Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Dear Chump Lady, What happens to couple friends after divorce?

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on pinterest
Share on pocket
Share on print
Share on email

forgivenesstrollDear Chump Lady,

I am 6 months post divorce after discovering my ex-wife’s infidelity in September 2013. This holiday season my children (12, 8) are with my ex-wife abroad with her affair partner on holiday with my ex in-laws. It sucks that my kids spend time with the man that helped break up my family and end my marriage, but that’s another topic.

My question today is what happens to couple friends after divorce? Can anyone remain impartial and be friends with both sides, or do things naturally drift one way or the other over time? Can I remain friends with someone who has seen me crushed, particularly those few that know the whole story of the infidelity, and who stay friends with the ex-wife? Even more challenging, are those, who as a couple, are friendly with ex-wife and her affair partner.

After a year, I’ve decided to start letting the latter category of friends wane, because it’s too hurtful, as I wouldn’t the same to a friend. Or am I wrong or unique in my view? Do you need to have been through infidelity to fully understand the hurt that this causes?

Appreciate your view and advice.

Carlos

Dear Carlos,

You don’t need to have gone through infidelity to understand that it hurts like a motherfucker. You just need to know that it’s unjust.

And there’s the rub, Carlos. We live in an age where people are loathe to judge injustice. Two sides to every story. No one knows what goes on in a marriage. They grew apart, blah, blah, blame shift, blah.

I can’t explain the fashion for being Above Judgment, because judgement is essential to living and especially to avoiding disaster. Should I invest my retirement savings in Beanie Babies? Should I befriend the neighborhood pedophile? Ride my bike down a flight of stairs?

If we didn’t judge people and situations, we’d be a bunch of jelly-brained imbeciles. Anyone could steal our lunch money. We’d be adrift. Good Samaritans would have to pin our addresses to our sweaters and walk us home.

Fact is, we judge every day. Worthy! Unworthy! Good risk! Bad risk!

The shit sandwich of dealing with the People Above Judgment is that they did judge, they just found you unworthy. But they don’t want to come out and say that. They’d rather pronounce the situation ambiguous and unknowing. We can all be friends, of course. Because that’s easier on them. Then they don’t have to make judgment calls or think of people differently, or rearrange their social calendars and seating charts. Let’s Pretend That Never Happened. Your grief isn’t nearly as important as their discomfort. So let’s make believe you aren’t grieving.

In fact, let’s pretend the problem is you and your bitterness and inability to confer forgiveness and move on. Then we never have to consider the injustice of this situation, the pain of you and your children, or our moral culpability at befriending someone who helped break up a marriage. If the problem is YOU and Something You Did (or did not do, like grant forgiveness), then infidelity isn’t so scary. Infidelity only happens to those who deserve it, who do the Wrong Sorts of Things. Unlike the smug People Above Judgment who are immune from chumpdom.

Cheaters have many narratives, but the favorite is happiness. Hey, we deserve to be happy. Really this is for the best. Carlos, in time, will be happier too! He’ll find someone who is a better fit, and hey, really he owes to all to this life change made possible by infidelity. No harm, no foul!

Dimmer people think… well, who can be against happiness! They don’t ask themselves at what cost? And who is paying that cost? They think… Carlos’s ex seems happy. Happy people are easier and more fun to be around than grief-stricken, angry people. Walking into Carlos’s pain is rather a bummer. So… let’s (judge!) go with the Happy People.

Don’t you like Happy People, Carlos? What’s wrong with you? Why can’t you forgive and be friends?

Well, that all makes a perverse sort of sense if you lack empathy and have no moral compass. (I’m sure stealing my bank card and buying 15 hamburgers confers happiness on someone.)

The fact is, Carlos, you don’t have anything in common with people who would be friends with your cheating ex. You don’t share the same values. You said yourself, you would not do this to a friend. Ergo — these people are not your friends. There is no reciprocity there. They would not behave in the manner you would behave. You don’t share the same moral world view.

One hard blessing of infidelity is that it shows you who your real friends are, and who is a waste of space. Who can stand with vulnerability and grief, and who runs away.

This is an opportunity, Carlos, to fix your picker in all aspects of life and cherish the people close to you, who really have your back, and dump the losers who don’t. And when you do that, you’ll discover that you’re a hell of a lot more “meh” about your ex. You ARE happier. You aren’t pick me dancing with the friendship circle over who gets the “friends.”  You really don’t give a shit any more.

Your new life will eclipse your old life Carlos, and into the darkness goes the smug assholes who don’t deserve you.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

Share on twitter
Share on facebook
Share on reddit
Share on whatsapp
Share on pinterest
Share on pocket
Share on print
Share on email

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 can only add, “It’s perfectly OK to have a higher standard for you you call ‘friends’ than people who choose to buddy up with a cheating ex”. It’s better than OK, really. It’s smart.

  • After my marriage ended, not one couple we were close with chose to remain “impartial” or stay friends with both of us. Almost without exception, they were disgusted with my ex and did not wish to socialize with him further. Of course, my case might be easier, because even without the staggering level of infidelity, my ex’s actions post-separation were bizarre, to put it mildly. Most of our friends were repulsed by his quitting his job, not paying support, letting the house foreclose, going bankrupt and endlessly bragging about his new “career” in the entertainment world, to say nothing of his videos.

    I suppose that ex still has friends from those days, those that were not close to me or didn’t know me. He was an extremely popular guy, so had a huge circle of acquaintances I never met. But ultimately, I don’t think he has real friends, just people that serve as an admiring audience or have some use to him.

    CL is right, though, you really learn who is there for you and who is not after a divorce.

    • My ex, as always Glad, is in somewhat of the same boat as yours. He lost all our mutual friends and many of his own due to the horrific nature and extent of his double life. After D-Day, he had to move 5 states away to avoid the risk he would be confronted in public by others in our community. His circle is made up, more and more, of others just like him and his APs, one of whom he is apparently now engaged to marry–sociopaths or otherwise cluster B personalities. It’s like a riddle or trivia question–“What do you call a group of sociopaths”… a herd? a cabal? Whatever they are called, he has surrounded himself with adoring fans who approve of and share in his amoral lifestyle.

      Ex’s fans do not, however, include his 3 children whom he almost completely abandoned. Ex did have dinner 2 weeks ago with our oldest son, 25, who is now a young attorney. It is only the third time ex has seen him in almost 3 years. Nonetheless, ex insisted on bringing his AP (although son said he did not want her there and that it would make him uncomfortable). During the dinner, ex pressured our son to attend and be the best man in their wedding next year. Son was completely disgusted and will probably never speak to him again. These freaks have no soul and simply do not get it.

  • I honestly don’t miss any of them. If they think I could have committed the atrocities X accused me of (which is how he excused his cheating), I think they deserve to remain friends with him.

    • Well said, ChutesandLadders and CL today.
      I wish i knew you all on Dday. May every new chump find their way here this year.

  • Dear Carlos

    CL is right. Those friends who want to remain impartial……need to be jettisoned off into the void. There is a choice – to stand with the aggrieved party. It’s the right thing to do, the moral thing to do. Those friends who pulled this on me …..GONE. NC with them or EX. Real friends – the kind that have character, compassion and values – stood by me whilst I wept and even took care of me after surgery. They supported me with kind words and never once said that I was to blame. These people are rare – but if you find a few – you are so fortunate. Lean on them.

