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Dear Chump Lady, He wants an open marriage

Dear Chump Lady,

You’ve written cogently about the way cheaters employ a double standard rather than asking for open marriage.  So I’d like your take on my sitch. After three decades of tacit monogamy, my husband asked for open marriage, pretending to be all honest and transparent and progressive, and was angered by my conventionality and uptightness in saying no.  He went on and on about how monogamy was unnatural, he didn’t get it, no one could be everything to someone else, blah blah blah. I said, no thanks, not built for it, don’t think it conduces to true trust and intimacy, and don’t quite trust a request coming at this point in the relay.

I asked whether I was already an unwilling participant in an open marriage, he reassured me NO.

Long story short, it was total bullshit. Discovered a two-plus year clandestine affair and other sexual adventuring (of the Craigslist, crotch-shot variety). Really fun stuff. But what happened then was simply ongoing demand for open marriage, which I refused, then kicked him to the curb, after which he held tight to his new philosophy (which he sees as blasting the terrible ideological fog of conventional monogamy), and played Mr. Oh So Progressive and Tragically Compelled to Leave Wife and Children to Escape the Unnatural Constraints of Monogamy. And of course, on a slightly different channel, to realize Selfhood, escape Controlling Spouse, and all that other crap.

SO…I felt totally gobsmacked and will admit to chumpily waiting several months for the “fog” to lift.  But then I filed and have moved to post-hopium attitude.

Here’s my question. Can you fortify my sense that this guy is full of shit? I hate the pretense of “I couldn’t live that way anymore and now have to be upfront about open marriage need.” He’s all “well I guess we just have to agree to disagree.” It makes me so sick and it feels so abusive to have him simply throw this in my face over and over and act as though he’s done nothing wrong, since his PHILOSOPHY explains his prior cheating.

The suffering will be finite, I know. I have filed. But still, I would love to hear what you think about this: whether you think it’s bullshit or laudable if belated honesty.

Phoenix7

Dear Phoenix7,

It’s one thing to begin with an open marriage. It’s quite another to have it thrust upon you after you’ve invested 30 years in what you thought was a monogamous marriage.

This “offer” is not sexual sophistication, it’s an implied threat — let me have my cake, or we’re through. The cheater lays the blame with monogamy — that impossible condition that, oh hey, we all agreed to.

The problem isn’t monogamy. The problem is that your husband unilaterally changed the terms of the marriage agreement.

You were presented with a choice, which at least was out in the open. Agree to let your husband have multiple partners, and you can enjoy the same, or end the relationship.

Let’s say you had accepted the open arrangement. You would then need to negotiate the sort of terms that polyamorists set, such as, am I the primary relationship? Who is an acceptable partner? Can we ask mutual friends? How much time is spent on extracurriculars? How do we manage risk for STDs, etc.?

But the problem there is you’d be negotiating relationship terms with someone who just demonstrated to you that he couldn’t be trusted. He behaves unilaterally and changes the terms of agreed upon arrangements (like monogamous marriage). Open relationships are based on trust too.

I really don’t think your husband believes in polyamory. I think he’s just a run of the mill cake eater. Did he spend two entire years working out his “philosophy” on Craigslist? (What kind of Platonic dialectic is that?) Apparently, he was quite happy to have you living by a set of rules he was not bound by. Do you think compassion led him to invite you into his swinging lifestyle? Or do you think it was cake? The idea that he could enjoy a smorgasbord of pussy without consequences. I’d put my money on cake.

Why did he come out about the wonders of open marriage after two years (that you know) of cheating? A guilty conscience or could it be something got dicey that you don’t know about? The OW threatens to blow the whistle, he caught an STD off a Craigslist friend, he decides his latest kink is watching someone else fuck you. I don’t know — but I sincerely doubt your welfare was at the top of his agenda.

He thinks he is a man of principle. A noble Don Quixote tilting at the cruel windmill of monogamy. A lonely philosopher wandering the moors of convention.

Instead of what he really is — a pathetic man-child who sends crotch shots on Craigslist.

Whatever. You don’t control his philosophical delusions. Just get on with your own improved, cheater-free life. Hopefully he’ll drink a cup of Hemlock soon.

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.
  • Men and most of the crazy cult leaders who advocate polygamy are just greedy bastards in my opinion. Cake, cake and more cake and patriarchal control and domination is what they crave to make themselves feel more powerful.

    I am off now to do a search to find if there are women anywhere in the world who have multiple male spouses!

    • I’ve wondered about that but never bothered to look it up. My instinct is that no, it’s the men who benefit from polygamy and they probably use the old ‘who’s the baby daddy’ crap to back up their ‘thinking’.

      God, I am so sick of these knuckleheads. Met up with an old friend today. Guess what. A mutual friend from awhile back got divorced. Why? She found out her husband was a serial cheater and he ran off with the final very young OW.

      Another mutual friend from that time? Same thing. Kids just about grown, husband ran off with a very young OW.

      It’s amazing how clichéd the story is.

        • OH yes, they could end up baby daddy to some kid outside the marriage but in their mind this makes them manly men or something. We should be in the dark and servile. Or something. I’m too annoyed right now from hearing about another slew of women I know getting fucked over to think straight.

          • When my ex cheated with the much younger OW, he somehow convinced old friends that he was the victim. Poor him, he was so UNHAPPY and I steamrolled him. So they remained friends with him and the OW, inviting them to parties in the neighborhood. These ladies were extremely judgmental, saying “well, it’s not bad, it’s just different.”
            And sure enough, now one of those ladies is getting divorced for the same reason.
            I’m sure out of the group of six there will be more.
            A friend of my college – age son told me that it’s a known goal of young women to go for an older, married man and break up the marriage. The goal is instant money, home and not having to date young men who refuse to commit. The old guys fall head over heels after sex and sexting.
            I’m so embarrassed that my ex is part of this group of idiots.

      • Wrong, Rural Tibet. Usually, the men are relatives. It’s not the standard practice, but it is not abnormal there.

        But you’re talking about rural, rugged people that depend on working farms by hand largely, so the thinking goes… two sets of hands…. That, and there is a shortage of women in those areas.

        It’s changing though, and not as common as it was.

        • Oh, I forgot, in traditional Tibet, land is passed down through matrilineal succession, and that’s a big part of why Northern, rural Tibetans practice a kind of fraternal polyandry too.

          Can’t say we have that problem here. The courts pretty much divide everything up after a certain amount of time. Other than wage disparity (which isn’t what it used to be), I can’t see anything forcing any sort of pro-male advantage.

          I think a lot of nebulous accusations about “patriarchy’ are thrown around too lightly and sort of undermine the case for actual problems that really affect people.

          • Wage disparity is still a massive problem. In the simplest of terms women make 77 cents to men’s dollar. That’s a hell of a lot of money over a lifetime. Throw in the fact that it’s very often that women put their careers on hold to have and raise children and then are tossed back into the work force with a big hole in their CV and rusty skills and you’ve got a recipe for disaster.

            • That’s why I said “other than wage disparity”. Wage disparity is still a problem, but I doubt it is a big enough problem these days to be the sole reason a woman would remain in a relationship with a cheater. I support that counter claim by simply pointing out, women file for nearly 2/3rds of the divorces.

              It’s possible to climb too far out on a limb of personal bias and forget what were talking about here.

              • I think it’s the Number One reason women stay with a cheater. In my small sample set of 10 divorced friends…it was THE reason for not filing immediately. And all of them filed eventually.
                If you’re a SAHM of 10+ years – the idea of getting a job is daunting. The idea of finding a job that pays enough to cover what you’re losing as a two parent household is even more daunting.
                And returning to my $125K level after 15 years? Laughable. I’m lucky with my $30K job.

      • Believe it or not in some cultures women take on more than one spouse. If I recall from anthropology it’s in cultures that are very poor and the family needs more than one hunter/gatherer to provide for the children. It’s not as frequent as polygamy in which there is one man and many wives but there are in fact cultures that one woman and multiple men exist.

        (Not in America- but I probably didn’t need to tell any of you that)

    • Oh, yep Tonya, there are poyandrous cultures, mostly in and around Tibet (where the women can have more than one husband.) But they are rare, and are in cultures where there is good reason for this to solve a cultural shortage of women, or more likely, to stop subdivision of land (inheritance) into too small, uneconomic parcels. Often done with brothers, all married to the same wife. And even then, it is not the dominant marriage pattern. But how is this of any relevance to western society? It isn’t, it makes no sense for us. You hit the nail on the head, polygamy in a western setting doesn’t work! You can bet that if someone is asking for an open marriage that, as Phoenix7 so intuitively pointed out, you are already in one, but you just didn’t get the memo yet!

    • Actually, I know a woman who has two “husbands”. They seem to be a very loving “triple”. I would agree with CL that it takes a lot of trust to be in any committed relationship…..traditional or un

  • A quick search on polyandry tells me it is rare and was implemented in some cultures so that a woman could marry brothers from the same family to prevent family land from being divided.

    • If you are referring to the research in the Atlantic Monthly article, did you note this paragraph?

      “…. in many of the cultures Starkweather and Hames reviewed, the first husband functions as the decider when it comes to resource distribution and acceptance of additional male mates.”

      Husband still CONTROLS wife’s ‘mating’.

      It’s STILL all about patriarchy and control.

      • Yes I had a read of that and meant to add to my comment that it’s a win-win situation for the boys!

        As someone who was indoctrinated heavily by the Catholic Church, I am still angry about the control that said church had over women. I remember finding a book at the back of my mother’s wardrobe – some guide to marriage, written by some Vatican people and there being reference to the ‘husband’s conjugal rights.’ Had no clue what that meant as I was a kid and had to look it up in a dictionary.

  • This really captures the fundamental WRONG of the cheater/cake eaters:

    “Apparently, he was quite happy to have you living by a set of rules he was not bound by.”

    I think about that concept every day and it really helps me eliminate the cognitive dissonance (where some dumb part of me remembers and “misses” our sixteen years together).

    I just have to remember that fundamentally he thought it was okay for him to have a secret life fucking otherswhile I chumpily plodded on, supporting him, feeding him, feeding his ego, doing his kindly sex requests, and letting him yell at me and my kids daily and being 100% faithful and loyal to only him. Phoenix, your husband is most definitely the same kind of self-justifying narcissist!!

    Thanks again Chumplady.

    • Yep, I had no idea about all the side pieces but even if I had known I still wouldn’t have cheated. Funny that they know enough to lie because they don’t want to blow up their world but when we find out it’s all ‘but there’s nothing wrong with cheating!’. If there’s nothing wrong they wouldn’t be lying about for as long as they could.

      • And why lie? I don’t get that. Why not just say the truth so that as the chump going along thinking you are in a solid marriage with your partner and wow no idea, you have a chance to make a decision about if you want to stay with a scoundrel, or scourndreless? is that a word?

        I still don’t see how a person would do this, esp at over 30 years of marriage (like my mess no it is a fuck mess) It is a shitload of a breach, it is such a your life I hate your life I hate you, you are such a lousy wife I wanted to show you just what I thought of you by having so much pussy, what do you think honey? Are you upset? How about get yourself some dick so I don’t look so bad.

        Yea, glad you filed, it is horrible what he did to you. He is a dog.

        • Yes, I think it’s bothering my husband that I’m working on making myself whole and not advertising myself on Craigstlist. He’d be happy if I replaced him sexually because in his mind that would mean I’ve not been hurt and I’ve moved on, and he’d also be titilated by the idea of me with someone else.

          Oh, and a couple of months ago my husband asked me if I had an ad on Craigslist. I said, “I do not, nor will I ever have a personal ad on Craigslist.” He never did give me any credit for having some dignity.

