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Every Piece of Crappy Reconciliation Advice

The Unicorn of ReconciliationHey Amazon chumps! You know who you are — sort of person who responds to crisis with research. How many reconciliation books did you buy? Is “When Good People Cheat” still gathering dust on your shelf?

I have a job for you. Tell me what unicorn messages you got from the existing infidelity literature. Did you try any “affair proofing” programs and what was the outcome?

What were your feelings when you read these books? Hope? A nagging feeling that this was chump-blaming bullshit? Solace? A mixture of valid relationship advice, but directed to the wrong audience?

I’m doing some crowd sourcing here. I’m pretty sure this is one of the very few places that doesn’t ask chumps what you did to drive cheaters to cheat on you. Or ask you to “own” your part in not meeting their needs. Or doesn’t take the sad, broken sausage approach to “waywards.”

But please give me your own impressions. Bogus quotes, links, and resources if you can.


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  • Oh … Divorcebusting. What a scam!

    It basically teaches maladaptive manipulative behavior because, you know, you can control your spouse’s behavior by changing yours…. allegedly.

    And I am not talking about being nice and manners and stuff like that.

    I am talking about “the 180” and doing the opposite of whatever it is you would normally do (second guess everything), and “listening to your spouse”, well listening to their gaslighting and blame-shifting and use that as a template for your 180 plan.

    Agenda: twisting, “stretching and fainting in coils”
    Outcome: Brain becomes a pretzle

    • When my X was having his EA, I remember catching a woman pastor on a Christian radio station. The broadcast subject was her relationship with her husband. She apparently had a rather flat marriage. She made a note of observing her daughter, because her husband always seemed so pleased to be around her. The pastor’s daughter would greet her husband when he came home from work, all excited and totally tuned in to what he had to say about his day. The pastor figured maybe she should try that approach. She did, and tried her best to incorporate that in *all* her dealings with her husband – and it worked. You know => “Treat others the way you want to be treated”.

      Well I figured maybe I should try that. It worked, on the surface anyway. But my now-X just took advantage of it. Instead of being reciprocal *where it counted* (ie – making sure his family was secure, etc.), he just didn’t rage *as much*. Coupled with my therapist’s (at the time) advice of avoiding approaching subjects during his “moods” … This mixture was a recipe for disaster. He just got more abusive because I was always being “nice”, and avoided important discussions for when his “mood” was right for me to approach him (like never).


        • lol– basically, I think.

          I know in my case, I felt like that plow horse, Boxer, in Orwell’s “Animal Farm” when I wasn’t seated at the “Mad Hatter’s Tea Party”.

          And there’s a reason for that. Those works are fiction. So was reconciliation, etc.

          • Oh yes, the eggshells!!! When my XH1 was divorcing me, he told me I had to read Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder by Paul T. Mason…every page, I thought, “This is all about YOU!” and realized he was trying to convince me that I was the one with issues!! Caught on real-quick and never thought of it again…
            Fast forward to now, and my STBXH2 has already moved out, been out 48 hours and I am finally able to stop thinking/saying, “…let me ask “Narcky” if it’s OK if you come over…I better get cleaning up around here/dinner started, etc. before “Narcky” gets home…”
            Spent the last 13 years worrying about what he thinks, he feels, he will say when I do X, Y, and Z and hardly ever do I remember him acting the same way…

            However, that book wasn’t so much about reconciliation, but it was helpful in understanding that it’s not me, it’s HIM x’s 2!!!!

      • I tried “writing” to Xhole instead of being confrontational, since he had such an AVERSION to criticism. I tried messaging him through FB once and I sent it via e-mail another time…. his response….. CRICKETS….. just like when I tried talking to him. Did not make ONE bit of difference. ZERO communication.

        • My STBX had no problem communicating…what he wants to say and when he wants to say it.

          Based on advice from my atty and CN, I told him I would only communicate via email (for record purposes and to give me time to compose myself), unless there was an emergency with kids.

          Apparently my boundaries just aren’t flying with him, as he will NOT stop texting me. My kids are with me, so no emergency there. Guess what he’s getting? CRICKETS.

          • That is their “You are not going to tell me what to do” mentality surfacing, showing you he doesn’t have to honor your boundaries…. HE is in control and NOT you. I’m sure you are familiar with that. I know I am. Idiots.

            I am actually starting to enjoy “crickets” as far as he is concerned…. that means it is peaceful!!

            I finally reached “MEH” last week and I am SO thankful!!! Happy friggen dancing my happy little ass all over the house!!! Woo Hoo!!! Yay me!!

    • Same here, TimeHeals. I bought every single book she wrote. My heart told me to run but I listened to her and her bull shit. Looking back, why in heaven’s name was I even reading books written by someone who’s never been chumped? All I was doing was losing my sense of self. Cheater doesn’t want me? He can go to hell. It’s as simple as that.

    • SOO True I lived on that websit4e Divorcebusting, I bought all her books, I liked her facebook, I did everything she said, printed the 180 list, just knew it was my fault and I had to own up to the reason he cheated on me. God, how I wish I had ChumpLady back in my first DDday! I would so be in a better place and have more money in my pocket and not spending it on alal those stupid books!

  • Before I answer, I will share with you a bizarre out-of-body sort of moment where I was cleaning out books from my master bedroom after H died and you could tell there was quite a story in the collected books:

    Doctor Dobson marriage enrichment stuff, “Sacred Marriage”, “The Power of a Praying Wife”, “Love Everlasting” (interviews with long term marrieds) “5 Languages of Love” (with notes I wrote in all the margins), “Depression Fallout”, “His Needs, Her Needs”, “Wild at Heart”, “What to do when a Mate wants OUT”, Conroys “Midlife Crisis”, Some Dr Phil thing about fixing your marriage alone, stuff about Catholic suffering, then “A Widows Journey” & a few other widow books…..

    dang, you could tell a LOT about my life by that list of books…I think I dropped them off at a donation center and ran away fast so no one would know it was me.

    I remember reading “When a Mate Wants Out” and there was a story about a woman who waited 7 years for her husband to return and me thinking “no way in hell Im doing that” …but my narc abuser was more clever than me…he squeezed 7 years of duty out of me by tricking me into thinking we were “reconciling” even while he was moving out…I was an IDIOT.

    I cant remember too much unicorn advise other than all the Christian marriage books that inferred that if you did the right stuff, you would get the right result. I was just sure if I tried hard enough, I would have a great marriage…that might have been true if I had chosen a different husband.

    • ^^^^ Yup. “If I had chosen a different husband”. If you see my comment up toward the beginning – I forgot to make that point. SoooOOOooo know what you mean ….

    • Unicornomore, your collection of books might as well have been mine. I even got rid of all my books the year before cheater’s final affair because he kept on criticizing “my books.” He was so happy I got rid of them and I would have done anything to make him happy, so I was happy, too. The healthier thing I should have done was put all those books in a pile, stuck the cheater in the midst of them, and started a bonfire.

      • I actually did that! I burned a load of reconciliation books (one of them that G Marshall British bad teeth idiot)

        • but Patsy, you forgot to stuck the cheater in the midst of them before you burned those books. 🙂
          sigh….yeah considering how many books I read about that shit makes me shiver now..of course along with those books, Asshole squeezed another 3 years out of me with more gaslighting and mind fucking. How I so WISH Tracy had her blog back then!! well better late than never I guess, but it angers me how these reconciliation books further abuse chumps and continue to do so…

      • Yeah, I read that- still have it on a bookshelf somewhere (Memo to ME: PURGE, ASAP!!!), read it through, didn’t really feel she “got” the issues I was dealing with, so I just put it up thinking I would give it another shot later.

        • Ugh. My mother in law recommended that book to me. I read it. Mil tells me i just need to fix myself and everything will get better. Why does she believe this? Because she is a unicorn. When she was first married my father in law was a terrible husband. He lied, watched porn, and cheated on her. Not even my husband knows this. But she bought that book and implemented it and now they have a good marriage and are becoming missionaries to Africa. She thinks she fixed herself and so God fixed him, but there was nothing wrong with her. I love my husband to death. I do everything a wife, lover, and friend should. What is there for me to fix about myself that would change anything? Grrrr. I grew up Baptist so of course this is the mindset of anyone i try to confide in.

    • I read numerous Christian books, websites, etc.

      I tried it all…he just used it to continue to stroke his ego all while parading “granny ho” around town and in front of our family, friends and church family.

      It’s amazing, none of them addressed divorce.

  • OMG, This was on my Facebook thread/wall just this morning:

    I read through it and thought, “The fuck?!?!?!” – “responding with contempt doesn’t anyone anywhere”

    I am so angry at him and his selfishness that I want to rage in his face, scream, cry, and beat the shit of him right now….Not for damn sure be contrite and cordial or respectful in any way, shape or form right now…

    I’ve read through several websites and blogs on “Selfishness vs. Narcissism” amd starting to grasp what a selfish piece of shit I’ve wasted the last 13 years loving, cherishing, supporting, and caring about…fuckin’ fool…

      • Just peeked at the link you posted and maybe Im stupid but I have no idea what the hell they are trying to promote there (other than themselves) but I did see a “These are the 2 things you need for a wonderful marriage” sort of tripe…I would like to take every “better marriage” list creator and “affair proof” writer and smash their heads together at the same time. I needed ONE step to a great marriage to have a better husband.

        An aside, when deadhusband was trying to explain to me what I could do to make his cranky cheating lying ass happy (to make my “pick me dance” all the more refined) he told me “men like to be admired” and he tells me this while he is acting like the WORLDS BIGGEST ASSHOLE. Trust me there was NOTHING to admire about him at that moment.

        I got a rare moment of backbone and I said “I think the first step to being admired is to do something admirable”

        • “I think the first step to being admired is to do something admirable”

          Ahahahaha! Indeed! Love it, unicornomore.

        • Me too. “I think the first step to being admired is to do something admirable.” My ex’s crap behavior really blossomed there at the end, looking back, he would have been juggling me and his AP the entire time. Hard to win at that crap game. And really, who wants to?

          • My ex told me at one point after we separated; ‘you made me feel like an inadequate husband and father!’.

            I just looked at him.

            He shut up.

            • I love, love, love all the MF amazing comments, but yours today hits home!!! F off stupid cheating a hole, he’s never been deserving of my family or my life and such a waste of something I once called love.

        • Mine said, “I’m so tired of disappointing you.” I replied, “then stop doing it.” He let me know I was being rude and disrespectful. Disrespectful!

          • As the pinnacle of irony… in the year of the big affair where he did and said every mean thing a spouse could muster, he DID buy life insurance with me as the soul beneficiary…he must have known he could trust me to do the right thing with the money and he could…right now Im having my bathroom redone.

              • And knowing their words no longer hold power. Liars lie. It no longer matters what they say or think. Fuck their illogical magical mystery tour. Ha.!

              • Yes. And the minute you begin living well, they come sniffing around your door again. Beware! Don’t buy into them again. They’ll take you down just as they did the first time.

          • I got the “I do love you, I just cant seem to stop hurting you.” my response was the same as yours “if you didnt want to hurt me, then you would stop doing the things that hurt me.” i got the blank stare of confusion from him (because it was NOT what he wanted to hear from me, i guess)

            but you know that it is so hard for the poor little baby to treat people the way he wants to be treated. it is so hard to understand that when you fuck other people who is not your spouse that your spouse will most likely get hurt. it is confusing to them to understand that in order to NOT hurt the people who love you, you must actually have some feelings and caring about someone other then yourself.

            he is a lost cause.

    • Is “unrespectable” even a word?! I couldn’t get past that thought to read the damn article. 😀

    • Yes, I will be chaste and respectful to the cheater because I will model that behavior for the sinner!! That is so fucked up. What’s going to happen to him now that I divorced the narcissist? Is he going to miss being with someone authentic faithful and honest? I was too busy taking care of my dying mother. There is some evidence men who have multiple sex partners without protection develop prostate cancer. I stood by for years while he had surgery and couldn’t have sex. Not even a hug from porn boy. Well now I pray he can stop wetting the bed and his whores are good at faking it with limp dick. I’m not bitter, just smarter and single!

    • Doesn’t work. I screamed and cried and raged and wept.
      He just turned that round (with a bit of help from therapy) into me abusing him and making him ‘not feel safe’. I kid you not.

      • Mine also made the “does not feel safe” statements. He brings hookers into our home and he doesn’t feel safe?

        • Mighty Cat, he does not feel safe bringing hookers home because you might find out and be “all scary” and call him a lying horror show. As ex used to say when I called him a lying horror show the first few months post D-day that I was being “unpleasant!” (Was that an understatement?? Are we even in the same world?). Incredible the obliviousness of cheaters to their spouses.

          Ex pulled this number on me too, to make me self-conscious and silence me. You should see me, I am just a person. I am not even scary when I am angry. It’s their manipulation.

          Nothing is less safe than a deceiver. Nothing is less safe than a gas-lighter. Nothing and nobody is less safe than someone who would give their spouse an STD because they picked it up with their cheating and are now passing it along to an unknowing trusting person. Cheaters like to flip their scariness onto their spouses, another blame-shift move. Sniff it out and move on.

          If they feel “unsafe” it’s a cue to get out of the relationship…fast.

      • Good; they shouldn’t feel “safe.” And while emoting didn’t help anything, I sure did feel better after it ; ).

      • They didn’t feel safe. That’s because they are having night terrors as they dream about what they had and wake up to an ugly fuck. Now that must be scary.

        • Assholes. I got some version of this too after I had finally eaten enough shit sandwiches and tolerated enough bullshit and flipped out on Xhole. He is 6’1″ and weighs about 215 lbs., I am 5’1″ and weigh about 115 lbs. He has biceps the size of my thighs…. I am sure he is just scared to death of me. Idiot.

      • i got the did not feel safe. that was a confusing and deep hook. successfully removed…
        CL, what is your take on the not safe?

  • Amazon chump here, for sure. I bought at least a dozen books, probably more (do the workbooks count separately? That’s right, workbooks).

    The two that jump out at me were “Crazy Time” by Abigail Trafford, and “Coming Apart” by Daphne Rose Kingma.

    The premise of “Crazy Time” was initially a relief for me because I did indeed feel crazy, and I was being told that was normal. Phew! However, once I got past the perusal of “Night sweats? Check. Not sleeping? Check. Massive weight loss? Check,” and really started reading, I found the book was written from the perspective that I DROVE XH to cheat by being “dominant” and “overbearing.” I’ll see if I can find a quote…

    OK, I can’t because there’s just so much drivel. But the point is, the book is written from the perspective of Divorce Opposers and Divorce Seekers, and the Divorce Opposers are typically portrayed as these Svengali-like oppressors who simply beat down their spouses for years such that they essentially were powerless to resist the lure of looking outside the marriage for sex and intimacy. — Nowhere is there a mention of accountability, of trying to work things out with the person you’re committed to. I see that now, but at the time I was so raw & vulnerable that it made me feel like, in addition to everything else, I’d been a bully in my marriage, just by paying the bills and basically being competent.

    The second book, “Coming Apart,” has as its primary basis, the idea that love is not forever. That’s a myth. “A relationship …is not necessarily the final emotional resting place…but an entity that has a life — and a lifetime — of its own.” — ??? Was I supposed to know this? Am I also now an idiot to have believed XH when he said “forever”? According to Ms Kingma, the answer is yes.

    Also, this: “At an unconscious level both people are in pretty much the same place about the viability of the relationship. It is also very important to consciously acknowledge this fact. Without this acknowledgement, people who “are left” can very easily begin to think of themselves as victims, as not having participated in the decisions that is being leveled against them. In fact, they are participating in it, they have participated in it,and it is a decision that consciously or unconsciously they have also been shaping.” (p. 64)

    So now I also should not feel like a victim because my husband chose to fall in love with someone else while he was married to me and walked out on me with no effort to save us?

    Fortunately or unfortunately, I was never given the opportunity to do the Pick-Me dance — I’d already lost (or won, as now appears to be the case). But some of the stuff I read post-breakup put too much blame on me for what he did and excused entirely the spineless cowardly disrespectful way in which he did it.

    • I do agree that I am guilty of being “Svengali-like oppressors who simply beat down their spouses for years such that they essentially were powerless to resist the lure of looking outside the marriage for sex and intimacy”

      I beat down my spouse by
      – trying to keep her to stick to a budget as to not bankrupt the family
      – asking her to occasionally watch the kids so I too could exercise one hour a week
      – being the sole bread winner even though the kids were in day care and school
      – paying for non-stop LMT, PT, Chiro, Acupuncture, etc so that she could stay fit for her addition to biking and bike races
      – doing homework with the kids every nigt
      – doing most of the laundry, cooking, and cleaning
      – taking sexy pictures of her that were then immediately forwarded to the AP
      – pining for her sexually with all my parts fully functional (without needing drugs)

      After giving all I could give and receiving nothing in return, what did she say? “I don’t think you really desired or wanted me, and the AP did”.

      Of course the AP was just in it for the sex and never provided any true relationship comfort.

      So I guess my stories differs from yours NWBiblio in that my wife did not leave, and the affair fell apart when the AP didn’t leave his wife, so my wife wanted back with me as her landing pad and meal ticket.

      • “Svengali-like oppressors who simply beat down their spouses for years such that they essentially were powerless to resist the lure of looking outside the marriage for sex and intimacy”

        Damn! That sounds like my X beating ME down. So why didn’t I go have an affair….? Hmmm…integrity??

      • “I don’t think you really desired or wanted me, and the AP did”.

        Yup, I got that one as well. “Yes, you have always made me feel loved, cared for, respected. You are a good man. But I’ve never really felt that I was DESIRED. When I go out men tell me how gorgeous I am, they flirt with me. You can’t help it that you aren’t like that, but I love the attention. They tell me how hard it must be for me, how they can’t believe anyone would ever let someone like me get away.”

        Anyway, after going to the web and finding that the sites seemed geared toward making the cheater feel comfortable so he or she might deign to try the marriage thing again, I didn’t look too hard for any books. I did find a piece by, surprisingly, Dr. Phil called “Advice for Cheaters and their Partners” which rang true. Then a month or two later I happened onto a CL piece entitled “Hey Cheaters, If You’re Really Sorry…” A huge light bulb turned on. I wasn’t the one who was wrong, or crazy.

        • “..they can’t believe anyone would ever let someone like me get away.”

          What, you should’ve chained her to a post?

          Yeah, I guess you just didn’t try hard enough to keep her. Because at some unconscious level you realized you were in competition with her boyfriends?

          Because married women should be out there flirting for the highest bidder in the desire sweepstakes.

          • In retrospect, I wish I would have turned the tables and demanded “and how have you made me feel desired? How have you made me feel loved? From now on, this is what I expect from you […], else you are out of here.”

            It would have been interesting to see how she reacted at least.

            • I actually did that Buddy…. I said “do you think you made ME feel wanted?? loved??” And I got the usual lol…. CRICKETS!!! Go figure….. I forgot it wasn’t about ME… it was about him… silly Chump!!

        • Chumpguy,

          I got the same thing, and a rewrite of history. All those times I tried to seduce her, all those times I made her nice dinners, all those dates I took her on, all those times I playfully grabbed a little as she walked by with that can’t wait until later look, all those times I daily told her how hot she looked – I guess none of those things ever happened.

          But all those actions didn’t count for anything, because she knew she had me, and, like as the esteemed love doctor Maria Bello preaches, you can’t desire something you already have.

          • I tried afterwards (I had been trying for the whole marriage). But it seemed like the goalposts were always moving somehow. They will do just about anything to keep their narrative viable.

            And I’m convinced that they are who they are, it’s baked into the cheater DNA; what you do and provide would never be enough or quite right for them.

            • ” what you do and provide would never be enough or quite right for them”

              and i think they aren’t capable of seeing the “you” as a loving, emotional, spiritual being worthy of and desiring true love. they only see you as a tool to manipulate or maybe as something to avoid since you might call them on their shit.

              i think that is what hurts the most is that she just wasn’t capable of having a real relationship with me, her husband, a real person just like her. somehow her “love” (and search for “love” outside the marriage) was more special, beyond what my simple provincial service-providing dedicated mind could understand.

              now i’m angry again

          • “You can’t desire something you already have” exactly true for a cheater. They took us for granted, I even said to my spouse, I can never be what you truly desire while I am your wife, the sole fact that I have the role of your wife and not your whore makes you use me and look outside the marriage! How fucked up is that!!!?!!

