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Dear Chump Lady, Why blame the chump?

Dear Chump Lady,

Why are these so called experts so rabid about blaming chumps for their part in creating a situation where they got betrayed? Can’t they just admit that cheaters are sick fucks?  Ugh.

I loved my ex-husband and he knew it.  I did the whole forgiveness thing and he acted remorseful and ultra loving.  Our marriage went bad, he was bad.  I have no responsibility or accountability for his dysfunction.  Blame his mother!

WTF is wrong with these people that insist in blaming us???

Carol

Dear Carol,

Good question. I think the bigger question you’re asking here is why is infidelity such a big shrug in our culture. Something we should tolerate in a marriage, work through, and stick with — unlike, say, alcoholism or physical abuse. (Other things chumps have been blamed for “driving” spouses to in the past too.)

If you understand the cultural assumption, I think you will understand the blame.

First, I think it’s a result of poor critical thinking. We don’t make people DO things and control outcomes (ah, that we did… if that were the case, that winning lottery ticket would be MINE!) Shrinks perhaps are guilty of getting too deep into the weeds, looking at the “causal” influences that drive behavior. Oh, he must have deep neurosis, insecurities, and inadequacies that drive his desire to cheat. The marriage must be deeply unfulfilling and it’s that environment (created by the chump) that creates the conditions in which cheating occurs. So if we change the environment (bad chump! improve chump!), we can fix the cheater. And if we shore up the cheater (poor sausage, what did that bad self-loathing make you do?), we can improve the marriage.

This is why I like Dr. George Simon’s work, because he debunks that whole poor sausage, inner neurosis shit, and says essentially, no, what you see is what you get. They have disturbed characters. They actually DO think they deserve to behave appallingly and don’t feel one bit ashamed about it.

The more cynical of us would point out too that the whole Reconciliation Industrial Complex is predicated on fixing cheaters and chumps. And you’re not going to keep a cheater in therapy unless you put part of the rap (or all of the rap) on the chump. Chumps will take that shit sandwich out of desperation to save the marriage, to feel a sense of control in a terrifying situation. Yea! I can fix this! I control this outcome! Show me how! Sell me that book! The couple goes round after round, and the therapy bills go up and up, because no one is prepared to call the cheater on their shit. (Reconciliation is a delicate thing, don’t scare the cheater away!) Oh sure, they have to admit they cheated, but that’s easier to admit if you have a bunch of therapy-approved “reasons” why it happened. (Bitch set me up.)

Second, chumps get the blame because IMO a lot of people view the dynamic of an abusive relationship through the lens of who they identify with, or essentially, who they’d rather be — cheater or chump. And let’s face it, the Devil always gets the best parts. People who haven’t experienced infidelity can fantasize about an affair. All that crap is in our popular culture — the star-crossed lovers, the harridan and the poor long-suffering husband who has his head turned by the ingenue. It’s natural to find other people attractive, or sexually fantasize about people who aren’t our partner, so when it comes to imagining who we would be in the Hypothetical Cheating Situation — a lot of people are going to go with cheater over chump. They can fantasize about being edgy and bohemian and risk taking for hot sex. They can’t imagine being used, abused, and defrauded. (Very sucky fantasy there.) To avoid guilt (or critical thinking) about who we identify with, it’s helpful to come up with reasons for Why Chumps Deserve to Be Cheated On. They were controlling, sexless, withholding, etc. They held our hero back from reaching his Full Creative Potential. Now the sexy fantasy can move forward. Now we don’t have to feel bad about cheaters we admire, because hey, they had their reasons.

Third, I think chumps get the blame for cheating because our culture excuses it. Lots has been written about whether or not we live in a more narcissistic age. Articles point to technology as a reason why cheating occurs, gosh, it’s just so easy! So let’s everyone lower our expectations about monogamy. But I would argue that Ashley Madison isn’t the reason that people cheat. You’d never know Ashley Madison exists if you didn’t go looking for it. No. You cheat because you gave yourself PERMISSION to cheat. And that comes from within. And, IMO, that inner conversation has changed for a lot of folks because it’s okay to be a narcissist.

Sure, some people are wired wrong. They’re truly sociopaths. They’re going to be hurtful monsters because they’ve got zero empathy. Nothing in their head sets off alarms that actions are wrong. In the parlance of shrinks, they have “no adaptive anxiety.” But not every cheater has a personality disorder — some are just greedy, permissive, little piggies.

Eons ago I was a student at the London School of Economics, and my favorite class was Prof. Donnelly’s “The Ethics of War.” I remember this fascinating discussion about the history of submarines. For years, the technology existed to build submarines, but the British wouldn’t do it because it was considered unsporting and sneaky to come up on people from below, attacking them from under the water. You might say, oh, but all’s fair in war — and you’d be wrong. There were lots of rules about engaging in combat. What changed, argued Donnelly, is the ethics. The culture had to decide first that it was okay to fight this way. The British had to erode their ideal of what was sporting and what was not. And only THEN could the technology go forward to build a submarine.

We don’t have guillotines for babies. Even though we could build such a contraption. For baby guillotines to take off with any great success, first we’d have to agree as a society that it’s okay to guillotine babies. (To use an extreme example. We have no reason to execute babies, oh but I’m sure more evil minds could invent one… but we can think of reasons why we need to use submarines to spy on and attack our enemies.)

When chumps take the blame, it erodes the ethics around cheating. Chump blame creates cheater permissiveness and rewards entitlement. And that’s why it is so important to speak out about infidelity as a chump. To take on the commenting trolls or the boorish uncle at your next family gathering. Dude, cheating is pathetic. It’s what losers do. It makes your dick look small.

So, go fight the good fight, chumps. Don’t take the blame!  

This column ran previously.

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  • There is one other major component that I have found in the “Blame the Chump” aspect of much of the counseling that takes place – a LOT of those that bill themselves as “relationship therapists” are actually ex-cheaters themselves. There is an entire aspect of industry (porn/sex addiction) that says only those who are ‘ex-addicts’ themselves can successfully counsel addicts. As a result, when people go to therapy for ‘porn addiction’ or ‘sex addiction’, they are dealing with other ‘addicts’ and no one wants to see themselves as a pervert or loser, so they tell the ‘addict’ they are simply a misunderstood sad sausage that should be immediately forgiven and handled with kid gloves while they find themselves.

    One forum I was spending time on before finding ChumpLady was ALL about understanding the ‘affair fog’ and allowing your wandering spouse time to figure out if they wanted you or the affair partner and forgive at all costs, etc., etc. I would be so angry each time I read one more blog post or visited the forum. Sure enough, I finally found out the guy running the site, also a professional therapists, was also a cheater. He was supposedly reformed, but had a new wife. He would do podcasts and talk about all the things his ex-wife did ‘wrong’ in dealing with his cheating. Of course, the biggest thing she supposedly did wrong was get angry about it instead of trying to ‘understand what drove him to cheat’.

    What is hilarious is there is a post on the forum this week asking people if they had ever read, “Lose a Cheater, Gain a Life.” He quickly responded that he only got two chapters in because the book was disrespectful to betrayed spouses calling them “chumps” and that is used the word “fuck”. Mind you – this guy was a CHEATER who left his wife and kids and moved in with his affair partner. He also uses his ex-wife as an example of what “not to do” and has even had his grown kids on his podcasts talking negatively about their mother and how she ruined their childhood because she was ‘too emotional’ regarding the affair. But, he is telling folks not to read Chumplady’s book. But – he is making a lot of money convincing chumps to pay him $160 a hour to counsel them to give their cheater spouse, “time to get out the fog and make a choice”. And yes – he counsels them to ‘pick me dance’ hard, very hard! Try to lose weight and look better, never appear angry, make sure you greet the with a smile, have the house clean and sparkling whenever they decide to come and see the children. Oh yeah, don’t pressure them to see the children, give them their space, blah, blah, blah.

        • Yup and he is also busy using the “true forgiveness” stick to beat chumps over the head. The entire, “Because you are not a perfect person, you are required to truly forgive. You must have compassionate empathy for the spouse that betrayed you.”

          Can you imagine being a new chump and being told YOU are REQUIRED to have compassionate empathy for your cheater or YOU are the bad guy. He even writes extensively about “winning back your wayward spouse”.

          So yes, FUCK HIM!

          And, I did go to the forum and state over and over and over again how awesome your book was and if people wanted to truly find peace they needed to read it. I haven’t divorced my husband yet and said that you don’t only advocate divorce, but you have GREAT advice for what to expect to even consider staying in the marriage, including getting appropriate legal protection in case your unicorn, I mean ‘reformed spouse’ – LOL, falls off the wagon.

          Hopefully more folks from that forum will find their way here. Some of their stories absolutely break my heart and make my husband’s jacking off to porn look like child’s play. And yet, the cheater counselor himself is giving them advice on “winning their spouse back”. They guy is literally playing the music and choreographing the steps to the pick me dance.

          • I’m sure I was one of those fools. After D-day, in despair and desperation to save my family, I devoured sites like those because they offered hope in the form of utter delusion–and the complete loss of one’s dignity. But at the time I didn’t care. I Googled “how to get your wife back,” “the fog,” etc. I could not accept that this is who she was. I told her point-blank, “You are hurting me and our children and our family. Please stop hurting us.” I will never forget her contemptuous, narrowed eyes–from the face I loved so much. It was truly frightening. Eventually, what became more frightening was what I had become–a wrecked shadow of myself. And I found my final gasping shred of strength to divorce her. And she became even more monstrous when I did. Jesus, what a nightmare.

            • Hugs to you David2016! Kudos for trying. But the truth is ……they never change. So glad you caught on to that and saved yourself.

            • Oh yes, the empty, contemptuous stare. Once you see that, it’s time to move to the nearest emergency exit. Too bad you don’t see until much later that you never should’ve been there in the first place.

              Funny thing about contempt, though. It has a way of finding its rightful owner. After I walked away, the hoovering commenced almost immediately. It really was like following a script to a play I didn’t even know I was in. I didn’t even know the play existed. But I educated myself, and 3.5 years later, contempt is exactly what I feel for him.

            • Totally evil. When i recently wrote a demeaning pleading letter to my narc to implore him to be fair in the settlement under the circumstances he had left me and the kids with NO money and soon forced us out of the house…anyway he chided me about not paying ‘heed’ to the helpful co parenting articles and address further correspondence to his lawyer…so all heart he had no compassion nothing even after i explained how his D1 uh nder the circumstances was suicidal. He completely blanked that part of the letter. I was in 2 minds of even sending the letter but now i know without doubt he is a psychopath.

              • Same thing here. Danced like crazy after listening to MC as husband was supposed to work his way out of the fog. It was so demeaning and destroys your soul. And he was still seeing her on the side. I could only do that for a few months. Bless those chumps that danced longer.

                I also divorced my spouse and got the narrow eyed evil stare. Such hate and venom toward me. It is so crazy and unless you have been through it – you will never, ever understand.

                I will tell you though, once I knew I was divorcing him – I told my narrative. I am done with that now – but people know what he did to me – those close friends and family.

            • My STBX cheated as well and he too has too monstrous while we are working through the divorce. Is it their self-loathing and contempt that does this? I read something on NYMag maybe that people with no empathy have no love for themselves.

              • That is based on outdated (and wrong) Freudian notions that some emotions actually depict their opposite. Some people have no empathy, but most of them think quite highly of themselves. Their crappy behavior is not based on “poor self-esteem” or feeling inadequate. Both George Simon and Ray Baumeister (re: bullies) have debunked that old Freudian notion quite handedly.

              • My stbx cheated lied, blamed me, blamed me to our daughter, gave me the cold dead eye stare, became even more evil as the divorce progressed…. I found his journal from rehab 15 years ago. Part of AA/NA is going over your character defects. Pages and pages describing his never being faithful to anyone, his belief that people are objects to be used. He stated that he thinks he cannot really love anyone. When people don’t do what he wants, because it’s his way or the highway, then he will use intimidation, threats and bullying to force his way. He is a drama king. Relationships are all about sex. And, yes, he thinks he is so right and everyone is so wrong. He’d always talk about everyone – his friends and his family as if they are so stupid and beneath him. He is the almighty king, dontcha know. One of his girlfriends from his youth brought home the Burger King crown to give to him to wear. I always thought that was so funny.
                But, yeah, I am living his bullying and his telling people, including our daughter, how horrible I am. What’s funny is that I just tell the truth – he lashes out with threats and name calling and ridiculous accusations. Like, I trapped him 11 years ago knowing I would try and take him for all he has now. 11 years ago we had nothing. But I ‘knew’ I’d get him later. LOL
                He accused me of divorcing him when the going got tough. Uh, he was moved in with his little 22 y.o. coworker getting her pregnant. That’s quite beyond ‘things getting tough.’ They have no soul. No sense of right or wrong. Whatever they want to do is right and you are wrong. He is justified in all the evil he dishes out because he thinks so highly of himself. While he’s bald and fat and hairy with high cholesterol and false teeth. That 22 y.o. sees money. The user is being used. This could get interesting.

            • Ditto. I danced the dance for 3 years. I did every high wire trick and backflip I could possibly do to “win” him back. I loved him with everything I had. I was the breadwinner, cook, housemaid, laundress, seamstress and even learned how to cut his hair. The taker just kept on taking. And not just from me, from everyone else too. Entitlement is real.

              I was hooked on reconciliation sites. It was a very hard battle to give up that pipe. It is so weird that in the wake of betrayal, you actually still love this person. That was my problem. I’ve overcome that problem by coming to the realization that yeah, you can love someone, but that doesn’t mean that they are good for you. You can also have fun with someone, but that doesn’t mean that they are good for you. You can live a life with someone, but that doesn’t make it the right life for you. Eventually, you have to end up doing what is right for you because no one else with do that for you.

              • MD – I like what you said and the way you said it.

                You want to think that there were some great life lessons to be learned from the nightmare of being chumped, and your family destroyed. For me, the importance of better self-care was one of them, which included looking more critically at my relationships and riding myself of the ones which were not healthy.

              • Three years. I am so sorry. That must have been hell. I danced for eight months before I filed, as she continued her affair in my face and I thought I was dying.

            • Good description David. That narrow-eyed, hostile and contemptuous look is like the devil incarnated. Many times it would be directed slightly away as making eye-contact is with such a look to someone whose devoted 25 years to you is difficult even for the disordered. Like the eye-rolling and huffing, it’s a way they can diminish you and elevate themselves when you try to pierce their wall of denial.

              • We totally need an entire thread about the Devil-Look.. It still haunts me today 4 yrs later and I will never forget it. Slanted. Sideways. Thinking inward. Black Eyes! Scariest eyes I’d ever ever seen in my life. Let alone from him. This is when I told him I had filed for divorce and hired a Forensic Accountant. I think I could smell his pants. I swear – it was a very scary time.

              • Agreed, SheChump. I bet most if not all of us have seen that look, and it’s one of the few things I haven’t been able to get past in counseling. When I saw that on my ex’s face, I felt like I was looking into the face of evil. I know that sounds really melodramatic, but I swear that’s how I felt, and even talking about it now creeps me out. I would be really interested to read other people’s experiences and especially how they’ve processed post-chump.

