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50 Shades of Subtle Nuance

criticalthinkingYou want to get my knickers in a twist? Accuse this blog of “black and white” thinking.

Ladies and gentlemen, some things are black and white, right and wrong. It’s okay to say so. Genocide? Never okay. Incest? Wrong. Child abuse? Wrong again. Rape? Bad. Mugging senior citizens? Not the done thing.

See how that goes? Judging those things as wrong was very black and white of me. I said those things were BAD. Unequivocally bad.

Probably because every example I gave was of a powerful person(s) exerting control over someone and rendering them powerless for some sick purpose. (Their extinction, an orgasm, a wallet.)

Other crimes are harder to call out, like cheating and stealing. Well, maybe they fell in love! Or maybe they really needed the money!

Last example first. Maybe a poor person really needed to steal that loaf of bread to exist. So it’s a powerless person taking back power from a powerful person (someone with bread to spare).

Cheating is often cast this way. It’s a sad sausage taking back power from the powerful societal forces of monogamy that compelled him against his or her will to stay in a loveless, sexless, marriage.

Versus the truth — that cheating is a way of exerting power over someone else unknowingly, using them to their advantage, and extracting value from them. It’s cake eating. Otherwise they’d have an honest conversation, or lawyer up and divorce.

Society still sees stealing as wrong, and our legal codes try to address degrees of wrong doing, extentuating circumstances, etc. It doesn’t stop seeing stealing as wrong, just because there are degrees of wrong or extenuating circumstances. There’s a baseline of wrongness.

To say you’re dumbing down to “black and white” thinking for calling something wrong puts you out of line with most legal codes and religious traditions in the world.

Now, may I make a subtle distinction please?  (Yes, Chump Lady is capable of subtlety, shocking I know.)

It’s one thing to say something is WRONG, it’s quite another thing to say what you are going to do about it.

Stealing is wrong. Are we going to chop off hands?

To argue that stealing is wrong does NOT mean you are in favor of chopping off hands. Get me?

A comment from Civilian Casualty Bride whose letter I answered the other day:

I realize that things are pretty black and white here, and that any amount of cheating by anyone means that the cheater should be abandoned on a deserted island immediately by people who never imagined the day before that they were capable of such a betrayal. That is not realistic.

Nobody made that argument.

I will cop to “black and white” thinking about cheating. Cheating is wrong, there is no excuse for it. None. Not in a world that gives people free choice about who they marry and viable options of therapy and divorce. Cheaters consented to marriage. No one forced them against their will to marry or agree to monogamy.

To say that cheating is wrong is very different than saying every cheater “should be abandoned on a deserted island immediately.”

That’s making the stealing-is-wrong-chop-off-their-hands leap.

Making that leap is a way to discredit people who call out something as wrong.

All of us must judge what our deal breakers are in this life, and weigh circumstances accordingly. I don’t argue for punishment for cheaters, or abandoning them on islands (although a shuttle service to Planet Narcissist would be nice). I argue for leaving them. Get away, go no contact, get on with your life. That’s punishment enough. Deny them of your awesomeness.

That’s for the folks you’re married to though. And obviously, even that is a very personal call. We all have different deal breakers. Some people reconcile. Some people divorce.

We all have to know our values and what we will and will not tolerate. Where our lines are. Some people draw lines more broadly than others. They may not vote for a politician who cheated. Or want their gallbladder taken out by a philandering surgeon.

Some relationships are chosen, and some relationships are unchosen. How you treat a cheating parent is different than how you treat a cheating spouse or friend.

The point of this blog is to get you to examine your choices. And realize that you HAVE a choice.

However, when you hang around people who do “wrong” things, and those values don’t align with your values, it chips at your soul. It erodes your sense of yourself. You become someone who makes excuses and creates extenuating circumstances to align their “wrong” with your value system. You spackle.

And then you often find yourself in the shit, when this person turns their powers of wrong on you.

Much better to call a thing a thing and know where you stand.

But I’m just black and white that way.

This column ran previously. Feel free to comment!

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.
  • My STBXH actually said in the Divorce Letter that I look at everything “black and white.” I didn’t 100% know exactly what he meant, but now I do. He didn’t like me judging any of his behavior as wrong. I had no right to tell him that it was wrong to see women behind my back. It was wrong. There are some things that are black and white like CL said. I was told over the years that I did certain domestically things that were wrong and I started doing them his “right way.” Sounds pretty black and white to me.

    • I hear that loud and clear, Martha. They are desperate to think that they are good people and for everyone else to think so, therefore they can’t stand being called out on their behavior. And the domestic thing made me laugh, my Ex used to do that too. Plus he insisted that everything, but everything, be “even,” whatever that means. Chores, the way arguments were conducted, just everything. And usually I was found guilty of wanting my way all the time, but he couldn’t ever have his way. Rubbish. Good riddance.

    • I feel the same way a victim of murder feels! Just because you caught the murderer and sentenced him to life you bring back the dead victim! I lost 36 years of my life while he secretly fooled around! I lost mine and my children’s future resources while he squandered them behind back and faked his love! There is no restitution for this crime because marriage makes it legal!

    • Exactly!!! I totally get the “domestic Things” that had to be done HIS way. I swear, he once told me I was stirring spaghetti sauce wrong!!!! Seriously!!! I asked him, “What does it matter which way the sauce gets stirred?! It’s getting stirred one way or the other.” FOr that, he refused to eat dinner, and gave me the silent treatment all night.

      Good times.

        • Mine scolded me for putting away the silverware from the dishwasher “the wrong way”. Asked snarky if I had “ever done dishes before”.

          And I made breakfast, lunch, and dinner for her every night— plus did all the clean up. And I get roasted for putting the forks in the drawer the wrong way.

          One of many first Red Lights.

          Stupid me!

      • Omg! Seriously! I myself am OCD and think a lot of things should be done a certain way (although I never push that on any one else-just because I think it’s the right way doesn’t mean it is lol…) BUT DAMN stirring spaghetti sauce wrong that is just crazy! As long as your stirring it how could you be doing that wrong? These cheaters continue to shock me.

  • Control, control, control. Absolutely spot on again. My future ex-husband, who moved out three weeks ago, and had nine weeks in the house before that, still hasn’t taken all his gear. I changed the locks last week and if he doesn’t take everything this weekend I am going to a storage place, pay for one month, send him the details. They don’t want you, but they can’t seem to just move on.

    Chump Lady and Chump Nation, I want to say a great big thank you from the bottom of my heart. I am going full steam ahead thanks to this site and the wonderful people who contribute. It is such a safe environment to admit the hurt that has been done, and how blindsided you can be. I am shoring my boundaries and looking forward to a healthy relationship in the future.

    • I say don’t pay a dime for storage. Just ship his stuff to his place or a relative. This shitheads expect us to clean up their mess just as they expected to be taken care of while we were together with them and pick me dance for them when the shit hit the fan. Chump Nation and Chum Lady are life savers. Closer than ever to reaching meh.

      • Yep, don’t pay for his storage! Does anyone know a better (legal) way to deal with the stuff they abandon? I had to leave the state, X wouldn’t help take our household apart, and so I put his stuff in a storage unit, but they made me sign a contract! It was for a year. I went back two months later, and told them my sad story, so they let me out of the contract, lucky! My poor son had to take his dad’s stuff to his place, it was kind of a mess, as usual. So, my advice, don’t go the storage unit route, figure out something else!

        • I had a friend lined up with her horse float to put all of his stuff in and dump it at his new house in the driveway. I told him of this plan, and as because he knew the husband of my friend, and it was all about appearances, he was round quick smart to collect his shit. You have to find the “currency”, for my ex, it was what his image in certain social circles, so appealing to this worked for me.

      • KimHopes: UnchumpingMyself is right. Do not spend a dime on that douchebag. My DDay came after full year of the x-dbag’s affair with a married ho-worker. 23 years of my youth wasted on this bastard. I gave that asswipe 8 months before I filed, and why? Because in all that time of cheating with this LAST ho-bag, he couldn’t seem to find the time to come up with a plan for actually LEAVING.

        One month after I filed, I gathered his clothes and the little crap he had generated over the years (not much considering 23 years together) and put them in about 10 black lawn bags and put them one one side of the garage. I told him on a Wednesday, “You have till this Friday to get your stuff out of my garage. By Saturday, the bags will be outside the garage by the trash cans. If they’re not gone by Sunday, they’ll all be out at the curb for bulky trash day, which is this Monday.”

        Drop the mic, and walk away. These fuckers have all the time in the world to figure out their shit. NOT YOUR PROBLEM ANYMORE, chick. Seriously. At least I was civil enough to put his shit in lawn bags. Don’t let them back into your home – ever. That’s over.

        Action/consequence. They don’t “get it?” Too f-ing bad.

        Good luck, and DO NOT spend a dime on that turd. And DO NOT feel sorry for a f-tard who used and abused you.

        • Oh! And BTW – guess who came to get his shit by Friday?

          At first he said, “I don’t have a place for anything.” I said, “That’s not my problem. You’ve had over a year fucking around behind my back to figure this out. Get your crap out of my garage by Friday, or you know where it’ll be.”

          Then you have to DO IT. Just like filing for divorce. He thought I was going to stay paralyzed by the shock of it all, which I was, until the day I just wasn’t anymore and moved into action. One month after I filed, he knew I wasn’t fucking around with his dumbass anymore. DONE.

          • Mine left his 25ft Pontoon boat in my front yard! It is HUGE!! I have no way to move it and it is NOT in the Settlement Agreement that he can “store” it at my property. He has no place to park it at his rental. I am thinking to give him 30 days notice to pick it up and have it put in a storage yard…but then, what if he does not? I do not want to hire a tow service and have it taken to a storage yard because I will be the one who has to pay for both. So if he does not get it off my property, what can I legally do? It is solely in his name, so I cannot donate it to a charity either. Cant take it to the dumps for the same reason. Any suggestions?

            • Cheaters and their junk. ?

              There is an argument to be made (in specific locales) that the Cheater’s crap is marital-property and therefore a Chump may dispose of it any way she sees fit. (Ask your lawyer and consider the court’s opinion.)

              That being said (ask me about my disclaimers),…bonfires are fun. ?????

            • Sweetz – arson? Nah, that’s a black and white no no. How about push it into the street so the cops have to haul it away and, since it’s in his name, he will have to pay them to get it back. Or they will auction it off.

            • In many states you can send a registered letter requesting that they move it and if they don’t it’s considered abandoned after a set period of time. In my state it’s 30 days. After that you take documentation to the title bureau and can have it titled in you name so u can dispose of the vehicle. Scrap it sell it or donate it. Call your local title bureau and find out what the rules on abandoned boats are.

              • In florida you can donate it to the sherifs boys ranch and they will come get it. Maybe something like that where you live.

    • “They don’t want you, but they can’t seem to just move on.”

      So true! This is the part I will never understand. I guess I’m not supposed to figure it out, but it’s hella annoying! You wanted out, MOVE ON!!!!

