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I Don’t Need Your Permission

bitterbunnyChump Lady is going to get ranty today. Heads up. Incoming!

Recently an infidelity therapist of the unicorn persuasion tweeted an article at me from the Huffington Post to which she’d contributed, on the issue of “once a cheater, always a cheater.” 

Here’s a sampling, this one from Tammy Nelson (not the person who sent it to me, btw):

“People who say a cheater can’t change have never felt the awful guilt that comes when you realize you’ve made a terrible mistake by having a one-night stand or an affair,” she said. “They’ve never gone to bed at night staring at the ceiling, wishing there was anything you could do to take back the hurt you’ve inflicted on your partner. If they had, they would perhaps not be so self-righteous in their judgment.”

Likewise, Tammy, people who say cheaters can change have never suffered their fourth D-Day and found a scary Pap smear to the contrary.

Oh, and people with actual remorse don’t characterize those they’ve harmed as self-righteous. Perhaps you need to stare at that ceiling a bit longer, Tammy.

Let’s substitute some other wrongdoing and see how dumb this sounds.

People who say slave owners can’t change have never felt the awful guilt that comes when you realize you’ve made the terrible mistake of enslaving Africans. Whether it was one slave or several thousand… They’ve never gone to bed at night staring at the ceiling, wishing there was anything they could do to take back the hurt of lashing Jonah for not making his cotton yield quotas. If they had had one of those long, horrible nights of regretful ceiling-staring, perhaps they would not be so self-righteous in their judgment.

Why, when someone does a shitty thing, is the emphasis on the hope they may change over recompenses for the actual damage they did? You stared at a ceiling? Well, bully for you, Sad Sausage!

“Can cheaters change?” is asking the wrong question. It’s not about whether or not people can change (they can) – it’s about at what personal cost will you take that risk in another’s potential? You’ve been harmed. You bought a lousy Ford Pinto and the gas tank exploded. Can Ford rework the Pinto? I suppose. That doesn’t mean you want to get back into the charred shell of a car and drive. We have lemon laws for a reason.

Putting aside the whole issue of personality disorders and those folks not being wired for empathy (Cluster Bs), why would your average cheater want to give up entitlement? Power and cake feel so awesome. Humility not so much. My arguments on the odds of character transplants can be read here.

Anyway, “can cheaters change” is not even the little nugget of stupid that got me upset. After sending me unicorn links for my edification, it was these follow up tweets:

I worry about so-called experts, too, like ppl who are cheated on and then offer advice

The greater danger: professional offering advice based on falsehood. Or on anecdotal

OH MY GOD. Somebody got CHEATED ON and OFFERED ADVICE? Jesus Christ! Like, they actually based their advice on something they EXPERIENCED? And didn’t go to a sexologist Orlando, Florida strip mall diploma mill (coughTammyNelson…cough) and get a degree in bullshit? Or have some preconceived idea about religion, or polyamory, or divorce busting, or WTFer, but instead gave trial-tested advice based in REALITY?

Hey, I’m just an African history, M.A. and my fuzzy liberal arts brain doesn’t do science, but as I recall science is based upon observable data. And patterns. And drawing logical conclusions. You get several million people on a blog recounting stories that bear startling similarities to one another, I think you can draw a few conclusions. What’s your data set, asshole?

Anyway, you don’t have to like the advice I give. I don’t pretend to be anything other than a chump. My credentials are prominently on display. Fact is, I don’t need your permission to tell my story.

Sorry Gatekeepers of the Infidelity Narrative, they have these modern tools now and anyone can broadcast anything they want. Blog, podcast, twitter…

Of course you can broadcast all you want. If it resonates, is another matter. Blog is about to flip 12 million this week. I think it resonates.

Chumps, here’s your Friday challenge — SPEAK UP. You don’t need ANYONE’s permission to tell your story. Got advice? Got a story? Tell me how you’re getting it out there in the world and across the inter webs. TGIF.


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  • This, this, so much this. As someone else commented on a previous CL post:

    “The absolute one thing abusers love is your silence.”

    Sure, people *can* change. But do they? How often? Want to bet your life on it? How about your kids’ lives. No thanks, unicorn peddlers.

    • I guess my take on this article is different . He already cheated. He is already gone. Who cares who I tell (and I tell EVERYONE, which he hates). He lost the privelege of a “nice guy” reputation when he began doing drugs and having affairs. Sorry sweetheart, actions have consequences, as we have taught our children.

      My issue with this author’s point of view is: Who Cares if Once A Cheater Always a Cheater is true or not? The fact is, they cheated (as many times as you know of). He could join the priesthood for all I care (not that a vow of chastity coming from him would mean anything). I simply cannot get past the fact that he did it – twice that I know of. He now totally disgusts me although, for some reason, I still love him. But not this version of him.

      Bottom line – I do believe people are capable of true change, albeit rarely. I am not willing to wait around biting my nails, dealing with palpitations, and the effect his actions have had on my children, to find out.

      • Sara_esq, I’m glad you told everyone. I didn’t tell his people, and I should have. Anyway, I’m glad you posted because I don’t feel like such a freak now, still loving my ex, or maybe the dream of my ex, not sure. And at the same time not wanting to touch him with a 10′ pole. Maybe a 2 x 4?

        • I think of it as loving a fictional character, like ‘loving’ Darcy from “Pride and Prejudice,” or ‘loving’ Atticus Finch from “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

        • Fifi – I think it is fundamentally within us Chumps to continue trying to see the good in others. Especially those we loved most, even if he or she no longer exists. We keep hoping to our detriment. I do not want to lose that quality, and I will not allow Hugh (Hefner – now on CPAP, viagara and dealing with multiple women) take that from me. Nor should you. Hugs.

          • I read an article about this – how me MUST NOT project our compassion on to a narcissist because it keeps us hooked and affects them not one little bit.

            Still struggling with this one.

      • I’m in 100% agreement, @sara_esq. Sure, some people can change. But consequences are a thing. And regardless of what flimsily may or may not “change” in the future, we chumps have to do what’s best for our families and our sanities right now. And keep doing what’s best.

    • My STBX is mad that I told our daughter the truth. He texted me that everything was fine but I couldn’t keep by big mouth shut. I told him he should have kept his zipper shut. He says he’s sorry to our daughter but his actions show no remorse. No humility. In fact, he texted our daughter that her attitude is the problem (she doesn’t want to see him or his girlfriend now). It’s never their fault. It’s always someone else’s. He texted me that since he saw his mom have an affair years ago – it sucked but he got over it. So his daughter will just have to get over it. I didn’t tell her he said that.

      She didn’t want to see him this weekend. I didn’t take her. He got so mad. But I have to protect my daughter. I couldn’t make her go. She told me, “My dad’s an asshole.”

      Their mentality is so twisted. I feel sick most of the time thinking about this.

  • My SBTX told me I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone what he did. Apparently the pain and misery he caused me wasn’t enough, I was supposed to suffer in silence too, so he kept looked like a nice guy.

    I did tell (EVERYONE, even strangers) – and most people do not believe me. Certainly not anyone in his family – and even strangers find the story to be very far fetched, they can’t believe anyone would do such things. Neither can I, yet he did. It happened.

    • @ChumpyKindofLove… No one believes my story either. Seriously…. this upstanding family man beat his wife in front of his young children and his parents joined in too?

      I read the emails were STBXH calls me a fu@king c*nt to his mistress while smiling in my face. How he tells his mistress how wonderful she is and how they need to be together. I couldn’t believe it either. I had NO idea how much contempt he had towards me.

      When I was married to him (together 16 years) he never had any money and I loved him anyway. Now, he’s a big spender! But on her and her kids, not his own.

      I long to tell my story, to be heard and understood. But it makes people uncomfortable and at the end of the day, nothing will change. I’ve noticed that people seem to think that I MUST be somehow at fault. Then I get these gems:

      *The divorce is for the best.
      *Just. Get. Over. It!
      * Let it Go.
      *Don’t be bitter
      *This too shall pass

      I also need to “own my part” in the divorce where he dumped his family for the OW and her family.

      And on and on.

      So I keep my mouth shut. I talk to my therapist, few and very select friends and Chump Nation because I know that you get it.

      And that’s my (untold)Story.

      • Cynamon.

        Since recently becoming a chump I lost quite a few friends who I didn’t realise were idiots. I have found new friends who understood and got what I was going through.
        Being chumped certainly gives you a whole new set of lenses to look at your life and who is in it. Now I use my experience as a litmus test of who I want and don’t want in my life. And because life is short I don’t spend time thinking much about it. If a friend tells me any of the above things in your list- gone.
        If friends ‘get it’ – in.
        The people who are uncomfortable hearing your story are not worthy of you or your time. Life DOES change for the better if you fix your friend picker.
        Think about what you need. Who you like. Be around people who fill you with joy and happiness and courage and laughter (and it can be hard I am mostly my own best friend right now but I’m an idiot really so make myself laugh at least!).
        And here people really do get it.

        • I agree being chumped does give you a new set of lenses of which to see people.
          No longer do I allow people who make me feel uncomfortable or question their morals in my life. At one time I would have overlooked or made excuses for people.
          Today and from now on my tolerance level for BS is zero.

        • Capricorn,
          Thanks for all your posts on this thread. Fixing my people-picker is what I’m working on now so I can finally have a sane and peaceful life, something not possible when I’m wrapped up trying to manage other people’s abuse, drama and craziness.

          I’m avoiding people for now so I can regroup and figure out what “normal” is – tall order for me because both my parents were so very disordered and abusive. I want the few remaining years of my life to much better than my painful past. I’m hopeful I can do this.

      • Cynamon, I’m horrified that such sub-humans walk the earth. He had love and threw it away without any conscience at all. I’m so glad you found Chump Nation and that you have a few people to rely on. You don’t need a whole gang, just a couple of good ones will do nicely. Hang in there.

      • He’s spending money right now on OW and her kids to reel her in. OW must have something he wants, maybe she’s very well off? Who knows but she has something he wants or thinks he needs at the moment. Fifi is right, he is subhuman, I call them defects, but they are all garbage. His parents sound lovely, good riddance. So OW now has a defect on her hands (plus his parents as a bonus) and you have rid yourself of one. Good. I know it is hard, very hard but you’ll get through this nightmare.

      • Precious Cynamon and fellow Chumps sharing in this conversation—–.
        Here is another awesome, life-saving, affirming post at Self-Care Haven.

        (I tried to get this to “link” but no-can-do this time…..You will need to ‘copy & paste’)

        Some of my fellow chumps likely are already subscribed to this blog, as it was here at ChumpNation that I learned about Ms.Arabi. For those of you not yet familiar with her blog and books……PLEASE subscribe and buy her books! Describes to a “T” what we have endured at the hands of the cheater. Helps so much in the healing, getting past, getting over, getting on with our cheater-free lives!

        Love that all of you continue to ForgeOn!!!!

          • Thanks for that article link, ForgeOn! THIS sentence is what freed something inside me, “It is not the victim’s fault for ‘choosing’ the abuser either, because victims rarely consciously choose an abuser. They choose someone who appears rather kind, caring and compassionate at the onset.”

            I know I never wanted to end up with abusive people – it’s really more that they selected me after noting my gentle and accommodating nature. No, I want reciprocation. I want to be loved and respected back.

            It took me decades to figure out how to analyze my pattern – a parade of user types and abusive friends partners and employers. Next, I need to learn how to respond to such disordered behavior. I have to remind myself people don’t think or behave like me. I don’t relish in lying, dishonesty, cheating or putting another person down. I don’t understand this mentality. So, now, in order to protect myself, I have to assume the worst of people first before I let myself trust them.. only because I have not served myself well by being so trusting too soon.

        • Forge on, thank you for that post…I read it and it was way too familiar. I think I would have been traumatically bonded to H1.0 in any circumstances, but the pressure to “not give up” in families where there were virtually no divorces in our nuclear families and my Church teaches the absoluteness of marriage…and I was so desperate to keep my kids from all of the potential damage of divorce…together it all made me feel powerless to leave. Also. I know that I would have been subject to his narc manipulation if I had tried to leave and I would have been hopeful.

        • ForgeOn, I am late acknowledging this remarkable article and you! I do hope you receive this.

          Such an accurate and precise explanation of trauma bonding. I’ve likely read the same thing before, but something about the cleanness of her writing just drove home the fundamental fact that this ‘love’ (or in my case ‘adoration’) is the result of this process. I was entirely happy and independent before this man arrived in my life. And I am totally in love with the phrase “discard the narcissist’! My mission defined.

          Thank you immensely. I have to confess that last week as I struggled with another rogue wave of grief, I was chanting quietly to myself during the night, “Forge on!” It was the only comfort I could find! Your moniker was helping while you were sleeping!!!!! Blessings, V

    • ChumpyKindofLove: I wouldn’t usually take it upon myself to speak for all of Chump Nation (all 12 Million of us) but in this case I’m certain I speak for all of us when I say: We believe you! Tell your story here. As many times as you want or need to. I will listen. We will listen. And we will believe every word ❤

      • I ditto what KJ said to ChumpyKindofLove.

        My family and co-workers believed me. They *know* me well enough to know that I never spoke bad about my spouse for 20 years. They saw it all played out. People who don’t believe your story, you don’t need in your life (if they are close friends.) We here at CN will believe you, validate you and cheer you on to Gaining a Life, cheater-free!

