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Dear Chump Lady, Why do people help cheaters cheat?

badfriendDear Chump Lady,

Why do people help cheaters cheat? Cheater pursued me for 6 months when we were in grad school and in that time I met his family and some friends, none who even hinted that he was sharing a house with a woman he claimed was his “ex” girlfriend.

He moved into his grandmother’s place after I found out and told me that nothing went on between him and his ex. He just stayed there because they shared a dog. And chumpy me believed him because he moved out, didn’t he!

Two years later, I found that he cheated on me with my good friend. When confronted, he said they were “just hanging out/she was depressed and talked of suicide and he wanted to help” and she said that she “thought I wasn’t committed enough and wanted to show him real commitment.”

But back to my question — why were none of them honest? They all knew — his friends, my dear good friend, his ex (they continue to text because of the dog and cat of course, and as far as I know, they’ve had sex twice since he moved out because… well, just because).

Yes, I was stupid. I was so blinded by love that it took me long enough to figure it out. Yes, cheaters cheat because they can. But why did everyone else play his game and make his life easy? Why do his ex and my ex-friend continue to text him despite knowing the truth? (They are literally handing out cake, aren’t they?) I find this hard to understand because this guy meant everything to me and I still wouldn’t wish him any harm, but I value my self respect, and as hard as it has been, I’ve ensured no contact since I walked out.


P.S. I came to the U.S. as an international student and now have a great job here. At 26, this was my first relationship and I feel crushed. I have no family here and Chump Nation has kept me sane through this. Thank you all!

Dear Untangle,

Why do people help cheaters cheat? Because they’re gutless or personally invested. Of course “Switzerland friends” (as we call them here) don’t see it that way. They see it more like “I had to cheat with your boyfriend because you don’t know what commitment is.”


No seriously, there are several reasons people aid and abet, or hang out on the sidelines.

a) Your cheater got to the narrative first. Hey, you already knew! You had an “arrangement”. It was an open relationship! That’s one tack — no one tells you because the cheater assures them you’re already in the know. The other tack, however, is more common — the cheater tells everyone how simply awful you are, how much he suffers unjustly, and so, duh, of COURSE he’s finding comfort in (your best friend’s) arms. No need to say anything, because you suck.

b) This person is feigning neutrality. One reason a person might not speak up is because they’re a cheater themselves. In fact, they might be cheating with your partner, or want to, or once did. If you think this is improbable? Read my mail.

c) This person is being gutless, but disguising it as virtue. It’s very in vogue Not To Judge. Of course, if someone was robbing their petty cash, they’d want to know, right? So it stands to reason that if someone is fucking around on someone (and probably pilfering the petty cash to do it), they’d want to know, right? Wrong. We Can’t Know What Goes On Inside a Relationship. These Things Are Not Black and White.

Let’s face it — no one likes drama. And no one wants to be the bearer of bad news. (Uh, Tangle? Your boyfriend has a live-in girlfriend.) They don’t know you that well. Why bother? Why sully themselves with this little spot of ugly? You’ll figure it out soon enough. What’s five months, five years, a few children and an STD?

People don’t say anything, they collude, probably feel icky about it, but then stuff it down and pretend otherwise. It’s considered good manners.

I don’t know, Tangle. The older I get, the more I’m likely to grab people by the lapels and yell in their face, “SHE’S CHEATING ON YOU! WAKE UP, DUDE!” This baser impulse is mostly channeled here at my blog, but I could see not getting invited to cocktail parties. (The old bat is off her meds. Pay no attention to her truth telling…)

Essentially what you have with Switzerland friends is a values disconnect. Once you’ve been chumped, it’s really hard to ever feel “neutral” about cheating. If someone is okay with gaslighting, deceit, and emotional abuse? Not to mention the health risks of fucking around on a chump? You don’t share common values. You need to find a new set of friends.

Why do his ex and my ex-friend continue to text him despite knowing the truth? (They are literally handing out cake, aren’t they?) 

Because they’re engaged in the pick me dance. They’re competing for the awesomeness of a fuckwit.  (Hey, he has a magic dick that prevents suicide! Who knows what other superpowers he possesses?) They think they’re Special. He only hurts other people because they deserved it/failed to appreciate his genius/didn’t know true commitment.

Tangle, you’ve got too much self respect to run with idiots. This isn’t your tribe. Keep up the no contact and stay mighty. Good job!


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  • The older I get and the further away I am from the scorched earth that was my marriage, cheaters, cheater apologists, Switzerlands and the like are utterly useless to me.
    Being shallow and lacking a moral compass is a slippery slope.
    Anyone who found cheating acceptable or even doesn’t want to make judgements on cheating is useless to me.

    • I’ve never been tolerant of cheaters or those who try to minimize cheaters’ actions but today even the topic of infidelity is like a hair trigger to me. I’ve had friends on social media commenting about how one female celebrity neglected her spouse and basically gave her husband permission to cheat and I shut that noise down immediately. If people want to unfriend me and label me as angry and bitter I really don’t give a shit anymore.

      Part of the issue in my marriage was my willingness to stay neutral on issues in order to keep the peace in my relationship even when it felt wrong and caused me internal struggles. My high tolerance for taking STBX’s verbal abuse led to his belief that he could treat me any way he wanted and I would just continue taking it. Well, that was true for years until I reached my breaking point. Today I stick up for myself, at work, in my classes, and I will NEVER allow another person to make me feel like I’m worth less than some empty-headed, shallow, piece of garbage. Let him treat those filler women that way because he’ll never have that opportunity with me again.

      • Exact same situation I had. In order to keep the peace I had to be very careful walking on eggshells. It didn’t work though most of the time. I could not agree with his negative judgement of people, or his crazy ass views, or his general mean angry demeanor. I just could not twist myself into what a sociopath needed to hear in order to feel validated. When cock slobber came along she agrees with all his sociopath schemes and delusions. Best day of my life when she “stole” that toxic waste piece of shit.

        • Yes, occasionally I would reach a filled up stage of all his negativity and fight back but that was always seen as me being aggressive and bitchy. Once I dared to have an opposing view on some home improvement issue and later he threw that back at me stating that I had somehow taken away his manhood during that exchange. I said, so I’m not allowed to have an opinion without hurting your feelings? But I now realize that there’s no reasoning with the disordered.

          • There’s no reasoning with them because, as CL likes to put it, the goal posts are constantly changing. So you end up walking on eggshells around them because you never know what’s going to set them off.

          • Omg! Heard the “taking away my manhood” Anytime I disagreed or dared to have an opinion. The other tatic, self pity….well I guess what I think doesn’t matter to anyone…boo hoo.

            • Oh dear God… If I had a nickel for every time I heard, “You never listen to my opinion because you think I’m stupid!!!”

              1) “Listening to his opinion” meant doing whatever it was HIS way, and immediately. No dissenting discussion allowed.

              2) No, I don’t “think” he’s stupid. I now KNOW he’s stupid. Hope Senior Slut’s enjoying kowtowing to Captain Know-It-All.

          • We must have had the same cheaters. I emasculated him by disagreeing on gardening. They may have magic dicks, but we have magic knives…

  • Lack of moral compass themselves. Cheating is too close to their reality or IS their reality hence the connection that they themselves suck as bad as the cheater in question. Cowardice.

    Those are the reasons I come up with regarding WingMen and Women assisting the Cheater in their cheating.

    • Cowards. Yep.

      We are a wide range of people here in CN, but I have yet to see someone bag on the idea that if you want more sex just ask for it. I know it takes guys to say to your steady lay, “hey I’d like some strange,” but it’s do-able. Everyone is glad they’re no longer with the cheater. Just give me the option. Okay. Goodbye. Simple.

        • Precisely. After more than a year of fake reconciliation, I told STBX, so if you knew you didn’t love me anymore, didn’t want anything more to do with the marriage, why not just say hey, I found this 28-year-old filler piece I’d like to fuck now. If you wanted me out of your life, that would have been the best way to ensure that because as painful as it would have been to hear, I would have been out the door quicker than The Flash can save a group of people in burning building. Coward!

          • Exactly. Tell the truth. Still hurts like hell but at least its honest. Want something different be a man and tell me! Not sneak and snivel along like a spineless coward to see how long asswipe could get away with it! Dupe me. Clap. Wonderful! Good boy looking after that limp screaming penis. Clap. Subject me to possible stds riding bareback with multiple whores. Bravo! Clap clap. Lying and being evasive! Whoo hoo! Clap. Fucking them on my bed. Charming. You the man! Clap clap. Asshole. Asswipe daid he did it for the nookie didnt intend on becoming emotionally involved and never ever wanted me to be hurt. What a fuckwipe.

            • They never can. They really are cowards and a-holes. Someone said it the other day on here. It’s so much easier/less mental work for a cheater to be a snake with no morals than to have honesty, integrity and respect for another human being.

            • Telling the truth is expensive, makes them look like the bad guy, eliminates the fun of the deception, costs them time with their children, eliminates one of their sources of kibbles/sex, equalizes the power in your marriage … and on and on.

              • Yes, it’s awesome to be able to foil the Cheaters plans. They think they can get away with committing a fraud.

                And my motto is: Everytime I tell the truth to a Chump and oust a Cheater, an angel gets its wings! Hee hee!

          • Oh my yes!!! Exact same story here! Same 28yr old schmoopie. Same BS dragged out for YEARS!!! Complete coward!! As were all his helper friends, who “didn’t want to get involved.”

    • I found that those who knew the most about my ex’s affair were leaders in the church. He was a pastor, she was a pastor. I haven’t been to church since I found out almost 4 years ago. If anyone should have moral fiber it should be leaders in the church.

      • Bepositive, I am so sorry. You are right, those are the people who should have known better. You were right to leave that church. Be sure and look at, he has some VERY STRONG biblical opinions on that subject.

      • Bepositive,
        I agree with Gonegirl!
        DM is great!
        My faith was shaken terribly as a result of my X’s action and the response of the Christian arena towards adultery and the hands off policy towards the faithful spouse. The best I could do was sit in the back of a large church (when I wasn’t working), occasionally read the “Jesus Calling” devotional and cling to God’s promises. I finally took a baby step forward this week and signed up for my first small group in 4 years!
        Your former church and leaders do not sound like followers of Christ to me! They are going to have to answer to God. . . He cannot be mocked!
        Don’t give up on your faith. There are still some good churches and real Christians out there!

      • I feel exactly the same. OW was a pious church mouse, who used her religion as a shield against all kinds of bad behavior. See, she had pre-forgiven herself for the sin of adultery! X, who had never been particularly religious, fell of her scam hook line and sinker. I am allergic to churches and religion now. When my dad died, I had to force myself to go to his funeral. OW “grew up” in the church where he was buried. Even though she obviously wasn’t at the funeral, it was all I could do to get through the service. Affairs taint everything connected to them.

        • it sounds like they are worshippers of self and believers of entitlement. God’s grace and forgiveness does not given anyone permission to sin.

      • Do we have the same cheaters ?!?

        My X Husband and MOW ( Miss Piggy ) are both Ministers.

        Soooo many people knew, assisted and covered for these two.

        I just cannot bring myself to belong to organized religion either.

        People suck.

  • They’re not my tribe, we don’t share common values. Their common values are more in line with X’s therefore they’re his tribe.

  • Years ago, before life took a left turn, I was all “oh well, live and let live”…
    Now I’m the first person to walk straight up to anyone I know is being cheated on and blurt out everything I know with times, dates and witness corroboration.
    I recently had to make a decision as to whether or not I wanted to inform the poor hapless husband of the first woman my husband took up with of the awful truth about his wife and her series of sad chronic cheating episodes which continue to this day.
    She’s got tons of spare time living large on the money he makes as a pretty high up executive in a well known media company & jets around the country under the guise of adventure and fun and really is hooking up with the Internet guys she gets her kibbles from.
    Originally my ex was one of them- but he moved onto other greener cheater pastures. I decided the guy deserved to know, so I sent him The info I had- hopefully he gets his ducks in a row and divorces her soon.

