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Dear Chump Lady, Unicorns are real

Hi Chumps, 

Just a note that today’s blog post letter is being answered by fellow chump Chris DiRico while I’m away from the blog for a couple days. As much as I’d like to perform a unicorn deconstruction, Chris has taken that job today. 



Hi there Chump Lady,

I am a big fan of your blog. I found you while searching online for resources to help my best friend, a fellow chump. I guess I am a chump, too, to a degree. Some might call me a unicorn? But, my reconciliation is certainly interesting, if you can even really call it reconciliation. It feels more like a “do over”. I just wanted to share my story with you.

My husband cheated on me with a former flame. The affair lasted probably a year or so. He initially exposed/admitted the affair to me. We went through some counseling, blah blah blah. He was really just eating cake. At the time we had two small children and I was extremely hesitant to separate or divorce, so I was adamantly committed to working it out. I thought we had put everything past us, but I could never shake the feeling that I was his “second” choice.

I was not happy and I did not feel loved. I am strongly committed to principle, so I chumped it and carried on. Until the fateful day I discovered the affair had never ended. At that moment and in an instant, I threw him out. Figuratively speaking of course. I calmly called the OW and asked what her intentions were. I told her she could have him and then I proceeded to share with her every negative and unflattering intimate detail only a married person could share about their spouse.

She was married with small children herself and had no intentions of leaving her family to be with my husband, although at the time that’s what he was hoping for. She promised to end things, although I did not take her seriously. Then I contacted her husband and shared with him every detail about the affair I knew about. The affair effectively ended. My husband was initially more devastated to lose her than he was me and our children. It was all heartbreaking. Yet, I did not file for divorce. In fact, I even remained willing to go through counseling. But I absolutely refused to do the “pick me dance” or allow him to eat cake.

We tried to go through some more counseling, but I and the counselor could both tell he was just not getting it. He was entangled in a tightly gripped storm of narcissism, blame shifting, and fuckupedness. I did not feel sorry for him, or feel in any way that it was my job or duty to fix him or “be there” for him. I was wise enough to know the affair had nothing to do with me and everything to do with his character and integrity. Just because he ended the affair did not mean another would not happen, and I was not willing to play marriage police either. I knew that if he did not change what was broken in his soul, that the cycle would repeat.

Cheating behavior and affairs are usually symptoms of bigger psychological issues. Neither one of us wanted a divorce and he wanted to come home, but I would not budge. I knew that he needed to do the work and I knew that if he was serious, I would see the change. So, I marched forward, and I did the only thing I knew how to do. I prayed. Two years passed and no change. I finally came to the place where I felt like I had given everything I could. I had gone to counseling for myself and I was ready to file for divorce. When I shared this with him, something seriously snapped. (Keep in mind, we were completely separated for two full years. Neither one of us dated anyone else nor did we ever share a bed during this time. Fortunately, children and finances were amicably managed).

Suddenly, this man who had gone to counseling and “tried” for two years to get his family back together understood that it wasn’t enough. He started attending a men’s group at a local church. He sought out and paid for his own personal counseling. He started to do all of the things you would expect to see a serious man do who had fucked up his marriage and wanted to make amends. He started to change and he got better. At this point, it was too late for me. I had already hung on for two years and I was ready to close this chapter of my life. At that point, I had given up, yet I struggled with the idea of divorce. I saw the changes in him but I did not trust him. I was crippled by fear of the unknown.

This is where things get a little more unbelievable; TWO more years of separation (and celibacy) passed. My husband absolutely refused to agree to a divorce. He wore his wedding ring religiously and sent flowers for anniversaries and holidays. He stayed in counseling. He was helpful, he stepped up his dad game, he brought little thoughtful gifts constantly, he demonstrated honest love. Yet, he wasn’t perfect. I found plenty of flaws still to capitalize and focus on. Everyone, and I mean everyone, thought we were crazy. “Move on already! It’s been four years! It’s not healthy to be in limbo!” That’s what both of us got from friends, family, and clergy. They were right, too. I found myself visualizing my life as a fast moving river. I had come to a fork and I could not see where either path would take me. But I was stubbornly refusing to make any kind of decision. Like I was hanging onto a tree root and the river was swallowing me up. I needed to let go and trust God, no matter the outcome.

So I let go. And do you know what happened? We reconciled. My husband proved himself to be trustworthy and devoted. He loves me, and I know he really loves me. He will tell you how absolutely insane he was back then. The affair was actually quite easy to get past when compared to the core of the crazy. It was all that messy brokenness that led to the affair that was the most difficult to work through. Now, I will not sit here and say, “Oh! Our life is a fairy tale and perfect and full of flowers and chocolate!” No, our life is good. And, yes, better than it was before, but far from perfect. It’s as good as any realistic couple can hope for. There has been forgiveness and healing. Our children are happy, and we are happy! Our home is peaceful and loving. It’s been one year and a miraculously smooth one full of God’s grace.

In retrospect, I certainly don’t think it should have taken four years. But genuine, healthy reconciliation doesn’t happen overnight either. I find myself in agreement with most everything you write about. Unfortunately, there are severely disordered people out there and I am in no way trying to compare my story to others. I just wanted to share a rare example of a real unicorn. It can happen, but only if the offending partner can get serious enough to get real help at the core. It also helps if the offended partner can get in touch with the real reasons they chose someone so broken to begin with. I know I did, and it helped me. My husband has done some incredibly hard work on himself and I want to give him big credit for that. We are much healthier emotionally and spiritually today as individuals and as a couple than when we were first married 10 years ago.

My best friend did not have the same result. At first, I encouraged her to hang in there and not rush into a divorce. Unfortunately, her husband was not willing to let go of his OW and I completely supported her decision to divorce. It’s been a rough road for her, and I have sent her many encouraging words from the Chump Lady. She will be fine. So, good job, Chump Lady. Just know that there are stories like mine out there and it is easy for us to want others to experience the same. I did not know Chump Lady when I was going through the worst of my separation. I’m glad I had some good sense, though, to demand some respect. To not give cake. To not do the “pick me” dance. I drew clear boundaries and made the rules. But, I’m also glad I didn’t rush to divorce, I gave things time, I focused on myself and the children, I prayed. I did not try to fix things, or allow myself to be distracted by the romantic interests of others, nor was I vengeful. I made some mistakes, but I grew, and I healed. And though I never ever ever ever would have thought this outcome would be part of my story, I reconciled. Yes, Chump Lady, unicorns and miracles are real.

Respectfully yours,

Truth State

Dear TS:

I don’t think you’re taking into account the method to Chump Lady’s madness. The reason that the Unicorn analogy is so apt is because the chances of true reconciliation occurring are slim. Cheating doesn’t always lead to the collapse of a marriage. But then again, smoking cigarettes doesn’t always lead to lung cancer. But just as I wouldn’t recommend smoking, I wouldn’t stake your emotional stability and especially your future on a man who has cheated.

Your marriage as you described it was an absolute cold war for four long years post-DDay, complete what you call a “tightly gripped storm of narcissism, blame-shifting and fuckupedness.” Even your marriage counselor thought your husband was a dunce, and marriage counselors are usually the fucking kings of cheater handholding and spoon-feeding.

You went through all of that, filed for separation, and then you went through the absolute mind-fuck to end all mind-fucks, something Chumps rarely experience: Your cheating husband decided to do the “pick-me dance.” Once he saw that you meant business, he showered you and your children with gifts, went to counseling, and demonstrated what you call “honest love.”

But was it really honest love, TS? Sounds to me like a barrage of “I’m sorry” gifts and pre-divorce damage control in order to stop the bleeding. Sounds to me that he only got off his ass and started working on his own marriage once you finally drew a line in the sand. Where the fuck was this honest love while he was grieving the loss of the OW? Where was this honest love when he was blame-shifting and gaslighting you during marriage counseling? Did he at least buy you an “I’m sorry” gift once his affair was exposed? Oops! No he didn’t. He carried on the affair until you blew the Marriage Police Whistle contacted the OW and her husband. Most importantly, why did it take you pulling the Four Word Ace (“I want a divorce”) out of your back pocket in order for him to finally realize that he fucked up his marriage?

TS, you seem to be under the impression that Cheater Cake can only be served in chumpy, “Pick Me!”-sized portions, such as losing weight, self-blame for the affair, dressing and looking sexy, lots of emotionally charged sex, and other forms of self-improvement in order to “prevent” the next affair from happening. But there’s plenty more Cakes on the menu at the Cheater Bakery.

Your husband sounds like he took an Everyday Above Ground approach to your marriage post-DDay. You didn’t slide the divorce papers under the bathroom door while he was having his morning shit? Great! Everything’s cool! You didn’t castrate him in his sleep? Yey! My balls are still here! TS can’t be that pissed off! You didn’t passive-aggressively use the laundry detergent that makes him break out in rashes? Fuckin’ A! My clothes are clean and my skin doesn’t itch! It’s a great day for America! I wonder what’s on TV…

Your post-D-Day situation reminds me of that old Jay Leno joke that he told at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Bill Clinton was celebrating his birthday that summer, to which Jay quipped: “Of course, First Lady Hillary Clinton is giving the President a great birthday present this year! She’s letting him live!”

You’re right, TS. You didn’t pick-me dance or blame yourself or go into Marriage Re-Builder Overdrive. But you didn’t divorce him and you let him live. To some cheating husbands, that’s about the most delicious cake a Chump can whip up. Your letter describes a husband resting peacefully in a slumberous Cake coma until you held the smelling salts under his nose via your Four Word Ace. Only then did he snap awake and realize what he was losing.

It’s really important to tell the truth and call a thing a thing, TS. In my opinion, your husband only “snapped” because you threatened to take his Cake away. There’s really no other away around it.

Here’s the key passage in your letter, TS, a passage I can’t let you off the hook for. You may think you’ve found the Unicorn, and you spent the better part of your letter insisting that you weren’t a typical Chump post-DDay. But then you wrote this: “The affair was actually quite easy to get past when compared to the core of the crazy. It was all that messy brokenness that led to the affair that was the most difficult to work through.”

I’m sorry, TS, but that’s Chapter 1, Verse 1 of the Cheater Bullshit Bible: “I hurt you because I’m hurt!” And you cited “messy brokenness” as the reason for his duplicitous behavior, which is a classic water-carrying Chumpline. You also seemed to downplay the very behavior that got you stuck in this murky swamp in the first place (his cheating) and instead focused all your attention on the “brokenness” that led to it, which is also a classic Chump behavior.

As Chump Lady has pointed out time and time again, no matter what kind of chaotic childhood or frenzied adult life one may have led, cheating comes down to one thing and one thing only: Entitlement.

It doesn’t matter what kind of brokenness your husband came from or what kind of emotional demons he was fighting throughout your marriage. He initiated and carried on an affair on his own volition. An affair that didn’t end even after you found out about it. Once you blew your Marriage Police Whistle, your husband turned around and blamed you for it.

Was all of this worth it for you in the end, as a wife and especially as a betrayed and emotionally destroyed woman? You cataloged four years out of your ten-year marriage that was spent dealing with a dragged-out affair, DDay, the post-DDay separation, lots of self-doubt, pain, indecision (as evidenced by your stellar river analogy), and lots and lots of prayer. That’s nearly half your marriage that you spent doggy-paddling through a treacherous current that you nearly drowned in; a river he threw you into in the first place! And he didn’t even have the courtesy to throw you a rope to pull yourself out until after you threatened divorce?! What kind of bullshit is that?

The other thing I want to offer you is that Chumps don’t divorce their cheating spouses simply because not enough flowers or chocolates were purchased. And it’s certainly not for a lack of “manning up” in the husband/father departments. I’m sure plenty of cheating husbands went into Alert! Alert! We’re Losing Her! Fuck! mode and thus started scrambling to steer the ship away from the Divorce Iceberg. Actually, that sounds exactly like what your husband did.

For most Chumps, D-Day is followed by Reckoning Day. May not happen for months or even years post-D-Day. But Reckoning Day happens when a Chump gets out of bed, puts both feet on the floor and says: “I did not deserve any of this and I will no longer stand for any of this.” Period. Granted, sometimes the Cheaters do the work for us and hit the road with schmoopie in tow, leaving us for dead. But Cheaters want CAKE, and Reckoning Day is all about padlocking the bakery.

But wait! Hubby deleted OW’s number out of his cell phone and blocked her on Facebook! He’s home every night on time! We spend every non-business hour together! And what about the time when he was out drinking with his buddies and that cute little 22-year-old blonde hit on him and he flashed his wedding ring in her face? (Cheating men love to catalog all the pussy they’ve turned down post-DDay as evidence of their Change).

But Reckoning Day isn’t about the cheater and it sure as hell ain’t about his/her metamorphosis from a lecherous, scheming Caterpillar into a devoted, rainbow-shitting Unicorn. Reckoning Day is about the Chump politely stating: “I no longer give a fuck. The trust is gone and so is the marriage. Goodbye.”

You’re absolutely correct that your husband’s cheating had nothing to do with you. But what I’m offering you is that everything that happened post-DDay should’ve been about you and how you were going to detach yourself from a man who was no longer deserving of your love and devotion. Instead, as your letter details, what followed were several years of heartbreak, indecision, and a list of things you didn’t do because you promised yourself that you weren’t going to be a typical Chump.

You seem to be forgetting that Chumpdom is a horse of all the rainbow colors (Unicorn pun intended). Maybe your Chumpdom looked less like a crazed WWII kamikaze pilot careening into Pick-Me Harbor and was conducted more like the military forces on the North-South Korea border (i.e. one big stand-off). But it’s still Chumpdom any way you slice it.

Now that I’ve shared my opinions, let me say that I admire your willingness to share your story of reconciliation with ChumpNation. But honestly, TS, and I can only speak for myself and my own Chump experiences, I don’t envy you. With everything I’ve learned, I could never in good conscience even try to reconcile with my ex. You seem to have done that, but you don’t really need to convince ChumpNation that your husband has changed.

Our concern is with YOU: Your happiness, your well-being, and how YOU feel about your marriage. That’s the bottom line. It’s not about whether your husband cheats again. He could remain faithful or he could simply take his dalliances underground. You have no way of knowing unless you play Marriage Police.

What it all comes down to is TRUST. Once that’s gone, there’s no turning back, and that’s when Reckoning Day occurs. And the last thing any of us would ever want to happen is for you to have go through this hallucinatory mind-fuck again. Why? Because too many of us Chumps were in your shoes. So many of our cheating spouses said and did All The Right things and we still got fucked over. And while I certainly don’t want to rain on your Reconciliation Parade, the fact that your husband continued his affair after you found out about it is a rather grim predictor of future behavior.

Your intentions seem pure and you seem content with the state of your marriage. I just don’t want you to get hurt again, TS. None of us do. That’s why Chump Lady’s mantra is to LEAVE a cheater and GAIN a life. It’s not about revenge or Girl Power or Once A Cheater Always A Cheater! or Fuck You! or I’ll Show You, Asshole! It’s simply about TRUST. Cheaters squander that the first time, shame on them. They squander it the second, third, fourth and twelfth times, shame on us.

At ChumpNation we all remember that Mindfuck Moment, or what psychologists call “Flashbulb Memory.” We can remember every single detail of where we were, how we found out, how it felt, what went through our heads, and worst of all, how our worlds shattered the moment we found out that our spouses cheated. I can tell you the date, exact time, and the fucking clothes I was wearing the first time that I saw OM’s name pop up on my ex’s caller I.D.

It’s a pain we didn’t deserve, a pain we don’t get used to, and a pain that should be a deal-breaker for all relationships on general principle. Reckoning Day is simply saying: “I deserved better from you and I deserve better than you.”

Easier said than done, but it sure beats having trust issues for the rest of one’s life. Getting old sucks enough. Who the hell wants to spend a marriage looking over their shoulder?

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Chris, I think what you write is true, even though I haven’t managed to follow your advice in my own life. Even with a husband doing all the “right” things, it is very hard to be willing to trust and so far (2.5 years post DDay) I haven’t. I wish I’d known of Chump Lady right away. I don’t think I would ever counsel someone to try reconciliation.

    It may be impossible for me to forget or overlook the thought that “you were willing to do this to me” regardless of how much effort he puts into being a good husband and father, and into managing his mental illness.

  • Chris is right, TS. It looks like he’s doing All the Right Things. But you don’t know unless you are the Marriage Police. Which you’re not doing, because you *trust* him again.

    Not to be harsh, but it kind of sounds like the OW dumped him (perhaps thanks to your phone call). Your husband might still be pursuing her if that wasn’t the case. Point is, you don’t know if he would still go running to her if he had the option. You might still be his Plan B, since his Plan A (OW) is out of the picture.

    And also, another thing….4 years of celibacy? Most cheaters who have deeper issues (you mentioned blameshifting, etc.) don’t tend to do well with 4 years of delaying gratification. Just doesn’t tend to work that way. Maybe he was celibate, maybe he wasn’t. Hard to tell when he’s living in his own place.

    That being said….I hope your marriage is a unicorn, for your sake and your children’s sake. If you were my best friend? I would be keeping the Kleenex boxes on hand for about 10 years from now, which is the upper range when second affairs typically surface.

  • Oh, and another thing….where’s the post-nup? Would be great if you could put some insurance on your husband’s good intentions.

    Overall, TS, I hope you’re a unicorn….but it’s waaayyy too soon to say. Most of us chumps went through several reconciliations where we were filled with hope because our spouses were doing All the Right Things. And sometimes it lasts for years. And then the shoe drops.

    • FYI Here up north, post-nups are worthless when it comes to cheating behaviour, as is likely the case in no-fault states.