        • That’s a good point Martha. I never talked badly of the traitor until a year after I found out the extend and depth of his betrayals and exploitation. So although people find my story hard to believe, because it is so abnormal, most don’t doubt me. But people do get tired of whingers, so I have learned to talk about more pleasant subjects. After all, talking isn’t going change the shit storm with the traitor and the whore anyway. Being forced to focus on more pleasant subjects isn’t such a bad thing. I spend too long chewing this bitter cud on my own!
          Chumps, the very big club at CN believes you and here you can have a rant too, we get it!!

    • My own sister does not believe the truth. And we have always been like Rosanne and Jackie. It is my last unfinished business … to figure out how I wish to proceed with that relationship. “Jackie” is also a cheater.

        • Sorry, I should add that I meant the Rosanne and Jackie relationship. She does believe my story and lives one of her own.

      • Dixie, I too have a sister who doesn’t believe such a nice guy as my STBX could do the things I say.

        I had to divorce her as she was so unhealthy righteous and controlling.

        I don’t need her to believe me; I know what my seriel cheating, secret affair spending account hiding, not so nice STBX did.

        No more unhealthy people in my life. The past 35 years I had my fill of them. I choose my own health, happiness and well being now.

        I wish you insight and truth in making your sister relationship decision.

        • FreeNow, thank you for your comment. It makes me feel less alone. I mean what sister doesn’t believe her other sister?! My thinking at the moment is that she and I have always been incredibly close and have shared everything over all these years, some good and some bad. I love her unconditionally and could never turn my back on her nor want her out of my life. But I definitely have moved a step back from her and view her opinions and advice in a very different light. Truthfully, although she is 5 years older than me, I have *always* been the Rosanne in this duo. But I won’t deny that it hurts.

        • You’re so strong and your moniker is fitting, FreeNow. There are a few toxic family members I no longer have regular contact with, including my sister. Holidays and birthdays were such drama-filled affairs and would trigger my self-destructive coping. I now decline invitations to whole family affairs and just see the ones I want, separately, which is a way more fun and relaxed option.

    • LOL!
      CKOL, men said this was between us, then tried to get me to sign a confidentiality agreement.
      I laughed at that too!
      I told him that our marriage was between us and he’s the one who messed that up so I didn’t feel compelled to. Keep anything just between us any longer.

    • ^THIS.

      My SBTX also told me not to tell anyone what he did because he was “ashamed of his actions.” He was so ashamed that he kept a profile on the tinder like site for a few more years and cheated at least once more that I know of. After I finally filed for divorce, I told people what he did. That just got me emails filled with the wrath of kahn from him and his mom. (Now we know where he got it from?) Apparently, I was being vindictive for daring to tell people and for taking half our money out of the joint account. It never occurred to them that maybe I needed someone to talk to after several years of suffering in silence or that I wisely needed to protect myself financially. The best part is that my ex mil got all upset and had to bitch at us, because she didn’t like the way the wedding planning was going. After a few months, she couldn’t hold her feelings about those minor things in anymore. But, hey, I’m vindictive, for finally spilling the pain I held in for several years.

  • “I don’t need your permission to tell my story.”

    Exactly, Tracy! Beautifully written……
    I myself found it necessary to say similar earlier this week: “It is my story and I am free to tell it.”

    What a great way to end the week! Am looking forward to the conversation this post will generate!
    Love ya as we all ForgeOn!!!!

  • Calling our reality anecdotal is insulting, but we have been through far worse with our cheating disordered freaks. Sticks and stones. I don’t think anyone is going to stop based on this drivel……??

  • The silver lining here is that our message is breaking through…hence, the RIC annoyance. Ha!

  • I bet the number of people harmed by awful, uninformed “expert” advice (often backed by an agenda) is similar to that by infidelity…

    • Indeed! I suffered for years because I went to a therapist and psychiatrist that were both inept. I had to lose just about everything before I realized it. My psych’s reaction to my anger was similar to Obama’s view on torture: we have to look forward not back, we can’t change the past. I’m ashamed that it took me another year+ to decide that that wasn’t an acceptable answer. A bad therapist is worse than none. I thought I wasn’t getting better because I was too broken; turns out it was because she was fucking incompetent.

  • I’ll speak up, it’s been 18 months and everything said on this blog about self centred assholes (layman term) turned out to be true, no matter how far-fetched it would seem to me at the beginning:

    Asshole would stop taking kids to activities
    Asshole would try to get as much money as possible
    Asshole would throw me chicken bones of affection to keep me hanging on whilst knocking up whore
    Asshole would even attempt to stop paying child maintenance.
    Asshole denied everything when not confronted with hard proof.
    Asshole made up massive lying stories to anything me who would listen.
    Etc. I’ve got so used to crap behaviour now that I forget the list of outrages

    Oh yeah and I HAVE got a science major where I learnt how to sift out bullshit studies and manipulated statistics.

    • Yes, what does the RIC have to say when your cheater keeps cheating and then dies all of the above post? Nothing. They can’t help you then. MiddlelifeBlast, I would have told you my remorseful husband would never do such things. Well, he is a phony and a fake. Cheaters suck!

    • Gosh I love your post today, MidlifeBlast. “Self-centered assholes,” laymen’s terms. I myself adore laymen’s terms!

      I also was a science major. Learned to question things and think outside the box. How dare we question their “expertise”. Tracy has it right, –Florida strip mall diploma mill experts.

      I usually don’t click on the links to these articles as they are just so much same old, same old sludge. However, today’s was actually a hoot. And I quote, “unfaithful partners who blame the other partner for their cheating are unlikely to change.” No kidding Sherlock! And that is the whole lot of them. It’s always someone else’s fault.

      • And I’ll bet a week’s salary that Tracy has read more of the research on infidelity than most of the therapists counseling wreckonciliation.

      • What do you think the chances are for my boss? I have overheard him on the phone telling whoever he was talking to that his ex (chumped) wife’s problem in getting over his long-term infidelity is not understanding her role in his cheating. Geez.

        • What? Did she write his Ashley Madison profile? Help him manscape for dates? Make sure his secretary left room in his schedule for trysts? Those are the only legitimate ways I can think of that a chump may have “played a role in the cheating.”

          Cheaters who blameshift by claiming their spouse was imperfect should be tasered. *

          *credit to Annie Get Your Gun for the taser idea

          • Haha. Good idea. When I hear him say shit like that about her, it makes me want to find my baseball bat. What he did DESTROYED that woman, both personally and professionally.

          • Annie is a very nice person for suggesting tasering instead of shooting. Either that or she just doesn’t want prison time.

    • Sitting in the exact situation where soon to be XH is making me seem insane in front of our parents cos I don’t have proof.

      That to me just says no responsibility taken therefore manwhore will never change. Thought I was alone. Thought he had grown after the first two times…. Third time I’ve put on my walking shoes.

  • Mine wasnt sorry for all the lying, deceit, abuse and neglect he imposed on me: he was sorry he got caught. Up until that point he had no problem with that heavy burden of guilt (cough cough). Don’t you love how that works. Here’s what he was really sorry about: getting kicked out of our beautiful home and moving into a 2 bedroom apartment where his beloved truck went from sitting in a garage to being parked outside (he always loved his “things” more than me). His actually having to work vs being supported by me (less time for porn and video games). His mistress now pressuring him for more time because he was finally “free”, no more comfy excuse of why he can’t be with her because his awful wife was in the way.

    He also didn’t want me to tell anyone of his deeds and flies into a rage if he thinks I “told” on him. They don’t like their mask coming off. When his final last deceit was exposed to me during our wreckconciliation he literally has disappeared (for now at least) he thought he had finally conned me into believing he had changed (he proposed we fly off to Vegas to remarry and the same night I caught him inviting a stranger he met on sex hook up site to come to his apartment for some “fun and to rub all over that body”) and since he couldn’t explain his duplicity this time he pooped into thin air.

    I will shout my story from the roof tops if I feel like it and the lady that wrote this article can jump off that same roof.

  • Go get ’em Chump Lady! Thanks to your site, I sucked up my humiliation and told the fucking world what he did to our family. There was no way in hell he was going to protect his bogus image from anyone anymore. After revealing my circumstances, I heard similar stories from friends and their acquaintances. |I direct all of them to your blog. Our voices need to be heard. I can’t thank you and Chump nation enough for giving me the strength and vision to escape the crazy.

    • Thanks to my ex I was ashamed and weighed down with guilt about him having an affair and leaving me after 31 years of marriage. If it weren’t for Tracey’s blog, I would still be drowning in that shame. He had thoroughly convinced me that his poor choices were my fault. Thank God for Tracey’s voice crying out in the wilderness that cheating is a choice, and it’s abuse. I could have been destroyed, but hearing about so many other chumps fighting their way back to a good life after being discarded is what gives us all hope.

      I do believe some couples can reconcile and move past the infidelity experience, because my own parents did. It is rare that the marriage thrives afterwards, though. However, I was not given the choice to reconcile. My ex wasn’t interested in do any ceiling staring or soul searching in order to save our marriage. He just wanted out.

      • Shame is strengthen by silence.

        My friend and I were just pondering whether it is worse to be discarded, or worse to do the pick me dance for years. They both suck.

          • I have to agree. I was told at the beginning please don’t hate me and all that then the drama of the whoremat being “pregnant” then “miscarrying” then it was but ILYBINILWY then it was yes let’s work it out. But I’m still talking to her. But now I’m not. But now I am. But now I’m not. Dance harder! Dance! Dance! Dance! But I’m not going to work on my shit. Dance more! I’m too broken. But I love you. But I’m broken! Dance! I’m leaving! Dance! I’m leaving. ☹️ I’m exhausted. And have danced but stopped 1,000 times and he’s still fucked up and knows it but doesn’t want to change. And he still picked her and I am absolutely HEARTBROKEN and DEVASTATED. And I shouldn’t be. But he was my person. And I loved him so much. And even if he’s half unicorn because he knows better and wants to be fixed he’s half jackass because he can’t make the hard choice to do it!

      • Lyn, I felt the same way, I was ashamed that I was getting a divorce after 27 years of marriage and 32 years together. I thought I was damaged goods. This site has saved me many times from thinking it was my fault he cheated on me and left to be with his truwuv! We are so much better off without that shit in our lives!

      • Lyn, we so easily accept the blame, don’t we? And they so easily pile it on us. Like you, I wasn’t given the choice to reconcile. I’m still working on believing that we chumps who were left without a backward glance are the lucky ones.

        • I am a chump who is divorced and my cheating ex-husband still tells me that he loves me and wants me back. He says he will love me until the day he dies.

          Most of the time, I would rather be left alone. I see cheating as a way out of a relationship, so none of this makes any sense to me.

          • Of course it doesn’t make sense, Stacey. If he really loved you, he wouldn’t have cheated. That’s not love. What happened to his mistress? Did they break up and now he wants to come back? He didn’t want to reconcile before the divorce so that tells you all the truth you need to know.

            I recommend No Contact so he can’t confuse you with his BS. Do a search on Chumplady’s blogs for “hoovering” .. which is what your ex is doing. Be strong and stay away from him. Make your own life, your own friends, indulge in your interests, find new hobbies.

    • Yes, I told everyone,too. No more keeping his dirty little secret. I believe it helped me face the reality of his actions and begin to heal. I also found an amazing number of supportive people!

      My aunt reconciled with her cheating husband more than 25 years ago, Lyn, and she still wrestles with the pain today. No, marriages are never the same.

      • Telling everyone also serves the purpose of burning your bridges and forcing you to move on. After you’ve told everyone and seen the horror on their faces, how can you go back or take them back? You have to forge on. So it is very useful to move forward.

        • kiwichump, this is such an interesting perspective: Telling everyone also serves the purpose of burning your bridges and forcing you to move on.

          Unfortunately, I have a friend who can’t yet use this as motivation to leave. It worked for me simply because when I started telling the truth about my horrid marriage, I already felt there was nothing to salvage. Having my friends know the details was part of the process leaving, to give myself strength to go through with the divorce.

  • No time to post citations, but the VAST majority of research coming in on infidelity, starting with Buss & Shackelford (1997) shows cheating is linked to 3 things: (a) entitlement; (b) lack of empathy, and (c) poor impulse control.

    How ’bout I throw out there that therapists pushing reconciliation and that the chump should consider “what faults they brought to the marriage to cause the cheating,’ should pull their collective heads out of their own and each other’s asses and READ THE FUCKING LITERATURE.

    • Therapists in the RIC make a lot of money luring Chumps and Cheaters into endless sessions of “discuss the Chumps failings in hopes of saving this marriage” and it serves the Therapists and Cheaters well.

      There is little/no evidence behind their assumptions and practices and the old ideas need to be retired along with other harmful ‘old wives tales’. Cheating is a classic acting out behavior of the disordered and that should be the starting point to be proven wrong.

    • Tempest!

      Shame on you! You are treating them like they are proper scientists, who would know good research if they saw it, who had you know ‘ethics’ and shit like that. They maybe can’t read too well, or do that logic stuff, or string more than one thought alongside another thought.
      Can’t fight these idiots with REASON. Gosh no.
      They are like the cheaters we all know.
      They just don’t get it. We need to treat them like the shit sandwich- just put it down carefully and walk away while the flies enjoy it…..

      • I’d bet they’re not JUST like the cheaters we all know. A lot of them probably ARE the cheaters we all know. If you believe people become entitled when they aren’t super mega blissful, why wouldn’t you apply the same logic to yourself and your own relationships?