              • Yes, so true. He would start off looking like a beat puppy but as soon as he knew I was very serious and asking him questions he knew I actually had the answers to he immediately turned into a snake backed into a corner, motionless with black eyes and would drop any expression from his face. I actually laughed in his face one time and asked “what in the hell just happened to your face?” Well, he was unamused…to any of you out there who experienced this morphing into a snake-like human and have reoccurring flashbacks, get counseling. I have had to work through a PTSD like reaction after I have had nightmares about this.. gives me the chills just thinking about it.

              • Amazing how common the descriptions of that look are. I experienced it many times. It’s not fear, sadness, guilt, not really even anger. It’s like the most pure expression of hatred – “How dare you TRY to destroy the fantasy, burst the bubble, challenge my denial, force congruence of my cognitive dissonance..” A difficult part of reconciling is getting past how that hatred could have ever existed.

            • +1 David!
              Kiwichump: forgave, read all these ridiculous sites about winning your husband back, smiled, laughed, made the house sparkle, did all the work with his kids, sent him sexy texts and photos, did all the MC homework, wrote my appreciations, bought pheromone perfume (SMH), cried and cried and cried hiding in the shower or in the car or anywhere. Didn’t tell anyone what he had done.
              Traitor: sneered, refused to apologise, proudly announced in MC that he was not ashamed, never did any MC homework, phoned the Whore within 10 minutes every time I left the house and after every MC session, schemed with the Whore and her family, smirked, cheated and lied for the whole year I was pick me dancing.
              All of these sites should come with a health warning and a link to the chump helpline: Chump Lady

              • Yes pls do a thread on the ‘look’ i too have nightmares because in the split moment he morphed into some”thing’ evil and i felt spirituality under attack. Like someone else said melodramatic but i have never experienced that intense hatred/destroy tpye look . I can never convince the therapists which is frustrating. It still scares me where the hatred came from but hes sure doing a job of acting it out now we are eye deep in lawyers .

            • @David2016 – I’m right there with you… I found out he had been cheating on Christmas morning and kicked him out. But I still tried desperately to save my marriage and also went through one of those groups that preach forgiveness. 5 months later and over 3K spent for my husband to tell me that he prefers to be single right now while he figures out what HE wants from life. I also feel like I have no dignity left, I ate the bullshit and feel like a total fool.
              I went to see a lawyer this morning. I thought it would be so hard to discuss divorce but I left there feeling empowered. I love that DB but I’m done being an emotional tool.

              • MadamMango, a lot of us have been there and done everything we could and everything we thought we would never do to try and save our relationships. That’s a noble endeavour and your dignity is completely intact. You acted with integrity and dignity trying to save what you promised to cherish all your life. Please don’t feel you have lost your dignity. Yes, it was precious time spent on a liar who’s taking advantage of you, but you were dignified and he wasn’t. He has no dignity. You do.

            • Brother I said the exact words ” stop hurting me and our children you are destroying our family” –
              Silence
              Stare
              Contempt
              Disdain
              Could care less
              Creature
              Divorced and 10 years later she still is vicious .
              I said bye and kept going her life has been one big eff up since. Not one longterm relationship at all and now is the local tramp.
              Embarrasing humiliating sad.
              Oh well

              • I vacillate between “I just don’t get it” and “What you see is what you get.” The “I don’t get it” is, logically, willful ignorance (or confusion) on my part. Five years later and it’s still hard to accept that this is who she is and I guess who she always was. Hard for me to internalize because, I suppose, then I have to examine myself: what is wrong with me that I ignored the red flags? And yes there were red flags from the beginning, pre-marriage, though nothing to do with infidelity–just entitlement, disrespect to people, zero boundaries… I plead naivete: I hadn’t been in more than one LTR before her and I spackled like crazy. Hard to forgive myself though.

          • Oh yes, I most certainly can. Let’s blame the victim: They’re already beat down so they’re not gonna fight back. (That’s whatchoo think.) I have been told I was required to “forgive” and admit some kind of culpability towards my abusive as shit Mugger. For Child Abuse. The Culpability and Forgiveness Police are every where, you kiddin? I had no idea we have a cohort in cyberspace who will jump in your shit so fast it’ll give ya whiplash with all this “Well if you don’t forgive, you’ll be an angry, bitter person!” Huh? “NOT forgiving is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die!” “Turn the other cheek. You’re human too!” Now c’mon, you really think someone who’s already shocked they survived into adult life (and consequently didn’t plan real well for it) wants to drink Draino? There’s easier, less painful ways to quench my thirst. And my favorite, “Ghandi says…” Well maybe that’s why Ghandi is Ghandi and I’m TW. Ya see, for these people “Forgiveness” inevitably requires admission of some Culpability. (I won’t even get into the mental gymnastics required for that BS.) I even mentioned (this was back in my rookie days) not only had I not forgiven, but forgiveness never crossed my radar. Nor did culpability. Not on the menu. Holey shit, the next time I stumbled on that site it looked like I’d lobbed an IED into the middle of a crowded Forgiveness and Culpability Marketplace and just walked away oblivious to the KABOOM. I imagine the collective gasp in that bunch coulda inflated a hot air balloon-or a couple.

            I firmly believe there are transgressions that are so far off the Richter Scale Forgiveness and Culpability are a non-issue. IMO, what you’re attempting to do is stick the victim with a bill, an invoice, a Demand Notice IN ADDITION to the all the hell, pain and suffering they’re already grappling with for which they did nothing but be present to “win.” You or someone just like you blew up their life-don’t give a shit why, you did FULL STOP-and now you have the audacity to demand they give you MORE. Who doesn’t see through that shit? Let’s say you intentionally burned down my house. Somehow I managed to survive. And here we are in court on your sentencing for arson and attempted murder. Am I ever required to pay YOU restitution? No. Am I required to “forgive” you? Am I required to own some part of culpability for actions you perpetrated because it was my house? Uh, no.

            Take your faux morality and admit your Culpability in Blaming the Victim and then demanding they pay for the abuse/neglect/perfidy they endured and get on your knees and admit your culpability for handing me a bill-One I payed in full despite the reality it was never mine to begin with and has left permanent scars and burns on my heart and body. It’s not a bit different for anyone who has had their world as they knew it metaphorically as destroyed as if a tornado of F-5+ smashed it but worse yet, it was preplanned and executed. They’re already-simply by virtue of being a decent human being-paying for the “pleasure” of meaning what they said and you said. They believed you and in you. How and in what world are they even remotely culpable for someone else’s behavior? You’re the same damn people who preach how powerless we are over others.
            Haha mothafukkah, logic sucks in your world.

            • “I firmly believe there are transgressions that are so far off the Richter Scale Forgiveness and Culpability are a non-issue. IMO, what you’re attempting to do is stick the victim with a bill, an invoice, a Demand Notice IN ADDITION to the all the hell, pain and suffering they’re already grappling with for which they did nothing but be present to “win.””

              Tundra Woman, those two sentences are GOLDEN regarding forgiveness after abuse/infidelity. I’ in awe.

          • https://www.chumplady.com/2014/12/jesus-cheaters/

            Cheaters confuse hurt, pain and suffering with unforgiveness. They have no moral IQ- so they don’t know the difference.

            It’s as if they are saying…..Yes, I cheated, lied, and deceived you. I gave you a STD. I humiliated you…..devalued you and treated you like crap. Now you have to forgive me or else I will call you a bitter, unforgiving bitch (which is worse than anything I ever did).

            • He can go ahead and call me whatever he wants. It doesn’t even come close to what I think of him now.

            • We can agree to disagree on this. See, I do believe they *do*know the difference. Just as they know the difference between having and affair and not having an affair. One more time, when you have to HIDE what you’re doing you KNOW it’s wrong. This isn’t a “confusion” problem by a long shot. As George Simon so eloquently said, “It’s not that they don’t see, they just don’t agree” prosocial behavior should apply to them.
              Besides, if I’m angry or bitter or unforgiving what’s wrong with that? No one ever died of anger or bitter or unforgiving but sure as hell they have for stuffing those feelings. You’re (not you personally leaving the crap) entitled to an opinion on what I allegedly feel even if you have demonstrated all the empathy of a serial mass murderer.
              That’s what makes your opinion less than useless to me.
              You’re still playing some component of DARVO by blaming me, the victim. And then you add an ominous threat of what I am/will become? Whadda cha steal Miss Cleo’s crystal ball when you stole my life and the kids lives as we knew it? Yeesch.

              Somehow, if I could believe they didn’t know what they were doing very clearly-hellno, they’re not “confused,” just busted-it would hurt less. Knowing the behavior was premeditated, targeted and intentional is a Ring of Hell Dante omitted because it was too damn scary: Committing homicide in your head and envisioning novel ways of torture is “allowed.” If we had the Thought Police, we’d all be doing Life Without Parole. (At least I would be!)

              • I agree fuck forgiveness!

                There needs to be acknowledgement of wrong/evil doing and genuine remorse on the part of the prostitute seeking, $100k marital fund squandering, family nuking, made-my-life hell for years and almost killed me with cancer, asshole’s part.

                As I’ve been getting distance and away from the mindfuck with NC for 14 months I’m seeing things clearer these days.

                Almost 2 years of fighting cancer while also fighting his evil I am happily divorced, since January, and healing. 36 years of my life; no more!

                There is no hell hot enough for he and his young massage parlor whore nor forgiveness for their premeditated evil. I don’t have anymore cheeks to turn (including butt cheeks). I’m using what I have left to sit on; so fuck off!

                Finally, at the advice of a friend, I went to a meet up last night called “Unhitched” to keep moving forward.

                The lawyer, turned counselor organizer, had us go around the circle of 14 and state who we were, where we were in the divorce process, why we were there, and 3 goals moving forward.

                Lots of chumps in a lot of pain. Most, when listing their 3 goals said they would like to get to a place they could be friends with X, get rid of the pain and forgive.

                Not me!

                I said I want to have my first NED at my cancer re-check coming up in a few weeks, continue working toward being my healthiest and best creative self and continue to love and appreciate every day that I’m liar, cheater and narcpath free.

                I know my worth, am blessed with sweet life today and relationships in my life now:

                1. Are built on a foundation of trust and honesty. No more lies and deceit!

                2. Are reciprocal! You don’t get to drain me; no takers need apply. I set healthy boundaries and enforce them. I also speak my truth.

                3. Uplifting, positive and healthy. Own your shit, make changes, be appreciative of every breath you get. Nothing is guaranteed! Get busy living while you’re alive.

                I did offer CL wisdom to fellow attendees last night. The pain is finite and does get better over time. Some hugged me after the meeting and said you are an incredibly strong woman.

                I wouldn’t be strong if I went back to my chumpy ways, forgive X, even though he has no remorse and would be happy if I died. There’s no forgiveness there only acceptance that you can’t fix evil. I tried for almost 36 years. It didn’t work. Now I fix and love me.

                I’m getting closer to meh. I acknowledge and have accepted what happened; to me that’s my version of forgiveness. The rest is just someone else’s judgement and “stuff”.

              • It’s called “Timshel”- a Hebrew word from the Book of Genesis. It was used when God reamed Cain out for being such a dirt bag.

                The word means “Thou mayest.” On the flip side ” Thou mayest not.” meaning thou has a choice. Thou CAN choose.

                John Steinbeck borrowed Timshel for his great novel “East of Eden” (a story of good v. evil).

              • I just tell people “she’s still alive, consider her forgiven”. That really is as close as I can get to forgiveness.

            • I cannot understand why we are expected to forgive cheating spouses who are not in the least bit repentant. I think of it like this: We aren’t required to do what God isn’t even willing to do. Otherwise there is no hell. Zero place as hell. Why would there be such a place if God is forgiving all the unrepentant souls? Everyone’s going to heaven cause everyone’s getting forgiven. Makes no sense. So, no I do not forgive my ex, and I’m fine with that.

      • So not only did he put his wife through that hell, he also alienated the kids from her? That is a double shit sandwich. BTW, I am eating that also.

        All because she didn’t dance hard enough. He is a sociopath!

        • We also have cheating judges out there! I just read about a couple cheating with each other in Illinois!

          • I actually just met a STBX judges Chump. The stories she tells: refinancing the house without telling her or putting her name on the mortgage, buying second properties not in her name. The scary part about these chumps is they are dealing with judges who know the law and what they can get away with. They use intimidation through their legal knowledge to basically scare the shit out of their spouses. They use their public image to discredit chumps. Of course I have directed her to Chump lady… and I’m encouraging her to stand up and fight, not be the wilted flower the cheater wishes she would be.

        • I’m sorry, Gonegirl. Appalling that your loyalty and efforts as a parent are rewarded with an additional round of betrayal. I hope your children see the light soon.

      • Tracy, do you now understand why I really want you to understand why this is more than a blog and you’re more than just someone who got the ball rolling? You ignited something that truly saved all of us.

        I cannot imagine what those poor people are going through. It’s like taking a glimpse into hell.

      • Well thanks to the genius with the hot glue gun comment the other day. Of course I’m the blame, how dare I catch him cheating and living a double life as a new wife and worse put him out! Sent the following text to STBX following “hope your are well” text… too much?

        “You don’t give two shits about me and YOU my friend can go fuck yourself with a hot glue gun! Hope to get this over soon! Oh there I go with that dirty mouth of mine…. lol coward pussy of a man you! “

      • Love it, finally someone who swears like I do! Well OK, you do best me. But it is so refreshing to see that swearing is sometimes quite appropriate.

      • No kidding! In other words, that whole paragraph said, “Don’t expect the cheater to act like a responsible adult or parent.” Of course he doesn’t want people to read chumplady’s book! How would he ever make money if people actually left cheaters?

          • And if that doesn’t work for ya, I’ll perform your colonoscopy with which ever you’d prefer, barbed wire or more barbed wire, your choice! No, of course there’s no anesthesia-why should you get anything the person you demanded bend over for it didn’t get? Remember, you’re the one who’s all about being “fair!” Hell, at least you got the courtesy of an advance appointment.

    • Thinking there is a slander case here. If he is using his ex wife as a bad example while he cheated, well, I would have his sorry ass in court in a blink of a schmoopie! And yes, they turn the kids against the betrayed one. The saddest part and the most difficult to get past. No more “pick me dance” for me and I run a dance studio! 😉

    • It’s true, most of the RIC male therapists *are* sex addicts. Most of them are narcissists too. Funny how those two things go together like peanut butter and jelly.

      Chumps are the ones who actually go through the fog of denial, not the cheaters. It takes a loooong time to really reckon with the monster you were with rather than the mask they wore for so long. When I first found out about mine I remember thinking that he couldn’t possibly be that bad, he did really care about me, didn’t he? Dr. Simon says to look at the behavior, not the words. His behavior told me everything I needed to know, but because I do not speak disordered fuckwit, it took me a while to reconcile those incongruencies. A long, long while. Time that only NC bought for me.

