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You Might Actually Suck, But You’re Still a Chump

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muffintopSeveral people sent me the HuffPo article that ran recently “4 Huge Mistakes I Made As a Wife (Now Ex-Wife).” Crap that bookends nicely with yesterday’s post “How Not to Be a Cheater?” On the shallow face of it, it’s a woman owning her shit. That her marriage broke up because she wasn’t her best self.

But then it nosedives at:

And while I’m still hurt that my husband chose to solve our problems in another woman’s bed when some conversation and counseling might have helped, I absolutely know that my behavior was part of what pushed him there.

If you work from the premise that cheating is abusive (I do), then this is a cringe-inducing confession. She may as well outline her sins and then say, “And that is why Bob had to bash my face into a door.” Of course, I’m still hurt that my husband chose to solve our problems by bashing my face into a door, but I know my behavior was part of what pushed him there.

Hey, Sloane — codependency 101 here — you are NOT responsible for other people’s behavior. You do not MAKE people DO anything. That’s on THEM.

Yes, you are responsible for your own behavior, but even your most abhorrent behavior does not compel someone to abuse you. Abuse is a choice THEY make.

Before I put this article through the patented Universal Bullshit Translator, I would just add that narratives like this are particularly offensive to chumps because they solidify the exit affair storyline. The reason people cheat is that the chump is so horrible, the cheater has to take refuge in another person’s bed. Versus the reality of cake-eating — affairs tend to go on for ages, there’s usually more than one of them, they’re part of a larger pattern of entitlement and lopsidedness, and cheaters prefer multiple kibble sources (affair partners and spouses, even post-divorce you can stay friends!).

Now, I know exit affairs do exist, but those aren’t caused by rotten chumps either. They’re caused by cowardice and crappy character. This whole blame-the-victim nonsense is especially awful when it’s coming from someone who’s suffered betrayal. It’s buying into your own oppression, and putting it on display like a chump minstrel show.

Now for the UBT.

At first it was easy for me to point every single finger and toe at my husband for obliterating our 10-year marriage. He’s the one who cheated and walked out without looking back. And long before that, he repeatedly shut me out, choosing to bury himself in his work to avoid what was happening to us at home.

Blame was my coping mechanism to get through the first difficult months of our separation, and “how dare he (gasp!)” was my mantra. I rallied an entire army of supporters who, like me, were totally, utterly and completely aghast at the nerve — the gall — of this man.

Because obviously being a lying, cheating, family abandon-er trumps anything I did to our marriage in the past decade. Right?

They are not causal effects. You did not make him abandon you and his kids. You might actually suck, but that doesn’t excuse (or cause) his cheating.

He had a whole decision tree of available options — not “shut you out” and get counseling. Speak up. Have honest conversations. Divorce you honestly and not humiliate you or endanger your health with an affair.

Wrong.

I deflected any and all culpability in the failure of my marriage for months, holding on to the picture I painted of myself as the gentle, selfless and long-suffering wife. It wasn’t until I found a therapist who called me out on my bullsh*t that I was forced to take a long, hard look at my shortcomings.

It wasn’t pretty.

Sloane, it’s good to own your shit that you weren’t your best self in this marriage. That’s admirable. But that is different than saying you caused your husband to cheat on you. I’m sure you would like to find meaning in this, and it’s often easier to look at ourselves and determine that We Control This, than to face the terrifying reality of vulnerability. We don’t control all outcomes and people can betray us. Even people who promised to have our backs.

Here’s what I now know actually screwed up my marriage. May it serve as a warning to you. Before it’s too late.

1. I put my children first. 
It’s easy to love your own children. It takes very little effort, and they adore you no matter what. Marriage is the polar opposite: it’s work. And whenever my marriage started to feel like work, I would check out and head to Build-A-Bear Workshop or the science museum with the kids in tow. I’d often plan these adventures when I knew my husband couldn’t go (and spoil my good time). I told myself it was OK because he preferred to work anyway and always seemed grouchy on family outings. I chose most nights to cuddle with them in our bed, blaming his late-night bedtimes and snoring for the sleeping arrangement. As a result, we were hardly alone together and never had kid-free date nights. Well, maybe once a year on our anniversary.

How about your husband did not put his family first? Children ARE work. They’re a shitload of work. A good marriage isn’t that hard, Sloane. It’s a pleasure, because you’ve got a partner helping you with the “work” part. You didn’t have that.

Also consider that your husband wasn’t joining you and was grouchy on family outings because he was already in an affair.

Also consider that you were seeking comfort in your children (not a healthy dynamic) because you weren’t getting your emotional needs met either.

2. I didn’t set (or enforce) boundaries with my parents. 
They were at our house frequently, sometimes arriving unannounced and walking right in. They’d “help out” around the house doing things we never asked them to, like folding our laundry (incorrectly, of course). We’d vacation with them. They’d correct our children in front of us. My own fears of upsetting my parents kept me from drawing a line in the sand and asking them not to cross it. The few times I did stand up for my family’s autonomy, I didn’t hold my parents to the same standards in future. My husband, quite literally, married my entire family.

You didn’t make him cheat and your parents didn’t either. In many cultures your last sentence would make no sense whatsoever. You DO marry entire families. We are generally package deals with our extended families, unless you married an orphan.

Boundaries with families are good (I live in Texas), and this is certainly fodder for marriage counseling, but desiring family togetherness isn’t a sin. You can have a marriage AND family vacations.

How could you imagine fixing this? Jettison the family and kids and make your husband your sole focus? Sure, your relationship should be primary, but you also wrote he didn’t make time for you. Do you fault yourself for not chasing harder?

3. I emasculated him. 
I thought love was about honesty, but we all know that the truth hurts. As we grew more comfortable (read: lazy) in our relationship, I stopped trying to take the sting out it. I talked smack to my girlfriends, my mom, my co-workers. All. The. Time. “Can you believe he didn’t do this?” and “Why in God’s name did he do THAT?”

Instead of building up his ego, I trampled all over it. I belittled him often, saying his job was unimportant and dismissing his friends as “hangers-on.” I berated him for doing things wrong when, in all honesty, he just wasn’t doing them my way. At times I spoke to him like a child. I controlled the family finances and grilled him over every single penny he spent. And in the bedroom — yup, you guessed it — he was doing that all wrong too, and I wasn’t shy about telling him so. As our marriage crumbled, I found myself constantly looking for faults and mistakes so that I could justify my superiority. By the end, I had zero respect for him and I made sure he knew it and felt it every day.

Well, I admit this makes you sound like a righteous bitch, but seriously Sloane, “emasculate“? Is this some kind of right-wing stand by your marriage shit? Did his balls shrivel up because you controlled the family finances?

This all sounds very muddled to me. If you were verbally abusive — yes, you suck. But again, that doesn’t give him carte blanche to then abuse you with infidelity. The whole dynamic sounds toxic.

And I have sympathy, Sloane, I really do. I look back on my first marriage and realize I too was a raving bitch at times because I didn’t respect my spouse. But you know what? He was behaving in ways that diminished my respect for him. That shit (untreated mental illness, hoarding, hiding money) was real. The way I coped with it was entirely wrong. I should’ve wised up and realized that his behavior was a deal breaker for ME. Instead, I kept trying to control it and him by being shriller and more insistent that he Change. (See my codependency 101 point above.)

We only control ourselves, Sloane. You don’t like being a verbally abusive person? Fix that. Realize what your values are, what’s a deal breaker in a relationship, and realize you don’t control other people. Get out honestly before you feel the need to belittle and nag.

4. I didn’t bother to learn to fight the right way. 

I know it sounds odd to suggest there is a right way to fight. But there is. I tended to keep the peace in our house by keeping my mouth shut when things were really bothering me. As you can imagine, all the small things that drove me crazy grew into a giant suppressed ball of anger that would erupt occasionally in a huge, really frightening fit of Hulk-like rage. And by rage, I mean rage in the clinical, mental-health definition kind of way. After the fact, I’d justify my anger by saying that a woman can only take so much. Looking back, I was one scary b*tch during those episodes.

See my points above, Sloane. And know this — it takes two to fight the right way. When your boundaries are violated, yes, SPEAK UP. But often we don’t speak up, because we know from painful experience that when we voice an objection, we will not be heard. Our concerns will be rejected and ignored.

So we co-dependently snark and nag. Or it builds up and we explode.

All of that tells me that your husband was sending you a very clear message for years — that he did not Give a Shit. And you refused to receive that message, and instead you nagged and raged at it.

I write this mea culpa not with the hopes of winning my ex back, or even wanting his forgiveness. I write this because I can’t believe how long I kept my head buried in the sand. I hope other women out there will yank theirs out and take a good look around. And while I’m still hurt that my husband chose to solve our problems in another woman’s bed when some conversation and counseling might have helped, I absolutely know that my behavior was part of what pushed him there.

You didn’t push him there. He was already there. You were just chumped. Welcome to the club.

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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.
    • ChumpL is right. Their aint’ no good reason to cheat. Still, if his woman treats her next husband the same way, he will likely cheat too.
      I think people need to won their own shite. The guy was wrong for cheating, but hey, the wife was a boetch by any standard. Just like their aint no excuse fer cheatin’ there aint no excuse for being a bitch and emasculating. If a gal is unhappy gal up and divorce her man, don’t torture him. Same with cheatin’, if you are that unhappy with whatever it was that you used as an excuse to cheat. Get a divorce. What’s good for the gander is good for the goose and vice versa.

      • Rich, you fell for her excuses. The next guy will cheat if he is a cheater and has bad character not because of her reactions. She also has to “fix her picker” as CL would say to not fall for another cheater. I think that the dynamic of acting out is not so much related to our deficient communication skills but because when you are with a cheater you react sometimes intuitively and most of the time directly to the secret life they lead. When someone is hiding how they feel, or what they are doing outside of the marriage, there is a reaction from the chumped spouse, even if you don´t have a clue what is going on. The cheater has to figure out a way to justify his actions so he brings out the worst in the chump. That is my theory and experience. No therapist would have helped. If she improved her reactions he would have just had to find another excuse, like she put too much cheese in the lasagna, or her Christmas sweaters are a turn off…

          • Give up Rich. These ladies are all bitches that’s why they were cheated on once and they will all be cheated on again. Let them rant. Your wasting your time. Just like the people who cheat and blame, they are bitches and blame. Like you said folks got to own their own shit. Chump lady is a chump mainly because what’s she going to do with this blog when her next spouse cheats, if she ever finds anyone to marry her, again. She likely will cause despite her muffin top, she’s kinda cute, but she sounds like a blamer and very unforgiving.

            • Lol. Bevin, most of us “bitches” (and our male chump counterparts) have more character and kindness and compassion in our little fingers than you have in your whole rotten soul. No need to get defensive here about your poor character–stop cheating, stop being a cheater apologist, and develop some sense of empathy.

              Good luck.

              • I was cheated on. I am glad I stayed, my wife is better, and I am better cause we both acknowledge our fautls. Also, how can you speak for all cheated on people. You don’t speak for me. I neglected my wife. I know that. You and the next poster don’t sound like very nice people to me. Read your own words.

              • Correct–when I speak, I speak for me. My cheater has entitlement issues. When others speak, they speak for themselves and they indicate whether their cheaters have character issues or not. Turns out–most of them do. Cheating is a selfish, immature act that does NOTHING to fix marital problems. Do you want us to give cheaters a medal?

                I’m glad it worked for you; as I said, I hope it continues to work for you. But if you come back here in a few years, should your wife cheat again, we will support you in your pain.

            • Bevin, FWIW, I’ve been remarried for 5 years to a former chump. If reconciliation works for you, I’m unclear on why you feel the need to troll this site. You’ve missed the point of my article. It’s not that we consider ourselves faultless, it’s that our faults — or in your case, neglect, did NOT compel another person to cheat. That decision is on THEM. There were honest, non-abusive ways to address their issues.

              You don’t have to agree with me or the posters here. But if you can’t be respectful (i.e. calling people bitches), you’ll find yourself banned — something I don’t do lightly, because I welcome discussion. I don’t welcome hate.

              • Why is is everyone who disagrees with the chump lady a troll? Why can’t y’all play nice. Don’t be bitter, find someone new and be happy. I think Chumplady is angry because she was once banned from SI for acting like a troll. She wasn’t IMO. SI is too strict, IMO. But now Chumplady is just as bad as SI.

        • “I think that the dynamic of acting out is not so much related to our deficient communication skills but because when you are with a cheater you react sometimes intuitively and most of the time directly to the secret life they lead. When someone is hiding how they feel, or what they are doing outside of the marriage, there is a reaction from the chumped spouse, even if you don´t have a clue what is going on.”

