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Dear Chump Lady, Who gets the friends?

cheater_just_friends-1Dear Chump Lady,

What do you do with the friends who still want to be friends with the cheater?

My close friend’s husband — Fred, let’s call him — is one of the cheater’s best friends, but also a close friend of mine. It sucks that Fred says he doesn’t want to take sides and wants to give the cheater the benefit of the doubt. The cheater, of course, has been telling Fred that he didn’t really cheat because “nothing happened” while we were still married. Which is bullshit, as we all know.

I’m hurt, and I’m pissed. I don’t want to lose my best friend, but her husband, in this case, sucks. She doesn’t like the cheater, but she feels like she needs to support her husband. I don’t really want to lose Fred as a friend either, but, damn.

What to do, what to do?

Lost in Litchfield

Dear Lost,

Well, for starters you can stop thinking of Fred as your friend. You don’t want to lose him? You lost him.

I’m sorry that make things awkward with his wife, your best friend, (let’s call her “Betty”) but it is what it is. You’ve got another spineless Switzerland dude on your hands (ala our last letter and resulting kerfluffle.) The guy who wants to remain neutral and “not take sides.”

Betty’s in a pickle. She’s probably heard every gory detail about the infidelity if she’s your best friend and I would hope she believes you. But her husband is like the Flat Earth Society, unbelieving. The whole “she feels like she needs to support her husband” is bogus. In what? His delusions? That the earth is flat? That your ex didn’t cheat? Really, she’s just telling you the same thing as Fred — she doesn’t want to take sides. Supporting her husband is supporting his “neutrality.”

Mostly likely, you scare Betty to death. You’re her worst nightmare come true. Your husband cheated on you. Her husband seems to be pretty “neutral” about infidelity (she’ll stuff that thought down into a little dark box in her soul) and if she believes you, she has to believe in vulnerability and betrayal and reassess a familiar figure in her life. Why do that? That’s very unpleasant. Much better if we all settle into a nice foggy muddle-headedness about this business. Hard to judge. Two sides to every story. We love you both and want to stay out of it.

How nice for them. When people in your life do this, what they’re saying is — it’s all about THEM. They would prefer things go back to the way things used to be. When we were all ignorant of this new information. Please don’t make me re-evaluate. Please don’t make my life change because of your drama. It’s very inconvenient of you.

There’s two ways to read “friends” like this. Either they are blindingly selfish (please go away with your pain) OR they don’t believe you. They’re essentially calling you a liar.

Why on earth do they think you’re getting divorced, if not for infidelity? What bullshit could he possibly spin? Do they think you like to divide your 401K for shits and giggles?

I don’t know about you, Lost, but as I grow older, I don’t have any time for shallow, shitty people. I just don’t. I had “friends” like this once, a couple, and for the sake of my kid, I lived with the Switzerland thing for years. The woman had heard and seen every detail of the crazy  (the pro se lawsuits, the dumping the kid off at her house instead of taking his visitation) and one day she said — in re some outrageous thing the ex was doing to my kid —  “if that’s the REAL story.” And I was gobsmacked. Real story? Are you FUCKING KIDDING ME? You have lived side by side with me through the REAL story for YEARS. As if I would MAKE THIS SHIT UP? As if the evidence wasn’t right there at your feet? Trip over it, bitch.

(Yes, I’m still not “meh” about it.)

Painful lesson? Some people suck. Pay attention. Hang out with the people deserving of you.

How people react to infidelity says a lot about their character, their values, and their loyalty. This is useful information. I’m not saying everyone can walk into your pain, or “get it” — but at a baseline, they have to believe you. That it happened. That you’re gutted. That you didn’t do anything to deserve this.

Oh, and in the case of Fred and Betty, they need to realize that someone DID this TO you. You didn’t bring it on yourself by some flaw. You were played. You were betrayed. Your ex didn’t “fall out of love” and drift and take an honest way out, he ate cake. He cheated on you.

As I’ve said here before, not taking sides is taking sides. It’s saying “I’m okay with the status quo.” I’m not going to question the inherent injustice of this situation.

As we learned in the letter earlier this week, infidelity affects more than just the chump. It destroys community and family. Divides people against each other. It’s horrible. But instead of laying the blame for that at the feet of cheaters, the destroyers, some people find it easier to blame the victim. It’s easier to align themselves with the happy-go-lucky cheater and their new schmoopie, because you’re such a buzz kill.

I’m sorry Lost. I don’t like Fred or Betty. I think you can do better in the friendship department. I know it sucks. But part of gaining a new life is gaining new and better friends. And holding the dear ones who have your back closer. Sending you big (((HUGS)))).

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  • Last week I attended a function where I was wondering why I even went. I love the couple and their kids so I went for them. It was a difficult situation for me. We were both invited but I could sense the tension. It was a truly bad experience for me which left me wondering how I am going to cope. How do I choose my friends? Do I keep in touch with his side of the family? I was always very close to his brothers and their wives etc.It has been almost all of my adult life that I have been married. Twenty seven years is a long time.
    Cheaters do not think about consequences. It’s all about them. They just rip our hearts out, trample all over it, attempt to hand it back to us, then say “who me, I did nothing wrong.” And it really is amazing just how many people support them because all they can see is “the charming side” of these manipulators. I do not believe that people can really be neutral. They will pick sides and I do believe that at the end of the day/divorce we are forced to find new true friends. Change would be better if we are to truly move on.
    Hugs everyone. Stay strong!

    • Hugs to you as well…..I am just now facing the true consequences of my marriage’s demise. Sure I felt it before. but now I am faced with the death of my Father in Law and can not attend the funeral. I couldn’t even go visit him just prior when he was in hospice. I was invited to see him, but had to decline. The pain was just to awful. That and I have been NC with the entire family since day one. Not imposed by me, but by them. Then this happens and they all want contact. I call it manipulation, and all though my father in law was not actively involved in the invitation, I told my mother in law that he was welcome to call me if he so chose. I told her that the pain was just to much and that I was trying to heal. She said she respected my feelings. But now I receive an actual invite int he mail to his service that has been delayed for over a month. I realise that grief brings about regret. But this is just one more searing pain to add to experience with that family. I really don’t know how do deal with this other than to let time pass. Some think I should look past everything and go, while others including my therapist agree that I should just stay away. Lucky for me, I already have a flight booked half way across the country the very day of the service. I am calling it divine intervention. Follow your heart in these matters. Appearances sometimes need to be avoided for your own well being. As far as friends go. They are a dime a dozen, but the true ones are made of gold! Right now I choose to be alone for the most part. I can count on me. That I know……

      • I wasn’t married to my cheater but we were together for 16 years and within months preceding D-Day, my Ex’s sister gushed to me that I was the sister she never had, and how the whole family was so happy he was with me, and that very day she had asked him when we were finally getting married and he’d said, “we’re as good as married.” Then D-day a few months later and I called her, crying. She was sympathetic but then talked to him. I called her again and she was cold as ice to me and said, “it was nice having known you,” and “I’m so excited for him as he begins this new chapter in his life!”

        She had previously gushed how she loved my three grown kids, but after D-Day, she said, “Oh no, Muse. Ex was unhappy for many years, you know – what with the children and all!” (and ALL WHAT? a warm cozy home and family?) She said, “there was no room for him in the relationship.” Turncoats, all of them. Hypocrites.

        I considered them my inlaws and as a nice way to at least say goodbye I sent thanksgiving cards to them. Not a one replied and I found out later that Ex and OW were there (Indiana) when the cards arrived. I’ve never spoken to any of them since. It hurts like hell! I know the phrase “blood is thicker than water,” but I find their behavior bizarre and as disordered as he is.

        I think you are right that the passage of time makes the pain more distant. I don’t think it will every fully go away. And in my case, the fact that I am still friends with my first husband’s family members, 19 years after that divorce only highlights for me this pain.

        • My heart actually hurts for you that his sister treated you so coldly. Unbelievable. I’m sorry, but clearly you’re better off without that entire family.

  • It has taken me a painful year to realize that I have permanently lost some people I thought were friends. One “friend,” upon hearing from my best friend that my Ex had been cheating on me, said “He must have his reasons.” So what does that say about this “friend’s” morals? Shortly thereafter this “friend” and his wife (also a then “friend” of mine still) told Cheater he could come and live part time in their house when he wasn’t at OW’s house in another city. I spoke to them and they said they were “just helping him get on his feet” (a sideways admission that I was financially supporting Cheater for years and he couldnt’ live on his own pathetic income.)

    The deal was he would crash there for free in exchange for fixing up their third floor, as contracting is his trade. Ten months later no work had been done. So I wonder what they they thought of him then? Cheater himself said to me, in those early days, that this couple were not really “his friends, they were just using [him] for free construction work.” Can we say Narcissist? Can we say projection. It’s all moot now because Cheater pants lives in the expensive new house that OW bought here in our city, so Cheater no longer needs the “friend” couple. The parasite has moved on to his permanent new host.

    I angsted for a year still wanting this “friend” couple to like me and still be my friend and be sympathetic about what Cheater did to me; till about two weeks ago it sank in finally. If they had cared, they would have shown it by now. They didn’t. And don’t.

    And I feel liberated! As you say, CL, who needs these kind of shitty people in your life. I know I don’t!

    • Preach it. Lonely, lonely, lonely. And so hard to make new friends when you don’t trust anyone–becasue if all your friends and co workers, and husband and and, have treated you like garbage, and just thrown you away, multiple times? (well, fix my picker! that’s on me). But in the meantime, I feel like refuse, and humans aren’t meant to live in utter solitude: unloved, unknown and unnoticed.

      I’ve realized that after dday, not only was I given up for crazy by most of my friends, but that there was an ongoing campaign to paint me as “that unstable, awful woman”. Initiated by my ex, plans laid ever so carefully, years before dday–but post dday? Fans were flamed, big time by persons who had an interest in doing so.

      Sadly, the main flame-fanner was a lifelong Quaker who made her rep. by being the “person you could trust”…so I shared, my most intimate pain with her. And she used it against me, to make me look crazy and “angry” (ya think?–in the immediate aftermath of an affair discovery? d’oh!)

      Her response: “I think you’re over-reacting. I’ve been on all sides of the infidelity triangle, and I just don’t think it’s that big of a deal.” So, that was in her 20’s etc etc…but talk about a red flag.

      I wouldn’t have known a red flag if you sewed me a new dress out of one…so…. two years later I am making sense of it all and alternately (!) angry (!!); hurt –less so–they’re pathetic, not me– and knowing that I need to figure out how to spot this shit before it ever happens again. That is if I ever trust anyone again.

      But angry b/c this was the community in which I carefully and consciously (pace Gwyneth Paltrow) raised my child…it has taught her to doubt the goodwill of churches and the like as well. How sad is that? I brought her into that community of faith so she could come up part of a beloved community, only to see them turn on her mother like a bunch of starved…no, there is no animal metaphor that works. Only humans behave this badly. Divorce Minister help me here. How do I talk to her about this?

      So my thing has become thinking about how badly her trust in the world has been shattered– how wide the circles ripple when it all cracks open. I know, I know, I can only control me–but I’m a mommy, so I care that she sees that mommy’s friends (parents of many of her friends) turned so easily to treating me like dog shit on their heels. That’s gotta sting, for her. (I was reading that parenting book recommended on the earlier thread–about shame in older children of cheating. Wow. What shame for her. Grrrr.)

      I had my suspicions confirmed, that among my church friends–really, my primary friend collective– an actual decision had been taken to cast me out (as it were). Wow. Just let that sink in. Instead of even one phone call or email : “how are you–I hear you’re feeling badly?”. A tall, cold wall of ice was thrown up. (and yes I did reach out, by phone as best I could–badly, but a lot by email.)

      The person who confirmed to me that”the leadership” had “a meeting” (and you just know many whispered convos) and decided I was bad news …even to the point of asking EX if I would harm the historic structure, which is a total WTF, since I do preservation and museum work. WHA?? (even he, at least, was like, ‘what the hell are you talking about, of course not. that’s absurd.’)

      All this firing up of imagination was lead by Ms. Holy Quaker, name of Rachel Hyde–I shared my grief with her, and she made a unilateral decision that she didn’t like it (he, she was a cheater, right? we know how self serving they are….and in a position of leadership, she spread the word that I was trouble.) Added to that my Ex’s buddy who knew all the gory details and did the bromance thing of keeping the secrets, but I’m sure, sharing how impossible I was as a wife. Well, there you had two nominally reasonable people saying I was nuts and a bad deal. So when univolved people went for confirmation–two validations.

      And yet….so many of these folks had known *me* as the involved person for 20+ years. I was the one on the committees, washing the choir robes, making the kid’s costumes…you know? They knew me.

      Now, I just was cleaning out a hard drive, and I found something called a “blue sky list” for Ex, where —get this chumpiness: I had listed a bunch of things I thought he would enjoy and asked him to check off the ones he’d like….b/c he was too ‘special’ to even tell me with his own words what he wanted. Yeah, that’s what kind of “shitty, bitchy, unhelpful, can’t live with” kind of wife I was.

      But, there really is no way to share those complexities. And people don’t want to know; theses folks all made their minds up years ago.

      A final note. Yesterday, going in to my new German class, I saw someone with whom I had been friendly, but not close. When she saw me, she quickly turned aside and got busy with her phone…. I did my office business, and came out—she was still there. I just said, “Bye, Rosemary!” in a cheerful/neutral voice. (kind of to see what would happen. ) I had my head held high the whole time.

      Well she jumped about 10 inches off her seat, scattered her papers, and boy did she look guilty. She was trying to hard to hide and avoid me, but I was determined not to let that go by–if I see those folks I am going to call them out in a neutral but “Meh-ish” way. Let them know that I know, and that frankly, they acted like cowards and assholes.

      Of course it will have no effect, but my head is still high.

