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Meaningless Flings and the Myth of the Good Cheater

cheater_pollyanna

Decided to rerun this one today. You Bitter People can obsess over that “meaningless fling” that doesn’t define your cheater. Feel free to comment!

So as of yesterday Esther Perel now follows me on Twitter. Which is big of her considering I told her to bite me.

On the other hand, there might be something in it for her as she’s writing a book on infidelity, according to the New York Times, and is only taking on new clients “who have experienced infidelity.” Perhaps she’s studying the chump perspective. You bitter, angry, sarcastic people.

I got on her radar because I cheekily sent her yesterday’s column debunking her infidelity essay. She responded by Twitter:

“my heart goes out to you – my article does not directly apply to your situation, as your experience goes way beyond infidelity.”

At first I thought she was being nice and I felt bad for telling her to bite me. (Hey, I’m a chump. Feeling bad is my default setting.) Her heart goes out to me!

But then I thought about it some more and decided this reply was actually quite condescending (because you know, I’m bitter that way). Pat, pat, pat. You poor dear. Still stuck in anger, refusing to move on, riling up cheater hate here on Chump Lady, drawing snarky cartoons, telling people to leave people whose only crime was self actualization. And I kinda got pissed off all over again.

My experience goes “way beyond infidelity.”

Huh.

I’ve gotten this take on my writing before. It goes something like this — Oh, you’re not qualified to draw conclusions about infidelity because you had one of those BAD cheaters. He was a serial cheater, and moreover, unlike my cheater who was sad and lost and misunderstood, your cheater was drunk and angry and mean. My cheater just Made a Terrible Mistake. Your cheater threatened to burn down your house and piss on his ex-wife’s baby’s grave if you told anyone. Your experience goes way beyond infidelity. That wasn’t my experience.

Early on, I tried to take this issue on with the post “A Spectrum of Cheaters.” While there are certainly differences between cheaters, the long-term affairs vs. the short-term affairs, the emotional affair vs. the physical affair, the “sex addicts” and the folks who hold hands and recite Bible verses in hotel rooms. The cheaters who go to prostitutes (and therein we have more distinctions — massage parlors, Thai vacations, Russian hookers…) and the cheaters who find it at home. The cheaters who hook up on Ashley Madison and the like, or those who find old flames on Facebook. The cheaters who fuck a co-worker and those who fuck your siblings.

Sure, there is variation. Sure, there are degrees of cheating. (In fact I’ve gotten in trouble on my own blog by not weighing emotional affairs as heavily as physical affairs, just because I don’t think they endanger chumps to the same degree, i.e., pregnancy, STDs, etc.) But the longer I read and write about infidelity, the more I am struck by how alike cheaters are. How they manipulate with the same narcissistic panache. How they make the same sorry excuses for their behavior. And how — unless you’re dealing with a stone cold sociopath — they all want you to believe that They Never Intended to Hurt You.

Esther Perel writes:

Adultery becomes a moral failing as we move to a description of character flaws: liar, cheater, philanderer, womanizer, slut. In this view, understanding an act of infidelity as a simple transgression or meaningless fling, or a quest for aliveness is an impossibility.

So I put it out to you chumps — did any of you, please raise your hand, have a cheater who committed a “simple transgression” or a “meaningless fling”?

Esther — cheaters who want cake (the affair AND the marriage) all want chumps to believe their infidelity was “meaningless.” I never intended to hurt you. It didn’t mean anything.

But here’s the thing — it means everything to the person whose world wasn’t considered. You threw away our commitment for something that didn’t MEAN anything to you? It’s almost worse really. Falling in love with your soul mate schmoopie, while horrifying, is at least understandable at some level. (Okay, not really. I also debunk the whole We Were Compelled By Forces Greater Than Ourselves.) Anyway, it’s a neater rationalization than — I did something that didn’t mean jack shit to me, that clearly seems to devastate you, for an orgasm.

We’re not stupid for wanting our feelings to be considered, for relying on commitment, for believing in monogamy — IT WAS PROMISED TO US. And we abided by that set of rules — and moreover, we didn’t see it as a “set of rules” to break and “exuberantly defy.” We loved with our whole hearts and got played.

Oh, but my experience “goes beyond infidelity.” How exactly? I welcome you on to this blog, Esther, the largest assembly of chumps you’re going to find, and let you explain exactly what you meant by that infidelity article that sure as hell seems to excuse extramarital affairs as exercises in self actualization.

Self actualization sounds so much nicer than “Fucks in a Harrisburg hotel at lunch” or “let me stay home with the children while he screws around on business trips” or “slept with other men while I was deployed.”

Because those are the stories I read here EVERY DAY. Do their experiences go “beyond infidelity”?

Really, Esther, I’m a lightweight in the chump department. You ought to meet my husband — 22 years to a serial cheater. She slept with her boss, his best friend, and assorted others. And when he found out, he divorced her. (Or in your parlance, he indulged in the “dissolution of the family structure.”)

Okay, she never threatened to burn down his house. She wasn’t one of those cheaters. She just wasted 22 years of his life.

Please show me the Good Sort of Cheater who has a meaningless fling. Even a one-night stand involves a series of decisions and a cluster of lies to cover it up. How does a person happen to encounter a meaningless fling? Do you advertise for one on a dating site? Does it sidle up to you in a bar? Offer itself at work? Boundaries are crossed, conspiracies are made, rationalizations created.

All apparently “meaningless.”

Ask Chump Lady

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    • I do appreciate that Esther says the problem is with the cheating individual and not the spouse. Nothing gets me more riled up than the notion that the betrayed must have been lacking in some way to cause them to stray. That thought is so ingrained in our culture and I hope it changes. I think by the time a person has crossed the line and become involved in any type of affair, their whole character is infected and only the most enlightened can put in the self work to really remove that infection and sadly I’ve met very few of those types.

      • It’s too bad they weren’t enlightened in 7th grade when the discussion about STD’S was taught. Can you get infected by a cheater, yes.
        It requires a great deal of PLANNING and LYING to cheat. Are you thinking it’s an epidemic? I’m washing my hands.

    • It only qualifies as infidelity if the betrayed expected truth and honoring of agreements from the liar (root of fidelity is “faith”/”trust”). Therefore infidelity, by definition, includes deliberate harm. It is 100% ludicrous to suggest that the betrayed should allow him/herself to be abused so the dysfunctional can feel good. Turns out, that’s rapey. Add the disease exposure factor to the person who doesn’t get to make an informed choice and it starts looking like grounds for attempted murder or at least assault.

      If she means to suggest that some people need polyamory to be happy, her argument can at least sit on the table, and I might even agree that she’s right. However, she should be using the right word for the job AND she should counsel people to avoid harming others in pursuit of multiple lovers. She is professionally irresponsible and I am very sad that Terry Real is in her camp. I used to respect him, but not anymore.

      This is just not that hard to understand, honestly. She’s just creating clickbait to sell shit.

      • My husband and our counselor agreed that monogamy was not his true nature and polyamory was?Does that then excuse all his affairs?Old girlfriends, employees, actresses, call girls, one born again Christian(that one confused me)waitresses bartenders realestate agents,the odd writer, his partnerstrippers?I haven’t been able to wrap my head around this it’s natural for me thing, I’m polyamourous so don’t be hurt. Can anyone help?

        • Complete BS regina9! Polyamory my foot! I would love to be polyamory especially since my ex chose to sleep with literally everyone but me during our marriage… I would have loved to sleep with my handsome colleague who was single and was coming unto me, with strangers etc but instead I chose integrity, I chose to honor the vows I made before God, I chose to love my husband… Polyamory tendencies in my books is no excuse to cheat!

  • Raising my hand

    Yeah, it was a meaningless fling for him, because everything is meaningless for him.
    No, it wasn’t ever about that girl, because everything is always about him.
    Sure, it was a quest for aliveness, because he’s dead inside.

    I’m not bitter, actually, I’m quite agreeable

    • Everything you said arlo…”everything is meaningless for him”…check
      “because everything is always about him”…check, check….
      “sure it was a quest for aliveness, because he’s dead inside”…and CHECK!!

      Very well said, describes my X-hole perfectly.

        • “You think I’m HAPPY??!!” Ummmmm….”well I would HOPE so since I was the source of unhappiness…you mean you SHIT all over our lives and destroyed everything because you wanted to be happy and you’re still NOT happy??? What.the.fuck?!”

          Stupid f’ing Idiot!

          • I feel your anger. My stbx is visibly falling apart. People have asked me if he’s on drugs (I don’t think so); told me that he has aged significantly. These lying cheaters are never happy. I’ve always said “he loved me as much as he can love anybody” which is not much. He was so fortunate to have all that he/we had. He shit on us… on everything. Stupid f’ing idiot is right!

            • He told me the reason they were drawn to each other and connected was because “we didn’t feel LOVED”. If he didn’t feel LOVED by us then he never will. Real love is deep it isn’t EXCITING and new every day….it’s better. It’s the good stuff after the sparkles wear off. Jackass. Loved him more than I loved myself.

              Everyone also says X-hole looks terrible, I can’t even stand to look him in the face, when we meet to pick up/drop off our son I refuse to look him in the face, I kiss my son tell him I love him…eyes on my son and I put him in the truck, buckle him in and walk away.

              • I got the same thing. And I agree with you 100%. Plus, if you can’t love yourself, how can you expect anyone else to?

              • Marriage is a commitment, it doesn’t take a genius to know everyday life isn’t always sparkly.
                Boredom isn’t an excuse to break hearts, destroy lives,and families, create havoc, rob children of growing up in a stable family with a mom and dad who love each other, it’s shit and no one benefits from the mess created.
                Cheating is the ultimate betrayal, callous disregard for anyone else and no thought to the agony, and heart ache the people who love them the most will suffer.. No thought for anyone other than themselves. Selfish and sick
                When I married my X, it was for a lifetime we made a commitment.

                Disagreements are inevitable between people who lie together, no two people agree on everything. We learn to compromise and try to see things form the other persons perspective and meet in the middle or choose your battles. Whatever, what it isn’t is fucking someone else, seeking revenge, holding grudges, or seeing what you can get away with hurting your partner behind their back and feeling good about it.
                It’s all bullshit excuses, X told me “he wasn’t feeling the love” in our relationship..,
                along with, I didn’t appreciate all the hard work and time he puts in at the gym.
                He felt unappreciated, why didn’t I notice his muscles and how good he looked. Huh??
                Well, he said, I never hear you complement my muscles.
                Me, being the dancer that I am, made a point of paying him complements after his workouts and told him he looked good.
                No, not good enough, after paying him the complement he asked for,
                he was annoyed, “you’re not sincere.”
                I tried to convince him that I was sincere, blah, blah,

                Cheaters are imposters, even to themselves.

              • All true. Honestly brit when mine started “training” again (instead of drinking himself into a stupor, which was what he did for most of the first 4 years) he was still NEVER satisfied. They NEVER are. Bottomless pits of actual constant need of adoration. It’s TIRESOME. It’s hard to deal with a 47 year old damaged child that needs constant praise, they’re doing ONE thing so right because it benefits them while they shit all over everything else…and how DARE you bring any of that up.

                He felt that he deserved to piss away a huge chunk of money on himself because he “worked” so hard. Well, if you wanted to be a selfish prick you should have thought about that before choosing a partner, promising to be faithful and starting a family…..not once….but twice.

                When you make the decision to make and have babies you don’t get to think of your own needs first. You shouldn’t have to be TOLD at that age that it’s “irresponsible” to spend money on bodybuilding, supplements and gym equipment when the bills aren’t paid.

                I ALWAYS told him how great he looked, how attracted I was to him. It didn’t matter because I didn’t matter. I wasn’t a good enough cheerleader, I could not ignore the irresponsibility and selfishness anymore. Physically he is AMAZING, he has an incredible physique, handsome, beautiful blue eyes…. I used to love to look at him. Now….the sight of him just bothers me.

                I don’t even care as much about his betrayal of me and being tossed like yesterday’s trash as I do about him abandoning our son almost completely. He just turned 8. For that I will never forgive him.

                I always heard that cryin ass “you don’t appreciate how hard I work, you don’t appreciate how hard I train”. “Yeah, I can see how hard you work at everything else….who and what you are willing to neglect and sacrifice for what benefits only you.”

                Good riddance asshole.

            • Argh! Must be in the cheater handbook. I got the “but I loved you more than anyone.” Oh, gee, thanks for that back-handed non-compliment.

              • I got that too ! Mine even said I could ask the ow how much he loved me! She was jealous of our love ! OMG!!!

      • Arlo right on, it’s my situation exactly, and I read and re-read to help me through this process here at Chump Lady. Mind blowing to be sure. What a chump I have been. And yes, he is dead inside. Divorcing him, slower process than I would like, and I can’t get him to move out, he still thinks we can get back together, and that will NEVER happen. June 25 D-Day….and so many $$$$$ later and not yet resolved. Soon I hope, big meeting next week.

    • After all cheaters take, “brave enormous risks for that glimmer of passion”. Hey, I used to eat three boxes of cracker jacks to get the right prize. I think i was 6, yet I was already into self-actualization.
      We do kinda “judge by the strictest standards”, Esther, I think those were called marriage vows.

  • A cheater is just a person who is learning who they really are and experiencing their “true self?” So then the cheater was tired of the lies they told to themselves but kept perpetuating the lies to everyone else (misery does love company)? That means the cheater wanted to live two lives until he or she could…no wait, the cheater could have it all and keep everyone happy! Cheaters aren’t bad people, they just want everyone to be happy! Why can’t we just appreciate them for the people pleasers they are? Esther wants to sell books and re-educate people to re-brand cheaters as “happiness brokers!” “Don’t be bitter, angry or sarcastic (i.e. deny what you’re feeling. I’ll tell you what you should feel: appreciative, happy, and thankful!”

    Does each of her books come with a set of blinders?

    • Blunders and a f**king barf bag. I like your attempt to make sense of the cheaters rationalisation Justin, it made my head hurt, it was spot on.

      Ester doesn’t explain why they are shitty with everything else like chores, money kids etc, is that part of finding yourself also?

    • Exactly. True self-actualization cannot come at the expense of others. No thought leaders in that space worth their weight in salt would even suggest that, particularly when literally dozens of healthier options are available to almost ALL cheaters (divorce, counseling….).

      • That’s what I was thinking. Does Esther even know what the term self-actualization means? I don’t think so. I know we mention on here that cheaters could choose counseling, divorce, etc over cheating but I don’t think that’s true. Normal people with a soul choose these things to fix relationships. Cheaters like the game and excitement and power of cheating. It rarely has anything to do with their marriage being bad.

        I started family counseling this week with my STBX so he “could rebuild his relationship with his boys and have a better relationship with their mom (me).” The counselor asked what it would take to have a better relationship with ex and I said “how about some genuine remorse, repentance, empathy and compassion.” I got a blank stare from ex. Then I said “M destroyed our family was cruel to me and our boys and seemed to actually enjoy it and I don’t want any relationship with someone like that.” Again, a blank stare from ex. The boys held their ground and stood up to him and he didn’t like it. These people aren’t about fixing things and living a self actualized life, they are about selfishness and controlling others and they live in a dark place.

        • I wish I would have had the chance to say the things you said! However, my ex would never go with me to counseling, and even if he did and I was able to say the same things, he would have charmed the panties off the counselor and made her believe that I really was the problem. Yuck!

          • I never thought I would get the chance either. But suddenly he wanted to do family counseling. (He’s still trying to prove he is a wonderful father. Gag.) I feel like I have some closure in standing up to him and showing him I am a new mighty woman. He tried the charm thing but the counselor saw right through it. Loved it! We could see him losing control in the session and he almost completely lost it. Just another chance for my kids to see who he really is and make wise boundaries with him. I hope you get your chance too AAC!

            • Before I found out about the cheating, a good friend, our business partner and myself had convinced the STBX to get counselling because the 3 of us were concerned about his drinking.

              So he went and then one day after a couple of months the counsellor asked if I would come along. So I did. He was all smooshed down in his chair and looking like a little lost boy. I had never seen anything like it. It was a bizzare experience. He grabbed my hand to hold it and was passive aggressive the whole hour. I expressed how worried I was about him etc (as you do when you truly care for someone). Silly me!!!

              The counsellor called me after and asked if I would like to come and see her seoerately. Of course I said yes because I was willing to help the STBX. I come from a long line of “Step all over me” women. Seriously there must be a gene.

              Things got interesting she was assessing me and all sorts of stuff. I hadn’t ever been to a counsellor so I didn’t know what to expect. At the end she said she was a little confused but she thought that after speaking with the STBX everything would be resolved and could we meet again in a couple of weeks. Something wasn’t matching up for her (duh it wasn’t for any of us we were all being Played).

