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Please Don’t Ask Ms. Vicki

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MSVickiAn alert chump in the U.S. military sent me this link to the columnist “Ms. Vicki” whose advice runs in military publications and on military.com. The question posed was whether or not to tell an OW’s husband, a Marine, that he was being chumped.

I’ll let you judge the caliber of this advice for yourself. My snark savagery will appear afterwards.

Dear Ms. Vicki,

After 18 years of marriage, I found out my husband is having an affair. The other woman is married to another Marine, and this is not the only affair my husband has had.

My husband has never said “sorry,” and I have filed for divorce. He has made a mockery out of this.

I want to contact the other husband and let him know his wife is a cheater. Am I wrong? My life is turned upside down. Please help.

Sincerely,

Devastated Wife

Dear Devastated,

Wow, 18 years? I am so sorry to hear this. I don’t blame you for wanting to contact this hussy’s husband and tell him that his wife is a cheater. You have been through so much emotional turmoil because of her actions.

I’m increasingly meeting women who confess that they are the “Other Woman,” and they don’t mind being in that position.

They report that being the other woman is the best position in the world to be in for several reasons. They don’t have the stress of keeping the marriage together.

When they see your husband, he is looking good and at his best. He is not stressed out about work and sad about other life events because you, the wife, put up with the problems.

The Other Woman doesn’t have to cook his meals or wash his dirty underwear. When she has her rendezvous with your husband, he is ready to have fun and spend his money.

Lastly, the Other Woman doesn’t care anything about “his wife” or “his children.” It’s all about her.

When I hear this kind of thing, it makes me realize how easy it is to be the Other Woman. The Other Woman doesn’t have any investment.

So, I know your first reaction is to tell this Marine that his wife has been cheating with your husband.

I agree that he should know, but I’m wondering if that will keep you on a roller coaster ride of emotional turmoil. Besides, if she is the typical “Other Woman,” she doesn’t care if you tell her husband.

Please know that marriage can survive infidelity. I know many that have survived and became much better, with the couple being open and honest with each other about what caused the affair.

I can’t tell you to stay or leave your husband. However, you should give careful consideration to both. Let me know what you decide to do.

Sincerely,

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

Your advice sucks. You took a question that ostensibly was about two chumps — the writer (married to a serial cheater) and the OW’s husband, a Marine who is unknowingly being chumped — and you made it all about the OW.

The OW is a side dish, a fuckbuddy frippery. She’s not All Powerful with the “best position in the world.” (What position would that be? Doggy style? Reverse cowgirl?) According to “Devastated Wife” she’s not even the first OW. She’s the most recent. And yet instead of comfort and clear-headed direction, you write a valentine to OW. It’s so “easy”! So “fun”! and the OW gets to “spend his money”!

You make cheating sound like a cross between a day at the mall and summer camp. Who wants to be a wife when you can be a groovy, carefree fuck puppet?

The OW isn’t the problem here — the problem is DW’s SERIAL CHEATING HUSBAND. As long as there’s a buffet of willing OW, the guy isn’t going to keep it in his pants. Hell, more to the point, HE ISN’T EVEN SORRY FOR CHEATING ON HER. According to DW, he’s “made a mockery” of her attempts to escape his abuse, i.e., filing for divorce. And you think her marriage could “survive” and “be much better”? Based on WHAT? Magic unicorn dust?

What evidence do you have that it could be better? His serial philandering? His utter lack of respect for DW? His complete absence of remorse?

Or do you just, on principle, think it’s a shame to throw away an 18-year marriage, even if that marriage is full of abuse? DW isn’t the person throwing the marriage away, Vicki. It’s her husband. He shat on it. She can stick around and let him continue to shit on their marriage or she can find her self respect and leave.

The woman finds the courage to do that — and you question her judgement and bizarrely tell her how fabulous it is to be an OW. Gee, maybe she should be more fun like the OW. Pick me dance anyone?

“You have been through so much emotional turmoil because of her actions.”

 No. She’s been through so much turmoil because her HUSBAND brought the OW into her world. Her husband betrayed her and humiliated her. The OW could be anyone.

But hey, she’s not just anyone. She’s some Marine’s wife. Some guy who is serving our country whose wife is fucking around on him. That guy doesn’t even merit a half a sentence from you. Sure, tell him, you say — but “if she is the typical ‘Other Woman,’ she doesn’t care if you tell her husband.”

IT’S NOT ABOUT HER! It’s about HIM! He deserves the dignity of the truth. He deserves to know his wife is endangering his health and well-being. By saying OW “doesn’t care” you are as good as saying “oh, don’t bother.”

Hell YES she should BOTHER. Clearly you don’t spend any time on infidelity boards, because if you did you’d know that OW care very much if you tell their husbands. It has a sobering effect on affairs, and usually results in OW either winding up divorced (and being thrown under the bus by the married man who doesn’t want a quite-so available OW), or desperately doing damage control with her husband.

The truth should win out. That man deserves to know. Who gives a fuck if his wife cares or doesn’t care? She didn’t much consider HIS feelings in the matter, now did she?

Vicki, your advice is offensive and wrong-headed. Can’t the military find a better use for your writing abilities? Users manuals? Deployment newsletters? PowerPoint presentations?

Stay out of the deep waters of infidelity. You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

Dear Devastated Wife,

 Yes, tell the OW’s husband. He deserves the truth. 

Your husband is a serial cheater, who is not one bit sorry. He’s abused you and your trust long enough. There is nothing here to work with. Stay the course on the divorce. 