        • Is that CL post still available? The “Hey Cheaters, If You’re Really Sorry…” ????? Maybe it was renamed or I missed it in the archives, because I read the real vs fake sorry and that’s been very helpful. I see a lot of those fake things and yet when it comes to trying to defend myself and what I’m seeing/feeling/getting from him in reality vs what he wants others to believe or see? I’m not very good at that. Not yet. I have pointed out many times that “sorry is as sorry does.” He just complains that I refuse to see his sorry as sincere and am choosing to believe the worst and hey everyone else can see how sorry he is right? Everyone except me he whines on……. UGH! It also seems common sense enough that I would reiterate why I don’t think he’s really sorry? He rolls his eyes and howls “you’re never ever going to let this go and you are always going to be throwing it in my face!” Um, yeah probably if you continue to pretend it DIDN’T happen or wasn’t your fault really or well, it was all just EAs and never PAs (?? just bc you SAY so liarman?). Yes, I feel compelled to repeat the obvious “if you hurt someone, not just hurt them, but DEVASTATE them, you don’t get annoyed/agitated/angry because they’re HURTING!” Usually I go on to say something along the lines of if you’re NOT really sorry, you’ll get pissy and agitated about anything the person you wounded feels, says or does, because deep down you’re showing (damn that pesky non-verbal communication) that you don’t believe you really did anything for which to be sorry about and the real problem is ME and that I’m simply psychotic and or unreasonable about ALL of THIS. Even the marriage counselor seems unsure if the problem is me – as in I’M being unforgiving, bitter and refusing to acknowledge cheater’s verbal mea culpas and the all the ways cheater CLAIMS he’s showing that he’s sorry OR if cheater really is play me again. The result of that so far has been that MC defaults to the middle and says perhaps I’m not acknowledging or able to identify his attempts/demonstrations, which in turn is frustrating for HIM because he feels he HAS tried to do and say things to show you he’s sorry, but he also feels like you’re punishing him over and over by seemingly, excessively demanding contrition. WTF? Twilight zone anyone? I really have HAD it with the whole bunch of them.

          Because of trickle truth and the length of time it took to get to the real D-day or D-dayS plural, my fuse is shorter and I AM more angry and unwilling to acknowledge his fake demonstrations/words as anything REAL or meaningful. I told him and the MC I was done trying to convince myself that he’s one bit sorry. He’s only sorry for HIMSELF because there are actual CONSEQUENCES (like a grieving/pissed off spouse for one?) and otherwise he’s just sorry that he got caught.

          I keep saying you can FEEL it when someone is truly sorry. I just haven’t. Then they ask me “well, what does real sorry/sorrow look like to you?” And I start all over again, “it looks like a person who is willing to do whatever it takes to help heal the person he broke and that person is willing and understanding of all the horrible emotions (including anger) the person wronged is going to unleash. I’m not saying that goes on forever, but when the cheater can’t sustain his sorry? When he pretends to be patient, kind, understanding for say 3 weeks or until I have a bad trigger, then he wigs out and tells me what he REALLY thinks? I tend to believe he’s not sorry just like he announces.” Cheater always butts in at that point and says “we ALL say things we don’t mean when we are angry and I have as much right to my feelings as you do. You hurt my feelings when you call me all those names and when you are angry ALL THE TIME.” Crickets because my bottom jaw hangs open and sound refuses to come out. When I finally DO recover from that complete nonsense I just feel like we go in circles until I am so desperately frustrated and angry that I DO end up looking irrational and unreasonable. I’m getting better at it, but nothing pisses me off more than when he starts his minimizing and playing the victim routine bc “you are SO angry and hateful no matter how hard I’ve tried……” GAH!

          • This sounds EXACTLY how my cheater acted…almost down to using the same words about how I’ll “never” get over it. That statement in and of ITSELF is so effing insulting. As if you do not have a RIGHT to be angry that he did this. I asked mine, “What did you THINK would happen if I found out?” He was dumbstruck. He never thought for a second I’d find out, and he was almost right.

            I decided after nearly 2 months of his escalation of emotional abuse and blame shifting (redundant) that I could not proceed to MC to go around in the circles you’re describing. I knew that he didn’t have it IN HIM to be able to be truly remorseful with all that entails. It’s like he apologized, and thought that should be the end of it. And when I let him go – he totally let me go, and went NC with ME. Jesus. The punishment just never ends. I loved this man so much, I am struggling to keep it together as our final divorce date is now less that 2 weeks away.

            • Yup, raising hand, cheater told me I was “holding this too close,” and “You’ll never get over this.”

            • I’m so sorry TBC. 🙁 I’m the same. We were married at 22 and for 25 years. He was living a double life almost from the start I think. I didn’t know any better is all I can say and I loved and trusted like I SHOULD have and didn’t do anything wrong or stupid by bonding that way (thank you CL for those words, bc I needed to hear that so much). And neither did you TBC, so YOU hear it as well. You did what you’re supposed to do and he didn’t. I’m sorry he chose to hurt you. It’s no comfort probably, not now, but at least you KNOW. At least he walked away and didn’t force you to have to make that choice, because it’s very hard for us chumps to give it up. He no longer has a front row seat to abuse you anymore and you know that YOU did what you could with what you had to work with, which obviously wasn’t much bc he’s an idiot and an abuser. Huge hugs to you. It’s hard to heal when the cheater stays around just to pick at your scabs for kicks, yet I understand the overwhelming grief you’re experiencing and my heart hurts for you. It may not feel like it for a long time, but YOU WILL BE OK. I will be ok. Someday. Tuesday. Meh. Sadly, the road to Meh is a bit longer and more twisty for some of us. Hang in there and keep posting. You’ll get great support and find strength here.

            • I also got both “you’ll never get over this” and “I never thought you’d find out”. So on one hand, cheaters know it’s a deal breaker and, at the same time, don’t even think about the consequences of their betrayal in any fashion. Nonsense, cheaters know damn well what they’re doing. That’s why they sneak around with their throw away phones, secret Facebook accounts, etc. Cheater 101. Always blame the chump.

              • Violet, I got those 2 statements too….like I’m an idiot. I may have been one for quite a while but I’m not completely stupid. When I kicked him out I got ‘I can’t believe you did this to me’. Ugh! Like you don’t know what the consequences of cheating are!

            • I got “you’ll never understand” and “you will never trust me again”. No shit Sherlock. Idiot didn’t want to live a life of transparency… knew he didn’t want to “stop” what he was doing, just didn’t like getting caught.

              It was over, he knew it and I knew it…. I just wasn’t ready for it and didn’t want it to be. I had been feeling it for a very long time, that he had pulled away, I wanted to be wrong but I wasn’t it. Truly, looking back, he was never really there…. just pretended to be. Asshole.

              • Right there with you, NCStevie!!!! He said last week, “You don’t trust me”- my response? CRICKETS. I couldn’t deny it or even begin to list the reasons why I don’t trust him!!! You would think he would know why, right?!?!?!?!
                He’s been playing house with me for months as he “thought” of leaving, I felt the disconnect, just thought it was because he was unemployed (YET AGAIN!), or it was the holidays (holidays have ALWAYS sucked with him- always so damn mopey about his FOO issues growing up), or it was because a friend had died, or a relative- NOPE, he’s just a selfish bastard that didn’t have the balls to stand up and say what he felt when he could have saved us…

          • This is why I feel if there is to be reconciliation, the betrayed should be allowed to fuck other people,too, if he or she wants to. Why does the cgeater, alone, get to experience all that pleasure? Don’ t our lives have equal value such that they should contain a similar amount of pleasurable experiences?
            I say the betrayed gets an equal number of partners and orgasams from them before any attempt at reconcilliation. What could be more fair?

            • Ha ha Arnold…. THAT would never happen…. they don’t like to share… they just want to do what THEY want to do. When I caught Xhole I suggested that we both remain in the house for financial reasons and we both stay on “our side of the fence” so to speak, just until we could both make other living arrangements. I said you do what you want and I do what I want… .you mind your business and I will mind my business. His response…. “I am NOT going to live with you while you date other people”. I said “Really? how fucking stupid is that?? You already started!” WTF??

              Can’t make this shit up. Seriously!

              • Yep, I offered the same option to STBX- he flat-out refused…he said it would be “awkward” when he started dating again…UGH!!!!

            • It should be cold hard cash… ” lets see , you fucked her 28 times at 10 000 a pop, u owe me 280 000 dollars. Lets just call it a infedelity fine. How would like to pay that? Certified check or money order?” Non refundable and non taxable holding fee. What am I holding you to to? Your word.

              • And at the rate your going … You should probably just sign over your retirement and the house.

              • I would add in the cost of the free babysitting, the cost of your therapy and meds post discovery, the cost of each date, the gas for the car, etc.
                I would also require a massive weight loss in little time and a limit to sleeping about 3 hours a night for a year or so, as part of the fine.
                I would also require the cheater to get a second job to pay this stuff and to fund an account set up to pay for periodic polygraphs and STD testing on a regular basis.
                Then, I would allow the kids and the betrayed to use the money to go on vacation or buy Harleys or something without the fucking cheater.
                I made this suggestion, along with Clips idea about quantifying the value of all the fucks ( use the going rate for a hooker or something ((not that I would know anything about that 🙂 )., on Si and another site about 6 years ago and , promptly, got banned.
                It really is amazing to me how many people are willing to take a cheater back with no restitution. I think Judaism requires restitution as a prerequisite to forgiveness and our civil justice system is based on the principal of making the injured party whole. I did not think this was such a far out concept.
                Apparently, it did not sit well with the moderators ( many of them cheaters) on SI.

        • I also got all the blame for the state of the relationship. I didn’t initiate sex enough, I didn’t spend enough time with him (even though he rushed to the basement nightly for workouts or whatever he was doing), I didn’t compliment him enough on his weight loss, I didn’t give him the right gifts!!!

          I couldn’t do anything right for 20 whole YEARS. He’s been unhappy the WHOLE time. Isn’t sure he ever loved me.. even after 6 years pre baby, and 8 years between kids.. not sure he was ever happy.

          Why the hell didn’t he say anything? And how is it that this “come to Jesus” about the state of his happiness corresponds directly with daily contact with MOW??? A coincidence?

          • ChumpedATl Don’t feel bad. We all get this BS shoved down our throat and amazingly enough their so-called “unhappiness” always coincides with their affair with a whore! Mine realized we were never really like a man and wife should be after four kids, 41 years of marriage, never a peep about a problem! Shocker!

            • For the most part there isn’t really a problem with the marriage until the affair is discovered. Then the shit really hits the fan. One day we are best friends of 26+ years & the next day I am a piece of shit causing unhappiness all over the world.

          • Same line here. He “deserved to be happy JUST ONCE before he died”. 23 years, two beautiful kids, nice house, any car he ever wanted, any gadget he desired, what ever freaky sex he could guilt me into…. Never.happy.once.

          • Newchumpatl–my therapist pointed out that there is not enough praise and attention in the world to keep a narcissist happy, nor faithful if they are not predisposed to be. Our marriages were doomed from the start (unless you wanted to give up YOU entirely and provide the narc praise 24/7, and even that is no guarantee).

            • ^^^THIS^^^ Absolutely right Tempest…. they can not sustain “happy” and they need the constant excitement of cheating, be it emotional or physical. They are a black hole on the inside and can’t figure out that THEY are the problem!! It is the way they process EVERYTHING…… their core & coping abilities are null & void. The cycle repeats itself over and over because they can’t figure out that THEY are their own worst problem. Assholes.

      • What did you do, Buddy?
        I am so sorry you received such disrespect.
        Narcissistic abuse truly is an equal opportunity dispenser.

      • I have heard from a few people that my ex now claims I was a bully during our marriage and he was just too weak to stand up to me. LOL, that is such a 180 from the actual truth, I literally laughed when I heard it.

        Unless, of course, my expectation that he wouldn’t fuck pretty much any man or woman who would hold still long enough counted as bullying. Or my apparently unreasonable insistence that a man in his late 40s should have some sort of a job, any job.

        The disordered always twist reality so that they are some sort of victim. Self pity is a huge red flag.

    • I like how it’s still your fault at the UNCONSCIOUS level.

      Think of all the blame-the-victim scenarios that could apply to.

      At an “unconscious level” Freddie Gray knew he shouldn’t have taken a ride in that van…

        • Me too, at least to him. You know, early on when we were dating my gut screamed to break it off with him….and I did!

          Chumpy me, dammit, I gave him another chance. He hadn’t yet cheated, that I knew of, but my spidey sense said RUN AWAY.

    • Be happy you did not do the pick me dance. It is humiliating and a colossal waste of precious time You played. He /she just did not tell you that you were playing.
      I got the blame, played, wasted years, and still had to leave.

  • For those cake eaters, the problem with these books is they give the [highly sophisticated manipulative] cheater a recipe for getting away with it, so they can continue to eat cake. The book says to do steps 1, 2 and 3 and they do steps 1, 2, and 3 and then tell the betrayed, “look, I did steps 1, 2, and 3! I want cream cheese frosting on my cake, please!”

    The other key problem with all these books, even the “better” ones that reinforce ownership of the affair by the cheater, is that they still have a chapter setting the stage in the marriage leading up to the affair, as if it was the state of the marriage that caused the affair, because unless you understand that stage, history will repeat itself.

    I.e. “the affair is 100% the fault of the cheater, but you are 100% at fault for setting the stage which led to the affair”

    • What the????

      Cheaterpants is very good at managing a task list. He demands from me action items to work through. WTF. Nope. Life for me doesn’t work like that. If you can’t figure out on your own what you did and accept the actions and consequences, and then emphatically try to become a better person by initiating your own personal growth, then you really can’t be helped. Because you can’t even help yourself.

      Why is it that cheaters and some therapists insist on the chumps leading the cheater to the well? Fuck that. These assholes are adults.

      • I went back to him and vowed that I would not initiate anything nor prompt him in any way. I realized that I had been doing that for decades and it was time to see what he would do on his own. And guess what? He failed. Every. Single. Time.

        Told me all I needed to know. Every Opportunity he had to prove himself to me was a huge FAIL.

        I left once and for all.

        • Heather, THIS!!!! Over the years I had gradually started figuring the ex out, as he really was, not as I wanted him to be, or projected on him. So when I discovered affair #2, this is what I did; I told him what I saw, and waited to see what he’d do.

          ” He failed. Every. Single. Time. ”

          The worst for me was that I did the same for his relationship with our kids. He’d always claimed that I ‘interfered’ in how he dealt with the kids. I figured if he really was THAT much happier out of our relationship, he’d do better with the kids. Plus, of course, he only had them about 15% of their time – surely he could manage THAT.

          Oh, I couldn’t stop myself entirely from coaching and educating, but mostly I stood back. Grown man, young teens. He should be able to figure out the minimum, the basics.

          ” He failed. Every. Single. Time. ”

          And he failed for a very, very simple reason, both with me and with the kids. He didn’t give a fuck.

          • They never do really give a shit do they? Just have to appear to be the great guy for everybody else except those who really matter. I tried my damnest to make him stay more in touch with his only sister and our kids begged him they didn’t do anything don’t ignore them. As my grandma used to say like talking to ehkay morte. Why does the family mostly always get dumped for the new family? Breaks my heart, he broke mine why them? One day maybe just maybe he will realize what he’s really lost. Way more than me. They are just about done with him and why? Just doesn’t give a shit. Again fucker!

            • @ kar marie I feel your pain!! What is it with these assholes?? Their total lack of deep love and compassion for their children is without a doubt CONCRETE proof that they are void human beings. Yesterday when I picked up my son from Xhole he started crying and said “Daddy I miss you…. I want you to come home.” What does he do? Walks off and says “I love you buddy, I have to go inside”. Heartless fucking coward!! I am reaching the point of actually being ASHAMED that I bred with this asshole, I never in a million years would have thought I’d feel this way. My son deserves better. Fuckers is right!!

      • ANC,

        “Why is it that cheaters and some therapists insist on the chumps leading the cheater to the well? ”

        I think it is because the therapist knows that the probably of cheaters doing the work on their own is 0%, maybe 1%.

        Unless you continuously hold the threat of divorce over them, they just won’t do the work, so if the chump manages the reconciliation, the probably of them doing the work goes up to maybe 10%. But for how long? Do you want to play marriage police for two years? Then after two years, you finally say the trust is earned back and you lighten up. Are these cheaters really going to be dedicated and faithful and reciprocal, and meet your needs and let you meet their needs.

        I’m skeptical.

    • Yeah, but they can never follow through on it. My cheater read “Gaslighting” and a bunch of reconciliation sites about building trust. Talked a good story, but anytime action was required……hmm, naugahyde.

    • They DO get more crafty and wicked after MC and reading the books, better at pretending to give a flying fuck. This one has been known to paraphrase entire paragraphs from some of the “how to heal your marriage” books and especially the ones he knew I hated, like Not Just Friends. No shit not just friends you motherfucking asshole. Don’t YOU tell ME to go straight to reading chapter 7! Again, all I can say to that is WTFH?! YOU read the fucking first 6 chapters and I might think about it. Because once again it proves on a behavioral level, that he believes I’M THE PROBLEM, no matter what he SAYS about being sorry and understanding he was so wrong and well sure he can use all the “right” words. Oh, Chapter 7 is all about letting it go and getting over it and not punishing the spouse and yes, there’s all that same nonsense you talked about too, how the marriage was already in trouble and I must OWN my piece of that failure, which was what caused him to fall into an affair and we both must understand… blah blah blah. I understand just fine. I am not complicit in HIS cheating. I was not some kind of accomplice. I have difficulty comprehending that bullshit about how I must fess up to my “nudging” him into some howorker’s arms or bed or backseat or closet or WTHever. Not on my Grandmother’s grave. No fucking way. When THAT shit started hitting the fan in MCing, I said we didn’t have a difference in perspective but a difference in VALUES and I saw no way to fill the gap between my values and his lack of them. I’m not moving another damn inch. I swear I’ve already moved and moved and moved. The MIDDLE? Compromise? There’s no middle! He cheated. Lied. Broke ALL our marriage vows, HE did, NOT me. But I feel constantly cajoled by various book authors or MCs to try to find “middle ground” or some “common place” where “we can find peace.” I keep asking how I’m supposed to find middle ground OR peace in Cheaterville, which I’m pretty sure is a bit southwest of the 7th circle of hell. No and NO. And in case I wasn’t clear, NO FUCKING WAY. I haven’t done much right since all this started to unravel over a year ago, but I did at least stand up to that barge of bullshit. I reject any notion that I’m in any way responsible for HIS cheating.

      • After I came home to an empty house and a note on the counter saying we needed to separate for 6 months to work on our marriage, our MC had the audacity to tell me that my wife felt abandoned because I wanted a divorce after she admitted to having an affair. WTF I looked at the both of them like they were crazy and said “yah welcome to the party”.

      • ChumpedupChik,

        Yes, well said. Your thoughts are exactly what I was referring to. Cheaters are good at taking concepts about being a healthy person and then [ab]using them to get what they want.

        Another reason why trust, and reconciliation, are so hard after an affair. No way to knowing if their sophisticated mindfuckery isn’t just going up a level, or if they are truly trying.

        Plus they believe their own lies, so even if they are really trying, they might not be.

        • Absolutely right Buddy, all of it. That “believing their own lies” baffles me. Now that I have stopped shouldering his BLAME and I am looking back on things realistically…. I am completely floored at the amount of projection he has inflicted on me over the years. The things he kept saying to me…. and how they ALL apply to him…. EVERY single one. He had me so mindfucked that I just kept believing the bullshit and beating myself up and blaming myself right along with him. They are so TOXIC!!

  • 1984… Read How to Save Your Marriage Yourself. A beautiful young Christian chump! I believed it. The mind is deceptive when you really want to believe. No one warned me. Everyone thought I was so strong. I was admired for forgiving. What a wonderful Christian testimony. So time marched on. Some years later, another woman. Trust was smashed again. But I was the middle aged Christian chump this time. The parenting years were in full swing. Stay at home mom for many years by now. Continued to deceive myself. A few things happened that left me a bit perplexed, but the funny thing about denial, it becomes the habit, the norm. And then, miraculously, you wake up one day and there’s be a crack. A sliver of light enters in. Denial is not as easy. And you finally realize that the one you forgave, twice, was completely a facade. You never really knew if you had ever been loved. The ache of reality!!!!