    Switzerland neutrality seems like cop out to me now- it makes my chest hurt to keep truth stowed away from the people who really need it.

  • It is cowardly as well. Some people don’t have the intestinal fortitude to do the right thing and help a chump by telling the truth.

  • “Hey, he has a magic dick that prevents suicide! Who knows what other superpowers he possesses?”

    This made me LOL. Cheaters and their minions buy in to BS like this. There are no magical sex gurus. Immature thinking.

    I think part of the reason people participate in cheating arrangements is because the sex is really intense (because of the need for secrecy and waiting and the anticipation those things create). They develop a belief that the other person is a magical sex guru and nothing else will ever be as good, and that makes the sex drug-like. That inspires justification thinking. This kind of BS works well on people with weak ethics, especially younger people. Cheaters use this as a manipulation tool.

    It’s pretty disgusting.

    • I agree and I am sincerely hoping that having full access to that source of kibbles with no secrecy or waiting needed will spoil it for them. Assholes.

      • Oh it will! I’ve seen it! It turns into a regular, old, boring relationship. And then… they’re all done with each other cuz there’s no excitement (the cheating/comradery/conspiracy part) it’s BORING.

      • I used to think that too, Dixie & Ami. For myself, I now take the more troubling karma-bus free stance that is something I learned here. I don’t remember the exact phrasing but it’s when she fired me there was a job opening. They can always keep the sex awesome cause they’ll always be crazy!

        • I don’t doubt that what you’re saying is true, I just think this thinking is part of what gets it all started.

        • Plus, their definition of awesome is my definition of terrible and vice-versa, so I believe that they are now getting the skeeve they deserve and I am getting the awesome I deserve. 🙂

      • Bingo, Dixie chump! The whole secrecy IS the excitement. When they become available, having to do the boring chores that normal couples do, it gets old fast. The affair partner becomes obsolete and the cheater is on the look for new excitement. He might even knock back to our door. Maybe we were not so bad after all, ha ha!
        The AP, who think they are better, who think that they are special in any way, will sooner or later find themselves in our shoes. Ain’t that sweet? Of course, by that time, hopefully we are on our own path to happiness, too busy living, to give a f.

    • “They develop a belief that the other person is a magical sex guru and nothing else will ever be as good, and that makes the sex drug-like.” Amiisfree, when I confronted OW, she said he was addicted to him. It didn’t make sense to me then. But this explains it

  • My X knew which friends would help him, the ones with no moral compass, and which wouldn’t. We had plenty of friends that would have told him what an idiot he was, he chose to go to the ones that worshipped him and thought he was cool. He family hid his lies too, but they are just as morally empty as he is.

    I have friends that kick my butt if I do something stupid. I think that is the difference. People with moral integrity have friends accordingly. Empty souls have their own club of zombies.

    • Yup. Plus of course they are lying liars who lie and most people don’t assume they are automatically being lied to. The sad sack tales of woe work well, my ex loves the pity play.

      • Yes, forgot that…he was a victim of a cold hearted wife. Poor man deserved to take a romantic cruise with another woman because of the stress of me not folding his underwear correctly.

        • There always has to be a “reason” or justification to stick your c-ck in some other hole that is not your SO’s. If not, then one couldn’t cheat, or so they think in their sick, twisted, selfish, delusional minds.

          • I had the audacity to have kids. Really. That was his justification to go out in search of sex and external personal validation.

            What’s weird is he wanted these kids too. He became very upset that they took attention off of him AND he was coached by his loser, serial cheating, multi divorced bio dad that I was evil because of this.

            • Mine was upset by children getting HIS attention, too, and thus felt entitled to seek attention elsewhere.

  • Here’s a few more reasons.

    (E) People of deficient character are not going to be friends with people who will call them out on their shit. As for family, well, they’re often the ones who instilled the poor values and sense of entitlement to begin with. “Birds of a feather flock together” is a cliche cause it’s true.

    (F) They’re jealous of you and/or they hate your guts. This was definitely true in my case. My in-laws hated that they couldn’t control me, so whenever we had problems, they were always eager to fan the flames. It was his sister, in fact, that got my ex back in touch with his former gf (OW #2) while we were still married. Also, one of his closest friends was someone I had declined to date before meeting my now ex, so I think his encouragement of my ex was motivated by petty vengeance. I tried as best as I could for a really long time to counter their influence, but I soon realized it was impossible.

    For the above two reasons, when people ask me how I’m more or less certain that my current husband won’t cheat, one of the many reasons because he surrounds himself with good people. His parents are supportive of us as a couple. I know from experience what a huge difference that makes.

    • I think you’re right about the jealousy thing. Also, some people just like to watch others make a bunch of terrible decisions and destroy their lives and just sit back and watch. It’s entertainment and something else to talk about for them. Some people love and need drama in their lives, whether it’s their drama or somebody else’s.

      And on the other hand some people absolutely hate drama, so even if they see somebody running around behind their spouse’s back, they just flee the scene — too much drama.

    • My STBF SiL played the “I support both of you” game.
      I thought we were friends, but that doesn’t fly. My siblings support me AND call me out when I screw up.
      I am glad to be divorcing the whole group of his family and friends who in any way condone/excuse/ignore his behavior.

      • I appreciate family of other folks, but in no way do I get it twisted that they would go to bat for me or remain in my life once a relationship is over. It’s very rare that it actually happens, so getting to close for me is a no go. I’m nice, polite, respectful and accommodating. That’s all, because in the end…”blood is thicker than water”

        • Intellectually, I know that. But the loss/betrayal of a 20+ year friendship still hurt.
          It is their loss. I am the one who kept them connected to/informed about the kids. I remembered family events, bought gifts, etc.
          It is now STBX’s responsibility. So they have no real relationship with my kids: I do not prevent the relationship, I am just no longer facilitating it.

          • Makes sense… It is their loss, particularly with the kids. You did your part.

          • LF

            ” I do not prevent the relationship, I am just no longer facilitating it.”

            This is important LF. Once we stop applying the spackle they can’t maintain relationships. Christmas in January, gifts of cash in a blank envelope, a gift card to the restaurant you’re meeting at. The depravity and treating loved ones as an afterthought become clear.

            We made them look good. The indifference defines them and they can only seek their level.

    • “As for family, well, they’re often the ones who instilled the poor values and sense of entitlement to begin with. “Birds of a feather flock together” is a cliche cause it’s true.”
      This is so true. My ex’s family are his biggest supporters and enablers. One of his sisters actually said, “Spouses come and go, but siblings are forever.” They are all cheaters, no surprise there.

      • Pretty much happened to me too. My ex had no friends so needless to say, I kept all the friends.

        His family, especially the monster in law was so enabling, they hired OW for their family business. MIL to lad me, “If you weren’t so mean to him, none of this would have happened.” My response, “You’re the one who hired the whore.” Sick, sick, sick!

  • My wife made a set of friends that she never took me around. She started hanging around with this group right around the time that I suspect that the A started. On the couple of occasions where we did run into one of them, they wouldn’t introduce themselves and would just give me the death stare. I had no idea why they’d seem to hate me before they met me back then, but I have a pretty good guess as to why that was now. I can only imagine the stories they’ve been fed. I’d actually like to hear them some day, as it would help explain a lot, but that would be untangling the skein.

    • Ahhh. The secret friends. I’ve dealt with this group before. They exist on an abstract plane, where reality is completely skewed.

      • “The Secret Friends” — all I can hear in my head is the theme song to the Super Friends cartoon from the 80’s. I can see them all flying around outside the Hall of Justice……protecting their friends’ secret relationships from discovery…..fighting for……untruth…..injustice….and the American Way!!

    • Same here. They’d either treat me with glacial forced politeness or act as if I was contaminated with toxic sludge. I still wonder what the hell was said about me. Now, as a rule, I don’t trust any badmouthing of another person’s character if it is being used to excuse their partner’s otherwise bad behavior.

        • You wonder what they could have said about you. Scratch that! What they say about their current partners? These fuckwits have no imagination, so we can safely state that they have the same complains. Take one, take 2. These “friends” are gonna get tired of this cliche.

          The first narc I met said about his ex girlfriend that she was a whore. Another chick he’s been with, he referred to her as if she was a stranger. They have been intimate!
          So what the heck was I thinking he’s gonna say about me? Oh, wait, I did not think that far, I did not think I could become another ex.
          But back to his friends: what were they thinking when they heard the same things all over again?
          Knowing that he’s f-ing somebody’s wife as well as his ex?
          Well, I know at least one friend who’s not his friend anymore. The others, simply tolerate him, once a year. They probably get something for their silence. They probably are narcs themselves, feeding of the drama and deceit.

          • I sometimes wonder what ex has to say about me too. He always said his ex was a bitch and my friend (OW) was crazy and a masochist, had no morals or respect, but he cheated on me with both of them anyway.. guess his opinion of me doesn’t matter any more.

    • The secret friends – yes! For me it was when my STBX started law school. All his law school buddies (mostly women, go figure) were such a huge part of his life during that time and I was never invited to join them for drinks etc. Some times, I heard, “oh I was going to invite you but….” Sorry if there are some fellow lawyers out there but my cheater, well his NPD increased tenfold when he started law school and started hanging around these other lawyer-types. He shared some of these conversations with me and the arrogance-level of this group is amazing. I guess I’m glad he excluded me now. I’m guessing many of them were pretty accepting of his cheater ways.

    • Every time you try to explain the weird vibe you get from said group of people, it becomes some gas lighting, blame shifting conversation. Been there! They really think we’re stupid sometimes!

      • Yes, this is a problem as these are the very people we hire to help us chumps. And after they’ve won many cases for the cheaters- they become judges. So why is our system imbalanced? Can you see the pattern? We need to encourage our daughters to be confident enough to stand up for justice. Arrogance can look like confidence in narcissists but it doesnt do its homework. A good judge should be able to put him/herself in other people’s shoes.

    • My wife also had new friends that she kept from her family – who does this? My 11 year old son commented as recently as yesterday that he doesn’t know any of his mother’s friends – they are all new and secret and she has abandoned all but one – it breaks my heart when he says he doesn’t trust what she says.

      It’s all part of the new, double life they create.

      They don’t care who it effects – they deserve to be happy, and anyone in their path is simply collateral damage. They need new people outside their family’s circle to buy in to and support their narrative that they are a good person. My wife often told (scream) me and my kids that she us a good person – everything is our fault – she tries/tried so hard. I’m sure she tells the new friends too, but using the charm and self pity channels.

      Bottom line is that crappy people attract other crappy people.

    • I met my husband’s 30+ year boyfriend back when we were dating … the man clearly hated me and was very arrogant and condescending. It never occurred to me to wonder why this person so disliked me right from the start. It also never crossed my mind why my STBX did not invite this one friend to our wedding when he had invited all his other close high school friends. These are the subtle lessons we learn over a lifetime.

      • So funny you say that. I had a boyfriend who had an assistant in his office, who despised me pretty much from the second she met me. She wouldn’t even shake my hand. I instantly called my boyfriend on it and he said that “she was jealous of me”. I asked him why he would make that statement and use the word “jealous”. But he refused to answer. But I knew something was up. And I pressed him about it and he still didn’t tell me. But I pressed people in his circle and found out he was having an affair with her, she was 15+ years older than him and that’s the reason he never went public with their relationship. But he wanted to continue seeing me as a girlfriend and have his affair too. I dumped his ass so fast when I found out, his head was spinning. He wrote me this long winded email and I responded tearing him apart. It felt good, but I wasn’t going to ignore unwarranted behavior like that at my expense. Later on I found out, she left him because he wouldn’t commit to her. Too bad so sad. Good riddance!

        • Congrats, Kellia!
          I’m just wondering how one can press the people in HIS circle, when you just started to know him.
          And on topic: why these people did not come forward and tell you from the start what he’s up to? Why they had to be pressed to tell the truth?