  • Carlos, do not have anything to do with people who know you well and will not support you. They will only add to your grief and you want to move away from the grief as quickly as possible. Fyi, my ex husband of 37 years was “taken into the fold” by everyone to protect him from me. Not one person spoke to me after I left (I was pushed out) and that includes my 2 adult children. I know I will never have any of these people in my life again as I move forward and sadly I feel that, that applies to my kids also. The damage that has been done by the lies my ex has told and people are so easily lead and believe him. However, time does improve everything and each of us gets to meh in our own time and way.
    PS – Just to give you an idea of the spineless piece of trash I was married to. My daughter’s mother-in-law has big connections and can get my ex husband into an exclusive yacht club and also into the members section of a certain sporting arena which the ex loves. He has called the daughter’s MIL a moll on many occasions but she is of use to him now. He is shallow and so is she. Birds of a feather, flock together, always.

  • The people who were like him, stayed friends with him, those who were more like me remained my friends.

    One thing divorce does regarding friendship, it ferrets out truth from fiction….

    Today is Christmas Eve. Warm hugs to anyone suffering from the fall out of their relationship. I wish I could remove all your pain, but having a comrade to relate to is all I have to offer.

    Peace to you and your family.

    • Thanks Calamity! I am having a hard time. I have my kids and I should be happy, but worry for the future is taking its toll. I am desperately trying to stay in the moment, but keep slipping back into panic mode over my son who is still in Afghanistan and my crumbling finances. Thanks for the camaraderie. I turn to CL and all of you, because you all know the pain and fear of which I speak. Merry merry Christmas to all! May everyone here experience peace. xo

      • Irish, I still have difficult days too and holidays are challenging even in the best of times. The serenity prayer pulled me through those first two very difficult years, there were so many changes, and I was completely blindsided and devastated. Divorcing a Narc certainly has its challenges. I always asked myself one question though, “Do I have any control over this?” Ex cheating? No. House foreclosing? No. Court rulings? A joke. What I did control was my reaction, and I focused on those things in my life that were going well. My relationships with others saved me. Finances are still a challenge, my settlement sucked (long story), but I am optimistic even when times are hard. I tell myself, ‘I know I can do this!’ Because, What’s the alternative, right? My blessings are my children, my family, and my good health. I keep a thankful journal. I have also become more aware of the person I am and this gives me strength. Not everything is easy, I have yet to obtain full time work teaching but I keep applying. Interviews are torture! Lol Sometimes I believe there is a greater plan, so I change tactics, weigh my options, and try something new. Just want you to know that I will be praying for you (and for all our servicemen and women who are working hard to support their country) and I will be rooting for you to find your way. Try not to worry (it’s hard on your health), plan, take baby steps forward, surround yourself with kindred spirits, and know that in time you will have persevered. It’s what Chumps do! (There are resources in every community that help too, and I would urge anyone to ask for help when it’s needed! Our food bank has a produce distribution day that is open to the entire community, quite the godsend, and this once a month allows me to help my kids who are also financially struggling. Twenty-somethings.) Happy Holidays, Chump Nation!

  • I did not end up staying friends for long with anyone who still befriended my cheater ex-husband. A friend of both of us, had her ass kicked to the curb, after she asked me in a smug tone: “How long will it take you to get over IT – six hours, six days. six months?” ( I am not kidding, she actually said this). I replied, it would definitely take me more than the one month post D-Day that I was at, at the time. I promptly dropped the friendship. The worst part was that this woman was the first person I went to for solace, when my sordid story broke. Years have gone by and when I see this gal about town, she walks past me like I’m invisible – she’s the one who’s still angry? I guess I hurt her feelings. Too bad, so sad.

    • Actually my “best friend” did the same thing. It was ok when I felt shit…made her feel good, but she got pissed when I started making plans and thinking ahead. If then I slipped, I got the same thing “time to get over it”. This was the same friend who used to tell me I was a ball breaker when I was married. Guess she thought I had it coming. A bye bye!

      • The one thing I’ve been most surprised about is my own willingness to let go of people who are abusive. Your so-called friend was abusing you. You were smart to let go of her.

    • tflan386 and Nat1–good for both of you. Sometimes, choosing to live a life of integrity means both friends and cheaters have to go.

      Merry Christmas to everyone!

  • The wife of one of our couple “friends” is a notary. Not only did they stick with him, she went so far as to illegally notarise a document that was supposed to be signed by me in front of her….I wasn’t even there and had no knowledge of it. EH then brought it to me to sign (to put the cable bill in my name-good luck with that) and later even admitted in an email to me that they “pretended” I was there. Dumb ass. I so wanted to report her for that but I took what I guess was the high road. I still have the email on file and hope to someday at least confront her about it and let her know I could have turned her in for it. I’ll bet she doesn’t realise he put her illegal act in writing. The whole thing made my blood boil. Not only did she stab me in the back but he had to involve them in our personal business.

    • Reading Maree’s posted reminded me that EH used to say horrible things about this woman that tried to help him illegally. When we’d go out to eat with her and her husband he say later how she “ate like a hog” and that he “never thought she’d stop”. They all deserve each other.

    • Lina, I would seriously consider reporting her unethical and illegal actions. Not only was this a crime against you, but she shouldn’t have a notary license at all! It pissed me off just reading it. This former friend of yours violated your rights. Your ex and the notary both, in my opinion stole your identity, your voice. This goes far beyond taking sides; it’s criminal. I would be interested to hear what others think.

      • I agree. Throw her under the bus. Notaries really don’t make that much money (I used to be a notary), but they do swear an oath and must adhere to ethical standards. Report her to the clerk of courts!

    • You don’t take the high road when it comes to illegal actions – you nail them to the wall. Simple.
      Think of it as the Christmas gift that was delayed. Merry Christmas. 🙂

      • Yep, I confess to dobbing in other woman who was collecting unemployment despite living in a defacto relationship. Welfare fraud. Not acceptable!

    • Lina, my mom’s a notary and what that “friend” did will cost her her notary license (or certificate, whatever it is) and probably her job. My mom’s a notary and makes her living that way. I would report her without hesitation. Who knows how many other illegal signatures she’s “witnessed.”

    • Lina–let me join the chorus and urge you to report her. That is a FLAGRANT violation of notary rules, and could have cost you dearly if it has been any other document.

  • After 28 years of marriage, my EX nusband had an exit affair. Everyone (including me) was shocked because they, and I, thought we were “solid”.

    Every single person we knew together decided it was okay for them to still be friends with Ex.

    To put this in perspective, when the male of a married couple we were friends with had an affair, I supported the wife 100%. My ex waffled, still wanted to be friends with “Jim” (should have been my first clue that cheating was an option to Ex), but “Jim” didn’t respond to his overtures of continued riendship. I supported the wife 100% emotionally and we helped support “Karen” financially, with food, friendship and fuel for her wood stove. Fast forward 15 years later and my Ex has an affair, and oh boy, did I find out she wasn’t my friend. Oh, the Ex and I agreed that she was “mine” and I could talk to her about anything. That happened 3 times in 6 months – haven’t seen or heard from her since February (doesn’t answer email, texts, or phone messages).

