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Dear Chump Lady, Do OW hate women?

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OW_walkDear Chump Lady,

I know it’s not very meh of me, but I would call it more of a curiosity on whether my theory about most Other Women is correct. I was wondering if you could share your thoughts on how it seems to me, that OW always seem to be the types that don’t really like other women.

They don’t keep a circle of close girlfriends and they only enjoy the company of whatever idiot they are currently involved with, his friends and completely immerse themselves into the idiot’s life. Or, they are the type that are that one girl within a circle of male friends. They will, over time, have some type of hook-up with one or several of the friends, working her way down the line.

I’ve noticed these types of women seem to have what I like to call “Terminator view.” When they see another woman that they envy, or they see as a threat to them being the Fabulous One, the targeted woman must be destroyed. I remember telling my ExAsshat this about his Plan B. He stood there with the thousand yard stare. If I said this to him now, (which I wouldn’t, because he would enjoy it) he would accuse me of being jealous of HER because she’s so wonderful and threatening to women, it’s hard for her to have girlfriends. I’d be interested to read Chump Nation’s opinion on my theory. Thanks again for the daily catharsis.

Freebird

Dear Freebird,

Hmm. Interesting question. Do Other Women hate women? Do they just hate themselves? (Surely you must have some kind of self-esteem issue to be a side-dish fuck?) Do they love the competition? Or are they just run-of-the-mill narcissistic jerks?

I don’t know. But I can offer a few observations myself. I think we do a disservice to all women if we assume their friendships with men are only to sleep with them. (Or fuck their way through a man’s social circle.) Let’s not make assumptions about all women with male friends. Maybe she works in a male-dominated field. Maybe she likes sports. Maybe she has a lot of brothers. Maybe one guy in the crowd is her boyfriend and she’s faithful to him.

I don’t think it’s fair to make assumptions about women with male friends. I say judge a person by their actions. If she’s acting narcissistically, if everyone is a kibble source, if she’s actually a cheater? Feel free to cull this person from your social register.

I think what your question really gets down to is straight women acting like straight men are a scarce commodity we must fight each other for. Do OW act like that? Oh hell yes. (And I shall take apart their pseudo feminism on these grounds in a moment…) But so do chumped women. You want to perpetuate the patriarchy, sisters? Do the pick me dance. That’s what the “Terminator view” is — destroy the competition. Act like some cheating asshole is a PRIZE. Like you can’t do without him. Like his dick’s happiness is the most important thing in the world and must be serviced at all costs.

Women in reconciliation live with hypervigilance. Is that female co-worker a threat? Is his secretary too attractive? Was that email he sent a bit too flirtatious? To reconcile means you’ve probably bought in at some level that the cheating is your fault and you can prevent it by being a Better Spouse. Prettier, thinner, more in tune with His Needs. You may say you trust — but that trust will need verification. Other women will be deemed potential threats. Because it’s much easier to externalize your anxiety on to the Other, than to recognize that your husband was a traitor and could betray you again.

Now then, Other Women and the Universal Sisterhood? Fuck cheaters as enlightened feminists. Those articles make me crazy. The trope goes that Other Women are not bound by the drab rules of monogamy. They’re edgy paradigm shifters! They so don’t Need a Man. They just like the married ones so they can fuck and discard them — no strings attached! Did she steal your boyfriend? Hey! Don’t “slut shame” her! She’s just expressing her sexuality, which is her right.

Let UBT that for the OW.

A) You don’t need a man? Yeah right. That’s why you’re competing with his spouse. You need an unlevel playing field of secrecy and deception because you’re so very secure in your fabulousness. Got it.

B) No strings attached sex? Using people and discarding them makes you a sociopath, not a sophisticate. You’re not more of a feminist for being a jerk. You want casual sex? Fine. Go frolic among the single people looking for the same. Swipe right and stay away from the married ones with children.

C) Slut shame? You shouldn’t ever be ashamed of your sexuality. You should be ashamed of treating people like shit. (Monica Lewinsky, I’m talking to you.) The problem isn’t your love of sex — the problem is enjoying the naughty deceit at the expense of some chump. Walk away from the triangle. Have more self respect than to play hypotenuse to some fuckwit. Being an easy lay isn’t admirable. Anyone can do it. Aspire to actual accomplishments.

Freebird, no one is jealous of OW, really. The OW just wish they were. You too can walk away from the triangle.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • In my opinion, without exception, OW are ghouls and trolls. As someone said on this forum yesterday, they are bottom feeders staking their happiness on the destruction of someone else’s marriage. Regardless of what shit the cheating husband told her, she is investing in lies and misery. If he will do it to his wife and children, what does schmoopie think she’s gonna get? The difference is that she deserves it. We (chumps) didn’t know what was going on. In most cases, the OW knew and got off on it, and she deserves the shit storm she invited in, fucked and took on.

    • L&F, you’re assuming the OW wants your life and/or a permanent thing with your husband. Some do, of course. But the ones who write the HuffPo pieces tend to be the single ones, the “free spirits,” who just want their NSA lifestyle, or they’re married themselves and want the balance of power, with both sides having something to lose.

      I think it’s hard to generalize, except to say all cheating is mired in entitlement and narcissism. And the ability to suppress empathy for the chump and the kids.

      • You are right CL, because that’s exactly what happened in my case. Left for dead and replaced by schmoopie. Because, you know, it is the greatest love.

        • I think it all starts out at naughty fun but no one-long term schmoopie or a so called free spirit, enjoys breaking up a family just for the sex. It’s lack of values and accountability. I used to believe in the sisterhood of all women but now, not so much. Maybe these woman are contemptuous of other women to some extent. I don’t know.

          • Thanks,Jeep. The patrirchy( you know, those folks who die earlier, have 4 times the suicide rate. 95% of work place deaths, comprise 85percent of the homeless and who have criminal sentencing rates 2 and a half times as long for similar crimes((the priveliged class)), needed to chime in.

            • Welcome Arnold 🙂

              …not sure what the ‘chime in’ is about? But just love all the wonderful knowledge – well rounded education I’ve enjoyed learning here!!!!

              • Welcome back Arnold! We have missed you.

                Your posts pointing out that the marriage problems are raised by the character issues of the cheater, are among my most valuable. Truly, truly reassuring.

                So really please you have returned.

        • Very true Arnold! I think sometimes the AP are worse than the cheaters. Then again it amazes me how much crap the cheaters throws out to us chumps with the blame and mind games. The more I read and see about the cluster B’s there is no words to describe how disturbed they really are. I can spot them 500 miles away now. Oh how I wish I knew this stuff about Cluster B’s when I was very young. I could have saved so much pain and energy in my life and just walk away from them much sooner. Oh well now I know.

          • Beth, almost invariaby, when one starts looking into infidelity, you are led into researching Cluster B.s. No way is the prevalence in the 2-4% range, as some information claims.

            • Very true, Arnold. I think the % numbers are much higher myself. Arnold, I was wondering and I asked this from the day before post from Chump Lady. I had some great comments and powerful insights from so many wonderful chump here and I would like to ask your insight as well (if you don’t mind). What is your take about the life that the cheaters have when they marry and have kids with the AP and the project that they can give to the outside world such as in social media and generally to the public? The ex and his last AP (that he left me for) got engaged during the time of the divorce process and the information I have gathered they married not long after the divorce was final. I think they have been together for many years now and meet where he worked at the time. They are still together with at least 2 kids maybe 3 very young. He would press me for years to have kids and I always had red flags about it but I did get pregnant twice and the last time I got pregnant I had a miscarriage and that is when I think they got together. From what I have gathered they are living the “perfect” life. Not long after the divorce was final they bought a home. He did cheat on my the entire relationship. Also from what I gather looks like they came up with a plan for all of this to happen. Also my family and friends are in daily contact with them both. I haven’t been in touch with any of them for many many years. He does fit pretty much every trait of a Cluster B. I would LOVE to read your thoughts about this. What are your thoughts that these cheaters marrying their affair partners and living the “perfect” life they seem to project to the outside world?

              • I have no credentials on this,Beth. Just done a fair bit of reading and engaged in discussions with folks who think they are involved with a Cluster B ( very few diagnosed, as these types seem to seldom get therapy. But,IMO, the person in the relationship is, really in the best position to diagnose, as he or she is privy to a lot of stuff a Cluster B will never reveal to a therapist or the outside world.)

                So, here is my very amateur take:

                First, I see this type of question, with minor variations, a lot on the discussion boards re the disordered. I think I it is due to the fact that someone coming out from a relationship with a Cluster B has so much self doubt and confusion. What started out as a relationship where you felt valued and respected and liked for who you are, gradually changed. It was insidious, the abuse.

                First, it was just minor, you seemed to irritate your spouse just a little . You may have been puzzled as the stuff you did seemed innocuous or even nice. Yet, the reaction was so confusing.

                But, you chalked it up- bad day- maybe tired- maybe not feeling so hot, etc.

                But, gradually and insidiously, over time, this type of ambient abuse ramped up. Now, you are getting really confused. Things you do that other people appreciated in the past or insignificant, innocuous things cause extreme irritation, maybe even rage( or the silent treatment, the quiet version of raging.)

                Then, maybe, eventually, you fire back a little. Nothing as relentless or extreme as the abuse you are constantly getting, but stuff you regret saying. The provocation , has been extreme and fairly consta t( they seem tireless at this. The threat of it is always looking.)

                They call this reactive behavior toward the disordered abuser “picking up fleas”. But. You remember it and this remembering comes into play later, at the stage you are at, wondering about the appearance of the subsequent relationship.

                So, when you are dumped, often via cheating( one of their preferred exit vehicles), you wonder: Was it me? Did I destroy the relationship? As Tempest points out, disordered types target the very type of person who is likely to look first at him/ herself as the cause of problems. And, your self esteem and confidence are in the tank from the trauma of betrayal. Plus, as mentioned, the years of insidious, ambient abuse have taken a toll on you, especially eroding your confidence re accurately perceiving things( maybe putting the spoons in the dishwasher handles down really is a huge moral failing. Maybe visiting your kids from a prior marriage at school lunch does show how disloyal you are to your new wife and new kids, etc.).

                So, you have the perfect storm of factors that make you question whether you destroyed the marriage or you were the abuser due to firing back on occasion.

                So, in trying to figure this out, whether it was you, it makes sense to look at your husband’s new relationship. He is the common denominator, so if all is rosy, you must be the variable that corrupted things, right?

                This is such a universal question among those left behind by a Cluster B, even if there was no cheating. You will see this type of question all the time on the forums.

                So, what is the answer? Maybe you are the Disordered abuser. After all, abusers have no insight into themselves( at least the majority of Cluster B.s. don’ t seem to), so maybe it was you and you just cannot see it. Catch 22, right? If it was you and you are disordered, by definition your defense mechanisms prevent you from perceiving it.

                I struggled with this, as many do. I saw both wives remarry(not to their affair partners) and their marriages, initially seemed idyllic, like your ex-husband’s now does. Eventually, I saw the cracks, but not for a while.

                So, the question I think you may be really asking is “Was it me?”

                Here are a couple things I have thought of that may help:
                Number one: Really look at your relationships with others, not casual ones, but close ones, like family, long time friends, or. longtime colleagues or co_ workers. Do any of them think as poorly of you as your ex did? Do you , regularly offend them or pies them off? Are they consistently critical of you, like your ex was?

                I bet not. I bet others like you and respect you. It is important that you consider the long time, close relationships because, as we have seen, the disordered are adept at fooling casual ones and you are looking to rule yourself out as disordered.

                Number 2: Try to access information about your ex from before you knew him. This can be difficult. I had access to my XWs families and friends. They knew and liked me and, on their own came forward with unflattering characterzations and factual information about how they had led their lives in the past. Some of it was quite shocking, and siblings and even parents
                Helped
                .

            • Current estimates are 9% (and some of us are magnets for ClusterBs, thereby having a much higher percentage within our social circle).

              • I’d have to track down the source, but I suspect those are U.S. stats. However, a study across 6 nations (mostly Western, I assume) found 10.6% of personality disorders in general (not only cluster Bs) (Lenzenwenger, 2008).

              • Continued: Final thing:Try to recall some of the really egregious instances of abuse or really insane stuff you put up with, now with the clarity of distance and time. I have about 10 that could not have been done by a normal person and there could be no interpretation imagineable that would leave any doubt that. I was dealing with a disordered abuse.
                You have no way of really knowing what your ex’s new marriage is like behind closed doors. But,you know for certain he is a cheater , as is his new wife.
                Coupled with what you must have experienced when married to him, I think you may have enough to feel confident you are mot the problem.

              • Thank you so much Tempest. For some reason I do think (I’m not an expert) that %’s are really higher than that because we know how these Cluster B’s love to think nothing is wrong with them;-). Hugs!

            • Thank you very much Arnold for your wonderful and very detailed insight. I must say what you wrote and other comments I have read on Chump Lady sight and other sites dealing with these cheaters and Cluster B describe my relationship with the ex in great detail and also how I felt and still feel about what happen.

              Yes, I had many many red flags during my time with the ex. I am still uncovering many things that were very puzzling and downright disturbing about the ex and the people around him. Yes, I had many excuses for his behaviour from him being very young (we meet when I was 18 years old and he was 19 years old and we were together for about 20 years and married for many years also). There were some puzzling things about his childhood that I could never fully understand and also his parents behaviour also. I could never fully understand why him and his family behaved the way they did. All the normal excuses like you wrote above was never set right with me. Yes, the more time I was around him the more I could see the “mask” (as we write about this site) come off.

              Things never did seemed to get better with him and the people around him. Every couple of days there was ALWAYS something happening that would blow me away in the terms of why would he do that and what was he thinking about? His sense of humour was on the borderline of him being a pervert and I would came across with some very sickening documents that he would draw or write about.

              When we started to date there was no internet and mobile phones; however, when that came about it got even worse. There were times I cancelled internet in the home and also the mobile phones. There was never a time period that things were calm and peaceful when I was with him.

              When we would discuss anything it would get very heated to the point I just would leave because I could not have a normal adult conversation with him. I could never understand why that would happen. Now years later I do understand it. I always had told him I would have to talk him away from jumping off the cliff in a matter of speaking when we would have any type of discussion about anything. I do recall several weeks before he left me I told him he would NEVER be happy.

              There are so many things about the ex that I just could not understand. It’s hard to really to explain the things I had to deal with about the ex. All I can say everything was very disturbing. I know the ages of all the woman that he was involved in were very young ranging from at least 10 years younger to now about 20 years.

              Both of them are all over social media sites I guess I can use this word “broadcasting” their perfect life. Also let me add this my family and friends took his side during the divorce and still today they are in daily contact with him and the last AP (now his wife and mother of his 2 or 3 kids).

              Arnold, I have a step mother that I always thought she was in love with the ex. The way she would talk to him and flirt with him made me sick at times with my father right there. I did call her out about it. Also during the divorce process they would call him and tell him in great detail what I was doing. Then I would get a phone call from him not long after that him questioning what I was doing. Please note he left me for the AP so I never could understand why he would be calling me and questioning what I was doing. He never was concern when we were together what I was doing. Now he was very jealous person when we were together and it was very hard for me to have any type of friendship with a male and/or female.

              Also I know when we were together and the first D-Day (I had several after that) for me the AP at that time if I reported it or it would have been found out he would lost his job and even place many people in danger because this woman had illegal things happening in her life.

              I’m sure you understand being with someone like the ex and being with him for 20 years there are many many I mean many things that I question and now I am just beginning to understand. Of course I blamed myself and I was blamed by him and his family and even my family for what happen. I do remember my family even saying to me that I need to “let go” the first D-day if I wanted to keep my marriage together. That really would make me upset and I just could not understand why they would say such things. Now I know they wanted to keep him in their lives. They didn’t care about me what so ever. Arnold, the list goes on and on especially being with someone that long. Also he would give me so much pressure about having a kid. Right before he left me I had a miscarriage and got the ok to try again. So I know this has nothing to do about lack of sex and/or attention or anything else.

              Thank you again for your great insight. Everything you wrote and the other comments I had about this I fully agree with and I am seeing and/or dealt with. Hugs to everyone here.

              • One of the toughest things for me to acceot, Beth, was the fact that there really are people like this among us, in large numbers.

              • Very true Arnold. It’s amazing how much these cheaters and the AP act the same way. Just shows us that really they are not as “special” and “unique” as they THINK they are. The more knowledge I gain the more I can see it has nothing to do about us (the chumps) it has to do with the disorder they have and the relationship cycle they are always playing. That will never end. It just shows me that they (cheater and the APs) are just sick and sadly there is no cure. Thank you again for your insight.

    • “without exception”? really? that’s a very blanket statement. that’s like saying that all cheaters are driven to cheat because their unhappy in their relationships rather than some cheat because they’re unhappy and some cheat even when they’re happy in the relationship.

      There are a lot of men out there who trick women into being the OW because they lie and say they’re unmarried/divorced. I don’t think people know how common this is. The same trickery and manipulation that they do on their SOs is the same one used for the OW.

      • Hidden Identity, we make the distinction here quite a bit – between OMs and OWs who are acting with full knowledge and those who are lied to (chumped, so to speak). It’s pretty clear to me who L&F was referring to.

      • I would not consider a person UNKNOWINGLY in a relationship with a married person (cohabitation or exclusive) as an “other” woman or man. I think they are a chump like the rest of us.

        The game changes the moment the “other” KNOWS. End it, or you are one.

        • CJ, there are many women who unknowingly fall into the trap of being duped by married pathological liars. I have records of the Limited calling three unsuspecting victims at a time. He told each and every on how horrible his life was and how we decided to get a divorce, or that we were separated yet still living together. The love bombing is intoxicating. On the previous dday I spoke with one of his victims he had told we were in the process of divorcing. As soon as he had her hooked he dumped me and expected to live with me while he was seeing her. As soon as I spoke with her she dumped him immediately. I’m pissed at myself for not filing back then as I wasted another 5 years of my life. Narcissists have numerous victims, and they do circle back as the narrative changes.

      • The OW believes she is “special” that all those things he did to his wife and kids , oh he would never do that to her because their love is real. It is narcissism and entitlement on her part as well.

      • You are not alone, Musicbox.

        Diablo. Similar circumstances. Two make outs. Found out from co-worker he was still married not separated like he said. I QUIT my job because the attraction was too great when I found out and two years later he comes back around after he and his wife separated. (She moved to another town about two hours away and had a boyfriend).

        Thought I was special, the rest is history.

      • Cut me a break, Hidden Identify. Just how often do you think this “I didn’t know he was married” really goes on??. When my friends and I were single and dating in the 70s/early 80s we could determine very quickly who was “single” and who wasn’t. Without Facebook, internet, background checks, cell phones, etc. I think a lot of these chicks use the I don’t know cause it makes them look better when they are caught.

        • Anita, you are right. It takes about two minutes in the States to find basic info. I read a blog the other day from a young woman whose husband cheated and left. She got on a dating site, met a really great guy, and just on a hunch looked him up on line. Sure enough he is married. I think any woman who tries to have a relationship with a man who “visits the city a couple of times a month” is dealing with a cheater. If the guy is on the upandup he introduces the woman around, is available by text, phone or in person weekends etc., so you might be fooled for a while but you can’t be naive enough to think he is just a private person who doesn’t want to share you with his friends, family etc. There are ow blogs where they say by the time they knew they were too in love to stop. And what is this crazy shit about people gaming online and it morphing into a love affair? I am so out of touch.

          • Let go, I suspected an affair between STBXH and howorker three times over 4 years (in 2011, 2012 and 2013) and confronted him, he denied it every time and called me crazy, finally caught him in 2014 with proof. Howorker was married too, she knew I was suspicious as well and even her facebook page under relationship she had a comment about her and her husband that said “It’s complicated”. Ya it was, she was screwing her boss, my husband. And to think they both called ME CRAZY!!! Assholes.

            • Just to add, HE got what he deserved in the end, lost his job, the home we had that was our dream home on the lake (It’s for sale) and I left him. Consequences served cold for the deliberate scam they both did on me for so long. His image is fucked to, so is hers. 🙂

              • CDNM Chump, I’m glad you got the justice done, good for you. I often wondering to myself, how the hell my H’s affair howorker got off for free without a scratch, but i have to suffer everyday. I always want to get revenge by telling her husband, beating her up or exposing her to public, but if i do that, everyone would know what my H did too, i don’t have the heart to let the whole town and my daughters know that my H was a cheater.

          • My current partner I met through an online game. Its about having a shared interest and then realising that the person behind the screen has more things in common with you, you end up talking outside the game, and it goes from there. No different from online dating, to be honest.
            I’m a bit offended that you would call it ‘crazy shit’.

            • Quite right Lania. Playing online games is a relatively new social interest,but it is no more ‘crazy’ than going onto an online forum and making new friends there. I don’t think online gaming is ‘crazy shit’. Like everywhere else in society it attracts human beings and, as we all know, while the vast majority of human beings are good, honest folks, there are also narcs, sociopaths, idiots and downright unpleasant people out there too. There’s absolutely no reason to think online gamers would attract more cheaters than anywhere else.

            • My middle son has been online gaming for a long time, and has made friends all over the world. I think it’s a perfectly legitimate way to meet people, and also builds a ton of skills.

              • I stand corrected. Were any of you married when you played? There are blogs by ow who met their cheaters on game sites. I guess it is no different than dating sites. Cheaters lurk on all of them. Hope you guys are happy. I truly mean that. I was not kidding when I say I am out of touch.

              • (Responding this way because theres no reply button)
                Let go, I’ve never been married. I have met two of my partners on an online game – my current one, and one prior.

