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Dear Chump Lady, I feel like I betrayed the OW

Dear Chump Lady,

I need some validation that I’m not a terrible person who deserved to be cheated on. We were together 2 years, first year was amazing, second year was crap. Turns out he was cheating for the entire second year. The OW was his coworker (20 years younger), and she knew about us at first, but after the first year he told her we were separated, so I honestly believed she was being chumped as well.

Here’s where it gets weird. One day he says we need to talk after he gets back from work, said he wasn’t being honest in our relationship and wanted to bring things out in the open. However, he apparently decided the OW was a priority so he told her before he told me. Then she immediately came forward and told me everything about it before he could talk to me. She said she was suspicious that we were still together because she had stalked me on twitter and she basically knew everything about me except that I was still with the cheater, but he kept telling her we weren’t.

She was really nice to me and at the time I felt incredibly grateful for her attitude. We were on amicable terms, we kept reporting his every move to each other for the first 2 weeks after d-day. This got exhausting pretty quick, so she asked that we don’t talk about him anymore for the sake of our sanity and I agreed. After that she contacted me a couple times just to see how I was doing, and I was polite but I really had no interest in being her friend, as this was still very weird to me.

Meanwhile, the cheater was doing all he could to get me back, and we talked a lot to try to figure things out. I decided to take him back and try for reconciliation about 2 months after d-day. This is where I have my biggest regret: I didn’t tell the OW about this. I knew at the time that I should tell, but I guess I was too scared?

Two months after that he cheats on me with her again. Again she is the one to tell me, and she is very angry at me for not telling her we had gotten back together, accusing me of being dishonest and acting like what I did was so much worse than what he did to both of us. It’s been 3 months of the second d-day and they are now together and seem super happy on social media.

I feel terrible about this because I know she was chumped just like I was and I know I should have told her. But at the same time, I had my own shit to deal with, was heartbroken and devastated. I feel guilty and at the same time angry with her. The whole situation just seems like a big grey area to me. Did I really owe her that? Or was she just trying to manipulate me into leaving him so she could get what she wanted?

Sincerely,

I betrayed the OW

Dear Betrayed,

She won the turd. It doesn’t really matter if she manipulated you for the turd, or swindled you for the turd, or tripped over the turd at the lost and found — He. Is. A. Turd.

Oh, she promised you she was part of the Universal Sisterhood of Turd Hatred. And you pulled the same mindfuck on her. I hate turds! Me too! How dare that turd pretend to be anything other than a turd! Can you believe the turdish thing he did today? All the while you refused to really believe he was a turd. (Ha! Maybe if I make her think I Don’t Want the Turd, she will drop the turd, and THE TURD WILL BE ALL MINE!!!! Moohahahhahahahaah!)

Slap yourself.

Why are you fighting over a turd?

Do you think this relationship has brought out your best self? You’re feeling guilty and shady and heartbroken and devastated. And you want more of this… why?

You don’t seem to be married to this person. You don’t have children with him, or real estate. Your life should be dining out, sex, and Netflix — breezy fun times! The honeymoon. Instead you’ve got drama, drama, drama. And you want more of this… why? Because she “won” the turd?

I feel guilty and at the same time angry with her. The whole situation just seems like a big grey area to me. Did I really owe her that?

According to you, the OW knew about you from the start, but thought you were “separated.” But apparently she didn’t think you were THAT separated, because she began stalking you on Twitter. So, she knew you existed enough to know your name and she knew you existed enough to wonder why her boyfriend was acting shady. She was perfectly aware that she was the OW.

And yet she persisted in fighting for the turd.

Meanwhile, the cheater was doing all he could to get me back, and we talked a lot to try to figure things out. I decided to take him back and try for reconciliation about 2 months after d-day. This is where I have my biggest regret: I didn’t tell the OW about this. I knew at the time that I should tell, but I guess I was too scared?

What exactly do you think you owe her? The same unwavering fealty to the Universal Sisterhood of Turd Hatred that she showed you? He was your boyfriend, she was the interloper. Your mistake was not recognizing the whole situation stank and running away from it immediately. No, you persisted in fighting for the turd.

Look, only in Hollywood movie scripts do the First Woman and the Other Woman join forces to defeat the cheating husband/boyfriend. And then go have lattes and a pilates session together. She is NOT your friend. She did not ever have your best interests at heart. She had HER best interests at heart. And so did you. Just because you share a common delusion (he’s not a turd! he’s SPECIAL!) does not make you allies. You were rivals. For a turd.

You thought from your conversations that she was swearing off turds, so the arena was free to grab the turd. Similarly, SHE thought you were swearing off turds (maybe her simpatico ruse worked!) so she was free to grab the turd. Yet, you had a sneaking suspicion you were now playing the Other Woman role. Yuck. You debased yourself for a turd.

The proper conclusion to draw here is that it’s never okay to pick me dance. If you are in the pick me dance? That means there are no prizes worth winning. Anyone who truly loves you would never subject you to humiliating feats of triangulation. Only horrible people do that.

Nothing to miss here. You can convey your apologies to the OW by letting her win the turd. You go gain a better life.

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.
  • Exactly. The OW won herself a douche bag. Lucky, lucky her.

    The only person the BS ‘betrayed’ was herself when she took this POS back to ‘reconcile.’

    • You don’t owe the OW the sweat between your boobs! She has no right to anything! Get yourself out of the messed up “pick me dance” with the stupid bitch. You owe her nothing. Do yourself a favor …and hand the cheater over to the OW on a silver platter. The two pieces of shit deserve each other.