      I get it now, but even as recently as a couple weeks ago, when I was in mourning over the year anniversary of the loss of my pregnancy, I wanted to write the cheater a hateful letter. I was in so much pain and rage that I wanted to lob it over the fence into his yard instead of dealing with that stinking pile of dogshit. But I kept hearing my therapist’s voice in my head, “K, he doesn’t care!” There was no heart for this to land in. I probably could not induce even guilt and shame in someone so incapable of feeling normal human emotions. So I didn’t send anything. I’m glad I didn’t. Because that sick fuck of a human being doesn’t deserve one more kibble from me, even the negative kind.

      When I see new chumps on here, I really do ache for them. I remember that feeling so well, of almost frantic searching for this “good” person they must be, really, underneath it all. They must be hurt! Well, fuck that. Psychopaths also lie. That phrase “hurt people, hurt people” is bullshit and insults the vast number of victims who would never victimize another person. In fact, among the disordered, they routinely lie about being victimized, just to get your sympathy.

      Yuck.

      • Kay, this…so, so much. Once I started to pay attention to the actions and not the words and “sad sausage” facade, I was able to see that the only path was away. It took me several months of fog and looking for the good person I thought I had married to know that he had died and/or never existed. I hope I get to this point, where I can stop the negative kibbles. There are too many occasions to toss them out too via text (ah, technology), as we have a young daughter and have to “co-parent” so I am stuck in communication with him. As you said, he does not even deserve this from me. I know it, but I lob anyway. Sometimes, when I don’t care if I’m really heard or not, it just feels therapeutic. But then again, no (highly reduced in my case) interaction and moving on feels even better.

      • The reason they can say “Hurt people, hurt people” is because EVERYONE has been hurt somehow. Therefore, hurtful people have been hurt too. Just don’t look at all the people who decided to rise above that crap and be nice.

    • And you know what, except for the betrayal by her children, I bet his ex-wife is RELIEVED not to be with Counselor Fuckwit. She probably does a happy dance every morning (like I do), that she is free, free, free, of a self-centered, selfish, blameshifty, immoral, emotionally stunted, dimwit.

    • OK – I’m pretty sure that for the last six months of my relationship with cheater that I was an absolute nightmare to live with or be around. I became the relationship police and was a gibbering lump of pathetic needy jelly – it is not nice to be with someone who doesn’t trust you – and boy I DID NOT TRUST.

      Unlike many chumps I was not married to a cheater for 25 years, we did not have kids together – we owned a house together. I bored him, so he carried on a double life with other girlfriends, hookers and porn without telling me. If he had told me (that I bored him), we would have split up and the house would have been sold, I would have been sad, but life would have moved along…. and we could have put the failure of our relationship down to “just one of those things.”

      Instead I was used as cake and an everlasting ATM, I was maintained as an appliance and when I dared to call him out on his shit and end our relationship, I faced narcissistic rage and hate – which even after a year is still going on. However much I explain to the people around me that I really just want to be done and move on with my life, I can see that they secretly believe that somehow I must have done something to cause this.

      I’m happy to “own” that I was not the woman for him, that once the trust (NOT BROKEN BY ME) was gone; I should have acted faster and left. And yes, that for the last 6 months of us living together must have been deeply unpleasant for him. BUT, I wasn’t the cause of his cheating and lying and whoring around – that is squarely on him – he was bored with me.

  • Yes Chump Lady! It is all about entitlement. My ex cheated on me for YEARS for a “woman” who is 15 years older than me (she is now pushing 60). I have a friend who is 65 and looks hot but not this thing.

    When asked “Why her?” The response I got was “She does what I tell her to.”

    It took years of therapy and a good therapist to make me realize it was not me, and if he didn’t cheat with her, then it would be someone else.

    • ^^^ this
      I had a friend that said “you can’t really believe he got so lucky right out of the gate?” He had been trolling/searching for someone to cheat with for months. If it hadn’t been pink cow, it would have been another wayward animal that wandered onto his field in FarmVille.

      Once he gave himself permission to disrespect me, he would find it just as easy or easier the next time.

    • That’s spooky, that was my cheaters response too. “She’s more submissive” and “she doesn’t ask for things, she knows if it’s important I’ll take care of it”. What a mindfuck it was to be berated for being “too dominant” because I thought I was in a relationship with cooperation where both partners were equal and valuable. No no, not with the narcissist dear. The best partners for him are the quietest and prettiest and make lots of money. If only I’d known there was always a clause in his mind that upgrading a spouse is fair game.

      • I got this type of response too. I was told, “either I’m with her or by myself and either way, no body tells me what to do.”

        This after he opened separate bank accounts, mortgaged the house for his business beyond it’s worth and shattered me after 36 years married with the pronouncement he was “Done with me” while on a trip to with friends.

        He reasoned that telling me why we were away, that I wouldn’t make a scene.

      • Mine said “She’s easier to be with” and called me challenging. And the slitty eyed contempt thing – got a lot of that too. Is all this crap in their Cheater’s Manual?

      • Mine went for “submissive” after the divorce, too (had been his last AP). Gosh, if only I’d been willing to submit to his every wish and whim, I might have saved my marriage. Oops, as my former governor would say.

        • I was told i was “too submissive” and he needed “More of a real partner”. Yeah, it was my fault i was afraid to make a bad decision and not his control freak ways. I’m not sure, but i think he got what he wanted and she isn’t the least bit submissive and his leash is short and tight. WTFever.

          So, really, you cant win. They will just change the narrative.

          • I got the “real partner” jab as well, I think because she knew being a good partner was something I wanted to be and worked at.

          • Mine always complained that I got on him for the things he did…not wanting to do things with me and/or the kids, planning his life around golf, bowling, UFC, work, drinking, etc. He wanted the freedom to have a life outside his family.

            I couldn’t count on him to be around. So, I stopped asking him and just started doing without him…yard work, housework, child rearing, dinners, weekends, etc.

            Then after he was gone, he complained that he felt he wasn’t needed and that he was left out. He doesn’t get that he was left out because he chose that. The disturbing part is that I think that is honestly his reality now.

            • It’s true you can’t win,because cheater fuckwits will always find whatever your ‘weak spot’ is and criticize you to get you to work harder at pleasing them (chumps being conscientious beings). My X cheated on his wife before me who was so submissive X’s own mother told her to toughen up. So he cheated on ‘submissive,” then on me (certainly not submissive), and he’ll cheat on the current submissive, too.

          • I was told I needed to show more confidence. I got this after he had already been cheating for several months but I didn’t know it. At the time I tried to suggest that he had a role to play in whether or not I had confidence (hint, hint), but I felt like I was talking to a brick wall.

      • Same here, so strange. 15 years ago STBX asked me out because he wanted an athletic match, an adventure partner, someone to challenge him. Now apparently he wants someone who will sit quietly at home and not challenge him in any way, will fall all over themselves agreeing with him when he reads fake-news…and will perch on the back of his precious motorcycle “being submissive” instead of riding alongside…all the things he chose me for, he suddenly wants the opposite and blames ME for screwing things up.

        I pick-me danced like CRAZY trying to temporarily suck it up to “fix” these things about myself that are just who I am. I thought the “long-game” of saving the marriage was worth it…I pored over every RIC book and article I could, but none of it felt honest and in retrospect it was demeaning and damaging to my own self esteem, and soul-crushing to try to “hide” the very aspects of myself that I love. Being “submissive” to save the marriage just about destroyed me.

        • STBX doesn’t want submissive or challenging. He wants someone who thinks exactly like him so that there is never conflict and no compromising is necessary because everybody just agrees. He may think he has found this in Schmoopie, but someday something is going to be off and his little fantasy will crumble.

        • NotPlanB,

          Oh, honey, I feel you. They want our competency to balance their inner emptiness; entitlement precludes hard work, diligence and boredom. Strong people using their inner strength to make themselves… less strong? It’s doubly destructive because we want to succeed at it, and employ our significant talents in that direction.

          It is indeed soul crushing to try to be someone else.

    • That’s exactly it, GoneGirl. It wasn’t me, it was HIM. And OW is apparently willing to do anything. That’s just fine by me, because I walked off the Pick Me Dance Floor YEARS AGO now. Dance, motherfucker! Some day maybe she will realize she’s the only one dancing. (Because he certainly doesn’t do any dancing to please anyone other than himself.) Not my problem anymore.

      By the way, I had a number of therapists privately tell me, “This is him, not you — but if I tell him that he’ll never return for another session, so what good would that do?” Egads.

  • I have a question for CN: my dear friend and I are planning to host a series of seminars/group therapy sessions on what to do now that you are beginning the divorce process.

    Some of the topics we want to include will be picking a lawyer, picking a shrink, navigating the mine field that is accounting during and after a divorce, the pros and cons and Con Artists that are in the PI industry, dealing with children in divorce (cool, bummer, wow), and the RIC to name a few.

    My first question is: Do you think that this would be something that you would go to? Given that there will be non disclosure agreements at the door so no one who is there can talk about seeing you there. And security. Only those signed up can get through the event venue’s outer doors.

    My second question: What types of things do you wish you knew before you started this process?

    We are just two women who have been through the wringer with my one and her 3 divorces. We have always said “There’s no manual for this shit” until one day I said let’s make one. In the form of a half presentation/half Q&A. We plan to bring in guest experts like lawyers, therapists, accountants, etc to speak too.

    Thoughts?

    • I would personally not attend a real life event like that. I would do an online anonymous forum, or video podcasts where I am seeing the presentations, but they could not see me. But, I can honestly admit that I would not be willing to walk into a public forum. I wouldn’t even be on Chumplady if I had to use my real name or show my face. Especially because my husband and I are not yet divorced. I don’t trust “non disclosure” statements enough to truly believe folks that might know me wouldn’t immediately call everyone they knew and say, “Guess who showed up!”

        • Kelli, I think this is a great idea but chumps in the middle of it will be afraid it will not be truly confidential.
          However, I think that running seminars like this for EVERYONE as part of a general education programme, or even a pre-marital course would be great.
          I’ve been wondering myself about something like this for women’s groups, especially the women in business types. I am thinking especially of all the mature women entering into their second marriages with kids and assets.
          I am sure something similar could be run for men too, run by a chumped guy!
          Good luck with your endeavour.

          • So far, everyone of our divorced circle of friends and business friends–she owns a business and I am the Marketing Manager for a hospital–in our town of approx. 300,000 have been receptive and positive.

            Again, we are not experts, as in attorneys or therapists, and we would make that clear up front. We are two single, professional, more visible than most, moms trying to share what we have learned with others.

            We have definitely discussed charging a fee, simply for our time and to cover the room rental. Nowhere near $250. That’s crazy!

            We are inviting attorneys, therapists, accountants, and other professionals in to give their expert advice, so we were thinking of a small referral fee if they get a client from us.

            We aren’t in it to get rich. We are in it help people. We both are most definitely keeping our day jobs.

        • I’ve theorized that the reason more groups like this do not exist is because professionals in the marriage and divorce industry are not motivated to share their knowledge about divorce in their area outside of their practice because they don’t want to give away their knowledge for less than $250/hr.

          Thus is it very hard to find information regarding divorce strategies for one’s state or county unless you hire a lawyer who works in that state or county.

            • I hope you will take some suggestions. If you do not have a venue yet try your local library. The next things you need to think about are time frames. I have done some of this sort of training for years and I can tell you that if people have to come straight from work they need permission to bring their dinner with them. Men, and some women, cannot go too long without eating. You will lose their interest. If you have experts there your meeting will not be over until it’s over unless you politely open the door and escort everyone out. The more you do it the better you will get at it. One thing you need to do is try to have some sort of manual to operate from. It keeps you on target. You will need to think about childcare or to make sure they have the understanding that you will not provide it. If you are dealing with single parents that does become an issue. You might need handouts. You definitely need public restrooms. You need to take breaks periodically. That means watching body language so that you know when it’s time for a pit stop. The best thing you can bring with you is a sense of humor. Even something as serious, and as sad as divorce, still needs some humor to help people get through. You will find that if you do this enough these people will form bonds with each other. It is nice to see support systems happen. The attorneys will find that they will have to listen to some of the saddest stories ever. They may find that this is the section of the public they can serve. I have dealt with very empathetic lawyers and they do such a good job for their clients.
              You need ice breakers. Men don’t open up as quickly as women. Talk about cars, or tv. Keep politics completely out. Period! Nothin breaks up a group faster.
              Lastly, how you set the room up is as important as any information. A horseshoe setting of tables with speakers at the open end makes your guests comfortable. Having tables give them an emotional “barrier” because they don’t know each other or you.
              Good luck with this. If you get it off the ground you will have such a good feeling. Helping others helps us.

    • I am a therapist with a business that does that. Be careful of state laws. Make sure you have liability insurance if you need it in your state.

    • Kelli. I would go. I live in a small town. And I would go. But, non-disclosure contracts are probably not worth the paper they’re written on. If you are in a small town, people will talk regardless. Who fucking cates. Getting your ducks in a row is essential. I am sure there must be plenty of people out there ready to attend. Good luck ?

    • When I discovered my ex if 34 years at the whores home, I realized a was a long time Chump. He said to me ” if you didn’t nag- I wouldn’t fallen out of love with you”.
      So obviously it was my fault that he was cheating & eventually discarded me.
      Even my sister (who has a long happy marriage) said I did “nag” at times which might have caused him to fuck another .. was kinda my fault.
      My being true & a damn good wife & didn’t matter.
      Hopefully I’ll get to “Meh” someday.
      2 years divorced but so very hard.

      • What exactly is nagging?
        I “tippy toed” around asking my X to help or get things done because I didn’t want to “nag him”. So, I asked him how I should approach the matter because I didn’t want to be a nag. He told me that he didn’t mind How many times I kept on reminding him–I just had to watch by tone & be careful how I asked. ?

        • Oh seriously, fuck him and his instructions on how to talk to him. Mine was just like that. I had to be nice all the time but he didnt help or pay for anything.

          • I agree…fuck him and the instructions on how to talk to him. He deserved nothing….but divorce papers and a spousal support bill.

              • Ya the nagging thing. I was a nag, please care enough about your kids to spend a little time with them, please contribute to expenses please don’t spend all of our money on yourself. He cheated and I was told i had to stop nagging. That’s when he took half of our life savings and the abuse became epic. Nagging is usually nothing compared to what they do to us…I’d rather be a “nag” than an evil narcissistic sociopathic prick

              • I tried to give my ex instructions on how to talk to me (basically don’t be verbally abusive and entitled). He didn’t pay any attention to them.

        • Nyra, I did the same thing! I knew he hated so called ” nagging” (which we all do at times to get certain things done ) so I was very careful to ask or suggest nicely.
          Wonder if whore he’s now living with nags?
          So unbelievably sick…

          • The worst of it that they count objecting to the affair as the ultimate proof of the nagging. Snort. These are the things that make moving on much easier in the long nag run than staying could ever be.

            • “The worst of it that they count objecting to the affair as the ultimate proof of the nagging.”
              Cashmere, you made me spit my tea!

      • The nagging thing is just an excuse. If it wasn’t that he would have come up with something else you did that he didn’t like or he would have just made something up and left you scratching your head going “do I really do that?

        • So this makes me wonder, what came first? The chicken or the egg?

          If we are all guilty of nagging, perhaps we had to ask multiple times for help because we were doing it ALL while the fuckwit took and took….