It’s better on the other side. ((Big hugs))

Chump Lady

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Dear Vicki,

    Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

    That any military periodical would advocate (even indirectly) keeping a Marine in the dark about being betrayed, especially when the betrayal includes dishonorable conduct by another Marine, is disgraceful. Does anyone remember what “Semper Fi” means? FUBAR doesn’t begin to cover it.

    • What’s next, Vicki? A letter advising us that *other* types of betrayal are also kinda cool and not so black-and-white?

      “I’m increasingly meeting citizens who confess that they are ‘Traitors To Our Country,’ and they don’t mind being in that position. They report that being Traitors to our country is the best position in the world for several reasons. They don’t have the stress of protecting and serving their loved ones. When they see terrorists they aren’t all stressed out and sad about all the innocent people they have killed and maimed and stuff because other folks take care of all that messy safety and justice business. The Traitors to Our Country don’t have to sacrifice or bear personal hardships or risk their lives. When a war comes along, they can forget about it by having fun and spending money. Lastly, Traitors don’t care anything about ‘others.’ It can be all about them.”

      Gee, Vicki. I never thought of it that way. I guess there *are* two sides to every story. . . .

        • Go get a degree, a real job and find a good man because obviously yours was or is a cheater. You are a hater and Ms. Vicki could care less about what you think. You stupid fool. The other woman does not care…this is so typical. The woman should STOP giving the other woman her time, thoughts and energy. THE OTHER WOMAN DOES NOT CARE!!! WE SEE IT AND HEAR IT EVERYDAY! GET YOUR MUDDY HEADS OUT OF THE SAND! LOL! C.H.U.M.P.S.! Crazy Haters Under Muddy Piles of Shit!

    • Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

      *Snort* Still laughing at that Nomar. And super awesome with your other comparison!

    • Wasn’t this Miss Vicki once married to Tiny Tim? I imagine having to take it deep from that guy messed her up.

    • I was thinking the same thing, Janet. She made her response all about the OW, with details only an OW would know.

      “If she’s the typical ‘Other Woman,’ she won’t care if you tell her husband.” Yeah, right. Because most men don’t care if their wives sleep around. NOT!

      Someone needs to fire Miss Vicki. She’s completely unqualified to give advice.

    • This was my exact same thought. Ms Vicki sure seems to relish in the life of an OW. I’d almost be willing to bet she is one herself, or has been.

  • How I love this – “It has a sobering effect on affairs, and usually results in OW either winding up divorced (and being thrown under the bus by the married man who doesn’t want a quite-so available OW), or desperately doing damage control with her husband.”

    Wanting to get to meh …

    • In my case, when I told the OW’s husband, she ended up filing to divorce him, and my husband is divorcing me so they can get married to each other. Theirs is a love which cannot be denied. Clearly, commitment is very important to both of them. 😉

      Not at Meh yet, but at least I’m not part of this drama anymore.

      • Here’s to you, Rumblekitty, for getting out of that mess and leaving the two lovebirds to deal with each other. It sounds as if they are truly soulmates. 😛

        • Yep. She’s going to marry my serial-cheating STBXH. I’m sure it’s all gonna work out perfectly. lol

          • A friend of mine’s XH moved her and their kids out, and OW – brand new wife #2 – in. He didn’t change the paint or the furniture, including the marital bed. When I told my friend that was totally disgusting, she said, “What can I say? He’s her 4th husband.”

            To which I replied, “Oh – she’s just passing through on her way to her next marriage.”

            Sounds like your XH Rumblekitty. Their love will be for all time…or until he gets bored with her, which will be sooner than she thinks.

            • He has the attention span of a 3 year old, so I’m pretty sure the sparkle will wear off in 10, 9, 8, 7, . . . .

              The fun part of all this is I have daily email conversations with her STBXH. I get to hear about her calling him in tears because he’s changed the locks and “moved on so quickly”. Maybe my cheater-pants X isn’t looking so good to her now. Who knows. I equate her to wanting only the things that seem to be slipping away, kind of like a cat chases after a piece of string. If it’s running away, she wants it. Dumb ass.

      • Hey Rumblekitty, I know exactly what you mean. I had suspected the OW had feelings for my husband for 2 – 3 years, but I was such a chump I believed my husband when he said I was wrong and even if she had feelings for him, he wasn’t interested. In November 2013 I put my foot down and said the texting between my husband and OW (whom he worked with) had to stop after a text count of 5000 for the month. Of course this was all blamed on her. Amazingly the following month showed NO texts between the two (secret phone). Then he was going to leave the job where they worked together in order to start his own company. He knew I was thrilled that he would be away from her. Oh no! Low and behold he tells me she is going to come and work for HIM. She ( who has 2 small children and a husband who isn’t working b/c he’s going to school) is going to leave her secure job with benefits to come and work with MY husband in a company that doesn’t have enough money to pay him. (As of today she doesn’t work there, he’s working on getting a loan for the business)

        Then he sends me and the kids away to my mom’s house for the Christmas holiday’s because it is too stressful at home. We end up staying until after New Year’s at his insistence. When we get back he needs to go out of town to get some “sleep”. Silly me, I say “sure honey. You work too hard. Go get some rest, what a great idea” So he goes and only tells me what city he’s going to. Well, I finally started to see the light. I went to his office and found that his computer history was wiped out, but he had left the directions on his desk. I called every hotel on the street he had written down and discovered the hotel where he was staying. He paid cash and did not use his home address at check in.