    The road is excruciating. But once you begin to see a bit of truth it cannot be denied any longer. Oh, you can try again and again. The boomerang syndrome. But the truth refuses to go away. You feel you will go crazy. You wish you had a terminal illness, anything to stop the painful reality. You understand that you cannot save your marriage alone. It takes two.

    The only way forward is out. And then one by one you just confront your heart and all the lies you believed. It’s a rough road, filled with potholes. But so worth it. The truth is worth it!

    • Heather–as a teen, I found a copy of “The Total Woman” in my mother’s closet; she was singlehandedly trying to salvage her marriage to my father, a narcissistic asshole. I think this is the book that advocated dressing in Saran Wrap and greeting your H at the door when he returned home for some cocktail-and-cock action. Goodness knows how many women bought into this drivel; I recognized it as BS in my teens.

      • Tempest, the author was Morgan Morgan. I remember that piece of crap. Yes, meet your husband at the door wrapped in Saran Wrap.

        I think that much of the church has held wives in abusive bondage to cake eaters. By the time we see clearly we are past our prime. We’re tired of trying to improve for our jerk of a spouse, tired of raising our family, tired of questioning our value, just plain tired. If we bravely step out all of our energy is spent on getting emotionally healthy. Life is so unfair!

        Happily, for me, I am remarried to a man who loves me! Amen.

  • I have come to the conclusion that all reconciliation advice as it applies to infidelity is crappy. I honestly believe the only advice for a cheated on spouse should be to file for a divorce and if the cheater wants you back in their life they have to do all the work. This includes but is not limited to: reading all the books, going for therapy, signing a post nup and still understanding that this still might not work out.

    If and only if a cheater does all that; then the advice should be to cheated upon that this relationship will NEVER be the same; and make no mistake it won’t be better. If they see true contrition and think they can live with this changed relationship then maybe it can work. I honestly believe if this was the advice that people got in the beginning, very few people would try the reconciliation route and the very few that did, might even be successful.

    Of course it’s success would be mostly incumbent on the cheater so easy to see why it would be an epic fail most of the time. All that being said the absolute worst book about affairs that I ever read was His Needs, Her Needs, building an affair proof marriage. I think you can quote that whole book as the worst advice ever after your spouse has an affair. Total blame fest on the betrayed spouse.

    Before that book I read Not Just Friends and Surviving Infidelity but after his/her I was convinced all of it was bullshit.

    • I honestly believe the only advice for a cheated on spouse should be to file for a divorce and if the cheater wants you back in their life they have to do all the work. This includes but is not limited to: reading all the books, going for therapy, signing a post nup and still understanding that this still might not work out.


      I guess that’s one of the world’s shortest books, isn’t it? Not full of a lot of hope, is it?

        • Your book is the prelude. It’s a necessary precursor to understanding the shortest book, which could be the shortest chapter!

        • There is actually a Christian book out there, I Do Again, by Cheryl And Jeff Scruggs, about their successful reconciliation after her affair. BUT. And this is the biggest but. They reconciled after 7 years of her working to win him back. He wanted nothing to do with her. I used to fantasize the cheater would do the same and realized that it was simply, once again, a fantasy since cheater was NOT capable of anything that meant working for something worthwhile. Short cuts were the norm for him. Want to avoid discomfort? Check out the pussy of the month.

          I have no idea what drivel Jeff and Cheryl Scruggs promote nowadays since I’m too busy reading CL and telling everyone else only CL’s website would get them out of the mindfuck.

      • cheaterssuck and miss sunshine. This is pretty much where I am, minus the postnup. I don’t want or need his money. Chumplady was the most helpful book I read. My Catholic priest told me that I would be diminishing myself spiritually by staying with an unrepentant spouse. I pray that we are able to build something new. I can’t envision ever saying infidelity was anything positive. And if it doesn’t work out, I won’t be too proud to share that journey with the ChumpNation.

        • Working it out. You can pray all you want, however please beware cheaters view forgiveness as a free pass to continue their behavior. What exactly were his consequences? Cheating takes it’s toll and regardless of how much you love him it is unlikely he will change.

        • Good luck workingitout! If he’s doing all that stuff on his own then maybe you have one of the few repentant unicorns.

          Plenty of us here tried the same route so if it doesn’t work out there is no shame in telling everyone why. As one that tried for three years I can tell you that if it doesn’t work out it will be his fault not yours. You’re already giving him a huge mulligan!

    • I totally agree that the book, “His Needs, Her Needs” is the absolute worse read after you have been cheated on. I read it early on post DDay. All it did was make me feel like a failure as a wife and prompt me to try harder to “meet the needs” of my cheater, dancing fast and hard. My ex really enjoyed the pick me dance and my apology for not being able to read his mind about his needs. I and the affair partners supplied plenty of cake for several years before I wised up and realized Dr. Harley is full of it!!!

      • Yes! His needs, her needs! So bad!

        I remember thinking that apparently all I “need”from my husband is for him to go to work and not completely ignore our children. But the women, to meet his needs, have to do sooooooooo much more!

        It was probably the only book of the many I attempted to get him to read that my then-husband even read a bit of… And of course he found much to agree with.

        • I read ‘his needs her needs’ and actually agreed with quite a lot of it (when you are still connected and still have hope).

          Except it went like this: I failed 2 of his needs. One, I let myself go after 3 kids, and the other (can’t remember) I think I didn’t big him up enough. And they were lower down the list of importance.

          He failed every single one of my needs, except giving me safety through having a good career and providing for his family. (which workaholism therapy tells me, is a way of staying not connected).

          Every. Single. One.

      • This is the book I hated most. I read it, and cheater did not. My therapist asked me privately what I thought. I told her the book didn’t apply to my situation. They used so many “real life” examples, but none of the couples were dealing with the massive amount of betrayal I was. I had a lifelong serial cheating, prostitute using, denial filled, angry sociopath on my hands. Where was that story? The book never talked about how the children are betrayed and used in situations like these. I told here that I’d already done everything the book suggested ten years ago, when I was thirty. Even if he could hold it together for ten years at a time, did I want to wait until I was fifty and sending kids off to college for the next bomb to drop? It’s no way to live. If you are with the kind of person who’s capable of lying and cheating, how can they every be trusted? I could go on and on, but that book made me decide I should trust my gut, not a book. I couldn’t believe that was all MC had to offer.

        • I waited. The bomb dropped when the children grew and were adults. He never changed. Exactly a year ago he left me a message in my phone love you! He was already calling and texting her. I have access to his phone records. A year later he is still cheating. They can’t change. Never wait it’s damaging. If you have evidence leaving is the best solution. It is only then you can find happiness. Being ALONE in a relationship with a serial cheater is far worse than being alone once you divorce. It puts you in charge of your own life. You can trust yourself.

      • Hmmm, I find the Dr. Harley hate weird because he totally did me a solid and told me to DIVORCE my husband. He is not anti-divorce at all. His Needs, Her Needs is not the book to read while your spouse is in an affair. Surviving an Affair is the book to read. This book basically tells women to go no contact on a cheating husband after about three weeks after D-Day if being nice doesn’t work. He basically says, go no contact and if they still don’t stop, divorce them.

        For men, he recommends “Plan A” IF the man wants to for about 6 months and then to go no contact and divorce.

        He really isn’t about saving the marriage at all costs. I am not sure where that impression comes from.

        • Oh and just to say…I talked to him personally and was on his radio show. He advocated for me to move far away from my cheating husband and if he didn’t show remorse or do anything within three months to file for divorce. That’s exactly what I did. I think that was pretty solid advice.

          • To be fair, I may have confused his book with “After the Affair.” I was reading both at the same time, two years ago, and don’t have them anymore.

            • Yeah, the marriage builders forum is full of people who will tell you to file. That’s not to say that they are not pro-reconciliation, but they are pretty good at giving advice to escalate the situation to at least no contact separation pretty quickly.

              Then honestly, when you are in no contact separation, the decision to divorce becomes a lot easier. After about 3 months that addictive quality (of love) starts to wear off and you realize you are trying to polish a turd. Some people stay in that separation zone a lot longer, but it’s easier to actually go through the motions of divorce when you have already been separated for like 3-6 months and don’t talk to the other person.

              He also recommends getting an intermediary to do communications about kids, which I highly recommend. He needs to send all communications about the kiddo through a friend, so she filters out the crazy.

              I also recommend moving 500 miles away. Worked wonders for me!

              • Nina, that was my experience with Marriage Builders as well (see my post below). The posters in the forum really helped me go NC and file for divorce. And they don’t encourage reconciliation unless the cheater shows true remorse through actions.

                And, yes, Dr. Harley doesn’t encourage women to do the pick-me-dance for more than 3 weeks, because he finds that any longer period of time has serious adverse health consequences for the woman, e.g., PTSD, immune issues (for some reason he finds that men can do Plan A for a longer period of time without the adverse health consequences). I essentially did the pick-me-dance for almost 5 months, and some of the posters went ballistic that I was doing it that long, saying that I was compromising my mental and physical health, which wasn’t good for my kids either (and they were right).

        • I agree, Nina. It is not the book for you after your marriage has been destroyed. But it is valid when you are still connected.

          • Dr. Harley’s Surviving an Affair is pretty solid though. Again, he recommends no contact separation “Plan B” pretty early.

            I think a lot of people take issue with the whole idea of “meeting needs” from Dr. Harley’s stuff. But I listen to his radio show and he basically says two things: 1) Affairs stem from poor boundaries. That could be in a good marriage or a bad one; 2) Not meeting emotional needs in a marriage makes affairs more tempting to people with poor boundaries.

            I don’t think he absolves cheaters, but tries to understand the calculus a bit. His whole argument is that having a romantic, good marriage in which you spend A LOT of time together, reduces risk, which is true. He also maintains that the other side of that is having a marriage with high boundaries, which is the key piece. There will be a lot of times in life when your needs might not be 100% met (sickness, hello?) and what gets you through those times with a spouse? The commitment you made, that’s what.

            But he also says, hey, leave a cheater if you want. He said to me, “If you want to leave, then do so. I would support that. I have always maintained that an affair is the worst thing you can do in a marriage and the other person becomes dangerous to you if they cannot show you they have changed.”

          • Yep, he has different standards for women and men. He expects betrayed men to put in far more effort than betrayed women.

            What about the effort of an unfaithful wife. He tells betrayed men not to expect any effort on her part.

            Sorry, if I’m ever betrayed again, my soon to be ex wife has roughly one nanosecond to own it and implement actions I find satisfactory before I simply file for divorce.

            No double standards. If you make the vow, you are expected to keep it. If you break it, you alone are expected to fix it as judged satisfactory by the betrayed.

            • His calculus is that if a man WANTS to “Plan A” for a longer period, he can. He has simply found that cheater wives are more likely to return and respond to Plan A better than men and that men are better able to stand the emotional onslaught of Plan A better than women. That doesn’t mean he thinks you should do it if you don’t want to. He’d recommend that you leave immediately if you want to and has told men that.

              I don’t have a vested interest in Marriage Builders or anything, it’s just that their advice is pretty good, actually.

              • I spent a fair amount of my treasure working with his son Steve back in 2003. From my perspective, while I agree Marriage Builders may offer a decent blueprint to run a marriage, the plan is weak at best when dealing with a wayward wife.

                I no longer have my copy of Surviving an Affair, as I don’t really think I need it 12 years after D-Day, but I find the idea that you treat a wayward wife with kid gloves more than just a bit sexist.

                But that’s what Steve suggested. He didn’t tell me what I was really facing. He let me “convince him” that she wasn’t having an affair. Then when I had proof she was, he wasn’t keen on exposure.

                Frankly, I don’t think his calculus is that wayward( sorry cheating) wives will return faster. In fact, I think he’s said the opposite. If the wife is having the affair, she’s already shut him out and will not let him meet her emotional needs. She is emotionally involved with her affair partner and her lovebank is closed to the betrayed husband.

                He’s said she’ll never own her affair. He says that in the form of don’t ever expect her to take responsibility for her affair. Not to mention that the reason she had her affair was because you were not meeting some need she had and another was meeting it.

                Dr Harley himself has said if Joyce ever had an affair, he would divorce her immediately. So if the advice is so good, why would he not try to win his own wife back should she ever have an affair?

                Maybe because he knows it’s a low percentage play, having seen thousands of affairs before?

                Not only that, but he gives the walk-away-wife a valid excuse for betraying her vows:

                “Each day I am confronted by women who are extremely frustrated with their marriages. They usually express no hope that their husbands will ever understand what it is that frustrates them, let alone change enough to solve the problem. From their perspective, marital problems are created by their husbands who do little or nothing to solve them. Wives tend to see themselves as the major force for resolving conflicts, and when they give up their effort, the marriage is usually over.”

                Basically, if she’s not happy, it’s his fault. After all, she has no hope, he doesn’t understand, he won’t change. Somehow, that’s permission to unilaterally break your vows and leave.

                Dr Harley believes these women are (rightfully) blaming their husbands for their unhappiness and if they’ve given up, the marriage is usually over.

                Not one thing about checking to see if she gave clear indications that she was unhappy, you know, saying things like “I’m not happy.” I never heard that from my ex-wife until she was having the affair.

                How an a husband understand if a wife won’t use her words and explain it to him? Somehow, Dr Harley thinks it ok to blame the husband for being clueless, but doesn’t think it’s necessary for the wife to leave clear clues and clear pictures of the objective.

                Sorry, too much cover for the cheating and/or walk-away and abandon my vows Eat, Pray, Love wife who simply wants to leave because she’s not happy. Chances are, if she’s not happy, neither is he. But instead of being concerned about his happiness, about meeting his needs. Dr Harley gives the cheating/wayward/walk-away wife a pass because she’s not emotionally equal to the task.

                As a women, I’d be insulted that he doesn’t think that highly. As a man, I’m resentful because the wife has the affair or just quits and somehow it’s her husband’s fault.

                Sorry, strong, independent women can’t hide behind the excuse they are not strong enough. We’ve been told women are emotionally superior to men. So why can’t they hang in there like Dr Harley expects their betrayed husbands?

                Maybe because this is crappy advice.

                If you are not happy, don’t have an affair. Use your words. Tell your spouse what happy looks like. Draw pictures, give examples, use simile. I’m an engineer and of the allegedly emotionally inferior gender, yet I grasp the idea of explaining what I want in a language the other person understands.

                OK, rant over 😉

      • Yeah, I forgot about that one! And the Love Languages book just made me want to throw up.

        • my x bought love languages and, after twenty years together, now he proclaimed he really knew me because he read a stupid book, he still had no clue of who i was or what i needed, but hey, he did read a book! wth

        • Love Languages….Yep, read that one. Then the 5 Languages of Apology as he claimed he was holding grudges for things that I had said over the entire relationship….WTF? news to me. Another way to put the blame of the “issues” back on me. So, I read and read and read everything. Not knowing at the time what was “really going on”. Worthless books as far as I am concerned.

  • Oh how I remember that stage- absolute shock and disbelief that he was chasing another woman right in front of me. Quick, there must be something I can do! I went on the internet and found a WHOLE lot of advice, oh, wow, this is great, now I’ll save my marriage!
    For some reason I just loved Dr Harley and the ‘love bank’. It all seems so funny now, but when you’re desperate, any lifeboat looks good.
    “Inside all of us is a Love Bank with accounts in the names of everyone we know. When these people are associated with our good feelings, “love units” are deposited into their accounts, and when they are associated with our bad feelings, love units are withdrawn”
    Soooo, tried that, didn’t work, but man, did I work that plan hard! Then I figured out, it was rewarding him as he continued cheating! I didn’t know about the Pick Me dance then, but it’s also that!
    I’m sure these people mean well, but none of this stuff works on a dedicated Cake-eater (30 yrs), so it just prolongs your pain!

    • Because Cheaters always have overdrawn love bank accounts. No point throwing our good money after bad.

    • Funny thing, or maybe sad.. I tried to pretzel and deposit into the love bank for a while and all it did was made him resent me more. Nothing I do is good enough.

    • I read parts of that one. I never could figure out, why, when she was the unfaithful one, I should be the one to continue making deposits in the love bank.

      • One has to be a complete doormat to do a Plan A. The cheater loses total respect for you and I would lose it for mysel, too.

  • At first, like a few weeks, I read all the Reconciliation books but they really blur together. Thank God I got them at the library and didn’t waste my money. What I remember most were the two major themes. 1. Your spouse is a Cheater cause you paid too much attention to those damn kids. 2. Successful reconciliation is having lots of sex with the Cheater, because that’s really the gold standard for True Love.

    One book that i saw highly recommended was Not Just Friends. What disappointing tripe. Like I need to read a damn book telling me my husband shouldn’t be sneaking around with a damn whore. Lady, Please…..

    • I’ve only read excerpts of that book, but the one thing I liked about Shirley Glass was that she did actually do research on cheaters (surveys at conferences, airports, etc.) and found that most/many of them were happy with their marriages (esp. cheating men); they just liked a bit of strange on the side. This turned conventional wisdom on its head–that cheaters cheat because of marital problems (not that therapists have all paid attention to this kernel of wisdom).

      • Unfortunately, that kernel was followed by a lot of bullshit about how the poor cheater had a relationship with the AP and the cheated upon spouse should be understanding had give them time, a lot of time to get past that, to not give up if cheater keeps fucking up, “Not Just Friends” fucked with my head. I wish I’d never read it, number one reason I gave that asshhole more chances to fuck me over. That book sucks

        • I literally downloaded Not Just Friends the night I found out about the affair!

          I should revisit. I actually found it explained a lot about my situation at the time. Though I also remember COMBING the book trying to find out what to do if your spouse won’t cut the affair partner out of their life. I remember a single sentence that says “they shouldn’t have contact with them in the future in order to move on” (or that was the gist) and that was ALL that was said about it.

          • EXACTLY. Right there AE you summed up what is wrong with 99.9 percent of all the infidelity literature — it works from the assumption you have something to work with.

            I say this is like writing a book about How to Be a Millionaire and the first step is have $999,999 in the bank.

            And failing having the Requisite Remorseful Cheater, the literature then cons you into thinking you can single-handedly save it. Tut, tut they shouldn’t have contact with the AP… Oops. Didn’t happen? Try harder!

            Such a mindfuck.

            • Bingo! …. I was short $ 999 999. Better yet I was overdrawn. I had a worthless fuck to work with.

            • CL, I found him back in contact with OW FIVE YEARS into a deeply painful ‘reconciliation’. In which he read no books, went to therapy until it was discovered that this was not about his marriage and OW was irrelevant, it was about him.
              Then he didn’t want to be in therapy and the therapist had to handle him with such kid gloves to keep him going, that she ended up enabling him.
              For instance, he told her (but not me) that he was back with OW. She replied ‘So she has forgiven you’. Legitimising an illegitimate relationship!
              My therapist on the other hand, said, you and Mr Patsy have taught me a lot about affairs and adding insult to injury. And you, Patsy have an extremely high tolerance for insult’.

        • Dat – me too! HATE that book. It is more mindfuckery is all. I wish I had gotten advice to force separation asap. I think that is the only possible way these people could even have a chance at recognizing their actions have serious, shitty, life-altering consequences. I think it is a mistake to stay with a cheater of ANY kind, EA or PA or whatever A, because they seem to decide if you didn’t leave or throw them out from the start, you’re unlikely to do so later. So, I messed up not doing that or rather not following through. I did demand separation and then he went all sorry and sweet and I got talked out of it, you know the drill. Most everyone discourages it under the guise of separation is the first step toward divorce and if you want to try to work on your marriage, how can you do that if you’re separated? Unfortunately , I bought that shit and didn’t find CL site until much later. Maybe ChumptyDumpty is a better name for me. IDK.

    • Some nuggets in that book but the chapter about the poor AP made me physically Gag. Fuck the whore.. or man whore. I have absolutely NO sympathy for them.

