an active affair and believes it is TWU WUV, she’s more likely to cut you a better deal to be with her “soulmate.” FWIW, that’s what happened in my case. But once you out the affair, you can’t un-ring that bell. Chances are good the affair will end, your wife will be filled with anger, and you’ll be the only target within reach. And how good will THAT feel? My prediction is it will make the ensuing divorce dramatically more expensive, hurtful, and leave you with worse results.

    • I agree with Nomar. Just get the divorce while TWU WUV reigns. My divorce was going fine until the OW dumped my STBXH. I became the target of his anger after that. The next several months were hell. He was bored or something and kept filing frivolous motions about custody even after the divorce was final. He wasn’t even SEEING the kids! What a freak.

    • Yup, TWU LUV for my exH with the 12 yr younger woman. Thanks to that (and the poor housing market) I was able to get exH to walk away from the house, and pay me more money than he legally had to (only way I could keep the house….).
      Things have changed, and the kids are now with me about 80% of the time, so I am biding my time and may ask for more $$ next year after I have a clearer view of his new salary at new job.

  • I will second “talk to a lawyer” ASAP.

    Rather than focus on “payback” or trying to control your wife and this OM, you’ll most likely fare better if you put that energy into trying to cut a deal that benefits you in the long run.

    Who knows? Your wife may be in such a state that she doesn’t think clearly about what she can get out of a divorce deal, and you might be able to work her focus on the OM to your advantage.

    There’s plenty of time for going nuclear after you’ve secured a settlement that benefits you personally (assuming you are going to divorce-I would) if you still want to do that later, but in my experience, there is a short-window when you can use your wife’s lack of long-term thinking to your advantage possibly.


  • I can’t add a lot more to previous comments LTF. Great advice here. Also, I don’t know anything about family law in your Provence in Canada. Where I live we have fault divorce if you can prove adultery. The burden of proof is pretty high, so just text messages or email may not be enough, depending on the judge. You don’t want to take that chance in court. Let me just relay my experience as an example (I’m not saying a perfect one!) of leverage.

    The paramour’s wife told me about the affair. Neither of us let on that we knew for a while and I consulted a lawyer who recommended mediation. In my case my wife and her boyfriend are both such total narcissistic POSs that they rejected my proposal for what I thought would be a fair settlement (50/50 joint custody, child support and alimony for her in a reasonable amount considering the circumstances). She wanted to have majority custody and alimony in an amount that would allow her to continue to be a stay at home mom! However, they eventually relented after I deposed them both and my wife finally listened to her 3rd lawyer telling her she wasn’t going to get better in court than my offer and maybe much worse!

    Keep it close to your vest but use it for getting a fair settlement. Good luck LTF. We’re here for you.

  • So sorry you’re going through this. Reading those texts is a nauseating feeling, isn’t it?

    My exH is also very well-known and respected in his field; and he works with kids. In addition to multiple affairs (often with the mothers of the kids he works with); he scammed over $1million from several of the parents. He was investigated, and the legal suit(s) are “on hold” for now. Oh, and he owes about $100,000 in child support…I could go on.

    Yes, I could drop a plane load of bombs on his pathetic life. And sometimes I imagine it and smile (like I used to imagine slamming his dangling bits in a car door after d-day…that used to make me REALLY smile.). But CL is right – then that act of revenge defines YOU. And I don’t want anything about HIM to define me ever again. I had a fake, terrible, lonely marriage. I want to have an honorable, dignified, and authentic new (divorced) life. Our exes’ disfunction and evil have stolen so much from us, and have been allowed to define us during the years they’ve stolen. I’m DONE. My actions and choices (some better than others) – the ones I pick – get to define me now. Revenge just gives power and energy back to them.

    So, leverage the information. Protect the innocent, and then let the guilty squirm. Their own character catches up to them in time – it truly is inevitable. And even if the payback isn’t obvious, their slimy, black souls will rot them from the inside out. And you’ll be far away…living out your next chapter in peace. Hugs to you. RDM

  • I agree with CL and the others. The problem with revenge fantasies is the fantasy part. When you’re coming up with a fantasy, it goes exactly the way you want it, however you want it, and you always come out on top.

    But that’s not REALITY. You can’t control reality. You can’t make it the way you want it every time. When you try to act on a revenge fantasy, you get smacked with reality. And that is that revenge does not work out the way you wish it would.

