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A Chump Minstrel Show

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Some of my remaining chump baggage is that I’m unable to watch infidelity depicted in popular dramas without wanting to hang the writers. To wit, “Striking Out” the Irish hit T.V. series about Tara, a plucky solicitor whose lunkheaded fiancé cheats on her with a coworker, the night of Tara’s hen (bachelorette) party.

(Sorry. I’m about to solidify the narrative that chumps are humorless and quick to take offense. Reminds me of that joke that goes: “How many feminists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?” Answer: “That’s NOT FUNNY.”)

The show begins with Tara’s D-day — she walks in on her fiancé screwing the OW in their bed. Next it cuts to Tara’s horror, disbelief, and smeared mascara, as she roams the streets of Dublin shoeless (having thrown her strappy sandals at Lunkhead).

I thought, hmmm. This seems promisingly sympathetic.

Tell me if this synopsis on Wikipedia doesn’t inspire.

Striking Out follows the tumultuous professional and personal life of Dublin-based solicitor, Tara Rafferty, and her fledgling legal firm. When Tara discovers, on her hen night, that her fiancé and fellow solicitor Eric Dunbar has been cheating on her with a colleague, she breaks up with him, quits her job at the prestigious law firm they worked at together, and sets about making her own way in a new life outside the inner circle of the legal profession. At first unsure how she’ll cope, Tara begins to realize she is more than capable of being on her own – both personally and professionally…. She isn’t alone in the battle, though. With support from her new team, Tara finds that this unexpected road is actually more rewarding.

Awesome! Tara is going to take the “unexpected road”! Visions of Nora Ephron danced in my head. At last a chump protagonist with some witty zingers. Finally, empowerment over reconciliation! Hurrah, the triumph of a smart woman over her idiot love interest! (Can women finally DUMP bad men in rom-coms instead of those men morphing into sensitive unicorns who want to pick out home furnishing with us?)

Oh, I know there has to be dramatic tension. I know the character has to struggle and have personal epiphanies and doesn’t get to gut the feckless fiancé with a fish knife. At least not until the fourth episode, anyway. I expected some wobbles from Tara. Some stupid chumpy mistakes…

I did NOT expect this shit sandwich — immediately after her D-Day, Tara goes to court to defend the sex secrets of “Connor,” caught in flagrante on video at a sex club. The embarrassing videos must be destroyed! Who better to champion the rights of a serial-cheating-married-father-of-three than a new chump?

Tara in court:

“This constitutes a gross infringement of my client’s privacy rights. A man moreover whose personal and professional life is at stake!”

The lawyer on the other side — Holy coincidences, Bat Man! is the OW! arguing that because Mr. Whips-and-Chains is a public figure, it’s of public interest. BAFF! POW! IRONY!

Tara (with feeling):

“NOBODY, whatever their position in life, whatever their errors in taste or judgement, however they may have broken trust or vows of fidelity — NOBODY loses their right to privacy or dignity!”

Isn’t infidelity entertaining? Don’t you just love it when cheater apologists in chump-face write dialogue for chumps? My heartbreak is nuthin’. So long as the confederacy of entitlement is preserved. Watch me perform a little soft shoe number…

What’s more inspiring than a victim of infidelity bowing and scraping speaking out courageously for the privacy rights of cheaters? And minimizing one’s own abuse to keep cheater entitlement alive! Your honor, it was an error in judgement! The crime was poor taste. Who are YOU to judge another’s double life? It isn’t what cheaters DO that’s the problem, it’s the invasion of their privacy!

(I wonder what RTE has cooked up next? Morty Cohen befriends Holocaust Denier Bob next door? They go on a road trip. Bob realizes he has misjudged latkes. Morty reads The Elders of Zion. Hijinks ensue. Call me, RTE. I’m full of ideas.)

But of course, it’s not enough that poor Tara has to defend kinky sad sausage Connor. No! She has to go coax him off a ledge and explain his foibles to his chumped wife.

If you were expecting Fran, Connor’s wife, to be an angry, avenging chump, I’m sorry to disappoint you. Fran is the sort of woman who cuts her hair with a bowl and kitchen shears. Then parts it in the middle, because… hatred of self? Pathological utilitarianism? Her look says, “I buy my sweaters at Oxfam when I’m not sewing blouses from old picnic tablecloths.”

Why must chump mothers be depicted as drab, sexless, and unadorned? Why do they all look like constipated matrons? Or aging Girl Guides? Well, she seems the right sort of woman to chair the church parsonage committee, but I wouldn’t want to fuck her.

We all know the subtext of this archetype — of course Connor has to wet his wandering dick in sex clubs. Look at her!

But surprise! Fran is a Euro sophisticate. She’s Esther Perel in a frumpy cardigan. No uptight, judgmental church lady is Fran.

Tara: “Fran, if you don’t mind me saying, you don’t seem rattled by any of this.”

Fran: “I knew what he was up to, more or less. He was always a little sexually unconfident perhaps. But we all have different ways of getting our kicks. He’s my husband. (shakes her head) But I don’t own him.

Oh Fran, you perfect chump you. So understanding. She really knew all along! And was okay with it! Fran’s greatest concern, you see, is Connor — The Real Victim Here. Those bad men are trying to blackmail him! (Tara gets to the bottom of this, because unlike other lawyers and their billable hours, Tara has time to solve mysteries.) Tara and Fran, two chumps united, will save Connor! Fran, so selfless and understanding. So asexual.

Fran, the model chump, does not OWN her husband. She presumes no commitment after 20-plus years and three children. She suffers no shattering betrayal. In Fran’s world, the sex clubs are free and never detract from family time or finances. And the affair partners are devoid of STDs and never desire more than no-strings-attached sex. They never wind up pregnant or expecting further commitments like monogamy. Which is captivity. Those who expect fidelity are just jailers. Now be a good Fran and vacuum the carpets before I get home, and if you’re a really good girl, I’ll buy you a new pair of kitchen scissors and acknowledge my children over the dinner you cook me.

Tara, perhaps you’ll learn from Fran. Lunkhead is just guilty of bad taste and poor judgement. You don’t own him.

Tappity, tappity, tappity, tap…. shuffle, shuffle, shuffle….

Photo credits: IMBD and video stills.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
      • Alas, I don’t have HBO. And after this one, not sure how much cheater drama I want to watch. I’m a joke in my family — I don’t do scary, I don’t do suspense. I’m pretty much stuck on light comedy and Jane Austen adaptations. If it’s BBC and there are petticoats and pretty gardens, I’m IN.

        • I could see a Chump get together to binge watch Pride and Prejudice and the like. Pie and tea could be served.

          • Do a Pride and Prejudice and Pride and Prejudice with Zombies party. I went to one and it was fun.

            • Sitting chump, what a fabulous idea – might keep that in mind for my 50th in a few years!! I particularly loved the P&P&Z movie, and I’m a devoted Austen fan. Chumplady, this is a great way to expand your genres to include romzomcoms 😉

        • Watch ‘First Dates’ on Channel 4 (uk). Full of clumped women who have gone out and kicked asks. None are snivelling unicorns. Inspirational.

        • Tracy, you’d write awesome scripts that would leave Sharon Horgan in the dust! This column is awesome, had me spit my coffee several times, especially at Bob and Morty’s road trip.
          Worth watching Divorce if you can and see where it goes. Warning, she treats cheating lightly, as she did in Catastrophe. Anything for comedy. You would do so much better because you can write great comedy without glossing over genuine suffering.

          • Yes please – a graphic novel, like the Walking Dead, except with kick-ass chumps triumphing over the hordes of cheaters.

  • I’m an Irish chump ☘️?? and the dichotomy of how younger Tara deals with her betrayal and how older Fran deals with her cheating husband is how things really are here. I’m an older chump (in my 40’s) and you can’t imagine the grief I got when I kicked shitferbrains to touch immediately after D-day. Everyone (and I mean everyone except my sisters and a couple of close friends) judged me openly for not working to save my marriage. It was bad enough to be betrayed by him, so much worse to be made feel that I was the one who failed! ?

    • It’s not just Ireland!! Although I do understand the religious and cultural issues underpinning the judgment. I have friends who came out with the “of course we don’t know what was going on in your marriage”, with the underlying tone being I must have fucked up somehow in order for her to cheat on me.

      Thankfully I had other friends (and even people I hardly knew) who told me that they wouldn’t have given her a second chance, even in less appalling cheating (mine was a 2+ year affair). I tend to listen to these friends who have empathy. What I also realise is the former camp all have fucked up marriages with (you guessed it… a history of infidelity).

      • I find it curious that if Ireland has “religious and cultural issues” they stop at judging infidelity but are instead focused on people who leave cheaters.

        • I think there is a translation of Irelands “religious and cultural issues” that goes something like;

          “Patriarchy is a social system in which males hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property.”

        • It’s the whole thing that marriage is a sacred thing more important than the people involved. While I understand the concept of sacramental marriage, even the Catholic Church (in the U.S., at least) recognizes that infidelity breaks a marriage, showing the lack of intent to keep the vows.

          • For the cheater, vows are merely another inconvient lie. And even though a marriage is “contract,” family law (at least in CA) considers misdeeds a non-issue. Hence there is no economical impact for the lies, misdirection, deception, and misuse of community property (aka stealing.)

            So, in a nutshell, things that would be illegal to do to a STRANGER or a business partner mean nothing when they are inflicted on the person who vowed to be your life partner.

            And now there’s pushback on spousal support, because that was the past — “there’s no way to change what’s already done” (we’ve all heard that one,) get your ass back into the workforce and become self-sustaining because he’s ENTITLED to move on, unencumbered by the damage he’s left in his wake.

            Temp Support, which is typically greater than Perm Support, expects my teenage daughter and I to live on the same amount as him. Last time I checked, two is not equal to one. Twice the food, twice the clothes, twice the misc expense, etc. Plus hair, nails, etc. it all adds up to $0 for savings and vacations for us, while he has the funds for $401k, $300 dinners and $5k ski vacations with his mistress.

            With men writing the laws and male judges, it’s no surprise that the cards are in his favor.

            • Eagle,
              In my country it is the same: even though Sparkledick was lying to me and fooling me and cheating on me BEFORE my father died, he will get HALF of my father’s inheritance. And he is intent on getting it because he is full of debts (from spending to impress flatterfuck).

              My lawyers are doing their best to squeeze his balls and make him relinquish his half, but it’s a lost cause if he stands the squeeze. The lawyers say the only way out is to sue him for moral damages. A legal lottery.

              This is absurd. This is fraud. This is tampering with my GPS to make me take uninformed decisions.

              As you say, “things that would be illegal to do to a STRANGER or a business partner mean nothing when they are inflicted on the person who vowed to be your life partner”.

              Guess who makes the laws? 98% of my country’s congress is made up of narcisistic personality disorder entitled jerks who legislate for their own causes.

              • Clearwaters,
                In most countries, a spouse is not entitled to an inheritance unless you deposit it into a joint account. Is that what you did…if so, could your attorney not prove that you did it unaware of the breaking of your marriage contract? Would a sympathetic judge not see the reasoning in that?

              • In Canada, a spouse has no right to your inheritance. But, they can claim half of the money that the inheritance earns from being invested. It becomes one of the marital assets. So, it seems totally unfair that a separated spouse can make any claims towards your inheritance. So, sorry you are in that situation.

              • “So, in a nutshell, things that would be illegal to do to a STRANGER or a business partner mean nothing when they are inflicted on the person who vowed to be your life partner.” Exactly Giddy Eagle, and that needs to change!
                Clearwaters, which country is this, I am interested in the moral damages claim. I think what the traitor did is fraud. I sure want to find some recourse against him and the whore but I am not finding any support from the legal profession for my views…

            • Thank God we have more of a Gynocracy here in the States.Divorce laws favoring men? Must be joking. We lose custody battles like crazy.

        • My Irish parents were the ones telling me to get out when I was arguing with my self as to whether take the “sophisticated” approach to my ex’s long-term affair. Which she wanted to continue while I stayed at home babysitting.

          It might have been different if the genders were reversed though. Women are “supposed” to endure this sort of thing (like my ex’s OM’s poor wife)..

      • WellRid / FSTL,

        I do think that cultural responses to infidelity are very interesting. I belong to a culture where marriage is sacred, and the bond is so strong that you are betrothed for seven lives (I kid you not). But apparently, if you are unable to have sex with your partner because of pregnancy or dysfunctional uterine bleeding, you are pretty much giving a pass card for free sex, like in my case.

        Also, I think in that show, just like a cheater, the chump and Fran have “compartmentalized”.

        I too, have a hard time handling infidelity centered themes.

      • “Of course we don’t know what was going on in your marriage.”

        Ugh. Spare me. As my total rock star ex SIL (and fellow chump) told me; “I don’t care if you whacked him on the head with a frying pan every morning. Nobody deserves this.” If a marriage is bad, you can leave it, without cheating.

      • I suppose I am guilty of blaming the betrayed woman also. The betrayed woman: She cheated on her hubby with him, who cheated on his wife. He lived with her in her house for five years until her hub died, because the cheater he was/is a financial planner and cheater he advised the cheater her to stay married, just separated, from her old, sick hub until he died so the cheater she could inherit everything. And the cheater she did. And then right after she became even more $$ flush, Dec. 2010, for this gigolo, he pursued me, Oct. 2011, presenting himself as a single man. I was emotionally invested by the time I found out all about him-that he is a liar, thief and cheat plus a lifelong serial cheater. I ended it and as he continued to contact me, I ignored him, told him to stop and finally wrote a letter to this woman dujour with the concluding, “I hope you can give him what he needs”. (I suspect it is money, her home, only, obviously.)

    • I didn’t think about the generational gap there. Good point — but seriously, who finds out their husband is a serial cheater and is all calm and serene about it? Oh, it’s just what the poor sausage does! Seriously, Fran, never ever ever thinks of herself?

      As for Tara, I only made it through the first episode. She throws him out. I sense she’ll be taking him back. After she proves, of course, that She’s Just Fine Without Him. And he admires the New Her! And their Relationship Is Stronger For It.

      I left off the whole scene where her mother — upon discovering the cheating from Lunkhead — says to him “We can FIX THIS! We MUST FIX THIS!” She doesn’t shove him down a flight of stairs. She conspires to help the fuckwit win back her daughter. #thanksmom

      • Do keep watching – the show doesn’t play out like you’re expecting! And what Tara has to deal with isn’t too far off what we chumps have to deal with here. ?? We’re going through a new social era where the Catholic Church now has little or no influence … BUT the church’s hypocrisy and cover-up mentality is in-bred in people’s reactions to any type of infidelity. We’re getting there but not there yet ?

        • If she gets free of Lunkhead, fine. But I’m sorry — whoever wrote that first episode lost me. Also the whole speech to Connor-on-the-ledge. Oh we ALL have secret lives, Connor! Who among us can judge? Buck up!

          • There I fully agree with you CL! ? The last thing we need is for TV writers to give cheaters yet more shite to use to try to justify their fucked-up-ness.
            PS: I really love this blog CL. It’s been a life-saver for me over the past few years – we in Ireland have to be legally separated for 4 years (yes, FOUR years ) – and be able to prove the separation – before we can even start filing for divorce. So, I’m playing the waiting game and no-contact is what’s keeping me sane & strong! ???

              • I would be going mad but for you & the CL community! I can’t express how thankful I am for having stumbled on to this blog and for everyone’s posts. It gave me so much validation for all the feelings I’ve been feeling and the strength to work towards being mighty!!

              • Four years is crazy! I have long said that it should be much harder to get married, but easier to get divorce. It’s not like anyone is pursuing divorce because they had a free weekend….

            • Ohdeargawd, do you get “Good Time” subtracted from your 4 yr. Sentence like other cons do? Isn’t there even an Express Lane for 20 Kids or Less? Is this Death Sentence/”Kidding! Just Gonna Waterboard ya!” intended to ensure the parties will have plenty of time and opportunities to come to an “amicable” homicide? “Prove the separation?” What says, “Yep, we’re separated all right-by a box and six feet of dirt” with greater finality?

              C’mon, even combat vets don’t get stuck in the shit nearly that long-and look at the rates of causalities there. That’s just awful.

              • Divorce is available since the mid 90s and trust me,the Catholic church has almost completely lost its grip on this country,I’m happy to say.In fact,when I look at what’s currently happening in the U.S. what I see is a president surrounded by extreme right wing,conservative nut jobs.The evangelical Christian right seems very influential in the US right now.Ireland has changed utterly in the last 20 years thankfully.
                I watched one episode of that show and got bored but she does move on from the cheater.

            • My word, WellRid, four years! Your powers of endurance are beyond imagining. You have my heartfelt admiration.