    Recently an in-law (who works in the same building with her) said “Karen” had mentioned that she hadn’t seen me in quite some time and she didn’t know if I would want to see her. I told the in-law that I couldn’t imagine why I would want to see “Karen” and the only reason she would want to see me is she was in need of something. I told the in-law to tell her to go see Ex for what she needed.

    I have been divested of every single “friend” that I had when I was part of a couple. I am slowly making new friends (well, acquaintances at this point), but I was never very good at that to begin with, so it is a very slow process. My in-laws, although they still love the Ex because he is family, show me they love me and make an effort to keep in touch – much better than any of the so called friends that we had.

    It is a sad and painful process, and I am sorry you are going thru it. However, please pay attention to CL when she says that you are better off without these people. The less I see of them, or think of them, the less I am reminded of my former life. Hey, and my pets still love me even though I ripped them from their lifelong home (most for 13+ years) and they can’t enjoy the run of the woods anymore – they are just happy when I come home from work every day to feed and pet them 🙂

    • bogieb–What a wretched excuse for a person “Karen” is! Of all the people who should have been there for you, Karen should.

      I’m in the same boat as you–because my H was so draining emotionally throughout our marriage, I did not have time to keep up on my friendships all that well (esp the last 3 years when his behavior threw me into a deep depression). Thus, most of our friends were HIS friends (and typically also his colleagues). Only 2 of them have reached out to me since this happened. I know they will have to remain friends with STBX since they are in the same department, but their support of me means I will probably keep them as friends, at least for the immediate future. Everyone else can kiss my ass–all those friends that I invited into my home, including to have holiday dinners with my family, and they can’t even be bothered to shoot me an email or text to say how sorry they are. Done. I’ve made some new friends, rekindled old friendships, and am focusing on me & my daughters (and pets, including our existing dogs, a new puppy for my daughter, and the blind+deaf 10-year old Lhasa Apso we are about to adopt tonight to save him from euthanasia. Sad when our dogs have more integrity and loyalty than our marriage partners.)

      • How great of you Tempest to rescue a special dog like that, especially an older one. Many older former pets are passed over in favor of younger animals. I keep thinking about getting another cat from a shelter (have 2, my last dog went to the fire hydrant in the sky early November), but I have one cat that probably would get too stressed with another feline addition. My other cat would be fine with another cat, even if I got an older one. Both cats would be fine if I got a dog, but living alone and quite a commute from work, it not only isn’t practical, it wouldn’t be fair for the canine.

        Hope both the puppy and Lhasa integrate into the fold well!

  • Divorce absolutely shows you who your true friends are—and unfortunately, in reality—a good portion of the “friends” you have in your life, aren’t.

    I was just ruminating this very point the other day, that I sound so much like my crazy mother when I finally stood back and said to myself, “If I have 2 true friends at the end of my life, I will consider myself one of the lucky ones.” There’s a reason for that saying.

    I had discovered my XHs cheating months before I told anybody. I suffered in silence, wondering what to do. Him? He got in front of the narrative, co-opted every single person we knew—telling them stories about how I was always disparaging those people to him in private, how I secretly hated all of them and thought that they were all stupid and selfish. Varying versions tailored to each person, according to what he knew about their friendship with me.

    My BEST FRIEND did not tell me that he’d done this with her–in fact, when I finally threw XH out, I found out that the whole time since discovery, SHE HAD BEEN CALLING DIFFERENT DIVORCE LAWYERS FOR HIM, trying to sell this story that I was trying to “ruin” him (he was a well known professional in the community). Basically, she trashed any chance I had at speaking to an impartial attorney in my town!

    It’s a lonely place, Carlos. The only redeeming thing about the whole situation is that from this point forward, you will make friends of your OWN, to whom you will tell whatever it is that you choose, or not. They will be completely out of this craziness and they will be YOURS, not hers.

    Those “friends”? I hate how that word is bandied about these days—FRIENDS are the ones who will bail you out of jail at 3 a.m., drive to get you in a hailstorm because you were in an accident, who don’t play both ends against the middle and who will listen to you no matter how many times you repeat the same stories about D-Day.

    Rebuilding a life isn’t easy, Carlos, but you’re going to make it and you’ll have authentic people in your life as a result!!!

  • Any “friends” who knew about her affair and didn’t tell you are *not* friends. They should have encouraged your ex to come clean with you or they should have told you. Period.

    It is tough to rebuild your life, but it is worth it. I’m in the process of doing it and I’m finding great people to include. I’m sick of liars and cheaters and apologists. I want open and honest people in my life.

    I’ve set the bar very high for any new humans I include in my life in any capacity. I would rather be alone than deal with duplicitous bullshit, liars and cheaters.

    Hang in there and be selective.

    • Sam–perfect advice. I now realize my H’s best friends were almost all cheaters at some point in their lives. And almost all of my friends are people of integrity and compassion. Not hard to take sides here.

  • Welp, I was very, very lonely for the first year after I split, and divorced the crapweasel (thank you ChumNation for that very descriptive nom de cheat!).

    Over the post DDay fun-n-games, I endured the experience of some of the people I thought of as, if not close, decent “friends”, accusing me of planning the destruction of a historic building very close to my heart and my house…mind you I work in the museum/historic pres. business, so it was a double/triple/quadruple slap. And just to make it more fun? “Meetings were held” behind my back to discuss this possibility, and then they reached out…to the crapweasel…

    Yeah, nothing like a Miracle-wip topping of friend-trauma on top of your 25-years-married cheating lying husband trauma.

    Another friend said, exact quote “I’ve been on all three sides of the cheating triangle, and I think you’re over-reacting.” This from the sanctimonious Quaker. Har dee har.

    On the plus side, it’s easy to strike them off the old card list (morbid humor helps.)

    I still basically don’t trust…people. Except my kid, most of the time. Even her, I have trouble some times, to be honest. This whole business does a serious mind-fuck.

    Move on Carlos. Find good people, if you can. Spend time with your kids. I wish you the best.

    • Wow. I like your angle. I have 0 friends who have stood by me through the last three years with the exception of Jesus.
      I pray.
      Poor me. Lol.
      Well, just a thought: if you know someone who has been on all three sides of the affair triangle, then s/he is pretty screwed up. Right?
      He was cheated on, cheated and was an AP.
      And I thought my friends were clueless!

      • Lily, I am sorry that you lost everyone you thought was a friend. I know how hard that is on top of everything else. I hope Jesus brings you peace of mind and soul.

        • BogieB, thanks for the good wishes. 2014 has been hard for me. I read some pretty insightful comments here, and it may be a decade before I dig myself out of the troubles my ex created… But that is better than living with zero foundation. Am I right?

          Heres to Meh! Merry Christmas.

      • Lily, I hear you. I am so sorry that everyone fled. I think sometimes people are just so terrified by the spectacle that they are cowards, and run away. (You know: they might have to look closer at their own marriages–scary!; it brings up bad memories of parental cheating…which you would think brings empathy, but, no….). Regardless, they’re not good friends if they don’t stand by and at least bring you tea and sympathy (metaphorical or otherwise.)

        My Quaker friend was in the leadership at my church–not a Meeting, but wevs– she was the one who instigated the “what if she wants to harm the historic building?” campaign….the historic building was my church, so yeah. Other “friends” there knew what my Ex was up to, as well–people I counted as my friends too. I’ve tried to attend services at the church in my denomination, where I’ve moved, but for me, church is a massive trigger, b/c that’s where all my friend-trauma originated. Awful.