              Then boom the following week some of the cheating was exposed, like a Pollack painting hitting the wall. (Apologies to those Pollack lovers). But that’s how it felt like a confusion of colours all abstract like.

              So long story short. After seeing the counsellor again she said she didn’t have the experience to deal with our situation. Or more precisely the STBX. And the blithering mess (that was me) she could refer to someone else.

              Before leaving she adviced me to be very careful (best advice ever) as she had never encountered someone as manipulative as the STBX and that she had been totally sucked in by his “victim” performance. He had painted me as a controlling bully. Who was lazy, nasty and crazy. A Sociopath.

              Of course she was totally thrown when she met me in the first joint session and then after the one on one session totally perplexed. She knew I wasn’t a sociopath no where near close. In fact I was a caring, loving wife who wanted the best for her husband. And the equation she thought she had was wrong. But with the subsequent revelations of his multiple affairs etc etc the true sociopath was revealed, the STBX!!!

              Subsequently I have found out that all the STBX’s friends were being given a version of me like the above. Particularly the women. But when they met me they couldn’t make the dots match. I was vindicated when everything came out and now everyone knows what a sociopath he is. He wasn’t as careful as he thought he was and now people know the real him. And Boo Hoo he doesn’t like it.

              You reap what you sow I say!!

              • Damn, DragonLady, that is a hell of a story – what justice for you to see it play out in real time like that, but ugh, he sounds like a real piece of work

        • Why are you in counseling with this person? Be in no-contact. This kind of thing will not help anyone, least of all you and your kids. Being away from him will.

          • I have been no contact with him for over a year. I could have never done this over a year ago but my oldest son wanted to do it to say some things to his father he needed to say in a safe place and I wanted him to get that chance. After a year with a great counselor and tons of support from friends, family and my church I could sit in counseling and be ok. I did not trigger, I just sat there and really knew that ex sucked so much. My oldest son wants one more session to say a few more things, my younger son doesn’t want to go again and I certainly won’t make him. I now know I can do it and be there for my son. I’ve realized I’m on my way to meh! Yay!

            • Awesome, Nicole S!

              I think it’s really hard to keep from getting triggered. Cheaters like to press Chump triggers so that the Chumps look like the crazy ones. When we fail to rise to the bait, our Cheaters have to up their ante, and they get to the point where it’s clear that they’re the ones with the flaming personality disorder.

              Well done, for modeling the sane parent, for being Mighty enough to allow your son the safe place to say a few things to his father, and for respecting your younger child’s wishes not to go again.

              You are truly Mighty! 🙂

              • Thank you kb! The morning of counseling I was in tears because I was dreading it so much but once I was there I was fine. I didn’t get flustered and said what I needed to say. Then I just sat back and tried to listen and observe the ex in action and for the first time I think I got to see him for the person he really is. No spackling in my head, no sugar coating, just honest perception and I knew I was completely over him and his crap. It was a moment of freedom.

              • Wow Nicole! You are a mighty mighty mom! kb- you wrote exactly what would happen to me whenever I ended up going to a counselor with Mr. Lying Cheaterpants. It’s quite astonishing how he managed to go about it – I often didn’t see it coming (even though I knew he’d try something), but he’s scary good at it, finds a back door and hits that trigger. And, then yes, I would become upset and look completely unhinged, while he sat wide eyed and pretending to be confused by my response. Then the focus was about my “anger issues.” Fuck that. I looked at Mr. SmuglyAss and said I didn’t have an anger problem, I had a cheating, lying, gaslighting, vindictive asshole for a husband problem. Last session I ever went to with HIM. Stupid fucker. It STILL makes me SO mad – double applause to you Nicole for being able to do it right. I want to get there. Good for you and your boys. Well done mighty mama!

              • Wow Chump Nation you have made my day today. Thanks for so much encouragement! Chumpedupchik- I hope you get there too because it is empowering and liberating. I believe in God’s perfect timing and I think that is what happened for me. I was put into that situation when I could handle it and be the role model my kids needed. A year ago I was a shaky, blubbering mess. What a difference a year with a great counselor and surrounding myself with amazing people can make. I sincerely pray the same for all chumps out there. ( I still have bad days sometimes but they are becoming more rare.)

    • Esther doesn’t have a real psych degree, and I’m sure she never read Abraham Maslow (and he is TURNING over in his grave at her use of self-actualization).

      • I don’t have a psych degree either, but I have education degrees and lots of study in child and human development and I always thought self-actualization as a person who knows who they are and accept/love who they are so deeply that they don’t care what others think and could never hurt anyone because they have no need for that exercise of power. The most self actualized person I know is my 15 year old son and I am in awe of him.

        Tempest- what is your definition?

        • Self actualization is at the top of maslow’s pyramid.

          Security/need for safety is at the bottom meaning it’s a basic need that needs to be met before the higher ones ever can. You can’t skip them.

          Therefore, cheaters & others who engage purposely & consciously in risky behavior whereby they threaten their own security/safety needs are no where NEAR the top of maslow’s hierarchy. They are in a very real sense, similiar to entitled as toddlers as far as how their levels of emotional intelligence function.

        • Maslow considered it the pinnacle of moral, ethical, and personal achievement, and that very very few people achieve it (think Gandhi).cheaters by definition can’t have it because of deception and hurting others. The term has been wrongly used by many to mean extreme self-happiness. (sorry for late response–traveling today).

          • I have been noodling on this one for a bit, would love CN’s take:

            Healthy/chumpy spousal self-actualization would mean that doing the right thing (abiding by our promise to cherish and love our spouse for better or for worse) is the most intinsically rewarding course of action. So what makes us chump happy and give us a sense of purpose is to behave with respect and integrity for others.

            On the other hand, cheaters (especially those with Cluster B co-morbidity) and other deceivers that have not cheated (yet) view self-actualization quite differently. I suspect that early on, many cheaters have felt inadequate and hollow, and have found that appearing normal to others involved pretending to be normal. Over time, getting away with the deception became the most rewarding thing to them, it helped them feel normal, and it also helped hide the hollow person they really feel like. They keep growing up like this, fronting their way through life, getting away by deceiving people around them as they key defense mechanism for feeling so inadequate. Essentially, doing the right thing is not rewarding to them. Deceiving is more rewarding as people reward them for fronting, and they feel so much smarter than people around them. They grow up learning that there is nothing as rewarding to them as getting away with deceiving people around them (the sweetest ego kibbles come from deception). When they are grown adult, they figure out that the closest the person is to the cheater, the sweeter the deception kibble.

            Kibbles of deception are delicious, but they don’t come any sweeter than cheating on your chump, because they feel they get double kibbles (mental and physical), and the intensity of the ego boost from the excitement of hiding and getting attention from two lovers is intoxicating. Of course they won’t tell the chump, of course they will hide, both increase the intensity and the number of kibbles. By just being there, the chump unknowingly rewards their cheating behavior.

            Of course when they are found out, they will use all the deception tricks they know to try and keep the kibbles and deception going. That is what they know, that is why it is a character flaw. Their mental model of self-actualization is based on deception.

            This is why CL and CN are so spot on, the mental make up needed to become a cheater does not start with being “unhappy in marriage.” This is why, as Tempest and many others have mentioned in previous posts, the chances for change in a cheating Cluster B are virtually nil.

            I would stay as far away as possible from deceivers and cheater as they believe that self-actualization is centered around becoming even better at deceiving others in the name of “finding themselves.” And yep, they can have Esther Perel and all her word salads.

            • Wow Chumptitude, that is an incredibly insightful definition and so perfectly describes my ex (who I knew since we were sophomores in high school through 25 years of marriage until D-Day). It is EXACTLY him.

              • Thank you Kelly, so sorry we share similar wounds from our time with cheaters. I met mine after college and until DDay always thought he was a bit preoccupied with image management.

                I asked for a divorce 10 days post-DDay because I could sense that all he would do was try and lie and hide his way out of this. Like most chumps, I started revisiting our life together, wondering what was true and what was an act. It was never about me, I was a convenient front, a boost to his reputation. It is so reassuring to remember how many friends told him over the years how lucky he was to have married me, that I was a great catch, and I thought the look in his eyes was love. It was pure pride of his appliance wife instead.

                We grow, they won’t, realizing that I was connect is tough, but that is the price of my freedom. Onto Meh :)!

            • Chumpitude, thanks for the insight!

              By just being there, the chump unknowingly rewards their cheating behavior.

              That’d be me. Yep, 27 yrs married to the disordered man that I am ever so grateful to be away from.

              • Thank you Mehbound! You are mighty, 27 years with a disordered man is a testament to your resilience and strength, keep forging on to Meh!

              • Thank you ChumpB, knowledge is power, it does not lessen any of the emotional and financial pain of the devalue/discard stages, but I hope my theoretical ramblings can help you as they help me distance myself from my STBX.

  • Don’t lynch me but I think Esther is on to something…from the cheater’s perspective. I believe my x saw cheating as self-actualization. I believe he saw himself as too big a personality, too fully alive, too special to moulder in a corner, a victim of life’s banality. He had appetites others could not understand. He could not condemn himself to a vanilla life. He had that desire to gobble more than his share without paying for it.

    What he didn’t understand was that trust and intimacy are gifts of great value. Maybe it just wasn’t something he could fully experience and his faux, version was boring and unsatisfying. But the cheating was definitely an expression of what he felt he deserved for himself.

    He, too, told me “those women meant nothing to me.” Did not care for it when I said, “Oh, so let me understand. You’re saying you destroyed our marriage for something that was meaningless to you.”

    Of course it meant something. He chose it over our marriage.

    • Ohana I think you are correct. The cheater is feeling bored, lifeless, unconnected to life. There must be something “more”. I have everything I ever wanted and it still doesn’t make me happy. “WHY am I here?” ….
      and instead of doing soul searching….they panty surfed.
      I took a photography class at our local community college….he also had a love of photography in the form of porn.
      I liked meeting new people with common interests….so did he….people he could screw on the side.
      So in truth, Ester is onto something…….she sugar coats the hell out of it.

      • I’ve read, in many of the countless articles over the past year that this is exactly the problem with the disordered, they are perpetually bored and never ever satisfied. They decide, since there is absolutely nothing wrong with them that WE, or the relationship /marriage is lacking and they start acting on these impulses to satisfy their own selfish needs and desires. They are all that matters don’t cha know…they DESERVE it no matter who gets hurt in the process.

        Because they are incapable of self reflection and owning their own shit they never figure out that THEY are the problem, even when they screw themselves royally they blame that shit on someone….ANYone else.

    • That’s the thing, isn’t it? If the affair was meaningless and the AP meant nothing to the cheater, all the pain inflicted because of the cheating was pointless, wasn’t it? X tried to tell me I was his “one true love”, but if that were true, he threw away something of great value for something that had no value whatsoever. That makes absolutely no sense. If a relationship has value, the logical thing to do would be to treat it as the most precious thing in one’s life. Instead, cheaters treat their relationships as yesterday’s garbage. Which leads me to conclude that Perle is dead wrong. At least in the moment, the affair was providing something essential to the cheater. In my situation, and many others, I believe it was what I call ” hero worship” or, as CN so aptly refers to them, ego kibbles. Which means that cheater’s ego is more valuable to the cheater than love. And that is the truth.

      • X told me I was his best friend, of course he loved me.., Absolutely, self hero worship, I didn’t appreciate all the time and effort he spent working on his physique, I didn’t complement hm on his muscles. According to his fb, he and AP (wearing matching fluorescent workout ensembles) he has his cheerleader.
        Yes, X easily discarded his previous cheerleader (me) like a piece of garbage. He will always be on the look out for more kibbles, new cheerleaders.

      • That’s it. Entitled. How much whore touches him, buys for him, does for him, doesn’t have to lift a finger. Pays attention to only him, hangs on every word, builds his ego to epic proportions, his word is law, he is a god. Makes her family tow the line what he wants. This is what he told me. Excuse me I have to barf. Entitled, ya think?

        • Kar Marie

          They lack basic values. X said to me more than once that he told the latest victim he wasn’t happy for two years. They want someone to put them on a pedistal. What part if lying and cheating is attractive? EP is a complete moron capitalizing on deviant behavior and packaging it as self-actualization. So all the whores, porn, drugs, alcohol, and emotional abuse was for a greater good? She can take that cheater speak and shove it up her ass.

          • Exactly! How many of these cheater relationships last. Not many I’m betting. What is attractive about anyone lying and betraying a loving faithful spouse, blows their family apart and ignores their own children. Not a damn attractive site at all. Whore juice must love those qualities in her man he’s already done it to her twice. Dumb bitch. What would make her think he will be loyal to her or her kids?

            • X-hole was always jealous, or acted like it. I never got it, always made it clear that he was the one. Now I know why, duh! Nonetheless those two assholes KNOW the lengths to which they went to deceive and lie and cheat to pursue their hook ups, affair, twu wub or whatever you want to call it….there is no way in hell they will or could ever possibly trust each other. Almost laughable. Have fun with that shit.

    • It’s possible the women did mean nothing.. just as you probably meant nothing, or close to nothing. People with this personality can’t feel anything really for anyone but themselves. That’s what is so fucked up about it.

    • Agreed! My serial cheating X said the other women meant nothing to him – he said they weren’t emotional affairs they were “ego affairs.” I responded and said that I believed him – he didn’t have an emotional attachment to the other women but that he also didn’t have an emotional attachment to me!

    • He likely meant it, that they meant nothing. Only THEY truly matter and it is truly all about them. It’s about how OW’s and OM’s make THEM feel, what they are providing these disordered assholes.

      I told X-hole “you told me you LOVED her! After talking to her on the PHONE for 3 weeks!!!!!” His reply… “I said it felt like love, it was fantasy.” Yeah well I felt like they were both a couple of weirdo assholes.

      Lived with him for 8 years….he was a stranger. Wtf?

      • >>”Lived with him for 8 years….he was a stranger. Wtf?”

        Exactly this. It’s like finally taking a red pill after ingesting blue pills throughout your entire marriage. Wake up one day and BAM! you are living with a complete stranger and your entire life has been one grand (well, not-so-grand) illusion.
        (In case my reference is unclear, red pill/blue pill refers to the movie Matrix.)

        • Interesting reference, Jess’s Mom, since D-Day I have described my experience with ex as Matrix-like…finding out one day it was all nothing more than a complex illusion. Disorienting to say the least.

        • Jess’s Mom, I feel the same way, after 20 years of marriage I don’t know who I was married to. X had me convinced he was Mr. Integrity, the all american guy, always followed the rules, looked down on anyone who didn’t.
          Sadly, I believed him, I always had the feeling that I couldn’t love up to his high standards.
          Finding out my whole life with him was a lie and he is nothing like who he portrayed himself to be is shocking.
          I realize now X is like the reptile that changes it’s colors, X changes his personality to one that would reap the best benefits X depending on the situation.
          My life has been a lie, I married to an imposter, the man I thought I married never existed.
          I’m living one of those dramatic made for TV movies, while your watching you think to yourself, entertaining but how can someone not know who there married to, that never really happens..,
          Yes, it does happen, I look back now and recognize some of the red flag moments I ignored when I shouldn’t have. I believed in the person I thought I married not the cheating, slimy piece of shit he is.

          • I remember that in a post some time back a chump said “once the mask falls off you are dealing with a stranger, treat him as such!” Might have been TheClip or Tempest?? Can’t be positive who said it but THAT is some serious truth right there.

  • Angry, bitter, crazy, unwilling to let it go…..yup mark all those boxes. And mark the box where I am not going to slip away quietly so the truth doesn’t offend anyone. Mark that box with a huge effing X. My stbx screwed his secretary, then another Co worker while at the same time hooking up with his whore he met on a business trip to Chicago. Which caused him to be outed about the coworker at the office. My brother in law helped him cheat. And when the family found out the truth, well I was always a bitch, I was always crazy, he stayed for the daughters……. he couldn’t keep his dick in his pants and yet I’m to blame.
    As the CL knows….the family troll was on this very blog blasting me….I luckily never saw it. CL did and deleted it. She truly does have our backs.
    The Family who makes excuses and vilifies the innocent….the people who turn the left cheek on adultery…… those people are the ones to run from. If they don’t see the damage cheating does then what other little indiscretions are they ok with???
    I lost a cheater and his whole effed up family and gained a life and gained some self respect. My daughters see how effed up their family is. They want no part of it. Thank God.

