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The Pretzel Logic of the 180

Jesus-says-meme-generator-no-problemo-i-forgive-you-baby-6f1da4If you’ve spent any time reading the reconciliation literature, you’ll notice a lot of reference to the “180.” She won’t stop seeing her affair partner? “Do the 180!” He still works with his ho-worker? “Do the 180!”

What is this powerful 180?

It was a concept developed by Michelle Weiner-Davis of “Divorce Busters.” The 180 list goes:

1. Do not pursue, reason, chase, beg, plead or implore.
2. No frequent phone calls.
3. Do not point out good points in marriage.
4. Do not follow him/her around the house.
5. Do not encourage talk about the future.
6. Do not ask for help from family members.
7. Do not ask for reassurances.
8. Do not buy gifts.
9. Do not schedule dates together.
10. Do not spy on spouse.
11. Do not say “I Love You”.
12. Act as if you are moving on with your life.
13. Be cheerful, strong, outgoing and attractive.
14. Don’t sit around waiting on your spouse – get busy, do things, go to church, go out with friends, etc.
15. When home with your spouse, (if you usually start the conversation) be scarce or short on words.
16. If you are in the habit of asking your spouse her whereabouts, ASK NOTHING.
17. You need to make your partner think that you have had an awakening and, as far as you are concerned, you are going to move on with your life, with or without your spouse.
18. Do not be nasty, angry or even cold – just pull back and wait to see if spouse notices and, more important, realize what she will be missing
19. No matter what you are feeling TODAY, only show your spouse happiness and contentment. Show him/her someone he/she would want to be around.
20. All questions about marriage should be put on hold, until your spouse wants to talk about it (which may be a while).
21. Never lose your cool.
22. Don’t be overly enthusiastic.
23. Do not argue about how they feel (it only makes their feelings stronger).
24. Be patient
25. Listen carefully to what your spouse is really saying to you.
26. Learn to back off, shut up and possibly walk away.
27. Take care of yourself (exercise, sleep, laugh & focus on all the other parts of your life that are not in turmoil).
28. Be strong and confident.
29. Know that if you can do 180, your smallest CONSISTENT actions will be noticed much more than any words you can say or write.
30. Do not be openly desperate or needy even when you are hurting more than ever and are desperate and needy.
31. Do not focus on yourself when communicating with your spouse.
32. Do not believe any of what you hear and less than 50% of what you see. Your spouse will speak in absolute negatives because they are hurting and scared.
33. Do not give up no matter how dark it is or how bad you feel.
34. Do not backslide from your hardearned changes.

On the face of it, it seems like something worthwhile — getting on with your life without regard to what the cheater is doing. The 180, they tell us, is for YOU. To make you strong. It’s not to win back your cheater. Oh no, I’m sure you were going to bake those cookies, take up bonsai gardening, and deep clean the carpets for your very own benefit and not to Make the Marriage a Better Place to Be.

I advise some of these very things myself — don’t beg and plead. Don’t try to speak truth to stupid. Take care of yourself.

And yet, most of this advice is patently ridiculous and predicated on remaining a chump. Let’s take some of these point by point.

6. Do not ask for help from family members.

Why not? Why should you keep their secrets? Why shouldn’t you tell the truth and get the support you need? Assuming you can reconcile, shouldn’t repairing the public image be the job of the cheater and not the chump? If ever you needed help from family members, it’s when your spouse runs off with an affair partner, or eats cake at your expense. If you can’t be vulnerable and need of your family’s help, who else is there? (And I realize not everyone has a safe family to lean on.) Put another way, this advice is — “shut up to those closest to you.”

If this advice means don’t implore their family to “make” them stop cheating. Well, yes, we don’t control other people and family members have no greater super powers than you do. Doesn’t mean you have to keep them in the dark about it either, just expect blood to be thicker than water.

12. Act as if you are moving on with your life.

Act? No, how about ACTUALLY getting on with your life. Is this “fake it til you make it” advice? Alas, you can only pretend at getting on with your life? Is this to goad the cheater into doing the pick me dance for you?

When you do self protective things like see a lawyer and separate your finances — you aren’t faking it. You’re truly moving on. As you should, IMO.

13. Be cheerful, strong, outgoing and attractive.

Yeah, nothing like finding out your husband has been rating escorts to make you want to put on some lipstick. WTF? This advice is just denying the reality of the trauma of infidelity. No one feels “cheerful, strong, outgoing, and attractive” after they’ve been intimately humiliated and betrayed. It’s like advising someone whose kid was hit by a drunk driver to be “cheerful” and “attractive.” Are you aware of the magnitude of LOSS this is, Michelle Weiner-Davis? This crap minimizes the abusive nature of cheating. Would you tell that to a victim of domestic abuse? He hit you? Turn that frown upside down! Tell me how infidelity is different. You had to paternity check your kids? You caught an STD? Your twenty-year marriage is a fraud? Be CHEERFUL?

No, you grieve. It takes time. Meanwhile, act in your own best interest and protect yourself immediately. Don’t expect it to be chuckle-fest either. Infidelity hurts like a motherfucker.

15. When home with your spouse, (if you usually start the conversation) be scarce or short on words.

Well, I sort of agree with this. As I said, I don’t think you should speak truth to stupid. But if this is some kind of silent treatment to goad them into taking an interest? — fuck that. I don’t think you should chase, but I don’t think you should be some passive-aggressive Look At Me! How Well I Get On Without You! cyborg fronting a fake life, either.

17. You need to make your partner think that you have had an awakening and, as far as you are concerned, you are going to move on with your life, with or without your spouse.

You can’t “make” your partner think anything. You don’t control what they think. In the words of En Vogue — “free your mind and the rest will follow.” Just actually get on with your life — don’t pretend for the sake of garnering some cheater’s attention. You change? The rest follows. The important thing here is that you matter. Fuck what the cheater “thinks.”

18. Do not be nasty, angry or even cold – just pull back and wait to see if spouse notices and, more important, realize what she will be missing.

Ugh. Here’s it’s just spelled right out. “Wait to see if spouse notices…” Then they realize perhaps what they’re missing. Who gives a flip? If they valued it, they wouldn’t have gone out and fucked around on it.

Anger is a NORMAL reaction to being fucked over. People KILL over infidelity. It’s about the most dramatic, seismic shock a person can suffer in a relationship. Don’t resort to violence, of course, but it’s crazy to expect that you won’t be mad as hell! A cheater deserves every ounce of your anger and contempt. And IMO a remorseful cheater will stand there and take it. Because they know they deserve it too.

This advice is in the “you can nice them” out of an affair vein. God, so common and so utterly useless, as I’m sure we can all attest. How lovely for the cheater to come home to a cheerful, improved, and quiet you. Perhaps they will meditate on how wonderful you are!

How’s that working for everyone?

19. No matter what you are feeling TODAY, only show your spouse happiness and contentment. Show him/her someone he/she would want to be around.

Because that’s why they cheated. You’re not someone they want to be around. Fix that, okay? Be happier in the face of your missing money/STD testing/anxious children/humiliation/divorce fears. Who couldn’t be CONTENT with that? God, nothing makes me feel more content than a husband who doesn’t return my phone calls and tells me later he was sleeping in his car. In Vermont. In January.

But hey, no problem! I’m cool. Stupid lies don’t disrespect me. I can do happy and content in the face of that.

Your dinner’s in the oven, Sweetheart! Across town. In a rental. Next to the air mattress.

20. All questions about marriage should be put on hold, until your spouse wants to talk about it (which may be a while).

Cheaters are delicate little flowers. This is all very difficult on them, and you really can’t be a bummer right now. Maybe they’ll want to talk later. Or much, much later. Or, well… how about never? Is never good for you?*

(*Line stolen from an awesome cartoon by Bob Mankoff. “Thursday’s out. How’s never? Is never good for you?”)

Once again, this advice is cheater-centric. What they want is the important thing. Don’t bother them until they’re ready. You, whose life has been turned on its ear? You don’t deserve answers. How impertinent of you to even ask! Can’t you see how this is setting us back? BAD chump! Bad!

21. Never lose your cool.

I’m all for being in control of your emotions. Especially around a cheater. I advise to not show them your vulnerable little underbelly. But let’s face it — we all lose our cool when we’ve been cheated on. If you didn’t lose your cool, I’d wonder if you didn’t care. And that would make you the same kind of sociopathic freak they are.

Best way to not lose your cool is to not be around them. Period. Try no contact. It really minimizes the psychodrama.

25. Listen carefully to what your spouse is really saying to you.

This is non-advice advice. It’s like a horoscope. You could really read most anything into this. Listen carefully… and? Take it at face value? Interpret it? Accept the blameshifting? Or listen to them to determine that yes, they really are this selfish and delusional?

Now, I’m confused. The next item, #26 tells chumps to “shut up” and “back off” and YET, here chumps are supposedly to patiently listen to whatever nonsense comes out of their cheating spouse’s pie hole. Don’t argue! Don’t speak to them about your feelings! Don’t ask questions they don’t want to answer! Back off! But DO listen carefully to them.

I believe healthy relationships are based upon respect, reciprocity, and mutuality. None of which I see in this dynamic of What You Say Is Very Important and in return I Will Make My Needs Really Small and Shut Up Now.

28. Be strong and confident.

I believe we covered this at #13, be “cheerful, strong, outgoing and attractive.” I’m all for strength and confidence, which I believe comes from authenticity and valuing yourself. Not twisting yourself into a human pretzel to “win” the ambivalent attentions of a cheater. 

29. Know that if you can do 180, your smallest CONSISTENT actions will be noticed much more than any words you can say or write.

Here’s the heartbreaking thing, chumps. Your actions, consistent or otherwise, will not be noticed by your cheater. To a cheater, the pick me dance is a given. Of course you want them. Of course they’re fabulous. Of course you’ll try harder to win them. What gets their attention is no contact. What gets their attention is you getting your shit together to protect yourself from their entitlement. Lawyers, separate finances, the cessation of kibbles. THAT gets their attention — your NON attention. Not your small efforts to be cheerful, not the buffet of shit sandwiches you choke down to appease them. No, those things are assumed. What chaps their ass are consequences and obstacles to their “happiness.” As long as you’re smoothing the road to their happiness, it’s all good. Shut up and keep at it.

30. Do not be openly desperate or needy even when you are hurting more than ever and are desperate and needy.

Yeah, there is nothing more “desperate” than a person who has been abandoned. Talk to the chumps here who found out while pregnant, or nursing newborns. Or while deployed overseas. God forbid you were vulnerable. God forbid you relied on this person who pledged their life to yours. Christ, I can smell the stench of neediness on you. Stop that at once.

The message here is “suck it up.” And what makes you think chumps haven’t mastered the art of sucking it up, Michelle? Do you know how fucking MIGHTY we are? Raising children on our own? Fighting wars in foreign lands as our family falls apart? Birthing babies without the love and support of an involved partner?

You want to know who is “needy” and “desperate”? Cheaters. People who traffic in kibbles and need flattery and illicit sexual hijinks to feel whole. People who sell other people out. People who send crotch shots to total strangers. That shit is desperate.

A person trying to hold their life together after it was detonated from someone’s selfishness? That’s raw courage. STFU Michelle.

31. Do not focus on yourself when communicating with your spouse.

Yeah, why would you do that? You don’t matter. Really, I think you’re the selfish one here, chump. Enough about you!

32. Do not believe any of what you hear and less than 50% of what you see. Your spouse will speak in absolute negatives because they are hurting and scared.

Gah. This one makes my head hurt. So much mindfuckery in one bullet point.

First off, you told us in item #25 to listen carefully to the cheater. Now seven points later, you want us to discard that and not believe any of it? Do you PROOFREAD, Michelle?

You should believe 100% of what you see. Actions tell the real story. Only believe half? That’s like the Richard Pryor line “Who you gonna believe? Me? Or your lying eyes?”

Cheaters don’t speak in “absolute negatives” because they are “hurting and scared.” They speak that way out of contempt and disrespect. What you see is what you get. They demonize their spouses to justify their selfishness. This isn’t hurt people hurt people. Cheaters know exactly what they are doing. They don’t fuck people they meet on Craiglist out of fear and hurt — they fuck people out of entitlement. Because it feels good.

Don’t insult our intelligence, Michelle.