        Instead I take my dog to the dog park–she’s loyal and loving, and we enjoy the beauty of creation together, and I take heart from her joy, and the unrestrained joy of the other doggies. Very healing.

        I am so glad for you that you have your faith to keep you comforted.

        • I totally understand avoiding triggers. Thinking back, some people were there for me at important times… I suspect the severity of my split did frighten most people away, and my trust was shot anyways.
          Sometimes, I would see their strength when I could barely walk and breath and I would wonder, “Why don’t they help?”
          I think it is better not to know why. Today I forgive.

    • “On the plus side, it’s easy to strike them off the old card list (morbid humor helps.) ”

      I was thinking the exact same thing when I made out my Christmas card list this year – it is a lot shorter and less stressful. Last year I sent cards to everyone. This year the only cards to go out were to family and co-workers. The card shopping went quickly, as did the signing, sealing and mailing.

      I am struggling not to text a couple today to wish them a Merry Christmas. A couple that every time they are in town they get with EX. I haven’t heard a word from them since January but did see them for a short time just before Thanksgiving as I was picking up some stuff from ex’s house (they were rolling in the driveway as I was loading up).

      Actually I am unsure why I struggle with this as last year when she thought he was leaving her – no cheating involved; I was emotionally supporting her while trying to deal with my own crap. He moved from IN to MA and left her there. Then the interaction stopped when she moved to join him. Yeah, great friends – I’m getting over that urge to text them after re-reading that a couple of times 🙂

      • I love writing things down. Letters (to others and myself), journals, emails, etc. The majority that I write to others, I never send. But when you read what you write – it makes things so much clearer and it helps get you where you need to go in your head.

        You got to where you needed to be. You should not text them.

  • I’ve had some difficulty with this because my two closest girlfriends have stood by me like angels, but their husbands, who used to hang with STBX and got along well with him (which was slightly miraculous because he wouldn’t spend time with just anyone) have had a harder time cutting him off. Stbx tries to contact them and they say they feel some obligation “see if he’s ok” or to get the kids together etc. Both these guys have seen me sobbing in terrible pain. A while back I told one of them that it hurts my feelings that he would spend any time with that asshole and he claims to have cut him off recently. I don’t trust either of them, but I can’t exactly cut them out and never see them without cutting off supportive friends. Both women reach out to me to spend time separately as often as possible. I don’t know what else to do.
    Just handed off my son to the shithead til tomorrow afternoon so feeling pretty shitty right now, but I made dinner reservations for my 82 year old (chump) mother and I at my favorite restaurant, so making the best of it.

  • One of the great joys of getting this new life, is getting to pick friends who have a decent set of values… people who are loyal, reciprocal, loving, kind…friends are the people who stand strong with you in the face of a storm. Those people who hung around with you and your ex pre DDay, were not really friends, they were people to hang with. My friends have stuck with me through thick and thin and helped me survive everything that happened. I am looking at people with new eyes. There is one woman who didn’t ‘judge’ when DDay happened, and the other day said my XH (how I like writing that) is a teddy bear who I considered a friend. Now I look at her with new eyes, I see that every time I am with her she talks non stop about herself. I don’t think she is being emotionally honest about the challenges in her life, so how can she be honest about the challenges in mine. She is on the ‘withdraw with love’ list. It’s ok to do that… I am learning that in fact life is becoming so much better now that I can and feel free to judge people by a list of values I hold dear and try to practice every day. Much love on this holiday.

  • Carlos,
    I thought about this same thing after Dday. My XH was a prominent business man and put plenty of people to work in our small community. We had lots of couple friends and did lots of fun things. Trips to Vegas, hiking trips in Montana, bike rides on the Hiawatha. After Dday I was suddenly invisible to these people. Only one person out of all of them reached out to me. I remember walking down the street and seeing some of these people and they averted their eyes and crossed to the other side. It hurt my feelings so badly.

    Fortunately, I still have some of the same friends since grade school and they are truly my best friends. They will always be on my side and in my corner. I’ve picked up a smattering of loyal friends along the way all by myself over the years and we are all in close contact. I have what he NEVER had. REAL friends.

    CL nails it. Yes we should judge! I’ve always known I’d never vote for a politician that cheated on their spouse. If they would screw over their spouse and family….gee, what chance do I stand? Like they would be loyal to ME? Little old me?

    It’s been several years since my husband walked out and the irony is that I work where he used to work. He is gone and I am here. And I’m a respected member of the institution and now hold some sway. The people that took his side and found me invisible? The ‘Total Ignore’ on my part. I’ve actually had some of them come up to me at gatherings and poke me hard to get my attention (because I’m SoooOOOooo good at the ‘Total Ignore’ and say ‘HI!! Syringa!! Hi!! How are you Syringa?’ The truth? Fuck ’em. I’m not even trying to be mean. As CL says, ‘we just don’t share the same values.’

    The point, Carlos honey, blow these people off. They ain’t worth nuthin.’
    Any you never know, they might need you someday for something, And you know what? You’ll probably be playing miniature golf that day.

    Merry Christmas to CL and Chump Nation. Dang I love you guys!!!

  • Carlos,

    As a Christian minister, I teach that adultery is soul rape as that is what I see it as in the Bible. You don’t befriend and dine with someone who has raped your friend (even if it is “only” their soul that’s been raped). That’s just sick. As CL aptly describes it, their moral compass is seriously messed up, and they lack character to do the right thing (i.e. not give a quarter to the narrative that what happened doesn’t matter.)

    To the question of what happens to couple friends post-divorce, I decided to let go of those who wanted to stay friends with my ex (that I know of). It’s too painful as well as demonstrates the above lack of moral fiber. And if they want to know why, I think it is legit to tell them the reason: They have demonstrated by their actions and in actions that they are neutral about adultery and the rape of your soul. So, they’ve been weighted and found unworthy of being your friend.

    Blessings and hugs!
    DM

    • DM (and ChumpNation)…….heres one I’d like help with. My X was friends with a couple before I knew him (its actually his attorney & his wife), then I come in the picture, they like me a lot for 10 years I was around. They know the story, though I have only spoken with atty wife. They do not live in same state as I do; they live in same state as cheater. I rarely hear from them but rarely did anyway in the 10 years but on occasion wife will call and check on me. They rarely spoke with the cheater over 10 years too but was always there for him if he needed services (atty). Last Christmas they invited cheater to their home; I do not know if they did for this Christmas. They still always send me a gift for Christmas and have done so for most of the years, including this one. When wife found out through me at the very beginning, this is what she said: “Me and atty hubs have always said that just because 2 people can’t make it work with each other doesn’t mean either of the 2 are bad people and we remain friends throughout the years with couples who are divorced”. I really think these people know he is a jerk and she calls him a coward, yet they still kinda like him too (and prob his $$ for atty fees!) but they are the don’t wanna pick sides kind of people too. Peace & Love!! So finally my question is: his friends first, they like me better and know he’s a cheat and has other issues, though all of us rarely talked anyway over 10 years, they do occasionally keep in touch and send the annual gift. Do I stay or do I go?

      • These “friends” in the grey zone are tricky. I have a couple myself. For my own sanity, i have come to stop regarding them as friends, but I remain civil. — I truly don’t understand how someone can like someone they know who did this to someone they “like better.” — ???

