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When Cheaters Do Therapy… Some Precautions

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Chumps, hopeful creatures that we are, are often so encouraged when their cheaters do therapy. It doesn’t matter if we had to beg, plead, consult their calendar 6 months out, call seven insurance adjusters, work around their badminton schedule, or drag them there by their hairy ears — our chumpy little hearts sing. “They want to SAVE the marriage! They CARE! They will CHANGE!”

Visions of reconciliation unicorns dance in our heads.

The Wizard of Therapy will say Just The Right Thing in Just The Right Way that the cheaters will see the Error of Their Ways! Sure, I can tell him that texting her at our son’s soccer games is hurtful and wrong, but he’ll LISTEN when the Wizard of Therapy (who has a masters in clinical social work!) tells him! Of course, when I tell her that she has to promise to never contact him again, she says I’m controlling and hateful. But the Wizard of Therapy will make her see sense!

Let’s all go see the Wizard of Therapy! He’ll give our cheaters hearts, and brains, and courage to end their affairs! And then we can all click our heels and go back HOME! To our restored marriages!

God love us, we are so all in. We are such chumps.

Can cheaters do therapy? “Yeah, and bears can ride bicycles,” said my husband. (This column idea was his.) You can get anyone to do anything, doesn’t mean it’s natural for them, and it doesn’t mean they can sustain it. Or be anything other than bears.

So how do you know if therapy is really helping your marriage after infidelity? Or if it’s just a bear riding a bicycle? Here’s a primer.

1.) You booked the appointment. There’s your first clue this isn’t going to end well. You’re already doing the heavy lifting to save this. You’re already the more invested partner, when you are the CHUMP. You’re not the person who broke the marriage. They cheated. The least they can do is pick up the phone and make a goddamn appointment. They can’t do that? This isn’t therapy. This is the “pick me” dance. They’ll attend therapy as the price of cake.

2.) They don’t do the homework. Did your therapist tell them to read a book, an article, spend 20 minutes each evening answering questions? And they’ve got a hundred excuses why they’re too busy to do that? If you’re a chump, you’re spackling. Yeah, those reasons are… reasonable. Okay. So you’ll just help. You’ll buy the book on CD! They can listen as they drive into work! You’ll highlight the relevant passages and leave them by the nightstand!

STOP. Connect the dots. They cheated. They’re not doing the homework. They’re not invested in fixing this. What possible excuse do they have that is of more importance than working on their marriage? Don’t listen to what they SAY. What are they doing or not doing? That’s the clue to their priorities.

3.) They lie. Therapy is not sodium pentothal. Sitting on a shrink’s sofa does not confer honesty upon liars. Cheaters lie. What reason do you have to believe they’re being honest now? The grueling cross-examination of the therapist? That doesn’t happen generally speaking. Most likely your shrink will sit there in a pose of non-judgment.

You’re working from the assumption that your cheater wants to bear his/her soul and heal. That’s often a faulty assumption.

4.) They use therapy to manipulate you further. The very clever cheaters will use therapy as a pretext to mindfuck you further. They listen to your vulnerabilities and learn to exploit them better.

“Well, you’ve always been afraid of bees, Janice. I didn’t invite you on that long weekend to Winterthur gardens because I knew there would be bees! I was being CONSIDERATE! But, NO, you just can’t see that, can you?”

They also use therapy to cloak themselves in an impermeable barrier of “brokenness.” You can’t call them on their shit. They’re very vulnerable now and might relapse. You wouldn’t want them to reoffend, would you?

“Did I cheat on you? Well, it’s only because I have a deep-seated fears of commitment. When you rub my back, raise our children, and pay the taxes, I feel smothered. It all goes back to when my father left for a package of cigarettes and never came back… How do I know you’re there for me and not cheating on me? So that’s why I get happy ending massages. You know, to go on the offensive. Get my needs met elsewhere. I really need you to support me now. Because I never feel like you’re really all there for me. You’re really a drag to be around sometimes. So focused on the kids. I know I’m weak! Can’t you see I’m broken?!”

5.) They make false equivalencies. Does your cheater want to divert the therapy conversation to your flaws? Well, that would be a productive conversation if you were in marriage therapy for something other than infidelity. Yes, then I want to hear how I make stewed tomatoes wrong and fail to consider your mother at Thanksgiving. But NOT after I just learned you fucked the babysitter. Now the stewed tomato item gets moved very low on the talking point agenda.

Stewed tomatos fails are not equivalent to fucking the babysitter.

Failing to correctly stew tomatoes does not drive someone to cheat on you.

What really sucks is when you get a quack who believes the narrative of Needs Were Not Being Met that Drove the Cheater to Cheat. When the shrink buys the false equivalencies and gives them equal weight to the infidelity, it’s incredibly harmful.

Look, it’s common sense that you cannot save a marriage if one person is actively not in the marriage. Focusing on your love languages, communication styles, and mutual flaws instead of the infidelity is like ordering dinner options on the Hindenburg.

So chumps, if you’re ticking any of these boxes? You’ve got genuine imitation Naugahyde remorse. Save your money for the divorce lawyer.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I totally agree, CL. Complete waste of time to go to therapy with a cheater, except to make one appointment as further proof that the cheater is fucked up and will never be humble enough to reconcile. Save your co-pay.

    Mine agreed to therapy, then sent me a long email detailing what I would also need to work on to make him happy in the marriage. I went on a gorgon-style temper tantrum, & threw him out of the house that night.

    Two weeks later, desperate cheater-shit begs and begs and begs for therapy, makes an appointment. When he won’t tell the therapist why we are there, I say “He met his whore for coffee multiple times over 3 weeks, then fucked her for 3 weeks.” His response (said in a haughty British accent), “I object to that language.” WHAT??????? You stick your dick in someone repeatedly & then come home to screw me, and you object to the term “fuck”???????

    That was one more fact in my arsenal, knowing that it was faux remorse, and I filed 6 days later.

    Save your time, your money, and your sanity. Go straight to LEAVE, and do collect your $200 (plus custody).

    • OMG yes! I wish that I had read this 2 years ago and could have absorbed every word! Chumpy me was appalled at his behavior during our sessions that I had arranged. Now he is begging ME to go to counseling with him. I finally said yes because I knew that he would never make the appt. 3 weeks ago, he asked me when I was going to schedule our session and was upset that I wasn’t going to take the lead. Uh, I’m taking the lead in filing for the divorce…it took his last session of verbal abuse to realize that I do not love him anymore. I’m done. I’m mighty. I’m soaring.
      MC

      • Mighty Cat–You are mighty! Take those steps toward divorce one by one while he drags his feet on making a therapy appointment, so that Cat can pounce on that sniveling little mouse at the right time (with apologies to mice; they don’t deserve to be compared to cheaters, but had to fill out the metaphor somehow).

    • MissdtGirl65, I agree. Brilliant as always, CL! For someone who acquired all this knowledge through the college of hard knocks and has the fortitude and generosity to impart it to others, this article and entire blog is worthy of a Nobel prize in recognition of cultural advances.

        • I definitely agree with that Chutes. Show of hands: how many of us would still be in useless therapy if not for CL? I raise my hand high. While it’s sad that I needed to hear it from someone else before I believed what I already knew in my heart, at least there is someone out there that is willing to go against the grain and say what needs to be said about infidelity!

          • I don’t think I’d still be in therapy as I have carefully honed my bullshit detector after 24 years with cheater-jerk.

            However, without CL, I would probably be on death row for spousal homicide. The sense of perspective, community, and dark sense of humor from Tracy and all of you saved me from Rick Perry’s death machine.

  • All of your points regarding the disordered in therapy are spot on. Then again, you already know this and are again reminding us gently that this kind of Hopium rarely works.

    The knee-jerk reaction to any stressful situation will be to go to what’s in the toolbox. Most people in therapy seek better tools to use their toolboxes when under stress. This doesn’t happen with BPD. They’ll do what they have always done (actions) vs what they know the therapist told them to do (words).

    The chump gets shit on again, but this time wrapped in psycho-babble; “my cognitive dissonance makes it difficult for me to see what I need to do”.
    Yup save the $, or use the sessions to learn better coping mechanisms in dealing with crazies.

    • It’s true–I sent mine several Chump Lady columns, and all he did was parrot the language in them during his attempts at faux reconciliation to make me think he was now sensitive.

      His real views came out several weeks later, after I filed. He described CL as “angry.” Ya think? Yup, me too, I am *f-ing* angry that you blew up my life and our children’s lives for some novel p*ssy. I hope it was worth half of your huge retirement accounts.

        • Lol. We, chumps on the other hand, develop a great sense of humor. Know why I am laughing now? I am basing my divorce on his short affair with a grad student that may have involved approximately 6 intimate sessions with her (I have some independent verification for that number).

          Conservatively, my settlement means that each screw will have cost him a minimum of $83,333–now that is funny!