      [nb. Ironic aside: am listening to Berenice Johnson Reagan sing ‘Climbing Jacobs’s Ladder’ and if ever a song was appropriate… not to compare my experience in ANY way to slavery or diminish Black experience. Just finding holy inspiration in the music. Klar? ]

      • namedforvera, I have been portrayed as “crazy, unstable and vindictive,” as well. Ex even told his attorney that my plaintive texts and emails and those of my family in the months following his betrayal of ALL of us made him feel “threatened.” I’m sure, like many OWs, his Schmoopie fears my “craziness.” I was torn up over that for months but am reaching Meh, I believe, because I really don’t care at this point, I just want his name off the deed to my house.

        Many people simply do not understand the magnitude of our betrayals. I think I found this article via Chumplady’s blog and I return to read it many times and have shared it with friends to deepen their understanding. It points out that lots of people favor the cheater because it’s easier for them to just say “he made a mistake and he said he was sorry, so what’s your problem? why are you ‘still’ so ‘bitter’?” while I am reeling still from realizing he was a serial cheater, maybe a pedophile, most certainly abused me emotionally and sexually, and because of my blind trust in him, I am thousands of dollars poorer than I might have been had I not been supporting a man who thought I was an OK person to lie to, and all the while he knew that I loved him faithfully, and thought he was monagamous when he knew he was NOT and did not want to me. Don’t these “friends” think that I was worthy enough to be with someone who didn’t lie to me? that I deserved to be single (as he was acting) and have a chance to pursue other men? So see, if they don’t realize that, they are not my friends. Here is the link to the article:

          • Muse–fantastic article, thanks. I’ve also sent it to my daughter–I think it will help her as well. The children are lied to as well as the partners, and for the adult, or nearly adult children, it’s toxic. They need a string to find their way out of that maze.

            • nfv, yes so true about the “ripple effect.” My three grown kids haven’t heard a word from Cheater since shortly before D-Day. My youngest son, who was 6 when Cheater and I moved in together, was the most hurt (he was 23 on D-Day last year). He texted Cheater some heartfelt expressions of his disappointment. Cheater told me, and then his lawyer, that my young son was a “bully!”

        • This is the part of divorce I wish I had been warned about–the loss of friends and family. My ex’s family went 100% no contact with me. When I was considering separation, I called an old friend from college (who had endured three divorces before finding a happy marriage, and is now a campus minister). She asked why would I want to divorce such a “great guy” and then sent me links to sites about “saving your marriage by yourself.” That was the response I got from most of my “friends,” that my husband was a great guy and of course I should forgive him. This, I suppose, is the logical fallout from being married to a narcissist–everyone sees the surface, few see how they really treat their spouse and family behind closed doors. I was put out of a “friend’s” house once because she felt I was overdramatizing when I mentioned the emotional abuse that my girls and I endured. I am slowly beginning to make other friends, but I am sorely disappointed when I consider how many people really lack a sense of ethics. I mostly don’t discuss the situation surrounding my divorce, indeed rarely mention that I am divorced, because I am concerned people will either think I’m crazy or will make assumptions about me.

          Maybe once I’m out of grad school I will try to put more effort into meeting people. Nowadays I’m a bit of a hermit.

          Sending hugs to anyone who is experiencing the same thing…

          • It is really painful to lose people you were good friends with. It’s been said above that sometimes the shared friends, or cheater’s family, really just kind of want to sweep you under the rug so that they don’t have to have live with this background hum of unsettling feelings.

            Glad to hear that you are making new friends. You will get there and this will all be behind you one day.

            I have a small group of close friends now. We have eachothers’ backs. It’s a good feeling.

            • Kendoll,

              I agree…CL is right. I think some people are afraid to hear our real reasons for divorce because their marriages might catch the “divorce virus.” So they abandon friendships and bury their heads in the sand.

        • I knew someone who once told me (friend of the ex) that I had to let go of the anger because it was “really unattractive”.


          Do you know what this man wanted? He wanted to date me and my anger at my ex was getting in the way of that for him.

          **shakes head**

      • namedforvera,

        Had a busy day…sorry, I am late in getting back to you. As to your question about your child witnessing all of this, I would just point out that Jesus’ harshest criticism was aimed at very “good” religious people. He essentially called them Satan spawn, and tombs, which look good outwardly (being whitewashed) but inwardly hold just bones. It sounds like the religious community you were in has more in common with those Pharisees Jesus calls out than with Jesus himself. And I would point out that Jesus extols his cousin, John the Baptist, as the greatest man born who was just beheaded for calling out a cheater (Herod who stole his brother’s wife, Herodias). Those are just a few thoughts off the top of my head. God does not take adultery lightly and anyone who does is not exhibiting godliness.

      • Disordered types will spin whatever kind of bullshit to paint themselves in a better light. And yes, they are intimidated of you (and rightfully so, because you’re the one in the right), your morals and integrity so they have to smear-campaign you – its the same premise as bullying in general.
        That idiot who made the comment about being on all sides of the triangle (I won’t call her a woman, shes not fit to be described as one) just makes me shake my head in disgust. High school-like drama much?
        Fact is, these days, so many people lack a spine (hence the Switzerland-ing not just in infidelity but in pretty much every aspect of life), and the ones who do have some backbone are labelled as being crazy and unstable. Heaven forbid anyone has any boundaries and sticks to them, because that isn’t right for the selfish majority due to the fact that they can’t use and abuse people.
        The entitlement mentality of people these days just makes me lose faith in humanity in general, and its really quite sad.

  • “…part of gaining a new life is gaining new and better friends. And holding the dear ones who have your back closer.” I also add family because your inlaws and direct family members will either do a complete Switerland or chose sides.

    Luckily, my family has my back. I am in the process of dealing with the loss of my inlaws, some of whom I really really like and care deeply about. Blood is thicker than water.

    If my cheater were a serial killer instead of a serial cheater would they still be neutral about the whole thing? Curious question. They for sure would like me to shut up and soldier on in my marriage.

    • I guess as far as your comment about serial killer, and the neutrals, it would depend on who was killed. Betcha if the serial killer brought the murder home and laid the corpse at their feet, they’d feel differently.

      “Fred says he doesn’t want to take sides and wants to give the cheater the benefit of the doubt.” Yeah, the benefit of the doubt that the woman just happened to fall on Fred’s buddy’s upright and out-of-his-pants p3nis–what’s a guy to do? Yeah, Fred will give him the benefit of the doubt! Stupid Fred. Stupid cheater. Stupid Stupid Stupid. I’d like to read a Dr. Seuess book about this right about now!

    • It’s funny you ask that about the cheater being a serial killer. For months I’ve been using a similar analogy saying well, if you found out your “friend” embezzled money from his employer, because he wasn’t happy without money, and he just “needed” more money in order to be truly happy, and then he lied and stole to get it, secretly behind his bosses’ back… you would find that wrong, wouldn’t you?

  • I kept the 3 dogs, she kept the “friends” (WIN for Scotty). I cut them loose when they started playing the Neutral/Non-Judgmental Card. Some of the relationships I just let wither and die, and will be cordial socially if I must. But one I went completely thermonuclear – she wasn’t neutral, she was complicit. She and XW were besties, two of a kind, partners in crime. I’m pretty sure they would wingman for each other when they were out trolling for attention on “girls’ nights”. This friend was both actively and passively lying to me, to cover for XW. Since she was married, for her to condemn my wife for cheating, she’d have to condemn herself, because she screws around too. And entitled princesses NEVER do that.

    It was an odd situation though, these were my close friends, but not of any great length (5 to 8 years; XW of course like a typical narc had very few actual friends to speak of at the start of our relationship), but the final OM (also married) was also friends with these people through a different social circle which didn’t overlap with mine. So they got TWO cheating fucktards.
    I’m glad it went down the way it did – I see now these people are horribly selfish and superficial. They never had my back. And I’ve had to untangle my skein of why *I* even hung out with them so long without noticing that they sucked (I buy my spackle in 5 gallon buckets).

    Infidelity/Divorce is balls. But it’s a great time to Spring clean your life.

  • I always thought it was “Barney & Betty” and “Fred & Wilma”.

    Either way, ‘Something’s rotten in city of Bedrock” 🙁 How’s that for a mixed metaphor (Shakespeare + Flintstones)?

  • I was shocked, dismayed and saddened when I heard the list of people who attended my ex-husband’s wedding to the OW. Members of both their professional communities, many mutual friend of ours and all his brothers and sisters accompanied by their children. It was a shitty wake up call to me – far too many people, who you think have some modicum of integrity, can quite easily take the spineless view that “what happens in someone else’s marriage, stays in the marriage – it is no business of ours”. None of the above mentioned people remained in my life. I cut them out with a savage force. It was bad enough that my ex married that bitch, but when people who you thought had your back, bold facedly celebrated their nuptials, it was too much to bear.

    • Exactly. I am going through this now. The thought that people you have known for 20 years would support the new marriage is soul destroying. One couple even hovered over me as I lay crumpled in a heap on their living room floor. I hear they were in charge of the guestbook. Insanity.

      • To add insult to injury, after his wedding, my ex snidely remarked to me: “Look at ALL the great people who support my new marriage – doesn’t that tell you something? You’re the ONLY one who has trouble with it – in fact, YOU are the problem, not me.”

        • Well, you were the only one MARRIED to the cheater, the only one BETRAYED and LIED to by the cheater. So of course, you would “have trouble with [his] new marriage.” These other people did not have their lives blown up by this selfish idiot. But notice how he neatly evades that fact when he makes his comment and how he shifts from “you have trouble with my marriage” to “you are the problem.” It’s a nest of false equivalency.

        • This is why NC is best. But you do have to wonder why he finds the need to grind your face into the dirt?

          You just wait. Sit tight–this will not end well.

          And remember, too–the bigger they are, the harder they fall. I told myself that a lot. Ohhhh, yuck it up now, honey–live large. Because when it ends, it will end even worse. The angst will be all theirs.

          These relationships built on deceit and pain are not strong and authentic. They are each a fraud and a sham. I read somewhere that they end in explosions or whimpers. I have heard of these couples enduring into agonizing eternity, couples tolerating each other barely. Or, the cheaters cheating again, or being cheated upon. Remember, these are entirely dysfunctional people. Best to get away.

          My high school friends all recently attended a party for one of our group, newly married to a man she had an emotional affair with as his marriage was “already ending anyway.” She doesn’t feel at all responsible for intruding nor for interfering in a marriage that ended with four children being hurt. She is the FUN Stepmom now! She is the best at Pick Me! She won! I had no interest in supporting the new couple, and so did not attend. I am avoiding all their get-togethers probably from now on. I don’t blame our other friends, who want to see the positive (New Love and Second Chances!) and who want to support our “innocent” friend and her Fun Husband. My friends have never felt the sting of betrayal, and likely buy into all the usual cliches about marriages ending. Hell, even the betrayed wife is now friends with the OW, and even dog-sat when the new couple went on a belated honeymoon, if you can swallow that. How’s that for chumpy?

          I think there are two categories–those who really don’t have any idea how much betrayal hurts and don’t want to think too much about it, and those who are themselves totally treacherous and back-stabbing. They each suck in their own ways.

          Ah. Meh! But I agree with Time Heals–it’s nice to be able to captain your own ship. I say it’s ok to prune–it’s GOOD to take out the dead wood. How nice to be able to finally see people for who they are, too, so you can make enlightened decisions about who will be your trusted friends. Put yourself back in the driver seat–YOU decide who is in your life. And you do NOT want cowards and liars acting as voyeurs in your life, spreading their toxic filth. Better to be free. There are so many wonderful people in the world who share your interests and joy, and who are of upstanding character. Pack those people into your circle. They are gold.

        • Look at ALL the great people who support my new marriage – doesn’t that tell you something?

          It tells me that they like free chicken dinners and booze, and a good train wreck. And gossip. Trust me–people like that do not give a SHIT about that marriage. When it ends, they’ll be on the next thing, not surprised that it ended badly. Oh, well.

    • Let me tell you what the adult children and other family members think of cheaters remarrying. This comes from actual kids of cheaters, my spouse included:

      “Let’s hope this lasts and that phase is over..” The family smokes Hopium collectively. They believe the cheating was all situational because Look! The cheater is an upright marrying type of person. He/she must have really found The One.

      What usually happens is that the cheater eventually goes into default mode of cheating. The new partner either spackles, cheats themselves or divorces the creep. Subsequent marriages and ceremonies become farces. The cycle becomes predictable and the cheater becomes the family black sheep. The kids of the cheater pull straws to determine who will have to become some sort of caretaker for the cheating clown as they advance in age. When the cheater finds another victim to marry, the kids collectively sigh and hope to God Almighty this person can weather the asshole until his/her death.

      This has been my observation with my cheater, his siblings and their serial cheating bio dad who thankfully at 78has found his latest wife until his death. She has about 15 yrs with the clown. And he is still shagging random pussy.

      My point: don’t be hard on yourself.

      • Right, and it’s what Cheater’s family apparently thought of me, after his previous two failed long term relationships (which Cheater had referred to as “nightmares”). After DDay I contacted both prior girlfriends. Guess what? He cheated on them both. He cheated on #2 one week after taking her virginity when she was just 26 years old and in love with him. Then he cheated with HER on me, for the first seven years he lived with me. I’m sure he’s telling Schmoopie right now about his “nightmare” with me. Methinks the nightmare in common is HIM.

        • 🙁 They suck.

          The entire family covers for the cheater. I think it is uncommon for a member of the cheater family to say NO and detach from the creep.

          I haven’t seen detachment from the bio cheater dad’s extended dysfunctional family and I won’t be seeing it with my cheater’s siblings and mother. It’s a sick environment.

          I had no idea I married into a nest of cheaters! They spackle and sparkle so well. I feel so stupid about this mess.

    • This will sound morbid, but that guest list gave you a ready-made list of who to go NC with, on account of them having shitty character beneath their outward personas. Kinda a blessing in disguise, really.