      • Tell them to bugger off – perhaps not in those words, but thats the idea behind it.
        These are the types who fence-sit (or play Switzerland as I call it), and by fence-sitting they have shown that they don’t give a crap for your pain and is essentially the ‘i’m not taking sides’ agenda.
        I had a friend who pulled the same Switzerland shit about someone I hated because they did the wrong thing by me – I told him ‘you have taken a side, you have taken his side, and that tells me a lot about your character.’

      • IHaveHate,

        Some good thoughts here. How do you feel about them? Is it causing you distress to stay in contact with them? I guess I’d listen to that if it is and cut off contact in that event.

        On the other hand, it is okay to keep them at arms length as an acquaintances as Chumpy says. I’d be careful NOT to give them information that could filter back to the ex and possibly hurt you, though. Having the cheater over for Christmas is a red flag as to their willingness to be open to him (i.e. they opened their home to him).

        Negotiating friendships post-D-day and divorce is an art and not a science. I’d say feed the friendships that are feeding and supporting you. Don’t go out of your way to feed the relationships–like this one–that are ambivalent (or worse as in NOT friends).

        -DM

  • A Friend of my STBX, a guy I never took to, actually knew about his old slapper and met her. All the time I was totally in the dark. His affair had been ongoing for six years before first BD. I found out about his Best Friend meeting the old slapper when she sent STBX a text during our so called reconciliation. She was pissed because he had broken up with her and she sent a text stating how this Friend didn’t like me. What sort of creep hangs out with his Friend and his whore behind the Wife’s back? A low life that is who.

    I’ve been pleasantly surprised and heartened by his SIL (she was chomped by his Brother) and his Niece and Nephew. I think they hate him more than I do. They are quite adament that do not want to have anything to do with him.

  • It sucks that couple friends pretty much fall off. The husband of our best friend couple still wants to hang out with my STBX. He even helped him finally move his crap out of the house. Even though he’s been married 25 years apparently a best friend who cheats is just fine. Guess they weren’t true friends after all. I hope the wife never finds out how so called friends desert her. If her husband thinks it’s ok to support cheaters it’s not much of a jump for him.

  • BTDT, can’t really add anything except another voice to the chorus. One of STBX’s best friend has repeatedly told me how disappointed he was when he went through his first divorce and STB “wasn’t there for him”. So when the kids and I left, I thought he’d understand how tough this was, and still be friends, as our kids have grown up together.

    Nope. His wife “just wanted everyone to get along”, so only contacted us when there was a party being given for one of her children that involved a present being given, or when she was having a `party’ that would have involved my buying something through her.

    It hurt at the time. A lot. Now? Meh. Not feeling much of a loss. Recently heard he had a health crisis. I sent my regards, verbally, let the kids know.

    The other `friend’ I lost in the divorce was one who had a heavy flirt going with STB, and she was one whom he did a lot of work for on her house over the years. Even after we separated, when she would give me an invite, she would always ask if STB wanted to come to, and then they would spend the evening chatting and laughing. Yay for them.

    Irony of this is that at random a few days ago, STB told me I was a selfish and self-centered person who “burned through friends pretty quickly”. I was stunned that he would say this (especially since he was holding a unicorn harness at the time), and asked him what he meant. He said, “Well for example, what about your old friend ___? When was the last time you talked to her?” “Thursday.” (He hadn’t seen that coming.) Then I asked him where this all came from, and he said, “I honestly don’t know.”

    So yeah. Not only did I loose what I thought were lifetime friends in the separation (incidentally, friends who were well aware of the abuse problem and why we had to leave), but that was used as evidence against me as to what a poor character I had.

    If you see anything remotely looking like a unicorn hanging out in my vicinity, shoot first and ask questions later. I’ve had friends saying wide-eyed, “You know he really doesn’t want to reconcile, don’t you? You know what’s going on here, right?” I really didn’t get that until today. Is this the off-ramp to Meh ahead?

  • Fortunately or unfortunately the only friends we had as a couple were friends of his choosing; even in the neighborhood. He was only really friends with people at work and I didn’t really care for many of them so good riddance. I don’t have many of my childhood friends left; just one who lives 800 miles away but I have made a few friends through work and I try to keep in touch with them on a fairly regular basis.

    My ex couldn’t be bothered to have anything to do with any of them so it made it pretty easy for them to ignore him after the divorce.

    There were a couple of people from our old neighborhood that I stayed in touch with for a little bit after I left but eventually I let them go because I know they all still socialize with the ex.

    Sorry Carlos-CL is right. If they don’t draw a line in the sand and ignore the cheaters outright then they’ve chosen a side and they are judging…you. Time to make new friends.

    Merry Christmas Chumps!!

  • Really. Would you want to go to a BBQ with jacktard’s friends. Don’t know about you but breathing the same air as somebody who thinks adultery is just another matter of fact little trifle in life is beyond stifling. These people belong in the same room as people who ignore animal abuse, racism, misogyny, and a whole plethora of swept under the rug “can’t raise a ruckus” antisocial behaviours.
    We all know marriages have problems and people may drift apart but affairs that last years, Ashley Madison, and escort services/hookers are not “minor” downs in a marriage. A drunken one-night stand followed by self flagellation (my only concession to a possible unicorn scenario – or possibly your spouse was in a coma for more than a decade) might be understood but not years of infidelity while telling wifey or hubby you love them and let’s plan our retirement.
    My lovely monster-in-law summed it up. I’m a woman scorned. Can’t get over the fact he dumped me. No I’m pissed off that he spent 22 years lying to me. I would never have stayed with a lying cheater knowingly you stupid bitch!
    I have had the displeasure of knowing people who cheated on their spouses and let the shithead know I did not like their actions. My maid of honour was a young divorcee from such a piece of shit (little did we know about my lovely groom).
    Hard to stay friends with people who believe the jacktard’s narrative that we drifted apart. Yeah, a little bit of strange over several years can do that….

    • Just another chump–Thank you for a terrific post!! And timely–when my STBX called to wish me a Merry Christmas yesterday (we celebrate on Christmas eve), he threw out the nugget that I overreacted to his infidelity, and that most people would not have reacted the same way, esp. since it was 8 years ago & he ended it to return to the marriage. Those of us on the CL forum–same thing, he said we were “not a representative sample.” Ruined my Christmas, that conversation as he continues to invalidate my feelings and behavior. Makes NC except for text/email over settlement my New Year’s resolution, but starting today).

      During the same phone conversation, my STBX said that a friend of his who wanted to meet with me probably “couldn’t stop himself” from telling me that I was giving up a good man who still spoke well of me. I decided I didn’t need to meet with that friend after all.

      Why these f**ktards think it is okay for them to do ANYthing their pleasure dictates, and we’re supposed to lap it up like gravy, is beyond me. My new social circle will not include cheaters or cheater apologists.

