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Cheating Is a Very “Individual” Thing

specialsnowflakeOne of the mindfucks that surrounds infidelity, or really disordered behavior in general, is that it is “exceptional.”

Hey, this isn’t the real him. He was provoked and cheating was a bad coping mechanism.

Okay, she cheated, but it was just an emotional affair that never any went further. 

Anyone can cheat. Good people cheat.

Once you’ve established that the behavior is an aberration, or something really common that anyone could do, then we can reject the idea that there are patterns between people who behave this way because it’s so individual. That idea then ties into the progressive notion that we shouldn’t paint with a broad brush and generalize. Especially because we don’t know this person individually.

Really this commentary is a subtle form of gaslighting — pay no attention to your observations. Draw no conclusions. Do not judge.

I sometimes follow my track-backs where people link to this site. Here’s one from Reddit recently.

Chump Lady for example, is very strongly in the “end it reconciliation is almost impossible” camp. And given that hers was a case of a serial cheater, that’s perfectly understandable. But it’s also FAR from universal. She doesn’t, IMO, seem to acknowledge that not every cheater is the same as hers was. Many here seem to have the same difficulty. We see lots of “cheaters are x” sorts of statements that are anything but true all or even most of the time.

What hidden agenda? Like I said, my only agenda is in not seeing people led astray by advice that may be bad for their situation. Chump Lady is great for who it’s great for, which, contrary to her, isn’t everyone. She’s very short on “this is my experience and what worked for me, but it may not be best for everyone.” And IMO, anyone who doesn’t recognize that infidelity is an incredibly individual experience shouldn’t be speaking authoritatively on it.

I think this is an interesting line of RIC attack — we’re all so individual, there can’t be any similarities between cheaters. Why, gosh, they aren’t ALL serial cheaters.

Well damn. You have me there. Not everyone’s cheater is a fat, bald guy from Pittsburgh. And you’re right — it’s so individual. I mean, not every cheater has a hairy back and a gun fetish. My bad.

Of course not all cheaters are the same kind of cheater! However, it doesn’t matter if you’ve been chumped. The humiliation is pretty universal. What I preach is know what your personal deal breakers are and enforce your boundaries.

Oh, and YES there are startling similarities between cheaters and disordered mindfuckers in general. We call it the “playbook” around here. There are only so many ways to manipulate a person, and once you know what those ways are, it’s much easier to spot that shit.

But as long as I’m being called out as a dim person who only sees things in black and white, here are are some absolutes about cheaters I will cop to.

  • Cheaters are liars. You cannot cheat on someone without lying to them.
  • Cheaters are disrespectful.
  • Cheaters endanger your health and make unilateral decisions about your welfare.
  • Cheaters are selfish. Cake is selfish.

I left a cheater and gained a life. This is my experience and what worked for me.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Slightly different chemotherapy regimens work better for different people. True enough. But no reasonable person advocates reconciling with your cancer, living with your malignant tumor because it “didn’t intend to harm you” or “for the sake of the children.” That’s paralyzing and dangerous dim-wittedness. What would take you down from the inside must be cut out.

    • So true, Nomar. Another example–When most people have strep throat, they take some version of a penicillin-based drug. I’m deathly allergic to anything made from penicillin, so I take Zithromax. Some of us walk from cheaters after lining up our ducks, some run immediately. Either way, if you don’t take ANY medication for strep throat, it can cause kidney inflammation, rheumatic fever, or a host of other ills. (I know someone whose kidneys failed from strep, and he eventually died.)

      Ergo, however you have to do it, as an individual, treat your strep throat, and get away from your cheater. Or parts of you will die.

      • And don’t they say that the pain of infidelity is worse than bereavement.
        I think I know why.
        Because when someone dies they die.
        When cheaters cheat, the person you knew has died but the lookalike pod keeps coming back to mess with you. They just don’t die.
        You have to walk away and convince your lying eyes that they are actually dead. You do have to kill that version of them you carried in yourself by yourself.
        It hurts.
        The motivations for cheating are as many as there are cheaters. The pain of the experience is the same.

        • Cheaters are actually zombies. They appear to be the same person to most, but a recovered chump who successfully killed that chumpy-kind-of-love now sees a cheater as the walking dead.

          • I think they’re more like the Decepticons. All of them evil at the core with changeable parts that can come out and strike at will. Fucktard Decepticon is cousin to the Devastator Decepticon. He has the same Vortex Grinder but his ability is to expand his mouth and vacuum the truth away, never to be seen again.

            • Just watched the first Transformers movie again last week. I am more afraid of my STBXW than those alien robots. ?

          • Ian, looking at Cheater now is like looking at a Zombie. I lived with this person for 25 years, had his child, I spent an entire lifetime with a this shell of a human being.
            X shattered my life with lies, and deception Robbed me of my future, my life as I know it, my future, my son. X knows I devoted my life to him and sacrificed my career as we worked towards his
            He can look right past me without any recognition in his reptilian eyes.
            Unbelievably cold.

            • brit, I know the feeling ” after 34 years to walk by me with the OW with no recognition in his reptilian eyes”. I lost a breast to cancer so he told me the OW breasts are of the reasons he stopped loving me. I can’t believe I loved someone with no soul. Divorced a year now but at age 69, I’m so sorry i didn’t leave him sooner. Hoping Karma comes around soon to both of them.

            • brit, I know the feeling ” after 34 years to walk by me with the OW with no recognition in his reptilian eyes”. I lost a breast to cancer so he told me the OW breasts are of the reasons he stopped loving me. I can’t believe I loved someone with no soul. Divorced a year now but at age 69, I’m so sorry i didn’t leave him sooner. Hoping Karma comes around soon to both of them.

        • I believe infidelity is worse than a death.
          When someone you love dies they usually don’t chose to die.
          A cheater makes a conscious choice to deceive and know the consequences of their betrayals should they get discovered.
          Cheaters are fully aware their choices will shatter the lives of those who they promised to love and cherish.

        • Capricorn, my coworker said the same thing to me. She had just lost her husband from a heart attack less than a year before, so she knew what she was talking about. She said at least I know where my husband is, but you have to see your x going around from person to person. Sad huh.

        • Carpaccio I think you said it best. I always said I wish my X was dead so I could move on (and his daughter could collect his social security) instead of him being a lier, cheat, and a dead beat dad. Sigh.

        • I can certainly vouch for cheating being more painful than death of a loved one. Not something I ever had any idea about until cheating happened in my life! No contest. I think you can never ‘reconcile’ with death, it is final. Done. Over. Trying to reconcile never lets you go.

  • Cheaters suck. They can wrap up their decision to betray you in all kinds of pretty paper and ribbons, but tear that away and you are left with a shrink wrapped, already broken, cannot be returned for credit dog turd. They can all take their reasons and explanations somewhere far, far away from us, please.

    • Yes, just don’t listen to them. No need to justify advocating getting away from cheaters. CN has read all the RIC information and knows there is wisdom in escaping the mindfuck. These master manipulators don’t change. They just make you think they have while they preserve cake!! I know RIC, it is shocking that people would stoop so low and make betrayal a way of life. They have no problem crossing that line and forsaking their vows over and over until their spouse is destroyed. I know. I lived it. And so have others here.

      • I am reminded of some “advice” our MC gave me after I said it was over…. “you could always find someone else, but there’s a chance they could cheat on you as well” as if this was a reason to stay. At the time I thought I would take a “chance” over a 100% certainty that my X had already cheated and (without a character transplant, would do it again…).

        MC’s are only “successful” if they keep the marriage together and therefore engage in divorce avoidance, not reconciliation/character work.

        • “Well, you could give your retirement money to someone besides Bernie Madoff, but they might have some elaborate Ponzi scheme, too.”

      • All anyone needs to do is read the stories on CN. It doesn’t take a genius to realize theres
        a pattern here..

        Cheaters are deceitful, untrustworthy lacking in integrity.
        They’re imposter’s, Ted Bundy’s, except we haven’t been strangled physicaly.

        • I take that back, we have been strangled, and left to die.
          Fortunately we’re mighty and not going to give Cheater the pleasure of seeing that happen.

          We gain a life*

  • Thank U, CL! In this world where there is no black and white and only “grey” amidst sweeping sage – like statements about ” humans are complicated “, ” no one really knows what goes on in a marriage ” and ” don’t be idealistic – no one leaves a marriage just Becoz they are unhappy – they always find the OW or OM before they leave “, ” U were stupid for not seeing it (my affair ) coming “… I am so sick of people sitting on the fence or trying to find meaning / valid reasons for the cheater’s cheating . Cheating is simple – it’s lying and an abuse of trust towards the most intimate partner U will ever have in any relationship. Thanks for the timely rap on the knuckles of the fence sitters , Tracey !

    • “Cheating is simple – it’s lying and an abuse of trust towards the most intimate partner U will have in any relationship.”

      This 1000 times.

      Anything else is noise meant to distract.

      If the cheater cannot accept this statement as is and accept responsibility for its violation without amendment or justification, it’s time to pull the plug.

        • Yes. An abuse of trust. That’s what I told my wife she did to me, over and over again. Yet, she sees me as the petty, childish one because I tell her I no longer trust at all in our limited dealings. WTH?

          It’s delusional thinking that allows them to continue to take a the moral high ground on the trust issue. Afterall, she is so socially evolved and I am not.

          • So much this Forest. My STBXH was talking to me about financial support stuff one day. I said something like how can I trust you on this? We went back and forth a bit and he just said “why can’t you just take this at face value”.
            Seriously it’s hard sometimes not to laugh if it were not so chilling.

            • My estranged hubby always become “insulted” when I speak of not trusting him.
              He fires back w, “I’ve been trustworthy my whole life to you, ((30yr)) you’ll never understand that I never left you and always love you! You can ask ow! She’ll tell you! She was jealous of you!”


              • Hahaha. I had this exactly!!
                The OW (2/3) sent me emails telling me how great he was and how much he loved me and appreciated me. He was never going to leave me and I should really not let their sleeping together ruin my beautiful family.
                What. The. Fuck.

              • Of course he’s telling the OW he will always love you. It’s a sure fired way to keep her “pick me dancing.” Can you imagine how horrible it would be to live with that seed implanted in her head? Of course it isn’t true because the only people cheaters love are themselves but it’s a pretty good strategy…ya know for a psychopath.

              • Susan, I’ve been lurking on CL, this is my first post. But when I read your Estranged Hubby’s “reasoning” I could not lurk any longer! Jesus Christ, just the address changes! I’ll start by taking issue with Lyn: your ex is not crazy, he is evil. Just as evil as my STBXH (just got an email from my lawyer and I’m extra angry today). Glad to know you have a built-in Universal Bullshit Translator. I used to swallow this kind of crap. I have learned so much with CN! Keep strong.

              • Susan and Twitching, that is very sad and crazy. Their thinking is so strange – especially in contrast to who they were pretending to be for so long.

                It seems odd to me that after pretending for years, ‘normal’ doesn’t really rub off on them.

          • When my cheater wife huffs-n-puffs her righteous indignation at me, “You don’t trust ME!” I look her in the eye and remind her, “Sweetie, I do trust you. I trust that YOU are a lying cheating narcissistic piece-of-shit who will take advantage of your own family at every opportunity.

            To which she inevitably starts arguing how I’m such a bad person because I’ll never get over her betrayal.

            Consequences suck.

            • BNM – YES!!! And once you find that magical sentence, use it again and again (like Pavlov!).

              Mine is: “What I KNOW is that you are a pathological lying bisexual whore.”

              And, RIC – that is who he is as an “individual”.

              • Ditto this. No Contact reduces them to dust. No Contact will kill that chumpy love. It is such a great medicine and should be sold in Midnight Shopping TV Channels.

          • My STBX said/emailed/texted me dozens of times “I know you have no reason to trust me…” Not, of course because he actually thought it was well deserved, but just to be manipulative. The next day he would berate me for not trusting him with finances or the kids.

            Trust is not conditional. You either have it or you don’t.

            • Mine claimed trust should be domain-specific, “I never lied to you about money matters.”

              Hm…except for those meals and condoms and other costs spent on APs.

              • Oh Tempest, those expenses were to further his “happiness”, you know that thing that you were supposed to keep upper most in your mind because that is really all that matters, his “happiness”. You, collateral damage, oh well, he will get you a trinket or two and you too should be “happy”. A win/win situation all around, except for your annoying claim of fidelity. Really you should be “honored” that he “never lied” to you “about money” matters, because in the end that’s all that really matters. “Until you get to that pesky settlement stuff, that you are so much of a hard ass about, that he will have to make you pay for, one way or another.” Besides all that “fuss”, everything else should be easy.

              • Thanks, Flutterby, you made me laugh by capturing EXACTLY a cheater’s way of thinking. And those aren’t marital assets they spent on APs, that was THEIR money, dammit!

              • Ha! His money because you’ve been discarded by him. His paycheck, his bonus, his stock, his…mine,mine,mine…sounds so unfortunately familiar.

                My two year old granddaughter understands sharing more than my STBX; sheesh!

                We shall see what the court says about long term marital assets in a community property state. Can you say comeuppance? It can’t come soon enough.

                Wish me luck, that my evidence is in order and that truth will prevail. It has been the most surreal year of my life kicking his serial cheating butt to the curb and fighting cancer.

                New perspective from 8 months of no contact and deep gratitude for being alive is making 2017 look bright indeed. Thank you CN for being there in the middle of so many sleepless nights and throughout many challenging days.

    • Agree! But somehow we are seen as bad for leaving and telling the truth about what happened. That makes us awful! There is no grey in that area for them. Two-faced is an understatement for these people!

    • I got from Cheater’s aunt, who usually supports me, ‘He (adulterous husband) must have been lonely.’ Yeah, he traveled for business a lot (nearly 100% of his business was elsewhere as he had a touring job) and sometimes he he lived in other countries and states), but I, who was just as lonely (and exhausted from working on a doctorate while raising two young children), never cheated on my spouse although I had appealing opportunities at my university.

      • RSW.
        That’s my story exactly. He is away with his job. Just that to do.
        I’m at home raising three boys, one preparing for college, I am going to college and have clients most days, just exhausted all the time.
        His mom says he must have been lonely. She was sure we could just work it out. He loves me.
        It just takes your breath away.

        • Me too. I was always alone. There was never any question that my ex’s job was more important than anything else. At the end I told my ex that I was so lonely in our marriage. He replied, “I was too.” Since he was always traveling with the married coworker he was in love with, I thought that was a pretty ridiculous statement.

            • Cheaters could not live a single day alone. Ever.

              I do believe cheaters can be lonely though. They go through person after person, sometimes marriage after marriage, and no one is ever enough. They are so desperate to feel special and be adored. No matter what the cost. They want more and more flattery and superficial attention. Kibbles!

              • Yes, they want the flattery, the adoration, the “I’m special,” look at me..,
                Absolutely no one gets in their way including their children.
                I believe X would be jealous of the attention our son would receive for being gifted academically, musically and the attention our son received in school from girls..
                I always remember one afternoon we were waiting to pick our son up from school as our son was walking out a pair of attractive girls stopped him to chat. I thought it was cute, X looked infuriated and didn’t smile, and mumbled, girls that looked like that never talked to me in high school.
                One of those weird moments where I wondered at the time where that came from. Looking back, now I realize he was jealous.

