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A Public Service Announcement for Remorseless Cheaters

-stop-being-a-jerk-seriously-stop-it-like-now--fd6f5Dear Cheaters,

Apparently there is still some confusion out there that your extracurricular shenanigans are wrong. In the interest of members of the unsuspecting public that may hook up, marry, or have children with you, the following PSA is offered.

1. You aren’t “edgy.” You think we lack the sophistication and intellect to understand your complicated love rhombus. On the contrary. You lack the intellect to keep both your security clearance and your pants on. Cheating on your spouse doesn’t make you special, misunderstood, or star crossed. It makes you rather embarrassing.

2. Quit with your Darwinian theories already. We didn’t evolve to be monogamous? Well, we didn’t evolve to do a lot of things. Farm. Use indoor plumbing. Buy sequined crap on QVC. And yet we manage. Why is it that you blame your primal self for infidelity, yet are quite adept at technologies such as placing personal ads on Craigslist? Why point to the reptilian part of your brain as an excuse for boinking whomever you want to? When the spouse of that person comes after you with a shotgun, neither you nor the court of law will be much impressed with the argument that the reptilian part of his brain would like to splatter your guts on the sidewalk.

3. Admit that you like the deceit. Come on, it’s a high. Playing hooky is a lot more fun than getting a day off from school. Everyone there in the classroom, playing by the rules, listening to a boring lecture on the continental Congress, while you smoke dope behind the bleachers. Renegade! The secrecy and lies are what gives the frisson of danger to your affair and make it so delicious. Otherwise you would have an open marriage, same rules for everyone. But no, the power imbalance is what you’re after. You enjoy a position of advantage over your trusting partner.  They’re at home, devoting their energies to you and your home life, faithful to the wonderfulness that is you. Sweet gig you got there — and you know it.

4. Stop minimizing. Cheating is no big deal? Quit getting those puritanical knickers in a twist? It’s just a quick naughty with the boots on. Nothing to get so huffy about. Geez.

Tell that to the man who had to paternity test his children. Or the spouse who gets an STD thanks to you. Or the stay at home mother who made herself financially vulnerable to your cheating ass. Or the children who lost their intact family and get shuttled around next holiday season, having to play nice with your latest flame.

When your family reminds you of your selfish choices that led to these outcomes, you’ll be tempted to tell them they are bitter and should stop playing at “victimhood.” They are not pretending to be victims — they are victims. How they navigate away from that pain is up to them. You’ve got no business telling them to suck it up. When the urge strikes  — distract yourself, perhaps with a sparkly object like a mirror, taking some exercise, or slapping yourself.

5. Swingers, open marriage aficionados, the polyamorous — no one is judging you. Have at it. It’s not cheating if everyone is consenting and on board. This public service announcement does not apply to you.

6. No one is forcing you to stay married. If you don’t want to be monogamous, don’t be. Find another person like yourself and quit feigning monogamy.  If your marriage is truly awful and sexless and your love language is seething passive aggression — find your guts and just end it honestly. But your spouse and children couldn’t function without you? They need you too much? Let them be the judge of that. You may find that they get on quite well without you. Your partner is a person deserving of respect and honesty, not a consolation prize. It’s condescending to act like life with them is a huge sacrifice. Lay your “burden” down already.

7. This is not your best self. It is understandable that you want to think of yourself as a good person. Our character, however, is made up of our actions. Not how we wish to perceive ourselves. People who don’t care who they are hurting, who lack empathy synapses and introspection? We call those people sociopaths. Don’t be like that. (And if you are truly like that, no public service announcement in the world can save you.) You’re better than this. Please go live an authentic life.

Thank you.

This column ran previously. Feel free to comment!

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Fact is, these fucks simply don’t care. You can tell someone until they are blue in the face – but if they are wired in a fucked up way, nothing will happen. Its like trying to teach your dog how to speak Finnish.

    • I understand the frustration and anger, but oddly one of the few here who actually did bury her cheater in a hole in the ground with actual dirt and rocks; I wouldn’t have chosen it.

      If I had known the full truth while he was alive, I would have cried & screamed, gone NC, told the world what he did and I hated him, rubbed poison ivy in the crotch of his underwear, taken him for every dime I could and hoped that he and Jesus made peace but I would have never hurt him.

      I consider the fact that my life is better with him dead as an example of the exquisite tragedy that his life was and that speaks volumes.

      • unicornnomore, you’re line “rubbed poison ivy in the crotch of his underwear” made me laugh so hard. I wish I had thought about this when he was still in the house. Cheater breaks out horribly around poison ivy and has to go to the doctor for a shot. Not in a life threatening way but it’s pretty bad for about 10 days. I’ve always had to clean the poison ivy out of our yard while he stayed in the house. It would have been hilarious to have rubbed some in the crotch of his underwear and have him wonder how he broke out in that area!

      • This was in response to the genocide / murder comments that were later removed. If CL wants to remove my response that would be fine

      • Poison ivy in the crotch reminds me. I have a confession – the douchbag I was married to had a thirty hour 4 plane business trip to Asia. We were still living together but I had prove positive of his shinnanigans. OCD baby boy always laid his clothes out the night before so I conveniently knew what he would be wearing. I put itching powder in his drawers. He never knew I caused his flight misery.
        But it wasn’t my fault! I made a “mistake”. I didn’t know how much it would hurt him. I think he was overreacting. I don’t know why he just didn’t get over it. Stupid arsehole maggot vomiting thunderfart.

      • Alright then…I guess I should stop praying that he dies and that instead, that he makes his peace with Jesus…from afar. My life is better with him gone, that will do…and he will find out soon enough if his life is better having taken the road that he took.

        • Sweetz, No, I was responding to a now-deleted comment that advocated large scale murder of cheaters which I cant get on board with. Harboring a hope that God will strike him own and hold him accountable for his deeds is reasonable as long as you don’t kill him.

          My nowdeadhusband’s really old parents are still alive and doing well, I had no clue in the world that H was incubating a condition that would strike him down so swiftly. He died of the worst possible complication of a strep throat infection he had acquired a few years earlier when he was sneaking around with OW. I told someone I hoped that OW gave it to him and she said I should go to confession over that one and I didn’t.

          • And Kelly, thank you for your kind words…Im glad ideas I share here resonate with people and help. It helps me to be able to share freely and not have to edit myself like I would in normal social situations

            • “6. No one is forcing you to stay married. If you don’t want to be monogamous, don’t be.”

              I could have fruitless arguments about all aspects of my ex-wife’s infidelity with her, but point #6 here is so fundamental and hard for her to defend after her 5 year relationship during our marriage. I am 4 years out from discovering it and as the hurt and anger fades I am left with just thinking how cowardly she was to not simply own what was going on to save me years of wasted time.

      • “…an example of the exquisite tragedy that his life was…”

        Unicornnomore you have a way with words. And I agree with you, I was surprised to realize shortly after D-Day that I was not capable of harming my ex physically or even mentally. I had to train myself to stop treating him nicely. This website was my savior.

        And yes, my life and the Iives of our children are much better with him gone. Exquisite tragedy indeed.

    • Removing comments related to genocide. The goal here is anger TO GET AWAY FROM THEM. The best revenge is being awesome without them, not kill them. I know you folks are deservedly angry, but genocide is way out of bounds.

      And you all know how much I HATE to moderate comments. Please don’t make me go all school marm.

      • Wow. Why are people discussing genocide before I’ve had my coffee? Thank you, Tracy for keeping us from looking like a bunch of angry sociopath here at CN.

      • I’ve always felt our cheaters are more miserable living each day trying so hard to look “normal” at any cost and having to expend all that energy to hide their affairs than they would be if they were dead anyway! So let them live in their misery! It’s only fair!

      • I fully agree with this well written piece. I love this blog. Mine had sociopathic tendencies, it seems he could not empathize with the pain he caused me, he hated to be reminded that “he hurt me”, never did he appologize either. His rhetoric was “get over it” or “don’t be so naive all men are like this”, but then he would conveniently deny any wrong doing. It was the worse time of my life because of this gaslighting, I could not wrap my head around how someone who “loved me” could lie or be capable of such heinous decption. It kept me stuck for too long but I now see more clearly and no longer believe his fabrications. Some people are just bad news…

          • Hi Charles I stayed stuck 5 whole years, it was the most infuriating thing. I so wanted to find damning evidence and had to literally spy on him­. In the end I gathered enough information to know he was a shameless and entitled macho cheater who did not even have the courage to tell the truth, no matter how much I begged. Oh he would admit then take it back! It was hell…how about you what’s your story 🙂

            • Hi,

              I am about 6 months into a divorce. I stayed stuck for a year or so, trying to reconcile, but I always found that I was the only one trying. My ex just felt entitled. Then I discovered that she was still having an affair (with a South American dancer), and that she had also slept with several other men as well. I was devastated. We have three children together, so I can never get her completely out of my life. I’m getting better in some ways but worse in others. Like so many people on here I am baffled by her self-righteousness and refusal to be accountable for what she has done. I can’t believe that a person could really be that godawful. Like you all I got was lie after lie after lie after lie after lie . . . . I sort of have PTSD about what’s around the corner waiting to slay me (emotionally).

              5 years is a long time, but you have a lot of courage! Some people stay married to leeches for their whole lives.

              BTW, I spied on my wife too because I needed the truth. I was floored when my lawyer told me I could get in big trouble for that because initially it was my lifeline — the thing that saved me from literally finding myself institutionalized. Her lies ate me up and I was going nuts about it. She was the most amazing liar I have ever heard of. Right to my face telling me she loved me while only moments earlier she was in bed with this person.

              She still justifies her affairs, saying that they helped her to become an individual again and that I am a square because I believe in monogamy which is not normal and just a “cultural construct” blah blah blah. It’s difficult isn’t it?

              • Charles, once you get away from her, really away and no contact as possible, I think you will be amazed at how much better your life will be! She sounds selfish and cruel. Life is good, when you’re not being USED. Keep your head up ( and read ChumpLady!).

              • Hi Charles,
                Ur ex sounds like a monster! Sorry to say but she’s a real slut. She doesn’t seem to be very choosy from some sleaze Latino dancer to Tom Dick and Harry. It’s not about quality but volume by bulk lol. , perhaps she suffers from low self esteem, she will go with anyone who will give her a minimum of attention in order to bed her. It’s awful that she was so duplicitous , I guess the universal trait for cheaters is to unscrupulously lie. Deny, deny, deny…so heinous. I feel for u!

              • LOL! Charles you lucky devil to be rid of that shit. I am laughing not at your pain because I had the same mindfuckery but I am laughing at how they are all the same. They believe their own hype. They are completely delusional and trying to get us on board with the illusion. I was told repeatedly that I did not play my role. Cause you know it was a theatrical production we were in. Sometimes I would answer his questions and he would tell me that it was not the answer I was to give. I would tell him to be sure to give me my lines for next time. Ahhhh but little did I know …it was a great production! Now I star as the evil villain. He actually said to me while hugging our son on Tuesday that he would love to kill me. Asshole.

              • It feels like the ex is trying to kill me slowly, not to do it himself but in other ways. I could be lying there bleeding to death and he mostly likely would smile glad to be rid of me so he no longer had to feel guilty. Asswipe.

      • Apologies, Tracy, for that response earlier. When I posted that I was murderous on behalf of my sister, who is actively being hounded by a very severely NPD bitch IRL (this girl-woman would rival the worst which CN-cheaters have to offer) – and I seriously was wishing the bitch dead at the time, for causing the shitstorm she has to deal with at the moment. Probably not a good idea to post when I’m in that sort of mindset, heh. I’m sorry for offending you guys.

        That being said though – if all of the cheaters of the world disappeared, decent people wouldn’t have to navigate the minefield which is covert disorder when meeting new people as friends or more – and miss the red flags which are microscopic in size or can be explained away as ‘normal’ behaviour. The worst thing of all, is that people accept cheating and lying as ‘normal behaviour’ and its even condoned through media these days. Its disgusting.