                You are correct in saying that there are OW/OM who troll games for ‘taken’ people. In fact, I’ve dealt with women/girls who are exactly like that – but I give them a wide berth in game. Hell, one of the cheaters in my life, was because of one of these whores (who turned out to be underage at the time. She tried to be sanctiminious towards me, after that had happened, but I basically told her point blank that if she didn’t want me reporting her to the authorities in her home country, she’d stay the fuck away from me in all forms, including said game. Always fun to have your boyfriend preferring the company of 12 and 14 year olds instead of your 22yr old self, yeah? No. Its sick as shit). There are also people who I call ‘pixel-skanks’ who will happily send nude photos or videos of themselves for free cash or items in the game – but really this is no different from any gold-digging type in real life. These females usually get a reputation though, and the only men who would have a go, are usually just as sleazy as well.
                Its really about having boundaries and not putting up with bullshit, much like you would in real life.

                Pretty much every person who I have a casual acquaintance or are friends with in the game, I vet them beforehand – and if theres any drama, I’m immediately out. Ditto any groups for events in game, or ‘guilds’. I’ve had to end a couple of friendships this way because they were involved in drama or they weren’t exactly who they said they were. Or they were lying about stuff in the game itself. My closest friends though, I talk with them outside the game, and I know their ‘real life’ as well, including having spoken to their family, on the phone, and so forth.

        • This is the excuse Jason Aldean’s new wife EX whore used. “I didn’t know he was married” said the BImbo to People magazine. Heard of GOOGLE!!. and he’s a freaking ROCK STAR with a Wiki page.

        • I agree…especially since most are coworkers and know every detail about his or her family for years before they act on there tru wuv feelings! My ex husbands girlfriend coworker knew friends of both of us through his company! They both planned and hid money for years…. Just before retirement they both tried to rape me off 36 years in assets… I consider them thieves and criminals!

        • @Anita…I agree. I’m often VERY skeptical of the ones who claim that they didn’t know a guy was married.
          While there are times where this is the case, those are exceptions. Most of the time the OW knows that she is dealing with a married man but she doesn’t care.

          And then there are the other excuses like “he isn’t happy with his wife” and “they’re separated” (unless he is officially divorced, he is still MARRIED).
          OW will say anything to avoid their share of the blame.

      • H.I, the “not knowing” excuse only works for about two weeks. Can’t call him at home? Never been to his house? Weekends are really busy for him? Holidays out of the question? At that point the OW/OM either has their head buried up their ass, an IQ of about room temperature or they are scumbag home wreckers.

        • Some of those WS get pretty smart. I know of one that put up a whole separate Facebook profile with a different last name. While other sets of pics etc. So he would get caught. A lot of the “I didn’t know” OW are also pretty young. I would never have suspected on my youth that a married man would actually pursue someone. Call me naive, but those sociopaths sure know how to pick their targets. (I was never a WS or OW by the way. My husband was the cheater).

      • Yes! My cheater, somehow never told the OW we had Sex EVERY DAY! He ommitted telling her about our ‘2nd honeymoon’ to Hawaii…she had NO clue about our relationship!

  • “Women in reconciliation live with hypervigilance. Is that female co-worker a threat? Is his secretary too attractive? Was that email he sent a bit too flirtatious? To reconcile means you’ve probably bought in at some level that the cheating is your fault and you can prevent it by being a Better Spouse.”

    I don’t agree with this. Hypervigilance can help you identify a problem sooner rather than later. And I think we can agree to the advantages of that.

    • That’s the devil’s bargain if you reconcile — you have to live with the knowledge that this person betrayed you. You can either be hyper vigilant — trust but verify — or you can trust again, which requires the mental gymnastics, reconciling the knowledge of the betrayal with your desire to trust.

      I agree, you shouldn’t trust blindly and should verify. I think that’s a hard way to live, that’s all.

      • It’s torture and made me fell ill. I’m glad I threw the “recon” out the window and him on his ass.

        • I agree with you. It’s torture. It deprives one of energy. It steals ones ability to focus on things. It made me ill too. I thought I was going insane.

          • I’m actually glad I tried the Pick Me Dance once. I thought twenty-six years was worth at least attempting to save. I gave it my best effort, was super vigil and realized when I hit twenty-seven years of marriage, that what I had was no marriage and I didn’t want to live any longer with someone who devalued me and lied to me. But at least I can look back and say that I didn’t want to learn the steps of that particular dance. She’s welcome to him.

            • Me to. 26 years. I’m glad I did the extra attempt at reconciliation as far as the ‘extra’ confirmation of knowing he is a horrible person to lie a second time AFTER he knew full well the physical and mental effects on me. (or didn’t know, just a dumb stare really—). BUT, I wouldn’t recommend it? I think finding this site first and going that route would have been awesome, I’d be outta here by now!!!!!!! Hmmm torn I guess.

          • It is humiliating and one debased oneself in reconciling,IMO. No one with self respect subjects him/herself to reconciling, IMO. The balance of power is forever denatured,with the cheater feeling superior.

            • It’s great to see you commenting again Arnold, and I agree with you – Debasing yourself to stay with a cheater that has demonstrated a total lack of respect for you is one of the most self-harming things one can do IMO.

              • I do love this site. CL is a shining beacon in the wilderness. Plus, I am now semi retired, so I have more time to participate ( much to DAT’s delight, I am sure).

              • Hi Arnold: I knew you couldn’t stay away for too long!! And congrats on your semi-retirement. You’ll also be amused that I defended your views last week, on a post that had TheClip clamoring for your return.

      • After dealing with the inappropriate friendships / relationships that my first husband had, it made me more cognizant of the danger signs of such possibilities with other people. When dating my second husband, I was able to predict a few things correctly without ever having spoken or met with his so called friend. I was able to enforce boundaries sooner rather than later. (yes, he got rid of her.)

        I call it hepervigilance and a good thing. Maybe someone wants to call it something else.

    • The OW have one thing in common, someone else’s spouse. I’m so tired of triangulation. My marriage was like training for the Olympics and when I won the competition I could never enjoy the medal. There was always another event.

      • Donna, such a good analogy. There was always another hurdle, another way I was supposed to prove myself to him. That got really old, really fast.

      • Excellent, Donna! I never thought about it that way — always another event. And the triangulation — I always felt like I was competing with “someone” or “something”, but I could never figure out who or what it was.

        • Martha, yes that feeling like you were competing with someone or something is part of the control. Its such an undermining process with narcissists. With the covert there was always a feeling of competition and then there were the statements which were brutal in between delivered with ease and I always wondered how anyone could make such statements. I believed at the time he just didn’t know any better and had no idea how much these comments hurt. Now I recognize it as his way of gaining power and control. Because he was childlike and did many of the right things I didn’t realize these statements were purposeful.
          Unfortunately, the simple man was so skilled he used our family to hide for years. It wasn’t until I saw my therapist that I was able to put all the pieces together. It wasn’t just the pain of the discard, it was knowing I lived with a predator for my entire life.

    • I think this comes down to fixing your picker. It isn’t your responsibility to play marriage police. If you think it is, look up ‘codependency’. Date whoever you want unless those red flags pop up. If they do, dump him. If you remarry, you want someone you can trust. I’m not saying to bury your head in the sand or turn a blind eye if something fishy comes up. But to actively look for, search, anticipate deceit is no way I want to live. If you can’t trust someone, dump them. If your policing his friendships, and he is a cheater, he will eventually get one past you. What have you won?

      CODEPENDENCY: Codependent relationships are a type of dysfunctional helping relationship where one person supports or enables another person’s addiction, poor mental health, immaturity, irresponsibility, or under-achievement.[1] Among the core characteristics of codependency, the most common theme is an excessive reliance on other people for approval and identity.[1]

      • KK, this is very helpful!
        Working on my lifetime of Codependency, I think my heart and mind is finally just out-growing the need for it. CN has helped so, so much.

    • Can’t speak for anyone but myself but I’m dating an unsparkly guy who has no problem talking about anything I want to discuss. Both of us still have connections to our ex-spouses (his a likely cheater, mine the substance abuser) and we are both very open about those contacts and connections. He will tell me to open his phone and look at his messages if he is driving (and vice versa). I don’t spend any time wondering if he is cheating because I know he isn’t. He is not only honest; his actions and his words always match up. So far he is 100% reliable and unfailingly kind and good at reciprocity. Of course, things aren’t as “exciting” as the previous 40 years I spent with various men who drank and expected me to put up with what I used to call their “wannabe” admirers. At my age, I don’t need that excitement.

      That said, should I see any red flags, I know I will be fine on my own. Even if I get hurt. That’s another reason I don’t feel the need to be hyper vigilant.

      • LAJ so happy to read this. It’s always awesome to read about chumps finding other relationships that are reciprocal in which they feel completely at ease with trusting this new mate.

        I haven’t felt ready to go there yet because I still feel like I need to work on my picker some more. I have always believed that when the time comes and I’m ready for a relationship, I will be able to trust again.. I refuse to believe that I will always be worried and jumpy and feel the whole world cheats as the RIC tries to scare everyone into believing. I think cheaters want us to believe this too.

        Thanks LAJ!

    • Why should one need to be “hyper vigilant?” Ethics are what we do when no one is watching. We can’t be there all the time, so we need to ditch the unethical.

  • If I have to spend a moment of my life looking for “potential” problems, I consider that hyper vigilance and/or marriage, – relationship police…

    I would rather chew glass.

    • “I’d rather chew glass”, that’s what it came down to for me to get out, I hated that job and quit! Love that you gave me that analogy CJ. 🙂

    • I would love to follow you to that island of perfection but I don’t think it exists. People do not behave as they should / fairly / whatever. People find that even their own Mother/ Father will hang them out to dry…… seemingly without warning.

      Me, I prefer not be blindsided.

      • Deep distrust.

        It’s a very hard way to live. It’s the dark place my cheaters wanted me to go after fucking me over. It’s where they live and why they are incapable of bonding.

        Yes, there are some parents who throw they own children under the bus. They are disordered. Peace be with you on your journey, JATB.

        • I hope that peace will be with you as well. (you’re here, too, whatever strategy you’re trying to follow).

          • Jatb – You might be new to the site, but Calamity Jane is about as Meh as we can get. ChumpLady and Chump Nation is a community of friends who ‘get it’ and offer support to people who have suffered / are suffering through this abusive outrage that is being cheated on. I hope in time you’ll see that some posters (like CJ) do so because whilst they are at ‘Meh’ they want to pay it forward and offer the support they received in what feels like a world full of cheaters and cheater apologists. Calamity Jane is a lovely person and her good wishes to you are sincerely and well meant. Whilst I am closing in rapidly on my own ‘Meh Day’ (sometimes I’m even pretty damned sure I’m there) Chump Nation and Chump Lady saved me from hell and I read and post now to offer support where I can (cos if everyone left at Meh day this community would not have the wise voices of chumps who got there and can tell us Mehland exists) I also read to connect with the wonderful friends (like Calamity Jane) I made and who helped me in my desperate depths of despair. Lots of people do ‘graduate’ and drift away after ‘Meh’ but a lot of people stick around cos there are such fab people here. I hope you can get to feeling the same way.

            • +1. CalamityJane has been a source of great wisdom and comfort since I first trucked my traumatized self over to CL a few weeks after D-day. She could easily move on, but comes back daily to give nurturance and advice to those of us still struggling with grief, anger, and an inability to fully wrap our heads around what hit us. (she’s just as amazing IRL, I might add. And fun.)

          • Jayne and Tempest –

            Love to you both.

            Just around the bend –

            RE “I hope that peace will be with you as well. (you’re here, too, whatever strategy you’re trying to follow).”

            If you are genuine in wishing me peace, thank you, I need it.

            Truth does not need a strategy.

        • CJ – I totally agree with you. I do not / will not allow the legacy from the hell that was being cheated on be that I will move forward forever distrustful. I have no plans to jump into the dating pool – mainly because I was so blindsided by ‘The Great I Am’ that I would forever have to question / marriage police / trust but verify. I would rather ‘chew glass’ than have to live with that level of insecurity ever again. That being said, up until ‘The Great I Am’ I have never been cheated on in previous relationships and therefore my natural default state is ‘trusting’ (and if anyone dare to suggest ‘as far as you know, you’d never been cheated on before’ as my delightful mega-narcissist sister-in-law tried to have me doubt my own reality, I shall scream so loud you’ll bloody well hear it all the way over the other side of the pond)!

          • Before Voldemort, I had never been cheated on either. It can happen to anyone. I thank my years of training myself to listen to my intuition. It caught it early, and despite the blameshifting and gaslighting, I did not believe him.

            You can’t control someone. “Cheaters are going to cheat”. Did I contribute to problems in the relationship? Yes, I was a person in the relationship. Did I make him cheat? Hell, no, that’s all on him.

            I am dealing with some of my PTSD in my return to dating….a lot of self-doubt, how did I miss it, will I be able to see the red flags in time, etc. etc. Also, dealing with “When is the other shoe going to drop?” Even in online dating as a new social phenomenon, there are still a lot of good people out there. Maybe not the right person for me, but still good. Its a process of recovering from the trauma of betrayal and emotional violence of cheating. I am learning to trust myself again and feel the solidity of the work and healing of the last few years.

            I think what I enjoy in these early days is getting to communicate with many people in a fairly safe way through a self-contained online site. People do tell you who they are early on, but it is a matter of listening and practicing discernment, as well as good boundaries.

    • You’re so right, CJ–the hypervigilance is exhausting, even if it’s only trying to figure out why you feel ill at ease (without any tangible evidence). Worse than chewing glass–yes.

  • Interesting.

    I’d agree not to judge all APs as overall similar. Frankly, my ex wife’s OM sounds like he is similar to me in some ways.

    And my ex, who is an OW, sounds like she has some similarities to her AP’s chump.

    We are all so varied, and similar and different in so many ways.

    But the key differentiator between chumps and cheaters is all I need to judge cheaters and APs.

    • I agree her…My XW’s first two APs (that I know of) were completely different than me… I am a nerd academic, laid back and hippiesh … These guys were gym rats, arrogant, but in the end complete chickenshits… When a found out about the long distance one, he and the neighbor AP both dumped her (yes 2 at the same time)… When neither would take her and I was ready to divorce her she decided to “fight for our marriage” as she simply cannot be alone… she did absolutely nothing reconcile but continue to go out most nights leaving me with the kids until she found a chumpy, rather pathetic guy to do all the shit I used to do for her. To the point I actually kind of feel sorry for him…He has no idea what he is in for and pretty sure she is on dating sites trying to move up the ladder…point is APs come in all shapes and sizes, but all have one thing in common…lack of decency and integrity

      • OT (but it’s a Friday post so what the heck). – Any of you Chumps dated, divorced, or married a “gym-rat” guy? I’m a 6-foot-2, 209 pound guy who lives in a city where most people walk at least three miles a day. Nevertheless, my STBXW chose a gym-rat “ab-selfie” dude as her exit-adultery partner. I’m curious why a guy in his 40s all the sudden spends all his post-divorce time at the gym. Is “gym-rat” a Chump or a Cheater? Unanswerable question? (I know, too much free rent in my brain.)

        • Ian, satan started going to a gym once I’d booted him out…but…get this…this gym has a bar. WHA???!!!! sooooo…it’s really just more of the same.

          • zOMG Jeep,

            They just have NO SHAME do they? This might be too mean, but I wish he’d have dropped a dumbbell on himself while drunk. (Come to think of it, how does a place like that get insurance? No doubt a narc-owned business.)

        • My X was a gym rat, four hours a day excluding weekends. The more time spent at the gym the more likely they’re a cheater. X’s time spent in the gym increased towards the end of our marriage. Another activity he became interested in was hiking on non gym days. I’m not talking a 2 or 3 mile hike, X hiked 25 miles up rugged mountains. I suggested shorter hikes so we could go as a family. He wasn’t interested. I later found out he was hiking with his latest AP a triathlete who was capable of joining him.
          I’m not saying all gym rats are cheaters but in my opinion a good majority are. I go to the gym and get my workout over with. Gym rats work out excessively, looking for attention and hoping other gym rats are envious or secretly admiring their physique, or not so secretly.
          One of X’s complaints was I didn’t notice how hard he worked out or complimented him when he came home from the gym “pumped,” my attempts to flatter him with compliments were rejected because he said I was only patronizing. Evidently he had found someone more sincere with her flattery.
          All bullshit,

        • Ian, I am kind of a (female) gym rat myself. I have a sedentary job and need to get up and move, especially in the winter, and I go to a gym which is a serious training gym and work out with paid fitness experts with grad degrees in human movement, etc. We’ve also had lots of posters write about “yoga” cheaters, who hook up in the studio or cheaters who cheat with running partners, etc. In my years of going to various gyms, sporting events, yoga studios, (and hanging around the college gym where I work like a gym rat should), no one has ever hit on me. But if someone is out looking for a cheating partner (aka kibble source), a gym or yoga studio or running trail probably beats the supermarket. Think of it this way: it’s hard for a spouse to argue with exercise, so it makes a good cover, for a while.

          • I agree. I am no longer the fit person I was, but in my years of doing yoga, I have not been hit on often. It happens, but its usually friendly singles who are making conversation to see if there is compatibility. I also don’t frequent the meat market studios, and I don’t have a killer athletic body, so there is that.

            There are narcissistic types (somatic), that would be more likely to be at the gym/studio/whatever. They also engage in self-objectification, and their relationship to their bodies is “a meat suit”. Its not the embodied home of their psyche, to be stewarded, loved, and cherished. For a somatic narcissist, the body itself is a source of supply, and its maintenance and sculpting provides two fold supply: they “own” a beautiful body, and that body attracts more supply to it in the form of sex, admiration, and attention.

            Its also easy cover to be at the gym, looking for an affair. But if you’re going to cheat, its just a matter of finding a receptive party. Narcissists are just looking for a good field to play on. The gym is ideal: good cover, lots of toned athletic bodies, physically inclined people.

            • ChefBella,

              Your insights into narcissists is quite deep. I will go back and read the yoga cheater piece(s). Thanks for the heads-up on that.

              I’m especially interested in the distinction regarding the somatic narcissists. Yet another topic to delve into.

  • There’s a difference between recognizing a problem and working on your marriage and being the marriage police. Hyper vigilance is more work for the chump and it’s … Exhausting. And unfair. A person who’s a good partner won’t require that watching and spy game. Sign me up for that person, good riddance to the assholes

  • I realized very early on that I did not want to participate in any reconciliation. Anyone stupid enough to get sucked in by Schmoopie, whose track record of failed marriages and poor decisions meant that the men she did sleep with tended to walk away soon afterwards–that was not someone I wanted to be married to, let alone the infidelity.

    However, from snooping on the texts between the two, it was clear that Schmoopie was very jealous of me.

    And she’s jealous of the women he works with at his new job.

    I am so glad I’m out of that!

    • Yes, the stupidity exhibited by both my cheating XWs was also a huge factor in my having no I retest in reconciling. I would be embarrassed married to someone so dumb, as well as sociopathic.

  • Elizabeth Edwards the late wife of disgraced presidential candidate John Edwards once said “women should have more respect for other women”. That quote always stuck with me. I read it after D day #2 and it was always in my head after D Days 3-5.
    I confronted almost every affair partner of my ex and they all said the same thing, that they didn’t feel any accountability after the affair because they didn’t cheat on me, he did.
    My ex left me for his last affair partner and her three kids,our children no longer speak to him. I don’t know that this woman hates other women, I do know that she and my ex have rewritten history to suit their narrative, they really feel okay because their version of the affair, discard and divorce of me involves me being where I am because I was a terrible wife and I’m crazy, I didn’t trust him and he just deserved to be happy……none of that on them, all me.
    In the two insane conversations I’ve had with the home wrecker she sees herself as perfectly entitled to take a husband that voices he’s unhappy at home. Can’t wait till he does it to her…..impatiently waiting.

    • “I confronted almost every affair partner of my ex and they all said the same thing, that they didn’t feel any accountability after the affair because they didn’t cheat on me, he did.”

      This! I have not directly confronted the OW in my situation but I have friends that have talked to her. Her response was “why does she blame me for his choice to cheat on her?” Like water off a ducks back. The fact that she was complicit in the deceit does not bother her one bit. I had another friend that suggested that because her moral view (she is poly) is different than mine that she does not see what she did as wrong. That the moral guilt lies on him for breaking his vows to me. IDK I just know that she feels she is guiltless in the whole thing. Oh and she does consider herself a “feminist”. I just think she is a cheap whore.

      • The crazy train that I was shoved aboard was one where the OW told me that she was a superior creature because OW had gotten permission from her Husband to have sex with my husband and OW’s husband ‘ supported her choice’, so her conscience was clear…..(I spoke to OW’s Husband, and yes, she told him about her choice, but he wasn’t ‘ok’ with it.) Funny, OW didn’t insist that my Husband get permission from me: OW was perfectly content to be complicit with the destruction of a strangers marriage and family. But since OW had permission, it was all OK… The initials of the OW, her Husband and my Husband were, PB&J…a sandwich made entirely of heels.

    • I confronted the OW, too. Her response was “I just want to stay out of it! This is between you two, not me.” Obviously, what these people fail to grasp is that they directly inserted themselves into your marriage the moment they slept with your spouse. Whether they want to take responsibility or not doesn’t matter. If the AP knew that their two wuv was married, they are just as much to blame.

      I tend to think that most APs: a. get a sense of schadenfreude that also makes them feel superior (Narcissistic supply-“I was able to make him LEAVE this woman he promised to love FOREVER. I am a special snowflake and a unique and beautiful flower”) and b. are sort of stupid, or at the very least, have no emotional intelligence.

      FF and howorker broke up after about 4 months. I guess that it wasn’t nearly as exciting once I went no contact and they didn’t have me to torture. Do I think that this woman hated women in general? Slipping a pair of her underwear into my work bag for me to find…. Yeah. Yeah, I think that she hated women. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean they all do…

      • I think chumpasaurus that ow and om are really they are full of hate in general. If you love someone would you really want to make them so duplicitous? If you really love someone would you really want them to lie and have to cheat? Why would you want to put up with that crap anyway? I think they hate themselves and everybody else.