          • ML, my STBX husband of over 30 years always comments to my kids when he sees them, something along the line of “I suppose your mother has a boyfriend now and he is supporting her.” In ToddlerBoi’s mind it is partly wishful thinking that if I had a rich boyfriend he wouldn’t need to pay spousal support. Part of it is also that he can’t imagine not living with someone who takes care of him, and he thinks everyone is like him. It is all about him, after all.

            I found out the other day that he met OW online, which confirmed my suspicion that his cheating goes far deeper than I know or suspect and far further back in our relationship. But you know, I am almost free of the bastard now, and he can say and do what he likes and I don’t need to be part of it.

            Stay the course, Phoenix. You are not dealing with any great philosopher or observer of culture. Nope, he sound just like mine – a selfish, entitled old man who thinks the sun shines out of his ass. Go no contact and cut the bullshit out of your life and don’t listen to his lame justifications for his appalling behaviour any more. He’s projecting his crap onto you, so take away the screen.

            OW has left my STBX, I hear. He’s getting sicker and sicker, and I can only hope he ends up living with his mom in the small town he grew up in, both of which he couldn’t wait to escape. He sure as hell isn’t coming back here.

            • One of the red flags that I didn’t realize was a flag at the time was when STBX commented on one of his co-workers, whose husband had an affair. This particular co-worker is not the most thoughtful, introspective of people, as you will see.

              She has a big mouth, and told everyone that her husband was having an affair, so she had a revenge affair. Her tit for his tat. All is copacetic now. Affairs? No big deal. Everyone has them!

              exrepeatedmeme, it occurs to me that your STBX is probably trying to excuse his actions through yours. IF you opted for a boyfriend, then in his mind, he’d be excused for having the affair.

              At least, that’s how cheater logic works, as far as I can see.

        • Yes, why lie? Because they know it’s not acceptable. And if they didn’t lie and instead said ‘I think we need to talk’ that would mean they would have to make adult decisions and take adult actions. Not easy for the grown up toddler types.

  • This isn’t really his “philosophy.” That’s just the excuse he’s using to justify it to you and mostly to himself. It makes him feel noble. He’s a pig.

  • It’s also amazing how people use the “monogamy isn’t natural” argument, like we suddenly turn into a bunch of animals. And yet it isn’t “natural” to have an indoor toilet, but we still do that, right? Why isn’t he arguing for taking dumps outside in front of everyone? It’s only natural! Why isn’t he fighting everyone in hand-to hand combat everytime he has a disagreement? It’s only natural and we are really just animals who cannot rise above our most base instincts… Right? He only employs the “natural” argument when it’s convenient for him

    • Good point Mishka. You can bet in all other aspects of civilisation he is more than happy to have his needs met, from cars to washing machines to the phone he uses to enable him to cheat. I swear these fuckers will construct any argument to support their blatant wrong doing – examples of which would make for a very interesting post.

      Like my ex said he was bored with it just being us hanging out most of the time, i.e me and his kids and that wasn’t normal in his books. I felt guilty about that for a long time, that maybe I should have been putting on dinner parties every night so he would not have been so bored with just little old me and his kids.

      • Weird. I wsa thinking about this today — maybe life was too boring, blah blah blah. Then I remembered that his cheating began when we were incredibly busy and life was very full of friends, fun, etc. Does not matter what your life was like – they’ll find an excuse for cheating.

      • My ex told me he was bored that we didn’t go out and do more stuff. But I was always the one to suggest activities and he was usually pretty reluctant to leave the house and do something or socialize with others. So…even when he said it as one of his reasons for leaving, it didn’t make sense to me. Maybe in his head he likes to go out and do stuff, but in reality, he stays home. But I think he is the same person with the OW, even from the very beginning of their relationship, watching lots of TV/movies on the couch. Can’t run away from himself…

        • Funny, my ex is big on watching movies/tv on the sofa. Basically, he was bored with our friends, our family, me – so he replaced us. Sort of. The thing is he still has few friends, he still has no life outside of the person he’s with and he is actually doing less with his life.

          On the other hand I’m doing ten times more with my time, see friends tons more, have loads of new friends and most of the old and generally am much more fulfilled. I sometimes think ‘if only you had made the effort with me and supported me in my dreams we’d be rocking the world together’, and then I remember he can’t do that. He needs someone to do everything so that he can then, eventually, say how it’s all wrong and doesn’t work for him. Very sad man, my ex.

        • The whole “bored” thing sounds like the talk of a narcissist or some other person who needs the stimulation of the “new.” I simply don’t see how “boredom” leads to cheating, unless what you are bored with is the lack of new sources of narcissistic supply, aka ego kibbles, unless the person needs the jazz of “falling in love” with some skank who reads Craig’s List looking for crotch shots (need to pressure wash my brain….). If a partner is “bored,” go on a second honeymoon to Hawaii or the Keys or someplace with 20 gazillion golf courses. It’s all just an excuse, and the real issue is putting the marital/life partner in the inferior position of being chumped. And what galls me the most is that the AP knows more than the spouse. The sex part is what makes it naughty, sleazy, dangerous, and irresponsibly adolescent while at the same time a big power and control maneuver. So glad for this board; I wouldn’t see any of this on my own.

      • And I will add that my ex has a job that is considered very exciting by most people, with travel, so I would hardly call his life “boring”…but he felt bored with his life regardless…and clearly the solution was to switch out the wife for a new girlfriend. 🙂

      • “He was bored.” “His needs weren’t being met.”

        So…you’re the activities director for the whole family? It’s your job to keep him amused at all times, or he’s outta there?

        Wow. Because I was bored and my needs weren’t being met during parts of my marriage, either, and it never crossed my mind to blame XH or go find someone else to fill the void.

        All that blame shifting is just out and out crazy!

        • Yeah these cheaters don’t imagine we get bored sometimes. I think I can safely say my life was less exciting than his when he cheated.

          Try mopping baby puke and cleaning toilets and potty training and washing clothes and dishes the relentless chores that go with having young kids versus a nice office and socialising with co-workers and playing sport and basically doing what the hell you like!

        • Yep, Red, when I look back I realise I had a lot of needs not being met at times and you know what I did? I got on with things and made sure shit got done. And apparently we are the cruise directors of their lives because his new young lady seems to be in charge of entertainment now.

      • I had all those thoughts too, about not doing enough. But then it didn’t matter anyway because he confessed he’d been cheating since “Day 1”. He also said that “They knew” the rules, and that he’d always come home to me. WTF! Like that makes it OK??????

        • Oh yes…he was bored… so he decided to screw his married coworker on the school bus she drove. How’s that for alleviating boredom?!? Was I ever bored with working every day, taking care of stbxh, cooking, cleaning, yard work, pet care and making plans with family and friends? Never! Did I ever wish Prince Charming would come along and take me away from it all? Sometimes… but I always held out hope that stbxh was my true Prince Charming (yeah, keep dreaming!!). I hate the feeling that I bored him but the actuality was that he was BORED because he is BORING!!!

          • Such a good point! it sounds like you knew how to live, hence you were not bored. He on the other hand will always be boring. perhaps to amp it up he will have sex in a plane bathroom like in tje Brittney Spears video, then perhaps he can have sex in a pile of horse maneur. Then in the trunk of a small car.

            My brooding morose ex was a joy killer. Boring doesn’t even begin to describe the necrotic skin I was growing living with his meanness. Any time I would arrange an adventure he would look like he wanted to vomit. But of course he had a great time just hanging around other women in skirts. I was bored, but did I leave him? No. I loved him and was trying to communicate.
            Perhaps next time he can have sex while jumping out of a plane without a parachute. Now that would be exciting!

  • I loved the show Big Love, and recently- since it became free on Amazon Prime, it’s my cleaning show. I put it on in the kitchen to motivate me to clean and I’m rewatching the whole series. I’m amazed at my post-breakup take on it. There is a very strong subtext throughout the whole show: Monogamy can be hard. Not being monogamous is worse. It’s so interesting. This guy’s whole RELIGION i.e. his right to the “keys to the kingdom of heaven” is built on the practice of polygamy, and all it does is destroy everyone around him. No, monogamy is not always easy. But every single person on this site knows that not being monogamous permanently destroys lives.

    • Agreed and very good point! There is a movie called Raise the Red Lantern, with the same message. Also in the 60s the counter culture practiced polyamory, there are so many essays on the misery people felt knowing their lovers were bringing other lovers into their bedrooms. It’s not like Burning Man doesn’t exist, it’s a choice. Makes many people miserable. It’s not only jealousy, it’s the lack of intimacy and usery. I am more like an animal that desires mating for life. Developing with someone feels sexy and beautiful to me. I need trust to explore. I am not into blowing up things just to destroy. Not everyone is like me and I am realizing that every day. Honing my picker.

  • Yep, this is my X exactly! after 10 years and discovery, lets have an open marriage, hey he thought we had one, just never bothered talking to me about it! You seriously can’t make this shit up. Theses cheating SOB’s think they are so enlightened and above us peasanty monogamous folk. In reality they’re just selfish, ball-gag wearing, sister-wife hunting, inbred fucktards. I am glad he’s the OW’s now. Ha ha!

    • Good one, Freeatlast: “they’re just selfish, ball-gag wearing, sister-wife hunting, inbred fucktards.”

  • This is a much greater issue than mere monogamy.

    It is all about GENDER EQUALITY and parity.

    It always comes back to women as “property” and some men as “proprietor”….changing the rules mid game to suit their WHIMS, because the male’s perceived needs and wants are more important than the female’s.

    Some men are so fearful of the female that they are incredibly threatened by a woman who insists on being treated as an EQUAL. Want proof? Just look at the “weak sisters” and “culls from the pack” that they take up with when they cheat!

    [To the dudes on here who don’t believe this way and who honor their commitments, I salute you! You are real live grown men in a world full of…..little boys.]

    • You have smacked that right on the button, it is gender inequality, and I strongly feel women these days don’t even see what roles they are in and what it has all become, cringe worthy.

      • I think it’s always been this way but now it’s more underground. My ex, as my kids rightly pointed out one day, is pretty sexist but I never saw it until all this crap happened. I knew his father was an old-school misogynist but thought my ex was more evolved. Nope, not really, although he puts on a good act when it suits him.

    • Absolutely, notyou. I was flabbergasted when I saw the woman my ex took up (and eventually married). She couldn’t be less like me. She’s with him everywhere he goes; I am very independent and enjoy being on my own. She doesn’t have a college education and will likely be up shit’s creek if they divorce; I have a graduate degree and landed on my feet with minimal trouble after the D. Even her physical being– tiny and girl-like– is completely the opposite of me.

      Clearly, my ex wanted a subordinate little sycophant who would look up to him with stars in her eyes and worship everything he did. I was never like that– I made it clear that we were partners (even when I was the more traditional SAHM) and that I wasn’t interested in having a daddy for a husband; I wanted an equal. That obviously wasn’t what my ex-cheater wanted; I’m assuming that he kept me around for 17 years because he had to find a subservient little mouse who would flatter his needy self before he would detonate the marriage. Heaven knows he couldn’t possibly be on his own! He probably thinks that my life is so empty and sad since I haven’t run to shack up with whatever dude will take me. I look at his relationship and know that it would suffocate me to death.

      • The final OW my ex took up with was very much teh opposite of me but she was, as you say, MovingON, a subordinate sycophant who worships him and pouts like a 6 year old when she doesn’t get her way.

        I say good luck to them both. I will never again play the teenage relationship bs. Grownup or nothing.

      • I think part of this is just that strong, independent people aren’t interested in an affair. It may be that to find an affair partner, married men have to settle for someone like her.

      • I was thinking about this the other day.