          Just one more area of entitlement from a cheater. Chump does everything and cheater does little.

          • MJB
            Yes!! To all of it! Procrastination is my entitled one’s preferred passive-aggressive techniques for the very few tasks he will volunteer to do. I wait and wait for him to do as promised. When he fails to get to it, I have two choices: “nag” or do it myself. Guess which I do far too often?

            • ^ This.

              I had exactly the same dilemma. Even though he ‘volunteered’ to do it, he does take his sweet ass time. I’ve tried every kind of bargaining tactic ranging from passive aggressive approaches and full blown rage. Nothing works. He will just say “I told you to leave that to me didn’t I?”

          • I barely nagged at all and the few times I did ask him for help with something, he still complained. I even told told him how lucky he was that I expected so little of him and hardly ever nagged. I am sure he is realizing that as hindsight now with his next victim. Lmao!!!?

            • He cheated because I asked for firewood to heat the house and hot water. When I didn’t get it I started asking for it for my birthdays and Christmases INSTEAD OF presents. Still didn’t get it. I was a very effective nagger…

            • I did not nag. I just did everything myself, or worked to pay someone else to do it. X never so much as changed a light bulb and things like mowing the grass? Bitch. please! And then, of course, I was too strong and independent, while OW ‘”needed” him so much. She was the damsel in distress and I was the Iron Maiden. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

              • Same story for me in that I did everything myself. He never helped around the house, with the children, when we entertained friends. I didn’t nag and was supportive of all his hobbies (mainly he played golf constantly). So, why did he cheat? It was boring to be with the same woman all the time. He said he cheated because he could and that it had nothing to do with me or our family. I was shattered when this all came out and did blame myself for awhile – kept thinking what had I done? Then after NC for awhile started to see things clearly. I really hadn’t done anything to drive him away. He just sucks big time.

        • My cupboards were too full, and things sometimes fell out of the refrigerator when he opened them. That’s why my X cheated. The wife before me? He cheated because she wasn’t intelligent or dynamic enough. They’re idiots with a character disorder, in search of excuses.

          • In my case it was the cupboard with the cookie sheets and cake pans that wasn’t organized enough.

            • Similar..,
              My tupperware cabinet wasn’t organized,

              Sometimes tupperware would fall out when he opened
              the cabinet.

              I’d get the evil eye glare..
              If looks could kill, I’d be dead.

              • A grown up would simply say, “Honey, this cupboard drives me a little crazy. Would you mind if I re-organize it or cut back on some of the tupperware we keep?”

              • Exactly! Grown ups would help out with the cupboard. Grown ups compromise and think of people other than themselves.

          • My wonderful boyfriend’s teenagers are like that (The Cheater Mom is actively alienating them), every time laundry hasn’t appeared as if by magic or the snack they are imagining hasn’t appeared in the cupboards, it’s either tantrum or tears.

          • Always moving those goalposts ! Picture an athlete running haphazardly up and down the field….I think the disordered also move the sidelines indiscriminately as well with the spectators changing from day to day !

          • Tempest, I hope a few of those things fell and knocked your cheater on the head when he opened the cupboard…

          • Oh, I used to get a ticking off for handing him the wrong spoon. Guess which spoon I brought with me ?

          • That’s such a horrible crime, Tempest! Lol. It reminds me of that old movie, “Sleeping with the Enemy,” with Julia Roberts where the husband was such a compulsive psycho that she had to have all the cans in the cupboard with the labels facing perfectly outward. Amazing what disturbs the disordered so deeply!!!

    • I agree with coolbreezeout. I would not have attended a live event either. The nondisclosure agreement would provide me with no comfort at all. Anyone dealing with a dishonest or disordered spouse would be all too well aware of the ways such protections could be circumvented.

      My suggestion would be to organize most of what you want to offer as a “Second Steps” program. It would focus on helping people who have already let it be known they are seeking divorce, and it would help with many of the topics you have suggested, but there would be no pretense that the work was being done secretly or that anyone’s attendance was confidential. I also think you open yourselves up to all kinds of liability issues by presenting any suggestion the sessions are protected by nondisclosure agreements when you can’t really enforce them, and if someone sued you, you’d be needing legal representation yourselves.

      Even so, just to be honest, I still wouldn’t have attended. First, it would have been unsafe for me to do so. Second, I did find information about how to handle a normal divorce; what I needed was help dealing with the truly disordered, and that, for me, came from a Family Violence center, my lawyer, and–most significantly–this site.

      • That’s where we are going with our seminars–I keep saying seminars, because that is the easiest word for it, but we are planning a 2-2.5 hour meeting with 1-1.5 hours of us presenting, and then a Q&A. My friend’s husband was essentially the Bernie Madoff of East Texas. She was pulled off of the side of the road and hauled into a federal interrogation room for 2.5 hours. They had every intention of arresting her until they realized that she had no idea what was going on. Like for real.

        I have Uncle Dad who’s own expert witness called a sociopath and recommended that I have sole custody of our children. He has left bloody paper towels on my front door. He’s broken into my home to shave and pull down my curtains.

        We plan to have a series of meetings that build on the things that we have learned from Chump Nation, our therapists, and our own mistakes. We also plan to bring in a few experts that can help those who are just starting the process to know the difference between a good lawyer, and what to ask, and a bad lawyer. Why the RIC is a waste of money, time, and energy.

        What things a good therapist will charge. What you can say no to in arbitration. What to do if you feel bullied in the divorce process. How to file a restraining order. What to do if you suspect your partner is cheating? What is a forensic accountant. What is a PI and do I need one? Why your lawyer is not your shrink

        Custody: The minefield. Why the courts don’t care that you think the other parent is bad because they feed your kid neon orange mac and cheese for dinner. Why you don’t share with your kids about your ex-partner. Why you have to let go of what happens at the other person’s house. Why child support is never enough. Why you have to be the sane parent. Why teenagers are secretly evil dictators trying to take over the world, and you should not show any weakness.

        And then, for the more advanced courses, how to learn to live again. How to find a passion, not a person. Why Tinder is not for the Tinder of Heart. Yes, you will emotionally vomit at the most inopportune time–we all do it–but you shake it off and move on. Also, the Holy Grail of them all: How to find Meh!

        So, these are the things we want to share. NO ONE shared them with us, other than this site. We want to help others in the same way that we have been helped. We want to create a safe space. We will have security. We are working on making things as safe as possible. We are also offering two free spots to our local women’s shelter.

        On the premise of “motivational speakers” sharing our stories, with guest experts, does that change anything?

    • Or write a book. Or do online coaching with a fee along with a book? I will tell you some of my mistakes as cheater X just tried to blow up my life through threats and other intimidating tactics helped along by his crazy GF.

      I handled all the finances – I knew all the passwords – I did everything for him, for us as I THOUGHT I was planning for a retirement.

      If you have filed for divorce – make sure you give your soon to be X all the passwords he/she may need. I had set up his credit Karma and his Social Security info and they were all linked to my email and my phone number, along with all the credit card info in his name only.

      Give them the info – up front.

      I forgot I even had some of this info until he accused me of stealing his identity and he filed reports with the police(did he, who knows?) and he went to the SS office and told them I stole his identity. Lots of threatening emails and texts from him. It is so un nerving when you are trying to divorce, which is what they want to do(un nerve you and make you crazy) because they don’t care and don’t have a conscience.

      So just be upfront with your cheater – after you have protected yourself financially of course and gotten all the info you need.

      • Also, password protect everything! The crazy GF has my social security number. Thanks asshat cheater X.

        So my utilities address and email were changed. Put a password on that for any phone conversation.

        Did the same for some financial info – place a password for phone conversations.

    • How about a Tedx? https://www.ted.com/about/programs-initiatives/tedx-program?

      In adddition to the divorce how-tos, there could be speakers like Chump Lady and George Simon, and other Flipped Narrative Gurus on the topics of narcissism, recovery, codependency, parental alienation, CPTSD.

      With a poster session for recovering Chumps on the topic of “What worked for me and what didn’t” and “This is my life now”

      • ^ This.

        Oh how I wish Chump Lady would do a TedX talk. It would be great to have a video to post in response when others are promoting cheater-apologist Esther Perel’s nauseating talks.

    • Actually in Chicago-land there is a place that offers a one day (2.5hr) seminar called divorce university with lawyers, a judge, financial planners, mental health pros and other resources. It’s through the Lilac Tree http://thelilactree.org/. Yes I would go to something you are describing. When I went to the seminar here, the place was packed. The cheater stories were all the same vanilla crap, the abuse stories were horrifying. It was helpful.

      A local friend referred me to the place.

    • Kelli-
      I would have LOVED to have found something like this! Yes, I would go and I could give a shit who would tell anyone I was there. The reason I would be there is because my X is a piece of shit and I was lucky enough to marry the asswipe. The main reason I would have joined though would have just to find friends who I could talk to, that understood what I was going through. After Judas cheated on me – I found I really didn’t have as many friends as I thought. They gravitated toward his drunk ass rather than helping me after he murdered our family. All my friends were ‘our’ friends – therefore married. So when dumped Judas’s sorry ugly ass – I didn’t really have too many people to go out with. I think this would have been a good opportunity to meet new people and bash the shitheads we were with.

    • I would advise that victimized betrayed partners/spouse are steered clear of 12 step mentality (Patrick Carnes and followers). There is such a thing called “therapy abuse” in which the CSAT counselor helps the cheater/pervert blame shift. CSATs are Carnes’ disciples. Carnes himself is a self admitted “sex addict.” (Athough there is NO scientific evidence that “sex addiction’ even exists) Re victimizing the victim is never OK.

      Please look at the work of Dr. Omar Minwalla. His work on the “Trauma Model” is far more appropriate for hurting, traumatized partners and spouses.

    • My DB said he wanted a divorce Abe would agree to habit our 2 year old every other weekend. He picks hon up grin shook 3x per week so he sees him plenty. Initially I told him I was standing for our marriage and would not file for divorce. However things have changed and I’m done. I went to an attorney today. When I sent him the paperwork required to calculate child support, he got super pissed and said he’d fight me for 50/50 custody….. he’s currently living with a friend and sleeping on a couch…. We don’t have any joint assets so for me, I’d be interested in custody, time sharing, etc.

      • I’m so sorry for the typos! My 2 year old hit the post button before I could edit the post. Is there a way to ho back and edit it now so it makes sense?

    • I wouldn’t attend. Part of it is confidentiality, but mostly because something this devastating is so overwhelming. Cheaters have the snake slit side eye. The betrayed need to look at the thing sideways, as well, managing bits and pieces over time to make the whole thing manageable. The very comprehensiveness of your program is what would make me avoid it. Too much. Valuable and kind hearted and generous and useful… but toooooo much.

  • It’s hard to understand how widespread “blame the chump” actually is, particularly among other women — it’s a defensive move, a hopeful moat against thoughts of “this could happen to me.” It’s also a strange by-product of internalized misogyny. Because in my experience male chumps don’t get to be the recipient the knee-jerk blame-shifting mindfuck as readily as women. There is less “Frank, what did you do to drive Mary to spend the college fund on prostitutes in Thailand and Amsterdam? Couldn’t you dress a little more sexy and wait home for her with piping hot lasagna more often?”

    • Thank you. Yassss. So much yassss. Just putting this into words in my thesis, theotherwhitemansburden. Internalised, systemic misogyny.

    • I agree that there is widespread internalized misogyny and would note that it affects men as well. I think men are much more likely to hear about how we should quickly recover, how we should be able to line up another “piece” soon (as if sex is what’s most important to all of us and that’s all we think women are worth) and hear cracks about being short, having inadequate dicks, etc.

      I certainly don’t men to suggest men have it rougher, just wanted to point out that discussions of misogyny and the patriarchy often fail to mention how men are also punished. It’s secondary, but it’s real.

  • I think part of people who haven’t had the experience of being cheated on blaming us chumps is fear. If it could happen to you it could happen to me. But I’m no chump so it must be a fault in you. They just don’t understand, and I must say I didn’t understand what it was like to be betrayed until it happened to me. It is a most horrible feeling. It is a feeling of being violated. I didn’t choose for someone to act against me in this way without my knowledge. It is such an intimate betrayal on many levels.

    • That’s a huge component Georgie. People don’t want to believe that the “bad thing” can happen to them. If they believe you did something to cause it, then they can sleep easier at night because if they don’t do that thing, it won’t happen to them. It’s all about control.

    • I always blamed cheaters and not the cheated on. Never the less, in my own marriage, I still imagined that if I was a good enough wife and made sure we had sex regularly STBX would never cheat on me. It didn’t work.

  • What I am finding distressing at the moment is the mostly unsaid but definitely inferred blame by close family ie “You knew what he was like and yet you stayed with him for so long/ married him”, flavour of blame. Not one person in my immediate family circle has said that what I suffered was abusive or toxic. None of them seem to understand how devastating this entire ordeal has been- the betrayal, the gaslighting and lies, the exposure to potential STI’s, the breakdown of a family unit I thought was going to be forever, the bitterness and mindfuck of having to do shared custody with Sir Pustule, the huge loss of financial security, the loss of my self esteem and self worth and years of depression and anxiety. The ONE person who gets it was herself chumped, in very similar detail. My mother and sister have both said, ‘but you knew what he was like’- thanks for the invalidation and for implying that I got what I deserved. I just can’t wrap my head around it- i totally get that unless you’ve been in this horrible situation, you truly don’t get, but what’s happened to basic empathy and kindness and the ability to stop and think ‘Wow, that must be hard”. Feeling quite bitter at the moment as after over 3 years post DDay, I have only just started to pick myself up. In that time, I’ve had not one phone call asking if I’m ok, no financial help, minimal (and grudgingly given) practical help whatsoever from my so called loving family. I have been left utterly alone to deal with this mess and frankly, I’m so sad and over it. I am having to declare bankruptcy and draw on my super fund in order to start afresh and yet two of my siblings LIVE with my mother, pay minimal board and enjoy a huge amount of emotional support. Sorry for the rant, but CN has truly been my only lifeline over the past 3 years- I am so thankful.

    • Specialist,
      In a fairly short post you perfectly described the trauma and devastation – and the simple unfairness – of what we have all gone through.
      It made my blood boil to hear that you have to listen to your mom and sister say, ” you knew what he was like.” Those are the most unfeeling uncaring words – it’s just cruel. I am so sorry you are dealing with that. I am 3 years out too and my last hurdles are the same as yours – accepting the fact that most people do not understand at all. Keep hanging with your friend who gets it and keep fighting the good fight. ((((BIG HUGS)))

        • My response would be straight up, “You’re suppose to be MY FAMILY you fuktards! And -especially YOU, MOTHER-when did your responsibility to warn and protect end? If you were so *sure* I somehow “knew,” all’s I knew is what you told me-remember? Nothing at all beyond oh what a nice person blaa-blaa-blaa. Never once did you say RUN FORREST! RUUNNN! And now you have the unmitigated audacity to try to end run around an accusatory statement that I knowingly signed up for infidelity? To be lied to? To have my/the kids lives blown all to Kansas? Take your Prime Time Morality and shove it down your throats for ever accusing ME of signing up for an unscheduled tour of HELL.
          Shame on you! SHAME ON YOU!”