        D-day came the following week on Jan 14. He said he had to work late. I knew he was lying so I went looking for him and when he wasn’t at work, and wasn’t answering my texts, I finally called the OW”s husband. He informed me that she had already filed for divorce and had been out of town WITH her two small children the same days my husband had been out of town. Then he checked her credit card and she had rented a hotel room for that night. Well I can tell you the shit hit the fan! I gave my husband multiple ways to prove that his version of the story was true and he couldn’t do any of them. All of these things were just coincidence. He didn’t know what was going on with her. The final blow came about a week later when after falling apart and begging him to prove me wrong, I asked him to call her on speaker phone or text her and let me read the texts and find out where she was when he was out of town and why she had rented a hotel room the night he wasn’t at work. He looked at me like I had lost my mind b/c it wasn’t appropriate to contact her at 11pm. Well I guess not when I know about it at least. At this point I realized and said that if what was appropriate for the other woman was more important than saving our marriage then he could leave.

        So the OW’s husband and I have been in contact over the last month and there are so many coincidences in their schedules that they must share a calendar. Recently, I went to his apartment building at night and saw both of their cars there. I simply left a note on each one saying “I Know”.

        All of this evidence and still I want him to admit it! We have been married for 16 years, don’t I deserve the decency of the truth. I’ve all but caught them with their pants down. To top it all off, this woman paid me to watch her oldest son when he was an infant.

        There have been many OW I can see in hindsight, but he always dropped them when I got too suspicious. I can’t figure out for sure why he wouldn’t drop this one, but her husband doubts the paternity of his youngest 🙁

        I hope I can get to meh…..

        • TryingToMoveOn,

          we women are like cops…we can have all the evidence in the world the crime was committed and it proves he is guilty, yet still want a confession…

            • TryingToMoveOn,

              I know…I was in your place not long ago..I had all the evidence, all the proof that I needed, yet I still wanted to hear the truth from his own mouth, which by the way didn’t and wont ever happen. They will never admit to anything, even if you have evidence they will just sit there and deny the truth and that itself puts the BS’s in a limbo and makes you second guess yourself. Don’t fall in to that trap! You know the truth in your heart, cover your ears and don’t believe a word that comes out of that liars mouth, just look at his actions and don’t ever expect a cheater/liar to tell you the truth because its a manipulation tactic. How could we ever expect a liar to be honest with us and tell us the truth? They wont and we have a better chance of hitting the lottery than them being honest about anything! Look at him and see who he really is, a lying cheat who deceived, lied and cheated on you and that’s who he is. A worthless cheater and a lying piece of shit!!

              PS: even if you caught them with their pants down, he will still turn it around and tell you what you saw wasn’t what it was, then a week later he will completely deny that ever took place. You see what I am saying?

              • nicolette14 thanks. I know what you are saying is true. Especially about catching them with their pants down. The day after I put the note on their cars, he wanted to “talk”. I said if you are going to try and justify her being at your apartment til 2:30 am there’s no point. His answer was that there’s no point. I suppose that’s the closest to an admission I can ever hope for.

                This is a fantastic blog. It helps those of us recently chumped to know that we are not crazy and that yes they suck!

  • “I know many that have survived and became much better, with the couple being open and honest with each other about what caused the affair.”

    How can a marriage survive if one partner could care less about torpedoing the bottom of the marriage “boat” with repeated affairs? How do you rebuild that? If that partner has no interest in stopping, the marriage is sunk. Period. And it is the torpedoes of infidelity launched by the husband that sunk the marriage not anything else.

    So pathetic that this author does not call out DW’s husband to “man up” and take responsibility for his poor and abusive choices. Blame-shift to the chump. Tell her to hold the marriage together and work on her “contributing” issues. Typical. And awful advice.

    As CL stated:

    “‘You have been through so much emotional turmoil because of her actions.’

    No. She’s been through so much turmoil because her HUSBAND brought the OW into her world. Her husband betrayed her and humiliated her. The OW could be anyone.”

    Exactly. Focus the cause on the causer…not on the collateral damage.

  • There used to be, and may still be, a chump married to a military guy on this site. I think she was worried about outing her STBX due to loss of support. The only reason for NOT telling the OWs husband is that adultery can get you discharged from the military. This may result in the chump not getting child support.

    • Yes, I have a friend who divorced a narcissistic “hero” military man. She was a stay-at-home wife, supporting his career, as elite military men generally require. She has lost everything. All base privileges were summarily stripped, her whole life and lifestyle turned on its head. The OW enjoys all of that now. The judge in her at-fault state fawned all over the elite military “service” man and treated my friend like an annoyance, when it was my friend who was cruelly betrayed and abused (there were police records, and everything.)

    • The military does not want to be in people’s lives..and will most likely turn a blind eye to the adultery…while the law is in the UCMJ…reality is unless you have unrefutable evidence of the actual “act” between 2 people its going no where. This is a reality….it is pretty much like no-fault divorce…they want to stay away from it and pretend its not going on

    • I think it depends on the rank of the cheater.

      The military is very against cheating, and will enforce their own demerit punishments on enlisted who are caught cheating on their spouses. That goes for the lower ranks…….the higher ranks seem to get a free pass sometimes. (My ex was in the military during our entire courtship, so I know about how things were handled at his particular unit, anyhow.)

      I say, tell the husband because he deserves to know. Then do one better – tell your husbands’ and the OW’s commanding officer. Depending on their rank/unit, those cheaters will either get a hand-slapping or be thrown in the brig.

      • This.

        My STBX’s father was a career army guy–enlisted at age 17 in the Marines, went to Korea during the Korean War, and then went to the army. He retired at the highest rank of warrant officer available at that time. For at least the last 10 years of his active duty, he was carrying on an affair with another woman. It was an open secret.

        Chief Warrant Officers are pretty high up there in terms of rank and experience. No one rocked the infidelity boat, that’s for sure.

  • “I know many that have survived and became much better, with the couple being open and honest with each other about what caused the affair.”