        • I think so, too. They walk around with their chests stuck out, like they are the SHIT, because a home was wrecked over them. This screams of low self-esteem, and hate for other successful people to me.
          I wondered if the X’s piece across the street was a playground bully when she was young. I know she liked to bully me. I knocked on her door (only once, thank Goddess) to ask her what she was up to, trying to ruin my family. She said- This has nothing to do with me!! and slammed the door.
          I knew she was nuts right then, and never went near her again. Her F-ed up life will be her reward.

          • Free Woman, ex’s whore was giddy that she was so much “better” than me. But her “basis”for her opinion was that I was so old, fat, lazy, who knows what, that ex wanted her slimy ass. It’s just kind of ironic that she was so puffed out over comparing herself to me when I’m obviously such a loser. Pathetic, really, if she weren’t such a nasty bitch.

    • If you would like some real insight into the mind of someone like Reille Hunter (Lisa Jo Druck),watch her interviews on YouTube. A very,very unintelligent person with no morals or self awareness. She operates on the most basic level, barely aware of most things.
      Just look at her expectations of acceptance of her book. This cretin expected she would be a sympathetic figure and could not even see how repulsive she would be to others.

    • When you read what these snake-women say and what the cheating spouses say in their attempt to justify themselves, it’s as though they all share a common brain, a very small one with nothing unique or special involved.

  • In addition to CL’s and LostandFound’s comments, I’d add that OW & OM (married or single) definitely do wallet biopsies to upgrade their lifestyle. So they trade ego & genital strokes for money on a small or large scale, and that “I’m-a-huge-user-mentality” makes it difficult for them to be an authentic friend to anyone.

    • wideawake, I’ve noticed this too in many commments. This happened with my ex as well. It seems like when they leave for the AP they start living these expensive lifestyles of vacations, nice homes, cars, etc. What is up with that? My ex and AP moved to three different states in an 18 month period to several different apartments, got new cars and travel more. To my recollection, Ex didn’t have a pot to piss in, poor credit and the student loans were garnishing the hell out of those wages, so I don’t know with what money they’re living high on life with!

      • Mine is doing this, too. It’s image management. Behind the scenes, he is a miserable, over-extended wreck. That side of him comes out from time-to-time and it reinforces my belief that his new, wonderful life is really just same shit, different players. Window dressing.

        • Guessing they have to impress the whores. Pay day is around the corner when everything is put on credit while working part time.

      • Mine is doing the same exact thing. Multiple states, upscale apartments, cruises, eats out constantly, they spend money like water. Meanwhile in the real world the IRS is looking for him, credit cards are in collections, his name is on 2 mortgages and one escalates shortly. Mister 800 credit score is spiraling downward. Sometimes I think he stays with her because she seems to be the one with some money. Well, at least until they blow through all of it. Karma bus is coming round the corner.

  • “To reconcile means you’ve probably bought in at some level that the cheating is your fault and you can prevent it by being a Better Spouse. …more in tune with His Needs.”

    It can also mean that an attempt at reconciliation is your last ditch effort to show your cheater and yourself that you could be a freaking beauty queen, Mensa, all-round-good sport, handy(wo)man, admired friend and co-worker, yada, yada, yada. Cheater values it not! Without cheater remorse, repentance, see the blazing billboard, “Trust that he sucks!”

    The Cheater is damaged. He associates with other damaged people = OW. Don’t be part of cheater’s cadre of associates. Heal yourself.

    • You’ve just described the Pick Me Dance to a T. On some level, you, the loyal spouse, are trying to get your Cheater to see that YOU are the worthy object of his/her attention, so you try to figure out the nature of the appeal of the AP. You try to show that you’re prettier, more fun, in better shape, etc.

      This means that you’re trying to make up some kind of deficit that caused your Cheater to cheat. You might not think of it this way, but that’s what the Pick Me Dance is all about.

      For me, once I recognized that I can’t compete if no one told me the rules, my decision was easy. If my XH had bothered to communicate unhappiness, then we could have worked on this–either with a marriage counselor or talking with each other. He didn’t. He decided that he was entitled to cheat under some circumstances that he’d never bothered to tell me about.

      I decided that I deserved better than to be married to someone who thinks that cheating is an appropriate course of action under certain circumstances.

      • kb, I looked at the “Pick me Dance” this way, what would happen if I was in a car accident and burnt to an physical ugly state? He’d dump me without a doubt, why? Because he simply doesn’t love me, this made it easy to walk away and move on.

      • I kept hearing that he was unhappy. That I was fat and nagged. What I really was was invisible because he was dreaming of schmoopie

        • Me too, lostand found. So really he’s much better off without me.

          I made frozen banana, peanut butter and chocolate popsicles today with some bananas that were too ripe, and the clean, well kept house is full of the aroma of a slow cooked lamb rogan josh.

          And I changed the bed linen and it smells great as well.

          It’s a BEAUTIFUL day.

          You see? This way, everyone’s happy.

          But only one of us has a clear conscience. And that, my friend, makes ALL the difference.

    • My cheater use to say that she’s “broken” as part of her excuses for doing what she does. I initially bought it and felt sorry for her. But now I think that’s the whole ploy was to get me to feel sorry for her and to manipulate me through sympathy. I no longer think she’s broken, or there’s anything missing. She’s a perfectly whole human being who just doesn’t care about no one but herself. She’s a complete asshole.

        • Yes, these people are all assholes and if you have access to an accurate view of other areas of their lives ( not just the fidelity component), almost invariably, you find them to be deficient and dishonest as regards all types of things.
          These folks do not,just suddenly, cross the line into sociopaths after marriage. Typically, they have been pulling whit like this for a long, long time, leaving a trail of destruction.
          Theaft

          These cheaters are not newly minted sociopaths. These traits do not just pop up in adulthood.

      • Michael – my cheater ex was very similar. Said she was broken, damaged etc. And I felt sorry for her a little initially too. I bought into the affair being part of her wider problems and low self esteem. I saw her of the victim of the OM. But she was playing me and it was an easy line as it kept me untangling her skein and focussing on fixing her rather than on what had happened to me. Does you more damage in the long run.
        The only good thing about wreckonciliation was that it removed any feelings I had for her. I saw her for who she really was – a nasty, self centred, uncaring person who was prepared to keep sucking me dry emotionally. Glad to be clear of that train wreck!

        • I initially thought she was the “victim” of the OM. She even made it seem that way in the form of, “Well he told me ths. And he told me that.” Like she was being manipulated by him. But soon after I realize that she wasn’t the victim but the perpetrator. I even said that to her in a long chumpy email which she fully ignored. As men we tend to be protective of the people we love, especially our woman. And that’s how my sociopath ex-wife played me. It worked at the beginning of our relationship, but when she tried it again at the end I had already saw through her. And once I saw what she was, that’s all I saw.

          • Michael,

            So sorry to hear of all the pain she caused you.

            And once I saw what she was, that’s all I saw.

            Same. Now I think back on my 10 years together with my STBXW, and it’s all shot-through with pain.

    • “The Cheater is damaged. He associates with other damaged people”

      Yup.

      That’s it. We have been given a gift: freedom. I’ll take it.

    • I tried wreckonciliation (who was it first coined this phrase – does anyone remember – it’s so brilliant)! – it turned out to be 3 years of unmasked shark narcissist abuse. Disastrous. I hoped not to lose my life-style, I hoped not to lose the man I’d always believed ‘hung the moon’ until I discovered he was a lying cheater. What I didn’t do then, or since, was blame myself IN ANY WAY. I could not have been a better wife, lover, friend, cheerleader, human being – I DID NOTHING WRONG. The AP was gone by my D Day, so I didn’t have to do a ‘pick me dance’ with another woman, but I did have to do a ‘pick me dance’ against his wounded ego (cos now I knew he was a lying cheater and let him know I knew he was a lying cheater – he couldn’t bask in my starry-eyed devotion anymore).

      • Regarding Pick Me Dances, I thought that I was done with them after my STBX left in Fall 2014. Now that my boyfriend (unofficially ex-boyfriend, who I do not think is a cheater but is going through what some might call a mid-life crisis but is, to me, just a crisis of deciding which of several appealing, mutually exclusive things he wants) has told me that he sees no future for us, I am again feeling tempted to do the Pick Me Dance. I have neither visited nor talked to boyfriend for a week. I have never used illegal substances or been addicted to any substances, but I am starting to get a sense of what withdrawal might feel like–H-ll! In terms of the break up with boyfriend, I emotionally am having a harder time with it than the one with my STBX, perhaps because my boyfriend was my friend for 30 years and I loved and trusted him more than I loved and trusted STBX, and boyfriend, for the most part, is a decent guy. At my age, how sad that I haven’t evolved more! I am working very hard to break this habit (doing the Pick Me Dance, wondering whether I tried hard enough and was good enough, etc. to make a healthy romantic relationship last) and feel confident, comfortable, and content being and supporting a family on my own–for the rest of my life if nobody decent comes along.

        • Rockstarwife, do you remember the recent post about ‘where are all the decent men hiding’?

          It might be time to commit that one to memory: http://www.chumplady.com/2016/02/dear-chump-lady-where-are-all-the-single-available-men/

          You have done so well getting out of one frying pan, so don’t jump into the fire. I think a lot of us have that secret idea that leaving a cheater, gaining a life means getting another partner who is far superior to the last one. It doesn’t always mean that.

          This man is still a good man, but HE DOES NOT WANT TO HAVE THE KIND OF RELATIONSHIP YOU WANT.

          That should be the only red flag you ever need to see. It is also a useful lesson in ‘We think we know people, and then we find out that we really don’t know them all that well’.

          People always have the capacity to surprise us as they unfold, but that’s often because we have read them wrong. He has been a good friend, but he doesn’t want to be any more than friends with benefits.

          You have to be really honest with yourself here, and brave enough to walk away if that is not what you want.

          Can I ask – did this good friend effectively support you through the divorce process? And if so, do you need to ask yourself if you are just trying to avoid being single? It’s really easy when we are feeling very bruised to accept dodgy relationships because they buffer us from the ‘shame’ of actual singleness. And the longer you have been partnered, the harder it is to move away from that state of mind.

          Jedi hugs and don’t be afraid.

        • RockStarWife

          It sucks that you have to deal with this pain. I hope you are taking care of yourself.

          I don’t wish to fan the flames of your pain. I’m not aware of the timeline on your divorce. It appears that you very quickly went from one relationship to another. I’ve read on more than three occasions that the first breakup post-chumping is even more agonizing than the chumping. It appears that you are experiencing that pain. I hope that you know that your tale is cautionary to the rest of us Chumps. Jumping into another relationship too soon might delay the inevitable despair of divorce. Again, I hope you are doing well. Your introspection and sharing are invaluable.

  • Do they win? Sure, sometimes they win the “prize”. The prize is someone who doesn’t value commitment, who doesn’t care if he is involved in his children’s lives, who walks away from responsibility, who uses his dick as a divining rod, who thinks everyone will accept his behavior over time, who values his happiness over everything else, who doesn’t have a problem re-writing history, who now has forever given his side chick the title of other woman forever (even if they marry, she will always wear that crown).

    Congratulations on the prize. Enjoy the rest of your life looking over your shoulder to see who is next in line.

        • Haha MovinOn, mine used to look at his (rod) in admiration in front of me and say, nice hey? I should of known he’d want to show it off to more than just me back then. 🙂

          • Ack, don’t get me started, CDNM, “worship” was one of my Ex’s favorite exhortations for his… then after DDay when I blurted out, “I can’t believe you would fuck another woman!” he retorted snidely, “Oh, so you are saying that All.You.Care.About.Is.My.Dick???!!! What if my dick fell OFF, Muse?!, are you saying you would leave me!???” It’s quite amusing now to picture that, in light of seeing his stupid narcissistic verbal manipulations for what they really were: deflection and blameshifting. Laughable now.

            • That is gaslighting to the extreme Muse, I recognize it right away now when I see it coming from a Narc. Sick, my head used to hurt or as CL puts it, felt like my brain was in a blender. LOL I chose to gain a life after that crap!

            • TheMuse – There is SO MUCH WRONG with what he said but all I can articulate is how I wish his dick had fallen off! (hey, there’s still time 🙂 ) xx

  • I am going to speak very objectively about the OW in my case (which isn’t easy – lol). She is young, just turned 30, she is beautiful, and she is well-educated. She has a lot of female friends, and she invests in those friendships, including a handful whom she has been friends with for years. She also has male friends wherein the friendship is completely platonic. Knowing what I know of her, I don’t believe she would ever go near one of her friend’s boyfriends or husbands – she would consider them strictly off-limits.

    She appears to be quite loyal to her “tribe.” I highly doubt she would screw any of them over. If you are in her circle, you are sacrosanct. But her empathy is severely limited in that way – if you are a stranger, she doesn’t care at all about you.

    She does have boundary and maturity issues in other parts of her life. She is a functioning alcoholic, and she has money problems. Her parents still pay a respectable portion of her bills, and this doesn’t seem to bother her. She has two degrees, a bachelors in psychology and a master’s in criminal justice administration…but she’s never had a job in her field, because DUIs and alcohol problems have ruined her internships and had her failing background checks. Her education is, at this point, useless.

    In a word, she’s immature and insecure as hell. Her emotional intelligence is more like a girl half her age, and she is incapable of big-picture thinking or compassion for anything wider than the people and events which make up HER immediate existence.

    And finally, she believed him. He spun her more lies than he spun even to me. He presented himself as seperated, our marriage as over in all but name, our divorce as imminent (and mutual!) and she believed him. I think a combination of her selfishness and immaturity kept her from trying to verify the truth. Her lack of concern for me, the faceless stranger, kept her from trying to get to the bottom of the story. She was simply more comfortable taking him at his word, and her conviction that she IS a special and unique snowflake meant that he couldn’t POSSIBLY lie to HER, right?

    I don’t think she hates women at all. I don’t think she hates me. She’s just not very smart or discerning.

    • Little Mighty Me, It sounds like you’ve done the hard work of looking at the truth. Your ex was an idiot to cheat on someone with your insight and integrity.

      I think the slew of women (and men) involved with my ex were extremely challenged in life by low character and no healthy coping skills. Recognizing that doesn’t excuse their behavior, it’s just stating a fact.

      • @ Ali Rose – Thank you so much for your kind words 🙂 It has been three years, and I have certainly grown a lot. I would have answered a question like the OP asked a LOT differently three years ago. I would have said they are all, without exception, horrible predators wrapped in human skins. Pod People. Evil. Sadistic.

        I’ve worked tirelessly on my own recovery, and my own responses NOW kind of surprise me. But I think it is important to speak the truth, no? I try to do that devoid of emotion if I can. I can see that the OW in my case was not a predator. I mentioned downthread that she dumped my husband within 15 minutes of finding out his home situation wasn’t as he presented it. That alone speaks volumes. She also apologized profusely to me, more than once, and even offered to meet me at any time to tell me everything. I didn’t take her up on that for many reasons, but I didn’t have to. I knew she was lied to by a masterful manipulator just as I was, and I had already done CIA levels of research into their relationship before I confronted. I already knew the whole story, literally from the beginning. I had been watching their affair in real time from 24 hours after he sent her the first flirtatious e-mail…they just didn’t know it.

        However, I can’t say I am able to drum up any sympathy for her. I wish I were evolved enough for THAT, but I’m not. I dislike her intensely. I associate her (and forever will) with the anguish that was visited on me and my kids. The part of me that is my best self can see she was just a small-time player in a game that was way over her head. The baser part of me still automatically thinks “Evil Whore.” I do not wish her well.

        • You sound very gracious and fair to the OW. From what you describe, she probably has some FOO patterns that remain unexamined and are the festering source of her boundary issues and substance abuse. I hope she seeks therapy and gains some perspective and growth out of her choices. I can only imagine how emotionally horrifying it must be to realize you have been manipulated into an affair and have the guts to speak to the other spouse.

          I hope your journey to Meh is going well. Your compassionate posts here regarding the OW would lead me to believe the journey is well underway.

  • I have gotten the impression that the OW really liked seeing how much she could get people around her to do for her. Would he give up his wife for me? Will he give up his family for me? Will he go send his cats to a kill shelter for me? Soon she’ll be expecting him to put her before his own daughter. In a way he already did since he chose her over the best interest of his daughter.

    • YES! THIS! I truly think that is and always will be the whorebags motive! She triangulated herself with her ex she broke up with for her married boss (aka my ex) and would go back and forth between the two whenever my ex wouldn’t give her her way (because he was married with a son so couldn’t drop everything to pick you up from the airport- that sent us into D-Day number 3 of 5 because of the epic hissy fit she threw). She now demanded to be a part of my sons life or else their relationship was over. They are so insecure in their own skin they need to skim as much off of other people’s lives as possible to make them feel important!

    • Strawberry, regardless of what he will do or give up for her, its still all on him. My children started blaming the psycho conduct disordered whore for HIS lack of interaction and contact for 19 months. Isn’t it about what the cheaters value? The cunt has no relationship with her only child and he is a total fuck up due to her inability to parent or be a role model. If she doesn’t value her own child there is no reason for her to value mine. She doesn’t know them. The Limited however has no excuse to go no contact with his children. There isn’t a vagina that powerful. Actions, the Limited is responsible for his actions. Not seeing his children is all on HIM.

      • Donna, my name is Donna, too. My POS pulled all the stupid shit a cheater can pull. DD I tossed his sorry lame ass out. 2 weeks, ,later he moved in with the Whore, with 2 kids, a 14 year old girl and 8 year old boy, and he is 60!!!! According to him, she pressured him…..YOU’RE fucking 60, not 13! I’ve heard what you’ve been through, and thank you for saving me from wreckconsiliation!!! ty, ty, ty

  • We are all terrible wives and crazy. That what they both tell each other as justification. I was hyper vigilant for five years after the first d day. It was exhausting and unnecessary. You shouldn’t have to ,watch’ your spouse to make sure he isn’t cheating (again).

      • Same here, I am certain both Mr Fab and the Downgrade’s necks must be able to spin 360 degrees. She was married, too, but she told me, “It was only ever financial between me and my Chump, for the last ten years, so, technically I am single.”

        Errr….and that makes you what, exactly? And a cheap one at that.

        They are 110% welcome to each other-my visualization is of them in a tightly corked glass bottle, which is slowly flooding with sewage. And they drown each other all the more quickly, each scrambling to stand on the other one’s head.

        Or better yet, I see this. It is a sunny day, at a little house in a big woods. The creek burbles happily, sparkling in the sunlight. When the sun hits her face, Mehphista rises, greets and feeds all her animals, makes a coffee, sits on the porch watching the World wake up. The emails for her wellpaid freelance job can wait. If there is a significant other back in the bed, it is because he has earned that place, and we both are grateful for that privilege every day. If not, well, there is a pair of scraggly old Maine Coon cats. Kiddo is at college, living and learning, safe in the knowledge that Momma Mehphista has her back, and that we made it. There are extra cabins in the woods, for friends to visit, and these are free for any Chump to use, any time. When Chump Nation visits, we all eat together at the massive picnic table. Oh and the hot tub fits eight…..

        Mehphista stretches, and steps into her day. She has gotten a life.

  • Idk what the hell must have been going thru the basically adolescent mind of the 20 year old my stbx took up with. She knew me and my son, we had friendly chats quite often. I can’t imagine what he was telling her, but looking back, I think he was grooming her for quite a while. But she checks some of the other boxes here: circle of friends mostly male, had hooked up with at least a few of them, and once things got weird with stbx, but before I realized what all was really going on, a dramatic shift in how she behaved towards me. Also she was quite the outspoken social justice warrior.
    An inauspicious start to a young feminist’s life, for sure.

  • My issue with the opposite sex “friendships” was how my ex-wife used to use that as an excuse for inappropriate relationships. As heterosexual, I would encourage people to be careful of such friendships…but ultimately, the choice to cheat or make those relationships inappropriate rests with the cheater. It is not the friendship per se that is the problem. However, it can become one.

    • I agree. People should be protective of their marriages. Knowing how easily self-justification and rationalization comes to humanity, why put your marriage in any kind of possible danger? I agree that it can be possible to be totally platonic, but why give romance any fertile ground to sprout in? There is no more fertile ground than common interests, deep caring, and the fun found in friendship. My now husband and I (both chumps) decided that even with opposite sex friends we’ve had for years, we do not see them alone, but only as a couple. I think it’s too easy for people to blur boundaries and push the line a little further all the time. Cheating is a character problem indeed; but, we have decided not to repeatedly endlessly “test” or “tempt” our characters with opposite sex friends out of respect for each other, ourselves, and marriage.

      • I don’t think it’s particularly healthy that you don’t trust yourselves to have friends of the opposite sex only if you see them as a couple. Just don’t understand why a friendship becomes a temptation even if once in a while you see them as sexual beings. That doesn’t mean you want to have sex with them. Lastly, I can’t help but wonder how you would solve this issue if you were bisexual.

    • I disagree. I work in a predominantly male field. The difference between me and my stbex is that I was honest when I went out with my male friends. I told him who I was going with, where I was going, when I was going to be back, and even, “hey, do you want to join us?” I was never inappropriate with any of them and never gave him reason to question what I was doing and with whom. He never invited me to go out with his friends after work, because as I later learned, he wasn’t at guys only card game or meeting one of his male friends for coffee. If you have values and morals, the sexual organs of your friends shouldn’t matter.

      • I’m with you Anne, I work in a field dominated by males, and I have tons of guy friends. I don’t cheat, would not cheat, and am quite honestly not even the least bit tempted. I find it strange when people think that it is somehow a good thing that they have to avoid men, because they might just lose their minds and cheat without meaning to! The only thing that is keeping them from cheating is the vigilant presence of their spouse at the community garden work party? Their boundries are never being alone with a man, because who knows where it might go? My respect for my husband is that I am always 100% truthful ( except about his cooking) and open about my friendships.

        • Same here, when I’m in a relationship I have no desire for sex with anyone else and firm boundaries about it. Doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate seeing a hot guy, just means I don’t act on that, not interested.

