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Dear Chump Lady, The OW exposed the affair on Facebook

Dear Chump Lady,

My sister has been married for 15 years. Six months ago, she discovered that her husband had been having an affair. The other woman exposed the affair via Facebook. Complete with pictures of them together, pictures of him in hotels, pics of gifts, and a few other things. She also sent my sister a detailed letter along with a plethora of screenshots (text msgs and more pics).

I love my sister with all of my heart, but I am struggling because she has made various excuses about why she hasn’t left. She also makes comments that lead me to believe that the situation would be a lot less WORSE, had it not been publicity announced. It feels as if nobody else knew about the affair, she would be ok to sweep it under the rug. I disagree and that is my struggle. It shouldn’t matter if only she, her PIG hubby, and the skank are the only ones who know! The fact is that SHE now knows!

Please help me to help her understand that his actions were HORRIFIC! He shared personal information about her with a whore! Said awful things about the mother of his children!

I have not been able to find similar situations/comments from the Chump Nation regarding affairs that have been exposed in this manner. I honestly do NOT know any words beyond LEAVE! I am angry and I feel frustrated and useless.

Thanks for any advice you or CN can offer!

Chump Sister

Dear Sis,

Your sister is engaged in the mortal combat known here as the “pick me dance.” The Other Woman tried to publicly humiliate your sister, expressly with the intent of winning the turd prize of your BIL.  The OW outs your sister as a chump, thinking that will eliminate the competition. Exposing the affair is also a big “fuck you” to your BIL. Now your wife knows! No more cake for the OW — she wants to be the main event. The exposure is also a sadistic bully play of “Got yer man!”

The OW would like nothing more than her arch rival to leave the field in tears. And don’t think your sister doesn’t know it. Which is why she’ll be goddamned before she lets that bitch “win” and rewards the OW’s cruelty with her surrender.

Look, Sis, I totally agree with you. The best thing to do here is walk away and let the two shit-birds have each other. But your sister isn’t there yet. Right now she’s trying to find a way to face the world that lets her “win.” And the dominant narrative out there is Save Your Marriage At All Costs. Be an exceptional unicorn. Your marriage will be stronger for it. If we can stop the Great Menace of the OW then we can Affair Proof the relationship!

Those hopium strategies — that she’s an embattled wife fighting for the sanctity of marriage, and her husband is a misguided (“wayward”) sausage who will return to his family (after she Meets His Needs, of course) — have a powerful tug on chump hearts. They offer the illusion of control. And control is a very seductive commodity when your world has fallen apart.

So Sis, these are the forces you’re up against. The best thing you can do is be there for your sister and support her. Validate her grief and anger, and let her know that none of this is her fault. Do what I do here — ask her again and again “Is this relationship ACCEPTABLE to you?” Not the relationship’s potential, but the relationship she actually has.

And direct her here. We’ve done the humiliating “please love me” soft tap. We’ve fought for the awesome prize of cheater ambivalence. We’ve dined at that all-you-can-eat shit sandwich buffet known as reconciliation. We get it.

We won’t judge her pick me dance, or her broken heart. We’ll just tell her again and again and again that she deserves better, until she believes it. And when she believes it, she’ll leave. Until then, keep loving her through this.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Wonderful advice. I feel for your sister, having her humiliation made public. But your sister has to do this at her own pace. So please try to get her here, where she’ll receive all the love and support she needs in order to do the right thing.

    • Learning about infidelity in a public way adds such a layer of shock that takes time to process. I learned of X’s affair when it was publicly exposed on all of our local news channels, as well as the front page of the newspaper. And the internet, please don’t get me started…

      Like LW’s sister, the OW intentionally created a situation that led to this public “outing”. She, too, thought that since X would not agree to leave me, she would publicly humiliate me and my family and force his (and my) hand. It was truly one of the most traumatic events of my life, and I have tragically lost very close family members.

      The betrayal after over 30 years together was bad enough, but to see it splashed all over the internet and on TV for all to see nearly destroyed me. I literally had to call my daughter, who was away at her college in her freshman year, minutes before the story went viral. I get tears in my eyes just typing this.

      And you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. While I was trying to process it all, I was slammed in the press for my perceived faults. I didn’t leave soon enough, I was staying for the money and the power. All of it was total bullshit. I was just trying to SURVIVE, to put one foot in front of the other, to protect my kids from the unmerciful bullying they experienced at school. “Who did you dad fuck today?”

      What I needed (and got from some) was love, comfort, acceptance. Your sister does not need to be told what to do. She will eventually figure that out on her own. What she needs is understanding, sympathy, EMPATHY! Unless you have experienced her pain personally, you do not have a clue about what she is presently going through. She is driving down a fucking mountain road, going 60 mph, with no fucking brakes, for God’s sake. She is doing the best she can and, if she chooses to take the long road home, that is her choice. Your feelings are irrelevant!

      I know this post is harsh, but I cannot express the damage that was done to me and my kids by seemingly well-intentioned people who felt compelled to tell me what to do! I did leave, but on MY terms, in MY way. To this day, I still read criticism about what I did wrong, Fuck that!

      This story comes with a karma bus, or consequences as I call them. OW overplayed her hand. Unbeknownst to X, she was in the middle of divorcing her husband when the shit hit the fan. X wanted no part of a life with her; he just wanted some quickie BJs! OW lost her marriage, her reputation, her job and, eventually her home. X is now terminally ill and, like Roberta, I do oversee his care as part of the trust set up when we split. Oh, and because I was deliberate in how I left, I got everything, and I mean everything. I have some responsibilities that are not particularly easy, but I am a free woman, on my own terms.

      So all those people who wanted to judge me, who wanted to tell me what I “should do”, can go suck it! By carefully planning my exit, I protected myself and my kids. Done and done.

      • I think you are fiercely mighty! Thank you for sharing your story – and I”m so glad that you were able to leave in a way that best protected yourself and your family.

        • Violet,

          I’m so sorry that your life imploded in such a public way. Like you, I was a calculating chump. I was in therapy prior to Dday and was fortunate to have a no bullshit therapist who encouraged me to see a lawyer just to “check out my options”. Shortly after, I was working at home on a Sunday afternoon on a paper for graduate school and got a taunting phone call asking if I knew where my husband was. I already had my suspicions, but no proof. When I saw the lawyer, her challenge to me was “do you know where the money is”. I spent a year figuring that out. Getting documentation and keeping it safe. When I did have irrefutable proof I played that close to my chest. When my x lied, the sneering look on his face, I filed. He found out on Mother’s Day when there was a large amount of money gone from our joint account. Because I took my time, listened to my lawyer, I was in better shape than many. From the outside it looked like I was ‘working on my marriage’, in my mind, I was weighing my options. When the weight tipped too far one way, I had a plan in place. Hurt like hell. It was the most magnificent acting job of my entire life to date. Never want to do it again.

          Sister, You could gently encourage your sister to research her options. Getting out of these relationships is crazy scary and takes a daunting amount of research and documentation. Good luck!

          • I have my own private joke that I don’t share. I became an unwilling Spy, Undercover agent, and then Embezzler. I was watching the Nikita series at the time. Yeah, I thought I was her 🙂 And the weight loss even made me almost as smokin hot—-

        • Yes. Perfect. It is unlike anything else, and it takes awhile to work through the pain and find the right path out of the ruins. The OW? Whatever. Not worth a scintilla of thought. If you love a chump, supporting him or her is everything. Forever grateful to the one person who did that, and even she of course could not 100% get it, but she loved me through it, and what an amazing gift that was and is.

          • Agreed. I got amazing support from friends and family – while it became clearer and clearer the OW was looking desperately for the attention on Facebook that she couldn’t get in real life. The only reason anyone would put neon “validate me and my cheater” sign around a pile of social media “proof he loves me” series of posts is for attention and as a “fuck you, I won” statement.
            Now I have a “fuck you, pay me” goodfellas sign I wear to remind me that I actually lost the battle but won the war.

        • I couldn’t do that Ex and GF came out of the closet and began stalking me! He completely rejected me and was trying to harass me out of our marriage home after 36 years of marriage! By the time I went to the lawyer he was stealing and hiding asssets and if I had waited just a little longer they’d be all gone! Sometimes you have to move fast mine would have killed me!