        • Lania, exactly, so disgusting! They are like “everybody have their moment”, so is that ok for their “normal” moment to ruin someone else’s life?

  • Can you change a dog to a horse?
    Seriously .. !
    Same way you can’t change a cheater to anything.. They are just that – CHEATERS and liars and manipulators and deadbeats and dimwits and the whole long list goes on.
    What do you call those who will knowingly destroy their own lives and that of their family for some two timing whore? I simply cannot make any sense of it.
    If only us chumps could reach inside their brains and wash it out…….

    • Agreed. Great stuff in this post, but I fear it’s wasted if the intended audience is cheaters. But then, if it gets even one of them to get their cheating heads out of their asses, it’d be worth it.

      • Don’t hold your breath, sephage. By the time they’ve actually cheated I suspect the entitlement and blameshifting are so ingrained that head-up-ass syndrome is almost permanent.

  • Love number six. Disordered ex was proud of himself for “honoring his boring commitment” to our marriage. Don’t do me any favors, Loser.

    • Yes, this. I know that nowdeadH felt like a failure at many things but felt accomplishment at the fact we were still married. He once said to me “Im glad when I look back that I never left you” uh…dude, do you remember 2005, packing your shit and moving 3000 miles away..getting an apt, buying $5000 in furniture? He changed the rules and never told me or gave me the info I needed to opt out…nope just kept me as the wife appliance.

      • Ugh, Unicorn. Mine always threatened to leave, but in actuality I always had to throw him out. He wasn’t going anywhere. He knew the whore was a whore, but could keep up the charade as long as he didn’t have to have a Real relationship with her nasty ass.

        • Think that is where I am. I want him to leave but he’s hanging around more than ever. It’s painful. He looks like shit too since he came back from his fuckation.

          • FinallyAwake, I was the one who had to leave in the end. I was forced to put a bullet in the marriage.

            No matter how many times he told me he hated me, screwed around on me, and fought for his privacy/freedom, he didn’t actually want to leave. He enjoyed having afairs then coming home to a roast chicken and three-story house on a nice street. Oh, and to someone who loved him.

            • SiS – I had to leave as well and can relate to the passive aggressive manipulation of cheaters wanting their post-DDay cake time to last as long as possible.

              “Forced to put a bullet in the marriage” feels to me that you are carrying guilt about the end of your marriage.

              I don’t know if that might be of help to you, but here is how I dealt with that guilt.

              DDay was a most painful way to realize that my XH had changed our marriage rules without having the backbone to tell me. I have to accept that I will never really know when the marriage I had entered in good faith a decade earlier ended. All I will ever know is that my marriage ended some time before DDay.

              But I don’t see my divorce as ending my marriage. I see getting my divorce as getting the death certificate of the marriage my XH killed through his duplicity and cowardice.

              I hope this helps you SiS and CN as we keep forging on to Meh!

              • “But I don’t see my divorce as ending my marriage. I see getting my divorce as getting the death certificate of the marriage my XH killed through his duplicity and cowardice.”


                My cheating STBXW was ranting and raving about wanting a divorce, about me not “giving” her a divorce, blah, blah, blah. She never lifted a finger to initiate the process. *I* did that when I decided that she was a total lost cause; I don’t feel guilty in the slightest about it, either.

              • Hi Chumptitude, Love it! Marriage death certificate. Waiting for mine now.

                It’s till early days for me. I didn’t want to give up but he was actively destroying the marriage – at least kicking around decaying bits that remained. I really do feel my hand was forced.

                I don’t have a healthy concept of love and marriage and I had no boundaries with him. Frankly, had he not matched my No Contact with his own since November, I probably would have been sucked right back in very easily. I’m ashamed to say that.

                I do have regrets that it had to end. I’m sad it was so brutal. But I had to give up. He left me no choice. That is the truth. Maybe I haven’t gotten to the guilt layer yet.

              • SiS – Yes, unfortunately, marrying a disordered person forces us to take most of the defining steps in the marriage, including officially applying for the death certificate.

                You are mighty for being NC since November and through the Holiday Season no less! Keep forging on!

            • You weren’t forced to put a bullet in your marriage. Your spouse did that, then spent several years carrying it around and propping it up, like “Weekend at Bernie’s” to convince you it was still ok. Eventually the charade fell apart, and you noticed that Bernie was actually dead. Someone did kill Bernie, but it wasn’t you.

    • “Disordered ex was proud of himself for “honoring his boring commitment” to our marriage”

      Sheesh, Anita. I really believe that THEY believe that as long as they don’t divorce us they’re “honoring their ‘commitment'”

      Now, if WE cheated on THEM…

      • So true, my STBX was utterly sanctimonious about his commitment to “this marriage,” as he so eloquently put it. When I asked him about his commitment to “our relationship,” he acted as if that was the most ridiculous question he’d ever heard. One and the same in his book, thereby making cheating irrelevant to the equation. Ah, the disordered logic of narcissists . . .

        • Mine actually said “I don’t believe in divorce.” HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

          Sorry, but I do!

          • When I asked stbx why didn’t you divorce me first?!? He told me that “every time I thought about it, it just didn’t feel right.”

            I have a VERY hard time with his standards of right and wrong.

            Hmmm? Bending my sexretary over my desk?= THAT feels right.
            Divorce my wife?= well… THAT feels wrong.

            It’s truly mind-boggling…

            Just for the record, filing for divorce myself feels…AMAZING!

            • When I asked my cheating,lying dickhead questions, he said he stayed to see what would make HIM happy on Dday!… I said, Im sure you will be thrilled, beyond happy to drag your shit out while I am packing them into garbage bags. Fast forward 7 months….his mother is down from RI….*I* took care of her for the 3 1/2 months while she was here….always very happy…well, MIL is down, staying with asshole and puttana….MIL has been in the hospital for , etc….pneumonia, told me she just sits in a corner all day watching TV….said she is not going back up north, “gonna pack my bags and live on the streets!” UBT…..I hate when my male whore child as done because is affects “ME!!!!!.”

              Wonder where his narc personality came from????

            • Cut N Run: Divorce feels like taking our power back. Line in the sand. Making good on the promises. Finally treating ourselves in an acceptable way. We’re not doormats.

        • My X told me, after I’d moved away- You and I were supposed to bury each other.
          Hmmmm, that sounds creepy, and I think maybe he was getting a head start on that by tormenting me with a blatant neighbor affair.
          Thanks anyway, Hubby, for the offer to stay til you buried me!

      • My ex would always be so proud when saying “but all of my other marriages put together didn’t equal as long as we were together!” UMM, wow. Such an accomplishment being married five times, and then cheating on #5 (ME!) No words, no words.

        • As someone once said (I believe on here), it wasn’t a Broadway show it was a marriage. The fact that it had a “long run” really doesn’t vindicate the cheater in any way.

        • Damn, Shay shay, are you the snake’s fifth wife sent here from the future? I was only his third.

          Snake made those kind of comments to me on a regular basis.

          I take some solace in the fact it took longer for him to cycle through the idealize-devalue-discard phases with me. Not much, but a little.

  • “Go Live an authentic life”

    I don’t think cheaters have any clue at al what they are giving up when they start to cheat. The optimist in me says that if they really knew, a big chunk of them would decide against it. I think this is one of the biggest things nowdeadhusband lost that later put him in despair and contributed to his death.

    I likely would have forgiven a single confessed lapse along they way (with about a year of drama and tears) but from what I now understand, he had at the very least 3 affairs (likely many more) so that by the time he may have wanted to return to an authentic life, he was way too far in to confess and ask for forgiveness,

    He fashioned his own prison and then stewed over being in it. I remember looking at him and thinking “he looks like a guy with a horrible secret” and honest to God I had NO CLUE what t was. He covered THAT well.

    He “had to” keep me at arms length lest I figure it all out and he “had to” continue to vilify me lest his conscience overpower him…so my 843,160 attempts at making our marriage better were all doomed, nothing would have ever ever ever worked and I didnt know why…until April when I heard the words “his first affairs were just about sex”

    • I also suspected a deep dark secret from the get go of our marriage (not dating, though). And 12 years later, I discovered many “deep dark secrets”

      • Mine too. Found out he was on local single chat lines for 12 years! Divorce papers should be in the mail tomorrow – yeah me!

        • Same here on the secrets, I eventually found out that my initial hunch that he might be gay was true.

          • Thanks – I followed all the advice in chump lady’s book after trying the RIC garbage and wreckincilation for 8 months. I think I was in shock after d day. I’m awake now and seeing everything clearly. He told me I was jealous and crazy for almost 13 years. It’s nice to have proof now that he was gaslighting and blameshifting me. I keep a copy of cl’s book in my purse and refer to it daily. It’s keeping me sane…and I just keep telling myself that “he sucks”. Hopefully one of us will be moving out as soon as he reads the divorce complaint. He’s going to be totally blindsided because he cant control me any longer-he doesn’t think this sahm has it in her to do it. With chump nation’s help –I do. I am mighty!

            • Whoa. Michelle. Mine said the exact same things for 11 years. {{hugs}}

              Keep reading this board. It’s full of people who made it out.

              I was in your shoes for three years. I look back and it was a blur of one indignity after another. The pain, which is slowly fading now, was unbearable. I didn’t think I’d survive. That lasted more than nine months and it’s not over yet. The dawn of every day reminds me I am alone and after fighting so hard for him, it breaks my heart. But it’s getting easier.

              Good luck to you.

    • “He fashioned his own prison and then stewed over being in it. I remember looking at him and thinking “he looks like a guy with a horrible secret” and honest to God I had NO CLUE what t was. He covered THAT well.”

      Indeed. In hindsight, mine always looked like he had a deep, dark secret. He was always worried about his image and would get angry with me if I was too honest about who he was to any family, friends or business associates. Funny how it never occurred to me that he was running an image control con on me too… The deep dark secret that he wasn’t what he appeared was not only for all the other chumps in his life, but directed at me too… And somehow that never occurred to me!

      I remember mine saying to me towards the end when I one day, crying through tears, said to him, “You played me for 20 years and now that I’ve given up my job and life to look after you, you’re dumping me? Why couldn’t you just be honest and let me go while I still had a life?”

      His response was that he was an only child with two only children parents, and we had had no kids, so in a few years when his mom died, he’d be all alone in this world.

      WTF? So he built his own prison with me as the prison guard? And poor little sausage, now he was going to be all alone in this world… Except for the 8 or 10 12-year-old whores he was screwing. Poor thing.

      I can spit a cheater a mile away now. They all look and act like they have something to hide.

        • Yes! A dear friend of mine said her brother (married 22 years) turned up on her doorstep a few weeks ago because he’d just left his wife (and two teen daughters). Very very upset, etc, very very unhappy for years, etc. His wife, I’d heard frequently in previous years, was a real harpy and there’s only so much someone can stand, so ok ok ok fair enough sad situation. So he came along with his sis to our pub meet-up to take his mind off things a while. I’d never met him before, but as soon as I clapped eyes on him *BANG* I knew he was seeing someone else. Just knew it. The look ‘behind the eyes’ if you know what I mean. The cheater vibes hit me right in the face, despite his facial expression and body language being quite humble and exhausted-looking. Holy crap I thought. Nope nope nope. I smell cheater. Naturally I kept my thoughts to myself as I would have sounded frankly insane. Three weeks later, my friend said he’d just admitted (to wife and to sister) that he’s been with someone else for four months.

          Thanks CL for giving me a nose that knows.

          • “He fashioned his own prison and then stewed over being in it. ”

            Ah yes, mine did the same. And then when he was caught just disappeared. But I recall asking him over and over the few times we spoke post D-Day, “why did you wait till I was in my 50’s to leave me? Why didn’t you tell me when these affairs started (we were in our 30’s)?” He had no answer except to say: “I just always thought we’d be together.”

            Meaning, he never thought he’d get caught. Bastard.

      • Tequilatamm: I can spot a narcissist a mile away now. Amazing the talents we pick up on this journey.