      • Not sure where “up north” you are exactly, but according to my attorney in my northern no-fault state, post-nups do count. Normally, judges don’t care if there was cheating – true. But a pre or post-nup is an additional contract, and you can get specific. The only catch to enforcing a cheating-clause in a pre or post-nup is you have to either A) have your cheater *admit* to cheating, or B) Prove he was cheating. If your cheater runs off with their AP then it’s pretty easy to prove cheating. Otherwise, it can be tough sometimes.

        • I be Canajan mon…

          I consulted a family lawyer, and her response was that a person cannot enter a contract that waivers legal rights to custody, alimony, or monetary fines based on “chastity”. Also, in the event that we could, it would mean a) all the onus is put on the chump to PROVE the cheating, and b) the cheater, knowing that there would be more of a consequence, makes more of an effort to hide and deny the cheating, if it were to occur.

          • There is more than one way to skin a cat…

            1- have a post-nup, in case of a divorce by either party to who gets what, no need to put cheating in that, therefore that would be legally binding if either party decides to divorce for any reason.


            2- have a property settlement agreement without dissolution of marriage, which includes home, alimony, child support etc. etc. which, a judge will sign it through a lawyer and there would be no need to go to court in case of a divorce by either party. Its legally binding and you cant go around it, unlike post-nups.

            These protects the betrayed 100%, betrayer shouldn’t have any problem signing these documents if he is sincere.. If you have these 2 documents its cut and dry. The problem is solved.

            • Why do you need the post-nup if you have the property settlement agreement?

              • because it shows 1000% exactly what was the complete agreement in the case of a divorce. Having a property settlement agreement and a post-nup at the same time completely seals the deal! No one can dance around it, with having only one document (especially a post-nup) sometimes the other party may try to challenge it and that can cost extra lawyers fees, but this way its done and I mean done! If the betrayer wont agree to both, you can let go the postnup and make sure you get the property settlement, since its signed by judge and as soon as divorce is filed, the judge will go by that document and its legally binding. The reason I said get both, if you get both done in one state and move into another state later on, just incase, because every state has different divorce laws, but this way you are covered no matter what state you may move into. Its called double insurance with no loopholes..

              • I love the resource we are to each other. This information is golden. Thanks, nicolette14!

            • Your welcome Jamberry! And another thing, having a “property settlement agreement without dissolution of marriage” protects the betrayed all around, with post-nup it can take months or more to enforce it, but with this property settlement you can enforce it, right after the judge signs it. If something happens and you guys get separated, even if he lives under the same roof as you, and not divorced or filed for divorce yet, you can still enforce everything on that document such as the alimony, child support etc etc immediately, if he doesn’t do one thing that’s on that property settlement, he is in contempt of the court, (unlike the post-nup)he would get his paycheck garnished or even do jail time, that even applies to states that are no-fault or even for states that doesn’t recognize legal separation. Because most cheaters try to use finances to keep the betrayed under their thumbs, try to leave the betrayed financially at his mercy, but with this document the ball is in your court from day one! 🙂

  • 100% agree with everything you say here. Does the idea of a unicorn sound appealing? Not even a little. The absolute fear of a life spent as a detective is enough to make me know it’s over.

    Even though she states that her friend who is divorcing her cheater is having a hard time, that pathway sounds like the safer choice, no matter which way you spin it.

  • Here we go with smoke and mirrors. You wrote a very long letter that put beautiful window dressing on the reality that you were robbed of four(?) years of your life. You will never get them back. Your husband had two(?) years of gaslighting, lying, cheating and has not paid for that in any way. You think he was celibate. How do you know? He just got to a point where clean sheets and a hot meal at the end of the day looked pretty good. Go back and read all the chumps who reconciled only to have another cheating husband in 15 or 20 years. By then they had given their youths for nothing. Don’t count on him being religious. Look at the number of pastors found with their pants around their ankles. If he had integrity he would have always had integrity. He would not have had to borrow it from a church, it would have always been a part of Who he is. I hope your marriage is happy and free of cheating. I truly do wish all the best for you. Just remember the politician truism, “trust, but verify”. Lastly, SHE ended the affair, he didn’t!

    • This “If he had integrity he would have always had integrity.”

      and; “You can’t teach good character.”

      How true…you either got it or you don’t, its that simple!

  • TS, I’m a chump to the core. I do believe that people can change and I hope for your sake that your husband has changed and you have healed. No one can make these decisions but you, no one can decide what they can live with but you. I wish you and your family the very best.

  • Well said, Chris. I have to agree with your response to TS’ letter.

    We all wish her the best that’s for sure. In my case, I can have a business relationship with my STBXH regarding kids and child support, etc., but that’s as far as it can go.

  • I truly hope things work out (we all did on our situations), but it is far too early to tell. My anecdote relates to my former inlaws.
    Former FIL apparently cheated on his wife. Full story has never come out (MIL keeps things close) but he went home to foreign land, was pressured to drink and play around by the brothers who all do that (yes, it was his CHOICE in the end). But he came back an immediately ‘fessed up, he never drinks anymore (always pretended at family gatherings). I was a part of that family for 23 years, and lived with the family for one year while engaged to their son. FIL always brought home flowers, etc, etc.
    Former MIL still cannot trust him. She never let’s him out of her sight. They run all errands together, they do not share a bedroom (and other stuff I think). My kids finally covined them this past year that one grandparent can stay home with the kids so they kids are not dragged out with them on every errand to Home Depot, etc.

    It’s very sad, and I used to tell my exH that as well. Cheating is wrong, but so is 25-30 years of limbo. Both my former ILs deserve to be happy.
    I had a brief discussion with the the inlaws post my- divorce (kids came in before we could finish), and it was clear former MIL is still angry at her husband, as she was shooting angry looks his way.

    Am I still a chump that I feel more sorry for my former father in law than my mother in law? Maybe. I think he truly feels regret (he teared up when talking to me, and he is a Latino male!) and has worked all these years, but his wife cannot let it go. She cannot even trust him to run to Home Depot to pick up something.

    Truth State, I truly wish you well, as I do believe someone can regret these type of actions, but I do think the chance is very slim, and as has been pointed out, in your case with the OW being gone, it is unclear if he truly felt remorse.

    Remorse in my mind is what my former FIL did, __HE__ ‘fessed up, he told details when he did not have to…
    And that is the difference with my situation with their son… My exH did NOT ‘ fess up, and then gaslighted, blameshifted, etc. I still do not know details, and never will.

    Truly, all the best, and tons of luck getting past the trust issues.

    • Fascinating story xyz321. Sounds like your former FIL truly regretted his infidelity and spent his entire life in atonement (probably to be around his children ) because she refused to forgive, learn to be happy and to “live” a full again..IF she had ever had that capacity to begin with!! They were equally dysfunctional, and the life long tension surely had its own detrimental effect on your own spouse. THIS is what a parental life on the Bitter Bus does to children; and is a case in which the former “cheater” should have fled long ago preserving at least HIS sanity.

      • Notyou, yes, it really is sad.
        Former FIL stayed for the family, tried to make it up.
        Former MIL cannot get past it.
        Divorce is a no-no in their culture due to religion, but infidelity is ‘accepted’ culturally.

        And yes, the dysfunction my exH and his sibling were exposed to….
        Do not talk things out, let anger and bitterness fester
        make assumptions re: someone else’s thoughts and behavior, do not confront/discuss
        appearances are what matter
        Lying by omission is ok (cause it’s not really lying, right?)

        Yes, good point by notyou… much better than I could say it.

        Get off the bitter bus, it hurts everyone.
        Do not stay with the family for the family. There could be long term unintended consequences.

        • I think the key word is he “tried” to make it up to her.
          Really, for many people there is no way to ever make up for cruelty of this magnitude .
          Most people find it impossible to ever get past this type of backstabbing. It’s intentional, incredibly sadistic and just downright mean as hell to cheat.
          It reveals one’ s true character and lack of empathy and honor.

          • No, Arnold. Not all all cheaters are sadistic sociopaths or narcissists. Sounds to me like this man went to his home country alone and was probably young enough and still impressionable enough to give in to peer pressure….for which he was remorseful for the rest of his life.

            He came home and voluntarily confessed. Truly mean people don’t confess, ask forgiveness, and then spend a lifetime trying to atone.

            If someone can’t forgive a humble person who owns his or her one time “shit” and then spends a lifetime making restitution, then the person who can’t forgive has something broken in him or her, has serious pre-existing trust issues not necessarily originating with the “cheater,” would find something else to be miserable about if it weren’t this particular offense, and is likely the REAL narcissist in the equation.

            • I disagree. You are candy coating his offense. Many therapists consider it the most severe form of emotional abuse.
              I seriously doubt this guy regrets his escapade.

            • The vast majority of people who are violated like this do not forgive and get over it. Stars say less than 30% remain together and 7% of those folks report having a happy relationship.
              That means about 3.1% “recover”.
              Are the 96.9% all narcissists?

              • Arnold,

                Disagree all you like.

                You have posted that you have had more than one marriage destroyed by a wife’s cheating.

                Has it dawned yet that the common denominator in these separate situations is YOU?

                Just sayin’…..

            • The key words, “humble, truly remorseful” the rest don’t deserve forgiveness, but the thing is how do you really know they are truly remorseful? if they had no problem betraying before, what makes any of us think they wont do it again?

              I read this book “How can I forgive you?” by Janis Abrahms Spring, Ph.D. and she says you don’t have to forgive and trying to forgive someone and giving forgiveness to someone who doesn’t deserve it, actually hurts the betrayed more..

              wow, I thought we had each others back here as chumps…that’s kind of mean and abusive reply to Arnold isn’t it?… notyou…

              • nicolette,

                You prompted a response from me and here it is. It is going to be long; and if that is a problem, then don’t read it. But I’m going to post it anyway because if there is one person who does come along, read it and benefit from it, then I’ll have done some good. Oh, and if you are not a spiritual person, be warned some or all may be offensive to you.

                First, I actually READ the original posts (by xyz321 above) that prompted Arnold to chime in about my responses to her.

                The man (who cheated once in his youth for what appeared to have been basically a one night stand) was described as having spent the next 20 or 30 years (maybe more) or so being remorseful and trying to make amends….even though the wife continued indefinitely to humiliate him and deny him sex.

                xyz321 also explained how her MIL’s dysfunctional behavior basically warped the children…including xyz’s own cheating husband (their son). Apparently her MIL allowed bitterness toward the FIL to fester for years and years without ever finding peace. This is just wrong IMO. She should have divorced the man.

                Fact remains that there are evil, miserable, destructive people who never cheat in the sexual or romantic sense but who still can make a marriage such a living hell that I can fully understand how their spouses might be sorely tempted to cheat. I am not condoning cheating; I think if you are trapped with a person who manages to make life hell, then you need to get OUT. But some people do stay in horrible marriages in order to try and be a buffer for the children. I can’t second guess them. It is their value system and their decisions. But I have dealt professionally with majorly messed up kids from just such situations.

                Further, in a way these perpetually miserable people ARE “cheating” They are emotionally unavailable to the spouse and to the children. They are passive-aggressive, sneaky, controlling, negative, and they pretty generally wither their relationships.

                There are people in this world who seem to enjoy being miserable. They believe they are martyrs, that the whole flipping world revolves around their misery. Bottom line? They are a type of narcissist and a dangerous one.

                My sentiments toward them are, “Get down off that cross; we need the wood.”

                Some people on here don’t seem to realize that I have walked my mile in your shoes. My X destroyed a 33 year marriage with his one time affair, primarily because he wouldn’t own his shit and express remorse. I can deal with a lot of things but not a delusional liar. Oh he has since come to his senses, but too much water had gone under the bridge by the time he did. He lost out big time. It is called consequences. But I had to forgive him anyway and move on. Not for his sake but for my sake. I was resolute about not staying up on that proverbial “cross” forever.

                With respect to “Forgiveness”? How about seeing what forgiveness is NOT… because I am apparently not the only one who disagrees with Ms. Spring.

                10 Things Forgiveness Is NOT

                What happens when you’re not the one who sinned but you were the one who was sinned against? What do you do then? In this week’s sermon on Luke 11:1-4, Pastor Mark preaches on the Lord’s prayer, and specifically on how Jesus addresses sin that is committed against us, and he explains how there are two options: forgiveness or bitterness, and the former is the one biblical option. Below is an excerpt from that sermon where Pastor Mark lays out ten things forgiveness is not. You can read and download the full transcript here.

                And I say this … with a tremendous sense of love and empathy and compassion and hope for you. But you need to forgive that person or those people who have wounded you most deeply. … Because I think many Christians do not rightly ascertain what forgiveness truly is and is not, and so I’ve got a long list for you:

                1. Forgiveness is not approving or diminishing sin.
                It’s not saying, “Well, it’s okay. Nobody’s perfect. Everybody makes a mistake,” or, “It’s not a really big deal. Worse things have happened.” No, it is a big deal! It’s so big that God died for it. So don’t dishonor the cross of Jesus and approve or diminish something that required the death of God.
                2. Forgiveness is not enabling sin.
                I see this frequently with wives who misunderstand submission. “Okay, the husband is the head of the home, he’s supposed to lovingly lead.” Great. He’s supposed to lovingly lead by following Jesus, and if he’s not following Jesus, the wife shouldn’t follow him because her ultimate allegiance is to Jesus and the first job description of the wife is to be a helper. And sometimes husbands are foolish. They make stupid decisions financially. They make reckless decisions spiritually. They buck godly, spiritual authority trying to correct them. And in the name of forgiving them, the wife comes along and enables him. She just is complicit in his rebellion and sin and folly. You can forgive someone without enabling their sin, participating in it. You can have a friend or a family member who is an addict, for example, you can forgive them without enabling them. Forgiving is not enabling. Forgiving can even include confronting and rebuking, and sometimes it must.
                3. Forgiveness is not denying a wrongdoing.
                “It didn’t happen. I forgot all about it. I just moved on. I pretend like it never happened. I didn’t let it affect me.” That’s not true. It’s not the denial of a wrongdoing. Forgiveness is not denying that you were sinned against.
                4. Forgiveness is not waiting for an apology.
                Some of you say, “I will forgive them as soon as they say they’re sorry.” I hate to break it to you, some people are never going to apologize. Some people are going to continue in their destructive, rebellious, and foolish life course. Some people will be stubborn and religious and self-righteous and they’ll never confess or admit. Some people will move away, you’ll never speak with them again. Some people will die before they articulate repentance. And so you forgive them before they apologize.
                5. Forgiveness is not forgetting.
                This is one of the great Christian myths. “Well, we forgive and forget.” No we don’t! You can’t forgive and forget. You can’t. You were raped, molested, abandoned, beaten, abused, cheated on, betrayed, lied about. “Forget it”? You can’t forget it. It’s impossible. And some will appeal to Bible books like Jeremiah, where it says that God will remember their sin no more. And they’ll say, “See? God doesn’t remember our sin.” And let me tell you this, God does remember our sin. He’s omniscient, he’s all knowing, he forgets nothing, he knows everything. Right? It’s not like God’s in heaven going, “I forgot a whole bunch of things.” He would cease to be God. What does it mean that God remembers their sin no more? It means that God chooses not to interact with us based upon what we’ve done, but instead interact with us based upon what Christ has done. It means that he chooses to see us as new creations and he chooses to work for a new future. It means that at the forefront of God’s thinking toward us is not all of the sin that we’ve committed, but all the work that Jesus has done for us and in us and, by grace, will do through us. But it’s not like God has no idea what you did yesterday. He forgets nothing. And I see this sometimes in counseling, where one person will sin against another person and they’ll say, “Well, you shouldn’t even remember that.” It’s impossible. I had one situation recently. I looked at the husband, I was like, “You slept with her best friend. She’s not going to forget that ever. Now, she can choose not to interact with you in light of that. She could choose to forgive you. She can choose to not be stewing on that every minute of every day and seething. But she’s never going to forget that this happened because it was cataclysmic.”
                6. Forgiveness is not ceasing to feel the pain.
                Just because it hurts doesn’t mean you’ve failed to forgive. It still hurts. Some of you have had horrible things done to you. Horrible things done to you. With all sincerity, I’m sorry. And it would be so cruel to say, “Well, if you’ve forgiven them, it shouldn’t hurt anymore.” Well, sure it does. See, we don’t hear in the Bible that all the tears are wiped from our eyes until the resurrection of the dead in the final unveiling of the kingdom. It means people are crying all the way to Jesus. It still hurts. It’s okay for it to bother you.
                7. Forgiveness is not a onetime event.
                It’s not like you forgive someone and it’s over. Sometimes, they keep sinning, so you need to keep forgiving. Or sometimes you forgive them, but there are emotional moments where it feels fresh. There’s one woman that I know, her husband committed adultery on her. And he earnestly repented and she honestly forgave him and they have sought biblical counseling and they have worked it out. But she confesses there are times, sometimes even at church, where her husband is doing nothing wrong, and it’s been some years, that she’ll just see him talking to another woman, maybe even a mutual friend, and just the sight of him with another woman causes her to feel all of that betrayal again and it rises up in her soul. And she needs to forgive him again for what he did in the past. Sometimes forgiveness is something that is regularly required.
                8. Forgiveness is not neglecting justice.
                You can forgive someone and call the police and have them arrested. You can forgive someone and testify against them in court. Romans 13 says to obey the government. They’d say, “I thought you forgave me.” “I do. I forgive you. But you’ve committed a crime. You’ve broken the law. And so these are the consequences.” If you’ve stolen, you need to pay it back. If you’ve lied, you need to go tell the truth. It’s not a neglecting of justice. You can forgive and pursue justice.
                9. Forgiveness is not trusting.
                I hear this all the time. “My dad molested me. He said he’s sorry. Can he babysit my kids?” Answer? No way. No way. “My boyfriend or husband hit me, but he said he’s sorry. Should we just pick up where we left off and keep going?” No way. See, trust is built slowly. It’s lost quickly. Trust is built slowly. Those of you, now hear this, I’m your pastor who loves you. Let me put an airbag around this. For those of you who are naive and gullible, trust is to be given slowly, lost quickly. Some of you give your whole heart away and never take it back. Give it away slowly and if someone sins against you grievously, trust has to be rebuilt over time. It’s not trusting. It’s not trusting. Some people can be trusted in time with fruit and keeping with repentance after they’ve gotten help. Other people should never be trusted because the risk is simply too high. This is particularly true with children who are vulnerable. We need to be exceedingly careful with who we trust.
                10. Forgiveness is not reconciliation.
                It’s not that you’re friends and you hang out and everything’s okay. You’re close and it’s back to normal. Not at all. It takes one person to repent. It takes one person to forgive. It takes two people to reconcile. That’s why Paul says, “In as much as it is possible with you, seek to live at peace with all men.” Here’s what he’s saying. Do your best, but you can’t be at peace with everyone. But if it doesn’t work out, make sure it’s their fault, not yours. Right? It takes two people to reconcile. This is where I’ve got a friend right now who’s in the midst of a divorce because she is acknowledging her own sin, her husband really is the problem, and she’s saying, “I love you, I forgive you. If you’ll meet with counselors, if you’ll submit to the authority in our church, I extend a hand to you and we can reconcile and save this marriage.” He’s saying, “No. I don’t think I did anything wrong. I don’t think I need to listen to the pastor. I don’t need to meet with a counselor. I don’t need to listen to anyone. It’s your fault.” There will be no reconciliation. Not with a man like that. Repentance takes one, forgiveness takes one, reconciliation takes two.