      • You might want to get yourself checked for STDs. The OW (and your cheater) have zero sexual boundaries. The OW may be banging other men on the side. Take care of YOU and only YOU. The two cheating scum bags do not deserve another minute of your time.

  • I need some validation that I’m not a terrible person who deserved to be cheated on.

    Please allow me to validate you – NO ONE DESERVES TO BE CHEATED ON! It is the most damaging thing anyone can do to another person and is never deserved nor warranted based on any circumstance. Put your bitch boots on and take a walk away from this relationship. You deserve better than this. Hugs

    • “NO ONE DESERVES TO BE CHEATED ON! It is the most damaging thing anyone can do to another person and is never deserved nor warranted based on any circumstance.” Methinks I shall print that in a giant font. hmmm. …maybe a billboard. 🙂

    • No, you’re not a terrible person. But you are a foolish person to allow this disgusting love triangle to continue (at your expense). Both cheaters are NOT your friend. Lying, sneaking, cheating, making a fool out of you and putting your health at risk (STDs)- are not exactly “friendly.” You owe neither one of those two dirt bags a damn thing.

  • Sounds like she was playing both sides. Using you to get information to win the turd. Her anger at you is more likely anger at him for realizing she was being played. You both were pick me dancing. Be glad that she “won”. Take yourself out of the game. You owe her nothing. I find it absurd that you feel bad for not telling your husbands MISTRESS that you were reconciling! Think about that. Good luck leaving both of them in your rear view mirror.

  • Really, there is nothing for you in any relationship with either of these cheaters. She knew you were not “separated”. It’s really not that hard these days to find out.

    Go No Contact with both of them. You are kibbles and cake to both if them. Yumm, let them go enjoy each other in “peace”.

    • If she knew you were separated where did they hook up? She knew all along. And if she didn’t, why not just dump him once she knew the truth?

      People make choices. She chose to have an affair with a man living with another woman for an entire year, played innocent, and continued to screw him after she knew the truth. She wasn’t duped and you owe her nothing.

      Walk away knowing he never respected you and isn’t worthy of your energy or time. Never reconcile with a cheating asshole. They don’t change. She’s a classless ho.

  • CL, you’re the UBT Whisperer and your remarkable skill at dissecting the facts from the BS is a rare gift.

    I like the analogy of winning a Turd and how it’s more about the game of the dysfunctional getting a symbolic win….even if it’s a piece of shit.

    I salute you CL and in Chump Solidarity Salute three flushes of the Toilet and a Lysol Spritz in memorandum of Meh Tuesdays.

  • May you someday poses the wisdom to see that him leaving was a good thing. Let the “winner” have him and go No Contact with both of them. Seriously, never speak to either of them or look them up on social media or anything. Be done with them, walk away, and go get a life. If you really are bothered by this please take some time to fix your picker and find out why you feel bad about this or why you are attracted to the sparkly turd or why you would fight for a turd. I say that as someone who lost two decades of their life to a turd so that does not come from a high hose but from a very grounded place that never wants to see anyone hurt by such a turd ever again.

  • You are not a terrible person. You are a lovely person who is trying to figure out how to be nice to terrible people and feeling badly because no matter what you do, they are terrible to you.

    At the end of your letter you explain that the OW cheats AGAIN with your husband and then tells you AFTERWARDS and then complains that you did not keep her updated on the status of your relationship? Ridiculous. If she cared about you, she would have called you FIRST to make sure the turd was free. She did not.

    You owe her nothing. Maybe she was tricked the first time he wooed her, but she has no excuse for the second time. She slept with the lying cheat again, and now holds you accountable. For what? Not super-gluing his zipper shut? For not sending her a daily text telling her, “We had sex today. Just wanted you to know he’s off limits for the next 24 hours.”

    This guy cheated on you after one year. Her days as his special gal are numbered. Get yourself well clear before it all explodes.

    • May I suggest finding a good counselor who can help you unpack the reasons why you think this turd is worth keeping? Or why you feel guilt about not being nicer to the OW? Fixing your picker and shoring up your boundaries will help you in the long run.

      As far as the OW and the turd she “won,” please go no contact with both of them. They are not worth one more second of your time.

      Hugs.

      • My specific thought is along this same line – and I am speaking from my own experiences, so it may not be totally relevant to our writer.

        There is something that causes her to immediately dive into shame (she is calling it guilt, but I am using shame because the character of it seems less like she did something bad and more like she thinks she **IS** bad, as a person…) just because someone became angry with her.

        I get that empathy causes people with consicences to care how they affect others, which is what makes chumps so susceptible to codependence. I think that’ll is a good thing when it is balanced, and it’s chumoy thing when it’s out of balance. I am talking about something even deeper and more insidious.

        Our writer automatically assumed, simply because the OW (who she does not know well) said that her actions constituted a betrayal, that there was something wrong with her — something SO wrong that now she deserves to be abused.

        Our writer doesn’t seem to have thought anything through with clarity other than that she did, indeed, decide not to share her relationship choices outside of her relationship (a reasonable choice, in my view). The OW accused her of dishonesty, and she felt like yes, it’s true, she was dishonest. She lost sight of every other thing that was simultaneously true. She decided she deserves abuse because she believes she did a bad thing, which makes her a “terrible person”.

        So, my angle is, work with a professional on the shame issues. Manipulative people go for the shame angle first to control others because they know it works.

        We have to get solid with ourselves on this point so people can’t just drag us around by our nostrils all the time.

