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Might Want to Rethink that “Character” Thing

Conservative columnist for the New York Times, David Brooks, recently wed his former researcher assistant, Anne Snyder, who is 23 years younger than he is. Old dude trades in first wife for younger model, not exactly breaking news here.

Unless, of course, you’ve staked your reputation on being a national spokesperson for Character and Virtue. In 2015 Brooks wrote “The Road to Character.” Same year? He divorced his wife of 28 years, Sarah.

In a New Yorker profile, Brooks says he wrote the book to “save his soul.”

“I was born with a natural disposition towards shallowness.” Brooks, who established a reputation for sometimes glib but often insightful cultural commentary with “Bobos in Paradise,” his 2000 best-seller, has more recently specialized in applying the latest in brain science and social psychology to larger questions of morality on the Op-Ed pages of the Times. He continues, “I’m paid to be a narcissistic blowhard, to volley my opinions, to appear more confident about them than I really am, to appear smarter than I really am, to appear better and more authoritative than I really am. I have to work harder than most people to avoid a life of smug superficiality.”

Oh come on with the false modesty. David you’re a natural at smug superficiality. And few ever achieve your kind of blowhard narcissism.

I don’t know what’s more endearing really, the way you blame single mothers for their own poverty, (speaking of which, I hope that newly single mom Sarah got a great settlement for herself and those three kids) or your wedding registry. Alas, since last night someone has removed the link! But no worries, the good people at Awl wrote a hilarious bit of satire on it, complete with screen shots. Will someone please buy this couple the Sissinghurst Castle Spoon Rest?

(Did Sarah get all your household items, David, or have you always shopped at Anthropologie?)

Now, I’m not saying that David Brooks had an affair with Anne Snyder. Hey, two people can work on a book about character together platonically for three years. You know, maybe they had long lunches and chastely discussed the Oxford comma. I don’t know. But interestingly, while the book was being written, the Post prematurely announced Brooks was getting divorced in November 2013. Brooks, however, kept his status as cake-eating married until 2015.

Politco snarked at the book party:

Brooks, easily one of the most admired conservative columnists in America, with a distinguished list of bestselling books, and a vocal critic of morality and cultural habits, devotes the opening paragraph of the “Acknowledgements” section to Snyder, gushing about the “lyricism of her prose” and the “sensitivity of her observations.” Brooks says it was Snyder’s influence that led him to write a book about “morality and inner life” and that she was a close partner in the “three years of its writing.”

The big-thinking journalist even gives credit to Snyder for the ideas in The Road to Character, writing: “If there are any important points in this book, they probably come from Anne.”

How nice to have a muse.

His wife? She’s thanked at the end for the “amazing job” she’s done raising their kids. That’s something. Not everyone can be sensitive and lyrical. Enjoy that consolation prize for 28 years of marriage, Sarah!

The muse-now-wife? She’s got a new job as director of the “Character Initiative at The Philanthropy Roundtable, a pilot program that seeks to help foundations and wealth creators around the country advance character formation through their giving.”

I’d like a job like that.

CL: Give me $10,000.

Wealth creator: I don’t know. You look liberal. (That hair, do you comb it?) What are you going to do with my money? Waste it all on orphans or something?

CL: No! I’m taking your money purely to advance your character formation. The more you give, the more solid your character. $10K is just entry-level marshmallow character. I can recommend quartz character for $50K, or if you’re feeling particularly virtuous, a cool million for our granite character special.

Wealth creator: Sign me up! I need some new character! The old character is getting shabby.

Do you folks in Chicago need some character? The newlyweds are on tour together! Check it out. Buy them a spoon rest or something.

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      • I’m still trying to get past the gold plated eucalyptus napkin rings…
        Character. or lack thereof.

        • I’m pretty sure I could just spray paint some eucalyptus leaves and wrap them around a paper towel holder for under $62.

      • I must be getting old, but those plates…talk about Kindergartener Fun With Clay chic…all those raggedy edges would just snag any tea towels. And stacking…ugh! And that Pome mug. I could go any further. Oh well, bless them and their tacky bullshit.

      • Ummm, Tempest? Don’t you know that being a rich-as-Croesus malignant narcissist means you can have BOTH the silver and gold plates. That way your dinner table can match your trophy wife’s genital jewelry du jour.

      • And a couple of Bobby Flay books. as well. I guess cheater authors have to support each other’s endeavors.

        And may I just say, that is a lot of crap on that wedding registry….

      • I know people like to hate on Garten for this, but dying children are something that some people just can not handle. I worked in pediatric medicine for years and literally my job was on occasion to tell someone their child was going to die. It fucking heartbreaking and in some ways bonds you to these people in a very unusual way. A colleague of mine wound up on our doorstep because something horrible was happening and we did everything we could, but unfortunately her newborn daughter was dead within a matter of months. The first time we ran into each other at a professional conference we both broke down crying, and even now every time our paths cross I know it makes it think of her child and I think back to those horrible days when we were doing the work-up, the phone calls, and going to the funeral. This was 10 years ago probably.

        We don’t know Garten’s history or why she chooses not to grant these wishes, but she is a cookbook author and lifestyle guru. She is not on demand entertainment for anyone that wants to make a request of her. She may well know that this is something she simply cannot handle (for whatever reason) and knows that it is better to cause a bit of disappointment than go along with something that makes her deeply uncomfortable (because… dying children) and make matters worse. I am literally a trained professional in these matters and I am sometimes awkward, nervous, and questioning of my actions and choice of words. I cannot fault someone for having the insight to know they would do better to stay away.

        • I understand we are all uncomfortable about some things. But I had to go into 3 classes yesterday to have a discussion with distraught, frightened, and anxious students about the second brutal murder on their campus within 13 months. My only training in trauma comes from having suffered D-day. But the students needed it, so I sucked it up and did it.

          A dying child asks to cook a meal with you, and you turn him down? Twice? Sorry, I have no sympathy, and will never buy one of her books.

          • There are so many dying children. If she sas yes to one then what. .. I completely understand she’s not up for that. Just because she’s a ‘celebrity’ doesn’t mean she’s obliged to just do whatever people ask her to do. Seriously…

            • Yes, there are so many dying children. Imagine if she had to spend her time meeting the ones who, despite being able to wish for just about anything in the world, chose to meet her? Her celebrity status/fame/fortune was made possible because of people buying her cookbooks and watching her show. So one of her biggest fans, a child no less, has a life-threatening illness and she turns him down not once but twice? Inexcusable. I worked for MAW for a decade. Yes, it was heartbreaking to see children so horribly sick but my colleagues and I focused on being able to provide the children and their families a much-needed positive diversion during the worst possible time in their lives. There is a very long list of celebrities – much, much bigger than BC – who took time out of their busy schedules to grant wishes. Whether it was their decision or arranged by a publicist – the end result is that these children, who have endured more pain than anyone should ever have to in a lifetime, were made to feel like the most special kids on the planet. Celebrities get inundated with requests to support charities all the time but how does one say no to a critically ill child whose most favorite wish is to just spend a few minutes with you? BC sucks. Plain and simple.

            • True, she is not ‘obligated’ to do anything, anymore than I am obligated to think she is a good person (I don’t) nor to buy her cookbooks.

        • Writer Tequila—so keen on knocking the Registry’s grammar—sports her own mistakes—like a dangling participle (“Being an English major in school, there …”). This isn’t a major error. Yet “Being” can’t modify “there.” Rewritten version: “An English major in school, I….” And she also refers to an apostrophe as a comma. Brooks might well be imperfect and quotidian, good points, but he’s an able writer. And registries often get mangled in another person’s typing of them on the internet.

          • Oh hey, well as long as he’s imperfect, quotidian, and a good writer, it’s okay that he’s a flaming hypocrite? Good writers have substance, IMO. Brooks is an insult to windbags.

    • OMFG! Looking at that registry, in addition to having no character, they also have no taste.

      Being an English major in school, it bugs me when people get spelling and grammar wrong. In that opener to the wedding registry, they left out a comma, making we’re turn into were.

      How can two people writing a book and being schmoopies be so dumb they don’t proofread, or maybe worse, don’t know the difference? Oh, that’s right… I guess it takes a lot of head space to simultaneously claim to have integrity/character, AND divorce your ex at the same time, after having cheated for a good 3 years. Whatever they’re selling, I’m not buying!

      Thanks for the laugh. Some people are a real waste of space!

      • They also left out an apostrophe, making the word heres instead of here’s. And they are supposed to be writers?

    • Good Lord…someone help them… they got the Wildflower Study apron and pot holders… but no one got them the 8 napkins… what ever will they do?!?!?!??!?!?

      • LOL! Yes, pot holders, an oven mitt, and the red plaid Better Homes cookbook. Are they 16 and just starting out in life? They can’t manage to buy their own POT HOLDERS?!! She’s so young that she still needs the picture display on different cuts of meat and whether to braise, roast, grill, or stew?! I don’t know whether to laugh or cry!

        • I’d say that yes, she is just starting out. This is her starter husband, she’ll stay at home now to raise a family. Oh, and he’ll cheat again with his next research assistant. (If I was her, I’d vet them for him and make a mustache a requisite – in either sex).