33. Do not give up no matter how dark it is or how bad you feel.

Give up what? Trying to save a marriage alone? No, I think you should give that up. When things make you feel bad and you live in darkness, that’s usually a pretty good sign those things suck and you should give them up.

34. Do not backslide from your hardearned changes.

Yep. Just work harder at saving your marriage alone! You work at that “change” (because you’re the one really at fault here). You change you, and voila! you can’t help but change your cheater. 

They’re going to come around! Be patient! I see a unicorn coming out of the misty fog! Be cheerful! Don’t ask the unicorn any hard questions, it’s feeling very hurt and scared and tired right now. Just shut up and I think the unicorn might notice you! And wouldn’t THAT be special? Unicorn love is the very, very best sort of love and I doubt you’re really deserving of a confused sort of Unicorn love, but work on yourself. Be good, chumps. SMILES.

Consider yourself 180-ed.

This post ran previously. Feel free to comment!

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  • So basically she is saying we should still eat the S**T sandwich while the cheaters get a pass. The cheaters are the one with the marriage problem, not the chump!

    How about using my line, “You need to choose between your girlfriend and your family.” And then you see an attorney.

    • This kind of advice keeps chumps in limbo, emotionally and financially drains them and their children until the day Cheater pants leaves voluntarily after 36 years of assists and marriage benefits such as his pension! I hate to see others go through what it took me 36 years to find out!

  • Number six is really scary to me. Do not ask for help from your family. I’m assuming friends either. Isolation from your support groups is a biggie in abusive relationships. The nut bait cheaters and abusers (same difference ) will love number six.

    • So true, Anita! When I started getting some support (going to a divorce support group that was great), my then soon-to-be-ex wife (now ex, thank GOD) was none too happy about it! “So, going to hang out with your bitter, divorced friends now?” She did not like me standing up for myself and to her.

    • She thinks you have to protect the cheater’s reputation. So you can get back together. Her advice is quite frightening really.

    • #6 I only told his parents and my sister.
      After 4 months I could not keeping this a secret any more, it was eating me alive.
      I told one of my girlfriends and another christian women’s group and I was liberated from this filthy secret:)

    • Same here, Anita. My cheater said “Do not tell ANYBODY about this,” and later started threatening me “If you tell anyone, I’ll do such-and-such to you.” I was in full pick-me-dance mode at the time, and only wanted to seek the counsel and comfort of my immediate family. It’s not like I was threatening to purchase space on a billboard. Looking back, I shudder to think how well he isolated me from people who cared.

      This 180 crap is just a numbered list of how to do the pick-me dance. I did all this stuff. And as CL says, you can’t force them to care about you. Luckily for me, this lasted all of two weeks before D-Day #2 banished even the vague chance of unicorns in my mind.

      Life is so much better when you don’t have to perform for someone’s every whim, constantly dancing on eggshells.

      • My stbx idiot too! He didn’t want anyone knowing. Fuck that! I told everyone the truth. They should lead lives they are embarrassed about. If they felt entitled to fuck around they should feel entitled to live with every fucking consequence that comes with that. Stbx actually told me why don’t I just go ahead and take out a billboard. There is not a billboard in existence with the space enough for his whores stories.

      • I did all the 180 during false R. I would read the # 32 over and over because I didn’t want to believe anything he said was true. I read Divorce Busters and would read her post on Facebook everyday so I would be able to do the pick me dance correctly. I so regret not finding CL sooner. I think there should be a warning label on Divorce Busting it is so wrong in so many ways!

        • I agree. The 180 does our minds and hearts a disservice. I wish CL had been available sooner but I am glad I finally got it! The one thing I would say about doing the 180 is it made me stop giving my ex the narcissistic supply he wanted. I basically smiled & ignored him & carries on. But… It gave me too much false hope for too long.

      • The first thing out of cheater-ex´s filthy mouth on Dday was “NO one knows about this” as if he was giving me a chance to keep it all secret so we could continue our marriage (and of course, his affair) as if nothing happened. The next day, I started telling absolutely everyone that would listen from his family, my family, mutual friends, the doorman, taxi drivers EVERYONE! It was so therapeutic to stop protecting him (I always used to tell people that he would NEVER have an affair, he wasn´t that type of guy …), Gradually, as I recovered, I stopped telling the story because it began to hurt me more than help me. Now I just tell a summarized one liner that CL recommends “I didn´t like his girlfriend” but I made sure to tell everyone during the first few weeks, months after Dday, and he now hates me for that because, of course, I ruined his reputation….The nerve!

        • I did the SAME thing Chumpita! I told all my friends. I told all HIS friends. I told my family. I’ve told the neighbor’s plumber, I’ve told the RV salesman, all my co-worker’s, the county recorders office, the county assessors office, the county GIS department. Yep – I outed the SOB. He thinks he can treat me like shit then fuck around on me and NOT even apologize because it is MY fault? You bet your ass everyone knows. I will continue to spread the word because it is not a very big town and just in case anyone happens to meet him – they should be well aware of the asshole they may be getting involved with. The good news is – he can’t deny it. It was my son who busted him so if he were to deny it, he would be calling my son a liar – and we all know that my son would not just come up with something like that. Not at 19 years old….

          • Oh yes – my real estate agent, my banker, my car/home owners insurance lady, my kids’ life insurance guy, My x sister-in-law, my b-i-l’s x girlfriend. My list will continue as time goes on….

            • Lady Strange – you are cracking me. I did the exact same thing. Strangers on a street corner. I wanted to get a bull horn and parade through our small town with banners on each side of my car, with my dogs in the back. He abandoned us all for a 2 bit whore…ha – that would have been fun.

        • I told everybody too! Even after our divorce and we were sitting in a bank together getting his name off our joint bank accounts and I was chatting with the bank employee and just threw it into conversation with him sitting right there. HAHAHAHA! As I like to say “I am not your PR agent.”

        • Oh, I even posted it on facebook. I waited about 3 weeks but I said “Congratulations to WH and OW on their decision to leave their spouses and run off into the sunset together. I wish you all the happiness you deserve in your new life together. I hope the half the savings account you removed today is enough to give you that fresh start you deserve.” It was epic.

    • Very true, Anita, but this advice is predicated on the idea that if you pull in your support system you’ll scare the cheater away. Or timid forest creature, as CL would say.

      This whole list is a crock of shit. I remember reading it and thinking, ‘Hmm… I should try this.’ I tried. Wasn’t very good at it and felt dirty so I stopped and got on with divorcing the idiot.

    • I absolutely would not have made it through without my family. From my mostly grown kids to my dad, who was old and sick but full of great advice, my family was there every step of the way. Why would I not rely on the people who love me most? The entire 180 idea is nonsensical to me, but then, I would never have been able to follow half of the steps listed. It’s not in my nature to keep quiet when I believe something is wrong.

      • I absolutely would not have made it without my family, either. I will always remember my Dad, who once loved the X as his own son, telling me that I did not deserve this. Dad helped in every way that an 80-something year old man could during the divorce proceedings and my move from the family home. I would stop by to visit with him and usually end up crying about the situation. I cherish the times he told me, “One Step, you are going to get through this and you will be o.k. I know it.” Love and miss him!!! My family are the only ones I know that truly love me. I will always support them as they have supported me.

    • Yes, #6 sucks. I said I was going to call my brother and she had the balls to say “no you can’t”. I gave her the ARE YOU FUCKING CRAZY look and she backed off and said “I guess you need some support”. I proceeded to tell everyone except her parents and sisters (only because they cut me off quicker than she did – they already knew). I can’t believe the control she wielded over me. Never again!

  • I don’t know about the rest of CN, but I am getting effing sick and tired 90 plus % of articles and stories wanting us chumps to just roll over and take it. They start out with a bit of kibble for us about how hard this is on us then turn it into a chump bashing session. How the fuck is it our fault that our POS SO aren’t human anymore and kicked us around like a soda can in the road. Don’t even have the decency to recycle us, just kick us around for there entertainment. “We are supposed to be the ones who keep it all together, weak or strong” and all thanks to Deuce’s song The One for giving me the idea to modify that line to fit this situation

    • So true, because the underlying theme is it’s all of your fault, you drove the person to cheat, must be something lacking from you, so what YOU gonna do now to ‘fix it’, fix you??? Excuse me, but fuck these motherfuckers. How dare they wave kilo’s of hopium to completely devastated, weak in the moment, desperate hopium addicts. I hate these all in the name of a buck fuckers.

      But hey, these POS get a lot-o-cash from being part of the RIC Gordian skein promoters, and want you to untangle that painful puzzle forever, making that cash flow… Us chumps take a well honed sword to that skein, cut it and her type into oblivion, and are rewarded with a better life. Once I was strong enough, I came down on my cheating scum ex like the event horizon of a collapsing star, and did the 360… 180 is half assed, weak, and only prolongs your pain. Sorry RIC, the more the word gets out (thanks CL and CN), the more I hope your business’s fare as well as a door to door ice salesperson in Antarctica.

      • There is a better way.

        I actually maintained NC while the POS was in the room, with others present. He started howling at those others about how he needed to talk to “his wife.” Alone. So I told them that he no longer has a wife, and went about my business of packing. It was EPIC. It was impossible to get violent with such an audience, and I wasn’t going to listen to any more bullshit, and it drove the crapweasel up a fucking tree. No need for a 180 degree, when you can go Antarctic. That’s still a source of chuckles among those who were there. “You looked right through him! Straight THROUGH his sorry ass! HARHARHAR!”

        And yeah, it was fun.

        • Nothing is more fun than icing these fuckers. My X had hissy fits because I wouldn’t respond to his text messages during the divorce proceedings. I said, “Please contact my lawyer. Thank you” a lot.

          What a dumb ass.

          • Stbx tried to get me to “step outside” a meeting with our attorneys before a hearing. I wouldn’t even look at him. My attorney told him to only address him. This infuriated dumb ass and he told the attorney to step outside with him man to man. My attorney laughed at him.
            He has played the “why won’t you talk to me after a 30 year relationship ” really asshole?? Why didn’t u ask me how I felt about you fucking other women during a 30 year relationship??

            • Good for you. I was being pelted with 100 texts and calls a day, I had my lawyer bring it up in court, and the judge told him sternly- You can’t do that!
              It’s the only thing that gets their attention, so if you’re already paying a lawyer, this is a nice bonus, some peace for a change!

          • Rumblekitty, how DARE you not respond to HIM? Right? The idea that they should lose authority over us never crosses their minds until that 2 x 4 hits them over the head.

          • My ex had a hissy too when I wouldn’t answer her text. She was sending me crap like, “I admire your morals and good values,” and “I want to die Mike.” So after a couple of weeks she sent me an email that said, “when can you meet me at the courthouse?” with some divorce forms attached. They were the wrong forms. A couple days later I replied with the correct forms filled out with the message, “Meet me at the courthouse Wednesday morning at 9.”

      • I love to hear what all you brave women have to say, every cheating louse who destroys all they professed to love and got the audacity to blame the person they crushed in the palm of their hand chucked over their shoulder then walk back and kicked them in the teeth just to make sure they hurt you enough deserve to be revealed my scum bag liar had the nerve to say to me don’t tell any one and ruin my reputation!!! Such vile treatment to a person who only loved them and trusted them

    • This is why, IRL, no matter who it is, I don’t tolerate blameshifting on cheating. Anyone who glorifies cheating is gone. Anyone who pulls up some RIC shit, I correct them quicksmart.
      So far, no-one has been stupid enough to try and challenge what I’ve had to say. If they did, they’d be wearing a face-full of reasoned logic to which they would look stupid as fuck.
      I don’t care who you are – if you are a cheater, you are gone from my life. And I have nothing but contempt for you.

  • To me 180 is simply telling asshole that you’ll “talk about it later” and then as soon as he leaves for work, you pack his shit, and have a taxi haul it to his mother’s house. Then you change the locks and send him “we’re done forever” text. 2.5 years later still lives with his mother so I guess things worked out the way he wanted them to. Win win.

  • Hang in there, remain pleasant, you might get a second chance with this narcissistic/sociopath/
    psycho piece of shit..,

  • I didn’t do every point on the 180, but I spent almost 6 weeks being nothing but pleasant and friendly to my estranged husband, trying to “win” him back from the OW. You know what he did?