        A questionable choice doesn’t make a bad person. We must critically consider the rest of the context, including what we do to rectify our reasonable wrongs, long before we evaluate character, including our own.

        Work on that, THEN work on your picker, says me, because you can’t give anything to a relationship until there is a “you” to give.

        • Thanks, Ami! I really identify with this. My self-esteem really took a hit with all of this, and that’s a big part of the problem.

        • Wow Amii, did you just talk to my therapist? Same same same. shame shame shame. They smell it I think. I too got caught up in the “did I do something to cause this?” net. WTF? I would not ever put someone through what I endured. I was powerless over my husband, his actions, his lies, his telling me that I just didn’t appreciate him, thank him enough, (even said I didn’t thank him for taking out the trash) make him feel like the “man” he was. Oprah had an episode on her show soon after I found out and some jack ass male therapist said that men cheat because they just don’t feel appreciated and women need to make their man feel like superman, then they wouldn’t stray. Fucked my head up for daze. Yes, people, Oprah had this Turd Cultivator on her show. I had to get a therapist to “let me off the hook” for how it was my fault he cheated. He said it was my fault the kids were going to come from a divorced family cuz I ending the marriage. He wanted to stay married. God, what an ASSHOLE I was.

          So sad. Day by day, step by little step, I work on forgiving myself for being “stupid” and thinking I could save it, for the sake of the kids and the house. Lost the house, had to file BK, but I had all my kids and eventually, my sanity has returned. 7 years later and it still makes me want to vomit. Not going to lie, I have major insecurity issues, damage done, but I monitor my “fact” v. “fiction” thoughts and breath, slowly, and keep moving forward.

  • I find it very fishy that the AP holds the wife not responsible for telling her that she “was with her husband”?

    Count Turdula told a lie, got caught, and the AP believed him again? That is very very very fishy.

    I think the wife is feeling a guilt she should not be feeling. The AP is pretty conduit to the whole plan of Count Turdula. His dick gets wet, no matter who is screwed.

  • CL is right, Betrayed: the only person you failed is yourself. You had no duty to your boyfriend’s mistress to give notice of your attempt to reconcile. You DID have duty to yourself to have higher standards when picking a partner. I’m guessing you wouldn’t pick a cheater/liar as a life partner for your mother, sister, daughter, or even an unknown stranger. So why would you think it’s okay to pick such a person for yourself?

    It isn’t. Disengage, determine what you truly want in a partner, then stick to those higher standards. Anything else is cheating yourself.

  • Don’t be surprised if she contacts you again once he starts cheating on her to commiserate on what a turd he is. She’s NOT or was she ever your friend. Keep moving forward with your life, these two should not be allowed any mental real estate.

  • 1. There are three people here who love being in a triangle.
    2. Betrayed the OW is highly confused about who she’s in a relationship with. You can’t betray someone to whom you have no commitment. The OW is simple the other leg of the triangle.
    3. Everyone here is abusing social media. And BTOW needs to block these other 2 and get out of the pick-me dance.
    4. It doesn’t matter what the OW wanted or expected. What matters is what BTOW is willing to accept in her life. Evidently OW is happy to win a cheating jackass and stay in the triangle.
    5. BTOW, find something better to do with your time than think about this woman you don’t even know.

    • Exactly. My first thought was “Karpman Drama Triangle in action.” And here are the three base runners and most likely, there’s someone else on deck. Consequently the bases are always loaded.
      The turd struck out but the writer doesn’t want to send him and his wuv to the dugout-Ya know, that place that smells like urine, sweat and expectorated tobacco spit where one may or may not have had their first liaison in HS. There’s plenty more heavy hitters waiting to be drafted where this guy came from. He’s not the only XY playa.

      Let’s turn this around a little: This is not an issue of “deserve” OK? Wouldn’t have mattered who you were, he has pecker problems that apparently far exceed his ability to control and a conscience that’s as inactive as his pecker is active. (These situations always give me psychological scabies. Ugh.) So instead of “deserve” consider this: What are you willing to put up with? How much dignity are you willing to sacrifice in service to just-not-that-special? How is it gonna feel to make an appointment for the Spread and Dread for an STD checkup? How much of your precious time, energy and effort are you willing to expend on a determined floating turd? Remember, always, this is not about you! Uh uh. Put it back on him-you didn’t break it, he did.

      Must be spring for sure as it appears the septic tank backed up again. Might as well use the snake/OW to get rid of the problem-considering he already has her Honey Truck parked right outside your door. They really do suck, see?!

  • It’s amazing how the human mind works.
    My ex left me for the OW, but for the first 6 months after he left I was pick me dancing like crazy and slept with him a few times….I’m not proud, believe me.
    I was starting to see who he really was and I’m ashamed to say that much of that was just to prove to myself and maybe one day her, that he didn’t care about either of us. I’m the only one that got that memo, and that’s okay.
    It’s very easy to say “don’t look at their social media”. I think it takes a hot second to wean yourself off the wanting to know, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
    I have struggled with eating to talk to the OW to just warn her, but I know she would not listen. She found out we were still hooking up and he excused it away by saying it was only to grease the wheels to get me to settle the way he wanted. She’s still with him today, water under the bridge.
    Do you owe her a single thing? No.
    I did have personal struggle with wondering if she was u derneatg a good person who was getting played. I wondered if he painted such a fucked up take about his awful marriage that she felt justified. Then I woke up from that delusion.
    They both suck. There’s no conflict to struggle with there.