          • We were together a total of 5 -6 months and by that time, I had already met all of his family and his friends, and members of his circle. Around the 5 month mark, when I was starting to get very suspicious, I actually reached out to these people and asked if we could meet in person, just me and them. It wasn’t easy. Some said they didn’t have time to see me, but others actually agreed to talk to me. Those who agreed to see me, I asked them if they knew anything, that they better tell me if they did, because this guy was telling me he wanted to marry me and if they had any sympathy for a single woman like me and I didn’t want me to make the biggest mistake of my life. And to my surprise, some flat out told me he was having an affair with his assistant!! I was flabergasted!! At that point, I had nothing to lose. Because I knew that if I didn’t press them, that NO ONE in the whole world was going to look out for me. My gut was telling me to do so. It was a chance I was willing to take, to save my own life, even at the expense of looking like a fool. Otherwise, no one wanted to come forward to tell me. Imagine that…

            • And later on, I found out that our common family friends, the ones who actually set us up, wanted him to meet me, so he could fall in love with me and then dump the assistant. He had been with this woman for years, and the family wanted to find a way to get rid of the assistant from his life. So they used me as a pawn. I was SO hurt. Yeah right. As if affairs work that way. He had no intention of leaving her. He would have married me and had affairs with her on the side. Cake, cake, cake…

              • Kellia, from afar, I think these ppl had good intentions. And I’m sure they did not intend to use you, I assume they genuinely thought you could be The One. Of course, they didn’t know he would keep you both. These people thought things from their own perspective, not from a cake-eater perspective.

                As a note to Chump Lady, could we have your “how to” filed under a special tag or section of the site? “How to”, as in how to press ppl to tell you, how to gather evidence etc. Sometimes I feel that although the advises are good, they are too general. Sometimes I really want some instructions.

                Thanks for sharing, Kellia

    • In my case it was STBX’s coworkers. He was having an affair at work and they all knew. He kept me away from them – only a few social occasions where he stuck to me like glue (I now think to keep anyone from talking to me/getting to know me/figuring out that I am a nice person and not the person he made me out to be.)

      We did run into a coworker of his at a restaurant, shortly after D day #1. There was no way he could avoid introducing me. The woman held both my hands and really looked me in the eyes – I don’t know to this day if she (a complete stranger) was trying to tell me something i.e. about the affair or that it was still going on, or if she was just getting a good look at a super chump. In any case, it was an intense interaction and helped keep me on guard and ready for D Day#2.

      • Same here – I was no longer asked to attend her work functions with her at some point (whereas I it was necessary for me to attend them all before that). Should have been a red flag, but I’m a chump. Then when I’d run into her COWs that I knew from before, I’d get looks of bewilderment, surprise, shock and/or sympathy.

        • Same here. She would never let me attend her OB/GYN appoints to support her while we were having fertility issues. Which I couldn’t understand or convince her otherwise. All made sense the morning her 20yr older doctor broke into our house to confront me about his affair with her.

          • This is crazy, man. What a horrible thing to have to deal with. Her OB/Gyn – Burglar – Assailant? Sick

            • OMG – this is almost too wild. And, just when you think you’ve heard it all.
              That guy should be in jail right now.

              And, I agree with you, Ian. As hard as this subject is for everybody, it’s nice to see so many new faces, and God knows, we all love the few men’s, POV’s.
              We are starved women here.

          • Allornothing–that is horrible. Two people you should have been able to trust implicitly–one because of your personal connection, one because of his profession, and both betrayed you. Awful.

            • Sadly so. It’s hard to imagine anyone could remain impartial to that level of utter awfulness. But her family and friends wanted to remain neutral.
              And then, after she left to live with him it got worse! Like many NPDs his behaviour escalated to domestic violence towards her. Once again her family and friends sat on their hands. And now they have cut me off because I keep asking how they can accept this. It’s destroyed me.

      • Ah, the coworkers…. I don’t have any actual evidence that they knew, other than what my gut/subconscience told me, but I have learned that I should trust that source of info! What happened was, before I had any proof of her affair, I had a dream that I walked into her place of work and EVERYBODY there stared at me like I was an alien. The feeling was overwhelming that I shouldn’t be there, that she had told them I no longer existed, and that there was somebody else. Later that day I checked her phone and got the actual proof. I have been into that place since, but I’ll never go back there now.

    • My stbx belonged to a boating community and I met a lot of the people over the years. Occasionally a couple would split and the guy would have new woman. I’d ask my stbx what happened? He’d say the wife was a bitch. I’d think…. no, she wasn’t….
      If she was a ‘bitch’, it was probably because she had to deal with her husband’s shitty behavior.
      And then my stbx leaves for OW and says what a bitch I am. Well, yeah, dealing with and confronting a cold-hearted lying cheating spouse earns you the title of bitch. Go figure. He complained I didn’t like sex. Uh, no, I do not like sex from someone using me. One of the last times I turned him down (right before he headed out to hotel with OW) I told him I don’t want to be used. And I watched the smirk on his face.

    • I remember being at a conference with a bunch of my husband’s coworkers and friends and they all seemed to keep their distance and view me as an oddity. I tried talking to some of them, but the conversations went nowhere. My husband was doing his entertainer of the year impression and basically acted like he barely knew me. Didn’t introduce me to people, etc. I ended up sitting alone on a chair in another room because I got so tired of trying to make conversation. Now it makes sense why they were all acting that way.

  • Because half the people in the world are assholes and they tend to clump together. You just fell into a nest of them, poor thing. Walk away, don’t look back!

    • Nope. These “friends” are the dingle berries hanging from the asshole.

  • You know that whole “don’t shoot the messenger” thing? Turns out that’s a legitimate fear and possibly one reason people choose to look the other way. Years ago I found out that a close friend was being cheated on by her long term boyfriend. I told her because, well, I’m not an ass. Instead of thanking me and dumping the bastard, she took it out on me and stayed with him for several more years. According to her I shared the news at a bad time in her life, and if I had been a good sensitive friend I would have realized how much she had on her plate and kept the information to myself. This woman went from being like a sister to launching an attack campaign on me. For some reason nobody came to my defense. I had violated that conventional wisdom not to be the bearer of bad news, because what did I expect? Sanity. I expected sanity.

    I have no regrets and would happily squeal on a cheater any day of the week. However, I can see why people might hesitate if the situation could go tits up and there is something significant on the line (like if your friend also has the power to get you fired). There has to be some way to protect yourself from what happened to me. Most of all, that whole “shooting the messenger” nonsense has to stop being treated like a normal and acceptable response. All it does is allow cheaters to make an example out of the people who stand up to them.

    • I wonder if the “shoot the messenger” dynamic that continue past the initial informing isn’t just character showing? The level the “friend” took her blaming diversion on you seems familiar cheater behavior …

    • Cat – I share your point of view 100%! I would also inform the Chump they were being cheated on. A fraud is being perpetrated on the Chump, and if they choose not to listen after hearing the truth, then that is on them. I for one, would absolutely want to know if I was being cheated on, so I could protect myself. If after I am told, I choose to ignore the valuable information, then that is on me, not the informant. But I applaud you for having the courage to speak the Truth.

    • I had the same thing happen to me. My roommate never spoke to me again after I saw her boyfriend out with another girl. The second time, I sent an anonymous letter but the chump stayed with her husband and I think is now doing the pick-me dance. She is desperate to know who sent her the anonymous note. She is angry her life was “upset”. I am not going to tell her I sent it.

      I sent a third anonomous letter to the husband of a third cheater but I don’t think he ever revived it. It’s sad because he is friends with his wife and his wife’s OM on Facebook and I see him wishing the OM a Happy Birthday and reacting with likes on the OM’s Facebook posts and the guy has no idea the OM has been screwing his wife for at least three years.

      It burns me to see this poor guy not know. I want someone to tell him but I don’t know his family or circle of friends. I have been the victim of killing the messages too many times or I’d just find out his phone number and call him.

      The OM is know as a great guy who has tons of admirers. In his profession, he is known as an honest and genuine guy. Barf, barf.

  • One thing CL didn’t mention is that a lot of people seriously are under the impression that Cheaters are romantic, star crossed lovers, true love, and all that shit. I think some of them don’t even realize it.

    A while back one of my good friends posted a link to a song called Lips of an Angel by Hinder. She gushed about how “romantic” it was. If you haven’t heard it, basically it’s a guy on the phone, with an ex, in the middle of the night, while his current girlfriend sleeps in the next room. He is CHEATING on her.

    I called out my friend and asked her what she thought was romantic about this, and she really couldn’t answer. Other than it was true love, or something. But if that were so, they would find a way to be together.

    It was an interesting exchange, and maybe if we can educate more people to what they are glamorizing that would be good.

        • In “Escape” they are both douchecanoe cheaters, and they end up back together… so I still like the song, since they each get the punishment that they deserve. 🙂

        • Every time I hear “Pina Colada” I think of the SNL skit the Californians. How stupid is that song? Then again, I bet they were both cheaters that escaped their horrible chump spouses and had their secret rain & campaign rendezvous at O’Malleys. Now they’re at it again, only they’re eternally stuck with each other as no one else will have them. Maybe that’s cheater hell. We can only hope.

          • I do hope cheater hell is filled with other cheaters-lacking-integrity and trying to bamboozle each other. But I also hope it’s filled with pustules, and internal parasites, and locusts, and tracker jackers.

  • The people who aid and abet are either (1) biased family/friends who claim that it isn’t their “place” to intervene (aka, cop out to avoid seeing their son/daughter/sister/friend for who they really are), or (2) chumps like us, who are dumb enough to believe when your ex told his family nothing really happened while he was living with his ex.

    My experience had a third category: a bunch of family and friends who were equally duped by my ex, but She allegedly “came clean” to them about 6 months after our divorce was finalized, when she was trying to legitimize her relationship with her married OM.

    And how many of those people reached out to say sorry to me? A dreadful few.

    Whether you understand these people’s behavior or think they’re spineless trash like your cheater, you have to move on from them. Better for you, and who cares what’s better for them!

  • You also have to remember sometimes people don’t want to hear the truth. I know how it went when I told my ex mother-in-law how her husband had hit on me and tried to get me to sleep with him. SHE BLAMED ME!!! He’s a serial cheater and has had three kids with other women since she married him and she’ll still cuss you out if you say anything bad about him. She’s one of those “till death do us part” dumbasses. The phrase “don’t shoot the messenger” exists for a reason. Nobody wants to be grocery shopping and someone come up to them, on a Wednesday afternoon, in the bread aisle, and tell them that their husband/wife is cheating on them. It’s very tempting to do so, but from my experience, the person you’re trying to help might not take it that way. They may think you have an alterior motive for telling them in the first place (you want their husband/wife for yourself). Trust me, it happens like that.

    • That is exactly why I never told my good friend about her husband hitting on me and hinting that he liked me. I just shut him down. All it did was make him go on a campaign against me to my friend, essentially trying to call me a bad friend because of “xyz”. We’re still friends and he’s since moved on from all that, but it was definitely an awkward situation.

        • Some people are so invested, with kids, who they think he/she is, how many years together, future plans, house, don’t want to start over, don’t know if they want to know or investigate, etc. They just don’t want to believe it. Think of how long it took for us to finally come to terms with our cheaters! Even if you do say something, the chump may be so brainwashed or angry, they wind up telling how they found out, who told them. You have to be ok with being outed as the source of truth. Also, some people will still try to work it out, believe the cheater’s lies that he/she loves them, is sorry, will never do it again, wants to keep the family, we just need to work on some things, etc etc. Some people feel a sense of responsibility if there are kids to “break up a family” even if it’s not their actions, only their knowledge of what the cheater is doing. It’s infuriating when so many people know and don’t say anything, but it doesn’t mean they condone it for a minute. I’ve seen situations where the truth-teller is ostracized or threatened by others who know to keep quiet.

        • It sure is a sensitive subject. My counselor and I discussed whether I should go to the AP’s husband with the information I had in hand, but she suggested that he might think I made it up and it could all backfire on me. After all, he and his wife had been told by my ex that I was emotionally volatile and “crazy” for years. My counselor said that energy would be better put into creating my own life.

          I also discussed whether to tell the AP’s husband with my grown children, and they also said to let it go. For all I knew he was okay with it. Maybe he had someone on the side too. It was such a sick, sordid situation I just wanted to get away from all of them.

