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Coming From a “Place of Rage” — or Lucidity?

bitterbunnyYesterday, HoustonDad posted this comment on a letter I answered where the poster was wondering if her cheating ex was truly remorseful and if she should take him back. HoustonDad wrote:

I understand justifiable anger but should we here give advice to someone else from a position of anger over our own situation?  That’s why this might not be the place to ask for advice on a lot of things but rather a place to vent that anger. Case in point, I don’t recall ever seeing anyone here suggest that someone give their wayward spouse another chance. Every single time a question is posed like the author of this letter posed, the advice they get is to immediately dump the other person as harshly as possible. The responses are always coming from a place of rage but not rage for the [poster’s] situation but rather rage being projected from their own situation.

This comment makes several assumptions.

a) That the advice Chump Nation gives couldn’t possibly be useful, or on target, because it is clouded by “rage.” All CN advice comes from a “position of anger.”

b) That rage is being projected on to innocent “waywards.”

c) That no one here ever suggests giving cheaters another chance.

By dignifying this with a response, I wonder if I am solidifying the narrative that CN are a bunch of rabid bitter bunnies?

Gee, Chump Lady I just said you’re rage-y, don’t get so huffy. Did your blood pressure rise? See! You’re an angry harridan unleashing your venom onto mistaken, timid forest creatures who mean you no harm! Who just want to huddle in the glow of your anger and warm their sodden little mittens over the flame of your wrath. Why do you shun them? Can’t you see they’re cold and cast off and so very alone? Why must you judge? Everyone makes mistakes! Forgive! Don’t hold on to anger!

(Forehead smack.)

Let me just go over the mission statement here at Chump Lady again for the newbies — “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life” (also the title of the new book… shameless plug…) It’s not a reconciliation site. The interwebz are full of reconciliation sites. There are many, many online campfires where “waywards” can huddle up and toast their sad sausage weiners. This is not one of them.

I realize that people who are in reconciliation read here to “stiffen their spine” and get better with boundaries. That’s great. If you really have a unicorn, and want to invest in that, God bless. The point of this site, however, is to support those who do NOT have reconciliation unicorns AND to provide much-needed skepticism about unicorns.

There’s value in knowing whether or not you have a unicorn or a jackass. Alas, there are far more asses in the world than unicorns. Pointing that out logically, analytically, and at times with gusto, doesn’t make a commentator “clouded by rage” but shining with lucidity.

How would we know the difference between unicorns and asses? Experience. When chumps see a unicorn, they are not “projecting their experience” and see an ass instead — no, they have actually experienced jackasses. No projecting required. Chumps can describe in full detail what asses look like (they blameshift, they love bomb, they feel very sorry for themselves, it’s all about them…) and what unicorns look like (rare humble creatures).

If you don’t believe in asses (everyone makes mistakes!), then maybe every ass looks like a unicorn to you.

If you were really hoping for a unicorn, and everyone here is telling you it looks like an ass — I’m sorry you’re disappointed, but this is the collective wisdom pool here on jackasses. We ran the Breeder’s Cup. We’ve been intimately acquainted with the breed for decades.

Still don’t believe us? That’s fine. There are many online fairy forests who report unicorn sitings. Some will charge you $399 and bring the unicorn to you.

But what reconcilers and cheaters apologists may NOT do on my site is run down the people who are giving you their heart-felt advice. Someone takes the time out of their life to write back to you and help you, even smack you up the head with a 2×4 of “GIRLFRIEND! RUN!” — thank this person. Even if you do not agree with them. Even if you’re not ready to hear it. Even if you think they are completely wrong and you are utterly exceptional. They cared enough to answer you straight.

Many places will hold your hand and peddle false hope about unicorns. “I see one in the misty forest! He’s coming home! Stand faithful!” I am not that place. I think it’s far kinder to devastate you with the truth and speed up your healing and get you back out there into the world. I’ll hold your hand if you want to rebuild your life. Got plenty of time for that.

Now then, to the rest of that nonsense…

Would the people who didn’t give their cheaters A Single Chance please raise their hands?

You never begged, pleaded, implored them to come to their senses, did counseling, begged for counseling, had a second D-Day, or third, or 35th. You never once cared what your cheater was feeling or asked why they did this or gave them a chance to explain and make it better…

A show of hands, chumps!

Oh right, that would be none of you.

 

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  • Almost 3 years of second chances after DDay. Another maybe 6 months after asking him to leave the house. No more second chances. On to divorce and meh!!!

    • My father was one of those rare, actual unicorns. He owned up to his actions, answered all the questions, took early retirement and moved away to start a new life dedicated to my mother.
      Being a teen and living at home, I had a front-row seat to every bit of the fallout.
      They spent the years until he passed away devoted to each other and started a wonderful new life together.
      There are some real success stories.

      HOWEVER, my marriage was not one of them.
      I was blind sighted by an man who had a very long term affair with his business partner who he made part of my family and a big part of my children’s lives.
      To this day, he refuses to admit the truth (she did!). During his deposition with all the facts in front of him, he still refused to admit to anything.
      I got an amazing settlement from a judge who told me he was disturbed, I put in the hard work to get me and my kids to a new life. We are strong and happy without him (and her).

      I read this site to give back to those that helped me through the awful times when I was suicidal.
      I am not full of rage anymore.
      I am full of EXPERIENCE!!!

      That is what I and others bring to Chump Lady. That is what Chump Lady started. A supportive community who can really look, unbiased, at what others are going through.

      When reading responses, it is easy to tell who is still raging over their own battle (it’s a community of many chumps in many phases) but the majority are able to look at every person’s story and offer guidance based on what the writer has written.

      We are real people and our goal is to honestly support each other and call each situation as we see it.

      • My Mom was a unicorn too. But my Dad still couldn’t get over the betrayal since she cheated with his best friend. They tried for 4 more years, and they weren’t good years. I think the person who can somehow get over that and trust again may be even more rare than the unicorn. Understandably. Some people need to go through that and know they tried. Some just need to get out and save their sanity. I think everyone here does a good job of considering the particulars of every situation.

        • Someone capable of a long term affair or serial cheating is not capable of remorse, IMO. Think Michael Vick or Hitler were? Ithink we have to start really thinking about how deviant cheaters are and stop assigning normal values and feelings to them.

        • I really like how you are fair minded in your phrasing. I can’t tell yet if I need time to try and see whether there is a unicorn, mainly to know I tried me all. I may also need to push on to the “protect myself and my kids” phase. But I really appreciate how you stated this without judgement.

      • Rebecca, your parents is what some of of would hope for. It is rare indeed. Which is the message here.
        Unicorns are rare…Successful reconciliation is rare…It can be done…with work and effort and commitment.

        I come here to remind myself why I need to move on and far from my cheater. I need to quit walking down horror lane. I need to make a new and better life with new and better choices.

        This site saved me….not from all my mistakes….I made huge ones…I gave into the rage monster. I reacted. I didn’t go no contact. I’m still getting there……but I feel Meh is near….

        Anger…rage filled….you betcha. But he is alive. Give us some credit. This site saved him too. I needed sound advice from others who walked before me.

        I’ve made boundaries…I didn’t have before. I am thankful for each one here who comments and responds. Your stories strengthen and give me clarity on days when a felony doesn’t seem so bad.

      • oh tony – I’ve just had to go wash my eyeballs out with carbolic soap after looking at that link! Could you not have put out a PSA with it!?! urghh…..

        • I have been reading CL for almost 3 yrs and this is the first time I’ve commented. Tony, that link was horrible! It makes me realize how many demented people are out there. Who are these people?

            • Exactly who they are Tempest, our former spouses. At one time I would have been offended if anyone would suggest my X could possibly be one of them. I should have known, Mr. Integrity would remind me almost daily of how fortunate I was to be married to a man of such high moral standards.
              X had a habit of pointing out others indiscretions with disgust, then empathy for their wives.
              I believed this crap. I often wondered if I was worthy of someone so perfect.

              Chump Nation has been a welcome awakening.

              • That’s the most impossible to wrap your head around. My noble guy was outraged by having two cheating daughters in law right before he launched into two years of a double life. He loved to turn on that horrible Cheaters program and shake his head, saying things like, “People fall out of love; it happens. But there’s a way to handle it. You discuss it, you get a divorce. There’s no excuse for cheating.

                Yeah. He was actively cheating on me at the time.

                I hated the show. It made me ill, and he knew it. Finally, I refused to watch anymore. I told him that I couldn’t bear watching those poor people have their hearts broken on television, in front of God and everyone. It was just too painful to watch them hurt so badly. I couldn’t imagine how utterly destitute they were feeling, and I didn’t want to. Too upsetting.

                HOW can a person be so perverse? HOW can they behave like that? Evidently he got a real kick out of having his big damn secret. I guess he thought he was especially clever, throwing up that smoke screen to throw me off his trail. Only it was unnecessary, since I had absolutely no idea anything was going on.

      • Every post i read over there could have been written by my sneaky SOB ex.

        Thanks, Tony, for the reminder that CN really is my tribe. I’ll take raw honesty over sparkly turds any day.

        • Omg look at the posts they have over there. This one is laughable!! Npd. Makes me livid that they actually believe this.

          Outside of being a degenerate adulterer, I’m basically perfect!

          I’ve lurked quite a bit on this sub and in the KIK groups (“community”) and one thing I’ve found that is fairly consistent is that the vast majority of people who post are, save for being adulterers, among the most perfect people on the earth!

          Moreover, It seems that the adulterers in this community are solidly monogamous EXCEPT as applied in their current situation and it is the sole fault of their dead bedroom, abusive, boring, distant, horrible, SO that they are cheating!

          No one in this community is bad at sex, rude, smelly, impatient, unintelligent, unattractive, or anything less than perfect (except for breaking those stupid marital Vows)

          Is there a scientific study that could be done on this community?

          Can we get a perfect/imperfect person roll call?

  • Yep, I gave the cheater many chances – 7 more years of chances. What a waste of time & energy. Thank you CL & CNation. I wish I was here sooner.

    • Wish I were here sooner too. 10 years of giving my cheater chances and it ended with a house cleaned out while i was at work, an attempt to liquidate my stock portfolio (unsuccessfully), an attempt to clean out the savings account and a stack of lawyer bills. Yeah, i don’t know why i would be angry.

      And even now i keep hearing how “I owe her” as the bright, rosy future with Schmoopie didn’t quite work out. I just remind the cheater of the unilateral choices she made.

    • Wish I had open my eyes 15 year earlier…I gave her many chances. Even now going through the divorce the manipulation and gas-lighting continues. It’s all about them!!

  • Wooo-hooo, right on Chump Lady! No hands raised here. No unicorn in the mist either, just a plain grey, sorry ass for me. Oh, wait! Schmoopie’s problem now, she can give him plenty of second chances when time comes. I have a good life to live instead.

  • Eight years of chances, cheated on at least eight times, three years of therapy (for me. He went about six times). All to come right back to the same cycle of discovery, denial, and blame shifting. Yep. Millions of chances. Still love him. Still want him to change. Filed for divorce two weeks ago and got told last night how mean I am and that I like watching the kids cry when he leaves. No. I really don’t. It’s not my goal in life to break up families. He says “some people mean it when they say for better or worse”. Guilt trip after guilt trip. No accountability. 8 years later. Same thing. Unbelievable. Yep. I’m sure every chump here has tried a million things and everything they could like me.

    • PC – “some people mean it when they say for better or worse” is just unbelievable after 8 betrayals with harlots. You didn’t break up your family, he did!

      I guess this type of example is why this whole divorce thing with cheaters is so insulting to our intelligence and so damaging to our families. It still miffs me how these serial cheaters braid the truth, I just will never understand how they can look at their actions with zero empathy. I just don’t get it

      • I said that back to him thanks to chump nation! ? Doesn’t do any good but made me feel better. ? Thanks for the reassurance to you all!

    • Peaceful Chump–they never change nor acknowledge that they are wrong or have shitty characters. Eleven months after divorce, because I refuse to be friends with my evil, toxic, serial cheater X, here is what he wrote to me this weekend,

      “Affairs happen, as with many of your erstwhile friends (e.g., M, D). They are great individuals notwithstanding their affairs while married or with someone who was married. Relationships fail for a reason; and yes, whether you’ll ever admit it or not, you played your part in the failure of this one”

      Blameshifting 101 and 102. They all get As.

        • Usually not, but this time there was a debate over who can claim my college-student daughter on taxes (she lives with me when not at school, he claimed he contributed more because he paid her tuition). That was only part of a vile final email after the debate finished (apparently I’m also “vile and nasty” and he “no longer recognizes me” and “hopes I return to my old self.” I guess that means the one who would tolerate his BS; ain’t gonna happen).

          I contacted my lawyer to see if I can pay her to field correspondence from him, as I am done, done, done with his rage, pity, charm cycles.

          • Tempest: doesn’t get much more toxic than that correspondence! Yuck! Yes! Might be way worth paying someone to field that bs! I’m just shaking my head in disgust!

          • That gives me an idea, we need a chump buddy system for communications with cheaters.

            Let’s say a pair of chumps. Each time cheater sends chump #1 a nastygram, chump #1 sends it to chump #2. Chump #2 filters and comes back with responses to chump #1. Response #1 would be the business-like suggested reply to the cheater and response #2 would be a UBT version…

      • Yep, relationships fail for all sorts of reasons. And when an emotionally healthy person is in a failing relationship, they have an honest discussion with the other person about the situation and, if there’s no hope, they exit with as much grace as possible. If you’re a dysfunctional / cluster B / sociopath … you cheat and then blame your spouse for your abhorrent behavior.

      • Of course, both people are responsible for their own part in a dysfunctional relationship. However, only the cheater is responsible for infidelity.

        • I will claim that my main flaw is that I was never neat enough (or organized enough) for him. In all other respects, I was a pretty darn good wife (and all our friends thought the same thing). The “not neat enough” criticism may have been a legitimate deal breaker for him, and I offered a divorce every.single.year for a decade (and every month the last 6 months before D-day). He never took it. Thus, I have concluded my less-than-optimum neatness clearly irritated him, but was his “ticket” to cheat so he could keep his legitimate wife & kids to take to dinner parties, while getting lots of strange on the side.

      • Damn Tempest, what a disordered turd! One of the best suggestions my therapist made earlier on when my X tried blameshifting was to tell him “I understand that’s what you need to tell yourself to sleep at night.”

      • Dang Tempest, I’m sorry you have to endure this. The only part you played was getting duped into marrying a cheater.

            • Ok. But, it does go against the natural male proclivities. My XW was violent, however. Perhaps she would do him( well, I know she would do him, but I mean administer a beating.)

            • Cindy Gamrat/Todd Courser. Thoughts? Anyone’s cheater paying for her support services for victims of spousal surveillance? Just $50,from what I understand.

              • Oh, for crying out loud. Those two loser representatives don’t have anything better to do with their time than whine about the “emotional abuse” of being caught being emotionally abusive to their spouses while boinking each other on the public dime?

      • Tempest: that email is disgusting in deed and so meant to stab at you! Yuck. If I had to deal with my ex over our kids, I’m sure it would set me back. Yes, your ex oozes with evil. The crazy is he gets off on stabbing at you.

    • Wow, did you say that some people mean it when they say “forsaking all others”, and that he is going to be lucky you don’t take him up on the ” till death do us part”. These people are so ridiculous to pretend marriage vows mean something to them.

      • Rich indeed. After d d 1 I told him we would have to use condoms till his results came back. His response: but I’m your husband! ” . no shit Sherlock.

  • “There are many, many online campfires where “waywards” can huddle up and toast their sad sausage weiners.” wELL I spit coffee out my nose reading that. Too funny. Note to self: Finish coffee and then read Chump Lady. I didn’t post on yesterday’s blog because it was a little painful for me to read her letter. I had a highschool sweetheart that I dated into my twenties for three years. I was going to marry that guy. And then his little brother died in a car accident and my boyfriend also went off the deep end. He was a clean cut guy that wore polo shirts and boat shoes and worked for an engineering firm and suddenly turned into this green hair mohawk guy that pierced his nipples and attended GWAR and Genitorturer concerts. I stayed with him through all that but then he started drinking and driving, the very thing that took out his brother, and started crossing some lines and boundaries and wouldn’t get help. I ended our relationship. BUT he never once cheated on me! NEVER. He did some crazy, crazy things in his grief (see green hair mohawk nipple piercing comment). You know I think he did come out of the fog. It’s been twenty years and I social media stalk him sometimes just to see if he did cause I care about him and it certainly looks like it but yes, sometimes I get sad that we didn’t make it. BUT I know what I tolerate in relationships and what I don’t and he definitely crossed boundaries. I can say I can be happy for him that he’s out of the fog of grief and carrying on while I’m happy in my own relationship and just leave it at that. It’s about what I want for myself and how I want to be treated.

  • I think HoustonDad made a lot of assumptions about Chumps. And I may be making an assumption myself, but I believe the majority of Chumps actually did give their cheating spouses ample opportunities to reconcile and in most cases the cheater just rolled right over the Chump again and again! I gave my cheater so many chances I actually lost count. But time and again he just threw those chances away. Am I bitter? Only when someone says I am, but the way I look at it, I was more than fair to my cheater and he just crapped on me more and more! I am not bitter, but angry that he wasted my good nature and continued to act an ass! Now he wants everyone to believe I was the “bad” person! Bitter? Maybe, but only because he twists the real truth! And I don’t really give a shit what his narrative is because I know the true effort I put forth. So screw these people who want to believe him! I don’t need them anyways!

    • I always love your responses Roberta. ” I was more than fair to my cheater and he just crapped on me more and more! I am not bitter, but angry that he wasted my good nature and continued to act an ass! ” I gave X a chance—but it didn’t last 2 weeks. So no unicorn here–just the cold hard truth of Jackassness. X just wasted 35 yrs of my life.

      Interestingly my grandchild is head-over-heals about Unicorns. Oh how I want to explain it to her…..She’s just 6.

  • Not to trash Houston Dad specifically, I think he does represent a large portion of chumps who are seeking reassurance that staying with their cheaters despite the magnitude of the betrayal is the right path. Some of us have sought such advice here either by posting in the forums or simply reading the blog.

    My 2cents is the chump needs to do what they alone feel is right. If you choose to attempt reconciliation with a serial cheater, ONS cheater, LT affair cheater, emotional cheater, financial cheater whatever….DO IT. This space is your sounding board, your reason-check. Of course you will get a lot of push back, insight and advice from many who have BTDT.