          This right here. I just discovered my husband cheated (the day after Thanksgiving!) 3 years ago and now it makes so much sense. For the past 3 years, I’ve felt something was off. I kept asking him what was going on because I knew something was off. Every few months I’d accuse him of cheating, but since I had no evidence, I eventually said, “I’m being unfair to him.” Now I realize that I had the wrong “evidence,” but had the right feeling that something was off.

          • Chumpblocker that is defined as Mind F__K ! I lived that feeling for years, “something is off,” and then the classic co-dependent because I could not explain it, “maybe it’s me.” I am still wrestling with this bag of pain that I did not cause, that invades my thoughts every day, that still breaks my heart.

            • Knowing what this is, that the feeling was real should be validating but I don’t feel good about it, just sad that it went on for so long for me too. I will never ignore it again.

      • Rich, I might leave you the keys for the car with zero gas in the tank. I might ask you to pick up flourless pancake mix at the grocery story for our highly allergic child and then flip out all over your ass when you bring home Bisquick. I might ask you if you made the deposit into our joint bank account because the mortgage is due within 3days and I want to mail that bill in today; I might ask you that four times over the next 72hours. I might not immediately respond to your presence when you walk in the door after a long day in the office-I might have been tending to dual barf o Rama all day with the kids. Blah blah blah. Hey! You might even do the same or similar things to me.

        Either way, most of this shit is just life, stress and routine. Not a cause to begin fucking the neighbor, coworker, craigslist dude/chick, web-cam remote prostitutes, etc. There are no excuses to cheat. Ever. Gal up, man up and be HONEST.

        • BOOM!!! Never, ever, ever reasons to cheat. I’m a firm believer that cheaters can’t deal with LIFE. Weak, weak people that are only out to make themselves feel better (for the moment) with no reguard for their families.

            • This “help” thing about the parents was a chuckle for me-would have loved & appreciated ANY kind of help. Is there such a wrong way to fold things it would move into the unappreciated category?? Man some people have so much they cant even see overabundance!

      • Of course the corollary is that is you are kind, patient, supportive and loving, they won’t cheat.

        Sorry, dude….didn’t work that way. Cheaters cheat because they’re cheaters. Period.

        • Preeeeeeeeecisely!

          Our minds WANT to find order, want to find the reason – because then we can fix it!

          It sucks, but it just doesn’t work that way. Cheaters choose to cheat. They get tempted, they pursue it, they act on it, then they seek to excuse it. Sadly us chumps sometimes have a perverse need to help them with the last part. I know I said ‘this is my fault’ more than once…

          • 1.) Chumps believe the lies mostly because they don’t lie themselves & therefore believe Cheaters would not lie either. (also because they want to believe them so badly, their whole investment of time, love, life & kids are on the line!)
            2.) Chumps have heard their mate make disparaging remarks about Cheaters over the years & believe they are on the same page with Chumps on this.
            3.) Cheaters usually have passive-aggressive personalities & can act like things are OK when they are really harboring deep resentment that finally will find a damaging if not detonating outlet at some point. (Meanwhile they are keeping it from you!) Usually it was because you were busy being yourself & your behavior was not adoring, attentive nor submissive enough. (Meanwhile, you have the kids, a job, the household to consider also)
            4.) Chumps are most likely people who are loving caring suckers, and this is why they are chosen to begin with. Chumps will keep the Cheater “looking good” in the community while they are off getting the attention & admiration they “deserve” elsewhere. (Don’t we all deserve attention and admiration in most cases?)
            5.) Cheaters usually are swell out in the community, model citizens of sorts outside the home…..but inside the home they are most likely sarcastic, quick-tempered, critical and arrogant. Many have been taught they have the “right” to act as a Ruler or a Dictator once someone has committed to them. (Narc men & women alike.)
            6.) One of the reasons Cheaters can hurt you so deeply is because they (IMO) are exacting revenge for silly things that added together have built a case against you that makes it OK to go out & get whatever they want wherever they want with whomever they want. You deserve this lack of consideration on their part in their mind.
            7.) Chumps don’t live or want to live in a fantasy. Real life is where they live.

            And Bevin-rather than worry about what Chump Lady will do when she gets cheated on again, why don’t you worry about what YOU will do when you get cheated on again? Chump Lady changed partners & found a fellow Chump much less likely to exact such pain on her, and she would like to help those of us who may have spent months and years trying to forget & move forward….but know that a fundamental security is now missing which can’t be replaced, faked or glossed over no matter what. Like building a home on a sinkhole or quicksand, not a good investment. Most of us still loved our mates and left with great difficulty and grave pain. We left behind the futures we were counting on.

            Bevin, you’re the one who seems bitter to me. Could you also be a Cheater as well as cheated on?
            I know I don’t go on sites or blogs that are going to make me feel badly or send me backwards in my decisions. Why are you doing this? Perhaps you should answer that question for yourself.

      • Wow Rich,
        You might want to re-evaluate your values and attitudes regarding women. I think your belief system is kinda disordered here — maybe needs an overhaul or something.

    • I think part of the reason why some chumps blame themselves is because we can’t believe we were so insignificant to someone we cared for, someone who was so important to us. So insignificant that we were lied to in our faces and degraded. Taking the blame makes one significant. It is easier to say I did not love him well enough than to say despite all my love, he shat upon me. That’s just horrible. But true. Shutter. What I need to learn is that just because he treated me less than dog shit, does not mean anything about me other than I have amazing tolerance for poor treatment, which scares me a lot. Knowing your worth, as CL states, is hard. It’s a lifetime of work. I did not cause him to cheat, but I also did not have the foresight to leave when I felt abused. That is the heart of the matter for me.

        • rah rah rally yourselves into a frenzy. It takes two to make a good marriage.

          To the ones whose spouses left for their affair partner, well those spouse were asses, but not all cheaters want to be with their affair partners.

          I am happy I stayed with my wife. She’s a better wife than she’s ever been. Sounds good to me. You peeps are still placing blame and refusing to accept responsibility for marital issues, and that doesn’t seem to be working for you.

          To the ones whose spouses left for their affair partner, well those spouse were asses, but not all cheaters want to be with their affair partners.

          • Yes, Bevin, yes it does take 2 to make a good marriage. And when you have directed attention to a 3rd person, the CHEATER is not contributing in a positive way to the marriage.

            I feel sorry for your wife. You don’t deserve her.

            • Tempest, and feel sorry for your spouse, the one who cheated. I can totally understand why he cheated on you based on your single minded attitude. Yes. You are wonderful. Keep telling yourself that. How’s that working for you? I’m out of here you people are the close minded, one track minded haters. You will never admit fault in the failure of your marriage. I am wasting my time. Stay single and save another man from some misery.

              • Bevin, you are an ignoramus. Many of the posters here are men. It sounds like you and your wife are perfectly matched and you are a fabulously happy couple, so why troll us here at CL? Good riddance.

              • Don’t let the door hit ‘cha where the good Lord split ya-

                And for the record, I don’t believe that any person who has been chumped can come to this site & not feel an instant camaraderie with those who share experiences.

                If you can’t contribute to our community except with vitriol, we are well rid of you.

                Cheater apologists need not apply here.

                Good luck with your unicorn, Bevin! (You’re going to need it!)

              • Bevin: You mean that same spouse who dramatically wanted me back, and said I was the love of his life? Guess I’m not so bad after all.

                And thank you for showing yourself to be frankly, kind of evil inside. If you yourself know the pain of infidelity and then you criticize someone else who has felt that pain–pure evil.

                Thankfully, I don’t give a f*ck what you think of me.

              • Bevin, I’m not on the attack. My observations about you via your comments are that you have decided to reconcile with your wife and need affirmation that you have chosen the correct path. It’s clear you value and honest marriage with a person who has your back. Your wife shat all over that when she cheated, lied and put you and your family at risk-STDs, financial skimming, emotional abuse.

                Keep working on what you value. If she is indeed a person who values true intimacy and fidelity to you, then you are blessed with a new beginning with your marriage. Do not doubt the path you have chosen. Do not think you are LessThanARealMan because you took your wife back.

                Both paths for the chumps are hard. Stay or go. Whatever you decide to do in the future, your “neglect” of your wife did not cause her to strip herself of her panties and jump on some strange dick. Did you do the same?

          • Bevin, how can you say “You peeps are still placing blame and refusing to accept responsibility for marital issues…” when you had JUST said “Also, how can you speak for all cheated on people. You don’t speak for me.” Keep that in mind, man. You don’t speak for me or my marriage, either. Please don’t speak for what people here did or did not take responsibility for.

            • Bevin. Classic cake eater comment.. “My wife is better than she’s ever been”. Yep Gee she’s soooo lucky to get your sick praise for playing the ‘pick me’ dance. Frankly, she should just cut off all contact with you and never look back. Cheaters have exempted themselves from anyone ever making ‘an effort to change’ (for them). If she wants to change, it should be for herself and her next (much hotter, more honest, and generally much better) partner.

          • Bevin, please send us pictures of you and the unicorn. We have never seen one on CL. You are a lucky man. Keep her fenced in and feeding her lots of cake so she doesn´t escape and turn into a cheater again!

      • “I have amazing tolerance for poor treatment, which scares me a lot.” So well said, thank you. And truly as I shift from the focus on him, this is hard work but as you said the heart of the matter. It really speaks to the abusive nature of cheating and results of PTSD and ongoing mental chatter and emotional distress. Once we can slowly etch our way out of that and focus on ourselves, we will begin to heal. But damn, it’s so hard.

  • Gads! Sloane! I could have written your crazy self-shaming blog article.

    The points you make (and the flaming hoops you are still jumping through) did no way contribute to your X’s infidelity.

    I had to spell it out for my cheater and the MC as this: we come into relationships with our own bushel of apples. Some of the apples in our bushel are bruised or rotten. MC is an excellent place to address the bruises and toss the rotten apples. Both parties bring only apples from their respective bushels into counseling. Through the process the marriage becomes stronger or not.

    With cheating, one partner brings in their bushel of apples and a secret load of oranges. The other partner brings only a bushel of apples. They do not know their partner also has oranges. MC is designed to successfully address bruised and rotten apples only. Oranges are a matter belonging to the cheater alone. Oranges really represent an character issue in cheater. It’s how a person decided (entitled!) to cope with the stresses of marriage, work, life. It is a unilateral decision to direct emotional, time and financial investments away from the apple bushels of partnership and put that energy into someone else – oranges.

    Your X is a fuckwad. He was never honest with you nor respected you enough to simply deal with rotten or bruised apples. Instead he chose fuckbuddies and lets you continue to believe your actions contributed to his wandering dick. Don’t ever mix up his deliberate marriage obliterating choices with your own actions. The CL has stated it precisely: own your agency. But never never never believe for one moment that your actions made him wander into other people’s vaginas. I didn’t read that his actions led you to some strange dick….

  • “It’s easy to love your own children. It takes very little effort, and they adore you no matter what. Marriage is the polar opposite: it’s work.”

    Wow. Someone’s got rose colored glasses on and if the therapist is the one who put that thought there there’s an additional reason to doubt their credibility. There’s part of the problem Sloane, you’re romanticizing your children. I don’t think you understand that all relationships involve work. Those with your children and spouse usually require the most work of all of them. Last I checked it was not so easy to love my 3 year old when she spread poop all over her walls while I thought she was napping.

    CL is spot on with this. You’ve swallowed the shared responsibility lie hook, line and sinker. Own your actions, yes. But set a healthy boundary in the extent of which your actions do or do not contribute to other things. Find a new therapist.

    • And children are supposed to be a lot of work–if you bring them into the world, then you have huge responsibility to parent in a high-quality way. Doesn’t sound like Sloane’s XH did that at all.

      If you’re co-parenting, then each parent is simultaneously raising children AND building a better marriage because the spouse is there along with you. The only way to focus exclusively on your children is if your spouse is absent from the parenting. So one parent is left holding the parenting bag, AND then blames him/herself for focusing too much on the children? smh

      And I agree–Sloane needs to find a new therapist.

    • I read ‘marriage is work’ a lot. My marriage was not work. We spent a lot of time together as we had no children and we enjoyed each others company. We are both introverts (him more so than me) so there was no issue about not socializing with others all the time. We had similar tastes in music, TV, movies. We played tennis and golf together frequently. We joined a gym/tennis club together and went together about three times a week. He played hockey twice a week all winter and although the smell of the equipment was horrific, I didn’t object. He loved to golf and played when he could but not excessively. We never fought. He was terrible at sharing housework so I would raise this point a couple of times a year and he would promise to do better, although he really didn’t and I did not see this as a marriage breaker.