              • And they will never have constant friends. Inviting yourself to an acquaintance’s home or event doesn’t mean they want you there or they would have INVITED you. After you invite yourself and outstay your welcome, you’re going to be avoided at all cost afterwards. But you’re sure to let everyone know on your FB page “great food with great friends.”
                NARCISSISM in full bloom!

      • RSW… and the inverse is true too… I travel about 50% in my job, usually internationally so I’m gone for a full week at a time. I never go to the hotel bar. I never invite strangers to dinner. I don’t flirt. I’m there to work and provide for my family. And yes, I’m lonely.

        But, I don’t cheat. I’m married.

        But, the ONE TIME Mr. Sparkles has to go to Atlanta overnight for work he finds himself in another woman’s hotel room – but stops before it goes any further. WTF??????????

        Lonely is a feeling.

        Cheating is an action.

        • These people can’t be alone with themselves, as in when travelling for work and facing the empty hotel room at night. They are also too lazy to invest themselves in caring for their kids and their families. So can’t be alone, too lazy to get busy helping others, therefore bored. What to do, what to do, what to do?…sigh… CHEAT! Distraction from the emptiness of their souls! But I am generalising and they are all individuals… No they’re not, there’s nothing in there, not even an original person.

          • This is a great observation and one I had not fully understood before you wrote it.

            I tend to be an introvert so assumed social people, like x, were all the same.

            Nope. x just needs constant new attention from everywhere. He is a self-proclaimed ‘people pleaser’ and in our one attempt at MC, the therapist observed that that particular quality is self-serving. It’s not about pleasing others, it’s about getting kibbles.

            I see both points as true for my ‘unique’ cheater: needs attention/endears self to others to secure that attention.

            Therapist also observed that I was home providing attention but that didn’t register with x.

            So glad to be cheater-free. My narc mother is visiting – for me, she’s like the Final Challenge. I love her but I recognize so much narc behavior, especially minimizing, lying, gaslighting.

            • Roaring. I have a mother without empathy. I am five years no contact. Best thing I ever did. So not there with soon to be ex- but I know how important and difficult it is.
              I have mentioned before about a small book called The Empathy Trap by McGregor & McGregor.
              It speaks perfectly and simply about having narc parents and what to do. Good luck.

              • Sounds great. Thank you. I will check it out – my Amazon account definitely has a “theme” (hahaha).

          • Excellent description, kiwichump.

            The rush of adrenaline while plotting & cheating is really good at (temporarily) hiding that emptiness from their view.

            However, according to cheaterpant’s:”Your problem, Forge, is that YOU are afraid to be alone!” said when, once again, he was found to have yet another ‘strange’ on the side! I have never had an affair or other ‘inappropriate’ friendship, but I’m the one afraid to be alone?! Can you say ‘delusional’?!

            Yeah, they all remind me of the Borg Collective from Star Trek…..

    • I’ve heard those same statements and more. Theses statement had me doubting myself and my perception of the reality. It takes two, no one knows what goes on behind closed doors.., they’re right they didn’t know the verbal abuse are endured and covered up or ignored to keep the peace.
      The people who made those statements I no longer talk to, including my brother.
      I didn’t make the choice to cheat or torment anyone with lies, half truths, or moped around the house feeling sorry for myself. While I danced the dance trying to bring a smile to his miserable face, he was longing for something different.
      You’re absolutely right Kiwichump, they can’t be alone, they don’t invest themselves in their families or children. It’s all about them.

      • brit, perfectly said, “While I danced the dance trying to bring a smile to his miserable face, he was longing for something different.”
        They always long for something else, even when they “get” what they want, and they are never, ever alone!!!! Ever, never, ever alone, there is always someone “in line” for the “awesomeness” of them. Oh yay, for them.

        • Interesting isn’t it? Looking back, mine could never be without female attention, even in the early rosy years of the relationship. During rural university or work rotations he always ended up quickly forming an attachment to a woman. I thought he was just good at making female friends until I later met one of them, who looked unmistakeably guilty the first time she met me; it was exactly the same expression I started seeing on OW’s face in the last 6 months before D-day.

            • Hey Ian, making friends of any sex is great, cultivating a court of admirers is what I believe is a red flag I missed. I’ve got really good male friends and when flatting, I usually flatted with guys. We were a gang of really good mates for a decade, flatting around in London. Guess what? Nobody EVER crossed the line.

          • Roaring, good luck with your narc mother, that must be a real challenge!

            My traitor always accused me of being anti-social, and complained “we” had no friends because of me. I never knew him to have any friends, only one dope dealer. He was estranged from his dad and siblings when we met (thanks to the whore in part). But he is always the life of the party and takes over conversations.
            I had and have friends, not many but good ones, both sexes, and I am content in my own company. Traitor on the other hand has almost never been single. He jumped from his first wife who had been his girlfriend since teenage, to the whore, was single for only 6 months before we got together, and has jumped back into the whore’s bed. Can’t be alone for long. All the attention has to be on him, all the time, like a 2 year old. Basks in the phony fawning of the whore’s hyena family, especially her mother. He has secured that by pandering to the whore’s grandmother’s craving for constant attention and an audience for her religious/spiritual aphorisms. He has no identity, puts on various costumes and becomes this season’s character. Has been a member of 5 very different political parties that I know of, never completes anything. Had a court of adoring female fans on the teacher training course he dropped out of at the last minute, and got heaps more support from the female course director than other students did, as the only male on the course. His strongest supporter when he dropped out of his PhD is a very well know female professor here in NZ. I believe a lot of men see through his BS faster than women, so he avoids them.
            Doesn’t get on with his siblings (6 brothers especially, okay with the 2 sisters) cos they know his flaws too well and a few have dared call his bullshit for what it is over the years.
            He always claims he is a feminist, hence all the female courtiers!! Also claims to be in touch with his feminine side, and his inner child.
            Anything will do to avoid being in touch with being a MAN!

  • As I was reading your article, ChumpLady, my thoughts went to “What does scripture say?” Adultery is categorically condemned. There are no clauses.

    • Agreed. You made the promise to forsake all others. It’s called a vow. Nobody made you pledge to be faithful. Also lying, breaking promises, emotionally manipulating your spouse, being selfish and entitled…

      • Cheater said to me “You want a guarantee and life doesn’t give you guarantees”.

        He was wrong. I have guarantees on my tires. I had (what was at the time assumed to be) a Sacramental Vow with him made in a Church with witnesses of God, The Church, our families and friends. That is many levels higher than a “guarantee”

        • I have told my ex repeatedly, “God has seen it all!”

          My ex not only made a vow to me to “forsake all others”, but he made the vow to God, too. And it’s a bigger deal that he broke the vow to God again and again. AND he’s not the least bit sorry or repentent. His lying and cheating is all my fault, don’t cha no. He’s so deceived.

          • 9 days after my STBX dropped the bomb that he had been cheating on me again was my daughter’s baptism. I sent the exact words that would be said and asked him if he thought it was appropriate to go up on the altar to make that promise to his daughter and God. He went up and did so.

            “You have asked to have your child baptized. In doing so you are accepting the responsibility of training him (her) in the practice of the faith. It will be your duty to bring him (her) up to keep God’s commandments as Christ taught us, by loving God and our neighbor. Do you clearly understand what you are undertaking?”

            He honestly does not see his choices and behavior as being morally wrong or get that he cannot promise to teach her about following God’s commandments when he disregards them. I guess he will find out at the end of his life…

        • UNM I was particularly hurt by that.

          I thought our marriage vows were a covenant.
          I thought sex was a sacrament.

          Then I found that they weren’t. It was devastating.

    • >Adultery is categorically condemned. There are no clauses.


      This is the root of it, the end all, the cease and desist. There are no special snow flakes, no pick me dances, no “if only you were….”.

      This is the NC, the rejection of “categorical trust” vs, trust overall.

      This is the go fuck yourself.


  • The attack using every cheating situation is “incredibly individual” might imply assuming partial responsibility for the cheating. So what if there is variations? That matters a lot if one believes faithful spouses are to blame in part. I don’t believe that lie, though.

    • What has always been a mystery to me, is how people have such strong opinions about someone picking the very reasonable option to end a marriage after any type of infidelity. I get that some people would not, and that’s OK, but it is not an unreasonable stance to have infidelity as a deal breaker. How is this at all a controversial point of view.

      I mean, we have no fault divorce in most parts of the country. People can get divorced for literally ANY reason under the sun. In CA – there are only two boxes on the form… “Irreconcilable Differences” and “Clinical Insanity”. That’s it. They don’t care why you are getting divorced, why do all these folks believe that a person saying “Yeah – he’s/she’s a cheater and I’m not OK with that. I kind of consider it a fundamental character flaw… so I’m gonna go.” represents making the “wrong” choice. You are not getting divorced because he chews his cereal too loudly… that’s kinda a petty reason to get divorced.

      • Interesting that infidelity used to be almost the only acceptable grounds for divorce, but now that nearly everywhere has no fault divorce, divorcing a cheater is frowned upon. I can’t see the logic in that!

        • I think you can’t win either way. If you stay, people can still say derogatory things behind your back. The only valid answer to all this is… Which kind of life do you want?

          I think we just have to learn not to give power and credibility to what other people think. They can say anything they want, they’re not the ones living our life. We do. And we get to decide.

  • Who cares if he’s a serial cheater or a 1 time cheater. One time is already too much. He cheated, he didn’t respect you. Get rid of the cheater and find someone who would never cheat on you because he adores you and would never risk losing you.

      • Exactly, great analogy Tempest.

        The *one hit wonders* type of cheaters that mention their situation is so “incredibly individual”. Peleasse! What they don’t acknowledge is since they cheated once, the likelihood of them cheating again is very probable. Look at the stats!!

        The cheaters that got forgiven for their first offense along with minimal consequences are almost *always* repeat offenders. Not too many if any stories that I have heard that a spouse cheated 20 years ago and hasn’t done so again.

        Well guess what reddit cheaters, I am not willing to me a degenerate gambling fuck like yourself to bet on a unicorn.

        • Exactly, SureChumpedaLot–although I cut off marital relations with my cheater immediately upon D-day, there was a lot of pressure on me to wreckoncile because his affair had been from 8 years ago, and he had “come back” to the marriage.

          It was stories on this very blog that made me realize 100% that he would cheat again if I gave him half a chance. All the chumps who related stories of forgiving their cheaters after an affair early in the marriage, only to find out they had never stopped cheating 2 years later, 5 years later, 10 or 20 or 30 years later, convinced me to put the bullet in the thing. I am eternally grateful for people who posted their tales here. Hannibal had wasted enough years of my life, he didn’t have the right to any more years.

          (And, just to confirm the stats–after my divorce, I had at least 5 more D-days of affairs/dalliances he had had during the marriage, + the Ashley Madison hack info. But at least I could deal with those d-days after already have been cleared of him, and in NC. They.don’t.change.)

          • Aren’t those post-divorce D-Days a real kicker? By then, you think you know the marital narrative, and you don’t…

            I thought I had a handle on just how many affairs my ex had, but I was wrong. Very wrong. Turns out, I didn’t know shit. Shortly after my divorce I started hearing all kinds of stories about my ex’s activities. The first few times people talked to me about his local affairs it was so random, so unexpected, I just stood there, nodding like I knew what the hell they were talking about. Up to then, I thought he (mostly) kept his affairs all out-of-state. Little did I know my ex’s skirt-chasing activities were talk of our (hobby) community. One guy told me a bunch of them discussed telling me but they decided against it because they “liked me and didn’t want to hurt my feelings.” Several others knew something they considered divorce-worthy and when we divorced, they assumed whatever they’d heard/witnessed was the reason why.

            These conversations were useful if only to fill in the missing narrative. Puzzle pieces came together, and the picture which emerged was far worse than any I’d imagined possible. It took awhile, but I am profoundly grateful to be divorced.

            • Still thinking. Every time I come to this site I read something that really hits me. Today it was your post. What an awful thing to go through after the divorce which is bad enough. I’m not divorced yet but I’m wondering if your post struck me because I feel I might find out more after the divorce is final. I guess I have suspicions still about the extent of his cheating.
              I’m glad you seem to have survived all the further revelations. How did you cope with this?

              • StillThinking–I’m sorry you’re in the same boat; it does prolong healing to know that one’s whole marriage was a lie, not just the few years before the end. On the bright side–you can get to “trust that they suck” much faster.

                Capricorn–it is a real kick in the teeth to know that your cheater had, not just one affair, but several, and was on Ashley Madison & Adult Friend Finder trolling to screw strangers.

                Like StillThinking, people actually volunteered information about my X’s escapades after the divorce.

                Part of me wishes I’d know the full extent of his treachery before divorce because I’d have been a damn site less sentimental about the marriage ending, and would have been a LOT less nice to the fucktard. But there was some safety in coping with my emotions when I was completely free of the mindfuckery. Since cheaters always lie, he would have had the opportunity to deny and obfuscate if I’d heard these stories early. Now I just believe them without doubting myself.

              • Capricorn, you asked how I coped. Flow charts. Yes, I’m aware it’s an odd answer, but at the time, I was experiencing severe memory problems and found it a useful method. I did it for me, to prove to myself I wasn’t and had never been crazy. Or even wrong. I did not misunderstand, mistake, mis-perceive anything.

                To that point, I feel compelled to warn you that the gut is always right. Always. But, as you’re in the midst of divorce, don’t worry about it right now. Get the best settlement possible, go no contact, and then untangle his spin doctoring and get it out of your head.

              • Practical advice I learned here: Don’t tip your hand. Say: “I know everything,” to the cheater and wait for them to spill. Also, to would-be-corroborators: “Oh, I assumed you knew about the cheating.” And again, milk the nervous silence.

            • I don’t even know what to consider the Hell of Dday after cheater is dead. I really thought he had one affair with Susan of Seattle. When I learned he had more before, it opened a rabbit hole into my past I will likely never close. It was creepiest when I realized that he had (what I now see as) cheaterish inclinations way back to dating and early in our marriage.

              Its amazing that he hid it from me so well. He must have thought I was the stupidest human alive. I trusted the man I loved and was not suspicious. I was the Queen of Chumps.

              • Mine even left me in his room with his computer all day. Chumpy McChump me didn’t even take a peek. I could have uncovered all the evidence I need right there had I want to.

          • I cannot imagine so many D-Days. (Two was ‘all’ I had in my marriage–enough for a lifetime). You are mighty!

          • “It was stories on this very blog that made me realize 100% that he would cheat again if I gave him half a chance”

            Exactly….& advice from people like you, Tempest, that made me make the decision to (finally) leave after the first D-Day.

            The newly Chumped , myself included, need only read here to realize how unspecial and unindividual ALL cheaters are. There are variations the each story… but the mindset and responses are uncanny! I can’t tell you how many times someone posts something that my STBXH said verbatim. I’m sure we’ve all felt the well needed slap in the face from reading here. Right after D-Day, I really wanted it to be an “individual” thing. We are special, it’s out of character… blah blah blah. Well, maybe STBXH really only had a one time affair BUT it was a year and a half. In my mind I feel like that’s right there with serial cheating. It was an every single day choice to wake up and have sex with someone else and to lie to my face. EVERYDAY! Just unbelievable.

        • Two for me. I just couldn’t believed I’d been stabbed the first time. I stood there bleeding and in shock. I had to be sure, so I handed that damn knife right back. Although the first time i gave it to him handle first. The second time, he felt the blade. Fuckhead

      • “I’m sorry I only stabbed you once. I promise not to do it again.”

        Don’t forget the bit after that, the one that goes “No, I’m not going to put down the knife.”

