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The Pretzel Logic of the 180

Jesus-says-meme-generator-no-problemo-i-forgive-you-baby-6f1da4If you’ve spent any time reading the reconciliation literature, you’ll notice a lot of reference to the “180.” She won’t stop seeing her affair partner? “Do the 180!” He still works with his ho-worker? “Do the 180!”

What is this powerful 180?

It was a concept developed by Michelle Weiner-Davis of “Divorce Busters.” The 180 list goes:

1. Do not pursue, reason, chase, beg, plead or implore.
2. No frequent phone calls.
3. Do not point out good points in marriage.
4. Do not follow him/her around the house.
5. Do not encourage talk about the future.
6. Do not ask for help from family members.
7. Do not ask for reassurances.
8. Do not buy gifts.
9. Do not schedule dates together.
10. Do not spy on spouse.
11. Do not say “I Love You”.
12. Act as if you are moving on with your life.
13. Be cheerful, strong, outgoing and attractive.
14. Don’t sit around waiting on your spouse – get busy, do things, go to church, go out with friends, etc.
15. When home with your spouse, (if you usually start the conversation) be scarce or short on words.
16. If you are in the habit of asking your spouse her whereabouts, ASK NOTHING.
17. You need to make your partner think that you have had an awakening and, as far as you are concerned, you are going to move on with your life, with or without your spouse.
18. Do not be nasty, angry or even cold – just pull back and wait to see if spouse notices and, more important, realize what she will be missing
19. No matter what you are feeling TODAY, only show your spouse happiness and contentment. Show him/her someone he/she would want to be around.
20. All questions about marriage should be put on hold, until your spouse wants to talk about it (which may be a while).
21. Never lose your cool.
22. Don’t be overly enthusiastic.
23. Do not argue about how they feel (it only makes their feelings stronger).
24. Be patient
25. Listen carefully to what your spouse is really saying to you.
26. Learn to back off, shut up and possibly walk away.
27. Take care of yourself (exercise, sleep, laugh & focus on all the other parts of your life that are not in turmoil).
28. Be strong and confident.
29. Know that if you can do 180, your smallest CONSISTENT actions will be noticed much more than any words you can say or write.
30. Do not be openly desperate or needy even when you are hurting more than ever and are desperate and needy.
31. Do not focus on yourself when communicating with your spouse.
32. Do not believe any of what you hear and less than 50% of what you see. Your spouse will speak in absolute negatives because they are hurting and scared.
33. Do not give up no matter how dark it is or how bad you feel.
34. Do not backslide from your hardearned changes.

On the face of it, it seems like something worthwhile — getting on with your life without regard to what the cheater is doing. The 180, they tell us, is for YOU. To make you strong. It’s not to win back your cheater. Oh no, I’m sure you were going to bake those cookies, take up bonsai gardening, and deep clean the carpets for your very own benefit and not to Make the Marriage a Better Place to Be.

I advise some of these very things myself — don’t beg and plead. Don’t try to speak truth to stupid. Take care of yourself.

And yet, most of this advice is patently ridiculous and predicated on remaining a chump. Let’s take some of these point by point.

6. Do not ask for help from family members.

Why not? Why should you keep their secrets? Why shouldn’t you tell the truth and get the support you need? Assuming you can reconcile, shouldn’t repairing the public image be the job of the cheater and not the chump? If ever you needed help from family members, it’s when your spouse runs off with an affair partner, or eats cake at your expense. If you can’t be vulnerable and need of your family’s help, who else is there? (And I realize not everyone has a safe family to lean on.) Put another way, this advice is — “shut up to those closest to you.”

If this advice means don’t implore their family to “make” them stop cheating. Well, yes, we don’t control other people and family members have no greater super powers than you do. Doesn’t mean you have to keep them in the dark about it either, just expect blood to be thicker than water.

12. Act as if you are moving on with your life.

Act? No, how about ACTUALLY getting on with your life. Is this “fake it til you make it” advice? Alas, you can only pretend at getting on with your life? Is this to goad the cheater into doing the pick me dance for you?

When you do self protective things like see a lawyer and separate your finances — you aren’t faking it. You’re truly moving on. As you should, IMO.

13. Be cheerful, strong, outgoing and attractive.

Yeah, nothing like finding out your husband has been rating escorts to make you want to put on some lipstick. WTF? This advice is just denying the reality of the trauma of infidelity. No one feels “cheerful, strong, outgoing, and attractive” after they’ve been intimately humiliated and betrayed. It’s like advising someone whose kid was hit by a drunk driver to be “cheerful” and “attractive.” Are you aware of the magnitude of LOSS this is, Michelle Weiner-Davis? This crap minimizes the abusive nature of cheating. Would you tell that to a victim of domestic abuse? He hit you? Turn that frown upside down! Tell me how infidelity is different. You had to paternity check your kids? You caught an STD? Your twenty-year marriage is a fraud? Be CHEERFUL?

No, you grieve. It takes time. Meanwhile, act in your own best interest and protect yourself immediately. Don’t expect it to be chuckle-fest either. Infidelity hurts like a motherfucker.

15. When home with your spouse, (if you usually start the conversation) be scarce or short on words.

Well, I sort of agree with this. As I said, I don’t think you should speak truth to stupid. But if this is some kind of silent treatment to goad them into taking an interest? — fuck that. I don’t think you should chase, but I don’t think you should be some passive-aggressive Look At Me! How Well I Get On Without You! cyborg fronting a fake life, either.

17. You need to make your partner think that you have had an awakening and, as far as you are concerned, you are going to move on with your life, with or without your spouse.

You can’t “make” your partner think anything. You don’t control what they think. In the words of En Vogue — “free your mind and the rest will follow.” Just actually get on with your life — don’t pretend for the sake of garnering some cheater’s attention. You change? The rest follows. The important thing here is that you matter. Fuck what the cheater “thinks.”

18. Do not be nasty, angry or even cold – just pull back and wait to see if spouse notices and, more important, realize what she will be missing.

Ugh. Here’s it’s just spelled right out. “Wait to see if spouse notices…” Then they realize perhaps what they’re missing. Who gives a flip? If they valued it, they wouldn’t have gone out and fucked around on it.

Anger is a NORMAL reaction to being fucked over. People KILL over infidelity. It’s about the most dramatic, seismic shock a person can suffer in a relationship. Don’t resort to violence, of course, but it’s crazy to expect that you won’t be mad as hell! A cheater deserves every ounce of your anger and contempt. And IMO a remorseful cheater will stand there and take it. Because they know they deserve it too.

This advice is in the “you can nice them” out of an affair vein. God, so common and so utterly useless, as I’m sure we can all attest. How lovely for the cheater to come home to a cheerful, improved, and quiet you. Perhaps they will meditate on how wonderful you are!

How’s that working for everyone?

19. No matter what you are feeling TODAY, only show your spouse happiness and contentment. Show him/her someone he/she would want to be around.

Because that’s why they cheated. You’re not someone they want to be around. Fix that, okay? Be happier in the face of your missing money/STD testing/anxious children/humiliation/divorce fears. Who couldn’t be CONTENT with that? God, nothing makes me feel more content than a husband who doesn’t return my phone calls and tells me later he was sleeping in his car. In Vermont. In January.

But hey, no problem! I’m cool. Stupid lies don’t disrespect me. I can do happy and content in the face of that.

Your dinner’s in the oven, Sweetheart! Across town. In a rental. Next to the air mattress.

20. All questions about marriage should be put on hold, until your spouse wants to talk about it (which may be a while).

Cheaters are delicate little flowers. This is all very difficult on them, and you really can’t be a bummer right now. Maybe they’ll want to talk later. Or much, much later. Or, well… how about never? Is never good for you?*

(*Line stolen from an awesome cartoon by Bob Mankoff. “Thursday’s out. How’s never? Is never good for you?”)

Once again, this advice is cheater-centric. What they want is the important thing. Don’t bother them until they’re ready. You, whose life has been turned on its ear? You don’t deserve answers. How impertinent of you to even ask! Can’t you see how this is setting us back? BAD chump! Bad!

21. Never lose your cool.

I’m all for being in control of your emotions. Especially around a cheater. I advise to not show them your vulnerable little underbelly. But let’s face it — we all lose our cool when we’ve been cheated on. If you didn’t lose your cool, I’d wonder if you didn’t care. And that would make you the same kind of sociopathic freak they are.

Best way to not lose your cool is to not be around them. Period. Try no contact. It really minimizes the psychodrama.

25. Listen carefully to what your spouse is really saying to you.

This is non-advice advice. It’s like a horoscope. You could really read most anything into this. Listen carefully… and? Take it at face value? Interpret it? Accept the blameshifting? Or listen to them to determine that yes, they really are this selfish and delusional?

Now, I’m confused. The next item, #26 tells chumps to “shut up” and “back off” and YET, here chumps are supposedly to patiently listen to whatever nonsense comes out of their cheating spouse’s pie hole. Don’t argue! Don’t speak to them about your feelings! Don’t ask questions they don’t want to answer! Back off! But DO listen carefully to them.

I believe healthy relationships are based upon respect, reciprocity, and mutuality. None of which I see in this dynamic of What You Say Is Very Important and in return I Will Make My Needs Really Small and Shut Up Now.

28. Be strong and confident.

I believe we covered this at #13, be “cheerful, strong, outgoing and attractive.” I’m all for strength and confidence, which I believe comes from authenticity and valuing yourself. Not twisting yourself into a human pretzel to “win” the ambivalent attentions of a cheater. 

29. Know that if you can do 180, your smallest CONSISTENT actions will be noticed much more than any words you can say or write.

Here’s the heartbreaking thing, chumps. Your actions, consistent or otherwise, will not be noticed by your cheater. To a cheater, the pick me dance is a given. Of course you want them. Of course they’re fabulous. Of course you’ll try harder to win them. What gets their attention is no contact. What gets their attention is you getting your shit together to protect yourself from their entitlement. Lawyers, separate finances, the cessation of kibbles. THAT gets their attention — your NON attention. Not your small efforts to be cheerful, not the buffet of shit sandwiches you choke down to appease them. No, those things are assumed. What chaps their ass are consequences and obstacles to their “happiness.” As long as you’re smoothing the road to their happiness, it’s all good. Shut up and keep at it.

30. Do not be openly desperate or needy even when you are hurting more than ever and are desperate and needy.

Yeah, there is nothing more “desperate” than a person who has been abandoned. Talk to the chumps here who found out while pregnant, or nursing newborns. Or while deployed overseas. God forbid you were vulnerable. God forbid you relied on this person who pledged their life to yours. Christ, I can smell the stench of neediness on you. Stop that at once.

The message here is “suck it up.” And what makes you think chumps haven’t mastered the art of sucking it up, Michelle? Do you know how fucking MIGHTY we are? Raising children on our own? Fighting wars in foreign lands as our family falls apart? Birthing babies without the love and support of an involved partner?

You want to know who is “needy” and “desperate”? Cheaters. People who traffic in kibbles and need flattery and illicit sexual hijinks to feel whole. People who sell other people out. People who send crotch shots to total strangers. That shit is desperate.

A person trying to hold their life together after it was detonated from someone’s selfishness? That’s raw courage. STFU Michelle.

31. Do not focus on yourself when communicating with your spouse.

Yeah, why would you do that? You don’t matter. Really, I think you’re the selfish one here, chump. Enough about you!

32. Do not believe any of what you hear and less than 50% of what you see. Your spouse will speak in absolute negatives because they are hurting and scared.

Gah. This one makes my head hurt. So much mindfuckery in one bullet point.

First off, you told us in item #25 to listen carefully to the cheater. Now seven points later, you want us to discard that and not believe any of it? Do you PROOFREAD, Michelle?

You should believe 100% of what you see. Actions tell the real story. Only believe half? That’s like the Richard Pryor line “Who you gonna believe? Me? Or your lying eyes?”

Cheaters don’t speak in “absolute negatives” because they are “hurting and scared.” They speak that way out of contempt and disrespect. What you see is what you get. They demonize their spouses to justify their selfishness. This isn’t hurt people hurt people. Cheaters know exactly what they are doing. They don’t fuck people they meet on Craiglist out of fear and hurt — they fuck people out of entitlement. Because it feels good.

Don’t insult our intelligence, Michelle.

33. Do not give up no matter how dark it is or how bad you feel.

Give up what? Trying to save a marriage alone? No, I think you should give that up. When things make you feel bad and you live in darkness, that’s usually a pretty good sign those things suck and you should give them up.

34. Do not backslide from your hardearned changes.

Yep. Just work harder at saving your marriage alone! You work at that “change” (because you’re the one really at fault here). You change you, and voila! you can’t help but change your cheater. 

They’re going to come around! Be patient! I see a unicorn coming out of the misty fog! Be cheerful! Don’t ask the unicorn any hard questions, it’s feeling very hurt and scared and tired right now. Just shut up and I think the unicorn might notice you! And wouldn’t THAT be special? Unicorn love is the very, very best sort of love and I doubt you’re really deserving of a confused sort of Unicorn love, but work on yourself. Be good, chumps. SMILES.

Consider yourself 180-ed.


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  • Unicorns? Eh gad! I always love your reference to unicorns. Thank you CL for a year plus of clarity. Now, let’s break down this unicorn theory chump style:

    Unbridled passion–for affair partner
    Narcissistic belief that their dick is the size of a unicorn horn
    Invisibility power of protection from getting caught sexting and boinking others
    Crying and feigning that they are hurting because of us
    Only thinks of self (1 horn/1person)
    Returning to bad behavior
    Not special enough for this unicorn love that I possess.

    Now this is only one small part about the all mighty unicorn. We could all write a thesis on this theory but we have better things to do like an afternoon nap or taking a shit. Just remember that unicorns have horns so chasing after it, holding it, being close to it will get you stabbed over and over again. If you see a unicorn–RUN

  • I’m with you… head literally wants to explode when I come across the kind of advice that Michelle and her ilk are spewing forth. Do they peddle that garbage because it’s such a lucrative industry, or are they that horribly stupid and misguided?

    I would love to see Michelle come over here and argue that crap with those that actually know what the hell they are talking about.

