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The Fallacy of Blissful Ignorance

blissIf you’ve ever had the misfortune of being chumped, you know that ignorance is not bliss.

Being kept in the dark about sexual (and most likely financial) betrayal is not happiness. It’s not business as usual. It’s not peaceful.

Ignorance is gaslighting and STDs. Ignorance is mindfuckery and self-loathing. Ignorance is lost opportunity and theft.

The only people who think ignorance is bliss are people who have never been chumped. And cheaters who have a vested interest in keeping their chumps in the dark.

That said, this ignorance about ignorance does not keep people from voicing an opinion about something they know fuck-all about.

If I were cheated on, I wouldn’t want to know.

You shouldn’t tell a chump they’re being cheated on because you’d ruin their life. 

To wit, the otherwise irreproachable advice blog Captain Awkward gave this crap advice recently (and I’m sorry to say it, because I find Captain Awkward terrific). A person wrote in about her recently deceased aunt, who they discovered was having an affair with a guy we’ll call Mr. Creepy. Mr. Creepy showed up as chief mourner and wanted to go through the Aunt’s things. The letter writer thought Mr. Creepy’s wife should know about the affair.

The advice was given to destroy the evidence, ignore Mr. Creepy, and butt out of the chump’s business.

I know the Wrongness of all this is eating at you, but either his wife knows who she married and they are dealing with it between them, or she’s blissfully ignorant and you’ll be throwing a brick through the window of her life in the name of …feminism? You’d want to know in her shoes, but in her shoes, how much credit would you give a random account from a stranger?

I’d give a lot of credit to a “random stranger” who has tons of evidence on their deceased aunt’s computer, but alas, the random stranger has been told to destroy said evidence by an advice blogger.

But let’s examine the fallacies at the heart of this awful — but common — advice.

Fallacy #1. The Chump Already Knows.

Fallacy #2. Ignorance Is Bliss.

Fallacy #3. The Truth Is a Brick.

Fallacy #1. The Chump Already Knows. If the chump already knows her husband is a cheater, new knowledge that he is a cheater just confirms what she already knows. No harm done.

If someone told my husband, “I’m sorry to say it, but your wife has a really weird penchant for pinecone elves,” he would shrug or commiserate with the stranger about my eBay habits. If pinecone elves were threatening my marriage, and I promised to never buy another pinecone elf again, but secretly I HAD bought some irresistible limited-edition elves in floppy sombreros? This new evidence of my poor character is useful.

Don’t give someone evidence because they’re “dealing with it between them”? You can’t deal with things you don’t know about. Poor cheater, we’re just piling on. If the cheater is, in fact, “dealing with it” — there’s nothing new to discover. If there is? They’re not “dealing with it” — the chump is being deceived.

Fallacy #2. Ignorance Is Bliss. The un-chumped assume that those who are in marriages with cheaters are otherwise totally happy in those marriages. Sure, the cheater might be happy (CAKE!), but chumps? Yes, we are ignorant of the truth — but HAPPY? No fucking way.

For someone to be in an active affair means the chump is being emotionally abused. You can’t cheat on someone without lying to them or gaslighting them. Turning their suspicions back on them, making them constantly doubt their reality. Moreover, people who engage in affairs justify these affairs to themselves, and treat their partners and children like shit. You were so sexless, angry, ugly, consumed with the children, consumed with work that I had to cheat on you. That’s in the cheaters’ heads and in disparaging emails to their Schmoopies about the chump. At discovery? It’s said to chumps’ faces.

At the very LEAST, cheater are stealing time and resources from their families. To be chumped is to do the Humiliating Dance of Pick Me not even realizing who the competition is. It’s the sense that your partner is checked out, stressed, angry with you, finds you not measuring up quite, pre-occupied — and you don’t know WHY.

And that ignorance has real COSTS — years spent not knowing what the hell is wrong with your marriage (the cheater is checked out and is risking your health) — means you don’t get to move on with your life. It’s sunk costs. It’s financial decisions made in ignorance. It’s your reproductive health. It’s scary PAP smears.

Bliss? FUCK NO.

Fallacy #3. The Truth Is a Brick. “You’ll be throwing a brick through the window of her life in the name of …feminism?” Sure, why the hell not? I’ll take a brick thrown for the cause of universal sisterhood. Heck, you can throw the brick in the name of the Flat Earth Society or the Fellowship of Donald Trump Appreciators. Who cares WHY the brick is thrown? What matters is that it gets lobbed through the self-serving window of cheater artifice.

I discovered I was a chump when the Other Woman told me. Were her motives pure? No. She wanted to break up my marriage and have Mr. Sparkles to herself. Did it hurt? Like a motherfucker. But it was the truth, and that knowledge ultimately saved me. The problem wasn’t the truth — the problem was that my then-husband was a lying, cheating con artist.

Until people start seeing infidelity for what it is — abuse — we’ll keep telling them to shut up and maintain the shameful silence. Frankly, I wish more people threw truth bricks. Is the truth shattering? Yeah. But the liberation is worth it.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • And a few years later I was with someone who cheated. My sister warned me instinctively – when I described how he’d gone cold on me and was suddenly ‘busy’ a lot – that I was about to get dumped.

    Being 23 and an expert on human relationships, I denied this angrily.

    I was chumped and dumped.

    I was furious at her – FOR BEING RIGHT.

    And that’s it in a nutshell.

    • Maybe this is what people fear; anger from the clumped, against the truth-teller. (Plus it’s a damned awkward conversation to have.)

      But I’m betting you forgave your sister pretty fast. You knew that she, unlike the cheater, had your best interests at heart.

  • Things I wish I was blissfully ignorant about: cat hair balls, the taste of Tamiflu (medication for the flu, FYI), post pregnancy hemorrhoids and hangovers.

    Finding out what kind of creature I married and reproduced with has been mind boggling, heart breaking, and priceless.

    • OMG, yes.

      I did not want to believe he was THIS disordered, that I ultimately meant so little, for the longest time. Heartbreaking stuff.
      And that breeding with him has caused my beloved children problems. Infuriating stuff.

      I didn’t want to believe for the longest time. Surely things were so serious he would move emotionally? Parent unitedly? Nah. Except recently a close friend of us both remarked ‘he has issues’ and a not so close friend said ‘he is not normal’.

  • You are so absolutely right on.

    One of my hardest finds was when the “best friend” told me that her husband had helped cheater pick up two hang gliders 9 months before to help hide them. Obviously the second glider wasn’t for me .

    It is do weird how these things pan out. My ex husband had used the hanglider metaphor multiple times in therapy. For some reason, that hurt me the most…

    Years later I needed to threaten to take the couples therapist to the local ethics board. In the midst of a “high conflict” custody case, she was working out with ex and wife #4.

    Everyone thought I was nuts to care.

    My next partner will want to walk the journey with me, not get one over

  • Hear hear Chump Lady.
    I completely agree with every single word you wrote and probably all of the ones you just thought about.
    I had this question the most ‘Are you glad you found out?’ the implication being that if I could somehow in-find out and carry on then I might choose that.
    I just think so many people love the status quo. Scary stuff happens everywhere so why invite it in if you can possibly avoid it. I think the implications of cheating freak people out so they just want you to collude with them in stuffing the genie back in the frigging bottle.
    To be honest I always reply now to this question (and less and less as I have stopped feeling the need to tell all and sundry) by reminding them of the STD risk as he never used condoms. This they can understand more readily than all the mind-fuckery going on.
    I have often said I hated what happened but the thought that I may never have found out or found out after 10 more years makes me go cold.
    At least when I found out I got to make some of my own choices.

    • Yes, thinking that today he could still be taking off early, fucking someone else, and then sitting at our family dinner table with his head held high, later taking me to bed, then finally sleeping like a baby makes me shudder. I am SO glad I know the truth of the matter. I know enough about his double life and my principles to know I could never remain with someone so devious and entitled. I deserved to know about this completely unacceptable situation. Shockingly, he was absolutely focused on me never finding out. Because cake.

      • God, that just sent a shudder down my spine: he could still be doing it today and I would never know. SO much better off without that in my life.

      • And where does all that energy come from, to keep so focused on keeping you in the dark? From your marriage,of course! It’s theft, emotional theft. The Chump is worrying about why the relationship is feeling shitty, and the cheater is dreaming up new ways to hide their activities. So wrong.

    • Exactly.

      I can remember in the initial days of finding out, and for some time after while trying to rebuild my life, thinking maybe it would have been better not to know, because it was hard and “destroyed my life”.

      Well, as you get further away from D-Day you realize it only destroyed a life you thought you had, that you never really had.

      You realize that you would have found out some way eventually… it wasn’t going to remain a secret, and you would be older and even less well-prepared to handle it.

      In hindsight, and once you finally come out the other side, it’S hard to regret both having found out and having gained your life back!

      Perhaps those who haven’t experienced this first hand only see the short term pain we go through when this first happens and think it couldn’t possibly be worth it. But they are wrong. So thank you CL for helping to educate them!

      • True, a life you never really had, an illusion with an imposter. How very sad, yet true.

        I’m ashamed and embarrassed to say there were people who weren’t certain but questioned his behavior and brought it to my attention. I spackled, thinking they didn’t know X like I did. I remember them looking at me in pity because I wasn’t listening or paying attention to the obvious.
        It was so obvious, I cringe thinking one time there was even a stranger who brought it to my attention. A young man with a baby brought it to the attention of him as well.
        I remember questioning X and he would react with resentment and even feigned anger that I would question him or doubt his motives. Foolishly I believed him.
        I earned the title of Chump and fool.

      • I am just at the beginning stages of the divorce process. The anxiety and stress is astronomical. Part of me wishes for keeping the crazy and having full control and care for my children as well as financial stability. I do believe I will be better off once I finally come out thru the other side, but the pain is excruciating for my life changes and the effect it has and will have on my kids. Hoping for peace and stability. Being chumped sucks and going thru divorce double sucks

    • I got that “random account from a stranger” in a text message en route to our first anniversary vacation. And I’m so thankful for it. I would never have known and the abuse and lies would’ve continued to grow.

    • Well, even if he had worn condoms, you’d still be at risk for STDs. Condoms *reduce* the probability of transmission; they don’t eliminate it. Not at all.

      • Notice how the new Cheater Friendly euphemism for Sexually Transmitted DISEASES became Sexually Transmitted “Infections?”

        I’m surprised they even used a capital letter for infection. It would be more cheater friendly if it was spelled STi.

        Because HIV, AIDS, HPV, HSV and Hepatitis C are just temporarily little infections, no big deal! Take an antibiotic! Poof it’s gone.

        No matter what, don’t shame the cheater who transmitted it to against your will and without your knowledge!

        Assholes! Even the things you can take antibiotics are deadly and hideous if you don’t know you have it and have no idea you need to get treatment.

        Ask Al Capone what untreated syphilis did for him. Oh wait, he lost his mind before he died and couldn’t have told you!

  • This column is long enough as is, but one of the arguments for not telling is that I would be depriving a chump of their RIGHT to remain ignorant. Because, we must assume that ignorance of cheating is preferable.

    I’m sorry — the costs of harm are too great not to tell you. Financial theft, your health, your time.

    Is that presumptuous and bossy of me? Perhaps it is. May as well tell people to skip those cancer screenings and ignore knowledge that their pensions are being embezzled.

    IMO, if you’ve never been chumped? STFU.

    • And I would add, is it a choice if someone is truly and completely ignorant? Doesn’t sound like a choice to me. So, that means the chump IS NOT choosing to be ignorant. They are just being chumped and abused.

      Plus, denial is usually a bad place to remain when dealing with anything of severity–i.e. cancer diagnosis, your house burning down, etc. Cheating certainly qualifies as severe and serious. Denial comes with real costs.

      • yep, giving the chump the info is a little like watching a boxing match where one guy has his hand tied behind his back. Informing a chump is just untying his hand and evening out the playing field.

        And, yes, I’m sure a lot of chumps might react with anger and denial — *I* did — but if I were truly brave and strong (and I know now that I am), I would be willing to shoulder that abusive reaction from the newly informed chump. Make whatever choice you want, but have it at least be an informed choice.

      • I wanted to know. I told so many of my friends that YES, you should have told me! I even said I would have accepted something written on a napkin and put it in my car/pocket, etc. I don’t care if I don’t know who told me, just tell me something!!!

    • I agree wholeheartedly. Even if the truth may hurt; I have a greater respect for a person who shares the truth. I resent someone who holds back. It’s more about them being uncomfortable than protecting my feelings. It’s selfish. Don’t deny me the ability to be able to chose how to react because I don’t have all the information.

      • Exactly, don’t deny me my ability to be able to choose!

        I am forever grateful to the person who lobbed a brick via a photo emailed to me of Narkles the Clown and the Flying Whore in a hotel room together. Who it was and how they got it or how they found me (chief worries of Narkles the Clown after D-Day-not my feelings about it) are no longer my concern. I am simply thankful for the brick and the better life I have created for myself.

        • AOoK–a photo-encased brick through a window? Now that is the stuff of Hollywood movies! I’m sorry there was a reason for the brick, but that is at least an awesome & creative way to find out!

    • There are plenty of people who remain willfully ignorant in the face of the truth, so I wouldn’t even say that presenting facts deprives someone of ignorance. They can just as easily choose to write it off as nonsense and go on with their merry little lie. So….bullshit argument.

      • Good point. We know people can spackle over anything if they put enough layers on.

      • And even the person who writes it off as nonsense is making a CHOICE. They have some info, they choose to ignore it. The chump from whom we keep information about their cheating partner is denied even that choice.

        And I think that even for those who continue spackling, or whose cheater is so good at deceiving them that they go back to believing them, at least a little crack has appeared in their perception of reality. That crack may add up with others, over time, to lead to a clearer understanding of what they are dealing with. That is important.

        • Excellent point, KarenE. All these things build on each other. So many of us here have multiple ddays. Each one lead to eventually making the correct choice to get free.

          I have circumstantial evidence that there were more affairs and one night stands than I know about…and going back before we had kids. I can’t guarantee that I wouldn’t have spackled back then but I know the main reason I stayed through dday#1 was the heartache of my kids losing an intact family,

          I am SURE there were people who knew what he was doing. In my book, they are guilty, too. They helped perpetuate the abuse. And now there are 3 kids who have to deal with all of this, too.

          • I agree `100 % with you. Friends & family that don’t man up & tell the truth are also scumbags & yes I also stay for my kids & only for my kids. It really sucks but I could not imagine a night I don’t hear my sweet pea say your the best daddy in the world & I love you……nothing else matters to me. No I am not a wimp or weak I am a mans man work hard do the right thing 100 % of the time and she shits on me blames me etc & yes its always my fault and nothing I do is ever good enough nor will it ever be. I have accepted my fate and will be free from her on his 18th bday. But the friends & family that know I want to smash them in the face with the brick 😉

            • Michael D, you are so right about the family and friends who don’t tell being scumbags.

              A fellow chump I know had this happen to her on a grand scale with her second marriage. Her now XH had actually been cheating before the marriage and just had a baby by the OW right before my friend was going to marry him.

              Everyone in their small town knew, including her whole family, and NO ONE said a word to her and let her go ahead and marry him. She found out after being married to him for ONE WEEK and this was her second marriage. She is a very strong person and has a “one and done” attitude, so she left him right then and there, one week into the marriage and never looked back.

              She said she was actually more upset and felt even more betrayed that nobody told her and sure enough, most of them used the lame excuse of #1 above that they thought “she already knew.” I call bullshit on that!!!! Sometimes it seems that other people actually like seeing someone else get chumped…:(

              • I just wanted to add that the “thought the chump already knew” excuse doesn’t even make sense, because if those people really thought the chump knew, then why would they stay silent about it??? If the chumps supposedly knows then they would be able to bring it up to the chump or talk about it and they don’t, so that is another reason I feel this excuse is bullshit!

              • Not to mention our reactions at D-day. If we had “known” why would be so surprised and gutted?

          • Yes, they knew and are just as guilty. Now, they lower their eyes when they see me in public because I suspected and was always told he loves you. Sure enough to cheat, have viagra in his top drawer not for us and seek porn. Mediation this week.

          • You speak the truth, oh wise GetMeFree.

            My first dday happened more than a year after the affair was over. A bomb laid dormant in my Facebook from the AP’s husband. I had never seen it because he wasn’t a friend and it was in a different location.

            Like you, I stayed for my 10yo daughter. As a child of divorce myself, I didn’t want her to grow up without her father. And it was over. And we went to counseling. And he did it again and got caught 4 years later.

            I now know he has been cheating for MORE THAN 12 YEARS! Pick a cliche — woman he met on a plane, high school sweetheart he hooked up with through FB, one of my best friends, a mutual friend, a work colleague — they all apply. And these are just the ONES I KNOW ABOUT. I’m sure there are more and now that I know what I know, I know in my heart he was cheating before we had our child? Why would you inextricably tie yourself to someone else for the rest of your life as parents when you’re already checked out? It makes no sense.

            Oh, and here’s a kicker. Once, relatively early in our marriage, while we were on a vacation, he tried to kiss a woman. He came back to our room, confessing his indiscretion, crying and upset with himself. He had been drinking, didn’t know what he was doing, yadda, yadda, yadda. I bought it — hook, line and sinker. I thought to myself that this was proof that he’d never cheat. I even comforted him at the time.

            In hindsight, without the rose colored glasses, I realize he was just covering his tracks in the event she told me about his move on her. The woman lived in our same town and he was trying to start an affair with her.

            For me, what I cannot forgive is the lost time. Over a decade of my life wasted on someone who didn’t, or more probable couldn’t love me. Not the real definition of love.

            I am so full of regret for those lost years. I gave up my career to raise our daughter and support his career which required constant travel. Now, 15 years later, that career is gone — unrecoverable. (I was in a middle manager in tech — my skills are way out of date, plus I’m over 50, female and not within commuting distance. The tech industry is male dominated and youth obsessed.) Had he either dealt with his shit or gotten out 12 years ago, I would have been able to recover my career. And we wouldn’t be fighting over spousal support. But then again, he wouldn’t have been able to have his career, so we’re back to narcissism again — it’s all about him. His career, his needs, his toys, his ego.