    For the reconciliation chumps who get their panties in a wad with the CN feedback, perhaps you need a break from this blog. Seek advice from the reconciliation boards. There you will find people experiencing exactly what you are dealing with daily. The biggest take-away is that none of this abuse that your spouse or partner has consciously dumped on you was what you stated in your martial vows or relationship agreement. This sucks and it’s hard. If you decide to trust a liar, verify and get legal documentation. Isn’t that what you would recommend to a business partner or even your own friend, sibling or child in a relationship with someone who is supremely selfish?

    • Yeah, I also went through that stage. God will change him. I will stand by my vows. Things will get better. And I think I visited here right after he finally left me in 2014 after 36 years of marriage, and said to myself, wow that’s a hard dose of reality at CL. Not ready to give up yet then- went to some reconciliation websites. But that attitude and belief in 1999 after the first D Day only bought me 15 more years of confusing off and on love bombing and grief over his “distance”. One affair I just found out about from a “friend” was during the time I was fighting breast cancer 13 years ago. I now understand my confusion. No I don’t believe in unicorns anymore. I still have my solid belief in God, and know that He releases and heals us. My life looks more and more beautiful every day. So very thankful to have found Chump Lady and the mighty Nation. Houston Dad, I wish you the best.

  • I would add that the world needs MORE anger regarding adultery and infidelity, not less. That is a healthy response to such a violation-aka soul rape. IT IS A BIG DEAL!!! Plenty of places that down play the anger and shame people for having such a healthy emotional response, imo. CL is a much needed forum that says and does otherwise.

    • That’s right DM. What is this idea that anger is bad all together? I think it feeds into the foolishness that society mistakes for tolerance. It’s a false sense of civility and only enables people who would perpetrate misery onto others and themselves.

    • I had 2 d-days and my first reaction was try to fix it by going to counseling. I had to practically drag my ex-wife to the counselor. My former chumpy-self certainly thought she was a confused wayward who just needed help to come out of her fog. Blah! Cringed just typing that. Nope. She just didn’t care.

      I had a conversation with a friend this weekend about how I no longer believe people perpetrate misery unto others because they are lost, sad, or frighten. I said people know what they’re doing is wrong but they just don’t care. Her response was that she does believe in lost frighten forest creatures who do harm unto others because they don’t know better because she was one of them. Minus one friend.

      • I’d say that’s definitely a friend you don’t need. I iz scared bunny, so I stole your wallet. I had the sadz, so I fucked your best friend. Um . . . no.

      • Being a Christian, I do believe with God, people can change. Problem is most of these people have no soul and believe they are good people. You have to be willing and seek Gods help. Hence in most cases it will not happen. Anger…. Yes we have a right to be angry. We made a vow we expected life long commitment! What we got was lies, attacks on our sanity and potential exposure to STDs! The assumption that it is my fault she could not say no and keep her pants on is bogus! I have been married for 25 years and have turned down and run from being hit on…. At no point even when I was the most miserable in out relationship did I stray!!! It’s character and morals! Something she has none of…. To say there is any thing I did or did not do that caused this means that there is an excuse and a reason God will give a pass for adultery. I have never seen any reason he would stamp his approval on this! Nor anywhere he throws judgement or punishment on the chump! All is focused on the perpetrators not the victim! The R factory is nothing but a group of people stealing money from people who are at their weakest….. It targets chumps ! I would say there is a chance for a cheater to change. Problem is at least for me, why would I want them? I have to live with knowing what she did for four years. The disgust I have for her actions…. The total lack of respect for her? I was lucky (sarcasm) to see her text back and forth…. The crap she did with her boy toy is burned inside my brain….. I doubt that ever goes away!

      • Fairly simple, to be honest.
        Cluster B’s (and theres more of them than you think) don’t want to be told they are wrong or being a shit – so they trample through everyone else and do whatever the fuck they please.

    • Divorce Minister, as a Christian what is your position of the power of redemption and forgiveness when it comes to infidelity? This is something sorely lacking here although I do agree with CL’s assessments.

      • Percival – you may be new here, but actually the discussion about redemption and forgiveness happens with surprising regularity. You may also be surprised to learn that there is a substantial proportion of Chump Nation who can countenance the possibility of both redemption and forgiveness, so long as both those gifts are appropriate. What isn’t appropriate (and sadly due to the real EXPERIENCE I and my fellow Chumps have suffered) is false remorse (see archives re real or genuine Naugahyde remorse). It might surprise you too that Chump Nation doesn’t automatically shoot unicorn on sight – but they have learned to smell a wolf dressed in unicorn clothing from 1,000 miles away. I am, I guess, an Agnostic – but I do know that sins are not even forgiven by God himself without genuine remorse (and of course, a determination never to repeat the sin).

        • Thanks for the tutorial Jayne. I’ve been a guest here for five years and read the posts regularly so I’m pretty familiar with CL’s ideas regarding true vs. genuine imitation naugahyde remorse, untangling the skein of fuckupedness,etc. I’m also intimately familiar with Cluster B disorders and the ideas of Dr. George Simon. My question was directed to Divorce Minister since as a man of faith I was curious to hear his take on grace, forgiveness and redemption since as CL stated this is not a site for reconciliation. Not looking for the psychological or scientific cause(s) or reason for character disorder (which most cheaters have IMO) but an answer to the question “Can a cheater redeem themselves, have a change of heart, character etc? Reading the replies I can see the rigidity. I’m not so much concerned with the Old Testament as with what Jesus thought of forgiveness. In the end it’s not about them at all but about ourselves…

          • Isn’t that up to the cheater then? Do assert and reassert the intention to redeem themselves BECAUSE they have betrayed? And then to do the work? Honestly and transparently?

            My cheater H stopped cheating when I found out and demanded it. He initially was appalled at himself but transitioned pretty quickly to blame shifting and wanting to focus on marital problems, while conveniently lying about having cheated the whole marriage. Back and forth it went from apologies to hostility and whining it was so hard to change, he was overwhelmed. And frustrated. At me, of course, not himself for making this mess in the first place.

            I WANTED him to redeem him self and grow the fuck up. It was too hard. In the end, which was just over a year, he didn’t want to grow out of his childish, selfish, entitlements. He wanted to rug sweep and to talk about goals going forward as if fcking other women online was not something he needed to make amends for.

      • Percival, the Bible exhorts us to forgive the repentant sinner. The problem is, few of us see genuine repentance.

        Moreover, even if we are able to forgive, that does not automatically mean we must continue in our marriages. I can forgive a guest who steals from me, but that doesn’t mean I must – or should – invite him to stay again.

        • Repentance (true) before forgiveness. And as stated, you can forgive and still walk away. God allows for divorce in adultery. Always be a skeptic, they have proven themselves to be good at lying. I think they have years of work to prove they have changed. They do not deserve a pass. Most people can pretend and lie for months but eventually they will crack. I see a lot of people who find God….. But don’t live it…. Just a veil to get what they want!

      • Percival, A marriage ravaged by adultery is dead in the eyes of God as I read Scripture (see Deut. 22:22, Lev. 20:10, Mt 1:19). That needs to be the starting point in any godly discussion of forgiveness and marriage restoration following infidelity. While I DO believe in marriage resurrection like I believe that God still brings people back from the dead today, I consider such acts miracles, which are by definition outside the natural order of events. Like faith healers telling a terminal cancer pt that he is “healed” when the doctors tell him that the cancer is still there and will kill him, I regard many Christian pastors/counselors similarly who push for reconciliation and adultery “forgiveness” without dealing with the spiritual reality of adultery. For more thoughts, here’s a post I wrote on whether or not adultery is unpardonable (http://www.divorceminister.com/is-adultery-the-unpardonable-sin/). CL does discuss these matters on the blog, but she does us all a service calling out the “faith healers” who claim marriages are “healed” when they are not. Denying reality and denying the need for real repentance does no one any good. It certainly doesn’t help chumps.

        • This is case where a Old Testament needs to be revived. At least in punishment for adultery. Stoning the man and woman may be extreme in today’s world. But with the damage it does plus a world full of disease, jail time would be acceptable!

    • Aristotle wrote that “the angry man is aiming at what he can attain, and the belief that you will attain your aim is pleasant.”

      What can we attain? An authentic, cheater-free life.

    • Yes, Yes, DM! Where are all of those angry people? CL,CN isn’t for everyone, but it works for me. I needed the truth, and then the support after facing the truth. I hadn’t seen truth’s humble face in such a long time, would I recognize it? Yes.

    • Thank you ! so much for comment. I still have the anger I have tried so hard to push it down. Because I’ve been called crazy for what has been done to me. My ex cheated with his best friends wife and now married to her. But I’m the crazy one for even thinking anything was going on between them. He courted her right in front of me and her husband, and friends we hung around and while on vacation and wherever they felt like it. But my ex justified it by, he was only being a gentleman. Lol. I still sometimes ask myself what did I do wrong. It’s still so hard because we have mutual friends I still see and live in the same town. They got to where they didn’t even hide it anymore. .I pray that God takes the pain away But it’s been 4 years how much longer ?

        • Thank you Anita, for your comment. But what about her ? what do we call her she is just as bad. She never refused his advances when he came on to her . They’re both just as deviant. Thank you again for your reply.

  • From my POV, our fine CL is consistently able to rather effortlessly support her position that a person is unlikely to be a unicorn via a very basic observation of the person’s own behavior.

    If I thought I had done something so terrible to a person I cared about that the person felt his/her life was destroyed as they knew it, I can only imagine feeling so low it would be hard to even look the person in the eye. I definitely can’t imagine thinking any thing I could say would justify making someone feel that way and expecting forgiveness from the person. Destroying someone’s trust in the world is pretty huge. You can’t really apologize. Any grace the person could muster would be remarkable.

    CL points out the ways a person’s behavior shows they are still immaturely self-focused. That is a powerful sign of inability to care enough about something besides him/herself to ensure s/he won’t harm again.

    The odds are ever in her favor.

  • 2 years of shit sandwich buffet, then big formal Reconciliation, which turned out to be an enthusiastically accepted invitation for him to ramp up the abuse and mindfuckery. And now, 7 months after going NC-except-kid-stuff, he still pushes boundaries, takes jabs at my self-worth, and lies for no reason.
    Gosh, I seem bitter. Maybe I should give him another chance?

    • I didn’t give mine many chances after D-day because I’d already given him almost 24 years of chances to become a decent human being. All he did was to get better at deception, subterfuge, and subtle emotional abuse. If I can save someone else from that angst with my “angry” comments to dump the mother fucker, it’s worth it.

      • Bravo, Tempest! Most of these letters come from the newly chumped. At that point I was looking for any advice that would tell me how to make all that happened not exist. I think our anger if FOR the newly chumped, not for our own situation. I have so much empathy for the chump that just discovered their whole marriage was a lie that I want to protect them from all the blame-shifting and gas lighting. The only “affair fog” that exists is the one that the chump is in. Trying to clear that fog for the newly chumped is why I’m here.

  • I think there really should just be one set of standards that you apply to EVERYONE in your life. If ANYONE lies to you repeatedly, they need to go. If ANYONE steals from you, they need to go. What has happened in the relationship with cheaters is that they are allowed to treat you much worse than anyone else…

    So leaving a cheater advice is just actually good human relations advice. Period. It doesn’t involve “rage”, at all. Just self preservation. No Unconditional Love there.

  • Bravo! I’ll admit I was getting sucked in by the tale of woe but you cut straight through the bullshit and pointed out it was all about him. Nothing about the pain and devastation he has caused and how sorry he was. It reminds me of the time CF texted me to tell me if I needed him he was at a hotel in a really crappy room. Funny how whenever he would take off for a fun weekend at his whore’s he never bothered to tell us he was leaving or when he’d be back. No, he only lets me know where he is when he wants me to feel sorry for him. Epic fail.

    As for this: You never begged, pleaded, implored them to come to their senses, did counseling, begged for counseling…

    Let’s see… I begged, pleaded and implored him to come to his senses even before I knew he was still involved with his whore. I did counseling on my own because he wouldn’t go. And then once I found out he hadn’t ended things I continued to fight for my marriage and tried to talk some sense into him. We also went to marital counseling. That was so worthwhile. The counselor asked what had been going on, he said nothing so I recounted the entire story and on the drive home he accused me of being “fucking perfect”. Yep, I’m perfect because I have the ability to speak when asked a question. Of course he was hoping that we would be “focusing on the future” and not his past shitty behavior. After about 3 sessions the counselor continued to work with me but said it was pointless to continue on with him.

    And: You never once cared what your cheater was feeling or asked why they did this or gave them a chance to explain and make it better… Oh yes, after the big reveal I did all of that. He told me how much he enjoyed texting with her (this was a long distance EA at the time) and how much he liked the fact that she would tell him all about her day and what she was doing. He had a rather long list of things he would like me to do and I did my best to do them all. Nothing like letting your husband know you’re doing laundry today, or running errands and giving him a play by play.

    I forgave him. I thought I had a unicorn despite the clear warning signs I see now. Hell, I agreed to move 2000 miles across the country (actually closer to the whore) because he “wasn’t happy” where we were. He thought he might end up in a psych ward if he had to stay there much longer. So we moved. We destroyed our daughter’s dream of becoming a college gymnast (and this was a kid who spent 20-25 hours a week in the gym and was a Level 8 when we moved). We took away hockey and cello from our son. Yep, we moved to the one town that didn’t have an orchestra program, a hockey team or a decent gym. We bought a brand new house and filled it with almost all brand new furniture. He bought me a brand new car. We put a $57,000 inground pool in our backyard. Which brings me to this… You never had… a second D-Day, or third, or 35th.

    Yeah, about that. I found out 4 days shy of the 2 year anti-versary of DD1 that he was cheating on me again. Same woman. His cousin (I always feel that’s the best part). Only this time it was definitely physical and he had already given her thousands of dollars straight out of our bank account, had cashed in stock and had it wired to a bank account I didn’t even know existed, had bought her and her daughter new iPhones (her husband had kicked her off his plan) and was paying their bill, and was interviewing for a new job- out of state. They were having sex one day to the year that our furniture was delivered from our former state.

    I think reconciliation is possible but I also think you need to be able to tell which ones are truly remorseful and willing to do the work and which ones just want to keep eating cake. Sometimes it takes a strong voice (or a chump nation of voices) to help a person see the difference. And sometimes people don’t want to see the difference. If you’ve got a jackass but you want to believe it’s a unicorn you’re going to get really pissed at those people asking you, “Hey, what’s with the carrot taped to your jackass’s head?”

    • I think reconciliation is possible but I also think you need to be able to tell which ones are truly remorseful and willing to do the work and which ones just want to keep eating cake. Sometimes it takes a strong voice (or a chump nation of voices) to help a person see the difference.

      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~This^^^^^^^^^

      • the rest of my reply was missing. I understand the risks. I don’t enumerate the changes that have been made because this isn’t a reconciliation site, and I don’t want to give hope to people that all marriages are salvageable. CL/CN keep me grounded.

  • I responded something along those lines to HD’s post last night.. Then later saw in the General Forum that he and his wife actually split up. I think what was so frustrating for many of us during HD’s “decision” making phase (whether or not to reconcile) was that he asked for advice often and in spite of our collective recounts of failed attempts he made it clear that he very strongly was leaning toward reconciliation. It felt like he was trying to sway us to the reconciliation camp… Something that isn’t likely to happen here. That’s what I like about CL – straight talk from people who have been there, done that. In the end it’s an individual decision, but we are only trying to save others from the heartache which so often goes hand-in-hand with reconciliation attempts.

    • I have to add that we SO desperately want things to be right and good again we are inclined to believe we can get beyond what happened — that our cheating spouses WILL change and become devoted and loving to us again. That our spouse is special and going to be one of the exceptions. BUT the reality of being betrayed on such a deep and personal level by some you love takes a VERY long time to recover from AND the relationship will never be what is was before. I think, too, that the faithful spouse is the one who ends up with the short end of that stick emotionally. Being with someone, day in and day out, who you KNOW had the capacity to lie to your face and cheat on you is a heavy burden to carry. I don’t think that ever goes away. There will always be doubt in the back of your mind. It’s far less painful in the long run to cut your losses and move forward on your own.

      • Wise words Over and Out.
        I could not look at my X the same as I used to, after the last affair, because he didn’t EVEN try to hide it! And then, I found out about all the other affairs, so yeah, I’m supposed to just act like nothing happened? Day to day life with a known serial cheater feels pretty neurotic, and very bad for my mental health! It shakes the very foundation of marriage – that the other person is ‘with’ you, and looks out for all your best interests. He only cried and freaked out when I started imposing consequences, which leads me to think that the tears were over having to pay for his playing, not because he was losing his wife.
        I really don’t think I’m bitter. I am righteously angry, because he could have left, and told me he no longer was into it, instead of being supremely deceitful, and then acting like it wasn’t that big of a deal!

        • FreeWoman, twenty years into my marriage when I discovered the emails, etc, my ex tried to pass it all off as no big deal – “nothing happened” – blah blah blah. Had all kinds of excuses and said he would cut off all contact. What a load of BS. He behaved himself for a short time but eventually opened new “secret” email accounts and used the phone at work (our family business) to call his “friends”… (However, he severely underestimated my intelligence – I worked at the business, too, and I looked at the phone bills, etc!) When I found out that he hadn’t stopped, I made up my mind that this was not a man I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.

          We had married young and over the years I thought he never matured — he was not very good about helping around the house or with the kids. He was moody, childish and self-centered about things. He drank too much and would have verbally abusive rages in the middle of the night. However, I loved him. I just went along picking up the slack, tried to maintain the peace and keep him happy. D-day rocked my foundation and all those little signs over the years started to become very clear to me. I, too, was very angry that he took advantage of me the way that he did. He used and manipulated me in order to keep his comfortable life at home, yet made a fool out of me behind my back. Then he did everything in his power to alienate me and paint me as the “bad guy” in our marriage during our divorce. A few people came forward after the divorce and told me of incidences (some occurring very early in our marriage) that they were privy to and had suspected he was fooling around. I was shocked and humiliated at how badly he had deceived me. (It sure would have been nice had someone clued me in way back then…)

          • ALL of this sounds very familiar, Over and Out. Glad you’re out! And, I hope you’re OK. It takes awhile, and I have certainly learned a lot about humans, and the weird games they can play. Sending you love on your healing journey!

  • No hand raised here either. I gave cheater eight years of chances after Dday #1, did the therapy, underlined the books, even had a temporary separation so “he could think things over”. During the separation he was cheating as I discovered on Dday#2 to which I proceeded to kick him out of our home and never look back. As I did some investigating I found that there must have been at least two other OWs during the eight years of wreckonciliation. So, to clarify to Houston Dad: it is part of a chump´s nature to give chances because it is really hard for us to understand that our partners, who have committed their love to us in marriage, would do anything on purpose to harm us and destroy our family…That is precisely what makes us chumps: giving chances!