        • We do gain things from the journey. People told me I would. I had no idea it would involve a sixth sense for judging character, but that’s what it amounts to.

          You guys are right, too, it almost smells like some sort of weird exhausted energy on them… In any case, it’s unmistakable.

          Fix your picker, nothing. My picked can pick ’em a mile away now.

      • What is it about Cheaters and their “poor little ol’ me” routine? It comes up often enough to be part of the standard Cheater playbook.

        My cheater, who’s never said anything one way or the other about his affair, pulled the “I’m all alone” with his Schmoopie. Early on in the affair, I saw a text in which he lamented how he had no family–so alone!

        Okay, so he has a brother (okay, his brother is clearly disordered), a couple of lovely nieces, aunts, a wife, her family who’ve treated him as a blood relative for over 20 years. No family? All alone? WTF?

        Then last summer, he changed the wallpaper on one of his phones to a picture of his mother, and texted his Schmoopie to show her the picture, saying, “I miss my mother. She would tell me what to do.”

        Woah! I knew he had mommy and daddy issues, but that comment elevated those issues way above where I had thought they were!

        I wonder how Schmoopie feels about moving into the new mommy role.

        • The poor little ole me, and how bad, crazy the ex is.., no empathy or remorse for his lies. A master of manipulation, can take the most insignificant event and transform it into some atrocity which would make anyone question my sanity. Now I know what his intentions are, to excuse him from leaving since who could blame him, I clearly am insane.
          Mr. Perfect. A true sociopath, it’s frightening knowing I devoted over 20 years of my life to this monster.
          They don’t change, honeymoon phase with AP will eventually fade. Sparkles won’t be so sparkly, history is bound to repeat itself.

      • Same with my STBX, Tequilatam.

        So much energy wasted maintaining a lie.

        All that energy that could have been used for any one of a million positive activities.

        It’s astounding that we are in the First World, with every advantage, and they spend their life (and seep over into our lives) on this entitled crap that is degrading, ephemeral, and sordid.

        They aspire to such a small Life experience. All STBX does is work, drink, and jerk off or fuck strangers. Way-too-young strangers. And rant about Hlary.

        I think there should be a compound or reservation for these assholes. They could all live there together. Kinda like ‘Escape from New York.’

        • Roaring…..They aspire to such a small life existence….
          Yes….yes ….yes…. they only think of their life…no one elses. They only live to breath….screw….lie….work. Nothing outside of them….they get no joy out of making someone else happy. Not even their own children.

        • Yeah. Mine always picked em young. I have a theory it’s because anyone with a little experience behind them would have been able to pick him a mile away. But who knows?

      • Tequilatamm-I hope “12-year-old whores” was a typo, because if not that is seriously sick. 12 year old’s are children, and if they are having sex with grown-ups, they are being victimized and exploited.

        • Right, sex with twelve year old girls or boys should be reported to the authorities. It made me sick to even for type that.

        • I’ve spoken on this before. He was screwing young Thai girls. The younger and more like boys they looked, the better he liked them. That’s a whole other story.

          To my knowledge ( and I obtained the whole contents of his computer), the youngest was 16, which is (just) legal in Thailand. He was paying for her schooling. He was also buying her parents a house, so even if she wasn’t of age he probably had parental consent.

          His Australian girlfriend (the one he was mainly screwing around with in Australia whenI found out) was 19. His story with her was that she had issues because she’d been raped when she was 14, so so I guess screwing a 50-something guy when you’re 19 follows on from that? (WTF).

          I considered giving the contents of his hard drive to the Australian Federal Police, because screwing underage girls in foreign countries is a crime for Australian citizens which carries a prison penalty of 10-20 years. But by the time I got to meh and left the country I really didn’t want to have to look back… And I think he was smart enough to at least wait till they were just of-age. It just wasn’t worth putting myself through.

          I had to wait till we were financially detached to go to the police, otherwise he may have gone through our whole joint assets defending himself. That would have been a huge detriment to he’s I didn’t need anymore.

          In any case, I call them 12 year olds because they may as well have been. I don’t feel bad for them. He found most of them on sites like SugarDaddy. They were trolling for rich men. They deserve whatever they got. Thank heaven I didn’t catch anything from them, but that was scary too, having to be tested.

      • When we were first married, he kept saying “you are in love with an image” …his voice sounded half like a plea and half like a warning (he was King of the mixed message).

        I thought he meant that he was a simpler man than his peers (he graduated from a prestigious Univ and the grads often have glowing careers)…he was from a poor family in Montana..I thought he was telling me that he wasnt fancy like his fellow alumni…I was OK with that.

        I now think he may have played me when we were dating but one reason he didnt want to marry was the monogamy thing. I think he was faithful for the first 4.5 yrs, but my guess is that he fell off the monogamy wagon with the 3rd overseas deployment.

        He was right…my perception of him as a decent person was just an “image”

    • “Go live an authentic life” — I know CL meant this in the way that normal people would perceive that statement to mean, but it reminds me of that narco-blogger on HuffPo that wrote a post saying that having an affair made her life better or whatever (remember her byline – “helping people live more authentic lives”).

      Anyway, having an “authentic life” means something completely different to a normal person than it does to a sociopath. The normal person thinks that means being true and honest, not only to themselves, BUT TO OTHERS AS WELL. It’s that last part that a cheater is missing.

      Cheaters on the other hand think that living “authentically” means making themselves happy. Their affairs make them “authentic” people somehow — (i.e., “I can be myself when I’m with so and so, and not my spouse, so therefore I’m being authentic”) Ummmmm, yeah sure. Living “authentically” is just another twisted bit of logic that cheaters tell themselves to rationalize what they are doing. We think they’re nuts, while they think they’re just more evolved somehow.

      Again, that Skein of Fuckedupness.

      • Excellent points. My cheater was big into “authentic” this and “authentic” that but all she lived was a big fat lie while bringing so much destruction into my life and my children’s lives. It’s all rationalization, entitlement, self-importance, and sociopathy…

        Hey cheaters – if you want to date other people, have the courage to tell your spouse first so your spouse can proceed “authentically” – incredibly simple, and, … honest.

        • Asswipe man of honor, keeps his promises, his word, lives in the real world, nope lives in lala land with the rest of the pod people.

      • Well, you know, Lost, being authentic to evil and soul-lessness is still being authentic if that’s what you are!

    • Unicorn no more, I think cheaters need us because they need someone to blame. They are crappy or/and hurt by someone before we get them and they need someone to punish and blame. Somebody else to hold accountable and on which to take out their frustrations. And I’ve always tended to blame myself for everything. I swear when I was a kid I literally used to blame myself if it rained at a function I was attending. That’s pretty sick on my part. I’ve outgrown a lot of it though. But this has been a pretty tough path to trod. I’m not divorced yet but I swear I’ve been somewhat at meh lately!! Everywhere I go I sing freedom by George Michael.

      • Kay,
        You and I were perfect victims. Like you, I blamed myself…when I was in 7th grade I remember feeling REALLY bad that my parents boat wasnt maintained better…maybe I should have been piling the teak on weekends or something. (I think parents blamed me and I just assumed they were right) So him blaming me seemed natural.

        When we were married like 3 weeks, he said to me “the best part of being married is having someone to blame everything on” I thought he was joking.

        Blame was 95% of my function. He had this mental path he could jump on in a milisecond. 23 yrs of marriage and a car door handle broke…he would mumble to himself and if I chose to listen it sounded like this ” broken handle because we have this car which I bought because we needed it for kids we have because were married. Handle broke because Im married to her and she forced me to get married its all her fault”. This rubric fit ALL problems…ALL of them.

        Since he started doing this at 24, he stopped growing up and maturing at 24, so he took a 24 yr olds coping skills into life and melted the fuck down at 40 when it no longer worked. Because of his age, it looked like a midlife crisis (which it sort of was) but it wasnt “nice guy melts down at midlife”, it was “narc asshole abuses wife as coping skill until it stopped working, incidentally at midlife”.

        • Me too uni, all my life I took the blame and I’m sorry to everyone for everything. No more. I thought I married a grown man who always stayed youthful but no, mid 50s reverts to the 16 year old brain and acts out badly. Mid life crisis, nope true colors. He has his mommy now taking care of Hus every want and needs and babies the old MSN painful body the 16 year old is trapped in. Disgusting and sickening. So glad its no longer my concern.

          • Ughhhh, gross, Kar Marie, I also had a 16 year old stuck in a fifty year old body. So appealing. What grown person wants to be a sixteen year old?? Guess that’s the peak of their miserable life, just like Al Bundy.

            • I like being fun and silly as the next person I like doing fun and youthful type things like making mudpies with grand babies but being a grown up comes with responsibilities and some serious issues not throwing hissy fits like a five year old who doesn’t get their way! I mean damn I feel my morality too. I’m 60 and I won’t go softly into that good night. But I’ll be damned if I screw people over, lie, cheat or betray them cause my life isn’t what I wanted it quite to be. I’ve accomplished some good things in my life. I will not punish or blame others for my own shortcomings like these effing Cheaters do. He was great til about 52 or so and then I saw the changes. Guess some people many people are fucked up that way. Not me and I don’t want to be around people like that. They need to grow up and get a clue.

  • During all the years of dealing with his porn addiction while withholding sex from me I gave him so many chances to opt out. If I had a dime for every time I said, “if you don’t want me, let me go, just don’t let me be the last to know”, I wouldn’t need a settlement. He never had the guts.

    • I always said if you’re feelings change or something is bothering you just tell me, please be honest. Nope lies, deceit, betrayal. That’s his mo. But I’m the bad one and the one to blame. My fault. But Asswipe has no feelings or empathy or compassion. So effing stoic and closed up. Ya know real guy, he man. Asshole. There is only black ness where his heart and soul should be. Hurting the ones you claim to care about is nothing to him. No big deal. But you know km whore juice was hurt too. Yeah right, like I care. Gee I’m so sorry I fell in love with you thirty years ago and it wasn’t her when she was 12. She wanted to meet him first so they would have been together forever. Really, stupid bitch. I am really sorry I ever set eyes on him. Except for my kids. Boy is just like him unfortunately but my girl she is something special!

      • This is my biggest fear, that my son has been infected by the poisonous vile of his fathers disordered presence. I wonder how long it will take me to know for sure?

        I wouldn’t trade my son for anything, but I often wish I’d never met his asshole father. My biggest regret is ignoring my inner voice for so long, for taking so long to figure out the truth. Wish I would have left when my son was younger so it wouldn’t have affected him so much.

        • Oh Snap.

          My daughter seems OK but my son tends to lie. I do worry about him. Having a disordered, crappy father has contributed to that mightily. He desperately needs a good father figure and I don’t have one for him. It’s heartbreaking and scary.

          • Hey, finally, hey NC.

            A single family is still a family, and there are plenty of positive role models for you to point your kids out towards, and they don’t need to be mother or father figures, just good people.

            I am maybe further along than you guys. Being the sane, safe parent IS heartbreaking and scary, but…..ask yourselves if you weren’t single parenting (doing all the work) all along?! That idea helps bring the Mighty when you are ass-dragging exhausted….

            Strength and love to all the Sane Solos out there!


    • HLMHLMN,

      “If I had a dime for every time I said…” I have spoken these words daily since D-Day nine weeks ago.

      I told my STBXW from the day we got serious 10 years ago that, “I would rather be murdered than cheated on.” I stated that verbatim to her at least 1000 times. I unambiguously made that my primary relationship goal, and I always asked her is she agreed. Her response was always, “Yes, I understand what you are saying. I too want the same respect. I will honor your wishes and never purposefully hurt you.” The fact that she cheated in the most violent and egregious manner baffled me before Chump Lady. Now I am beginning to understand. She sucks. She sucked. She always will suck. SHE SUCKS!!! We had a non-traditional marriage – no rings, atypical gender roles, and only one rule – monogamy. She was unwilling to honor that rule. And her remorseless execution of our marriage is evidence of her psychosis.