    If he has a powerful, high-profile job, it’s likely that he will use whatever power he has and his high-profile to make YOU look like the bad guy here. He and your cheating wife will probably cry victim and act like you were a horrible husband to legitimize their behind-your-back fucking. It’s called controlling the narrative. Happens a lot. Even with people who don’t have high-profile careers. But that high-profile sure as hell makes it a lot easier for them. This is something that will not end in your favor.

    What you should do is gather all the information you can, see a lawyer, start the proceedings and serve your wife. After you’ve served her the papers, go to HIS wife and tell her why you’re divorcing yours.

    Don’t tell either your wife (or the OM) what you’re doing until you’ve slapped those papers in front of her.

    • Yeah, but doesn’t Bob Marley have a bunch of kids with a lot of different ladies?

      • Bob Marley died many years ago of cancer. His family, including his wife, have remained a tight-knit unit. His son Ziggy is an amazing muscian. I don’t know all the details of his life, but I do know he loved his wife and kids and they loved him in turn. The point of the quote is that bad things come to bad people. In my life, I have certainly found truth and comfort in that thought.

        • “Bob Marley had a number of children: three with his wife Rita, two adopted from Rita’s previous relationships, and several others with different women. The Bob Marley official website acknowledges eleven children.”- That’s from Wikipedia, so take it or leave it.

          No matter Louise. Despite my rant below I get what you’re saying. 😉

  • Hi LTF,

    Don’t do it. I get that it’s tempting. Do I EVER get that it’s tempting. Thing is that these losers will spin it and spin it, just like CL says. Just keep that text. Copy it and send it to your lawyer. Do not engage with the OM. He’s a loser, liar and cheater. You’ve got better things to do than engage him. Don’t give him the attention.

    The next job is to get away from these people. Remember she isn’t your friend and he isn’t your friend. Go see a lawyer pronto.

  • What others have said; don’t go there. It’s hard to take your focus off the betrayal, but it’s better to put your focus on the next stage of the plan. It’s interesting to me that most people believe that the betrayal will come back to bite the betrayer, eventually. I’m not sure that’s true. My ex is not only out of the doghouse, but is playing in the yard. Our grown daughters are ok with all of it now, and all their anger has dissipated. He is once again their beloved father who can do no wrong, at least mostly. I suppose it helps that he spends money on them quite a bit. They still do not care for his OW/wife, but tolerate her bc of him. They seem to have toted up the years in the plus column, and the years in the minus column, and he comes out ahead.

    My biggest regret now is that this is the moral compass they now have as their model. Prior to this, it was WRONG with capital letters. Now, it’s come around to being ok. Not what they were taught as children, by either myself or my ex.

    Get thee to the lawyer, by way of the high road. Good luck.

  • LTF,
    I am so sorry. I know how tough it is to read something you never expect to…. I can still remember how I was shaking as I attempted to translate the love poetry from French to English (DD#1; then I was gaslighted into believing it was infatuation, not an affair, etc., but that is another story for another time).

    Gather the evidence, even as gut-wrenching as it is. If anything, it will help clear the mind and help you disengage sooner. I did not have that, only a couple of emails, and nothing from the OW. I think I would have healed faster/reached meh sooner if I had understood the depth of the deception; exH kept saying it was the marriage, no OW existed, etc).

    Use the data as leverage (one of my favorite lines from Pirates of the Caribbean is when Orlando Bloom’s character is referred to as leverage).

    All the best.

  • It bothers me a bit that you want to get revenge on the OM *and his family.* While this might make you feel good, it means that you have decided that his wife and children are collateral damage. I know exactly how this feels, because it was through an act of revenge that I found out about my ex’s affair. I was contacted by OW’s husband with the demand that it was my responsibility to make my husband “stay away from his wife.” No real compassion about the possible effect on me or my children–just a concern about the preservation of his marriage. And, for the record, I believe he is still married, and I chose to divorce. In the long run I’m sure divorce was the right decision, but the manner in which I discovered the affair was in itself damaging. Please take CL’s advice, and refrain from actions fueled by revenge.

    • The OW’s husband was doing what is advised by a lot of people: expose the affair in hopes of blowing it up. And to be honest, I wish someone had told me about my ex’s cheating long before I figured it all out. It would have saved me a lot of time, pain and money.

  • I struggled with this as I found incriminating evidence of my ex and his relationship with his subordinate employee at the University, problem is it spoke of love and gift exchanges but nothing specific to their sexual relationship. He did talk about his plan to break up her family, though. At the time I found this document my ex had moved into the basement of the OW’s parent’s house, I presume to be closer to her and gain sympathy from her family.