          • It eats at you.. So tough when you are about doing the right thing, honesty, wanting to help someone out of a bad situation, etc.

            • The spouse of all cheaters deserve to know. Anonymously, if necessary. What they decide to do with it is up to them. But if your ex was fucking another man’s wife he needs to know. She is possibly disease ridden and it’s a public service to shut that shit down.

              • There should be a column about ways to anonymously out the cheater. People like me don’t have last names, any way of contacting other than thru a way that people would know it was me, etc. Unfortunately, in this particular situation, it’s not worth it for me…

              • I do agree that if I was cheated on and my cheater’s AP was married, etc, I would DEFINITELY tell the spouse. Crazy or not, now you know and what you do with it is up to you.

          • I sent crazy Facebook messages to APs husband. Not sure if he ever got them or if he just ignored them.
            I was a total wreck at the time and didn’t handle it well. I think the first one started with “Your wife is fucking my husband.”
            Don’t know if he is still chumping it up or not. I saw him at Target one time. (He is a stranger I had only seen on Facebook.) I was in a different place by then and didn’t approach him.

        • I wouldn’t have a friend in this case if I did. She is a very jealous person herself. She honestly would not believe me. I did ask her a few times how things were going with him in roundabout ways to get her take. They’re so jealous of each other, it’s just badddd.

    • “Nobody wants to be grocery shopping and someone come up to them, on a Wednesday afternoon, in the bread aisle, and tell them that their husband/wife is cheating on them.”
      I actually did this, LOL! Very shortly after I moved out of marital home, I was in the grocery store and the husband of one of ex’s OW walked into line behind me. I had known him for several years, knew both of ex’s OWs and their husbands. Anyway, I actually turned to him and told him that his wife was sleeping with my (then) husband. He merely replied that he would “keep his eye on her.”

      When ex found out about this, he told me I was a horrible, malicious person for telling the husband. I don’t know what happened after that, but just this past year, I actually ran into that OW (the affair long ago ended and she viciously turned against my ex afterwards) and the husband, and they appeared quite loving and cozy together. I didn’t speak to them and they pretended not to see me.

    • I absolutely agree with cheatersuck and peakyblinders, to paraphrase that Emeritus cheater, Jack Nicholson in ‘A Few Good Men’, Most people, Chumps included , can’t handle the truth, we say we want the truth, but what we really want depends on so many different circumstances, and where we are in our lives, I’ve been lucky, I’ve never had to depend on a man financially (thank God, cos I haven’t seen a dime in child support from my ex in almost 13 years) and even when I was young I was never trapped by circumstances, so on the rare occasion that a boyfriend cheated it was,’ I’m outta here’. But I was lucky, very lucky, my mother not so much, even if years of abuse physical and emotional hadn’t beaten her down, she literally would not have been able to survive without my Dad’s financial support, and going by what happened to the fifteen or so other kids that he had , who’s mothers at various times left, he pretty much abandoned them, me and my five sibs were the lucky ones. So in a situation where someone came up and told her that my Dad had cheated, she definitely wouldn’t have thanked them.

  • I think that our own capacity for denial of reality has to be factored in to the equation somehow. When I think back to all the red flags I ignored, I know it was because I desperately wanted to believe I had met the person he appeared to be. I think some friends, and even worse, relatives, want to believe that the cheater is the person they want him to be. I also believe most people love juicy gossip about another person — especially if they are a bit jealous of you or your accomplishments. It falls under the “she’s not really so great, is she” category — similar to why people watch “reality” TV. There is nothing that is real there, either. They want to believe bad things about other people because it makes them feel better about themselves.

    I know that my ex-cheater’s family is very aware that he has flaws, and has had many, many, many women friends in his life. They joke about it behind his back. But none of them have the courage to say anything to his face, and they would never admit to anyone outside of the family that he does the terrible things he does. He is part of their herd — and they protect him. Probably a throwback DNA sharing gene or something.

    I had a girlfriend when I was young who had a penchant for married men she met through work. I asked her why — and she said it made her feel powerful and desirable that he would “risk it all” for her. I said — he sneaks around and uses you every chance he gets, and never takes you anywhere — how is that powerful? She said, “I use him as much as he uses me.” OK, if you say so.

    All of these people live in their fantasy world, instead of reality. In FantasyLand, there is no time-line — no transgressions of the past to haunt you, no future consequences of bad choices made — just NOW, and no impulse control whatsoever.

    My advice is to get out of FantasyLand. Living in the real world may not be as entertaining, but it is comforting to know that you can count on the people who have proven to be reliable in your life. You cannot control the actions of others, but you can choose to be with others who show character and tell the truth. You haven’t really lost much by cutting the other’s out.

    • Glad you said “had” a girlfriend. She definitely wouldn’t be a friend of mine if she’s after everyone else’s man. You know she’ll be after yours next!

    • Good advice Portia, I was living in denial and wanted to believe he was the person I married ignoring so many red flags. I had put him on a pedestal. You’re right about other people too, They’re jealous or love to create drama and love to see others fall.
      Before my world came crashing down on me I was naive and blindly trusted most people and thinking most people had the same values I have and could be trusted. Not any more.

      • That’s it exactly Brit, you loved him deeply , and back then to you, he could do no wrong, if someone had approached you to tell you he was cheating , I’m betting he would have persuaded you that they were lying, and/or jealous of you, and trying to destroy your relationship, and you probably would have believed him.AND then cut the person out of your life.

    • “All of these people live in their fantasy world, instead of reality.”
      So true, Portia. I know I lived in fantasy world for a long time too

    • True, we don’t want to believe bad things of our spouses/partners, but it’s more than that. There’s a “bulk of evidence” threshold that requires “beyond a reasonable doubt” certainty–not 100% certainty, but being able to say “S/he is cheating” as the most logical explanation.

      I never fully trusted my X, I was wary of things he did & said, but it took me 8 years (possibly 19 if I am right he started cheating fresh out of the marital vows) to finally have that “bulk” of evidence that he was cheating. An example–he would frequently come home from department parties at 4 or 5 a.m. While I thought it less-than-optimum, I also knew he had always been a party animal, did like to talk his academic subject over drinks with colleagues and graduate students, and he would sign his notes “Late night–don’t wake me up early. Love, Hannibal xxx” The best explanation for his late (early?) arrival was his usual low impulse control about drinking, and his desire to act 25 no matter how old he was. Most of the time, there were no other cues that he was probably banging graduate students.

      Sometimes we don’t suspect them because, yes, they are THAT good at deception.

    • She said, “I use him as much as he uses me.” Portia, one of the very last times I spoke with my daughter quite a few years ago now, was when she was so upset about some young fellow who had treated her badly and who had used her and she asked me “what is wrong with me, I am as nice as the other girl”. It just broke my heart to see her like this so I tried to explain to her that she should not put herself in a position or situation where this can happen as it only leads to heartbreak which was very clear to me and I wanted her to avoid ending up like me because of her father. She snapped back at me “everyone uses everyone and I won’t listen to your pathetic comments”. I knew then that my daughter was very much her father’s daughter and now I know she definitely is. It breaks my heart but she isn’t me, she is who she is, a user.

  • Before I was chumped i was one of those people that just felt like it wasnt my place to tell, i met my friend’s husband on two particular occasions with the same girl. I thought of telling her but i first discussed with my husband and he told me not to tell because i didnt have concrete evidence. Fast foward to now, after being cheated on for two straight years and i was completely clueless, many people knew or atleast suspected but they didn’t bring this to my attention, thank God though, i found out and we have since separated, I just want to run to my friend and tell her, problem is she is currently pregnant about 5 months.. in her state i dont know how to even start.

    • Ah yes, the co-workers. They love the drama, they love the gossip, and they love a good show (especially one that involves two married co-workers going at it with each other). An endless supply of entertainment and things to talk about. It’s like they get to personally witness a TV reality show during their lunch breaks.

      And no need for empathy for the unsuspecting chumps since they rarely see them and don’t really know them, so they are out of sight and out of mind. An added bonus is that COWs also get to watch their competition for promotion fuck up their chances since sooner or later, management figures out the affair as well. So workplace affairs are all good from the co-workers’s standpoint.

    • The age old debate whether to tell or not to tell, but if I found out someone was cheating, I would tell the Chump. After all, a fraud is perpetrated and the Chump needs to protect herself/himself. And if after knowing, they turn a blind eye to it, I won’t feel guilty that I held back vital information that could save them. If after I tell, they don’t want to save themselves, that is on them. But my conscience is free.

  • Actually and sadly, some people do like drama and they sit back and watch the show. This happens-in particular-with peripheral and less invested folks like coworkers. They pop popcorn and egg the cheaters on because it doesn’t matter if it all blows up. I don’t think there are many people like this, but you find a few in most workplaces or watering holes if the cheater is the hanging out sort of person.

    It is sad to see people encourage others to be their worst selves..

    Thankfully, there are also many good people in the world.

    • Sorry, this reply was meant to go here:

      Ah yes, the co-workers. They love the drama, they love the gossip, and they love a good show (especially one that involves two married co-workers going at it with each other). An endless supply of entertainment and things to talk about. It’s like they get to personally witness a TV reality show during their lunch breaks.

      And no need for empathy for the unsuspecting chumps since they rarely see them and don’t really know them, so they are out of sight and out of mind. An added bonus is that COWs also get to watch their competition for promotion fuck up their chances since sooner or later, management figures out the affair as well. So workplace affairs are all good from the co-workers’s standpoint.

      • My ex’s co-workers denied knowledge of affair between ex and one of their departmental managers. I actually believe them. Ex was always secretive and sneaky. He’d never even tell me who he voted for!

        The co-workers were quite helpful in providing me information once I figured out who the whore was. I had one of their co-workers send me a FB request the day after I received the divorce paper ambush. I met her only once. The other Co-workers told me that the FB friend was the whore’s BFF. They were also helpful in spreading the truth to EVERYONE they worked with. I got the narrative out their before EX and OW knew what hit them. It’s my understanding that it was quite the scandal. The narrative that came after the fact (We only started dating after they separated) didn’t quite work. Ultimately, EX and whore both kept their jobs, but at least everyone knows that my ex is a cheating asshole and the whore is, well, a whore.

  • I was and still am painted as the problem.
    Hi, I’m the spouse that couldn’t forgive even though he tried to recommit. There is literally coffee coming out of my nose just from typing that!! Lol
    Just him, his affair partner, his parents, and his maybe one kinda friend think he’s awesome and I’m the issue…..but it’s still enough to infuriate me. I’ve gotten good at locking it down though.
    My mother in law after my first affair claimed that she had also been cheated on by my father in law and understood my pain. She’s also the same mother in law that let me know from day 1 ( as did my ex) that she was #1 and as long as she was good with me my marriage would be fine but when she wasn’t I should know my days are numbered.
    She reconnected my ex with the affair partner that he eventually left me for. Guess she stopped being good with me when I stopped letting him or her control me. It’s whatever…..
    Now she has her shitty son and his trashy affair partner and I have a life.
    Now that I’m on the outside I’m baffled at the level of dysfunction I failed to recognize. Blows my damn mind…

  • To everyone who is inundating my inbox with Elizabeth Gilbert news — I’ll write about it tomorrow. Promise.

  • You need to understand that the cheaters circle is quite likely just like him, lacking good morals and values. Cheaters are mentally off most of the time and don’t come from healthy families, but very dysfunctional ones. And outside his family, the Cheater will likely associate with people who are just like him, meaning with low morals and values. I wouldn’t associate myself with a cheater, it would eat me alive to know a person is perpetrating a fraud on their loved one. I’d walk away and blow the whistle for sure!

    So if you expect these toxic and dysfunctional people to display high moral standards, do right by you, and tell you the truth, it won’t happen. If you enter into a relationship with a Cheater, the last people that will look out for you are his family and his circle.