    Had a blast taking his mistress out around the town all while enjoying the lack of resistance from his compliant, chumpy wife. He became very bold about the affair and his mistreatment of me and hit me with a barrage of verbal abuse for no reason.

    When I went NC and refused to triangulate with him and his idiot mistress anymore, that’s when he finally started to hurt. He’s tried to seduce me a half dozen times since the divorce. Do. Not. Want.

  • Yep. I did the 180 (without knowing that it was an actual thing) just to see if I was doing all the work in the marriage. I pulled back and received my answer fairly quickly. I was the one communicating, providing affection, planning family outings, driving kids & helping with homework – basically holding the whole thing together. When I pulled back the cheater noticed ever so slightly (only while waiting for the the dispensing of kibble). Cheater didn’t miss a beat – wow! I told you, you should have been doing things that made you happy a long time ago! Translation – now you will focus even less on the marriage and my whereabouts. I can do whatever or whomever I want without any hassle. I win again :D!

    • Isn´t insane that the 180 advice actually gives them a more secure environment to continue cheating? The logic is “cheat so your spouse will realize how deficient s/he is and improve him/herself….the more you cheat, the nicer and better behaved your spouse will become” win, win for the cheater, no consequences. Imagine educating a child like that: lie to your parents, cheat on your exams, and we will be nicer to you so that you will not run away from home!

      • ^^this
        I did six weeks of more flexible family/solo plans/parent night off before I realized I just handed him an easier time of contacting the OW behind my back. Felt like an idiot. During that time, the excuses got even MORE ridiculous. Finally, one evening it clicked and b-bye cheater

  • Sigh….unfortunately there are thousands and thousands of sites out there that say all this crap. I know, because I read them all. I just knew I could “fix” my marriage. Looking back on those early D days now just seem like a blur. I’m glad that shit is over. I stopped trying to fix it and he went straight to the arms of his AP. See ya, losers!!

    • That is fantastical no to sparkles, my shithead did the same thing. Called his on again off again 23 year old love. My X is 52. Good luck to them. Adios

      • Jean, you sound like me. My ex is 58 and his “little girl” is 28. Daddy issues maybe? Adios is right!!! Good luck with your life, Jean, and I hope you are loving yours like I am. 🙂

  • 180 sounds like mindfuckery. Hell, 180 is mindfuckery. How about kicking the cheater in the butt and moving on? Much better, smarter and healthier.

    Love your site ChumpLady! I found it back in August, a month after my divorce from cheating scumbag ex, just as I was getting out of depression. I was searching for some answers and all I was getting was: reconciliation advice, victimizing the victim articles who surely played their part in the collapse of their marriage and the “Standing” websites which all made me feel so bad about myself, questioning my decisions, and keeping my focus on him. But then I found Infidelity Help Group and you and my life got back on tracks. Not yet to meh, but slowly getting there. So THANK YOU! And thanks to all Chumps sharing their stories here. You are mighty.

        • It’s Infidelity Help Group website. It is brilliant because it has a no-nonsense approach towards infidelity. Pretty much like CL. I found it while I was side tracked by MLC theories as well. It opened my eyes and gave me the strength to put my cheater ex out of mind and focus on myself and move in with my life. Highly recommended.

  • Reading this brought back some dusty and shamefu memories. When mine left me to go “think things through”, which actually meant “you stay here and take care of four kids while I bang my coworker in this shitty apartment for a year”, I did so many of these things. I think a lot of us do. It’s instinct, facing something terrifying (a stay at home mom of four left to fend for myself) brought out the court jester in me. “What can I do to please you, sire?”

    Hindsight really is 20/20. I wish you’d been around back then, Tracy!

    • I pick me danced as well. I’m not sure if it’s instinct. Instinct is “fight or flee.” (I think you should do both.) Instead, what chumpdom is, is IMO unhealthy appeasement. It’s Chamberlain and not Churchill.

      • Don’t you think all the “pick me” crap is a mutated form of fighting? When I really look hard at what I did, it almost seems as if I was fighting for my life, and the lives of my kids. A wee bit dramatic, maybe. For a Wednesday morning, lol.

        • I felt that way, too. I was fighting for my life, my intact family, time with my kids. But it was a Pyrrhic victory.

          • Yes. SAHM means its our whole life being taken away. I fought for 5 humiliating abusive years. Goodness knows what damage it did to the kids living in that.
            As S19 calls it ‘when Dad was being a dick, and Ma was crazy’.

        • I was very aware that I was fighting for my family to stay intact. I did it for years. Heck, I even convinced my ex that we should all move to a smaller house and “downsize” so I could get him out of our gigantic finished basement with a lock turned infidelity central. I thought he’d be to ashamed to sit with his computer in our living room and conduct business…I was wrong. It was a crazy, last ditch effort, which is all the “180” is too. I don’t think it usually works.

      • Just when I thought it was safe to take another sip of water…..

        (see reply to Monika above)

        You guys are killing me here.

        • why, I’m flattered that someone found my comment funny because not only it’s the god honest truth but an example of how to trust your instincts and intuition. It was exactly a day after DD (right after I stopped crying, vomited and had the energy to take a shower), that I knew instantly that I wanted that piece of shit of my life. I would be lying if I said the first few weeks/months even did not hurt like a motherfucker but it gets easier each year and the “only” things I worry about now are my PTSD, psychological triggers and trust issues.

  • Great points CL!! It’s been SO cathartic this morning to rephrase these points from another definition of “doing the 180”, as in turn on your heels and leave the cheater post-discovery…

    1. Do not pursue, reason, chase, beg, plead or implore, HIRE AN ATTORNEY INSTEAD.

    2. No frequent phone calls, GO NO CONTACT.

    3. Do not point out good points in marriage, YOUR MARRIAGE IS DEAD, IT IS TIME TO GET THE DEATH CERTIFICATE.

    4. Do not follow him/her around the house, KICK HIM/HER OUT INSTEAD.


    6. Do not ask for help from family members IF THEY TELL YOU TO BE PATIENT OR PRESSURE TO FORGIVE YOUR CHEATER.



    9. Do not schedule dates together SCHEDULE A COURT HEARING INSTEAD.

    10. Do not spy on spouse, GO NO CONTACT.

    11. Do not say “I Love You” TO ANYONE BUT YOUR KIDS AND YOURSELF.

    12. Act as if you are moving on with your life, BECAUSE YOU ARE.

    13. Be cheerful, strong, outgoing and attractive AFTER TAKING THE TIME TO FORGIVE YOURSELF FOR BEING CONNED.

    14. Don’t sit around waiting on your spouse – get busy HIRING AN ATTORNEY, do things, go to church, go out with friends, etc.

    15. When home with your spouse, (if IT IS COURT ORDERED) be scarce or short on words AND FOCUS ON WHAT NEEDS TO BE DISCUSSED ABOUT YOUR KIDS ONLY.

    16. If you are in the habit of asking your spouse her whereabouts, ASK NOTHING AND STAY NO CONTACT.

    17. You need to make your partner think that you have had an awakening and, as far as you are concerned, you are going to move on with your life, without your spouse, AND REACH A MUCH BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE ON YOUR OWN.

    18. Do not be nasty, angry or even cold – just pull back and wait to see if spouse notices and, more important, realize what she will be missing, BECAUSE S/HE WILL GET IT IMMEDIATELY UPON RECEIVING THE DIVORCE PAPERS.

    19. No matter what you are feeling TODAY, only show your spouse happiness and contentment. Show him/her someone he/she would want to be around, BECAUSE “YOU BEING AROUND” IS NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN AGAIN.

    20. All questions about marriage should be put on hold, EVEN WHEN your spouse wants to talk about it (which may be a while), BECAUSE ANYTHING BEYOND “WE ARE OVER” IS JUST NOT WORTH YOUR ENERGY.



    23. Do not argue about how they feel (it only makes their feelings stronger), BECAUSE YOU DON’T CARE ANYMORE.


    25. PRETEND TO Listen carefully to what your spouse is really saying to you, BUT BELIEVE THEIR ACTIONS, NOT THEIR WORDS.

    26. Learn to back off, shut up and walk away, BECAUSE THAT’S WHAT IT TAKES TO GO NO CONTACT.

    27. Take care of yourself (exercise, sleep, laugh & focus on all the other parts of your life that are not in turmoil).


    29. Know that if you can do 180, your smallest CONSISTENT actions will be noticed much more than any words you can say or write, NOTHING SAYS “WE ARE OVER” LIKE BEING SERVED DIVORCE PAPERS.

    30. Do not be openly desperate or needy even when you are hurting more than ever and are desperate and needy, GO NO CONTACT INSTEAD.

    31. Do not focus on yourself when communicating with your spouse, S/HE HAS SHOWN S/HE HAS NO RESPECT FOR YOU, GO NO CONTACT AND FINALIZE YOUR DIVORCE ASAP.

    32. Do not believe any of what you hear and less than 50% of what you see. Your spouse will speak in absolute negatives because they are hurting and scared AFTER THEY GET SERVED DIVORCE PAPERS.

    33. Do not give up no matter how dark it is or how bad you feel BECAUSE YOU WILL REACH MEH, ON A TUESDAY, AND IT WILL BE SO MUCH BETTER THAN YOUR LIFE WITH YOUR CHEATER EX EVER WAS.

    34. Do not backslide from your hardearned changes, STAY NO CONTACT NO MATTER HOW MANY YEARS IT’S BEEN.


    • Funny!

      By definition a 180 is an about-face – so it would mean turning away from your cheater and starting your new life. I would argue that Weiner-Davis is actually advocating walking backward while still facing your marriage – a sure way to fall on your derriere and get hurt……..

    • BRAVO!
      This is so great Chumpitude! My first thought when I read this was to do the same thing because my first thought after getting to the bottom of that list was, “oh, hell no! F-this list” because it’s basically advice to be as cold as the cheater and ignore the trauma of finding pictures of your spouse having sex with whores or whatever your particular d-day entailed then go on with your life as if nothing ever happened which is like permission for them to keep doing why they’ve been doing.

      • Acquiescence is permission, yes. A compliant partner is seen by these fucktards as giving them a license to continue their escapades.

    • Thank you everyone!

      AllOutofKibble + Survivor – So agree with you, doing nothing is considered acquiescence/permission by most cheaters… Mine refused to cut contact with his AP and told me “I told her that you wouldn’t hurt a fly.” Since then, he’s learned that I can eat two of him for breakfast when I’m not even hungry.

      Onto Meh!

  • I read a stupid book by Conway’s now dead first wife called “When a Mate Wants Out” and it told of a faithful Christian woman who waited 7 years for her cheater to recommit to the marriage. I thought “Oh I would never do THAT, I couldn’t do THAT!” and then my stupid ass self did JUST THAT !! ARGH !!!!

    Oh I thought we were reconciling when we were actually wreckonciling … what a fucking mess it was

    and I fell for the oldest tricks in the book, among them:

    “Im not ready to talk about that yet” :::wait a year:::: “Why do we have to talk about that now? its in the past”.

    And I hope that everyone here finds support and help with their families…my parents are:
    1) a narc and
    2) a borderline (personality disordered) alcoholic
    and my brother was a cheater…so wasteland on that front

    • Or you get them refusing to discuss anything, going completely silent FOR DAYS or my favorite “We already talked about that ” when NOTHING had even been discussed………total crazymaking!

      So glad that it is not my concern anymore but it was hell while it was happening.

  • Fortunately, I don’t have the emotional disposition to successfully carry out The 180. I’m barely able to keep myself from commiting homicide. I don’t know how to be sweet on a bad day. I guess it comes as no surprise that when my ex was caught cheating on me, he slithered away like a snake and never came back. He knew that I was heart broken but I was simultaneously beyond furious and he just didn’t have it in him to deal with that. I suppose that was a good thing.

    • Carol, you sound like me. I went berserk on his ass. I actually think he was afraid of me and he probably should have been. (tho, I am not violent, or wasn’t quite then yet) He was out of here on 2 wheels after I got done screaming at him. Like a snake..he slithered away and didn’t want to deal with my wrath. Which, I still have for him. 1 yr post D.

    • I got the fuck out when I realized STBX was in (at best) an EA. Not even worth discussing it with him, because all I would get would be denial and gaslighting and more emotional abuse.