    • I’m so sick of article after article justifying why cheaters do what they do and not taking into account the betrayed spouse. It’s seems the loudest voices on the internet are the other woman and cheaters. My ex told anyone who would listen to him how hard he had it being married to me and how I caused him to step out of the relationship. But I was embarrassed and in shock so I only shared with those close to me. Anyone who knew both sides was on mine. Those who don’t know me were willing to believe whatever he said. You would think someone as high profile as Esther would actually take in the betrayed spouse prospective a little more when it comes to infidelity. I never needed someone else’s genitals to discover my true self. I’m just saying.

      • Hey Lone Wolf – a big tight hug to you.
        NO ONE TAKES INTO ACCOUNT THE BETRAYED SPOUSE.
        I agree with my whole heart and soul.
        I am so sick and tired of people who tried to tell me I did not do enough or he wouldn’t have to stray. Hmmm… really. What happened to vows?
        Cheaters are so charming they can make people believe anything they want. I have lost many people whom I considered friends but I really do not care. Only one who has been cheated on can truly understand the depth of the pain. If it was hard being married to you why the hell didn’t he leave?
        If only we could get inside their heads and wash their brains out!

        • Only one who has been cheated on can truly understand the depth of the pain. Indeed, this is sooooo true. But what I’ve found out is there are more chumps in the world than we know. I found them in coworkers, former coworkers, a neighbor, my doctor’s support staff, friends from college, and even my children’s teachers.

          Those that don’t know you or your side of the story will always take the cheater’s side. I didn’t go whole hog with the truth because I didn’t want to make the settlement process harder by making Narkles the Clown angry while I had to reside with him. Now it’s a slow leak, here or there,I toss it into conversation when I can without it looking forced. For Example

          When someone ask: How are the kids handling the divorce?
          I answer: Oh, I think they’ll be fine as long as he doesn’t move his affair partner into his home

          Amazingly the return response has been quite a few “Oh, I know how you feel, I’ve been there.”

          I refused to sign a confidentiality agreement for a reason. This is his shame, not mine. I won’t hide it for him.

        • Lone Wolf, my X told everyone how difficult I was to live with and he just couldn’t take another minute… he had tried everything.., he was left not other choice.. He added that he suspected I was mentally ill, possibly Bipolar and an alcoholic. X was known to shed a few tears as he told the story for added drama and sympathy.
          He tried everything?? He did try everything to get me to question my sanity.
          Would he go to a marriage counselor with me? Yes, and no, I went he came 20 minutes late said he got lost as he was following me in his own vehicle. When the therapist started to ask us questions, X got up, and said she lied to me! we are supposed to be here for our son.
          Therapist knew he was playing a game.., Is that what you would call trying everything to save our marriage?
          He has done his best to drag me down. I thought I’d be the mature and not say anything ,
          kept things to myself.., After reading what I’ve read here,
          I’m no longer going to be keeping my mouth shut.
          I get the looks from people we knew..,
          I’ve had people tell me they feel sorry for X.., he’s such a nice guy,
          he’s told them how much he’s been suffering throughout the divorce.
          X has put me through hell and back.
          It’s time he did some suffering, and hopefully soon.

          • Brit, it’s such a sick thing for us to be made out to be the one who is crazy or too emotional or insert adjective here….it was over, we grew apart, I was lonely….WHATEVER! and then the fake emotion of cheater, mine was good at fake tears too, oh poor me, my mommy issues, don’t you understand me. So glad he’s the APs now. But damn it took me a long time to see the truth.

      • Lone Wolf, that was painful to read, reminded me of my own situation. Why oh why did I keep my mouth shut? I should have told everyone in his family about it. Water under the bridge now.

      • Some people believe their bullshit because they’ve been sabotaging us LONG before they are caught. They lay the ground work, telling their poor sausage one-sided story in an attempt to JUSTIFY the shit they do. X-hole always told people he was tired of me being MAD at him all the time and being negative….for NO reason. That’s where the “problem” lies. We differ in our opinions of whar constitutes “all the time” and “for no reason”. Ummm sorry…I was TIRED of him being an irresponsible asshole, spending money we didn’t HAVE on things and people who didn’t need or deserve it (including himself) while ignoring his financial responsibilities and self-destruction.

        I consider the source and the recipients, f*ck the lot of them. Really. They are all poisonous!

        • NCstevie – not to diminish the importance of your excellent post, but it did bring to mind the first thing out of Ben Affleck’s mouth when he got caught with the ‘nanny’…was – my wife is SO controlling!” I had to do this? wth. I’m sure I’m not the only one who caught that statement of blaming his wife for his fucking ego.

          • I copped that nonsense from one of my cheating ex’s, too. Apparently I was a cold frigid bitch who was ‘so controlling’ as well.
            My response? “If he wasn’t such a piece of shit who couldn’t keep his dick in his pants not to screw his best mates little sister, I wouldn’t have to be controlling, now would I?” Cue the crickets after that one.

          • I was never called controlling but hand raised on “cold”. I wasn’t cold…I was gaslit and projected into submission. How do you talk to a man who refuses to communicate and is never…ever wrong? You don’t. I just quit fighting it.

            On Affleck….”he had to?” Cheaters always justify. Us chumps endure a TON of bullshit, horrible treatment by our cheaters and yet we never resort to screwing someone else to ease the burden or pain. Weak ass excuses from weak ass cheaters.

            • Snake is pulling the “she doesn’t communicate” card…

              Guess what fucker, when I communicate, and I am belittled, when I communicate and I am shut down, when I communicate, and I am ignored, when I communicate and frozen out as a result… I STOP FUCKING COMMUNICATING!

              I am seriously amazed how much better it feels to be away from the gaslighting asshole.

              • They don’t give a shit about communicating, assholes just like to make you feel inadequate and pretend that you’re the problem.

                Good thing for him that he was already gone by the time I figured out that he was doing all this shit deliberately.

                Amazing how peaceful it is, how the crazy subsides once you aren’t being subjected to the constant mindfuckery.

  • Great article. My STBXH gave me the “this had nothing to do with Her” line a couple of times. It was not about sex or his emotional affair. It was all about finding himself. He needed to know who he was and fucking other people seemed like the best way. He obviously never intended to hurt me. He just really needed that “self actualization”. I was actually the selfish one for letting my desire for monogamy interrupted his quest for the self.

    Hmm maybe I am a bit bitter after all.

    • I was told “she’s good for me”. Well then by all means dump your family and start a new life. Sorry we were in your way. Didn’t mean to stop your growth by asking that you please stop screwing another woman and commit to your family. Gosh, it really is a bummer when responsibilities and commitment get in the way of finding your true self.

    • I was told, “My relationship with S* (the skank) has NOTHING to do with my relationship with you.” Oh really?!

      • Wow. My X told me rhe same thing, “she had nothing to do with this.” meanwhile, he 52 she 24. My X is a predator and she is a criminal.

    • I got “go ahead and blame her if it makes you feel better about this, it wasn’t her fault, we were over long before I met her.”

      Stupid asshole, I blame HIM for cheating….and I blame her for knowingly and willingly participating in the destruction of BOTH families.

      F*uck the both of them, and the rest of the asshole cheaters of the world….every single destructive one of them.

      Calling justified anger “bitterness” is just another opportunity for those assholes to blameshift the responsibility onto victims.

    • Finding himself?

      In another vagina?

      First, the eye on the end of his penis doesn’t actually SEE anything, so it’s not going to FIND anything.

      And not even the sluttiest scumbucket has a vagina large enough to encompass the overinflated egos of these entitled asshats.

      Dude, you’re looking for yourself in all the wrong places. Might I suggest a woodchipper as a better place to try to “find yourself”?

      • >>”First, the eye on the end of his penis doesn’t actually SEE anything, so it’s not going to FIND anything.”
        I’m so glad I wasn’t drinking when I read this … I quite literally laughed out loud!
        Standing Ovation!

  • Every choice, decision and action has MEANING.

    The fact that these losers MEANT to deceive their partners by flinging their genitals out there to catch random lays, whether pro, ons, LTA or whatever, highlights their intent to dupe their partners on their quest for more cake.

    Make no mistake, the chump was never holding a gun to their partner’s head demanding they fuck that ho from the bar, obtain their happy ending massage, create their AM or AFF profile, exchange CL titty pics, etc. Whether it was once or many times, this lack of character and need to feel alive is 100% on the cheater.

    There are other ways to “feel alive!” that don’t involve giving your partner STDs, destroying your children and imploding other people’s lives. Go sky diving. Go bungy jumping. Run a marathon. Go to a museum. Go camping. How about also for those assholes, go to therapy?!

    This is old news for chumps: what I have learned over the past 2 yrs is that the people who want to minimize the after shocks of deceit and betrayal are usually cheaters themselves. These people may cheat on their spouses or cheat on their taxes or cheat in competitive sports. They cannot reconcile the fact that purposeful deceit for their advantage is a serious lack of integrity. No amount of bible thumping or acting as if they are people of character can erase the stain of what they ARE-Opportunistic Liars who never think the consequences for their actions will come back and kick them in the ass. When it does come back around, they are the loudest group to cry foul.

    I’m not bitter. This same group of people loves that tag line. What I’m stating is the TRUTH based on the FACTS. Ouch.

  • Meaningless Fling?= NoStringsAttached (NSA)?
    Esther must applaud all those premeditated cheaters on hook-up sites who at least use the correct terminology as they follow their bliss. The hobbyists on The Erotic Review must love the cover Esther gives them.
    Does she preach that cheaters should be truthful, have integrity, and honorably sever prior binding commitments? The Betrayed aren’t on her radar. We aren’t edgy enough.

  • “We’re not stupid for wanting our feelings to be considered…”

    This is where I’m parked. Why does no one see this?

  • We can wrap it up anyway we like….it boils down to this….the cheater cheated because they wanted to….at some point they thought…” shouldn’t cheat….would really hurt other person if they knew….but I want to”…. .that’s it

  • Nope, didn’t hurt one bit. Didn’t illustrate to my daughter that women have no value other than for a man’ pleasure. Didn’t illustrate to my son that women are toys, when you are tired of playing with one, you can add to your collection! That’s what killed me, misogyny in the guise of self actualization.

    • I used to think that it was only men who cheated on their wives, unless they married a girl who was a known slut. I never imagined that my sweet VIRGIN bride would be the one to do it. I know she was virgin. Two years post D-Day and I am still in shock.

      She always seemed so worried that I would cheat on her with another woman. She acted extremely jealous and checked up on me constantly. She said it was because her mother taught her that all men cheat.

      Well, after 27 years I still haven’t cheated.

      • I guess I lived in a bubble because I thought the majority of the time it was men that cheated. Since my separation, I can’t tell you how many divorced guys told me they had been cheated on. It doesn’t mater if its a man or woman cheating, they are all scum. My wife wasn’t a virgin, but she professed love for only me and also worried about me cheating. When she admitted the affair, she told me she didn’t cheat for 20 years of our marriage. Really? Hey guess what, I was faithful for our whole 28 year relationship not just our marriage. They all suck!

        • From my limited experience, I’d say women cheat as much as men. It’s just that women are willing to discuss their cheaters with others while men who are betrayed keep it to themselves more. There may be a “manliness” stigma keeping us quiet. I’m personally OK with telling anyone who will listen that she sucks (chumped for 28 years).

          • Absolutely!! Good for you Marked711!! I have NO problem telling people mine cheated. I wish someone had warned me…nope they all LIED and pretended to not know he had cheated on his previous wife.

            I won’t lie for anyone, especially not him and specifically not about his cheating! Suck it up buttercup, I warned him about ever cheating on me because I had been cheated on before. I don’t feel bad one bit.

          • Even if married women didn´t cheat as much as men, for all heterosexual male cheaters there is at least one or more female AP´s, so that means that women are equally complicit in the cheating. So, it is important to out the APs as much as the cheaters because they are all contributing to the destruction of chump lives and their families.

      • The jealousy, and worrying that you’re cheating – that’s a Cheater MO. They are so self-absorbed, they see the world only through their own beliefs. They are hooking up, or scanning for their next ‘Hot Little Number’, so you must be too!
        Now, I know there must be jealous partners for other reasons, but I’m saying that this is why serial Cheaters think like this. I was (naively) flattered by X’s gigantic jealousy, I thought it meant he cared. The whole thing just makes me sick now. Probably any relationship that has jealousy in it, needs to head on over to couple’s therapy, it’s not healthy, go figure it out!

  • I think Ms. Perel doesn’t understand what infidelity actually MEANS. It is not only Married Person Has Sex With Someone Other Than His/Her Spouse;

    Infidelity is Being Un-Faithful. And Cheaters never tire of finding new and ever more-creative ways to be unfaithful. They find excitement in it. Infidelity ALWAYS goes “way beyond” penis entering vagina. It’s all the “way beyond” garbage that makes the sex possible.

    Duh.

    • Exactly.

      For me, the sex stuff was just icky, but him falling in love with her, then rewriting our history such that he was never happy, thwarted in his goals, and deprived of love and affection, just killed me. Absent that, I probably could have forgiven the icky sex stuff. But he just trashed me and our entire relationship. That I will not forgive.

      • My issue was similar… except he put all of those reasons ON ME. That *I* must have felt all of those things because he was so unworthy of me… and he thought I “wouldn’t mind” because I was and always had been “far superior in every aspect.”

        Uh, thanks? I’m supposed to be grateful that you latched onto and promised fidelity to someone so much better than you even though you pretty much never kept that commitment ever and never intended to? Prick. Was I supposed to thank you for pretending?

        What kind of twisted love story is that?

        “I knew I’d never be able to live up to the sort of man you deserved so… I promised you I would be and never actually was. Also, I figured that I’d get real VALUE out of being sneaky by being an even bigger dick than I’d originally been BEFORE meeting you.”

        • That is the same mindf*ckery my asshat told me. It’s all pity-party crap … My final understanding of it goes something like this:

          “Poor me! I’m so pitiful compared to you that it hurt my fragile feelings and I needed to have them stroked … well I needed to have something stroked … to make me feel like a real man. Don’t you see, it’s really YOUR fault I did this. If you weren’t so far above me, I wouldn’t have been forced (by my pansy-ass ego) to do this.”

          Well, at the end, I fully agreed that I was better. But I was better for no other reason than I decided that my family, love, and integrity are far more valuable than anything I could possibly gain from getting some strange.

  • Every single choice asswipe made, HE MADE. Cheaters have no meaning of the words, family, love, honesty, integrity, loyalty, promises or vows. In finding the perfect flawless woman and her perfect flawless family, he destroyed his own and wonders now, he didn’t mean to, its all good, can’t his old family forgive and forget, you know, one big happy blended family and good friends. They are all nuts. According to him, no one should be upset. He happy why is no one else? Asshole!

    • Screw that! Mine too want’s to still be friends. No thanks, i like for my friends to have my back and a little integrity. Just shows the level of selfishness they have.

      • What IS the deal with these assholes all thinking we should be friends??? X-hole keeps telling me “you’re the one who doesn’t want to get along.” No shit! I am forced to deal with your miserable ass because I bred with you….we.are. NOT. friends.

        The PAIN and destruction they cause does not affect them….not one bit. They are delusional.

        • They want to be friends so they can still use us in some way. And so they can worm their way back if Plan A doesn’t work out. The correct answer is “No.”

          • I think they also do this for image control, so they look like “good” guys. I don’t “pretend”, I just can’t do it.

            I jokingly told his ex-wife’s sister it was partially their fault I got duped…they all HATE him with a passion for doing the exact same thing to her but they were always “nice” to him. She said “eh, that was for the kids…we all call him d*ck head. ” Her dad is the only exception lol, it’s been over 10 years and her dad will not look at him, speak to him or acknowledge him in any way. That’s pretty much what he can expect from my family.

          • Yes, I’m as no contact, gray rock as possible and still get regular texts about what I can only assume is image management. “Always looking for a way for us to talk.” Fuck you. You treated me like complete shit for a long time and there is nothing you can say now to fix that. I most certainly will not be your friend.
            I respond in notes to myself to get it out of my mind. He gets crickets.

  • You tell her, Chump Lady!

    I do want to say that, as a chump of an “emotional affair,” the problem is that you don’t really know if it was only emotional or whether they crossed over to a physical affair. They spent nights together but “didn’t do anything.” REALLY?! So not knowing whether they did or not, I have had all of the STD testing and have to go back for more in a few months. And he doesn’t understand why I was so upset! So the EX and the OW have moved out of the shadows and into a place where they can receive affirmation of their relationship. I hope they are “very happy” (sarcasm, much?) together.

    • Emotional affair + opportunity = physical affair. If they spent nights together, they had a physical affair. Trust me on this one!