            Oh, and I need to share this diddy. I recently found out that he had pursued one of my best friends FOR OVER A YEAR — our daughter was 5. She kept saying no and deferring. He tried to fuck her in my house, while I home asleep in my bed and my daughter was home asleep in her bed. My friend left in the middle of the night and stopped hanging out with me. I mourned over the loss of that friendship for years. I questioned my STBX for years. I brought it up in marriage counseling — he stonewalled and gaslighted. My friend, whom I’m back in touch with, deeply regrets not telling me.

            As far as I’m concerned, he STOLE a decade of my life. I hope his dick falls off and he rots in hell.

            • Giddy Eagle, this: “I hope his dick falls off and he rots in hell.”

              I had made a big poster of my husband and our son photos doing adventure travelling. It’s in our son’s room on the wall. The only untouched one as I destroyed all framed ones of us. So every time I pass by I stick a pin right where his narcissistic dick is supposed to be. Rot and die!

    • CL, I think you said it best when you said cheating is abuse. As with any type of abuse, if we continue to allow it to be swept under the rug, we all allow that abuse to continue unchecked and unchallenged.

      That just doesn’t make any sense. The only people it really serves is the abusers, and perhaps allows bystanders to sleep more soundly at night because they don’t need to worry about stepping up and supporting the abused, nor scknowledging that this kind of abuse exists.

      No way lack of dissemination of information is ever the right choice here!

      • i personally believe when adultery stopped being a factor in divorces, that’s when cheating kind of lost its mojo. It used to be that you cheated on your spouse and even if you didn’t feel remorse, you would feel it financially. Now cheating is just one of those unfortunate circumstances that ends relationships. No fault states have done nothing but make it okay for your spouse to screw their affair partner on your coffee table, the most the court will do is give you the money back he blew on the hotel rooms, that’s if you have the receipts and the proof.

          • Absolutely. Infidelity SHOULD get a financial penalty in divorce settlements as compensation for domestic violence/abuse.

            • Hear, hear! 100% agree that no fault only is a disaster for marriages and for chumps and chumped children! If you lie and screw someone over in even a small business, retail transaction, there are consequences, but none for destroying the fabric of society: the family.

              • Absolutely – In oz there is no fault divorce – and it has cheaters charter written all over it. I was financially scammed by my cheater who ran up $100’s thousands of debt against the house and when he left – surprise! – I got ‘ you heard the same financial advice I got to re finance the mortgage’…. so what he had plotted was to get me to a very expensive financial advisor under the guise of planning our families financial future and sit there and listen to ‘informed advice’ so he could have plausible deniability that I knew what i was getting into when he walked leaving me and the kids penniless. Down to ripping me off signing over shares only days before he said he wanted a divorce. He made sure I was financially destitute and we walked into his new life. they are complete bastards who really get off on duping you – like you trusted them so you deserve it.

        • Amen to that! Funny thing is, my cheater didn’t even realize we live in a no-fault state. He was paranoid by all of my evidence collection. I told him that I was the only judge who mattered, after God. Only God’s opinion matters and then mine, not the legal system. If we were an at-fault state, he would have been really screwed, especially considering all that he did and when he did it.

          • WhoDoesThat

            What a horror it is when they PLAN to leave us in shit shape. When I looked back at the Limited’s actions he too plotted to leave me without anything. He was so fucking smug to think that by leaving me I would fall apart, lose my home, and suffer.

            Hope things are working out for you WDT.

    • “IMO, if you’ve never been chumped? STFU.”
      OMG I so agree!!
      I read in an advice column yesterday that someone who realized that her boyfriend was cheating on her, told the OW. Then the OW got angry and publicly shamed/abused the 1st. The advice was that’s your own fault for telling her. I disagree. Its fine to tell someone to just opt out of the relationship if they realize that they are being cheated on but I admire them if they choose to spread the truth about the undercover kibble sniffer.

    • If you knew a sex offender moving next to a young family, you’d tell. If you knew the neighbor was breaking into cars, you’d tell. Cheating is in that space, it is a crime with a victim.

    • So glad you addressed this; I was pretty sure you would, when I read The Good Captain’s shockingly terrible advice. This was a rare misstep for her, because I normally really appreciate her advice, and the underlying themes of empowerment, dignity, and self-care.

      Thankfully, a lot of her readers called her out on it, but I was hoping for a good Chumplady deconstruction. Spot on!

    • Discovery trauma, which is horrible, pales compared to the long term emotional, psychological, spiritual, physical, sexual, relational, familial, communal, and social damage which occurs long before discovery happens. Unfortunately, not revealing to a person that they are trapped within a system of covert abuse allows the abuse to continue and exposes that person to more harm.

      Here is a closer look at the lovely stuff we chumps endure as a result of the abuse perpetrated upon us (Omar Minwalla is, along with Chump Lady, one of the best things ever to happen to chumps):

    • Ok…..well I am wondering do you tell the chump who is being cheated on that once was the one whom you were getting chumped by. Stbxh still cheating now on new fiance. Almost don’t want to help her out in any way. She didn’t mind a bit when she knew I was the current wife and she was cheating with my huband. They call themselves soulmates…yep they deserve each other!

  • Years ago, a friend’s fiance made a pass at me a few months before the wedding. I told her the next day. She phoned him – he’d gone interstate – and gave him a scolding, but she still married him. She had the decency not to blame me. At least, not to to my face.

    Her choice.

    I never liked him, and I suspect he cheated on her after marriage – on one trip interstate, he was ‘allowed’ to stay at the home of his EX fiancee, but of course he slept on the couch or in the spare room or something.

    Her choice.

    I did the right thing.

    • Postscript: when I broke off my engagement with my violent, abusive, cheating fiance, this same friend had a tantrum because she’d booked a non-refundable flight across country to attend the wedding.

      Fair enough. When people show you who they are, believe them.

      End of friendship.

  • There was a guy who I knew in high school that started flirting with me on Facebook after my divorce. I was not interested, but flattered and told him so. He was very persistent, and just kept asking me to meet him, and even (I suspect) showed up where some friends and I had met for happy hour one day (he had not been invited).

    lol and behold, few weeks into whatever he thought he was doing–flirtation of attrition or something–I saw his wife post one of those sappy “We are so happy, we have had 10 wonderful years of marriage,” blah, blah, blah… posts on Facebook.

    My friends were absolutely aghast when I sent a message to her with several screenshots of flirty messages he had sent me saying that I hated doing this to her on her anniversary, and the flirtation was completely one-sided, but her husband was approaching women on Facebook and asking them out. And not to go sing her praises or read a bible or something similar.

    I wish someone had done the same for me. I found out by snooping through the ex’s phone and finding a sonogram photo of the child he conceived on our child’s second birthday, among many other text conversations with his lady friends.

    • Good for you! Mine wasn’t so blatant but I, too, had an old flame crawl out of the woodwork. I thought he was divorced until he started talking about his marital problems. I was sympathetic to the idea of marital problems until it seemed he was trying to restart something with me WHILE he was still married. — And here I thought he was a smart person. What a STUPID time to try that kind of move, when I’m still reeling from STBX pulling that exact same shit with his AP! Had I had a way to contact her, I’d’ve done the same but I shut him down as soon as he said, “Well, she’s never really understood me….” and all I had was his FB account (no address, not even her name).

      • Although, not really a stupid time–cheaters prey on people who are weak, either because of circumstances (you were obviously vulnerable in general right after having a marriage end), or weak constitutionally (obviously NOT our beloved NWB). I don’t think you can have full self-esteem and/or morals to agree to be a side-piece to someone. Even those OW/OM who “win” the cheater start out with second-class status. What psychologically strong person accepts that?

      • Some guy at work told me that; I told him “she probably understands you all too well”. He never gave me the time of day again!!! Good.

    • First time any married man tries to do that with me, he gets blocked on Facebook.

      A now-married ex tried to friend me on Facebook a few years ago by sending me a friend request from his wife’s account. I asked why ‘she’ was contacting me, and ‘she’ replied that she thought she knew me in high school.


  • What other horrible things are really great things in disguise, Captain Awful?

    Is food poisoning bliss?
    Is poverty bliss?
    Is civil war bliss?
    Is rape bliss?
    Is cancer bliss?

    No. No, they are not. Events and actions that cause the innocent harm are terrible, and decent people work to end them. Not hide them.

    This is not thoughtful guidance. It is self-serving rationalizing calculated to avoid personal discomfort on the part of the author, at the cost of another’s health and fundamental welfare. And it is shameful.

    Guess what? There are things in this life more important than avoiding . . . Awkwardness.

    • Nomar, I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t insult CA. I do not agree with her advice on this but she is by far the best advice blogger/columnist around. She gets it right most of the time, she is thoughtful and considerate. Calling names is not cool and I’m really surprised you’d do that as YOU are one of the most thoughtful and considerate people commenting here. (FYI: Full disclosure, I consider myself a member of the Awkward Army) Jedi Hugs!

      • Erm, unless you are being sarcastic, Dat, or Nomar has been edited, I can’t see the name calling?

        Nomar’s post was thoughtful and measured. Maybe it is an inside joke Brits don’t get.

        • They called her Captain Awful so… not exactly the worst thing in the world, but still name-calling.

  • At one of my many marriage counseling sessions with my cheater. The counselor said one good thing,
    “When you do not give someone the truth you deny them the right to make a knowledgeable choice. You are making the choice for them.” That was probably the only good thing he said.
    I have since left the cheater after the 4th d-day. But that has always stuck with me. When our cheaters continue to lie, or if we aren’t told anything, we are denied the ability to make our own decisions. Should a chump stay, leave,work it out, or pour red wine on all of their clothes. (which I actually did)
    When you keep a chump in the dark, you in are making the decision for them. It is like voting for someone that has a pesky pedophile background, but he is such a good candidate.

    • This is timely for me. I went to my first divorce mediation session and for 2 hours during discussions of finances and custody, STBX said NOTHING about his new job which would impact all aspects of our settlement. His douchebag lawyer already knew, so it was just myself, my lawyer and the mediator who were in the dark.

      • So frustrating- wasting everyone’s time and money. The games played during divorce is just more suckiness chumps have to endure

    • Yep, but my ex couldn’t wrap his head around this. He claimed that my decisions were my own (like quitting my job and moving across the country with him while he was cheating) and that he had no responsibility for my choices. I explained that he deprived me of the truth and left me to make decisions based on his lies, so he was absolutely responsible. His continued answer: “You need to take responsibility for your own choices.” Jerk. Talk about willful ignorance on his part.

      • I agree whole heartedly. I have a greater respect for someone if they st least share the truth with me even if it is painful and let me be the one to make the decision from there. Don’t take away my right thing to decide.

      • Free Vixen, omg this sort of bullshit conversation is exactly what I had to endure as well. And trying to explain this stuff to cheaters is like beating your head against the wall. A painful waste of time. It’s like their brains are just a gray swirl of bullshit and lies. So may I just validate you by saying that yes he took away your ability to make good choices by depriving you of the truth.
        And yes, it is impossible to make good choices if you don’t know the fucking truth.

        • Thank you, I very much appreciate that! Yes to beating your head on the wall in trying to get anywhere with a cheater. I felt that way just this morning over text with my ex. He told our son something I very much disagreed with, and when I texted to ask him not to go there again in the future, he responded with “How do you know our son interpreted it that way?” His approach in just about any conflict is to obfuscate with unanswerable questions to try to confuse the situation. It took me a long time to learn that there there is no point in engaging when he starts that shit.

          • Free Vixen, accept another validation from me. A waste of time and energy they are.

            We told our 9 year old son a few days ago that we would be divorcing. We held his hands and tried to make it as painless as possible although the poor kid started crying. We tried to explain that not much would change in his life (we’ve been in a long distance marriage past 6 years and only saw my husband 2-3 months in a year). After a while my son asked me why. I told him when two people get married they promise to love each other and not other people as well. I told him his dad loved other women. My son said “But it’s ok to love other people!” Well…yes..but not in that way. Later my cheater husband told him “Well, you see, I like TALKING to other women and your mom was always mad at me when I did that.” I realise he will now change the target and gaslight our son and I don’t know how I can prevent this.

            • Poor kiddo, that must have been so tough for all of you. I used slightly different language with my son. I told him when you get married you promise to make that person your one special person forever. Daddy broke that promise to me. “Daddy broke his promises” is pretty easy for my little one to wrap his head around, and cheater ex has had a hard time finding a way to spin that.

              Good luck going forward! I hope your ex doesn’t try to launch a “hearts and minds” battle for your son.

              • Free Vixen, he already has launched the battle and will be doing his best to gaslight our son. For him, it’s not infidelity, it’s about his ultimate freedom. He keeps repeating that. I am going to stick to this “promise breaking” line of yours.

                My son woke up crying in the middle of last night. I tried to console him but he was pushing me away. It’s probably the hardest to be dealing with a child, trying to explain this in their language, trying not to inflict any guilt feelings on them, maintaining their self-confidence, convincing them that they are loved by both parents (although I really question the cheater’s true love and devotion to their children) and at the same time holding on to your story and being strong.

            • When I told our 7, 8, and 9 year olds:

              “Me: Papa has had girlfriends and lied to me about having them.

              Children: But you had boyfriends too!

              Me: Yes, BEFORE I married Papa. When you get married, you promise to love and respect the person you’re marrying. You’re not allowed to have any girlfriends or boyfriends while you’re married… that’s why Papa lied to me about having them. When you were in my belly and when you were very little and for the past two years also, he had girlfriends. He knew it was against the rules. He lied for a very long time so I wouldn’t know, until I caught him.

              Children (to Cheater, sobbing for himself in the corner): Why would you DO that?!”

              • Good for you making cheater face that. Those are real consequences. Some cheaters might have chose differently if they knew they would have to face the children like that. So sorry for you and them.

      • Yep. I gave up my job and moved halfway across the country with the snake. I’d had suspicions about him cheating in the past, but no smoking gun. I was gaslit and emotionally abused to the breaking point.

        And then it got worse, when I was isolated and jobless. He still swore he never had and never would cheat on me, even while treating me like dogshit.

        The fucker knew I’d leave if I knew he cheated, so he did all he could to make me think I was crazy and irrationally jealous. He took advantage of my depressed feelings, which he fucking caused, to make me feel even worse about myself.

        In the end, the joke was on him, because if the marriage had ended years before, he could have kept a fuckton of money years later. Thank you community property laws. But I could have died in those intervening years, and no amount of money is worth my fucking life.

    • I love that leah: “When you do not give someone the truth you deny them the right to make a knowledgeable choice. You are making the choice for them”. Recently, I ran into a mutual friend of the Fucktard’s and mine. We had a conversation and I told Mutual friend what an evil asshat stbx is. Mutual friend laughed and said “Yeah, he is”. I responded with “then why didn’t you tell me when I was dating him???” Mutual friend replies “It wouldn’t have made a difference, you would still have married him”. Are you fucking kidding me!?!?! Yeah, thanks you wanker. Yep, the last 20 years of my life sure would have been a lot different if I had had the knowledge to make an educated decision 🙁

      • Maybe, maybe not.

        I have had a great many people in my life say things like:

        “We never liked him.”

        “We could never work out why someone as fantastic as you was married to a jerk like him.”

        “Something always seemed a little off about him to us.”

        And yes, I did query why they never said anything. Mostly, well, it’S not their business. And I’d agree with that. Had any of them had SPECIFIC knowledge of infidelity, that would be different. But they just had a “feeling”.

        I also think it’s a little different if you’re already married to the bum, rather than just dating or about to be married. Still time for friends to weigh in with their opinions if you’re not hitched yet maybe.

        • For me, this also extended into the post-Dday break-up. One of my (still) best friends, a very wise college friend who has only had my best interests at heart (truly) told me several times that he has some trepidation about saying bad things about XH in case we would ever get back together. He knew that wasn’t going to happen but he gave voice to a very genuine fear and concern of a lot of people.

          The truth is, I think most people have enough on their own plates that they have very little extra energy and courage to “rock the boat” of someone else. I have very few friends who are willing to roll up their sleeves and do the hard emotional work of life, and they are very very dear to me. — And I think I’m going to go tell them each that right now.

          • My best friend told me she did not like my future husband based on the evidence I found about his previous life. She told me he was not a good partner for me. I still married him because I was head over heels in love. I continued confiding to my friend and she knew about his shitty character, manipulations, distancing, degrading and humiliating and she continued telling me to get away. I was still in. After the first DDay 6 years ago she told me to get out. I stuck in. After the second one in Jan last year she forwarded me all the emails I had written to her throughout the course of our life and that was an eye opener. I was still clinging to that hope, that potential of him but she just asked me one question: “Even if there was no cheating and infidelity, do you still want to be with a person that caused you so much pain all these years?”

    • Several years after I found out about my cheater pants, I asked him why he wasn’t just honest with me and just tell me the truth. His response was,’if I told you the truth you would have never had a child with me and would have left me.’
      Um ya think???

      • Here is a few of my cheater’s responses to that same question depending on the day of the week, the weather, the lunar eclipses, economic situation, global warming, Brexit and what not:

        “If I told you the truth you would have divorced me. I am not so stupid to divorce such a good wife material.”

        “I compartmentalise well so what I do outside of my family life is not reflected on my family life.”

        “I wanted to tell you the truth but the timing was not right.”

        “I was planning to split my time between you and the OW. When I was ready to do that you would have known.”

        “You were in a very vulnerable spot in your life so I cared for you by not telling you. You know I always have your best interest at heart.”

        “There was no truth to tell. I was just trying to figure out myself and my connection to the OW. I had not figured it out (in 12 years!) Yet. So there was really nothing to tell you.”

        “All men do that. There is no man walking on this earth who does not cheat on his wife. So there is really no truth. It’s just the life reality that you should accept.”