      • Yep…she sure does suck and always will. You told her what was of paramount value in your marriage, and she lied and cheated anyway. She’s the one who’s forever stuck with her lack of character, morals, integrity and honesty. You will always be Mighty…she will always suck.

      • Ian, I did the same thing. Told her exactly how I felt. Even commented on people I knew where cheaters and my dislike of them. The first guy she cheated with was a man whore. Seriously, new women every few months. Made many comments about what an ass he was. He even had a couple of marriages that lasted less than 3 months. She picked him. Now she wonders why I won’t talk to her or help her out when she needs it. F*** you slunt! You are getting what you wanted except the counting on me to be there for you! Cheaters are just pure scum!!!!

        • I watch enough Dateline & 48 Hours to know that for some of these cheaters, murder is an option! So Ian, better to know than to be dead!

      • I was adamantly vocal about infidelity, too. I had a crush on Hugh Grant until his “Divine” experience, and then I would tell now-X how repulsed I was by HG and could no longer bear to watch him in movies. And then my cheater was surprised after D-day that I told him I found him physically repulsive. Duh.

        • Hehe, Hugh is sure dreamy though. I always wonder what sort of gold digger his baby mama must be? Girl needs to be smacked upside the head!

          • he WAS dreamy; now he’s just your run-of-the-mill entitled asshole with an Oxbridge accent. Oh, who does that remind me of?!

      • Ian, I was also crystal clear about fidelity before getting married to my XH. Post-Dday, I reminded him of this and yes he remembered, and then launched into a laughable word salad. I believe he honestly thought he was never going to be found out.

        But I did find out. And because I was clear about my bottom line in terms of fidelity, I, certified chump, did not wreckoncile, and did not pick-me-dance. I, who many say is far too nice for her own good, picked myself up from the floor, and thanks to my local support system, I was moved out, had a custody schedule set up, and had taken copies of all financials and documents within three weeks post-Dday.

        I kept struggling through the divorce proceedings. The pain and trauma got to the next level when my XH invited his OW to move in with him less than 4 months post-separation. I found CL and CN when trying to figure out how on earth I was going to accept that our kid was going to spend 50% custody at their house (half a block away from where I live).

        Thanks to this site, I stayed focused on my divorce, I haven’t texted a single nasty thing, I haven’t talk to him directly in over a year, everything is via text or email. And I have finalized my divorce in 16 months. CN has been key in helping me truly believe and trust that he sucks…

        My XH and his OW still live 1/2 block away, I am working on being as “grey rock” as possible and on CL’s bummer/cool/meh comments to my kid when she is back from her time with them because I have a decade before our kid will no longer require that I remain in contact with my XH.

        New chumps, I hope you believe in yourself enough to know that you got this. If you were clear with your spouse that you would not accept infidelity, please put your dignity and self-respect first, leave, and gain a cheater-free life.

        • Chumptitude, you are especially mighty! I am in a bit of awe reading about how you have handled all this.

        • Chumptitude,

          Thank you for your beautiful response. Your commitment to your dignity and honoring your word are admirable. I will do my best to follow in your footsteps. I am sorry you got hurt. Thanks for inspiring the rest of us Chumps with your might.

          I too asked my STBXW if she remembered my monogamy requirement. Her response? WORD SALAD. I’m not sure how many of these terms we use here Chump Lady coined (I found this site about two weeks after my D-Day,) but our Chump Lingo comes in handy so frequently. I read somewhere that one of the things people miss after they break-up is the shared jokes and turns-of-phrase. So many of my needs are met here.

          I also don’t cheat on CL with other websites. They are all varying levels of RIC anyway. I am faithful! (mostly 🙂 to Chump Nation. (Hey, I didn’t make a commitment to y’all!!!)

          I didn’t go no contact until a couple weeks ago, but even during that period, I was all logistics all the time. Going no contact has helped more than anything I’ve read, or anything I said, and I learned it here.

          • Thank you Ian for contributing to this blog! It is so healing for me to read the stories of male chumps. Ah, the hurt. I posted a comment on this a few months ago. But it might be helpful to new chumps, so here we go:

            Being cheated on hurts like nothing I have ever felt. For over a year, going to therapy, support groups, and venting with my friends felt like the gentle swipe of a microscopic q-tip dipped in witch-hazel applied to some corner of an oozing gaping Grand-Canyon-wide wound that ran from the top of my skull through my heart to the deepest depths of my gut. Every time I had to endure more frustrating attacks from my XH before I went NC, it felt like acid was sprayed generously on that damn gaping wound.

            Through CL’s advice and CN’s support, I have learned to coat that sucker into the teflon of NC. I am a long way from healed, but I know that I will get there.

          • Thank you Tempest, your comments and support have been key in my healing, I can never thank you enough!

        • ….but what if you weren’t clear where you stood on infidelity for the first 20 years of marriage? (perhaps you were raised in a very abusive family) You now clearly see the line that was formerly invisible. Should the wayward gain consideration in this situation?

    • HeLovesMeHeLovesMeNot: I used to say the same thing: Let me go if you don’t love me.

  • Love this, especially #2. This idea is a long time favorite of mine.

    If you can manage to sit next to someone who is eating without punching the person and stealing his food, you are clearly in control of yourself betond primal biology. When was the last time you intentionally defecated in the middle of a room full of people without concern about who might see you. Never? BOOM, again, proof you can control yourself beyond primal biology.

    And, as CL so beautifully points out, we aren’t biologically predestined to do most of what we do all day long everyday. If it were really about complying with your biology, there would be no need to hide it. It wouldn’t even occur to you to hide it any more than it would occur to you to hide eating or sleeping or taking a crap.

    Maybe monogamy really IS purely a social construct. Lying is also a social construct. So is using non-natural means (fashion, spray tans, contacts, lipo, etc.) to look a way that you couldn’t achieve without technology so you can comply with social beauty criteria. So is drinking Appletinis. Other social constructs seem to be working just fine for you, Cheaty Petey, so your argument stinks there.

    Nothing about your argument makes lying about monogamy part of your precious biology, either, Petey. The lying just makes you a douchebag, pure and simple.

    • An argument can be made for monogamy on evolutionary grounds–it is found in other species without social constucts, and it helps guarantee the next generation is cared for sufficiently to keep passing on a person’s genes. Cheaters are rather selective about their knowledge of evolutionary psychology.

      • Yeah. If beavers, wolves and albatrosses can do it, us “higher functioning creatures” can surely manage.
        And lots of animals have very complicated social constructs, like elephants where the females form tight caring families and the males are just used for reproduction. Smart elephants.

        • Ha! That’s awesome! I have thought about that in less than a passing manner many times!

        • I think most animal species (not all) actually simply use the males for reproduction alone…. The young are cared for mostly by one parent only… In cases where there is a couple, usually they stay together… I told my cheater that I’d never call him an animal cuz they play by the rules…not him with such high morals n ethics for everyone else….

  • Love this article. I don’t believe my Narc could ever live an authentic life either because he is disordered and incapable. In the marriage, I certainly did not believe this and tried like fuck to convince myself that he was a good guy. “He is good, just having a bad day; he is good, just hurting from his mommy issues; he is good, just upset about having to work and not play enough; he is good, just wounded from his past; he is good….” and ad nauseam to the nth degree. Excuses excuses excuses. All of that ridiculous mental effort to come to the internal conclusion that was always there: he is messed up, this is about him, not me, he is a liar, cheater, fucktard.

    I take full responsibility for putting on blinders. I am utilizing a book about getting over your past relationship that a friend gave me. It’s okay and not as helpful as CN, however, it does have a section on doing a personal inventory with the intent for the reader to note everyone’s part in order to take responsibility and move on. I am really stuck on my part. I don’t want to NOT take responsibility but honestly CN, what did I do? I worked hard in my marriage. I pedaled uphill everyday, I justified his bad behavior everyday. I worked, ran a house, raised children, did absolutely everything to keep things going. I convinced myself that my intact family, the home of my children’s entire childhood, my identity as a mother, the ability for my children to retain their security was the most important thing in the world. So in a fog, I scarified myself, my internal knowledge, my insight about who ex really was. When I look back on that period, I have deep regret – regret that I did not believe in myself enough to stand in the truth. LOL has everyone heard that the show X-files is back? The quote: “The truth is out there,” rings true. It was there all along, but I chose not to see it.

    Not in a million years would my ex admit the he likes deceit because he has no insight that it is deceitful. He found his true love after all. WE know they like deceit, but they don’t even see it as deceit (note: this is a major feature of the personality disordered). I would add to the list “Stop justifying.” That’s the one thing that ex is a professional expert at. He can justify anything hence his dysfunctional behavior that will never change. I appreciate the article’s intent, but I have shifted from dysfunctionally hopeful to functionally realistic and while I still battle the anger toward ex and while I want to shake the above points into his creepy soul-less soul, it would result in nothing and ex would remain the same lying, cheating, justifying, deceitful fuckwad that he always was but that I dysfunctionally denied.

    • I will always be and will stay angry towards the ex will help me to stay far far away. I will not however let that anger rule my life. And I will never ever forgive.

        • +3. It boils down to what was discussed yesterday: No (true) remorse/contrition from the perpetrator = no forgiveness from those victimized – and then it’s still a choice.

        • +5

          I love myself more than I hate him. “Anger will not rule my life”. Hell yeah!

          • +6…..When I finally stopped beating myself over the head with the whole “forgiveness” thing….I got emotionally better. I accept what happened….I have to…it did happen ..this awful event. Forgive the person who blew up my life and his daughters over some ghetto prostitute??? Ummm…NO.
            Angry….yup..yup….keeping that MoFo handy….when I feel sappy and memory filled…like holidays….because that’s when I need Anger to say…stop that sappy boo hoo shit….he cheated on you….Effed another woman while you stood for 12 hour days cutting hair to put your daughter threw college. He was laying on his back….his whore on her knees sucking your life out from under neath you. Stop…..

            Anger….she gets shit done.

      • Agreed, my asshole ex has taken lately to wanting to be my pal. He honestly thinks now that time has passed I should let bygones be bygones. No. It’s in my best interest to constantly remind myself of how he treated me.

        Because of a lawsuit I talk to him now and then, but I only call him back when I want to, not because he demands it. He asks me why I ignore him and don’t call him when he asks me to. Part of me wants to ask him if he remembers my cries of agony when he told me not to call him at night because he was busy. I vividly recall lying in bed knowing he was fucking someone else and the pain of those days will be with me forever.

        That is what betrayal feels like. I’ll never forget it or forgive him.

        • ML–I had those nights of abject agony myself…..him not answering phone or texts and my first suspecting and then knowing exactly what he was up to. The most vivid and distressing part of the entire shit show as far as I am concerned.

          Last time I allowed the POS to be in my personal space, I (for the zillionth time) got the ‘forgive and forget’ crap. My constant reply was ‘God didn’t make me big enough to be able to forget, much less FORGIVE’.

          I don’t know what his life circumstance is right now; I don’t give a shit but odds are it’s pretty shitty. 🙂 🙂

        • Moving Liquid, lovely to see you again 🙂 If you ever find yourself slipping and need reminding that little napoleon is an Arsehole with a capital A – you know where we are! 🙂

          He’s a shithead who treated you abominably. Now he wants you to be his friend? Uh-huh – sure, cos his ‘friendship’ is so wonderful. Main question is; what’s he really after? ML ain’t got any!