    • Thank you for citing these studies, and Tempest (I find your posts fascinating), for listing those three fundamental things; my XH exhibited them all, plus a gazillion others. From the moment we entered “therapy” the week I found out about the primary affair (not knowing at the time there were others), I now see in hindsight we never even got to discussing the actual affair. And of course he was not even close to being “honest” in “therapy”. By the time the XH “quit” after, oh, maybe 5 sessions, all they had consisted of were me sobbing uncontrollably on the couch and clearly not having a grip on any type of reality or rational thought, while we discussed how our relationship had “changed” and what had I done to contribute to our “troubles”. All we talked about (and I was a self-admitted Amazon chump and voracious reader of sites that stated “your marriage can be even better after an affair!!”) were what “cracks” were in the marriage (god the term “cracks” is used all over). I TOTALLY felt that the entire affair was MY fault. Ok, after ten years, our relationship had changed, and yep, there were cracks because I now realize only one of us was actually invested in the marriage, which is an ADULT relationship, not a high school fuckfest. But last I had checked…we had both still been in the same “crack infested” marriage, and I somehow managed to keep my legs closed to other people. And I have told my story to every person who will listen; my entire family, his family, mutual friends, my friends, everyone at work, my veterinarian, the guys who put up the fence in my yard this summer, the plumber who came to my house, my new neighbors, people I meet walking my dog. EVERYONE. I owe absolutely nothing to that cheating motherfucker and his bitch-whore of a girlfriend. I have said it before and I’ll say it again…if I had found all of you first, instead of finding reconciliation bullshit first, I would have been better off a lot sooner.

      • I heard the same thing from my cheater, “it just happened,” and I should “own my role in the demise of the marriage.”

        But loyalty and truth are fundamental to a relationship, so no other faults even come close to equaling infidelity.

        And if Hannibal thought one’s genitals falling on top of another’s genitals is like thunder just ‘happening,’ and that if I caused the demise of the marriage equally by having my privates fall on top of other penises, well, damn, I sure wish I remembered that!

      • Ha ha Ii, I too told a lady walking her dog and now when she passes my ex’s place she lets that dog “go” in ex’s front yard.

    • Hahaha, Tempest! I fantasize about a full-page ad in newspapers across the nation, directed at RIC therapists: READ THE FUCKING LITERATURE, PSEUDO-SCI DUMPSTER DIVERS! Love, Chump Nation.

    • (a) entitlement; (b) lack of empathy, and (c) poor impulse control.
      3 traits the traitor exhibited outside of cheating too.

      Chumpy me noticed them and didn’t join the dots, I just wanted to fix him, thought the poor impulse control was the main issue and could be improved.

  • This site saved me. I was so clueless I didn’t know what to do at DD4. He kept telling me he was sorry and would change. I knew I had to get out! I felt like I was losing my mind. Then, I got the book. I knew I had been mindfucked but was too scared to go through with the lawyer until I read Leave a Cheater Gain a Life and knew I was on the right track, it was probably worse than I thought, and there are a whole lot of unsuspecting spouses enduring the same torture. Thanks ChumpLady.

    • It saved me too, Never. You know what else saved me? Writing every single detail down in an anonymous blog. Chump Lady and my blog literally saved my sanity and gave me confidence and healing when nothing else could.

      I don’t have any advertisers, I don’t make any money from it. It costs me a LOT of time and a small annual renewal fee, but it’s worth every bit of money and lost sleep.

      I can say whatever I need to say to the ether. People have told me it’s helped them. Do you know how empowering that feels when your power and your voice have been stolen?! It is so freeing in a world that expects you to sit down, shut up, and eat the shit sandwich.

      I titled it Honey and the HomeWrecker. No names, no faces, but every single thing Honey did to me is documented. It’s a record he can’t just get in his truck and drive away from, like he did to me and his 2 babies in diapers without warning. He thinks his actions will just be washed away in the haze of time. No, you family-abandoning douche-canoe. Think again. My pain and your bagdouchery are written down, on the internet for all to see for all time, and you have NO IDEA. There is so much power in that.

      I’d recommend it for anyone who loves to write and who knows, just as Tracy said, that experience DOES qualify you to speak to others who have been through it and could stand to hear that, no, they are not crazy. No, they are not the cause of infidelity, poor character is. I really don’t know what shape I would be in emotionally if it hadn’t been for Tracy and for being able to write my blog. Long live Chump Nation!! Cheers, Chumps!!

      • I read your blog and thought it was great. I kept thinking you are really clever, intelligent, and articulate. What are you doing with these losers in your life! I mean, neck tattoos, really?

        I journal but never considered how putting it on the internet could be empowering and cathartic. Thanks for your pov.

        • Thank you for the compliments! Glad to hear you journal. That was how it started out for me, too. Then I found WordPress and off I went.

          Yah, the damned tattoos. Uggggg. He really let his inner dirtbag fly when he left. It was like a wild dog being let off a chain. As it all happened, I was horrified that I even knew this guy, let alone had to navigate having children with him for the next decade plus.

          Thanks to Tracy, I now recognize I was married to a shark in a person suit. Or rather, that I was married to a seedy dirtbag disguised as a respectful and funny game-show host. He really hid it well. It’s like Tracy said in my most favorite blog post EVER, ‘Nice vs. Kind’: He’s all cherry and no sundae. He is a master at impression management. But underneath his charm, he’s got an agenda of indifference and self-gratification, and that’s really as far as he goes. All of the qualities that I saw in him were a figment of my imagination. Sigh.

          Best to you, Never!!

    • Enjoyed your comments to that post too, KK. Cheater apologists who are cheaters, go figure!!

    • Yes, KK thank you for bravely doing battle in those comments. There is so much of the “don’t judge” attitude out there anymore. Reading your comments and the others led me to the original NYT “Modern Love” piece and the comments there. I was surprised actually to see so many NYT commenters condemning Rinaldi’s narcissicism as well as her being an adultery partner.

    • That made me SO MAD! Everyone that is a cheater apologist it’s all grey blah blah blah FUCK YOU! I wish those people could FEEL the anguish and pain of that betrayal. Then see how Grey morality is! I’m literally shaking with anger right now!

  • I am an integrated person and I rarely lie.
    I believe there is power in stories and shared experiences.

    While I still don’t want my kids to get wind of their father’s giant failings, when Im speaking with someone with whom there are enough “degrees of separation” from my kids that I feel comfortable in that anonymity, I do share my story…especially with age peers. I want my girlfriends to know what mighty looks and feels like. I want chumps to know that we don’t have to carry silent shame of chumpdom.

    There are some times when I want people to know that I didn’t recover from widowhood quickly because I am a cold fish who didn’t care but rather a chump who overcame abuse.

  • I tell my story when I want, to anyone I want at any hour I want. Ex’s mother said I’m sorry this happened and that he didn’t love you. I said, really, just the day before he said he loved me, I caught him cheating, threw him out and btw he gave me a STD. She asked what that was, I told her and she said I don’t blame you. BOOM! I purposely told her because she is the town’s biggest gossiper. Take that!! Also told his best friend who is a bigger gossiper! Told new people I met last Sunday because they go to the bar where he works. One woman said he is nice looking…..I said yep, a nice looking, liar and cheater. BOOM x 2!!!!! Bet he will shit his pants when he finds out…..not to worry, Preparation H will soothe that sore ass!

          • (I was going to say Do, Re Me, Go Fuck Your Ma, but I reconsidered. Erase, erase!)

        • Dixie, for you my friend;
          Do, a cheater like mother
          Re, my dick on a reconn
          Mi, ME< ME< ME< ME just ME
          Fa, I like to fuck others
          So, I finally got caught
          La, laughing as I tossed you
          Ti, telling all your family
          which brings us back to
          Do, a cheater like your mother!

    • I tell EVERYONE if the chance comes up–my realtor, the guy serving me at the post office (hey, he asked, “was your X that bad?” to get me started), our dentist (yup, the one X still goes to, hee hee), mutual friends, ….

    • NMSB–I thought of you first thing when reading the opening of today’s post, “Chump Lady is going to get ranty today. Heads up. Incoming!”


        • Dixie, I wish I had you by my side when I tossed his skanky ass out! I can hear you in the background, warming up your vocals as well as your snark! (His mother used to leave summer clothes here at my house for her return visits.) Then I yelled “I’ll put HER SHIT in boxes!

            • Dixie, yes, yes, and yes! Store some canned goods, get a gun and yell, “DUCK, BITCH!”

      • Hahahahaha, hugs….nice to be thought of first thing after reading CL’s post!

  • The above is from a blog I read pretty regularly. I agree with the majority of his advice. However, this post with a link to the related article, triggered me, along with some cheater apologists in the comments section. What do y’all think?

    • I think the gal who wrote that is a dysfunctional person who looks for excuses to explain away bad judgement.

    • Way to gloss over the infidelity, and then glorify the relationship that resulted. Get back to me when fabulous-partner ‘married man’ then cheats on Rinaldi (and I will bet on that).

      • Oh, contraire… They’ve enjoyed wedded bliss going on 25 years now, with 2 children of their own. Thus, the EXAMPLE that one should never give up on searching for true love (even if there’s a pesky little detail like destroying another woman’s family…. Snark!)

  • Once a cheater always a cheater has held up pretty well. There is good reason that saying exists… There must have been some chump out there that experienced this, along with the rest of us on this site! We’re just here to say, “YUP, it’s true”. Another saying that’s pretty close is “People don’t change” Geee…. I wonder why people say that?
    I find it hard to believe that the “overwhelming guilt” is enough for people to stop cheating. They can feel guilty all they want, but never guilty enough to stop, resist temptation and become an honest person all of a sudden. My experience being in multiple cheating relationships is that they absolutely do not stop, whether they feel all guilty or not. I tell anyone who will listen about it. Family, friends, random people should the conversation arise, etc. I guess I’m here to help lessen other peoples’ pain.
    Just like cheater’s don’t need our permission to cheat, I don’t need permission to tell on your ass. Which, every time I was cheated on, I did just that when people would ask.

    • I didn’t believe it for a LONG time. I knew H1.0 was an asshole but I thought that he was my asshole. I didn’t see any proof that he cheated after Susan of Seattle which seemed to reinforce my long held belief.

      There were oddities in his story why he didn’t seem nervous when starting the affair or why he never made the widely held claim of “Ive never done anything like this before”. And why did he ALWAYS pull a crazy distracting stunt every time we were headed to a social event with his coworkers?

      Yes, cheaters cheat….and in time I came to learn that his cheating did end with Susan, but it started WAY WAY earlier…maybe he always cheated (very possible). SO now Im in your camp.

      • Unicornomore, I was in denial too, (matter of fact, for 7 years of my relationship to my XH) but too many “in your face” examples turned me into a believer.

    • “Once a cheater, always a cheater.”

      Yeah, my xhole only cheated that “one time” ….

      With 6+ OW. That day, that week, that month, that year. And on soulmate schmoopie, aka cocksocket, OW5. Can’t even stay faithful to his twu wuv.

      I’m pretty sure there was no “guilt”, despite all his squawking. That guilt certainly didn’t prevent him from continuing to fuck cocksocket, in our house, in our bed. Guilt didn’t prevent him from rubbing his A in my face.

      Guilt = I’m mad you left me. I’m mad you told everyone WHY you left me. I’m mad you burned the bakery down, then nuked the ground it stood on. I’m mad you went 100% NC, changed your #, blocked every avenue of contact & wouldn’t tell me where you lived. I’m mad you D’d me. I’m mad you had the fucking audacity to forget all about me. Now I haz teh sadz. Fucktard.

      • Why have I never heard this? Amazingly clever. Your STBX was withholding information he did not have the right to hide from you, his wife. Hate him for those entitled choices. He sucks.

  • I love the ‘You stared at a ceiling? Well, bully for you, Sad Sausage!

    Quite. It’s ALWAYS about them. First their needs, their entitlement, their affairs and when it all comes out it’s all about them again – why they did it, will they do it again, can you forgive them.
    Shit sandwich buffet is spread before chumps.

    And why is everyone so mad when chumps just walk off and refuse to eat???

    Why is it so bad that people who have been grievously hurt and had their lives devastated choose to go? Why are we the the bad guys for not putting up with the person who did this too us?

    I wonder where all this anger comes from? Isn’t it good that ‘victims’ for want of a better word, want to protect themselves from further abuse???
    Can it really be all about preserving ‘marriage’.
    I just wonder why these idiots are so vested in making people stay in unhealthy relationships. Why not just let people choose?

    I really hate these raving lunatics who favour their message over the truth of real lived experience and suffering.

    I’m a one woman infidelity shouter. I tell everyone! I ask people if it happened to them. I tell everyone who will sit still for five minutes about Chump Lady. I have no shame to carry. I maybe King Canute sitting before the waves but hey what else is a single 50 year old chump gonna do. Take it? I don’t think so.

    An added benefit. My mr. nice guy cheater cracks just a little bit every time I let on I have told someone else we know. My new hobby….?

    Slowly slowly unhinge monkey…

    • “cheater cracks just a little bit every time I let on I have told someone else we know.” LMAO!!!

    • “And why is everyone so mad when chumps just walk off and refuse to eat???”

      Because it upsets the world order and threatens world peace! Who would do all the work if Chumps ended nonreciprocal partnerships? How would the RIC earn all their money if Chumps stopped believing all the bullshit? And how the heck are all the disordered going to appear normal if Chumps stopped covering for them?

      Here’s to The Revolution!

    • Your methodology has me thinking of those Terry Bradshaw commercials for shingles vaccine. 🙂

    • Those are GREAT questions! Way to flip the script, really. That was yesterday’s post, but I like what you’ve done here.

      Cheater cheats, chump walks away. Why is everyone mad at the chump? Is this moral relativism? I guess that’s where the idea of “owning one’s part” comes in.