            • WellRid, I was just complaing to Giddy Eagle about my country’s laws, but you now make me feel better.

            • It took me exactly 1 year from separation to be divorced from my poor choice of a husband. In Europe! Nothing written in the law, but the way they set the dates in court, makes me wonder how atheist some countries really are. NOT!

          • Fuck Connor on the ledge, that’s just more manipulation. Try Saddam with a gun in your house, talking him down as he decides whether killing YOU is the answer to his problem. A real depiction would have been his wife trying to talk him down and when she reaches out to save him he throws her off the ledge.

      • If you want to know the really sad part, I was 45 when my marriage blew up due to my cheater. I had a cousin who was 70 and is a couples therapist herself, here in the US.

        The same year my marriage blew up, her husband announced that he’d been having an affair with a woman they both knew, for the past 15 years! She found out because he came home one day and announced that his OW had given him an ultimatum and that he felt bad because he didn’t want to hurt my cousin, she’d always been so wonderful to him, but he couldn’t let the OW leave him, so he was moving to Mexico with her… but that he would arrange it so my cousin could keep the house (he’d sell their rental properties to get the income to move to Mexico with his OW).

        The OW was part of a couple they both knew, and had a 14 year old son that we suspect was probably fathered by cousin’s husband, although that’s never been discussed.

        Anyway, thinking that cousin, the couples’ therapist and recent Chump, was dealing with shock and disbelief similar to me, I went to talk to her, so we could lick our wounds together, and strengthen our resolve for kicking them to the curb.

        Sadly, cousin’s attitude was that I was right to kick my cheater to the curb. Cheating on me with all those random Thai prostitutes is despicable. What a shame for me.

        But while she admitted it was hard to start over at age 70, my situation was totally different than hers. Afterall, her husband was in love with this other woman, poor sad sausage, and it was so hard for him to have to kick her to the curb. Besides, she didn’t want to upset their two kids or disrupt the holidays for them. (The kids are adults, late 30s at the time).

        So doormat was planning to continue eating cake and feeding him any and all kibbles he wants, for the rest of his life.

        Shortly after I’d seen her, she let him come home and stay in their house for the holidays. His life with OW had ended abruptly when it turned out her ultimatum was really not just about him leaving his wife, but about the fact that besides her own husband, she had another lover who, in the end, she decided to dump both her husband and my cousin’s husband for.

        So my cousin let him come back to the family home, and comforted him while he wa grieving the other woman dumping him!

        But they did not get back together. He continues to live in Mexico in the house he custom built for OW who jilted him, with money from their marital assets, and returns to the family home for holidays, to have home cooked meals of elaborate kibbles with the family. The kids don’t seem to have any problems with this either.

        Cousin’s husband is apparently some sort of narc saint. But I was right for leaving my despicable cheater. WTF?

        I had no idea there was so much dysfunction in my family. I can see their two kids’marriages are going to blow up someday too… their idea of “normal” is so skewed by their mother’s attitudes. Now I just point and laugh, because it is so pathetic, and clearly nothing can be done about it.

        It’s people with attitudes like this that scare the crap out of me. They just lie down and enable kibbles. The even sadder part is that mother and daughter are both relationship therapists, out there in the world giving bad advice.

        Daughter is married to someone 10 years her senior, a high-power attorney, who has already left his previous wife and two kids behind. Having met him, he’s a narc. He’s set her up with plenty of wealth and got her pregnant right away, to put her in a position where it will be rough to start over, once she finds out what he’s up to.

        Luckily for him, mother and daughter will be good little doormats when the time comes, and lie down to let him walk all over the place, eating cake.

        Sad.

        • Dances,

          My jaw just dropped further and further to the floor reading that. It is a salutary tale for sure.

          One thing to keep in mind is that ‘relationship therapists’ and ‘marriage therapists’ are just that. They are for the relationship or the marriage. That’s their mindset. It’s like a third person in the room that they are working for.
          Always best to go for individual counselling as a chump.
          Relate in the UK parrots the same bullshit as the RIC about ‘saving the relationship’.

          I am so glad you didn’t take the same approach and are here to help us.

          • Exactly! “One thing to keep in mind is that ‘relationship therapists’ and ‘marriage therapists’ are just that. They are for the relationship or the marriage. That’s their mindset. It’s like a third person in the room that they are working for.”

            I’d go so far to say that the marriage is the first and only person that they are working for–which for me explains why so much of marital therapy in infidelity cases focuses on the chump, getting the chump to forgive, move on, etc., rather than rooting out the problem in the cheater’s character.

          • Cap,

            I think it was a blessing in disguise seeing her at that time. I had already seen a therapist in Australia (where I was living with the narc) who told me mine was a bad narc and I needed to get out immediately, and who also told me I needed to learn to get angry about it.

            Then I returned for a visit to the US (when thinking of moving “back home”) and was greeted by THAT freak show. It certainly made me realize that I could fight for my freedom or I could take it lying down. I was most definitely not going to be a doormat like my cousin!

            So the timing was crucial, and actually probably helped me snap out of my Chump haze a lot faster. A really good lesson in how NOT to react to cheating.

            It’s funny too… I used to think I was being hyper sensitive or hyper vigilant when I would look at those around me and think, “Ah! There’s a marriage with a cheater, that’s going to blow up very soon!” But I’ve watched myself be right every single time, sadly. At least my picker would appear to be fixed. ?

          • In all fairness our MC did counsel me (when we first did a couple of one on one’s with him) that as much as he wanted to save the marriage (which in all fairness was the job we hired him to do), I should not be willing to accept just anything and that fighting for my marriage did not mean giving him free reign to be with other women. He helped give me the backbone to get mad at and try to prevent contact with Schmoopie, and not accept the whole “open marriage” concept. The MC also made it clear to STBX that reconciliation would not work if he didn’t go NC with Schmoopie and that the odds of that relationship being successful in the long run were practically zilch. Of course STBX didn’t listen to either of us and did what he pleased anyway.

            • There are good and bad marriage counselors, just like anything else. It’s sort of a crap shoot though. You’re lucky you got a good one.

          • A third person, that is absolutely correct! I was in couple’s therapy for a year during R and that is exactly what the therapist encouraged! So much focus on nurturing “us”. Honestly, I liked that point of view, found comfort in it and for AmEX that simply turned out to be the great next “plan” to keep chumping me. It gave him focus too. The problem is no attention at all was being paid by the therapist to his personality flaws. It baffles me that they can be so oblivious about that stuff.

            Today AmEX dragged himself to a psychiatrist (geez, what a gesture, waiting a whole month after I left) and he’s texted me that it was a horrible experience, I wonder if the doc challenged his Narcissism and that’s what bothered him so much. One can dream lol…

        • Dances, that is possibly the worst chump story ever. OMG. The thought of that asshole coming back from his Mexican cake palace to scarf up some kibbles in the form of family dinners… it makes me feel murderous and I don’t know these people. Ugh. And bleh.

          • The funniest part is that he’s one of those narcs that you see doing videos of himself in a leather jumpsuit or other weird stuff.

            He grew a big, bushy, white beard, and I keep seeing photos of him in a white suit with a Panama hat, trying to look like some sort of Cuban drug lord.

            It finally made me so nauseous that I had to unfriend him on Facebook. I just couldn’t look at that freak show anymore.

            I was glad to still be friended to him to see photos of the OW. My cousin is still beautiful at age 70. The OW who dumped him for her other lover looks like a bad transvestite. So… karma.

            The scariest part about this guy is that he was a judge in California for his career, and wrote a book on “communication skills” when he retired that made him a lot of money.

            Don’t you just want to be taking advice on communication skills from a narc who cheated on his wife for 15 years before dumping her and moving to Mexico?

            Damn. You can’t make this shit up. Truth really is stranger than fiction!

          • I kind of disagree with you on this, Beth. I think the whole thing has more than a hint of karma about it. Hubby has a 15 year affair with a married woman, she gives him an ultimatum, he leaves his wife of 30+ (maybe more) years and builds his Mexican escape only to be dumped by his schmoopie for a third guy she was also having an affair with. Sure, he’s hiding in his nice house in Mexico, but is alone, and knows exactly what he threw away (his real relationship with his faithful wife), and gets that rubbed in his face every holiday, when he goes back and everyone treats him way better than he deserves (don’t think he doesn’t know it). I don’t exactly sympathize with him, but I can’t imagine a worse hell to end one’s days in.

            Maybe he’s found a Mexican or an expat woman to occupy him in his dotage, but she’s clearly third place at best, he’d rather be with schmoopie or wife, neither of whom will have him.

            On the other hand, Dances’s cousin, while dealt the shitty hand that most chumps get dealt, let him go, isn’t that angry (we hope), and made the best of the situation, even eating some shit sandwich so her kids could see their father and relive some of their childhood memories as adults. Did she deserve better – hell yes! Can’t find a good spin on that part of it.

            I suspect the world would be a better place if every cheater got dumped by their AP just after they separated from their chump.

            Hugs. Strength. Peace.
            aeronaut

            • I read Dances reply after I wrote mine – with more evidence about the story, I’m still fairly comfortable in my assertion. The narcissist husband sounds like he’s unhappy, and is doing all he can to portray the opposite (methinks he dost protest too much). He’s the one who has to live with breaking up a long term marriage (that presumably he wasn’t that happy in if he cheated), and then getting dumped by the OW. Plan A – dumped. Plan B – burned that bridge. Plan C – hide in Mexico and post goofy videos on youtube. His life is hollow and empty, and he can’t let other people see it. He probably spends a lot of mental energy trying to spin control the whole mess to himself. That’s my spin on all of it.

              Hugs. Peace.
              aeronaut

              • Aeronaut
                Well I agree with Beth. No Karma for cheat.
                Firstly I do not think he realises he threw away his ‘real relationship with his faithful wife’ I think he got caught and has found a way to maintain those kibbles. He doesn’t get it rubbed in his face! Theses narcs have no powers of reflection or pricking of conscience. He feels he is entitled to treat everyone in a way that suits his immediate needs and ignores and diminishes those around him. He feels he is worthy of these dinners and kibbles. He is a fantastic sparkly narc.
                He probably had found another sex partner who will be enthralled by him for a while. She doesn’t care about the ones before her and neither does he. Immediate gratification is what it’s about.
                Dances cousin is eating her anger and her humiliation and if she had any shred of self worth of her own she would teach her children better lessons about eating shit sandwiches.
                Narcs don’t do unhappy. They do what they want when they want it. He looks like he protests too much because you ascribe him a conscience and the capacity to feel shame or blame. They do not. He genuinely has things arranged just fine. No consequences from family, a fuck pad in Mexico and an unbridled belief that he is s super special snowflake.
                Narcs lives are hollow and empty but THEY cannot see it. We can.
                He spends a lot of mental energy thinking how to scratch the latest itch he has. That’s it. IMHO

              • Yep, too much credit is given to the Narc assuming that he’s missing what he had. They do NOT have empathy and they spend they’re time looking ‘great’ so others will admire them. The cheater is in heaven going home to home-cooked meals, ex-wife, and kids giving him attention. Then he goes back to Mexico working on looking good. The tragedy is that he thinks his life is normal, i.e., that everyone thinks just like he does. And it’s quite possible that more and more people are thinking just like him. My cheater ex bought himself a $120K Motorhome. He golfs. He buys drinks for everybody. His skank? Well, she will continue to be fine as long as she lavishes him with admiration to which he feels entitled. But when she stops…, she’ll be discarded just like I was. If she figures it out sooner and dumps him, he’s not going to care a bit. He’ll work it out in his head that she obviously didn’t know how lucky she was that he graced her with his presence. And there are plenty of dysfunctional co-dependents out there that will quickly fill her shoes. Nope. There will be no Karma in my ex-hole’s life just like living in Mexico is not Karma for this cheater. If I focus on Karma, I think I’ll spend my life being bitter. I need to move forward and realize how much more at peace I am now that I’m not dealing with any lies, manipulation, or gaslighting. Sometimes Karma really does happen, especially when the cheater is not financially solvent, but I would bet that when a cheater has plenty of money after divorce, the only Karma that will occur is when the cheater dies. And then, who knows? Supposedly you can ask for forgiveness at the last second and still enter the Kingdom of Heaven. But I cannot even think about that. I just need to move forward and realize how lucky I am now that the jerk is no longer in my life.

            • You could be right Aeronaut and it may just be that this story hit too close to home for me. My ex lives in the log cabin we built (with funds given to us by my parents) as a second home. During the first couple years after dday, ex came home every weekend and every holiday to home cooked meals I prepared and was sent back to his “lonely” exile in the cabin with all the leftovers because the poor sausage didn’t have anyone to cook for him. Once he infamously complained I sent him back with too much free, home cooked food. SMH (actually I should have smacked HIS head). After a couple of years of patiently waiting for him to do ANYTHING to indicate he was fixing the situation, I had finally had enough and filed for divorce. Then it came to light that he had continued to console himself with strippers during our separation and before the divorce was final had moved one into the cabin with him. So yeah, I don’t really buy the living in the custom house in Mexico, paid for with family money and getting to go home for home cooked meals and family holidays as in any way being karma. He doesn’t seem miserable to me, he seems smug and entitled. I think as Chumps WE would feel sad about breaking up a long term marriage for nothing but hurt to the people we love but I don’t think cheaters see it that way at all. He’s getting his cake (living solo in Mexico) and getting to eat it too (playing happy family when it suits him). But like I said, that story may have just hit too close to the bone for me.

              • Beth
                I think you got it right. See my post above.
                I feel that knowing these narcs takes a special steely part of our souls. Dances cousins narc doesn’t even have to act sad sausage. Everyone is treating him according to their own internal moral compass and conscience. He ‘must’ realise what he has done ‘he must’ feel terrible, he ‘must’ regret his actions, he can’t ‘really’ be happy again so soon, he can’t ‘really’ be enjoying this.
                But of course he doesn’t and he is.

              • Well, I think it’s a little simpler than that.

                Any of us who have dealt with a true narc, know that narcs are never happy. Ever. They always want to look better than they are, and in my humble opinion, don’t really give a crap about feelings: Their own nor otherwise.

                As for this guy, it’s clear from all of the photos I’ve seen that he spends all his time trying to LOOK like he’s rich and happy.

                Let’s keep in mind that he posts photos of himself at parties and fancy restaurants with other expats and as many women as he can possibly get to take picture with him, and his kids and ex wife are on Facebook and see those. He doesn’t care. As long as he looks like he has THE best life, to the general Public out there.

                It has nothing to do with him feeling happy nor sad nor otherwise. He doesn’t “feel”. If he did, he would be capable of empathy and would at least not put his family through this.

                He simply thinks he “won” because he can come back and hang with wife and family whenever he wants to, but can also live in the custom house he built for his OW and look like he’s having the time of his life.

                If he ever gets the inkling that things aren’t going his way, it’s pretty easy to buy some women some drinks and take a bunch of photos to prove how attractive he thinks he is to others and what a good time he is having.

                But he is, I’m positive, not capable of remorse. Probably just annoyed that some of his kibbles got away.

                Narcs spend their lives unhappy and chasing what they perceive as things that will make them happy, but they never do, because they are not chasing the right things to bring happiness. They don’t know what those are nor how to do that.

                Meanwhile, cousin feels deeply, I’m sure is deeply empathetic, judging from her being a therapist, and from the way she puts her ability to feel deeply onto him, and probably interprets that he must be in pain from losing his lover, and probably even consoles him when he is in town.

                Her empathetic nature is what holds her in probably constant karmic torture, and it’s so unfair.

              • Agree with you girls, they can never be happy and never really feel any remorse. I also think they never truly feel unhappy, as in having genuine regret for the harm they have done, the marriage they have destroyed, the pain they have inflicted. Empty, empty, empty. Aeronaut, I think you are projecting the normal feelings we chumps have on to this empty shallow puddle of a man. To us this lifestyle would feel void and desperate, but he’s fine, he’s sparkling and he’s betting that when he’s too old and decrepit, he’s slither home to his wife and she’ll empty his potty and change his nappies. She probably will too.

      • I always wanted a mom that would kick Narkles the Clown down the stairs. Instead I got blamed for ruining my mother’s happiness with reality. Some days I wonder how I ever found my mighty. Thanks to everyone here for filling in for my mom and teaching me to embrace my life with integrity. (Sorry I’m off topic-it just hit a nerve)

        • AllOutOfKibble,

          You didn’t need that mom. You kicked Narkles the Clown down the stairs (in your mind, anyway) when you stuck that nickname on him. And that’s part of how you found your mighty.