        Before STBX met me, he always dated shorter women. Okay, he’s over 6′ tall, but in my world, that’s not terribly tall. But the women he dated were always around 5’2″ or so. I saw the pictures. They were small, and he could be protective.

        I was the first woman he’d dated who was taller (not 6′, but taller than 5’5″), and the first who had more education, and the first who had an independent job. He was working part-time at that point, and I had a full-time job. This was before I went back to grad school.

        OW is more of a throw-back to his earlier type of woman. She’s much shorter, but also heavier. She’s needy. She has a hard-luck story.

        I think STBX really wants to be the Knight in Shining Armor here, but to me, it looks like he wants someone who is completely dependent upon him, and who must look up to him.

        That’s not an equal partnership, and it’s one reason why I can’t see reconciliation. I’m not a woman who wishes to be in such a subservient role. I want a partner, not a parent, for pete’s sake!

    • You got that right, notyou. My friends call the Jackass’s MOW the “middle-aged Britney Spears wannabe.” She has minimal education and hates to work. But she lives three short blocks away and “worships” him. And she has a husband he can get over on–bonus kibbles for “winning.” She will never in a million years challenge his spelling skills, let alone his intellect.

  • Let’s not forget: irresponsibility and character deficits are an equal opportunity employer for both genders. My ex wanted me keep me dancing to her ego along with all her male admirers. In fact, it really pissed her off that I would not contact her and talk with her after she chose her affair partner over me! What she suggested for our marriage earlier may not have been an explicit invitation to an open marriage, but it was pretty close in substance. I don’t roll that way, though. Glad she is now just my crazy ex-wife.

    Phoenix7, loved your line: “And of course, on a slightly different channel, to realize Selfhood, escape Controlling Spouse, and all that other crap.” I could definitely relate from the male side of things on that one. Cheaters are very original as I have learned through all of this.

      • “Let’s not forget: irresponsibility and character deficits are an equal opportunity employer for both genders.”

        I haven’t forgotten. Of course there are *weak* women who ‘play’ the patriarchy’…and they betray their gender in the worst way…

        • http://counselingoutfitters.com/Rutherford.htm

          “….Society treats the woman victim as she is/was not enough and they blame her as well. Patriarchy reigns, as he was not “getting enough.” Glass and Wright (1997) say he was most likely not investing enough. She is ostracized, shunned, disregarded and viewed as gone before she leaves. She becomes a detective because no one will tell her the truth and heaven help her if she does (like Linda, Monica, Kay or Hillary) she becomes the brunt of many jokes, brought to her knees in atonement for being a strong, self-made woman….”

          • Interesting article. It is control and abuse. Or at least it sure feels like it. The most important thing is to not let people feel you were somehow lacking because your ex is a cheating snake.

            • At 62, I don’t give a flying fuck what anyone else thinks about my personal life. When people ask about my marriage (to a non-cheater)ending, I say, we came to a point where we couldn’t agree on what marriage is (as I think reasonable sobriety is a minimal requirement.) When people ask about the Jackass, and I feel OK about telling them, I say he hooked up with his dead friend’s married sister at the memorial service and then lied to me until I caught them on Facebook. And I am not willing to be in a threesome with a married mother of three and a boy/man cheater. That pretty much shuts everybody up. If they don’t need to know, I just say that he found someone else who had lower standards. Nord, the most important thing for all of us is for US to realize we are NOT lacking in any way because our Xs couldn’t keep their word or their commitment or their pants zipped.

          • I like the idea of Chump Nation being my “wolf pack”. None of ToddlerBoi’s word salad can withstand the fierce I find here.

            • ROFL, wolf pack. I like to think of Chump Lady as the kid who pointed out the nakedness of the emperor. Cheaters are like the guys who insist you’re wearing fabulous clothes when you’re naked. Enablers are those adults who look at the situation and either can’t or won’t point out the nakedness either.

          • I came across Kay Rutherford a few years back and read an article about infidelity and PTSD as I thought I was losing my mind at the time. I found her writing really helpful. She talks a lot of sense i think.

        • notyou, same argument can be made about male cheaters, too. In my opinion, they betrayal their gender as well. Men are not intrinsically cheaters. Some men actually have character and integrity just as do some women.

          As a male who has personal and painful experience from being treated as fully responsible for the marriage implicitly, I can say this messed up way of viewing things is active for men as well. The insight I got from another person is that in my former sub-culture–i.e. rigid evangelical/fundamentalist Christian world–this oppression comes, ironically, from an assumption about male “headship”–i.e. if a divorce happens, the man must have failed as a leader, etc. True, gender does slightly change how it manifests. However, it is both very similar in blaming the chump and is still very damaging.

          Essentially, I see it as people not differentiating between people making someone responsible for another’s choices and emotional states. We are responsible for our own choices and actions…and no one else’s. Too bad this still isn’t common cultural knowledge.

          • I don’t think evangelic Christians blame the male. I’ve seen waaaaay too many woman being told if they fulfilled their wifely duties their husband wouldn’t have strayed. I think EVCs blame the victim and make excuses for the perp. Doesn’t matter the gender. Sorry, but that’s what happens when you have a heaven club more concerned with beliefs than compassion. (My grandpa was a minister). I guess I’ve never seen healthy gender roles for either gender in EVCs.

          • FSA,

            Fundamentalist Evangelical Christians who are ACTUALLY Christians, and are not hiding within the church to further their personal power agenda simply do NOT cheat. They live their convictions, and they live Biblical teachings.

            Where Christianity has been and is practiced with FIDELITY, throughout history and in the present day, the status of women as equal participating partners has risen exponentially.

            https://bible.org/article/love-your-wife-sacrificially-ephesians-525-27

            Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her; 26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.

            ***

            When I hear an allegedly Christian man say, “I need to get out. I just don’t love her anymore.” I have heard a man admit his absolute failure to be REAL Christian.

            Why?

            Because Jesus Christ NEVER told anybody, “I just don’t love you anymore because you just don’t DO IT for me like you used to!”

            Same goes for women who don’t honor and respect a faithful, and good husband.

            • My experience in EVC world as a pastor is that much of these problems arise out of woeful naivete about infidelity and desire to look good buying bad pop psychology on the matters plus desiring not to look judgmental towards the cheater (who cares about the cheated, though?!) As Kat so aptly pointed out, I agree both women and men chumps are too often treated this poorly in the EVC world.

              I have a living relationship with Jesus that goes beyond the EVC label and is about following Him with integrity. In fact, I attribute my survival to that relationship as I am fairly sure that I would have killed myself apart from my relationship with God at my darkest moments now years ago. And I am convinced there are many, like me, in the EVC world who hold onto an authentic faith as well. This is to say that I am not throwing the baby out with the bath water nor saying every EVC commits this horrible abusive error.

              I am willing to tolerate ignorance where people are open to listening (teaching/education) on the matter. It’s arrogant judgmentalism concerning the chump that I do not tolerate here. That crosses the line for me as far as being a healthy person/institution to have in my life.

              notyou, Ephesians 5 is the passage usually used (abusively) to blame husbands/men for their cheating wives as well as to blame wives for their cheating husbands (or keep them in an abusive relationship). It was abused regularly in my experience. However, a good evangelical pastor will read all His/Her Bible and see the full council therein. God divorces Israel over repeated adulteries (Jeremiah 3:8) and very clearly has boundaries. Even in the extraordinary case of Hosea taking back an adulterous Gomer, he instructs her not to go to any more men. A boundary is set. To be godly, whether you are a husband or wife, is to still have boundaries. Adultery is without doubt–within Judeo-Christian teaching–a major boundary crossing needing to be treated as such.

              • FSA,

                Are we debating something? I don’t think so because if you read my post carefully you will see that we are fundamentally in agreement.I’m not a member of an evangelical church, but that doesn’t prohibit me from studying the Bible, and I do.

                Do we as mortals get to judge the fate of someone’s soul? No that is God’s province, and He will take care of His business on His time table.

                Does God allow us to make value judgments about the obviousness of someone’s sin and point out to them that they are endangering their soul? Yes. He instructed us to actively do so.

                He also instructs us to set boundaries about enabling and participating in sin, and if we attempt repeatedly to enlighten a sinner, and he or she refuses to hear us, it is Matthew 10:14 time…”If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.”

                It is possible to divorce a spouse for Biblical reasons and still pray for the individual’s soul. Yes. It isn’t easy to do because we are mortal and as such subject to being hurt so badly that working through enmity for that person is very difficult and requires much prayer.

                But at some point in time me must let the unbeliever go and live in peace as He has instructed.

              • notyou,

                Agreed. Boundaries are important, and we judge actions not souls. Only God sees the heart and is in a position to judge souls.

                I don’t considerate it a debate as much as providing further clarification. It does sound like we are nearly on the same page. I say nearly because I sense nuance here and there may be different…and that is okay.

              • It’s good to know there are true Christians in the church! I’m not religious, but have been surrounded by holier than thou relatives my whole life, and they are not good examples.

          • In my experience I have seen those in churches that have held true to the scriptures and have acted in a true Christian manner when dealing with matters of adultery, in those cases I can say that the one making the decisions on how to deal with the issue have had true Christian character.

            In my own case the same cannot be said. I have experienced the full gambit of of abuse at the hands of the eldership in my church that I now recognize it as bullying, which has led me to leave that particular church and fellowship where Christianity is an action not just word salad.

            My STBXH is still in the church where we attended as a family and is using the supposed disciplinary action he is under to provide all the excuses he needs to deflect any real responsibility for his actions.
            Yet only yesterday as I collected my youngest children from the church after visitation with their father I watched my STBX flirt across the morning tea table. I guess old habits die hard.

            All I could do is laugh does that mean I am closer to MEH?

  • He had no problems exposing you to who knows what for 2 years, true, how far had it gone where you are invited into the slewpot.

    I have heard this, marriage is too hard, it is just you, I am not sure, I don’t know, I am tired, I need to rest.

    Decades with such a waste of time, so glad you were strong enough to file, just so done. Yea yea!!!

    I felt so creepy reading what Tracy said, and thought maybe that is where this took him, he wanted to do kinky things, am so disgusted for you.

    Why aren’t the marriage vows changed for these people, it could be something like this…

    Do you take so and so, your chump to be because you are a dog now and know it only didn’t bother to tell them, to let them think you love them, waste years of their lives doing what everyone thinks you should do

    a. maybe have kids
    b. go to holiday functions with extended family
    c. try to pull off happy when this feels so wrong to you
    d. I can’t go on he or she is creeping me out

    (this is still the vows)
    At at least 25 years you so and so will look the other way while your so and so here decides to done a cape and prance with privates swinging on a subway clicking pictures, call teens, open many email accounts and get extra phones, tell all of their co workers they aren’t even married they don’t know who you are, who is that person there? So, would you like to waste your life with this person? If so, kiss them, walk down the isle, smile for 20 feet that is all you get, the rest is them trapped with you.

    Also in the vows, do you understand one day you will be talking to your college aged children trying to explain how you didn’t see the change in their personality, you don’t know how your entire family went up in smoke.

  • I didn’t have the cape and subway but I am sure he swung his privates all over the place and many didn’t know he was married, it was so fun.

  • Phoenix&, you asked for affirmation, and Chumplady gave you some. Here is some more–Yes, your guy is full of shit.

    There is not anything “laudable” about his “belated honesty.” You are still trying to make sense out of gibberish. You are probably doing this because you are kind and want to find threads of integrity in your STBX (after 30 years, who could blame you!) And this is exactly why he is spouting his new philosophies. He wants as many people as possible to see him in a good light–including you.

    Belated integrity would be an apology and every effort to help you launch your new life in a financially secure way while taking responsibility for the demise of the marriage. Self-justification is not “belated honesty.”