    UGH! Ms. Vicki has hit on something that makes me see red. This “conventional wisdom” that leads to such pain and confusion for honest people yet providing a great smokescreen for serial cheaters. Why do so many in a position to be writing about this topic assert that the same folks who made a mess being deceitful will now all of a sudden handle themselves in open and honest ways?

    Feeling bad for the military readers, perhaps some of them chumps who have yet to find the light of this site, now being told yet again to “hang in there!, your spouse really IS trying to be open and honest!”…

    Final note: I heart you, Chump Lady.

    • Yeah, NOT. I posted this comment on her article: This statement is BS: “Please know that marriage can survive infidelity. I know many that have survived and became much better”. Give us a citation, you have study that supports that? Because I only know of two such marriages and they are making a huge amount of money selling the idea that cheating can make a marriage better. It’s simply not true, it does sell well though.

      • Dat, I read this post on MS and I thought she was right on with everything that she wrote, here it is;

        Julie says:
        December 6, 2012 at 2:51 am

        I have a great success story, I got rid of a terrible disease called a cheating/lying husband and I feel much better. I have found life is so much better without a cancer in your bed. I am not totally healed from the disease, but I am no longer terminal on my way to being cured, and it’s great!!

        Having said that,

        an affair DOES NOT make a marriage stronger. That’s just a bunch a bull since a marriage is based on two people being faithful to each other no matter the circumstance. As I said before, loyalty is everything. .When your partner has an affair, it shreds you to pieces and shatters the image you had of your partner as the one person you could always trust, always count on. What an affair DOES do is change the marriage. Whether it’s working on the problems you may have been having before the affair happened or realizing that the person you married isn’t who you thought they were. There is no stronger, there is only change, good or bad. Infidelity never makes a marriage stronger. It’s a line that therapists use to try to instill hope and produce change in the counseling participants. For real. It’s used to encourage participants to fully engage in the counseling process.

        How can an act that tears at the very foundation of a marriage, improve it? It can’t and it doesn’t. Trusting your heart to someone’s care is a rare and precious thing. And I feel no decent human being would rip yours out if they really love you.

        cheating is really a big issue and usually ends the relationship… Some couples that say it doesn’t end a relationship are, it’s obvious, cheaters…

        Cheating is complete betrayal of the marriage bond. Once someone has cheated that bond is broken. It will never be a true marriage again.

        Honestly, this concept really irritates me. He/She cheats and it is the responsibility of the “cheated on” to TRY HARDER to salvage a relationship with a person who apparently has no regard for the relationship to begin with? Really? Utter crap.

        CHEATING STINKS AND THERE IS NO ROOM FOR IT IN A HONEST/GOOD RELATIONSHIP PERIOD. AND YES THERE IS NO GOING BACK ONCE IT HAPPENS, SPEAKING FROM EXPERIENCE HERE, NO TRUST NO RELATIONSHIP.

        Cheating means you are a liar. You lied when you took your vows. Cheating means you are a thief. It means you took the love, attention, effort and affection that rightfully belonged to your family and gave it to someone else. Cheating is not the fault of both spouses. It is the fault of the person who chose to cheat. Make your marriage better? How does learning you are married to a cheater, liar and a thief make your marriage better? Nah, it just shows the universe the cheater doesn’t deserve to be married to anyone except another cheater.

        What would have made the marriage stronger? If the tempted spouse said NO, recommitted to his/her partner, and entered (with his/her partner) into counseling to further reinforce the marriage bonds.

        The thing that makes a marriage stronger after infidelity is the hard work and counseling the couple engages in. period. That hard work and counseling could have occurred WITHOUT cheating as a triggering event.

        So it’s NOT and NEVER IS the infidelity that makes a marriage strong. I get so sick of that bull**** therapist line because they ALL know it’s not true. The cheating (or, more often, the discovery of the cheating) is simply a trigger to engage in counseling…and the trigger SHOULD have been the temptation to cheat.

        Cheating should not be transformed into some sort of gift. It’s not the reverse of a Trojan horse. So to say a marriage is better than before after an affair is ——-“ a hogwash and it makes me sick to my stomach”

        I just feel the need to share the only “success” story I knew about, here is what happened:

        The lady and her high school sweetheart were in love and married. They had three beautiful daughters and the white picket fence.

        She has a career a lovely heart and very pretty etc.

        Her husband takes up a new interest meets someone and begins an affair.

        She puts him out goes on with her life. She had papers on file for D. He grovels and she makes him go on sitting in his stew for a year. After he does counseling, begging, church, courting her again etc. She believed he’d seen the error of his ways and let him return home…

        The years went by and he seemed a changed person. We all began to think well this one may have survived the odds. A person can change. The kids have their father again etc.

        Then the truth comes out …he is cheating on his wife again with someone he met where he eats lunch.

        The moral….a cheater will 999.9999% always cheat again especially when the right circumstances open up. Not very good odds to bet your best years on!

        Cheaters are a particular subgroup of society. Proven to be extremely dishonest by their actions. I believe their ability to change that dishonesty & become a truly honorable person is like teaching a lion to be vegetarian.

        You can’t teach good character.

        • Thank you. I’ve been chumped and early in the process of moving through the pain. What you’ve shared here will help me get through today and that is a start. Have a good day!

          • MP, your welcome. I know you are hurting and am sorry for your pain, but in time it will lessen and eventually it will be a distant memory. In the meantime, please take good care of yourself and have a good day.

        • “The moral….a cheater will 999.9999% always cheat again especially when the right circumstances open up. Not very good odds to bet your best years on!”

          You are completely right about this. I just had this conversation with a co-worker and she believes people can change. I told her I think people can change too, but subgroup of cheaters lack the character required to see the value in changing in the first place.