          Hugs. Peace.
          aeronaut

          • I don’t know from where/how “Narkles the Clown” nickname derives, but every since I first saw it referenced, I’ve loved it. It is what started my thread about cheater nicknames, several weeks ago. I think I even mentioned it! I haven’t taken a peek at that post in a while, so if @AllOutofKibble happened to see it and respond with the backstory, I’m grateful. If not, please share!

            p.s. agree with @aeronaut – the nickname alone demonstrates great mightiness!

      • Its like watching the movie The Women or It’s Complicated.

        I can’t watch those kinds of shows and keep my mouth shut.

    • @wellrid — if you’re in Dublin I know someone new there who’d likely love to connect. I’ll direct her here, maybe it will lead to a new friend in Chumpdom.

      • Hi UXWorld. I’m not in Dublin but up-and-down to ‘the big smoke’ all the time. So please do put your friend in touch with me. I could do with more friends in chumpdom … though it’s always sad there’s always newbies to join the club

        • This brought back a memory. I love fish and chips. So I went into the pub/restaurant to place my order to go. A couple of guys were at the end of the bar when an Irish man came in to get a beer. He sat next to me and tried to get me one. I declined as I was married and I don’t sit and drink with strangers. He proceeded to tell me how angry he was as his wife was at the eye doctors business getting new glasses that would cost him a weeks worth of pay. Then, he orders more beer trying to get me to join in. I declined, got my food and as I was leaving I saw the gentlemen at the end of the bar glaring at him. I think if he had made a wrong move with me they were going to take him out. Chivalry is not dead. That guy was fixing to meet his maker. The two gentlemen were huge and buff. It’s funny how loyal chumps are. The narc aka serial cheater/ serial divorce can never be happy or loyal.

        • Hey Wellrid, I’m in the North West and happy to reach out as up and down to Dublin for work a lot. After DDay (eleven months and growing) I’d have done anything for a chump to talk to… Irony was my older sister 2 months later. Happy to help start a chapter…But I’m a guy so not sure if you’d feel weird about that but there anyway…..

            • Sorry just back to this now….sis is in London sadly…but draw for home getting stronger now funnily enough. I’ll post something on the message board later on how to connect. I’m in Dublin or Cork or Limerick whenever I want to be really, bar Monday and Tuesdays (kids), but would be interested alright in seeing how others fared on the journey to meh and being mighty!

              • Great. Thanks Bannerman, but feeling a bit technologically-challenged at the moment! Could you point me to the ‘message board’ here please?

    • WellRid–I’m sorry you have not received the support you deserve. After 2 years of thinking on the matter, my response to people now is “Once someone cheats, there is no marriage left.” Infidelity changes the WHOLE dynamic of a marriage–it tips the power in favor of the oppressor, it breaks the necessary bond of trust for an intimate relationship, it alters everything.

      After D-day, we’re typically too shell-shocked to think up adequate answers to people’s judgments. Time to throw the responsibility for detonating the marriage back where it belongs–on the cheater. They ran the marriage into a tree at 80 mph, then pushed it off the cliff. Totaled. Get a new car.

      • Thanks Tempest ? I always read your posts and it means a lot that you empathise with what I’ve been going through. I was shell-shocked and completely overwhelmed by what so-called friends said to me. I felt like I was being kicked when I was already so far down. ? Wish I’d had your words to use back then – but I will use them now whenever I get the chance! ?

        • Of course you were overwhelmed with so-called friends’ responses! The two most painful things people can do to us are (a) invalidate or minimize our pain, and (b) blameshift implicitly, “Well, all marriages have problems” (read: you must have done SOMEthing to make him/her cheat on you).

          I wish I had enough lightning bolts for all the cheater apologists in the world and people who kick others when they’re down.

          • Tempest

            What kind of costume to go with the lightening bolts??
            I’m thinking this could be the series we have been waiting for right?
            Tempest throwing lightening bolts at cheaters – X women for the next chapter in the series. Can I be Wolverine? I could be unleashed on Switzerland friends? I did go to the gym today so could be ready soon…?

            • After seeing pictures of the X-women, I can see why we would need to spend hours in the gym to fit into those costumes! Perhaps the new DC comics Amazon women are better role models (I’m a sucker for neo-classical):
              Amazon women

    • Wellrid, I’m also an Irish chump but live in Oz now, when I told my Narc mother ( think Mrs Brown gone very wrong) about the gobshite she said ” where you not a good wife” – that’s since become a running joke amongst my sisters and friends and I use the phrase often.

      Anyway , I am also in my 40s, my parents caused a big scandal in their day as they tried to separate in the 1980s it was shocking hard to do this in Ireland and they were the talk of the town despite reconciling several times but they were like the Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton of their day and should never have been married in the first place. I don’t think I can watch this now ( I have the RTE Iplayer) but I would be supposed at how the young girl is portrayed – the younger Irish females I meet now seem very confident and self assured and less tolerant about putting up with a cheating bollox. Mind you, saying that, they are all on those dating apps and seem to be more promiscuous than my generation.

      I can go back home now and I see the same couples together 20-30 years and I know one of them is a regular cheater – or treats their partner like shite but they are still together. I don’t think there is as much scandal associated with a failed marriage in Ireland nowadays but there will always be finger pointing saying he/ she should have done this or that to be a ‘good wife/husband’ . They love judging and slagging people off – even if they have just been to mass!

      Any typos I have left my reading glasses at work – apologies

        • Hi Digbert, it’s great that you understand so well!
          I live in a small country town and, though before all of this I’d have thought now we’re in the 21st century so a marriage break-up should no longer be any big deal, I’ve found out myself that’s not really the case. Oh they’ll all let on that they’re modern and live-and-let-live, but when it comes down to it it’s the woman that should’ve made the marriage work and so it’s the woman who’s failed – even if the husband is renowned for cheating … or ‘philandering’ as they like to call it.
          It made my blood boil in the beginning, and I was very hurt by so many people’s reactions to me the chump … but now I’ve gotten used to it and all those so-called friends are now just nodding acquaintances.
          I can just hope that it’ll all be fairer for my two daughters when the time comes for them to marry!

      • Mine had the nerve to discuss his own parents marriage with me like it was a commentary on ours ….’ i dont think these days they would have stayed together .’ didnt know he was talking to himself about what he thought of our marriage !!?? The irsh can be a very repressed lot. Good at talking the talk not walking the walk. Btw no offence …im from the north and understand the psyche.

    • In an odd way it’s nice to see another Irish chump (I’m up in the North West) and have to say its an odd experience living in a small village where everyone knows my stbx cheated, with whom (school gate) and his wife. I think most people don’t know how to react especially to the impression management overplay since her tru wove dumped her after his wife found out. Her BPD ass had been seriously encourage d to leave despite my semi-despiration at the time to be co-dependent and chumpy to save the marriage and family. We’ve small kids so Birthday parties have been fun, our local St. Patrick’s parade with the school deligation (and his wife with her kids too…Talk about my stbx suddenly being uncomfortable…Tee hee hee). I don’t think people here find it acceptable but the Irish way is generally to be Switzerland to your face and be somewhat distant. No one likes a fuss but once they get the details (post the smear campaign) they generally distance themselves from the cheater. Ironically I’ve seen it myself previous to my own experience. I tell everyone now the why, who and what and most gasp and think I’m a bit mighty for stepping up as super capable dad, getting stuck into the school stuff (previously her domain), running everything without a beat and working full time. She presents a facade but i know others are distinctly uncomfortable talking to her. One year nearly on and building towards meh…. Ironically my sister inadvertently became a serial chump in London (3 ddays over the marriage…Codependent family or what!)…. towards meh together. Ireland = Switzerland plus talk about the weather and move along quickly!

      Still stunned an Irish TV programme was mentioned here and yes the irony of the content was noted…More follows in a later programme!

      • Hi Bannerman & fellow-Irish chump (I’m down south) Can’t say it’s great to be part of the chump-club … but isn’t it brilliant to have everyone around the world in CL-land to look to for support ??
        I’ve already said it, but I really think I would have cracked under the strain of everyone around me trying to make it my fault if it wasn’t for the posts and comments here. I can now see all the Switzerland friends for what they are … and so I keep them at arms length.
        I’ve learnt to stand up for myself … though that comes with mutterings behind my back of being ‘bitter’ and ‘scorned’ ? All I can do is my best not to hear it.
        My experience is a bit different from yours: I can’t see that people are distancing themselves from shitferbrains. It might be explained by the massive charm offensive he’s been on, but I think it’s also an Irish version of ‘head-in-the-sand’.
        So I just try to ignore it all. I’m working on being MIGHTY for me and my girls – still a work in progress! And to remind myself what CL always says: we can’t control others, only ourselves ???

        • Sorry hadn’t got down to this bit yet after browser refresh but happy to reach out if you ever need. I read CL everyday to keep me sane and not want to kill fuckwit and mirror the best for my two smallies. Travel on and off for work all over the country so and oddly find a few chumps here and there… Especially from Clare (original home) at the moment..wierd. Had to get Moncrief on Newstalk to do something on CL…Get the word out to those suffering…

  • Similar vein… I had been seeing a girl. She had her issues, but it was possible that she could make a good partner… but for one issue. She had friends who were cheating or in one case planning to cheat (and telling her friend/my potential gf about it in advance). Her friend even asked her to intro her to a “player” she knew. My potential gf told me she didn’t “judge her friends”, even though she would never do it herself.

    I just found it unacceptable that someone would accept this in her friends and also wondered what other fuckedupedness was going on with her friends.

    Anyway, she is now gone, but I think media plays a big role in perpetuating fucked up and unempathetic thinking (a BPD girl I briefly dated admired the two leading characters in House of Cards because they had an open/polyamorous relationship and was glued to “the Affair”, which I still can’t watch).

    • In all fairness, Claire and Frank’s polyamory is a consensually agreed-upon situation that they both are very honest with each other about. I mean, they’re terrible people most every other way, but their polyamory isn’t really high on their list of sins.

    • +1

      It’s only since I have become a chump that I and the boys see how often infidelity is used as a plot device for all the stereotypical reasons.
      So often now we will just stop watching something as someone is cheating. It’s often just a passing thing too, not even the main plot line.
      It is depressing. I am getting a teeny weeny bit fed up of nature documentaries now…..

      • Same here Capricorn.

        I feel physically bad if I watch cheating being treated with banality and no moral reasoning in the context.

        I am leaving friends and family who cheated and were not truly sorry (never met one of these, though).

        Things run together. The Banality of Evil as explained by Hannah Arendt.

        I have a friend whose theory is that the purpose of these scripts, shallow magazine articles, etc., is to breed personal insatisfaction and affect consumers’ behavior and increase sprending.

      • My ex actually said, when he saw how upset I was after DDay #1, that ‘cheating is normal, look how common it is in movies and books!’. I told him that brain tumours, fatal car accidents and serial killers are also common in fiction; they have to create instant drama somehow! Was he comparing himself to those? At least he didn’t pull that crap again. (Lots of OTHER crap, but not that one!)

      • Ah, Firefly. I’d be watching it right now, if Cuntswab hadn’t taken every single method of watching a DVD. I really should fix that, if for no other reason than Malcolm Reynolds. Great idea NWB! 🙂

      • And hey! Firwfly proves you absolutely can write characters that have both integrity and are sexy! Just goes to show…

  • Can’t watch this se themes either. I end up yelling at the tv as if I am watching March Madness (college basketball playoffs).

    Asshole loves House of Cards. I started watching it before DDay. I actually suggested it to asshole. I get the creeps even now having watched that with asshole. It was like a tutorial and all the while playing MrNiceGuy and agreeing with me re: who.the.freak.does.shit.like that?

    • My X-asshole (well, my X, he’s still an asshole) actually identified with Francis Urquhart IN THE ORIGINAL!! The British guy is even more evil than the American one. [Facepalm] Why did I not run 15 years ago when we first watched the British series?

    • I am watching House of Cards, but for the right reasons: to understand how Sparkledick works (and I hope Frank Underwood pays his due, too early to say what will happen)

    • Before D Day, the asshole actually kept insisting that we watch that “Cheaters” show every week! And pontificated about how wrong they were to cheat. And how, if people fall out of love, they need to just have the conversation like adults, not take the easy way out by cheating. I literally heard that every week.

      He knew I didn’t want to watch the damn show because my empathetic nature was tortured by all of the suffering. I finally absolutely refused. I said, “I can’t watch another poor person get their heart ripped out in front of God and the television cameras! I don’t understand how you can!”

      Turns out he was cheating all of that time. Was he setting the stage in some bizarre way to have that “adult conversation”? Was he taking a perverse thrill from watching me suffer on the behalf of strangers while being made a fool of myself? Did it make him feel extra powerful?

      I eventually realized that it wasn’t my job to untangle that aberrant skein, thank you CL and CN. Every once in a while, I think back on that and still feel mystified, but it no longer sends me reeling. There are more fascinating things to wonder about in life – wholesome, enriching, and uplifting things and people.

  • Ever since the KK shit hit the fan, I’ve watched movies and TV shows with a new Chump eye. One of my favorites from the 70s is “Network”, and while I didn’t think it was Oscar -worthy, I’ve always been taken with Beatrice Straight’s big scene when William Holden confesses his affair.

    She starts out like gang-busters and gives the perfect summary line –“… (after 20 years) if you can’t work up a winter romance for me, the the least I require is respect and allegiance!” — but the scene very quickly downshifts into the “you poor confused man” dreck of which Chump Lady speaks.

    Here’s the clip — https://youtu.be/kzj1ViCA6RI

  • I’ve never watched “Sex and the City,” but asshat was binge-watching it during the period he slept in the basement before D-day (well, maybe there was a D-day when I discovered condoms in his wallet, but chumpy me believed him at the time when he said they were “just talking”). Can anyone tell me if that show involved affairs? Wondering whether he was getting positive feedback on his recent/hidden ‘lifestyle’ choices.

    As an aside, my 18-at-the-time daughter asked, “LOL, Mom! Does he realize that that’s a ‘chick’ show?” Guess he was being metrosexual or something.

    • My review: That show IS affairs, for the most part. It was marketed at the time as the first show where women were depicted as sexually open and empowered. Looking back, it was more sexualized than shows before it to a large degree, sure, but the women were actually just boy-crazy grown women who had a lot of sex. The one exception, was a total player who often took married men as lovers.

      The main protagonist story line is riddled with infidelity on both sides, and it’s clear that he, the powerful, wealthy, and mysteriously aloof man, is the bait that draws the girl-woman, who is attracted to a fairy tale rich princess life, back repeatedly no matter what a scoundrel he is. There’s more, but that’s the main driving force. It’s well-acted, but that’s the best I have to say.

      So, yeah, I can see how some guy who fancies himself a fancy-pants, suave, seductive Don Juan who is irresistable to young women would identify with the plots in that show.

    • PianoMom-

      The beloved main character, Carrie Bradshaw, is treated like crap by a wealthy Wall Street smart mouth called Mr. Big. In fact, we never learn his real name until the last moment of the final episode in Series 6. This is the entire crux of the whole series: Carries and Big.

      First, he leaves her to go to a job on Paris, knowing she is in love with him. About 6 months later, she goes to a party and he is back, but with a new 27 year old GF named Natasha. Carries begins vomiting when she discovers he has a GF. Big is in his mid 40s.

      Big marries his GF Natasha.

      Carrie then meets Adian- a dreamer’s dream man. He is a big hunk of burning love- sexy, FAITHFUL, kind wood carver. He has a dog name Pete. He buys her doughnuts. He takes on her problems. He refinishes her floors.

      Big gets bored in his new marriage and began pursuing Carrie. She pretends like she is in soul anguish, but then begins a sordid affair with Big, behind the saintly Aidan’s back. They met in hotels and are portrayed to have amazing sex. Aidan has no idea, and makes Carrie fajitas and buys her new Mac Book Pros and she acts tormented and pissy because she is fucking Mr. Big. (Because, it is all about HER pain).

      Eventually, the affair culminates in them having sex in Big’s marital bed. He has to go back to work- it was a lunch quickie! His wife is at the beach. Carrie is leisurely exploring his apartment, half naked, and has small epiphanies….Natasha is human! She likes antique sugar bowls! She likes flowers! She never feels guilt…it is more like an anthropologist musing over a strange new tribe in Papau New Guniea.

      A key is heard in the lock and Natasha is home. Carries tries to run down the back stairs and Natasha chases her and busts out her front teeth. Natasha hates Carrie for life. Carrie tries to make up for what she did only because she says “her karma is shot”, but Natasha will not entertain her apologies.

      Carrie eventually confesses her affair to Aidan. He leaves her. She dates around and realizes she misses him. She makes a move to get him back.

      He takes her back but has massive anger issues, like slapping her nicotine patch on her shoulder really hard, because of her cheating. This builds up to the scene where Carrie says over and over, over & OVER:

      YOU HAVE TO FORGIVE ME.
      (uh…no I don’t)

      He does. She then breaks his heart again.