  • Lost,
    ” Fred ” is either insane for stating his neutral position in such a hateful way or he’s trying to put distance between you and “Betty.” I’m a little bit twitchy so I go with distancing you from your friend. Hell you’ll have Betty key logging his ass and he can’t have that shit to worry about.
    Dump both of their ass’s now and get use to it! You’ll need that skill for years to come. I dumped a childhood friend three decades after the fact for withholding information because he didn’t want to take sides and thought I already knew. Fuck him and the Swiss Pony he rode in on!

    Take no prisoners. Debrief them before you send them kicking rocks so they know why. Let them mull that shit over and over in their minds. Out them to the remaining friends too!

      • Oh, yes – I had those.

        “Friends” that knew what was going on for 12 weeks before DDay #1 because my ex boasted to one guy that he had “bagged” the 20 year old neighbour, and then the news spread through the group.

        “Friends” that stopped hanging out with me because they did not want to see my ex. So since I did not know what was going on, I just felt left out.

        “Friends” that had a girls dinner with me once the shit hit the fan. A dinner where I had one woman telling me she doesn’t believe in divorce, one that compared everything to either her parents (her dad married his OW) or her grandparents (they reconciled) and made it all about her, and one that went through some “issues” with her boyfriend once and gave me suggestions on books to read.

        I was happy when I moved 3 hours away – back with my supportive family and old friends that would walk through fire for me. Those are the people you need around you.

        I don’t miss those “Friends” at all.

        • CFC, that is what I want. To move away from this town and all of those who can’t seem to choose a side. I want to start fresh with family at my back and new friends who choose me. The old ones who choose me? They can come too. Those who can’t make a choice? I’ll choose for you…eff off.

      • Just before my marriage blew up, I forced myself on my husband on a Friday night. (He went out 7 nights a week w/o me.) I felt a little giddy, like I was meeting him for a date, but he was antsy the entire time, and his friends couldn’t make eye contact with me. I finally excused myself and he walked me to the car and rushed back to them. He told me his male friend was meeting him. Lies. Lies. Lies. They couldn’t look at me because they already knew about the other woman. I try not to feel shame over what he did, but it’s hard. I am grateful after reading today’s article and comments that we shared no friends, and his family already hated me, so no real losses there!

    • Yep…childhood friends as well as those you shared throughout the marriage. The one’s that thought it was none of their business, or business as usual. So done with them!
      But they are usually the first one’s there to gossip. Don’t need them…

  • “It’s easier to align themselves with the happy-go-lucky cheater and their new schmoopie, because you’re such a buzz kill.”

    I worked with schmoopie. Not only was she a colleague but she also occasionally had supervisory responsibilities. She was in a position of trust, and I trusted her. Especially when she took so much interest in my personal life… er my husband.

    After DDay we both danced our shifts. For a while I was mute about the reason until I couldn’t hold it back and confided in a manager. It seemed the game was up for schmoopie especially when I said she KNEW when I was working and therefore not around to get in the way of the betrayal. I called it untrustworthy and unprofessional behaviour. She even ‘resigned’ and then the forces of Switzerland swirled. The organisation- a sparkly arts one – ‘needed’ her fantastic supervision skills and really, wasn’t this just a personal matter.

    They didn’t get that this was a matter of character. Or maybe they did and just didn’t care because hey, being arty makes you so unconventional and free spirited. And yeah, Mr Sparkles obviously couldn’t be contained in a relationship with a wife who had set boundaries on the drinking, the sex addiction, and the financial and emotional abuse. Much better he was with Ms Polyamorous (and her partner and two children).

    So she got her job back and my STBXH. I left town and the people who I thought were friends- who obviously weren’t. I don’t keep contact and I don’t care too. The Divorce is final this month. I have a new career and new friends – the sort who gasp in horror when you tell them about the drama of disordered folk.

    I hear that STBX is still drinking and schmoopie is now the one funding his latest creative endeavour- just like I did on ventures, 1,2,3,4…. The expression “when you marry your mistress, you create a job vacancy” sings in my heart, Oh, I hope they stay together, even marry and have all those wonderful friends at their wedding.

  • It sucks! It took me a long time to get over the resentment I felt toward XH when either our friends tried to stay neutral or just avoided both of us altogether. My kids didn’t understand why we never went to so and so’s house to play.

    The thing to keep in mind is that you find out who your true friends really are and you will know who they are by their actions. True friends say “I’m so sorry this is happening to your family. I’m here to support you in whatever you need and in whatever you choose.” Hang in there!

      • Thanks CL. Your virtual hug has me in tears. I never got a real hug from my own mother. She has never told me she loves me either. The older I get, the more I see that my parents are most likely disordered themselves. I never had emotional support. My mother would never leave my dad, no matter what he did to her. As kids, he drove drunk with us in the car and almost crashed into a house. If that’s not enough to leave, I guess nothing is. (and btw, we have never talked about it since then)
        I do wonder if this is why my picker is so dysfunctional. But I at least have empathy and can learn to value my needs more. And I know that I will fiercely defend my own daughters if this ever happens to them. I don’t understand them at all, and I think that’s a good thing.

        • Well, you can’t pick your parents, and as a child they have a lot of impact on how you develop, but as an adult you get to (and must) take control of your own choices, learn from your own mistakes and move forward, right?

          It sucks you parents aren’t being more supportive in this circumstance, but that says something about them, and it doesn’t have to say a thing about you unless you decide to let that define you. I say, “Move along, buck up, and resolve not to ‘let the bastards get you down'”. You can do this. Life is much better when you decide that you get to steer your own ship… always… all the time. You can’t control the ocean, but you can captain the ship, and there’s a special kind of freedom in that.

          • I so agree TimeHeals. I haven’t tried to depend on them for a long time. After DDay hit though, my self esteem plummeted. It’s been another reminder that they will never change. I’m getting back up and dusting myself off.

        • I also grew up in a disordered family. My needs were made to be very small – the dysfunctional family dynamic sets me up for a lifetime of making my needs small. It set me up to be a chump – life was always heading that way with me. Our cheating spouses make us feel small – we’re all too familiar with the feeling. But we’ve picked them, haven’t we? We picked them for a reason – because we repeat our familiar childhood experiences with people who make us feel small.

          Your quest Super Chump, is to acknowledge your needs. Fight for them. Defend them. Don’t let anyone let you feel small again.

          Big Hug.

          • “My needs were made to be very small.” Thanks! You lit a light bulb in my head! That is exactly how I was raised. I never put words to it before. My parents never saw my needs as being significant. Sheesh! No wonder I accepted so much crap in my relationships.

      • Exactly! No one wants to take sides, because they are chicken shit. That includes the family… took me having to get graphic with his wrong doings before my own adult siblings wrote him off. Things are beginning to heal between me and them. But I still don’t respect them all that much. Guard is up all around.

    • I’m so sorry. I don’t want to dump on your parents, but that stinks. I hope you have some people in your life who are supporting you. Know that you have good support here too!

      • Thank you DefyingGravity! My sister has been supportive, but lives far so there’s only so much she can do to help. This blog has also been a godsend for support! And I come here every time I feel like I’m slipping back into hopium (not happening much lately). It’s like an ice cold bucket of reality.

        • ouch. i still haven’t told my parents for exactly this reason. I will be blamed. It’s really hard getting your head around the fact that the relationship you need from your parents is not yours to have, no matter how hard you try. Please know you’re not alone in this. I cried as many tears about my mother as I have for my h. If someone ever says something as benign as , “I went for coffee with my mother the other day…”, I get a bit teary. Will never happen with me. Very very hard.

          • Sorry you’re dealing with this too, nic. I wish I could go back and not tell them anything, and let them figure it out when I’ve made it on my own.
            Now I have to deal with the knowledge that they don’t believe I can do this. It’s going to feel good proving them wrong.

    • My mother likes to make comments like, “You must have known! I just don’t believe this could have gone on without you knowing something was wrong.” Thanks, Mom, like I didn’t feel stupid already. She also constantly criticizes my refusal to communicate with the ex about non-essential matters (like whether I should give my old car to our 25 year old son) and laments our inability to have a friendly relationship. The bottom line message is that I not only sucked at marriage, but now I suck at divorce.

      Whatever. She’s 86 years old and wants everything unpleasant in the world to be glossed over. She’s obviously not able to understand how devastating the whole experience is.

      • Sorry you’re dealing with that kind of treatment, Roslyn. It’s being kicked while you’re down, isn’t it?
        I’m sure there are those in my life who wonder how I could have missed a decade of his double life. They can never understand (unless it ends up happening to them).

          • My heart goes out to you both Roslyn and super_chump. My father is dead, but he’d have gone ballistic. My family has been completely supportive. My mom tells me that I waited too long. She’s one of those proactive types.

      • Your mother sounds like mine. She is pucker pucker British and although she does have a kindness about her, her need to maintain a public facade and a stiff upper lip overwhelms it. When I decied to leave my STBX, I needed her support and said, ‘I really need you to be my mother in this, not his mother too.” Took her about 3 weeks to agree. Also when he cheated, she basically blamed me. Had you not gone off to graduate school, he wouldn’t have cheated. If you had taken his last name when you got married, he wouldn’t have cheated…Really?! Really Mum?!!! Now, as things come out, as she sees how much I did vs how much he does, she is losing respect for him. like demanding I abort all of our children, which as the mother of three I did not. About bloody time. Really my mother has some big issues with narcism. I do still love her but I am wary of her as well. I am trying hard not to follow in her footprints.

        Your mother and mine came from an era when women didn’t have enough education and there were no role models of successful women and mothers. They meant ‘from death do you part’ and clung on for one wild and wretched ride, and dragged their kids along with them. They have been in such deep denial for 60 years, they can’t even allow themselves to consider any alternatives. It would cause them too much cognative dissonance. Stay strong and vow to see the world as it is, Chump lady style not through your mother’s rose colored glasses. Those suckers are deadly.

    • super_chump–
      I hope you’re not spending a lot of time with your parents. They are toxic. Whatever the reason is that your own mother cannot or will not say that she loves you, is not about you, it’s about her. Normal mothers have a fierce love for their children. She’s dysfunctional in a very basic way. I’m sorry you had to grow up in that darkness, starving.
      And now they are withholding support in another cruel way. That’s on them. There is something really wrong, and you need to get away from it, fast. I hope you’re getting counseling about this.

      • Thanks Miss Sunshine. I was in counselling early on after DDay. My therapist told me that I would one day be able to set boundaries with them. I thought he was crazy. But now, I actually think it’s possible. There’s only so much dysfunction you can deal with before you say enough. I don’t spend much time with them, but foolishly thought they might change during this difficult time.
        I’m reluctant to use H’s benefits for counselling because of the types of activities he’s been involved in. I don’t want to put his job in jeopardy since it is our only source of income until I find a job. I have found a few free resources and am going to contact them. Now that the kids are back in school (I wanted to enjoy my last summer off with them), I can get moving on all this.

        • I just noticed something lovely about you.

          Your mother starves you of love, and, yet, your little heart just keeps on trying. That says something very sweet about you. YOUR heart is whole.

          Turn that love onto yourself. Imagine yourself as a little girl, or as a teenager–how can you protect her from the pain your mother causes? What would you say to her? What would you say to your sister if she said she was struggling with your mother’s coldness?

          Did something bad happen to your mother as a child? Or is she just a bit sociopathic? Some people are just biologically not capable of nurturing–how sad.

          But look at you! You do know how to love. You just need to find a passion of your own–perhaps a person, perhaps a hobby or an occupation or social work of some sort.

          • That’s so kind of you, thank you! I will try to focus that love back onto me. I tend to have periods of time when I see my worth but then I’ll fall again. Maybe the trick is to stay conscious of my own needs. No one else can be in charge of me.

            I don’t think I’ll have another person as a passion for a very long time. I’m not sure I’ll every trust enough again. But it’s funny you mention social work. Before I got pregnant, I was back in school for my second degree- social work. I might consider going back after my finances are in order.

            • Going back to work changes everything. I’ve seen it in my friends. I know my job kept me afloat emotionally and financially and is a huge source of love and pride, even during hard days.

              You got this.

              • Super-Chump – I actually wrote a letter to CL about this very topic and she responded to it with an awesome video clip and some wise words. Take a look:

                My issue is not that my mom doesn’t love or support me, it’s that she has lot’s and lot’s of hope for EVERYONE. I am still struggling with her understanding on this issue. I don’t know that she will ever “get it”. But… I’ve set this burden down to a large degree.

                It hurts, I’m sorry for your additional pain on this. Warm Hugs.

            • super chump, I love how you said, “I don’t think I’ll have another person as a passion for a very long time.” Right now it seems to you (and in the beginning to me) that not focusing passion on another person is all about not being able to trust enough after the betrayals. But as I move into year #2, I don’t think it’s about inability to trust, or not being able to find someone, or being too old. I think it’s that we need to fall in love with our own lives, to learn to be self-sufficient, discerning, and grounded in our own shoes before we take on an dating, let alone finding an intimate partner. And I don’t think that’s all about healing; it’s about how being chumped and going through all of the horrific pain that seems endless. really going through something and processing it, feeling it all, takes us to another level and we need to re-learn who we are, what we want, what we love. Just my thoughts.

    • I wanted to thank everyone for their support. I means a lot to me, since I don’t have much real life support. I just had a talk with my sis, who validated everything about our childhood and our parents. It’s interesting what happens when you finally break the silence.

      I’ve also finally taken steps in the right direction. I’m getting legal aid and today will be trying to find a lawyer.

      FLBright, thank for the video, I will check it out!

  • Gotta lot to say about friends, having been up all night crying over how to get over that hump…but in the meantime, I wanted to threadjack with this gem.
    Apparently the ex GF (OW) of the President of France is pissed off that he has a different OW, and she wrote a tell- all book.

    Do tell.

    My wee comment:

    “So–wait– a cheater gets cheated on and then gets all riled up and writes a book? (rolls eyes.) Honey, you knew who he was when you started schtupping him while was still with Royal. If you partner with a cheater (or marry one…) what are you married (or partnered) to? A cheater. D’oh!

