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Dear Chump Lady, How can we challenge blameshifting therapists?

shrinkDear Chump Lady,

I find myself truly saddened, perplexed, outraged, confused? Am I going crazy? or is this really the philosophy around infidelity and how can we possibly challenge it when it’s so ingrained?

Recently I picked up a book (2015) by people I greatly admire Julie and John Gottman “10 Principles for Doing Effective Couples Therapy.” (Okay I didn’t read the whole book but went right to “cheating.”) Brand new book and chapter 9 is “Suspend Moral Judgment When Treating Affairs.”

Does exactly the drill addressing the PTSD, damage, pain etc. — then page 170:

“We witness the devastation affairs cause not only to partners but to their children as well. We know that affairs result from choices affair partners make. They don’t happen due to the randomness of fate. Yet we are admonished to not take sides. Crucial to our understanding is that affairs don’t usually begin in a vacuum.

When John and I examined the data of hundreds of couples with affairs, he discovered no less than 24 precursor steps that lead up to and predicted future betrayal. John’s careful analysis of affair-ridden couples revealed that they often start out happy and in love. But over time, poor conflict management skills take a toll. Either THEIR fights grow ugly or there is no fighting at all. Eventually both patterns lead THEM to shut down and avoid discussing disagreements altogether. After a while THEY shun any honest conversation and each other. Gradually THEY descend into canyons of loneliness. Just when THEY feel the worst after falling down into the canyon floor THEY discover a lovely flowing river a sweet young woman at the office. A sympathetic listener in the cubicle next door. The guy they keep running into at the gym. Before long there’s an Other, the one who listens, the one who laughs, the one who sympathizes, the one who brings fresh croissants every morning. Soon they are swept up by the waves of romance. They begin to compare their current mate with the Other. Blinded by the Other’s Brilliance and beauty the mate is left far behind in the dust. Rushing downstream they plunge headlong over the waterfall and into an affair.”

And then the Gottmans go on to use Caryl Rusbult and the honorable Shirley Glass and her famous marital “window” images. I highlighted Gottman’s use of THEY and how quickly it shifts from the one person (who willfully makes a decision to cheat) to suddenly it’s THEY and the unaware partner is held equally accountable?

I suspect every therapy book I now take in hand will gladly have the unknowing partner share the burden of deceit as being the root cause (by not paying attention to the cheating partners ‘loveliness” in just the “right way?”) I witness legions of betrayed spouses that — all never left the room! — or opened another “window,” outside of the relationship. Yet we still get handed the end bill, and blame for a cheaters unending narcissism and cowardice. Lovely.

Sorry, I feel so impotent and angry now that I see so clearly every where I look, the cultural gaslighting and Exuberant Defiance of Individuality and reckless domestic abuse by stealth so broadly supported. God forbid you blame the rapist for the rape and hold character disorders to account. We are morally puritanical in that case.

I want to write to the Gottman’s but don’t even know where to begin. I actually feel crazy sometimes.


Dear Jane,

You want to know where to begin? Leave an Amazon review. (I just linked to the book for you.) You bought the book, now review the book. Say exactly what you just wrote me — you admire their work, but when it comes to infidelity you think someone dropped them on their heads. They’re blameshifting and buying into the whole Chump Drove Me To It nonsense.

Yes, people can be in terrible marriages. And yes, sometimes chumps suck. And yes, people can make each other miserable — but it is what you choose to DO about it that matters. THAT is a measure of your character.

You might be a righteous asshole. You might insult my mother, kick me in the shins, and vote for Donald Trump. I can’t then steal your wallet and claim your asshole-ishness drove me to it. You made me very angry, Jane! I’m now going to charge $50,000 worth of pinecone elves to your account! You DESERVE it. I think you need to own what you did to make me so mad that I stole your wallet!

Are you a victim of crime? Or am I victim of you being a jerk?

If I don’t like you being a jerk, I have choices — like cutting you out of my life. Or attending therapy with you to discuss your asshole qualities. If I steal your wallet — I didn’t give you a choice. I just took something I thought I was entitled to.

Cheaters make UNILATERAL decisions about chumps’ health and welfare.

THEY discover a lovely flowing river a sweet young woman at the office.

No THEY do not. Only one person fucks the lovely flowing river — the cheater.

(And seriously, these PhDs should be ridiculed for that sentence alone.)

Hey, I don’t have a PhD, but let’s take this further — if the Gottmans truly believe that infidelity is so harmful as to give people PTSD, why are they making a false equivalency with poor “conflict management skills”? Being a lousy communicator is no excuse to risk my health with STDs, or my finances, or my children’s home life, or sexually humiliate me.

Also I call BULLSHIT on “Suspend Moral Judgment.” The Gottmans DID judge — they judged the chump as deserving of infidelity and equally at fault. By ascribing ownership of infidelity to chumps, they are blaming chumps. You want to blame someone? You just made a moral judgment, asshole.

Now then, to your question about changing the conversation around infidelity — you wrote to me. Okay, fine. I’m publishing your letter — to an audience of CHUMPS. We are preaching to the choir here. You want the blameshifting to end? Then SPEAK UP. There is an entire Chump Nation here — you people have voices and fingers to type on social media. Start questioning this shit. Take the conversation into the public sphere and get out of the CL ghetto. I cannot do this alone. You can buy my book (more on that tomorrow) — it would certainly help to get one best selling chump perspective out there, but it’s going to take more than that. It’s going to take chumps getting uppity.

Rise UP, Chump Nation!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • [steam coming out ears]

    WHERE IS GOTTMAN’S CONTROL GROUP? Did he compare those “marital stressors” and lack of communication to a group of people who do NOT suffer from Infidelity? Right, I thought so. Virtually all marriages go through periods of lack of communication or stress; only those who contain entitled or disordered fucktards end up in Infidelity hell.

    And how about the person who cheated being at the root of the marital problems to begin with.

    Gottman’s grade for Research Methods in Psychology: F

    • and Gottman took cheaters’ words at face value that their affairs started AFTER the marital problems? hahahahaha. Pathological liars are going to tell you the truth if it means they need to accept responsibility? lolololol.

      How ’bout this, John: Cheater fucked around, started devaluing their spouse. This led to “stresses” and lack of communication, which led them to therapy with you, and cheater (once discovered) claimed the affair happened after the “stresses.” John, I have this fantastic bridge to sell you in NYC…..

      • Exactly, Tempest. The only book I’ve read that comes close to taking this position is Pittman’s Private Lies. It talks about how distorted any discussion of marital issues is as long as an affair is going on or being defended, and how the cheater’s excuses and explanations of marital problems tend to get convoluted and fall apart if you really look at them, and it often turns out that the “problems” were discovered after the affair began, not vice versa.

        • I’ll have to pick that up for my holiday reading. (Right now I’m immersed in 3 books about forgiveness not being justified in all situations, and how it is not therapeutic for therapists to push “forgiveness” on people who have been victimized. When I told my sister my therapist had said “forgiveness is the gift you give yourself,” she replied, “No, revenge is.” lol)

            • Tempest, with her sister as her running mate, for president 2016!!!

              Big air high-fives to BOTH Tempest AND her sis for saying some real shit!!!!!

              Tempest, to nobody’s surprise I’m sure, spoke the REAL TRUTH about how this scumbagery goes down!

              And her sis, well, she spoke my truth (that I am unable to openly admit in my real life as a professional held to “high moral standards” as a public role model… aka “shit sandwich disposal”)

              But, here,…. I’ll admit it….when it comes being handed a devastating blow of complete fuckedupedness of this magnitude……..

              FUCK FORGIVENESS!!!

              Forgiveness made me even more of a chumpy tool!!! It will NEVER make me feel better! NEVER!!! However, plotting various scenarios of sick, twisted, yet sweet, revenge?!?!? That shit makes me smile!!!! (I’m talkin’ John Wayne Bobbit with a twist! Mawhaahaa)

              • I think forgiveness DOES make you feel better! There’s nothing wrong with it! But it DOESN’t mean that you keep putting up with their behaviour – you break it off with them! Just like I did. I forgave, but did I go back. Nope. Not a chance.

              • I think forgiveness is a personal thing, and should not be shoved down people’s throats by well-meaning spectators or therapists. For those who have value systems in which forgiveness favors prominently, it may indeed make you feel better to forgive. My value system is more closely aligned with Confucianism (in which reciprocity figures prominently), and I have a strong justice orientation. NOTHING could make up for what my X did to me and my children, deliberately and with malice aforethought, so no true justice can be wrought. And since the narc abuser will never have true remorse, no absolution is possible.

                I also think there is a question of semantics–“forgiveness” synonyms include “pardon” (which is the weakest version, as in pardoning or forgiving a debt), and “absolution” (the strongest version, and I think the way in which most of us understand the word). If all therapists want to advocate is moving on from anger and not letting it control you, then say that; THAT is not forgiveness in either the weak or strong sense of the word. My first boyfriend at college was a jerk and very unfair to me in many ways. Have I truly “forgiven” him? No, again, no remorse or apology on his part. Have I moved on with my life in the past 25 years. Absolutely; barely think of him.

                Anger evolved for a reason; it is not necessarily a negative emotion (imagine how the civil rights or feminist or free speech movements would have fizzled without righteous anger). Letting rage and resentment overcome you is clearly not healthy; a little indignant anger is what allows us to hold people accountable for their actions at both a personal and a societal level.

              • Great & insightful comment, and I totally agree with you that forgiveness is an often loaded and misinterpreted word. I also agree anger evolved and is there for a good reason. I suppose for me, I WAS consumed with the anger for a little while there, but now I am not, so I”m feeling better. I am so sorry to hear about what happened to you & your children. Quite frankly, some people ( it seems usually men )are much less evolved & than us & this is what happens when you mix with someone not on your level. We women have to be careful & protect ourselves.

              • CL, what do yiu and your husband think about this”less evolved” comment? This insensitive twit seems to forget that you have a boatload of betrayed men looking for support here.

              • I agree it’s over the the top and insensitive. Sorry, I don’t read every comment. I do try and monitor things, but things slip through the cracks.

                If someone says something you don’t agree with, or find offensive, you can a) let it go, opinions are like assholes… b) set them straight, or c) vote with your feet.

                I’m sorry you’ve chosen c — because you are valued, Arnold. And I’d rather you and other folks take on the gender generalizations than leave. But I respect whatever you decide to do. Thanks for being part of CN, Arnold. For the record — this site is pro-chump — ALL chumps, whatever gender, race, creed, or kind of chump. That’s the ONLY perspective I’m interested in, and i hate it whenever members turn on each other.

                Chump solidarity, people!

              • I have to agree that there are some men who are in fact very evolved and there are some women who are pretty immature and selfish. Sometimes, I wonder what could have happened if we all had married each other instead of the spouses we did marry. We could have all been faithful and mature and lived in peaceful healthy homes. Our cheaterpants spouses could marry each other and really live screwed up and toxic lives. The only negative thing would be that some children would be born into some very toxic homes.

          • I totally agree with tempest. It makes my blood boil when these comments are made. I worked extremely hard to please my STBX and cater to his every whim and so did his first wife whom he also cheated on. We’re both intelligent women well able to communicate and empathise etc. I put up with very little emotional support a virtually sexless marriage and was badly neglected. I then discovered he was pursuing some one else after I’d made the decision to throw him out. He made zero effort for at least half the marriage. I refuse to take any blame in his poor behaviour, terrible decisions and acute selfishness. I was the best wife i could be. Ran around 100% after him, remained fit and slim, dressed well, did shopping,cleaning,cooking and kept his family and my lovely step daughters together. How dare these people imply I had crap communication skills. Total bullshit.

            • You all have my same story! He kept his unhappiness to himself for at least 15 years out of the 36 year marriage! During that 15 years he gaslighted me when I tried to communicate with him, he let me pay an additional $30,000 dollars on our mortgage so he could retire, $15,000 on my sons college so I could wait for his fake college funds to mature, he escaped child support, and planned on cashing his retirement with his honey in the end! During the divorce he ran up all kinds of fees contesting it, stole all our family possessions, alienated my kids and lied to everyone about his affair even though he sent me letters stating he want a divorce! This asshole was replacing me with the affair partner and giving her my whole life! It’s beyond PTSD…it’s CRIMINAL

              • And sadly they get away with it!!!! Going on to be happy while we are “bitter” and I wonder why!

            • That’s the problem that drives me crazy. It doesn’t matter if you have excellent communication skills if you are talking to someone who is neither listening nor communicating. The good news is since you do have good communication skills, you will be able to form healthy relationships with a lot of other people in this world. Your stbx, on the other hand, will never be able to do that unless he stops blaming other people and decides to work on his skills.

          • I read a long time ago about the same thing … the article referred to it as “blind forgiveness” … that it can make even more of a victim out of the victim.

            I have a huge tolerance for people losing their way, but I stop at unprotected dicks in the vaginas of mutual friends. Don’t ever ask me to forgive that.

            • >>”I have a huge tolerance for people losing their way, but I stop at unprotected dicks in the vaginas of mutual friends. Don’t ever ask me to forgive that.”

              Well stated, Champ. Some things are truly unforgivable.

              • I agree, Tempest. Bur, let’s not forget Julie was a co-author.
                And, Angela, your sexism is disgusting.

          • You rock Tempest on the experimental design comment and kudos to your sister on the awesome forgiveness/revenge distinction!

            Psychology is unfortunately a young and diverse field that include “research” by badly trained practitioners (such as the Gottmans) who have yet to understand that the plural of anecdote is not data.

          • Tempest I would be interested in getting the names of those books on “forgiveness”. I too have a huge issue with this concept. I know I know “you have to forgive to move on” but honestly I have an issue with visualizing those 2 cheaters as entities that deserve any kind of forgiveness. Do I obsess? No. I have moved on to a new life with a wonderful man as well but I am still tired of feeling guilty and less evolved because I can not forgive them.

            Also I wanted to vomit when I saw the use of the word THEY. From the beginning I was the one trying to make the marriage work and lord knows things got really bad once the AP came into the picture. The fact that the Gottman’s fail to even comprehend that there are marriages in which one person lacks any moral fiber is proof how ingrained these prejudices are. I mean these are therapist with years of training who treat people daily with psychological disorders. Yet when it comes to a marriage the possibility that one of the partners is a F*&k Wad isn’t even a consideration? Its almost as it they have to go out of their way and ignore what should be a given. Unfortunately this prejudice also extends to the legal system as well. Shared parenting…..!!!!! hahahahaha.

            Man this site has been a breath of fresh air.

            • ChumpLisa:
              There is a thread in the forums from last week about Validation for No Forgiveness you may want to read through.

              Here are two links about no-forgiveness (second is about children with abusive parents)

              The top book is hard to find, but the most relevant re: why not to forgiveness in therapy situations; other 2 books are philosophical (and in order of relevance):

              Before Forgiving : Cautionary Views (Lamb & Murphy)

              Forgiveness: A Philosophical Exploration (Griswold;** the top review for this book is informative by itself)

              Punishment and the Moral Emotions (Murphy)

              • Tempest, you are a STAR! Brilliant references to follow up ? many thanks ?

            • Apologies for the long list–I got a little obsessed about the topic! I think many people/therapists confuse forgiveness with moving on; I think you can do the second without the first.

              • I totally agree. Sick of the forgiveness shit sandwich being fed to me as a necessary requirement to move on. My anger made me finally feel whole. After years of suppressing it I was liberated. Fuck wad. I still have to interact with the A hole because of kids. Heck I have to go back to court. At this point I love embracing my anger. It protects me. It allows me to finally see things clearly. It gives me the strength to stand up for myself.

                Thanks for the inks!

              • I agree, it’s possible to move on and not forgive. It also depends on what definition of forgiveness you apply.

              • My therapist was actually relieved to see me finally starting to show anger after months of holding on to hope and connection to my ex. He expected me to continue giving into his many demands, refused to acknowledge anything, but would jump at the chance to point out times when I would point out my frustration at his lack of acknowledgement or reciprocity.

            • I’ve been handed the you need to “forgive” so you can move on speech a few times…. “let go of the anger”.

              Let go of my anger?? Shit, I’m just getting started to be good and pissed off. It took months of being heartbroken and consumed in emotional agony, and several FAILED opportunities for him to act decent for me to even get to “angry”.

              Furthermore, I am not capable of even considering forgiveness to an asshole that not only isn’t, but never will be, sorry AND is still fucking me (and more importantly our son) over and inflicting damage.

              There is no forgiveness for fucking over your children. Not “loving” me or wanting me and the cheating is one thing….it doesn’t explain away the rest of the shitty shit he has done for the entire past year. It’s not like he cheated and left and he’s done everything else, or for that matter even attempted to do ANYTHING else right.

              I’m with Tempest, her sister, and everyone else and feel that sweet revenge sounds far better than choking down another shit sandwich.

              • Include me on TeamStevie. I was a really good wife. I was respectful, loving, compliant, resourceful, devoted, hard working, faithful and true. He, however, was malcontented and cranky and always had a gripe, a laundry list of complaints and got angry and unreasonable (sometimes abusively rage filled).

                He lied repeatedly about the affair that I discovered and then I found out it wasnt the first affair, it was the last. He lied and cheated all along – he did BIG UGLY HAIRY NASTY ICKY things WHILE he kept me spinning in little circles my making petty complaints about minutae.

                Im not ready to forgive, Im pissed as shit and I think its a fine place to be. He was mad at me for 26 years…I have about 25 more years left to stay angry.

                I did very little MC with him back when this was all underway but event hen he told the therapist he wanted to D me because I was an inadequate wife. He gave the example of a bag of cleaning sitting in the closet at that very minute that I hadnt taken to the cleaners – so funny since he had told me specifically to never touch it. He was still fully hiding his big affair and the chronic ones were still fully underground.