          • Wow, imagine all the hookers that could have bought! With gold-plated tassles and Swarovski-encrusted vajazzle.

          • You have to have a good sense of humor to get past the fact that you put up with so much nonsense.

            If you can’t laugh at yourself, who can you laught at?

          • I should add that includes the worth of the house, so it’s not like I’ll be buying a yacht or anything (though drinks all around if we ever have a chump retreat). [And of course, the likelihood he only cheated with one woman may be slim, so the cost per session may not have been as high as calculated. I’m not sure I want to know about any more–this was enough pain.]

            • Mine is in therapy at the moment – once a week.. I organised the specialist psychologist but he makes the appointments – and he read A book given to him by the psych this is all he has done in 10 months. When I asked him why he didn’t do anything else to deal with his 15 years of rooting around while we were married he was most upset – hhhmmm me nagging at him again… you know that ‘he tries really hard’ …. I’m never satisfied crap. He explained to me that just because I couldn’t SEE him doing anything …. i.e a change in his behavior or some evidence that he sought to confront understand and deal with his problem – like sourcing books, attending meetings or reading articles that might help him examine what motivated him to live that double life ….. You see my husbands therapy and changes are all happening ‘in his head’ so that every night if he has gotten to the end of the day without watching porn or cheating on me meant he was a better person ….what … so ..that’s it??? all we have to do to reform yourself if you are a character disordered non-reflective cheating lying shit is THINK …. oh for fucks sake then I am fucking Mother Theresa.

              • Kristil–I feel for you; suffering that faux remorse is hard. Kind of like kneeling on rice–tiny little hurts that add up to a constant pain, with no end in sight to the suffering.

                Are you any closer to throwing the bum out?

  • You should have been an FBI profiler Chump Lady. Every single thing you’ve said in these posts fits my situation like a glove — it’s almost embarrassing. My cheater started therapy and I think it has actually made her feel better about her infidelity. It allows her to shift blame to issues outside of herself, or factors that are/were not under her control. And guess who did all the legwork to get her in the chair? I wanted to see my wife’s affair as a form of temporary insanity, and who better to cure that than a psychiatrist? Your line about the “impermeable barrier of ‘brokenness'” is almost too painful to read — spot on. It’s so easy to see yourself as part of what caused the brokenness, making the affair at least in part you own fault.

    • This is so true. My ex suffered from depression our entire marriage and refused to go to therapy. BUT, 2 weeks after DDay he was going once a week and then of course ended up in his own apartment because he needed to work on himself before we could work on our marriage. And if they lie to us, how much do they lie to their therapist? HAH, a lot I’m sure. After I told ex I wanted a divorce, he ex threatened suicide so I called his shrink and told her I was concerned. My ex stopped seeing her after that, he said to me “Now that you talked to her, I can’t trust her anymore”…he was afraid I might have told her something that didn’t jibe with his bullshit. And yes, he was so broken – used the same poor me brokenness on the OW too.

    • If therapy leads her to shift blame, it’s bogus. My therapist wouldn’t allow ME to shift blame, let alone help me do it.

    • Charles, what’s sad is that there seems to be a cheater playbook from which they all read. One of the things I’ve learned from reading CL’s site is that cheaters are not the special creatures they seem to think they are. Rather, they’re rather boring and filled with entitlement.

      • That reminds me of when my cheater said, “I didn’t leave US, Margaret, I left YOU.” You see, “us” in his opinion was quite complete with only him in it.

        • WHAT!! that doesnt even make sense!! it is as much sense as my XH MOW telling me that “he didnt divorce the children, he just divorced you” ummm….first of all I DIVORCED HIM and second yes, he left the children when he left the marriage and abandoned them by not seeing or talking to them in 6 months. i dont know what they are calling that now.

    • MIne did too! I was not invited to therapy. He had to work on himself first before he could work on us. Like a Chump, I gave him about a month to get back to me on that but I never waited the full month. I knew there would be no reconciliation. He was NC from day one. He was indifferent towards me. That is a painful transition…from loving happy marriage to…nothing. He is one of those unhappy people. He thinks like would be greener on the other side. Or maybe he thought HE would be greener on the other side. Hate to tell him, happiness comes from within not your circumstances.

      • Conniered, My cheater has spent his life chronically unhappy… either wallowing in it, avoiding it, blaming me for it, jealous of me for my happiness…You are right, happiness comes from within and generally you have to mix up a new batch of it every day. (I need to add, to my fellow chumps here, that being said, you are not to blame for the unhappiness you are suffering now. You have suffered a grievous blow and are working through the process to find your happiness again or you wouldn’t be on this site.) I wonder how many chumps here would say that their cheater always had a tinge of unhappiness about him/her. How many of us spent years, always trying to arrange life so they could be ‘happy.’

        • That would be me. I worked very hard to try to make STBX’s life easier because he had it SO HARD and was under SO MUCH STRESS.

          Truly, the first thing he’d do on waking up would be to complain about his job, the horrible state of the planet, etc.

          This past Thanksgiving, when I visited family without him, my family said that it was clear that I was doing the heavy lifting in the relationship, always trying to accommodate him, and the crap thing was that he decided to dump that for a Schmoopie.

        • My cheater is chronically unhappy as well. He believes the “universe” is out to get him. he believes he is smarter than everyone else and works harder and is a big gigantic Victim. Nothing will ever be good enough for these Narcs. I’m sure he lured OW in by telling her how unhappy he was and she stepped right into it to “rescue” him. A common theme.

          • same with my XH. pored out his problems and how unhappy he was to HER!! but didnt tell me a fucking thing even when i was begging him to tell me what was going on so we could work on it. now SHE is telling him what to do, what to say to me, where to go, checks his phone and everything. ya,,,,she rescued him. huh. and i was just a bitch when i tried to do that stuff

        • My cheater is chronically unhappy, too. Suffered from clinical depression and was even suicidal before I met him. Should have paid more attention to that, but I thought it was all behind him. I’ve been trying to figure out what personality disorder he suffers from. I don’t think he’s a narcissist or has BPD. My therapist ruled out sociopathy. So I think he has depression. Doesn’t excuse what he did, but it helps me understand that it wasn’t me that made him unhappy. I was just roadkill on his black-hole highway. I must admit, I don’t miss his spending hours staring out the window or staring at a screen with noise-cancelling headphones on.

          • “roadkill on his black-hole highway”–I see myself as something similar, but since STBX just doesn’t talk about how he feels or anything difficult, I figured that Schmoopie was willing to listen about how I, like the rest of the known universe, just doesn’t get how brilliant and carin he really is. 😉

        • Count me in with the group that had the chronically unhappy cheater. He was depressed when I met him and was habitually unhappy about something. I spent a large share of the marriage catering to his never-ending need for ego strokes, constant affirmation, blind allegiance, unquestioning obedience and acceptance in an attempt to “make” him happy. I was told repeatedly that he was not responsible for my happiness, but somehow I seemed to bear responsibility for his. I think I need to have “Chump” tattooed on my neck.

          • Chump Princess, doesn’t it hurt like hell to think that we constantly bent over backwards to cater to our ex’s needs to try to make them happy and then it still wasn’t enough and they betrayed us? The only salve I have is that because he’s not doing the work to change his outlook or deal with his depression, his new Schmoopie will soon find out that she, too, can’t “make him happy.” I’m sorry that karma has to come that way but c’est la guerre.

        • Omg. My STBX IS the most unhappy person i know. He simply can not be happy in himself. He cant be alone. He is miserable in his work. It’s draining to be married to such a person but i could have endured it BUT he cheated for the last 16 years (or longer -who knows) of our 23 years together. I am so done. I am so relieved he is out. My happiness is coming back more and more every day!!!