    I discussed what to do with this document at length with my counselor and she advised me to file it. She said it was quite possible the OW’s husband would think I made it up for revenge and exposing it could further enmesh me in a situation I needed out of. I still have fantasies of dropping that document into the mail to various people in my ex’s life, but for the most part I’m glad I didn’t. Much better to put that energy into moving forward with my own life. My son is a lawyer and he advised me to do the same.

  • Generally speaking, they draw consequences on themselves for their actions without our active participation. The more people “take their side” the closer those people get to the disordered nut and get to see the circus in full swing.

    I was over at a friend’s house when a mutual friend of ExH and I stopped over. He made some snide comment about me driving my Exh’s car. I simply looked at him and said “That car is as much his as ‘our’ house and her kids are.” He looked shocked and asked me what I meant as ExH had told everyone I stole his car and he let me have the house in the divorce. Oh, and her kids were biologically his. So I told him the truth. I had purchased the car before the marriage with my father as cosigner. We rented the house from my mother. And her kids were by her ExH, not my ExH. I only corrected one person because he was being rude….and the info got passed around to EVERY ONE. Never underestimate the value of scandalous gossip. His lies brought him down when the truth got out, to one person.

    So gather your evidence, consult a lawyer, kick her to the curb, and tell OM’s wife after you’ve secured what you needed. He’ll bring himself down in the end.

    • Feral, don’t you love it when that one little drop of truth spreads and spreads??? Doesn’t always happen, but SO satisfying when it does!

      • And really, it is a divorce settlement anybody’s business?

        I like the old Chinese proverb that says “If you sit by the river long enough, you will see the bodies of your enemies float by.”

        Of course Vancouver is by the Pacific, but I’m just sayin’.

        • He wanted everyone to know what a standup guy he was by letting me have the house and the only reason he took up with her was to raise “his” kids. And to let everyone know what a bitch I was to take “his” know the one that had 5 years left on a loan in my name.

          Until I joined this site, I never discussed what I ended up with settlement wise with anyone but my parents, brother and the pissed off mutual friend. (Who’s no longer a friend, he just wanted in on the drama) And that convo was just to correct the misinformation being spread.

          I dreamed daily of the sweetest revenge. But I learned that the worst thing I could do to him was drop him like a hot rock, walk away and never look back. Disordered crave attention. If you ACT meh, even if you’re not feeling it, it denies them the kibbles and drives them insane.

          • Him announcing it all over the place should already be a warning signal to people…at least it would be to me….it’s not just chumps that can have poor boundaries…

            Do you remember when as kids we used to say,”What you say is what you are”? There was a shitload of truth in that….

  • LTF, You don’t say whether there are kids in the picture, either on your side or on the OM’s. I get that you want revenge, but if the media does bite and make it a big story, any kids will suffer enormously for a long, long time. (What happens on the Internet stays on the Internet.) Also, the OM’s wife may be extremely hurt by a public outing, even if you warn her in advance. And, It doesn’t seem right to hurt innocent people just to get at that loser, who probably won’t even care — except for a little (probably temporary) career damage. After all, look what’s happened with Anthony Weiner…

    Take CL’s advice and do what you know to be the right thing, even if it’s not what you want to do. Later when you look back, you’ll be proud of yourself. Big hugs and good luck!!! Sunshine

    PS – The hurt does eventually lessen over time…

  • “Don’t think revenge, LTF, think leverage.” yes. Yes. YES.

    The AP in my situation worked in Congress for a politician. You bet your ass I wanted to “expose” and “embarrass” her. But the leverage meant more to me than the revenge. I further concluded, rightfully, that it would not be all that shocking– Her boss was entangled in their own extra-marital scandal some years before. I mean, it’s Congress. What else can you expect? So I said nothing, not even to my spouse, and just dropped names, addresses, and high profile names when the timing was just right.

    Trust me. Your attorney will have a field day with this.

    Same for this bozo whose banging your wife. The fall out may not be what you expect or have unintended consequences for you. You also want to come out smelling like a rose, cool, composed, and calculated. That really pisses people off.

    • Them’s some crocodile tears. Kind of reminds me of my cheater during the big reveal.

      • it sure is and my ex shed some crocodile tears too, and how sorry he was, then denied later, that cheating ever took place and he never cheated. Gaslighting anyone??

        Check it out, she still have the nerve to call him honey and baby! SMH…..

  • I can’t remember the name of the movie, but I remember the storyline to this day.