      Fuck that noise. He doesn’t have a single useful thing to say to me – other than information about our finances which he refuses to provide me for my lawyer. But I have my ways…

      Nothing I can say to him, no anger, no tears, nothing will affect him and who he is and what he does. I realized I’ve been gaslighted for so long, about other women, and I can’t un-know what I know now.

      He’s toast.

  • This 180 crap sounds like something out of a Stepford Wives manual. This horse shit is really advice on how to stay in an abused relationship. Fuck that.

    Chumptitude – your list should be the first page of a GTFO before the cheater sucks up the best years of your life manual.

  • I tried the 180 too. For 14 months. I had no idea that I was actually Pick Me dancing. He had me convinced he just wanted freedom, not another person. Found out about her after the 14 month dancing/180 gave him enough time that he was able to gather his resources and abandon me, moving directly into her townhouse, without a dime. “You’re leaving me?? But I’m so pleasant!”


  • This is just . . . I’m at a loss for words. I was filled with such blind rage after D-Day, my “Dont’s” list would have looked something like this:

    1. Don’t wing a frozen chicken at cheater’s head.

    2. Don’t cut the crotch out of the hundreds of pairs of pants in cheater’s closet.

    3. Don’t spray paint “Douche Canoe” on the side of cheater’s midlife crisis sports car.

    4. Don’t grind up lightbulbs and sprinkle on cheater’s pasta like oregano.

    5. Don’t measure cheater’s body while he’s sleeping to know how big to dig the hole.

    6. Don’t serve the cheater anti-freeze in place of Gatorade.

    7. Don’t run a cheese grater up and down cheater’s shins after dropping him with a Louisville Slugger to the skull.

    8. Don’t fill all of cheater’s shoes with motor oil. Especially the alligator ones.

    9. Don’t put cheater’s vast collection of designer sunglasses through the wood chipper.

    10. Don’t admit to anything to the police.

    • LOL!! …uneffingbelievable, I needed that laugh 😉 Actually, #2 ..I burned the crotch of several pairs of pants, and cut one sleeve and one pants leg of several more of his clothes and burned those. When he showed up the next day telling me he was just coming to pick up his clothes, I said, “Well, gee…see here’s the thing, when I saw all of your clothes waiting for me in the laundry, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it anymore. And anything that smelled like perfume, that wasn’t mine, I burned them” I’m sure he’ll bring that little incident up in court, but hey call it temporary insanity, at least mine was short lived. The man still has more clothes than I do and I figured if he can afford $400/hr hookers, he can afford to go shopping somewhere other than online.

    • Omg thankyou all, the only times I thought I was crazy was when my girlfriends and I would joke about all the ways to get back at my x- ass. During those times I was sure I was crazy but knew they were too, lol

      • Only innocent and accidental thing I did was after we had separated and divorce was almost final. I had a new friend I was getting to know quite well but we hadn’t crossed the line intimately yet. However, my ex showed up one day to get some more things and he went to get something to drink. Well the look on his face when he saw beer, tea in the fridge and a new coffee maker on the counter.

        You see I’m born & raised in the south but I’ve never like beer, tea or coffee. Oops, I guess he figured out real quick that someone else was stepping on his territory. As my new now boyfriend says ” One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”

        • Hey, he stepped on your territory when he went in your kitchen and opened your fridge. Good thing he didn’t presume to use your bathroom.

    • This sounds like a game card for Cheater Revenge Bingo.
      I wouldn’t have minded doing those things to the pricks who cheated on me!

    • Mine was “don’t send a singing telegram to cheater and OW’s joint office singing ‘You’re Cheating Heart.'”

  • All I can say is, yes Cheaters actions speak louder than words and the less you make contact with the cheaters and the sooner you really move forward with your life the better for you and your children. Be mindful of your actions do focus on your life it’ll get better cause when you do your new life just seems to fall into place 🙂

  • I have done the 180 without knowing this word. D-Day had not hit yet, but I was fully aware that something was going on between him and the woman he was skyping to. My reaction was to pull back, getting on with my life without regard to what the cheater was doing.

    What was the result ? He used my attitude as an excuse on D-Day: “you are indifferent”.

    It amounted to looking the other way and not confronting. He could continue, plan more trips, skype longer every evening.

    The 180 is a very bad idea and it does not work.

  • Applying this rules to infedelity would be as affective as applying them to a hostage situation. Its too bad that there isnt an infedelity Swat Team to surround the Mother Fucker when negotiations breakdown. Surround yr house like a swarm of heavily armed ants and wait for your direction.
    ‘ Subject has denied involvement. Hostile and unwilling to negotiate. This is not a 180. Repeat. Not a 180. You may fire upon subject.’
    Blam! Blam! Blam!
    Who wants to go for coffee?

  • The “Reconciliation” boards are a pet peeve of mine. The amount of KOOL AID those people serve up to each other in order to get those bites of their shit sandwiches down just a little bit easier, is just pathetic.

    For the most part, the actual definition of ‘reconciliation’ on certain infidelity websites REALLY equates to: “open wide and keep eating that shit sandwich….for the rest of your life! Oh – and swallow your pride, dignity, and self respect right along with it!”

    Like the one desperate fool whose husband has been going to massage parlors for the last 5 years and really hasn’t done ANYTHING to change himself or become a better person. But they’re ‘reconciling,’ don’tcha know? LOL…maybe SHE is, but he sure isn’t. Well by gosh and by golly, here they are into their 5th month of deluded ‘reconciliation’ and she’s found more evidence of him looking up escorts on Craigslist! What to do, what do do???? Cue in the Kool Aid drinking masses who all ‘advise’ her to do the 180, dammit! THAT’LL show him!

    Yesirree – the dirt-bag’s been cheating for god knows how long with any escort who’ll take his money, and instead of the wife realizing she picked a loser and getting the hell out of Dodge, she’s wringing her hands and asking for even MORE spackle. The 180 will solve ALL her problems! You’ll see!

    I might have some compassion if these people even showed a SHRED of self respect. But they don’t. They just keep patting each other on the back, extolling the ‘virtues’ of the magical 180, and pouring each other more Kool-Aid every time their cheater screws them over YET AGAIN. It’s pitiful.

    • No kidding, CLF! Before I found the wonderful ChumpLady, all I found was the RIC forums, and I tried so hard to do the 180. Instead of only being disrespected, and publicly humiliated, now I also felt dead inside! It was horrible. He was prancing around the neighborhood with her, and I was acting detached! How was that going to change him?
      I think it’s pitiful, these concepts of ‘save your marriage, at ANY cost’. I like CL’s idea better- save yourself, like right now!

      • Kind of off topic, but I just found out that Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the US Girl Scouts, was a chump. Reading her bio on Wikipedia, it’s fascinating. She was mighty, and her husband was a creep. Does it ever go any other way?

    • Hmmm, found out a friend of mine, who cheated on her very lovely boyfriend with her current husband (who was one of the boyfriend’s best mates, yep, with mates like that….) of twenty-something years, has been living with her cheater husband (utterly miserable) and get this SHE HASN’T EVEN MENTIONED SHE KNOWS – HAS HARD EVIDENCE – about her husband’s long affair with a ho-worker, that he ended about four years ago! What the fuckity fuck??? Initially, I tried to be supportive, telling her she needed to confront him, was she okay, did she need somewhere to stay…. eventually, after about a year of her agreeing with me over and over that she needed to tell him she knew….she did nothing. He still may not know she knows (I think he does, and is avoiding that conversation as much as she is, a Mexican standoff.) She messages me occasionally, and I just have no real time for her. I have told her, you will never get out of this misery if you keep pretending. Chumped to the max – I even gave her CL’s book…..sigh, you can lead a horse to water and all…

    • The RIC sites are a crock of shit.
      You usually get a bunch of pretend-remorseful cheaters on there, who act like the narcissistic pricks they are, who pretend they are ‘oh so remorseful’. From past knowledge, one of them actually came here and was playing concern-troll back on her RIC site of choice saying “These people don’t know me at all, they think I’m a narcissist – but my therapist doesn’t agree”. Thats because your therapist isn’t going to tell you that you’re a raging narc, dickhead. Also, I think your provocative avatars on the site and flirting with all the staff there tells us enough.

  • The 180 is flawed mainly because the whole idea is to “get your spouse back”. Instead, it should be a focus 100% on YOU. VERY hard to do in early days, but really the only answer. I wish I had done that in January when the fool gave me the speech. I wish I had said “fine”.. there’s the door, I’ll contact a lawyer tomorrow and we’ll get this party started.

    Then implemented the 180/NC with the express intent of focusing on me. THAT would have made him take notice a LONG time ago.

    Truth is, mine didn’t want to reconcile until I did this. Until I moved on. That’s how it works. These guys/gals want what they can’t have, or what they think is out of reach. I am not suggesting this is a basis for building a reconciliation.. but I am saying that you are better off assuming your marriage is dead on Dday, skip the pick me dance, the pretzeling, all of that. So, on that level I agree with some of the 180. Stop talking to them, stop making them central. Move on and they will notice.

    Then it’s up to you if you want to chase that unicorn of if you’ve discovered enough about yourself to leave it behind.

  • The thing I hate about the 180 concept is that in insidiously suggests that the chump caused the affair by doing the opposite of what is on the list. The only thing capable of causing cheating is s cheater.

    • But that is what Davis is selling. You can’t control them — so if you change XYZ about yourself, the spouse will come back to you. I find it incredibly offensive.

  • I think Davis’s advice often borders on malpractice. (if she were counseling real people).

    Here is the thing. If you ever read the forums on Davis’ website, I have no doubt that these folks are being screwed financially because they try to save their marriages. There is one poster whose husband left her years ago for another woman, who hasn’t seen him in years (no children) and is in a country where cause must be listed. She won’t file and he doesn’t want to file against her, though recently he said that he needed too. She actually wrote up a list of her faults so he could use that in his filing, rather than filing herself on the grounds of adultery. It is starting to hurt her financially, but she just can’t take that step to protect herself. So, so sad. And that people support in her in this self-harming behavior.

    Another woman’s husband refuses to support his children but she won’t go see an attorney and get support ordered because he might file for divorce. (In fairness, most of the respondents on this one told her to protect herself.)

  • I did the 180, every single one of those. And it did get my cheater’s attention. But it DIDN’T make him stop cheating. Instead of packing up and leaving with the AP, he just continued to carry on with the AP and still live with his family at the same time. And that would have gone on indefinitely, if I hadn’t left his sorry ass.

    • That’s exactly what happened with me Lining. He never stopped what he was doing – he continued as though he was ENTITLED to sit an text other women right in front of me while I continued to go to work, pay the bills, clean the house…..what did he care? And yes it would have gone on indefinately had I not left his sorry ass too. Oh wait – I forgot. He had every right to devalue me to my face because of the ficticious affair I had 15 years ago. Silly me – what was I thinking when I expected him to be remorseful about his fuck phone and Yahoo accounts?

  • So helpful! I did the pick me dance for 6 months and tried the epic fail 180- he screamed at me in MC about how I made him have the affair starting last Nov because in Oct I told him the solution to his cash flow worries was to reduce expenses or increase income (how dare I?!!!). I “made him feel inadequate as a man” and “never accepted him” (25 years and 4 kids, and HE betrayed me and left me/kids in May- WTF??!!!) and therefore he “had to” fuck the 30 year old he met in the elevator, she was his “soulmate” after 3 weeks, you know (!!!)

    yesterday was D-Day #2. Turns out there were others including one the summer before I ever said anything about him getting a better job. It was all blame shifting and mind fuckery. The earlier APs have reached out to me to “tell me everything” and he admitted it. I’m working on my divorce today! I’m numb but completely resolved– it’s OVER

    • Yes, pointing out the obvious on finances is a good reason to fuck someone else. Perhaps the 30 year old would like to support his stupid ass.

      Onward and upward Motherchumper.

    • He sounds like a real piece of work. Don’t lose sight of how much you are worth, raising four kids, you deserve a medal! Keep moving forward, and run, run, run away from that Blameshifter! Just think how far ahead you’ll be, one year from now!
      Let him go on with his fabulous life, picking up strangers in elevators, so classy!

    • Way to go MotherChumper99!
      Keep pushing forward. The numbness can be your friend, it gave me the ability to collect all that financial data and other stuff without crying myself into a heap. And hold onto the anger, it will propel you.
      I believe in you!