      • wow!! I was the person who was asking, begging for counseling. my XH just said why did he need to go to counseling? that counseling did not work for him because he knew how to play the counselors, and just told them what they wanted to hear. (product of his FOO childhood) i would tell him that for it to work he needed to go for himself not just because he was court ordered to go. that he would have to tell the truth and allow the counselors the opportunity to really help him, not to get the hours of of it. anyhow, i should have listened better . ended up we never got that far because his MOW wouldnt let him talk to me anymore AND i found out about her and filed the next day.

        but YES! the indifference towards me. after all i did for him, after all his fuckups i supported him thru, after all the times i had his back and pick his fragile ego back up so he could feel better after screwing up yet again. my XH went NC on me and the boys after we quit playing the pick me dance and wouldnt play with his crazy MOW. a very painful transition is right (i never thought of it that way, thank you) to mean absolutely nothing at all to him.

        my XH is ALWAYS unhappy about something. he is a glass half empty person. he is the one that found something to bitch and complain about at every outing, every vacation, every fun thing we tried to do. and of course it was ALWAYS my fault. i didnt plan the ski trip right, i didnt find out how to rent skis right, i didnt prepare the whatever right, i should have gotten 2 hotel rooms. i should have checked if the pool was opened in the evenings. how come i didnt know where the restaurants were, how come i didnt know where the horse rental place was. why didnt i google map it and print it out so we didnt have that trouble in the first place. whatever you can think of that could go wrong, it was always my fault.

        he said i got boring (of course i was struggling thru my own issues at the time) but in truth, i just got super tired. emotionally, physically, mentally tired of doing every little fucking thing and have him find something to complain about all the time. such a energy leech. i dont know if he thought the grass was greener, or just that she would take better care of him (like i am sure she told him) or if he got tired of me not being able to do it anymore. i am not sure what it is he wants out of life (i have asked him many times and always get IDK) but i do know that whatever it is he is NOT going to get it with this MOW he has. i dont think he wanted to keep her, she just made him feel better about all the hateful things he was saying about me. i was sappose to fight for him to get him back from her. now that i didnt do that this time, he is stuck with her. at least she is better then being alone. how sad for her, she doesnt even know how much he really could care less about her. but i dont feel sorry for her. she deserves it. (sorry got side tracked)…..

        anyhow i never met a more sad sack then my XH. nothing ever seemed to be good enough for him. even if it was better then he ever had in his life, he just couldnt appreciate it. i dont think he will ever be happy about anything. which is really a sad way to live if you ask me.

        • ditto to everything you said, MrsVain. Mine is a sad “victim” his whole life. Nothing I did including supporting his underemployed ass for 16 years was ever good enough for him. My three wonderful kids that he probably was jealous of could also do no right in his eyes. And the day (1/23/2013) that I told him that I too was hiring an attorney like he told me he’d done, his annoyance with my emotions turned to rage (a familiar thing when he lived here), and he accused me of cheating him “out of his money.” Ironic, the cheater afraid of being cheated – and he dropped me and the kids like a hot potato. I’ve not heard a word since and he moved in with wealthier OW.

            • Marg…..looks like some of us Chumps have a common theme…..that is, with someone for years and they walk away, no contact, no nothing, like we never existed or mattered. That is immensely puzzling and troubling to me. I was so good to him; I thought the sun rose and set with him. How sad…..

          • He made “his” money on your back, while you raised kids, made life cosy for him. F*ck him. Make him pay in single $$ that you count one by one.

          • damn!! i forgot that i supported him for 14 years. MOST of that time anyways, i did get to stay home with baby #4 for 3 years then worked part time, but even my part time job was more then his full time job. i NEVER threw it in his face that i made more then he did. one of the last things he said to me when we were arguing over claiming the boys on income tax was that he did not believe that he made more then i did last year. when i took him the proof all he did was laugh and said well i thought you had the college degree, so why am i making more then you, guess you need to go back to college. i was shell shocked and of course had no come backs for that.

            and yes, i believe my XH was super jealous of the kids. i know he hated when i did anything for my 20 year old. when that kid was 16 i bought him some really nice boots. XH was super pissed. when HE WAS 16 nobody bought HIM boots. he was on his own and bought HIS OWN boots. blah blah blah….shit really hit the fan when i bought the boy a 3000 dollar truck the next year. but he would even get mad if i bought the kid pants and shirts for school. i never could understand it. (it never stopped me either) i tried explaining to him over and over. oddly, i did the same with my oldest when she was that age and he never complained. must be the girl/boy thing. idk. i could even tell that he was jealous of the 2 little boys that are his own flesh and blood…..

            fucking bunch of crazies….

        • Yeah, that’s the way they roll. They cheat, and you are supposed to “fight” to “win” them back (some prize). And if and when you try, it’s never enough, and they just get angrier and more entitled that you’re not living up to their lofty, special standards.

      • Mine went to counseling alone. When I asked if I could come too he said his counselor said my ex needed him to himself for awhile longer. At the time I was sympathetic and said “well then you should keep going alone then.” Now I think it was probably all a crock of shit. Does that sound like something a counselor would say to any of you? Maybe IC’s aren’t supposed to transition to MC? Anyway, I was never included. I think probably because ex didn’t want me to hear the truth of what was going on with him.

        • Mine took me to initial appointment then continued on with this male psych alone (a man he knew from other work related conferences) and turns out I was not welcome to sessions as it turns out the psych needed to see him alone … It all gelled when I found text messages they were flirting with each other and most likely fucking as well !!!! My heartless bastard was into anything and everything I felt so so betrayed after knowing I was in that room with both of them as a decoy. Yuck I wish I could leave this bad movie nightmare but there’s no mind escape from here on in 🙁

    • Yep Irene

      Mine claimed to have gone to counseling – never told me he was going. Of course he was too chicken shit to admit that he was cheating.
      I would have welcomed the chance to try to use counseling to address the problems in our marriage – but then, I was unaware “counseling” was undertaken horizontally.

  • I am very very glad I came to CL today. I will be heading to mediation shortly and have been in tears for the last few hours. I still have an overabundance of hopium in my veins. I have tried to be logical and forward thinking, but am failing miserably. This post was spot on for me. It was a cold glass of water in the face. I will probably read CL till I get to the mediation. I need to remember what the last year and a half was for me. Thanks to all the chumps who share. I feel so alone today. I thought I would be ready to move on and throw my cheater to the curve. So much for fantasy.

    • Patticake: I know how you feel; I’m in the midst of settlement right now. It is lonely, it is scary, and it feels like such a HUGE decision. I strongly recommend printing out a few Chumplady columns to read over & over and over: Trust that they Suck, Naugahyde Remorse, Five things that keep you stuck with a cheater (google them if you have trouble tracking them down from the CL site). Learn them well enough that each becomes a Mantra, and come back here for support from fellow chumps as you need it!

      • LOL! I actually did that. I printed the entire post and comments of two that mean the most to me.They are in the packet of stuff to take to the mediation. I will read them as needed to get me through and keep me focused.

            • My mediation worked out for the best. I avoided the stress of court, and still had the same or better results. You have to really know your cheater and what state of mind they’re in for it to work. Might be the same for patticake-I know it’s rare, though. Hope you made it through everything feeling mighty today!

              • My mediation worked out well too, but I agree that this is probaby very rare. And I did see my own lawyer before to make sure I knew what the law was and what fair was, and I was prepared to stop mediation if it was looking less than fair. Thankfully, my ex was just eager to get the problem of me and our marriage behind him and ride off into the sunset with OW.

              • The best thing I did was negotiate a financial arrangement within a 2 week period of D-day – he was feeling guilty & was hoping to shut me up to minimize the fallout and so he agreed to sign up for 70% in my favor -I couldn’t believe it really -if I decide within 10 years that I am done with him simple division 70% of everything to me. He was not allowed back into the house until that contract was signed. I had researched carefully and found THE BEST attack dog lawyer in my city a week before I laid out my evidence. I called that lawyer the day after I exposed his cheating to him. I had been so trusting and stupid this made me feel more in control of my future.
                A friend of mine had a novel approach – when she found out she took the trouble to arrange a meeting with the top 10 lawyers in family law in her city in Australia this meant that the cheating ex couldn’t engage & them & the first visit in divorce actions most cases in Australia is free until/if you engage their services- this was her tiny bit of revenge for her husbands loss/gifting of approximately $1,000,000.00 to international escorts (yes that’s one million folks).
                Since my husband signed on the dotted line we have been attempting reconciliation. We have had a plethora of shared and individual counselling. This approach while stressful meant I had plenty of time to consider my next move with minimal disruptions. Not surprisingly reconciliation with the NARC has not worked – he has not done enough to convince me of any lasting behavioral change and I am now ready to move on.
                A binding financial agreement before any attempt at reconciliation is what I would recommend above all things. Ducks in a row …
                It was never about the money for me – it was about not feeling that I was being discarded as though I was nothing – he had ignored me for years while he threw money at whores and gambling. I organised my career around our 4 children so that he could advance his own career. Everything was about his career. I knew how unappealing he would be to some young thing with no money in the bank and a rental apartment. He looks like a sad desperate old man while I look like 15 years younger have 2 degrees and while not rich -financially independent …. in fact …..lets face it I am quite a catch ……….Now that makes me smile.

      • Patticake, I am in going to my last mediation today…I hope. I think the thing will be finalized soon. Trust that your cheater SUCKS. That his new woman may think he is all sparkly and shiny but you know who he is and what he is capable of. I read CL every day… it keeps my grounded and the hopium away. Do what you have to do to get the most for you and your children.

    • patticake, you are already moving on. It’s just that these official “events” in separation and divorce trigger your memories and hopes for the marriage. That’s normal. You’re a human with feelings who was committed to the marriage. You will get through this but keep your eyes open and pay attention to what he does, not what he says. And remember, the “marriage” you thought you had was dead from the point he decided he wasn’t going to live up to the vows and responsibilities. You are in mourning for that marriage that he threw away.