    The soon to be bride is having a flaming affair with the best man. The groom plays the loving committed husband – all through the wedding ceremony – right up through the reception. During the wedding reception, he grabs the microphone and tells the crowd how much he loves he beautiful loving honest sincere wife and how much he loves his best man. His best friend from childhood. As a tribute, he has taped a photograph to the bottom of every reception chair. He asks everyone to stand and remove the photo from the bottom side of the chair. The photo is of his bride and the best man in the throes of passion.

    As the crowd starts to snicker and the photo is passed to the bride, the groom waves goodbye.

    Now that’s cool revenge.

    • I heard a story about a girl who was marrying her much older fiance. Found out about his cheating, married him anyway then took him for half after walking out a month later. That was an easy buck too.

  • In the state of Ohio there is very little recourse for “revenge” on a cheater, but, my dear attorney found a way to make Uncle Daddy and his parawhore squirm. Our trial was on a Monday. My attorney subpoenaed the parawhore and her husband (who supposedly was in on the whole affair) to testify at the trial. They received their subpoenas on Friday. Fly on the wall… how happy was THAT household that weekend? Bottom line….Uncle Daddy agreed to everything I asked for, no trial, just nice session with judge, our attorneys and us. I think I smiled alot in chambers that day, just imagining the chaos the previous weekend those court orders must have caused!

  • Yes to leverage, no to revenge.

    Believe me, I contemplate revenge daily, but I know that this is a fantasy. Also, nothing I can do to STBX will be as bad as letting the other woman “win” him. She’s a drama queen with a history of affairs with married men. She’s twice-divorced. No way is their love Twu Wuv. She’s scamming him for what he has.

    But notice how my anger is directed toward HIM? Not toward OW, though of course she’s culpable, as Nice People Do Not Have Sex with Other People’s Spouses.

    People cheat because they can. He cheated because he has a character flaw, not because she spread her legs for him.

    Lawyer up, figure out what you want and what you can have, and see if you can leverage yourself some better arrangements than you otherwise would. Get things settled while the affair is still going on.

    Sorry that you’ve joined Chump Nation.

    • kb,
      “People cheat because they can. He cheated because he has a character flaw, not because she spread her legs for him.”

      I second that! My cheating asswipe ex completely tried to blame the first OW, the married ho-worker, saying she was relentless and wouldn’t let up, geeez really? I guess he had no choice but to keep falling between her legs over and over for over 3 years, including in her marital bed when her husband was away at her house. What about the others?

      My ex is an opportunists cheater, if there is someone who is willing to spread her legs and sometimes he seeks them out, mostly married women, this way no commitment and he doesn’t have to spend his money, unlike if he dated a single woman. If you ever met my ex you would think he is such a good guy, but he is the biggest wolf in sheep’s clothing. I hope one of these days one husband will give him a lesson that he will never forget…

    • I too have daily revenge fantasies. I was discussing with my therapist today that this kind of violence feels like a complete elision of my humanity. A profound dehumanization. These people need to know that they can’t do this and simply walk. Particularly when they enjoy a public persona that assumes trust and honor. It feels like am enormous breach of public faith not just my individual damage. When you lie on such a daily level to a person who has loved and cared for you why do you get to enjoy a public image of “Mr. Great Guy” I used to separate public and private lies ala Bill Cinton. But even when I did he still felt really creepy.

      Everything CL says as well as the smart people who write here ring true to me. I have a lot of refocusing work to do away from revenge and on to my day to day life that will hopefully build me a better picker and authentic relationships from here on.

      Also having considered what people are advising I know I have let my ass-ex off when I chose mediation, he enjoys 50 percent custody and is a lying alcoholic (claims he is sober) My son loves him and I could not fight anymore. I wonder if that will change one day. I am going to find ways of making him prove his sobriety or lose residential custody.

      May everything go in your favor. Your wife sounds like a nightmare from hell. You will get through this.

  • LTF, so very sorry for being a chump. It’s not fun but it’s not forever. Please choose to take the high road. I’ll be divorced nearly a year and I have no regrets I took the high road. I told people my ex cheated if they asked. He was blatantly flaunting her around town before the divorce papers were even filed, so he took care of destroying himself. The best revenge? Go completely no contact (or minimal contact if you have young children). Treating someone they don’t matter is quite effective. And you will heal faster. You come first now. “You reap what you sow” never fails. The timing may not be up to you, but it will come. In the meantime, be the best self you can be.