  • I bought a Unicorn 10 years ago just around my 10 year anniversary. A couple of months ago I found out my Unicorn was just a horse wearing a party hat. I wanted to believe the 180 and other DB stuff… I suppose I stupidly may still. I had people tell me how wrong I’ve been and how it takes two to tango. I’m 1/2 the problem. Actually according to the kibble monster, I’m a lot more than half and have lots of problems. Too bad my kids didn’t get to see tha magical unicorn.

    • Hi David. I bought the Unicorn in 2000 and it turned into an ass 10 years later…correction, I discovered I never had a Unicorn 10 years later. Jedi hugs David!

      • Guess it gets easier the second time around… for the cheater, but seems way harder for the chump.

        Thank you for the support.

        • I thought i had a horse, Good blood line, well bread, reliable, solid.

          what I did actually have was a rainbow unicorn in a to-to. I also got mine for my tenth wedding anniversary. Today being my 18th wedding anniversary I would not swap knowing the truth for anything.

        • Yeah, I bought one of those unicorns 8 years ago. Then I guess my warranty expired, because 6 years later, I discovered he was using that horn for other things. But I agree, the second time around was far more devastating and painful than the first time.

    • David – I’m with you man. I’m embarrassed to admit that I believed that shit too. Accepted all the blame. Ate shit sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for almost 2 years. Did the pick-me dance. The whole thing.

      I wish somehow I could have come to the state of mind I’m at now a lot sooner. Chump Lady so rocks!

      Here is my redo…

      One week after D-Day #1, instead of accepting my wife’s schedule to start MC “in a couple of months, after I finish my Jazzercise training” and everything I did after, I…

      1) present her with a post-nup (“in the event of divorce, wife relinquishes all rights to marital property”)

      2) move all of her shit to her parent’s driveway (while she is at her jazzercise training)

      3) tell the kids that mommy has to leave because she betrayed us (in age-appropriate language, of course)

      4) send email/letters to all of her family and her boyfriends’ families informing them of her affairs

      5) let her know that the only way she can save her marriage is to own her shit. Of course, she wouldn’t have done that but I could have moved on so much sooner!

    • Biggest myth/cliché that I hear over and over again on those sites and books ; It takes two to ruin a marriage. You are 50% responsible for the marital problems.
      Sounds good, right?
      Do any of the folks spouting this stuff do any analysis at all?
      Of course, one person can ruin a marriage. And, a cheater , by definition, is someone with little to no integrity, poor communication skills, poor problem solving skills and lacking in empathy.
      Does anyone actually think that a person possessing those qualities was only half responsible for the pre-affair problems? How likely is that?

      • Thank you, Arnold! I have spent the last year and a half trying to figure out what the hell I did to contribute to my failed marriage. You know what? I didn’t do one damn thing…stbxh killed our marriage all by himself! I was the same loving, caring, compassionate, fun and energetic person that I have ALWAYS been. He cheated because his married co-worker came on to him and wanted to be rescued from her own “terrible” marriage, he was flattered she picked him to be her KISA and when she added kinky sex into the mix and he was hooked. None of that had anything to do with me or our marriage. He made unilateral decisions every step of the way! Some might say it takes “two” to ruin a marriage but in my case the “two” were my cheating husband and his skanky AP!!

        • KISA. That’s what my x said to me. I wasn’t so depressed any more so I was stronger and I didn’t need him like that anymore. Skank did. Boohoo her marriage, to what is seemingly a nice guy, was too terrible for her so she needed a KISA. Jump in idiot x to the rescue. Unfortunately the idiot forgot about all the other men at their workplace that had “rescued” that piece (he now refers to her lovingly as “that piece of ass” that broke up his marriage) before. The absolute funny part about all that rescuing is that she dumped his ass 6 months later. Ahhh twu luv, it only has a 6 month shelf life. I feel saddened that I spent 22 years with crazy and that witch got rid of his sorry ass in 6 months.

          • I think that two can contribute to the issues in a marriage but one can definitely kill the marriage. There is a character flaw in people that cheat. Their values are twisted. People with integrity speak their truth. They tell their partner when they are wanting to leave the relationship and treat them respectfully. Not all relationships stay together and it is hurtful to have one end but the betrayal from being cheated on is so much deeper a hurt and takes longer to heal from. In my Humble opinion

      • The 50% fault cliche is bullshit. Cheaters love that shit.

        yeah…if I stole from my employer, it’s 50% his fault.

        If I cheated on my exam, it’s 5O% my professors fault,

        If I cheated on my tax return, it’s 50% the government’s fault.

        If I took up drinking and gambling it’s 50% my spouses fault.

        yeah….right…what utter blame shifting and failure to own being a cheater.

        Poor cheaters, they were only 50% cheating. Lol….

        • Ain’t that the truth. When a so called friend said that to me I told her I didn’t hold a gun to his head. In fact I was not even privy to his sordid life. I was at home holding down the fort at home, as well as studying. Told her to shove that thinking up her ass. Message was received loud and clear

          • Hi off subject but new to site if I have inadvertently put on a duplicate post how do I delete or modify the duplicate copy. Sorry & thanks.

        • That makes so much sense and puts it in perspective beautifully. Truly the other side is not at fault.

      • I’ve often said the same thing.. 50/50 is bull when one of the partners is being dishonest.. and when they say “I tried to talk to you”, it’s always minus any mention of the new boyfriend or girlfriend. Cheaters have gas lit the world to think that if someone cheats, it’s the person that got cheated on’s fault. They must’ve been a bad spouse.. because you know what good spouses do? Cheat when they aren’t happy… sure…

  • Bravo! Once again, Chump Lady’s knocked it out of the ballpark! Amazing deconstruction of one of the major cornerstones of the Reconciliation Industrial Complex! This is the perfect companion piece to the breakdown of “Joseph’s Letter”. IMO, these two articles should have permanent links underneath “Chumps Decoded’ and “Cheaters Decoded”, etc.

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, posts like this NEED to go viral.


      • Oooh – yes please! Old Willard-I’m-not-a-cheater-and-I’ve-never-been-cheated-on-but-my-methods-are-guaranteed-to-work-Harley. He who has an almost cult-like following. He of the Plan A/Plan B bullshit. The man makes my skin crawl.

        • Cult like is right. Ever read that stuff from “Melody Lane”? As little respect that I have for Harley’s ideas, I would still think he would want to distance himself from that strident, obnoxious. bullying asshole.
          No excuse for cheating but if I were married to that woman, I do not know what I would do. She is dumber than a rock, a true groupie.
          She hails from Texas, Cl, so you might want to hang out with her.(Just kidding)

          • Oh yes, I’m familiar with old Melody and her tactics. She’s got all the grace of a tap-dancing elephant. Ugh. Wasn’t she the cheater in her situation?

      • Yes, Plan A is the pick-me-dance, but it does come with exposing the affair to family and friends, and, in that sense, I think it’s helpful to the chump. I’ve heard Harley say that women should stay in Plan A for a maximum of 3 weeks (to protect her health), while it’s usually okay for men to go at it for 6 months, sometimes a couple of years, because they for some reason don’t suffer the ill effects to their health as severely/quickly as women do.

        Plan B is essentially NC until the cheater shows through his actions that he is remorseful and ready to reconcile. I have to say that following Plan B helped me go NC, and it was only after I went NC that I somehow found CL and could see more clearly what a narcissist XH was.

        But, of course Harley doesn’t believe that cheaters are character-disordered. He thinks that, under certain conditions, anyone could be a cheater or “wayward.” He thinks cheaters are just like heroin addicts, and, once the affair is over, i.e., the drug has been removed, they can return to their old selves (though it takes time as they experience “withdrawal”).

        • Yeah, I love the distinction he draws between a man’s tolerance and a woman’s. What a nimrod. “Men, eat the shit sandwich every day for a couple years. Women, get out of Dodge quickly.
          Where does he come up with that shit?
          I will say he does accurately describe infidelity as severe emotional abuse etc.
          Don’t you love how he feels that an apology is unnecessary for reconciliation and how you are never to mention it again, once the cheater returns?
          Peggy Vaughn, author of “The Monogamy Myth” also subscribes to the belief that we are all “wired to cheat”( Harley’s phrase].
          Of course, her husband was a ravenous serial cheater who expressed the desire to continue cheating at some point in the future. Yet, she stayed with him.
          Funny, her BAN network was taken over by some Bercht woman who authored ” My Husband’s Affair Was the Best Thing That Ever Happened to ME”.
          How much acid did these people drop?

          • Yes, I do give Harley some credit for acknowledging the pain of betrayal. He says it can be more painful than rape or the death of a child, but I’m not sure if he ever calls infidelity “abuse.” Remember, you have to understand that these “waywards” are in a “fog” and are not acting like their “real” selves. I think that’s the only way you can avoid cognitive dissonance if you go forward with reconciliation. Same with not bringing up the affair again after everything has been laid out in the open. I’m sure Harley’s experience is that marriages cannot successfully reconcile if the chump keeps on bringing up the affair, as it really ruins the “quality” time between the spouses.

        • Huh. Interesting analogy, since once of the most common outcomes of attempts to kick a drug or alcohol habit is relapse. So once the “cheater heroin” the cheater has now is gone, he or she is not going to go out there and find a new supply….oh, wait…

          • Yes, so I think CL’s analogy of a “reformed” cheater as a “dry drunk” is apt. Harley’s philosophy is that you fulfill your spouse’s emotional needs sufficiently, he won’t feel the need to have another affair. But some of the MB posters admit that that’s not enough–the spouse needs to be able to and commit to enforcing proper boundaries, e.g., not being alone with people of the opposite sex, etc. How are you going to enforce that?

        • Yeah, I must admit, I always thought that Nuclear Exposure would be a thing of great beauty to see. It was the one concept of Plan A I could actually embrace.


          • I’m glad I did the nuclear exposure (which included OW’s family and friends), though I regretted it immediately afterwards as XH went into a rage the likes I’ve never seen (though he didn’t get physically violent) and kept on saying, “Now, you’ve really done it. I was going to come back to the marriage, but now I’m definitely leaving you. You ruined me. You are evil, evil!” The posters on MB actually said it was one of the best exposures they had ever seen.

            Now, I’m so glad I did it. Whatever XH wants to say to his family and friends about why he had to have an affair/our marriage broke up is his business, but I got my story out first, and that’s always an advantage. Also, psychologically, it feels good to speak the truth and not feel like I have to hide and stuff down my feelings and experiences. It will be hard for him to say that he make a clean break with me before starting the affair, though I have gotten emails from claiming he didn’t “even kiss her” until I started my “vengeful” acts of telling his family and friends about the affair.

            Also, I think the exposure helped bust up the affair. Well, at least XH claims it’s over. I think Harley is right in that exposure helps hasten the demise of an affair. The OW now can’t claim to all her friends and family that she met my XH after he was divorced. Now, at least, if the kids are exposed to one of XH’s girlfriends, it won’t be the OW, the person with such low morals and standards that she would actually have an affair with a married guy 20 years older than her with 2 kids, including a newborn.

  • This is such rubbish! I should know, that was my plan the first three times I caught him. And let me tell you, it really works… For the Cheater! I did my best. He came back. Too bad he was his same narcissist cheating self!
    The last time I caught him was two years ago. I vacillated between full bitch mode and 180. Then I found my sense of logic. The same logic I applied to my kids when they misbehaved. It goes like this- I love you but your behavior is wrong. I cannot accept this. There are consequences for those actions. Now, since he is an adult, those consequences include having to move out. He chose to stay and comply with my requirements. Sadly, he shows NO remorse. So I am prepared to remain in the marriage as long as his behavior is appropriate. At our age, divorce seems like a waste of resources. But I don’t think I have found a unicorn. I am settling for a pony with a birthday hat. Unless he screws up again, then I will indulge myself in a couple of days of yelling and screaming while he moves out. Then I can travel to the land of meh.

    • And you can revise that decision at any time, Linda2. You don’t have to wait for your cheater to do something first. You can strike out for meh whenever you are ready :). Sometimes we imagine the penalties to be worse than they really are, in relation to the alternative. “Divorce seems like a waste of resources” . Hmmm. Life with someone you don’t trust seems like a waste of resources, too. The precious kind of resources. Why don’t your requirements include remorse from your cheater?


      • Why are my standards so low? It is simple. I would rather have a do nothing marriage than have to pay him alimony! My state has no fault divorce and based on my good income vs his lazy work/no work record, my attorney says I will have to pay him. So my only way out of paying him is if he latches onto a new chump and signs papers to divorce while he is blissfully sucking his next victim dry.
        So there you have it. I am willing to live in the same house, etc. for now. It could go either way. He might leave. He might just sit in front of his tv and watch old movies until he dies. At least I am not living in fantasyland anymore. I know what he is, certainly not a unicorn.

        • Also, while a divorce would free me to move on and find a new love, I pass. My picker is way to faulty! I am better off with my kids, grand kids, friends and my work. I have a great life aside from Cheaterscum.

          • I so hear you, Linda2. I have my own business at which I’ve worked very hard to make a success. I have basically been the sole provider (financially) for about 3 decades. If she would leave or if I could leave, and we would split the assets and go our separate ways I would be thrilled.

            However, she does not have a job and isn’t having much luck finding one. She recently lost her first post-affair job after six months.

            I would likely end up paying alimony for years to support her in the lifestyle she is accustomed to. I’m 61 and was planning on starting to scale back a bit , not to gear up and work harder so I could reward the cheater handsomely. Not that I would not still be doing that if we stay together, but I’m wrestling with the “Cheaper to keep her” adage.

            I understand sanity and all the rest of the benefits that come with getting the betrayer out of your life are more important than money. I think all the time about it. But the idea of working at 11:00 at night or being there on a Sunday so I can cut her a check? Ugh.

            Please understand that I have total respect and admiration for those here who have said, “To Hell with it, I’m out of a rotten situation, and am much better off for it. Money pales by comparison.” I may (probably will) get there myself. Just not there yet. All part of the process, I guess.

            • I’m 62. I understand your position. But if she’s going to stay, think about making her sign a post-nup in case she cheats again, outlining how you will settle things financially if you divorce or separate. Trust me: she isn’t any more excited about living on alimony alone. While “post-nups” might not be recognized in all states, most states have no interest in upsetting agreements made by divorcing spouses if both parties agree. It might be worth seeing an attorney, at least. Best of luck. You’re in an awful position. I hope you are taking care of yourself and in other ways building an awesome happy life. That will sustain you no matter what happens.