      One thing that got me in trouble my whole adult life was thinking that if a man loved me, I wasn’t “alone.” I got involved with a number of drinkers, abusers, lazy jerks and a jackass as a result. Now, I remind myself that I am not alone. God loves me. I have friends and family. I am connected in spirit to all the people I love who have passed away….and so on. You may or may not be religious, but it will help a whole lot if you are able to put aside the “two by two” message our culture gives us and remember that at every crucial life junction, from leaving the womb to death, we are, indeed alone–as well as connected to those who love us. Blessings to you and hope it all went well.

      • That is exactly why I don’t feel alone, LAJ. We are God’s Greatest Work. His Opus Magnus. In my very humble opinion, this site was sent to me through Tracy, from above, confirming once again, His love.

    • Good luck today, Patticake! When the day is over, you’ll be thismuchcloser to your new and improved life…which will be a better one.

  • My STBX suggested therapy on DDay and went a few times before I stopped because he was not doing the work. Since all I was doing was reading, thinking about and obsessing over the situation, I suggested he go on his own to figure out what his issues were. He still goes, and I sometimes think he’s going to be all better for his whore until I remember he’s a liar and he’s still probably lying to the therapist.

  • Can we talk about the “therapist” who asks what was wrong in the relationship that “caused” the cheater to cheat? At the first session, which of course I booked, I began talking about how hurtful X’s cheating had been. I was immediately told that the therapist wasn’t interested in the affair; no, she wanted to know about the problems in the marriage that led to the affair! Because after all, both of us were responsible for the state of our marriage. Boy, did that give X lots of ammunition to fuck with me. I later learned the therapist was related to OW (who was herself a licensed MSW). Now, the therapist couldn’t have known about her connection to OW when we booked the appointment, but to sit there and dump X’s cheating on me, all the while knowing the OW was her cousin, was about the most unprofessional thing she could have done. After that, during months of lies and more lies, whenever I discovered that OW was still in the picture, X would rush to book another “therapy” session. I finally refused to spend one more dime on that quack, but X gladly went, always returning home to tell me how much better therapy made him feel about himself. Because, obviously, that’s the whole point of therapy, isn’t it?

    • THAT is a sign to bail immediately on that therapist, and start sending her columns by CL, George Simon and others. I work with clinical psychologists, and blaming-the-victim is the first sign of a BAD therapist.

      “Hey, kid, what did you do that caused your father to give you a black eye & break your arm?” That therapist would have their license revoked.

      • Ditto to both of you. Why do so many therapists blame the victim? Or want to spread blame for the cause of the affair? Definitely the sign of a clueless psychological professional ( and I use that term lightly). And yet there are so many of them out there.

        • “Why do so many therapists blame the victim? Or want to spread blame for the cause of the affair?”

          Because they don’t want to “scare off” the cheaters (timid little forest creatures that they are). Scaring off the cheaters means no more joint counseling. A generous interpretation would be that a counselor sees keeping both partners in attendance as necessary to a chance of reconciliation. A more cynical interpretation would be that the therapist’s cash flow depends on continued sessions, regardless of helpfulness.

          • Yup… my cheater threatened to kill me… and that was a HUGE deal for me… to our therapist it was ho hum… ‘we need establish ground rules so that you have a room to go into where you will feel safe as we unpack our issues… cause it will be a lot uglier before it gets better…’ FML Me thinks it was more about cashflow.

            • I totally do NOT get this … as a lawyer who formerly practiced family law years ago, I was always taught that mediation is NEVER possible when there has been abuse; cheating is abuse! And there is usually other abuse present with a cheater because of their narcissistic traits. If it isn’t appropriate with mediation why would it EVER be appropriate with marital counseling?

              • Yes, Margaret, this! My ex actually did his homework. He went and got a job at our family court two years BEFORE Dday (in addition to his other full time job) so he could actually figure out how to screw me over financially. Thing was our courts were a “good ol’ boys” network anyway which was scary enough(actually have a ruling for $70./month, ex makes 120k+/year for spousal maintenance.) Out of four lawyers interviewed, only one took my case, they all knew that the two judges in the county frowned on support, my lawyer was clueless re divorcing a Narc and didn’t even know to add a joinder to the retirement account. I ended up writing the settlement for 3x what she recommended and it’s nothing. When we walked in to mediation the smug bitch lawyer there knew my husband because she worked with him and sat there and told me that I could not have the house. That was my first clue. And I knew my ex. Apparently falling in love and being entitled at 46 means you are willing to do ANYTHING to start your life over. And he set up the finances well.

  • I remember buying the book “Getting the Love You Want” and of course I got my ex the CD…The therapist practiced IMAGO so she wanted us to attend a group weekend. Poor ex couldn’t handle both days in a row so she agreed to have us go Saturday and do the other day a few weeks later…the second day never happened. When we were supposed to go ex said he was sick. I opened up his workbook from the first day and read his entries (they were sparse), even though we were not supposed to look at each others books… When I got to the exercise where each of us was to write down the top 3 things that made us angry/upset with one another he wrote: “when Dat calls OW a whore”. Srsly, we are in RIC, at a marriage workshop to learn how to communicate, and he wrote that while sitting next to me. When I confronted him about this he raged at me that I had “invaded his privacy”. I am so glad I’m off that crazy train.

  • Well, I didn’t have to actually schedule the appointment, but I had to go through the EAP program at my job to get him authorization(even though he’s in the military-all kinds of help there). After that it took about a month before he scheduled an appointment two weeks away.

    Hey, but that’s ok because he didn’t believe in therapy before but now he does, right?

  • I only found out about the OW when we were in a therapy session. At the very end of the third session, the therapist turned to fucktard and said, “Does your heart lie elsewhere?” When he said yes, that was the end of our therapy…and our relationship. What a coward: he waited until he was supposedly in the safe, non-judgemental therapy room to drop that little bomb. I hadn’t asked him if there was someone else because I never thought he’d do that. Such a chump.

    • Sorry that happened to you – yes, he is a coward. Only problem with this is his “heart??” seriously? I wish the therapist could have chosen different words. I’m so sick of the cheaters getting away with their spin that they are these deeply “loving” creatures while the chumps are cold, and unfeeling which “led” them astray. Ugh.

      • Good point, Margaret. I hadn’t thought of it that way but you’re right. Cheater said in therapy that he felt “emotionally disconnected” from me but he felt that connection with the OW. I asked him later what that meant, and he said an emotional connection meant “spontaneity, vibrancy, and passion.” Well hellsbells that’s hard to beat with his new sparkle pony. Anyway, I should be grateful to the therapist because without her asking that question, poor choice of words or no, I would never have found out about the OW and I never would have found you lovely people.

        • I love it –he emotionally disconnected FROM you then said he felt emotionally disconnected. Because the surefire way to feel connected is to fuck someone new rather than the person who loves you. Yep. My cheater was a sexual deviant who loved to objectify me during sex. One of his favorite sayings (besides calling me a slut and a whore and a cunt) was “you’re my Little Fucktoy!!” After DDay I bravely confronted him and told him “I felt like an object when you did that to me.” He replied, “Aha! See? You always WERE emotionally disconnected from me! I always had to chase you emotionally!” 50 shades of fuckedupness.

        • it boggles my mind how THEY feel emotionally disconnected. when THEY are the ones who are connecting with people other then their wife. i never could understand how my XH could talk to everyone in the world about our problems but me. i even told him a few times that maybe we could feel more connected to each other if he spend the time and effort on me instead of on those other people. he never got it.

          of course we are no longer as sparklely after we birth them children, clean up the shit and vomit and crap left around the house, tend to the children and STILL work, clean house, cook dinner, struggling with paying the bills and stressing about our marriage while they bounce around and find someone else to talk to.

          well hell!!! if i gave up my children, didnt have a job, didnt have a car, didnt have a house and had zero responsibilities like his MOW then maybe i could be sparklely AND entertaining too.

          asshole never appreciated all that i did for him. i wonder how long this hood rat is going to last with his not appreciating all that she will do for him, you know she SAVED him

          • “well hell!!! if i gave up my children, didnt have a job, didnt have a car, didnt have a house and had zero responsibilities like his MOW then maybe i could be sparklely AND entertaining too.”

            My ex and i had few major responsibilities and no kids or house, and he STILL felt his life (with a great job with international travel) was boring and he ran off for an entertaining spark. I think it is that the other person is brand-new… And the one thing I couldn’t be to him no matter how hard I tried was brand-new. He wanted the new infatuation butterfly feeling… But that feeling won’t last forever with her either so either he’ll end up learning to live without it with her or he’ll decide he’s unhappy and look for the butterflies with someone else. Based on his history, I can guess what’ll happen….