      • NewChumpst1, I consider the affair whore as my final replacement. She took so much when she found her “good guy” as she convinced herself she is his 17th dream girl that I know if during my 36 year marriage with a serial cheater. What she took off my hands was my need to check his phone records, smell his clothes for perfume, spend hours waiting for him to come home while he was “working”, helping him pick out clothes to wear with his pigs, waiting for his dreams to magically come true, getting STD testing, dealing with the jealous APS, having to check the dating sites he uses, checking his mileage, seeing annonomous phone calls in his business lines, having to put up with shitty sex, child porn, getting hotels during the day, and paying his bills in the summer. That poor poor woman. What about a chapter on his much better the faithful loyal spouse gains when they pass the torch of infidelity and all it entails to AP. That is her life now. Hahaha!!! Once we detox from THAT it’s sweet justice.

  • I did like Mort Fertel pretty well but I believe his advice would only be before the Whore (oops, I mean Horse) got out of the barn, not after. It’s been a long time though so I don’t remember a lot about it.

    The absolute worst advice/theory is that your marriage can be Better after adultery. Personally, I think anyone who believes this needs to be hauled to the insane asylum immediately. If you can get your marriage even close to as good as it was before cheating, you have accomplished a miracle. It will never be better, in a hundred thousand years. What you have seen of the Cheater can never, ever be unseen. Ever.

  • Oh my. I’m quite the reader/book collector. Here’s a sampling of the books I read over the years:

    Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy (GAG!!)
    Love & Respect
    The Five Love Languages
    The Love Dare
    The Power of a Praying Wife
    For Women Only (I bought “For Men Only”, but he wouldn’t read it)
    His Needs, Her Needs
    Love Must Be Tough
    Surviving a Spiritual Mismatch in Marriage
    Boundaries in Marriage
    Hope for the Separated: Wounded Marriages Can be Healed
    I Don’t Want a Divorce

    There was more. At least I never bought “How to Save Your Marriage Alone.”

    The best of the bunch was “Boundaries in Marriage.” I started setting boundaries and he got worse. The problem with books about “Christian Marriage” is that they usually assume you have two reasonably good people who are being selfish. If each person will give a little and put the other person first occasionally, then marriage problems can be worked out. But when you’re married to the disordered and you’re a chump, you’re giving everything you have and the disordered spouse is taking everything and expecting/asking for more.

    The have a much better list of books that I bought during the divorce. I have to share that list, too.

    Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion
    Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone With Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder
    Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
    The Gift of Fear
    The Verbally Abusive Relationship
    In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing With Manipulative People

    I bought other books, too, but those are the best.

      • CL – semi-unrelated, but have been meaning to tell you about a book called “Give and Take : why helping others drives our success” it’s actually a business book and even uses the word chump A LOT. But I realized I am still, essentially, a chump at work. I share information, I expect others to share with me. I think I might be just slightly less naive and trusting than before the infidelity at least. Anyway, it actually says those that give are MORE likely to be some of the most successful, but also more likely to be the least successful. And talks about how those two types of giver/chumps are different

        Anyway, thought it was interesting, especially from my post-infidelity POV.

      • A Christian book that really helped me because its a “it’s totally the cheater’s fault approach” was “When he says I don’t love you any more” by David Clarke.
        In my experience he is the only christian psychologist that is clear and won’t put up with stupid cheaters. Tracy you should recommend this book on your resource list.

        Another book that is not about cheating per se but has been really helpful in helping me understand all my PTSD symptoms and just the craziness of abandonment is “The journey from abandonment to healing” by Susan Anderson. Its not about them, its about how to understand your crisis and care about you after they leave. Very empowering.

        Thanks again for your amazing website. It is the best.

        • YES! This guy! I tried to get my cheater to go to an intensive with him at the beginning, right after the first Dday and he wouldn’t. No big shocker there huh? The first thing this counselor does is take the cheater to task and refuses to let them do their bullshitting stuff. I had hoped Mr. Cheaterass would be willing to do anything I asked, but I was chumpy and manipulated into “other counseling” because running off to participate in something like that right now just seems, well might not be the best time to do it right now bc ______. Fill in the blank with any old excuse. He played the guilt card on me about leaving the kids for a few days. That almost always works and he knew it. He rejected going, but not in a way that I’d read it as in he meant he’d never do it. Obviously he had no intention of ever agreeing to go to counseling with anyone who would call him out on his bullshit. I’m going to read some of the books suggested that actually help the betrayed person. Thanks for the recs!

          • I completely agree. Dr. David Clarke’s book tells it like it is and doesn’t make any excuses for Jesus Cheaters. It talks about genuine reconciliation and encourages women to get out and that they will be ok if they get out. It is an excellent, excellent, excellent and empowering book. I also think M. Scott Peck’s “People of the Lie” is good and so is Karyl McBride’s “Will I Ever Be Free of You?” about divorcing a narcissist is great if you have kids. I agree that Lundy’s book is eye opening and so is Dr. Simon’s book. They all helped me realize what I was really dealing with in my STBX.

      • The Emotionally Destructive Marriage by Leslie Vernick. This was the first book I read that propelled me toward leaving by helping me realize what I was in I had nothing to work with. It is from a Christian viewpoint but she really states that God does not condone or want us in a destructive marriages and to stop pretending. I was not involved with a church but she is trying to train church leaders about what is going on with abuse and it is not acceptable to encourage the relationship to continue.

      • I liked Susan Anderson’s ” The Journey from Abandonment to Healing” .Also, Richard Skerrit’s ” Meaning from Madness”.

    • ” I started setting boundaries and he got worse. ”

      I think that is a key point when dealing with those with narcissistic tendencies. When you start standing up for yourself, for integrity, for fairness, for your needs, for honesty, for adhering to natural laws of common sense, does the other person respect your values and boundaries, or do they continue to escalate with manipulation and control? Do they shower you with contempt and resentment like a child who doesn’t get his way.

      And when you escalate back that you are serious, that the marriage depends on them respecting these common sense boundaries that define what it means to be in a healthy relationship, do they see you as a real, feeling person deserving of respect and love, and finally, give up their selfish, narcissistic game?

      (These thoughts really are meant to apply to a marriage before the infidelity happens, not after, as then it might just be too late)

  • I’m of no help on this blog post as there was no attempt at reconciliation since the very night of exposure of D-Day X told me he was leaving forever because OW was the “biggest opportunity” of his life. For what, he didn’t say. But I have well-worn copies of that I have underlined almost every sentence of the books Why does he Do That? and Women who Love Psychopaths.

    • Me too, Muse, I was coldly abandoned after 25 years of what I thought was a happy marriage, and he never looked back. And I too read and got so much understanding from those exact books.

  • First, there are two books that should be required reading first year o high school, I wish I’d read them in my teens, they are:

    Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men
    The Gift of Fear

    I read a lot of bullshit both during false R and after to wrap my head around what happened, but why track them all down on my kindle, here is a list that is quite comprehensive hosted on the site by the couple that has made huge amounts of money off the RIC, I’d say they were the first to really plumb that cash cow. The authors of “My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me” and the most egregious profiteers engaged in saving marriages, I give you:

      • Well I don’t do anything halfway, so I called these people and insisted my ex call the husband, which he did. Of course that was a free call, the point was to get us in one of their retreats, that’s about $3000 bucks. Thankfully my ex said he wasn’t going to get on his knees to me because obviously half the reason he cheated was ME. Just clarifying in case you think Dat does anything halfway, oh no I went bells for belfries to save the marriage. Just like I went Jedi Ninja to kill it when it was apparent the marriage was fucking dead.

        • If you read much about Peggy Vaughn and her relationship with her husband it is apparent that she is in complete denial about her husband being a Sociopath.
          She insist that we are all wired to cheat and cop let Ely ignores her husband’s continued, express desire yo cheat right up to the her death.

        • “Just like I went Jedi Ninja to kill it when it was apparent the marriage was fucking dead.”

          ^^^^ THIS^^^^ LMAO!! Awesome Dat!! Love it, love it, love it!!!

      • Yes, it was very painful to realise that Brian Bercht was different. He had an internal world he could access. He worked hard on himself. He changed.
        That hope, that this applied to the love of my life, wasted a lot of my time.

        • Brian Bercht might have been different but I take huge exception with them making money of the fact that ‘his affair was the best thing that ever happened to her’. I don’t care if he transformed into an actual unicorn that shit fairy dust and $100.00 bills, you will NEVER convince me that an affair is the best thing that ever happens to anyone!!

          She’s lying and profiting off those lies. Kudos for him for doing the real work and chronicle that if you want but don’t sell that ‘born again affair shit’ to chumps. Not. Cool!

    • Maybe someone will buy my book “My Husbands Death is the Best Thing That Has Ever Happened to Me”…they slice the meat for the shit sandwiches.

    • Yeah, I’ve mentioned the Beyond Affairs duo before. Sadly it was one of the first resources I came across and I bought the book. I threw it in the bin rather than give it away and mess up some other chump’s head.

      I also checked out Andrew G Marshall-a UK ‘author and marital therapist’. Wishy washy Switzerland type advice.

      What both have in common is…money making. Retreats, counselling, and in Marshall’s case lots of books. Anything to make the chump experience protracted and expensive. Like having lots of cosmetic surgery on a gangrenous limb instead of having it cleanly amputated.

    • That is quite a list of books they have at BAN, Datdamwuf. The only one I would ever read is missing, though. How to Think About or See bYour Cheating Spouse Without Puking. I would even pay for that one.

  • Well, the FIRST book I ever bought, YEARS before DD, was a Dr. Laura book about how to take care of your husband. I was a huge fan of hers, back in the day. She regularly fielded complaints about the lack of a parallel book for taking care of wives. But I chumpily agreed with her, that it’s the wife who has all the power in the marriage to keep her man happy, and thus keep the marriage thriving and intact. Uh-huh. (If she had a chapter on the futility of knocking your head against a wall with a passive-aggressive covert narc, I missed it.) There’s some good advice in the book, for sure, and I’m not sorry that I read it, years before the Coward invited the FB Twat Troll into my family. Oh, but it was smack in between one or another of his unrequited love-fests with yet another blonde female. He’d probably actually cheated once or more times before, but I missed the point of his shitty treatment of me, entirely.

    That book, and the concept itself gave me a false sense of control, made me more smug toward women whose husbands stray (they were probably sexually withholding, and verbally abusive–certainly not as smart as I am, I figured, or they hadn’t seen the signs of pre-cheating behaviors before they married, and hadn’t chosen as well as I had.) I wondered, though, like other men and women had: where was the book on the proper care and feeding of wives?? I certainly wasn’t feeling cherished, supported, loved. But then, that book made the case, that if I treated my husband like a KING, he would naturally feel more loving and generous (that would be true IF he wasn’t an entitled prick.) If he withheld, that was on ME! Easy! Ah–I consoled myself. You know, I’m not a high-maintenance woman. My needs are not great. I can make do. I will one day be able to pay for anything I need and want. I must be patient. Life was good enough. I felt guilty for not being more grateful. So I congratulated other women when their husbands treated them well, and I meant it. I knew that the chill I felt on the inside could be warmed with grace.

    And, listening as I did to the radio “doctor,” I was compelled to spend less time at work and more time with my family, which I do not regret. Nor do I regret that I did spend time grooming the career that provided a very soft landing after being left at the helm of an abandoned family. Though Radio Laura shrieked her disapproval of working mothers, I am so thankful that I did what was right for me–and it was oh, so right. I am proud to say that, thanks to her warnings, though, I am NOT the parent who had to look her kids in their faces and take responsibility for ending a marriage over a lousy fuck–over someone who did not care for my children, but who knew how to make a girl feel appreciated. I have my integrity intact. I walked away–shut the door, literally, on that man’s temptation. I’m forever grateful. I ACTUALLY valued my family and my honor, rather than paying lip-service, only.

    After bomb drop, I headed straight for a “Heroic” RIC website. I gained some insight there, and made a few friends, one of which I text regularly–she and I both are no longer swayed by the concept of “standing” by an abusive asshole. Reading there, I took hits off the Hopium pipe–my xH was just depressed/was traumatized by his adoption/was traumatized by his parents’ divorce/had abandonment issues/would one day see the error of his ways and would come “home,” and we would be solid together. I saw my xH as a strong and sentient MAN who had just stumbled and needed support. He was just depressed,/i>! I shared my understanding with the kids–don’t be too hard on your dad, he’s having a hard time. They called BS.

    Oh, I did the Amazon thing, too, but it was balanced. I bought a book about how male children are hurt by fathers abandoning them (to try to gain an understanding of what may have compelled xH to leave, and to try to find the magical insight that would awaken him from his “fog.”) I bought Parents Who Cheat, to try to help me understand my children’s feelings, which they really preferred not to articulate to me. I bought Runaway Husbands, Sudden Endings, and Journey from Abandonment to Healing (which I can still recommend.). I bought books on self esteem for xH (weird how he didn’t take my offer to read this one….)

    The most powerful reading was that which I read for myself, for healing myself and for believing in the strength of my values. My two favorite books were The Virtue of Selfishness (not for everyone, obviously, but tremendously helpful to me) AND, the Millionaire Matchmaker, believe it or not, to inspire me to date more conscientiously next time. The book about selfishness is a celebration of virtuous values, as opposed to the concept of doing whatever feels good on a whim. Values-based living facilitates success (me!) while impulsivity is destructive (xH!) This book was a confirmation, a much-needed pat on the butt–an “Atta girl! You’re doing it right!”

    But the final click that put everything into place was the Chump Lady and the Chump Nation. No longer do I blame myself. Thanks to Tracy, I’ve found my spine. I can weather the side-eye from people who are as smug as I once was. I’m ready to lend insight gained here at CL, and my experience to anyone who will sadly need a hand and a heart. I can weather judgement from the ignorant–they don’t know. God willing, they will never have to know. I am an example to others of how to prevail against two assholes, and protect her kids in the process.

    I honestly don’t know where I’d be without the support of Chump Lady and Chump Nation. I think I’d be back at Amazon searching for wrong answers. I think I’d be less secure and less confident–that happens when your perception and explanation don’t match the rational truth. It all seems so obvious now! Tracy–I guess I don’t know where you gained your pin-point accuracy, but you always seem to nail every truth. And I’m thankful every day for your guidance.

    • I need to be forthright: the authors of The Virtue of Selfishness were affair partners. Gah! But the content of the book was valuable to me.

    • Oh, gosh, I forgot about that one. Of course I read it, too. Then a few months later my former father-in-law gave copies to both his daughters-in-law for Christmas. Ick. Blech. Gag.

        • Hah, that’s the one!

          I’m sure it’s a great book, unless you’re married to the sort of asshole who is looking for other opportunities.

        • chlessinger met and married Michael F. Rudolph, a dentist, in 1972 while she was attending Columbia University. The couple had a Unitarian ceremony.[61] Separating from Rudolph, Schlessinger moved to Encino, California in 1975 when she obtained a job in the science department at the University of Southern California.[62] Their divorce was finalized in 1977.[63]

          In 1975, while working in the labs at USC, she met Lewis G. Bishop, a professor of neurophysiology who was married and the father of three children.[2][64] Bishop separated from his wife and began living with Schlessinger the same year.[65] Schlessinger has vociferously proclaimed her disapproval of unwed couples “shacking up” and having children out of wedlock. According to her personal friend, Shelly Herman, “Laura lived with Lew for about nine years before she was married to him.”[2] “His divorce was final in 1979.[66] Bishop and Schlessinger married in 1985.[67] Herman says that Schlessinger told her she was pregnant at the time, which Herman recalls as “particularly joyful because of the happy news.”[2] Schlessinger’s only child, a son named Deryk, was born in November 1985.[68]

          Schlessinger was estranged from her sister for years, and many thought she was an only child.[2] She had not spoken to her mother for 18[69] to 20 years before her mother’s death in 2002 from heart disease.[13] Her mother’s remains were found in her Beverly Hills condo approximately two months after she died,[70][71] and lay unclaimed for some time in the Los Angeles morgue before Schlessinger had them picked up for burial.[72] Concerning the day that she heard about her mother’s death, she said: “Apparently she had no friends and none of her neighbors were close, so nobody even noticed! How sad.”[13][72] In 2006, Schlessinger wrote that she had been attacked in a “vulgar, inhumane manner by media types” because of the circumstances surrounding her mother’s death, and that false allegations had been made that she was unfit to dispense advice based on family values. She said that she had not mourned the deaths of either of her parents because she had no emotional bond to them.[1][13]

          • Dr. Laura is the biggest women-hater ever! It is ALWAYS the woman’s fault if a husband cheats and if, by chance, the guy is a complete reprobate and she can’t pin it on the woman, she then faults the wife for marrying him and having children with him. She and Ann Coulter must do lunch a lot.

  • OH, hah!


    All the recommendations for “Why Does He Do That,” and I found myself at Amazon again, for like 10 seconds before realizing: This makes my ass tired. I don’t give a SHIT why he does ANYTHING.

    However, I’ll keep this book in mind for the newbies–because it’s a big step to let go of an abusive asshole. I’m sure the book is very useful reading for a woman in tatters. I remember those days. You need a GOOD book.

    • Are there any parallel books for men, to help them let go of abusive female assholes? Someone needs to write that book–look past the pretty face and manipulation, and see her for what she is. (Ick!)

      • Why Does He Do That by Lundy and Gift of Fear should be read by every person whether male or female, period. Learning from these two books can prevent a shot relationship or worse. So if you have kids I highly recommend them as a teaching tool on setting boundaries and recognizing toxic and abusive people. The pronouns of male female should not be any impediment to understanding, in fact in our culture they are more applicable to women but it doesn’t matter if your kids are male, it apples.

        • I agree. “Why Does He DO That?” can be applied to every disordered, controlling person in all situations. It’s not just about being married to a bad guy. Likewise, “The Gift of Fear” is a fabulous book that everyone should read.

        • Hmm….

          Maybe before I venture into the dating world. I think I’ll take that advice. It might help me be less chumpy.

          • Just a warning about “Why Does He Do That”- it’s an amazing, excellent, wonderful book. And it’s probably going to majorly fuck with your head. Because you’re going to run into a TON of things you had never even thought about (even while wishing he’d fall off the planet into the sun so _hard_ you could almost feel gravity weakening) that he did, intentionally, to manipulate and hurt you. A lot of stuff that you thought was coincidence or thoughtlessness, probably still do (even trusting that he SUCKS), was completely intentional. It’s a hard, hard book. So definitely, DEFINITELY read it, have post-it flags and highlighters handy… but also make sure you’re starting from a good point mentally, and make sure you have 24 hours to be a basket case and someone to call when you need to splutter incoherently while crying and just have someone HEAR you.

  • Check out Marialla Frostrup (sp?) column in todays’ London Guardian & the comments. LW, with two small children, husband left to “pursue” relationship w/ her best friend. If it wasn’t closed to comments, I would have posted link to ChumpLady.

  • The books gave me false hope, absolutely. I had them all. (I sent them all with him when I kicked him out after the second affair, so I don’t have the titles for you).

    I bought into the narrative that this could bring us closer, that we could grow, etc. Oh my god. There’s no way relationships get better after an affair. Such crap these people peddle. But, it’s an easy sell. We want it to be true so much.

    But the therapist was the worst. “This relationship is 50% you and 50% him. So each of you must take responsibility for half of the repair.”

    And, “If you do your work, the relationship will improve, even if he doesn’t do any.”

    He was very much into blaming the victim, but subtly. And letting my POSX blame his ADHD. Jesus.

    Not that good therapy would have helped. He was already cheating again by that time.

    I almost feel sorry for the woman he’s with now. No, not really. But, I can’t imagine the story he fed her.

    And, what kind of woman watches a man lie to his wife and friends and family and thinks, “This is the guy for me”?

    • “And, what kind of woman watches a man lie to his wife and friends and family and thinks, “This is the guy for me”?

      That would be the 29 year old whore, currently screwing my 44 year old STBXH.
      Oh, and all her jacked up family, who thinks she hit the jackpot…with someone else’s husband.

      • In my case…. the kind of woman who lies to her husband, 3 boys her mother and everyone else she doesn’t want to know that she is screwing around with someone who is screwing around on his partner and child. They deserve each other and I told him so. Both assholes.

    • “And, what kind of woman watches a man lie to his wife and friends and family and thinks, “This is the guy for me”?

      THIS ^^^^

      My STBXH has told me repeatedly about one little ho that he’s met on FB: “…I’ve never even met the bitch…who’s gonna be blowing up my phone when I get my own slut-shack??? …Ummm, H-Ho? Uh, nnnooooo!!!…” (like he’s all disgusted about the idea of messin’ with her, right?