          • They always cheat. They can’t help it. Wouldn’t want to be the new wife. The former wife is the lucky one!

            • I was always told “The man who marries his mistress creates a job vacancy”.

              Always looking for strange stuff, they are.

            • Brook’s wife should have a Chump registry.

              It would have only one item: Freedom from a pompous cheating hypocrite, and a little note underneath: This gift has already been received.

          • Vetting for someone with a mustache? Um, that is the discursive international symbol for gay (it’s a joke, guys!) Don’t think hiring a man (or hirsute woman, for that matter) is a failsafe ploy ?.

            So much spew at his book dedication. Icky, icky, ick!

    • Haha Chumplady, Love this! YES, there are a ton of folks here in Chicago that are in desperate need of some character.

      Let’s start with my former wife (Whorenocchio)…….and ALL her AP’s.

      I think I will email the coordinator of this event to let them know that my exw and all her AP’s should attend.

      Chicago has very unpredictable weather, but on May 27th at 11am to 3:30pm, I forecast that Chicago will yet see another Whorenado! Try fixing the unfixable David Brooks. Dick.

        • Well glad you got a chuckle Golfgrrl 🙂

          Actually part of my post was magically edited by the CL staff as I listed funny and *fictitious* made up email address of my exw (the “w” is for whore not wife btw) and all her AP’s.

          Oh well, I guess I can convert my exw fictitious emails to a hashtag…

          EXW: #homewrecker(at)lackofcharacter(dot com) 🙂

          • I was hoping for some more #jagaloon stories. I swear I giggle every time I see that in print.

            Hope your custody case went well!

            • Haha, no recent Jagaloon stories. Whorenocchio has seemed to hit the pause button on sucking my kids and I into her Whorepocalypse.

              I have primary custody but since she finally passed a court ordered alcohol test, she is fighting to gain custody back. The courts are slowly giving her more visitation.

              Life is good otherwise. Whorrie hates me so much that she has gone no contact with me. It’s all my fault, that I was protecting the kids from her whorenado, ya know. 🙂

              I have to admit, it is really nice not having her hoovering over me. Nobody wants a Helicopter-Whore.

      • If I was in Chicago that day, I would most definitely show up the book-signing with a placard reading, “How does a man who cheats on his wife of 28 years and dumps her for his “assistant” write a book on character? WTF?”

        • Wow Tempest! All kind of lights are going off in my head. I like that idea. I also like that I do have a legitimate “Get out of Jail free” card (misdemeanors’ only). No joke. Chicago is corrupt didn’t ya know. 🙂

          I think it is time that this sane 47 year old Dad gets escorted to our most wonderful County Jail on 26th and California by Chicago’s finest. They do accept Get out of Jail cards as I am told. LOL

          • No need for a get out of jail free card if you picket on the sidewalk outside the book signing. Sidewalk is considered public property, and you are exercising your First Amendment rights (just don’t punch anyone and you’re good ; ).

            • Haha Tempest, I wouldn’t punch anyone but my pessimistic side seems to appear when dealing with a cheater teaching character. 🙂

        • How does a man who cheats on his wife of 28 years and dumps her for his “assistant” write a book on character? WTF?

          Certainly they’re not implying it’s a book on GOOD character?

          • Conservative scold Bill Bennett wrote “The Book of Virtues,” pretty much covering the same ground as Brooks in a different style. His big thing–self discipline! Avoiding temptation! He was also a famous hypocrite. From Wikipedia: “In 2003 it became publicly known that Bennett was a high-stakes gambler who reportedly lost millions of dollars in Las Vegas.[15] Criticism elevated in the wake of Bennett’s publication, The Book of Virtues, in which he argued for self-discipline— an attribute at odds with problem gambling. Bennett and Empower America, the organization he co-founded and headed at the time, opposed an extension of casino gambling in the states” [16].

        • Five minutes ago read the story of Brooks dumping his wife for his assistant on Reddit. I was a huge fan of his and am at a loss for words. Thanks to all of you for helping me verbalize my repulsion.

          • I had similar feelings when I found this out too, Eva. I vented with a friend of mine and she played devil’s advocate telling me I was being judgmental without knowing all the facts. I’ll give her that. We finally settled on that, because she didn’t seem to have a reaction (even tho she had been dumped by her husband but I didn’t point that out), she was coming from a purely intellectual response while mine was totally emotional. You’d think someone who had gone nuts when her husband was seeing someone else, would have sympathy for my response. As far as his wife, my take might be, “Oh, i guess I didn’t know you so well. Now that I know, have a nice life. There’s someone out there for me too. I just haven’t met him yet.”

      • I hope so. My cheater ex who left me and blew up our family so he could be with the 21yr old babysitter (and yes, they’re shacking up together – 27yr age difference) works in downtown chicago. I think i’ll avoid the stench that day and stay as far away as possible. I wouldn’t want it to rub off on me

  • Typical. Haha this is all so fitting.

    It’s amazing how some people skate through life, fully unqualified for the roles they inhabit, fake-committing to things here and there, and wandering from shiny thing / person / cause to shiny thing / person / cause. Adorable, really. Bless their black, rotted-out hearts.

  • Reading this and thinking about my own situation the observation that strikes me most forcefully is that these people have no shame.

    a : a painful emotion caused by consciousness of guilt, shortcoming, or impropriety
    b : the susceptibility to such emotion have you no shame?
    : a condition of humiliating disgrace or disrepute

    Despite their hypocrisy and their knowledge of wrongs perpetrated on others they are just incapable or just don’t feel any shame.

    But really, shame on them.

    • Shame would require empathy. Narcissists don’t have that ability. And I would argue that without the ability to feel empathy, you don’t have a chance at having morals or character.

      On a side note – I find extensive wedding registries appropriate for young couples just starting out in life. NOT for grown ass men. And all those lovely phrases used as thanks in the book are just words being used for impression management.

    • Yes, why don’t they just elope, or have a registry wedding, with no guests. I guess that meanie first wife got all the cutlery.

      • As I put it to Cheater #1, you broke the wedding vows, I keep the wedding gifts. Somehow he still ended up homeless but with three storage lockers full of useless crap.

        • Excellent after-wedding tradition to start, Her Blondeness. All Chumps should be advised. And three lockers of ego dingles? That’s a lot…

    • When I was in the depths of despair post Dday, still blaming myself somehow and not wanting to run into people on the street, my therapist told me the story of a local government official who cheated on her husband, had a big ugly divorce, married one of her younger coworkers for about two years, then had a big ugly public divorce with him, as well. Then remarried the first husband –and sent a wedding announcement to all her staffers, printed on state-government letterhead, no less. — The audacity of such people is mind-boggling, as they commit disgraceful behavior and parade it around as if it were something to celebrate. Shame? That’s for “losers.”

    • Capricorn – Reminds me of something a counselor once told me: “Stop trying to figure this out with your brain. She doesn’t think like you.”

  • I cannot believe that in the description for his speaking engagement at the University of Chicago they say “Good character is, as one says, a proof against rewards–a good person does not, for instance, betray her friends or her firm for the sake of personal advantage”.
    He is definitely the opposite. He even looks like a guy I wouldn’t trust. Too slick and full of himself.
    Thanks for the truth.

    • If the book goes to next edition, it really needs to be renamed, The Theory (which we totally ignored) About the Road to Character…Perhaps, The Road to Character (And How I Ran Off It, Due to an Ill-timed Blow Job).

      • Ideas of title for the next edition:

        Character Quest for the Shallow Soul
        Moral Character for Crummies
        Fixing Character Chasms
        The Art of Domestic Fraud
        America’s Got Fakers
        The Biggest Loser – Character Edition

        Ah the possibilities…

    • Absolutely. The snake oil salesman may sell something useful every now and then, but when he’s outed as a snake oil salesman, everything he touches becomes suspect. Ironically, this is a big reason why character (and the consistency thereof) matters so much.

    • He is one person I never wondered about. OW gave X one of this guy’s books at the tail end of their affair. As I recall, it was basically about how the person we end up being married to is just a matter of chance and circumstance. It was so lacking in affection that I wondered about Brooks at the time. I thought maybe he was a closeted gay Republican, who was simply unable to acknowledge his sexuality. I ended up throwing the book out, because even X didn’t want it to take it with him. I remember thinking how very shallow his analysis was, kind of like “is that all there is?” Now I now why. He was in exit mode even then and looking for a reason to no longer love his wife. I do hope she got everything and more in the divorce, and that is the reason for the tacky wedding gift grab.

  • “I was born with a natural disposition towards shallowness.”

    Once again, Maya Angelou is spot on with, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

    • I think David Brooks is shallow and has issues with women, but i think this statement has that “oh, this old thing? I just pulled it out of the closet!” Feel. Where they parrot humility they don’t believe.

  • Still more evidence that cheaters are predictable and banal. They can claim they want joy-sparking passion with a souls mate, but they’ll settle for a juicer from Williams-Sonoma. Also a often a strategy consciously deployed to normalize their weird-ass life choices to family and friends. “How can you consider us freaks? If we dine, do we not require Danish soup spoons? If we sleep, do we not need luxury linens?” My cheating ex-wife pulled that shit when she married one of her partners. A full bridal registry in her 40s even though she emptied our kitchen when I told her she needed to leave. If she’s been honest in her registry, it would’ve been full of mall lingerie, burner cell phones, and cheap wine.