      • I believe Violet is right. They don’t, won’t cop to anything you don’t have hard proof of. My stbxh vehemently, and passionately denied sexual relations. I later found out that it was a sex carnival rather than an “emotional affair”. The details were mind blowing… very dark and sordid… makes my skin crawl. Don’t doubt yourself.

    • Ugh. Bepositive, I think if EX and OW are together now, they probably were before you were divorced. I think “emotional affairs” are possible.. my H started that way… but truth is either way they cross a line. A real “ah ha” moment for me was realizing that whether they had sex or not didn’t matter. He was sharing with her, getting CLOSE to her while pulling away from me. Whether they did the deed is inconsequential really. Once I saw it that way I could be more real about the damage it caused. I could stop lying to myself that it was somehow “better” than physical contact, because actually, it’s not.

      • Once they start lying to you about when and where they’ve been it doesn’t matter whether they’ve cheated or not. 98% of the time they are lying.

        Mine assured me that one of his affairs was only standard flirting that I was too uptight to understand. I suppose that’s true because I don’t flirt and offer massages and drinks to my coworkers. But I see work as work, not a whore hunting ground. I do tend to believe that he hadn’t banged the flirting lady, because he was having sex with a different coworker. Which he informed me was another situation I couldn’t possibly understand due to my social ineptitude.

      • My ex spent time at a whore’s apartment, but claimed no sex cause she “had such high morals.”. That was enough for me. Women with morals don’t have other women’s husbands alone at their apartment, in secret.

        I didn’t have to prove he fucked the slut. I believe Guilty till Proven Innocent. He can never prove that, in one billion years. So yeah buddy, I will and always have believed you had sex with that nasty disease ridden crotch.

        • Mine also spent time at her apartment.. claimed they were only friends. When I confronted the whore she said “How dare I suggest she was improper with my H”.. HOW DARE I? You had him in your APARTMENT you skank! Seriously.. she’s deluded. I feel sorry for her really, she’s clearly broken.

          In my view, it matters not if they fucked.. the fact that he was THERE is bad enough. That is betrayal enough.

      • All I have proof of is an EA, and that is why I left.

        But here’s the thing.

        He was treating me like dirt.

        He was pursuing her almost word for word with the lovey dovey flattery script he used to get into my pants all those years ago…

        Am I somehow supposed to believed he wasn’t trying to get into hers?

        The fact he’s using the same fucking script makes me believe he’s had some practice over the years to get it down pat.

        Whether he had or hadn’t accomplished the deed with her yet, he clearly intended to as soon as she was bamboozled enough.

        What obligation did I have to wait around for the gaslighting emotionally abusive blameshifting fucker to fuck her before I left?

        None, I say.

    • BePositive, they certainly weren’t sitting around reading the Bible.

      My ex also denies having sex with her, so he has a few people convinced it was only an emotional affair. I don’t care though since he admitted it to me. All he is trying to do is excerpt a little image control, meh.

      • My X – after YEARS of vehement denials – wouldn’t admit to anything unless I had concrete proof. And even then, he’d minimize in he weirdest way, as if it would make things better. He’d say “it was just a blowjob.” Oh sorry! Guess you’re off the hook then. Silly me!

  • Esther Perel. She uses a lot of words in full pedantic style to say what I think is the following: 1) The cheated on are to be blamed (” There comes a point when one no longer can tolerate feeling devalued and taken for granted”); 2) cheaters just want to expand their experiences and self (“Even more than the quest for a new lover we want a new self”); 3) we need to use academia and what appears to be an acceptance of all things to explain infidelity (notice in her article it takes 5 paragraphs to get to the point (“’I’d like to offer a view that challenges this premise and encompasses both growth and betrayal at the nexus of affairs”). Growth? Really?

    The scariest thing about Esther Perel is she is a justifier. Once you get through her long-winded wordy beat around the bush style, her justification is so reminiscent of the overwhelming collective consciousness that CN and CL know about cheaters and their disordered characters, e.g., personal quest of affairs without regard to promises to partner and family, no remorse, selfishness (“I just needed to self-actualize”), lies, manipulation, and cold-hearted lack of integrity. Geez, her article has all those characteristics.

    My question to you Esther Perel, cheat much?

    • Ms. Perel’s idiotic musings are like little puffs of noxious gas. One end is so tightly closed that shit has no choice but to come out of another orifice.

    • ” There comes a point when one no longer can tolerate feeling devalued and taken for granted”

      Yes, indeed, that’s why we chumps left.

  • Yesterday I was having lunch at the beach. Two ladies and a guy, in their late thirties, were at the next table. One lady had long brown hair, yellow teeth, was holding a cigarette, the other had blonde hair tucked up and a snobbish attitude. They asked the shaved head guy “are you married ?” He mumbled something, he was living with his long-time girlfriend. They wanted to know if he was happy, he gave a mitigated answer. “You are not in love, right ?” said the brunette, while the blonde started singing “he is not in love, he is not in love”. He protested. A lot of pats in the back, high fives, followed, as in “we are such good buddies”.
    I was suddenly seized with an urge to punch both women in the face.
    I did not react and it took me a while to calm down.
    I was thinking about the long-time girlfriend, who probably suffered from the lack of commitment, worked her ass off, and had no clue that these bitches were trying to destroy their couple while having lunch with her man.
    I have met some manipulative duo of “good friends of the opposite sex” before. I had a crush for a guy and they did all they could to prevent us from dating. Guess what, one of them finally managed to shack up with him years later.
    Also, I can’t stand these people who consider that you MUST feel the excitement of “love at first sight” ALWAYS during your relationship otherwise it’s “not a valid relationship”. This is so immature, so dumb.

    • NCstevie just wrote above: “Real love is deep it isn’t EXCITING and new every day….it’s better. It’s the good stuff after the sparkles wear off.” I totally agree. This is why these two bitches will remain alone.

  • Ps, she just makes me so mad because she’s just providing fuel for cheaters to justify their actions: “I needed to self-acutalize, you weren’t giving me enough attention, infidelity is not so bad, the only way I can feel alive is by cheating, I’m lonely, I’m emotionally deprived, it enhanced our marriage.”

    Please notice in Esther Perel’s writing her justifying, glossing over, and padding the actions of truly disordered and hurtful people: cheaters. She gives very little emphasis to the “…deep emotional crisis…” we experience but just wants to justify cheating in a very scary way: by being superior, by appearing to be an academic expert. Sorry, she just really gets to me I think it is primarily because she is perpetuating the justification of cheating and I find that very sad and sick.

  • My introduction to Perel was actually somewhat positive: it was a video of an interesting talk she gave on intimacy, seduction, and attraction in long-term relationships.

    It was ALL DOWNHILL from there. Her talks and writings on infidelity are (I am being kind here) total pretzel logic.

    Since I like to simplify, I boiled Perel’s infidelity stance down to a single question:

    Is a *productive* “quest for aliveness” or attempt at self-actualization morally compatible with lying, breaking vows, and putting others in harm’s way?

    You can throw the logic of any of the most prominent moral philosophers at that question and they will ALL end up at the same answer:

    NO.

    Interestingly, Perel’s “logic” (I am being kind there) in defense of infidelity centers on the possibility that others are making too many moral assumptions about the cheater… which is exactly what she is doing about the betrayed (e.g., the betrayed’s safety and feelings are less important; the cheater had no other alternatives because…[insert lame, blame-shifting excuse here]; etc.).

    From my perspective, the entire Perel thing totally falls apart at that point; it’s making the cheater’s situation out to be far more extreme – and the betrayed’s situation far more simple – than it is in probably 99.99999% of all cases of infidelity.

    • Sephage, thank you. You are right on: “Is a *productive* “quest for aliveness” or attempt at self-actualization morally compatible with lying, breaking vows, and putting others in harm’s way?” Well said and the absolute most primary point. How would she answer that question? I am with you Sephage and appreciate you being so succinct in boiling it down. I was definitely getting riled up about it and appreciate your level-headed excellent points.

      • Thanks, ChumpB. Perel gets me riled up, too, but if anyone believes her views on infidelity then those people deserve what they get, which I suspect will be totally unfulfilled lives in any meaningful sense. Perel has little substance, so she needs a shtick to make money, I suspect; providing a sort of smoke-&-mirrors justification for unjustifiable behavior is that shtick.

      • You would think this well worded question would get a straight answer. Unfortunately, Ms. Perel is incapable of the responsive answer of yes or no.

        I am sure her answer would be “It depends.”

        It is impossible to nail down a pathological cheater on their bullshit.

    • Sephage, I think self actualization implies growth. I have the advantage of being ten years out and seeing the happy couple from that vantage point. Just after DDay I was told by a wise woman, “You will suffer more than they do, but you will grow. They will not.”

      Fast forward ten years after NC, ex is still cycling through self pity, rage, and blame. Really? Its ten years dude. Get over it. The OW, still a bridesmaid, never a bride, rages at me, and calls herself the “Infamous M”. Triangulating much?

      No. They don’t grow. They don’t self actualize. The people who benefit from this shit storm are the chumps. We have to examine ourselves, our exes, our marriages, our FOO issues just in order to climb out of the very deep hole our “loved ones” threw us in, and thought to bury us. But they fail. We climb back out as wiser, better, more human, and far more empathic people. So yes, Esther, affairs lead to self actualization…….ours.

  • I wish her affair could be meaningless to me. It isn’t because it hurts. It means pain to me. It means pain to our children who no longer feel that home and family are a sanctuary. I no longer feel special, but rather insignificant like aa mere prop on her stage.

    • Destroy the family at all costs cause the cheater needs happiness. Fuck my loyal loving faithful wife of 30 years and fuck my grown up children get over it all of you, everybody cheats , this is what I want and I need to be happy! Stupid fuck doesn’t know what he wants and I hope he gets the life he deserves. This is going to affect me the rest of my life, I’ll put it away slowly I’m sure. My kids are sad we won’t ever be together as a family again. He told the kids don’t worry I will work on mom she will calm down and I will convince her to be best friends with me and “whore juice”. Then we can all be together again. WTF! kids don’t see it that way.

      • yeah, what is it where they think we’ll just calm down and everything will be fine?
        uh, no, not gonna happen.
        I will always hate him, put is on my headstone.
        Actually find a stronger word than hate.

      • “don’t worry I will work on mom she will calm down and I will convince her to be best friends with me and “whore juice”. Then we can all be together again.”

        The master manipulator has it all under control, huh? His smarmy, cocky confidence is repulsive.

        I’ve reached the point nowadays where I see consciously charming people as poison and scramble to get away from them.

      • “Destroy the family at all costs cause the cheater needs happiness.” ” He told the kids don’t worry I will work on mom she will calm down and I will convince her to be best friends with me….”

        Because your absolutely unreasonable reaction to his cheating was all about you and not about his happiness. You big old meanie!!!! Why aren’t you on board with “happiness”!!!!????

        The mental gymnastics needed to be on board with the happiness and be best friends with the cheater is horrendous! I must wonder if we are not all living in some kind of parallel universe and we just don’t understand what the rules here are.

      • Thats what my xh told my grown kids too! She so nice and other horseshit. My daughter said “what does dad think that he can make that thing a minnie you mom.” Son thinks “what a loser.” Have at it dad keep trying to promote you lies and scheming shit on your youngin you bamboozled, not you kids who clearly know you shit on them as well.

      • What you said rings true in my situation. He thought none of us would challenge what he’d done to our family. We’d accept and move on. Be a happy, divided family. His idealistic new world. Apart from me, who made him unhappy. With her, who makes him feel glorious. Two adult children who eventually would be totally okay with the new family dynamic. Of course, we have to move on, but we don’t ever have to accept, at least not on his terms. A year out, we still haven’t. And I think we shocked the shit out of him. He completely underestimated the reaction he would get from all three of us. Once again, he proved to be out of touch with us. Calculating real human emotion was never one of his strong suits.

        • Yes, full speed ahead with deception, lies and abandonment. Destroy the faithful mother and wife and make your own life 10 times worse in the process! Lies, greed, self gratification, I. MUST. CHEAT. Damn the feelings, damn the family, screw them I must be happy! And this new bitch with money makes me feel like a god! Turn around, wife why are crying I am happy! Come be joyous with me! Meet her, you’ll see best friends you will be! Come, come, my children embrace the deception and sing and dance joyously in my new found love. Don’t be sad for mom or that i destroyed our family everybody cheats! Its bliss. Its wonderful! Come my daughter learn how to cower and take disappointment like a real girl learn that cheating lying and promises are for saps and losers. And this mY. daughter is the correct treatment for women. Stay close and watch how i do it over and over again cause peoples feelings mean nothing to me as I have a black hole where my heart should be. . Stepover moms prone body she will be OK when she finally realizes she deserved it cause when she needed me most i totally fucked her over. How dare she have health issues and forget I am god! Learn my beloved son this it how you treat women. Practice on your sister and mom. Watch out, step over her not on her. Step over here to the glory of your penis! What a fucking asshole, my children have backed away from him that’s what happens when ignore them for three years, break promises and never ever not once were emotionally available to them. fucking asshole.

          • Interesting prose! Reminds me of a youtube video “Charlie the Unicorn.” If you don’t know it, look it up. Yep, he wants to take us all to candy mountain. But we all know what happens once we get there. No thank you.

          • kar marie, I’m often impressed by your emotional power but you just went Old Testament on his ass and it was as impressive as hell.

    • Exactly. It hurts. The mow in my case was meaningless – he was feeling insecure about business shit – ie stuff that real men handle more effectively than dropping their pants – and I wasn’t coddling him. So he looked around, and had 2 choices: man up and deal with the shit that life in the 1st world deals you as a white businessman in the USA, or find a wet hole. Spoiler alert: he chose door #2. She was his direct report, often referred to as skippy because she spreads so easily. Sooooo much easier than option 1.

      Ironically, what ended the whole thing (a yr before I found out) was that he was revolted by the fact that skippy left her family – h and 4 kids to screw and blow him in self actualizing and reaffirming locales – highway motels – and tell him what good people they both were. A 50 yr old woman blowing her balding limp dick boss in a shitty hotel just wasn’t sexy after a few months. I know, right? Didn’t see that coming.

      Trust me, he’s humiliated – when they were able to terminate her, he got several phone calls for new business “because now that the industry bicycle no longer works for you, we’d like to come back.” She almost destroyed the business that he had risked losing over a possible sexual harassment suit. A valid one.

      And the original reason for the affair again? Yeah, his ego being bruised by bad (not terrible) business decisions, and not feeling the success he felt he was due. How do you like them apples?

      I’m the bitter one though – which I think is what narcs say right before they stick their fingers in their ears and sing “la la la” loudly. It just effectively makes the shit storm they caused our hot potato to deal with.

      • Yep….ego bruising and facing the consequences of their POOR decisions. X-hole started working out again which led to competing again at 45. Placed 2nd in his first show (his comeback performance) and then NADA…zero placing in the next 5 shows over two years. I said “You look incredible but you need to stick to competing in the Master’s, not open class against 20 & 30 year old men and you will place.” Guess I wasn’t a good enough cheerleader. He wanted someone to stroke his ego, tell him he was going to be the next champion and be super duper famous. Sorry, I don’t do pretend, gave that shit up when I gave up playing with Barbies.

        I guess he wants someone who doesn’t know his life is a financial trainwreck, who doesn’t care if he is destroying himself in the pursuit of unattainable fame but will blindly encourage him. Can’t be satisfied with his health, his talent, his children and a woman who loves (loved) him completely in spite of himself. He’d rather have someone else’ cheating whore of a wife, blow up our lives and cause irreparable damage to another one of his children.

        After the past year I’ve accepted the fact that walking out on me was the best thing he ever did, showing me who he REALLY is has made this easier for me. Unfortunately my son is too young to understand, I can’t tell my 8 year old that his father has a personality disorder. I’m just doing the best I can to love my son through it and praying for minimal damage.

        • Oh fuck me. Like how much sense would it make for me – almost 50, but age appropriately smokin’ in a bikini, minus a uterus, plus a few wrinkles – to compete against someone 15 yrs younger than me in any competition that was physical? I had my time, I kicked it’s ass, and now I’m here. I like here. I don’t care who you are, saggy balls, viagra, tits that look like tube socks with marbles in them, beautiful meaningful stretch marks – leave the physical beauty to the young ones – Gravity is coming for them too. Now it’s about character and that’s where the men get separated from the boys (or the wheat from the chaff, whatever sex is pissing you off). Be a fuckng grown up.

          • Right on nic!! You definitely rock!! And I have said that to him lol!!! “Oh grow the fuck up!! You have 5 kids, ACT like it!” Stupid d*ck.