        “What did you expect? We had a traditional arranged marriage, you wanted a child in the family setting and I gave you the marriage contract. This did not imply faithfulness. Be happy that you have a contract to be my wife! (my comment: we met through my work in my country, he lived in another, his family in the third. He left at the end of his assignment then came back in a few months to be with me. That’s when he met my family. A few months later I went over to visit him and his mom flew over to meet with me. We did not have much time dating because of this logistics so our wedding was a year and a half after we met. He calls it traditional as he maintains that I only married him to have a child in a legitimate family facade and never really loved him).

        “The truth is that I am committed to you. Committment and faithfulness are two different things.”

        “The truth is that it’s not about cheating or having emotional or physical connection with OW’s. It’s about my personal freedom. You always tried to domesticate me and I rebelled against that.”

        I can think of more of his explanations. My cheater is very eloquent as one can tell.

        • Holy cow, I need a condom before re-reading that mental mindfuckery. Entitled prick.

        • My husband pulls this one too…I hate it!

          “The truth is that I am committed to you. Committment and faithfulness are two different things.”

    • Yes! Cheaters rob chumps of the ability to make an informed decision they do not want us to make. That said, my personal experience of being a chump was like getting under a cold shower. Even though I was kept in the dark, it was hard not to feel it. That said, it totally depends on the kind of affair your spouse/so was having. A drunken one night stand can be concealed, so the chump feels nothing…

  • My cheaters father died about five years ago and when he did whole reams of information came out about his lifetime of cheating. Some in the family knew some of it, some knew nothing. His wife it was generally believed may have suspected but had to stay for financial and cultural reasons. Two members of the family decided to tell her all of it anyway. So glad they did. Her grieving became ‘realistic’ i.e. Shorter and not family induced and she began at the age of 75 to live the life she had always wanted. It is always good to know for the person being fooled. It might not be comfortable for others but screw them.
    I doubt these deniers would like it much if the shoe were on the other foot.
    I also think that writers of these kinds of article are the sort who like power and control. It suits them to dish out crap advice that they wouldn’t dream of taking themselves. Just saying.

    • Capricorn, I discovered a week ago that my cheater’s now deceased father was a serial cheater. His mother always maintained that she divorced him for other reasons – he was a narcissistic SOB. I heard rumors about his cheating but she always denied them. This latest info came from my husband’s cousine who layed out the story of his parents’ divorce.

      My cheater actually blamed his own mom for cheating on his dad with her present husband. She denies that as well. I confronted her a few days ago about her ex husband and she finally confessed. I asked her why she never told me…she knew of our situation from the beginning and was trying to gaslight me herself by implying that the OW exists in my cheater’s head only. She is not real. Just his imagination. She alluded her ex husband had same imaginative problems. Turns out I married into the family of serial cheaters. Hahaha! My 9 year old son told me the other day it’s ok to love more than one woman (this was his response to my explanation for the planned divorce.) I wonder if this is genetic.

  • Here’s my question–my STBX was chumping the OW. Should I tell her? As in, on D-day, I learned about Little Miss Sunshine’s existence, his desire for them to go ring shopping the next Tuesday (the Reverend Cheater & I are married, btw), and that he is also sleeping with Nurse Big-Nips while trying to set up other sex dates online. I didn’t know her–she lived about 2 hours away & they met online. So should I have told Little Miss Sunshine?

    I decided not to tell out of the theory that it was best to keep my cards (proof of his infidelity) close to my chest. And, in all honesty, that she deserved what she was getting.

    • If Little Miss Sunshine knew about you, then you owe her squat.
      I have heard of OW (not the ones fucking my STBX) who didn’t know that they were involved with a married man.

      • Oh yeah, she knew. After all, as he told her, sex with me wasn’t the same if he didn’t think of her during it.

        • Eww. You owe her nothing only because she knows the kind of man she already has. Yuck.

    • Tbone
      I chose to tell all three of his OW about the existence of each of the others. Partly to stop them sending me emails about how great he was and how much he loved me and 90% out of anger and a desire to hurt them back.
      Haven’t thought about it until now. Don’t regret it at all.
      Unexpected bonus. He got pissed. Yeah hurts doesn’t it when someone does something behind your back and lets everyone know who you really are.

      • Question then folks: OW #3 knew about me and I confronted her a few times only to be ignored. D-day #ILOSTCOUNT was caused by the discovery that OW#3 was still in the picture after years of me being repeatedly chumped. We had a D-day #SOMETHINGOROTHER in 2011 over OW#2 and he more or less stopped contact with her, always insisting nothing sexual had happened (it was more of an emotional affair which he downplayed big-time) but I’ll never know. After the final D-day, when he was still living with me, I watched him start seeing OW#2 and blowing off OW#3 to do so (while, of course, still trying to play me into not kicking him out). Now he has moved in with OW#2 because she lives very close to his work and OW#3 is too far to commute. I can be pretty sure he’s playing them both. OW#2 seems like a decent person, kind of nice, and probably anytime he saw her she was kept in the dark with regards to the reality of his relationship with me. Should I tell the two OW’s about each other or just butt right out and be happy I’m no longer in the mix? I’m honestly glad OW#2 took him in and wouldn’t want her to kick him out, mainly because it’s a good home for our dog (that was technically his so he has custody) and his only other option was is screwed up father who’d ruin the pup.

        • Here is what I would weigh: is telling them of any benefit to you? Would not telling them hurt you in any way?
          You need to remember that you can’t save everyone, but it is absolutely necessary that you take care of yourself. It sounds like such a clusterfuck that it would probably b a waste of your time and energy.

          • you’re probably right. Also I think my motives are less than honourable…

        • Ever the empath
          Look at us chumps. We are talking here about sparing OW from what we went through. Lovely us.
          I told them in the first weeks shock and horror.
          I would leave these two well alone and go be happy someplace.

          • Capricorn, you are so right. Ever the empath I am. and still relatively new at trust that they suck so part of me just wants to ruin all their fun. You’re right, I should butt out…

        • Ever the Empath – if it would bring you any sort of pleasure to tell them or you just want to tell them I would consider doing it. You have every right to say whatever you want to whomever you want as long as it’s truthful. On the other hand, consider how you will feel if they don’t believe you, call you bitter or just generally make you feel bad. I would be hesitant to put yourself in the position of being vulnerable and hurt by OW’s. If you feel strong and do not care what they do or think about your revelations, it can be VERY empowering to speak your truth.

        • Sounds like OW2 knew about you and that you were still married. Basically I don’t know for sure, so I’m going with the following advice:

          Do whatever is best for the DOG.

          • LOL – yes, the pup is in a good home at least. Looks like OW#2 might be cancelling a cruise she had tickets to (public facebook post) – and I suspect it’s because he convinced her to go to Myrtle Beach in May on “our” annual motorcycle trip. I also suspect he’s feeding OW#3 some kind of line for why SHE shouldn’t be going this year (too soon after the breakup?). I know he was talking about the same trip with both of them before I got him out of the house. It bothers me because he has just replaced me with either of them for the same trip. Doesn’t matter to him as long as he goes and someone pays half the bill.

        • Why o why are you wasting your resource on a shitty twat?

          Take your valuable time and energy and invest it in YOU and YOUR kids. Trust they all suck, because they do!

      • Hell yes I would tell, only after everything was settled with your divorce/split, custody, etc!

    • I’d be tempted to get the divorce with as stacked a hand as you can manage, then tell Miss Sunshine (out of pure motives, no, probably not).

    • Make sure you’re in as good a position for the divorce as you can be. But once that’s over, I think — I know this isn’t going to be a popular answer — that, yes, you should tell. I know there are many here at CL who want revenge and retribution. I, personally, am not comfortable playing judge, jury and executioner for other people. If the principle is that it’s best to tell a chump they’re being chumped, then that should be for everyone. Would/Could I personally DO that? I don’t know. But hypothetically it seems I should.

    • I was the OW and I knew about all his online solicitation of other women, his previous affair with a work colleague, and his kinky fantasies. More than likely, even if you would have told her about his additional sub-side affairs, she wouldn’t have believed you. I contacted his wife, not to necessarily tell her about the affair, it was because of me being concerned for his medical well being, which caused a d day. His wife immediately put two and two together and started asking questions but when I answered them truthfully, she was furious at me for “making up” stories about her husband. She decided I was lying about everything and he, of course threw me under the bus and told her he had no idea who I was or why I called her. He was so good at looking like this great family man and is doing what he can to save his marriage but his wife is only being naive. He is a serial cheater but she didn’t want to accept that as a reality. She actually said something about if what I was saying was true, then we should let him chose who he wants to be with.” She saw it as a competition. Who in their right mind wants to win a serial cheater? Omg!
      I take 100% blame for my part in it but the fact that he gets to stay in his marriage with a wife who believes everything he says and their marriage stays strong because she accepts his lies isn’t right either.
      My gut instinct tells me he will “love” her until she is no longer an asset to him and she will have wasted the best years of her life on a cheater. It really makes no difference to me anymore what she does with her life, as my karma was instant (won’t get into details but the past 6 months since d day have been absolute hell), but even though he may have this intense loving side when he wants you; when his dark side comes out… watch out. He makes sure to make you suffer the price for him feeling betrayed. Just a matter of time before his wife will get to see that side of him… hope she sees the light before it’s too late.

      • Cari
        Seriously, you the OW are messed up in the head. Someone mentioned up thread about cheater brains are grey swirls of bullshit and lies. Yours must be the same.
        You colluded in the destruction of a marriage and the self serving pitying bullshit you have written here just makes me sick.
        I wish he had left her for you. You deserve him. She doesn’t. I hope karma keeps coming for you. You deserve that too.
        You knew what he was and wanted him. You called her on a flimsy pretext to blow up their marriage. You pity her for falling for his bullshit or choosing him but you wanted exactly the same. At least he married her. You were a side dish fuck and he didn’t even want that when you got too much.
        I don’t know whether to pity you, laugh at you or just shake my head at you, one of those evil thoughtless, cruel and selfish bitches that we unfortunately have to share air with.

        • Cari, the moment he came on to you he was telling you who he was.

          I am just wondering why you ever found that attractive and flattering?

          Maybe it is because I am a chump and have been through the hell of being annihilated through disrespect and betrayal. My family destroyed – for what? -, but I have seriously absorbed the lesson that peoples ACTIONS tell you who they are. I now only look at ACTIONS. I don’t listen to a word people say.

          Are you surprised he threw you under a bus? Fucking other people whilst MARRIED tells you straight away – this person is a liar, a manipulator, a user, and doesn’t care who he hurts.

          So I am wondering why that wasn’t immediately obvious to you, and why you allowed yourself to be USED.

      • What on earth made you think it would be a good idea to post your blather here Cari? Are you delusional enough to believe that anyone here would have any sympathy for what you got yourself into or did you comment because you are a sadistic psycho bitch?

        • Enough folks. Please don’t get ugly and please don’t feed trolls. Not sure Cari is trolling us, but yes, clearly she’s lacking insight to post here. I don’t do a lot of moderating and if this post triggers you, skip it. I leave OW comments up occasionally (and sometimes rarely answer one of their letters) so you can see what you’re dealing with — a person with deep issues and lack of empathy for the person they chumped.

  • During the part of my wife’s affair that I was ignorant, it was NOT bliss.

    She had become more distant, spent more time “at work,” and further disengaged from our already-not-stellar intimacy. She would lash out at me for seemingly random issues, and she suddenly complained frequently that we were not exciting enough.

    And I admit that we had gotten a little stale. And having honest conversations and brainstorming about what to do about it would have been productive.

    But that’s not what happened. Instead, I was just ignorant that she was already with another man, and she was comparing our relationship of 10 years with the thrill of dating (and fucking) someone new.

    Had I known THAT (as opposed to figuring it out months later due to other clues), then I would have approached the entire situation differently. I would have been less confused at all of these sudden additional dissatisfactions with our marriage.

    And most importantly, I would have started the process of seeing my wife for who she actually was, as opposed to who I believed/wanted her to be.

    • My situation exactly except XH & I had been together sixteen years — either way, a long time. So, yes, it’s understandable to field the complaint that we aren’t very exciting anymore.

      Do you know WHY we weren’t exciting? I do. Aside from his attention to AP draining all of his positive emotional energy, he had quit. He had mentally checked out of the marriage and just left his body behind. Whenever I’d ask, on his one day off each week (spending a lot of time “at work”? Check.), he never had any ideas. To think I felt BAD for him, working so hard, poor dear, that I didn’t want to nag him and force him to go out for a hike or a ski — he must be tired. — Then he complains that we’re boring.

      This sort of mind-fuckery led me into a very deep depression. How sad it is to not be able to keep happy the person who means more to you than anyone else! — The whole time, he had another agenda.

      “Bliss”? Umm, no.

      • Hell, mine complained about long hours and a job stress, and I prayed with him regularly that things would change for him. What a chump!!!

        It was all bullshit. Cheater took off early every day to see his side dish. He was stressed because he was juggling two lives and his sparky new action made family activities and the same old wife feel boring.

    • My ex did the same was very distant too. When I confronted him his s excuse was that I was too busy with our son and wasn’t interested in going to the gym with him anymore. Our son was 7 months old, priorities change!!

    • Man JC, that brings back a flood of memories for me. Same spill I got. Admittedly, I wasn’t an exciting person compared to the not employed, drug using, drinking, town romeo, ex youth minister! I can’t compete with that when raising kids, taking care of the house and meals, and working 40+ hours a weak. I’m just responsible. Just more proof they all pull from the same BS filled cheaters handbook.

  • I have a very close friend who is on her 3rd marriage. She has “accidentally” found some questionable activity from her husband. When we discuss this topic, I feel like she talks as though she is trying to convince me (or perhaps herself) that there is nothing to be concerned about. “He is too up in age for that kind of activity”, “they are past that stage of life and having the desire to put forth the effort to have an affair”, “I assume all guys are doing it because my husband had an affair after 26!years of marriage”, etc. I’m not saying that he IS indeed having an affair but I am saying don’t underestimate the possibility because you don’t want to face the reality. No one wants to be a chump but don’t be in denial of being a chump. Allowing yourself to be a chump because you don’t want to deal with ramifications is devaluing your worth. I do believe that those people who chose to remain ignorant do exist.
    I do think some women just don’t want to know because they don’t want to have to face the reprecussions of betrayal such as financial and emotional insecurity.

    • It’s spackling. I know because I did it for such a long time by making excuses for cheater’s poor treatment of me. I didn’t know that he was cheating yet and even when I suspected he was, I said things like she’s saying because I didn’t want him to be the kind of person that would cheat. I didn’t want to believe it. Even when I had absolute proof, kicked him out, and he admitted to cheating, I still didn’t want to believe he was “that” bad. But he was. My heart and my head were not in sync yet and it takes a long time for them to be.

    • Gina

      “Allowing yourself to be a chump because you don’t want to deal with ramifications is devaluing your worth. I do believe that those people who chose to remain ignorant do exist.
      I do think some women just don’t want to know because they don’t want to have to face the reprecussions of betrayal such as financial and emotional insecurity.”

      I don’t think many people “allow” themselves to be a chump IMO. All too often as we read here chumps have been CONTINUALLY devalued over the marriage and it is a hard road to finally accept the hard truth about this person you have invested so much of your life in.
      I also do not believe many chumps do not want to know because of emotional and financial security. IMO a great many women particularly are financially disadvantaged their whole lives because of being a SAHM. Often of great benefit to the cheater who can then invest even less time in their families. There is a ‘myth’ out there I think about rich older women who choose to overlook their husbands affairs to maintain their social standing and financial position. Not saying they don’t exist but I suspect they represent a teeny tiny minoroty. I think that many women faced with infidelity have to make a range of fucking awful decisions that would scare most people silly. There may be some spackling going on because the implications of being a single parent of small children with no career is scary, starting life from scratch at 40,50,60, 70 is scary. Losing your home, ideantity, social circle is scary. Losing the person you loved is scary.
      So I do not think chumps choose to be ignorant. I think many are forced to do the shittiest of cost benefit analysts. Often until they get themselves mentally prepared for the shitstorm ahead.

      Finding out you have been chumped is one of the worst blows a person can take. I completely understand that some are terrified and try to avoid seeing what they know. This is different I feel to ‘choosing not to know’. It more ‘knowing but completely and utterly afraid of knowing’.

      • In the case of my very good friend; once she “accidentally” ran across something suspicious, she has “intentionally” ran across questionable activity. The fact that she is now compelled to go thru his phone indicates that her intuition is tugging at her conscience. She repeatedly makes excuses for his behavior. I can’t say for sure that he is up to I good but I wouldn’t discount it either. I don’t push her into these searches. She is compelled to them on her own. When she repeatedly talks about them, I’m not sure if she is trying to convince me or herself that it can’t be true.
        Denial is a coping mechanism for some. My heart breaks for her and I would hope that she is correct in her assumptions. I do believe some people are tormented with not wanting to know so they don’t have to deal with ramifications.
        I suspected that my husband could be at the OP’s house. If I would not have taken the one hour drive to see it for myself, I would have always had that nagging suspicion but never confirmation. Suspicion is easier to deal with than confirmation. With confirmation the ball is really in your corner and you have to decide what to do with it from there. Some people chose to oupsefully nit catch the ball si they don’t have to make the decision of what to do with it. There are times that I think, “maybe I would have been better off not knowing.” At 51, having to start a new chapter after being a STAH wife for 22 of the 26!years we were married is no picnic. Add to that having to deal with severe medical issues alone is not an easy thing to do.
        I can see both sides of the coin.

        • Let’s face it; change is scary. Some people need explicit proof of an affair before they can leave, in part because changing one’s cognitive schema about a spouse and a marriage is really, really difficult. Your whole framework of social relations is thrown off kilter once you know the person to whom you pledged your life is dishonest and has been for a long while. Serial cheating is very hard to wrap one’s head around if one has been participating honestly and fully in a marriage.

