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Dear Chump Lady, Don’t confess an affair?

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forcetruthDear Chump Lady,

A lot of advice nowadays paints confessing an affair as worse than having one. Can you please rebut the following arguments?

  1. Confessing an affair is disrespectful and selfish.
  2. Only confess if you’ve been caught or you’ve contacted a STD. If neither happened and the affair is over, keep it to yourself.
  3. Cheating is none of your spouse’s business. This was a private act you needed in order to figure out what was missing in your marriage. Now that you know, don’t create unnecessary upheaval by confessing. Instead, just work on creating a stronger marriage.

Thanks,

Irritated Ida

Dear Ida,

1.) Having an affair is disrespectful and selfish. Continuing to keep secrets is disrespectful and selfish. Unilaterally making decisions about someone’s welfare whom you purport to love is disrespectful and selfish.

Confessing, however, is changing the balance of power and ceding control to the person you chumped. I would argue that confession comes from a place of humility, which is the antithesis of selfishness.

That said, some people “confess” to get to the narrative first before the affair partner does (who may threaten exposure). Although I think authentic confession is a good thing, affairs are messy, so I tend toward skepticism on the “truth telling.” Also, while confession is a good start, remember you don’t owe anybody reconciliation no matter how contrite they are.

It’s that very concern — that cheating could be a deal breaker for the chump — that excuses cake-eating. Why give up power when cake is so delicious?

2.) Only confess if you’ve been caught or have an STD? Please. Cheaters will cop only to what you catch them dead to rights about, and even then they’ll gaslight you until you doubt your senses. An STD? Oh you must’ve caught that 20 years ago with someone else and it’s been dormant in your system. Or you sat on the wrong toilet seat, or they didn’t wash the gym towels on a hot enough setting.

Hey Chump Nation — from your experience of cheaters, what’s a more likely scenario — unvarnished honesty about what they’ve exposed you to, or preposterous excuses?

This argument says you can only confess if there are demonstrable consequences — like mortification or disease. Of course during an affair, there are consequences for the chump — who is being disrespected and whose health is risked. And just because one’s penis didn’t break out in festering pustules doesn’t mean nothing was passed on. How the hell would you know?

The assumption here is that the only consequences that matter are consequences that effect the cheater. Hurting the chump? Carry on.

3. A private matter? I wonder how this person would feel if I embezzled their pension fund and claimed that enriching myself was just a private matter between me and my wallet?

It’s an illusion to think that affairs don’t hurt your partner. Did it take time? Did it cost money? Well yes, but so does my golf game. 

Right… cheating is just recreational sport. No harm, no foul. Did anyone get pregnant? Catch a disease? Jesus Christ, we’re talking about PEOPLE here, not croquet wickets!

Chumps rightly believe in the “private matter” of an exclusive relationship. But apparently renegotiating those terms to benefit only one party is also a “private matter.” Funny how that works.

As for cheating to figure out what was missing in your marriage? You can’t be strange pussy no matter how hard you try. Cheaters have agency — if they feel something is “missing” in their marriages, they can try honest conversation, therapists, or divorce lawyers. They’re not entitled to harm chumps during their Happiness exploratory missions.

What all these bullshit arguments have in common is assuming that truth is problem, not cheating. It’s treating chumps like children (who I also don’t advocate gaslighting For Their Own Good either). You aren’t ready for the truth, it wouldn’t be good for you! I would tell you, but I can’t because it would hurt you!

You can hear this kind of condescending mindfuckery in other settings. When I lived in apartheid South Africa, white people used to tell me that blacks “just aren’t ready for democracy.” The problem isn’t white privilege, oh no, we just can’t give blacks the vote out of our benevolent concern for them. They can’t be trusted with self-determination!

Same bullshit here, different entitlement.

“Don’t confess” is just code for cake.

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Ask Chump Lady

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  • Bang on CL – ‘preposterous excuses’ AKA absolute bullshit!
    What is it with cheaters, narcs and cheater-apologists?
    More of the old ‘it’s not what I’ve done wrong that’s the problem, it’s your reaction to it’.

    They put sooooo much effort into thinking up so many preposterous excuses and ludicrous lies … adding insult to injury by assuming that us chumps will automatically fall for it by giving them the benefit of the doubt.

    It took me years to see behind shitferbrains’ mask (and send him packing) but I’ve realised so many others in my life play the same game ?

  • NOT confessing the affair is beyond disrespectful and selfish!
    By withholding the truth, they are putting themselves above God. They are taking the God given right away from the faithful spouse to divorce their cheater if they choose to because of adultery.

    • Agreed! Even God asks you to confess wrongdoing. Why do cheaters think this does not apply to them? Oh yeah, because they are special and above that. They think they are not held accountable to God because they think they ARE God.

      • No! They think that they can sin and then ask for forgiveness. 70 x 70.

        God understands the cheater, and will forgive him (they tell themselves).

        Here’s the prayer A-hole used to read: “He who forgiveth even the most grievous of sins.”

        Also, James Bond (aka A-Hole) would ask: Do you expect me to confess my sins to you? (Not allowed, only God can forgive.)

        BUT Here’s a reality to face:
        Question: How do you know your sins are forgiven?
        Answer: You stop sinning.

  • This post makes me wonder, does anyone actually confess an affair out of guilt? Of all the hundreds of infidelity stories I’ve heard, I don’t recall one where the cheating partner confessed out of the blue. It was either the BS “I’m so confused and unhappy, no there’s no one else” like my ex, or they were caught through texts or emails. Maybe the guilty confessors are the minority who end up working it out.

    • People with a conscience freely confess. I agree with you, Vastra, that it is rare for a cheating partner to come clean on their own due to him/her truly having a sense of guilt or shame and a desire to genuinely make amends. An outright confession is more likely to happen during those abrupt discards when the cheating spouse has decided to leave to be with an AP.

      • In my experience, confession can also happen when you tell your spouse that you finally realize that all the circumstantial evidence over a 20 year marriage could not possibly be explained by anything other than infidelity – and that you are going to file for divorce immediately absent the truth.

        My ex was desperate to save the marriage (I flatter myself – she was desperate to save CAKE), and with great drama and tears, confessed to one ten-month affair with a former boss that had supposedly ended six years earlier. What she confessed, not surprisingly, was a grain of sand on what turned out to be a beach of serial infidelity with multiple AP’s over years and years, but the threat of divorce at least forced her to admit that she had cheated.

        For what its worth, I loved her and wanted to try and save the marriage. What I said to her was not intended to deceive her into confirming infidelity, and then use her confession as my ticket out. I went with her to marriage counseling for months, and suffered the devastation that we all know so well. But she kept lying. I swear to The Great Pumpkin that she just COULD NOT, even then, tell the truth about anything to save her life (or our marriage), and I reluctantly acknowledged to myself that I would never be safe in a relationship with her. My counselor agreed (he basically told me to run like my hair was on fire). I did. Now, so glad I did.

        • JK

          I like the advice to run like your hair is on fire!
          Yours is a devastating story. Your strength and hope and then the bewilderment at their ability to lie.
          My STBX came home recently (we are in the middle of the divorce) and I caught him in another lie, by accident, I wasn’t even trying to and it was just incomprehensible to me. Even he didn’t seem know why he lied. It’s like a malign reflex. The lie didn’t change anything it was just pointless. I really don’t get it. But you are right, you just realise that it’s all over. You will never feel safe.

          • From what I have heard lately it seems that there are either more male chumps every year now or more are speaking out. One ex-neighbour of mine (a guy) was cheated on twenty years ago and didn’t tell anyone for years as he was ashamed. His sons were told the divorce was his fault. His narc still swims around him and he only plucked up the courage to marry his long term girlfriend last year. Narc not happy. Needless to say CL’s book was an eye opener.

            • There were always just as many male chumps and just as many female cheaters. There is just more societal emphasis on the reverse, including movie and sitcom plots, stereotypes, etc. It is “manly” to cheat and “submissive” to be chumped … which is rubbish, of course.

            • I had a surprising conversation with a bunch of bikers who come on the farm every year to prepare the trail for the local high school’s fundraising trail ride. I told them the traitor was gone and why, that he had dumped me for the whore he has presumably cheated with the entire time we’ve been together. Well, immediately one told me he’d been there and came home to find a note from his wife that she had left (with another man) and another piped up, same story. 2 male chumps out of the 3 on my doorstep. I would never have guessed it was so common until I started speaking out. So many chumps don’t say anything, they are ashamed of being chumped by these whores.

        • The habitual lying is what did it for me… My ex denied doing anything “wrong” when I confronted him. I had proof that he was emailing multiple other women and trying to arrange hook-ups with them. I also had found out via my neighbors that he had other women to our HOUSE when I was out of town. Yet, I did not have hard evidence that anything “physical” ever occurred. So, the only thing he admitted to was just “talking with friends”… Veritable bullshit in my opinion.

          I also loved him and wanted to save our marriage. I gave him the chance to redeem himself. He, however, could not resist The Call Of The Strange… and I decided I was done. That’s when he started begging, pleading and crying for me not to throw our marriage away and he made all kinds of promises to change… Only, it was a little too late coming. I ran, too.

        • Yes, there is no experience like going to a marriage counselor, baring one’s soul, exposing all to “make it work”, only to discover that cheater cannot even tell the truth in that setting! As I eagerly carried on the hard work of self-examination in that supposedly safe setting, X was content to watch my pain and lie, lie, lie, about his conduct. Oh sure, if he was caught dead to rights, he would “confess”, but only so much as he thought I knew, and even then he would find a way to turn it all around on me. If only I was a loving wife, I would understand the deep bond between he and OW, a pure, loving bond formed by their mutual public exposure. My reaction was the problem, not their sacred friendship, So even the cheater’s admission is worthless, absolutely worthless.

    • My ex confessed 20 years ago. 2 years after he cheated. It was on Yom Kippur, the day of atonement for Jewish people. He was tossing and turning and told me he had something to tell me. He said he had cheated one time by going to a prostitute after we had a bad fight and he actually said I had told him to go get someone else during our argument. I left him for 2 weeks but was a SAHM and scared and went back and “worked it out.” I wish I had never gone back with him and stayed 20 more years until I found out he betrayed me again. Oh, and by the way, the only time he apologized for all the pain he put me through was again, on Yom Kippur when he called me last year to apologize. How I wish I left the first time he cheated. They never change. We have been separated 2 years and finally divorced 2 months ago. It’s slowly getting better.

      • Interesting that your cheater confessed out of guilt. Guilt at least indicates that they have feelings and a conscience which is better than a lot of the cheaters we read about here. But confession out of guilt is also dumping the burden on the chumps to make themselves feel better, so another selfish act. They should not expect or ask for forgiveness in these circumstances. But if they confess out of guilt and accept all consequences, then it’s a slightly better class of cheater and there’s something to work with. Problem is, how can you tell?
        Also, I am not Jewish so I don’t know how it works with Yom Kippur. Does it place the burden on the victim if you confess on this day?

        • My ex confessed only when caught – and then he went on to tell me more details than I wanted to know. I could see he enjoyed telling me somehow although he pretended fake remorse – it was less about unburdening of secrets and more about punishing me further. He even whipped out a photo of his (one of many) OWs, as if I would be impressed.

          • They have no shame… It’s funny how well they can fake loving us in the beginning, but they don’t have a handle on faking the remorse once their cheating is out in the open. Saying I’m sorry and continuing to be an asshole just doesn’t quite cut it, does it? I told my ex that I didn’t want to hear his “apologies” and “I love you’s” — he needed to PROVE to me that he truly was sorry. He then got furious that I wouldn’t just forgive him and forget and take him back… How quickly that fake remorse switches to full-on rage when they don’t get their way!!

        • I think “guilt” is just another blame-shift that cheaters use, a sympathy ploy because they’re “suffering too”, an external force from their upbringing that gives them the sadz.

          It’s cake with a side order of guilt. They’re eating well, but they feel bad about it, so they must be a good person, and good people deserve cake. It isn’t true remorse … it’s an excuse and it’s selfish.

          • Chump, exactly that! My ex BS’ed me first time 5 years ago when I found a hotel booking for two. Then continued gaslighting after I read the texts going back to at least 1.5 years. Kept telling me that it was just a friendly communication with his ex who had problems and he helps her with counseling! It took me 5 more months of pressing, probing, pleading until he confessed to the multiple affairs over the entire period of our marriage. 12 years. And afterwards he felt so relieved because poor him could not continue living in lies anymore. And chump me I thought he gets it now. I thought the channels of communication have opened. We had heart to heart talks where he told me details that made me cringe. In the hindsight I understand how he enjoyed it. He had always told me that I was masochistic and liked pain and that he was a sadist and got a high from causing pain. Even just on an emotional level. So he always half jokingly said that we were made for each other. We complemented each other. wtf!

            So after confessing I thought things would change. But he clearly blamed me for all his flings because I “never really loved him or so he thought so he had to take care of his needs” While in reality he checked himself out of the marriage early on and I thought he was just that type. A loner. So I took everything upon me. Until I discovered he can be quite checked in if he wanted.

            Whatever we do or say, they always win. It’s just useless to engage with them into a human language. They don’t speak it. They only speak cheater-linguo.

    • My ex spontaneously confessed, though I don’t believe it was out of guilt. He decided he wanted to be rid of me, was having panic attacks at work from having his mistress and wife suddenly in the same city, and knew that telling me about the affair mere months after our wedding (and after a decade and a child together) would break me. In my case, his confession was offensive, not contrite. If the confession isn’t immediately followed by “and here’s how I’m going to fix all of this and do right by you” then it has very little to do with guilt, even if it is voluntary.

    • They don’t confess because they hope to do it still or again and don’t wish to invite your scrutiny into their behavior. That is the consequence they fear most … not your hurt or anger.

      • Yeah, it is interesting that cheaters and those with BPD/NPD characteristics don’t give a flying f*** about your hurt or anger, but at the same time, are categorically opposed to being judged or scrutinized by anyone, including you, the person they don’t give a shit about [destroying].

        Doesn’t make sense, but their worlds are full of compartmentalized contradictions that don’t make sense.

        They are precious and entitled and just and deserving. The heart wants what it wants: CAKE FOR ME ME ME!

      • Remember too, they have their perfect, good guy imagine to maintain to outsiders. If by chance they’re is evidence of an indiscretion on their part well, can you blame them? They will confide they been the victim of abuse, living with an unstable partner who drove them to cheat. What else cold they do? Their wife or husband is unstable, sexless, bipolar, alcoholic.. fill in the blank. In desperation they found AP.

        • I don’t know any sane person who knew us as a couple that would buy that crap, but the APs sure believed it!

        • I’m wading in the dating pool and was talking to a girlfriend yesterday and she was encouraging me to make sure I ask pointed questions. I said “it doesn’t matter if I ask the question, if he wants to lie, he will lie. Do you honestly think that in two years when ExH wants a new wife appliance he’s going to honestly tell the poor soul that I fucked my 15 year younger ho-worker, emotionally and verbally abused my wife for years and I’m a complete asshole with a pathological lack of empathy. No – he’s going to say we grew apart and decided to split up or some bullshit.”

          They lie to themselves so much that they eventually just believe it.

          • I would not ask pointed questions. i would ask very indirect questions. watch how he reacts to films or other stories about adultery, for example.

            a lot of people out themselves when you don’t appear to be taking notes.

            • My h was so disgusted by cheaters he couldn’t even stomach seeing cheaters before he ever cheated. Now he has an anxiety attack whenever someone mentions an affair. That’s not stopping him from leaving for the OW though. Hopefully he pictures me every time he looks at her. He’s the one that abandoned our life and left me for dead

    • I don’t believe the cheaters actually feel guilt. You have to have a heart and emotions for someone else besides yourself to do this. If the cheater felt guilty or had true emotions they probably wouldn’t cheat to begin with, but everything is about them and not the casualties their cheating leaves behind.

      • I think they can feel everything but they compartmentalise. Their feelings and principles are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that is never assembled and has a few bits missing so can’t form a full picture. They hook up with APs and whores who are like them and think it’s OK to be like this. Chumps who can make a whole picture, we just don’t get them at this fundamental level and we keep trying to build the whole picture in vain.