        • Exactly how I feel when I cried bathtubs of tears, couldn’t get out of bed knowing he left me all alone in the middle of nowhere, with no friends, family, neighbors, nothing to go fuck his whore and play house with her and lying about what happened to friends and family and fuck what anyone thinks including me. Through 30 years of everything I stood by his side and had his back. To be tossed aside like yesterdays garbage. And now he wants to be great friends and although he said sorry not sorry often never even offered a sincere I’m sorry I hurt you. Just a sorry you were hurt by this. Fucker, no feelings, no empathy, no compassion after I devoted damn near a lifetime to him and our family. He has no feelings exceot his dick and wallet. He is just an empty shell where a human should be. A cold shark and thats an insult to sharks they can help what they are. Fir the two of them to deliberately hurt someone for their own selfish gain and whore juice thinks its funny she will find out when he screws her over hes doing now hasnt been caught yet. I WILL. NEVER. FORGIVE. HIM. OR THAT HOSEBAG HE LEFT ME FOR! NEVER! And I will never see or speak to him again. He wanted the c::t that would sleep with a married man and made sure she would have him all to herself. She can have him hes cheating on her now with two other women. 27 years he made it faithful then all hell broke loose. Guess approaching 60 made him 15 again. Asshole. But I will not let that anger and rage spill over except where they concerned. And I have no intention on being his friend. I don’t need friends who put knives in my back and seek to destroy me. Fucking bastard damn right I’m staying mad!

          • Kar Marie….you and I have similar story….My stbx is approaching 60….his father died at 66….so since 50 he kept saying I don’t have alot of time left. But you have time to find whores in bars in Chicago….we live in Pittsburgh….7 hour drives every weekend….thousands of dollars spent on her while he denied our children college tuition.
            Forgive….Eff that….never.
            But someday…..he will reap what he has sown. What goes up….must come down. And I don’t just mean his Erectile dysfunction.
            My friend is a nurse….she sees it all the time….these old dudes with younger women….she says those women are hoping they will.die on the table…. no comforting….no worry on their faces…..nothing….and the men lie there looking scared….alone…..because they ARE.

        • ML–‘cuz what you need in your life are bottom feeder friends who won’t even bother to call 911 when you’re in trouble. SMH, the lack of self-awareness these cheaters exhibit after what they’ve done to chumps is astounding.

        • ML
          I remind myself every day of what this toxic abuser did to me. That dream catcher he so wanted has shrunk relative to the size of his dick.
          My dreams are base on those worthy of my time and energy. “I want”,the creed of the disordered is etched in my brain forever. I forced myself to move on and he can dream, however I’ve gained a life. Sweet sweet life without chaos.

    • ChumpB, this is true: “I don’t believe my Narc could ever live an authentic life either because he is disordered and incapable. In the marriage, I certainly did not believe this and tried like fuck to convince myself that he was a good guy.”

      He kept saying, “I made a mistake, I am not a mistake.”

      You did NOT make a “mistake” – you planned and carried out deception and sexual betrayal and financial irresponsibility for years, not ding my car in the parking lot. Asshole.

    • During my red-flag minimizing marriage, I always told myself “but her heart is in the right place, she has good intentions” and I always believed that and trusted that was true. But once she cheated, I replayed our entire history in my mind and I realized that all along, I was wrong – she was self-serving, selfish, lacking empathy, controlling, manipulative and downright mean and abusive. In one sense, that was the gift of infidelity – I now knew the truth about who she really was, and I no longer has to rationalize away or minimize all those red-flags.

      When it comes to red-flags TRUST YOUR GUT. If infidelity has not occurred yet and you have kids, then learn how to be assertive, and live according to your values, and to deal with BPD/NPD types, and learn how to set up and enforce boundaries, and create self-enforcing systems such as weekly schedules, allowances, and carefully controlled budgets. If they don’t like it, play the divorce card and mean it. (if infidelity has occurred or if you don’t have kids … RUN!!!!)

    • Chump B – in my experience, no one book (or source) can capture our total experience. sounds like that book is mostly helpful to you, so maybe take that and leave what is not helpful?! you didn’t do ANYTHING to cause his behavior. sounds like you sacrificed as much as you did because you thought it was for the common good and you assumed fidelity. that sounds like a healthy adult.

      what I am revisiting in terms of what I learned ( from 27 year marriage that ended with XH’s 4 year affair, complete with blameshifting and gas lighting during affair years that I mistook for midlife depression .. because “he was a good man”, is to be a better observer of reality.

      I hold myself accountable to honest answers to relationship questions like: is the relationship really mutual in the important ways? am I projecting my goodness onto someone who isn’t? then I adjust my boundaries accordingly.

      btw- I love today’s post. it started my return to sanity. run it at least once a year, CL!

  • ChumpB, it sounds to me like you’re doing a good job taking responsibility for your part, i.e., spackling, internalizing, putting on blinders, etc. You learn from it, adjust, move forward. That’s a big job and you sound like you’ve made admirable progress. I really appreciate what you wrote here, it is helpful to me.

  • Sometimes accepting that you can only control your own actions, and that it seems difficult, if not impossible, to find someone with a similar set of “social controls” or moral thinking to yours, is a very isolating and lonesome place to be.
    I seems that selfish and greedy behavior might well be the “norm”. It doesn’t mean that we should find it acceptable behavior. So far the only solution that has worked for me is to find a way to live comfortably with myself. I venture out socially with no real expectation of finding a good and morally acceptable friend, male or female. It keeps me from being disappointed when I don’t find a kindred spirit, and absolutely delighted when I do.
    Living an authentic life is not easy, but it is worthwhile!

    • I totally agree, Portia–serendipity is the key thing. I engage in activities I like, and sometimes the most unusual circumstances bring a bonus of a new friend or interesting conversation.

    • I agree Portia, my expectations are low too. I want to find comfort and happiness within me. I know I will never trust a guy again but I’d like to date again maybe one day far from that thought now. I think meet up groups of us chumps are in order we know and understand and can help one another.

    • I am in the same place. I had difficulty with the isolation and loneliness I felt due to not meeting people with the same moral thinking – I moved to a new, larger city and it has taken me several years to find some sort of social circle where I can feel comfortable. I found myself at a potluck recently and one of the woman there is the OW – her lover left his wife of 25 years+ and she is smug and narcissistic – I found myself getting angry and decided to leave early. I really didn’t want to be there. I left as soon as I could without being rude to the hostess and went home. I spent the rest of the evening with my kitty, a good book and a glass of red wine. In future, no way am I going to knowingly put myself in her company again. The rest of the women don’t seem to question her behaviour/actions and being the newest member in the group, I don’t really know what their stance is. I can’t say I’m totally comfortable with them, and since then I think I will be selective with any future activities with them.
      I am comfortable with my own company, but have committed myself to trying to get out more and be more social his year. I am venturing out more, but always with low expectations, so it works for me. If I meet a good, morally acceptable potential friend – male or female – bonus! If not, I am not disappointed. I am at peace with where I am right now – sure I could do with more friends, but not at the risk of compromising my comfort level.

      • I am trying to build a circle of friends too, and I notice that I am “automatically” repulsed by any new person who is bragging about dumping her family due to boredom, or proudly saying that they sleep around. I was more tolerant in the past, I did not pay that much attention. Now it’s like an allergic reaction.

        • My nowdeadhusband has a sister who is an ass. Not only did she leave her family to become a whore, she wrote a book of poems about it (poems literally describe picking up men in bars for cheap quickie sex).

          This “book” is her magnum opus and in support of her, her dad read it…which is a word equivalent of watching ones daughters porn flicks. egads. And there are goofball whorish runaway women who read the book and left glowing reviews on Amazon. ew, just ew.

  • WARNING: Temporary hijack of this thread (even though it is possibly my favorite CL column of all time):

    Let’s face it, as chumps, we are prone to caregiving–we actually LIKED to coddle our cheaters, wipe their runny noses when they pulled a “sad sausage” routine, or navigated their social relations when they alienated yet one more neighbor/boss/family member. And they still buried a machete in our backs with their betrayal. Want to engage in some caretaking for someone who actually *appreciates* it? Novel concept, I know, but one of our long-term members, Irish, is in desperate need of small donations to help her reach a co-pay so that she can get some heart tests. Years of dealing with her sociopathic, sex-addicted, deadbeat-dad X have taken a toll on her stents (and she possibly just had a minor heart attack for the second time).

    For the cost of a Grande cappuccino and tip ($5), we can collectively help someone’s health, to the delight of Irish’s 4 children. Details can be found in the Private: General forums (as I didn’t want to post her Paypal email publicly). If you don’t frequent the forums, or have a Paypal account, but want to help, feel free to email me at [email protected]

    Okay, back to the regularly scheduled message about remorseless cheaters….

    • Tempest, I am just about to send you an email for the banking details of Irish. 🙂

    • I will e-mail you this evening when I get home from work for her information. Thanks for doing this. You rock.

    • Happy to send some Chump love and support to Irish. Thanks for making this post Tempest, emailing you for details…

  • Here’s a quote from my ex that explains everything: “I don’t have to follow society’s rules, I can make my own rules.”

    • Ding, ding, ding!! A winner for best glimpse into the cheater mind!

      Mine also said, “What? I didn’t break any laws.” Well, actually, asshat, adultery IS illegal in our state.

      • Mine to told me he didn’t actually do anything wrong because the prostitute he was meeting turned out to be a cop in an undercover sting( of course this was” the first time he had ever done the prostitute thing”). Yes he was arrested and plead guilty, so in my book he did something wrong. But he didn’t have sex so it wasn’t cheating. Also said it wasn’t cheating in the past when I found names and numbers because he “just talked to them on the phone”. Love how they make their own rules in their minds!

    • Here’s a quote from my XH that explains everything (speaking about his OWhore):

      “Because she doesn’t want to and she doesn’t have to.”

      Not “because it’s the right thing to do.” Not “because it’s moral.” Not “because it’s biblical.” The only metric here is what they want to do and whether or not anyone is going to force them to do otherwise.

      If they want what they want, and they can get away with it, they will.

  • I hated divorcing my husband so he could “be happy” with his whore, but I knew in my heart of hearts that if I let him have what he thought he wanted then he would wake up! That is exactly what happened to him too! Give them to their Twu wuv and see what happens. The sexy, smart sweet whore turns into your Ex’s worst nightmare! They soon realize that they can’t really stand the person who they have been boinking behind your back, they only “loved” the way that object made them “feel”. Reality sets in and the sneaky, secret, sexy cum dumpster turns into the “same old, same old!” This happens in record time! I had the distinct advantage of a health issue that he had to deal with and in turn he had to depend on basically a perfect stranger to take care of him. When it dawned on him that she wasn’t too keen on being hooked to a sick, not to mention a broke unemployed, old man then the sparkles soon vanished! Neither one of them truly wanting to admit honestly that the bloom was off the rose! So it spiraled into constant fights, ignoring each other, and sleeping in separate rooms! It took all off four months of these two living an authentic messy reality to realize the fantasy bubble has burst! Mine had nowhere to go but back to me. His paramour has nowhere to return to because her Ex divorced her and remarried another woman. I’ve no doubt my Ex’s paramour will land on her feet though! She was always pretty aggressive about getting into my Ex’s BVDS and not at all shy about shoving it in my face. She is a survivor for sure. Not to mention the fact that she has already met her Ex’s new wife to become “friends”! She should come with a warning label around her neck and be kept at arms length! I remember all too well standing in a hotel room after catching them at 3:00 am in the morning and having her tell me they were “just friends”! These idiots will never find happiness nor real love! They haven’t the capacity to do so! Let them go and find someone who will truly work at love and marriage and shares the same values you hold dear! These “other” fools aren’t worth your time! Go find your bliss!

    • Their twu wuv couldn’t survive 4 months of reality? Wow, makes me wish H did move in with Susan of Seattle.

      H1.0 and I had found a comfortable groove of functioning well together running our household (when he wasnt raging) and yet he seemed to see no value at all in the way we functioned as a couple and family. It was like air to him…something to be ignored.

      The idea that they will never find happiness or true love bodes out as truth for both of our H1.0s

      • Roberta: Sure sounds like the karma bus visited your ex! I can only hope for the same with mine.

    • Roberta that’s a great story, I m happy to hear the old man’s dreams of happily ever after with his new found slut was just a geriatric fantasy…and he turned to you after? I hope you told him to drop dead! lol

  • May I add an addendum to No.1?