      Two years before I told him we were going to get a divorce because he had been treating me so badly, he suddenly wanted to be out all the time but would wait until I was in bed before he would say he was going out for a beer. He was out after work with ‘colleagues’ most nights of the work week. He was going out after hockey and coming in very late. He began drinking a lot during the week. He began smoking. He lost interest in tennis and the gym. He paid a great deal of money for a golf membership and played at least four times a week during the season and then suddenly claimed he said he was going to give up his golf membership. He seemed anxious to find some friends. He became arrogant and rude. He told me that I was pretty lucky to have him because he didn’t spend all of his time with buddies (he had none), didn’t go to strip bars (probably had his own private booth judging by the charges on his credit card), and didn’t cheat (found out nine months after separation about the mistress).

      He admitted to me that I was knocking myself out trying to save the marriage and he wasn’t trying. All of this was the fall-out of cheating and had nothing to do with me or our 14-year relationship.

  • Of course CL is 100% right on this. Every single one of us can look back at our relationship and find many things we did wrong and would do differently next time. Those things are not what caused our cheaters to cheat.

    CL’s point about cheating being abuse cannot be stressed enough. Cheating is the worst form of abuse. And if you are abused, whether you are beaten with a fist or emotionally ravaged, you didn’t make your partner abuse you.

    When I was doing the pick me dance and really wanted my husband back he said to me, “You argued about money too much. I’m okay with arguing about anything else, but not money.”

    This after he financially ruined me.

    The absurdity of that statement gets me every time I think about it. I’m strong enough to know without a doubt that my arguing about money didn’t cause him to go have an affair. He had an affair for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that since I was now out of money, he needed to find a new source.

    Good riddance. And good luck, Heather Ann.

  • Thank you for writing this. Ever since Dday, I have struggled with blaming myself for why our marriage got to such a low point. All the blameshifting after Dday made me feel so humiliated.
    Intellectually, I know that I did not control WH’s actions—-he made his own choices.
    But deep down I still blame myself. Am working on this in IC, but I guess I have a long way to go.

    • I think this topic is a deeply ingrained thought in society today, almost like a meme. Kind of like our collective thoughts of “if someone’s charged with a crime and takes a plea deal in court, it automatically means they’re guilty” (if you’ve listened to NPR ‘ S “Serial” podcast, you know where I’m going here), it’s an idea that’s been spread around and distilled for SO long, that it becomes accepted fact. All of Sloane’s arguments she’s missing the point: “the cheater would have found some other set of characteristics to point to and say, ‘I didn’t like X or Y”.

      After my own EH left, and I would tell people what happened, a few times people would ask me, “Well, what did you do to cause this?” At first, I was taken aback and didn’t know how to respond. Now, however, I respond, “I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m as perfect as anyone else.”

      • If the chump didn’t do anything wrong, then people have no control (which is actually the truth-you do not control what your spouse chooses to do). This is scary….much easier to blame the victim than admit the existence of evil.

        • Exactly. Admitting the lack of control we have is terrifying, and when people learned what happened to me, I think it scared the crap out of a number of people. Some people worked through that fear and had talks with their partners, sparked by my situation, and a few asked questions that showed they were looking for a “reason” to pin it on.

      • How about saying, “I didn’t do anything that you are not doing with your spouse every day”? Give them something to chew on . . .

  • The most honest thing my ex ever said was, “It’s not you, it’s me.”

    I only blamed myself when I tried to take control of a situation I had no control over. Then I realized it was better not to have control of some situations. He can take the blame. I will take my faults. They’re a smaller cross to bear.

    • When my ex left, he gave some ridiculous reasons (like many chumps have heard), and even in all my pain in those early weeks, I remember thinking they were crazy reasons to leave someone and if those were all he could come up with, I must have been doing okay as a spouse… I know I have my faults, but I tried my hardest to be my best self in our marriage and I think even he was fully aware of it being about him and his desires for a new spark and not really about me (other than the fact that I could never be a new spark again).

  • Sigh…

    Sometimes I think that all of CL’s efforts to call the world on its BS are a drop in the bucket. It seems we are all swimming against a tide of blameshifting idiocy…even by fellow chumps!

    Over the holidays, a friend of mine–let’s call her Ann–ranted about my cheating ex-wife, calling her all sorts of names, saying that cheating is never justified, etc. It’s been 1.5 years, so such a visceral tirade is getting old. But whatever. I don’t see Ann much, so she felt the need to sare a year of pent-up anger. Fine and good.

    But then, I asked Ann, “What if the situation were reversed? What if I were the one who cheated? What would you say then?”

    Ann’s response was, “Well then I would think it was something that [your ex-wife] did that led you to that.”

    Egad! I tried to get Ann to see her hypocrisy, but it was like talking to a wall. She understood my point, but she refused to admit that if someone close to her cheated, then it was still TOTALLY wrong regardless of the circumstances.

    And I think that Ann is representative of society as a whole.

    • Yes, and people want reasons that make sense. They prefer proximate cause explanations: “Chump must have done X, which caused cheater to feel alienated and so they cheated.” The ultimate cause explanations–“Cheater has a character flaw” are harder to visualize, less direct in their causation, and thus less appealing to people.

      • I think people want reasons that make sense because, as CL as said here before, it makes them think it won’t happen to them. Like CL said here in this post, it’s scary to think that you could be hooked up with some “disordered wingnut” and be deeply hurt without any reason. CL is right, people want to feel that they control their destinies; and if they believe that their partner won’t cheat unless they do something “wrong”, then they feel more in control.

        I actually never went down this path myself; while I’m far from perfect, and I own my shit as far as spackling the hell out of the relationship, I never thought for a minute that anything I did in the marriage would cause my XH to frequent prostitutes (and I do mean frequent). I’m not gonna own that insanity.

      • People want to believe that what happened to you cannot happen to them. Therefore being cheated on has to be something that is under their control. They do not want to believe their spouse could cheat on them, therefore they must believe that you were cheated on because of something YOU did that THEY are not doing. Otherwise, it could happen to ANYONE!

    • Part of it is that no one wants to admit knowing and liking an asshole. Cheaters are assholes. However, if you’re friends with a cheater, you don’t want to admit to yourself that you were fooled, and that your friend is an asshole. As a result, you’ll shift some blame onto the other party.

      I think that some of this same issue is why Sloane takes blame upon herself. Does she want to own the fact that she married an asshole? No. She wants to believe she married a good man whom she pushed into an affair.

      In my own case, while I think I missed some early red flags with respect to possible BPD and entitlement issues, I can also think of my mom’s assessment of STBX: he used to be a man of honor. He has chosen to be less than what he was. That is very sad.

      So, I married an asshole. He used not to be an asshole, but he chose to become one.

      • All great points. It reminds me of when people state they have cancer. Everyone wants to think cancer is preventable, ie eating right, exercising, not smoking, etc. And that if they do all of those things, they’re somehow “immune”. I’ve personally witnessed someone telling co-workers or friends about their cancer diagnosis, and seen other people respond, “I’m so sorry to hear that, did you ever used to smoke? “

      • kb writes: “So, I married an asshole. He used not to be an asshole, but he chose to become one.”

        I used to think that my STBX progressed to become an asshole too, but what I realize now is that he always WAS one – just hid that. Stressors can bring out asshole behavior so during the dating/honeymoon period, such behavior may not be apparent. Stressors may have nothing to do with the spouse (mid-life, work pressure, depression/anger), but those with asshole-characters will act out that way because they are basically self-centered and don’t really give much thought about the spouse (and children). Asshole behavior (cheating) is their coping mechanism – they work from a base of anger and entitlement rather than humility and caring. It is really rather disturbing to know that we don’t have control to what may happen to us in our lives. Most of us choose to trust that people will treat us well, much like every time we get on the road we expect other drivers to drive safely. There are people who act with negligence and not much foresight though – we just don’t think we will marry them.

        • You said that so so well. That describes my XH. Somehow deep down I knew he was an asshole, I mean really, they can only hide it for so long, it leaks out. And I was spacking the leaks like crazy….

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you, CL! My stbxh sent me a link to this article last week and none of the points in it even describe me except, maybe, the one about paying too much attention to my children. Of course, ANY attention I paid to my children was too much for him. HIS family members were the overbearing ones, HE is the one that badmouthed me behind my back to any and all women who would listen, HE didn’t know how to fight – he was always determined to WIN at all costs and wasn’t interested in the least to listening to my valid concerns. What makes me the angriest is that, even if a wife does all of the things described, how is that a reason for cheating?!?

    • wow we married cheater brothers. i am still blamed for everything, because the divorce didn’t go as HE planned. (i actually got my own attorney, stood up for myself, etc)

    • Same here about the kids – he specifically gave that as one of his blameshifting justifications “you paid too much attention to your children,” and I said “But there haven’t been any kids living in this house in over five years!” and he shot back, “And that’s another thing! All those trips to visit them!” and shoved in my face the fact that OW has “no children!” he said in a snarling voice. As if two to three trips a year to visit my kids 5 hours away was a reason to cheat. B.S.

      • You know who is jealous of the children? Narcissists. In my book, my children are THE NUMBER ONE most important thing, and they are pretty much throughout the whole animal kingdom.

      • Yes, you did have a kid living in your house. Your STBXH. He wanted all the attention. I promise, though, even if you gave it to him he would blame you for cleaning the kitchen sink.

        • Oh I do agree with you Einstein and CJane. I love my child, and I love when others pay attention to him too. I want him to thrive, I also know when I need some time for myself with an adult loved one. Cheaters can’t do this. Cheaters need to be the center of attention all the time, which is why I want to.minimize all thoughts of them. Cheater ex could not even shift his attention to me when I was giving birth. He and the corrupt psycho doula were whispering to each other in a corner while I labored alone. I should have told them to get the hell out, but being me, I thanked them. They were two crumbs and I was grateful. Cringe.

          • You were gracious in an incredibly difficult situation. And it probably honed your compassion for others who might be in a similar situation. They are the ones who should cringe.

            • Thank you for your kind response, I work as a pediatric physical therapist. I do feel that my experience being violated has made me acutely aware of what parents are feeling and what they want from anyone caring for them and their children. Thank you for reminding me to acknowledge that. I appreciate that very much and will keep your post as a reminder. Many thanks EA!

      • OW in my case also has no children. Which is good, because she’s an OW. Still, by their way of thinking, I bet she’s a way better mother than I am.
        xH wanted to date a mommy figure–just not me. And now he has one! He’s her only focus, except all the other nameless things about her that make her incredible.

        All of it is absurd.

        You have NO control over any other person’s behavior. It’s scary. If only we hadn’t married cheaters.

    • My ex also blameshifted claiming I focused too much on the children (I felt like a single parent so who else was going to do it?) and he didn’t like that I played with the dog (told me it made him angry seeing me laugh at their antics). I bought into that complaint to an extent until I found out he cheated as a newlywed – before we had children or dogs. I feel like a fool for buying into his rationale…I’ve come to the realization he’s a narcissist – no amount of attention will ever be enough.

  • When I got to this part: “It’s easy to love your own children. It takes very little effort, and they adore you no matter what.” I burst out laughing. Clearly her children aren’t teenagers. Very little effort? Adore you? haahahahaha Just wait Sloane, you are in for a rude awakening! We can expect another article from her in a few years – “Four Huge Mistakes I Made As a Parent” and the first one will be “I believed my children would always adore me no matter what”. As for the rest of it, I put it down to a feverish “pick me” dance no matter what she says.

      • Even toddlers, for crying out loud. There was a blog article a few years ago along the lines of “Why my toddler is an a**hole.” Had the ring of truth to it.

        • LOL Tempest, Love this! 😀

          I haven’t got kids but I think there’s far too much pressure on parents to ‘adore’ their children, even when ‘adorable’ is the very last thing they are being!! I’m sure it’s not good for parents struggling with, ah hem, ‘challenging little darlings’ when society comes out with such lofty statements like ‘it’s easy to adore our children’ and other such guff!

          I had a friend who would refer to ‘the terrible twos, the troublesome threes, the fucking awful fours’ – still makes me laugh, and I reckon kept her sane whereas trying to idolize toddlers, even when they are being ‘right little bastards’ has got to be driving some poor folks crazy.

          That’s my tuppence worth, anyway 😀

          • last time i checked, i was their parent NOT their best friend….i will never understand that correlation between kids and spouses. she loved the kids more. waaaaa waaaa i loved chocolate more but you dont see that as a reason for divorce. you liked other women more than me. THAT WAS THE PROBLEM…..

    • OMG, honestly, that’s the point where I checked out of the article, Daisy! I too have a teenager and am trying to be a positive role model for an extended family member teenager, and oh yeah, “it takes very little effort and they adore you no matter what” Giggle snort! She has never been near a teenager since she’s been one, I’m sure. Raising a kid isn’t WORK? Since when?