  • Yeah, I did the 180. The only good that came of it was that it illuminated for me what a piece of shit my ex was. Even if I behaved like an angel, he was still going to cheat, and then find a way to manipulate me into thinking it was my fault. I heard that I was too overbearing/too independent/too needy/seemed not to need him. The truth is that he was — and probably still is — a childish asshole. He didn’t give a shit about the pain he caused me, and he was prepared to do exactly as he wished and blame the world for the fallout.

    So I left the situation. Pointed my compass 180 degrees away from my now ex and his OW and moved forward with my life. Best decision ever.

    • Ohhh, that sounds so familiar. They don’t want to see- it’s not what we do, or don’t do. It’s THEM.
      One concept that really propelled me forward, was that I wanted him to experience, and get completely immersed in, the life that HE put together!! The one where I wasn’t there, annoying him, or holding him back somehow. Now you’re FREE TO BE!
      Do I have to tell anyone here, he’s a total mess? He did stop drinking every day, morning, noon, and night, but that’s only because of a DUI, loss of driver’s license for a year and a half, and court-ordered urine testing. Yes, this is his free life without me getting in his way. Doesn’t sound better to me?!
      I hope I don’t sound too bitter, I do have a peaceful, new life, but I just hate to see such a waste. And I’ll never forgive him for hurting our three lovely sons, just so he could feel like a renegade, the big idiot.

      • FreeWoman – I highly doubt my asswipe would quit (or even cut down) drinking due to a DUI.

        Jackass told me before I left (but had obtained a lawyer) that once I was ‘out of the picture’ he would be rich. I’m not sure if he thought the tooth fairy was making the house payment every month? And maybe Santa was paying the bills….not sure who HE thought was taking care of that because it certainly wasn’t him.

        Fast forward to just a few weeks ago when dipshit wants to ‘negotiate.’ I gave him my number. He said he couldn’t do it because he didn’t have the money. I told him he would have to refinance the house (he is keeping the house – as of right now…. I am actually hoping the judge will make us sell it because he is such an asswipe) and he said he couldn’t do that because he wouldn’t be able to afford it.

        WAIT A MINUTE THERE JACKASS – I am now ‘out of the picture,’ and according to YOU – you should be ROLLING in the dough. In fact, let me show you that text you sent me because I kept them all dumbshit!

        I have NO fucking sympathy for that dipshit. I could care fucking less if he ‘can’t’ afford the house payment. Simple solution fuckface – sell the house – sell YOUR shit. But wait! You shouldn’t have to because you should be RICH – REMEMBER?

        • You might be better off if the Judge orders it sold, clean and done. If you end up doing that, make sure there is an actual ‘sell by’ date, my X squatted in our house for a YEAR, because the wording about the sale was too vague.

  • Ugh. Reading the 180 again made my stomach hurt. I tried most everything on the list. I remember trying to ACT brave when I told him not to worry about me if he decided to leave because I’d be fine. His eyes got really wide but he didn’t say anything (as usual). Although I didn’t feel that way inside, and went down to the utility room to sob my eyes out afterwards, I didn’t show HIM what I was feeling.

    Later, after he left, he used what I said against me. When I told him how hard it was to be abandoned he said “You told me you’d be fine. You were very matter of fact about it.’

    So there, proof that the 180 doesn’t work. No matter how much you twist yourself into a pretzel to save your marriage it’s not going to make a bit of difference. You can cry, beg and plead, or you can do the 180, but it doesn’t matter. You can’t save your marriage by yourself.

    • I did the 180 twice. What a total crock of shit. You can’t win with these bastards. I could kick myself. I want the last 24 years of my life back.

  • I actually printed this list out and carried it around in my pocket for a while while my wife was openly sleeping with another man. Well, she kept telling me it was over, but deep down I think I always knew something wasn’t right.

    To me this 180 list taps into the deepest insecurities that develop when you realize that your spouse has had an affair — that you’re partly to blame, that you are needy, that you don’t have enough of a life of your own, that marriage is like a high school relationship (you need to freeze her out, don’t call right away or she won’t think you’re worth chasing etc.). But the worst one to me is #32. The idea that your spouse is “hurting and scared” because they can’t stop fucking another person is twisted. I love the phrase “cheaters are timid forest creatures.” That’s how my wife portrayed herself for so long. She was also hurting; her affair partner hurt her in the same way I was hurting — all of that shit made me so mentally fucked up that I still can’t sort it all out. It also plays into the idea that affairs are like sicknesses — or addictions — and you need to tread lightly lest the addict or the sick person might do something more desperate, more severe.

    I don’t know when this post originally ran, but I wish I could have seen it before I bought into all of the reconciliation advice I tried to follow. Thank you Tracy and to all of my fellow Chumps for helping me see that this stuff is absolute baloney.

  • After Saddam moved into an apartment to “work on himself” (read, fuck around without me around) I did much of what is included in the 180 because I actually was moving on. A few weeks after he moved I realized it was so much nicer at home without him, and cleaner! I started eating better and cooking again because my kitchen was always clean! I had to buy new clothes because I’d lost so much weight. I began going out more due to the energy levels coming back. Then the asshole came to the house begging me for another chance, and everything went downhill from there. I honestly believe that most of the trauma experienced from the cheating is not the initial discovery. It’s the mindfuckery that comes afterward, the bogus reconciliation where the cheater betrays us again and again while screwing with our heads, becoming more and more abusive, blowing through our money, and finally; fighting against divorce until they see we won’t budge – then trying to screw us into the ground.

    • Yes, unfortunately. I think my life would be so much better if 5 months ago Idiot had said “I’m getting out, have a good life”. Instead of the goading me into pick me dancing, the blameshifting and all the mindfuckery afterwards.

  • ‘Doing the 180’ even calling it that is so dismissive and blame shifty for chumps- you haven’t been pretty enough you haven’t been dramatic enough, you need to make cheater see that you’re a real person because you have obviously just been the melted chocolate to their ripe delicious strawberry, kind of cloying and over sweet and too much for them, so let me teach you how to behave to make them care again. This is literally a cheat sheet (pardon the pun) on how to effectively participate in a pick me dance. I am so lucky I found CL and CN before I ever fell into the hands of the RIC, and also strangely before I found the panties.

    I do have to say I dont get crazy when I get angry. I am low slow burn girl. So my ho-hub has no clue about what I know yet. Not because I’m not furious. Not because I don’t care. I do. But because I see the long game as way more important than me throwing my strategic position away so I can tell him how mad I am. Nope. Record, plan, prepare. Then the fires of Armageddon will come in with a scorched earth strategy, but me and my island will be unscathed.

    • One of the parting remarks I got was that I was too sweet. Not edgy enough. WTF? The shit for brains gets everything he wants, over the course of eons, and that was a bad thing for him. No winners at this game, my friends.

    • Gathering our financial information has been a much more productive use of my time than anything I could say to him or he could say to me about his cheating.

      Channeling my anger into making him pay… and pay he will…

    • Creativerational — you sound a lot like me and your plan is basically what I followed. I stayed super calm and cool for the time it took to collect undeniable evidence, consult a lawyer, shut down the joint account, etc. I was also pretty calm during the confrontation when I handed him a one-way ticket and told him to get the hell out of my house.

      The anger? That came when he refused to leave and “the fires of Armageddon” is a pretty good description of the weeks that followed. Lol. Good luck to you — from what you wrote, you’re doing exactly what you should.

  • The 180 is really the “Pick Me Dance” to the tune of hard-to-get.

    I tried it and my ex seemed delighted… he thought that I had finally broken down and was content to live the rest of my life as a room mate/housekeeper, while he got to do whatever, whenever and whomever he wanted.

    I finally packed my bags, took the furniture that my family had gifted us with love (except for the marital bed, which I resisted the urge to torch), and moved out.

    And when he started calling me frantically after coming home to an empty house, my heart fluttered. He was going to beg for me back! He finally realized what he lost! HE GETS IT!


    Him: “How am I supposed to pay for this apartment and all my bills by myself?!”

    My heart shattered, but I had just enough of my wits left to reply: “Find another room mate.”

  • Why can we not learn early that you cannot change anyone but yourself? Why do we believe we can control what others think and do? Why does RI advice start with the assumption that you have done something wrong, and need to be the one to change?

    I’m showing my age here, but does anyone else remember the big stir when a marriage advice book suggested you greet your husband at the door with a cocktail in your hand, and nothing else on but saran wrap and a smile? What lunacy leads us to believe other people can diagnose what is wrong with our relationship and to believe that whatever it is that is wrong, we can fix it by being subservient and providing never ending sexual diversions?

    Why do we not get sound advice at an early age about personality disorders and how to deal with extremely selfish individuals? Would we listen? Maybe we are not prepared to deal with this type of information until the foundation of our world is rocked and we are blindsided with betrayal? People may want to believe this stuff will never happen to them, but look at the chump nation and you can see a wide variety of age, education, vocations, and ethnic backgrounds. The only thing we really have in common is that we were betrayed, and we believe it can happen to anyone. Nearly all of us were willing to at least try the RI advice, to do the Pick Me Dance for awhile. We stopped when we realized that none of it really worked, and maybe when we learned that we didn’t really want what we thought we wanted once upon a time, anyway.

    Accepting reality is hard, but you cannot live in fantasy land happily forever after. No one can wave a magic wand and make everything better, so we all have to stop dreaming of the impossible and start living with what is possible.

    • “Accepting reality is hard, but you cannot live in fantasy land happily forever after. No one can wave a magic wand and make everything better, so we all have to stop dreaming of the impossible and start living with what is possible.”

      That’s where I struggle. I don’t know if it’s laziness, entitlement, or what, but I want something to magically make everything better. I keep thinking that I don’t have what it takes to get through this, yet that’s exactly what I’m doing. I don’t know that I’ll ever get over feeling like there’s some elemental aspect of life that I just don’t grok; I’m starting to think it’s an intrinsic confusion on my part.

      Being a computer tech, I thought this morning that it’s like someone stole my Windows PC and then a Linux PC was shoved in my face. I either have to learn Linux or give up on computing. As appealing as that sounds at times, I can’t quite press the power button. My life certainly has a new operating system that I’m not all that familiar with, but the Windows PC is long gone.

      Ah, the loneliness of the depressed geek!

      • I with you WhichWayDidSheGo, I feel so much the same!

        Definitely a new “life” operating system is the way I look at it.

        I tried the 180; started and then realized I was the one changing, and she loved the independence it brought her “like spit in may face.” That motivated me to final discovery and D-day.

        • Me too.

          I tried to do the 180 for about half an hour the only time I saw him after he walked out. I had read some article on the Internet entitled “How I Saved my Marriage” or something like that. It didn’t specifically call it the 180 but that’s what it was. Anyway, I felt pretty pathetic after that half hour and it ended up with him pulling some papers for me to sign out of his pocket to put the cable bill in my name. At least it helped me insofar as I didn’t let him see me cry.

        • Far better than Windows as well. Does that mean Windows OS is like a cheater? Maybe it’s “leave Windows, get a life” 🙂

      • I’m with you WhichWayDidSheGo…

        I thought Windows and I were doing great… He was quirky, just the right blend of witty and flexible, and I married him. With the years, there were more and more reboots, more bugs, and quirks I had to live with… It was so progressive I didn’t realize it was suffocating until BOOM, blue screen of death… (aka DDay).

        At first, I was so angry to have to Linux my way forward, I did not want to flip the switch, I wanted to throw that sucker out the Window (ahahah)… Until I started reading “Linux for Chumpies” (aka CL’s blog and book).

        I there I was, deciding that if Linux was going to be my way to my best future, I was going to freaking ace that thing. At first, I fumbled, it was frustrating to admit that it was not anything like my familiar Windows, and that I would give a sizable chunk of my brain to get a decent Windows system back. But “Linux for Dummies” kept me going…

        With practice and time, I started to realize that with my Linux box, I’ve needed fewer reboots, have seen no bugs, and the inflexible quirks I have to deal with on Windows are gone… It is actually surprising how little drama I have been encountering with Linux, kind of unsettling really given the number of adrenaline rushes I got each time I had to fix Windows.