          Many people in CN have needed concrete evidence of adultery before they filed. I myself stayed with someone I knew was an emotional abuser for years, and didn’t leave until I had that concrete proof of cheating on D-day (had not suspected him of cheating before that, just of being an asshole).

          As to whether it is better to know or not to know–I suspect 50% of people who stay in long-term marriages to serial cheaters will eventually get dumped. Knowing their partner has cheated puts the chump in the driver’s seat. Agency is better than passive victimhood, hands down.

          • Agency is better than passive victimhood, hands down.

            This is key. I’ve stayed with my cheater-wife because I cannot afford two households. But I’ve chosen to stay for the time being with my eyes wide open. I know full-well that she is a lying, cheating, piece-of-shit asshole who will cheat again (it’s okay, Jesus and her church friends will forgive her “transgressions”).

            I also know I’ll be the one who will be vilified for filing once our last child is off to college. I’ve come to accept that my role will be the bad guy for blowing up our marriage.

            It’s not ideal. But armed with the truth, I have my agency.

            • BetrayedNoMore
              Me too. I know my h is a liar cheater pos but I am choosing to plan my exit. I would love to just nuke his ass. However, making a planned exit seems smart in my situation.

          • This is the reason I stayed. Because I could not wrap my head around it. Yes, I thought about the kids. Yes, I thought about finances. But I stayed because I wanted to force him and our marriage back into what I thought they were. I was trying to bend reality. (Super extra supreme heavy duty spackling.)
            Ignorance is not bliss. Ignorance almost fucking killed me.

          • I agree, Tempest. Once I knew the truth about his affair the power shift in our relationship tilted. It felt so good to have some power back so I could make decisions about my own life.

          • Tempest, I had a couple of moments of doubt but shrugged them off, when I did confront X of course he laughed and joked that I was paranoid, he’s not that kind of guy. Silly me for thinking something so absurd.
            He’s also an asshole.
            If I had known with concrete evidence I would have been left.
            When he left I knew there was someone else although he denied there was. It was then I began trusting my instinct and I was right although he will still deny it. I only wished I had made a bigger issue of it. X played the sad sausage and gained a following.
            After all he’s a great guy, just ask him.
            Tempest, I’m going to see my attorney today in and will request he pay attorney fees.
            Thanks for the suggestion..

      • It was disheartening to me to hear from supposed friends that I somehow “knew” and chose to look the other way. Nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, OW was acting strange, but she was a strange person to begin with, Yes, she engaged in a bizarre hero worship act with X. But I wasn’t married to her. I was married to a guy that I never, ever thought would have any interest in the type of person OW was. Now, in the months leading up to DDay, I did begin to question what was going on, but X adamantly denied any interest in OW and made me think I was crazy for even asking about it! Gas lighting is very prevalent among cheaters and most of them are very good at it. I wish someone had told me because it would have saved me the time I wasted in a dying relationship. If I am ever in that type of situation, I will have no hesitation in letting the person know. It is the right and ethical thing to do.

        • Yes, to all of the above. I once asked XH if there was anyone in his workplace he had a little “crush” on, and after some hesitation, he said, “Well, {X} and {Y} are kinda cute.” I asked, “What about AP?” — “No, no, she’s not my type at all.” So I guess that’s why he’s marrying her now, three years later.

          There must be something in my tone of voice — not complaining, just dead-serious — when I say, simply, “I had no fucking idea” that ends that line of inquiry. I’m sure it’s terrifying to others to think “This could be me. What’s going on in MY world that I don’t have any idea about?” But that doesn’t mean it’s not true.

          • I am almost 4 years out from DDay #1. My bulshit tolerance has become so low that if someone said to my face “you must have known…” it would take all of my self control not to punch them.

  • My neighbor saw him out with OW but didn’t tell me. She apologized but said she just didn’t know what to say and that she was rooting for our marriage. She lacks confidence and we share the same family values plus our kids are friends. I believe she was hoping our family would remain intact and it would work out.

    I completely forgave her. We aren’t really close friends, and I believe I would have done the exact same thing before. Now that I know exactly how this intimate betrayal feels and its impact, now that I’m a chump, I will tell anyone if I see their spouse with someone else. Absolutely. God, what I would have done to have known and avoided my humiliating pickme dance.

  • The last year my ex was in the house he seemed distant, I was told it was work. My ex was a guy that family came first, he worked hard so I could be a stay at home mom and we could have a great life.(a real life, father knows best).
    Because of the distance( working crazy hrs, constant emergency calls from the job, my calls going right to voicemail) , red flags went up.
    I NEVER imagined when I asked him, are you still in love with me? That he would break down in tears and would get ILYBNILWY.
    I threw him out within 5 mins with a ball of clothes in his hands and filed for divorce within 30 days after 25 yrs together.
    After 25 yrs you don’t know if you love me…Fuck You !!!!
    Then the truth came out like a dam breaking, finacial abuse, cheating, a child with ow and the list goes on and on.
    My life became a bad lifetime movie , The first year he left, I bearly remember, I was on automatic pilot.
    I became mighty and didn’t see it happening, I got a job a new place to live and took care of my family and my dying mother.
    Was I in ignorant bliss before he left?
    Yes, because I love and trusted a sociopath, Narcassist, whaterever label you want to give to someone with such a double life.
    A man that looked down on cheaters, crooks…(all the things, he really was).

    It’s funny how things work, the reason red flags went up for me, I had read a article about when a man really loves a woman, and in my mind I started to question his behavior. Thank god I read that article.

    • Wow! You are mighty. I admire your strength, perseverance and decisiveness,

    • This is some great sense of self worth you have there and you ARE mighty! I heard this type of talks a million times, he actually said he DID NOT love me and I still was clinging to him for the sake of the family. What family? I realise I never had one. He was always distant and unavailable. Starting from the 2nd year of our 12 year marriage he checked out. I still entertain crazy ideas that if, only if, he could change I would take him back. Crazy…

  • The truth will set you free but first it will piss you off. The only thing I hate more then cheaters are liars. I was ignorant as hell and the funny thing is I could call other people’s relationship and not see what was right in front of my nose concerning mine (i.e. I knew when my sister was being cheated on – told her that all the signs were there and she denied it for what seemed like forever and it wasn’t until she was out of the relationship that everything started making sense to her). I am a chump and have no problem admitting it and I no longer carry the shame associated with the choices that Fucktard made that destroyed out family and caused so much pain for my son and I.

    I would prefer a truth brick to the face then ever having to deal with the emotional and financial consequences of being abuse by the one I shared my bed with ever again. I don’t think I will ever be able to forgive Fucktard for the shit he put me and our child through – he is completely dead to me and now I look at him for what he is – a sperm donor to the best thing in my life – my son. I have forgiven myself for being so ignorant about the fact that I was so freaking blind to his bullshit and gaslighting and the fact that I thought I would do anything to keep my family intact for the sake of my son even though looking back I sold my soul to the devil and paid for it for 3 years longer then I should have.

    Life is so much better for my son and I now that have accepted the truth and the reality that Fucktard is and probably always was a lying entitled POS.

  • Funny… It seems Captain Awkward’s boat is leaking. His kind of advice about blissfully ignorance and destroying evidence because yeah sure all chumps know that they’re being cheated on.

    Seems Captain Awkward goes fishing for Chicken of the Sea and it’s actually tuna or sardines in a can. Selling tuna as chicken in a can is blissful ignorance, why tell the kiddies they’re eating fish when it’s labeled chicken.

    Who knows, maybe Captain Awkward should remove his fake eyepatch and stop talking pirate talk and get his boat out of his backyard pool.

    • I disagree with CA on this letter. However, Captain Awkward is excellent in her advice on most topics, she has taught me a great deal over the years, as have those who are regulars on her site. Much like CL, she usually nails it. Her compassion, rational thinking and consideration of others is exceptional. Disagree with her advice (as we do with everyone, yes?), please don’t insult or belittle her. If you need help with boundaries or many other topics I would send you to her blog. (Full disclosure, I consider myself a member of the Awkward Army.) Jedi Hugs!

      • No offense Datdamwuf, but this is twice you have felt the need to scold justifiably angry chumps making accurate assessments of this advice. It seems kind of spackly. You might want to believe that this is a great advice columnist but other people are accurate in pointing out that this is awful advice. Awful. Not only is this advice advocating silence about ABUSE, but it actively advocates being dishonest and participating in the abuse by destroying evidence. YUCK. It is not belittling and insulting to point out the TRUTH. Now it may be the case that Capt. Awkward is oblivious to the damage she is doing. That doesn’t make the damage less horrible. You pointing out how great she is in other ways is actually really triggering for me because it reminds me of how everyone seems to want to constantly point out how cheaters are “wonderful dads,” “great fun guys,” “friendly and sweet.” etc to chumps who are complaining of their horrible damaging abuse. Sorry, but if the advice is awful it is awful and none of us have to spend extra time worrying about the feelings of the person who is participating in the gaslighting of a chump (which Capt. Awkward IS doing here) and encouraging other people to participate in the cover up and ambient abuse. Again, pointing out the truth is neither belittling or insulting. It is just pointing out the truth.

        • Jojobee

          I agree and very well said. I didn’t like the ‘if you need help with boundaries’ remark at all.
          And “like CL she usually nails it” – well no actually CL always nails it. Every time, without fail, for chumps.
          Datdamwuf love your comments usually but can’t agree with this defense of hideous advice just because the author is otherwise often useful. Interesting to see how this awkward column was received by your army? Maybe most recognised it’s awfulness and she reconsidered.

      • Enough with the hero worship and advertising for an untrained “advice columnist” who describes herself as thus:

        >>>You should probably not be taking life advice from a woman whose plan for paying back $100K in grad school debt is “be an indie filmmaker.”<<<

        We are talking about how ignorance is NOT BLISS. The poor advice of this self-admitted filmmaker was the STARTING OUT point of the conversation.

        Beyond that, she and her cyber advice column are completely irrelevant.

        • Datdamwuf, I am sorry for my unkind post. Well hostile is a better word. The advice really hit a sore spot and IRL if CA said that I’d flip.

          While we have been critical of this one column (to say the least), I have not noticed anyone saying all of CA’s advice column sucks. Nor anyone saying, “Don’t read it.” It’s this one post that brought on the outrage, not her whole body of work.

          • I get it, the advice sucked for sure, just wish we could disagree with CA without talking about her as though this one column is all she is. Jedi Hugs!

    • There are extended complexities going on in the question written to CA. I liked some of the later community posts suggesting to get a full copy of the evidence and set it aside until the aunt’s estate is settled, then disclose to the cheated on spouse.

        • Datdamwuf
          Apologies to you. It seems that your lady CL is very receptive to critical feedback and a feedback has already been given about this advice. Sorry if I came over as all defensive and angry. I think I was but in my defence my anger was triggered by the OW who keeps posting here. She has the same tone as my STBX OW emails to me. So sorry. ?

  • I so wish I could have those years back that I spent in a dying marriage, working like a mad woman trying to ‘fix’ things. I wish I had known how truly broken the marriage and the X were. The absolute worst thing? Every day beating myself up over the damage those miserable years caused my children. I will never forgive myself for dragging them around the world, following him and his career, in an attempt to keep my family together, not knowing that, in reality, he had already left us. I now have a suicidal 16 year old daughter in and out of psych care and an emotionally withdrawn son, both struggling to come to terms with what their father has done. And making it worse is an X who is smothering them in an attempt to recreate what he destroyed. ‘How can they be so unappreciative of all I am doing? Why are they so angry?’. X withholding the truth of the situation from me denied me the opportunity to protect my children.

    • So sorry, Moving On. Your marriage sounds eerily familiar to me. The problem with us trying to spackle and make it work and make it all nice with rounded corners for the kids is that we set those expectations for the kids. Mine were completely blindsided by the divorce, because I had succeeded in making perfect Christmases and Passovers and Thanksgivings for them. Turns out that I did not protect them by trying to make things nice. I just set them up for a greater fall.

      • Exactly. My children still have a hard time reconciling what they believed for years-that X and I had a “model” marriage- and the truth of his deception. One of my daughter’s friends even commented that if our marriage was a lie, how could she believe that a good marriage actually exists. The fall-out to the kids is tremendous when they begin to understand that all those Hallmark moments were a lie. It is legacy that causes irreparable damage.

        • That is heartbreaking, Violet. But then again maybe shattering blind trust in ideals is ultimately a favor. A “good marriage” is not Hallmark all the time — it’s something that gets re-made and re-negotiated every day, based on communication and mutual respect for each individual in the marriage, not some predetermined monolithic idea.

        • I’m struggling with the fact that my now 29 and 20 year old sons say things like “dad cheated on you, he didn’t cheat on us. This is between you and him”. WTF? I’ve learned he was trying to pick up on another soccer mom when 20 year old was in elementary school! He was a serial cheater throughout our 35 plus years together. Looking back I recognize the gaslighting and emotional abuse for what it was. He knew how to slowly drip the gasoline of his head games and on me, then light the match and watch me flip out in front of my kids for his own entertainment. I resent that he changed the narrative of how my sons saw me. They know he’s a lying cheating dick, but somehow they remain loyal to their father. I read here about kids who cut off the cheating parent. Since mine additionally involved me into a long expensive ongoing lawsuit over his unethical business dealings, (by appointing me CFO of his LLC without mentioning it!!!) I would have hoped my sons would understand the additional stress of serious legal ramifications his lies and abuse continue to cause me over and above his serial cheating. I wish they would cut him off! Is that terrible of me to feel this way?

          • I should mention that it seems their relationship is superficial… from the perspective of older sons fiancé. I shouldn’t complain as I just returned from a two week holiday and birthday adventure with both of my sons. Magical!

            • Chump change – of course you wish your sons would cut their dad off! I secretly fantasize about my son spitting in his dad’s face. Not something I’m proud of, but it’s the truth! You are angry and rightfully so. Vent your feelings where it is safe – here with CN or with good friends – but perhaps not so much with kids. I’ve had about 50 hours in therapy struggling with this and it’s finally paying off. I feel calmer and more peaceful. Yes, be honest with your kids especially if they ask a question. If they don’t ask, they just don’t want to hear more about it at this time. (And it’s not that they don’t love you. They also don’t want to relive the day you had to put the beloved family dog down. Ugh. Why go through it again?) It’s the editorializing that is so damaging to the kids. “Your dad is a horrible person and an asshole” Some small part of that statement can feel that it is directed at them personally. They have half of his chromosomes and those bonds run deep. Let THEM come to the realization that their dad is not a good person – I believe they will. Especially when they are married with children and they understand the enormity of the betrayal. I know it feels so inauthentic to zip your lip around your sons. Maybe don’t zip completely, but be so aware of what you say. I give myself a pat on the back every day I don’t mention anything about their dad to my kids. They are struggling and it is more helpful to them to see me rebuilding my life, singing in the kitchen, and laughing on the phone. They need to know that life is wonderful and we can heal – I need to show them that. And then vent BIG time here on CL.

              • KathleenK
                Always love your posts. This was great. I have those same feelings.
                I think CL chose the words Cool, Bummer, Wow because they can still be said and heard through tightly clenched teeth.

              • Thank you KK. Very wise words. I try so hard not to speak of him. I slip up every so often. Learned with my therapist today that speaking of him means the psychopath is still in control. The only path is total disengagement. Whew! Easier said than done.

            • Most people are afraid of confrontation. It’s very likely they won’t say anything because of that fear. For them, they’d prefer it if you just let it go and everything went back to normal. You also have to remember that they may be in denial about a lot of his crap.

              They also might be like him, which I’d rather not think about.

              • Yep, I think this has been extremely hard on them because they held their father in very high esteem. I raised them to know that their word and handshake was their bond and that all a man has is his reputation. I think they’re still in denial at the man their father has turned out to be. He has ruined his reputation and probably mine as well because of the legal issues. And how can they also not be fooled by a Psychopath – I certainly was for nearly 4 decades. His mask is very good when it’s in place.

          • Maybe they are smoking hopium?
            You know that he did cheat on them, right? Affairs take time and money which rightfully belongs to the family. That is cheating. Affairs rob children of a healthy example of how married people should treat each other. He cheated them out of that. Cheaters are not the role models you want for your kids. He robbed them of that as well.

            • Yes, I know that their father cheated on them by cheating on me. It gobsmacks me that my sons can somehow separate the two, especially now that he has proven to be a serial cheater and a Con Man. I do not believe either of my kids are like their father, I just think it’s too much for them to wrap their heads around. I’ve never said the Psychopath word to them, sometimes I wish I could explain to them that he’s an Antisocial Psychopathic Narcissist according to my therapist who is an expert in the field. Wanting more external validation to that fact ultimately plays into the psychopaths hands and makes me look like the crazy one. It’s hard to realize there’s no winning with a psychopath, as I am learning “He is Sicker than I am smart”. Nice, huh?

          • No you’re not terrible!

            Would it help if you just told them you don’t want to talk about your ex anymore? I did that with my FOO and they have learned silence is golden.

    • Movin-On– Jedi hugs your way. I hope your daughter is making progress (mine is, finally).
      Yes, all the years of seeing things drifting off, but not being able to do anything as then spouse denied any relationship problems.
      That was the double whammy– gaslighted into thinking I was imagining things, kids thought everything was great.
      I do not want to go back to the first time I suspected ex of cheating, as my kids wee not born yet…but I wish I could go back to 10 years ago. A single parent to toddlers would have preferable to the slow end of the marriage and the dribbling of affair information.
      And the sacrifices made for the spouses– when in the end it made things more painful. In my case, I encouraged ex to take a leave from work to take a new job, as he kept saying he was unhappy at work– yup, that where OWife came from!

  • Ignorance had me paying off his business and his vehicle instead of my mortgage on our house. The business and vehicle he got in the divorce. Ignorance had me trusting him while he stockpiled a Shit load of money for his escape. Money I could not get back in the divorce. Ignorance resulted in X selling a lot martial belongings behind my back before he left. Another thing I could not recoup cuz it was sold while we were married. Ignorance allowed him to walk out the door with the majority of my retirement before I even knew there was a problem. Ignorance had me trusting that he would not take me off bank accounts and off the titles to everything we own. Luckily that didn’t fly in court. Ignorance did not allow me to protect myself and decide for myself if I wanted to be fucked over. It most definitely was not bliss.