      There is only one character on SATC who tells Carrie she was wrong to cheat, and that is Charlotte, who is seen as old fashioned and a bit out of touch. (But at least she does not have a bowl haircut)

      That your X was watching SATC shows several things. It is mind candy, highly addictive and easy to watch for many hours. Sex is in every show, with lots of nudity, and there is lots of strings free sex in each single episode. It can be incredibly funny.

      Lots of one night stands and kinky things. Pure fantasy- women walking around Manhattan in spiked heels, art openings, the Hamptons, designer clothes, Manolo Blahniks, parties, all boyfriend drama. Discussions about how men’s sperm tastes, men wanting to baby talk while sucking their nipples, men wanting Carrie to pee on them. It is SEX x 10.

      I cannot watch it now, because of the cheating issues, either. I become so enraged people want to run from me when someone laughs off adultery.

      That your husband liked that show is…odd. It is a girl show 100%. He was either digging the soft core porn aspects, the easy sex or has a highly evolved feminine side. Your daughter was 100% right. I hope that helped you, in some way.

      • Yes. I loved this show back in the day. My ex-narc hated it, because it shows women doing what he was clearly doing.

        Now that I found out what mine was up to, I can’t watch it anymore.

        I remember so clearly watching the last episode and watching Mr Big morph into a unicorn.

        It wasn’t until years later and my own D-Day that I realized with Chumplady’s help that unicorns don’t exist. And how dangerous it is for women to watch that shit, that puts ideas of unicorns in their heads.

      • Shows like this that glamorize shallow sex, adultery and other enviable “bad-girl” behavior under the guise of uber-sexual “sophistication” are more a part of the problem than anyone realizes. We’re swimming in this entertainment dreck constantly, and pretty soon it becomes the new normal. No wonder the lines of what’s right and wrong are so blurred and people are willing to just shrug in the face of adultery committed by friends and say “Well, that’s what works for them.” Or something I just heard: “Everybody’s got their own reality.” Or “People have a right to go after their own happiness.” Unbelievable. But I do place some blame on modern culture, which is a powerful force, especially on those with no strong belief systems to begin with. And it does explain the phenomenon of Switzerland friends.

        • I agree. And as I say every freaking day I need to stop with the skein, but cheater idiot told me “It’s like the movies. I thought you were the wife that couldn’t stand the husband. The one that’s always rolling her eyes and everyone laughs because she hates him but they are stuck together.” REALLY?! Life is a movie and you are the sad sack husband that the wife hates? Becsuse life is NOT a movie or TV show. Cheating isn’t glamorous or sexy or funny or drama for the sake of drama. It’s fucked up and wrong. It’s not something you throw in to just stir up the plot line. He’s also said recently “It just didn’t even seem real to me at the time. I talked to her for fun.” Which I kind of understand that mentality of texting is just words on a screen. But when you are talking shit about your spouses and talking about how much you like someone else. And SHOWING UP AND FUCKING THEM, how much realer does it get?! I GET the fantasy idea, I GET having a little crush on someone. I would NEVER have gone forward with a physical aspect of something but as a person with feelings, in my marriage I’ve had little crushes on men other than my husband. And then it STOPPED. I GET it. I do. Maybe that makes me an apologist but I UNDERSTAND that part. It’s the keep going and keep going and keep going and utter disregard that I don’t get. And I think that’s what keeps me stuck. That anyone could DO THAT to another person. To someone they don’t despise. Becsuse I couldn’t hurt someone purposely. Not even a stranger. And it fucking guts me when I think about it. I really think social media and entertainment is really damaging people. All that fake shit all over Facebook and Instagram and all that. Just this week I saw a picture from my friend of her husband and kid “my two loves!” I don’t really KNOW how she feels but whenever we had girl’s night and we were dishing on our husbands I always felt like it was fun to vent a little bit but in general I LOVED him and my friends were so blah about their husbands. And of course I’m the sad idiot cheated on and abandoned and they are all just keeping on.

          • Sad Shelby
            I totally get this. I and my group of school gate moms used to have coffee mornings. Everyone would be bitching and moaning about their husbands EXCEPT me. I though we were good! I thought he was loyal and honest and working out there all this time for us and to put the boys through college debt free. But no. Mine was the one with the double life! Now all my friends are apparently married to very different men as when we get together they are talked about very differently! It was a bit striking. One of them (for whom I harbour a particular disliking for) actually said ‘I’m so glad that ‘d’ isn’t like that when talking about what had happened with mine. I did remind them all that they were as stunned as I was at the beginning because he was so ‘nice’. And when I added that ‘you can never really know can you, that’s why it’s called trust’ they were not happy. I stopped going. It’s hard to be the pitied one in the corner who is the reason why nobody can talk about so many things that are good in their lives, and who stops them bitching about anything unimportant.
            I’m being mean I know but it’s lonely being a chump, makes me cross and blame others a bit. I know they just don’t know how to navigate this situation but then again they might if they spent more than a nanosecond thinking about it.

          • You’re not an apologist Sad Shelby, you’re someone who understands boundaries. I always acknowledged when I found someone attractive, and that’s where it stopped. My thought was: I’m devoted, not dead.

          • Me too. Notice attraction, appreciate how nice feeling is, move on without regrets because my biology doesn’t affect my decision making processes. Not that tough, actually.

    • I did not watch SATC. I hated it because it made New York women look like we’re all nymphomaniac sluts. It sucked to go out in NYC and have every out of town man (and some in town!) just assume you’re going back to their hotel room to fuck them of they buy you one drink and your purse is full of condoms and sex toys!

  • I don’t get it. So it’s OK for Tara to leave her cheater because they aren’t married yet, but the married-to-a-sex-clubber needs to support and defend her cheater because they are married? Is that the narrative? It sounds like a completely different writer took over mid-script.

    • FarBetterOff, it’s really how things are here! ?? We in Ireland have to be legally separated for 4 years (yes, FOUR years ) – and be able to prove the separation – before we can even start filing for divorce. So those who are not yet married more-or-less get away with dumping cheater ass-hole immediately, whereas those of us who are already married are expected to work hard and put in the time to ‘save’ the marriage. It’s shite ?

      • Actually you can be legally separated in a few months following infidelity (i could have got it in four) but four years for a divorce. Neither covers you 100% but judges generally don’t overturn custody, finance or other matters once agreement has been reached (assuming no coersion) ….No one can mess the kids around though…screw both of you for that. Getting better here (I’m male) and it wasn’t always so…

      • Wellrid – there’s a bit in Gabaldon’s Outlander series in which Brianna tells her husband, “I’m Catholic. We don’t believe in divorce, but we do believe in murder.” Not making any recommendations or anything actionable, just admitting that I understand the sentiment.

    • I think it’s more “ooh, look at the conflict – a lawyer has to defend a position that she is opposed to because of stuff in her personal life!” Meh. Saw it done better on Boston Legal and Ally McBeal – and seen it done times infinity on every lawyer show.

  • I don’t think I can watch this one. I would be yelling at the screen the whole time.

    I did watch “The Affair” and I liked the last season, both suffered consequences and the OW actually admitted that it wasn’t Love.

    I had a friend that said “well only you two, know what was going on in your marriage” and I said, NO, I was living an authentic life, he was living a double life for close to 4 years. I take responsibility for the marriage failing, but not for his cheating, then she goes, “well where did you think you failed?” Uhrrr I didn’t – He did!

    It really is not worth explaining it, unless you’ve been through it, you really can’t understand it. It is simply best to answer, “I didn’t like his Girlfriend” and leave it at that.

    • I was very anti The Affair and posted on it in the forum. I caught a bit of the 3rd series and got into it because it followed characters into consequences and had some great scenes between the OW and the wife, the OW and her chumped husband’s new wife. It has redeemed itself a bit. Still a very ambiguous watch and to be avoided if you are easily triggered. But the point of the show was the different points of view and that part was interesting. Smothered with dollops of crap though….

  • I haven’t seen this gem. But it does remind me that my Irish second cousin rederred to my now-ex-wife, with his brogue, “She’s a fuckin’ gem!”

    I’m with you, CL, on any and all portrayals of infidelity in media. 99% of the time, it’s “complicated,” there are “other factors involved,” and “you can see how they ended up where they are.”

    Bullshit, galore.

    My trauma during my ex’s affair actually produced some surreal, humorous, and (I think) moving personal stories, some of which I’ve written and shared with friends and family. Some of them have even said that I should try to get a few published.

    But I know the truth: literature has to include ambiguity, multiple possible interpretations, complex characters, etc. I agree with that.

    And therefore, my experience, no matter how well-crafted, does not qualify. Because I can’t write my ex-wife in any way that is ambiguous, or vague, or open to interpretation. I can’t write that character as relatable, or understandable. Every time I try, her motivations and actions come across as blatantly cruel and manipulative, with no redeeming quality or justified “confusion.” She intentionally tricked me and hurt me for her own personal pleasure, when she had so many other options open to her.

    Because that’s the reality of infidelity. It’s NOT complicated, and cheaters are not understandable/relatable by anyone except other cheaters. They are one-dimensional characters suitable to simple children’s stories about good and bad; not complex adults worthy of literary exploration.

    • I guess I think a character can be complex without having to be relatable. Look at Voldemort. Complex, yes, and interesting, yes, but also purely evil at heart since birth.

      Something to consider, anyway.

      • I would agree. A character can be complex and still not by sympathetic. Voldemort is a great example. Hannibal Lecter is, too. Of course those characters are both sociopathic serial murderers. Another good example that comes to mind are Betty and Don Draper from Mad Men. They are very complex (both are cheater and a chump at some point), but neither of them are particularly sympathetic.

        I know America loves a good beating-all-odds, no-one-ever-is-to-blame story, but authors like Annie Proulx are great as smashing that story arc. JC, release your inner Annie!

      • House of Cards is the perfect example of this, for me! Watching Frank and Claire is like watching sharks circling in the water …. Complex characters, fascinating, but I’m SOOO glad the president of the US isn’t character disordered. Oh, wait ….

      • Elizabeth Lowell, a well known writer of science fiction, romance and suspense novels, distinguishes between genre fiction, which descends from the heroic tradition, and literary fiction, which is a modernist invention: “Almost all popular fiction is descended from the heroic tradition of good vs. evil, gods vs. mortals, etc. In this fiction, people rise above their limitations and grab the brass ring against the odds. Literary fiction? By definition (formula?) literary fiction CAN’T have a tidy, upbeat resolution. Does that make it superior because it is more “real”? No. It just makes literary fiction part of the modernist rather than the heroic tradition.”

        Dickens, for example, creates huge canvasses, where the complexity is in presenting many recognizable social types in order to explore different aspects of the Victorian social world. His protagonists are usually the characters who experience growth and change as a result of their experiences. But even so, these characters are illuminated more by their relationship to the social world than to their inner torment or conflicts, so to speak. In that sense, it’s possible to imagine a 21st century Dickens novel taking on the massive narcissism of our age, as he did the greed of the 19th century.

        • I got sidetracked by Dickens, which happens to me more often than one would think. The point I was making is that genre fiction (romance, suspense, thrillers, sci fi, mystery) is about the age-old story of a person facing challenge and adversity, sometimes in mortal peril or global peril (think Harry Potter or Hunger Games) but also in the sense of facing the kind of life obliteration that chumps face. These genres can offer biting criticism of society but usually frame it through the heroic struggle of an individual to face the unknown and triumph. So Chumps are likely to find a lot more comfort and inspiration in the heroic, which lays out the path of the hero’s journey in different contexts. Modern film romantic comedies can follow this heroic pattern; see, for example, “While You Were Sleeping,” in which the main character has to confront her loneliness and isolation and tendency to live in a fantasy world in order to find not just romance but family.

          • So, for example, in JC’s story, our point of view would be with our hero, JC, who strives to rebuild his life against the obstacles presented by infidelity, divorce, and a narcissistic culture. The Cheater role is the “monster” role in the hero story–the force that invades the community and creates disorder and danger.

      • I can no longer read Dickens, a narcissist extraordinaire whose wife found out about their separation by reading the notice he put in the paper. After 10 children he decided she was fat and stupid ( she had had post natal depression for the last couple of children), bricked up the door between their bedrooms, and then moved out, taking most of their children with him. The eldest son chose his mother and was disinherited. One of their other sons died in India and Dickens didn’t tell his wife. And of course he was having an affair with Ellen Terry the whole time…

  • The correct answer to the lightbulb joke is, “One, but you won’t get away with paying her 70% of what you would pay a man to do the same job.”

    I have also found myself completely unable to empathize with cheater narratives. I’m in Book of the Month Club and a book they were hyping in December was Swimming Lessons by Clare Fuller. It’s about a woman who disappears, presumed dead, but it’s discovered years later that she left letters about why she left in her husband’s monstrous collection of books. ***SPOILERS*** Well, the husband was a serial cheater (which she was actually warned of before she got knocked up by him and married him) and a successful author who was always away from home for extended periods of time, promoting his book and fucking book groupies. Her youngest child was extremely difficult and she came to feel that she didn’t “deserve” to have to look after her. So she just abandoned her kids and faked her death! No, really, that’s how it ends. The book thinks it’s being daring and edgy by positing a woman who abandons her kids because men abandon their children all the time.

    I wish this idiot author could spend 10 seconds on an infidelity forum. Women abandon their children all the time. Most of them just aren’t sociopathic enough to fake their own deaths. The woman in the story barely even considers divorcing her husband and taking her share of the book wealth. No, she goes straight from “I’m so traumatized by his infidelities” to “I’ll just fake my own death and abandon my troubled tween” with hardly anything in between. Yeah, her husband was an asshole, but so was she.

    First time I’ve ever given a book 1 star on GoodReads.

  • The stereotype lives on. If you cheat……you’re a tortured attractive person and your spouse has a bowl haircut. Frumpy chump wives or a less than exciting chump husband who doesn’t write bad poetry and fails to put their cheater wife on a pedestal is the catalyst that propels otherwise “good” people to cheat.

    Gosh darn…..even a former chump lawyer and frump wife feel compelled to defend the cheater and save him from jumping off a ledge that is only two feet off the ground and going to prison.

    Why do cheaters attempt suicide off a two foot ledge or swallow an entire bottle of fruit flavored Flintstone Vitamins? Or worse…..subject themselves to rubbing raw onions over their eyes and subject themselves to tight white pants and thong underwear.

    The drama…. and the bowl cut lady chumps with their sensible shoes will save the day.

    Paradigm shifting which sounds highly intellectual and evolved.

    Namaste Y’all

    • But even if they do have bowl hair cuts… the cheater is still an unempathetic fucking asshole who thought it better to cheat on their devoted spouse than to leave them first (or sort the marriage out or any other number of ethical options). They’re not edgy… they’re assholes.

      I listened to one story about a woman who is cheating on her husband rather than leaving him because it would cost her due to the local divorce laws. Really? It’s better to cheat on someone and stay with them because you don’t want financial consequences? How about staying with him and not cheating???

      • My ex’s mask slipped one day when we were discussing his father’s infidelity; he and his wife spent very little time together, they had a couple of properties so neither would be in poverty because of a divorce, why didn’t he just LEAVE before fucking around? Ex; ‘well, his wife made more money than he did, so it was financially advantageous for him to remain married’. At first I thought he was being sarcastic (spackling!), later I realized he meant it quite straightforwardly.

    • This concept is a big part of what pisses me off about Hollywood and fashion mags and such. Average-looking people are absolutely able to have way above average sex in monogamous relationships and enjoy it, and an average-looking partner, quite a lot. (I am living proof.) Our cultural fixation on fantasy visuals is really quite immature, and when a person is unable to lay that aside and enjoy a real person in the moment, that person is generally really vulnerable to exploitation.

      I am at a point in my life where I feel like any person who would reject me/anyone for sex based solely on my looks is a person who is seriously missing the point and isn’t worthy of my/anyone’s time sexually. Those people have the internet. I’d like some depth of character in the bedroom, personally.

      • Precisely, Ami. — I don’t wear makeup (well, a touch of eyeliner so coworkers won’t ask if I’m tired), or dress especially nice — fine, y’know? Not sweatpants to the grocery store, but not stiletto heels, either. And I always feel like those who would judge me because of that simply lack imagination: I COULD put on makeup and fancy clothes (maybe also Spanx just now) and then I’d look like a (very very short) runway model, as well. I simply CHOOSE not to.

        • I so agree! I’m (almost) 55 for heaven’s sake! I’m comfortable with my low maintenance self and if I’m judging my future partners (should there be any) on character rather than looks then I expect them to do the same.