    • Nomar – you always make me laugh out loud. Your ex sounds like a classy chick! Ps – does she deign to drink wine from a box??

    • It sadly does come down to the juicer. Which is, in its own way, comforting.

    • Oh, my, Nomar-“mall lingerie, burner cell phones and cheap wine”….I just laughed so hard it woke my pup up and she started wagging her tail because she loves (and missed) the sound of my laughter. The POS STBX (should be finished up with this nonsense by July) is employed by the right wing media. Another case of “do as I say, not as I do”. Entitlement personified, and tacky as hell. Thanks, once again, for the insight.

    • LOL Nomar! I would love to see a completely honest wedding registry but one of these totally disordered types! Sounds like a fun friday challenge for CN.

    • How’s this for a wedding registry item ? High school friend’s hubby dumped her (#2) for a child bride (that’s what we call her-close enough in age to their two teenage boys to be weird) and Child Bride puts a yellow polka dot bikini on their Target gift registry… Can’t make this sh*t up…

      • Forgot to mention C.B. graduated from a southern Christian college and she hyphenates their first names on their Facebook/F*ckbook account. I need a barf bag.

      • Hahaha. It is ridiculous. Who are these people? We live in the same environment but we might as well be on a different planet. No wonder the political situation is polarized – there is a fundamental difference in values between people. Is it worse or simply more visible than it’s always been? I really can’t understand why a person- especially a public person who speaks with authority on moral issues- can possibly live with the cognitive dissonance.

  • What gets me is that a guy that wealthy has to have a registry. I can see it now. She got her traditional, over the top wedding so it could be written up in The NY Times or they had a wonderful, intimate little setting for their nearest and dearest. Remind me of Jack Welch.
    Gag a maggot.

      • They are certainly butt-ugly tokens of character formation! I don’t think I’m probably alone in saying that, either. Ugh! My eyes! And I can never un-see that.

      • I think we should send his ex two voodoo dolls with a box of pins.
        Is the publisher paying for the trip? Financing the honeymoon. I hope the books rot in a rat infested wharehouse.

    • Jesus, I just wiki’d Jack Welch, and OMG those eyes seared my soul. He looks Emperor Palpatine and Satan’s love child. I do hope his second wife wasn’t an AP, because by god she kicked his ass when she found out about his affair with the third and I want to root for her.

  • Character, it’s what for dinner.
    Cheater ex and his new gal have been pinning social media memes and articles on “CHARACTER” and speaking to its importance in all avenues ! It’s often the cover photo on both their Facebook profiles.

    • Ugh no

      The sheer chutzpah of these people is staggering. It’s often a sign of something missing isn’t it if you have to make four foot high banners proclaiming it. Why talk of character if you have some. It wouldn’t cross your mind.
      And really has anyone asked them ‘character huh – how would you know??’

      • Yes Capricorn. That is a really good point.

        I have a cousin who got rich and famous writing books on negotiation and communication.

        He then used his own negotiation and communication tactics to divorce his 70 year old wife of 45 or so years, when he ran off to Mexico with his co-collaborator on said books, who he’d been having an affair with for 15 years.

        The collaborator then dumped him for her other long-time affair partner, leaving him stranded with a house he couldn’t afford in Mexico.

        Yep. These are certainly people you’d want to take advice from on communication, right?

    • Bahah! Barf! Isn’t that the typical response of cheaters? Manufactured Image is everything, so instead of leaving people guessing “why” this sparkly young replacement is in the picture (they could get the wrong idea you know), start posting vague quotes about character. They aren’t trying to convince themselves (they already believe in their character) they are trying to convince the masses that character isn’t about what they ACTAULLY did, it’s about how you perceive yourself ! If you can convince everyone else to perceive you that way, well… you must be a good person!

  • I cant even.

    The irony here is more than my personal UBT can tolerate.

    I hope they have colicky triplets…not sickly ones (I was a NICU nurse, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone) but rather strong, robust, loud, colicky ones…. (who later break the danish glassware and write on the wedding book with purple sharpies)

    and while they are being puked on, the XW is sipping coffee from a nice cheap coffee cup and reading her investment report on the guilt money she got from this horrible shallow excuse of a person.

    • I have to laugh at the triplets line!

      I dated and considered marriage to a man in my late teens and early twenties – who ( surprise surprise ) cheated on me!

      He later married ( wife #3 ) and decided it was time to have kids. There were fertility problems….and God eventually blessed them with two sets of twins two years apart!!!

      He was almost 50 at the time. I still get a smug look on my face when I think about this !

  • I’ve had a few letters-to-the-editor published in the Times in response to Brooks’s columns.

    I agreed with him the instances he claimed to be focusing on character and not being superficial.

    Given I’m pretty liberal, the remainder of the instances were to point out his utter inconsistencies, his exaltation of suburban/exurban living at the expense of cities, and his promotion of free-market “dynamism” (whatever that means) in the face of overwhelming evidence that such an approach does not always lead to the best results.

    I can’t imagine being married to the dude. He’s a pontificating blowhard. He’s not funny, and his arguments aren’t based on facts, but feelings.

    • Free-market “dynamism” = ditching your wife so that you have to buy a second round of household/registry gifts, thereby stimulating the economy.

    • JC, I am a NY Times reader myself, a liberal (is that a shocker?) and I have tried hard to like David Brooks. I saw him speak recently, and I do want our divided nation to have some sort of general common ground of decency and morality that we can agree on and use as a basis of civil discourse.

      That is why I have carefully and thoughtfully considered that this smug preppy horn-rimmed asshole can go fuck himself. Seriously, fuck this guy. Is there anything more narcissistic than thinking out loud about how humble you are?

      Let’s get his ex to write some awesome stuff.

      • A lot of us liberals (I’m speaking only for myself here and my immediate friends — ok, no I’m not) are even the chumps of the political world. I, too, want to heal the divide in the US, but those other guys? Not so much. Since Dday, I’ve even become less chumpy about politics. I aim first for diplomacy but I’ll be damned if I’m gonna let someone with opposing viewpoints merely shout me into submission ever again.

        (Also, for a filthy but accurate summary of the chumpiness of liberals, might I suggest the “Dicks, Pussies, and Assholes” scene from “Team America: World Police” by the South Park guys. You can find it on YouTube. Also, seriously, the entire movie is hilarious biting satire, especially nowadays.)

  • What a Douche , just like my ex…
    People in positions to tell others about morals and values, grrrrr, these are the people in life to run like hell from.
    I wish his ex wife had a registery for her rebirth and freedom, I would send her chumpladys book.

    • We should all send her Chump lady’s book as a warning of her future when he runs off with the nanny while she’s stuck in eternal hell with the three colicky babies and ugly glassware!

    • I hope she’s on this site already! Quite a few of us have alluded to the fact that DDay was “all over the news.”

      • Sorry, I meant David’s first wife- not the homewrecking goldigging whore he married. She deserves everything she has coming in that evil union.

    • Ooh, a rebirth and freedom registry! I love this! I think all chumps should have one as they journey towards Meh. I’m having a blast imagining all the wonderful things a Chump could use post-divorce as they gain a life, starting with CL’s book.

      Great idea Little Red!

  • “I was born with a natural disposition towards shallowness.”

    I laughed out loud at that. Hey, a self-aware cheater!! My X could have written that; most of our Xs could have written that.

    The fact that Brooks wrote a book on Character while bopping his ‘assistant’ is yet one more piece of evidence in favor of cognitive dissonance theory. Congrats, Leon Festinger!

    • Yes. This is what is the most mind-boggling about cheaters. That they truly believe that they are good people with morals and values. Mine honestly doesn’t see anything immoral with screwing the 23-year old who worked for him while his wife was pregnant. Simply mind-boggling.

      • When they go with these type of statements, it makes no-contact so much easier. You realize that they have nothing of value to add to a real conversation.

        • “I was born with a natural disposition towards shallowness.” Blameshifting, can’t help myself, not my fault, aren’t I cute.


  • LOL Little Red – that would be a great wedding gift.

    This makes total sense – guys like Brooks, who are narcs and full of themselves and leave their marriages and kids and break promises and he possibly cheated, they don’t think their character or morals are flawed. We can give them facts, examples, and tell them til we’re blue, they just dont see it and never will.

    • He POSSIBLY cheated? Are you new to this chump thing? He definitely cheated. And probably cheats on this new one with several others. He probably let her set up the ugly gift registry to distract her from what he’s up to boffing other women!

      • Haha, sadly or not I’m not a new chump anymore…I have my own thoughts on this, but i’d rather go with ‘Probably’ before i have all the facts – anyways for this guy – i wont waste time trying to find those facts. He’s a douche regardless.

        Cheers Tequila

  • I now suspect the louder people lecture others about virtues, the more shabby their own behaviour. My ex used to tell me repeatedly how decent and moral he was & how hard it was for him working with such money hungry unethical colleagues. I dismissed what I now know to be reality-based suspicions about his fidelity because I knew he was a decent moral guy… because he told me so himself, over and over again!