        • Kiwichump, mine even talks proudly about his ability to compartmentalise. And claims that thanks to his skill to do so I never suspected his affairs. No, I did not, although I always felt his emotional abuse and degrading everything about me. I was never good enough. But even with the emotional abuse and his distancing and withrawal of sex that I accutely felt, I always believed he is the man of integrity. I did not live with a guarantee that we”ll grow old together. I always in the back of my mind thought it was possible that things may happen. But I was confident that he would tell me from the outset if there was another woman in his life. Because I looked at thim through Chump- lenses. Because I would do the same.

          He told me his married AP who lives in another country and has a visible government post, told her husband and her 11 yr old daughter about her affair. She does not live in a lie and kept pressing my husband throughout all these years to do the same-tell me. I think her husband could be gay or simply does not care. She also has multiple sex flings because meeting with the love of her life (my husband) is not that easy with her demanding job and being over the ocean. So she compartmentalises her life and mine does with his. And as long as the chumps don’t know, then noone is harmed, right?

          The real gem from him came when we were supposedly wreckonciling and he told me that at some point he contemplated telling me everything and live 6 months with her travelling and 6 months with me. With my blessing of course. My blood boils as I write this. He was essentially hoping that I would learn compartmentalising.

      • I agree w you soooo much. It’s all about them. When then we leave them, again they make it all about them…

        Im 5 yrs out,only separated. It’s been hell since day 1 after finding out. No he didn’t confess, he was caught, but begged me to believe he loved me, he even said, ” I could even ask the ow if I didn’t believe him, as she was jealous of the love he had for me !!!!”
        OMG!!!?

      • Mine would NEVER admit to cheating because he never stuck his dick inside any orifice. The time he spent surfing porn, sexting his AP wasn’t cheating. Sexting via Skype with his three year old son in the room. But karma – they are divorced and he is onto number 3.

        • Hmm, well, he eventually did since they got married so I bet he had some in person time during your marriage. I’m so glad you shared they are divorced. I love it when it’s not as great as they think it is and the marriage doesn’t last!

    • My cheater came straight out and told me, “it’s over.” I had no clue and was completely blindsided. He was also experiencing a hypomanic state is his not yet diagnosed Bipolar syndrome, so who knows what was going on in his mind. He said that he couldn’t take all the lies anymore. And chumpy me thought, “Lies? What lies? I haven’t been lying.”
      I had no idea what a lied he was.

    • I am friends with someone who had extra-marital physical contact with another man (not sex, but very inappropriate). It was a business trip kind of thing (or something), so it was not like she was going to be an ongoing relationship… I’m not sure where they wound up on the issue of texting/emailing. Whatever it was – she easily could have “gotten away with it” and never had her husband find out.

      At any rate – she very quickly realized that she had done that because of some very real problems in her marriage and that she needed to own up and get that shit resolved… not just live a lie. So she told her husband, and they got divorced, and they each moved on. She acknowledges that it was the wrong thing to do, and is quite honest with herself about what a horrible choice she made. She also is not a psychopath, so she knew she owed it to her husband to give him honesty and accept that she had done the thing that killed their marriage (which did have problems) and accept the consequences.

      She’s older and wiser now and honestly is incredibly insightful about the whole thing. This is the only case I have ever heard. But as a I said – this was a basically good person who made a shitty choice out of frustration and immaturity. Not a cake-eating asshole.

      • I know someone like that too. One night stand, and then freaked out and called her husband home from work that very morning to confess and lay bare everything. She’d been trying so many ways to talk about their marital problems, and he refused to engage in any of it. They got divorced. I understand his betrayal and hurt (more so since I’ve been chumped for sure), but he was an ass. I think she couldn’t figure it out and did her best, and to this day says that it was a terrible mistake, she regrets it, he didn’t deserve it no matter what he had done, etc etc, and she tried so hard at counseling and talking after but really divorce was the only way to go. She showed true remorse, which was so useful for me later when seeing what my STBX did. What he did looked nothing like remorse, let alone real remorse. Among other things he said, “I don’t have any remorse.” He almost made it too easy for me to decide to move on…

  • Yep. All that.

    What we don’t know doesn’t hurt the cheater.

    Who suggests all this crap? I havent seen it unless you count written into most sitcoms where every character seems incapable of keeping their hands to themselves and it’s glorified.

    • I haven’t seen it too much either. Luckily I found my way to Chump Lady quickly. Psychology Today does have some RIC crap, but from the stories CL and other members tell, there are some real fever swamps of wreckonciliation out there on the internet and in religious enclaves.

  • All three justifications are clearly convenient accommodations for the cheater. All of us here have enough UBT training to recognize their self-serving nature in an instant. What bothers me is how often I have read just that advice in popular magazines. And long before I knew that the topic was relevant to me, which is to say before such a topic would leap out and grab my attention. That advice is as well known and accepted as washing whites in hot water and redirecting toddlers rather than participating in a showdown. Our society has signaled that we accept and accommodate cheating. How sad.

    • Agreed Dixie and furthermore, this is why *no contact* is crucial after discovery of your spouse’s betrayal whether the cheater confessed or not.

      A cheaters perspective is so convoluted in the sense of their justification for the cheating. They *really* feel justified for cheating!

      Since they feel justified their cheating, they will then effectively justify everything BEFORE/DURING/AFTER Dday. This mind-fuckery will leave you further debilitated and extend your healing time.

      You can’t reason with a cheater after the affair just as you can’t reason with a grizzly bear while it attacks you.

      • Sure,

        At least a Grizzly Bear is honest! It doesn’t tell you it’s eating you for your benefit and that it’s hurting them more than you to chow down on your chumpy soul.

        • Exactly Cap, nobody needs to be told about the abusers hurt or pain for ripping *your* heart out of *your* chest, hence no contact with the cheater.

          You cheat – you get to talk to the hand.
          You cheat – I will run and I’m done.
          You cheat – I’m finito.
          You cheat – I’m gone
          You cheat – See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya.
          You cheat – I’m outta here.
          You cheat – C’est la vie.

          You can’t fix the incurable!

          • Sure

            You hit the nail on the head there.

            “You can’t fix the incurable.”

            I’m just amazed I didn’t see it that way before. I guess this is ‘trust that they suck’ but I like the way you said that.
            Thanks!

  • My ex convinced my “best friend” and her husband to hide his stealing my money and buying two hang gliders with it for him and his lover. None of them thought to tell me until after he got caught leaving the children in a hot locked car in the middle of an Albuquerque street in a hot summer day. I’m constantly amazed at how these people can live with themselves. We’ve moved on.

    • Did they lock him up for this? Hope at least he can only have supervised visits with the kids now. He could have killed them.

  • Cheaters don’t confess because deep down they aren’t sorry for their behavior, only the consequences of getting caught. I know of someone that has cheated on their spouse for 30 years boldly about town. The wife’s best friends have busted this guy with numerous women. I’ve asked friends of the wife why has no one told her. The response is she seems so happy and now they believe the cheater had settled down after 30 years. According to their logic long marriages are rare.

    I say there wasn’t a marriage and their friend will find out. How will she feel knowing people kept her husband’s philandering to themselves? She deserved the truth.

    My x engaged in financial infidelity, tried to descedit my reputation, exposed me and our family to his crazy ho’s. Pepole that cheat are cowards plain and simple.
    If you want to screw around tell your spouse, better yet don’t marry.

    • Yes. All of this. They only confess when they get caught. What kind of confession is that? They are not interested in coming clean. Only in maintaining cake. Only cowards two time their spouses and then lie about it. Cheaters suck.

  • This post is timely for me… After sighting the fucktards bank statements through lawyers it is obvious he has a shag buddy due to the blatent spending pattern including alcohol purchase on a Friday night + DVD and followed up with a Saturday mornings trip to the local cafe on an almost weekly basis not in the location he is supposed to actually live …. confirmed by a random purchase of a piece of jewelry . I couldn’t care less at this point but he has been pleading poverty the whole year not paying child support and playing victim to the kids …poor me I have to live in a tiny apartment boo hoo ….clearly not for 1/2 the week with your mid life crisis tragic fuck. So while me and the kids are struggling daily to buy the basics its OK because ‘ dear kids I feel better in my life than I have for years ‘ …good for you ! Break out the bubbly ….note to self ….ask a friend to edit your guilt emails to the kids before pressing send .

    • These disordered POS always claim poverty and don’t want to pay child support. Why pay for your kids to eat and be clothed when you can take a cruise instead? It’s almost like they forget they have children or the children become one more monthly bill that does not benefit them, so why pay it?

      Our child was the “most important thing to him”. Uhuh, until he didn’t get the custody agreement and child support agreement which he deemed fair. Which consisted of him paying nothing and whenever he had the child to pawn it off on the closet person with a heartbeat which was the skank he cheated with or his Trailerpark northwest – oh hell no, I don’t freakin think so.

      So now he pouts and whines about the injustice it is and how terrible I am for holding him accountable. Takes an extra special person to try to screw ones own child over. To say I hate him in an understatement ?

  • Since I have revealed my recent status as a chump to various friends, I have been asked countless times “am I glad I know or would I rather not have known”.
    The first time a friend asked I was so shocked I didn’t know what to say. Now I am more resigned to this question.
    It’s difficult to express how my blood runs cold to think what if I had NOT found out. It is an exquisite pain to know that while you are living a normal life, 100% trusting and vested in the relationship, they are out having sex with other women (or men), becoming emotionally close to another and having ‘couple’ experiences with them.
    I always tell friends now to think about what they are asking. The risk of STD’s, the lying, the financial stuff, the BETRAYAL OF TRUST.
    Then I remind them how shocked they were it was him. They no doubt trust their husbands as much as I do. Would they want to know?
    I am sure we recent chumps lead to a fair few friends looking at their relationships and spouses with a much sharper eye – if this could happen to me then how safe are they? I’m sure no one walks away feeling comfortable which gives the lie to ‘oh I don’t think I’d want to know’.

    It is of course another historical view of infidelity that is gradually changing. Thank goodness.

    I wish it had not happened to me but I am sincerely and utterly grateful I did find out before it got even worse which is what would have happened if it had gone on undiscovered.

    The longer infidelity goes on, or the length of time it takes to discover a past infidelity the greater the harm to the chump. As that point marks the spot where your loved one decided to throw you under the bus for their jollies. And became an imposter and a liar in the relationship. Everything changed at that point and so the harm increases as time goes by.

    • Sorry to hear your friends’ stupid question. Allow me to rephrase:

      Would you rather know your spouse, or not know your spouse?

      Cheater apologists insist that, somehow, sharing a life with someone involves the latter, not the former.

      • I’m in a mellow philosophical frame of mind. How about some quotes?!

        This topic reminds me of people who have said to me (to my face and you can tell how kind I am as they are still walking around and breathing…). Ignorance is Bliss. Hmmm

        “If ignorance is bliss then you must be orgasmic.”

        “You ignorance is their power”

        “The short term pain of accepting the truth is better than the long term pain of believing an illusion.”

        It’s all about power. Who has it and who doesn’t.

        • Our ignorance IS their power.

          Cheaters approach orgasm the more they can pull the wool over our eyes. And no wonder they devalue us; they think we’re stupid–“ha ha, cheated on my chump, left a few subtle clues, and he/she still can’t figure it out because of his/her naivete. I have utter contempt for this trusting soul; what can I say to further knock the stupid chump?”

          In addition to the betrayal itself, the contempt my X had for me still eats at me. It’s what prompts me to have those expletive-laden dialogues in my head with him, what still motivates me to want to push him off his balcony. How DARE he openly flirt and have affairs in full view of our friends. How DARE he slam the computer down when I would walk in the room because his latest adult website skank had emailed to set up a sex meeting.

          Even two years out, my weeks have double-Mondays (never Tuesdays)–both because of my X’s behavior, and because of society’s minimization of infidelity. Viva la Chump revolution!

          • Tempest.

            Yes to all you wrote. The contempt is hard to stomach.
            What gets me to boiling point in nanoseconds is knowing that he knows he can trust me. He can use my good nature and kindness and fairmindedness to his advantage.
            First during his affairs he knew I trusted him 100%. He knew I would be doing a great job of taking care of house, job and children. He knew when I was depressed I would recover. He knew I would keep going with a tiny injection of fuel into the relationship.
            After I found out he knows I will continue to be a good mom and not turn the boys against him. He knows I will not be unreasonable in the divorce settlement. He knows I will endeavour to be civil. He knows I am a decent person.

            I lay awake sometimes just wishing I didn’t have such bloody good ethics!

            But what is the point. They are just wired wrong. It really isn’t fair.

            • Capricorn, this is my situation exactly. It sometimes makes me think I’m letting him continue to “chump” me even though we’re not together anymore. But I keep reminding myself that I’m not going to let his cheating and lying behavior change the kind of person I am, and that since we’re still in the beginning of the divorce process, I don’t want to jeopardize his cooperation in our settlement negotiation. So I am civil with him in my daily life, and either journal the sadness, hurt and anger, or share it with safe friends and family.

            • Capricorn, agree with everything you just said. The more trustworthy we are, the more they take advantage of it. That’s what gives me criminal fantasies.

            • Yes this and I likely got screwed many times because I was so damn reliable. I think it was also a factor when he bought life insurance that he didn’t have to make any stipulations .. he knew I would handle everything properly and I did… I paid off all my & kids debts, I paid off the house and put it in my name alone. I invested the remainder and kept my job…he was right..I could be trusted

              • The traitor grilled me about my past, whether I’d always been faithful (yes) been cheated on (yes), got heaps of info about me and evidence of how reliable and predictable I am. I am well known for being 100 reliable professionally too. I am certain now that this made me an ideal target and he was testing to see how easy it would be to fool me. 9 years of total reliability followed. So reliable the traitor and his whore left me in charge of their kid while they were cheating…They really had me figured out. And I might as well have worn a big old sign saying “I am a Chump” when we first met.
                If I ever date again I will make sure I hide this side of me to avoid being targeted by this type.

            • After I discovered my X’s affair, I believed the narrative that although my X betrayed me in the worse way a spouse can betray his/her spouse, I could set that aside and we could do that “conscious uncoupling” thing for the sake of our kiddo.

              Then I got evidence that he was trying to mindfuck my lawyer. He is a master manipulator with that vulnerable poor sausage routine on his deceptive word salad. I shared proof with my lawyer of his deception, and she really got my back from that point on. We both realized what he meant by fair was in fact leaving me with as little as possible. Shit got really expensive, I made concessions, but got a workable divorce avoiding court (where he would have played the system beautifully probably for years and would have over-spent me with gusto).

              In the shit show of my divorce process, I stopped talking to him, I set up an interface for our kid logistics, and went complete grey rock. No longer making his life easier, no longer finding excuses for why he would let our kiddo down felt weird for a long time, I was so used to compensating for his short-comings. No more. I focus on my time with our kiddo and sing like a canary to our friends about the fact that I divorce him when I found out that his extra-curricular activities included fucking a gradwhore half his age.

              Being court-ordered to share custody of a young kid with a cheating lying coward is a special kind of twisted life lesson though, my shit sandwich buffet turned out to be of an all-you-can-eat variety!

              But every time I am about to get baited, I remember one of the many things I have learned through CL/CN – “the loudest fuck you to a Cluster B is silence.”

              So I keep going, unchumping myself one day at a time!

          • Oh wow, how well put. Double-Mondays indeed! I’d heard of a month of Sundays, but this is getting ridiculous…

          • Tempest,

            I so agree and empathize how hard it is to heal from their contemptuous acts. So true. I do think their contempt and *resentment* are partners in crime.

            In my marriage, what I discovered – and what turned out to be a pivotal point in my healing – is the resentment she had towards me was an illusion based on inaccurate AND fallacious thoughts. Her resentment towards me wasn’t even based on ANY negative actions on my part? Her resentment was faux. This is how she justified her cheating.

            The gift of time allowed me to absorb this truth – this whole truth – and this nothing but this truth. The truth is now instilled in my mind and soul. I can’t wait for tomorrow….

            ….tomorrow is Tuesday, treat yourself to a day of serenity. 🙂

            • SureChumpedaLot–I’ll work on that serenity thing [but I’m a Leo–very dangerous for X to have insulted my pride ; )].

              And their ‘resentments’ toward us, even if warranted, are based on such miniscule equivalencies that I doubt they themselves can believe them. Some of the excuses cheaters have given, “I cheated because you never got over your GF from 20 years ago.” Huh? My X claimed he cheated because I’m not as minimalist as him and cupboards were too full. Huh? [My X’s former wife was very neat & minimalist, and yet he cheated on her.] They pull excuses out of their a** to justify their behavior. They manufacture resentments (some that the chump had never heard about until AFTER the affair is discovered).