      • So much of this! You wanted other women. I divorced you so you could go fuck your whore full time. Why are you mad at me? Why are you insisting on doing everything in your power to get me to react to you or call you out? Stop telling the kid I’m an alcoholic or the neighbors I cheated on you, or any other multitude of lies more outrageous than the last. I’m not going to respond, that’s what No Contact is. You wanted out, go!

        • I agree with all the posts above!!! They wanted out, and we gave it to them. So why don’t they just go away???! We certainly aren’t holding them at gunpoint to stay, but instead we freely gave them what they wanted. It’s like they’re cowards. They are out, but not fully out. And when they were in, they weren’t fully in. Everything they do is half -ass. Go figure.

          • I think about you all the time. This was the statement he made after the settlement was signed. Wondering what he thinks about now that the infatuation has worn off and his debt exceeds his ability to pay. The earth is scorched. He lit the match.

            • No he doesn’t. When he’s porking other women he isn’t thinking about you. So his statement is inaccurate.

              • My response was to your comment regarding them wanting out. I am in agreement. He wanted a divorce and I filed and paid for it. At the final settlement he made the statement about thinking about me all the time.
                I was being sarcastic noting his losses.

          • After recent cancer diagnosis, my will to live gave me the strength to finally kick out serial cheater husband of 34 years.

            STBX was shocked at his kibble stream, family man image and seemingly endless supply of multi-layered delicious cake being taken away when I recently filed for divorce.

            Nothing like a double clue by four beating to motivate you to do what I should have done years ago. While it’s been harsh, I will survive and look forward to a cheater free life.

            He begged me to take him back as he was lonely and his OW massage parlor whore (also married) couldn’t take him in as she’s still with her husband.

            Sad sausage has now turned into raging bitter man. They want out, they want in…indecisive narcissistic cowards that will suck every last breath of life out of you if you allow them.

            Now the bills are coming due and soon my big settlement. He’s shocked that actions have consequences.

            I’m too busy taking care of myself and looking forward to a cancer free life to care about his loneliness or how this is affecting his pocket book. Aren’t I selfish?

            Losing a cheater to gain a life!

        • THIS!!!! I don’t get that either, you cheated, lied, and stole from me, married your OWhore 60 days after our divorce was final, but you spy around on ME?!?! Wtf-ever.

    • I can totally relate. I have been separated for two years and divorced for almost one…… I did the dividing of everything myself. EVERYTHING! And we are now down to the car he drives with my name on it still. He refuses to refinance it in his name. I’m gonna have to pay for a lawyer. The sad part, I know it’s the last piece is anything we “have together ” so he is tooth and nailing it all the way. I can still remember when we were separating he kept saying he would move out and I could stay in the house with all of our stuff. I now see it was so that once he was down with that whore from work he could have his marriage to fall back on. Moral of the store is, cheaters are psycho control freaks

      • Maybe he can drive his whore’s car. Why should he reap the benefits of driving your car, when he doesn’t deserve it. He wishes to sleep with another woman, then he can use her things.

    • Kimhopes, I know a chump who paid for one month of storage too, in her STBX’s name. She moved his stuff in there in a big pile, and put anything she thought he might actually want at the bottom of the pile. Perfectly elegant.

    • Kimhopes – When I finally divorced and got my serial cheating ex-wife out of the home years back, she left a lot of her belongings – excluding her clothes/shoes and some personal items. I asked her several times over the course of a year plus to pick up her hoard. She has always been entitled in her thinking that I would just store her shit in the family home. Oh hell no!

      The day before my garage sale I called her and said “your stuff will be on the driveway for sale in the morning, if you want it pick it up or else it will be sold or thrown in the trash.” I don’t know if she was more pissed at me enforcing the decree or her reaction to my new lady-friend helping me at the garage sale. Either way the puss on her face was priceless!

      • The best $300 I ever spent was for the roll-off dumpster that I filled with what my XW and her family left in the home. What wasn’t worth taking to the Salvation Army or Goodwill was unceremoniously pitched.

    • Thanks for your response everybody. I live in Australia so I posted last night and then I have slept, gymmed and have been at work for a few hours. In Australia we can’t divorce until one year and one day of separation, so the storage unit is to protect myself. I don’t want there to be any claims of damage/selling items etc.
      I was hoping we could be civilized, but I forgot he wasn’t civilized to me. Thanks again for being the best sounding board and support group a chump can have.

    • I did the storage thing with Jackass. He just disappeared with all his crap stored in my basement. So I rented a small locker and put everything that would fit. I took it for 2 months because I wanted to be sure he would have 30 days from the time I sent the key. Moved it all in the midst of the polar vortex 2 yrs ago. He made a big show about how he would “send a truck” for the rest and itemized it down to a $20 lamp “in the spring.” Still waiting, 2 years and counting. He couldn’t even fully empty the locker or let me know it was empty and return my expensive lock. Once a Jackass…

  • “cheating is a way of exerting power over someone else unknowingly, using them to their advantage, and extracting value from them.” – exactly. And in the commercial/business world, this is known as FRAUD, and in the world of the State, this is known as TREASON.

    Both of which are criminalised and come with the penalty of jail (and in some countries) death. But betrayed spouses and children are just supposed to instantly suck it up and not make a big deal out of it.

    • Yes, this. I was a great wife appliance for many reasons and he was an expert at knowing exactly when to pat me on the head and give me a kibble to keep me on the string…trouble was, he was a mean person to me the other 99% of the time and Im sure that deep seeded guilt from his cheating caused it. He was mean, ass bastard mean and then he blamed me for deserving him to be that mean.

  • It IS Black and White. Period.

    Did you know there were laws for it and laws still remain in some states here in the USA? Stupid buried laws but laws indeed. Guess they did not really enforce them since it is likely that the enforcers were cheater’s themselves or did not see it as black and white.

    Cheating is abuse of the worst kind. It is stealing from another. It is destroying another’s life and well being.

    I was watching a Marriage Builder video that was explaining to couples that studies concluded that cheating was said to cause worse pain than loosing one’s child, than rape (even gang rape) etc..

    While it is Black and White. Getting the betrayed safe and into their healing process is not. The damaged person needs support and guidance along the way which, so far, this is the ONLY PLACE this is done.

    I was cheated on likely most of my 23 years with my Ex Cheater. With that cheating, he put me at risk of STDs for which I did get and thought about sueing him. I am at 400 times risk of cervic cancer and have already had lesions removed. I was emotionally abused as I was being lied to and put down so that he could gain the upper hand to continue his cheating while having me save face to living a normal life to outsiders.

    He did not want a new girlfriend or wife, he wanted to use and abuse me and cheat all the while. There are so many things that come with cheating. His APs could have come and burnt my house down or hurt me or the husbands could have should up here to hurt him and it goes on and on an on.

    Cheating is no different than any other crime except that it is MUCH MUCH worse than any other crime.

    • JackiesDone, I told cheater that his AP’s husbands could have sued him and we could have lost our home and the money we had saved for our daughter’s college. Or one of his ho workers could have reported him to management for sexual harassment and he could have lost his job. Or that he could have gotten one of them pregnant. Or that he could have given me an STD (which he did – HPV – but I didn’t know about it until after our divorce). His response – well, none of that happened. They think they are above consequences. And in mine’s case, I guess he was because in the end, all he really lost was me and the facade of reputable life. And he’s playing the poor him role now because his horrible wife divorced him and took a little more that he thinks he was entitled to get. Yes, I left a cheater and I’m gaining a life but it’s a struggle every day from a self esteem and trust perspective. Him? He goes to work and trolls the same women as before while looking for new ones to add to his list. No real change from what he was doing before. He doesn’t care about the kind of person he is because he likes being that person. And I’m certain he doesn’t give the mental and emotional abuse he put me though a second thought. Ugh I could go on but I’ll stop – sorry for my rant.

      • I’m post 1 year and 4 months divorce and THIS is what I’m struggling with at the moment. No worries, I’ve gotten back into my counselors office lol. But I’m still here in this insecure, non-trusting, scared of rejection, scorned state and him and OW are walking off into the sunset like nothing ever happened. This shit is deep seeded.

        • They really aren’t SayNoToSparkles…trust that. They just look like that to you because you can’t see beyond the pain and agony his actions inflicted on you. I thought the same thing for 3 years…this last year I am learning the truth. satan’s kroger ho dumped him when I filed, don’t know why AND I don’t care why. They are both cheaters, they blew up 2 marriages to be together, and neither of them actually wanted to be divorced…they just wanted to cheat. They got what they wanted and it didn’t appeal apparently. satan tells everyone she is a whore and she is crazy. …it took 36 years for me to get those labels from him. Fast forward to present day and satan is working on like, number 10 crazy whore, apparently. And he can’t stop telling anyone and everyone how much he loves and misses me. WHA??!! He misses his wife appliance that’s what he misses. I was a damn good one and either he can’t find one that does as good of a job OR they are all dumping him when they see who he really is. Don’t know and don’t care BUT, trust me…your cheater is still the same as he was and whoever he is with, he will always be that guy. They aren’t happy. You got the win in this situation and he is someone else’s problem now. SCORE! 😀

      • “He doesn’t care about the kind of person he is because he likes being that person. And I’m certain he doesn’t give the mental and emotional abuse he put me though a second thought.” Wow, that really resonates. It’s hard to let go of the unfairness of it all, isn’t it? I’m about 18 months out from D-Day and I can tell you one’s perspective does change over time. I wish it were faster, for all of us. But it does happen. Hang in there, ByeByeCheater!

        • My Hasbeen DID get his 15 years younger howorker pregnant. Everyone at work thought it was ADORABLE. Neither was reprimanded, his inconvenient wife and stepdaughter were erased via a quickie divorce and although he dumped her after three months to live with a THIRD woman, it’s still all a happy multinational breeding like rabbits bank family. Adultery baby is the Office Darling.

          It’s not just the cheaters and the APs that think this way. The average Switzerland Bystander wants Delicious Layers of Gray Cake Too. No one wants to accept that the person with whom they spend 40 hours a week in close proximity could be going home or to lunch committing acts that cause grave pain and financial ruin to his family. Plus, they only met me at the company outing. I might be a crazy bitch who deserved it, altthough all they have to support that is the word of a lying liar.

          The lying liar they know.

          • That’s horrible, Luziana. Disgusting the way everybody bought into the lie. I’ll bet for many it was a matter of, don’t rock the boat at work, just go along with things. I’ll guarantee some of those people are shocked and offended by his behavior. But you’re right, they don’t know you, so they won’t risk defending you. But they know what he’s done/doing is wrong, and they think he’s a fool.

          • As so many have said, Luz, water finds its own level. Looks like Big Slab o’ Meat (or is that Mean) found people he fits in with.

  • They just look at the world through the prism of their own cover ups and secrecy.
    Blowout fight as I start to move things forward, all of a sudden he flourishes his phone announcing the “this is a recording device you know, I’m recording everything you say”. Imagine his surprise when I told him I don’t care because I’M Not The One Whose Lying and I Have Nothing To Hide!
    They are morons.

  • It’s actually nice to see someone taking a stand and calling it for what it is! Cheating is wrong and it’s horrible!! Jackie..I am so very sorry!!