    If they’ll cheat with you, the will most certainly cheat ON you! You’re just not that special, honey.”

    linky (and apologies for the Daily Beast…)

    • Yes, well they’re always shocked because it underscores just how un-special they are. Better to make him out to be horrid (which he is, but obviously so) than to question your own specialness.

      • I responded to yesterday’s post earlier today with a reference to her book – a slightly different approach. Because many people would like to assassinate HER character, so their perfect little marriages are safe. Haven’t we all been there? People thinking you must have been lazy, in a sexless marriage, something must have been your fault. Sometimes bad things do happen to good, caring and loving people.

        Back to Hollande, maybe she was a bitchy gold digging OW, but it doesn’t make his actions any less horrid. Someone who cannot be trusted, privately or publicly.

        Back to today’s topic… many of my friends do want to keep tabs on him. To inform me (thanks, but no thanks) they stay his Facebook friends. They want to see the runaway train, car wreck, karma bus. Or just the drama. If and when he gets married to OW, some will accept the invitation. Some might even justify it by thinking it is to support our poor, innocent children, who will no doubt be involved in this culmination of romantic love against all odds (like two long-term marriages with children).

        It hurts, I feel like a bitter, vengeful stereotype when I try to explain why this fence sitting hurts me so much. They are so polite when they meet him, it gives him the idea he can just continue to be the nice guy. Poor little sausage, made a mistake, but he was blinded by love and now it’s all’s for the better. Wish sometimes people didn’t care about making a scene, telling him like it is.

        Now I’m the one being ignored by the former inlaws (who I considered to be friends after 20 years), and the people I expect to stand by me are too polite to do the same. There are very few true friends, I cherish them and know that even when I make new ones, many of them will be just as easily blown away. A terrible thing to know.

  • Hang in there, Lost. I’m seeing now how common this is. I went through this exact same scenario. Ex-husband’s BFF’s wife was my BFF. She knew every single detail of how I discovered the infidelity and details of the divorce and was the strongest opponent of my ex among all my friends. 8 months after my divorce was finalized, her hubby, a real estate agent, helps the ex and OW buy a new home. The 4 of them began socializing with each other. BFF never told me anything about this, I found out through others. When I confronted BFF she turned it back on me saying she was the one who’s “hurt” because I was the one distancing myself from her. Whatever, I know it’s because of the commission she and her husband got and that they all truly suck.

    • wait, she was “the one who was hurt?” guess she is a Narc too, holy cow! yes she does and they do truly suck. sorry for you.

    • This is unbelievable!!! Lack of morals! I like to think that all people are generally “good” unless they show you otherwise. This is a sign that you are better off without these folks as friends. They do not follow the same values and they are out to befriend those who they can gain something from. In the end, you see what kind of friendship your ex and OW have with them and who really wants a friendship like that?!!!! Sad!

    • This is so rough. And our other friends are now coming out of the woodwork to tell me I’m being rash and emotional and so forth. These people DO NOT get it at all, do they? The non-chumps get to believe in their world where things like neutrality make sense. Yuck.

      • You did the right thing. Don’t let them break you down. Believe in your values and their lack of them. Or at least theirs don’t match yours. If they ever experience this horrible situation they will understand.

        • That’s the rub. I think it’s really hard for people who haven’t been through this to know what to do. It’s obvious to us, but was it before we were chumps? I’d like to think so, but I can’t ever be sure.

  • “Mostly likely, you scare Betty to death. You’re her worst nightmare come true.”

    This is absolutely the case. I had minor D-day before my marriage and was married for six years knowing in my heart of hearts that if I ever went looking for STBXH cheating, I would find it. So I avoided ALL references to infidelity like the plague: in TV, movies, books, conversations, friends, etc. I literally tried to pretend it didn’t exist, because I was trying to keep it out of my world.

    I’m not saying Fred’s a cheater, or that Betty has reason to worry, because who knows. But it sure sounds like a classic ostrich defense to me.

  • I mentioned this in yesterday’s comments: My friend’s husband was “being neutral,” and yet he was the friend XH called to talk about how confused he was, how great AP was, and how terrible I was. I’m still friends with my friend (she has nothing to do with my XH) and while I’m cordial to her husband when I see him, we’re NOT friends. Ironically, that really has nothing to do with his continued friendship with XH, but how he treats my friend. After my divorce, she started telling me what a verbally abusive controlling Narc he is, and that he’s always threatening to leave her and find someone else. Not surprised at all that both of them are friends and say the other is “a great guy.”

    What I am always shocked about is the cheater’s family largely supporting them. I have several divorced friends, and their ex-spouse’s family members largely cut them out, went to the wedding of the OW/OM, paid ex-spouse’s attorney fees (and in one memorable instance, the OW’s attorney fees so they could get divorced and be together!)

    • Cheaters are raised by the families that support them. I’m more shocked when their families DON’T support them.

      I cut xH’s family out of my life. His mother supported him in the divorce, and never once reached out in a matriarchal way to ask if I was ok, if I needed any support (I didn’t, but a gesture and show of mature wisdom, if she’d had any, would have been admired by me–and emotional support would have been graciously accepted.) I was always very, very good to her. She never liked me; I made her uncomfortable. I assume this is because I didn’t smoke and drink excessively, and didn’t really struggle in life like she and her children do. I was helpful to her in so many ways, when her own children were begrudging, but always eager for her financial or other support. Now they all have each other. How lovely, like a postcard. She was a good grandmother when the kids were young (but did NOT like to hear of their accomplishments, oddly enough). So I am happy for the kids to keep contact with her. As for me, I’m done, and really ok with it.

  • Of course, this question assumes a false premise. A friend is someone who is attached to another by feelings of affection and acts accordingly. A person who know about terrible harm done to you but will not condemn the person who hurt you and stand by your side either: a) is not attached to you by feelings of affection; or 2) does not act in accordance with those feelings. In either event, they fail to qualify as a friend. They might be an acquaintance, perhaps, or a neighbor someone you’ve known a long time. But not a friend.

    You should worry about who gets possession of such folks upon divorce as much as you’d worry about who gets possession of the frozen dog turds in the back yard upon the arrival of the Spring thaw.

    • well put, as always, Nomar.

      In my case, since I’ve got the dog–bless her big Newfy heart! I’ve got the [frozen] turds…. Ex on the other hand moved to be with Hoe-girl #i-k . She has 4 dogs, but lives near the beach. Since the 2 legs are both cheaters, I doubt they are the type to clean up after dogs. That’s such a chumpy, responsible, caring-for-who-comes-after-you kind of thing to do….

  • This can be tough. The true friends “get it” over time.
    The one joint friend of us both is letting the friendship with ex wither and die; only FB friends at this point. As friend told me “he is a liar, I cannot believe anything he says.”
    Ex told daughter he had lost friends over the divorce. Hard to tell, as he moved away and has very little contact with folks at this point. In hindsight, ex had very few good friends… everything was superficial and on the surface. Tons of joking, but no in depth conversations.

    As for the friends who knew and did not tell : I am still torn on that one, exH best friend knew of the cheating, but only for a month or two before I confronted ex at the friend’s house! When I finally learned I was right 12 yrs later and asked friend about it. He said he thought I knew it all given the confrontation.


  • Five years from D-Day, divorced for four, and this issue does not go away. Friends’ memories of the severity of the trauma fade and if the ex is persistent about trying to resume the friendship he/she and the step-slut (as my children fondly call her) eventually do make inroads with many of your mutual friends.

    As Chumplady is implicitly saying, you need to make a choice between lowering your expectations of “friends” or having fewer friends. She recommends the latter option. My own solution has been to continue the friendships anyway but on a different level. Things are much more casual because I know that these friends no longer “have my back,” even if they gave me a lot of support in the beginning. I completely agree with the suggestion to make new friends but I’m not convinced that if the situation re-occurred they would overall react a lot differently than the old friends. People are people are people.

    The silver lining is that you find out that you have a few friends for whom the bad behavior is a deal-breaker and you really value those friendships.

    • ” My own solution has been to continue the friendships anyway but on a different level.

      You mean like how I am “friendly” to grocery store clerks or “the cable guy”? Don’t know much about them and rarely think about them unless I am buying groceries or having a service call, but … 😉

      • Your description isn’t all that far off. Many of them have children who grew up with mine (all adults now) and I do like to catch up with them occasionally and hear how their kids are doing. We’ll have a pleasant lunch or dinner, then I won’t see them again for 2 or 3 months. Would I be there for them in a crisis like I might have 5 years ago? No. It’s all changed but it’s working ok for me.

    • I have different categories of friends. I really try not to talk about the pain and bewilderment of betrayal and abandonment with friends who have not themselves experienced it. It’s not fair to them, and it’s not fair to me.

      My friends who’ve been through it support me and I support them, even years out, when others cannot fathom what it’s like to struggle with lingering bits and pieces of associated pain.

      And, you know, to be fair, it’s unbearable to deal with “stuck” people sometimes, so I get it. I can pick up the phone to a handful of people I know and say, “You’ll never guess what that asshole did.” And I don’t have to explain myself, don’t have to apologize for not moving on. We’re like a secret society. I imagine every type of trauma calls for having a circle of folks who’ve lived it.

      • I could take a page from this playbook. I can’t seem to get past trying to explain to my hyper-educated, otherwise reasonable “friends” why their stance is so misguided. So many posts today have been (and will continue to be) very helpful. Sadly, the conclusion seems to be that they’ll never be my friends in the same way they were. Unexpected fallout.

        • NWBiblio,

          I, too, want my friends to understand. I’ve been trying to explain it to them and they just do not get it at all. They’re smart people and one of them is a therapist. But, every single one who has not been through infidelity thinks that I shouldn’t fault Fred for “being neutral.”

          Well, there is one exception: my college roommate from the Midwest. He said, “Not choosing sides? That’s bullshit. He’s an ass. Everybody knows you choose sides after a breakup. That’s a lesson we learn when we’re, what, in our 20s. Pretending otherwise is childish, chickenshit garbage. God, when did you start hanging out with such wimps, Lost?”

  • How about the former marriage councilor who is now FB friends with your ex? And x hated that I was on FB. He worked 3rd shift so it was the only “social” time I had because I work and raise my children and never went out much because of that. Within the past year he got himself a FB account and then told the kids it was for “work”. But now he is FB friends with our former MC. How can you not laugh at this shit? Good riddance to all those who don’t have a fucking spine to beging with. LOL

    • Oh, Jesus jumping on a cracker, my therapist wouldn’t even want a birthday card from me. She is all business, all the time, though wonderfully, supportively and caringly so. But not my FB friend, ever.

      • Mine too, LJA. In fact one of the first things she told me was “we cannot be friends, even when I am no longer working with you. ” Occasionally she mentions something on the outer edge of being personal — that she’s just about to get her “registered” status, for example, or that she likes to hike, but it never turns into a conversation. The “cannot be friends” thing is part of professional society codes of conduct. At least here (Canada), they specifically mentions that you can’t be Facebook friends with a current or past client.

        • Well, from what I understand he is retired now however, IMO that makes no difference and does cross ethical boundries.

          During some sessions (actually after sessions), MC would talk with x about his own child who was involved in drugs and in jail. x works for the sheriff’s department so it became a one hand washes the other IMO. His child ended up o.d ing. and died.
          Yeah, neither seemed bothered by the moral codes. Needless to say, I lost all respect for MC. Then again, he used to throw in the whole “hate the sin, not the sinner”. Oh, and the whole “you’re okay, I’m okay” bullshit.
          Sorry, but as I said, they can have each other. I don’t want a person or people like that in my life anymore.

  • I have nothing to do with the people who watched me and my kid get gaslighted and abused while Mr Fab was screwing a family member/close friend, or those who took the ‘These things happen’ route. Fuck that, and fuck them. Even those who ‘want to stay friends for DD’s sake’. Sorry, if I appoint you ‘godparent’, your job is not to watch, or worse, make my kid feel guilty for wanting nothing to do with her abusive scumbag/excuse for a father/sperm donor with Napoleon complex. That is like holding her down so she can get kicked harder.

    I appreciate there is a perception gap, and you don’t understand infidelity unless or until it happens to you, but one characteristic of intelligent beings is that they can empathize and imagine how you feel.

    One of the hard things about owning one’s Inner Chump is that U let my standards slip-ie, letting something ride because that person is a friend. No longer. I have standards now. I hold myself, and my friends accountable, and if they can’t own their shit, they aren’t a friend.

    love to all Chump Nation!


    • Yes, one of the people who knew and din’t tell me about it was my younger son’s godmother (also my wife’s only bridesmaid) and the person we named in our wills as guardian of our boys in case of our deaths. I knew she had been OW to a married man, so I guess I only have myself to blame for thinking she would have my back in any way.

      • Yick, but at least now you know. Mr Fab’s OW was the emergency contact at Dd’s school. When I changed it to someone else, you wouldn’t believe the crap I got for it…..and I DID ask DD who she was comfortable with. Hint:it wasn’t the Downgrade…..

        I guess the Friend Picker needs fixing, too.

        Big hug, ANR!

  • Through my divorce I found out just who my real friends are. Most of our mutual friends have remained my friends and surprisingly confided that they never really liked my exH. Some of my exH buddies knew of the affair (even though they won’t come right out and admit it, I know they were in on the lies, since they had to cover for him) and they still want to be my friend as well. I have never done anything wrong and I am likable, most always really liked me. So I have adopted the “friends on the surface” mentality. No real attachment. I don’t reach out to them but I don’t snub them either. I don’t gossip and I keep my life private from them. If they ask me personal questions, I answer in general terms, unsure if they are fishing. I am careful and I keep my circle of friends close.

    After this infidelity crap, I have very little patience for liars. If someone lies to me…..that friendship is done. And most importantly, I have no room in my life for friends that cheat. My core values are very important to me and I am not ashamed of them.

    • I have no room in my life for friends that cheesy. Exactly!!!

      I am having a hard time with staying friends with a life long best friend.
      She has been romantically involved in a long distance relationship with a man fir about 20 years now.