    • If she knew he was married and she fucked him anyway regardless of how he painted the marriage she is not a good person. She could be one step away from Mother Theresa. She’s not a good person. Look at Angelina Jolie, she’s SOOO NICE and does SO MUCH for other people. Now ask Jennifer Aniston what type of person she is. ? If you sleep with married men you are nothing but a piece of shit just like he is!

  • Just a question about getting back with boyfriend/ husband. Last time round, OW slept with him and then contacted the writer, angry that she hadn’t notified her about resuming the relationship (pronouns only make this confusing-er).

    How did OW find out? I mean, either he confessed after sex (doubting that) or she knew all along (yeah, that’s believable). And OW, assuming this is a fair and equitable Turd Fight, should have called in to check to get approval.

    The only things wrong the writer did was reconcile, chat with OW and feel she was bad for not telling they’d reconciled. Because THEY hadn’t reconciled, she was the only one who did. IMHO, the lady was played by both of them. Trust that they suck.

  • It’s amazing how the human mind works.
    My ex left me for the OW, but for the first 6 months after he left I was pick me dancing like crazy and slept with him a few times….I’m not proud, believe me.
    I was starting to see who he really was and I’m ashamed to say that much of that was just to prove to myself and maybe one day her, that he didn’t care about either of us. I’m the only one that got that memo, and that’s okay.
    It’s very easy to say “don’t look at their social media”. I think it takes a hot second to wean yourself off the wanting to know, so don’t be too hard on yourself.
    I have struggled with wanting to talk to the OW to just warn her, but I know she would not listen. She found out we were still hooking up and he excused it away by saying it was only to grease the wheels to get me to settle the way he wanted. She’s still with him today, water under the bridge.
    Do you owe her a single thing? No.
    I did have personal struggle with wondering if she was a good person who was getting played. I wondered if he painted such a fucked up picture about his awful marriage that she felt justified. Then I woke up from that delusion.
    They both suck. There’s no conflict to struggle with there.

    • To some minimal extent, I feel bad for the MOW, who in my case may not have known Jackass was supposedly in a relationship. However, she was cheating on her husband and putting her kids and their home at risk. So not crying any tears over the fact that she has a boat-load of trouble stemming from the divorce she wanted from her husband, from the fact that Jackass discarded her, and from the very real problems that come from being a low-wage earning single parent. But if I had to choose who to rescue from a raging fire, I’d pick her over Jackass.

  • BTOW,

    As was said above, many times:

    1) You only let yourself down. You should have gotten out of the situation sooner.

    2) That said, get out now if you haven’t already. Let her have him, and move on.

    3) Fix your picker. What that means is figure out what in you attracted you to this guy that doesn’t have the integrity to maintain a relationship with you alone, and change it. That way, when you go back out into the dating world, you’ll be less attracted to partners who have the propensity to cheat.

    4) Forgive yourself for your errors in this latest fiasco, but don’t forget them.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.
    aeronaut

  • “Slap yourself.

    Why are you fighting over a turd?”

    Hahahahaha – I just choked on my coffee.

    • CL was spot-on hilarious with this. The funniest part for me is that there are many days now when I look back at the crap I endured (as well as some of my responses to the insanity) and think, “I wish I could smack my old self.” 😉

  • I have a former female friend, “T,” who was an unwitting OW for three years. His stories kept changing, he hacked his wife’s phone to send texts and emails to “T” as if they came from his allegedly ex-wife.

    Finally (like in the movies), the wife went to T’s office and confronted her…blowing her mind. Together they then went to his office and confronted him.

    And that’s when T realized how tangential she was. She was ancillary to the story, to the situation, etc. The confrontation actually had nothing to do with her.

    And I’d like to say that T learned and grew from the entire drama. But she didn’t.

    In the following two heats, he actually did divorce his wife. He and T are now “legitmately” a couple.

    I told T that I don’t respect her decisions to do this, knowing how manipulative he is. And then I told her that we won’t be friends anymore.

    It’s possible to have sympathy for unwitting OW’s. It’s not acceptable, however, to have sympathy for them once they know the truth and continue to make poor choices.

      • In today’s world, unless you are living in a remote part of Sumatra, I don’t buy that there are any “victim” OW for more than one or two dates.

        The signs are all so obvious- a 3rd grader would suss them out.

        Why can’t I come to your house?
        Why do you disappear on weekends and at night?
        Why do you turn your phone off for hours?
        Why do you hide your phone?
        Why does your social media show a woman and small children with you at Disney World?

        Not buying it. Three years? That’s a good laugh.

        • He rented a separate apartment to “live” in when T would visit. He brought his kids to meet her when his wife was out of town.

          I agree T was dumb. She should have started catching on when he was proven to lie about things, like “We actually never completed the paperwork for our divorce.”

          But who said anything about social media? Or turning off his phone? I don’t even have social media accounts. So why do you assume he did?

          There are people on this website who lived with their cheating spouses for YEARS and didn’t suspect anything. What you wrote sounds a lot like the “JC, you must have suspected” judgey bullshit that I got from friends after I left my wife.

          Why would AP’s somehow be smarter…with less access to the cheater than the spouse has?

          • I’m on another social forum (not a relationship forum), where one of the guys found out that he was the unwitting OM to a woman he’d been dating for a year. He found out only when they were planning to move into the same apartment. She kept breaking plans to meet his family, but the kicker was when he happened to see that the name on her credit card was not the name he knew her under. She had some ready-made lie on hand (she only used her first and middle names, and the last was for legal purposes). His radar finally saw the cruise missile, and when he started googling, he discovered that she was married and the girl that she claimed was her young cousin was actually her daughter. He felt like crap, broke the relationship off, and wanted to know if he should inform the husband (I said yes, but other said no. I have no idea what he did).