          • Rumblekitty,
            The most frequent question people ask is: “Can this person ever really change?” And they most often ask this question while struggling to decide whether to sever a relationship, or stick it out in the hope that change is possible.

            In a sense, the question of whether a person can change is without much meaning.. The simple answer to that question is: yes, manipulators, and/or any disturbed character for that matter, being human beings with free will, can (i.e. have the power to) change/and/or their behavior..however, even just trying to change their behavior can be extremely difficult and it will take lot of hard work…

            But the more crucial and meaningful questions are:

            Under what circumstances are they likely to be motivated to change?

            Does changing their outward behavior mean they’ve really had a change of heart?

            and,

            How do you know whether a change you think you see will be genuine and lasting?

            IMO and from experience, —–people do not change—-, they can try to change their behavior, but even that’s very hard to do, you can’t change their core and who and what they really are.

            AND most psychiatrists will tell you, “The best predictor of future behavior is the past behavior.”

            • I think people don’t change…… they simply reveal what their true character was all along. For some that’s a good thing, and for others, well, not so good.

  • Urgh, another article perpetuating the view that it is somehow glamorous to be the OW. It doesn’t do anyone any good for this view to be put out there. It makes some men think that women are happy to be their unpaid whores and it makes some women think that this is some kind of glamorous, easy, no hassle way to get a man. It cheapens people and devalues marriage.

    • Yep. I actually have more respect for professional prostitutes. At least they are doing what they do as a clear business arrangement. They aren’t pretending that there is “true love” involved, or that they are soul mates with the cheater or they are “destined to be together.” An OW is just a skank who feeds herself a line of bullshit to excuse her actions.

      • True.

        Glorifying APs is ridiculous. Why no just glorify stealing money from your workplace, or from a bank? “It’s great! You get all the money, without having to do any of the work!” Or stealing food….”It’s the best position – you get this great meal and didn’t have to do any of the work to get it, or any of the cleanup!” Sheesh.

  • Just more proof that infidelity isn’t the rare, tragic regrettable mistake made by a genuine person who “lost their way”.

    In reality, infidelity is horribly common, committed by shameless psychologically fucked up,immoral arseholes who care about no one but themselves, and whose actions are not only accepted by supposed experts, but encouraged by the mass media.

    I’ m sick to death of seeing cheaters portrayed in roles in movies, TV dramas etc, as some hero of strong character who had a weak moment, but he’s a clearly a good guy otherwise. Or the “sex in the city/desperate housewives” mentality that cheating is sooo cool!………..sorry, but fuck that!

    I’m not a US citizen, but it makes my blood boil to see your government spend YOUR tax money, that you earnt, for an idiot to write something that is not only beyond worthless, but completely offensive and destructive.

  • This is common for the military. Brush it under the rug because no commander wants to deal with it. My army husband cheated, but they wouldn’t do anything about it except label me a nuisance if I were to report him since there is no physical proof of the affair.

    It’s probably because it’s just so fresh for me, but I just don’t get how any military man can do this to a woman who has probably stood by her man while he was deployed, prayed for his safety, and felt the heartache that comes with the ups and downs of military life. He probably had buddies that had cheating spouses and comforted them through their trials, calling the cheating wife a whore and other terrible names, but then he turns around and does it to his own good woman.

    This world makes no sense to me. Sorry for the rant, but I want to hug this woman and tell her she’s not alone. This is the worse thing anyone could ever do to someone. I just don’t understand how people can be wired to be so heartless. Ugh, my heart hurts.

    • I’m convinced there’s a real narcissism problem in the military. Must come with being in positions of power. In my situation, the OM was ex-military.

  • Amazing that this idiot Vicki is buying/selling the old ‘What you both did to contribute to the affair.’. Can we please retire this old chestnut once and for all? If it was that bad then leave. If it was good enough to stay then stay and work on it. Enough with the cake eating bullshit, and the excuses that go along with it.

  • If I am wrong, please correct me. Vikki’s advice sucks. Aside from Vikki’s advice, though, military spouses are entitled to a portion of retirement. That being said, adultery is a punishable offense that can result in discharge, which could be detrimental to benefits. Of course, as always, adultery is difficult to prove.

    By no means suggesting that someone sweep something under the rug. Just be smart, wise, and exercise caution.

    • Point taken, but I think a lot of chumps are seriously (and understandably) suspicious of advice to be “cautious” with letting the truth be known. If military spouse chumps risk suffering an economic loss by divorce, that makes them pretty much the same as every other chump.

    • Here are your requested corrections:

      1) ” Vikki’s advice sucks.” Not entirely.

      In addition to being a columnist, Vicki is also a currently practicing mental health professional (social worker) and therefore ethically bound to encourage her clients to carefully examine self and to weigh all pros and cons carefully, before making their own decisions. (Own your problem. Own your solution.) Which is precisely what Vicki did at the end of her commentary. Editorialists and commentators external to individual situations are not ethically bound to do this, although they ought to feel morally obligated to do so.

      2) ” Aside from Vikki’s advice, though, military spouses are entitled to a portion of retirement.” This is not true in all cases.

      Sometimes the spouse gets nothing. It depends upon the number of years that the marriage and the length of military service overlapped. I had to research this issue as it was applicable to my own property settlement.

      This, however, is excellent advice: “By no means suggesting that someone sweep something under the rug. Just be smart, wise, and exercise caution.”

      If we allow emotion to cloud our judgment about the collateral facts and cause us to act precipitously in complicated situations, we can end up shooting ourselves in the foot. And when we do this, we have no one but ourselves to blame for it.

