Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Dear Chump Lady, How do I support my friend’s reconciliation?

assunicornDear Chump Lady

How do I support my friend through “reconciliation” with her abusive cheating husband?

Last year one of my best friends, “Leanne” found out her husband, A-hole, had been having an affair for six months, he told her they only slept together once, yeah right. When she confronted him he walked out on her and moved in with his Schmoopie, 15 years younger (they are both 53). Leanne was distraught. She showed me a few messages that her husband sent her including one where he told her that he realized he never loved her and was just “content” with her and he hoped she would experience the sort of real love that he had with Schmoopie.

Leanne went through an awful time and me and our group of friends tried our best to support her. She bought out A-hole’s part of their shared home and he bought an apartment close by her house (!) where he lived with Schmoopie. He said he insisted on a divorce and it was nothing she had done wrong but circumstances had just changed after he met Schmoopie and fell in twu wuv 4ever.

But fast forward to a year later when the bloom was off the Schmoopie rose and A-hole started to love bomb Leanne, telling her she was amazing and he realized it was twu wuv not with Schmoopie but with Leanne. I guess Schmoopie left him. During this time living apart A-hole would not let Leanne alone but called her every day to “see how she was.”

Anyway now he moved back in and is back to his old self where he blogs about cars and goes in chat rooms all the time while Leanne says she “supports him” by cooking cleaning and dealing with his 3 kids from a previous marriage (oh yeah A-Hole was married before, that marriage ended when he cheated on his wife…).

Leanne says she is in love and A-hole just made a mistake and he was tempted by that whore Schmoopie and he realized his mistake blah blah. I want to support her and I am glad she is happy but I am not buying the backtracking. A-hole is a smooth talking charismatic narcissist who comes across very charming but a little too charming. (He calls it “shining people up” according to Leanne).

Anyway Leanne wants me and our friends to go round to her home for a BBQ with A-hole and support them in reconciling and let him see that he made the right choice but… I just… can’t. Is that bad? Should I go and play nice? I saw her when she was throwing up and crying after A-hole sent those emails about how he never loved her, when he walked out and took all his stuff and half the house. I can’t act like it was a “mistake” he inadvertently made. Plus, I think it’s likely he will cheat again.

Marcia

Dear Marcia,

Huh?

Leanne wants me and our friends to go round to her home for a BBQ with A-hole and support them in reconciling and let him see that he made the right choice…

Together? Is this the pick me dance as Ziegfeld Follies? A whole chorus line of you?

You made the right choice, Douchebag! You picked Leanne! We all agree! 

Yeah, I would skip the Unicorn BBQ.

(Do you know that you can google anything? I googled “unicorn barbecue” and this awesome cartoon appeared by Oliver Ottitsch. )

unicorn-bbq-party

See that flaming unicorn with a weenie stuck on its horn? That’s your friend. She’d be all “Oh, it’s only a flesh wound! Have more potato salad!”

I don’t think I could endure that, Marcia.

It sounds like your friend is giving you guys a bit of an ultimatum — love me, love my cheating asshole husband and publicly avow that you support us. (Did they ever get divorced? What happened to the apartment and the money?) You can choose to remain friends with Leanne and disassociate from the husband. You can also choose to avoid them both. But you don’t have to accept the unicorn combo plate.

Let’s explore these options.

1) Keep Leanne, try to avoid the creep. This won’t be easy. She’ll want to discuss the creep and share unicorn fever with you. You need to have some firm boundaries here. I would state your position: “Hey, I know too much to ever feel comfortable with this guy or support your reconciliation.” And then change the subject to scrapbooking, or whatever other interests you have in common.

“Douchebag sure does spend a lot of time car blogging at 3 a.m….”

“Hey, I noticed they just came out with new gel pens and squiggle scissors! Wanna scrapbook?”

You’ve stated your concerns and you’ve demonstrated that you’re still friends. You still love that creative person she was before Douchebag. You support her. You don’t support her idiocy with Douche. You’ll have to agree to disagree on him.

It takes a lot of loving patience to be a friend like this. Especially after you’ve had a front row seat to the infidelity horror show. My friend Yoma was like this. Most people in my life did not confront my hopium problem. They thought they were being supportive with the “We support whatever you do!” stance.

My truest friend was “Reconciling with that abusive piece of shit is an abhorrent idea. I still love you. Hope you come to your senses soon. Meanwhile, let’s check out the orchid show.”

If I tried to cry on her shoulder during reconciliation, she’d listen to 10 seconds of it and cut me off. She’d made her position known. She was essentially pushing it back on me — so what are you going to DO about it?

It takes a lot of guts to be this kind of friend. Most people show up at your barbecue, choke down the fraudulent sausages, and gossip about it later.

2) Detach from them both. This is sad, but sometimes you have detach with love when there is a hopium addiction. It may be that you just don’t share the same values. She would take this guy back at whatever cost to her self esteem. She may not appreciate your “not with Douche” position and further isolate herself. That’s a danger with people in abusive relationships — the abuser is actively trying to isolate them. And their own chumpy behavior is turning off friends and loved ones. People retreat from the discomfort and awkwardness, so it’s a reinforcing cycle.

That’s why I tend to prefer option 1. Keep the lines of communication open, but don’t compromise yourself by pretending to like the guy.

People will probably point out I’m missing the third option — He’s Really a Unicorn. Abandoning serial cheats can become good partners after being dumped by their affair partners!

I don’t believe that and I don’t think you do either. Behave accordingly.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • There was one friend who stood by me throughout my mirage of a marriage. X hated her and called her a man hater. He took me off his phone plan because I talked to her too much. I had fun with her and he had no friends. In 2010 I called to see what he wanted to do over the weekend and he said, “I’m dating”. Yes, he had been calling three women while living with me and once again I couldn’t believe it. He conned her into believing we weren’t getting along fir two years and getting a divorce. Al lies. I did the pick me dance and kept the disordered through yet another four years of narcissistic cycling until the final discard in 2014. One of the ways I had to improve upon myself was to drop my friend who according to him interfered with out marriage.

    Be there for your friend she needs you. I like option #1. When I finally divorced the asshole my friend sat right next to my lawyer and me as the disordered sat alone looking like he was going to vomit.

    • Well, you have to wonder what is wrong with a person who reconciles with a cheater who left them for another person.

      When my jackbone, wife left me for another guy. I got used to living alone. When she wanted to come back (and they always do when they get involved in a REAL relationship) I was NOT about to take her back. I was fine living alone.

      If she had dropped her slutbuddy, immediately, I may have reconciled, but once she left me for him. Forgettabout it!

      • Some people have a great fear of being alone and more than likely her self esteem is shot. The cheater will eventually resent her for being weak. In his mind she will always be sub par and will be more than receptive to the next skank that crosses his path. Very sad for her and all the time she is wasting, just to be dumped yet again.

      • Let’s not judge. Who knows what the damage was to this woman by her husband, father, mother, etc….in my case trust me I wasn’t stupid. It had little to do with me or the a-hole but a history of low self esteem.

      • The artist’s name is Oliver Ottitsch, and the comic is called “Warum die einhörner ausgestorben sind”, or, “Why unicorns went extinct”. Many of his comics are NSFW, by the way, if any of you decide to google him.

      • I laughed and laughed over the unicorn barbecue cartoon. It’s like it was made to go with CL’s column today! Anyway, I also agree that option #1 is the best. You shouldn’t feel obligated to do something that goes against your gut instincts. If your friend values your friendship she’ll respect your boundaries. Just remember she’s high on hopium, and that’s one of the most powerful addictions there is. I remember friends thinking I was absolutely crazy to want to reconcile with someone who was so obviously a douche bag. It’s hard to understand unless you’ve gone through it.

        • ^^^TRUE^^^ no one understands unless they’ve lived it. Thank God for CN! You all understand!