              Your X’s resentments toward you were not only faux, but post-hoc attempts to minimize the cheater’s poor impulse control. And then the cheater doubles down on those substandard explanations for how “marital problems” drove them to cheat. And members of society believe them. Monday, redux.

              • Haha Tempest, a Leo, I totally understand that. That’s a great attribute though.

                Ahhh “equivalencies” – false or miniscule – or unequivocal – are part of their persona. So true, just as their manufactured resentments as you state.

                It’s like they all read it from their playbook….“Twas the Night Before Cheating”. And yes, the cheaters poor impulse control has its own chapter in this playbook. You know the truth!

                I’ll go for a Tuesday Redux.

              • Messy cupboards, you say? Hmmm. Well, you never mentioned THAT before. Hmmm. Nope … cheating still not okay!

              • “Messy cabinets” Tempest – “You cant have any pudding if you dont eat your meat! Stand still laddy”

              • Tempest, my cheater is a Leo. One of the arguments he keeps bringing up when there is no more justifications left is exactly that. “I am a Leo. The king of the jungle. I can do whatever i want. If you want to be part of my jungle you have to accommodate.” This was his response to all my pleas before DDay like please stop outright flirting with women or stop skyping with ex-es who are “just friends”. Oh and another one after DDay when supposedly reconciling and me telling him that sleeping with others is crissing the red line for me (sometimes you have to explain to poor things as they don’t know it goes without saying), he said “I am the Leo. You don”t tell me what I can or can’t do. You just talk abt yout boundaries and I will make the royal decision.” Talk about the inflated pride…

          • Viva la chump revolution, indeed.

            My ignorance certainly gives Match Girl a power orgasm. Yuck.

            You needn’t be civil EyesWideOpen. Gray Rock with kids means you don’t have to speak a word, all communication is in writing and via lawyers. Un-chump yourself and serve him some piping hot consequences.

            • Tempest – ‘At least my cupboards stayed closed, unlike my X’s zipper.’
              That was funny.

              I’m on the snoring thing lately.
              I guess I flunked the marriage material test because I snored.
              (and did for 36 yrs – shame on me)

        • Capricorn, talk about ignorance! Or rather, inability to perceive that they are capable of treating us so horribly. Last year, while vacationing together, we were standing outside of a hotel after a night out and there was some commotion happening. I was sooo happy we just were together (rarely happened) that all I cared for was us having some quality time. And then I turned around and asked what was happening. He gave me a very long and hard look and told me something I did not quite understand back then. He said, “I can’t believe you did not get it. Don’t you see what is happening around you? If I wanted to cheat on you right here and now, I would have been able to pull it out.” Apparently, people were getting out of the club and then disappearing into some privacy here and there in pairs. Most of them had just met, we were part of this group of people that got together for a concert and introductions were made right there. And 1.5 hrs some were not strangers anymore. Well… I still did not get it and he just took my face in his hands and said, “ooh, you are so naive, I can’t believe it!”. Talk about the contempt…D Day happened about 10 days after…

          Was it my ignorance or, rather, living in denial? Things were not perfect, we were never soul-mates, we had quite a number of disagreements, I always felt uncomfortable around him but I got myself used to that feeling of a mini-storm in the gut area. In the past few years he agonized me with getting more and more distant, criticizing, complaining that there was no chemistry between us, that he was looking for love, that if he had found love he would have moved on, withholding sex all my life together. He BS’ed me about 5 years earlier when I found a hotel booking for two and I believed him. He always shut down his computer when I entered the room. He would take the phone into the bathroom and spend hours there whispering. Did I ever dare ask who was he talking to? Never, in the 12 years of our life. Because the answer would be, it’s none of your business, don’t stick your nose into my private affairs. Mind your own business. And I minded my own. And I learned to shove it in. And I learned to wait for the bone with some marrow occasionally and was happy when I got it.

          Now, suddenly, he discovered that the chump has a voice. She can speak! She can express disappointment, frustration, resentment. She can say “My way or highway” the way he said before. Oops! Tactic change needed! That’s when he confessed. 5 months after continuing to gaslight and lie to me after DDay. And in every subsequent lie, the chump me still tried to find bits and pieces of truth to cling onto. Maybe, just maybe, he is right and all this is happening in my head – something that he diligently tried to instill in me all this time.

          So glad to have found this site.
          p.s. on a business trip now for a week and all I can do during the day is to check the posts. Even when I run to a bathroom from a meeting. Is this another addiction?:)

          • Longtime.
            I check this site every free minute too! It is a benign addiction I think for now when we are in crisis and not knowing what the truth of anything is.
            Your narc sounds especially nasty and contemptuous. I don’t think you were living in denial I expect you were like most chumps and did not know there were people like this in the world. It’s so foreign to us that even now when I know what a liar mine is I do the same of trying to find the odd bit of truth to hang on to!! Imagine how he will feel when you start to sing with that voice and all he gets is grey rock.
            Luck and hugs to you!

    • Capricorn,

      I learned many years after the fact that he was a serial cheater. I have been asked if maybe it was a bad call on the part of the single person who had this info to tell me. What they dont realize is that I prayed for Truth to be revealed…it was MY Truth and I needed and deserved to know it. I wonder what I would have done if I had known earlier I will always wonder that.

      Your comment: “The longer infidelity goes on, or the length of time it takes to discover a past infidelity the greater the harm to the chump. As that point marks the spot where your loved one decided to throw you under the bus for their jollies. And became an imposter and a liar in the relationship. Everything changed at that point and so the harm increases as time goes by.”

      hmmmm that is quite a big thought to consider..its probably true – folks like me & Dixie chump who were cheated on for decades have a lot of stuff to process. The basic foundations of our marriages we thought existed were not what we thought they were. I loved the comment the other day that our whole lives werent lies the cheater was the lie…but I was functioning with a Christian model of marriage…that I needed to live with my priorities being: God, spouse, children, myself then everything else…eery day of my life for 26 years I placed him as the highest priority on earth and he was fucking around.

      That would have been good to know

      • Yes, it would have been good to know. I don’t even know how long I was married, because in my view it was over the first time he pulled his pants down for the other guy. I’m pretty certain I was married through the length of the honeymoon …

        I now view myself as single rather than divorced, because I really wasn’t married long enough to use the other title.

        • Even a short relationship is painful when they screw you over and abuse your trust. You are spot on that it really never was a marriage to the other party but it was to you. It is good that you found out and got to end the lie before you invested a lifetime in it. I blew off the warnings and reality hit 28 years later.

          • I was legally married to him for over 30 years and committed to him for 32 years. But yes, I would never make light of someone being cheated on after “only” a short time together. Betrayal is very painful no matter the time frame.

            • Dixie.

              I agree that being betrayed hurts. But I feel that what you and unicornomore went through hurts worse because it was for so long.
              I have four years lost to infidelity. You have a lifetime. It makes a difference because of your life story. We all create a narrative of our lives to make sense of the world and ourselves. How much harder to do if it has all been based on lies and deception.
              My hat is off to you both. Such strength and generosity in the face of such emotional/psychological/spiritual insult is remarkable and awe inspiring.
              So I feel that chumps who have been deceived for very long periods of time can rightly see themselves as defined by the ethical loving people they continue to be from that point of discovery. That is true strength of character. A true mark of integrity.
              To recover and thrive afterwards? Respect ladies ! ??

            • Capricorn, you are very sweet. Personally, I refuse to view the last 30 years as “lost” because that hands over too much importance to ex. I would certainly have preferred to have married better! But during those 30 years I finished college and grad school, had an interesting and successful career, started a family, made many friends, owned many beloved pets, and so on. I was very happy (if deluded!) most of that time. And going forward? Soooo much more to do and experience in this life! No one asshole is going to dictate whether I am happy or not in this life. And that is true for every single one of us. As Bluto said in Animal House …. LET’S DOOOOO IT!!!

              • I agree. I dont count those thirty years a waste either. Lots of fun and happiness i thought i was golden. I had a false sense of security. I was happy til the mask dropped. I said before he knew who he was from the beggining and never said a word. My biggest regret the pod gave me no choice to say no and walk away from the start, the pod made that choice for me. I detest having choices made for me. My other regret not throwing the pod out the moment i found out and removing his business to the road. The pod wants to be friends, the pod wants to date me when the pods got multiple sex slaves. The pod doesnt kniw he in for the conversation he doesnt want to hear tuesday night. I will get closure and meh. Because after wednesday for the pod this girl is a ghost. Fucking pod!

              • Absolutely this. I was married for 34 years. . Much the same-‘2 wonderful kids a career home and frienships all made my life rich and full and I thought my husband lobed me. He can’t take away the good memories and I will make new ones in my cheater free new life..

            • Dixie, I had no idea you were married for 30 years. You beat my whole relationship time. So we both spent a lot of time trying to make a relationship work that was doomed. We didn’t even know it or spackled over it. I spackled almost from the beginning. Doing a lot of work to make sure it never happens again! I’m not even sure i’ll attempt another relationship. Ever.

              • Awww don’t say ever. No one deserves true love more than someone who has been through such a shit storm. You and I just need to use all our new-found and hard-earned wisdom to pick better (or God forbid leave sooner) next time. Otherwise, they continue to screw us over for the rest of our days. Choose happiness, whatever that means to you.

            • I was cheated on only 3 years into my marriage. I found out from Gaslighter’s best friend, when the best friend hit on me. I was devastated. Gaslighter said it was a 1 night stand, and a huge mistake that would never happen again…. We went to marriage counseling, but in truth something died in me. Another night stand when I was about to leave for Italy for 3 months to live my dream as a young fashion model. He said he was afraid I would never come home, and he wouldn’t wait for me. I stayed in the US. Became a successful artist instead. More therapy. We rebuilt the trust, he did and said all the right things, and I though we were happy. Fast forward 3 decades – raised 2 great kids, had a big full life. When financial lawsuits started. I found out I was being sued too, because he had made me CFO of his company without my knowledge (I’m an artist NOT a corporate CFO) Things really went sideways. He promised he had done nothing wrong and being the trusting Long Time Chump, I actually believed him stood by him! Until I learned that he was indeed a Cheating Unscrupulous Businessman. Our first Atty actually said I was Mrs Madoff! (On a tiny scale). Married 36 years, together 38, when He said just one detail too much ( having an early breakfast with a client and the vice President of a national Bank. But it was Sunday. And Monday was Martin Luther King Day? That didn’t make sense, I called BS, and completely unsuspecting me found out about widow Schmoopie. He promised to end it, told many lies about the time line (6 weeks?) I checked our long text history and in hindsight could tell it has been going on at least 18 months (when his phone had “died”, or it was in his truck, or he was working late…) Did he Love her? He “Really liked us both”. With that, I was done. There was no going back. He begged. I filed. Bye bye. Over the nearly 3 years since I have learned about many many other women, 1was even a close friend from years ago. Another a former tenant. He was even trying to pick up on soccer moms when our youngest was 6 or so. Why at Christmas was there a picture of a stripper on his phone? He was trying to “council her”. And the photo of a woman all dressed up in his pocket on Thanksgiving? He had “no idea” Hadn’t worn that shirt in years…. WTF!!! I finally, through the right therapist trained in pathological Love Relationships learned who/what I had really married to. A major Antisocial (sociopath) Psychopathic Narcissist. Lucky me. I hit the trifecta! This monster disguised himself as a handsome, brilliant, charming adoring husband and father wasted 38 years of my life. Blew it the fuck to smithereens. All while pretending to be a loving loyal family man. But he found his next mark. A widow with an elderly multi millionaire daddy. She has been warned by people, but she things he’s her Prince Charming. Can’t wait t see how their fairy tale ends.

              • Chump Change, Dixie Chump, Unicornnomore – I am totally blown off with your courage! When I found out in January, I kept grieving and crying non-stop for months, while he continued to lie and minimize. I thought, 12 years of history was gone. I got rid of all the pictures, took away the marriage ring, and thought my life was finished. I am in my early forties. While I still am not sure if I can trust again or even be interested in a relationship again, I follow your posts and I am filled with respect and admiration. 30+ years of marriage and you were able to say no to abuse.

                We lived in two different countries in the past 6 years seeing each other twice a year. Our relationship was strained, but I was (and am?) still very much in love and hoping we could work it out. When DDay happened, so many people around me told me that it was quite natural for a handsome and healthy man in his mid 40s have a sex life because he was separated from his wife on an extended basis. They kind of justified his behavior making me feel inadequate. As if I should have just resigned to this and accepted the fact. It’s normal! I still could not wrap my mind around that. The life in separate countries was very much his choice, and he came up with millions of justifications of why we should continue this (things like my career, need to wait for a little longer to receive a citizenship, son’s school and adjustment issues in one country, while him being in another country taking care of family properties (BS excuse) etc). But then the second DDay when I discovered that the real first time happened not when we started a separate life but in the second year of our marriage. And there were multiple affairs. One long-term…(15 years), others just sex-flings. So I turn to those people that justified a healthy man’s need for a sex life and ask them what about those years we were just married? I thought, happily married?

                This is when he made his first cruel decision to discard my feelings and dwell on his only. He kept repeating to me that if I submitted to his will, and followed his rules, then I would be ok. I did it for all this time. Not any more.

                I still admire your courage and vision. I don’t know if I would be able to do it after 30 years or would just succumb to the chump-misery.

              • longtimechump –

                I am so sorry you had to go through victim-blaming on top of the deep pain of betrayal. If you haven’t done so already, please downgrading these Switzerland friends to mere “people you used to know” that might get a Holiday card from you when Xmas falls on Feb 29.

                What you describe from your X is as heartbreakingly painful as it is common. I encourage you to read “why does he do that?” from Lundy Bancroft as well as CL’s book if you haven’t done so already. You might also watch “20 signs you are with a cover narcissist” from Spartan Life Coach.

                Find a therapist that specializes in psychological abuse recovery, try a few and see who you feel is understanding your needs best, I tried three before I found a no-nonsense one that I like working with.

                It is a long road, but one that you are not traveling alone, please use the forums and read comments and the archives for extra support from CN.

    • Spot on Capricorn. Your last paragraph especially resonates with me. Actual affairs went on for at least 8 years before DDay. Then, after a few months of marriage counseling, he wanted to know why I wasn’t “getting over it” faster. Do you ever “get over” 8 years of betrayal?

      • Just in awe of you decades chumps, your kindness, your positive attitude and ability to carry on being such generous people. You are a gift to us here!

    • Two women who I thought were close friends for YEARS dropped me as a friend after I told them about his cheating. I felt like a leper – as if they thought my husband’s cheating was somehow contagious and if they remained friends with me it might happen to them. Their excuse was “we hope all works out for the best, but this has just been too much for us.”

      Oh – and they are staunch Catholics who encouraged me to convert (which I did along with my 3 kids). They always talked about “the right thing to do”. I would never have treated a friend in need this way. So good riddance.

      Ps – My kids and I remain proud Catholics. Their hypocrisy was jaw dropping.

      • Sorry – now that I read my comment it seems a little off topic. My point I guess is that I talked to these women about my suspicions and fear for several years before finally receiving confirmation from the OW. I believe they are the type of people who would rather not know, continue to live in their happy little bubbles and carry on as if all is ok. Their abrupt termination of our friendship spoke volumes to me in terms of many people not wanting to know they’ve been chumped.

        • Sorry, Sara–losing friends is the second round of hell after betrayal. It hurts, no doubt, but think of it as cleaning house. A few years out, you’ll be glad those jerks are out of your life.

          • Thank you Tempest. I am always so skittish these days of saying or doing the wrong thing – like posting an off topic comment. I am beginning to post more on CL and it is helping me enormously. Thanks again.