              • I’ve forgiven him three times over 30 years, now I am done. After treating me like shit and pretty much ignoring his own kids and sister for three yeard and becoming very close to the whores family like the patriarch, his family is a bunch of free thinkers and stubborn just like him they are just not low life’s like he is. Whores family hangs on every word he says and obeys. This cheating pos is who she wants as the supreme male figure fir the grandchildren. Ha! He never spent tjat much time interacting with his own kids. Ah, the difference he has to have absolute rule. Fuck forgiveness, I will NEVER forgive him for anything especially for ignoring his family. No excuse, they did nothing. What I will do is let it go eventually. He is dead to me and when my house sells, move and never look back. Forgive my ass. Never!!!

              • I agree! My anger saved me!
                Forgiveness is NOT on my radar and I am proud of it. Won’t continue to be a chump my allowing his shit to continue with me!

              • Yep, yep, yep and yep!!! As far as he’s concerned I was always angry and pissed off. Bullshit, I was TIRED. Tired of pretending he wasn’t cheating, tired of pretending he was doing everything right, tired of pretending he wasn’t a selfish fucking asshole. It all hurt like hell but truthfully I couldn’t have lived that way much longer. Something or SOMEONE had to change their way of thinking. Wasn’t him. Asshole.

          • Forgiveness in my book is dumping the cheater and letting him or her self-destruct while you work to move on to a better life. Now THAT is a gift you give yourself. Forgiveness is totally separate from reconciliation, please don’t reconcile with an unrepentant liar.

      • No shit! Pathological liars also LIE in therapy and to AP’s… their parents….. their kids…..spouses….and so on…..

        • THEY discover a lovely flowing river a sweet young woman at the office.

          No THEY do not. Only one person fucks the lovely flowing river — the cheater.

          omg classic…………………….

          • Flower? Streams?
            No he called each and every one of them a Dream Girl. Recycled the very same poem for every last one. They want a depository for their dick. And find someone vulnerable. The woman he conned in 2010 was horrifically abused by her spouse who burned her with cigarettes. She was a VICTIM. When I told her the truth she said he was sick and dumped him. The whores who know are far from flowers. They are needy and USE the cheater and want a lifestyle, ours. They want assets, and don’t care. This bullshit puts a stamp of approval on ABUSE. It’s a simple chapter surrarized by one word. ABUSE.

      • Another thought: The study group only contained (I imagine) couples who were IN therapy – what about all the couples where the chumP BEGGED for therapy and the cheater refused. That ought to REALLY skew the results.

        • Yes – that was me. After I found out about the fuck phone (this was before the Yahoo chats, I think) I asked him to go to marriage counseling. I went alone. He didn’t want to go to marriage counseling because he apparently wanted to go 10 years ago and I refused. Honestly, I do not ever remember him asking me to go to therapy 10 years ago….

          • And ya’know Lady Strange, your husband asking you to go to marital therapy is something that we earnest Chumps would really take notice of. It is not something we would just blow off, because with these disordered assholes, their disorder is a 24/7 thing. We know almost from day 1 that this is something amiss… it might take us a while to figure out something is wrong but our guts and logic tell us from day one. Do bugger him, more gaslighting and mindfuckery.

          • LadyStrange, a few years ago, Asshat asked to go MC. I asked him what he thought we needed to talk about. It was all whiny, imaginary shit. I calmly explained to him unless he went in with an open mind to discuss everything (most importantly, things that were actually happening) then it would be a waste of time bc every single thing he thought was an issue was crap he was inventing. He would accuse me of things other people had done. Freaking crazy and out of left field. He took that to mean I didn’t care that he already found a new person to fuck. Excuse me? So I did refuse to go, after he’d already met Florence (and likely cheated before), and suggested he go to IC first. Then he blamed the affair on the fact that I refused to change. Sigh.

      • You’re right, Tempest, though I think the cheater starts to devalue the spouse BEFORE the cheating (unless they’re of the serial cheating as a way of life kind).

      • Goooo Tempest! You eloquently summed up my feelings precisely! It astounds me that the Gottmans could write and publish such myopic crap and present themselves as authorities on this topic. You could drive a eighteen-wheeler through the gaps in their research. There’s more accurate insight and wisdom contained in the writings of Chump Nation and CL than this clueless duo, and others who ascribe to a similar philosophy.

        CL is right about something else, and that’s about getting the word out there. Social media, person-to-person, billboards, whatever it takes. After my encounter with Satan’s little helper that was my XH, I’ve been doing my own pathology education, and sharing it with other people who are, or have been victimized, and not just by cheaters. ANYONE who commits heinous acts against other people have the same entitlement issues as those who cheat. I have recently found out that, where I live, if a woman (or man), confides to her/his Therapist that they are being abused, the therapist has no legal recourse in reporting it to the authorities. There’s very few “teeth” regarding defense of victims of domestic abuse in this area. In California, if someone confesses to being abused to their Counselor, that Counselor has a legal obligation to report it to the authorities. I plan on having coffee soon with our local Commissioner (who I have met, and has already invited me to talk), to see what can be done to remedy this.

        CL, when your book comes out, I’m ordering extra copies to have ready to give to friends and acquaintances who can benefit from it’s content. I’m down to one copy of your previous book, and have only one extra left of Sandra Brown’s “Women Who Love Psychopaths”. Those have been my go-to books the past year-and-a-half.

        I’ve always been kind (hey, I’m a Chump), but I’m no longer always “nice”. I am becoming what Sandra Brown encourages: “The Diva-Bitch no Psychopath wants”.

        A great deal of the credit goes to you CL, and Chump Nation. Thank you so much!

        • I am becoming what Sandra Brown encourages: “The Diva-Bitch no Psychopath wants”.

          That probably includes Psychotherapists as well.

        • The best response to anyone who is hassling you to forgive someone: Ask whether that person has forgiven you. You will probably be asked, forgive you for what. The response to that is “have they forgiven you for whatever you did that motivated them to do “whatever” they did to you.

          Most likely you will get a blank stare but they will never hassle you again.

          the other problem that I have with “forgiving” is that it’snot clear that the person you are asked to forgive even cares.

      • Amen, sister, 2 snaps. I am so grateful I didn’t buy any of those books – ok, one (how to heal your marriage without talking about it. Never made it past the first chapter. I downloaded the audible, but couldn’t stand her voice). I might have crumbled to read the absolute shit that NamedforVera read. Really, what did I know about who I was dealing with? I already felt like I was nothing, invisible, I need the “no judgement, it takes 2,” too?

        I can tell you the exact moment I realized I wasn’t good enough for him, and later the realization that I wasn’t even good enough for that loser? WTF? No. No. No. Communication, affection,broke down because he was/is a self-absorbed, web-cam porn addicted, vile man and I couldn’t stand to touch him. It’s by the grace of God that the first time I searched I found CL and CN. I was lucky. It makes me sad to think of all of the chumps out there paying to be beat up just a little more (ok, sometimes we get it for free! Yay for that fucked up piece of advice, it’s all me – I’m crazy. Thanks). I needed: to know I wasn’t crazy; advice and suggestions from sane human beings; to laugh. Hang in there NFV!

      • I need this tattooed on my arm. Because when I really look back at what I know now, the cheating started before the “problems.” Most of our problems were probably a direct result of his cheating and dishonesty. But for so long, I didn’t know what was going on. So I was trained to think that I was somehow making him miserable at times. But my gut new that wasn’t true. So I chalked everything up to mental illness. Once I found out and accepted that he was living a double life, DING, DING, DING. Everything suddenly made since. But the training is hard to break.

        • Oh yes. The lies and gaslighting make you genuinely feel crazy. What you do, see, and hear is somehow completely wrong … for years (for some of us, decades). And the further your spouse drags you away from what you see and hear (with their incessant lies and gaslighting), the further down the rabbit hole you go. I always felt a bit like the Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit frantically rushing around … “I’m late, I’m late … must make him happy … must fix everything …”

          Then one day, you start to see little cracks in their version of reality. Hmmmm? Can it be? You slow down; You look a little further. More light. Then you find CL and suddenly, in a wave of reality, you discover you’ve never been insane and you are not alone. Rather, you’ve been living a nightmare and its one shared by far too many people.

        • My problems with X-hole started exactly and IMMEDIATELY once we moved in together. I’ve read before that marrying or breeding with the disordered assholes is a “stresser” for them and only makes them worse. I believe that 100%. They can’t deal with “reality”. Idiots. Fantasy was over I guess. Dickhead.

          • Same with my ex. The good news is that he moved in with his cheating mistress a few months ago, so that should be going south right about now.

            • One can always hope!! I keep wondering what the hold up is with the trolls divorce, the sooner he can move in the sooner it will unravel.

          • This is so true.

            While we were dating we mostly only saw each other on the weekends due to distance. He would come over on Friday night and leave for work on Monday from my place.

            99% of the time he was a good boyfriend. Once in awhile his mask would slip a bit. But because I had never encountered a disordered person before I didn’t recognize the mask slips for what they were.

            But when we married and moved in together the mask came off. He couldn’t maintain the I’m a normal person facade. After only a couple months of marriage I wondered to myself wtf happened, why was he doing this or that, what happened to our sex life, why was he so weird, is this what marriage is really like? And then before our first anniversary I found out about the cheating for the first time.

            Disordered types lack the basic tools to maintain a normal intimate relationship. So the closer you get, either by living with them, marrying them, or having children with them, the less able they are to keep their mask firmly in place.

            It’s pretty damn scary when you think about it. We were living with husks. Something that looks like a person, but is hollow inside. A hollowness that needs to be constantly filled, with anything. Drugs, shopping, gambling, gaming, sex with others, food, just anything.

    • I agree complete fail. Have to say, glad I didn’t waste my money on their book!

      CL ghetto? That term cracked me up! I’m ready for the revolution! I do know in my heart, chumps along with their compassion have strength to take this on.

      There has been times in the last few years that I have wondered what my ex tells people as to why we are divorced. I have hit meh on this subject as I truly could care less. He no doubt throws in lies or whatever comes to mind.

      Looking forward to CL book news. And yes, I imagine a book from CL being on the best sellers list as being a start of the brigade.

  • No matter what issues were in the marriage, like mine, for years I tried and tried to talk to him, ask for help, but no, he’s too much of a man way to stoic and closed up to talk to me, his wife of 27 years. Just shut down and follow his big nose to the magic strange. May is life ten times worse than before. No no my dear, no matter what happens in the marriage the choice to cheat is on them. Only them. Ex has alienated his entire family and fell in whores family. May my ex’s life be shit and he end up alone and frail and may the almighty penis fall the fuck off!

    • kar marie, I’m there with you. I tried for years to talk to cheater too but he either ignored me, told me I was trying to create drama in our lives, or that he loved me and would try to treat me better. (Uh, I’m the one who was creating drama in our lives?? yeah, right, once the truth was out.) After each conversation, I gave him more than enough time to show effort, even the smallest amount, but he never did. Now I know from reading CL, that I lacked boundaries and spackled for him. I also fully admit that sometimes these weren’t ‘conversations’ but rather me yelling at him because all of this had built up inside me over time. Did he ever once come to me and tell me he was unhappy and ask to work through that – hell, no. As a matter of fact, up to DDay, he said he was very happy with our lives, loved me and was so happy with the life we had built together. So glad to be rid of him!

      • “I tried for years to talk to cheater too but he either ignored me, told me I was trying to create drama in our lives, or that he loved me and would try to treat me better.”

        This is the early version of the “Mind Fuck Channel.”
        The three station will be intensified after D Day!

        • Gottman may be somewhat technically accurate with the statement “over time, poor conflict management skills take a toll. … there is no fighting at all. … avoid discussing disagreements altogether. ”

          But why is this? Which party is the one hesitant to deal with conflict: the narcissistic cheater. And why is that? Because they have everything to lose and nothing to gain. Because they gain power by NOT dealing with the relationship dysfunction. The relationship (the chump) gives to them and THEY (=cheaters) do not have to give back. THEY are in control. THEY have the power. Being honest, dealing with conflict, making an authentic effort to work for the chump would only diminish their cake, diminish their power.

          And once finally in therapy after D-day, of course they are going to be masters at fooling the therapist. They are going to act remorseful, they are going to wish they were never caught – uh – I mean wish it never happened. They are going to point out the lack of intimacy and passion as though the chump was the cold, frigid, withdrawn one. They are masters at lying without lying, at telling a false narrative that appears real.

          Many of us chumps tried to deal with conflict, to have the painful conversations, to let the cheaters know that we wanted more out of them and out of our marriages, but our cheaters, masters at obfuscation and manipulation, easily weaseled out of such conversations. Mind-fuckery 101. And us chumps, once we are beat down enough, can become conflict avoiders as well because dealing with a narcissist can be downright painful and scary. (eggshells 101).

          I would have expected more from Gottman; I would have expected him to take a more honest approach to affair recovery and not blame the chump, and to tackle and treat narcissism head on.

          • Conflict avoider that was me, peacemaker, me again. Not any more. Kind still. No longer nice.

            • I too was the peacemaker and conflict avoider, losing myself in the process.
              avoided confrontation, overcompensated for approval. Pathetic.
              I’m a MegaChump

              • Unfortunately this was me too for 23 years. No more, as soon as the truth surfaced about the affairs. The affairs were bad enough, but jerk was X trying to rewrite the marriage to anyone who would listen and make me out to be a frigid bitch denying X his right to be happy was infuriating. I too became a passive peacemaker walking on eggshells over the years and then I understood why after DDay. It makes me sick. I am soooo thankful ai found CL and CN. this community has helped me through the past 2.5 years. couldn’t have done it without everyone here. I agree with CL though, it is time CN started pushing back. I run into chumps all the time and it is time for chumps to rise up and stop letting society dump on us and blame us for all the cheaters out there. It is crazy that our society seems to think cheating is ok because it must be the cheaters fault? How did we get there? How did society get to the point that devastating kids lives, families lives, friends lives, was all ok because the cheater needs to be happy? what about everyone else’s happiness? why does their happiness count for nothing? Why is the cheater still front and center getting all the sympathy and attention? CN needs to start changing the conversation and CL is our spokes person but we need to start leaving comments on Amazon and everywhere else presenting the other persepctive because right now only one side is talking – the narcissists. And the narcissists have counted on chumps not talking back because that is how they think chumps behave.

              • NO strategy wins with a cheater. I DID talk back. Lots. I called my X out in private, in public. He seemed to get better on the surface (even his own family thought I improved him dramatically), but he only took his pathology deeper underground. And, my therapist thinks, viewed me as a more challenging target to take down.

                Know how to win with a cheater or narc? L.e.a.v.e.

              • I couldn’t agree more with you Mommy Chump! 24 chump years here!
                When ever I say a word I am the one bashed for not “dropping” his cheating or how he “mishandled things” I.E. Moving on with OW before he even told me of his so many years of unhappiness.
                I just don’t understand why society continues to give these cheaters a pass and blame the victims?! How sad that society says to accept what people do as okay as long as they are happy!

                When this first happened I wrote on FB “sometimes people you trust the most disappoint you the most. I am more disappointed everyday” I was chastised by friends and his family for airing our dirty laundry. My ex even threatened to take me to court saying I was bashing him on social media. No names were mentioned that was literally all I wrote.

                Some how we need to change the thinking. My mother who was also a chump tells me to stop trying to change the world. My comment back is if no one ever stood up for what is wrong women would still not have any rights and blacks would be slaves. Think it is time for us to band together and fight!

              • Jenn, I think people do that because it’s easier for THEM. Most people (including family and friends) are too wrapped up in their own little worlds and don’t want to hear it. The cheater moves on after devastating our lives and he keeps quiet because he’s happy as a clam and has a ton to be ashamed of.

                My friend recently divorced her cheating, abusive, sociopathic husband and her four grown sons from her first marriage are telling her SHE’S the drama queen and the shit-stirrer. Guess they’ve forgotten he was abusive to them when they were growing up, but she hasn’t.

                People still amaze me with their selfishness.

          • Yes, but worse….when we tried to open lines of communication by telling them how we were hurt by their actions and words, we gave them ammunition to use in the future. I assumed the best of my nowdeadhusband that “If he ever understood how he hurt me, he would want to do better”.

            What I didn’t realize was the dynamic Buddy described – he had no reason to change the dynamic – it worked for him and any change would mess up his selfish little universe.

            The world kept telling me to do this and that to improve my marriage and those things repeated and chronically failed because improving it wasn’t what he wanted. Plus…after a certain number of hook ups, he was in so deep that he could NEVER tell the whole truth to me …we could never have a real true honest relationship – we were doomed to a shallow existence of him hiding the past.

            • I think that is what happened to me – he cheated right out of the gate, months after we were married because I wasn’t sure about some stuff he ‘liked’ that he emailed his ex-GF was a fetish.

              I was doomed.

              3 years later after our first kid I knew something was off but of course we had a kid now — maybe that was it? I made excuses for him and he didn’t want to give up the great feelings from the affairs (he was deep in IRC/chat sex by then) for his mean horrible wife who wasn’t supporting him in how hard life was with a kid and kept wanting him to … change into a mature adult father and husband.

              We could never have a real true honest relationship, Even in trying to R once he admitted to online ‘friends’ (aka chat fuckbuddies but he didn’t SAY THAT) was doomed because … he couldn’t bring himself to admit it was the whole marriage.

              His worldview that it was all my fault can’t be possible if he cheated within months because we have no pre-A marriage to refer to. It was always weird and awkward and I thought he didn’t like the lingerie I bought after that first kid was born… No, he had just been talking too much about the exact same outfit with a bitch from the internet he never met in person even. So I totally nailed what my H liked, he had just failed to tell me he was more interested in seeing some other woman wear it for him.

              15 YEARS later how could he possible make enough amends, really? I wanted him to, because I didn’t want ANY of this and I wanted my mostly happy life back. Finally get the H I thought I married, etc.