      I get annoyed when people say “marriage isn’t work,” because usually they mean it should be smooth sailing, there should never be disagreements, no one should have characteristics that get on the other’s nerves, they shouldn’t have to do anything to invest in their spouse, just be, and if it’s not that way it’s work and it’s wrong. No relationship in life is going to be easy peasy, drifting along in a state of bliss, and oddly enough, all are going to take some sort of maintenance “work” to maintain. Friends, children, parents, and yes, marriages! Should it be one long endless strain of work, obviously not, but you have to put SOMETHING into it.

        • Cheater ex was crying “now this is over and I did not even try” yup, he wanted pity for not trying. A bigger ass there never was. Poor poor self sabotaging sicko. Poor thing, he just HAD to gaslight. What a tragedy for him.

      • I love my mostly grown children, but raising them while working full-time(and more)was exhausting! And don’t even get me started on the teenaged years. A continuous caldroun of shit stew. I tell my kids that having them was like the movie The Gremlins; they start out so cute and cuddly, only to morph into snarling monsters. We laugh about it now, but there is nothing easy about being a parent. I have one child still home and she is amazing-honor student, never in trouble, etc. But just let her hair straightener go missing and I am dealing with Attila the Hun.

        My point is raising productive adults is hard work. It takes time, energy, lots of money and more than a little patience. If you buy the ticket and take the ride,expect some bumps along the road. To use one’s children as an excuse to cheat is like blaming ice cream for making you fat. You can do it, but it makes you look ike a fool! Children do not cause cheating, unless you are a self-absorbed asshole…

      • One of the shining moments for me as a parent was when my daughter mentored an at risk teen during her freshman year of college. She realized how hard it was to deal with a teenager and when she came home on break she apologized to me and thanked me for not killing her when she was that age.

      • Sometimes I think that was one of my problems. XH & I don’t have kids, and our marriage was relatively little work. I mean, *I* thought it was work, but I don’t mind a little work. So I sort of maneuvered the obstacles to the best of my ability. But we never really fought. In fact, I thought we got along quite well and had a very easy-going compatible relationship and felt good and lucky about it. Little did I know, the marriage was slipping away from me every day. Sometimes I think the fact that it did feel so easy means there was actually something wrong the whole time. Maybe it was my unwillingness to demand the love and respect and accountability I deserved, or maybe it was his own shallow laziness. But ‘easy-peasy’ turned out to be a bad thing, I think, in hindsight.

  • I love that even the people who think themselves indefensible are still not responsible for cheating. Chumps so need to hear this-thanks! I like how you pulled this apart even when a Chump was trying to take full responsibility for the spouses cheating! It sounds like instead of cheating she was compensating what was missing in her relationship by NOT cheating, despite the fact that it sounds like the relationship was limping along. So get a divorce if your relationship is no longer viable or meeting anyone’s needs. This has always been the point.

    Because cheating IS abuse, most Chumps have endured other forms of it (abuse) and don’t even realize it or make excuses for it. Often times, I think they are so confused about other behavior & have stuck around for the “red flags” that the realization there have been affair(s) is even more devastating. You would think a crappy past would make it easier to walk away, but I think it may be even harder to face that you have put up with various forms of abuse, then FOLLOWED by cheating-Ugh! It is a dagger to the Soul.

    There are always things one could hold against a mate if they want to-it is just that many of us realize our humanness and do not want to hound people we love about being human. (or be hounded) There are Cheaters out there that build a case against you just because they want to fuck around as has been witnessed by the shocking and mind blowing excuses Cheaters have that have filled the pages of this blog! They just dream absurd things up on the fly, showing that they never gave this question any consideration along the way! Which is unbelievable to Chumps! Wouldn’t that be the first thing you would ask yourself before cheating? Why am I doing this? Or why do I need this strangers attention, etc.? If people are NOT cheaters, you could not MAKE them do this under ANY circumstances!

    • “There are always things one could hold against a mate if they want to-it is just that many of us realize our humanness and do not want to hound people we love about being human.” I love this statement Regina. This so so true. When I was doing the pick me dance. I went to my close friends who’s husband’s hadn’t cheated on them and tried to figure out what they were doing better than me. These ladies, being great friends, made me realize I wasn’t really doing anything different than them. We all found we were great wives in some ways and flawed in other areas-minor stuff really. The difference was in our husband’s character, morals and emotional maturity. It just takes us time to accept this of our spouses. I know I felt my husband had the same character and morals as me so it must have been something major for him to cheat. I’ve since learned that he doesn’t have the same character, morals and maturity I have and he’s not even close. My counselor has helped me see that he has demonstrated his poor character in other ways in his life- things I just accepted as his humanness.

      • “he difference was in our husband’s character, morals and emotional maturity. It just takes us time to accept this of our spouses. It just takes us time to accept this of our spouses. I know I felt my husband had the same character and morals as me so it must have been something major for him to cheat. I’ve since learned that he doesn’t have the same character, morals and maturity I have and he’s not even close. My counselor has helped me see that he has demonstrated his poor character in other ways in his life- things I just accepted as his humanness.”

        Yes, now I see the pattern that was there in my ex’s behavior, looking back, but at the time I thought it was his “humanness.” I accepted things because I knew I have my own flaws. If I ever get in a relationship again, I am going to make sure the next one’s flaws to boil down to all being connected to a pervading sense of entitlement.

      • Nicole S-Like your comment about believing your husband having the same character, morals & maturity” as you had, therefore you must have done something. Truth is, as you stated, not even close.
        One of the most painful things was the “pick me” dance…I couldn’t believe that someone I cared about so deeply would not only put me through the cheating, but then enjoy the ego boost of this humiliating horror–talk about abuse! They have already broken your heart, but they are just getting started as luck would have it.
        We project our admirable qualities onto others, deserved or not!

  • This article really resonated with me. I am so glad CL put Sloane’s reasoning through the BS translator. I hope she reads it and gets a new, more enlightened therapist.

    My ex let me know that the reason he was a serial cheater was “I killed our love 10 years ago when we lived in Arizona because I was unhappy”. Of course being the chump that I was, I immediately apologized for whatever I had done and pleaded for a chance to make it right. Cue the Pick Me dance!

    In hindsight, when I finally got therapy, and mental and physical space from the cheater I realized nothing I may have done was responsible for “killing our love” and forcing him to cheat. He chose to cheat and live a double life for over a decade because he is a narcissist and he felt entitled to do whatever he wanted. He has no empathy so he gave no thought to how hurtful his behavior was to me or our 4 children. He only thought of himself.

    Infidelity is abuse. Until this becomes as evident to society as physical abuse, there will continued blame shifting to the chump.

    • IIWIIS – great post, and agreed: “Infidelity is abuse. Until this becomes as evident to society as physical abuse, there will continued blame shifting to the chump.”

  • Someone who thinks this way (like the woman Sloane who blames herself) will just set herself up to most likely find another asswipe. This is why it is so valuable that here we can see our issues better through others & not make new mistakes.
    One thing I noticed about myself that seems to be true about most Chumps is that they are willing to take a look at what they might have to do with some or any outcome in their lives. Cheaters are always blaming someone else, or at the very least don’t even consider what they may have to do with something. This sets the two people miles apart in mindset to begin with.
    Also, it seems many cheaters are passive aggressive and have never shared their complaints or problems in the relationship with you. (Probably the affair partner but not you-then there might be some hope of fixing it!) They rationalize it because of all the perceived “flaws” or “problems” they never verbalized, just mind-screwed you instead with the silent treatment, burying their head in work, gaslighting, cheating, etc.
    PS; My computer doesn’t recognize “gaslighting” as a word! If “unfriend” is now in the dictionary I think gaslighting should have made the cut!

  • I too could have written this piece (of crap) at one time until I happened upon Chump Lady. It was easier to admit my faults and think that I could do better so that my marriage would be safe than to admit to myself that I had no control and that I wasn’t safe with my husband of 24 years. I am grateful every day that I made it here. My freedom should be in writing soon and I am looking forward to a cheater free future. I love you chumps. Y’all make my day better every day.

  • CL, I’m not sure if this applies here but I watched “Silver Linings Playbook” movie recently and all could think about was how it focused on the betrayed “issues”. Made me wonder if we all look “crazy” to the world? Almost as if the cheater can get away with anything because we are the ones to “react”?

    • I’ve often thought this, as well. Of course it’s easier to like him. Look how happy he is, and how sparkly. HE didn’t lose 20 pounds in two weeks. HE didn’t have a panic attack and need to go the ER. HE doesn’t sit at home and read self-help book after self-help book, sometimes more than once, just trying to figure out how to survive, how to move forward.

      If I had a dollar for every time someone here said it, I’d be a millionaire (or at least thosandaire): It’s virtually impossible to understand how devastating this is unless it’s happened to you.

  • This chump extraordinaire is taking full responsibility for her husband cheating on her. She’s mixing the kool-aid and drinking it by the gallon, it, but that’s not enough and has set up a kool-aid stand with complimentary shit sandwiches.

    The narrative seems scripted, as if it was written by a cheater or their cheater sidekick. I find the part about loving the kids was a huge error and that loving your kids and spending time with them ruined the marriage. It’s mind boggling that cheaters resent their own children and resent not being placed above them.

    So next time Johnny has a fever, or Johnny has football practice, send him to his room and give daddy a blow job and trim his ear and nose hair. Sounds a fab article for the huff post in the near future.

    • I also like to add there’s is nothing sexier or more beautiful than a woman loving her kids. I cherished the times we cared for the kids and spent time with them. I never envied family time, sadly, my ex wife wasn’t a good mother, left our son at the age of seven in a huge book store to suck face with another man around the corner.

      Fuck this shit.

      • OMG! I’m calling your X nasty names, PF. Leave a 7-year-old in a bookstore so you can go somewhere else and make out? W.T.F.

        • I got a call from my son, he was scared and couldn’t find mommy. she claimed to be in the washroom, but months later got emails between her a creep about the bookstore incident. The truth was she left our little boy alone with a stack of books and needed to suck face with OM who was passing through town for the day. Got this evidence from the creep’s now ex wife.

          If anything had happened to my boy, I do think I’d be in prison for murder.

      • Sorry about the Skank & how she treated you & your son.
        I wish you much deserved love & happiness in the future.

        p.s. Thanks for the comment about there’s nothing sexier/more beautiful than a woman loving her kids.

      • Great comment. Daddies needs come first. Sorry Johnny, I know you have a fever but Daddy needs a BJ. Screw the kids.

        This article really hit a nerve with me.

    • So next time Johnny has a fever, or Johnny has football practice, send him to his room and give daddy a blow job and trim his ear and nose hair.”

      omg LOVEEEEEEEEEEEE

  • At first, my STBXH did say, “It’s not you, it me. You didn’t do anything wrong”. But that was right before DDay and right after he told me that he “wasn’t happy”. Perhaps he did have some guilt. He was an exit cheater (at least that’s what I assume). But after DDay, “sex was just going through the motions” and “I didn’t sit on the couch with him”. But that was it. That was all the blaming I got. He hit me right in the gut. But, funny, I had some grievances too but I didn’t fall on another man’s junk because of them. Nope. Never happened.

    • Conniered,

      I hope we weren’t/aren’t married to the same cheater. That is exactly the same thing my X said!!

  • My wife blames her affair on a “midlife crisis.” She also says “it’s not you. You did nothing to cause this. I am not right in the head.” But I don’t get the sense that she’s genuinely interested in owning up to what she has done, and she has given up on therapy because she “can figure out what she needs to know by herself.” Have any of you had that “midlife crisis” excuse thrown at you? What is a midlife crisis anyway?

    • Yes, yes, and yes, Charles. Mine blamed mid-life crisis (56 year old finds 24 year old grad student; guess a wife 12 years younger than him wasn’t enough), and always argued that we could solve problems together better than a marriage counselor. When we finally attended one session of MC, he argued that the therapist wasn’t as smart as us, so it wasn’t necessary.

      • I wish that society would stop using ‘mid-life crisis’ as a reason and excuse for their own or others’ infidelity. My cheater (and probably many others) started his mid-life crisis as a teenager and, thirty years later, is still going strong. I suspect that, in many cases, it just took several years or even decades for the garbage to become visible to the public. I surmise that many cheaters couldn’t or wouldn’t (due to fatigue plus entitlement) keep it hidden any more.

      • After I stopped going to MC, STBX continued seeing the therapist for IC and after one of these sessions, came back and told me that she told him he was having a mid life crisis and even suggested that the death of a close friend and colleague might have triggered it. I don’t know. I still believe this might be the case because he changed so drastically. I can’t believe it’s possible he hid this part of himself so well, or that I was blind to it for 20 years. It really appears to me that he has snapped, and completely done away with the man I knew, fell in love with, married and had a family with.

        • My wife snapped too expat. I’m also wondering how she could have hidden this part of herself for 15 years. She has always been selfish, but not the bizarre monster she has become (I chalked up her selfishness to being an only child).