    • Yeah, ignorance had me paying his tuition and paying down his truck, motorcycle and VISA before all mine because they were lower interest. I knew he had mentally moved on when he started talking about “his” money instead of “our” money… (in retrospect I see it was at the same time he started taking her on weekend trips to Montreal to “help a friend move”)…but when I asked him if he was planning on leaving me after he graduated, he denied anything was wrong.

    • Excellent points. People outside of the hellscape of cheating do not see how many financial decisions are impacted by infidelity–especially if the chump is agreeing to finance the jackass’s new car or put money into the spouse’s projects or dreams rather than his/her own in an attempt to continue to be a great spouse. The ways chumps make their own needs smaller is not usually visible outside of the marriage. It is a hidden cost that Captain Awkward and his crew of nitwits can’t compute.

      • Yes. I would never have agreed to STBX starting his own practice, nearly bankrupting us to keep it afloat, if I had known he was cheating.

    • Wow newdaydawning you could be me…the financial abuse was epic…half of my retirement plus 10’s of thousands in “toys” that I paid for. Taken to enjoy with schmoopie.. plus I own half the shares of his business–the one he blew my retirement savings in and I don’t know what the debts are since he refused to disclose…I’m just about done extricating myself from that mess.. (((hugs))) my friend

  • Thank you, Tracy. If there was a way to have this taught in schools! Or at least published in the NYTimes for the record. If I had a penny for every time someone in his family or him said, post D-Day, that I should remember that we had a “happy” marriage while I did not know. Clearly no one is interested in looking up “happiness” or “bliss” in the dictionary, or questioning its meaning in their own hearts. If they did, they would realize that it does not include being ignored and dismissed, being gaslighted and made a fool of both privately and publicly, being assigned blame as a decoy, being simultaneously sexually rejected and blamed, etc. In the absence of an explanation for all these behaviors, we too often revert to culturally determined positions — wondering what is wrong with us or how we can improve the marriage. As devastating as discovery was, I remember my relief, piercing my grief with great clarity: It wasn’t me! All along, it wasn’t me! It was HIM!

    Ignorance is not bliss. At best, it’s anesthesia while torture is being performed on you. At worst, it’s being awake and in pain with no explanation.

  • Amen Chump Lady 🙂

    It took me awhile to crawl out of the crazy and get completely free. But I absolutely appreciate and show my appreciation each year by sending Christmas cards to those that ‘threw the brick’ and shattered the lie that was my marriage!

    Whoooo Hoooo!

  • Not knowing is not bliss. Add to that long list of lost opportunities being able to have one or more children. You don’t want to know how difficult it can be to conceive children when you are unknowingly married to a gay man. I count myself very fortunate to have my one child, but sometimes my heart aches at the additional children I wanted and could have so easily had but for lies of my ex. Learning the truth well after your fertile years are over is a real kick to the stomach. And I believe this is the first time posting on CL has ever made me cry.

    • yeah me too. single and childless. again. and spent my last years where a baby would have been possible, tracking his email/facebook and texting habits. stupid.

      • oh not that he was gay but just the cheating. I think the stress cause my early menopause.

        • I wonder if I had so many miscarriages with the traitor because of his cheating. I had other problems, lots of fibroids, but 6 miscarriages in just a few years, despite a uterine reconstruction seems odd. I should think one pregnancy would have stuck. I will always wonder what viruses I was exposed to, which may be undiscovered yet, just like HIV was. Plus the whore had 20 cats in a filthy house. What else did they give me? In any case I wasted my last few years of fertility with a traitor, surrounded by people who did not wish me well, to say the least.
          A year before DDay 1 almost to the day, I was crying my eyes out and telling him that I felt he hated me, that I felt hated in my own home, like no one wanted me there.
          If someone had known about the cheating years ago and told me, everything could have been different. I left my job in town, I sold my own farmlet and a house in a big city to start this new life with someone who lied about everything.
          I used to tell the traitor that I was handling the grief and not getting depressed because at least I had found him, I had a good man and a family…That’s how I coped.
          Even if I had still had all these problems with pregnancies, as I said to the traitor when he was packing his stuff, at least I could have had all these miscarriages with someone who gives a shit!!!
          Of course I would have been better off knowing the truth years ago!!

          • Kiwichump – I am so sorry for everything you have been through. Thank god you are away from your horrible cheater who made you feel so unloved. So unfair…

            • I understand the particular brand of sadness that comes from wasting fertile years with a cheater. I chose not to have children because I felt financially insecure because I was working all the time while my Perpetual Scholar was studying to better himself. It took a lot longer than I imagined.

              The only problem with that was once he finally bettered himself … well you know the rest. I wasted some good years on him. He also had me fooled for years. On DD I found out he had been cheating for years. I was working my ass off to support the household and put him through school.

              I would have appreciated a clue! Ignorance was Hell! A brick or three thrown through my window with a couple of anonymous notes would have been welcome!

            • Thank you Kathleen. Reading today how Too many of us have missed out because of these liars…makes me sick.

      • Sorry Empath. I went through the same thing. What he stole from me can never be replaced. I also have the added bonus that he knocked up the 26 year old slut puppet and will be a dad for the first time at 45. I am sure his serial cheating has kicked into high gear with the stress of this fact, since their crappy duo musical act doesn’t make any money and they have no health insurance. Looks like slut puppet will have to go back to waitressing and trying to find a married man with money once her reality hits.

    • I’m so sorry, Dixie. You’re such a nurturing person, and it would have been great to have the world populated with more of your children.

      Once the full trauma of the divorce has died down, consider an adoption. There are so many children world-wide who will have hit the jackpot if you were to raise them. I have decided I want to live life with no regrets (tough not to regret a 24-year relationship with a fucktard, but I’m working on it). I haven’t given up the thought of adopting, or fostering children, once my 15 year old is away at college (she needs my full attention right now as she is suffering symptoms of the broken attachment with her father). If, at life’s end, you think you will regret only having had one child, then make sure you don’t have that regret. Hugs!

      • Thank you Tempest. I think that ship has sailed … I am no longer in the season of life where raising children is what I want to be doing! I cherish the one I have and am still working on launching him in a few years. I think the reason this thought hit me hard this morning is because I had never really let myself consider the thought … it came out of the blue. I am not about regrets. I am super grateful for what I have and look forward to a happy future, whatever it may hold! Onward, chumps!

    • I have been married almost 24 years and I have been told by so many people my husband is very different from most men. I have a slight feeling he might be a “switch hitter” so if it comes out that he is more drawn to the same sex, I won’t be surprised. The fact that I was an OW, showed me that a man usually has sexual desires for a woman he is drawn to. I never experienced that before being pursued by a MM. Thankful the affair is over but it really did clarify my questions on my husband’s sexuality. We have no children as sex was never something he wanted. I think he married because his parents wanted him to. My parents knew his parents and looking back, that was more than anything why our friendship became a marriage. There was no sexual attraction for either of us. Fast forward 20 plus years and I find that you really can be physically attracted to someone but he’s married to someone else. Lesson learned.

      • Please stop posting. This is not the place for you. You don’t deserve to be here.

      • Please go away.

        Listening to your self absorption and lack of remorse, your lack of insight into the damage your selfishness has caused, is starting to annoy me.

        YOU HELPED HURT PEOPLE for your own selfish desires the pair of you. Go away.

      • Hi Cari!
        Am I allowed to say fuck off?( Apologies to CL if not.)YOU ARE ON THE WRONG SITE, DIMWIT.This is Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life- not- Justify my Cheating to a Room Full of People who Just Don’t Care

      • “Fast forward 20 plus years and I find that you really can be physically attracted to someone but he’s married to someone else.”

        I do not understand the complete lack of reason and self-control that leads people to that conclusion that if you’re attracted to someone, you must therefore fuck them. Do these people also lose all control at a buffet and eat the entire dessert board? Do they eat an entire truffle cheesecake, German chocolate cake, caramel apple pie, and plate of brownies just because they look delicious? No, because that would be destructive, unhealthy, and idiotic. Yet when it comes to their genitals, they don’t apply the same logic. Here’s a tip: you can be attracted to someone *and also not fuck them.* You can look at a dessert buffet *and not also eat it.* You can admire an expensive car *and also not steal it.* Shocking, I know, that we as humans are capable of moderating our actions in response to our desires.

      • Cari,

        You said, ‘The fact that I was an OW showed me that a man usually has sexual desires for a woman he is drawn to.’ Several billion people have figured out that a man has sexual desires for someone he is drawn to (if you mean emotionally drawn to)–and they have never committed adultery. If you mean sexually drawn to, then you are making a tautological error.

        You also said, ‘Fast forward 20 plus years and I find that you really can be physically attracted to someone but he’s married to someone else. Lesson learned.’ It took 20 plus years to figure this out? Did you ever think about why people VOW to shun all others after they are married? Did you ever consider that billions of married people are attracted to others but don’t break those vows? Or at least file for divorce before ‘crossing the line?’ Do you ever watch TV? (I rarely watch TV, but even I have seen shows that present people who decide to stay faithful to their spouses even when temptation is right in front of them.) Observation of my husband, communication with my husband (although he makes false statements much of the time), reading, and consultation with psychologists helped me ‘clarify’ my husband’s sexuality (bisexuality)–I didn’t have to commit adultery to discover that.

        Now if you will kindly pay my hundreds of thousands in legal fees and lost wages I incurred from being subject to OWs, OMs, and cheaters taking me to court for things I did not do as well as sincerely apologize to the people you have gravely hurt, then I might appreciate you a tad.

      • So if you are physically attracted to a married man again, what are you going to do, Cari?

    • DC,
      I’m so sorry for that particular pain – it really fucking hurts. I wanted kids, and he future-faked me on that until it was just too late. It feels like just one more thing that I lost because of him…and adoption is not really possible for me at this age…I mourn that loss every day. I’m so sorry you’ve gone though that.

      • ClosertoMeh, I think women have far more to lose than men in these situations, and again the law takes no account of this loss. You have been robbed of your fertile years and your chance to have your own children. No fault divorce my arse!!

    • Dixie, how strange, this morning after reading this post, that exact thought popped into my head. I could have had a couple more kids, with a man that actually loved me and my kids, had I just paid attention to what the f*ckwit was doing and saying to me at the time. I would have still been in my fertile years and don’t get me wrong, I love my kids and I am thankful for having them, but I think to myself, I could have had a houseful of kids, possibly, and it breaks my heart.

  • I will forever be grateful to the people who told me – who were incidentally Ex Hole’s cousins. They called me as soon as they found out. Ex Hole’s cousin’s husband though was in on it since the start. He was Ex Hole’s confidante throughout the affair. I feel bad for his cousin who has a husband that condoned the affair until he couldn’t keep it in any longer and had to tell her so she could tell me. Hope their marriage is ok and he treats her well.

  • Fallacy #2. Ignorance Is Bliss.

    Here’s how blissful ignorance is. My X was sporadically an asshole anyway, but the way I figured out the truth of his serial cheating was to think back on the times when he was AWFUL. Devaluing is real, gaslighting is unnerving and painful, and both things occur when a person is cheating.

    Case #1: on D-day, I discovered sexual harassment notes about professor X’s affair with a student 8 years prior. He claimed that they met for coffee for 3 weeks, then fucked for 3 weeks. But I started to think back on that time period, and remember standing in the kitchen thinking, “He’s treating me like shit, he’s treating the kids like shit, he’s even treating the new puppy like shit,” 3 MONTHS prior to when he said the affair commenced. I was then able to figure out his affair had actually started June of that year (when the devaluing began) rather than October as he claimed.

    Case #2: Post-divorce, I realized he had been massively treating me with contempt since the start of 2014. Lo and behold, a PI I hired was able to turn up evidence that he had indeed been having an affair with the woman who is his current live-in GF.

    Want to know how much “bliss” I was in during those 9 final months of the marriage until D-day 9/11/14?
    a-I was having nightmares where then-Husband was criticizing me and I would open my mouth to scream and couldn’t (major sense of helplessness).

    b-I was having unexplained panic attacks.

    c-I would leave each morning feeling deflated and only get back my usual sense of optimism from going to work and interacting with sane people.

    d-I considered going on anti-depressants for the first time in my life, but decided against it because I knew my depression was due to the marriage and I was NOT going to medicate to stay in a marriage I knew was killing me. I would leave when I couldn’t take it anymore.

    e-I was self-harming, scratching myself to the point of bleeding. Multiple times. One week I had to teach classes in neck scarves in 100 degree weather to cover up the nail marks all down my neck. Once I did it on the way to a dinner party when X started his contemptuous criticism once he had me trapped in a car.
    Even though this is a hard thing to admit, I wanted to say it to legitimize any one else who suffered enough to self-harm. Sometimes the pain has nowhere else to go, and chumps are not prone to lashing out at the person who is causing the harm (or most of us would be in prison). We take the pain on ourselves instead, and often the symptoms manifest physically–sleeplessness, under/overeating, we get sick more often, or we harm ourselves.

    I am not a psychologically weak person, but the “bliss” of ignorance pushed me to the brink of sanity and mental health. It cannot be otherwise.

    • Tempest, you are not alone. I’m sure several of us here went through similar experiences. I had panic attacks and recurring nightmares involving my ex for years — I describe them now as the real life phone ringing while I was asleep. He told me there was something very wrong with me and sent me off to therapy — while he refused to get therapy for himself, because he was “fine.” I never identified him as the source of my problems in therapy, because I had no idea of what he was doing outside the marriage or an understanding of how that affect me inside the marriage. So I could not get the help I needed. Which worsened my hopelessness and panic attacks, which made him devalue me as damaged even more to the point where he said two and a half months prior to D-Day: “we [meaning him and the kids] would be better off without you.” I actually contemplated suicide, in some detail.

      So, yes, Chump Lady is right: ignorance is not bliss. It’s dangerous and damaging. Getting out of the fog of ignorance is the best thing that happened to me. Literally, it saved my life.

      • I agree, TOWMB–finding out saved my life, or his ; ).

        Love your metaphor of nightmares being “the real life phone ringing while I was asleep.” So apt.

      • I had a recurring nightmare the first several years I was together with Gaslighter. The recurring dream was of a departing limousine filled with strippers and hookers and Gaslighter’s hand extended out of the skylight waving bye-bye to me. Fast-forward nearly 40 years and he has pictures of a stripper on his phone that he was “counseling” Yep can’t make this shit up. Another not so funny thing is I gave Gaslighter a huge 45th birthday party at our newly acquired ranch property. The party had a Western theme and the invitations were “Wanted” Posters. Stating “WANTED – Dastardly Gaslighter! ( Real last name starts with a D) For High-Handed Outrages and Leading a Double Life! Poster photos of him both as a Cowboy and in A business suit. At the party we had mounted armed bandits come arrest and “sentence” him, and we literally “hung him” from gallows to the surprise of our guests (he was wearing a stunt harness). Too bad it wasn’t for real. How Prophetic. But I really do throw a dang good party!

      • theotherwhitemansburden, Vlad is bringing a tree for your x as well…


        …there needs to be a law!

    • corrected–affair I divorced him over was 8 years prior. And the “bliss” I suffered between that affair and D-day was sitting across from people at dinner parties for 8 fucking years who knew X had had an affair with a graduate student but never told me. Good times, I tell you, good times.

      • Knowing that others knew when I did not still bothers me … makes me feel stupid when I have always prided myself in being … well, NOT stupid!! Aw well. Life goes on and is so good now. Grateful for so many things, not the least of which is finally knowing and understanding the past.

        • DixieChump–two things helped me field the pain that others knew of the affair/s when I did not: A friend of mine said, “If an intelligent person wants to deceive you, of course they will be able to.” I would add “or a person well-practiced in deception” to intelligent.

          Two, we operate in the world with very strong cognitive frameworks. Chumps operate from a framework of assuming the best about people, and from a standard marital framework of having to trust that the person you’ve partnered with is honest, reliable, and has your best interest at heart. It takes a LOT to shift people out of cognitive frameworks/schemata. The evidence at D-day is that “a LOT;” evidence prior to D-day often is not sufficient to complete the puzzle.

          • Cognitive frameworks, indeed. In truth, I mostly don’t like people. As we’ve all discussed before, I’m an introvert and have a few select friends, but I use the self-checkout at the grocery, order stuff online as much as possible, engage in solitary sports activities rather than team sports, etc. However, when I walk down the street, I do not fear for my life based on the possibility that any one of these other people might have a weapon, might be mentally unstable, and might suddenly out of the blue stab me to death.

            And so, after spending day after day, year after year, with this person who chose me, and whom I chose, I relaxed and stopped looking for reasons that wasn’t true. I’d done my due diligence and could rest comfortably with the notion that I had chosen a good man.

            Yesterday, I found out XH is marrying AP. It was surprisingly unsurprising. But it has given me a few moments to look back on our marriage together and figure out if I was deceiving myself, and I was not. Yes, I felt neglected and ill cared for at times, but I still loved him and thought we had a good thing. I had no idea he was always on the lookout for something better. — What I wouldn’t give to have those years back.

            • NW

              I agree about those lost years. I know they are not lost in the sense that I had three boys I love to bits, a lot of experiences and good times but now every time I do look back it’s all tainted with what I know now. Seems to make it all feel slightly hollow and less meaningful. I still like who and how I am, I know there is nothing I could have done to prevent it or find out earlier. I loved him and trusted him. That was it. I am a very different person now. Trying so hard lately not to be bitter. I have lost and feel the loss. He has lost but seems to be fine – adjusting his cognitive framework just fine. I think he has won really. I will be amicable because I am just built that way. Boys will be civil because they are. He will just be free to do as he pleases. He will have financial obligations to us but he may feel nothing much has changed for him. Working abroad. Some contact with us but a newly free man.
              I’m still here putting in the hours and picking up the pieces.
              I’m ok. I’m going to be better but it does suck.