    • Same here, about ex talking about how moral he was. Hell, his high morals was a “selling point” he used to get his whore to cheat with him. Can’t make this shit up….

      • x CONSTANTLY gave lectures to our kids and anyone who would listen about the importance of honesty…..while he was screwing around our entire marriage.

        • Cheaters will always self proclaims themselves as being someone that they aren’t, with or without our endorsement.

          Unfortunately, we all live in a world built on promises that are constructed by liars.

          Too many liars with no credentials.

          Show me, don’t tell me…my motto moving forward.

  • Oh David ,David. The lady doth protest too much methinks. The male morality police not being moral? Sheesh if we only had a dime for every time.

  • Typical “do what I say, not what I do” speak. My cheating ex is a CEO with several thousand employees. He gives speeches to his employees on the importance of family, and how keeping your life in perspective makes you a better person. He told people that trust is one of the most important values for a human and that karma is a real thing.

    He told our teenage son on that the only thing in life you have is your word, a real man is honest. (when our son was discovered in typical teenage lies and situations)

    He has won character awards and been given many accolades. He felt good and superior telling others how to live their lives. All the while he had a girlfriend for 2 years. There were 4 D-days and multiple PROMISES that the affair was over, and he was committed to our marriage of 28 years..yada yada yada

    I have found the only thing he said that was true is that karma is real. And he is finding out it is a BITCH! I will be able to live very well on his “word and truth”… 🙂

  • Suggestion for a future Friday game: chumps recommend gift registry items for our cheaters and their OWives (or Brooks and his former concubine) with recommended store(s) and what we think would be more appropriate gifts for the cheaters given the true circumstances of their relationship. CL, whadya think?

  • This funny, but also so sad. How are women supposed to live feeling happy and secure in a world where men do things like this? Do younger women just have to hope that this doesn’t happen to them? Or maybe our happiness as women really has to be secured outside the arena of relationships with men?

    • Ali — I wish I knew the answer to your question. I no longer believe “happily ever after” exists…

    • Sad but true, Ali, not just for women but also for men — IOW, all humans. (though, of course, the older-man/younger-woman thing is legion) I once looked for some sort of book about the older-man/younger-woman phenomenon and couldn’t find even one. Not one (well, nothing nonfiction). The opposite, older-woman/younger-man? Oh, yeah — loads of those books, like, “how could that possibly happen and how can we explain it?” Evidently the opposite is so obvious as to not even deserve a book to explain it.

      In answer to your question, Ali, I do think, yes, we must all ultimately find our happiness outside the arena of relationships, period. It’s a subtle shift, but I now draw pleasure FROM those relationships but they do not DEFINE my happiness.

      • Probably because people think it’s normal.Older man with younger women thing.People don’t usually write books on stuff they don’t think it’s unusual.Having said that.I’ve to admit an older man with younger woman didn’t exactly draw my attention.But an older woman with younger man?
        I always had to draw a second glances.And I actually find myself questioning the younger man’s motives.

  • Lol, in one of the articles linked, this guy ” snarked ” Elizabeth Gilbert and eat, love, prey. Can’t blame him there. I tried reading it a couple of times. Only made it thru a few chapters. It was nice to see her narco path soulmate co cheater stick it to her though. Twu wub at its finest.

  • I can imagine being married to this dude, because I basically was, though mine was mostly too shallow to proselytize much about morality, and would never have a go at writing down ideas like that where I might see them, because I would eat him and his pathetic attempts at both elegant prose and clear reasoning for lunch.

    Still, this is essentially my story. Rapidly aging STBX working with a young thing. He imputed every good thing that ever has, might, or will ever exist to her, and they set me up as the scapegoat. Marriage will be next for them, and I am sure that as a first time bride she will be yearning for all of the spiffy spoonrests, fashionable china, and sparkly crystal she can get her hands on, if he lets her. After all, image management is a thing, so she might have to forego some of the traditions per his demands, but we shall see.

    The long-term wife written off as a good mom is pretty typical. Happened to me, at least for a little while, but then they apparently decided that if I were a truly good person, I would be deliriously happy for them, beam my approval and blessings at them from the sidelines, and perhaps encourage them to host sleepovers–complete with board game, movies, and intricate puzzles they could piece together in loving unity–with the children. Since I declined to embody the correct admixture of selfless beneficence and self-deprecating blame for all cosmic wrongs, now I get to be in the evil, selfish, monstrous mom category, which I suppose means no engraved invitation to their unholy nuptials will be forthcoming. Alas, I was thinking a collection of Brooks’ books might be just the thing for their library, which they will need so they can suggest to all comers that they might actually be intellectually inclined, and perhaps even given to such heady pursuits as reading things not written in Excel column or text message form.

    Brooks reminds me of M. Scott Peck, who was similarly consumed by moral questions but utterly unencumbered by any personal moral or ethical code.

    • Cashmere
      There is something here isn’t there about those who love to appear one thing but in fact embody the opposite.
      It’s small comfort but to me, being cast as the villain by two moral imbeciles could be seen as a compliment of the highest order?
      And if it makes you feel a little better I was the one telling my STBX how good and great and wonderful he was, ‘my rock’ I used to call him. He didn’t need to give me a false impression of who he was, I practically drove myself into the ground trying to do it for him. ??‍♀️

      • Cap, at some point, cheater boy began to rage at me for “thinking I was morally superior.” Interestingly, I really don’t think in those terms most of the time, but it is true that I did not cheat and do have a moral compass, and that drives him crazy, mostly because it makes constructing the narrative in which he heroically escaped my powerfully evil clutches and found love–pure and true–to boot, much more difficult.

        • We are morally superior, merely in virtue of not running off with a bit of strange to satisfy our private bits.

          There, that argument is resolved.

        • I’m powerfully evil too! Let’s start an evil gang, like Suicide Squad!! We are so evil afterall, we purely exist to squeeze the lives of our former partners, poor sookums, lucky they escaped us! Boo hoo!

      • Capricorn, this was me too. I was constantly telling him that I’d got a good one and he would say, “I don’t know about that.” At the time, I thought he was being humble – now I know they were probably the rare moments that he was being truthful. And the very first thing I thought when he said he wanted a divorce after nearly 25 years was, “Thank heavens, I don’t have to tell him how wonderful he is anymore!”

    • Same here. Mine even answered a questionnaire by the court indicating that I was an amazing mom.

      • GetMeFree

        Mine texted just this morning what an amazing mother I am and an excellent therapist. Hmmmm and the way to show that you recognise this is by fucking other people on the side for *four years. Give me strength..

        *cheater speak timeline.

        • Apparently in the pre-trial (was just the lawyers in with the magistrate), she commented about his answer saying how unusual it was seeing how most people are fighting over custody and accusing one another of things. All I could think was is she falling for it?

          Divorcing a narcissist is beyond anything I could have ever imagined. It sucks to realize that you were conned for years, but it continues to suck watching them con others around you, especially when it is done to make you look like you are being “harsh”. People have no idea what we are dealing with.

        • Egads, this must be another “cheater playbook” move.

          Mine has been telling everyone (his family, his therapist, coworkers …) what a wonderful mom I am and how I’m the best person he’s ever known.

          Seriously?! WTF!

          I recall just a few short months ago when he went into full-rage mode because I was trying to hold him to the standard of “simply being a decent human.”

          And, as you mention, Capricorn, it is utterly impossible to mesh his “praise” of me with how he treated me. In my worldview, when we value something, we take care of it. Much more so when the “thing” we value is another human.

    • Cashmere, that was beautifully written, and clear evidence of your superiority in “elegant prose and clear reasoning”!!!!

    • I also have to say how offensive it is to me that the only compliment paid to ex-partners in the end is that they were a good parent. It’s as if the abandoners are complimenting a vase for doing a good job of not leaking water, or a fence for keeping the dogs in the yard. “You did a fine job of being a vessel and caregiver, but that’s it.” No value in the companionship or independent personality of that partner as a supportive comrade in our Life journey, no compliments about wit or creativity or unwavering loyalty or encouragement … all the things we all do for each other, our loved ones, every day. No, none of that. Just “good mother” (or father). It sounds supportive and uplifting but, in my opinion, continues to close women into a tiny box which negates their own individual needs and strengths. (Nothing against all you moms out there — I know you’re amazing at your motherhood skills, but I also know you’re brilliant thinkers and writers and artists and therapists and doctors and teachers and .. and… and.)

      • Any nice comments about the chump other than Good Parent would cause the ire of the affair partner, most likely. They are very jealous and insecure.

      • I think his nod to the X’s parenting skills is a great public mind fuck to the new wife to “know her place”. NOTHING with a narcissist is unintentional

      • NWbiblio,
        I wholeheartedly agree on the good mother bullshit. When my cheater started with the, “You are such a good mother. Iwill always love you as the mother of my children.” I held up my hand.( Stop sign ). Silence and I swallowed the lump in my throat. No thanks I’ll pass on that one.

        • It’s like they think if they emphasize your role as the “mother of their children” it’s changes the fact that you are the mother if their children because the two of you were having SEX, lol. And 95% of the time it’s because they wanted to. You can’t change history, dumasses. They can try to change history all they want but they weren’t being forced to dating you, sleeping with you, marrying you, having kids with you.