          Yeah, they *think* we won’t fight back heh heh…

    • Read yesterday’s CL post on Huma, Anthony Weiners Chump. I was really shocked to see some in the nation smear her. “Wow it must be hard” did not apply to her. She’s a rich, well connected Saudi who knew her husband was inappropriate-so she did not deserve our empathy. The beauty I have come to discover here on this blog is Chumpdom might as well be the United Nations. Young, old, male, female, rich, poor,citydweller, country dweller, Mormon, Jew, atheist, cat owner, dog owner, ANYONE can end up being a chump. We are all in this together and I think our biggest fight (second to our cheaters) is dealing with society’s “norms”. Hang in there SpecialistInHope!!!

    • I agree, people who have not gone through it just don’t get it. My sister luckily has been supportive, but she is the only family I have, and she is 4 hours away, and busy with her own family. I live in the community my ex grew up in. he’s very well known and has a high ranking position in his career, which means that people fawn all over him… it’s quite sickening actually. All these people who’s livelihoods are based on what he provides… guess where that leaves me??? the odd man out. The lack of support and blame can sometimes feel crippling. Who wants to socialize in a community where you’ve been branded with a scarlet letter?

      I’m with you specialistinhope, it is unfair! I walk around this community like the town leper, yet my STBX spent thousands on sex workers, put my life in danger having unprotected sex, is seeing that he ruins my financial future by spending uncontrollably, and I’m somehow to blame because I married a liar. He slapped me with a gag order so I can’t tell “the truth”. This experience changes you, and it’s hard not to focus on the unfairness… because it is so fucking unfair!

      We are taught from young ages that good things happen to good people and bad thing happen to those who make mistakes. It’s imbedded in the cultural narrative.

      “Oh, something bad happened to you? It must have been something you did!” Uh no, something bad happened because I have no control over anyone else, and unfortunately I married a fuckwit who couldn’t control himself!

      • Got-a-Brain — good thing you do (have a brain), because it’s going to take your smarts to outwit your cheater. Take your time, think through every single aspect of your circumstances.

        Even challenge your thinking about Mr. Well Know Who Secretly Sees Prostitutes. People probably are on to him. Just look and listen for awhile. This could end up turning out really good for you, and really bad for Mr. High and Mighty.

    • SiH–tell your story; chances are you’ll encounter other people who have either been through something similar, or purely empathetic folks who “get it.” I spill the beans every chance I get (#nofilter) because X’s cheating is not my shame to bear. Turns out, someone I lightly told my circumstances is going through a traumatic divorce from his narcissistic X and I was able to ‘normalize’ the dysfunction for him. We both felt better for it.

    • So sorry!!! My family has been exactly the same– all narc cheaters themselves.

      Your new family is here.

      I’m here for you. You’re not alone.

      • Thank you so much. You’ve put a smile on my face. CL always, always makes me feel less alone.

  • I also hate when people say, “Well, there are two sides to every story,” as if to insinuate that you are telling a bias story to what happened with your cheater and that the cheater must have had a reason of their own of what happened and “why” they cheated, as if there is EVER a good reason….smh

    • My cheater started to use that line a few months after D-Day. My reaction was: “Absolutely, there are two sides to every story. There was your story and the prostitutes’ story.”

      • Yes! The two sides phenomenon is just another version of “It’s all your fault.” And, they will grasp at any small thing to create this false equivalency of “my side is just as traumatic as yours.” Once in an argument about my husband planning to fly to another state to see a specialist fetishist prostitute he said, ” Yeah, well when you talk to your friends you always say “my house!” [As in “we could do that a my house,” or “I could host the group at my house”]. I could not believe it. Seriously? I only meant that in the sense of they wouldn’t have to do it at their house. Apparently, every single time I spoke to anyone I was supposed to say, “I can do that at my and Mr. Lying Son-of-a-bitches house.” My pronoun usage when talking to my friends is equivalent to you betraying, lying, spending several thousand dollars, breaking the law, exposing me to the possibility of deadly diseases?!?! Yes, I see.I see that my dastardly pronoun usage and their antecedents are clearly the REAL issue here. All “sides” of a story are not equivalent because all marital “crimes” are NOT equivalent.

            • It’s hard to be wrong when you don’t even know the ‘story’ exists. The only sides were his and the mow’s. I was in the dark by design. Of course, the house of cards falls when each of the storytellers has other stories happening simultaneously….

      • Yep, my X loved that line…

        When people go there, I would reply:
        “Actually in our story there are three sides, his, his mistress’ and mine.”

        That takes care of it pretty quickly…

    • No….it doesn’t take “two to tango”- one asshole liar can ruin a marriage with no help from the other spouse. There is one side to the story: You broke the marriage vows. You are the cheater. No one wants to be with a cheater. End of story.

      • My STBX loves to use that phrase. Every time I nail him for something shitty he did, he spouts it. Fuck “It takes two to tango.”

      • Oh yes! It may take two to tango but I was the one home saving the tango for stbx while cheater was out tangoing with every whore he could lure!

        • It may take two to Tango, but it only takes one to Flamingo: See Ferly Prado do it with elegance, feeling, grace and beauty-all by herself. And if you don’t watch till at least 3:38 you’re gonna miss even more good stuff.
          Become confident you can do it alone: It just takes practice.

    • My standard response to that sort of nonsense: “It takes two people to make a marriage. It only takes one person’s bad behavior to break one.”

      • “A marriage is between two people” is a fav of mine… The perfect reply I learned from CN:

        “True, a marriage should be between two people, my X and his mistress obviously don’t know how to count…” He has a PhD…

    • I hate the comment, well, he doesn’t seem like that kind of guy.. or I can’t see him doing that.
      He’s always so nice.,
      I didn’t think he was that kind of guy when I married him but guess what?

      He is that kind of guy.

      • Yeah, just because he picked up the pizza when he watched football at your house doesn’t really tell you anything about him. Also, it really is the “two sides” thing again. Well, I see him buying pizza so that equals out in his good column–so, he really can’t be that bad even if he is spending the equivalent to a years worth of mortgage payments on prostitutes.

    • My take on that: “Yes, you’re right. There are two side to every story. His side, however, is a bunch of lies.”

  • Oh! Forgot to mention the headfuck that Sir Pustule provided and continues to provide- was and is entirely my fault that he cheated, again and again and again- I didn’t make him feel loved or special enough! I didn’t have sex with him often enough! (Funny how libido dampening it is to discover your beloved screwed a prostitute while you were pregnant…or that he had sex with a patient….or jacked off to porn every possible moment…or was trawling dating websites …or sexting….). Nope, was all my fault apparently. Narc fuckstick.

  • The British weren’t very ‘sporting’ in their treatment of nations they colonised.In fact part of their justification narrative was that these colonials didn’t have the wherewithal to rule themselves.Kind of like blaming the chump for cheating.And like many colonial powers and cheaters,they felt entitled.

    • My cheater, whose working life was dedicated to helping the downtrodden in third world countries, used that exact colonial analogy with no irony: “they are poor, and they need clients to make a living” was his justification for using the services of prostitutes. You see, he was just helping. No?

        • If you still has the misfortune of communicating with this King Weirdo Exploitive Child Molester…let him know that these “clients” leave 10 year old little girls with calluses on their vaginas. You know…from the “help”.

    • There is a definite correlation between colonialism and “entitlement” attitudes. It probably stems from the Greeks and Romans. Cheating is actually a form of domestic abuse. The affects are as devastating as being punched in the face (maybe even worse). Feeling entitled to cheat definitely comes from old school patriarchal thinking.

    • Only the Brits, eh? I guess we Americans were awfully magnanimous to the native tribes who already lived here when we arrived, then. — Victors write the history books … or they used to.

  • Here’s a thing I am working on right now: There is a thing that happened, and there is the other person’s version of the thing that happened, and I don’t have to accept the other person’s version if it’s tripe.

    Example:

    He says he couldn’t tell me something because he knew I would be mad and I’m scary when I’m mad. (This, of course, implies that I am abusive/unsafe in some way.)

    I disagree. He could have told me.

    First of all, even if I WAS abusive, it wouldn’t be true that I controlled his choices. If I was abusive, he could stop being in relationship with me to make himself safe. He doesn’t have to deceive to be safe.

    Second, he’s neither giving me a chance to accept his information well, nor defining why he feels unsafe so I can work on doing better when I respond if I am angry about what I hear. Saying “you’re scary” is really vague and inflammatory.

    Third, I am not abusive. Maybe he feels unsafe because he has issues with feeling like any person thinks he’s any less than awesome for any reason. Therefore, me rationally explaining why I feel angry and how what he did isn’t ok with me is “scary” for him in the same way that swinging a machete at his head would be scary for other people.

    Fourth, characterizing me as “scary” may simply be a way of internally justifying his choices to act outside of the agreements of the relationship. Or, similarly, he may not really feel scared at all, he’s just calling me that so I will shift my energy toward trying to better myself and off of his deception.

    Am I scary when I am mad? Loads of others don’t seem to think so. Examining the facts with clear self-reflection,** I** don’t think so. My opinion of me counts.

    Instead, maybe he and I are just incompatible.

    • Sounds to me like you are incompatible because he’s a coward who decided to go behind your back instead of actually communicating. That’s what’s really scary if you ask me. Grown men being scared that grown women will get mad for being lied to is up there with adults being scared of gravity or seasons.

      • You can’t communicate with these fuckwits. They always do an end-run around logic. The only power we have is veto power.

        • Agreed. Trying to communicate with him just frustrates and pisses me off. And I hate to admit it, but he still manages to mess with my mind when he spouts his shit. Thankfully, it continues to shrink in the time it does so. Still waiting for the day when I no longer let him mess with my head for even a minute. No contact or grey rock is a must to get free of the mind fuck.

        • Pervy Pants: Well you shopped at JC Penneys and bought towels without telling me. You ran the credit card up.

          Me: Well you lied, cheated, spent countless dollars on webcam hoes, prostitutes and internet hookups. You put my health at risk and destroyed my sense of security. I guess we are even now.

          • Towels? Really? Mine told me it was okay that he spent money on his mistress and took as much as he could for himself, because I gave money to charity. So, that apparently makes us even.

    • My clown tried to convince the kids that the reason he stayed out all the time and didn’t come home is because he knew I would be mad and it was something he couldn’t deal with… so he was “afraid” to come home. Seriously? Who wouldn’t be upset with that kind of behavior. What I have come to realize is that he couldn’t deal with the guilt over his affair and he resorted to all night drinking and discarding me completely. He has FINALLY admitted the affair- after divorce was final, of course.

      I am now still trying to undo his brainwashing and the lies to the kids who are 18 and 14. I tried to protect them and didn’t tell them about the affair initially when the divorce was underway. Was that ever a mistake. That just gave the joker time to tell the kids a convoluted and absolutely untrue side of the story.

      • Yes….they try to control the narrative! Don’t let him. The truth is more important than “being nice.”

      • Yes, all the “You must lie and make the cheater look good to the children” shit really makes me angry. I guarantee that all that ever does is give the practiced liar time to solidify their story with no other information for anyone to use. Funny how the “There are two sides to everything” malarky dries up when you are actually giving YOU side.

        • My STBX tells the kids there are two sides to every story (by text, not in person) and then never has the balls to have that conversation with them. Maybe because saying that to them gaslights the kids into thinking that mom did something shitty, too, but then the reality is that he doesn’t have anything on me.

          I stick to the facts and answer the kids’ questions honestly and try to keep my opinions of how shitty their dad is to myself. The facts of what he has and is doing speak for themselves. I refuse to hide what he is and doing from them anymore. I did that for too long while I was trying to save the marriage. Maybe I was also trying to convince myself as well. No more.

      • So relate, I don’t know why the mainstream advice is not to tell the children if they are old enough to understand. I asked my cheater to agree to that when he left. I upheld my end even though it was difficult. Four months later I find out cheater has been telling kids about affair partner since 2 weeks after leaving and telling them “not to poke the bear” by telling me.

        Needless to say I was livid and when I confronted him, he said “I thought we just weren’t going to tell them about the previous ones!

        Since then, I have made sure to tell them of their dad’s ongoing deception, that it is wrong and his poor character is not a reflection on them because they are individually and uniquely created by God.

        That is the other question today’s post brings to mind: what is the difference between a personality disorder and lack of character? Both seem to be a spectrum but in the end the same thing.

      • You would be surprised how much “truth” the kids know! I hid Pervy Pants’ behavior from the kids until they were young adults. Much to my surprise they knew he was distant, emotionally unavailable, stingy with kindness and support, stingy with money and time. They had that figured out when they were in grade school.

    • I love the way you’ve laid this out. I still go around and around about this. When I was crying and begging my ex to explain how she could leave without even letting me in on what was going on, she said that she hadn’t let me know she was unhappy because I wouldn’t have taken it well. That very well may have been true, as I was going through a period of deep depression and other trauma recovery, but not taking it well would have amounted to some upset feelings and discussing it with my therapist. I still blame myself, wondering if she really did hide things from me for my own benefit. All answers point towards no, yet still I wonder.

      • No, it was not for your benefit. It is just more gaslighting. Mine tried to say he didn’t tell me sooner because he wanted to wait until I was well and could handle it ( I had female problems and finally had a hysterectomy which was nothing short of miraculous for me). I think my “female problems” were totally exacerbated by his cheating and lies. He used them to gaslight me. They are just fuckwits and masters of mindfuckery!

        Btw he was on his way to fuck schmoopie in Florida before I was out of surgery!

        I am sure your deep depression was caused or made worse by gas lighting not helped!

      • Feeling it,
        Do NOT blame yourself. By not telling you, he denied you the ability to make a decision for yourself. After the fact, mine admitted that he cheated on me with more than I discovered on my own but didn’t tell me because he did not want to “add insult to injury”. By hiding and lying, he kept me dancing. I also believe that he did it as some sick power play. He gets a thrill over pulling something over on someone.

        It completely SUCKS to discover the sheer volume of lies they tell.

    • Love this logic, Amiisfree. I dealt with this as well. My EX, when doing the finger pointing, told me that he had been afraid of me for 30 years! Why didn’t he ever say anything? He was just trying to make me feel as terrible as possible and make himself feel more justified to leave. What an ass!

    • My cheater same – “I didn’t tell you bc I knew you’d get angry.” No fucking kidding Einstein. And then I am madder as all fucking hell, BECAUSE he lied again or hid the truth or omitted important details that mislead me about the situation etc etc etc. Or he deleted something else from the computer after promising not to – which makes me super pissed. He says I’m scary when I’m angry or that my face is so contorted and ugly, but he is not at all afraid of me. He doesn’t lie because he’s afraid of me getting mad. He lies because he FEELS like it and because he doesn’t care and doesn’t want to hear my “bitching.”