  • For those into logic, it’s the strawman fallacy. “You are against cheating, you want to exile cheaters on an island.”

    The first is true. The second sounds good, but I know it’s not my place to choose.

    But I do choose not to associate with such people. Those who make the initial assertion are using the strawman fallacy.

  • When someone accuses you of seeing things too black and white, you can place a bet on they are upset that they aren’t getting cake. Gray is cake.

        • Tracy I can’t thank you enough for helping me save myself. Yours was the ONLY voice of reason I had heard after 2 years of mind warping agony, soul shattering abuse. I thank you from the bottom of my healed / healing heart. THANK YOU TRACY! THANK YOU CHUMP NATION! WE ARE MIGHTY!!!!!

          Congratulations on the new book! 😀

          I am still envisioning the future filled with billboards announcing an end to the lost, bleeding, can’t eat or sleep or function chump…a future where THE TRUTH is but a click away CHUMPLADY.COM LEAVE A CHEATER GAIN A LIFE!

          …there will be FIRE ANTS too… 😀

            • Dude 🙂 …sayin! 😀

              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k0BWlvnBmIE

              I love your heart Ian! 😀 Thank you for all the chuckles, belly laughs, rollin on the floor can’t stop laughing my hiney off AND the brilliant rhetoric and mindful advice! Match Girl is a fool…someday soon the reality of WHO she so blatantly threw away will settle on her like grave dirt…keep your heart close Ian…do NOT let her near it! Somewhere out there is a love worth your heart…she isn’t and never was that love. match girl never deserved a love like yours (nor does she deserve caps :D) Stay awesome Ian! Its good to know you are in the world 🙂

              • Mehphista,

                I knew that was a PiL reference you made the other day. “Anger is an energy.”

              • Mehphista and Ian – “Rise” was my anthem during the worst of it. Would blast it as loud as possible. John Lydon is an incredible guy – a quote: “I never take any commitment lightly. I never take my wife lightly. I never did and I never will. That’s permanent. That’s true love.”

                Anger IS an energy, Ian.

              • Someone the other day asked me *the* question: Ramones or Sex Pistols? My answer, as always: Sex Pistols. What’s more punk than tweaking the Queen’s nose, signing a deal with a major-label, producing only one album, and then breaking-up while laughing all the way to the bank? Add this Johnny Rotton quote, and I know it’s always been the Pistols. Thanks uneffingbelievable.

              • Sex Pistols all the way. My absolute favorite band of all time, though, is The Replacements. They thumbed their noses at everything, including fame. Got to see Paul and Tommy last year in Detroit. Paul Westerberg = poet.

      • I somehow was able to download Kindle onto my PC after I ordered a hard-cover book that also had an ebook. (But don’t ask how I did it–not tech savvy either.)

          • Yes, there is a selection ‘Kindle for PC’. I have it on my laptop. And I am not ‘tech savvy’ either!

              • On no – I just pre-ordered my copy off Amazon in book form, as I still like books to read in bed. But, I’m far too anxious to read it, so guess I’ll go get my Kindle edition now, and I can still have the book – when it arrives – to read on the bookshelf, and for others to read. So, you got 2 of my orders today, C/L!

    • Black and white? Whatever, you cheat you’re gone!! POS ex…1 strike, you’re out! Call me a hard ass, I can live with that! What I can’t live with is a liar and a cheater! (Thank goodness for Hefty garbage bags….they fly very nicely in the air when tossing cheaters out…..just saying!)

    • Congratulations, CL! It was a broken road for you to get here, but you triumphed! An inspiration to us all.

      Your voice and the members of CN have helped in ways no one else and nowhere else could have over the last 18 months since D-Day.

      I’ll be ordering extra copies of your book because I know some people who’ll be needing it soon.

      God bless.

  • I’ve been accused of being a black and white thinker by the cheater. His main assertion is that there is only my way or the high way. That’s his mindfuckery about clearly what is right and what is wrong. To try to bend it into “being unreasonable” as if finding out a large chunk of your life was a sham and your reaction was/is anger.

    I told the asshole that in the case of cheating, rape murder, embezzlement, fraud, deception, frankunderwooodiness (his hero btw) that it is wrong. I mentioned if I were in a restaurant ordering a steak while thinking of having a pizza-in a steak place-and then demanding the steak place make you a pizza is unreasonable.

    I like to remind him sometimes that I am also very pragmatic. THAT is something he fails at. All cheaters suck at impulse control and having a rational mind to really think through the ENTIRETY of their decisions.

    Thumbs up for black and white thinking! Count me it! Count the Framers of our constitution in it too. Pretty simple shit if you ask me.

    • THIS. “I’ve been accused of being a black and white thinker by the cheater. His main assertion is that there is only my way or the high way. That’s his mindfuckery about clearly what is right and what is wrong. To try to bend it into “being unreasonable” as if finding out a large chunk of your life was a sham and your reaction was/is anger.”

      And THIS: “All cheaters suck at impulse control and having a rational mind to really think through the ENTIRETY of their decisions.”

      You put that so well. The Entitled One was the exact same way.

      • Wow, except mine did not say black and white. He often said I am very rigid and ‘unbending’ and if someone ‘dropped me from a bridge’ (!) I would fall into pieces. Looking back I’m amazed how I failed to see the violence in these words. (He was among other things physical abuser).

        He would say things like If you die today me and the kids will be just fine..(He had 0 interest in ‘the kids’). Did not even know their date of birth, or where their socks are kept. But I paused at that one. The death references should have jolted me to reality…but the fog gets so thick a few years into it. I didn’t even recognize who I was by then. He would say often that I cannot ‘adjust’ myself to ‘changes in life’, read ‘shut up’ when he embezzles, abuses, puts us in jeopardy etc.
        I guess he meant I cannot adjust my values to his crap. Well, he was right! Man, I just wish it did not take me so long!!!

        He also loved to throw things like me being unforgiving..(did I mention he is a Jesus cheater?) Of course he would brazenly ignore such pesky things like confession, contrition, genuine repentance etc, straight to my need to forgive (and shut up already!) lol These were huge red flags about his ‘c’hristianity’. I never ever bought that, thankfully. And it’s amazing how they are all entitled, impulsive and immature, hate any sort of rules, and authority – worldly or divine!…just like George Simon says, their main problem is they despise submission!!! To anything. In their head they are god. Their life motto is to defy rules (you are not the boss of me).You telling me to get a job? you’re not the boss of me! You telling me to not steel the rent? You’re not the boss of me! It is unbelievable delusional PRIDE matched only to Satan’s. They are insane in their own way, just not mentally ill. And they will be held accountable both here and later. Love that bit. End of my rant! lol! Thank you for this safe place and the amazing encouragement and strength we all get here, thank you, Chump Lady!

  • When we look at the excuses for cheating it always lands on our lap. If we look at our younger independent selves we knew when we were married our vows had meaning. Marriage is a boundary. It says we made the choice to be monogamous. That is black and white.

    Cheating can be subtle and blatant. All men look at other women and women look at other men. I glance, yet have no underlying intentions. Cheaters linger with the looking. They are shopping. Justification is the first sign. Yet that goal post has shifted. Then the first affair comes and we were prepped for this with those subtle signs we ignored because they were explained away. Its all about boundaries, they have none. Looking is a choice and it is subtle undermining. It begins with them setting up the stage as our self esteem erodes over time. Reconciliation is the belief they can change. Yet it is black and white, the goal post moved past the point of tolerance and trust. No contact. Divorce is the best boundary ever.

    • “Shopping.” That’s exactly it! I always felt like he was shopping for someone else. Keeping his options open. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gone someplace and he’d scouring the room for something. No matter where we went, he was always looking it seemed. I thought it was my imagine for the longest time, but almost two years ago we went to an amusement park with the kids and he was scouring for something a lot of the time. A few weeks later I heard him tell a co-workers TEENAGE daughter that he was looking for her there (she went there often — summer pass.) If that’s not CREEPY and predator behavior, I don’t know what is!

    • I get the feeling that my ex-boyfriend ‘shopped’ for my replacement, but I don’t think that he cheated on me. I suspect that he just has sex with his new lover within a few days of dumping me. I envy him–no break in sex, love, and companionship my STBX and my ex-boyfriend seem to have no problem finding partners. I don’t anticipate finding a long-term relationship ever, but if I do, I imagine starting it no earlier than ten years from now with a man I don’t care much for who doesn’t care much for me. I would probably have to ambush one with a tranquilizer dart or the promise of no-strings-attached sex and drag him back to my cave.

      • RSW–I am breathing a sigh of relief that your sense of humor is back! I know the pain isn’t over, but I’ve always found seeing the absurdity of a situation is the first step in healing. (Should you run into your cheater X, feel free to use the club on him first, just don’t drag him back to your lair.)

        • Thanks, Tempest. I think that I have reached the point of ‘saturation.’ I am tired of these chronologically middle aged men in my life behaving like insensitive, disordered, dishonest pre-pubescent boys. Heck, my boys (sons) behave better than these ‘grown-ups’ do! Thank God! One incentive to stay alive is to raise my sons so that they don’t treat their partners like crap and they don’t get abused by others, especially partners. I hope that I can help my students develop good ethical frameworks and coping skills, too. Maybe too late for me to avoid much damage, but I might prevent a young person from getting into the bad situations I have gotten into.

  • Thread Hijack: All you lucky Kindle owners who preordered the ecopy of Tracy’s book should have received it by today. Don’t forget to head over to Amazon *immediately* and leave a review. (You know those pesky trolls will be up and atem to post ‘bitter bunny’ reviews.)

    http://www.amazon.com/Leave-Cheater-Gain-Life-Survival/dp/0762458968/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1459859450&sr=8-1&keywords=tracy+schorn

    Viva la [chump] revolution!!!
    —Chump Guevera

    • Oops, just saw Tracy left the same message above (which just shows you the importance of leaving a review).

        • Which raises the issue of what color we should adopt for our revolutionary berets?

          White for goodness? Red for ‘kicking ass and taking names’? Orange with black stripes for Tiger fierceness? Raspberry (if you’re a Prince fan)?

            • I’m all for making our headgear a tribute to Tracy, but since she’s blond IRL, how about yellow berets (with fierce black tiger stripes)?

              • I gotta vote for ‘Orange’. My favorite color.

                I am a blonde like Tracy and I do not look good in yellow!
                However, what ever color is chosen, I will wear it with PRIDE!!!

                Love all ya all!

              • Green Berets – yanno, just to show we’re ecological too! Talk about Tracy’s and C/N’s contributions to worthy causes at Christmas.

              • Right-O on the hair color…

                I think maybe curly wigs, that would be a show of support.

    • I pre-ordered it and now I can’t find my Kindle. Waaahhh!!! There needs to be a bell on that thing.

      • Even if you don’t have time to write a review yet, go and click “Helpful” on the five-star reviews.

        Seriously torn between raspberry and yellow berets. Yellow with raspberry stripes?

        Congratulations, Tracy!