      8 years ago this man got married. She slept with him the night before the wedding and then said never again.

      I was uncomfortable with that ( duh ) but have since found out that she has stayed on as his mistress and that nothing changed ( except that he has a wife ?!?!).

      Looking back I realize that this is not the first time that she’s been OW in somebody else’s relationship.

      Recently I listened to her rant about how his wife did not want her to come and visit over the holidays ( they are distantly related ). I wanted to dig a hole under the table and die!!!

      Of course she has stuck by me during my failed marriage and been good to me. But I am having such a hard time with the fact that our morals and values are so different.

      After years of chumpdom I just cannot be around anyone who condones this behaviour or commits it. I am not a good actress and my give a damn is broken !

        • My bff, who held my head out of the toilet when I was going through the divorce, at the same time carried on an affair with a married man (she was single) for years and kept it from me because she was afraid I would bail on the friendship. About the time I found out about the affair she gave him an ultimatum and he chose the wife. My friend was heartbroken. Needless to say, I found it hard to be a real sympathetic shoulder to cry on, and she didn’t really ask me to serve that function.

          Maybe I shouldn’t be friends with her, but I still treasure our friendship. She would walk through fire for me and would probably spit on my ex if she ran into him on the street. Not sure what all this means except that life is complicated.

  • Ugh! My original response was lost in cyberspace! I’ll try again: I feel quite a bit of guilt as far as the friends/family issue is concerned. Our “couple friends” were our siblings and their spouses and my Aunt (who is my age and we are more like besties) and her hubby. When stbxh and I got together we all just clicked and had a lot of fun together! I had childhood friends and their spouses who always wanted to include us in their activities but stbxh didn’t really bring any friends, either male or couples, to our relationship. He always seemed content with “just” us, going to family functions or doing things with the three other couples. As it turns out he claims one of the most attractive and alluring things about the AP is that she has TONS of friends and is a party girl who always had something going on. At any rate he has abandoned every significant relationship in his life, including his OWN family to be with this woman. I have maintained close contact with everyone from our married life and with his family as well. I adore my in-laws and after 17 years I would do anything for them. Their own son has washed his hands of them–because they refuse to accept the affair or the AP–so he is just gone. They have told me that they love their son and he is always welcome in their home (although they do plan on a lengthy discussion about his behavior…they raised him better than that!) and I respect that. I feel my husband needs he family now more that ever but he just ignores them. Apparently the AP is the only person he needs! I feel pity for my husband that he has lost the love and respect of some truly wonderful people. And I hurt for his parents that they are being made to feel unloved and insignificant. I so hate the collateral damage that stbxh’s infidelity has caused…so much needless hurt and heartache to so many people.

    • LHC,
      Your story is a mirror of my life. I am so close to my inlaws, I love them with all of my heart. They are and have been my family. I recently went to a huge family reunion, and no, STBX did not even show or call. I was so nervous about how everyone would react to
      me, There was so much love and support, it was amazing. Long hugs. I was so happy I went! I can tell you, I would go through all of this again, to have my children, and be
      a part of this family. Had I not been with him, I would not have had the experience
      of the love that this family shares. I do understand he is their son, and they will support him to a point. The only contact he has had with them was to ask for money,
      and instead they offered him a place to stay until he gets on his feet, no money. He has not contacted them since. I feel sad for what he has left behind. They also do not agree with his choices and what he has done. So easy for him to just turn his back on
      his entire family.

      • I went to my Bro-inlaw’s funeral this summer. My XH was not a cheater but I give us both a lot of credit for how we have been as helpful and supportive of each other as we could be. I worried a lot about “losing” my in-laws but they were glad to see me and I am still part of the “family.” They love my XH dearly, as most everyone does, but we all know that the drinking makes him problematic to those who love him. I also get along great with his first wife so I figure even if he takes up with someone else down the road, things will be OK. My sister-in-law is close friends with her other brother’s former wife, too. So when divorce is not the result of f***ed up narcissistic abuse, it is possible for people who have loved each other, given some time for adjustment, to maintain those ties. I feel very blessed. Now, I also know Jackass’s whole family and hope to heaven I never see any of those hyenas again.

    • This sounds identical to my situation. My STBXH has been told his paramour will never be welcome in his parents home. So he has turned his back on his Mom and Dad, siblings, children, grand children and he has only his GF! His parents are heartbroken. We have been married for 40 years and this 59 year old acts like an irresponsible teenage boy over this stupid paramour! It’s just bizarre and unexplainable!

      • same here roberta!
        just passed our would be 25th anniversary, and we knew each other 5 years before that. Father in law also said she will not cross his doorstep. He has chosen to walk away
        from his family, his daughter, and siblings. He even stated “her mom will be his mom now, and her daughters will be his”. What the fuck is wrong with these people?? I somewhat understand his hatred to me (no more grey..) but to turn his back on the
        parents who raised him? It is beyond words. It hurts me deeply for them.

  • This is by far one of the most painful aspects of going no contact in my opinion, because unless you stop seeing every friend you knew together, and block them on facebook there is bound to be a “leak” somewhere and you hear or see something about the ex and feel angry all over again.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that most people (including myself) have a sick curiosity when something tragic, devastating and completely surprising like an affair/divorce/break-up happens. The friends who were mostly the ex’s friends are gobsmacked (in my case) wondering who this person was all these years that they were friends with-some of them won’t be able to completely break ties. It’s too much for them to handle, and I wouldn’t want weak minded friends anyways.

    Despite that, I’ve been grateful to receive some very supportive and kind comments from ex’s friends, people who clearly miss seeing me and love me too. And, judging from the engagement party photos of ex and ow I accidentally saw this weekend (third person posted pics to a mutual friend’s page), it seems that more and more people are disgusted with ex. The only people attending the party (besides his mom and best friend) were ow’s friends, people who never met me or know what happened. Ex looks terrible and his fiancee must’ve stolen Julia Robert’s prostitute costume from “Pretty woman” because she looked like a hooker at her engagement party (fishnets, leather shorts-onesie outfit, fuck me boots).

    Lastly, I’ll just say that I remain friends with my old neighbor (lives one house away from ex and ow) and she called to catch up with me and shared that she has already seen another woman staggering out of the house disheveled, early in the morning, while ow was away for the weekend. So his cheating has just revved up even more.

  • I think that “detach with kindness” works well in these cases.

    Your friend is letting you know that her boundaries involve “supporting her husband,” which means that she can’t bring herself to agree with you that your XH is a POS. She can’t say this because she’d be contradicting her husband.

    So it’s okay to go for a Starbucks to talk about your kids in sports. It’s not going to be good to go for a glass of wine when you feel a bit teary as a result of some of the fallout from your XH’s crap post-divorce behavior. She’ll side with her husband: why can’t you get over it?

    Get some activities that have value for you. You’ll meet people who will know you, not your XH. Over time, you’ll invest more in these people and less in your “friend.”

    And then there will be no room for a friend who isn’t really there for you.


    • Well, I “broke up” with Fred this morning. I said we can’t be friends as long as he’s friends with The Cheater. He accused me of forcing him to take sides and I said, “You already did. Against me.” And he tried to justify it again by claiming that the months of emotional infidelity weren’t “really” cheating and he just wanted to be a good friend to both of us and why am I putting him in the middle and…?!?!?

      And I interrupted him with, “Well, that’s where I am,” and hung up. It was brutal and uncomfortable and I cried.

      No word from Betty.

      After, I reached out to Fred’s cousin (who is also a friend of mine) to let her know what happened. “Be careful that you don’t say or do something you’ll regret later.”

      I didn’t really understand this until today:

      “How nice for them. When people in your life do this, what they’re saying is — it’s all about THEM. They would prefer things go back to the way things used to be. When we were all ignorant of this new information. Please don’t make me re-evaluate. Please don’t make my life change because of your drama. It’s very inconvenient of you.”

      But it’s true. They don’t want to deal with my pain and sadness.

      Thanks, you guys. Hearing your stories shows me I’m not alone.

      • Well done!
        Your response to Fred was perfect, meanwhile he is stuck in self-justification mode, the same justification mode that cheaters tend to use to ‘explain’ their behaviour.
        Watch out for the mindfuckery later, though.
        (On a random note I really just want to slap the types who say ’emotional infidelity isn’t really cheating’ crap.)

        • Thanks for that random note, Lania. I know my XH did screw the OW before our divorce, but he was crazy in love with her for months even before that (I discovered via snooped emails & texts, which he was stooooopid enough to save). Ok, so MAYBE he was unhappy, and itching to leave, but it was his “love” for her that made him have to leave, like, right now, once she filed for HER divorce. No chance for us, already on to the next one. And to think I wondered why, when I one day forgot he devastated my life and thought I should try (TRY) to be at least a bit of the friend to him I was for 16 years, he replied, jubilantly, “I’m GREAT, actually!” That one left a mark.

          • Word salad bullshit, huh?
            These idiots are so damn predictable – what on earth has ‘I’m GREAT, actually!’ got anything to do with you trying to keep a friendship (which was just your caring side coming out, chumpiness notwithstanding)?
            These people act like damn toddlers, seriously.

        • Thank you. But, what do you mean by “Watch out for the mindfuckery later?” From whom? Fred? I don’t plan on speaking with him. Looks like Betty’s out of the picture, too.

          And, yes, of course it’s really cheating. It’s worse, really. It’s cheating, but the cheaters are getting to tell themselves how pure and kind and wonderful MORAL they are for not physically consummating the relationship until after the divorce papers were served when they were building toward it the whole time.

          Oh, god. It sucks, you guys.

  • I even remember going through this with my divorce from a non-cheating albeit shitty husband. “We love you both” was what I heard from my “friends” of 15 years, from college, way before I met the ex. I knew from that moment that they didn’t want to be disturbed, didn’t want to hear about it, really, weren’t there for me. Then something weird happened….I found people who I wasn’t really that close with before, I became great friends with them, because that friendship bloomed when I was out of the shit relationship and was finally myself.

    It’s okay to dump them. You’ll find better.

    • This one: “We don’t choose sides and we’re still friends with people from a lot of couples who have broken up.”

      Well, whoop-de-do for you.

  • I think some people are complicit because it makes them feel comfortable, as though it could be them; that is, Fred is not going to judge a behavior in which he might engage and Betty is scared shitless. Also, people tend to think divorce is contagious and they don’t want that shit to spread to them.

    I lost some mutual acquaintances– my ex had no friends, none of his even wanted to come to the wedding– and it irritated me that I was just forgotten and replaced. My ex lies to everyone, so I know nobody got the real story, but for chrissakes, he suddenly leaves his wife and is married less than a year after the divorce is final. But I am the madwoman in the attic.

    Then I remember I really have no interest is remaining friends with hapless yuppies whose sole mission in life is to acquire basic shit on the mere principle of conspicuous consumption. I also try give them more credit and perhaps they do know what is going on but too spineless to do anything because it is “none of their business” and I do not need “nice” friends like that. My friends are bold, passionate, and compassionate, like me.

    That is, you can do a hell of a lot better because friends are the people who ride with you on the bus when the limo breaks down (thanks Oprah). Fred and Betty don’t even want to get dirt on the sole’s of their shoes by getting out of the limo to wish you well. To which you say, “Eff you very much!” and call it a day.

  • This thread is making me so grateful for my friends. True, I’m still in the early stages so it might be that he’ll work his way back in with some of them over time. But right now, all of them have cut him out of their lives. Many have already unfriended him on Facebook (divorce isn’t final yet), and he’s been complaining to me that they’re snubbing him in public. Won’t even talk to him. Go figure. All of our “mutual friends” were really my friends — he never had any friends of his own anyway, except for a couple of guys from work a few jobs ago. Funny how that happens. He pretty much cut off ties with all his childhood friends a long time ago. His family are the only people he talks to now. They’re all trying to get in touch with me but I’m just not ready to talk with them yet — they don’t know the truth of what happened (and I won’t be telling them till the divorce settlement is final), and until I feel comfortable telling them that, I won’t have anything to say to them.

    • I’m so glad for you and, I confess, jealous. I loved his family, to the point that I sent each of them a handwritten (do people still do that?) letter thanking them for being part of my life, wishing them well and asking them to visit me whenever and wherever I end up in life. — I didn’t hear back from any of them except his mother, who sent a very terse “we care about you” blah blah blah (which was extra-shocking, because her husband, my XH’s dad, left HER for the OW — I thought if anyone would know how shitty that is, it’d be her, but, as they say, Blood… Water….).
      And thank god for my work friends who didn’t really spend a lot of time with him, because so few of our other mutual friends have made any effort to reach out. I have reached out to some of them, with mixed results.
      I have been so moved by people who’ve taken a hardline stance — canceling their membership at his restaurant’s wine club, for example — it still almost moves me to tears, “I’m NOT crazy! Other people think this is wrong, too!”
      I’m sorry for your loss, but I’m so happy for your friends’ fidelity and character.

  • “As we learned in the letter earlier this week, infidelity affects more than just the chump. It destroys community and family. Divides people against each other.”

    Right on, CL. There is fallout from cheating which certainly adds to the pain of the initial act and this is it, finding out who your friends are.

    It sucks.

  • I have a bit of a different dilemma.

    My ex was the “good guy” lawyer who gave up his time and help for everyone. Seriously. Even bailed a fiend’s kid out of jail on Thanksgiving morning.

    One of the ex’s college friends, lets call him Joe, himself divorced from a nut job, feels he ‘owes’ my ex some sort of friendship because all the ex has done to support him over the years.

    I am the one who has been part of Joe’s life for the past few years and I value his friendship and his role as sane parent to his kids.

    I believe that Joe had no idea of the cheating.
    Yet, Joe still sees my ex as part of a group of 4 old friends who get together about twice a year. One of those men knew about the affair, but supposedly, none of the four of them ever talk about the affair, the affair partner, me or the my sons who don’t speak to the ex.