  • Adding in any kind of ‘argument’ towards the facts you listed is full on blameshifting… it’s ‘complicated’ because the chump didn’t meet needs, didn’t allow or condone, etc… all things the cheater could have handled differently. But it’s easier to say it’s complicated and this shit just ‘happened’ because it leaves the responsibility out there in this ethereal cloud which is actually hanging straight over the chump. Bullshit. Absolute hokum.

  • No not all cheaters are alike. Not all murderers are alike but someone always ends up dead. Not all cheaters are alike but they all try to minimise, justify, rationalise and generally get away with it – like murderers. And this is soul murder. Stabbing the person you are supposed to love, respect and cherish in the back is mudering their trust. Then to try and wriggle free and escape the consequences by heaping yet more mental shenanigans on the spouse. They all have different excuses and shit of course but the result is the same. A devastated family.

    And in my opinion I only listen to advice from those who have experienced infidelity. So if the speaker above has not then I am not interested.

    There is a very nasty implication here too. A smell of “expert” telling others what to do without having personal experience. As if poor chumps really don’t know what is best for them and may be led astray by a site like Chump Lady. But all we ever read here is how much of a lifesaver this site is. Most of us bought into the RIC first and spent ages trying to figure out how to reconcile. We all thought we might just have one of those special cheaters!!! We would be different!! Our marriage would survive and would even prosper. And then that didn’t work out so well and we dragged our heavy hearts to Chump Lady where we learned it wasn’t us. It was them. And we could gain a life.
    I love this site. It saved me. So that idiot can just fuck off.

    • Cheater (when referring to his relationship with OW and the impending {at the time} destruction of our family) said to me “This happens every day” as a minimizing tactic. I told him that “Ax murders happen every day but that doesn’t make them ‘not a big deal’ ”

      But we wreckonciled with me really believing that it was his only affair and him insisting that it was “just an emotional affair” (which I didn’t really believe) and I gave up the next 7 years of my life only to learn that the phrase “cheaters cheat” applied to him.

    • There is certainly an air of moral superiority when those who have never experience infidelity in their marriage try to give advice. Especially when that advice is unsolicited. I know I’ve experienced this first hand. I’d like to submit that in these situations, I get an overwhelming sense that these types think that people just divorce frivolously and that there was no weight to the decision. It’s condescending and rude at best. When inexperienced people give this sort of advice you can be sure you’re being rolled into this imaginary category of ‘casual divorce’.

      • The one time I will admit to claiming moral superiority was once when I considered which of thenhusbands friends would be the first to dump his wife for a younger model. Jay? Tom? no, it was mine.

    • Most of us chumps fall into a couple of categories, either we bent over backwards for months or years trying to reconcile with someone who does not respect us, or we pulled the plug quickly but after years of bending over backwards to please the permanently discontent cheater before DDAY. Not only are cheaters not original or individual, but we chumps also follow very similar patterns.
      This site has shown me that the traitor follows a well trodden path, AND I DO TOO.
      It’s shocking but true to realise that I am not much of an individual myself. The cheaters have their play book and so do we chumps.

      • So true – very accurate KiwiChump.
        It’s a similar, selfish pattern of unilateral actions (cheaters) & a similar, too hopeful set of reactions (chumps).

        • Ian, I don’t believe that. I think there are still plenty of chumps around reading from the same playbook. But I hope they are learning. I hope as more people learn about personality disorders and thanks to this site, many will avoid the traps we fell into.

      • Same; yours too, Oak. Eddie Izzard is my jam, and I like to be reminded there are guys like you out their I could get along with. Match Girl was pretty successful in isolating me with our numerous moves for her career, so I relate to your stone-cold cheater exit too. Stay strong, oaktree.

  • This virtual place, CN, is where I discovered that I wasn’t unique, and neither was my cheater, in the days right after my D-Day. And that was tremendous comfort, the notion that others have been here, have dealt with the same kind of mindfuck and humiliation, the same kind of excuses and manipulations, have survived it all and have thrived despite it. The gaslighting that comes with this notion that it’s all oh-so-special that no one can possibly understand or access is one of the most dangerous conditions that keep chumps in their cages, thinking that they can’t just push the little stupid latch up and get the fuck out in the big, un-special, welcoming world out here.

    • This. I had no idea how many ClusterFuck B’s there are in this world till I found CL and discovered there is no individuality among the disordered.
      Lol. An honest cheater? Bitch please that is not individual. It’s just an oxymoron until you are blessed with the fallout of the “honest cheater’s” honest cheating?
      CL has been instrumental in my healing from an abusive sociopath, of which cheating was the least of the mindfuckery. CL is now instrumental in fine tuning my picker so I never ever suffer another second of uncertainty or pain via a disordered fuckup. For me there is no gray area. plain and simple-this site saved my life, all these “Chump Lady” authorities elsewhere on the Internet can read my lips “fuck off” ????

  • “Once you’ve established that the behavior is an aberration, or something really common that anyone could do, then we can reject the idea that there are patterns between people who behave this way because it’s so individual. That idea then ties into the progressive notion that we shouldn’t paint with a broad brush and generalize. Especially because we don’t know this person individually.”

    This thought would render all the social science disciplines — political scine, psychology, sociology, etc….. — irrelevant.

    • Yeah, apparently the hundreds of thousands of comments and stories on this site are not a sufficient data set.

      However, “The Monogamy Gap” by Eric Anderson, published by Oxford fucking University Press argues it case on the basis of surveying 120 male college students. I shit you not.

      I don’t have a Ph.D. — I invite anyone who does to study my site and make some academic, social science-like observations.

      • Wow. Just. Wow. Haven’t read the book but the intro seems to indicate that the fact that the cheaters are making unilateral decisions is ignored. An open relationship is completely different than cheating. . Not to mention the destruction of the family that his theory implies…total pile of shit that…

      • Oh this bloody idiot again. He’s still peddling his shtick. Trouble is for him any one with two brain cells to rub together will realise his piles of bullshit from miles away. He has to say things like “its monogamy not infidelity that is the problem. No Eric, no one cares if you are monogamous or in an open relationship or whatever combination of the two you prefer – it’s all about informed consent. If both parties agree – fine!
        If however one person is cheating and lying about it then it’s not about ‘cultural expectations of fidelity’ it’s about lying and no consent.
        He also blows on about male difficulties with fidelity that old ‘ men are programmed to cheat’ twaddle. Eric -we don’t care how many people you sleep with or men sleep with or women sleep with we don’t care if your bed falls apart because it’s got so many notches on it. We are taking about deceit and lying and not honouring vows. Don’t promise to be faithful and then cheat. Find someone whose happy to be in an open relationship.
        Culturally we prefer honesty and integrity and fidelity to vows.

        Talk about missing the point Eric. It’s the lying stupid.

        Informed consent. That’s it. Shorter book but better.

      • I’m not in this science-y field….however look at his sample population, horny 20somethings exploring their independence in a made up society. ( college-aged dependents living in a college setting, dorm, apt or Greek house)

        Yeaaaahhh. That is really a reasonable sample population from which to generalize human relationship behavior.

  • This Redditor obviously doesn’t have the guts to come on here, say that, and take the heat, or he would have posted a comment directly. So much easier to make nebulous attacks from the safely of one’s own little echo chamber.

    You nailed it, Chump Lady. It’s about personal boundaries. I have never gotten into a relationship without discussing my policy on extra-curricular fucking, i.e., NO! So, it’s not like we have just stumbled onto some out-of-the-blue dilema. Uh oh. You bumped uglies with another monkey? Never saw that one coming.

    Special snowflakes and second chances are all well and good to kind hearted chumps like myself – when they are justified. Are you a person who made a mistake trying to repair your life? Welcome. Are you a slut who can’t keep it in her pants? Hit the bricks, bitch.

  • What’s that line from The Talented Mr. Ripely?

    “You never meet anybody that thinks they’re a bad person.”

    …all while he’s lying and killing to sustain the fake life he created.

    I’d correct him, though. We humble chumps are quick to find fault in ourselves, perhaps even thinking we were bad spouses.

    But a cheater think he/she is a bad person? I’m not holding my breath.

    • Excellent. My cheater spins himself into knots to convince himself he’s not a bad person – all while lying, blaming and gaslighting he’s wrapped up in his own self serving pity party that he will tell to anyone who will listen and preferably he can manipulate.
      I think he actually believes most of his own lies.

      • My ex never thought that her actions made her a bad person. While cheating, she claimed she was a victim of her own confusion/choices (I live the division of self into two people to be the victim of oneself!).

        Throughout the divorce and afterward, she made crazy excuses for her behavior.

        And she kept asking for more chances. Because she couldnt accept that her actions changed how I saw her.

        I saw her as a bad person; she just assumed that I saw her the same as always–as a good person who made mistakes. Not a “real cheater.”

        But that’s what she is.

        • I think people can make mistakes — the point of character is owning them.

          And after owning your actions, setting a new course (which takes years) of good actions and rejecting entitlement.

          To the chump it comes down to investment — are you going to put in the years for the iffy proposition of character change?

          The “good person vs. bad person” debate is really a red herring to the How Are You Going To Clean Up This ‘Mistake’ and go forward issue.

          If we can keep the debate centering on JC saying ex is “bad” — then it’s “not what I did but your reaction to it” mindfuckery. You’re mean.

          • CL, I agree. “I think people can make mistakes–the point of character is owning them.” Who knows our cheaters better than us? The cheater I was with rarely owned up to his mistakes, big and small. Hence, for me, the past many times predicts the future unless there is change. I saw no change, therefore the relationship is dead.

            • Just heard a church sermon on this concept this weekend – Denial of sin eliminates the need to repent and change. They do everything they can do deny that their choices are wrong, because if it were wrong they would have to make a change.

              My 6 year old daughter tells her dad that it’s inappropriate (her favorite word lately) to have a girlfriend when you’re married. His response: “Why?” Thanks for gaslighting my kids and acting as a terrible example to my daughters – only 3 months past DDay, and he has them staying overnight in his mistress’ house, pushing a big blended family concept on them. It’s awful, but I tell myself he just serves as a contrast to what real morals look like.

              It definitely helps me on this site to see (and even predict) the patterns of his behavior – eliminates all the confusion that was there right after DDay. Also, ask any divorce lawyer, and they can see the same patterns play out – mine keeps telling me what she can predict and how they’re all the same when they leave in this way.

    • I’ve posted this here before but I like to repeat it because it so clearly encapsulates narcissistic delusion about what nice people they think they are. When I finally told X I was leaving, his response was, “It’s been so hard on me, knowing that you’re the only person I’ve ever met who doesn’t like me.”

      • This isn’t exactly the same, but your X’s quote reminded me of something Cheese Fries said as he was deciding whether wreckonciliation was worth it: “I’ll never find someone who loves me as much as you do.”

        Maybe the two quotes feel similar because it shows how it really is all about THEM. We’re just an extension of their ego, a mirror to reflect back the image they want to see and the adoration they crave.

      • Other Kat-I don’t mean to make light, because I know how painful betrayal is, but that line truly made me laugh out loud. *Jaw on ground*. Poor guy…how will he survive without you liking him! They are all delusional. Wow. Just wow.

  • Gaslighting at its worst. Cheating is not about what I didn’t do as the faithful spouse. Look at us chumps, we don’t cheat yo “solve” problems, we confront, etc. if it’s supposed that my X cheated because I didn’t connect with him on certain levels eg. Sport level, what effort did you make as the X to help me connect with you?? So you thought adding a third party to our marriage would make me connect with you where sports is concerned.

  • Nobody has to cheat. They can ask for a divorce. Cheat one time or 10 times? Who cares? Its an attitude problem. Why are they special? Why do the “rules” apply to other people. (the minions)
    Fact is, they like it, and have a giant ego.
    Their happiness is paramount, and that is all they care about. In the moment, every moment.
    Fine. So get on with it, and stop trying to make everyone else agree with you with all these crappy excuses.
    We don’t agree that it is ever a good idea to treat someone else like a disposable item, to lie to them, to discard them, and leave your own children.
    Not OK. OK?

  • Keep preaching the truth CL, a lot of chumps will smoke the hopium because life is sooo much easier if you don’t have to make the hard decisions, if you can keep making excuses, my mother was one such woman,and her choice to stay with my disordered cheater dad has done serious damage to all her children. Some people are great swimmers and the river of denial is deep, but as for me, I will dwell with you in the House of Truth.

  • It’s true. I didn’t have a serial cheater like CL. Mine was not your typical cake eater.

    I got the stone cold abandonment cheater. Your “typical” sociopath. The exit affair. Abandoned me and his special needs daughter. Never looked back. I wasn’t even worth the fight. But whatever. It’s so effin’ individual.

    Awesome (rolling eyes).

    • That’s what happened to me. My son has non-verbal autism, so I’m limited in the kind of work I can do (no night, no weekends). I’ve been looking for a job for months – nothing. Now he refuses to pay the house note or anything else. Gave me three hundred for child support – the first check bounced. As far as he’s concerned, neither one of us ever existed.

      I know people say it will get better, but I just don’t see how that is going to happen right now.

      • Please call a legal aid clinic — call your state bar association (I’m assuming you’re in the U.S.) and ask. Perhaps you can get some pro bono help with enforcement and social services.

      • Hang in there, DemHoez,
        My daughter is non-verbal autism as well. She is also global develop. delay and has epilepsy. I’m in Canada so child support has standards based on income. My ex is a school teacher so he can’t get away. Still had to fight in court. You could be eligible for alimony and extra for your child’s extraordinary experiences. Also, I’m the same: can’t work weekends or evenings. I have a residential cleaning business and make a decent living. Self employed gives me the flexibility I need and the start up cost is minimal please check out out of San Francisco. They have business materials. It might be an option for you. Go after your cheater!!! You have a dependent. No mercy! And stay strong. It may look hopeless now but a great life is possible! You CAN do this on your own! Cheering you on from Canada! Hugs!!!

    • “I wasn’t even worth the fight.” Yep, same here. Skankboy even admitted “I didn’t even try,” meaning to work on the relationship. Nothing to see here folks, time to move on!

      • And AFTER Dday after I threw him out he want’s to come back and live in the house and date me……Now tell me that isn’t a mental illness…’s called “I’m In Love With Myself”….look it up in the DSM, his picture is there. Idiot!!!

    • +1 I got the same cold abandonment as well. She lied and cheated for 20 years, and when she no longer had use for me, just drove off to her next victim (who she’d been grooming for years). And yes, she’s just like so many others. Such an individual. 😛

      • Mine, the exact same. Acted detached and angry to me while getting his ducks in a row with the AP behind my back. Then, when all was ready, picked a fight and coldly left me and our 38 years behind. No communication, no explanation, and nothing but anger and hatred radiating through all legal proceedings. Freaks out people who’ve known us as a couple because “It’s like you never existed.” Tell that to our two kids.

        Doesn’t sound all that unique and individual to me.

        • Add me to the stone-cold abandonment list. She tried to eat cake for a little while, and I was giving her a way back in after DDay, if she was willing to show remorse, do all the necessary repair, etc., but she quickly decided “nah, too much work.”

          It was funny (almost) that she wanted to hang out at home for 4-5 months until she could set enough cash aside to make it work. I called bullshit on that.

          But the emotional break on her end was really quick and (seems to be) permanent. “Acceptance is gift you give yourself.”

          • Same story here. I gave her the opportunity back, but the discard was complete, and without remorse or empathy. In the end though, I too think she just figured it was too much work. Forever lazy and entitled. Page 6 in the cheater playbook, I believe.