  • Hey! Read what the Baha’i writings have to say about infidelity — there is a fine! and it’s doubled for each successive offense!! and torment after death for those who do not repent to God —

    (1) Kitab-i-Aqdas, paragraph 49
    God hath imposed a fine on every adulterer and
    adulteress, to be paid to the House of Justice: nine
    mithqals of gold, to be doubled if they should repeat
    the offence. Such is the penalty which He Who is the
    Lord of Names hath assigned them in this world; and in
    the world to come He hath ordained for them a
    humiliating torment. Should anyone be afflicted by a
    sin, it behoveth him to repent thereof and return unto
    his Lord. He, verily, granteth forgiveness unto
    whomsoever He willeth, and none may question that
    which it pleaseth Him to ordain. He is, in truth, the
    Ever-Forgiving, the Almighty, the All-Praised.

    (2) Persian Hidden Words #67,
    O CHILDREN OF FANCY! Know, verily, that while the radiant dawn breaketh above the horizon of eternal holiness, the satanic secrets and deeds done in the gloom of night shall be laid bare and manifest before the peoples of the world.

  • Now, really, what could be wrong about setting up secret lunches, and closed-door copy room encounters and hotel room trysts where two people in love or lust fuck like bunnies, while then coming home and kissing their spouse with tainted lips and pretending that nothing happened? And for that to happen day after day after day, where marital resources and emotional energy are channeled to a third party at the expense of the spouse/partner (who is typically being devalued as the affair continues). It’s all in the name of love/lust. These things just haaapppppeeeennnn…

    (okay, off to break some pottery)

        • Then we should treat them like the goats that they are on the Galápagos Islands. He!He! Bad me.

      • A cheater desert island is uninhabited by chumps, and without chumps, it’s a harsh existence for cheaters to coexist with other cheaters and they’ll starve to death without kibbles.

      • Like Mr. Sparkles once wrote in a remorseless response to my accusations of cheating, “Like I said, I hate myself for what I have done and the pain I have caused you and I am through not being able to look at myself in the mirror with confidence and liking who I am.”

        Narcissists don’t like black and white… the need the edges of their personality disordered selves blurry so that they can constantly morph into someone new for someone new. Magic.

        Let’s hope the courts see it this way tomorrow – motion hearing to uphold my Pre-Nup. Praying the legal system really does see black and white.

    • Nothing makes me more pissed off than it just happened, or I didn’t mean for this to happen. Really? You didn’t mean to spend our savings on hotel rooms with your co worker? Oh, and your penis just happened to fall into her vagina? So fucking stupid. Some times I wish I could have a do over, where I could laugh in his face like the moron he is.

      • Yes he did mean all of it to happen. It was a series of conscious decisions made all along the way, to keep contact, respond to the communications, rather than cut if off, put a stop to it, then to take off his clothes, have sex. He had the choice to stop every step of the way, but he DECIDED to continue EACH TIME. He did mean for it to happen. I’m so sick and tired of this bullshit line that these people throw out there! It’s a standard line they use.

        • Right well km I didnt mean for it to happen just happened! No fuckhead he meant for it to happen cause he went looking for it. How stupid do they think we are? For all the ladies and gents who are honest and true here and have been fucked over by low life POD CREATURES, for all the children and family members left behind and ignored and screwed over. FUCK. ALL. OF. THEM!

    • I love you Tempest 🙂

      …kissing spouse with tainted lips…oh Tempest… satan came home one evening, after weeks of the raging/silent treatment…and bent me over his knee and kissed me deeply (now UGH, SPIT SPIT!!!) and then smiled like the cat that ate the canary and said, ‘Isn’t that just sooo sweet tasting…’

      …vile…nasty…sick…demented…insane…

      …yes…there needs to be a law…sanity needs to be restored in our world. What kind of monster bred this monster? …what kind of society lets it live and breathe and prey on others? If it were a crazed animal inflicting harm someone would shoot it…take it down…our society pays them flippin HOMAGE! Ugh…aliens…they gotta be from another planet outside our solar system…gotta be!

      • Oh, Jeep, that is just too evil. What a disgusting, manipulative, vile pig (and exactly the reason why your X is on my top-5 Tony-Soprano-treatment list).

        • he truly is Anita. There aren’t words strong enough to describe the depravity…it was and is mind bending…I wish I could ‘un-remember’. I don’t think he would survive the treatment he dished out to me those last 3 years. I don’t think any of these abusers would… All to meet their own selfish needs and not be found out. …now that is unbelievable…

  • Exactly, JackiesDone! Marriage is a legal contract but when you are frauded, everyone looks the other way! I will never marry again because it’s like giving someone a license to cheat you, emotionally, physically and financially. Ex and I had not only a family but a business we invested in. Yes, I got a settlement but will never know how fair that was because he was way ahead of me in terms of hiding $ and assets. If we were not married I would have had more rights to sue his ass. In addition the laws are so lax with deadbeat dads in trying to get them to pay up as well as support for the other partner! If it was any other kind of business transaction we would have more power and rights, but because you’re married to the criminal, everyone thinks it’s ok.

    • ‘Because you’re married to the criminal, everyone thinks it’s OK.’ Definitely THIS. My cheating XH was my second husband. I always said I wouldn’t get married again after the first divorce which was due to marrying young and being incompatible. I gave in with XH because I thought it was going to be a more spiritual,open, honest union. But no, I was indeed fooled again.

      I now think that on the whole ( I appreciate there are some exceptions) marriage is a very bad idea for women. Despite some legal amendments since the Victorian era, it is essentially a snake pit from which clambering may well indeed cost you your life if not your soul.

      I experienced emotional,physical, financial etc abuse – and really there was no real remedy as I had indeed allowed this predator into my life and my home. As Donna says above, ‘Divorce is the best boundary’ and I intend to keep it that way.

      • I agree with this 100%. We still have a long way to go. If any other contract was broken the way a marriage contract is by cheaters you would pay massively. I really do think cheating should be a criminal offense. It can kill you!!!! Imagine a business partner defrauding you, lying for years about assets, activities, moral character etc, giving you a potentially life threatening disease and then being able to walk away scot free once busted? There’s absolutely no way they would get away with it.
        Marriage is a CONTRACT, contract law is law school 101, why are the laws not applied to cheaters?
        Ugh.

          • Totally agree on this.

            It’s not just women, either; men also get screwed in the marriage arrangement in terms of how most of the laws are enforced concerning infidelity.

            Any marriage I have from this point will have a very specific prenup attached to it.

            • I actually think Men get screwed more than woman in divorce. And I got what everyone considered a great settlement. Her and the AP/bf now have 7 figures to live on and get half my pension in the future. She never worked full time until she left me for the AP. Cheating does not matter in my state and I was too ethical to hide money.

              He is older than me, and in debt. AP hit the jackpot. I lost half my net worth.

              • This is my opinion. The cheater should damn near lose everything especially in a long term marriage. If there are kids grown or not consideration should be taken for them. Support or if older in trust if. I made asswipe give me half his business in trust for our kids not that whores kids. I have nothing to do with the running of it but im half owner. On paper im not reresponsible for anything. Thats on him. Upon his demise he will go first anger will get him im sure I will deal with it as im half owner and will come to me in trust for our kids. Hers can go fuck themselves they are so proud mom got herself a man married he was no problem. Leave your bitch wife marry mom all is good! Even if they do get back together and marry she has no claim on his business as it was in service seventeen years before she met him. I made him do an iron clad will that cant be changed part of his freedom requirements. Not for me for the kids. But the one who cheats abandons and fucks over those left behind to go onto a brand new sparkly family should lose damn near everything! In my opinion.

              • The reverse could happen if the woman was the main breadwinner. If the laws are set up to divide things 50/50 in a divorce — regardless of the reason for the divorce — then there are always going to be inequities. There is always a problem when there is a big income difference between partners. Most of the laws date back to a time when women did not work outside of the home, and without those laws, or the laws allowing women to own property, etc., in their own names, the woman could be completely destitute unless she danced to whatever tune her spouse played.

                The dissolution of a marriage is like the dissolution of a business agreement as far as the courts are concerned. They cannot really listen to endless arguments about who bought the pink lamp or who sat in the blue chair more often — they have to have some type of rules to regulate the distribution of property. Many of us know that any “evidence of wrongdoing” we obtained by joining the marriage police is probably only the tip of the iceberg. How much financial punishment can be doled out to the erring spouse? How many “crimes” did the wayward one actually commit? If the police catch a career criminal and have enough evidence to incarcerate or even get the death penalty for even 1 crime — the zillion other crimes the criminal committed during a lifetime of criminal activity are not individually punished.

                Most of us are emotionally devastated because of the betrayal, but we also suffer financial loss. We may be accused of black and white thinking — but I know in my experience although the ex felt entitled to cheat wherever and whenever he pleased, he also did not want me to feel any entitlement to act the same way. I was not supposed to “move on” even after the divorce!! Ridiculous, right? One rule for cheaters, another for chumps.

                Some people never make a decision over whether or not something is right or wrong — others make instant decisions. It has to do with personality type. I may listen to shades of guilt arguments for many other crimes — but I doubt anyone would ever let me actually be a judge in Cheater Court. If two people agree to be exclusive and one of them changes the agreement without the knowledge of the other — that is grounds for dissolution of the agreement. No buts or whining allowed.

              • Chew I am hoping retirement is not in your near future. Does she get it when you retire? Or do you have to pay her now? Be sure to update your beneficiaries on your pension.

        • Unfortunately down here the law makes no distinction between de facto relationships and marriage. You can’t protect your financial independence by not getting married as I have learned at my expense and the choice between total emotional and financial commitment to each other and a purely emotional commitment has been removed. No one has gained anything except crooks.

    • My cheater STBXW out-earns me by a wide margin. We are divorcing in a “fault-divorce” state. She’s a lawyer, but she’s not interested in justice. I’ll keep y’all posted.

  • Black and white ROCKS.

    Since my experience of Mr Ambivalence and his overlapping relationships, I have found that taking a black and white approach to all future prospective dates has protected me from some very dodgy men.

    I don’t do ‘it’s complicated’. I don’t do grey. And I especially don’t do 50 Shades of Grey!

  • “However, when you hang around people who do “wrong” things, and those values don’t align with your values, it chips at your soul. It erodes your sense of yourself. You become someone who makes excuses and creates extenuating circumstances to align their “wrong” with your value system. You spackle.

    This is So Very True. My ex has been gone for 2 1/2 years (after I forced him out). In recovering my soul and person, I have picked up on some automatic behaviors I gleaned from him during our 30 year marriage. Several of those behaviors and thought patterns I DID NOT bring into the marriage, and NEED to break those habits. It is an eye-opening journey recovering who you are. Mainly, mine has to do with how money is handled.

    I wound up living in a way, that had you had said to me this is how I would be living down the road – I would have RUN the other direction. But I was very young (he was 11 years my senior) and really didn’t know any better. Unfortunately, he had a major hand in shaping my adulthood. But I am SO much stronger now that he’s gone.

  • Cheating is wrong. That’s it. It is black and white. The cheaters bring the gray.