    It hurts me so much that Joe maintains this limited contact with my ex. I value his friendship over the past 30+ years. I have told Joe how much it upsets me but he says he cannot turn away from my ex.

    Do I have to give Joe up too?

    It seems like such a waste to give up a close friendship; does he values the ex more than me. Thoughts?

    • I think he wants to be Switzerland and not think about it too much.

      With sparkly people, look, they attract chumps like us. Joe sounds like a chump. And he’s spackling for his friend. Okay, there is this unpleasant information that doesn’t jive with who Joe wants to believe your ex is. Is Joe aware of how much of a double life this guy had and why his kids want nothing to do with him?

      Because the other way to read this is Joe is only after what’s good for Joe. Ex has mad lawyer skills. Useful.

      Best I can say is, if you must, downgrade him to omega friend status. Old friend, rather dim, not to lean on for the big stuff.

  • Thanks for this. The timing was perfect on this letter.

    A couple years ago, my family became close with four other neighborhood families, all of whom had kids in school with ours. My wife started an affair with one of the Dads late last year and by February, I had her out of the house and divorce mediation underway. Two of the families didn’t want to take sides; the other cut him and my ex off pretty quickly. One of the couples that wouldn’t choose sides had a party last weekend. My ex and the Dad she had the affair with were on the invite list.

    It confirmed to me that I didn’t need or want to be friends with those folks anymore. And that’s fine with me. I just hope they put extra chlorine in their pool after my ex and her boyfriend went swimming.

        • But for those of us who are, say, only a year or two out, aren’t we allowed to have a pre-“meh” phase? What’s the etiquette on this? Because I think I’m fairly well adjusted. But say, were there to be a way to hack into the OW’s work email and email all her colleagues the torrid details of the affair, that could make me happy for a few days maybe…. (And look, I’m even pretty nice in my revenge fantasies: I know her parents have the money to help her support herself if she gets fired. But my ex’s parents don’t, so that’s not my fantasy for him.) So what do you think?

          If this has been answered already, forgive me. I’m new here. I feel like I’ve found my tribe.

  • I feel really lucky, because with very few exceptions, friends were hardcore on my side and thought my ex was a disgusting pig and freak. Of course, even without the infidelity his actions post divorce were pretty bizarre, to say the least, and still getting weirder. The few friends who remained “neutral,” well, I don’t need those people in my life, and I do not trust them anymore anyway.

    • I feel very fortunate too. We had mutual friends and most of them stuck with me, probably because my ex moved away from the community to be closer to OW’s family. He really had two lives going on, and he chose the other one. We had long term friends going back to college, we vacationed with them often. That’s the friendship I’ll miss the most because we always did things as couples for 36 years.

  • The most common response I got when even some of my own family were asked as to why they still want to keep him as a facebook friend was…..”Well he didn’t do anything to me!”
    or, “We are just keeping an eye on him for you.” I seriously can not believe these excuses.
    Just goes to show ya who has moral fiber and who does not! And in my situation it wasn’t just a case of your “run of the mill” infidelity. It’s all wrong. There are no good excuses. But going into that here is way more than I care to divulge. Let’s just say, he should have spent some time….and all of these people know that.

    • This shit chaps my ass. I have been reading here off and on all day and I could have posted a comment on practically all of these that mirrors some experience I’ve had with someone who was supposedly a “friend.” But this one caught my attention because I just heard something similar, except it was in reference to someone who shot one person and then ended up, years later, killing his wife.

      When the person interviewing the friend to the killer asked him, “You’re still friends with him?” The friend being interviewed responded, “Sure. He didn’t kill anyone I knew or who I was friends with.” And he kind of chuckled when he said it.

      Really asshole? So it was okay for him to shoot the man who confronted him about SLEEPING WITH HIS WIFE and it was okay for Pistol-Packin’ Pete to marry and eventually kill his second or third wife, as long as neither of these people is anyone who means anything to you. And from what home for sociopaths did you escape?

      That is pretty much the mindset of these balloon heads regarding infidelity. Infidelity does not just happen because someone is “unhappy.” Infidelity happens because one of the people in the marriage is an entitled piece of shit – and it isn’t the Chump.

      • This, yes. I’ve heard it, too. “Well, Lost, your ex didn’t do anything to Fred. Of course Fred still wants to be his friend. Just because you would dump the cheater as a pal, you can’t expect other people to play by your rules.”

        Why is being non-judgmental de rigueur these days? I’m all for giving someone the benefit of the doubt when there is room for doubt, but, in my case, he cheated on me. We’re all aware of it. It’s OK to judge him. And, you know what, if Fred wants to be friends with my X, then fine. But let’s not pretend that it’s for any holy or transcendent reason. It’s selfish. It’s chickenshit. And it’s perfectly rational that I don’t want to be Fred’s friend now. I cannot believe how many people are offended by this.

        Chump Lady and y’all have been lifesavers today.

        • “Why is being non-judgmental de rigueur these days?” Excellent question, LIL. I think it has something to do with the fact that abusers, cheats and con artists like having agency. They sparkle; people buy into their act. It’s all fun and games! It can even pay off big to those who enable them (ex: the bubble years prior to the sub-prime mortgage meltdown circa 2008). Those people they chumped? They’re ruining the show. Hush them up so everyone can go back to enjoying the carnival barker and his magic tricks.

          • “Why is being non-judgmental de rigueur these days?”

            OK, I’m a healthcare professional dedicated to being completely non-judgmental to my patients, but I totally agree. People treating these situations as morally neutral kinda sucks. When we were in couples counseling together (before he decided to bag it) I got so irked that the woman wouldn’t say to him, “Well of course she’s angry. What you did was abhorrent to the vast majority of society.” I think part of the reason that cheaters can convince themselves they didn’t do anything that bad is no one (but the chump) says it like it is to the cheater’s face. No one thinks they are the bad guy if no one is explicitly telling them they are (except the sociopaths – they still don’t think they’re bad guys). What I wouldn’t do to see a hidden video of a therapist saying to a cheater (and it doesn’t even have to be MY cheater) “I want to help you move past this. But really, to move past this you have to stop dicking around the people in your life and put on your big-boy panties. Your kids don’t need a step-slut, they need a dad they can look up to. So stop the shit.” Just for example.

            If there are any psychologists/psychiatrists/therapists on here I’d love to hear your thoughts. 🙂

  • I just told an old friend who does not live nearby. She was stbx’s friend for years before I met her, but has been a true friend to both of us over the years and this is the start of her reply to me.

    “Yipes. What an dismal cliche he turned out to be.
    Some people grow up. Others just grow down.
    I am SO very sorry to hear the news, dear one.
    And I remember, a fun night shortly after I first met you…
    when you turned to J…. and said: “If we ever break up, I get custody of her.”
    So there it is.”

    You know your real friends and they are there for you, but it is painful to learn that you not only misjudged your partner, but also people who you thought were friends.

    • “Yipes. What an dismal cliche he turned out to be.
      Some people grow up. Others just grow down.
      I am SO very sorry to hear the news, dear one.
      And I remember, a fun night shortly after I first met you…
      when you turned to J…. and said: “If we ever break up, I get custody of her.”
      So there it is.”

      I Love it!

      • Not just a wonderful friend. Sounds like someone who has life pretty much figured out and has moved on to the 4th stage of enlightenment. Can she be our friend too?

  • My in-laws who ‘loved me SO much’ never talked to me again after dday. That really hurt.

    Oh and the friends and coworkers. We had several friends who my XH had hired so of course they just had to take sides…his. He’s gone now and I’m still here. I do the Total Ignore and act like they’re invisible. I’m a respected Somebody here now. There’s one guy in particular who I despise. I read an email that he wrote Schmoopie telling her how GOOD she was for my husband. This was a guy who my X and I had spent time with….both him and his wife. I see him all the time at work and look right through him. I’m sure he doesn’t know why. Ha! Hope his wife runs off someday.

  • My sick and vengeful, awful FIL has ignored me since DDay… the joke is on him… FIL is dying of cancer and his twisted son, hasn’t got the time of day for him. One call a month for about 3 minutes… well like FIL like son. My STBX has left his crippled sister to deal with all of the FIL shit. I talk to her often and support her as much as I can. You reap what you sow. Poor schmoopie, she has no idea what she is getting. Not my circus! Not my monkeys!

  • Yeah I know this tune pretty well. Ex and I were members of a pretty progressive church… know the kind…..everyone is just a friend waiting to be met!!!…..kind of place. Well lo and behold, along about the time the first affair started people started to snub me at church. At first I didn’t understand what was going on. By the time ex had moved on to the next OW I had figured out that he was smearing me to everyone and they were buying it. Suddenly I went from being that wonderful person, teaching sunday school, helping out all over the place to persona non grata. And in another community we were involved in as a couple, a community that prides itself on honesty, good character and living life with integrity, lots knew he was cheating and never said a word. Not only that, but they stopped talking to me too, After the divorce I suddenly had very few friends left. I would say hi and they would look at me with those cold, dead lizard eyes.

    After ex kidnapped and murdered my (our) youngest son, suddenly all these creeps started coming out of the woodwork telling me they knew something was wrong with ex… poor thing….yadda, yadda, yadda. During the almost two week period between when my son was taken and his body was found, there were lots of them around “helping.” I was in a daze just trying to do whatever I could to find my baby. I did not care who came and went. I later likened them to the people who come out to gawk at a fire or bad auto accident. High drama….somebody else’s.

    It was at my son’s funeral that I snapped back to reality when they popped up with their freeze dried bullshit, and then it was my turn for lizard eyes. I was not the least bit surprised when they vanished as soon as the drama was over.

    Actually had a couple of them call me up a few years ago wondering how I was doing…ya know. Told them….Fine but I have to go, Lots going on….Bye. You will have to get your drama quotient filled elsewhere because I will befriend you again only when they decide to hold Icecapades in hell. Never heard from them again…..Gee, was it me? Oops….sorry, I can get sarcastic at the drop of a dime.

    Anyway, the friends I have today do have my back or they don’t remain my friends. I will go the extra mile but expect the same. I’m a lot choosier these days. I don’t trust easily, like I once did. As I see it’s very simple…..If someone isn’t there for you and won’t stand for you when you are being hurt….he/she doesn’t have your back, and they are not really your friend….period.

    • OMG, I can not imagine more pain than what you have gone through….Your story makes it so evident on what the extreme of these disfunctional people can do. I am sure your angel son is taking care of you …I hope you have found some comfort after enduring such a tragic loss. I really can´t think of anything more to write. There are not enough words. Just one enormous virtual hug…so sorry for your loss….

      • Thanks for your kindness everyone, I appreciate it. I know my story is painful to read but it is a warning that some of the most disordered cheaters are indeed dangerous. If I can help keep just one woman or child safe I will gladly share whatever I can. The Chump Nation is very special to my heart. Here is where reality lies, along with a whole bunch of lovely folk who aren’t afraid to tell it like it is.

  • The cheater’s family, too, has taken sides. The last text I got from his father was:

    “We couldn’t interfere; we’re just glad the drama’s over.”

    Well, then. Thank you very fucking much.

  • I accidentally posted this as a reply earlier, so here it is again:

    Lost in Litchfield September 4, 2014 at 2:21 pm
    Well, I “broke up” with Fred this morning. I said we can’t be friends as long as he’s friends with The Cheater. He accused me of forcing him to take sides and I said, “You already did. Against me.” And he tried to justify it again by claiming that the months of emotional infidelity weren’t “really” cheating and he just wanted to be a good friend to both of us and why am I putting him in the middle and…?!?!?

    And I interrupted him with, “Well, that’s where I am,” and hung up. It was brutal and uncomfortable and I cried.

    No word from Betty.

    After, I reached out to Fred’s cousin (who is also a friend of mine) to let her know what happened. “Be careful that you don’t say or do something you’ll regret later.”

    I didn’t really understand this until today:

    “How nice for them. When people in your life do this, what they’re saying is — it’s all about THEM. They would prefer things go back to the way things used to be. When we were all ignorant of this new information. Please don’t make me re-evaluate. Please don’t make my life change because of your drama. It’s very inconvenient of you.”

    But it’s true. They don’t want to deal with my pain and sadness.

    Thanks, you guys. Hearing your stories shows me I’m not alone.

    • LIL,

      Sorry you had to go through that. Some people just don’t know how to be friends. Fred seems like one of them. They like the idea of friendship, but they can’t do the work to make the thing. Kind of like the way my dog likes the idea of pizza.

      Sappy Alanis Morissette songs meant a lot to me when I was going through my infidelity nightmare, and one of them has a line about this. It says, “One day, I’ll be friends with my friends who know how to be friends.”

      I had to ditch my best friend of 30 years after my divorce, the best man at my wedding, the godfather to my oldest son. He was a cheater, you see, and I can no longer tolerate people like that in my life. If you tell me? We’re done. No court of appeals.

      Since I cut my “best friend” loose? A dozen other people have appeared or expanded their presence in my life to more than fill the space he left, all of them more interesting, more inspiring, and more supportive of my best self. That will happen to you now that Fred is gone, I have no doubt.

  • My parents most definitely took sides, they totally had my back and I never even thought it would be otherwise despite tosser persuading me to keep his affair secret for 7 months during our pathetic pretend reconciliation.One of my biggest worries is that if my mum ever sees the tosser ( he lives nearby) she might actually kill him. I will then find my 76 year old mother in prison, my mum’s Irish, the fighting kind so this is not a stupid worry.

    I’ve watch Orange is the New Black, but if that’s how prison is then my mum will be running the place within days. Red has nothing on her.

    Seriously though, I cannot even begin to get my head around your blood not supporting you, it must be hellish and is so wrong. To those ladies who have not had that support my heart goes out to you. I am sorry, but just know it is so wrong, very , very wrong and some day they will regret such behaviour.

    Hugs to all.

    • “I will then find my 76 year old mother in prison, my mum’s Irish, the fighting kind so this is not a stupid worry.”

      So funny. So’s mine. Reminds me of what a Basque friend used to say when she didn’t like how something was going down: “There could be an “accident”…”.