      But it hasn’t stopped her from breaking up with her live-in BF of 3 years!!! Like she’s discovered a pot of gold???

      • “And, what kind of woman watches a man lie to his wife and friends and family and thinks, “This is the guy for me”?

        The OW in my situation thought exactly that, because she ‘understands’ cheating. She cheated in her previous marriage, blew up her kids’ family. Then hit on my clearly-married-with-kids at-the-time partner.

        May they have much joy of each other!!!!

    • I have ADHD and I have never cheated. Not in my private life nor in my public life. I am so sick of people using that as excuse. Here is what my brain is like. If I ask you a question and you take too much time to answer it I am already on question number 6. My brain works too fast. I have an aversion to boredom but……I find things to do that do not include cheating. Any therapist that allows your cheater that excuse needs a swift goodby.
      I highly recommend “Games People Play”. I wish I could remember the title or author of a book that gives you a huge slap into reality. It basically says that the cheater got away with it and there is nothing you can do to change it. Going on a rampage or having your own affair is not going to negate the cheating. Cheaters are not going to do jail time, and, since none of us like to feel bad about ourselves they will quickly make it all about you. I just think once cheating takes place the marriage is dead. It might cough along for several years but it dies even if the couple stays together.
      My thoughts are that NC is the best even when there are children. If there are school functions the school can communicate with both of you. If the cheater is active in the children’s lives they will keep up with all of that. NC is for your physical health. The waffling between hope and despair can literally kill you. Almost every chump I know is on some sort of medication to help with anxiety and depression. Get off Facebbok and all the other social media. They just prolong the torture. Life really is too short to give one more minute to a cheater. I am so proud of my brother. When his wife abandoned the family he took a few weeks to grieve and then he got mad and then he found meh. Never wanted reconciliation. Married a wonderful woman, had more children and should have lived a long time. That didn’t happen but while he was with his second wife he was happy.

    • “And, what kind of woman watches a man lie to his wife and friends and family and thinks, “This is the guy for me”?


      Xhole new hood rat is like that. she “respects” him (because i did not?) they are happy together, everyone has seemed to forget the fact that they were messing around when he and i were married. she saw all the pictures on his facebook of his wife and his children. AND SHE STILL DID NOT CARE. she knew his boys needed him, his wife needed him and she STILL did not care. she knowingly got into a relationship and purposely destroyed my family. and she is STILL messing with my family. interfering in his visitations, making sure she is there when he sees his boys, and refuses to allow him to come to my house for visits. she finds it fun to call or text me and tell me shit.

      but of course she is still married herself. she bailed on her own husband and kids. she only sees her own kids every 4 to 6 months. she is too busy breaking up my family to care about her own family. she would rather stay up all night drinking and sleeping with married men then to stay home with her own family, and raise her own children.

      but he lets her.

  • Noticing a theme in the bad book isle….lots of “Christian” books on marriage. Very sad. Definitely an Amazon Chump here…read about 20-30 books within a year during discovery and prior when I thought it was primarily me as the problem.

    Here’s three more for the burn pile:

    1. Real Marriage by Mark & Grace Driscoll (cringe worthy treatment of gender roles…book almost used verbatim in parts–not always fair to authors–in concerted effort by ex-FIL in spiritually abusing and attempting to control me while his daughter was cheating on me)
    2. When Happily Ever After Shatters by Sue Birdseye (read after mostly recovered…not all bad but some bad stuff nevertheless especially about negotiating kids stuff with ex-in-laws (as in never make them uncomfortable and play coordinator in chief)…written by a divorced faithful spouse with kids)\
    3. The Supernatural Power of Forgiveness by Kris and Jason Valloton (Father and son pastors in charismatic Christian world; son was cheated upon by wife…his journey with father through the mess was recommended to me as few books exist for men…not all bad but some not so good pieces IMO)

        • FYI, not much is out there for men with “walk away wives.” I was in the stage where I did not know about the actual adultery at this point (open question of exactly when my ex was screwing the OM). This book was recommended to me. Instead, they ought to have been giving me books on seriously dealing with infidelity–like yours (before it was published, though)…she had already admitted to an “EA” or two.

          • Imagine the Supernatural Forgiveness it takes to eat the shit sandwich of being BFF with your husband’s cheating ex-wife. Jesus spackle?

            • Yeah, talk about an awkward situation for Jason’s new wife! Maybe she doesn’t mind, I don’t know. But it is a situation ripe for issues. Btw, the book spends a good deal unraveling the cheater’s FOO issues.

              • DM, have you heard of David Clark’s “when he says I don’t love you anymore?” It does focus on men cheaters but has a quite good biblical no nonsense approach to infidelity. Here is a link to the beginning of the book…


                Would loe to hear what you think. And thanks again for taking the time last year to answer my questions and calm my heart. You are a blessing!

              • Gaby,

                Yes, I’ve read Dr. Clarke’s book. It is one of the rare resources out there that is pretty good on these matters. I do not agree with him on all areas in the book beyond infidelity/adultery. But I really appreciate his no-nonsense approach to adultery. He listed as a resource on my blog, and I’ve personally referred others to him as a resource in discerning what is a good or bad counselor (i.e. if they are willing to take Dr. Clarke’s approach then they are a Biblical and good counselor on these matters IMO).

                Most welcome for the support, Gaby! I hope you are finding more moments of joy and peace these days.


  • I remember one that really made me hurl at the time was called When GOOD PEOPLE Have Affairs. Totally oriented towards the Needs of the Cheaters.

  • Another book you can give a miss to is “Addicted to Adultery”. Written by the chumped wife who basically turned into the marriage police. I was exhausted just reading the book!

  • I actually bought, read, shared with the asshole and did WORK via the 5 Lang. Of Love. This was during the high point of Gaslighting and manipulation. I had no idea about the LT MOW during this time. Believe me, this was an awesome time for the cheater! Not only was he doing 50 shades of fucking with the MOW, his spouse was a willing cake baker and flaming hoop jumper too! Awesome times!

    I fucking burnt that piece of crap last yr. I feel cleansed of that nonsense.

  • Every single piece of advice I got to pretzel and try to change myself to meet his needs has been a dismal failure. I think he resented my efforts to try to put the relationship back together more than he resented me before.. if that’s possible.

    The 180 might have worked had I done it FIRST.. but I didn’t.. I did the pretzel/pick me polka and it was soul sucking and pointless.

    I have come to the conclusion that nothing I do is good enough. He’s told himself I am the root of all his troubles, he refuses to admit his EA with MOW.. despite evidence to the contrary… I have decided it’s because he can’t admit it to himself. That makes him the bad guy. HE can’t be the bad guy because that blows up the narrative that he’s the victim. The victim of a terrible mean wife who never met his needs. If he admits feelings for MOW.. then he can’t push this narrative.. and it’s all about him him him and his reputation.. you see. He desperately wants to push the “we grew apart” bullshit.

    • Here’s a thought: maybe the problem isn’t you? You aren’t lying about having some sort of affair, are you? You aren’t blameshifting every little thing onto him, are you? You sound like you are trying to own his shit behavior.

      If you want to fix yourself, stop trying to own his shit, IMO.

    • The disordered want two things–power, and impression management. Of course he won’t admit to adultery because that would make him look bad (and consequently give you power over him).

      I, like you, really need information, but at a certain point their mindfuckery alone is enough to divorce them. Who wants to live like that–being victimized and blamed for your victimization all in one fell swoop?

    • newchumpatl – mine is similar. Can’t ever believe or admit anything – I mean he keeps insisting he didn’t really DO anything. Flirting inappropriately…..uh ok, and the date you went on with your ho-worker when you were out of town and I was pregnant? He said it was a work dinner. Uh huh. WTFHever. Insisted nothing happened even though she pretty much asked him back to her place. And, how would I EVER find out bc he was out of the country. There was no reason at that point for him NOT to take her up on the offer really, bc he truly thought I would never ever EVER find out about any of his shenanigans. Idiot. And, I totally agree that at some point the mindfuckery alone IS a good enough reason. The gaslighting and manipulation and all of the useless hoping……it’s all just more abuse. Nobody should ever have to feel the way THAT kind of abuse makes a person feel. I got really emotional reading that, because it’s truly a hell on earth to be in that disoriented space and not knowing what’s true or real anymore.

      • Wow same exact thing happened to me! Mine still maintains that he did no wrong…he just decided to have 3 overnight visits with her at her house and I am supposed to believe it was all innocent and now I am the wrong one for telling people about what happened

        • I had a man in denial too. All the kids knew about the g/f because he threw me out and moved her in. My 4yo said, “Mom, Trashley gets your bed now.” My 9mo was in the crib beside the action… And Loki had the nerve to accuse me, in court, of revealing to my poor, questioning, traumatized 8yo daughter that Trashley was, in fact, Dad’s girlfriend.
          Apparently, he saw that as speaking disparagingly about him. POS.

          • Wow! You would think if they didn’t want people to think badly of them, that it would make sense not to do “bad” things. That is awful that your children are having to be exposed to his philandering like this.

          • ME TOO!!! Every-single-person-I-know!!! He acts like just telling me that he’s “not happy”, should be enough for me…all those AWOL nights when he would be out doing whatever- not answering my texts, not answering my calls, taking money out of the account that we didn’t have, and for what???? HE. WON’T. TELL. ME. …then he wants to get pissed that I’m telling people!!!

            For the month he was here before he moved out, he would constantly ask me, “Who have you told?…Who have you been talking to?…What’s wrong?!?!(that one would just infuriate me!!!)…You OK…???” The day before he moved out, he asked me- he could tell I had been crying- “What’s wrong?” I finally snapped and shot back, “You’re leaving!!! Damn it, I don’t want you to see me like this!!!” and went upstairs bawling my eyes out…He said, “Molly…” like, all sad, but that was it…then a while later and the next day as he was moving out, I was “in bitch mode” according to him…GAH!!!! Oh my God, he is such a selfish prick!!!

  • once I recognized how fuck up he was I read Narcissists and the Wizard of Oz, that book led me to salvation and predicted so much of what was to come. The reading Gift of Fear made me realize that I had hidden my own fear of ex even from myself. Why Does He Do That completed my own self examination, a bit too late to find entirely safe but useful therapy in conjunction with those books freed me. I’m willing to bet that most chumps read the RIC books and joined a RIC forum as I did. Then they bought books trying to understand their spouse and kept trying to fix things. I bet we all did that before things got so bad that we finally started trying to understand ourselves to figure out why we stayed. If we started with the last step we’d have gotten out sooner

  • I totally forgot to mention the book that actually makes sense IF you are NOT dealing with a cheater. “Getting the Love You Want”. I found this book very helpful in understanding why I should not keep trying to fix our shit, even though it was recommended by our MC to understand why I should try….lesson learned, therapists specializing in IMAGO are often too invested in saving a marriage to actually recognize thei own “bible” isn’t supporting their bullshit, save the marriage at any cost crap

    • Yes, went on an IMAGO weekend and learned the hard way that not even IMAGO works with a narcissist.

      Neither I nor the therapists noticed that he was not disclosing anything in the ‘communication exercises’

      • During IMAGO, Ex disclosed to me that he had been kicked out of his house at 16, forced to live in the woods for a week and that my wanting to divorce made him feel abandoned, he was crying, I was crying. Was that a break through? Hell no, he was lying through his teeth. Fucking asshole. And we only went one day because he said it was “too hard”. He also could not put himself in my place because I was wrong, he failed empathy 101.

  • I read the gamut of Christian marriage savers and wondered why I was still so “rebellious” (translation: pissed off). Then our counselor opened the door to “Getting the Love You Want” and (((shuddering))) the Patrick Carnes books on sex addiction. I was referred to a website for male survivors, attended BAN and SAA meetings, and thought the women who were still “enduring” after 15 – 20 years were aliens. There was no way I could do that without killing him (or myself!). During all of this, my ex played dumb to everything except cake, cake and more cake. The closer I came to the chilling reality that my “good” marriage was a figment of my once naive imagination, the further his mask slipped. At the end, I didn’t care what his problem was – there was no way on earth that I could endure one more minute of the mindfu*k of cognitive dissonance – let alone be intimate with him. As soon as he recognized this, he was gone. All the theories, acrobatics and denial in the world can’t make a disordered cheater change, no matter how many shades of lipstick you try on that pig. I never thought I’d reach “meh”, or get my mind straightened out, and I thank God for Chump Lady and those who post here every day for demonstrating that “leave a cheater, gain a life” is the surest, shortest path to sanity!

  • If I recall, After The Affair by Janis Spring is pretty good. I think it describes the hell of the betrayed and outlines what a possibility reconciliation might look like. I read it a long time ago before I was better educated, so now I might see things I no longer agree with. But I recall it being straight forward about infidelity.

    • I read this one right away after Affair #1. From what I remember, it was unrealistic about the chances for reconciliation, but did a good job of making me realize that my trauma reaction to the infidelity was normal. It also helped that they said that sometimes people are more likely to cheat when their partner isn’t asking ENOUGH of them, is making their life too easy (definitely my situation).

      I just wish those books had a clearer list of;
      your chances are good if …. and your chances are poor if …..

      And how to tell if your spouse is onboard with the changes you are trying to make.

      Either of those would have saved me a LOT of time! Needed CL way earlier …

  • I can’t tell you how helpful “The Five Love Languages,” was for me. My MIL gave it to me. My wusband was really looking forward to me reading it so I could fix myself. On a particularly bad day I grabbed it and hit it against the footboard of my bed until it broke in half. It was very therapeutic. Four stars for helping work through my anger. A very durable book. I would highly recommend it to all chumps.

    • Reconcilliation with a cheating spouse is equivalent to settling for less in a commited relationship. Make the first time he/she cheats the last! This advice comes from my personal experience.
      1. Instead of confiding in a therapist or spouse they cheated.
      2. They only admit to infidelity when you have evidence.
      3. Cheaters cheat. It speaks to the lack of honor and integrity within.
      4. There will be a repeat performance.

      I used to think love was enough. It was not. When our gut tells us to do everything in our power to save our marriage/relationship we are accepting responsibility for fixing what was broken. There’s no repairing broken vows. They were severed when he/she CHOSE to fuck someone while we were working, taking care if children, or taking care of a loved one. They could have surprised you with flowers, as card, a massage, or a hug. They didn’t. It’s a deal breaker. Reconciliation is as shallow as the cheater.

  • One of the best books I have ever read in this whole process for me was The Gaslight Effect by Robin Stern, invaluable whether you are trying to reconcile or somewhere else in the process. It completely changed the way I viewed him and I would like to say I stopped being susceptible to any gas lighting, but the truth is, it took hard work and practice over time, but I got a lot better at it, and it changed my life and relationship with him. I read dozens of crappy reconcile, save your marriage books, and none of them are helpful because they are predicated on the belief that the cheater has a conscience and a sense of responsibility. I read Disarming the Narcissist and remember thinking, “somebody, put me out of my misery, because if I have to treat him like that to coexist, count me out.” We’ve been separated almost a year and I have no contact with him. Oh, and all of the communication books, don’t get me started on those….again they only work if you are trying to communicate with another real human being. I should have known when we saw the first marriage therapist post d-day and she looked right at me and said I was 50 % responsible for his affair. I was shocked, and said, no, I would take of 50 % of being in a crappy marriage, but that affair was his choice and didn’t have anything to do with me.

  • The only book I read was CL’s, thank God. I read plenty of internet BS though. If these morons would write the truth the book would be one page long. “Those that cheat own the cheating, the faithful spouse doesnt do anything but heal”. Period. But no one has the guts to write that. Instead its a compendium of ways you as the faithful spouse have to change or redefine your expectations or your understanding of love. The asshats at affair recovery are a prime example. Blogger Samuel states its courageous when faithful spouses stay with cheaters and eat their shit and those that divorce quickly are weak for not trying. Right d-ckhead, the 15 years I put in of working ass off everyday to make my marriage and life work wasnt enough right, so I have to stay longer so my cheater can keep combing the high schools for her next porn shoot. Thanks, but if thats cowardice I’ll take the divorce any day. What a joke.

  • I read A LOT of books. The worst (and the first one given to “us” by the therapist) was called “After the Affair”. I read it, often aloud to my then spouse who never bothered to read anything. I don’t remember much except that it was useless drivel that didn’t even apply to my hostage situation. The title should have been my first clue. Maybe if it had been called “After the Affairs”, pleural. Anyway, I read a good one by Dr. Frank Pittman called “Secret Lies; Infidelity and the Betrayal of Intimacy”. I give that one a higher rating. Pittman nails down different “types” of affairs and poses different characteristics among the subtypes including the motivations/personality types typical in each class. The one that applies to me, and probably most of the people on this forum is what he calls “the philanderer”, or serial cheater. He’s spot on in many ways. He admits that most of these assholes don’t get better or change. His focus is primarily on gender identity as being a driving force for this breed of scumbag. He does admit, in a sideways kind of way, the narcissism that is at the heart of the perpetrator. I also like the book because he avoids blaming the betrayed or suggesting they can do anything to change the scumbag. I fault the book in that I’m not convinced of his theory that gender identity lies at the heart of disorder. Ultimately, I had to ask myself how much I really care about what flavor of shit it is.. At the end of the day, it’s all just a pile of shit. An interesting read, none the less.
    The latest book, my personal favorite, is of course “The Chump Lady’s Guide to Surviving Infidelity”. Five stars, hands down!!!!!

          • I don’t know what the male equivalent of whore/madonna would be, but this is very much how STBXW treated me, with the undesirable part of the binary getting more frequent as time passed

            • Whore/Madonna thing – ‘a deep hostility to the gender you’re cheating on.”

              hmmm..I definitely had the W/M thing in my marriage.
              As somebody else said, the OW WAS my MIL.

              Does this mean he actually hated his mother and decided to use adultery on me (Madonna) to punish him mom, or something? Geez – that’s really blowing my mind.

  • Another great CL topic.

    I believe that, deep in the bowels of Amazon (isn’t that a frightening visual?) the book-packers have conversations that go like this:

    “Bert! We got a fresh one! “When Good People Have Affairs, zip 40345! What do you bet next?” “Oh, definitely “Not Just Friends,” answers Bert, “within two weeks.” And they go back to their work, smug in the knowledge that, once again, they can predict the book buying patterns of people who’ve just discovered the betrayal of their partners.

    There is a predictable arc to the pain and attempts to accepting betrayal that strike chumps. First we buy books trying to understand, then we buy books trying to fix ourselves, then we buy books trying to deal with anger and outrage, then we buy books on reconciliation, then we go back to the rage bookshelf, then we start buying books on mediation, and then, finally, on divorce. And, I hope after that, a few novels and maybe a cookbook.

    All along, we chumpy-chumps are assuming that there are answers, paths, routes, directions, hints, clues, and repairs to be made. It’s simply not in our knowledge base that something so awful as the demise of our marriages could be happening and that there’s nothing we can do.

    After all, as chumps, we have heroically risen to every occasion during the marriage to make it all better: children, work, relocation, loss of friends and relatives, money problems, health problems… there’s always been a book life-line to help us fix all these situations.

    For there to be NO book to put our spouses back in our hearts is inconceivable, so we exhaust ourselves reading every book, googling every RIC website, listening for that faint heartbeat of hope.

    Sadly, had we spent the book money on a spouse-less vacation to someplace far away, and the time invested in trying to understand our poor sausage spouses instead on buying ourselves pretty things and lunches with old friends, we’d be far ahead.

    Myself? I bought just about every book out there on the entire path from discovery to divorce. Dozens, maybe hundreds, of books. In fact, I printed their purchase information all out in a spreadsheet from Amazon one time, which is how I came to realize that there is such a predictable path to our struggle for acceptance that Amazon warehouse workers could certainly bet on our next purchase.

    I gave all my relationship books to the Goodwill- several boxes worth- but probably should have just put them in the dumpster. And yet, I still had hope that somehow, someone would find something in those books to help them where I was not helped. Sure, there were small pearls of wisdom in all of them, here and there… but cumulatively, they proved a distraction from the only thing that has mattered: accepting that my husband is a counterfeit and dishonest man who never cared for me remotely like I cared for him. Simple. That’s it.