  • Tried MC 12 yrs ago due to all the lies, raging and porn addiction. He went twice then quit after the therapist “insulted him.” The cycles of love bombing, promises of change and that I could trust him, followed by more lies, secrets, and raging amounting to too many chances to count. I held on tight to the reigns of that unicorn until the evidence of his cheating smacked me right off.

  • I completely understand the deep, deep desire to reconcile. It’s all I wanted. I would have done anything and it’s just what I did–for eight hellish, nightmarish, humiliating months that pushed me to the edge of a mental breakdown as XW, seeing that she could get away with lies, half-truths, coming and going (emotionally and physically), delighted in a wide-open bakery. With my final shard of lucidity I filed. But I get it: the primal yearning for the belief that they Have Changed, that everything will be ok now. Please, base your decisions on that lucidity, on facts, on patterns. Beware your heart: it is not your friend during those times.

  • 10 years.
    During that time my Mom died of cancer.
    My Dad battled cancer. He developed Alzhimer’s.
    My X went back to school for 7 years.
    He didn’t live with us for 3 of those years.
    10 years of holding it together because it was the right thing to do.

    So yah – at times I can get a little bit angry. I am not going to apologize to anyone for that.

  • . Case in point, I don’t recall ever seeing anyone here suggest that someone give their wayward spouse another chance

    chances??????? He had ever chance to come home to his family. He had ever chance to call and talk to his wife, he had ever chance to work on the marriage, He had a chance to NOT FUCK someone outside of his wife…HE MADE A CHOICE TO FUCK WITH HIS SECRETARY. He had a chance to stop it and do the right thing. He had a chance to help support his kids, he had a chance to not totally cut off and abandon his wife and kids. He’s HAD the chance to help out his kids financially. He had a chance to send gifts to his kids, talk to them, support them, not be a dick to their mother. SO YEA I GAVE HIM MANY CHANCES……

    a place to vent that anger. yea I definitely need a place a vent my anger so I can get up and work two jobs to support my family, so I don’t cry all day and night, so I don’t kill him, so I can be the best mom I can for my three kids. I need to vent and know I am not in this alone.

  • I am so thankful that my now ex-husband only made one feeble attempt to reconcile, and I was so furious that I pissed him off so bad with my response to the attempt, that he rescinded his desire to reconcile. LOL I can’t even imagine the hell I’d be living if I’d reconciled with him AGAIN. Rage? Hardly. Just the knowledge that every cheating story is pretty much the same, so we really do know what we’re talking about. Don’t believe us? Fine. Reconcile. My money is on You Will Be Back.

  • What I think Houston Dad and others like him fail to realize is the tremendous amount of damage done to the unsuspecting chump PRIOR TO DDay. Most cheaters turn into complete self-involved assholes who treat their chumps like shit during their affair. The chumps are in the dark about what is going on and cannot figure out where the spouse that they know and love went. In my case, it isn’t just that my X decided to share his four inches of throbbing steal with his piece of shit whore, but while he was doing so he treated his family as if we were a nuisance.

    The reason chumps tell others to divorce is because we’ve been there. Cheaters, as shown by their own actions, are capable of decimating the lives of those they love for their own selfish purposes. They obviously lack empathy and always will.

    I’d like to ask Houston Dad if someone robbed his house, stole everything he valued, then set fire to it and incinerated every precious memory he had, would he then give the keys to his new house to the person who perpetrated that crime against him?? Not a chance in hell. And that, my friend, is what cheating does to the chump.

    So sick of hearing about second chances for the cheater who made a “mistake”. The guy who robbed and destroyed the house did not make a mistake. He made a sick, self-serving decision. He’s a random criminal who chose a random house to commit his crime. A cheater decides to do these things to the people in his life that love him most. How can anyone expect a chump to forgive such a betrayal?

      • Well, if that doesn’t sum it up nicely then nothing will! These cheaters are not some “random” theif, but the very people we trust to have our backs! And the minute you expose your back to them, they plunge a large dagger into you and twist it with all their might! Forgiveness? Not so much!

      • Add me to that standing ovation. And sign me a bitter, raging Bunny because that POS asshole I was married 20 years to, did cheat, did steal, did lie, did blow us up (read my story) to marry his skank OW, still does not financially/emotionally support our kids (I do), does not acknowledge that any thing he did during, before, or after had any bearing on our marriage’s success and is still-Suprise, Suprise, Suprise!- STILL that same ol’ POS.

    • Yes – the cruelty while the chump is in the dark!!!! I had no idea why he was treating me like shit. He said he wanted to be single and didn’t want to be married. He denied OW.

      I didn’t have a choice to reconcile nor was I asked for forgiveness. He didn’t want counseling and didn’t want to try. I had one of the coward cheaters that ran off to fairyland forever and married the OW (the one he denied). He cheated and 180’ed and went NC on me!

      I’m grateful for CL and CN – otherwise I would be reading crap about how I didn’t affair proof my marriage and feeling like I caused my ex to bang the office skank because I’m inadequate.

    • Awesome point, effing. We actually don’t talk a lot about that period PRIOR to D-Day much here. You’re doing cake, albeit in a different form from cake AFTER D-Day (s), you know something is wrong during this period, but you don’t know what, you’re being treated worse than you’ve ever been treated, and it seems to have come out of the blue. It’s such an unfortunate time, because I think many of us forget (repress?) this time period, particularly because once D-Day comes, it’s like an eclipse that blocks out everything that came before it as you enter the 9th ring of hell. If every Chump could record/memorialize the “pre D-Day you’re being treated like shit period” and replay it during any moment of doubt or weakness to take the Cheater back during divorce (or after), this “video” would shore up their resolve, you’d sign on the dotted line, and get on with your life with no turning back!

  • I gave my jackass 14 MONTHS of chances. He rejected my request for us to get counseling. It broke my heart every day waiting for him to emerge from the fog. What was my reward? HE left ME for his Schmoopie who I wasn’t aware existed. HE filed for divorce. HE left ME with not one penny to pay his share of TWO morgages. I would’ve taken him back. If there’s anyone who knows what setting bitterness aside tastes like, it’s me. I even still believe in unicorns. But the unicorn comes to YOU humbly and broken and with real changes you can see, not just hear all about. My advice is never, Hey, just dump them!

  • Anytime I tried to address the issues in our marriage, it was my problem. I needed to get over my feelings, because he’s not responsible for my happiness…or I needed to change, because I wasn’t meeting his needs. (don’t you love cheater “logic”?). Therapy was fine – for me. For him, not so much. I would have continued to try to fix it, but then I found proof of cheater’s hookups.

    Chump Lady only confirmed what I already knew – my marriage was over – there was nothing to save – more chances would be pointless. Even KNOWING that, my chumpy heart would have given him another chance, if he had demonstrated any real remorse.

    Point being – it’s a chump’s nature to give multiple chances. It’s what got us here. We are fundamentally incapable of kicking toxic people to the curb on the first offense (or third, or 10th…). CL and CN’s direct language cuts through the fear and paralysis. It evokes a strong emotional reaction that is a good indication of where you are on your journey. Read CL and think “OMG, she’s reading my mind”…sayonara cheater. Read CL and think “OMG, this is harsh – this isn’t my cheater!”…you’re not ready yet. Either way, you get clarity you didn’t have before.

  • Houston Dad assumes that anger is ‘ rage’ when it couldnt be further from the truth. And this aint semantics… rage/anger. There is a huge difference and I think its important to distinguish that. Anger, in particular righteous anger is directed at a particular sin or moral wrong. You did this to me and now I am responding to an injustice. My expression and anger are directed at that injustice not the whole world. Hopefully I develop protective reflexes, gain insight and create boundaries. When you push those boundaries or attempt to disregard them you will meet my anger again. Anger protects . Rage, whole other animal. Rage is not lucid. Rage does not establish boundaries… Rage is not in control. Rage is a raw emotion that doesnt protect but destroys.
    I am not a rabid dog lashing out in a blind fury. I am good person who has some anger directed at actions that harmed me.

    • Had I had the opportunity rage would have manifested itself in a very violent, probably illegal irrational way. Like gleefully beating the OW with a baseball bat, lighting my cheater’s Star Wars memento collection on fire or just standing there screaming like an unending horror film. Fortunately I did not have those opportunities right around DDay.

      Anger is an honest emotion that provides the energy and clarity of what to do when you discover you have poured your life love and money into a relationship with a freak who really sees you as little more than a personal servant or paycheck. Or both. Sadly the chump way is to ignore the angry message that the brain and body give us.

  • Mr. Houston, I am not a chump but my brother was. I got a phone call one night from my brother crying so hard I could not understand him. I thought one of his children had died. I flew thousands of miles back come and walked into destruction. There were little children in that house just barely school-age. One kept peeing on herself. She forgot how to talk. She forgot to be hungry. She would stand and babble and cried, and cried, and cried. Another child just kept saying, She’ll be back.”. Another just got lost out there somewhere. And my brother who was supposed to go to work every day was crying so hard and I could nothing for them. How did you fix murder. She murdered this family. I lived thousands of miles away and had my own young children. My husband’s job prevented me from staying and helping. So I had to leave, and leave all that misery behind.
    Mr. Houston, how do you take up for someone who has left a family in such horrible circumstances that often times they lose their homes, declare bankruptcy, have children who were straight A students who drop out of school, have to leave neighbors and friends? This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are people who leaves 30 and 40 and 50 pounds trying to understand what was done to them. This is where rage comes from. This was no benign decision made on the part of the cheater, this was a deliberate act of family sabotage.
    I am never going to forgive her. What this blog does is so wonderful. It gives voice to people like my brother. Having someone to grieve with who understands. I can only describe from being an observer. I cannot begin to know the pain these chumps feel but I care about them. If they are angry so what. Despair is so horrible that people can’t live with it. Anger allows some control.

    • Let Go, I’m crying while reading about those children. These cheaters and their apologists never think about the devestation they cause.

      • I have tears in my eyes too, Carmella. This was way too close to home – the one my family used to live in together – the one my 17 year old daughter still drives over to and sits on the curb in front of, and cries.

        • Thank you for asking about my brother. He got angry, thank goodness. He divorced as quickly as he could. He dated around but he was a good husband and father…..and brother. He found a wonderful woman, married and had other children. He died too young. He left a wife and children who adored him and a sister who has never gotten over losing him. He was such a great guy.

    • Let Go

      Great post. As you highlighted cheating involves abandonment and destruction of entire families. Much of my anger involved accepting the sociopaths discard of his children and granddaughter. I’m hoping your brother got full custody and child support from the parasite.

  • Let’s say I used to juggle alligators for a living. One day I’m distracted by a shiny object, I miss my mark and one of the alligators in the loop eats my left arm. Months later, a friend giddily runs up and says, “HEY! I’m thinking of juggling alligators! Isn’t that great?!” Obviously, I’m going to sit on this friend and discuss all the reasons why that’s a bad idea.

    See HoustonDad? I’m giving this person advice from my personal experience. I’m not coming from a “place of rage” but from a place of having learned that this is a bad decision.

    And you’re quote from yesterday . . “I used to be just as angry as everyone else here. You gotta let it go. It’ll ruin you.”

    That’s adorable. I’m happy for you that you are above it all and have all the answers. But I am firmly at Meh and honestly don’t hate my X anymore. He’s not in my orbit. But if someone is asking my advice on a subject I know a great deal about, I’ll give it to them. If you don’t like how it’s presented, you can hit the site with the little stop signs on the forums. You know, so you don’t offend anyone on your opinion. Sheesh.

  • Chances? Are you kidding me?! That’s what most of us wanted more than anything, was to give our cheaters a second chance. And we did. But they kept cheating. And now we know that duct-taping a horn to a donkey’s forehead doesn’t make it a unicorn.

    HoustonDad, despite our the blunt musings on this blog, we are a bunch of chumps. We have an overflow of compassion – toward everyone, including (at one time) our very own cheaters. Most of us struggle to find our way in this world because we are *too* compassionate. We arrived at this place of honesty toward donkeys out of self-preservation.

  • After you find out your spouse has been cheating for years.
    Your wonder what the truth is! Were you really loved, was intimacy faked, was the vacation a fraud, and all the shopping trips and visits to mom?

    When you’ve been lied to for a long period of time it hard to discern the truth!

    Is it a unicorn or is it reconciliation?

    CL/CN helped me figure out that I was still being lied to, and that my cheater teacher still doesn’t own up to her decisions (I didn’t hold her hand one day 15 years ago so she cheated on me—WTF).

    Though I wish her well in the near term; the Karma bus is coming!

    I want to believe in unicorns, but I don’t think its in my cards.

  • Yes, 3 months of wreckonciliaton where he told everyone we were working on the marriage, but I was the only one trying. He was too busy calling in sick to work (and telling me he was working late) so he could sneak over to his OW’s house. I got the bill for the unpaid rolls and fines to prove it.

    Lots of us here have the idiots we married/partnered with 2nd to 627th chances. All we got was screwed over yet again.

  • In his mind, I did not give him another chance, because he only fucked ONE of his online lovelies everytime he traveled abroad, the others were there to chat (under my nose, often), and one was invited for a two-week platonic vacation.
    So, he did not fuck anyone during the year that followed D-Day, that’s true.
    Yet…
    is it hard to understand, that to me the biggest problem is not genital contact with strange, but the lack of partnership ?
    I have always had anxiety issues. The lies and secrecy, the unprovoked rage, the getting up in the middle of the night, the cruel remarks with a sneer, the lack of empathy and care, send my anxiety level through the roof.
    I don’t need to play mommy. If I wanted any of that, I would have children. I am not with him to wash his clothes and serve him food and clean the place (and do the maintenance)… and consolate him when he is heartbroken because she dumped him !
    That pick-me-dance year was very humiliating and painful.
    I had to tell him I could not deal with this any longer. I do not want this chaos and drama in my life. He walked out. He did not even consider changing his ways or negociating anything. And this time I let him go.

  • For years I huddled with the masses on reconciliation boards hoping for a unicorn but all I ever got was an ass!!!

    WASTE OF MY TIME!!!! I will guess that 9.9 times out of 10 CL is right on the money! My advise will always be…..if your sad sausage is truly remorseful and is destined to become a unicorn…..let him/her do that with someone new. The damage has already been done with you. You WILL NOT ever forget the past.

    Leave a cheater and gain a life instead!

  • Judgment is different from rage. I can have a strong judgment about someone’s character, say, that they are a dishonest, selfish, and hurtful person, and I can express that judgment in strong language to make my point, say, to someone who is in danger of continued victimization by that bad person. And yet I can do those things without having any strong emotion towards the asshole in question. They’re . . . just another asshole. Like another vulture on a trash heap or another hyena on the Serengeti. It’s a fact, not a personal attack.

    • And I also hold the opinion that most cheaters, given extra chances, continue to cheat, an opinion based on my own personal experience with a cheater claiming to be in reconciliation with me.

    • Appropriate distinction, Nomar. I would also argue that rage is part of the process of detachment, then healing. You can’t skip that any more than you can skip the “break the sternum” part of open heart surgery.

  • My cheating ex had 5 affairs that I know of. I have none of the experience most of you describe. He asked me for a divorce on New Year’s Eve 2014 out of the blue and moved out on Valentines day, had his affair partner ( I found out about this one post d day) in his bed a day later.
    He has stopped talking to me or our children because he stated we weren’t kind enough to him during the discard process……that he tried for awhile but was shunned by us, and he’s also upset that I told his affair partner that he sent me texts asking for a hookup several times after he left me and was with her….so now we can go jump in a lake.
    I am thrilled…..I may not have had the strength to go no contact on my own, him doing it was the best thing that ever happened to me. It allows you to see clearly.
    Still hurts that he could just toss 20 years of my life and two kids together in the trash for his new (not so new) schmoopie and her kids, but his discard allows healing.
    Don’t think mine will be back to do the repentance shuffle……seems out of the ordinary though. I seem to be one of the few here that’s not trying to be recycled for kibble…..

  • I don’t know much about Houston Dad, just what he posted on the general forums. But based on that, he is a chump whose wreckonciliation recently failed.

    So HD, according to his posts at least, is a person who has had the rug pulled out from underneath them and been betrayed. I have a feeling that yesterday’s comments were those of a chump desperately trying to come to terms with the fact that his unicorn indeed, was not a unicorn. That’s hard shit to come to grips with and though quite honestly I don’t really understand the “let’s not be angry” stance as I’m not that far along, I’m not sure I’m in the position to have issue with how anyone gets to meh.

    • Chirral – I agree with you. It reminded me actually of the letter or comment the other day about the friend telling chump she needed to forgive OW. CL suggested that friend is a cheater herself, which I agree is totally possible, but actually the first thought that came to my mind was that friend had been cheated ON by her husband and was in a constant preservation mode of keeping herself convinced that reconciliation worked and that probably her husband (or pastor or whatever) had told HER she needed to forgive OW.

  • I gave it 3 years, and I would have done anything to save us. Did do many humiliating things. There’s no fixing it.

  • Rage rage rage against the creature that was never human. The ex is dead to me and his whore. Will keep me sharp, will keep me focused away from any thought of those two pieces of shit. My rage and anger where they are concerned will stay in full force. I will not ask about him nor listen to anything said about him ever again. My children family and friends are fully aware I wish to hear nothing about him or from him ever. I’ve given way too much forgiveness to people who never deserved it. Friends and family members who love you do not stick knives in your back. I’ve kicked to the curb anyone who tries to tell me what I should and shouldn’t do or feel. In the future anyone who shows disrespect or betrayal will be in mediately kicked from my life. This includes people who cheat on their spouses. I’m 60 I am done with bullshit. If my circle is small, so be it. The rage I feel about him and his whore will remain but towards them. I will not let that rule my life. I’ve new plans and I am moving towards starting them. The next person who tells me I need to forgive him when he’s not even sorry maybe they will get some rage.

  • 3 months after my X left me and moved straight into the AP’s house around the corner, I decided to give her one chance. I called her up, asked “Are you sure you want to do this?”, mentioned the statistic that most affairs only last 6 months. She started crying but telling me at the same time about how the affair started, with the implication that she had no say in the matter, it “just happened”. I hung up.

    See, I gave her a chance. One chance was more than enough to see who she had become, someone I wanted nothing to do with.

    Luckily we didn’t have kids, so I have no reason ever to see her or talk to her again for the rest of my life.

    • Blech, Blue! My stbxh did something similar. Walked out on me and I tried telling him how absolutely, completely textbook all his “reasons” were, but of course it’s always “different” when it’s them. He gave me the “it just happened” and also tried to go into how it happened and how, “Look…do you want to know just how unplanned it was?” before I had to stop him. These people are so effing clueless.