          • Good, thoughtful comments…our second marital counselor, who I was also seeing for IC, immediately recommended the Gottman’s book. I respected his opinion but upon reading some of it determined that it wasn’t altogether helpful, with the exception of the dysfunctional/lack of communication bits. It is 18 months since my D-Day, and I remain married. My husband has put substantial effort into being a better partner, which I appreciate, but still do not fully trust. I am past the anger stage, and have taken a second job (I am self-employed) outside the house to reestablish my presence in the world and to occupy my mind so that I dwell less frequently on what caused our marriage to fail and all the wasted time……I am in a weird space-having saved enough money to rent a place for a year, yet staying married because it’s better than it was….its like a weird limbo where everything goes along well on the surface but the reality is we are both the same people, so is it inevitable that the same crap recurs? In the absence of the drama of his bad behavior, is an adequate relationship really enough? Is it terrible to think that “oh well, I will stay here until something better comes along?” Does that make me as big a shit as my husband was? Curious to know the groups’ thoughts.

            • You might be fantasizing about staying until something better comes along to serve as a catalyst for leaving your husband, and your husband may not be thinking this, but if something “better” for him comes along, he probably will act on it, i.e. have another affair.

              I don’t know how to re-establish trust with a cheater. Perhaps it depends on your story and your circumstances and how remorseful and empathetic he was once caught.

              In some ways, your place is the worst place to be, perhaps not as blatantly intensely painful as the case where the cheater leaves, or the case where the chump leaves, but just a long drawn out limbo of not being 100% invested, because you don’t really trust him.

              What does your gut say?

              You are not the bad person here if you leave. That is on him. Part of no longer being a chump is trusting your gut over your emotional mind, your instincts over your analytical mind, your character over your personality.

      • BBC-mine said the exact things almost until D-day, once he met the whore it all started to change-these people are psychopaths

        • I was a great wife and extremely well loved til I wasn’t. When he met the whore everything changed. Fuck him.

    • I begged my ex to talk to me for YEARS. Many many times I tried to bring up how uncomfortable his relationship with coworkers was for me. Nothing I said ever mattered. He’d say “I’ll try to do better” but then go back to the same old behavior. What I take ownership for is not having the strength to stand up and say “I’m not going to put up with this treatment any more,” but I was too afraid. I thought if I tried harder to be nice, to please him, it would make him see how much I loved him. I was desperate to keep our family together.

      I was willing to go to counseling and work on my issues. I asked him to come, and he showed up for a couple of sessions, then went back to his usual silence. You just can’t work things out with a person who WON’T TALK to you. After awhile I gave up trying, that’s true. But nothing I did caused him to have an affair with a married coworker at the office. To plot to break up her family, to ingratiate himself with her children. That is not on me, and wasn’t anything to do with me. When I expressed my disgust at his morals for trying to break up another family and interfere with another man’s children, he looked at me like he wanted to kill me.

      As far as the counselor I saw during our marriage, he never called my ex out on his shit. He just tried to be buddies with him. The counselor did mention that when I was in individual sessions I was relaxed and talkative, but with my husband I was nervous and withdrawn. The physical signs of an abusive relationship were right in front of him, but he never challenged my husband on anything. It seemed to me the counselor was afraid my husband would bolt if he wasn’t nice to him. I even brought up the OW and how uncomfortable their relationship made me, but the counselor never even questioned my husband about it. In his defense, though, my husband only went a couple of times.

      Later, when my husband said one of the reasons he was leaving was “we went to counseling and it didn’t work.”

      • Lyn….Precisely the same thing happened when cheater ex and I went to marriage counseling. I told the therapist straight out that I objected to my HUSBAND’S girlfriend. He (the therapist) wouldn’t even mention it in the session. I went back one more time with cheater ex and the same thing happened. I said…Well, what about HIS GIRLFRIEND? The therapist said….wait for it…..We’re not discussing that right now.

        That was it for me. If something as glaring as cheating is not going to be dealt with in marriage counseling, hey, that is NOT the place that I am going to remain. I was sooo ticked.

        Then the narrative became how everything was my fault because he was so unhappy and I’m the one who refused to work on the marriage.

        Heard that little gem after the kids and I left. I wasn’t very positive…. I told him to go fuck himself. Would have said the same thing to the “therapist” if he had been on the phone just then. This therapist was the guy who wanted me to come in for a “closure” session with cheater ex after cheater ex had informed me he was thinking of killing my kids and I….. Uh…. HELL NO.


        • CLOSURE?! After he THREATENED YOU?!!! Are you fucking kidding me?!

          OMG, I hope you told that son-of-a-bitch that man actually DID kill your child.

          Close THAT motherfucker.

          I’m furious for you.

          • It was all over the news for the better part of two weeks. The police came to him for transcripts or some such thing to use in their murder investigation. He knew. He sent word to say he was sorry and, by the way, could I please sign a form saying he was not responsible. I didn’t bother to get back to him. I was the walking wounded at the time, barely functioning. Later on, I just thought…..Oh fuck you Mr. Therapist. Live with it. I’m not going to absolve you from your guilt. Never heard from him again.

            • [mouth agape] I hope that therapist quit practicing and went to a Buddhist monastery, shaved his head, became vegetarian, and took a vow of silence to atone.

              • You should report him to the board that oversees therapists and their licenses in your state. If an attorney committed that kind of breach in my state, their license would be GONE. Forever. This guy needs to quit practicing before someone gets killed.

              • Oh Tessie. Crying for you. I’m the idiot who said he should lose his license. I didn’t scroll down and read all the comments. I am so very sorry. You will be in my prayers for a very long time.

        • “…cheater ex had informed me he was thinking of killing my kids and I”

          Did you call the police about that? He sounds dangerous and unstable.

          • Just saw your other reply. You and your kids are incredibly lucky and blessed to have gotten away from him.

            • No Name–Tessie’s youngest son did not escape. It is a horrifying story, and we are so blessed that Tessie is willing to share her story with us as a precaution to others with psychopathic Xs.

              • Cheater ex kidnapped and murdered my youngest son who was 14 at the time. He and his buddy then drove across country to commit suicide after dumping my boy’s body in a shallow lake in the state next door. It was almost two weeks before I knew what had become of my child. This was six months after our divorce was final. I was able to get a restraining order for me, but the judge refused to grant supervised visitation for my kids despite the death threat being part of the court record. I often wonder if that judge even ever realized his failure to protect a vulnerable child was one of the causes of my son’s death. I’ll never know.

              • It won’t let me reply to Tessie directly, so I’ll do it here. Tessie, your story turned my stomach with grief and rage. My little boy is laying next to me in bed right now and I’m going to hug him extra tight in memory of your son. Wherever you are, I’m sending a giant hug to you, too, from one mom to another.

              • I cannot even begin to imagine. Heartbreaking and unfathomable. Much love to you Tessie.

              • My sincere apologies! It was late and I must’ve missed reading that. Geez…Tessie, I am incredibly sorry all this happened to you and your family. I wish you and yours much strength, support and love.

              • Thank you for all your kind words everyone. They help so much.

                Noname, no apology necessary, I’m like you , I always want to believe things come out great in the end. A lot of the time…..they do. In my case they didn’t.

                As chumps, we are wired differently than the psychopaths we paired up with. I honestly didn’t think cheater ex would be capable of hurting the one person he professed to love more than anything. I hoped his words were just words. It was the best I could do because legally, I could not protect my sons by keeping them away from their father. I did not understand personality disorders, and that I was dealing with a highly dangerous cluster B.

                We chumps tend to project our innate goodness onto others too. That is why we are so easy to dupe. We cannot imagine the scope of the evil they are capable of because we have scruples and an inner moral compass.

                Sadly, such evil does exist in the world. Now I know, as Maya Angelou said…….When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

                My narcdar is a whole lot better these days.

    • mine did the same thing. How do you leave and have no contact with your ENTIRE FAMILY, KIDS, ANYONE OF YOUR PAST

          • Just unbelievable,Tessie. I do not think I could survive something like that. You are amazing.

  • I just returned from the doctor’s office who treats my daughter’s epilepsy, autism and developmental delay. I constantly hear about my how my X couldn’t handle the way my daughter turned out and that’s why he left. So my daughter gets blamed for the cheating asshole because of the way she was born.

    This highly prestigious specialist proceeded to tell me how this happens a lot when you have a special needs child. Without skipping a beat, I unloaded on him. X left because of his shitty character. I’m stressed and overwhelmed and I didn’t cheat and abandon. Cheating has nothing to do with my daughter and everything to with X having an empty elevator shaft where his soul should be (my personal fav from CL). His shitty choices. The doctor said nothing after that.

    No more excuses!!!!

    • startofsomethingood – That’s awful! And a perfect example of the danger of applying Gottman’s line of thinking; it’s falsely equation an explanation (your ex couldn’t handle the real world) with an excuse, thus insinuating that someone who has demonstrated a severe lack of character (your ex) must somehow be an “okay” person anyway (which, on the face of it, makes no sense whatsoever!).

      • Good for you, for setting the “specialist” straight, and for being a rock for your daughter!

      • Same here, startof. My son has Down Syndrome and autism. My XW just started cheating like crazy. Had to raise him and his brother by myself( and, rmember, according to Angela, I am one of the “less evolved” types. So, it was not easy.).

        • My youngest (adopted) was born 8 weeks prematurely with cocaine, heroin and Methodone in his system. He was in NICU for three weeks. We got him (“gotcha day” – we celebrate that every year) at the age of exactly 3
          Weeks. He was only 4.5 pounds and a total cutie. Needless to say, he was not an easy baby. I got mono the first month he came home. I worked full time as an attorney and took him to work with me for six weeks until he was old enough for day care. That is when SBTX really checked out. He couldn’t handle the sleeping 45 minutes at a time for that first year. My son has slight special needs and is already in second grade – and thriving. STBX has never once been to an Indendent Education Evaluation. Nor has he been to the specialists I have seen to make sure his heart (born with atrial septal defect) is ok or the ADHD appointments. Says he will change. Sigh. Faith in humanity has plummeted over past few years.

    • Good grief tostartofsonethingood!
      May you have enlightened the dear doctor?
      Good on you to attempt to set the record straight!

      • Thanks Mehbound. It’s been a long hard road. The devastation has been overwhelming. But I refuse to take blame or let my daughter be blamed for my XH cheating and abandonment.

        • Let the revolution begin! One person at a time. Hey, the meek (chumps) may yet inherit the earth. As we expose cheaters for what they really are to anyone who will listen, they may crawl back into the holes they crawled out of. One can only hope. 🙂

        • Neither you nor your daughter should take this blame… and it is time we raise our voices about these assholes. It may be common that husbands abandon children and families because they couldn’t take the ‘lack of perfectness’ or what ever. But he deserves approbrium and you deserve accolades.

    • And LEAVING is not the same as CHEATING. I’d have been sad but content had my X honestly decided he liked a variety of p*ssy too much to stay married, and left before commencing an affair with grad-whore.

      • People who LEAVE their families to PURSUE others SUCK too. It’s those damn marriage VOWS…. Why not be really honest. If you don’t intend to live by them then just don’t marry.

        • They suck, yes. IMO the cake eaters suck worse. They steal your time. At least if a cheater leaves you, it’s definitive and you can get on with your life.

          • You know CL, I used to hate hearing this. Because my stone cold abandonment cheater left, I got the better deal. Raising my autistic kid alone is the hardest thing in the world. But you are 100% right. Thanks to CN and being able to go No Contact, mostly because my sociopath has gone NC on me, healing is faster. The cake eaters are much worse. Truly.

              • Yes, the cake eater in my life walked out the door and never reached back with any form of communication whatsoever. I still, coming up on two years since DDay, am so resentful of the 46 years he stole from me. I will never forgive him for that. He is currently living with a 44 year old, the age of our children, in my retirement home. He is 70 today.

          • I remember being in the dark pit of marital abandonment where he told me clearly that he didnt love me, never did yet he strung me along with crumbs perfectly aligned to to keep his facade and cake. I knew I was not loved and yet was (based in my married/coupled status) also not free to find or seek love either…I was in a dark cold vacuum of rejection and loneliness.

            I looked over at the single moms at my daughters dance school and thought “they could meet a great guy tomorrow and build a new life, I cant…if I did meet a wonderful man, I would have to flee from him in order to not be the betrayer in the mess.

            And even that was not enough to get me to make an exit plan…I stayed in it for 7 more years, smoking hopium. My life is a cautionary tale I hope newer chumps take note of. My nowdeadhusbands sudden death was a wild red herring of an event that freed me but we can not kill them and waiting for a spontaneous death likely wont work. I would never in a jillion years advise people do what I did hoping for a good result. Get the fuck out.

            • Unicorn–your story helped me immensely. After D-day, when my then-H was professing love and giving me the list of 10 things he would do to win me back, and many people were wondering why I couldn’t forgive an affair that had happened 8 years ago, I read your and several other people’s stories about living the life of a unicorn (supposedly) for years only to be consistently betrayed again and again. That was when I said Hell-to-the-no, and made the decision to divorce instead. Thank you, because you helped save the rest of my life.

            • This feels like me now. He has said he does not value me. He claims he never said he didn’t love me but I have my journal writings those days he did say that exactly. He also claims he did nothing wrong by having innappropriate interpersonal coworker relationships while treating me horribly. I certainly do not feel loved anymore. Rather I feel used and waiting to be discarded. He says he feels trapped, yet every single one of his actions he has decided upon. How I wish my health was better. I will not survive without health insurance. I’m the one who should feel trapped.

        • These a-holes are NOT capable of doing the right thing. PERIOD. We were not even married, he could have just packed his shit and left, but he wouldn’t. He stayed as long as he could to inflict more pain, to punish me for “failing” him.

          Looking back now I truly believe he wanted me to dance harder and prove myself. I just quit dancing, I couldn’t do it anymore. It was his turn to dance…he did…danced right out the door to go live at Mommy’s while OWhore waits for her divorce.

          • Yes, the dancing!! THIS! I gave the very BEST I had to my marriage and him I had! How much faster and better could I dance? I couldn’t! He just didn’t give a shit! She danced better to the horizontal boogie on a hotel room bed obviously!

            Also, I had no earthly idea that he was playing footsie with a Facebook troll! She and he had the upper hand. I had NO idea I was in any sort of competition at the time! The deck was stacked against me. I would try to talk to him as he had become somewhat reserved, but he assured me that he was as happy as a clam and everything was just fine! Gaslight much??? Do I feel like a dumbass for not seeing it coming? Sometimes, but I also realize that if someone sets out to deceive you then they will! He knew enough about me to know that I blindly trusted him after 38 years of marriage! It was like shooting fish in a barrel.

            But in the end, the choice to be a conniving, cheating, deceitful POS lies squarely on his shoulders. I was clueless because I trusted him and believed he honored our vows! It sucks, but at least I can face it now. I have the added “gloat” factor of knowing their super, duper love became a HUGE factor!

            • Asshole met this troll one day before we left on vacation (ONLY one he took me and son on in 8 years), I thought things were getting better…that he was TRYING. Nope. We were back for about one week when I caught the beginning of their “friendship” starting to blossom.

              She wasn’t his first desperate attempt for attention, she was just the first that fell for his bullshit as he fell for hers. They are truly alike.

              I know for a fact that he dips his stick elsewhere and knowing this gives me warm and fuzzy feelings of satisfaction. They aren’t even officially together yet and he is already banging a few others. Thank you X-hole for not disappointing me….for ONCE.

              • NC we have twinning going on. X met her, moved in when I threw him out and is still screwing around.

              • Honestly donna these assholes are all alike. The similarities are mind boggling. Same shit choices, same shit character, same shit excuses….and so on and so on.

            • My last post should have read that his super, duper love turned into a HUGE failure!!! Don’t know what I was thinking while writing that! Yes, I guess it was a “factor”, but failed quickly!

      • I completely agree. Leaving is the lesser of two evils. At least it’s an honest choice. I could respect my ex if he had opted for honesty rather than deceit. It would still have hurt like hell, but I think it would be easier to accept over time.

        • meadowlands – I feel exactly the same way. Honesty wins out as the best option, every time.

        • After his first affair, I did all the dancing and followed every suggestion the idiot therapists and books recommend, including taking responsibility for my part in the problems in the marriage prior to the affair (it’s true, I wasn’t being very nice to him for the months leading up to the affair! He’d been a psychologically abusive ASSHOLE for years, and I was finally fed up!).

          During that process, my ex actually promised (at my request), to LEAVE before he ever got involved with another woman again. If he was unhappy, if he was tempted, if the marriage couldn’t satisfy him, he would LEAVE FIRST.

          Of course, after Affair #2 and my kicking him out, he claimed he had totally forgotten that promise.

          (And then I realized that if you have to make your spouse make that kind of a promise, you are already doomed …)

          • >>”(And then I realized that if you have to make your spouse make that kind of a promise, you are already doomed …)”

            I realized the same thing … about two decades too late. But, better late than never!

            • Me too. I used to tell STBX that I could handle anything, but I just needed him to be honest and not blindside me with it. Little did it occur to me that a) starting from the baseline of worrying that your spouse is going to cheat on you and lie about it is a problem in and of itself and that b) these disordered freaks get off on the cheating and the lying. It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.

        • Honesty is not in their DNA. I would have been able to deal with all of it much better if he had been honest. No way more fun to try to kill me with lies and deceit. And ow trying desperately to win him back, he’s resisting for the moment. Me I hope he goes back to her, it will never be the same, tainted, hahahahaha! She knows for a fact he will and has cheated on her, she thinks she can dance harder and better and he won’t. Damn fool. I found notes on the computer to other girls while he was with her. Hee hee! He walked away from me twice. Now he’s keeping her at bay to try to be with me too. And she knows this. Dance girl dance!!!! I walk totally away from him in three months. No contact, no drama!

        • Exactly. I’ve told him this. I told him this even before we were married since he knew what I had been through in a previous marriage. He didn’t care about me I guess. He has said since D-Day though that he should have just left instead of hurting me further by having an affair. I have no idea why my words went unheard for our entire relationship about communicating with me if he no longer wanted to be with me. I believe it’s because he doesn’t want to be seen as the ‘bad guy’ who left his kids and their mother. There’s no other explanation for him not choosing the correct actions. Wait, he doesn’t want to pay child support either. I just don’t get cheaters I suppose.