      I say, brush your shoulder off. You can come at me all you want for not trying harder with a cheater, but that’s your problem not mine. Not sure why everyone expects the chump to make all the sacrifices, but in my opinion that is a wholly immoral stance.

      Bitter? A little. Much less than I would be if I had tried to make things work for The Coward and not for me. I don’t really care much for shit sandwiches.

      I’m a big advocate of telling everyone the truth. His cowardice is his shame, not mine. I exude mightiness.

    • Why are people so mad that chumps walk away from a marriage the cheater walked away from days, weeks, months, and in my case, apparently years before?

  • Let’s see, on DDay Number Four, who did I most need to speak with?

    a) A self righteous priest who had never been married let alone in a relationship let alone cheated on who basically told me I just needed to “have more sex and pray for him,”


    b) someone who has personally lived through it, can offer me practical advice, and who will hold my hand while I wait for STD test results?

    Unicorn, indeed.

    • What I got from my priest was the following: You diminish yourself spiritually by staying with an unremorseful, unrepentant, continuing to cheat adulterer.

      And people who can’t handle dissenting opinion should stay away from CL & CN

      • I’m sure they can find a radio station that plays Teletubby music 24/7 so they can feel safe & cuddly.

  • I told my story in public, with Kunty Kibbler’s latest twu wuv in attendance, and the woman he’s still legally married to sitting beside him (you can’t make this shit up).

    I implore everybody to find a way to tell their stories in some way, to someone, as a means of gaining a sense of control over our own healing.

  • After 10 months I have finally told some really close friends, and a new friend. One of my close friends has been cheated on, so has my new friend. I am glad I waited. I am able to relate the facts very calmly. I haven’t told my best friend because the ex and I share a godchild (one of her sons). He hasn’t seen him since the split, and I don’t want her feeling bad about her son’s christening. At first I didn’t want to tell in order to protect myself, but now that people have seen me acting with dignity and strength through all of this, I am ready to share my truth.

    My ex has shown no remorse. He can’t. That would mean admitting culpability, the fact he is wrong, and being prepared to take action to make amends. This will happen when pots of gold start appearing at the ends of rainbows.

    • “My ex has shown no remorse. He can’t. That would mean admitting culpability, the fact he is wrong, and being prepared to take action to make amends. This will happen when pots of gold start appearing at the ends of rainbows.”

      This is exactly how I feel about my ex. He could never admit that his choices were wrong.

  • Your spouse leaving you after you have a one night stand is a highly predictable outcome so who’s self-righteous here?

    If you’re guilty and repentant then don’t ever cheat again. Don’t cheat your spouse in divorce court, be a good co- parent and don’t cheat on your future spouse.

    I am a scientist and yes, reading thousands of very similar stories was exactly the observable data I needed.

  • I think one thing douchecanoe was not expecting was that I would tell EVERYBODY about his affair. Literally ANYBODY would would listen. The bank teller, the neighbors, the realtor, the guy who did our home inspection, the hotel front desk lady at disneyworld, his family, all of our friends. I didn’t wait either, I blabbed it about a month after d-day when I realized he had no intentions of breaking off his affair. I literally posted it on facebook. “Congratulations to Douchecanoe and OW and their decision to leave their spouses and children and be together. I hope that half of our savings account you emptied out today will give you the financial start you two need to start your life together. You two truly are a match made in heaven.”

    He was pissed. When he said he didn’t like “my behavior” I asked him what he considered appropriate behavior was for a woman who was cheated on and left with no warning by her husband. What was the appropriate way to act when you find out that you are going to have to lose out on half your daughter’s life because your husband can’t keep his dick in his pants? He replied “You didn’t have to be so hostile and mean and tell everybody.” To which raised my eyebrows and responded “It’s not my job to be your PR agent.”

    • INteresting reply from him. Really the only part about the whole situation, including your “behavior” that bothers him is the part where you told the truth, and that’s because it may reflect poorly on him, and affect his ability to garner fraudulent respect from people ignorant to his true character.

      Well, that’s in the cheater script, too.

      Well, I suppose the up-side to having the truth out there is that cheaters might better know then who their “real friends” are. People who celebrate the infidelity, entitlement, lack of integrity, poor impulse control, deception are the cheaters’ real friends. And then they don’t have to hide from the truth any more. It’s all out there. And trust me, there are plenty of people who feel (they don’t think, they feeeel) that cheating is somehow honorable and righteous. I also like to know who those people are.

    • High five Strawberry!
      I’m a teller too.
      I left the bank for the last time when we had to split a check and he was complaining, as he always is about something, so I just walked away and yelled “go fuck your whore!” Not exactly classy but there was some pretty deadly silence so I know the whole bank heard it. I didn’t even look back to see his reaction.

  • Inflammatory language is the primary tool weak-minded gaslighted use to disarm others because their actual arguments and evidence are weak.

    Leaving a person who has harmed you isn’t self-righteous, it’s self-care (and, all too often, also appropriate child-care for chumped parents.)

    Shitty behavior has consequences most of the time. If you’re lying, sneaking around, and/or harming another person and you lose the goodness of that person in your life, welcome to the point. Whatever your reasons, you Gamble’s and lost. Nobody owes you a do-over.

  • Dear Whoever the Dumb Fuck You Are-
    Tracy saved my life. God Bless her for not needing your permission to share her lovely self with those of use who have been abused by Satan’s soldiers who seemingly lurk everywhere.
    One more thing you self righteous bitch. How dare you insult our leader ???

  • The only people staring at the ceiling with regrets are the chumps. The cheaters always get a good nights sleep. On Dday after X confessed to his one night stand (5 year affair) by telling me at my workplace, i came home to find him soundly sleeping. When I woke him up to tell him we needed to talk, he said ” about what?” Yeah I was the only one staring at the ceiling with regrets.

    • newday.

      Yes. Exactly this. They don’t lose any sleep, they keep eating, enjoy a joke, never shed a tear.

      • Amazing how soundly they sleep.

        Jive ass motherfucker would sleep in a semi-comatose state, with a self satisfied grin. Meanwhile, I’d sleep 10 minutes a day.

      • ABSOLUTELY true! Wow! Hit that nail on the head!
        I lost sleep for a good 10 years! We weren’t married and didn’t live together. Always waiting and wondering if he was gonna call or when would he call. (old school here, don’t call the man, he should call you). Anyway, I most of those 10 years got a nightly call BUT it was midnight and after, even 3am! Oh yes, you know, he’s a fucking hard worker. Owns his own business blah blah. My suspicions really came to the forefront though after 8.5 years. Yes, takes me a minute!
        All romance just about came to an abrupt halt. Of course he blamed it on his son who had passed away and I believed him. That’s not saying that this can’t be the case, but in my case it wasn’t. Gaslighted me all over the place! I didn’t even know what gaslight meant until well after I was all done and starting researching online. I was astounded!
        Someone earlier mentioned heart palpitations. I would have them every single night waiting on his call, so badly that I didn’t know how my heart would possibly continue to beat. Scary.
        I’ve done it all.
        Heart palps, writing down my fears in the middle of the night, recording myself of how I felt in the middle of the night, finally having the courage to pick of his phone and see it ALL, hiring a private eye, searching the net for gadgets to track his car, computer, whatever (never did those though), journaling daily all events etc that happened with him, recording our conversations that I initiated of course, taking snapshot photos from his phone onto mine and emailing myself in case he caught on and tried to erase from my phone and therefore deny to others that it was true, told some people but not as many as I still would like to; would like to shout from the mountains! Joined a RIC, $500 later and NO reslove. Went to a couples counselor and recorded it too where he lied his ass off. Went to therapists myself; finally found one I liked but CL and CN has been my greatest recovery source!!! I also love when the son of a bitch told me ‘yes! keep going!’ when I told him I was seeing a counselor bc of what I was going through with his infidelity. (this was after discovery #1).
        Seriously, I could go on and on as I know all of us could. This post has really been a trigger for me. It’s been 3 years since my exit, really his exit and yes, the times I do think of him, I STILL HAVE HATE! Wow oh wow…..
        I have a friend that was married for 15 years and he cheated on her but she still thinks the sun rises and sets with him. BTW, they’re divorce and he married the OW; still calls her and keeps her on the hook. He’s a mother fucker, no good! I’m amazed and appalled but I support her.
        I think I’m done! lol

        • Oh yea….one more thing….
          now his new 27 year old bride to be can deal with his 55 year old viagra takin’ ass with his strap on! LOL
          Yes, the stripper he was with while with me told me that he had a strap on and wanted her to wear! Even she was appalled! It’s one thing if that’s your thing and you let your S.O. know and they’re ok with it too BUT when you are a closet hider freak and preach the opposite, well then that is a different story all its own.

          • A 55 year old man marrying a 27 year old stripper. That ought to last about a minute. She plans on taking him to the cleaners or she has a drug habit that needs to be supported. Maybe she just has “daddy” issues. Whatever, it is that relationship will blow up but good in due time.

            • KB22…….sorry should have been clearer. The 25 year old stripper, he was 50, was the person he was cheating with when he was with me.
              The new bride to be is 27 and he is now 55. She was not the original AP. She is someone new in his sick life.
              That poor girl and I do mean girl actually is an instructor at a college. Poor, poor girl!

    • Me, too. One of the books I read suggested the cheater has so much relief from having their sneaking out in the open that after the confession they feel BETTER — after all, THEY have known about it for god knows HOW long before telling US about it! XH also slept like a log during the interminable ten days following Dday before I kicked him out.

      • I heard a serial cheater say that very thing a couple of nights ago, with his (trying to reconcile) wife present. She said nothing, and looked anything but like a person who was feeling BETTER.

    • OMG you nailed it, newday. We get the ulcers, they sleep through the night. Whoever designed that paradigm fucked it up royally.

    • Same. I knew my ex my whole adult life. I never could just fall asleep like he could. I was a ceiling-starer. I always thought I just wasn’t a good sleeper. But, ohmygosh, as soon as he left, for the first time in my adult life I started sleeping soundly. Never knew I could, until I got rid of him. Best sleep of my life happening right now, and it feels so good! I finally love life!

    • Idiot would sleep soundly with his hand down his pants with the remote in the other hand.

    • Exactly. The second I read “They’ve never gone to bed at night staring at the ceiling, wishing there was anything you could do to take back the hurt you’ve inflicted on your partner.” I knew the premise was total bullshit for the simple FACT that cheaters absolutely do not spend time wishing they could take back the hurt. Trust me, they just don’t do that.

      They don’t stare at the ceiling feeling guilt.

      Here is what they do: They stare at the ceiling and wish
      – that the affair partner will give them more kibbles
      – that they will have a nice sexting session back and forth tomorrow with the AP
      – that the AP will lavish them with expensive gifts and secret condos in the sky
      – that they’ll have skin and skin contact, and asshole licking and marathon sex sessions with the AP
      – that they are so deserving of love and attention and kibbles
      – that they are entitled to find this true love and romance and kibble supply, so they aren’t guilty of anything
      – that life should and shall be simpler and easier and not so messy since they are so special and entitled

      Here is also what they do, but don’t wish for (the chump during an affair barely enters the cheater’s mind)
      – take everything the chump provides without any acknowledgement of gratitude
      – expect and feel entitled to all chump provided services
      – every now and then have to gaslight and manipulate and lie to the chump in order to preserve said provisions

      They simply, absolutely, unequivocally, do note engage in “staring at the ceiling, wishing there was anything you could do to take back the hurt you’ve inflicted on your partner. ”

      As I said above, they really don’t spend any time thinking about YOU, your feelings, your hurt, your well-being, your goals, your desires, your needs.

      (disclaimer: sure there is probably the 1% exception to the above, but it is no more than 1 or 2%)

  • I have a good one from my Chump partner’s cheatin’ ex…just this week received:

    She has been living 15 years in the former matrimonial home, free of charge, since the divorce. Why? Because Chump Dad couldn’t bring himself to dislodge his kids from their home. So, the beotch gets use of his half of the home equity all this time with no compensation to her chump ex.. Plus…he has been paying support until last year when youngest turned 21. Again…because it was not the kids’ fault.

    So, house went on the market last year…six credible bids later, cheatin ex wife still refuses to sell. We had to threaten to take her to court to force the sale, and she comes up,with a bid herself…wants to buy Dad out…on one condition : that he can never tell the adult kids the truth about their mother’s cheating.

    Needless to say, we waited until about 24 hours after the cash was in the bank. Chump then sat the kids down (they are now adults) and told,them the whole truth. Guess what…Cheater had told them all through those 15 years that it was their Dad who abandoned the family.

    There are dozens of people in this small community who have witnessed what actually happened with her multiple affairs, so, I don’t doubt the truth.

    The kids were pretty emotional and hugged their Dad. I think he finally realised the reality that she had been “keeping him silent” all these years and that it helped no one but her. All four of them have some healing to do now.

    BTW … Cheater heard the news and started in on the vicious texts and emails. Chump calmly blocker her. Peace at last. I hope she fets so angry she busts her gusset.

  • The cheater Tammy Nelson describes sounds nothing like the numerous (hundreds?) of cheaters (including my STBX) on this site. The only thing that has kept my cheater up at night is either cheating on me or thinking about ways to abuse me. I have evidence from more than one night that he spent all night abusing me. What would Ms. Nelson have to say about that?