        • The word “bubble” triggered a memory.
          My cheater husband kept throwing his own frustrations at me all this time and one of his latest recurring accusations was that I lived in a happy bubble. I guess he wanted to push me to discover his affairs so that I would then leave him and he would validate his long-term claim that all women are “betraying bitches”, but he did not have guts to put it out bluntly, and so was suffering – poor thing! So while he was suffering (because cheaters cannot be happy no matter what because they have one big hole in their soul – a bottomless pit) I was living in a happy bubble! This happy bubble comment was usually used not in reference to any women (trust me, I would never cheat on you!) but around my complete disinterest in world affairs. No interest in politics, global events, nothing! So every time he would ask his “exam” questions on something happening in the world in the hope to flash his intellect and scold and humiliate me for my complete ignorance and genuine “no- interest”. And then he would proceed into an open confrontation wondering how he could pick me for marriage when we did not have common interests to share. This usually ended with me living in a bubble, alienated from the cruelty happening on a daily basis in the world, people dying, etc, and all I was interested in was my “little life!” I always felt quite humiliated after those comments.

          When I asked him, post DDay, why he did not come to me when he felt so unhappy in the marriage and tell me the truth, he told me that he did not want to burst the little happy bubble I was living in! So now I am interested and well versed in politics and global events, mostly dictated by my work, and I don’t live in a bubble anymore, but the poor cheater is still unhappy. He preferred a chump-in-a-bubble to a chump-with-a-bubble-burst!

          • Long term
            I got the same comments from people. My STBX worked abroad in Asia for six years. People just sort of asked what I had expected. A man over there? Who wouldn’t take advantage? It was even BEFORE he cheated that they would say this. I was defending us. We talked every day. It was to put our kids through college as pay was higher. We talked about the risks. We were ok.
            Only they were right and I was a huge chump. He was able to get away with it much easier as he was out of the country most of the time but to know that in all those hundreds of FaceTime calls one of his OW was there just kills. It wasn’t so bad he said – he always left the table or the room or their side to talk to me. Oh that’s ok then. Phew.

      • Sara Esq… you are new here and I like you already. I lost 2 friends also, but the weasel excuse you got from Mrs Hypocritical McCatholic is horrid.

        My nowdeadcheater encouraged me to convert to Catholicism and it has been a precious treasure to me, nevermind he didn’t live up to his part of the bargain.

        I am still Catholic even though I go to Mass alone these days. I was even a guest on a Catholic TV show and write for a catholic portal hahaha! I have been so very reassured by my faith knowing that I can trust God to handle cheaterhusband’s debrief in Purgatory with the right balance of justice, accountability and mercy.

        • Thank you UNM. One of the “grand gestures” my cheater made was agreeing to go to RCIA. When I was planning my kids’ baptism and my oldest son’s confirmation, he took no part in it. He was “working.” He even skipped eldest’s Confirmation (which our Archbishop oversaw – cringe) to go frisbee golfing. My best friend – also my Catholic sponsor – brought her entire family (including her 10 children and MIL) to the Confirmation ceremony. When she asked me where cheater was, I just started crying. In front of EVERYONE. I was so embarrassed. In any event, he showed me who he was then. I wish I would have believed him and not wasted anymore time.

          • Frisbee Golfing. That kind of says it all, doesn’t it? And if you were looking for a clever disdainful name for your cheater, “the Frisbee Golfer” might work. Also, never worry about posting off topic around here … if that was a problem, we would ALL be in big trouble!!

            • Thank you DC. I think that will be his new name, or shorten it to FB (Fucking Bastard?) The kindness you all have shown me feels so incredible, and yet so foreign. I am crying happy tears, to be finally understood! I just love all of you!!!

              • Those two women who dropped you are what Chump Lady has dubbed “Switzerland” friends. A WWII reference – not xenophobia. They choose to remain ambivalent. Everybody has an agenda when it comes to adultery. You’ll find later, like most chumps here, that Switzerland friends are either: 1) chumps in wreckonciliation, 2) cheaters, or 3) blissfully ignorant (until they’re not).

          • Wow sara…just wow. I’m so sorry your cheater bailed not only on you, but on his child on such an important day. Unbelievable. (((Hugs to you!)))

            • Sara, I was married twenty years to a Cheater and special occasions are what the disordered blow up. Birthdays, Holidays, Vacations. They are always absent and disengaged even when they *honor* us with their presence.
              Normal adults don’t do this. They understand priorities are happy for others and Engage. Narcs, not so much.

          • I taught Comfirmation prep for my middle kids class and Cheater had to fly in for it because he was living 3000 miles away. He actually said “thank you” to me for following through with my commitments. Too bad he didn’t do the same. I now believe that our marriage was never sacramental, but I was certain that God would reward my faithfulness and He has.

            • I’m so very sorry that he bailed out on you (with that horrid excuse) for such an important event. He will be held accountable for his actions by the very God who blessed him with a faithful wife and kids who needed a dad.

    • This article about Great Betrayals has been so very validating to me. I read it whenever I need a boost. A reminder that the struggles I’ve had now nearly two years on should not come as a surprise but rather are to be expected. Read it and soak in the assurance that your having fallen flat on your face after discovering your life wasn’t what you thought it was is one of the hardest experiences anyone can endure. Our stories of what we thought to be true were taken away from us in a very cruel way, and that’s greatly disorienting.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/opinion/sunday/great-betrayals.html

      • Chump dude
        That is a very powerful, validating piece of writing. It’s nice that some people out there ‘get’ how devastating it is to be betrayed.
        I feel it’s all the more crushing because cheaters pick partners who are kind, loving, responsible and trusting and are furthermore very empathic.
        It’s really quite something to experience.

      • Thanks for the link. I’m still reading it, but one thing jumped out. The thing about friends suggesting that the victim knowing at some level – my very own (former!) therapist said that I must have known on some level or I would have married my ex. It seems that every day I discover more ways that my therapist was incompetent.

      • I resisted reading that, dude.

        This quote stood out to me: “But for the people who have been lied to, something more pervasive and disturbing occurs. They castigate themselves about why they didn’t suspect what was going on.” I see that sentiment here every day. Why didn’t I see it?

        Great link.

      • Stood out to me too: the culture built upon the addict/betrayer rebuilding themself. The prodigal children indeed smh

  • This is a post I can relate to. My ex confessed to 2 of the 4 affairs that I know of affairs. Both times I found out during reconciliation that he was going to be exposed by the affair partner or someone who knew.
    One was 4 years and when I called to blow her doors off she told me she wasn’t the first and he had an affair with her friend before her. When asked why he didn’t tell me about that affair he said he forgot…..true story.
    IMO, it doesn’t matter if it’s one time or over many years, the second somebody crosses that line and puts your physical health and trust at risk the relationship is over.
    I tried to reconcile for a loooong time and it was always just there…..so we’re the other women.
    Glad I’m out…..he left me but I feel pardoned by the governor and happy that he ended up with “the friend before the 4 year affair partner”. They hooked up AGAIN ( or still, who knows) while we were married and he left for her.
    Good riddance, they are both trash.

  • Cheating is a choice it isn’t committed by accident, oops, I tripped, lost consciousness and woke up naked in a hotel room with the babysitter. Cheating is the ultimate betrayal of trust to the person who you promised to love and cherish till death do you part.
    How can anyone say with a straight face that Cheating solve problems in a marriage?
    Cheaters aren’t cheating to save their marriage it’s a choice scumbags make as an act of revenge, entitlement and selfishness.
    Mature adults discuss their differences they don’t cheat, if the relationship isn’t working after genuinely making an effort to solve your differences then you divorce.
    Cheating isn’t justified because you’re had an argument with your spouse.
    Sounds to me this is another weak excuses for Cheaters.

    • X went on a business trip to Reno when he came home I decided to take his jacket to the cleaners. While emptying the pockets I found a hotel receipt for porn movie rentals.
      He adamantly denied that he rented these movies. Then X became enraged and accused me of snooping.
      Then accused me of trying to embarrass him in front of our son. We were in an upstairs bedroom our son was downstairs.
      After that incident before X would leave on a business trip X make the comment that he would be paying cash while he traveled.
      Being Chump I ignored his remarks pretending I didn’t know what he meant.

  • I now know that during the six months that I thought my wife was having an emotional affair (before I left her), the affair was actually physical. It was my chump stupidity, when I first saw evidence of the affair, to assume that it was only emotional and to approach her about addressing this issue.

    Not once during the ensuing six months was her continued deception out of any concern for my well-being. In fact, she wrote to me once during that period that I “had no idea how much [she] was suffering right now.”

    I said it during her affair, and I said it afterwards to her family and friends. It’s a lesson I learned as a young child:

    Deception is not a problem-solving tool.

    • “Deception is not a problem-solving tool;”

      Love this. My stbx still hasn’t learned that most basic life skill. It really reminds me of school age kids when they get caught in a lie and keep lying in the desperate hope they will get out of it.

      The good news is once you understand they are not at all sincere it is almost funny to watch them try to sell you their b.s.

    • This is an example of their mindset “you had no idea how much she was suffering right now,” no regard to how her behavior is affecting you.

      We have all suffered from Chump mentality ignoring the obvious, avoiding confrontation and assuming they have our best interest at heart. The biggest Chump mistake is thinking they think like we do.
      Which I am guilty of.
      In our defensed they lead us to believe they think like us.

      • One of the few texts I received from Match Girl before she started the silent treatment read: “thanks for never giving a shit about me!” ?

        • One of the things X said to me as he was leaving is “You never loved me.”

          What? he’s having affair, he’s leaving our 20 year marriage. Had no interest in going to MC.
          Tells me he wants something different.
          Then says, “You never loved me” as he’s walking out the door.

          • My ex wife said something similar after she cheated and dumped me..after 24 years “it never felt right..”.. NEVER? Took me awhile to absorb that one. Still don’t accept that line but it’s her new narrative and probably helps her sleep at night

            • That’s bullshit. It felt right for her. And when it didn’t, instead of figuring out was had changed (most often changes in the cheater, not the circumstances), she cheated.

              You’re right not to accept that line, Kbchump.

        • Hi Ian,
          You come across, at times, as harsh. Were you this harsh before your wife slept with another man? Were you sarcastic or snarky with MG?

          And, do you think there is a chance that she believed, on some level, you did NOT give a shit about her?

          The reason why I bring it up is this: Many people on this site give these cheaters far too much intellectual credit. They are not MENSA material. I believe that many of them have thought processes like a toddler or a cave man. Me hungry. Want cookie. Me want to fuck. Me horny. Not that simple…but you get the idea. Just an Id walking around. More. Now. Fill me up.

          My X (The Putrid Prince, new name I created) genuinely believes he is the wronged party. He does not engage in any self reflection. He was not a scheming Machiavellian mastermind. Just a low impulse control dumb ass who is pathologically selfish. Was he sorry? In some extremely limited vague, self pitying way. He is just not a person capable of deep introspection- he is not smart enough, is lazy and does not care.

          If you can think of MG, or anyone here in pain, the CHEATER…as just a dumb criminal, someone who would snatch your purse or vandalize your car, or even stab you- does that make it feel less personal?

          Because, I think there is something to that which could be healing.

          Remember this: MG is not giving you the silent treatment. She just does not give a shit about you any more. Period. She is done. Same with The Putrid Prince. If they wanted to be around us, they would be beating our door down. We were chumped. Then dumped. You have said one and done….but you are not done. You are still here…one year out. Still in knots. Still tangled up with this woman who clearly wants nothing to do with you.

          Reliving this trauma over and over and over.

          See? They are not playing a game. We are not on their minds. Perhaps maybe for money. Or as a last play back up plan. We are playing tennis by ourselves. We are on the court alone.

          Perhaps if you take away that power, that she is a crafty, powerful schemer….no- just a dumb greedy cunt- it makes it sting less.

          Try and reframe it like that, and MG is not the Great and Powerful Oz, doing things to you. She has power, you are a victim. No-She is just a garden variety whore. Find them in any Red Light District.

          • wow Bumblebee! Your post resonated a lot with me because I so often see and agree with what Ian has to say.
            He and I are obviously stuck because, of course – we’re still here, and I’ll admit it’s not so much as helping others as I like to say, which I hope I do, but it’s also because every single damn column has something that really resonates to me. Healing words. Thankful for them.

            But, I wanted to be over the hump of quit thinking about him entirely.
            My family is still angry when I bring him up. (it’s been 2 yrs)
            I agree with it, but I’m still curious if he’s with her, so I’m still obsessed.
            I guess it takes some of us longer than others and I know I need to get busy moving on but the direction is very often hard to figure out.
            You’ve lost all those couples you entertained lavishly for 21 years, never to be invited to another function again.
            All those Switzerland ‘friends’ really do hurt – so, doing the clean-up on the ‘friends’ list.
            You cease to exist in the ‘social circles’, which I wasn’t fond of anyway.

            I am lucky because I have a totally clean slate and I am single for the first time in my life with a whole 20-30 yrs left.
            I know I want to move on and get the life rolling, but until you can control the triggers and overcome the pain, it’s easy to know you still need this website before you can figure out firm plans. And, if you’re totally at ‘meh’, I’m so glad for the ones who stay here and offer their sound advice.

            Thanks to C/N for being here.

            • Bee – ‘ She just does not give a shit about you any more. Period. ‘

              This statement, which I’ve heard a LOT makes me cry every time I read it.
              Of course he gives a shit about me.
              No, he couldn’t have had a foot out the door for 5 years. His shoes always looked fine…sigh.

              He misses me like crazy and wished he could undo everything he did.
              (that’s why his long term financial plans were so well played)

              I know him better than anybody and I would have taken good care of him in his old age.
              I loved him more than anybody could have ever loved another.
              I thought I was a good wife. I was super congenial which helped his business social life, easy to get along with, always smiling and kept myself in good shape all thru the years. And, I also held a good job.
              His family loved me. I was a very happy woman and he sure seemed happy himself and happy and proud of me.
              I’m sure that’s what he misses about me and his life has stalled w/o friends…..and so on and so on.

              OK, pop the balloon! Poof – it’s gone.
              But, I still wake up everyday thinking I’m married.

              “It’s over . . . and nobody wins”. -Leonard Cohen

              • It is just….horrifying, nauseating, life changing. It is an obscenity. I totally understand. I wish I could fix it for you.

                I feel the same way. I would have literally wiped the Putrid Prince’s ass.

                But, when I look at his actions, there is no other conclusion. These cheaters go after what they want, right? Consequences be damned. Bulls in china shops. They blow up lives for their own needs.

                And so, as we suffer….crickets.

                If the Putrid Prince, or your X, wanted to fix it….they would move mountains. They would make 10,000 grand gestures. They don’t.

                It breaks me, too. I try to look at it like I was the victim of crime. No reflection on my or YOUR worth. None. Believe that.

            • I was obsessed as well. I had a high fever today and “slipped”…by coming to this site. 🙂
              I have the flu, and I was remembering a time the Putrid Prince tenderly took care of me when I was sick. You start falling down that dangerous rabbit hole.

              You are drawn to your Tribe…those who “get” it. The writing is super helpful, and the people are so kind. And their pain leaps out. I want to help everyone.
              It is just a holocaust of the soul.
              BUT …BUT….

              the way I got better was to forcibly STOP researching narcissistic personalities, cheating and my X in general.

              When I stopped doing that, my obsession went from a roar to a low murmur, and sometimes silent ( a miracle). This is nothing short of supernatural.

              You have to force yourself, like doing a push up, to stop thinking about them. There are no positives to reliving it, again and again and again…not after you have the bottom line.

              They shit the marital bed. It made me homicidal. Guess what? He’s not. He is ok. Not obsessed. Not miserable. Has a new woman. Answers the phone with a happy lilt in his voice.

              And so, do you know that saying: Begin with the end in mind?

              I believe, when we are little old ladies, hopefully warm in our beds (surrounded by dogs!) and death is sitting in the corner….I think will we be heartsick over the time wasted analyzing a cheater over and over. I truly do.

              And, I am just as guilty as anyone. But I do believe it is the start of wisdom to STOP analyzing who, what, when, where, why. Once you know, you know. We have to set a limit and then STOP.

              I think….we come here because it feels so good to be understood. But I also believe that we think there is going to be a magic post, article or idea that is going to make this more bearable. More understandable. Comprehensible.

              There is not.

              We just have to move on. I have a fever and this writing is not my best. But, please know that I understand obsession. It is its own peculiar hell. You have to actually reach inside yourself, jerk a knot in your mind and let that mother fucker GO.

          • Bumblebee

            I just wanted to add that cheaters, narcs, cluster b’s may not be emotionally intelligent or aware BUT they are cunning and street smart and master manipulators. They have honed their instincts about people over years and are in their own way human experts. The best the covert narcs are very hard to spot, to resist and to fend off.
            They can spot a chump a mile away and have great skill in knowing how far to push, how to push, where the soft spots are. And they are dangerous to the mental health of ‘normals’. Taking longer than 2 years to recover from their comprehensive abuse is the norm. Some people spend many years recovering.
            They are super smart predators which is why no contact and grey rock are the only things that work.
            They may look like toddlers emotionally but these are weaponised toddlers.