    • I am not going to blame the doctor. They’re a specialist in helping your kid, not in narcs. I actually pity them because they may see it a lot and have very little insight in to what the right thing to say is. Even when we know things are over and it’s all for the best, even a “congratulations on being alone, and still rockin this mom stuff’ isn’t going to hit it right. He said the wrong thing, but it’s just another piece of crap you can blame on your stupid ex.

    • In a way though, that doctor is sort of right, but with the wrong intent.
      Basically – having a child with special needs = cheater doesn’t get the ‘correct’ kind of kibbles so in their fucked up narcissistic worldview will cheat, because its all about them. Of course its the cheater at fault.

  • What is greatly disturbing to me is that the Gottmans are treated as THE marriage counseling gurus. I have heard their names mentioned more than once by pastors.

    I think we change the narrative by exposing it as the lie that it is. CL does that well here.

    Last time I checked, God does not give exceptions to Thou shalt not commit adultery…unless thy spouse is a bad communicator, etc.

    • The MC we briefly saw was very into Gottman and point blank told me she was only interested in X’s infidelity to the extent it told her we had a “bad marriage.” That was news to me, because for almost 30 years we had lived and worked together and I thought our marriage was pretty good. In fact, people (including our own children) often told us we were the example of the kind of marriage they wanted! Of course, I later learned MC was related to the OW, so that may have explained her ass backward analysis. She did tell me OW came from a family of narcissists and that much certainly was true.

      No marriage is perfect and some points in a marriage are better than others. Marriage is not some fantasy. It is work, hard work. But if you are working WITH your partner, instead of against them, that work can produce an amazing life long commitment. Bad marriages don’t create cheaters. Cheaters create bad marriages.

      • Violet – I haven’t been commenting lately for a variety of reasons. but today I want to let you know we had similar experiences and your views are right on target (for me). and I thank you for posting them – and for being you

      • Bad marriages don’t create cheaters. Cheaters create bad marriages.

        Exactly violet! This exactly!

      • Oh my you hit it exactly…. bad marriages don’t create cheaters. Cheaters create bad marriages. This says it all.

    • DM, I’m trying to find the pastor who takes a really hard line – and contrary to the stance of many religious leaders – about infidelity (essentially he says ‘leave the bum’). My brain needs an antidote after reading that Gottman excerpt!!

      NamedforVera – I’m so glad you posted this. Great discussion and opportunity for CN to set the record straight. Like many commenters, I too worked my tush off to open the lines of communication and was shut down in every sense.

      • Me three! I tried talking for 10 years with the only answer always being: “if you don’t see the problem you never will”. She knew I never suspected the cheating, but she would never leave. She still wanted her cake.

        • Mine used to say, “If you don’t know, I shouldn’t have to tell you.” Wha?

          • Mine too! He used to say “you should know what I want without having to ask!” WTF? No the best was during our “reconciliation” after he had me served divorce papers in front of the children and I had discovered the affair (I know just call me chump.) He kept saying he was feeling it 50% and then it would be 40% keeping me on edge the entire time. He also told me he wanted someone that would “adore him” and “put him first in their life!” (Yeah and I would like someone that didn’t cheat on me.) Just to see how far he would go I said “am I supposed to clip your toenails too?” And he said “of course… you should want to groom me!!!!!”

            • What a fabulous compliment, because we are all so good we can read minds, right? Personally I believe we just get really good at ignoring our intuition. Which is sad because it’s only job is to insure our survival.

    • Hey DM I’m wondering if the second Christian counselor we went to follows these Gottman fools’ advice. Our counselor allowed my stbx to verbally abuse me in session and when the OW was brought up he just kept asking my husband “What does she offer you than Nicole does not?” It still angers me just thinking about it. I left after two sessions. Our first counselor was a real Christian man who called my stbx out on his horrible behavior- my husband couldn’t run away from him fast enough.

      This post today has inspired me to get on Google Reviews and Yelp today and give our second marriage counselor very honest reviews. Nothing is more evil than a “Christian” counselor that supports evil behavior. I trust that he sucks too.

    • Gottman does at least have the advantage of collecting data on marriages before making his pronouncements (unlike many marriage counselor who pay no heed to empirical evidence). That doesn’t, however, mean he collects ALL the data he should, or interprets it correctly.

    • Cheater’s mindset: Thou shalt not commit adultery, unless thy spouse is bad at communication, does not read thy mind at a moment’s notice, and even when I change the goalposts knows exactly what to do, and gives me soda. ORANGE soda! But now I want RED soda!

  • I’ve no doubt that this scenario is true for a high percentage of the cheaters seeking help through the type of counseling with which Gottman is familiar. It’s an explanation of the build-up to what might actually be atypically abhorrent behavior on the part of the cheating spouse. That doesn’t make it an excuse, or absolve the cheater from their heinous choices, of course; but it does mean that they have terrible life coping skills and need to seek help before they ruin the lives of more trusting people.

    I’ve also no doubt that population likely accounts for a tiny fraction of the total population of cheaters, and probably suffers from a severe case of selection bias. The percentage of cheaters seeking help to turn their lives around has got to be tiny.

    It is total folly to extend that kind of explanation broadly to all cases of infidelity. It’d be like basing your assumptions about what metals to use for building a skyscraper by studying only gold; it just makes zero sense.

  • I totally agree. It is like the battered wife situation. So she complained unreasonably about the abuser’s bad breath. Does that mean she deserved to be beaten to a pulp? Maybe just a slap on the face? No, there is not excuse for abuse. If you are a jerk to your spouse your spouse can divorce you. Not abuse you.

    • lookingup – You are totally right.

      I think this is part and parcel of the common false cheater narrative: for someone to be “rescued,” they need to be in “distress.” Even if that distress is totally manufactured.

      I know in the case of my STBXW, she acted as though living in our family home was the equivalent of being bonded in chains. Now, I know her cellphone was totally capable of contacting a lawyer to file for divorce, since she was glued to it in order to be able to communicate with her last affair partner! 🙂 And she’s a white, college-educated woman living in the United States, so it’s not like she was somehow thwarted at every turn in trying to escape her “bondage;” she simply never tried, because… well… CAKE!

      In reality, there is almost never any “bondage” or “suffering” or “distress,” even in crappy marriages. They had multiple choices available to them, and they chose to support their false narratives about being in marital hell, because blaming the true victim (the betrayed spouse) is the only thing that helps them manage the cognitive dissonance that some of them have when they confront their own shitty choices and contrast those with the (often totally inflated) internal view that they are good people.

      My STBXW took this to such an extreme that she had entire arguments with me in her mind, in which she guessed at what my reactions would be and simply acted accordingly (I know this because I actually saw it in action in the form of emails she sent detailing what IO was apparently going to say/do/etc.).

      • I think someone summed it up nicely the other day — you’re only awful enough to cheat on, not to divorce.

        To me, the Terrible Marriage Drove Me To It thing falls apart at — why cake? I would think at the point you realize you are in “bondage” is the point at which you make your escape.

        And yet the experience of chumps is that their cheaters were cake-eaters. Even people in “exit affairs” (they “fell in love” and immediately left) have some period of cake eating — trying to have both.

        So why circle back to the chump? Why go months, years, decades even with the double life? Why stay with this terrible, terrible person who purportedly brings out the very worst in you? (i.e., makes you a cheater?)

        I mean, why don’t cheaters go OMG! I’ve become a cheater! I hate this!

        Because — IMO — the majority do NOT hate this. They don’t hate who they’ve become. On the contrary, they enjoy the extra kibble portions and go to great lengths to have both the affair and the marriage.

        If you were truly miserable and made happy/enlightened/invigorated by a new relationship — you would leave.

        The majority eat cake instead.

        • My POS ex left when his mistress threatened to inform ME, his loving wife, of his affair. I should send that bitch a thank you note.
          CL, Congratulations on your new book! I see we can preorder on AMAZON. So exciting and you can bet I will be adding it to my library soon!

        • These people find a way to justify everything crappy thing they do. Boils down to their entitlement and lack of accountability or conscience.

          • Yes, they do. the problem is, these idiots are going along with it. Justifying their crappy thing (cheating) on a breakdown in the marriage-bullshit!!!!! Like Tracy said-if it was so damn bad you leave-you don’t sneak around and cheat and fence sit and cake eat. Mine went from-everything meaningful in my life I have is because of you-to two weeks later meeting the whore and three months of cake and me dancing the best fucking pick me dance I could, he confessed and I threw him out. But all those years of him telling me I love you, I am so happy, we have the best family, that was his misery talking huh? No, he is just a selfish, self entitled lying piece of crap, and she brought out the best in him. Good fucking riddance.

        • My thinking exactly. If I was so terrible, why did my EX not leave? Why lie and re-commit (we formaly married after living together for 10 years)? Why not have the single life you want and be free to screw when and whoever you want. In retrospect, I feel like the way my EX behaved was akin to chinese water torture. It is abusive.

          I know my EX liked to brag that he had a girlfriend on the side. He is some kind of fucktard.

          • Mine bragged, too, to his guy friends. This is what one of them told me- when his secretary would walk by, he would point at her body, and indicate that he was getting that. Nice, huh? He’s just a P.I.G., I am not going to assume that ‘guys are just like that’ because I have three sons, and I really don’t think they would gloat in such a nasty way. They have class. But I do think the Cheater mentality reaps extra kibbles from bragging about the cheating. They are just that gross. BTW, those male friends were friends of mine, too, and thought it was disgusting. They never told me til after the divorce, I think because people hate to get involved in a mess like that! (I wish they had, though)

            • My STBXH bragged to a friend also but that guy never told his partner (who then told me) until after I kicked the asshat out. Later, when I told another neighbor we were divorcing because of asshat cheating, he said he about it…those two were never friends so I am guessing he saw OW at my house. “He’s a fool” was the guy’s comment to me, which I liked.

        • This is a timely post, CL. My ex just sent my daughter a message where he basically says yes I cheated, but no marriage fails due to infidelity alone, it is more than just getting some on the side; we both fucked up in the marriage.

          Really? Gotta love the blameshifting.

        • My stbx had a rare moment of honesty about staying with me for over two decades even though he had been a serial cheater and liar throughout the entire marriage.

          According to him, I’m the best person he’s ever met. I’ve done it all “right.” I became pregnant, and I was an “instant mom.” I went to school, worked, took care of the kids, paid the bills, and did everything I could to make sure he and I had great sex and some much-needed (I thought) alone time. According to him, I am the “perfect wife.”

          From HIS perspective, this adult “stuff” is just too stressful. Bills. Work. And when I have to take care of the kids, well, he misses my attention. And, in his mind, this is ALL my fault because I’m not okay with just being an irresponsible jackass. Since he prefers the EASE of irresponsibility and I don’t, I’m putting pressure on him. So he goes out to get attention from whores who agree with him that a lack of responsibility is much more fun, stroke his ego in spite of the immaturity, and who won’t “pressure” him to keep his promises and act like a grown man rather than a man-child.

          But he lied to me about this all because he actually (cough, cough) “respects” me for being such a “good, hardworking, and most loving person” he’s ever known. Because as much as he hates all of that stuff, he loves it.

          And there is the mind of a fucktard, pathological liar and cheater. Narcissus is reeling in his grave.

          • satan said the same things to me JesssMom…and I know he is the same disordered narc your x is…they think they are just ALL THAT and more…

        • “Because — IMO — the majority do NOT hate this. They don’t hate who they’ve become. On the contrary, they enjoy the extra kibble portions and go to great lengths to have both the affair and the marriage.”


  • There are two things you can do. 1. Know your truth. 2. Speak your truth.

    Your truth is 1. Adultery is always a choice. 2. It is always wrong.

    I don’t doubt there are 24 precursors to cheating. That is irrelevant. Whether there is one or a million, they all fall directly on the cheaters. No where else.

    I have also updated my definition of cheating. Any secret contact with whores, one or many, is cheating. I don’t have to prove a guy is a whore, just being a whore monger is the burden of proof. Any slut he wants to hang with can have him.

    • “I don’t doubt there are 24 precursors to cheating. That is irrelevant.”

      True! With my ex, I had at least 50 precursors to cheating, due to his bad temper and shitty ways of handling life in general. But it didn’t “make” me cheat! What Gottman and the others seem to gloss over is that the chump also has the same precursors and struggles, too.

      • I think the Gottman’s interpreted their research wrong. It should be these are the 24 precursors that you can expect to experience while married to the type of partner who will cheat. Instead they should be the 24 signs to watch out for.

    • I saw this on a web site, I wish I could remember which one.

      “if you find yourself hiding text, looking over your shoulder or deleting messages, you are already cheating”

      • Turning the phone upside down, having it on vibrate, sleeping with it under your pillow, locking it, walking with it along your leg as though your wife can’t see you actually have your phone on you (before placing it under your pillow), putting in fake names, your phone becoming the second most guarded appendage.

        • X-hole was SO dumb. Too dumb, in fact, to know to go to the “Settings” on his phone and engage the “PIN” option. He installed a lock “app” along with a phone calling app to hide his number from call logs….when I saw that he had placed a lock on his phone it pissed me off soooo I got ahold of his phone when he fell asleep….I opened the “Task Manager” and turned off all the apps (including his super secret lock app) and accessed ALL of their text messages and pics….and calls. Yes cheater pants I’m smarter than you. Fucker.

          • The loser I was with didn’t leave his phone long enough for me to be able to do that…..It was glued to his body. My friends and I joked around Christmas last year on what I should get him. I thought of some sort of phone accessory in order to enable him to bring it into the shower with him because I’m sure he was showering as fast as possible in order for me to not look at that phone!!! I also thought I’d check into some sort of surgical procedure to have the phone attached to him so then he wouldn’t have to worry any longer of possibly leaving it down for more than 30 seconds or the terror of thinking I could possible get within a few inches of that phone…..

            • I happen to sneak back into my house….yes…I had to sneak….he had me evicted….I got his phone….I knew once I opened it I would have the truth. Once I opened the phone….my world came crashing down. I got more than I bargained for. Not only was he cheating, but he was royally screwing over a coworker in Guam that exposed my Ex in some shady business deals. So not only was he cheating on me, but his employer, his colleagues.
              I read the Gottram book. Although I can see some aspects of how the marriage was deteriorating, to blame the faithful spouse who is IN the same crappy marriage, trying to work on it is beyond wrong. Cheating was never an option. Ever.
              His whole family blames me….one family member even followed me into this site to blast me. She tends to leave out in her vile rants how my daughters have no college education because his whore sucked it down her throat. But hey….I was crazy….I’m a nut job…. he just wanted to be happy. Good…hope your a happy broke ass bitch…cuz I’m taking the money. Let’s see how your whore chokes down you being broke.

              • It’s one thing for the whore when they brag about what a good guy they nailed. Until they find out he’s broke. That gave me a good laugh! He complained to her that he supported ME! He got all the credit card debt, doesn’t want to work, and has doubled his debt with nothing to show for it. He never pays his self employment taxes quarterly and will have to pay his taxes with a credit card again in a few months. I’m feeling pretty good about the timing of divorcing the loser.

              • Hah….the troll was inadvertently told (by me to her hubby) what a financial disaster X-hole is. Her response? “Like I told you, she’s NOT going to run me off.” Well bitch, you were warned. He hasn’t filed or paid taxes in over a decade and is at least $40,000 in arrears to his ex-wife for child support (he pays her but can’t afford the entire amount, could have had it adjusted 8 years ago but never followed through, big shocker).

                We’ll see if she sticks it out when the shit hits the fan…..

              • I have posted this before, I believe. But my STBX had a Samsung and I have an iPhone. I could not figure out his password, so I took the case off, threw in toilet, flushed once, dried off and replaced case. Voila! “What’s wrong with my phone?” Reply – “I don’t know. Saw (youngest child) playing with it earlier..” Needless to say, he had to order a new phone via insurance. I made damn sure I was home when it was delivered. Installed an app to follow all text messages and calls, and hid the app. Two hours. Beginning at 9 am. Two fucking hours is all it took. Asshat tried to tell me it was a guy he was talking to. Total BS. I’m still so angry.

                Dipshit is so stupid that he had to wipe the phone because he couldn’t figure out how I was able to read his texts. OMG. Need to fix my picker.

                Btw – I highly recommend against doing this as it is illegal in most states, including mine. I’m an attorney, and if a DA or some other prosecutor wants to waste taxpayer money trying to convict me for finding out that he was cheating and I’m not cray cray, I say bring it the fuck on.

            • …we were married to the same man LadyStrange! satan’s phone was like an appendage! …till he got himself a super secret phone…

              …ugh! It is just hard to get away from the hell these cheaters create. I am so glad to be divorced from him and out away from all the drama and pain!

              • My dipshit had a secret phone until our son busted him. Then he started hoarding his ‘real’ phone while watching me dance. Fuckhead.

              • Jeep, can’t wait for that day! Away from the drama, the pain and the rotten stinking attitude. Big whore can have it all. As asswipe gets older and more aches and pains he gets nastier and more short tempered. Me, the kids, his sister, family , friends mostly had to walk on eggshells around the idiot. Now no one will.

              • My Ex and his honey both worked for Verizon so they were good at keeping their phones locked! After my ex sent me a good bye letter his bowel twisted and he ended having to have surgery while I was getting ready to file! I’m a nurse he was in my job territory now! When he went down for surgery Mr. Chicken pants forgot to turn his protective password on his phone on! I grabbed the phone and sat in the waiting room reading all the love text’s sent to the whore he said didn’t exist! I looked her up on Facebook with my IPhone and found out she already had 2 divorces in her belt! When my ex came back to his bedroom after surgery I had to leave because I wanted to jump on him and stomp on his stomach until he died! Instead I went no contact and filed! 9 months divorced after 2 years of him contesting and putting me in the poor house36 years wasted and stoked our retirement and children’s safe beliefs of a stable family!