            I just turned 52 myself and not in bad shape at all for my age. I had breast reconstruction this year after surviving breast cancer, double mastectomy and reconstruction all during the implosion of my life, compliments of cheater pants. How I navigated all that shit and landed on my feet mentally intact is nothing short of a miracle!!

            Ironically if he hadn’t cheated I wouldn’t have caught the breast cancer early enough. Some chumps that have been here for over a year already know this. His cheating sent me straight to the doc’s office for a check up and STD panel and the doc found the lump. A year ago today I had a mammogram, ultrasound and biopsies. I received the phone call on November 10th that I had breast cancer and 6 days later he walked out. Nice guy eh?

            Gotta love that, his cheating might have saved my life. Silver lining?

            OWhore is 11 years younger than me and 5 years younger than him, I am happy to say you can’t tell….she hasn’t held her age well. Not that it matters but I wasn’t impressed one bit. She can have him.

          • Nic, I salute you. That was an awesome post. I know you’ve had some major non-chump shit to deal with lately. Been thinking of and praying for you.

    • Yes, it causes entirely too much pain to the Chump, but equally (if not more so) to the very innocent children who have their world’s turned upside down because one of their parents decided a bit of strange was more valuable than the promises they made to their family (love, honor, cherish … forsake all others … etc.). Pain is not meaningless; rather it has a great deal of meaning to those who must suffer it.

      You are not insignificant. You are a parent–a parent who didn’t betray your family unit. Remember that as you fight through this. There were moments I believed I would never regain myself, my balance, or even my sense of life. But I fought for my kids at first, then I learned how to fight for me again. You will to. Just keep fighting. Wishing you all the best.

  • ‘ It meant nothing to me ‘ … ‘ it was meaningless’ … ‘ its not like I am in love with him/her’ … ‘ it was just sex’ Cheater Speak. I dont believe the flings or the affairs were meaningless or just sex… they got busted… Now they have to say something. So they chose a phrase that they feel will cause less damage which is usually attached to the emotional response you have to the cheating. Meaningless= minimize. Just sex = minimize
    Meant nothing= minimize.
    What cheater has said ‘ Yes… I loved it, i wanted it and I am going to continue to have it despite the pain that it may put you thru because the truth is I dont feel your pain and I dont want too’ Zero.
    ‘ I dont know’ Ever get that response when u have busted your kid doing something? The blanket ‘ i dont know ‘ response.
    Cheater Speaker is just like that.

  • I’ve always understood marriage to be monogamous, if there’s a problem discuss the problem with your spouse come to an agreement or seek a therapist.
    I was married for twenty years together for 24 years, we built a life together, shared families, sacrificed my career so he could advance in his, we had a child, I was stay at home mom, we bought a home, shared daily family life, vacations. Wouldn’t you think we had something in common? After twenty years of marriage cheater decides he’s like something different, and he’s already found it. Someone who he has more in common with than me. How long had he known her? six months? Oh, wait, but they didn’t fool around or anything until he moved out so he really didn’t cheat.. Things in common, something different?
    Am I making a big deal out of his awakening and sudden realization that we have nothing in common?
    Cheater didn’t want to go to a marriage therapist he had his mind made up. He made the choice to cheat, Cheater justified his cheating with AP because they have things in common, she does marathons, I don’t remember marathons being in our marital vows, being monogamous yes. Betrayal is going outside the marital boundaries, physical or emotional. Cheating is a choice which destroys lives, destroys dreams, breaks hearts, not only the spouse being betrayed, the entire family is betrayed. It’s devastation, an endless aftermath if you have children.., Self centered and self serving with no regard for the devastating aftermath. They’ll get over it, not that simple.

    • My cheater, now XH, left for a co-worker slut that runs half marathons (Whoremelia). When we married, he wasn’t into running marathons – but now, apparently, that was a requirement. Almost 2 years after he left and a year and a half after the divorce was final – I ran a half marathon. XH doesn’t know because I’m NC and I didn’t do it for him. I think it was just to reaffirm to myself that I can be a moral woman AND run a half marathon. I will always be better than Whoremelia – I’m not a slag.

    • That was the line my STBX gave me too – “we have nothing in common anymore”. Some things I thought we had in common were our three young children, the company we built together over the past twelve years side by side, the home we just built, many shared friends and 15 years together. We are just different people he’s decided after discovering AP #2. I wish I found this site three years ago after DDay #1 when I was devastated. The first time, he begged for forgiveness and claimed it was just meaningless sex with our married employee for over a four month period. I felt the same way as CL wrote- saying it was meaningless was almost worse than having it mean something. He broke my heart, our children’s hearts, tore our extended families apart, put our company at risk of a lawsuit for something meaningless. I worked through the intense pain and did everything possible to save the marriage. Two years later, he ends up having an affair with the married mother of a friend of our young son. She and her family had even gone with us on several family trips together. This time, however, the affair has meaning to him – they have so much in common (tennis, excessive drinking, and a willingness to cheat on their spouses in the most destructive way possible to their children). He summarized his decision to leave with “we are different people.” I guess its true though as I would never have cheated on him, I would never have done all the things he’s done. AP is doing the same to her husband and children so they are the same. I couldn’t imagine making the decision to break up our family and hurt our children. My self-esteem has taken a tremendous toll these last few years but I am getting mightier everyday. Thank you CL for creating this community. I feel understood. So many people can’t relate as they have never experienced the intense and haunting pain of betrayal by the person you trusted more than anyone. Esther’s ignorance is profoundly evident.

  • Hey, I’m all for people using their genitals for “self actualization”. By all means, fuck as many men or women you want if that’s makes you happy. Yes . . . find more like minded people and fucking go crazy.

    The problem Esther, is I walked down the aisle with a man who stood in front of his friends and family and pledged faithfulness and love to me. Just me. Not the chick from work, not the wife of his best friend, and not the whore from his old neighborhood. If he wanted to “self actualize” with his dick, he could have done it all day long without putting a ring on my finger. That would have been cool with me.

    Esther and assholes like her can spin infidelity and betrayal all day long. I know the truth. They can fuck off.

  • Why is it that speaking the blunt truth, the facts of the matter – is considered being “bitter?”

    But if you parse and prance around the facts with a lot of New Age/psychobabble-speak – that’s “enlightened?”

    At the end of the day, does anyone really want to hear the truth spoken to them? We want comfort from our religion – but not the hard stuff like following the 10 Commandments. We get all jingoistic (can you get away from it in Texas, Tracy?) but we are quite content to elect generation after generation who lie to us regularly. And we want a grand romance…..but other than a brave few here in Chump Kingdom – most want to be lied to or lie to themselves in the name of appearances and fantasy.

    I don’t get it – I’m too grown up now to suffer fools or liars anymore (both of which my ex was in spades.) That’s not the definition of bitterness – that’s called “wising up.” I’m not sure where getting smarter and being more aware crossed over into bitterness in people’s minds, unless they couldn’t put a word to the fact that there were some people who called things as they were and didn’t spackle or sprinkle unicorn dust anymore.

    So I wear my hard earned wisdom proudly. I laugh, am warm, try everyday to do kindness and stop to smell every rose. The fact I can better tell a rose from a skunk cabbage helps me – and it sure doesn’t make me bitter. I’d be bitter if I hadn’t learned from what my ex put me through.

    And I LOVED this line: “She wasn’t one of those cheaters. She just wasted 22 years of his life.” that so applies to my ex. He still sees himself as a good guy who has a little “flaw.” (and it is little, believe me. Little and crooked just like the rest of him.)

    • Because a lot of people are entitled, personality disordered cockwads, and they don’t like being told the truth.
      Therefore, they need to try and trash the people who do so.
      I say – do it anyway, and FUCK what they think. And loudly proclaim exactly that. Honestly, what else can they possibly do? Yell and scream more of the same, while you laugh in their face? 🙂

    • I am a very kind person, or so I’ve been told, moreso now after surviving such betrayal. My kindness and empathy have come out in spades, for people who are deserving. But I agree with you Char, after D-Day, I made some decisions about my life going forward. After all of the lies and deception and filth ex brought into my life and the lives of our children, I decided I would never tell more lies to cover up his past lies, and I would never pretend in order to cover up his past deceptions. No more lies. Post D-Day, he suggested to me over and over that I not to tell anyone what he had done, it was so stunningly opposite to his public persona. But I refused, telling him “If it wasn’t too bad for you to do, it’s certainly not too bad for me to say.”

      Bitter? Only to people who want to shut us the hell up, for their own self-interests (it’s never for ours).

  • The one thing that was said during a TED talk video I watched – and agree 100000% with – is: “Staying is the new shame.”

    Because it is.

  • I find that many of the words used alone – affair, liaison, dalliance, hanky-panky, fling, etc – are vague and minimize the acts involved in adultery and infidelity. It’s considerably more harsh and direct when spoken of in more definitive terms such as cheating, extramarital sex, unfaithful, etc. “My husband had a meaningless affair” doesn’t sound quite as bad as saying “My husband had long-term unprotected sex with another woman” or “My husband sent hundreds of emails to another woman in which he very explicitly discussed things he wanted to do to her sexually.” Even the term “Wayward Spouse” is tame. I understand the psychology behind using such terms in attempt to reconcile, but they ARE belittling to the Non-Spouse. It’s easier for the Non to forgive if things are sugar-coated. I think, however, it forces suppression. If there has been emotional, verbal, physical abuse involved in the relationship, I cannot see that reconciliation is a viable option. I think I may have been able to survive a one-time one-night stand, but finding out about months and years of infidelity – lies and deception – on top of other abuses to my well-being was just too much.

    • Over and Out, the people at the RIC boards just can’t stand it if you address “affairs” in sexual terms. It’s just crude to say “husband was fucking a whore.”. They are Wayward, Confused, Hurt, Fog-ridden, Lost, Have Unmet Needs, etc. Blah, blah, blah.

      But they are never Whore Fuckers. Which is exactly what they are. Among other things.

    • I would still love to see some PSA commercials about the devastating results of the fallout after people have affairs.

      • Opening scene: Woman is checking her FB notifications while tidying up the house and making dinner after work. Her husband texts her to say he has to work late. She then notices a new message in the Other folder. Her eyes fill… blindingly. She exhales HARD and just as she does, the floor boards break and the entire house caves in, children included.

        As the mother and children are coming to, and trying to cry out and find each other, scenes of the affair flash between the scene of horrow (you can really do good snippets… like she holds onto a bedpost and linens to pull herself up… flash to him undressing the OW, making light-hearted mockeries of the wife’s taste of furnishings, etc.)

        The husband comes home to find the caved0in house, tape around it, no one there. The viewers don’t know who’s alive and injured or who’s dead, just as the husband doesn’t, Burned out flares are on the road. It’s silent. It’s just him, with his jacket slung over his shoulder and a bewildered look on his face. A neighbor runs out and shouts, “Where have you BEEN?! What have you been DOING?!”

        In white block letters, fixed: BETRAYAL is not ________, and then all the trite phrases Cheaters say fill in the that blank, in rapid fire… “meaningless”, “just a phase,” “he’s just a friend,” “a mid-life crisis,” etc.

        Ending with: Betrayal affects everyone. Act in truth. Behave with integrity. Don’t be a cheater.

  • Are there “Good Rapists” out there? Adultery is the same thing on a soul level. The act of rape may not be the totality of the person…but it is still VERY wrong and demonstrates dangerous character deficits….just as cheating does, IMO.

  • It should say something that so many of our cheaters spent so much time and energy accusing their chumps of cheating, desperate to safeguard themselves against what they knew would devastate them. They engaged in the very thing they couldn’t handle their spouse committing because there is a double standard. They are entitled because they are special and the only party that really matters in the relationship.

    • That’s a red flag for sure. My ex would tell me he had dreams of me cheating on him. At times he would insinuate that I had the opportunity to cheat on him whenever we were apart – how could he be sure that I wasn’t, etc. I thought that was bizarre as I had never given him reason to doubt my faithfulness. I wasn’t interested in other men – he and our children were my priorities.

      • Yes, I got the ‘dreams’ story quite a few times. I would actually be in trouble with him for whatever I did in his dreams. I also had to constantly reassure him over anyone in my life with a penis. He was especially jealous of the gay ones for some odd reason.

        • So was mine. He accused me of sleeping with one of my gay friends a few times. Idiot even said to me once, “What if my best friend was a lesbian! Would you be OK with that?!”

          Moron.

        • My ex gave me the cold shoulder after he had a DREAM… wtf??!! He must have had a guilty conscience..projecting it onto me. Such garbage.

    • My stbxw told me when she asked for a divorce that she could now accept me being intimate with someone else. WTF!!! You can sleep around but you didn’t want me to do that! Why? I had just as many problems with her as she did with me but i didn’t start screwing around. But now she’s ok with me doing it since she’s done with the marriage. I just realized putting that is words how crazy it sounds. She’s a real nut job.

      • Well lucky you! I got (when we were finally splitting up for good after four known affairs), “we can get back together later as long as you don’t sleep with anyone else.” Hahahahahahahaha!!!! I laughed and laughed and didn’t respond in any other way! What a ridiculous prick!

      • Me too, I suggested that we both remain in our home for financial reasons and stay in separate rooms and stay out of each others business outside of our home. His reply was “I’m not LIVING in the same house with you while you’re dating other people.” He was having an affair with a married woman….cheating on me…basically rubbing my nose in it and he wasn’t going to live with ME dating other people. Idiot. It’s been over a year and I have yet to date. Not even interested right now, I’m enjoying getting back to the person I lost….me.

      • When we separated, my then stbx wanted to know if it was ok for him to date other women since we were going to be getting divorced….

    • Oh yeah, for 24 years, controlling my coming and going, interrogating me about any man I worked with, following me when I went out with friends. I was so hurt by this all that time, but now I am just pissed. So fucking pissed. It’s just insult on top of injury.

      • Ah, well I was too naive to be hurt or insulted. I just accepted his paranoia and accusations as part of marriage and always made sure I had receipts or some kind of proof of where I was when I wasn’t in his sight, and also made sure I answered the phone at all costs whenever he called. If not, there was he’ll to pay. Wow, how dysfunctional and lopsided our relationship was in hindsight…

          • I am late to this thread, but this is so comforting to me, I lived all of this, too. I remember the thing about dreams that he had, where I was supposedly cheating! He could barely look at me, he was furious! The anger from a Cheater, directed at me, because he had no conception of loyalty – yes, all of this is mind-blowing! And why did we tolerate it?
            This is the beauty of ChumpLady. It helps to know I wasn’t the crazy, off-base one!

  • My daughter and I were in a store this week. They had snowmen. I’m a snowman collector. There….on the shelf….was a “snowman family” . It was so cute….mom…dad…2 kids…little snow dog. Engraved on the front….”Family is forever”. My daughter who is 20 said “That’s a fucking lie”
    Now…..how does cheating not affect the rest of the family?? How can that be justified?
    Do you want to build a snowman? Hell No…absolutely fucking not….
    I will no longer be collecting snowmen.

    • Family is forever – when it doesn’t involved disordered fuckwits.
      The ones you are close to, who always have your back, are. They don’t need to be related by blood, even.

    • Tracy– I hate what they do to the kids, especially the older kids. It destroys their trust and belief in the world, even in right and wrong in general.

      I’ll tell you something my then-23 year old son told me in that terrible time right after D-Day: “Mom, we are still a family, he’s just not in it anymore.” I say you buy that goddamned snowman family (remove the dad snowman if you can), and proudly display it Tracy. Fuck him. YOUR family is still forever.

  • “Adultery becomes a moral failing as we move to a description of character flaws: liar, cheater, philanderer, womanizer, slut. In this view, understanding an act of infidelity as a simple transgression or meaningless fling, or a quest for aliveness is an impossibility.”

    Yep, its only a moral failing if you call it for what it is. If you water it down, not so much. Statements like can be so deceptive because it plays on the need to be intellectualize. Maybe if I’m smart enough I can reword things in a way where it’s not a moral failing. Then I would have reached some sort of enlightenment, which I got to all by myself. I bet cheaters flock to this sort of baloney.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Esther lurks here on CL.

    • I bet she does. I bet she even posts from time to to time.

      Yes, the “quest for aliveness” is the sorry-est excuse for hurting someone else. Robbing a bank would make me feel more alive…..but I’m not going to do it. You’re right; cheaters do flock to this baloney.

    • That’s what my cheater wrote. “My behavior cannot be excused”. “We had problems but I hope we will overcome them and share many more happy moments in the future”. He did not mention that he intended to share our happy moments with a third person, who was single and of the opposite sex.