    • OMG, Blue, this is my story!! 4 months after Dday, asked him if he wanted to come back home…he said “No, not, yet!” There was his 1 and only chance…..done deal! I bought into the RIC crap, even though it felt soooooo very off. The part that made me not want to do it was reading all the stories here, especially being the marriage police! To ex: Seeya, Suckah!!!!!

  • HoustonDad: Seems to me that you need sympathy. There are so many (too many) websites and therapists that will sympathize with you. I suggest you knock on their door. CN is a rare breed. A breed that is not happy to be here but is in this situation to no fault of our own. CL leads this group because there was no one brave enough to start and lead this group. You should be thrilled that she even answered your letter. Her advice is golden! Now go away!!!

    I hope your wife, ex-wife or significant other is on this blog. It might lessen her pain and quicker to meh.

  • This site helped me understand the cheating brain. I made so many mis-steps, had been given lots of bad advice – from professionals!! Now I get it. And now that I do, I have changed how I behave. THAT has made all the difference. If you don’t understand, you so want to believe in your spouse. You give them way too much latitude. It’s all about getting tough, seeing things for as they are – not what you want. I was prepared for all the typical behaviors. Forewarned is forearmed !!

  • Yesterday’s post and HoustonDad’s response got me thinking about what circumstances would say reconciliation is worth it.

    I suppose if it was truly a one-night stand, the cheater immediately copped to it, and the entire “Real Remorse” checklist was filled, I’d say “maybe.” But even then, it’s a question of whether or not the chump could actually recover and heal after that betrayal. May people couldn’t.

    Besides, at the end of the day, if a partner had all the qualities necessary to be a perfect unicorn, he or she wouldn’t have cheated.

    • Totally. I tend to be skeptical about any situation that started from the spouse *discovering* the cheating or the affair rather than the perp owning up and confessing all on their own.

        • Totally agree – that’s partly why I think so many reconciliations are destined to fail. I’m sure it’s probably possible for someone to be discovered, go through intensive therapy and maybe be better, but in my mind I don’t know how much I could ever trust that there was real remorse unless they fessed up all on their own. Like, I feel like true guilt and remorse should eat at them so much that they come clean (while also accepting the possible consequences). Not that I would know what that’s like.

        • Lulu, cheater ex confessed his first affair and did everything right after that – IC, transparency, everything. Things were fine for 10 years … and then he cheated again. This time I caught him. I filed for divorce but I took him back (again, remorseful, etc) and he went back to IC. Major deja vu. Thirteen years later, the final affair. Nowadays, when someone asks my opinion about a cheating spouse/partner, I tell them if that were me, I would leave.

    • Never.
      Because there is no such thing as being so drunk that you can’t control yourself to get out of a situation before it happens. There Is a process which involves getting to that point – and a decision NOT to go down that path, is the only acceptable answer.
      One night stands my arse – why the fuck should a person be trolling for such in the first place? The answer is: never.

  • Anger is not the emotion I feel and is not the emotion which should concern most chumps, in my opinion. My predominant feeling is that of numbness. It is almost as if I am afraid to experience any emotion, for fear that I will be hurt again. Some days, I wish I could be angry because then I would be feeling something. But instead, I find myself going through my days in, one foot in front of the other, just trying to exist.

    My divorce is far past and I have (mostly) accepted what happened, but damn it, I want to experience a full range of emotions. I want all the colors in the crayon box back ! I try to put myself out there and I do enjoy my life, but I know I am still guarding my heart from future damage. So I can promise Houston Dad that anger is not what we should fear. I would rather see red than endless expanses of gray, despite what that silly book says. I guess I am past the leaving stage of chumpdom and now on the stage of how to love again. Believe me, it is almost easier to be angry than lost in the woods.

    • My predominant feeling is that of numbness. It is almost as if I am afraid to experience any emotion, for fear that I will be hurt again. Some days, I wish I could be angry because then I would be feeling something. But instead, I find myself going through my days in, one foot in front of the other, just trying to exist.

      ^^^That^^^ is exactly what it feels like.. I’d love to feel more anger at times than this feeling..

      • I enjoy the numbness…keeps me from pulling out my .38 and shooting him. Truly. I thank God for the numbness…it enabled me to do what I had to do and stay out of prison. The Lord KNOWS me…how I could have twisted off, and spared me the trouble by giving me this special gift. For everything else, there’s Mastercard.

  • I’m not sure HoustonDad fully understands rage. It’s a pretty powerful thing and it takes a lot of energy. I don’t have the energy to full time parent, full time work and have rage. If I make an observation pointing out the flaws in a person’s story or argument that’s not rage.That’s logic. That’s showing if A then B. Here at CN we have a lot of those examples don’t we?

    I have a friend who is feeding her unicorn, taking it to the therapist and telling me how things are better than they have ever been. She also calls to tell me how she doesn’t know what she would do on her own, how she would get a job and take care of her kids, how she would survive. I get it. She’s scared and does not want to give up the life she has, so she is trying to save it. I don’t rain on her parade but I do occasionally give her something to think about when I hear her spackle. Then I tell her I will be here for her come hell, high-water, or another D-day. Not to say I told you so but because I know she will need someone who can give her the support we all need when we are ready to make that very, very hard decision.

  • I gave my cheater (who did not tell the full truth at all about her cheating) a second chance, 6 years ago. I gave her another chance 3 years ago, I even gave her a chance again three months ago (before I know she cheated multiple times again).

    I hate to say it, but it seems that; once a cheaters always a cheater, simply applies to these people. They have no conscience, feel no remorse and have no qualms to destroy your heart and soul if it feels better or right to them to cheat on you. It’s a mindset, pure and simple. They need kibbles, and when the going gets tough, they run for the easy kibbles. The idea that you might actually have to invest time, love and energy to get something good is alien to them. Onward to the next ultimate love or soulmate that they only just met and fuck you and your dreams, hopes, feelings and family.

    They might be different in a future relationship, but my heartfelt feeling is that if you have forgiven them once, they feel entitled to do it again. Simply because you forgave them the first time. It’s like kids, if you do not give them boundaries, they will never respect you. The difference here being that they never respected you to begin with.

    Of course we’re angry, we got the shit kicked out of our heart, hopes and dreams. However sometimes a good kicking is needed to see the truth.

  • I noticed the comment yesterday and intended to make a reply. When I reply to post, I do so with a sound mind and a shit load (pardon my language) of experience in addition an enormous amount of reading.
    I’m almost ashamed to admit how many years of pick me dancing, Unicorning, spackle, I could very well be the Spackle Queen of this site.
    I’ve also read many books on keeping the spark in your marriage, his needs, his feelings, cooked his favorite foods, complimented him, thanked X for taking out the trash, kept a pleasant disposition, smiled when he walked into the room, I made an absolute fool of myself.. Looking back, my behavior would have made a great comedy act.
    There was the let’s talk, to me sobbing begging for him to be nicer, to go to counseling, asking him what could I do to make things better, choking on my tears, to have him look at me with disdain and tell me how pathetic I am.
    Truthfully, I’m more angry with myself. I honestly hope I can prevent another Chump from going down the path I went through. It isn’t pretty and not one I’m particularly proud of.

  • Oh yes, even the Cheater Ex who basically abandoned us was given a chance. I gave him an “ultimatum” on DDay. How dare I?

    The Ultimatum included what you ask?
    1. Unfriend OW on Facebook
    2. Transfer to a different location at work so you are no longer working together.
    3. Show remorse and act like you are sorry.

    Apparently I was WAY out of line. And Cheater Ex said NO to all of it. And added a warning to me about contacting the OW….you know, for my safety…..because she was scared and talking about harassment and calling the cops. Whaaaaat?

    That, HoustonDad, is the death of a Unicorn.

    • Conniered has a good point. Most of our unicorns ‘die’ after assessing if they are showing real remorse or Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse.

    • Yep.. same here: you do not control me:

      – I asked her not have contact with the OG anymore during the pick-me dance: Screaming, with the kids present, that I was controlling her.

      – She was just helping him, we should become friends (when the cheating wasn’t clear yet)

      – It was all me, I had to change, I was not connecting on a soul level, did not ‘resonate’ with her on the same level, etc, etc..

      No remorse, no compassion, nothing..

  • What a great post and great comments. I am one of those who read here to “stiffen my spine” and get better with boundaries. Am still waiting to see how WH’s one single chance plays out. I so appreciate all of you.

  • I come here because I falter between a state of hopefulness and reality. This place is reality. I read all the things that make me uncomfortable… it’s like taking medicine. Bitter but the only way I’ll get well.

    My cheater is perfect between the fuckups now. He always sucked between them before. The fuckups are getting further and further apart. They’re not devastating anymore… “just disrespect.” He recognizes that they’re fuckups as soon as they come out of his mouth, now. My delusion tells me that this is improvement. I need CN to remind me that this is his true character shining through.

    I have been a SAHM for 10 years. I have applied to 7-13 jobs a week for the past 2 months. I NEED a job that will support me and three children or I cannot leave. I trust that he sucks and know that kicking him out also means flushing his income down the toilet. Because he sucks, he’ll turn on me as soon as he leaves or run away and have no job to garnish wages from. I will not live with my parents (who have 5 children – 8 to 18 years old, still living at home; they leave as soon as they’re able to) because even more than I dislike faking a future with a cheater, I will not live with religious zealots. I left home at 18 for a reason. It would be a living hell if I am beholden to them for anything, rather than where I am… purgatory. This is only temporary.

    I come here because CN reminds me to not get comfortable in purgatory. That history is the best indicator of future behavior and my cheater’s history SUCKS. It fuels me to keep going until I get that job. It reminds me that job options MUST include the schedule and pay I will NEED to do it without a cheater in my daily life. To plan for a cheater-free life. That includes no child support, no alimony, no children’s visitation to him or childcare. When I leave, there will be a battle for a few weeks and then I will “win” and be a single mother to 9, 10, and 11 year-old children in every sense. He will only contact us for the hope of occasional kibbles from his children.

    I come here because CN reminds me that reality can include cheaters fleeing the scene as soon as they’re served. They can quit jobs and move out of state so they don’t have to feel the consequences that matter to them… like paying child support and having people think poorly of them. That selfish people like cheaters can and DO make selfish choices like not providing for their children. He’s done it before. Twice. No – three times… one wife, two girlfriends, and two of their children.

    I come here because CN reminds me to pay attention to the fact that his history sucks because his character sucks. I’ve just been keeping him from SHOWING his suckery to anyone but me for the past 13 years. And without me? He will suck to everyone again… and he very well may just flee. Again. I need to face all of those possibilities while completely grounded in reality. I need to trust that he sucks and plan accordingly.

    Divorce will be easy. He WILL flee. He’s terrified of paperwork. He doesn’t care about money enough to do anything about it. He’ll sign and flee.

    I’m not worried about divorcing him… I’m worried about getting myself financially independent of him or any relatives. That MUST happen first.

    Chump Nation keeps my eye on the prize and grounds me firmly in reality. Thank you!

    • And don’t.even.get.me.started on chances. 13 years of chances, with only a 5-year break in physical affairs. Maybe. I very much doubt that’s the case either. But he sure amped up his video game trysts. And admitted flirting with staff, several in particular. And carpooled quite often. And slept over a few times when the weather was really bad. But NOTHING HAPPENED. They’re older women; he would NEVER. “Ew.”

      Uh huh. The last ho-worker is 6 months older than my MOTHER. He LOVES older women. They’re always either much older or only slightly older but ugly heiffers. We’re talking bowling balls with perms, makeup, nails did, and toe rings.

      I told him to be smart, the next time he cheats on me. Older women with money LOVE him; they flirt with him incessantly. I told him to make sure it’s a woman with no children and lots of money, so him losing half his income to us won’t hurt… which means he’ll not flee, keep his job, and at least still PRETEND to love his children. The new woman will want to see him “being a good father” or she’ll find out how much he actually does suck that much sooner. He’ll pretend incessantly, then. For her, not for them. As long as they don’t feel entirely abandoned, that’s fine.

      I even point them out for him. He acts disgusted. heh. He’s only disgusted because I’m right and there’s no fun in having an affair when your wife has already made your mark for you.

      • IOH, you have such clarity on your situation. I wish you all the best in your job search. Sooner or later some employer is going to see what a smart capable person you are.

        • I appreciate the well wishes, thank you. 🙂

          Unfortunately, I can’t list transforming a poor asshole with legal trouble overflowing from every pore into a middle-class, covert asshole with a nice home in the best district and a “family man” with three beautiful children and a good, stable career on my resume. 😛

          Or that I sacrificed my career for his, literally. I literally gave him my job when he lost his and did nothing for months to rectify that… because he couldn’t grow people, nurse them, care for and nurture them, and NOT spend money we didn’t have while staying at home, much less keep a household running. All he had to do was show up and do the job I taught him to do.

          Or that I, again literally, have gotten him every job he’s had this entire time, even when he was fired for fucking a co-worker’s ex-girlfriend in the lunch room.

          Or that I coach him on how to behave/react to work situations, to get promoted, or how to NOT get fired.

          Or that I sell FOR him to the extent that I sell his product so well that all he has to do is wait for them to show up and write the sale.

          Or that I send letters to prospective clients and all he has to do is sell them what they need.

          Or that I have been offered his position (not to take away his but to ALSO work in that position at another location) by every manager he’s ever had because they know when he’s HIM and when I’ve coached him. That I’ve turned it down, every time, because it requires nights and weekends and I will NOT have him being a SAHD and end up having to pay him alimony and child support, since working that position would not allow me custody of my own children.

          That sounds bitter, right? It is… because it’s true. The tea has steeped too long. It’s bitter. It’s NOT ONLY my opinion that it’s bitter. It IS bitter.

          It’s also bitter because while selling for him, I forgot to sell for myself. I’m remembering that I have to sell myself to prospective employers and improve with every failure to close the deal for myself. But I WILL get there again. This is only temporary.

          Today, I’m applying for a job (M-F: 8-5, with the ability to leave anytime after 3 if you’ve hit your quota) I was offered almost 10 years ago. I landed it and HARD, then. Three rounds of interviews and a written offer and package. I declined because I lived in a false reality and didn’t know he was cheating. He’d had a job offer too – one I applied to as him. When the offer came in, the day after I received mine, and they wanted to talk to him, I told his unemployed ass that I had gotten him the ob and he just needed to answer the phone. One of us would have to stay home because of the schedule and since we had 3 children, 2 and under, And I turned down this job. I would have left him, if I’d known the truth.

          I’d appreciate prayers from the praying types and good luck/vibes/whatever from anyone willing.. that I can get this job again. I know the truth now and will not forego my future for his sake ever again.

            • New York State (nothing more specific here for obvious reasons. 😛 )

              I’ve sold for Omnipoint>Voicestream>T-Mobile, AT&T>Cingular>back to AT&T (reverse merger weirdness), Verizon, Deluxe Corp. (FI checks, which had surprisingly-high commissions), made and sold nursing necklaces and custom aprons. I’ve cleaned houses (SUPER money from just putting up fliers on grocery and church bulletin boards but the taxes were killer) and fully cater a wedding about once a year. (I’m asked all the time but only do it for close friends/family.) I drum up and send business to my husband for high-end furniture through being social with parents at our children’s school and sending out letters to new homeowners from the real estate transactions section in the Sunday paper. I’ve been an office manager for a graphic design firm and a bookkeeper for a construction company, in both of which I negotiated commission from the start. They had clients who wouldn’t pay and I persuaded them to… by researching and pointing out new prospects for them, to afford to pay the balances owed, and suggesting how they could pay x-much now and gain these new clients, which they could only get by using us for [insert my proposition here].

              My strength is primarily in building rapport quickly and easily. I look friendly and have a nice voice. I can let a silence linger longer than most. I have experience in a staggeringly-wide range of skills and backgrounds. I’m interested in learning how to do just about everything and want to know why it works… so when people go on and on, my reaction is not feigned interest; I really am interested and I think they can tell. It puts people at ease.

              • I will add, here, that I CANNOT sell girly things. Makeup, lotions, nails, purses, knick knacks, dishes, books, etc. I can’t because I don’t like those things, myself, beyond basic use. I know how to accomplish those results cheaply or think they’re not worthwhile (sorry to those who do- that’s what’s important to other people but it isn’t for me) and cannot sell things I don’t think will help them. “Multi-level” marketing is not for me. I have tried it and it feels wrong, for me. I cannot chase down people to buy things that I think they absolutely don’t need… because I don’t value it myself and/or know something else that will work better for a fraction of the price.

  • Something stated with authentic emotion is not rendered INVALID. Ever. Very much the opposite.

    Passion is the energy that fuels the best communication. It’s what drives us to find strong words and phrases to express ourselves clearly and without ambiguity. It gives us direction in our narratives. It’s an emotion that’s effective in parliamentary debates and letterbox advertising leaflets. It’s how empaths reach out and touch each others’ hearts and minds.

    CL and its comments are full of passion. There’s anger, there’s joy, there’s devastating sadness, there’s strength and encouragement, there’s humour. It’s all borne out of our myriad experiences which have one conclusion in common: no more cheaters, no more cheating, no more lies, no more shit sandwiches. No, not even our most beloved’s shit sandwiches with that jolly brightly-coloured-cellophane-decoration toothpick stuck through them. Just, no.

    So when someone lays down another tale of devastation brought about by YET ANOTHER narcissistic cheating assclown playing from the same goddamn playbook as all the other narcissistic cheating assclowns working for The Cirque du Entitlement, YES we’re going to get fucking angry and YES we’ll weep and laugh and give the best kind of support our experiences have taught us can lead the abused to a safe place of self-protection, recovery, and a better life. Without the abuser.

  • I think HoustonDad typifies many peoples’ responses who have not been cheated on. Until you have been devastated my infidelity, you do not know what it feels like in the least. It has been 2 years since D-Day and 6 months since she divorced me, and I still feel plenty of anger towards my XW. I feel even more anger towards people who tell me I just need to move on, and all of those people are still happily married.

    This site actually helps people become less angry, because you understand that your cheater is just like every other POS out there, and what you are feeling is legitimate. I wonder how many times someone reads CL and then collects themselves emotionally?

        • It recently failed, at least according to his post on the general forum yesterday. I don’t understand HD’s position at all, just that he’s not the cheater or unfamiliar with being betrayed.

          • Chirral, I have to go to the forums to read the update. I haven’t been good about reading the posts in the forum.

    • Scott, a good recent example of healing was nomar’s comment “As much as anything else, the moment of that (perhaps petty) realization forced me to understand that she really just didn’t care about me or what I thought. And in that end, that was liberating.”

      My experience was the same. Reading CL and CN helped me see that truth of how my cheater was really treating me, and how she really felt (or more accurately, didn’t feel) about me.

  • I got the fuck out based on evidence that only indicated an EA. I never spoke to him about it and I probably never will. Snake probably thinks I didn’t give him a chance – or he would, if I told him what I now know.