          My humble opinion: Remain friends with your delusional friend but remain true to yourself and your feelings about the douchebag that she married. She should understand that you’re a true friend & that his treatment of her affects you too. You don’t want to see her hurt by him. And you know it will happen again. Be there to catch her when she falls. That’s what true friends do. But also be real and call her on her bullshit. She is making a choice with her eyes wide open now. Remind her of what she willingly (this time) has gotten into when she forgets. She needs a true friend to do this. It will slap her back into reality. We all need a good slap every now and then. A good friend will deliver it gently but firmly. Thank God I am blessed to have a few good friends like that.

            • Matter of fact I wasn’t impressed with John’s comment ” what is wrong with a person….” WTF. Are we judging chumps? Or am I too sensitive. I don’t blame myself and I never feared being alone. Someone once told me I stayed because I feared being alone. No.

              • Donna, the words/phrases that you point out are the exact ones that caught my attn as well. I wasn’t afraid of living alone, as I’d already been living alone and picking my life back up for 1.5yrs, when x convinced me that we were worth another shot. I believed in “us”, so I took the risk. I don’t regret giving it a chance.. although, knowing what I know now, I’d have left after one year since by that time I’d realized that trust may never return. I ended up staying for almost 9 years and lost huge pieces of myself in that time. I ended up losing trust in myself as well, since I stayed so long. I got used to ignoring what was missing instead of using it as a guide to leave. I’m glad I tried, but now warn others that it’s hard hard hard to live or love fully without complete trust. If I had to do it all again, I’d put a one year time limit on things – and if it didn’t feel better than 100% again, I’d exit.

            • Donna
              I lived 13 years with POS cheater husband after finding out about first affair. I tried to make it work because he led me to believe that is what he wanted too.
              I was convinced that my love would change him. He didn’t change. He got even worse because he knew he would be taken back no matter what he did because I loved him. I’m not blaming the victim. I know what it’s like to have hope that is not founded on reality. That hope is delusional as is anyone who thinks a cheater will change. I have every sympathy for people who’ve been cheated on and commiserate with them. I’ve been a victim too but I won’t remain being a victim and the word needs to be spread that these cheaters don’t care how they hurt you and will continue to hurt you. And that you should get away from a cheater as soon as you can because it will get worse when they know that they have you hooked and that you are willing to try again and again and again. This is my opinion and I respect that you have your own. My opinion is that she’s delusional to think it will work and expects her friends will forget what this man has put her through. She may forget but her friends shouldn’t forget for her sake. She will be needing them in the future.

  • God, how sad for Leanne that she feels life with this schmuck is better than being alone. Try for #1, but didn’t you tell me you already had plans for the same day as her barbecue?

    • “Going camping that weekend” is what friends of ours use to avoid unwanted encounters. Everyone close knows if the camping trip is real or situational.

    • UnderC

      I was in it through multiple Ddays and I was never delusional and I did everything alone. Staying with a serial cheating narcissist was never my plan. That was all on HIM. Thank you for your response. Trauma bonds us in very destructive ways especially when we don’t recognize the pattern. Those comments were more of the same and blame the victim. Thank you!

  • That cartoon is epic on so many levels:)

    I would keep my friend, but draw a line in the sand. Like “I love you, will let you vent your frustrations, and try to take your mind off the BS by doing things we’ve always enjoyed (days at the lake, bargain shopping, have a stiff drink on the porch & people watch, etc.) but I WILL NOT entertain how fantastic A-Hole is now nor will I be in his presence. I did this to a friend recently…her asshole cheated and beat her up a handful of times. She accepts my position and knows it’s because I care for her so much.
    At the end of the day, she has to make the decision to cut him off like the dead limb he is. It’s frustrating, but you can’t do it for her. If you went took the easy route by “going with the flow”, you would be not only doing her a huge disservice but compromising your integrity as a friend as well.

    • // , It’s even sadder, too, since there’s probably some worthy man out there who’s actually worthy of your friend’s affection.

  • Personally, it is a true test of friendship to be able to disagree over even important things like this. Hope you can pull off #1 as CL and others here say.

    As a side point, here’s another example of how infidelity impacts more than just the couple. I just highlight it as that is usually lost when people talk about infidelity. Too often it is treated as just a matter between the husband/wife.

    • Epic cartoon find, love it!

      I have a friend who hangs out with all of us going through divorce now, dumping our cheaters. She is only “separated”. In truth her h is a huge cheater, thats why he wanted her living away from him. He still uses her services in his business, and pays her handsomely for this. She doesn’t like living in two homes (of course he wanted the beautiful lovely home they built together) while she picked up another home, nothing like her dream home, BUT she say she is OK with it all. She acquired him 25 years ago cheating on her then faithful xh and his faithful xw and so she feels bad now and doesn’t want this to end BADLY. huh?? I think she feel “karma” is visiting her but refuses to look at it. We allow her listen in on our conversations but none of us try to tell her what her “special cheater” is up to.

      DM is correct that infidelity impacts more than the couple. I personally would choose NO BBQ! No thank you, Im not good at being that kind of friend.

  • When I went back to my STBX to try reconciling, some family and friends didn’t want to hear from me any more, said they wanted out of the drama and one of my daughters even got very angry with me and told me she doesn’t want to talk about my relationship, good or bad anymore. I could see that she lacked respect me for me now, could see it in her eyes and hear it in the tone of her voice. This all really had an affect on me, so much of an affect that I’ve since told my STBX I couldn’t do this any more, that I had to move on and that it’s over. I’m sure I was just addicted to him now. Thanks for making me see this more clearly CL.

    • Before I married, I broke up with a man because I caught him in bed with another woman. A very lonely year went by, and sadist that I am, I called him to reconcile. He had been living with the fuckbuddy, but “broke up” when I called.

      I dated him for three months before I realized he wasn’t my type. Discovering he was still involved made me face up to the truth that I was addicted to a liar.

      I thought I’d picked my picker when I met my future (now ex) husband. Seems I was still drawn to narcissists, only more covert.

      I’m in no hurry to date, and probably never will again. I’m good guy kryptonite.

  • Marcia,
    I wish more of my friends took a stand and were up front about their comfort level. I watched as slowly everyone became’ busy’ and avoided any contact with us. These were the same people patting me on the back telling me to do what I needed to do to save my marriage.
    Worse yet , the friends that wouldnt take a side….. ‘ you are both our friends and dont want to be in the middle’ Chicken Shits. Funny enough those same people have gravitated back to me with stories like…. ‘ we reached out but he just didnt want our help’ and … ‘ he’s changed, we dont have much in commom with him and his young GF’ …. Ya ! cause its creepy as fuck that he is living with some one only 6 to 8 years older than your kids!
    Needless to say I cordial and reserved… They are now Christmas Card friends.
    A few years ago a couple friend of ours lives were shattered when the husband decided he needed to be a body builder… He essential drain the family’ s income with supplements( not necessarily the legal kind… Whoa Trigger!) and he ran off two weeks before Christmas to another state after draining the bank accounts and opening two credit cards. Two or three schmoopies on the side. No forwarding address. Three kids under 10. We help her with christmas gifts for the kids. When her asshole came sniffing back… After a years absence..I couldnt associate with him. I told my friend I loved her very much but I couldnt be friends with her spouse anymore. My own spouse thought my position was harsh and very judgemental. His arguement was ‘ you dont know the whole story’ My retort… ‘ I know enough to take a stand’
    I supported my friend through her reconciliation which lasted less than 6 months… I met with her and her children. He left for parts unknown again! Its been 5 or maybe six years…he has never contacted his kids or her again. My friend and I ? We remain as close as ever. I never mislead her nor pussy footed around the issue. She respected that.
    Marcia, be honest with your friend… Support her from a distance and dont be afraid to take a stand. And if she doesnt…. Well , maybe its time to end the friendship….put her on your Christmas card list.

    • God I hate that wishy-washy “we don’t want to get in the middle!” or “you don’t know the whole story!”…

      I don’t know the complete story of Nazism either, but I can firmly say they suck!