            • KarmaE, Margaret, MrsVain, and NL, right out of that Cheater/Narc play book. If it weren’t my life it would almost be funny. But even now it pisses me off how much he used me. I mean these tools are usually fucking us both over at the same time. In our last two years together I could not figure out why my body wasn’t reacting… I guess I don’t get off when I’m fucking a cheat. Not that he was generous in bed anyway…. So many red flags…

      • Yep! I had the same experience. I’m really glad I went to counseling — XH only agreed to go just the one time — because that was what clinched it for me. I’m a BIG believer in therapy, so, yep, I had every last egg in that particular basket. I thought things were going OK in the session (not great, but OK), when at the very end, the therapist suggested an exercise we try for the next 30 days, and the look in XH’s eyes was like someone had asked him to carve off his arm with that rusty little scalpel right there! I was shocked, but not nearly as shocked as when I saw that same look when the therapist (who also saw it, obvi) backpedaled and suggested a two-week plan — same look.

        RIGHT THAT MINUTE, I thought, “Oh my god, there’s someone else! You can’t keep it in your pants for two measly weeks after 16 years of marriage!” And I turned to look at the counselor and asked, in a defiant tone, “If he won’t come, can I come alone?” The counselor said, Of course. And I’m still seeing that same therapist.

        But, boy, CL, you nailed the list, that’s for sure! Seven months after Dday and I’m laughing at how ridiculously I bent over backwards to make that marriage work! Jesus! I deserve a fricking medal!! XH? He’s such an ass.

  • “…like ordering dinner options on the Hindenburg.” That is snort worthy.

    Shortly after D-Day, W went to a therapist. She attended two or three sessions. He told her there were a number of issues (like BPD for starters). She told him what she thought needed to happen. He told her that was not productive. She told him she disagreed, and never went back, saying he wasn’t helpful and that there was no rapport.

    Later on, she went once to talk to my therapist (who had actually helped her before). He’s a nice guy and even handed but he leveled with her (he does not blame the non-cheater). He told me she was not interested at all in what he had to say. Afterwards, she lashed out at me for “looking to place all the blame on her” and for having a problem with her drinking. She never asked to go back or to see anyone else.

    But I guess it gave her plausible deniability, even if in her own mind. Everyone is wrong but her.

  • CL, spot on post today!!! All that you mentioned applied to my false reconciliation phase.

    Appointment – He booked the first two therapist interviews, but took his time doing it and complained that he too busy to find a therapist. I booked the third one, emailed him with the info and told him to show or not, I didn’t care but I was going for me. He showed up and she read him like a book during that session. Forced him to confess to more affairs. Then referred him to a male therapist that specialized in sex addiction.

    Homework – He bought the sex addition book the therapist suggested (took our daughter with him to get it – idiot), then drug his feet completing the questionnaires he was given, complained about filling them out, lied on them, and said he skimmed the book.

    Lie – He lied to the therapist and me in the sessions and outside of them. I called BS in front of the therapist multiple times. Lied to me and told me the therapist didn’t want to see us as a couple. Told us both that he had disclosed everything to us – until I followed him one day to a crappy motel where he was inside for an hour, then confronted him in the parking lot which is when he confessed to seeing prostitutes throughout our marriage.

    Manipulate – Rampant during our marriage, therapy and false reconciliation.

    False equivalencies – Absolutely! I was made responsible for all our issues and we couldn’t discuss his because mine needed to be dealt with otherwise we wouldn’t be in this situation.

    I do think one other item should be added to the primer – Quitting. He had a whole host of reasons that therapy wasn’t working for him. HE didn’t need it. It was too expensive. He could change himself. It was more for me than for him. etc. etc. etc.

    Now I’m working with a completely different therapist who is helping me to heal by get the crazy out of head, learning to set better boundaries in my life and stick to them. Going forward, it’s about me, not him.

  • Yep, mine lied his way through counseling. I did the heavy work and he did just enough to keep the hopium flowing. He cried like a baby in therapy about how bad he felt to see me in pain and went right back to texting and fucking his gf.

    His individual counselor basically validated his cheating by saying everyone in his business that works that much ends up cheating. Thanks.

    You wanna hear something that should be analyzed…he used to send his gf into another room so he could FaceTime with me and the kids….then go screw her afterwards. That’s a level of deceit that is truly disordered.

  • “They also use therapy to cloak themselves in an impermeable barrier of “brokenness.” You can’t call them on their shit. They’re very vulnerable now and might relapse. You wouldn’t want them to reoffend, would you?”

    AAAARRRGGGG. This is the craziest part of the whole fucking process of ending a sick, sick, sick relationship. We are trampled and stomped upon because of their “brokenness” but, hey, THAT doesn’t count.

    You can’t CALL THEM ON THEIR SHIT…aaaarrrrgggg…because they are very vulnerable now….aaarrrgggg.

    This is why no contact is important. They are rubber. Nothing will enter their rubber souls. I now get the Beatles album title.

    Boy, this hit a nerve. THANK YOU, thank you, thank you.

    I think this is the number one reason I am a SUPER CHUMP. I actually believe everyone has a soul capable of reaching. I have to remember that is God’s job, not mine.

  • CL, great post. I hope future chumps read and take notice of this article. I remember in 2 attempts at MC, I had no hopium. But I gave my cheating ex a chance to be honest and prove real remorse. What a waste of time and money. I seriously challenged both psychologists about their wanting to spread blame in the marriage so as to find a cause for my ex wife’s cheating. No No No!! My cheating wife is an immoral, dishonest, entitled, backstabbing liar. I felt like I was fighting on two fronts, and paying for the privilege.

  • My ex booked the first session for MC (I had only been asking to go for 15 years, he didn’t need it until he got caught). Week after week he would leave the OW’s bed (living with her at the time and lying about it) to meet before work for counseling. His biggest issue is he “couldn’t decide who to stay with, me or OW”. I finally said then I will chose for you, we are done. The therapist (during individual counseling) said, “I think you have made a healthy choice for you and your children. Your husband could come to counseling 3 times a week for the rest of his life and still not understand what he has done to your family. He choses to not understanding the situation because that would mean he is at fault and needs to change. Trust me he won’t”.

    Whew, feels good just to write that down and see it on paper! I’ve been having some clarity issues lately and I had kind of forgotten what the therapist had said until I read this post. Nice having that flashback!

  • “What really sucks is when you get a quack who believes the narrative of Needs Were Not Being Met that Drove the Cheater to Cheat. When the shrink buys the false equivalencies and gives them equal weight to the infidelity, it’s incredibly harmful.”

    Yes, that sucks and is harmful, but what REALLY sucks and is harmful is why this is so…

    Poor discernment is often behind this. As cited on other threads, therapists are exposed to the same culitural myths about the causes of infidelity. And much of their training is rooted in the same incorrect attribution, i.e., something “wrong” in the marriage caused the cheating.

    Also, Fellow Chumps, beware! Find out what your therapists beleive about infidelity before starting. In addition to poor training, therapists can have poor character and poor morals too!

    In sad fact, my X is a therapist, his OW a former patient, and the therapist he chose to work on (what i thought was) a return of his depression… married HER patient. another friend who sought therapy from this same therapist reported that, as the therapist sat there sipping tea with her dog snuggled at her feet (poor boundary clues!), the therapist pronounced in 2nd session that the patient was in a bad marriage and should get out. Never met the spouse. My friend promptly ended the therapy and found a new therapist who focused on the individual issues she wanted to work on. And yes, they are still happily married, mutual flaws and all!

    On a positive note, I have had a couple of Meh Tuesdays lately. Am grateful since holiday time is tough. Thank God & Chump Nation.

      • I just read posts from past few days and saw some of your story. Oh. My. This is all so very sad and disturbing. Makes me think the fallen angels are hard at work…and not very clever. At least not when we know what to look for, right? It is good to have eyes to see now. Blessings.

        • Exactly. The same old lies keep on playing over and over. That’s another reason I believe a negative spiritual force (demonic) is behind all this…it’s too similar to be an accident.

          • i believe with all my heart that my XH allowed the devil into his heart and then the devil sent the MOW to tempted him and he failed. last year we spent our last christmas together. i think XH KNEW it was going to be our last christmas. i think he was already planning his escape with MOW and his enabler cousins who supported his leaving his family because he was unhappy. we sat together in church (church is a BIG trigger for me, i still cry during mass some days) and we prayed for a stronger, better marriage together!!! 2 weeks later he didnt come home for new years eve. wanted to be with this hood rat that belongs to another man…..if that isnt the devils work, then i dont know what is.

            it makes me super sad that the devil got him. i wish i could save him. but it was completely out of my control. which was the only way it could have gone for me to let go. not sure if that was the devil or GOD helping me out. i still wish i could have saved him and brought him back to God and the family…..sigh. in a way i feel like i failed him but it was HIS choice, his decisions that brought the devil into our lives.