              • Oh Gail! I am so sorry you had to find out that way! But I am glad you got the answers you needed to see who he really is. I got the low down while grocery shopping where I had shopped for 30 years…where satan picked up one of his hos…kroger customer service ho…also married she was… It was knee buckling to say the least…I don’t know how I finished shopping and made it home. When confronted with ho’s name satan ran away like a scalded dog…cowardly man…disordered fucker…I filed shortly after. I am grateful to be divorced from such a coward.

                …I have full days and sometimes weeks in Mehland 😀 I am so grateful!

                They don’t deserve us or any of the years of our lives we spent with them…they are lucky to have enjoyed what time we gave them. Assholes…

                Isn’t it amazing that, once we left, they had to find a way to go on? Lol! I have been NC since June 12th…had to stop the cowardly evil asshole texting me how much he loves me and how he wishes he were back with me…ugh…sickening. 😀 Can’t imagine doing that ever again!

                I hope you are doing well!

              • Yes…life is certainly better without him! And yes I felt the huge betrayal and deceit that you did… But when they when they try to come back in your life you are stronger to not let them! I tell young people not to get married…it’s a trap…the legal system is also makes money off of chumps! They don’t care about women or children…it it could be at the root of moral decay in this country! The marriage license in itself allows the abuse…the courts don’t follow the laws regarding marriage licenses and infidelity because if they did it simply wouldn’t happen! Chumps wouldn’t be the loser when they tried to stand up to abuse. God bless you on your new journey from abuse!

            • Ha LadyStrange – -mine took his phone into the bathroom with him when he showered. And into the toilet. Placed it face down beside him while he was on the computer. Slept with it on the charge 10cm from his head – so that if I pulled it off the charge when he was asleep it would make that loud Apple beep and wake him up. I’m always awake later than him but he’s a very light sleeper.

              The phone behaviour was actually the only red flag I noticed before D-Day. Afterwards I noticed there were more, but the phone attachment was SO obvious. Can’t believe I never dug further. Blind trust will do that I guess.

              • Sick, isn’t it? I don’t think people really believe me as to the shit he was doing with that fucking phone. It WAS HIS LIFE!!! It was fucking pathetic. I’ve found a few people who know what I am talking about. Would yours get up in the morning, shut the bathroom door and stand in front of the door checking his phone? It wasn’t like I could still see his fucking feet under the door….

              • Yes LadyStrange…he did the same. AND he showered with it… I couldn’t figure out why OF A SUDDEN the shower WALL had a massive rust stain I would have to scour with baking soda at least twice a week to just keep it at bay…never before in the 7 years after it was installed UNTIL texting his ho CONSTANTLY became a need…yep…turned the shower head toward the wall to keep his phone from getting wet…figured that one out after the police took him out of the home for beating me…

                UGH! …immature children ruining lives for what?

                …that’s what satan has left now…he can scour his own fucking shower!

              • X-hole ALWAYS took his phone in the bathroom in the morning. Pretty sure I figured out that’s where/when he was getting his porn fix and sexting. Pathetic asshole. Hope his dick quits working.

    • I think the thing that society doesn’t recognize, and I certainly didn’t recognize, is that cheating is abusive. I’ve even mentioned this to friends who look at me perplexed and say “well, he didn’t hit you.” But my gut told me it was abuse before I could put a name to it. Reading that I had a part in his cheating on so many different “save your marriage” sites caused me to blame myself even more. So in addition to being abused by him, I abused myself!

      When I was growing up, girls who were raped were accused of “asking for it.” The victim was put under more scrutiny that the attacker! It’s taken decades to turn that thinking around. It’s time for the narrative around cheating to turn around as well. Chumplady wasn’t around when I was trying to figure out what to do about my husband’s behavior. I often wonder how my feeling empowered instead of at fault could have changed the dynamics of my marriage?

      • Yes, cheating IS abuse. Keep educating your friends about it, it’s not fair to us that it ever gets minimized. I also believe it’s one form of domestic violence. In my case, he used several types of DV, including holding me down, preventing me from leaving the house, taking my money, and then deceiving me for years with lies about infidelity. Cheating and hiding it may not be accepted to be DV, but as we all know, they are stealing your health and happiness from you, and attacking your mental health!
        That’s an interesting thought- how would the relationship have changed if the Chump felt empowered? Who knows, but what we can do is empower ourselves now. I forgive myself for being young and naive, and putting him on a pedestal.

        • I completely agree. It is definitely abuse. The fact that so many of us have PTSD shows that it is VERY serious abuse. Tell anyone who will listen to you that it is abuse and we will slowly change the world’s understanding of this.

      • Yes Lyn,
        For over three decades I thought something was wrong with me because I couldn’t “let it go.”
        I now know it’s ok that I’ll never forget.
        It’s not on me !

      • I hear you Lyn, so much “he didn’t hit you” nonsense! It used to drive me nuts!

        But now I counter with “yeah, he never hit me, instead he exposed me to an SDI that can turn into cancer.” And then I walk away, because “friends” who try that kind of mindfuck clearly don’t deserve any more of my attention.

      • The thinking about victim-blaming with rape is still apparent, these days. It makes me fucking sick.
        Not to mention the people who spew out frivilous lawsuits to implicate people into having done that stuff, too. Its fucking disgusting, both sides of that coin.

  • I just re-read parts of Dr. Simon’s book, “Character Disturbance…” The world constantly presumes to graft a heart and soul onto these disordered individuals, claiming that their pain and “neurosis” caused them to cheat, to lie, to steal, to risk the lives of their spouses, to risk the welfare of their children. But it is simply not the case. They are not wired like us. They do not hurt others out of their own weaknesses or pain they suffer. They are not in denial or acting out due to a human reaction to how they FEEL. They are fundamentally different in how they THINK. They hurt others because they can, because they want to, because they do not care, BECAUSE THEY LACK EMPATHY AND LOVE AND HUMAN COMPASSION. These are not hurting insecure little children, these are sociopathic freaks of nature. So when the going gets tough, they are nowhere to be found. Hell, their pathology CAUSED THE GOING TO GET TOUGH in the first place.

    It’s that simple.

    • Exactly Kelly!

      sad satan decided he wanted to wreckconcile he TEXTED me, ‘…maybe we can find the old you…the one that smiled.’


      …I didn’t even bother trying to explain to the idiot that it was his choices and actions that took the joy out of my life…wiped the smile off my face…surgically removed the laughter from my heart…along with my heart…


      These people deserve what happens next to them…

      • Oh God Jeep. What a supreme douche lord! No matter how educated or smart they are in some ways, they are such logic twisters that they are actually really dolts. Some of the things ex said to me after being busted were literally jaw dropping. It would take me time to process, and I would often think to myself afterwards, *could he possibly have just said that to me?!?* Such a mindfuck. Not to mention, he was gaslighting me like crazy, so I was already disoriented by his double-speak.

        I once told my cheating ex that by lying to me, he had stolen from me. He was truly puzzled. He asked me “How so?” My response was akin to “Seriously? You don’t understand that statement on its face?!?”

        The last time I ever spoke to my ex, I told him that he had stolen all the joy in my life too, and that was the one remark that seemed to spark even a smidgen of recognition from him. It wasn’t the steady weeping to the point where I would often end up gasping for air, it wasn’t the constant begging for the truth or the “why” of things, nor was it me telling him that he had humiliated and dehumanized me by his actions that made any lightbulbs flicker in his head. His response was “Your mind goes to the darkest of places. The depth of my deception isn’t nearly as bad as you think.” OH REALLY! Shameless!

        I was just like you in that I got to the point that trying to explain the most basic constructs of human decency and emotional intelligence were futile endeavors.

        • Yes Blerg, once you realize it really doesn’t matter how YOU feel, or WHAT you say, as long as you don’t CATCH ON to the reality of what they are doing it gets a whole lot easier to just turn and WALK THE FUCK AWAY cause it will never end for you till you do…they will NEVER change and they really don’t want too. That greener grass will FOREVER beckon. Let em have it I say! Committed forever love isn’t in their vocabulary or their make up.

          They lost the best 😀 have fun wading through the rest WITHOUT US for cover!!!!!

      • Yep Jeep – we were married to the same asswipe. OMG – what a loser. Something my dingbat would say.

      • Jeep–mine did the same thing! “I want the old, joyful Tempest back.” Too f’ing bad–you slaughtered her, and bitch-Tempest has been resurrected in her place.

        • 😀 LadyStrange and Tempest we are so FLIPPIN MIGHTY!!!!

          And these ASSWIPES are, apparently, a dime a dozen!!!!!

      • Good grief Jeep, I heard a variation of the same crap “why can’t you be that nice Stevie? I’d still be there.” Sent the text to CL last winter and she put it through the UBT, it’s in the archives and pretty entertaining. It’s how I found my way here, I only wish I had found CL and CN sooner…way sooner. Could have pulled my head out of my ass and stopped the dancing and mindfucking immediately instead of making such a fool of myself.

    • Awesome Kelly! So very true. Going to pick up that book. Just finishing “In Sheep’s Clothing.”

  • I think some of this PHD idiots spent so much time getting their PHD they never lived their life and make a bunch of assumptions on experiences they never had but only read about other books.

    Oh wait they did a bunch of studies and tests, really???? How do you survey and test infidelity? The Narsacist??? Do you really believe he will answer your survey questions honestly?

    Hmm I can see the questionare now

    – Did you cheat on your x-wife because of arguing?
    — (Attorney if present) OBJECT LEADING THE WITNESS
    — (The cheater) Umm sounds good to me, helps blame shift

    Narsacist will never answer a survey like that honestly. You have to be part of it. The PHD idiots who wrote that need to be there and look at the entire scenario and not a stupid survey.

    Sometimes people spend so much time getting an education that they come out with no common sense.

    • Plus hello-Cheaters lie all. the. time! If their lips are moving, they’re lying. Why would they suddenly stop lying to answer a survey question honestly? That would ruin their impression management wouldn’t it?

    • Lothos,

      In defense of (some) PhDs, having spent many years in one (in psychology), I can tell you that some are much more logical and ethical than others. I am greatly disappointed in today’s quote of the Gottmans. I used to think that they were fairly methodical and, as such, enhancing society’s understanding of social science (psychology). , I have not read the passage that contains today’s quote from the Gottmans, so I cannot comment on the Gottmans’ work as much as I would like. (When I get a ‘break’ from my job search, I will try to read the work containing this quote.) The quote does not address some key points.

      First, I believe, based on anectdotal evidence, that a lot of chronic adulterers were doing dishonest things before they got married and quite likely were not committed to keeping their vows once they got married, even if they and their spouses were happy when they got married. I don’t know whether the Gottmans determined how committed each spouse was to staying faithful at the onset of the marriage.

      Second, although I applaud any researcher, psychotherapist, etc. for trying to determine why the adulterer cheated in any particular case, the adulterer did wrong. He or she should be judged for breaking a vow, especially when done repeatedly and done with various types of abuse (physical, emotional, financial). Some of my colleagues study violent offenders. They want to know why these offenders commit crimes. While they might feel some compassion for the offenders, they don’t give offenders a ‘free pass.’ Neither should the Gottmans.

      Third, the Gottmans, at least in this quote, do not address all the adulterers (like mine) who repeatedly ‘hook up’ with prostitutes and other people they don’t know or barely know, in spite of purportedly (until they are caught in the act) being very happy in their marriage.

      • I get it!

        I do have Bachelors degree and did it in 3 years. I never went for a Masters or PHD because in my field the only reason to get those kinds of degrees is to become a professor.

        I have met some brilliant people with PHDs but there is an extremely large percentage of them that are just book smart. You put them into real life situations (work or personal) and the lack any common sense or are just simply book smart.

        The guys that came to these conclusions make some assumptions that are not possible before their test cases/surveys began. Their first assumption is all parties will be honest and the truth is that people who commit infidelity would never be honest with this kind of test/survey. Even if under anonymous they would never do it. I am speaking here from experience of course. My X-Wife was so determined to cover her adultery that she took me to court twice under false protective orders and accused me of abuse, rapping her and molesting our daughter. All of this to cover up her adultery and still to this day swears up and down these things happened even though my daughter says they never happened and a friend of mine who lived with us half our marriage testified he never saw anything to lead him to believe that was taking place. At one point she accused me of calling and threatening her around the clock and even when physical evidence (phone records) proved she was lying she continued to say it was happening.

        Narsacist will continue to lie indefinitely, even to their grave, despite all evidence to the contrary as long as telling the truth will provide no potential benefit to their position. The only way to get them to tell some form of the truth is to provide them some benefit to do so.

        Through my 13 years of marriage I learned this trick to sometimes getting my X to tell the truth by enticing her with some form of a treat. She had lied so many times over the 13 years that it was just time before she took it to the level of infidelity.

        Those gentleman need to rethink their perspective on adultery and perhaps look at it from a more simpler form. Narsacist are like children when you break down how they act and re-act. Their goals are based on cost vs reward (kibbles). If the reward outweighs the cost they will do it. Normally people weight morality vs immorality and base their decisions off of that. Sometimes people will do immoral things for the greater good but the foundation of that decision is still based on their morals and principles and not about cost vs reward.

        • Lothos,

          I feel much of your pain. My cheating (male) STBX accused me of attempting to sexually assault him and molesting our youngest child. The public accusations (as far as I know) started the day he filed for divorce and filed a restraining order against me. (He asked the Court to require me to stay at least 100 feet away from our children at all times. Fortunately, his request was not granted.) Some people will go to any length to justify evil behavior.

  • I’m lovin this! Tracy!!!! I’m IN!

    I am tired of being blamed for satan’s choices! A real, compassionate human being would have had the courage to have an adult conversation BEFORE starting a RELATIONSHIP outside of our marriage. NamedforVera is correct – Yet we still get handed the end bill, and blame for a cheaters unending narcissism and cowardice. Fuck all that noise!

    Cowardly, entitled, disordered soul sucking vampires…they should have to wear signs…

  • Hey Tracy! Took your advice. Just pre-ordered your (Kindle-Version) book!

    Loved that advice from you to “get out of the CL ghetto.” Exactly what your blog is all about……Getting well and then getting back to life.

    Only with your help & the advice and suggestions of all these amazing, authentic people who have shared their insights (and links to other resources!) here at Chump Nation have I gotten this far, this fast.

    Then, take what we learn here & educate others. Which I have done, when I can. Many do not want to hear it. Too many are stuck on the ‘shared responsibility’ crap and cling to it like a life-jacket.

    And then, in turn, contributing our wisdom and insights to all the newbies that end up here, just like everyone did for me when I showed up here almost 2 years ago.

    Poo on pretty much all the ‘experts’, including the Gottman’s, with their clueless suggestion to ‘suspend moral judgement’! Say what?! People pay money to be advised to put their high moral standards aside, the very concepts that distinguish us from the plant and animal life?! Are they serious?! Have they been hanging out with Esther Perel?!

    Even though I had already left cheater-pants when I discovered you, having all this information I had never read before rocketed me forward faster than anything else I had learned prior! It was here that I really got the tools & skills to do the best part—-Gain a life!

    (Now I just need a divorce!)

    Love you and Chump Nation! I think I am on the other side of Tuesday!

    Forge on, all……ForgeOn!!!!

    • One point in defense of the Gottmans (granted I haven’t read the passage in question either) – is it possible they’re calling on therapists to suspend the kind of outspoken judgement that will make the cheater leave therapy never to return?

      Many therapists see doing whatever it takes to keep both partners in the room as the greater good vs. no treatment at all.

      Not that they’re right, but that there’s a somewhat principled reason they might think they’re right.

      • Cheaters aren’t fucking timid forest creatures. They need to be accountable to all the consequences, not because their entitled prick arse can’t handle it. How does the saying go: “If you don’t like the fire, stay out of the kitchen then?”

        • Every single choice asswipe made he alone made and then blames the consequences on could a, would a, should a and of course everyone but himself, should have never gotten married, should have never had kids, yada, yada, yada. Choices he made and now regrets?! How different and better and financially rewarding his life would be if he didn’t do what he did. What an asshole. I’ve grown weary of over the years listening to how much his life sucks! Instead of the joy of being a father and picking a great wife and mother the second time around, if I didn’t have you guys in it I would have lots of money. Really fucking assholes the lot of them. Crazy fucking stupid old men assholes spit out this shit. And he says this shit in front of the kids. Makes them feel really bad. Now what do the fucking therapists say about that shit?

          • Yes. I heard the same bullshit. And I’m the one who made the $. So pissed. Should have left him six years ago when I found about Svetlana. Instead? Pathetically, I did the Nutcracker of pick me dances.

  • People who are outside of a relationship, looking in, can’t be expected to see things exactly the way the people who live with the relationship do. Haven’t you ever seen a “couple” in a store or a restaurant, and watched their interactions and thought “Thank God I don’t wake up next to that, every morning!” We don’t know anything about the history between them, or why they are acting the way they are — we just see ugly and recoil.

    I think counselors look for causality and make assumptions based on their previous experience. They are not always provided truthful data to analyze, either. I know my spouse lied to the counselor, and tried to curry favor by using charm and humor. He used the same crap on me when we were dating. I fell for it, why would the counselor be immune? Really, how realistic are we to expect a counselor to fix a situation that has reached epic proportions of lies and deceitful behavior? Counseling for couples may sound like a good idea, but I have my doubts about it’s overall effectiveness — for any problem. If the communication is shut down, and the poison gas has already been disseminated, there is little hope of conciliation. There is no winner there.

    Why do we care whether or not the counselor assigns blame, any way? What actual good will it do? So my spouse finally admits he is a cheater — a serial cheater, even. What then? We look for justice where there is none. We want to be vindicated in the court of public opinion, but really, no one cares but us.