        A little over a year in, I am getting more and more decent at that Linux thing… I am even starting to get into the Linux community online and in person… I was surprised to find a bunch of fun and welcoming people who share their open source code with me, I’ve been plugging in some of their stuff to upgrade my own code, and wow, for some stuff I get more done in less time than it used to take me on my Windows…

        I hope my experience will help you get closer to flipping the switch…

        • LemonSqueezy – time to get that bull horn out and tell everybody you know. I’m sorry you suffered so much keeping this all inside.
          (I know it must be hard with kids!)

          I protected my husbands reputation like he was a God.
          Nobody could say a bad word about him – in front of me, if they thought it.
          But, I did hear it a few times.
          Hey – THIS is a good guy – do not say bad words about him like he’s an asshole.
          (when it came to workers around the house)
          All his work buddies thought he was God.

          Until he got me. And, I went on a tyrant to everybody that would listen to me, with the dirtiest mouth making up the dirtiest words that I could have opened my own dictionary. I went absolutely NUTS about sharing details.
          They were THAT bad.

          Suddenly, I didn’t have his back.
          Too late buddy, when he asked ‘What are WE going to tell people about this?”
          I said – ‘WE”? There is no WE.

          And, his entire reputation is completely shot.
          Ooops…did I do that?

          This 180 is complete bullshit except for what the other posters posted – that needs to get OUT THERE somewhere to counteract this 180 bs.

    • “I’m showing my age here, but does anyone else remember the big stir when a marriage advice book suggested you greet your husband at the door with a cocktail in your hand, and nothing else on but saran wrap and a smile?”

      Ah, yes, The Total Woman. Maribel Morgan. I had to google it to remember the author’s name. I was thinking of Phyllis Schlafly.

      “It’s only when a woman surrenders her life to her husband, reveres and worships him and is willing to serve him, that she becomes really beautiful to him,” according to Morgan. Pardon me while I throw up a little.

    • “Why do we not get sound advice at an early age about personality disorders and how to deal with extremely selfish individuals? Would we listen? Maybe we are not prepared to deal with this type of information until the foundation of our world is rocked and we are blindsided with betrayal?” – THIS

  • After DD#1, I did a lot of the things on this list instinctively. I think it is called self preservation. It is also called DENIAL.

    I say scrap this list. Don’t ask – tell yourself – YOU DESERVE BETTER.

  • I remember reading this advice, but it seemed to totally divorced from my value system that I didn’t pay it much mind. Don’t get me wrong, I briefly danced the Pick Me, and I did try to “get on with my life” without actually getting divorced…

    …but that old nagging reminder that my wife was fucking another man really put a damper on my mood, and my plans, and any desire that I had for her.

    Where in this advice is the acknowledgment that you will no longer, ever, view your spouse the same way? Where is the understanding that you’re kind of grossed out by your slut wife? Where is the reality that the person you’re with is starting to disgust you, and you’re confusingly dealing with that emotion while simultaneously still loving them? Where is the, “Holy shit, what does it say about me that I married a person like this?!?”

    • Yes, how the hell did I not see her for what she was? My family did, but I ignored them. I had some serious spackle going. You ask the right question. Only you have the answers. I’ve learned to listen to my gut feeling. It hadn’t been wrong since she ran off. Stay strong, and give it time.

  • Wow, that 180 list was like the continued smoke and mirrors mindf*ckery of being cheated on. It urges you to only act as if you are moving on, not give yourself the authority to realize it is your story and your very understandable pain and to at the same time “be attractive”. Dance! dance faster! Smile!

  • Ahh yes! The good ole 180! I spent months trying to follow this list to a T, and beating myself up when I “backslid” and became hysterically angry (and rightfully so) over what I now know was gaslighting by my stbxh who was involved with his married mother of four ho-worker while I was nursing an infant, caring for a toddler and putting extravagant dinners on the table each night. I thought I was CRAZY for accusing him of having an inappropriate relationship with her when she was just a good friend—a good friend whose earring I found in my bathroom after going out of town with the kids. “That must have fallen off of her months ago when she stopped by here to help me with some work. You remember,” stbxh told me… And I believed him. Fast forward a year later and they’re planning to get married and raise a large blended family—her kids and my kids. Though my lawyer says they will only be playing Brady Bunch every other weekend at most.

    Here’s where MWD did save me though— stbxh’s girlfriend— who wrote him emails saying things like they were one and growing together like the roots in trees (gag!) wants me to have the minimum support possible and no maintenance, which I need in order to stay in the house with two small kids in a good school district. The laws JUST CHANGED in my state allowing for alimony for marriages of five years or more, plus stbxh recently got a pretty good raise and if I’d wised up sooner I would have been left with nothing, though I understand that you can’t put a price on dignity, which I know I sacrificed several times in the name of the “180.” I am truly chumptastic.

    • I almost left the Gaseous Nebula twice in the last few years. Not even over cheating (which I’ve realized he was probably guilty of, but I was gaslighted into denial).

      But his last few years of work have been very lucrative, so the extra years of pain are at least leaving me with a much larger settlement. And the satisfaction that he probably wishes he’d let me go the first time… or the second… instead of keeping me around for his mindfuck fun.

  • Reading the 180 on another site was the 2 x 4 across the head that made me aware I was seeking the wrong advice. I was devastated, and like everybody else I was all over the internet and Amazon looking for things to read just to feel better. Just so I could eat, sleep and function.

    Some of my favs:

    13. Be cheerful, strong, outgoing and attractive. I was barely making it to work and back in one piece. One time I actually parked my car in the driveway, and forgot to engage the parking break and I had to chase it back down before it hit the neighbors car across the street. Being cheerful, strong, outgoing and attractive was not going to happen. I probably looked down when I got to work a few times just to make sure I remembered to put pants on.

    24. Be patient. No. My husband was fucking another cheating whore. I’m not going to be patient about that.

    32. Do not believe any of what you hear and less than 50% of what you see. Your spouse will speak in absolute negatives because they are hurting and scared. Um no. He wasn’t hurting and scared. He went into attack mode and tried to emotionally and financially ruin me. He did this while texting me at night wanting to “snuggle” with me. Sociopath.

    1 through 11 make sense, but that’s all accomplished just by going no contact. The 180 gives the impression that if you do all this crazy shit, they will realize what they lost and come back, but who the fuck wants a cheater back anyway? I think the 180 would just make me insane. No thanks.

    • Yesterday was 9 mos past D-day.

      Since then — like you, tried to be nice and did many 180 things and have to laugh at your description about challenges of being cheerful, strong, outgoing and attractive.

      Result for me – .backed my car into my kids car in my own driveway and damaged both. Lost my absolute favorite/ and probably only valuable ring – no clue where. Started crying in front of my Dr. who was so concerned he gave me an anti-anxiety scrip. Lost my temper with my sassy teen and yelled at him like a crazy person. Felt alone. Suffered from insomnia. Gained weight. Doubted myself. Failed to recongize that I was the victim who needed help, and tried to counsel and “fix” him.

      • Well, I never really did the 180. I was reading about it and the idea of trying to accomplish some of what it recommended would have made me insane.

        I was in no shape to fake anything. My co-workers remember how bad I was; It’s kind of funny now. I had found out about my X’s affair on a Friday afternoon. (I found them in a hotel room by his work, yes that was fun.) So I spent the weekend pretty much drinking, smoking, and packing his shit. I was pretty methodical, but definitely still in shock. It’s all pretty much a blur.

        Monday I was scheduled to begin training on a pretty important project that was in the works for months. I was utterly and completely worthless. Months later, my boss remarked how much better I was doing and to prove it, showed me some of the “work” I did that first week. It looked like they gave a monkey a crayon and told him to have at it. All over the place. Made absolutely no sense.

        I got a lot better with a great therapist and meds. I’m not a big pill person, but that really helped a lot. This site helped immeasurably too.

        • When I first discovered the affair I was beside myself like all of us were. I had talked my company into participating in a trade show and volunteered to work all four days of it right after I found out. It was the most miserable four days of my life. I stood there and cried the entire time. I cried in front of my coworkers and I cried in front of my customers for months. I couldn’t eat and I couldn’t sleep. I lost 25 lbs and my hair fell out. I had what is called Takotsubo cardiomyopathy…a heart attack caused by a broken heart and ended up in ICU. The whole deal almost killed me. It took me YEARS to get better. Thank God for therapists and Chump Lady and Chump Nation. I never really got better until I got here. CL wasn’t around when it all went down.

          That was then and this is now. I have an awesome life with a great fulfilling job, a gorgeous fiancee, a beautiful home and those people? Fuck ’em. I’m sure the Karma Bus will roll over them sooner or later. Meh.

          • Syringa that is so good to hear i am so happy for you!! Sorry you had to go thru the fire first but you made it through better and stronger!! Enjoy to the fullest your new life.

          • “That was then and this is now. I have an awesome life with a great fulfilling job, a gorgeous fiancee, a beautiful home and those people? Fuck ’em. I’m sure the Karma Bus will roll over them sooner or later. Meh”

            Oh thank you thank you thank you Syringa, reading your bravery in motion makes me happy.

          • So so happy for you Syringa! I thought my heart was going to burst into flames. It seriously felt like it was on fire. Amazing how we are able to move on and rebuild our lives after going through that!

          • Omg Syringa! I had that SAME heart thing! Ended up in the hospital after 2yrs of wreck inculturation and 3 days… heart just gave up – then it threw a clot on top of that resulting in a stroke. Thank god it didn’t stick and was small. The cardiologists were confused bc on paper I looked very healthy. They said I maybe had a virus that attacked my heart or asked about any profound recent stressors….. Bc profound stress can cause Takotsubo! My ejection fraction was 31%! Anything under 30 is considered severe heart failure. They said they didn’t know if I’d recover. My cheater must have gone out of the room to do a little jog. Fucking fuckwit.

            All I could think as I was in the ER was how that motherfucker probably wished me dead bc it’d be WAY easier for HIM. I got really REALLY pissed. I had 2 boys at home that needed me and I was sure as all fucking hell not going out like this. That would leave my boys in his dirty cheating hands AND imagine the jackpot of kibbles for him!? Poor grieving guy. GAG!!! Sick fucker.

            I ordered him out of the room, ripped up my advanced directives and told the nurse to write ON MY CHART that my STBX had NO say in MY care. I called my best friend and she printed and wrote up new advanced directives for me. Seemed better to get a new one fast than to take the chance that dtv X might get to make a decision about me or my care (((shudder))).

            But, obviously I DID recover, although not completely, but I’m getting stronger every day. I still have some swallowing, memory and word finding problems from the stroke, but nothing noticeable except maybe for the word fumbling. Anyone who says cheating doesn’t cause the betrayed spouse the motherfucker of all hurts can kiss my ass. He nearly killed me with his insane gaslighting and horrific manipulating. I’m lining up my ducks, a lot of them, and I’m taking everything I can from that motherfucking cheater. I’ll be damned if he’s going to get off easy and just unload me and pick up a Malibu POS Barbie whore, because THAT’S his type. He won’t be able to afford Taco Bell when I’m done with his fucking cheating ass. He’s responsible for my health problems and because I’ve saved every email, every text and kept in touch w our old MC, who has copious notes that CAN be used in court, I’ve got plenty of evidence of him admitting that he felt so badly that all the things he did made me so physically sick. He never intended for me to find out and get hurt like this. ? W.T.F.H? He didn’t? Yeah, he didn’t intend it bc he thought he was so clever and I was so stupid that I’d never find out. He didn’t care if I got hurt, that’s why he took the risk.

            Syringa- I’m glad to know you’re ok and healing too. It’s truly unbelievable the enormous amount of damage an asshat cheater can continue to perpetrate on the already nearly destroyed betrayed spouse.

            THIS is why it’s important for us to GTFO. It’s not just emotional suffering by any stretch and I’m sure we aren’t the only ones to suffer physical catastrophes from all the heinous shitfests the cheaters arranged for us. Stay mighty and keep on keeping on!

            • Wreckonciliation and not whatever the hell I wrote- sorry! Lol. This word finding thing I have makes an entirely different kind of word salad! ?

  • Scrap the 180 and consider this:

    See a lawyer immediately to understand your options
    Learn everything about your finances and budget
    Stay in control until you figure out if you will be financially better off staying a bit longer
    Write your plan down and share with a friend who will keep you moving forward
    Gaslight him back if it will be better for you
    Get an individual counselor if you can afford
    Keep it together for your kids
    Go no contact and serve divorce papers as soon as it is best for you

    Note: if at any time you start to feel you are losing your sanity – go no contact IMMEDIATELY, The $ or lined up ducks are not worth it.