      • Plenty of mental health professionals give absolutely dreadful advice. As any reading of the contributors to the HuffPo Divorce pages can demonstrate. (Dr. Tammy anyone?)

        So she’s ethically bound to encourage reconciliation. Is she ethically bound to romanticize the benefits of being an OW?

        • Nomar: I am a chump and I was never “suspicious” when this advice was given to me. I am not advocating silence. I am advocating gathering knowledge, understanding how the “system” works (family law and/or court martial), and making a prudent decision that is in the best interest of the chump, which only he or she can determine. I understand this is not an uncommon concern for military spouses.

          NotYou: I stand by my comment that Vikki’s advice sucks. I don’t care if she is a medical professional. The bulk of her response centers on the other woman, not the grieving chump, which is piss-poor. Furthermore, before she proffers the “I can’t tell you what to do” line, she prefaces it with the “marriage can survive infidelity” olive branch. The woman stated that her husband had multiple affairs, made a mockery of the situation– “mockery” insinuates “humiliation”, which in my world, means a lack of respect at best and abuse at worst– and she filed for divorce. Thus, the statement adds nothing to her already lackluster advice and undercuts any good suggestions she, as a licensed mental health professional, could offer to the chump but did not.

          Finally, you are right that benefits are contingent upon duration of marriage and duration of service. You will have to pardon me for only offering a general morsel to consider.

          Chump Lady: I agree with your compassionate response. I was only bringing up a point to consider with the benefits. That’s all.

        • The only thing Huffpo editorial pages demonstrate is that you and Dr. Tammy disagree have differing opinions. Mine differ from both of you in some respects..which is a fact-not an opinion.

          Vicki didn’t romanticize being an OW. She clearly states that OWs have often “romanticized” their status to her and elaborated on their sentiments. She did opine that being an OW is “easier” than being the betrayed partner. I agree with her. OPs don’t have the same “investment” as a marital commitment.

          Please read carefully before attributing motives to me: Where in the following words do I state that Vicki is ethically bound to promote reconciliation?

          “… ethically bound to encourage her clients to carefully examine self and to weigh all pros and cons carefully, before making their own decisions. (Own your problem. Own your solution.)”

          You took issue with the fact that Vicki didn’t address the culpability of the cheater. Maybe she read the question as relating primarily to the OW? Maybe she didn’t have time or space? Maybe she wanted to reserve that as separate topic? How can you know everything that was going on in Vicki’s mind when wrote that response?

          • Of course I’m not in Vicki’s head. I’m only judging her by what she wrote — which was moronic. IMO she is romanticizing the OW by making her the central part of the entire narrative, when the OW has absolutely nothing to do with the question asked — should I tell the chump husband? How much OW like being OW contributes nothing to the conversation that I can see. What was the point? Be more “fun” like an OW? The OW isn’t going to care if you out her? (who cares?)

            And her reminder that marriages can survive infidelity is a value judgement, IMO. Can marriages survive infidelity? My thoughts on this are all over this blog — but I think it rare. But where it happens there’s got to be something to work with. We don’t pull unicorns out of thin air. Vicki gave that advice with zippo to go on. No remorse. Serial cheater. “Making a mockery,” etc. What exactly is the poster going to hang her hat on to “save”? His potential? She’s already filed. To raise the specter of “saving” the marriage IMO calls into question her decision.

            In short, I thought the whole answer totally off-base and weirdly centered on What It Is To Be an OW.

            • Chump Lady and Dr. I Can’t Believe I’m a Chump are SO on the correct path on these topics. The hearts and flowers for the OW were free-flowing. The OP’s question wasn’t about the OW, FCS! So, all that BS was not only unnecessary, but a bit of rubbing salt in an open wound.
              Ms. Vicki might as well have just responded, “Oh, honey. Let me tell you about all of the benefits (and none of the risks) of being the OW! It’s delicious!”
              The final bullet came when she said “… about what caused the affair.” Here’s what caused the affair, you idiot – he fucking cheated! Way to go, Ms. Vicki.

      • Advising someone to “Just be smart, wise, and exercise caution” is horrible mental health advice–because it is non-advice CYA advice that applies to everyone in every situation. It is an abdication of that professional’s role and helpful exactly not-at-all. Unless your highest goal is avoiding litigation. Then and only then I suppose it might get a barely passing grade. Same is true when such “advice” when given by lawyers, doctors, generals, etc.

        • Nomar, I don’t think Dr. I Can’t Believe I’m a Chump was offering mental health advice. (I think she’s getting her PhD in political studies of some sort). IMO she was just saying, game it out. If you report the cheating to the military commander — not an option your civilian chump has — it could have economic repercussions for the chump (they lose their job, chumps loses benefits.)

          In the civilian world, I suppose you could report your cheater to their job for a workplace affair. Same risk. Everyone weighs it differently. That doesn’t mean you can’t tell the truth in your personal life. It’s one thing if you’re totally self supporting. It’s another thing if you need child support or a pension to life on.

          • Fair enough. But I still think it’s a terribly slippery slope to look at these issues primarily from a standpoint of how scary/expensive/risky it is to speak truth to power. Seems morally back-asswards to me. I say, do it unless there is clear evidence indicating an innocent party will be substantially and irreparably harmed by the truth coming out. And that means something really bad. Not, say, losing your privileges to shop at the PX or live on base. And elderly parent having a heart attack? Maybe.

    • To answer your implied question, Dr., yes – she is entitled to a portion of his pension REGARDLESS of whether or not they remain married or if he is enlisted at the time of the affair. I speak from experience: my mother is entitled to a portion of my father’s pension despite the fact that she is leaving his cheating ass.

      • Maggie.

        I repeat: There is NO automatic entitlement in every single case.