            • Oak tree and Forest.
              Actually that’s kind of funny that your ‘names’ are so similar.

              I have an empathy free mother. I went no contact five years ago. I knew I would never hear from her again but others were forever saying she will she will. Nope. Nothing. Crickets. By the time the break happened I had accepted it but it still hurt so much to be right. She didn’t love me at all. Now it doesn’t hurt. It got better. Much better.
              I just have to do this again with STBXH and I’ll be good to go!
              It’s not easy which ever way they go. Complete silence or continued mind games.
              Much luck and hugs to both.

        • geekmom,

          Me too! 35 years! Not a word and not a dime!

          I came to this site and thankfully found that there are universal things about cheaters, even down to the exact things they say. What I didn’t find, was much about cheaters that leave and never talk to you again, even when you weren’t fighting when you caught him for the 4th time!!!!

  • And it also strikes me that these ‘experts’ don’t trust chumps to use their own judgement. I feel that if someone doesn’t feel right here they will go somewhere they do. We are not all here being brainwashed! We are being empowered and know it. We know our own minds.

    Plus isn’t it time we started posting about why the RIC doesn’t advocate leaving??
    What is it with people? The CL message is clear Leave a Cheater Gain a Life. Why all the comments about why this isn’t a good thing. If people don’t like it they can find a home elsewhere!

    It’s that judgement thing isn’t it. We call out cheaters and cheater apologists and enablers.

    We are mighty chumps who know our value… (well, we are working on it!) ?

  • Oh Chump, please stop generalising, we’ve seen others chow down on far worse shirt sandwiches than yours, and now their marriage is better than ever. Keep chewing, and while you are at it. Get over you self indulgent drama and forgive already. We have hope for your marriage, just because you don’t doesn’t mean you get to make a decision for yourself. What about the children? Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah. this shit is fucking encoded in their DNA and if they are a Narc or a cluster B and have managed to embed themselves in the mothership of cheater apologists. Run like the wind.

    Even now after three years and a marriage to another woman the leaders of the church cheater and I attended together think they are helping him, which came as a surprise because following D’day they claimed he cheated due to demonic possession and because I was a shitty wife. They now state they are fencing him in to prevent him from returning to his life of sin, and that even now he does not go unmonitored. If I was being an over reactive chump and cheater was redeem enough to remarry in March why do they need to do this. Why? Because they are dumb enough to think that his only “sin” was the sexual acts themselves, they have no concept that he is an abusive narcissistic moron, because they are all the same. They all feed of each other like some bizarre narc fungus.

    • For those of us who do believe in a Spiritual realm, I would tell those folks that they had their theology backwords. A person with a relationship with Christ and indwelling of the Holy Spirit is not normally in danger of evil entering him and causing him to destroy the sacred. A person who has freely chosen to enter Mortal Sin (thus intentionally evicting the Holy Spirit from their soul) is very possibly at risk for evil to enter the vacuum created when the Holy Spirit left. They got their cause and effect switched.

  • Isn’t it funny how cheaters can make decisions about their lives to cheat, the moment a chump takes a decision to leave the cheater it’s wrong??? What the hell?!

    • D&D
      I agree!!
      Why are so many people so vested in NOT judging cheaters and holding them to account??
      I guess that unless you have been through it you just can’t get it.

      Hell I was married to a man for 22 years and he cheated A LOT and I still have trouble believing it. I can imagine a therapist wouldn’t think badly of him either he is so ‘nice’.

      Unless you look at actions and stop listening to words and you follow through and think about the consequences of those actions you will never understand it.

      There’s a big divide here. Most people need to believe that most people are good and that these disordered people are few in number. Most chumps need to know that they are not mistaken and that there are many disordered people out there and you have one of them.

    • OMG YES! Fucktard is actually– dare I say hurt? — that I filed for divorce, and had packed up all his shit “and things that would remind her of me” a few days after he told me “I don’t want our marriage to work, and that there is another woman”.
      Seriously. it’s like he didn’t make the decision to divorce so how dare I? I honestly cannot understand the ‘logic’ there.

      • Mine did exactly the same. Serial cheater. Finally caught him and he’s acted like an ass. NOW that I’ve filed I get the “what if I don’t really want a divorce (right now)”? routine.
        What he wanted was cake, lots of lovely cake. He had a “mommy” a housekeeper, childminder, gardener and income producer that he wasn’t even very nice to all while indulging in ridiculous games and fantasies.
        His bubble just burst. Consequences, they’re a bitch.

        • Kick his ASS! He is getting exactly what he deserves. May his days living on the street and sleeping under bridges be long!

          • Funny you say that.. my stbx cried and whined about how he would be living under a bridge because I would not accept his generous offer of $500 a month when he averages $14,000 a month income, moved to $2600 a month house to fit $800 a month truck and 22 yo coworker. Oh the poor 50 yo sausage that is suffering at the hands of the mean evil bitch wife that helped him achieve a bunch of stuff over 11 years – from nothing but the clothes on our back. He left me with a mortgage and toy hauler payment he’s half responsible for… but I am a evil woman out for all his money!!! I forced him to marry me for the purpose of divorcing him to get lots of money, he says. But when we married we had basically nothing. Oh and when he married me I was incapable of supporting myself he says…..but at the time he was so happy to have me because I had job skills and got the first job I went after….we were at the laundromat with our baby girl. We were looking at the paper. I saw an ad for a cancer treatment center – I said, “I want to work there.” And got the job. Yep. I’m a sorry loser out for his money. They lie and rewrite history to suit their sorry script.

        • Also, they pull that nonsense, “I don’t want to divorce yet,” only until they think you are roped back in. Once the cheater feels in power again, they start the same ol’ bullshit.

          I told mine I wanted a divorce numerous times and he would pull the sad sausage and ask me to wait a few days to calm down. I would, and then again would text/email, “I want a divorce.” When it finally sunk in that I meant it, 6 weeks after D-day, then he BEGGED for a marital counseling appointment (which he had been resisting up to that point). After 1.5 hours of begging, I agreed to an appointment. Then the MFer felt in charge again (“Ha! Tempest must still want my lying, cheating ass if she agreed to MC!”), and started behaving like an entitled jerk all over again. This went on EVEN after I filed. If I was at all polite to him, he interpreted it as the ball being back in his court. It’s comical in hindsight.

  • If your argument had been that all cheaters are identical in every single respect then they would have a point. That wasn’t your argument and they don’t have a point.

    • This is exactly my view on it.

      Most gaslighting starts with the logical fallacy of a fool’s choice a.k.a. sucker’s choice — either A is true or B is true. Like, it’s either true that each person ‘s motivation for cheating is totally individual and, therefore, open to interpretation, or all cheaters have exactly the same motivation and, therefore, we should treat them all the same.

      However, in this case, both are true. Each situation is unique in its specifics. Also, there are easy-to-spot dramatic parallels. This is hugely true in the overviews, but it’s also often true in many of the specifics.

      So, the fact that a particular cheater’s specifics are unique doesn’t change anything about how it is appropriate to deal with the person ‘s choices. If you harm someone, your arguments to justify the harm don’t change the harm itself.

      Sure, if you shoot someone who is about to shoot you, chances are you won’t be convicted of murder. People will think you had no choice. Sneaking around and screwing strange hardly rises to the level of defending your life, and it is RIFE with a reasonable opportunity for choice.

      • Here’s another example of fool’s choice: you don’t have to lie to have multiple sexual partners. If you want and have multiple sexual partners and you are open and honest about it, that’s not cheating. Nobody is being played. Also, you can lie to your partner without ever lying about sex or having alternate sexual partners.

        If you’re cheating, you’re lying. If you’re cheating, you’re harming. It doesn’t really matter why.

        • Agreed, Amiisfree,

          Cheating is about betrayal, deception, and lies. Its not about multiple sexual partners. I myself practice ethical nonmonogamy, more specifically polyamory. Cheating is about breaking agreements, and violating boundaries.

          You can cheat in various forms of ethical nonmonogamy too, by breaking the agreements you have between your partners, not using protection, and by not disclosing new partners to established ones, just as a few examples.

          CL is very clear about the unilateral game shifting, decision making, and disrespect that cheaters enact. Respect is about acknowledging the needs, desires, boundaries, and level of risk that a partner has agreed to. Having multiple partners in a structure of ethical consent requires trust, good communication, and psychological and emotional maturity.

          Cheaters are often poor candidates for ethical nonmonogamy because of their immaturity, entitlement, poor boundaries, and lack of reciprocity in relating. They signed up for fidelity to one person, and couldn’t handle that. I wouldn’t trust them to handle the risk and responsibility of multiple partners at all.

          In the culture of poly, generally someone who has a history of cheating, and declares they are suddenly “poly”, elicits a lot of eyerolling. They tend to be the people cycling through their partners quickly, and while the expectation of one sexual partner is no longer an issue, a close look a the relational dynamics often reveals selfishness, entitlement, and lopsided relationships.

          CL is right, they don’t get character transplants. People can change, but it takes time, lots of work, true remorse, taking accountability, and giving up the entitlement to have an affair in the first place. No one is entitled to reconciliation after cheating. I wish people success if they chooose to reconcile, but that was not my choice.

          Also, it requires asking if you want to give up moments of your own precious life to deal with that process, even if they are genuinely remorseful.

          • ChefBella, this is an excellent post providing a much-needed clarification on cheating and sex. On D-day, x insinuated that one of my many problems was that I was sexually inadequate and so naturally his seeking of multiple partners was enlightened.

            Even at the time, I knew he was trying to appropriate a sexual orientation rather than being an actual polyamorist. I didn’t have the words to call him a huge phony.

            I’d like to sneak over to his house with a spray can and graffiti your post on the walls. But he’d probably figure out it was me. And I really ought to be more NC in my thoughts.

            I was doing pretty well until my narc mom came to visit. Now I’m having those “this is so unjust” angry thoughts again. Really need to practice letting go of that which I cannot control.

  • Isn’t it weird how cheating is the only ‘marital crime’ that gets this kind of excusing, covering up and encouragement to accept?

    If your partner is an addict, you’re encouraged to ‘detach with love’. If they’re violent, to get the hell out. If they can’t keep a job, verbally abuse you or the kids, or keep driving the family into debt by compulsive gambling or shopping, and refuse to get treatment or can’t change, you should get a divorce.

    Only cheating is normalized, minimized, and blamed on the victim. Oh, and it’s the one reason for divorce that should be hidden from the kids.

    I understand that some of this may be remnants of the days when divorce was near impossible, but we’ve managed to change the narrative around so many other marital abuses. I’m glad CL is helping change it around this one.

    To me, the most helpful info is about real remorse and change, and fake. I experienced fake, and projected my own sincerity onto it. People need to know the difference, and what to do when we have fake. I personally don’t believe many cheaters are truly remorseful and will change, but there probably are a few; we should know how to recognize them, and more importantly, when to walk away,

    • Yes KarenE. I especially bristle when people say they divorced because their spouse is “crazy”. Oh crazy as in mentally ill and in need of treatment? Treatment that spouses get for each other?

      And you left your children with a person you really believe to be so mentally unstable that they cant be a spouse? Hmmm when did “crazy” start? Often it began about the time you betrayed them.

      A friend of my latehusbands said “she was crazy, at MC she just screamed” hmmm…what was she screaming about?

      • Well, I actually left my first husband because of untreated mental illness.

        I agree with you, however, I’m suspicious of the “bitch be crazy” narrative of why one’s marriage broke up.

        However, there are people who leave marriages because of mental illness and I’m one of them. As for leaving your kids with the crazy person?

        Let me tell you how damn near impossible it is to reduce or eliminate visitation on that subject. In the state I divorced, they passed a law that made mental illness inadmissible in family court. I’m all for fighting stigma of mental illness — but I think that law is insane.

        Anyway — if someone says their ex was “crazy” — ask for more information. Crazy how? What was the diagnosis? How did you try and get help for this? Would they agree to treatment? Was your life chaotic and unmanageable living with this person? Etc.

        Btw, that’s the same way to deal with this shit in family court — describe the behavior and how it effects your child.

        • Agreed.
          We are dealing now with some mental illness and it’s tough. I see parents dealing with kids who are bipolar or schizophrenic and it’s incredibly tough on them, can’t imagine being married to someone with those issues who doesn’t follow through on medical care or doesn’t take their medications (very common).
          Completely different from “crazy bitch doesn’t let me drink/do drugs/screw around/sit on my ass all day/abuse her and the kids”.

        • There are people who chose not to treat their mental illness, and there are people who are resistant to treatment (through no fault of their own, we just don’t have good therapies for everything). In either case, you can’t help the person by staying and becoming a martyr.
          I thought that marriage meant sacrificing everything for your spouse. But if you do, you aren’t really in a marriage. You are dead.

          • “I thought that marriage meant sacrificing everything for your spouse. But if you do, you aren’t really in a marriage. You are dead.”

            Yes yes yes!!

      • I certainly felt crazy at times in my marriage. It make you feel crazy when your gut is screaming what your head is denying.

    • Karen E. – your comments are spot on.
      My individual counselor said that she will never counsel any couple where one person is: addicted to drugs or alcohol, suffering from untreated depression, or in an affair. Her reasoning: that person is currently unavailable to be in a healthy marriage/relationship and must first fix their own issues first.
      Unfortunately, the marriage counselor I found after D-day ( extremely well regarded/famous in our city) had us in marriage counseling for 7 mos WHILE KNOWING THAT MY HUSBAND WAS STILL SEEING HIS AFFAIR PARTNER. I knew the affair was continuing but had never heard that reconciliation/counseling is a total waste while someone is still in affair.
      Makes me so mad………….

    • I would no longer care whether a cheater was remorseful. If you have so little self-control that you can’t keep your privates in your pants while you are partnered with me, I don’t want you. If you are enough of a pathological liar that you can keep an affair going even for one week (what is that, at least 2 decisions every day, and at least 5 lies by omission or commission?), I don’t want you.

      I would never want a cheater who is remorseful; I’d rather have someone with the foresight to know how much their actions would hurt me, and the impulse control to stay honest.

      IMHO, something in the chump dies once they know a cheater has fucked someone else, even once. I no longer want to feel dead inside just to maintain a relationship. I’d rather have a healthy relationship with myself.

  • That shit is right up there with “no one knows what goes on between two people in their relationship”. You don’t have to know that to understand one person lies about the most important aspects of the relationship. I always ask them if they’d remain friends with someone who lied to them constantly, and they say no. End of story.

    • I always answer people who say that with “Even when you’re in the relationship with a cheater you don’t know what’s going on!”

    • Our two best Switzerland friends (now his and not mine) tried to make the argument on his behalf that he was malicious, he was just negligent because he lacks introspection. I asked them how they’d feel if they left XH in charge of watching their son and a playground and he wasn’t watching so their son fell and cracked his head open — you know, “negligence.” — No answer, or “it’s not the same thing.” I disagree.

  • In theory, I wasn’t married to a serial cheater either. One time (that I knew about) after many years (24) of marriage. I started running with the wrong crowd at first-a RIC marriage counselor and a RIC website and I heard all of these cliches. “You don’t know what’s happening in another person’s marriage.” “You have to own up to half the problems in the marriage that led to the affair” “You have to stop having blind trust” “Everybody cheats and so could you. When you start thinking that you could never cheat, that’s when you get into trouble.”