    Ms. Nelson refers to an extra-marital affair as a ‘mistake.’ I thought that mistakes were things like accidentally stepping on someone’s toe in the subway when the train unexpectedly stops, not having sex with someone other than one’s spouse for years while married and blaming the chumped spouse for the affair, abusing the chumped spouse, or trying to hide the evidence (e.g., surreptitiously diverting family’s funds to pay for sex with prostitutes). By describing chumps who feel and act anything other than complacent or sympathetic toward cheaters as ‘self-righteous,’ Ms. Nelson implies that chumps have agency. However, by referring to extra-marital affairs as ‘mistakes,’ she seems to imply that cheaters have no agency. Ridiculous.

    • I agree…this cheater apologist painted all cheaters as remorse stricken victims of a single moment of indiscretion…someone who really loves their spouse and fears the loss of a valued marriage. That is the cheater version of a unicorn.

      My cheater was an entitled, manipulative asshole who played any and every angle to his advantage, no matter how much it hurt me or our marriage.

      For the record, I would have forgiven a single indiscretion were it accompanied by contrition and real kindness and healing. How many of us got that? hello? anyone ? Bueller? Bueller?

      • I got that. He left to stay with a friend for a few weeks and told me about his one night stand. Lots of remorse and tears. I agreed to go through a marriage program to see if our marriage could be salvaged. I had some boundaries I set around how he spent his free time. For a year and a half, things were better than they had been in a long time. He was treating me like a husband should. I truly thought he had made some real changes.

        Then he started having an evening here and there where he didn’t come home after work or call. Just late (and drunk). He then walked out again and little by little, I discovered:
        1. One night stand was much more than that
        2. When he left the first time, he wasn’t staying with a friend but was staying with OW
        3. He told me the whole marriage program was a waste of time and was the worst thing he ever had to go through
        4. He left the second time when I was 6 months pregnant (complete surprise and should not have medically happened)
        5. Moved right in with new OW who was only 23 and I suspect was more than someone who worked for him for 2 years

        The extent of the lies he told me to keep me from kicking him out the first time leaves my head spinning.

        Be thankful, you did not get the false remorse after an “indiscretion”.

        • Yes, I so relate to this. I simply could not believe how horrible the truth was once I uncovered it. Well, look at all these other people in the same boat! My cheater’s egregious behavior is apparently quite common. They suck. They have agency alright and they suck.

      • We get a very skewed view of what most cheaters are like in terms of remorse etc. by reading forums with “Wayward” sections. Those on sites are atypical and show some empathy ( but still not normal levels).
        Most cheaters are without a conscience.

    • Research factoid (will try to track down source later): It takes roughly 28 days of setting up an affair, flirting, etc. before an affair commences. That is one MF-ing long “random” happening.

      • That’s a few nails in a few coffins then!

        Some ‘mistake’!
        ‘I didn’t plan it’
        ‘It just happened’
        ‘I didn’t mean to’
        ‘I wasn’t looking to cheat’

        It is insulting how stupid they think we are.

        • Idiot skankboy said “it just happened” too. I don’t want to be with someone who has no character and no self-control. I don’t want to raise another child. That is now Ida Whore’s job!

  • The nerve of these “experts” to @ you on Twitter, CL.

    A chump on yesterday’s post recounted exactly the reason why I am here. I read one of Chump Lady’s posts, and she was telling my story. The words she quoted from the cheater could have come from my cheater’s mouth verbatim.

    So experts, go ahead and expert elsewhere. Chump Lady is on to something here, and even though people can change, once you cheat on me, you can change elsewhere.

    • Amen. And you’d better be quick about it because I didn’t send you to a greener pasture. I sent you to the glue factory.

    • Let’s put “experts” in quotes with a winky face afterwards, just to indicate their actual legitimacy.

      I spoke with the world’s leading expert on mating, and after reading a few of Tracy’s posts, HE agreed chumps should leave cheaters.

  • You know who else offered me advice when my husband cheated and walked out?
    An attorney.

    I found him more helpful that so-called therapy websites that were completely irrelevant about “working it out” or giving ridiculous explanations about infidelity. The reason didn’t matter. His behavior and actions were unacceptable. He wasn’t welcome back even if he tried (which, lucky for me, he didn’t).

    People make mistakes. But mistakes have consequences. Since we are getting all “professional” here, let’s ask an attorney how that works. It’s called case law.

    Do I think every person who has an affair is a total jackass with no soul and capacity for change? No. Do I believe most people who cheat have a lack of character and moral defect? Yes. Do those people change? No.

    *I saw the Twitter comments and for a moment thought it was Vikki Stark who was engaging. I almost had a heart attack. All I could think is, “What is this world coming to?!” It wasn’t, and if anyone needs a great book about marital abandonment and recovery from a woman who experienced AND is a renowned therapist (those things are not mutually exclusive), “Runaway Husbands” is great.

    • Yes to all of the above. I read Runaway Husbands three times and even had my own story included in this most recent edition.

      Mistakes have consequences. Period.

    • I consulted an attorney before I even confronted Narkles the Clown.
      He was out of town “working” with the Flying Whore when that anonymous email reached my inbox.
      My attorney laid out my legal options and I chose divorce if he could not be honest with me when I told him I knew about the Flying Whore. He couldn’t manage that, focusing instead on who sent me a picture of the two of them together. That was his concern, not me, not the kids, nothing but. Who betrayed him. No, there was no staring at the ceiling concerned about the pain he caused, for Narkles the Clown. So, now he can stare at a different ceiling, in a different house.

  • Since you asked, I do have a piece of advice. Fellow chumps, each day do one brave thing. One small brave thing. It will make more of a difference than you could ever know. #oneweek

    • Dixie, my youngest son told me something similar…he said, ‘Mom, everyday you have to do something that scares you. Everyday, just one thing. Pretty soon you won’t be scared anymore.

      …he was right…how did he get so wise?

      He told me that the day he came and said, ‘Mom, you are leaving here today. You can walk out on your own or I can carry you, but, either way you are leaving now, today. Otherwise he is going to kill you.

      …and I left with him that day.

      A couple of days later he and his wife took me to his kick ass lawyer, Valerie…and I filed.

      …that night…my son took me to a parking lot and we got out and he produced a paper balloon and he said, ‘Mom, I want you to put all the hurt and pain you have from these last 2 years in this balloon and let it go…taking all your hurt and pain with it.’ …I couldn’t stop crying at the wonder of this man I saw before me, how did he get so wise? …I lit the balloon and it wavered and started to come down and I started to go after it and he took my hand and said, ‘Don’t go after it…set it free and set yourself free.’

      …my healing started with the love of my son…both of my sons…and their wives…

        • Oh 🙂 Thank you Martha 🙂 Both of my sons are amazing men. I am so grateful for their support and their wonderful families support. They helped me make it through the hell. Them and Tracy and all of you!

          Tracy and all of you have been there no matter what time of day or night with support and encouragement and a good 2 x 4 when I really needed it!

          Thank you! All of you!

      • What a wonderful story, Jeep! Your son helped rescue you, and then you rescued yourself the rest of the way.

        • It was a very healing event for me Temp, even though I couldn’t stop crying…the tears were healing too.

          These people that blame the chump for the infidelity can’t possibly have ever experienced what they are talking about…they would be talking out the other side of their faces…if they would even be able to talk. They truly have no idea, none, of what it feels like to go through anything like what we have experienced and struggled with and survived. Idiots.

          …satan likely could not stand up what he put me through…while I wish him no harm or ill will, I hope I will never see, hear or even hear about him ever again…him or his toxic family. I am now grateful to be out of that life and away from that monster and all his flying monkeys.

    • I am going to take you up on your challenge! I will start by cleaning my car out… scares the crap out of me right now! THEN, I will come up with another for tomorrow. xoxoxox

  • Cheating encompassses a persons character, it is the lowest form of dishonesty, a lack of morals, betrayal of trust, an act which shatters lives of not only your partner but that of children, families and of children of their children. It’s the gift that keeps on giving for generations to come.
    Remorse? guilt? never when it comes to cheaters, I say that with utmost confidence.
    Cheaters stare at the ceiling justifying their indiscretions, placing blame on the Chump.
    If they feel remorse at all it’s that they were caught or found out and that too will be someone else’s fault.
    People who cheat to begin with have no morals or character to begin with.

  • I don’t know when or how but I don’t feel that the RIC has heard the last of me. I’m fucking angry as hell at it. Several rounds of marriage counseling with different “experts” supposedly with expertise in sex addiction — many, many books read. And yet, no one ever brought up the topic of narcissism. Like, how ’bout a little mention/screening tool when a serial cheater presents for NPD???? Along with the little tidbit of information about how *unamenable* to treatment these suckers are.

    Instead, like you say, Tracy, the cheater gets treated like a “Timid Forest Creature” in the marriage counseling setting.

    How ’bout it be a requirement for all Certified Sex Addiction Specialists (CSATs) to read this blog from from start to finish and take a little quiz on it before earning their credentials?

    That’s what I would vote for. Rock on, Tracy!

    • Abso-fucking-lutely.
      I am disgusted that I wasted 2 years working with a therapist to fix the unfixable.

      • It’s why I never sent my kids to therapy. I wasn’t sure I could find anyone who wouldn’t make their hurt worse or somehow normalize their father’s behavior. IF I could’ve found someone who gets it? Would’ve been at their door in a heartbeat.

    • Totally agree with this!!! We did marital counseling, had counseling from a “sex expert”, did group support therapy, and he did a sexual addiction group. Nobody ever mentioned that maybe his CHARACTER was the problem, or that perhaps he was a covert narcissist, so chances of him changing were close to zero. Nobody!! And now that I have become better educated in psychology, I am stunned that the “experts” we were paying never even suggested it. He is literally a textbook covert narcissist, and I would have thought one of the experts would have been tickled to see such a perfect specimen up close and personal, but NO, they didn’t even recognize it when he was right under their noses!

      • My ex charmed the pastor during MC. He lied to the pastor for two months straight, but of course the pastor still thought he was such a “nice guy” even though the pastor knew my ex was lying to him. My ex supposedly did counseling over the telephone once or twice. The counselor fed him what he wanted to hear. He also went to my Christian counselor twice, but he didn’t charm her at all. She saw right through him, because I came before him and I was able to tell her the truth about what was going on in our relationships. NPD’s do not do counseling as their is nothing wrong with them! It’s always someone else’s fault as they are “perfect and special.” Ex made a flimsy excuse for why he wasn’t going back to counseling. He was “done.” I have read and learned from watching YouTube videos, that counselors and therapists are not up-to-speed with NPD and Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome.

        Our pastor would only be able to see evil if it actually looked like evil — say a murder or something like that. He has failed to see that evil lots of times presents itself as good. I think he missed that part of the Bible in pastor school.

      • I had the same exact thoughts. I knew nothing back then, but based on the information we shared with a therapist early on after d-day, I can’t understand how a trained professional couldn’t do the math: covert narcissist/codependent relationship.

        • Yeah, it’s sad in a way we have to figure this stuff out for ourselves. Well, my two counselors and my psychiatrist all said, “He sounds like a narc” based on some of the stories I told them. And our MC was our pastor who was so out of his league in counseling us and of course anyone who’s a narc; he wasn’t trained for that. But you think a trained professional would have figured it out during MC. But I’ve read that narcs are so charming and lie so well, that it’s tough to diagnose them.

          Yeah, that’s totally our relationship: covert narc and a codependent. I figured it out on my own with the help of many books, videos and blogs. Thank God for the Internet!

      • Yes!!! I had heard these terms before (narc, sociopath) but truly thought they were only attached to the most evil criminals and serial killers. For years I tried in vain to get the Cluster Fuck B Sociopath to understand that his “depression” could be treated with anti-depressants. LOL. He refused, perhaps he knew he wasn’t really depressed, but in fact was a flaming narcopath. I have educated myself enough to know since finding Tracy that there is NO CURE FOR NARCISSISM. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that therapists don’t lay the cards out on the table first thing by assessing whether or not they are dealing with a ClusterFuck B. That would be shooting yourself in the foot. Now an honest therapist might tell you to run for your life, there is no fixing these spawns of satan. Also, the ClusterFuck B’s are master manipulators. They put on their Mr. Nice Guy face and try to make the chump into the crazy one. Gaslighting anyone? Moral of this story: Tracy, with her life experience and obvious natural born talent for writing graced us with her plain old common sense. When I found her site and learned about ClusterFuck B’s it finally made sense what I was up against, and who I had lived with pouring blood, sweat and tears into a empty dead walking carcass for 18 years of MY PRECIOUS LIFE. I took the abuse because I thought someday he would see the light???. This site saved my life. I would have got back together with him after he was done using Cock Slobber to mindfuck and abuse me for not behaving in my normal chump way.
        The hell I endured I don’t even like to revisit. There are some horrific stories on this site (Tessie) that are all at the hands of ClusterFuck B’s. I did not have children with the devil thank goodness. I did have a step-daughter who I stay away from now. I did try to maintain a relationship with her, but long term I have no intention of ever getting back with her pyscho sperm donor so I just let it go. I can’t control what that fucking asshole did, and I can’t control the collateral damage as a result. I will do what is best for my mental health and if their is an undeserving recipient of some grief over his actions, hey, fucking join the club. I guess I was the only one supposed to suck that shit up like the stupid chump I am. Sorry bitches those days are over.

  • Great column and energy today CL… and 12 million… yeah, there’s some statistical evidence for you.

    Mr. Sparkles staring at the ceiling – which he often did while lying in bed in the morning before getting up. He cheated on me for our entire relationship and marriage. Here’s what I’m thinking was in his head while doing his staring:

    – Wonder if anyone responded to one of my 10 personals ads last night – would be nice to get laid at lunch today.