        There are general provisions under the USFSPA and there are also applicable state laws that come to bear in each individual property settlement.

        The above are facts and, as such, are BEYOND DISPUTE.

        Need proof?

        http://www.dfas.mil/garnishment/usfspa/faqs.html

        ” 1 Are former spouses of military retirees automatically entitled to a portion of the retirees’ retired pay?

        No, there is no Federal law that automatically entitles a former spouse to a portion of a member’s military retired pay. A former spouse must have been awarded a portion of a member’s military retired pay in a State court order.

        The Uniformed Services Former Spouses’ Protection Act (USFSPA), Title 10, United States Code, Section 1408, passed in 1981, accomplishes two things. First, it authorizes (but does not require) State courts to divide military retired pay as a marital asset or as community property in a divorce proceeding. Second, it provides a mechanism for a former spouse to enforce a retired pay as property award by direct payments from the member’s retired pay. Retired pay as property payments are prospective only. Retired pay arrears cannot be collected under the USFSPA.”

        ***

        I researched both applicable Federal and State law very thoroughly in my own case so that X could not bullshit me (or my lawyer) in order to minimize my share during the property settlement in my own divorce. But then… I’m not a sheep or chump who necessarily believes that what I “hear” (while it may be entertaining) is the complete and absolute truth.

        • Additionally, it is very wise to do your own research about military retirement, should you be divorcing a military member or retiree. Many family law attorneys are NOT familiar with the intricate mechanisms of it and need certain details called to their attention.

          Mine was one. I provided her with the documentation and information she needed. She also consulted both an expert in military divorce and a JAG officer, thus enabling her to ask and secure for me the maximum allowed in my particular circumstances.

          Never rely on hearsay. Do you own research.

  • I have to agree with Janet on this one. Miss Vicki makes it sound absolutely fabulous to be the OW. The OW only gets him when he’s all dolled up and on his ‘best behavior’. The OW in my situation played the victim the one time I contacted her and my “poor sausage” defended the tramp and told me to leave HER alone… mind you, his cupcake had been calling our house for hours and days on end and sending cards to our home. He claimed she didn’t know I existed. She knew, she just enjoyed the perks of his charm and pleasant company (and my money- he’s self employed and broke) while at home I was dealing with the shit pile he had become.
    Funny part is, once I was out of the picture the tramp didn’t want him anymore. She must prefer being second.

  • My 2 cents are that every military person I have ever met was kind of off in the mental health dept. no offense to anyone, it’s just been my experience.

    • That’s a pretty serious generalization.

      I worked for a year at the Defense Department, Office of the Secretary of Defense, Health Affairs as a writer. Gave me a ton of respect for people in the services, some very loyal, committed, non-partisan, incredibly hardworking people. I say that as a crunchy, granola-headed liberal.

      You’d be mentally off too if you got sent to a war zone or your spouse was. It’s a wonder people in the military are as sane as they are.

      • I agree with CL. As someone who has worked at a Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center with Veterans and who has friends currently in the military, I say it’s not fair to characterize everyone in the military as mentally disturbed. Plus, many are under stresses the civilian world never has to experience.

    • Hate_narcs

      I found your 2-cents generalization offense. I am a retired military veteran who in my 24 yrs of service do not have a mental issue. Unless you take issue with my participation with a behavioral health therapist to recover from divorce with my own x-military sparkles.

      Please realize that your one or two experiences are not valid hypothesis of the majority of healthy men and women serving the U.S. military.

      R/
      robineastchump

    • That’s a very broad swipe with a big brush. I have family members who have served and one who is approaching 20 years in the Air Guard. None of those in my family have been bat-shit crazy, with the exception of my ex, TYVM. Those I knew when I was with him during his military service weren’t wing-nuts. I’m wondering if maybe you’ve had limited experience. Wishing there never had to be such a thing as war, I’m very thankful for those who are willing to serve. Blessings to all of them.

      • Reminiscent of a recent conversation we had on here about the word “retarded.”
        There will always be someone getting offended by someone’s take and in this case, I’ve even said “no offense” and “it’s been my experience.” Don’t invalidate my experience because you’re personally offended. My cheater was 20+ Marine Corps vet and totally fucked up in a head, so was his entire military family. I realize it’s probably their Pathology and not a reflection on the US military. Will I ever date someone in service? You bet your ass I will not. I hear the word vet on the news and I think of the piece of shit I married. That’s PTSD for you! Recognize.

  • Well, you know me. I am all for contacting, contacting contacting the other parties. My only caveat would be the fact that we are dealing with possibly armed military personnel in a potentially volatile situation, where passions may run high. Maybe a third neutral party needs to get involved, like a chaplain or something??? Or does that just mess with previously mentioned concerns about a code of conduct violation that once reported could cheat someone out of benefits?

  • I find it interesting that in the current column, which has the writer asking about how to deal with her physically and emotionally abusive husband, Ms. Vicki offers more solid, traditional advice best summed up as “get the fuck out.”

    Ms. Vicki doesn’t understand that the more contemporary approaches to dealing with infidelity see adultery as abuse. Once you see it as abuse, you no longer can buy into the old bromide of both spouses being at fault. Seeing adultery as abuse only works if you look at the impact on the Betrayed Spouse. If you look at adultery from the perspective of the cheater or the AP, you’ll be able to find all sorts of reasons for cheating.

    But the same goes for abuse. If you look at the situation from the victim’s perspective, the abuse is monstrous. If you look at it from the abuser’s perspective, it’s all very justified, really.

    Ms. Vicki completely failed the empathy test and engages in blameshifting.

  • tbh I agree with Viki on this….