          Living with her right now is like caring for a lying, self-destructive lunatic who is clearly living in the most bizarre fantasy world imaginable. I’ll omit specifics, but she has told me some stuff about what her affair partner has done to her that is WAAAY the hell out there. I’m talking off the chart sadistic shit that no one should ever have to put up with. And yet she is still obsessed with him.

          • @ Charles, … take what she is saying with a grain (or bag) of salt. She can/will say anything if she is like other cheaters. She is just trying to make you feel worse.

            • Mine “snapped” too, when his mother died. Seems perfectly reasonable, right? the big 5-0 coming up etc etc…except, turns out he’d been sneaking around for years trying to (and possibly having) affair partners in various ways.

              But possibly more importantly, I came to realize from what he said that he was never “all in,” as they say. That he held back from the marriage partnership from the very beginning. That he had internal conversations with me, in his head. Conversations in which I never had a real role, but to him, they were very real…and apparently I really pissed him off, whatever it was I said (/didn’t say) in his his head.

              And, b/c it was all in his head, and he never would say if anything was wrong (ding ding ding) I never could change anything that upset him. Apparently I was supposed to intuit all of this (and I even articulated that dynamic: out loud, for crying out loud!).

              So, like a bad scorekeeper, he kept grudges for years about things I had imaginarily said or done, that I never had actually done. (Twisty, isn’t it?).

              Really, for me? a lose-lose proposition. And, I think a lot of the covert narc cheaters do this.

              It’s why they appear to snap one day, but really, it’s been under the surface all along.

              • Namedforera-Can you say Passive Aggressive A-hole!! What? You’re not psychic? Shame on you!

              • Yes that’s exactky it Vera, I believe there is so much delusional passive-aggressive-ness with these guys. My ex appeared so happy and charming and loving, and then the day I caught him, poof and he was gone. He appeared to change before my eyes almost literally.

                I have long realized that he had really been keeping a silent tally of all the perceived slights and indignations he suffered, and was waiting a bit gleefully for D-day to come to destroy me. He was ready for it, had apparently longed for it, and had long contemplated and imagined it– I had not. So yes he appeared to snap, when all along that WAS the monster under the mask.

                Oh and by the way, despite his superior prior knowledge and state of preparedness (he cheated for over 15 years if not longer and thus must have had oodles of time to think about what may occur on D-Day and beyond), he was literally and figuratively still caught with his pants down. I moved on and recovered almost 3 years later, and he still flounders while getting weirder and weirder.

        • That’s exactly how I feel ExPat. It really seems like he just snapped. He did have a good friend die of brain cancer right about the time he started acting different but this also coincided with the beginning of A with ho-worker. Whether one had anything todo with another it seems like he changed over night. My councilor has mentioned “splitting”.

          • I can’t read about traumatic event, mid-life crisis triggers without commenting. I’ve wrestled with it, and have come to believe that “triggers” are simply excuses for bad behavior. When I found out about my husbands cheating two years ago, both his parents had just died. I was so blindsided that I thought he must have been in the middle of a nervous breakdown. Even my kids noticed his behavior was irrational. For a whole year I tried to piece events together and make sense of it all. What I found is that he was trying to juggle 3 affair partners! Looking back, he was so selfish and dishonest, I don’t know if the death of his parents even affected him as much as it did me!

            This past year I have been trying to figure out what to do; trying to figure out how, and when to leave him. Now that I refuse to carry the shame of his behavior around, I’ve started asking around about his infidelities…. Mind blowing! I’ve found that he’s been cheating on me for most of our 30 year marriage. When I confronted him about one of his past affairs he immediately replied, “it was right after your father died.” It was then that I realized that he’s been taking advantage of my struggle to make sense of it all. I guess he figured I would accept it as an excuse because it worked before. This time however, it was like a slap in the face. MY father died. MY father. I didn’t go out and fuck people; I handled it like most normal people who lose a loved one do. I realized then that he’s a narcissist who’s need to fuck around was stronger than his desire to comfort his wife and family. I didn’t reply. What is there to say? He’s had 2 years to get his shit together, and he’s still making excuses for his behavior.

            I believe he is a sex addict and suffers from some kind of obsessive disorder. I’ve tried for years to help him, but he always refuses to do his part when the work becomes uncomfortable. That’s on him. If there is anything I can do to get him to change, it’s divorcing him. …the irony.

      • Hey Tempest:

        The fact that your husband married a woman 12 years younger was a major clue to his mindset.
        Most men that I know who are serious about marriage, want a women no more than four of five years younger. Too young and it’s getting too close to the different generation thingy. So, if you remarry avoid men who date women that are too young.

        • Yes, Rich, I see many things now I wish I’d paid attention to at the time. Some of it was a desire for security on my part–marrying someone older virtually guaranteed that they wouldn’t cheat or leave me, right? Ha ha ha.

          • I don’t think anyone can predict who is going to cheat. My second wife seemed like an angel. She swore on her granny’s grave, and a stack of holy books that she would never cheat. She did.
            I cheated on my first wife when she wanted to be celibate, after five years of marriage. I promised I would never cheat, too. But I did. Mister squiggly ( yes he has a head of his own) was horned out and I got myself in trouble with an affair. I Regretted it and wanted desperately to work things out, but she left. I stayed faithful to my second wife, and she cheated, after thirty years, Go figure. We really did not fight a lot, and we still had sex and I am still scratchin’ my head about the reasons. She at least took the blame and is remorseful, so I am sticking it out. I am hoping that just like me she learned how destructive affairs can be.

            • Rich, just when I think once a cheater always a cheater someone like you turns up. Reconciliation didn’t turn out well for me, I hope it does for you.

        • Hmm, I don’t know. We aren’t married, or even talking about it, but I am nearly ten years younger than the guy I’ve been dating the past 15 months. I don’t think that means either of us is likely to cheat, though.

          • I wouldn’t worry about the age difference, Glad. For one thing, I think women mature more quickly than men (especially young men), so I think my being 10 years old than my XH was the real problem. I was chronologically older and, I think, maturity-wise WAY older. Schmoopie is 15 years younger than him, so I think they’re perfectly matched, developmentally. In fact, Schmoop will probably still have to carry the ball(s).

          • I disagree with Rich, chronological age is likely meaningless although a woman 15 years younger is too much age difference for me. Nothing in common.
            The reality is anyone can cheat and their is no special picker that helps you discern. The real predictor is the health of the marriage. If you are a bitch, you will be cheated on. If you are neglectful like I was, you will be cheated on. Marriage takes work. It also takes two people who can see and acknowledge their own faults.

        • So Rich, my x is now married to a “person” 27 years his junior (his fat arsed OW). Does that mean what I think it means?

          • Sorry honey. If he left you, rather than working on things, he’s likely immature. He’s gone and so that a good thing for you, IMO. Now you can find someone more mature. Even if he cheats, if he is willing to work on things, that’s a good thing, IMO. I love my wife, she cheated but I am glad I was willing to work on me, and her on her.

            • Okay, if she cheated, I do NOT feel sorry for your wife. I’m glad you have found her a better spouse since her infidelity. I only hope you are not back here in 2, 3, 4 years telling us we were correct because you have to suffer through the pain of another d-day.

      • Oh, yes indeed. It was never called a midlife crisis, but it looked, walked, and quacked like a midlife crisis, which really just means an entitled person has noticed their mortality and feels justified to behave (even more) stupidly. Pierced ear, check. Black porsche, check. Working out and tanning nonstop, check. Naked Young Asian Women screen savers, check. Grad student, check.

        • I asked XH pointblank (before I found about OW) if he was having a midlife crisis and offered to buy him a Corvette. I was trying to be funny, but, well, I guess he got the last laugh… for now.

    • Yes, Charles, one of the things my Ex said the night I spied on his Verizon records on my phone plan and found he was calling and texting one number 100x a day, was that he was “probably having a midlife crisis,” (and that it “just happened!” etc.) till six months after that I stumbled on emails he failed to delete that showed 5 years earlier he had a different midlife crisis at a different mid point in his life… then I looked up his prior GF on facebook and we compared notes, seems he was having a midlife crisis the whole time he knew her too, when she was 26 and he 31 years old, all the way for another 16 years, the first 7 of which overlapped with the 16 years he lived with me in what I thought was an exclusive monagamous relationship.

    • Yes, Charles, I heard the “midlife crisis” thing at one point too. If the early 30s is his mid-life, I guess he’s not planning on celebrating his 100th birthday! Same thing with counseling too, he thought it was stupid, waste of money and literally the same thing your wife said, “he could figure out what he needs to know himself.” (I just Freudian Slip wrote COULDN’T.)

  • Shame on you Sloane for not taking up pole dancing and meeting him buck naked at the door with a martini…whilst your beautiful children were being minded by your wonderful mother in law…and shame on you.
    Sloane you need a lobotomy…”a la Stepford Wives Club” …yes if we were all subservient obsequious bags of suburbian fluff….all our husbands would be in awe of us and our kowtowing nonchallenging lobotomized selves…that will make him the self assured loving partener we all crave and deserve.
    god forbide we actually have an opion and ask for an equal partner….
    Lets roll back to the 50’s and I will happily have meatloaf on the table at 6 with a fucking cocktail in my hand…while fuckhead brings home the bacon….oh…but he still fucks Shirley his secretary…cause she is “new age woman” with a job..
    Sloane…when the fog lifts…and you have spent $200/hr finding yourself…come on over here to Chump Land…its free…and so will u be.

  • These two points are spot on. The first made me lol….yes, you may actually suck, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a lying cheating crapweasel.

    ———————-
    They are not causal effects. You did not make him abandon you and his kids. You might actually suck, but that doesn’t excuse (or cause) his cheating.

    He had a whole decision tree of available options — not “shut you out” and get counseling. Speak up. Have honest conversations. Divorce you honestly and not humiliate you or endanger your health with an affair.

    *****

    If you work from the premise that cheating is abusive (I do), then this is a cringe-inducing confession. She may as well outline her sins and then say, “And that is why Bob had to bash my face into a door.” Of course, I’m still hurt that my husband chose to solve our problems by bashing my face into a door, but I know my behavior was part of what pushed him there.
    ———————-

    I read that article when it first came out and just rolled my eyes and promptly forgot about it. I’m glad you called attention to it CL. Your UBT of the article is perfect and needs to be shared.

    A liar and cheater has character flaws. Nothing “makes” someone lie or cheat. People lie and cheat because they are cowards. Period.

  • This post reminded me of what I did for 3 f–king years. pun very intended.

    Your reply is spot on, CL. Thank you.

    What I would add is a personal “analysis” of why blameshifting works: when XH had a multiple year affair, i had no clue, and BELIEVED ALL THE BLAMESHIFTING, i.e, he was unhappy in the marriage and brainwished me into thinking I was responsible for his unhappines by reissuing “The laundry list” on a regular basis, sometimes going back 25 years, and included my natural human flaws and unique Chumpette flaws – which i had owned and worked on AND objectively improved even by his validation! (which is not solely why i did it, btw).

    Yup, HE SET ME UP TO DO HIS BIDDING AND I DID. It is sick and sad and unconscionable that he did this.

    And the blameshifting was especially effective because there was always a grain of truth. I was not ALWAYS kind, kibble producing, etc. and I TRUSTED him, and thought he was honestly working on his issues like I was, and also believed he was always forgiving me as I did him. (As I write this, it is perhaps a solid description of a chumpiness…)

    Add books, articles (like Sloane’s) and ignorant therapists (like Sloane’s) and voi-la…another legitimated affair!

    Worse..I continued being “the problem” in my own eyes (and of course his, and whomever he told) for two years until I found Chump Lady and learned about blame shifting and gaslighting.

    Aaaaaaarrrrgggghhhh!

    And thank God it’s over!

    • forgot to explain how I did XH bidding for him… which imo is the very sickest and saddest part

      when i thought he was being honest about just struggling with mid life depression and that all my flaws hurt him, I went around telling our friends, his family, and my family that i was not a good wife! so after discovery, this “legitimized” the affair.

      now that i know with complete certainty i did not cause his affair (thank you Chump Nation) i have since circled back to people who matter to educate them about blameshifting, and they consistently say: duh, of course you weren’t a perfect wife, you are not responsible for his affair, and we know you are a good and compassionate person.

      i believe this. again.

  • I’ve always been the kind of person to take the blame to make peace in the family. If someone needed to step up and assume blame, even if I wasn’t responsible for it, I would gladly do it to keep things calm. I guess that’s why I struggle so much when thinking of things I did wrong, could have done better, rages I had, etc. I feel so bad for those things… but I know this… I worked like hell to try to keep our relationship together. He, on the other hand, always bonded with female coworkers. When I would tell him how much this behavior upset me, he would deny that it was happening, or ignore me completely. It made me feel crazy.