    – Think I’ll say I have to work late or go to the gym tonight so I can respond to some Craiglist ads and schedule some massages for the weekend while ICSTMC takes the kids to the pumpkin patch.

    – I have an amazing penis. I am an amazing person.

    (pauses to scratch his balls)

    – Sure am glad that the couple I’m meeting tomorrow for some sex is in to BiMWM… but I’ll be damned if I’ll wear a condom with my wife to prove I’m not cheating on her.

    – Wow… I am AMAZING…

    – (rolls over and looks at me sleeping)… I struck gold with this one… at least until I find the next BETTER one and discard her and the kids

    – Oh well, better get to work where they APPRECIATE ME… unlike here at home

    Where do I tell my story… here. No one anywhere else believes it. I’d be insane if not for Chump Nation.

    Rock on!

    • You just made my day ICSTMC. Can’t stop laughing and the day’s work will suffer because of it. I don’t give a shit, your cheater thoughts stream of conciousness is priceless.

      • Happy to be of service 🙂

        You can’t make this shit up!

        We are more mighty than people in the RIC can even conceive.

    • So funny! Genius.

      Sad to think this is actually how they must think.
      Nice to know though – compartmentalisation happens on the ceiling!

      • Haha, ICSTMC — and at the same time, sad and depressing. So along comes Capricorn with “compartmentalisation happens on the ceiling” and I’m thinking, I bet a lot of stuff ends up on the ceiling.

        Still a little depressed by all the yuck, but now I’m laughing too. Thanks, you guys are the best!

  • I needed this today so damn bad…not feeling very mighty.
    I have been no contact with my ex unless there is business to discuss. I have not spoken to him in a few months and haven’t seen him in over a year.
    On this “business” call ( property tax on my house bullshit) he bombarded me with why I’m the problem and how my pain at his affairs has made our kids go NC with him… they don’t ever have to see his girlfriend but should forgive him, what he did shouldn’t be a life sentence……blah, blah. He’s tired of me telling everybody what he did…..makes me look “crazy”, I need to get over it.
    Y’all…..I don’t know what happened. I fucking snapped. Spent 30 min recapping all the pain he caused while he told me he was a changed unicorn, and how his affair partner has made him a better man. That he will never cheat again, …..sweet Jesus. I handed him a whole cake.It was me….a lunatic screaming my two year old pain in english to somebody that only speaks cheater. It was a new low…. Like the Disney movie Monsters Incorporated where your count of incident free days just got set back to zero.
    This helped me today. It’s okay for me to brush off yesterday and begin again today. It’s okay for me to tell people my marriage ended because I was married to a cheating asshole. I don’t need permission to tell my story. Fuck him.
    Time to bring my mighty back….

    • Oh, we’ve all been that lunatic screaming at Stupid. BTDT… wrote a blog about. 🙂

      You’ve got the right attitude. Just dust yourself off, pull those socks up, and start over. No worries.

      • Oh? And if he REALLY was a new, better man? He would be abject with apologies and would never trumpet his greatness. But he wasn’t, was he?

        • No, he was too busy explaining how I need to find the lord, get forgiven for my part in all this, and be a better person like him…… Oh and how I was responsible for the kids hating him. If I had been more ” private with my pain” during the divorce our kids would feel better about things. I normally reply with things like ” well, you fucked anybody with a vagina, and that can make a wife sad…” But instead the meltdown was epic. It was pathetic, like cringe when I replay it in my mind pathetic… so bad I was checking my app to see if it was PMS induced rage…
          There’s a reason we don’t talk to these idiots.
          I have felt like such shit. Actually had tears when I saw you personally wrote something. Made me feel instantly better, like getting a big hug from your smarter sister.

          • Paint widow, I had some cringe worthy melt downs of the toddler variety when I was around my ex after D-day. It makes me cringe to remember them too. It’s amazing that when I’m not around him, I feel quite sane and competent. Sometimes their behavior pushes you to the edge. The longer you’re NC with him the better you’ll fee.

            • Lyn, totally agree with you. I’m rational and very grounded (been told this by friends, colleagues) but I feel crazy when talking or arguing with narcissistic assholes who won’t see or admit what they’ve done and try to deflect blame onto everyone else. It’s not possible to have a normal conversation with someone like this and it’s very easy to get pulled into their insanity at that moment.

              Paintwidow, let yourself off the hook. These situations are just a reminder that nothing about him has changed and that life is better without him. You’ll be fine.

          • CL is right. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off and move forward again. You can’t communicate with these defects, they don’t listen, nothing penetrates and they could care less. Chalk it up to a release of sorts that you needed and move on.

    • You didn’t hand him a cake PW – you threw a shit pie in his face and I bet it felt great. Do not waste a minute looking back… YOU ARE MIGHTY.

    • I remember days like these, PW, but they are now a fuzzy memory: “Oh yeah, I FORGOT I did things like that!” For me, it’s been a little over two years. So you’ll get there.

      In the meantime, “days like these” most commonly happened when I just couldn’t take all the “Emperor has New Clothes” unbelievability of the whole damn thing — frustration, anger, fatigue, … I would just snap. Looking back, I can see the look on my friends’ faces when I shrieked at them, in response to their “Poor Sausage Sidekick” comments of “He feels really awful at how bad you feel….”, “Oh YEAH? Well, it was HIS fucking FAULT! *HE* could have fought for our marriage! *HE* could have….” …. whatever, I don’t remember or care to. But I DO Remember the looks on their faces, like, this woman has gone off the deep end.

      And, y’know what? I did, for a while, because he PUSHED me into the deep end. — Yours, too, PW. Don’t feel bad about losing your shit. It’s completely understandable. What’s surreal and incomprehensible is the way the world (and especially the cheaters) just want us all to lay down and go along to get along, y’know? It’s not right to expect that of people who have been through the pain we have. No one expects the guy who just got run over by a car to dust themselves off, put on a tux, and go to the dance that night as planned.

      Furthermore, I’ll bet it was a relief to get some of that shit off your chest. Good for you, I say, for letting him feel just a hint of what he put you through. He deserves it, and then some.

      • Hush, hush, don’t you dare say a word
        Hush, hush, don’t you know the truth hurts
        Hush, hush, when push comes to shove it’s best to keep it hush, hush

        Pistol Annies

        (Look Tempest! I cut and pasted! Woo Hoo!)

    • We’ve all had those days, Paintwidow. Some day that will be a story you laugh at from a much happier place. You are mighty, don’t ever doubt it. The mighty aren’t people who’ve never face-planted in the dirt. The mighty are the ones who pick themselves up, take a shower, and move on down the road. You rock.

    • Don’t worry, Paintwidow. Jump back on the NC wagon. It’s natural to feel ill after contact with ebola.

      • Ha! Love this.

        From my psychiatrist… when the pain is at it’s peak, no one ever says “This root canal is going great!” But that doesn’t mean it’s not working.

        It’s all part of the healing process.

    • That’s such a great way to describe when you fall off the NC wagon… “it has been 0 days since NC”. Love it. It took me about 2.5 or 3 years to get much further than a week or two of NC. I just wanted him to FEEL how he made me feel so bad! I hate that that will never happen. You have to have a capacity for loving someone other than yourself to feel empathy. He doesn’t have it. Never has. But I am finally able to let go of trying to force feed him his own shit sandwich.

      • Kharless

        “But I am finally able to let go of trying to force feed him his own shit sandwich.”

        This is it right here! Once I filed and went no contact he finally had to face the consequences of his actions.
        He no longer had a plan B.

        I watched the shit show of his life unraveling for quite some time after I threw him out and filed. An old lonely sad man filled with rage over the injustice of having to face his false self without supply and kibbles is all on him. I thought there was no justice for quite some time.

        Our justice is living better. And the day came when I turned off that channel and the volume. The scorched earth is his story not mine.

        Now I look forward. That’s the gaining a life part. You will get there.

    • Paintwidow, I am standing up applauding you. What you did defines mighty. I would love to have had a chance to do this. I would not have cared if he saw it as cake or saw me as crazy. Or if he never listened to a word I said (all of these so familiar to me in my ‘relationship’).

      It would have helped me. It would have been me standing up to the insulting behaviour. In defiance. Using my silenced voice and my recovering mind to form the thoughts and speak some truth into a situation so filled with deceit that it emitted a malodorous scent.

      My regret is that I did NOT do what you did. I was silent. His narrative is all anyone got. In the future I hope to deliver defiance, Norma Rae fashion, in any situation that smacks of betrayal. Anyone who objects can kiss my ass. And if I ever see MoFaux again, Paintwidow, I will consider following in your courageous footsteps.

      She shut the factory down with silence and a sign. Surely12 million can make a difference. One at a time, V

      • I really am lucky…..without everybody here I don’t know if I could of found my mojo. This last “encounter” with him left me a hot mess.
        I am humbled by all those here, you restore my faith in humanity. Thank you.

        • PW, your righteous anger has been SUCH an inconvenience for him. WHY, oh WHY can’t you just eat another shit sandwich? If only there had been no consequences. If only everyone could just see how amazing he is, then everything would be great for him, PW. And it’s ALL YOUR FAULT. Things went really well for him when you believed that and owned it. *tch!*

          (Tee-hee! I think you’re getting to him! Keep going with your bad self!)

        • PW, I have been in your shoes and can totally relate to reaching a boiling point. Don’t beat yourself for going off on him. Even if he never understands your pain and what he put you through, it’s okay to be angry and vent. For me, I had 25 years of lies, triangulation and cheating. I kept shoving it down. Kept believing his lies. Well, I blew-up at him when I finally accepted that he had my lying to me from the beginning. I have a few regrets over how I’ve acted towards him, but not many. And I could care less if people think I’m “crazy” or not. I and the people who really know and love me know that I’m not crazy, even though I have been angry beyond belief at times. I’m sure your ex thought you’d just eat another shit sandwich, fall into line and keep your mouth shut like you probably did you whole relationship. I know mine did. I’m sure he thought I’d be “sweet Martha” and bow down to his demands and wishes and just go with the flow. Well. I. Did. Not. I was “angry, bitchy Martha” who told him exactly what I thought of him and all he did to me and our kids.There is absolutely nothing wrong with righteous anger!

          And this bs about “finding the Lord.” Sounds like a hypocrite talking to me. My cheater brought God into our divorce so many times. Like God was okay with what he did to me, etc. I don’t think so! The vow I took with him and God. He not only broke his vow with me, but he broke it with God. I don’t think God takes the breaking of a vow lightly. And I found a song yesterday that I really like and I’m going to share it with you.

        • Paint, The rage is there because it is so mind-numbing. Reflect on what was your trigger at that moment. Sister so many have been there done that, don’t discount that there is an affect of PTSD that is an ongoing part for all of us in this mind-fuck, an anniversary, a first hint, Red Flag, overt devaluation in front of friends or family, or actual event of finding out the truth.

          Log them, know them as truth, for yourself.

          • PaintWidow, Your meltdown sounds mild. A few times in the last 2.5 years I have had major meltdowns–in the presence of my family–not my STBX. If the meltdown had occurred in front of STBX, STBX would be dead, probably from being run over. (One day he acted as though he was going to run over me when I was FRIENDLY to him (f—tard). Our young kids were in the car. I can’t imagine thinking my father might harm or even kill my mother just because he was ia bad mood not caused by her.

    • Ahhh, the anger stage…let yourself roar when you refuse to be abused anymore. Then go back to NC. I had the ClusterFuck B Sociopath so nervous he didn’t have a clue what to do. I was relentless too. Fucker. Don’t beat yourself up. You will find out they are big fucking cowards when you finally tell them they can fuck off and they can’t control you anymore.
      Unfortunately my anger is gone. It just evaporated all of a sudden. I guess I hit meh. I thoroughly enjoyed my anger stage. Bitches look out, I snapped my fingers and hellfire rained down???. have fun with it, I did.

      • Awwww! Bless you Paint. This is how we know we are not like them. You all riddled with guilt,shame for putting him on blast.

        Based on what he said he had it coming. He has not changed one bit. He is just spouting his image control lines. He has to make it all look like it worked out in the end and was worth blowing shit up so he could reach this epiphany. It’s still all about him. Sorry but he is still the same turd with a new coat of spackle.

        Bet it ate you up to hear him trying to sound so enlightened. The UBT would make mince of his words. Next time laugh out loud as if you know something he doesn’t and shake your head as if you pity him. When he asks what look at him like he has a terminal illness and reply oh nothing. Then walk away. Leave to simmer forever.

        So huggy wuggies and cuddles and giggles. And some kibble for you…new shoes? New fragrance ? New gadget? New…you get my drift.
        Treat yourself to something new and sparkly and forgive yourself. You are human.

  • Asswipe asked what i would say to anyone who asked what happened.

    I said the truth not that bullshit story youve been spewing we grew apart, you moved out and then met your love whore. But the truth.

    His answer wow thats cold. Thats makes me look so fucked up. Image management.

    My comment thats right you are an empty pod, black heart, and no soul and dont care who you hurt to get your way and i am a feeling, emotional, caring loving human.

    His comment i know thats true and you do too but im a good guy and this all makes me look bad.

    Too bad, so sad. Fucker.