      The way he acts indignant when I get angry about him refusing to tell the truth, is enough to make me want to beat him with the nearest lamp. So he goes around saying I have an “anger problem.” No, no I don’t have an anger problem. My anger IS justified and displaying it IS normal. What I have is a damn cheating, lying, workho-loving asshat baby man who has the most magnificent case of entitlement syndrome and the most profound amnesia on the planet. Seriously, he “can’t recall” anything . “I just can’t remember that far back Chik, I’m trying….”. Uh fuck no he’s not trying to recall. And don’t fucking tell me you can’t recall bc “God Chik, that was years ago, why are you asking me about things that happened 15 years ago? Sheesh.” Because I know he remembers just fine. His recall is splendid when it suits HIM. Unfuckingbelievable. I SHOULD be angry for damn sake. Fuckers

  • CL’s message…”leave a cheater gain a life” is simply a challenge to the reconciliation industry. In a few words CL’s message is a threat to the narrative against the blame paradigm that cheater apologists cling to.

    On the flip side there faux chumps out there, these are the covert predators that infiltrate and abuse true chumps. CL has been a victim of such a faux chump predator, a man she married who claimed that his ex-wives cheated on him but that was a lie as he was the serial cheater.

    The complexity of chumpness is much more than just two boxes to cross, it’s cliche that one has to adjust their picker but it’s essential.

    At the end of the day no one should remain a chump, it’s not a badge of honor, it should be a phase one moves from to a stage of grounded and healthy scepticism that retains the values and character that unfortunately made you a chump at one time.

    • Agreed. We learn, we become stronger, and eventually be able to put the past behind us and help others who are experiencing this terrible abuse.

  • The Patrick Carnes SA 12-steppers tend to blame the chump (re victimizes the victim). Stick with Dr. Omar Minwalla’s camp if you want to avoid being abused by Carnesian therapists and other ignorant souls.

    PS….Anthony Weiner was getting “12- step Carnesian” therapy at the “Ranch.” If that tells anything!

  • deedee,
    Thanks! I was thinking along similar lines. In fact, if you read CLR James’s “Beyond a Boundary,” on his life in cricket, you discover that “the British weren’t very ‘sporting’ in their treatment of nations they colonised” in the matter of sport. In the film “Fire in Babylon,” on the triumph of the West Indian cricket team, it’s clear they are also triumphing over colonial racist abuse.

    Also, with respect to the reactions of the general cultural impulse to blame chumps for the cheating, it seems to me such bystanders not only fantasize about the “edgy” and “bohemian” aspects of an affair, they also indulge themselves in the pleasure of allowing themselves to think that they, too, have been prevented somehow from “reaching [their] Full Creative Potential.”

  • Ok…. so the cheater had a square nipple to suck on when he/she was a baby………but that doesn’t give them the right to destroy the lives of other people.

    These disordered souls do not have the ability to see themselves for what they are. Blame shifting, minimizing, gas lighting (making you feel crazy when you sense something is wrong)= all play book behaviors. Typical personality traits: Self centered, sexually/emotionally under developed …….with a moral IQ so small- you can fit it up and amoeba’s ass!

    Never accept the blame for a cheater/liar/deceiver’s behavior- EVER!

  • This is so relevant, I think the most devastating part of the whole thing was being blamed by the elder/counselor at church. Being told I could control his temper tantrums, his bad behavior, the abuse to me and my children. Giving me hope where there was none. That is difficult to overcome.

    When I finally decided to divorce my cheating/abusive jerk I told the MC who said (all the while knowing about the abuse and affairs) “Divorce is hard.” Yes, it was hard, but easier and healthier than living in the toxic environment I put myself and my kids. So, I held on years longer than I should have, waiting for permission to divorce, waiting for my actions to make Xhole better. Thank God I finally pulled the plug.

    • That was just Evil – what they did to you.

      My mind boggles at all the mightiness it took to get yourself out of there.

    • Geeze! I’d ditch that church fast. Backward ignorant folks! Glad you got away from them.

  • Honest to gosh quote from the STBX before I discovered the joy and freedom of NC: “Ok, I had affairs. What did YOU do? What is your responsibility here? How did YOU betray ME? I think it is very telling that you refuse to own your role in this.”

    Big sigh. He should have said: “Ok, I had affairs, sexually harassed coworkers, was a binge alcoholic, got a DUI, picked up an STD from a hooker, was addicted to porn, sucked as a dad, abandoned our kids, exposed our son to the latest affair, lied my head off, revealed your private information, undermined your character, diverted money to the OW, treated you like shit, and pretended to be a stellar guy the whole time, so let me just live out the remainder of my pitiful life under a rock in the scorpion infested desert and give you all the things,” but no. Was more important to add blame to my already overwhelming burden, which includes cleaning up this mess to the extent that can even be done.

    • So sorry cashmere. These freaks are like locusts- they destroy everything in sight! Charles Manson would have made a better hubby than your cheating/drunkard dirt bag!

    • Until I went completely no contact I heard the EXACT words.
      Chilling how similar these fuckwits are.

    • Sigh. Blame shifting in full gear… They are idiots. It’s about time for the general public to wake up and see these mofos for who they are and CL/CN is instrumental in this regard.

  • This has always been one of my favorite CL columns.

    I agree with fighting the good fight, but I’ve also just said “fuck it” to a lot of people. People who blame you for your spouse’s affair aren’t worth having in your life.

    I understand that’s convenient for me, given all my good friends and family blame my EW, not me. So the only people I “had to” cut out of my life were friends of my EW.

    Other chumps aren’t so lucky–their parents, siblings, or fiends not-so-subtly imply that “something was wrong in the relationship”…which is a euphemism for laying blame on the chump. That fight is difficult, but worth having.

  • In regards to therapists, sometimes they have to do the pick me dance too. Our MC was hired to save our marriage and that is what he was trying to do. When I had my private session with him he did council me not to accept just anything in my marriage and to take a hard line on keeping STBX away from Schmoopie. He was disappointed that I did not have more backbone than I did (I was afraid of pushing STBX away). When I suggested that he might be able to reach STBX in ways I couldn’t, however he indicated that he had to treat STBX with kid gloves or he would lose him from the reconciliation process. So he wanted me to be tough, but had to be gentle himself. When STBX and I were in the room together it seemed as if he was favoring STBX and trying to downplay some of his bad behavior. He didn’t condone the cheating but he implied that the years of criticism and devalue I had endured was just “negative interpretation” on my part. In the end MC and I both lost STBX to his own stupidity anyway.

    Also, another reason people side with the cheater is because they know that cheater is harder to please. They have to be nice to cheater or cheater won’t like them, will think poorly of them and discard them but chump will not judge so no need to be nice to chump.

    • Very good point. I think the cheaters get everyone to pick me dance around them, not just their spouses. It’s their MO.

      • Yes, that’s why NC and staying away from them is key. Some are pretty good at playing the victim game and impression management. This is their M.O. and survival skill – they hunt and latch onto anyone and everyone who can be played.

    • Chumpinrecovery – Exactly! Another reason people side with cheater – cheater is a toddler in a man’s body and he will be nasty to them like he’s nasty to me if they don’t go along with him. It was weird how his family just went along like everything was so normal – going to his new home with 22 y.o. gf for her baby shower. MIL called to let me know she’s going to the shower and, oh, what can she pick up for my daughter (her granddaughter)? They all know he’s a touchy hot head and I’m sure they don’t want to ‘upset’ him. Like that Twilight Zone episode, they tell him, “Oh that’s a very good thing you did, yesssiree, a real good thing you did.” If anyone remembers the boy who would destroy anyone who crossed him.

      What’s crazy is that I didn’t want to have kids and bring them into this messed up world. So many nasty arrogant people – so many predators – just look at the map on Megan’s Law website and see hundreds of registered sex offenders all over the place, etc.

      And then the real evil predator – the enemy – was in my own home.

      Especially the day I got that cold hard stare I knew I was looking at evil.

      CeliA – They latch onto anyone who can be played. They have that radar. Yep.

  • I think the narrative of blame the Chump is EXACTLY because people want to believe we did something wrong to cause so they can rest assured it will never happen to them. As we are all proof we did nothing to cause their cheating.

    Anytime someone tries to shove that narrative in my face I calmly remind them that IF a spouse is unhappy for whatever reason(we don’t flip pancakes to their liking, we cut our hair too short, we like rom-coms) that the responsible response would INFORM said spouse of their deep woeful unhappiness, pack a bag and tell us we will be hearing from their lawyer. Would that be painful -YES! But what it isn’t is dishonest. Instead they choose (as mine did) to look me in the eye FOR YEARS lie to my face, deceive me on a daily basis, tell me everything is fine when it obviously wasn’t, deliberately try to make me feel crazy and continue to use us as wife/husband appliances for their selfish purposes.

    Thank God I have a therapist that reminds me I was in an ABUSIVE situation and what he was doing to me was abuse. Abuse makes people uncomfortable.

    i also believe people want to blame us because they don’t want to admit they were duped either. “But he always seemed like such a nice guy that really loved you?”. They were scammed as well and no one wants to admit that.

    • Amen to this!

      It is just so hard knowing that you were abused and have to get away and heal while cheater just goes on his merry way to the next victim. We are forced to continue to allow them to victimize the children hoping constant debriefing sessions will keep the children sane.

    • I completely agree with this. So many people want to continue to believe that the cheater isn’t really this awful person. They liked him. They hung out with him. They would rather run the narrative that chumps are just pissed and they don’t know the whole story.

      Fact is, they don’t know the whole story and it is so much worse than what they do know.

      • What kind of people are you referring to? Really ignorant ones? Cheating entails lying, deception stealing family funds, spreading STDs, destroying the security of children. How can they NOT see this as the work of an “awful person?”

      • This is exactly the point I was making about people outside the relationship not necessarily believing “your side of the story.” I’ve actually had people say, “If I talked to your XH, I wonder what he’d have to say about you.” This really pisses me off because I am telling the true story of how horrible my XH is and if XH did try to blameshift and change the narrative, it would be more of his lies now geared to serve as a smear campaign against me, the chump. So, for those who want to believe I must have done something to bring on my cheater’s cheating, then that’s when the conversation ends and I walk away…I don’t have time for stupid shit from anyone anymore.

  • People with a massive sense of entitlement can always come up with a justification narrative.It really is that simple.During my pathetic pick me dancing days I listened to mind bending arguments as to why it really was mostly my fault.The blameshifting mindfuck.Which is why no contact is so vital to recovery or low contact/ grey rock if you have bred with the fucktard.I had to take away the platform he used to shift the blame on to me for the sake of my sanity and emotional well being.These fuckers never want to own their wrongdoing.No way was I listening to him ,or any one else, even attempting to lay that shit on me.Shut the fucker down is my advice.

    • Entitlement is the key word with these dirty dirt bags. As if they should have every need met…..every minute of the day- while they give little or nothing in return. Sick fuckers!

  • Now that my ex has moved out, and he meets people that I haven’t, I’m well aware that on meeting him, a charming (when he wants to be) and cutesy (when he wants to be) giant teddy bear, those who don’t know ME must just assume I’m some nagging sexless bitch. He hasn’t badmouthed me, but he doesn’t have to. People make up their own narrative.

    • This exactly.

      Also, his not badmouthing me is just more “proof” that he is a good guy. It makes me not want to tell people what he did because then I would be “badmouthing” him when he doesn’t badmouth me so that would make me look like the bitter STBXW. That’s my own twisted thinking, however. Why do I feel guilty about telling people the truth just because he isn’t telling lies about me?

      • His silence on the subject and his happy charming demeanor ARE telling lies about you in a way. It’s a nonverbal telling but it is communicating – my X tells us how devastated he is by his behavior and forever saddened by the loss of his family but out and about? He’s the happiest he’s ever been and the life of the party. So people come to their own conclusions – they saw me a walking zombie for 2 years so assume I am just a depressed bitch – no wonder we are divorced! The little gaslighting twist to the narrative serves their image control and does make me angry (my last hurdle in healing). Please don’t feel guilty about telling people the truth. It has helped me feel empowered. I am VERY careful to speak calmly and only the short version of the facts – it can backfire if you are distraught when you talk about it. And then of course with close friends I am an open book and vent all the time!

        • This is my own mental illness bias, but if you had been depressed, a loving partner would care for and nurture your attempts to cope and recover, provided you weren’t being abusive. What about being sick makes it okay to treat someone the way we were treated? (Not that you’re saying it’s okay, but for anyone who does.)

      • If people want to know what happened and you say “he cheated on me and left me” that is NOT badmouthing anybody. That is speaking the truth. If he thinks that’s badmouthing or shit talking he probably shouldn’t have done it!

  • I have been fortunate in that I have had a lot of validation from people who have known us both for years (including his family). Most of them think he just suddenly went crazy and don’t realize that it was really a slow boiler that had been building for years. Heck it took some serious reflection for me to fully realize that. Still, they know I didn’t cause his cheating or even the devalue and discard. Some were angry for me before they even knew about Schmoopie.

    The ones who imply equal or even partial blame on me or who place no blame at all are the people who really don’t know either of us very well. I really can’t blame them for not wanting to judge. STBX is good at impressing people. I impress some people but not others as I am always just myself (except maybe when I go to a job interview and even then it is hard to keep focused on only revealing my best self).

  • Some reasons cheater used:
    1. Didn’t get breastfed.
    2. Mother made him smoke pot.
    3. Mother ran off with a man and abandoned him at the age of six at a stranger’s house.
    4. I was controlling (blameshifting, HE is the control freak.)
    5. He couldn’t “talk” to me.
    Yes, he never received the unconditional love of a mother that is the foundation for healthy attachments.
    I get that, but lots of people had crappy childhoods and don’t decide they need to destroy their good and loving marriage after 26 years because they’re preyed upon by a homewrecker who is suspiciously exactly like good old mom; chaotic, drama filled, alcoholic, breaks up marriages for sport, and into polyamory adventures.
    Like I told him when he let me know our “soul contract was over”, it looks like he finally got to fuck his mother. How I was able to conjure up that level of snark between the sobbing and vomiting, I’ll never know.

    • I am going to go out and find a kitten and kick it. Then…..I’m going to blame the kitty.

  • Chump is defined as a fool or a dupe. The world does not offer much tea or sympathy for fools. The world values the tough, the sexy, the rich and the young.

    I was duped because I did not grasp how evil a partner could be- that they could sleep beside you each night with a smile on their lips after betraying you in catastrophic ways. They might have moments of niceness and provide super orgasms. But I was not schooled in the staggering depths of their depravity.

    That is the thread that is woven on this site week after week: the incredulous jaw drop at the behavior of evil people who we believed were our family.

    Is cheating new? No. There is nothing new under the sun in terms of human vice, just the methods to attain it.

    But no one sane starts a relationship or marriage, armed with their spy gear, ready to play Sherlock Holmes once you retrieve the luggage at the baggage carousel, fresh from the Honeymoon.

    Why blame the victim in an affair? It is a toxic stew of patriarchy, (The Penis Must be Satisfied!), evil, selfish behavior and the Me First philosophy that popped up in the 60s. Nothing was more important than individual happiness…collateral damage was unfortunate…but I gotta be happy. The idea of sacrifice or letting an urge pass is now antiquated.

    FB does not help, that kibble dispenser that narcissists crave, as well as the ease with which one can access porn. You actually have men who are angry and bitter that their partners do not look and perform like the photoshopped, drugged out women who fuck on demand that they can summon up with a few clicks. A relationship with a scorpion would have a better chance of success.