    But maybe Amazon could come up with a frequent-flyer program for all the RIC/affair-proofing books, just to make it a little bit easier on us financially when everything else in our life that we believe in,d is going to hell in a hand basket.

    • “accepting that my husband is a counterfeit and dishonest man who never cared for me remotely like I cared for him. Simple. That’s it.”

      THIS IS IT.

      • I take full ownership of sucking at making a healthy choice of spouse and ignoring the long line of red flags that were waving at me all along the way. What else….well choosing to believe feeble excuses and unlikely stories – settling for half hearted committment and staying with a man who always had one foot out of the door for thirty years.
        I put my hands up to all of that….if I had tried harder, acted sweeter, dressed different, got on with his folks better, cleaned more, gone on cycle rides, loved sports, read less and been another person then maybe he would have been great…but I am me.

    • Excellent post Mesmerized. That certainly sums it up tidily.
      There’s your one page book right there.

      Title it ‘Church and God’, and it will become a best seller – no matter what content is in it. (if you ask me)

  • We never went the reconciliation route because once I found out about his lies and his piece of shit workwhore skank, all the lonely nights, dismissed feelings, calculated, passive-aggressive treatment, crappy holidays and half-assed gifts for special occasions fit together like puzzle that had been right in front of me all along. X figured out right away that my discovery about his lies were the fatal blow to our union. He never looked back and I have never once waffled in my feelings of disgust, disappointment and anger for him.

    Prior to DD, I think of all the miserable years I spent trying to make our marriage work out of some antiquated belief that our Catholic faith was stronger than our differences. Had I not been so convinced I was doing the right thing by staying together out of a vow to God and to raise our kids, I probably would have bailed on him long before I found out about the skank and their double-secret life. X was a mean man in his disregard for me as a human being, and a cold, robotic lover in the bedroom. It was eighteen of the loneliest, sexless years of my life.

    His true colors revealed themselves two years into our marriage, but I was a big believer in the magic of our faith and the sanctity of our marriage vows.

    Turns out it was smoke and mirrors all along. I’ve been chumped by my ex-husband and the Catholic faith.

    • ChutesandLadders, A lot of this was my own journey but the Catholic faith was a generation removed from my life. My parents attended Catholic schools and while it ruined organized religion for them it made them strong believers in marriage. The trickle down though was that I lived good values while he pretended to and DID NOT. My Dday (in 2009) too was the same day he told me he wanted a divorce. He didn’t say anything about his whore then, but I knew. All his crap behavior, past and present, FINALLY fell into place and made sense. Two weeks later and that man was gone. Cheating was definitely a deal breaker for me I just wish I had discovered his lie/affair sooner. Those last few years of marriage were my pick me dance I just didn’t understand his crap behavior at the time. In those first two years following I was a fighting mess. Trying to understand the “skein.” Trying to save my kids. Trying to save myself. Cheating is a great mindfuck. I read every self help book on relationships, marriage, affairs, disordered and abusive spouses, and lawyers/divorce/family court that I could get my hands on. Even the worst had some points to make but I realized I didn’t want to fix my marriage because there was no changing who he was and no changing what he had done. Of course the affair was the tip of the iceberg. He walked away from everything, me, the kids, the pets, the property and home we owned, and all the stuff we had acquired over the twenty eight years we were together. The books I remember for being most relevant were Sudden Endings (an old old book), Runaway Husbands, and a book on Divorce and Finances. My big question was WHO the FUCK does this?!?! And how do We move forward?Then I discovered ChumpLady, I had been reading articles off First Wives World when someone casually mentioned Tracy’s Blog, and this blog has changed my life. The truth will set you free.

  • I think I’ll write a reconciliation book. How to Reward Your Spouse For Cheating on You by Losing Weight and Giving “No Strings Attached” Blow Jobs Whenever They Want. Although, I was kind of rebellious and never actually lost any weight. Although I did promise to, lol. But I really didn’t care and don’t plan to be held hostage by the Pound Police.

  • I didn’t look or try any of it. There was little literature about coping with marital desertion and recovering infidelity as a whole and single human being. But the reconciliation fruits were bountiful. “Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink. . .”

  • I latched onto the “Wayward Fog” bullsh** pretty tightly. It offered a way for a chump like me to (1) confirm it wasn’t my fault, and (2) confirm that, aside from a few initial bad decisions that “led” her into the fog, wasn’t my wife’s fault, either.

    How NICE it was to feel that my wife was blameless in response to all of this dopamine. Of course, I didn’t stop to ask myself why the dopamine wasn’t affecting her ability to meet her other obligations–it only seemed to interfere with the one requiring fidelity.

    Thank you,, for teaching me about Wayward Fog and thereby delaying for a few months my filing for divorce. It was a pleasant salve–kind of like walking around after having two drinks–but stretching that out over weeks upon weeks. I believed there was nothing I could do but hold out, and my wife would right herself in time.

    After I gave up on the fog, and started accepting that my wife is a human being with agency, I got the following reconciliation advice from our marriage counselor:

    (a) Stop bringing up the affair. She said she’s sorry. What else do you want her to do? (Your feelings are secondary here. We’re worried about your poor cheater, after all, and how post-hoc unhappy she is with the marriage).

    (b) You don’t need to talk about major life decisions right now. You should focus on being fun and rediscovering one another! Go on a date! Have more sex! (This will not, in any way, reinforce your cheater’s belief that the purpose of a marriage is to have fun and receive attention, and to compete with the excitement of an affair.)

    (c) You could try an open marriage. That works for a lot of people. (No, I’m not concerned that open marriages are built on trust and respect, and that exploring such an idea immediately after (aka, during) an affair is the antithesis of trust and respect.)

    (d) Go on a trip together! That will rekindle your romance! (And yes, I’m not-so-subtly implying that if your wife doesn’t receive her regular dose of romance, then she has a right to get it from someone else while staying married to you, because it’s your job to provide all the stable, boring stuff that doesn’t give her butterflies.)

    … I guess that’s it. I didn’t believe much of what our marriage counselor said, as it seemed totally incompatible with reality, as well as with the values I was raised with, and the values I see in successful married couples. She was, frankly, terrible.

    • Yet another therapist on my “hit with a 2 x 4” list. Ugh, JC, I’m so sorry you had to put up with that on top of the infidelity.

      • I’ve come to discern that the fog doesn’t cause the affair, the affair causes the fog. The longer we patiently wait for them to emerge, the more damage that is being done…my process was very long and now Im with the “immediate action people”…if there is a modicum of hope, it rests in them facing the full effects of their right away which includes splitting and filing and establishing a new life not as a couple.

        • Totally agree! X is VERY remorseful now, and just sent a message that he tells everyone that he screwed up everything we had. And he wants us to be together, til the end of our lives. The trouble (for him) is, I enjoy my new life where I’m no longer enslaved, I do what I want, and I get respect every day! Plus, I can’t imagine me allowing him near me, much less touching me intimately. Not after where he’s been, my standards are higher than that.
          He only learned what he lost, because I kept moving forward out of his reach. Thank Goddess I divorced him, he sure deserved it! I don’t know if my feelings about him may change, but I think I’ll just keep having fun over here, and he can keep ‘improving’ himself. He says he gave up liquor, good for him. He needs to do that for himself, not to get me back!
          I’m almost to Meh, and life is pretty, pretty good.
          (Thanks to CL and CN, and a kick-ass therapist)

  • The pinnacle of bad reconciliation advice came from a well-meaning (but perhaps delusional) friend:

    “[Jackass] cannot promise not to hurt you again. He WILL hurt you again despite his best attempts not to. He can only promise to TRY not to hurt you again.”


    “We all have warts. No one is perfect. A good marriage is about loving one’s partner warts and all (though not at the expense of one’s own self-esteem, of course). Maybe you can find that emotional place again if you are willing to forgive him. We all need this kind of forgiveness.”

    I suspect she was put up to this line of argument by her own Husband who is friends with my X. Thankfully it simply solidified my resolve to lose the cheater.

    • The old “nobody is perfect line,” Tempest. Sorry you had to hear that one.

      Not one chump, anywhere, EVER, expected his/her spouse to be perfect. We know that perfection doesn’t exist. That’s why, when the cheating starts, we’re so quick to be humble and blame ourselves! We know everyone has flaws.

      But cheating is what’s called a “fatal flaw.” It’s in the *vows*, after all. If we excuse this level of disrespect, what don’t we excuse?

  • This is my very first reply to Chump Nation. I’ve been creeping this website for a few months after my 21 month trek through the unicorn forest. Here’s what took me sooo long. Have fun:

    • Hi Shannon, I hope you are out of that forest now! I didn’t find Chump Lady until after I had tried 8 years of ‘trying to work things out’ and had split from my stbxh. But she explained so clearly what I had been doing and why it didn’t work. I am well out the other side now thank goodness. Good luck with your new life! It is awesome over here on the other side!

    • Oh Shannon, that is a horrible site. Holy hannah, I need to disinfect my eyeballs.

      Glad you found CL and Jedi Hugs!

    • I had someone tell me “God hates divorce”.. well, God loves me, and divorce might be my only answer to sanity.

      • God seems to hate adultery, lying and coveting thy neighbor’s spouse MORE than divorce since He made those three things (lying, adultery, coveting) THREE of the 10 Commandments.

    • Oh my gosh, Shannon, that website is crazy. I was looking at the Q & A and saw that they suggest you should “stand” for your marriage even if your ex has married someone else. That’s cuckoo!

  • I read most of the books mentioned here. I am certain that my Idiot was glad that I did. Yes. While I was pouring my self into these self help books…. He of course had unmonitored time away… To screw around more… To take our kids money… To seek out mortgages.
    Those books/sites are great for cheaters…. Thats who benefits from those infedelity books/sites. Chumps cant put that shit down… And the cheater knows it. They depend on the fact that you want to fix that shit.
    Those books should come with a disclaimer ” by reading this material you are wasting precious time absorbed in a lose lose situation. Your cheater now have valuable time to sock away your money and assets. Your cheater also is using the language in the books to manipulate you further into thinking there is some remote possibility that your relationship is salvagable. Please be aware that you are losing valuable time by indulging in these materials. Time and money that could be spent on a kick ass lawyer”
    Dont recall what site or book I was being hypnotized by when the spell broke… I will never get that time back.

    • “Chumps cant put that shit down… And the cheater knows it. They depend on the fact that you want to fix that shit.”

      Truer words were never spoken. And I vote for the mandatory disclaimer at the front of save-your-marriage books.

  • It’s all about the illusion of control. Those books hook us because they perpetuate the myth that we can control other people and that their BS has something to do with us. We don’t and it doesn’t (though we certainly suffer the consequences). But in those darkest days when our vision of our lives has been shattered and we haven’t constructed a new vision, when we feel we have no control, the idea that there is some straw out there we can grasp, that will give us back some control, well that’s a powerful motivator to try and do anything so we can have any semblance of an upper hand…. I’m always impressed by those who don’t fall for it and are strong enough from the beginning to realize the whole infidelity issue had nothing to do with them; it took me a long time to even wrap my head around that idea….

    We weren’t perfect. We all have lessons to learn so that we can live happier and healthier lives, in and out of relationships. But we didn’t cause anyone to do anything any more than we caused the sun to rise because we got out of our beds this morning.

  • I wasn’t married, but when I found out about the MOWI googled affairs and found AFFAIRCARE. I found the advice to be a reasonable guess about what goes on between cheaters and APs. That was useful primarily because it confirmed my own thoughts about how cheaters have to devalue their partners in order to cheat. But the notion that waiting around for the cheater fog to clear or that letting the affair play out and then taking back the cheater… I think that’s where I first learned about “no contact,” although as more of a manipulative tool to let the cheater know what he’s missing rather than a decision to keep a cheater out of my home and head space in order to get a clear mind.

    That’s what’s wrong with most of those sites. They are geared for people who, in the first desperate days and weeks after DDay, just want the old life back. They hope it’s all a mistake. And these sites feed that hope, even for people like me who absolutely knew it was over. There’s still that part whispering that it’s all a mistake. But it’s not the cheaters who need time to “decide” or think or process what’s happened. It’s the chumps who may need 6 months or even a year to figure out who they are and what they want, once the marriage vows are toast. I wish all those sites said, “You have been gravely wounded emotionally and perhaps psychologically. Get your ducks in a row. Separate from the cheater. File for support and custody if you have kids. And don’t let that cheater back in your life until he or she has a year of cheater sobriety: No porn, APs, Ashley Madison, Craigslist, ho-workers, FB emotional affairs, “racquetball partners,” etc. No burner phones. Total transparency about A full year of individual therapy and a report from the therapist about what’s been accomplished and what’s next. Credit reports. A post-nup agreement that makes divorce simple for the Chump if cheating ever occurs again.

    That year would give chumps the chance to heal, find out who they are outside of the damaged marriage, and figure out what kind of life they want for themselves outside of that marriage. After reading here for 14 months or so, I’m thinking many chumps wouldn’t take the cheater back even with all of the good behavior listed above. I know I wouldn’t let Jackass back in my life under any circumstances.

    • LAJ – you sure struck a chord with me! From the minute his affair was admitted and confirmed…I knew I was out of here.
      No hanging around – I had proof, of course, so I was the one the found out while he ate cake for 3 yrs (ok, so I’m slow) but there was NO way I ever ever wanted to see him again. Physically, he returns me to dday and physically makes me ill.
      No thanks.

      But then – I was one of the lucky ones. I found CL right away and filed immediately – not many self-help books for me!

      • I did like Runaway Husbands a lot though. That’s what mine actually did and never looked back.
        But, at the end of the book…she says….they always give you a clue they are unhappy, whether you heard them or not – or something like that.

        Then, that bothered me, because before the affair happened, he gave me never gave me one ‘clue’ he was unhappy.
        Maybe I wasn’t listening hard enough to the clueless one.

  • “And don’t let that cheater back in your life until he or she has a year of cheater sobriety: No porn, APs, Ashley Madison, Craigslist, ho-workers, FB emotional affairs, “racquetball partners,” etc. No burner phones. Total transparency about A full year of individual therapy and a report from the therapist about what’s been accomplished and what’s next. Credit reports. A post-nup agreement that makes divorce simple for the Chump if cheating ever occurs again.”

    I like the sound of this, but imagine trying to police all this good behaviour.

    It’s very sad, and not an easy thing to do, but sometimes you just have to say goodbye. There are some mistakes, I think, that can’t be amended.

  • After reading this list I am 110% certain that Christian women are the biggest chumps of all! We want a good marriage therefore we go to the sources we think are going to help us. In the end we follow insane advice. If I could say one thing I would say this…. Run in the opposite direction from any of these people and books! They will keep you in bondage. Run and don’t stop until you find someone who knows about infidelity and abuse. Don’t take anyone’s suggestion that you stay in that marriage or that you take any responsibility for his adultery. Never stay!!!! He’s a narcissitic piece of garbage. You deserve more.

    • Christian women chumps are probably the biggest chumps in our culture, but imagine the suffering of women in cultures where they have few freedoms and options…that must be a certain kind of hell.

      As a female Christian chump myself, I don’t regret praying for his soul, recovery, wisdom etc…but I wish I had done so from a distance.

    • Heather, I would disagree with your statement about “Christian ” women being the biggest chumps out there. I am not looking for bragging rights here… We can agreed that there are different chumps… Like there are different cheaters. You are as much as a Chump as you allow yourself to be… Albeit in the name of God( whoever that is for you) or whatever doctrine you live by. Chump is as a Chump does.

  • I like this note that someone found in an airport with “Read Me”:

    I recently left an emotionally abusive relationship. After months of insults I won’t repeat, false accusations, lies, delusions, broken mirrors, nightly battles…I left. I knew that I was being poisoned by each day that I stayed. So with a heavy heart, I left my love of three years, knowing that I had already put it off too long. At first he begged, then he cursed, but eventually he packed his bags and faded out of my life like a bad dream.

    For the first few weeks, my body seemed to reject this. For three years I had seen the world through him & colored glasses. I didn’t know who I was without him. Despite the kindness of friends and even strangers, I could not help feeling utterly alone.

    But it was this sense of aloneness that set me free. Somewhere along the way, I let go. I released all of the painful memories, the names he had called me, the shards of him buried deep in my brain. I stopped believing the things he had made me think about myself. I began to see how extraordinarily, breathtakingly beautiful life is. I meditated, drank too much coffee, talked to strangers, laughed at nothing. I wrote poetry and stopped to smell and photograph every flower. Once I discovered that my happiness depended only on myself, nothing could hurt me anymore.

    I have found—and continue to find—peace. Each day I am closer to it than I was yesterday. I am a work in progress but I am full to the brim with gratitude and joy.

    And so, since I have opened a new chapter in my life, I want to peacefully part with the contents of the last chapter. The end of my relationship was the catalyst for a wealth of positive changes in my life. It was a symbol. Most importantly, it was an act of self-love. It was a realization […] do not help me grow, I am letting go of a relic from the painful past.

    I wore this necklace—a gift from him—every day for over two years. To me, letting go is a joyous declaration that I am moving forward with strength and grace and deep, lasting peace.

    Please accept this gift as a reminder that we all deserve happiness. Whoever you are, and whatever pain you have faced, I hope you find peace.



    Here’s a link:

  • The CRAPPIEST piece of advice lodged in every single bit of the 12 or so books and 100s of articles I read?

    The assumption that he would meet me half way. This is absolute Bullsh*. If he met me half way, we would be in a happy marriage.

    You cannot ‘reconcile’ with someone who has the default position ‘you are not the boss of me’. All abuse (I don’t have to tell you what I really think and feel, I have the right to do what I want, I don’t care if you hurt or feel, I do not have to explain OW to you, etc etc etc) comes from this stance.

    ChumpLady is the ONLY person who tells you: they don’t care. They are entitled. They suck.

    And this? Is the only reality that you have got to go with.

  • The great thing about realizing that “They Suck” is knowing that all that sucking is going with them into every single relationship they ever have. The OWHores that are so proud of their prize just don’t know what fun they are in for.

    • That’s what gets me through tough times. For all of X’s bravado and badmouthing of me, he can’t escape himself.

      It’s been three years since Dday, and while I continue to move forward, he has decided to rewind and replay our marriage activities with his skank. My kids don’t want to be around them. X can badmouth me all he wants, but my kids know that their mother isn’t an asshole who would ever abandon them for a shiny piece of trash.

  • I too had enough books to open a library in the first year of his affair! Most have been mentioned. I have 3 daughters and one son, all grown and I have told each and everyone of them that if their spouse slips between the sheets with some stupid HO then it’s time to file divorce, no questions, no dancing, no excuses! Just tell them to GTFO! I think most of my shame and anger comes from trying to do all the “work” and now I know my ex and his then MOW were laughing their asses off! Good part about my final divorce is I am pretty sure those two aren’t laughing anymore! It’s hard to have a good time when you are flat broke!! Now I’m doing the laughing!

  • Sorry, CL, I’m late to this one but wanted to share. I purchased the ebook Save the Marriage and did the whole Fireproof 40 day challenge thing, per my therapist at that time.

    Complete waste. All the advice I utilized just amplified the issues at hand:

    Be generally nicer and never say anything hung negative to your partner=continue being the pushover your spouse is so accustomed to AND don’t call him on it when he takes advantage

    Make generous gestures to your spouse=continue doing 95% of the work in your relationship and again, don’t complain when he doesn’t help

    Regularly compliment your spouse as and give them praise=continue being the adoring partner you’ve been all along, the whole reason this predator chose you in the first place, and see if he will reciprocate & follow suit…but again, don’t call him on it if he doesn’t

    The Save the Marriage book gave me something like the 180, as well. They explained how any move one partner makes will inevitable change the balance and the other will be forced to move to restore balance. So as I was already doing most of the relationship work (finances, child rearing, cooking, cleaning, scheduling and bringing the only love & affection there was to the relationship), this book was saying do the opposite what you you’d typically do. That would’ve meant to be someone I’m not. I’m not cold, elusive, calculated…and if I stopped doing all I did we would lose our house, live in filth, our child would have to care and if have to be the kind of partner I’d never want to be. So I did what I could; I stopped complaining, I did my own thing with our daughter and didn’t involve him in much, I basically lived a completely separate life than my spouse and everything got worse. I was now giving him exactly what he wanted without the side of guilt and he was actually more verbally abusive because of it. In the rare event during that last few months that I was doing this that I did stand up for myself and put my foot down, the backlash was so much worse because he became accustomed to getting away with it.