  • I wish people would stop pretending that guilt means anything. GUILT MEANS NOTHING. The two unicorns I know didn’t go through dramatic personal change because of their guilt; it was based on a much deeper desire to fundamentally change how they respond to the world because bad shit was happening to them as a result of their cheating. The desire to be better is typically NOT based in guilt, but rather comes from the excruciating pain of consequences. These quacks who encourage chumps to coddle their cheaters’ guilt and not rain down consequences while simultaneously shouting that cheaters can change have a fundamental misunderstanding of what motivates a person to change in the first place. They say that cheaters can change and then encourage chumps to do exactly the opposite of what motivates authentic change.

    Sometimes it is totally appropriate to say fuck the “experts.” Those are the same experts who told mothers in the 1950s not to pick up or cuddle their crying babies because it would spoil them, and that gay people are just sick or confused, and that PTSD in the military wasn’t real. These experts based their advice on what they *wanted* to be true rather than what actual human behavior demonstrates. It is wishful thinking at its most destructive.

    • I think what you said is very accurate. I’ve certainly changed as of late. Just because you have a “degree” doesn’t mean your an expert. That rarely is the case. Living life and learning from it makes you an expert. Chump lady is an expert! She lived through the crap and learned from it. Now she is helping others and a lack of a psychology degree means nothing. It’s the lack of the degree in psychology that allowed her to see the garbage first hand and reach real world conclusions. Not some BS trial or review of data!

      • Lost, if the RIC actually had data or trialsn i would haave some resrepect for that. But it’s all just opinion, based on what they’re taught. As Tempest mentions, the actual research doesn’t line up w/the RIC.

      • @lostntx I’ve changed a lot too post D-Day. I’ve taken part in extensive painful therapy that sent me back to questioning everything I do in an attempt to see thinks in a different way than I did before. What made me do this? Consequences, the consequences of falling in love with, marrying, and reproducing with a cheater. We can change too, and many of us do…..because we landed here and it opened our eyes.

  • I thank god I found this site days after I caught my husband. I thank god I read everyone’s stories – and I learned from them the way I hope newbies read my posts and learn from them.

    Cheaters stare at the ceiling. I stared at the ceiling, too, wondering where I failed and how this must be all my fault. How worthless I was. Yes – all of us chumps have stared at the ceiling and we internalized the rejection of our spouses affairs. While they laid in bed next to their AP’s and wondered whatever where they to do – having two (wo)men wanting them. Such problems.

    So no. Fuck that. I tell everyone what he is and what he did. Mold grows in darkness, and I want my spirit cleansed of all the lies and manipulations my husband has put me through. If he is embarrassed…well he should be. As all of our mothers have told us at one time or another – if you don’t want people to know what you are doing, you shouldn’t be doing it.

  • People can change. Sure, I believe that. Take a look around CN and see for yourselves. Look at how many here changed their mindset when they realized their cheaters had no remorse and weren’t spending any time staring up at any damn ceilings. Look at all those Chumps who changed and decided they weren’t going to do the pick-me dance anymore. They weren’t going to be devalued or gaslighted or told they had to prove themselves worthy to their cheater in order to keep their relationships intact. People here and others who haven’t made it here changed the moment they decided they weren’t going to be Chumps any longer.

    A cheater who would spend any time on real self-reflection on the harm they inflicted on their partner with their selfish actions would follow up that thought process with some type of accountability through their follow-up actions. “Yes, I did this terrible thing and here’s what I’m going to do about it in order to try to fix the damage I’ve caused my family.” What is the percentage of human beings that actually go through this process and make genuine amends for their “mistakes?” Based on what I’ve read and experienced with friends, and I’ve been on a lot of different sites including several marriage building sites, the real life unicorn population is pretty lacking. They all seem to have the same MO. Entitlement, entitlement, blameshift, more entitlement.

    Whether it’s a one-night stand or a long-term affair, think about the type of person that decides at some point that crossing the line of fidelity is acceptable. Because they would have had to do that in order to cross that line to justify the betrayal to their partner (at least the ones that are supposedly remorseful afterward). You could make the argument that decent human beings might cross a line they wouldn’t normally cross if there was a reasonable justification. A mother might steal a loaf of bread to feed her hungry child. She wouldn’t normally steal but in this case, to save the life of her child you could reason away the infraction. Cheating is all about the cheater. If this Tammy person could give me a reasonable justification for it, I would certainly like to hear it because I can’t for the life of me come up with one where the cheater comes off as anything other than a selfish pod who thinks only of himself with no regard for anyone else or concern for any consequences that might follow. Can a person like that change? My thought is, why on earth would they?

  • After I made my stbx-husband send a “no-contact” letter to the affair partner, three months later in marriage counseling when it was revealed that he very recently started seeing the AP again, he told me how terrible I was for making him send that letter. He said and I quote “you made me hurt someone that I really care about”. Never mind the terrible pain he was putting me through.

    • BHU, it must have taken the strength of Hercules not to smash his nasty face in after hearing that!! What a total utter bastard!! What did the MC say?!!

    • That’s awful! I try to understand how people can be so mean and cruel, but I just can’t.

    • Jedi Hugs! I got this in person. Exasshole sat in the kitchen crying about how I made him hurt his friend. But as he continued to speak it was apparent that he could give a shit that he hurt the OW. What he was really saying is that it hurt HIM, it was all about his pain. If you really listened to these fuckers you will hear the truth.

  • “What’s your data set, asshole?”

    Just popping in to say that I’m going to look into getting some custom Post-its with this to distribute in my office.

  • I wish his ex wife had spoken up. So that everyone knew what a piece of shit he really was. He lied not only to me, but his “best friend” for the past 20 years. When the truth came out, I’m sure she was just as shocked as I was. What kind of person bases their entire friendship with someone on lies? He sat there, comforting his friend through her ugly divorce from her cheating husband, when he years earlier had been the cheating husband. But the ex wife was many states over, so hey, no one could check the facts until Facebook came along.

    I always wondered why he wouldn’t contact his estranged kids, who she had so cruelly kept away from him. Then my soon to be ex brother in law told me the truth: He signed those kids willingly over to her, for failure to pay child support. I verified the story with her. Thank you Facebook for making it so easy to contact total strangers.

    She also said that he’d been fired from a job in that state for embezzling money. It took a while, but then I realized that that’s the reason he got fired from his job when we met. His boss had all of a sudden given him a “bonus” out of the blue, and then 2 weeks later he was fired on the spot. Being naive and trusting people, I didn’t think much of it, and trusted his story.

    Fast forward 10 years, and his requests, repeatedly, is that we don’t speak bad about the other parent in front of the kids. That’s your biggest fear in the divorce? That I might speak bad about you? I won’t speak bad. But I will tell the truth. They aren’t old enough to know the entire truth, but down the road, if they desire to know it, I will tell them.

    • Yeah, my ex in the Divorce Letter to me said, “I will never speak bad about you to the kids.” Um. WTF bad things could you possibly say about me? He just wanted to make sure I wouldn’t say anything bad to the kids about him (your dad is a cheater. your dad is a pathological liar. your dad went to strippers and got 100% naked lap dances when I was pregnant with you. your dad emails, texts, goes on dates with women while we were married. your dad was gone most of the time “working” your entire life. shall I go on?) Well, too late. I’m honest with my kids about my shortcomings and I’m trying my best to be the best mom and person I can be.

      I didn’t speak bad, but I TOLD THE TRUTH! If he didn’t want me to speak “bad” about him, then he shouldn’t have done bad things.

      • Martha- I always count you as wise but this, this is the truest truth. If we are not honest with our kids there will be a huge price. I am paying it for shielding my, then high school aged, son. As a college junior he sees his lonely dad who is in poor health and has lost the respect of friends and family (I got all my in-laws in the divorce). The OW is still married and my ex is stumbling through life and my son wonders why I have built a new life. Ugh – I should have told him of his father’s five year affair and all the “work nights” (too many to ever count) that he was unavailable to us, but basking in the adoration of his girlfriend.

        So Martha – as always – you rock!

        • Paula, Thank you for your sweet words about me. I don’t always feel wise, but it’s funny, my ex used to tell me how wise I was — and now I’m a “judging” and “controlling” woman. Funny how I’m viewed differently when I’m no longer of any value to him.

          Paula, it’s never too late to tell your son. I never knew about what my dad did to my mom (lots of cheating) until I was older (he left the family when I was around two or three years old). I don’t remember how I found out, but eventually I did seek my mom out for the truth and I remember asking her about my dad. I also asked my siblings who are older than me.

          I wasn’t planning on telling my kids right away (I had always planned on telling them), but I was forced into it after my exes mommy accused me of something that I never would do (keep the kids away from the grandparents and their father.) My then husband wouldn’t talk to me about what his mom accused me of, so I “lost it” (my first time ever getting really angry at him post D-day) and I told the kids what their dad had been up to our entire marriage. No regrets. I’m happy they know the truth. I didn’t ever want them thinking it had to do with them. I didn’t want them ever thinking I did some terrible thing. It was all on him and it’s still all in on him ’til this day. He made conscious daily decisions to devalue me, lie to me and see women behind my back. That’s totally on him and it’s the TRUTH!

          And Paula, you rock(!), because you are mighty and “built a new life”!! I’m still working on both. 🙂

  • Without a doubt this site and fellow chumps saved my sanity. I do go to therapy and my therapist in no way has ever blamed me for the harm done to me by infidelity. Ever. Any therapist that does so is simply incompetent. Fire them immediately and if you can, report them to their professional organization. It’s well time to stop this notion that you are in any way a willing participant in your abuse.

    I ask this, “Where is the research that shows that couples who reconcile after infidelity are happy? How long do these “reconciliations” last? How do you define abuse in a relationship?” Ask these questions of any therapist who suggests you can reconcile and if they can’t show you the DATA, the RESEARCH then they are blowing smoke up your ass.

    Do I think couples can reconcile? Maybe but I also know that the vast majority do not reconcile after infidelity. Do I think it’s possible that a cheater can be truly remorseful, do a deep soul searching inventory of their life choices, become safe partners who consistently do the hard work of showing up and being accountable for years on end? Maybe but those that do are the very rare exception because that shit is difficult to do and most cheaters simply don’t have it in them.

    Cheaters are weak people at the heart of it all. They lack wisdom, courage and empathy. If you are a grown ass adult and you don’t know that cheating is clusterfuck of hurt and pain, God help your soul. We don’t have therapy for that. We have damage control.

    Getting away from a cheater is a sane, healthy choice and don’t let any therapist tell you otherwise.

    • People who are secure in their decision to attempt reconciliation will not take offense at the things said here. I welcome the opportunity to ensure that I’m not slipping into hopium.

      “Do I think it’s possible that a cheater can be truly remorseful, do a deep soul searching inventory of their life choices, become safe partners who consistently do the hard work of showing up and being accountable for years on end? Maybe but those that do are the very rare exception because that shit is difficult to do and most cheaters simply don’t have it in them.”

      This is so very true.

      • We reconciled the first time. Then 10 years later boom. And find out that all those years in between were not what they seemed. Can a cheater get a character transplant, maybe. But I’d recommend a gamble on someone else rather than the painful process that leads to reconciliation and then another DDay. There are many others on this site that did the same thing. Reconcile and waste years more of your life to find it was a mirage.

    • I know of ONE unicorn–an aunt. Want to know why it works? She bought his bullshit that it was only emotional for a few weeks. SMH.

    • “If you are a grown ass adult and you don’t know that cheating is clusterfuck of hurt and pain, God help your soul. We don’t have therapy for that. We have damage control.”

      Disordered. Plain and simple. Their brains are NOT wired correctly.

    • The innocence is definitely lost when you do reconcile. I found I just could never feel the same about my STBXH after the first D-day and wreckoncilition. I just don’t know if it’s even possible once the truth is revealed and the trust is gone…

  • On a slightly different but still related tangent:

    I was desperate to get sole custody of our son. In mediation, I agreed to be permanently enjoined, after the Final Protective Order is vacated, from discussing the Final Protective Order and the finding of family violence unless necessary or required by CPS, police officers, etc. I also agreed to sign a Motion to Seal. That was the price for my son’s freedom.

    Image is everything to a narcissist. All the other abuse he either denied or blamed me for. But he could NOT allow me to talk about the documented domestic violence. Kinda takes the sparkles off Mr. Shiny.

    The PO is good for 2 years and will vacate in January 2017. So, until then, I blab. I squeal. I spill. I take that dirty laundry out and give it a good airing. And, you know what? Who’s to say what is “necessary?” I guess that would be me. You want to take me back to court, motherfucker? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

    Rock on, CN. Own your story.

    • Tip of the hat to the great Anne Lamott:

      You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

  • I kept silent for two long years except within my online support group in hopes that the marriage could be repaired. Once I decided it could not be fixed I told everyone everything. The only filter on my mouth is my adult children. They know most of the truth, they don’t need all the gory details. Telling your story is amazingly healing. It doesn’t matter in the least whether people believe you. I heard over and over that people found it hard to believe that what I said about my ex (but he’s such a great guy!) could be true. Don’t care. Telling my truth is cathartic to ME and that’s reason enough.

    • Beth, YES. As I said to Paintwidow, it is for US. For the reacquisition of our integrity.

      I don’t ever feel the ‘screw everyone else’ attitude, but in THIS ~~ yeah. Screw them. This is for us and we need to effect come serious change in the way society endorses this domestic abuse. The ravages of such prolonged emotional sadism needs to be exposed and dealt with or it will just be perpetuated.

  • I often wonder if the people who say those stupid statements “a cheater can change” don’t have some sort of hidden story, like they have been cheated on and don’t want anyone to know so they say stupid shit like that. It is just like people who say “oh I would kill, throw them out, take them for everything they have if my significant ever cheated on me”. This coming from a women who thought the same thing, but waited 9 fucking years and so many d-days I lost count, trying to “save” a marriage that was never really a good one!
    I would much rather listen to a person who has gone through the experience on what to do then some nut job who has some stupid made up degree. Gimmie a break real life is the only degree I need.