          • Beth and NW
            I think that is the point at which you can congratulate yourself on being wise and having grown into your own skin. Judging yourself by your own internal set of values and beliefs and desires not by those of others. I think that is what real freedom looks like.
            That’s my excuse for my ‘endearing’ way of dressing and I’m sticking with it.
            It helps to be a therapist. People kind of assume here you are a bit wacky to start with. Lol.

        • Totally. And I think we really should be able to do what we want with our bodies – from total glamour to total casual – and be accepted and appreciated. I mean, if I am not a person’s cup of tea, no prob, whatever, but it doesn’t have to mean the person has to invalidate me globally. You like what you like, I like what I like, if they match up, great, if not, AOK.

          Of course, that assumes everyone can be honest, and we all know that isn’t what’s true. I don’t need people to like what I like. All I ask is that people be clear about what they like. Many fully grown adults can’t seem to even manage that.

        • I am the only female accountant in an office full of men. One day, I forgot to comb my hair (shortly after I came back after having a baby). Nobody noticed.

  • Been two years since the last Dday and 1-1/2 years divorced from my lying cheating POS of 36 years. I still can’t do the cheating themed shows OR the love stories. I, for some reason, find myself drawn to 48 Hours and any other crime or who done it shows. It’s strange, but on the episodes where the wife kills the husband by systematically poisoning him or by some other slow and excruciating painful way, I find myself saying “I’m sure it was an accident” “she was framed” or “she must have been sleepwalking.” (that’s a defense right???!!!)
    Anyway, I have improved. I remember after D day it was MONTHS before I could listen to the radio as I couldn’t STAND to hear a love song or heaven forbid a song that would remind me of him OR us. (so hard to drive while ugly crying!) But right now, id still rather have my gums scrapped then watch a Love story type show. Baby steps I guess….
    Have a great week Chumps!!!!!

    • had-it, I’m with you! I have also been hooked on the crime shows since D-day (although, since it’s been 5 years since he left, they’re losing their fascination with me). I reasoned that I needed closure….I needed to see criminals (no doubt, how I viewed my ex) dealt justice, because I sure wasn’t seeing it happening in reality. In my mind, the ex got away with it. Minimal child support, a limit on medical expenses he’ll pay without my taking him to court, and no involvement in higher education expenses. My only gratification is that my three kids (now 15, 19 and 23) see him for the schmuck he is.

      • Jack Reacher novels!! Harry Bosch novels! Anything where it’s really clear who the bad guys are, and who the good guys, and the good guys always win! Gotta love genre fiction when real life is just too much to deal with ….

    • I find it easier to stomach cheating stories than happy love stories with happy endings. This is what I believed I had found when I met the traitor and it was all false. I just can’t watch that anymore.

  • I despise cheater-themed, apologist shows!

    Cheating isn’t just about fucking another person while married. It’s:

    breaking a number of solemn vows to the person you married.

    stealing money from your family to selfishly follow your bliss.

    lying and then aiming anger at the person who suspects you of wrongdoing.

    emotionally abusing your spouse and children.

    verbally abusing your spouse and children.

    neglecting your spouse and children.

    ruining your spouse/children’s sense of self and security.

    devastating your spouse/children’s financial security.

    exposing your family to judgment and pity.

    I can go on forever. Cheating is so much more than a roll in the pig sty. With a pig(s). As a pig.

  • I hate to ask a stupid question, but who is “RTE?” It’s the person in the joke who puts the Jewish guy and the holocaust denier together in a story. Is that the writer of the show?

          • Hey you may be able to get a passport? Any Irish in the family…save you a long queue when heading to suothern Europe for the sunshine…Also very useful in the Middle East and with new York, Boston or Chicago cops! We’ve had to take on more to process applications from the UK. Yep Brexit is going to hurt…No question…Hey is that a meh moment? Thinking about something else !

              • Ah you can if your granny gets one ? …just don’t visit in March or April….worst months for weather (snowing here today…bonkers) if I can find enough chumps perhaps we’ll arrange a CL ‘workshop’ some weekend over here…!

    • Thanks for the recommendation! I see that Isabelle Huppert is also in a new movie where she gets chumped by her husband and (I think) ends up with a young hot boyfriend (a la Stella getting her groove back).

  • Yeah, I have a hard time with infidelity as entertainment as well. I love Ruth Wilson, but I haven’t seen that show The Affair. My problem is if it’s the “good guy” (usually a guy), he’s having an affair but it’s a Grand Passion and soulmate, etc., etc. If it’s the “bad guy,” then the infidelity is proof of his bad-guyness. And I don’t like being made to feel like a prude for not being OK with it.

    • A slight change of topic, but what do you do with beloved movies, many of them classics, that include marital infidelity which is not depicted as ugly and sordid, but something fine? Sad of course, struggled against and generally not repeated – but still lovely, real and ultimately ennobling to the people involved. I made a list of these the other day and was surprised at how many there were. I’m probably missing a bunch. It bothers me and yet I can’t find it in myself to condemn the story lines. Being chumped already took so much from me… do I have to lose the love I have for these movies too? Anyone else have problems like this?

      Casablanca
      Intermezzo
      Brief Encounter
      Dr. Zhivago
      Now Voyager
      The Best Years of Our Lives
      Out of Africa
      Wuthering Heights
      Love is a Many Splendored Thing
      September Affair
      Summertime
      Bridges of Madison County
      The Thorn Birds
      Same Time, Next Year
      The Prince of Tides
      Shakespeare in Love
      Dodsworth

      • I can only speak for myself, but what ruins this type of movie for me is that I don’t believe in true love or soul mates or any of that stuff any more. For years, I thought the love of my life was my (new) XH the substance abuser. But then I grew up and realized I could “love” him as a person but that the kind of romantic vision I had was destroying my life. It’s not that “falling in love” is a bad thing or that those intense encounters don’t happen to people. And maybe as some people say, that intensity is the spark that can light a lifelong attraction and commitment. But I spent my whole adult life thinking romance was the be-all, end-all. And now I don’t. I still like a good romance novel or a good rom-com. But I take them about as seriously as I take an Avengers movie.

        • Spot on, LAJ. I just watched Casablanca again last month and it is simply ruined for me now. Like LAJ, I just “don’t believe” anymore. If I’m willing to suspend disbelief, then the movies MF listed can be enjoyed. But mostly, I think, “Ugh. No.”

          Alas, I took the red pill and can only see the Matrix for what it is.

          • I’m still VERY raw and bitter and I feel the same way about not believing anymore and it SUCKS! I 100% did NOT believe my husband was AWESOME and AMAZING and PERFECT. He was kinda funny looking with skinny legs and no ass and he couldn’t hear very well at all. But I LOVED him. Beyond his physical self. I loved him. And I 100% believed he LOVED me too. Now I just feel like fuck the world. Love is all a fucking lie and a joke and the only reason people are actually together is because one of them hasn’t figured out the other is a liar and a cheater. And nobody is ACTUALLY happy. And it just devastates me. Because I WAS HAPPY. And now I’m just broken and bitter and I don’t think I can ever trust or believe in someone ever again.

            • Aww, Shelby, … I’m so sorry for your pain. I can’t predict the future for myself or you or any of us, but it sounds like, from some of the posts here, people (including CL) do sometimes find another person and find that trust and love again, but for real this time. I guess the difference is that I’m no longer counting on it, and I am going to be very wary if anything like it ever crosses my path in the future.

              I think I’m mostly responding, however, because XH *also* was kinda funny-looking with skinny legs and no ass! And I was never physically attracted to him, either, other than that I loved him — which was a new experience for me, as I’d always mostly gone for that “Wow!” attraction before him, and I chose him almost BECAUSE he was not a “Wow!” for me! — Of course, his reason for finding someone else was because he never felt “Wow!” for me, either (he says) and he did go out and find a Wow. — A Wow-OW, I guess….

            • Shelby, had to laugh at your description, my X has long skinny legs with no ass.
              I wasn’t physically attracted to him either when we met, he wasn’t someone I’d ordinarily went out with. He didn’t drive a fancy car, socially a little awkward and inexperienced in dating, sort of a home body. I thought he would make a good faithful spouse compared to other men I had dated who were good looking, took me on fun dates but I thought were womanizers and not to be trusted.
              Turns out the men I thought were womanizers who did all the fun and exciting things got married at around the same time X and I did and are still married. From the comments they make on fb they’re still very much in love with their wives. So I not only missed out on fun and exciting, I got a cheating, lying husband. ha! I guess the moral of this story is you can’t always judge a book by it’s cover.

              • I overlooked the awkwardness and some of his peculiar behavior and loved X for who I thought he was. I thought he would be a good husband and family man. I introduced him to my friends and people I worked with and they would tell me I could do better, some shook their heads and told me they just didn’t like him or ask me what I saw in him. I thought they were judging him on his appearance and didn’t know X like I did. Now of course I wish I had listened to them.
                Today X is outgoing, drives a very expensive vehicle, takes his GF on expensive vacations, has the best of everything, quite a difference from who I knew him to be. He’s also arrogant, condescending and unbelievably cruel.
                He played the part of the down home selfless, awkward guy when we were dating pretending to have the same family values I had while we were dating.
                He’s a very convincing imposter, a sociopath.

            • Shelby, This is the exquisite misery. I lusted the Scuzzy Soul Sucker like a teenager. We actually used to make out in the car before we into restaurants. Worse, I LOVED him. In for the long haul. Put him name on property I inherited. We would be in the kitchen and be tangled up kissing. We would sit on the couch with no TV and talk and laugh for hours.

              How does the world make sense after that? It doesn’t add up.

              I just want to share this with you. Be so very careful about who you pick to date, if you do. It is fraught with danger, because we remember that passion, that love, wanting to bite someone’s skin, and a normal, non sparkling person…a person that we have to decipher or wait to get to know, or they smell not as great…it can make you have a slip up and clamber back to the person who served you the shit sandwich.

              You have to actually stop, drop and roll…is this person really boring or I am playing a silly comparison game to a glittered dog turd?

              But, I think to lose that hope…would be a catastrophic thing. If you can, wrap your hope and belief… that some people are happy and do love each other…wrap it up in expensive scented tissue paper and place it in your panty drawer or in a hope chest. Just let it sit until……

              We can’t lose hope. It is just too bleak. They can’t take our joy forever. CL found a sane, loving partner.

              But I am with you. I have to reel in my jaded hatred of “love” so people will not recoil in horror, like I am Medusa.

              Hold on tight. There are billions of people in the world, and there are people who are NOT lying cheats.

          • Love that ‘red pill’ comment!!
            I’m totally stealing that NW.

            Sad Shelby

            Sorry it is sad but you are so funny too.

            “He was kinda funny looking with skinny legs and no ass and he couldn’t hear very well at all. But I LOVED him.”

            Just cracked me up sorry. ❤❤

            Mine was very overweight, genial ‘a big gentle teddy bear’ was what everyone said. But no…. fucking mental teddy bear with teeth.

      • I never liked those to begin with, never found the excuses for infidelity convincing. For me what is problematic is the bad boy turns into a unicorn movies – a lot of them. That is one of the narratives we also need to shut down. Don’t get tangled up with the guy that is immature, or has issues but is somehow so ‘good’ underneath it. It’s something movies and books teach women from childhood, that brooding hot guy is really sensitive and vulnerable. Nope, he’s an asshole 90% of the time with entitlement issues.

        • Well, frequently our “hero” turns into a unicorn… for the AP, right? And maybe they ARE fabulous for a short period of time. They were, with us, after all. — What they should really include is not just the first ten minutes of the new affair relationship but another glimpse of the whole thing ten years down the road, when the chump is completely out of the picture but now the new “happy couple” has its own problems, possibly including infidelity once again.

      • In real life, I’m named after the lead female role in ZHIVAGO, and I find it funny that my very Catholic religious mother named me after a married woman who cheated with another woman’s husband? Very nice.

  • “Well, she seems the right sort of woman to chair the church parsonage committee, but I wouldn’t want to fuck her.”

    omg I needed that this morning! 😀

  • You must see the recent series ‘Doctor Foster’ brilliant British drama about fucked over Doctor female) and all the shit that ensues, totally spot on and deep as it gets, made me cry in parts.
    Insightful look at the story from the two side, please seek it out.

    • Lady B – Doctor Foster was talked about earlier here but living in the states, it was hard to find at first. I’d highly recommend it if you can take a good adultery story. I could totally relate. I had to buy all three episodes but they were worth having in my library. I still think of it often.

  • I haven’t seen this show but the way I interpreted your synopsis is that Tara, as a consummate professional, was deftly able to defend her client’s legal rights without allowing her own personal feelings– either towards the OW or infidelity in general– interfere with her performance in court.

    As for talking Connor off the ledge, again, Tara doesn’t have to agree with cheating to want to stop someone from offing themselves. Connor’s lack of decency doesn’t mean that Tara must accordingly treat him as subhuman… she’s still a good person herself.

    Unfortunately, there’s a reason chump-as-frump exists as a stereotype. In archaic cultures and religious groups, any expression of sexuality or sensuality on the part of women is interpreted as lack of virtue. Also, the more repressed people are, the more their desires tend to manifest in compulsive and highly-fetishistic ways.

    Lastly, Fran’s non-plussed reaction to Connor’s cheating just strikes me that she (like many women) have become Olympic-level masters of rugsweeping. No one here should be surprised by this.

    • I think Tara is depicted as a good person. A saintly person. Which, if you’re going to be chumped as a woman in the media is the way you get presented. (If you’re not a drudge with a bad haircut.) She throws her shoes at him, and then goes straight to Enlightened Forgiveness and Understanding of her serial cheating client. In less than 24 hours.

      Seriously, it beggars believe. Yes, everyone deserves representation, and no one should fling themselves off a ledge — but I’m paying attention to the narrative here — where the writers want us to direct our sympathies, and time and again it is to the sad sausage cheaters. Poor Connor. Poor, poor man. Not his wife. Not his kids. Not her health. Not her financial stability or home life. Poor Connor feels the discomfort of humiliation and embarrassment? The two chump women? They can fuck right off.

      Tara’s choice — be Strong and be the Forgiver. Fran? She doesn’t even get the dignity of a sad moment. She’s a field marshal focused on Connor’s needs. Worse, she’s a sophisticate. Who minimizes her husband having a double life (presumably stealing from her and risking her health) as “a few kicks.”

      • Totally with you on this. And, God.forbid Tara should go out and get laid after she finds out because then she would be a ‘slut’ or worse. And of course she defends the client and saves his ass because she is such a good, understanding person. All chumps must forgive ‘for their own good’, it pisses me off. The whole trope is so fucked up on so many levels that I am impressed you could manage to tease any of it out. I just want to scream at the idea that they chose to have her defend the asshole and talk him off a ledge while the wife is portrayed in the timeless ‘she knew all along and didn’t mind’ manner. I will not watch that shit.

        • If they wanted to put her in the court room for that one, the least they could do is have her stand up and tell the judge she can’t defend him and ask for a continuance.

    • I haven’t seen the show nor will I but….. When it (infidelity) happened to me, I bought into the RIC and trumpeted how I would own my part. BLECH!! Maybe Tara is still in the fog from gas lighting, of not knowing what the hell actually was going on. At some point I found CL and really the clouds parted and there it was. The “TRUTH”. I’ve never looked back but some of the things that I said and thought during that time have come back to haunt me. Like telling my son who was encouraging me to leave that “I wasn’t perfect either.” Now he lives with his dad and I’m afraid that the narrative has been revised to the divorce was both our faults.

      • Ugh, that’s a tough dilemma, SketchyOkGirl. How often do you see your son? I think the same-sex children of the cheaters are put in a rough spot–they can recognize the harm the cheater did, but it costs them their main role model. If you have a regular spot in your son’s life, though, he may eventually have a clear picture when he’s older.

        It is a cautionary tale, though, of admitting our “fault” in the cheater’s infidelity. Sometimes kids are smarter than we are (e.g., your son telling you to leave before you came to that decision; my youngest daughter cut off all contact with my X before I did).

        • I try to cook him dinner once a week. He doesn’t want to talk about it at all so I can’t even ascertain where he is mentally. I just have to hope and pray that it all works out in the end. That “can’t control anybody else thing” you know. I do what I can and have to let the rest go.