        • I agree, I am also in a male dominated field, and even as a totally single woman, I would not cross the line with my colleagues who are in a relationship. Even my single co-workers I consider off limits because of my professional ethos. Sometimes I feel sexual attraction, but I would never act on it.

          I don’t leverage my sexuality in my professional persona, because I feel it is unprofessional and creates a playing field that isn’t about merit. However, there are plenty of women that do that in all lines of work. I certainly don’t condone it, and it is grounded in poor choices and low self-esteem that the quality of one’s work does not speak for itself. I also don’t spend a lot of time giving free head rent to the idiocy of other’s poor choices. I’ve never seen it play out well, but people love to think they are the exception.

    • If I can’t have a romantic relationship with someone who can have friendships with females, and I have friendships with males without either or both of us worrying that those friendships are going to get sexual, then I don’t want a romantic relationship ever again.

      FWIW – For 37 years I managed to have several long term relationships and a first marriage where friendships with people from the opposite sex were NEVER, EVER a problem. I’m not a jealous woman and, while my picker might not be great, it at least never picked jealous men. ‘The Great I Am’ is the only man who ever cheated on me. I will not, and refuse to, become sexist and suspicious as a consequence of having married a true NPD. I loved and love that my heart trusts and does not judge on gender. I will not be broken.

      • I think far too many people confuse jealousy with not putting up with any nonsense. Big difference. I’m not a jealous person but my tolerance for over the top flirtation and inappropriate behavior is zero. I refuse to let anyone shame me for sticking up for myself.

      • Well, cheaters may all be the same deep down, but they have different modes of operation. MY ex was absolutely the LEAST jealous guy on the planet. Never once did he act jealous–not even if someone flirted or was inappropriate right in his face. I really think now that was for two reasons: 1. It allowed him to cultivate an “I’m not jealous, so you should never say anything ever about what I do, where I go, or how I act with women.” It was all a front to make cheating easier, and 2. He really did not care about me at all, to the point he wouldn’t come to my aid when men physically invaded my space and I was upset or scared. He enjoyed the abuse.

  • After my sociopath brother married is final AP, my ex SIL (I consider her a sister) said she actually feels sorry for the new wife, because now she will be the new victim. I had to remind her that the OW knowingly slept with a married man with children. Oh yeah, that.

  • One of the most baffling things I’ve read over and over again is how much of a downgrade the OW or OM is. How us stupid cows kept our poor exes trapped in this loveless marriage but how only they understand him, how their love is different and how they will never end up in our shoes because their sparkly magical vag will always be novel and exciting, and silly us, it’s not about the sex anyway.

    I know for a fact thanks to
    Christian Brothers, Dr. Pepper and a very sloppy open book drunk 40-year-old toddler the OW in our situation thought I was judgemental (I thought her serial cheater BFF was disgusting and mentioned it on several occasions which probably hit a bit of a nerve since she was fucking my ex behind my back at that point), snobby (I love reading, am a bit of an autodidact and got really excited whenever I could nerd out over something historically fascinating on PBS or History International), vain (I did stuck up things like go to the dentist regularly since I didn’t want rotten teeth like hers and am concerned with things like health and personal grooming) and that I thought I was a better parent (I am because I’ve never locked myself in a closet to get drunk because I’d had it with my kids who were still present or left them with a sitter she knew was abusing them because she wanted to go clubbing among many, many other examples.)

    I’m sure the angry, insecure “I’m cooler and more fun than her!” dirty back porch sex happened before I’d finished brushing my teeth and climbed into bed alone… Again. She’ll show him! And me! She’s a real woman, not some stuffy snob always worried about stuff like being a good mom, finances and being a decent person.

    So while I never liked the OW, who knew the ex even before I did, he was always trying to force this friendship, I was unfailingly polite because I was raised that way but there was always this seething resentment coming off her in waves toward me and my kids and I never understood why. If having morals and hygiene makes me a snobby bitch, then where’s my fully staffed condo on the Upper East Side?

    She didn’t have very many female friends, and the ones she did have had similar character flaws. I never got down with her drunken neglect of her kids, her sleeping with many married men, her attempted smear campaign toward her ex (accusing him of molesting their kids and elaborately framing him with her then drug dealer boyfriend because her husband wouldn’t give her the divorce she wanted) and acting like I thought I was better than her because I was consistent with my values and parenting.

    Sometimes I wonder if that’s why the ex left. Because he wanted a break from college level living and wanted to return to the mental and sociological demands of a kindergarten… With booze and sex, but probably just as full of viruses and way more untidy.

    • Cakeless

      All the years of looking and this was all he could find? I wouldn’t even call the Limited’s whore a downgrade. She’s in in the negative perhaps -10. It was never about finding someone better as he traded beauty, intelligence, love and loyalty for a classless bar whore one night stand to live with. Cheater logic gets them where they belong, away from us. Counting my blessings for getting the hell away from the disordered. Relief.

    • Cakeless, this is my situation, too.

      STBX chose whores/webcam porn/Craigslist hookups over 20 years of middle-class respectability. He’d rather fuck a 20-year-old prostitute than share a life with me, an educated professional.

      He’s a high school drop-out alcoholic fat middle-aged rube.

      I thought he was trying to “move up” with me – but he’s disdainful, mocking me for being so “conventional” (every time we’ve spoken in four months since D-day, he says something to the effect of not wanting me to “get my hopes up” that he’ll reconcile with me) and celebrating the “intimacy” of his internet masturbation sessions.

      His extremely expensive internet masturbation sessions.

      Or boasting about how exciting it is to fuck a teenage prostitute in a no-tell-motel.

      He honestly thinks he’s a desirable man. What world are these jokers living in?

      • It’s baffling, isn’t it? I guess I should have known. Ex’s stock comes from sweep it under the rug on mom’s side and ahem… very backwoods stock on his dad’s. His paternal alcoholic grandfather often threatened his dad with a shotgun and there was a lot of abuse that went on. And, his dad ended up doing something very similar to his mom, but that’s another post.

        She, otoh, is such a winner that her dad is now back in prison for the three strikes you’re out policy after the first couple guest of the state convictions for knifing someone and grand larsony/drugs, this most recent conviction is for tieing up and shooting her most recent (and final) stepmother and going on the run from the cops. She should be proud. It was actually all over the Michigan news for a few days. But according to OW and her hayseed in-laws, the woman deserved it for being such a nagging bitch. I kid you not. OW and her genuinely brain damaged and psychotic sister were raised by a very racist grandmother who wouldn’t eat fast food because “blacks and Mexicans (insert typical slurs here) handled the food.”, her mom tried to drown her older sister and spent most of their childhood in an institution and her dad used the kids to help him shoplift from stores… When he wasn’t in prison. But I’m an asshole for not recognizing that he’s a good guy at heart and she still takes her kids to see him because “they need to know their grandfather no matter what he did.”

        It must be possible in a galaxy far, far away that he could have left me for someone slightly more offensive, but so far I haven’t been able to think of anyone else. The ex has gotten more conservative over the years and she claims to be a good Christian with values, so perhaps his liberal, mixed race, artist wife was just too much to take after a while. *shrugs*

        Both of them still think they’re in their early twenties with their sense of entitlement, lack of understanding concerning consequences and feeling that “love is all that matters.” Newsflash. That’s what I used to tell myself as I knowingly spray-painted all those red flags green.

        It will be a shock if their relationship doesn’t explode and involve the county sherriff, charges being pressed and one or both of them having a luxurious overnight stay at our five star local facilities for the incarcerated.

  • The OW in my case seems to have female friends although I know she isn’t a very good friend herself.
    She destroyed her own marriage by cheating, cheated on boyfriends in the past and presents herself as a sad sausage with low self esteem.
    Based on the communications I’ve seen she’s bought into the romantic idea of the long lost love returning, perhaps to “fix” the mistakes of the past, just like a real life Nicholas Sparks novel. I know my husband is good at triangulation and willing to talk me down so I’m sure she’s heard LOTS of stories and is very much enjoying the pick me dance. Sure she doesn’t know that I have excused myself from the party, she’s welcome to him, just not to my whole life.

  • In my case, my cheating STBXW’s affair partner has engaged in actions that suggest that he is a raging narcissist to whom the “normal” rules don’t apply (I’ve had to call the police on the guy twice).

    Is he jealous of me? Does he hate me?

    I honestly do not give a flying f*ck. I have ZERO interest in untangling that skein. As someone else wrote above, I’d rather chew glass.

    All I know is, if he tries to contact me ever again in any form (even if he ends up marrying my cheating STBXW), the police have said they’ll charge him for harassment. We are not supposed to engage with another, and I intend to keep that up until the old guy croaks. I am my daughter’s father, he isn’t, so my view is that how he deals with that situation and stays in compliance with the police warnings while remaining part of my cheating STBXW’s life is *his* responsibility, not mine. I only know that he’s f*cked-up enough that I am taking myself out of that picture, and I’ve got the township police on speed dial.

    When it comes to OW/OM, I’d urge chumps to take a stance of “who cares what they think, or why they do what they do; I only know that they’re crazy/immoral/bizarre and that’s enough for me, I am OUT.”

    • “I honestly do not give a flying f*ck. I have ZERO interest in untangling that skein. As someone else wrote above, I’d rather chew glass.”
      Well said, sephage.
      I accept nothing less than NC and made it clear that should either disregard this, I will 1) call the sheriff 2) see them in court.

      • Thanks, CM. I guess put another way, my thought is “those people are trainwrecks, so… let someone else figure out *why* they wrecked, and walk away (quickly).”

  • OT – For TheMuse – HONY had another cheater showcased (this time with no face). Sad sausage tale of woe of “putting up” for years with a horrible evil wife before getting himself a girlfriend.
    The comments are beyond depressing from many women especially – all sorry for him, all happy he went for “happyness”, all more than happy to excoriate a woman who wasn’t there to defend herself. I figured many of them have been OW’s in the past.

    What a sorry lot.

    • I saw that, too. There was no way that guy could have had a conversation with his wife, or gone to counseling, or just plain divorced her? No, getting a side girlfriend was the only possible choice, I’m sure.

    • thanks Finally, I may have to turn off HONY for awhile. I just don’t get it, all the support for cheaters. If someone had embezzled money from their boss because they thought they weren’t being compensated highly, would there be all this rah rah let’s hear it for happiness? Just don’t get it.

  • I have been studying and working all my life in a predominantly male field. I have a brain naturally wired for understanding technical stuff easily. My mother gave me a profound disgust for anything related to pregnancy. I suppose these are the reasons I could never keep a circle of close girlfriends after high school. Marriage and babies was all they seemed to talk about, why would I have gone out of my ways to meet some ? I had a group of fellow students around me and enjoyed the company of whatever idiot I was involved with, which entailed being immersed into his life, but also him being immersed into mine, as I had opportunities for traveling or practising hobbies on my side too. I was often that one girl within a circle of male friends, because other girls would have rather study marketing than electronics, and would rather talk about babies (yuk, boring !) than about making a robot (yay, exciting !). Besides, I was pretty.
    BUT…
    to me, all these males were just people, not prospects. I viewed myself as ONE OF THEM, not as some special female. I was rarely attracted, only with “the idiot I was involved with”, that everyone else in the group knew. Actually I was quite thankful that these guys accepted me as a member of the pack. Being rejected from the group with whom you share interests because you’re of the opposite sex is horrible.

    Dating a married man NEVER came to my mind. The idea was and is still totally repulsive. I wanted to find a partner who would appreciate my not-so-female personality and tastes, who would be wanting to stay with me for good, and who I could get along with in the long term. Alas, despite the great number of guys I met along my life, I never managed to find that special someone (I provided one to both my sister and my cousin though).
    I had thought that Ex was that special someone, at last… the deception is huge.

    • And the OW were not like me. The OW were either very maternal figures (frumpy, warm, hot sex) or prostitute-like (high heels, bright clothes, bright makeup, hot sex).

      • I think the point of an OW is that it’s “not you.” In other words, the cheater will be attracted to whatever you can’t provide. I’m nerdy but have a strong maternal side. I like reading philosophy and was pre-med in college. I also wanted to have babies and get married, which my husband happily agreed to. Then, he met someone in our nerd circle who was in an open marriage. Unfortunately, she didn’t really respect other people’s arrangements, just her own. She was heavy to my thin, Pagan to my Buddhist, and anime to my Sherlock Holmes/Battle Star Galactica. (Hope any of that makes sense, lol.) In short, she was not me and that was the appeal.

        So, to your point, I don’t think there is a “type.” Some of the most amazing female friends I’ve had, on the surface, match OW’s profile. What matters is the narcissism and entitlement, not being child free or enjoying things that are traditionally male.

  • Regarding this post,

    OW are not sisters in arms. I don’t think they hate women, I think they have apathy for women. In other words, they just don’t care. Their needs are first.

    IMHO I feel some would be ashamed to be caught (run back to spouse or leave relationship) and others will celebrate they won the prize.

    Those who are not ashamed are sociopaths. Everything and everyone in their life are there to accommodate their lifestyle.

    Those who are ashamed seek forgiveness.

    I personally have as many men friends as women. I always, ALWAYS put the wife at ease by including them in the conversation, getting to know them and addressing the wife first, if they chat to me as a couple. I would hate to think the wife saw my relationship with her husband as more than platonic. If she felt uncomfortable, I would address her concerns or just end the friendship. The wife comes first.

    If any woman made me “less than” in the presence of my husband or boyfriend, that would be my signal to lose her as a friend or acquaintance.

    • Do OW hate women and/or OM hate men? I think that gives them WAY too much credit. My experience is that not only do they not hate women (or men), your mere existence doesn’t even enter into their consciousness. They are sociopaths who don’t have emotions for you one way or the other.

      I suppose in the cases where the OW/OM really does want to pursue a long term relationship with your cheater, then you might enter into their consciousness long enough for them to scheme on how to get rid of you.

      Perhaps a small percentage of OW do obsess about the wife in some fashion, but that wasn’t my experience. My wife did not obsess or care about the OM’s wife and the OM did not care one iota about me. They were too consumed with themselves.

      • Jackpot on this response re: the longterm MOW in my case and the arbitrary side fuck partners throughout my marriage to the asshat.

      • I tend to think not all cheaters/AP are cluster B, but pretty much all cluster Bs are cheaters.

        If a cheater wasn’t the pursuer, confesses immediately, ends the marriage, and does so in a way to cause the least amount of additional pain to the chump, they may not be a cluster B, just someone who monumentally fucked up, and knows it.

        But how often does that happen?

        More cheaters lie, gaslight, and make the divorce as difficult as possible. I think that’s when you have the really ugly characters, the true cluster Bs. I don’t find it all that surprising that some relatively more innocent souls are sucked in by them….

  • OW are people who are black holes trying to suck in enough validation to make themselves feel like they exist and are not total crap. What is more validating than getting a man to leave his wife and kids? That must mean she’s SUPER AWESOME. It’s the mega jackpot of kibbles.

    • Yes that!! And having a fake book page full of photos of herself, and over 3000 “friends” 90% male! Tell me how beautiful I am! My ex can have her but he’ll be looking over his shoulder everyday until she finds a better kibble dispenser. She’s 34, he’s 60 and she’s high maintenance, loves jewellery, which he buys by the bucketload but he can’t afford to pay his bills. Hope that black hole swallows him, as for her I don’t give a shit.

  • Personally I hate using one descriptor to classify an entire group of people. I think it’s dangerous territory. That being said I think it’s fair to assume an overwhelming majority of OW/OM are lacking in self worth.

    Just taking my own situation when I think of the crap the OW was willing to deal with, its kind of pathetic. She started out being a side dish and taking whatever scraps the ex would throw her way. When I found out, the ex dumped her for a few years to “work things out” (translation- keep all of his 401k).

    Only when I asked for a divorce and cut him out of my life completely did he go back. Mostly I would imagine because she had a lot of money and he didn’t like those first few months of not being able to spend with wild abandon. He even had the gall to ask me if I could give him part of my settlement money back!

    They are married now. She won the great “prize.” But what about any of that says “I’m first choice?” What in any of that tells you this is a woman that values herself? Really nothing I can see. And if she hadn’t help orchestrate the destruction of two marriages I would actually feel sorry for her.

    I definitely don’t (feel bad for her) but I don’t think she hates all other women as much as she doesn’t value herself.

    • I could not agree more ^^^.

      OWs don’t hate other women, they just hate themselves.

      Those I have known of are all damaged by abusive parents, seeing father cheat, absent fathers etc. They seem to be lacking in self-worth and are willing to accept being a “bit-on-the-side” instead of looking for an equal relationship.

      I just feel sorry for them.

  • I thank God I am no longer in that paralyzing life with satan. Always looking over my shoulder…ugh!

    I really believe satan hates women, all women. he uses them. his mother and sister were sick and dying, and he wouldn’t even return their phone calls! They both died without even talking to him one last time. They did nothing wrong to him…they loved him.

    he uses OW to make himself feel like a real man…strokes his ego. I don’t think he is a very happy person.

    Oh Thank You God for yanking me out of that!!!!

  • I think most OW (not all) have some degree of borderline personality defect. Quite possibly most did not have a decent male figure in their lives during the formative years. Emotionally secure women do not pursue married men, period. Freebird, if this rather young woman already has alcohol issues, just wait a few years. She’ll have a tough time hanging on to her good looks and will only become even more erratic. I hope for your ex husband’s sake the relationship lasts a good long time.

      • @KB22 – Oh, they aren’t together. As soon as she found out he wasn’t what he seemed, she dumped him. Literally within 15 minutes. She never looked back. Tucked tail and RAN like her ass was on fire.

        I don’t think of her as the “traditional” OW. She was chumped to an extent, too. She was not a predator, she was just gullible. I don’t have any warm feelings for her (how could I?), but even I can recognize it was stupidity and immaturity more than anything. And, as Calamity Jane said upthread so much more succintly than me – apathy. She didn’t hate me or prey on my husband…but she was very apathetic about me and my kids, and even to an extent, apathetic to the incongruity of his statements. Like I said, if it exists outside of HER experiences, she just can’t drum up the ability to care much.

        And now, a few years on, she has indeed become more erratic and is struggling to maintain the “good time fun girl” image she maintained through her 20’s. Behaviors which were quirky and maybe a little forgivable when she was a few years younger are starting to alienate people around her now that others are expecting her to grow up a bit. She and I have mutual acquaintences, so I hear things.

        • LMM, so many substance abusers (mostly alcoholics) still act like they are in their early 20’s or when they first started drinking and partying. They so want to hang on to those days when they were “cute” & “fun”. There is nothing more pathetic or cringe worthy than witnessing a mature woman (or man) behave like an obnoxious college kid.

          • KB the Limited was stuck at being 17. One of the things he said, I never got to surf. No, he got to live a double life.

  • And I know for a fact that one of his OW – whose husband divorced her after he caught on – isn’t happy now either. What they did to 2 families is public knowledge now.

  • ** I was an OW once **

    This is hard to admit, hard to write, but here goes. Please read with an open mind…

    I was the OW once. Well, twice, if you want to get technical.

    When I met my husband, I was 26. He was 36. We worked together. During the first 4 months or so when he came to work there, we used to talk, sometimes have lunch together. I knew he was married, and I had no designs on him, though I’ll admit I did have a crush on him. Yes, I understand this already sounds bad. As I got to know him, he would tell me what I now understand are the usual textbook cheater lines. He and his wife no longer got along, he had been sleeping in the basement for years, they both planned to to divorce as soon as their then 14 year old daughter graduated high school, yada yada yada.

    We went out one night with a group from work and ended up kissing at the club. At the time, and for the next 20 years, I thought of that as the most passionate, intense kiss I ever had. Maybe I do still think of it as that. It was also probably the biggest mistake of my life. About a week later, he came to my apartment and we made out. Didn’t actually have sex, but what’s the difference really? I was now officially the OW that he was going to go home and lie about. That was how I became the OW not once, but twice.

    I clearly, like it was yesterday, remember going into my bathroom after he left that night and literally looking at myself in the mirror and saying out loud “who the FUCK are you? What the FUCK are you doing? This is not you. You’re not the person who steals another woman’s husband.” I felt like crap. I was disgusted with myself.

    I went to work the next day and told him that that would NOT happen again. I was not going to be an OW and I was sorry that it happened. He told me again how his marriage was essentially over, etc. I held my ground. NO. I wasn’t going to be an OW.

    He moved out of his house within a few days. He got his own apartment. He filed for divorce. About 6 months later, I officially started dating him. No sneaking around, no lying, I became his girlfriend. We were living together shortly after that. I met his kids within the first year and met his ex-wife within about two years. His ex-wife and I actually got along well. I don’t THINK she ever blamed me at all for their divorce.

    Fast forward. We were married 5 years later. Yes, I did realize that this seed was planted in unstable ground. But I was able to rationalize certain things. Apparently, based on the speed he left his marriage after our first kiss, he really meant it when he told me that his first marriage was over. It’s not like I was any long term OW. And of course, I bought into the whole “but i’m different, this is true love” thing. He said it, and I bought it. I could use my young age as an excuse, but it might just be an excuse. By the time I married him, we had been living together for years… I was sure we were meant to be. He wasn’t really a cheater and I wasn’t an OW, it’s just that that first kiss and that one make-out session were unfortunately timed. Ancient history.

    Fast forward. 13 years into our marriage. Yes, he really was a cheater. What a shock, right? I don’t know what the body count was, but it was up there. I was fooled really bad.I lost nearly 20 years of my life to a lie. I’ve spent a lot of time since my D-Day and subsequent divorce asking myself if I deserved what I got. To be honest, sometimes I think so, though the jury’s out on whether the punishment fits the crime.

    I love this site and I read it every day. I am a chump, I was blindsided, my pain is all encompassing. One kiss, one make out, and I paid for it with nearly half my life. I’m sorry I kissed him, I’m sorry I loved him, I’m sorry I married him. I’m sorry I ever met him.

    I hope I didn’t hijack this thread too badly, but this is all I know about what it feels like to be the OW.