            • Absolutely! A sly crafty toddler with the strength of a thug and a relentless commitment to their own agenda.

              The Putrid Prince was hyper aware…if a book was moved 3 inches when he left the room, he noted this. I read this was a common trait amount predators and violent men.

              He also had no fear or startle response. Glib and charming. Traits of a sociopath. For the Putrid, I am not sure how much of his super powers he is aware of.

              I hope and pray no one every shows him. In terms of walking on a beach, staring wistfully at the surf and digging down into any misery he has ever caused me, his parents or any other human being….never happen.

              He lives in the moment, and his own base needs, and that’s it.

          • Howdy, SS:

            I will give you the benefit of the doubt because you are always so nice to Maree and SheChump. If you were trying to get my goat you succeeded. I have been the same persona here for the last year. You on the other hand have come and gone as different people. I hope you will continue to drop in. You are an excellent writer, a deep thinker, and a shitposter extraordinaire. You also like to pick fights.

            The truth in your response is that I am indeed stuck. I have heard in the past week from a lot of chumps that I am being negative. I’ll cop to that. I made a point on a day I don’t think you were here that although we all share a common betrayal there is a vast difference in the many stories here. You weren’t married to J, so you have been able to go no-contact. I don’t have kids, so you and I have that in common. But I have had my worldview upended. You fell in love with a rich drug-dealing asshole. He treated you like shit and bailed. You have a drug habit you are trying to manage, and I saw that months ago in you. That’s a pretty common story sadly. Bad boy hurts good girl. One need only read the posts for a day to see bad girl hurts boy is much less commonly represented. And primary-bread-winner girl hurts equally-skilled boy in non-traditional childfree relationship? Not so common.

            I have years of experience in support groups.Part of the process in support groups is helping the newcomer. A lot of people see it as war stories. It’s typically characterized here as bitterness. I get it. Some people come here, get what they need, and move on. Good for them. Some are sicker than others. Part of my harshness (which I never, never used with MG – I adored and bolstered her every career move and constantly flattered her) is theatre. I trot out my worst experiences for the newcomer. It’s helping, and I know because people tell me. MG wasn’t just a greedy dumb cunt. She is a greedy brilliant cunt. Do you really think I would marry a dummy?

            You play by your own rules here, and I don’t call you on it. Again, I think you have my best interest at heart. I fear for my anonymity and don’t want to thread-jack this site, so I hold back. Nevertheless, I enjoy my time here, and I am going to keep embarrassing myself and spilling my guts until I am healed.

            • Clap clap clap!! Ian has been a valuable member of CN for a year; usually he’s supportive, often he is very funny, and sometimes he is angry, as he has a right to be given what’s happened to him. What he always is, is a valued member of this community.

              Bleed away, Ian, we have your back.

            • Ian

              I objected to the bumblebee post for three reasons. First it sounded judgy about your anger as if that was a reason your partner cheated and that’s BS. Second because there was that assumption that there is some specific time limit on healing. In my experience as a therapist it is the clients belief that they are somehow not healing ‘properly’ or are ‘stuck’ which causes a great deal of unnecessary trauma on top of the initial trauma. Third because to see narcs etc as just criminal and say that there behaviour isn’t personal is just plain wrong. You were not in the wrong place at the wrong time or just a victim of an opportunity crime. These people deliberately and often accurately sniff out chumps and gaslight and deceive them with skill and precision or through blunt force or a combination.
              My mother was a psychopath. I don’t know anyone who believes she can be that bad. There is a predisposition to think of mothers as ‘good’ or not intentional in their harm. ‘She loves you really, she doesn’t know how to show it, she’s your mother! ‘ are all I get. I gave up. I know what she is. Other children of psychopaths know it. I will never ‘get over it’ but am ok. I am recovering from the chumping. I have happiness and my boys and stuff. But that wound is not one that heals.
              I live with it.

              • And I like your anger. I am often unable to express mine. I find yours helps me (but if you don’t feel angry that’s ok!). I think I am ‘odd’ for not being able to express my anger or bitterness of which I have lots right now, as I have every reason to be angry. So. That’s all I have to say about that.

              • Gee – I’ve never thought Ian’s posts were every harsh nor full of anger. Did I miss something? More often I find he’s funnier than hell. He’s a very valuable member of this club who supports so many chumps with his wisdom and welcomes so many newbies. So, I just don’t know where that was coming from.

                Ian, I thought your response was very mature and reserved and very well stated.

                The one thing confusing to me is why anybody would be signing on as somebody else time and again. Not sure what purpose that serves, but again, maybe I’m missing something. I married a Chameleon.

          • Dear Bumblebee- the first two paragraphs of your comment to Ian are completely uncalled for- if you want to cast aspersions, fuck off and do so on some other site.We will all work through our grief, our betrayal, our PTSD in our own sweet time, depending on the amount of shit we had to wade through.And CL has already covered your argument about not trying to ” unravel the skein” so thanks but no thanks for your insight. There are a bucket load of people here whose stories resonate with me and whose grit and determination inspire me- you are not one of them. You write as if you are very self involved- if you aren’t, you might need to work on that, because you’re coming across as obnoxious.

            • Well said for anybody who: ‘when you cast aspersions on someone, you are questioning their abilities or doubting them.’ Dictionary Term.

              Since you appeared to be a new member of this group of which I’ve been part of 3 yrs or more, I thought it seemed like you ‘knew’ Ian from before.

              In fact, it all makes me paranoid that somebody will show up here with too much information about me and it could be the X.

              C R E E P Y

              • Don’t sweat it, SheChump. It’s just Sylvia up to her tricks. She was Ms. Bojangles yesterday. SheChump – as a rule, don’t email with links like the spam on here the last few days. Even emailing them can get you on a spam list that will send you malicious links and dangerous emails. You are fine; your ex is not here. And as a rule of thumb, don’t open attachments you aren’t already expecting, or click on password reset links in emails you didn’t request yourself. (Just good internet hygiene.)

                Maree – she’s who has been playing hide and seek with you too.

                Sylvia sure does dislike us because she comes around every day to tell us.

                Chump Nation will love her until she can love herself.

              • Well, thanks Ian.
                I also had a funny feeling it was Sylvia because you get used to a certain style of writing.
                She has a lot of great advice, and I agree that her writing style is wonderful.
                I’m not sure why she would be spamming our site – I, for one, DID contact that guy.
                Yup, I fell for it.

                I just don’t get it, but I’m with you, we’ll keep loving Sylvia until she starts loving herself.
                Well said.

    • When I was having one of the last blow up conversations with my cheating whore after she moved out she actually told me “I don’t think you really ever got over ______” my girlfriend before we met..25 years ago! It was a pathetic attempt to blame shift and justify her fucking the family friend in various motels (I saw the receipts on her bank statements, he’s such a loser she actually had to pay)…she explained those away too with some lame excuse, it was an exercise in futility at that point even having conversations with her. NC has been my savior.

        • Ridiculous huh? When she lobbed that accusation at me I was literally dumbfounded..had no idea where that came from and hadn’t even thought of my ex girlfriend in almost quarter of a century! Too busy raising kids etc…it was after finding this site I realized this is just par for the course with these cheaters, their little brains churning away all kinds of excuses for blowing up the family

          • Maybe she’s never really gotten over her X and is blame shifting.
            I was speechless when X said as he left “you never loved me.”
            It was said so I would question myself and think I wasn’t good enough, I failed,
            if only I had worked harder,
            I was a devoted wife and mother.

            Clearly they know their own tricks best..,

            I would never Cheat but if I did (alien abduction, hypnosis) I would be feeling a tremendous amount of guilt and remorse. The last thing I could be is nasty to someone
            who I betrayed and especially knowing they loved and trusted me.

          • It helps when they do this, usually this is the clincher, you just HAVE to realise they are full of shit they project on you when they do that. At this point it gets so ridiculous that even the chumpiest chump has to see what is going on. In a way, that’s when they throw us a lifeline, when the bullshit just gets too STOOOOPID!

      • Just proves that they lack real intelligence! They can’t even come up with an excuse other than you did it first which is false. You took my toy so I took yours as payback! There minds are stuck in childhood!

    • And how much would she care if at any point I told her how much I’ve suffered as a result of their affair? Exactly as much as she cared about your suffering, or anyone else’s for that matter: not at all.

      • Skankboy told me on dday that his ex wife cheated on him. I said “you did to me what Kathy did to you?” Dead-eye stare. Idiot!

        • I am sure it was his skanky ass that cheated on her….God, rest her sweet soul. She was the one that asked for the divorce.

  • “It’s that very concern — that cheating could be a deal breaker for the chump — that excuses cake-eating.”

    The concern that cheating could be a deal breaker for the chump should have been a major factor in the cheater’s decision NOT to cheat. If the cheater really so all-fired concerned about the state of their relationship or concerned about fairness or hell, capable of that kind of introspection, they would have stopped. Pretending that you’re interested in preserving the relationship feels a lot more noble and romantic/tragic than just not doing it in the first damn place.

  • Yeah, Narkles the Clown tried to call his affair a private matter. He also said this whole thing was between me and him when he asked me not to tell anyone what he did. My response was, no, our marriage is between us and since you brought someone else into it it is no longer just between us. I don’t see any reason to keep it that way since you didn’t.

    Everything in the letter above amounts to “consequences are bad” and why deal with them if you don’t have to? (Cake)
    Gee, I don’t know, respect? Love? Trust? The things a marriage is based on?

    I personally know a woman who received her HIV diagnosis at a routine pre-natal appointment. Her cheating husband knew he was positive and in her state, that’s a felony offense. Sure he went to prison for five years, but she has to live with taking pills and the side effects of those pills everyday. No one will ever convince me, or her, that cheating is not a big deal.

    • Wow! He deserves a life sentence of hard labor for that. They should ship him off to Russia to deal with! That really sucks for your friend! Health is so important to the quality of our lives. I don’t even know how to express my sympathy for her other than say I pray the remainder of her life is filled with good friends and family. Her story should be what is being told by the RIC, counselors and the media. The worst outcome of cheating and lying!

    • That’s truth! There is nothing noble about cheating and lying. They are deception and abuse at the core. Why does society have the we are all bad and make mistakes that need to be forgiven view? Like it or not, some actions are much worse than others. It’s time we call out people for hurting others. If they are truly sorry, there will be repentance and action to right the wrong!

    • DM

      The ‘noble lie’. Just reading those two words together makes my hackles rise!

      There is something here too about truth. CL wrote “truth is the problem, not cheating”.

      Perhaps what you could say Also is that it is THE TRUTH ABOUT CHEATING that people get so bent out of shape about. Imagine if infidelity was seen clearly for what it was by the vast majority of people. Emotional abuse. What would happen? All of a sudden very many people would have to examine their conscience for aiding abetting or knowing about their behaviour. Very many people would have to change their opinion about a great many things like financial equality in marriages, the status of women, the treatment of male chumps (financial and custody wise) which is appallingly unfair.
      How much better to try to force the Chump to eat that shit sandwich.
      It is reminiscent of all the historical sexual abuse scandals. Hide it, shame the victims into silence, deny it, justify it, minimise it. Then get pissed off and defensive when cornered.

      We just have to keep chipping away. As Desmond Tutu said “making the truth public is a form of justice. “

  • I’m glad I found out. I’m glad I found out he was in fact cheating the entire time we were married. It made me immune to his reconciliation attempts. The stupidest thing he ever said to me was that I should take him back because a cheater makes the best husband. Because NOW they know how much they have to lose and he would appreciate me more. I told him that following that logic I needed to go fuck someone else for 10 years so I could learn to appreciate him.

    • NewDay

      This is funny and clever

      ” I should take him back because a cheater makes the best husband. Because NOW they know how much they have to lose and he would appreciate me more. I told him that following that logic I needed to go fuck someone else for 10 years so I could learn to appreciate him”

      I have my STBX saying this to me now. How much I can trust him as he has seen the hurt and damage. I he has only four years of affairs so far confessed to I guess that only gives me for years with someone else to appreciate him!

      Unfortunately I don’t think 100 years will be enough.

      • Now I can appreciate you more. See? That is still about your value to them. What little value thier lazy, self absorbed asses might have had is gone. I mean, they know you are wonderful and now you know they suck.

  • I read a lot of advice columns and it’s true that somehow cheating gets a pass that no other lie does. This Carolyn Hax column ran a few days ago. A whole lot of people I consider decent on the comment board were in the don’t tell camp because it is selfish. This one is about a one time thing, except the LW doesn’t sound the least remorseful. Here is the column: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/carolyn-hax-the-funny-thing-about-deciding-infidelity-is-okay-is-it-takes-two/2016/11/24/41dd980e-b042-11e6-840f-e3ebab6bcdd3_story.html

    My response to the column didn’t get any likes, I said: Guess the LW is starting her own history of avoiding conflict by lying and omitting the truth. Interesting the difference in opinion about lying in that column vs this one. I cannot wrap my head, or is it my ethics (?) around this strange difference in opinion when someone is lying about cheating vs lying about, well, pretty much anything else.

    • Datdamwuf-I read WaPo every day, and I too saw this. I think Carolyn gives terrible advice, and I can’t fathom why people seem to love her so. I think she often downplays/minimizes shit behavior. I don’t even read her comments section, because it tends to have a lot of cheater apologists, with just a few clear dissenters.

    • I read this article and a lot of the comments. Of course, there is the usual drivel, claiming this adultery shit is OK, basically. Well, guess what? Even if every moron on the internet says it’s OK, it will never change the basic fact that it is NOT OK, in any circumstances, for any person. Ever.

      • It seems that way based on comments, because cheaters have plenty of time to peruse the internet, leaving comments in between watching porn videos.

        Those of us actually raising the children, being responsible for a job or performing charity works, don’t have time to sit around reading, much less posting comments, on stupid articles.

  • Am i glad i found out. Yes. am i glad i found out more lying to this day. Yes. Hurts like hell still but my eyes were opened wide again and again. And again. To know the one person i thought had my back disrespected me beyond the pale and that hurts. But when i got mad really effing mad my plans were set. Took three more years of my life to acheive but wednesday i move away from this house of whores and more importantly away from him the pod. Did you know that there is a rating system of dominent masters for slaves and the slaves and masters list who they are exclusive of and with? Out of 10 asswipe is listed an 8. And currently is listed exclusive master over 5 women on the same site. Should be fun for him in the future. Who knew there was s pecking order. Boy i had a good laugh over that!!! Hey i must be at meh! Cause i dont care!!!! My biggest regret is he knew what he was 30 years ago and took away my choice of saying no thanks and moving on away from him. What a long strange trip its been. I love this site you all saved me and kept me sane and alive. From the bottom of my heart thank you. I will always be here as long as this site is to heal and to help where i can. Wednesday i start anew and when i drive out that gate for the very last time i will stop and get out channel all of you and shake off all the old hurt and pain and left it here in this house off hell. Hey jeep wanna go driving with me!!!!!

  • I remember asking cheater a number of “what if” questions, like,
    – what if one of his howorkers had reported him and he lost his job
    – what if a husband of one of his sluts had confronted him, sued him, told me, etc.
    – what if he got and/or gave me an STD
    etc., would he have told me the truth then? What a stupid question for me to have asked. Of course his answer was “I would have to tell you” but I know now that he would have lied and blame shifted and I was so sucked in that probably would have believed him. He probably would have said:
    – the company was downsizing and he was cut as a result. Or, if I somehow knew about the report – she’s been after me but I said no so she reported me just to get back at me.
    – her husband is a jealous man and thinks there’s something going on but there’s not.
    – who have you been with? You must have got it from somewhere.

    Cheater was such a masterful liar (the therepist’s term) that I know he would have never voluntarily confessed. Even when I figured out he was cheating, he seemed to enjoy withholding the details and trickling out bits and pieces in as hurtful a way as possible. It’s all about control.

  • I have been waiting years for a confession. However when I told him on D-day “You need to choose between your girlfriend or your family”, he told me he was moving out. That is only confession I will get. Confessing acknowledges he wrecked his marriage and family. If you never acknowledge you screwed up, he can still play the poor, pitiful me, my ex wife is sooooo mean!