        • Oh, that just sucks. I can understand that alimony checks would be a challenge of the highest order to write from the land of meh. ugh.

          • I DESPISE no-fault divorces. It’s a crock of crap if you ask me. Those of us who did absolutely nothing to break up the marriage wind up getting our partner, and then by the court. In cases like infidelity, I think that the court should absolutely take that into consideration! They don’t, and it sucks!!

        • Betrayed men have been dealing with that forever, Linda. It really sucks.
          I pay $2500 a month to finance my XW’s lifestyle.

            • No fault… What a crock. Mine was “living apart for more than a year.”
              Ohh wait he was living with his secetary while I was trying to raise 3 kids.

          • Yes. No fault divorce is great in theory. However, for cases like ours where we were blindsided by cheaters, it is unjust. It didn’t take two to destroy my marriage. He had been with the OW since four or five years before we got married. I didn’t even know she was still in the picture until our first year of marriage. I thought she was just an ex. It turns out she was in the picture when his last marriage failed too.

  • 32. Do not believe any of what you hear and less than 50% of what you see. Your spouse will speak in absolute negatives because they are hurting and scared.

    I call Horseshit on this one. My X was NOT hurting and scared. Quite the opposite. He was thrilled and twitterpated with his new Schmoopie. He was NOT scared. He nanced around all over town with her not giving two shits who saw them together hoping against hope I would catch them. (I did) Hurt and Scared my ass.

    • Syringa, I agree. Hurting and scared? Not in the throes of the affair. Serving them divorce papers with the possibility of financial devastation? Yep, then scared may come into the picture and only because this time, it will hurt the cheater.

    • That was my least favorite as well. He wasn’t even apologetic, but since he didn’t intend to stop, why would he be. The only thing he ever wanted me to do was shut-up and stuff it so he could continue feasting. He didn’t give a crap about my feelings or emotional well being….hurt and scared??? Bite me.

      He’s gone now. Good riddance.

    • Amen. Horseshit with a Heaping Helping of Bullshit thrown on top for good measure.

      Hurting? Scared? Try positively gleeful and gloating. Try conniving, back-stabbing and duplicitous. The only time I’ve ever seen a smidgen of hurt is when he hasn’t gotten his way about something – and then his default position for that is usually a seething anger.

      Not only wasn’t he hurt or scared, he did everything in his power (and still does if I let him) to continue to hurt and frighten me.

      Your spouse will speak in absolute negatives because they are blameshifting, minimizing, gaslighting, no-responsbility taking pieces of shit.

          • Hurt and scared, No!
            pissed that their secret is out.
            resentful that you are calling them to account.
            angry that your unwilling to buy into anymore of their lies.
            frustrated that they cannot manipulate the narrative in their favour.
            indignant that you could go NC and like it.
            confused that they no longer are able to hide.
            passive aggressive.

            I do not recall hearing the word Duplicity till discussing STBX with my SIL post D’Day. who used it to describe my STBX and explained that it was the reason the she and his own brother had kept their distance for the past 20 years.

    • My ex spoke in absolute negatives because he felt extreme contempt for me and enjoyed hurting me. He certainly did NOT feel pain or fear himself, quite the opposite. That was all in me.

      • “My ex spoke in absolute negatives because he felt extreme contempt for me and enjoyed hurting me. He certainly did NOT feel pain or fear himself, quite the opposite. That was all in me.”
        Same here, Glad. And I don’t know where that contempt comes from. I am not saying I’m perfect; however, I really didn’t do anything to deserve absolute contempt from STBX. For what? And I do think he likes hurting me. The more I cry, the more he gets off on it, I think. 6 months out from Dday I don’t cry in front of him anymore. First of all I try not to see him unless I have to. Second of all..what’s the point? He does not feel one ounce of remorse. He flounces around with the OW, happy as a lark because he dumped me and got what he wanted. I DID cry after court last Monday. It was just a temporary hearing for child support and spousal support, because I wasn’t getting either. Before the hearing, an agreement was made for child support. But as for spousal support? He’s fighting that as hard as he can. He makes three times what I do, and I’m trying to pay absolutely EVERYTHING. He’s paying NOTHING. Not a damn thing. And my little salary was always supplemental..his was the main income. So needless to say, I’m about as far behind as I can get on bills. When I was on the stand, his attorney did his best to cut me down and make me look like a liar..which is his job, I understand. What I don’t understand is how they could do this, knowing that I absolutely didn’t do anything wrong. I haven’t slandered him; I haven’t stalked him or the skank-ass OW; I haven’t done a damn thing. But he refuses to pay me a dime. After the hearing was over, I went to the bathroom in the courthouse and just BAWLED. The amount of hurt I felt was about as bad as what I felt on Dday. The judge has 10 days from the hearing to make his decision, and as of today, I haven’t heard anything. I don’t understand what their is to consider..the assfart makes so much money compared to me!!

  • Whenever I’ve read online folks suggest doing the 180 I’ve always winced. Although there is some basic how-to logic included, it always smacked of disingenuous manipulation tactics.

    Often the newly chumped can’t even stop shivering/vomiting so pretending to be light and breezy and choosing the next happy little hobby to embrace is I realistic bullshit.

    If you’re going to put forth the effort, why not instead do something real? Go to therapy. Circle yourself with the covered wagons of friends. Take a yoga class. There are countless ways to foster healing but these contrived little bits of 180 acting further distance the chump from the true and authentic healing we crave and deserve. Frankly, after living lives infused with lies, we need to celebrate absolute honest acts of personal kindness.

  • LIKE!!! Thank you CL. Once again nailed it. My daily therapy session… you so totally rock 🙂

  • I am so, so glad that I never came across this particular piece of unicorny goodness before I found CL. Not sure I could have sunk any lower than the doormat I was, but I would have tried in pursuit of the Imaginary Man that I thought I was married to.

    After my brief acquaintance with it, and from what I have learned here, I can only conclude that the RIC is run by Cheaters, sociopaths, and narcissists, precisely the people that Chumps need to avoid at all costs. They are the con men, we are the marks in the confidence trick.

    Babushka is right. This surgical dissection/deconstruction of the 180, and CL’s book and blog in general, need to go viral, be out there on the net as an antidote to the poison the RIC apologists peddle.

  • Oh, boy, I bought a lot of books by MWD in the hopes of making my marriage work over 20 years of cheating. Looking back, I should have just saved the money and had a nice vacation with my son, sans the cheater. None of those bullshit work. Besides, when I was a raging lunatic after finding out about the affair/s, how in heaven’s name was I supposed to pretend that I was happy and nice when all I wanted to do was rip off the cheater’s head? Stuff your emotions, especially the afflictive ones? Be nice while your body is probably developing heart disease and all things bad so you can appear nice to the person who absolutely doesn’t value you as a fellow human being? Good, freakin’ grief.

    The biggest disservice of the RIC is that they offer false hope and trap the chump a lot longer in a marriage where the cheater no longer values the chump. As hard as it is to accept that my cheater stopped loving me a long time ago, it would have been a lot easier if someone told me to pack my bags and run. Infidelity = loss of love. It’s a very simple equation.

    • Well said, UM. You have absolutely nailed it. We just don’t get this, because we don’t have a ‘I am angry/bored with you, therefore I don’t love you any more’ switch. To us that is preposterous and goes against all human laws of attachment. We would no more stop loving them however unfair and distressing they are, than we would our children when they are acting up.

      BUT THEY CAN AND DO. This has been the most difficult thing for me to get my head round. That when he told his stupid little co-worker ‘I don’t love my wife [she doesn’t care about me]’ in order to let her know he was available, he was telling the truth. I still have shock and disbelief that they can just turn off a switch like that.

      If anyone can explain it….

      • I’m looking for that explanation, too : ( My stbxh professed to love me and wanted our marriage to work right up until the day he was served with the divorce complaint. He signed it and moved the AP into our home the next day. Talk about flipping a switch!! He has not spoken to me, his family or mine since then…it’s like we’ve been wiped out of his reality. I cannot even begin to grasp how he can justify that behavior!!

        • Crazy how once that “switch” if flipped it’s all over. The scary part of that is that the ex generally didn’t change much after the switch was flipped. He just stayed with me until he found an opportunity that he just couldn’t pass up. Can you imagine the amount of lying that took. How much evil that took to look me in the eye and say that he loved me, that he wanted to grow old with me and see our kids grow up and have kids of their own, for years. Because he knew years ago that our marriage was over, he “grieved” it from the comfort of his home with his wife and family around him. Fuckwit should have provided me with the same opportunity.

          • I think that’s the truly difficult part of realising you’ve been with a serial cheater: they were dating and looking around for new opportunities while keeping you around for comfort, love, whatever. To discover that my ex had been screwing around for years was horrifying. I had no say in how my life played out for years because I simply wasn’t aware of what was going on. And that makes me feel, when I actually think about it, that he stole many years from me – years where I could have been doing other things with my life instead of living a complete and utter lie.

            • I’ve been thinking a lot about not knowing what was really going on and now that I’ve been out of the situation I’m super pissed off. Is this a part of getting through this kinda thing? I just want to smack him for putting me through it and lying so much about it. I was right most of the time and he would just say that I was being jealous and controlling. Shit now I wish I had been controlling, I would have loved to show that dipshit what controlling really meant.

  • I love you, CL! Thank you for deconstructing the 180! I tried it for a couple of days after D-day and I just literally could not do it. To ask someone to act “light and breezy” and take up a new hobby after they’ve been hit with probably the greatest emotional devastation of their lives smacks of quackery and may be psychologically harmful to the chump. It’s asking the chump to deny the reality of their pain and act like everything is just fine and dandy. And it gives greater license to the cheater to continue his cheating ways: “Look, my wife is acting all happy. How can my affair then be so bad?”

      • Hahaha…my ex, when he would come over to watch the kids after I kicked him out, used to tell me ‘see how happy you are? See?’ I wasn’t happy, I was drunk. Idiot.

        • Nord, you made me laugh, “I wasn’t happy, I was drunk. Idiot”. Asswipes still want to take “credit” for doing good things to us. See how happy we are now. I don’t think that they truly realize that they did us the biggest favor in the world by finally leaving!!!!

            • Good for you. That took guts. Very glad that he is still pissed about it. I would have still been there trying to do some weird variation of this 180 crap, because I had been doing it since DD#1 seven years ago. I could kick myself now, but at least I’m outta there and NC for months now.

              • Well, to be honest, after I kicked him out I still tried to ‘make him see sense’ but realised relatively quickly that it was a waste of time. And once he realised I had his number it got UGLY. And remains so, more than 2 years later. He hates me. Why? Because I spilled the beans about what happened and how he behaved and for that he just can’t seem to forgive me. How dare I tell the truth about what happened in our marriage and how he fucked around for years? I’m a terrible, terrible person. Boo fucking hoo.

  • I think that Michelle needs to go live with Torri and Dean in their “love hut”.
    What utter drivel!
    Common sense left our society a long time ago. Thanks for bringing it back CL!

  • 1. Call a lawyer.
    2. Follow the lawyer’s instructions, including gathering evidence, financials, and maybe even a cash fund. Take care of any needed big financial lay-outs (like tires for your car, a new washing machine–only things you absolutely need for the home. Ask your attorney first.)
    3. Enlist the support of a couple of trusted friends or family members, but remember that trust is precious, and there may be some nasty surprises. So choose your friends carefully.
    4. Kick the fucker/twat out, or move out if you don’t want to live in the family home. Be decisive. Do not think that generously allowing the ex to have the home that you will be seen as generous–do what is in YOUR best interests. You are dirt beneath the ex’s shoe, as far as (s)he is concerned. They’ve already PROVEN this to you.
    5. File for divorce.
    6. Go NO CONTACT. PERIOD. Anything and everything you say can be held against you. Do not trust the ex to be fair. Cheaters are not fair.
    7. See 6. Shhhhhhhhhhhh! (S)he doesn’t give a shit what you think/want/hope/fear.

    Now read Ms. Weiner’s advice, only from the perspective that you live a separate life entirely from the ex. It’s OVER with the ex. You are in NO CONTACT with the ex. Take care of yourself, move on, do not bother the ex, smile in public, and grieve/mourn in the privacy of your own space.

    As for her advice, it’s pretty good, with these edits:
    12. Don’t act, just do. It’s over.
    15. Do not have any contact if at all possible with the ex. If you must be in contact, e-mail or text one or two sentences (not run-on) at MOST. Perhaps have a friend or family member compose the text, so you’re not tempted to call the ex an asshole or a slut, or to call him or her out for being a total jerk. Remember–they don’t care. Your biggest regret will be what you say, not for their sake, but for yours. Trust me on this.
    17, 18, 19. Do not be AT ALL concerned with what your ex “thinks” or “feels.” Their fucked-up “thoughts” and “feeeeeelings” are not worthy of your consideration. And remember, they don’t give a shit about you, nor what you think of them.
    24. Be patient–with YOURSELF, and with your kids. You’ve all been shattered.
    25. Let someone else interpret the ex’s words. If they contact you, remember this: all their blah-blah-blah is 100% about them. They will project, they will manipulate, they will attempt to provoke. Do not reply to blah-blah-blah. (Though it can be fun, years later, to go back and read what they write, and realize how fucked up they are, when you’re not bleeding and vulnerable.)
    29. See 17,18,19.
    31. Do not “communicate” with your ex. If you must arrange for child drop-off or pick-up, remember: 1 or 2 sentences. Beyond that, and you may need your attorney or your trusted friend/family member to intervene.

    But overall, it’s pretty good advice. I’d give it a B+.

  • “Best way to not lose your cool is to not be around them. Period. Try no contact. It really minimizes the psychodrama.” I second that and everything else you wrote Tracy, great post as usual!

    Go no contact, throw their shit out, don’t listen to any word that comes out of those fucktards mouth and get on with your life, because when they cheated or cheating they didn’t give a shit about you, your well being nor your relationship! What irked me the worst was my cheater kept telling me he loves me, always have and always will. Yeah the poor fucker loved me so much he accidently kept getting between someone else’s legs over and over, and all along he was loving me and thinking of me from day one.

    Once a lying cheat is always a lying cheat. While sending me mushy texts, telling me how much he loves me, misses me and wish me back in his life, at the “same time” he was texting some new chick. Throwing out the fuckface and going NC was the best thing I ever did, my only and BIGGEST regret is not doing it sooner, much sooner!