    Blah, blah, blah. This Reddit person is giving CL grief but all these “experts” on infidelity sites have no more experience than CL. CL’s advice is the only advice that make sense for chumps because the advice is about them instead of the cheater for a change. Who cares why they cheated? The only thing chumps should be worrying about is what they can tolerate in this lifetime and how they value their worth.

    I decided to leave a cheater and gain a life and I’ve never been sorry I did!

  • All cheaters are special snowflakes, huh?

    Then tell me this, why do all of our cheaters:

    *have cold dead lies when discovered
    *I love you, but I’m not in love with you
    *we are like roomates (no matter how many times a week we have/had sex
    *we just drifted apart
    *(Most cheaters) encouraging pick me dancing while continuing to cheat
    *blaming their spouse for being mean, suspicious, crazy before the affair has been uncovered
    *blaming their spouse for being mean, suspicious, crazy plus cold as reason for the affair
    *diverting family money to support the affair
    *hiding money during the divorce

    I could go on and on. We could have a drinking game “take a shot if your cheating spouse says/does X” except we would all be dangerously close to alcohol poisoning within ten minutes.

    • Where we can apply the they’re-all-the-same logic is during divorce proceedings. From an exit to a serial cheater – they’re all a bunch of manipulative fucks in the court. Bend over and take it dry because they don’t pay up when the time comes.

      If an “individual” cheater could divorce or sign a post-nup as collateral on their special-snowflakeness thereby proving they too have some skin in the game, them we might have a starting point for discussion.

      • Mine didn’t put up a financial fight because I had all the documentation, and am in a community property state (even second graders can do a 50/50 split once the data is in). He would debate me, and I would say, “please see p. 3 of the pdf file I sent you.” Oh, and he wanted to buy a new house that he could move into with his last-AP, and couldn’t get a loan if his finances were tied up.

        BIG piece of advice for new chumps–get copies of all that financial data pronto, before cheater starts hiding the financials, or moving money out of accounts. Don’t forget old copies of bank accounts, retirement accounts from when the marriage first started (because typically only the amounts that have accrued from the onset of the marriage count as marital assets).

        • Right you are, Tempest. My brain tries to make blanket statements to categorize things into manageable groups. Unfortunately, cheaters won’t be wrangled.

          • Ian–the blanket statement is that they will do whatever is in their own best interest (as they interpret it).

            Not only should cheaters be wrangled, they should be hog-tied and branded.

          • And, Hannibal knew he had to settle or we’d end up in court, all his misdeeds would be exposed, and he could kiss his cushy job bye-bye.

    • Thanks for breaking it down – I can check off all of the above on your list of what all cheaters do. It helps to remind myself what I’m really dealing with, and keeps me sane through the blameshifting and gaslighting.

  • Incredibly individual for who (or is it whom?) ??? Yes, it may be incredibly individual for the cheater – you know, different whore, different day, banging in a car, a hotel room, the cab of your truck – but that’s where that bullshit ends. It’s not incredibly individual for the chump. The chump is married to a low life, lying, entitled piece of shit. It doesn’t matter if their names are Jack or Sheila or Paul or Carolyn. It does matter what color eyes or hair they have or how tall they are or where they went to college. They and their situations are all the same. They chose to fuck over each of their spouses, they chose to ruin their children’s lives, they chose to be selfish. They are a dime a dozen.

  • There wouldn’t be so many chumps in the world if so many people didn’t believe the RIC crap.

    As for “infidelity is an incredibly individual experience” … yes, cheaters come up with the their own unique examples of why their partner drove them to cheat and they’re usually passionately convincing in their tale of woe. But the commonality is lying, blameshifting, and entitlement.

    And actually we’ve found a lot of commonality in the examples — I thought I was the only person on earth who drove their spouse to cheat because I didn’t like enough of the same movies, books, and TV shows as he did. But there’s at least one other chump on this site who got the same accusation.

    Keep preaching, CL.

    • I remember being shocked when I first started reading Chumplady that so many cheaters actually used the same exact words, the same excuses. It sure was a comfort to me to know that I wasn’t alone in hearing them.

      • I was like… Wait! What the fuck? You mean The ClusterFuck B Sociopath was fucking around on me with you too??? I truly thought he was the only mofo who said and did such vile things. I was soooooo relieved to understand (after 18 years of hopium) that he, in fact, was not the exception, but the rule. There is absolutely nothing I could have done better for him. He is a fucking raging sociopath. Let Cock Slobber take over the abuse and mindfuckery. I got a life. She got some love bombing initially, now she has the devil’s spawn straight from the loins of hell. Ummmm……you wanted him?Bwa ha ha

    • I’m one of them that didn’t like the same TV programs, books, movies as he did. I didn’t like them before we were married, it took him 25 years to decide this was an issue and needed “something different.”
      He needed someone he had more in common with.
      We had friends who accepted his excuse and tried to convince me it was perfectly normal.
      These people are his friends now and no longer mine.
      How easy it is to accept he wanted something different, no big deal, when it isn’t your life exploding in your face after 20 years of marriage. Fuck them

      • There are fewer people in my life now, but that’s a good thing. I’ve got less tolerance for fuckwittery. So celebrate the loss of people who think it’s normal to blow up a 25-year relationship over long-standing entertainment preferences!

  • Wanted to add applause for this: “What I preach is know what your personal deal breakers are and enforce your boundaries.”

    Yes, yes, yes!

    Even before the (latest round) of cheating came to light, I should divorced him for spending family time sitting like a resentful lump on the sofa, resenting his own kids, and spending his evenings in the basement playing video games and whacking off to porn. When I look back now, I’m amazed that I put up with that shit instead of kicking his ass out.

  • I recognize the voices behind those Reddit comments. They are people who are still hoping (believing?) they can save their marriage. They want to believe they have control. When we’re in denial we all want to believe our situation is special. We think we can have a different outcome than poor old so-in-so over there who wasn’t as lucky.

    There are some marriages that can survive infidelity because my parents’ did. However, their marriage was never the same as before the betrayal. I grew up with my mother’s legacy of anger and hurt. Her own father had also betrayed her mother and abandoned their family when my mom was a baby. Her betrayal experiences affected my ability to trust men. Then I married someone who betrayed me.

    I can remember thinking my marriage was going to be different than my parents’ was when I was young. Then life happened.

  • My daughter’s ex? Poor guy, he was in a well armed, air conditioned office, behind the wire and he claimed he suffered from strains of being a soldier. Now? It’s, “it is what it is”, “get over it”, and “I’m entitled”, when it comes to his son. All the while he was doin’ his thing with his then ex-wife, referring to his unborn son as “baggage” before he was born. He has “found Jesus” with his new wife, marriage #3 and has conned his entire new family he is a new man. All the while, one of the very same women he was receiving disgusting texts from, on his alias account, “liked” his new baby photos on Facebook! Wonder what the new wifey would think if she only knew!

    They are all pitiful. We’re just disgusted we have one we have to put up with!

    • Mine TOO!!!! You know who else was in that air conditioned office behind the wire? A very slutty 26 year old captain. After the mindfucking and abuse I endured someone in this marriage had PTSD alright–ME.

      • Jojobee

        I’ve said that, too! The PTSD suffered was suffered by our daughter! I’m sorry to read about your pain. Daughter’s ex has spun the truth to make my daughter out to be the one to blame. The air of superiority on behalf of his “new family” makes me want to do my own major Wiki Leaks!!! Words, actions, etc. don’t lie when it’s all in black and white!

  • There are more similarities between cheaters than I ever would have thought possible. After reading the descriptions of cheaters on this blog, I feel like many of us here are describing the same person (how could we all have been married to the same cheater?!!) The similarities are staggering.

  • Cheaters are selfish
    says it all……

    I’m so tired of being told “but he is such a nice guy”, yea well “nice” guys don’t lie OR cheat…..
    Or It must have been a result of stress, PTSD from his job…, yea well this isn’t his 1st affair so what would you like to blame the other one(s) on?
    Or the Switzerland two faced friends that can’t figure out why they are no longer “friends” on my social media…. after seeing all their cute little comments on his site about the new wife and their new baby. “Well you know I don’t support what he did???” Really? …. so why would you comment “congratulations” or “you deserve some happiness”. Like the 36 years with me and our kids was some everlasting existence in hell? If so, would have been nice to be told…. maybe during the family Caribbean vacation 3 months before he moved out saying he needed to be alone to get his head screwed on straight. Or instead of telling me how much he loved me all the time, maybe just saying “hey, yea I love you but since I got on the Viagra train this 29 year old slut is a better deal”.
    Totally selfish…. They want to try to preserve their “MR nice guy/girl image”. Too bad I stumbled upon all the undeniable proof of the affair. No more bullshitting the old dumb wife or her good old fiancé.
    THEY ALL SUCK and until you have LIVED this type of hell, your comments don’t carry much weight. Trust me, you don’t have a clue.
    THANK YOU CL and CN….. YOU have kept my sanity over the last 1-1/2.

    • Last night the phone rang and it was an old family friend (like before I was born – that old!). He needed some automotive advice and, as that was Shithead’s area of expertise, was looking for Shithead’s contact info. I told this friend I had none; wasn’t “allowed” to have either an email address or cell phone number for Shithead and, as far as I was concerned, Shithead could fall off a tall cliff somewhere.

      Friend started immediately down the path of, “Well, I can’t be judgemental from the outside. . .” and I just snapped. I retorted that it’s not hard to figure out that fucking another woman (for likely a long time) while married to me, walking away from our kids, draining our joint bank accounts, leaving me with all the responsibilities of the legalities and packing and selling our longtime home AND telling everyone bald-faced lies smearing me to justify his reprehensible actions wasn’t being judgemental, it was seeing what was being served up on a platter in front of you!! There may have been a few more “colorful” terms used as well.

      Friend backed that shit up real quick: ”Well, never did really trust him. He was quite the BS salesman.” Uh-huh.

  • But the RIC assumes that all marriages are worth saving and that if you do ‘x’, then of course your spouse will do ‘y’.

  • Obviously, the commenter is experienced and educated in infidelity. NOT! What a load of crap. They are from the you have to forgive them community. Most likely a horrible person that doesn’t want to be held accountable for their crappy action. I don’t buy this crap being sold to everyone now. People should be held accountable for their actions especially when they harm others. The forgive and ric is just repeating the crap they have always heard. Don’t think for yourself and reach the conclusion that some (most) people are just crappy, selfish human beings. I am going to hold my X responsible for her actions. I am not going to forgive and forget like society teaches. I will not allow her to abuse my children like she did me. They are old enough to know I screwed up by having a relationship with and kids with a fucktard. I have recently started teaching them the line of thinking this commenter uses is self serving and flawed. My idea of forgiveness is not seeking revenge. Not that is some cases I even disagree with that. I have my definition now of what forgiveness is. I refuse to be swayed by society telling me what is ok and what I have to forgive. It is personal and I have a brain. I can figure it out. The whole tirade is just shit! CL gave them a lot more recognition than they deserve. People with their I am so good opinion and you are flawed for your way of handling it can FUCK OFF!

  • Look you Reddit cheaters, let me dissect this for you….it’s fairly simple….this is as “universal” and/or “individual” as I can make it:

    Draw an imaginary line on a blank piece of paper – you can draw a vertical line, a horizontal line, or fuck, if you are so sophisticated draw a diagonal line. The end result now is you have a line that divides 2 sides of the paper.

    One side of the paper is if you cheat – the other side of the paper is if you don’t cheat. Which side are you on? There is no middle here you disordered socialites.

    • Absolutely.

      But you can still expect those assholes to try to find a way around it. Everyone’s excuses are good enough in their own eyes because otherwise, they’d have had to give up those great opportunities to cheat and you know that’s never happening, and they’d have to admit the truth which is that they cheated because they wanted to, because it was fun to them, because they thought they could get away with it and because their “individual” reasons were “different” and ” well, not justified but *insert reason for why it really was justified*.”

      They’ll find a way around your line because a line is a boundary and they don’t believe in those unless they’re applying them to chumps who are getting a little too close to the truth or already have found it and are wanting to do something about it. Suddenly, boundaries are a very real and necessary thing but for chumps only.

        • Exactly, the back side of the paper is metaphorically the “grey area” of cheating. Cheaters will always find the grey.

          Because of that, they will never hold themselves accountable.

          Until the day comes when a cheater says…”Hello, my name is Narkles and I am cheater,” all a chump will ever get is faux remorse.

          Best thing to do when after you catch them is to ditch them.

  • How about this? On Dday, among the many cliches I heard (she’s my soulmate/I’m in love/i didn’t look for it to happen/she awakened something in me) there was THIS justification gem…he’d been faithful for 25 years, so I owed it to him to let him have this “relationship” because it was twoo luv, almost as if he deserved a hall pass or a good conduct pass. I never heard such shit. I told him there was no expiration date on our marriage vows.Oh, and his love for her was separate for his love for me so he wanted us both. First time I heard the word polyamory. It took a few months of my personal insanity to file for divorce but I did. NOW he blames me for that, saying all he wants is the freedom to go on a solo journey to find his identity, and still have a home to come home to. I said NO and now I’m the bad one. He never once said he wanted to reconcile and repair the damage. A very good therapist helped me see that I was being manipulated and to stand strong. He’s a narc and prob Borderline.

  • “Chump Lady is great for who it’s great for, which, contrary to her, isn’t everyone. She’s very short on “this is my experience and what worked for me, but it may not be best for everyone.” And IMO, anyone who doesn’t recognize that infidelity is an incredibly individual experience shouldn’t be speaking authoritatively on it.”

    This reads like a reason to try, try, and try again to reconcile. No doubt there are people out there that only cheat once in a lifetime. The statistics, however you skew them, don’t point to much hope that any individual case will prove to be a one-time incident. Certainly, the chumps here do not support that supposition.

    So the question that begs to be asked is: how many times are you willing to bet everything on your cheater being unique? Until your children no longer recognize you or a healthy relationship? Until you’re diagnosed with an STD? Until they’ve spent every marital dime on whores and naughty vacations with the OM/OW? Until you’ve lost any shred of self-respect?

    Personally, I don’t believe in unicorns, and I’m not taking a second bite of the shit sandwich.

  • Once I found CL, I was truly shocked to find out how similar my cheater was to all the others, down to the lies and lines he used to justify his behavior and blame me. By reading here, I realized ours weren’t “extraordinary” circumstances that “made” him cheat. And honestly, if he had expressed even a small amount of remorse, I would have been willing to forgive him and try to reconcile. But it’s hard to want to stay with someone who’s only emotion is being pissed off that I ruined his cake parade by asking him to take responsibility for his actions…

  • Skankboy knew how I felt about cheating….”One and done was my motto.” He knew the rules, he broke those rules. PEACE OUT MALE WHORE!

    • Yep. Simple as that.

      There are people who can live and accept cheating is a normal behaviour. And then there are those who do not tolerate that shit no matter what others say. See? It’s all personal preference.

  • This is actually an area I have some sympathy for my xh about. Yes, just like pretty much every cheater going, he lied, hid, stole convinced himself he was a real victim and thusly deserved his “shot at twu luv”.

    I think he convinced himself of this elaborate plan, where abusive financial monstering was justifiable.
    No matter how tall he props himself up to stand on, it is all a house of cards. I truly believe it will all come tumbling down beneath him someday.

    I just hope that I am completely at ” #MEHohsosorryforyou.” state by then. Chump pain is immediate, the consequences piled on – at first – the healing takes time. While we have moved forward and on.