      It IS okay to take a stand instead of the spineless, head in the sand, don’t make waves, play nice method employed by most.

      It’s like no one wants their precious little world to be rocked by the truth that sometimes a person you thought was okay is indeed a scumbag.

      SHEESH!

    • I’m late to the party responding but I’d like to add that in almost every Divorce workshop i host, at least one woman shares her story about a short lived reconciliation. The ending is almost always the same — the divorce is called off, they’re reconcile and remain together for a short while and then he leaves again.

      It almost never fails that she becomes responsible for a lot more community debt — which might have been separate property debt, if they had not changed the date of separation by re-uniting.

      I’d advise any friend or client who is considering reconciliation to invest in a monthly credit reporting service.

      I think it’s really our obligation to give our candid opinion of the percentages of success with the disordered and the steep financial and emotional price for believing in unicorns.

      The only thing worse is than a short lived reconciliation in my opinion, is a long one where the cheater wastes another 20 years of someone’s life and financial future.

  • Run Leanne, Run! The *first* time my ex left me (yes, that’s right there were more) he told me “I don’t know if I ever loved you”. It only got worse from there. I wish I had taken him at his word back then. Would have saved me years of heartache.
    There’s something about someone who will say anything in the moment to get what they want with absolutely no regard for the future or the past. My guess is that this A-hole will to do something very similar once he finds the next Schmoopie.

  • I so agree. PLEASE be the #1.

    I was married for over 30 years – my “cousin” (a long-time family friend), when I told her I was divorcing, broke down in tears of relief. She had issues with my x for many years, unbeknownst to me. I wish to hell she had leveled with me.

  • First, give her a copy of CL’s book and direct her to this site. She will understand and appreciate your position better. Then remain her strongly supportive friend. WHEN he cheats again, not if, she will need you there.

    • Certainly give her a copy of CL’s book. She’s not really ready for this site yet, though, and the next thing you know, we’ll get one of the “You are all bitter bunnies for not supporting me while I’m reconciling with my sex-addicted, poor timid forest creature, sad sausage husband” people posting.

      Send her to this site once she’s starting to question the 3am blogging, the lack of effort around the house while he expects her to take care of his kids’ daily needs, and the disrespect.

      If it works, tell her that you value the friendship and are happy to do the latte, shopping, lunch route, but you have a hard time being around a man who is clearly an entitled, unrepentant cheater who’s back only because Schmoopie broke up with him.

      • Agree. This is her first experience with reconciliation, and she’s going to be slowly but surely disappointed. The reality of the situation, and what he is, is going to become very clear. CN will be a big help to her in putting the pieces together, and in gaining the courage to face the bitter truth.

        I’d be interested to know if he’s offered to return the money to the family coffers. My guess is he has a house, half the value of the house in cash, and a schmoopie that got tired of him. He’s looking for somebody ‘better’ as we speak. The poor woman is getting USED.

  • Wow! I once was Leanne but my eyes finally opened and I walked out on him for good!
    Great article, CL. fabulous cartoon! Playing with someone who is playing with fire is bound to scorch you too. It’s a no win situation for a friend. If there is a reconciliation and you see the writing on the wall don’t be afraid to tell your chump you love her but can’t handle her drama until she leaves the jerk for good. Then make an exit. I only had two friends who saw the truth but knew that I needed to go through being stupid with the hopes that I would soon see what they did. I look back and wish I had been slapped in love. I waited too long and wasted precious years. Haven’t we all?

    Why don’t these assholes just drop dead! (Did I really say that?) the
    pain and confusion they cause is UNFORGIVABLE. That’s right. UNFORGIVABLE! No bitterness here, just reality. Dump a jerk, gain a life, and live in peace!

  • I’d probably just opt to stay away. I’m the kind of person who can’t keep their mouth shut. A couple drinks in me and I’d be all, so Bob . . . how’s your “blog” or whatever you call it. So, Bob, what’s new? Bob, I’m like totally “content” with these hotdogs. But I’m experiencing “real love” of your ribs.

    eh Bob? psst Bob . . . . go fuck yourself. Just kidding buddy . . . (messes up his hair, slaps him on the back.)

      • I want Rumblekitty to go to the BBQ. Bob deserves to be totally confused by a stranger with such insight into his life.

          • “I am Rumblekitty! Don’t you remember me, Bob? I brought that tainted salad I suggested no one else eat. Hope you enjoyed it.”

            • I might have to make a chocolate “cake” just for Bob, with Ex-lax in it. Hopefully they only have one bathroom, cause I’m gonna disable the toilet too.

              • Ahh, the old ExLax frosting thing. “Sorry everybody, this is a SPECIAL cake just for Bob!”

                Probably bad form. I’d stick with the tainted salad. Though I have it on good authority that melted into hot fudge for sundaes, ex lax gives immediate relief. No need to endanger others if servings are individual.

    • I’m with you Rumblekitty. I can’t keep my mouth shut stone cold sober, although I try to be tactful. Because of my inability to refraIn from calling it as I see it, my guess would be I wouldn’t be invited in the first place.

      • @Rumblekitty and Tessie

        I’m with you two – if we ever go to the same place, they should seat us together and tell others to steer clear if they don’t want to hear the bald truth. I am incapable of being anything other than totally authentic. This is true for my words AND for my face/body language, even on the rare occasions when I decide to zip my lip for once.

        Alcohol only makes this worse 🙂

        I think this knack for real authenticity is partly what made me an easy chump…I can’t quite wrap my head around duplicity in any form.

  • Marcia, think of your friend as a heroin addict. She was struggling to kick the habit, you were supportive of her while she was in rehab, and yet she still chose to start shooting up again. Now, if she invited you to go to a shooting gallery with her to demonstrate your support for her choice, would you feel obliged go?

    Of course not! And that’s the attitude you have to take toward her reconciliation with asshole. She’s addicted to the brief highs she gets from being with this man, even though he’s killing her inside and out. It’s unfair of her to even ask you to witness her destruction.

    I go with Option #2: Detach with love. Make it clear that you’ll be around if she wants to kick the asshole habit again, but you can’t just pretend that he’s a great guy and all the pain and suffering he caused her (and caused you by proxy) didn’t happen.

  • I guess my question to her would be, he cheated on his first wife, he cheated on his second wife, what is he going to do next?

    • oh! I know this one!

      – He’s going to DISNEYWORLD!!!!

      no?

      He becomes a changed person completely and remains loyal and faithful and loving and true to his current wife!

      no? (man I am terrible at this!)

      okay, now I remember….

      He goes through the motions for a few months, being sure to over-compensate with the ‘I am such a good guy’ shows of love for the studio audience. He then gets bored and starts chatting women up on-line or in person, you know, just for friendship. He then (TOTALLY UNEXPECTEDLY) develops super-duper overwhelming feelings for one of these women, and the tru wuv overpowers him (seriously he has no control, so it’s not his fault) and he begins another affair….

      • She should dump him and go to Disneyworld. It is make believe but you KNOW it is fake. She hasn’t figured out yet that she just got the used Naugahyde back. Oh, sorry. The genuine Naugahyde.

  • My bff was the first one to tell me to leave asshat and I will forever love her for that. I will also love my SIL for saying “do you really want to be married to someone who has such poor coping skills?” And after I finally decided to divorce him, “if you ever need anyone to remind you why you are getting a divorce, call me and I’ll help you!”

    It takes guts to be that kind of person.

    Papers were filed today! One step closer!

  • It must be hard to watch this slow wreck in progress but sometimes the most loving thing you can do for someone is to let them fail and hope they survive. It sounds like Leanne is full of hopium and I don’t think you’ll be able to reason her to the to the other side of the canyon. In fact, that may drive a wedge in your friendship. All you can do is love on her so that she comes to you when the hopium runs out… again. She may have to do this a few times before she gets it.