    So, from my perspective, I wasn’t the one who needed to work on the relationship…I was already doing all that work. I shouldn’t ever have to manipulate who I am as a partner and essentially “love him less” to appear more desirable & trick him back into chasing me. This was my husband, his vows were very straight forward, I shouldn’t have to read help books and use trickery to get him to remain committed to them…he did not want our marriage to work, therefore it wouldn’t.

    • The positive from all this^ was that I learned all about what I don’t want and won’t tolerate in my life. I learned that I’m a great partner and even then I was willing to do more for my marriage, while my husband was trying to figure out how he could do less than the minimum he was already doing.

  • I purchase the book “You can Heal Your Life.” by Louise L Hay. I read it and what I got out of it was that I am the problem and I need to work on myself. I was talking to a girlfriend one day and told her about the book and said I was going to read it again. She told me NOT to read the book again and burn it. She does not have a very high opinion of my stbx and told me that I WAS NOT THE PROBLEM – HE IS! I also bought “Surviving Infedelity.” I didn’t read the whole book – I only read (Chapter 3 I think) that reassured me that my stbx’s sexting/Yahoo chat room chatting IS CHEATING! Jackass…

  • Forgot to answer your questions CL. The books gave me some hope, then I got on a couple of forums. After a few weeks I analyzed the forum posts for Unicorns, found there were damn few of them and that most of them happened after YEARS of working to ‘save’ their marriages while the cheater kept cheating. Of course when I was done with him everything went further to shit. I wish I’d never read any of those books or forums, had I gone with my gut from day one things might have ended differently, more easily, and with less damage to me. Fuck the RIC.

  • I didn’t have the option of reconciliation luckily, although I read plenty about so-called porn addiction previous to being gaslighted with the ultimate (at least) EA. Among other things already mentioned I read Rebuilding:After your Relationship Ends by Bruce Fisher on recommendation of a friend. Apparently there are workbooks and classes (which I didn’t do) on this and at the time I thought it was my life saver during the first months after dday. The idea is that there is the “leaver” and the “left” and that the leaver has been separating from the relationship way before the left. Therefore the leaver can go on their merry way for the time being while the left has to deal with shock. Then usually the leaver will want to come around again and the left has done the work and doesn’t necessarily want anything to do with it any more at which time the leaver will have to deal with their self, their addictions, foo issues whatever. It was comfort at the time that there would be karma (which I still haven’t seen) but I didn’t get the “two by four” like from Chumplady that infidelity is always wrong. The book wasn’t specifically about infidelity but about people having to go on their journey to grow etc. It sounds chumpy to me after the clarity of CL. Thanks always Tracy.

  • “My husband’s affair was the best thing that ever happened to me! the title summarizes the worst advice i bought into.

    While still high of shock hormones and Hopium, i believed this reunited Canadian couple’s story would be ours! they do workshops! we would go!

    Back to reality and well on my road to Meh, i am actually having a lot of joy these days.

    so, um, yeah. i guess i am now living the best thing so far that has come from the affair: cheaterlessness!

    • I saw that site too. The vapid look in her eyes, and the “I’m all that” look he exuded on their webpage was enough to convince me that they were one step away from Jonestown and Waco.

  • I have tons of books and followed all the “His needs, Her needs” advise on Marriage Builders. I called him everyday, even though most of the time he was too busy and annoyed to speak with me. I also bought:
    -How to act to right when you spouse acts wrong
    -10 lifesaving principles for women in difficult marriages
    -The emotionally destructive relationship

    plus Boundaries in Marriage which the x bought on audio and was listening to it obsessively while he cheated on me. like it was giving him permission.

    The X bought me:
    -The care and proper feeding of your husband
    -his needs her needs, how to affair proof your marriage

    MC also gave me loads of bad advice and tried to get me to take responsibility for me X’s bad temper and behavior. Last piece of bad advice after DDay was the MC trying to explain to me how much attention the X needs. Like me having sex with him almost nightly, begging him to spend time with me, calling him daily etc just wasn’t enough. wow.

    It wasn’t until I started doing research on abusive relationships and narcissists that it all became very clear, I was married to a sick man that would never change, no matter how many books, how many therapy sessions or how much praying I did. Thank God that is over.

    • “Last piece of bad advice after DDay was the MC trying to explain to me how much attention the X needs. Like me having sex with him almost nightly, begging him to spend time with me, calling him daily etc just wasn’t enough. ”

      When these cheaters pull the you-weren’t -paying-me-enough-attention card, how they would feel if we expected the SAME AMOUNT OF ATTENTION FROM THEM as they expect from us…


  • OMG this one is so bad for me. When we were married 21 years I did not know he was a sociopath, and I could not figure out why he had no feelings and no conscience. Throughout most of those years whenever I tried to get counseling he would say that “God’s Word doesn’t agree with shrinks”. So…. the two or three times? They were Christian-type churches and every time they would say: “If you would be a Submissive Wife – and submit to him, everything would be fine”. Then his parents (who were elders in a church) said the almost identical thing. One time when my kids were about 1, 3 and almost 5 I left him and went to a shelter for domestic violence. I lasted about 2 weeks and went to stay with my sister (8 hours away – and I drove through snow storms to get there lol). He wrote me letter after letter once he determined where I was. Every one of them said he understood me. A condition of me coming back was that he would tell the truth to his family and others around us about cheating, drugs (IV drugs too), and all the crap he did. He said he would. I went back. He reneged – all the church/his family knew nothing – and I was just an “unhinged young woman, who was over-emotional”.

    I became deader and deader within. I started having major health problems…. 4 auto-immune disorders and eventually breast cancer. I knew I had to leave. I slept on the floor of a AlAnon member’s house. I found a counselor (finally one who was “regular” – not like the church ones), and she didn’t really help at all but asked to hang out with me? “Since we were both single” you know? And guess what? She too was a narcissist and a user. I had a couple other therapists here and there after my divorce but none of them understood what I now know to be sociopathy. Most of the time the blame was put back on me – and there was never an understanding given to me of what these people ARE. I blamed myself already – who wouldn’t after what I had come out of?

    what happened was that I trusted NO ONE, and I stopped looking to psychologists/psychiatrists for help. I got a few books – one that helped me was Melodie Beatty’s “Codependent No More”, and then **ta da** I found CHUMP LADY online! After that I found groups on Facebook. And I’ll tell you what? That was 3 years ago and I’ve never looked back. I could not get over how a woman in AFRICA could have the same story as me! I’d see the SAME things over and over – and gradually I started to realize I was not alone and I was not crazy. I don’t believe that the majority of “counselors” out there – whether in churches or in offices in big cities understand anything at all. The majority keep people coming back … over and over – with platitudes… or drugs. I’m sick of it. Thank you ChumpLady for your words that always cut through the bullshit and say it like it is – you are Reality Therapy at its finest.

    • Wejoly–so glad you broke free (and hope that the cancer and autoimmune issues are under control in your cheater-free life).

  • One of the biggest issues in our marriage for me was that my husband wouldn’t “talk” to me about his feelings, or anything outside of sports, work, or the kids. If I tried to broach sensitive subjects, he’d say “men don’t think about things like that.” (Of course, he later told his mother that OW really listened to him when he talked). Anyway, I remember buying lots of books and doing lots of research on the internet. “How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It” by
    Steven Stosny Ph.d, and Patricia Edd Love is one of the books I read. The main idea of the book is to show how women are hypersensitive to Fear, Isolation, & Deprivation, and men are hypersensitive to Shame & Dread of Failure. Sorry to say that reading that book did nothing to help me find the key to getting my husband to talk to me. I guess his fear of shame was too deep for him to care about anything I read or suggested on how to save our marriage. LOL.

    The biggest message I kept getting was that I needed to own my part of the problem. I think “owning our part” of our spouse’s cheating is the most damaging information out there (it also reinforced what my ex said as the cause of his cheating being completely my fault). As a chump I was already doing the heavy lifting in the relationship, and I thought if I just tried harder I could solve our marital problems. I was already accepting too much of the blame for his behavior. It would have been so different if I’d found Chumplady before my marriage imploded. Instead of practically begging him to stay and doing the pick me polka, I’d have told him to not let the door hit him in the ass on his way out.

  • I earned a “PhD” in mid-life crisis. I knew exactly that that was my ex’s problem: approaching 50, wanting new sexual experiences not with me (his words), happiness at any cost, blaming me for everything wrong in our marriage & the whole world for that matter.

    So what!! The bottom line is he is a CHEATER, LIAR & all around SUCKY person. For the longest time I was in denial of the affair & just wanted him to see it was a phase & he’d snap out of it. What a hopium fool I was. I found CL within 1 month of the launch of the site. Thank God for her because she “slapped” me in the face with her wisdom – CN too.

      • Yeah, when a little light shines in on these cheaters, it turns out that most of them claiming mid-life crises have been fuck-ups and assholes their whole lives. It’s just that they didn’t get CAUGHT until mid-life. And it’s true of men and women in my experience.

        Mid-life crisis? More like mid-life careless.

    • yes, my cheater called his cheating a midlife crisis as well. he also further minimized it by calling it “one little mistake in 16 years,” and “all he did was accept and offer [of sex] someone made.” Later on he also said “I don’t know what you are so upset about, Muse; I stayed with you longer than any of the others!” That last phrase should have made me suspect the serial cheating but no, I went on for months thinking he had just fallen out of love with me, and in love with OW skank, and telling myself I needed to “accept” and “forgive” (I read lots of online messages about how “forgiveness isn’t for them, it’s for yourself” except somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to forgive him) when thankfully I stumbled on two things (1) emails he neglected to delete, to a prior OW five years earlier; and (2) Chump Lady. The first hit me like a second ton of bricks but opened my eyes to the absolute user parasite tha the is. Chump Lady helped me gain my strength back!!

      Realizing he was a serial cheater, reading about narcissism and sociopathy helped me understand it wasn’t at all the way he was spinning it.

  • This is the dirty little secret: We can’t control these freaks. They are cluster B’s for the most part– narcissists, sociopaths, sex “addicts”, borderlines, alcoholics, narcotics addicts, all of the above, pick three at any time, etc. etc.. Holy hell, an entire army of shrinks can’t control them let alone even understand them. They have little or no empathy, they have little or no love (at least not as we know it).

    Yet we, the empathetic, nurturing, honest, loyal chumps, the ones raising the children, keeping the home, keeping the family from flying apart, the ones who actually love and care, are supposed to change them with our GOODNESS. Right, they will see how good we are, how we take the blame for things that really aren’t our faults, how we cry and suffer. And as a result, they will in turn slap themselves in the heads, see the error of their ways, realize what they almost lost, and become good sane people who Do. The. Right. Thing. (i.e. a CHUMP in their minds). R….i……g……h……t…..

    In reality, what happened to each of us is that when caught, they lied to us and manipulated more, and being devoted spouses we want to believe them so we did. And they realized we were in fact the easy marks they thought us to be. They were emboldened to go on, while taking their disordered behavior further underground. The mind fuck continued and got worse, and years (sometimes decades) of our lives were simply laid to waste. These grifters then discarded us (and often our children) like pieces of trash.

    The problem is that the reconciliation industry, in the end, wants us to take on blame and responsibility so the cheater feels better, so that we have some skin in the game, and so justice does not feel so damned skewed.

    I sincerely doubt that in the history of the world a chump has truly changed a cheater’s pathological personality. (And I believe a long-term cheater must have a pathological personality, otherwise by what means could they do what they do to spouse and children)? I also wholeheartedly believe that being a better person, or taking on fault that is not ours, (or doing the “180”), simply cannot fix a marriage devastated by a person willing to do what our exes have done. Because these things cannot fix those who are broken to their core.

    I personally believe that no one can truly change another adult by sheer will alone. I KNOW from cruel experience that no one can change the profoundly disordered.

    • It seems that the overwhelming infidelity “cure” books are geared toward the chump because that’s where the money comes from. Chumps buy and and read relationship fix it books. Cheaters don’t buy books for self improvement as they are already perfect and they steer more toward the Esther Perel ted talks and the “Eat Pray Love” books, geared in the narcissistic journey of spaghetti , yoga , with a faux spiritual quest that brings them closer to being all about me…me…me…

      The infidelity reconciliation book industry and the poor quality of “relationship experts” ..and the poor quality “marriage counsellors” wearing home spun fleece vests, with the indoor stone fountain and dimly lit offices and who only repeat in whisper voiced “and how does that make you feel” mantra. They’re not there to set you straight, they’re there to keep billing more useless hours of water fountain how do you feel nonsense. They really don’t a give a shit, many of them are fucking around too and the fleece vest and worn leather Jesus sandals are theatrical accessories to have you believe that they don’t have horrible relationships and issues far worse than the ones they supposedly attempt to treat and charge $150 dollars per 45 minutes.

      What chumps need is ChumpLady, she doesn’t whisper nonsense, wears fleece vests, and I doubt she has New Age music playing in a dim lighted office and a cheap stone water fountain to create a spiritual mind fuck.

      • My ex-SIL who is a loyal apologist sycophant of her brother the cheater, recommended a book to him called The Drama of the Gifted Child, to help him ‘cope’ with the ‘chaos’ of the aftermath of the nightmare he created by cheating on me. I think that was supposed to reinforce his sense of being special and better than me and all of humanity. She also recommended that I read a book about Ultra Sensitive People and how to treat them because they are so different and special, and that she was going to send me a book about Women Aging. WTF? seriously? she also asked me, 2 weeks out from D-Day if I would buy Cheater a plane ticket so he could visit her so she could help him get through the horrible experience (of him cheating on me and me kicking him out and him moving in with OW).

        Still scratching my head how he was the victim in all of this, but maybe one of the sweater and sandal and stone fountain experts could tell me LOL! Love your description of these fakers! I was fortunate to have a really good therapist full of common sense. He told me the story of the snake, and that was what finally made me see Ex for what he really is, a disordered loser.

  • I read a ton of useless books after Dday. What a waste of money that I could have better used to buy a cute pair of shoes or some new lipsticks. At least those would have made me feel better.

    During bogus reconciliation, ex and I did Retrouvaille. Ugh, that gave him plenty of fuel for further abuse.

    What DID help me heal was time and as much NC as I could manage. What helped even more was an online forum for people who had been in a relationship with a partner who had narcissistic personality disorder. HUGE eye opener there. And what further helped me along the road to meh was CL and the whole chump nation.

    There was nothing I could have done to save my marriage, nothing. It was doomed from the very day we met. My ex is disordered, and he was living a double life, lying and cheating even from our dating days. While I am not a perfect person, and in looking back I can say that there are things I would have done differently in my marriage, I know that doing those things differently would NOT have made a difference in the marriage’s demise, but they simply would have been steps to improving ME as a person. Since my divorce, I am taking those steps and improving myself, not for anyone else, for ME.

    • You are right. Nothing you could have done would have been enough. Nothing can fill that black dark empty void where their soul is supposed to be.

    • We did Retrouvaille in October and he was boinking OW by February. I found the books we wrote in a while back..God only knows where H was pulling shit out of to write stuff…had to have been coming straight out of his ass. On our way home, he seemed smug…like he had punched the “wife” card for the time being…I had a deep sense of foreboding and doom…and I was right.

      When we first arrived they asked us to say one nice thing about out spouse and I said he was “brave” …turns out he was a huge coward.

  • I wish all people holding themselves out as marriage counselors would understand no progress can be made until you deal with the cheating. and the cheater has to accept and acknowledge that he/she broke the covenant. I only have power over my actions, I can’t make anyone else change. All I can do is be true to myself.

  • “Go to counseling right away.”

    A therapist’s office is an extremely dangerous place for an emotionally vulnerable chump, but a very safe place for a cheater, who is basically being given a stage to lie and manipulate with impunity before a captive audience. There are very few therapists who will cut the cheater off or immediately call them out on their shit for fear of losing the client. Therapy also provides a false sense of security, as the chump sees the cheater’s attendance at therapy as proof of remorse while the cheaters just go through the motions in order to deceive themselves and others of their commitment to the marriage.

    Advice to new chumps: Don’t set one foot into a therapist’s office if you have even a hint of suspicion that the affair or contact with the affair partner is still ongoing.

    • Oh yeah, you got that right. My one attempt at MC was with a somewhat disheveled guy who would not even begin to address cheater ex’s gold digging girlfriend. The MC blathered on about such inanities… like “You have to make an effort to listen better to each other…Appreciate each other more…blah, blah, blah.” Cheater ex, of course was claiming he did all these things and I didn’t. I kept saying, “But he’s cheating, he has a girlfriend.” Well we weren’t going to talk about that now.”

      I walked out of there, and I was done. Then I was accused of being a quitter. I was so pissed. That became cheater ex’s mantra……Tessie won’t even try. Smear, smear, smear…

  • Is it human nature for us to buy every book known to man to save our marriage??? I bought so many books and I remember tossing one across the room with a big F U! None of the books helped but the one thing that stood out was one saying when the cheater goes off for space it’s usually for them to test the waters with the OW. I knew it was true but my mind was not ready for what I was being dealt. It took a lot of tears, a lot of family, and hitting rock bottom one day. I picked myself back up, tossed the stupid books, and started taking care of myself and making smart decisions for myself and my daughter.

    • Has anyone ever had a cheater who bought lots of books on regaining trust, breaking off APs for good and salvaging the marriage single handed when their partner is in a “fog” affter DDay and cannot eat or sleep and needs medication just to get out of bed?
      Is there such a book in print…or even written? Well if not, there is a mighty great gap in the market.
      I wonder why no industry seems to exist to guide the truly repentant cheater seeking new found marital bliss with the chump?
      Probably due to lack of demand.

      • PS. My very own “repentant cheater” borrowed one book from the library post DDay back in 93….the title being “The Which Guide to Divorce”. Did I miss a clue?

  • Sweet, loving Loki bought me, “In Praise of Stay-at-Home Moms” by Dr. Laura.
    (He bought the same book for his Mom too. )
    I wanted to get a Nursing Degree and become a Master Gardener. I bought all the course books & memorized physiology & anatomy in my free time, but, wouldn’t you know, Loki really felt my place was in the home and denied me any life outside the home besides church. Resistance was futile.
    Then one day, he put me out on the streets (after he hijacked my credit and debit cards)… He said he would take me back if I dyed my hair red, and agreed to live by his conditions…
    I didn’t have chumplady yet, and I underestimated his greed and control issues, but I did not agree to his conditions.
    At this point, my awesome Mexican neighbor told me about Loki’s affair with Trashley. I was so burnt, I didn’t much care. So, his emotional affair had gone physical? I hope no other housewives live through that hell.
    Notice, Dr. Laura never stayed home.
    Now, I live with the mindfuck that was my life.
    On the positive side, I went to Nursing school & am now working on my Master’s Degree in Health care Administration.

    • Good for you, Little Lady! My ex would say one thing “take some classes”, “work part time”, and then-oops!-not be able to take care of our kids, which had me scrambling! I quit more college classes because of that fucktard…and made excuses for his crap behavior. Then when I was reliably juggling our whole life together (kids, house, yard, entertaining) and a full time job he gets another job and begins (continues?) to screw around. I now know to recognize that when someone isn’t supportive of anything you do it’s a red flag. To your new life, Little Lady! Cause it is so much better without the disordered.

      • Isn’t supportive or just doesn’t give a crap because it’s not about him/her… Yep, lived that too.

  • Have not spent a dime! Figure that she went off and had sex with someone else, she should be reading and visiting counselors to find out what is wrong with her. Not saying I dont have a lot of room for improvement, but I have gone 25 years having sex with only one person……

    • Good for you! DavidB! You are exactly the type of man I want in my future and in both my daughters’, and the type of man and husband I want my beautiful son to be.

  • Oh yes, the books!!!

    I can’t even count the bad ones, but I *DID* manage to find one decent one assuming that the offending partner is truly remorseful and wants to do the hard work.
    Yes, I know, a unicorn, but maybe they DO exist?

    This book had ZERO victim blaming and explained to the offenders that things would suck around the home fort for a good long while before they got better. No sugar coating.
    For instance, the author points out that it would probably be at least two years since the last lie until the wounded spouse could even fathom to believe a word out of their mouths.