    And it doesn’t make you look ‘young’ either. Wrinklies who hang around with people 20-30 years younger don’t somehow ‘blend in’ or get the glow of youth rubbing off on them. By contrast they look even older. And even more ridiculous. No, no one admires you for it.

    • Oh yea. Pretty much can’t go out in public without being asked “is that your granddaughter?” 40 years difference donchaknow.

  • 5. Swingers, open marriage aficionados, the polyamorous — no one is judging you. Have at it. It’s not cheating if everyone is consenting and on board. This public service announcement does not apply to you.

    Bull fucking shit- The OW whore that was fucking my husband was in a Poly relationship with her then BF (they have since gotten married and I had the pleasure of watching my husband be their best man. Before D-day obviously) the fuckwit whore knew he was married, knew I didn’t know, and still was okay sucking his dick in hotel rooms and sent him many topless email pictures. BF gave his okay for the relationship even though it was against their “poly” belief system. And they still had the audacity to call me a friend. Fucking assholes the whole lot of them.

    • Same thing here! Ex Asshole went creeping on poly-sites and found plenty of women who were in open relationships and they ALL KNEW THAT I DIDN’T KNOW. The poly community is chock full of narcs who only care about their feelings and wants.

      • Alaska and MJD, What part about this statement was unclear? “It’s not cheating if everyone is consenting and on board. This public service announcement does not apply to you.”

        The relationship congiguration is not the problem, people with no ethics exist in any of them. If we extrapolate then a poly person could say the same thing you did based on meeting a few, it is not “the whole lot of them”. And if I only read this site I might think monogamous couples were chock full of narcs. Don’t generalize an entire lifestyle by your anecdotal information please. FWIW, I’m not poly

  • Unicornnomore, when I packed my Ex’s fancy suits I took a seam ripper to the crotch of every pair of trousers! Shameful of me, I know, but I figured if he was so proud of sharing his genitals with everyone then he wouldn’t mind showing them off to anyone and everyone! Unfortunately, he lost so much weight and was unemployed so he never got to wear the suits again. His Schmoopie dumped them at the Goodwill and kept all the receipts for her own tax write off! She’s such a lovely little thief, isn’t she?

  • Ahhh, this is one of my favorite posts you’ve ever written CL. It is the absolute truth about these assholes.

  • Would love to say so many of these things to Narkles the Clown but our conversations never got past the fact that he could not honestly admit what I already had evidence to prove so I believe it would be pointless. I don’t talk to him, email only and about the kids only. I spoke to an acquaintance last night who knows the whole story and she told me how Narkles the Clown is telling people I had a boyfriend before we divorced and that’s why we divorced. I’m partly dismayed by his actions as I think he wants the drama of me confronting him about it but mostly it shows me that he can’t conceive of the damage he has done. I do go out because I won’t sit at home and pity myself, but the whole idea of trusting someone enough to have a boyfriend. I’m not sure I will ever see that day again.

  • Unicornnomore, my Ex looks years older since this affair! The guilt, shame,secrets and everything else that they are in denial about takes a terrible toll on them! That “voice” that they hear inside their own heads telling them that they are wrong just won’t let them be! Your deceased husband probably internally struggled with his own demons and it did him in. Not your fault at all! He had choices and he chose to be the way he was! Unfortunately, none of his problems were under your control. You did the very best you could and that’s all you were able to do! His poor choices profoundly changed you, but now you have a wonderful husband and the life you truly deserve! Enjoy it. Save your concern for husband #1 at church and pray for his soul! Nothing more you can do for him!

    • So very true. Yesterday I saw a photo of me on a yacht in the Aegean Sea on the 2 yr anniv of his death. I was smiling and loved and I thought “Fuck you H1, watch me thrive and be happy neener neener neener”

      That not very “meh” but a rather good onramp to it.

  • Stop minimizing – truth right there!!!
    At the start of trickle truth, dickwad asked me if I believed everything that he was telling me. I of course said yes, why wouldn’t I, we had been married for 14 years. His response was that he has a tendency to minimize things….
    Lesson learned…. minimize = lie….

    On a funny note, it has been two years since my divorce. My youngest in elementary school has PT conferences coming up and since I have attended all, he asked if his father could so it would be fair. Sure. Well, they display the kids artwork on the walls and their recent unit was about sayings, like keep your head above water, bite off more than you can chew, etc. Guess what my kid got…..
    Snake in the grass!!! So he had to draw the snake and list the definition:
    Unfaithful, untrustworthy, lying, deceitful person.
    I was cracking up to myself when I saw it.
    Sweet Karma…….
    I am sure not everything thinks it is as funny as I do especially since my youngest did not pick this one out, it was given to him to do, but holy hell, it certainly made my day better. 🙂

  • Number 2 always gets me. “Monogamy is ‘unnatural”! Why is it that they cheater seems to discover this tidbit only AFTER they’ve cheated?

    I have heard of a few cleaver chumps respond to this by saying, “Well, if monogamy isn’t ‘natural’, then it would be ok if *I* went out and found myself some ‘strange’, too!” Most of the time, the cheaters become indignant, if not downright hostile at the idea that their loving partner can also chose to be monogamy-challenged…

    And since monogamy isn’t ‘natural’, I suppose being HONEST isn’t “natural’ either…?

    • Yeah, gotta love double standards on top of all of the other crap. During my D, I stayed put in the marital home until my attorney said not too. Basically living a separate life as best I could, and still got to be around my daughter. Part of a separate life meant I did whatever I wanted answering to no one, that included my own grocery shopping (daughters too). late at night suited me, and I recall once my daughter called, wondering if I was OK… Come to find out later her mom asked her to call, because ex-POS thought I was out at bars, picking up women.

      These cheaters are so fucked up in the skull, delusional, insecure cowards, and weak… That bitch knew I had not been to a bar for 25 years, and even if I went and snagged 50 women, what fucking business was it of hers. I do hate her, but it’s a cold, non intrusive hate… It reminds me of how bad a person can be, and vow to never allow another person to ever treat me that way again.

      • When we were going through our divorce my ex moved out of our marital home and refused to even tell me where he lived. So I allowed (how stupid I was) him to come back to our house for visits with our daughter. Because I didn’t wish to look at him I would vacate the premise while he was there, and would come back after our daughter when to bed and he would leave. I would sometimes just work late, or go out shopping, but sometimes I’d meet friends for dinner and drinks. Sometimes I’d get dressed up for that. He started asking me what I had been up to each time I would come home. It pissed me off. This was MY childfree time. I didn’t call him up on his evenings off and ask him what he was doing and who he was with. I told him “We are no longer together and I do not owe you knowledge of my whereabouts. I am not accountable to you anymore. You asking me these questions is inappropriate.” He started sending me emails “I hope you had a nice time on your date last night.” You could tell that he was so jealous. I’ve never once mentioned dating in front of him, even now that I do date and now that I have a boyfriend.

        • Hmm, P/A, jealous, sounds like a real winner (or whiner)… How about some full tilt, full on crazy to brighten the day. My ex-POS, was heard saying well along the way after D-day:

          “I don’t care if your dad gets a girlfriend, just hope she is not as attractive as me… Just kidding.”

          Totally unsolicited by anyone, and demonstrates crystal clear insight into the mind of a nutcase. But what the hell, same sub-human that would yuk it up with her mom (also a filthy cheater) on the phone, calling herself “happy homewrecker” in a nearly proud way, laughing.

          My daughter called her this after D-day, and in no way was she kidding. I have a girlfriend going on 2.5 years, and I truly CAN NOT at times conceive how I put up with what I did over the decades… As CL says, it’s all about reciprocity, and that very element is what I look for most, as I feel it now the best indicator of a persons character, and you can not fake it. It is absolutely incredible to feel reciprocity in a relationship, and know loving actions trump softly spoken lies.

    • My friend loves to tell the tale of a friend of his who was feeling bored in his relationship and kind of wanted out but decided to see if his girlfriend would be willing to try an open relationship since he liked the idea of keeping her around but also sleeping around. She was not very excited about the idea and after a lot of talks and convincing she came around to it and agreed. A few months later and she’s having no issue finding other men to date and sleep with and he’s found…..nobody. He was so angry about it, “it’s not fair! She didn’t even want this! It was my idea!”

      • That’s exactly what happened to my best friend! They weren’t married, thankfully, and their relationship ended when he broke her one stipulation–his ex-girlfriend was off limits (long story). So naturally that’s the one girl he slept with. Then, after my friend kicked him out, he came whining to me about how “she never supported my dreams”! No, but she’d supported his ass for years. I guess that didn’t count.

    • This reminds me when the disordered fuckwit generously offered to let me see other people, since he was doing it.
      Me: But I don’t WANT to see other people
      DF: why not?
      Me: because that’s weird and gross and scary
      DF: oh good, because it would kill me if you found somebody else


      • And another one, after we separated, and I had asked him to keep our son later on a Friday night:
        DF: oh, you have a hot date?
        Me: that’s inappropriate
        DF: why?
        Me: you don’t get to know what I do with my time anymore
        DF: that’s not fair!
        Me: oh ok, as soon as I find a 20-year old “gay” dancer named *disordered fuckwit* to, ahem, mentor, I’ll be sure to let you know…

        • Gawd, Arlo, Asshat threw that option out for me a few times. “Well, you could go out and cheat on me now. I would expect it.” Who the hell does he think he married?! His first wife cheated on him throughout their short marriage. It’s like he finally grew a set and is getting back at her. Only he is married to me. Not for long…. He also said several times that he thought I could be cheating on him. There is NOTHING I do that would make anyone suspicious. Because I don’t do anything I need to hide (until I found CL/CN, of course)!

    • My x’s variation on this was that if I wanted to find someone to sleep with, too, that would be fine. Of course, x would be involved in making sure it was the right person and of course he would watch.

      I told him if I ever did decide to sleep around, he’d be the last to hear about it…just like I was with him. His eyes bugged out a little and I think for a second he wondered if it was a serious threat.

      Even then (DDay 1of 3) I couldn’t believe how messed up that suggestion was. I think x simultaneously wanted to make us “even,” aka bring me down to his level, but also control it and turn it into a sexy episode for himself.

      That man goes through life wearing sex colored glasses.

  • “Monogamy is unnatural?” Then dont make VOWS to be monogamous. Simple.Dang. There is nothing complicated about this…unless you are trying to eat cake. Thank you for breaking this down CL.

  • Standing ovation CL, for this wonderful PSA! It would be a lovely contribution to Esther Perel’s blog. You and your post would probably be labeled a troll and removed almost immediately, but some people may see it, and ponder. Hey, it’s just a thought.

  • “If your marriage is truly awful and sexless and your love language is seething passive aggression — find your guts and just end it honestly”

    This is key to me and should maybe a separate item. If after many years you decide this marriage is not longer for you, after your spouse has devoted most of their adult life to this endeavor you should not only end it honestly, but also as fairly and as generously as possible.

    You’re the one that changed your mind, pulled the rug out from underneath of the unsuspecting. The least you could do is soften the blow a little by not being an asshole over the settlement. This means coming to a settlement quickly, not dragging your spouse through years of court proceedings, not leaving your family high and dry as you reach your settlement, paying child support, not making your spouse chase you down for temporary support, and doing everything you can to facilitate this transition to your “new life” without screwing over your family.

    In other words, be a decent human being!

    • Oh, but it’s OK and your fault, cause you “gained weight” or “got older” and other human stuff

    • Ex pulled out every stop, this after meeting his true love! even vandalizing the house he’d forced into foreclosure and left us in, to leave me with little, he even got another job and worked there two years before Dday and two years after. With the family court next door to ours. Bunch of cheating women and good ol’ boys. Same people worked both. He had a great reputation, testified against others in these two courts as he was a peace officer. Free legal aid bitch had been helping dickhead for two years before I discovered his OW and crappy double life. By that time most of “our” savings had been creatively hijacked and with a few-oops!-missed house payments that idiot was off to his new life. Free of us and the expense that comes along with three kids, a custom home on twenty acres, and a wife. I look back now and the whole damn thing, though tragic, is funny. I think I should make a mixed media collage of all the evidence he left behind, especially the dissipation of assets. I have framed his HIV test (dated years previously), yup the one I discovered in his abandoned home office, and have it displayed in my room. It reminds me WHO he is and that there really are evil people in this world.