    • I think that Michael nails it with that comment. Even as a friend, you’re under no obligation to do something that disagrees with your value system. I hate to say it, but it sounds like your friend is going to learn the hard way, and that you’ll be there for her when she does.

  • Heather, I agree. The chaos my ex put me and my family through is unforgivable and we will never offer forgiveness as he feels he did nothing wrong! It is clearer and clearer to us each day that he is a manipulative narcissist. And it was utterly amazing to me that his own family knew all along what a jerk he had always been and NEVER said a word to me about his antics in 40 years! Had I known some of the stories about him from childhood before I married him I believe my marriage would never have happened. He was obviously a very troubled kid from the moment he took his first breath and he was a cruel child. Chaos was the norm in the household and it usually had to do with him! He hid his narc behavior well to gain his Daddy’s approval, but once his Dad got old and had to concentrate on his own life and that of his Mothers dementia he went off the rails! I guess he felt he had checked all the boxes to please his family of origin and I just wasn’t useful anymore. Who knows and who cares, but I personally will not give him a chance to ever destroy me, my kids or grandkids again! He is and always will be persona non grata and he will NOT be forgiven! Both my siblings and his siblings despise him and were very happy that I got away from him. They would never support a reconciliation because they know he cannot be sincere. Everyone knows he is a user and they have NC with him at all.

    • I can never figure out why cheaters can’t apologize in genuine ways. It’s always a sort of half apology. My ex wife always says it takes three people to make an affair, and she exaggerates my faults so that it seems like I am also guilty of something and so she can be mad too.

      • Apparently it took my ex-wife at least 7 people to hake her affairs, her and at least 6 affair partners.

        Your ex-wife is abusive and/or stupid. The nerve. You are well rid of such a person.

      • Charles, it doesn’t take three to tango unless you were on the dance floor with them. My guess is they went out dancing without you, and she is now complaining now that you didn’t realize you were not left home alone but were somehow a participant in that? The correct answer is “Bite me.”

      • i dont know why cheaters just cant own up to the shit they did. exhole is NOW saying he didnt or never cheated on me because we were “separated” at the time. even thou i have told him repeatedly in the past that you cant “break up” when you are married and we are NOT in high school. that is his mentality. he thinks he didnt do anything wrong because we were separated at the time. of course he seems to have “forgotten” all the shit he did that lead me to kicking him out in the first place. that stuff is not important, he’s just a nice guy….dontcha know. yea, if nice guys bail on their wives and abandon their children kind of nice guy.

  • My friends and family were awesome when my ex after total discard and cheating, and suddenly (and may I say very awkwardly) blurted out “I guess you would never take me back, would you?” Smooth, right? I called my mom and she said, “This is your mistake to make, but I believe it is a mistake.” My mom is the most supportive person I know, so for her to tell me it was a mistake really validated how I was feeling about reconciliation. The ex texted how sorry he was. I asked him about MOW who he had never admitted to previously. He simply said, “I thought I wanted something else, but I really want to be with you guys.” It was like he had ordered the wrong thing at a fast food place, not devastated our family and betrayed me. He never directly stated that he cheated, made no suggestions for how to improve our relationship or regain my trust. I could just see he wanted to come back as long as it was easy and with no consequences, so I simply didn’t say anymore. I told my friend about the exchange and she said, “He is a turd. Time to give him the metaphorical flush.” After that I got one more tearful apology, with no action. Not even telling me he had broken up with MOW because he still would not admit to the affair out of self preservation. Thus ended may be the shortest, most half assed reconciliation attempt, and I found out a little while later while he was trying to reconcile he was also filing an order to try and reduce child support. (Money is a powerful motivator) I was lucky to have had friends, family, and CN to tell me the truth. It saved me a whole lot of heartache and save them from having to support me through a false reconciliation.

    • Mine has never admitted it either. Despite it being obvious. He keeps saying he doesn’t know what he wants. “Goes back and forth”. Between me and schmoopie I suppose? What man goes back and forth between a beautiful stable family and living alone in an apartment?

      He doesn’t realize how his words validate the actions he won’t admit too. He also, would like to avoid consequences. Consequences are yucky.

      • Yes, it was validating in my class that he refused to ever say the words. I knew about MOW because he had gave/ sold her my car the day he left “to work on himself” and a few weeks later my then 22 month old came home talking about how MOW and her kids lived with daddy, bathed there, and slept there. I did not confront him with the information but did mention it in deposition. I knew. He knew I knew. So the fact he would not man up and say it was very telling about how insincere his reconciliation attempt was. Now that the divorce is final he shoved her down my throat. They walked out of the court together. She came with him to pick the kids up the very next day. All I said was, “At least now we can stop pretending.” and went on my business. He has no shame or remorse as long as his money is not on the line.

      • I don’t know what pathology drives the refusal to admit to anything, even when caught red-handed. For the first D-day, I walked in on him with the skankalina de jour, and he had the audacity to tell me “nothing happened”. They were just in the bed naked together. I was jumping to conclusions.

        I’m SO ashamed that I stayed with him for four minutes after that, but I did.

        Glad that’s over!

  • Poor Leanne!!! Why do these jerks always come BACK after the schmoopie love dries up? This is a recurring theme as well. They always seem to come back!

    Maybe you have CL.. but you should draw a cartoon of the “night of the living ex” with an ex zombie.. or the ghost of exs past.. who always shows back UP and you can’t get RID of.

    • My Ex will never come back to me. Not that I want him. Smoopie and him are in heaven, their love is real.
      He has his mommys $$$ and support. His Mommy is also a narcissistic bitch and is kissing smoopies ass and her children as well. I have been divorced for a year now and ex has introduced smoopie and her kids to my children.

      My girls notice how daddy is doing things with her kids he never used to do with them. They feel like they are getting replaced. My heart hurts for them!!!

      • Wow33, your X and shmoopie have twu wuv, not real love…real love is patient and kind…AND DOESN’T CHEAT OR LIE OR ENDANGER YOUR HEALTH!!!

        ah, there we go. much better

        i wish there was a survivor’s guide for kids. so they can figure out during their formative years that dad’s “rejection” of them is not about them, never was, never will be. it’s about narcissism and relational sociopathy. i bet somewhere deep down, they know this.

        • // , They will still, I suspect, feel like they have been cheated out of a life that so many others receive as their birthright. Rightly so, I’d imagine.

  • Please don’t stay away. Our worlds shrink in a bad marriages and pretty soon there’s no one left but the A-hole for your friend. It’s hard to leave with no one in your corner.

    We humans need each other, it’s our nature. Just set up some appropriate boundaries but don’t jump ship.

    I’m speaking from experience. It’s a big scary world when you have no one to join you for a coffee or afternoon of shopping. Don’t keep your position a secret. Just don’t make it the focus of your friendship.

    • Abusers isolate their victims, it IS very hard to rebuild a social network when you finally get free. I’m still working on it Sad in Seattle, we will get there! Jedi Hugs!

    • I’m with you Sad in Seattle. Go for the #1 Option. Put yourself in her shoes with ‘Unicorn vision’ glasses on. She is struggling with dumping what she has invested and hell- she’s scared. She just has to see that she can live and flourish without him. She’s obviously a good friend and you have enjoyed spending time with her. Keep that. Keep her- but respect your values and don’t go to the BBQ.

  • “How do I help my friend with reconciliation?”

    He is an abuser. His abuse of her will be prolonged by it. So the question you are asking yourself is,

    “How do I help my friend with her abuser?”

    The drugs analogy is a good one-you get her through rehab once, she will need to deal with the relapse.

    It sucks-you are good friend and person of integrity, but sometimes you can’t be both, or if you try to be both, you end up being neither.

    Maybe one more try, then loving detachment. Sad, we have all had to do it, but we only get one life.

    Please don’t chump yourself…..