  • When I read posts like this it always reminds of that little smug man, throwing his shoulders back, and trying to smile kind of like he had a secret always a little fake and always with his mouth and eyes shut! I raise my shot gun, aim for his …well I’m spoiled for choice really, where I aim depends on the day. And all the while I hear in a big deep gutsy voice

    He had it coming, he had it coming
    he only had himself to blame.
    If you’d have been there
    If you had seen it
    I bet you’d have done the same

    Ahhhh. The fantasy for me is enough to make me smile. 😉

    • He told me he was single…and we hit it off.
      Every night, he’d come home, I’d mix him a drink and we’d have dinner.
      Then one night, I find out. SINGLE he told me…SINGLE MY ASS.
      Not only was he married…oh no…he had SIX wives. One of those mormons, y’know?
      So that night…he came home. I mixed him a drink. Like always.

      …y’know some guys just can’t hold their ARSENIC!!!

      😀 One of my fave musicals.

  • You may be underestimating satisfaction factor of filing for divorce and using your information for leverage. Once she knows you KNOW and are going to use that knowledge, she will likely tell the OM the secret is out, and that may end the affair right there. That’s what happened in my situation (and me “ex” and I were supposedly committed but not married) so there was no divorce.) But once I confronted him, it was only a matter of weeks before he was done with it. No fun if you don’t have to sneak and I know he was concerned that I would contact the OW’s husband and he would end up with a crossbow up his ass. So just serving her and letting her know OM may have to testify might end the affair; then once you are clear of it all, you can let OM’s spouse know if that is what you want to do.

  • LTF,

    I feel for you. I want to do the same thing, have some big production, and take the both of them down. But I can’t because (1) there are kids involved, (2) the people who I would talk to about the XW (who is also a public figure) would probably ignore me or cover it up, and (3), the people in the OM’s line of work would probably applaud him for what he did.

    Don’t hold the truth inside you forever, but choose carefully who (and when) you tell the truth to.

  • LTF,

    I am sorry that you find yourself having to deal with this painful situation. Initially, thinking about getting revenge is a normal reaction to having been betrayed in such a foul manner – and you were hit with a twofer – your wife (supposed to be your best friend) and your friend (who was supposed to behave in a manner befitting that title). However, I will tell you that you will always personally fare and feel better if you restrain yourself and refrain from any thoughts or behavior related to retribution.

    There is that saying that circulates on the internet that states, “when you set out to seek revenge, dig two graves.” Revenge is like many processes we set in motion – once set in motion, in many cases, we have no control over the outcome. Revenge is an investment in negative energy – and there will always be a return on your investment. Trust me – I am no Pollyanna. I have considered rat poison (for STBX), newspaper publication of the Minister of Whoredom kissing and laying abed with a married man, hiring a drug addict as a hit man (they tend to get fixated and go for the overkill), just to name a few revenge fantasies.
    However, at the end of the day, I have chosen to take vicarious revenge through shows like Snapped and Who the Bleep Did I Marry – which shows are almost running advertisements for why you should NOT seek revenge.

    My suggestion is that you stake out and take the high road. Liars and cheaters ultimately do themselves in even if we are not always an audience to it. My STBX has been plotting and scheming against me since he hooked up with the Minister of Whoredom – and few, if any of his plots have had the result he planned. Most, if not all of them thus far, have actually caused him more harm. He appears to be frustrated at each turn. I have continued to move forward, albeit slowly, taking the high road, even when I have at my disposal pictures that could cause serious problems for the Minister of Whoredom and perhaps throw a monkey wrench into the idyllic life they have planned. I have chosen to maintain my peace and, while perhaps struggling materially, have the things that I need when I need them. I chose to invest in positive energy and I continue to benefit from that investment. Are things perfect? Of course not, but they are infinitely better than I anticipated. It will be for you as well and you will be happy for having taken the high road.

    There is a James Baldwin quote that states, “People pay for what they do, and still more for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it very simply; by the lives they lead.” Believe it.

  • Sigh, I’m not a person who’s for spreading insanity and drama…especially if it involves evil acts, but I’m not opposed to revenge either. Or swift justice, call it what you want. There are many good reasons here that other have listed for resisting, but two I think are not valid….

    Take the high road- sure, if it’s who you are and matches up with your morals , then please stick to your morals. But to me that “High Road” sounds too much like turning the other cheek when you’ve already been bitch slapped. It’s a little too chumpy. Fucking his wife to get even with him is wrong. That would definitely not be taking the High Road, but exposing him for what he is if that’s feasible, to your advantage, and you can cover your butt? I say go for it.