    • Mine too, Solange, he never even tried to offer an excuse. The jig was up and he knew it. Then he walked out, on me and our children. Evaporated, like mist. I know I don’t really want it, but I am sometimes jealous of the chumps whose exes are all over them and their children trying to remain in their lives (I know, I know, I’m not really), at least there’s some feeling there, some vestiges of a hint of twisted emotion. Here….none, nada, zip. I’m about to petition to terminate his parental rights on our youngest, and I doubt he will even object.

  • Yes it goes way beyond cheating

    Lying – check
    Lacking a moral compass – check
    Not having one honest bone in your entire cheating body – check
    Dumping not only your family’s values but that of his family of origin – check
    Cheating down the pond scum scale – check
    Not being able to keep your promises – check
    Disappointing adult children – check
    Acting out real emotion – check
    Being a counterfeit human being -check

    Esther can bite me too.

  • PS let’s not forget the line he spouted when confronted with his double dealing, I should cross stitch for him on the anniversary of DDay

    EVERYONE CHEATS!

    Esther, would you like a cross stitch too?

  • “We’re not stupid for wanting our feelings to be considered, for relying on commitment, for believing in monogamy — IT WAS PROMISED TO US. And we abided by that set of rules — and moreover, we didn’t see it as a ‘set of rules’ to break and ‘exuberantly defy.’ We loved with our whole hearts and got played.”

    Thank you, CL. With all these sites catering to validating cheaters, it’s surreal that this is one of the only ones catering to the actual victims. If anybody needs affirmation and validation, it’s us chumps. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

  • Okay I must be special, my ex emotional affair was so meaningless that he left me for a Thai whore that he hadn’t met yet in person. That’s right she was his soulmate, so obviously VERY MEANINGLESS! F” you Perel so sorry that his “MEANINGLESS” affair actually meant something to me. Oh and I’ll take being a bitter bitch anytime than being a F” whore!

  • Sure, if the sex with another person existed in a vacuum. His penis inside her vagina, whoops, I guess it’s not a big deal, just two body party happening to meet up.

    Unfortunately the reality never ever exists in a vacuum. it always comes along with crossing boundaries, planning, and lies. Some more elaborate than others, but unlike murder, an affair is always premeditated to some degree.

  • Let’s talk about being “bitter”
    My dictionary describes it this way “characterized by intense antagonism or hostility”
    Totally true, Narkles the Clown antagonized me and I became hostile.
    I’m gonna own that one.

    So what does it mean to be bitter? It means
    – I refuse to engage him on anything that does not involve my children and only by email.
    – When presented with the appropriate opportunity I tell people what really happened.
    – No more interaction with his selfish dying mother (PS: she has been dying for 4 years now)

    In return for my bitterness I get
    – a significantly de-stressed life
    – calmness in my heart and soul
    – the return of joy to my life (gas lighting and blame-shifting will take it from you)
    – clean and orderly house
    – a better relationship with my true friends (going through this will show you who they are)
    – the ability to smile freely and frequently

    I say hold on to your bitterness, it will make you bold, fierce and strong!

  • I had to check Ester Perells qualifications before I made a comment here because I simply couldnt believe that in 2015 there is an educated woman out there who genuinely writes the kind of garbage she does. This woman is dangerous, ignorant and uninformed.
    She displays absolutely zero understanding of the dynamics of cheating and personality disorders and how people who have them victimize others. I guarantee you that she doesn’t have a personality disorder herself nor has she been the victim of one such is her grasp on the subject. She clearly doesn’t believe there are people alive in the world capable of such selfish dangerous behavior without a second thought who know exactly what they are doing and the effect it will have on other people but THEY DONT CARE. I suppose it is understandable, you tend not to believe such people exist until you have been a victim of them. She has such a naive childlike insight into cheating, that it is almost pitiful.
    Her views are myopically mysoginistic and enormously dangerous. The world needs more insight into dangerous characters so that women can avoid the soul rape which happens when they become entangled with a character disordered individual not read her nonsense and think that maybe they’re wrong and should give him another chance? Cheating is one of the symptoms of their character disorder, she doesn’t know this? She believes people with a dangerous character disorder are the minority if those that make up cheaters? A person with a character disorder should be allowed to continue destroying the life, spirit and soul of his victim in order to “self actualize”?
    The nonsense articles she writes could be used as an apology for any dangerous morally reprehensible activity you care to substitute. Change the word cheating to murder, pedophilia, addiction any behavior you desire and they still “make sense” from her twisted viewpoint. If you are an apologist who doesn’t believe people are responsible for making choices so long as they gained some self actualization then any behavior is dandy? Ms Perel, you are very very wrong. Please stop spreading your dangerous naive beliefs.

    • I disagree. I think it’s quite possible that she has a personality disorder herself. Maybe even quite probable, considering that she seems to be fluent in the language.

      • Ninja Chump YES! I am continually amazed and awed by the spirit of intelligence and insight on this site. Ninja, I love love love what you said. Clapping! Thank you CL for creating and sustaining this site. I don’t know what I would do without CN.

    • I think she’s got a personality disorder. Fact is – people who are disordered aren’t very well informed to comment on such disorders, given they have no means to self-reflect.
      Seeing the bullshit she writes, tells me she does.

  • Every cheater thinks of themself as the “good” kind of cheater. The cheater who “never meant to hurt you!” The kind that is “just being true to myself!” The cheater who thinks “it’s ok to do X but I would NEVER do Y.” It doesn’t matter what kind of devastation they *actually* leave in their wake; they see themselves as well-intentioned, good people who just got caught up in confusing emotion rather than as selfish pricks who will sacrifice others to the shrine of bottomless “want.”

    • Oh you said the truth, Free Vixen. You said the truth. And the good guy image is something they would annihilate for if need be. If you want to see their scary side, just tamper with that cherished, delusional image of themselves which they believe and project.

  • First off I am sick and tired of the therapeutic community blaming the spouse!!! Or saying our reaction to being betrayed is Over the top!! It must be because We have issues that we haven’t dealt with! It goes deeper than the act of infidelity!! Blah, blah, blah!! Your spouse is a drunk= your co-dependent the whole family is sick.Your spouse has a personality disorder = mommy issues thatYou are becoming, Your spouse cheats = look at your part in this!!! Oh please yes we all have issues and a human reaction to craziness and betrayed is hurt and anger. Soooo sorry us chumps didn’t read the rule book, while the cheating spouse can just say sorry or it was a meaningless fling. Especially in emotional or long term affairs ya kept going back couldn’t have been that meaningless.

  • Cheating is sin. I don’t care what kind of new age mamsy pansy words EP wants to attach to it.. it’s sin. It’s wrong. Wrong on every single level. Religious or not, it’s wrong. It leads to destruction. You cannot self actualize by destroying other people.

    Sin breeds more sin and that eventually causes destruction. Of the sinner’s life, of the lives around them.

  • Ughh… trying to unravel her mess of an article is like trying to sit through a conversation with a disordered person and listen to their justifications.

    Perhaps it is her definition of infidelity that is the issue. Are we talking young 20 somethings who are dating?

    Her thesis that infidelity is an option within a long-term relationship is fundamentally flawed. For a long-term relationship to work and for good sex, I think you need: trust, respect and empathy. Most people need this for an emotional connection. Infidelity means that you are messing with these three pillars.

    Her premise that infidelity is a path to personal self discovery and can evolve a relationship is ludicrous. My EX never stops for introspection. On the other hand, I went to therapy, grew and evolved. During reconciliation before DD#2, we went to MC and he lied. So, no evolution there.

    Were they meaningless flings? I guess since my EX told me he was ‘just bored’. However, this is irrelevant to me – as I no longer had: trust, respect or empathy for him.

    Esther in my 17 year marriage I had plenty of opportunities to cheat, but I didn’t. How would you explain that one?

    • Right! In order to be considered self-actualization, or some kind of quest for meaning, there needs to be some introspection, or self examination. However, a mentally healthy introspective person who’s done soul searching and self-examination wouldn’t conclude that an affair is an appropriate way to proceed. So Esther… it’s non sequitur.

    • She really should shift her research to the question of why cheaters are so immature in life. How did they come to be so emotionally stunted? They truly are not fully grown in so many ways, and that is an interesting phenomenon.

      • Yes! The lack of maturity is genuinely astounding. I drank the hopium for so long that I kept trying to explain why paying the bills, working extra hours when necessary, picking up after yourself, are good things. Me and my ridiculously optimistic view … I was so certain he just didn’t “get it.”

    • “I had plenty of opportunities to cheat, but I didn’t. How would you explain that one?”

      I guess you’re just a plodder, unlike your cheater, who gets the whole concept of evolving and growing.

  • This is my first comment ever after reading this blog daily for a year, and at some point I will share more as I think hearing other peoples’ experience has saved my sanity.

    BUT – I AM SO TIRED OF PEOPLE BLAME-SHIFTING CHUMPS. Cheaters are just shmucks – its a lack of character. Period. And you can rationalize it forever, but ask yourself what the husband did to make his wife a drunk? Huh? Whose problem?

    People who lie are liars. Cheaters compartmentalize their character, not just their behavior, and its a total mindf*ck to their spouse. Cheaters should just roam free in their own dark forest doing whatever they like and being honest about who they are (intimacy issues, cough) and leave commitment-minded people alone, thank you.

    I’m good with my character. I am almost free after serial cheater discovery heart break mindf*ck and now I am so psyched! Go Chumps! Life is good.

    • Welcome freelady! Sorry that you ended up here ~~ like us ~~ but I keep hoping this will make sense at some level in the future. Maybe the children of chumps will end the cycle of this type of abuse because they will LEARN what you have succinctly stated in this posting.

      • Both my kids are real sour on marriage and relationships. My daughter bartends nights and she’s disgusted by the sheer volume of married men who hit on her. Her dad asswipe was her hero for being faithful and caring to me even if he was always emotionally unavailable to everyone including his kids. Now that she has seen for herself who dad really is she’s appalled and has gone very little contact with him. While he was off two years or so building new life with whore juice he forgot about his family. Who had to call him and remind him to calk her for her birthday! Not whore juice who could give a shit. Me that’s who and he still forgot! Who the hell forgets their only daughters birthday, a complete and total fuck up that’s who. He didn’t forget the whores daughters birthdays. He became “real close” to them his own. Pfffft….. Now trying to make up to his daughter and doing badly at it. My little girl is not buying it. She called and texted him for months to get just a little bit closer to her. Nothing. She says she’s over it. Bastard cheaters don’t realize the damage they do. FUCK THEM ALL!!!!

      • FreeLady, you sound like you’ve got it together! The serial Cheaters are the worst, I think. They have something shriveled up and moldy where their soul is supposed to be. Mine cheated for over 30 years (but hey, can’t you forgive a mistake?)
        On the topic of the next generation learning from this mess, I will say my oldest son has attached himself completely to his girlfriend, and treats her with utmost love and respect- he doesn’t want a sucky relationship like his parents had! I think that was his take-away from watching ours go right down the drain, over the last three years. His relationship was just blooming, as ours was crashing, and he saw all the intense drama that happened. I’m sure he doesn’t want that! They treat each other like gold, I’m sure they ‘get it’.

  • Hmmmm….Esther can bite me too. I, being a super chump, absolutely blamed myself for “somehow failing him” and I actually said it OUT loud to him and not only did it not tug at his inner brokenness it did not affect him one bit. He was already gone, I just didn’t want to see it. I was so used to shouldering the blame for everything that it took me months to figure out that he put all of his shit on me.

    This wasn’t a mid-life crisis or an accidental encounter, it wasn’t an unfortunate development of an appropriate relationship that “became” inappropriate. X-hole made the deliberate and conscious DECISION to plan a trip to go 200 miles away to hook up with and fuck a woman (another man’s wife and mother of his 3 boys) that he met, by chance, at a competition one month prior. I begged him not to do it, he went anyway and expected me to pretend like he didn’t do anything wrong. Disordered asshole.

    X-hole is a repeat offender, truthfully speaking I had the nagging suspicion for years that he was capable, and likely guilty, of cheating. After 7 years together and caring for his other children from previous marriage I had developed an amicable relationship with his ex-wife, I was nice to her and took good care of her kids and she knew it. So, one day I called her and just came right out and asked her if he cheated on her. Her response? ? “Absofuckinglutely!” They had been together about 14 years….married for 11 or 12….had 3 kids ages 11, 8 and 5 months. She watched him cheat for FOUR months before confronting him and telling him to leave. One evening, he didn’t show for a family function so her older sister says “Enough of this shit! Let’s GO!” loads the ENTIRE family in vehicles and they all show up at the OW’s apartment. He answers the door and says “Oh shit!” Her sister says “Oh shit is right m*therf*cker!”. To this day he still says “I didn’t cheat, it was already over.” When she confronted him with evidence of how LONG it had been going on he disappeared (not literally) in disordered fashion. Checked out with zero remorse, no explanation and not a single apology. The hateful troll he was living with when I met them was the OW he had cheated on her with. They lasted about 1 year and 3 months.

    He was unhappy and ending their relationship when he started flirting with me and I put the brakes on that shit immediately. Told him I don’t get involved with or “see” men who live with a SO, call me when it’s over. Within a week he showed up at my door and told me she was moving out, she did and it always bothered me that it didn’t seem to affect him at all. Truth is, he would have cheated on her with me if I’d been willing and deep down I always knew it.

    When I met him I was an independent, strong-willed, single, self supporting mother of a 19 year old daughter, I had one foot over the finish line. A year later I was living with him, had a newborn son at the age of 44, now a SAHM and he was in complete control of my life and the devaluation had just begun. He started treating me like shit as soon as he knew he had me. I didn’t want to raise another child alone and he KNEW it and used it to manipulate the hell out of me and wear me down (that single parenting shit is HARD!I did it for 16 years before I met him). He told me I was “negative ” anytime I slapped any truth on him and eventually he made me believe it too.

    I was in pain, my heart ached a lot of the time because I loved him and I didn’t matter and I knew it. I guess if I blamed myself I could continue thinking I could save it.

    He still tries to blame me for everything but I call bullshit. If it were just about ending our relationship he would be doing other things right. He’s not. This past year he has done everything as wrong as possible. Screwing his finances up worse, avoiding legal problems, screwing his ex out of child support (pays about half of what he is supposed to and maybe every other month), got us evicted from our house and STILL hasn’t moved all of his shit out almost 4 months later, has contributed ZERO for our son for the past 6 months…all while traveling and spending money on hotels and entertainment for him and OWhore and dumping tons on “fun” expensive stuff to do with the kids on his weekends.

    November 16th is the one year anniversary of the day he left. I can honestly say that I have reached “Meh” and I’m grateful. I’ve found myself again and I will never be fooled again. Ever.

  • Let’s see. I’m being sued by the cheater and his affair partner now gf five years after divorce because my family and myself have caused her anxiety and not made her feel welcome. I guess my year of losing 25 pounds and throwing up daily wasn’t causing me any anxiety! All the same. Cheaters break up families , destroy marriages. They are evil and only concerned with themselves. No room in my life for any of them.

    • Can you counter-sue? I’m sure this will be thrown out of court but I would think you have a far stronger case than your ex and ow considering that after the cheating, divorce and NOW they are filing a lawsuit against you?

          • It wasn’t what they did, it was how Katrina responded to it. You know, like not making curtains for their new love nest or handing over her 401(k) so they could plan their future. My shitty ex actually took a voluntary leave of absence due to the “stress” of the divorce he caused, but really it was just so he wouldn’t have to pay any support to me.

            I guess you just can’t blame the victim enough.

    • POOR FUCKING DIDDUMS TO HER.
      She’s the whore who pulled herself into that shit to begin with!
      If she didn’t like the fire, SHE SHOULD HAVE STAYED OUT OF THE FUCKING KITCHEN.
      Jesus fuck, people like this need to be punched in the face. Repeatedly.