  • Fact: the only kind of person who’d say such things is someone who identifies with and therefore wants to defend “without condoning” cheaters.

    End of story.

  • I wish the most available advice was run! Instead it is all unicorns and happy days ahead after you (chump!) Become acceptable enough in some nebulous way to not be cheated on. Similar to other victim blaming narratives, there is no change prescribed for the cheater and no blame for the endangerment or lies.

  • Maybe the cheaters are unique snowflakes.

    Here’s what CL wrote:

    “Well damn. You have me there. Not everyone’s cheater is a fat, bald guy from Pittsburgh. And you’re right — it’s so individual. I mean, not every cheater has a hairy back and a gun fetish. My bad.”

    Here was my experience: x is a fat, ALMOST bald guy from SPOKANE with a hairy back and a gun fetish.

    See, everybody? Very different. They’re all unique.

  • I want to testify for CL and CN. As a chump who has been in reconciliation for 5 years, CL is the ONLY infidelity site I read and seek support from on a regular basis. Identifying and enforcing boundaries is what it is all about, and my husband has done the hard work that CL identifies as necessary for reconciliation. It is hard. I don’t need to defend it here. I still visit this site to keep my boundaries sharp, and to provide support for people who are fresh in the misery, grief, and rage that follows DDay. I credit Chump Lady for leading an honest, non-sugar coated, site that blows up the “it takes two” crap and shines a light on the cheater playbook. This site is the first place I send people when I learn about their chump status. It helps people understand and identify manipulation in all its forms. Honestly, thinking they are special snowflakes is what gives people the entitlement to cheat, so I’m not surprised about this Reddit comment.

  • Another perceptive column CL! I’m reminded of an awesome Eddie Izzard sketch from “Dressed to Kill” where he says once the death numbers soar into the thousands & millions, people just can’t **process** the deliberate evilness of it all.

    That’s how I feel about the staggering number of explicit & implicit lies my ex chose to tell every single day to live his secret double-life & a 3 year affair. It’s almost impressive how very many lies that was (!) & how deeply entitled he felt to secretly destroy our marriage & our kids’ dreams of a loving Pol Pot killed 1.7 million people. We can’t even deal with that! You know, we think if somebody kills someone, that’s murder, you go to prison. You kill 10 people, you go to Texas, they hit you with a brick, that’s what they do. 20 people, you go to a hospital, they look through a small window at you forever. And over that, we can’t deal with it, you know? Someone’s killed 100,000 people. We’re almost going, “Well done! You killed 100,000 people? You must get up very early in the morning. I can’t even get down the gym! Your diary must look odd: “Get up in the morning, death, death, death, death, death, death, death – lunch- death, death, death -afternoon tea – death, death, death – quick shower…”

    So sure, perhaps it does indeed require a very special, individualized snowflake to tell that many lies…

    Eddie Izzard – Dressed to Kill:
    “Pol Pot killed 1.7 million people. We can’t even deal with that! You know, we think if somebody kills someone, that’s murder, you go to prison. You kill 10 people, you go to Texas, they hit you with a brick, that’s what they do. 20 people, you go to a hospital, they look through a small window at you forever. And over that, we can’t deal with it, you know? Someone’s killed 100,000 people. We’re almost going, “Well done! You killed 100,000 people? You must get up very early in the morning. I can’t even get down the gym! Your diary must look odd: “Get up in the morning, death, death, death, death, death, death, death – lunch- death, death, death -afternoon tea – death, death, death – quick shower…”

    • Here’s my cheater’s diary:

      “wake up. Check email for any new Adult Friend Finder contacts. Hmm..large erection, where’s my iphone; I could use new profile pictures….Teach one class, head to coffee bar. Hope one of the cute graduate students remembers I work there so I can chat her up. Oops–gotta run to my scheduled fuck-a-stranger-appt. Call Tempest; tell her I left my phone in ‘silent’ mode after class which is why I didn’t hear her phone call ring in (when really my stranger-date was anything but silent. I love it when they scream!)…. Peruse my office mail. Stick my head into colleague’s office to chat about Weighty Philosophical Matters…whoa! cute ass on that student walking past. Wonder if she wants a dick pic?…Head home, have dinner with Tempest & kids. Read Harry Potter with oldest daughter. Manscape in case I can score with a graduate student tomorrow….”

      • So sad to read this, Tempest.

        In all the campus awareness of sexual abuse/assault these days, does anyone ever bring up the ethics, legality, morality, abuse of this kind of predatory behavior from professors?

        Students are vulnerable and impressionable.

        Your ex-asshole’s behavior sounds criminal.

        • It is criminal, but he can talk his way of a lot of things. His colleagues also close ranks to hide his behavior because they don’t want to be the next XX department in the national news for a sexual harassment schedule. (I’d post 4 links from his profession that led to public firings, but I’d give away his discipline.)

        • I should also add that it is the students with character problems who succumb to a married professor’s interest; the gradwhore I divorced him over tried to seduce another married professor months after her affair with my X. She also marched her little tush down to that coffee shop day after day to sit with him to get the affair started (even though she wasn’t in any way being supervised by him). I blame him more than her on several levels, but she was not a fully-innocent victim. I’m sure several of us navigated graduate school without being tempted to sleep with married professors.

          Contrast gradwhore with the graduate student who DID resist X’s advances. The stress of dealing with him cost her her boyfriend, and she almost lost the chance at a graduate career once he drummed her out of the program. Not a difficult decision as to which of the two had good character, and which did not.

          • As a former female grad student, many professors tried to seduce me. I think the fact that my mother had an affair when I was a young adult and I watched as it destroyed my father and their marriage that I always had a strong moral conviction to never cheat (it affects the entire family). So if I felt like a professor was trying to make advances on me, I shot them down right away or said, “no thanks, I’m married”. In no way would I have put my loved ones through the depths of hell of infidelity. Unfortunately, I am here now because my medical doctor husband felt “entitled” to screw numerous women as I remained clueless and faithful in our 20 year marriage. I was an idiot to give up my career for him.

  • As Vladimir Nabokov is quoted, “Adultery is a most conventional way to rise above the conventional.”

    So how very special are these very special snowflakes, that they can’t be more original in their holding themselves against conventions such as marital fidelity, truth, etc. Boring!

  • Are there really cheaters who just have a single event? I look at many post on here, and it appears most have had multiple affairs. Do the single event scenarios occur because of quick discovery? In my case, I discovered solid could not lie about graphic texts. Upon looking deeper, what I discovered was not a single person but a large sample group of infidelity. There was the ex BF who she expressed her undying love for. There was the 20ish year old who I found solid sexual evidence on. There were other men who she at minimum had very inappropriate text with. There were other 20 year olds she allowed to text her about wanting to have sex with her. I think the single event cheaters are just the ones who leave no further trails. It took data mining of old cell phones to actually find full truth in my situation. What in her words was a limited event affair turned into much more. But I also define affairs not just as sex but as inappropriate texts and conversations.

    • DavidB, I think you are right. It’s very unlikely that there has been a single event for a cheater. Maybe a single sexual event but certainly multiple emotional affairs. My ex cheated on me emotionally many times and physically twice that I know of. He blamed me and then left to be with the 24-yo (he’s 47). It has been a long road to recovery, but so it goes. Best luck to you!

      • Yep, minimum is they were in a cheating mind frame the whole time, so tolerated or encouraged flirting, as imaginary cheating until they dared cross the line. In spirit they were never faithful.

    • David B
      I agree with what you have said. In my experience with hindsight you can see them easing into the behaviour and getting better at it. My STBXH was first browsing dating sites, looking at porn. His first affair took a while to get physical but he started with sexting. Then it got physical after a few (3) months. Second affair took maybe two months to get going physically. Third affair it was maybe two weeks.
      And prior to all this he had multiple women friends was seen as a great listener.
      I can see it now….if I had a superpower I would like the gift of hindsight……

    • Well, we don’t know, right? That’s the kick in the pants that comes along some time AFTER D-day, “Wait a minute…. Maybe this wasn’t the only one?…..” And who are you going to ask? The Cheater??? Good luck with that.

      I think my own story is as light a sentence as one can hope for — AS FAR AS I KNOW: Married sixteen years, no episodes of cheating, then falls in love with a waitress half my age, emotional/exit affair, Dday, we divorce.

      Simple, right? — Or is it? — Some years before all this, he asked me if I would buy him a wedding ring (he didn’t have one, never wore jewelry) because he was tired of women at his restaurant hitting on him all the time. — Innocent request… or is it??? And all those late nights at the restaurant, and out-til-4am wine tastings at a friend’s house… ?????

      Who knows? Who cares? As soon as I found out about (E)AP, I kicked him out. No sharing. We’re done.

      • I am certain there were at least two other one night stands. Those only became apparent months after D-Day. Everything is suspect and open for questioning after betrayal by a spouse.

        • Very suspect indeed! After I caught her red handed, she still would continue to lie. I actually sat down and went through a list and asked questions. She straight up lied to continue to cover her own ass. What I did find helpful….. not as much as one would like, there is a program wonderphone which data mines cell phones. One only gets some of the deleted text back but it showed me enough to know how big a liar she remained at that time….. never believe a word these people say…. born to lie, cheat and steal!

  • This: My STBX is a cheater and therefore also a liar– there were thousands of lies over the 2 years and 2 affairs I know of. My STBX IS disrespectful OF MY FEELINGS, my needs, my humanity, our marriage, our children, our extended family, our friends, our community.
    My STBX endangered my health and make unilateral decisions about my welfare — sex with 2 sluts who knew he was married, no condoms used,I got an STD, $900 in STD testing and 1 year of follow up testing for Hep B and HIV.
    My STBX is selfish,he put his want for attention, thrilling forbidden sex, ahead of me, our children. Cake is selfish– my STBX lied for 2 years about affair being over (all while living with AP) and trying on a daily basis to sleep with me, go on family vacations with me,get my help and attentions.

    I left the cheater that is soon to be my XH and gained a life. This is my experience and what worked for me.

    STBX suffered consequences for HIS choices: the kids despise him and have no respect for him, he lost at least $1.5M in assets from the break up of our 25-year marriage, every one of our long-term friends told him that he was “dead” to them, the community knows him to be a drug user and cheater and abandoner now. His AP is suspicious of his every move– he’s already cheated on her with me (before I went NC and filed), and at least 2 others. He lost me– his best friend and most loyal suppporter and help-mate for his entire adult life. I will never be his friend again and will never give him my time, attention,or care. I’ve moved on. The future for me is VERY bright!

    • MC, your future is bright indeed! Keep enjoying the sunshine on your face and hold your head high. Financial consequences are sometimes the only consequences they get besides living with their lying cheating selves.

      I also believe the karma bus will come for both STBX and OW; hopefully while they are looking over their shoulders or hiding behind their slipped masks. They played the cheater game. Here’s hoping they both get gamed soon in another round of “I’m a special snowflake and I’m not feeling special”.

  • All I know is that after D Day #2 and 20 years of supposed commitment to one another, I was considering stepping out in front of a bus or tossing myself down a flight of stairs. For real. I was a fucked-up mess. The gaslighting was so bad, lies so endless, was told I by him that I was a monster that needed to be killed, my dad had just passed away from cancer and my sister had just recovered from a serious health scare. And I still wanted to take him back. He wanted to have 3 months to try things out with the new guy, and if that didn’t work out, he said we could try to rekindle things. I said yes, and I sold off a chunk of my soul. 3 months came and went, and he changed his decision window to 9 months. I was starting to come out of the fog, but I was still hopeful, so I agreed. More soul-selling. More feeding off of crumbs. More of a loss of sense of self. More desperation. I was hard-wired for reconciliation and giving it my all. I dragged us into therapy after the first D Day knowing that relationships take Work. People make Mistakes. But he was never really sorry. He looked like a dog who got caught peeing on the carpet. He was a serial cheater. Maybe he felt badly, maybe he didn’t. After everything, I can’t trust what he says to be truthful.

    Eventually finding CL and the compassionate people here saved me. Really! So much so that I have tears running down my face as I write this. If my ex were to have come back to me wanting reconciliation, I probably would have taken him back. The abused mind is a crazy thing. Now 2 years on and I’m getting myself out there on dates. A 47-yo gay dude in a sea of 20-30-something dating-app savvies. It’s pretty awful and scary. I’m a nice, open-hearted guy in a sea of youngins and some guys my age who mostly are creepsters or otherwise not capable of healthy connection. And I’m picking through what I’m finding in the hopes that there will be someone for me, and I pray that I can learn to trust again. I’m afraid of a life alone, and I know that’s not a healthy place to be, but it’s true.

    • ChumpDude, I’m so sorry that you were so horribly abused. Do not lose hope that you will find a wonderful partner. You only need one! Maybe better to meet people in person through common interests or new interests (hiking club, YMCA classes, yoga, art, etc. ).

      Huge hugs to you! You are Mighty in gaining a life!

      • Thanks MotherChumper99! Your kind words feel great!

        I’m mostly keeping faith, but have recently been sucked in by a guy who, surprise-surprise, has a personality a lot like that of my ex. He’s a snarky teaser, and already I feel like I’m not good enough for him. I need to cut him loose, but instead I try to be shinier and figure out what can do to make him laugh, smile, or otherwise seem to like me. That’s the legacy of this sort of abuse and being cheated on–why don’t you like me? what’s wrong with me? how can I be this-or-that that you need me to be? chose me!!! Ugh. If it weren’t so embarrassing it would be hysterical. Maybe it’s some of both.

        At some point I’m going to try Meetup. Maybe I will have better luck there. And more that anything, I’m going to continue working on myself.

        • ChumpDude, it looks like you have a lot of work to do on yourself if we have just been chumped again. Maybe stay off dating until you’ve fixed your picker, otherwise you will repeat this pattern…Big hug

          • kikichump, I hadn’t thought about this as being chumped again, but you know, you are right. This guy is not a nice guy, but because his rudeness is under the guise of snarky teasing, I get hit in my blind spot, and am chumped. I liked being teased because I see it as being playful, and that’s how I got hooked to my ex way back when. No surprises there. People find the teasing charming or clever, and maybe it can be that way, but I’m learning if there’s not a healthy balance of sincerity, then it’s all just tickle-torture which really is just torture–even though we are laughing deep down our instincts are telling us to get away or lash. It just needs to stop.

            I’m going to get away from this guy which is going to be really hard for me because he’s otherwise super smart, funny, has a great taste in music (which I love), is athletic and outdoorsy like me… blah blah blah. But he’s not the complete package. Oh, and I find myself teasing back, which is fun but also feels like I’m being mean. It’s not a good feeling. It’s like doing drugs because everyone else is doing them.

            • ChumpDude – if there is one thing I have learned through being betrayed that I really think has helped me the most as a general rule in dating, it is to RUN far far away from charming people. It sounds sad and unfair, because who doesn’t like a charmer, but 9 times out of 10, I have found the most charming amongst us are usually also the most disordered.

              I am 40, so I get how hard it is out there. I get hit on by men in their 20’s. Not because I am some gorgeous supermodel, but I think the ones that hit on me find the thought of being with an older woman exciting. Sheesh-that is the last thing I need.

              Please don’t let this douche rob you of any more of your self-esteem. Guys like him seem like catches on the surface but really, they are a dime a dozen, because they are just straight-up assholes!