    That karma/justice will come around. Um no. Sure sometimes it does and it’s fun to watch, but don’t hold your breath waiting. Bad things don’t always happen to bad people. And vice versa, or none of us would be on this site. And unless there truly is leverage then waiting until after the divorce just means you swallow it for so long that you let it go. But it takes longer.

    Honestly…I wish I’d been a little less “High Road” with my ex. I didn’t need to slash his tires but I would’ve had a better emotional transition if I’d let out a little of my revenge instead of swallowing it.

  • I never swallowed my anger, but I also wasn’t going to let someone I had no respect for make me lose sight of what was important to me-my own self-respect and the well-being of my family. In time, the pain does diminish and you are left with the knowledge that you did what was right, even when others did not. And in my experience, bad things do happen to bad people, but not on any particular schedule.

    • Louise- I think that’s exactly it though, we have to not lose sight of who we are. For some that means not letting their anger push them into doing something or being someone they are not. For others that can mean not stuffing their anger and trying to be the better person to their detriment. It is most definitely the dominant opinion (and I have incredible respect for the people on this site) that revenge is not the way to go. But I have also noticed that when someone does post a story about just desserts there’s usually a lot of positive responses and back slapping.

      All the way back in the beginning, shortly after D day, I asked a group of ladies if I should expose my ex at his work. After all, he was using a work computer and work phone to respond to sex ads and send and receive naked pictures. He was responding to these ads during regular work hours. The advice I was given was 1. Make sure that the exposure couldn’t be traced back to me. 2. Think about whether or not I was ok with my ex possibly losing his job. That might have affected future child support for my unborn child. 3. Think about how that would have an effect on child support for the kids he already has, my two step kids who I loved dearly. But a lot of the ladies said to go for it.
      Yes, I would have been careful about how it was presented and that if the crap hit the fan it all could have been proved. Also, honestly if my ex loses his job it’s because HE is doing something incredibly stupid and unprofessional with Company property. That’s on him. As for child support, well it remains to be seen whether he can or will provide that to me and the truth is I think not doing something out of fear when it comes to our exes is stupid. My goal is for my child and I to be completely independent of my ex anyways. Ultimately though I didn’t send that letter because I give a shit about my stepkids.

      I’m mostly Meh but letting go of the anger would have been a lot faster if I had allowed myself a little vindictiveness in some other form. And as for that making me seem like a crazy ex, well that narrative is how I’m getting painted left and right anyways. I’d rather get credit for something I’ve done or have exposed him and bulldozed him and stopped him in his tracks. I would have respected myself a little more had I gone that route. I would have felt less chumpy and more empowered. But each person needs to make up their own mind. I’m sure my ex is dealing with emotional and financial consequences of his actions. He just never had to deal with social ones. They still pay him a dumb amount of money and think he does a good job at work. He’s still on the little league board where they think he’s dad of the year. He still has ALL of the same friends that WE used to hang out with. He never lost face. I on the other hand am on 15 support programs waddling around looking like an unworking unwed mother getting vouchers for free third hand furniture.

      Apparently my pride was a little wounded today. ;P I still say go for it. But I love you chump nation!!!!

      • Kat, the unfairness of your situation is infuriating! I hope the jerk at least ends up having to pay LOTS of child support!

        I didn’t do anything particularly vengeful, but I did tell EVERYBODY about the ex’s cheating, and his generally selfish and negative ways. People who knew him weren’t the least bit surprised about the second part, and I got lots of support and sympathy. Our ‘couple and family’ friends dropped him immediately, which felt good, although in a big city like this that’s easier for them to do than in a smaller place. And I told lots of people about how shittily he was treating the kids post-separation (they now have very little to do with him, after assuming he would be raising them half the time, as is standard custody here.)

        It at least feels good that there aren’t any illusions out there about what a good guy he is, what a good dad, or that our separation (weren’t married, ‘just’ 14 years together, 2 kids) was amicable in any way.

        • I told EVERYBODY about the ex’s cheating too!
          I guess the worst thing I did was to force his hand into telling his boss and colleagues by confiding in his boss’s wife who was a friend of mine. The OW was the widow of a former much loved employee. This was 3 weeks after he left. He’d been desperate to keep his sordid secret, he was livid! From what I heard, they all took a pretty dim view of it.