      • Violet, your story makes me sick inside every time I read it. Going through all that in the public eye must have been incredibly traumatic–the chump experience on steroids. You are mighty for sure. Thanks for sharing this perspective, and you and Roberta are both truly angelic for continuing to care for your cheating exes. I’m not sure how many of us would be able to do that, especially given what you all want through. You’re right: nobody can judge who has not walked that path. So much further trauma can be done in the name of good intentions.

      • Thank you for sharing. Barreling down a mountain with no brakes is very descriptive and seems like a perfect analogy for chumps who have the heightened factor of publicity added to the whole infidelity debacle. Your situation sounds particularly challenging, even now. Peace and strength to you!

      • Clap, clap, clap, clap….bravo, Violet. Quite a story that needed to be shared.

        I personally cannot even imagine having my hellhole played out in the public eye. A whole other level added to the horror of discovering your mate’s infidelity.

      • Yes, indeed, you are mighty! And having gone through this terrible fire, you got where you needed to be. I like the idea about being “deliberate” in your choices: “Oh, and because I was deliberate in how I left, I got everything, and I mean everything. I have some responsibilities that are not particularly easy, but I am a free woman, on my own terms.”

        I do think some advice is a good thing. Anyone who has a cheating spouse needs to move to protect finances, health, assets, and the kids. Even if the chump wants to “save” the marriage, being passive in the face of the threats posed by infidelity can have lasting consequences.

      • Violet, I’m so sorry for all you went through and appreciate your perspective on how it was to deal with public exposure. Boy, that adds layer upon layer on the shit sandwich. I can’t imagine having the press criticizing me on top of dealing with the gut punch of betrayal. The fact that you survived is a real testimony to your strength.

      • Oh Violet you are so mighty! I really just can’t imagine it hitting the news and everyone looking at you and judging. My situation was bad enough. I work at the same company but different departments with my ex turd. Everyone thinks he’s such a nice guy. Until the next dumsel in distress comes a ho’ing around and he has to swoop in and save her.

        Yeah, I finally figured out there’s always another ho around the corner that needs him and his magical dick. The latest was our daughter’s young coach at our kids high school. I am the one that outted the happy little couple and she was let go. Boy was he pissed at me as she was ‘innocent in all this’. She told him she only wanted to be friends. But she showed up at nice restaraunts and they were planning a trip together. Burning up the emails and texts. Yep, real friendly alright.

        I love the rolling down the mountain full speed with no brakes analogy. I remember feeling paralyzed when I figured out what was going on. This was Dday #2 for me so when I realized he wasn’t wearing his wedding ring and became ultra secretive and distant from me, I knew he sucked. I was paralyzed with what to do for my kids and how this affected them and I was paralyzed over the financial implications of leaving him.

        While old geezer was going out to nice dinners with young Schmoopie, I was going through all of our financials. But only after I loaded up all of my pictures (years worth of the kids) and took them to my moms. I lawyered up. I got stuck on what to do with the two love birds. I sat on that for 6 weeks thinking it would burn itself out–no luck. So I outted them to the school. I didn’t want my daughter to figure this out during the sports season.

        It’s a shit sandwich going to the school. When someone touches my shoulder with the knowing look, I just want to crawl under the bleachers. I didn’t tell the kids–a mistake but I was paralyzed. When he moved out, he told them it was because he was miserable. My daughter found out anyway and was devastated and humiliated. When I talked to my son, he already knew. My biggest regret was how I handled this with my children.

        Thanks for this post and being so supportive CL & CN. We all handle this shit the best way we know how at the time and the information we have. We should forgive ourselves and move on to ‘meh’.

      • Similar story.I read about Arseface and OW in a newspaper.My sister was incandescent with rage on my behalf but I needed to process the shock and grief in my own time.She was frustrated and annoyed that I did any pick me dancing at all and to be honest,I sometimes avoided her wrath because I was in the earliest stage of the grieving process,namely denial,with a side order of hopium.
        This site is great for making the scales fall off your eyes and eventually I realised the emperor,aka Arseface,had no clothes.It’s a process.

      • Thank you. It is so hard when other people “know” so my about your situation when they’ve never been in it. Especially when your life has been completely obliterated and you’re supposed to just be Beyoncé and everything he owns is in a box to the left? Even Beyoncé didn’t Beyoncé her cheating hubby!

        • OMG love this. I love Lemonade, I love Beyonce, but NOPE- she is not a role model for the chumped. “Even Beyonce didn’t Beyonce her cheating hubby.”

          Again, none of my business, but you wonder what the whole Lemonade thing was really written more for the public than him, so we wouldn’t judge her harshly. So we know she’s not stupid, but yeah, she’s going to stay. The line that made me cringe was “If we heal let it be GLORIOUS” Oh, ok.

          I think she was trying to say Cheating Sucks, DON’T DO IT. Society responds with People Mag covers with the Beyonce stories like “How I Saved my Marriage” and “My Pregnancy Saved My Marriage” social media blasted the OW, whoever she was, but crickets for Jay-Z. The narrative around cheating SUCKS.

      • Amen..The best thing you can do above all else is to make your sister who was cheated on to feel like she is an awesome person nevertheless..Reiterate that nothing about her wayward husband’s choices are her fault..

        Please do not make her feel judged by you for the choices that she makes..If you are going to continually urge her to walk away, like I said before, it might behoove you to offer her some physical help..For instance offer her a temporary place to stay, help with attorney fees, financial help with getting job training/retraining, that type of thing..

        • Many thanks for answering my letter Chump Lady! My statement was..I love my sister with all of my heart. That means she has my support in whatever capacity she needs it. She’s aware that I will do any and everything to help. The fact that she is not entertaining leaving is what I’m struggling with. I will direct her to this site and allow her to see her situation through the eyes of others who have lived it. I am not judging her when I say I cannot offer her anything, if she stays. That feels too much like me throwing my loved one to a pack of wolves! I’d never do that! I am also aware that my feelings are irrelevant…thats why I have not offered anything beyond GO!

          • So glad your sister has you as a rock in this awful mess. But I don’t agree that your feelings are irrelevant. That’s your brother in law right there and a relationship you also counted on. If you have kids, he’s their uncle. If you have mutual friends, they will struggle. Infidelity fucks up SO MANY different relationships in the lives of everyone involved, not just the people on centre stage.Your opinions and advice won’t automatically be taken on board, but your feelings matter too. Love you both x

              • Ahahah just noticed you yesterday!! Greetings fellow JJ – no longer, as I will know be known as ArtistFormerlyKnownAsChump 😀 Carry the banner proudly, lovely x

            • “That’s your brother in law right there and a relationship you counted on. If you have kids, he’s their uncle”.

              My heart just broke. What a true statemenr. My STBXH, partoner of 10 years, wad present at the birth of both of my nieces. They loved him. Their own father js a piece of trash who abused my sister until she finally left and now the girls have to shuffle between homes — my sister used to say she always wanted them to find some who loved them like Uncle HPV loved Auntie MissDecaf. He was and every birthday party, every family function. In the end, he threw it in my face that we visited my family too much and he blithely said “our families shouldn’t matter when we get married.”

              I remember the conversation I had to have with my sister and nieces when he left for his Xanax-addicted porn performer obbsession. They were three and five. My sister thought of him as her brother. We all cried.

              What a shitbag.

              • Holy cow my autocorrect is catching none of my typing mistakes tonight. My apologies. 🙁

              • Yep. Same here. Cheater Pants was at many of my family functions for years. Neices and nephews everywhere. He was there their entire lives. At the end he complained about my entire family and radiated hate. Just threw them away along with me. Oh well. Good for him. What a half a soul.

          • Sister of a chump!