  • I haven’t commented in a long time, but I read this blog every day. I want to relate a TRUE story of serial cheating and suicide.
    The cheater didn’t kill himself; his chump wife did.
    The story : 30 odd years ago, in the business in which my husband worked, a huge majority of the management were having affairs , mostly with co-workers. ( My husband did, too. I didn’t know it until 30 years later. Thus, my handle. That’s a different story)
    One of these men, an older, really gross guy (to me) was a BIG player, and he was allegedly (no, it was so obvious even a wife could see it at company parties) having an affair with his secretary. How inventive is that ?
    His wife was a beautiful woman who seemed cold, judgemental, and very much the social climber, so of course people pointed to her character flaws as the “reason” for his behavior. It wasn’t. He was just a jerk. He was always acting like an idiot in front of women ; but it was viewed as very “manly” by the men in the office.
    One morning, the news came out at work that his wife had killed herself. She went to a ski resort, booked a room, and overdosed on prescription medication. The reason given ? She had chronic “back pain” and could no longer stand it.
    At the funeral home, I had never seen so many roses in my life. FROM THE CHEATER. They started at the coffin and went to the ceiling. A friend of hers, who was not native to this country, ran at me ranting ” They said she had back pain. We just met them at the beach six weeks ago. She was running up and down the beach and throwing her grandchildren in the air. I saw no pain . Did you see pain ?”
    Yeah, I saw pain. It wasn’t back pain.
    Later, the company “gossip” informed me that the cheater had just informed his wife that since all the kids had grown up,and he was approaching retirement, he wanted a divorce. And, of course, he was going to marry the admin. The wife said she had to get to the resort to get away and think. She got away.
    Here’s the surprise ending. The jerk did NOT marry the admin. NO!! We were told the story that MEMBERS OF HIS CHURCH FELT SORRY FOR HIM and introduce him to a much much younger woman who works with children (how very sweet -and I met her;she was syrupy sweet) and he became a very religious man and stopped the boozing (did I mention he drank like a fish? quite the party animal). Everyone was sooo happy for him . Wife never mentioned again.
    This is the short version. I have never cease being amazed that the public opinion simply shifted. The lie became a reality. His wife had terrible back pain. It was that simple.
    No, cheaters don’t kill themselves with shame. They Change the narrative, and keep on moving. If there’s a suicide or some tragedy, it’s the victim. And it makes society very comfortable to keep it that way.

    • What a terrible, sad story. Imagine if the poor woman knew of the infidelity and at that giant shit sandwich for years, only to be told she would be discarded at retirement time. It’s so sad she felt that her life was over.

    • People are lazy. They don’t want to know the truth. They don’t want to take a stand. They don’t even want to risk a little blowback by saying something bad about the cheater (lest it get back to him somehow and he won’t like them anymore).

      The only people I’ve kept in my life since Dday were those who could speak the truth about XH. Consequently, I lost almost everyone.

      • “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.”

        –Elie Wiesel

        • Great quote Tempest … thank you for reminding us of it.

          I’ve come across it before but the way the world is going these days, and how my own personal life has turned out, it’s really good to remember what really matters and to stand up for good values and good character ??

    • I so very much appreciate you sharing what happened to this woman. When all hell broke loose, I intellectually & emotionally considered suicide. It was not even “that will show him”…it was devastating, insane, suffocating grief. Where I would stuff my fist in my mouth to stop from wailing or wake up hopeful and think, Did I dream it? And it would all come roaring back.

      I just could not face him with someone else. Him, not with me. Him, not breathing beside me. I did end things with him, but he left me no choice. I have a very low tolerance for shit hoagies.

      The very few people I have told, that I was suicidal, look at me like I am either nuts or pathetic, or just a moron. I truly did not want to live. This woman….going to the ski resort….I see her checking in, moving alone through a plush lobby, the whoosh of the door closing in a quiet room….pulling out her pills. I wish she had someone who could have pulled her up by her hand and said: No, we are going to get you through this. You have value.

      It is critically important to focus on the fact that this Husband did not lose his mind, become a recluse, pee in jars or live in piles of newspapers. He got a younger piece of ass and was elated. The roses were just image management.

      In addition to changing the narrative, society must understand that discovering adultery is a medical emergency. It is not a midlife hiccup or a plot device, or bump in the road.
      It is soul death.

  • Recently was able to watch two Netflix series that had cheating as a huge plot point- Marchella with Anna Friel and Dr. Foster. The latter had one of the best season finales I’ve ever seen.
    Anyway, normally I’d turn these shows off because reliving the nightmare is not my idea of fun, but they were so well done I stayed glued through all the episodes of both shows.

    • Please chumps, see Dr Foster.
      I remember watching this about a month before I found out about his affair, he came in the room and asked what the show was about, I said infedelity and he turned quick on his heal and left the room promptly, stuck in my mind.

    • Was just looking to see if anyone would chime in on Dr. Foster. Just binged on it this weekend. I think it was written by a Chump. Really well done – including the friends’ reactions, and their help (or hurt) of the Chump. Very realistic – she’s a smart, strong cookie but they show her vulnerability and mistakes getting to the final outcome. We’ve all been there – two steps forward, one back. Really, really good – highly recommend. It’s the only one I’ve been able to watch without gagging.

  • All the “Sex and The City” type characters need to be hooked up to permanent IV mini bags of powerful antibiotics to rid them of all their STDs.
    Probably not enough medicine in the whole wide world to cure sods like this! Pity!

  • So-o-o not real life; my ex-SIL was The Perfect Wife (and I mean that totally in a non-ironic way) with two perfect children, who took care of the household and handled the exchequer so that her Darling Husband could have the perfect life, supported him through two difficult spinal surgeries, worked part-time, looked like Annette Funicello, and was looking forward to a contented retirement. She found out he was fucking around with his massage therapist one month before their daughter’s wedding, finished the nightmare on Xanax, and watched him walk out the door with his soon-to-be ex-in-laws (who knew nothing of this entire fiasco) whom he dropped off at the airport, and he didn’t come back. So, no, it doesn’t matter how well you do your job, the testosterone poisoning is too strong and the Penis is mightier than the sword.

    I totally agree: don’t let the Cheaters steer the narrative. NC and don’t hide the reason. Sadly, this scenario is not only male-oriented.

    We will all be better off when we stop letting various religions steer entire societies by their fucked-up philosophies.

    • Well, good luck with that, though I do agree. Unfortunately, religions are frequently commandeered by men who are seeking power and wealth, and the best way to assure that is to keep women powerless and subservient. — I’m not saying women don’t cheat, or that religious leaders don’t also counsel men to remain with their cheating wives; they do, I know — just that religions (and all power dynamics, really) rely on keeping women down.

  • I think I’ve just come to realize I have a completely different value system than most of the general public. Certainly different from those who make movies and TV shows. So I no longer expect to see my values reflected there. As I’ve grown older, I’ve drifted away from American TV where even 60 year old women are tarted up to look like supermodels, toward BBC/international where at least the characters look more like real human beings. However, the international nature of Chump Nation indicates it has no borders (now THERE’S a wall we could all use: cheaters on one side, chumps on the other!).

    What I most resent about the show CL is talking about (though I haven’t seen it and now never will) is how frequently the storyline comes around from the promise of the chump truly striking out on a new life for herself, to become instead a Life Lesson such that she ultimately learns empathy and ends up back with the cheater. It’s disgusting. — I’ll stick with Diane Lane in “Under the Tuscan Sun,” instead such that she ends up in a lovely villa in Tuscany with a handsome writer who stumbles onto her terrace one sunny day! (though I’m dying to know how she managed to get a visa without having a job or relatives in the country….)

  • I think one important consideration here is that Tara’s story, and all of “Striking Out” is literature (using the term loosely, perhaps). People aren’t real people, they are archetypes. (The distinction between archetypes and stereotypes is very nebulous). And the stories are meant to entertain and intrigue. Let’s be real, if Tara’s boyfriend were faithful, they got married, had 2.5 kids and a drama free life, would anyone watch the show? Only if it had something else of interest going on.

    Real life is different. That’s why the idea that drama in one’s life is a bad thing, but drama in one’s drama is good. Consider “The Scarlet Letter”, for example. (Spoiler alert: plot points to be revealed. If you want to read Hawthorne’s master work the right way, don’t read my post at all.) Hester Prynne’s iron resistance in the face of Reverend Dimsdale’s demands that she reveal her paramour are legendary, and when we find out who the paramour is, it rocks our world. The last thing I want to live is a life like that, but it’s great literature.

    Now, here’s the rub. People will model their behavior after the people in stories that they like. Go back to the Greek myths, and look at the way the gods behaved – it was completely shameless, with all of them screwing around on their spouses (except for Hera, Zeus’s long suffering wife and goddess of marriage, the hearth and home, Hephastos, god of fire and blacksmiths, a cripple, married to Aphrodite, the consummate slut, and Athena, who was chaste.) Why this? Maybe it was to give carte blanche for the rich and powerful men to act like their gods did. And when a child was born out of wedlock, oh, must have been a god that laid with the poor mother, not the local lord or that young sheppard boy who is trying to get into every woman’s lady bits. The number of people in Greek myths that are appealing by modern standards is pretty low – Penelope, Odysseus’s faithful wife comes to mind, Hector, and a very small number of others. But in a very real sense, they are boring. The only reason Penelope’s story is compelling is that she’s resisting the efforts of many men to marry and bed her, and has to use guile and subterfuge to keep them at bay.

    My spin on all of this – don’t look to literature and drama for good role models. The good role models are boring, static characters. They don’t cheat on their spouses, they do the right thing, and they don’t change or grow – they are in a good place already, and don’t need to grow. The interesting characters are flawed, and change during the course of the story.

    One set of rules applies to drama, another to real life. One good way to manage all this, IMO, is to learn negative lessons from our stories. To go back to “Sex and the City”, don’t be like Carrie Bradshaw, pining away after a older rich guy married to someone else (Mr. Big), throwing away the affection of a good man (Aidan), and conspiring with Mr. Big to cheat on his wife and her BF (I assume – I never watched the show, just read the synopsis above). Don’t be like Aphrodite, messing around with every cute guy and not her husband. Don’t be like Tess of the D’Ubervilles (spoiler alert), letting herself be seduced by Alex, eventually having sex with him regularly before breaking it off and leaving him, and then falling in love with someone else, and finding herself unable to marry her love because she’s no longer a virgin, so she goes back and murders Alex, and is hung for it. (Yes, that one is clearly a bit dated, but is still a good negative example.) And don’t get me started on Wuthering Heights.

    It’s literature, not life. Does Tara of “Striking Out” make all the right choices? Maybe. Do the characters around her? Probably not. But when she defends the serial cheater, and her OW is the prosecutor, it’s high drama as she rises above her personal demons (or, is mighty,) and does her job despite the unfairness and irony of it all. And that’s the dramatic point. This would probably never happen in real life, but it’s very interesting, maybe not in an altogether good way, but interesting.

    We chumps have to be careful about viewing the world purely in terms of our chumpdom. One of my favorite sayings is, “If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” You end up hammering in screws, light bulbs, broken glasses, etc. It’s easy to understand that we view the world in terms of cheaters and chumps. (Don’t forget the regular people who are neither – there’s lots of them out there, living full, happy lives, without the drama of cheating, separation, reconciliation, and all that nastiness. Lucky them.) So, while it’s important to remember who we are and where we came from, it’s also important to recognize that our biases aren’t universal – that not everyone does, or should, view the world in terms of cheaters and chumps. Ironically, that error is one of the symptoms of narcissists, believing that our view is the only one that is important, that is right, or that matters. Don’t be a narcissistic chump. (But don’t be an apologist, either.)

    Sure, it’s OK to think you can’t watch “Striking Out” because the infidelity mentioned in it brings up negative associations for you. That’s natural, and normal. Exercise your free choice to not watch it. But do remember that it’s just a story. One good way for us to watch it is to see how mighty Tara can be. And let’s hope that cheater pants gets burned somehow, and she finds happiness with another, instead of the predictable RIC ending where they work it out and live happily ever after with some nuances.

    Hugs. Peace.
    aeronaut

    • Aeronaut, the drama in the courtroom could as easily been Tara standing up and telling the judge she could no longer represent her client because she had an ethical dilemma. We could have had a better story that was honest. Also, you note “The interesting characters are flawed, and change during the course of the story.” This is a story arc we want to change, not just reference cheaters. This is a story arc that is mostly propagated as a reason for women to make their needs small, to ‘understand’ the poor man who is trying so hard to be good, to be better, to forgive and to love despite the pain. It’s repeated over and over again, it’s a cultural problem and all your examples simply magnify the issue. Yes, there are plenty of women who treat men badly but in our art the men react quite differently in the tropes that abound in our ‘art’. I’ll leave it here because right now I’m focused on getting my protective order renewed again, I’m not on my best day.

      • Not on your best day but still making strong points, Dat. (as always)

        It would be nice to have a voice among the traditional storyline voices, an alternative which is more realistic and still empowering. Is it true we shouldn’t all be looking for a Heathcliff in our lives (for obvious reasons)? Yes. But I think it’s undeniable there’s influence, especially if we are told the same story again and again, from an early age, with no alternative.

    • I don’t want to see everything through a chump lens, but I’m afraid at this point I can’t really help it. I see cheater/chump power dynamics and I used the incendiary term “minstrel show” on purpose. In a minstrel show, whites put on blackface and demean African Americans as “entertainment.” They played on offensive stereotypes. If you don’t see the power dynamic, I guess that shit is entertaining.

      I see the drudge chump all-forgiving, oh-fine-shit-on-me mother stereotype as offensive. Yes, I get the “irony” of Tara having to defend Mr. Cheater, but she’s not holding her nose while doing it, she’ll all compassion and utterly and completely buys into his sad sausage narrative, to the point of TALKING HIM OFF A LEDGE. Anyone conflicted in this role would be, okay, I defended you in court. See you later. I’ll send you the bill.

      No. She’s a chump. She Must Take On His Pain.

      I get that it’s just a story. I also think the stories we tell and who is the hero and who’s the villain are important. And say a lot about how we see the world. And stories can be told to keep people in their place and entitlement accepted as natural. (See “minstrel show.”)

      • And we don’t do minstrel shows anymore, thank goodness.

        Tara defends Conner in court, and Tara is the hero, because she’s a better person than Connor. She talks him off a ledge because she’s a better person than he is. Surely you would not suggest that she should say to Conner, “Well, you were a cheating man-whore, so go ahead, jump.” Good is as good does. Maybe the message here is that chumps are the good guys, the heroes, in life. Can’t argue with that sentiment.

        And Fran – the one picture of her you posted, she looks really cute. I personally love the no makeup look, her hair is fine, and her clothes are sensible and look good on her. Maybe you’re just buying into the whole hollywood/glamour/fashion line of crap. (As an aside, one of the trends I’ve noticed in men is that the more makeup they want a women to wear, the more likely they are to be sleazy cheaters, and the less makeup they want women to wear, the more likely they are to be chumpy, devoted types. I think women wear makeup for themselves, and to compete with other women. For example, never in the history of the universe has a man said anything like, “Wow, look at the beautiful nails on that woman, I have to have sex with her.” The question I always ask is do I want to see a woman’s true face, or the mask she puts on? Easy answer.)

        On a more serious note, Tara and her ex-fiancee don’t have the kind of family and history that Fran and Conner do. Does that excuse Conner’s behavior, absolutely not. But Fran’s response to infidelity should likely be different than Tara’s. And of course, maybe there’s stuff we don’t know, like maybe Fran has her own affair partner, or other secrets. After all, this is a drama, right?

        Finally, I haven’t seen the show, and probably don’t have time for it now (too much work), but the part about Tara explaining/excusing Connor’s quirks to Fran, that has me a bit mystified. Still, it’s fiction, it can’t follow the same conventions as real life. I’m a scientist, and if I was a stickler for detail, I could probably never watch a science fiction movie without poking lots of holes in it.

        Respect. Peace.
        aeronaut

        • I generally agree with you Aeronaut, about drama and myth. Flawed characters and villains are more interesting and entertaining. After all the New Testament is edifying and inspiring but I’d hardly call it an entertaining, riveting read. Horses for courses.
          I have an issue however with the dominant narrative that chumps share equal responsibility for the cheating, which is being peddled by the RIC and everything else we see on TV, the movies, everywhere. It wasn’t always so, even if adultery, and cuckolding have always been prevalent in drama and comedy. What is different now is that we are constantly bombarded with propaganda that cheaters should get a free pass. That’s the problem.
          I love following villains as well as heroes in fiction, and villains are far more entertaining, but I have an issue with the deliberate absence of a moral centre in most fiction.

  • So having to defend the cheater is not an ironic plot device that juxtaposes Tara’s feelings of betrayal against the words she has to spout as part of her professional duty? Sounds sad*ss then. Unless CL has misread that understated Brit/Irish irony, but she is usually the Patron Saint of Irony.

  • Boy, disagree Aero. Stories are never just stories. The human drive for narrative is foundational, and the stories we spin–as well as the characters with whom we populate our brains–play a central role in defining who we are both individually and culturally. Stories, in short, matter, and we should approach them always with a critical eye, and a willingness to push back against them. Indeed, would go so far as to say that in many respects, this critical ability–along with a certain sense of urgency about exercising it as warranted–is at the very heart of education.