    • “despite tosser persuading me to keep his affair secret for 7 months during our pathetic pretend reconciliation.”

      Why do they want/expect us to keep their dirty secret? After DDay #2 when I filed for divorce, I told everyone and have managed to keep the friends. I’ve even sullied his pool of work friends/colleagues by telling a select and strategic number of wives who in turn have told their husbands and asked them to keep their distance from my cheating STBX. Maybe he can share her friends.

  • First let me make it clear that I am not the Fred in question here.

    Now neither Fred nor Betty are your friends. Friends support and respect each other. They are not doing that. They are showing support for the cheater.

    The answer is simple, get new friends. But, before you do tell Betty to keep an eye on Fred. He seems cool with the concept of cheating.

    Next time lets call him Barnie or her Wilma. Although if I do think Fred Flintstone had a crush on Betty Rubbles.

  • The universe truly smiled on me because I got all the friends and, as I joke, my sweet mountain town, in the divorce.

    But here is the oddest and most startling blessing. When I finally told one of his close family members, she scolded me for waffling and for considering reconciliation. She warned me that his duplicitous behavior was so hypocritical that he was never to be trusted again. I was still hitting the hopium pipe pretty hard and wasn’t quite ready to hear this truth.

    The next week she invited me to her house for a glass of wine. Imagine my surprise when I walked into a full-on INTERVENTION staged by the women in his family. In their no nonsense Southern way they told me that the only way to save myself was to divorce. They also told me they would support me and my kids no matter what. And, God love them, they have.

    The steel magnolias are wimps next to these chicks and I am grateful every day. I lovingly call them my outlaws.

  • In the three years STBXH and I were together, he NEVER ONCE went on a boys’ outing. He only had two friends at our wedding because, well, he is not a citizen and only made two male friends in his 13 years in the US. Two. He would be invited to things and would refuse to go, deeming the inviters losers and nerds.

    Then sit at the computer in his 3X boxers for hours playing Guild Wars.

    He would get angry if I went out with my girlfriends, or talked to my one male friend, who I have known for 30 years and is like a brother to me. As I had before marriage I went on trips to Mexico and Jamaica with my travel agent bestie, who would get great deals. We went on great family vacations too, but he was still livid and tried to tell me his mum and dad “always left the house together.”

    I remember his agonizing about his career being stalled and lack of male friends.

    I WANTED him to have his own social life. Frankly it was weird. All our social life was with my friends and family. When I suggested we save up for a trip to the UK, and he said it should just be him and his daughter. I said fine. he never saved for it.

    The day he publicly declared his Schmoopie Love on FB , he unfriended over 40 of our friends and family, so as not to face the comments of shock, I suppose.

    His two friends, daughter and family have not unfriended me. I have him and Schmoops blocked so I don’t see their photos and crap even if a mutual friend does.

    So he has fewer friends than ever before, reputation at work worse than ever.

    I am pretty much aside from a few charged up credit cards just as well off socially and financially as before. I have my parents’ old home and my two children to care for. Schmoopie thinks she won the sweepstakes, she just doesn’t know it’s really the Pile O’Crap Sweepstakes!

    • Wow Luziana, I always thought my STBX did not have friends as a child or in highschool (he only had one) but when I met him in college he was a social butterfly. However, they were all friends that quickly went their ways as soon as we got married. No “real” friends. Then all of his friends were our couple friends until he formed his own group of colleague – cheater friends where he got all his OWs from. So it is probably a red flag that he did not have any deep friendships ever. While I, on the other hand, am recovering my friends from the past…many of them. I realized he had pushed them away, or they didn´t like him. Most of them are confessing that they NEVER liked him because he seemed arrogant and obnoxious. So they stayed away from both of us. His social friends don´t think that of him because for them he was the center of the party (the parties that he never took me too). So my real friends and family have always had my back because they sort of read through him from the beginning. And I haven´t lost them…I am recovering them.

        • Luziana….Schmoopie thinks she won the lottery with Mr. 3X Boxer Shorts??

          Isn’t is something that a lot of these people (my X included) never seemed to have any Real Friends? Red flags anyone? My X lived in this town his entire life and had tons of acquaintances but no Real Friends. Funny, huh?
          I’d say the moral to this story is the next time you meet a romantic interest check to see how many Real Friends they have.

          • My ex lovebombs well. He isn’t totally hideous on the outside and carries his weight well, just as I found out it’s his soul that’s truly ugly.

  • Well, the friendship breakup is becoming public. Other friends are now justifying the “trying to stay neutral” bullshit. One even said I should apologize to Fred. Mind you, these are all non-chumps. I think we chumps all get it.

    I’m going to have to get an entirely new passel of friends.

    • I really believe non-chumps don’t get it. I didn’t even get it when my own mother was chumped, oh, yes I felt for her, but I did foolhardedly believe I would never make the same mistakes… okay, it took me ‘only’ 6 months of false reconciliation, compared to her years and years of turning the blind eye, but boy, did I suddenly really understand what she’d gone though.

      And now she has my back, understands my dilemma with fence sitters like no other. She has two brothers. One dumped X/my father immediately: “Hurt my sister, out of my life”. The other claimed that they had become friends over the decennia, blablabla. Well, 20 years later and she still feels the abandonment.

      One of my BFF’s has Lyme disease. And also kept contact with X on Facebook, actively liking his posts. So I explained to her, what if you told me all about the terrible effects of your disease and I cried along with you. Then the next day I find a doctor on Facebook that claims Lyme disease is not real and I LIKE his comments. How would you feel?

      I don’t have to contract Lyme to empathize. I probably don’t know or understand the depths of her despair. But I take care to be there for her, listen, not to hurt her feelings. That’s true friendship. And very rare.

    • I’m really sorry because now is when you need a social network the most. Basically, it is okay if he is fucking you over by fucking someone else as long as they do not get fucked. You should just play nice so nobody is uncomfortable. What a crock.

      I am always a dully surprised when people do this.

    • Lost,

      I am sorry you are experiencing this. It really stinks. And I think it is especially hard on chumps who want people to like them or maybe that was just me. Losing the “friends” or realizing they really never were your friends compounds the already painful loss after discovering the cheating. Much to grieve.

      One thing I write about is the spiritual realities of adultery. Connecting the dots from the Bible, adultery is soul rape ( This may be a helpful metaphor or spiritual truth to keep in mind for those who may actually care about you.

      Friends don’t remain neural towards a perp who has raped their friend. Friends do not blame their friend for being raped. Adultery is truly that traumatic as many here can attest. It is not a slip up but a premeditated violation of the faithful spouse–uniting you without permission to some slut or gigolo. Soul rape. That is the spiritual truth.

      Hugs and blessings!

      • “Friends don’t remain neutral towards a perp who has raped their friend. Friends do not blame their friend for being raped.”

        Sadly they do more often than we’d like to think.

  • Yeah, losing lots of friends really sucks for a while. But you will make new ones, and rediscover some genuine old ones.

    My attitude was always to let people fall on whatever side they wanted to. I did not go around telling my side of the story to people who really just wanted to pretend that nothing serious had happened. My real friends know exactly what happened and they see my ex for the cheating piece of crap that she is.

    But most of the shared friends fell to her side. I was upset for a while, but I realised that I had no control over the situation and just let it happen. If those people are OK with cheating then I don’t want to know them.

    Look out for yourself.

    • Will also add one more thing – two of the guys in the former shared friendship group both cheated on their wives within months of my split.

      Evil losers.

  • OK, you guys. This is all really fucked up.

    Now people are accusing me of blaming Fred. Or they’re saying, “Why lose a friendship over X’s mistakes?” Or, “What if you and X are friends again someday? That’ll be weird for Fred.” Or, “You’re being really irrational. Fred loves you and X both. Give him a break.”


    • You can’t win in a triangulated relationship without sacrificing your integrity. If you try, you’re only going to spend a lot of time defending yourself that could be put to more productive uses. If they want to all play pseudo-psychologist, let ’em. Don’t give them anything to work with. Tell them you’ve “moved on”.

      I walked away from all past contacts. You know what? They were all so superficial anyway. The ex wanted it all — our old phone number, our old mailing address, our old friends. And he spent more time than was healthy recruiting those people into his corner. I think a goodly number of them ended up just agreeing with him so he’d shut up already.

      There’s an old saying that goes something like — ‘Great minds discuss ideas, Average minds discuss current events, and SMALL MINDS discuss other people.’ I don’t have any time in my life anymore for small minds, who you can identify by their propensity to gossip.

    • People are saying that it’s very weird that (1) Betty doesn’t seem to care that Fred’s OK with his friend’s cheating and; (2) you are better off without both of them because, in reality, they’ve already chosen your ex’s side.

    • Cleave those fuckers out of your life, too. Give the same reason you gave to Fred and if they can’t handle that or start self-justifying, ‘hang up’ on them too. 🙂
      Screw these idiots and the whores they rode in on.

      • (Forgot to add this too)
        Firstly, its not a mistake, its a choice. Many choices, in fact.
        You’re not friends with people who actively fuck you over.
        Also, people claim you’re ‘irrational’ when it comes to asserting healthy boundaries on what is unacceptable behaviour? Comes down again to people trying to make you into a doormat, really – because they can’t handle anyone being otherwise.
        Next thing they’ll be saying is ‘you’re so judgemental!’ – of course you are – you judge cheaters for what they are and act accordingly – to cleave them out of your life and want nothing more to do with them.
        What next, they’ll call you crazy cat lady or something? These people are so fucking predictable.

  • Been there got this t shirt… One of my closest friends, we used to spend a lot of time together, started seeing the ex and his howorker, having bbqs, dinners etc. Get this text message from her about 6 months after he ran off saying “it is so nice to see (ex) happy and howorker is such a lovely person”. I never responded to the text. I was gobsmacked about it. I typed out this long reply, about oh how I am sooo glad that he’s happy and that she seems lovely but watch out for your husband she has a track record of chasing after married men… but then just deleted it and thought nope, not happening. Not even going to respond. Get another text off her a few hours later about how she hopes that I am happy and we can keep being friends… Um… no, sorry. I am not friends with people who think that this is ok.

  • This is an excerpt from a TD jakes sermon called LET IT GO, and is perfect for today’s post:

    There are people who can walk away from you. And hear me when I tell you this! When people can walk away from you: let them walk.

    I don’t want you to try to talk another person into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, staying attached to you. I mean hang up the phone. When people can walk away from you let them walk. Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left.

    People leave you because they are not joined to you. And if they are not joined to you, you can’t make them stay.

    Let them go.

  • Lost – I am sorry your best friend is siding (albeit with coercion, somewhat) with her husband. Let me tell you, I lost EVERY, SINGLE. FRIEND. that I thought I had. Even the two that were supposed to be “mine” for support – women agreed to with my EX as we were splitting up. One seemed to support me for a while – until she needed something from the EX. I haven’t seen her since February and she doesn’t answer my texts, or respond to my voice mails. Interestingly, she went thru the exact same cheating scenario with her EX quite some time ago. I supported her 100% – both emotionally, monetarily and with things she needed (firewood and other things).

    As my hairdresser said, “I need a better class of friends”.

    Does it suck? Sure. Does it hurt? Definitely. But I have gotten to the point that if these so-called friends ever contact me (I’m sure it will be because they need something) that I will turn my back. I don’t need people around that are only there when I am useful. I get that I make them uncomfortable, but can’t understand why they still love the EX.

    Interestingly enough, the people from my former life that I have the most contact with are my ex-in-laws. Of course they still love my EX, they are family, so I can understand that. But a couple of them have been there for me when I really needed someone. On SIL invited me to a vacation condo she had for a week so I could do something to get my mind off what I had been going thru (shopping – and not buying anything, miniature golf, strolls on the beach, and talks, really did help).

    I am slowly making acquaintances that I hope will be a better class of friends than what I supposedly had in my previous life. At least they didn’t know him, so that at least is a start.

    I hope you find such friends that can support you as you need, and who can help you thru your pain and making your new life.

    • I didn’t realize that setting a hard boundary with one friend would set off such a shitstorm. Holy smokes.

      • Of course it set off a shitstorm – because your boundary puts people in the uncomfortable position of having to face their situational ethics and values. Can’t do that! Nothing wrong with them and their “multiple choice” Christian values. Something wrong with you.

        If someone, along with an accomplice, broke into your home, stole your things, beat you and left you for dead, would these assholes try to get their contact information from the police so they could call them up, congratulate them and take them out to dinner? Your Ex is the burglar and his OW is his accomplice and co-conspirator. For some reason, they don’t get this with respect to infidelity, but this, at its most basic, is what it is. Of course, they want to pretend that if you had only had a chair under the doorknob along with the deadbolt, or if you had a Gorilla standing guard instead of a pit bull, that you somehow could have prevented a determined criminal intent on harming you from harming you. Not their fault for being a criminal and intentionally targeting someone who was minding their own business – your fault for not taking even more precautions than you had already taken. This train of thought makes them feel safe, even though they don’t have a Gorilla either.

        Fuck Fred and the damn Brontosaurus he rode in on.

      • You did the right thing. You are cleaning the closet, Lost. Don’t waver. You want only the best in your life.

  • I don’t know who my friends are here in my town. We have lived in cheating ex-wife’s small home town (pop 700) our whole 20 yr. marriage. Now her Adultery Partner who happens to be her divorced high school boyfriend now moves back to town, moves in with her bringing his 16 yr old son. So now here I am living in the house we built 15 yrs ago in a town where everyone knows both of them. Since she is a teacher everyone knows her including 20+ yrs worth of her past students. I can only imagine what she tells her friends and her home town acquaintances. Most cases I envision everyone being on her side. I know I am staying here on my own but I stay here only because we still have a 16 yr and 13 yr old son who don’t want to go to another school. This is their home and I can’t move them away. The way I see it I’ll be eating shit sandwiches for another 6 yrs. until the youngest one graduates.

    • 🙁

      You COULD move away, but you’re a GREAT dad.