    Definition of gray (as an adjective): dull and nondescript; without interest or character. – Describes a cheater pretty spot on doesn’t it?

  • What’s more is that just like that commenter you quoted, cheaters like to amplify the stakes so that they can force you into facing a false dichotomy.

    For my ex, it was, “I know that you are supposed to think that cheaters are terrible people, but it’s not that black and white.”

    Well for my part, I never said that cheaters had to be terrible people. Those were her words. But she was trying to force me into a choice between calling her Hitler and placing her actions in some kind of moral gray area. A false choice if ever there was one.

    Now she has turned out to be pretty damn awful, but cheating by itself didn’t make her so. Doing a terrible thing doesn’t necessarily mean you’re bad to the core (though it’s harder to do something like that unless something is rotten about you). I’d argue that she cheated because she’s terrible, not the other way around. But it did make her untrustworthy. It didn’t mean she’d never do any good for the world, but she was no good for me anymore.

    • “I know that you are supposed to think that cheaters are terrible people, but it’s not that black and white.”

      Is gracing cheaters with an answer worth it? Not really, to cheaters, NC and your silence feels like the loudest fuck you imaginable. But if you are unable to stay NC, how about replying something like: “It’s true nothing is completely black and white. Hitler took great care of his pet dogs, that’s just not what he ended up being most remembered for.”

  • What a twit!!! The cheater thought she wrote a brilliant cheater apology letter on her blog. It’s obvious she imagined she was writing something profound and get sympathetic kibbles. Cheaters want attention, they can twist their shit behaviour into acting as though they are the victim.

    Watch out…..when their agenda is challenged, they get mean, they insult, they get judgy about being judged. How ironic that she is judgy for being judged. She spouts the predictable black and white straw man argument and embellishes with a dramatic desert island prison scenario as though she’s a victim.

    This cheater wanted her blog to be a place of cheap kibbles, a place where she would get attention and admiration for her poor writing skills and fucked up character.

    She’s a typical cheater, a self involved bullshit spouting, passive aggressive judgy cheater.

  • Not long ago during a NC fail, The Entitled One said to me, “So according to your view, the only moral thing for me to do was leave?” I said, “No, first you were supposed to sit me down and have a conversation with me about how things were so bad for you that if they didn’t change, you’re going to leave. Then if things didn’t change, yes, you were supposed to leave before pursuing other women.”

    He gave me this befuddled look as though he couldn’t imagine why he would do that instead of keeping me around to fulfill the needs I was fulfilling, and find other women to fulfill his other needs.

    • BetterDays, mine played this card – everything else about our marriage was so good except sex that I thought if I could satisfy myself sexually outside our marriage then we would be ok.

      Word salad much? Yeah, he should have talked to me BEFORE HE made the decision to make sure HE was happy. Apparently our marriage was on the line and HIS serial cheating was what would save it – for us.

      • Ugh. Yep. The most important thing in the world is that THEY are happy. Who are you there to think you have needs too?

        • The x spent 2 solid years “detaching” from our marriage. It was very hard for him, poor, sad sausage, and he did not feel the need to let me know, because I “didn’t love him anyway”. Ummm, thank you for letting me know what I feel or not, and also thank you, for telling me that we would grow old together and he loved me every single day of those two years, all while he was out interviewing my replacement, because I was too mean to converse with.

  • What if the cheater tells the truth, the whole truth and is sincerely sorry — and his actions show this? He makes himself accountable to family and friends, gets a job so he’s not masturbating to porn, and finally feels a bit of accomplishment (instead of scoring with female souls), he aligns himself with a decent, happily-married man who provides him with mentorship — and more legal and financial stuff — what would the chumps think about cheaterpants now a grown-up?

    • I’d say, keep up the good work!

      Keep at it, but don’t have expectations of people you’ve wronged / make sure inside you’re not hiding a sense of entitlement because you’re doing the right things.

      Just keep being a better person for you and good will come your way.

      • Dango, I thought you were the cheater! Apologies if I confused you.

        I didn’t attempt reconciliation or have a remorseful cheater, so I can’t offer any thoughts drawn from my own reflections.

        I guess I’d just say be careful and don’t be under any pressure to rush anything. If you have a genuine unicorn then I really wish you both the best of luck. Just make sure it’s working for you. Do what’s right for you. Don’t feel under any pressure. It’s not a box ticking exercise (he exhibits certain behaviours and you take him back). Good luck.

    • Dango

      “Finally feels a sence of accomplishment”.

      Reading between the lines i interpreted this as justification. Cheater excuses are so varied and pitiful. It raised the question about what true remorse looks like. Hey I’m sorry i ended up dating three women and that one night stand has me hooked. I moved in with her and abandoned my life for the persuit of happiness. What excuse is justifiable? Look if your spouses biggest accomplishment is getting a job to stop MASTERBAITIng to porn there are few married normals who want to sign up for mentoring that.

      Aren’t we talking about cake. Cheaters will need to update the old cheats handbook. It’s a creative addition since cheaters are so exposed.

    • I agree with Off The Crazy Train’s “keep up the good work.” Once of the things I learned the hard way after wreckonciliation is pay attention to actions, not words. I do think people can change and that true reconciliation is possible in some rare cases.

      But real change takes time and if a cheater truly does change, there’s no guarantee the chump will want him or her back by then — the chump may have long moved on and gained a whole better life. Also a chump may never be able to trust a former cheater no matter how genuine the change, and that’s perfectly understandable after a betrayal(s).

      That’s another reason I hate pop culture’s tendency to portray affairs as sexy and “just one of those things that happen.” When societal messages ignore the real pain and betrayal and devastation of infidelity, victims are further devalued. And dense cheaters find easy rationalizations for their shit behavior.

    • What if the cheater who appears to be in “repentance” CLEARLY understands that in order to be viewed as “credible”, he/she would need to keep up the good work, for say…five YEARS out? Just stay gone, work on himself and wait and see if their words match up with their works.
      If they did, then I’d then say, “good for you…you just might make a great catch…for someone else”. After that, I might even be willing to drop his new wife an encouraging word and well wishes. As for me, the relationship was too corrupted to go back…cannot do the triggers or suspicions again…I would still be guarding my heart regardless of his “repentance”. Not my idea of a good life.

      If a cheater cannot pay the small price of a good five years to show consistent change and sterling behavior, they are likely, short of that, going to say “fuck it” and revert back to their old ways out of self pity and entitlement. ONLY TIME WILL TELL.

      A cheater needs to repent for their own sake…not for me.

      • Repenting for cheaters is synonymous with going further underground. Why not file for a divorce and have the cheater humbly sign a settlement agreement giving you control over all the assets, child support, and alimoney through YOUR lawyer. Let him know it will only be finalized if he continues to cheat. That’s an amazing solution that doesn’t cost you another five years. It will take them all of five minutes to say no. Problem solved. File.

        • Yea…I’d file for divorce regardless of the crocodile tears he displays or the “mentors” he latches on to. I would make NO DEALS with the devil…doing a post nup just prolongs the agony. Just cut him loose. I’d tell him that the Settlement needs to be fair and equitable, and that he needs to spend several years facing off with all of his many demons. HE is the one who needs to find out what HIS attitudes, triggers, slippery slopes, beliefs, and desires are…and permanently change those. He needs to BECOME the man that he pretended to be. This takes YEARS to do because doing so means that he will have to face the callousness of his own heart and the pain that he caused others. This is the reason why cheaters jump from one chump to another…because they do NOT want to face off with who they really are. It is much easier for them to feign repentance before the divorce rather than having to prove it for years afterward.

          Meanwhile, I’d get on with my healing and my life…rather than watching and waiting on the sidelines to “see” if I can find a pulse in him. Marriage police days are over for me…I mean, really, how would you even KNOW if the change was real and lasting unless you remained in the same household with him and kept policing him? Not an option for me at my age and after all that I went through, and what I went through to get him gone with a fair settlement. He needs to do this for HIMSELF and in spite of his loss. I did not like doing the Pick Me Dance and would not want him doing it either.

          People can always get remarried…but the changes HAVE to be long term and solid…this means a cheater is willing to be ALONE with himself and face his demons and consistently win all of those battles, and the chumps have to be totally healed first. You have your “answer” to whether or not he has “changed” if he goes on to hook up with someone else after a bit of time goes by. A truly repentant man would NOT…he’d do his “time” and hope for reconciliation the same way that the Chump always did. He would weather the storm that he caused and be willing to wait for you to heal. YEARS…if you are still available.

          The man who left CANNOT be the “same” man who returns.

      • Bwhaahahahahahahaha. LOL! I kind of want to print this out and hang it in my office. All it needs is Right Said Fred “I’m Too Sexy” playing in the background.

      • Ian–that picture is going to haunt my dreams, and not in a good way. (But yes, I’m still laughing.)

    • Dingo,
      Porn is only the tip of the iceberg. Mine gave up the hard core porn after being caught over and over. Then he learned to excite himself with Youtube video’s, movies with sex scenes…and eventually, real live women customers. Once he gave himself permission to have a woman “customer friend” in the back room of his store “for lunches” together every week…it was OVER for me. A Mentor cannot follow him around 24/7 and see into his soul as he is in daily contact with women. Mine learned to juxtapose his lusting…using me after he got his libido fully charged with his contact from other women. So no, he did not masturbate per se…he simply saved that urge for when he came home and “finished” himself off using me instead.

      So while he did “repent” from Porn…there were so many other ways to continue his lusting…ways that do not show so readily…ways that only someone very close who can discern his actions with his opportunities would know.

      This is a heart character problem that goes to the core of his soul. What he tells himself, and who he is cannot change because he got himself a babysitter mentor to report to. He needs to spend years alone and face himself. He needs to stop lying and justifying about his desires and urges, he needs to stop toying around on the edges of immorality. Then and only then will he be considered safe and worthy for marriage. Takes YEARS of self examination to get there.

      • Sweetz, your story is real mix. My god who would have thought we would be having these conversstions…. just imagine what we dont know.

    • You know – I think one of the things my STBX could do is dangle the carrot of “normal” in front me just often enough that I would breathe a sigh of relief and think “Oh thank god, he’s fixed”. So he would eat right, or go to the gym, or read a book and have something interesting to say… something that made me think we were back on track to what I thought our relationship would be. But I realized it never stuck after a while. He would eventually stop going to the gym, or decide the hobby was dumb… whatever it was he would go back to his selfish ways. On the far end of the spectrum, I would go a long time without finding his car at his AP house, then one day… I would drive by and there it was. He was back to his old behavior and couldn’t even be bothered to be good about hiding it.

      So in my case – my answer would be: No – I would not think he had changed. Generously speaking, I would say that he was going through the motions of actually trying to be “normal”, but I know this game and give it 2 weeks or 2 months or 6 months, but he will go back to his selfish ways. Being less generous, I would know that he is trying to dangle the “normal” carrot in front of me so that he doesn’t have to face the consequences of his behavior.