          • I’ve found myself thinking about Romans 1:28 often durning this – “God gave them over to a reprobate mind…”

    • I am a psychologist. Sadly I am also a CHUMP. Unfortunately there are poorly informed and badly educated professionals out there in all fields. There are bad Lawyers, there are bad Doctors, there are bad Nurses. We don’t go to a heart specialist without researching the best one and asking for recommendations – our mental is as important as our physical health. A really good psychologist is a God send. Getting the best is essential. Sometimes people just go to their local therapist, counselor or somebody local recommended by their doctor. The better ones are often very busy. The credentials of any one that you are considering seeing can and should be checked with the APS and even a Google search online will tell you if they have been involved with conferences as a key note speaker, interviews or research they have been involved in. Look at your local university – do the lecturers there practice as well as lecture – they are generally on top of all of the best and latest approaches – or they may be able to recommend a practitioner that has specialist skills. Before I was a psychologist I was a teacher and unfortunately I sometimes came across bad teachers – not often -but they manage to fly under the radar sometimes. What is very import is the very best available therapist that you can for yourself and your marriage. Only participate in this with the most qualified and credentialed professional available preferably that has been recommended to you by someone you trust. Check with professional bodies in your state as to the particular accreditation of the therapist you are considering and their specialty field DO NOT JUST GO TO THE LOCAL THERAPIST unless they come highly recommended and you have been able to validate their background.

  • I only believe what I see.

    This is kind of fun as time goes on.

    I have been divorced for about 2 1/2 years now and have developed the best defense mechanism for the outright lies and the subtle lies of omission and the lies of convenience and the lies of (pick em)…

    I only believe what I see.

    If the ex says that she will buy the kids clothes…

    I only believe what I see.

    If the ex says she will attend her daughter’s basketball games..

    I only believe what I see.

    If the ex tells the teachers she will help with the homework..

    I only believe what I see.

    If the ex tells the kids she will take them on vacation..

    I only believe what I see.

    OK I have beat the drum 6 times now. You all get it. Never allow yourself to get wrapped in the lies. Set the expectation for your children at 0. Lower if possible.

    My ex got very upset with me because I would ask my daughter what the plan was on her mom’s weeks.. She actuallly fired off a text. “Do not go through our daughter go directly through me” Funny, I actually laughed.. I sent a very clean response, I cannot go through you as you lie, all the time. I do not believe a word you say.

    Wow, she became a bit ummm…. upset? So we have a day long text exchange… Me detailing all the lies and how I would be foolish to believe anything she says… at all…

    Then she started in on the “Your crazy”… lol.. it was soooo old hat… page one playbook thing… she became so frustrated at the listing of lies she ended with “You are crazy don’t communicate with me anymore”

    Again, I laughed.

    I sent a final text “Good so we are in agreement, our daughter will be who I talk to”

    Full circle…..

    All this is funny because it is a bit of a game now.. Let’s hear what funny thing mom is going to promise and see who believes her… Oh man it is really funny when we see a fresh one buying the BS…

    I only believe what I see… one day I hope to actually hear the ex say “I know, I know, you only believe what you see” That would be AWESOME!

    I only believe what I see.

  • 4.) They use therapy to manipulate you further.
    Under this heading, don’t forget that the cheater learns all the therapy speak to use against you too. My ex’ favorite was “I don’t feel safe with you, I need to go now”. Oh, and he had “abandonment issues” that I was triggering in him because I refused to be married. I call it therapatized cheater speak.

  • My ex did #3, 4, and 5.

    As CL says, cheaters do therapy to look like they’re fixing things. But really, the point is to maintain cake.

    Fail, ex-wife. Fail.

  • One of my conditions for “reconciliation” was that ex go to individual therapy. Ex grudgingly went two times, with multiple cancelled appointments for stupid reasons between the sessions. When therapist suggested that ex seemed manic and unrealistic, ex never went back, saying the therapist “wasn’t on his spiritual wavelength.”

    Ex and I went to a marriage therapist for consultation. The therapist sat and listened for an hour while ex talked about his gay cheating, affairs with women, how he thought I was equally to blame for our problems, how he was now following his “destiny” to become an actor. Therapist told us he did NOT recommend we reconcile. God, how I wish I had followed that advice.

    Ex and I attended a Retrouvaille weekend, and continued with the program until that bogus reconciliation ended. While I DO think Retrouvaille is good for those with troubled marriages that do NOT include infidelity, abuse or personality disorder, in our case, ex used it to further manipulate and abuse me.

    • We attended Retrouvaille 8 years ago, with Stupid’s first go-around with cheating. Out of all the passages in the Bible, which one do you think they chose?

      “Wives, be submissive to your husbands.”

      Seriously!?! Even if you see the value in that passage, it is not the right time when some women are being physically abused, and many others are being abused by cheating.

      • Imwithstupid,

        That’s awful. So, they add spiritual abuse on top of all the abuse?! Using Scripture to facilitate abuse is wicked. Not all of us pastors are so obtuse and insensitive.Sorry we failed you in your time of need as a group in this.

        DM

        • Not sure if my other post went through.
          But have to add the Christian therapy Wizard (AKA pastor or elder) both in my case are astounding. They managed to get STBX to confess and verbally repent (no outward action of repentance or remorse to date) and they instantly went on the minimis, deny, blame shift route. Oh and the notion that if I was a real Christian wife I would forgive him get over my hurt and wait quietly while they set about restoring him in order to reinstate him into our family. Which was code for me to keep my mouth shut as they set about hiding the fact my husband is gay.

          I was willing to and did for almost 20 years submit to my husband. Even while living with him ate away at my very core. No one has my permission to impose their agenda onto my life. Especially when they are choosing to abuse scripture to do so.

  • My ex’s OWife was a “practiced” cheater. During her nineteen year marriage she had two “careers” in which she trolled all those unhappily married men in search for her next “true love,” until she found mine, who was fishing too. I suspect she blew up more than one marriage because she flat out gave my ex an ultimatum. And good for him knowing what my deal breakers were. Whore was a licensed marriage counselor but somehow that didn’t work out…hmmmm, I suspect boundary issues. So her dad (he’s a cheater too) purchases her and her sib a fitness club to run. And that is how my fucktard met her, he hoped to be running the family business too after retiring. After they married, her sib forced her out. I wonder why? Apparently it’s a little unethical for the boss to be sleeping with the married clients. They are now the talk of that particular community and their mutual friends are busy spinning narratives. Schmoopie still hasn’t connected the dots -neither has my ex-and tells all who listen that she stayed in her marriage as long as she did “because of the children” which is my ex’s favorite new line too. Like any job there are going to be great therapists (25%), average therapists (50%), and ones who really suck. Those are the idiots that should have a warning label. IMHO, The first question should be, In what universe is cheating okay?!? And the next, how are you going to fix this?!? Poor timid forest creature will turn rabid when anybody calls him on his shit. Thankfully I didn’t need a therapist to tell me my marriage was over.

    • that sounds like my XH MOW. she is STILL married. has my XH name tattooed on her chest right under a cheap cover up of the LAST boyfriends name, which is NOT her husbands name. CRAZY!!! after i found out about her, i texted XH later that night to give me the money so i could file the divorce the next day. you would think that XH and MOW would be happy to get that text from me but NOPE…..i got more crazy from him, blaming me for this and that, and it was my fault (fill in the blank). all i kept saying was give me the money. yep my fault give me the money, your right give me the money. so that wasnt good enough, his MOW thought it would be fun to CALL ME from his cell phone!! and that is when i kind of lost it for a little while. telling her she didnt know me, she didnt know him, we had 14 years together, blah blah blah, i said something like i knew she didnt understand because she probably had never been with a man long enough like that, that is when she told me “oh honey….you have no idea…..i am STILL married” thankfully i actually started laughing and said “then you guys are perfect for each other” AND came to my senses, told her i didnt need to talk to her and explain anything to her because she was nothing and hung up. she tried calling again and again. and texts were crazy. but i just called him at work the next day and told him to give me the money. he said all hateful (because it was my fault) i will give you the money when i get back from work. i said fine.

      what is with these crazy MOW who fuck up their own marriages, and children and THEN think it is ok to fuck up OTHER peoples marriages and children?

      • Mrs. Vain, One thought though, we are all better off without our disengaged spouses. He was always telling me what I couldn’t do. I don’t miss a lot of things.

  • After a month or so of nonsense after D-day I told XH not to contact me unless he was finished with OW and wanted to go to couples counselling.

    Another month goes by before he contacts me to say he has found a counsellor. I tell him to go ahead and book an appointment. I assumed he’d finished with OW (but honestly, I think I was scared to ask).
    Anyway before the appointment, it is clear there is ‘something’ still going on between him and OW. There is- I find them together.

    I have a showdown with him and tell him there is no point in going to counselling if he is still involved with OW ( not to mention the fact he has clearly been lying and manipulating me – again).
    He agrees and then admits he’s not sure he could cope with having to tell ‘our’ counsellor about the OW, prostitutes, porn etc. All just too much bother for him- easier to start over with OW. My XH like Datdamwuf’s – “used the same poor me brokenness on the OW too.”