      And I don’t think you’ll have to eat shit sandwiches forever. I think it gets better. It’s not just her town, it’s your town, too. Your kids are home there. Hold your head high. Work on making yourself the guy you admire. Do something for yourself–learn something new, pursue a new or old passion, work out. Stay classy. Clear your home of junk you don’t want or need any more. Invite friends from in or out of town for a weekend, or, if you share custody, consider getting together with your friends for a fun weekend away.

      You can do it!

  • “they need to realize that someone DID this TO you. You didn’t bring it on yourself by some flaw. ”

    Yes, yes and yes. While my ex didn’t cheat (not that I know of) he is a terrible father to his child who he basically just abandoned…TERRIBLE. My family defends him and acts as though there is something wrong with me to have created this situation. Yeah right, like no matter how horrible I am (for argument’s sake) like that would have any impact on how he treats his own kid. He treats his kid like crap because he doesn’t give a damn. Yet if he shows up at something, everyone wants to throwing him a fucking party. Grrr. Anyway, it just goes to show what an awesome family I have 🙁

  • I don’t believe people are really neutral about cheating. If he had molested their child instead, would the friends still not take sides? Of course not, because molestation is an act they clearly see as wrong.

    So if verbally they’re not taking sides, it’s because internally, they’ve taken the side of the cheater but don’t want to admit that out loud. They see cheating as a gray area where the person who got cheated on is either partially or wholly to blame.

    • Let me complicate this by pointing out the legions of parents who never believed a priest could do anything wrong, let alone molest their child. Or that fail to believe a child who says Grandpa or Dad or Coach X or even Aunt Susie molested me. Denial. Denial. Denial.

      • The amount of times I have heard “Well we don’t really know what happened,” and “Well people make up stories all the time” from coworkers/community/etc. when a molestation case or a rape case comes up in town, sickens me. I truly believe that people do not want to believe that there is evil in this world and that people, especially people they know, are capable of awful, unspeakably evil things.

  • My long time close friend has definitely been threatened by my drama and said it had brought their problems to light. She was initially supportive. After DDay I spent a long weekend crying my eyes out at their house.
    Her alcoholic husband has been acting in a questionable way lately – lots of booze-fueled checking out and even though she’s been open about their recent troubles, she has also distanced herself from me somewhat. Her H and my STBX were buddies via our friendship and he already pissed me off having a drunken evening with him after everything blew up. I told him it really upset me that he would spend any time with that asshole and he apologized saying he was worried that STBX might hurt himself.
    I saw them over the weekend and he of course got severely trashed and made a joke that we should just get back together. FUCK YOU. You think that’s funny? I’m done with him.

  • Once again, CL & Chump Nation have come to the rescue. I can accept that there are random crazy people out there. So I pretty quickly came to accept XH is one. And after reading a shit ton of self-help books about Narcissists and codependents (Adult Children of Alcoholics, anyone?), I am no longer self-critical of having been duped.
    And I always expected his family to side with him, even though Dear Ol’ Dad did the same thing to Mom.

    But I never saw the friend thing coming. I thought, “How much more obvious can this be, without me even saying a word? Thirty-nine year old man leaves forty-nine year old wife for twenty-five year old waitress in his restaurant.” Hello! Captain Obvious!!

    Peripheral friends? His coworkers? People I didn’t know all that well? (He’s the shiny one of the two of us; I’m the book-reading, dog-walking, homebody one.) Meh! I added them up in “Losses” as well. But the close friends, for as long as we’ve been together, that was the sucker punch I did NOT see coming.

    I have tried and tried to talk to this couple and they keep dodging my calls, texts and emails. I feel like I have finally accepted that they aren’t worth my time or effort anymore. As someone above said: They did choose; they chose him. (The wife said she feels bad that she hasn’t even baked me a plate of cookies — Unless they’re Ninja Death Star cookies I can force-feed my XH & OW, I’m not interested.) I now just have this one little thing left, them watching my dogs for this long-planned trip to a conference out of state — can’t find a sitter on short notice — then I’m done. I’m so pre-relieved, I can’t stand it. I didn’t do the Pick-Me dance for my marriage, I’m sure as shit not going to do it for someone who has no empathy for me. The husband fancies himself a philosopher and says his criteria for decision-making is, “If you could make the decision without anyone getting their feelings hurt, and you would still make it, then it’s the right decision.” What total bullshit. I guess I’ll steal his car then, because I want it.

    I’m actually kinda excited to be making my own life and leaving behind all these duplicitous spineless codependents in my XH’s life (“But he’s so FUN!”). I can tell my own story now, meet new people. A good friend of mine (mine) said, way back at the beginning (God bless her), “There are some wonderful things I’ve always liked about you and not one of them ever had anything to do with him.”

    Thanks, again, CL, for casting the bright light on all these shadow dancers. And thanks, Chump Nation, for telling your stories, so I don’t feel so alone and crazy. <3

    • Yeah, you can’t reason with stupid, unfortunately. It’s akin to bashing your head against a brick wall.
      That energy could be spent on far more productive activities to better your life and be to ‘meh’ and beyond.
      And that 25yr old waitress is just a gold-digging slag anyway – that’s the only reason why she’d be with him. The karma bus will roll your XH over when she cheats on his aging backside.

      • Forgot to add: There’s nothing wrong whatsoever with a ‘homebody’ person like yourself – its these disordered sparkly types which can’t handle the simple life and instead have to get mindless gratification and sparkles and shiny crap from the Skankasaurus Rex.

        • Yeah, I’m pretty sure she doesn’t know it was my “homebody” money that BOUGHT him that business, and, had I so desired to embroil myself in drama, I could’ve claimed it back in the divorce and fired her on the spot. Alas, I knew a steaming pile of crap when I saw it, so I just wanted out ASAP. — I love my homebody self. I content myself every day I think about it that he would die were he the Dumpee instead of the Dumper, he simply hasn’t got the strength. Me? I’m awesome.
          My plan is to be so seriously embroiled in my own life that by the time the Karma bus comes along, I won’t even have the curiosity to look back.

  • I completely avoided (or so I thought) by packing up and moving 3000 miles away, just after d-day. My ex SIL, who as a serial cheater herself, was complicit in XH’s affair cover ups. My thought was, these people will forget me and I can just start fresh. Why go through the agony of cataloguing who is a faithful friend or not?

    Fast forward about three years, and I get a thermo-nuclear email from above-mentioned SIL’s crazy ex husband, himself a chump, tearing me to shreds for “leaving my husband”. He goes on to say how much my cheating ex has suffered by losing me. Doh. If you do walk away, be prepared for cheater to spin a grand tale. I sent the email on to my ex, and told him if it didn’t stop, I’d reopen the support case. That struck a nerve. I actually received an apology.

    So glad I’m sitting on a beach. Alone and happy.

  • Hugs to all you chumps for forging on without the friends that you though were your friends.
    I have been lucky with my friends and family. I believe my friend’s husband did not even respond to my STBX’s text. He has no friends so he remains alone. His family, on the other hand, is a different matter.
    They tried to hush me from the start. Like all other shameful situations in their lives, they pretend it never happened. For example my father-in-law was arrested for inappropriate touching of a young women. His arrest was over 12 years ago and my husband has yet to tell me the true story of the time he suddenly had to go home because his father was not feeling well. It was so strange to me why he insisted that I stay with the kids and not come along.
    I have also heard recently that his family believes that he only had one indiscretion and has been asking for my forgiveness and I am just too mean to forgive his ONE SILLY LITTLE MISTAKE. His one little silly mistake was going on for over 10 years with multiple women that he finally confessed to me (we had been married for 23 years). His fun all came crashing down when one of the women started to black mail him. He had to tell me the truth or else she would. He tried silencing her for about a year and over $10,000 but I think she got more greedy. It must have been hell for him being controlled like that. That does bring a smile to my face, so maybe I am mean. HEEE HEEE!!! (evil laugh)

  • When I was going through the gaslight stage, I started reading Brene Brown’s book on vulnerability, “The Gifts of Imperfection.” One of the most important things I learned from that book was that we should only share our stories with those who have earned the right to hear them. In her book “Daring Greatly,” she adds the idea (from Teddy Roosevelt) that we should not allow critique from those who are not bloodied by being in the “arena” to impact our efforts to life and achieve authentically in life. She’s not talking her about the work of losing a cheater and gaining a life either book, but what she says suggest that we have to be careful with whom we share our story. Of course, in close-knit communities or social groups, there’s no way to control who finds out about the cheating or the divorce, who gossips, etc. But we do control with whom we share our OWN story, our deepest feelings or even our shallowest feelings, for that matter. If being chumped teaches us anything, it is that before we share intimacies with others (whether they be physical or emotional), we needs to look hard at their character. The second book talks about not valuing the opinion of critics when they are not getting themselves bloodied in the arena in the same way. I don’t agree with Brown’s overly optimistic attempts to understand narcissism, but at least she names that as a major problem in interpersonal relationships and she sees quite clearly that disengagement from intimate partnerships is a terrible betrayal.

    As I think about how going through the experience of betrayal is (still) changing me, it seems that I have moved from thinking about relationships, and especially intimate partnership, as the #1 most important thing in life, to thinking of relationship as a challenge to live consciously and authentically and at the highest level of character. Most chumps writing here (I won’t generalize further than that) mostly likely aspired to a marriage like that but had no real models for it and were attempting it with someone who can’t even relate at the lowest level of connection. So when we move through the aftermath of D-Day and put our lives together, many of us are moving to higher levels in our expectations of ourselves in relationship. We want authenticity, honest, transparency, loyalty and we want to give that. And it’s a no-brainer that what we learn about marriage or partnernership extends to our friendships. Giving up friends who are appeasers or fearful that infidelity is contagious or who think cheating can be justified because no marital partner is perfect is painful, another loss piled on top of many others. But it’s really the pain of shifting from a life where we didn’t really know the people closest to us to a life where we know ourselves and can work on having relationships with others trying to do the same thing.

    • I totally agree, LAJ. Here in my new life, I am who I want to be without the “poor me” label. Some days I totally forget I was ever married, even though it was for 29 years and produced two great kids. True NC also means giving yourself the right surroundings to,re-invent yourself, this time around, a lot wiser. Last night, some new nosy neighbours asked where my sons’ father lives. I just replied “oh we lost him in 2009”. I didn’t lie, I just declined to fill in the blanks.

      As for friends, I am learning to pick people who show signs of being genuine. They are not generally sparkly folks, but wow they are so much more real than my married/materialistic/social climbing ex friends.

      • Loved your reply to nosy neighbors, and need to start thinking about creative replies myself. I remind myself every day that I am so much better off without my ex and others who were toxic people in my life. I am honest with everybody. My life has been so challenging that I don’t believe in not being my authentic self. I honor my story because it made me who I am (and still continues to). My ex’s cheating was his problem. I have never changed. I went into that commitment and lived my values. If people have a problem with anything I do that’s their problem. Not mine:). I know I rock. I don’t bother thinking of “those who walked” because I let them. Chumps, we are so much better off!

  • People like to think of infidelity as something they can be neutral about because there is no tangible damage. The violence isn’t physical; the theft has no monetary value. We can’t see it, therefore it does not exist.

    Anyone who hasn’t been betrayed like this has a limited capacity to see it, I suppose. And yet, faced with a similar situation a few years ago, I chose. I chose my second-best friend over my long-term best friend, because A cheated on B and lied about it for months.

    I never knew.

    A was “miserable” for years and I never knew.

    Or she wasn’t miserable and wanted to blame B for her affair.

    Either way, A lied to B, to me, to her other friends, to her family. And, frankly, this was not a person I wanted in my life.

    I wish her peace now, but I don’t know where she is. I’m sad, still, but B has remained a close, supportive friend and has been invaluable in helping me survive MY partner’s infidelity.

  • Been working long hours, just wanted to say; you get the friends who actually are your friends. The ones who respect you, trust you and believe in you. The ones that don’t tell you they are neutral because they weren’t there. The ones that know you are honest because they are honest and that all goes to trust at it’s core. Fuck the rest of them, they were never really your friends to begin with.

  • Thank you so much CL! I was devastated – not at finding out my POS is a cheater – but who I thought were my friends! You definitely find out who your real friends are, not necessarily at the beginning but as one is starting the divorce process. Like you said, “Not taking sides, is taking sides.” And before, it upset me that these so called friends weren’t calling or even thinking that even though he had an affair that “I don’t think it’s going on anymore.” Seriously!!! It doesn’t matter! And of course my STBX took his affair under cover. But this article made me really realize that these aren’t friends and I don’t need them and I am looking forward to meeting new, better friends.

  • Bingo–not taking sides means you have at least one foot in the camp with the Cheater. And that nullifies any potential friendship with the Chump, IMHO.

    It took me 8 years to find out about my husband’s affair (small mercies–I was spared the “pick me” dance). At least 3 of our very close friends knew. I understand why they didn’t tell me–they are co-workers of my husband–but it means they are now not MY friends. MY friends protect me, my friends don’t let me waste years of my life to stay in a lie of a marriage. And that goes for the friends who won’t invite me over until I feel more “healed” after d-day. True friendship sometimes means you get your hands dirty (or listen to my pain)

    Hasta la vista, baby. I deserve better friends, and so does Lost (and all of you).

  • Four years after I divorced my cheating husband he married his AP. She was 5 months pregnant at the time. They had a huge church wedding, even though he is an atheist ! ( we had a civil ceremony ). All their friends from work were there (they worked together). These were the people who covered for him during his affair when he was having days off work to spend time with her. If I rang work – which wasn’t often – I was told that “he’d just gone out to see a supplier/customer/the senior manager”. etc. It seemed he had demonized me to anyone who would listen.
    These were people who I had entertained at our house, eaten with and socialized with. I was very upset and angry at first, but then I realised what a favour he had done me, as I didn’t have to have such two-faced people in my life.

    Last year his Best Man died suddenly and this year another work colleague of his died prematurely. I wonder if the Karma bus is coming…?

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