                Forgiveness and Justice
                Now, in hearing this, some of you, like me, will have strong sense of justice. You say, “But if I forgive them, where’s the justice?” Justice comes, friends, ultimately from Jesus. Either they will come to faith in Christ and you will get your justice at the cross, where Jesus’ blood was shed in their place for their sins as Jesus’ blood was shed in your place for your sin, because Lord knows we’ve hurt people too, or, if they remain unrepentant, your forgiving them does not mean that they are ultimately forgiven. They’ve sinned against you and God, and as you forgive them, you’re leaving them to Jesus. And if they live in a state of unrepentance and they don’t come to Jesus for forgiveness, they will stand before Jesus in the end. And they will be judged and sentenced to the conscious eternal torments of hell to suffer forever for all of their sin, paying their eternal debt to the living God. So, in forgiving someone, we are not neglecting justice. We’re leaving it to the perfect judge to enact perfect justice, either at the cross or in hell, but either way justice will be served. And we forgive in light of that.

                I have seen this before in various places but this excerpt came from:

              • Post Script:

                The Serenity Prayer Path

                God grant me the serenity
                to accept the things I cannot change;
                courage to change the things I can;
                and wisdom to know the difference.
                Living one day at a time;
                Enjoying one moment at a time;
                Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
                Taking, as He did, this sinful world
                as it is, not as I would have it;
                Trusting that He will make all things right
                if I surrender to His Will;
                That I may be reasonably happy in this life
                and supremely happy with Him
                Forever in the next.
                –Reinhold Niebuhr

                Truth State whose letter prompted the “Unicorns Do Exist” thread has also discovered this. We CHOOSE to be content in this life, because if we live long enough we will encounter all kinds of tragedies and hardships–some of which are even worse than an adulterous spouse .

              • Bravo notyou. Well stated! Especially the 10 things that forgiveness is NOT. Especially #9 (forgiveness is NOT trusting) and #10 (forgiveness is NOT reconciliation). During our separation, especially the last two years, my husband would frequently say that I had not forgiven him b/c if I had I would take him back. Not true!!! I had forgiven him. It just took two years of him really working on himself and showing that faithfully to me for me to eventually trust him. It still took some faith, and it took faith in God who gently gave me the grace to let him (my husband) back in to that place in my heart. Since, I have never felt more blessed. I have not forgotten anything, and neither has my husband. But he has earned my respect (and continues to) through his daily actions and devotion to our family. Could I ever be chumped again? Sure. It’s completely possible. But if it does I will have no regrets in having given our family this chance to be together.

              • Notyou,

                I guess I have and no it wasn’t a problem that it was long, however when it comes to religion, I prefer not to dictate people with my OWN beliefs or my lack of beliefs, because as I am sure you know, that not everyone is a Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, agnostic or atheist, so who am I OR you to say to anyone what road to take? according to one certain religion? Some people need that belief to get through their tough times and some don’t need it, each of their own you know… This blog is not about god, nor religion, it’s about why we all are here…and it clearly states this blog is “Leave a Cheater, Get a Life”…We all are here because we all have been cheated on and that hurts, it really does as you, yourself know it firsthand..if you believe in forgiveness and let after life take care of the cheating loser then hey that’s your choice, my choice is not to forgive or forget and just walk away from that person and I am very comfortable with that decision and I sleep well at night and just because others don’t forgive like you can, because of your beliefs, doesn’t make me or them narcissist automatically. Please think about that for a second… You are making a judgment without knowing anyone in person here and that makes you judgmental.

                The man who cheated once in his youth for “what appeared” to have been maybe should’ve left that relationship 20-30 years earlier, instead of being humiliated and being denied sex, so he says…. That was his and only his choice to stay, so why blame the wife for not giving it up after he cheated on her. Some people are hurt so deeply and they sometimes get stuck in the “should I stay or should I go”/ “indecisiveness” and before you know it bam!! couple of decades just gone, puff..he lived in a relationship ambivalence, it was his decision to stay and yes you are absolutely right in how some people are just miserable beings and without cheating they make others’ lives living hell, but if it’s that bad and you are tempted to cheat, simply just.get.out..dont cheat then justify “but she was soooooo mean to me” then there are others who are miserable and cheat, oh yes I know many who loves being miserable, but you know what I do? I walk away from those people now, instead of putting up with their toxic shit, the problem is solved.

                We all know why you are here. This “primarily because he wouldn’t own his shit and express remorse. I can deal with a lot of things but not a delusional liar. Oh he has since come to his senses, but too much water had gone under the bridge by the time he did. He lost out big time. It is called consequences.” Goes for most of us, especially with me, but still, I will not forgive and not forgiving what has been done to me really doesn’t make a bit of difference in my life, good or bad, I am living my life so I should know better than anyone.. I….simply…refuse….to…forgive….and if that makes others think about me that I may have some kind of hidden problem then whatever, I really don’t give a shit. if someone took your child raped, tortured and killed your child would you forgive him? Because you believe he will stand in front of Jesus and pay for it after life? NOT ME! NEVER! It’s MY decision not to forgive and how that makes me a narcissist or I may have some personal issues? NO its none of that, it’s just who I am and what I believe it to be right, for me, and I should forgive that murderer because it’s a right thing to do according to???someone else’s beliefs????…

                I tend to look at things more logically instead of from religious/ spiritual perspective, it makes many things very clear to me without clouding the mind with spiritual beliefs but then again that’s what works for me, it may not work for you obviously or others. You lay out “10 things forgiveness is not” from a pastor with religious beliefs and like I said earlier those doesn’t apply to everyone, may apply to you,, but not to everyone..I had seen blogs plastered all over, nothing but quotes from Bible over and over and some were infidelity blogs, what would’ve happened if the Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, whatever post quotes from their holly books daily too? What will happen instead of giving each other support we come here for and post prayers here, from every religion there is? I am sure you understand what I am getting at here…

                Your response to Arnold was mean and very abusive, especially in a blog like this. Just because he was cheated on twice with two different wives doesn’t mean shit! You Implied maybe it was his fault that he was cheated on twice and because he was the common denominator that must be his fault, that’s down right cruel and very abusive and then you reply to me and talk about forgiveness according to religious beliefs, just because that’s what you believe…. He didn’t push either of them to cheat, more than likely he had a bad picker and picked the wrong mates, it’s as simple as that….

              • I would also add that CL was cheated on twice (4 times?) and are you saying she was a common denominator as well? Get the fuck off the blog if you don’t like it and leave us the hell alone.

              • exactly heartbroken! just because someone was cheated on more than once and with different people doesn’t mean that, it was their fault they got cheated on! They just had a bad picker that’s all and it was very cruel thing to say to Arnold, that since he was the common denominator with 2 different cheating wives its somehow maybe he made them cheat on him. WRONG!

              • Thank you, Truth State. Whether one is particularly spiritual or not, learning to live with life’s stumbling blocks and tragedies without allowing them keep one consumed indefinitely with anger and self-pity is the hallmark of mature behavior.

                You chose to perceive my “common denominator” comment as “abusive” which says more about you than it does about me. It was an open ended challenge for him to think about his own role in his own distress from all angles rather than continue to blame those two women for his current distress. It could have been perceived as, “fix your picker” and do your own, “me work” so that you do not get into another bad situation. Depends on the state of mind and perceptual biases of the reader now doesn’t it?

                As for the situation with xyz’s inlaws? Both chose to live as they did. Sad for them, they probably wasted their lives locked in a never ending power struggle… But it was much sadder for their children, who were essentially trapped in that hell until they were able to depart that home…unfortunately dragging more baggage with them than Delta Airlines. They damaged their children because they could not get past their own pain far enough to see the collateral wreckage they were causing. THAT is a tragedy.

                As for abuse of children? I’ve dealt with such situations as..the eleven year old girl who was found to have gonorrhea of the throat because her drug addicted mother had been pimping her out to do oral sex on grown men as a means of supporting the mother’s addiction, and….the 14 year old girl who had interstitial cystitis because her own father had been raping her since she was about 9 years of age. And these young girls had to find a way to let go of the pain of the past (without forgetting–because that is impossible) in order to stop being self-destructive. The fact is none of us can create a better past. It is what it is. But we have every opportunity to make a better future.

                You chose to believe that I was touting Christianity. Actually, those who practice with “fidelity” the core precepts of any of the specific belief systems that you mentioned have many more commonalities than differences. They share these commonalities with people who are secular but who also practice with “fidelity” the so called, “Golden Rule.” Right is right and wrong is wrong regardless of the labels we identify them with.

                Your assumption that because I happen to be a person of faith, that I am somehow handicapped or challenged inmy ability to be logical or a realist is just that–an assumption. To say that all people who have ever cheated are character disordered and cannot ever change (a common theme on this forum) is also an assumption.

                In reality, the behavior and the character of the cheater is totally irrelevant to the recovery of the injured partner. As irrelevant as the cause of a broken leg is to the medical process of setting the leg and making positive strides toward recovery. How much good would it do for the patient, medical staff and friends to sit around and cluster vent about what a horrible person the driver of the car that caused an accident was and all the while postponing necessary immediate and long term medical treatment? I can’t see any value in proceeding that way because it wouldn’t be logical…now would it?

                “Having someone’s back” as you put it is not repetitively telling people that they are “entitled” to their anger. It goes without saying that they are entitled to their anger! The real question is: Now how are you going to appropriately use that anger as an interim (as in short-term) tool as a launch pad for making a better person of yourself and creating a better life? This is called being “solution focused.” And it is..ah…logical.

                We can sit around until hell freezes over moaning about how Johnny didn’t take out the garbage, OR we can get up off our ass, take out the garbage ourselves and get the job done. (And that includes our own internal garbage…which we ALL have whether we acknowledge it or not.) We cannot control or change Johnny’s behavior. We can only control and change our own. And in order to do that we must shift the intensity of focus from Johnny’s transgressions to our own positive and beneficial plan of action.

            • Notyou,

              Yes I perceived your “common denominator” comment as abusive. When you pose an open ended challenge, a question, especially on a blog about cheating, you are entering in a dangerous territory, was there a need for that or wouldn’t be better if you were clear on this question, followed with maybe you need to “fix your picker” ? so why are you posing a question that everyone may take it in a different way as you even say, “Depends on the state of mind and perceptual biases of the reader now doesn’t it?” See…

              As far as abuse of children (which is despicable/horrible by the way) you said “And these young girls had to find a way to let go of the pain of the past (without forgetting–because that is impossible) in order to stop being self-destructive.” Now,, did these girls had to “forgive” these monsters to let go of their pain? In my opinion no, they don’t have to forgive these human wastes to let go of their pain, and forgiveness is unnecessary and undeserved, you don’t have to forgive to find peace, you can accomplish that with “accepting” what has happened, because you can’t change the past and once you accept what happened then you can go forward.

              How do you expect me to believe other than that you were touting Christianity, when you post “10 things forgiveness is not” from a pastor and this post is very heavily influenced with Christian beliefs? Then right after that you post a “prayer”…so what does that tell me? Whether you are a Christian, from any other religion or atheist there is exactly one golden rule to follow, and we all know what’s right or wrong, which requires a “good character” to do the right thing. I had seen many religious people who preach all day, talk the talk but never do the walk and use religion to abuse others, and they are the first ones to steal, lie, cheat and more, so being religious or not has nothing to do with anything, it all comes down to you either have a “good character” or you don’t, it’s that simple..

              If being a person of faith gets you through the day, well do it, no one is telling you not to, but here you are, telling or trying to convince people why forgiveness is a must, with a post that is influenced heavily with religious beliefs. Like I said, everyone is different, you believe he will answer to his crimes after life and you forgave him, I believe my ex can go fuck off now and crawl back under a rock he came from and stay the fuck out of my space. I am not going to sit here and say “well geez, I better forgive him now and he can pay for his sins after life”

              As far as what you said “the behavior and the character of the cheater is totally irrelevant to the recovery of the injured partner.” Has some truth in it, however talking about it helps people to recover faster, when they can talk about it, being supported by others who went through the same ordeal and they feel understood which helps and speeds their healing/recovery process and what to expect. We are talking about apples and oranges here, regardless, let’s talk about that broken leg, while they can get their leg fixed they can still talk about it and ask others who had their leg broken before to, how long did it take to heal? Did it itch when you had the cast on? When did your cast came off? How did it feel once they took the cast off? Were you able to walk like before it was broken? You see what I am saying?

              Yes in my opinion they are entitled to their anger, they were chumped, what else are they supposed to do? You can feel anger and still work through it while creating a better life and there is nothing wrong with that while being logical.

              Yes we can only control ourselves and no one else, we all know that, yeah we may not control Johnny’s shitty behavior BUT while we are bitching about Johnny, we can take the garbage out ourselves and put it on a curb, but DAMN!!!!!, it feels too good to bitch about what a fucktard piece of shit Johnny is until the hell freezes over!!

              • nicolette,
                You have paraphrased some of the very things I said to use as rebuttal (???)…suggesting that you either have not have read my posts carefully or you are simply interested in being combative….perhaps both. It’s a waste of time and energy that (for me at least) can be spent more productively elsewhere.

            • This is my 3rd paragraph, how it should’ve been , my last reply to notyou, you cant edit once you click post.

              How do you expect me to believe other than that you were touting Christianity, when you post “10 things forgiveness is not” from a pastor and this post is very heavily influenced with Christian beliefs? Then right after that you post a “prayer”…so what does that tell me? Whether you are a Christian, from any other religion or atheist there is exactly one golden rule to follow, and we all know what’s right or wrong, which requires a “good character” to do the right thing. I had seen many religious people who preach all day, talk the talk but never do the walk and use religion to abuse others, and they are the first ones to steal, lie, cheat and more, I also have seen people who are very religious and people who are atheists, but they all are both upstanding, very good people with morals, with integrity and much more, so being religious or not has nothing to do with anything, it all comes down to you either have a “good character” or you don’t, it’s that simple..

  • TS:
    The story you have told here would have – at one time – been the dream I desperately hoped for – that my cheating ex would wake up and realize what he was losing and change back into the man who I thought he was – loving, dependable, honest, faithful. But now – almost four years since my own D-day and one year out from divorce – I don’t care if he showed up naked with diamonds sitting on a horse to carry me away. Without trust, there is no hope. Without truth, there is no honor and without honoring your partner, there is no marriage built on anything but unicorn sand.

    Your timeline is startling – you made your reconciliation sound like it had come off of a long term (as in 20 years or more) marriage- but when I did the math -you have ten year marriage – the first 6 which had three people in it – you, your husband and his long term affair partner. So you have had a short marriage (10 years) in which you have quite likely NEVER been either alone in your relationship with your husband or in a trusting, untainted one. That’s not a marriage, TS. That’s some sort of hellish Chump boot camp.

    The four years after you finally blew the marriage whistle – when you talked about celibacy – were you referencing only you? Because – I hate to tell you – you are snorting powdered unicorn horn if you think that he was celibate for the time you were apart. Of COURSE he’ll say he was…..but would a guy who had essentially two wives for the first 6 years of your marriage REALLY be able to go four years without sampling some other woman’s offering? Think about it! I’m all for faith and prayer (believe me – I did a lot of that myself over the last several years) but God gave us common sense and a strong sixth sense of knowing when something just doesn’t smell right. Do you honestly believe that he was celibate for four years? And now – once you told him “your way or the highway” and he got scared and danced for you until you took him back – do you really feel that you could let every “police” tactic you have used in your marriage go and truly just give yourself over to him with total trust? God gave you a good brain as well as a good heart, TS – please make sure you are using both to the fullest.

    I hope yours is a story that truly defies the odds of reconciliation. There is a lot of lost innocence and cynicism on this blog site – myself included. There are many days I’ve wished I could go back to the dreamy, romantic, Hollywood ending mindset I had for over 40 years (including the 25 years of my marriage.) But as much as I long for that kind of cocoon of fantasy – I’d never take it back if it meant going through the agony that is being chumped so completely by someone you trusted at a level unknown outside your own parents (if that.) No – better to be smart than deluded.

    So my only advise outside of best hopes and wishes that you might not be a variation on permanent chumpiness is – keep your eyes open, your sixth sense on high and use your brain even when your heart tells you “he’s changed.” The old saying about leopards is still true – they don’t change their spots. More often – they use them to hide further in the underbrush while they look for their next target.