            I am new to this site and in incredible pain from a recent experience that I wish I had never done. The hurt that I have done to others besides myself will last me till my last breath. I have done the “pick me dance” gone along with the trickle truth, and the empty promises. Your post about your sister made me want to answer. I think it is terrible to post an affair on social media for everyone to know. However, from experience I believe your sister has a right to know that her husband is a liar and a cheater, but doing it by means of social media is inconsiderate of the betrayed spouse. While many of the people on this site believe the OW is toxic, she too is betrayed as well. There is a posting from Chump Lady in the archives that asks if you want to know about the infidelity and many chumps responded yes and that’s how they found out about their Fucktards cheating. Their are OW who just want to tell the betrayed spouse because of STD’s, narcissism, or several other reasons. While many OW know the cheating husband is married they are having it put in their heads that the Cheating husband is going to divorce their spouse and because the OW is being manipulated, gaslighted, and even controlled she too gets to a point where the anxiety, the lies, the many disappointments can no longer be tolerated. While many believe the OW wants the cheating husband to leave and have a life with her there are many OW who don’t. They may have started out doing something very wrong in the beginning by having an Extra-martial affair but in the end with deep regret they want to do the right thing which they should have in the beginning walk away but before they go for good they owe the wife the truth in a letter with notes included from the Cheating husband as proof to know what she is married to. If she wants to stay that is her choice but not one I would want or wish on anyone. There are many OW that want revenge, but there are some that are regretful, hurt, and betrayed as well by the cheating spouse. If you are going to tell have some class and respect for the betrayed spouse.

            • Sister of a Chump……..another thought that you can share with your sister…..

              Once a person has person has lied to you it becomes easier to do it again. Once a person has lied about you to someone else it becomes a necessity to continue that lying.

      • I was thinking of you, violet, whilst reading this post. You are mighty!

        I didn’t have it splashed over the news, but I do live in a small town, and the OW outed it to me, then all and sundry. It was the most devastating and humiliating period of my life. I also had school aged children, whom I had to tell to arm and protect them from the rumours. That was truly heartbreaking, watching their faces fall, followed by the tears. Especially my staunch, then 16 year old son.

        I had to tell his parents so they wouldn’t find out from the rumour mill (he refused to at the time, as he was in denial about the public nature of her outing him – and her threatening to turn up on their doorstep with her mother – who had taught our children when they were younger, aaaaargh- to convince them that the OW and he should be together! Yep. Sweet baby cheeses!) It was a public mess and I was judged for staying. And judged as ‘not good enough’ – not good enough to keep him in check, his penis out of other people, not a good enough lover,, not a good enough partner, not a good enough cook – you name it, I was obviously shit at it. I ended up losing pretty much all of my so-called friends at the time. I knew it was for the best, that they were not really friends if they behaved that way, but many were lifetime friendships and losing everyone at once, and having to continue to live near that town, you can only imagine. My ex is a genuinely lovely guy. Oh, except for that 15 months when he was fucking my friend and breaking my heart. Tbere’s that! So then, when I left, once again, I wasn’t good enough because I wasn’t forgiving enough. Throughout this,, the only person who understood was him! That fucker was my rock! I know. It sucked. He got my pain. He got that I owed him nothing. He got that I had to leave. He supported and loved me when I just wanted to fucking kill myself. Or him.

        Public outing makes you fight like nothing on earth. I even replied to the OW’s text to me that outed him that I already knew. WTF? I had zero inkling that there had been an affair! I just hated that she thought she had one over me. Very odd behaviour to reply that. But I was damned if I was gonna look like the fool I actually was!

      • Violet,
        You are mighty! Thank you for shedding some light on what public humiliation is like for a chump.

        You have made a very good point that even a group of chumps, no matter how well meaning, should not tell someone HOW to leave…but simply that the end result should be to leave.

        My OW did do a “social media” blitz on me…by publishing naked pictures of herself (for sale as “art” on ebay) and by making sure some very identifiable possessions belonging to my ex were front and centre in the photos. Quite bizarre, but left little doubt as to who took the photos!

        She also oddly tried to name and shame me on twitter for supposedly giving the ex an STD. Not true, i’m as close to an angel as any 59 yr old can get! She named me and my employer which did not go down well. It took twitter about two weeks to remove the posts and close her account and in the meantime, anyone who googled my name would have read the tweets. Ugly.

        I say if these women are so eager to have our spouses…they can fill their boots with karma.

        • Marci, what a sick nasty bitch the whore was in your case. Your ex, too. Ughhhh, hope they both get a nice case of Whoremongers’ Crotch Rot .

          • Anita,
            It’s been long enough since that happened that I have witnessed some very satisfactory karma visit the happy couple. Without going into detail, I can be absolutely sure he wishes he never laid eyes on her. Problem for him is now he’s made her pregnant he’s on the hook for child support, a crazy bitch unfit mother, and a grandhag MIL who makes Joan Crawford look good.

      • Your story is very inspiring and instructive violet. I am a chump that left immediately, but I was so mad with rage my mind spun uncontrollably. Talking to myself in the streets, taking medications, having bad reactions from the medications, mourning not having my son living with me half a week, working full time, reviewing the lie that was my life for ten years.. I did not line up my ducks. I READ about chumps lining up their ducks here, and tried, but ex worked as a divorce lawyer and criminal defense attorney…I was terrified. But he was also incompetent. Had I had my mind I could have obtained evidence of drinking, drinking and driving, domestic emotional violence, emotional instability…but because I left immediately I did not have access. It was only my word against his “reform.” I love the chumps who kept their cool enough to get full custody and great settlements. I did the best I could as we all have. That is the main point, learn from one another, empathize, and live better.

        It is rough to see your sister being played and abused, but I do think you are right. Everyone has their path of learning and figuring out how to take one step in front of the other when the earth has been pulled out.

      • It is truly disgusting that your poor children get blow back at school from kids that should no better. But how can they begin to know how painful the experience is unless they went through similar… in regards to the ‘gold digger/take him to the cleaners’ narrative. ‘ my cheater npd sociopath decided the best way to pave his very well planned exit was to start hinting subtly that i was a ‘spender’ shopaholic insisted on private schools for the kids and he was the long suffering cash machine.. so after spreading that character assassination about me knowing it was the complete opposite as he was in control of the finances and i basically only bought food and petrol . He also thought it would save time to develop a whole new social circle of friends under the guise of ‘networking for his job’ so now he can tell this bunch anything he likes. Perfect plan …so when he left me and the kids with $200 he was able to sit back as i screamed at him for leaving us in the shit and make me play out the money grabbing bitch . It was the scariest thing to find out your upstanding trustworthy husband was in fact a cheating thieving bastard that would be prepared to throw your reputation under the bus to preserve his own image despite despicable behaviour…you live snd learn the hard way sometimes.

      • This is an amazing and inspiring post. Sometimes “harsh” is how it may seem, but it’s a fucking reality that no one deserves. We all make choices that either define or destroy us, BUT, it has to be us. We have to come to terms with the decisions we’ve made and it’s easier on those terms than it is when we take someone’s advice. Because then we second guess everything even more. It always has to be about how you take care of you first. These asshats made the decision that put us on that shitty mountain road eating that shit sandwich at 60mph. Now we get to make the decisions on how we deal. If your sister stays, don’t judge, demean or say things that hurt either one of you. He is a douche canoe, every one on here gets that, your sister needs to get that on her own terms. And she might not, you need to come to terms with that yourself. You need to love her, and you need to be polite and be whatever your sister needs to the clown she may still love. Blood is always thicker than water. At the end of the day when you might be picking her up off the laminate floor as she is in utter pain and despair, you know that you handled yourself with integrity and for your sister to know you got her back. Always, always think before you speak. It a fucked up world we live in that affairs are glamorized on TV and the internet with the fallout and misery it causes, but only the mighty will stand tall and be able to look in the mirror and say, “I’ve got this shit by the balls”! The rest know what miserable pieces of shit they are, from the ones who encourage affairs, to the OW and the husband. Trust me, they all know they suck. Some have remorse, a majority do not. Be there for her, not for the husband or yourself, but for her.

    • Yes yes and yes. Let’s also not forget that in many marriages with rampant cheating there is usually abuse, which is it’s own kettle of horrible fish when it comes to leaving. Patience and love. Support. Affirm her might. Show her she deserves to be loved. Show her. I only, finally accepted that the asshole was an asshole when I was ready to, and I had the support there to catch me when I took the leap.