    We went through a hell fire education to come out on the other side…wiser, more jaded and incredibly sad. Joy is on the horizon. Street smarts were gained.
    You say you will call and you don’t? Red Flag. You hide your phone? Red flag. You get ooey gooey with anything female? I’m out.

    This will not be a popular comment, but I must take some blame for my own misery, my foolishness. I did see red flags, was warned about them, but believed he “loved” me. Was it my fault? No….but there is something hard there that I must accept responsibility for. Sticking my head in the sand. Being so in lust that I was nuts. Wanting to be in a relationship with this particular person so badly I was willing to choke down huge shit sandwiches.

    Here is a new code I live by, in terms of caring who blames me, who thinks I was a fool, a chump-

    If you are not paying my bills, fuck off. I make my own way in this world. So you don’t get to judge me -ever. I bother no one, pay my taxes and keep my own counsel.

    Yep. I was chumped. I would only wish it on the most vile people who slither on this planet. But I learned how to be harder, size people up quick and shrug off scenarios that send others into hysterics.

    We just have to view this like an exhausting tribulation we suffered and 99% of the world does not grasp the life shattering horror show that it is. But we know. And that is why we treasure small kindnesses, people who keep their word, dogs and cats who snuggle with us, a great cup of coffee, peace in the early morning sleeping solo…the simple beautiful things that make life bearable after staring evil dead in the face.

  • First time posting on here. Still in the middle of the “pick me dance”. The problem is that I do feel like it’s my fault. My husband and I got married 11 years ago because I got pregnant and when I had the baby I checked out of the marriage completely. We’ve never had a great relationship but the distraction of our daughter really filled the void. My husband is a good man he’s never cheated on anyone until now. The OW came in to our lives about 5 years ago through his work and they became good friends which I supported because frankly I didn’t care, I felt like if he was out of my hair and happy that’s perfect. I encouraged them to go out and do things that I didn’t want to do with him. Looking back it was stupid but I didn’t realize it was a problem until he told me he wanted a divorce last year then I cared. Since then I have demanded he work on our marriage for our daughter and that he get rid of the OW from our lives. He agreed to stay and work on our marriage, but did not get rid of “his best friend” who I found out that he actually did end up sleeping with “only once” and only AFTER I refused his divorce request and “trapped” him in our “loveless marriage”. Because of that I don’t feel like that’s okay for him to keep her around if our marriage is going to work, but I also feel like I don’t have any right to tell him what to do since it’s my fault. I guess I felt compelled to write this because this post says it’s never the chumps fault, and my battle this whole time has been that it is my fault. I guess I’m looking for some validation either way. Thank you for listening.

    • Okay, I’m no psychic, but…. based on years of minfuck, I highly doubt he slept with this woman “after” you told him to get rid of her. You are smoking hopium (it’s okay, we all did it!).

      It’s great that you are able to see your part in your “MARRIAGE DYNAMIC”, but you did NOT drive your ex to cheat! That’s like trying to compare fruit… yep an apples a fruit, yep an orange is a fruit, yep they both grow on trees, yet they are different fruits with different qualities, different flavors and can grow in different conditions. You aren’t growing an orange tree in Canada!

      Correlation is not causation!

      • And it’s never, EVER “just once”. That’s the oldest line in the book, aside from “she’s just a friend”.

        Either of you could have asked for a divorce. At any time. It seems to me that you want validation that it’s okay to “check out completely’ from a marriage. It’s not. Not for you and not for him.

        I knew a couple just like what you’re describing. In fact, it took my breath for a second as I asked myself…”is this…?”

        But then I realized…your situation really isn’t unique. This happens a lot. And you are putting the blame exactly where he wants it. On you.

        Were you a spectacular wife? Maybe not. Were you even mediocre? Maybe not. But at ANY time during this marriage, either of you could have stopped the train and asked to get off.

        Look. Some people should simply not be married. Whether it’s because they want to act single or that they just don’t know how to conduct a healthy relationship.

        My first marriage broke up for reasons unrelated to cheating. We were 18, divorcing at 24. When I sat with my lawyer and told him all of the shit that we were doing to each other–spying, mind games, stupid arguments, etc….he listened very carefully to the whole thing and then said,

        “You two should never have gotten married. Grow up. Marriage doesn’t mean automatically you get the same perks that you had when you lived with your parents.” And that struck a cord. I had never lived on my own. I got married right out of my parents’ house. I SUCKED at being married. I thank God that I didn’t have kids at that time.

        Being immature and wanting security, having daddy issues, mommy issues, breastfeeding issues—whatever….may absolutely make you the suckiest, most immature and horrible in bed wife—but it doesn’t make you a cheater. It doesn’t cause cheating. Your husband is doing that all on his own.

        If he’s asked for the divorce, why are you demanding that he stay and work on the marriage when you had no interest in it? Because of your daughter? Not good enough reason. Using your daughter is manipulative and monumentally unfair to her. If you care about her, then you’ll want to model a healthy relationship to her. Clearly, you and your husband do not have one.

        He doesn’t want to find that, either. Not with you. Probably not with anybody. He is a selfish prick who got married, enjoyed the perks of marriage and had a few side detours (if you think this is the first one, you’re wrong. OW probably got uppity and threatened to tell on him. or he got better ducks in a row somewhere else. Not becuase she was his “one and only”, “just once” accidental love interest)—and now he’s got a firm plan in place….bye.

        What you have to examine is why in the sam hell would you want a relationship that was “never good to begin with”, that you “checked out of completely”, where you “didn’t care” that he kept the company of other women—and now you’re attempting to force him to stay?

        It isn’t your fault he cheated. It’s his. But your actions during the marriage, that’s on you. If you want a healthy relationship with someone, it has to be 50-50 (well sometimes 20-80 or whatever, but not sustained). This guy clearly is not “the one” for you–and what I think you need to do now is get some therapy to figure out why this situation is okay for you and why you believe that this would be something your daughter should grow up thinking is normal.

        I would suggest getting some therapy, sooner rather than later. Oh. And divorce him. He’s a fucking cheater.

    • Hi Annie, I love the Michael Jackson “Smooth Criminal” reference.

      Well, I believe you are rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. Is it your “fault”? You encouraged your husband to have a deep connection with another woman.

      I don’t think that is a fault…I think it is more what you actually desired. Your marriage will not survive him having a intimate bond with another woman.I am not being cruel, but I would view the “only once” sex proclamation with deep skepticism.

      When someone leaves us, it triggers all kinds of frantic emotions. Abandonment, loss, regret…woulda coulda shoulda.

      You said you were looking for validation. So here’s some. Let him go. Let him go be with his “soul mate”. It is beneath you to pick me dance. It is beneath you to have to order someone to stop cheating.

      I hope other’s chime in, because there is so much to say. But go with what you felt…you said “Frankly I didn’t care.”

      There is your answer. Maybe it was not the love of the ages. That’s ok. Do you actually want *him* or just an intact family for your daughter? Once the third party entered, that intact family was over.

      I am sorry you are in pain…but I believe your mind is tricking you into believing you want this man, when what you actually want is to not face Change.

    • Oh AnnieareyouOK, please reconsider, it is not your fault. You are being gaslighted! Normal people do not just check out of a marriage where they are being treated lovingly and respectfully you. You cannot take all the blame. Think again, was he meeting your needs and supporting you in the stress of having a new baby?

      You say you encouraged him to go out and do the things he enjoyed. Did he encourage you in the same way. A normal person would not just leave you to go have fun without being concerned that your needs were met.

      26 years and 5 children and just like you I blamed myself, begged forgiveness and did the pick me dance. I am pretty new to this sight but you are in the right place. It is him, not you that has the problem. People with character don’t cheat and they take responsibility for their actions.

      Whether it was once or a hundred times, him sleeping with a whore was not your fault!!! It was his evil choice!!!

      You, yourself said the relationship wasn’t great long before the cheating but there was no effort on his part to fix it and nothing ever justifies adultery, period!

      Stay tuned to this blog. I am a chump which means I need to learn to stand up for myself and that I do deserve respect. I didn’t get to be a chump overnight and I think (for most) it is a lifestyle change that involves good days and bad until hopefully the good become the majority.

      • P.s. Slept together once and they are just friends now- highly doubtful. I don’t intend to be mean but rather, realistic. We have all worn your shoes. These are entitled narcs and they are convincing actors when the need arises.

        Hugs to you- it is painful!

      • Feelingit,
        Your words are so wise.
        You always show kindness and understanding to other chumps.
        This site is lucky to have you, ( even though we never think of it as luck having a reason to be here).
        ((((Hugs))))

        • Peacekeeper,

          Your words really did give me that hug I need today. This has been a sad anxious couple of days for me.

          What is right sure doesn’t always feel good.

          I hope your kindness comes back to you! Hugs to you to!

      • Feelingit,

        I feel so validated in your post. While my DDay has considerably been a while now, I didn’t start questioning the attitude of STBX towards me until hitting the boiling point.

        I didn’t question things like, “What did he do to contribute to our relationship?” until much later. I did bring this topic of “Well what have you done in the relationship” in the last few conversations we had and all STBX did was shrug it off.

        How?

        He said, “I really don’t like us comparing notes and counting points against each other.” It didn’t occur to me why. Was it because he really didn’t do much in the relationship?

        Yes, indeed. I was carrying over 80% of it and STBX just enjoyed the benefits of having a dedicated, loyal, hardworking and stable partner. Fucking users.

    • At first I took all the blame, just like you. I thought I had ‘checked out’ of the marriage, spent too much attention on my kids and work, failed to support him and admire him. AND THEN I found the date-stamped photos of him and OW. Now I know the correct cause and effect. He cheated, then he checked out of the marriage, and then I was left filling the void in my life with children and work. I’m so glad I found those photos or I’d still be blaming myself. Where I do deserve the blame is in letting it happen. I thought being easy-going, self-sufficient and accommodating was a good trait for a marriage. Now I know better.

      • “I thought being easy-going, self-sufficient and accommodating was a good trait for a marriage. Now I know better.”

        This exactly. And don’t forget low maintenance. STBX not only didn’t appreciate it he resented it because I didn’t spend enough money on clothes and hairdressers (i.e. I wasn’t a trophy wife).

  • So I looked this up–the internet, if you want to go as far back as possible, was “created” in a way, in 1985. AOL started up in 1985. I remember how people obsessed about “getting online” and a lot of that was chatrooms, nothing else yet.

    Cellphones. Although the “first” mobile was created around 1973, mass marketing of anything akin to a real portable phone that everyone could afford, didn’t come along until the mid 1990s.

    If the internet is what’s enabling all of this cheating and cellphones are the root of it too–how does this explain the cheaters who began in the 1960s? How many here had cheaters for 40-some-odd-years?

    I fucking loathe that whole cop out. And that is PRECISELY what it is.

    Darlings, women were PROPERTY, they lost everything if they divorced (Women’s Property Act) up until 1882. “Rule of Thumb”–how thick the rod with which you beat your wife could be. Suffrage.

    This may seem like a long time ago to some, but society’s attitudes do not change so quickly and easily just because we make a law that says you have to accept certain things. Men (and I am sorry to the male chumps here, but I am talking about the ATTITUDES towards cheating as an acceptable way of life, and that began with Male Privelege. that ACT itself is universally accepted amongst cheating assholes) had mistresses and that was the way of it. Period.

    Women could accept it, or go live in a convent or with an aging dowager Aunt. You did what society, who was male dominated in all ways, told you to do.

    Those attitudes cling today, the US is NOT the world, nor is Britain. MANY cultures celebrate Patriarchy and just because they live “for now” in Germany or Afghanistan, doesn’t mean they and their families don’t make it into Western society.

    All cellphones and the internet and the love of money (prostitution and it’s twin sister, pornography. some, many women, will do ANYTHING FOR MONEY) have done is open up what was once hidden and for the most part, silently accepted. Just because it wasn’t splashed all over the front of the newspaper back in the day, didn’t mean it didn’t happen behind closed doors.

    There is no “more” acceptance in society now than in the Victorian age for cheating. It’s just more obvious now, with the advent of Porn 24/7, texting and spyware.

    My Ex once said to me, “I wish we were like the Europeans. They don’t care if men have mistresses!” I sat there in utter shock. Then I realized, this is what he believes, because of what he reads on the internet. He believes that if he lived in Europe (France was his chosen spot), his behavior would be seen as “normal”.

    I told him, go live in Europe and sponge off of someone there! See how well that goes down. He shrunk from my anger. I cut off a delusion.

    Just like when I was told that if I cut my hair into a pixie and bleach it platinum and get breast implants (like some anime cartoon he liked)—I would be the “perfect” woman for him. I said, “You first.” (on the implants)
    He shrunk from my taunt. I cut off another delusion.

    It’s delusional behavior, escapist and irresponsible. My ExMIL encouraged his escapist and irresponsible behavior, because SHE was (is) escapist and irresponsible. She leeches off of men, hasn’t had a job in her life and lies to suit her agenda.

    The way that these cheaters see things, some is nature (sociopathy) and some is nurture. Ever try to tell your neighbor how to raise their kids? Know how well that works out? So you have a portion of society that are sociopaths themselves (no laws yet against psychos breeding)–and they perpetuate their fucked up flavors of “normalcy”.

    Blaming the Chump. When I see someone stay with a cheater, no matter what….and I mean, defending, excusing, rigid white knuckled “I WILL NOT LOSE!!!” attitude? Yes. I can say, “You have been given this evidence. You have kids that you are allowing to be abused by this person. You have a job and a place to go. You freely admit that you simply ‘do not want to get a divorce”‘….YES. I can blame a chump for staying. What I CANNOT do, is blame the chump for the cheating.

    There is a difference. I may be disgusted at myself for trying to work it out and staying, but I cannot blame myself for his actions. I control me and he controlled himself (not really). When I found out, “society” and it’s ills didn’t even come into my consciousness. This was personal. I didn’t sit and ponder the evils of cellphones “making” my ex do ANYTHING. He was a cheating lying asshole years before the internet took off and many before cellphones. He did this because he is a sociopath.

  • Digital life makes cheating and covering one’s tracks easier. It does not create the personality or lack of morals that make deception appealing to begin with.

    • I actually think digital life makes cheating easier to track and keep a record of. I agree with GlassHalfFull that this isn’t more prevalent than it was, although it is much less punishable by law now.
      Anyone who had a spouse (almost always the husband) who traveled for work had no way to know what they were getting up to while away. Unless you were wealthy and could hire a PI, you couldn’t keep tabs on cheaters. A few love letters or notes could be burnt and disappear forever, unlike our digital history. Just like all crimes, cheating has become easier to track forensically.
      I agree that there are more temptations and they are so much more accessible, right at your fingertips with your smartphone. I agree that porn has changed so much. I wonder how many of us would have considered our partner was cheating if we had found a stack of girlie magazines in the garden shed. But now of course they can have a live sex webcam session with a real person they can eventually meet IRL, right from your sofa. That’s different. but we can also track them.
      So if the laws had not been changed so much in favour of cheaters in divorces, it would be extremely easy nowadays to collect all the info we need to get adequate retribution, unlike 30 years ago.