      • Love your analogies nwbiblio. In Stbx’s hate journal he wrote that he bought me a necklace for our 25th anniversary because I had been a good mother. It did feel like he was a kid leaving when he left a year later.

      • “She’s an excellent mother” is paltering for “but a lousy romantic partner. So I was forced to look elsewhere.” #unmetneeds

        • Yes but like everything it is ever changing day to day. One day, I was a great mother, the next I hear: the kids raised themselves. Never stop the gas lighting!

    • Books culled from the home library-anything by Brooks,Elizabeth Gilbert,Dr. Seuss,what else ?

      • I think most great playwrights were notorious cheaters. Can’t think of names right now. Ted Hughes, poet. Think he was Sylvia Plath’s cheater husband. Ernest Hemingway, think I read some really bad stuff about his cheating.

  • Ambition/Grey divorce:
    I wonder how kind 5 years from now how he will feel. Maybe an anchor baby but the rest of her life with a geezer. She will still be young. Maybe then he will pick up his book and reread it and at the end thanking the wife for raising the children, his words will haunt him.

  • This could be the story of my stbx and the ow, we’ve been separated 2 years and he claims he hasn’t even kissed her but wants a future with her. Also they stay at each other’s houses all the time, all platonic. But he wants our kids to know the Lord. They are both preachers on morality who just live there own lives any way they want.

    • That’s bizarre! What’s really crazy is that they actually believe that shit. Every other sane human just hears it and immediately says “yeah right” in their head along with tagging them as liars. But they are “HOLY”. Mine was also holy while screwing the x youth minister of a church???? She undid a lifetime of teaching with one act. Oh yeah, I did tell the kids. But it was my fault. Even teenagers know BS like that.

  • OMG — X is marrying Schmoopie tomorrow evening in a church ceremony. “The Road to Character” would make the perfect gift for these morons! It’s “Twu Luv” for 60 year olds who dated as college freshmen — when she resurfaced as a divorcee in IA having been given the old-heave-ho by her X, he discarded his NY family of 30+ years.

    I’ve reached “meh” but what fun it might be to put together a registry for these two. And they get to live on the farm with Mother and Father… not the life for me!

    • Sounds like a plan. Xw is marrying old high school boyfriends from 35 years ago on June 10th. AP’s wife gave him the heave ho too. Alimony stops that day and I’ll be $1100 richer per month. Happy days. I’ll be toasting the event for sure. 🙂

      • I will raise a bourbon and toast to your new found riches!

        More for you to invest in yourself and kids. Woot!

  • Please, some chicago chump go to this and have them sign copies of
    Leave a cheater Gain a Life
    In Sheep’s Clothing
    Character Disturbance
    Tell him it’s for his x wife and children and you’ll write the note for him.
    Character???? Guy wouldn’t know it if someone tried to electro shock it into him!

  • The verbal virtue assault, oh I know it well!

    Me: Why were you emailing an 18 year old girl and telling her all the sick sexual perversions you would like to perform on her?

    Him: I saw her profile and wanted her to know the danger she puts herself in by doing that. I’m actually trying to protect her from herself. I’m a man of virtue, and god calls me to protect and advocate for those who are weak. I feel bad for this young girl… and by the way you should too. Where is your Christ like humbleness? You shouldn’t be judging her, you should be trying to save her like I am, through Christs love. A Christian woman is not bitter and untrusting. You really should work on that humble attitude. I can model that for you, but ultimately you can only get that through Christ. I can not assault her with the word of Christ, I must speak on her level and build trust before I try to bring her to Christ. … uh, can you say Predator?

    Yep, shit like that happened for 18 years! I’m a slow learning Chump! Once I stopped trying to prove I was a good person to a fuckwit, and realized he wasn’t a good person (regardless of what he said) I truely got the game of the disordered.

    • Just WOW! As i commented above, it’s so crazy and they actually believe it themselves????

  • David Brooks = Arthur Dimmesdale. (from ‘The Scarlet Letter.’)

    Life imitating art.

    ‘Nuff said.


  • Damn. I enjoy(ed) Brooks and Shields on PBSNewshour on Fridays. Glad I liked Shields more.

    Because I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this post, I looked it up and was DISGUSTED to read this in a Brooks’ article published in 2015:

    “The person left behind also probably thinks that the leaver is making a big mistake. She probably thinks that it’s stupid to leave or change the bond; that the other person is driven by selfishness, shortsightedness or popularity.

    Yet if the whole transition is going to be managed with any dignity, the person being left has to swallow the pain and accept the decision.

    The person being left has to grant the leaver the dignity of her own mind, has to respect her ability to make her own choices about how to live and whom to be close to (except in the most highly unusual circumstances). The person being left has to suppress vindictive flashes of resentment and be motivated by a steady wish for the other person’s ultimate good. Without accepting the idea that she deserved to be left, the person being left has to act in a way worthy of her best nature, to continue the sacrificial love that the leaver may not deserve and may never learn about.

    That means not calling when you are not wanted. Not pleading for more intimacy or doing the other embarrassing things that wine, late nights and instant communications make possible.

    Maybe that will mean the permanent end to what once was, in which case at least the one left behind has lost with grace. But maybe it will mean rebirth”


    PS The article is called “Leaving and Cleaving” (

    PPS She changed her NAME and RELIGION because he was such a stand-up guy.


    • Holy crap! I’m pretty sure my ex and in-laws collaborated on that book! Here eat this shit sandwich I made for you, but make sure you do it with a smile! Gag!

      Funny, for being such gracious and humble people, ex in-laws justify spreading their perfect cheater child’s smear campaign, because I refused to eat that shit sandwich with a smile! “Look, we are good people! We just spread false rumors because our devilish daughter-in-law refuses to grant prayers for the ultimate happiness of our golden child, and is failing to protect his image. She refuses humbleness and humility in the name of her own self-respect. We just do not have time in our lives for such evil” Bahaha… I really hope there is a god, because he is going to send them straight to hell! Apparently I’ll be meeting them there!

      • Just the address changes, Got-a-brain. My in laws were also incredibly cruel to me. I think it was Capricorn who mentioned here that when mediocre people are scared, they become cruel. My cheater was the “can-do-no-wrong” type, so if this happened to me, what could happen to my in-laws? Better get rid of the ugly sight.

        • It really is mind boggling. I guess people who raise someone who is low (or in my ex’s case, completely lacking) in moral character probably shouldn’t be expected to possess it themselves! Sigh

        • ClearWaters,

          Sorry your ex in-laws are so cruel. I can unfortunately relate.

          35 years of being an awesome “suck it up for the greater good” daughter-in-law to their golden son.

          My cancer diagnosis didn’t even warrant a “sorry to hear this news”. They told my adult son when he asked them why they hadn’t reached out, “they didn’t know what to say”.

          They’ve been flying monkeys, in major image protection mode for their golden baby man son in a golden fleece diaper, living with 20 year younger massage parlor whore. They aren’t at a loss for words on that subject. It’s tru wuv and he deserves to be happy.

          Shallow doesn’t aptly describe their lack of character. I don’t miss any them, their shallowness or lack of character.

          • Neither do I miss in-laws, Free Now. But to not give you a call when they know you had cancer and sucked up for 35 years takes the prize for meaness. I Tell my kids that one good thing about being dumped is that I will never again have to listen to bullshit and bite my tongue.

      • +1…my ex-asshole hypocritical in-laws are both Lutheran pastors…who didn’t say SHIT to me when they found out their precious baby wanted a divorce. And they spread around that it was because I wanted kids and he didn’t. Funny, I was pregnant while he was fucking his multiple ho-workers! And all he ever said was he wanted to “be a daddy before he was 40”. Did he tell them they were going to have a grandbaby? Nope. Then I miscarried. When I finally told them he cheated and that I had been pregnant? Crickets. They can go fuck themselves

        • One thing I’ve learned is cheaters love to control the flow of information. They have an almost masterful way of reading how people will respond. If it wasn’t so twisted it would be admirable.

          Example: ex told my sister-in-law (who had to make the terrible decision to terminate a pregnancy because the baby had no brain) that I wanted to abort our first child. Total lie, but he knew the button to push to get her to judge me, and then proceeded to tell her I didn’t care for her.

          Result, she now thinks my character is lacking, but won’t approach and ask me about it, because “I don’t care for her.”
          Then add to that in-laws(or other flying monkeys) who perpetuate the chasm of manufactured lies, and you have a recipe for social rejection and false judgment. Contrast that with fuckwit social media posts about their good character, and poof… you are the town leper.

          It really is a hard shit sandwich to swallow, and I will NOT do it with a smile!

    • OMG. I just love it when cheaters lecture their victims on how to suck up humility with a straw and cast a glow of benevolence and goodwill toward the cheater. I truly hope there is an open pothole that he falls into on the way to work today, so that he can end up in the sewer, where he belongs.

      • Tempest!

        Sometimes I wish that the best revenge wasn’t us living authentic, fulfilled and cheater free lives. I wish it was more of the fire and brimstone, tar and feathering, village sticks, mediaeval torture kind of thing.