        • I get questions all the time about whether or not my ex is going to be here for the birth of the baby or have anything to do with the baby and when I tell them I haven’t heard from him at all they look shocked. This isn’t some guy I screwed that I met in a bar, it’s a guy with a career and two other kids who like I said is involved in the Little League board and volunteer coaches at practice. It someone I was in a committed relationship with for three years and then married. And NO ONE in his social circle is telling him what a tool he is for abandoning his child. It’s like getting away with a crime. Well whatever. I will say that if he truly does stay away I actually appreciate that option much more than having to “coparent” or have him confuse my kid by visiting twice a year or some crap. So I’m not as upset with his actions so much as the fact that no one else has called him out on them. I think I may still post on Cheatersville at some point.

          • Sorry, but I believe your unborn child deserves to have a father play a role in his or her upbringing. In my limited experience, children of divorce still need their dads. You should encourage this bond even if you yourself hate your ex.

  • It’s not wrong to tell the truth abouth people, but you may want to be strategic in how and when you reveal the truth. You’ve gotten a lot of good advice here. We have all been in your shoes and I know that I, at least, was shocked at the violent fantasies that I entertained toward both of them. I feel like I learned something about myself in this process. My dear, you will come out on the other side of this anguish. It won’t be gone, but it won’t be the intense pain and humiliation that it is now. Be strategic and do what’s best for you, and for any other innocents in this.

  • Maybe everyone should ask the the fool why his wife cheated in the first place.???Was he an alcoholic who had 2 DUI s and didn’t realize he had a wife and 2 kids at home. While she was struggling with the pain of him telling her to get rid of there second child while she was in the womb. And his poor wife had to go to the ultrasounds all by her self. Remember the saying “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” before you judge them!!!!

    • I don’t think you’re grasping the concept of this site. (Or you’re trolling for an internet fight)

      If the marriage is that bad, get out. Yes, we all dream about revenge, but most of us choose the high road and keep our morals intact. If you choose to cheat on your husband for whatever reasons/excuses you want to list, you’ve just shown you’re no better than he is. The rest of us have had some horrific experiences in our sham marriages but have never felt the urge to cheat.

      Remember, nice people don’t fuck someone else’s spouse. If this woman had grievances against her husband (Ltf), what right does she have to be an instrument in the destruction of someone else’s marriage? She’s hurting not just her own family, but her friend’s family too.

    • Sara….
      All this self evasion is eroding your soul.
      Now take your ass back over to the Cheaters Anonymous Board at Daily Strength Dot Org.

      • Feral Blue and This Chump medicated for your protection, thanks for setting Sarah straight,I couldn’t have said it better.

  • In the early days, the revenge fantasies kept me going!

    One of the hardest things I learned was just how little his behaviour mattered to anyone who wasn’t directly connected to us.

    • That’s true really. For the 1st 10 months after he
      Eft he would take my then 10 year old to netball training and her game. He had the whole lot congratulating him on his new baby, showing concern when there was trouble with the pregnancy, helping him move his crap from my home, all in front of my daughter who didn’t know anything. It didn’t bother them. Another friend was congratulating him on fb for being a “fossily thing” for having snagged a 22 yearold by hos 49th birthday. Yet he ate in my home with my family. It doesn’t matter. That seems to be something they get tht we struggle with. I can’t understand why everyone isn’t outraged or at least disgusted. And that’s why Even though I do question whether they feel high and mighty that we don’t say anything, like they have us by the short and curlys and we’re scared of them if we don’t say anything, who the hell’s gonna listen to us. It’s a world of zombies. Unthinking, zombies.

      • Cripes, Nat1, what a bunch of jerks! They’re not much better than he is – and all these people KNEW he’d cheated??? Ick! You’re better off without them in your life, too, but it must be SO painful to see those things happening.

      • I observed a lot of that too, Nat1, including with the ex’s 4 sisters, who all should have known better. They invited my kids to go visit them for a couple of weeks, BEFORE THE DIVORCE WAS FINAL, and there, plastered all over the house and made wall paper on the computer were pictures of the new golden child, like the Second Coming had arrived and he was going to be the salvation and healing of all FOO issues for that family. A copy of the birth certificate was tacked to the refrigerator door. My kids were teenagers. They were aghast.

        I chalk it up to the LIES that he spread about me in order to justify himself, right down to crying sessions over how miserably he was being treated and how worried he was for the kids futures, because I had stunted their social growth by home schooling them. All women nearby went into rescue mode for him. All men nearby projected their own sense of marital claustrophobia onto him and lived vicariously by association. It was awful to live through. I was treated like dirt by people who should have known better.