  • My experience is that my cheater’s motto was “deny, deny, deny”. Even when he was caught red handed. The idea that deception is kinder than the truth is BS. My STBX said he believed that what I didn’t know wouldn’t hurt me but throughout our marriage I was in a lot of pain. I struggled to find solutions to our relationship issues when, for decades, he knew the answers and the reasons we were having problems. He made me the scapegoat for a dysfunction that he had prior to our relationship but hid from me. He was a selfish coward. Deception is damaging, much more damaging than the truth. Deception took away my choice. Deception took away my rights and my humanity. It’s very triggering for me now when I sense deception. I still struggle with how to deal with it.

    • My ex wife still denies she cheated. It bothers her so much she even insisted to her hairdresser (my daughter uses the same one) she didn’t cheat before she left..lol..why even bring that up? Image control…she fucking KNOWS she’s a cheating tramp and she left her family for strange dick, and she has to live with that choice and scarlet letter around her neck. My daughter recently told me a good friend of ours for many years, (couples friends as our daughters grew up together and did dance etc…) the friend told my ex she needs to take a break from their friendship as it was too uncomfortable ..apparently my ex texted her a belated happy birthday wish but she wasn’t having anything to do with her. Of course my exes response to this according to my daughter was “I don’t know what the fuck HER problem is…” Again, just cheater head in the fucking clouds. Never their fault and why can’t everyone be HAPPY for them??

    • “I struggled to find solutions to our relationship issues when, for decades, he knew the answers and the reasons we were having problems. He made me the scapegoat for a dysfunction that he had prior to our relationship but hid from me.”

      This is so well stated and mirrors how I felt. How I longed to figure out why I couldn’t connect with my husband, why he seemed to be more comfortable with distance.

  • Mr. Sparkles has only confessed to what I was able to subpoena.

    Seriously… here is what he has denied, all evidence to the contrary:

    – Brought back CRABS from our trip to Mexico while dating… um, you know the chances of getting them from bed linens?? (For you doubters – it’s about 1%)

    – Had MULTIPLE personal ads online – I had printed copies of them, some from sites I never even knew existed

    – Only used AFF for “online affairs”… um, why were you looking for Couples/Groups in your profile

    – Never cheated on me – online affairs “don’t count”… and the OW he left me for also doesn’t count because “he knew he was done with the marriage”

    – 100s of printouts of emails HE SENT to Craigslist ads, AFF ads, etc… dumbass was too lazy to empty his email TRASH FOLDER

    Truth be told… I didn’t want to know for the longest time. But, when things started heading south in the bedroom and I was getting blamed for horrible things like “laying down with baby at night”… I could smell the stink a mile away.

    Here we are now… divorce is imminent… 8 YEARS since the first D-day and he still isn’t MAN ENOUGH to own his actions.

    Yeah… this is a guy who is going to be better for the next woman? Not possible.

    Thank God for CL and CN… and thank God for TIME.

    Rock on Chump Nation

  • When confronted, my cheater was only going to admit to generics via unspecifics suchs as “I made a mistake but its you I love. He pursued me and I was weak, but he doesn’t mean anything to me … blah blah blah”

    But from some of the things I read on her phone, I knew she was downplaying everything, but she didn’t want to give up cake or provisions.

    I do think that the one out of a thousand case might exist where someone does have a one night stand somehow and truly feels horrible and remorseful and might be better off taking it to their grave and not even telling their best buddy. Emphasis on “might exist” since we’ve seen scant evidence of those cases.

    • Haha. We were both imagining the mythical one-night stand. Doesn’t exist; even if it did I’m not forgiving it.

      Is the mistake when she spread her legs? When it was “just the tip?” When he didn’t pull out in time? Is it forgivable because she didnt kiss him? A mistake is forgetting your keys. Only teenagers have one-stroke sex.

    • Buddy, my XW was the same, except for the part about saying he meant nothing to her and that she loved me. Or that she was sorry. She confessed, but I suspect that was because AP’s wife had found out after my wife’s name appeared on the title to their family home (LONG story). But my God did she try to get mileage out of “I told you myself!”

  • Great work, Chump Lady.

    I am curious about Ida’s motives.

    I also think that confession under duress doesn’t count as confession. I am not a person who is willing to forgive a drunken one-night stand, but apparently some are. Coming clean before one’s partner starts to suspect never happens; it’d be a unicorn of another color.

  • The advice to refrain from confessing an affair is pretty much standard on all the RIC/infidelity websites.

    The underlying argument against confession is this: confessing an affair will have consequences.

    Cheaters don’t like consequences, so they love being told that it’s okay to keep the affair secret. Now, if they’re truly contrite, they’ll confess, and they’ll be humble about it. True contrition, as CL has said, operates from a position of humility. A true apology is one in which the person apologizing realizes that the apology itself does not entitle the individual making the apology to forgiveness.

    Cheaters know this, but will still try to guilt the Chump into reconciling. It’s the only way that the Cheaters can avoid consequences!

  • Hey Chump Nation — from your experience of cheaters, what’s a more likely scenario — unvarnished honesty about what they’ve exposed you to, or preposterous excuses?

    Preposterous excuses – for the win! They only have one life on this earth, and they deserve to be happy.

    I experienced four D-days over the course of five months. She has still only confessed to whatever I uncovered. There is so much more but its all circumstantial. However, I finally gave up my role as the marriage police and simply trust that she’s lying to cover-up her fucking around on me and our family. I trust that she sucks.

    It really is a game to the narcissists to figure out what they can get away with; and it’s all at the chump’s expense. I always say the second D-day is the worst. The first time, sure, you’re heart is ripped out of your chest. But our narcissists are able to calmly look into our pleading eyes with a droopy-sadz puppy-dog face and lie their asses off. As chumps, we’re desperate and grasping for any lifeline and buy into their reassuring act. We even accept the blame for forcing them into that one harmless / innocent / unintended little “mistake.” And it calms us for awhile.

    Then there’s D-day#2 – after purchasing voice-activated recorders, velcro, PC key-loggers, GPS trackers, credit monitoring, forensic financial accountants, phone spyware, gathering two years of phone records, credit-card statements, paystubs, and hiring three independent private investigators – we find more evidence we knew all along we would find. But now… NOW it’s different… Our narcissists calmly look into our raging eyes with that same fucking droop-sadz puppy-dog face and lie their asses off – again.

    It was in that very moment I realized my truth, integrity, self-esteem, and everything that made me an individual has been stolen from me. The cherry on top of this shit sandwich is that I was paying for everything. I’m a chump; and oh hell does it hurt.

    I only have one life on this Earth. How is it I don’t deserve to be happy?

    • Your posts are awesome, BNM. It sounds gut wrenching to have to endure a second D-Day after being marriage police and paying for her to get strange dick. So sorry, man. She’s the worst.

    • I agree … D-Day #2 is the true heart breaker because you realize just what a fool you’ve been. You didn’t know what s/he was capable of before the first time and you desperately clung to those lies you wanted to be true. But the second time? There is no where to hide from the horrible truth.

    • Betrayed

      You do deserve to be happy.

      Your post was a bit triggery for me as you are absolutely right that the second DDay is worse. Your mind sees one as maybe a mistake? A fog? Your fault? Midlife? Too much or not enough sex?? Messy cupboards ?? You start to spackle and trust the visible sadness as sadness for what they have done to you. DDay 2 rolls around and bam you know more pain than ever. And their sad looks a bit suspect now. Then DDay 3 for me was when I knew even I couldn’t spackle even the foothills of that shit sandwich.

      You do deserve to be happy as do I but how to get there right now is a bit beyond me.

      • You just decide to be. It really is that simple. There are wonderful things to be happy about every day. Be stubborn. Focus all your attention on the good. When you are ready to stop grieving (which is different for each of us) … make the decision and don’t look back.

    • “It was in that very moment I realized my truth, integrity, self-esteem, and everything that made me an individual has been stolen from me”
      Betrayed, they haven’t been stolen from you, no one can steal that. You have been betrayed, you tried to save your marriage, you checked and policed as you had a right to after a betrayal, but you were loyal to your marriage, you have integrity, you’ve always had it.
      It is torture to suffer so many DDays, to have tried so hard for someone who is not worth it, but it only says excellent things about YOU. Don’t beat yourself up like this, please. You are making your pain worse.
      You have integrity and honour, loyalty, fidelity. You are a knight.

  • I have seen several people welcomed to Chump Nation with the phrase, “welcome to the club no one wants to join.” I know that is true, but I also know something I found out about myself that is an uncomfortable truth. I think I became a better person — a more compassionate person, a more realistic person, a person who is not ashamed to be judgmental about some things because I was lied to, manipulated, and cheated on. This is not something I particularly like — it is, after all, trial by fire. You get burned, you have scars. But you learn, with total 100% certainty, that there are evil people in the world, and that they travel in your circles. They do not believe you are a special snowflake. Those things can and will happen to you — nothing you can do or say will change what another person decides to do. That person who promised to love you and share your life and be there when times got tough? That person is a liar. This is what the real world is like. You can look for the good in others — but you have to be prepared to deal with the bad. You cannot go thru life as an innocent. You have not really lived until you know how to evaluate the risk involved when you have any type of relationship with another person.

    As a parent, I tried to protect my son’s from friends who would get them in trouble, from girls who would use them, from a grandfather who was a malignant narcissist. I couldn’t. I could warn them, I could dry their tears (yes, real boys do cry — men, too!), I could help them put their shattered parts back together. I could love them and love them and love them. But, I could not protect them from being hurt. I could not insure they would not make mistakes I had made. I could not stop them from doing things that would hurt them — or sometimes hurt others in ways they did not intend and would not allow themselves to foresee. My beloved boys had to go through several trials by fire — and they haven’t even married yet! They are grown men now, and I can wish that the worst would not happen to them — but I have little confidence that it won’t.

    Because that is what we learn when we realize what a chump we have been — we learn about reality. We learn the world is not a real friendly place, and people tell lies all the time, and are selfish, and make bad decisions. We learn promises are often not kept. We learn that only a small part of the citizens of the world actually have character and values and uphold beliefs. We learn only a few are brave enough to fight for their espoused principals, because there is always a price to pay for standing up for what you believe.

    I am more compassionate because I admit I can and do and will ache when I am heartbroken. I also know it will happen to those I really care for, and some people I only know through time and distance contact — like the folks I’ve met at Chump Nation. I am more realistic because I know that bad things will happen — even to good people. I don’t care when someone tells me I am judgmental, because sometimes people need to know that what they did was wrong — and good people with character will not stand by and take it. I judge because I have values.

    It is an uncomfortable truth, because I wish that real life was a better place to live. I wish there were more good people in the world. I wish we wouldn’t have to struggle with manipulative liars and cheaters every day. There is a line from an old Emmy Lou Harris song, Prayer in Open D, that says “And the rock of ages I have known, is a weariness down in the bone, I used to ride it like a rolling stone, now I just carry it alone.” I think that says it all.

    • I love this Portia. It is so true. Fantasy is what we are sold, reality is what we get.

      I, too, have come to actually be grateful on a certain level of having had this horrible experience. Whoever said that pain is the best teacher knew what they were talking about. When I had nothing left to stand on, I was finally able to stand on the truth of who I am and embrace that. It definitely made me more compassionate, but less gullible, more understanding but less willing to tolerate nonsense. It has allowed me to be more me and love me. You really can’t love anyone with total fullness until you are able to truly embrace, appreciate and love yourself – and not in that narcissistic “it’s all about me” way. In the way that says in harming myself, I harm you and I love myself too much to harm me and I care too much for you to harm you. Your life motto becomes “first do no harm” – to yourself and to others.

      Thank you once again for expressing things so beautifully and profoundly.

      • Hi Portia: I have been reading your comments on this blog, probably since you started posting. Today’s post has struck a profound chord with me – thank you for so beautifully articulating thoughts and feelings that I have also harboured, but could not put into words as compelling as yours.

    • I can figure out if this applies:

      “Better to have loved and lost, than never loved at all.”

      I believe I would have skipped this experience. It has made me more compassionate to any type of betrayal, but what a high price to pay for this obscene knowledge.

      • OMG Bumblebee – ‘“Better to have loved and lost, than never loved at all.”

        I woke up just this morning with this exact thought in my head.
        Hadn’t heard it forever and it just popped in, so I decided to analyze it, like I do everything else.

        Was it better to have loved and lost?
        —I said yes to myself

        Than ever loved at all…
        —-I said yes to myself. I truly only had the one true love. Nobody could live up to him and I just know it. (pathetic, right?)

        • No, it is not pathetic! You are highly analytical. Just like me.

          Someone could live up to him! We cannot lose hope, Shechump. That is part of the healing…when we let that little bit of hope trickle in.

          These cheaters…they are the fucking worst. A jellyfish would be a better partner. At least you would know he was not texting a back pages whore in the john. Ask me how I know 🙁

          You are NOT pathetic. You are a romantic, and the world needs romantics. Don’t lose hope.

          Be thankful this door closed. It had a monster behind it. You can choose to be positive or negative. (I know, cliche). I was a Negative Nelly. I made a “conscious” decision to be positive.

          I made a concrete choice to be hopeful. And by God, it feels better. You have nothing to lose. Sending you a big huge virtual kiss and hug.

          • Bumblebee – ‘Be thankful this door closed. It had a monster behind it. You can choose to be positive or negative. (I know, cliche). I was a Negative Nelly. I made a “conscious” decision to be positive.’

            Thank you for such a terrific and empathetic post. I really appreciate your kind words and advice.
            I am going to strive to more positive than I have been lately.
            Some days I wake up all depressed, angry and obsessing…..and then I try to let that go and realize that I was one of the lucky ones who came out of the horror-movie mostly intact, unlike so many here who were left financially ruined and with children dealing with child support payments.
            Love that Negative Nelly line……I thought there was a good name for that frame of my mind.

            Hugs and kisses back to you, my friend!

  • I posed this question just days ago on Chumplady. My husband came home after three days of screwing Schmoopie. He told me he was on a business trip. Once he arrived home, within minutes he told me he f**ked up bad. I asked him what happened and he announced, “Schmoopie and I are in love!” I was stunned and I asked him if he was with her for the three days and he said yes! He fessed up immediately and I” not sure why. Anybody have some insight?

    • I don’t know Roberta. At the end, I had a swaggering Cheater. I think it’s because they believe they have “found” something special and they are riding the high of being a certain age and being “in demand.” They don’t think there will be any adverse consequences because they can’t see past the feel good feeling of the moment. They act like teenagers because they are thinking like teenagers – no ability to have any clarity beyond the moment. It is going to be the way they want it because it is what the AP is selling them and they want to believe. It is no different than any other drug high – the affair is the drug. People become reckless when they are in an altered state.

      You and I are of a similar age and I have come to realize during all of this, particularly now being far enough out, that my Ex is and was an idiot. He didn’t want love, he wanted admiration. He didn’t want a wife and family, he wanted fans. He’s disordered. His thinking, his values are not in alignment with mine. I always tell people who are puzzled by crazy is the reason they are puzzled is because they are not crazy so be thankful.

      You can’t understand what your Ex did because you could never do it. I could be wrong, but I doubt if you can’t look back over your marriage and find instances where your Ex was impulsive or would have made impulsive/bad decisions if you had not stepped in and in some way found a way to stop him. I spent years attempting to keep my Ex from making impulsive decisions and/or cleaning up the unintended consequences from his “you are not the boss of me” piss poor decisions.

      Those that circle back around are frequently looking for someone to bandage their “bleeding wounds of consequence” and to provide another dose of unearned and undeserved attention and admiration. I no longer even think about those small attempts to get my attention from the Ex. By my response/non-response I tell him to miss me with his bullshit.

      • Thanks for your response Chump Princess. My Ex was definitely smitten with this married woman who he met on Facebook. I knew from the get go that it would never last between them, but they spent a lot of time making me miserable with their affair. I think he told me immediately because she was probably threatening to tell me herself if he didn’t. She definitely wanted him to leave me and was very bold about it! We did divorce and after two years of storing his clothes and crap, he came with a U-haul to move to her condo in Florida. The last thing I told him was that all affairs come to an end and it’s usually bad. It was. He lasted just short of four months living with her. He got very sick and they split up. She didn’t sign up to be a nurse and a purse. Twu Wuv my butt!