  • I haven’t weighed in a couple of weeks, but I’m going to give you chumps an update. Most everyone knows my Ex left me for a MOW he hooked up with on Facebook, then continued to carry on an affair for nearly 3 years. During this time her husband divorced her, I was diagnosed with lung cancer and contracted MRSA, my Ex and his Schmoopie just ratcheted up the torture! A complete misery till our final mediation in March of 2015 when my lawyer stripped him to the bone! Must have been a joyous day for the two star crossed lovers! Now he could marry her as he insisted he would do as soon as he was free to do so! He quit his job and moved to her home. Sounds just blissful doesn’t it?
    Now for the reality, which I had warned him would eventually happen but of course he just didn’t believe me! He moves in May 2015. By June 2015 he is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and cannot start the new job he got. Schmoopie suddenly realizes that Mr. Hot pants is just an old sick fool who is broke. She starts paying his way from her settlement bucks from her Ex Mr. Moneybags! Ex Mr. Moneybags remarried 2 months after his divorce from her and has lost interest in paying her full alimony. My Ex finds out that his new Twu wuv is a whore for him, but a bible thumping hypocrite! The Ex is her captive. She demands sex to prove his love to her even when he’s in pain, he isn’t allowed to cuss without being dressed down by her for not being a gentleman, she demands to be entertained constantly (attention whore), she wants romance 24/7! She goes off the deep end each month when his alimony was due. She hired a lawyer to try to overturn my settlement behind his back (unfortunately it was ironclad and my Ex refused and this infuriated her!) she was angry because he did not want to run to the courthouse to marry her immediately! Ex was broke and depleted in 7 months every asset he had left to make her “happy!” In short, she was a nutter! She hid his keys and threatened to call the cops if he left! He has to literally “escape” from her!
    As of today old boy is broke, basically homeless and trying to find a job. Schmoopie is holding his personal items hostage for money. She cleaned out all his bank accounts and is demanding more money from him! He is trying heaven and earth to stay in my life !
    Funny ….. My last words to him in May were “your relationship won’t last 6 months and affairs end badly.” Guess I was right! He kept telling everyone how “happy” he was with her, but he was miserable from guilt, shame and loneliness! Guess he’s getting what he truly deserved!

    • Roberta I pray your health has a full recovery….and the sowing from his reaping gives you some justice. Not that there is much justice for the damaged caused.

      • I have fully recovered and I am doing very well. Too bad the same can’t be said for Mr. Cheaterpants and his oh so beloved Schmoopie! Can’t say I didn’t warn him! I predicted this trainwreck nearly 2 years ago, but nothing could make him believe it! Guess he just had to experience all the “fulfillment” that people like Dear Esther talk about! Maybe Esther would like to ask him if he’s happier and his life has been more enriched? Or if he feels more “alive” now? My guess is he would sock her in the face! His life is a total disaster! He can’t even gas his car up or pay for a meal because his “lil sweetie” who loved him soooo much took every dime he had in the bank. He has a hard time trying to square that with all the concern and so-called “love” she supposedly felt for him! He now knows she was a basic gold digging whore and a con! She refuses to entertain giving him his belongings or money that she stole back! She’s a piece of work! I’m only pissed cause she also took what would have been my alimony payment! That’s okay though because I had planned for something like this happening for months! Trust me folks, these so called fairy tale romances are just that, fairy tales! Once reality hits, and it does, they turn on each other and bail as fast as they can! It’s sad yet rewarding, but there is little joy in being right and watching someone you loved being destroyed!

        • Would love to know details about your ironclad final divorce decree. Those of us up against narcissistic liars need to know all we can to protect ourselves in a divorce.

          • I had a tough as nails older female lawyer. I knew what I absolutely had to have going forward in my life and I did not make any concessions! I used the power of the simple word “no” with no justification when I didn’t like something. Remember your cheater has placed himself/ herself in a terrible light by cheating and you now have a lot of power whether you believe it or not! Always aim high and then you have room to make it look as if you are being agreeable yet you are going to end up exactly where you wanted to be financially. Trust me, these assholes know they are dirtbags and they know everyone else in mediation thinks so too. That discomfort makes them want to escape so they will agree to anything! I also put a clause in mine that called for no downward modification of the agreement. Makes it impossible to go back to court EVER!!!! If you can, visit a financial counselor with your proposed agreement beforehand to be sure you are solid financially. Hope that helps!

            • Great to read your update Roberta!

              I am in awe of your might and sending you good thoughts to distance yourself from your Ex’s poor sausage routine. It sounds a bit too convenient to be this broke this fast, I’m also wondering if your ex is dialing up the drama to avoid your filing for contempt in court.

              Keep forging on mighty Roberta!

              • The only thing that old ho can dial up is a hotel reservation with someone she finds on Fakebook! She thinks she’s smart and cosmopolitan, but she’s just a well dressed ho!

        • Are your sure SHE took all the money? Sounds fishy to me and a bit too convenient. He can’t pony up the alimony payment? While I have no doubt she is a piece of work you have to consider the “source” of all this info, your ex.

        • I agree Roberta. I used to care that he was destroying himself. My therapist called it blow by blow. My instincts were always to protect and provide guidance. The grand finally, when he showed himself as yours did, it became the point of no return. What hurt was that none of it made sense. To give up a lifetime wasn’t a mistake. It was acted out with precision and malice. I’m hoping your doing ok! Miss you.

        • Roberta, so glad you are doing well. That certainly is a Karma train that hit your ex! Wow!

          I don’t know how my ex is doing, but know he bought a big house. I don’t follow him or ask about him, so I have no idea what’s going on. I just know that my job is to keep moving forward and to not spend another moment worrying about what’s going on with him. He fired me from my job of caring.

        • “…here is little joy in being right and watching someone you loved being destroyed!”

          Roberta!

          So good to hear from you. I can’t imagine what you are going through right now. We aren’t sociopaths and fuck them if they tried to put us there by screwing us over.

          We feel and we feel deeply. Because of this, we MUST protect ourselves, although you sound like you know who you are and understand your weaknesses.

          Peace be with you, Roberta.

          You are on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

        • Wow Roberta! I’m breathless just reading all of this! Amazing flock of pigeons coming home to roost! More like a cloud of pooping pigeons and he is the statue in the park.

      • I’m fine. It’s just so interesting having him spill his guts about how awful his Schmoopie is. Hmmm.. Makes me wonder just what routine he gave her about me? Oh well, who cares? I’m going to take a page out of cheater handbook 101 and be selfish for me! After all, looks like I’m the only winner in all this mess. He should have known that if it looks too good to be true than it probably is just that. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side…..sometimes it’s just cheap, crappy AstroTurf! Hope he likes laying in it!

        • Awww, Roberta, he’s getting all misty and nostalgic on you. What a sad sausage he is. Hope he’s not thinking you’re going to give a shit.

  • “my heart goes out to you – my article does not directly apply to your situation, as your experience goes way beyond infidelity.”

    Yes, it’s condescending. Basically saying “Honey, bless your heart, but your issues are wayyyyyyyy more than what I can even go into.”

  • Looking forward to seeing if “UnderEsthermater” will actually have the brass ones to come in here and show her face to this group. That would be interesting…not holding my breath however….

  • The thing that is funny to me is that cheaters, enablers, etc. are using the most immature, juvenile thing ever ( screwing around) as proof of their evolution, maturity, worldliness, etc. Really?? That is the opposite of evolved. De Volved…

  • Roberta, I will reply to you here. I have been wondering where you were, so welcome back. I do believe that most relationships that are built on deception will end badly. However, I truly believe that my ex husband is the except to the rule. He has absolutely landed on his feet and is in paradise with his 23 year old. He is telling the world how she is looking after him and will not allow him to eat the wrong food in Cambodia but will cover his eyes and allow him just a ‘taste’ of something which she feels is not in his best interest. Forget that I babied the rat for 37 years and did everything for him and our 2 children and I never got one compliment because it “was my job”. This girl is now going to get my childrens’ inheritance and so are her 2 boys and yet my kids stick fat with him and the tramp. He is living it up big time in Phnom Penh and bragging up a storm with all of the boys back home here, just like a teenage boy having his first sexual encounter and the fool is 63. As my ex stated to me just before the end, my standards were/are too high and he couldn’t live with that any more. So he trawled the gutters of Phnom Penh and just like magic, he snares himself a 23 year old prostitute who has made all of his dreams come true. So as I have said, I genuinely believe that my ex is the exception to the rule because he is making damn sure of it.

    • Maree

      He’s an asshole just like the rest of them. Living with a prostitute? That in itself is gross. That’s not living it up. He’s a jackass.

    • Maree, he is just a disgusting weasel like all the rest. Covers his eyes and gives him a taste of food ? Are you fucking kidding me. That is so gross and disgusting. Bet she feeds him rat poison one day .

        • I hope Phnom Penh has really good geriatric health care. There are some places you don’t want to be in a time of medical crisis, like around a 23 year old who likes your cash more than you.

      • She doesn’t let him see what she’s feeding him, and he doesn’t feel the slightest bit uneasy about that?

        Hoo boy.

        It’s embarrassing to watch them become garrulous fools, isn’t it? People we used to admire.

        • Finally, it paints such a cute mental picture doesn’t it? I actually feel like vomiting when I read the rubbish he posts. This girl has the fools penis and testicles in a vice like grip and she won’t let go now. Ain’t he a lucky bugger … NOT!!

    • Maree, I wouldn’t say he was in paradise. That part of the world is, quite frankly, a shithole – they live in HORRENDOUS poverty there. Shows what sort of standards he has, doesn’t it?

      • Lania, I think the paradise bit comes from the 23 year old body he now has use of. The ex, el cheapo and her 2 kids live very well in the apartment that he secured for the 4 of them on the money I helped him accumulate. He robbed me blind financially so he could move to support a 3rd world illiterate and he is actually very happy. For how long I don’t know or care but I hope he rots over there. It would be poetic justice.

        • Yeah, Maree – when his dick starts to rot off, let’s see what kind of medical coverage he’ll have over there. bwahaha

        • 23yr old prostitute scum is exactly that – its not sparkles. The only ones who would willingly touch such a travesty of a human being are the scumbuckets like your ex-husband. He’s rolling in shit – but he thinks it’s pure gold. Decent people know better. The ones who are on his side have some serious screws loose – like the shitbags who are your children.
          I believe one of your children is only a couple of years older than I am – and people my age, myself included, would laugh in their face about how warped they are in their thinking. “Hey, your father took up with a mail order prostitot-bride that could be his grand-daughter’s age, and you seriously think thats acceptable behaviour? You’re disgusting.”
          To live in a rotting shithole with her is the best karma could give him.

    • Maree, he’s living in a third world country with a 20-something prostitute and her young children. Ewwww, it’s already ended poorly, he just doesn’t know it. I go through the same thing with my ex. He had to move away, his children do not speak to him, he has no other family, he had to marry one of his AP’s because literally he had no money and nowhere else to go once I kicked him out. But he doesn’t care about anyone but himself, so I know he doesn’t care. I often think it’s sort of like “if a tree falls In the forest and there’s no one there to hear it…”–

      If the karma bus ran over the narcissist but he didn’t care, is it still karma? I don’t know the answer to that.

  • What exactly do cheaters gain?
    X lied to his daughter numerous times.
    His three children will never respect him.
    He will have a limited future with his family
    He’s losing his business and complaining about not having money.
    He takes her on vacations and buys her things on credit.
    He’s in greater debt
    He will never retire as he’s self employed and now has to pay taxes.
    He will lose his health insurance when I switch jobs.
    He can never again move in with any if his children’s basements.
    The thing he lives with is a classless whore who doesn’t work
    He misses out in all our family celebrations to fun places for birthdays.
    What the fuck is sexy about ANY of that?
    Cheaters loose big time Ester.
    We get an authentic life.
    Promoting indecency and deception is very twisted and unacceptable. Can’t wash that slime off no matter how you want to spin it.

    • Maree, don’t believe all the “I’m so happy” crap you hear! Trust me, this Ex of yours will be history once he runs out of whatever it is she needs to wring out of him! These people are users and con artists! The karma bus really does come around and when it does it aims right for these assholes! But please don’t sit around waiting for it. In the meantime go really live! They really aren’t worth our time, they’ve proven that to us!

  • Definitely not a meaningless fling. My husband was involved in what seemed to be an emotional affair with a grad student who ended up working for him full time. She is married and has kids. I was worried but assumed they both respected their families too much to get involved. I was wrong. It went on for years, as I found out later.

    He seemed to always get too close to female coworkers. Now, just in case you think I’m overly jealous, how many people would be comfortable with their husband’s female boss calling him at home to ask whether she should date Guy A who is great in bed, or Guy B who has more money? What kind of husband allows that kind of personal/professional boundary overlap? Who lets his boss call him her “work husband,” and comes home telling you that they practiced their presentation in her hotel room after a trip? Then gets mad when his wife gets upset?

    These types of things went on throughout my marriage, but I was always made to feel I was overreacting. I seriously thought the problem was my insecurity. It was exhausting. I finally got to the point that i just stopped saying anything, because nothing I did affected his behavior. Even his own mother told me, “at least he comes home to you.”

    Emotional affairs, physical affairs, I don’t know what all went on, or with who. All I know is his behavior was definitely not meaningless to me. It was incredibly painful and damaging. It could have been meaningless to him, but I don’t pretend to understand what goes on in his head any more.

    • Lyn, my ex had 27 phone numbers programmed into the phone in MY home office, which he preferred to use over his cluttered mess of one. All women. Probably all students. One of them had no problem calling on Christmas Day while our home was filled with relatives, and gave him a gift certificate for a massage for his Christmas gift.

      Cheaters have no boundaries, and either don’t get that some behavior is inappropriate or, more likely, don’t give a flying fuck if it is.

  • Lyn, our ex husbands are very, very similar in their behaviours. When I would try to discuss any of the ex’s behaviour, he would put it straight back on me and state that he was not guilty of what I was accusing him of. Stopped me dead in my tracks every time and left me no room for conversation at all, but as you state, it was incredibly painful and damaging to us. So much so I honestly thought I was crazy at times. I have been called crazy by him so maybe he was correct.

    • Maree, you are not crazy at all. The brain does this sad thing when traumatized: it tries to place meaning and understanding on meaningless and incomprehensible things. So, when the meaning and understanding don’t come, the brain does this self-blame thing to try to gain some understanding, e.g., I must be crazy (as a way of explaining and understanding), I must have been bad, I was too this, I was too that, my skirt was too short, I am bad, etc., etc. These negative cognitions are usually false. So believe me, you are not crazy. He is a disordered individual who was incapable of taking responsibility and instead blame-shifted you abusively. Don’t take that on. BTW Maree, I have always been inspired by your posts.

      • Many thanks ChumpB, I appreciate your post very much. I do realise now with distance between me and the ex that I was the ‘sane’ one of the marriage but many people have been told I was the nut case and do keep there distance even now. As my mother used to say, “talk is cheap and people follow like sheep”.

  • Esther ‘ s argument is similar to those folks who say “you’re not abused unless you were physically battered”. To which I call bullshit on, because to take that argument to its further conclusions, we can then say, “well if you only got slapped once, does that count?” “What about if you only got TWO black eyes, that’s not abuse but having a black eye THREE times is?” What about if you never spend an overnight in the hospital? Some teeth are more cosmetic than functional. Is it NOT abuse if your abuser only knocked out a COSMETIC tooth versus a FUNCTIONAL tooth? Poppycock and bullshit, all of it.

  • I am just so sick and tired of hearing about Esther Perel. She bores me shitless. She represents so much that is wrong with society today.

    Esther, instead of worrying about us, why not write a book about whoever instilled your twisted moral code?

  • Just have to share this gem I dug out from my email archives. It is from my ex-SIL (XH’s sister). We were discussing my wish that XH would stay in counseling:

    “This is actually another conversation I have had with [XH], in that his counselor is working to make [XH] whole (yes, I’ve had this counseling too). There is that whole theory that in order to make someone else happy, you have to be happy first. Sometimes it seems like the counselor is saying, to heck with everyone else, be happy. The reality is that, if I were to do everything that makes me happy, I would hurt a lot of people who are around me, my kids, family, friends, everyone.”

    And I should mention that my ex-SIL is (as you have probably already guessed)… also a cheater! I mean, WTF, who’s happiness involves hurting others?

  • Ugh….”mindless fling” my ass. Esther’s dribble makes me as nauseous as reading the discussion boards on The Erotic Review after discovering his private messages from 3 of their “providers” that night. It isn’t mindless, and it certainly isn’t a “hobby” as they refer to it. I’d like to know how many people when asked by friends and family what their hobby was replied, “paying for prostitutes behind my wife’s back”. You don’t mindlessly create profiles on every dating site out their while married, you have to weigh those consequences out and then take the time to create that profile and then follow through with that well thought out encounter to screw around. That isn’t mindless…it’s calculated. And leading a double life for what I’ve now found out has been throughout our entire 14 yrs of marriage while telling everyone, me included, how much he “loved” me…. that isn’t mindless…that’s beyond disordered.

    The funny thing now is just sitting back and watching him spin out of control while his little fantasy life has now become a reality to everyone. Now going on 6 months after DDay and filing, his downfall just happened when he withdrew $25k from his IRA account. My attorney has now filed for Contempt of Court and Dissipation of Marriage. This is the first time “escorts” have been brought into the terminology in the divorce hearings. December 3rd is the next hearing where he’ll have to explain to the Judge why he went against the Court order not to spend or dispose of assets outside of the ordinary course of business and for the necessities of life. The Judge is also female and I don’t think she’ll be as impressed or persuaded by his lies and fake charm quite as much as his paid for 20 yr old hookers.