    If you seek counseling, my advice is do it for yourself. Fix you. I don’t know a single soul who doesn’t have problems. Maybe you just need to work on your self esteem so that you have the strength to leave. Maybe you need to work on your logic and planning skills so that you can plan how to leave without devastating the whole family. Maybe you just need a safe place to cry. Whatever you need help with, seek it and build yourself up. You need to be “MIGHTY” to get to MEH.

    If you are sick, you go to the physical doctor to seek a cure. Sometimes you are told you have an incurable disease. Sometimes you are told you need surgery to cut the bad stuff out. Maybe neither is what you wanted to hear — but at least you know. I would expect nothing less from a marriage counselor.

    • “Why do we care whether or not the counselor assigns blame, any way?”

      Because the narrative around infidelity matters. Blameshifting matters. To have the internal fortitude to question abuse and not be a chump is set back when the Powers That Be tell you it’s no big deal and you brought it on yourself.

      • I suppose you can tell the counselor that you think they are full of it, or you can vote with your feet and walk out to find another counselor. I am not saying that you should believe what the counselor says — you just consider what they have to say or observe. I’m just trying to say that the counselor ultimately will not be in your life. You go in and you pay for their time and advice, but it may not be good advice. You have to make the decision as to whether it works for you or not.

        I love what you do — speak the truth loudly and repeatedly and effectively. It does have value, just as this forum has value because a support group provides a safe haven for those with a common enemy. I suppose I am just enough of a rebel not to believe in the “Powers that Be”. So the counselor’s opinion was helpful, or not, but ultimately the counselor did not “fix” anything for me, and certainly did not change anything my spouse had done or would continue to do in the future. He used the counseling to buy more time to eat cake. If the counselor scored any direct hits with observations, he deflected them and accused me of “bonding” with the counselor against him. He certainly did not care what the counselor thought. If the counselor had assigned blame to me for his cheating, I would not have cared what the counselor thought, either.

        I was the one whose opinion mattered. I had to decide how to live my life and what I could abide and what I could not abide. I may have found some support from counselor’s over the years, but ultimately I was the one who had to save myself. For me, believing that someone else will actually save me is unrealistic. When you offer advice, it resonates for me — I respond to your truth, because I know it is right for me.

        I don’t believe I bring things on myself, when they are things I cannot control. If someone wants to punish me for having brown eyes instead of blue, I think they are a loon. At some point, you have to figure out how to stop listening to the LIE. When you stop internalizing the LIES you have been told, you change your life.

        • I agree in principle, Portia, but we are social creatures. Most of us are at least partly dependent on what other people think, and their opinions can have a;tremendous impact when we are at our most vulnerable. Therapists need to be brought up to speed on infidelity and stop blaming the victim.

          • I respect you both, and I will not disagree. A therapist should not blame the victim. May I be allowed to warn chumps that all therapists do not do what they are supposed to do, and they need to protect themselves from those who give faulty advice by following what they know to be the truth. Do not trust others blindly.

        • I understand your point – and it does work for those who’ve seen the light. But, my example is that very early in my marriage, I found makeup on stbx’s collar. He swore up and down it was mine. It was not likely, but still plausible. Plus, he included massive tears and expressed how much he loved me and the kids and that he would never do such a thing. Ahhhh, the lies were so believable!

          But we sought counseling (we also had some issues with him allowing his family to disrespect me … I had no idea this was a red flag!). Not only did my husband make the counselor believe it was my makeup on his collar, but that I was to blame for making his family upset. The counselor read me the riot act about being overly jealous and too sensitive.

          Why would my husband, who swore to love and cherish me forever say such things if they weren’t true? And now … Why would an objective, third party lie to me? With them BOTH telling me this crap, I fell for it. I became extremely determined to fix ME.

          I spent another two decades with the lies and deceit, never realizing them for what they were. Rather, I blamed myself for two more decades. He was unhappy? My fault. We didn’t have enough money? My fault. I wasn’t successful enough? My fault. I was too successful and made him feel bad about himself? My fault. The house wasn’t clean enough? My fault. The kids were too noisy? My fault. I owned the shit out of my husband’s blame as well as our therapist’s blame.

          I don’t fully blame the therapist, of course … he didn’t make the vow to me! However, his status as a professional and an objective third party gave him authority in my young, very naive eyes. Thus, by default, he furthered my husband’s lies. He gave them credence. He gave my husband MORAL standing for his lies. So, the above article is important — the position the therapists take is important — because it does cause extra devastation for those chumps still caught in a mindfuckery of lies and gaslighting.

      • The powers that be tell you you brought it ion yourself.
        If a counselor does not have the exoertise in any area they are bound to make a referal for someone qualified. To tell a victim of abusd they participated shuts down communication immediately and furthers the abuse which involves power and control.

        We walk in with the expectation a counselor will do NO HARM and they DO have to follow a code of ethics. If I do not have expertise in a particular clinical area within my profession I am bound by a code of ethics to state this and make a referral to someone who has this expertice.

        I have done this many, many times.

    • “Why do we care whether or not the counselor assigns blame, any way? What actual good will it do?”

      My experience is that counselors do not assign blame. They are generally vested in improving the marriage (or perhaps enabling a smoother separation, should the couple choose that path.).

      And I believe that can also be why marriage counseling might not be the most honest approach to dealing with actual circumstances.

      Although it would be interesting to see a counselor that explicitly blames the cheater and makes them do the heavy lifting and rehabilitation. But I’ve never seen a counselor to that. And if they did, I doubt the cheater would return.

      I would love to see a counselor that really audits the actual circumstances of the marriage prior to the affair, and then lays out a plan for the cheater: “Thou must write weekly letters of apology. Thou must go weekly to the therapist chosen by the betrayed. Thou must do 60% of the incoming earning, 60% of the parenting, 60% of the house cleaning. Thou will forgo golf trips with the guys or GNOs (girls/guys nights out). The betrayed gets to control how many is spent for 12 months. The betrayed is entitled to sex when they want it. Thou must tell the betrayed weekly that you love them so much that all this hard work is worth it, because you are so sorry and will forever more put the betrayed first. If you can do all these things for a year, then we will start addressing the betrayed’s shortcomings in addition and then truly start improving the relationship”

      Now in some circles based on evolutionary biology, the phrase “attraction is not a choice” is thrown around quite a bit as an affair justification mind fuck. So if the cheater truly believes that, then simply divorce the betrayed with a fair settlement and move on.

      • Yes, Buddy. Way to spell it out! Something akin to Restorative Justice is required here.

        Therapists see their role to be non-judgemental, thus not assigning blame. But this is domestic abuse and a restorative approach would recognize the necessity for acknowledgement of the atrocity, respond to the needs of all involved and set out a plan to repair the harm to all stakeholders.

        Until we get this ~~ ours is not an advanced society.

        • The closest chumps get to “Restorative Justice” with cheaters is if you live in a community property state, were the lower earner, and cheater didn’t piss away the family fortune on hookers or cruises for OW/OM.

      • Buddy, I think you’re on to something. MC is intended to resolve conflict within a marriage to help make it better for both partners. Communication, division of labor, meeting each other’s needs – it’s very helpful with two invested partners.

        Infidelity is a whole different ballgame. It’s a siege upon the marriage, it’s abuse, and it’s a form of emotional violence. You do not have two invested partners – you have one person in shock at having their life exploded and the other who is trying to deflect the fact that they are the one who threw the maltov cocktail. Oh, and let’s not forget the third person – the AP. He/She is sitting in the therapists office as well. Their presence looms.

        MC’s should consider a sub-specialty such as “Crisis Management”. When infidelity is discovered, these specially-trained therapists could offer support to the betrayed and could be an objective third party that could explain the damage done to the betrayer. It wouldn’t help in some cases (with the truly disordered) but the betrayed spouse would actually get the support and insight they needed to make some rational decisions to get to Mighty and Meh.

        Think of how long it took most of us to really get that we weren’t dealing with the person we thought we’d married. Instead, we were dealing with someone with no soul who was capable of destroying their spouse, their children, the whole narrative of their married life. If we had a therapist who was willing and equipped to tell us what to expect, it would make the transition so much smoother. And, if unicorns do exist, it would pave the way for MC to strengthen the marriage.

        • That’s a brilliant idea, Uneffingbelievable. It takes a mountain falling on most of us (+ the wisdom of CL and CN) before we recognize these monsters for who they are. Not surprising many therapists don’t pick up on the subtly disordered (or those good at impression management) in 1-hour a week sessions. MCers do need more training, especially as some of them may have only had 1.5 years of actual training before hanging out their shingle.

          • Tempest, it never made sense to me that after infidelity, you go to marriage counseling. By then the marriage has been breeched (and now there are a least three people in the marriage) so arguing over who leaves the toothpaste cap off is besides the point. You’ve got a person who either wants to jump off the roof of the nearest tall building or they want to go up there with an AK-47. (I wanted to do both.) Therapists need to understand that the betrayed person is not a rational human being at the moment and if they enter MC and have a professional tell them they need to look at their ownership in the affair, well, that just adds insult to injury. There has to be a better way.

  • Right on Tracy!!! Such a load of shit! It’s bad enough that you get blame-shifting from your asshole cheater, double whammy when therapists and “experts” are giving the assholes a free pass. Thanks anyway but they can come up with plenty of excuses on their own.

    I, for one, tried to get X-hole into counseling on more than one occasion during our 8 years together. At the 2 (ish) year point in our relationship I was chest deep in neglect and abuse from his alcoholism, I was seeing a therapist through Lutheran Family Services and I finally got him to go see her with me. During the session she stated the OBVIOUS to him about his inappropriate friendship (something any NORMAL adult would know without HAVING to be told) and he refused to go back because she “attacked” him and sided with me.

    One year before final destruction when I caught him talking to another woman HE came to me asking if we could just get through the holidays and start counseling after the beginning of the year, I was THRILLED (not for long). After the beginning of the year, and for the next 6 months I tried getting him to keep his word and go to counseling. He would NOT go. He also would not acknowledge my suggestions that we needed more quality time together, at least ONE date night a month, to sit down ONCE a week for an hour and TALK….. why???? Because he had better things to do for himself like golf trips, buying new gym equipment that he couldn’t afford, working out for 2 hours after he got home from work, spending his evenings in front of his iPad either reading about fitness or working on a diet or “plan” for some other random asshole so he could AVOID participating in our life.

    He spent most of his time ignoring me to piss me off just so he could tell me how I was pissed off “all the time”. You know when the asshole finally went to counseling??? When it was already over. When I found out about the “secret” phones and screen shot all the text messages he PROMISED to return the phones and go to counseling if I wouldn’t call her husband again…. he went alright. He was an asshole, he did what every unremorseful cheating asshole does… he blameshifted, played the victim, he LIED and acted like the nice guy. And of course….kept the phones.

    Same shit as always, these jerks ASSUME that the chumped made no effort to address or resolve the issues. You can NOT get partciation in therapy or desire for CHANGES when you are dealing with a disordered asshole that thinks they never do anything wrong. It’s ALWAYS someone else’s fault.

    I can’t possibly wish enough misery on each and every destructive one of them.

  • The smart writer today is not only not crazy, but smarter than the Gottmans. Or perhaps more educated.

    I will send a link from today’s post to their email address. So, Chump Nation, let’s educate the therapists today!

  • This is what I would say to any therapist the minute i met them. “I may, or may not, have contributed to problems in my marriage. So did Cheater. He/she cheated. I did not. I will not take part in therapy if you put any blame on me for his/her choice. If you use that model then I leave.”

  • When you think of the sheer time it takes someone to begin, middle, and end an affair it’s NO WONDER Marriages FAIL. All that communicating outside the marriage certainly never addresses the challenges in it (sarcasm font).

  • Hello. Yes, I’d like to place an order for 37 pinecone elves. Thank you, I’ll hold.

  • One thing dickwad ex did was try to muddy the waters with the We’re Just Friends horseshit. I think the whole concept of the Emotional Affair has set marriage back by decades. It’s tried to split cheating into Bad and Not So Bad. It’s all bad. I spent way to much time arguing with dick head whether he screwed the slut, and whether their “Friendship” was wrong. Explain to me again why your friendship with a random whore is soooo important. No, wait, don’t cause I don’t fucking care. I don’t want to be married to a whore monger.

    • “Explain to me again why your friendship with a random whore is soooo important. No, wait, don’t cause I don’t fucking care. I don’t want to be married to a whore monger.”

      This has been a help and a hindrance to me. I wondered at why it was soooo important that he keep these “friendships” for years, with different ho-workers. I am a long term chump, knowing in my gut something was wrong about said “friendships” but never following through, something I’m working on forgiving myself for. If only I had kept to the type of being of asking “Explain to me again why your friendship with a random whore is soooo important”. He wore me down and then I just would look the other way, that’s what I’m working on forgiving myself for. Oh how I lament those wasted years that I spent wondering, hoping and praying that he would change, that he would see that I was all in and that he would change. It never happened. I’m sad now that I wasted all those years, but I am getting closer to forgiving myself for believing a cruel and soul sucking, motherf*ing son of a bitch.

    • Ummm yes, same here…. “we’re just friends”. I said “Really? Sweet dreams beautiful, I love you is JUST FRIENDS? ” His defense was “friends tell each other that, you wouldn’t understand.” Such an asshole.

  • So have been interviewing housemates, and twice recently the prospect copped to having to leave the marital home because their spouse discovered their affair. PASS! And I told them I couldn’t abide their choices (and I emphasized choice) and didn’t want the inevitable drama in my home. I think one of them went back and tried to make a reconciliation. Who knows.

  • It doesn’t take much to be counselor.

    That being said, i am of the opinion that many in society, the Switzerland Friends, many families, co-opt cheating, enable and pass little judgement when people break their word

    My own experience in counseling was I referred to the OW as a Whore, the counselor tried to correct me and used her name. i looked him right in the eye and in what sounded like a real bitch voice said ‘women who sleep with other people’s husbands are whores’. always have been, always will be’.

    He looked shocked and ex was sitting beside me and he flinched. OW woman was known as a skank at work so I know he had heard her referred as such before.

    Alot of counselors are clueless and blame the victim.

    • Yeah, I’d say that too. If she didn’t want to be called a whore, maybe she shouldn’t have spread her legs to every Tom, Dick and Harry in the world?

    • What is up with these f*cks that they pick the company bike, everyone has had a ride. Do they really think that they are that “special”, that he will be the last ride???????? x found out how that works, stupid idiot.

    • I can’t see the need to show respect to the woman who willingly chose to shag my H. Why would I want to be ‘nice’ towards someone who was stabbing me in the back? If it makes me feel better to name her Pig Shit then this is my choice. I didn’t have ANY choices when she was a dirty secret. Oh, and just in case people don’t get it – I know my fuckwit husband was responsible for his behaviour!!!!!

  • ChumpNation. I am a counselor and know the Gottman’s work well. Here is the problem, Gotten talks about four elements that predict divorce at 94% (I believe that is right). Stonewalling, criticism, contempt, defensiveness. Well most letters here noted that wives tried to talk to husbands but they are very defensive, they are not the problem. Criticism and defensiveness is, cheaters character. The Gottmans cannot have it both ways, side with the cheater and blame the wife when stuff started way down the road about character. I was cheated on. It hurts like crazy and at least there is one counselor out there that never blames the chump. I had a woman in my office that was beaten repeatedly as a child. She has PTSD and was told over and over that she had bad Karma. She is from India and was told that when she was 7 years old she got beaten because of her Karma. Thank goodness for EMDR and her brain was able to flip to, “You mean it was not my fault?” “I do not have bad Karma?” NO NO NO it is not your fault. I was married for 34 years and loved him very much. I know character matters in a marriage on both sides. “I shall not commit adultery” is there for a reason.

    • And Gottman does not distinguish between defensiveness of the less-invested partner, vs. defensiveness of the partner who is constantly subject to contempt & criticism.

      I was moderately defensive in my marriage because I was often blamed for stupid, minor things. Until the night I was blamed for a dog whining because he wanted to play. Then-H said, “It’s because you spoil them too much!” My defensiveness left me that night, and I merely said, “Fuck off.” D-day was a week later (or as I call it, Liberation day).

      • Oh yes – I was blamed for him dropping the rubber piece under the oil pan while he changed the oil in my car. If he didn’t need to change the oil in MY car…. You cannot imagine how he absolutely SCREAMED at me for that.

      • In my earlier response to today’s post, I forgot to share something I learned during wreckonciliation (the period between D-Day #1 and the date my STBX filed for divorce). I was looking for a couple’s retreat to salvage my marriage and came across the Gottman’s Love Lab weekend retreat. The retreat was quite expensive, but I was desperate to try anything, so looked at the description of their weekend retreat, in which the Gottmans evaluate the couple. If I recall correctly (and I hope the Gottmans will correct me if I am mistaken) only couples in which neither person had a personality disorder were accepted. My STBX has a severe case of several personality disorders (and has shown signs of these disorders probably since he was an adolescent, long before he and I met) and psychosis. Thus, couples like my STBX and me and many of the couples described on this site would not be included in the Gottmans’ study sample. Again, I hope that the Gottmans will correct me if I am mistaken.

        • RockStarWife – I too was looking into some ‘retreat’ for marriages. My cousin and her husband went to one down in Dallas, so I decided to take a look. Sure enough, like you said, they would not accept us either because dumbass would have to get his alcoholism treated before treating the marriage…
          -I had completely forgot abou that….

        • Excellent, RSW–Gottman’s sample is not a representative sample of cheaters (but I think he’s still wrong about his conclusions, per what I posted above).

  • I was trying to think of why I KNEW the only action to take with a cheater was to leave or throw them out although I am pro MC.

    I think it’s because of the total disregard you must have for your mate in order to cheat.

    It is love absent.