    When he decided to leave he never once suggested going to counseling, or that he had any part in our relationship problems. I truly don’t think he was capable of intimacy. He didn’t have it with his parents, or our kids, or anyone except OW (according to him).

    When I start feeling bad I try to tell myself “you can’t work out a relationship with a person who won’t talk to you and doesn’t see you as a separate person with needs worthy of being addressed. Still, I struggle with feelings of inadequacy. On the other hand, I’m pretty sure my ex hasn’t looked back and still thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips.

    • Lyn, our situations sound similar. But the difference is: You’re working on yourself. You’re here and reading and posting and THINKING about stuff. I bet your ex isn’t looking back, either, and neither is mine. But you and I will be the ones to grow and be better people, whether as singles or in new relationships. And our exes will be stale bags of chips and they’ll still suck.

      • I really struggle with this.

        I’ve been working my ass off to recover from chronic, clinical depression and toxide shame. I read everything I can get my hands on. I still feel like I’ll never be enough.

        My ex walked out on me with no warning. She put more effort into justifying leaving me than she ever put into self-improvement. She thinks she’s great as-is and hasn’t looked back.

        So, I’m struggling to learn and grow and doubt I’ll ever be loved for being me. She does no work on herself yet has never had trouble finding partners. There are few times I feel like I’m coming our ahead in this deal.

        • Maybe it’s like the tortoise and the hare? We chumps are slowly healing and working on ourselves and trying to learn so that we can rebuild our lives and choose better next time (if we choose to get in another relationship). The cheaters/abandoners, however, bounce on to the next person and the next with no stopping and no reflection and they just stay the same, making the same mistakes in each relationship. Eventually we chumps will resurface from the hell of being chumped and come out happier and stronger on the other side. It just takes work…work that entitled types will never put in because they think they are just about perfect as-is…

        • The reason she has ‘no trouble finding partners’ is because she’ll open her legs to any depraved fuckwad out there.
          You on the other hand, have standards, which means you’ll get less (which is NOT a bad thing!)

          • You are right Lania! WWDSG, she is easy & seductive, those are not hard won qualities! You will be more attractive to real women.

        • You’re not alone in this. I remember a therapy session where, crying, I said, “I wish sometimes I could just switch places with him. He has no pain, a new partner, no guilt, no remorse, .. he’s not sitting here spending hundreds of dollars and doing all this WORK….” My therapist asked if I really wanted to be a cold heartless soulless person who could do to another person what XH did to me? and I had to answer, honestly, Yes, for a little while. It’s so much easier.

          But I do think each of us individually and collectively make the world what it is. And I wouldn’t want to live in a world made of people like XH or any of the other cheaters discussed here. I think I’m the better person. And that may never count for anything or be appreciated. But I’m a good person. I’m true. And deep. And I stand up for my friends. And I work hard. — XH can’t say any of those things.

          • NWBiblio, clap, clap, clap. You’re spot-on as always. Thanks for putting this in perspective. I sometimes feel I’m being too self-righteous in thinking I’m a better person than my cheater but hey, I really am.

          • My therapist was likewise shocked that I’d want to be like my ex. She said that people like my ex are the loneliest people of all, that they have a hole (no Beavis, not that kind!) that they try to fill with whatever and whoever they can grab. The hole seems filled for a while, but then it starts to rip open again and the person panics and grabs the next shiny object to come along, never realizing that the issue can’t be fixed that way.

            I feel pretty lonely myself, so it’s hard to imagine being even lonelier. I suppose I’m just too honest with myself and others: I feel my loneliness acutely and don’t hesitate to share that; my ex pretended everything was fine and then blamed me for not addressing the issues that she never shared with me. She’s on to the next shiny object, while I’m left to struggle with being tarnished.

  • Perfect timing and spot on. Infidelity is assault and abuse. I might have been a controlling bitch and didn’t respect someone, who incidently wasn’t respectable, and yes, that is on me. But I wasn’t asking to be abused. And it doesn’t justify abuse. It’s like saying a woman deserves to be raped for her choice of clothes. I loved the apples and oranges analogy from the top. Thanks for such clear and straighforward thinking.

  • It sounds like Sloane was a bitch and her husband an asshole. That still doesn’t excuse his cheating, he should have simply divorced her. As for the rest of the drivel, it reminds me of advice given to 1950s housewives: never have anything but a smile on your face, keep the kids quiet and not bothering the husband, keep your mouth shut and let your husband be in charge. It’s a shame that is still being promoted in 2014, and chumps still take the blame for the cheater’s actions.

  • “Because obviously being a lying, cheating, family abandon-er trumps anything I did to our marriage in the past decade. Right?” Actually yes it does. You could have been the world’s worst spouse or partner and lying and cheating is still worse than what you did or didn’t do.

    I could take each of Sloane’s self-assessments and flip them around and it still would have no causal effect on my Ex’s cheating. For example, she claims she emasculated him by being critical. Well, I was the opposite. I handed him all the power in our relationship. When he raged and accused me of whatever, I apologized even though I knew I hadn’t done, felt, thought or said what he accused me of. And I never complained about anything he did (mostly I was afraid to get yelled at again). Never. Not in 16 years. In fact, kicking him out of our house when I found out about OW was the first time I ever told him something he did was unacceptable to me.

    For those of us whose cheaters were serial cheaters, there is even less reason to blame the chump. For six months after DDay I walked around in a stupor totally believing that I had “caused” him to cheat, had “driven” him into her cunt, because as he said, “I didn’t pay enough attention to him.” Didn’t “understand” him, didn’t “make him feel like a man,” “didn’t see the lost little boy inside him,” (though I pd for all his food housing and cell phone but that kind of “attention” doesn’t count I guess) Till I stumbled on emails from a prior OW five years earlier. What in God’s name stopped him from leaving THEN? Why was he still living with me, having sex with me, saying “Love ya” to me every day and night, even Two weeks before I found out about Schmoopie? If he was SO VERY unhappy, and I was such an inadequate girlfriend why didn’t he just leave? So I know, this “drove him to it” crap is just apologist crap. And Sloane, you are either a sap or a doormat or a cheater apologist, because as CL so deftly says, you might actually suck but you’re still a Chump.

  • I wonder if these blog writers ever see their work put through the UBT?

    I admit to being imperfect in our marriage. We were clearly mismatched from the beginning. But to blame X’s cheating and financial abuse on me is absurd.

    • It always makes me a little jealous when people can say in 25 words or less what it takes me paragraphs and pages to express. C&L, you nailed it. 😉

  • i could have written parts of this letter as well. My XH always worked, always complained that I spent too much time with the kids, that I wasn’t “pulling my weight” financially, etc. In reality, I was doing 98% of the parenting and 100% of the household management while earning more working from home than I had at my full time job. He got it in his head that because I didn’t go to an office, I wasn’t really working.

    In recent months, he’s written several letters to D17 talking about how much he loved being her dad and all the fun things they used to do together. The problem? They all refer to things they did together when she was in PRESCHOOL – a DOZEN YEARS AGO! He doesn’t have more recent memories because he was NEVER there – he was always working. His work was his main priority, not his family. We were at the bottom of the list.

    Reading CL’s response today explained why: he didn’t give a sh*t. That never occurred to me before. But it’s true. If it was important to him, he would have been there. But because HE wasn’t the center of attention 24/7 once the kids came, he lost interest when the oldest was 5.

    Thanks, CL, for defining yet ANOTHER way that he sucks. As the saying goes, no one on his death bed wishes he’d spent more time at work…

    • Red–I did 95% of the parenting, too and most of the household management except for finances, but was recently accused of “always doing things for other people” and not paying enough attention to him. Guess that’s why I had few friends or hobbies by the end of the marriage? what other people?

      They always find an excuse. I now say that he prioritized his career and sexual novelty over his family & marriage. I prioritized the family over my career. Now he has his career and as much sexual novelty as he can stomach, but no family.

      • Tempest, THIS. You and me both. However, I am the one without my family. Not sure how after devoting 37 years of my life to our marriage and family it has turned out this way. I can only assume that our 2 adult kids have their sperm donors crappy character. Ex was always as cool as a cucumber and I was tied in a knot because I had no support from not one person. Maybe it was my anger and complete weariness that caused all of this!!

        • Maree–your story breaks my heart. Your X must have been one hell of a con man to snow even his children, and a mighty fuckweasel to take all of that away from you. I can only think that your children will eventually wise up; otherwise the injustice is too great.

          And how else COULD you have been after being cheated on–anger and weariness are perfectly reasonable responses.

          • Just to clarify, I haven’t always been angry. When I married the ex I was such a happy and carefree girl. I was constantly told why a beautiful smile I had. I still get told that when I have a reason to smile. But having walked a path littered with red flagged for 37 years does take it out of you. I was always left with my children and we were happy. In fact, the last time I spoke with my now 32 year son, he did say that he remembers the laughter. Sad isn’t it?

            • Maree…I’ve been here since you arrived. I hope you pat yourself on the back for how far you’ve come. You sound so much stronger about your relationship (or lack thereof) with your children. I still think they’ll see the light and will keep hoping for that for you. Either way, you sound stronger and that makes me smile. Just needed to tell you that.

              • Many thanks m_o. Yes, lately I have been aware of a dramatic change in myself and I like it. I won’t say I was born strong but I know I am and have been most of my life. I honestly have to say, if it wasn’t for this site I don’t know where I would be. Reading all the posts and just seeing the world of pain that is created by cheaters is staggering. But I am much happier now and I know it will continue to be so. Like all of us, I still have a bad day or 2 but they are getting further apart now. For all of us, onwards and upwards! 🙂

      • Red and Tempest, same here. Every family event, every family trip, every family birthday party, every neighborhood gig was orchestrated by me. His only presence in the process was to show up with his beer mug (didn’t matter if it was a toddler party) and his feedbag.

        The only exception was our annual Memorial Day party because he invited his “best friends” (people he met 40 years ago at college and might see once a year) and wanted to show off. He’d spend the whole party behind his bar in the basement while I acted as hostess/mother/entertainment/cook/cleanup/etc.

        Such a dick.

        • CAL – same here. My XH’s idea of entertaining was for me to plan the menu, get the groceries, cook everything, and clean up while he poured wine and held court. Then he complained that we didn’t entertain enough. You know how many times he’s had a lab party for all his peeps since he moved out? ONCE. Because it was too expensive and too much work – something I’d been telling him for years!

        • LOL, mine too! I would clean the house from top to bottom, buy and prepare all the food and drinks, etc. When I asked him to help, he would disappear into the garage to organize his screws by metric size. At the party start time, he would be in the shower, then show up late in a blaze of glory to sparkle for all to admire…

    • I definitely think X has completely lost interest in our teenager. Teenager has told me “he ignores me the whole time we’re there.” Teens aren’t good kibble sources like little kids are. And when the kids talk about what they do with him it’s all stuff HE wants to do or somehow geared toward his interest, or somehow tied into showing them how great he is. I don’t really think he knows much about the Teen at all, which is really sad.

  • I did have a fatal flaw that caused him to cheat with schmoopies 2,3,4,and 5: I took him BACK after schmoopie #1!! If I just hadn’t done that, you see…..

  • Thank you CL. I read this article on HP a week ago and it really hit a nerve. Thanks for taking the time to run it through the BS translator. I love the way you break things down.

  • Ditto…I was the “Do All ” parent. I am the pocket gadgety thingy …Leatherman?!!
    The Fucking Macgyver of Moms….every birthday party…bills…walk the fucking dog…attend the teacher conference…buy his mothers bday present ,wax his fucking back….for 14 fucking years…
    put him thru school…paid every vacation…sat alone for years while he did an uncover position and was gone for days at a time…for 7 of the 14 fucking years…
    and what did he say to me? “I needed someone who was willing to do things with me”…
    I looked at him and said” ya, me too.”

    • OMG! Been there!!!!

      One top of all of that, I made $30k more than him, one of the top 4 in my profession in Southern California, had high end clients. He loved my job and loved my income and everything I bought for him and he loved to brag to his friends about me, etc. Then the economy hit. I was laid off and 4 months pregnant with our first.

      I was no longer needed.

      After my baby was born, he would come home and say with a sign ‘dazzle me’. Not long after, I found out he was having an emotional affair with a bi woman who was a prosecuting attorney 1/2 the country away from us. He was being re-dazzled with a bedazzler. He left his Facebook account opened on our shared computer and while reading their messages, I wrote her an email asking her to tell me what was going on because he wasn’t tell me. She looked like a clown with lots of makeup. Looking back – such a grotesque mess.

  • Thank goodness for this site and the good work of Chump Lady

    I still feel judged as the one who was ‘faulty’ because my ExH cheated on me (and..as it turned out… cheated multiple times). Plus, he now has a partner and I am single…soo…I must be the broken one.