    However his brokenness had taken him to see a State psychosexual therapist. XH delighted in dropping snippets from their sessions regarding our ‘love triangle’ such as “there won’t be three of you in this relationship for much longer” (More like a fortune teller than a therapist…!) And of course, the therapist was in love with XH-according to him. So it was clear he was manipulating her too…

    I kept the appointment for the original counsellor who was fantastic and supported me in my escape strategy and never suggested I was to blame for the cheating/marriage breakdown.

    Goodness, every time I write down another ‘episode’ of this marriage, I think really, Mikky, you put up with that nonsense? Yeah, I did, I say to myself, and then I got out. Phew.

    • I wish I’d had your MC, mine kept talking me into continuing to try despite his breaking NC with the OW within days and giving me an STD. The only reason MC stopped was when she suggested my ex get tested for BPD. After we left he went on a rage rampage and MC counselor was shit in his book…

      • Thereby proving her assertion that he was BPD…

        Among therapists, there is an adage about how to tell the difference between a psychopath and someone with Borderline Personality–after a few sessions the psychopath wants to kill you, after a few sessions you want to kill the Borderline PD…

  • Yeah. My cheater-Ex Began (!) the affair that ended our marriage while we were in MC.

    Talk about lying with a straight face. To me, to the MC, turns out he was lying to his IC, and undoubtedly the ho-stress as well. (Ho-stress Cupcakes anyone?).

    Incurable.

  • “Does your cheater want to divert the therapy conversation to your flaws? Well, that would be a productive conversation if you were in marriage therapy for something other than infidelity.”

    Even in the absence of infidelity, I found the experience of marriage counseling with my disordered stbx non-productive because, of course, everything was always my fault. If I brought out his issues of lying, bullying, verbal and emotional abuse, gas lighting and blame shifting, he spent every session explaining to the therapist what a terrible wife I was, his friends and family disliked me because I made people “uncomfortable”, I couldn’t do anything right, if I’d only do everything he said and act the way he told me to act, then everything would be fine. He wanted me to be a robot, with no needs or feelings who obeyed his every command and fulfilled his every desire. There is just NO working with that!!
    Unfortunately, I did stay because I had very young children at the time. But I feel like I sold my soul in a way…staying cost me.

  • If I may add one other point to the list: you pay for the appointment.

    I live in a country where most psychotherapy and counselling are not covered by insurance or social security. If the cheater is serious about getting better, it’s on his dime. And if he isn’t, make him pay for his cake!

  • This is such a hurtful topic. The therapist is supposed to be helping you, and they do that unconditional positive regard crap that works with neurotics, not character disordered people.
    The only therapist that works in these situations IMO, are the ones that call them on their bullshit.
    When my abusive husband came home and told me that I made him feel unsafe, it was another knife.
    The same under qualified therapist (when he told her, not me, that he was back in touch with OW), remarked ‘it looks as though she has forgiven you’. WTF!!! Legitimizing an illegitimate relationship!
    She was an idiot.

    • yes she was, but your husband was using his new found “therapy speak” to fuck with you, wouldn’t matter what therapist he saw. My ex’ favorite, “I don’t feel safe with you” came from learning what that meant in therapy…it’s just another way to lie and gaslight you.

      • It is totally gaslighting! I got this too, during the six months of crazy following DDay. He was verbally abusive to me for 16 years but suddenly kept saying “I’m afraid of you!” and “I need to heal, TOO” and other such psychobabble. Not to mention baldfaced lies like “for years I begged you to go to counseling, Margaret, and every time, you refused.” Flat out never happened! Liars! do they believe their own lies? or just enjoy manipulation?

  • Great post!! Therapy was an absolute waste of time since my cheating ex- husband just lied to the therapist and whined that his needs were not met. He actually played the victim and said that he “could not help who he fell in love with” and the therapist did nothing to even encourage him to take any responsibility for his affair.

    And yes, I found the therapist and made the appointment. Should have called a lawyer instead of spending 8 months of limbo while he decided who he wanted more. The OW “won”. Lucky her – let her put up with his selfishness, laziness and sense of entitlement! I am now free!

  • Therapy never entered the discussion. I’m wondering if it will in the near future.

    When STBX asked, “And your point is…?” after I told him I knew of the affair, I had confirmation that he was a cold-hearted cheater. However, I recently noticed some texts from Schmoopie complaining that he’s not treating her right. The lawyer should have the financial documentation that will be the last piece we need for the settlement. While our settlement won’t be as good as Tempest’s settlement, it’s still 50% of STBX’s retirement.

    Once he really sees how expensive this has been, and especially if Schmoopie dumps him, he’ll likely be interested in reconciliation.

    That time is long past. If he’d really wanted to fix things, he’d not have had an affair. If he’d wanted to reconcile, he should have begged my forgiveness and made the appointment with a therapist on the spot.

    He didn’t, so fuck him!

    • Much of that settlement will go toward paying off the house so I can keep it, but I’m savoring Karma where I can (esp. since it hurts sooooo much for him to have to give up money).

  • We went to a therapist together a few times, then I refused to go with him anymore because he was such an asshole about everything. The good news is that I gained an excellent therapist out of that and she remains a brilliant support.She was pretty clear that he is fucked up to the point that she thinks his issues go well beyond normal fucked up.

    • Our therapist told me basically the same thing. All of his wierd behavior, cheating, anger issues, which she politely renamed ‘flooding issues’ didn’t come from me, won’t stop with me and there is nothing I could have done or can do to change this. So good luck OW… the wolf is at your door.

  • I went to hubby’s therapist 2X alone, she was a hippy dippy, let’s go down memory lane, how did you meet, what did you like about each other, blah, blah, blah. What about the fucking cheating? What role did I play in his “friendship with another woman?”, wtf? What about his fucking cheating? UGH! Found my own therapist. The End.

  • On our second last visit to our martial therapist, my cheating STBX and I were given a piece of homework to do: Write a list of 5 things you like about your spouse – bring in the list for the following week’s appointment. The following week, the therapist asked each of us to read our list out loud. I could find nothing I liked about him and my STBX could find nothing he liked about me. The therapist closed his little notebook and said he was done with us – that he could do nothing more to help us. Our therapy with him was over. We drove home in our separate cars, cooked dinner for the kids, put them to bed, and at the end of that day, I bailed on that shitty, adulterous marriage. I can only say thanks to that therapist for pointing me in the right direction.

    • tflan, my STBX was asked by the therapist to say something nice about me. He looked at me and replied ‘ she’s the most efficient person I know.’ WTF? But that actually said tons when I thought more about it – he was only with me because I took care of him. What a facade of a life!

  • CL, you left out one but it’s probably cos it deserves it’s very own blog post

    6) You are seeing a therapist that is wholly invested in saving your marriage no matter what – if you go to MC make sure the therapist is neutral on whether you should stay together

    The MC we had talked me into staying and trying no matter what fucked up shit my cheater pulled and I was so messed up it took a while to get clear of that.

  • Ah, yes, therapy. That is what set me up for an extra 12 years with the cheater (but had my two kids in that time, so it was actually a win).
    I accused then H of cheating, we went to therapy. I knew he was unhappy about therapy, tough to get him to open up, he felt the therapist sided with me etc. Told me it was just infatuation with the OW (this before emotional affairs were recongized ) But in my mind, we did the work, and he could tell me what he needed ,etc. We had dodged a bullet, etc.
    Nope, he had an affair back then when I accused him. Just took 13 yrs and two more months in MC to admit it.

    The lack of remorse and lack of enthusiasm for me are now definite red flags.

    No regrets, though, not really.
    I did the best I could with the information I had been provided.

  • After reading these posts I feel fortunate that my cheater Ex refused to do any type of counseling with me from the very first night of DDay when I begged him to go to counseling, he flat out refused and said that he would not, and he would not give up OW because it was “the biggest opportunity” of his life even though he said he feared it would “fizzle out and he’d end up homeless on the street.” That’s when I knew he viewed me maiinly as financial support for 16 years, and I asked him leave our home. During the 6 months of crazy post DDay before I went NC, he hammered at me constantly that I needed therapy so I could “get over it quicker and give him his money.”

    • WOW!!! that is a shitty thing for him to say and do…

      i was with you there for a minute. that i feel lucky that XH refused to go to counseling. i am positive he would have just turned it all on me, and i would have been explaining myself and my actions to the therepist more then us actually talking about his FOO and issues. i believe XH is bpd, passive aggressive and possibly a mixture of more personality disorders. i used to think that his alcoholism was the problem, but now i think it is only a symptom of a much bigger problem. XH hides so much from me, lies about everything, i honestly do not think he would have admitted to anything in counseling and it would have just prolonged my pain and heart ache.

      at first it troubled me deeply knowing that we “didnt try everything” to save our marriage. but truth is i did. i did try everything and he just did not want to put in the extra effort and a little bit of work into our marriage. he wanted everything handed to him. his victim attitude and entitlement issues. it didnt matter what i did in the past and it would not have mattered what i could have done in the future. he will ALWAYS be unhappy and miserable. ALWAYS looking for the easy.

      maybe his relationship will work out with this MOW (part of me wishes they would break up because i hate her part in the destruction of my marriage and part of me is glad she entertains him and keeps him on a short lease) because she doesnt expect the things i expected from him (like being the man), she doesnt have the same morals and values that i have, she doesnt care about living in a dump or not having money to pay the bills. so she is easy. WAAaaAAYY more easier then i am.