  • My STBX has very few friends. One is a serial cheater that has dragged his chumpy wife all over the planet while he chases women, has mistresses all over the globe and currently has his wife living a cloistered isolated life in a gated compound in the Middle East (they’re all Americans) while he meets married mistresses in places like Amsterdam for weekend trysts. My STBX found this to be highly entertaining. It made me sick. I knew it was wrong and I knew the wife — she was at my home for dinner parties 15 years ago– but I never considered telling her what my STBX was telling me. Now I wonder why I didn’t: was it fear of backlash for interfering? I still haven’t reached out to her. Hmmmmm????

    I had other colleague-friends especially in my 20s that were having affairs with co-workers, some also married, and I totally looked the other way. In law firms it was rampant then– associates and paralegals fucking around with older married partners and even clients. Ugh!

    I have one really good friend who came forward and said she thought she caught my STBX embracing a woman (my X’s co-worker) 17 years ago at a party. I was PG with Dd3 at the time. She only told me now that the two latest affairs came to light and STBX left for young schmoopie. I do resent her not telling me but I guess I understand. STBX denies that it ever happened- surprise surprise. Not!

    Going forward, I hope I will not hesitate to rat out cheaters wherever I find them.

  • Untangle,

    You are listening to the ramblings of a madman. All you can hope for here is to never let this happen again. Listen to your own voice. You got this.

    He texts her about the dog? Nah, he’s texting her about the pussy.

    • Now that I’m done literally snorting from that all I can say is PREACH Ian!!
      No truer words have ever been spoken.
      I have an awesome new boyfriend that I love. We don’t live together but we got a Labrador puppy that lives with me that we both adore and call our dog. If the shit hits the fan with him I’m keeping OUR dog and I won’t be calling him over it.
      When it’s over, it’s over……when it’s not over you say it’s “for the dog”.
      Give me a break.

      • I actually had the whole dog sharing crap for about a year into my relationship with the cheater, along with many other warning signals I chose to ignore. It was ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS.

  • Maybe a sideways approach is better. Instead of saying ‘your SO is cheating’ say ‘I’ve heard some serious rumors that your SO is cheating. You should probably address it with him/her’. If they ask for proof, give it. If they take it home and confront their partner, that’s in their court. You’ve waved the red flag that something is amiss. Whatever happens now is up to the chump. If it’s a good friend you may want to keep tabs on things and be ready to offer support…

    • I would tell and show proof right away, I would lay it all out with hard evidence. I would show the email print outs, anything with solid evidence, all of it. The Chump needs to know the truth, and hearing rumors won’t cut it, if you have hard evidence. That’s why PI show photos and hard evidence. It’s imperative you go armed with the truth, because the Cheater sure as heck will deny everything. So the Chump needs as much reinforcement on her side as possible and not sugar coat things.

      • Hard proof is something different…if I’d had photographs, etc. it would have been an easier decision. I could have dropped them in the mail with an anonymous note. What I had instead was a manifesto written my my ex on his computer describing how much he loved and adored his married coworker and how he was “planting seeds” to break up her marriage, along with a lot of weird fantasy stuff about her. By the time I found the manifesto, my ex was ingratiated with her family and coaching her kids’ soccer teams. Without hard evidence, I was afraid they’d think I was making it up because I was bitter. I’m pretty sure he’d have spun the story that way. I’m convinced they would have believed him. I was so exhausted from all the drama, all the lies, I just wanted to get on with my life. I did show it to the people I wanted to know (my kids and family), and they believed me.

  • Here is another reason, personal benefit.

    My XH and his co-hoe worker were well known by her then husband. What did cuckhold do? Intensely research me online – had all my info to contact – and keep quiet. *(&%$#^$% Asshole.

    When I found HIM about 2 months later, all he could say was, yes, he knew about affair for months and he DID NOT want to tell me and “rock the boat” with his wife because he was trying to get a good divorce settlement out of co-howorker. He refused to ever contact me again.

    I adored giving cuckhold information about XH medical past. They were both germaphobes – ( I laid it on really, really thick….) I hope he lays awake nights now.

    He even helped my XH move her into the love nest. A jenky apartment – where I then found my XH living.
    I have

    What the F?

    • He is a super chump.
      I think that there are awakened chumps (like here in CN) and those who are content being chumps. I don’t understand it either…

    • Omg, he was totally self serving and didn’t give a shit about how this valuable information would lead you to protect yourself. What an asshole. He was looking out solely for his own interests. Jackass.

      • No Louisvilleflower, he wasn’t a superchump, he was just self serving, taking care of number 1, he was doing what CL advises, he got his ducks in a row, played the long game, and got a good divorce settlement, he even helped her move,, he was that eager to get the beyotch out of his life Do you wanna bet he went no contact as soon as the settlement papers were signed.?

  • When I was in 8th grade, I could hear the next-door neighbors having a fight. The wife was screaming, and not in a screaming-curse-words-at-her-husband sense. Blood-curdling, horrified screams. It sounded like he was murdering her.

    My parents could hear it, of course. “Mom, we have to do something!” I said.

    “What do you want me to do about it? Go over there and get my mouth slapped?” my mom said, without missing a beat, in a tone that indicated that my concern was perfectly stupid.

    I don’t think my mom was an uncaring woman. There are just a lot of people out there who don’t want to be bothered. They have this attitude that other people’s relationships are not their business, no matter what, and they’re just going to look the other way and not get involved, regardless of how bad things seem.

    Me, I’m always going to be the person that calls the police if I hear blood-curdling screams coming from the house next door, and the person who tells a cheating “friend” that cheating is wrong.

    (Incidentally, I’m still in touch with that neighbor. She’s still married to the same man and seems happy; she certainly looks better than she did 20 years ago. Go figure.)

  • For me, the question of why people help cheaters is connected to why I believed what Jackass told me about himself in spite of the red flags flying every time he opened his mouth to explain the mess of his life. I believed him because we had a history of friendship of a kind that extended for decades. That friendship didn’t provide a day-to-day window into his character, but I had enough positive stuff to give him the benefit of the doubt. I believed him because other people liked and believed him too. And I believed him because he hid a lot of the debris of his life behind a screen of lies. I wasn’t smart enough to see through his mask; I don’t expect others to, either. Only time will do that work, because inevitably, he will go through those three stages of a narcissist’s relationships, and once the devaluation starts, another woman and perhaps her friends will know what he is. And he will move on to the next victim.

  • Just shocked by the idea that the way to help a suicidal friend is to sleep with them. Because nothing makes someone happier than being used.

    • Why oh why didn’t I walk away then?… My stbx once told me a story about when he was young – there was a lot of alcohol involved – at a party he was comforting a girl (one of the crowd) who was drunk and had been pushed into sex with one of the other guys. These days it would be classed as rape rather than “just” date-rape. Well, he had sex with her!!!! That poor girl.

  • Yeah this one always surprised me, people who I literally grew up with as mutual friends lied to my face. One of them who I though was a friend my ex actually brought to our first court date for “support”… Support for someone who was cheating on their husband. Keep in mind this was a person who I really through was a friend we all used to go to a daily workout class together and spend weekends together. Yeah my ex went the “my husband is awful” route. which actually hurt even more. So let me get this right you have been lying to me for months inventing “business trips” to go bone a married old man, convincing me for months that I was crazy for asking questions, going to the bathroom at my birthday dinner with my parents to text pictures of your upper body to this guy and coming back and laughing and eating with my family and I am awful. Oh here is a good one that she was telling people “she was afraid that I would find out where she was living and come find her”… it was total insanity. She convinced an entire group of friends that I was some kind of crazy person that she had to hide from. Anyway I do think some people like the drama until of course it starts to land at their front door. I know several people who I thought were friends that helped my ex wife lie our at least knew about what was going on and kept it from me (making me a Chump). I have begun to categorically call these people out and the certainly do not like any of that, or to ask them very direct questions. Here is the thing all of this is so “fun” and “exciting”, until people see the reality of it, STD tests, broken families, children never having a stable home again, decades of love from an entire group of people on my families side destroyed, hearing your 70 year old parents cry because someone they helped put through college and who they always loved could do something so cruel, depression, heartbreak, In my case knowing now that my EX would go and be with this gross old man and they kiss me on the lips…. Shit you don’t get over easily. Then there is the anger, but anger does not really do the feeling justice, it is more like this obsession to see things made “right” the need to get back at the people that made a fool out of you. And for me all of this lasted for almost 2 years…. 2 years is a long time for those who have not been where we all have. Then comes one day of hey it is really pretty outside, I think I will go for a walk, followed by starting to laugh again, the slowing fully realizing that somehow, someway you will be okay. And finally after a long time, starting to like yourself again, having people want to have you around, having all your new friends laugh at your jokes. In my case I literally moved across the country to get away from all the really crappy memories, and started a whole new life not knowing anyone in the state I moved to. And finally I am just Mat, I learned to live alone, confronted my demons, and have reinvented myself. It is possible, so in short (long) the people that helped you ex cheat are just like them, they are okay with everything as long as YOU don’t ever find out and as long as THEY don’t ever have to answer questions about their actions they were just “being a good friend”, well thanks for thinking so little of me, my health, and my family to aid in a lie. I personally don’t have friends that I would help them lie to their spouse about an affair, any more then I have friends that I would hide drugs for, or friends that I would help cover up the fact that they were beating their kids, or kicking dogs.

    Remember who your friends are reflects on who you are.
    Don’t be a piece of shit, it’s really not that hard.
    Seacrest mic drop.

    • Mat,

      Thanks for a bit of sunlight in my day. Very well said.

      There are a lot of female chumps here who have DV issues and scary violent divorces.

      The very first thing Match Girl did was accuse me of wanting to hurt her. Just like your ex. It’s like a go to for some women. It’s maddening. I would no more lay a finger on her out of anger than I would hurt a pup. But there is logic after they play that card. It’s a nuclear option. Run and save yourself.

      • Yeah it is odd that some women do that is also makes sense however. what is odd is that some people would actually believe it… so let me get this right after 16 years of being together all of the sudden I became abusive to my wife. Yeah okay chief that just happened to happen after you started having an affair. So she “had to leave” to move 3 blocks away from the dude she was sleeping with. You know it just takes away from women who were really abused, and it is just another way these people NEED to be victims. It takes time to realize that we really will be better off. Many of us have taken the time to look at some of the reasons that our relationships ended and ways that we can get better and truly learning who we are and we have become stronger because of it, despite the darkest days I have been through, frankly I would have never guessed that this would have all been so difficult, I personally developed a stutter, and had my hair turn gray, totally nuts. What does the other side of the fence look like, well for me my EX went right from me to the serial cheater that she was seeing, no introspection, no growth, no making amends to the dozens of people that she hurt. I will take being alone and becoming a better version of myself over hooking up with another cheater, it does boggle my mind how 2 cheaters think that they are star crossed lovers…. that is not the way the world works. What will they do when the shine rubs off, how can they not always wonder who the other person is texting, or what they are doing on business trips?

        • Your post is amazing. I deal with domestic violence cases almost daily. Most of them are real, but it does detract from who the real victims are by those that make false accusations. After awhile it gets pretty easy to tell who the wolf really is. The one that stands out in my mind most vividly is the woman who claimed she was sexually assaulted in her home. Her husband just returned from deployment and apparently started smelling something foul. She gave a detailed description of her assailant, down to his watch. It was her neighbor. There was sex, just no assault. The baby was impossible for her husband to have fathered. The look on her face at being charged was priceless. She was also in the military and adultery is a crime. So is falsely reporting an incident. I guess she shouldn’t have signed the deposition.

    • I got an inference in so many words from my wife too that she was going to make a claim of abuse. Never in my life came anywhere near touching her. In fact one of my problems is that instead of expressing my anger to her, I’ll just bite my lip and walk away from arguments (or just completely shut down). Not a good communication tactic on my part, but the complete opposite of a physical confrontation. It’s just another reason to get myself away from the insanity.

      • I’ve had a “man” falsely claim that I had started getting physical with him.
        Coincidentally, right after I confronted him about my “good friend” spending the
        night in “our” home while I was out of town and unaware of their little arrangement.
        Oh, she also liked to sit in his lap and hang all over him whenever he had “our friends” over.