  • TS seems to have her eyes open and also seems willing to believe in him while still holding him accountable for his behavior. Her cheater also seems to have met some or all of her expectations. Apparently she feels that his words and actions are matching up. Maybe those four years of “limbo” allowed both parties a time for clarity and a time for her children to see their parents work through some deal-breaking issues. If/When more cheating occurs, she’ll know what to do AND know she worked on herself, still maintained a quality life with her kids, had boundaries and avoided an outright pick-me dance, even though she owed her cheater nothing. I think her antenna is definitely up, and she has Chump Nation as a resource going forward.

  • ok I have 3 stories here to tell. One is not about a cheating spouse but an abusive one whos wife (not me) went the whole 9 yards and had papers for the divorce ready for him to sign when he suddenly did a 360 and has been working on himself and trying very hard to be a good H. 2 tennage children. She is pleased but wary.
    2. Spouse who has cheated not once but 2x’s (not mine again) wife kicked him out. They went to counseling he is trying hard and she admits to being some of the cause. 3 children ( young girls) who adore their father 2 with serious medical issues and big medical expenses. She has stayed because of this.
    3. Me: all of a sudden OW has dumped H and he is so grief stricken and trying to make me feel bad for him. I am not biting and it has been a horrible month. I do not believe in unicorns I believe we do what we feel we must.

    • I don’t think anyone but the cheater can be part of the “cause” of cheating. There are ALWAYS other options besides cheating.

      • as much as I agree the woman in question withheld sex from her H because she was angry and a little witchy and felt she had left in vunerable to a co-workers advances.

        • Sorry, still respectfully but vehemently disagree. I don’t care if she withheld sex, food or even oxygen . . . the *other* option to cheating still exists: LEAVE THE MARRIAGE HONESTLY AND GET A DIVORCE.

          She may or may not have contributed to the poor circumstances, but that does not equate to contributing to the “cause” of his decision to lie and cheat in response to those circumstances. There is only one cause for that:

          A person is either honest or is someone who gives himself circumstantial permission to be dishonest.

          • Isn’t that one of the cheaters usual excuses? Not enough sex, my spouse is mean. Work on your marriage, you made a vow, or divorce your spouse. Don’t cheat!

            • Yes, that is one of the top excuses for cheating. “They weren’t giving me enough/quality sex.”

              Usually totally untrue. In any case, still not an excuse, anyhow.

            • Sorry to say ,
              I have known men who have cheated or were cheating.
              When I asked them why, they respond with the same answer.
              It’s the path of least resistance, the best of both worlds !
              The main reason they NEVER want a divorce is due to the financial devastation they would suffer if they did ask for a divorce. They don’t want to be the “bad guy”… and they SURE DON’T want to split assets.
              They figure they will never get caught … it’s a calculated risk.
              Some feel as tho , IF they ever got caught , they could “make it up to the wife”, she will be pissed , but she will take me back.
              So many times that has proved to be true.

          • sorry Janet but I completely agree with chumppalla. Those are nothing but excuses and more excuses…

        • Stupid to withhold sex (talk about punishing herself) but maybe he could have talked to her about it? Told her that they needed counselling, asked for a divorce? Loads of options there besides cheating.

          • Yep, loads of other options. But those don’t provide cake. Ergo . . . cake it is, slathered with a thick frosting of blame-sharing. Yum.

    • Wait a sec on #2. The wife ‘admitted’ to being some of the cause of his cheating? What did she do? Get pissed when he left his socks on the floor? Not blow him the second he walked through the door? I’m sorry, but that is utter bullocks.

      • no she withheld sex to be mean and spiteful although I agree with Nord about looking for other options. It’s not my marriage so don’t know the dynamics always more under the surface.

        • And you will never get the true dynamics, Janet.
          There is a decent chance that if the wife stopped desiring sex, it was with good reason.
          After all , by definition, she was married to a person of low integrity, poor communication skills, poor problem solving abilities and a lack of empathy. Just by virtue of having cheated, her husband demonstrated this is the type of person he is.

    • “…she admits to being some of the cause.” That there breaks my heart.

      It is impossible to be even partially responsible for actions that you have no knowledge of. It does not make sense to blame anyone but the people who made the decision to participate.

  • Truth State, I really want to be happy for you but I worry that you devoted too much of yourself to your spouse, as so many of us have. The problem is that you have had to take the word of someone who has proven himself capable of lying to you and cheating on you. Trust given to someone who has already demonstrated a profound lack of trustworthiness is terribly risky. And how does one verify everything?

    Chris, spot on.

  • TS, I really admire your selflessness. That is not said with any irony or sarcasm but I genuinely do.

    Somewhere deep down inside of me, I knew as soon as I found out that my H had cheated on me that I would NEVER be able to have sex with him again. I could not ever be intimate again, share my body that had given us both two children with someone who had betrayed me so fundamentally. I tried to reconcile, went to counselling but partly because I wanted to really see if he were truly sorry, or if he was just going through the motions.

    I’d love to believe in unicorns but I’ve yet to see any proof they exist. I have a number of friends who stay with spouses who have cheated but their marriages are simply vehicles in which to raise children. They aren’t really loving partners, they are co-habiting for convenience or because they think the alternative is too awful to contemplate.

    There are so many red flags in your letter for me, but I don’t want to rain on your parade, so I will wish you the best.

    • I’d say you are pretty normal, English.
      People with decent self esteem do not tolerate this shit.
      You let someone e treat you like shit and then go back to him/her and you have, forever denatured the balance of power in a relationship with the cheater, forever, looking at you with disrespect and contempt.

  • I wish you all the best. I know GOD can heal all things from physical illnesses, drug addictions to whore mongers. Just look at Gomer!
    I know of one man who after many years of cheating on his wife repented and is now providing care for his extremely ill wife. I feel sorry for her because what she hoped for has happened but at what cost. They are unable to take those long walks together or enjoy some of the simple things couples do together. She is reallllly pissed!

    He on the other hand is wracked with guilt, remorse or perhaps the real fear of going to hell. Cheating may have been fun at one time but his health has also gone down the tubes.

    I forgive my stbx and after more than 2 years of fake recovery not including more years of separation I can’t go back to that. The memories of his behavior are too painful and to be honest if I were in the market for a mate, I wouldn’t date a guy who had displayed such despicable behavior to his wife. My kids are older and I was a single parent for their highschool and college years so now that I am an empty nester, I’m really not interested in caring for a mean/grumpy/aging old fart.

    During his escapades and our separation I had to continue to live and be there for my kids, with one of the upsides being I’m more self sufficient. He effectively killed my affection for him so that the good times are just faded memories. We would literally be starting from zero. When I look at him its like being with a familiar stranger, a stranger with annoying faults and habits and just not that attractive to me any more. You can kill love.

    Now he wants to reconcile, I want to be free. Even after repentance and forgiveness there are scars and consequences.

    • I also want to add the aging old cheater and his wife are doing better as time continues. They both are in their seventies…
      I’ve also heard that after five years of having serious marital issues couples do get past their problems and have more solid marriages. People do reconcile.

      • I think that happy couples post cheating are a fantasy.
        I could never look at myself in the mirror knowing I took
        This kind of abuse Nd stayed with my abuser.

  • Chris, nice work. The last few paragraphs are poignant for me.

    TS, it is about trust. Without it there is no relationship, let alone a marriage.

    While my STBX and I were dating, she cheated on me. She called to reveal it the night before I took the bar exam. Nice, right? Needless to say, I was furious and I dumped her in no uncertain terms. For the next week, she called me filled with remorse. I decide to give her a second chance. After all, she called and confessed the day after it happened and was professing to change. I laid down new boundaries and some conditions as definite deal breakers if not met. She did it all over a prolonged period. As I write this, I realize how ridiculous it all seems now.

    We married. Seven years after the first instance of cheating, I find out she contacted an old flame. I demanded some answers; she said it was nothing more than just a phone call. She ended it or so I thought. I did not make ultimatums or police the marriage much at all.

    I initiated separation and divorce because she ended up breaking some of those deals we made ten years ago (not cheating). They were broken for a long time before I finally had enough bullshit. After the separation, I found out she never ended the contact with old schmoopie flame and that it was still going on. After some heated confrontations about it, she admitted to some, and then recanted after I went public with it all. She’s never admitted to it being physical.

    It’s never been about reconciliation for me. It’s because there is no trust. More importantly, I lost trust in myself. I KNEW she was untrustworthy. She was telling me exactly who she was then. I gave her (and the relation) a second chance. I didn’t trust myself then to move on and count it a lesson already learned. MY STBX doesn’t come to me now and ask to reconcile because she knows there are no THIRD chances.

    So, I look at it as not trusting myself then. Now, I trust myself to say I can do this alone and I will because I refuse to look over my shoulder. When I think of the ten years I spent with STBX, I wonder if she was cheating the WHOLE time. It doesn’t matter because she has proven herself to be a liar and I will never know the whole story. Who the hell wants that?

    At some point, she had to lie to herself, and me, and tell herself that she deserved to be with someone else. She felt entitled because our marriage sucked for whatever reason she came up with at the time. Why wouldn’t I believe that she would do it again when times are difficult?

    The morning I said ” I want a divorce” was the morning I began to trust myself again. I do deserve better.

    Take it for what it’s worth. Marriage isn’t always hard; but it is if you have to overcome infidelity.

  • TS I hope for your sake Chump Lady (or Chump Dude as it might temporarily be) is still around for you should you need it in the future. It does hurt even more when you find out that despite having driven a wooden stake through the heart of affair #1, he’s decided to initiate affair #2 – all too easy now that he knows the ropes. It’s pretty simple to take advantage of a trusting idiot who really, really doesn’t want to be sucked back into that horrible slimy pit of self despair.

  • Would anyone here take their spouses back if their repentance was sincere and you could be assured they would not cheat?

    • How would we ever be assured? His weanie would automatically fall off if he cheated again? Life is a risk, but cheaters can be such a big, bad risk. That being said, I do wish TS all the best. Would love to hear her reformed cheater respond to this forum and go through Chum Nation’s gauntlet of skepticism, or is it cynicism? Whatever….

      “A Skeptic thinks the glass might be half full, a cynic is pretty sure the glass is only half full, and a pessimist knows that the glass, even if it is half full, contains poison anyway.”

      • See the light
        That’s what I was thinking. . .how can we ever be assured? “His Winnie would automatically fall off if he cheated again?” I can’t stop laughing. If only that we’re true.

      • “How would we ever be assured? His weanie would automatically fall off if he cheated again?”

        If that were the case, I would take mine back. It would be so satisfying to watch his weanie fall off and know he’d never be able to cheat on anyone again! How fun!

      • Yeah passive aggressive coward sums up my cheater too. Anyone that responds to problems in a marriage by cheating is a coward. Man up and ask for a divorce if you’re that unhappy, or communicate your unhappiness and seek counseling, or have realistic expectations of life. Any honest response that doesn’t involve cheating.

        As it turns out, I was married to a disordered wingnut who needed me to pay “150% attention to him, 900% of the time” (to borrow another ex-chump’s language from a different post). I would never go back, even if he starting shitting unicorns out his butt.

        Besides, I think once trust is gone you might as well throw in the towel. You can’t monitor their every move and unless you get whacked on the head pretty good and forget what they did, you will never trust them again. Maybe they can learn something for their next relationship because you gave them a consequence for their actions this time around but I wouldn’t hold my breath hoping for that.

        • In my case, nope, I wouldn’t go back to my cheater. He’s a coward. I can’t be with a coward.

          Maybe for the next woman he won’t cheat. Maybe he’ll do better. I have no idea. I won’t be around to find out. All I know is that with me and in my life he was a damn disappointment that I simply could not be with any longer.

    • It would be a possibility if he had manned up and told me about the affair himself, deeply apologized for the lies and deception, told his family and friends, arranged for the childcare so we could work on things, gone overboard in making sure to address my needs, my hurt and to provide reassurance, gone to get the STD tests, yes, I do think we could have worked through it.

      Problem is he’s done none of that. And there’s a second woman. And checking through his email and facebook he’s apparently decided to reconnect with every woman he’s felt up since grade school. The guy had no problem going right back to work within 30 minutes of shattering my life when I found out about the second woman while confronting him about the first.

    • I would not. There is no way to assure that he/she would not cheat again. The fact that he/she cheated at all shows me exactly who this person is. It is a person without character, and that is a deal breaker for me. My cheater didn’t admit to anything, and in fact, told our son that I had cheated on him. Great, am I right?

    • If he walked on water and raised someone from the dead, then maybe I’d have the assurance I would need that he’d repented and changed his cheating ways.

      But then I suppose he’d be off again, busy saving the world with his messianic megalomanical ego and of no earthly use for companionship.

      So, um, no.

    • Nope. Not for nothing.

      I say this because for a good number of cheaters, cheating is just one of many selfish and unloving behaviors that make them bad spouses. Chumps just don’t see the other bad qualities until the cheating makes us drop our spackle buckets.

      How many chumps here had spouses who in addition to the cheating, lied about scores of things, irresponsible, selfish, passive aggressive, emotionally distant, etc.? Things that even without the cheating made them, well not so lovable without the spackle?

      I think cheating is just an eye opener that you have a shitty spouse.

      • Raising my hand on this one.

        He has some good points, but I can’t really say how many are authentic. He seems to do whatever is necessary to achieve the hoped for result. I sometimes wonder if he has any idea who he really is or what he really believes.

        Case in point: I am having to handle something for a business he allowed to dissolve when he decided he wanted a divorce. I handled filing the quarterly tax information for the business prior to the separation. Of course, he never even thought about whether or not those quarterly tax reports still had to be filed. He just received a threatening letter from the Department of Revenue regarding said non-filings – he didn’t even know what it was about. As soon as I saw the letter I recognized what had happened and followed up with our accountant and will be handling the matter.

        Of course, he’s all complimentary and telling me how thankful and appreciative he is. I called bullshit and told him that his behavior continues to let me know how unappreciative he truly is. His response? “I don’t know how to act.” How ever you try to interpret and untangle that bit of fuckupedness, it’s fucked up from the floor up.

        How would you even attempt reconcile with someone who is closer to 60 than he is to any other round number who says something like that? The only thing that’s good about it is that it is probably one of the few things he’s ever said that is actually truthful.

        • unless I were getting some tax money back out of that I’d tell the ex to take care of it himself. My ex kept trying to get me to take care of his shit during the divorce, one answer to that is all I have. “it is no longer my responsibility to take care of you, ask your OW to do it”. His answer? “you petty bitch”. Yep, that’s me, I don’t take care of abusive assholes anymore…buhbye

          • Thank you Dat. 🙂

            The only reason I’m doing it is because we were both officers of the corporation and because my name is on it, I want to make sure it gets taken care of. If it was just him and in his name, he could go shit bricks.

      • Absolutely, once the spackle started cracking and falling… I saw the real man, not just a cheater, but a lousy husband and father too. For many years. The cheating slowly (through the lies and pitfalls of false reconciliation and his behavior during the following divorce) opened my eyes for who I had really married.

        So strange that I longued back for someone I had already lost maybe ten years before. Like a lobster in gradually heating water, I just did not notice the slow chances, until I was almost cooked. Now I’m out of the pot and see that any random man in the street would be a better match for me.

        • yes Dutch, the very very slow changes to the point where abuse becomes normalized, to the point where you think the shit you are being dealt is no big deal. I so wish I could convey this to people in a way they would understand when I see it happening to them. But of course, I didn’t see it when it was happening to me until the last BIG thing.

          • I’m just coming out of the slow boil and beginning to really see the horror show I’d acclimated to. Sometimes I’m giddy with relief to be almost of it and sometimes I’m sick to my stomach realizing the extent of it all. And sometimes, more and more, I feel a deep and wonderful peace beginning to take root and I’m thankful for what’s ahead — and super, super thankful for all of your forthrightness and courage. Your camaraderie — in pain and triumph, crying and laughing, taking the power out of crazy — has been invaluable to pull me through this sad, hard time and push me toward freedom. New life after chumpdom — good life.

        • “any random man in the street would be a better match” ha! so sad, so true.

      • Count me in. I asked my STBX for divorce before I knew about schmoopie. She had some great things about her and still does I’m sure.

        But, when it got down to it, she was selfish and self-centered. It was always about her and what she wanted. She was passive aggressive and distant. In the end, it was her irresponsibility with her work that finally made me realize that jackass had to go. Funny thing is, she blamed all of those things on me.

        In a small way, I thought leaving her would teach her a lesson. She was shocked to be sure. But, if she learned something or has changed, I wouldn’t know it.

      • I’m with you on this one, ThatGirl. My eyes had been opening very gradually since his first affair, but the second one, and his behaviour since I kicked him out (especially with the kids), have really shown me that I had a shitty spouse.

        Wouldn’t take him back for a million bucks, even if I DID know his weenie would fall off if he cheated again.

      • Agee completely, That Girl.
        I have heard of no cheaters that were not dishonest , selfish, mean people in general.

      • Although I do agree with ThatGirl that cheating is just one of many selfish behaviours that makes for a lousy spouse. So I am not being realistic.

    • No, found my worth and definitely do not want bottom-of-the-barrel material.

    • That’s a dangerous question. Too dangerous to ponder. I don’t think at the heart of it I could ever forgive the profound betrayal. Oh, and he never really loved me…but he loved me “more than he ever loved any other woman,” in his unable to love kinda way. I guess you can’t figure a socio or psychopath into your question!

      • “Oh, and he never really loved me … but he loved me “more than he ever loved any other woman”

        That’s some impressive word salad right there. You must feel soooooo special, you lucky girl, the Narkles have deigned to shine upon you!