        • It’s actually worse than I originally processed–Brooks not only leaves his loyal wife of 28 years, but then PUBLICLY tries to humiliate her broadcasting that she tearily called him up to beg for intimacy from him:

          “That means not calling when you are not wanted. Not pleading for more intimacy or doing the other embarrassing things that wine, late nights and instant communications make possible.”

          What a lowlife, soul-sucking, empathyless, skyscraper-sized pile of horse dung that man is. His X is embarrassing? How about the cliche of older-man-falls-for-younger-assistant, with whom he is writing a book on CHARACTER? Is he fucking kidding? He’s the embodiment of embarrassment. And creepiness. And hypocrisy.

          You talked me into it, Capricorn–fire and brimstone for him. And swarms of locusts to invade his swish cosmopolitan abode.

          • And on a much smaller scale, the 60-year-old asshole who leaves me and immediately posts on Facebook a cutesy meme of a puppy who’s saying, “I choose to be happy!!!”

            The psychotherapist (who has met him) says my ex is infantile. Go figure.

          • Yes Tempest, i picked that up too: and the other section in which he wrote that the left behind must accept they deserved it, he really twists his knife.

            This is how the Ex played his game: covert, but obvious to those in the know.


          • Tempest, my thoughts exactly… that he should use his overblown, overpaid bully pulpit to lecture his abandonned spouse on how to swallow shit sandwiches gracefully… it is all beneath contempt.

            God knew the possible vile nature of man when He warned in the Old Testament to not treat the wife of ones youth with treachery.

          • Asshole. Once again, men focusing on the woman’s reaction as opposed to the behavior. Disgusting that he did a public discard. I ask karma to bring him a colostomy bag, explosive diarrhea due to IBS and that his STBXW fucking takes him to the cleaners financially.

          • “But maybe it will mean rebirth” for the Chump.

            WTF WTF WTF?

            I am surprised that I am so surprised.

            It’s strangely liberating to no longer believe anything that comes out of most mouths. These days a mouth has really got to earn its credibility with me.

            David Brooks, man. I did think he was smarmy. Trusting my gut now. I realize how much latitude I’m willing to extend people – assuming the best, especially if they talk a good story. (Jeffrey Toobin is another hypocrite. I guess there are two. Hahaha.)

          • Love this post tempest! Because it is impossible to humiliate these people, we must go for pain!

    • The first rule of writing is write what you know about. If you’ve never been left, don’t write about being left and what the Left Person Should Do. Especially if it is self-serving. Similarly if you’ve never been cheated on, STFU about the experience.

      All of this benevolence and fine feelings and rejecting resentment are fine if you’re talking about the sort of rare, mythical Good Divorce where people “grow apart.”

      Cheat on someone? Defraud them? Hell yes they have a right to their anger and their dim opinion of you.

      I encourage people to LEAVE cheaters. How many of those sad sausages take the high road without resentment at cake loss? Hmmm.

      • This post has struck a raw nerve in me! I just don’t understand how people fall for this crap! Alas, maybe it’s my feeling of stupidity for falling for the crap myself that has left me so intensely angry.

        Now that I’m on the other side I want to scream to everyone, “Look, the building is on fire! Don’t you see the flames right in front of you!” But people who drink the disordered cool-aid are convinced the building will stop burning… if the person who is telling them about it is seen as a trouble maker and thrown out!

        I see I have a long way to meh!

        • No, what he wrote would strike a nerve in anyone who has ever been betrayed. Meh doesn’t mean we can’r recall the days when we couldn’t swallow solid food or our faces were so puffy from crying we couldn’t get eyeliner on.

    • Ah, but the intelligentsia, the literati have all the answers so this must be so….

      From Trailer Park to Academia, Boardroom to washroom, cheaters remark,”…everybody does it.”

      The character-less, high profile haves continue to represent the weak, character-less have nots.

      Guess I’ll continue to live in my bubble.

      • Hey, David! News to you … the person being left can do whatever the fuck he or she wants, okay? Got that, David? Now fuck off … I’m all out of sacrificial love.

        • David is euphemistically, a jackass of the highest order. You mistake me if you think I am David.

    • Roaring, What a fucking pompous ass!
      Lord Brooks of the Universe is just a tacky, omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent Boeotian (this is for his muse, to go with her eucalyptus napkin rings) asshole.

      My cheater expects me to listen to him.

      These guys are so damn disgusting.

    • Omfg. This guy is scum. How dare he exploit his ex’s pain, and in such a cruel and contentious manner. But coming from some who was “born with a predisposition to shallowness” I guess I can’t say I’m shocked.

    • Deeeee-luded. God, it sounds like he published a page taken from his diary. Or a message he left on her phone. ‘For god’s sake, have some dignity about you, after I debased you in the worst possible way.’ That guy is a total dick. And possibly animatronic.

    • What I find interesting about this passage is that it (inadvertently, I’m positive) gives props to No Contact/Gray Rock.

      It’s wrapped inside of all sorts of bullshit designed to accept and feed the offender’s entitlement, but in terms of strategy on the part of the person being left, it’s very much what we preach here every day: do not engage, it’s not productive and only delays any sense of closure and advancement.

      What he does not address — and what I live with every day with KK — is when it’s the person who left who continually insists on being the one to demand acknowledgement and acceptance. Who will not stand for the person who’s been left wanting him/her permanently removed, or at least minimized as much as possible, from daily existence.

      Let’s hear his opinion on that. Then again, no — we’ve vomited enough for one day.

    • Brooks advocates:

      “The person being left has to suppress vindictive flashes of resentment and be motivated by a steady wish for the other person’s ultimate good. Without accepting the idea that she deserved to be left, the person being left has to act in a way worthy of her best nature, to continue the sacrificial love that the leaver may not deserve and may never learn about.”

      Or, in other words, keep giving the cheater cake. Silent, passive cake. What about the sacrificial love that the leaver owes to the person being left?

      Grade A 100% pure unadulterated bullshit. ‘Nuff said.


      • Wow. Brooks is a real dick.

        I wish he’d had the UBT as his editor:

        “My ex should eat this shit sandwich and compliment my culinary skills. I know it’s disgusting, but I have an image to protect, and I don’t have time to repair my image. I’m on a book tour! With Schmoopie!

        “I am shit-my-pants terrified my ex will be frank and open about the kind of man I am, and then I will be a laughingstock. Spackle, ex-wife, it’s your god-given, sacrificial duty! I’ll just blameshift in the New York Times, tell her not to be so selfish. That’ll convince her!”

        I was never a fan of Brooks, but this takes the cake. Pun intended. What an asshole.

    • I think that’s what our divorce mediator is trying to get me to do. Clueless jerk. Even STBX knows better than say stuff like that to me although he is probably thinking it.



    (excuse me, I just barfed up my frosted flakes… gotta run)

    • 21 year difference between my STBX and OW. I have discovered after reading this blog, that is pretty common.

      • Only 23? The dif between X and girl child was….wait for it….

        40 years!

        I think there is another person in CN who has that kind of difference and we win the prize, eh?

        For X-mas someone in the Forum had us do “stocking stuffers for the cheaters.” I put in a t-shirt that says:



        • Wow! If this was me and reverse my AP would be 90 now. A couple of years younger than my dad. I could not imagine with all the things I want to do now, taking care of a 90 yo husband. Yuck! No thanks! Just wow is all I can think. Id rather be alone.

          • 40 yrs.??? A zombie resurrection!

            Hi there Anna Nicole Tits!

            happily, you do know everyone is snorting and laughing behind their hands, right?! For once, I would LOVE to see the well-earned smirk on your face instead of on the Child Sex Trafficker’s.

        • 34-year age difference for OW#1 and X, 37-year age difference for OW#2 and X, 20-year age difference for OW#3 and X (who is currently the live-in GF).

          • My x told me after D-day that “I want to be with young women. All men do.”

            Just the way he said it, with a pitying smirk, as if I was so stupid to think I mattered after my sell-by date.

            The irony? He had to literally pay money (and lots of it) for the (dubious) pleasure of having strangers have sex with him.

            On a related note, my daughter and her boyfriend are watching ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’ She sent me a picture of a bouquet and a card he sent her after episode 3 – card read simply, “Men are the worst.”

            • Oh, gosh, yes. The STBX is convinced he snagged a young hottie, and that this reflects well upon him. I really hope that this proves not to be the case in his social and business circles, and that all due humiliation and social stigma hitscand hits hard. Not holding my breath, though, because to date the good old boys network has not only only covered for him fairly effectively, but done the surreptitious wink-wink, nod-nod, hidden high five deal about his exploits.

              One little delicious bit of karma, though. He loves to put APs in biz positions for which they are not even close to being qualified. This lead current AP actually to believe she was qualified, and to shoot off an angry and “disappointed” (cheater boy has schooled her in mark-speak) email to the good old boys when someone highly qualified got the position she wanted and fully believed was hers. The good old boys might smirk and cover for cheaters, but even they won’t go so far as to think that blowing the boss qualifies a slut to do anything at all besides continuing to blow the boss. So, touch up your eyeliner, slut girl. He needs to see those big eyes worshipfully looking up as you tend to your real gig.