  • OW’s love to do this! Obviously the OW wants the shit bag to herself. When the cheating husband keeps promising he’ll tell his wife but fails to do so then the OW swings into action! It’s the last resort for the OW usually. I would tell your sister to kick his butt out and let the OW have him. He’s a turd. But it’s a process for her. She will unfortunately have to go through the shit storm first. It’s some kind of “right of passage” for us betrayed spouses. It sucks, but it’s a fact.

    • Unfortunately marriage today is not “secure, monogamous or infidelity free” like we’d prefer but when it happens to us Chumps ..the pain & rejection is unbelievably hard on us.

      Let the desperate OW ( whore) have that piece of shit.
      He’s a disgusting cheat.. not worth your sister. In time the loser husband will cheat on Schmoopie too
      If he cheats with you…. he’ll cheat on you

      I wish her strength & courage to fight this horrible episode in her life. Your a wonderful sister.. she needs you now ??

    • Please give her a copy of Chump Lady’s book ASAP!
      Hopefully, it will help her realize her worth and help her walk (run?) away!

  • Excellent advice, let her know you’re with her, love her, and she deserves better. He is no prize.

    • I had family and friends tell me that for years. I refused to listen to them. It wasn’t until I discovered the cheating that I finally realized I could do better.

      We all have our deal breakers. For me, it was cheating for me to let go of an epic asshole so he could go be with a self-righteous asshole. Them being together – and by all reports from my kids, MISERABLE – is my karma.

  • Dear Chump sister

    My mother and sister were so frustrated with my wailing , sadness and pick me dancing -that they nearly gave up on me.
    They could not understand why I didn’t see the obvious – that the Asshole was an Asshole! He acted like one, he talked like one and looked like one too.
    The pain of betrayal was too shocking for my brain to handle. Nothing made sense at the time…All I wanted was relief from that pain and unfortunately , by habit , I wanted it from the very person who hurt me. Well, he was my best friend ,wasn’t he? until the shit hit the fan?

    The sheer disbelief of his character change…the betrayal….because until then I had held my husband in high regard….
    I wanted him to come out of all this dirt and show the world that “we ” were still together … that a puny little POS OW can do nothing to US!

    Well… it just didn’t happen ..the realisation took a while…but I did come to my senses ,but boy was it an Education!
    By the time divorce was done, I had a Phd in personality disorders and Infidelity.

    Please hang in there for your sister. She may not take your advise now,but she will come around.

    • I didn’t want to tell my family because I knew there would be no going back. I did tell my mom and my brother. My sister is still in the dark on the why’s as she just can’t contain herself. Although he’s an ass and I know it, I don’t want that for my kids.

    • THIS. ^^^^^ So true. That was my thought process exactly. It’s so nice to be on the other side of that.

  • I feel for your sister too..If she is financially in a position to walk away I feel that she should..Make no mistake, even if she was the breadwinner and he the stat at home husband, this may still render her unable to support herself AND HER HUSBAND if she walks away..No fault states do not care who is at fault in a divorce….If you want sis to take YOUR ADVICE, maybe you should be prepared to take her (and kiddos) in and support them financially for a while until she gets on her feet..Otherwise support her with your friendship and keep your mouth SHUT about what SHE should do..

      • @Violet. I don’t understand your problem with me. I’m here for Chump Lady’s advice and the advice of CN. Not for you to take shots at me! Fyi. I AM capable of offering financial support to my sister. If you will RE-READ my letter, my only advice to her is LEAVE. What sane person wouldn’t say the same? Your situation is hurtful, however, it does NOT give you the right to lash out! Seek help!

        • You just told Violet to “seek help”? Seriously?

          If you want to write into a community of people who have been treated like crap & ask for our experiences of what was & was not helpful for us when trying to protect our children, ourselves, assets, futures, etc, so you can help your sister, then great. We are a community of helpers & that’s how we got to be chumps.

          But seriously, telling a valuable member of this site to seek help. I’ve got to call that one out. She was trying to help you so you wouldn’t alienate your sister by telling her what to do when you’ve never walked it yourself. Violet’s advice is good advice.

          • I didn’t state that she was not offering advice. My issue with Violet is that she told me that my feelings are irrelevant and she also agrees with a poster who says that I should keep my mouth shut. I did not include every single detail in my letter so her assumption that I am inserting my opinions is FALSE. My sister told me about the affair and asked for advice! She is also aware that I will help in anyway. My SISTER also knows me. Violet does not. I’m not offering advice without thought and I’m also not advising her to leave her marriage without being prepared to HELP her do so. Violet admitted to being angry about her situation while typing. She does not have the right to lash out at me or anyone else who is seeking help/advice! Her anger is misdirected and if she is not able to control that, she needs help! I don’t mind advice, but I will not be attacked for trying to help. If I were not attempting to help, I wouldn’t be here!

  • The best thing my best friend did for me was hate my cheater with a passion and to always be there, supporting me in my hurt and seeming ambivalence. But she would always gently ask “do you really want to stay with someone who treats you like this?”

    And one day my heart let my brain hear those words. So will your sister’s. Stick with her.

  • You could ask her to look at the relationship objectively as if she was an outsider and a friend of hers was in her shoes.
    I wouldn’t listen to logic while I was pick me dancing. In my mind X was different, we had a special “bond,” best friends, we had history, I knew he loved me, they were only friends. So what if there were a dozen photos posted of the two of them at an air show, hiking, people have friends of the opposite sex.
    X isn’t that kind of guy.., he loves me. He’s going through a phase, mid life crisis.. he’s friendly, just not with me, we will live happily ever after..,
    I’ve done my share of dancing, eating shit sandwiches while frantically inhaling the hopium pipe.
    As CL says, just be there for her, she’s going to need your support when the inevitable happens. Order her a copy of CL’s book, suggest she visit CN and read. She’s will be in denial claiming he’s different, there’s lots of stories similar enough to hers to give her some food for thought.
    Wish I had found CN back then.

  • The hardest gift we ever give another human being is the gift of being fully present for their pain. And the only way to do really that is STFU and listen. Be still. This is not your battle. You can’t fix it-nor should you. We struggle *with* the people we love; we don’t stifle them, “advise” them, know better than them, appease, suggest, emote for, or make it about us.
    When you feel your outrage and pain, just remember it’s your’s. She has her own sword and shield. You don’t need to understand her choices. Just love her where she is right now and trust just as you have come through your own battles, so will she. We find the gifts of humility and humanity when we get bloody enough to put down our weapons and walk away.

    • Tundra Woman,
      As a Chump who told no one, kept it all inside, I applaud your advice.
      ( it is only thru finding this site not too long ago that I finally am able to let ” stuff” out. Bits and pieces)
      The gift of the Sister being fully present thru her Sister’s pain! YES, that is the greatest gift of all.
      Someone who truly loves her for herself and wants the best for her with all of her heart!

      Guiding the Chump to CL, CN, also given as GOLDEN advice.

      CN Mega Hugs to the Chump and also to her caring, top notch, Sister!

    • Profound. And true! So hard to do when it’s your own sister so you want the very best for her, I know.

  • Chump Sister,

    Additionally, what kind of behavior is your sister modeling for her kids? Does she want her daughter or daughters to respond the same way if her future husband has an affair? Does she want her son or sons to learn that what their father did is, if not proper, something a marriage should survive? Or does she want her children to learn that marriage means making a commitment, setting certain boundaries, and when those boundaries are crossed, there are consequences.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.
    aeronaut

  • Oops, I hit send too soon :-/ Is your sister experiencing physical or emotional abuse(bullying) ? In that case you may want to open your home to her so that she has a safe place..Otherwise I would advise you and your sister to find out what a high conflict divorce settlement looks like in your(her)state..Because that could be the worst case scenario financially – can cost 10’s of thousands..Your sister needs to get her ducks in a row..This can take a couple of years if she needs to get an education for a job skill..She should do this regardless of her decision to walk away vs reconcile.. You might want to know what she is up against, so that you have more empathy for her in your advice..It is difficult if not impossible to blink and unravel many years of marriage instantly…

    • I agree doggiediva; I am reading posts from the bottom as I posted a list below of “ducks in a row” activities. This is sound advice for anyone whose had a Day but is hanging on. There’s no reason not to prepare for divorce or whatever comes next.