    Repeat the Chumplady mantra as necessary, “Trust that he sucks.”

    • I’m dealing with the same thing in the sense of belated justification. My ex was on craigslist, adult friend finder, fetlife, hooking up on business trips to Alaska, dating another woman etc, all before he married me and got me pregnant. I found out about six weeks after the wedding and a week after finding out I was pregnant. This all after having a discussion specifically about monogamy and telling him very clearly I would leave if I ever caught him cheating. He now refuses any assistance and is fighting tooth and nail to reduce his child support as low as possible. But somehow I’m the bad guy because I left while pregnant to live somewhere i would have support. Mind you, I lost one baby due to the stress and he didn’t ask after my other baby. Not as to his health, gender, or for a picture. But it’s my fault I didn’t keep in contact with the poor guy.

      Now he’s writing some journal so my son will know his side of the story. Smh. My kid’s doc calls him the sperm donor.

      Still, some times I look at the way he cleverly words his justifications and I pause. That’s when I realize being two states away isn’t far enough.
      It doesn’t matter what the justification is. Look at what they did. Mine lied, cheated, and chumped me into getting pregnant. He exposed myself and my unborn child/children to stds. Especially since he was involved in high risk groups. Then he abandonded the both of us with no support. Yours lied, cheated and exposed you to high risk sex groups. He betrayed you and put your health at risk. There is no reason good enough for that.

      • He’s writing a journal? WTF? Does every page say “I’m a douchebag. I’m a douchebag. I’m a douchebag. I’m a douchebag. I’m a douchebag. I’m a douchebag.”????

        • Lol. That’s just the kind of verbal hairball that he coughs up when trying to maintain that he’s not completely evil. I expect he’ll stick to that the same way he did with quitting smoking, getting in shape, not dating anyone after I left (smirk), continuing counseling, and going to his Sex Addict meetings.

          It’s my fault because I made one exploratory gesture to see if I could
          a. reason (not manipulate) with him about something that would better serve him in the long term and
          b. get him to at least consider the welfare of his kid and make a semblance of doing the right thing.

          My bad. The result was like trying to talk to the monkeys at the zoo while they fling more and more shit at you. Since I didn’t fancy crapping in my hand to return fire I didn’t respond.

          I thought about it though. Especially since he also mentioned that his kids now know about their half brother and indicated that I’m the bad guy for keeping them apart. These are the kids that he cut off my communication with two weeks after leaving by shutting off the home phone , and then triangulated later with his blameshifting poor me victim bullshit. Always a sad subject for me but as my counselor said, “you were kicked out of that family”. She actually had me read a book on mourning the loss of a child. So yep. Crazy confirmed. Learned my lesson. As one of my eighth grade classmates so eloquently put it to her then boyfriend, talking with him is like masturbating with a cheese grater.

          Sorry for the grammar. I’m going back to school next year and I promise I’ll learn how to deal with run on sentences.

  • Those save your marriage sites suggested I stand and say this thing about walking through life let me throw up now. If thank god he didn’t return it wouldn’t be a walking through life, it would be me dragging this shell of a not even full adult with me and watching out he didn’t touch all the breakables in the toy store. When they hit toddler over 54, run, let go of their hand, it is just such a waste of time. Why would anyone want to coax a person who does this back into a marriage where the coaxer was true and too chumpy to see how deadly and stupid the whole thing is, why not coax a rattlesnake to live in the house, the odds are better.

  • Sorry, I did not mean to put so many comments, it is almost exactly what happened to me only I didn’t file I was a chump. And guess what, I am glad you filed if you hadn’t he would have done this forever.

    You rock.

  • I told him early on that I’d be willing to negotiate something with him if/when he felt the urge to cheat. I told him this repeatedly over the course of our marriage. I didn’t want to go through the hell of discovering infidelity that my mother went through, that I’d been through before with boyfriends.

    Once discovered? Signal manly tears of regret, “how could I have known you were being honest? I was afraid you’d leave me! ” I imagine if we’re had an open relationship he still would have found some way to break the rules. Betrayal just adds spice to the proceedings!

  • And, on dating sites, so many men have they don’t want drama. I did not hear this word at all out of his mouth until he had the affair. Then all I heard is how I had too much drama, our kids.

    Not feeling too well about any of this. It is just women being used, used as nanny wives, used as taking care of that little boy until the kids get done with school, then the huge surprise of he has needs, he never gets to do what he wants (all such fucking lies, his whole life was every damn thing he wanted the poor thing, he should have been born with a violin instead of an arm)

    Very annoyed now.

    Anyway, dating sites, a cheaters paradise, they can lie more, I am pretty sure I can spot a dickhead thousands of miles away, but the word drama, they are so stupid, dead giveaway.

    • It’s hysterical, isn’t it?

      Cheater: “Honey, I’ve cheated on you.”

      Cheated: “Wah? Waaaaaa!”

      Cheater: “Hey, now. That’s too much drama!”

      Yes, because God forbid we are upset over having our lives turned upside down.

    • ‘He should have been born with a violin instead of an arm’ Hahaha…awesome and that’s my ex, who also moaned about ‘doing for everyone else’. This was, of course, a total crock of shit because I spent my time putting him first while he spent his time putting himself first.

      Bloody hell, this stuff can make you nuts.

  • First, man do I hate Craigslist. What a cesspool.

    Second, I’m almost embarrassed by how the mid-life crisis turns grown men into selfish idiots. No offense to the men here, but it is generally more men than women who have this extreme awakening at that time. The things that come out of their mouths in order to justify their new outlook are almost laughable, almost.

    Third, I also had a partner who made me feel less than just because I refused to do certain things that turned him on. He’d talk during sex and say really crazy things and in the throws of passion (and to help him, you know…) I would do my best to turn him on. But a day or two later I’d have to say, “Um, you know I won’t do that in real life, right?”

    It’s so common for the more kinky partner to make you feel you’re a square loser and that’s not fair!

    So, Phoenix7, his “agree to disagree” attitude shows that he will never get it, and you’d be wasting your breath trying to help him get it. He’s the one being unreasonable and insulting, not you. You just have to know that in your head and heart, and move on as you have been doing.

    • Yes– mine wanted more kink. He knew that I wasn’t like that. It would have been nice for him to acknowledge how important the kink was to him AND that I wouldn’t change, and then we could have parted years ago with much more ease.

      • What exactly does that mean when they want more kink? What is more kink? I always felt my stbxh and I had enough trust and comfort between the two of us to explore in the bedroom, try new things and be a bit adventurous. So when he announced that sex with the OW was amazingly kinky and a complete turn on…I was gobsmacked by that! I sat there thinking “Ok, there is kinky and then there is downright obscene.” What are they looking for when they say they need more kink? Whips, chains, studded dog collars? What?

        • They’re looking for the thrill of doing different things with different people. (It’s the second half of that that makes this a non-tenable situation for most spouses.) And the different things half is usually whatever they’ve wandered into on their latest porn foray. So, basically, it’s all about them…

        • It could mean all kinds of things. It could just mean that he didn’t want his kink in his real life. It could mean that he wanted to do things he knew you wouldn’t be interested in, but she was desperate enough to do them. Then again, it could mean that the newness and sneaking around made it kinky.

    • this is where I think the Internet may be messing up marriages. Internet porn can get men needing weirder and weirder turn-ons. They can train themselves to want stuff that really, very few (no???) women will want. Then they get upset that they can’t have it.

      Porn has gotten more and more violent and is seen by more men more often than in the past. It’s scary.

  • Yes my ex wife -after being busted multiple times with her also married AP – used the “her Selfhood was crushed by me and our marriage “excuse as well. In her version of reality, I encouraged her to drop out of college as well as give up her career to start a family( not sure how I encouraged her to drop out of college twice before we even met – but hey it’s her reality.) I know that when our kids entered elementary school, I had encouraged her to finish her degree or go back to work part time. She chose to play on two tennis teams and have a long term affair with her married tennis pro. When the divorce mediation was at an impasse, my lawyer was aghast when I offered to pay an additional 12k per year for three years (clock started on that offer when divorce was finalized) so ex wife could finish her degree and have a decent paying career. I hoped for her sake and our kids that she would , but knew that she wouldn’t.
    This December will be three years and she’s still playing tennis full time, she never went back to college or work( so she never got the extra 36k) Her APs wife was undergoing surgery and chemo for advanced colon cancer when the affair started (yep he’s an awesome guy!) According to my ex wife’s friend their plan is to keep the affair going until Tennis pro’s wife dies so they can collect on big life insurance as well as her social security( pro’s wife is head RN at a large hospital emergency dept – which of course supports his quasi career . Pro is in his sixties and my ex is in her forties). Ah true love ! They just couldn’t fight it. Be interesting to see what happens once the pro gets his windfall.
    BTW Yes tennis pro’s wife knows but they’re very European and she tolerates his affairs as long as he’s discrete (Belgium ) At the the height of the affair my ex wife and MIL both tried to convince me that I wasn’t being very open minded or sophisticated . So even wives will try the open marriage argument -mine just tried a different angle.

    • Pray for the AP’s wife to go into full remission and go on to live a long, happy and healthy life – without the loser. And a 60year old tennis pro? Sounds hawt.

      • I think waiting around to collect the AP’s wife’s life insurance and Social Security is despicable. And ghoulish. These two richly deserve each other. Wonder why Sd’s ex hasn’t figured out that she will be the new “full-time job” for the erstwhile aging tennis pro?

    • “My ex wife and MIL both tried to convince me that I wasn’t being very open minded or sophisticated.”

      Being a whore isn’t open minded or sophisticated – it’s common and trashy. That your XMIL was promoting it speaks volumes – the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

      As for them waiting around for the AP’s wife to die is ridiculous. I hope is the woman lives a long life, or secretly cancels her life insurance policy before she goes. It would serve her husband right to have to start over in his 60’s…. 😉

      • Ex-MIL also purchased a drop phone for my ex-wife during the false reconciliation / marriage counseling phase of the affair. Never knew the truth of why ex wife’s Dad disappeared as I only heard ex MIL’s version of reality. But exMILs behavior during her daughters affair may explain why her ex husband moved half way across the country and abandoned his family.

        • My x-MIL will hopefully end up as alone as she deserves to be after all the mindfuckery she has brought since I kicked her fucked up son out. She’s a real piece of work.

          • What is it with Cheaters and their Mothers?
            STBXH went to his mothers the night I put him out, and has been there ever since. 7 months on he has settled in, XMIL never called to check on me or the children not even when the youngest was diagnosed with cancer. STBX did the whole ‘ I have something to tell you and I will understand if you want me to leave once I tell you’ ” I will be gone with in the hour if you want me too” Yep the whopping big BOO HOO act, he never told her the truth only that he had had an affair eight years ago. supposedly who the affair was with or the number of fuckbuddies since the affair are irrelevant details.
            Like mother like son.
            She herself has been having an emotional affair with another man for more than 2 decades and when her husband retaliated with his own affair she packed and left then requested a 60/40 split in the settlement of the family home.
            My retaliation finding a healthy me in all this crap and sticking it to him at how much better off I am with out him.

          • Nord, my late MIL was just awful. My ex husband is an adopted only child and what I went through because he chose me was horrendous. She would often comment that he was only marrying me because I reminded him of her. She also quoted many, many times “oh what a tangle web we weave, when we first practice to deceive”. He could have murdered someone and she would have blamed the deceased person. He could do no wrong in mummy’s eyes!! She had passed way by the time my ex husband pulled the plug on our marriage but she would be ecstatic with happiness. My ex was terrified of her and would not stop her interference in our lives. Just typing that, I am glad he has gone because it brings back a lot of sadness.