    • musicbox – I’d say that you are an OW only in the most technical sense possible. You actually had remorse and cut it off right away? That alone puts you way outside the normal Venn diagram combination of screwed-up attributes displayed by most OW/OM. Just my $0.02.

      • Musicbox, you ain’t alone in that-Mr Fab was engaged when I met him in my 20s, and I was married. One drunken fumble, and the narrative picked up pretty much where yours did-I broke it off once the hangover cleared, we both became single, and a year later, we started dating. Just because I, like you, put my foot down on being an OW, doesn’t mean he thought the same way. He acted that way, in the theatrical sense, but only for long enough to get me hooked and hooked up. Within a year, it was “late shifts” “boys night out” or “I was busy”. Literally l was left holding the baby.

        We were both victims of our own immature ideas about love, Musicbox, but we grew up and our spouses didn’t. I outgrew booze and partying in favor of maturity and motherhood.

        Both of us got royally chumped, but both of us own our shit, which is why we still feel guilty about it. We are human, too. Being Chumped does not give us an automatic pass on such behavior, but perhaps you and I both have a bit more insight into how easy it COULD have been to become an OW, with a drop more rationalizing-anyone can be seduced by a user.

        But we chose not to fuck married/engaged men. That is a massive difference-we had one opportunity to choose, and we wouldn’t go there. OW and Cheaters make that choice over and over.

        It was a test of character, and we passed. Assuming that our exes had the same values and (admittedly naive) integrity was the mistake. And yes, I did believe that what happened to me was somewhat karmic, if out of proportion.

        A hard way to find out what love really is…and that there is no just world.

        So I forgive you, even if you don’t
        x-Meh

    • So you never answered the question, “Who the fuck are you”. Because if you did you wouldn’t have broken up a marriage. No, excuse. You

      • Music box

        So in summary you had an affair, had him in your apartment and then he left his wife. I don’t blame it on youth or immaturity. You didn’t give a fuck. That’s my opinion. You can spin it any way you want. Be honest for once in your life. You screwed a married man, went for it and it didn’t work out after years. For every cheating spouse there is one of you.

        • Actually, pulling the plug on the prospect cheating is a pretty clear statement of knowing, or belatedly finding out who I was. He was willing to cheat, I was not, except for one hormone and alcohol fuelled moment, which I slammed the brakes on once I thought better of it, and myself.

          Waiting until we were single, and thinking our values were aligned when they were not was a mistake on my part, but I was 23 at the time. And I take no responsibility for HIS choices. But tell me, donna, because this IS a really good point you raised-did you really know who you were when you were getting hooked in and love bombed? Or did you have the self-image the cheater wanted you to have? Does the OW, for that matter? I am not saying I have these answers. Yep, cheating is wrong, period. Which is why I didn’t do it.

          Being Chumped does not give anyone possession of all the moral high ground, all the time, nor does it innoculate me against that misjudgment. But I grew up, he didn’t, and I am taking responsibility for the consequences of my choices, whether they were made under his false pretenses or not. Not proud of myself for once, a long time ago, being THAT girl, for all of ten seconds.

          Let the Chump who is entirely without faults cast the first 2×4.

          • I wasn’t taking a moral high ground. My response was to MusicBox. In the end she was sorry for herself, her mature self for the pain SHE suffered when she wasted her life with the cheater. What about the wife and 14 year olds lives that were devastated? I understand the lies married men tell the OW and how easy it is to believe a con artist cheater. She wasn’t drunk. They worked together and she made a choice to have him in the apartment to kiss? OK. Perhaps, chumps whose spouses left them for 20 something should understand its about immaturity. If it were me I would be saying how I now know how it is to walk in his first wives shoes and empathize with her. That’s not the moral me, its the empath in me. My comment was not in judgement of you Meh.

            • Thanks for reading my story, and thanks to everyone for their encouraging words. Especially Mehphista… your words really resonate with me.

              Donna, I don’t want to get into any kind of war with you here. We’re both Chumps who have had a cheater blow up our lives. We’re on the same team.

              That said, I don’t think you understand me. First of all, i DO give a fuck, otherwise, I wouldn’t have thought twice about what I did or written about it here. Secondly, i did NOT screw a married man. I kissed him once and made out with him once and then immediately called it off until he had been separated for half a year. You’re accusing me of not being drunk when I did those things? 1) how do you know? and 2) If I was, would that have made it okay in your eyes?

              I did NOT devastate the lives of my ex-husband’s ex-wife or daughter. He was already looking to leave the marriage when we met, which was evidenced by the fact that he moved out of the marital home almost immediately after we met. I doubt I’m a good enough kisser to make a man throw his life and the life of his family away. I didn’t have an ongoing affair with him, I didn’t ask him to leave his wife. And since you mentioned the devastated life of his now 34 year old daughter…. she is now aware that her father is a serial cheater. (He admitted that to her when I left him) If she has demons to fight down the line, they weren’t introduced by me.

              Again, I’m NOT looking to fight with Donna or anyone else. I was just adding my two cents about the OW from the little I know. I DO sympathize with my ex-husband’s ex-wife. As a matter of fact, at this point, I feel sorry for anyone that has anything to do with him.

              • Gotta pipe up here on a couple of things.

                Do not blame your lack of sobriety on kissing a married asshole. Own your shit. The alcohol did not had you hostage, pour itself down your throat and make you do things that your know we’re wrong. Just.own.your.shit.

                You knowingly kissed a married dude. On the lips. Tongue in his mouth. Cut the crap. You were part of a cheating duo. I don’t care if he finger banged you too. You knowingly were part of a cheating duo. The thing is all of this shit is considered cheating when two people who are in committed relationships with other people cheat on their unsuspecting partners. Or in your case, single gal cheating with her married coworker.

                Youth is No Excuse for your lack of moral integrity. You know it and you knew it then.

                We ARE NOT PART OF THE SAME TRIBE. Own.your.shit. You are a cheater who has been chumped, snowflake.

              • Youth = stupidity, naivety…
                Doing something regretful as a young person can make you even more diligent to never repeat that mistake. As long as we learn from our screw ups, it doesn’t make someone an awful person. Huge difference between a young, single person kissing a married man and regretting it and the married people who willingly conduct affairs imo.

                I don’t care for Monica Lewinsky. But… she was what… 22? 25 at most when she got involved with Clinton? Yes, she was in the wrong. But HE was 1,000 times more culpable. He used his position and power to exploit that girl. His age alone put him in the position of perpetrator. Can you imagine being a young person in her position? Can you imagine being so young and dumb to think that the POTUS would leave his wife for you? I can’t either but I believe she did. She was a victim. A willing one, granted. But an uninformed one as well. I doubt he came out and said ya know, I don’t respect you and I will never have feelings for you but I just want to screw you as long as I can get away with it. I haven’t read her book and don’t intend to. I think it’s in poor taste to profit off such a situation. That said, I have no idea who was advising her; what her friends and family may have encouraged. I don’t know what kind of life she has lived since that scandal. Maybe she’s a serial OW. Maybe not. But the scandal with Willy Bill was WAY more his fault than hers.

              • I have to respectfully disagree–I work with 18-24 year olds and the vast majority of them would NEVER do what Monica Lewinsky did. Are you aware she deliberately wore a thong that showed above her pant line and “flashed” him before she was invited to the Oval Office? She is a slut, and she, with malice aforethought, set out to bed a clearly married man. Furthermore, the grad-whore my X slept with that brought down the marriage (when I found out about it 8 years hence) was 22 and DELIBERATELY went to the coffee shop day after day, then invited him back to her apartment for sex. Was there a power diffential? Sure, but when I was 24 and in graduate school, several married professors hit on me and I never gave them the time of day after that. One’s prefrontal cortex is fully developed by 22, and relative youth is no excuse for behaving immorally. I also disagree with the 1000 times more culpable (in either case).

                I would verbally rip my 20-year old if she ever so much as did anything remotely close to what Lewinsky or grad-whore did (but she won’t, because she has morals). Furthermore, my 14 year old daughter was emphatically clear about my then-H’s moral turpitude before I could wrap my head around it because I was in shock.

                No passes.

              • Tempest,
                I read your comments on here frequently and I have the utmost respect for you and well wishes towards you. If I had experienced what you did, I would probably feel the same way but I stick with my original comment. These men that are significantly older are perpetrators. Their victims are willing, yes, but they don’t have full knowledge. A man that is 15 + years older than a woman has so much more life experience, relationship experience, sexual experience that it makes for an unlevel playing field. All I’m saying is that a 35 year old woman would be able to clearly see through the bullshit whereas a much younger woman might not. She might believe his wife is an abusive, hateful shrew or whatever lies he can come up with to make it seem okay. No, it isn’t right. It’s wrong. Very wrong for anyone involved in an affair. I still believe a much younger woman is vulnerable to this kind of crap. Add in the fact that he is in a position of power and that can be a bad situation. Let’s put it this way. In the above scenario, I have some empathy for the younger female, but none for the older male. If you have proof that the grad whore intentionally seduced your husband, she is indeed a whore and I hope she gets what she deserves. If HE’S the one that told you that or it’s word of mouth, I would seriously doubt that was the actual case. He sucks either way. She may suck just as much.

                I have a friend that was in a similar situation decades ago. She was stupid. Naïve. Did she make poor choices? Yes. Does she regret those choices to this day? Absolutely. She is a good person with morals and values. She got sucked into a bad situation but takes complete responsibility for those bad choices and has never and will never allow that to happen again. She has never married. She sometimes wonders if her past sin has resulted in God punishing her and not allowing her to ever find a suitable mate. I assure you this is a good, kind, loving person. There are people who screw up big time and decide they will never do that again.

              • KK–I agree that age (and the wisdom that can come with it) grant one more moral culpability than the young in parallel situations. But I work with spectacular young people day in and day out; plenty of today’s youth are thoughtful, have good impulse control, and excellent moral compasses. Those that don’t may not be bad people, especially if they learn from their mistakes and rectify them, but I would still hold them morally culpable for those acts at the time.

                In both the case of Lewinsky and grad-whore, there were deliberate steps taken to enter a sexual relationship with someone who was very publicly married. Do I blame Clinton & my husband more? Certainly, but (a) both Lewinsky & grad-whore share 40% of the blame, IMO (there are additional details about grad-whore that support this; some of his other student affairs I would assign a lower percentage of responsibility); and (b) other students the same age as Lewinsky & grad-whore have been able to resist much stronger entreaties from married men. Why? Character. I believe it was on this same CL post that I mentioned a different graduate student who gave up her graduate position and a scholarship to avoid sleeping with my X (then-H), even though he was clearly taking steps to drum her out of the program because of her lack of ‘compliance,’ shall we say.

                My other concern is to make women hardly-at-all responsible for trysts with older men undoes a lot of feminism in one fell swoop. Because we are the more sensitive sex, we have worse judgment and less self control? All the psychological literature argues otherwise in the early 20s–either there are no sex differences found or females have a slight edge (e.g, in auto accidents). We women can’t claim to deserve equal treatment in education, the law, employment if we also turn around and play “helpless” in the face of a married man showing interest in us, and rendering us helpless and unable to resist his advances.

                I agree I have skin in the game here, but the debate raises interesting philosophical issues that are worth discussing. And for what it’s worth, I would have made the same arguments prior to having skin in the game (even before D-day I was vocally judgmental about infidelity. Oh, the irony, eh?).

              • Great response T. I disagree with this part: “My other concern is to make women hardly-at-all responsible for trysts with older men undoes a lot of feminism in one fell swoop.”

                I have a young daughter and the thought of a 40+ year old man attempting to seduce her whether she’s 18 or 25 enrages me. He has NO right to even go there. If he’s a professor or boss or in some way in a position of power over her it is doubly reprehensible. Do I expect her to maintain her morals and boundaries? Absolutely! But she shouldn’t be put in that position in the first place! I’m sure there are a few sluts out there that are actually the ones on the prowl for these old farts and they’re equally disgusting.

                Likewise, if my son was put in that situation by an older woman, I would feel exactly the same. It’s not a gender issue for me. It’s an age issue and an authority figure issue. Nice chatting with you. Hope you enjoy the rest of your Saturday! 🙂

              • KK–I agree that men or women in power should never attempt to seduce younger people under their aegis (but would argue that it is incumbent on those young people to resist, avoid the perpetrator, and/or seek out someone who can help them if it is pressure, rather than charm, being used).

                Completely agree–loved this discussion, which has been polite, idea-filled, and exactly the way conversations about contentious topics should be carried out. Have a great weekend!

              • I will add this about my friend’s experience. I don’t remember her exact age at the time all this happened. We are the same age and I believe I was in my early 20’s. The older co-worker she was involved with never got caught by his wife (when she was involved with him). Things got ugly between him and my friend when he was unavailable and it became a volatile on again off again affair. She suffered greatly, because of her own actions and decided to end it with him. He pulled out all the stops. Promised to leave his wife for her, etc etc. She moved on, changed jobs, went NC with him. During this affair I was highly judgmental of her. I didn’t know if I wanted her around my own husband. But… and it’s a big but, she is not the same person she was during that brief, crazy, immoral episode. Anyway, she remained friends with some of her former coworkers and they informed her of his other many affairs. He had quite a few over the next decade or so until he finally got caught. Wife divorced him. She still has no idea he was involved in many affairs and only knows of the one she caught him in. Last my friend heard was that he had remarried, had more children and was cheating on wife # 2. My point is that this guy is a serial cheat and a perpetrator too in my opinion. I wonder how many of our exes were and we still are in the dark. Makes no difference to me at this point but I do think it makes a difference when it comes to culpability.

              • None of us is perfect, we sometimes come seeking absolution for our imperfections. When those imperfections include acts related to infidelity or attempted-infidelity, it is natural that judgments will be made on a support site for victims of infidelity.

                I hope we all know that there are gradations of morality–kissing a married person and then calling it off is (IMHO) less egregious than screwing a married person for months and months, then issuing ultimatums that the person leave their wife/husband/children. KK–While your friend’s married AP may have been smoother at deception in virtue of being a serial cheater, I don’t think that subtracts substantially from her culpability; your friend violated social norms, a sister-code, and basic rules of empathy day after day, month after month. She knowingly engaged in act after act after immoral act. If we can’t judge her, then how are we able to judge any of the OW/OM that our Xs slept with (some of whom were younger than her)? Here’s how–judgment is warranted. Our identities are shaped by our actions, not just who we “want” to be.

                I understand she is your friend now, but even you judged her negatively at the time. Plenty of chumps have massive FOO issues, but did not themselves engage in wide-scale deception either as cheaters or as OW/OM. Cognitive dissonance theory predicts we want to think well of our friends; if our friends commit immoral acts, we rationalize those acts so that we can think well of them. But, while psychologically advantageous to rationalize the acts of our friends (or ourselves), it’s not necessarily logically advantageous if one is trying to subscribe to a moral code.

                Is your friend reformed? I hope so, but simply feeling sorry is not really enough. AA and NA require that people make recompense to those they have injured, to the best of their ability. Did your friend do that? It doesn’t matter if the ex-wife knew about her or not; in virtue of sleeping with a married man, that married man went home to devalue his wife in horrible, soul-tormenting ways (as we all know). It was one more brick in the dismantling of a marriage, even if the brick was (and remains) hidden. She could have provided evidence to the wife to make sure the wife got a better settlement, and perhaps a chance to lead an honest life sooner. I wonder what your friend’s penance was? Simply hurting after the end of an affair? Would any of us think that was sufficient penance for our X’s OW/OM? No; their heartbreak in no way compensates for what they knowingly did to us, and how they altered the trajectory of our lives and robbed us of years.

                I have no desire to jump on chumps who admit personal things. I hope when people are sorry for mistakes in their past, they are truly sorry and not just sorry for the consequences. I think not performing an immoral act is better than performing it and then feeling guilty. I believe in the power of redemption. But some things cannot be undone. Two of my 5 siblings were cheaters, and I judge them harshly for that even though I still love them. There is no cognitive dissonance for me–they did atrocious things to innocent spouses, they cannot obliterate those awful things. Do both of them do other things that make them good people in other realms? Yes, both rescue tons of dogs who would otherwise be euthanized, and contribute to charities for orphans, etc. Does that erase the black mark of their past? No. Did either of them compensate the victims sufficiently? No. And does it matter that my brother’s former wife went on to a significantly better marriage after my brother cheated on her? Should I conclude, “no harm, no foul?” No–significant harm, significant foul. I, we all, are significantly scarred by emotionally abusive treatment during our X’s affairs, even when we did not know about those affairs. We cannot enforce ethical standards and judgment of wrongdoing only when it affects us; the basis of morality is principle-based, and ceteris parabis, seeking or engaging in a relationship with a married person (no matter how dire they report their marriage to be) is wrong. Sometimes, that means we need to judge people we love, even if we keep loving them.

              • Hi again, Tempest!

                I agree with everything you’ve said here. You’re right about me judging my friend at the time and to be totally forthcoming, I can’t say I would totally trust her around a future boyfriend or husband. Her past choices have caused that and she’s aware of that. I guess I was just making the case that if an otherwise good person commits a horrible act decades earlier and never does it again, I would like to think they are reformed. Some of the commenters here asked about karma. I think once you’ve soiled your reputation, you never fully recover from that. And even though that isn’t justice for the innocent, I wouldn’t want to trade places with my friend. My conscience is clean.

                There is a blogger that goes by the name of Cleo Everest and she wrote a manifesto to the OW. If I can find it, I’ll post it here.

              • Thanks, KK–that blog is awesome!! I feel like making thousands of copies for all of us to send to the OM/OW who upended our lives.

            • Mr Fab’s original fiancee’s Mom and I became acquainted, and agreed her daughter had dodged a bullet, for all it broke her heart. Mr Fab was pretty relentless on the hoovering and love bombing, in hindsight, it may be MusicBox’s dude was the same. Plus, I was stupid enough to think having a kid would make any difference to Mr Fab’s entitlement, or the Downgrade’s. Can’t recall who said it, but, “Once is a choice, twice is a decision, and three times is a lifestyle.”

              Hugs,
              Meh.

              • I always get puzzled when I see the Clinton thing raised here.

                Bill Clinton is a documented, certified, multiple cheater. I have no comment on his politics or the quality of his Presidency, but come on, ladies – even his wife admitted that he was a hard dog to keep on the porch.

                How about this for a hypothetical: Bill Clinton is in the White House, and an intern flashes her thong at him. POTUS then calls the chief of staff and says, ‘I just had this intern flash her thong at me. She’s gone, as of immediately, and I want you to ensure that you vet our interns a lot more thoroughly in future.’

                That would be the faithful husband response. That would even be just the politically prudent reponse. But it didn’t happen.

                So Lewinsky was putting it about. How many of you have been chumped because your partner’s ho-worker was putting it about? And yet all of us managed to see our way clear to apportioning blame where it belonged, eg our feckless cheaters, as well as the ho-worker.

                And there is no secret and no surprise that Hillary stayed with him, because their joint finances are incredible, and probably very complicated. I think I would have respected her more, though, if she had kicked his ass to the kerb, changed her surname to back to Rodham, and gone on to greater things in her own right. She could have done it, and I think she would have earned the respect of a lot of women for doing so.

                But it’s all choices. And at least she doesn’t pretend they’ve reconciled.

              • Lola Granola,

                Ugly American here. I’m ashamed to admit that too much of my knowledge of UK culture is informed by Bowie and The Beatles. Your use of “putting it about,” was the second time I’ve heard that phrase used. Paul Mccartney’s song “Queenie Eye” on his album “New,” includes “putting it about.” I am not up on the news in England, but it appears that even Sir Paul was chumped.

                There were rules you never told me
                Never came up with a plan
                All the stories that you sold me
                Didn’t help me understand

                But I had to get it worked out
                Had nobody who could help
                So that in the end it turned out
                That I had to do it
                By myself…

                Life’s a game
                Rags and riches
                Dogs and bitches hunt for fame
                Difficult to know which way to turn

                Lay the blame
                On the snitches
                Wicked witches fan the flame
                Careful what you touch in case you burn

                Queenie Eye, Queenie Eye
                Who’s got the ball?
                I haven’t got it, it isn’t in my pocket
                O-U-T spells out that’s out
                Without a shadow of a doubt
                ‘Cause you’ve been putting it about
                Hear the people shout
                Hear the people shout

                Play the game
                Take your chances
                Every dance is much the same
                Doesn’t matter which of them you choose

                Never blame
                Circumstances
                If romances
                Seldom came
                Never pick a fight you’re gonna lose

                Regarding Secretary Clinton… Nevermind.

          • Jayne, I would let you through. There is a difference in my mind between and accidental kiss and a vow to never do that again and GIVING an invite to a married man to come to your apartment. That requires planning and foresight in my mind. I’m not a whore expert and I’m inexperienced at the dating game as I was attached to the Limited since I was 16. Inviting a married man to your apartment at the age of 26 was not to look at the landscape. Admittedly, the KISS was magical and spell binding. One not to be forgotten…..sounding familiar yet? Who am I to judge, there’s a whole nation of chumps who have been fucked over by that magical kiss, the howorker, or the younger woman. The second she invited him to her apartment, she lost her innocent plea in my book. No one had to throw a stone, she’s looking for something I can’t give. Its just my opinion based on the fact she identified herself as the other woman right of the bat. My mind is very open, that’s what got me here in the first place.

      • I do believe in some sliding scale of poor choices. Music box made a mistake and quickly owned up to it, and we’ll never know how much her mistake played a role in the cheater’s divorce.

        But I don’t place that in the same category as either cheating when married or in continuing to play the OW role long term after that one kiss.

        In a similar vein, a really good friend of mine in a not so good marriage twelve years ago cheated on her husband. The next day she filed for divorce and she is still happily married to this new guy 12 years later. Yes, she f’d up and started falling for a guy when she was still married, but she immediately owned up to it and told her husband they should divorce which they did.