            Anyway, it is definitely possible to be an unwitting AP if you happen to be the trusting sort. Chumps have learned that trust is good, but it’s also important to verify.

            • I’d say it also depends on the extent of the cheater’s duplicity. Renting a secret apartment, using aliases, and similar tactics, are beyond the norm. Only the seriously disordered go to the trouble and expense of creating two complete parallel lives and seeing to it that they don’t intersect.

              • Imagine if these creeps put that much effort into something altruistic: clean water, no more homeless animals, visiting the elderly, community gardens, being a Big Brother/Sister to a child who has no one.

                Think of the time, resources, cold hard cash and massive energy expended just to get some Strange.

          • I agree with you JC. Asshat had the social media accounts before I did. That’s how he kept up with his fuckbuddies. I added my account when my older kids wanted one, that’s how the MOW and others had access to some personal information-asshat and his minions used each other accounts and a dummy account to communicate. I had no clue FOR DECADES. I happened on the AFF account early post DDay. He used my youngest kids as his avatar. Gross.

            I never suspected anything because I chose to believe and spackle. My gut knew all along though. Manipulative people manipulate others. I know I chose to accept his Alternative Reality because it was so unplausible to me at the time that an SO could be so incredibly abusive.

          • It did? I did not mean for it to. It is probably because I have a low to zero tolerance for Other Women and Men shenanigans and excuses. I am not buying anything they are selling.

            I believe the nano second I saw something shady, on some level, I knew he was cheating.

            For a time, I spackled and smoked hopium, but in my gut, he never added up again. It was a terrible sinking feeling each day far before DDay fireworks. It was just a long slow drowning into our death roll.

            But, I do think dating is different these days. I believe the first thing people do now is look up someone on social media. We can run background checks in a few clicks.

            Three years is a long time to have a completely secret life with no red flags popping up when you are dating someone and they are juggling a secret marriage.

            To my mind, there is a world of difference between a chump and an OW/OM.

            Chumps already got the promise. This is not the chase or the hunt. This was supposed to be OUR person. Chumps have the belief that someone committed to them, usually anchored with legal vows, children, shared real estate and bank accounts.

            Dating is a whole different animal. When someone is supposed to be wooing and courting you, and they disappear/act fishy/have secrets you are not so enmeshed in their life. You would have time, distance and perspective to get the bottom of why they were not accountable and available. Why your “date” is not romantic, but missing in action every weekend.

            I don’t have a lot of energy or interest in defending AP on any level. I can only see them Accomplices, not victims.

            • There is another difference in dating… You do not own this person. They are not yours. When dating, you don’t expect to know everything about them and have all of their time and attention. If they want to spend a weekend apart, that’s normal and healthy, not suspect. Running a background check on a guy you’ve been dating for a month would be considered psycho and controlling to most people.

              • A month, sure. Three years? Very reasonable to do a background check.

                I don’t know. It does not seem like there are not many secrets anymore.Very few people have the self control to stay off social media completely.

                It seems like we could be about as naive of someone’e marital status as we chose to be.

                Me personally- I will not need the background check. The first instant someone is wonky, I am done. They can go do crazy by themselves. Never again.

              • Agreed. If you don’t live with someone there are huge chunks of their time that are unaccounted for, and not everyone likes to cyber-stalk. If someone knows they’re the OM/OW, that’s one thing, but someone who wants to make a double life can usually do it.

          • I completely agree with these comments. These men are to blame, period. So well said… why do we expect so much more from the OW than we do from ourselves? When you are dealing with a skilled, pathological liar, all bets are off. These women are dating, not playing private investigator. How many of us have caught our husbands, yet cave to the the tears, apologies and excuses? and stay??? How many D days does it sometimes take before we got the message loud and clear? Seldom are cheaters obvious. Most have been doing this far too long, and are far too good at it to be sniffed out by an amateur after two or three dates. They never run out of excuses. And if you are living with your husband 24/7, and manage not to know after 15 or 20 years that they have been cheating on you, I think it would be quite easy to be fooled by someone for months that you are dating, especially if the relationship is new and casual.

          • Frankly, I didn’t have a lot of “access” to the ex when he was cheating. I had a full time job and primary care of a preschooler. He worked 30 miles away with a job that allowed him to make his own hours and apparently gave him plenty of time to fuck around during the day. We had very little contact during the day, till he came dragging home at 8 or 9 o’clock. The whore he was involved with Knew that he was married, but I think unknowing ow/om would have to think something was strange if someone they dated couldn’t see them at certain times, or introduce them around, or didn’t invite them to their house, or something. Most people are pretty open with their lives, and anyone who isn’t is usually a red flag in my book.

            As far as checking people out, yes, I think you should. I will definitely teach my child to investigate someone who isn’t known to her personally before spending a lot of time with them. It’s just good common sense. Looking back, I certainly wish the resources today were available when I was dating. It’s better to find this stuff out before you get to involved with a person than later on.

        • My ex didn’t (and still doesn’t) have any social media accounts. Some people choose not to partake of social media for their own legitimate reasons. My ex doesn’t participate in social media because it gives people too much information about him, and he likes to be able to control what people know about him. It’s so much easier to lie by omission when no one can find you online and ask awkward questions.