    • He’s in love! Wanted to tell the world! And his best friend…you. X used to try to bring up ow all the time. He was so giddy with joy. And of course to attempt to rub my face in it. He was very upset when I told him ow wasn’t important to anyone but him. Geez why did I have to pee on his parade. He was used to telling me things and didn’t know where to draw the line. So I drew the line and made him sign on it. In divorce court.

      • newday, isn’t it the weirdest thing, when they “share” with you because you are their “best friend”. I thought I was in the Twilight Zone when x did this. I was supposed to be happy because he was finally getting what he deserved, happiness. He actually left me speechless, because the rest of his family was hurting. And the funny thing is, people don’t believe that he told me that, they can’t believe or won’t believe that there are people that shallow or uncaring.

        • The Coward did that, too.

          I described it as being made the sexless drone in the house. It was like I didn’t even exist as a human being–I was just a thing. The lover takes on all the romance, and we are supposed to be the buddy, the secretary, the mother. They don’t care at ALL about our feelings–we have no feelings to even consider. Everything on Earth is for them and everyone is happy for them, and we are reliable.

    • THIS is the time to serve them with divorce and go for everything you can get. Get ’em while they’re giddy! Get ’em while they’re MANIC with infatuation!

      That would be my #1 piece of advice to a shattered spouse.

      It worked for me.

  • Portia.
    Lovely post. I was ‘lucky’ in that my family of origin were a dysfunctional bunch of cruel and distant people. I learned early on about bad people who looked all functional on the outside but were deficient in some deeply important ways. I was a kind and sensitive kid and I learned the hard way. But alongside that lesson was another, that a lot of people were not like this. I latched on to one grandparent, friends parents, teachers as I went through life. The good people outnumber the bad. I got badly chumped no question and may not trust another man to get that far into my life but I know there are trustworthy people out there. I have faith in people still.
    I work as a therapist and the courage of my clients despite the worst abuses is inspiring to me. There is a lot of that same spirit here. A resilience. A hope. Yes bad stuff will happen but people will rise again and again.
    You have. We can.

  • Condescending mindfuckery oh yes indeedy. He still explains all the details he manages to leave out by claiming he does it ” so you don’t get upset”. That’s not upset,little man, that’s anger- because you have once more exposed my kids to stupid situations involving the 3 Crazy Witches. Anger is justified.He only confessed to the first affair because someone he knew threatened to tell me, and his take on it was ” you had postnatal depression and wouldn’t get help, so I was forced to turn to OW1 for comfort”. I didn’t have postnatal depression- I had ” my husband has mysteriously become grumpy and distant and is out 3 nights a week playing hobbies when we have a newborn and a four year old” depression. Or possibly ” my husband is cheating on me with our employee’ depression. Or possibly ” Actually he’s been cheating since day 1 but it will take a while to work that out” depression. But both babies were, and are, the joy of my life and I loved getting to be at home with them, even though it wasn’t for that long. I found out about affair number 2 from his phone, and affair number three turned up at my house and made a scene.
    Who are these smug, so called experts who feel that they know what is best for someone they have never met? How can someone look after themselves properly if they don’t know they have a disease? Do the ” experts” advocate that doctors hide illness from their patients in case it upsets them too much?

    • moomin, “Do the ” experts” advocate that doctors hide illness from their patients in case it upsets them too much?” This was really good. You have stage 4 cancer, but it might upset you to much, I won’t tell you though because that would not help you at all. You don’t need to connect with people, or make any last plans, you just need to be “coddled” because you can’t handle the truth. Ridiculous huh.

    • I know! I was really remiss in not taking my cheater for a dementia analysis after D-day. He couldn’t remember much of anything from his affair! And therefore I should forgive an affair “he could barely remember.” Where was my compassion not to notice his declining cognitive state? I could have at least administered gingko biloba to stave off his memory decline. silly me.

    • Oh God the ubiquitous, “I don’t remember

      This is cheater-speak for: “Yes, what you are accusing me of in this instance is true. However, I will neither confirm nor deny the validity which you speak of. Why do you insist upon revisiting the past? There is something wrong with you where you deliberately get off on the pain. You are refusing to get over this!

      Or rather, “Enough about me…

  • I’ve begun to believe that the REAL unicorns are cheaters who tell on themselves before they get caught. Not because of any blackmail or STD threat, but because of their conscience, and knowing their partner has the right to the truth. Wow, wouldn’t that be something? This has never, ever happened to me and I’ve been with more than one cheater. I’ve never heard of this happening to a friend of mine or even in my professional life. I’d sure love to believe it was possible! If my cheater had come to me and said, hey, I can’t manage this, maybe it would have had a different outcome. The sex behind my back hurt, but the ongoing deception and gaslighting hurt far worse. It was that I could not forgive him for. To be honest, if he had been honest and come to me with some humility instead of getting caught with a zillion excuses, I think it’s very likely I would have given our relationship another shot. But no dice.

  • Thank you, CL, for posting my question. In case anyone is wondering where I’ve found these excuses: (1) from book, “Mating in Captivity” and the “monogamish” guy Dan Savage, (2) from book “When Good People Have Affairs” and (3) from response section of articles I’ve read on confessing (sorry, no sources). These excuses are so infuriating that I had to turn to CL to cut through the BS. And she did. I especially liked her saying confessing levels the playing field, which any con hates to do. Thanks again, CL.

  • When I was young and naive (and a smug married woman) I used to agree with the Dr. Laura philosophy of not telling your spouse about a single transgression; that telling was tantamount to burdening the faithful spouse with the cheater’s single, isolated mistake.

    I knew that I would never cheat, and I never did. (Hello, integrity.) This was just about me knowing what was best for other unfortunate couples. Condescension, yay!

    Now I know better. Cheaters cheat. They’re entitled. Once they cheat, they’re cheaters, certainly capable and willing and LIKELY to cheat again. And the faithful partner DOES deserve to know the truth. But it’s not like anyone’s opinion matters to a cheater. They’ll do whatever they feel like doing, and whomever they feel like doing. And they’ll do it again.

    Don’t expect a cheater to do the moral thing, the right thing by telling the truth. They’ll do the thing that works best for them.

    In my case, it worked best to hit me over the head with it, then leave. Because The Coward wasn’t interested in keeping the status quo; he wanted out. Or she wanted him out. Or both. Either way, he told me for HIS sake, not for mine, and not until HE was damned good and ready, after fucking both of us for some time. Mmm, cake!

    I don’t know. Maybe ignorance is bliss. I know I wasn’t in the happiest of marriages. It was good enough until it wasn’t. Did he cheat before the last one? Maybe. In retrospect he acted like it. That’s the thing about cheating–it’s never the only way that cheaters are assholes, just the most obvious, and often the faithful partner’s final reason to get out.

  • The people who write this kind of nonsense can just fuck off frankly.

    It’s like taking smoking cessation classes off of someone who has never smoked.

    I challenge any one of these halfwits to step inside my life for a day and maintain this clueless stance.

    Seriously. OFF. YOU. FUCK.

  • “I don’t want to hurt you”
    I had to bite my tongue and not reveal that I had proof he’s living with that prostitute.
    But that worked though…he’s been tormented with what proof I have. And he agreed to most of my demands during mediation.
    Funny how “I don’t want to hurt you” was like he pushed RESET button on my life. Was I hurt? Was I infected? Did I have enough money for the divorce? For relocating? For food???
    What about our son, who has to endure being away from me for a whole month, twice a year! Who will grow without a dad! Was he hurt?
    His cheating fucked up our lives!

    No need to confess, you coward! The very palpable proof is that you fucked up our lives!

    • What really pisses me off is how the damn counselors haven’t figured out that deep down inside chumps know something is horrible wrong. I was a chump – depressed and hopeless for years (27 to be exact). I tried to figure out what was wrong with me and my marriage. Then I would think I just imagined everything and questioned my sanity. I can’t help but believe that anybody who thinks that a cheater should never confess is either a cheater themselves and/or a moron! Sorry, I guess this topic touch a nerve – a morfo 27 year old nerve!
      Ready2go

  • My husband told me he didn’t love me. Probably never had. He blamed it on my character; I’m critical, judgmental, lazy, messy, high strung, get angry quickly, I wasn’t good enough, Yada, yada. Those words destroyed me. Guess what he didn’t tell me? Guess what he thought was irrelevant to “our” issues?

    4 months later I was weighing my options. Destroyed emotionally, drained of all will to carry on, carrying all the guilt for letting down my children, I gave up. I abandoned all hope for saving a marriage where my husband resented me, felt nothing but ambivalence at best, blaming me at worst. I let him know I would release him of marital obligation beginning on Monday. He was stunned which stunned me. I didn’t know about cake back then. Still, he did not tell me about his girlfriend.

    Guess who told me about my husband’s girlfriend? My DAD! That evening I broke down and cried to my dad, telling him about the past 4 months, what my husband had said, how we could make absolutely no headway. I was beaten down, exhausted, and I needed moral support to get through a divorce while parenting 3 small children and working.

    “Could there be someone else DH has feelings for?”

    My blood ran cold. I’d never considered it. My rose colored glasses cracked. By the end of the evening, my dad gone home, my husband home, he finally admitted to the girlfriend.

    Keeping the secret hurts nobody? Telling the truth might break up the marriage? My entire soul wants to scream at that fallacy. Before I knew about the affair, our marriage was broken beyond repair. I was a shattered mess. My 7 year old daughter was having a huge temper tantrum every Sunday afternoon like clockwork. Coming clean was a last ditch effort to prevent divorce. . . and my dad had awakened that possibility in me. My husband resented me and blamed me for his unhappiness and called his emotional affair a symptom of our broken marriage. But he wanted me to stay married to him.

    It’s 15 years later. He hasn’t strayed since. I stayed. I’ve regretted it every day since.

    • Good God, Regrets – ‘It’s 15 years later. He hasn’t strayed since. I stayed. I’ve regretted it every day since.’

      May this be an excellent post to anybody trying to reconcile when it’s a hopeless cause.
      You have much more of a story here for Chump Nation that we could all use.
      I think most of us have figured out the wreckonsiling is a nowhere road, but to be putting up with it 15 yrs later and still regretting it….we will all be wondering why you’re still there with your monster.
      Your sharing would be very helpful.

      • There was no Chump Nation 15 years ago. There was only RIC. Marriage counseling focused on his relationship with his mother who, incidentally, had multiple sexual affairs. IMHO, that’s the kind of crap you discuss the n Individual Therapy. He felt like he was making headway and feeling understood after therapy. I was encouraged by therapist to figure out ways to make him feel loved and appreciated. I was frustrated and pissed off. He continued to insist that we needed to work on our marriage together. His crushing on a subordinate at work (and their secret meetings to make rules for themselves – read: excuses to carry on the tingly feelings of forbidden attraction) were all symptoms of our broken marriage. His mother told him that drivel. I would never accept responsibility for “my part” in his choosing a connection outside our marriage. In fact, I insulted him by telling him that people who say that cheating is a symptom of deeper issues within the marriage are cheaters.

        Emotional affairs are still a gray area. Where do you draw the boundary and make the call to the divorce attorney? Before I found out about the EAP, I had nothing to work with. I was cast as the one that caused all his unhappiness. I did not see it coming. I was blindsided. He insisted I had to have known something was amiss. I was short tempered with him. I was critical of his family, rejecting even (his perception, not mine).

        I believed that marriage was an active relationship that ebbed and flowed. I expected a little leeway for having endured 3 pregnancies where I suffered hyperemisis, breast feeding my darlings which did sap my energy, then selling and building a new house. Did I mention I work outside the home and I was forever juggling babysitters? Yes, I was not perfect and I was tired and cranky at the time but I believed it would pass.

        I am an expressive person and believed in talking. He is not and does not. While I made sure I was heard, he ran from any indication of confrontation and discord because, based on his parents marriage, that equated to discord then divorce. So he bottled up his resentment and feelings, built a case inside his mind that justified getting close to a girl at work and I was the enemy. I deserved every pot shot. But the girl at work really understood him. Besides, in his mind it was not an affair. They weren’t physically intimate. Adultery is wrong but it involves sexual intimacy.

        After the initial shock, I researched emotional affairs. There was so very little on them. Yet what I knew is that he had rewritten our history then introduced the reality that he was capable of hurting me intimately and justify it. He had his own secrets that he must keep at all costs. Even if it cost him his family. There is much, much more to this story. Marriages are complicated relationships. The reason I stayed comes down to a book I read by Judith Wallerstein, The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce. Then her follow up books. They are longitudinal studies on the effect divorce has on children. I also took a long, hard look at my husband, the product of divorced parents. I determined that I wanted to give my children the benefit of having married parents.

        Skipping a lot of details and a time lapse, my husband says he believes he had an emotional affair. He has committed to not do it again. He has stayed true to his word as far as I have seen. The girl left the place of work within the year (a very long year) and healing did occur. He screwed his head on a little straighter. I do occasionally snoop. The first time I snooped was about 7 years later. I found a benign email from her and his reply. How are you, kids are getting big, wish we would have more but hubby doesn’t really do kids… His reply was also benign. He caught Hell for it. But, he said, didn’t I see all the nice things he said about me to her? Besides, it would be rude to not respond. What did I expect him to do?

        When I said no contact, I meant no contact. I tolerated her being in the same office until she quit but it chipped away at us the entire time. Did he want to be seen as rude by this woman he claimed he had no feelings for or did he want to lie and disrespect his wife by continuing a relationship with her? Yes, I noticed it was benign. It was clear they hadn’t had a comfortable, ongoing relationship but he had gone directly against my wishes. If he wanted a relationship with her – regardless of the nature, he was choosing that over his family. I stayed in good faith that he would keep his word. If she contacts him, ignore her. But that’s rude, he countered. I slowly turned to face him and explained what rude behavior looked like. I used my calm, teacher voice but spoke clearly as I iterated for him his behaviors and words to me. There were expletives. I spared nothing. I’m quite certain he saw Hell’s fire in my eyes. I believe that was also a pivotal point for him. In thinly veiled phrases, I made it clear to him that I have been through enough of his crap.

        I have an attorney chosen. I keep a binder of all financial statements. I run his credit report every few years. As far as I can tell, he really is staying in line. He admitted she dropped in from out of state last summer and came to say hello to everybody. He created an excuse where he had to cross the parking lot with a client but she caught him outside. It was excruciatingly uncomfortable. He wouldn’t engage in small talk. She left. He came home and told me about it.

        The balance of power may be more equal now. He tells me he sincerely loves me now. He puts forth effort to do nice things for me. I love and care for him but I don’t trust him. It goes against CN, but his experiences from FOO screwed him up. I believe he loves me the best he can but it is not enough.

        After all this garbage, and there is more I haven’t revealed out of respect for him. Because I do know marriage is about protecting the one you love and having his or her back. He is learning this and getting better at it yet I can’t fully trust he has my back because he has proved that he is capable of using my weaknesses against as a diversion and justification. I truly believe he doesn’t deserve me. He believes I shouldn’t define him by his lapse in judgment. Lapse in judgment is what he called it. He still doesn’t comprehend the gravity of his behavior and what it revealed of his character.

        What he does comprehend is that I remain true to my promises and commitments to him and marriage but with a great big caveat. I’ve also promised and committed to myself that I will protect myself from that kind of abuse. He is still in denial that he used gaslighting, justification, and that his affair had nothing to do with me. I know he still carries some resentment that I won’t own my part in the demise of our marriage (because he was only acting out due to my character deficits). I also know that he is crystal clear that I am willing to take action if he steps out of line again.

        I regret not holding him accountable. I regret miserably allowing myself to feel trapped in this marriage. I regret staying when I don’t believe he is truly contrite but scared that I will divorce him and expose those parts of him that I know that would really hurt him. I regret staying in a marriage that we both feel obligated to stay in but for different reasons. I am pissed that he did not have to suffer for what he did to me and he never will. I am pissed that he will never own the trauma he caused our children.

        Long post. Sorry. I hope I was somewhat coherent. There is so much and I was trying to be concise. I fear I was anything but.

        Thank you for asking.