              • Lol. Mentally correct typos, please. My inner editor is cringing. But still. Yup.

              • and looking down from above as someone is on their knees before you is a pretty good vantage point for eyeliner.

      • Yep. It is pretty sick.

        And sad that there are tons of women out there who are so naive: theynthink it is acceptable and normal to “compete” to be the best and nicest, most accommodating while pushing her needs aside to have a “man”.

        That’s ok, once uncle daddy/grandpa starts needing soiled bedsheets changed and a colostomy bag, she will high tail it out there. Hope he has a great LTC insurance plan.

          • It is sick. I do not believe in the mid-life crisis deal as excuse or explanation at all, but I do believe these cheaters have deep issues with aging. They just can’t face it at all.

            • It’s so ironic in my case because X left for a young golddigging whore: he smirked and said “all my new friends think I look like I’m in my 20s!” As he walked out the door. Yeah right! He’s 50. In the 3 years since he left, started drinking and druggung 24/7, stopped eating any home cooked foods (slut can’t/won’t cook), stopped running and working out (I’m a fitness nut)–he looks like he’s 60. Baahaaahaaaa

              I on the other hand, met a really seeet non-cheater single hot 4-year older than me man at the YMCA, we workout and run together, eat kale salad a lot, take care of our respective teens with lots of home cooking and hiking and boating. Clean sober family-focused living — I look great, better than ever!
              A life well lived is the best revenge.

            • My STBX bought matching running shoes (he does NOT run). They look like someone threw bright paint at them. For a 24-year old, cool. My 13 year old daughter would like them, too. On a 46-year old fat guy, ridiculous. When my 15 year old son saw them, he asked his dad what he was wearing.

              But hey…cute matching shoes. How they don’t see the ridiculousness that they are is amazing.

              • Do they have little lights that come on when you walk, like toddler shoes?!

      • OW 1 5 years older
        OW 2 25 years younger
        OW 2 17 years younger.

        OW2 was 3 years old when we married. That is such a creepy thought as we were 30 when we got hitched

          • Well, if it’s any consultation, ex’s whore girlfriend is pushing 50 and he’s a bit older. I think that’s even grosser, for lack of a better word.

        • Only 15 years in my situation. But when our Switzerland friend & I started to fall apart, I snarked, “Well, at least your [ten year old] son and OW should get along well. She’s closer to HIS age, than she is to XH’s.”

          • OW is only 9 years older than my son. My son is so grossed out by his dad, he wants NOTHING to do with OW. He is ok spending time with his dad alone, but each time STBX brings anything even remotely related to her around him, he cuts off communication. Last time, it lasted 2 months.

            STBX sent him a text asking if he is going to react like this when his mom starts dating. They truly do not see anything wrong with what they have and are doing. Again, just sick.

        • This makes me want to really celebrate and support and encourage those long-standing, loving and healthy marriages.

    • Yeah, but what if Schmoops is OLDER? 8 years older than EX, 13 years older than me??

      Can you say “Oedipus”?

  • Brook’s “biography” and his wedding registry remind me of a saying from my country, “done for the English to see”, referring to half-assed jobs that manage to fool supervisors.

    The railways used to be owned by British companies and every now and then their CEOs would deign to venture into the Tropics to inspect the services. But they were too stuck up and afraid of bugs and germs and would never leave their cushy cabins. So cunning, lazy employees would only repair and paint the front of the train stations, the rears were left littered, dirty, chipped and stained.

    So as long as you have a wedding registry asking for a Sissinghurst Castle Spoon Rest you can cheat all you want and people will still hype all over your column. So easy.

    And what kind of job is director of the “Character Initiative”?

    • ClearWaters
      That’s funny. I’ve never heard that before. Maybe because I am English, British, who knows now (doomed?). At least it was unlikely to be my historical ancestors responsible for acting like this as they probably never made it more than 10ft from where they were born. Mostly still true and good for those who got away !

      • Well, Capricorn, maybe because in Britain employees don’t cheat on their supervisors and/or supervisors get out of the train during inspection trips, so train stations are well kept. Anyway, I use this all the time with students and my kids.

    • “Potemkin Villages” were a big thing for Catherine the Great, of Russia; her Sig Other took her for a tour of her country with beautiful villages, prosperous fields and happy peasants. She never got out of her carriage to see the mud and misery 100 yards behind the paint.

      Seems as if the Brits were just as happy to be deceived as Catherine was.

  • Character definition—-The mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual.

    I think he has shown his.

  • Anyone that says he is moral probably isn’t. I feel for the ex-wife. No no one will write a book and have her in mind. The kids will now be forced to choose over holidays, friends will be forced to choose and the finances are probably a mess.

    He however will have nice napkin rings. Sparkly titillating napkin rings.

  • Also- these two were the topic of local Washington DC gossip way back when they bought a house on the famed Macomb street NW In Cleveland Park before divorce papers for his first marriage had been filed.
    Then the papers reported that the home he’d shared with his then still wife had been sold a few weeks prior.
    If you’re going to be shifty AND pontificate like a clueless blowhard at the same time- expect the DC press to notice. They love a good takedown

  • I don’t know why this post has gotten to me but I am so SICK of the infantilism of western society. I watched a female reporter the other day who had bleached her teeth to the point I never got the gist of her story. Those babies were brighter than the sun.
    Are all of you scared that drop-in company might find your kitchen floor doesn’t have the required shine, you forgot to make your bed, or put on makeup, or you are caught at the grocery wearing something other than the latest whatever? We are all suppose to live on the surface of life where looks, youth, sexual availability are so much more important that good ethics. You know…..those pesky rules that keep a lid on our baser instincts. Well, those have been thrown out like yesterday’s trash.
    I know three couple where there is a huge difference in age. I have to keep this anonymous but the latter years of the much younger wives have been those of nursemaids.

    • And you know Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes whose foray into cheating was with a much younger woman. I usually like 60 Minutes but when he comes on I change the channel.

    • I was never scared of those things but STBX was. No wonder he left, I was such an embarrassment for not looking after all of that surface stuff.

    • A friend in L.A. who worked as a massage therapist told a great story about the a very famous American film director who had been married FIVE (count ’em) times-his last paramour complained to friend that he would leave poop nuggets in their bed ! Doesn’t end pretty for these jerks…

  • A solid-gold comment from WaPo:

    “Apparently, “The Road to Character” lies somewhere near the intersection of “Bored with Wife/Kids” and “Hey, Look at that Young Hottie who works for me.”

  • Wrote “The Road to Character” to “save his soul” What soul??
    Maybe his next book should be titled “The Devil and Miss Snyder”!

  • How about this for an idea- we at CN should go in on a gift to them from their registry (the most tacky, however there are too many items competing fo this) and send a scathing, I mean nice, note.

    • Funny idea – but can’t stomach the idea of providing for them even one item that they desire. What if we made donations to chumplady in their honor, and then they were deluged with postcards announcing these honorariums. And the postcards are sent to NYT instead of his home so all his coworkers get to see it. And Tracey could come up with a subsidiary that sounds really ugly like “Adulterers Anonymous” so the postcard would have one of Tracy’s cartoons on the front and on the back it would read in beautiful calligraphy:
      In Recognition of Your Nuptials, a Generous Contribution Has Been Made in Your Honor to ADULTERERS ANONYMOUS
      Truly Brave could put their real name
      Screen Name

      HAhahaha I’m peeing myself laughing at my own idea.

      • i wrote on his facebook page with a “fake” account that I have. His first post is public not related to anything relevant but I stuck a comment on there. Likely it is still there, since we aren’t friends I don’t think he will receive notice that it is there. David Brooks’ facebook page is out there and public

  • Typical that university of Chicago would have them speak. My ex narc along with mistress now gf went there and he’s now suing me 6 years after the divorce so I will end up with zero money for retirement. UC has no character so either do the graduates.

  • Ugh, the website for it is just so wanky…and it looks pretty bumpy too. “A shift in the cultural conversation” and a button ‘Share the road’…

    • And he looks just like you think he would, too, a cross between Larry David, and a mid-life crisis cheater.

  • What is so blatantly obvious to me is that these two characters with all their morality deserve one another. Hope the ex wife is celebrating, as she should! because Brook’s “she saves my soul” = “this isn’t my first rodeo!” #cheaterspeak #uglyinside #whoresdeserveeachotherandspoonreststoo #seriouslyugly

  • Too funny that clueless classless cheaters register. Ex’s schmoopie didn’t want much either. Just shit brown towels ? from Target. Karma right there.

  • I left my ex-husband because he wouldn’t kiss me, spend time with me, or even have sex with me. He was too busy drinking, smoking, and whacking off to porn. He is a pillar of his church community, and everyone loves him: the church people, the school people, and the alcoholic father and adult son with whom he chose to spend more time than with his wife.

    While stuck in traffic, I saw a hilarious bumper sticker: “If you’re gonna ride my ass, at least pull my hair!” I howled with laughter. I pointed out the sticker to my ex. He straightened up, and with a piercing, accusing glare, declared, “That is sin! That is pornography! That is not funny!” The hypocrisy made me laugh even harder. “That is hilarious!” I wheezed. “YOU’RE lecturing me about sin and pornography for laughing at a rude bumper sticker?! YOU??” I laughed and laughed until my aching stomach muscles forced me to stop. What a self-deluded jerkoff.