        • I totally disagree that an AP could not be duped because it’s so ‘obvious’, what dreck! I lived with the fucking asshole for 17 years and his bullshit wasn’t obvious to me for a very long time. Someone dating and fucking him would be easier to fool than I was. In my case the OW knew he was married so the point is moot but just sayin…

    • If T was unwitting, why would she stay with this man who went to such lengths to manipulate her? And all anyone has to do is google and you find joint property, etc.

  • This post makes me so very grateful for three things:

    1. That I do not have an endlessly punchable OW in my life. Even reading about the senseless and sad drama made me weary.

    2. That I am saw the light and stepped out of the fight for a Turd. It lasted about 4 weeks that consisted of vomiting, hyperventilating and cyber sleuthing to the point I developed a callous on my thumb.

    3. That CL still responds to these letters with a jolt of sanity and mind medicine.

  • Hi everyone, it’s me! Thank you Chump Lady and everyone on here for your words!

    I did go no contact with both of them after D-Day #2 (except yes, I made the mistake of looking at their social media a few times in the beginning). But the OW managed to really mess with my head throwing the sorority card and I’ve been feeling guilty ever since (it’s been 3 months). This made me feel like I was the bad guy in all of this.

    Crazy, right??? So on top of all the horrible feelings that come with being cheated on and abandoned, I still have to feel guilty about this woman? Why do we have to feel bad for something so terrible that was done to US, when he’s the one who’s a turd in all this? Never underestimate a man’s ability to make you feel guilty for his mistakes.

    You’re all right. What I did wrong was believing in the unicorn reconciliation in the first place and not flushing the turd the moment I’ve heard about the cheating.

    So thank you CL and fellow chumps for bringing some light to this situation!

    • Either you are infinitely more self actualized that I am, or you must be extraordinarily sensitive, but I cannot grasp feeling sorry or guilty toward a woman that has purposefully deceived and betrayed you.

      This OW sounds scary. I would run from her like she was a saltwater crocodile. Why is she insisting on contacting you? Why would she even play the Sorority card? (Delta Delta Delta is a free pass to fuck your boyfriend?)

      Worry about yourself, or you could get ensnared in something worse. Have no contact with them and tell them to never contact you again.

      Disordered people can create vortexes of legal, financial and social problems. They thrive on it. When someone has no commitment to telling the truth, what will stop them?

      They leave piles of broken people in their wake and forge ahead, with a big smile.

      • I guess I just have issues with toxic shame, as Amiisfree said. And something in me wanted to be assured that I had no fault in all this crap whatsoever.

    • Jedi Hugs Betrayed! Some of that load is the culture and environment we grew up in. Boundaries are good, that OW really went circular on you and of course your cheater was all for that. BTW, I don’t think he told the OW first because she was a priority, he told her first so if she threw him to the curb you’d still be there not knowing what was going on. He was making sure of the next harbor. So to the plus with the OW, at least she told you, pretty unusual. Just don’t think you owe her jack shit now, she blew right through the good will.

    • Just remember that she knew he was married when she started dating him – so she really has no basis to complain.

  • So someday I might send CL the sad sausage voicemail I got from CheaterX. That I got such a voicemail illustrates what I would have told CheaterX and Schmoopie if they’d bothered to ask, that I “won” the whole infidelity sweeps.

    Here’s the thing. Cheating is for people with weak wills. If there were a problem with the relationship, then the Cheater should have raised it as an issue and indicated that this was a Big Issue. The job of the other spouse is to take that issue seriously, and the job of the couple is to see if they can resolve it. If it’s a deal-breaker issue and it can’t be resolved, well, that’s why there’s divorce.

    Cheaters just cheat. Even if there were a big issue. would you want to be married to someone who finds it easier to cheat than have an honest discussion?

    So who wins when you divorce the cheater?

    Well, the AP wins someone who cheats on their spouse (aka a turd).
    The Cheater wins someone who thinks that sleeping with other people’s spouses is okay (aka another turd).
    The Chump? The Chump wins an authentic life (aka a turd-free life).

    If you’re not married, then it’s easier to walk away. Sure, we know that emotionally it’s devastating, but legally it’s a lot easier. If you’re married, then make sure you at least talk with the family practice lawyers to determine your rights in your state/country. Then file when you’re most ready to do so.

    The pain you feel hurts like a mofo, but it’s temporary. In a year, you’ll be thankful that you no longer have to put up with the drama.

  • Betrayed,

    This jerk has a shelf life of one year before he’s on to the next victim. Unless you enjoy endless drama or being demoted to Plan B, it’s time to remove yourself from the situation. Nothing here merits any additional investment. And as others have said, you can’t betray an interloper. Good luck to you.

    • My jerk had a shelf life of 18mths. He had a new buddy every 1.5yrs. He kept objects from them as trophies and would cycle back thru them every so often.

      Hindsight is 20/20. Just run away from these clowns. Let them fulfill their special destiny.

      • Protect yourself, ANC. Narcs do Hoover. It’s not that they miss what they had. It just means that they figure you can be of use to them again. At least until they groom another replacement.

  • “We kept reporting his every move to each other for the first 2 weeks after d-day.”

    If she stopped seeing him, then how could she report his every move? If she assumed you stopped seeing him, too, how did she think you knew his every move?

    “Two months after that he cheats on me with her again. Again she is the one to tell me, and she is very angry at me for not telling her we had gotten back together, accusing me of being dishonest and acting like what I did was so much worse than what he did to both of us.”

    Assuming she stopped seeing him and thought you stopped seeing him, too, she took him back knowing it would piss you off. So how could she be pissed off if you did the same?

    It’s possible they never split and she was checking to see if you were out of the picture. Then she felt “betrayed” that you lied to her the way she lied to you.