  • I’m looking at this Facebook reveal strategically . . . what opportunities has the dumbass (OW) opened up for our dear Chump? . . . For example: Now everyone knows what a piece of shit her husband is, that is good. Now everyone knows what a piece of shit the OW is, that is great. This is choice, too: the husband sees how desperate and manipulative the OW is, and that is superb.

    I’m thinking there is only one thing between our dear Chump and filing for divorce, and that is salvaging her dignity. I’m thinking that this shouldn’t be too hard. I wonder if Sis has an idea. Facebook works both ways, ya know?

    What about photos of Chump and her kids, having a great time?

    • Family photos are probably already out there and the OW sees them and that’s what she wants.

      Cheaters love control. I wouldn’t be surprised if he talks OW into taking the photos down. And then sister and her cheating husband waste time on wreckonciliation.

      Destroying a marriage and dismantling a family can take time when you have a principled, loyal person on one side and a devious cake eater on the other.

    • Yes, in my state, the Facebook post would be an absolute gift to thank her for. Quick print and copy all photos and posts. My stbx blatantly told me about the affairs but is extremely careful not to put it in writing so I am having to south and gather. Oh how hurtful to see, but it would really bite him and benefit her if she were in my situation.

    • Indeed, while it is humiliating and shocking for the OW to come out with this affair, the upside is that everyone knows who broke the marriage and when. If there are kids, there will be no “we met after the divorce” fantasy served up to cover over their misdeeds.

  • I can see this from both sides of the fence since I was Queen Unicorn, I remember a time when I was POSITIVE that everything would be fine IF ONLY he didnt leave me for her…the banquet of shit sandwiches was invisible to me. I functioned in the mode of “I will continue to suffer whatver just so she doesnt get him”.

    and you are all right, my big prize was no prize at all, but I was far too entrenched to see it.

    What I think is best in a sitch like this where the wife just wont throw him out now (to spite the OW) is for wife to be much more calculating than people expect. In my case, I should have waited until OW was married to someone else and pregnant and THEN divorce the cheater sending them into a “but our sacred love is forbidden!” of a different flavor just to fuck with them. That would have been fabulous revenge served cold, but alas – I didnt do that either.

  • She’s terrified. Angrier than she’s ever been. Grieving. And desperately trying to save a sinking ship.

    She knows what he did is awful. She knows the right thing to do, the most self-respecting thing to do would be to kick his insolent, untrustworthy, skank-banging ass out. SHE KNOWS.

    But she’s in an awful limbo righr now- aside from the very real public humiliation (I have only seen the crap “my” OW has put on social media post-divorce, I cannot fathom what it’s like to have it all exposed there), she’s having to juggle all of the aforementioned feelings as well. Plus maintenance of any normal left for her kids and, if she works outside the home, showing up for that as well.

    Be there for her. Hold her up. Take her out. Love on her and the kids. It may take her a while (took me over a year) and it may drive you crazy watching her sort through it all but this is her fight. You just need to stay in her corner.

  • Maybe she is still in shock and hasn’t figured out what she will do, where she would move. You didn’t specify if she is a stay at home mom. If she has job skills or if they are in serious debt.
    I remember being so scared when I found out about AP. Having to take it all in with my husband forwarding divorce on fast track.
    The other woman was giddy watching and being a part of it all. Being so tired and seeing how happy he was going on dates and meeting up with her. It still messes with my head.
    Yes, her husband is already gone and it just messes you up more being with them. They don’t care either way who they hurt.
    Please try to find time to talk to your sister and let her talk. Figure out a place to live where she can afford. Assure her with child support and all she will be able to start over. That’s the biggest thing is fear of the unknown and money.
    I’m so sorry. Good luck!

    • All this plus my hardest part was wanting to do right by the kids. I did not want them to have to deal with divorce so I was hell bent on doing everything in my power to save them from divorce (still don’t like that they have to go through this). Ultimately I figured out that they understood I had to divorce before I did. I know there are chumps who think their narcs are good dads, but I don’t get that. Mine has poor character and it just can’t be compartmentalized. He can try and pretend but he is not successful.

      • Yes to this, FeelingIt. The truly disordered are not good parents. The best we can hope for is minimizing damage to the kids, but even that is a lot of effort, and all to address a problem we did not cause and cannot control.

  • CL is right, your sister Isn’t There Yet. When you get your wind knocked out of you, you simply may not have the inner strength to face your wounds as a victim. She’s under shock. I’m sure many people shut down as a defense mechanism and the first reaction is to keep the world intact as they know it. I sure did.
    Understand that she is doing the best thing – for her – right now. Don’t make her feel judged, that will make her feel weak. Shower her with support, and if her values are different than her pig husband’s, she will be ready to take the leap eventually. Character is always revealed in time. The chump’s, too. When the relationship becomes unacceptable, she’ll leave. Before then, she’ll stay. But no one can hurry that.

    For me, it took accepting a marriage proposal 2 years after D-Day to make me finally leave. After being in the shoes of “the bride”, I realized my feelings about the relationship didn’t reflect how “the bride” should feel. Only as “the bride” I had the guts to reach out to one OW (I could have done it just as well 2 years prior – my spackle was thick) who confirmed things I still didn’t know, which paired with the ongoing gaslighting ended up being my deal-breakers.
    I had a lot at stake even without being married to my partner, so I clinged as long as I could.
    But that’s what I needed to do and I don’t regret “waiting”. It all serves a purpose, ultimately.
    Had I not educated myself about narcissists, had I not found Chump Lady, maybe I’d be walking down an aisle of snakes next year. It’s a jungle out there for chumps, with all the RIC nonsense.

    We don’t know which bell needs to ring for your sister, but if she is surrounded by support (I wasn’t), she’ll be able to hear it when the time is right – and sing her hallelujahs for ditching a fuckwit.

  • Chump Sister, I’m curious to know, how are you dealing with your BIL? I find it hard to be civil to people I know to be cheating on their forgiving chump partners; it must be agony for you to be around him.

  • Where I’m from sis, it would be your job to go round kick open the door and punch the shit out of the other woman, part of your sisterly duty. Ah… the good old days before social media, court cases and when a small stint in prison for protecting your family was a badge of honour.

    Well nowadays, a few (very small number) of my friends and fam had some choice comments to put on social media, that rained on his parade a little. A larger number unfollowed and blocked.

    I feel for your sister so badly as I know my situation was fully exposed on social media, I remember talking to my self and breaking down in public places

    Hmmm maybe it’s time for a social media strategy for today’s times. How do we deal with this shit? Block everybody? Wait a few months then post an honest carefully crafted press release? Might be better than the current model of sub-consciously in our darkest moments posting up a load of memes about shitty people whilst disengaging from everything else so that your FB page makes you look suicidal.

    Yes, can we please have a code of conduct for social media based on CL’s wonderful values? I’m sure those values do not included dissapearung from view, so how do we come out smiling and winning in all of this? How do we show to our genuine friends and family that we overcame?

    • I often fantasize about posting screen shot of bonkers text messages I’ve received from the OW. I don’t want upset my older relatives or kids, though.

      • Perhaps I should make a flowchart for those dark moments.

        Will it upset your mother? Y/n
        Will it make you look crazy? Y/n

        Any yeses >> don’t post 🙂

  • Chump Sister,

    I have a sister very similar to you ( one who can’t understand why a woman would not leave this type of situation) except that although she is very supportive and has helped me enormously over the last 5 years she still says things that piss me off – like how did you not know? I mean HOW? (I was blindsided) and lectures me about how she would never have tolerated my XH’s behaviour because she knows her worth and would have shut that shit down etc etc etc. SHE would have known he was cheating, of course she would!

    On the 1st DDay I was too embarrassed to tell her or anyone what XH had done, everyone except my best friend who has a similar minded sister. I was terribly ashamed that my sister would judge me (she’s effectively brought me up and has always lectured me about not putting up with shit – we has a tough upbringing ) I tried to do the pick me dance for about 3.5 mths until I experienced DDay 2 two weeks before Xmas. My sister was shocked and didn’t believe me at first, he was like a brother to her.

    I still loved my XH and spent at least 11 mths making excuses for him til the penny dropped and I filed for the divorce he wanted. My sister supported me all the way but I still get the odd critical comment which I ignore nowadays as she will never get it – in her mind he fell out of love and he fucked up – she would never ever understand this CL site ever!