  • I would agree that my own marriage suffered from those poor communication skills. I had anticipated we’d argue–all couples argue–but I had not anticipated that XH’s anger would go from zero to sixty in a flash. My fault in this scenario was in failing to recognize that something was truly wrong. Instead, I spackled. XH’s parents didn’t fight well, so he didn’t have good role models on how to handle and resolve disagreements (his parents resolved disagreements by having one parent leave the house–oh, and I’ve mentioned his father was a cheater). I spackled by assuming his blood chemistry was partially to blame (one doctor told him he had about 5 times the normal amount of adrenaline in his system–probably contributing to his early onset high blood pressure). I don’t normally cry, but he reduced me to tears of frustration since he just could not hear what I was trying to say when I tried to explain things calmly.

    Eventually, I learned his triggers, and shied away from them. I also learned that he interpreted any differing perspective as an opposing perspective. The notion that two people could agree on X, but for different reasons was foreign to him.

    I’m sure that Schmoopie, a woman he’d hired for his department, was a fine listener. They could bond over their complaints about their shitty upper management. Most of their communication is via text. Lots of text. What she doesn’t know is that when they’ve had a fight, he leaves his phone in the car or in his bedroom so that he doesn’t have to read her texts or answer her calls.

    They’re engaged now, and I feel as if I ought to start a pool on how long the marriage will last. 😉

    Anyway, while my own n=1 supports the hypothesis that poor communication skills are strongly correlated with infidelity, it challenges the assumption that poor communication is jointly-shared issue. I would suggest that the Gottmans look at communication more carefully. I would be interested to see if infidelity is more strongly correlated in those situations where one spouse insists that his or her voice is the only one that matters.

    • kb, great perspective. Thanks for sharing!

      I think there were two different communication issues running through our marriage. The hardest for me was that my husband came from a very male dominated family. What his dad said went, and he said very little. My MIL told me she’d gone for days without her husband saying a word to her. They got married very young, and whatever he liked, she liked. She didn’t really have many interests outside of what her husband did, and she told me many times it was my role to learn to like what my husband did. That’s just the way it was supposed to be done. There was no compromising. If I was watching a TV show, and my FIL came into the room and switched the channel to sports without saying a word, that was his prerogative. That’s the kind of home my husband grew up in.

      On the other hand, I grew up in a female dominated household. My mom had emotional issues from being abandoned and mistreated as a child. She was very angry most the time, and sick. There was lots of screaming and fighting in my house. The last thing I wanted to do was scream and fight. My motto was “don’t say anything that could set her off.” In other words, I learned to keep my feelings to myself, until I’d stuffed so much I exploded, which happened occasionally. Anyway, my parents actually stayed together and have been married over 60 years. So my family model was that no matter what, you kept your promise to stay together, and you never gave up.

      Our different ways of being raised made for poor communication skills. I would bring up something, my husband would shut me down. I’d stuff it and try to learn to live with it until I’d explode. My ex would look to his coworkers for attention and sympathy. A vicious cycle.

  • My ex-wife and her affair partner must have read the advanced copy of this book, because the excuse for their affair is almost identical by what is presented here. They were just two “friends” helping each through horrible marriages, and then once they both wanted divorces, they magically became boyfriend and girlfriend. What a fairy tale ending! Although I have not read the book, I would bet that one of the 24 precursors to an affair is not the lack character, selfishness, and or narcissism of one of the spouses. Just because someone “listens” to your problems, does that mean you should sleep with them? That is such a horrible way to live your life – for kibbles no less, and these authors say that is OK. My ex-wife would always say there are two sides to every story, and, in fact, there are always are: the truth and then the load of bs the cheater wants to use to justify their disgusting behavior.

  • It basically comes down to this: The only way for counselors to make money is if their patients keep coming back. And as most here people know, cheaters aren’t going to want to go back to a therapist that calls them out on their bullshit.

    I’m sure that if people routinely went to relationship counseling with the people who burglarized their homes, there would be books by therapists advising counselors to be nonjudgmental to the robbers because the victim should’ve installed a security system and all that nice jewelry was just too tempting for the robber to resist.

    • “The only way for counselors to make money is if their patients keep coming back.” YES! My stbxh went to counseling for 2 days per week for no less than 2 years. $120 a pop x 104 sessions = $12,480! No progress, still secretive and cheating, and still gets off lying to me. Counselor must have been feeding him some really special kibbles to keep him showing up.

    • The only way for counselors to make money is if their patients keep coming back. And as most here people know, cheaters aren’t going to want to go back to a therapist that calls them out on their bullshit. THIS^^^^. I remember going to therapy and telling two therapists that he threatened to kill me, when my last child was 4 weeks old. I asked him to wait to do it so I could put the baby down, so she wouldn’t get hurt and then offered up my neck so she would be protected. Why, because I brought the wrong key? Fucker. No excuse. And do you know that both therapists said, well he didn’t do it did he. You wouldn’t be here if he had, beyond that blank stares. If that was not enough to call him on his shit, then they never would. Why because cheating, disordered big baby, man child, douchebag, couldn’t take being called on leaving his banana peels around the house, (narcissistic injury don’tchakno) never mind being called out for being a psychopath… So glad he is gone. My divorce will have been final this month for one year. There have been hard moments, but every single day I give thanks. Juneteenth roll on.

    • I come from a family of psychologists, psychotherapists, psychology researchers. Not everyone in this field needs people to come back (‘not get better’) to earn a living. Many of us WANT people (our clients and target population) to get better. Mental health practitioners are like sports trainers. Most people who hire sports trainers don’t generally see a trainer for just a session or two, until ‘cured,’ then permanently leave. These clients, generally, regularly train with their trainers to become healthier or even reach ‘Olympic caliber.’ The trainers, at least the ones I know, don’t try to keep their clients psychologically injured just to keep the cash flowing in. I know many psychotherapists, some I consider great and some I consider awful, but I don’t know of any who try to keep their clients ill. They get enough business trying to help people in varying degrees of health get better (maybe even become ‘super-healthy’) not to resort to keeping clients ill to keep cash flowing in.

      Unfortunately, some practitioners in the field have muddied the waters for all of us by acting as Switzerland regarding adultery or basing claims on folklore/their ‘gut’ instead of research. Also, according to the majority of therapists I’ve talked to, couple’s therapy is very difficult and produces a low rate of ‘success,’ if you define success as establishment/restoration of a happy marriage for both spouses.

      • But maybe it’s not a mental health issue. What if it’s a moral issue? This need not make it a religious perspective, many secular people hold strong moral values. Sometimes you have to come off the fence – adultery is abuse towards the loyal spouse, irrelevant of any rationalised narratives of why the choice was made.

        We are learning more about the brain everyday. We now know that we are seldom rational. We need to stop looking for what isn’t there (rational reasons for cheating) and see what is in front of us. Abused betrayed spouses who need to have their trauma recognised.

  • Gottman doesn’t even address the issue of the narcissist who doesn’t discover a lovely flowing river, but instead, repeatedly feels entitled to seek out and jump in dozens of hot tubs sitting at the bar when he’s traveling on business. That’s a character flaw (or mental illness if I’m feeling charitable), and there is no way Gottman can spread the blame on that one.

  • The Gottman’s make their living on a chump’s insecurities and their ability to empathize. I read this dreck early on and for a nano-second I questioned if I had a part in my cheater’s choices. It was only a nano-second because I am a logical thinker and realized I had been trying to “communicate” my dissatisfaction with my marriage to a brick fucking wall. What is never mentioned in any of this marriage counseling crap is that if you scratch a cheater, you get Personality Disorder all over your hand.

    I’ve come to believe that all cheaters have some form of a Personality Disorder because all PD share a similar symptom: inability to empathize. And if you can’t have empathy for your partner then you have no business being in a relationship. When you think about it, “empathy” is basically the definition of marriage/committed relationships. It means that things are no longer ALL ABOUT YOU. Cluster Bs are incapable of that thought.

    So everything the Gottman’s use to explain how the marriage got off track in the first place is nonsense. In reality, there was a pre-cheating Cluster B and a chump trying to get a pulse and understand how their partner can be so selfish. No matter what the chump tries to do to fix the relationship, the Cluster B is going to cheat. It’s not “if”, but “when”.

    If the Gottman’s were honest and said when there is infidelity, the chump is basically screwed because the cheater is disordered and there is no cure for that, chumps would be scampering off to a divorce lawyer instead of trying to haul the cheater to marriage counseling. There is no money in that for the Gottman’s nor anyone else who hangs out a M.C. shingle.

    • After telling my therapist some of the blameshifting and crazy stories my stbx was coming up with, she did say he “definately has some kind of personality disorder.” I already knew that, but it was nice to have a ‘professional’ back that up. My friends all tell me he is a disordered piece of shit, but to have it come from my therapist was very meaningful. She also told me to run – run as fast as I can from that whole disfunctional family!

      • The marriage counselor I made appointments for – for dipshit and I, but ended up going to alone, also told me to leave his sorry ass because he was a piece of entitlistic shit.

        • I went back to ours for a final visit after I filed; she confirmed that “Hannibal was not relationship material.”

  • OMG!!! I too respected the Gottoman’s, I can understand the break down of a marriage, but cheating rights???? ((not that that’s what they were exactly saying…))

    My many MC’s kept telling me over & over I had to listen to him and why he cheated… He had his reasons, no way…. That thinking and counseling is what continue to drive our reconciliation apart.

  • I’ve mentioned this on CL before but I’ll mention it here again. I lucked out with the first counselor we saw – she was awesome and nailed us from the minute we walked in her office. Unfortunately it took me longer to understand that she was spot on. After joint session 1, she met with him individually and pushed him to admit to more affairs than the one I uncovered. In joint session 2, she had him confess to me. Then she met with me individually and told me she suspected there were more affairs and that she was uncomfortable working with him and thought he would be better with a male therapist that he couldn’t charm. I do wish we had stayed with her because I think the truth would have come out sooner and I would know more than do – that really doesn’t matter now but it did at the time. He of course lied to and fooled the male counselor for a few months until I uncovered more myself. The he quit counseling. I continued seeing the first female counselor during which time she told me that she had previously worked with sex offenders which made it easier for her to see through him. She thought he was a sociopath but couldn’t say for sure since she’d only seen him a few times. She also told me that I needed to get as far away from him as possible. After that, she went on maternity leave and stayed out with her new baby for almost a year. I am so thankful for her!

  • Having been through almost 6 months of marriage counseling (post affair and having to pull him kicking and screaming all the way) I can honestly say that marriage counseling has no useful benefits after infidelity has occurred.

    I also know without a doubt that absolutely everything that drives the reconciliation industrial complex is the exact same things that ensure nothing gets better when you try to reconcile with a cheater.

    The cheater has to be truly contrite. The cheater has to want to make changes in themselves. The cheater has to want to understand why their character is so deficient. It’s really not as complicated as everyone in the RIC makes it out to be.

    Marriage is constant give and take with many peaks and valleys. Cheaters choose the low hanging fruit on the decision trees because they lack the character and motivation to stay engaged in the relationship once it becomes hard. The even sadder reality is that it usually becomes that hard when they start putting all their effort somewhere else. It’s a vicious cycle but I think it’s pre-ordained. Not in 24 precursors but in the myriad ways cheaters are narcissists, cowards and disordered. The questions shouldn’t be what did I do to “make he/she cheat” the question should be “why did I spackle over so many giant, foundation splitting cracks?” That’s the part we own.

    I can’t speak for everyone but if I’m honest with myself I realize there were many signs along the way that I was on a path with the ex that only had one ending. Even if I was too naive then , there was certainly nothing in his history that pointed to him doing hard work with no guaranteed reward at the end.

    It’s incumbent on we chumps to spend our time digging deep into our own psyches to figure out why we under value our worth. Here’s a hint: It will never be found in marriage counseling or relationship books like the one mentioned here.

    It’s also our duty to be unwavering about these beliefs outside of this forum. When people defend infidelity, make sure you let them know you won’t be joining them. Speak up in real life, on Amazon, wherever. That really is the only way we will get the tides to turn. Just my humble opinion.

    • Cheaters Suck, I totally agree about holding firm to your beliefs. One discouraging thing is how m
      any snakes there are in the wood pile once they start slithering out.

      My ex was a Confessor, so I had no evidence of who the whore was, and all his shit was locked up from the gitgo. It was about a year before I id’d the slut because he had lied about who she was. I also found out that a so called friend had lied to cover for these tramps. I was at lunch at work when I put this all together.

      I said something and one of my goody too shoes co workers said “why are you mad at Slut? She didn’t do anything wrong.” My response was “I’m sorry, WHAT???”. Coworker said” she didn’t do anything wrong. She’s single. She can date (I.e., fuck) anyone she wants. “. I was totally flabbergasted by this. I later found this attitude is very common among today’s single women. I never liked or respected this co worker again.

      • You have got to be kidding me! That is pure horse shit. Your co-worker is an idiot! I wonder how she would appreciate the whore who ‘dates’ her husband WHILE THEY ARE MARRIED. You have every right to be flabbergasted. Wow. Just WOW.

        • Lady Strange, she had no husband. Just a young son, and a sanctimonious holier than thou attitude. Ex’s whore was also unmarried. I don’t think she had ever been married. Also has a child and a shitty attitude. Go figure. I think single ow are that way cause they can’t maintain a relationship where they actually have to have a real relationship. So they hang on to guys who are unavailable.

      • She didn’t do anything wrong – right-o. What the fuck else is stealing whats rightfully not yours, causing drama and bullshit along the way, having a holier than thou attitude, thinking ‘its all about me’, and then likely lashing out when the RIGHTFUL owner gets justifiably pissed off that their shit was stolen?
        That co-worker is a fuckwit. And a dumbarse to boot.

    • It’s incumbent on we chumps to spend our time digging deep into our own psyches to figure out why we under value our worth.


  • I really tried to resist commenting because I am too angry to type, but alas, I failed. Dr. Julie Schwartz Gottman, should be ashamed. She has a PhD (apparently) but wrote page 170 as if it were a very poorly written romance novel. What professional, in their academic publication of a book, writes about ‘canyons of loneliness’, ‘falling down INTO the canyon floor’, ‘a lovely flowing river a sweet young woman’, ‘swept up by the waves of romance’, ‘rushing down stream they plunge headlong . . . .’.? Gag. Gag. Puke. Dry heave. I can’t take it.

    This drivel was co-authored with her husband of twenty years, who has two divorces to his ‘credit’ and was declared in 2007 (by whom??????) to be 1 of the 10 most influential therapists in the last ¼ century!!! Good grief. He is showing his judgement abilities in sharing authorship with this quality of so-called professional writing.

    The phraseology she uses smacks of cheater language. What does that MEAN? Have cheaters so influenced and impressed her that it is leaking into her publication? What is her personal experience in the matter of cheating?

    I could go on and on but will spare CN my vitriol. I apologize if I have overstepped the bounds of propriety, but surely we should expect more from people who are so highly quoted and widely respected by some. Let us speak up even if pressing propriety.

    • Maybe I missed the point entirely! Not that I’ve ever done that before. It might be 2×4 time for Virago!

      • No. I gagged at the flowery language as well. (Of course, my voice tends towards the potty mouth…)

        That said, I’ve had two divorces, but the only mantle I claim is that of “chump.”

  • I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that I was never more lonely than when I was married to my EX. In the almost 20 years together, in my loneliness I never though that I could solve it by having an affair.

    So, I call bullshit on the loneliness explanation.

    I am curious to know what the 24 signs are. IMO if the respect and trust are gone then as a couple you are done.

  • “Also I call BULLSHIT on “Suspend Moral Judgment.” The Gottmans DID judge — they judged the chump as deserving of infidelity and equally at fault. By ascribing ownership of infidelity to chumps, they are blaming chumps. You want to blame someone? You just made a moral judgment, asshole.”

    Standing ovation!

  • It’s a “what came first, the chicken or the egg” decision for most counselors. Couples entering their offices seeking help after infidelity (to put it mildly), have had obvious communication, relational, psychological, [insert problem here] issues for a long time. The counselors want to try and fix the communication issues first because they believe it’s the root of the couple’s problems.

    That and it’s the easiest thing to tackle first. My counselor explained it as a rusted-out junker car that’s been sitting dead on the front lawn for years, “putting gas in it ain’t gonna get it going again until you repair the engine.”

    I went along in my couples counseling for a while until I was done playing. I’ve gotten far more out of reading Chump Lady every day and learning more about narcissism through other sites. I learned to identify when my cheating narcissistic wife would flip conversations. Now I hold strong and use the communication tools that the counselor provided to get us back to the honest issues at hand. Like, don’t be a cheating piece of shit. And my favorite, YOU fix YOU first and then we’ll discuss US.

    It’s the best $125 x 52 weeks a year I’ve not wasted on being a chump.

    Thank you Tracy!

    • Until I discovered CL I bought my husband’s story that I was to blame, that the problem was me. When I discovered CL it helped lift that heavy garmet of shame I was wearing. It’s hard enough to be cheated on, rejected, and abandoned, but then to be blamed for killing the thing you love most in the world (your family) is just beyond hard. My counselor did say I wasn’t responsible for his part of the problems, and that he had plenty of them. She also asked me why I stayed so long in our relationship. I tried to explain that I wasn’t the only one he fooled into thinking he was a family man. I can still remember how he’d put his arm around me and tell me I had nothing to worry about when I brought up my concerns about his coworker…

      Sure wish I’d had in the years I was trying to make sense of what was happening!

      • Lyn – my pretty-good counselor asked me the same thing. Why did I stay in a sexless marriage for so long? It was a really good question and it totally stumped me but did make me look inward for sure. But she couldn’t help me answer it. Because, I found C/N by then and no longer needed a counselor. I know now WHY I stayed. Just don’t know why HE did.

    • Thank you for that BetrayedNoMore…satan did that and I never had a phrase for it…’flip conversations’…when he would do that my brain would scream ‘transference’ but…I just couldn’t get it…I would just keep TRYING to defend myself…

      And I also STRONGLY agree…Tracy and you guys have given me the most knowledge, the most support and the most healing I have ever gotten anywhere! Thank you all from the depths of my tortured soul!!!!!