    • Ex told me he loves me always has, always will also. Damn I’m glad that he does cause what the heck would have he done to me had he hated me!!!!!!! Because stabbing me in the back, turning me around, carving my heart out and handing it back to me was just not enough….

      • DeeL, I got the “I’ve always loved you and always will” speech too! So glad to see that I’m not the only one who was left feeling perplexed by those words. And you’re right…can you imagine what life would have been like had they hated us?!?

      • I hear you on that Deel and that was my exact thoughts, thinking to myself, geez if he loved me that much and did all this shit to me, wtf would he do if he really hated my guts?!?!?

  • What makes this sort of drivel so damaging and therefore dangerous is how it is sprinkled with just enough passable advice. Good job, CL, deconstructing this poisonous, unicorn-hope-filled potion! I think the basic assumption difference here is that 180-author actually thinks it is the chump’s job to win back a cheater. Ha! Bad assumptions lead to bad conclusions.

  • My loser ex actually apologized to his affair partner or whatever you call them when I found out about his cheating.


    Not so much. He blamed ME for his cheating ways. Remorse? None. Shame? None. Fog? Nope. He got caught, plain and simple.

    Michelle can suck it.

    • Oh yes, my cheater was SOOOOOOO concerned about his side lover, really it seemed her feelings were all that mattered! The only good that came from that, was it made me see the exact position I held in his life. I was the official cook, bed-warmer, bread winner, bill- watcher, Doormat! She was some exotic and fragile little bird, whose reputation and emotions must be protected!
      Fuck her! I no longer live near them, but my neighborhood friends tell me that he spends a lot of time with her, and they are constantly yelling, and fighting with each other! Heehee.
      I guess it must be the wonderful, healthy start they got, and it has led to the relationship they deserve! (I’m only this bitter when I think about them, which is hardly ever lately! Just gets me burning when I think about how hard they took advantage of me back then. Now, back to being peaceful!)
      Breathe, breathe….

      • “Oh yes, my cheater was SOOOOOOO concerned about his side lover, really it seemed her feelings were all that mattered! ”

        OMG you guys!! Same here!! My STBX was pissed off at me for actually having the nerve to call the OW! And that has been a recurring theme throughout this whole nightmare. He has the utmost concern about HER feelings in this; not a thought at all about mine. The things he said to me on Dday, when he found out that I had called her..I still can’t believe. It was an additional huge slap to my face.

      • May I raise my hand and count myself among this group? Her widdle feewings must be protected at all costs. Me? I don’t even think he’s aware that I have feelings or that I’m even granted the privilege of having feelings – unless they are aligned with his feelings about him.

      • Mine was the same way Pattytoo. He was concerned about the ow being ‘in the middle of this” because she was such a good person. He shed tears over that. He was really pissed at me when I sent a letter to ow’s mother outing their affair because he had presented himself as a single man to her family. This helped to tarnish his image. I did not get anything out of him on dday. He simply packed his overnight bag and left for the ow’s home for another week. During that time, I realized how little I mattered to him and the amount of contempt he had for me.

      • Yep…..the only thing that ever concerned him were “her feelings”, and not getting “her in trouble” (with her husband). I’m a frigging basket case — and Skankalina is his primary concern! How do you explain just how, and how much, that hurts after all the ordinary hurt from being betrayed? You don’t….but you guys get it, and for that I am thankful.

      • In these cases OW is really just an extention of your exes. Or the thing that happens to reflect him in the most positive light. He’s not really loyal to her, but loyal to how he looks in her eyes. That’s why they get pissed at you, because you represent a. Reality, and b. A threat to their pretty mirror. It hurts like a bitch but it’s just another example of what soulless tools they are.

        • Yeah, he never apologized for bringing her to our home, to our marital bed.

          So gross.

          He was trying to impress her. He was whatfuckingever….

          • Disgusting. So sorry he did that to you, and that she was a skank that would sleep in another woman’s marital bed. Like a dog peeing on someone’s porch to establish dominance.

      • Yes, I got this, too. When I told OW’s family and friends about the affair, XH went into a rage like I’ve never seen him before (thankfully not violent). I took my kids to my parents’ house for the weekend so that he could calm down. He kept going on about how I had ruined HER life, HER reputation. He didn’t pause to think that his affair was ruining my life and our children’s lives (it didn’t and my life is actually better for it, but he doesn’t get credit for that). It hurt that he would throw me and the kids under a bus for someone he had known for only a few months.

        When I told XH that I was just spreading the “good news” of his “true love,” he responded with, “Don’t you know that people can start relationships after they are separated or divorced? People don’t think anything is wrong with that.” I believe XH’s plan was to move out (he had already rented another apartment “to be closer to work”) and then tell everyone we separated because of “marital difficulties,” after which he met this “wonderful girl” who helped him through this “difficult” time. I’m glad that my telling people about his affair stopped that narrative in its tracks.

        • Hahaha…my ex tried to pull that crap. He wanted to spin the narrative that we split due to ‘the marriage crumbling’, not due to me finding out his dick has been playing happy times with all sorts of people, including people I knew. A real shame I found all that out and whoops! I just couldn’t keep my mouth shut.

      • Yep, my cheater was very concerned about his exit affair whore’s feelings too (because how dare I be angry at her as well since I’d met her, right?).

        The day after I moved out, I found her number online and called her to leave a succinct little message. Within 20 minutes of leaving the message, my ex texted me to threaten me with a restraining order if I or anyone I know ever contacted her or him again. This made me realize two things 1) he was lying to whore bag and was angry when his control over the situation was threatened and 2) all the horse crap about still loving me, wanting to remain friends, not being able to imagine his life without me in it, was all a load of lies.

  • I read this drivel over on SI. Even as sad as I was, I thought the 180 was ridiculous. I was a raw exposed nerve and felt like someone had gutted me. (I guess because in reality, he had.) The only thing I could really do was listen to the little voice in my head that said, “Move. Protect yourself. And then be still.” That’s pretty much what I did.

    Within a week, I had a lawyer, Prozac, Xanax, and a great therapist who was recommended to me by a good friend. Frankly the only reason I did all these things was because I was so depressed, I didn’t want to lose my job too so I did everything I could just to keep moving. It wasn’t to make my cheater hot for me again. I just wanted to survive!

    And number 19 really pissed me off when I first read it: No matter what you are feeling TODAY, only show your spouse happiness and contentment. Show him/her someone he/she would want to be around.

    Now . . . who in the ever-loving fuck is capable of showing happiness and contentment when the person you loved and trusted would sooner push you off a cliff than say a kind word to you overnight? Not me! I woke up each morning feeling like I was living in a real life nightmare. I love you . . . fuck off. Look at me! Look how happy I am!

    Nope; I’d recommend doing the things I mentioned above and just go no contact. No calling, No emails, no texting, no Facebook . . . just cut the cheater out like a cancer. The 180 is just going to make you crazy, and really, who wants to do back-flips for a cheater anyway? Let the new idiot have him and all his fucked up behaviors. I’ll take my life back, thank you.

    • I am with you Rumblekitty.
      STBX for the first few months just expected that I live out No# 19 (in order to make him more comfortable) he would not communicate with me other wise and nor would his management team (MT). So when he swanned into the hospital to visit our daughter I was just expected to put on my happy face and pretend that I was having a good old time. When I didn’t the attitude I coped was so dismissive and entitled it was like D’Day repeating its self.

      I am NC except in extreme circumstances, I do not email, and I have unfriended him and the MT from my facebook. Life is peaceful.

      • “Oh yes, my cheater was SOOOOOOO concerned about his side lover, really it seemed her feelings were all that mattered! ”

        OMG you guys!! Same here!! My STBX was pissed off at me for actually having the nerve to call the OW! And that has been a recurring theme throughout this whole nightmare. He has the utmost concern about HER feelings in this; not a thought at all about mine. The things he said to me on Dday, when he found out that I had called her..I still can’t believe. It was an additional huge slap to my face.

        • Oh me too.. the barrage of abuse I got because I confronted the OW was astounding. I was told I needed to apologise to her!!!! That I had hurt her feelings. Get fucked!!!

        • I went to STBX’s and OM’s store to confront the OM. I was mentally equipped with a few bible verses to give me strength and a photo of my two boys to show him the face of collateral damage. He was at lunch so I left. A coworker called my W telling her I was there and had something in my hand. She was pissed. When I got home, She asked me if I was going to hit the OM with whatever I was carrying. Yup, hit him with a photo, that otta hurt. Guess I did something as he didn’t show up to work the next day. W told me at our MC meeting that she was concerned for him so she called him at home. Right. Don’t worry about me though. I’m good.

      • “I am NC except in extreme circumstances, I do not email, and I have unfriended him and the MT from my facebook. Life is peaceful.”
        I am NC unless it involves 1 of the kids. But you know what hurts? He doesn’t care. He doesn’t get angry; he doesn’t get sad. He just doesn’t care that I don’t talk to him anymore.

    • “Now . . . who in the ever-loving fuck is capable of showing happiness and contentment when the person you loved and trusted would sooner push you off a cliff than say a kind word to you overnight? Not me! I woke up each morning feeling like I was living in a real life nightmare.”
      This ^^^ You nailed it right on the head Rummblekitty. I felt like he had stabbed me in the back, turned me around, carved out my heart and handed it back to me because it just wasn’t good enough for the fucktard. “Showing happiness and contentment”, not so much, more like putting one foot in front of the other, in a horrible daze most days.

  • Kind of Says it all right here…………….

    “You want to know who is “needy” and “desperate”? Cheaters. People who traffic in kibbles and need flattery and illicit sexual hijinks to feel whole. People who sell other people out. People who send crotch shots to total strangers. That shit is desperate.

    A person trying to hold their life together after it was detonated from someone’s selfishness? That’s raw courage. STFU Michelle.”

    Oy, so Glad I took my freedom back, HAPPY 4th Fellow Chumps!!! Run and never look back, then smile and enjoy your new found freedom from a pathetic, desperate cheater. They are not worth another lost moment of your time or life. If they are shacked up with someone new, thank your lucky stars it’s not you any longer! You just lost dead weight : )

    Chump Lady knows of what she speaks, I am one of many living proofs of that here!

  • That list is just a bunch of manipulative, game playing nonsense that reminds me of junior high. It makes me sad that there are chumps right now desperately doing those pathetic suggestions in the hope that they will “win” back their cheating spouse. What that list does is reduce the chump to NOTHING. Just a sad, dancing puppet trying to get the love and attention of a spouse who has graphically demonstrated that he or she does NOT GIVE A FUCK.

    • That’s how I read the 180 list too. It is mostly mind games and manipulation and I wasn’t into sinking to his level just to impress him for fuck sake!! That behavior isn’t any cooler coming from me than it is from a cheater. I’d rather stay true to the fact that this shit hurts and I’m angry for being screwed over for 1.5 YEARS of my life. Getting new passions and taking care of myself was allll for me – not to win his attention. Cheaters do NOT deserve anything good from us! They had our best and trashed it!

  • CL,

    Thank you for being you. Thank you for constantly deconstructing the nonsense which passes for “advice” from people selling sugar pills to cancer patients. A few of these people may even be well-meaning and actually believe that they want to try to save marriages into which one of the participants has lobbed a grenade and then run over the debris with a tank. I’m open-minded and I am sometimes willing to give people the benefit of the doubt, more’s the pity. However, I can only think that the people who proffer this advice have never experienced the devastation of being betrayed by their spouse, are cheaters themselves or suffer from a Cluster B personality disorder (which includes an empathy deficit and shallow emotional attachment) or some combination thereof.

    Otherwise, how does “No matter what you are feeling TODAY, only show your spouse happiness and contentment. Show him/her someone he/she would want to be around,” even make sense? Really? Why the fuck would I give a rat’s ass whether or not someone who BETRAYED my trust and VIOLATED me in the worst possible way would want to be around me? My continuous sobbing, shaking and overall depression from the knowledge that our life together has been revealed to be a lie, gives you a sad? My vacillating between anger, fear and unhappiness is casting a shadow over your cheating high? Excuse the hell out of me and kiss my ass.

    I often think of the phrase that our parents employed when we were ill, “Feed a cold, starve a fever.” The most succinct “180” advice anyone can give a Chump is “Feed A Chump, Starve a Cheater.” Detach from this person who has shown themselves to care nothing about you. They are the Tuberculosis-Ebola of relationship partners. You are risking your safety if you continue to stay around them. Run for your life.

    • “Why the fuck would I give a rat’s ass whether or not someone who BETRAYED my trust and VIOLATED me in the worst possible way would want to be around me? My continuous sobbing, shaking and overall depression from the knowledge that our life together has been revealed to be a lie, gives you a sad? My vacillating between anger, fear and unhappiness is casting a shadow over your cheating high? Excuse the hell out of me and kiss my ass.”


      “Feed a chump, starve a cheater”

      and this. In fact, this last line is right up there with “Trust that they suck” if you ask me.

  • Ah the 180! Been there and ridden that unicorn.

    I was very good at it I think, yet perplexed that it never made a scrap of difference.

    Eventually I realized that my cheater didn’t even notice I was doing it because he was so wrapped up in his great love affair.

    Narcs don’t do remorse and they don’t come running to make up for what they’ve done to you.

    The 180 assumes the cheater is a decent person who suddenly wakes up, realizes what they’ve lost and spends the rest of their life making it up to you.

    Which takes us 360 degrees back to unicorns…

    • I don’t think Michelle is even talking about a repentant cheater. Remorse doesn’t have you needed to protect their little feelings, or be cheerful, delightful, play passive aggressive mind games, etc. THEY take responsibility, period.

      She’s just down right advocating chumpdom.

    • So right, Jane. I did much of the 180. However, I believe I did it as much to protect myself and preserve my own sanity as much as to “win her back”.

      Some of it about being consistent so they notice it and hopefully approve is drivel. But I have to admit, “acting as if”, probably helped me get through some of the crazy, initial hurt. Pounding away on a hard exercise program in a class, playing golf with a friend, being totally absorbed in a work problem – all these made me feel happy, useful, fulfilled, connected and not so isolated. At this point I don’t really care what she notices or doesn’t notice.

      Not to meh, yet, but getting there over time.