        Obviously, he did nothing wrong because in his words, “nobody else
        that was there saw that, only you.”
        I, however, was in the wrong because one of my close friends since third grade
        had supposedly said he saw me grab my ex’s arm.

        This friend STILL sides with cheater even after denying he said this about me, yet knowing fully well that this statement is being used against me.. and he’s okay with that.
        I’m okay with everyone and anyone who agrees with his behavior getting the fuck out of my life.

        • The friend siding with cheater and both of them and using statements against me really hurt. They were both the two people I trusted the most. Glad they’re out of your life, Snoopy1. Claire talked of an article about sociopaths, empaths and apaths. The link is somewhere on this thread. If you haven’t read it yet, its worth the read.

    • Well said Mat. Bravo. From a fellow bro-chump. We must have faith that it all works out in the end and justice is served, somehow, someway, even though we may never see nor hear nor taste its sweetness.

      • Untold, Blindside, Mat, so many guys today, and so many new or rarely seen posters yesterday. So cool to hear all these voices.

        And Mat, you post about just being able to drive to work is spot on.

        Have you been reading for awhile? I’m sorry to say I just noticed your postings. Again, so many different characters.

    • mathewyellott, good to hear you’re bouncing back and then some, and no wonder you moved. Wife cut your heart out, old friends helped, false accusations of the worst sort, watching your parents weep … horrible. Where you are now kinda amazes me. I’m still in … can’t even imagine daylight. Don’t eat, don’t sleep, the drill.

      You wrote, eloquently, “Then there is the anger, but anger does not really do the feeling justice, it is more like this obsession to see things made ‘right’ the need to get back at the people that made a fool out of you.” Amen.

      Did you ever let loose on any of the friends? I don’t have the urge to “get back” at them because I’d have to deal with what might be even scarier retaliation from H than I know is coming. But before I cut him and them off, I DO want to give them a Claire Smackdown.

      I am purposefully quiet at the moment, lining up ducks. I fantasize about the day I get out and go NC. Right before I go NC, and with indifference to their response (just not feeling suffocated by silence will be all I need), I am going to pull out my arsenal of verbal impalement weapons.

      I’ll let Creep have it in about four sentences. Then, in similar fashion, I’m going after eight “friends,” who have been and are SO nice to me, which is part of the ritual public humiliation that guts me.

      Four men “friends” helped, cheerleaded, and gave him immaculate cover. One man is a childhood friend. Four women “friends” befriended HER. I was friends with three of them before he was. Smallish city, hence, they are also HIS coworkers, like OW. (She lives in a different state, company is huge, lots of travel for all.) Even after D-day, about which she must have told them, they still post sickening, sweet messages to her.

      Has anyone, prior to ejecting the asshole and co-assholes, gone after the latter? I posted an article below about how predators enlist colluders (article calls them “apaths”) to abuse victims. In my case, I infer from their actions for five years plus the depth of their knowledge that my eight co-creeps aren’t going to be a whit sorry. I don’t care. Just want my one NOT muzzled moment.

      But I wonder: has anyone issued a smackdown to a cheater-helper or silence-keeper mutual friend and gotten remorse?

      • Claire

        I’d like his future to speak for itself. I think In terms of the quality of MY life. I have a small circle of friends and family. I left many behind including my siblings and father.

        • Claire – I’m glad you have found peace, but sad that you lost your siblings and father through your ordeal. 🙁

        • DoingMe, I second SheChump’s post.

          Eh, about HIS life trajectory. This line of yours is great: “I’d like his future to speak for itself.”

          For me, the “quality of MY life” sometimes includes my directly telling people who’ve mistreated me that I know the truth, that I won’t tolerate mistreatment, and that I’m done with them. So far I’ve done it just three times.

          For some reason, probably having to do with the place of women in this region’s predominant religion, in my part of the world, I’ve found that people believe silence equals consent. I choose to disabuse a handful of that notion.

          • Claire – I have gotten rid of a lot of people from my previous life, including some BIL’s who were less than honorable. My family started thinking I needed therapy again and that I was too angry. NO! I wasn’t angry, I just like to put misogynists in their place. Especially when they’re in my own home and I’m serving them dinner! I don’t back down. I don’t mind telling off a Switz ‘friend’ anymore. They are worthless. I guess I’ve gotten a little tough since the betrayal. Because my eyes are wide open to assholes now.

            I will challenge anybody abusing a spouse and they better not abuse an animal around me or we are talking Cat Fight! And, I may be pretty small but I’m tough about this stuff and serious and I can punch anybody in the throat that deserves it.

            • Good for you! I love kind plus fierce, and boy are you ever. Cat Fight? Maybe more like “Abusers Get Snatched Bald.” (My grandma was southern and tiny and tough. She used to tell bullies, “Do not mess with me or I will snatch you bald!”)

              • I love your granny. I learned this behavior from my own tough grandma.
                I may be small but I’m mighty – a lot mightier now that I’ve seen what pain people can do.
                That’s why I love giant dogs!! They also keep me mighty good company! 🙂

      • Yeah I have, confronted some of them 2 years out. To my surprise one of her friends, the one she went to live with when she bailed on me (when I was at my grandmothers 90th Bday party several states away, she sent an email which was classy.) said that she had no idea that she was having an affair until the DAY she moved in with her…. classic. the other friends have made passive aggressive statements to me on facebook like “great work on the new job” or crap like that most of her old friends have cut her loose even the ones that knew that she was cheating, I guess the reality of everything was too much for a lot of them. I still have not told her family about any of it, I do still struggle with that I think if these two every get engaged I may just send all of the court documents where she admits to all the gross details of her affair to all her friends and family. Then I stop and think, no that would be crazy, it really is better just not to care, and to be a good person as best as you can:

        I worked to be a version of my self that could get out of bed,

        Then a version of my self that could get in the car and drive to work,

        Then a version of myself that didn’t need to get hammered every night to deal with the
        crippling pain and second guessing of myself (if only I would have done this and not that she would have not cheated),

        Then a version of myself that could look for a better job and interview and move across the country by myself and start an new life.

        Then to a version of myself that I really started to be proud of again.

        I read a stat that said that people who cheat on a spouse once are 45x more likely to cheat with all of their romantic relationships moving forward. It’s how they cope and how they feed their egos. And for those of you that have seen the AP get married to your ex a recent study said that only 4% (yes 4%) of those marriages last 5 years.

        • Wow. Beautifully written. For one who can’t even imagine daylight, it’s good to hear stories like these.

          You “veterans” here, however long it took you to get farther down the road, closer to daylight …. I’m so grateful you share, teach, advise and hand out boatloads of kindness. You make it possible for me to confirm what I tell myself but don’t quite believe yet: this is doable. Which, at the moment, means everything.

          • Oh Claire – thank goodness you have an open mind for frankness, dark humor and the sheer terror of reality to be here.
            I have been here over 4 yrs, and it helped me very quickly out of a 36 yr marriage.
            I don’t know near as much as everybody else – so many have great degrees and education, and I just have street smarts.
            But, we all fit in and I don’t know how I’ve possibly survived without this site.
            Welcome and for all the wrong reasons but I think you’ll like our cozy, perverted and very warm living room..

  • I’m fairly sure that at least one of my dogs would growl at CheaterX if he showed up on my doorstep. 🙂

    Anyway, Untangle, here are a couple of things.

    1–That “friend” who banged your STBX? That’s no friend. That’s not even a cake-eater. That is an Affair Partner. We all know that you never sleep with your friend’s boyfriend/girlfriend, husband/wife. You just don’t. People who knowingly have sex with other people’s significant others have zero morals and zero empathy. They get off on this.

    2–People hate thinking that their “friends” are bad people. I’ve seen this in college students who’ve discovered that one of the people in their dorm is a rapist. In fact, one of my friends, a male instructor, tried to get his students engaged in the topic when we had an incident of date rape in the dorm. He had students who knew both the victim and the rapist, and was astounded that none of his students wanted to say that rape had occurred. Instead of saying that the man raped the woman, they said that the man “took advantage of” the woman.

    Similarly with cheating. No one likes to think that the person whom they trusted as a decent friend or neighbor was lying to his/her spouse and sneaking around. Initially, they’ll try to excuse the behavior (“people grow apart”). I don’t think it’s worth the effort to argue with these people, but my experience has been colored by the fact that CheaterX wasn’t very social, so I didn’t have a 20-year history of shared friendships. I think if I had, I’d probably feel doubly betrayed. As it is, I feel free that the divorce has allowed me to take back a social life that I very much missed.

    So I think that the whole issue of dealing with the shared friendships is a fairly big one for a lot of Chumps, and I wish I had more comfort to give. However, I think that this is one of those times when you find out who truly is a friend, and who truly has character.

    • Thanks, kb. I think sometimes her betrayal hurts more than his. She’s definitely not a friend.. guess she never was

  • There’s another reason as well, which CL didn’t mention: some people enjoy knowing you are being secretly screwed over because it excites them, it makes them feel “smarter” than you, it gives them an “edge” over you and they are just bad people who enjoy the pain of others.

    • “some people enjoy knowing you are being secretly screwed over because it excites them, it makes them feel “smarter” than you, it gives them an “edge” over you” I agree 100% It’s all fine and good until it happens to them. That’s the only way some of those people actually get it… Wishing harm and hurt on someone else is unbelievably cruel.

    • I had a good friend years ago whose husband was a long time cheater and all around asshole- while it was going on I was flabbergasted at the sheer number of people who silently snickered because “it’s better her than me”. Fast forward 12 years and half those jerks got the served the same sandwich. A cheating husband on rye with a side order of mistress fries.
      Now when I see misfortune, relationship type or just life shit storming on some poor unfortunate soul without an umbrella- I offer support and the use of my large awning ..
      Because there but for the grace of God go I.

  • My soon to need and her best friend both embraced this twisted version of women’s empowerment that basically gave them carte blanche to do whatever they wanted. After D-day I found some of the books and article, really foul material. Of course the both of them were completely jealous of any other attractive woman that came into their lives and accused them of having ulterior motives.

    What I learned was they were both insecure, immature drunks who believed they should be able to do what they want and damn the consequences.

  • There’s a fascinating article I’ve not seen referenced before, but I have a feeling it has been. Nonetheless, it addresses Untangle’s question on almost every issue. The authors describe a triad among sociopaths, what they call “apaths,” [“Switzerland” people, among others] and what they call “empaths.”

    Basically, sociopaths especially target empaths, but they do so in a very predictable way: they get apaths to collude with them. The article is intriguing. It describes exactly what, for me, is living hell. Although originally written about antisocial personalities (I think), the authors talk about “covert” sociopaths who are numerous and effectiv, and there’s enough similarity to George Simon’s “covert aggressive” that I didn’t have a hard time making the leap from their writing to a description of the issues here.

    It describes how empaths work, how sociopaths work, who and what apaths are, and why they collude with sociopaths. The theories aren’t new, per se. It’s just that it was the first article I’ve found that:

    1) in the non-academic press, explains how sociopaths and apaths together torment victims

    2) does not pathologize the victim, concluding that to be emotionally intelligent (how they characterize empaths) “is not for the faint-hearted.” And

    3) is written in a layperson’s language, which made me glad because I haven’t seen much on Untangle’s quagmire that educates the average reader.

    Whether or not methodologically pristine, damn near everything resonated.

    Sorry this is so long, but I thought excerpts were in order, given the obviously perplexing behavior of colluders. The article and these excerpts make concrete what can be both confusing and abstract.


    “Many sociopaths wreak havoc in a covert way … people can be systematically targeted until they feel they can barely trust their own sense of reality – what we call “gaslighting”. Sociopathic abuse is targeted abuse. It can wreck lives. Victims can become survivors, but at huge cost…

    Let’s look at what we term the Socio-Empath-Apath Triad, or Seat. Unremitting abuse of other people is an activity of the sociopath that stands out. To win their games, sociopaths enlist the help of hangers-on: apaths. …

    The apath. We call those who collude in the sport of the sociopath apathetic, or apaths. In this situation, it means a lack of concern or being indifferent to the targeted person. …

    We have highlighted the importance of seeing the problem for what it is via the tale of the Emperor’s New Clothes, which represents the collective denial and double standards which are often a feature of social life. The apath in this context is someone who is willing to be blind: ie, not to see that the emperor/empress is naked.