  • He’s fit for an older guy, has the sexy accent , very charming and has made a career of coaching only women and children . My ex wife definitely has unresolved abandonment issues from a Dad that pretty much disappeared in her early teens. I knew when I met him that something was going on.

  • I think you should have his head examined. Literally! If he has done a 180 in the last couple of years you he might be dealing with some form of dementia. Two people I know of got Parkinson’s and went off the deep end over porn.

  • “I really don’t think your husband believes in polyamory. I think he’s just a run of the mill cake eater. Apparently, he was quite happy to have you living by a set of rules he was not bound by. ”

    ^^^THIS.

    XH told me the day we separated that “It wouldn’t bother me to see you with someone else.”

    I was crushed. Our marriage, our decades together meant so little to him that he didn’t care if I found someone else? Because he’d always been VERY territorial during our marriage, even after D-day.

    Turns out, he STILL is – three years after the divorce that he initiated. He doesn’t want me to date or even look at another guy. If I mention another man’s name – a neighbor, one of the kids’ friends’ fathers – he demands to know who it is. It’s almost comical. Should I ever embark on another relationship, he’s going to have a hard time with it.

    I think you’re looking at the same thing, Phoenix7. I think your STBX’s idea of an “open marriage” is where he gets to have sex with whomever he wants while you keep your mouth shut and your attention firmly on him.

    You’re doing the right thing, Phoenix7. Don’t let him bully or gaslight you.

    • My ex has tried to pull that crap. First saying I would meet someone in a couple of months (really? After 20 years together I’d just flit off with someone else? Oh yeah, that’s how he is so I must be as well!) and then, whenever I mentioned an old friend or anyone, really, he’d get very, very twitchy. Now he just pumps the kids. They give him nothing.

      • Yes, the double standard is alive and well, even after you start counting the anniversaries of the divorce instead of the marriage. Unfortunate.

  • This is slightly off topic, but has any Chump ever been given the boot from their marriage without any explanation whatsoever? My ex husband sent our son in to tell me I was leaving and what I was going to get, “to make it easy for me” but my ex has never ever sat with me and told me why he wanted out. Now I was married to this creep for 37 years and he wasn’t much of a talker but I am still left in the dark. Having said that, I am edging closer to MEH with every day so I don’t want an answer now. I am just curious if this has happened to other Chumps.

    • Maree,

      The fact that this man sent his child to do his “dirty work” is ample evidence that he is a HUGE conflict avoidant coward with a character (or sin) problem.

      And, yes, after 33 years my X got into his affair and with absolutely NO warning or expression of unhappiness, made the UNILATERAL decision that we needed to be divorced. He DID tell me in person though. I got “The Speech” …which is why I almost immediately suspected adultery.

      Once I found out the REAL score and confronted him with it, he started blame shifting and projection that went back for 25 years of re-writing marital history. It got ugly once I knew his dirty little secrets.

      This is typical of people who chose to participate in adultery. They don’t want to look at who they REALLY are and they MUST blame someone else in order to “save face” with their own selves. Even if they had a perfectly good spouse; and most of of them did or do. “Blaming The Victim,” is a common means of self-justification.

      I also believe from personal observations of married people for 66 years that there are MORE couples who do NOT divorce over one-time adultery than there are those who do. But in ALL cases the reconciliation followed this scenario: For whatever reason, the adulterer comes to his or her senses SOONER than later and realizes how horribly they have acted. They STOP self-justifying. They experience REAL remorse and spend the rest of their lives VOLUNTARILY and with NO resentlment making amends and accepting 100 percent of the responsibility for hurting the other. Eventually trust, peace, and calm are re-established.

      I believe that the kind of spouses written about on this site… hardened serial cheaters and/or highly dysfunctional one-time cheaters who refuse to accept responsibility and change their ways are a minority. Because couples who successfully reconcile aren’t on internet forums looking for relief or absolution and thus their is no accurate PUBLIC count of them. They are living repaired and peaceful lives and marriages.

      • Thank you notyou. Your words are always comforting in all of the turmoil. I appreciate your response. 🙂

      • “their is” should have read “there is”

        [I always type too fast and probably should proof read.]

      • Notyou, so you do believe in unicorns. Interesting. I did too the first time my ex cheated and exhibited all the signs you speak of. Unfortunately liars lie. I think with a divorce rate in the US that is at near 50% and surveys indicating that infidelity is around 40% that maybe you are entirely too optimistic about this silent majority of marriages wherein infidelity is overcome and a peaceful marriage follows.

        • Dat, reconciliation isn’t impossible, just IMO improbable. Even I want to believe in unicorns. Sadly, I just don’t think most cheaters go the distance. And really, I think chumps have better things to do with their time than wait for the Great Awakening and invest the time in the Change. It’s an investment, and it’s a risk.

          Notyou is a therapist and I think therapists have to believe that relationships can be improved. Of course, therapists also caution us about toxic relationships or people we need to remove ourselves from, but I tend to think they are at heart an optimistic bunch or they wouldn’t go into the field.

          You don’t have to be optimistic, or me, but personally, I don’t find it surprising that someone who is a retired counselor thinks marriages can be saved IF there is recompense and remorse.

          Personally, I think a dynamic in which someone is trying to Make It Up To You for the rest of your life is weird. I mean, certainly better than the alternative of no remorse. But to live with the I Was Betrayed vs. I Was the Fuck up doesn’t seem like the kind of marriage I’d want to be in. One more reason I don’t think reconciliation is terribly sustainable, even when it’s done “right.”

          • CL, I made the comment because notyou appears to believe that the majority of cheaters are reformable and simply not represented online because they did reform. This invalidates our shared experiences to some degree with no statistical basis, no facts to back it up. It smacks of RIC sites that insist your marriage will survive and, bonus! Be better than ever. I posit that most of us would have been less traumatized and much better off without this message that says, in essence; give the spouse a chance because zie is likely to come to zies senses if you just try. It’s not what the existing data tells me.

            • “I posit that most of us would have been less traumatized and much better off without this message that says, in essence; give the spouse a chance because zie is likely to come to zies senses if you just try. It’s not what the existing data tells me.”

              Dat,

              If my expressing a difference of opinion is “traumatizing” to you, you still have whole hell of a lot of work to do.

              For months you have found things in my posts to nitpick or make snarky comments about (my sense of humor, posts that you perceive to be misogynistic, misandric, my faith, or whatever else your “complaint of the moment” about me is.

              ” This invalidates our shared experiences to some degree with no statistical basis, no facts to back it up.”

              No, it doesn’t invalidate anyone else’s experiences. It simply validates that not everyone else who has dealt with adultery had the same experiences or outcomes that you have had.

              This is not just insulting to me. It is ALSO (or should be) insulting to the other contributors here….because inherent in your comments is the implication that these other people are not intelligent or cognizant enough to read my posts, take what they need and LEAVE the rest.

              Additionally, I’m not the only person to whom you have displayed an inappropriately proprietary attitude about comments on TRACY’s blog. Why do you find that necessary? I think she manages to do a quite adequate job as moderator.

              “Posit” what you will. But understand that I don’t need anyone to do my thinking for me. I draw my own conclusions and make my own decisions based on information not only from my personal life, but also from my training and professional experiences and having watched the life experiences of other people for many years.

              I’ve dealt professionally day in and day out, year after year, with plenty of truly dysfunctional people. But according to you, that counts for shit because it doesn’t reflect YOUR world view–which as near as I can tell by how you write is pretty damned bleak and dismal.

              I don’t think the whole world revolves around what happened to me or that because it happened to me it must therefore be the absolute truth with respect to every single other human being on the face of this earth. I know better.

              There are norms and recognizable patterns that allow us to make impressions and predict with some degree of accuracy how individuals may behave in the future HOWEVER, with respect to human beings, no one-size-fits all in this life…there are always exceptions…sometimes a significant number of exceptions.

              As much as YOU appear to believe that people can’t change, AGAIN I KNOW BETTER.

              There is an entire forum full of people here who are actively trying and making progress toward CHANGING THEIR OWN BEHAVIOR in order to have a better life, and some of their behaviors (admittedly not cheating) have been as ingrained and pervasive as the behaviors which cause some other people to cheat. They have recognized this and are working diligently to improve themselves! What the hell are they doing…whistling Dixie?

              I don’t appreciate your sniping which continues to arise apparently from the fact that you and I don’t agree on every little thing. Has anyone ever told you that quality might be an aspect of your personality that you need to work on…..dealing with dissent without having to attack the dissenting individual, or try to “inspire” some kind of little clique in an attempt to shut them down? So incredibly junior high school.

              If Tracy wants me gone, all she has to do is say the word. Last time I looked this IS her blog.

              • Wow, while I was writing a considered response you were were writing an attack on me for daring to disagree? If you have interpreted my posts as attacks or insults then perhaps you have some work to do. I do not snipe, I simply state my opinion, I debate your points if I do not agree. I find your posts interesting and often useful. That doesn’t mean I must defer to your experience as authoritative, or agree with them, or refrain from responding to them.

                Your reading comprehension is lacking, you said: “If my expressing a difference of opinion is “traumatizing” to you, you still have whole hell of a lot of work to do.” No sorry, you are not capable of traumatizing me and that is not what I said at all. I was pointing out that encouraging people to waste time with a cheater can be traumatizing.

                I’m not bothering to respond to the rest of your post, too much troll, not enough substance. I suppose I’ll just be “bleak and dismal” about the rest of it…not.

              • These are your exact words:

                ” I posit that most of us would have been less traumatized and much better off without this message that says, in essence; give the spouse a chance because zie is likely to come to zies senses if you just try. It’s not what the existing data tells me.”

                Nope, my reading skills are just fine! Did you or did you not say, ” I posit that most of us would have been less traumatized….”

                And since we are now parsing every word and turn of the phrase..

                Are you including yourself in that “us” or excluding yourself?
                Were you traumatized by my post or were you not?
                How do you know I “traumatized” everyone else here?
                Are you clairvoyant?
                Do you think they can speak for themselves? (I’ll bet they can.)

                *
                ” It’s not what the existing data tells me.”

                Your “existing data” tells you that cheaters who keep cheating keep lying and sneaking. Please tell us something new.
                *

                Don’t make me go back through this forum and quote you verbatim from all the places where you have responded to one of my posts with something like, “This is rank bullshit,” or “misogynistic” (in reference to a freaking JOKE for crying out loud), ….and those are only a few.

                Would you like me to find the post where you told another commenter something to the effect of, “I’ve warned you before about comments of that kind on here…”? What I want to know is, and you STILL haven’t answered the question: Who died and made you the blog moderator and unofficial “gatekeeper”?

                Its not just today. This has been coming for months. Snipe, snipe, snipe. Nobody else on here does it but YOU. Everyone else here either politely disagrees and/or mounts some pretty well thought out and spirited (without being RUDE and CRUDE) dissenting statements.

                What you do is called, “Ankle Biting,” and I am going to call you out on it every single time you do it from now on.

                Your personal trauma is no excuse for piss-poor social skills…. just like trauma wouldn’t be an excuse for cheating…now would it?

                I do not tolerate passive-aggressive verbal abuse of even most subtly snide and ambient kind.

                Keep dishing, and I’m going to keep dishing it right back until Tracy tosses me.

                Have I now put this in vernacular that you can understand?

              • Notyou, this has become an exercise in futility, I’ll not respond to any more of your nasty posts. I do not know how many times I have to translate my comment to you, I did not say your post was traumatizing, I said: “I was pointing out that encouraging people to waste time with a cheater can be traumatizing.” I don’t think anyone else is misunderstanding this statement. Reconciliation appears to result in further serial betrayals and that is where the trauma lies, pretty damn simple.