              • “I think he has won really.”

                I have felt this way, myself. But as more and more time has passed, I look around and see that the world is a spectrum of suffering. True, some people seem to have more than their share while others seem to have none at all. I’m not in charge of that, so waiting for Karma or hoping XH’s new marriage doesn’t work out or that AP leaves him for a younger man…. I’m not in charge of that, either.

                But I no longer feel like XH “won” anything. There are a million ways to rationalize anything, so believe me that I’m not being trite or sour-grapesing this thing when I say that I sometimes feel sorry for XH. My therapist used the phrase “hedonic treadmill,” his constantly searching for newer shinier things. Those wonderful hours-long deep conversations I have with my friends, that refill my soul-well? He’ll never have that.

                We all have to choose our “prizes” in life. Those things that he has chosen are the plastic rings in a cracker jack box. My choices (to me, anyway) are diamonds: true friends, profound feeling, empathy towards others…. He can keep his “prize.”

              • I empathize completely. Same scenario here – he’s away a lot traveling internationally and his life seems to be unaffected by his actions. I used to try to think ‘deep down inside he must feel the loss’ but you know what? Who cares?! It doesn’t matter!! HE doesn’t matter!! If he’s happy or unhappy in his new world – we don’t care! Don’t give him any more of your attention. Your energy and time is much too valuable to waste on your oxygen-stealing, poor excuse for a human being ex husband!

              • Capricorn and NWBiblio. They didn’t win for the plain and simple fact that they don’t have you. Let’s be real – will anyone love them like you did? You both need to remind yourselves that you are the best things that happened to them. They married up. They never deserved you but they got to pretend they did for a while. And if I can figure that out from comments on CL, you will soon be able to see it too.

              • LF, I only nitpick here because it’s something I’ve thought a lot about. I don’t think I’m the best thing that ever happened to him, or the worst. And vice versa him to me. The betrayal and abandonment was certainly the worst thing that has ever happened to me (and my history includes sexual assault), but him? Now that the dust has settled, I do see that I did things with him (like travel, and backcountry skiing) that I might not have otherwise done. I might not have stayed in Alaska for twenty years, a history I cherish.

                Unlike some chumps here, as far as I know, AP is a one time thing. In any case, in the comments under her engagement announcement (of course I read them — I’m at Meh, not inhuman!), she said, “Can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with this dude.”


                And I remembered all of the times XH would utter some new hipster lingo from his restaurant that was WAY too young for him. I would sort of grimace disparagingly. You know what? I don’t need that, but he doesn’t need that, either. — Admittedly, in my ideal world, we would have gone to counseling and we could have talked about our petty grievances and worked to correct them. But for neither the first nor the last time I will say: He was never that guy. He was NEVER gonna do the work.

                So I respectfully disagree that I am the best thing that ever happened to him. I think having a 25yo Schmoopie who thinks he hung the moon, I think THAT is the best thing that ever happened to him. For now. Until that shiny thing wears off and then he’s unhappy again but this time he can’t blame the girl because he DID feel “that way” about her, so maybe… just maybe… it’s him that he’s unhappy with.

              • (Of course, it could be argued that, had I not paid for our entire life together and bought him that position of power as a restaurant owner, he might not have looked quite so sparkly to Schmoopie when she finally came along, either! 😉 )

    • Tempest, I am right there with you. One day I woke up and with every molecule of my being thought “I understand why people cut themselves”. I would see a doctor (or Dr. Google) just to check if you have more symptoms of PTSD. I have been living with it for 6 years trying to tweek what helps the most (Accupuncture!) and it’s been a very slow process, but getting better. People don’t understand PTSD, especially for narc/sociopath abuse, which has made healing slower and harder. The brain is an amazing organ. It does get better, but a lot of one step forward and three steps back. Don’t beat yourself up, and release the people who don’t support you. Hang in there! And a steady diet of Chump Lady is what this gal in the trenches recommends!

      • My oldest daughter was being used as her dad’s confidante. I absolutely had no idea of my husband’s cheating. It was her Junior yr in high school that I became aware of her cutting and eating disorder. I got her into therapy but it was 5 years down the road until I found out about his cheating. My ex is a twisted human. The damage to our chump kids leaves me speechless and sad. It’s been 3+ yrs since I divorced him and my two daughters and I have moved forward. We have many scars!

        • Your ex used his own daughter as his confidante? What a disgusting human being, to throw his own kid under the bus like that. Jesus, these people. They’ll sacrifice anything to protect themselves.

          • My ex did and still does this. My teenage daughter is his confidante. His best friend. My daughter is so enmeshed in his narrative she has left and gone to live with him. I’m the bad cop. Her anger is thrown my way. She will ignore me for days. I fear the damage this will do to her long term as she navigates young adulthood and beyond. Her idea on what an healthy relationship should be is going to be skewed, fucked up. She is his biggest advocate. It’s all poor dad. The financial implication have been massive. She blames me for her dad and herself having to live with his friend and not having their own place. He still financially helps me out with my rent while I look for more work. I could be in the same position in a few weeks time. Unable to keep what was once the family home. The blame comes my way. Even when I point out the situation we are in is because of the choices her father made is never considered. It’s a herculean effort not to bad mouth him to her but hey, I’m trying to be the sane parent despite the narrative to discredit me. All I can do is tell her I love her and am here when she needs me. If she ever takes him off the pedestal she is going to have a bad time dealing with it.

            These fuckwits have no idea the damage they are doing.The burden they are placing on these kids.

            NWBiblio, you’re so right, they will sacrifice anything to protect themselves. He is the archetypal sad sausage. Plays the victim, it’s never their actions but the reactions that he focuses on. He even used my stages of grief against me to further his own image management narrative and reinforce his self -view.

            Yep, they suck like a big fucking sucker!

    • The gaslighting nearly drove me mad. And the physical effects were very debilitating. had one adrenaline rush so strong I thought my heart would burst out of my chest. When I found the FB page and finally knew, I was of course angry, betrayed, crushed and so on, but I was also relieved. I wasn’t insane. That might be the best reason to tell a chump–some people may not be willing to leave a cheater, gain a life, but at least if chumps KNOW, they won’t lose their minds dealing with mindfuckery and gaslighting.

      • Amen. As soon as I realized the reason XH was cleaning out the passenger side of his truck prior to picking up AP for a “work event” was because …. Ohhhh!! Ding! Light goes on. I, too, felt so relieved. It explained SO MUCH! I was actually smirking when I told him. The next morning he confessed and I kicked him out that very day. It still hurt like hell, but at least there was a reason and I wasn’t crazy.

    • “Even though this is a hard thing to admit, I wanted to say it to legitimize any one else who suffered enough to self-harm. Sometimes the pain has nowhere else to go, and chumps are not prone to lashing out at the person who is causing the harm (or most of us would be in prison). We take the pain on ourselves instead, and often the symptoms manifest physically–sleeplessness, under/overeating, we get sick more often, or we harm ourselves.

      I am not a psychologically weak person, but the “bliss” of ignorance pushed me to the brink of sanity and mental health. It cannot be otherwise.”

      @ Tempest

      You are definitely not alone. I was five months pregnant when my husband cheated, and during the discovery process (five weeks of gaslighting and intense devaluation while I scrambled to find out the truth), I would go into my beautiful walk-in closet, close the door, kneel on the floor, sort of hunched over my belly, rocking back and forth, and sob uncontrollably. My mind would race, thoughts tumbling and screaming, out-of-control. The heartbreak felt like a real, physical thing…like I had a weight on my chest and my heart couldn’t beat properly. I felt a crushing agony all over my body. I had a hard time breathing, I just had these short, shallow breaths that didn’t feel satisfying. When I tried to control it, to breathe deeply and get a grip, the breath I drew in was ragged and painful. It burned. I was in disbelief that emotions could be so intense, so visceral, that I could feel so raw – like an exposed nerve, assaulted with pain. But there it was.

      I took to punching myself. As I knelt there on the floor, I took to punching myself on my thighs, over and over, really hard. Over those few weeks, when everything was at its very worst, my thighs were covered in deep, blue-black bruises from my own fists.

      I’ve never told anyone that before, because you are right – it is a hard thing to admit. But that immediate, EXPLAINABLE pain would snap me back to reality and outlet the worst of my many feelings. It gave me a focus for just the handful of seconds I needed to reign in the feeling of being out-of-control so I could get back to functioning. In retrospect, of course I should have aimed those punches at Cheater’s throat, but we live and learn 🙂

      I never self-harmed before then, nor have I felt the need since. I am also mentally strong, and psychologically, I’m pretty well-adapted. But these things can break even the toughest of us.

      • Tempest & Little Mighty.
        Kudos to both of you for speaking about this so openly. I self harmed just a handful of times when I was with my bipolar (undiagnosed poor soul) boyfriend. Back then no one knew about this kind of thing and I certainly didn’t recognise it until years later. During the third DDay I rammed my head into the kitchen wall over and over. The wall is plasterboard so I did no damage to myself fortunately but am ashamed I have to lie about the big dents in the wall when the picture strategically placed over them, falls off.
        I keep them to remind me how deeply terrifying and stunning those days were. How deep the pain. How much it hurt.
        I’m angry now just writing this.
        Plus the OW on this thread keeps triggering a huge rage.

        • Thanks for posting about the self harm – I have a recollection of hitting my skull with my balled up fists and then pulling my own hair. I did have enough awareness to think ,”Oh this is what is meant by rending hair”. The pain is so great emotionally that it somehow transfers to the physical acting out. I have been triggered a few times this week and feel for you Capricorn – damn trolls are NOT what we need at the moment. I am going to go make carrot juice in my Vitamix and do other forms of self-care this afternoon. I’m going to take 10 deep breaths and I’m going to send you some good vibes. (((Capricorn))))

          • Thanks KathleenK
            I think I need them. I’m so triggered by the possible OW. I have not been triggered like this since early days. Must be stuff moving. Might just have to take a CL break. Go think other thoughts for a week or so.
            It’s like I’m a happy little hen and a bloody fox just wandered in.
            Have to find another safe place for a bit. Obviously not as squared away as I thought.

            • Take a little break, but I think you will be pleasantly surprised how quickly you bounce back. That’s the beauty of time. The pain never is as bad and as unique as it was say, the first month. You just don’t go all the way back. And if you do, you come back fast, and mightier. Be kind to yourself. You are as squared away as you should be. You are right where you should be.

      • Your description of heartbreak is so REAL. Exactly how it feels. Yet what people are put through by NARC cheaters is somehow not considered abuse. Well, the world finally caught on to, why yes, domestic violence and marital rape are abuss

    • Wow, the scratching I had not even thought about.
      In the shower, my husband would say, “are you scratching yourself – you have red marks!” I remember scratching what felt like an itch I could not reach while I was in the shower. I would do it so often, but had no idea I was leaving marks.

      I am sitting here trembling right now, gosh that is powerful. Just – wow.

      • I would scratch my head and pull out my hair and my husband would pull my hands away from my head to stop me. (He didn’t want me to ruin my long beautiful hair. I don’t think he gave a crap about me.) That was before DD. I didn’t consciously know what was going on in terms of what he was up to, but deep inside myself I did and the self-harming happened.

    • Tempest, thanks for describing the reason people self harm. I used to scratch my arms and pull my own hair when I missed notes as I practiced the piano. I always wondered why I felt compelled to do that when I was about 8-9 years old. Now it makes sense. I wanted to lash out at my critical mother, but punished myself instead. Wow, all those years I wondered why I would do something like that. Now I don’t even remember what she said, but I remember the way I felt. Hmm.

      • A friend’s daughter during the dday time period was cutting herself. I was, obviously, very concerned about her. One day I was cutting some peppers and cut my fingers…badly. Lots of blood. I remember looking down at my fingers, being so surprise and PLEASED that I could feel something other than my soul being ripped apart. I understood then why people self harm.

    • OMG (((((((TEMPEST)))))))

      I’m calling Vlad…I’ll tell him to fuck the stakes, just bring the whole trees, bark and all, and screw sharpening the end…we’ll make em fit!

      …there are now 10 circles of hell…

    • I also experienced the same symptoms due to stress living with X. It was impossible for me to fall asleep and feel relaxed. I’d sleep for only a couple hours at the most and be wide awake. Have the same nightmares. When I did wake up my body, arms and legs would feel tense.
      It was a living nightmare.

  • Here’s one for the books… as part of discovery during my divorce, I found the my then STBX was STILL active on Adult Friend Finder. Someone sent me and OW a copy of the ad. The OW emailed me saying that I was harassing her – WTF? She thought I had sent it. I responded that it wasn’t his first time on AFF and I have other examples of his online behavior if she’d be interested in seeing it. I was told in no uncertain terms to not “interfere and bring MY INSECURITIES INTO THE REALM OF HER HOME.”

    Um Bitch… HE IS CHEATING ON YOU … but I guess since you knew he was cheating on ME to be with YOU in the first place, you’re ok with that.

    I can’t say that I wish I had known sooner. I had 4 D-days. I think my story – especially for the newbies – is that staying with a cheater doesn’t guarantee you an intact family or marriage. I suffered through MC, false reconciliation, gaslighting, financial abuse, emotional abuse, and my stepkids watched their Dad cheat (they were teens… they miss nothing). AND HE STILL LEFT ME.

    No contact gave me the clarity of mind I needed to step back and really see my X for who he was and still very much is.

    It’s true… we can choose ignorance with a cheater, but only for so long. Sooner or later, the truth wills out.

    And, I count my blessing every day to have saved myself and my son from a lifetime of insanity with Mr. Sparkles.

    • ICanSee, you write: “I think my story – especially for the newbies – is that staying with a cheater doesn’t guarantee you an intact family or marriage.” In fact, it guarantees that you are married to a cheater.

    • Me too- four D Days and he left anyway. Staying with a cheater guarantees nothing but misery.

  • The whole “in the name of feminism” qualifier offends me mightily. That notion postulates that only men cheat and the only reason a person would reveal the affair is some kind of politically correct solidarity.

    I hate it when people explicitly or implicitly trash feminism, which is essentially about women’s rights to political and economic equality, by equating it to getting back at men for (in this case) the actual wrongdoings of an actual man. If I had reason to tell a chump about a cheater spouse, I would not be doing that in the name of feminism, but because I had ironclad knowledge that I felt this specific person needed to know, that the person in fact was not likely to know, and I had some relationship with the parties that would give me credibility.

    • That pisses me off, as well. If anything, it almost implies the opposite of feminism: that we women are so weak that we must surely all stick together against the Big Bad Man because we’ll never be able to survive on our own, our poor little weakling selves!

      Straight or gay, male or female — cheating is wrong.

    • I see the statement a bit differently. Feminism is about equality for ALL of us. The fact that women are still in a power down position tends to cause a statement like that to be interpreted as ‘women against men’ I really don’t think that’s the intent. We do need to act as a ‘sisterhood’, we see too often that our cultural imprint causes some women to treat other women as competition rather than allies. That doesn’t mean we are fighting the ‘man’, we are fighting against ingrained culture that exists within everyone, male or female.

    • Yes! Also, it seems to imply that telling a fellow woman out of an impulse to have her be on an equal, informed, level playing field is somehow silly or an empty political gesture. It’s not silly or empty. It is returning some of her agency. I find the fact that Capt. Awkward seems to think destroying evidence and colluding in the ambient abuse of this woman by continuing to gaslight her by omission, is for “her own good” and to protect her, to be egregiously offensive and non-feminst acts in their own right. Indeed, they are non-human acts.

    • LAJ, I found the mention of feminism a bit weird in that context too.

      I think it’s more like humanism if it has to be an “ism” at all.

      I would turn in a cheater to help another human being. If it were a man being chumped, I would act no differently.

  • “You’d want to know in her shoes, but in her shoes, how much credit would you give a random account from a stranger”

    Of course you’d want to know if you were in her shoes. Cheaters are predators and often times have been cheating for years leading a double life. If you knew someone was making a poor investment wouldn’t you give them the information in order to avoid losses? If the information is provided, regardless of the source it makes the buyer beware. You did your part and what they do with the information is a personal choice.

    Relationships are complex and that information may rock their world and cause pain. What is overlooked is the RIGHT to know. The RIGHT to protect yourself from STD’S, financial losses, and to STOP investing.

    How much credibility would a stranger have? Not much. Yet, it may be enough to make a chump self reflect, question, and protect themselves.

    • It’s come to my attention through other sources and a recent event that Shmoopie has been warned by multiple times about being with Gaslighter. Warned Recently by a doctor friend that knew her and her now deceased husband for many years, who knew my betrayal story through a close friend, but didn’t realize That Schmoopie was his former friend and patient when she and her husband lived in another state. He ran into her with Gaslighter, put two and two together, and took the time to warn her to “be careful with her money and with this man” but she’s chosen to ignore it. She even told him that she’s been warned before! She doesn’t care. “Life’s too short “and “they’re happy”…

  • I have thought many times during this past year that I wish I didn’t know, but then I think of the time, energy, effort, and finances being drained from our family through this, and I am happy I know. I sometimes wish I didn’t have so much trust in my wife and marriage, and recognized so many red flags leading up to discovery.
    Now I struggle with letting the AP wife know that I have discovered things are still ongoing, I have already let her know it was still happening after she thought it was done one time. I am just so sick of the drama, and gaslighting that I just want to distance myself from the whole situation and move forward with the kids. But I also know what the right thing to do is as well.

  • Would I have wanted to hear this information from a stranger? No
    Would I have believed it without hard evidence? Probably not
    Would it have made me stop trusting blindly and start being aware of other signs or clues that I was being betrayed? Yes

    And that is where a chump gets a chance to start seeing reality and having a voice. We DESERVED having the truth and a choice.