  • The point about not talking to your family is really really bad advice. Before I talked to my parents I was just pick me dancing, and willing to take all the fault and responsibility for his affair. He was blameshifting and gaslighting me and I was just taking it like a really good Chump. Then one day I told my parents, and they nursed my mental health back to mightiness one hug at a time. I realized all the bullshit I was dealing with and that I deserved better!!! No HE wasn’t being neglected, and I wasn’t a terrible wife. He needed an increased kibble supply and he wanted to justify why he was panting like a lost puppy after someone else.

    Also this… “You want to know who is “needy” and “desperate”? Cheaters. People who traffic in kibbles and need flattery and illicit sexual hijinks to feel whole. People who sell other people out. People who send crotch shots to total strangers. That shit is desperate” <— So much truth!

  • I, unknowingly, did much of the 180 for nearly half a year. You know what doing so got me? Dragged into court on false allegations and financially cleaned out by the monstrous STBX. (I think that I’ll send Wiener-Davis the bill for all my legal fees–enough to buy a large house.)

    Much of Wiener-Davis’ advice seems to create an even more imbalanced relationship, one in which the Cheater (poor sausage!) gets a free pass and the Chump (must work harder, spurned spouse!) gets to cement his/her identity as a doormat. I am very disturbed that a psychotherapist would encourage this type of dynamic. Practitioners in the field of psychotherapy are supposed to help reduce, not increase, abuse!

    I can’t help but wonder if Wiener-Davis has done any longitudinal (follow-up) studies months or years after study participants (her clients?) have tried the 180 program. How else would one know if the program ‘worked?’ And how does she define ‘worked?’ Just staying married does not equal ‘worked’ in my world.

    • And I can’t help but wonder if Wienter-Davis is actually a big fat cheater herself, because she sure wrote a great guidebook for the care and feeding of ’em.

    • Yep. A big list on how to be passively aggressive and chump bait and pretending it’s how to gain control (which should never actually be a ‘thing’ to gain in a relationship. You should be partners, share ownership together, control what you put in it, not the other persons behaviour) it’s absolutely amazing she didn’t get someone reviewing her credentials for suggesting this is not just ethical, fair and effective, it’s what you SHOULD do? Ick.

  • I detest that divorcebuster crap. Selling snake-oil to the desperate. And yes, I went down that rabbit hole for a couple of months, and it just sucked.

  • Oooh, it took me awhile to figure it out but this was part of the game for my ex. He is all about controlling someone’s behavior. What? I didn’t let him have his way all the time? Marriage is compromise? Not for my ex. He was going to do what he wanted and then I would bend over backward to “win” him over. He liked that saying – it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. No wonder he doesn’t have any friends. If anyone needs a 180 it’s the cheater.

  • This is a perfect post! Who in their right mind would ever take Michelle’s advice? All of it absolute bullshit. CL your take on all of this is perfect.

  • Michelle Weiner’s 180 advice is basically to give the cheater the cold shoulder while passive aggressively trying to show him/her his mistake in cheating on you in the hopes that the cheater will come around.

    GladIt’sOver’s 180 advice is to walk away in the opposite direction while on the phone with your attorney, then pack the moving truck and depart to wherever is 180 degrees away from the cheater.

  • I certainly wish I’d encountered this post when I was attempting to “do the 180”. Even while I was attempting it, I didn’t understand why it was supposed to work– I didn’t understand that it was an engraved ticket to the Pick-Me Dance. Once I started it, all I learned was what another commenter here already said: “Even if I behaved like an angel, [s]he was still going to cheat, and then find a way to manipulate me into thinking it was my fault.” Once I started “the 180”, my ex started disappearing for entire weekends with her affair partner, and then upbraiding me for being “hostile and controlling” when I finally complained.

    But even so, I’m not sure that this post would’ve helped as much as it could, or really should. I think there’s something better to be said to help people understand that the 180 is a crock of shit when you have a cheating partner. I mean, this post tears apart the individual pieces of the 180 list, but doesn’t really emphasize its underlying assumption: that you have NOT ALREADY LOST your spouse. If I had seen this post when I was actually trying to “do the 180”, I wouldn’t have related to it. I still believed that my spouse was just “wayward” and needed to see some kind of light– I wouldn’t have been willing to accept the snark and mockery written here because I rejected the premise.

    I think it would be helpful to see another post, as another run at the 180– this time illustrating what will ACTUALLY happen, point by point, when you try the 180 versus your cheater. Not all of the points are actually “bad”– we’d just want to know what the actual effect of doing it would be. Such as…

    1. Do not pursue, reason, chase, beg, plead or implore.
    – Your cheater will be glad when you stop reminding them of their commitment to you, and gratified that you are giving them the freedom to have their affair.
    2. No frequent phone calls.
    – Your cheater will appreciate the privacy you give them when banging their affair partner.
    3. Do not point out good points in marriage.
    – True; do not provide your cheater with a Guide to Cake.

    Something more verbose than this, I’m sure, would be helpful– but I think it should be something that would actually help a reader, who still thinks that their “wayward” just needs to come out of their “fog”, to understand in detail how “The 180” = “How to Be a Perfect Chump”.

    • I tried playing this perfect but distant card, well before I knew. It’s like pouring out your soul and replacing it with salt. It burns, it stifles, you’re just a shell. How is this helping anyone. Cake eater gets cake and I am nothing.

  • I agree Gail. This advice keeps you in a bad place. I read Michelle’s book once I suspected an affair and I implemented the 180 stuff and things went from bad to worse and my husband became scary abusive at that point. I felt I was going to end up in the hospital from emotional exhaustion and I probably would have if I continued to do her 34 points of self abuse (that’s how I see it now). I couldn’t figure out why her advice didn’t work since she said it has been so successful. Yeah right. I highly recommend ignoring this junk if you want to save yourself and make it out of this hell. I think James Dobson’s “Love Must be Tough,” David Clarke’s “I Don’t Love You Anymore”, and Lundy Bancroft’s “Why Does He Do That?” have good solid advice for people going through these situations and they consider the well being of the chump.

  • Oh, I remember Michelle Weiner-Davis’ book. My (now) ex-Mother In Law bought it for me to “win” back my husband. My ex MOL is a therapist! She thought this would work! Ha! I ate the shit sandwich for 18 months before I got strong enough to go No Contact. MF. Now my ex is married to a family therapist..she can do all this when he gets restless in his marriage..because he will!

    • My MIL told me , see your doctor, see a lawyer, take care of yourself. And the advice to tell no one is ludicrous.

  • When the Ex Mr. Super Fucking Entitled Asshole and I went to MC regarding the first in your face OW (certainly not the first OW I was later to learn), the MC basically advocated and “counseled” us in alignment with the line of thinking that forms the basis of the 180 – the cheating is the symptom of a problem, not the problem. Had I not been mind-fucked and abused for 20 plus years, I would have had the mental clarity to call bullshit on her and this line of thinking. Hello! A person who is cheating on you is not committed to or involved in the marriage or to you. The marriage is suffering because you’re married to an entitled asshole who thinks cheating is an acceptable response to whatever transient unhappiness they may be feeling at any given moment. Her “marriage advice” was basically that I should write “welcome” on my back and lay down on the floor, when I wasn’t otherwise occupied doing the Rockette version of the Pick Me Dance. Of course, when I did all this (with him throwing a few crumbs my way – which I gobbled up with the glee of starving dog) and he cheated again and said he didn’t want to be married to me anymore because I missed a spot when I was kissing his ass, it was beyond soul destroying.

    Then, when I was looking for some way to pull myself together, I found the reconciliation websites advocating the 180. As if and what the fuckity-fuck. I was fortunate to have a good friend who gave me good advice (and continued to do so even when I seemed reluctant to take it), a daughter who kept advising me I needed therapy, and I found CL and CN.

    Most people who practice the 180 and say they are doing it for themselves are misrepresenting their intent – and it keeps them stuck. It keeps them stuck because their focus remains on the Cheater – if the focus wasn’t on the Cheater, how the Cheater reacted and/or responded to whatever they were doing/not doing would be irrelevant. When most of your marriage has probably already been focused on these self-involved, self-absorbed, whiny-assed titty babies, it is not healing nor empowering to focus any more energy or attention on these over-indulged attention whores.

    Thank God for CL and CN for providing real information for Chumps on how to get unstuck and take care of themselves and get away from these harmful people.

    I also LOVE the hat tip to En Vogue!

  • Poor “social science” is my assessment of Weiner-Davis’ list. It has not been empirically tested. It is just a list. One that is self-contradictory at that, as CL points out.

    Like any advice or myth (like unicorns), keep what is true for you – and ignore the rest.

    Not only must mighty chumps discern crappy infidelity advice, we must also debunk myths and keep changing the cultural narrative to include our reality: INFIDELITY AS INTIMATE PARTNER ABUSE. Weiner-Davis forgot that when she wrote her list. or maybe she doesn’t realize this like so many other therapists..

    #change the narrative everywhere. with the grocery store clerk, friends, blog reviews of movies, books, etc– my latest narrative changer was a book review on Amazon.

  • This blew my mind today. Essentially, the “180” was how I lived through 18 years of marriage to an asshole.

    In a warped way, his cheating was the catalyst for me to walk away from miserable existence in servitude to someone who never liked me, let alone loved me.

    Still, in addition to the cheating, I certainly could have done without the theft and character assassination that has continued to this day. We’re two years divorced, and he’s as actively hateful as ever.

    • Once you stop feeding them kibble they turn into rabid dogs. That’s when u really see there true disdain for you the cake stealing chump.

  • I seriously tried this shit, and I felt like even more of a failure when I couldn’t do it. Then when I admitted to others on SI that I couldn’t do the 180, they chastised me and told me that was why my reconciliation failed. Wow, thanks for the support guys!!!! Way to make me feel even worse!

    I can’t lie, never could. With me, what you see is what you get. I have no guile, no pretense. The 180 felt like acting to me, like trying to be some fake person.

  • Raising hand here – I was proud to do the 180 for 2 wks. I got a glorious, very expensive trip to Hawaii while I was being the nice little chump, never bringing up the affair, swimming in the ocean, getting facials – well, most expensive trip we ever had at a resort. The entire time I was plotting how I would be seeing an attorney the moment we got back. Oh, we had SO many nice romantic, expensive dinners while I put on my happily married Chump face with a smile.

    The one damn thing I wanted out of him at the end was just a trip like this to say Good Bye, ASSHOLE!
    And, yup, I filed as soon as I got home.

  • I remember my bibliotherapy year or two well. I nearly bought this book thinking that MAYBE this would give me something new and magical! I never bought the book and you’ve eased my mind about saving that money. Then you gave me the answers I was looking for for FREE! You are a gem. Truly.

  • I did the 180, aka “pick me dance”, for about 6 months. The 180 was freaking exhausting and yielded the exact same results. The cheater didn’t do a 180 or anything close. He continued to act the same, lie the same, and fuck the whore the same (I guess…they might have tried new positions).

    I shouldn’t have to do a 180…I already was the good, faithful wife. To imply that I should have done more or done things differently is a crock of shit.

    SO glad it didn’t take longer to find CL and Chump Nation.

  • I did the 180 in the early days when he was so “lost” and in “turmoil” – not knowing if he wanted to be married, but denying an affair. You know what? MW-D was right! He DID notice. He told me that I “must have found someone else” because I was “taking this so well”. That ended my 180.

  • I’ve always felt the 180 was very manipulative at its core. The way it’s sold is that you can make the cheater behave a certain way if you behave a certain way; like you have to trick them into loving you. No thanks! It doesn’t make any sense. The rabid unicorn chasers throw out “do the 180 on him/her” as the cure for pretty much everything. It’s ridiculous. Didn’t buy it then, don’t buy it now.

  • 32 ways to ensure you continue to be abused. 32 ways to say “I don’t matter.” 32 different things that mean: “You can keep fucking me over until you are completely done with my sorry ass and kick me to the curb.” 32 handy dandy tricks to deprive yourself of any chance for happiness. 32 steps to increase your chances of going to your grave alone and unloved. 32 pitiful life-lessons in perpetual victimhood for your children.

    32 nails in your own coffin.

    Fuck. That. Shit.