  • My therapist loves Esther Perel. “another brilliant Jewish researcher!” but my therapist also thinks there’s a marriage that can be saved. I think she is right that he was ready for a new “him”. But we have to acknowledge that he lied and manipulated and only thought of himself while pursuing it. It’s completely pathological. Esther’s thinking hasn’t helped me understand what happened to me when, right after my mom’s suicide and the birth of our baby he “kissed” someone and pressed me for an open marriage. Now he admits the kiss was so much more and I was manipulated at the most vulnerable time of my life. Why? because the kibbles dried up. CL helped me put that together. Esther Perel would have me believe that our life had become too comfortable and needed more adventure. What a trap. The polyamorist and Mating in Captivity mindset had me struggling for too long when I should have just seen what was right in front of me: I married a selfish man who doesn’t value deep partnership, who can’t handle Real Life when the chips are down, and value sex and sparkles more than intimacy and caring. Had I just figured that out 3 years ago I could have been free of him quicker, instead of waiting around for him to tell me how much better of a match he is with his young childless girlfriend who makes more money than I do. Cheater apologists are the worst mindfuck and lead to us wasting years of our lives, spending our precious energy trying to figure out our relationships, instead of caring for ourselves and our children. I won’t get those three years back but by heaven I will refer anyone whose situation has even a whiff of cheating about it to the CL site to immunize them against cheater apologism and get them on the path to a cheater free life.

    • “Cheater apologists are the worst mindfuck and lead to us wasting years of our lives, spending our precious energy trying to figure out our relationships, instead of caring for ourselves and our children.”

      You go, sagefemme, spread the word!

  • The important thing is that the cheaters must be shielded from the ugly reality of what those hip, exhilarating, meaningless affairs cause. The only way to do this is to minimize it all, repackage it for easier consumption. And to dominate any discussion of it, so that it goes away….out of their sight and hearing. A good chump will appreciate that it was all unintentional, “it happens to people every day”, and will suppress his/her devastation.

    This common cheater damage control stance is really bolstered up by people like Esther. So it’s good to know that at least SHE is fulfilling a needed role in society, in the culture at large. She’s so far ahead of the rest of us that she’s in the stratosphere of open thought and freedom. Can you see her up there? Leading the rest of us inhibited, dull, and earthbound souls in our ignorance.

    Hey Esther, the double standard is a concept as old as the hills. It’s not imaginative. It’s not new thought. You aren’t blazoning a brave new esoteric path of some kind. Duplicity wreaks the same echoing damage it always has done, back through the eons of time. Did you know you were so old hat?

    The repentance and reparation I received came in the form of “Sorry for my MISDEED. It was a (carefully orchestrated) mistake. I didn’t mean for it to happen. I always really only loved you (which I showed by getting a kick out of not changing the barely dry sheets and watching you lie down on them, etc.etc.)”

    Since apologizing has always been extra distasteful to him, I was supposed to take that into account and be satisfied.

    Esther would understand that sometimes a profound lack of respect for one’s devoted lover is necessary in the quest for self-actualization and reaching that higher plane which only special people are even trying to attain.

    Misdeed?? Two years of a double life is not a misdeed.

    Let me break that misdeed down for you: It involved about 730 days of hour by hour, minute by minute constant unfaithfulness: good morning love bomb emails, long distance morning coffee rituals together, lingering phone conversations, about 6 + hours per day of mooning on the phone like teenagers, steady flurries of fun, sexy texts, late night phone sex several times a week, untold hours spent searching the internet for gifts to impress and flatter, and to display the nonexistent devotion of the non relationship (see below*), hundreds of hours spent inventorying, auctioning on eBay and shipping her collections, hundreds of hours helping her in an array of business ventures, constant trips back and forth to her state, (“You’re dramatizing everything! I only actually saw her about 12 times! It wasn’t even a real* relationship!”) Yes, and each of those 12 times lasted for about a week, sometimes two…..most of those days evidently spent in bed or giggly activities like getting naughty on chaise lounges on the rooftops of elegant hotels.

    Nothing takes me from 0 to 100 faster than the minimizing.

    And where was I during all of the above? Naively tiptoeing past the office door so as not to interrupt his involved business calls, his complicated deals, his high priority conference calls, being understanding when he felt the need for a long weekend fishing with the guys, or attending pool tournaments across the country (to de-stress from all of that high pressure business work), or in the kitchen making his meals, running errands, trying hard to think up ways to lift his cranky spirits, ease his unhealthy stress as evidenced by his increasing irritability and harsh outbursts directed at my growing pile of shortcomings and ways in which I was disappointing/exasperating him, hyperventilating, crying myself to sleep, putting a bright face on it all so as not to worry him…….you know, being a supportive, loving, understanding, patient, and totally foolhardy chump.

    Because my understanding was that our roots went so deep and we had such a high quality love (soulmates, he had always called us! I took it to heart; I didn’t know it was just a line.) and such a long history together of being in each others corner, that we were committed for life. When you have all of that, you hang in there for the rough patches, even the ones that begin to seem interminable.

    I look back and want to shake myself. Hard.

    My love of nurturing was in overdrive and I allowed my needs to become smaller and smaller to accommodate his ever robust and expanding ego. It is embarrassing how childlike and trusting I was for a woman my age. That’s my recurring thought.

    I’m doing so much better now, due to lots of counseling, EMDR (still in process), and reading the clear thinking here. But reading all of these examples of minimizing today have really hit a nerve. Yes, still some bitterness to work my way through. And frustration with my self for allowing it all.

    His parting words to her were that she had fulfilled so many of his “categories”, some of which he hadn’t even ever dreamed were possible. He couldn’t even quantify all of the wonderful things he had learned from her, that they truly had played a positive and healing role in each others lives, and that she would own a part of his heart forever.

    To me he dismissed the whole “misdeed” as a mistake that he would always deeply regret (too deeply to discuss) and that he had never actually loved her, but had simply been infatuated for a while.

    The master manipulator controlling all the variables in the one life which seriously matters – his.

    When I hear wheeling and dealing of any sort now, I have a physical reaction in my gut, like retching.

    • Not a good chump here. Was for awhile but the nasty nasty comments about our imperfect children compared to her perfect ones OPENED MY EYES. LAST STRAW THAT WAS. I am a angry snarling take no prisoners chump. Chump this motherfucking asswipe. Now just playing Bette Davis actress til asswipe leaves house sells and karmarie rides off in the sunset and disappears. Asswipe said he will be devastated if I do that and he will take it out on whore juice and resent her. Yawn….not my circus….call someone who may still give a shit.

    • FR, you summarized my life in these paragraphs. Beautiful writing. I too wonder what happened to me, being a grown woman and all.

    • Finally Realized, what a heartfelt beautiful painful description. This is so hard: all those invested years because it feels so natural to support, to withstand, to spackle that irritability, to believe the best. I get it. Me too. Did the same thing for so long. Keep up the EMDR, it will help you tremendously.

    • Finally realized, you sound like you are getting closer to the state of meh. I want to give you encouragement. The word “misdeed” alone sucks! Hang in there.

  • Glad someone can Roberta! I’ve been asking a few questions on here, but can’t seem to make contact. Also site is not contacting my email for updates. Will try again tomorrow. Thanks.

  • Perel is one of those ‘new age’ word salad bullshit types, of which 99% of them are cheaters as well.
    I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if it was shown that shes a cheater or OW. In fact, it would fit the rest of the disordered puzzle which is her life and would explain a lot of shit.
    How about getting a real job being authentic towards people who need it most (chumps) instead of parading around nonsense like you do? But I guess that wouldn’t make you money now, would it?
    Though, to be fair – it weeds out all of the disordered types – if someone says they like her, like her theories, or listen to her bullshit without having their eyes glaze over – you know to discard the person as a moron.

  • I don’t know who Ester is. ?? Never heard of her.

    I didn’t love my husband. He hadn’t touched me, included me, or talked to me on years. I was just trying to finish my degree and get away from him. I thought he was crazy.

    But he always told me things were fine (cake). Couldn’t understand why I felt so devalueued? I was gaslighted for so long.

    Gaslighting steals years from someone. Years. I could have moved on much more quickly.

    Your spouse, above all others, is supposed to have your back. That’s the deal, right. Have your back. Number one promise.

    That betrayal is so deep to someone. It’s the cake and gaslighting. Stealing someone’s life should be a crime.

  • My daughter just ended a 1 year relationship with her boyfriend because she found out he was cheating on her. I told her to make an appt., with the doctor to get checked out for STDs because God only knows where this guy went. She had to suffer this humiliation because of his choices. She’s heartbroken, and now, a chump, at the young age of 25.

    I can’t help but feel somewhat responsible, after all, it was I who taught her through my marriage what to accept from men, and I’m afraid I didn’t do a very good job in that department, staying 30 years with her father, simply because I didn’t want “dissolution of the family structure.” I was a huge chump. No one should ever do that. EVER.

    The blessing I can take away here is that now I know better – thanks to CL and CN and a whole bunch of inner work. I am better prepared to help guide her now. This may seem like nothing – a 1 year relationship what’s that? But for a young impressionable lady, it’s a lifetime. I’m glad she found out – I hope she moves on, learns a lesson or two and becomes a bit wiser.

    • Nothing you did was wrong. She left after she found out, after all?
      It would be a different story if she put up with stuff and eroded boundaries for a twit like that.

    • Hi Lania,

      I can relate a lot to your daughter. I’m 22 and I found out my boyfriend of 4 years cheated on me when my urine sample, for what I thought was just a bladder infection, turned out to be an std. Although, I feel what I went through was nothing compared to the stories I hear on this website, the pain of betrayal at any age is so deep. You sound like such a wonderful and caring mother. I’m sure she learned a lot from this experience, just like I did, and will now have less tolerance for people who do not treat her right. She’s lucky to learn this lesson at such a young age. In the end I’m sure this was the universe’s way of getting her out of a relationship with someone who would cause her to be very miserable in the future. She is now free to find someone with good character and morals, or simply to learn how to be her own best friend. Reading the book “Zen and the Art of Happiness” by Chris Prentiss really helped me to see the experience as a blessing rather than a tragedy. Maybe it will help her. Wishing you and your daughter the best.

  • I am just dealing with my wife’s infidelity, been 2 weeks to Dday. After 4 yrs of our marriage with everything going great and love u mails things suddenly fell apart. Post her father’s death she got back in touch with her ex ( also ‘married’ ) without telling me and had a 8 month full blown affair (emo and physical) . As things deteriorated between us all this while and she became distant , the stupid me thought its her dealing with her grief and is emotionally distant. Then I stumbled on it as my instinct told me this grieving thing is going on too long. I checked her phone , confronted ,probed and after 2 months of gas lighting and lying she came clean. Now she is on her knees to take her back and all this was a ‘mistake’ due to her being vulnerable and we should work through it. This is multiple cheating , lying and plotting I am talking about. Still trying to come to terms with it. I immediately moved out of the house to live separately and regain my sanity. The attempts at getting back are desperate from her. Its all a ‘mistake’ , ‘still loves me’ and ‘ confession changed her’ . Pre confession the entire blame was on me not being there and suddenly things have changed and she wants her old life back after fucking with someone else. Trying to gather strength to dump her as a part of me still loves her very much even after knowing that she made a joke of the sacred wows. Pained and waking up to the assholes people are.

    • Welcome to the club no one wants to belong. You are in the right place. Very sorry for your pain right now. We are all here to help you through it.

      • Thanks it means a lot to me, I cant believe that the person I lived with for 6 years was capable of so much lying and cheating. till I understood the concept of cake eating, I could not understand why she wants to get back with me after the depths she went to, with the other man. I told her that she can go and stay with him . I hope I am able to stay strong and able to follow through to separation with her , as she is my emotional weakness and a part of me still is in love with her , which keeps going back to the good times and wants to give her another chance, again knowing very well that its suboptimal and the pain of working through this everyday will be very hard on me. She wants me to see the last 8 months of this affair as a big mistake as she was unable to cope with the grief. It is strange that during this time she did not lean on me, my family or her family to cope with it. Also only her relationship with me seems to be impacted and not her job, she is stable and kicking ass. How is it that only the marriage became a damage to the grief. A part of me knows she is a lying bitch but its really hard to reconcile it with my emotional mind when she comes crying and helpless to forgive her, take her back and make it the way it was for us. I am in knots on this, its so staggering difficult, why did she fuck it up if she wants to be with me so badly in the first place.

        • Don’t take on her blame of you for her affair! “You weren’t there for me!” is a bunch of BS. It’s very hard to be there for someone when they are off in another man’s bed!

          She doesn’t want to be with YOU specifically, she just wants SOMEONE to be with, and she thinks she has a better chance at duping you some more than she does at starting over.

          If she was worthy of regaining your respect and love, she would be working on earning it by acting respectfully, instead of trying to manipulate your emotions. If she respected you, she would respect your desire for separation at the moment and use the time to work on transforming herself into a person worthy of you. Not just begging you to forget what she has done and return to treating her as the person you thought she was before D-day.

        • Unable to cope with grief? Turn to your partner. Get counselling. DON’T go fucking strange men!
          People who fish out for their ex’s are especially immature and disgusting. GROW UP, I say.
          This one is emotionally stunted. Nothing to work with here.

    • Wakingup, so sorry to hear this. This is the place to be. It hurts like a mo***fu**. The love you feel is real, but it’s for the person you thought she was. SHE IS NOT THAT PERSON! In my case, after 27 years of marriage she let her mask fall and I saw the real (soulless) being that she was. I will always love the memories of the person I thought she was, but I will always abhor the person that she really is. Time and No Contact will get you through this. Be strong for YOU!

    • WakingUp, I have the feeling her AP didn’t want her after all and she has nowhere else to go. But neither here nor there, get out while the getting’s good. You give her another chance and you will wake up like us 25 years down the road and several kids together when it all blows up for good. Save. Youself. Now. Please.

    • WakingUp, its not the only important thing to keep in mind now, but it is VERY important that you remember, she did NOT CONFESS. She got caught. Had she not been caught, had you not started pushing on the shit you saw clearly that was wrong, that she was lying about for 8 months, she would have kept right on doing it. She isn’t sorry it happened, she is sorry she got caught. Don’t forget this!!!! Universal experience here will tell you that it is tremendously more difficult to sort out your thoughts, feelings, and needs when you have to stay in contact with this person. Go NO CONTACT. Figure your own shit out for yourself.
      Just because they are bad liars, doesn’t mean they are sorry. They aren’t sorry. They just got caught.

  • Wakingup, as with CalamityJane, welcome but I am very sorry you have to be here. If you are going to get and feel support anywhere, it is here at Chump Nation with a great leader in Chump Lady. It is all about self preservation now Wakingup, as well as your health and sanity. Our cheaters drive us to the very edge of an abyss we didn’t know existed. You will get through this, trust me. Keep coming back here if only to read and to get perspective of your not so unique but awful situation. My best wishes to you.

  • The further out I am and able to see things clearer each day, the angrier I get about cheaters. Not just the particular cheater that wasted 26 years of my life, but cheaters in general. These are facts that no one can dispute about cheaters:

    1) They know cheating is wrong but still choose to do it.
    2) They know their spouse/partner would be devastated but still decide the side fuck was worth your pain.

    There was a choice. Always, always, always, there was a choice. When a cheater chooses to screw someone outside the relationship, there was awareness. The subconscious did not suddenly take over a person who can hold a job, pay bills, dress well, raise children, etc. The spouse/partner on the other hand, had no choice. Kept in the dark. Never even had the “fun” and “excitement” cheaters had. And yet we suffer greatly. There is nothing “beyond infidelity”. Infidelity, no matter what form it takes, hurts the innocent spouse or partner to levels no one can comprehend until they are chumped.

    So Esther Perel, until you experience infidelity, I strongly suggest you stop selling false hope. What you are selling is more pain to the betrayed spouses and partners. You are promising them hope in case their cheater falls under the category of “not-so-bad cheaters”. Hurting chumps will hang on to every bit of hope out there even though their gut tells them to run for their lives. You are prolonging their pain. Which part of “Do no harm” don’t you get?

    • Esther doesn’t care if she gets cheated on. Understand that, because she doesn’t have it in her. She will never experience the pain that betrayal causes, because commitment doesn’t mean anything to her. She doesn’t believe in monogamy.