  • Well I lost weight after each d day. I also lost a lot of weight just before the last d day. I also pick me danced for the first few d days but not this one. So all that advice sure didn’t work for me. In fact, the only peace I have found is through Chump lady. He can take his advice and stick it where the sun doesn’t shine.

  • I got lucky with my counsellor. At no time did she blame me for the cheating and helped me see I was abused and my abusive reaction was that-a reaction to blame shifting, projection gaslighting crazy making behaviour of a narcissistic sociopath. He blamed me for everything of course”you made me lie to keep you happy” ” I cheated because I wasn’t happy” and entitlement ” I shouldn’t have to work because I ran my business for 20 years”. “If I had the money($400000 of our life savings taken as a mortgage) I would have left a long time ago”.
    They just suck and are truly evil.

  • I do still struggle daily with taking the blame. I just cannot understand how some people can justify treating others in some awful ways. It really boggles my mind how they do it with such ease and have no guilty or remorse. I guess that’s why I’m a chump and not a cheater.

    • Pregnant Chump,
      You are a good person and a good mother.
      A wise poster on this site said, “It’s not what we are, it’s what they aern’t!”
      So true.
      I remember you posting that you have good family and friends.
      Enjoy the warmth of their circle as you mother your very young children. They grow so fast!
      His loss!
      ((((Many hugs)))

      • Thank you, yes I’m very lucky to have great friends and a very supportive family. I know I did the best I could in my marriage and that is the truth even if he never admits that. I love that quote. I’m not perfect but I was faithful, honest, caring and many more things. I would have done anything for him and so therefore it is most definitely his loss.

  • Why blame the cheater??? Could it be because it’s soooo much easier to blame someone else for problems than it is to accept blame oneself???

    That is what children do–and most cheaters never progress past the age of five.

  • Sorry–meant to say “blame the chump”.

    And by the way, just divorce him and put both of you out of your misery. You already said you didn’t care during the marriage, so just do a reasonable settlement and child support and visitation and get on with your life.

  • Even though the term gaslighting was coined from a 1944 movie, women were not only discarded, but many of them hospitalized for “nerves”, too.
    Many chumps had vague diagnosis, medications, electroshock therapies to combat “hysteria”. I wonder how many were victims of PTSD from discard and gaslighting?

    Long time ago had a course called “Health and sickness in America”. Absolute eye opener…

    • I have a family member who was committed for “nerves” and “depression” by her cheating, abusive husband back in the 60’s. They gave her over 40 shock treatments and she has been institutionalized ever since. Thank God we aren’t in living in those times any more.

      • And let’s not forget that if we go back about 100 years, these women were also traumatised from the frequent loss of their babies to illness. So the average chumped woman would have experienced the death of a few babies, plus the cheating, plus zero control over her finances. Hysterics all of them!

    • Up until the 1970’s a cheater throwing a female chump in the looney bin to make room for Scmoopie was not very uncommon. Easy chump disposal back in those days!

  • I was watching a story about Princess Diana and Charles last night. Charles was telling everyone that Diana was crazy and didn’t meet his needs, which drove him to Camilla. He pointed out to “crazy” behavior that Diana displayed upon the discovery of his affair. It made me feel so sorry for Diana being in such an impossible situation with a man who never really gave up his relationship with Camilla, and being stuck in a family that blamed the whole situation on her instead of the cheating Charles instead. She was in an impossible situation. I hate cheaters. Every time I think about Charles and Camilla being a family with Diana’s kids it makes me feel sick.

    • The list goes on- I saw Roger Moore (007) died . His Wikipedia page has loads of fodder for chump lady.

      Wish there was another way to find truth besides first hand experience!

  • I have not read all the posts yet.
    But, Chump Lady’s words, “They actually think they deserve to behave appallingly and don’t’ feel one bit ashamed about it.”
    We chumps sure know that is the absolute truth!
    We love them with all our heart. We show it in our care of them and our children, our career, our everyday home life. We “work” 24 hours at being the lover, wife mother, care giver, everything! We feel good about it because we are fulfilling our role in life. We believe they are our forever partner, fulfilling their part of the commitment.
    Then, they see a sparkling piece of delicious new cake and they just go ahead and help themself to a big slice.
    Why, because they want to, because they can.
    Eventually we are hit with DDay, ( DDays- how are we to know how many times their appetite needed a change).
    Our heart is broken when we learn of betrayal. Sometimes we go it alone, sometimes, we find CL, CN.
    But, we do a lot of internal crying, of bearing our own soul to ourself. If our one true otherbeing betrayed us, who can we trust? There must be something wrong with us.(NOT)
    Then, one day, we pick up the pieces and we survive, but we are never ever the same again.

    I have said it many times before, on this site, that CL, CN taught me, they told me, they shouted from the roof top, IT WAS NOT MY FAULT HE CHEATED!
    As to what anyone else’s opinion is I could care less. The truth lives in my heart.

    • Peacekeeper, this is the truth.

      No one is perfect but after readings thousands of these stories, in most cases, the chump was a giving, providing, nurturing, engaged, committed, dedicated and romantic partner and the cheater took what they wanted from the giving chump and returned very little to the marriage prior to and during cheating – an act they felt they deserved, and they cheated with no guilt. The blaming the chump is pure revisionism, deflection, outright dishonesty and blatant disrespect. The “I’m so sorry”s are hollow lies to preserve cake and nothing more.

      • Buddy,
        It helps that others understand.
        The truth lives in our ❤️.
        ((((Hugs to you))))

  • My cheater just last night called me “mean”, and accused me of being a “mean person by nature”. I asked why he ever married a mean person? If I was so mean, why did he choose to procreate with me?
    He, of course used this in defense of his cheating. I’m inherently mean and my meanness drove him into the vagina of Slut McCunty. What spurred on this conversation? I wanted to have some alone time with my friend after I put the kids to bed. He didn’t like that and I called him out on his ridiculous double standards. (I can’t have a few hours of alone time in my living room with a friend, yet he just got back from a three day fun fest with his friends, playing music and getting drunk while I cared for our children). They are selfish and without capacity for empathy or genuine remorse. They do the bare minimum to keep up appearances and whine when the betrayed suggest it isn’t enough.
    As I line my ducks in a row, he is on the look out for something better. I know this. I know now he was never who I believed him to be. That is the most difficult part about the betrayal: the realization that the person I invested in the most was someone else. Someone who valued me so little that when things got tough, I was so easily and quickly replaced. He was my everything and I was a disposable toy that got old and in the way.

    • “I know now he was never who I believed him to be.”

      Fed up chump, wanting him to be who I thought he was is impossible to put out of my mind right now. It makes complete sense and the people are right who tell me once he has shown you who he really is, believe him but when will my feelings match those thoughts?

      Just this week I have started having bad dreams about him that involve me trying to convince him that he should see he was wrong and come back to me. I think they were triggered by divorce proceedings and worry about dealing with him at upcoming kids events. The dreams make me wonder if it is ptsd. I don’t know if it matters-just want them to stop!

      Meh is nowhere in sight right now.

      • I understand how you feel FeelingIt. Maya Angelou once spoke about when someone presents to you who they are, believe it. My cheater’s actions speak miles away from his words. He tells me he cares for me and loves me but then calls me “mean” and “angry” and accuses me of not meeting his needs, no matter how hard I try. I am angry and perhaps unpleasant at time but this how the betrayed so often times cope with the situation. This is how we protect ourselves. We fear that as soon as we let our guard down and let them back into our hearts, they’ll take advantage of us again. And this seems to be the case more often than not. It’s about keeping us where they need us so they can eat as much cake as they can for as long as they can. It’s a game. It’s a selfishness that is paramount to any moral expectation we bestow upon them.
        Watching my husband actively ignore my desperation for information, or to show any signs of remorse causes an anger within me that is hard to quell. He left my toddler and my pregnant self to have an affair with a co worker. He left me when I was the most vulnerable. He didn’t even ask to come back. He just started showing up. There was no apology. He denied having an affair, and when I believed maybe he was telling the truth (after a very convincing story about.needing space to miss what he left behind), I let him back into my bed.
        Two months later and a positive HPV pap, he admitted to a one night stand with a stranger passing through. Eventually, I got, through trickle truth, that he was living with this person for the entire six months he was gone. And that she worked and still does work with him.
        I believed his lies because I couldn’t accept the reality that he just didn’t value me. He put me in a box until he was ready to play with me again. He ruined my life up until that point, because I then knew that who I thought he was, simply wasn’t so. He calls me mean but He sold me a bill of goods that were spoiled, and it turns out I don’t like spoiled goods. I don’t like him and it’s hard to be nice when you live with someone you don’t like.

        • He came back without asking. They are above common courtesy. They never admit they do anything wrong or if they do, they shift the blame to someone else which would make anyone angry. They call you out on the anger they cause and they project their own meanness onto you. They are the monsters among us that others can’t see which makes us the crazy ones!

        • Fedup Chump,
          So much of your story is my story. I was in the first trimester of a third pregnancy. We had a young child and I had a tubal pregnancy in between. He worked away and until DDay I had no knowledge of the affair. This affair was with a co worker. I know nothing about her. At the time he told me he felt about her in a way he had never felt about anyone else. He said he didn’t know how to ask me for a divorce.
          Sadly, I was estranged from my family when this happened, (that is another sad story).
          I did the pick me dance. He did stay. I believe the OW did not know about the expected child and it all became too much for him to wiggle out of. The Chump is the last to know. We are too occupied trying to care for our children and pick up all the pieces. He did change jobs, we sold our lovely home and moved to another city. I will NEVER learn one thing about this OW. ( which really pisses me off).
          This was before CL, CN. I did not tell anyone, just kept it inside.
          It is years later for me. My children never knew of the affair. He acts like it never happened, prefers to deny it actually.
          I have coped very well. I have wonderful daughters,many friends that I cherish. My career was very fulfilling.my life is busy and full.
          He settled back in nicely ( for him).
          I know that I am different than a lot of chumps in that I have forgiven him, but I will NEVER forget. It is my privilege now to handle it the best way for me. I have developed coping mechanisms as it would be painful for my children to know the truth at this point in their life.
          I share a special relationship with the child I was carrying when he cheated. How the hell could he hurt an innocent child to be and of course the young child we were already blessed with.( it made me a mother Lion, a mother Bear in beng protective of them)!
          So unimaginable for us to ever ever understand.
          I think that you need to be gentle with yourself. Of course you feel angry. You have every right to your feelings. You have been a loving wife and mother and have been betrayed in the highest level.
          Can you possibly get individual counselling? Can you talk to a special friend or family member?
          You need some type of outlet. You have given and given of yourself.
          Your strength shines thru in your posts.
          I am so sorry and I truly understand your pain.
          Fedup Chump, your husband is spoiled and rotten to the core to not appreciate such a wonderful wife and mother as YOU!
          ?‍❤️‍?‍?chumps are united at the heart.
          I wish I could make your pain better!

        • I would bet the farm that your dirt bag cheater is the only person on planet earth who calls you “mean.” Do the math on that one fellow chump.

        • Chump Lady believes there is a special place in hell for cheaters who dump chumps during the most vulnerable times of their lives. I couldn’t agree more!

    • Slut McCunty!!!!!!!!!!!!! Love it! LOL! That’s playbook! When they can’t find any other explanation to trip and fall into another woman’s vagina- they call us Chumps meanies.

  • After DDay , all the guys among our couple friends had a secret meeting. They discussed how to “get rid” of me from their circle… how to alienate me from their wives…
    I sure felt discarded a thousand times more! I believed for a long time that I was a terrible person. Why wouldn’t anyone see the injustice?
    I found the answers later-
    My ex tried to justify his actions by pointing to his friends- he said that extra marital affairs are common place.they were all into topless bars , prostitution and porn.
    These grown men with children who were sleeping around,passed judgement on me -not worthy!
    The wives agreed too.
    These were couples I had known for over 15 yrs.
    There were no more invitations to dinners or parties. No phone calls.. nothing!

    • No phone calls or dinner invitations? Good! Why would you hang around people who have across the board shown themselves to be of so low a moral character? Count yourself lucky that his bad behavior also shined the light on that infestation of roaches you previously called friends. Now you can go out and find friends more in line with your own morals and values.

    • Disgusting animals all of them! Count yourself lucky to be discarded from that bunch of pigs!

    • Yeah, no more hanging around with his friends who cheat and who are into weird things. I ran into one of the people who were part of the camping crew we used to be part of yesterday. My daughter and I were in the store. The lady’s son saw us and took off. The woman was all, Oh hi! When are we going to get together for a BBQ? I didn’t really answer because all I could think of was, “I haven’t seen or talked to you in about a year and a half because you are my stbx’s friend, not mine.” Lol
      And then we parted and she hugs me and says, “Love you!” All I could think of was, “right.”
      My daughter noted how fast her son ran away and couldn’t even say Hi.
      My stbx puts me down for not having a boyfriend and just having my dogs.
      For one thing I’m still married and I will not show my daughter that her married mom has a boyfriend. For another thing, yes, my dogs have more decency and morals than some people.
      My stbx would love for me to have a boyfriend to make his living with his little coworker be ‘normal.’

      I love it: Count yourself lucky to be discarded from that bunch of pigs!

  • While we are at it perhaps we should blame the Jewish people for the Holocaust? Maybe we can blame the Native Americans for the annihilation of their tribes? Let’s blame murder victims for getting themselves murdered too. Toss in rape victims for good measure. They probably had it coming.

    Blaming the victim is NEVER OK.

    • And to make it sound like the cheater just “moved on” and we should just get over it is to completely ignore the incredible amount of emotional and psychological abuse that they have inflicted upon us.

  • Desdemona I understand that pain but they weren’t worthy of being your friends. I lost people too but I’m the end realized they just were in the muck with my ex. I did keep good people that realized who I am and did not doubt me. Those are the ones you want in your life… and if there aren’t any you will find good new people that are worthy of the special gift of your friendship..

  • The shear coldness of watching me beg, while making my love so clear, and then continuing to lie when I asked him, adult to adult, to please just tell me if he was going to continue to cheat. To not be so mentally cruel with my trust ever again etc. That betrayal, the betrayal far more damaging than the pre D Day betrayal, was my final straw. Whenever I feel weak, I think on that fact alone. It is enough.

  • Carol,
    I share your frustration. I even wrote to CL once because I needed relief from all the garbage advice I was reading in self-help books and on websites. As to your question, I agree with CL. It’s fruitless persuading a narc to reflect and take responsibility for their actions, so focus on the one who will. The chump.

  • Mine is texting me right now, he is trying to come back and is telling me also his cheating was my fault as I betrayed him not sticking up for him to my dad wtf, I can read his lame shit excuses now and I feel little but have to laugh at the stupid justifications.
    Wow smash my heart up, blame me and then in the next sentence ask for forgiveness, how does fuck off sound!

    • LOL.

      When chumps gain the ability to flip the script, like shining the light on a vampire, cheaters get reduced to the pathetic roaches they truly are. Perhaps this is why no matter how abominable their actions CL’s description of them is “they just suck.”

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