        • Oh you got that right, chumpalla. The worst part is how long I took that into consideration. Well, he won’t sleep in the bed or talk to me, but he sleeps with me more than he slept with his other women less. The dude might as well have sewn his cell phone to his nuts. It had a force field around it, I could not get within 3 feet or his head would explode. He did sleep with his phone…and laptop. I vote for the cheater as symptom of a bad spouse. This lobster was being boiled alive from the beginning.

      • “more than he ever loved any other woman”

        I heard this repeatedly from the X. Then I read the exact same words in an email he sent to the OW. Now I know, if his lips are moving, he’s lying.

        • My ex actually told our son that he had only felt passion for two women in his life. One was a girl he dated when he was 19. The other was some chick he met at a party. I suspect they had sex that night, but I don’t think it went beyond that.

          Neither was me or the OW.

        • Ab. So. Lutely karma. He “talked” to me more than he had any woman. I believe that–he barely spoke except to criticize or rage. Wow, what do I get for a parting gift–herpes?
          He was of the “shouldn’t have to WORK at relationships” religion. Should be fun, like the smiling porn ladies. If it wasn’t about his immediate gratification it held no interest. And what gratifies one moment does not gratify in the next, so I was pretty well “worked out” from the get go.

        • So agree!

          I managed to get at my ex’s e-mails.

          There was a long trail of e-mails between him and… oh… a dozen different girls, where he was calling them babe and darling and saying how he couldn’t wait to see them again and they were so special to him he’d never felt like this about anyone before.

          A DOZEN at least different girls who were all SO SPECIAL that he’d never felt this way about anyone before… except maybe the other 11.

          Disordered. Disordered disordered disordered. And maybe just a touch delusional…

    • No, because he would still be an embarrassing freak with a constant need for attention. I’ve moved on to better things.


      For me it wasn’t even the OW so much. Child of the 60s, with all that goes along with that, free love yadda yadda. No, the big thing for me was the lying. I hate liars.

      The closest STBX has come to being honest was one day talking to one of my boys. Son was trying to get his dad to commit to something like lending him the truck for a day. Toddler Boi hemmed and hawed and finally son asked his dad to just give him a straight answer.

      STBX looked at him and said, “I haven’t given anyone a straight answer in my life.”

      I believe that this is the most honest thing he has ever said. Why would I even think about taking back someone like this? As I think was said upthread, “Fool me once…..”

      I have to be able to do better than this.

      • Two times with my cheater ex did I feel like he had finally said something that rang absolutely true:

        1. “I’ve been doing the bare minimum and pretending I’m doing everything I can.”

        2. “I feel like I am emotionally stunted.”

        When they show you AND tell you who they are, believe them.

    • As Still a Chump said above: “you were willing to do this to me”.

      I don’t think there’s any getting past that for me. Whether his weenie fell off or not, whether he was totally filled with remorse, whether he went out of his way every day for the rest of his life for me, I would never get past the fact that he was willing to do this to me and to our children. What’s done is done, there’s no going back.

    • No. Trust is broken. I now finally believe that he is selfish, immature, deeply unrealistic, untrustworthy. Don’t want an acquaintance like that much less an intimate.

    • Jinx, I did. We were together in pseudo reconciliation for 17 years, during which STBX had a very close “friendship” with a stay at home mom (he was home during the day, and worked nights – I had the day job.) They did play dates together with her two children and our daughter. She was also married. I turned a blind eye, trying to trust that they were just friends. I now believe STBX would have left me had the OW been willing to leave her marriage. That eventually ended – but only because STBX found another OW, who was willing to leave her husband for him. Do I have regrets about agreeing to give my marriage another try. Absolutely. But on the other hand, my wonderful daughter would never have been born were it not for this false reconciliation. I thought we might just be able to make it. But alas, I was chasing the ever elusive unicorn… And how, really, is one very assured they won’t cheat again?

    • I probably would have within the first week or two of kicking him out. But definitely not now. Probably not even after the first month. I have learned too much about who he actually is since then.

  • Your time line on events is like a huge neon red flag to me, and I’m sorry for that. I’d love to believe in unicorns too, but from what I’ve read all over the inter webs, the odds of this man not doing this to you again are slim to none.

    And the celibacy claim, I’m sorry but no way. Four years of reconciliation? IMO, he kept you at bay and let you think you were in control of what was happening in the marriage, but I’m sure he was basically doing all the things single men do when they live alone for 4 years. I don’t see how he really did any hard work, because it sounds like he got to do exactly what he wanted and told you what you wanted to hear.

    Gifts and flowers, mean nothing. My STBXH sent me flowers at work monthly the entire time we were together. He also cheated on me and sent her flowers too. It means nothing. He did this because it kept me happy and clueless.

    I wish you the best and really hope you are right about your marriage being one of the few that survives betrayal. I really mean that. But if something happens, you can always come here. Keep your eyes open . . .

  • TS:

    I really had hoped for a better outcome of my doomed marriage! I too self sacrificed for my marriage and family for five long years. All five years in false reconciliation. At one point during those five years my husband actually decided to leave us and he went to live with his parents. He was trying to sort through his feelings. I did not file. I did not date anyone. I patiently waited for him to get his head out of his ass and realize what a fool he was being and hoping he would see what he would be losing. I hoped (I can’t even believe this!) that he would come home to us. He eventually came home after being gone for 10 months. In those ten months he took me on dates and helped with things around the house. But he would sleep at his parents house. That was really the only difference. I thought he was committed to figuring himself out. He came home on Christmas Eve. I thought this was our new beginning. Turns out…….NOT EVEN CLOSE!!! He was still talking to OW and had been the entire time!!! He never stopped. Him being away from home was just a way for him to continue with her without being discovered by me.

    I finally asked him for a divorce. He did not want to end our marriage!!!!! I just couldn’t do it anymore. He promised me the world. I just couldn’t take the disrespect any longer. There was absolutely NO TRUST LEFT! I could not stand living like a detective in my home any longer. I am beyond glad that he is out of my life.

    I hope everything works out for you. I hope he cherishes what he has with you and your children. I hope he never forgets how lucky he is. I hope he doesn’t disappoint YOU!!!!

    Best of luck to you!

    • 5 years false reconciliation here, too. My IC said: I have learned a lot from you two about affairs, and about adding insult to injury.
      [The ‘blame’ here is very firmly on me: for clinging on to what was dead, gone, and abusive.]

    • Thanks Kimmy,
      I completely understand your position. I give you huge credit for hanging in there as long as you did. Most wouldn’t. You did the right thing in divorcing him. It’s not time wasted if you allow God to redeem it. Easier said than done, but there is great value in your willingness. God cherishes you even if your husband didn’t.


  • If he did the work and you are married to a different man, then I’m happy for you. I hope for you and your children that he is better not sneakier and you are as strong the second time as you were the first time if a second time happens.

    Are you happy? If so, blessings.

  • Dear Truth State

    Its so uplifting to read of a (rare) successful reconciliation.

    You sound like a very creative and astute lady who has somehow managed to move beyond the emotional upset, blaming and pathologizing.

    I really hope you and your husband can continue to build a safer and stronger bond of connection.

    Best Wishes


    Sorry to come over all critical parent but…was it really necessary to say “morning shit” Chris because we already had enough ‘fucks’…

    ffs 🙂

    • Janey –
      I concur. Chris – good writing – much like great comedy – doesn’t rely on working “blue”. It’s just as good an article without the overuse of swearing. In fact – it distracted from your good points.

      And believe me – I’m no Puritan on swearing!

      • Adding to this. CL makes swearing poetry – Gad, that girl can write! – but you just come across as crude. Sorry Chris.

    • I very much enjoyed and appreciated the entire paragraph which employed the phrase ‘morning shit’. Good points and I got to chuckle. Thanks, Chris!

    • Janey, if you don’t like cuss words, then get the fuck off my blog. And don’t you dare give Chris shit for doing my job, which he’s done brilliantly with about half of my usual invective.

      • Maybe you need a CAPTCHA gatekeeper CL. “Before your post is accepted, please type one of the following words you seen in the box” :


        • On the one hand, we’re all adults so let’s not freak out because we read a “naughty” word. On the other hand I can understand being made uncomfortable when someone is using language you don’t want to read. That said, a few questions:

          Wasn’t there a discussion about the word c**t on another post?

          Are there acceptable curse words and unacceptable curse words? Is there a list somewhere?

          And is the most important part of this post really what words are appropriate or inappropriate? Focus people.

          • “I can understand being made uncomfortable when someone is using language you don’t want to read.” For real? I’m sorry, but if people are clutching their pearls and recoiling over fucking blog posts, they’ve got other problems in their head besides the reason they are here.

            This conversation has progressed to the point of ridiculousness. I vote we end it now and I’m suggesting other people put their rulers away and stop whacking fingers because they find the language “offensive”. If they can’t get anything from the posts on the site, there are other places to go on the internet that are more suited to their refined tastes.

            I come here to get support, not to get reprimanded because I said fuck. Also, Chris, you kick ass. 🙂

          • I think cunt is misogynist and triggery for me personally so it’s the one word I ask people to refrain from. Otherwise swear away.

            When I blog again on Friday I’ll say more on the language issue.

      • I completely loved Chris’s peppery response and don’t have to be condescended to in order to appreciate good writing. She doesn’t need editing. It’s part of the freedom of this site, and frankly, one of the reasons I like coming here. Read some brilliant reviews by Michael K. on, I think he’s hysfuckingterical!!

        • Damn, I knew Chris was male, but then thought maybe I was wrong. Don’t blog from a phone! I’m new at this, no Do-Over’s?! CHRIS doesn’t need editing!

          • Just discovered Dlist after watching (okay l admit) Lindsay Lo on Oprah. I’m grateful to anyone who can make me laugh that hard!

      • Janey, I sure as hell hope you aren’t like my “saintly” grandmother who wore white gloves, crossed her ankles and skewered her children in the sweetest voice. Two of them went bonkers.
        This blog is for heartbroken people to find a support system so they feel safe expressing just how much pain was inflicted on them. If the words “fuck” and “shit” offend you more than the fact they were cheated on you do not need to be here.

      • It’s funny, but one of the very few things that would get my ex freaktoid all knotted up with his panties in a wad was someone using what he referred to as “potty talk.” This included not only the really “bad” words, but even “hell” or “damn.” God forbid I should use such a word in conversation, he’d throw a fit. Yet apparently his constant balling of men and women both was a-okay, along with blackmail, fraud, conning people out of money and all the rest.

        LOL, he liked the AC/DC song “Highway to Hell,” but he would sing, “Highway to Heaven” instead. What an idiot!

        • I would NOT have liked your ex. He is so clearly full of shit. It’s sad when we chumps can’t see the forest for the trees. But, man, your ex? Total bullshit.

        • My STBX was the same way. She was always complaining about me cussing. But when we argued she would often start calling me names like “asshole” etc…,. It was just a ploy to get the focus off of her or the solution. It worked for a long time.

          I have almost no vices left. I’ve been cussing up a storm since I was real little. I have three older brothers. They taught me to say “Aw fuck it” in the first grade. It’s been pretty handy lately.

          • Oh, I ought to add that I didn’t cuss at her or call her names etc..,. That was why it was so maddening in an argument when she resorted to that tactic. Then, the gloves were off and the cussing was on.

            I’m glad that shit is over.

        • That kind of lofty hypocrisy is suspect. My cheater compartmentalized all of his high holy thoughts and fake feelings, only to pull out as needed for ammo or a chance at new trim. He could sure create a character with soul, that always got me. When we fought I asked him once, how would you write your hero of our dilemma? Great idea I thought, wrongly. Why should he? What was in it for him?
          Integrity, it’s the i in DNA.

          • I meant, how would he write his hero out of our conflict. Good thing I’m not a writer.

        • GladIt’sOver: that (and I hesitate to use the word) ‘man’ is madder than Maddy McMad of Madsville!

      • thanks for checking in CL, You are so right that Chris has done very well. His response to TS is freakin great. Now, go enjoy your time off now, no worries we got this 🙂

        • Lookit.

          Going through D-day and after is a traumatic experience. It really is.

          Although there can be similar reactions, we are individuals, and we will have some differences.

          Some people, going through this raw time, may end up feeling more vulnerable to swearing, especially if their cheating asswipe of a spouse was using swearing to gaslight, to dominate or to abuse.

          Having said that: if you know that strong language is going to trigger you, it is your responsibility to take care of yourself–either by learning to overcome the triggers, or, until then, choose your environments carefully.

          This website is clearly one to let it all hang out–pain, anger, vulnerability, and vocabulary. The internet is a big place–there are surely other forums well-suited to people who need a more sober, temperate tone.

          • Exactly! I see this website as therapy. While I don’t cuss much in real live (and I’d freak out if my son started talking like this), it just doesn’t bother me here…who am I to dictate how others should act in therapy? Some behavior is so appalling that there are no words, but cuss words come close!

            • Swearing its ok when its used to emphasis something but when its gratuitous its distasteful aggressive (to some) and offensive.

              There was no real need for Chris to include the reference to a ‘morning shit’.

              Getting into attack dog mode and trying to chase people off to another site who express their discomfort with foul language is bullying.

              Instead of a climate of acceptance there seems to be a corrosive tone developing and some people can end up feeling insecure and vulnerable.

              I greatly appreciate Chump Lady’s blog because it is funny and appropriately critical – its written from a perspective of mockery and disdain but when the cynicism is overblown and peppered throughout with bad language it all gets rather toxic.

              • I don’t see anybody chasing anyone off. I see people reminding people who feel offended and critical of the content here that they have OPTIONS. Sometimes Chumps need to be reminded that they have OPTIONS. And, apparently, some need to be reminded to exercise those options!

                Rather than critique tone, style, and language used here, a person has the option to ‘vote with their feet’ and not participate. You are free. You have made your preference clear, and it is equally clear to me that it will not be accommodated. So, what now? You can stay and accept the situation for what it is, or stay and complain, or leave. You are not a victim, you have choices, Janey.

                Pretty good metaphor for what many of us face at home, actually.

              • Ok, Chris could use ‘morning constitutional’ instead of ‘morning shit’ … but then I think it would lack the same punch .

              • This blog has *always* been “peppered with bad language”, as you put it. From day one. You know this.

              • Janey, the reality is that nothing is going to change as a result of your comments, I think that’s why people say “if you don’t like it, get off this site.” It’s not bullying, it’s just saying “hey this is the way it is here, if you don’t like it, you can leave.” It’s unfortunate that you feel you have to use time and energy stating how offended you are, because it’s not going to really get you anywhere.

                With that said, I will no longer engage this debate because this is absurd. As someone said earlier, we’re all adults here.

              • Mmmm, let’s not exaggerate….my comment was hardly “attack dog” quality. For what it’s worth, I think you should stay if this site is helping you, but you may want to develop a blind spot concerning the cuss words. A lot of us still have deep wells of anger and have been put down *plenty* already. This is a safe place to blow off steam and I for one can’t do that in real live. (I would be the talk of my church lady set if I ran around swearing like a sailor regarding my ex! Actually that would be kind of funny, but I’d never really do it. They’d probably think I had Tourette’s Syndrome.)

                After our comments last week about how much time some of our ex’s spend in the bathroom, I thought the visual of the Sexting Cheater noticing divorce papers fly in under the door and landing at his feet quite hilarious.

                Anyway, here’s a link I thought was interesting, but I’m sure there’s more out there.

              • Janey,

                I have a profanity vocabulary that would make both CL and Chris visibly wince…it is not only explicit; it is creative and voluminous in the extreme. My X (a Marine who knew well of Gunny Sergeant “ass crawlings”) used to say that when I got cranked off, 10 astonished sailors followed me with picket signs that read “UNFAIR!!” That having been said, I usually refrain in mixed company because I “hear” what you are saying about overkill.

                On another thread I suggested that you might want to explore the Midlife Club Forum. It might be a better “fit” for you. All the same topics are explored just as thoroughly– primarily via user to user interaction, and it is an extremely high repeat traffic site…with newbies coming aboard daily. The owner monitors for excessive profanity outside the “Rant Section”..and boots people who engage in personal attacks.

        • I burned my boob on a toaster once, so I felt a little smarting when I read it. 🙂 🙂

          • LOL! My daughter got a nipple piercing not too long ago and as she explained it to me, I just did an icky dance around the room like I was covered in bugs. Euuu! Euuu! Euuuu! Crazy kids!

        • Seriously, why would you go around blenderizing while buck-nekked?????

          • It’s a strange thing about probability that… sooner or later somebody is going to stick something in a blender they ought not stick into a blender.

            Sometimes they do it several times before figuring out that blaming the blender isn’t working 🙂

            • OMG!!! LMFAO!!!!! :)))) now that was some funny shit lol!! Timeheals, you just cracked me up with that titty blender thing :))))

              Janey sounds just like the internet troll “photi” who tells the betrayed to keep their marriage together, work on it blah blah blah on Marriage sherpa, she says she did and she claims her husbands affair was a gift/blessing that it opened her eyes/horizons to many good things and now her marriage is better than ever because of her husbands affair(something like that).

              Janey or whoever you are, get the fuck off this blog and go back to where you came from!

              • I cant help but think its no wonder your husbands cheated on you because you come across personality disordered and aggressive.

                I hate that I ended up thinking that way and feel bad but it crosses my mind and no Im no troll go back and read my other posts and see for yourself.

                Think Im done here now- let you swearing club.

                Its a shame because but it puts the normal people off.

                The references to retards and fuktards all the time was especially awful – offensive and hurtful to people with family members with learning disabilities.

              • I think the phrase “it’s no wonder your husbands cheated on you because . . . ” is THE most abusive thing you can say on this board. The foulest of foul language pales in comparison to that kind of behavior.