        “A lie goes halfway around the world before the truth even gets out the door” That is so true. Believing the worst about people without any personal justification is a pretty common human flaw. Ask any Jr. High school girl.

        • “All women nearby went into rescue mode for him. All men nearby projected their own sense of marital claustrophobia onto him and lived vicariously by association”

          Yeah that pretty well describes it doesn’t it!

  • I agree, take the high road and keep dignity and be classy. In the end they look even more the fools. I just read Dr. Simon’s Character Disturbance. Thanks Chumplady for pointing us in the direction of this author. I love how both he and you boil it down to the most simple premise, a question of character. Revenge fantasies can be intense and do help get strong feelings out during the first even couple years but I think it is best to keep them fantasies. They fade away and integrity will be intact as the world of the cheaters can’t help but start to crumble. Then we have the strength of character still to stand in the face of the cheater parent (as he still tries to blame things and he just looks ridiculous). I’m realizing more every day how right makes might and that he can say what he wants but he has nothing on me. I like how Dr Simon says to not even show antagonism with the character disturbed, but to calmly not let the them get away with their wrongful thinking and manipulation which is aggression, to recognize their tactics and call them on it at the point of incident. I’m working on this and it’s starting to feel very empowering.

  • I am a very private person, but my work puts me in the public eye. I intentionally raised my children away from media scrutiny. The OW in my situation deliberately arranged a police encounter with she and my husband and believe me, it was all over the press. The hardest thing I had to do during that horrible time was to call one of my kids away at school to warn her minutes before the news hit the internet. I could have gone on the offensive and leaked many horrible things but then, I would be no better than the awful people I was dealing with. I “cried in the shower” many days before having to face the shit storm that was my life. It was so painful to see the hurt and confusion on my kids faces and to send them to school, knowing some jackass was going to tease them. Do you really want to do that to someone’s family, who after all, has done nothing to you? Five years later, my reputation remains intact. The OW has completely ruined her reputation, can’t find work in her field, is living with her mother after divorcing yet again and tells everyone who listens that she is the victim. Oh, and she is one of those Jesus cheaters (I love that phrase!), who “isn’t perfect, just forgiven” and has learned so much about herself since sleeping with multiple married men…Believe me, disordered folks like that just can’t help but screw up their lives; after all ,chaos is what keeps them feeling
    important-created crisis as ego kibbles.

  • I think it’s important to get the story out about the affair not necessarily for revenge, but to protect yourself. Remember, the cheater is probably a narcissist and cares a lot about his image. When he decides to reveal his affair to his friends and family, how do you think his story will go? Oh, wife was a horrible, neglectful, selfish wife to me for x, y and z reasons, we were having lots of problems, I was miserable because of wife, so we had to separate, our marriage was over; then OW came along and was so caring and loving to me and she’ll be a great step-mom to the kids, compared to wife, who is so crazy, unstable, etc. The cheater will try to paint you in the worst light possible behind your back, so I think it’s better to get your story–the truth–out first. But, I suppose, as CL recommends, you need to weigh the benefit of telling the truth to people against how much leverage you can use the knowledge of the affair in your divorce.

    Some people won’t believe you or will take the cheater’s side anyways, like my ex-ILs, who then tried to viciously spread rumors about me, like my XH and I never had a marriage because I was a lesbian!? and told me to my face that I was a horrible wife, e.g., never cooked for him, didn’t pay him enough attention. Initially I was confused and hurt by this, but then I realized it was all about desperately, by any means available, protecting XH’s, and thereby his family’s, image.

  • I agree with CL, leverage not revenge. I could have cost the OW her elementary school job pretty easily but if that happened she might have broken things off with my ex. I definitely needed him to focus on her as much as possible so I never acted. The best revenge is that the two of them have to live with each other, two fucked up people who deserve their fate.

    • Totally Agree, DDW! The best revenge is letting those affair partners HAVE each other! My ex is his OW’s third husband. She’s basically been unemployed her whole life but her family owns a fitness club and she has a master’s in Marriage and Family counseling. Her bio on LinkedIn is a complete falsehood. I wish them both well. Lol

      • Ah Linkedin, the place for dreams and dreamers. OW changes hers every couple of months. She was a “dream Inspirer”, in education management, an entreprener, a mum, and now a make up artist, all between the ages of 22 and 24. I still think “cock sucker” and skank should have made her list….but anyways….

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