    Have been thinking about this in relation to movies recently watched with the DD. The Twilight Saga is definitely driven by a narrative that absolutely cries out for fearless dismantling. In a nutshell, it teaches (and, make no mistake, stories always teach) that a woman can only have true and forever love if she is willing painfully to sacrifice her very life, right down to disintegrating bones. Not hard to see the danger of internalizing that one. Then, big impatient ugh to Beauty and the Beast. The fairytale has not been quite as updated for empowered women as the marketing extravaganza implies. Nope. Still the same old story: the true love of a good woman transforms a beast into a prince. Oodles of chumps know better. Fine, she’s plucky, bookish, and smart, but still, her superpowers are beauty and empathy, which sound like bullet points on a chump CV to me.

    You are what you eat, goes the old adage. It’s the same with stories, movies, images, games, etc. What we put in our brains, both personally and collectively, shapes us: self-image, beliefs about relationships, notions of morality, everything. Can try to dismiss it as “just entertainment,” but no. By that logic, the cheater narrative of just wanting to seek true love and happiness would be perfectly fine.

    • chumpionsahm, thank you for this. I am appalled that the so called feminist starred in the new Beauty and the Beast movie. We have to change the narrative, our stories and our art reflect the culture AND enforce the culture we live in and if we do not move to change that we are stuck. Jedi Hugs!

      • Agree. Just read an interview in which Watson comes right out and calls Belle’s superpower empathy. I mean, darn it. Yes, empathy is an extraordinarily important human quality, but the myth of love having the magical capacity to transform all things is ruinous for everyone, particularly girls. Right here on CN we more than ample evidence that love is often not only not enough, but quite beside the point, and exactly the wrong focus.

        • I agree, I have always hated that story. Someone once explained that these types of stories, including “Tiger’s Wife” were meant to help very young women who were being sent off to marry strangers. Modern apologists point to the idea that it was only after Beast let her go, that she is given agency and autonomy, that she recognizes her love, but I call bullshit. If she truly had agency and autonomy, she would have married a nice processor with table manners.

    • Agreed. This is a big part of the reason I’m a Buffy fan. People laugh, but Joss Whedon writes powerful women into his storylines. They may be beautiful and badass, but Zoe is still a kickass hotshot lieutenant to Malcolm Reynolds and doesn’t dress in a skimpy swimsuit to do it. In fact, there’s a Facebook post that goes around from time to time where a reporter asks Joss why he always writes such strong women characters, and his reply is “Because people are still asking me that question!”

      To wit, there’s an early Buffy episode (season one?) where a high school girl’s boyfriend only turns into a “monster” when there’s no one else around, and of course no one believes her because he seems like such a nice guy the rest of the time. Who among us cannot relate? — And the very last episode of Buffy is her magic creating “slayers” in every young woman across the world, set among a montage of powerful young women standing up to abuse, and knocking the softball out of the park, and .. and … and….

      We cannot regard art (literature, film, tv) as noninfluential. It is influential. — Do I hold realistic hope the narrative will change? No, because Aeronaut is right that it’s the thrilling titillating conflict that gets viewers to tune in, but I do hope for better storylines, nonetheless.

    • Chumpionsahm
      I agree wholeheartedly with what you wrote.
      You just have to replace the word cheating with racism to see it. Look back to the absolute racism on the TV and in the movies. It makes you shudder to see that now. It’s appalling. It reflected the society of the time. No one would suggest not viewing everything through a ‘race’ prism when looking at this stuff. It took effort to change that narrative. Same thing happened with sexual orientation. Same thing with domestic violence.
      It’s about behaving ethically and fairly to all regardless and expecting that entertainment reflects that appropriately and is not just lazy.

      And to say ‘don’t be a narcissistic chump’ is to me offensive. Painting the chump with the same characteristics that they have been devastated by is thoughtless at the very least.
      It’s really not cricket.

      • Exactly–our stories can change, but we have to be like Buffy and not only claim the right and the power to do that, but also teach that ability, pass it on, inspire. This place is the perfect example of how that works. No lack of drama, here, either. We are an entertaining crew–riveting, even–but also so much more, and it is that part which lifts any story from ordinary to extraordinary.

    • Chumpionsahm,

      I agree with you, in that the problem is parts of stories we let into our heads. My point is that if you’re going to single out “Striking Out” for these flaws, then you really need to strike out a vast portion of human literature. These narratives have been around for thousands of years. The key is to learn from them in the right way, understanding the negative and positive lessons appropriately. Macbeth is led into regicide by his wife, and it ends badly for both of them. Lear is foolish and gives his kingdom away to bad people, and it ends badly for everyone. Othello has a great wife, but is set up and messes it all up.

      Tara, as a literary character, rises above the petty desire for revenge against her fiancé, cheaters in general, and the other woman. Tara, as a real human being, would probably pass the case off to another attorney.
      Her fiancé, as a literary character, gets walked in on in a sordid affair. Her fiancé, as a real human being, probably should have said to the OW, months before, “I’ve got this girl I’m in love with, and don’t want to jeopardize that.” (Sadly, many real humans do with the literary character did.)

      And sometimes, the best drama is when the bad guys get away with it. Take, for example, Kurosawa’s “The Bad Sleep Well” I won’t spoil the plot, except to say there’s no infidelity, and the bad guys come out fine while the good guys are totally screwed. It’s very powerful, and very depressing, but I don’t think that anyone watching it will get the idea that you should behave like the bad guys do. Another example, “The Sopranos”. The protagonists are pretty bad people in general, but we get enough screen time with them to form a connection despite that.

      Let me be clear on this, I don’t support these messages. I’d love to see strong women on TV, books, movie, and literature. I’d love to see cheaters shown as getting everything they deserve (pain, loneliness, STDs, poverty), and chumps coming out great in every way. But that generally wouldn’t sell.

      Along with many other people, my wife loved Mad Men, but I couldn’t watch it because of two things, the misogyny, and that everyone smoked all the time. (My mother and stepfather both smoked, and both died of cancer, not too young fortunately. I hated their smoking and badgered them constantly to quit, unsuccessfully.) So that’s one of my trigger issues, I guess. But I’m not condemning Mad Men as bad art – far from it. It’s just not for me because of those points.

      Personally, I don’t like horror films. I find them vacuous, stupid, predictable, and devoid of value. Yet every year, more are produced. I vote with my eyeballs (and more importantly my wallet) by never seeing any of them. And there’s always gonna be straight porn, gay porn, bondage porn, and whatever strange flavors of so called sex that are out there. (Not to compare any of that with Shakespeare, of course.)

      But all these forms of entertainment will be out there, because some people like them. And I’m sure that doctors can point out many flaws in medical dramas, while FBI, CIA, and NSA agents can point at all kinds of flaws in spy dramas, and so forth. Because we as a group, are pretty well informed about what it’s like to be chumped, we can pick apart shows and literature saying what’s wrong when they portray infidelity. (And yes, the moral implications of using the wrong tool in a simulated surgery for TV are far less damaging than a portrayal of a cheater as a sympathetic character in a story, of course.)

      Last week I started a fairly well received thread about the public perception of cheating (Cultural bias to not blame cheaters), suggesting that all of us could be part of trying to change the way society views these things. I would argue that the best way to effect this change is at a personal level, by being the person who is not embarrassed to say, “We split up because he/she had an affair.” IMO, watching twenty stories of protagonists who had affairs, how they happened and were resolved, is less moving than having one real person you know speak the truth about what happened.

      I guess, to sum it all up, here’s a quote from the character of God, as portrayed by Morgan Freeman, from the movie Bruce Almighty. “To paint a masterpiece, you have to use dark colors sometimes.” Our stories need villains to be interesting, and villains will behave villainously.

      Respect.
      aeronaut

      • This is a matter of playing the doubting game with any story, and that does not at all strike out the history of narrative. On the contrary, it allows us to grasp it in much richer ways. For instance, we can quite correctly ask why the victim is so often portrayed as a villain. Our ability to create meaningful lives and entertainments–and to experience stories in active, critical ways rather than passively, unquestioningly absorbing them–is thus enriched.

        Why bother being a couch potato of a passive watcher when you can be a gloriously sharp media ninja.

      • Strike it out aeronaut? What bullshit, we want to change the narrative, change the stories, empower women and everyone who is ethical and honest. Insisting on good art doesn’t remove what came before. Insisting on truth in our stories doesn’t negate the stories we already have and understand are harming our society. FWIW, I didn’t come to this point of view because I was chumped, I was always like this… The children are still growing up consuming tropes that are incredibly harmful to healthy lives. We need to create better stories. Don’t get me started on how horrible ‘horror’ films have become. I cannot even watch most of them any more. “Who’s Afraid of Baby Jane” was incredibly scary. “Saw” is horrific sadism that should never see the light of day and concerns me because there are sequels, that means way too many people enjoy butchery. Likewise in this context, the trope about cheating in our art concerns me because it reinforces the idea that the victim is the perpetrator. And when people say that the view of domestic violence has changed, or rape, that is untrue. Art continues to paint the victims (usually women) as the ones who caused their own distress. And this is true in real life. I no longer tell anyone I don’t know well about what the asshole did to me. Why? Because the trope is that any woman in that situation is weak, I am not. They cannot see any nuance in that situation because the trope is the dude beating the shit out of a woman and she won’t leave. That is not how it happens in many instances and until our ‘art’ catches up with reality we need to protest it and work for something that doesn’t reinforce the stereotype that women get beat or raped because it’s something they did, they asked for it. Cheating is abuse, no one asked for it, no one causes their spouse to cheat. We are advocating for art that is realistic and it’s damn dramatic quite often. Just ask any chump here. I would argue the best way to affect cultural change is to work to get real stories out there in the media, in our movies and books. At a personal level you can find people who will understand but often they will not because they are shaped by all the data they’ve absorbed over a lifetime. It’s why girls often like dolls and boys like trucks, it’s pink and blue and all over you and everyone else including me. We are a distillation of our upbringing and everything we see and hear and learn. Damn if this conversation didn’t trigger the hell out of me, I will stop here.

        Jedi Hugs!

        • Datdamwuf
          You are right. I think that ‘media’ perhaps should have the responsibility to educate as well as entertain. I do live in the uk and the BBC seems quite good at taking that responsibility seriously. Lots of dramas with interracial couples, gay couples. There is the third season of Broadchurch out now and it is about a rape and I have never seen it better handled. Attack not shown just the face of the survivor as she goes through the system, also very close to the reality nowadays. Doctor Foster is excellent about the effects of infidelity. I do believe in the premise of the BBC that is to educate and entertain.
          I think a large part of this still has to do with the power imbalances between men and women over the generations.
          As more men get chumped who knows maybe cheating won’t be seen as something that’s ‘really not that bad’. After all if men gave birth or went through menopause I think those two things would have been much less of a struggle still.

          Crikey, where did that soapbox come from! ?

          • I can completely see why REAL stories of cheating would never be popular. What (normal) person wants to see another version of themselves, a good, honest, hardworking, loving spouse, doing the things they do, taking the kids to school, going on a girl’s night, paying their bills, loving their spouse and then BAM! Cheated on and thrown away? Nobody! Nobody wants to see that! That’s why when you become a chump you feel like you are some sort of toxic cloud toting moral of a sad story. Like you are poisonous and you will infect “happy” people’s marriages. Because if it can happen to you, or me or that nice guy down the street or that hot, successful woman that goes to the gym 5 times a week, or your mom, or that frumpy religious lady or any regular person it happens to, it means normal people aren’t safe. Entertainment is fun because it’s LOOSELY based in reality but actually seeing someone like you in such an AWFUL situation doesn’t make for entertainment. It’s like who CHOOSES to watch a show about pedophelia or starving babies or genocide? We watch to learn how to avoid those situations, but it’s not entertaining! And of course until you are the one dry heaving and sobbing fully clothed in your empty bathtub or dropping 20 pounds in a couple weeks or losing handfuls of hair and wearing the same pajamas without showering for four days in a row, you KNOW it could NEVER happen to you. YOU are a good spouse. YOUR spouse LOVES you, they would NEVER do that to YOU. You aren’t a frumpy church lady or a nagging bitch. You aren’t frigid and boring or cruel and self centered. Who watches something about real life people being chumped as a warning? Nobody. Because it will NEVER happen to you. Until it does.

  • Fuck all of them. I refuse to watch any “entertainment” like this. It’s not entertainment any more than depictions of other forms of torture and abuse as frivolity would be.

    Again, fuck them all– i’m voting with my eyeballs and they don’t get mine!

    • I agree, MC99. I can’t watch much anymore. Rom-coms are all fantasy bullshit to me now and anything with cheating makes me ill amd angry. There is a series called Mistresses here in US and I refuse to even watch it at all because even the title implies that it is glamorizing OWs and cheating.

  • Here’s a shout-out to a show that handled infidelity very well (at least in its first season): Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. ***SPOILERS FOLLOW***

    If you’re not familiar with it: it’s about a high-powered mid-20s lawyer from New York who bumps into her summer camp boyfriend one day and decides to follow him to West Covina, California. When she gets there, she finds out he has a long-time girlfriend. Her and her friend spend most of the first season plotting how to upstage his girlfriend, spend time alone with him, and break the two of them up. She keeps on saying that she’s the princess and she’s trying to rescue the prince. She goes as far as kissing him after a tense court case that involved him.

    He immediately goes home and confesses the kiss to his girlfriend though, and feels guilty for “cheating” on her. The main character comes to the realization that she isn’t the princess or the hero; she’s been the villain the entire time, trying to break up a monogamous long-term couple! She sings a song about how she’s the villain in her own story.

    I just wanted to hop up and down on my couch and say, yes! Yes you are the villain! The girlfriend isn’t a nice person, but she had every right to be a bitch to her as she correctly sensed that she was after her man.

    Anyways, I’ve only seen the first season on Netflix, but if you like musical comedy, you should check it out.

    • OK, you talked me into it. Knowing me, another round of binge-watching is about to commence! Oh well, keeps me off the streets.

        • Not a Brit, just a Montanan. I’ve loved the term since the first time I heard it, I think in one of the Guy Ritchie movies. Which I also love.

    • Crazy Ex Girlfriend is good. I have watched both seasons and while the story is told from the perspective of Rebecca, you find yourself, somehow, not quite rooting for her. In theory this kind of story, we would be rooting for Rebecca to get the guy, but I never quite got there. Like she is so manipulative and single minded that you don’t really want anyone to have to deal with that.

      I just finished season 2 on DVR and it’s just as funny and well done, but a bit darker. Like we all have a friend like Rebecca (or had one in our past) that is just exhausting and makes horrible choices… and is a little crazy.

      • Exactly. The show actually takes mental illness very seriously and tells a story about it in a sympathetic way. I feel bad for Rebecca, but I never actually rooted for her to break up Josh and Valencia or cheat with Josh. I kept on saying, “Girl, you need to give up this Josh obsession and just work on being happy with who you are!” And at times I found myself saying, “Josh really needs to just get her out of his life, even though I like her, because she is just not a healthy person and is screwing things up for him.” Her obsession with him would actually be really creepy if the genders were reversed.

  • Whoa!!! I did NOT like the italicized judgement of Fran’s appearance!
    While it may be false that only “frumpy” women get cheated on, the (surprisingly vicious) criticism of the show’s portrayal of the chump-protagonist here circumspectly reinforces the (already too
    widespread) idea that plain, or, in this case, makeup-free=Unfuckable. (She is actually quite pretty and has beautiful skin.)

    The point is, “Fran” is a human being, who deserves human treatment, love and RESPECT. What she looks like should not enter into the analysis, or you tread the line of siding with cheaters, who use “frumpiness” as a means of justifying their “straying ways”.

    Let’s please save our disdain for cheaters!!!! After all, we can’t ALL do our chores in high heels and full makeup!

    • Of COURSE SHE DOES. That’s exactly what I’m snarking about. Frumpiness is the given subtext for Connor’s cheating. To have “sympathy” for Connor’s choices we can’t have him with a conventionally attractive person. No, she has to be plain.

      No one here is justifying cheating on the frumpy. I’m observing (with heavy handed snark) that they make this woman look as unconcerned about her appearance as possible. Reinforces the stereotype.

      You know what was groundbreaking? That movie with George Clooney as a chump. THAT was radical. But of course, he’s man. So his cheating (dead) wife must be aberrant.