  • Dear Chump Lady, I’ve only recently begun reading and posting on your blog, thanks to a woman named Tracy, who introduced me. (the Tracy who wrote about not being able to disengage from the OW,)
    I must tell you that this article sums up the total cheater experience. 30 Years later, my husband will admit to all of these things.I’m chump #4: I found out about the affair in a gyne office being told I have High Risk HPV. Thus began the worst year and 1/2 of my life. (And I came close to dying of non hodgkins lymphoma in 1994. This nightmare BEATS that one). We have been in therapy. He’s been totally remorseful. He begs forgiveness, puts up with my insane screaming and crying, almost daily for a year. Our shrinks are working together to help us heal, And yet, the pain continues. Last night I started to bleed a little. Round 2 with cancer? I almost hope so. I want to get their sleazy affair OUT OF ME. Anyway, thanks for the open letter. In so many ways, I can relate. Cheating is a form of perversion: you have to have someone to be “working against ” to have fun. Its sadistic. He admits that now.
    Still working to be saved

    • PS. Thank you so much for your blog. It has helped me as much as the therapy. There are lots of us out there. I love reading all the responses as well as your remarks,. I love you .

      • Welcome to the club no one ever wanted to join Chump for 30 yrs. You’ll find CL and CN the best, funniest, most empathetic, most wise people – ever.

        Hugs xx

      • Chump for 30 years…. you are mighty….and one of the most beautiful souls I know. You saved my precious dog when I kidnapped him from my asshole Ex who was starving him and neglecting him…
        I always have your back….and CL and CN are lights in a dark tunnel.
        HUGS my friend!!!!

    • He wouldn’t have “to put up with your insane crying and screaming” if he hadn’t directly caused it himself. Choose the behavior, choose the consequences

  • Hello, 1st post here but I have been reading religiously for a year now, What an empowering site, people and topic!

    I am 2.5 years divorced from my serial cheating, self gratifying twat of an ex-wife. Thank god! I also have 3 of the most beautiful kids (11, 13 & 14) ever, Thank God again!

    Does anyone understand how the scurvy-infested shallow minds of the cheater rationalize their delusional feelings that they get from schmoopie is more powerful than being with your happy-intact family? I never understood this. Is it because they think that the fire-works they get with the turd will last forever and being divorced with kids will be no big deal and no one gets hurt? Are they really that inept and characterless?

      • Yes they are. My three kids are changed forever. They no longer trust that their father will ever really be there for them. He shows up when it reflects well on him, not because he wishes our children well. His actions haven’t changed. Crap dad of the year.

    • I think it boils down to selfishness. You might WANT to spend your children’s college fund on porche. But you know that doing that would hurt your kids. So you dont do it. But dang…you like that car. Even so, your kids come first. In your cheater’s case, SHE comes first. Her wants…her needs…her whims…are more important than yours or anyone elses. She knows this is wrong though…but that doesnt stop her. She will do as she pleases…behind your back.

      • So not only will she take that money and buy that porsche, she will justify her actions. She was satifying an “unmet need” for a porsche and blame YOU for not satisfying her needs ( why did you buy her that damn Buick?) and she will tell everyone, including the kids, what a shitty neglectful buick-driving jerk you are.

        • yup, layers upon layers of horribleness. multiple dimensions of devastation. evil responses and reactions to evil actions, repeat.

          Esther, it’s never just a simple whoops romp in the hay to feel alive.

    • Welcome SirChumpedAlot … I concur with Nomar … Cheaters are notoriously Hard of Thinking. The shithead I was unfortunate enough to marry went to Cambridge University, but still, honestly, proved conclusively that he didn’t have two functioning brain cells to rub together.

      • Oxford cheater here! And too stupid to know that he would caught and lose his wife, daughter, and dogs all in one fell swoop.

        • Yup, my ex was quite intelligent and educated. Lost me (and I rock), my income, and our 3 beautiful successful and kind children, who no longer have anything to do with him, along with having to leave our community, all in one fell swoop.

          Yet ex thinks he is the hero in this story.

        • Tempest -Oxbridge is a whole world of entitlement and narcissism. Actually winning his scholarship to Cambridge did that fool no good at all (or maybe what I mean is it did no one whoever came into his orbit any good, cos he really was, probably still is, an insufferable, self-opinionated prick).

          • So true, Jayne. Even my X’s doting mother described him as insufferable after he went to Oxford on a scholarship. Aren’t they soooooo clever?

    • Nice to make your acquaintance SirChumpedAlot. As always, wish it could be under more pleasant circumstances.To answer your question….yes, yes they are.
      The truth is we can’t possibly understand how they rationalize their delusional feelings. We get that it happens and how but we have no idea how that feels or why they would make those choices. It’s why we’re here.

      • Thxs alloutof kibbles. Being that the cheaters are also naive in thinking that the new sparkly turd is there “soulmate” i bet i can sell land (swamp land) in florida to them. I bet most of them could be talked into buying some. Dumbasses

        • No such beings as soulmates. Crock of crap like magnomy isn’t natural. Pssffft! I’d roll love at first sight along with the rest. Bullshit! The new love at first is wonderful but it wears off soon enough. I loved Asswipe with long burning embers that burned each and every day for 27 years. Embers that burned deeper every single day. Seeing past the flaws and imperfections and habits that can annoy us to the bigger picture of who I thought he was. Too me that was really love. Very very hard snuffing out those embers, lots of the little suckers. going to take a long time to snuff out those embers and memories. Still hurts and im almost three years past d day. I was wrong, dead wrong when I really thought I knew him. But what do all these cheaters have in common, lies, lies and more lies and they just don’t care. I’m so tired if hearing he’s s great guy , no he is not. He can function and get stuff done but a great human being, no, great father, emotionally unavailable. He is a pod. I’m so sorry to myself for wasting 30 years on this loser. But I learned a lot, mostly about myself. He tell people the truth what happened, he lies. I will go forward with a clearer head and a freer heart and I know I didn’t lie, cheat, steal or ever hurt the bastard in anyway. He can’t do that ever! He’s racked with guilt. Good! Nothing short of what he deserved. Bastard!

          • I second that emotion Kar Marie…. I still looked at him when he’d be out doing something in the yard….and just still have those butterflies…. little things he did that he didn’t know I noticed….like how he would jingle his change in his pocket like my Father in law used to do….or his laugh was like his Dads. I LOVED my father in law….salt of the earth…..I see now that my Monster in Law walked all over him and used him. She is a bitch. Never liked her… ever. God rest his soul my FIL never saw what his son did….it would have killed him.
            My stbx whore put a wreath on my FIL grave… My stbx never ever visited the cemetary ever…..

    • Yes, Sir Chumped a lot. The kibbles they got from whores were (to them) worth putting everything and everybody at risk. Roberta and I (who dont know each other IRL but learned we had parallels) were both married to men who served in the US Marine Corps – a group whose motto is “Semper Fidelis” (Always Faithful) I thought they were always faithful to GOd country and family but apparently they are always faithful to themselves.

      • Asswipe was in the marines and back then semper fedelis meant always faithful but only to the corp.

  • I’m looking back and realizing that the Cheater Ex liked the deception. I think he enjoyed the power and the manipulation….how easy it was to do because I simply trusted him. I was gaslighted a couple of times also. He used our son for that little bit of trickery. Their immorality and lack of character knows know limits.

    • Information is power. To covert narcs, especially, withholding (or obfuscating) information that you want or need is a definite form of keeping power for themselves. In the end, cheaters are rather simple creatures.

    • I carried this column and 4 others (including “Trust that they suck”) around for 3 months after D-day, and read each sheet about 7 times per day until it sunk in.

        • LOL Tempest 😀 The Number of times I’ve been sorely tempted to forward CL’s posts to The Great I Am. Basically, I think I really want to sign him up for a daily 2×4 to the head by ChumpLady and Chump Nation (No worries guys, this is a club that definitely wouldn’t want him)! Truth is, I know for sure it would be pearl before swine. The Great I Am really does believe his shit smells of roses and something piffling like intelligent, thoughtful, logical argument isn’t ever going to change how pretty his shit smells to him!

  • Alzada, this is exactly what I zeroed in on in this otherwise-splendid posting. I imagined my ex reading this post and ignoring everything else to say “see, this doesn’t apply to me– I told you I was poly!”

    Your (ex)spouse “is poly”; therefore all the rest of this doesn’t apply. Never mind that the point is to not make unilateral decisions on behalf of your spouse without her/him knowing about it. And I am certain that my ex would, if called on this point, refer to #6 and say “well I DIDN’T stay married, did I?!”

    • Why can’t they just be honest up front and just say I want to screw other people and end it at least honestly. At least we can say fine go get STDs and not bring it home to me. They can’t they don’t care, didn’t want to hurt me by telling me the truth and hurt me a thousand times worse! Bastards!!!!!! These are not human beings they are pods! My wish for him is to hurt 100 times worse than I have and for 10 times longer. These fuckers should feel this kind of pain, they don’t care, only delight in inflicting this pain. Not humans.

    • Being poly doesn’t exempt anyone from ethics and honesty in the relationship, your ex would say that because he’s a lying dick not because there is anything inherently wrong with being poly

      Jedi hugs

  • I never realized until I got cheated on that this whole cheating bullshit is so socially acceptable. I mean it’s really a huge epidemic threatening the morality of this country. I hate government interjection but it seems appealing that when 2 people go to divorce court and has children and there was cheating that there is some type of extensive court ordered therapy on the cheater. Maybe this would help it from being so socially accepted.

    • I think that instead of therapy the terms of the divorce settlement should be entirely dictated by the victim. You cheat? No right to alimony, no child custody, and all assets automatically forfeited. Being broke is not very glamorous.

      Besides, cheaters just use therapy as a venue to polish their sad sack story of how it is really everyone else’s fault (spouse, mom, dad, granny, postman, kids, weather, stock market, NFL, the price of milk in China, etc, etc) that they were compelled to stab their spouse in the back.

      • Chumpintx wow! You hit the nail right on the head. Hell i would even settle for commercials on tv about cheating (funded by chumps in our nation of course). Kind of like the old commercial -this is your brains, then this is your brain on drugs. At the very least it would be priceless to see cheater reactions to it. Lol

      • Yes we do! We need to be on Dr Phil and oprah! Need to get chump lady and chump nation on TV! Just hear our voice!

  • I have finally accepted and forgiven my STBX for what he did. I did this for myself because I could no longer let what “He did” rule how I felt. I really believe they are sick, you have to be to treat us like that or any person for that matter. I also know that I could never reach out to God if I carried that anger inside of me. I will never forget what he did to me and the only way I could forgive was to refer to Jesus saying “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”. Lets face it, they will never be happy and at peace after what they did, no person could, unless they repented to God and to us, that’s where we’d see remorse, mine won’t so I left it up to God to get vengeance. I will not have anymore of this ugly past that was stealing the joy out of life, I just refuse to give him that power any more. I do pray for my X, that helps me and how I need to respond/react if I need to deal with him today. No way am I going to do more wrongs (sin) because of him. I WIN!!!!

    Watch this, it absolutely helped me in my recovery from this devastation that happened in my life. 🙂

    • Hi Kate,

      It sounds as though you have progressed quite a bit. I’m glad that you’ve found some comfort.

      I think that we may view forgiveness (its definition and its ramifications) somewhat differently. You mentioned the quote, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.” I can understand forgiving people for doing something that they don’t realize is wrong or unintentionally hurting me. I forgive the person who accidentally steps on my foot when the subway lurches forward and the person loses his balance. Adulterers don’t accidentally fall on/into affair partners’/prostitutes’ genitals. They know that they are breaking their vows, and they are doing so of their own volition. Rarely are they repentant after the fact, even after multiple ‘facts.’