        To me, that isn’t as bad as a long-term Cake-eating cheater. The second she strayed, she was honest and never asked for Cake from her now-ex husband.

        She is still my friend today.

        • Problem with the cheating then right away divorcing is that the cheater has deprived the faithful spouse, who is relying on the contract of fidelity, of partaking in similar activities. Who knows? Maybe her husband was turning away from myriad opportunities for equally pleasurable experiences.
          In my case, at least in my first marriage when I was young, I was pretty muscled and cut from years of athletics. Hell, I would be out with friends and get my ads grabbed all the time from attractive women.
          So, it was caused some resentment for me to find out my XW ( who, in my opinion was decent looking, but no great shakes) was getting way more sex than me. I wasted years of my sexual prime.

          • Arnold,

            A meaningful distinction you point out. Buddy’s Cheater friend deprived her husband of, among other things, financial resources. Unless she made him whole, e.g., paid for all legal bills, reimbursed for loss on investments (with interest), husband was a victim. Not cool.

          • You make a good valid point Arnold. My friend definitely rigged the game in her favor, and it wasn’t a level playing field. Her ex-husband was hurt by the matter, and yes, I still see her as someone who was a conniving, cheating for a couple weeks, but I do think she quickly took action to resolve the situation and not take part in cake.

    • You might have fucked up, but you ended it. I don’t think you ruined his marriage. Waiting 6 months to date him after he filed is fine in my book. In comparison to what most OW/OM do though, you’ve done the equivalent of cutting the tag off a pillow case. Now, if there is more the story and you didn’t mention it, I might change my opinion. But I have no reason to assume you’re lying.

      Anyway, it takes balls to come on this site and admit you fucked up. High Five!

      • Cojones indeed to out oneself as a previous cheater or OW/OM. I count nine in the last 48 hours her in CN.

        Anyone else care to tarnish their image for the betterment of Chump Nation? If not, can you 100 percent guarantee that you never, never ever, never ever ever, (hardly ever) kissed someone who was in a committed relationship? If so, perhaps you’re the unicorn.

        I acted reprehensibly. Am I a bad person? Sure.

        • When I was in college, I worked part time in a Hallmark card shop. My female boss , who was married and super hot, IMO, asked me to walk her to her car after work. Then, she kissed me. I sort of saw it coming and let it happen. After that, she wanted to go to hotels etc. I just could not do it. I started avoiding her.
          I sort of felt less masculine, as the standard indoctrination I had been exposed to was that men should. ruck any attractive female that was willing, regardless of just about anything g.
          I had my plenary indulgence banked via having made my 9 first Fridays as a kid in parochial school, so, according to Catholic doctorine, I would be given the chance to repent before dying. So, Carte Blanche as far as preserving my immortal soul and. avoiding the eternal inferno. I knew I had access to confession and could say a rosary or 2 as pennance.
          Still, could not do it.

          • Sorry dubito. No bones in this closet. I was totally faithful. Other men would drop unsolicited comments but I saw it for what it was and cut that conversation. They all knew I was involved or married. Some people even told me to.cheat in retaliation including stbx. I refused. II hold loyalty faithfulness in a relationship very highly. This is the person I am making my life with. I don’t need to be worrying that they may compromise my health and well-being. As we all know the pain of betrayal is real and for good reason. Trust matters and for good reason.

        • I have no desire to jump on the judgment wagon, but yes–I categorically, absolutely have never so much as kissed anyone who was married or attached.

          • I have previously failed to engage in a meaningful discussion here on Chump Lady regarding an inflammatory topic. So I hope that when I write this, it will be taken as an attempt to do better this time. If I am not successful, I welcome criticism. We are gathered together to heal, and I thank Chump Lady for this forum to express ourselves.

            I have been reading my STBXW’s journals from the first year of our marriage. She left them at our home. Come to find out, she is a serial cheater. So I’m now thinking in addition to cheating at 19, I was an “overlap” relationship as Match Girl writes. Ugh. I imagine what I would have done had I been contacted by her boyfriend at the beginning of my relationship with Match Girl. Damn, the pain and skein just get more complex.

            So I ask Chumps recovering from the damage of a serial-cheater’s actions: Is it at least POSSIBLE, that Chumps maintaining they were always 100 percent faithful were unwitting OM/OW at the beginning of their relationships?

            • I’m with CalamityJane on this one–if you are an unwitting OM/OW, then you’re not a cheater. However, once you find out the person you are dating is attached, and you don’t end it, then you are cheating. If you are an unwitting OM/OW, and the actual cheater you are dating leaves the other party without telling you about the situation & embarks on a relationship with you, you can hardly be held accountable for that. Knowledge (and whether you held it) is key here.

        • Never. Ever.

          Not even at tradeshows with lots of liquered nights. Not even at neighborhood street parties with flowing beer. Not even traveling place to place for work. Not even with the gym creeps. Not even at off campus parties while at Uni. Not even when I left my hometown honey for the jobs out of state and out of the country.

          Nope. Seriously never. Which made me the perfect beard for the cheater I married. A enormous sense of loyalty and trust given to the most unworthy person. The other guys I dated, well we broke up like normal people.

          You can’t be a little bit pregnant, Ian. You either honor your commitments or you don’t. A person with integrity breaks up with their SO before kissing other people.

        • No, Ian I never did kiss someone in a committed relationship. If the playing field were level, believe me I would have had many choices. It really blows when the game is rigged though. I forgive myself for putting up with an abusive asshole. Its not up to me to forgive apologist cheaters. That is a personal decision.

          • donna,

            Your comment regarding the Pain Olympics in this thread is hilarious. I appreciate your well-reasoned and written thoughts I am a student of human nature. I hope I don’t come off as a cheater apologist. But again, I am here to work on my own unexamined inconsistencies.

            • No, Ian my comment about cheater apologist was not directed and anyone here. I believe my comments were harsh in nature and I never wanted to offend anyone. I am coming from the perspective of living for forty one years of being with the master of cheater apologies including the old, she kissed me! I believed every one of his lies and forgave. Each and every on of us has to deal with our own issues and believe me I have many I’m working on. I was left broken and damaged in the end. I have to own my participation in staying in a toxic relationship in which I was used and disrespected. When we are working on our own issues such as never having anger to finding our anger it is unfamiliar and there is a balance to be found. When we had no boundaries and are working diligently to put them in place the walls become very high. I’m working on finding that fit for myself. Going from all accepting to making accurate judgements is very difficult when every perception you lived with was false. Shifting from who the fuck are you about the cheater then becomes who the fuck am I. Given that I sincerely apologize for offending anyone if I’m too angry or too harsh with judgement. Reacting with judgement and anger has never been part of my identity or personality. Its not who I am and I need to practice how to make good judgements and have healthy anger in my life, not here. The last thing I ever want to do is hurt others while I’m working on my own issues.

    • Musicbox,

      I suppose it’s a lot down to what people understand from what they read. I personally read that you, once (well, technically twice I guess) was tempted into being an OW, albeit for a very brief period of time. On this site that makes you the enemy. But then I read further and what I understand I am reading is a woman who regretted her younger self’s behaviour and who very quickly woke up from the moral turpitude that had taken her down that road. Years later you still regret what you’d been part of (briefly) and feel that the karma bus came and mowed you down for it. What I don’t read, is someone trying to make excuses, or prettify or blameshift.

      There are reactions further down the page to your brave confession here that honestly make me feel a bit ill. All my life I’ve wondered about the travesties that humanity have wrought against each other; like ‘witch-burning’ and ‘holocausts’ and ‘genetic cleansing’ and they all come from the very same soul – ‘I am without sin. You are not. I shall judge and condemn you’.

      No. I don’t like cheaters. No. I’m not a cheater apologist, but what I am not (and please, dear God, keep me from being) is someone who would condemn another person FOREVER irrespective of whether they’d recognised and repented their sins. I’m not a saint, and I doubt very much whether there is anyone else on this site who could honestly claim to be saintly from the day they were born.

      I’m sorry Musicbox that there’s a section of Chump Nation who will condemn you. I’m so disheartened by that section that I don’t even want to play anymore 🙁

      • Please do not, Jayne- all are entitled to their views.

        Can I regret kissing Mr Fab -and cutting the tag off the pillowcase-beautiful analogy- aside all he subsequently put me through? Karmically, personally, spiritually, yes, and that healing process is why I am here.

        But…. Ultimately, no. I wouldn’t have Kiddo otherwise (who at 16 is learning many Chumpy things and unlearning others, YIKES!), I wouldn’t have accessed my Mighty, or learned some really hard but necessary lessons about myself and how to keep my integrity in a world that largely doesn’t give a shit.

        What I gained from that ‘illicit’ kiss was a wake up call, and I ended my first marriage honorably, started a family, gained a shit ton of life experience that has made me kinder, sadder and wiser. Could I have been an OW? Possibly.

        But I am worth more, so, I chose not to. Nobody can understand a choice unless or until they make it, blindly or not.

        I think the whole OW/Cheater relationship has to be narc on narc in some way.

        • Thank you Mehphista, you are a lovely person and too had empathy for Musicbox. I read your comment to her I and admired you for your honesty too.

          Intellectually – I 100% agree, all should be entitled to their views (I’d probably be glad to pick up my placard and join the march on that one 🙂 ).

          Unfortunately, in this matter, my heart tells me; I live in Lancashire – 500 years ago adopting ‘all are entitled to their views’ would have had me watching the burning to death of some old dear on a local Tor – for what? – in someone’s opinion she lived on her own, knew too much about herbs and a local cow died???

          It’s too bloody depressing watching people be set upon.

          • Jayne,

            Haha. All I know of Lancashire is John Lennon’s reporting of the 4000 holes in Blackburn. Was there also an old-lady, herb-related, bovine-death problem? (“Herb” pronounced, “erb” mind you.)

            I agree with you not all views are acceptable to me. Sure, hold your views and put them out there for all to see. But, just like it’s okay for me to judge my cheating STBXW, I may judge some people’s ideas as lacking. And, as have I mentioned previously, my default mode of operation is to actively seek out new evidence that I am wrong.

            I’m okay with being thrown on a pyre for my disclosures here regarding my character flaws and culpable behavior.

            • Thank you Ian 🙂 Actually, I have to confess taking some poetic licence as I live in the suburbs of Liverpool (and work just a few minutes walk from Penny Lane, as it happens) which used to be in Lancashire, but when I was 11 county boundaries were re-drawn and Liverpool joined the far less romantically named Merseyside (yuk) 🙂

              And it’s ‘Herbs – with the ‘H’ – thank you very much! 😉 😀 xx

          • I will bar the door if you leave, Jayne. The only reason people strike out is because of their own pain. Some people’s pain more intense than others. We are here to educate and be educated when the verbal knife is wielded.

            You are one of my favorite warriors of whom there are many on this site. I stand by your side.

            • Aww – thank you very much CJ [Hugs] 🙂 xxx I love you too 🙂

              No need to bar the door. A day feeling miserable and chocolate cherry cheesecake restored my sense of humour.

              I totally agree, even as my heart dropped I was telling myself the posts that depressed me were coming from triggered pain, and I guess it must have triggered pain in me too.

              Sorry for getting a cob on and throwing my toys out the pram. (Where’s the humble and slightly embarrassed emoticon when I need it)?

              I hope we all get to a place of healing where a slice of metaphorical chocolate cherry cheesecake will restore our equilibrium.

              Love to you and all of Chump Nation, sorry guys, you haven’t got rid of me yet 🙂 xxx

              • “Sorry for getting a cob on and throwing my toys out the pram.”

                How I love the sayings from the the other side of the pond. Made me laugh out loud. You’re the best, Jayne.

              • Jayne and CalamityJane,

                Y’all are two of my favorite Chumps. (NO, autocorrect; It’s “Chumps” NOT “chimps.” Bloody autocorrect!) Not to play favorites, but I do.

                I had to look-up “pram,” but I’ll add it to my list of British-isms. (U.K.? Not U.S.?More research needed.)

                The staggering diversity of Chumps here in Chump Nation makes us all stronger.

  • Anyone else getting the impression that pretty much all OW/OM are just different flavors of fucked-up asshole? 🙂

    • +1. OWhore/wifetress in my situation is insane. I’m very glad she has married my ex – they deserve each other – plus ex’s mother is another crazy bitch. I think OW is karma for ex and XMIL….and yes, I think whore is a borderline with serious daddy issues. XH and OW are co-workers, so when it fails, it will be epic. 🙂 I am happy I’m not in that triangle or square – whatever shape it was – I’m now feeling happily out of it. 😉

      • My ex MIL is VERY supportive…..”Very disappointed in him….and I don’t blame you for kicking him out….He deserved it!”

        • You are lucky to have a supportive MIL. Mine never did like me – I married the “Golden Child” (per his brother). XMIL also hates my XBIL’s wife and I’m sure it must kill her that she has to bite her tongue with the Wifetress (XH blamed XMIL for the failure of our marriage – he just left out the minor detail about his Whore).

  • DM; I agree about the opposite sex “friendships”. The problem is that over the years (in the case of old friends as an example) of knowing this person, their situations change. It is not the best quality of humanity that they are basically selfish.
    You can be friends with a couple for instance whereby you get close with both. Then a divorce happens and his wife already feels comfortable with your spouse and decides to start sharing more intimate things with him. We know where this could be going. If the people continue rationalizing there new closer bond, and are low in emotional intelligence regarding how “good” they start to feel around this person because they “need” them, etc., this could be headed to a bad place.
    This is why people who have little emotional intelligence could say something “just happened.” Well the truth is a Chump or more alert human being would feel when a relationship was taking that turn and back off it. Kibble needers are so enthralled in their good fortune of a 55 gallon drum of kibbles that they ignore every sign along the way that the cliff is coming or maybe just don’t care.
    Sometimes the need of the OW/OM is just money. They are broke, needy, your life looks good.
    These kind of OM’s can make a guy think his wallet, er I mean dick is the last on the face of the earth.
    You meanwhile have a real life that does not usually resemble a Lifetime movie.

  • I don’t think you can categorize issues like this expect generally.

    Honestly, I think for the AP (male of female) it is more “I’ll never be like his shrew of a wife/horrible husband” or “Things will be different with us” or “We are soulmates so s/he will never cheat on me” or “I’ll never do that to him/her”

    Those though processes are about not understanding that the day to day of a relationship isn’t all fun and games and longing and being enraptured with each other.

    The cheater tells the AP all the “horrible” things going on at home. The AP eats it up like candy.

    So, for me, it boils down to immaturity. The cheater and the AP are immature and have no ability to think outside of the moment. They have no ability to see that when they are together all the time, things won’t be so blissful. They have no ability to see that the longing and obstacles are contrived or, at least, situational and when the situation changes i.e., they are finally together, how they feel about each other will change.

    Lots of immaturity and denial and lack of character. The behavior of lying and cheating is an immature response. It is about not taking responsibility for one’s life and one’s choices. It boils down to “I don’t want to be in this relationship anymore, but I can’t take the steps to leave this relationship appropriately so I will simple fuck around. I will either be good at fucking around and not getting caught or I will get caught and my spouse will leave me…then I don’t have to make a decision.”

    My 2nd-x-cheater started behaving very badly so that I would kick him out and leave him. Two things would be accomplished by pushing me to that degree. He wouldn’t have to make a decision and he could also then have the “she left me, poor me” narrative. That narrative would be useful in the future for getting people prone to caretaking to take care of him and never hold him to a reasonable standard. He gets to be “broken” and will leverage that in every future relationship to remain a man-child.

    so.many.words…..sorry

    Immaturity, denial, lack of character, not being able to make choices and accept the consequences.

  • Oh and, as a cautionary comment for the APs reading here…

    If they will do it with you, they will do it to you. Period. Eventually you will be cheated on by the person you cheated with. Period.

    • It’s the old saying, “The man who marries his mistress creates a job opening.” The same goes for women who marry their APs.

  • Thank you, Chump Lady, for offering “other” reasons that women may be in the company of a group of men. I am not an OW, and I hate it when people assume that I am because I am with a group of men. If men are doing something I am interested in, I participate. If women are doing something I’m interested in, I participate. I hate it that the world seems to be so preoccupied with sex that people seem to assume a sexual relationship — either way — I get annoyed when people presume my sexual orientation when I am with a man or a woman, just because we are together at an event. What is wrong with people????

    My experience goes back to grammar school, and growing up with parents who were raised in a culture from a different section of the country than where I was raised. My mother pushed the boundaries of what was “acceptable” for a woman to do — but she was very careful not to draw attention to the fact that she was doing things that had been traditionally done by males. This was the 50’s and 60’s, and she had children to raise. She needed to be employed, and she needed to keep the peace in the house. My dad was insecure enough that she had to learn to make him think things were his idea, so that he would not object to her doing those things. She was very good at this, and I learned by observation.

    When I went to new schools ( a frequent occurrence) I learned how unpopular it was to be the “new girl in class.” If boys were friendly ( Look guys, new, shiny!) the girls were definitely not. I will gladly trade stories about “Mean Girls” with any who have had this experience. This taught me at an early age that girls were not necessarily friendly, or to be trusted. The boys weren’t necessarily trustworthy either, but I had brothers and male cousins and uncles — so I was able to get along with them easier. They were not as “catty” as the girls.

    I wanted to do things that traditionally boys were allowed to do, but girls were not. I was not interested in taking Home Ec. or Secretarial Science. No offence to any Home Ec majors, or Secretaries, but my sewing skills were a disaster and I can type, but I did not want to work for someone, I wanted to make presentations and travel and be taken seriously. I wanted to be evaluated for my brain instead of my looks. So I ignored school counselors who suggested I concentrate on these areas to prepare me for marriage. I didn’t want to work to put my husband through school. I didn’t want to concentrate on getting married, I wanted to go to college. I wanted a career of my own. Even when I went to college, many of my girlfriends were seeking a “MRS” degree, I wanted my own bachelors.

    When I entered the workplace, I went into organizations that were largely run by men. I had to learn to work with them, and how to get ahead. I did not use sexual favors to advance my career. I was not interested in being an “office wife” to anyone’s husband. To be honest, the men may have thought they were sexy and I was impressed, but that was their problem. I was interested in someone who would be a mentor, not a lover. I actually found a few good ones along the way. I developed a strong ability to ignore things that went on around me, and a great ability to not see or not hear things I did not want to see or hear. I made sure to protect myself by being in a group, and not being compromised by drinking with the boys. They might have something to drink, but I remained sober. I could tell jokes with the best of them. I had been around my male family members enough not to get grossed out by some of the dumb things they did. I got the opportunity to do jobs that had previously belonged to males. I am sure some people thought I was “sleeping my way to the top.” That was their problem, for having such a small mind. I was also denied opportunities because I was a woman. There was always some stupid excuse to try and cover up the real reason — but there are some battles that are not worth the time and expense to fight. I generally found another way to accomplish my goal.

    I suppose what I am saying is that I found you have to adapt to the environment you are in, and change does not come easily. I now work in an office that is run by a woman, and most of the staff is female. I don’t have any problems working here, and we get along well. I think part of the reason is that we are a mix of married, and divorced women, and we have enough education and work experience to be comfortable with each other. We are not competing for spouses, or partners. We may talk about our personal interests a bit, but most of our days are spent actually doing our jobs.

    In my experience people who have affairs are insecure and looking for a quick fix. They think that a new/different partner can “save” them from whatever mess they are in. They do not accept responsibility for their own actions. They have a big hole where their integrity should be. They are not willing to do ANY of the work in a relationship, much less their fair share. They are very concerned about how they look and how their lives look, because they have no substance. If you scratch the surface, you’ve gone as deep as you can go, because there is nothing of worth inside. This goes for OW and OM — they want magic fairy dust to make their lives look perfect, and they want to be SPECIAL. They cannot even live up to the definition of ordinary.

    I think the best advise is to treat people the way you want to be treated, and not to presume you know them simply based on your ability to “see” who they appear to be. Their actions will tell you who they are if you observe them long enough. If someone treats you poorly — get away from them, as quickly as you can. If you are busy living your own life and taking care of your own business, you don’t have time to worry about Other Whatever’s.

  • Amen, Chump Lady. The side fuck and the ex were ecstatic that they were able to convince me that I was insecure and “jealous” of her mangy whore ass. Yo, if I really were jealous of you I would be jealous if you weren’t fucking my husband. I’m not the jealous type. Looking back, every time I’ve ever been accused of being jealous it’s because a guy was encouraging it with his whore mongering actions. Every single time.

  • In my case, I do believe that OW#2 saw it as a competition to win. (She was successful at breaking us up but failed miserably in trying to hang on to my EX longer than 6 months.)

    I am sure there is a lot of complicated psychology here. However, for me, it all boils down to this question: — WHY would someone WANT TO be in a relationship with someone who is already married/committed? (IMO this really isn’t limited to women. It applies to men as well.)

    I just do not get it.

    Post DD#2/divorce/singledom, I was also briefly in the position of the OW. I believed the gentleman I was dating was single because he told me he divorced. Clarity – or some version of it – came later as I started to understand what kind of person he really was. Cue my exit.

    • This happened to me as well. I had 1 date with a guy – really hit it off. Made plans right away for dates 2 and 3. Something didn’t sit right with me and I checked the court website to see if he was divorced for 1 1/2 years like he claimed. Nope! He was divorcing his wife and in my no fault state – he was taking her to trial (he’s an attorney. Total narc. I dropped his ass like a hot potato. 🙂

  • Tracy, I do see your point about OW. If the cheater wasn’t a fucktard with tomfuckery as his agenda and goal in the first place, OW would be a non-issue. It is true. And, yet, we cannot help ask ourselves, “WTF?” when another woman would willingly participate in aforementioned tomfuckery. As someone in reconciliation, you are right that I worry about an overly friendly co-worker. That I don’t believe in blind trust. But, the reality is that I will have these feelings no matter what the relationship I am in. My fucktard, I admit, I like to think former fucktard, has made it his goal to give me safety, reassurances, yada, yada. You know the whole spiel that us ChumpLady fans that are attempting “R” give as to why we try.