              • Ba ha ha Janey, you are a funny one! So the cat is out of the bag, us or I got cheated on because I must be personality disordered and aggressive thus I deserve to be cheated on. So just another justification for why people cheat…hmmmmmm Well let me tell you sweet cakes, even someone who might be disordered or aggressive don’t deserve to be cheated on, you think I am disordered, aggressive? Well then, man the fuck up, break up first, leave me and go find someone you are more compatible with, you know,, who is not disordered nor aggressive, no need for cheating and when they get caught don’t cry to me like a little bitch for fucking some married ho-worker for 3 years then beg me to stay.

                Please, please don’t feel bad for thinking that way, think what you like, you didn’t hurt my feelings not one bit.

                If you don’t like reading/seeing cuss words then don’t read the comments or why is there a need for you to comment on something you don’t like? Move along to where other normal people are and their blogs. Mmmkay?

                You think you are normal? Nah it seems to me like, you are a bit of a control freak, (disordered anyone?) who is trying to control, dictate what others think or write and I personally didn’t see anything wrong with “morning shit” I thought it was hilariously funny!! I still do!! But if I didn’t, I would’ve moved along and not say anything. Stop playing the miss normal two goody shoes (and yes I am being aggressive) who puts the other posters down because you don’t agree with ( good Gawd!) their foul language and now what Chris wrote…

                And a quick note, my ex was/is a retard and yes you guessed it, also a big time FUCKTARD! Have nice day Janey and keep being normal 😉

              • Janey:

                Who the hell told you that you were the normal one?

                Who are you to come on to a blog and judge people?

                I can PROMISE you that I grew up very well and have one hell of a career at 24 and you come off completely ignorant to me. Nothing about your judgemental ass comes off normal.

                Shame on your parents and whoever else let you believe you were the end all be all. I cannot stand those who think they are better.

          • My ex used to go outside and garden in the backyard naked all the time, despite the fact that several surrounding houses had windows overlooking our yard. This was after I’d moved out of the house. I always hoped he’d accidentally cut his wiener off with the rose clippers, but unfortunately, that never happened.

            • Glad I just laugh all the time when I heard of your ex’s antics. He was sure a piece of work! Speaking of naked, my ex was really proud of his body and constantly walked around the house naked. He liked to walk up to windows butt naked too. It used to drive me crazy.

            • Re my previous post

              That should have read ‘let you have your swearing club’

              • Regardless of our thoughts on swearing, I think there’s something bigger going on here. Janey has been posting on this blog for awhile and never complained of the swearing. Now she’s not only complaining, but insulting us. This isn’t like her. I bet something really bad is going on inside of her, and she’s likely in a very dark place.

              • DuckLinerUpper – This is another reason I love chumps. Compassion. Kindness. Courage. Forgiveness. Even when confronted with abusive behavior, we can take the high road.

                One of my favorite sayings lately: “Do No Harm. Take No Shit.”

                Everyone is fighting some battle we know nothing about.

              • DuckLinerUpper,

                are you sure its Janey? or is it someone else who used her name? from that one post I could swear it was that internet troll “photi” because that sounded just like her, who posts on marriage Sherpa and called this site “site for bitching”

              • nicolette14 – Good question, I wondered that, too, since it seemed out of character for the Janey we know from before.

              • Janey – you chose to come here and harass people with your nitpicking. I have no doubt that you are coming back to check this page to see what is being said and that you have checked the box for alerts to be set to you when a new response is posted. Good!

                You crossed the god damn line when you posted “its [sic] no wonder your husbands cheated on you because you come across personality disordered and aggressive.” Then you have the audacity to imply that you might be “normal”… whatever-the-fuck that is.

                Look, Asshat. Well adjusted people don’t do what you did. Well adjusted people do things like come here and air their frustrations with like-minded people who won’t criticize them. You, on the other hand, are a troubled individual and we’re onto your game. You just dropped in to stir up some shit. We know your type.

                So, here ya go, “Janey”: Go Fuck Yourself and Remember That With Every Morning Shit You Ever Take. Bye Now. 😉

            • Glad, that is too funny. Mine loved to be naked around the house, but would yell at me if I dared to dash to the linen closet without being fully clothed, lest the neighbors ‘see’. He wanted me to drape the windows when I breastfed, too. lol Of course, ironic because he was out shagging other people, so that didn’t count, I guess?

      • That’s a helluva tit…or a teeny tiny blender…. (for those who need the caution)

    • I come to this blog to get support because the one person I loved more than anyone fucked me over and then shit on me. I’m not going to sugarcoat the things that he did to me as doing so feels like I am lessening the severity of the abuse. I’m going to be honest and tell it like it is because without the stark honesty, I’ll never be able to over come this and survive.

    • Hi everyone 🙂 I’m hoping no one is confusing Janey with me; Jayne! Personally, there’s nothing I like more than a good shitfuckbastard swear – and there are certain nuggets of wisdom, insight and full on righteousness found throughout this entire blog that get completely NAILED when reinforced with a good judicious helping of anglo-saxon!

      It was all over the news last year that studies proved cursing actually helped people endure pain. I believe they got volunteers to put their hands in buckets of ice and, with three control groups, they found the group allowed to swear like dockers could tolerate the discomfort/pain a lot longer than the ‘Ned Flanders’ group and the ‘my gosh but this is painful’ set. Vent away! and vent away with your most inflammatory invective – it’s good for your health!

      My other take on this is; it’s only words – should it be written in Japanese (other brands of language are available) likely most people wouldn’t even know what was being said – doesn’t mean fuckshitbastard wasn’t being expressed though! 😀

      • ….On reflection; ‘Personally, there’s nothing I like more than a good shitfuckbastard swear’ – might be a bit of an exaggeration! 😉 x

    • Thank you, Janey. Best wishes to you as well 🙂

      I have responded “To All” at the bottom if anyone cares.

    • Janey, dear. Take your pious, judgemental ass somewhere else if you don’t like it. Read, absorb, comment, and curse if you’d like. But do not criticize. It’s considered impolite. Get it?

  • “I calmly called the OW and asked what her intentions were. I told her she could have him and then I proceeded to share with her every negative and unflattering intimate detail only a married person could share about their spouse…. Then I contacted her husband and shared with him every detail about the affair I knew about. The affair effectively ended…. But I absolutely refused to do the ‘pick me dance’….”

    This has me wondering if you’re able to remain objective.

    But of course you’re not. None of us are. I think you went nuclear on the pick-me dance. I also don’t believe your H was celibate for four years. I’m not even certain he stopped seeing his affair partner.

    Can you think of other ways he’s passive-aggressive? He went into “monogamy” kicking and screaming, but with lots of public displays of piousness. I’m sorry, but I don’t buy it.

    If I were you, I would insist on keeping track of all the finances–you get a password, you require double signatures for significant withdrawals from savings/checking accounts, you monitor his credit a few times a year, you see his paycheck stubs (my dumb ex figured he would, before direct deposit into a family checking account, skim from his paycheck into a secret luvuh account at his credit union.) Consider purchasing a device to track his car, as well. The thing is, you know what he is capable of justifying, and I just don’t want you to face, as a young mother, financial devastation. Protect your kids.

    I wonder after reconciliation if the chump can ever really let go and love with full trust and comfort. I wonder what that’s like to always wonder.

    • She’d be better off stashing a little bit of money each month into a safety deposit box to protect her future. I have a friend who did that and it saved her when the shit finally hit the fan.

    • Actually that piece of the letter shows that TS did the pick me dance exceptionally well. She went nuclear in cutting off his current affair partner.

  • Let me add something from a religious stand point.

    I have picked-up hitchhikers twice. Both times I felt compelled to do so. The first time I was nervous, you hear the horror stories and wonder, but I kept feeling like I had to and eventually turned around. Obviously I did not get killed by a wandering axe murderer.

    That said, I would not go around recommending picking up hitchhikers to others, it is dangerous to let someone you don’t know into your car. They might be a nice person, or they might not be. You need to listen to your self and the Lord before you trust letting someone in your car.

  • “My husband absolutely refused to agree to a divorce.”

    Unless you are Orthodox Jewish, I didn’t think he had a choice. Or maybe this post is from outside the U.S.? Different laws in different countries, I suppose.

    • I interpreted that as; he refused to agree and TS refused to file if he didn’t agree. Either way, it’s still part of the pick me dance. If you aren’t playing then you file for divorce whether he wants to or not.

  • TS, I believe that your husband was only compelled to change when he realised the very real threat of losing you. Lundy Bancroft says that for a lot of immature selfish men, it takes going that far – real loss – to motivate them into doing the hard work.

    But I think he did do the hard work. I think he did a fearless moral inventory and was willing to make amends. I think he did grow up and I think people can change. (if they can’t, I’m stuffed).

    I am happy for you, and wish my H had shown enough care for me to do it. All the best – I think a postnup would be a good idea!

    • But if I understood the book correctly, Bancroft also says that the shock of real loss leads the abusive men he works with to change their BEHAVIOUR, not their inner workings. The risk of loss keeps them in therapy, where they learn what behaviours are acceptable and which are not, and their partners learn to keep setting clear boundaries and limits to keep these guys in line.

      Frankly, that’s not what I consider a good relationship. I won’t settle any more for a better-behaved narcissist.

      I think people can change, but not all that far. For most of us in the changes we need to make, tweaks and better behaviour are enough to take us to a much better place. But for someone who’s emotionally abusive, selfish and entitled, to become an actual caring, loving, empathic, honest and respectful person? I so don’t think that happens.

      • Oh, boy. That’s lucid. I think I needed to hear that.

        I guess I wasn’t thinking about it as the best they can learn is how to ACT like a less-impaired person, and it’s our job to (if we stay) to expect that and respond accordingly, ever at the ready with consequences for boundary infractions. I’m afraid that sounds familiar. Ugh.

        I wish I was a charitable-enough person to commit to this. I might not be. 🙁 I’m sad.

        • I do not think charitable is the right word; that would be martyrdom. Not healthy, you deserve way better, chumpalla.

      • Yes, I think this is very true, about them changing their behavior, not their character.

        I’m starting to think that the same thing applies to chumps, too….we can change our behavior (setting boundaries, etc.) but deep down we’re still chumps – we love, we nurture, we forgive. That’s why No Contact is the only way for us – if the cheaters (aka “takers”) are in our lives at all, we will slip back into giving them way too much.

      • “better-behaved narcissist.” Boy, that’s like those people who have lions or tigers or bears for pets and then we inevitably hear about them getting mauled. If you want to swim with sharks fine, just don’t marry one.

      • Love Lundy Bankroft. Had almost the entire book outlined for the cheater never to read.

  • TS, I’m over 1 year in reconsiliation, and it’s been difficult but every week is better. Thx for telling your story! I continue to read CL, because I always want to keep my eyes open to any signs of him starting the Affair back up. I think what should be taken from your story is that kick them out, file for divorse, and if they want you back, they do the work! They go to their counselor, they do a postnup without reservations, they blame themselves, and they breakup with the OW and never look back. I will say, even with him wanting to reconsile, there have been multiple times last year I didn’t know if it was worth the pain. I never said “let’s stay for the children,” or blamed myself after I started reading CL. That’s the beauty of this site. I was wondering how long before the anger goes away? My has lessoned, but some days I just want to punch him in the arm, and I let him know what I’m feeling at the time. Good luck and may there really be unicorns on rare occasions, but if we get burned again, thank God for CL!!!

  • Thank you, Chris. I’m going through a hellatious Chump divorce and you’ve given me the strength to remember why, and get through another day. He’s almost won the Beat Her Down Until She Dies From Stress So I Don’t Have To Pay The Bitch Anything game, though. So much so that my personal medical records are now part of the divorce. His audacious atty (I think he’s doing her) writes that I “…no longer have cancer.” Guess I shouldn’ta had that silly contrast dye $2,200 boob MRI last week, because she’s psychic! Not only that, but I “…ONLY had a lumpectomy and radiation, no chemo.” Nanny nanny. I was diagnosed six weeks after my own mother died from cancer. I would like nothing more than for both of them to hear the words You Have Cancer so I can assure him only one testicle will be removed, and her…don’t get me started. What would you like– the bill’s on me: Mastecto? Lumpo? No chemo…because YOU AND YOUR HUSBAND DECIDED WITH YOUR DOCTOR YOU HAD ONE MINUTE LEFT TO MAKE A BABY BUT HE NEVER REALLY MEANT TO? Aw, c’mon little trendy atty with your brown nail polish, trying to mingle with the best of the worst men on the planet– it’s only a little pesky cancer! If you can manage, don’t get cancer with a narcissist. It gets in their way and threatens to warrant spousal support. Too bad I need it cause I gotta’ get this malignant bastard outta my body forever if I’m going to recover.

    • (((hugs!))) So sorry, Sara :(. Sounds like you might have a couple of malignant bastards to get rid of. 🙁

      Stay strong, you’re mighty!

    • Oh, and radiation? Eh, what’s a charred boob and no white blood cells anyway. 47 days, newly married. He’s in the effing InDuhStree so he can remind himself of his godliness through adoring vapid fans. Talk about kibbles and ripe chump fruit. He wasn’t doing so well at the time–in between jobs. So my new hubby was home but had me drive myself to radiation every day alone cause it was “good for me.” He was home..working. On the computer. Loved finding that work history: 3,000 porn sites, mostly butt porn. Lotsa lesbians though. Really obsessed with squirting lesbians. Sorry, but it’s only fair I get to say it here since I can’t in No Fault court, but he can slime me into tomorrow with my cancer-esque shenanigans. Later he admitted leaving the porn where I could find it cause something in him “wanted to be caught.” Veritable prince, he. Then he’d accuse me of policing him and excuse more extreme furtive behavior on my psycho hallucinations. The end only came to this blind chump when I wound up black and blue one night, finally cracking trying to wrest the LAPtop from him. He never initiated sex with me–not “in his personality.” Awwww. Turns out he had far more intriguing and exciting places to go, virtual and Other. His entire life was a lie. Who knew you could catch a sexually transmitted divorce from a computer?

      • Hi Sara, It’s good you can come here and vent. I just wanted to let you know that my medical records were part of the divorce, too. (Not cancer, but a lot of dr visits.) I think it was to shame me about how “sickly” I supposedly am. Once Cheater left me, guess who started to feel a whole let better? Hardly any aches or pains? Me! Living with one of these guys can really take a toll on your health and it was good to see my own formerly good health come back. While divorce was stressful, it was a different kind of stress than being chained to a cheater for life.

        Oh, and let your cheater and his attorney look like asses bringing up the fact that you are a cancer SURVIVOR! Shame on them!

        • Oh Robin, it is *so to shame me! I was sick after the radiation, auto immune blah blah…and he claims not to have seen my diagnosis (!) It’s invasive and humiliating; thank you for posting that you’ve lived through it. What would they have even gained from your records? Creeps. I’m so glad you’re feeling better!

          • You know what? Your cheater may not actually remember all that well…did you notice at the time that he seemed somewhat unaware of your fear and pain? I remember feeling extremely ill, needing gall bladder surgery…not knowing what was wrong and worried that I might be dying…while my ex sat on the TV laughing and laaaaaughing at sitcoms…had my son doing it, too. So creepy.

            I think my ex’s lawyer also wanted to see if I was on psych meds to frighten me into thinking I might lose custody. I didn’t want to get into any trouble for incompleteness, so I went to my insurer’s web page (Blue Cross) and ran a couple of different reports as far back as possible (since they wanted the last 4 or 5 YEARS worth.) That stack of paperwork was about 3/4 inch deep. To me it said, “In case you didn’t notice any of this, HERE, knock yourself out!”

            • Robin I just saw this! They tried at first to get SEVEN YEARS worth of medical history on me– I should have let them have it, by the time they finished getting through it they’d be dead! He was so incredibly checked out when I was sick–so much so that when they tried to force me to see a medical “expert?” It was the dame doctor who originally diagnosed me! He had way too much porn to get to…

              • Wow, 7 years?! That’s huge! And the fact that he didn’t realize their “expert” was one of your own physicians just shows how inattentive he was. Please try to find your peace in all this…I hope you’re not engaging with him directly too much? The No-Contact thing is awesome! (Oh, don’t worry about the phone….you are very clear!)

          • Oh, I forgot to add…IF THE EX WAS SICK, IT WAS THE END OF THE WORLD and I needed to wait on him hand and foot! “Rub my feet, rub my back, run the steamer, get me a hot pad, fill my prescription, take me to the doctor” and on and on. I really didn’t mind, but it sure would have been nice to have a back rub when my back hurt. I can count the back rubs on one hand and we’re talking a 21 year marriage. Why did I put up with that?!

            • RobinLee, sounds familiar. I was constantly giving him back rubs, etc., but when it was his turn? He flicked on the TV and did a half-ass job, finally even forgetting that he was supposed to be rubbing my back because he was so into his TV. And that was after about 2 minutes. Arrrgh.

              • Thank you…this was my life!!! One time I asked for a neck rub because I was having pretty bad muscle spasms and he gave me the most limp-wristed, intermittent neck rub you can imagine. It was so incredibly unsatisfying that I turned around and said, “If I ever rubbed your feet like that, you would be crying real tears.” He finally gave me a good neck rub for once! (I stopped asking because it was an exercise in frustration.)

        • Robin I was also so sick throughout my marriage. Terrible allergies, thyroid cancer, endometriosis, sick all the time. After he left and I started feeling so much better I couldn’t believe it. I’m hoping that the stress is gone and I’ll stay healthy for the rest of my days.

          • Isn’t it amazing how much stress (and stress relief) affects your health?! I’m glad you’re out and here’s to hoping we added years (decades maybe?) to our much happier new lives:-) Sara sounds younger and it’s so good she’s getting out now.

      • Sara,

        My dear friend’s now ex, when hearing she had breast cancer, said,”But who’s going to take care of me?’

        He was totally into porn (very much like you describe). He had lost all sense of empathy.

        My friend and he stayed together for awhile after she recovered from the cancer. She never recovered from his narcissism, and I’m grateful he’s out of there.