      But none of these things represent true change. He’s a selfish, obese, toddler in declining health who wants to fuck his coworker while the wife appliance runs things at home and is on record that he hasn’t gotten rid of me because he “doesn’t want to give me half”. I know those carrots will eventually rot and I will still be left with nothing.

    • Time. He has to pass the test of time. And the Chump has to have some time, also, to de-program and work on not spackling. Hitting the hopium pipe often allows us to hear what we want to hear, and cheaters are good at lying and covering up. They are perfectly capable of following a script for genuine naugahyde remorse. I simply don’t trust that people are “sorry.” And I don’t think people change because they get caught cheating (or stealing, etc.). How much initiative has the cheater taken for getting individual counseling with a competent therapist? How thoroughly has the cheater unpacked the entitled thinking that allowed the affair in the first place? What has replaced the habits and routines that supported an affair? Is it remorse or self-pity and preservation of cake?

      And frankly, I would never be able to look at the guy and not think “you preferred someone else to me” and were wiling to drag my heart down a thousand miles of gravel road behind your truck. Cheating for me–one and done. That’s one of the great earned blessings of recovering from infidelity. I know my own worth. Now, maybe a cheater can have some kind of epiphany–but the devaluation that has to go on to turn attention away from a spouse and toward an AP makes it hard for me to believe that they truly love and respect their partner as a separate person and not a spouse-appliance.

  • Wait just a damn minute!
    There is nothing wrong with abandoning my cheater on a deserted island immediately!
    If I could afford a deserted island it would have been a distinct possibility!
    No Contact is essentially creating an Elba Island in your soul where the little Napoleon in your life has been exiled only to be dropped the occasional message in a bottle saying…..”send that check you’re required by law to provide.”

    • Please let me know if you ever can afford that deserted island. The news would report on mass disappearances of some really disreputable people. If I didn’t hate reality TV, I’d think there was another stupid show in the making.

    • We could just leave the cheaters on the island until they learned empathy and morals. with a few seed packs for self-sufficiency. Wait, they rarely learn, nor could they be self-sufficient. Fuck it, leave them there.

      • Give them a send off by shooting them from a cannon from the ship. Air drop supplies including a blow up doll and plenty of sunscreen.

    • “an Elba Island in your soul where the little Napoleon in your life has been exiled only to be dropped the occasional message in a bottle saying…..”send that check you’re required by law to provide.””

      This is the most marvelous mental image I have ever read anywhere, at any time!

      It is absolutely poetic.

  • Appropriate post today given my ongoing circumstances, CL. Thanks!

    A couple of weeks ago, I had to end my first post-divorce long-term relationship. The reason: my girlfriend disagreed with me regarding boundaries with another man. No actual cheating took place, as far as I know. But she couldn’t grasp the basic concept that she should not spend time with him, given their past and given the possibility of developing attraction again.

    We had several long talks and disagreements in which she repeatedly told me, “You’re very black and white in your thinking.”

    There is nothing more frustrating than having to explain standard morality to someone and then be told that you’re being too rigid in that worldview. As CL says, it’s not that they don’t see…they just disagree.

    I’m still working in my picker, it appears. And that’s fine. I’m comfortable with my “black-and-white” worldview. When you’re with me, I’m your #1, and there is no backup plan. If not, goodbye.

    • JC,

      Good for you for sticking to your boundaries. Sounds like your picker is fine because you didn’t pick to stay with her.

    • Good for you…recognizing a very big red flag!…and sticking to your boundaries!…my first long term post divorce relationship ended recently as well, it sucks, but still better than being with a cheater!

    • It reminds me of today’s Dear Abby, in which a married woman said that she loved her husband, but her boss was very tempting and had asked her for drinks and he was the top lawyer in the firm. Abby asked her to consider how she’d feel if it were her husband asking if it were okay to go out for drinks with some tempting woman, and also suggested that if things went south, the writer would perhaps lose her job or worse, and by the way, the married lawyer who asked her out has probably done that stuff before.

      However the real issue in all of that was boundaries. Married people don’t go off for drinks with people to whom they’re attracted. They see the danger signs and start to put up Keep off the Grass signs and go build fences.

      It’s not hard and it’s not rocket science.

  • I’ve been told more than once that my morals don’t leave any room for anything else. I have driven through the drive-through twice to return too much change given to me, I’ve returned to stores to pay for items that were on the bottom of my grocery cart and never paid for and I have had difficult conversations with people because they needed the truth. I make human mistakes and sincerely apologize for my behavior, attitude, or thoughtlessness. At 18 I took an oath to defend my country against all enemies. I later took another oath to serve and protect all citizens. They are sworn oaths, promises and I mean every word and will give my life in defense of others.

    I also took a vow to love, honor, and cherish. It was also a promise but it was not broken my me. I am who I associate with. I will not associate with cheaters, liars, or those who do not have a sense of right and wrong or duty to their fellow human being. This is why I filed for divorce and friends he and I will never be.

    • Thank you Anne, for your services!! I’m with you in what you are saying. Vows, all sorts of vows, are very important and should not be taken lightly. If we can’t be taken at our word, then what is giving our word worth. To a cheater, any type of cheater, someone who steals and other offenses, none of the vows they took mean a thing. It is a weird world we live in. Our vow is our oath. What is so damn hard about knowing what that means. If you are not on board with the vows you are taking, then man or woman up, just say NO. It really is that easy.

    • Anne, THANK YOU for your service! I am in awe of you! And I hope some day soon I can be as strong as you!

  • “. . . That any amount of cheating”?????? Is she really trying to qualify TYPES of cheating?? For fucks sake – I’m so over this bullshit. BLACK AND WHITE. BLACK AND WHITE. BLACK AND WHITE. So there.

  • Moral ambiguity is a dangerous thing and is becoming more and more prevalent. It’s a fools sense of tolerance. Though there are grey areas somethings are always wrong. Objective morality is sometimes not so nice because accountability comes into play. You have to be ready to be a hard ass. And for the sake of decency, that’s what it takes.

    “Making that leap is a way to discredit people who call out something as wrong.” – Love this.

    I think the people who call this blog “black in white” is themselves that way and it’s why they see it like that. Indeed, CL does not advocate punishment for the cheater, but empowerment for the chump. If the cheater feels punished then it’s just them feeling the consequences.

    • “CL does not advocate punishment for the cheater, but empowerment for the chump. If the cheater feels punished then it’s just them feeling the consequences.”

      Outstanding, Michael!

    • “Moral ambiguity is a dangerous thing and is becoming more and more prevalent. It’s a fools sense of tolerance.”

      Yes to this, Michael. Erosive to society in general, but most perversely to adolescents and young adults.
      It is an honour to have a forum to discuss this candidly. My hope is that CN speaks out vs this at every opportunity. I will be uncomfortable but betrayal was more discomforting.

  • Shades of grey is where these cheaters love to live. That way they can operate covertly and twists things to their advantage. Certain things are black and white, like killing is wrong, cheating is wrong. How would they like it if they got f-ed over by someone, let’s see them sing that the situation is not black and white. They certainly won’t be claiming what was done to them is grey. Hypocrites.

    • “How would they like it if they got f-ed over by someone” – I agree that cheaters wouldn’t like it and if happened to them they would probably view cheating B & W. Hypocrites!

      My cheating ex-wife was cheated on from her boyfriend years before she met me. I remember when we were dating she mentioned to me how painful his cheating affected her. Even though she felt that pain in the past, that didn’t stop her from cheating on me.

      In the end, she just couldn’t keep her mask on anymore. She knew my view on marriage was forever. She took my commitment and used it against me assuming I would never leave her. She was dead wrong.

      Cheating is B&W. Cheaters bring the gray because they are cruel, selfish, entitled, lacking of impulse control and they have the ability to suppress empathy to chumps and their kids. Gray is just so ugly.

      • I said that exact same thing to asswipe how would you like what you did to me done to you?He told me to stop being stupid and playing the victim. Just forgive and forget all is good. Seriously?! I am a victim. Of him! Easy to say when your on the inside looking out from lala land just trying to justify himself and his actions. Asshole! He would have gone insane and I most likely would have ended up in the hospital. Or worse. People break up all the time no big deal so what? If it had been open and honest I would still have been devastated but at least it would have been honest with no cheating involved but no some people just suck and they find others who suck to cheat with them. Pod people are lower than sub human may they all get the life they so justly deserve. But they want to be great friends with me one big happy family. I spit my tequila and grapefruit out thru my nose cracking up at that one. Ive never met that bitch and never intend too. If for some reason all of us have to be in the same room it better be a big damn room. Im having a pretty good time ignoring him and being indifferent. He hates it. What makes him think id ever pay attention to her. Hey everyone this is the whore the ex cheated with and left me for! Her name is whore juice! Or something. On with the party! Would I? Will I dare? Damn right I would. And he knows it. If its something concerning my kids I would never ruin their special day but I would ignor totally the ex and his whore. My kids know this. Unlike their asshole sperm donor they respect my wishes and dont want me to be friends with pod people. Unlike the pod dad they will let me be me.

        • Hiya Kar, Your ex really is an asswipe. My gosh he’s like a walking Jerry Springer episode. Someone really needs to knock his dick in the dirt!

          • Yep blow up a lifetime spent trying to have a comfortable retirement hopefully to ruin everything and destroy it. He really is a big time asswipe. He will work paying off his huge bad choice debts till the day he drops dead. Good! Someone elses problem now. Didnt think aboutone fucking thing other than his dick and ego. Fuck him!

      • My ex-husband did the same, SureChumpedAlot. Sad stories about how his first wife cheated on him with a friend, so the last thing I ever expected was for him to turn around and do the same thing to me. Now that I know him better, I’m not sure that sad story is even true. Maybe he was the cheater, not his first wife.

        • Fifi, It is possible he was the cheater and not his first wife – or – he has always been a cruel, selfish, entitled cheater and his first ex-wife just beat him to the punch. Either way his mask came off and exposed his true-self. Good riddance for you! Wish you the best.

      • Yes to that!
        My abuser got screwed over in a business deal a few times, and I just sat beside him dumbfounded listening about how the other guy is a ‘dishonest bastard’, ‘he took advantage of me, how could he cheat like this’, ‘this is so unjust” and get this ‘The one thing I hate the most is injustice!!” I almost burst out laughing, and I should have. And final one that left me speechless (I never imagined this empty, shallow, conscienceless ice pick even had this kind of vocabulary, when he was the victim: “What this guy did to me amounts to emotional rape!!!’ U-n-b-e-l-i-e-v-a-b-l-e!
        They live in two alternate universes. How does he perfectly understand breaches of trust, basic expectation of integrity, honoring agreements …no confusion at all…when it relates to him!!! But turns around to do the very same thing to me, cruel and open about it, and disagrees!
        Well, ‘It’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they disagree!” as George Simon says. I will never be able to truly wrap my head around it but I’m learning to somehow accept this as reality in some people, and to steer clear.