      • My point was : So long as we are even NOTICING women being “unconcerned with their appearance” IN A WAY THAT WOULD BE NORMAL FOR A MAN, we are still infected with society’s “norms”!! Through that lens, a makeup-free woman dressed in clothing that might just be comfortable is “frumpy”. Men don’t have to cover their faces with goo and wear uncomfortable clothes to be “attractive”. In fact, if you put George Clooney in such an outfit, nobody would even notice; it would just be, “Ahhhh!!!. (swoon) George Clooooneeeey!!!!”

        I agree that the movie with George as a chump was ground-breaking. He seems to make a habit of involving himself in radical projects.

        • I think it would be quite impossible to miss the pointed contrast between wife and AP in many of these films. Was just thinking of a classic, September Affair. AP Joan Fontaine all cool, elegant, fashionable, while wife Jessica Tandy is made to appear like a cross between some scary librarian, an aging spinster, and maybe the receptionist at a funeral home. Neat trick, too, since Tandy was gorgeous. And that’s the thing–the contrast tends to be glaring. Let the film dwell on the chump’s beauty, for once.

          • Chumpionsahm
            I think before I discovered the cheating I believed that people had affairs with much ‘hotter’ ‘cooler’ people if you know what I mean. Also younger.
            When I saw the three affair partners I was just stumped. You did all this for them??? One way older, one way younger, one a bit younger but all very much not attractive. I think at that point you begin to understand that there are other things at work here and it’s not the movie version that you have believed all of your life, reinforced by all tv.
            It didn’t seem like the sex was anything great either.
            So then you get the thing about power, control and entitlement.
            You kind of have to be chumped or close to it to get it.

            Just in case anyone is in doubt that TV can shift a debate on a bit there was a UK film made, a drama by Ken Loach in 1966 about a woman’s fight with mental health issues and homelessness. It made a huge impact on societal beliefs and the show probably helped the causes of two charities for the homeless that were being set up before the show aired.
            Unfortunately some say there was limited practical change but these shifts can be quite glacial.

          • For me it goes both ways. I like to look good FOR. ME. I LIKE feeling pretty and sexy and appropriately dressed and I LIKE wearing make up. I do it FOR. ME. NOT for the idiot cheater. I LIKED when he noticed but he liked me makeup free too. And I think it’s up to BOTH parties to make an effort. It could just be his vanity but idiot cheater dressed up and looked good. And I liked and appreciated it. There is NOTHING wrong with not liking makeup or high heels or whatever is everyone’s cup of tea but I think it’s important for both parties to try for each other. Too bad once my idiot cheater got into shape he decided to TRY for the whoremat! AND BTW (not that it matters whatsoever in the long run!) I’m MUCH prettier and funnier and everythingier than the whoremat. In fact idiot cheater said she had the one thing he wanted at the time, open legs and the willingness to fuck. That was it. So sad and pathetic. ☹️ (Today is another bad day for me.) “She’s frumpy and doesn’t like sex.” Is PATHETIC!

            • I love the word “everythingier” very, very much, and think it should be promptly and widely adopted in CN.

              Chumps are ALWAYS everythingier than APs in every respect that matters. And cheaters are always nothingier.

              ❤️?

            • I hear you, Sad Shelby. I’m not a fan of makeup at all, but I overlook it when my wife wears makeup because I know it’s important to her to look good. If she really didn’t care, and asked me to decide that issue for her, I’d tell her to never wear makeup again in her life. But she knows how I feel, and I don’t complain when she puts on a little makeup.

              On the other side, I don’t really give a crap how I look. (I exercise and stay healthy, but clothes, hair, all that, I don’t care.) But I make an effort because I want to look good to my wife, and for my wife.

              In that sense, people are like books. A nice cover can get you to pick it up off the shelf, but what makes the book is what’s inside, not what’s outside.

              Hugs. Peace.
              aeronaut

              P.S. – Fran from “Striking Out” looks pretty hot to me.

      • I love that movie with George Clooney. Can’t think of the name, but he is with his kids in Hawaii and I love his very realistic and genuine reaction upon finding out about his wife’s infidelity.

    • Let us not forget that many abusers tell their SO they don’t need make up because they are beautiful without it. Exasshole harped on this even though I rarely wear that stuff anyway. It was only after DDay that suddenly he was all ‘you don’t take care of yourself’. I have met many women in abusive relationships who tell me they got that same thing from their spouses. And as for frumpy, I have no doubt many of us were hot as hell and the AP was less than, so we all know that narrative is bullshit. I don’t like to dwell on looks anyway because seriously is not the point. If you love someone, it’s not about how good they look, it’s about how good they are; for you.

      Ditto the ‘frigid wife’ or not getting any sex as a reason to cheat. That’s a reason to get a divorce, I only wish I hadn’t convinced myself to stick it out with exasshole when he convinced me he couldn’t physically have sex anymore. Chumpy me, he just couldn’t have it with me anymore and didn’t want to leave his comfortable life. Well this post certainly got to me. Sigh.

      • Yep, the traitor banged on about how he wanted me to let my hair grow grey naturally and how sexy that is, how armpit hair is sexy and natural, how he likes natural beauty. Cheated with whore who’s 10 years younger than me and wears lipstick everyday…And told me I looked 70 years old because I had a broken tooth which I couldn’t afford to get fixed for 3 years, including one extra year’s delay because we had lent money to the whore who made more money than we did.

  • “I knew what he was up to…but I don’t own him.”

    Wow, so this is saying that chumps knew all along, they’re just pretending to be shocked out of guilt and to get sympathy from others. It also says that if chumps balk at cheating, they’re control freaks trying to own people.

    I saw a similar guilt message on the tv show The Big Bang Theory. Leonard says he cheated on Penny because he was subconsciously trying to sabotage a good thing. Penny says she was ALSO sabotaging a good thing by being so angry with him. As if any anger, any at all, is unreasonable given Leonard is such a “nice guy”.

    I’ve seen the bad messages on tv movies, too. One example is a wife discovering her husband cheated with multiple prostitutes. He wants to explain himself, but she tells him she’s not interested in what he has to say. He then says the number of years they’ve been married is the number of minutes she “owes” him to listen. Like a good chump, she ignores the hypocrisy of what is “owed” and listens.
    In another scene, during a lie detector test, he reveals the actual number of women he’s been with, which is so large, she leaves in disgust. The lie detector then quickly asks the husband if he loves his wife and the husband says he does. The detector says he’s telling the truth, which tells chumps that people can love you and also cheat on you, too.

    I understand if you can’t watch another cheater drama on tv because neither can I.

    • “He then says the number of years they’ve been married is the number of minutes she ‘owes’ him to listen.”

      Sure. And the number of prostitutes he slept with is the number of kicks in the balls she ‘owes’ him, before he gets to talk. Who makes up those rules? I think I owe him or her a kick in the crotch.

      Peace.
      aeronaut

    • The Big Bang Theory drives me crazy, in that Leonard has twice cheated on a girlfriend. (Padma (?) and then Penny). That he did it to Penny always bothered me, because his schtick in getting her to go out with him was that he was different from the guys who had been mistreating her. I can’t even see him onscreen without wanting to slap him.

      • I actually wasn’t too surprised Leonard cheated given his dismissive attitude towards cheating in prior episodes. In one episode, Penny is crying because she discovered a scientist she was with was married. Leonard feigns sympathy and then turns the attention to his foot pain and why didn’t she acknowledge it? After barely acknowledging her pain.
        In another episode, they’re out to dinner and Penny spots an ex who is with the girl he cheated on her with. Leonard gets irritated that she’s upset saying if they’re happy now, who cares how they got together?
        Those were red flags to me that Leonard might not be so nice after all.

  • I haven’t been on in awhile. There was a decent movie called “Addicted” on BET. It was about a wife who became a sex addict. Pretty good acting.

  • Although I was JUST complaining about how chumps and cheating are portrayed in media, I work at home and watch a LOT of Netflix during business hours because otherwise it’s just silence and the cat all day (and night since I was ABANDONED! Fucker!) And recently I started re-watching Grey’s Anatomy which is apparently just a big ol’ whore fest of cheating (which I forgot because I watched it before my life imploded) and the OW gave her kidney to save the cheater’s life and he dumped her. And the OW was all pissed off because “I GAVE him a KIDNEY!” Yeah. Imagine that you stupid slut! You are SOOOOOOO GREAT he doesn’t even GAF about you after you SAVED HIS LIFE. SURPRISE! She’s not a real person and the poor wife gave a kidney too but that really perked up my day. And maybe I was supposed to feel bad for her, but, ??Whore! Have some of that! Too bad that doesn’t happen more IRL. I’d gladly donate the whoremat’s kidney to someone in need ?

  • Dublin BEWARE: there is a new serial cheater moving home to Palmerstown from the USA to live with his mammy very soon. He’s got looks, talent, wit, intelligence…and a woeful disregard for truth & fidelity. He’s no spring chicken (58), but his baby-faced good looks WILL fool you. And if it’s not his looks, it will be his velvety singing voice or impressive stage skills that’ll reel you into his web of lies.

    I gave 31 years of my life to this sad excuse for a man. After his first affair at year 5 of the marriage, I believed him and the therapist who encouraged me into “fix” mode. And at year 15, when the scum-bucket turned to online porn, I allowed his excuse: “it’ll keep me from cheating for real” to become my new norm. Then at years 20-25, when he turned to hookers, I remained un-blissfully unaware. At year 30.5, when he began participating in online camera sex that turned into actual online relationships…I had enough. Sort of.

    From year 15 to present day, I’ve had the unluckiest privilege of ushering 2 siblings, and now one mother into the end of their lives–in our marital home. In those fifteen years, I’ve only had 2 years of not having someone dying under our roof. Call me the chumpiest of chumps all you want, but I made my choices based on an extremely warped sense of selflessness and an even more warped sense of marital commitment. And my STBX was a master at making me feel like I was supported in those efforts and doing the right thing.

    I KNEW (without a doubt) that I should have left him, but after giving up my career in favor of care giving and being moved over 1500 miles away from home to his chosen locals, twice; I was exhausted, overwhelmed, dealing with my own brush with the big ‘C’ and completely out of fight. I still am. And we’re still co-habitating with my dying 90 year old mother and planning one last move…to dump me and mom safely (if she makes it) home on the east coast before he gets on a plane for Dublin.

    He’s finally running away–no more bills, no strife, no commitments, no more having to support me (that I can enforce anyway), no possessions other than some clothes and his guitars, and nobody “expecting” anything of him. In a way, I don’t blame him for wanting that.

    There’s no doubt we were both dealt shitty hands, but I don’t buy into the BS that only chumpiest of ladies will put up with men like these. I’m no chump and certainly no Fran. I made each choice with my eyes open. It just took me a lot longer, mostly due to circumstance, to be willing to turn that programmed sense of selflessness back off again.

    That day has finally come and now I can’t wait for the NC to begin. Wish me luck.

    • He should have waved to my gobshite flying in the other direction. Although my kids were older my youngest was still studying, but gobshite just abandoned the three-bedroomed farmhouse he was renting here in France plus the dog he had had for 4 months, and flew back to the US with 4 suitcases and 6 guitars (it’s the guitars that triggered this memory) back to a life of “no bills, no kids’ expenses, complete freedom from responsibility etc.” – well that is until he runs up all those debts again over there but without my salary to bail him out this time. From what I hear, that scenario is well underway – so “karma”. I hope yours gets his too. And yes, I wish you luck.

    • Yeah I think he’ll find Dublin less forgiving than he thinks it will be ….a world full of rock star wannabes struggling to make ends meet and at his age gigs will be harder to get and he’ll be paid crap…Dublin is expensive even with Mammy to fall back on. For Irish away a long time it’s often harder to re-integrate back in…it’s gone uber liberal in one way but more judgemental in another. He’ll likely come across now as a bit of a bore when the stories in the pub about his life in (insert country) and how much better it is than here…blah blah blah….they often end up going back as can’t handle to pace of life here ….in Dublin in particular. All fun for a while but reality catches up and coming by a decent job if he doesn’t have strong skills or a network won’t be easy….I see a future as a security guard or at the checkout … stimulating stuff

  • I’ve read some comments, but not all, so I hope I’m not being repetitious.

    I love old TV crime shows (think Murder She Wrote, Matlock) and other crime shows (think Law & Order, CSI and Criminal Minds) and actual crime shows (think Investigation: Discovery and Snapped). I cannot tell you how many times, even in watching the fiction (sometimes based on “real life events”) shows, infidelity is used as a plot device. It is usually the thing that precipitates the murder. In fact, in Scorned Love Kills, it is THE plot device. Unfortunately, in the real life shows, it is usually the Chump who is murdered so as to clear a path for “tru wuv.” (We will discuss at some other time the ridiculousness of seeing someone who is comfortable with murder as a problem solving tool as a “tru wuv soul mate.”)

    The problem is that much of what we see in movies and/or on television is a reflection of what exists or what people would like to see in society. There is a reinforcement factor that rationalizes and normalizes the idea of “a love that simply cannot be denied,” or some other such nonsense. It doesn’t appear to matter if the love occurs when the participants are already committed to other people. The love conquers all trope is promoted by movies – old and new, romance novels (“reformed ‘rakes’ make the best husbands” – gag) and any number of television shows. It is reinforced by the Christian doctrine of “forgiveness” and “unconditional” love. The advent of “reality” TV has only exacerbated the problem. People don’t realize that much of what passes for reality TV is as “real” as the Roller Derby. People are confusing, willfully or otherwise, fantasy and reality. Instead of emphasizing lasting bonds, loyalty and deep connections with other people, movies, television, books and society at large, in order to sell a product, are telling people “pursue your own happiness,” “no one should judge you for your choices,” etc., as an excuse for tolerating lies and deceit. Out of that springs the idea of the “noble and responsible” Chump, not “judging” (even if escaping) the cheater, who should be free to pursue their individual happiness without the pesky of details of worrying about anyone else’s feelings or happiness but their own. Unless of course, they want to collect on the life insurance or not pay the costs in a divorce – see Real Life – and then they murder the Chump.

    I think I’m good on watching any show which has anyone saving a cheater instead of pushing them off of a ledge. I’m not that noble. I can embrace the Petty without embarrassment.

    • OMG. Rather full of herself, isn’t she? Fancies herself a supermodel, but looks more like an overgrown Barbie doll with fake tits, silicone injections, and a bad hair dye job.

    • As I’d looking good is an excuse for being a despicable pathetic asshole! And she’s not even good looking. (Not that it matters. Assholes come in all shapes and sizes)

  • I was thinking about Forensics, the show now on the ID channel. Creepy narrator. I love the science but it’s very gruesome. 9 out of 10 times it’s a cheater spouse murdering the chump, for real!

    Sickening insight into how dangerous some of these sociopaths are.

  • I liked The Affair because it humanized Helen, the chump, so well. When the show starts, there’s a scene showing Noah the cheater and Helen having sex at home. Countering the mythology that cheaters cheat because frigid wives. Helen is actually the best liked character in the show. The show’s unique aspect is that it alternates between different characters’ points of view. Which provides a window into cheaterthink, at times, especially in the last season when Noah goes totally off the skids.

    Dr. Foster was also great because her cheater was a total pathological double life sociopath which I could really get. The impact of the absolute blind siding shock when she discovers the cheating was so relatable, I swore the show must have been written by chump writers. And she really took control of her life back from him. But the best show I binged on during my recovery was probably Jessica Jones. No infidelity in the plot but all the main characters are women, and Jessica Jones is absolutely amazing the way she battles against Killgrave. Killgrave is no doubt a psychopath. Anyone who was in an abusive relationship with a manipulative narc will totally relate.

  • One really good thing about The Affair, in spite of all the huge problem I have with it giving Allison the excuse of having lost her son (duh! so did her chump husband!) was its depiction of the effect the cheating has on Noah’s eldest daughter. It pulls no punches there and the young girl playing her did a great job. She lost all respect for her dad, went off the rails, was profoundly unhappy and perturbed. Cheating dad could pretend he was some kind of twu wuv hero to himself and to his readers, but not to this poor child.

  • Yaasuh, it’s dat Chump-an-White Minstrel Show!

    Thrill to the spectacle of those loveable chumps doing the Pick-Me Dance! These simple folk were blessed by God with a special gift of rhythm, now here for you to enjoy!

    Your sides will ache with laughter when you see their hilarious skit, ‘The Marriage Police’!

    And your soul will thrill to their close-harmony singing of traditional chump spirituals such as ‘Way Down Along the STD River’, ‘I Wish I Wuz In Dixie (Where They Have No Fault Divorce)’, and ‘Let That 401K Go’.

    This colourful show will have your feet tapping and your heart hooting with laughter at those chumps in their Christmas sweaters, muffin tops, and bowl haircuts!

    Yassuh, jest you come on down to the Alimony Theater for an evening you (and your children) will never forget …

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