    No, I didn’t give him a chance.

    Another chance to tell me how crazy, paranoid and irrationally jealous I am? Another chance for him to trivialize his betrayal? Another chance for him to rage at me for spying? Another chance to show his utter contempt for me and my concerns? Another chance to do the abusive, gaslighting, mindfucking, crazymaking shit he has always done when I have had concerns about his relationships with other women?

    No, I didn’t give him a chance to abuse me yet again. No, I do not want to hear one more fucking lying excuse out of his mouth. No, there was nothing he could do to explain away the evidence I had. No, there was nothing he could do or say to make me trust him again.

    What having evidence did was confirm my gut instinct. I’d been gaslighted out of trusting my gut for years. Having evidence on the one OW makes me believe my gut was right on the women before her, but I was too easily led into denial.

    Once I couldn’t deny infidelity, I finally understood what an abusive covert narc I’d been dealing with all these years. He fucking nearly destroyed my soul.

    No, I didn’t give him a chance. I am done with that shit.

    So…. When I see cheaters who follow the same fucking playbook as the snake, you better believe there’s a righteous anger. It’s justified, and I will not apologize for it. I will fan the flames of that anger. I hope chumps get steamed enough that it propels them out of the abusive cheaters arms and into a better life. I consider it a public service.

  • Unicorns are mythical because the mindset that it takes to cheat is so far off from the mindset of people who would not cheat. We cannot identify with it, so we project onto it. Cheaters take advantage of that by helping us complete our fantasy that it’s our fault so we could fix it. It doesn’t go away either. Even if that person never cheats again the self-centered mindset remains for life. It take a lot of mental gymnastics for chumps to overcome the obvious signs that their spouses are only in it for themselves.

  • Well it’s true, no one ever suggests giving the cheater another chance. But nearly everyone here shares their own experiences with second, third, on and on and on chances and tales of multiple d-days sometimes spread out over a span of twenty years or more. People on this site are saying look, this was my experience, take it for what it’s worth, learn from it and hopefully avoid the pain I went through. When I first came here, I didn’t want to believe any of it. I wanted to believe we were special and different and we could be the ones who survived. But I’ve come to realize that what we all discovered on D-day wasn’t just what they did, but what they are. And you can never change what they are. That for me is the real shock and the real pain and the real loss. You really do lose that person. I could keep my marriage in tact, (he wants to). But he will never be the same person to me, and I will never be the same. Just as you can’t dip your toe in the same river twice, you can’t restore the marriage to what it was. It has changed forever.

    And for what it’s worth, if anyone ever did find a unicorn, no one would be happier or more supportive than the people of chump nation. But to convince me, you would have to be 20 or 30 years down the road and able to attest that yes, it has really lasted. And that you felt safe and loved and cherished, and you didn’t trigger for all those years or play marriage police or get that burning in your gut whenever his or her phone pinged. If that person is out there, please speak up.

    As for rage, what do these people expect? There is anger and rage because there was love. It was strong and true and given freely. And then that love was disregarded and trivialized and we were tossed aside. If we were indifferent to our spouses and marriages, this wouldn’t hurt so damn much. But you can’t love passionately and deeply and then react to the betrayal passively. They say the price you pay for love is grief. Well when that love is purposely tossed away and someone hurts you intentionally, of course there is anger and it mixes with the grief and you get rage. That rage is the fire that forges our resolve to be mighty and get to a better place.

  • Chances? Yes, I gave chances. I gave him the chance to come clean to me many times. I would say, “If we need to have a difficult conversation, let’s have one.” He never took me up on it. Instead he continued to lie. He lied to me. He lied to our daughter. He lied to therapists. He lied to his own parents. He lied to everyone. Once he was finally cornered like the shit scared whimp he is, he confessed to sex in our home with a troubled young woman.

    Finally all his previous shitty abusive behaviours became clear. He diminished me and all the years we’d spent together. He called me lazy and a cunt. He called me controlling and emasculating. And this on top of the fact that he had unprotected sex in OUR FAMILY HOME.

    I’m not sorry for kicking his ass to the curb and I’d tell anyone else dealing with a cheater to do the same. There was no remorse from him just more minimization, blame shifting and anger. If that seems harsh then I have a suggestion: Don’t cheat.

    Cheaters always feel soooo hard done by. It’s nonsense. There are no unicorns – only hard work, repairing your self-esteem and finding a good life. If this is offensive to you, life will continue to be very difficult for you.

  • four years of chances… four d-days, he had to move to the other side of the country to work. I supported him and visited as often as I could… He still cheated. I was a freaking professionnal chance giver!

    Houstondad, be careful, I gave chances like you want to do. I left because I had to. Two days after the divorce was final I did’nt feel good, went to bed… and stayed there for more than four months with a virus that was attaking my vital organs. I’m finally back on my feet after a long time. The road to recovery was so, so long.. I have to say that the view on the other side is pretty nice today :)) I’m healthy and I have sooo much energy 🙂

    All I’m saying is giving chances is a costly business, be careful. Save some of your energy to get out if you need to.

  • So, let’s see …

    One BIG chance after Affair #1, which he dragged out for months, and after which I did all the work, all the ‘improving’ and a TON of spackling.

    3, maybe 4 chances following serious threats of physical violence (and the guy is 6’3′. 210 lbs, works out 3x a week). Called the police the first time, that stopped it for years. Accepted gradual escalation at threats #2 and #3, went with the kids to a shelter after #4, when he grabbed me by the throat and held me against the wall while screaming in my face. I still didn’t leave, idiot that I am. Although at least the leaving for shelter thing did top the threats.

    Another chance when I finally told him I couldn’t live any longer with his negativity, criticism and meanness, and the kids shouldn’t have to either. He said he didn’t want us to split up, and made big efforts to be nicer to us, which really helped us, and we showed a ton of appreciation.

    So then there was Affair #2, 7 years after #1. EVEN THEN I confronted him gently, gave him a chance to make things right. Waited a week, he had nothing to say to me, and was happy to continue his affair. THEN I said we were done.

    But now he says I’m angry and self-righteous, because I wouldn’t let him come back, wouldn’t agree with him about all his justifications, won’t hide his behaviour from our kids ….

    • Re-reading all that, I realize I should have gotten way angrier, way sooner, and stayed that way far longer. I realize that my narc ex took advantage of my loyalty, commitment, optimism, and inability to stay mad.

      My life, and that of my kids, is SO much better now; I see the cheating as a gift that got us out.

      And those are the reasons I so strongly encourage people to give up WAY SOONER on any long term or serial cheater, any cheater who shows fake remorse, etc. I would like others not to have to learn the hard way, like I did, not to have so much harm to undo with their kids, not to be re-starting their lives so late.

  • I think a great deal of people are on this site and I know I am one because we did fight to keep our marriage and family together even after the affair bomb was dropped on us out of the blue. I personally fought for two years. I look back now and realize I should of looked him in the face and walked out the door with my children and never spoke a word. We are here now because we live in the aftermath of being left. It’s a constant reel that plays and replays the events of your life with your spouse and family in your head. I personally am her because sometimes I fail to replay the shit sandwich that my children and myself were handed. 25 plus years together and only the last 1 went to hell with not a warning….so in a situation like this one has to remind themselves here in these articles and responses of what reality is. Mine ex is sort trying to inject himself ever so slightly back into my life after marrying the affair partner and now admits it was a huge mistake. Mine is trying to feel a sense of the old family once again. I am here to honestly remind myself, no matter what some of the sugar coating therapists say on some of the sites on the web…we are not the same family anymore. That family is broken. How would one possibly fix that hurt. You can be the biggest, most humble person out there but there is a part of you that won’t trust again. And as many have posted in comments on various articles…to accept that person back into that spouse role would mean you would never be at rest. You would police everything. Their phone,email,the car they drive, their credit card transactions, their atm transactions, their wallet, questions every outing without you, their co-worker relationships. All because you spent an enormous amount of your life using these same avenues to uncover the depth of the affair to begin with. I believe that would be exhausting. Like sleeping with one eye open. Even though you may love that person til the end of time….that would be a lot of work.

  • Excellent post CL!

    This post reminds me of the key elements Tempest reviewed in her brilliant post on the differences between cheaters and chumps (http://www.chumplady.com/2015/08/what-is-the-difference-between-cheaters-and-chumps/).

    As many chumps, I am addicted to potential. When I found out about his LT affair, I was devastated. I had been clear about my deal breakers, and now I was faced with keeping my word or with staying despite his cheating. He made my decision easier by proving that lying was his preferred problem solving strategy. I am too adaptable emotionally for my own good, but try and insult my intellect and we are done. He crossed that line on the third day after DDay.

    As I forge on to Meh, I was struck by CN comments on righteous anger bordering on rage, and have come to believe that the level of anger is directly correlated with a chump’s self-esteem.

    Chumps with lower self-esteem have strong self-sacrificing tendencies. Hence, an attack against them will lead them to depression and self-blame, along with a higher willingness to hope for a unicorn.

    As chumps work on their self-esteem and learn about self-care and how people are supposed to treat each other, then righteous anger and rage emerge as a healthy reaction to the unilateral decisions their cheaters’ entitlement and willingness to use their spouse as a front for their immoral behavior.

    Of course it is not in the best interest of the cheater that the chump increase his/her self-esteem. Because that would mean that the cheater will have to face consequences for their immoral behavior, and the relationship imbalance will change to the detriment of the cheater. We know how Cluster Bs react to chumps getting stronger backbones by setting up and enforcing boundaries.

    I hope all unicorn-chasing chumps read “The Betrayal Bond” by Patrick Carnes as well as “Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist” by Margalis Fjelstad.

    The more I have learned about healthy relationships, the more angry I get about how I accepted to be treated. I am working on building more reciprocal relationships. Above all, the more I learn about cheaters and Cluster Bs, the happier I feel that I divorced that sparkly turd post-Dday #1.

    • Chumptitude,

      Your point about low self-esteem seemingly coinciding with less anger rings true in my experience. I am 50. In my 20s a long-term girlfriend cheated on me. I vowed, after I picked myself off the floor, that I would never again forgive any sexual betrayal. Fast forward to last November. My word is my bond, and so I have had to put into action my “leave a cheater” plan. Because I know and respect myself better now, I believe my self-esteem was higher going into this relationship, higher even in the face of D-Day, and still high (but damaged) post leaving.

      Those of us for whom cheating was a marriage dealbreaker have every right to be angry. We are victims. Sure I’m a survivor too, but I am angry. I had a legal contract with my wife. I told her in no uncertain terms what my needs were. And we both agreed that cheating is a physical assault. All of these are legal issues that society with arbitrate for me. I don’t know about you HoustonDad, but I really don’t like getting fucked over in a court of law, least of all by my alleged best friend and business partner AKA my STBXW. So yeah, I’m fucking angry.

      • I agree Ian, getting angry is a healthy reaction to being disrespected and stabbed in the back by someone who signed a legally binding contract based on trust and monogamy with us. I also do have accumulated quite a bit of anger related to the unfairness of the courts that pretty much have decided that “adultery” has little to no weight in asset and custody decisions during divorce proceedings. My anger has proven super useful in putting myself first throughout the divorce process.

        Now that my divorce is final, I am working to to turn my anger into indifference towards my X.

        Every time I am tempted to initiate contact, I see the Seinfeld Soup guy saying “No kibbles for him!”

        Another helpful aspect in my recovery is that my X has always been worried about his looks (shocker!) Over the past year, several friends have commented that he seems to have aged a decade while I look younger post-divorce. Knowing that my X has to watch his face not age as gracefully as he had hoped is the most effective version of the karma bus to me.

  • Part of the confusion may stem from the fact that when chumps accurately describe their experiences without sugar coating them, some readers may interpret what they read as anger and rage.

    While some commenters may occasionally infer inaccuracies into others’ circumstances, what I see for the most part is chumps simply sharing their stories and the damaging impact of infidelity, perhaps throwing in some indulgent descriptive words for their cheaters now and then.

    I do think cl.com and CN does present a clear argument and narrative against infidelity and for the most part, against reconciliation, but many of us would love to be proven wrong. And we are pretty good at ripping to shreds the arguments for reconciliation because most all of them are filled with inconsistencies, hypocrisies and lacking in logic.

    We aren’t projecting – we are truth seekers who don’t want to pretend or live a lie. Our cheaters pretended and lied for self serving purposes. We want to live authentically, where living authentically means being open and honest to those closest to us.

    Infidelity, reconciliation, divorce, etc – it’s a rough road, and horrible path that we wish on no one. We don’t minimize the horribleness and roughness here – nor do we amplify it – but we articulate just why and how it is far far worse than the reconciliation industrial complex makes it out to be.

    Perhaps we entering a new era of the normalization of narcissism, but I’ll choose to remain old fashion and taken honest, respect, and monogamy over narcissism any day.

  • Good points, CL! So many thoughts, some of which have already been expressed by others here.

    I agree with a couple other commenters that my own reaction to HD was more that here was a person still hoping to believe that reconciliation will work, perhaps in their own situation. I will say that while I’m on board with making the distinction between a mistake with the connotation of a mindless error, and a deliberate bad decision, I don’t feel as strongly about it as some because I think colloquially sometimes we do mean the word to mean a bad, regrettable action.

    And yes, HD, people do learn from their mistakes and their errors in judgment and even their calculated bad decisions. But part of that learning, as CN knows, is accepting the consequences. If someone makes a bad decision at their job that causes losses or betrays trust or endangers their co-workers, they may very well learn from it and, best case scenario, could bring more to the table as an employee in the future, but they will still have to accept that their decision may cost them their job, and possibly the trust and respect of their co-workers and bosses. That’s just the way it works. As CL has said many times, a real unicorn will not show any entitlement to more changes or reconciliation, and to assume those things is to give an indication of how much actual respect they have for their chump.

  • I gave my cheater 6 months of chances after I first discovered her affair. She lied her way through those 6 months and didn’t stop cheating.

    I initiated divorce and moved out. She lied her way through the divorce and asked for more chances while continuing to date her AP (who got married).

    I have a new life. My ex built up so many lies to her friends and family while helping to destroy her AP’s marriage that she eventually had to tell some truth to those friends and family…to get some validation and lamely attempt to legitimize her cheating/home wrecking.

    Unicorn, my white ass!

    (Of all my time reading/talking to cheaters, I’ve heard of 2 actual unicorns…out of hundreds of stories. The odds aren’t in favor of reconciliation.)

  • I’m not going to dump on HoustonDad. Like all of us here, he was the one who honored his vows, and like many of us here, he tried to reconcile. Unfortunately, the statistics are against successful reconciliation, and HD’s marriage adds another point to the data.

    What I think that HD does do, and this is something that is very Chumpy and that Chump Nation speaks out about, is assume that it was his fault the reconciliation failed. His ex-wife was apparently doing everything she needed to do, according to the Reconciliation and Real Remorse checklist. HD, God love him, thought she deserved the second chance, but found out that he couldn’t get past the affair.

    And that makes it his fault that the reconciliation failed.

    Infidelity brings many tragedies, but one of them is that trust, once broken, is never fixable. Most of the time, we can fix things because we’ve bruised them, not because we broke them. Infidelity shatters the marriage bonds. Maybe the Cheater does suddenly see that s/he’s destroyed this thing that s/he realizes is the most precious thing in his/her life, and s/he will do anything to try to fix it.

    But that’s no guarantee of success.

    It’s not the Chump’s fault that reconciliation failed. The fault is that the Cheater cheated. This is 100% on the Cheater, and the Cheater needs to own this. The Chump may give the relationship a chance to see if it can be salvaged, but the sad fact is that even if the Cheater is completely sincere, the Cheater damaged the relationship beyond all repair.

    This is why “once a cheater, always a cheater” is true. Maybe the Cheater goes on to reform, get the therapy, and henceforth enter into honest relationships. But the damage has been done to the Chump, and for the Chump, the Cheater is always a Cheater because of the cheating.

    My ex-husband still hasn’t come to grips with the fact that he is now an adulterer, and will always be an adulterer because he’s committed adultery. He doesn’t get a do-over. In the future, if he reforms, he may be a repentant adulterer, but he cannot ever rid himself of the fact that he committed adultery, and I won’t be able to see him as someone who’s honest in his relationships. To me, he’s a cheater. At one time he wasn’t, but he is now.

    That’s on him, not me.

    • I need to clarify that it seems as if he believes that it’s his fault the reconciliation failed. My argument is that it’s not.

    • Fantastic points, kb. I had similar thoughts and you put it into words way better than I would have!

      I was thinking that it’s like being an addict. You may be clean and sober for 25 years and a better person for it, but an addict nonetheless, because you have to own it to be better.

    • Oh, this is good. It’s like how once you’ve been a smoker, you can only really ever be an ex-smoker. Non-smokers never smoked. Thanks, Kb.

  • HoustonDad was betrayed and he made a gallant effort at reconciliation which at times was frustrating to those of us who watched from the sidelines. He has realized he can’t forget what she did do him and their family and they are now apart and moving on with their lives.

    I do believe he is mistaking our passion for a subject we collectively know a lot about with anger and bitterness.

    This website and its commenters weren’t really a good fit for Houston Dad but in the end he found his way through the maze and is coming out the other side. It’s a bit of a cheap shot, though, HD, for you to throw the “anger and bitter” card at us as you depart.

    For the record I can honestly say that at 2+ years out the anger has gone. But when it was here it was surely justified! What’s interesting to me is that I only just realized recently that the anger has gone and I wonder if for me, this represents Meh.

    I honestly think it might!

    xox

    • Well-said assessment of HD’s situation, and our support of him throughout it. It should be added that at one point, HD confessed that he had “broken” his wife and that she was a shell of her former self, sobbing, etc. Is that really any better than sounding angry on an infidelity site? Me thinks not

      So happy you’re at, or close to, Meh, ML!!

      • Yes, my thoughts as well… It’s easier to let go of the anger once you have fully defeated the perpetrator. You win. You can walk away and maybe feel either pity or a hint of sadness or nothing at all. Personally, I feel better having just walked away without brow-beating my ex. I loved him at one time. I really didn’t want to destroy him. I just was done caring any more.

        I thought it was rather hypocritical, too, that HD was sympathetic and understanding of the other betrayed spouse’s “anger and rage” toward his remorseful wife (with whom he was ACTIVELY trying to reconcile at the time), yet we (at an obvious non-reconciliation forum) are now being labeled as misdirecting our “rage/anger” when providing our own personal experiences and insight in attempt to warn him…

        • Yes, it is hypocritical. Not that long ago, HD was also proudly posting on the forums about how he was cyber-tracking cheaters as a hobby and going all Tarantino on them and “blowing up” their lives, to the enjoyment of his teenage daughter. According to him then, “Ruining cheaters is therapeutic. Don’t judge.” Meanwhile, his own cheating wife was still living with him, apparently without repercussion, while he was attempting to write another chapter of their Great American Love Story.