        You are not alone.

        • Thank you Chump Sand. There is something particularly nasty and insidious about narcissistic damage. I was as close to the edge as I’ve ever been, and I’m still teetering. I appreciate the support and wish my heartfelt best to your friend. I hope for us all that she finds healing!

          • Jedi Hugs Sara, you rock on and beat back the cancer – you ditch that asshole and beat back the beat down. You deserve better.

            • Sara – so sorry to hear about your BCancer. I had the same thing. It was a horrible time for our marriage – I was scared to death and he seemed to be scared to death FOR me. We had some doozy fights because he chose to blab my very-private condition (that I wanted to keep very close to our vests) to so many people. Some not even my friends. I was livid at the time but it was a very emotional experience. I also moved an hr away for 8 wks for my daily radiation because it was too much trouble for him to drive me back and forth.

              Anyway, looking back, now I wonder if there is something so consuming emotionally about a spouse’s health condition, and possible death-sentence that scared him off. Yes, I’m still trying to figure out what happened and the why’s of the affair and this is just one of them. Did he see his own mortality somehow and decided he couldn’t live with somebody that *had* cancer (it’s been 4 yrs). It’s probably a topic for another discussion but I think the narcissism in him didn’t have enough empathy for my situation because it took the focus away from him and his *hard work at business* and I was now a throw-away spouse so he could pick a 10 yr younger ‘healthier’ woman to nurse him to old age. Makes me sick to be thinking this, but the fact I am means it’s probably true.

              • Nope, it’s very simple: his horrible disloyalty wasn’t caused by anything you’ve done.

              • It’s totally topical SheChump. I felt guilty and damaged for the longest time, and like you, the self doubt still creeps in. I remember meeting an old friend for coffee one day during the whole thing. This is an aneorectic Stepford wife on the outside, who hadn’t “had relations” with her husband in something like 7 years. The only reason I say that is because she looked at me and said, “Sara, did you ever stop to consider that maybe he didn’t sign up for a sick wife?” And the thing is…she didn’t know how badly that hurt. She might well have tossed her boiling (no fat) latte on my face. Had I considered it? Only every day, every hour, if he wasn’t helping me feel insecure about some ancillary flaw just for the fun of it. I’m so glad you’re okay now. It’s heartwarming to hear from survivors like yourself. Everything you said is relevant to me, SheChump. Thank you!

  • TS,
    I’m glad you are happy.

    I’m glad this has worked for you.

    No joke.

    I’m not happy and can never trust my spouse completely ever again. Relationships are built on honesty and respect. From that, trust develops. Once trust is stomped on and someone makes a choice to disrespect the other, I believe that relationship is dead. No amount of work, gifts and love bombing is going to make the other lose themselves again in that person…..that’s TRUST.

    You can’t be a little pregnant. You either trust your spouse completely to move ahead in your marriage or you don’t. My nagging distrust of my spouse is my protection from further emotional abuse. I will never police his penis, become his boundary/border police or spend ANY of my time and energy “catching him doing the right thing” ( that’s what he actually wants me to do!). You are either a decent human being or you are not. Your character will again reveal itself.

    Best wishes to you and your family!

    • “Once trust is stomped on and someone makes a choice to disrespect the other, I believe that relationship is dead.” I totally agree with this.

      I found stuff early on with my STBXH and sat on it. But that nagging worry never really went away. I essentially waited for the other shoe to drop for years. You know how people say, don’t pay attention to their words, watch their actions? His actions were mostly awesome, flowers, gifts, I Love you’s. But ultimately, it was bullshit.

      I should have left years ago, but I didn’t. Paralyzed Chump I guess.

    • Catch him doing the right thing? Are you KIDDING ME? What is he, a learning impaired dog?

      (Oh, wait – sorry!!!! That’s offensive and devaluing of dogs. I love dogs. They are awesome.)

      You just can’t make this shit up.

      • When I was in elementary school we got stickers when we were “caught being good”. When you had 10 stickers you got a toy from the “being good bag”.

        So maybe the ex is not a loyal dog but a grade schooler?

        • I said learning impaired, not loyal 😉 But your point is hilarious.

          Teacher, teacher! I be’d sooooooo goooooood, where’s my prize? I deserve it!

          Especially the “catching him” part. Wait for it . . . waaaaaaait for iiiitttttttt . . .

          Oh, what a fun game. Where do I sign up?

          • And for those of you who have kids in the right age group, how long does good behavior last for six year olds?

            • Oh, dear. Take away their naughty kibbles and they demand “I be’d good” kibbles. Feed me! Feeeeeeeeeed meeee!

              • Hahahaha! When asshat brought this is up in MC numerous times, the therapist gave him a good WTF look. These creeps are emotionally stunted-please catch me being a good boy!!!

                My 10 yr olds are more emotionally mature than their 50 yr old father!

  • Truth State, so many red flags here for me!

    1) There may even be real unicorns out there, but I certainly think the ones most likely to exist are where there’s a BRIEF affair, instant remorse, total honesty after that, real initiative from the cheater to get their own therapy, repair the marriage, and prove themselves worthy of staying married. That’s how somebody who made a stupid or immature mistake would act.
    This guy? Huge cake eater. Don’t know how much they change, ever.

    2) What a huge risk you took! After those first two years, the chances were clearly VERY VERY high that this was going to turn out badly. The general rule is, you’ve been cheated on long term, or multiple affairs? The chances are 99.9% that you’re dealing with a narc and things will NEVER be good, not only because of the infidelity but also just because of the selfish, entitled person they are. Not good odds, frankly, a really dumb risk to take. But most of us have been there, kept betting, ‘chasing’ our invested time and emotion and energy, in the hope it would pay off.

    3) Oh, they’re in therapy? Better be a no-bullshit therapist SPECIALIZED in working with narcissists, and we’re talking 5 to 7 years for therapy to be successful, IF the narc sticks it out. Because most therapists totally misunderstand what a narc is about (see the books by Dr. Simon), and they often actually makes the narcs BETTER at manipulating!

    4) And of course, you won’t actually know whether you’ve got a unicorn or a jerk with a cardboard horn tied to his head for a decade or more. Took my ex 7 years to have the second affair. Fortunately my radar was still on, and I figured it out in a couple of weeks and kicked his ass out, but that still means now I’m in my 50s, trying to meet a good guy. I have to admit, I was hotter in my 40s, and I didn’t have to worry about whether the older guys I was meeting were going to have heart attacks in the next 5 years!

    5) The DISRESPECT. Yes dear, you can disrespect people horribly, lie to them for years, be a lazy-ass about repairing what you’ve broken, and generally be despicable. And some loving caring person will just put up with all that, to give you 800 more chances to become a good person. Or, yes dear, someone can disrespect you horribly and repeatedly, not give a crap about what that does to you or to your family, but you should put up with them and wait around for them to see the light and become the person you deserve. Great lessons for your kids.

    6) Most importantly for me; my ex has tried to reconcile multiple times in the little over a year and a half since we separated. But I know that’s because, like yours, he’s finally figured out that he DID have it good, and wants it back. But ya know what? I’m not the least impressed. Because any changes he makes at this point will be because HE is suffering. Any therapy he does now is to try to figure out how HE can stop shooting himself in the foot in his life. But when I was suffering because of his selfish behaviour, and worse yet, when our children were suffering because of his selfish behaviour, he was FINE, zero motivation for change.

    I want to be with someone who will be honest because they ARE honest, not because dishonesty isn’t working very well for them. I want to be with someone who won’t hurt me because they hate to hurt me, they want me to be happy, not because when they hurt me the supply of what they want gets cut off. And I am very aware that the character disordered don’t become those people, just doesn’t happen.

    Honestly, Truth, although I’m very skeptical, I do hope this works out for you – you , like other Chumps, deserve it, as do your kids. Him, not so much.

    • Amen, KarenE! You are so right about them wanting to change because of THEIR suffering, not OURS. And a million times yes to this: “I want to be with someone who will be honest because they ARE honest, not because dishonesty isn’t working very well for them”

      Character: You either have it, or you don’t. In an adult, it can’t be grown — not even if nurtured and watered by a devoted chump.

      • “I want to be with someone who will be honest because they ARE honest, not because dishonesty isn’t working very well for them”


    • Yeah this is it 100%.

      “But ya know what? I’m not the least impressed. Because any changes he makes at this point will be because HE is suffering. Any therapy he does now is to try to figure out how HE can stop shooting himself in the foot in his life. But when I was suffering because of his selfish behaviour, and worse yet, when our children were suffering because of his selfish behaviour, he was FINE, zero motivation for change….

      I want to be with someone who will be honest because they ARE honest, not because dishonesty isn’t working very well for them. I want to be with someone who won’t hurt me because they hate to hurt me, they want me to be happy, not because when they hurt me the supply of what they want gets cut off.”

      That above is sooo true. That imitation remorse is really all about them. They will modify their behavior when it suits them. I also want to be with someone whose default behavior is to be honest, open and generous in spirit, not someone whose default is to see what’s in it for them and then act accordingly like my ex.

      • Imitation remorse is so the right term; my ex keeps telling the kids and I how much he regrets what he did (nice and vague, eh?), but there is NO remorse for how he hurt us, just for what his choices did to HIS life.

        • Yes, yes, hell to the yes. Also–Chris? you’re doing a kick-ass job! Keep kicking it!

        • Exactly, that’s why ChumpLady posted “Real Remorse or Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse”

        • My ex said *remorsefully* “I thought if you didn’t know, it wouldn’t matter.” Right — it wouldn’t matter *to him* because he’d still get his cake. Says it all. Chumpy chump here. Ouch.

    • You nailed it, KarenE. While there is zero chance I will have to deal with this unless the Owife and luvchild are kidnapped by aliens, I would want to see the ex make it up to the KIDS first and foremost, and all on his own, before he even drops a hint my way. They are his flesh and blood after all, they suffered most really, and instead of having a father’s guiding hand to get them launched in life, they received such lofty words of wisdom as “the world doesn’t owe you a living” Like WC Fields: “Go away kid, you bother me.” He disillusioned them and broke their hearts.

      • Amen to that! My STBX is in mental health, read the information on narcissism and decided, “Nah! That’s not what I’ve got,” while exhibiting almost textbook behavior related to covert narcissism. Ummm, Okay. If there was a portrait of him, they could do a remake of the Picture of Dorian Grey using his actual life as the story line.

        By the way, Chris – You are the Shiznit.


      “I want to be with someone who will be honest because they ARE honest, not because dishonesty isn’t working very well for them. I want to be with someone who won’t hurt me because they hate to hurt me, they want me to be happy, not because when they hurt me the supply of what they want gets cut off. And I am very aware that the character disordered don’t become those people, just doesn’t happen.”

      Put THAT on your mirror!

  • TS, I hope it works out for you. I really do. I have met one person who’s reconciled successfully, but it’s clear that her husband’s affair hurt her deeply. I believe Mike (?) on this site has shared his story of reconciling with his cheating wife. In both cases, the Chump drew a line in the sand, let go of trying to control the cheater, and simply laid out boundaries for themselves, including the boundary that they deserve to have spouses whom they can trust to honor those boundaries. See, the boundary isn’t for the cheating spouse; it’s for the Chump.

    Anyway, statistics are against you, but if it works, then that’s wonderful. 🙂

    Chris–I actually can’t remember the date or the time I discovered the affair. I do remember it was late September/early October. I remember sitting at my computer and the thought came in my head to ask STBX if OW had feelings for him. Of course he said no. He put his cell phone down and left the room to go to his study. For some strange reason, it didn’t lock the way it normally did, and I could see him type on FB: “kb confronted me,” to which OW replied, “What did you SAY???” The bottom dropped out of my world at that point.

    It took visiting my first lawyer to make me see that I would reconcile under certain circumstances, but had to prepare for the probability that this wouldn’t happen. Not long after that first visit, I realized that while STBX and OW have had a turbulent affair, with much drama as she constantly breaks things off and starts things up, they love the drama. This feeds into their fantasy, and it makes me respect him less and less.

    I am now well past Dday, and have a target date of a Day of Reckoning by the end of the month. This will well and truly pull the rug out from under STBX’s feet. I want the life. I’m tired of this limbo.

    • Heh…the drama. Ex and final OW were hilarious (I didn’t think so at the time, of course) where she’d dump him, he’d beg her to come back while still trying to keep me on the line and others feeding him kibbles on social media. It was like two teenagers playing out their drama in front of the whole world..including in front of my kids, who were audience to a number of the breakups.

      • Oh yeah, drama. STBX and OW broke and made up four times in one week, with me and the kids being dragged under the bus. The drama was insane, and to keep it all going he ended up blaming me for all of it. My kids had a front row seat too. That’s one of the many things I will not forgive.

        • I can’t forgive that crap either. Between the bullshit he pulled on them directly and the way he dragged them into his drama and then blamed either me or them when things weren’t going well with Final OW (and wow, he was in a PANIC that he had not only lost me but was going to lose her as well! Ex must have kibbles!). He still, more than 2 years later, will find things to blame me for. Mind you, I’ve been more or less NC for more than a year and have no involvement in his relationship with the kids so this is quite amusing. He’s an ass.

      • It’s drama all the time.

        I know that he and OW do the breakup dance and then repartner within 24 hours. Beyond that, though, there is the kind of drama that SBTX cultivates for himself. For example, whenever he gets a cold, it’s the flu, and he’ll call his quack doctor for a Tamiflu prescription. Quack doctor will call the pharmacy and get the prescription out without even seeing STBX. However, when something is truly wrong, STBX would rather complain about it than see the doctor. This results in drama. Then, he’ll see the doctor and not follow instructions (save if there’s some pill). This involves more drama.

        Also note that the drama is all about him.

        • Oh my, STBX always thought he had a brain tumor or lymphoma or something. I’d tell him he had all the symptoms of a common cold and he’d get mad at me for not being concerned that he was dying. It was all I could do not to laugh. A cold just wasn’t important enough for his grandiose self image.

  • 🙁
    Is this what the professionals are trying to tell me when they point out that personality features are notoriously resistant to change?

    Well. Don’t that suck.

  • TS, I sincerely wish you the very best. As I was reading your letter, you reminded me of myself over twenty years ago. Our first reconciliation was “wonderful.” And then the shoe dropped ten years later with the second OW. That took longer to work out the reconciliation but I was singing praises, like you, to friends and family once we went back to being “in love.” I still recall telling anyone who cared to listen, “If we can repair our marriage, anyone can.” I was the poster child for the unicorn. By the way, I threw him out after the first 2 affairs and we lived apart for 6 months for the first one, and then a year and a half for the next. The threat of divorce was always the one that made him come home.

    And then 13 years later, the final OW. I.was.done. I was glad I did enough work on myself to simply throw out the ex, file for divorce and move on in record speed. He tried to come back after a year and all I told him was, “Please don’t ever show up in my house again.”

    I cannot know if your husband has truly changed. I just want you to be at peace and not have your heart decimated all over again.

    • And that’s the problem, proclaiming a unicorn after only a year…wait, 5 years all together.

  • “Who the hell wants to spend a marriage looking over their shoulder?”

    And there it is right there. Who wants to do that?! Because even if you tell yourself you won’t marriage police, you still do, even if it’s only in your head where you question some little thing said or done. And honestly, after such a betrayal, watching your back is SMART, but in my opinion way too much trouble and counter productive to being in a loving and trusting relationship.

  • So true…..shame on me! I took him back the first time 15 years ago. Counseling etc….swore he was never going to cheat again. And for 15 years I thought it was true. Never once saw any signs. And then…..dun dun dun!!!!!! Up until reveal day #2 I thought I was the love of his life. Found out he had been cheating on me since 1 year after reconciliation #1. He finally said it! It’s not about you, it’s about me. He just got better at hiding it. Until he couldn’t anymore. I am staying strong and staying the course. He is out of my life and it’s been almost one year. If I knew then what I know now. I would have never taken him back then. Good luck to you! But keep your eyes and ears open. If you ever find yourself doubting or even have an inkling that something isn’t quite right. Take a hard look and never never question your gut. Run……..

    • Yep, one affair years ago and I was ready to divorce him and he talked me out of it. Turns out he kept cheating (not with the same woman) during the next however many years and probably was cheating the whole time. Gross, eh? He just got better at hiding it.

  • Oh ,yeah, I mentioned my own experience of the second affair coming 7 ys later, but forgot my friend who helped me so much at the time of the first affair; she had been through the same a year or so before. She did all the right things at the time of the first affair; kicked him out, got temporary financial and custody arrangements, and was ready to file; the cheater came round in three months and appeared to do ALL the right things. They got to a place, over several years, where she felt safe enough to have another child with him.

    She ended up leaving several years after that, because she just was not happy, they really were not compatible – she did the honest thing when she realized she was getting very attracted to some other men. When they divorced, that is when he admitted he had been in touch with his affair partner off and on all through those years, and had slept with the OW a couple of times when my friend was pregnant with their second child. (God only knows what else happened that he never admitted to; at that point she decided she did not want to know any more.)

    I told her that she was right about the compatibility; it is hard for real people to be compatible with pond scum.

  • Apparently, I AM a Unicorn.

    I did an online quiz about what mythological beast I am…clearly, I can no longer be a Chump…;-(

  • TS,

    I absolutely love romance, romance novels, romance movies and no one is a bigger sucker for a happy ending than me. Thus, I hope you are one of the few people whose cheater has actually had a sense of entitlement transplanted with compassion and humility and your reconciliation proves to be successful. I am rooting for your happy ending because I think Chumps deserve a happy ending.

    With that said, past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. My STBX, whose family was broken apart by infidelity, swore he would never be that guy. He knew how it felt to have that happen, how he hated that feeling, how he could never do that to his family. You know that guy he said he wasn’t and would never be? He’s that guy.