  • Really, bliss is not ignorance it is outright abuse! Moving constantly to support cheater’s career, isolating yourself from family and friends, turning down any chances to further your own career aspirations, being exposed to STD’s, shelling out your inheritance money from your father’s death to support cheater’s career and toy expenditures (the latest laptop, Iphone, camera and oh yeah the bitchin’ Harley). All the while unable to make informed decisions. If I had known x had absolutely no respect for me or anybody of my gender whilst he was blowing money on booze, gambling, hookers, Ashley Madison, Adult Friend Finder, porn (he actually paid $$ to download porn along with numerous computer viruses that had to be scrubbed off his laptop)!
    After I outlived my usefulness x discarded me like an old pair of boots.
    Took me years after discovering the infidelity to stop feeling ashamed of being so goddamned stupid…especially knowing that all of x’s friends knew about the “stepping out”. Bliss means not only the cheater has one over on you but every single one of his enablers who is complicit in his or her deceptions. Would really have appreciated a head’s up from some of those asinine friends. Does a real number on your esteem to feel that every Switzerland friend poopoos cheater’s misbehaviour and makes light of your innate trusting stupidity.
    I prefer to have an equal partnership, an equal playing field.
    Do not ever give me fucking bliss again!

  • There is a special kind of hell or Karma for these “good Samaritans”. In my personal hell there were no fewer than 15 people who “knew”. All people that I gave birthday presents to, gifts for children, flowers for dead relatives, etc. So called “friends” but mostly employees of my husband. They saw, they sniffed it out, not.a.word. Not even an “anonymous” letter or phone call nothing. Some even quit their jobs because of it. I knew these people. I was good to these people when I didn’t have to be. These people are assholes and persona non grata for me anymore. And I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard about their personal misfortune and just grinned. Yep that’s Karma for you asshole. You may not know it, but I do. And I wish the same for them. A lying, cheating spouse!

    Cheating is such a taboo subject. One can talk about almost ANYTHING but cheating, because well some of those cooties might just rub off on YOU. These “friends” all knew I didn’t have a clue.

    No indeed ignorance is NOT bliss. Fuck you Switzerlanders and have fun on that Karma bus!

    • . Fuck you Switzerlanders and have fun on that Karma bus!


      • Yes, Anon…that was my experience as well. It all was played out in front of his employees, who knew it all. One key employee quit over the spectacle being played out and they were privy to. They told me “after” they thought we had an open marriage! They all knew me well enough to give me information, but as you experienced…Not.a.word. After it all exploded, they were willing to sing like birds for me. I too was good to them and it was a small business and this went on for a long time. I don’t understand any of it. I feel played in so many, many ways.

      • Yeah, Michael, a Karma Bus full of them riding through the winding roads of the Swiss Alps and going over a cliff into a deep crevasse! That could make a nice Chump Lady cartoon.

  • This was a large part of my life-
    ‘ It’s the sense that your partner is checked out, stressed, angry with you, finds you not measuring up quite, pre-occupied — and you don’t know WHY.’
    CL understands.
    I’m pretty resentful that I danced, and danced to please him, and try and make things better for us. If ANYONE had told me the cheating that he was up to, I’m positive I would have believed them, and maybe even hugged them from relief!

    Also, this has been the hardest thing for me to heal from- this feeling that I was conned for over 30 years! Really?!! Did that actually happen? That was my life? I did not deserve such treatment, and it just stuns me, still. At least I no longer have the panic attacks, with almost passing out, that I used to have when I thought about how he did me wrong. Now I just have disbelief and a sort of shock that lingers on. Hoping time will fix this!

    • Free Woman.
      I’m with you on the stunned thing. 30 years is a lifetime really. To find out it wasn’t what you thought it was is mind numbing.
      Mine only cheated, look at me writing ‘only’ there, forehead slap, – mine cheated for four years that I know of, 3OW, porn, dating sites. But now I know about those four it puts the other 18 in question too? Lately all kinds of stuff from the past is coming up, trips he took, women he knew, stuff that once seemed a bit odd but which has obviously snagged in my brain somewhere, I am now rethinking. It’s awful as I will never know but fear the worst, that he cheated a long time before these last four years. I’m glad you are no longer having panic attacks they are seriously awful. I’m hoping too it does get better.

      • The worst part is asking or trying to get to the truth. The very people who know the truth are the very ones who lied and hid it from you. That leaves you in a place where you will never know what was real and what were lies.

        Hard to accept that 20+ years of your life may be just a mirage. Working on simply accepting that he sucks. And his friends who probably knew suck. Period.

        I don’t think I can be friends with people who overlook what he’s done to continue a friendship with him. There is this pressure to not make people choose. Can’t we be friends with both of you?

      • This is how I entertain myself these days… If I know for sure about her cheating three years ago, so now I think back to the rest of the marriage. There was that time she went out with her gay guy friends – not like they were going to hit on her – “his car got towed” and she was stuck out until 5am.

        Riiiiiight… [smacking forehead]

        • Yep, it is so horrible once you know for sure that they cheated and then your mind re-plays all the other questionable things that happened when you were clueless and you start putting the puzzle pieces together and realize they have most likely done even way more dirt then you ever imagined. And you will never ever know the whole truth now, but it still eats at you long after it’s all over.

      • I really believe that finding out about one of their is the tip of the iceberg … The worst part of it is looking back over “happy times” in your marriage only to realize that it was all a long con. I think they just compartmentalize, disconnect on the disordered ones really get off on deceiving their loyal trusting loving spouses. Fuck Them All!

    • Me too- 35 years of marriage! The big con! And I am also no longer anxious. The panic attacks are gone but the disbelief lingers.

  • I’m amazed at the people who believe that it can be ethical to hide the truth from a victim of infidelity. For many years I believed I had a good marriage and a happy family.

    But then for the last 5 years I was mystified as to why my husband was so mean and moody to his family. I could not understand why he believed it was acceptable to make me babysit every night and every weekend. I could not understand why he spent all his time pursuing his hobbies and never choosing to spend time with his family. I could not understand why he thought it was OK for me to work 2 jobs and do all the housework. I could not understand, why, with me and our teenage children putting in superhuman efforts to make him happy, nothing seemed to work. And then the OW walked into my house and told me what she and my husband and another woman had been up to for the previous 5 years. Those years were stolen from me because I was kept in ignorance.

    And my friends had the cheek to suggest that it can be the good and right thing to hide an infidelity if the person doing it thinks it’s in their best interests. Well FUCK you my dear patronising friends.

    • If I found out anyone that knew me had any idea what my husband was doing and didn’t tell me, they would be out of my life for good. How dare they actively participate in deception against me. How dare they participate in my being played for the fool.

      A LOT of people don’t think what my husband did was “that bad” because it was mainly porn addiction, but it was escalating. He admits that if I hadn’t confronted him, he would have probably went on to have sex with real people (local at that). He was ready and willing to expose me to any disease, have a child he didn’t want with a person he didn’t know, and who knows what kind of crazy he would have found (no one willing to have sex with a stranger is mentally healthy – no one).

      I don’t care if it was my own mother, if anyone knew he had lost his mind and didn’t tell me, they have shown they have no right to be a part of my life.

    • Yes patronizing! It is incredibly patronizing for anyone to assume that they know what’s best for the chump and the poor, stupid, little chump doesn’t need to have all the information “for their own good.”

  • Just a different perspective that only applies if the person writing in were a friend of the chump. I could see the possibility of not telling due to experience. My own close friend was hit on by exasshole years before I knew anything was going on, not a whisper at the time. She told me after I was divorcing him. I was pretty pissed she did not tell me at the time it occurred. She explained she was afraid I would not believe her and would cut her out of my life, she loved me and was afraid to loose me. She didn’t know me as well as I thought she did. I forgave her because her decision came from a place of love, and insecurity on her part.

  • For ten years, he was cheating and I didn’t know. People say now that I must have known, but I didn’t. What happened to me was- I was so sad and unhappy, so alone in my marriage, embarrassed and ashamed because he seemed to hate me. He never touched me. Never. One time I tried to hug him and his hands just stayed at his side, like a lox. He told me I was fat, he said I was a nag, he was always ‘working’ but never had any money. He told me I was too close to our son and he thought that was ‘sick’. He was mad at me when I was sick and unsupportive when I had cancer. He told me that if I was ever too sick, he would put me “to the curb”, and if I died, he would remarry because he “can’t be alone.” So I was dying inside. My arms hurt. My legs hurt. My head hurt. My chest hurt. I became a total hypochondriac. What it really was- was PTSD and panic attacks. I was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and started on meds. Then he and the MC would talk about how my anxiety ruined the marriage. But here’s the thing. Other people seemed to like me. I had a good relationship with our son. I had good friends. I had my parents. I was well liked at work (I am a lawyer) and I had strong relationships with people. He didn’t- he didn’t like our friends (of 30+ years) anymore. They weren’t “fun”. He never wanted to get his ass off of the couch to go visit our son in the city. When I found out about the OW five years ago, I was shocked. Really shocked. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t work. I couldn’t stop crying. The grief poured out of me like a fountain. I now understand how you can die of a broken heart. So no, I didn’t know. But looking back, I was SO miserable, SO unhappy in the marriage. I felt entirely invisible because my husband of (then) 30 years didn’t love me, seemed to hate me. I felt trapped and unhappy. Short story- he came and went back and forth between me and the same OW- four times in five years- until I finally had enough and filed for divorce. As you can guess, he totally f-ed me in the divorce, even though I had helped him build his business over the now past 35 years. But now, divorced six months, having assumed all the debt but no longer uncertain and afraid- I wish I had not wasted ten years trying to fix something that could not be fixed. I spent ten years with abuse heaped on me all because he wanted to go but didn’t have the guts to do it. Now, after he hasn’t talked to me in almost two years- he is “almost done with her” and wants to come home. Of course, he hasn’t broken up with her yet because he won’t do that until he is certain I will take him back because he can’t be alone. You know what? My legs don’t hurt anymore. My arms don’t hurt. My back doesn’t hurt and my chest doesn’t hurt. The psychosomatic stuff was all due to stress and PTSD from life with him. I am better and stronger. Do I wish someone had told me ten years ago? Yes, because I would have those ten year back and be ten years ahead. No, because I don’t know if I would have accepted it. It took me a full five years after I first knew to accept it and start to move on. It’s a very hard call. We were together since we were 19 and I trusted him even when he violated my trust in every possible way. How anyone is so selfish to purposefully hurt someone the way me and my son- and the way all of you- have been hurt, I will never understand it. But I do feel guilty, because 20 years ago my friends and I knew that another friend’s husband was cheating and we did not tell her. I still believe she would not have wanted to know (she died young of diabetes) because she was very dependent on her husband in every way and I think she wanted to maintain the illusion of her life as a doctor’s wife. But now that it’s happened to me, I just don’t know. Because I would have wanted to know.

    • Don’t take him back!!!
      Sorry, just had to blurt that out. He enjoys using you, you need more than that!
      Hugs to you, beautiful LostandFound.

      • Free Woman,

        I won’t! My head is straight now while my heart still hurts. Thank you. Hugs back.

  • Before D-Day #1, my then-husband’s affair partner told my then-husband to get a vasectomy. Then-husband did some research to find out whether he would get into legal trouble if he got one without my knowledge and then proceeded to schedule an appointment to soon get a vasectomy. I unknowingly lost all agency of my own reproduction. To a chump who was childless and wanted to have children but waited ‘too long’ to create children, AP’a and cheater’a actions would have been life-altering and extremely damaging. Ignorance is not bliss.

  • I wish I could go back to my sort of ignorance bliss. Before being the OW, I was that person who had no idea what existed in the world. Had my ex MM not have introduced me to what a cell phone was (he bought me one to keep in touch with), and taught me what sexting was and how to talk dirty and even introduced me to porn. I had never worn anything but granny panties and white full cover playtex bras. He bought me matching sexy lingerie from Victorias Secret and showed me how to model them for him. I had never heard a swear word or saw another man naked besides my high school sweetheart. I had no idea ‘it’ comes in different sizes. So he took me from being a completely naive and innocent female and opened up a whole new world. I would love to go back to my innocent world but he damaged that and I have no desire to ever trust a man again. Funny part is that he would complain about how his wife never shaved her private area but he manipulated me to. I’m happily back to a full bush. Having an affair was a huge mistake but what an eye opener to what our society has become since I was married in 1993!

    • You were a grown ass woman. Your brand of underwear didn’t tell you sleeping with a married man was wrong. They teach that in Sunday School.

      I believe you may be looking for empathy in the worst possible place. There are many many websites that collect Affair Partner Tears and wash away the guilt. This isn’t one.

      I wish you peace.

      • Right on, Luziana! OW gets no sympathy here. Cari, did you ever think that you were actively helping to destroy a family? What a wierd post! What’s wrong with you?

        • You can change your panties and grow a bush yet its obvious you haven’t changed or grown in ways that matter.

      • Preach it Sister!!

        Come have coffee with me and Beau Luz!

        You got it right! Beeeaaacth! MOVE ON!

    • Cari, as we say here, fuck off and die.I wouldn’t piss on you if you were on fire

    • Thats because you were his whore. Have you never watched porn?

      You are an idiot. You seem to lack empathy. Please go away.

        • in which case I will cheerfully set him on fire in the first place. The poster certainly comes across like a narc though, it has a ring of self justifying believability

      • I think she is attempting, through laughable writing and subhuman reasoning skills, to mock our naivety. She is saying “I did not know what a cell phone was!” until her married shitbird told her.

        She is implying we are fools, and unattractive- the full bush reference, the snide lingerie comment. That we are not sexy and “edgy”…like her.

        Cari, if you are reading this, burn this in your brain. If you are an OW, you have an enemy for life who would watch you die with pleasure. Who would smile if she heard you got Stage 4 brain cancer. Who would watch you hang off the Brooklyn Bridge, with a rope over her shoulder and walk away.

        Furthermore, the prize you gained this long life burden for, and that you believe you stole- would bail the minute he heard you had any problems at all.

        You are fungible, like a gonorrhea spore. It was not about you. You were just a willing hole.

        What a great life & legacy you have carved out for yourself.

  • D-day was honestly one of the hardest days of my life, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It was the day I got ownership of my life back. It was the day my eyes were fully opened to the truth of my marriage and what my husband was doing.

    Ignorance wasn’t bliss, I was starting to think I was going crazy. I was noticing little things, but nothing concrete. In fact, I had been noticing little things for a while, those drips were enough to lead me to start looking for myself, and when I found his online porn activities, I was stunned – but vindicated. Through trickle truth and finally “therapeutic disclosure” (with a polygraph), I finally saw the full reality of just how bad things had gotten.

    I will admit, every single piece of truth hurt, and I wouldn’t trade any piece of truth for the world. I am at a crossroads, I am still on the ‘hard side’ of this journey, there is a long way to go. But, at least I can start making my way to the light. I know having this truth delayed another year, five years, ten years down the road would have only been more devastating.

    I may not like the shit sandwich I was dealt, but at least I know what is being served on my plate and finally I am 100% in control of whether or not I eat it.

    • Wow! Wish he had agreed to a polygraph. But you are very strong and brave, coolbreeze. Don’t waste the time I did.

  • I’ve been reading Captain Awkward since before I was referred here to Chump Lady and have always liked her advice, so I was really disappointed when I read her response to this letter. But I agree that it’s definitely rooted in ignorance of the chump experience. Thanks Tracy for (once again) shining a light on all of the fallacies surrounding chumpdom! CA seems receptive in general to constructive criticism so hopefully she’ll see this as a learning opportunity.

  • Some people just don’t want to get involved. Oh, they’ll gossip and cluck about how you surely must be a cold fish who doesn’t give the Sad Sack any lovin.’ But they like the innocent bystander role. They also like the false equivalency stuff, speculating what mortifying way you folded socks that caused your spouse to fall out of love with you and into an errant thicket of crotch.

    You also never know how the chump will react. Sometimes chumps, especially those of us who are used to getting actually thumped, will turn on a person and accuse them of being up in their business. That trauma bond is fierce!

    This weekend a couple was arguing in my driveway. Guests of a neighbor. The dude, at least a foot and 70 lbs heavier that the lady, was protesting her spreading rumors about him hitting her in the face by threatening to hit her in the face.

    Sorry, I had 2005 flashbacks and said, “Excuse me, do you live here? Did I just hear you threaten to hit her? In front of a stranger?”

    To which bish said, “Mind your own business!” And the Guy said, “Go in your own house.”

    Think about that. Did your cheater ever get so upset about you telling someone else he or she Did A THING they absolutely did not do by threatening to DEFINITELY do the thing?

    Yeah. So I said, “This is my property. This is my business. If you want to let that Ape disrespect you in front of your kids, do it at home. Get out of here.”

    “Don’t insult my family. Go inside!”

    Stop. Think about the cojones an abuser would have to think that intimidating this much smaller person and the mortified children over time would mean that I, or any uninvolved party, to capitulate to his Might Makes Right Brainwashing Program.

    I was standing on my porch, I looked right at him and I let my dog out. I put my groceries down. I drew a breath and I said to him, directly,

    “Biiiiitch, I am not your terrified lady. I am not your embarrassed kids. YOU are the only one harming them. This is MY property, and I’ll stand right here until you take your white trash bullshit out of here. GO.” He went, but I’m pretty sure they took the argument home.

    So whatever. I’m white trash too. But abuse does funny things to people. Like making them believe letting some CroMag threaten them in front of their children is preferable than having someone stop them, or believing that a private driveway where you are illegally parked is a fine place for public row.

    An affair is abuse. It’s always the right thing to intervene, but it doesn’t always improve the abused’s lot. It does however let the abuser know their abuse is unacceptable, an outlier, has consequences.

    • You’re my hero. Lol in my state, it would be legal to shoot his ass on my property.

      • Ideally, she would have refused to leave with him. Barring that, I just wanted them to know their dysfunctional dynamic was not welcome in my place of peace. Guns, no thank you.

        • Luz

          Who knows, you may have just seeded her mind with a few ideas of her own. Lets hope that maybe at some point because of your courage she finds a little of her own. Big oaks and little acorns…..