                I am not insulting to you or anyone else on this blog, nor do I police it as you suggest. The only time I have ever taken issue with a post is when the word c*nt is used, I share the hatred of the word with Tracey (and many others). I’m not a moderator, nor a gatekeeper. It appears you do not like anyone to debate you, express opinions opposed to your own or express any ethics you do not share. And yes, I am a feminist so “jokes” that are clearly misogynistic bother me. I suppose you feel I’m not allowed to express my opinion freely, oh wait…

          • Notyou – my stbx read from the same hand book. Amazing how predictable some of these people are. But it helps to see that he’s not unique in his methods. Just a common place cheater with a wandering pointer

          • “Personally, I think a dynamic in which someone is trying to Make It Up To You for the rest of your life is weird.”

            Perhaps a better choice of words would have been “…. spending the rest of one’s life being mindful of how someone should behave in order to maintain trust and love in a committed relationship.” [although there would still be a period of time where significant amends would need to be made in order to re-establish trust.]

            **Astonishing as it may seem, there are some people for whom cheating is not anywhere near as traumatizing as it is for many others. Everybody is different in different ways.

            • Here you make a good point. The initial cheating by my spouse was not traumatizing, it sucked but I could get past it. The shit storm my ex engendered thereafter was the trauma. The repeated betrayals after promising to stop. The moving out of the house, then refusal to divorce and moving back in, the escalation from emotional abuse to the physical. It was not his initial cheating that caused my trauma, I suspect I am not alone in this. The first time my ex cheated he acted like he loved me and treated me well, I forgave and trusted again, 10 years later was the hell.

            • I agree with this Notyou, there are people I have known where the sexual portion of their relationship is not as “sacred” for lack of a better term than others. I have also known people that are more upset with a large expenditure of money, or gambling than a roll in the hay for a month or two. I personally don’t agree with them, the bedroom is the most intimate betrayal for me, but then I am not living their life.
              Some have little interest in sex, and others it is a huge part of their relationship. For many I am sure they believe they are making the best of a bad situation by trying to patch things up and preventing a detonation in the family. I am one who, as many on this site are, a person who has little peace once such a bond is broken & created with someone else, but I can see why people are tempted to give it a shot. We wouldn’t be Chumps if we gave up easily now would we??.

        • Dat,

          There are over 7 billion people on this earth and you and your X are only two of them. In your case you have described a hardened personality disordered, volatile and addicted individual who even if he had not cheated would still have been dangerous to an intimate relationship in a variety of other ways.

          You and your X don’t necessarily represent the norm except within a finite subgroup. Truth be known probably the majority of the cases described here don’t represent average people. In almost all of the stories related here, only ONE of the partners made an AUTHENTIC attempts to repair themselves and the marriage. This is what we call a “skewed sample.” Skewed samples are not representative of populations as wholes.

          I don’t just believe, I KNOW that not everyone who has cheated has a personality disorder or is even severely character disordered. None of us has *perfect* character….character flaws distribute out along a spectrum for mild to severe… just like all other aspects of personality and behavior.

          Unicorns? No. I am very much a realist. Reconciliation is possible but it ALWAYS takes TWO PEOPLE giving it their best shot; and even under those circumstances, is extremely difficult.

          But people still reconcile and do is successfully. These people are not necessarily visible to you or the rest of the general public because they very frequently have kept their problem confidential between the two of them, or within a very limited group of people.

          Further the 50% divorce rate has repeatedly been show to be an inaccurate statistic, although I do believe that prevailing cultural norms in the second half of the last century made divorce much more acceptable and prevalent. Goes right along with the huge jump in people (men AND women) who have children they won’t work and support. Our current culture promotes and even glorifies hedonistic and irresponsible behavior…how can this lack of values NOT spill over into home and family?

          http://visual.ly/debunking-50-divorce-rate

          This is an opinion forum; and as such, I have expressed my opinions. If some disagree that is their prerogative.

          • I think it is possible for people to recover from infidelity–but only if the unfaithful partner has the empathy and the grit to understand he or she has to repair the relationship from the ground up, and both parties are able to commit to healing the damage to the chump and the relationship. Brene Brown writes, speaking of romantic or marital love: “Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholidng of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed, and rare.” The acknowledging and the healing must cover a lot of ground, as the cheater has not only betrayed his spouse/partner, but has shamed, disrespected and blamed him or her in order to cheat in the first place. Cheating requires some devaluing of the spouse/partner, even if it is just denying being married when picking up a one-night stand in a bar, and especially if the cheater has invited an AP or APs into the intimate emotional space of the marriage by running down and demeaning the partner. I think marriage is a hard thing to do and do well, and marriages tend to go through ups and downs where a partner might be tempted to get needs met elsewhere. But that is a risky road because once trust and loyalty are thrown away, there is no guarantee that the partner will be willing to trust again. No doubt lots of people “forgive” cheaters by taking them back, but there is no way to know how damaged and diminished the marriage is by the actions of the cheater.

          • Notyou, talk about “skewed samples” while extolling how you know because of your experience? Wow.

            I’m saying go to the RIC sites and do analysis of all the people there who *think* their cheating spouse exhibits true remorse and takes responsibility. I did the searches and found time after time that the spouse who cheated was lying and while doing and saying the right things continued to cheat. I am an engineer not a therapist, I analyze the data I can find, I don’t do fantasy IRL. I’m not buying there is some nebulous group of married people who repaired their marriage after infidelity but never participated in forums.

            Sure everyone likes to say the 50% divorce rate stat is wrong, it’s damn close in aggregate over first, second and third marriages, it’s closer to 45% but I didn’t see the point in being especially precise with those stats.

            I know my ex is not the norm, and there are others here who do not, truth be told most are actually garden variety cheaters even though you seem to feel otherwise. I was not basing my argument on my experience but on the shared experience here and on RIC sites where the cheater DOES act like zie is remorseful and all in, and over time turns out they are not. Also on many scholarly articles and books. No, not everyone that cheats is sick, nor are they all irredeemable, the point is do we spend precious years finding that out? I say it’s not worth it.

            Further, your assertion: ” But people still reconcile and do is successfully. These people are not necessarily visible to you or the rest of the general public because they very frequently have kept their problem confidential between the two of them, or within a very limited group of people.” Has no basis in fact or online, you have zero statistics or data to back that up. And that was my main point. Have any opinion you wish, I am fine with it, but it is an opinion based on your anecdotal experience and is no more valid than anyone else’s. Making an assertion without adequate data does not make it true, writing authoritatively does not make it true.

            • ” I did the searches and found time after time that the spouse who cheated was lying and while doing and saying the right things continued to cheat.”

              FYI, psychologists take experimental design and several semesters of advanced statistics. We review and analyze a lot of social science/ behavioral research which uses precisely the same statistical criteria and protocols as in any other application…including engineering. I know good stats from bad and can recognize credible research.

              What you’ve done is provide a 100% positive correlation between lying and sneaking and infidelity. Bobo the chimp could have figured this out since the behavior of “cheating” necessarily entails lying and sneaking.

              The fact is RIC sites are nothing more than anecdotal information, too. People who are distressed because they can’t get their cheater to stop cheating. How much more skewed can a sample get?

              You conclusions are in NO way indicative of a macro comparison between the number of people who successfully reconcile and those who do not. The data simply is not there.

              HARD research requires a hypothesis, an experimental design complete with a control group, allowance for variables, and enough data to yield analyzable results. Reliability and validity of results depends upon the accuracy of the data and the robustness of the statistical applications, i.e. parametric v non-parametric testing. With an honest analysis of difference variance.

              Show me you hard research on the actual actual topic at hand. I can’t wait to see it.

              • Notyou, congratulations, we appear to finally agree. It appears you now understand why I don’t have any faith in your anecdotal assertion:

                “I believe that the kind of spouses written about on this site… hardened serial cheaters and/or highly dysfunctional one-time cheaters who refuse to accept responsibility and change their ways are a minority. Because couples who successfully reconcile aren’t on internet forums looking for relief or absolution and thus their is no accurate PUBLIC count of them. They are living repaired and peaceful lives and marriages.”

                Show me your hard research on the actual actual topic at hand, prove your assertion. I can’t wait to see it.

              • BTW notyou, I love the way you completely ignore the large dataset that supports the fact that cheating is in most abusers lexicon, there is a huge body of research to support this. Lundy and many, many others come to mind.

          • I am sure marriages can heal after infidelity. I wouldn’t expect it but plenty of couples continue on after betrayal. Here is my opinion. Marriages that survive do just that. They survive. Thriving is rare.
            Currently my NH cheater pants has given me his passwords, blah, blah, blah. I am pretty sure he is currently being faithful, as long as we define it as not screwing up. However, there is no remorse. None. I can choose to continue our “reconciliation”. But, I am not sure it will be worth the effort. My heart is just not in it. Until and unless something in his heart comes to life, I will keep my distance. We might go the distance, til death do us part. At our age that is probably the sensible path. I have a full life, kids, grand kids, meaningful work, my friends and most importantly, I know God loves me and is with me. So maybe my meh is found with him still in the house. I am still puzzling over it.

              • Moving Liquid, he is sorry he got caught and it seems he is sorry that I am not willing to just let it go. After all, there are bigger issues. You know, like impeaching Obama. That is what matters. Obama is a liar… Says my lying husband. Lucky him to have someone to target! Sheesh!

            • Linda, my wife has behaved in much the same way. I don’t think she has been unfaithful again but she has no real remorse.

      • So true. Revisionist history is AMAZING! To hear my ex talk he could hardly bear the many years he spent with me (and our three children). Busy off living the good life with all his loser racquetball “friends” (who also had nothing good to say about their wives or families.) yes these losers will wax poetic about how great their lives are AFTER they have destroyed yours. One day with the disordered and you begin to question your sanity. I regret that I spent so many years with such a sparkly accomplished liar.

    • The Jackass left me that way, no explanation. But we weren’t married, so it’s not the same, I don’t think. But I think it’s a narcissist thing. Just turn on a dime and drop someone you said you loved. If they actually “loved” as we chumps understand it, they couldn’t do what they do.

  • This isn’t laudable, belated honesty. It’s bullshit cake with bullshit frosting and a layer of bullshit in the middle. He doesn’t want an “open marriage” he wants cake. He wanted to fuck as many people as he wanted with a different set of rules for himself. I would bet that if you had agreed to an open marriage, he would flip his shit about any guy you showed interest in.

    The thing about open relationships is it has to be honesty from the START. EVERYONE, and when I say that I mean absolutely EVERY. SINGLE. PERSON. INVOLVED has to be on the same page. Monogamous relationships need trust and communication, but with ploy amorous ones, there has to be even MORE because there are more people involved. Your STBX showed that he can’t be trusted with even just you. It wouldn’t be a good idea to trust him in a poly situation. The way I described it to someone else was that would be like catching an employee stealing from the register and then making him a manager.

    With poly relationships, there can be absolutely nothing hidden. Nothing. Each and every potential partner has to be made aware of the situation, everyone has to be open about STD testing and contraception, everyone has to be aware of relationship and marital status, as in, are the extra partners you are inviting into your marriage ACTUALLY available or are they hiding their own exclusive relationships? There’s quite a lot to consider. Your STBX doesn’t want that. He doesn’t want that kind of constant negotiation and communication, he doesn’t want the same rules to apply to you, and he doesn’t want to do the work to keep everyone on the same page. He wants extra fucks. That’s all.

    He’s parading around this “enlightened” bullshit because he’s trying to control the narrative. It’s nothing different than other cheaters. He’s trying to make it seem like you’re the bad guy so he can sparkle all the more to the people who know you and undoubtedly to his sexual conquests. The truth is, he’s an asshole who cheated and you ditched his ass in the gutter where it belongs. The reality is he’s the bad guy who made the hurtful decisions and did the abusive things. He doesn’t want anyone to know that, so he’s got this facade of being a liberated sexual philosopher.