          So, what’s the takeaway here? One set of rules for HD; another set for everyone else?

          I don’t want to be part of a lynch mob, but this admonition about projection from someone who outsources his own pain is just CRAP. I don’t doubt that HD was chumped badly and that his inner struggles are real. But go get some help already! Geez

          • FMT – it sounds like a tame episode of Criminal Minds where the murderer always has some source object that they project all their rage onto! Murdering people that look like their dad or something because really they hate their dad…ruining other cheaters’ lives in lieu of ruining their own cheater’s life!

  • Did 6 months of MC. Whole time he was chatting away with his ho worker.

    Facts: Once they cheat, second tie is easier. Statistically 75% more likely to cheat. With those odds and no remorse, I filed.

    While it is unlikely you will have a genuinely remorseful cheater, you could, just chances are they are acting. So each person has to chose for themselves.

  • Let’s say, **just for the sake of argument**, that there is a small (or even medium-sized) percentage of rage-fueled comments on this forum.

    That would be somehow different from what online forum, on any remotely controversial topic, anywhere? I can’t think of any.

    Those who would insinuate that readers cannot tell the difference between purely rage-fueled comments and more helpful comments are insulting the intelligence of that readership.

  • I think the comments here are proof that CN is a lucid, thoughtful, careful, considerate bunch. Sure, we’ll occasionally be flippant, irreverent, crass, and humorous, and we’ll occasionally let our anger and rage out, but when it gets down to it, we’ve arrived where we’ve arrived through a methodical, lucid, risk-tolerant, authentic journey of self-discovery and growth, and we did it without having to fuck anyone else or neglect anyone or damage our families or cheat or lie.

    • Yes, the process is not linear; rebuilding a life after betrayal is not an easy thing to do. A range of emotions should be expected. I am very proud of some of aspects my journey and not so proud of others. So long as I keep trying to move in a positive direction, I’m going to cut myself some slack if I sometimes “rage” here, among friends.

  • When someone tells a fellow chump to dump a cheater, I believe that it comes from a place of hope–hope that the chump won’t make the same mistakes that a lot of us made in giving second and third and fourth chances to people who didn’t deserve them. Not everyone in this world has the capacity to lie and betray the one they love, but those who do are not safe people. That’s not bitter or angry. That’s logical. That’s reality. And sometimes reality hurts, but I can attest to the fact that denial hurts a lot worse in the long run!

    We chumps go through some serious mental gymnastics to stay with cheaters. We “accept them with their flaws,” or live in denial, or become private investigators, or try harder to make the relationship “perfect”…or all of the above. But we don’t have to! We don’t get badges or trophies or cookies for doing this. 99% of the time, we get worked over and hurt again and again. Or we live the rest of our lives with the pain of knowing that the person sleeping next to us in bed was capable of doing unspeakable things to us, and the fear that it could one day happen again. Yippie!

    Someone who can actively deceive you, plan out their hookups or carry on full-blown second relationships is not making a mistake. It’s not a fucking fog! It’s very much intentional and involves a great deal of deceit and betrayal to carry out. So yes, someone who has married you, sworn fidelity with you, yet has the capacity to do this to you has a seriously flawed character. They are not safe. Why risk years of your life snorting unicorn hopium? You can if you want to, but why? Again, not bitter. Just reality. Wish I had gotten a good dose of CL reality 6 years ago!

  • CL is spot on, Houston Dad. I lost a year of my life because I had no proof of the OW and believed my H’s denials. He then moved overseas to really prioritize his affair, while telling the family he was doing it for a job, to make a lot of money for “our future.” Leaving me to deal – sans his help – with sick parents, their estate sale, sick pets, and to some extent my stepchildren’s needs. When one of the pets died, I called him. He said, “Why are you calling here?” Because he was with OW for his birthday. God hit him with A-fib that same week, but he survived.

    Six months later, I found out about OW from an “anonymous letter.” He had been funneling our money to OW for 2 years. He was so arrogant he had given me a general power of attorney that told the tale. He begged to reconcile and wrote up a detailed written plan for it. I lost another year of my life to phony wreckinciliation, OW in the background all the while. (Turns out, he wrote the plan mainly because OW pulled back when I found out who she was.).

    I spent another six months waiting for H to show up in the US to get served with divorce papaers. Then to his tears and trauma over that, to his hemming and hawing before HE finally said “You are too mercurial. I don’t want to get back together with you.” Four years lost to overt and covert disrespect and physical and financial infidelity. He had all the chances in the world, but he wanted to be an immoral cake eater. Because he is special enough not to play by the rules. Did I mention he loudly proclaims to be a Christian? If you want to devote time to reconciliation, because your spouse is different, have at it. But unless remorse is immediate and accompanied by accountability, I wouldn’t give it as long as most of us here did.

  • I’m so pissed off today that I should not be writing anything, but that bullshit about not giving second chances has drawn me out.

    When my EX had no other choice, she admitted an affair with one of her former bosses. It had supposedly been over for five years or more at the time she disclosed. She swore to me it lasted 10 months, ending in October 2008. She swore on the lives of our children that was the truth and that there had never been anyone else. I was devastated. Then, three weeks later, she told me about a three week affair with another co-worker seven years earlier, but she felt that one was really not that significant because “it was just a minute” and she was unhappy and “just needed to get my batteries recharged.”

    My gut had been telling me something was wrong since two years into our 20 year marriage, when our first child was less than a year old. Her treatment of me changed, but she always denied cheating and acted indignant and shamed and blamed me any time I questioned circumstances that didn’t look right. Sorry, but I could never understand why an apartment manager always had to work late, often after midnight or until three or four in the morning. Turns out that while I was home cooking dinner for the kids, doing homework and getting them through the bathtub, she was using her office or nearby motels for her affairs.

    I lived almost all of my 20 year marriage with little affection and unmet needs while doing almost all of the cooking, cleaning, shopping, finances, raising of our two children, earning, yard work, car maintenance and taking care of everything else under the Sun.

    After D-Day, my chumpy, codependent ass went to marriage counseling and tried to see if there was any way I could go forward. When I expressed doubt that I could, she got down on her knees in the counselor’s office begging me not to give up on us. I truly loved my wife in spite of it all, and said I would keep trying. It all ended when she lied to me about something else and I just did not feel I would ever be safe with her.

    I have been divorced almost ten months and just found out that supposed 10 month affair in 2008 was actually between four and five years. She had kept me in that marriage for 20 years by concealing the truth from me, and when I was trying to give her another chance, was going to deceive me yet again into staying for the rest of my life based on lies. I know I am divorced now, and I’m glad I did it even if I didn’t want to and am still stinging from it, but my experience with second chances is that it just gives cheaters an opportunity to revictimize you.

    • Same here, JK… I’ve been divorced for 5 years now after a 23 yr marriage in which I found out later was filled with lies and fooling around on the side. When I filed for divorce he begged and pleaded for another chance. I, however, had reached my limit and was completed done. He quickly converted into nasty mode when I said no. Me, myself and I haven’t been happier than to be free from that one-sided relationship! The best thing you can do for yourself is cut off the supply of information regarding your ex. I told people (even my kids) that I did not want to hear about anything concerning him nor his family because I really don’t need to know nor do I care. Life is so much more peaceful now.

    • JK: Wish there was an easy way to take a poll about how many of us “lived almost all of my 20 year marriage with little affection and unmet needs.” And yet, we didn’t cheat. Howzthat?

      • Tempest: I’d like to think it was for all the right reasons. The better question might be, “what was it about us that allowed us to remain in relationships like that and be used as doormats for so long.”

  • I suspect anyone writing Chump Lady knows this is not a reconciliation site. And all the experiences (stunningly varied and yet with shared devastation) provide that life raft of “snap out of it” and “Jedi hugs”. The chump in a fog wondering about their partner in a fog is seeking clarity but even more so is seeking permission. (imo)

    What I love about CL & CN is when you know it is over and you are out in the middle of the ocean of despair someone here has thrown you a life raft. That is so amazing.

    For me, when the second giant betrayal hit (yes, I had forgiven the first 5 years earlier and thought we were fine), I remember I googled something like (something, something, rat bastard, pathological lying, cheating, wanker, serial, something something) for help and came across chump lady. What a dose of tell it like it is reality – truly has been an anchor for me.

    My D-day was a year ago and I am stunned at the level of grief, sorrow, and righteous anger I have felt but what I am most grateful for is I am no longer drowning in that ocean of despair.

    While I believe (and know) individual counseling can be a godsend with a good therapist at a time in life when you really need tools for living and navigating rough waters, I have such serious doubts about the MC complex and the ability to see the truth when the deceiver and chump bring that dynamic to a third party who is paid to keep you coming back. You hope a therapist would be able to see the truth and say sorry, I can’t help you if that is the case. -But people are where they are in life and sometimes MC is the necessary action for someone to be able to say, I tried everything?

    Therapists say that it is deep sadness that is underneath anger but I also think relief is too. I don’t have to be a chump anymore. In a way leaving the cheater is the easy part. It’s gaining a life, rebuilding self-esteem, finding faith and charting new territory that is difficult. And the magic here is step by step the CL/CN fellowship that is shared every day lights that path.

  • 2 years of marriage, 2 D Days, MULTIPLE red flags and then finding a flash drive full of crotch shots and sexts to and from other women- over a dozen women, porn so creepy it made me vomit, e mail’s saying we were separated written when I was sleeping in the bed next to him…

    That fucker got more chances than he deserved and got kicked to the curb like the trash he is.

  • I’m grateful I only attempted to reconcile for 4 months. I was HORRIFIED to learn from a reconciliation website that one of the tales of hopium was a woman who put up with her husband’s bullshit for A YEAR AND A HALF. He kept going back to OW, lying about it, back and forth back and forth. And that poor chump hung in there. OMG I can’t even imagine.

    Emotional whiplash.

    I do think that all of us chumps have to go through our own journey, and for some people it’s more spackling than others. I tried as long as I could, which is different than anyone else. And I know without a doubt that there was nothing else I could do.

    And someone who treated me with such contempt, disrespect, hate, disregard, venom… No. I deserve better. And being alone, treating myself with respect and love…. that is glorious.

  • I had experienced months of Jackass’s baiting me to get angry, gaslighting to make me look like the angry and crazy one, lying about everything from where he was after work to why he couldn’t stay over on my birthday, and rage-fueled blameshifting. And still I thought there were words and kind deeds that might get him out of the fog. There was no way for me to explain to myself how someone could seemingly turn on a dime and change overnight. What this site did for me was allow me to re-think all the assumptions that held me paralyzed. In my case, there was never going to be a reconciliation, since I was totally discarded. (And I thank God every day he never came back.) Throughout the process, I was in therapy with a great therapist (and one who had heard enough about Jackass prior to DDay that she said “You can never go back to that.” But it was this site that led me to research what it means to be in a relationship with someone who is disordered. And while I had done lots of reading about alcoholics (a subspecialty of my broken picker), I had not thought about what it meant to try to be in an INTIMATE relationship with someone incapable of intimacy. I had thought a lot about my narcissist mother in therapy, but it was CL and this group of savvy survivors that allowed me to see the pattern in my life: making commitments to people who cannot and would not ever commit to me at that level. In the beginning, part of the work of recovering from infidelity is dealing with the rage and sadness and grief and disappointment–the whole emotional load of loss. And of course, that emotional load comes out when people write about their experiences and when they see (or fear) a fellow Chump is about to embark on another losing attempt to reconcile.

    So maybe some of us at times seem angry or bitter. Most of us write our way out of that here. We read and write and encourage others as part of our journey to Meh. And we can feel just as sad for HoustonDad who tried to reconcile but couldn’t trust that cheater again. She broke the trust; part of her consequence is that she can never get it back. And may HoustonDad someday feel very good about both trying again and recognizing that some things, once destroyed, can’t be fixed.

    • This is spot-on: “So maybe some of us at times seem angry or bitter. Most of us write our way out of that here. We read and write and encourage others as part of our journey to Meh.”

      This site definitely performs that function for me. I used to spend half my days sleuthing around and finding more crappiness that my ex was involved in. Then I spent time angrily untangling the skein. Untangling it, at least to the best of my ability, DID help me move on. Now I spend 15 minutes or so a day, reading this site, being encouraged and affirmed at all of your experiences being pretty much a carbon copy of mine, trying to listen and help where I can, and other than those few minutes I don’t think about it at all. I’m grateful for CL / CN and what it’ll mean to legions of others who are googling on their D-Days in the future.

    • I feel like this place is getting me to Meh. That being at Meh will be the thing that gets me to the point of filing. All the ugliness out in the marriage now… the ugliness to fuel me into being completely independent. And then I’ll have it committed to paper with a divorce. A death certificate to my marriage- it’ll be about time. I’ll send a high-res photo of the decree and have a pillowcase made with the image… and sleep soundly every night.

  • One of the ways we learn is by processing information we receive through direct experience. It is not a foolproof way to come to a conclusion — because on any given day a variable we are not even aware of could change and the outcome of the experience could be different. Never the less, that is what we do.

    For example, you could touch the stove one day when it had not been used, and think it was ok to touch the stove, and then, on another day if the stove had been used recently, discover it was not ok to touch the stove. You might process the new information with a provision — “sometimes” it is ok to touch the stove.

    Chances are, if your stove experience was bad enough — say you got a bad burn on your hand that left a scar — you would scream at anyone you cared about who approached the stove and say “DON’T TOUCH THE DAMN STOVE, IT’S HOT!!!”

    I think that many of us on this site want to give the stove a chance. After all, we reason that we should be smart enough to use the stove correctly, and we should not burn ourselves twice. We are smart, high functioning folks. We can avoid the burn.

    Until the day we find someone who pushes us into the stove ON PURPOSE! Yes, we have another variable. Yes, we cannot avoid the burn in that circumstance. Yes, we might get a nasty scar. Yes, we will be angry — maybe even enraged. Who would push someone into a hot stove on purpose? Surely not someone who loves you! But yes, that is what happened.

    Now that doesn’t mean that EVERYONE who loves you will push you into the hot stove. That doesn’t mean that someone who loves you couldn’t have accidently pushed you into a hot stove, no matter how unlikely that scenario is. What it does mean is you have to be really careful around stoves, and if you are talking to someone you love and don’t want to see burned, you will tell them to be really careful around stoves, that they could be hot, and sometimes some people would actually push an unsuspecting person into a hot stove on purpose.

    If someone comes onto the “I’ve been burned on a hot stove” support group, and wants information about how one should behave around stoves — what kind of advice do you think they will get? Some will yell, “STAY AWAY IT’S HOT” and they might still be enraged while they yell that information. Some will be a little more calm. At any rate, it is doubtful that anyone who has experienced a bad stove burn will ever forget it, and even more doubtful that they will not insist that one has to be very cautious around stoves. It is just our natural inclination to process information based on our experience. I don’t know one person who was purposely pushed into a hot stove and received a bad burn who would not pass along this information. There may be a few who still hold out the possibility that the push could have been an accident — but I still think they will suggest caution around stoves. Personally, I believe it is better to avoid a burn and suspect a pushy JackAss. I’ve never met a Unicorn, so I cannot comment on that experience.

  • When I read Houston dad’s comments yesterday I was really upset. It actually made me cry because that’s not what I want to read here. I tried reconciliation for a year. It could never work for us. Leave a cheater, gain a life is what I’m trying to do now. And I’m just so grateful that I can log on here and get the support I need from people that have gone through this and know what it feels like. I have no support and no where else to turn. It’s so nice to know that if I choose not to reconcile and live a life with someone I can never trust- then that is ok. The reconciliation sites are not for me. Thank you chump lady for sticking up for us and helping all of us to “gain a life”.

    • Michelle: I’m sorry you don’t have a strong support unit in person, and that yesterday’s comments triggered you. You KNOW you are on the right path (to that “leave a cheater, gain a life” goal), and that we are with you every step of the way. Hugs!

  • I haven’t read all the comments yet, but will do so, so forgive me if my comments are repetitive. CL – not sure if technologically it’s possible, via Survey Monkey, etc to do a poll of Chump Nation, but I bet MOST of us found CL/CN only AFTER we’d given Cheaters AT LEAST 1 chance AFTER a D-Day. We’ve probably ALL given our Cheaters a 2nd (3rd/4th/5th) chance and the Cheater FAILED and cheated again, continued to cheat.

    I love CL SO MUCH, but my other bet is that a large portion of us only found CL after all the RIC books, sites, therapists didn’t work and we were at wit’s end. This was our last resort. We’d done the 180, Save Your Marriage, Mort Fertel, Divorce Busters, etc.

    Probably after D-Day #1, we were all probably filled with hope that we could save our marriages. That is not rage filled or angry, those are hopeful, positive emotions. Only after we’d done Pick Me Dances and realized we DON’T have a remorseful unicorn, did we move to a position of pragmatism. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result. CL is the point where you say, “why is nothing working, according to the ‘standing by your marriage therapists’, or Mort Fertel or the 180? I’m doing ALL THE STEPS these programs espouse, why aren’t they working??” It is CL that provides the answers, about character and only being able to control ourselves, about Cake and the Pick Me Dance. Only then, do things click into place and answers start coming.

    I don’t mean to disparage any of our folks who are here and are trying to reconcile with their Cheaters. I suspect they are here, because deep down they know the stuff on the RIC sites is NOT working for them, and they’re scared, uncertain and exhausted. I did ALL the RIC things – all of the sites and programs. I spent thousands of dollars. If ANY of them had worked, I wouldn’t be at CN, I would have stayed glued to the Mort Fertel site, or whatever RIC site WAS working. If you’re reconciling with your Cheater, my heart goes out to you guys. I remember that (brief, but exhausting) period and I looked like I was 150 years old. You are welcome here, and we wish you the best. I think we just ask you don’t disparage us as angry or hateful, as we are probably the most hopeful population on the planet, trying to turn water into wine, ala turning a Cheater into a good, trustworthy person.

    • Absolutely loved your comment Chris W. And it is all so, so true. After DDay I was so hopeful I could save my 10 years marriage, 18 years relationship and I did everything I could. Tried reasoning, begging, I cried a million tears, marched ex-husband into therapy and paid for it. Did the 180, read RIC websites, books, articles and anything I could get my hands on, even sent him some of those articles (of course only to find out that he didn’t read any of them because was “too busy”). Problem was, and I couldn’t see it back then, I was trying to save that marriage all by myself. I was the only one invested in reconciling. And ex’s blame shifting and mind games – he was throwing the best pity parties one could imagine – were making me question my sanity as well. I found Chump Lady just as I was coming out of my suicidal phase, two months post divorce. And while I am still grieving and trying to find out who the hell I am after losing myself completely in the total mess of my marriage, I feel much better thanks to her blog and the wonderful Chump Nation. No more trying to turn water into wine for me 🙂

    • Chris W–I am working on a major survey about infidelity now. It may take months to get it constructed & on-line, but you’re right–this information needs to be made public to change the public dialogue on infidelity (and send Esther Perel to filling out Starbucks applications).