              So many many run-ons…Sorry! 🙂

              • Blerg, your take on charmers is interesting and noted. I see there being different types of charmers–the straight-up schmarmy ones with full on love bombing, the intellectual charmers who seem to know so damn much about everything, and the asshole charmers who tease in a way that is supposed to be charming because it comes with a smile and other stuff but sometimes just cuts too close. For whatever reason, I’m most susceptible to the asshole charmers.

            • ChumpDude, watch out for the teasing. Until I read up on narc abuse, I didn’t realise that emotional and psychological abuse can take the form of teasing. It is easy to let people cross the boundary between affectionate teasing and manipulation if you are a chump. It is also too easy for a chump who is afraid of being alone to lap up the attention we get with the teasing. But it is not kind, it is not affectionate, it’s a power trip. And Berg is right, run from charming people. Take care.

        • ChumpDude – sounds like you’ve been through the wringer. Stay strong and stay focused. “I need to cut him loose”. Yes, you are wise, you know what to do, do it!!
          You know about the pick me dance you know what to look for in people now. Do it!! Be mighty!! Be alone for a while – it’s ok. You are good enough just the way you are. If someone doesn’t like you? Fine – move on! Be available so when a good guy comes along you ARE available. Hang in there – you aren’t alone.

          • KathleenK, thanks much for you feedback. I am absolutely doing the Pick Me Dance. Time to get off that crazy train. It feels like a drug, though, the Pick Me Dance. It’s hard to stop.

            • ChumpDude, it is difficult to stop. Please, try me, it will wear you down to a pulp. I did the pick me dance BEFORE I found out he was cheating. 17 months out and I’m still emotionally exhausted. Please take care of yourself first. xoxoxox

              • nomoreskankboy. Good on you for getting away from him! And congrats on making it 17 months. I know how exhausting it is to give heart and tenderness over to someone who hasn’t demonstrated an ability to be compassionate and receive with kindness and reciprocity. It’s truly insanity. And now we heal. I’m on here so that I can continue with taking better care of myself. XOXO

    • Dude, if you work on that “afraid to be alone,” you’ll be ready to meet other guys who are kind, confident, and emotionally healthy. It’s worth focusing on that and fixing your picker before you start dating and end up in another horrible situation. Being alone is a whole lot better than being abused.

      • LovedaJackass: You are so right, and deep down I know this. For two years now, I’ve been getting my caboose to a good therapist several times a month doing EMDR and brainspotting. Breaking away from this new guy is going to bring on a lot more grief work, and I’ve already done so much. And so goes life. I do want to continue to heal so that I am in my best relationship shape for someone. I’ve made a shit ton of progress since the brainwashing by my ex ended. I can see where I’ve perpetuated the legacy of brainwashing, and that’s sad.

      • You said something days ago, LaJ, that has been echoing in my thoughts. You mentioned how attractive a solo person can be out in the world. It’s helped me tremendously this week. Best, Ian

    • Chump Dude. I’m with you on the afraid to be alone thing but it’s not healthy is it? It makes us vulnerable to narcs out there who can smell the fear and will sense the edge of ‘willing to spackle’. I think we need to walk into that fear. There are archived posts and help in the forums to deal with this fear. Learn to be alone. Get a pet. Have friends. Hobbies. But learn to be alone. Therapy might help. Good luck and keep coming back to share.

      • Chump dude. I liked these:

        ““One of the greatest regrets in life is being what others would want you to be, rather than being yourself.”

        “The best way to be happy with someone is to learn to be happy alone. That way the company will be a matter of choice and not necessity. ”

        Treat yourself to getting to know yourself. Because you are so very worth it.

      • Capricorn, no it’s not healthy. Not at all. This new guy told me he picked up early on that I’m a nice guy who is compassionate and kind. He didn’t say he liked that about me, though he did thank me for empathizing with a challenging situation he faces with his parents. At that moment he gave me a crumb, and I ate it up. Yay! He appreciates that I’m a good empathizer! But in other ways it seems I’m not measuring up for him. Or maybe I am, and he’s being emotionally manipulative. Either way, it’s not a good situation, and I’m aware that I’m willing to spackle which is sending me back to the dugout. I do have a good therapist and have been doing hard work with her for a couple of years now. Have pets. Haven’t been doing my hobbies–that got lost when I gave up on myself years ago.

        • ChumpDude. We are twins! I’m great at empathy but instead of boundaries I have a ditch! I spend years doing the kids equivalent of the ‘pick me dance’ for my mother – the please notice and love me dance? Then spent 20 odd years being the empathy well for my soon to be ex. I settled for so little. I can see that now when I look back. People here say go back to who you used to be but that’s not good for me as I do not yet know who I am. So I am going to be alone and I think I might never be in another relationship by choice for years. I’m sort of looking forward to discovering myself, the bits that are starting to emerge are strong and healthy. Long way to go for both of us maybe but it’s the journey that counts right?
          Let’s agree not to give up on ourselves but to invest everything in ourselves instead.
          One tip I heard that is weird but works – imagine glowing strands of spaghetti coming out of the top of your head. If someone needs you then a strand goes out to them. If work needs you that gets a strand etc etc. Periodically check that you don’t have too many strands going to others – you need most of them. I’m getting quite protective of my weird spaghetti strands now. hugs to us. ❤️

    • So sorry ChumpedDude.

      These cheating assholes are the true monsters. They wait until we are at our weakest most vulnerable possible position to devalue and discard.

      You my friend have suffered severe trauma. They want our very soul. I too feared being alone. However we have to build our identity from the bottom up and love ourselves and embrace our true worth.

      Facing that fear and pain is scary. Having a good therapist and a support system is important as you know. Yes, go to the chump meetups. You are never alone, we appreciate your kindness and understand your sadness and pain. We are here.

    • You sound like a catch, Dude. But you’re only narc-bait until you can get your cheater-dar up and running. That guy is negging you, and it sounds like you are programmed to like it. My (long since dead) dad was the king of snark. He was relentless and it’s one of the things I fall back in when I want to show affection. Combine that with my deadpan affect when I deliver a joke, and I can be a bit much I’ve been told (by my STBXW while in a cab in NYC chatting about Statten Island and Wu-Tang…). Nevertheless, I have to consciously reach for a kid word. So it sounds like he’s got your number. All of your posts today helped me tremendously. You don’t need him. If you can, just use him for sex. Whatever it takes, right?

  • When a person cheats, that person is making the decision to do what he/she thinks is best for him/her, not what is best for the relationship. The chump gets no input. The chump (certainly true in my case) often has no idea what is going on and often thinks that the relationship is fine (or just going through a rough patch).

    If there is anything “individual” about cheating, it’s that the cheating individual does what he/she wants without any regard or respect for the chump. That kind of “individualism” is not true individualism. It’s selfishness, delusion, and narcissism. Anyone who calls cheating an “individual” act is spackling.

  • Dear Reddit, so experience doesn’t matter…perhaps you could put your laser eyes on Anne and Brian Bercht, the “affair recovery specialists who have helped hundreds of people navigate life after an affair”. You know, one of the biggest RICoffs of them all? The authors of “My Husband’s Affair Became the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me”? (pardon me while I gag) Surely you have something to say about them? After all, their bywords are “You are not alone. We’ve been there and we can help”.

    • Datdamwuf
      Those two. Apparently his affair was only two months long. Bit different to most here. I always thought she was particularly cunning. What better way to continually shame a cheater than to make his dysfunction and cheating front and centre of your business. Then sit back and forever be the better person, the forgiving spouse. I think that would be brilliant but for the fact their advice is rubbish and all about accepting that it’s a marriage problem not a character thing. She must watch him like a hawk.
      Also I notice these sites are always about the betrayed spouse, how they sucked it up, moved on and reinvigorated their marriage. Would be much more interesting to focus on his no bullshit excuses as to why he did it and then more interestingly how he has stopped since. Marriage police and asset protection anyone?

      • Capricorn – I think a 2 month affair still involves WAY too many lies to be that much different. Who knows why it ended. Maybe the OW ended it, or maybe she was pressuring him. I doubt he ended it, because he felt guilty…

      • The story on their site appears rather different from the one I read and was told before they became so successful. I agree with Blerg. A one night stand immediately confessed, sure. An affair by definition is a mindfuck.

      • Oh, and Peggy Vaughan is Anne’s role model and mentor, the person who started BAN, passed the baton to Anne & Hubs. Peggy Vaughan was one of the first to monetize the RIC: . She’s dead but her site remains up. Her husband was most certainly a serial cheater.

      • The only thing I did like on that site was her responses to AP letters. She flat out lets those whores have it! She does not mince words about how they should not be involved with anyone who’s married.

  • PEOPLE!!! (preaching to choir, this is more for the asshats at reddit)

    There IS a red thread that runs through all cheaters… whether serial or one offs…..

    Lying. Deception. Manipulation.

    These are the COMMON character issues that DRIVE cheating behaviors. They are the vehicle in which ENTITLEMENT is behind the wheel.

    Cheating is the byproduct, not the cause. Take a look, these people more than likely apply these same behaviors in other parts of their lives.

    So screw you reddit dude/chica.

  • This imposter reminds me of the OW/OM who knowingly became involved with a cheater. They believe they are special and the cheater suffered at the hands of their spouse. His/her cheating is justified by the cheaters narrative.

    I just came across a Wanted Ad in the very same newspaper that highlighted her arrest for assaulting an elderly neighbor ten days before my 36th anniversary.

    “WANTED: Male dance partner, ages 48-58 preferable. No experience necessary but must have rhythm. Serious,single men only apply. Someone who is interested in learning ball- room dancing for fun and recre- ation.Wednesday nights 7-8pm.

    Note the Serious Single Men only. This whore was called 16 days later and fucked him in a HOjo hotel 15 days later.

    I was told he met his Dream Girl and he wanted a divorce weeks later.

    She harassed me for over a year. Taken on an individual basis cheaters share common traits as do the needy OW/OM.

    But hey she said ‘single’. She found her Ball-Room. He bragged that she didn’t care that he was married.

    Individually, they create the perfect storm. We are no longer in the dark. Why reconcile when you can gain a cheater free life.

  • Yeah, CN! How dare we compare a guy who cheated with twenty prostitutes, with someone else who only cheated with nineteen?

    How dare we compare a chump who ended up with chlamydia from their cheating AP, with one who was infected with gonorrhea?

    Or a cheater who cheats at WORK, with one who cheats on VACATIONS?

    TOTALLY different.

    These people are all individuals, and if we see a pattern, it’s because we’re the delusional ones.

    … Riiiiiiiiggggggghhhhhhhhtttttttt…….

  • For the longest time, I believed that my ex’s cheating was indeed an individual thing. Individual thing, my ass. It was me spackling, hoping that I was right. Well, three affairs later over 2 decades … there was nothing individual about his cheating. Cheating is cheating is cheating is cheating … Don’t let anyone let you believe otherwise.

    Here’s the thing. If your cheater wants to come back, divorce him and tell him to win/earn you back. Let’s see what happens. My bet is that he won’t bother winning you back.

  • Cheating is an individual selfish choice. It requires agency regardless of whether it is a one night hook up or with repeated affair partners. There is no better or worse case scenario.

    The pain of infidelity is no lesser the first time than it is the last.

    Where have all the humble cheaters gone? They either don’t exist or they are invisible.

    Cheating is simplified when labeled as infidelity. It requires prolonged deception, disrespect, and lies. One word cannot describe the realization you were never loved or cherished. That every memory involved an overlap with an affair partner.

    Forgiving a cheater doesn’t build character, it gives them power.

  • There is no “right or wrong ” in a divorce. Love is just as much about commitment as it is about instant gratification and having one’s needs met… so I read on one website about the psychology of why men and women cheat in a relationship. Makes me want to go running to a nunnery to apply to be a nun already. there is no hope for the marriage institution if it were all about needs about met. today, I tell myself, that I can only control me, it’s not my job or special talent to craft the most persuasive reasons or pretty arguments to make the cheater see light. A person who can cheat and gaslight and leave the home and kids , to have his needs met and to feel “needed” by another man’s wife and her 2 kids – is not worth keeping. Yes, there is an ocean of pain to swim across but swim we must!

    And the shit sandwich of co-parenting with the narc never ends. arguments, anger, bitterness – but it’s ok – we fall then we do NC again. just, don’t give up on ourselves . hang on to the thought of “Tuesday”.

  • Cheating is a very individual thing. So is mugging somebody, burglarizing somebody, assaulting somebody, raping somebody, murdering somebody. All of these actions are wrong and frankly I’d rather be mugged, or have somebody steal the contents of my home compared to finding out my x was fucking other people before and during our entire marriage. My entire married life is a disconnected memory because not a single thing I recollect is not tainted by the stench of him shitting on HIS marriage vows.
    Being disposed of as soon as our youngest turned 18 makes me feel beyond duped. I supported this asshole and isolated myself from family to support this fucktard’s education and career. And stupid psychologists say I have no right to be upset he broke his vows, spent my money, isolated me from family and friends, treated me with disdain and disrespect. Because I the faithful spouse somehow did something wrong by putting my career on hold, only spent money on the children and household needs (while he bought every latest electronic toy or motorcycle), gained a little weight after pregnancy and hitting middle age (fucktard was over 80 lbs heavier than our wedding). Switzerland friends can go to hell. I wish they could live this nightmare and just STFU about it takes two, people drift apart, we cannot know what happens behind closed doors. For God’s sake a cheater lied, exposed a spouse to STD’s, disrespected that spouse. If I ever hear somebody say I’m a woman scorned I will bitch slap that person into next Tuesday. With a smile on my face.

  • Without reading all the comments, my experience has been this. I loved and was loved beautifully for 25 years. Then he had a breakdown, and made shitty choices. He got well, and realised he was being super shitty. He ended the affair with my “friend.” We were still madly in love, and life was great. Then she told me some weeks after he sacked her. I was sure I would kick a cheating fucktard out immediately. But I didn’t. He was genuinely gutted, and aghast at what he had done. So, I tried bloody hard to stay. We were both still actually in love. But, the thing with cheating is, it taints EVERYTHING in your life. FOREVER. We did a lot of the ‘right’ things, we were very connected, we worked hard at our love. But, you never get what you had back. Our love was forever tainted by their shitting in my nest. I had to let him go. Because he lowered the value of what we invested in for quarter of a century. No matter how wonderful he was, he could never regain his original value. And no matter how much I know, no matter how much I refute it, I will probably always feel (on the inside) that I was “not good enough” – and that is an absolute crock of shit. I am pretty bloody fantastic! And good luck to him in ever finding anyone near what he had in me.

    • Its so hard when they make bad decisions and are shitty.

      I understand the self esteem issues….i felt a deep wound inside me that i felt would never heal. It does seem to heal over time, but there is a scar. Eventually it will fade…

      Never have known love like you have, but agree about the taint. It forever alters a relationship.

  • Its not about the cheating! Its about the selfishness, the lack of connection, the taking you completely for granted, the entitlement.
    Its about flying over to Disneyworld with kids that are actually a bit too small – and standing at the bottom of every. single. ride. Because the youngest couldn’t go on, and why should he share, and why should he wait in the queue for my turn.
    Its about him walking 3 steps ahead holding his favourite childs hand while I meekly follow.
    Its about him unilaterally deciding everything.
    Its about all these examples which are just too many to detail.

    Cheating was just a symptom of that. And when he got caught and ‘wanted his family back’ he just carried right on during wreckonciliation with all those behaviours, and no he didn’t have to explain himself or give me information.

    So of course I was going to find him with OW again.