    • Regret, it could be as well me writing this. The finding out was different but virtually all else the same. He never loved me, he followed his mom’s advice to marry, we did not become friends, I was not good enough in bed, I did not mingle well with his friends, I was not ambitious enough, smart enough, thin enough. Criticising and contempt is all I recall. And the fact that he started cheating both with his love AP and multiple sex flings since the second year of marriage has nothing to do with “our no intimacy, low sex life, etc”. In short, he cheated because he did not get his emotional and physical needs met with me. But then, he never wanted to divorce me because I am a “great wife material”. And his straying is fine, it’s not serious, we just need to work on “me” and never on him. He said let”s work on your self confidence. When I told him he ruined it throughout years with his disrespect, disdain, criticising, and now I also now fucking others, he said it does not have anything to do with my self confidence. He demanded that I change to confirm to his high level standards.
      I was also considering reconciliation. Still in. But I realise I won’t be able to trust again. He broke something inside that’s irreparable
      I would like to hear more on your regrets. Why exactly? Also, how do you know he never strayed? Maybe he became more cautios?
      My heart goes out to you. As to anybody here.

      • LongTimeChump,

        My regrets stem simply from the personal assumption that by staying married to him I have somehow given him a free pass. Sure, it’s okay that you blamed me for your unhappiness, tore me to shreds by exposing all my insecurities, and, worst of all (in my opinion) rewrote the history of marriage. What causes me the most regret is that I chose to marry him based on fallacies that he allowed me to believe. My belief was that we choose to marry once. We all know that we didn’t marry to divorce. We married to stay together for the long haul. I ignored the family of origin warning signs and my dad who pointed them out for me. Mercifully, my dad never said, “I told you so.” Although he certainly could have.

        I am proud of myself for never owning his infidelity. I absolutely refused his defense that infidelity is a symptom of deeper problems in the marriage. I never capitulated my stance that I should have known we were in trouble. I should have known he was miserable. I’m not a mind reader. Clearly my understanding of marriage was different than his. My parents fought. They worked it out. They stayed married. His parents fought. They retreated to themselves and selfish behaviors. They divorced. My expressiveness is too aggressive for him. It scares him. I yell. I appreciate the insight but he knew that about me before he married me. That’s certainly something I can work on adjusting but it is not an excuse to wander. In fact, every complaint he has about me at this point as been negated in my mind because, as far as I know, it’s just an excuse for him to be unfaithful.

        Just to clarify, you and I have an important distinction between us. My husband’s affair was emotional. The result on our marriages and our self-esteem is the same. He took the intimacy he should have been giving me and gave it to someone else. He withdrew from me and grew closer to her. He justified it by picking me apart. But the big distinction is that he didn’t risk my health by making it sexual. It was still highly abusive and I am ashamed of myself for running back for more abuse in order to “figure it out,” but the lack of sexual affair gives a person pause and I couldn’t justify putting my children through a divorce because of it.

        Do I know with 100% certainty he’s never cheated since? No, I don’t. I do know that he hasn’t exhibited the behaviors and attitudes he had when he was being unfaithful. I have changed some of my approaches and I have swallowed a lot of my snarky remarks while trying to be more patient and soft spoken. I don’t speak as openly to him as I used to. I keep a lot of things to myself. In response, my physical swallowing mechanism no longer works the way it should. I have more depression than I used to. Meanwhile, DH feels respected, loved, and heard. Ahhhhh.

        I feel like I am no longer able to be me with him. I feel stifled and resentful. I don’t believe he has ever fully owned the crap he put me through. He still believes that “we” had issues to work through. He still believes that the emotional affair wasn’t “that bad.” At least it wasn’t physical. That right there is the real reason that I couldn’t justify a divorce. His parents divorced and broke some fundamental parts of him. Then he broke parts of me. I’d be damned if we broke our children over his brokenness. Had he continued it and had it been sexual, I think it would have been easier to choose divorce. I say that but I have to admit that he continued working with the girl for another 9 months after D-Day even after I told him he could have no contact with her. He was her direct supervisor. I wasn’t strong. I am ashamed of that.

        I was 36 when this began. My children were young. I thought it would be too hard on them to watch us split up. In retrospect, I think it would have been easier to divorce when they were younger. I may have had a better chance of remarrying when I was younger. On the other hand, I’m much stronger now. I have contingency plans. I’ve figured out which divorce lawyer is the one I want. I have worked the numbers of alimony and child support. I really do believe that I could make it without a man but I also know that I am still a vibrant, attractive, and enjoyable individual.

        What’s broken within us is not irreparable. Your husband has no regrets. He owns nothing. He’s not changing. He will not help you heal from the hurt he inflicted. He will preserve himself at the cost of your well being. Get the hell out. Now.

      • And another thing – your husband is very miserable or so he says.

        ” He never loved me, he followed his mom’s advice to marry, we did not become friends, I was not good enough in bed, I did not mingle well with his friends, I was not ambitious enough, smart enough, thin enough.”

        Sounds to me like, according to him, the very marriage foundation is flawed. Frame it that you only want him to be happy and, since he is so unhappy with you, wish him a good life. This said as you hand him the divorce papers. You deserve so much better. So very much better. You are definitely worthy of being loved.

        I have regained some of my self respect and have spent a good deal of time figuring out the mind games the cheater plays (Chump Lady has been so very helpful). 15 miserable years later, I feel 85% reclaimed and much, much wiser and stronger.

        Please don’t be me. My husband did take ownership of much of it eventually. He spends every day trying to convince me to stay. It’s not a healthy relationship but slightly worth it because of the change of dynamics. The abuse I took has ended. I was not in jeopardy of catching an STD. I dished out a lot of venom when I finally figured out he was blaming me for being unfaithful. He took it. It’s getting old but he’s still taking it when I’m having a bad day. Sometimes he complains now but he also knows he doesn’t have a leg to stand on so he turns contrite soon enough.

        Even if your situation was the same as mine – my marriage is a huge disappointment to me. What he did break was trust. He also rewrote the first 10 years of our marriage. I can never get what I had back. I am not broken but our marriage is not stronger for working things out.

        But. Your situation is not the same as mine. You have every justification to kick his ass to the curb. No remorse, still gaslighting, still unfaithful, blaming you for his decisions THAT YOU WEREN’T EVEN THERE FOR!

        If you want to believe anything, believe the statement that you are good wife material. The only thing I would suggest you change for the liminal stage after divorce is to find your mightiness. Never be a Chump again.

        Love you.

        • Regrets,

          Thank you so much for your insight. I completely agree with you, we marry once, or this is what I thought before and I even used to joke with him around that. I would say, “I’d rather kill you than divorce you if anything happens.” I thought by saying that I was reassuring him in my own loyalty. You and I, and husbands, also have the same family background. My parents fought and talked it out. I recall predominantly very friendly atmosphere at home. My dad passed away unexpectedly when I was 26. He did not see my husband but my mother (and everybody else) really loved and respected him. His parents divorced when he was a teenager. He claims now he knows for sure that his mother had cheated with her OM (who is now the second husband) while they were still married. From her stories I thought she met her second husband after she divorced the first one, and even had a relationship with another married man in between. But she very recently alluded to something in a conversation which proved that she knew this one while she was married. In any case, husband was traumatized as a teen (he claims he saw her coming home early mornings from visiting the OM in the summer cottage) and holds a mommy-grudge that extends over to all women. And I also don’t own the fact that he cheated, it was his decision, no matter what family background we come from. I know people with horrible family stories and they make a conscious decision to be better and they are.

          What I had discovered first also seemed an emotional affair. It was texts with a woman in another country. The most painful of them was when she called him on skype at around 1am when him and I were having a glass of wine after our guests left. I need to provide a little more context here – we had been living in two separate countries for 5 years by then and you can read the full story in the General forum I posted (Why do I feel guilty), we see each other twice a year (!) only for a few weeks as more is rendered as “impractical” and we had just met then when my son and I flew over to his place for 3 weeks of vacation together. He had just told me, casually, that one of his ex-es came over to his city a few weeks ago with a man, and that he had generously offered that they stay in our place (his family home) and she slept on our bed, the other guy slept in a guest bedroom, while my husband was working at night online and then slept in another room. I did not like it. So we started quarreling about that and he blamed me for being egoistic, he was so friendly and kind offering them a place to stay over and everything with her was over way before he met with me, and she is 10 years older than him, and has two grown kids, and he is not interested in her anymore but just was being friendly. I told him I did not like that she slept on our bed. Anyway, in the middle of that conversation a skype call came in – 1:00 am. He shut his computer down, and made a comment that if I knew who was calling I would now make a big fight and he was not in for it and he went to bed. A month later, fed up with his constant texting and being on the phone, I managed to figure our his code and get into it. Here is what I found related to skype:
          Husband: I can’t talk now.
          AP: Is family around?
          Husband: Unfortunately, yes.

          Regrets, I read much more than this. Other things that were shared between them that were extremely painful. But his one, it was a stab in the back. I had been begging him all this time to spend more time together which meant he had to fly over to Canada where I am more frequently, and we can both afford it. But he had always created justifications, which seemed quite legitimate, and I, as a supportive and level-headed wife, would even repeat those justifications to our son every time he asked why daddy can’t live with us. Stupid me.

          Unfortunately, yes – was a stab with a sharp razor. What kind of a person would say that when he only sees his family members twice a year, for a total of 8 weeks in a year, for the past 5 years? This is when it started kicking in and I started analyzing things that happened before. I wish I had found CL back then, it would have been an easier process and I could probably avoid the fake reconciliation attempt when I picked me danced big time.

          So when I confronted him, he made it into an emotional affair. They never saw each other after they graduated, which was about 3 years before meeting with me, they just talk as friends, and what’s the big deal with unfortunately yes, it’s just words! And he continued gaslighting and lying, lying, lying. All of that was by emails and skypes because I was back to Canada back then. I was being torn apart. One part of me was resentful of the fact that he had humiliated and degraded me so many times and I was always taking it upon me and was always the one saying “sorry” after each fight that was somehow started by his contemptuous remarks or criticizing. But most of them time, unlike you regrets, I kept things inside. I am a Libra, and I hate confrontation and screaming, so I would just keep it in, and be silently cooking inside myself. He called this as “passive-aggressive” and he said that he had always hated it. He was the one who yells, and I just could not handle his overpowering personality. So I withdrew. But then a few days later we would talk it out and I would be the one saying sorry. Most of the time.

          I have dear friends from old days who are now scattered around different geographic locations and with three of them I had always maintained very close contact. One of them just recently forwarded me an email that I had written to her after one of our fights. It was in 2007. It was an eye opener. I read what I had written then and I realized that NOTHING changed in 9 years. Nothing. And it’s even irrespective of the affair. He was always emotionally abusive towards me and never wired on the family.

          I think what kept us together for 12 years was these 6 years apart. I was really missing and yearning for him and the short time we would spend together was real quality. He tried to be his best self, was even getting himself involved in the household chores (never did before when we lived together), doing stuff with our son (I can’t remember him holding his hand once and/or going somewhere together from 0-3 years old) and I convinced myself that he has turned around, he is older now and realizes the family, its importance, etc. But no. All of that was just for a short period to please me and then he is off again for another 5 months of freedom. Every time he left I cried. Every time he left, he was elated and looking forward to being alone. UGHHHHHHHHH.

          It’s not that I can’t live without a man. I always did and do everything around the house. EVERYTHING. When I moved to his country where I did not speak the language, I was the one getting a plumber, an electrician, internet man to come over and do the job needed. With my broken Arabic and hand jestures I was able to explain what I wanted and had everything organized. I thought he was working long hours, while my job was until 3pm so it was only fair to relieve him from everything! And I did. But he was not satisfied. He wanted me to become a professional woman in his country (language barrier) and although I had a professional job it was always a miki mouse as he referred to. I hated when he compared me with other women that did this or that in their careers.

          I now have a good job (and with my recent promotion he even admitted that himself!), it gives me opportunities to travel and meet with new people, I am an excellent cook by many people’s accounts and his as well, I am a neat person, good looking (I think), friendly, people like to be around me. I moved to different countries but always found really good friends and I think this is partially because of who I am. His friends from early days are more of my friends now. They also see the transformation and don’t like it. I speak a few languages, I can do different household related stuff which was typically considered “man”‘s job, I grow plants in my balcony, I do many different things, I pursued professional careers in different countries every time I moved for him, I have two master’s degrees – yet I became a shadow of myself as you had said, Regrets. I turned into a very insecure person, constantly doubting my feelings and gut, convinced by him that I am a mean, egoistic and jealous person that does not want to let him “innocently flirt” with women.

          I am finally coming to senses. I am so thankful to you and everybody who shares their story and insights here. The reconciliation with a cheater is a unicorn. Once the trust is broken, it’s broken. I wanted to hear your insight on the trust because I was also genuinely trying to reconcile and was reading tons of literature on how to revive trust. And I felt a failure because I just could not let go, and forget the past, and concentrate on the future, and forgive. Aside from the two months when he tried to behave this past summer, there is no change. He is back to his manners, his entitlement, his “I can” attitude.

          When I asked him what would his reaction be if he had found I was the cheating one, he said, “well, let’s not compare ourselves, we are different people and have different reactions.” Well said. He is a Leo, a king of the jungle, and he is entitled by birth. He has very regal manners and attitude and people around him somehow start acting accordingly around him. He is the king. But I am not part of his jungle anymore.

          Hugs, Regrets. I hope you will take the right decision. I don’t even know what it is for you. I know for me I have to divorce but it’s not as straightforward for now (the details are in my forum post). I wish often that he would die and it would just help my life so easier. Yet, I still feel I love him. Stockholm syndrome? Attachment? Fear hobgoblins that I will stay alone, as CL refers to? I don’t know. But I am happy I found all of you guys.

          • Call him a Leo but I see NPD – Cluster B. Oh, here’s an irony for you. I only have one Master’s degree but it’s in psychology.

            Also, loving him despite all the crap does not make you neurotic. It makes you a human being capable of loving others.

            You and your husband haven’t really been married for a long time. Free yourself and get a divorce. Honor yourself by getting out of an abusive relationship. You are an amazing woman with great accomplishments. You will be mighty. That said, even if you were morbidly obese, high school drop out, and an alcoholic – you don’t deserve that crap. You don’t have to earn your husband’s fidelity or support. It’s a given when you marry.

            I love the idea that we can forgive and trust again but let’s be honest. We can give forgiveness but we can’t erase the consequences. When a drunk driver kills someone we love we might someday forgive him. But the loss is real. Forgiveness won’t bring a loved one back. Forgiveness does not restore trust. It’s gone. At least in the arena that he betrayed. I trust my husband to take out the garbage every Tuesday morning. I don’t trust my husband to love me, the authentic me, ever again.

            Hang in there.

            • Regrets, thank you! You have no idea how helpful your insight is. I will get out, just need to figure out how. I have been reading tons on NPD since January and he is a classical case. No doubt. He even admits that himself. I just re-read one of his last emails that sent my blood into boiling again to make sure that he is what he is. I kept reacting and supplying him with his much needed food. I am reading on gray rock form or communication because I have 3 weeks coming up with him in December. Wish me patience.

  • ChumpLady, Thank you for your information! Advice from fellow posters or etc. Why do men always blame their wives or other women for their SHITTY choices? My family members husband is trying to pin his TWO sexual flings on my family member and the TWO other women. He played this one against that one and this one and that one. Tagging 3 women along! Making everyone look the fool. His latest excuse was 1.) owing his own business (too much stress, bills, high overhead, dealing with employees, dealing with clients) caused him to lose it and he needed relief and relaxation in the arms of another woman…only 1 or 2x a month was his excuse. 2.) The constant pressures of dealing with his marriage and the kids. That is what always something. No offense don’t we all have issues with marriage and kids and bills and headaches? You don’t see everyone cheating!!!!!! 3.) My family member is a lot older than him and he desired to be with younger women that were naïve and stupid because then he could control them easier. Why can’t these men ever just grow a huge set of balls and admit they are just overly sexual, can’t handle life, and never should have gotten married if they want to act single? Why? They can act like they have balls lying and cheating and playing the role? Having a good old time playing mind screw with everyone! Then once it is said and done…NO BALLS, blame everyone else!!!! This or that, work, the kids, the house, the marriage, the other women, but NEVER EVER blame themselves for being SELFISH or MALGINANT! He was never planning on leaving my family member, he got to have cake and eat it too, and probably always will. I just don’t get her? I don’t get why he didn’t stay single? So annoyed!!!!!!!! At this point I’m thinking of detaching from them all, because it’s way too toxic to handle. Any advice?

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