  • CL – thank you for addressing the issues HoustonDad brought up. You said it perfectly and truthfully. Chump Nation – collectively you’ve outdone yourselves! Reading through the comments I can’t tell you how many I wanted to reply to just to say ‘my God, that was brilliant’! I’m sad I couldn’t because you each individually deserved my acknowledgement and ‘pat on the back’ – but honestly, I’d have made the number of comments count double and I’ve got to eat at some point this evening!

    HoustonDad, if you do come back to read this today (I read your post in the General Forum yesterday) I hope you’ll be open-minded enough to take on board what I consider to be wise, lucid and intelligent thoughts from the wonderful people here at Chump Nation.

    CL and CN – you people rock! xxxx

  • Giving the cheater another “chance”? Like he made a “mistake”? A mistake is something not consciously deliberate. Like making a mistake balancing the checkbook. No, cheating is not a mistake. It is a series of thousands of deliberate choices to lie and deceive. It puts a bullet in the head of the marriage, murdering the trust. There’s no going back from that. There’s nothing they can do to fix it even if you do give them another “chance”.

    Anger? These choices were made to redefine our marriage, our life, my life, without my knowledge or consent? By the person closest to me, who vowed not to do exactly that? You’re God-damned right I’m angry.

    I can forgive him, but forgiveness does not mean restored or repaired trust. Forgiveness has nothing to do with reconciliation.

    Rock on, Chump Nation. You are MIGHTY.

  • I would add that I’ve never encountered a chump who intended anything but to help other chumps. So, I hope HoustonDad understands that each and every strong and seemingly “angry” comment is conveyed with a sincere wish to provide insight and reduce suffering.

    • Nomar, I’m the one who posted the first ‘angry’ response to Houston Dad on the private forum. I had been reading his posts for months and got good and fed up with his manipulative tactics. Many well phrased and well thought posts were sent to him at his request for help. It appeared to me that he was taking none of the information into consideration, and that he was using the forum to weave a story of the poor sausage chump who needed to be saved by an honorable woman. I accused him of using the forum for a dating service.

      Yes, I was angry, and I still get angry when I think about him manipulating women with raw emotions into thinking that since he was a fellow chump, they could trust him. Too much smarmy in that guy, and I don’t think we got an accurate version of his story. My intention was indeed for protection of chumps, namely the women who were buying into his story of woe and suggesting that they exchange contact information with him or meet up for coffee. I give my intuition lots of respect anymore, and that’s what it was telling me.

      • I would have liked to see Houston Dad address the legitimate concerns Ali Rose raised. They warranted more of an answer than they have ever received. I have seen situations in the forum where people were not agreeing, or even some potential offense was given, and the conversation continued. Better understanding of all sides usually results. I have not seen that happen with Houston Dad.

  • Advice from a place of rage… That’s funny, actually.

    Years out, through hell I could not have imagined, and reconciled with my wayward spouse – and I can say my advice comes not from a place of rage, but more sadness than anything else.

    Experience has taught me (recognizing that maybe it’s just me) that if you ‘have’ to reconcile, be ready for a few things:

    – You can never see your spouse the same again. You just can’t. It’s not going to ‘get back to normal’. Ever.
    – The memories/triggers never completely leave. They might ease over time, but they are always floating around in the background.
    – You will spend a lot of time wondering about what people in your life think about your choices, as well as your own level of self respect.

    To persons coming here and asking about trying to work it out, just know that If you want them back, you will go through hell. Mind bending, crazy-making, pain-redefining hell. And If you get them back, it’s not who or what you think it will be. That’s all.

    I am not mad anymore though – just sad for what was lost and destroyed for nothing.

    • Jobin –

      Thanks for such insightful advice about the downsides of reconciling. There are some of us whose husbands have cheated – thereby betraying us in an unimaginable way – but have done so after years of otherwise loving and wonderful behavior as husbands, fathers, sons and employees. Thus we are really in a quandry? Can we move forward with this person? Are they truly repentent? For sure, we have been terribly disrespected, abused even, but if postnups have been signed, contact with the AP ended, and cheater is working on themselves, do we still walk? We are left wondering what to do next, and as I think CL told ChumpBadge, the right thing to do is to focus on ourselves and not the cheater. We are the victim, not the counselor. But during the period we are considering options and deciding whether tor not o give “second chances,” the questions keep circling around and around. Can we ever trust the cheater again? Will we ever respect them after what they’ve done? Is the lying worse than the affair? You have helped to answer those.

      • Hi Tired,

        I faced the same questions, was offered the same guarantees, promises etc…

        I have said this before, and I know it may sound ridiculous – but my wife has been ‘perfect’ since we ended our separation. We had a horrendously rough road – she gave me many reasons to just give up – but I didn’t, and here we are…

        What I came to realize was that it really wasn’t her actions or words (after the infidelity is discovered) that prevent ‘complete’ recovery (whatever the hell that means) – it was me. By ‘me’ I mean my inability to forget what she did, what she said etc, during ‘the troubles’. I don’t know about you – but I just can’t. So I love her, I even trust her – but I know that was her as well. Those will always be the choices she made. I know she regrets them, I know she would change the past if she could, but that is part of who she is. She is capable of that. Of inflicting utter destruction on me. I know I couldn’t do that – and I know she could…

        People want us to let it go, to move on, forgive, and get ‘back to normal’. My wife, family, friends – everyone. And I get it. I would love to. I would love to be ‘the old me’, and us to be ‘the old us’. But I know the old me is gone. Not trying to be all melodramatic but the old me was naive and could not conceive of my best friend, my partner – the one I trusted above all others – of doing that. That guy is gone. Replacing him is a sadder, more realistic (jaded) person who knows that people and relationships are somewhat disposable in the right circumstances. So I choose to be as content as I can with the new me, and the new (to me) her.

        It makes for a very strange existence. But I am an adult, I made a choice too, so I deal with it. I just try and be honest about what being a ‘unicorn’ really means for me.

        • Jobin brings up a lot of great points in his posts. I see a lot of people comment about “the stigma of divorce” or “not wanting the stigma of being a divorcee”. Nobody talks about the “stigma” or what others think of you for reconciling and/or taking a Cheater back.

          Personally, I’ve experienced no stigma of being divorced. People tell me all the time I’m Mighty and Strong. They are awed by all I’ve accomplished and many people have quietly said, “I wish I could break free, too”. Most of these are not relationships with Cheaters, but with alcoholics and other abusers. Maybe all of these people are bullshitting me, but I haven’t been prohibited from going anywhere or doing anything due to marking “divorced” on federally mandated forms.

          If I had taken my Cheater back, I’d always be analyzing and second guessing looks they gave me. “Are they looking at me that way because they feel sorry for me? Do they pity me? Do they know something I don’t that Cheater is cheating AGAIN and AGAIN, I’m the last to know?” It would drive me insane.

          • Meant to say “second guessing looks from family and friends”. I was the last to know about his Cheating (well, besides my 5 year old and 1 year old at the time). All his friends and family knew, all his coworkers. Nobody said anything to me. If I’d reconciled with him, any look any of those people would’ve given me, would have driven me to the madhouse.

          • Jeez! This is what I told an MC early post DDAYwhen the counselor asked, “What would it take for you to put this behind you?” A LOBOTOMY!!!! was my response.

            Seriously, you cannot undo what has been done. Nothing that happens to you can ever be placed “behind you”. It becomes part of the fabric of your personal history. It will forever influence how you approach similar things.

            So, the ONLY way to put stuff like cheating behind you as a chump is some serious neurological damage. The kind of physical damage to the brain which leaves you blissfully unaware of the past. I know of people who attempt to do this with drugs or risky behaviors. Not me, though!

            Trying the compartmentalization technique of repressing this shit and plastering a StepfordSmile on your face is very psychologically damaging to some people. I cannot do it and Asshat isn’t worth any amount of my well being to even attempt it.

        • Jobin

          We do change when our spouse cheats. Each time I forgave and thought my life was back on track he had a repeat performance. And I forgave again. And in the end he used the excuse that I never forgave him for cheating.
          This is what he told his adult daughter who as a five year kid went on play dates with the children of his married OW. Beware.

    • Jobin, it’s kind of like that story, “The Monkey’s Paw” or the book “Pet Cemetery.” Dead things need to stay dead.

    • I still vividly remember a moment, two years into reconciliation (fake, as it turns out, but I wouldn’t know that for a few more years) when it hit me: I would never again love him the way I once did. Back then, I believed a lot of the sad sausage, childhood trauma, low self esteem excuses and, Chump that I am, had really “gotten over it” in many ways. But that realization made me so sad… for him and for me.

  • Damn – I keep getting those same types of emails from my ex also. It’s not that he fell in love with the babysitter that was bad and ended our marriage, it was the way I reacted to it that was the problem. It’s just hard to comprehend that they actually believe that nothing was wrong with what they did and that it was our fault and that we drove them to cheat. Mine actually emailed the other day that I need to stop the lies and accusations and that he’s not a liar and “that’s not the kind of person I am”. It took everything in my power to not say back “I know exactly the kind of person you are which is why I expect nothing else but lies and cheating”

    • Kfl–in addition to the part of my X’s email that I posted way above, he also said, “And by the way, I am a much better person than you apparently believe —but I no longer care what you think.”

      But they are not good people, or even better than we think. Case in point? Because I was so distressed about my X’s vile email to me on Sunday, it made me think of other people who had been injured by him. I felt compelled to email a student he had sexually harassed (and she had been drummed out of a graduate program by him because she wouldn’t sleep with him), to apologize to her for her ordeal and to validate that someone else understood her horror. So guess what else happened? The stress of my X sexually harassing her cost her even more than I had been told initially. Some of these narcissistic/sociopathic creatures are SOOOO much worse than their public persona and impression management would suggest.

      They can complain until they are blue in the face (please!!) that we underestimate their characters, but we don’t–we typically OVERestimate their characters, to our detriment.

  • I started giving my Ex chances when we were dating, as he started cheating while we were dating. You see, I had the narrative from him that he was a good person who had come from a difficult family background where he was not loved sufficiently nor correctly. We broke up twice over his cheating while we were dating and got back together, eventually marrying. Everyone thought it was a fairytale/romance classic relationship, including me. Not. It was the beginning of me being conditioned to accept less than I deserved and what I now know as the “pick me dance.” If he had not finally run off for a better monetary opportunity, I might still be there dusting off the old tap and ballet shoes, furiously dancing. I wasted almost my entire adult life trying to partner with someone who never saw me as anything but an adversary to be controlled or conquered. The longer I stayed, the worse it got, and the longer I was willing to tolerate it, the less he respected me and the less I respected myself. Don’t be like that Chump Princess.

    Back in the 1960’s there was a movie called “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” In the movie, the person looked and sounded like the person that you knew, but they had been taken over by some alien life form. That’s normally how we feel about our Cheaters once we find out we’ve been cheated on – that sense of unreality that this person who looks like the person that we have loved with all of our being, for whom we’ve sacrificed so much, whom we believed loved us (because that’s what they said) and were as invested in the relationship as much as we were (because that’s what they said) could knowingly and willingly harm us (and our children/family) in ways large and small. In many ways, whatever anger we feel is a form of self-protection. Because they have spent most of, if not the entire, relationship practicing manipulation and deception, among other physically and emotionally harmful behaviors, we have to continue to remind ourselves that the person at whom we’re looking is not who we believed them to be. They are actually something quite different, even though at times they may sound like (and even speak the words belonging to) and they continue to resemble the person we loved and believed in. You hold on to that anger until you fully ACCEPT that they have not been nor will they ever be that person – and you figure out a healthy way to deal with or not deal with (usually not) the alien being that remains.

    I know people who are living with partners who have cheated on them. They seem content. I don’t inquire too much into it because they are my friends and I love them and support them in whatever they choose. If they are happy, I am happy for them and I hope for their marriages to be happy ones. I love happy endings. CL and CN let me know that in my particular story, being Cheater Free, to paraphrase Kunta Kinte, “is a fine way to be.” For that, I am grateful.

  • There are many sweet young chumps here who may be experiencing their first betrayal. It’s abuse. It’s a total lack of love and respect. Its selfish and planned. It exposes them to std.

    What’s left to reconcile?
    Your with a cheating, lying, disrespectful, abusive, fucktard.

    That’s not anger, it’s the truth. These ass wipes want us to grovel, beg, compete and humiliate ourselves.

    HD seriously her the help you need. I know you’ve been thrown off numerous sites. I recall you stringing chumps along with your narrative. You got a lot of support and attention. Anger is reserved for the dishonest and manipulative imposters. Rage is more of a narc behavior in my experience

  • And what the fuck is soooo wrong about being angry about something? I am sick and tired of the fucking ‘ Happy Unicorn’ …..that shit needs to be addressed too. The Fucking Fullfilment Fairy riding in on a rainbow. Who sold us that bullshit? That my life sucked and I need to be complete by forgiveness and understanding. I will never let go or be healed unless I swallow the magic forgiveness pill and shit rainbows.
    How many of us heard from our cheater they needed to be ‘ happy’ and that I should be happy for them. That if I was truly a good person I would accept that and move on. One problem. How does one persons happy cause another’s misery….but depending on how u suck it up is a reflection of yr ability to be a good person??? WTF? So when I am told to ‘ let go’ or ‘ move on’ and I smile and embrace my cheater and say bygones be bygones… I have successfully made everyone else happy. Right?

    • I totally agree clip. Nothing wrong with anger towards them that screwed us over. Screw unicorns, forgiveness fairies and the like. While cheating is never right, so so wrong at least give me the spouse a heads up you want to move onto greener pastures. Keep it a bit more honest and at least give me some respect instead of being a lying cheating fuckwad. I know I will never forget or forgive he still thinks he didn’t do anything wrong. I AM a whole decent person in spite of that asshole and I don’t have to forgive that what was done deliberately.

    • And once again, TheClip cuts to the chase of the matter, obliterates the opposition, and plants the flag at the top of the hill.

      • Gracias Tempest. I think folk who want to peg us as irrational hormonal and spite driven because its easier to label than to understand. I think was a lot of folks forget is it wasnt just the ‘cheating.’ Many here suffered years of mental and physical abuse from their cheater. Take cheating out of the equation and there is still enough negative behavior to define it as a positively abusive relationship.
        So allow me to dig deep and find my inner Gandhi and embrace my cheater … Cause truely what he needs is just more hugs. Fuck him and fuck Gandhi. I wont allow my cheater to harm me anymore. I will defend my boundaries with an internal army of self worth and give my hugs to someone who is deserving. I will not suffer abuse anymore.

  • I gave my ex a chance when he called off our wedding when we were young because he “thought he saw someone he liked better,” then begged me to take him back because he had cold feet. I gave him another chance when he he developed an inappropriate relationship with his female boss (probably an EA) when our kids were babies. I told him if he didn’t stop acting like an ass, he was going to lose everything he had. Things got better for awhile. 30 years later he announced he was leaving, lied about the reason, and didn’t look back. No discussion, no second chances.

    I do believe there are rare reconciliations that work out. Both parties have to be honest, and the cheater has to be capable of introspection and remorse. The chump has to learn to be more assertive, and set better boundaries. It happens sometimes, but not very often.

  • We are FORCED to file. We don’t want to. We want them to not be these selfish people who destroy us because they don’t care. 3 D days, EA, AP, AP.
    He doesn’t care.

  • I might actually be one who didn’t really give a second chance– when I first found out, my ex lied to me and completely downplayed what happened. Over the course of the next five days, I barraged him with questions and told him that if he wanted a chance at starting over, he’d have to answer them honestly. He started answering, and by the fifth day, I was done, and I didn’t waver after that. Not once.

    HOWEVER… it’s not because I’m somehow superior. It’s because I found an online support board that immediately pulled the wool from my eyes and taught me about how much cheaters lie. It’s because not ONE family member or friend made me feel guilty for wanting a divorce– they were 100% behind divorcing him from the start. They all thought my ex was a scumbag; no one asked me what I did to make him cheat. I had both of those things going for me from the very beginning. Thank God for that.

    Then, on top of that, CL launched, I found her when she had only posted a few times, and that helped me immensely with boundaries and kept me from buying into his behaviors– he didn’t rage, really, but there was plenty of “pity me” and “we’re going to stay best friends!” that went on. I might very well have fallen for his BS if I hadn’t had CL/CN to keep me propped up during weak moments.

    I am glad that I had people who screamed “RUN!” at me from the very first. I have never seen it as projected rage. I’ve seen the people on this site as voices of sanity in a screwed up world that glamorizes infidelity and teaches people that if they’ve been cheated on, it’s somehow their fault, and they should beg their cheaters for forgiveness and twist themselves into pretzels to keep their relationships together.

    No thanks. I wasted enough years with that selfish twit. I’m glad that I didn’t waste one minute more.

  • Almost 5 years of chances here – One where he was home living with us, where I begged him to go to therapy, he went once. Where I pleaded with him to go No Contact with HoWorker for a period of 6 months – so that we could work on our marriage (you know because at that time, I thought I had a marriage problem, not a Cheater only problem). And you know what he would say? “I will start No Contact, when I’m ready, it needs to come from me, not you telling me” and then I would say – then you need to leave our home, “no,it’s as much my home as yours” So for One whole year, I couldn’t leave, and he wouldn’t leave or leave the OW. HELL on earth.

    If that wasn’t enough, once he left, he would mindfuck me, into the “I miss you, let’s go on dates” bullshit.
    So I would “date” him, but he never would make a move to come back or a move to really let go of OW.
    Until she left him – and then again – Let’s try Chump wife again, promised that “he would do whatever it took to get his family back” I withdrew the divorce, to give him another chance.

    Until I finally saw through his BS again! Went NC, and filed for Divorce again – at which time, he came back again trying to have a little more cake – Not this time asshole.

    So, chances – he got a lot more than he deserved. He put in no work to save the marriage, one person, can’t do it alone.

    5 years of this bullshit – 5 years of my life!! I think Cheaters can change the cheating part – but they are selfish, abusive and entitled human beings. Who needs that for the rest of their lives? Not me!!

  • “Case in point, I don’t recall ever seeing anyone here suggest that someone give their wayward spouse another chance.”

    this is the adult world, not primary school.

    you hurt someone badly enough, you don’t get another chance.

    it’s called protecting yourself.