    No pulling punches there.

    It’s a very short read, at about 85 pages if I remember correctly, so even the literally challenged (like my ex) should be able to get through it.
    My one “issue” with it was the bit of religion thrown in, mostly the last two chapters (again, I’m trying to do this by memory), but it doesn’t negate the rest of the helpful information.

    In MY particular case, I should’ve saved the $8 or so and bought myself a fancy coffee somewhere.
    You can’t give something like this to a diagnosed Narcissist/Sociopath and have it do a damn bit of good.

    His take on the cheating (and why it was fine for him, but wouldn’t have been okay for me) was “well, that’s just the way it IS in my world”.

    My answer “You could’ve let me known that 25 years ago!” >:(

    How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair: A Compact Manual for the Unfaithful

  • I know it sounds arrogant, but I knew from the start that his cheating wasn’t my fault. He comes from a long line of Disneyland dads. The women do the heavy lifting, and the men play “boss” all day; my husband was no different. I was righteously pissed when I found out he was fucking around in the midst of the worst family crisis we had ever experienced.

    I read lots online, and had an F-you attitude toward any site that suggested his cheating was any part my MY problem. Bullshit! I’d done most of the parenting myself, and social interactions as well. I’ve always thought of him as a flitting butterfly… he stayed around when things were pleasant, but the second the wind blew, or work needed to be done he was off to another flower… off to find greener pastures (ego-stroking whores). I know a butterfly is much too kind a metaphor for him, but that’s the image that comes to mind when I think of his behavior. As a person, he’s still a worm… he never morphed.

    It really bothered me that I didn’t leave him right away. I felt like the worlds biggest fraud and failure, so I mostly read self-help books on goal setting, self confidence, and parenting. Of course, I also read several personality profile books in an effort to figure him out (diagnosis: narcissist). I’ve grown as a person, and it’s given me the ability to see my behavior more objectively. Three years ago his behavior forced me to grow, and I have. He’s finally moving out, and I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life.

  • I read a lot of stuff from Bob Huizenga and got phone counseling from him (spent thousands of $$). He doesn’t blame the faithful spouse to his credit and some of it was actually helpful. But it still gave me false hope, that in time, this would just go away.

    As much as I agree that BAN profits off us chumps, they too at least don’t blame the victim.

    I’m glad my husband never agreed to counseling because it sounds like it could have just made things worse esp. if the counselor told me some BS about how I wasn’t meeting his needs.

    • I went to marriage counseling – ALONE. Asshole was too busy playing pool for marriage counseling. I went to a few sessions and it ended up to be a ‘bashing’ session against the cheating louse. Between me and my ‘therapist,’ all we did was bitch about what a loser the guy is and how I need to get away from the jackass. I didn’t pay for those sessions because it was free through my work. However – I must say those were worth a lot more than the psychiatry sessions I did go to and pay for (I think I saw a psychiatrist twice). Those sessions did absolutely NOTHING for me. (Except to take an evaluation and decide I wasn’t an alcoholic….). The Psychiatrist just listened to me and prescribed me some medication that I wound up having a bad reaction to…. So not only did I spend $ on the damn psych sessions, but I spent $ on medication that I ended up throwing away anyway.

    • Srsly? BAN does in that backhanded way we all know so well, the “I’m not responsible for his cheating but I realized we weren’t communicating, I didn’t pay enough attention to him, [insert fav thing the chump did wrong here] and now we both fixed all that stuff so he won’t ever need to cheat again…

      And can someone check me? I swear when I found them it was several affairs over years and now when I go to their site it’s one 4 month affair…maybe I’ve mixed them up with someone else?

  • I should add to mine above that after reading Save the Marriage & doing the fireproof 40 day challenge to no avail I typed in a sentence for an Internet search that brought results of narcissism, disordered, sociopathy and the like. Now keep in mind I had been trying to put a name to whatever the hell his issues were for at least a year and I’d do a search and wind up empty handed…still don’t know how that could be with the mass amounts of info online for disorders. But the sentence I typed was: he won’t look me in the eyes when I cry.

    That was it. That sentence was the magic phrase that lead me to the plethora of websites for people with no empathy or accountability and eventually here to CL.

    I’m so thankful for all I’ve learned since that day. I can not tell you how instrumental CL & CN have been in my recovery from that awful excuse of a marriage.

  • I’m late to join the conversation, but wanted to add my personal “favorite” of the numerous reconciliation books I bought post-D-day. It was titled “How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It.”

    The gist of it’s message is that women must understand that attempts to communicate about issues in the marriage are threatening to men. The instructions are essentially to shut up and cuddle more, else drive him away. UGH. I found the book while I was packing up my house and took great pleasure throwing into a trash bag with other useless items.

  • Once you are convinced that you have to move on and get out from the marriage to your cheater, I’d recommend “Getting Past Your Breakup” – it’s an easy read, with (IMHO) good advice, and really helps you to understand that the focus shift has to be away from the relationship and more towards you and your healing and your future.

    I will also say this about the suckier infidelity self-help books: I read many of them, too, but I don’t regret them. In many cases, they showed me a) how a healthier, mature, responsible response to the trauma of infidelity by a betraying spouse should look if they truly wish to reconcile, and b) that my STBXW was definitely NOT doing that stuff. In fact, in her view, the actions were justified, and she was actually meeting my halfway in even sticking around and generally pretending to the outside world that things were ok between us. If not for those books – even the more questionable ones – I’d probably have taken an even longer time to kick her out and punt the marriage.

    • Yes, I totally agree with this because the books outline what the cheater should be doing if he/she truly wishes to reconcile. My cheater also felt like he was “trying” simply because he stayed, but beyond that, he made very little effort, and couldn’t understand why I was so devastated.

  • I bought After the Affair and Surviving Infidelity. Our MC also suggested that both of us read After the Affair. I guess neither of these seemed very relevant because as someone else pointed out, you need to have a partner who is actually willing to end his/her affair, express remorse, and try to repair the marriage. Cheater did not want to do that, nor did he want to put in the hard work of trying to regain my trust and rebuild our marriage. And what bothered me about After the Affair was that I am supposed to have sympathy for Cheater while he mourns the loss of his affair partner. Sorry, but no. But I guess the joke was on ultimately on me. He said he ended the affair, but he really didn’t…

    About three months after DDay, he got very frustrated by my sadness and anger and said, “what will it take for you to get over this?” So I bought him How to Help your Spouse Heal from Your Affair: A Compact Manual for the Unfaithful. I really liked this book because it asks cheaters to own their shit, every last crumb of it. I gave it to him and asked him to read it, if he truly wanted to help me “get over it.” The book is all of 95 pages, and he made it to page 44. He said he quit reading it because it made him feel bad. Poor sausage, we can’t have that, can we? He told our MC that the theme of the book was “You’re a piece of shit.” Yup.

    • Sausalito,
      Yes! “it asks cheaters to own their shit, every last crumb of it.”
      That’s EXACTLY what I liked about the book also, along with the attempt to explain to the cheaters precisely what they’ve done to our psyches.

      It went a long way to making me feel that maybe I wasn’t quite as crazy as I was feeling at the time!

      BTW- I’m still not sure if mine made it all the way through the book, even with me highlighting the most salient parts.

      Talk about being a chump, I even tried to make his reading easier for him!

  • The only one I read that I would recommend is (parts of) Transcending Post-Infidelity Stress Disorder: The Six Stages of Healing, by Dennis Ortman.

    At least this book is reassuring that you haven’t utterly lost your mind, and yes, Virginia, your trauma is real.

    I can’t honestly remember which chapters were useful, and which not, but if you are a new or new-ish chump it’s worth a used paperback, IMHO.

  • Someone posted above that the 180 from SI is drivel, and I tend to agree. However, it spured me into action. I went out and talked with real people, remembered to eat, took a shower so that I wouldn’t stink around those real people. I didn’t have hope that this would change my mind about divorce, but it did get me out of bed and got me moving. It was a few months before I found CL and could clearly trust that cheaters suck. I guess it is what you have in the moment to get you moving.

  • There are a lot things wrong with Dr. Harley/ the posters on Marriage Builders (e.g., concept of the “fog,” cheating is due to unmet needs, not recognizing that the cheater probably has some permanent character disorder), but I have to admit that they probably saved me, by doing the following things:

    -When I first posted on their forums, I said that my XH gave me the ILYBINILWY speech and said he was going to rent another apartment closer to work to concentrate on his career. I was so clueless that I didn’t think XH was actually already in an affair (but I thought maybe he was just thinking about it). The posters on MB immediately said he was in an affair and that I should start snooping on the computer, his phone, phone records. I thought they were crazy, but a couple of months later when XH hadn’t come home in a few days, I thought about what they said and started snooping and, surprise, found evidence of an affair

    -They urged me to expose the affair to family and friends, while others, like Mort Fertel (who essentially blames the betrayed spouse for the affair) said I should keep it private. This exposure was really hard to do, especially to my parents, but it helped me get the support I desperately needed (and prevented XH from spinning the story that he met OW after we separated, which he let slip that he was planning to do).

    -After I did their Plan A (the pick-me-dance) for 3 weeks, they urged me to go into Plan B (which is essentially no-contact) immediately,giving me practical advice and encouragement.

    -After a few weeks in Plan B, they urged me to file for divorce to protect my legal rights. Plan B allowed me to detox from XH, which is when I found Chump Lady and everything she said seemed to make sense. I’m not sure I would have been open to the ideas of Chump Lady had I not already been in Plan B for awhile.

    -Another thing: Dr. Harley recognizes the absolute pain of infidelity, saying that cheating is the worst thing you can do to our spouse and that he has patients who say being betrayed was more painful than losing a child (God forbid) or losing a limb in battle or being raped by a stranger.

  • Omg! How could I forget the 5 Love Languages? The Catholic counselor I was seeing for a bit has me read that one. God bless this woman, she was so kind and wanted to help but I knew my sham of a marriage was too much for her sweet little heart to tackle. I took the Love Languages quiz, I did actually enjoy learning more about myself there, but STBX refused to take it. He thought it was stupid. Funny coincidence, I think he’s stupid. Anyhow….I think the quiz would’ve been a waste for him because he doesn’t like any of the 5 languages, truly. The closest he could get would be gifts because he wants money. But once he’s done with the lovebombing phase he wants nothing with the affection/intimacy/closeness that comes from a real relationship with depth. The love language test would’ve just self imploded as he was taking it.

  • Like I’ve stated before, the affair was devastating enough, but the absolute nonsense advice in these books made me a total doormat! I realize now that the assholes affair was not my fault. I should have shoved his ass out the door immediately. I probably would have done better emotionally. What makes me feel ashamed now is trying to get over looking like a total fool trying to apply all the so-called advice from these hacks! Again, my “expert” advice is to tell them to get the Hell out of your house, life and stay the Hell away! Lawyer up, protect your rights and dump their stupid asses on the affair partner! They deserve each other!

  • I’m very late to the party but am proud to say the only book I purchased was the Chumplady Guide. However, before that I tore up the internet trying to figure out what happened, how to fix it and then to untangle the skeins. First of my cheater, who is really not that complex, just a massively entitled coward with alcohol issues. Then of the whole concept of infidelity, also related to massive cowardice and entitlement. Then of bad marriage therapy, which boils down to financial exploitation. I hit Google for about 1,000,000,00 bizarre search combinations involving infidelity, then started mainlining Google Scholar.

    For example:

    “infidelity betrayal pain revenge divorce monkey” =
    “Beyond Betrayal: Life After Infidelity” (People become cheaters by accident)

    “heal mentally ill cheater why infidelity big fish” =
    Why A Spouse Cheats – Infidelity Explained (If your spouse cheats, it’s because you weren’t paying attention)

    “sex infidelity pain die cheater horrible death lasers” =
    Women are more likely to cheat on their partner if they carry the ‘infidelity gene’, scientists discover (read: story proves science journalists can indeed be idiots)

    Then I allowed scientists to really screw me up for a while. I work with scientists but in hard sciences so my interpretation might be wrong.

    Infidelity and behavioral couple therapy: optimism in the face of betrayal. (aka You can totally have a better marriage because of an affair)

    Maximizing the experiences of an extrarelational affair: an unconventional approach to a common social convention. (aka Judging Cheaters is Wrong)

    Teaching fidelity (aka The Fog is cognitive and affective disorientation that makes people cheat)

    Is Infidelity a Cause or a Consequence of Poor Marital Quality? (Holy crap! “EMS (extramarital sex) lowers subsequent marital happiness”)

  • I read a lot of forums on line, and what I realised fairly early on after Dday1 was “You cannot make someone love you”. That was an aha moment for me. That made the discovery afterwards (Dday2) that she was actually in a full blow sexual affair (and not just an emotional one), made things easier for me to decide what to do next.

    I just wish that I hadn’t wasted some much money and time on MC after Dday1. Being told by the MC that my ex-wife is “frozen” and doesn’t know how she feels and that she needs time, wasn’t the best advice. I got the “I love you, but not in love will you” bullshit from my ex-wife. I should have kicked her out right then and filed for divorce rather than doing the pick-me dance, giving cake, becoming a detective and slowly piecing together her crappy affair over the next 3 months. Those 3 months gave her time to mind-fuck me. Finding a pregnancy test kit, unexplained restaurant bills, nights away from home at her “girlfriend”. I made a fine chump. I did indeed.

    And now, I get to eat the shit sandwich, where she and her AP get to be together, and I get to spend 50% less time with my kids. And she can’t understand why I can’t be happy for her and “just move on”
    Karma, will come, I trust.

    In the mean time, I’ve found someone who values me, and I’ve realised that I put up with too much bullshit for too long.

  • A book that I found helpful is called Uncoupling. It is not about infidelity in particular though affairs are a common theme. This book demonstrates the futility of pick me dancing and goes a long way to explain why reconciliation usually fails.
    It was a painful read but helped me to accept that my ex left the marriage in emotional terms long before he moved out. He had two affairs that I know about and spent years being the passive aggressive nice guy to my various attempts to engage. He made the right noises but never followed through and any improvement was short lived. I truly believed that it was my fault for just not being good enough and that reading the right book, consulting the right MC, wearing the right perfume or cooking the right meal would make him available to me.
    By the time of DDay the cheater is usually no longer invested in the marriage while the chump is still in shock and denial. More often than not it really is all over bar the shouting. It takes the chump time to catch up on reality and all the pain and confusion of trying to save the unsavable holds up the process and breeds guilty resentment in the cheater.
    This book looks at many case studies of couples both married and cohabiting, gay and straight, young and old and from various walks of life as their relationship deteriorated and broke down. Common themes emerge and the few cases where reconciliation succeeded were when the partner being left focused on their own future and “caught up” with the leaver in accepting that the relationship should end.
    That often triggered doubt in the leaver whereas endless pick me dancing, bargaining and denial only provided the leaver with a safety net to jump ship from and strengthened their resolve to leave.

  • The absolute worst of these pro-marriage counselors is Mort Fertel. i bought his CDs and actually paid to speak with him directly for over $600 per hour.

    -He straight up blames a spouse’s depression, addiction, infidelity on the other spouse (wasn’t loving/attentive enough).
    -He said you shouldn’t tell others about your spouse’s infidelity, because that would be betraying your spouse’s privacy.
    -He has callers who have obviously been doing the pick me dance/serving up cake for years, with many of their spouses already moved out and in open affairs. When the cheater reaches out to the chump (which they inevitably do), he urges the chump jump on those chances to try to build a stronger, deeper, more intimate connection with their cheater to try to lure them back.
    -He encourages chumps to call their cheaters at least once a day to engage in “light, breezy” conversation and to give them gifts at least once per week!

  • holy shit that is messed up. there are some real scams out there. I fell victim to Lisa Scott’s website when I was in the throes of PTSD from realizing the magnitude of what Ex did to me. This scam makes you pay $$ to “belong” and when I said something they didn’t like (I don’t even remember what!!) they banned me and every IP address I had ever used. They kept taking my money through auto debits and refused to refund it, refused to cancel the “subscription” and insulted and demeaned me in emails. I finally was able through paypal to cancel the debits, and lisa e scott herself emailed and said she would refund the money and never did. I concluded that site is actually run by narcs who enjoy making victims suffer. be careful, chumps!

  • It’s been almost 10 years since my Xhusband “traded me in” for his bimbo office girl, leaving me stunned and bewildered with our one-week-old infant son and a preschool daughter. I think the first book I ordered was Dr. Laura’s “Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands.” I read the whole think with snot and tears streaming down my face while frantically highlighting everything in the book that my husband (now STBX) said I had or hadn’t done to cause the demise of our marriage so I could “fix myself.” I was praying I could “win him back.” Dr. Laura practically excuses all men of having an affair if you don’t do things “just so” for them. I mean, WTF — it wasn’t enough that I had financially supported him through not one but two, business startups, and become a mother while still maintaining a stressful, demanding executive position but I’ve got to be traditional Suzie Homemaker and the Total Woman too??Then I ordered Dr. James Dobson’s “Love Must Be Tough.” While it was mostly about how to win your spouse back, it did at least emphasize that the path for that was to move forward as if it might not happen and not to tolerate the affair and prepared to move forward alone. Hence the “tough.” This book, coupled with my independent counselor’s exact script for me (which I wrote down and still have to this day) is what gave me the courage to request that my cheating husband move out of the house if he was not going to work on the marriage and put OW out of his life. He skulked out of the house that very night, with me sobbing and begging him not to while thrusting a love letter begging him to “keep our family intact.” God how I wish for a redo. I did perfect on the scripted part requesting he move out or work on us. But then when I came home and saw with my own eyes that he was waiting on me to get home (so I could take over kid duties of course) with MY duffle bag crammed full of his stuff, I fell to pieces. The absolute worst reconciliation advice came from my father, a longtime cheater himself, not to mention an alcoholic. “Give the Boy Some Rope.” “Plan a Romantic Weekend Away Just he Two of You” (as I am three weeks out from delivering a 10-plus pound baby via NATURAL and INDUCED delivery and am NURSING) and then later, demanding me to stop my attorney AS HE IS IN THE COURTHOUSE PREPARING TO FILE MY PETITION FOR DIVORCE which I had finally gotten up the nerve to file. And then still later imploring me “Not to Take STBX to the Cleaners in the Divorce. It could Destroy his Ability to Conduct his Business.” I swear, was 10 X harder to recover from my f’d up family’s response to my divorce (dad is just tip of ice berg but also the “ring leader of fucked up ness”) than it was from being betrayed by my XH. Now I’m getting to watch Dear Old Dad and his Wife double down on my baby sister who poor thing HAS TO LIVE WITH THEM as she attempts to rebuild her and her small children’s life after divorce. FUCK YOU, Dad. No wonder Mother divorced your sorry self and too bad for her that she took so long to do it. For your sake, may your Death be Swift. Because near as I can tell your Wife No. 2 is all you have left signed on for ass-wiping duty and she ain’t studying it. I will feel no guilt not being there. You will not be missed.

  • If my wife had not said so many really cruel nasty mean comments after I found out. I think I could have reconciled.

    It really was not the sex that bothered me. It was the fact that she did not break it off immediately and treat it as just a sexual tryst. Instead she said she wanted to marry the guy. He went back to is wife. It was his first affair, and apparently they survived and are thriving. Most likely because he did not say he wanted to marry my wife, and he broke it off immediately.

    I am not a difficult person. I can forgive a one time lapse in morality. Cheating is not for me. I married my wife though because she swore she would never cheat.

    I am going to have to remain single, now because really, so many people are cheating, and my wife always swore she would never cheat, yet she did. So, how can I trust anybody. Life “suks”

    • …Christ!…Are we married to the same woman? Same story except I just got a call from his wife two nights ago that shes throwing in the towel, filling this week. Why? Because his story that the affair lasted a year was another lie. It was two years. She warned me that he will most likely be sniffing around my wife again, because he evidently “loves her”…..Lovely.

  • The absolute worst was Understanding the Mind of a Woman. The author escapes me at the moment. I keep it to protect others. It’s on my bookshelf at home to quote the bad advice to warn others. An example of the bad advice is that women are merely responders. So guys, if your wife is having an affair, it’s merely a response to the damage you’re doing to her.

    Bzzt, no she is an adult responsible for her choices.