    Real poly people are honest. They communicate, they know what’s what and they DON’T make unilateral decisions for the relationship without the input of their partner(s). They come into the situation from day one knowing that it is a non-exclusive setup.

    They do NOT suddenly say, after 30 years of monogamous marriage, that monogamy is unnatural and wrong and oppressive. As the saying goes, “If your spouse asks you for an open marriage, chances are, you’re already in one.”

    • Well said. I especially liked, “this facade of being a liberated sexual philosopher” or as we will soon refer to him on CL, an LSP.

    • I appreciated your comments about how the philander in this story is trying to control the narrative. I think you’re right; that’s exactly what he’s trying to do. It strikes me as a more sophisticated, intellectual version of a mindfuck.

      • Pretty much. He can use as many flowery words and crack-pot philosophies as he wants, in the end, it’s still just a mindfuck.

  • So much CRAZY. In the two years leading up to dday my ex was struggling with the legacy he was leaving the world. Hated his job, needed to be recognized everywhere we went (small town cop who would spend our entire family dinner out talking to wait staff in the local restaurant, lol) and was struggling with growing older. He blamed his family for not being able to be a pro racquetball player(snort!). Most people deal with growing older in productive ways, they don’t usually blow up their marriages.My ex had a great sex life with me, but after twenty eight years together I had begun to notice some distancing. He was growing more and more selfish in bed but maybe the fact that he was no longer attracted to me had an impact too. I think it’s hard to compete with crazy. Porn. New partners. Fantasy. Travel. No responsibilities. And isn’t sex a great blinder? I too believe cheaters want spice with significant others and OW/OM because part of the fun is the sneaky illicit behavior. My ex in his pursuit of a better life blew his best life up. Phoenix7, Sex equals love to my ex. He will never be “deeper” than that.

  • What phoenix7’s husband wants her to do is to CONDONE his breaking of the 7th Commandment…along with several others.

    Whether she realizes it or not she is protecting her immortal soul by taking a STAND against sin; because God will never condone the breaking of his Commandments, expects us to speak out when we see others breaking them, and sooner or later He WILL hold accountable those who break them and remain unrepentant.

  • Phoenix, my take is that your despicable, cheating STBX is not really interested at all in an open relationship and never was, but after a 30 year marriage, doesn’t want to deal with the financial fallout of a divorce, along with all the other turmoil and inconvenience involved in divorcing. So he made you this disgusting offer as a way of avoiding divorce, yet continuing with his affairs. I’ll bet you if you HAD taken him up on it, he wouldn’t be too thrilled with you fucking other guys, because it’s all about him.

    I am so relieved that you are going ahead and dumping his cheating ass. I hope you are taking him to the cleaners and have a shark-headed attorney, because your ex deserves to be left with nothing.

    • I think it was just a way to cover his tracks. He was already fucking someone else for two years that she knows of, so I would bet that his OW threatened the “you tell her about us or I will” card. So he figured that he would get this open marriage agreement, then claim he just met the OW he’d been banging for however long already. Then when Phoenix gets upset, he can throw the “open marriage” in her face as a weapon to invalidate her feelings.

      • Pretty sure that’s what my ex did. He had to annihilate the finances in those last two years though. Setting up his perfect future. I know his fuckbuddy gave him the ultimatum and he knew where I stood re infidelity. Hey, I wish him and wrinkle face a long happy marriage. So glad disordered is out of my life. I wish I had figured this out sooner. 🙁

        • This happened to me too. The 2 year lasting, significantly younger OW (I didn’t know, I thought he was only working thru depression over his Mom’s death, SAHM taking care of 3 children), said “If you don’t tell her I will.” So he got mad at her and came home for a few weeks and was all lovey dovey. Then I found out and the story turned to “she didn’t mean it, she just wants me to be happy.” He left an 18 year marriage after she convinced him she was just worried about him.
          Four years out, it all looks ridiculous. As do they.

          • I still really struggle with what my ex did. To me. To our children. To our finances. That man just announced one day that he wanted a divorce and then acted like a complete stranger skipping along happily into his perfect life and totally unaware of the pain he inflicted. Five years out and the kids and I are still struggling with his mindfuck. I don’t think it’s the cheating that bothers me so much as the fucking lying. Every day for the last two years of our marriage he got out of bed and had the audacity to play a role. All the while fucking his family over. Fucking over what I had worked so hard to have. You can not make lemonade out of lemons when life hands you rotten ones. I hope next time I will stay the heck away from toxic shitheads. To this day every time we are near him publicly , like at our daughter’s graduation from college, he will loudly proclaim to all that blowing up his family and running off with his racquetball partner was “the best thing that ever happened to me”. Oh and that fuckbuddy of his. Yeah, priceless. THESE PEOPLE TRULY SUCK. Barf, barf, triple barf.

          • “I didn’t know, I thought he was only working thru depression over his Mom’s death”

            Change the gender here and that’s my story exactly

          • Linda, me too! We are both Lindas here! I will change my user name! Linda is such a popular name. : )

  • Newt Gringrich would be proud of your stbx. Poly relationships require trust and strong communication skills. Your stbx has not exhibited the integrity and honesty needed. Glad you kicked him.

  • I don’t agree with the philosophy of open marriage. However, it is very clear that open marriage means you are completely and totally honest, you ask ahead of time, and you keep your promises. Your husband does not believe in open marriage. He has simply found an excuse for something he was already doing.

    Think of it this way – what if a shoplifter said they had realized that capitalism is a terrible system and there should be no personal property? not quite the same as a rich guy turning his factory into a cooperative is it?

    Furthermore, whining about how monogamy is unnatural after you’ve been cheating for two years is just an excuse for I was too weak to resist temptation, it must be impossible to resist temptation.

    If it helps you any, what most experts think is that we are made to want to cheat, but also to want a loving, faithful partner and long-term relationships. There is no good “natural” solution. Cheating and agreed-to non-monogamous relationships cause problems in society, that’s why our cultures make rules against them.

    Or, to use another analogy, we’d all like to have all the books in the bookstore (or all the shoes or all the chocolate), but we also want to be able to own our own property!

    Anyhow, this is what I hate about the modern open marriage philosophy. So often it is not about amazingly loving people who “grok” everyone a la Stranger in a Strange Land, it’s just weak people trying to excuse what they’ve done and blame everyone else for the harm they’ve caused. That is very, very clearly what your husband is doing here.

    • Ah, I love the premise of that book, I grok but my conditioning never allowed me to explore such a thing. I’ll skip over the many mysoginistic bits in the book, Heinlien was amazingly enlightened for the 1950s but the patriarchy was string in him. I do believe absent conditioning we could have plural marriages.

    • Great post Diana1!! Hence why rules are made. Wherever you find a law is because there is a temptation to break it.

    • Love this post Diana. It’s always such an easy excuse for cheaters to claim that monogamy is “unnatural.” It’s the whole “I can’t be held accountable because this isn’t natural anyway” crap.

  • Phoenix, your STBX is just covering up his actions with a lot of excuses. CL says it best: “The problem is that your husband unilaterally changed the terms of the marriage agreement.” Marriage is a contract, legally binding and in some religions, binding in the church, as well, requiring a second set of processes to dissolve it. There are lots of words in both civil and religious ceremonies that make it clear marriage is meant to be monogamous and the partners are meant to care for each other and share their resources. The state provides a mechanism for undoing the contract, but that requires negotiation and usually a judge to sign off on dividing assets, support, etc. What you SBTX did when he started his affair(s) was to renege on the contract, appropriate assets (including time and marital affection). Then he wants to make the new terms good for him–“open marriage” meaning that he gets to keep all the assets available to him, including you, and still get to fuck other women. Whenever, with no consequences. That’s not a philosophy; that’s an end-run around a long-term contract. Put it this way: if he had entered into a lease, a rental contract, and agreed to pay $1000 per month for an apartment for the rest of his life, he wouldn’t get to decide, unilaterally, that he didn’t want to pay any more but hey, he still wanted to keep living in that great place. It’s about a man with no character seeking to give himself advantage over you in every single way he can, short of robbing you of everything and leaving you to starve naked on the street. If he didn’t like monogamy, he could get a divorce. But that would have meant…consequences he didn’t want. He thought he had a shot at controlling you and he lost. Good for you.

    • I am not including “open” marriage or “poly” arrangements in my comments; like others here, I see those as complex relationships that require superior communication skills, trustworthy individuals with well-articulated boundaries, and everyone on board from the start, and constitute a group apart from cheaters and their ilk.

  • CL, you continue to rock.

    I have been a magnet for scummy men who present as nice guys. These are men who rush into relationship, love bomb me, and eventually once they have me change all the agreements. My relationship finder is broke. Maybe I’m cured now, finally, at 62 (after 34 years and 8 kids in my now defunct marriage). And maybe I’m not. That remains to be seen. I have plenty on my plate besides looking for another.

    To illustrate how much of a chump I was for my ex, I volunteered to open up the marriage. He’d been cheating and lying and getting found out and crying about being sorry and getting another chance and never changing for the last 10 of our 34-35 years together. I had older kids urging me to get out. And yet near the end, maybe 2-3 years before he walked into the waiting arms of another woman (unknown to me, he had her on the line already), I chumpily asked him if he thought an open marriage might solve the problem of him lying about his dalliances. I offered to change the terms of our marriage just to keep this man by my side. He was aghast I’d even think that was a good idea. He started in with the “I want to be with you, I’ll try harder, I’ve got this problem” stuff again. What he really meant was “I like cheating, it’s a thrill, and I want to continue without being accountable in any way, and I don’t really want you to have the same options.” Well, I get it now. But that was probably my lowest point. I should have filed instead of hanging on for another 2-3 years. Just today I got a weird whining email from him telling me what a wonderful woman I am what a perfect wife, mother, blah blah blah. He’s gotten himself in trouble with his current honey, the one he walked away from his family to be with for his serial cheating. These guys don’t stop. He’s almost 64 years old. I suspect he’s been a cheater since we were married. I can only document it for the last ten years of our marriage but I’m sure it started long before then. Life is not always easy for me but it’s way more peaceful than it was with him.

    • I don’t know if it is tru for you, but in my relationship the open marriage idea would never fly, he could cheat but if I even looked at a man he’d get jealous. I think they do get off on the secrecy but there is also the ownership of “their” wife, you are not allowed to do the same. If it weren’t so then why do so many not simply say “I want a divorce” or “I want an open marriage”?

      • Yeah, if they agreed to an open marriage, they’d probably find that their wife had more chances to have sex or an affair than they did. That would not make them happy!

    • It’s interesting that he wasn’t interested, really, in open marriage. I think a lot of these guys love the CHEATING and not (just) the sex. The sneaking, the lying, the adolescent “I’m breaking the rules” and “I’ve got the upper hand over you.” They love to be the object of the pick-me dance, to get over on the AP’s spouse, to have their secrets.

  • “A lonely philosopher wandering the moors of convention” Poor soul, it must be rough being so advanced and all. Lofty, dynamic and & open minded he is…and Modern! Modern he is, seeing through all this outdated and old-fashioned commitment & unnecessary honesty and loyalty!! It makes me seethe that 30 years does not earn his wife the very minimum of consideration. I wish for life’s come uppence (sp?) for both Large & Small “Sausages.” Good luck on “Easy Street” SUCKER!!
    And great advice from CL!! Not to mention funny as usual.

  • Sorry for my ignorance but I am a little confused about the notion of an open marriage.