    Apaths are an integral part of the sociopath’s arsenal and contribute to sociopathic abuse. Sociopaths have an uncanny knack of knowing who will assist them in bringing down the person they are targeting. It is not necessarily easy to identify an apath; in other circumstances, an apath can show ample empathy and concern for others – just not in this case. The one attribute an apath must have is a link to the target.

    How apaths, who might otherwise be fair-minded people, become involved in such destructive business is not hard to understand, but it can be hard to accept. The main qualifying attribute is poor judgment resulting from lack of insight. They might be jealous of or angry at the target, and thus have something to gain from the evolving situation.

    At other times, the apath might not want to see the ‘bad’ in someone, particularly if the sociopath is useful. Or they might choose not to see because they have enough on their plate and do not possess the wherewithal or moral courage to help the targeted person at that time. Usually, be it active or passive involvement, the apath’s conscience appears to fall asleep. It is this scenario that causes people blindly to follow leaders motivated only by self-interest….

    The sociopathic transaction

    Often empaths are targeted by sociopaths because they pose the greatest threat. The empath is usually the first to detect that something is not right and express what s/he senses.

    As a consequence, the empath is both the sociopath’s number one foe and a source of attraction …

    The world of the empath is not for the faint-hearted. In the context we are discussing, empaths often find themselves up against not only the sociopath but often a flock of apaths as well. Apaths are afforded pole position in the sociopath’s intrigues. …

    [The sociopath gaslights the victim, in part by recruiting apaths. Gaslighting] is Machiavellian behaviour of the worst kind. …

    The usual set-up goes like this: the empath is forced to make a stand on seeing the sociopath say or do something underhand. The empath challenges the sociopath, who straight away throws others off the scent and shifts the blame on to the empath. The empath becomes an object of abuse when the apath corroborates the sociopath’s perspective.

    The situation usually ends badly for the empath and sometimes also for the apath, if their conscience returns to haunt them or they later become an object of abuse themselves. But, frustratingly, the sociopath often goes scot free.”, accessed 9/8/2016.

    Scot-free is an understatement!

      • Sharing is one of the few ways I (many of us?) have to fight back against a monstrous power balance — so, you’re very welcome, literally my pleasure. 🙂

        The whole article is much better than my excerpts depict.

          • Sorry! I cannot figure out why my copying of the link is not working. But I just accessed it again from my phone, see my reply to Ian Dubito below, for steps. And I emailed a .pdf to Ian Dubito, who, I just caught, will make it available. Thanks, Ian!

    • Claire,

      Astounding that article is!

      It resonates completely. I searched around and all the links are the same and dead. I’ll search some more for a pdf and post it online for others if I find it. Or if you have a pdf and care to anonymously send my email is [email protected].

      Thank you, Claire.

      • I’ll do it now. Maybe you can figure out how to post it?

        Also, try this: On my phone, with JUST the Google search app, I Googled


        Then I just tapped on the top hit and opened the link straight from the Gmail app, not in Firefox, not in Chrome…..

        I just opened it. AND I’ll email the .pdf, Ian. The article is awesome.

        • ClaireS-great post! I could not open the link, but I did find this, and it looks very similar to me:

          Even if it isn’t the same-although I suspect it may be-there was also this terrific nugget in the link I provided above related to the sociopath-empath-triad as regards the role of apaths:

          “Apaths are often fearful people. They are the ones most likely to go with the flow, to agree that the emperor/empress is wearing new clothes. They might also fail to perceive the threat: a danger is of no importance if you deny its existence.

          An apath’s response to a sociopath’s call to arms can then result from a state of ‘learned helplessness’. Apaths behave defenselessly because they want to avoid unpleasant or harmful circumstances [including the sociopath turning on them]. Apathy is an avoidance strategy.”

          This describes many Switzerland people that I know to a T-fearful, do what they are told without question, path of least resistance-what is important is not what is right, but what is easy. They “don’t rock the boat”. They “go along to get along”. I suspect that what is more important to them than the well-being of the injured is that the injured’s pain does not unduly discomfort or inconvenience them.

          I am convinced that weak/apathetic people do as much damage (perhaps more damage) than evil people, even though the weak/apathetic many times just trying to “go along to get along” and “not rock the boat”. Were it not for the Empaths, society would be like a body infected with a pathogen (cancer, virus, bacterium….sociopath) that has no immune system.

          • You can try this main webpage url and type in the search terms, “apath empath triad” to see resulting list of related articles (if the following link doesn’t work):

            I also found this blog post that refers to the article ClaireS mentioned above:
   This section caught my attention:

            “People are often attracted to empaths because of their compassionate nature. A particular attribute is that they are sensitive to the emotional distress of others. Conversely, they have trouble comprehending a closed mind and lack of compassion in others.

            Very highly empathic people can find themselves helping others at the expense of their own needs, which can lead them to withdraw from the world at times.”

          • Agreed 100%. (And that piece you linked is not identical, but content-wise it has to be the same authors.)

            A little tired but true: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good [people] to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke

            • ClaireS-Thank you for clarifying that the piece is not identical, but that the content seems consistent with the authors.
              Edmund Burke quote stands the test of time and use….thank you for posting it…it will probably (unfortunately) still be relevant 100 years and 1 million repetitions from now.

    • Wow Claire, thank you for this! I keep reading this over and over again. I think this is just what I need to help me forgive myself for my chumpiness

      • I’m so glad I could help a little. And clearly you are not alone; thank you for writing to CL. I noticed above, in reply to kb’s excellent post, that you sometimes feel more betrayed by your Zero-Clas (“frenemy” is

        • Dang it, these buttons!

          “….by your Zero-Class-Former-Something (“frenemy” is too flabby for her), than you do by him. I can only imagine. I’m sorry it’s been so hard for you. You deserve much, much better. Hugs.

  • Years ago, I knew that one of our family friends was cheating on his wife. We (me and two other good friends) decided not to tell her because she was the wife of a doctor and gained her entire personality/pride/identity from him and would have been devastated if he left. She also loved the money. That story ended very sadly as she died from juvenile diabetes at age 48 and he went on to remarry twice. Now I firmly believe that the chump should be told but then, we didn’t tell our friend out of love and a desire to protect her. She wasn’t strong enough (she was very ill) to stand on her own and we all suspected that she knew he was a serial cheater but wanted to stay the doctor’s wife. So I do feel guilt about that. In my situation, I got all the friends- our couple friends- the husbands were so mad at my ex because he kept cheating and he ultimately abandoned me and my son entirely, financially abandoned me without even paying for his own expenses, and had to go to alcohol rehab five times in five years, even though stupid me, I didn’t know he was a drinker. But there were some Switzerland people. My own cousin- for one. Her husband was our accountant and even though he knew that my ex’s tax returns was a “complete fiction” and was being used to give me nothing in the divorce, continued to represent him. Also, my cousin knew he wasn’t paying a dime yet threatened him they would not represent him unless he paid them thousands he owed them, which he did rather than paying me. She was the only person from my world who stayed in touch with him and ultimately I told her that there is no Switzerland for me and I stopped talking to her. As for my ex’s family- his brother spoke to me by text and few times, then finally texted “Stop being a punching bag.” and then stopped talking to me entirely. My sister in law for 35 years, who was herself married to a cheater, stopped talking to me after the last abandonment a year ago. I hear she is now good friends with Schmoopie Dicklips. My father in law, well that’s just a special story. On my big birthday almost two years ago, I was feeling sorry for myself. I walked into my house and put on my answering machine. There was a message from my father in law of more than 35 years, thinking he had called the girlfriend’s phone, saying what a pleasure it was to meet her, how welcome she was in the family, and how she is “just a doll”. This was not only very upsetting, but it also gave me information- when he said he was going to visit his sick father in FL, he had actually taken Schmoopie on a family vacation with his father, brother and sister! All these fuckers. I helped all of them. I helped care for his mother when she was dying. I helped get his father new insurance and an apartment in assisted living! And they all wiped me out like I am dead!! I was not the cheater and liar!! Worse than all that, we have a son. NOT ONE OF THEM REACHED OUT TO MY SON TO SEE IF HE WAS OKAY!! Of course, my son never had much of a relationship with them because my ex always isolated us from his immediate family and went on yearly family vacations with them without us. I always thought he had a very sick and abnormal attachment to his own family, and I think all of this proves it. Shitheads!!!

    • LAF, I’m so sorry you had to hear your FIL’s voicemail. It is amazing how easily the family can discard you as well. I’d known my MIL for 36 years and written her several times to tell her how I considered her a second mother and how much she meant to me. A couple of weeks after D-day she was saying, “maybe we’ll see you around sometime,” and “I hope you will move on,” and “we wish you the best.” Cold-hearted people. It was shocking to me! I cut contact with her after that, but she occasionally writes to tell me that she follows what I’m doing through Facebook. My in-laws never said a word to my sons about what had happened, they acted as if nothing had changed. No wonder their son turned out like he did.

  • The last time I did speak to my brother in law (the ex’s brother), he said he had met the OW several times (???) and that I was nicer, prettier, smarter. He said she looked like a red headed Alfred E. Neuman. He said he didn’t get the whole thing, that my ex was such a liar about everything that he didn’t know what was true and what wasn’t. He said his wife was his best friend and that he didn’t understand his brother’s behavior. He said they wanted him to end up with me but that at that point I should stop being a punching bag. Then he never texted me again and never answered my texts.

  • I found that the normal people we knew, were told over and over how bad I was. She hid the cheating from them. Mostly I noticed and was not comfortable with…. she had started hanging out more and more with other people we knew…. ones who were cheaters. At least in her case, she obviously felt more comfortable around like kind.

  • I contacted several of the many APs my ex had. He had lied to all of them that we had talked boundaries (NOPE!) and I was ok with all that he was doing (FUCKING NO WAY).

    All of them were angry and betrayed that he lied to them, except the really young one who is totally focused on sex. She tossed out things like how special she was that she wanted him to be honest with me even if it meant losing him as a friend. Poor thing, she was just /so/ sad about it all. Not a thought to how she contributed to the damage he did to the family with the thousands of hours given to her far before he would spend a moment on me OR OUR KIDS. No concept of affairs if everyone just is sexual with everyone else. I hope she never has kids.

    Most of the time he just appeared online to fuck someone and no one cares at all about what else is going on in people’s live what with the hot hot sex being the sole focus in the chatroom or skype.

    And I LIKE sex, don’t misunderstand.

    So not a one of the dozens and dozens of online fuckbuddies ever contacted me because they either didn’t care and the affair was only one night in chat or intermittent and whatever. Or he lied and lied and lied some more abut how I was just totally fine with some young thing stripping in video for him and sending him her personal naked porn selfies.

    Which is why he asked me, when I thought we could reconcile, why I was so insecure. What let this farce of a marriage continue for so long was the opposite. I was secure in myself and trusting the lying cheating abuser.

  • During my 20 years of marriage, I confided my concerns with my “friend” of 40 years. Our families were very close and he and I had worked together for 26 years when d-day arrived. In the 15 or more years of me sharing “this doesn’t seem right” things off and on, he never sided with me on my suspicions. Helped make me think I couldn’t trust my intuition.

    Turns out he was a long-term cheater himself. Destroyed his marriage of 27 years, and his wife was destroyed on the worst of levels. We were the best of friends. I would never have guessed it. He is now remarried and happy. Still hear him say that his ex’s problem in getting over the betrayal is not understanding her role in his cheating.

    It’s easy to understand now why he didn’t side with me. My wife and he were close, and one and the same. He sees the world from a cheaters point of view. When I found out about her long-term serial cheating, and needed to talk to him, he said he didn’t want to talk about it – that it was just my story. He was quick to add, however, “but I didn’t sleep with her.” It never occurred to me that he would, and it always struck me as odd that he said that. No longer friends.