    I just want to put one thought out there. I don’t stay with my husband because I think I was lacking in something, or that any of it was my fault, not at all. Like many here before me, I want to try. I want to try when I see him doing the work to be a better man, husband and father no longer ruled by self-pity, entitlement and ego. Admittedly, I do struggle with letting down my “Shield of Doubt” enough so I can once again live and love fully and freely, but never again with “blind trust” regardless. What I want to point out, however, and perhaps this is only true for me, the struggle of lowering my “shield of doubt” is a part of my life forever, regardless of my marriage.

    • TL, you’re making the Better The Devil You Know argument. You’re assuming that you’ll always feel hyper vigilant and distrustful in any relationship. I can’t say how you’d feel in a new relationship, but the odds that your husband has cheated on you are 100%. The odds of someone else doing it are NOT 100%. There is no need to distrust people who haven’t done anything to destroy your trust.

      I’m not saying trust people blindly, or not date for character, or that there are guarantees. Love makes us vulnerable — however, it is not true that people who move on into new relationships forever feel trust damaged. I’m sure Kelly, or Divorce Minister, or nomar, or whomever can weigh in on this.

      I don’t feel flinchy with my husband. I don’t play marriage police. Frankly, if you reconcile, I think you must learn to live with the cognitive dissonance of betrayal and trust. That’s the bargain you strike — to try and learn to trust this person again.

      • I don’t dismiss your points. I want you to know that. In fact, I take them to heart. Certainly, there is an element of “the devil you know” in there. But there is more too.

        The pain is within me and I have to figure out how to address it, whether remaining in the marriage or divorcing. I know divorce is the best option if he does not maintain doing everything possible to make me safe. But, that is the other part of the “devil-you-know,” the “devil” is doing everything possible to provide me safety. I will bring a lot of the baggage with me, and I don’t believe that there are many who would be willing baggage handlers. I do recognize that I need to learn to handle the emotional baggage that is within me regardless. If I leave (or stay), I need to focus on living as an independent woman who is focusing on healing and providing a safe and loving home for our children, not focus on the hopes of greener pastures somewhere over the rainbow. I am working on this still.

        I will leave the marriage if he is unable to maintain providing safety to me and our children and healing in/of himself. I will leave the marriage if I find that it is in fact impeding my ability to heal. The jury is still out on that one! Ultimately, I do want to heal within the marriage if it is possible to do so. I guess it is just one of those things we have to see for ourselves. . .

          • Safety is a big question for me. That seed will make that issue a constant for me forever more, regardless of the partner. Some may call these consequences, some may call them safety and healing measures.

            Some of those include: Passed polygraphs; postnuptial agreement with infidelity clause and outlining the details of a separate financial account that is contributed to each year and 100% mine (not considered marital assets); a vasectomy so if I do divorce our kids will not compete with other kids for his attention and resources; conversion to our religion, including a 1 year of study with a Rabbi; exercise reduced from solo 2 hours every single day as top priority to 30 minutes day on weekdays in our garage and walks with me or bike rides with the family on weekends; home from work at dinner time, not at kids bedtime or beyond; no longer allowing his mother to bully our family, standing up to her each and every time she crosses the line; therapy; initiating and instituting “counting your blessings” each night at dinner; placing the children and I as top priority; taking initiative in planning for our family outings and couple outings; facing the destructive force that his self-pity has been for all of us, including himself; talking with me about my pain each and every day, whenever I need, without defensiveness. There have been a multitude of changes in him and protections for me. These are the ones from the top of my head, but only some of them.

            • TL, all due respect, truly… Right now you are making him jump through hoops, deservedly so. But how long can that last? And why would either one of you want to live that way? That’s the problem once trust is destroyed. You have every right to require whatever you need of him. But at what point will you trust him again? That marriage will not survive without trust. He ruined that. It’s on him 100+%. But do YOU want to live that way? As for him, he gets whatever he deserves. But…. At some point, he will get tired of feeling like a prisoner. And I say this with zero empathy for him. Do I think if you choose to reconcile, there should be a period of time where the offender jumps through hoops? Absolutely. 2 yrs? 3 yrs? Maybe. But indefinitely??? No way. If he cannot PROVE himself trustworthy at some point, what exactly have you gained?

              • Some are hoops I asked for and rightfully so. Some I didn’t ask for, they are things he initiated, decided upon, instituted and continues to do because he chooses.

              • TL, Mine did that too for a period of about 6 months. All I will say is that the only thing worse than d day # 1 is d day # 2.

              • And in those 3.5 years, do you feel loved, adored, respected? Do you trust him? From your earlier comments, it doesn’t appear that way. All I am saying, is that you don’t have to live that way. I am on your side. The odds are not in your favor. It is highly likely he will do it again, IF he isn’t currently. No matter how high you raise the bar to make it unlikely he would be able to cheat without your knowledge, there’s always a way around that. My ex was getting cash back every time he made a purchase with his debit card. He used that extra cash to rent an apartment a mile away from his workplace. He would meet OW there every day during the week during the work day. In other words, they are masters at sneakiness and deception. After d day # 1, I would have sincerely told anyone he had changed; that he was being faithful. Well, I was sincerely wrong.

              • I do feel love, respected and adored now. But, no, the trust is not there. I am not ready to lower my Shield of Doubt for anyone. Even if I do find a way to lower that shield, the seed of doubt will be with me forever, no matter the partner. We use the polygraph less and less as time goes on, but it is always a possibility on the table and just knowing that does help in combination with everything else.

                Still, I don’t know what the future holds. All I can say at this point is what I said to Kelly below. I prefer to heal within my marriage if I can. If I cannot, then so be it. I don’t want wishy washy enablers telling me I need to enable my husband. And, yet I’m not on the CL path either. I look to a variety of sources to see all perspectives as I decide the best path forward and I thank you all for allowing CL to be among them.

              • TL, I respect your choice. I will just tell you what I wish someone had told me in those early days of the betrayal discovery (and before I came across CL). It’s hurtful but true. Anyone who can betray you (and your children) in such a despicable way, does not love, honor, adore, cherish, or respect you. It is at best complete selfishness without a thought or care of how you and your children would be affected and at worst a disordered person who got pleasure from the suffering inflicted. Even if it is the best case scenario, it is still detrimental to a healthy marriage. Yet he took that risk because he doesn’t care if he hurt you. He only hoped he wouldn’t get caught and have to face any consequences. Remember it is in his best interest to stay married. For his image, financially, etc. No matter what he tells you, how can you know without a doubt, that what he says is true? How do you know his main motive in salvaging this marriage is to avoid the financial fallout that will most certainly ensue? Splitting half of all money, savings, 401k, and all the other assets isn’t something people take lightly. Child support for x number of years, possibly spousal support, losing the home and having to rent an apartment, etc. If I associated with that ilk (cheaters), and he was my friend, I would tell him to suck it up and do exactly what he’s doing to avoid the financial fallout. Once the youngest is 18 or out of college, he might choose to bolt even if he has to split everything, since he won’t be obligated to pay support.

                There is a constant power balance in a healthy marriage. In your marriage, it has permanently shifted to him being one up on you. He will always know what he got away with and so will you. You could ask him to doggy paddle for 48 hours in the middle of the Pacific in shark infested waters with a paper cut and it will never change that balance. He got one over on you and you (so far) have accepted that.

                I sincerely wish you the best. I hope your healing comes soon. I hope it is a complete healing including the ability to trust again and the wisdom along with it to know who deserves your trust, love, and loyalty. Please consider that the likelihood of him doing this again is very high and it will delay that healing process greatly. Best wishes to you and your kids.

            • TL

              I certainly appreciate all the protective measures you have put into place. When I think about being safe with the person I married I believe these measures should not have to be written out for a spouse. They should be a given. You speak of safety and protection and those are important to your wellbeing. Please read Women Who Love Too Much. I believe this will help you as it helped me understand my FOO issues and how this impacted my future relationship of tolerance.

              I believe the hoops he will adhere to are about gaining back your power and control. Regardless, many times we believe we have the power and control yet it was never there. Integrity and keeping my power are two things I constantly have to work on daily. The disordered are experts at maintaining power and control over their victims. Complying to each and every one of your protective measures may make you feel as if you have your power back, however this unfortunately to a narcissist is another challenge and typically they go underground with their deception. They are masters at this. I pray you have peace in your life. I would recommend taking care of YOUR NEEDS starting today. Your energy is going into him and please make sure you are living your life with friends and family. Be sure he is not your all and everything. Live your life. Pain avoidance kept me stuck for many, many years. Narcissists are brutal in their final discard. Wishing you inner strength.

              • Just so you know, I am taking care of my needs. I went back to school and am in my final term of my Masters degree. After years of being a stay-at-home-Mom, I started working again last month doing consulting work for the firm I worked at prior to having children. I have my safety measures, no doubt. But, my husband is responsible for fixing his shit. I see him doing it. Do know that I am making sure that the kids and I are ok no matter what happens down the road.

                Yes, I am trying with my husband. CL is one of many perspectives I want in my arsenal of tools to understand where I’ve been, where I am and where I want to go. If this fails, I will be the first to come back here and yell it from the roof tops, “‘look at all he did to be safe, to fix his shit, yada, yada, and still. . . .” Declaring success is a different story. While progress can be seen over the years, declaring success in the middle of the journey is not something I will do. Successful reconciliation is a marriage long process, not a line in the sand. TL xx

              • Best of luck to you, TL. All I can really tell you is that no matter what safety measures your husband has put into place for you, there are dozens he can to put into place for himself. My cheater ex was good at covering his tracks for a long time. The devil really is in the details, and they all get sloppy eventually. So I would be on the lookout for things outside his phone, email, credit card statement, because anything you have easy access to will be squeaky clean. I caught mine from a receipt for a fast food restaurant near the whore’s home. Regarding polygraph tests, they aren’t legally admissible evidence for a reason. I never did it, even though he requested it because I don’t want to be married to someone I have to polygraph. But that’s each person’s choice to make ultimately. Not a judgment on you, just not my thing.

      • TL, my ex led a double life probably for 25 years, but certainly with two co-workers for at least 15, and engaged in astonishing acts of gas lighting and betrayal. The story ought to be a Lifetime Original Movie. I suspected him 12 years before D-Day, but he would look deeply into my eyes and swear he was not having affairs with the two co-workers he WAS in fact having affairs with. He looked deeply in my eyes and swore he loved me madly and was true to me, and begged me not to break up our “beautiful family.” But I suspected him and demanded changes, transparency, accountability, him home with me and the kids more, etc. etc. And he complied with each and every demand, and did so apparently lovingly and with kind understanding. He really was a cool and patient cucumber.

        I recall the “boot camp” mentality, at least it felt that way, with me making the demands and he complying. I’d say jump and he’d say how high. He was meek and humbled. And so I really believed we got past that danger. I trusted him wholeheartedly. Fast forward 12 years.

        On D-Day, I was absolutely stunned — I caught him cheating with both of those same women, and literally could not believe that could be true. I thought he must have a brain tumor, etc. He sort of smirked when he told me the truth, years of affairs, unprotected sex, group sex, just astonishing things, all under my nose, even our children’s noses so to speak. He resented us all by that point. I thought, where has this man been hiding? On his way out the door, he said: “I know you’ll never trust another man again.” I think he was proud of that. I thought it was true.

        I realized only after D-Day that ex took some time off from the affairs, but of course returned to them while taking them further underground, all while now taking immense joy in passive-aggressively and secretly fooling me to “punish” me for the demands I made and control I thought I had over him. He resented my control, he resented that he had to toe the line. But he hid it each and every day behind a loving and respectful exterior. He certainly made sure he got the last “laugh.” He went on to marry one of these women.

        I started dating after my divorce, I was going to be damned if the last story in my romantic life was what ex did to me. And then I shortly thereafter began to date my now-current-husband. Within a few dates I was astonished at his simple genuineness, his ability for real connection and introspection. How had I missed how shallow ex truly was?? The difference was astonishing. We are now married, a second marriage for both of us. I have 3 children and step-children who I love. We are deeply in love and so very happy.

        I DO trust my current husband. Almost as soon as we started dating, I could see the real person my (now) husband is, and it is somehow so different fom the pretend authenticity of ex, even though ex was smooth as silk. I thought I knew authentic but I didn’t know crap after 25 years with ex. I didn’t know anything while still married because I couldn’t get my feet on a firm foundation of reality, I had to get away from the complete mindfuck of such a deceitful person before I could see the light.

        While my first marriage and divorce taught me that there are very bad people out there, I have also learned that there are very good, honest, kind people out there too. While I now know that there are people out there capable of lying to you and destroying you, there are also others simply incapable of that level of betrayal. And I have learned that we chumps can find those kind and authentic people and live an authentic life if we choose. It is such a relief not have to look over my shoulder. It is such a relief to know I am not crazy and to forevermore be able to trust my gut. It is such a relief to be truly loved.

        TL, I am not saying that your husband is the level of disordered that was my ex, but I do want to say that there are amazing and true people out there if that becomes your choice. I do wish you the best in your reconciliation attempts, it is a very difficult road. God bless.

        • Thank you so much Kelly. I appreciate what you are saying and it is good to hear it. Still, if I leave, it will not be with the hope or desire to find another partner, though I would not rule out the possibility. If I decide to leave, it will because I determine it is the only way I can heal and move forward in a healthy way, regardless of what may or may not be out there in terms of a future partner. My preference is to heal within my marriage if it is possible to do so. I don’t want wishy washy enablers telling me I need enable my husband. And, yet I’m not on the CL path either. I guess I look to a variety of sources to see all perspectives as I decide the best path forward and I thank you all for allowing me this source as well. TL xx

          • TL, I agree, I become enraged when people try to use the codependent/enabler labels. I consider it just another abuse to heap upon a chump….the partner trying to figure out what the right thing is to do in an awful situation. The fact that we were fooled does not make us a codependent or enabler, nor does attempting to reconcile diminish your worth or make you part of any pathology or dysfunction causing your ex to cheat or lie.

            My biggest hope for fellow chumps is that they minimize the years wasted by the cheaters, that they avoid the devastation my family endured in the end when the big reveal, the big double-cross was exposed. I think that is the fear of so many of us here at chump nation, after (barely sometimes) surviving our own attempts at forgiveness and reconciliation, and seeing how poorly they turned out.

            But despite the many similarities of chump nation’s cheaters and experiences, I also know each of us in the end faces a unique situation: each has his or her own distinct marriage, children, and our own peculiar lives, experiences and personalities. And each must find his or her own path through this nightmare. My ex was long gone and never wanted to try after D-Day finally hit or I am sure I would have attempted reconciliation even after all of that. I am often glad I did not have to face that decision because it made it comparatively easy for me to move on.

            So I understand and truly hope it works out for you, TL. (((hugs)))

            • Kelly, just to clarify, then I must sign off as I really did not intend to TJ this thread – yikes!

              My mother was a prescription drug addict who used suicide attempts and manipulation to avoid facing her demons. I love my extended family very much and am close to them in many ways, but I could not allow them to guilt me into enabling her behavior. She died several years ago. I just have certain filters and biases on this issue. I do recognize that, they are mine and I completely understand that they are not shared by everyone.

              Thank you for the hugs. No matter who we are, where we come from, or where we hope to go as betrayeds “hugs” never hurt!.

              TL xx

              • Kelly, just a little more clarification. I promise, this is it. I don’t mean to say that unsuspecting spouses pre d-day are enablers or codependent. NOT AT ALL. When I used the term “wishy washy enablers,” what I was trying to convey is the tendency to rug sweep, not ensure that measures of safety are a part of your plan. I think if one is going to reconcile it is not a line in the sand of “we are reconciled, all is great forever more.” But, rather if one chooses to reconcile, it is a marriage long process that never ends.

                And, I also want to say something about my Mom. I loved her very much. I love her very much. But, she wasn’t willing to face her demons. She wasn’t safe for me. I cannot compartmentalize my love for another based on condition a, b, or c. I cannot just turn off my love for another as if it was some water spicket. So, while my love for my Mom was not based on conditions. My having a relationship with her, having her be an active part of my daily life was conditional.

                Thank you again for the kindness and the hugs.

    • No offense to you or your attempts at reconciliation TL for I walked down that path for three years. It wasn’t the right path for me ultimately but kudos for trying.

      What I do take umbrage with with regards to the reconciling sect is the assertion that all of us had “blind trust” before we were chumped. What the hell does that even mean? I trusted the ex because he was my husband and I didn’t think he would do the things he said he would never do. I had faith in him and what he said because until I started detecting a disturbance in the force, I had no evidence to the contrary.

      Clearly my trust was not “blind” when I suspected him of infidelity. I would imagine if my trust was so “blind” I wouldn’t have suspected him in the first place. When the time comes for me to trust my picker enough to date, if I were ever to get into a relationship, I will do so trusting that person until they give me a reason not to. I can’t even imagine how one can be in a relationship if there isn’t a fair amount of trust.

      I would never and have never considered that blind trust.

      • CS,

        Indeed, you are right! It wasn’t “blind trust,” it was simply trust, the trust a man or woman has for their spouse when dedicating their lives to each other. I appreciate you pointing that out. My use of the term obscured the actual intent of my meaning. Let me see if I can clarify.

        I now hold a “shield of doubt” and whether I stay married, divorce or marry again, I must work on lowering that shield if I want to having a loving intimate relationship. But, no matter what, forever more will exist at least a seed of doubt within me for others. That seed did not exist prior to d-day, but ti does and will exist within me for the rest of my life. I cannot speak for anyone else. But, I know me. I know my reality. The fact is while I do want to lower the “shield of doubt,” holding on to the seed is something I foresee being a part of me forever more.

        • And, CL, I really do not mean to TJ here. My main point of responding was just to point out that following statement:

          “To reconcile means you’ve probably bought in at some level that the cheating is your fault and you can prevent it by being a Better Spouse”

          is a characterization that just doesn’t hold water in each and every case, at least not in mine. Again, I can only speak for myself.

          • TL, I agree with you – I reconciled with Saddam the first time he cheated because I still cared and he convinced me he didn’t actually have sex. A lie, one I bought. He did all the right things. 10 years later I caught him cheating, long after my trust had been fully restored. Over time I found he never stopped cheating or trying to, he just took it deeper underground once my trust was back. Maybe your husband will be different since you’ve gotten him to sign up for consequences. It really doesn’t matter unless you can trust him again. Good luck and Jedi Hugs!

            • I will add a few other hoops you may want to add if not already. Frequent STD testing for the cheating partner. I would also make out a will leaving your assets to someone other than him given your prenup agreement. How many times has he cheated in the past that you know of?

  • Here is one that threw me off…. Someone I know….. not a friend…. husband of 20 plus years had affair left her and she was devastated. Typical financial issues, kid issues all the bad that goes along with the adultery. Today a year or so later, she is now the other woman! And now bragging about going to their home and (blanking) him in her house. WTF?

    • DavidB – I’m not sure what you’re saying … has the chump wife become the OW to her cheater? A Pick Me Dance and she thinks she won it (having gone from wife to chump to victim to side-piece, yeah great dancing there hun)!

      • Whore/wifetress in my situation was a former chump. I guess she needed a WIN. Well, she beat me in the pick me dance – I didn’t know I was competing. Guess that’s the only way she could score the W. Whatever – she’s got yet another cheater. I’m sure THIS time will be different (rolling eyes).

        • It would be interesting to find out just WHY a former chump would turn around and do that to another chump. That is SICK. She knows the pain and devastation cheating causes. Wth? Maybe it is like getting even with the original ow…only by proxy. Like the new chump is a skapegoat or something.

          • Yo – I had asked my IC the same. I guess in some really messed up people, the victim can become the abuser. If she hadn’t blown apart my life (with XH’s help, of course), I might actually feel sorry for her. But even still, one would know right from wrong. Essentially, she’s a nut case and I’m very glad she’s wed to my XH – now, I hope she spawns and really makes his life a living hell. 🙂

          • I suppose chumps can also be NPD/BPD and later chump someone else. Probably not the norm, but looks like it does happen.

            I’ve also noticed that NPD cheater1 will often think that NPD cheater2 (e.g. a failed AP) is a narc, but not themselve.

            Many NPD types aren’t very good at self-reflection. They think they are self-aware, but they are most definitely not.

  • My only experience as an OW was about 40 (good lord!) years ago. I got a call from a woman asking me to meet her at the bowling alley where I worked. I can’t remember what she said in the call, but I met with her. We sat in her car and she told me about finding my number in her boyfriend’s jeans pocket when she was doing laundry.

    Fun times. We compared notes. We cried. I remember saying how bad I felt for her, because while I was now out of the picture, she would have to keep dealing with this. Oh, she knew, she knew, I wasn’t the first one, etc.

    Anyway,… then the guy’s sister called me, to tell me the girl was lying, they had broken up, her brother was a great guy, blah blah blah. Uh huh. He came in that night to plead his case, but all I could see was that she had access to his jeans pocket. I can’t remember exactly what bullshit he gave me about that, but I told him it was over anyway. What ever the truth was, it was too much drama for me!

    As far as my friends go, I have an inner circuit breaker or something. When a man that several of us thought was hot fell for my best friend, my lust just turned into friendship immediately. Just flipped a switch. Another friend of ours didn’t have that switch, and did her damnedest to lure him into bed. (I know, because I was her roommate.) It didn’t work, so she soothed her ego by seducing my new boyfriend instead. I let her have him and moved out. I’m afraid I’m all flight, no fight. Which is why I left my ex when the opportunity arose. It was obvious there was nothing to fight for, anyway.

    • Flight is the appropriate response. Right for what: a scumbag loser? Just strokes their already inflated egos. I thanked the OM and meant it. He relieved me of a terrible burden.

      • Testify! If someone doesn’t want me, I leave. I’ve always been like that. When my first boyfriend said “I just want to be friends, I said “Okay,” I guess that was the wrong response, so he only had hateful things to say about me after that. I later learned I had been expected to do my first Pick Me Dance. Well, shuckydarn.