    • You are right, some people just don’t get that you aren’t “bitter” because he “fell in love with another woman.” It’s not sour grapes… In my case I started to buy that fakery spin of “it just happened,” and they fell in love or whatever, from him till 6 months after DDay when I stumbled on evidence of the 2 prior OW that I know of. I don’t need to know any more; I’m still processing the magnitude of the lie that he lived with me and my children for 16-17 years, emailing some Schmoopie right after our Xmas with his family, for instance, in 2008. My brain still can’t get around this enormous period of time in which I financially supported him, built a home with him using 90% my funds, fed him, paid for his cell phone while he was living a double life or more!!! Bitter sour grapes? no, more like massive cognitive dissonance and disgust. I still have moments of sadness and I cry sometimes. One of my siblings will yell at me, “You have GOT to get over him already!! It’s been almost two years!!” I’m crying not because I’m not over that steaming turd, but I still struggle sometimes with how I could have let it happen. The cheating was a big secret but the rest of his abuse was staring me in the face but I just didn’t want to acknowledge it. So yes, I am so grateful to the OW he now is living with and presumably mooching off of, for helping create the facts that made me suspicious enough to check his cell phone log and see what was happening.

      • First, 2007 he moved us and our 3 kids onn the other side of town from our home of 10 yrs. He let the house foreclose. Then after 3 mos he left us for the ho-worker 16 yrs younger than him. I had no friends, was too embarrassed to call any of our ol friends since they always wanted to know how we kept the fire going after 18 yrs.
        He moved us in a dump rental. Economy slumped in 2008 when the divorce was final. Ho worker got pregnant 3 mos after divorce. She’d been married to when they started up with 2 much younger kids. 7.5 yrs later, I’m beginning to feel like a worthwhile woman again. I still have no friends. Trust is out the window for men and women.
        It took about 3 yrs to get over the rage I felt. 5 yrs to forgive him. 7 yrs to heal from the being thrown out like garbage, the deceit, betrayal, my shredded self worth. My daughter, 20 now, disowns him. My sons, 23 & 18 now, moved over to their house 5 mos ago from me cuz I stayed stressed about finances and expected respect from them. But look what their dad taught them on how to disrespect me. But them being over there stings. I’m not the one who broke up our family. I was always there for them. My ol friends never even bothered to stay in touch. So I’ve dealt with all this myself, my faith, divorce support group, therapy, meds. I’m stronger for it. No anger, no bitterness, just a sadness that life is nothing like I thought it was going to be.
        I wish people realized that a decision is like throwing a rock into a lake. There’s always ripples. U never know how far those ripples r going to keep going r fow how long.
        I’ve felt stuck for the last 7.5 yrs. I’m now trying to look at a promising future even tho I’m almost 60. And him? He’s 54? And has a 5 and 3 yr old who’s friends down the road r going to think he’s grandpa. Lol
        but he hadn’t stayed and finished raising a family yet. Doubt he’ll stay there either. What a great role model for my sons. There goes the ripples…

      • Margaret, tell your sibling that it is not a matter of “getting over” your X as if he was a high school crush; you have just learned that the past 16 or 17 years is a lie and it will take time (as you clearly know) to process that “massive cognitive dissonance.” And that if you don’t do that work, you won’t have a solid foundation for the rest of your life and your family’s life. When people say these stupid things, it’s because either they have no idea what has happened to you or they just want you to go back to putting on your happy face and living a hollow life to make them comfortable. Harsh, but true.

        I had a friend (who has since gone by the wayside since I have stopped letting her bully me) who gave me the “when are you getting over it?” routine about three months past D-Day. Mind you, this is a person who could have sat with me when my cat died or helped my carry Jackass’s crap to a storage locker or just watched movies with me but was AWOL for most all of that. What I said was this: “I knew this person and thought he was my friend for over 30 years before we made commitments to each other. It will take me as long as it takes me to process what happened and how I feel about it. I will not cover over my pain and suffering with food, alcohol, work, other relationships or false bravado, either to medicate myself or make you feel better. You have no idea what this feels like because you’ve never experience this kind of betrayal.” That was pretty much the end of the discussion and probably the beginning of the end of the friendship. ButI am so much better off a year later.

  • For me, this aspect of dealing with “friends” has been potentially even harder than XH’s betrayal and rejection. Somehow, I can actually accept that maybe I chose poorly, made unnecessarily extreme efforts to save a marriage that he was never committed to, … but it’s much harder for me to understand I was duped by all these other people, our “friends.”

    XH sparkles. He does. He has a very nice wine bistro, and he’s FUN!! Also, he’s HAPPY!! — Me? I’m an introvert, and I’m not always “up.” But I’ll throw myself on a grenade for my friends every single time.

    Some of the friends sorted early. That hurt. But now that it’s the holiday season, just in the past week, I had three of my “friends” either talk about his Facebook posts, or mention him by name on FB (today he was given credit for “saving the day” while I sat at home after work sobbing my eyes out at coming home to an empty house on Xmas eve — guess he only saves SOME people’s days….), and another posted a FB photo of themselves in his restaurant. — I can’t really trust these people any more. They can make their own choices, and I know it happens all the time that people find one person before they leave another person (my own situation was less longterm infidelity than XH falling in love with someone else then telling me and leaving our marriage abruptly and without warning or recourse), but I prefer to live in a world of Right and Wrong. Some of my good friends, to this day (7 months after Dday) are still as vehement about his wrongdoing as I am, and it fortifies me every single time I hear them come unequivocally to my defense.

    I’m sorry, Carlos, for your loss — not only of your marriage, your trust, and all that goes with it, but also of people you thought were your friends. You’re not alone. And it really really sucks.

    • “I know it happens all the time that people find one person before they leave another person”

      Yes, and unfortunately so does rape and murder. All the time. That does not make it okay. Only a person’s value system can make it seem okay.

      It’s infidelity NWB, and if these ‘friends’ are hanging out with your cheater then that tells you about their values. Believe them. Sounds like NC would help avoid some future pain. They are not going to come around to your side.

      I’m so glad you’ve got the unequivocal friends. THEY deserve you! 🙂 Time to declutter the FB friends list!

    • NWB–I am so sorry that even some of your friends have retained contact with your X-loser. Divorce is like cleaning house–it is painful as you’re undergoing it, but in the end you have a sparkly new house devoid of the clutter.

      And re-decorate–find new friends (given your name-perhaps through a book club you join?)

  • I never know how to treat the cheater after my friend who has been chumped decides to stay and forgive. This has happened several times and I struggle because I am not ready to forgive. On one hand, I have righteous indignation for my chump friends. But on the other hand, I don’t feel like it’s my place to determine if my friends forgive their cheaters. I just know I personally have a hard time sitting down to dinner with them as a couple and pretending I am okay with their cheating spouse. Maybe CL has some advice for this?

    • Oh, that’s a good one.

      Your values are anti-cheating and loyalty to your friend. Hmmmmm. I have some ideas . . .

      She has chosen a diet of shit sandwiches, and is inviting you over to dine with her. I think it’s fair to say something along the lines of

      “Friend, I love you dearly. As you know, I have a shit intolerance, so I have to decline anything with that on the menu. Let’s make a plan for the two of us to grab a nice salad together, soon. Love, Your shit-allergic Friend.”

      or

      “I’m sorry, I think I would feel very uncomfortable. He hurt you, I don’t like him, and I’m not a good faker.”

      or

      Just decline those invites without explanation, and immediately follow up with an invite to just your friend so she knows you are not blowing HER off. If a friend requires you to eat their shit sandwich with them at the cost of being true to yourself, I don’t think that’s a great friend.

    • I’d be tempted to only meet with her alone. And chances are, she is going to have another D-day at some point in the future and will relish your support then.