  • From the day I met asswipe his world was always black and white never changed til the whore. I am bkack and white for things such as traci said but I have always seen the gray places and things. Some things are just plain wrong and deserve just punishment. Lopping peoples hands off fir stealing bread cause they are poor and hungry no. They need help. Stealing peoples retirenent accts or raping children?… off with their …. uh excuse me anger ramped down now. Cheating while a desert island would be great cheaters would just reek havoc there too. Im watching asswipe suffer the consequences of his actions now. Heehee! Whore threw him out yet again for not bending to her will and refuses to take him back til he does what she says. Haha! Whose the boss bow bitch?! Me I move away kniwing I did not cause it his madness. I kept my promises and my vows to the end. I made those promises not only to him but myself. I kept them. I will on to a better life where I am only accountable to me. He has a whore who wont give him a moments peae or trust him in any way. She was snooping before she threw him out. Hes sinking deeper and deeper in debt and the ho who makes good money spends every penny she gets her hands on. Wait til she gets a hold of his money she will put him in the poorhouse bankruptcy and bad credit just like she did to her last two husbands. I am a nice goid kind person who tried her damnest the last few years we were together to get thru to his ego stubborn mind but he stopped listening and nurturing everything but that fucking business! He wouldnt even have it if I hadnt made my needs small and supported him anyway I could. Now I dont care fuck him fuck her and everyone like them. Thank the heavens for all you guys. You saved me!!!!

      • Thank you. I do have my moments. And I may add red berets for ass kicking taking names and finger pointing. My inner tigress sees red on cheaters.

  • Cheaters and their defenders ALWAYS have some lame reason and excuse for it.

    Want to search your dirty soul for some pseudo excuse for cheating? See Dr. Phil. Want to defend a cheater? Do it over drinks with the cheater. The victims have had enough of hearing about what’s wrong with us and all the reasons why WE should have compassion for THEM. Spare us the grey and hope it helps at the STD clinic and make sure you see all 50 shades of it when we do all that reacting you hate.

  • cheating is a way of exerting power over someone else unknowingly, using them to their advantage, and extracting value from them.

    “Whether infidelity involves a husband or a wife, the common denominator – with a few exceptions – is an undesirable character trait. This trait is weakness, an evasion of straight dealing in favor of an easier “out.” Whether conscious or unconscious, infidelity implies the wish to hurt someone else.”

    Frank Caprio, 1953

  • “Some relationships are chosen, and some relationships are unchosen. How you treat a cheating parent is different than how you treat a cheating spouse or friend…However, when you hang around people who do “wrong” things, and those values don’t align with your values, it chips at your soul. It erodes your sense of yourself. You become someone who makes excuses and creates extenuating circumstances to align their “wrong” with your value system.”

    These statements rub my last nerve raw. I can’t find an answer has to why on this good earth, we judge, make choices, move on, create new lives, etc. because we don’t want to associate with “wrong” and yet we allow, condone, tolerate, encourage our children to continue “relationships” with cheaters simply because of biology. If nasty cheaters are miserable people as we cry, fuss and fume about here, why do we allow our children to have such horrible models pranced before them
    ? We eat the worst shit sandwich with a smile to keep peace with rubbish. Children learn what they live. Doesn’t aligning with, having a relationship with the cheating parent chip away at childrens’ souls? The lie lives on when we minimize the damage. Wrong is wrong. I’m down to the nub on this one.

    • Interesting point. In my case, my son knows what his mother did was wrong. He always knew her character was not up to his and mine.(so far he takes after me ) And I do get that it feels a little bit like I am defending the cheater but his mother is his mother. Even if she murdered someone and was in jail I would encourage him to visit and maintain some sort of relationship with her.

      • Chew–supporting your son’s relationship with his mother is one thing; don’t force him. Children after a divorce feel helpless that their lives have been blown apart through no fault of their own. It’s best not to make them feel any more helpless by removing decisions from them. Visiting the other parent should not be forced on them (unless it is legally necessary).

        From 11 onwards, kids are developing a strong sense of morals, and thinking through what is right and wrong. It’s best not to interrupt that, or try to get them to see shades of moral grey until they are cognitively ready to do so. Sometimes children want to take a moral stand, and refuse to see the cheating parent for a year, then resume relations. If they set boundaries that are healthy, we should encourage it. I made the mistake of forcing my then-13 year old to see her father during the Christmas holidays right after D-day. It was disastrous (though she did deliver him a tongue-lashing that I wish I had been there to hear). She’s now 15, and when we talked about that visit to cheaterdad the other day, her comment to me about forcing her to go was “Major parenting mistake on your part.”

        • Agreed Tempest. My son is an adult now(19). I am not involved in his relationship with his Mom. That is up to him. However, I do think it is good that he maintains one with her. She is deeply flawed, a bit pathetic, selfish, but not particularly evil. And it is his Mom.

    • I continue to have an issue with this too. My ex isn’t someone I want my kids to emulate. I have had to make this clear. I have told my 15 year old son that this is not how a man treats a woman, this is not how you deal with problems in the relationship etc. Now I just have to keep quiet and let him have a relationship with his asshat dad and his whore. It kills me that these types of people are in important roles in my kids lives. Big shit sandwich.

  • My X’s favorite rhetorical tactic when I first started timidly calling him on his BS was to respond with, “So what do you want to do, get a divorce?” Besides the implicit threat of abandonment for not toeing the line, there was always the need to catastrophize and take an issue that could have been addressed by, say, a willingness to listen, respond honestly, and change the behavior, to its most extreme remedy, divorce.

    Of course now I wish I’d simply said yes to that, but it reminds me of the comment about sending cheaters to a desert island. Sheesh.

  • Hazy language is the cheater’s friend. To this day I have a serious aversion to the phrase “people are complicated” . What the hell does that mean? I know what it infers. This generalized, mushy, watered down, meaningless limp language tries to smoke screen basic shit behavior. “People like to eat” . “People exhale carbon dioxide”. Things tend to fall down, not u

    Months after my discovery and divorce of my ex-wife, I ran into my ex and her affair partner (now boyfriend) at a restaurant. His sage and bold comment to me was “it is what it is”. Fun fact; he is still married (not to my ex wife!)

    • Hahaha, Chumpion! And I’d lay money he will stay married. They are both fools, and I feel sorry for the guy’s wife. You are well out of it.

    • Next time finish the sentence for asswipe, “It is what it is, but it becomes what I make it.” Fuck him.

    • How original and deep, he sounds like an intellectual. It’s disgusting and creepy behavior. That’s what it is.

  • Off Topic!!!

    Hey Tracy! Got my Kindle Version of your book delivered to me this morning. Have already started reading! THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH! It is totally awesome & kick-butt!

    Forge on, Woman…..ForgeOn!

  • some early commenters mentioned that the cheater wanted out and now they won’t leave, or as someone on the forums put once….they wanted to fuck around, now they won’t fuck off. my XH has other women in his life that think he is great, why won’t he just leave me alone? clearly he didn’t love or respect me, i have been NC for 7 months, yet he monitors my life (going to court for restraining order), and his anger over the situation he caused is worse now than ever. Why won’t they GO AWAY???

  • “However, when you hang around people who do “wrong” things, and those values don’t align with your values, it chips at your soul. It erodes your sense of yourself. You become someone who makes excuses and creates extenuating circumstances to align their “wrong” with your value system. You spackle.

    And then you often find yourself in the shit, when this person turns their powers of wrong on you.”

    Wow couldn’t be better said. I used to have a “best friend” whom I hung out with that was married but cheating. She often used me as an excuse to get away from her husband. She would say my girlfriends are the most important thing to me. Ha…. One day I came home from work early and caught her and my boyfriend in my bed butt naked… champagne on the table, Madonna playing in the background… it was gross. I kicked everyone out and made a little visit to her husband to make sure he was informed. Since then I am really picky about whom I hang out with. If I see crappy morals I am out of there because they will eventually turn on you!

    Thx CL…. so nice to have everything verified and put in black and white!

    • OMG Chump Lisa! I can’t even imagine what you and other Chumps go through when your friend is the OW. Helluva Shit sandwich there! The only good thing I can imagine is that you didn’t Spackle or do the pick me dance with either of them. Am I right? You severed the gangrenous limbs immediately so you could save yourself and your sanity, right? Did your former friend’s husband divorce her?

  • What kills me is both STBX and his step-mother insist that “he made a mistake, HE is not a mistake.”

    Um…he did NOT make a mistake. He made a DECISION to secretly fuck strangers, prostitutes, web cam porn whores over and over again. Every day. For years. Secretly. Spending all the savings.

    His image management, and for some strange reason, his STEP-MOTHER’S image management of him, is based on a lie. Maybe he’s “not a mistake” but he is an asshole. Seems pretty black and white to me.

    One silver lining is that I no longer have any qualms about calling bullshit on liars and cheaters.

    I used to think my tolerance was a testament to my open-mindedness. Now I see it as a weakness that STBX exploited.

    And he did it ON PURPOSE. So fuck him.

  • can someone explain to me why adultery is considered a no fault divorce is so many states here? i faced my ex in court last week and was told i need to give him some of my 401k because the court will not let me get away without giving anything. so why is it that i have to pay my cheater??

    • Gera

      I’m not sure what state you are in. I am also in a no fault state. My amazing lawyer made sure to mention his numerous affairs in a document the judge was privy to.

      Do not assume equitable distribution means 50/50 as it does not. Review all debts and assets. Check all bank statements. You will be surprised at what you find. Review credit cards for cash advances and his spending in the OW. X was making cash withdrawals steadily. Everything you own is an assert. Does he have a prized posession (boat, motorcycle)? If he does you can use it to maintain your assets. So sorry.

    • gera,

      I’m sorry your cheater had an apparent small-victory in court. Don’t give up the fight. Divorce is a marathon not a sprint.

      Your question is non-trivial and is best answered by your lawyer. Find a lawyer who specializes in “high-conflict” divorces if you don’t already have one, and if you have the resources to do so.

      Also, “fault” and “no-fault” are only part of the equation. “Community property” and “equitable distribution” (among other factors) must be considered as well.

      Stay mighty, gera!

  • First of all, Tracy got my Kindle copy this morning and a notice from Amazon. So the electronic version is out.

    Secondly, I started taking a creative writing class during the divorce because I needed a distraction.

    Basically it became an outlet for me to re-write my story. Which I have done liberally. Of course its science fiction. But in it the Alien race has decided that moral crimes are on par with real crimes like murder. Infidelity is considered soul murder. I am still writing and editing and going through a couple writing groups. But you and this site are responsible for me not minimizing the pain and hurt my ex caused by his behavior.

    Infidelity is a crime – albeit a moral one, but still a crime. In my story, the offender and his AP are killed. Nice, huh?

    Society sanctions it and they make sure it doesn’t happen again. Don’t want to give the story away. But it expresses how I have come to feel about infidelity.

    • Good for you, StarbucksGal! When it’s published I’ll look forward to reading it. After 18 months of paralysis, I started writing poetry about the experience. It’s not for publication, but I can’t tell you how much it is helping me process what happened. Sounds like your story is doing the same for you. Rock on, writers!