  • Marcia, I have heard from so many friends (male and female) that they didn´t like my cheater X (before we all knew he was cheating) and that they distanced themselves from me or didn´t call me as much because they didn´t want to be around him. Some even confessed that they didn´t like the way he talked to me or that he treated them badly behind my back. My father confessed recently that he never trusted the guy or really liked him, he felt something was off. It seems they all got the narcissist vibe because they were not invested in the relationship. But NOBODY ever told me! Until now…I wish I would of had that one friend who slapped me in the face and told me the hard truth even if I did not want to listen at that point. Therefore I go for option 1 and I would tell your friend something very simple such as “abused people who stay with abusers are condoning the abuse….this guy will never figure out he did something wrong if you stay with him…and you my friend, deserve a better life than being someone´s maid and babysitter”

    • Sara, my family and many others were clued in before I was. I actually went back to the ratbastard for maybe six months and a sister did not speak to me for years afterward. She knew I was inviting more misery and told me so, but I couldn’t listen at the time. Some people have to do it their own (hard) way and in their own time, and no one can say anything to change that. So I too think Option 1 is best. Don’t abandon the friend who hasn’t yet seen the light. Tell them you are there for them when they do and your thoughts are with them until then.

      • Some people picked up on my depression and said they thought I seemed sad when they saw me with my ex the last few years. A couple of people said they were shocked at the way my ex talked down to me. What’s weird is that I had become emotionally paralyzed and didn’t really notice. It was eye opening to have people reflect back to me what I couldn’t see for myself.

    • I just ran into an old aquaintance/friend on Saturday who told me that my stbxh “always made the hair stand up on the back of my neck”. I told her she made my day by telling me that….

      I’ve also heard that he’s already cheating on Schmoopie, (while he lives with her rent free). I would love to somehow give her that info anonomously. Doubt she would believe it.

  • I think I would continue to be Leanne’s friend, on her terms. She is being dumb but she’s not doing anything “wrong. “. Abusers like nothing better than to separate you from your true friends. Which is what keeps you in the cycle of abuse. I would ignore the husband, and if she tries to talk about him, change the subject. You can only help your friend if you are involved in her life. I’m not trying to convince anyone, this is just what I would do personally.

  • Several of my friends and family respected me less for staying with my ex-wife as long as I did (approx 6 months from D-Day #1).

    That’s reality. I didn’t lose any friends over it, but it did help me to see that friends and family (like love) are not unconditional. You stay with a cheater, and some people will write you off. This actually makes perfect sense.

    ———-

    My then-wife gave the same “I’m only content with you” argument. At first, I tried to “explain” to her that long-term relationships involve contentment most of the time, with some highs and lows thrown in there. She was convinced, however, that I should be providing constant highs, the way that I did (without even trying) when we first started dating years earlier.

    I knew that my providing the high of a new relationship was biochemically impossible…and resented her for setting the bar so high. Regardless, near the end, I danced pick-me for two weeks, pretending that I could interminably re-create for my wife the excitement of being 27 and dating someone brand new.

    And then I wised up and divorced her sorry ass.

    • JC, only junkies need constant highs. The rest of us are good with holding hands and watching a sunset and grilling in the yard content most of the time, knowing it’s all real. Those birds really are singing. Those flowers really are blooming. The bills really are paid. The kids are healthy and doing well in school. Too mundane for a junkie. The “I need/deserve/am entitled to more, much more” argument is not coming from a mature person. Good thing you wised up and divorced her sorry ass.

    • Happiness is a decision. Love is a decision. These aren’t “feelings” they are decisions. You make a decision to be happy (I admit I haven’t always done this, but I have learned).. the people around you aren’t responsible for your happiness.

      Love is a decision. You make a decision to love someone. “Feelings” come and go.. the “high” of a new relationship doesn’t last with anyone. When you get married, you “decide” to love this person through the highs and lows, and work with them forever. It’s a life long decision. (Or so I thought when I took my vows)

      My H doesn’t get this. He thinks marriage, like cars, or computers, or other things.. are disposable once they are no longer “fun”. Apparently I am disposable too. I danced too.. attempted to meet his “needs” but I can’t be new like Schmoopie. I am the same ole newchumpatl. Mother of his kids, 2 decade partner, best friend (I thought)- I’m the clothes washer, bill payer, kid wrangler, cook… utility stuff but not sparkly.. I can’t be sparkly and can’t dispense the kibbles like the whore can. So- I’ve outrun my usefulness.

      What H doesn’t realize is that I will be NEW to someone ELSE. And so will you JC. And not only will you be new and sparkly… you have the whole package.. integrity, honesty, trustworthiness, loyalty, emotional maturity, intelligence…. you are a package deal. What are the odds your XW’s schmoopies had all that? I would say next to zero. Let her chase the bottomfeeders- that’s where she belongs.

      You are mighty JC!

    • I miss the contentedness the most. It’s so underrated. Joy is finding beauty in moments in life and happiness is as fleeting as the ability to produce the right neurochemicals. Maybe that’s all coming from someone who’s struggled off and on with non situational depression. It’s actually amazing how often people can become slaves to their neurotransmitters as much as their privates.

      • // , I think I’m going to use that last line on a date. What a pickup line it would make, too.

  • I think being there for your friend is key but I strongly believe in values and healthy boundaries. Share good times but disengage from the drama. Share your feelings re her past. And yours. And let her know how you feel. Honest communication is best. I respected those friends who “went crazy” with me when my marriage fell apart, we spent two years going on short trips together to beautiful places (Reno, Tahoe). I never attempted reconciliation and my friends just allowed me to grieve. The best ones listened to me talk knowing I just needed to process the circumstances ( they recognized they were not to “fix” it for me). I think you want to balance that out with having fun, it’s a great relief just to go out with the girls dancing. 😉

  • Keep talking to your friend and show your support. In the months leading up to d-day, I had one friend who knew the truth, agreed with me he was most likely cheating and encouraged me to leave. Over and over again…she hung with me and cheered when I finally filed. She can’t stand my STBXH. And my world DID shrink over time, few people we met liked him, we rarely had couple friends (usually the wife found him creep), the list goes on. Support your friend but not the ass-hole. Skip the picnic but do things with your friend alone.

  • Leanne has to go through her life experiences. Maybe she needs just another round of shit hitting the fan, to be completely convinced to dump the guy. With zero regrets. With absolute certainty that there was nothing to save. She needs to be 100% sure that she has tried everything in her power. That she was not the cause of the failure of her marriage. It’s obvious to you guys, but not to her… yet.
    Have you told her ?
    Just like someone said in the posts above, I wish family and friends had let me know that they did not like him, and why they did not like him, right after D-Day. They all seem to be coming back now that he is gone. I thought they would hate seeing me alone, and I made “us” last longer partly because of this wrong assumption.
    As for the BBQ, I would go, because behaving “normally” during a party is not difficult. No one is going to talk about the cheating. But I would definitely talk to her.

  • I have been in this situation many times — and it is not always because the spouse is a cheater, but because the spouse has other annoying traits that makes him/her unbearable to be around. I am a strong woman, and opinionated, and controlling spouses don’t like me either. I can live with that, since I don’t want to be around them or care what they think. The problem is when you want to be with your friend and support your friend — the friend you still like even though you two are very different people. The friend you have memories with and share interests with that have nothing to do with spouses. One of my pet peeves as a single person is “couples” who do not have separate interests and feel they must always be joined at the hip. When I was part of a couple, I still maintained my own friends and interests, and thankfully so did my SI. I enjoyed having breaks of time where I could read, or nap, or watch a movie, or see a friend — anything I wanted to do — without having to drag my SI around. I certainly did not want to hear his old war stories with his friends or listen to boring work problems with co-workers. I consider it a deal breaker now if I am interested in dating someone and they become insecure and needy because I want to go see my family, or spend time with another friend, and I do not want to take them with me. Please — have your own life!