    • Four times I wreckconsiled with asswipe over thirty years. No more. Divorced. Done. If I spend my remaining years totally single which I plan to no more relationships for this girl. Date maybe someday. If I had chump lady the first time I would have told him to “bite me” and walked straight away. But no chumpy me kept forgiving like an ass. I still deeply love the guy I thought he was, nope, asswipe lying cheating bastard is what he really is. But that love too shall pass one day just because you loved someone doesn’t mean I need to be any where near him or care. He fired me from caring and being his friend. Being friends ain’t gonna happen. Fucker.

  • Anger about cheating isn’t just about being angry about the cheating only. It’s a series of things leading up to the cheating that happened too, that make you angry one by one. Then there is the almost universal denial of the cheating when the cheater is caught. Not to mention “the part you played” in their behavior or the demise of your marriage. Then there are the memories that click into place when you find out about the cheating, those days, weeks, months, or possibly years of gaslighting, lying and blameshifting. Then there is the separation or abandonment, sometimes so your cheating x can be “happy”. Then the ludicrous idea that you too should be supportive and happy for the cheaters happiness. Then there are the instances of the ow/om being a good/nice person. Then the unfortunate “sharing” of your children with ow/om because your vows were broken. Then there is the idea that the cheater has that you should somehow be there for the cheater when the ow/om leaves them. Then the half assed attempts to hoover you. Then the possibility that the x just wants you back because the only thing that they and the ow/om have in common was their mutual hate of you, so you are useful.
    There are thousands of single reasons, piled up over the course of you untangling yourself from your cheater for you to be angry about. That’s alot of anger to have piled up on you. Should you just forget all that and be a “good” person by not being angry or having rage and giving the cheater tons and tons of chances. When would it all end. Cheaters just keep on going and going with what they deem best for themselves and only themselves.

  • Well I guess all I can say is I gave my now XH every chance I could after BD. However, it didn’t fucking matter because he didn’t give me a chance. When he BD told me that he was in love with her, wanted to marry her, and divorce me. There was no changing his mind, he unilaterally decided my future without input from me.

    I did it all because I just didn’t know better and was running purely on natural human reaction. I cried, begged, screamed, cursed, humiliated him about sin, tried to be perfect wife, cold shouldered him etc.
    All phases ran through and rinse and repeat sometimes.

    You see I didn’t have a chance in reality, in my dreams oh hell yeah, I thought his fantasy will burst, he’ll realize what he’s missing, just knew our love was so special, God will work on his soul. Nope, I was almost suicidal, I definitely wished to die to end the pain.

    He’s a JesusCheater, told me God approved of what he is doing, that she’s his soulmate, not a sin because they were meant to be together, God has already forgiven him. His cruelty, disrespect, and zero empathy for destroying not only me but all my beliefs in love, human beings and almost lost my belief in God from the man I wholly gave my life and love to. I became nothing to him and it almost killed me.

    People of character who are unhappy in marriage would say so, maybe even say why but the character disordered will still lay down with you every night, hold your hand, tell you that you are their best friend, say they love daily… all the while fucking your life up behind your back.

    I would have given him every chance possible back then, I would of been a perfect Chump for life back then. Today I am NO CHUMP, I’d make a bad example of how to be a CHUMP. NOW I WOULD JUST TELL HIM GO TO FUCKING HELL!

    • I had a “God wants me to be happy” cheater who was actively studying to be Pastor. When he signed up on Match.com and Christian Mingle as ChurchMan1, in addition to trying to have sex with any skunk that would have him, I had to laugh at the absurdity of it. I asked him “What did you think, you were going to find a nice Christian girl who is looking for a dirty old MARRIED man to settle down with?

  • Oh by the way I hope my post reflected my righteous anger or rage lucidity- rather fits the definition I found:

    Lucidity-
    noun
    1.
    the quality of being easily understood, completely intelligible, or comprehensible:
    She makes her argument with pointed logic and exemplary lucidity.
    2.
    the ability to see things clearly; rationality; sanity:

    I find that the lucidity of most posters here either through anger, rage, hope, joy, compassion is the reason I love ChumpLady and ChumpNation. This place is a life saver!

  • It should be no surprise that a website with a tag line of “Leave a Cheater Gain a Life” would encourage betrayed spouses to do just that. It certainly should not be unexpected that betrayed spouses would encourage others to get out rather than suffer the years if not decades of lies and manipulation we here at Chump Nation have suffered.

    The members of Chump Nation include housewives, single dads, pregnant moms, lawyers, MD’s, PhD’s, secretaries and clerks, business people, nurses, caregivers, dog trainers, horse breeders, cat ladies, mobile home dwellers etc etc.. And they are among the most compassionate, intelligent and empathetic people I have ever had the privilege to come to know. You want awesome counseling advice with a little of the ancient philosophers thrown in? I suggest Tempest. You need a little kick-ass? I give you kar marie. What about incredible intelligence and humor? That would be Nomar. Or someone who has survived the unimaginable with strength and grace? Hell, that would be Tessie. I coild go on and on.

    We here at CN are going to tell what we collectively now know. If someone wants only what they want to hear and sweet little lies, they need go no further than their “wayward” spouses (you know, the timid forest creatures that just got lost in the forest glade where unicorns hide).

  • I think we chumps get jaded and don’t believe in the reconciliation unicorn because we have chased it and been hurt over and over. When my STBX had his first affair, he told me all about it, told me he loved her and wanted a divorce. A few months later, that relationship was over and he wanted me back. He promised never to cheat again, he only loved me and he was very sorry. I took him back. The second time he cheated he asked for a divorce out of the blue. I asked if he was having an affair and he said no, he just wasn’t happy. A few months later he tells me he doesn’t want a divorce anymore. He adds that he was having an affair and was leaving me for her but it didn’t work out so he wants to work on the marriage. My youngest child was not even one, I had been a stay at home mom for years and I wanted to believe him, so I took him back. Two years ago I suspected he was screwing around again, by now I recognize the signs, and sure enough he asked me for a divorce right after Christmas. I asked if he was having an affair and he said no. Then I found their back and forth love letter (that he left open on the computer) full of their undying love for each other, plans for their future together, plans for getting married, details about their sex, how they are soulmates and complete each other and chock full of <3's, to represent their love. I confronted him, and of course he couldn't deny it because I had proof. So then he proceeds to tell me how wonderful she is, what a rough past she had, she has lots of tattoos and over 20 body piercings, she is a single mom who was super wild until she got pregnant, then she straightened right up and he deserves to be happy and she is the only thing that makes him happy. (For some perverse reason he likes to tell me about his affair partners, I don't know if he is being cruel or if he wants me to like them) I took the kids, moved out and filed for divorce. So the reason Chumps are so skeptical about reconciliation is because they tried, sometimes more than once, and they just ended up getting hurt again. And I hold onto the anger because it helps me remember what he did, so I won't be tempted to take him back when the relationship with his latest true love doesn't work out. Sorry for the long post, just felt the need to vent.

    • The AP and your ex sound lovely,TossedAway. I hope they stay together till death do them part. A fitting reward.

  • “Advice from a place of rage” – pray tell me – what is the problem with that? Answer Is, there’s no problem with it. At all. If someone has stolen your very being out from under you by subterfuge, they have the fucking RIGHT to be rage-angry. And any dick who doesn’t validate that, can quite frankly, fuck off.

    CL: I can name a situation where I didn’t give a cheater in my life a second chance – my second ever boyfriend. (A disclaimer though – it pales in comparison to pretty much any story out there – it happened when I was 17, it still makes me a bit ill thinking of it, that I missed such a red flag with the whole situation).
    It was because I was so disgusted at the fact that he would fuck his best friend’s (underage) little sister, who had fallen from the top branch of the ugly tree and had hit EVERY branch on the way down – and also because of something else that had happened:
    2 days prior to this, I had overheard a conversation that fuckwit-cheater and his friends were having. A conversation which involved him saying he was inviting me to a party specifically to get me drunk and to “force the issue” because I did not want a sexual relationship yet, and he was sick of waiting. I went NC with him because of that bullshit – though of course he had to steamroller that NC and tell me via a text message that he was ‘sick of me being so mean to other people’ and that he was ‘breaking up with me’ because of it. I asked him point blank: “You’re fucking someone else, aren’t you?” – and he lied to my face. Of course, when we attended school again a week later, he loudly proclaimed about how much better the UglyWhore was, than me – because of the whore-gymnastics that she was doing that I would never do.

    Yeah. Not one of my better moments in life.

  • Relatively easy concept to understand: someone lies, cheats, steals etc. and you get angry. And, you hate the asshole. This is abnormal?
    I agree: anyone who does not react with anger needs psychiatric help.
    In the years I have been reading on this stuff, there is a constant theme from cheaters and those foolish enough to reconcile with them: anger, bitterness, failure to forgive, and using judgment are, somehow, bad things that mean you are less evolved and doomed to a life of misery until you let go.
    My experience is the opposite. I hate my XWs. I know with certainty that they are disordered assholes, cruel as hell. Neither has ever confessed or apologized, let alone made any form of restitution or amends.
    So, I am fucked up because I know this about them and use my judgment in dealing with them?
    Since divorcing, I am so much happier and aware of the types of people that are among us. I have fun, travel, have a great girlfriend, hang with my kids etc. I have a nice motorcycle and travel on it. My cats love me.
    So, how is this adversely affecting me?
    I once asked my therapist if things might have been different if I had had firmer boundaries with my second cheating XW. He told me that all that would have done is to have made the marriage end earlier. She was never going to change.

      • Thanks, I took a hiatus as my son overdosed and I had a lot to deal with ( they revived him with an injection and he made it –this time).
        I have been here for years, Ian. I think I was one of the very first ones here, having heard of CL from another site that I was kicked off, as was CL, years ago.

        • Oh I know Arnold. I have been a shivering denizen of the Chump Lady archives for the last couple weeks. I started at the beginning.

          Arnold, you caught hell around here in the beginning. That’s why I am glad you are still around for us recent chumps. Sorry to hear bout your son. Addiction is strong in my family. Hope this message brings you some measure of good will.

  • CN taught me to see things clearly rather than through the fog of the RIC or forgiveness devotees or my own thinking that I have to take responsibility for the end of the marriage, the desire to remain “friends” for the kids sake and to go through the divorce “like a lady!” F that! I wish I had found this site sooner. It has validated every freakin feeling and experience and observation throughout this shit sandwich picnic. I knew I was angry and that the Wreck was a disaster complete with the pick me dance and the kibbles and cake. I knew something was wrong with the fact that although my ex broke the most sacred vow in the marriage CONTRACT that the courts didn’t give a shit not to mention certain friends. Oh and the need to castigate me in the process to justify his actions????? Priceless. So yes CN helped me know I did the right thing if I ever think twice. They helped me see this shit for what it is. Thank god I did not waste any time longer than 2 days in a doomed to fail wreconciliation. A fucker is a fucker. Trust they suck has carried me through the ups and downs of recovery.

    FINALLY someone has the courage to stand up to the majority and call it what it is. Thank God for Tracy and CN.

  • I think most of you have done an excellent job through your comments of proving HoustonDad’s point. You don’t know his situation and he doesn’t know yours. Yet no time was wasted in dissecting his comments in an attempt to gain the moral high ground. CL does an excellent job here in providing a place of support and a place to vent. Yet there’s a tendency toward groupthink here that doesn’t allow for dissenting voices and honest discussion. I get it; this is a place of refuge and a reality check against the trauma. I just think some of you have been stuck here too long.

    • Perceval, I agree that we proved HoustonDad’s point. Sadly, his point was to fly in the face of everything CL is about. It is his right to choose to forgive his spouse. I just find it a bit suspect that he feels it necessary to come here to try to justify his decision. There is “groupthink” here just as there is groupthink on reconciliation sites, misogyny sites, misandry sites – they are places where like-minded people go for support. I am an Atheist but I don’t go to Christian sites and tell them there is no god. Those are my personal beliefs just as Christians have theirs and we both believe strongly in our positions. I don’t feel it is my job to change someone else’s position.

      The chumps here are trying to save another person who has had their world shattered by someone they trusted with their life (and badly want to again). It’s like pushing someone off the tracks of an on-coming train. I think many of the people you think “have been stuck here too long” are here to help others. To teach by their own mistakes. It’s very benevolent of them to share their hard earned wisdom. Obviously your opinion is that we should Move On. I’ve read many stories on CL of how much better life gets when people divorce their cheaters. It offers hope to those who are scared and alone. A light at the end of the tunnel which is finally not an oncoming-train.

      The moral high ground? You bet, my friend. I don’t understand what could ever be wrong with wanting to be on the moral high ground. It’s where the best people hang out. That way, you don’t have to deal with the justifiers, the rationalizes, and the fools who say “don’t judge me”.

      • They say when you’re on an airplane and the oxygen masks drop it’s important to put you’re on first before trying to help others. I think HoustonDad’s point was that many people here have forgotten to put on those masks before trying to help others. Anger is a natural stage in this process and it’s presence helps move us in the right direction. After that it’s a liability. Nothing good comes from hanging on to it and you are the one that suffers because of it, not the cheater. Nothing more to add here…

        • I respectfully disagree. Those masks are firmly in place. I do agree that anger does more damage to the angry than their target. But unexpressed anger is deadly. Do you think the people here hold onto their anger because it feels good? Nope, it just haunts us. I’d be thrilled to not feel angry about anything ever again. But I am raising a living, breathing example of my X’s selfishness. Many of the people on this site have to witness their X’s shitty treatment of their children. Every. Day. It’s a tad hard to get over anger when they keep giving you so much to be angry about. Maybe what you should concentrate on is encouraging cheaters to be decent human beings after divorce. That would cut down on the anger issue which seems to offend you so much.

          • I get it. I was at a point of going to the AP’s house ( a former friend) with a baseball bat at 3:00am. How’s that for anger? Later I learned that he was just the tip of an iceberg that sunk my ship and destroyed our family, putting my children’s worls in chaos. It’s been five years and I’m on the other side of things now. ( I contacted the lawyer and drew up the post-nup etc.) I will never forget but I’ve moved past the anger and my life is better for it.

  • Percival,
    What does move past the anger mean for you? I think for many of us,we have moved past anger, but need to have boundaries firmly in place. Maybe it looks like anger to those not in the know. I won’t befriend or trust a former spouse who has manipulated, gaslighted, withheld vital financial and health information all in the hopes of trying to deceive our families, children and communities about his infidelity (as well as trying to steal from his own children). There are many common themes that appear in the chump accounts of their relationships-verbal or physical abuse, serial cheating, trusting too much, self doubt, pick me dances while cheaters continue to deceive, continuing false narratives that favor the cheaters to the detriment of ourselves and our families. The one theme that continues to astound me is the lack of accountability on the part of cheaters or their apologists. The chumps continue to take the hits with our trust issues, complex PTSD, STD exposure if any, financial ramifications-this is even when we have created a much better life post divorce. Anger does not always have to be negative-it can be a reminder of our experience and the need to establish those firm boundaries around those who operate without any, have few qualms about creating chaos in the lives of loved ones and walking away from it.

  • Hello. Looking for support. Please snap me out of my fantasy that my ex will ever be remorseful.

    Summary: Married decades. Have kids. I’m very selfless always putting others before myself.

    I raised the kids, worked,took care of the home, all the chores my husband’s needs etc. Husband is an extrovert a dreamer is in major debt. Loves his $$ hobbies. His friends and life away from us. He gave little of his time to the kids and me.

    Over the last few years finances were tough. He made us move every few years to advance his career. He admitted to cheating 2x recently. He admitting he loved me but wasn’t in love with me and we had to separate sell our home etc. He had found his soul mate.

    For 2years: I prayed, stayed faithful and hopeful. I made life easy for him so kids could see him. He has taken the kids for his weekend only a handful of times. I would accommodate too much.

    Fast forward 2 years. D day is next week. I printed the divorce papers. I already have the legal separation documents. I told him since we couldn’t reconcile we would divorce.

    His reply!! He doesn’t want a divorce. Never did. He just wants me to accept him for who he is. He’s the same man i married and i should accept him back that way.

    I reminded him i did accept him; i never left him. He cheated and left and asked to separate. I reminded him about his soul mate. He denied saying that. Denied saying he ever said he wasn’t in love with me. He basically wants to forget his affairs forget the two year separation where he dated freely. No remorse from him. He actually said Good made him this way and God loves him.

    He said he will never re marry, he will be with someone and fool around like everyone else. I said that’s why we can’t reconcile you can’t be trusted.

    He freaked…he said do you think i’d ever do that to you.. Unmm…He did do that to me…and he admitted he’d do that to his new love… Unbelievable!!

    He didn’t sign the papers instead he told me to serve him. He left saying i would regret this and he was trying to help me from living a life alone because no man would want me with two kids and being such a bore. He was leaving for a boys weekend once again and couldn’t watch the kids.

    I want to feel at peace with my decision to divorce. That I’m not selfish despite what he says. That I’m not making the wrong decision. That even if he becomes a unicorn in 5 years that its ok he’ll be a better dad and man for another.

    I just want to hear some supportive words please!!

    • ToBe:
      You are not selfish, though it is time that you should be. Stop accommodating him. Protect yourself and minimize contact with him. He is manipulating you and threatening you. He showed you exactly who he was and you need to accept this is who he is and move forward with your life. Read and reread the Chump Lady archives and strengthen your resolve to end this marriage. Find a therapist that will support you through this challenging time. Be there for your children. Through his actions, they are seeing who he really is. You need to be the role model of a healthy adult with good boundaries for your children.

      I would encourage you to post on the Forums where more people can read and reply to you.

    • Sorry to tell you but divorce him he will never change. Don’t waste more of your life. I was married nearly 30 years. Cheated four times. The last two years of my life ultimate waste. I straightened my spine and filed. It’s not easy I hurt every day from the betrayal but I will waste no more time on someone who no longer cares about me.

    • 1. He is violent.
      2. He exposed you to life-threatening STIs
      3. He is a danger to your children’s well-being
      4. Do NOT tell him your future plans
      5. Get an attorney NOW. Lawyer up!!!

  • My ex did horrific things to me. I was in shock, crushed. The pain and confusion like nothing i could experience. In that state i read again and again about forgiveness, reconciling etc.. even articles about how affairs made marriages better. I felt insane. This happens and the world is telling me to forgive and it seemed like the burden wasball on me. I was pysically ill and now insane and alone. All this against morals and simple logic. Then i found this site and was able to begin healing and loving me. CN is my support and now i can give some back. Like CL said, u want unicorns, go elsewhere. Interesting though u accuse use of tossing anger when it seems ur tossing it as well as much denial.

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