  • this is just dumb-ass, passive-aggressive crap.

    give them a piece of your mind and get the fuck out of there. anything less is just prolonging the misery.

  • I apparently was participating in this 180 dance without even knowing it. It was horrible…I wanted so desperately to save my family, keep it intact that I basically gave up my own self worth and allowed him to shit all over me. He used this time to opening betray me…although he called it “clearing his mind” and having time to make big life decisions. Ha. He was clearing his mind… with his face in someone else’s bits for a weekend to “say goodbye”. While I was in a heap on the floor at home, trying to take care of my three boys…and not die from heartache.
    It’s shocking the amount of extra damage I put on myself in that horrible time frame…covering for him. Keeping his secrets. Not having any family support because I didn’t want to ruin his image in case he did come back to me… Being overly sweet and kind. After finding out that he was screwing his married Ho-worker for 4 years.
    WTF was I doing? I wish so badly that I would have kicked his ass out, burned all of his shit and sent his and AP’s boss all the raunchy nude photos and let him in on how ethical and moral his employees were during company time. Makes me so sick. He’s now off living his fantasy life with his AP. He had to “follow his heart”. He’s got shit for brains.

  • “Is this to goad the cheater into doing the pick me dance for you?”

    Been on her site, and this is exactly what her version of 180 is for.

    Your version is different, and I like it better. Reconcile with the cheater? What the fuck for?
    Yes, people kill for infidelity, and in many middle Eastern countries Stoning to death is practiced as a punishment for the cheater and the OW/OM. Since u have Jesus there, stoning for infidelity is what the Bible teaches.

  • 99% of the articles I am able to relate to but some I can’t, like, ‘What gets their attention is no contact’.
    It took a minute but eventually I did that and you know what? My ex was like David Venable on QVC doing the happy dance! He sooo wanted me gone. I was the idiot who thought I could make him see the light. The joke was on me.

    The X could care completely less that I have no contact. In fact I’m sure he wonders what took me so long. And this, this is what angers me to pieces! He won. He got his way. I know it’s not about winning but he definitely got over on me.
    Hate. Hate. Hate…….

    Please ChumpLady, can you address those few of us on here with X’s that wanted us gone and didn’t thrive on cake eating. Yea I know, we’re supposedly the ‘lucky’ ones that didn’t have to do loads of dances but I know I sorta did but it was upon his request, it was upon my denial.

      • IHaveHate – can totally relate to you here and I know CL has brought up this topic a lot. We are a small minority who were – possibly- lucky, to not have to do the happy dance to bring them back.
        I was one that never did it once.

        The X could also care less about me and I know every email I send him makes him shutter – because, well, I hate him and I want him to know that. He left just like >that< over a 2-bit whore.

        Of course, he never answers me.
        He went N/C on me.
        ME! His wife of 35 yrs!

        He hasn't revealed one thing he's doing in his life and I've stupidly told him about some personal things in my life which I thought he might care about (like our favorite dog dying suddenly). NOPE. No cares there.

        I admit, I was a bit pathetic with my anger that I wrote him over time – which he ignored, of course.
        So, that didn't get me anywhere.
        Made me sometimes feel worse, but I did get out all my anger in those emails so I don't really regret them.

        In fact, I know less about him now than I ever did.

        And yeah – it hurts damn bad after that many years.
        How you can just blow somebody off?

        But, when I think about it, if he had mentioned at all that he missed me, I may have been tempted…only to write another nasty email. So, he knew there was NO way I was taking him back.
        It was a total deal-breaker with me.

        SO, I accept that we will never be friends and I am still learning to un-love the ass.

        It's hard.

        • Me too. My ex could not care less. He was polite and distant and relatively cold at first, and now is completely NC with me. He even is NC with our children. I realize now that I did a sort of pick me dance to keep him calm and buttered up until the divorce was finalized and that I also secretly wanted to believe he cared, and to be sorry for losing me, but he never ever was.

          Ex has not seen our youngest son, now 16, in 4 years. He has seen the older two only a couple times for dinner. Last year when our oldest son refused his request to be his best man or even attend his marriage to AP#1 (which has now taken place this past summer), ex never contacted any of them again. He missed without comment oldest son’s law school graduation, daughter’s college graduation, and a myriad of events both large and small that has made up their lives (The article “This is What You Missed” often comes to my mind). Ex does not know how his youngest son is doing, or what sports he is playing–hell, he does not even know how incredibly tall and handsome he has become, or whether he is starting to learn to drive a car. He does not know his daughter is living in Italy for the next year and teaching in a school outside of Milan. He has never asked for a photograph or memento of them.

          Last year, I happily remarried a wonderful ex-chump who I had known for 30 years as my brother’s best friend, a man my ex knew and liked. Even knowing ex was engaged and planning a large and showy wedding to AP#1, with whom he cheated for over 15 years, I emailed ex and offered to try to help him rebuild a relationship with his children if he alone or he and AP were interested. His response? He emailed back “thank you” and took no further steps to do anything. I just sat there looking at the computer screen stunned.

          I assume the explanation is that he is a stone cold sociopath who just does not care, with a side of wanting to transmit to me his ongoing disgust and disregard for me by showing me that even our children mean nothing to him. But maybe I give myself even too much credit there, since I am pretty sure that in the end he just does not think about any of us at all.

          So now we just deal with him as if he were dead. Sometimes I even find myself saying “after the kids’ father died…” when talking to someone, before I realize my mistake. And I know we are lucky that they did not want us (or the children) even for cake, even for a little, after D-Day.

          But boy it is a mindfuck, and it hurts like a motherfucker, sometimes even now.

          • SheChump & Kelly……I’m so so sorry for the pain these rejects have done to you both. I was in it for only 10 years; can’t imagine triple+.
            It definitely is the mindfuckery & gaslighting that’s a bitch.

    • IHaveHate,

      From reading many stories here, I think there is a variety of circumstances, such as

      1. Cheater
      a) Actually left permanently (true exit affair)
      b) Left for a while but tried to come back
      c) Wanted to stay and not give up affair partner
      d) Wanted to stay and gave up affair partner

      2. Cheater’s affair was
      a) some form of ‘truwuv’
      b) some form of another cheap hook up (sex)

      3. Cheater before and during affair
      a) consumed marriage and family resources but contributed little in return
      b) contributed to marriage and family (e.g. was a ‘good’ dad prior to affair)

      4. Cheater
      a) had one affair partner that they were consumed with
      b) had multiple affair partners

      5. Chump
      a) was fully engaged in marriage, trying to make marriage better
      b) also played a significant role in emotional/sexual neglect of the marriage

      6. etc etc etc

      I think the different circumstances have similarities and differences, and probably impact us differently emotionally. E.g. a cheater who just leaves probably invokes different emotional pain than the cheater who wants to stay. I think all of us at CN respect each member’s immense pain and each member’s story. No one is denying the hurt. But we all have a vested interest in rebounding from that pain and becoming mighty.

      The similarities do abound: weakness, poor character, entitlement, lack of empathy, placing one’s needs above others’, emotional abuse, narcissism, selfishness, health risks, betrayal, etc.

      But see what I’ve done here? I’m back focusing on the cheater and the cheater’s behaviors!!! Maybe that is why CL doesn’t spend too much energy writing about the different types of affairs, or the nuances between the circumstances I’ve listed above – because it gives our precious energy to the cheaters, rather than focusing on healing and building a new life.

      • Buddy……I get what you’re saying but this is an area where we can say what we want if it makes us feel better, even if it ‘focuses’ on the cheater. I look at it like its better than letting it all out on the cheater who can absolutely give a rat’s ass less. Trust me, it takes everything in my power to keep it in and not let it out to cheater.
        I have a friend who this happened to as well. She keeps it all in, won’t talk about with anyone but me (and not in great depth), not even her family knows much of anything. And I’m just the opposite. I want to shout it from the highest mountain; I want the whole world to know!
        It’s unbelievably life altering. I know all of here know this but those who haven’t had the pleasure of being mindfuck manipulated and mutilated have no idea and you can’t even begin to say enough about it for them to understand. I think all of us here are looking for a place to vent and also we’re quite happy to have a place where we all get it.

  • I am so happy and thankful I found this blog awhile back in dealing with my emotions and uncertainty. All the other places advise to stick it out and get counseling. I don’t even recognize the person I was before coming across this blog. I got strong and filed for divorce. Best thing I ever did in regaining my sanity and life, because I don’t believe cheaters will change. Mine didn’t, even after all the I love you’s and promises to change and showing proof he dumped his affair partners, he didn’t. He just found other ways to communicate with them and see them. Another year I wasted believing the lies.

    Cheating is abuse. All the humiliation and lies. I wouldn’t put up with this from a friend, why would I put up with it from someone I’m married to. Because, of a piece of paper? Three years of my life I will never get back, believing other blogs saying they change and will come back to you and love only you, just do these steps! B.S! The hardest lesson I’ve learned. Someone I once loved, that was the world to me, that I thought was perfect, now he disgusts me and is everything I hate. The biggest P.O.S. I’ve ever known in my life.

    You will never forget the betrayal, even if you stick it out and stay. You never forget it. I’m slowly regaining my health and sanity. I was on edge, starting to doubt things even friends would tell me, thought everyone was lying, I was so paranoid. So stressed I started getting heart palpitations and sleep apnea, waking myself up from grinding my teeth. These symptoms are all gone now after two months. I honestly believe staying would’ve eventually killed me.

    Thank you ChumpLady for helping me make it to the other side, to have respect for myself and leave the cheater.

  • My very well meaning Sister-in-law (the sister of my exWH) told me in the early days to “show him what he will be missing out on.” It was a succinct version of this advice. Make him dinner, be kind and friendly. I know on some level it was better for our daughter in those early days when things were so tense. But after a month of this he got angry at me and said “I can see through your fake nice act.” So that was it, the jazz hand-grand finale of my pick me dance.

    I hired a lawyer the next day. It was expensive and nasty. I’m not sure if I have any regrets. Sometimes I do. Sometimes I think it would have been better if the second I found out I kicked his ass out on the street and changed the locks. But we had a kid and I felt like I’d never forgive myself if I didn’t give reconciliation a chance for her sake.

    He’s not the man I married. He had me fooled or he suffered a traumatic brain injury or something, but he is absolutely not the man I married.


    You cannot have a relationship with a narcissist. They do not do mutuality, reciprocity or consideration. Get out, and save your sanity. Yes, it hurts a lot. The losses are huge. But the abuse of being with them is just not worth it.

  • I see not a whole lot wrong with the 180 concept, I think it saved my life. I looked back on my life and realized there was a lot I could change for the better in my life, so much I’d let slide. Early on I did the 180 as an attempt to get the X back, but four months later I found out about the OM. At that point I cut out the parts that were supposed to re-attract the X for the ones that only applied to my recovery.

    Yes, recovery does involves a lot of “fake it until you make it”, I pushed my personal limits to the edge that first year. Three months out I auditioned for a play and got the part, other than a three second role in Grade 3 play I’d never acted in my life….two weeks after I found out about the OM I was onstage getting a standing ovation, tears streaming down my face…I’ve stuck to the self improvement bits of the 180 and no longer have to fake it.

  • My ex ran off with a stripper he met while traveling for work. He moved 2,300 miles away from our 1 and 2 year old babies (and me of course) so there was no one for him to ever have to face. He never once had to awkwardly bump into my parents or my sister or brother in law who we used to always do things with as a family. He never had to face his crying babies. In fact, he literally shook his toddler off his leg to get out the door to leave. He never packed a box…he just packed a bag walked out forever and dumped every single thing on me with 2 babies. Yep, when you run out of town you get to reinvent yourself as a phenomenal, amazing guy, and now her family loves him, he’s got a newborn already with her…horrific.

    It’s just incredible that this woman would ever advocate, without knowing the backstory about the nature of the cheating, that chumps just stuff the inferno of rage down into their torso and let it sit there and smolder, all while smiling a creepy FALSE smile, telling no one, and being careful no to spook the cheater off by making them answer for their treason. What a dangerous thing that bad advice will be to someone as desperate as I was to repair my fledgling family. What she’s advocating is like telling someone with two broken legs to get up and run a marathon and act like it doesn’t hurt. Oh, and at the end of the race? That shiny medal? Yah, that’s actually just an empty bank account and PTSD. Shame on her!! Damn.

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