  • Actually a 180 degree turn is a noun and it indicates:
    1. a reversal of direction.
    2. a complete reversal in thinking or behavior.

    So yeah, do a 180:

    Get the fuck away from the cheater, don’t trust, spackle, take care of them or talk to them. Stop being sad and get pissed off. Take care of yourself, stop taking responsibility for them, get a life. That’s a 180.

  • I got kicked off of SI because of my post to this particularly frustrating woman who stayed with her cheating husband. The OW was her (former) best friend and they had children who continued to play together and go to school together. This lady was on SI constantly complaining about how hard it was. It was horrible that she still had to go to parties where the OW and her husband were in attendance. She complained that she still had to keep her children involved with OW’s children. She ran into OW at school. OW would always be smiling and having a goid time whenever she saw her. Not sure where the cheater husband was in all of this drama, but it sounded like (surprise!) he was pretty passive about it all. This lady had a million and one excuses as to why she couldn’t change any of these maddening situations. It wasn’t her kid’s fault that their dad is a horn dog, so she couldn’t stop them from having play dates with the other children. They couldn’t afford to move. (If I stayed with the horn dog, he’d be getting two other full time jobs so we could afford it.) She had to go to parties where the OW was in attendance because if she didn’t, it meant the OW won. What was interesting was that everyone patted her on the back for being so strong, for protecting her kids, for standing up to the OW by going to the parties. Everyone felt sorry for her. I’ve never in my life seen anything like it. I posted that she was basically ALLOWING all of this to happen. I got banned. LOL. I suppose for not being “supportive.” The last thing this poor woman needed was support to stay in the mess she was in, making the decisions she was making. But, that’s the way it goes when reconciliation is the desired outcome. People do twist themselves up like a pretzel and then it’s one complaint after another about how bad it hurts. But you are the bad guy for pointing out WHY it’s hurting.

    • Same thing happened to me on an NPD site. The woman was much like the one you describe, I think enjoying to some extent her role as victim – and the support she was getting from the group about her situation. She came on one night talking about offing herself, and my sincere urging that she get professional help got me persona-non-grata with the group. I think some blogs are merely commiseration boards, and the focus isn’t really to extricate yourself from the situation. That’s why good advice is unwelcome.

    • Hello from a fellow ex-SI-er! I believe I remember the post you’re referring to, and you’re right. It was truly bizarre. One more reason to stay the hell away from sites like that, IMO. One thing I learned on SI real quick was that the majority of posters there aren’t concerned with improving their condition or with ending the pain they’re in – they’re looking for validation for staying with their cheater. If you offer anything that isn’t praise or a pat on the back, it’s seen as an “attack” and you’re stopped in your tracks. After years of reading, I’ve seen this happen over and over and over again. It’s sickening…but yet another reason to be thankful for CL!


      • And that’s what I don’t get about some people. Yes, bad shit happens all the time. It’s how you deal with it.

        To wallow in victim hood does NOTHING. To kick some ass and go forward is a choice. Maintaining a victim status to get sympathy and attention is wonky, for me. I certainly see a lot of people in various life circumstances choosing to be this way. It is easier than dealing with the cold, hard crap of true change.

        Maybe I am minimizing, but cheating and the fallout seems like a selfish first world issue, even though it happens everywhere to anybody. There are other tragedies worse than this. Let’s get up and get moving on our paths to wholeness.

    • I bet a fair number of us got banned from SI, TAM and Marriage Builders.
      I am 3 for 3.
      Best part of the SI site, for me was the betrayed men subsection of the ” I can Relate ” forum.
      Those guys are funny as hell and pull no punches(except the mods, occasionally get on them.
      Lots of smart, really pissed off guys on there. Good writers and wit.
      Ever notice that the betrayed sections seem to have smarter folks?

  • Well, I don’t think it’s entirely awful. Actually, if the “goal” were not to win back the cheater but to get on with your life, most of it is pretty spot on.

    And let’s not forget, we were all chumps, and circling the drain doing just about anything to keep our cheaters in the marriage, up to a point. C’mon, let’s be honest – it took weeks, months, years for most of us to come around to the CL point of view. How much shit did we put up with, or what kind of pick-me dance pretzel did we turn ourselves into before we finally “saw the light”? I would argue that most of these suggestions are not a bad stop gap. When you finally wake up to the fact that you are a chump, and your cheater is just a cheap, kibble eating narcissist, if you’ve successfully mastered a number of these things, you are pretty well on your way to breaking free.

    I don’t think “faking it til you make it” is necessarily a bad thing. I know I really just wanted to curl up in bed and suck my thumb when the second D-day came down – but it was “busy season” at work and I had less than 3 months to pull off a destination wedding for my only daughter, while trying to keep the bunny boiler OW from showing up at the wedding with her friend in their “sex costumes” to ruin the wedding. Talk about faking it! And stress. But I pulled it off. And was that much more detached from the cheater after the fact.

    But honestly, if you’ve actually been implementing the 180, you have gone about setting up your own life separate from the cheater. At the point (hopefully) when you realize you’ve been chumped and the asshole isn’t going to come around, it’s not that big a leap to throw them out of the house, or move to your own place, contact a lawyer, and start the divorce proceedings. Better than wallowing in misery and trying to suck up all that time, then having to start from scratch when you realize the marriage is dead, and has been for a long time.

    Ok, some of them are really bad, but nobody is going to successfully manage all 34 changes. But it’s not a bad idea to implement a good many of them. Make your own life – find things you like (or rediscover them if its a long term marriage). I always read this advice to mean,go out and make a life separate from your spouse. If they turn out to be the proverbial unicorn, then sure, they will realize what is happening and coming running back begging for forgiveness, and to be let back into the orbit of the awesomeness that is you. But there aren’t any unicorns (or very, very, very few) and if you are 90% on your way to your new life when they/you realize this, then so much the better.

    Basically, go back over the list and re-write it from CL’s point of view – that it’s not to get the cheater to realize his/her “mistake”, but to get you on track to your new and better life. Honestly, how much would you change?

    My 2 cents.

    • Well said. I am embarrassed to tell you how many years it has taken… I SO wanted what the IC said, that he is a character disordered narcissist, not to be true!!!

      Until it was.

    • That is a lot of what I was thinking as I was reading the OP, but you said it much better. I think a lot of it is fairly good advice if the goal is to get away from the cheater. Actually, most of this advice is fairly common in self-help, build a better more fulfilling life for yourself circles.

  • Loved it…. Damaged people damage other people… That’s what my ex did to me. Sure honey I am working out of town. ( you mean living with your secetary . How cliche). I am out of town on business ( again with your secetary). Pisses me off he gets to live happily ever after with the ho worker…. May they both burn in hell.

  • ROFLMAO. Awesome, an En Vogue quote! I’m off to happily search my mp3 collection.

    “People who send crotch shots to total strangers. That shit is desperate.” Oh CL, you just don’t get it. That stuff is enlightened sexuality. Clearly the sex positive community is lost on you. You can be a good person and send pictures of your penis to strangers while your fiance is at work earning money to support your kids.

    Cheater narc equation: The distance between what he says and what he does divided by the number of times he tries to fill the gap with his penis.

    Part of the reason why stuff like the 180 and other RIC tactics appeal to chumps is because we’re used to taking responsibilty for things. I don’t mean blame, I mean we act like adults . In most other situations this is a positive. RIC reinforces this idea of responsibility and then a bunch of PhD dumbasses pile on top of that the idea that we can control another person’s behavior. We are not responsible and we can not control what they did. Imo cheaters tend to not take responsibilty in general and claim nothing was in their control. I think that’s how they sleep at night.

  • I must have missed the class on how to deal with a failed marriage 101. I did not think to do any of these things and I understand my situation is different to others. But looking at the list I probably did all of this prior to D’Day without realizing it. It must just be ingrained some how. But post D’Day my life took a different turn.

    Shortly after D’Day, in the midst of confusion over the lie that was my marriage and then the illness of my daughter. Those who had taken on the management of my separation with my STBX felt the best way I could assist the healing process was to work on me.
    This I do believe is true, I can only work on me! But their view was to fix me so when I reunited with my STBX following his disciplinary action I would be worthy of a reunion. This resulted in me being handed 6 pages of biblical references on how to deal with my spirit of rejection. Yes Thats right in their view the reason my husband had cheated was in part because I suffered from a spirit of rejection, and as I did nothing but sit around the hospital with my daughter 24/7 I had all the time in the world to work on this issue using what they had labored in putting together for me. Apparently this guide to my healing took precedence over actually coming to the hospital to see us. When I stood up to them and stated that I thought this was inappropriate considering the timing it reinforced for them their opinion of my affliction. I rejected their help.
    To this date I still do not have an accurate time frame of my husbands infidelities (7 months on), this is considered not my concern. I have not been able to express how his actions have hurt me, to do so has been considered vindictive and controlling, and in their view detrimental to his recovery. Once my STBX confessed his infidelity he expected it to be viewed as all in his past, he made his peace with God and he was ok.

    32. Do not believe any of what you hear and less than 50% of what you see. Your spouse will speak in absolute negatives because they are hurting and scared.

    OMG I was feed this over and over in the beginning “don’t judge him on his actions, or what he says. you need to understand this hurts him too. But it is ok to judge me for being angry and upset and wanting a divorce. Because lets not forget that chumps have a skewed view on the world there for any thing they do see or hear is going to be misunderstood as the they suffer from damaged receptors in the thinking processes.
    Why did I keep wanting to bring it up in the early days, and express my contempt for his behavior. Because his actions spoke louder than his words and so too for those who felt the need to manage the issue. His and their denial of my feelings and the impact the infidelity would have on my life was astounding. I have to confess when I know I have to face these people (him and the management team/church elders) I go the extra step to put on my lipstick because it gives me the confidence to look them in the face and know that nothing they say or do will ever have control of my life again. Am I faking it probably in part, But knowing that I will never yield to their crap ever again pisses them off and I love it.
    So in closing Yes I 180’ed I saw a man who would lie through his teeth to convince me that I was the only real problem in our marriage, while working his way though a bus load of dudes for his own pleasure. And then I saw the actions taken by people I trusted to have my back who left me out to dry while supporting him and then justified them selves by minimizing me, I turned around (180) and I walked. It has not been easy no but it was necessary for me to move on with my life.

    • I agree with part of #32. I don’t believe any of what I hear and less than 50% of what I see, but not because I believe STBX is hurting and scared.

      Well, of course he’s scared. I haven’t told him I know, so he’s got to be nervous about what will happen when he’s finally found out. 😛

      • chumppalla, lets me just say I am very grateful for my current situation including my daughters ill health because without it I would still be stuck dealing with these idiots.

        My daughters illness has been like a bright light that has revealed theirs and her fathers true nature.

  • When I read (and remember) about the “steps of the 180” all I can think now is that it feels like fighting a lack of integrity with…a lack of integrity. Thanks, but no thanks.

    Give me authenticity, brutal honesty, unvarnished truth.

    Thinking about the facade that is the 180 reminds me of the words of one William Joel, who wrote: “I don’t want clever conversation, I never want to work that hard. I just want someone that I can talk to. I want you just the way you are.”

    He told me he loved me because I was “so real.” Apparently, that was not enough. Now I’ll hold out for someone who loves me just the way I ….are.

    Tonight, I want to express my sincere gratitude to CL and The Nation. One year and a week ago, the divorce was finalized. One year ago, his daughter was born (after we together experienced recurrent pregnancy loss and several failed fertility treatments. I was still on fertility drugs on one of the d days.)

    Today, all of my former family – the In-laws who said I’d always be part of the family- gathered at the last OW’s home to celebrate this young one’s first birthday. Old timers here will recall that the child was given a name he and I had always said we’d name a baby girl.

    Knowing I am not alone in suffering immeasurable pain has been key to my surviving and getting closer to thriving. My sincere thanks to you all for making sure I’ve never had to walk alone.

    • I’m in awe of you, Doop, and sorry you’ve had to go through all this.

      On another note, my ex-husband and his wife (first husband, years ago) named their first son the name I HAD PICKED OUT if our baby had been a son. (She was a girl, so we didn’t use the name). Can you imagine being so unimaginative that you have to use the name someone else picked? And in your case, that’s just pure evil. Truly. I’m so sorry.

    • I am so sorry for your loss. Your ex is an idiot, I wonder if the OW knows you chose the name for her daughter! It may sting now, but be glad you didn’t procreate with this man or remain stuck in his lovely family. OW must feel really proud knowing she gets a cheater and a second hand name, wow!

    • Doop, I am so sorry. The pain of that betrayal must have knocked you off your feet. Your X is a monster.

      I also experienced failed IVF (three tries, three pregnancies, three miscarriages), and am now 45 with no children (btw, I have made my peace with that). XH knew how much I wanted a child and, just after d-day, took particular glee in telling me about how he was interested in creating a good relationship with his OW’s 7-year-old son. Poor little kid. My X is also a monster.

    • doop I am so sorry he is a shithead, he really should have a crown.

      You are very brave, your daughter is going to learn so much from you.

    • I know a guy who named his daughter after his high school “true love” even though he had married someone else. (He was a cheater, too, and more than once tried to start something up with me when we lived in the same city.)

  • After I discovered my husband of 21 years affair with his married ho-worker (that he knew for four months when they started their PA) I bought and read every book out there. After three months of pretzeling and dancing the pick-me dance so hard my feet bled my husband refused to leave his job and was still “friends” with his boss-lady. He moved to his cousin’s house “to sort things out”.

    I got the divorce busting book the day before he left and read it in one night. “If only I had read this sooner”, I thought, “I did everything wrong and now he is out of the house I won’t have a chance to try this miracle solution”.

    What a load of crap that 180 list is. All he noticed is that I was backing off and giving him his space, acting totally cheerful when he graced me and our kids with his presence once a week. All it did was validate his decision that we would all be fine without him and wasn’t it grand to be catered and treated like gold when I walk in the house and then he could leave and go hang out with his fantasy work-wife with no strings attached. Why shouldn’t he keep this scenario going for as long as possible until he was sure the OW would leave her third husband for him so he would be all set in a new life before he announced “I’m done”.

  • It was a week before XMAS when I got the speech. Obviously after 25 years I was in so much pain, and as a result of being a researcher the first thing I did was go online. Looked under “what to do when he leaves for the OW” “Affairs, what to do, what not to do”etc.