    Because you just don’t know how this marine will react

    He could get really angry- if he’s done active service in a war zone he could well have PTSD he could go nuts and take it out on devastated wife (shoot the messenger).

    Either that or he could go totally crazy and harm his wife and/or kids…

    • Just because he’s a marine doesn’t mean he has PTSD and it sure doesn’t mean he’s going to “go crazy” and harm his family. For what reason would he have to harm his children? I can see why he’d want to kick his wife’s ass, but why his kids? That just doesn’t make any sense. Even if he has seen service in a war zone doesn’t mean he’s going to fly off the handle at a moment’s notice and just start beating the crap out of anyone near him.

      And even if he got really angry, what does that have to do with Viki’s “advice?” She barely said anything of note. She spent about three paragraphs talking about what it’s like to be the OW.

      • I meant the advice to tell the Marine was misguided intrusive and most importantly its potentially dangerous.

        Its irresponsible to tell a vulnerable woman to inform a cuckold Marine about his wifes adultery.

        There is no way to predict his response.

        Most men involved in warfare have some form (in varying degrees) of post traumatic stress disorder.

        God knows how he will react.

        People on here should quit the blaming and indignation and engage in some perspective taking.

        Telling the devastated wife to inform the Marine how can you claim its about ‘his need to know’ because you don’t even know him.

        Does he have access to fire arms?? seriously get some sense!

      • EVERY person that is betrayed deserves to know the truth that everyone else seems to know but them.

        Cheating is a conscience decision to put your spouse/partner at risk, destroy them both physically and mentally, good people just does not do that unless they are psychologically crippled.

        When it comes to cheating the emotional aspect, deception and lies are what most people have the most difficulty with and the fact that they haven’t been given the consideration of making a choice in the relationship. For most people If they had the truth, they could make a knowledgeable choice of whether or not to have sex with someone who was having sex with someone else.

        Also another disturbing aspect about not sharing the truth is control and manipulation. Information is control and the unwillingness to share the truth robs one’s mate of being able to make an informed decision.

        In my case, no one had enough courtesy to let me know what was going on behind my back, when my ex was cheating on me and that really hurt, I wish someone told me, this way I wouldn’t have wasted anymore of my time on a worthless POS. By the way those people who knew, but didn’t tell me what was going on, I also cut contact with all of them, because in a way they enabled him and helped him steal my years.

        To keep betrayed in the dark is almost always in cheaters best interest, and almost never in Betrayed partners..so I say tell the husband, he needs and DESERVES to know the truth. Whether he is military, police officer or a civilian…

  • Oh my…I just puked in my mouth…this Vicki has no business in giving advice on infidelity and OW’s husband needs to know the truth and nothing but.

    I am so sorry Devastated Wife, that you are going through this, tell OW’s husband the truth, then lets see how great it is to be the OW!

  • You know what?

    I agree with Ms. Vicki (hold on, don’t shoot, I don’t agree with ALL she says!)

    She is pointing out the reality that describes SOME OW’s (not the duped ones who were fed the same lies the chump spouse was, and were kept in the dark about someone being at home). There ARE OW’s that love the excitement without the commitment. They love the cake without the baking. They get the sparkles without the narkles–for a limited time only–and then, when it’s ugly or boring, move on. Ms. Vicki is pointing out that reality. She is describing those narcissistic, self-centred, antipathy-to-loving thoughts that are part of the cheater’s demented profile from THEIR point of view.

    Did she have to use this poor chump’s shitty situation as a platform to share this? Hell no! We all passed grade 2 literature to see that this was not the question. As an advice columnist, you answer the question asked.

    IF, and I truly mean IF, Ms. Vicki thought she was warning the chump that telling the OW’s husband would not be effective if it were based on revenge, then she is making the point in the most haphazard and poorly-written fashion.

    Personally, I say throw Ms. Vicki back in the ocean. Perhaps she needs to hang out with some plankton and figure out how to evolve up to their level.

    Meanwhile, the chump should stick to CL’s advice, and add the option of having the chaplain share it with the OW’s husband.

  • OK, I was in the military. Navy JAG. About 30 years ago, the military attitude was if the military wanted you to have a wife (mostly men in the military then), it would have issued you one. The military justice system ran away from ( at least the navy did) any marital problems, adultery or gay contretemps as fast as it could 30 years ago. There was no “upside”for the command to get involved. My impression was that the wives held down the fort, while the men were gone 4-6 months at a time on deployment. The wives never received their due for all the work and love that they put into their marriages and family.
    However, I do believe that the military is doing the right thing now with counselling services, etc. But staying with an abusive cheating husband (wife) should not be the official or unofficial policy of the military.

  • I had just found out about the OW and a few weeks later got a call from the OW’s stbx who thankfully informed me that the OW had herpes and he thought I should know. I appreciated his thoughtfulness. My stbx didn’t bother to tell me but at least there was someone who was concerned about my health.

  • Jesus, this poor Gal… Follow this terrible advice, and it will be nothing but shit sandwiches served up forever, with no substitution allowed on the menu. Fuck I HATE people who wear the uniform acting so dishonorable, and don’t have their ass handed to them… FWIW, I am a former Army officer (Infantry), and unfortunately I think little will/can be done to this dishonorable soldier… Look at Gen. Petraeus for Heavens sake as an example.

  • Hi Chump Lady! I actually didn’t really read this blog too much but I know that I was looking online to find another blogger who really doesn’t like MS. Vicki and I came across yours! I always get emails from military.com with questions for ms. Vicki and her blog just truly disturbs me and bothers me A LOT! To the point where I really can’t believe she is employed by military.com it’s so shameful to just the military and if civilians read that blog I am truly embarrassed by her representing the military community of wives like she does.

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