  • CL thank you for sharing Carlos’ letter today.
    As I have just watched my kids drive off with the STBX for a few hours being Christmas Day here. I am ok with the fact that people have chosen the deceptacon to be friends with. Because for every false friend that has fallen away an even better one has risen to take their place.
    And one thing I have noticed, those who have chosen his side and left have taken an amazing amount of drama with them. Leaving me a whole lot of peace.
    Merry Christmas all.

  • This topic hits so close to home. The most common reason I got for people taking his side through default was, “You contributed to the break up too.”
    ChumpLady is the first breath of fresh air for me! Every one else I know can think of praises for cake eating Ex. He deserves no praise. The good they see in him is narkes (self serving Narcissistic sparkles).
    Do I expect more from my once very big circle of friends? No. Will I be a better friend? Yes.

      • RockStarWife, I’d be tempted to say to your promiscuous husband, “Damn! You mean I f**ked twenty men in violation of my wedding vows? Sure wish I remembered THAT!!”

      • RSW–or to any so-called friends who suggest you contributed to the breakup of the marriage. Anyone who asks that deserves an end to the friendship. And anyone who asks me that better be a fast runner.

      • On a more serious note (should you desire to keep those so-called friends), you could say, “Lack of perfection is not an excuse to cheat on someone who is pulling their weight in the relationship. Since no one is perfect, I assume your spouse must have an excuse to cheat, too?”

        [Okay–that response is not necessarily designed to keep a friend, either, but I’m not sure why anyone would want to.]

      • One last attempt at tact to friends who imply you contributed to the breakup of the marriage, “I know we all prefer to think that the world is a just place, but sometimes one partner in a marriage does something so atrocious–like have an affair–that there can be no mending of the relationship, nor is there any excuse for inflicting that kind of damage on a marriage.”

        -I still prefer my first snarky response, but I’m working on diplomacy ; )

      • “I never cheated on my husband. I didn’t lie to him or sneak around behind his back with other men. I didn’t spend our family income on an affair partner. I didn’t put him at risk for an STD. And if he didn’t like being married, all he needed to do was file for divorce and we could have parted amicably. He chose to lie and cheat instead. You get to choose if you want to be his friend in spite of his behavior. And I get to choose that you aren’t a friend to me if you think I deserve to be betrayed.”

  • I lost a number of friends in the aftermath of the breakup. Some because I threw them out of my life due to their support of ex. Others because I was very difficult to be around at times and they couldn’t deal with my extreme emotional destruction. I was an asshole sometimes, rude, drunk, self-pitying, generally not great to be around. Those who really cared about me understood this was extreme pain playing out and stuck by me. Others walked away. I made new friends during that period. Some are still around, some are not, for various reasons, which range from we don’t have a lot in common to I realised they were sparkly types who weren’t interested in more than a surface friendship.

    In the end dealing with friends during this time was as difficult, if not more difficult, as ending my marriage. But it helped me see that I made bad choices in a number of relationships in my life and I cleaned house.

  • First of all…Merry Christmas chumps everywhere…I hope you are coping with the holidays well, but even if you aren’t, just remember, if you are feeling pain, at least you FEEL something. Most narcissistic cheats are skimming the surface of life and don’t experience feelings like we do, and that includes the good feelings.
    The vast majority of our friends have sided with me. One or two didn’t but they turned out to be the ones I never really had a good emotional connection with anyway, so I couldn’t care less that I’ll never see them again.
    One or two of my girlfriends husbands knew cheating ex (Yes! my divorce came through last friday so he is an ex!) since they were children. They have seen him maybe three or four times since D Day in July, and say that it’s not the same, they feel awkward etc. He has ‘banned’ them from talking about what happened. And this is the point. Like many of you, I imagine, I was controlled by this narcissistic freak. I’m not a weak or unintelligent person, and it is still a cause of regret and confusion to me that I allowed this control and manipulation to happen. But that’s what they do, and I realise that he did it to his friends too. His ex best friend, part of a couple who we were very close to, is one of the guys that still sees him occasionally, and I can see that he is slowly awakening to what sort of person my ex is. It took me 23 years and the shock of betrayal to finally see him for what he is, so I understand that it’s a process for this man too. And he is nearly there. He sees how my ex treated him (Ex got no end of enjoyment in winding this lovely, kind hearted man up, sometimes to the point where they were nearly at loggerheads, then ex would boast to me the next day about how he’d ‘really upset D. last night.’
    So I think there are those who may take a little time to feel comfortable in cutting off the cheater, not because they are morally lacking, but because they have been victims too.

    • Elle, I had the same feedback from friends who tried to stay friends with my Cheating Ex. They said that when they are with him he never mentions me, my kids, our breakup over his infidelity, etc, It’s like none of it even existed though we were friends throughout .. they said they have drifted away from being friends with him because there isn’t much left to talk about if the reality of what just happened after his 16 years with me (and all of us being friends over those years, together with my kids, and their kids, etc) is not permitted to be spoken about.

      • My x, I prefer to call him my kids dad, not so negative (I did call him Dick for awhile tho) also acts like we were never together, that I’m not the mother of 3 of his kids. He txted me over a yr ago telling me we have no reason to have any contact. If i should contact him, he’ll block me via txt, phone, email.
        I’m pretty sure it’s the 35 yr old ho worker wife that has laid this law down. Stupid girl. She keeps her distance from me but it was stupid at my son’s HS graduation 2014 to pretend I didn’t see their dad. How’s it gonna be at other celebrations? Weddings? Grandkids births? Ripples continue…

  • This post is the best Christmas present ever! I’m almost 3 years out from my nth and final d-day, divorced, and happily into my real life. I’ve recently been feeling like this whole “friends” issue has been keeping me from getting to meh (that, and the post-divorce real estate nightmare, but I digress).

    I’m sure you know that most divorce-related websites say that it’s Bad to make your friends choose your side afterward. It’s Selfish and if you do it, they won’t want to choose you. But I think those sites are talking about the rare and lucky few who “grew apart.”

    I don’t want to be friends with people who said, “You’ve certainly given each other a lot to think about,” when I told them that my ex spent an hour on the phone with a 15-year-old girl that he did not know. I definitely don’t want to be friends with people who said, “Don’t tell me about what he did–I’m a mandated reporter.” And I can’t really find compassion for anyone who said, “He was stupid to get caught,” and then proceeds to go out with him every time he’s in town.

    And I felt guilty about it. Until now. So, thank you all! Happy holidays! 🙂

  • To be honest, My best friend became friends with my ex while she and I were still together. And now that we broke up, my best friend decided to still stay friend with my ex. At first I was upset, but then I realized it’s her choice of who she wants do befriend. I just stablished very clear boundaries and told my best friend that I don’t want to hear anything updates about my ex ever. Who knows what is gonna happen in the future, but as of now ( just 5 months after D-Day) that’s how things are.

  • Warm Christmas wishes to all of you. All of you are awesome and narcissists can kiss my ass.

    This friends deal is complicated. I continue to share some friends with my charming narcissist ex. Some have fallen off in these past two years, but many remain.

    I cannot control who my friends choose to hang around with, I’m not saying this is always a happy experience for me…it can stink. I have stopped spending time with ones that simply do not get it and lack basic empathy for how the experience nearly broke me. I can choose wherever that line is.