    [Why did I go along with those awful behaviours? Because protesting got me nowhere, and denial and suppressing my needs was just easier with 3 small kids. And, of course, ‘one day’ he was going to get it and give me some attention. I have to thank OW for getting that delusion out of my head. At least I don’t have anxiety and depression any more!]

  • Wow. I’m truthfully baffled. Redditor here that had this post come to my attention. I think context to these postings are needed before everyone starts making assumptions. The person who made these original comments is a betrayed male in a recovered marriage for many years, which is quite different than Chump Lady’s situation. These comments WERE NOT MADE to justify someone’s affair as this blog made it seem. The comments were made to explain that taking blanket advice and applying it to every possible infidelity scenario is not a great idea, Which is no where near the subject of this blog post.

    I’ll reserve thoughts other than it’s pretty disappointing that an affair recovery website would take someone’s post out of context to fit a blog subject for their own benefit. So in the interest of transparency, here’s their postings in full.

    “Chump lady’s advice, or anyone’s for that matter, is great as long as your situation is similar to theirs. Someone who, for example has a betrayer who did in once and fully confessed on their own is in an entirely different situation that someone who’s spouse has cheated multiple times and who continues after being caught and who trickle truths. And applying what should be done in one case to the other will make things worse, not better.”

    “I don’t have any personal agenda other than not seeing people steered the wrong way by advice that doesn’t apply to their situation.”

    “The problem is, lots of people give advice in fairly universal terms and a new hurting poster may not be able to filter all that well. The other problem is that the story of the person giving the advice isn’t necessarily readily apparent.”

    “Then I must have minunderstood this:”

    “which came off to me anyway as a bit of a jab at me.
    In any case I have been on a bit of a “not everything applies to everyone be careful” kick recently because it just occurred to me that had I followed the type of advice given by and applicable to someone with a very different infidelity story, I’d likely not be married anymore. I just think it’s important to know at least an overview of someone’s story before following their advice.
    Chump Lady for example, is very strongly in the “end it reconciliation is almost impossible” camp. And given that hers was a case of a serial cheater, that’s perfectly understandable. But it’s also FAR from universal. She doesn’t, IMO,seem to acknowledge that not every cheater is the same as hers was. Many here seem to have the same difficulty. We see lots of “cheaters are x” sorts of statements that are anything but true all or even most of the time.”

    “And just because I post as a reply to your post, doesn’t mean that I’m only talking to you, everyone can see it.”

    “I realize you want to be done but this confuses me. What hidden agenda? Like I said, my only agenda is in not seeing people led astray by advice that may be bad for their situation. Chump Lady is great for who it’s great for, which, contrary to her, isn’t everyone. She’s very short on “this is my experience and what worked for me, but it may not be best for everyone”. And IMO, anyone who doesn’t recognize that infidelity is an incredibly individual experience shouldn’t be speaking authoritatively on it.
    In this OP’s specific case, with his wife continuing on in the affair after discovery, CL is quite possibly very applicable. But I’ll still disagree with a blanket “CL is great” statement. FWIW, I’d disagree just as strongly about a blanket statment if we were talking about a site that aligned more closely with my own experience.
    EDIT: Just so we’re clear, I’m not the one downvoting you.”

    • Why do you think Chump Lady is “an affair recovery website”?

      The recovery is to ‘Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life.’

      It’s like diet and exercise. You know those are the only two things that will help you lose weight. You can take all the supplements and do all the justifying one tiny potato chip…but you’re not going to lose weight unless you diet and exercise.

      You’re not going to recover from an affair unless you Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life.

      Please tell that Reddit poster to come here asap. You are welcome as well.

      • Roaring,

        You’re entitled to your beliefs and I respect them. I didn’t come here to debate the merits of Chump Lady. It’s a great site and resource that has helped many people for years. I came here to set the record straight to provide context of what was said by the person quoted in this blog, because that person has been a solid voice for those seeking help going through infidelity.

        As a result of their initial posting being taken out of context, the audience here is reacting to something that doesn’t exist. Many of them pretty emotionally. From reading the comments to this blog, many believe it was a cheater or someone justifying a cheater’s actions who made the original comments. When that is false and not true.

        The original intent of the Reddit comment was telling someone that the advice you receive should be pertinent to your situation. Not that all cheaters don’t have the same qualities from a micro standpoint.

        • I truly do not understand your point. Chump Lady got the context right which is why her post is important. Also – this isn’t her first rodeo. Lots of RIC sites say a version of what you promote (cheaters are different in kind, not degree) and then accuse Chump Lady of missing the context.

          It’s probably me but here’s what I think you’re saying:

          A Chump wrote to Reddit and learned that

          “Chump Lady is great for who it’s great for, which, contrary to her, isn’t everyone. She’s very short on “this is my experience and what worked for me, but it may not be best for everyone.” And IMO, anyone who doesn’t recognize that infidelity is an incredibly individual experience shouldn’t be speaking authoritatively on it”

          Then, on this post, Chump Lady wrote about why this Reddit information is crazy.

          I agree with her based on my own experience, research, and interactions with the others on this site.

          Further, Chump Lady specifically states that this is her PERSONAL blog where it’s motto is ‘Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life’ because that’s the only way to salvage the experience of betrayal.

          I agree with her on this as well.

          • That’s perfectly fine if that’s your view point. I’m not debating that viewpoint is wrong. If you feel it’s the right decision for you, than it’s the right decision. No doubt about that. My initial post was because I’m familiar with the person this quote was pulled from and I felt this blog post unfairly characterized his words out of context. That person is in a recovered marriage and this blog by all intent, made it appear that he was saying “cheaters are different.” When that’s not what he was saying.

            Everyone is missing the point. The debate isn’t that cheaters are different or special. They’re all selfish assholes.

            The context is, there’s different degrees of infidelity and how you approach it from a recovery standpoint (whether that’s leaving, staying, divorcing, whatever it could be). And who you seek advice from will be people with similar experiences. Your comments reflect the Redditors mindset. That mindset is, the best advice one can get is from someone that has experience with the most similar situation.

            That being said, their point from the initial post was one’s steps for recovery is reflective of what the extent of the infidelity is. An ongoing emotional affair from a newlywed couple is much different than discovering a one night stand a decade ago with someone that you have children and a mortgage with. A serial cheater that has had sex with numerous prostitues is different than someone who is sexting a co-worker that they see everyday.

            • Of course there are differences. But you know what is the same? Each and every example you cited was of a spouse BETRAYING and LYING to their partner. Even condoms don’t protect one from all diseases, so each cheater potentially exposed his/her partner to STDs, including incurable ones like herpes.

              Fucking someone else is not equivalent to a “mistake” in that you picked up Flat paint instead of Eggshell paint that your partner requested. Fucking someone else, and then covering it up, under ANY circumstance, is a deliberate decision to metaphorically stab your partner in the back , and put your own hedonistic needs ahead of that of the marriage/relationship.

              I, and at least some others on this site, believe that even a one-night stand is a gross enough injustice that we no longer want to be partnered with such a person. If you can do it once, you can do it again, and I would prefer being alone to running the risk that a known-cheater could betray me again. You can argue cost-benefit analysis all you want, and bring in “oh, the children!” “oh, your history together!” all you want. My cost-benefit analysis says that cheating, even once, means you’re out.

              If you’re a business partner and you drain the company bank accounts once, you’re out. If you come to my house for a party and steal my TV, you’re out–no longer my friend. Betrayal is worse than draining bank accounts, or stealing a TV, and yet people want to argue that it is somehow a “special case” because you were emotionally coupled with the cheater. If the cheater was that emotionally coupled with the chump, he/she wouldn’t have cheated. Betraying your partner tells me all I need to know about your relationship potential–subpar.

        • And virtually everyone on this site thinks that the thing “most pertinent to your individual situation” if you have been cheated on is LEAVE. That includes those of us who left 24+ relationships with children, those who left short or long-term marriages without children, those of us who found out our fiances, fiancees were cheating even before marriage.

          Why do we believe this? Read a few months worth of Chumplady posts and you’ll see that a HUGE proportion of people did think they had the special, individual situation, and forgave their cheater only to have yet another D-day a few years down the road, or to realize 20 years later that their spouse had never stopped cheating. Secondly, something in a chump dies as soon as they know their partner has stepped out on them, either emotionally and/or physically. Why stay in a relationship that caused part of you to atrophy? Sunken costs; move on to the potential for a relationship with integrity. Thirdly, by its very nature, infidelity involves emotional abuse–lying, steering emotional resources to the affair partner, de-valuing the spouse even as the cheater is fucking around on them (just to add insult to injury). Redditor–you mention being on a “individual circumstances’ kick. Well, I am on a “emotional abuse is reason enough to leave a marriage” kick. Live a life of integrity; leave a cheater.

          • Again, I’m not debating whether or not that’s the right decision or not. I respect that you’re on a emotional abuse is reason enough to leave a marriage kick. But, those weren’t my words that you were quoting. Those were the words of the original poster this blog quoted.

            Again, I sound like a broken record by now, but there’s no debating your beliefs. There hasn’t been one time I’ve said anyone here is wrong. I understand that’s the viewpoints of this website and blog, thus there’s no debating that though everyone seems to keep wanting to point out the philosophy.

            My initial post was to provide context and clarity for what the original person quoted was getting at.

      • “As a result of their initial posting being taken out of context, the audience here is reacting to something that doesn’t exist. Many of them pretty emotionally.”

        Case in point ^. Ian, I don’t know exactly why you’re this angry with someone providing context. Earlier you said

        “This Redditor obviously doesn’t have the guts to come on here, say that, and take the heat, or he would have posted a comment directly. So much easier to make nebulous attacks from the safely of one’s own little echo chamber.”

        Now that you have the context and full transcript of what was said, it should be pretty clear that none of the comments were made as a way to attack anyone. Either way, have a blessed day.

    • Redditor – If you’ve read any of the responses from commenters here, many faithful spouses have given their cheaters second, third and many more chances. So many of them have continued to cheat while diverting marital funds, continuing to use marital assets to entertain their affair partner, draining their 401Ks, and on and on and on.

      The example was put forth of someone doing it once and confessing right away is different from serial cheaters. The problem with that is how do you know they are telling the truth? They have just announced that they are liars; that they have broken the most serious vow of their life. What CL does is help people wake up and protect themselves.

      There is nothing more emotionally shattering than the person you trust most in this world betraying you. It doesn’t matter if it’s once or dozens of times. Faithful spouses are in no shape to face the cold realities of what their cheating spouse is capable of. CL helps them snap out of it and make good decisions for themselves in the moment.

      A blog cannot force anyone to begin divorce proceedings. That is the decision of the individual. CL just points out that smoking the hopium will put you behind the eight ball, whether you stay or whether you go. It’s a great service to those who are completely lost and unbelieving of what’s just occurred in their lives. If it was a one time thing, then it’s up to the cheater to make their spouse feel safe and secure. If they don’t make that effort, that’s what CL is for.

      • Again, I’m not debating the merits of this blog. Which for whatever reason, people seem hellbent to provide explanations for everything, but the subject at hand, which was taking someone’s words out of context.

        For the record I have been reading this blog since summer 2012. So I am well aware of the philosophy of this blog and respect it very much.

        You’re last two sentences make up the entire point of this debate.

    • Redditor,

      A few thoughts.
      If you were to analyze Chump Lady’s core message, it is the following: Cheating, whether it is once or a twenty year serial affair and double life, is emotional abuse.

      Let me remove the grammatical clause.

      Core message of Chump Lady regarding cheating: Cheating is a form of emotional abuse.

      The individual circumstances of any affair, or violation of an agreement within a relationship, is still that, a violation of mutually agreed upon terms of what is essentially a type of contract in the relationship.

      Breaking it once or 20 times does not matter. The contract was broken.

      Chump Lady as a core message advocates examining what is a form of relationship abuse and domestic violence. As a teen in the 90s, my sex ed courses unequivocally stated cheating was a part of abusive relationships.

      If a partner becomes physically violent as a form of abuse in a relationship, it is completely acceptable advice to advocate leaving after one physical blow. There does not need to be further analysis of the individual circumstances after being punched once. This is a form of blanket advice, as well. Individuals have dealbreakers. Being punched once is an absolute dealbreaker for me.

      If you consider the potential, life-long harm of a fluid bonded couple not using barrier methods of protection against STIs as part of their sexual relationship, the lifelong health consequences include, but are not limited to: HIV, Hep B and C, HSV1 and 2 (herpes), the new incurable antibacterial resistent strain of gonorrhea which was a killer and sterilizer of many in the 19th century, HPV 16/HPV 18 (Causative strains of cervical cancer in women, potential links to prostate, testicular, penile, and anal cancer in men, in Michael Douglas case, linked to throat cancer from performing oral intercourse). There are, of course, the old STI standbys, chlamydia, trich, yeast infections.

      Infidelity is potentially lethal. To minimize its effects constitute the same reasoning that exist in the minimization of sexual assault, domestic violence, and other forms of relational violence. In the long term, being punched once as a form of interrelationship violence has less long term effects than infidelity.

      For someone to unilaterally make decisions that can impact another human being’s lifetime of health is a completely disrespectful and abusive act. Once is potentially lethal, and due to the severity of the impact, it is important not to minimize the abuse.

      Redditor, your post contains the minimizing cultural mentalities and narratives surrounding infidelity. It reflects the same reasoning structure that is part of minimizing abuse. These same processes of reasoning are used to justify rape, sexual assault, domestic violence, etc.

      People on this website express strong emotions. This is because it in part serves as a support network for people seeking strength, support, sanity, and validation for their decision to leave abusive relationships. These emotions are common to all processes of healing from abusive scenarios. They are seen with domestic violence survivors, sexual assault survivors, and larger social oppression.

      Ian Dubito pretty much cut to the chase by telling you to go fuck yourself. After you have been abused, its not the job of any chump on this site to educate you, listen to a sanctimonious injuncture re-establishing a minimizing stance regarding abuse, or be condescended to in cheater-splain. Your post accomplished this in spades.

      After my well reasoned post in cordial academic discourse, its time for my chef voice:

      Fuck off, Redditor, and take your sanctimonious bullshit out of the kitchen. No time for that.

      • How in the world did you get to the point of reasoning structure to minimize abuse and rape?

        The whole point of the context is to seek advice from those that have been in similar situations so you can have the best chance going forward with whatever you choose to do, whether that’s staying or leaving.

        If your version of healing is spewing hate and having blinders on to not understand my initial post and somehow warp it to rape justification…whew, I hope you find peace.

  • Did not have time to read all the comments.So, sorry if this is repeating something.
    I am pretty dogmatic about this, and a lot of folks think I am “judgmental” and not ” evolved ” or whatever.
    I have found that there are a lot of people who just cannot stand this concept that there are lying, evil, disordered assholes walking among us. I have never seen an exception to a cheater being just such a person.
    I have met many, now, and every one of them was a jerk, a liar, a person with little to no empathy. They are , most of them , anyway, just very good at fooling people.
    Really, who wants to stay with someone who has disrespected you so. Someone who has shown you that you are not first choice, not ” enough’ for them?
    Hwy not just cut your losses.

  • brit, I know the feeling ” after 34 years to walk by me with the OW with no recognition in his reptilian eyes”. I lost a breast to cancer so he told me the OW breasts are of the reasons he stopped loving me. I can’t believe I loved someone with no soul. Divorced a year now but at age 69, I’m so sorry i didn’t leave him sooner. Hoping Karma comes around soon to both of them.