    • Amazing that we have such a hard time going NC when it all first hits. I didn’t go NC for a few months and the shit that was dumped on me was incredible. Literally, a month or two after I kicked him out ex was saying ‘It’s been 6 weeks! Get over it! You’re crazy! Move on!’ And said similar to the kids. When I went more or less NC, other than things we actually had to have contact about, it was hard at first but the best thing I ever did. Now he spends his time trying to get a rise out of me every few weeks. Never works because all I think when I see his texts pop up is ‘what a moron’.

      • Nord, I lived the same thing–2 months after D-day, he wanted “the old [Tempest] back” without anger and hurt. In other words, all the perks of being married without any costs from his affair. I filed 2 days later, and am in NC–heavenly! Thanks for the warning–I suspect he will try to manipulate me when we have to communicate about settlement.

  • As I have noted before on this site, my husband and I are still together more than 3 years post DDay. Therapy has been an essential element of this reconciliation. And it has been a major commitment. From the very beginning I said that my willingness to consider staying in the marriage was contingent on a number of things, including IC for him and MC for us, and that it was his responsibility to find qualified therapists for us, book the appointments, and pay for them. At first he was going to IC twice a week and we went to MC once a week. Then the MC was on hold when I discovered he was not NC with Whora McSluty* and threw him out for several months. While he was out, he continued IC and added a psychiatrist who diagnosed him w bipolar. A month or so before he moved back, we re-engaged with MC, which continued for 2.5 more years. He still goes to IC and the psychiatrist to this day, and takes medication for the bipolar. I knew that his therapist would be helpful when she told him, at the conclusion of his first visit, that he has been a little boy for 48 years and now it was time for him to grow up.

    *very close to her actual name. And morals.

    • Ahhhh… 48. It’s such a cute age. (Not.) That’s how old my ex is, and he’s been a little boy for that long, too. Andrea, I don’t know how you do it.

  • A mutual friend of my/XH’s said that XH’s takeaway message from the one & only MC session he attended (XH, not the friend) was that the MC “said I was going to do this and I’m probably going to do it again in another ten years or so,” so it’s ok!

    What he was referring to was the MC’s efforts, I think, to include XH and help him feel supported by quoting statistics on a number of men who reach the age of 40-50 and have a midlife crisis (it’s true) and feel a need for a big life change, and again at age 50-60. (The infidelity was still a big secret at that time.) But of course XH totally MISSED the point that MC was trying to say that some men feel this IMPULSE but RESIST it and move past it! XH’s interpretation was, “Well, the counselor said I was gonna do this, and I am, so it must be OK!” I told my counselor and he just looked baffled, laughed and shook his head. What a maroon!

  • My cheater tried to avoid couples therapy (“I’m just not ready for it”), went along when I found the MC and made the appointments, but otherwise barely engaged. She didn’t do the homework or the reading — actually seemed unable and not just unwilling to explore her own emotions. . She circumvented the process by insisting on having conversations we’d planned to have in therapy outside of it, when she was better able to manipulate me and control the narrative. She said very little in the counselling sessions — other than some unkind words about my personality. After I got angry at her during one session she ditched the whole thing — considered it “abusive” and found it unfair that I would criticize her in front of the MC without prior notice. When, months later, I told her I wanted a divorce, she suggested more therapy — said she hadn’t like our MC (this was the first time she mentioned it), but did nothing toward that end.

  • My cheater has been in therapy for 2 years. Thousands of dollars later I found out that he never stopped. This would be the second time in therapy to find out that he was still doing stuff while he let me sit there and take a look at myself and the things I do that make him feel bad. Well the first time in therapy. This time I refused to take any blame whatsoever. Ugh they suck.

  • Mine willingly went the MC route with two of the elders in our church prior to d’day, as I had hit breaking point and asked for a divorce. Being a Christian wife I knew the church would not look kindly on my decision so was willing to go along with the required MC, but was not happy with their desire to gloss over the real issues. MC with these two unqualified people gave STBX the leverage to focus on my issues, which they feed into this by suggesting I make a list of things I would like done around the house that bothered me to help STBX gain some credibility, DIY style. WTF?????? Add to this the love bombing and the adimate denial of any wrong doing and that was the sume of the MC.
    6 weeks later D’day hit in front of these same two people. He had confessed to them and they made him tell me. Once he was done they set about hiding his adultery. 12 months on and they are still hiding him.
    I wonder what lies they will tell people to cover the fact he has been served with divorce papers.

  • We just had a mediation session and he chose that time to inform me that he had spent “some money” from joint savings on a bigger motorbike…OW has not cured his ongoing mid-life motorbike thing that set in at 50.
    I am not sure that mediation is going to work as there is so little trust and so much scheming and plotting.

    • My mid-life, post-divorce thing tht set in at 50 after divorcing a cheater is “Virtual Instruments” which basically means I can go into my office and try to create music. It’s a solitary kind of thing, though, and doesn’t involve hanging out with motorcycle people looking for hook-ups.

  • XH went to a therapist on the back of my work’s free EAP programme

    1st visit -he came back looking smug and relieved, he explained that she had basically let him cry and vent for most of the session, he felt better afterwards although she did say that ‘the affair’ ( yup, see he had previously stated it was just one incident) must have meant ‘something’ to him, yeah those fucking therapists know how to plant a seed eh…….

    Needless to say by the 4th visit my XH announced himself ‘cured’ ……………..with her approval, yeah of course.

    After he bailed the 2nd time he got his own self indulgent shrink and no doubt he paid him to massage his massive inflated f@cking ego and blame all his FOO issues on me and everyone else of course.

  • To those new to Chumplady, please take heed! I was a chump, tried to save my marriage and family through my Employee Assistance Plan marriage counseling. It was a complete mind-fuck from jump! It was word for word what CL writes!

    I scheduled the appointments, planned the transportation and even planned dates after our sessions to try and rebuild and reconnect with my wife. I opened up about my lack of self-esteem, fears, weaknesses and hopes for our marriage and ended up being attacked by my cheater wife and marriage counselor. My honesty and pain was all used against me!

    They basically called me a possessive and controlling alcoholic who was more concerned with my career and graduate school than I was with my family and marriage. Whenever I brought up the incident regarding her sexting or her inappropriate relationship with the OM (I had no evidence that it was physical at that time) I was attacked and told I was paranoid and possibly bi-polar. I literally thought I was going crazy. The counselor said that my suspicions that my wife was cheating were a “result of withdrawal from alcohol.” That really fucked with my head…

    After I found her secret cell phone and read the text messages, I found that my ex-wife actually enjoyed seeing my pain and making me feel crazy. I don’t think there could possibly any more painful torture than enduring marriage counseling with an unrepentant cheater. That’s probably what the CIA does at Guantanamo. I would rather be water boarded.

    • Ffightr67, “I don’t think there could possibly be any more painful torture than enduring marriage counseling with an unrepentant cheater.” Marriage to one, for sure! I paid a lot more attention to my gut than I did to the people who were telling me I was responsible for my marriage blowing up. Nope. Cheaterpants did that all by himself.

  • ah yes the days of therapy. I think my ex only went twice. The counselor asked him to stop drinking. When we got home he cracked open another 6 pack and I was all “whaaaa?” and he said “I do whatever I want”. Later when I asked him if I could go to the store alone (we had three little kids) he said “I’m not watching your kids for you”. then when it was time to see the Wizard of therapy again, my ex threw a tantrum and accused me of breaking the thermostat (I didn’t!) and followed that by “I’m not going to any more counseling with YOU.”
    lolz. good times!

  • Check (I made the appointments), check (the homework wasn’t his “thing”), check (” She’s just a friend”), check (“I think i have ADHD and can’t help that I get so distracted”), check (“but you talk to your ex”). And a therapists who didn’t call him on his shit. Is there a way to get refunded for awful therapy?

    Man, I wish I had known about Chump Lady two years ago. I might have not going looking for the unicorn and might have avoided getting cheated on again.

    The cheaters are really so similar, it’s uncanny.

  • Mine went weekly, but just used the time to lie to and manipulate his therapist. He was only going for show, not to actually do the work. He was just waiting it out until things went back to ‘normal.’ Once I figured that out I was done done. I’m sorry I wasted those two months, but live and learn.

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