    But I digress. One of my dear friends from college had horrible taste in men. She would ask her girlfriends their opinion of her latest interest — but she rarely liked our answers. I suppose she appreciated our honesty, but she rarely heeded our advice. She would always say “But you don’t understand . . . ” and actually, I never did understand why she had to let someone walk all over her. She was a good and caring person, and she wanted to be loved, but she had no idea about boundaries or respecting her own needs. At any rate, she married a walking Sewage Processing Center who was as selfish and miserly a person as I have ever met. She did this against the advise of all her friends and her family. Her brother’s actually boxed up a pile of dog crap one year and wrapped it as a present for her spouse — but still she stayed with this guy. She used to complain and whine to her girlfriends whenever we would get together with her, until one day we told her we would talk with her about anything else — BUT NOT HIM. Finally, the isolation drove her to therapy, and finally she did divorce him. She was sure she would never marry again. Within five years she met and married another Loser, but he is not as bad as her first Loser was. We can tolerate him if we have to. But we still don’t like being around him, and prefer to avoid it whenever we can. We all try to have Girls Only events, and when we do we have a lot more fun.

    I would probably not go to this BBQ, because this walking wonder has the additional charm of being a known cheater. But I would still maintain contact with my friend, because she can try to forgive him even if I never will. She will need a good friend when he gallops off on another unicorn frolic — in my opinion it is just a matter of time. I wish we would face reality and stop smoking hopium entirely, but I think it is harder for some than it is for others. It is frustrating, even painful to watch someone you care for put up with this crap — but their tolerance for it does not make them a bad person or an undeserving friend.

  • Marcia – Gosh, this is truly a tough one – but I’d talk to her privately and simply tell her that you are not in agreement with this “reconciliation” and that you think she deserves much better that he’s given her. You love her, but you’ll have to pass on the BBQ, because it puts you in a bad position to say something to him that you will regret and you most certainly wouldn’t want to spoil her celebration.

    You’ll be there in spirit though.

    I look @ this letter and I can guarantee that my friends could have wrote it about ME! I was such a dumbass when it came to him. Could have hit me with a 2×4 and it wouldn’t have made any difference. It’s nice to have friends like you and she appreciates it I’m sure – especially as she’s crying into her beer.

    I’m so very sorry that she made this decision. Again – is she even divorced yet? Did it actually happen?

    CL – I LOVE THE CARTOON!!! HA HA HA

  • Similar situation here with a once best friend. She didn’t marry her narcissist, she adopted him. He has been increasingly abusive to her over the years. At 25 he still does not have a job while she is working two at age 65 with no end in sight. As a former abused child he is too “fragile” to pull his own weight. Good con, and it’s working. Doesn’t keep him from playing video games all night, or doing anything else he wants to including getting into lots of trouble. He loves drama and began backing off from me when I started calling him on his bullshit. He actually eloped and brought his new wife home for mama to support too.

    Jr. Narc has it all, the effortless lying, the smarmy “charm”, the gaslighting, the allergy to responsibility, master at manipulation, and always, always, painting himself as a consummate victim.

    His last drama was to ” accidentally” shoot his friend in the head while playing around with a loaded gun. The kid died a week later. My friend felt he should have no consequences. I, on the other hand, don’t believe that a person should be able to kill someone and get away scot free, accident or not. The DA thought so too. Jr. Narc did a total of four months, after taking a plea bargain. He has yet to pay a dime on his own legal bills.

    My friend believes he is suffering so much over all this, his actions show he isn’t at all. The energy he gives off says cold and calculating….no sense of empathy at all.

    I made the decision to be straight with her. She discarded me in slow motion. I fear for her. If he figures out she is worth more dead, (insurance policy) I don’t see him having a problem with killing her. And there is not a damned thing I can do to help her. I pray for her, that all I can do for her. I’ve had to emotionally let go of her, and realize I can’t help someone who refuses to live in reality.

    • I too used to believe that narcs/cheaters suffered….THEY DON’T. The only suffering they feel is lack of cake/kibbles. You should prepare yourself for the possibility of the mysterious death of your friend. The accident with the gun was probably a test run.

      • I think she is safe as long as she is useful, or she doesn’t hold him accountable.If she can no longer work and bring home big bucks, or calls bullshit on him…….I think all bets are off. It makes me sad, we were like sisters for a long time.

    • Tessie, this gives me chills. Please circle the wagons for your friend -weather she wants you there or not. If something happens to her, he’ll be the first suspect but SO WHAT! She’ll still be DEAD. True evil manifests thru narcissists, believe what you know to be possible and trust your gut on this.
      I’m still stuck on my ex narc, the addiction hasn’t left even tho he has. I’m agoraphobic now, stricken by multiple panic attacks day and night, can’t sleep for more than a few hours at a time, filled with hopium but white knuckling it one hour at at time to hang on to any thread of sanity I have left ALL WHILE BEING FULLY AWARE of the abuse I left. And the most chilling thing I experienced was the suspicion that he was trying to get me addicted to pain killers, pushing me to go on disability, and gas lighting me into suicide. He’s a nurse manager so I trusted him with my health issues. But when he started to bring up life insurance questions, I’m pretty sure it was writing on the wall. If I had made him the beneficiary of anything, I’d probably be dead by now. Cheating was the least of my worries but all I had to do was voice my suspicion and the mask came off and he was in full narc rage. That’s their weakness…they’ll lose control and discard if the right trigger button is hit.
      Stick by your friend and find that narc’s trigger button. Unmask him for her sake.

      • deepbreaths, please find a good therapist or counselor of some sort that understands your form of abuse. It takes a skilled person to lead you into the sunlight and help you get and feel safe. Disordered creatures will disable you and worse if it serves their purposes. Sometimes you have to reach all the way down to your toenails to pull up the courage to save your own life and restore it to the quality you had before or improve it to the quality you desire for your own well being. Not always an easy task, but you are worth the effort.

      • I would love to circle the wagons Deepbreaths,. Unfortunately I’m 1500 miles away and she has pretty much kicked me out of her life. All that is left is prayer at this point.

  • You are a good, good friend Marcia, for caring as you do and writing your letter to Chump Lady. I would go make an appearance, and show support for your friendship only, and cut out early.

    I have a childhood girlfriend and we’ve seen each other through thick and thin – her ability to speak her mind and not judge me and visa-verse is the bedrock of our longevity as friends. Some situations are so delicate – but no matter if you see the writing on the wall here, your friend has to come to her own experience either way. But, by the same token, you do not have to wear her false mask either. Giving your friend space without abandoning her is ok, too. Separating out the “drama” from the friendship is important. -Good luck with this very tough call.

  • Tessie, this “man-child” is frightening, but I believe it’s worth seeing how a true narc’s mind works. I got to the point in my marriage where I felt in danger for my life. I was genuinely afraid after I got a look at some emails he had sent his lawyer and CC’d his schmoopie talking about my Cancer and the possibility of somehow gaining some financial ground and maintaining his “good guy” persona to the family if I were to die! I was horrified! I knew he had to go then and there. It was just a matter of hours before I gave him the final heave ho! I have read your story and I know you are acutely aware of how far these narc’s will go to get what they want. I think some of the teary eyed chumped spouses should take heed that their formerly loving spouse will take them out if necessary to get what they want for themselves and their new love interest! Keep preaching, as a public service to chumps!

    • Roberta, I was long gone from that when I was diagnosed with cancer, but chilled at the thought that had I not been, I would not have survived. I had pneumonia back in the bad old days and was still expected to get up to cook and clean while on doctors orders to stay in bed. There was no assistance whatsoever, just insults about feeling sorry for myself and slacking. I would have had no support at all in a larger battle. That I am here today is a testament to being free to see to my health. That you are here today speaks loudly about knowing your own worth enough to take charge. Congratulations, Roberta, you are mighty.