    The shared friends I kept are the ones who have supported me, are unfiltered to me about how weird my ex and her cheat-partner are and are clear about what happened. The fact that they enjoy some of her redeeming qualities is their deal. So it goes.

    • Dear champion,

      I couldn’t agree with you more! I’m feel the same way. We cannot control who out friends hang out with. I prefer to let my friends choose on their own whether they want to befriend my ex. It’s not an ideal situation for me, but it is what it is. As long as my friends are clear on the pain my ex caused me and they don’t hang out with the affair partner, n then tell me all about it, I’m fine.

  • Dear Carlos,
    I was devastated when a close friend of XH (signed papers 2 days ago :)!) and mine, who had been cheated upon by his wife and should have known exactly how I felt, uninvited my daughter and I to come visit him 2 months after d-day and I learned a week later had instead invited XH and OW for weekend!!!!!! I
    told him when he confessed he had done this in am email that I was deeply hurt by his action and viewed it as a serious betrayal and he got posses and me and cut me off as a friend any more. No loss because in reality his actions screamed his choice – in spite of his own personal experience he still
    sided with my cheater XH whom he know was emotionally cruel and disrespectful to him too. The rest of our mutual friends choose me.

    I agree with everyone who has posted here at CN – there can’t be fence sitters. Get rid of those who don’t stand by you.

    Hugs!

  • It’s funny but I reconnected with so many old friends who slowly drifted away over the years because they thought my ex was an asshole and just could not stand to be around him anymore. Once we split up, they contacted me and apologized and explained they just could not stomach ex anymore …and I have now resumed these friendships. I am also so much happier and more outgoing with ex and his gaslighting out of my life, and so have many new friends as well. So many people came forward after my divorce to tell me how much they disliked my ex and offering support to me and our children. It has been a wonderful blessing.

    • OMG! I have the exact same experience! Friends who were my friends first and tried to be “couple friends” drifted away after getting annoyed by him or thinking he was an abnoxious, selfish person. They are all coming back now, and as you say, it is a gift! Out of nowhere, friends from 10, 20, 30 years ago are reappearing and the ones who knew him also apologized but said they had gone away because they could not stand him and did not want to say anything to me out of respect for my marriage.

      I used to complain to my STBX that I didn´t have girlfriends since I started dating him, and that I really missed them. We only had “couple friends” most of who have stayed on my side, unless they were his friends first (i.e. his circle of friends and colleagues which I now call “the cheaters club” because they all have cheated on their spouses or are OWs or OMs). Funny, now that I think of it, he did have “girlfriends” while scaring all of mine away!

      The only big disappointment was that a very close female friend who was also a couples friend ended up siding with him. She was with us since we met and was at our wedding, our babies births, Christmas, trips, everything…She blamed me and called me a drama queen for my suffering. When I left her home after that insult, she ended our relationship because she felt betrayed by me! Wacko! Now I realize that her attitude is also because she has never been married or had a long relationship so she has no idea how destructive infidelity is. I also figured out that she probably has a long standing crush on my STBX and enjoys giving kibbles to him (she could be his mother by age though) since he probably is the most attractive guy that pays any attention to her. But never in my wildest dreams did I think they would end up “together.” Whatever…

  • What I’ve discovered is that even some of the “let’s be neutral” crowd have indeed drifted back to being friends with me after their attempts to stay connected to Cheater have left them scratching their heads… they said “he’s still so unsettled,” and that when they went to dinner with him a few times, he pretended that nothing had ever happened, never mentioned me, the breakup (DDay and me kicking him out), just acted like none of it even existed. All 17 years that we were in a relationship, we were friends together with these folks and they found there wasn’t much left to talk about with him acting like that 17 years never happened.

  • I took the high road on this one and explained to my friends that I didn’t expect them to never talk to my ex again but that they had better NOT become friends of any sort with his OW because that would be like a knife in my back. Not one of my friends really talks to my ex and they absolutely cannot stand the sight of his OW!!!!

  • “Tom, did you see Tammy’s bruises the other day?”
    “I sure did. I wonder what she did to Phil that made him so made he’d beat the hell out of her.”
    “Who knows, but Phil seems like such a happy go lucky guy, and she’s just down and out, all the time.”
    “You’re right. If ever there was a guy that needed to get away from his wife, it’s Phil.”
    “Hey, as long as he’s happy, right?”
    “Yeah.”
    “Hey, have you ever thought maybe Tammy doesn’t deserve to get beaten silly by Phil.”
    “Shhhhh, what the hell is wrong with you? Phil is happy beating Tammy senseless. How dare we judge his actions.”

    Carlos, if I was a fly on the wall for those conversations in the homes of some of the people I used to call friends… Physical abuse is the real parallel here. The above conversation seems ludicrous when it comes to a man beating his wife. But if it’s a spouse cheating…then that’s just not something we pass judgement on.

    I was fortunate many of her friends went to bat for me. I even had one acquaintence stand up in a crowded room and rip someone to shreds on my behalf. Someone said to me, “sorry your marriage is ending, what did you do to cause it?” and this acquaintence stood up and said, “Nothing. Not one damn thing. It was his wife’s fault completely!”

    Carlos, sometimes you lose an army and gain one angel. And brother that’s all you need.

    • What a terrific reply. Please take this to heart, Carlos.

      I’m not in the situation because my cheater has ZERO friends. He is so surface-y and there is literally no one, not even his own siblings, that he has a deep bond with.

      The friends that I have made and their spouses want nothing to do with him. I have told others who may be waffling about what to do that I will never accept a couples invitation. I would gladly accept as a single person, but I would never fake it with my cheater to bring him to a charity event, dinner, sports event, etc… The shake out has been that I’ve shook out the fence sitters from my life.

      Stay strong.

  • One takeaway I have from the whole betrayal experience is that (as a chump) I often neglected relationships because I was so focused on the Jackass (or my husband or some other man before him). Yesterday at my family Christmas dinner, I was thinking how much fun it was just to be with family without thinking about whether my partner was having fun or feeling awkward or bored. I’m 63 and have spend nearly all my life worrying about whether the narcissist or other disordered person in my life was (starting with my mother) was OK and if not how to fix it. This whole experience is like a giant time-out for me to think about how to live some other way because I won’t go back to being ever-vigilant and feeling dread and anxiety at times that should be joyful and happy.

    So I think getting chomped necessitates a serious look at how we interact with all sorts of people. I have never believed in “couple friends”; those relationships are almost always social and never truly intimate. There’s nothing wrong with having couples that are fun to have over for a BBQ or for going out to dinner. But deep friendship involves intimacy, and by its nature is one-to-one. Those relationship have to be nurtured; they can included the spouses and kids and dogs and in-laws from time to time, but at the core have to be about two people, heart to heart. I’ve got one really deep, rock-solid friendship that can withstand a certain amount of craziness on both sides, and a few other friendships that are very sustaining. But they are all one-on-one and they all require some time and attention that is hard to come by when catering to a narcissistic jackass. Just sayin’.

    • Your comment is so true and helpful. This is my first Christmas without my narc and the first Christmas that I wasn´t stressed out. The only stress I suffered was negotiating with him if I would get my daughters on the 24th or the 25th. Indeed, Christmas without him was the best gift he ever gave me!

  • >