    I love Unicorns and so hope you actually are one. Just be careful and protect yourself as best you can.

  • Chump Lady,

    After reading all of the wonderful posts on this thread and others, I think your motto of “Trust that they SUCK!” needs to be re-stated to…

    Trust that WE *DON’T* SUCK!


  • Chris, I can’t agree with you here. Truth State kicked her husband out. She was separated from him for two years. She was in counseling on her own.

    Yes, he didn’t shape up until he saw she would really divorce him, but he did shape up.

    I think it’s tempting to think that reconciliation is never possible and everyone who is cheated on must break up. Some people do work it out. Some cheaters do the work. It’s important to acknowledge that.

    The problem is that too often people are told to reconcile when they shouldn’t. The innocent spouse is told they are responsible for the problem. The guilty spouse is supposed to be given time to feel sorry for themselves.

    Ironically, I believe that if more people who were chumped took a hard line right away, there would be more real reconciliations.

    • You don’t cheat on someone you claim to love and why give someone a second chance, if they couldn’t take advantage of the first chance that they were given?

  • Truth State, so you were celibate and separated for 4 years and during the latter part of those years your husband did the hard work to “fix” himself. I cannot trust that your husband was celibate for those 4 years, clearly you didn’t have a PI or any other thing in place to ensure it. Now you have been reconciled for one year. And so, after 5 years of hell you proclaim you have found the Unicorn. I hope you are right, I doubt it because everything you relate indicates you forced it. But hey, be happy. I’ll post my own reconciliation story shortly. The short version because I don’t have the time to tell you the long one.

  • Lots of excellent thoughts in this response. I don’t like the idea of reducing cheating to entitlement though. Yes, entitlement is one of the pillars of cheating, but cheating is not only about entitlement. Much too much simplification in this equivalency.

    • Don’t know where you got the idea that anybody here thinks cheating is ONLY about entitlement. It’s a big factor in most of the long-term or multiple-affair cases, but not the only one even there.

      But check out the Bancroft book; it really opened my eyes to what entitlement is and how it shows up. My ex was SOOOOOO entitled always, about everything, still is! But he’s far more complex than that, he’s also selfish, irritable, irresponsible in his personal relationships while over-invested in his work, immature ….. 😉

      • Karen,
        From Chris’s excellent reply to the letter writer today:

        As Chump Lady has pointed out time and time again, no matter what kind of chaotic childhood or frenzied adult life one may have led, cheating comes down to one thing and one thing only: Entitlement

        I don’t agree.

  • Here’s the thing, at least from my perspective. Even in a reconciliation that seems to be working, that meets CLs and others’ criteria for the foundation of a successful reconciliation, the awareness that the marriage has been violated does not go away for me. I remain wary. I haven’t forgotten. Our interactions are slightly constrained, and the constraint is mostly on my end. Check in with me in the future and we will see if the easy comfort of simply being together ever returns. So far it has not.

    In case you are wondering:
    Brief affair, confessed once discovered
    Sought and initiated IC for himself and MC for us
    I threw him out within a couple of weeks of DDay and he was out for months
    Has been diagnosed as bipolar and is now on meds (they. Have made a tremendous difference)
    2.5 years later, still in IC, MC, and with psychiatrist (for med monitoring)
    Has apologized repeatedly to me, children, and my extended family
    Now engaged with the family and household in fully adult, responsible way (I used to do everything). He is present and involved every day…not flaking out like he did before.
    Professes to love me and family, etc. And acts like it
    Has even volunteered to be on vomit duty for the rest of our lives (and I have held him to it, even though it is surprisingly hard not to rush in when my kids are sick)

    So I would say that the jury is still out on the successful reconciliation, even with all of this. I am not surprised that they are as rare as unicorns. I’ll let you know if I ever see one.

    • Still a Chump, if he really is bipolar and he’s staying on meds and doing everything right then he is taking care of his mental illness. I think it is totally OK to be in a relationship with someone who suffers from a mental illness if they take responsibility for it and manage it. Sounds like *maybe* your spouse got the clue train. He seems to be doing all the right things for now. I have people in my life who have depression or other issues who do this. They don’t fuck people over, they might screw up but they don’t blame others for it. This is a big thing. The only thing with your situation that flags for me is that he had to caught to wake up. I think the whole thing about caring for someone is that if you do something wrong to someone, you tell them. You don’t hide it. So I totally understand your fears. It is good that HE initiated the help and he’s still doing it 2.5 years later. I wish you a unicorn 🙂

    • Still A Chump – I, too, am wishing you the best, that your man keeps his promises and your marriage is a true unicorn. Just make sure to protect yourself, because cheaters tend to check out right when you need them the most, when you’re at your most vulnerable – such as when a relative dies, or you get really sick. Just protect yourself, is all, just in case.

        • I had counselor that started out as MC and then I stayed with for IC…..he was not of the snake oil reconcliation industry…he told the truth as he observed it (which is why my EXH ran away all that NEGATIVE energy) In any event Still a chump I would like to share something that he shared with me. During the few MC sessions we went to my EXH used to howl that I had never “forgiven” him for the first affair (count right now unknown at least 5 that i know of over 17 years)…and the proof was that I hadn’t forgiven him because I refused to “FORGET” the affair. ……The MC set him straight and said that is the thing with humans…forgiveness does not equal forgetting…and if you don’t see that she did forgive you because she stayed around for 10 more years and had 3 more children with you….that is forgiveness……….but don’t expect her to forget…and also don’t expect that if she sees behavior that repeats the past and calls you out on it…you have to be willing to be 100% transparent….it is the ONLY way to get past this…you have to be willing to be questioned for the rest of your life……..becuase that is the ONLY way to earn the trust back…..

          I get really wanting the unicorn and I hope and pray that you get your unicorn……………but don’t ever forget and when something makes you feel “off” don’t ignore those warning signs…….your brain does that for a reason, its self protection……


    • Drew, it’s been so crazy. He is pushing for settlement but bullying me to settle his way, alone in a dark alley…or by text with no lawyers. The lawyer story is a nightmare–of course I’d settle but he’s playing so many games about income. Either we settle in relative darkness and he “will forego” making me jump through irrevelant hoops to distract from the real issue, or he will be required to –lie –which he will–under oath so we can make a presumably better informed decision about what to settle for. Meanwhile he’s harassing me with manipulative, demanding texts, saying it’s up to me– he’ll be “forced” to make me do these things if I don’t give him a concrete…text. Texts. I have to make a decision and I’m so threadbare
      I can’t decide what dental floss to use. Settling is the goal, but he’s essentially gaslighted any actual attempt (didn’t show when we went to HIS lawyer’s office) then comes to me TEXTING that I should meet with him alone and work this out, and he’s going bankrupt and he’ll have to borrow from his pension…. Pension?! I had to move from the seedy apartment I was told I’d surely be able to afford by the first lawyer (wrong) back in with my 87 year old father because he was not paying what the judge ordered. I couldn’t afford utility bills, let alone physical therapy. He “doesn’t agree” with the judges order. And boy, you know nothing about family law until it’s too late in this state–then you could write books on it. It took 11 months to get that much info back to the judge and he wound up paying just enough a few days in advance to escape any consequence. Then he put off mediation so I’d be required to do a,b,and c and proceeded to call me ten minutes later and rip me to shreds for not settling with him right then and there on the phone, and would I please “stop talking about the past!” The past meaning 20 minutes prior when we could have had a real settlement conference. I can’t decide if it’s worth poking at the bull, I’m pissing my own lawyer off with indecision and now I have to text something back to Igor until I have enough sanity to think anywhere near clearly about this. Oh man, apologies for lengthy rant but the support here sure helps. Thank you Drew, appreciate your post today! Off to get a copy of the medical records they got their mitts into now. It took everything I had not to text and ask if maybe his lawyer would like the results of my latest Pap smear 😉

  • Looks like you’ve got the right conditions, at least – increases your chances that it might work. Good luck!

  • The problem with reconciliation is not the lack of true unicorns. The problem is you must eat the shit sandwich and “forgive”. Yes, the cheater can do the work. Yes, the cheater can be truly sorry and not cheat again. But you cannot erase your memory. And when you are on the beach with bikini clad young girls don’t tell me that your mind is on watching the kids making sand castles. Your mind is on “OMG, does he like those girls better? Am I too fat/old/tall/short… Etc”

    The problem is that no matter what they take up way too much space in your head. And the very real fact that every time they get pissed because you forgot to ( fill in blank ) and they say something to you ( a very real something that you really did or did not do) then you will always think “yep, so what? You cheated on me”. The balance of power is forever thrown off. You can in no way ever be on equal footing. It becomes a very sad dance.

    I don’t mind people reconciling. It’s okay with me. I just mind that they think it’s ever going to work out well. It won’t. Marriage is hard enough.

    I will add that I am still with my H. I don’t love him. I never will. He doesn’t have the power to ever hurt me again. I stay because it’s best for me at this time but I’m not anywhere near happy and I could start a gift/florist shop with all the shit he’s given me. He’s signed the “post nup” legal shit. He is doing everything under the sun to be good and wonderful. It’s not enough. It will never be enough.

    Maybe I’m too hard on him but I expect more from the person that claimed to love me. Call me crazy 🙂

    • Bev, if this is true then please end it. Not fair to you or even to him to continue – don’t become what you hate? Jedi hugs!

    • Bev, if you are staying because of the children, don’t. Leave now whilst you still have your sanity and health. You owe t to the kids and also to yourself. They need a strong and present mother. Leave now.

    • Wait…. what? You said, “The problem is you must eat the shit sandwich and ‘forgive’”. No you don’t. Really. You don’t. Wouldn’t it be better to be happy alone?

      • With our reconsiliation I share my shit sandwich with him. That’s the key to figuring out if your partner is sincere. For example, just yesterday i went to the hair salon and there sits the OWs car. That yuck feeling pounded my stomach, but I took a deep breath, walked quickly to the back of the salon and tried to avoid her. I had no idea in a city as big as mine we went to the same salon. Then later that day, i went for a drink with some work colleagues and there sit 2 of her close friends. I sat down and ate another shit sandwich when one of the ladies accidentally said her name, and then blushed with embarrassment when she thought of me. I knew she didn’t mean me any harm. I powered through the ackward moment, and enjoyed the company, but I’m realizing that people who have not been cheated on have no idea the pain a chump goes through. It is really amazing the amount of shit sandwiches a chump can eat. Then later, I came home and shared what had happened with my H. I said,” just like in CL I had to eat the shit sandwich for something that wasn’t my fault. I’m like a victim, whose perpetrator is the one whose supposed to love and take care of me.” He listened, said he was very sorry and he wants me to keep telling him anything that bothers me , and he’ll share my shit sandwich with me. I think that’s the key to a truely sorry cheater, they are willing to share your pain not avoid it.

        • Not seeing how that was painful for him.
          You were the one who unnecessarily felt you had to rush to the back of the salon, not him. You were the one who was embarrassed by the friend blurting out the name of the OW, not him. I can empathize with your pain, but it doesn’t make it my pain. I’m not eating your shit sandwich.
          He listened to YOU express YOUR pain. That doesn’t make it his pain. He didn’t eat a shit sandwich. He didn’t even taste it on the tip of his tongue.

  • In 1999 when we’d been together for 6 years, I discovered my SO had cheated on me, it wasn’t an affair. He went on a vacation alone and afterward, quite by accident I found he’d been sending nude photos and getting set up to meet swingers on his solo vacation. We had serious talks, he told me he couldn’t actually go through with sex because he loved me. I didn’t believe him, I told him to get out and he left for a while. He never came to me and said he had cheated, I caught him. He never admitted fully what happened on that vacation. But, after a while he convinced me he’d worked on his issues, he loved me, he’d do anything if I’d take him back, so I did. He did EXACTLY all the things the Reconciliation Industrial Complex says he should do and then some. (Major point here; the books and websites did not exist at that time. He simply did everything you can now read about, only he did it without the cheat sheet, hah!) Why did he do it? Because he wanted me to take care of him, I truly believe that now. Anyhow, I LOVED him, so I told him he needed to do certain things so I could trust him again. He did all of them, he did them very well. After about a year and a half I regained my trust in him. I didn’t police him, I truly trusted him again. I really thought it was a one time fuck up and we were going to live our lives out together. I had total trust in him again, I had my Unicorn.

    All was well, and all manner of things were well for 6 years. In 2005 he had health issues and he used those to convince me to marry him. This was major for me; I don’t believe in marriage unless you have kids because in that case you need a contract. I always felt a commitment to one another was sufficient. Anyhow, I finally agreed to marry him. Once I married him sex practically stopped, he became withdrawn and got more and more emotionally distant and abusive. But it was a slow thing, his abuse became normalized because it wasn’t all at once. And when it was rage he would do the pity party, convince me that he was so broken inside and of course only I could keep him whole. Oh, and he would never hurt ME. Yeah.

    My mother died in my arms a few years later and I went into a deep depression. I needed my husband to be there for me. He wasn’t. He found someone else to take care of him. When I finally pulled myself out of my depression I found out about the affair he started while I was contemplating dying. It was the same fucking thing all over again. Only this time? He didn’t do all the right things, he felt entitled to his OW AND to be married to me. I guess that first time I taught him it was OK. He didn’t want to divorce, he refused to stop seeing the OW – willing to lie about it over and over though.

    But wait, he moved out for six months to work on himself, he needed to be a better man and get right before he could be a good husband to me. And of course he wasn’t going to see the OW. But that was just another lie, he moved out to make it easier to cheat. During that time he dated me, he brought me flowers, he was his best self when he was around me. I’m sure he was just as nice to his OW. When I found all this shit was lies and said I was divorcing him no matter what he attacked me, I’m not going into that fiasco here. He then moved back into the house, he knew his rights, I couldn’t get him out. He insisted he would live in MY house until he died and that he would never divorce me, nor would he give up his OW. And then I started finding out about other OWs over the years, here and there – by then it was just accidental info that didn’t matter, I had to get him away from me. In the end I didn’t give him a choice, no one can stop you from divorcing in the US.

    So, I tell this summary of my reconciliation Unicorn and the subsequent reappearance of the cheating Bullshitticorn to illustrate the ephemeral quality of reconciliation. Mine lasted for 1.5 years when I was watching him, I didn’t learn that it never stopped until 10 years later, reality is that he was cheating or attempting to cheat during our entire relationship. He just got way better at hiding it after I caught him the first time. Side dish was fine until he thought I was going down the drain. At that point, he found a more “practical” OW when for the first time in our 17 years together I needed him. Until my depression he was careful, but when he thought I wasn’t up to his needs at all? He went out and found some other woman to take care of him and left me to rot in grief and pain.

    I regret not leaving in 1999 when I was seeing rainbows and unicorns. Instead I invested another 11 years in our relationship. I went through much more pain upon discovery of his infidelity the second time than I ever did the first time. He stole from me the ability to make good choices in my life with his lies and manipulations, he stole the most precious thing I have; time. The only solace I have is that I will not be taking care of him in old age.

    OH, and lest I forget, my ex continues to spew Bullshitticorn farts. I know for a fact my ex has been living off his OW ever since our separation (he had a short stay at his mothers). I know that he professes his “love” for her in exactly the same manner he did to me, right down to the actual words and gestures he makes. The same flowers, the same endearments, the same EXACT daily emails, all of it. I also know that he signed up for Ashley Madison one month after moving in with his OW. If he can find someone with more money, no doubt he will move on, otherwise he’ll just cheat on her too. You see, once I was totally off the table he had to secure his new caretaker. I have no doubt when she catches him cheating he will refuse to leave her. There are certain people who feel entitled to be taken care of. The longer you do it, the more entitled they become. But those people always find someone else to suck dry, it doesn’t have to be you. It will certainly never be me again.

    I do not believe in unicorns any longer. Here there be dragons, we toast unicorns for breakfast ;). Now if anyone has a Pegasus, I might be tempted to fly!

    • Thanks for sharing your story, Datdamwuf. Bullshitticorns? Best. Word. Ever.

      • “I know that he professes his “love” for her in exactly the same manner he did to me, right down to the actual words and gestures he makes. The same flowers, the same endearments, the same EXACT daily emails, all of it.”

        Mine too; he even calls her the nickname that he called me. I would have thought he could at least be original, but nope.

        • Rumblekitty, after I read the emails I realized that he had not called me by my actual NAME in years. So many years I could not remember the last time he did so. It freaked me out, like I was interchangeable, not a full person.

          • Same here. The only time he really said my name was when he was introducing me to someone. lol

            • Same here! Rarely used my name. I used endearments all the time hoping he would do the same. They would even slip out when I was upset with him. He never used one on me, unless he wanted something from me, which sickened me. And of course, complaining at the lack of reciprocation and his withholding just gave him more power and control to upset me. One time, it was Freudian really, he told me “he could never have enough of MY endearments” but saw no reason to return the favor… what a total narc prick!

            • Rumblekitty, I thought I was the only person whose now ex husband never called them by their given name unless they were introducing them to somebody and even then it was a struggle and it puzzled me. My ex always called me “love” or “gorgeous”. One day close to the end as we were finishing a phone conversation he called me “babe”. I could tell he realised that he had used a name of someone else!!! I had soooo many red flags and ignored them all. More the fool me.

          • OMG – I just realized that is what has been happening to me. I’m sometimes, Hun, Fishface, Hey-hurry (paper cut), Can’t-you-hear-me?, but no, not my Real Name. How odd and how reflective.

        • My ex called me “Honey.” During the hellish five months after Dday that we lived in the same house, I saw a text from him to the main OW. He called her Honey as well. I realized then that to him, we were both the same anyway, so why not call us by the same name? He didn’t care about either of us as actual people.

      • Yes, thank you for sharing your story….wow you’ve been through a lot. I hear you on the loss of time. Arrgh.