    I suppose what I am saying is that if I had of been in your sister’s shoes I would have done the pick me dance too until it would finally dawn on me that I deserved better. I know it’s frustrating but she will get there eventually (hopefully). And once she does the heartache just won’t stop there overnight, it’s taken me years to try and function ‘normally’ I still have a plan B for my plan B! You just can’t stop remembering what you had with someone overnight – even if they shit on you from a great height like your poor sisters cheating husband and OW.

    I now get lectured about how I really need to move on now after 5 years and get out more and find someone else etc. big sisters eh? She means well bless her but she will never ever understand Narcs and cheaters, sometimes I wish I still had her naivety.

    • Exactly, I felt as if the failure was me. It is a long road to accepting he is the loser after a lifetime of thinking everything is my fault and always denying your own feelings and worth. I am still walking it.

  • Chump Sister,

    My sister held that title for three years while I did the humiliating dance of pick me. She listened to me cry, she listened to me vent and she accepted my choice to “fight for my man.” The OW didn’t out their relationship in social media so I can’t comment to that but CL is right about your sister’s motives because I lived them.

    There was no way I was letting that “bitch win.” It was the last bastion of control I had over the hail storm and Jerry Springer episode my life morphed into before my eyes. I would dance and dance to my ex’s content. I would win the turd and I did until I came here and realized that I deserved better but that took some time.

    I don’t know all your sister’s circumstances but I would bet my life she’s feeling some of the same things I felt. As her sister I’m sure it pains you to see her go through this but she has to get to that point on her own. Direct her to this site. It will be the 2’4′ to her head that she absolutely needs and I guarantee you that the message will be too brutal at first but she’ll know it’s out there and that’s what is important.

    Show her CLs highlighted topics on the home page. It will make sense to her and when she’s ready she will receive the message and embrace it.

    What you’re doing now is so important. She needs someone to be able to reach out to who she knows she can count on. I’m sure my sister wanted to bitch slap me in those early days but she refrained. She stood by and waited for me to finally get the courage to leave however and that’s what I’ll always remember and be grateful for and I’m sure your sister will too.

    Jedi hugs to you and your sister!

    • It’s funny, when I finally had to say “uncle” and “let that bitch win” they both started to panic. It became apparent rather quickly that the fight for forbidden fruit had been at the core of their weird relationship from the start. The cherry on this weird ice cream sundae was that Facebook facilitated the beginning, middle and what will soon be the end of their coupling. Facebook seems like the easy engine for secret and fake communications between people who have no boundaries and love image management and crafting.

      • I think technology has unexpected side effects: it helps us to evolve a lot faster.
        Think 2 generations back: people had no idea what their spouse’s character really was, did they? A covert cheater could take his secrets into the grave with him.
        All this communication technology enables affairs, but what it truly does is: it brings to the surface the lack of character. It creates opportunities for those crappy people and something more: it creates opportunities for the rest of us to see these predators in their true colours.
        Technology is a tool, a fast tool to uncover people as they truly are.

        • Yup…an old hard drive I cracked into revealed truths that he had taken to the grave but I found anyway.

  • Sometimes a person is motivated by his/her own ethics, too. I had strong feelings around the commitment of marriage and what it would take for me to end it. I had to get through the things I felt I would always wonder about if I didn’t try them, even as I knew they most likely would not work. It’s a battle of what’s real vs. one’s whole self construct sometimes.

    • Yes, you are so right. I had made a vow. Many chumps believe that marriage and family are sacred. I honestly could not consider divorce. Until I could. I had to choose between my husband and my self-respect.

  • After 30 plus years of marriage SPARLKE DICK just disappeared and resurfaced with OW , of course lying bully that he is, couldn’t come clean about the affair until OW demanded that he tell me via Face Book. And yes, living in a small town everyone was given the “happy” news. OW mistake was posting their wedding pictures on FACE Book because we weren’t DIVORCED YET!! Mortified and devastated doesn’t even cover how bad I felt but KARMA eventually caught up with SPARKLE and OW ,my attorney had a big time with this news. Tell your sister to document all this info with screen shots of OW Face Book page this will come in handy when she needs it for her attorney. And she needs to know that his new relationship won’t last even though it may take awhile. Although your sister may not want to look at OW Face Book page pehaps you can document these things for her. I couldn’t look myself so my attorney took that job for me. Couldn’t have enjoyed it more when last week my attorney let me know that SPARKLE and OW have split, of course she posted EVERYTHING on Face book including trying to sell her engagement and wedding ring and every post about her and SPARKLE have been deleated. Last post I saw she has moved on to her next victim and was posting pics of her new tatoos ( leopard spots up both arms) and I can only hope SPARKLE feels as bad as I did when he abandoned me. Your sister will eventually have to deal with all this hurtful info but until then you can help her by being her eyes and ears. She will eventually get tired of playing the Pick Me Dance and come to terms with her husband scew ups and realize she’s better off without the cheating liar. And please have her start reading CHUMP LADY,it has helped me to realize I’m not the only CHUMP out there.

    • My ex had an online presence that he thought I didn’t know about. In it, he discussed his flagrant money spending on crap, generally on the same day he emailed me and asked to skip a court-ordered payment, and always citing some sob story he invented just for me.

      It did really help me that a friend kept an eye on it for me so I didn’t have to read it. The friend also printed everything for me in case I needed it. That helped so much.

  • Great advice!

    My ex’s OM didn’t expose the affair. I didn’t expose to his world, either (although I’ve been told that rumors of his cheating circled their shared office, even if my then-wife wasn’t implicated as a co-conspirator).

    But afterwards, the OM told his then-wife that my wife “chose him”…as if it were a competition, and he’d “won.”

    Apparently, my ex-wife never told him about her several requests for “another chance” during our divorce process…right up until the final month before the Court granted the divorce.

    Yeah, man! You totally WON! Clearly, you’re the better man, and she CHOSE you.

    Fucking moron. She chose BOTH of us. I was the person who wised up and concluded that’s not the type of person with whom I’ll have children. I packed my bags and got divorce.

    You, on the other hand, went all in. Made a baby with her. Now that you’re legally divorced yourself, how’s that working out? She gettin’ itchy for you to put a ring on it? Having second thoughts about life-long commitment–which you’ve already proven to suck at–a woman who’s also proven to suck at it?

    You won. I was smart enough to stop playing.

      • Me too. My only problem is they go out into the world and nobody is any the wiser. If they could just have CHEATER tattooed on their faces it would be a lot better for everyone! Also, suddenly Old Testament style stoning of cheaters somehow doesn’t feel so antiquated and unfair as it used to sound to me.

    • She didn’t choose either of you, and she didn’t really choose both. She chose not to choose, which in some ways is worse, and at the same time claimed to have chosen in order to manipulate.

      Do you think she knows our divorce is final? I’m betting he’ll keep that tidbit to himself and milk it as long as possible.

      • As soon as I wrote it, I wanted to revise: she chose herself. That’s who she chose; and that’s what’s most important to her. Number one.

        And yes, I can see it now:

        “Why didn’t you tell me th divorce was final?!?!”

        “Because you never asked!!!”

  • Good advice on collecting evidence for a divorce from OW’s page. But then, I’d advise your sister to unfriend, delete, let OW and the narc know that she really has no interest in them and their relationship. She isn’t watching, has no sadz, gives no fucks. She may not feel like this or want to do this, but that’s what it will mean to the narc. My ex wanted to stay friends and we are for the kids, but that was the thing that shook him most and showed him that I’d got to Meh.