    When I was still married friends would tell me I was a ‘saint’ to put up with him. Yet, not one of these friends told me he was cheating.

    There are far too many mixed and unhealthy messages in our society.

    • My ex was gay and his friends knew it. I didn’t know it. His friends didn’t know that I didn’t know. They thought it was my ‘bag’ (their verbiage) and not their business telling me. I say yes and no. It’s a fine line.

      I do remember one of my ex’s friends would ask me if my ex would tell me the jokes they would poke at him during poker – since my ex never said anything to me.

      Seems the joke was on lots of people. So lame.

    • The Mighty Chump Pledge:

      Raise your right hand and repeat after me…

      As a mighty chump,
      if i discover anyone’s spouse, partner, engaged or otherwise significant other is cheating,
      I will tell the unsuspecting chump,
      and then tell them about Chump Lady.

      • Could be off topic but – I absolutely loved the advice yesterday about Financial Advice for Chumps. So well written, thank you for all the great information. I was so far ahead because of CL site,it made X look like a fool. Me finding long before he remembered to hide, for instance.

        And then I went to help somebody else.
        She was pleading for help on financials.
        On SI (that is, Surviving Infididility..weee (website)) and I suddenly came along the very interesting confessions of the Cheater ( sorry, WS) Way word Spouse)
        Very imformatitve to hear their sorrow. It relieved me a lot.
        But, I don’t suppose the 2 sites could share info.
        As a cheated-on spouse of 36 yrs – yes, darn rights I want to hear about the cheaters side and how much ‘they hurt’. I’ve become addicted. (but can’t comment because I’m a Betrayed) What a soap.

        Anyway, I suggested the woman recently chumped and without financial intellect, read that site yesterday on CL. Well, I was BANNED immediately for recommending the article. Too bad.

        Sorry we can’t use all the available resources around here.
        Everybody on these small-internet sites – it IS a small world..could use all the help they could get.
        (hey – I got my plug in!)

        CL – what the F did you do to get me banned as a simple poster using your name as a Resource?
        Just don’t get it.
        (fwi – I had to get in front of a jury to describe why I still wanted to stay un-banned).
        Did you call that Kafta? Need to read it.

        So – ok – I’m staying neutral and just trying to get along. No more website ideas for folks trying to figure this out. What a simple injustice.

        I replied back to the Jury that I was appalled by that. We’ll see if they allow this old lady to get back on there for some advice..for the newbies and folks who really fucking NEED financial smarts. Sorry, not yelling. Just a bit angry.

        • I’m sorry that happened to you Shechump. I was banned from SI a couple years ago when I started this blog. They took offense at something I wrote *here* (not on SI) about being the marriage police (the post was Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy from 2012). I’ve heard they ban people who link to me. No idea what their deal is. Apparently the internet isn’t big enough for the two of us.

          • Probably more the fact that the staff there are likely cheaters/cheater apologists and can’t handle the fact that people actually stand up to their shit.
            Seems awfully Nazi-esque to have to stand in front of a jury to be allowed back onto a forum. Just another ‘If you don’t subscribe to the cult I’ll hammer you into submission.
            I think I went onto their forums some time back (ditto TAM) and they are way, way WAY too accepting of ‘reformed cheaters’ (or whatever the fuck they call them). Its basically ‘narcissistic fuckwads who learned how to control the narrative’ more than someone who owns their shit and is contrite about it. Good example would be that EI woman. (PS: EI, if you’re watching this, as you no doubt are: I see your flirting with other board members while your husband is present. You are fucking disgusting. Grow up.)
            A person who was genuine about fixing the heinous damage of their cheating sure as hell wouldn’t be peddling their shit on a site full of people who have been cheated on – they’d learn that their mere presence would be enough to mortally piss them off (or cause negative thoughts to resurface regarding their own stories).

          • Well, like I say, I just wanted to pop in and see what cheaters had to say, that’s all. Yeah – Nazi-ism for sure! Geez. They claimed CL was poking fun at the members – bwahahaha

  • I’ll own poor communication skills,and I think I’ll need therapy for couples communication.

    However, I’d lived with a lot of housemates. We disagreed on some things, but we always negotiated a compromise. STBX reduced me to tears of frustration and rage because he could NOT understand that I was fundamentally AGREEING with everything he said. He told me I nitpicked everything, that I was arguing with him.

    I then realized that he wanted an echo chamber. It wasn’t enough to agree with him, and then generalize from a different perspective. He needed me to agree with him for the reasons he stated. Anything else was me being bitchy, attacking him, etc.

    I now communicate with the following kinds of responses: uh-huh, there you go, so it seems, etc. These are not real responses, but they translate into affirmative ego kibble for STBX. I used to let STBX know why I was getting upset at certain of his remarks. His own response was that I was either too sensitive or that what he said was no big deal (way to go to devalue my feelings). I don’t do that anymore because there’s no point. I fear that I will need help with this so that if I get involved in a future relationship, I can communicate openly, honestly, and yet tactfully with my partner.

    But I didn’t start out like this, and I still didn’t make him cheat.

  • I don’t think this was written by a chump. Probably written by a cheater. Because she lost me here:

    And whenever my marriage started to feel like work, I would check out and head to Build-A-Bear Workshop or the science museum with the kids in tow. I’d often plan these adventures when I knew my husband couldn’t go (and spoil my good time).

    Um, this is so crazy I don’t know where to begin. Who gets jealous that their kids were taken to the science museum? Who has marital spats and thinks, “gee I’d rather be at Build-A-Bear right now.” I’m a Mom who does this kind of stuff with my children, and if I’m honest, most of the time I DON’T WANT TO GO. Spoil his good time? Yes, family time is fun. But really, this sounds very petty.

    To me it sounds like it was written by a husband who didn’t value the WORK his wife was doing in raising their children. She takes the kids out for fun and education? What a bitch!!

    Moms who want to “check out,” go get drinks with the girls or drop the kids off somewhere and get their nails done. I’m not knocking doing either of those things once in a while, just saying their is a tone of bitterness in this paragraph that makes me suspicious of the whole article.

    Same with the parents. They came by to help? How dare they!! Didn’t fold the laundry right? Why’d they even make the trip? But then “she” goes on to say there isn’t a right way to do things, but poor hubby had to put up with her bitching about wanting things done her way. Contradiction much? This is written by a bitter person, not self-reflective chump, IMHO.

    • Absolutely well thought out and said, DoneNow. It’s called the gut warning of a BS-redlight ahead. Full stop.

    • Yes well stated and thought out. I also think the entire article is written by a cheating H for all the reasons you listed.

  • I can’t speak for anybody else, but in retrospect, I wish I had sucked a whole lot more than I did sometimes. Yep, sometimes I wish I had been a giant black hole of inescapable, suckitude. It would have counterbalanced the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party that was my miserable marriage 😉

    “Don’t like me leaving socks on the bathroom floor sometimes? Tomorrow I am scattering socks like confetti; in fact, I am going to go out an buy 3000 pairs of socks right now to get started. Years from now socks will be turning up”.

    Bwahahahaha.

    • About two years before Dday, I got familiar with the term gas lighting and realized he had been doing it to an extreme for years. It had me very messed up and I knew it. At that time, I cAme up with two or three gaighting schemes just around the house that I fantasized about implementing. I never did. After DDay, much regret on that one.

  • Alas, Sloane, I have news for you. You aren’t that powerful. You don’t control another’s behavior. No matter what you think.

    I turned into a human pretzel to become what my ex wanted me to be. Didn’t work. When we were finally divorced and he knew I was gone, he admitted to me and his family it was all his fault. I own the problems I caused in my marriage but I have seen friends act in less desirable behaviors than I did, and their spouses did not choose cheating as a response. CHOOSING to cheat is exact that. A well-thought out choice with no one pointing a gun to your head. Having an affair requires lots of planning and deceit, thus more choices. Instead of facing problems head on or earning their way out of the marriage in an honorable manner, they choose the easy way out. Test what’s out there first before they make their exit at the expense of the chump. In a word, cowardice.

    • Yes, exactly what I have been thinking since Dday. I was a damn good wife, raised our kids virtually single handed, took responsibility for everything, finances, household stuff, social life etc etc and I totally loved and adored that ungrateful POS. I have friends and acquaintances who are really difficult and often appalling to their husbands, and yet, their husbands are not having affairs, or leaving them.
      ExH’s unfaithfulness, abandonment and other abusive behaviour was Not My Fault!

  • If the other person’s behavior causes someone to cheat, then the chumps here who have lived with serial cheaters should have had multiple affairs but yet they didn’t. Go figure. Can it likely be because they have character?

    • Spot on.

      By all accounts I should have fucked multiple ex boyfriends, some former and new co workers, found my kink on Adult Friend Finders, cruised Craigslist for the best wink-wink happy ending masseuses in the US, found my game on “the Fappening” and picked up some random dude at a bar in New Orleans and began a rapturous double life with him across state and country lines!

      Man! Having integrity and decency cost me nearly 2 DECADES of full on fun!

      • Excellent post ANC! “Spot On’. I say that wondering if are your English language (not yankee) a friend of the Commonwealth? Sorry if I’m off topic. Just love that. Spot On says it all. (Cannuck her but learn the term in Australia)

        • Nope. Just a gal from Detroit who has lived and worked in many places both in North America and in Europe. Love Australia though. I would go back at a moment’s notice.

  • I was a crazy bitch! I admit. Some kind of crazy. I tell you this like AA acknowledgement. I am not a crazy bitch anymore though. I suspect the “thing” that made me a crazy bitch has gone and consequently, so has my crazy! Still, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t blame myself. I can’t help it, I am trying still to understand it, and as I’m never going to know the truth, I can only work with what I do know. But, just before he left he told me he did alot of those things, the things that made me crazy, on purpose. It was sport. He was/is passive agressive. And in the beginning I would try to talk to him but he NEVER talked to me. And I recognise that eventually that made me more and more crazy. I like to inderstand everything and when you only have part of the informtion it can drive you to become something you don’t like.

    As for loving my kids….Some 19 years ago when I first became pregnant, I don’t recall waking up one day and deciding “time for me to have a kid and start my family”. Instead we talked about becoming parents, how we would parent, what it would be like to have our own family. At no point did he say “ah actually nah I might miss out on something” or “yeah good idea cos then you’d have something to keep you busy and I can get on with my own life”. I didn’t have all that information, he never said that, I understood he would be a father, not just a sperm donor. His choice-his loss! My brother is a sperm donor for gay couple friends of his. He is more of a father to those kids than my x ever was or could be.

    • Nat1, I remember telling my counselor I thought being ignored when I was trying to have a conversation with my ex was worse than being hit. Once I met my ex for lunch and was trying to make conversation. He just stared at the TV over my head and barely acknowledged me. After a few tries I picked up my purse and started to leave. He asked where I was going and with tears in my eyes I told him I was tired of trying to get him to talk to me. This was one of the few times he apologized and said “I’ll try to do better.” I stayed but this type of thing happened often.

      My mom had always taught me to never put up with physical abuse in a marriage, but I didn’t realize being treated like this was also a type of abuse. I wish I had, I thought something was wrong with me.

      • Wow…I can totally relate to this…trying to compete with the television and solitaire on the iPad for attention

  • What drugs is this woman on and why isn’t she sharing?

    I don’t know about anyone else, but I was not born in a town called Bethlehem and placed in a manger, so hell to the no I’m not perfect and never claimed to be. And I’ll admit, some of my PMS moments of long ago might have caused a mountain lion to run for cover for fear of being attacked, wrestled to the ground and turned into a coat. Moments in time and shit happens.

    “1. I put my children first. It’s easy to love your own children. It takes very little effort, and they adore you no matter what.” Of course I put my children first because initially they, unlike Assface McCheaterturd, were dependent (at one point – totally dependent). I should consistently put the needs of a grown-ass, self-sufficient adult before the needs of a dependent child? Fuck that noise. As it was, Assface put the children before me, too, and it never caused me to cheat. I thought that was what was called parenting.

    Much of what Sloane said she did wrong in her marriage are actually variations of the Assface’s behavior in our marriage. My solution was not to look for the nearest man’s junk to jump on in order to find solace and affirmation. I just worked to harder to try to find it or create it with Assface. When I married Assface I knew he was a human being with flaws, and he knew I was a person with flaws of my own – which I never tried to hide or deny. I mistakenly assumed when we took those vows and promised “for better or for worse,” that he meant it just like I did. He didn’t get the memo apparently.