      • I never felt in physical danger, but I did feel at times that he’d be happy if I died so he could live the life he really wanted to. It’s awful to feel that way. I was sick a lot throughout our marriage, and looking back I think it was stress. One good thing about living solo is I’m able to take care of myself and get more rest. I don’t feel like I constantly have to push through fatigue and illness and try to downplay it. My ex was super healthy and never sick, he seemed to view anyone who was sick as a hypochondriac. I’ve heard he’s in the hospital right now dealing with heart problems. I wonder what he thinks of sick people now?

      • Survivor, I was recovering from having half of my left lung removed and I still had a drain in. Unfortunately, I was not getting better, but I kicked him out anyways. He was forever pushing OxyContin pills on me some of which I palmed and pretended to take! After I kicked him out I found out I had contracted MRSA and it was inside me actually eating away at what was left of my left lung! I had to be totally opened up again and debrided! God bless my surgeon. His mentors told him to just totally remove my left lung, but he didn’t want to do that! He spent five hours saving what was left of the lung! I can’t thank him enough! And yes, my idiot cheater knew I had to go back to the hospital for emergency surgery, but he went to Florida to screw his Facebook schmoopie! Lovely! I know he was disappointed that I just would NOT die! His treatment of me alone during this horrible time is justification for me and my family to NEVER offer forgiveness! This incident is only the tip of the iceberg of the awful treatment of his loyal wife of forty years! He couldn’t have cared less! I hope he gets everything he justly deserves! Hell is too good for he and his whore!

        • Mine left after 36 years of marriage plus 4 years being his high school sweetheart! He cheated on me at least once early in the marriage and I went to MC! He treated me like SHIT always! In the end him and his Verizon co-worker whore tried to steal our home, pension, kids college fund , home furnishings and the kids under my nose! It’s been 2 years and we are happily divorced but still fighting him for the pension he’s ordered to give me!

        • That is appalling, Roberta. It’s just incredible that these stupid whores they take up with don’t realize they will do the exact same shit to them some fine day. They are beyond delusional.

          • NotJuliet, Believe me, this is only the tip of the iceberg! He and his Schmoopie launched an all out campaign to get me to just disappear! As my lawyer stated perfectly in her opening, “he and his paramour carried on a notorious affair during which his paramour actually introduced herself and presented herself using my clients name.” I assure you, my life was Hell on earth for two years and his little whore was bold as could be! He lives with the tramp now!

            • All I can say is Wow. They definitely deserve each other. Glad you are away from those two. I would have put an insult there but couldn’t think of one had enough, lol.

            • Roberta,

              I am in awe of you! That is some seriously fucked up shit that your Ex pulled. The sense of entitlement is strong in those two. That level of cruelty to your wife of 40 years and the mother of your children is just astounding. I have no capacity for understanding behavior of this kind.

              Whenever I think my situation was bad (and it was, and having to deal with him still means it still is to some degree), I think of you and “inhale” your strength and courage.

              Bless you Roberta! Stay well!

        • Roberta, I’m so sorry about what happened to you. No one deserves be treated like that, especially people fighting for their lives. I hope you’ve recovered and are healthier now.

          • Everyone, thanks, I am 100% Cancer free today, divorced from my cheater and got a very, very good settlement! My four children took turns caring for me while I regained my strength and I have a wonderful and blessed future without the cheater! I indeed gained a real life! I am better off without him and his Facebook booty call. Too bad the same can’t be said for him and his Twu wuv schmoopie! I am certain it did not turn out the way they had hoped! But when you do foolish hurtful things then you get what you truly deserve! Anyways, they have the first of every month to think about me when I take most of his money! Sucks to be them!

  • Great advice. I like the analogy to AA. I echo those comments. Be straight and clear with your feelings — just like tough love.

  • Option 1 for me too. Staying away is what the abuser wants everyone to do and, in so doing, become complicit with the abuser. Of course, staying near is not always an option but it’s so important to be honest that I love my friend and hope she comes to her senses and tell her so and the truth about my feelings for A hole, and explain why I must go, and I’d let her know she has a place to go if things go down as I think they will. I’d give her that escape hatch. Being a wife assault survivor, I’d also consider ways to stay safe in case the abuser turns to violence. I watched friends melt away the more the ex roped me in. Until it was me and him but for good friends he couldn’t scare off or keep me away from as much as he wanted. They told the truth in love, just as I needed to hear it, and it was they who helped me gain the strength to go on.

  • My greatest supporter was my friend who had the strength to say to me “You didn’t marry very well, did you.” Even though I deflected her comment and immediately changed the subject, that single statement rang in my mind for a long time. It was a few years before I did something about it. When I finally left the abuser, it was this friend who took me in and helped me on the road to recovery. She spoke the truth, but didn’t need me to change to address her discomfort at my situation. That takes a lot of emotional maturity.

    You never know when a simple statement of support will help. I suggest that you keep reinforcing that she deserves better than this, but don’t compromise your own values while doing so. Marcia, you’re a good friend. I hope your friend ends up recognizing that, but you don’t need her to change to confirm that you’re a good friend. Nice job on reaching out for some help from CL on this.

  • I think in true friendships, at least for me, there has to be some level of honesty and truth-telling. I personally appreciate the friends I have who are willing to tell me the truth, no matter how painful that truth may be initially. I need that truth in order to inform my own decision making when I am too close to a situation to see it clearly and/or don’t have the clarity required to make a truly informed decision. I am very clear with my close friends – always tell me the truth even if you feel it might hurt my feelings – sometimes “hurt feelings” is simply an unwillingness to accept the painful truth of a situation.

    With that said, I would probably pick option number one. However, I would explain to her up front that I was coming to support her because I was her friend and I loved her, but that I had no intention of supporting her relationship with someone who had treated her so abominably. I would be very clear that I would not acknowledge his presence nor would I be treating him as if he was anything other than some baboon shit in which I had stepped on my way to the BBQ. I would then explain to her if she wanted me at the BBQ under those conditions, I would be happy to come but if, under those conditions, she preferred I stayed away, I would not be offended and our friendship would remain unaffected unless she chose to have it be otherwise.

    For me, it is personally difficulty to treat someone well or even benignly that I would prefer to punch in the face and stab in the throat.

    I think it is important to let people we truly care about know that we love and support THEM even if we don’t love and support their decisions. When this “reconciliation” goes pffft! (as we all know it will as this pig is a totally remorseless cheater) she will need to know she can count on your continued friendship and support.

  • And then there is the other extreme …your friend who still is nice to your cheater because he didn’t do anything to them. Some friend huh?

  • I have a question for the nation about friends and “support”…
    There were two couples, both very good friends going back several decades, that said we want to support both of you.
    I just couldn’t do it and sent a text to one that I was detaching from anyone who was connected to/and or supporting HIM.
    It was just too painful. The other couple lives across country and I just stopped calling…gave no reason. Would you say these are the Switzerland friends? It felt like Switzerald.

      • Switzerland. Interesting. I accused my ex of being Switzerland because he never wanted to take a stand on anything! Pathetic! He used to treat me like one of the kids when we had a family meeting over any grievances. Wanted everyone to play nice and get along. He was non confrontational and Nr. Nice Guy. Except that was his facade. Because privately he was unable to interact in personal relationships. Can’t believe I bought it for three decades.

    • Yes. People who want to support both the abuse victim and the abuser because they think that is fair are Switzerland, neutral. If you were a rape victim and your friends also knew the rapist, I seriously doubt that they would be neutral.

      It’s a cop out.

    • ooooh, it appears there may be an itty bitty teeny tiny upside to the isolation. We don’t have any mutual friends, neighbors, yes, acquaintances, yes, but friends no. One less thing to deal with.

  • One of the most powerful, knock-me-over-the-head moments for me was realizing that I was alone in my hope for “reconciliation” (ptoooie). I didn’t have the support of either my family or my friends, and yes, it was lonely and yes, it sucked, but it did force me to face some cold, hard truths about my situation…and then it propelled me forward.