        • You were within your right to speak up, but you need to realize that stepping in the middle of a domestic dispute is extremely dangerous. If you witness an exchange of threatened violence between partners, it is best to call 911 and let the professionals handle it.

          • It was just yelling. It was on my driveway. I’ve worked my behind off to restore a place of peace and sanctuary for my child and me. And I’m a grown ass woman who’s lived through domestic violence. That makes me a professional. I’ll ask you kindly not to patronize me or tell me how to adult. If I felt it was in call the Popo territory they would have been called. Nobody stepped within 20 feet of anything. Thanks for your opinion.

            • I’m surprised my comment elicited such a response from you. I just know that domestic violence calls are among the most dangerous for law enforcement to respond to, due to the unpredictability. My comment was intended as a general PSA, there was nothing patronizing intended. I apologize if you took offense.

              • I stepped in a DV alteration in Vancouver on the street. I could have been clocked. The girl “played” like she was mad at me, but I believe she was relieved. She was 10 seconds from being punched in the face in an alley.

                What amazed me the most were the big, strapping men who saw it happening and did nothing, other than look uncomfortable. My Eggs Benedict and coffee went cold while I was waiting until the cops came, but I got her some help.

  • Years ago, a friend’s boyfriend gave me a ride home from the hospital. I’d been visiting her in the labor and delivery room welcoming their new daughter into the world.
    He hit on me, damn near sexually assaulted me in the car. At the stoplight, I jumped out and walked the last mile and a half home.
    I waited until after she was safely out of the hospital before telling her. She got mad at ME. Later, two of her friends jumped me. They both got their asses whooped, but that’s another story.
    Do I regret telling her, no. What she chose to do with the information was on her. But it taught me to be more careful who I trust calling friend. I wish someone had told me before I married the Xhole. C’est la vie.
    CL is dead on why the chumped deserve to know. It’s ABUSE. Simple as that.

  • Heck, I didn’t even believe myself when I kept having suspicions that my husband was in love with his coworker/former grad student. Someone would have needed to give me solid evidence that he was cheating. Anyway, one of my girlfriends tried to tell me she’d heard my husband was cheating, but then she decided that she didn’t have solid proof so kept her mouth shut. I don’t blame her. But if someone had concrete proof, I’d like to have known. It would have saved years of trying to connect with him, and wondering what was wrong with me, and sitting alone on a farm in the middle of nowhere waiting for him to come back from his multitude of business trips with schmoopie.

    Telling someone his or her spouse cheated after they are already deceased is tricky. I’m not sure about what to do in that situation. It will definitely compound their grief and devalue their memories of their marriage, which could be providing them some comfort. Hmm. There was a movie called “About Schmidt” starring Jack Nicholson who discovered some hidden love letters disclosing his deceased wife’s long-ago affair with Ray, a mutual friend, whom Schmidt angrily confronts. Could shed some light on the subject.

    • I agree. That is tricky. The question in the post, though, I believe is whether or not to tell the very much alive AP’s wife that her husband had been cheating on her with the recently deceased aunt.

  • When I discovered the Spin Doctor had three other girlfriends who were likely as “blissfully” ignorant as me, I knew I needed to tell them. I did, and was eventually thanked by them, plus an additional AP. After my experience, I will tell every time. Cheaters cheat us out of having realistic relationships and knowing that I lived a lie for two plus years hurts.

  • Funny thing is, even after discovery, the cheater still thinks you should live in bliss….. they refuse to tell you the real truth. They suck!

    • so true DavidB. cheater actually said to me, 7 months after dday, that he wanted to come home, for things to go back to the way they were, and for this to never be mentioned again. My reply? that’s not going to happen.

      • Truth! They never want to talk about this again. You know… they have forgiven themselves so we should do the same!

  • I think it is vitally important to give a chump a heads up. In my case, I owe my life to the young man who ratted on my cheater ex. I never did know exactly who he was except that he was a colleague who was disgusted by ex’s open cheating with another colleague.

    Turned out cheater was actively poisoning me. These creeps are often FAR more evil than we chumps want to believe. Sticking their dicks in the wrong place is only the tip of the iceberg. If I hadn’t received key information and paid attention to my instincts, I would surely be dead now and my insurance money in cheater’s bank account.

  • I kind of think it is funny….. One of our close friends knew about at least one of the OM. She did not tell me or try and give advice to cheater about the evils of adultery. Karma train piled on her as she just found out her husband has been out with multiple women.
    There are so many people I found who were pretty close to us that knew about at least one of the guys…. not a one stood up and said a word or actually acted like a normal person and tell her to stop. People in general suck!

  • Ignorance of cheating is not bliss. Tell that to my undiagnosed stomach problems, my series of colds/flus, my unremitting anxiety about Mr. Sparkles I couldn’t put a finger on (all of which went away when I left him). After I looked at his phone and found out what kind of guy he really was? His friends finally came forth with juicy tidbits like “Oh yeah, he’s cheated on every girlfriend he’s ever had” and “he used to date like 10 girls at once, disgusting.” Would have been USEFUL information don’t you think people? Instead of my running around like an idiot and letting this fool impregnate me, thinking he was one of the good guys. News flash: he wasn’t, and isn’t. It wouldn’t have been a happy occasion, that news, but it would have caused me to waste far less time on that sleazeball.

  • OMG Chump Lady, THANK YOU for fallacy #2. Cheaters ARE NOT so compartmentalised that they present a sunny face to their wives, where they are the perfect husbands and fathers when they are with their families. They CAN’T keep it together that much. They DO prefer their OWS and miss them when they are not with them.

    Infidelity IS ABUSE. The hellish two years in which I was treated with horrific contempt and discard as a was mentally blamed for trapping him/forcing him to do what he was doing/contemptuously compared with his infatuation was the most frightening, bewildering two years of my life. The whole ‘hugging the edge of the mattress so as not to touch your spouse’, the sexual interactions (until I said no) where I was nothing but a porn object he didn’t even look at, the criticism of me as a wife and a person, the rudeness in front of the kids, the undermining of discipline of the kids …. but I was still of use as a domestic appliance.

    7 years and I still get flashbacks of memory. He was so horrible.

    NONE of it made sense until I found OW. Then it made sense. The RELIEF of it finally making sense, and the start of ‘this is not about you’ was exhilarating. Imagine being so mentally beaten up and mentally beaten down that you are thrilled to find out black and white reality why you are being treated like crap.

    These infidelity apologists have no frikking idea. To this day I feel dirty and ugly and no guy would ever look at me, because of being the downside of their heady lurve.

    Its cool, I am enjoying being alone and paradoxically am a far more genuine person than I ever was before, with even more friends, but people need to stop minimising the hurt and damage of adultery. They have no idea. I was very hurt and damaged by being cheated on.

    • Patsy, I agree that finding out the truth finally explained all those things that didn’t make sense for so many years. The truth really does set us free!

      • I second it. I though my X was going crazy. He went from hot to cold and back to hot…Depending on whether they were fighting again or back “together.” It was the most heartbreaking news to discover, but relief is exactly what I felt. Relief knowing I wasn’t crazy, it WASN’T me. It explained so much, even if I was in shock, the one emotion I clearly recall was that relief you speak of. Crazy, huh!

        • I actually thought my ex might have a brain tumor or something. His behavior was bizarre and completely out of character right before, during, and after D-day.

          • Our Marriage Counselor had my cheater husband get a cat scan to see if his behavior was possibly caused by a head injury from a bike accident. Thousands of dollars I paid that MC (out of network, ugh), and she was just as duped and full of hopium as I was. Nope, turned out the affair (and his entitled BS attitude) wasn’t caused by a traumatic brain injury, my “neglect” of him in the marriage, or the OW seducing him in a weak moment. It was not his first affair and it would not be his last. I finally got away, but dammit, I want a refund from the MC!

    • I remember feeling exultant when I finally found out, I was laughing with relief, and my ex was disbelieving- how can you be laughing? because I wasn’t crazy. I wasn’t a paranoid insecure clingy person. I was RIGHT.And righteous. And despite all the fuckload of pain since then I remember the joy of seeing the truth after being beaten over the head with lies for so long

  • One part of my betrayal that leaves me emotional mince meat is how many times I begged my XH to tell just me the truth. As chumpy as I am, I would say, ” Please, let’s just end this before I get hurt anymore. I know something is going on. I can’t bear the pain. Go and be with this person. But, let me out of this drama. I can’t do this anymore.”

    And he still lied. He still actively deceived me. With relish. I would be lulled back into a sense of false security, still hopeful, but watchful and then the phone would ring. It would be the OW.

    It is pitiful when you have to beg someone to be honest and faithful. It is monstrous when they hear your pathetic pleas for truth, and they never miss a beat with their affair.

    How do you move past this intentional and willful cruelty?

    • Stephanie,

      “The intentional and willful cruelty”… was the hardest part of the shit sandwich for me to swallow. The xhole screwing his OW was not even the deal-breaker since I was a chumpy chump (although it would be different now).

      The deal-breaker was begging my husband to be honest and faithful. How can someone continue to lie and cheat day in and day out? I still deal with that shit-sandwich when I have the dark and down days.

      I don’t have any good answers, but thanks for the comment. It really resonated with me.

      • One Step, Thank you for responding. It is a bad day today. Maybe we just have to realize that we did not deserve it. I alternate between wanting revenge (which never leaves) and wanting to tell him off in a grand gesture. It would be meaningless. I actually considered suing my ExH for human rights violations. (I know, foolish). But I want him to understand how he gutted me.

        We have to remember- when we are having to beg someone to be honest and faithful, as we both did- we have hit the bottom, friend.

        We deserve so much better. Imagine if a child had to beg us to be kind to them! We would feel like a monster. We deserve no less than this.

        Sending you a virtual bouquet of peonies.???

  • This is so timely, just thinking about this today as I have relatives (of his) visiting. He went around telling people I was mentally unstable and such hard work, so so unreasonable, that he was being driven into the arms of another woman. And I didn’t find out until after DD but his siblings knew, his mother and father knew, hell, he’d talked to the neighbors about it. I was coping with a new little one, pretty much by myself, after all, he was busy with the OW, sorry work, and all that time they were all thinking, poor Mr Stig, the things he has to put up with, he’s so nice and she’s so craaaazy. And he played them like a fiddle. I remember finding a text on his phone where one of his relatives, in reply to him expressing anger that all my nastiness had been forgotten in the wake of the revelations of the affair, ‘Don’t worry, we all know what you’ve had to put up with’. Yeah, what he’s told you (lies and gaslighting, then delighted when I bite back with anger, because it feeds his narrative and gives him fodder to tell the OW that I’m such a bitch. Enabling POS, all of them: no wonder he felt so entitled in doing what he was.

    • I don’t know if I’m strange or not, but that’s one of things that hurt the most, the damage to my reputation, him weaving his narrative and me not even being able to defend myself from the lies he was telling, not even realizing what I was up against, as well as thinking I was in an emotionally safe space to express my true feelings (and hey I was being baited, but didn’t realize it when I reacted with anger to the bullshit undermining and lack of support) where as he was reporting back to all these people, yeah, she’s doing it again etc, you know, kind of resigned but what can you do, I’m a good guy who’s having to shoulder a lot but I’m doing it for my child. All the while I was solo parenting while he stayed up all hours talking with the OW on the internets. He had all these people either knowingly (OW) or unwittingly egging him on, making him feel justified in his shittiness.

      • Absolutely understand on the damage to the reputation. My husband “confessed” to his parents about his porn addiction and his mother ran to his rescue letting him know that if “I” was a better wife, he never would have felt the need for porn.

        I have no desire to look her in the face again for the rest of my life. It was ‘my’ fault he got hooked on porn, not the fact that he was molested by a family member at the age of five that they all kept under wraps and made no big deal about it to the fact that he suppressed it. It didn’t come out until he was in counseling, and confirmed by his sibling who was molested by a different family member a few years after that. Sure, his sexual issues are all my fault for not being perfect enough, not the fact that your freaking family is crawling with sexual perverts that you all just tolerate and let them infect one generation after another.


        • StigoftheChump and CoolBreeze,
          I am sorry that you bear the blame that should not be borne by you. I am sending you sympathy and wish the best for you as I have some sense of what it is like to be blamed for everything. I am losing count of how many times I have to go to court to defend myself from false accusations from a perpetrator who blames me for what he does to my family and me. I just hope that I get to keep the kids a fair amount. Losing the kids would be far worse than the already tremendous pain I feel from losing my life savings, which I toiled for and judiciously saved for more than three decades.

          • RSW, thanks for your kind words, I guess I have to be thankful that I have not had to literally fight in a court of law against a partner’s smears. The worst financial mismanagement I discovered was that Mr had lent the OW a couple thousand of our money to set herself up in a new apartment, but that was bad enough, so I can only imagine having to watch your decades of energy expenditure be sent down the drain by either a sneaky partner, or through legal fees. I hope your nightmare is over soon.

            • SOTC,
              Spending family funds to house cheater’s mistress–how pathetically cliche as well as disrespectful to wife. How infuriating.

              • THIS is why people should still be able to sue for alienation of affections. I think only 2 states still allow that.

        • Breezy, that is awful. I am so sorry you were the scapegoat for the family’s refusal to face the truth and shoulder the blame for your husband’s issues. What kind of thinking allows you to divert your failings and project them onto an innocent good person? An entitled asshole, that’s who. And although people tell you that the people who matter know the truth, it doesn’t take the sting from knowing people are looking at you sideways. Mothers who enable their children by giving them unconditional regard when they need to bail them up and tell them to cut that sh*t out are responsible for many a cheater feeling entitled to do what they want, because, hey, someone thinks they are wonderful, no matter what. I hope things are better for you now.

          • “What kind of thinking allows you to divert your failings and project them onto an innocent good person?”

            People who can’t face their own issues and find it easier to project their failings onto others. That’s who.

      • I feel for you and I know exactly what you mean. On DDay we are hit not only with the mind shattering shock of his infidelity leaving us gasping for breath… but then when we turn to family and friends in tears and desperation and we discover that he has been prepping them with lies for years. “But of course he cheated on you — you’ve been mistreating him.”
        My ex lied to his mother, saying that I was thinking of cutting her off from her grandchildren if she didn’t back off from our lives. Not that *he* wanted her to back off. So besides struggling to with his coldness I found myself hated by my MIL unable to fix my relationship with her no matter what I tried because my ex was defaming me.

        • Thanks CC. How sad that you were not able to retrieve your relationship with her, but he would not have allowed that, and she more than likely would not have allowed herself to entertain the possibility that she had raised such an horrible person. And yes, it was one of the most hurtful things, to discover that he had been talking about our private stuff, not only with the OW, but with his mother, spinning it to look like he was long-suffering and justifying his actions because I was being so ‘mean’ and ‘unreasonable’. And they believed every single word because it suited their own agendas. The only thing that my MIL was worried about when we separated was access to the grandchildren; if we hadn’t had children she wouldn’t have batted an eyelid about never seeing me again. This whole episode has made the scales fall from my eyes though, it made me realize how many times, when there was conflict between us, Mr would exit the building, saying he couldn’t deal with me, and his mother would swoop in and try and mediate with me, instead of him staying and talking and hashing it out. All the times he wanted to take the path of least resistance, and that includes acquiescing to OWs threats and entitlement. He is an emotional coward, and the one time I relied on him to take the reigns and keep things steady (with the birth of our child) he suddenly decided to have a midlife crisis and let another woman steer him into the weeds.

      • Stig

        Unfortunately the disordered detach long before we are aware of the narrative they create to gaslight not only us but all those they come in contact with. When I looked back over the 36 years I spent with a sociopath I found he devalued me every single year to family, friends, coworkers, and his multiple affair partners. All the while he played the good guy who wrote loving poems and professed his love. All the work at home was part of his image control and I believed I had a loving partner.

        I tolerated his alcoholism, drug use, and abuse for years. On the final Dday after I filed, found a therapist, and CL. By this time his mask dropped and without the spackle, and support from me others finally saw his actions. Toxic people want to keep you engaged and continue to abuse. The way out is to maintain NO CONTACT. My narrative is that I divorced a serial cheating malignant narcissist who loves NO ONE. I no longer feel the need to mention him or his actions as without me his false self became obvious to others over time.

        • Thanks DoingMe, it’s chilling isn’t it, to know there’s something creepy slithering around behind that mask they wear that we have no inkling of, or more likely, have seen peeks of from time to time, but it doesn’t jibe with our frame of reference, so we dismiss it as, “Well, that was odd”. All I can think is the extraordinary amount of energy it must take to maintain that facade, all in the name of having a socially acceptable mask. We are their ‘front’ that allows them to operate in society and do what they do on the sly. I guess it also means they can look themselves in the mirror to a certain extent, having the regard of other ‘normal’ people, but what a brutal waste of time, energy and emotion for us, not realizing we are dealing with a pod person. Sunlight is a great disinfectant, though, and it must be satisfying to see the truth out as more and more people realize who (or what) they have really been dealing with over the years. It makes you feel less safe in the word, but, and a lot more questioning of the people you meet. I saw a guy at the icecream counter at the park the other day with his kids, and he was all puffed up, talking overly loud and eyeing the women as he made his order, and I immediately thought, cheater, or cheater-to-be.

  • This post addresses something that has been on my mind a long time. Do you think they should be told years after the affair has ended? I have knowledge friend of X cheated on spouse. Gave the same BS reasons and made them out to be a devil at the time. But I heard about it about 15-16 years after the affair. There is no evidence i’ve seen that there has ever been another. They seemed to get along well when I was around them. Tell in this situation? I mostly would want to do it so they know what their spouse is capable of. The evil part of me wants to do it to put an end to the friendship. I know from the past the spouse that cheated is terrified the other will find out. My X promising not to tell anyone but letting it slip to me is almost too much to handle. It would be so satisfying to throw X under the bus. However, i’m a good person and don’t want to inflict the pain I felt on to someone else just for my gain. What would you do?