  • When my STBX confessed our minister set about assigning blame. The day my daughter was diagnosed with cancer 1 month post d’day I ran into our minister and amongst all the BS, he sprouted that my X didn’t cheat on me with men to get at my kids! Stupidly I took the bait and responded “no he did it to get at me.” I confessed that at times my X would have been better off sleeping on the corner of the roof then live with me.
    X and I would often fight mainly due to my built up frustration at the lack of connection. In our home if it did not directly effect X it was of no consequence to him. My minister took this as a confession of guilt on my behalf and because I an a no nonsense type of girl I was then accused of ’emasculation’ of my X.
    Nothing I did justifies his choosing to cheat on his marriage in order the fill his need to be sexually active with men.
    But just for argument sake lets have a look.

    With tongue in cheek he cheated because ……

    I once suggested he ware a dress I had if he was so upset that I could no longer fit it. He instantly put it on and paraded it in front of me.

    I refused to submit to anal sex so he could see what it was like.

    I had to explain to him how to get the fan belt out of our car after he took it to a shitty mechanic for a service. Not that he cared that my life had been put at risk when going at speed the engine ate the fan belt causing it to look like curling ribbon.

    Or because I complained when he left me driving my car for 4 months without oil on my gearbox because he preferred to take the word of the young bloke he was chasing that the oil had come from my steering. Rather than mine because what would I know?

    Or because I handled all our finances, ran the house, booked holidays, house repairs, planed and plant gardens, paint walls, replace tiles.

    Oh I forgot the obvious. Because I have a vagina.

    • I never quite got the ’emasculation’ shit. What, are they so fucking intimidated that we know how to do stuff thats more in the realm of ‘guy’ stuff? I sure as hell wouldn’t care (and would be appreciative) if my partner did stuff that was in the realm of ‘girls’ stuff.

  • Absolutely love the UBT! I too willingly took all of the blame for the ex’s affair. I realize now it’s because I thought I could control the outcome if I could just fix everything that ‘made him cheat’. It’s taken a few years and multiple visits to this site to realize that I had nothing to do with the ex’s decision to cheat. I also vehemently reject the notion that I “owned 50% of the responsibility for the break down of the marriage that made him vulnerable to cheat” That’s a load of bullshit too that is peddled pretty regularly on infidelity boards and the reconciliation industrial complex.

    I was not perfect and I’ve never claimed to be but he brought his very own special baggage to the marriage too. I didn’t make him vulnerable to cheat; his shitty character made him vulnerable to cheat and nothing I could’ve done would ever change that. Quite frankly our marriage sucked hard core for an entire year leading up to his affair but he was tending to the grass on the other side of the fence instead of paying attention to his own yard. I acted a little bat shit crazy for that year (moods all over the place, getting wound up over the dumbest shit) but I put all of that on him. The break down of our marriage was almost certainly 100% due to his lack of attention and my crap reaction. I should’ve spoke up and told him what an ass he was being but I spackled like an expert carpenter. My. Total. Bad but his bad was like 1 million times worse.

    I almost feel bad for this epic chump but she just perpetuates the blameshifting crap that happens after infidelity is discovered by the cheating fuckwit and the rest of the planet. It almost feels more egregious when it comes from another chump. So sad!

    • It is pretty amazing that people believe (a) all marriages break down because of 50/50 fault; and (b) that strains in the marriage predate the infidelity. Sometimes the infidelity is what causes the marriage to be unhealthy (as in your case, cheaterssuck).

    • Lying, gaslighting, blame shifting and the whole cheater repertoire is designed to make us batshit crazy. Once I got past the worst of DDay, I haven’t even had an angry moment. They provoke anger by deliberately baiting us and then–blame us for being crazy. It’s all a game.

  • As usual, CL hits it on the head. But the logic in this essay is so bad, it makes my head hurt. And a college freshman essay that tried this false equivalency argument would get it back with a “start over” at the top.

    1. All relationships involve 2 parties, whether parent/child, friend/friend, employee/employer, doctor/patient, or spouse/spouse. There has never been a relationship in which both parties couldn’t do better. But a relationship, by definition, involves the interaction between two people:
    Person#1 —> interaction input but ignored or devalued///// interaction <– Person#3

    • Sorry about that last line–for some reason the rest of the comment got cut and I can’t resurrect it.

    • The rest of the post just pointed out that both parties are responsible for being engaged in the relationship. Without that engagement, the relationship will inevitably end (even if people continue to live in the same house.

      HOWEVER– the act of cheating is not just disengagement, it’s going outside the primary relationship, which depends for most people on fidelity, loyalty, and reciprocity. Once a third party is allowed into that sacred space, the relationship is broken. It doesn’t matter what the Chump has done; even felony-level physical abuse is not an excuse for infidelity. It’s a reason to get away from that person, call the police, press charges, and file for divorce. No doubt, we could all do better in relationships. But in the case of cheaters who have character disorders, chumps who blame themselves are essentially beating themselves up for failing to do both sides of the relationship–meet the partner’s need and their own, take whatever crumbs Cheaterpants throws their way while being 100% engaged. Once again, a totally uneven playing field.

  • Cheaters suck – they blame, lie, charm, play with your mind. It took me 20 years to work it out that I could not fix it. Yes my picker needs fine tuning my experience makes me question why the hell did I pick him – a goose who sparkles to the world but is charming, handsome, nasty, deceiving, mindfucking to his family.

  • This post goes to the heart of the one issue I’ve carried the most shame over – the question of how much I contributed to the breakdown of my marriage, and by extension, to my husband’s two affairs.

    I spent many years being angry and resentful at my husband because once we had a child, he followed his dream of doing stand-up comedy full time. I had encouraged him to pursue this dream. I even provided the seed money to get him started. But once I realized how awful it felt to be left again and again when he went on the road, and to feel like a single parent six months of the year, and to live at the poverty level with no health insurance, I began to hate his career choice. How do you ask someone to give up their dream career, the one they’ve wanted since childhood? I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

    Not talking to him about this was totally my fault. Allowing the issue to turn to resentment of him was on me. Looking back, I realize now that I was waiting for him to see how his dream career was letting down his family. He never saw it.

    This man has a lot narcissistic traits. Outside validation – in this case, stardom – drives most of his actions. I’ve discovered that when his accomplishments fall short, he simply lies about them. He puts a few self-made videos on YouTube and then refers to them as TV episodes in his comedy bio, claiming to be the host and star. (GladIt’sOver will totally relate!)

    He seethingly read me a list of my faults after I had discovered his last affair, the one that had been going on for a year and a half. He said I was emotionally abusive to him, and that he had never mentioned it because it was a case of the victim trying to appease the abuser with silence and agreement. He told me, “You made it impossible for me to talk to you.” And yet the one time he did tell me he was unhappy in the marriage, I immediately found an individual therapist and spent two years resolving my anger issue.

    It’s all so confusing. He is only too happy to place 80 percent of the blame for our marriage problems on me. For about a year after our divorce, I shouldered that blame. Then I began to remember some of his actions in the marriage. I wondered why, if I was expected to take full responsibility for my actions, why shouldn’t he have to take full responsibility for his?

    • RS,

      Early in our relationship my STBX told me how my feelings and reactions were my responsibility (he’s a mental health professional) not the responsibility of the person about whom those feelings and reactions were directed (read: HIM). He knew I was one of those “accept responsibility” type of people and he began conditioning me early on. It didn’t occur to me until after the complete blow up the marriage and while in therapy that not only were my own feelings my responsibility, but his feelings were also my responsibility – mostly the negative ones because I somehow always caused them.

      Like you, I not only supported his day job, but I supported him in pursuing his “dream” career, with time, money and energy. I did more than my fair share at home and with and for the children in order to free him up to pursue his goals and interest, only to be told at the end of it all that I “never supported him.”

      There were so many times when I tried to explain to him that some his repeated behaviors, which I had either requested that he do or not do, was the cause of my feelings and/or reactions. He, however, continued to insist that any negative feelings or reactions on my part were out of line and he wasn’t doing anything to cause them.

      I can look back and see now that even when he wasn’t cheating, he was always poised to cheat, always looking for what he perceived as a “better” opportunity. Subconsciously, I believe I picked up on that and lived in a sort of constant readiness for something awful to happen.He has yet to acknowledge how his constant pursuit of a “better” opportunity, his addicition to porn, his visiting prostitutes, his boundary violating behaviors with equally boundary violating work colleagues contributed to the problems in our marriage.

      RS, none of us is perfect but at least for us Chumps, we mean the things we do for the good of the family and the well-being of the Cheater. Everyone gets angry and it is normal to feel resentment when you believe that your contributions are not being acknowledged or appreciated. Don’t be too hard on yourself. As you stated in your post, your EX was not a good provider or helpmate and youdid not lie to him or cheat on him. Him inserting third persons into what should have been a two person situation caused the break up – not some perfectly normal responses on your part – for which you sought help and resolution through therapy. I’m sorry – he was looking to rationalize and justify his mistreatment of you. (((HUGS)))

    • RS, don’t be confused. A man who marries and has children takes on not only financial responsibility but emotional responsibility. Many people have careers that require road trips; my cousin’s son is on the road all the time, at the minimum one full week a month. But he is a totally plugged-in husband and STEPFATHER. He had a chance at a huge promotion and turned it down because he didn’t want to move his stepchildren in their high school year and because he didn’t want to leave his parents as they age.

      It’s a normal thing for the SAHP to feel lonely and frustrated in that situation. And honest discussion might have revealed that there was no way to reconcile your differing needs. But that is not a reason or excuse or a signal to invite a third party or parties into the marriage. The affair, however, is indeed a signal to you that you were in a bad place and needed to be rid of this immature jerk. I know a lot of writers and musicians, including a man who runs a prominent theater group, and most of them have day jobs because they have families they need to support. You were not married to a grown-up.

    • Rally, I think we were married to the same man! Or maybe evil twins separated at birth. Mine also started claiming, long after we divorced, that I had been a big bully and emotional abuser during our marriage, and that I had never supported his “dreams.” Funny, during our marriage he never said he was unhappy. In fact, he always told me he WAS happy and would never want to divorce and that I was his best friend.

      As to the videos on YouTube, LOL! I wonder how many narcissistic delusional breakdowns have been caused by the ability to post videos there.

      • Thank you, CP, LAJ, DDW and GIO, from the bottom of my chumpy heart. “You were not married to a grown-up” validates so much for me.

  • “But often we don’t speak up, because we know from painful experience that when we voice an objection, we will not be heard. Our concerns will be rejected and ignored.” This is SO true, and I am still living it. Many examples of this over the holidays, making me pretty sure there’s nothing here worth salvaging…

  • I am working my ass off at the new job but stopped in to take a break. If someone already said it, sorry! When I read this bit about her parents: “They’d “help out” around the house doing things we never asked them to, like folding our laundry (incorrectly, of course)”.

    All I could think was, incorrectly according to your husband, right? Because I learned to fold laundry from my freakin Mom, I’m pretty damn sure the author did too. Which brings me to ask; did the author change even that minor thing about herself to make her husband happy? The woman really needs a reality check.

  • Chump Princess – I can totally relate to your posting “Early in our relationship my STBX told me how my feelings and reactions were my responsibility (he’s a mental health professional) not the responsibility of the person about whom those feelings and reactions were directed (read: HIM). He knew I was one of those “accept responsibility” type of people and he began conditioning me early on. It didn’t occur to me until after the complete blow up the marriage and while in therapy that not only were my own feelings my responsibility, but his feelings were also my responsibility – mostly the negative ones because I somehow always caused them.”

    I can remember my ExH being particularly verbally nasty to me during the last 6 months of the marriage (I was unaware of his affair at that time) and I asked him why he had to say such spiteful things and upset me. He said “I don’t upset you, you only upset yourself”. I realised later, in therapy, that he had been invalidating my feelings all through the marriage. He refused to take any responsibility for the effect his cruel words had on me and I told me I was “too sensitive”.

    Later on, after DD he told me that what attracted him to OW was that “she was a very sensitive person” – whaaaat !!! Maybe he’s verbally abusing her now, who knows?

    As CL says, it just isn’t possible to unpick the skein of £uckedupness …….

    • My ex used to say, “I am not responsible for your feelings.” However, when I found out about his cheating all of a sudden I was responsible for is unhappiness. How does THAT work? It doesn’t. Cheating is about weak personality and being a coward. You have a voice box for a reason – use it. Don’t like what your partner is doing? Speak the hell up. Nobody can mind read.

      I can’t believe the crap excuses that cheaters come up with as justification. Nobody is perfect and I can assure you my cheater wasn’t either. Cheaters always want you to buy into the BS that it was you that made them cheat. If only you’d done this or that they would not have cheated. Bull. Cheating is about them. And that is the last thing a cheater will ever admit. There are a thousand other ways to resolve difficulties and conflicts in relationships; get a divorce, fly a paper airplane, get counselling, go on a vacation, speak up, help out…and so on. Cheating is for cowards, blamers and likely narcissists.

      I did things wrong in the relationship too and I was unhappy but I didn’t cheat. Why? I simply could not imagine doing that to someone I truly loved.

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