  • All I can say is YES!!!! One million times. Preach it! A chump never hears the remorse. More importantly, we never see the actions that back up those words. 12M are pretty obvious evidence.

  • Standing for my marriage and trying to reconcile with a sociopath almost killed me. I was hospitalized twice and nearly lost everything.

    Finding Tracy and CN saved me! When I finally left a cheater and gained a life, that is exactly what I got! An amazing new life! I TELL EVERYONE Tracy’s story and my own. I drive around with copies of her book in my car and hand them out to anyone who wants one! F**k you cheaters! You don’t get to win! Won’t. Be. Silenced!!!

  • This is just another example of a cheater twisting facts to fit their feelings.

    The cheater feels bad for what they’ve done (as they should… that’s called healthily guilt and where change starts) but if a chump wants accountability and The cheater isn’t given an “it’s okay hall pass” , that makes the chump self-righteous? Hmmm … notice how the perpetrator becomes the victim by attaching a negative label to the one who was victimized?

    Can a chump regulate a cheaters morality? Nope, and I don’t want that responsibility anyway! Expecting a cheater to regulate that on their own is not self-righteousness, that’s called being a healthy grown-up.

    Can a chump be angry that cheaters put their health, life and family unit in danger? Yep, that’s called self-respect, not self-righteousness.

    Does calling a cheater out on their failed commitment to a chump make them feel bad? I’m sorry, that’s called consequences, not to be mistaken for a chump being self-righteousness.

    Equality: the state of being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. I totally see how a chump expecting the same rights and information about their relationship status could be confused with self-righteousness (read thick with sarcasm).

  • After Dday, and for a long time after, I told everyone who would listen. About how he masqueraded his whore as a friend and had her babysitting our children do he had a place to fuck her…well that didn’t do well for his image management. Tough. You do the crime,you do the time. And even though people know what he had done, he is still with the whore he rode in on. Secretly, of course. I should have the divorce decree any time now…you can bring her out of hiding now…like I haven’t told everyone you never stopped….

    Once a cheater, always a cheater…yep, that’s about right. Glad I didn’t waste time on that pile of poop and put that trash out. Cheating is about selfishness and entitlement. If the only people who pays the price is your spouse and children, there is no reason for change, is there?

    I just hope she’s ready for when he’s ready to cheat on her. Cause they are both broke (I was financing their rendezvous unknowingly) and he needs a new sugar mamma.

  • After DDay #1, I did everything those RIC experts told me to do. Bought all the books, highlighted the passages for him to read because he was “too busy” to read them himself, owned my part in the breakdown of the marriage, didn’t press him when his response to my questions was always “I don’t remember”, and twisted myself into an unrecognizable shape trying to change all the things I was “doing wrong” and be the wife he said he needed. Fast forward 3 years later, DDay #2 arrived with a second AP (that I know of), did it all again because he VOWED he wanted to make our marriage work. Finally, 6 months later, after DDay #4, I told him I was done and he had to leave. And for a couple more months, I STILL didn’t give up hope that he’d “come out of the fog” and come back to our family. That’s when I finally found CL, read through the archives day and night, and realized I was a class A chump. But the best thing about this blog was realizing that I wasn’t alone, that there were many people out there experiencing what I was going through, and they were forging ahead, being mighty, and it gave me the strength to finally stand up for myself and say ENOUGH. This blog and all the wonderful people of chump nation literally saved my sanity when I didn’t think I could make it through. I’m only 6 weeks into the divorce process, but I draw strength and laughter every day from Tracey’s spot-on posts and the smart, strong and hilarious responses from CN! So Tammy can shove her tweets up her a##, and as The Bitchy Ex-orcist said, leave our beloved leader alone!! All hail CL and CN, bringing the UBT to lead all of us chumps to the land of Meh!

    • Love it, too. This is exactly my story except I found the CL book (within a couple of days not weeks) and then found this great community. I am now 5 1/2 months out, and the divorce is final.

  • I have and will continue to tell the truth! I kept silent about the emotional/psychological abuse, lies and cheating for over 20 years. My silence kept the abuse and cheating coming. Once I started telling the truth, the Narc didn’t like it, started the smear campaign behind my back (I’m one of the many “crazy” wives who got cheated on) and then the discard. My kids know the truth. My hope that knowing the truth will help my kids make good decisions in the future with their relationships. I’m on a mission to enlightened people about narcissism and Narcissistic Abuse Sydrome. I’m not shutting up anymore. Anyone who tells me to shut up will be told to STFU!

    • Martha, just like my story, 20 years of hiding the abuse and affairs. Exposing them finally was what saved me and brought his craziness into the light where I could see it was his failings, not mine, causing the problems. Narcs have to stay hidden to keep their power. We need to expose the truth for what it is and stop hiding and feeling shame for something we did not cause. I have no idea why MCs would try to keep us together, only one told me the truth, that he was an abuser and I needed to leave. My Xhole immediately found us a new MC that just kept me hoping and blaming it all on me for another 5 years of misery. The smear campaign is just part of the process. I had to stop carrying what other people thought of me. I know in my heart who I am and how hard I tried. His lies will be exposed one day, they always are.

      • ” His lies will be exposed one day, they always are.” Amen! The truth always comes out! Just like I *knew* (my gut) my husband was seeing women behind my back. I finally caught him in the act — the truth came out!

        That’s one thing this whole thing has taught me — I just don’t seem to care very much what anyone thinks of me anymore. And I was always someone who was concerned whether someone liked me or not. I bent over backwards for him and his family, trying to get them to love me and accept me. I could never do enough for them and in the end, they threw me away like garbage. Only toxic, disordered people use people and throw them away. I don’t need people like this in my life anymore. No one is ever going to use me again and I’m learning to set boundaries and say “no” when I don’t want to do something etc.

        Yes, the shame and the feelings of “what is wrong with me? what am I lacking that he needs to see women behind my back?” We did not cause the cheating and lying problem. They did! But they are so good at making us feel like we are too blame. When I get any feeling like I’m to blame for his cheating and lying, I now remember the first time he devalued me. We were just dating. We were totally “in love.” Just came back from a big vacation visiting family and friends. Two days after we came back from our trip, he started his training for his first big job out of college. He was out-of-town for two weeks in a row. Lots of partying and meeting “big wigs”. Got a big head. Thought he was all that! He turned into a total jerk. Cold, mean, dismissive, ignoring me and I remember talking on the phone with him while he was there and I asked him if we were going to do anything over the weekend. He said, “What? Like take a walk around your apartment?” He didn’t say it in a nice way. Made me feel one inch tall. Just a total jerk! And this treatment went on and off for about a year and I put up with it even though my gut was telling me to Run, Martha, Run!!! Other things like this happened over the years and I remind myself of them as they came out-of-the-blue and I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING TO CAUSE HIM TO TREAT ME LIKE CRAP!

        We get taught so much in high school, but we learn nothing about red flags, boundaries and healthy relationships. It’s sad we have to go through this stuff and learn our lessons the hard way.

    • You told my story! I stopped hiding his crappy, cruel behavior. He did not like it at all! I told him, “if the shoe fits, mfer, wear it” Of course, we are always wacko, paranoid, insecure. I of course told him “funny, I’ve been in many relationships and now magically, I’ve turned into this delusional person! I think I realized the only delusion was him being a good person

  • About to flip TWELVE MILLION? Wow. I don’t really think congratulations is the correct thing to say, but…wow. Okay, Congratulations on the number of people you’ve helped (including me)!

  • My cheater never asked for permission to insert a stranger into my life (and a crazy one at that!)

    He never asked permission to tell others personal things about me or our relationship.

    He certainly never asked permission to drop a bomb on my life nor did he bother to circle around and search the wreckage for survivors.

    Now I don’t need his permission to move forward with my life.

    • Absolutely! He didn’t get permission from anyone respectable to do what he did to your life, and you don’t need permission from apologists to move on with yours.

    • Ditto@ Done4Good!So telling the truth after all the lies spread to define and shape their narrative , often years in the making , of Fucked Up behavior is some how a problem? Can that gal Tammy explain that one
      for the 12 Million out there ( Yeah Tracy!) . So in her mind lying, hurtful, dangerous behavior is to be analyzed, forgiven, less we seem bitter. But telling the truth is a scornful behavior that should be rewarded with a scarlet letter stamped on a unsuspecting chumps forehead!

      And the poor tormented cheaters “sleepless & staring at the ceiling” , yeah well that brings up a few images, don’t it!

  • I think if I parked the Pinto in the parking lot for the Clinic for Disordered Fucktards and ran away as fast as I could BEFORE it exploded, I would shrug and know better than to invest in a Pinto ever again. If however I was sitting behind the wheel I could no longer steer and wondering where the fuck this damn car was going, and then the Pinto blew up, well, no apology or sleepless night from Ford would suffice.

    Keep writing Tracy, You Rock!

  • It is my story, and though I wish things were different, I own it. I count it among my assets.
    I do whatever the fuck I want with it. STBX lost his dual aproprietorship of “our story” the first time he entered a cheaters’ chat room.

  • Cheaters can change:

    Change like a chameleon – hey I hated babies, spicy food, and dogs. Now I love them.

    Change the sheets on the marital bed after screwing the slunT on it

    Change from mr nice guy to porno man

    Change the narrative to look good

    Change from love to hate once caught.

    • Perfectly said, Doingme! I remember being in counseling and telling her that he “seemed to be able to fit into any situation. CHANGE into a different person to fit right in.” She said, “Like a chameleon.” Yes, that was it! And the changing of his “likes and dislikes” It was the biggest mind fuck! He’d tell me foods he didn’t like. So, I’d log them into my brain to make sure I never made them. And then years later, he said he’d liked them and “never said that.” WTF?! And he rewrote the history of our marriage. And one day he loved me, told me I was “perfect wife”, took such great care of him and the kids and then he changed after being caught cheating and said “you never took good care of me”, “I don’t love you anymore” and that he “hadn’t been happy in ten years, but didn’t know it.” Yes, cheaters change.

      • Yes, Martha. I wanted a dog and he said it would tie us down. She has a dog. He couldn’t be bothered with his granddaughter, now sits home with her baby granddaughter.

        The best change is Chump Change! Throw the fuckers and their goal posts out. Haha.

  • Damn, I love it when you rant, Tracy. You dig down and pull up that force of nature all chumps need to get the fuck out of the BIG LIE with cheaters. Stunning. Clap-clap-clap.

    • And being on the receiving end of being called an ASSHOLE by Tracy is 12 million strong.

  • CL – I love how you deal with that piece of pretzel logic!

    You hit it on the head:
    The question is not whether people change or not.
    The question is: “Once you know your spouse cheated on you, are you willing to keep that person as your spouse and life partner?”

    In any country where divorce is lawful, any therapist that is not willing to ask this question to a betrayed spouse should not be booked for an other appointment.

    Chumps, ask yourself:

    Can Bernie Madoff change? He can!
    Given what you know about Bernie Madoff, would you ever hire him as you financial advisor? I would not.

    Can Kenneth Lay (CEO of Enron) change? He can!
    Given what you know about Kenneth Lay, would you ever want to start a business with him? I would not.

    Can Lance Armstrong change? He can!
    Given what I know about Lance Armstrong, would I ever want to hire him as my cycling coach? No thanks.

    Can a cheater change? He can!
    Given the proof I uncovered of my X hiding a double life for over a year with a gradwhore half his age, do I want to keep this man as my life partner and spouse? No thanks.

    It is not about whether cheaters can change or not, I hope they feel the guilt and use it to grow into better people. But do I want to be in a relationship with someone who has proven he lies, does not respect me and crushed the gift of my life, the most precious thing I have to give? Sanity and love are two of the most precious gifts we are to preserve in life. Why would I squander these for the sake of staying married to a cheating lying coward?

    I took a good hard look into my eyes on DDay. I knew right then that I would never be able to look at myself in the mirror if I stayed in that kind of a relationship. My choice to divorce, and pushing through that sucker against his resistance were very painful, but the only way to allow me to still look at myself in the mirror and be proud of the dignity, self-respect, and the growing sense of peace I feel for leaving and divorcing my cheater after DDay#1.

    • That is so well put! Thank you Chumptitude!

      When I question myself, and my decision to divorce. I then answer my own question, no it would never be the same, no I would never trust him again, no I would never have peace again in my heart.

      • MightyAgain – I am right there with you, my X is duplicitous and as a result, I am glad I have taken notes of all he did during our divorce process. I go back to these to validate that yes, this is who he is. This turned out to be an excellent vaccine when he tries to switch to the charm or poor me channels!

    • Exactly, standing ovation!!

      And where are the idiots demanding that Bernie Madoff’s victims ‘forgive’ him? Right….

      • Oh that would be an awesome thread wouldn’t it…

        Calling all Madoff’s victims, please let us know how your forgave him, and would give him another chance with your life savings…

        No thanks, I’ll take my chances elsewhere :)!

    • Excellent, Chumptitude.

      “…..does not respect me and crushed the gift of my life, the most precious thing I have to give?” I remember years earlier giving my now ex a letter. Tell him the most precious thing I had to offer him was heart. Myself. My true self. He never deserved the gift of my heart or me. He never deserved me at all.

      • That’s right Martha, no cheater deserved their chump to start with. And the best way to reclaim our power is to refuse to play their games…