    • They work together and according to her he was contacting her to “apologize”. Yes, I guess I wanted to believe that, so I did. On the other hand, I initially told her he was trying to get me back, but in those first two weeks I really did not want to, it took me 2 months of talking to decide to go back to him, and that’s when I didn’t tell her (because we weren’t even speaking anymore). I see now that my mistake was believing that “this time would be different” and engaging in his bullshit, but at the time I was so terrified of losing him!

      • What you feared losing was already lost long before you knew it — namely the illusion, a.k.a. who you wish he was. What you’re actually losing is the turd. 😉

      • They work together?

        They never stopped “seeing” each other. The affair never stopped. There is no effing way. Her pick-me dance was probably of the playing-hard-to-get variety and she wanted to saddle you – someone she knows to have a conscience that she can manipulate – with telling her the truth she wanted to know without any intention of telling *you* the truth at all.

        That’s how she won the Pick-Me Dance. Thank goodness. They absolutely deserve each other and all of the sick mind games they find exciting.

        She wants you to feel badly for her; all along, she wanted to take your boyfriend and finds enjoyment in twisting the knife.

        Don’t.

        Now, say: Fuck that bitch. I’m amazing.
        Over and over. Every time you feel what you think is guilt or shame about this, say it again. SHOUT it.

        • Insistonhonesty, I got the feeling, too, that the affair never ended. Not fully. She bad mouthed him hoping Betrayed would leave him for good, so she could have him to herself. When she checked in with Betrayed to make sure her plan had worked and it didn’t, she accused Betrayed of the deception SHE is actually guilty of. That’s why she was more mad at Betrayed than the guy because she expects deception from him, but not from Betrayed. Not saying she was betrayed, but that she was thinking Betrayed had same motives as her.

          Betrayed, you don’t need to feel guilty. This woman was never your friend. All that contact with you earlier was probably her making sure you were definitely out of the picture so she could have him to herself. And she does, but like CL said, she won a turd.

  • For me, the entire way I dated when I was young was based on societal notions that had become useless for the time I lived in. When I got divorced and started dating again, I didn’t even think about how stupid the “rules” of dating were — I had too many other stupid things I was doing or had done to think about. So I got chumped twice.

    Point being — I am an intelligent, articulate, educated and employed woman, who worked with many men, and I still got chumped TWICE. I may have been a dating chump, too, for all I know. There is no safe way to date, and as chumps — we lived with these Con Artists for quite some time before we figured it out. ANYONE can get chumped. The question is, what are you going to do about it???

    I hope you weren’t expecting a good answer, because I don’t have one. I generally don’t even want to think about dating — the whole process turns me off, and I suppose I have huge trust issues, and I may never get over it. I do go out, and I have not removed the chance of trying again from the realm of possibility — but I don’t think it is likely. For one thing — I am in my sixties, and I don’t think my methods would work for younger women who hope to marry again, or want to have children. All I can say is be as careful as you can — verify anything you can verify. Even then, you can be fooled. If you are not in a hurry, though, I think you increase your chances of finding out about character. At least you know many of the tricks now.

    I think one of the things we just have to learn is not to fight over a partner. No one is worth it if they are trying to triangulate you. If someone tells you, I want to know if you love me enough to fight for me — they have a very twisted way of looking at both the world and what love is.

    The oddest thing for me was that I actually liked the “role” I played of Married Woman. I did not consider monogamy a burden, I loved building a home and raising my children. I enjoyed cuddling and romance and being good to my husband. I enjoyed sex. I am not saying life was perfect — it wasn’t, it was hard and tiring and sometimes boring. I lived through some hard financial times. But I THOUGHT I was building a future for US. I had no idea that US was a myth, a place that existed only in my mind. I don’t have a perfect life now, but I know I can count on ME. I try my best not to do stupid things or hang out with people who have no character. I have some good friends who stand by me thru good times and bad. I would like to have a partner, but I don’t expect to. I am making my new rules up as I go along, and I think each of us has to do just that.

    This woman is trying to carry the weight of her responsibility, her cheating EX, and the OW at the same time. No one can do that — she needs to take care of herself and let the others worry about what they are going to do about the crappy situation they have created. She hasn’t lost anything that was worth anything, except her precious time.

    • Thank you for sharing your story, Portia. It really gives me hope that we all have the power within us to take care of ourselves and let other take care of themselves.

    • Portia, I hear you, and I am in my 30s. I’m a modern girl…but having and building an US was and is still very important to me. I don’t need kids or a white picket fence, but an equal partner. But like you, I got fooled and tried to build something with guys who were not really 100% in.

      I don’t love dating either, but I am able to practice my new found boundaries and bull-shit-o-meter and picker. It does get old, and I do get discouraged, but I am not devastated nor ignoring myself. Any tips?

      • The big advantages you have are time and a larger dating pool. You also have access to resources that I had to find on my own. There was no internet when I was young. There was school, and later friends and girls night out at places we could listen to music and dance. I didn’t know about NPD or porn or even imagine that someone would want to cheat and risk losing his home and family for a mindless fling. There was no Chumplady. The closest we had was Dear Abby and Ann Landers.