  • My ex would tell me and others how we “drifted apart” and his affair had NOTHING to do with the end of our marriage. I said I will take responsibility along with him for “drifting apart” since we were married 24 years and I was quite tired of his BS but I would take NO responsibility for divorce since I did not cheat and I did not file. It is all on him!
    What blows my mind is he really really believes this as to why I am sure that the OW believes it too! They have it all justified that this was best for all, including our kids…continues to amaze me

    • Exactly why I remain a bitter bitch. Everyone needs to realize that just because X is now “happy” with his new GF and replacement family, and I am relieved to the nth degree to be free of the jerk, he doesn’t get off the hook for being a serial cheater.

      • But sadly EVERYONE thinks we should “drop” how their realationship started since it worked out that we are both better off. Let’s all ignore it and just be one happy family!
        Give me a fuckin break

        • There’s a quick way to shut down the All’s well that ends well dreck if you’ve got kids:

          Tell them to ask your kids if they think that the ends justified the means with their parents’ breakup.

          I know in my case, my daughter would definitely NOT answer Yes.

  • OMG! Who hasn’t heard that worn out line about being “just friends?” I had to hear that crap from my Ex’s Facebook fuck buddy when I crashed their hotel room! Oh Heavens NO! She SWORE they weren’t just humping like teenagers just minutes before I arrived! And that was my imagination seeing her on the balcony when I drove up in a WHITE negligee hugging my husband!! I MUST have a dirty mind!! PLEASE…. Can’t these idiots come up with a better excuse? Yes, she needed help because her husband supposedly abused her for years! Really?? Her then husband travelled for work all but 4 days out of every month! He probably DID beat the Ho because he knew she was always screwing around! Gotta just love this BS!!!! NOT!!!

    • The ‘my husband is a jerk that’s why I’m a ho’ defense. Hard to argue with stupid.

  • And by the way, I had Facebook friends. I DID NOT meet them to screw them in hotel rooms EVER! Maybe I should have?

  • I’m amazed by the amount of abuse we endure before we have the chutzpah to raise our hands and call, “BULLSHIT!” I think it’s because as little kids, we were conditioned to not shout out, “Who farted??!!” when we smelled something foul because it’s considered rude.

    It’s perfectly acceptable to call, “bullshit” on so-called “experts.”

  • Hey guys, CORRECTION. Jane sent me this letter, not NamedForVera.

    Inbox confusion. Great letter and I misattributed email with screen name. For future reference, when you send me a letter, sign with your screen name. Thanks.

  • I want to give a shout out to my therapist who told me within the first hour that he was an ASSHOLE, and his actions were those of a NARCISSIST. He went on tosay that I NEEDED to divorce him and file immediately. Staying with him would kill me and he never respected me. 1st session.! He also said I had Stockholm Syndrome. He literally saved my life.
    Point being, find someone who understands cheating as ABUSE.
    It took me seven weeks to process until I filed. It was the BEST thing I’ve ever done for myself. He also recommended finding a blog rather than seeking revenge (hehe). This is where I landed. Words are powerful. Reconcilliation with cheaters prolongs pain. Still weighing in on never reconciling with anyone who cheats.

  • I can write a book that appeals to a segment of the population that is vilified and usually silent. MY book will be an instant hit with them and they will hold up MY book as a defense to the names they are called; MY book will be bought, discussed and compared to previous books on the same subject. Therapists will always want to appear fair and consider all opinions expressed in MY book as long as it leads to opening a dialogue between people in a relationship. MY book might make me a wealthy celebrity. What’s MY book about? It doesn’t matter, I just need people to buy it.

    • Hey Justin, if you can write a book that is an instant hit, more power to you. Getting published is an absolute cake walk.

      • And if this is thinly veiled sarcasm at me — yeah, what my book is about does matter. To me and the people who read this blog anyway. If you think I spend hours each week for years, and $175 a month to host a site, and put up with trolls, and site moderation, and fresh content, and endlessly baffling WordPress plugins because I don’t give a shit and I want to be a celebrity? (As a squidgy middle aged woman with weird hair — ye-ah…) — I think there are far easier ways to make little to no money.

        I’ll let you know when I get rich on chump pain, okay?

        • Youare the best,Cl. I just wanted to say goodbye to many of the posters I enjoyed, Tempest, Nomar, and others.
          The male bashing has just gotten to be too much for me.
          I am not less evolved. I detest domestic violence from either gender. I support equality.
          When I first came here, years back( I think I was one of your earliest) there was nowhere near this much hostilty toward men.
          I am apalled at the male bashing from some.
          I hope everyone heals. Hearing all this bad stuff about my gender, consistently, has just been too damaging.
          I raised my boys virtually alone. I financially support my Heroin addicted son while he triex to recover. My 1k is gone from this.
          I see my Down Syndrome son and take care of him. I hold doors for men and women equally. I do not discriminate based on gender.
          But, we men are less evolved. No one says shit when someone makes this claim on this site.
          Reverse it and watch the outcry.
          We are all dealing with the same betrayal. Why the gender war?

            • Sorry to see you go, Arnold. And, sorry for the reason you believe. I’ve always enjoyed the comments by all of the men who have such a different perspective but have the same issues and dealing with children. I think the issue might be that there are more women that post than men, because (yanno) men don’t often share their feelings. So, I don’t know but I’d guess 80% are women here and 20% are men, and lurk as well. The more men share with us, the more we learn. I’m sorry you are feeling anything was personal against you, but nothing on this site is personal. It’s just you are outweighed by women who share everything. Thank you for being kind enough to post when you have. I have found much brilliance in what you’ve shared and, I, personally will miss you, Arnold.

              • Perhaps this is the slap everyone needs to be gender-neutral in their comments, and to call others out when they are not. It’s one thing to say cheaters are less evolved (I could make a strong argument for that one), or your particular male/female is a dipshit (yup), not okay to make sweeping generalizations about males as a group, or females as a group (I would also add some of the other ad hominem attacks on things other than a cheater’s character–e.g., their weight, probably alienate some members of CN, too.

                This should be a safe place for all chumps, regardless of their sex, fitness level, education level, or how closely they resemble a movie star.

          • Arnold – no. You have posted some of the most poignant, concise, and well written comments on this site. And funny (“get counseling for those Dysons”). I fell off my chair at that one. I am female, and although I agree with you that a handful of posters on this site tend to favor the woman’s point of view, I am not one of them. Nor are the vast majority from what I can tell. I’m a struggling single parent who needs a bitch slap and a laugh every so often, which you provide. Please keep it up. 🙂

          • Don’t go, Arnold. Your viewpoint is a valuable one, and very necessary. I think almost everyone is cognizant that there are both male & female chumps; CL is certainly gender-neutral in her language & examples. Some of the people whose language you objected to are new, and a little reality check is never a bad thing.

            Please tell us you can’t resist us for long….

            • Yes Tempest. Totally agree. I love Arnold’s posts and I, for one, don’t think chumps are just women. Maybe we can all make an attempt to keep the comments gender neutral…

              We love you Arnold (and Tempest – you so rock).

    • Justin, may I suggest these book titles/topics for your authorship:

      How to Lose Friends and Alienate People
      Trendy Ways to Fix up the Basement Room in Your Mother’s House
      How to Succeed as an Internet Troll
      Justin’s Guide to Poor Grammar
      Cognitive Abilities Decline after Scurvy

      • Tempest you crack me up!!!!

        Justin!!! GO THE FUCK AWAY! Fling your mud at an adobe hut!!!! GROW THE FUCK UP!


  • We need to rise up… because what we endured by our cheating X’s (mostly men IMHO) has been endured by women for millennium… The magic of a woman’s sexuality… and that devolves into a whole bunch of inequity and purely evil behavior. Whether women are getting blamed for rape, or whether we are getting blamed for not catering to our man, and bringing infidelty upon ourselves, or whether they are burning brides in India, or performing FGM in Africa or making women wear burquas, or shaming us for being fat, or…or… or… the list is endless it is all part of a continuum to blame and shame women and to control them. It allows society to shame us, to control us, to pay us less,moving to support our husbands career at the expense of our own, treat us like we are stupid or emotional or WTF, the list is endless.

    Many years ago, the radical feminists on my campus were espousing these ideas about male domination, which I poo’pooed. I do not now. My daughters are taking this a bit further, hostile feminists that they are… but this is part of the narrative we can change. We can stand up in public as CL has done or in private in supporting our sisters who are experiencing infidelity, or raising our daughters to trust themselves and their reasoning. There are a gazillion ways to confront this. Confronting cheating in relationships is our part of this. So stand up! Stand up for your daughters! Stand up for your families! Stand up for women who are living through the hell of an abusive relationship, that has not yet devolved to cheating. Stand up! Speak Up! Let’s change this narrative so that in 10 years, the Gottmans theory of infidelity is so ridiculous as to be laughable and even they have to repudiate it.

    • I think chumpdom is a rainbow nation. Men get cheated on too. It’s not a gender thing, or an orientation thing, it’s a character thing. Anyone can suck. Anyone can be chumped.

      Yes, there are definitely strains of misogyny (did anyone else notice that the guy who just committed the mass shooting at the Planned Parenthood clinic was a serial cheater on all these sex/dating sites — coincidence? Or just more misogyny?)

      But I resist believing chumpdom is a feminist issue — and I’m a feminist. I think it’s a human issue.

      • I don’t disagree that chumminess happens to both men and women, I am not sure if it happens in equal proportions to men and women. That being said, rising up on this issue helps all both men and women who have been chumps and it has the additional benefit of shining a light on a segment of misogyny spectrum that is pervasive. A rising tide floats all boats.

      • Thanks for defending men CL and hang in there Arnold. I’m male and suffered betrayal from my CW who reconnected with old boyfriend on facebook after 25 years. I skim through comments looking for those from men like me. Lack of character knows no gender. Although I did wonder if my wife’s change resulted from menopause and increasing influence of testosterone! HAHA!

    • Standing Ovation ringinonmyownbell ! My mother endured 21 years of living hell at the hands of my alcoholic narc father…and so yes…there I was…36 years in my prison emulating my mother role model… So YES to all that you said! LET’S JUST DO IT! MAKE SURE THIS UTTER BULLSHIT STOPS NOW!

      God Bless my Mother. I know she is resting in peace. But I miss her everyday…and God help satan should he run into her in the here after. She will hand him his balls while smiling sweetly 🙂

      …my father suffers from alcohol related dementia and recently told my sister and I how he used to get our mother to babysit for the women he DATED…it was all we could do to just breathe and just let that shit go.

      God Bless my Mother, myself and all the other women who have loved and endured these absolutely EMPTY assholes!

  • Chicken or the Egg. Pre – Discovery, Discovery, Post-Discovery, (or many post discoveries)

    YES! almost “too angry to type,” and please forgive me for indulging. Who said recently that they had an urge to beat some author to death (7 reasons why cheating was your fault) with LAWN FURNITURE!

    I look at books on my shelf – wondering how many texts – carry this mythical thread? Someone gave us (a cheater), his favorite book by Mira Kirshenbaum “When Good People Have Affairs.” What a sporting title! And sadly I add the Gottman’s to my growing list along with these that also make my head spin in OUTRAGE:

    Elizabeth Gilbert Confessions of a Seduction Addict (I like to “poach” other people’s partners)

    Esther Perel (“What if even happy people cheat what is that about? But Millions of people can’t all be pathological?” No Esther you’ve shown us – they are just “Exuberantly Defiant.”

    Dan Savage “Monogamish”

    Glenn Greenwald “Puritanical Glee over the Ashley Madison Hack” (I am not interested in YOUR marriage)

    Philip Galanes NYT Socicial Qs “A Fox Guarding The Henhouse” When asked if a cheater should be exposed to his family – Galanes says loudly, “Leave his wife out of it.. She is not responsible for her husbands behavior and can’t control it either. And his “stabs” at infidelity are “None of our BEESWAX.”

    Kwane Anthony Appiah The Ethicist “Should I tell my friend’s Husband that She’s having an Affair?”

    Professor Ronald Howard (in an otherwise amazing book by Sam Harris called “Lying.”) p 54 when Howard says “I know of very few marriages, for example, where the husband has cheated and the wife didn’t suspect it.” AND on p 58 “I make a distinction between the maxim-breakers – in other words, people who are harming others or stealing – and those who are merely lying or otherwise speaking unethically. Lying is not a crime unless it’s part of a fraud.”

    Patrick Carnes the Granddaddy of Sex Addiction other than Good Old Bill W. “Sex addiction, sex addict, co-sex addict, co-addict, CO-DEPENDENT views the spouse as “Co”…….

    Robert Weiss The Do’s and Don’ts of Healthy Dating for Recovering Sex Addicts.”

    And then I turn my gaze into another direction with increasing concern. For example, someone like
    Charlie Sheen willfully exposing countless individuals to HIV and who may be prosecuted for having unprotected sex.

    As Portia said: There’s very few “teeth” regarding defense of victims of domestic abuse in this area. In California, if someone confesses to being abused to their Counselor, that Counselor has a legal obligation to report it to the authorities.

    But how many cases are there of “Therapists”or “Professionals” knowing their client IS having multiple encounters outside their primary relationship and there is no “Duty To Warn,” an unaware partner or spouse and their increased exposure to STD’S?)

    Not one of our therapists asked about practicing safe sex. Not one. Also, I am in agony watching people I deeply care for going through brutal divorce proceedings.

    What I observe first hand with Domestic Law! Lawyers and judges unequipped or unwilling to advocate, for the victims of intimacy terrorism – when trying to divorce an extreme narcissist or sociopath in court. In her article “Divorcing a Narcissist” Tara Parker-Pope says, “If you divorce a narcissist, it’ s not going to be a normal divorce because if you leave the narcissist they never get over it. They seek revenge, and the court system is an incredibly great platform for a narcissist. That’s where they can just continue the battle with the partner and continue to seek revenge, and that’s what happens.” This is not “normal,” Domestic Law. Only then do we get to see the “viciousness with which power reacts when it is challenged.” How many times I have seen/heard someone say “My lawyer was really strong but then something happened? and then I had to push to the end myself” Wonder what “happens?” Do they “follow the money?” How many families are left destitute emotionally and financially ruined by legal costs. I’m not sure but from what I see around me it is heart breaking. And How does one find the right advocate for these challenging cases? With increasing awareness Can the issue of Unprotected Sex (like Charlie Sheen) start to be used in domestic law?

    Always thank you for providing space to VENT……

    • Tempest- sometimes judges see thru them. My judge did. Yes he has taken me to court several times and always came out worse. Been over a year now so who knows if he is done?!
      Last time he looked like he was going to stoke in court as you could see his blood vessels in his neck pumping. My lawyer even mentioned it and I thought or hoped that would do it! Lol

    • Valkyrie, I have always advocated that lawyers must take a psychology course in personality disorders. Those people are the ones who overwhelm courts.

    • valkyriemad123 I feel SO BLESSED!

      …my little 4′ something, blonde, female, pit bull lawyer incensed satan’s PUBLIC PERSONA in front of the judge…I am still in awe!…about 15 minutes into her interrogation of his accusations of my contempt of court (I filed my taxes single the first year of legal separation…contempt??? wha???) HE FLIPPIN RAGED!!!! WOW!!!! I couldn’t BELIEVE IT! I almost wet my pants I was so scared! THE JUDGE SAW HIM!!! My lawyer kicked that whiny little cake eaters ass! And the judge SAW HIM!!!

      …satan looked around like he couldn’t believe what just happened!!! WHAT! …it was unfuckingbelievable! I didn’t think anyone would ever see him without his mask but me…

      …tears of joy followed the tears of fear…

      • I miss-quoted above by attributing the line “There’s very few “teeth” regarding defense of victims of domestic abuse in this area.” Which was actually presented above by Boudica-Reborn. Jeep it’s encouraging to hear ANY stories where the legal defense “SEE’S” and exposes the “Mask” of the perpetrator, and furthermore honestly advocates for the innocent and vulnerable.

        Tessie’s story above made me weep. Few months back Divorce Minister recommended a documentary called DivorceCorp (I have only seen the beginning and it’s chilling). My lawyer friends are not in Domestic Law but I asked one to respond to the documentary – I’ve heard nothing yet. These are the people (pathological) in the courtroom who would be kings and Queens….. even of ashes….

  • I am 90% sure that the gaslighting and emotional abuse started well before the Snake’s cheating. I could be wrong, but if I am, he was pretty much cheating from day one, so what does that say about him?

    I wonder why I might have communication problems.

    Could it be because my feelings were regularly dismissed with contempt? Could it be because I was routinely accused of the worst possible motives for any criticism I offered? Could it be that I was constantly told I was crazy and irrational when I expressed my concerns? Could it be because he’d fire back on me, on multiple unrelated issues, when I had a problem with something he’d done? Could it be due to how often the lengthy silent treatment I was subjected to for bringing up anything objectionable was actually harder on me than the original issue?

    Nah, that couldn’t possibly shut down someone interested in honest communication in a marriage.

    The great mindfuck show was running before he was cheating on me.

    I never in my life thought I’d allow myself to be abused, but I didn’t give enough respect to the impact of emotional abuse vs physical abuse. It’s insidious and evil how I was conditioned to accept poorer and poorer treatment.

    But my feelings didn’t disappear, they poisoned my soul, having no where else to go. No wonder I became increasingly depressed and less fun. No wonder I felt like trying to do better was hopeless, that nothing I could do would be good enough, so why try?

    If only I could have stayed perky and fun and happy! I’m sure that would have fucking fixed everything.

    • SnakebitNoMore, right there with you. I never thought strong, capable, bright me would have systematically allowed myself to have my light dimmed this way. I have given a lot of thought lately to the concept of forgiveness and how I am not sure I will ever forgive him (Im totally ok with that), but I can work to forgive myself for allowing this to happen, and not let this experience kill that bright honest, funny faithful, person.