    I found MB & saw the 180. I took the actions described in the list, and my actions were noticed by dirt-bag but he didn’t care. He really didn’t care about the hurt and devastation he inflicted upon both me and our two children. He was actually skipping along his merry way. Telling anyone and everyone that our “break-up was mutual”. See OWIS is happy. I off course was shocked, this isn’t what I thought was meant to happen, and somehow, not sure how but on another site someone sang the praises of the wonderful CL site. My eyes were quickly reopened and I spent a good day reading through all the wonderful advice. I was lucky it only took me 10 days from DDay to find CL. I was so happy.

    Well I continue the NC not for him but for me. Fantastic. I finished my degree, and now am taking post study papers at University. In addition, I am going back to work, to restart my career in finance.

    I have moments when I have periods of sadness, and feel absolute pain, but these days are getting fewer and fewer. I continue to live my life to my integrity and values,. Everyday I always grab my coffee and read CL. I may not be at my Tuesday but I am getting there. Thank you all.

        • I know hon, I was crying whilst singing the star spangled anthem and waiting fireworks on the fourth. Good days, bad days, life. We get by with I little help from our friends….

          • I couldn’t even bring myself to watch fireworks. July 4th has always been a family holiday and my family has all moved thousands of miles away, and stbxs family is no longer mine. I laid on the couch with my dogs and bawled.

            • Aw, SandyR ((hugs))
              This was the first 4th w/o my daughter. It didn’t feel like a holiday at all and I LOVE fireworks.
              I wish I knew this many divorced/chumps/single people in my “real” life to hang out w/. I think I would have preferred dogs on a couch this year, too.

              • Hi Sandy we don’t celebrate the 4th of July in my country but I can only imagine the day must have been hard. I am 17 months into my BD and it does get better. Just keep believing in your worth and value because when your children are older they will know who was there for them.

  • Another brilliant insightful deconstruction. It’s interesting how many of us have the experience of being banned from other forums! I got banned from one just a few days after D-Day – permanently and without explanation. The experience of being banned was so damaging and confusing. I hadn’t said anything offensive or nasty; I realised later that I had said something that contradicted the narrative the site was peddling. Horrified at the time, I wrote a grovelling apology to the site moderators but thankfully didn’t send it: instead, I googled my experience and found Chump Nation.

  • I went all kinds of mad reading that list. How about summing up the 34 list items with one suggestion – chump, just prostrate yourself on the doorstep, stay there, smile and let your cheater wipe his dirty shoes all over you!

    • Yes, before I knew was even doing the pick me dance I convinced myself that marriage was no place for egos (at least not mine) and that I should do whatever I needed to do to save my marriage. Then suddenly I realized how pointless and ridiculous it all was. As we have all learned: one person cannot save a marriage.

      So I set myself free.

  • I did many of these things, post d-day. This is the one that nearly ended me, and from which I am still recovering emotionally: “30. Do not be openly desperate or needy even when you are hurting more than ever and are desperate and needy.”

    I stuffed all those post d-day emotions, with no help from friends or family. I don’t recommend this. Still recovering from that emotional constipation.

  • Never heard of MB. But it sounds like the “Narrative Shift” the MC was requesting of me.

    You see, if you hang onto the truth, the cheater has no “wiggle room” to rewrite the facts about themselves and your relationship. This IS nearly verbatim. The stuff in quotes is exact.

    The only person who thrives in this mindfuck is the cheater. I said HELL NO to this shit.

  • What is so distressing about all this advice, is that it does not factor in, and does not even mention, character disordered people.

    This advice does not work with narcissists. IMAGO does not work with narcissists. Counselling does not work with narcissists. The only thing that works with narcissists, is either: leaving the relationship, or accepting that you don’t exist within the relationship, up to and including annihilating abuse (like, him fucking OW in your bed, continuing to see OW, whilst using you as a useful appliance).

    Those are your only two choices.

    When people are shell shocked and hurting and desperately seeking a solution, it is rather unfair to leave out the MAIN issue behind the problem.
    I have just been in touch with a university friend. After I told him my story, he admitted he had done the same thing to his wife, and after 4 years counselling, they are still together, battling her triggers and him learning a better way of being. But spot the difference:

    ‘I was a lying, cheating asshole’
    ‘The counsellor called me on my bullshit’
    ‘I am now in AA’
    ‘It had nothing to do with my marriage [and everything to do with] my middle aged vanity, my family or origin issues, chasing the corporate status symbol BS [he has now retrained in a caring career].

    Spot the difference? You can RECONCILE with that. I would reconcile with that. What I got:

    ‘It meant nothing’
    ‘Let’s move on already’
    [This is the deal: we don’t talk about this, I carry on being exactly as I always have been, and you STFU and look after my house, messes and children’]
    ‘You drove me to it’
    ‘It isn’t what I did, it’s how you reacted that is the problem’
    ‘The reason we are not reconciling is that I tried and you are hell bent on not’
    ‘This is all your fault’

    • “This advice does not work with narcissists.” Exactly what I was thinking. When you remove the kibble, they become abusive. This is a list of “What to do if you want to escalate abuse with your narcissist.”

      When I pulled away, out of self-protection, not manipulation, everything got worse. He felt more entitled to affairs, angrier, more disrespectful. I learned a lesson in how narcissists struggle with object permanence. If you aren’t “there for them,” you aren’t even there. He treated me like I wasn’t even human. On the odd occasion that I would need to talk to him he would actually look STARTLED. Like, “Oh, you have thoughts and feelings? I’d forgotten.”

      That’s when I realized how serious this shit was. When he was away from home, or not getting what he wanted from us, the kids and I actually did not exist to him. We were like obligations he must maintain to appear normal, and nothing more.

      • “When he was away from home, or not getting what he wanted from us, the kids and I actually did not exist to him. We were like obligations he must maintain to appear normal, and nothing more.”


        I saw my cheater XH a few days ago, due to our daughter getting married. I existed for a few minutes because I did a great job putting together the wedding. She was a prop in his “Doting Father of the Bride” act in front of his new girlfriend. OTOH, he didn’t pay for ANYTHING for the wedding. Asshole.

        • “When he was away from home, or not getting what he wanted from us, the kids and I actually did not exist to him. We were like obligations he must maintain to appear normal, and nothing more.”

          This times 10,000!!!

    • I have to say I got the same statement. It’s how YOU reacted to it ( not sorry ) that drove me away after BD.

      I guess I should have bought him a gift 🙁

      • Awww Lisah. You should have bought him glitter so he could sparkle more!!! and you could have better seen the awesomeness of him and had a “better” reaction.

      • Yes, apparently me flipping out was a really awful thing to do and hurt his fragile self. What he didn’t predict was just how badly I was going to flip out when I found out about the rest of the affairs. Poor thing said I was psycho, crazy, blah blah blah. But no, I was just one very pissed off woman who realised I married a guy who thought it fine to fuck around with anyone willing to give him a look in.

        • Oh, Nord,
          Poor thing said I was psycho, crazy, blah blah blah. But no, I was just one very pissed off woman who realised I married a guy who thought it fine to fuck around with anyone willing to give him a look in.

          There has to be an imbalance in their brain. A small voice that says it is ok to cheat and when caught reflect it back to make your spouse look bad that will fix it.

          I was a very pissed off woman but it was not allowed to be seen, if I acted in any way that showed I was pissed off I was allowing the enemy (the devil) to get a foot hold in my life and use me. Or that I was clearly unwilling to deal with MY issues.
          All while my STBX continued at church secure that very few knew his secret so he could just continue on like nothing happened.

          emotion is such a dirty concept for so many they just can’t handle it so would prefer that you just sit quietly in the corner till you get a hold of yourself.
          FYI – sitting quietly in the corner and stuffing down my emotions is what allowed him to just do what he wanted as he saw there would be no real consequence for his actions.

      • after I found out about the first OW, the married ho-worker, when I asked questions and I wanted answers, he told me with all these questions and for not letting it go, (he said it was old news because their 3 year relationship ended by then) his exact words to me was ” you’re killing US with all this!” ME? killing us? no fucktard you killed “US” when you decided to cheat. Don’t you just love it how these cheaters come up with BS like these??

  • Patsy, I got mostly the same response after D-day. Some of it verbatim.

    I knew early on I didn’t want to reconcile because of this crap that came out of his face. If I had wanted to reconcile, this “180” stuff would have seemed absurd – I felt like I had been shoved off a cliff that I didn’t even know was there. I was in full-on emotional survival mode. I had to focus on myself to get one foot in front of the other every day. This “180” thing is mostly centered on the cheater, how to act around the cheater, what to say and not say to the cheater, etc. Fuck that.

  • Another problem with this 180 thing is that it totally ignores the psychological well-being of the chump. It’s like, save the marriage at all costs, even if the chump has to loser her soul and self-respect to do so.

  • Oh Tracy. You’re so wonderful. The only thing that compared to the magnificence of your RIC interpretations is your Cheater Bullshit interpretations. I’ve started running everything I hear through my CL Bullshit Translator. It’s changed my life.

  • If I were a serial cheater trying to make the world a more comfortable place to cheat, I would go undercover as a “marriage healer,” write this exact “180” list, and propagate it to chumps far and wide. Why? Because this list, if followed, gives the cheater EXACTLY THE LIVING SITUATION THEY DESIRE. Specifically, the opportunity to continue the convenient and comfortable eating of CAKE.

    Directives to the Chump most helpful to the Cheater Who Wants to be Left the Hell Alone While He/She Continues Cheating:

    2. No frequent phone calls.
    6. Do not ask for help from family members.
    9. Do not schedule dates together.
    10. Do no spy on the spouse.
    13. Be cheerful, strong, outgoing and attractive.
    16. If you are in the habit of asking your spouse her whereabouts, ASK NOTHING.
    19. No matter what you are feeling TODAY, only show your spouse happiness and contentment.
    20. All questions about marriage should be put on hold.
    21. Never lose your cool.
    26. Learn to back off, shut up and possibly walk away.
    30. Do not be openly desperate or needy even when you are hurting more than ever and are desperate and needy.
    31. Do not focus on yourself when communicating with your spouse.

    If the 180 is ever “successful” and keeps a marriage together, it’s only because carrying out the list gives the cheater exactly the unchallenged cheating lifestyle they want anyway. And if that’s marital success, I’m the King of Siam.

  • And yet this 180 advice hooked me (and I’m sure the majority of us chumps) into hoping that they would want us instead of them.
    The problem is we think that’s what’s best – at the time. The lure of the pick me dance is strong in the beginning for most of us.
    I know I couldn’t fathom my life w/o him after he was there for so long…I still can’t sometimes.

    Anger? Oh no…stuff that down! Don’t dare upset the apple cart. Yup, did that, too.

    The weird part? The 180 works. It did for me but 1) why would you want it to? You can only see that in time w/ some distance and 2) it’s not authentic.
    The whole time I did a lot of those steps all I felt like was a shell of myself. Speaking of shells…I walked on egg shells ALL. THE. TIME! How is that any way to live?
    We sacrifice ourselves for their benefit even after they’ve hurt us so badly. It makes ZERO sense – and yet we do it.

    They should be the ones falling all over themselves to rectify the situation they made bad but instead we do it.

    Man I”m in a ranty mood today. 🙂

  • I remember reading this 180 nonsense during the first few weeks of my nightmare last year, and when I finished reading it I was like “HUH?” I thought it was so confusing, like should I leave or stay? It seemed like purgatory to me, and I was too pissed and devastated to do this kind of work to “save” my marriage. In my heart I knew there was nothing worth saving. Soon after I found CL, and finally, FINALLY shit started making sense.

    Thank you for decoding this!

  • Oh I love how CL calls it: 32. Do not believe any of what you hear and less than 50% of what you see. Your spouse will speak in absolute negatives because they are hurting and scared.

    Gah. This one makes my head hurt. So much mindfuckery in one bullet point.

    First off, you told us in item #25 to listen carefully to the cheater. Now seven points later, you want us to discard that and not believe any of it? Do you PROOFREAD, Michelle?”

    hahahha Love it. Man I really hope Michelle finds this thread.

    • I think I know what Divorce Busters is trying to convey with #25 and #32, though they seem contradictory, because I actually talked to one of their counselors.

      #25 to listen carefully to the cheater: That means to really listen to his complaints about the marraige and you, to tell him that you understand where he is coming from and to validate his complaints and feelings.

      #32 to not believe anything of what you hear: That means that when the cheater is telling you he wants to leave you and he is in love with the OW and that the marriage is over, don’t believe him, because he is confused.

      Still mindf*ckery, but that’s how this counselor parsed it.

      • They don’t employ “counselors”. Counselors need to be licensed and educated at an accredited institution.

        Divorcebusters employs “coaches”. Coaches are essentially a help desk of people who have been drilled to repeat her material and told what is “out-of-bounds”, and that’s about it. You are basically calling a help desk, and I don’t think you can sue “coaches” for malpractice.

        • TH, yes, I think you are right. These aren’t licensed therapists, though I think Michelle Weiner Davis is. I wonder, is there anyone who has successfully “reconciled” their marriage using the 180? Where do they come up with this stuff?

        • Is the help desk located in the US? This brings back memories of calling a help desk, off shore and listening to “Bob” rifle through the rule book/ manual to answer my question.

          • I think the only way you can successfully reconcile using the 180 principle is to live a life that supports the cheater in all their actions. Don’t ask questions, don’t be needy, back off give him room to maneuver. All while being strong and confident showing happiness and contentment. while in private you stuff down the shit sandwiches that he provides as small portions of love and acceptance towards you.

            I think I lived 180 with out realizing it. So many I know are shock that our marriage is over and why.
            OMG it just hit me the ‘180’ list is a SPACKLE how to guide.

  • I did the 180 thing to a T for months. It was torture.

    The response from the cheater: “Too little, too late.” Fuckstain.

    I wish you were around ChumpLady for the first bomb drop, I think I would have healed much faster and with less PTSD. Please, newer folks, listen to CL, she is bang on with advice.

    • ChattyCat – THANK YOU!
      Having trouble “trusting that he sucks” this past week+ but you reminded me.
      stbx also said “too little, too late” and “why now…why not so many other times?”

      Remembering that those comments were made brought me right back to how I felt when they were said!
      Even if my clarity is only temporary I am grateful for the reminder! Every little step helps!