      I do not feel the need to forgive my abusive, adulterous STBX, yet I do not desire revenge as getting revenge would not make my life, my children’s lives, or anyone else’s life any better and I am not waiting for the Karma Bus to hit him, no matter how often he commits crimes. (I don’t believe in Karma defined as ‘bad people will eventually be punished.’ The world is unfair–I don’t like that fact, but I accept it. I’m not waiting for God, Fate, Karma, etc. to bring about justice in this life or any other.) I don’t feel as though I need to forgive him to live a fulfilling life. Living a fulfilling, satisfying life has almost everything to do with getting to ‘Meh’ and nothing to do with me forgiving my STBX or anyone else, for that matter. I do not refrain from forgiving because I am bitter. I don’t bother to forgive because I just don’t care what my STBX does. I just made a conscious decision to lead a virtuous, productive life (ideally with bits of happiness) no matter what my STBX did/does.

      • Hey RockStar, I understand you completely, everyone is on their own journey and deals with it in their own way. This is the way I chose to do it, I selfishly forgave for myself only, it was the only way I could let it go. I gave it to God to deal with, laid it down. My way of thinking now is he (STBX) is not in his right mind, what he did was cruel and evil period. I do believe his life will be terrible until he realizes this, which he may never do (not my problem). I just want to be a loving woman now and put that out in the world, even to him should I have to talk to him. I feel better about myself because of this decision and don’t care what he does, this got me to meh in the right way and I won’t have anything to do with people that don’t live an honest authentic life these days. The lessons I’ve learned from this is to recognize people who are harmful and have big egos (Ego = ease God out). I see them coming from a mile away now. 🙂

        • I love this guy and read him daily. Thanks, Kate50. He never fails to inspire me whether I like it or not. He is a wise man.

          • Me too CalamityJane, I’m hooked on Dr. Stanely now, his teachings has helped me turn my life around which I badly needed starting my life over. 🙂

            • Dr. Stanley….He has also been thru divorce. His wife divorced him. He never states why I don’t think. He is a gracious man. His voice is so peaceful and soothing.

      • Rockstar, well said,profound and ultimately very kind to yourself. As much as I wanted justice to be done, further thinking revealed that my ex’s comeuppance, demise, injury… whatever, would not make my kids or me feel any better. Believe me, I had some entertaining fantasies.

        Also, that goddamn Karma bus: my very supportive friends want her to be hit by this vehicle and I appreciate their angry support (a lot), but *usually* I don’t want to waste time holding my breath waiting for that to hit. It has taken me a few years to let go of needing that. I also have to make sure I am not living my life being a jerk first.

        Science has proven that the long term effects of narcissism are like the effects of smoking. They do take their toll

    • If you’re doing the biblical version of forgiveness then your cheater must have repented, which is awesome. I’m happy for you.
      Narkles the Clown would sooner die than change his ways and ask for forgiveness so I’ll be moving on with my life as I won’t waste it waiting for him to get around to even so much as an apology.

      • Same here with The Evil One- no matter what, he will NEVER admit he was a bastard and cop to all of his dirty deeds and shitty things he did to me. I am free of him, and would love for him to come clean and ask for forgiveness, but I’d be wasting my energy and time expecting such a “miracle”.

      • AllOutofKibble, my STBX didn’t repent at all, I did to him and God first for the things I did, I turned into an angry bitter woman after Dday which is normal I know, but eventually keeping that up was destroying me further then what my X had done. I actually apologized to my X for my behavior over the last year. I think I stunned him with that, but I did mean it. Then I told him I forgive him too and I do. Now I’m moving on with my life feeling okay.

        • Thank you for sharing that, and the Dr. Stanley video. I hear so much about the need to forgive, but not so much about how to do it. The not rehearsing what he’s done to me is a good reminder.

  • Chump Lady, thanks for making me laugh even more than usual today at precious gems of truth you so effectively present!
    Among many things I appreciate you saying, I especially appreciate you saying, ‘They [chumps and other innocent bystanders of adultery] are not pretending to be victims — they are victims.’ I don’t want to hold a pity party for myself 24/7, but I am tired of being told by people, including my abusive STBX, not to play the victim. (Funny how the members of my domestic abuse group never say such nonsensical, insulting things.) So what do these ‘advice givers’ suggest we call people who are murdered, raped, physically assaulted just because someone could attack them? Adultery might not be the same as these crimes, but my husband committed several crimes, including a few against me, and the adultery was extremely damaging, leaving my children and me permanently damaged in several ways. Being a victim because one unwittingly married a bad person (yes, I said, ‘bad person’) is not shameful; it’s often bad luck.

    • I always told people, “I AM a victim, but I just won’t act like one,” and describe the betrayal/s as “emotional rape” so that there can be no confusion about its impact on me.

    • “Being a victim because one unwittingly married a bad person (yes, I said, ‘bad person’) is not shameful; it’s often bad luck.”

      Thank you RSW. You are a rock star for saying this. Aside from the unspeakable pain that I felt, there was also the shame of having picked badly. I was/am such a smart woman, how could I have made such a horrible mistake? As if having chosen this very bad (evil) person to marry and then procreate with was a reflection of some deep flaw in me. I could not talk about it and internalized it for some time because I was ashamed of MYSELF. Even after I got over this shame and started talking about it with friends and family, I was told by his brother that I should think about the shame/pain it would cause my son to have people know that his father was an adulterer. Sigh. No, it was my sheer bad luck to have met him. I’ve gone through life knowing that I never have good luck, so I don’t rely on it. Hard work, careful planning, do the right things, be choosy, wait until mid-30’s before getting married. Still, bad luck found me.

      • Nope, wasn’t bad luck, I have that in spades and I’ve done the plan for the worst all my life. What I didn’t plan for was a lying manipulative asshole who was also patient and cunning. I didn’t know anyone that devious was real except for serial killers and even they are not patient in fucking over their chosen prey. Was my ex fucked up and did he not realized he was using me all those years? Nope, he knew what he was doing, I didn’t until after 12 years I gave in and married him, his ambition was to be taken care of and do what he wanted, so his patience wore thin once he thought he had a lock on me. It wasn’t bad luck, it was an asshole targeting me

  • “Or the children who lost their intact family and get shuttled around next holiday season, having to play nice with your latest flame.”


    • My H2.0 was married to a woman who fled his faithful self for what she thought was greener pastures and she only succeeded in ruining their family. Green pastures werent there…she was single and lonely for years and eventually married a seemingly decent guy who now looks miserable.

      I say this because the child they had together just finished her 14th shuttle holiday..she is 16 and was 2 when her mom blew up the family. This child has really suffered in all this.

  • Currently resisting the urge to have this framed and sent to my ex with a big red bow wrapped around it and bottle of penicillin.

  • When people say don’t “play the victim,” what I hear is “you aren’t a victim–you are just taking on a victim role in this situation.” Now that might be true in some playground fight where an instigator gets socked in the nose and then “plays the victim” rather than admit to his contribution. Or if a kid doesn’t make the football team because he doesn’t practice and goes around complaining about the coach having favorites. Playing the victim. So that phrase makes sense only in a situation where a person either hasn’t been wronged or did something tot produce a (perhaps karmic) result.

    One possibility in chump situations, is that “don’t play the victim” comes from the “it takes two sides” Switzerland types. So essentially, what they are saying is that chumps aren’t victims because relationships involve two people with their own perspectives. So if Cheaterpants cheats, there had to be a “reason,” and so the notion that chumps aren’t victims. Another possibility is what we were talking about the other day regarding calls to “forgive”–how uncomfortable it is for people to deal with the deep (righteous) grief and anger of others. So saying “don’t play the victim” is “don’t talk about how much Cheaterpants hurt you. Move on. We don’t want to see your messy emotions.” Both these possibilities point to pretty shallow understanding of human emotions. There is a world of difference between someone who made a commitment, lived by it, and then got badly hurt and someone who is “playing the victim.” For chumps, processing the feeling about what has happened to us is in large part the path to healing and “meh.”

    I can only speak for myself, but in the days after DDay, I was as much a victim of Jackass’s lying and gaslighting as a animal that was run down on the road is the victim of a vehicle accident.

  • Absolutely love this post! Wish I had read it around the first DDay, 5 years ago, instead of wasting 5 more years of my life with a remorseless cheater!

    Thank you, CL, for cutting through the bs and telling it like it is. We need so much more of that in this world!

  • So this year I wanted to be cynical (cause I can). So I bought a ‘daily bitch’ calendar. I’d like to post them on here now and then if it’s suiting and if it’s ok with everyone.
    Here’s todays: Before getting married, ask yourself: Would you mind being emotionally and financially destroyed by this person?
    I tried to put the pic of it on here but I guess I can’t; only links, correct?

  • I love this blog too. Cheaters can suck it. Especially my ex husband, who is the KING of the Jesus Cheaters. Divorce was final this week. Hoo ya. Pastor’s wife no more.

  • 3. Admit that you like the deceit. Come on, it’s a high. Playing hooky is a lot more fun than getting a day off from school. Everyone there in the classroom, playing by the rules, listening to a boring lecture on the continental Congress, while you smoke dope behind the bleachers. Renegade! The secrecy and lies are what gives the frisson of danger to your affair and make it so delicious. Otherwise you would have an open marriage, same rules for everyone. But no, the power imbalance is what you’re after. You enjoy a position of advantage over your trusting partner. They’re at home, devoting their energies to you and your home life, faithful to the wonderfulness that is you. Sweet gig you got there — and you know it.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^Oh yeah, THIS ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ I need to wallpaper his house with this, or put it on a billboard by his slut-shack. Thank you, Tracy for saying EXACTLY how I feel towards him!!!!

    6. No one is forcing you to stay married. If you don’t want to be monogamous, don’t be. Find another person like yourself and quit feigning monogamy. If your marriage is truly awful and sexless and your love language is seething passive aggression — find your guts and just end it honestly. But your spouse and children couldn’t function without you? They need you too much? Let them be the judge of that. You may find that they get on quite well without you. Your partner is a person deserving of respect and honesty, not a consolation prize. It’s condescending to act like life with them is a huge sacrifice. Lay your “burden” down already.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^Yep, I told him from the jump that if he didn’t want to be with me, then just tell me and leave on an honest (albeit painful for w awhile) note, instead of the way he left- lies, deceit, stealing, cheating, etc.

    7. This is not your best self. It is understandable that you want to think of yourself as a good person. Our character, however, is made up of our actions. Not how we wish to perceive ourselves. People who don’t care who they are hurting, who lack empathy synapses and introspection? We call those people sociopaths. Don’t be like that. (And if you are truly like that, no public service announcement in the world can save you.) You’re better than this. Please go live an authentic life.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Actions speak louder than words, and his actions speak volumes of what a fucked-up asshole he really is and was all along.

    Thank you, Tracy again – EXACTLY what I needed to read today!!!!

  • Hi CN, if you’ve come late today and didn’t read all the comments please take a minute to find “Irish” in this page. She is in need of healthcare and has no money to cover it. If you can help her out, please do! Let’s make sure Irish and her four kids are safe and sound.

  • The Kelly Clarkson song “Since you’ve been gone” is playing in my head…. since you’ve been gone in can breathe for the first time….

    And what a fresh breathe of air it is……since you’ve been gone.

  • Going on almost 4 years since I found out about his cheating, phone sex, private profiles on adult site etc, tried to reconcile but found out he and the same slut been talking to each other on and off during that time. Cheaters don’t stop cheating they find they find other ways to “be only friends”! He is a piece of work, justify all his actions and making feel like I am crazy. Maybe that’s his angle, so then him and the slut can be together and then nobody can wag their tongue and call him a cheater…..

  • Ninja Chump, that is one of the funniest things that I have ever read! My first post since I have been reading for about 6 months now.
    I love this place and the Chump Nation!

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