    • “Still hear him say that his ex’s problem in getting over the betrayal is not understanding her role in his cheating.”

      That is EXACTLY what my X is telling people about my “bitterness” and refusal to speak to him. I just can’t accept my “part in the demise of the relationship.” (his exact words).

      JK–your post would have triggered me months ago; thankfully I no longer care what my X thinks or says to people. I am determined to keep being the sane, stable person and wait for X to self-destruct.

      • This is textbook victim blaming on his part, Tempest. So predictable. He’s really a parody of his hoity toity position. What a horrible person. Sorry he sucks so bad.

      • “I am determined to keep being the sane, stable person and wait for X to self-destruct.”

        Hi Tempest. I have no doubt that you will, and that he will.

  • Claire

    Great post regarding how a sociopath maintains and actively seeks support of others. This dynamic started while we were dating. His family was easy to manipulate as his mother believed her children all deserved better spouses. In the beginning he shared some of the hurtful comments she made. And I experienced firsthand what she said about his siblings spouses. All the cruel things this woman did to me and my children were based on his narrative right away.

    I stopped associating with them the day I stopped by and they were having a family cookout and I wasn’t invited.

    His net was cast further to include coworkers who were always acquaintances. He even enlisted customers and came home telling me so and so wanted to fix him up with his daughter who was divorced. Looking back it is crystal clear.

    With skill and age it became difficult to hide. Cheaters narrative is too mild a way to describe what he did and the number of people he enlisted. It was telling when one of the women he dated told me, “i couldn’t believe ANYONE could possibly be as bad as the way he described you.” To think another human being could be this evil is unnatural.

    I had to figure it out. It was my life. My therapist called him toxic. I NEEDED to hear that. TOXIC.

    I’m driving the bus. My bus.

  • Untangle,

    I’m sorry that you’ve had to experience this. Once I stopped focusing so much on Fucktard, my thoughts began to zero in on my in-laws I considered family, all the “friends” who may have known, the Switzerland friends, and his secret friends. The Switzerland friends have been in my life for as long as 22 years and I suddenly did not have any contact from that front. It hurt that these people could be so callous and cruel and at the same time still think of themselves as good people. On August 3 of this year Tess wrote something on CL that helped me tremendously. Words cannot express how deeply her strength moves me. I’ve copied part of it below. I hope it helps you too. She is talking about the Switzerland friends.

    “I learned you can’t logic, or argue someone out of this fallacy. They will agree but still walk away. I finally had to decide that they were entitled to their opinion, they didn’t owe me understanding or compassion, and that it is evidently impossible for them to give what they haven’t got. You can’t get blood from a turnip. I had to let them go with grace…….bless and release. I chose instead, to be with those who “get” it and who are capable of being supportive. Take comfort where you can, and realize that many people are not emotionally equipped to deal with the hard stuff.”

    • Thanks Annie. Resonates so much. “I had to let them go with grace…….bless and release.” I am working on this.

  • In college, my best friend and I knew that a man, we will call him Dan, had sex with a whore in a ice machine room at a hotel. (Classy!)
    He was engaged to our friend “Betty”.

    My best friend, who is a moral warrior, said: I AM TELLING HER. I was not as brave as her yet. I was worried, but I trusted her judgment.

    We told her. She attacked US. We were treated like lepers by the “in” crowd. People actually avoided us. We had each other, but it was just….bizarre. My best friend never waivered and she said: We did the right thing. We would want someone to tell us, if the shoe was on the other foot. What she does with the information is her business, but she has a right to know before she sinks all that money in a wedding.

    Now that the world has changed, I see how wise my best friend was. People half assed warned me about Good Time Charlie, but I listen when someone tells me something.

    Everyone knew. I wish they would have grabbed me by the shoulders and said : I HAVE SOMETHING TO TELL YOU ABOUT HIS CHARACTER THAT CAN RUIN YOUR LIFE.


  • I will admit that I had a ‘friend’ who was more than happy to tell me ‘she heard a rumor about my husband’. Apparently, he had come on to our hairdresser by offering her money ($100) which, was actually a tip he gave her from us both for a xmas gift. I totally did not believe this woman because all it was was a rumor going around our small town. NO WAY was my husband a dirty old guy that picked up hairdressers and I thought her motives were very suspicious. It was her personality that made me believe this as she was a very jealous woman. So, I accused her of making it up and we had a big blow up. Looking back, I’m not sure why I defended the X so much when he didn’t have one word to say about it. I never even gave him a chance to deny it! (chump me) I just flat didn’t believe it.

    So, bottom line is, if you are going to tell a spouse that a rumor said their beloved husband of over 3 decades is running around town with women, you better have some facts. Or, at least have some kind of proof. This really back-fired on her and she swore she was just trying to help me out. I never forgave her and dumped her. Two weeks later, the 3 yr affair with a different woman came to light so, maybe that friend was trying to do good, but she had the wrong facts. The wrong woman. I felt a little bad but I think she could have handled it much differently.

    Be careful how you approach somebody and make sure you have proper proof.

    And, one thing I learned…..there is always some truth to a rumor!

    • Shechump – she may have gotten the woman wrong but usually where there is smoke, there is almost always fire. Sad you ended the friendship.

      • Yes, it stunned me at the time. And, I thought the motive was all wrong because of the setting and she was really drunk.
        (she had a problem with alcohol and this was a girls’ breakfast thing)

        But, her and hubby are Academics and he even wrote me that in all his years, he’s never seen a messenger shot so bad like I did his wife.
        He wasn’t there though, so I didn’t respond. He never should have gotten involved since he wasn’t there in the manner she told me, which seemed superior in attitude.
        I just flat out didn’t believe any of it.

        So, within 2 wks they found out I was divorcing, they were very humble about it and I reached out to them to apologize, and told them the rest of the story and thanking them for their help. But, I did point out, she didn’t have to do it around an entire circle of girlfriends at breakfast.

        She just said it out of a drunken state and I thought she was trying to say I wasn’t any better than her. You know, she was just that type…so, I took her personality history and wrote it off to her being out of control drunk again.

        I asked them if they had a good chuckle when they heard about the X cheating (they said they were shocked, and not at all gloating) and I really apologized to both of them for trying to help me.
        I understood it later. It was just bad delivery. And, I’m still not certain why her husband (who apparently thought the rumor was true – he had the same hairdresser who told them both) didn’t approach my hubby directly. Why didn’t SHE approach him directly of what they knew?

        I just think that would be a better approach if you are dealing with a rumor over fact.
        Approach the fucking cheater first.

        • Shechump – now that you’ve further explained her demeanor, sounds like a person that takes some sort of twisted pleasure in other people’s pain. The type who tells you devasting news with a huge smile on her face. Her obvious drinking problem probably stemmed from a shitty life and she was all happy to share the pain.

          • Yep – exactly, UnEff. If it came from any one of my other real friends, I would have listened.
            She seemed to take GREAT gleeful pleasure in this bit of gossip.

            • So, I shot the messenger right between the eyes with a stun gun.
              And, I still don’t feel bad.

  • These folks usually have a whole cast of disordered fans, some who don’t even know them personally and have never met. I know my Ex had both male and females on Facebook (more women) who were “friends” with both of them. They all were aware of the plan to cheat on their spouses! They were also on my Facebook as friends because my Ex encouraged me to friend them. He thought they were all so fun and sparkly, but the day the bomb dropped I opened my Facebook page to find that ALL these assholes were gone including dear old Schmoopie! I had been played and played big! I did manage to shake a few of them out of hiding and gave them a piece of my mind for aiding the affair. Guess what? They all just shirked me off like” not our problem!” Meanwhile my Ex and Schmoopie had created a fake page and all these assholes were on it facilitating the affair and telling my husband how to deceive me! Nice folks huh? I can only hope that a meteor hits these assholes out of the blue one day. I won’t shed a tear, but I might do an Irish jig on their grave just before I piss on it!

  • The chumps role…in the cheaters cheating. Yes. I suppose it’s our fault for being the cheatee and leaving them with the role of cheater. But for us they’d just be unattached irresistible stud muffins and bunnies.

  • First, to Chump Lady – Thank you for recently featuring posts about chumps who are dating. There is a vacuum out there, particularly among millennials like myself, for giving and receiving sound guidance for those of us who have been chumped not in marriage, but in love… Perhaps you could call us “Junior Chumps.”

    Second, to Untangle – There is a lot of skein of fuckedupness that you want to untangle here, and that is what I sense from your letter. I’m currently in a (somewhat similar situation) and, at least to me, your letter seems to echo my thoughts in that, “If I could just figure out the who/what/when/where/why…” or “If I could just receive a decent explanation for this…” then I will be able to happily go about my life. One of my favorite Chump Lady quotes is, “Trust that he sucks.” Sometimes when I am lost in my own head trying to untangle the skein or exploring the realms of the possibility of things that I am still “in the dark” about, I simply remember that the only thing I need to trust is that “he sucks.” People who don’t suck have a hard time understanding the people who do.

    In my situation, my boyfriend and I were recently broken up (I had broken up with him) when he slept with a girl who, at the time, was my best friend. When we got back together a few weeks later, he failed to tell me about it. So did she. Our mutual friends knew, or at least I am assuming they did, but I – like you – was the only one not in on the joke. Two years later – about two weeks ago – he told me. Of course, his excuses are good and elaborate mind-fuckery: 1) we weren’t together so it doesn’t count; 2) I had been the one to break-up with him; 3) he was “hurting” and this was his way of “self-medicating,” etc. He wants me to be able to forgive him.

    I don’t necessarily care WHY nobody bothered to tell me, and perhaps that’s not what’s really behind your letter either. To me, the worst part is the embarrassment and the humiliation. The idea of being the only one not to know. The feeling of living in a sort of altered reality that I had no control over because I wasn’t given all of the facts to make my own decisions. I wonder things like if there was ever actually an agreement to collude and not tell me. Were they like two criminals that got their stories straight before the cop arrived?

    Maybe you’re lost in the “why” skein, and I’m simply lost in the “how” skein. Either way, it’s skein, and I’m not sure it’s beneficial for either of us to attempt to unravel it.

    • Arcadian–it is a second level of betrayal that your BF slept with your best friend, and third level that no one bothered to inform you. I sat across from friends at dinner parties for EIGHT years who knew my then-H (a professor) had had an affair with a gradwhore, and not a single one bothered to even send me an anonymous email about it. Eight years of my life wasted with that MFer.

      Always tell, with as much evidence/detail as you can muster, even if from an anonymous email.

      • Tempest, thank you for your thoughtful and personal response. I recently enjoyed reading some of your comments (particularly in response to a user with the name “YY”) on a post re: emotional affairs.

        I’d love to know your thoughts on this. Do you think it is a mitigating factor to the betrayal that we were broken up when he did it? (I had very recently broken up with him because I wasn’t over an ex, and I had been honest when telling him this fact, so I can understand that he was horribly upset. Am I sipping the chump kool-aid?) His reasons why vary: anger, sadness, loneliness, availability, etc. I’m not sure if CL would call this “blameshifting”? Do his motives matter?

        Also, how did you eventually find out about your ex-H’s affair with the gradwhore? Do you think you had enough internal inklings to believe someone had they told you?

    • Arcadian, yes it’s the why that’s bothering me and agreed not worth unraveling it. I should just try to stop looking for answers cuz whatever it is, he sucks.

  • As CL said I think there are a myriad of reasons.

    They are cheaters themselves – definitely applied to a few of my ex’s male “friends”. More specifically they were or had been cheating with her.

    They want to avoid drama. Several of my neighbours had suspicions / had seen things but decided not to involve themselves – until I approached them.

    They’ve know the cheater but have a naive hope that you being a “nice” person will help them change their ways / choices. Former work friends of my ex (who ditched her when she got to crazy for them years before I worked that out and left her) later told me that before she’d got together with me that she’d had multiple guys on the go at once with lunch time hook ups etc at work. But they’d hoped that meeting me she’d straighten out and left all that behind her.

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