  • Chump Sister, I would ask you if you aren’t projecting some of your embarrassment in the very public unveiling of the affair? I mean it’s been 6 months and the s@#t isn’t neatly wrapped up in divorce. I am not saying you don’t love and care about your sister. But are you really making this about her and her children?
    I have 2 sister’s. I’m the oldest of the three of us. Our mother had passed away a little over a month when my husband gave me the cheater speech. But denying any affair. He moved in with our daughter. It was our daughter and her husband that figured out the affair. After a verbally heated argument our daughter outed him on FB. Coward is a city official and sent out an email to city council and staff. The email stated his daughter was a liar and that we were going through a nasty separation and divorce. (We had not filed at this time) He then threatened our daughters family with the Local PD and evicted them
    Including 3 granddaughters (ages 1,2 and 3) That is when I saw the light. My sister’s didn’t like how I roared when my kids were threatened. They started making it about them. I’m not discounting that he was their brother for 22 years and that we suffered loss together. But when a year passed and then another and another exceeding 4 years of divorce proceedings and now he is appealing the settlement…my sister’s have made a choice that my pain has gone on to long and they are done. Funny a lot of my “Christian ” family and friends couldn’t handle the raw pain I suffered. Most of it inflicted by them and their acceptance of the affair. I have my Kids and Grandkids . And new friends who have genuine strength.
    Keep standing by your sister, keep in contact with us Chumps for your support. I hope your sister can figure things out and leave him soon.

  • Hold fast and don’t give up on her. When I finally kicked him out, I needed my sister more than ever.

    Every time I wanted to text him vile things, she told me I could text it to her instead. It was the only way I could sustain No Contact at first and helped me so much with healing! She could not possibly know the extent of my suffering and how much that helped.

    Also, she says, “He fooled us all” or “I will never understand him” instead of, “I told you so.” She says, “Now, you are beginning a new chapter of your life” not “What took you so long?”

    I love my supportive sister and hope she never really understands this kind of pain.

  • ChumpSister, CL is giving you great advice. But I would like to add that you should encourage your sister to get her ducks in a row. The truth is that she may not be the one who gets the final decision. Your BinL might decide to leave for this OW. Then she would be pick-me dancing while fighting for marital assets. I get the urge to hang on, but if she’s going to do that, she needs to be building her mightiness in preparation for either the day it ends or for a marriage in which she is MIGHTY.

    1. So Sis needs to take control of family finances. She needs to have copies of all financial documents and important papers in a safe place. She needs to know and understand the family budget and where ALL the money goes. Somebody is paying for those hotels and gifts–and while BinL is trying to keep her on board, she should ask for an accounting of all that money. She needs to sit down with someone versed in finances and figure out how she would support herself and the kids (if there are kids) if he walks away. She should find out how much equity they have in a home, how much in savings, how much in retirement and other investments. And then she should think about what she would need if there is a divorce.
    2. She should start NOW to get the house in tip-top shape so that if he leaves, she’s in better position to manage. Replace appliances that are at the end of their lives. Paint rooms that need to be refreshed. Clean out clutter. Get the grounds in shape. Make sure the roof and furnace are in good shape. If either of you have a realtor friend, get his or her advice as to how to maximize value.
    3. Get tested for STDs.
    4. Get dental and eye care checkups for the kids.
    5. Start putting aside gift cards and extra cash.
    6. Open a credit card in her name only. Run a credit check on both names. Make sure he doesn’t owe money she doesn’t know about. This is very important. If she stays, she should do this every 6 months–or maybe get LifeLock.
    7. Once she gets all her ducks in a row, ask for a post-nuptial agreement that provides what she needs, especially in terms of finances, child support and custody. These are not always enforceable, but a post-nup can provide a starting point in case he leaves. If he refuses, that should be an eye-opener.
    8. Encourage her to put the energy into her life and not just the marriage. She should be developing her own career, getting more education, spending time with friends and family, taking care of herself physically, pursuing her own interests. Laser focus on the marriage is not the route to reconciliation. It just makes the chump allow her own needs to grow smaller and smaller.
    9. See an individual counselor to work on developing healthy self-respect and self-efficacy.

    If you work on this stuff, you can support her current choice while still helping her protect herself.

    • Exactly. I was going to post a comment along these lines, but LovedaJackass did it better than I would have.

      Tell your sister that you have her back, that you support her need to process this revelation; and that you see it as your job to make sure that all her options remain open. So, offer to help with any financial document collection or dental appointments for the kids that you can.

      Some people manage to figure out the need to leave in weeks or months. I hope your sister is one of them. I wasn’t. Be prepared for this to be a long journey that will test you, in different ways than your sister is being tested, but it won’t be easy for you to watch her struggle with this abuse either.

    • Perfect, LAJ. And often, emotions follow from our behaviors. In one study, people told to smile on command actually reported that they felt happier afterwards.

      Lining up ducks, talking to attorneys (just in case), getting STD checks–all these things are steps toward disengagement that may allow your sister to leave. My brother is in this same position with a malignant narcissist wife (though no cheating)–I convinced him to line up his ducks even though he is still in MC with the wife.

      • And turning the focus on our own lives, instead of making the marriage EVERYTHING. After all, it takes two whole people to make a good marriage.

      • Great advice.

        I agree that OW is setting up a show down.

        The best Chump Sister can do is let her sister know that Chump Sister supports her in whatever she feels is right for her and her family, but that it makes sense to prepare for the worst, even if she hopes for the best. There is no guarantee that the BiL won’t file for divorce tomorrow, so getting a sense of the divorce laws in her state, getting that post-nup (especially if BiL is trying to create a good impression), knowing where the money is, and getting some financial advice from a pro–all that is worth it.

        And sure, send her our way. Yes, we’ll tell her to leave him, but we’ll also tell her that it’s okay for her to take time to process the betrayal, to line up her ducks so that she can leave on her terms, not his.

        We’ve been there; we have street cred.

    • LAJ,
      Don’t know if you will see this reply, still have to say it.
      YOU are amazing, the support and the outstanding information you lovingly give to new Chumps indeed, to all Chumps, is just earth shattering, awesome and all good adjectives found in the dictionary.
      As a Chump who sadly just accepted his affair, held everything inside, sought no help, told no one, I can only imagine if there had been a CL a CN, a LAJ in my day. I would hope that I would have had the courage to follow such advice and proceed as though my children and myself mattered.
      It is not good or healthy to exist or live in the rear view mirror. At the time, I was estranged from my family, told no friends and simply did the best I knew how to do and I certainly did survive.

      I try to encourage young Chumps, try to make them see their own true worth and value, but regarding the “getting their ducks in a row” and all the other actual facts of survival, I certainly respect and leave that to CL and experienced CN members, like you.
      I just want to say you are an extraordinary person to reach out to other Chumps and share important formation. In doing so you give them a big chunk of your heart, like CL and other experienced ANGELS of CN. You ALL just give your ALL to this site!
      MIGHTY ANGELS, all of you!
      ?

  • Hi Chump Sis! Your letter touched me because it was my sister who I first confided in when things were going south in my marriage, and it was my sister who supported and guided me through the shock, disbelief, fear, panic, denial, anger, and eventual acceptance of the fact that I had married a soul-sick narcissist.

    The things she did that mean/meant so much:

    1. She spoke the truth about what was going on, “He sucks.” She did not spackle one bit, “What he did is truly sick.” While difficult to hear, having someone consistently reflect the truth to me was exactly what I needed… because I had been living in a life built on lies for years and was unable to recognize the truth on my own. Eventually, repeatedly hearing the truth enabled me to challenge and then ultimately reject the belief system I had come to accept as “normal.”

    2. She never pressured me to do anything. On some level, she knew that it would take time for my brain to adjust to hearing the truth instead of believing the myths. Everyone’s timeline for making that transition is different. She let me come to my own realization at my own pace.

    3. She was always there for me during this transition period. She answered my text messages, even at 1:00 am, when I had just discovered or remembered another horrid thing that Porky Pig had said or done. She answered the phone when I called and needed to cry. Her door was always open when I needed to be with someone, even if all I could do was lie on her couch in a fetal position. She referred me to the Chump Lady blog (which at first I didn’t like – because I bristled at the label “chump!”). Mainly, she was just there.

    Doing these things helped bring down the walls that were preventing me from moving forward.

    She also was the practical one who, once I had faced reality, insisted that I start interviewing lawyers and planning on what I would need for my daughter and me in terms of a financial settlement. She took the time to review my lists and make suggestions. She calmly directed me to the next best step during a time when I couldn’t see the path.

    None of this was easy. But, I knew that she had my daughter’s and my best interest in her heart – there was no hidden agenda beneath her words. And, because I have trusted and respected her my entire life, I trusted and respected what she said to me as my marriage fell apart.