    Personally, I’d pick Option #1 if this was a first attempt at “reconciliation” (ptoooie), but if this was a recurring theme, then I’d likely go with Option #2, likely because I’d consider anything else enabling. .

    As much as I hate to admit it, I know each time my friend would go back to her cheater, I would lose a little more respect for her, and you can’t maintain a friendship with someone you don’t respect.

    And yeah, I’d most definitely skip the BBQ. My days of the Pick Me Dance are long gone and I don’t care to revist them, thankyouverymuch.

    🙂

  • Tracy, FYI, when i pulled up Chump Lady today, Amazon was advertising books for Elizabeth Gilbert (at least on my computer…)

  • I’m lucky enough to say even though I was isolated by my situation and needed to call on friends I hadn’t spoken to in years during my time of need, I had (and have) many who listened to me tell my tale of woe and responded along the lines of “I can’t tell you what to do here and you’re going to have to find your own way but you’re a strong woman who can take care of herself, let me know if I can help you find a lawyer or a therapist.”

    Be that friend Marcia, be the one who says you make the decision but I stand by this advice to you and try to be her friend because when the next D-Day comes, and I think we all agree that it will, you might be the one she feels like she can call.

  • I had a friend, Alicia, who I had considered to be a very close friend for 20 years. We had not lived in the same town for close to 15 years, but we kept in touch. When we drove thru her town on our way to a beach vacation every August, we would stop and spend the evening with her and her family.

    Alicia never really liked Mr. Cheaterpants, but we didn’t discuss it. When I called to tell her that I had had to move again because Mr. Cheaterpants had gotten fired again, and his new job was 2,000 miles from family and friends and that this time he had added an affair to the mix, Alicia attacked me. It was devastating. Maybe worse than being emotionally abandoned and cheated on by my husband.

    For years I reexamined how I had treated Alicia. In all honesty I don’t think that I leaned on her or shared too much drama of my life with Mr. Cheaterpants. I only heard from her once or twice a year and maybe saw her every other year. But her message to me was cruel and dismissive and heartbreaking to someone who had just had the rug pulled out from under her. I wasn’t expecting
    Alicia to embrace Mr. Cheaterpants, or forgive him, or to have a barbeque with him. I just hoped she would love me as a friend and respect the choices I felt I had to make. Instead she gave me some cruel armchair psychology and a pert get lost.

    Mr. Cheaterpants has been dead since 2012 and I have no desire to call up Alicia and try to rekindle what I thought would be a lifelong friendship… She broke my heart after my husband stomped on it.

  • One of my closest friends left me when I went back to the cheater. She said, “I love you, but I cannot support this. I cannot support you going back to him. Monogamy and fidelity are very important to me and I don’t want him to think on any level that what he did was OK. When you finally decide you’ve had enough, I will be available to you.”

    She had strong boundaries and I was hurt. But, she was right and I have her in my life now but none of the people who support him. It’s good.

  • My STBX said, when I told him I knew he was having an affair with Schmoopie, “and your point is….?” He’s never admitted he’s having an affair. He never says he’s seeing Schmoopie, and he tells stupid lies about when he is spending time with her.

    You’d think that now that it’s no longer a secret, he’d be more open, but no.

    It just proves he’s not a truthful man at all. In fact, he’s practically pathological in his lies!

  • Hi, this is Marcia, the LW (letter writer),
    Thank you so much Chump Lady for your thoughtful and wise response. I LOVE the cartoon!
    And thanks to all the commenters as well.
    I’m not going to the BBQ. I want to be there for Leanne but I don’t think it’s going to help her to pretend that everything is OK. And I can’t forget what happened to her. I’m physically disgusted by her cheater. Her a**hole cheater would make a scene if someone called him out and his 2 kids will be at the BBQ. I didn’t put it in my letter but when Leanne and Cheater were split his kids had to spend alternate weekends with him and Schmoopie. Cheater is keeping the apartment.
    I’m in two minds about whether to remain friends with Leanne, we have known each other for years and she is really kind and nice and gentle, the cheater leaving her really destroyed her confidence and I think the reconciliation made that worse, because she has to tell herself that he “just made a mistake” which must feel like denying your own reality.
    Thanks for the service you are doing for chumps and all those who get caught in these narcissists’ destruction.

  • I have been on both sides of the fence so of speak. Prior to meeting my ex I had a g/f who kept going back to her abusive ex and I had a really hard time understand why; I stood by her though and kept reinforcing she could do so much better, he was a loser etc and I never pretended to like him to his face either, but he came with her to parties at my house and I went to her events. Every time she cried I reinforced that she didn’t have to put up with the abuse and I got damned tired of the cycle but eventually she did dump him.
    Then I got with my now ex and my mother disowned me when I went back, she might as well have handed me to him on a silver platter. We would have a fight and he would laugh and say, “Who are you going to call, your mother?” “Even she knows you’re a flake”
    Her “tough love” isolated me further, gave him more ammunition, made me even more determined to prove her wrong and make it work, confirmed what he was saying, that I was flawed in some way and I was lucky to have him because he didn’t desert me. He also used the line, “It would have never worked, no matter what I did your family would never accept me” and “what did you tell your mother? you never tell her the good things I do and now she hates me.” Guilt 101.
    If it was me I would tell my friend that i will never like the guy, I think he is a loser and she will regret going back but I would go to the barbeque and be a supportive friend. He is hoping her friends don’t show up so he can say “great friends you have, they can’t even be happy for you, for us” I would give him no excuse to blame anyone when he fucks up again.
    My way of thinking about it is not that by going I would be saying I approve (it is not up to anyone to approve or disapprove) I would be saying to him by my actions “I know who you are asshole and there is no way I am deserting my friend, we are a package deal and I am going to keep reinforcing that you are an asshole until she comes to her senses”. I would make him squirm without words or maybe even corner him when she is not around, tell him what i think of him and then if he told her i would deny it.
    My son tried to make it work with the bitch who is the mother of his child. He and I had a huge fight about it because I knew it was a horrible mistake but I had to let it go or destroy what he and I have. I said my piece and let it go. In front of him I confronted her on how she treated my boy, I said “I have never interfered in my son’s relationships and respect his right to make his own choices. If he is ok with the way you treat him that is his choice BUT I will NOT tolerate you disrespecting him in front of me. I will bring you up on it every time because when it is in front me, it becomes my problem.” Christmas came around and she came with him, I had lovely gifts for her, greeted her with a hug and said I was happy she came. We had a lovely day. I know she wasn’t expecting that and had been counting on me being a bitch to her. But I was not going to give her any reason to blame me for her bad behavior, I was not going to make my son choose between her and I. I was so sweet better could melt in my mouth.
    She on the other bitched the whole day, every chance she got about not feeling welcome, she got drunk, and basically showed her true colours. They were staying at his father’s who is AA and she got drunk and disrespected him. They were broken up within a month.
    Sorry this got so long. Just my experiences in similar situations.

  • when i first found out my POS stbx , my daughter in law was with me, therefore she knew everything that was going on…… i assured her, over time, that he wasn’t having an affair, it was just a little EA , that wa dover, blah blah, cause he said it was, blah blah, six months later, i found evidence that he has met up with the slag, and again, he fooled me, i WANTED to believe him so so much, and my DIL and i had a huge argument, because she never told my son that she knew what went on, and still hasn’t, because i begged her not to, because the POS told me that if my sons knew what he had been doing we would be over for sure because he would be able to stay BLAH BLAH bLAH!!!!, god i was such a massive massive fool during that time………
    My dragging my DIL into my issues and pick me dance and blindness has now made a situation where my DIL has a secret from my SON , I’m not proud of that AT ALL, unfortunately my sons reaction once final D/Day happened and i told him all, tells us that we never can tell him that my DIL knew……..it would be very damaging for them . I feel trrible about that…. So my advice would be, stick to your guns, stay away from the vile POS who is conning your dear friend, but support her in all other ays, cause she’s going to need you again , we all know this…………

  • >