    You are either married! The two shall become one forsaking all others.

    or you have a house mate that is happy for you to stick a sock on the door handle when you have a friend over.

    I don’t ever recall going to a wedding where the person officiating the ceremony said,
    do you ? take ? to be your lawfully wedded other as well as the the two people here in the front row? and the person in the fourth row there (yes you in the blue) oH and the two people next to you? and also the person in the back row near the exit sign?

    And as for cheating because you are bored! Todays society struggles because majority of people are to up them selves to volunteer to assist those in need. How fucking awesome would this world be if all those board cheaters went and alleviated their supposed boredom live by helping others rather than seeking others to help them.

    • That’s not really how it works, Sammie.

      It’s not a college-esque setup with room mates warning each other when the other is going to have a sex partner, and it’s not something that needs to be announced publicly at a ceremony.

      It’s a private decision among the parties involved. They don’t list off everyone in the open setup at the ceremony simply because it’s not public business.

      It’s not quite as black and white as either you’re married or you’re not. Some people have relationships in which the married couple is in charge. They are the two who get to decide who else is or is not allowed to get involved. And it’s usually a setup that is only for sexual encounters, not extra-marital long-term relationships. Sometimes some couples like to have threesomes, in which case the couple agrees upon ONE other person, and it has to be someone that they both approve of.

      The other sexual partners are also not privy to certain things reserved for the couple and the couple ONLY. Anniversaries, home activities, traditions the couple has for themselves, those things are reserved for them and no one else.

      And as I said before, these are terms that are agreed to from day one, not 30 years down the road out of nowhere. It’s a complex setup that involves a great amount of communication, honesty, setting and enforcing boundaries.

      Open relationships may not be your thing, it’s certainly not my thing either, but I think the way you just put it is a little over-simplified and frankly, a bit insulting. I do know couples who are in open setups and they do communicate with each other on a completely different level and it’s not even close to what you just described.

      • Thanks Kara for your feedback on my comment. If your consider my point of view ‘a little over-simplified and frankly, a bit insulting.’ that is more than ok with me.

        You have been able to clarify for me that an open marriages is where those who appear to be grown up but are too immature to really be in a committed relationship go about their lives in secret, so they can have their cake and eat it too. So to sum it up couples in an open marriage are happy to just use people for sex?

        thanks for setting me straight. 🙂

        • Um, no. You did not listen to what I said at all. I was being completely serious in my feedback to you and I’d appreciate the courtesy of not having sarcasm thrown back at me.

          You willfully admitted that you don’t understand how open relationships work. That’s fine. But because you admit that you don’t understand them, then it isn’t really fair of you to reduce it to such negative terms and labels and completely reject what I just explained to you because you don’t like the idea.

          If you’re going to talk about maturity, maybe you could actually afford me that courtesy as well and actually take seriously what I’m trying to explain to you.

          “an open marriages is where those who appear to be grown up but are too immature to really be in a committed relationship”

          This is not the case at all. The couple ARE committed to each other. They don’t definite commitment entirely by sex. But they DO have boundaries and rules within their agreement. Believe it or not, YES, people in open marriages can be cheated on. If one of the people in the arrangement disregards a previously set boundary or rule. It’s not just a have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too free for all where they just have sex with whoever they want. Not by a long shot. The couple in the marriage have to agree on who is invited into their sex lives. If the wife chooses someone the husband doesn’t like, then she doesn’t have sex with that person. Vice versa. If the husband chooses a woman the wife doesn’t like, it doesn’t happen. STD testing is a regular thing among them, as well as contraception. Poly couples also do not choose people who are in exclusive relationships. The other partners either need to also be poly or they need to be single. (And responsible poly couples make sure of this.)

          ” go about their lives in secret,”

          No, that’s not what I said either. You said you’d never been to a wedding where the officiate included every single person the couple was involved with in the vows. I said they don’t do that because it’s not necessary, nor is it really the congregation’s business if the couple has agreed on an open marriage, or who they are choosing to have sex with. Why would they need to announce to everyone who their sex partners were? Sure, within a monogamous couple, it’s understood at the wedding that they are going to have sex, but they don’t go around telling all their wedding guests. It’s not really anyone’s business.

          That’s not the same as going about your life in secret. Cheaters go about their lives in secret because they have something to hide.

          Poly relationships share their agreement with the people they choose to include. They don’t just pick someone out at a bar and have sex with them, not telling them anything else. That’s not how it works either. Like I said earlier, everyone has to be okay with the arrangement, and when I said everyone, I meant the extra sex partners they choose as well. It’s clear that you don’t think this is the case, but poly couples do vet their choices to make sure that everyone is on the same page. For the sake of keeping communication going and making sure everyone is safe.

          “So to sum it up couples in an open marriage are happy to just use people for sex?”

          That’s not what I said either.

          I’m sure you were wondering what the point of being married would be if they marriage is open. What I was trying to explain is that the extra partners are not invited into EVERY aspect of the marriage. There are some things reserved for the couple. Poly couples can, and do, say “no” to some things. Going with the example of anniversaries that I used before, if another partner wants to see one of them on their anniversary, the couple has the right to say “No, tonight is just for us.” The couple lives together, goes about their lives together, celebrates anniversaries, holidays and other things together. The difference being that they have an agreement in which they have other sexual partners.

          This clearly is something that you’re not into. I get that. I’m not into it either. But I have friends who are, and they have been married for many years, happily. They explained it to me like this.

          The difference between poly and “cheater” is the honesty, the communication and the mutual agreement on the setup. Cheaters don’t do that. Cheaters just make the unilateral decision that they are going to fuck someone else. Cheaters don’t care about what their spouse thinks, cheaters lie to their AP’s just as much as they lie to their spouses and friends. They don’t care about contraception or STD’s or protection. They care about getting what they want, when they want it and screw everyone else getting in the way.

          You’re going to think what you want to think, but I would hope that you would let go of some of that negative judgement and actually take seriously what I’m trying to explain to you.

          • It should also be noted that not everyone uses the traditional wedding vows you quoted. Some couples write their own.

          • We’ll said Kara, should be noted there are poly arrangements where everyone is living together and have more or less equal say in the relationship

  • Seriously, fuck all of this open marriage, polyamorous everyone in the “lifestyle” is honest bullshit. My Ex fucked all of these people (he admitted to me once caught) that he found on Adult Friend Finder and at swingers clubs, and according to him, he told them the truth—that he was engaged to and living with his fiancee (me) who was not aware of his cheating and they proceeded to fuck him anyways. So much for the honesty and openness and trust from that crowd. They get to have cake and intrigue and I get STD exposure and a fucked home life. So thoughtful and caring of their fellow womankind.

    Yes, stereotyping and generalization from me, because I got burned by the “lifestyle”.

    • MJD, those people are cheaters. Not poly. They are straight up CHEATERS.

      There’s a difference between poly people and cheaters. The people your ex met and had sex with were all cheaters parading themselves around as poly. Cheaters do that often. Actual poly people really hate it when cheaters try to appropriate that title because it conflates their lifestyle with a completely different lifestyle that they don’t want any part of. Cheaters are cheaters, no matter what other kind of title they try to give themselves.

      We all got burned by cheaters.

  • The scary thing is how quickly women are becoming like men. They are in it for themselves, in it for now, get what they can get because everybody is doing it they rationalize…some women are trying to be this “porn dream come true,” I wish them luck. Down here in South Florida women are CHASING men like I have never seen before, and they take it as the stock value is going up! Women being so easy gives men power in their relationships. Not that one can’t be alone of course. Obviously this isn’t all women but more than I ever recall.

  • Hey, he tried–don’t act like you did all you could to preserve your marriage when you didn’t at least consider his idea to open it up. That was considerate of him.

      • Not at all. How many stories do we read on here where the man discussed his feelings? It shows he loved her and wanted to stay together, but she didn’t want to give discuss it further or give it a shot. Her decision to make, obviously, but she’s just as responsible for the break-up.

        • …You’ve got to be kidding. Did you read the letter? or CL’s reply? Probably not. I’m going to assume you didn’t.

          He wasn’t “discussing his feelings.” He was trying to find an out for something he was already doing. When she asked if she was “unwillingly already part of one” he LIED TO HER AND SAID NO. She found out that he had already been having sex with someone else for two years, as well as several other encounters through Craig’s List. In addition to that, he didn’t open things up for discussion, he GAVE HER AN ULTIMATUM. Give him an open marriage or leave. That’s not negotiation, that’s not communication, that’s not discussion. That’s “My way or the highway.”

          No shit she didn’t want to discuss it further, the man was straight up lying to her and flat out cheating on her. He did not love her and want to stay together, he wanted to have her at home taking care of his stuff while he went out and indiscriminately fucked whoever he felt like. He had already been doing that for a long time, why the hell would he bring it up after all that time? Because something came up. One of his partners demanded that he come clean or something else happened that put his sneakiness at risk. I’m sure if nothing had forced him, he would probably have kept going on with his cheating under the radar.

          And for what reason would he even DESERVE her consideration of such terms? He’d shown pretty much no reason for him to deserve it. A long record of lying, an even longer record of people he cheated with, and then tries to make it look like she was a horribly oppressive spouse and he’s some kind of sex guru? Come ON.

          She’s not just as responsible for the breakup. She didn’t treat their marriage like their vows weren’t serious, she didn’t make unilateral decisions about their sex life, she didn’t hide an AP for two years, and she didn’t straight up lie to his face when confronted.

          For what reason, exactly, should she want to preserve a marriage on terms she doesn’t believe in or want, with someone who clearly does not respect her at all?

          “Obviously” she doesn’t owe him anything.

  • Hey, he tried–don’t act like you did everything you could to preserve your marriage when you didn’t even consider opening it up. That was considerate of him.

    • I guess the name “malarkey.” makes me wonder if this is some kind of joke?? If his attempt at “making things right” was making a long overdue suggestion that their marriage be “open” after his trial run of cheating for years. Well, IMO that is malarkey better known as BS in most circles! WTF?? This poor woman is already having her mind screwed with, she doesn’t need your help!

  • One of the first posts with Nord say the “baby daddy” thing to back up their “thinking” made me dream up a new cartoon for CL to try, would be easy for her….a Dick sitting on a rock or stool with a face on the tip leaning over onto one of the “balls” and ‘thinking!!” We are victims of the “thinking dicks man.” (not to be confused with the thinking man’s dick!) Maybe there could be a captured thought a dick might have encased in a “thought” balloon. You know like Garfield, Snoopy or any of the higher class animals has. (Maybe a picture of a twat?) CL knows best

  • Wage disparity! Let me throw my two cents in..There are men who won’t like to hear what I am saying..Ehh, I am gonna say it anyway..I got educated , I was the main wage earner in our marriage..Our whole marriage..Main wage earner on top of taking care of my kiddos, being a part of their schooling, growing up, being an involved parent..
    There is no antidote to the mayhem your life will be if you are unfortunate enough to have a spouse who feels entitled to cheat whenever his or her life isn’t peachy smooth..When they have needs that they think you aren’t meeting…
    My advice…Especially to those who have a wage disparity in their marriage..Please protect yourself from the eventuality that your spouse may stab you in the back….It happens..You may have to reawaken your career…Or make sure your spouse reawakens his career…
    You don’t want to go thru your golden years eating cat food on the heels of a divorce gone bad…

    • Same thing happened to me. A couple of years into the marriage he brought up the idea of an open marriage and acted kind of hurt when I turned down that idea. I asked him if he had an affair. He said no and I found out later that was a lie. The best part of all is when I asked him where he got the idea for an open marriage. He said he got it from an episode of CSI. I asked, “weren’t the characters on CSI brutally murdered for enjoying their ‘lifestyle’? THAT convinces you open marriage is a good idea?”

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