        I wanted an equal partner, too. I wanted to share the joy and the work, to have someone to love who would love me and have my back. Most of the men I know are either married, or half dead. Many have damaged their lives with selfish, stupid choices, and though they may say they have learned their lesson, I am not convinced the leopards have changed their spots. I think the best bet I have is to find a man who was as big a chump as I was, but hasn’t given up either his character or his own hopes and dreams. I think two chumps would have to learn how to trust another person again, and would be cautious and willing to move at a slower pace. The biggest obstacle to dating for me is the sex timetable of expectation today. Men seem to expect it much to quickly, and they don’t attach the value to it I do. If they are in that big a hurry, I send them on their way. My boundary is be wary, and wait for convincing evidence that something good may come of the relationship. Maybe I will be wary and alone because of this, but I’d prefer to be alone to rushing in to another mistake. I want my remaining time to be quality time. I’ve known quite enough sorrow.
        I don’t know if that helps you or not, but I imagine if you respect yourself and value yourself, you have boundary issues in your age group, too.

      • HathNoFuryGoddess

        As Portia, I got chumped twice, the second time when I was in my 30s… I would say look for reciprocity, let the other person initiate activities, reach out to you when you are apart.

        One of the biggest red flag I ignored was to pick up that when my X said “we should do this” it really meant “hey chumptitude how about you figure this out?” I was such a team player chump, I would take care of everything, you know we were on the same team… Until I found out beyond reasonable doubt that “our team” never existed anywhere but in my head.

        If the person starts using “we” as an indirect way to get you to do things leave time and space for the other person to pick up the slack and get things done. If the person is incapable of doing things that benefit the two of you, then walk away…

        • Thank you both for your thoughts!

          I think the biggest obstacle that I’ve noticed is guys not having their shit together, haha. I’m not necessarily talking fancy jobs, house, or all that superficial stuff. That’s not what’s important. I mean just being present and mindful and real. So much ghosting.

          As far as the sex stuff, true. A good guy though, no matter if you jump in on date #2 or #20 will not judge you for it. As long as you wanted it to happen, and can handle anything that happens afterwards emotionally, I say you are in a good place. Healthy boundaries helped me know I got my back no matter what happens the morning after.

  • It all becomes so clear when you replace the words boyfriend/girlfriend, cheating husband/wife, STBX, with “turd”, then retell the story of what turd did, and what you did to keep/win/win back/placate the turd, doesn’t it? CL wins the internet once again.

  • The turd in this equation was dating BOTH women the entire time, is my take. There was never any breakup or separation. The OW was more suspicious, and also more manipulative/sociopathic, so “reached out” in bogus friendship to Betrayed, and then used the knowledge she gained to up her pick-me dance.

    As CL said, the OW won nothing but a glittering turd, so they are inconsequential and best left in the rearview mirror of life. My only questions are in regard to YOU, Betrayed. Why on earth do you think you owe anything or have anything to feel guilty about towards this OW? She used you, lied to you, and I can guarantee it, was laughing with your ex over the entire game. My second question: Why did you stay with so much drama, unless there is a part of you that enjoys the drama? My guess is you are young and you still feel that “drama” in a relationship is exciting, means the guy really loves you, and proves you have won something worth having. If this is a common pattern in your life, or rings a bell of truth, I suggest you do some therapy to figure out why drama appeals to you. Real love is not drama. Any time a relationship revolves around game playing and drama, there is the smell of bullshit in the air. Just something to think about.

  • Bet this narc loved the ringside seat watching a cage match of women fighting over him !

    Flush this turd down the toilet !

  • A similar drama played out with Peter Pan and Tinkerbell … lots of drama and really bad acting. You won’t find the OW doing Pilates unless she can make a sex act out of it.

    So today I’m tripping over turds as I spring clean the backyard from my dog’s winter poopfest. Thanks!!! It’s way more fun now to think of my T.U.R.D. as I do it … it’s amazing how easy it is to flick him away!!! Wish I had done it earlier.

  • Chump lady. You are brilliant. Super intelligent, lots of common sense and good advice. You help so many of us chumps see the light. Keep up the good work!!!

  • I had a similar OW situation where she stalked me for over a year. When I was tipped off to the cheating, I too had about two weeks to prove to myself by watching his activities that he was involved with her. She had knowingly played OW because they couldn’t afford to live together, so,when I threw him out it was a big shock to them, and she was livid that she had to support him in her small apartment.

    So, OW decided to “tell me the story of their love” by reiterating in long emails exactly how she had stalked ne on social media. I was quickly getting to meh, but did call him once just to ask if all the long term cheating was true. Of course he said yes, so then she grabbed the phone and started ranting at me about how I had to get over myself, etc. So I took that chance to ask her to keep him and NEVER send him back!

    You owe this woman nothing. She sounds like a deluded manipulator who operates by “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. She never intended to be your friend, but certainly by getting in your confidence she was playing a nasty manipulative game to keep a close eye on her. Personally, I think you should consider it ultimate revenge that you proved what a turd you gave her.

  • Sadly some relationships are not meant to be, and some people get hurt, end of the day you will get over him and find someone else who loves you for who you are and not what they want you to be until then don’t lower yourself by making snide remarks just move on.

  • Dear Betrayed, it takes a long, long time to truly believe the true nature of these kinds of people. They are turds. They are NOT nice people. They do NOT care about you as a human being. You and OW are – as he showed you – completely replaceable. You are a thing of use to him. SO IS SHE.

    Work as HARD as you can to absorb this information. It will save your life, and change your life. Your job right now is to work on what makes decent, ordinary, undramatic relationships, change your expectations of relationships and find a good, ordinary, undramatic, decent man. It will give you a happy life.

    BE VERY THANKFUL that you are not married, have kids with this turd and over 40 when you found all this shit out. The Universe has sent you a fabulous message about What Not To Like.

    I really hope you take it.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSc54LWSNlA messages straight from turds like him.

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