      I also wish I knew about CL and her advice earlier

    • Yes, that was the same reaction from my XH. But the Divorce Busting counselor to say to keep on going at it, because it shows that XH noticed my changes, and to, once again, not believe anything you hear from his mouth.

      • what the hell is a ‘divorce busting counselor’ and how as a human being could they say that. IMO that equates to saying ‘hang in there punching round ? is about to begin. your doing great.’

        I am so glad I found this site first, Thank you CL

  • One of the problems with people understanding infidelity is that they don’t understand it. Not at all. The only ones who understand it are those it happened to. People do not understand the intense, immense pain chumps are experiencing. People do not realize that chumps go through PTSD. People do not understand that chumps (and their children) are suffering some of the worst devastation they could ever experience. People do not understand that chumps are physically threatened with assault by crazy affair partners who are just trying to get what is really theirs. People don’t understand that cheaters pick the lowest forms of life to fuck. People don’t understand that cheaters cheat because of the cheaters themselves. People do not understand that cheating has nothing to do with the betrayed spouse. This is why “experts” say nonsense like “be happy and wear a smile and keep your mouth shut and realize your part in this”.
    When I found out about my husband, I stopped talking to him, doing his laundry and cooking for him. I kicked him out after I called his parents and told them about him cheating. I didn’t tell my side of the family. My in-laws know he cheated but they don’t know everything. My mother-in-law would tell my husband things that clearly implied that he cheated because I was too bossy and challenging. I trampled his marital civil rights or some shit. My husband started his affairs while our youngest daughter was in the hospital. So while I was in the hospital with her, he was home taking pictures of himself and sending them to some woman he met online. That’s the kind of scumbag he is.
    I really wish I had found this blog long before I did. I regret my decision to not divorce this POS when I first found out about him.

      • yes very well said,

        I don’t like it when MIL’s feel they need to justify to there boys that we caused them to make the decisions they made. I was also accused of being at fault, by my MIL, apparently I am an irrational bitch that emasculated her precious son. OMG in hind sight they should have married each other. now they live together. enough said.

        • My mil swept it all under the rug. She had always done that with her sons. They’re perfect and do nothing wrong. Nothing is their fault.

        • Same with my MIL. Of course I was such a horrible wife who drove my desperate, neglected XH to cheat. No one can take as good of care of XH as MIL can. Now they live together for some reason. But it all makes sense. Where do you think the cheaters got their sense of entitlement?

  • Right after D-day I found SI, like many others. SI is mainly about survival mode.

    So I tried the famous 180 (I would have tried 1 through 179 too). And not only did it completely fail, I felt like failing even more. The MC told me to keep my emotions, questions and accusations inside, only to bring them up during the sessions ($$$). And I tried, tried, tried… until sometime in the middle of the night, when another text message beeped on his phone, I erupted. And held myself reponsible for failing once again. Why couldn’t I do this simple thing right? It fit right in with the pick-me dance and my doormat status. But I thought I was doing this for the greater good, the riding into the sunset together, with two happy kids in tow.

    Wish CL had been there sooner, but I chalk it up as experience. Survival mode? Rather bleak compared to gaining a life!

    • DC just because you did not do it their way does not mean you did not do it right.
      you have not failed you are still here. keep going and when you are unsure come and read the threads here as there is always a glow of hope amongst what is shared by others.

      According to my STBX’s management team(MT-those in our church who think they can fix his desire for men and his need for extra marital activity) I am the one failing our marriage as I wish for a divorce here you have to wait 12 months and 1 day after separation before you can file. Non of the MT will acknowledge that I even have a right to divorce let alone the emotion that has come from D’Day, and if in their view I have failed, too bad. I no longer look at myself as a failure to others, which I have done for years. I look at myself as someone who will no longer willingly fail me. I will not give into there judgments, lies, deceptions, their imposed theories or their projected view of me. I can now see me crystal clear thanks to the constant reality check I get here at chump nation. hang in there DC

      • Don’t worry, I might have failed the 180 (I am just not made to be a human pretzel after all), but I might be acing at gaining a life! Divorced the cheater, almost a year ago!

        I’m studying hard on the ‘getting to meh’ course material… Not this Tuesday, but getting closer. It’s hard, with children and continuing challenges to stay no contact.

  • I had never realized that I was doing the 180!! Gosh!

    Let’s see if it’s worked. I’ve been doing it since Dday.

    Nope. Hasn’t worked. I think, given that it’s been about 18 or so months, that I’ve been pretty patient. I would think he’s had time to notice. Apparently he hasn’t. 😛

    So, let’s see. Maybe I’ve not done enough of the 180? Well, I don’t follow him around, beg, plead, etc. I don’t really listen to him, since listening is typically part of an engaged, two-way conversation. I did listen to him initially, and then discovered that his idea of a sounding board was an echo chamber. Truly. This fact clued me in that he may be BPD. He has always had difficulty listening to anything different from what he says. He’ll get angry with me for “arguing” with him when I’m agreeing with him, but using a different example. A normal person would say, “exactly! It’s the same thing!” At any rate, after I figured out that he’s not really interested in having me listen to him, but he is interested in constant affirmation, I can now hold up my end of the conversation through interjections like “riiiight…that makes sense…sure…I can see that…of course…awesome…you’re right….” Apparently this makes him all happy and relaxed. And, of course, none of this focuses on me, so at least I’m following #31.

    Still, I don’t see him coming out of the fog. Rather, if anything, I see him becoming more secure in the fog. If anything, he’s more convinced that he’s managed to get away with the affair, that I don’t know. Hah!

    So I think, based on n=1, that the 180 is a total piece of crap when it comes to salvaging the marriage. It’s a good thing I’m not doing this to save the marriage. Instead, I’m doing it to keep my own sanity until I dissolve the marriage.

    If the 180 is seen as a tool for disengaging from the cheater, it’s pretty decent. When I first started talking to lawyers shortly after Dday, I realized I could not afford a divorce at that time. Additionally, I realized that confronting my cheater meant that I needed to be able to leave the marriage at that point. Again, I couldn’t do it. So I swallowed the shit sandwich while I worked to get to the point where I could leave.

    Keeping contact to a minimum, pulling back, doing things I want to do–all that has helped me live with a bad situation. In that sense, the 180 is useful, but for “making” the cheater see the light by demonstrating the darkness of life without the faithful spouse?

    Well, that’s the damn unicorn. 😛

    • “I did listen to him initially, and then discovered that his idea of a sounding board was an echo chamber.”

      You’ve got to live this stuff to be able to put it so eloquently. Your description is perfect. I used to say that the ex’s idea of teamwork was a bunch of people doing what he wanted.

      • Yes to the “echo chamber!” I repeatedly told Mr. Cheater von Flamingturd that he never really wanted to hear my opinion – he only wanted to hear his opinion regurgitated to him in my voice. For me to have an opinon that was my own or to dare to express it counted as an “argument” and was entered into the relationship debit column. Ditto with everything having to be his way. I once told his sister that he was the most perfectly seflish, self-absorbed person I had ever met.

        • OMG, I can’t stop commenting. Mr. Cheater von Flamingturd? So funny! Yes, he only wanted to hear his opinion regurgitated to him in my voice. Thank you for the words I feel but previously unable to articulate!

    • Very, very well put. Lots of shared brutal experience on this board and a lot of very articulate thoughts. BTW, kb, my wife is BPD 2. I read these posts and every day there are a couple that I say, “That could be me!”

      Anyway, many of these posts smack of BPD – Mainly, the infidelity itself is classic. Plus the grandiosity, total self-absorption and focus, anger coming out of nowhere over nothing. lots more…My wife told my son and I last week she wants to counsel people with BPD or schizophrenia. She said she could relate to them as an example of a success story. We were nonplussed. The guy I’m talking to for therapy who has known her well for decades just shook his head sadly when I mentioned this to him.

      • Chumpguy, STBX will never go to therapy, and I’m still not in therapy for me–though I realize that living the 180 for these many months means I really need to do so! Anyway, STBX seems more BPD than NPD, but who knows for sure. His family called him “emotional,” and when he was on beta blockers for his blood pressure, he didn’t rage. One of his former doctors said he produced too much adrenaline, and I went with that. However, I think now that that doctor didn’t actually test him!

        But STBX has that anger coming from nowhere over nothing. He is a very all-or-nothing kind of guy. And I like what you say about grandiosity. I remember listening to him talk about an issue and hearing him say things like “they will regret they never listened to the son of X” and I was like wtf, is this a Jesus complex or something? Then the other weekend, he heard that one of his nieces was in an auto accident, and he was going to spring into action–a two-state car ride to the rescue! Then it turned out that her insurance had car rental (said niece is not 12, but 22).

        What’s more interesting is that there’s this overpowering anxiety that other people just don’t get how brilliant they are! 😛

        • About the beta blockers-my “maybe more BPD than NPD” ex seemed so much better on a certain medication too. What I have been told more than once is that some medications just even them out enough to control their behavior better. And that makes them better at “impression management.” But that the underlining deviousness and lack of empathy don’t actually change, it just appears to, because that’s what the disordered person wants you to see. I thought that explained a lot, for me, because I wanted to believe so badly that something could change him. Just an FYI I thought I’d throw out there in case it was useful to someone!

          • Read “Why Does he Do That? – Inside The Minds Of Angry &Abusive Men” by Lundy Bancroft … On CL reading list. Says it all. Written by a specialist who only treated these men.

            He proves (in therapy) and they admit that they KNOW FULL WELL what they’re doing and that they enjoy it.

            What’s hard to understand. EVIL is as EVIL does.

            We (myself included) find it hard to believe (up close and personal) that evil exists … And that we dated, married, slept with, grieved over, and got fucked over by EVIL incarnate.

            Sleeping with the Enemy. Guilty as charged. And for about a year, I said, “Thank you sir. may I please have another?”

            My ex is EVIL! I refuse now to apologize. I refuse to take ANY blame. it’s not politically correct these days, but there is EVIL. People ARE possessed with EVIL, and it “ain’t” my fault.

            Free will, baby. We all are given it. These assholes use it and are taken over by their dark sides. Period.


            Thank God above that you found out.

            • Thanks, “Me.” And I will definitely read the book you recommended. My ideas about what constitutes evil have changed a lot over the last few years. I hear you!

        • Wow. The signs and vectors do seem to point in a certain way. I wonder, though, if he really cares. Sounds like not a great sign that he would not consider therapy.

          The problem (which I think this site really cuts to the chase on) is that there is a limit to how much help it is to put a specific name on a problem. It may make us feel better when that light bulb goes on – finally, we have a glimmer of understanding for something we can’t really comprehend. That is huge for us and very neccessary.

          But whether they are NPD, BPD, whatever, they are still cheating. And knowing a little about what we’re dealing with is great, but it doesn’t solve our problem.

          For me, it’s cold comfort to realize my wife is BPD. That only goes so far when I think about what she has done. I feel bad for her. It’s horrible. But she has been treated for it for years and denies she has a problem; she says she is properly medicated and will not hear differently. They. Simply. Do. Not. Want. To. Hear. It. Bottom line, she doesn’t want to stop cheating for all the reasons that are cited by CL here.

          Knowing what a problem is means only so much unless the person with the problem owns it and truly wants to change . They may have a very real personality disorder, but that doesn’t excuse them from knowing the difference between right and wrong. My true, true sympathy for you. Sounds like it could be BPD, but whadda I know? Not much. I’m just another chump looking for answers myself.

          • We’ll said Chumpguy, I know good people with mental illness that take responsibility for their shit and get help. Staying with someone who is mentally ill and refuses to do anything to manage it is not healthy. Boundaries. People can be manipulative and lack empathy and hurt you. Mental illness is not an excuse, You don’t owe them your pain just because they are sick.

          • Chump guy, your wife is Bipolar Disorder not borderline personality disordered right? Same initials. Pretty similar characteristics in some respects. Borderline have constant boundary issues as one of their most obvious traits.

            Either way I agree, diagnosis is a starting point, not an excuse. I know some very high functioning nice people with Bipolar type 2. Can’t stand the borderlines I know. I don’t think you can fix that shit.

            • Thanks for the responses. My wife was diagnosed as Bipolar 2. She had one manic breakdown and has been through a couple of depressions. However, therapist indicated elements of borderline and NPD are certainly present (lots of overlap). She operates at a baseline, somewhat hypomanic level. He thinks she may be headed for a crash and burn, but she surges ahead. Wife says, “On a scale of 1 to 10, I live at a 7. You can’t medicate me and dumb me down to a 5 like everyone else.” Therapist says it’s fine to say you need to live at a 7, but not so fine when one leaves a debris trail behind them as they go.

              Anyway, I think Arnold hit it on the head. I’m new here but these themes are nauseatingly familiar. I think most of the cheaters have one or more of these disorders.

              I liken it to a grid that encompasses all these mental illnesses. There is so much overlap and fluidity that it can be very hard to pinpoint someone on that specific spot labeled Bipolar, or Borderline, or whatever, but these people are for sure somewhere on that grid

      • Yep, BPD, NPD,ASPD= just rampant among these cheaters. They mask it during courtship and most of us had no idea what some of the red flags meant.
        I think the default diagnosis for every cheater should be one of the cluster B disorders.
        There is no fucking way they could act as they do unless they had one of these. No way to lie for as long and as frequently as they do and still be normal.

        • Yes. The complete double life for over a year (in my situation), is what scares me most. Kissing me nightly as we slept together, telling me he loves me daily until dday, I even have super sweet emails from him right up until dday. And he never even accidentally called me by her name once! Master liar!

          One of the cake toppers? After dday when I found out where she lived – turned out that he’d taken the street that passes by her apartment while driving around with me! Many many times. What in the world type of sick twisted person does that?! To imagine him looking right at her home, while holding my hand in our car after we had a fun day together – him knowing that I was completely in the dark about it – just blows my mind. So very very bizarre..

          • Only bizarre to you because you wouldn’t do it. People like your X don’t want an affair for sex. They want control. They want to devalue their partners. They love the secrecy and the sneaking around and keeping their partners in the dark. The Jackass talked to me about his MOW. Told me after seeing her at her brother’s memorial that he wondered where her husband was…told me she wanted to buy his mother’s dining set…I guess that meant she was at his house (he had just moved back there). He had no reason to mention her at all. He wanted to. Because he is cruel and callous. Because he can. We can’t judge them by our own standards. We wouldn’t do any of these f***ed up stuff that they do.