  • I needed this so much today. So. Much. Laughing so hard I’m ruining my makeup. I’m not crying; you’re crying. Chump Lady, thank you so much for coming back here day after day after day, even when you reside in the glorious Kingdom of Meh, sunning yourself beside the shimmering Pool of All That Is Decent.

    • Magneto, these bloat-headed egotists have *no* idea how much they reek of bullshit. When I laughed at my ex and called him out on his hypocrisy, he just looked at me blankly, like I was speaking a foreign language. He has no clue about the enormous log in his eye. He’s too busy pointing out the tiny splinters others may have. My kids and I were placed on an emergency housing list because of my ex’s abuse, yet to this day he thinks he’s the best guy in the world, and my reaction (leaving him) was the problem. These nutbars don’t feel remorse, and they don’t see the error of their ways. They just blunder on. ChumpLady’s right: cheaters/abusers are wired differently than we are.

  • Has anyone else mentioned that the title of the book is simply “Road to Character” but he didn’t specify what SORT of character? It’s a bit reminiscent of “Make America Great Again” — Someone should have thought to ask, “For whom?”

      • You’re so impatient, Tempest. They haven’t yet finished destroying the environment, killing all the endangered species, and evicting all the poor non-white people, nevermind completely oppressing all the non-men. They’re working on it, though. Give it time.

  • Character indeed. I think not. Publically and obviously dumping a faithful wife for a fling is just gross.

    The OW in my own little drama? Who abandoned her own family without a speck of counseling, and then came after mine? She recently rebranded herself as a “life coach” and is trying to make a living at it.

    I hope her future clients know what they are in for.

    • Some chumps that I know have had their lives blown up by cheaters/abusers who all studied or practiced psychology and counselling. Why do heartless people choose these fields? Is it to fake being human? Do they study their prey before they plan their attack? A chump friend of mine was awarded emergency full-time custody of his two preschoolers when the police arrested his wife for domestic abuse. For years, she had punched, attacked, demeaned, and demoralized her husband (my friend), often in front of their kids. She threatened to turn the kids against him. She told my friend that the police would never believe him, since she was the woman. The night of her arrest, she boldly lied to the officers and got caught in her lie. She studied psychology and got amazing marks. She and my chump friend are still negotiating the separation agreement, and she has already found fresh, insecure meat on to install in her house as her new indentured servant.

  • I’m not just saying this to be snarky, nor am I an expert on what’s “fashionable” in home decor or wedding registries…but that’s THE ugliest bunch of crap I have ever seen.

  • I honestly don’t get it. What’s the timeline here? Did Brooks and his now-wife begin collaborating before 2013 on this book, or become friends/colleagues before the separation from his first wife? Is she the OW, even in a EA? If she’s not the OW (I’ll count EA) why are we bashing them? If she IS the OW, count me in. But long-term marriages end in divorce for a variety of reasons (I hate it, but it happens.)
    Do we know?

    If she’s not the OW, I suppose we can mock their poor taste, especially for the cliched age disparity. I’m down for that. I personally also despise smug political elitism (irrespective of political party) and all the sycophants and cronies in those circles who all have their hands in the pockets of working people in this country (well, all over the world, really.)

    I’m curious.

  • Just looked at the registry. Near the bottom is a Lodge cast iron skillet. I have one of those. It’s a nice pan, solid and heavy. Perfect for a blow to the back of the skull, …. Now, what to put on the card?

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.

    P.S. – the above is humor. I have no intention of attacking David Brooks, Anne , or anyone else with a cast iron skillet.

    • No fucking way! The best satirists in the world couldn’t make this shit up! “Read my stuff on humility — it’s the BEST! And it’s MANDATORY!! If you want to know ANYthing about humility, you should ask ME, because *I* am GREAT at humility!!” (??????)

  • David Brooks is just another pompous, aging limp dick who thinks a young schoompie and some viagra will make him hard again.

  • Chump lady has become my drug of choice to calm me in this divorce process. I think I am on my way to addiction. Today’s posts on Brooks are almost eclipsing my fuckwit but not quite. This morning as I was reading the brooks articles dropjawed, I get an email from my lawyer with a copy of my stbx’s financial statement. Based on the tone of lawyer’s email I imagine him choking on his coffee as he sees how low my cheater’s income is on this statement and that his expenses are double his income. He lists his wages as less than 10% of the net on the 2016 tax return. My lawyer says we will burn him with that. I don’t get what rabbit he is planning to pull out of the hat.

    I could go on and on but in his case, I think he was never accountable; had a comfortable upbringing and mommy and daddy always always caught him before he fell. I wonder if he will finally have to face consequences for his choices but Mommy and Daddy are still there for their golden boy.

    Last night I was reading about Brad Pitt going wtf is he saying and today it is David Brooks. These people try to baffle us with their bullshit and then somehow it trickles in to are everyday lives. The Narcisissm is epidemic and instead of trying to cure it, we normalize it.

    As a side note, I don’t have statistics, but I frequently look at Wikipedia bios of famous people and while I don’t have statistics, the vast majority are children of divorced parents. Maybe my kids will be famous-(jk , hope not)

    So many posts were fantastic today but don’t have time to acknowledge each as I would like.

    • My STBX is doing the same. We have been separated for over a year. His 2016 business income is less than 10% of normal (and he has had this business for 17 years). He hired the OW to move the income to her.

      It astounds me that they think they will get away with it. Please tell me the judge will see the manipulation for what it is. I have a settlement conference tomorrow. Somehow, I don’t think a lot will be accomplished.

        • Unfortunately, it went nowhere. Too many missing pieces to the documents he was ordered to turn over. Next conference is scheduled for Aug. 11. I am NEVER going to get divorced unless I just agree to not include any income from his business and only use his salary. My guess is that may be his strategy…wear me down and keep trying to hide crap.

          Divorcing a narcissist is more than painful.

  • I’m amazed at the shamelessness of David Brooks and Anne Snyder. A couple of morally bankrupt, shallow-hearted cheating bullies have an affair, break up his longtime marriage, and then go on a speaking tour promoting virtue and good character. They speak in foggy, imprecise, bullshit terms like Esther Perel does. Anything solid would expose their fakery and scumminess far too clearly – although I can’t imagine how much more blatant their idiocy could possibly be.

    • It’s all about diversity- everything is ok and everyone should get a medal. If it feels good, do it and if it doesn’t, ignore it and find something that does. Chumps are just swimming upstream. ☮️

      Ever feel like you live in an alternate universe?

  • Since Brooks is so shallow (as he says himself), I bet his really good ideas, through the years, have come from Sarah, his first wife.

  • Two people produced a book and are the self-appointed spokespeople for Character and Virtue, two qualities that they are lacking. It was not stated that Mr. Brooks ex-wife of 28 years committed adultery against him or abandoned him. In either siutation, he would have had grounds for divorce. In the absence of that, he has no grounds. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if his wife has aged and he sees her as unattractive. It doesn’t matter if he sees his younger female co-worker as beautiful, intelligent and hanging on his every word. A man of good character will stand by his wife for life, forsaking younger, lyrical, sensitive women. He will keep them at arm’s length. If he is losing the battle with that, he will remove himself from the situation. That is what a man of character does. A woman of virtue knows that a married man is off limits and does not cross the line in her dealings with him even if he makes an advance. She conducts herself in such a manner that she does not engage in an emotional or physical affair. If she is losing the battle with that, she removes herself from the situation, This is what a virtuous woman does. These people are just deluding themselves.

  • Love this comment by Mr. Brooks, “I have to work harder not to live a life of smug superficiality….” #epicfailure

  • Aging David discovered the magic of young pussy and is now rewriting The Script in order to make the callous discard of his 1st wife morally acceptable to himself and his followers.

    No matter how good you are at turning a phrase David, bullshit cannot be twisted into Truth.

    I pray your 1st wife and children are well taken care of financially, heal quickly and that your children are not permanently scarred by your morally bankrupt betrayal.

    David, you are scum.

  • Erry time I read these posts about people with high(ish) public profiles, I hope someone sends the link to the post to the chump. I know I would appreciate the validation and that someone out there could see through the cheater’s bullshit! Nothing much worse than a sanctimonious bullshit artist. Ugh.

  • I read this book when it first came out. Luckily, I borrowed it from the library so I’m not out of pocket to this sorry piece of rat turd. If I were a different kind of person, I’d borrow the book again and shred all the pages and return the back and front covers. As for their gift registry… I had no idea this level of bad taste even existed.

  • Oh my.
    I have read your blogs about this guy with intrest as my husband of 26 years, left saying I know it will be hard on you and our daughter. But I’m happier working up north with no responsibility but to myself.
    Little did I realize he truely meant every word, having seen his 19 year old daughter only 6 days in the last 8 months.
    So I have to watch while she does the pick me dance, even to the point where they txt about how crazy(lol) I am and such a bitch.
    Anyway to the point. Like a car crash I couldn’t stop watching and went to the gift registry…
    Did he really compare his wife and his new vagina to different chicken dishes!!!!

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