  • One of the most difficult issues for chumps is to sort out what should indeed be black and white. We all talk here about how painful D-Day and the early days are. And we also know how stressful and painful it is to live with someone conducting an affair because, post-D-Day, we think back and notice how much conflict in the relationship is related to the cheater lying, gaslighting, blame shifting, devaluing, and covering up because of the affair. So in many cases, we’ve lived for months or years with a false reality. How do we get back to baseline reality, to knowing who we are and what we want and need, without getting away from the mental and emotional chaos of living a lie with a liar? That’s why leaving is so powerful, even if the chump’s hope is still reconciliation. We need to get back in touch with what most of us expected from marriage–“forsaking all others”–and figure out what we want from the rest of our lives, how we want to live, what we are willing to live with.

    There’s a concept in sociology, “the normalization of deviance,” coined by Diane Vaughan, who has used the idea to figure out how an organization like NASA could allow a sort of creeping tolerance of things outside the norm that ended up in the O-ring failures that doomed the Challenger space shuttle. Little by little, in some circumstances, we keep moving the line between OK and “not OK.” We “develop a definition of the situation that allows [us] to carry on as if nothing was wrong.” Usually by the time we have our D-Day, we’ve moved that line a lot, accepting things that would not have been acceptable prior to the relationship or marriage. Vaughan’s idea shows us that in some cases, our comfort with “gray areas” is really a creeping tolerance of what should not be tolerated.

  • It’s amazing that they complain that you are the controlling one and that your thinking is black and white. However if you were to do a fraction of the atrocities that they have done to us to them, they would be floored. It’s only black and white because they are the ones on the giving side…

    • So true Kurleegirl! This is actually a narcissistic trait – to be extremely thinned skinned. Narcissists go around deeply hurting people around them and don’t even remotely care. Yet, the minute you happen to hurt them in a very minor and light way, it’s the end of the world for them. How dare we!! And they are completely outraged. These people aren’t normal.

      • Yes, yes, yes, Kellia! What you wrote here is so true. I call a narcissist I know a charter member of the “Dish it Out but Can’t Take It” club. They are SO thin-skinned and NEVER forget any slights either!

  • It’s really strange because my cheating ex was very black and white in his thinking when I look back. On issues of which football team you supported, what band you liked, what style hat you wore – he was incredibly judgemental. It was ludicrous really. But he too, when faced with my anger, told me sanctimoniously ‘it’s wrong to judge you know’. Weird.

    • yeah, that is weird> I got the same thing from my ex—. There wasn’t ever “gray area” with him, except lying, cheating, and stealing from me — then it was all negotiable!!!!

  • Any accusation by a cheating liar that my thinking is wrong automatically underscores the veracity of my line of thought.

  • The OW told my then 16-year old daughter at their first meeting that “You can’t help who you fall in love with.” Actually, YES YOU CAN! I sure didn’t appreciate her planting such seeds of bullshit in my kid’s head in the name of appearing more likable and blameshifting their affair on fate.

    • Gosh Barb that would be infuriating. The sad part is the inept OW probably really believes that “you can’t help who you fall in love with” or as you said it’s for image management. Either way what a dumb twat.

      A statement like that is equivalent to saying – I can’t help it that I ran over that pedestrian while I was driving under the influence. There is nothing I could of done to have prevented it, it just happened.

      • One of my ex’s idiotic AP’s tried the same thing, said it to my daughter, her sons, her (now-ex) husband, mutual friends, etc…. As a way to explain why they each literally lead double lives for 15 years unbeknownst to their respective spouses and children.

        My response? Maybe you can’t help who you love, but you sure as hell can help what you do.

        Cheaters’ response? Blank stare

    • I believe that you can’t help who you fall in love with.

      But you sure as hell can help WHAT YOU DO ABOUT IT.

      Which means putting up good boundaries if that person happens to be unavailable, and NOT acting on your feelings, and examining your own life to see what vulnerabilities are sloshing around in there that made you fall in love with someone who is unavailable.

      That’s what decent, honest grownups do.

      However, cheaters and other infants seem to think that falling in love is a licence to fuck, no matter what the circumstances.

      And therein lies the difference.

    • My response to the 16 year old might be something along the lines of…’ Some people have difficulty telling the difference between lust and love, and when they lust for someone they cross boundaries and flirt and do things that disrespect the marriage. Then when they get caught sneaking and lying they blame the universe (aka love just falls from the sky) instead of their own choices and behavior.

  • Years ago I read an article by an expert in domestic abuse. The expert said whenever a tv host would interview a victim who was willing to speak about it on tv, the host would usually say, “We also want to interview the other person (abuser) because we want to air the two sides…” The expert said, “There are NOT TWO SIDES TO ABUSE.”

    • But there are mutual abuse cases. Not saying any victim deserves being abused. I’m just saying it’s not always a one way street.

      I’ve seen enough life in 5+ decades to know that humans are very creative in the ways they choose to abuse other humans.

      One gets verbally abusive, the other physically, then the first one goes out and has an affair. The cycle of abuse continues and escalates until someone is seriously injured or dead. Either at their own hand or at the hand of their co-combatant. Each will choose the weapon that is to their strength and advantage.

      Again, before everyone jumps on me, I’m trying to be very clear that no one, again, let me be very clear no one deserves any form of abuse.

      However, we are human and we tend to hurt those who have hurt us. Not an excuse, just the way we act all too often.

      The real test of character is are we ashamed of our actions, or do we try to justify them? If one tries to justify their actions, we don’t need them in our lives.

      In other words, are we horrified or ashamed or do we think they had it coming? Someone who is a chronic abuser is never horrified by his or her actions.

      Essentially, the same form of character defect most of our cheating spouses have. They wouldn’t have done it if only we would have given them the right kibble is the right quantity, etc.

      I’ll get off the landmine as I’ve probably said this in-artfully and someone is bound to misinterpret this as excusing abuse, which I’ve clearly said numerous times, it’s not.

      • I understand your point, Uniballer — I think self-reflection is important. I also think recognizing that we ALL have choices and agency is key. Chumps have choices and cheaters have choices. Cheating is a choice. So much of the narrative around infidelity is constructing theories of why needs weren’t met, or it’s a midlife crisis, or they were unhappy/unappreciated/undersexed. And all of that might be TRUE (you’re miserable, lost, unappreciated) — it still doesn’t explain the CHOICE, which is a matter of character.

  • What, in the name of all that flies in the face of critical-thinking, is Civilian Bride Casualty’s argument? Life-boat ethics and Crime and Punishment aside, does she even know the difference between “black” and “white?”

    • Based on her, “…by people who never imagined the day before that they were capable of such a betrayal” line, I think she is keen on the “affairs just happen” nonsense. You know, like that fender bender you have everyday for 3 months. Or how someone might just take a $20 from the till 3 times a week for a year, accidentally.

      • Well, the fact that chumps couldn’t imagined the day before that [the cheaters] were capable of such a betrayal” doesn’t reflect on the trustworthiness of the cheater, which has been refuted totally by the affair, but rather the fact that chumps literally can’t imagine the cheating, whether because they are looking at things from their own committed perspective or because they are naively trusting.

        • Totally agree with you LAJ about chumps not being able to imagine that someone was dishonest. I tried to decipher the pronoun “they” in Civilian Casualty Bride’s sentence and the only interpretation I could come up with is that she meant cheaters: “by people who never imagined the day before that they [themselves] were capable of such a betrayal.” As if on Thursday, CC Bride considered herself pure as the driven snow, but on Friday a quick grope at the water cooler led her to get it on with her boss in the broom closet. Ooops!

  • Isn’t it incredible that a great majority of people do not understand the enormity of what a narcissist does to their target? My mind becomes dizzy and cannot comprehend how they get away with it. They are such master manipulators and have so many people sold that they are the eternal victim. I watch as others deny or justifying the behavior, or even pretend it isn’t happening and ignore the elephant in the room. The ones who do truly try to support you, cannot even begin to understand the level of crazy and the diabolical dynamics that you have endured. I’m exhausted just trying to explain this here….

  • FIFTEEN shades of Gray–huh?

    My former while still married ex, on Twitter no less, after he and ho-worker were terminated from their respective ‘positions’ (no double entendre intended) actually put out a FAMOUS Tweet about ‘FIFTEEN shades of Gray’ which in his case was pretty accurate—to describe a twu wuv vaca that I’d paid for for MYSELF alone, but exhole took this little weekend vaca with one of his workwives to a Mountain House nearby and from that came a tweet that has been circulated round and round and round! And not even by me, it was shared.

    LOL! And my guess is that by that time, about ‘FIFTEEN Shades is what he boasted of, ;likely because that’s all he could manage….but I wouldn’t know for sure since at that time NY was still a ‘fault’ state: and when the judge asked me if me and ex actually had not been intimate for over one year, I proudly announced that it was at least two years and counting.

    Yeah, FIFTEEN SHADES OF GRAY. BTW, ex’s hair turned stark white during the divorce process—but he wasn’t stressed or anything. NC rocks.

    Oh, yessssss

  • Truthfully, I think every one of the damn cheaters know that cheating is wrong. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t sneak around. It really is that simple.

    Apparently, they think if they pretend it isn’t wrong often enough and long enough, they will convince everyone else it is OK. The RIC and the professional cheater supporters are strictly in it for the money. Chump Lady is the only one brave enough to tell the truth. And Divorce Minister.

    Ex one day told me his whore “has the highest morals of anyone I know.”. Now trust me this was one of the most puzzling and ridiculous things I’d every heard anyone say. This lead me to the shocking truth that any time a cheater defends an affair partner, they are really defending themselves. He knew this chick was a whore but if he admitted it he would be a whore as well, by association. So, she became a ” good person “, laugh out fucking loud.

      • I’m getting the book. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against money. I do have a problem with those who peddle bullshit to get rich while hurting people. There’s a big difference.

        • Hey Anita, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to conflate your condemnation of the RIC with your assessment of Chump Lady. Sometimes things sound funny in my head and not so much in writing.

          Go, Chump Nation!

          • Plus we all have our fingers crossed that the $1 per book ChumpLady gets doesn’t go to her head and make her abandon CN for her own reality TV show in the Hamptons. or start hanging out for photo shoots with the Kardashians. Especially if we’re going to order berets.

            • LOL! Tempest, you’re pretty darn funny.

              “No, Chump Lady, no-o-o! Don’t leave us!!”

    • That’s a great insight, that the defense of the AP is really the cheater engaging in self-defense.

  • Just a thought….I’ll be baking up plenty of delicious black and white cookies during my shift at the bakery in Mehville.

  • Sounds like all your cheaters have underlying control issues and then (surprise, surprise) they also had what I assume are secret affairs in which they were comfortably “in control”.

    I now see so much controlling behaviour in my cheater. Everything had to be (in her words) “perfect, just like she expected her life to be”. Anything short of that and she got pissed at me (even if it wasn’t me causing the lack of perfection).

  • It’s funny … I do tend to think in black and white. I have anxiety issues and FOMO issues that have made me that way. So the first two times my partner cheated I thought … well … he’s right! I have to see the gray in this. The third time he cheated? Yeah, my “black and white” wasn’t the issue. Planet Narcissist is definitely the place for him.

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