            • Unfortunately I’m sure you’re right. After dday I kicked him out. Then, after about a year, and after she’d dumped him since it wasn’t so fun anymore (lol – reality is hard), he’d started coming back to me and seemed genuine so idiot me let him back into my life for what I know now was a FAKE reconciliation.. for almost 9 years!
              Recently I found out via phone records that he’d been “talking” with other women for a few months now… confronted him on it which he of course denied until I said “I know already”.. aaaand just a few days ago I found out he’s been sleeping with one of my friends for a few months at least! Luckily I’ve already moved into my own place and called it quits on “us”. She can have my cheating sloppy seconds! Gross.

              Sorry your X did that to you! They are so incredibly twisted and disrespectful. And you’re totally right… CONTROLLING. Wishing you a happy future!

  • May be one of the best and most useful articles yet. Bravo CL – and anyone new to this board? READ AND BELIEVE – it will get better – but only if you dig the spackle off, the sparkle dust out of your eyes and view things as they REALLY are. Truth is what Chump Lady is all about. Hard fact truth. No magical, unicorn thinking allowed!

  • “Yep. Just work harder at saving your marriage alone! You work at that “change” (because you’re the one really at fault here). You change you, and voila! you can’t help but change your cheater.”

    This bit of hopium plays right into codependent beliefs:

    1. We can control other people’s behavior.
    2. We can hide our shame by appeasing the cheater.
    3. Our cheater’s opinion of us is more important than our opinion of ourselves.

    • Talk about change Lyn, I have been NC forever with the asswipe, not responding to anything, but one night he kept sending me text after text, telling me he misses me badly, loves me and always will, blah blah blah and I got angry, told him to STFU, leave me the fuck alone, I don’t care to hear from him and save his lying breath for someone else. You know what he wrote back?!? “wow you haven’t changed a bit, I can see there never will be any hope for us.” WHAAAAATT?!??!? I DUMPED his ass, I went no contact, I don’t want nothing to do with him and he texts me that “I haven’t changed a bit and the rest”? WTF!! I don’t know wtf he has been smoking, but boy it must be some fucked up shit lol!

  • Mea culpa! I printed out the 180 instructions and taped it next to my bathroom mirror, and carried a copy in the glove compartment of my car, and had it under the mat at my work desk. I read it every day, and tried hard to follow it closely. And so…. my cheater kept on cheating FOR YEARS. It was like giving him a “Get out of Jail Free” card! And I had to learn the hard way that MY feelings mattered. You swallow your anger and sadness, your devastating sense of betrayal, and it keeps coming back. This was worse than bad advice that Michelle Weiner Davis profited by- it was malpractice. Thank you CL for dissecting that ugly “advice” for us!

  • So, listen carefully to what your spouse is saying but don’t read any specific meaning into their words? Hm. Wait–I get it, Ms. Weiner-Davis! You mean treat your cheating partner’s babblings like the lyrics of your favorite Swedish hip hop song:

    “Så tack men nej tack, ja’ hittar till utgången,” indeed!

  • Love the last one, don’t backslide now. Sure your spouse has abandoned you and it living with some other man or woman, or maybe they are telling you they are really miserable and living in a little place (they are with the sugar coated other man or woman)

    Don’t backslide, you can be twisted in the wind with the fog and shutting up and painting your toenails, be happy, look good, and think about it all from your mental hospital room, there you go!

    Sure, do a 180, why not look appealing, the other man or woman sure is making the sunshine in fogland.

    That advise from that list is abusive almost, chumps are hurt enough and then this list?

    Oh my husband he would say

    ‘don’t make this any harder than it has to be’

    ‘do we have to talk about us’

    ‘why are you torturing yourself’

    ‘go be happy I want you to be happy’

    He really wants me happy? How about not be fucking a bimbo?

    How do you get to repairing a marriage when you are dealing with a circus?

  • Wait I remember some of what I did in my contortions. I was pretzelised. That is like maybe being circumcised but different for a wife, your ring is flung into a street or river and you chant and you have a bad haircut while crying maybe?

    Or not.

    So I had my left foot on yellow square sparkle spackle when the ow went and copied my hairstyle

    Then I had my left hand under my right ankle as I did sit ups and the ow went and got really long false fingernails and I was so stressed I bit my into little nubs

    I did a manuevere (no idea how to spell that tracy) of the plank as I put my right foot over to the right on blue circle

    The ow did a nice blow job on my husband and he got her a car

    So I stopped playing and had issues with the list as to not to backslide I do not like that one at all my life was blown up but let me put on a happy face while I am replaced with a ow who is impersonating me and my spouse no idea there

  • Here’s the 180 Cliff Notes:

    Deny what you feel.
    Accept it’s your fault.
    Keep everything inside.
    Try harder.
    Pretend to be happy.

  • Truer words couldn’t have been spoken and I laughed along with you to a lot of this (especially about diner across town by the air mattress!) but #30 got me, as I’m 9 months pregnant today, having only learned about my husband’s affair 3 months ago…
    I took swift action, hiring a pit bull attorney and getting him kicked out of the house. So I claim victory just as #29 says you will – I have his attention now that I won’t speak to him, he sees our 2-year old only 2 hours during the week and I get more than half his take home pay in child support and daycare costs.

    • You are MIGHTY!

      I collapsed in a heap, whined, cried, said ‘how could you’ – and I wasn’t even 9 months pregnant.

  • Any advice that is based on manipulating another person is bad advice. One of the most painful aspects of being betrayed by a cheater (at least as I experienced it) was the way he manipulated me–getting me to agree to or go along with his distancing, the lies, the lies of omission, the gaslighting and blameshifting, the excuses, the duplicitous behaviors. If I have to manipulate a man to keep him in a relationship, it’s not a relationship worth having. And I won’t turn myself into someone like the Jackass for any reason.

    I’ve learned so much from CL and all the people who post here, but the most important thing I learned is the important of living an authentic life, of respecting myself, of making sure the things that make me who I am and the things I love don’t get lost because I am in a relationship. For some people, that might mean staying in a marriage because the alternatives for the moment are worse but doing so from a position of honesty and self-respect. For others, that will mean getting the ducks in a row and losing the cheater, gaining a life. My only regret is that when the Jackass said, for the first time, that he didn’t put any restrictions on me and wouldn’t accept any on himself, I didn’t say, “Then give me back the money I gave you for the business account and don’t come back, because you are talking like a guy whose involved with someone else.”

    • I don’t count laying low and getting your ducks in a row as manipulative, by the way. Once a cheater has broken the relationship or marriage, the chump has every right to protect his or her interests, even if it involves keeping intentions secret.

  • Nord July 8, 2014 at 12:38 am
    I think that’s the truly difficult part of realising you’ve been with a serial cheater: they were dating and looking around for new opportunities while keeping you around for comfort, love, whatever. To discover that my ex had been screwing around for years was horrifying. I had no say in how my life played out for years because I simply wasn’t aware of what was going on. And that makes me feel, when I actually think about it, that he stole many years from me – years where I could have been doing other things with my life instead of living a complete and utter lie.

    I did not even read the rest of the posts after this one b/c this is exactly what I feel happened to me also. Not screwing around for years, I don’t think, but not really sure with these A-holes – but the whole stealing of many, many good years from me. LITERALLY STOLE THEM FROM ME. No getting that back. Just sickens me, and I still have a hard time with this. F-er. He was an excellent actor/liar/manipulator. My mistake? I loved him and trusted him when all he ever was was a lying, cheating A-hole. Anyway, thanks everyone for your input. This site has helped like no other. Cuts right through the BS, clearly and concisely.

    • Yep. stolen years. Does not bother them a bit. After all, we are the peasantry. Our time here on this earth has nowhere near the value of theirs. Fucking NPDs, you gotta love ’em.

  • Fabulous! I’ve never heard of 180. Thanks for the head’s up.
    Choking on buffet of shit sandwiches? What chaps their ass are obstacles to their happiness? I love, love the way you write.
    Before my X blew the state, he crashed thru the front door because he was so angry that he had to drive 2 miles to say goodbye to our son. He wanted to get on the road. Why were we always harshing his happiness???

    CL, You Rock.

  • A person can’t be held 50% responsible for a relationship that was based on lies, when the person they were in the relationship with was a lie. My ex had the nerve to tell me that him having other women shouldn’t make me angry, it was supposed to make me try harder.
    The thing about following the advice of Michelle is that it probably will cause the narcissistic cheater to think, “Holy shit maybe she/he has had enough.” and they will put on an “I’m so sorry, it was all my fault, please forgive me, I will do anything” act with real tears and all and the victim will believe they really mean it because they have never admitted fault before. The victim forgives them and it starts all over again and again and again.
    My ex also had the audacity to come to me a year after we split to “apologize” and told me that it kinda was my fault he hurt me, after all I kept taking him back.
    Yeah it was my fault and now I am supposed to believe you when you say you are sorry. FU!

    • Bingo! I did some of the 180 unknowingly (hadn’t seen or heard of it yet) and this is exactly how it played out. His ow dumped him and he came crawling back to me because I was doing well. I took him back. After recently finding out about new ow, he’s changing our story to “we were just friends for these past several years.. you know, trying to see if we could do a reconciliation! But we never recommitted! So technically I’m not cheating again!”
      Big mistake, my believing his lies a second time around has ended up stealing several more years of my precious life! Sorry yours did this too, it really hurts!

      Now, it’s finally over and I’m feeling free. 😉

      • Underconstruction, been there done that two….lost count so many times I took him back, the last time he called and said he had been given 6 months to live. That was 3 1/2 yrs ago. I feel like calling him and saying “I thought we had a deal.”
        When we split the last time it was his idea because he had enough of “this” . I was indignant and said you’ve had enough? I was faithful, YOU were the one screwing around the whole time.
        He looked up from his magazine and said, and what did you do?
        I said, “I stayed”
        He said, “Exactly”
        It felt like a bolt of lightening going through me, I think it was the only time he was honest and the truth hurts.
        It did hurt but over 3 years out now and never been happier. Alone and loving it. There is life and light after the N.

    • O.O that ass, see he had to still blame it on you. Oh honey you know ah, like if you hadn’t took me back you know, you wouldn’t have gotten hurt by my wonderfulnessofstupidfuckthinkingness. I am so hot, I am a man goddess, wait a man god, I am the stud of the universe and all women desire me. So, you see, you just are the moth and I am the penis flame. Your desire for me, (I am so amazing) you couldn’t help yourself, so you see, if you didn’t want my dick and all I encompass, then you wouldn’t have gotten hurt. So, it is your fault that I fucked you over with all my lies and I know how to twist your heart and mind to play with you and, it is your fault. It is your fault you didn’t see I was a prick.

      hugs, he is an asshole

      • Beachi, LOL the picture at the top is very fitting to my ex. His initials are JC and he actually thought he was the real JC or at least his right hand man.
        He said that God had a special purpose for him. He went to Sudan Africa as a missionary and ended up stealing from the charity, getting a local native girl pregnant, screwing another Ugandan girl, and the charity left him to rot in Sudan. His mother called and begged them to send him home. So the head of the charity bought his ticket home and said it was at the airport and it was up to JC to get there. Of course I didn’t know any of this until after we split and he came home and had unprotected sex with me.
        I consider myself lucky to have not gotten something from him and I hope his dick rots and falls off.
        But I am not bitter. LOL 🙂

  • I can hear the Austin powers voice looking at the cakeman pic saying

    tada baby

    This is such a positive site, it is.

  • oh I feel creative, is this ok?

    the hotstuff song from disco era
    in cake attitude of cheaters

    gonna have some stuff tonight now baby
    gonna go out on my own
    want to find some hot sex baby
    my spouse is alone at our home

    looking for some lie sex tonight for sure
    looking all around and looking absurd
    got my wig on to hide my bald head
    put my ring in my pocket so I am all set

    I drove around to the bar on the corner
    got out and went inside
    there were some girls the age of my daughter
    I thought oh wow there is my pride (as lion pride)

    so I walked up to them with swager
    some salsa moves I saw on tv
    they sneered at me called me a creeper
    and I don’t get it tee hee

    then I turned around and saw at a table
    shrouded in darkness a lot of smoke
    ok she was a bit older than my mother but
    what the hell have to see where this goes

    I can’t go on, I can’t stand cheaters

  • I am not a reconciliation industrial complex apologist but I do have several issues with this article as I think the usually wonderful CL got a bit off base.

    1. Having read Weiner-Davis’ book, a 180 is *NOT* as portrayed in this article. A 180 is simply stopping your old behavior (pleading/reasoning, all that) and changing direction, doing things differently. Something which CL advocates. In more colorful language.

    2. The list of behaviors addressed point for point in the article is not from Weiner-Davis but has been compiled by a contributor on W-D’s divorce-busting forum. So criticizing W-D for material some forum contributor interpreted and compiled is a bit rich. May seem like nit-picking (and the list does belong to that whole d-b school of thought) but I feel it is important to be clear who authored the list in the same way CL wants to be clear on what are her views vs those presented by participants on her site

    3. The W-D material including the 180 is about combating divorce caused by all sorts of relationship issues *not just infidelity*. I agree that the premise of reconciliation in the face of infidelity is chancey at best, in other divorce-causing circumstances (midlife crises with no infidelity, depression, chemical dependency, in-laws, whatever) maybe the chances are higher. So it is easy to criticize when looking at it through the lens of infidelity only – but in other circumstances – I don’t know

  • Post first DDay – 1993 – I booked therapy, bought every marriage saving book in print, went on weekends away, rowed with OW over the phone and broke every CL rule ever written.
    My husband went to the library and borrowed a book on divorce…that should have told me all I needed to know.

    I was the unhappy winner of the pick-me dance while OW got dumped. Well I sure did not feel like a winner…never got the trust back and hated myself.
    Of course he did it again…different OW but fished from the same stagnant little pool of work buddies. This one was having an affair with a different married colleague back then. They married after his divorce but it turned out her soulmate was really my husband all along…they just had to fuck around at work for a while before finding “the one”. All police.

  • Idk… it worked for me. It helped expose him so it would be easier for me to leave him. He could no longer hide his utter contempt, and i could see how selfish he really was. I agree tho, its not for saving your marriage if its unsavable.

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