      • Flight is the way to go. I didn’t go as far as thanking the whore. I let her know I was passing the torch. I let her know about his cheating patterns and the number of times the GOOD GUY has cheated. She has an ankle bracket in her prize. The limited bragged he liked being single. My definition of single suits me just fine. He gained a whore and I gained a life. Flight rocks.

      • Hi Roberta

        I’m dealing with a psycho OW still. She can never be me. It makes me her target. The roles reverse when we just don’t give a fuck and move on. The Limited made her think she was better than…. Yet comparatively she knows the truth. I’m educated, make a fair income, have an amazing family life, and have a good life without him.
        I’m guessing she has figured out his lies and hey if things don’t add up then maybe I’m not so special. Pathetic creatures.

    • I think in the case of dealing with cheaters, “flight” is always the best option. To fight would mean rolling in the mud with pigs, no offense to pigs.

  • I picked up a possessive and defensive vibe from my husband’s howorker. Some of my friends and family members mentioned that they sensed the same thing. For instance, my ex brought his howorker to the bank where my DIL worked, and my DIL said she got a creepy vibe from her. A friend of mine that worked in their department mentioned that this woman seemed possessive around my husband too.

    I can remember at least one incident where I was sitting in my car at a sports practice waiting for my son to finish. My ex came by in his car to drop something off to me, and there was his howorker sitting in the front seat next to him. I’ll never forget that both she and my husband were wearing black leather jackets. They looked like they’d coordinated their clothing. She glanced at me out of the corner of her eye and there was a defiant gleam. I felt sick in the pit of my stomach. Now mind you, she was married to a handsome young guy, and there was no reason to think there was anything else going on, but that look said it all. Another time I was at a dinner/dance and the howorker was there with her husband, who didn’t dance. My husband and I loved to dance, and she was visibly jealous when I walked off the dance floor. She even approached me and said something about it, like it bothered her that I (his wife) was dancing with her boss.

    As for her character, I can remember her saying that she wanted one of her other bosses to agree with an idea she had. When he didn’t, she was “tempted to wrap her arms around his neck and sit in his lap like he was her daddy until he changed his mind.” OK. That’s weird and sick.

    What little I was around her, she often asked my husband for suggestions on how to do this or that. She seemed to constantly seek his advice. She was 15 years younger, and had previously been his grad student. So best I can tell, she was a manipulative little twat that used her feminine wiles to get what she wanted. She definitely saw other women as a threat.

    To this day I don’t hold her responsible for their affair, however. IMO, that was all on my husband. It was up to him to put a stop to her inappropriate behavior, but he didn’t. He enjoyed the attention too much. He didn’t give a shit about her husband either. The two of them deserve each other.

    • My daughter at 13 had a strong moral outrage to infidelity. It is not too much to expect undergraduate and graduate students to know that sleeping with married men is not okay. They bear some of the responsibility, EVEN if the professor they sleep with has some power over them (dissertation advisor, etc.). There are other options.

      In fact, I found out lots about the sexual escapades of my X after the divorce was final (a year ago today). I wrote to a graduate student who had resisted my then-H’s advances, even though it cost her a Ph.D. and caused her a lot of social angst (other grad students isolated her). I thanked her for her integrity, and apologized to her that she was a victim of a raging narcissist who threw her under the bus because she refused to sleep with him. She resisted even though then-H was her dissertation advisor. It can be done.

        • Thanks, Mehphista! I already had bubbly in my grocery cart for tonight when I ran across “Liberated” wine–they both seem appropriate, eh?

          • Thanks, all!! The only way I made it through the past year [moderately] sane and without needing a defense attorney is because of my friends in CN!!

            • CONGRATULATIONS TEMPEST!!!

              I didn’t know till just now 😀 (I was out with ‘that’ guy 🙂 hain a long drive in the late evening sun and dinner – of course Beau went along!)

              I am so happy for you!!!! I’ll be raising a glass in your honor and FREEDOM here in just a minute!!!!

              SO HAPPY FOR YOU! LOVE YOU! XXXXXXXXXXOOOOOOOO

              • Crap…I can’t read it!!

                I got this:

                Your client does not have permission to get URL /KKfRHLm1eUvGFs5jv7_HS7BTfLIPQUyWVpP6RSFZhIWOVdKWsabeIlhdR5Rbx17ZqFJKDtyuM8il4E7_oNz4lk4zoFgiicN_UOiKjwrFJ3kIYiSh3JqOcwuUxvjuhlvGCdOZeQk9muje-D_yO35AR1ILXumPMvyK_BFLMIoZPOXa0WPjJAQE-2VRiajDffsgx5LaxpEG_20_yEeR58Z57JYUttlSvJ0s319OY7IL3tyB8fzkqDX5pItvSiNM6zCs_faFlSLx0F0iXpMXYnPZY1US2Rf_Fm52fMePyGstUrYxG-n8wgQo_qbyfnIwA7Pix-pxUlnzRS-WAGyEEDtrCKOfJ_u1vkoLgIysrtsP2rcpKXZdofiPMEVbmlBT2nv7t62h-i1jJMGmWcNIdOYYpoXE9XRC3MhrY4tKpWqkSOBaYyxQuJ6PYXXZB1S4Kkr7twVBprTsispNu7S9mc9O5-8IzBEB81bz6IbWElPI7KVcCYTwXyLaVm2mcL7wvSXtXqRcp4yxERIlqVxRVC3ZFrjTxbP7so9ss6KXGGptWuQh-PQK_PRERd7RWP3A6glYwb37qf1ovCCc5rBuPIv3zE_4QOhGbag2HVjz6Sgt4gf30IIvKwj4oWcdoGeGHtpr_nwGj3uMQp3aEFPqn2V18cslsYtLIptJ2mHhxsWX6j3SHpRdm_cGQ_4yuQG5lA=w1312-h738-l75-ft from this server. (Client IP address: 174.101.201.65)

                Forbidden That’s all we know.

              • Arnold I love reading your comments. I am just “returning” back to the site myself. I was wondering and I asked this from the day before post from Chump Lady. I had some great comments and powerful insights from so many wonderful chump here and I would like to ask your insight as well (if you don’t mind). What is your take about the life that the cheaters have when they marry and have kids with the AP? The ex and his last AP (that he left me for) got engaged during the time of the divorce process and the information I have gathered they married not long after the divorce was final. I think they have been together for many years now and meet where he worked at the time. They are still together with at least 2 kids maybe 3 very young. He would press me for years to have kids and I always had red flags about it but I did get pregnant twice and the last time I got pregnant I had a miscarriage and that is when I think they got together. From what I have gathered they are living the “perfect” life. Not long after the divorce was final they bought a home. He did cheat on my the entire relationship. Also from what I gather looks like they came up with a plan for all of this to happen. Also my family and friends are in daily contact with them both. I haven’t been in touch with any of them for many many years. He does fit pretty much every trait of a Cluster B.

            • For those of you just joining us, Tempest’s fucktard is called Hannibal Lecher (typo deliberate) because he is evil incarnate and is fond of Chianti and fava beans.

              • and for the sake of giving credit where credit is due, KarmaExpress came up with the moniker Hannibal Lecher, which fits him like a glove (or a Trojan).

      • @Tempest…congrats to you! And kudos for raising a daughter who is a class act at such a young age. 🙂

        The subject of infidelity has always interested me because it was the reason my parents divorced when I was 3 years old.
        I don’t claim to be perfect, but I knew at a VERY young age that cheating was wrong and that if a person is unhappy in their marriage, cheating is NOT the way to fix it.

        Back in the late 70’s-early 80’s my father had an affair with a woman who was seven years younger. She was considered attractive and she didn’t care that he had a devoted wife and a child at home. Neither did he, for that matter…he got her pregnant. She harassed my mom constantly with phone calls, taunting her about the affair.
        I was born in 1983; my half-sister (the product of the affair) was born in 1984. After my parents divorced, my father married The Bitch and had two more children with her. They wound up divorcing in the early 2000’s.

        Like your daughter, I always knew that infidelity hurts people and it wasn’t something I ever wanted to do to anyone.
        It’s sad when kids have more of a moral compass than adults. But I admire you and the fellow Chumps here, for realizing your worth and for taking back your power. You guys rock!

    • Oh, what the hell! That was an unsavory glimpse into her warped little mind, wasn’t it? Gads. Yuck! I guess if your X doesn’t cooperate with everything she wants in future, she will probably just find another sugar daddy’s lap to hop into it. Puke!

  • I had the unique and eye-opening opportunity to talk in depth with the OW’s husband. They were separated but he was at the house to attend to their daughter til her highness returned from work. One day he found her diary and he shared much of her bullshit with me. Seems the hag was tired of working and wanted to be taken care of by my X’s huge salary. She wrote many derogatory things about my X in her diary (which I delighted in sharing with him!) but she must have thought it was worth it to deal with the pompous ass to get to the cash. Kind of like a whore.

    I don’t know if all OW hate women, but they are very indifferent to others. The opposite of love isn’t hate – it’s indifference. It’s how they live with themselves while ruining innocent children’s lives. I think the attitude is: “Not my kids, not my problem”.

    BTW, quoting from the diary really pissed off my X. He dumped her ass!

  • I don’t think all OW hate other women. I think there’s probably different types. The ones that hate other women are the predatory ones. In my case the OW was the naive type. Young, inexperienced, not well-travelled, believes in true love, fell for his lies. I would describe her as utterly lacking in any sort of basic self-preservation instinct. My ex was the predator. I think she thought he was quite glamorous and was attracted by the prospect of a shiny new life in the UK and away from her home country which she described in a tweet as ‘the armpit of Europe’. Sadly, he went there instead, so bummer for her. I did laugh at that.

  • I have no clue if the OW, now the OWife, hates women. All I know is that if it were not her, it would have been another woman because the cheater ex is an asshole. He cheated, not because of her, but because he’s a loin whisperer. Any port in a storm.

        • The OW in my case was pretty obviously a ‘loose woman’. Couldn’t believe X fell for her. Knew her well, in my best friend category because I pick weird friends, I guess. But, showing dogs every weekend together. She was rather low class (about morals and too much drinking) and her past preceded her. She admitted to us both, as we were getting to know her and her husband, that she had 3 children from different fathers, and none of the girls knew their fathers. Two she gave up for adoption and 1 one she kept – but we met them all at the weddings when she reunited with these girls who had grandchildren. They all knew my X and I were together at those weddings, baby showers, dog shows, etc. Anyway, her X told me after they divorced that my X was her 4th affair in their 13 yr marriage. I mean…Can we say trade-down? In values, morals, character, family life – both of ours was such big, close families and very solid for 35 yrs….then, he turns 60, and this ‘woman’ comes on to him? (10 yrs younger but no competition I thought) God, it feels like such a cliche. Hey – not to mention, I’m may not be very big or tall, but I have a lot of dynamite inside me. You can’t slow me down. But, man – this affair for 3 yrs knocked me to my knees. I’m still trying to get up, but almost at meh, if we still didn’t have to communicate about the house we’re selling. I’ll be here soon to say, house is sold….I’m ALL done, and then I invite you all here to the coast for a party!

          I make Killer Texan Margaritas! Congrats Tempest!

  • no offence to any strippers who aren’t whores, (oxymoron, I know) but my ex had a special propensity for strippers who fucked for things like trips, new laptops, clothes, cash, etc. One even had sex for baby formula (can’t make this stuff up.) So my tained view of OWs is that they’re just sociopaths and narcissists. Meaning, their social circle would consist of the same. “Normal” women stay away from those type of friendships. Plus men who want to fuck them. Perhaps I’m trivializing the issue but that’s my perspective based on my own experience.

    • I feel sorry for the women who fuck for money or formula…you gotta be pretty hard on your luck or desperate to do that. How degraded they must feel. But I hate these sluts who go after married men…because they can. To me, that is worse than being a paid whore. So much worse.

  • The final OW was a predator, in my case. As far as I can tell, she was screwing her was through the local AA community in hopes of finding a guy who made big bucks. She was aiming for easy street. Enter cheater ex and his boatload of stupidity and entitlement. My guess was that he thought he had her hooked enough that she would be just fine with him taking a huge cut in pay so he didn’t have to pay much child support. He really thought he was all that and a bag of chips. He quit a well paying job to go to work as a janitor. Didn’t take her long to dump his sorry ass. She really played him good. Of course that was all my fault too.

    What I saw was two cluster “B’s” conning each other. I think she probably came out ahead since she was the one he spent most of our savings on and then she bailed. I have absolutely no doubt that she kept it up till she found a guy who was rich enough to suit her, and if he was married and willing , assisted him in breaking up that marriage too. I’d love to think the karma bus will come for her somwere along the line.

    • Exactly, Tessie. Many many women are really after the pocket book. I mean, aren’t we taught in school (at least in the 70’s) that you graduate from HS, then marry and have children. Lots of pressure on me when I was 18. And, Cosmopolitan magazine said, these are the richest careers men have: Stock brokers, Commodity Traders (which I eventually became myself), real estate guys and downwards income-wise from there. I think teacher was lowest. Anyway, as good as the article was way back when, I didn’t want a rich guy. I wanted a nice guy if I was going to marry at all. And, after I meet Mr Sparkles after his 5 yrs of college, I was right there, I guess. He had far too many muscles for my liking (I’m just a country gal) but, hey-we lasted 35 yrs. Fell completely in love. Now, that I’ve divorced him and moved, I cannot look at one photo album of our long past. To me? They are all fake. I don’t know what to believe and I refuse to look back. The marriage was a sham, I bought into it all, and none of it was real. I am thankful I wasn’t near as scathed as you were, Tessie; my story feels so minor. But, man, this sure seems like a crime – to be ripped off of your history. Something I’m having hard time getting over. Think I’ll just throw all the albums away and be done with them.

      • Wow 36 years for me and my sentiments are the same as yours! Our divorce was bitter and contemputus but I rode it out for 3 years and when I got my share of the assets the OW dropped him the same day when he left court and the judge ordered him to pay up what he tried to steal from me! I lost my beautiful home, kids, reputation and respect! I no longer live in his shameful dirty world! One year post divorce I am happier than I have ever been in 36 years! Fight for what is yours don’t let the other women take your assets let her have him though because he is not an assets but rather a liability !

  • In my situation, the OW knew that XH and I were married because she was a retail clerk in a store that we shopped in together quite frequently. I started noticing that whenever we went to this store together, she was always around. I felt physically uncomfortable any time that they were in close proximity because they were always staring at each other. One night when we were in that store, there were only two lines open and one of them was hers. I didn’t want to get in her line so I went with XH to the other line, even though it had people in it and hers was empty. She and some other employee that she was often with told us we could get in her line. I declined, saying we would just stay in the line we were in. At that point, these two women aggressively ordered us into her line, with some excuse about having to count the register by a certain time. I could feel the contempt and disdain that this retail clerk had for me and I told XH that I wanted to start shopping somewhere else.

    XH helped his elderly mother by doing her grocery shopping and picking up her medicine and it was this store that he continued to go to alone, twice a week without me, while I worked to support us. I remember thinking to myself that I hoped our marriage would survive this retail clerk.

    One day I noticed that our new car seat was damaged and the sinking feeling in my gut and nausea in my throat told me that it was from sex. XH went “DARVO”, Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim and Offender Order. I did not get a confession or any remorse, not even the fake kind.

    I felt very strongly despite his valiant attempt at gaslighting, that he had cheated and that this retail clerk was the OW. After XH moved out, I went to this store to try to catch them together. I saw her and stared at her hoping she would look at me. She was sitting in the restaurant area of the store, with a male employee. When she saw me, her face turned beet red and then she turned her head on me. She then proceeded to lick every finger on her hand, including her thumb and then she wiped her mouth with her hand.

    Just as I believe XH is immoral, I believe that OW is immoral as well. She knew when he was love-bombing her that he had a wife, but she didn’t care. They wanted to indulge themselves in the fantasy of falling in love and sex with a brand new partner and did just that, not caring who they hurt.

    • Same story here Chumptacular…Kroger ho – the Kroger satan and I had shopped in for 30 years…yep…wow…

      …of course she was just one of them…but…yeah…ugh…

  • I can’t figure out the motivation my Ex’s Schmoopie had for becoming involved with my husband. She was living an extremely luxurious life in a beach community in Florida. Her now Ex was a quarter of a million dollar wage earner and judging from her Facebook page at the time she had everything a woman could possibly want! Believe me when I tell you that my Ex was not setting the world on fire when it came to high wages or anything else. I did get a small glimpse of her younger years as she actually asked her old high school friends on Facebook to message my husband about her “wild and crazy” times as a teen/young adult (she is in her early 50’s). The girl was out of control, very promiscuous according to them and I quote from one so-called friend,” watch out, she will NEVER get blamed for anything and she is sly as a fox!” Another story was how she “dated” three brothers, back to back, in one family twice until they dumped her! In her own words she told my then husband that she was an “expert” at sex cause she had been fucking since she was 13 years old! I know she said her husband “abused” her when he was home, for Pete’s sake, the guy travelled and was only home four days a month!!!WTF? If he did abuse her then why didn’t she leave sometime during that 29 year marriage? She sure found the front door when it came time to “crash” a Disney family vacation we had, and to meet my Ex in a variety of hotel rooms! I believe, as do my FIL and my family, that old girl had been screwing around her entire marriage and her husband certainly suspected and could NEVER prove it till she was named in my divorce filing and he was tipped off. I know her and my Ex are no longer together and her “lifestyle” has plummeted. I don’t and will never feel sorry for this obviously screwed up bitch!

  • I will add she was extremely bold! On one occasion I caught her and my husband in a hotel room. When I busted in she acted as if they had been playing monopoly or something, but I had already seen them on the balcony and she was in, of all things, a WHITE negligee. She then proceeded to tell me they were “just friends” and she was divorced! She was VERY much married! This woman called my husbands cell and asked to talk to him. I told her no. She then asked me if he had told me he was leaving me for her?? I told her, “no, he hadn’t mentioned a thing.” She then hung up! She came to my EXTREMELY small town and introduced herself as his wife using MY name! She even accompanied my husband to his hernia operation as his “wife”! She would call on her cell to his doctor for test results! When she didn’t answer the call back the office called our home phone and I gladly told them who and what she is and to NEVER give her any information! She and my Ex camped out at a hotel that I have to pass to get from my home to anywhere in this town and would proudly park her car immediately in the front so I could see her plates! A true bitch! Low self esteem?? I think not! She thought she was seven feet tall and bullet proof! All that and a bag of chips!! Someone please figure out what could be her flavor of crazy for me!!!

    • That’s not just bold — it’s all shades of fucked up. Wow, just wow.

      The MOW that fucktard left me for also crashed my family’s Disney vacation. Had a secret rendezvous with him on Tom Sawyer Island, each with their youngest child in tow. Hers was only three years old, but mine was nine, and the OW was her rec sports coach, so of course she innocently mentioned it to me. Fucktard never would have told me himself. The next day I saw MOW from across the room at the Space Mountain gift shop and she gave me the look someone above described, and I knew instantly. I still feel sick to my stomach thinking about it, more than five years later. “Losing” fucktard to her turned out to be one of the best things that has ever happened to me; but having my happy place, Disney World, tainted by her and these memories will piss me off forever.

      • The OW in my fucked up tale was invited to the evening do of the wedding. I’d never met her before (she was a ho-worker) but at the end of the evening ‘The Great I Am’ was stood next to her at her table. There was something about his body language made me feel there was something ‘off’ there and OW wouldn’t look me in the eye. (You couldn’t miss me – I was the one in the fuck off dress). She also wrote some shite about ‘not being able to be happy all your life’ – implying marriage was the being of the end of happiness. Of course, when it all came down on D Day, ‘The Great I Am’ insisted there was nothing going on with her then (though he was pursuing her 3 months later), but he would say that, wouldn’t he? My gut knows different.

      • HappyNow–
        You MUST go back to Disneyland and paint over the bad memories with new, better ones! It will happen. Take it back!

  • Curious – has anyone else experienced a cheating spouse being absolutely paranoid about their behavior? Still extricating myself, came home later than usual when I went grocery shopping and had to detour a flooded bridge. My daughter told me today that her dad was grilling her about my whereabouts and more or less accused her of hiding something from him.

    He’s the one leading the double life – extreme case of projection?

    • Finally Awake – does he know that you know he’s a cheater? If he does, maybe he’s worried you’ll now cheat because he re-wrote the rules and ‘cheating’ is now on the table in your marriage. While he’ll emotionally crucify you for ‘cheating on him’ without blinking an eye at the hypocrisy, he also knows how easy it was to do, and I reckon a part of him feels that he deserves to be cheated on (maybe part of the projection – cos yeah, I reckon it is also projection – is that he’s always believed that if he were cheated on he would cheat right back and so judges you by his own standard). Let him be paranoid – it’s a hell of his own making.

    • Finally Awake,

      I found the Limited always wanted to know my whereabouts because he was leading a double life. He wanted to know where I was so he could make plans with his hookups. They know our routine and it helps them with the double life. Another thing he did was cancel attending things with me knowing he would have hours to himself. For him it was to know where I was so he could fuck around freely and not get caught.

    • I would guess either there’s something he doesn’t want you to find out about (a new/2nd AP? AP dumped him?) or he’s worried he’s losing control of you.

      Many cheaters are also controllers – you think you are collaborating and comprising to reach shared goals, but really, their motivation is just to control you.

    • A friend told me of a Spanish proverb, “If you look behind the door, you have stood there.” They know what they do when they cheat. Late coming home from work, business trips, stories of flooded roads and cell phones turned off. Whenever my behavior deviated from the absolutely predictable, my STBX would go on high alert. He would accuse me of cheating. Negative projection from Psych 101.

      He was well known – by my friends and colleagues – for calling me all the time. I thought it meant he cared. In hindsight, he wanted to know where I was so I wouldn’t catch him. As if I would bother stalking him ?