    I know this wasn’t exactly what she wanted to do, had time to do, or felt like doing during a time in her life that was also challenging. But she did it. And, in doing so, she has taught me how to be a better person. Sometimes, we learn by example. If someone I love is in trouble, I now know exactly the right way to handle it.

    The social media aspect of life today has its good and bad points. The downside, of course, is the bullying. I really, really believe that being bullied online, as hard as it is to take, says so much more about the bully than the target. And authentic people know that. Authentic people are horrified by bullying. There will always be sick individuals who are titillated by gossip and scandal. Actions like this help separate the wheat from the chaff.

    I wish you and your sister peace and strength in the days to come. She is lucky to have you, and you are lucky to have her. Sisters are forever.

    • Exactly so. I confided in 4am 4ever early on when the trouble started, but I was still convinced that we were different, she was the “normal one” in her family, we could find a way to make it work, she would never jeopardize the life and family we’d built.

      Like your sister, 4am 4ever always spoke the truth, never pressured me into thought or action but rather laid out the situation as she saw it and allowed me to come to things in my own time and on my own terms. And she was the one who said to me, when I’d finally had enough and threw the hammer down, said: “OK, from this point froward, it’s all about you and your daughters. KK is not a factor. You need to do whatever you need to do to start healing and move forward, you do not owe her any consideration at all.”

      To have her play this role for my while going through her own cheater/chump shit show continues to amaze me, and I’m forever in her debt to her for that.

  • Katy Perry has a song called “By the Grace of God” that speaks to this. I listened to it a lot in the year or so after I left. It has a line that goes, “I thank my sister for keeping my head above the water when the truth was like swallowing sand.”

    That’s just what my sisters did–they kept my head above the water. Like you, they wanted me to get the hell out, and they couldn’t understand what took me so long (in chump years, like dog years, my deliverance actually happened amazingly fast). I will forever be grateful that they stood by me until I was ready to make the leap, and they kept the judgments to themselves. I hope you’ll give your sister that gift as well. Keep her head above the water–and give her a copy of CL’s book. That would be good, too.

    • My sister did the same for me. I still remember her saying, “He is making you think that you’re stupid. It’s time to get out.”

  • Humiliation is a powerful emotion, it is an internal feeling that says, “you made me feel foolish about who I am.” It is also an external perception that others now view you differently. But here’s the good thing about humiliation … people who feel humiliated DO NOT AGREE that they deserve the humiliation (they still have fight in them). I read something somewhere (sorry can’t recall the source) that went something like…

    If Sally gets a bad mark on her paper and the teacher publicly humiliates her in front of her classmates, “class… look how stupid Sally is”, one of two things will happen. If Sally disagrees with the teacher she will feel humiliated, and you better believe she is going to go home and tell her mommy about it. But… if Sally believes she is stupid, she will quietly accept the criticism and internalize that message.

    As CL put it… your sister will be damned if she is going to let this woman win! That’s misguided fight. I can’t say what exactly is happening with your sister, but for me the pick me dance was about
    – proving I was worthy
    – being damned if I was going to let some 21 year old stripper upend my life
    – fighting to win back the perception of others that I was in fact valuable because I wasn’t disguarded

    But I was looking for my self-worth by gaining the approval of someone who did not respect me. When I stopped fighting for my self-worth THROUGH him, and decided my worth was intrinsic that’s when my fight turned to mighty.

    At some point Sally has to realize that a teacher calling her stupid is a reflection of the teacher, not of herself. Let mate poaching fuckwits have their prize, because spouses that can be won by someone outside a marriage are just a boobie prize in disguise… the jokes on them!

    • “I was looking for my self-worth by gaining the approval of someone who did not respect me” spot on gotabrain.

      Keep on loving your sister with or without her fuckwit. Let her know you respect her and are there for her no matter what and that you do not judge her and I think she will come around.

      I have two close friends who did that for me after d day. I could tell they thought I was crazy but they stuck by me and watched as I did the pick me dance. I know they are glad I finally saw the light and I so appreciate that they never left my side!

    • I love how you phrase this: “When I stopped fighting for my self-worth THROUGH him, and decided my worth was intrinsic that’s when my fight turned to mighty.”

      Everything changes when we get that are intrinsically worthy, no matter what anyone else does or says.

      • “When I stopped fighting for my self-worth THROUGH him, and decided my worth was intrinsic that’s when my fight turned to mighty.”

        What a perfect way to put how the process feels! I often tell people that it wasn’t until after I was discarded that I discovered my own worth. CL wrote a post about Tiffany windows that really brought that point home to me. Just because someone can’t see your worth doesn’t mean you aren’t valuable.

  • God, like we were talking yesterday, these whores have no shame. It’s truly sick.

    I’m sure all the other whores are lining up behind this one, to show her support. Just incredible.

  • Holy shit I can so relate to your sister! I did the “pick me” dance and THOUGHT I won…..For 7 years I thought that ugly affair was all behind me….ummmmm WRONG….July 2015 I caught the pig outside sitting by our fire pit texting the same whore on his work phone under the alias “Bob Vincent” and she was “Juliet Vincent” ….from that day forward sooooo much tragic information came out….needless to say after 2 years of trying to pick myself up and put on my big girl panties, I filed for divorce April 3, 2017, his Birthday! Let your sister go through her emotions. Eventually he will f*ck up again…they always do!

  • My parents still talk to this day about how they couldn’t believe how long it took me to get mad at him. Family members that haven’t been through it have no clue as to what the betrayed person is going through. You are bonded to your mate and you keep trying to seek comfort from the person who is destroying you. It takes awhile to realize they aren’t who you think they are. CL hit the nail on the head with this:

    Those hopium strategies — that she’s an embattled wife fighting for the sanctity of marriage, and her husband is a misguided (“wayward”) sausage who will return to his family (after she Meets His Needs, of course) — have a powerful tug on chump hearts.

    That’s exactly how I felt. I kept thinking my husband had some kind of mental problem like depression, or heck, even a brain tumor because his actions were so out of character. He was sobbing for days after he suddenly told me he wanted out of our marriage, and I’d never seen him shed hardly a tear in 36 years. I was so worried I even called his mom and asked her to talk him into seeing a doctor.

    No one understands what it’s like until it happens to them. I watched my sister go through betrayal and abandonment and felt completely confused that she couldn’t see what a dirt bag her husband was. She was shocked over and over every time some new detail came out about her ex’s shenanigan’s. It wasn’t until I went through it that I finally comprehended what she was going through.

  • Sis, your wanting to protect your sister is beyond admirable, don’t stop reaching out to her. My sister thinks that my narcissistic, abusive stbx is amazing. Shes female and she drank the purple cool-aid he feeds all females. Keep in mind you don’t have any “skin” in your sisters marriage. She has kids, the house, years of her life invested. Thats not easy to just walk away from. She may not be able to support herself and her kids. Look at the bottom line reality to see why she is staying. Ask her. And shes probably trauma bonded to the Pig as well. Its a real thing that I recommend you research so you can understand and help your sister through the detox process of her marriage and what the Pig has done to it. Know that what the Pig told the Ho about your sister was more than likely bullshit and lies to cover his sorry ass. Would have like to have been a fly on the wall when the Pig read the Facebook outing.

    The best thing you can do is just be there for your sister. No matter how many times she needs to say the same thing over and over, or yell, bitch, or just sit and not say a thing. Be there for her. In silence if necessary. If you want to help her, get the important legal, financial, custody paperwork together just in case. Find out her legal rights in your area. Get her to an individual therapist, not a marriage counselor, those don’t work. Keep an eye on the ever changing shit fan that the Pig will point at your sister and be ready with legal advice, self help books, (I recommend “The 5 Second Rule” and “The Fine Art of Not Giving A Fuck”) so you can help her help herself.

    Its frustrating from the outside looking in. I know everyone says, “well I would just leave if I caught my husband/wife cheating” but thats not what you do. You freeze. You do damage control. You cry and scream and do the pick me dance. You read how to save your marriage books and listen to hundreds of hours of podcasts. But in reality, it still takes two. Two that hold themselves accountable for their own behavior. No excuses, no blame gaming the other partner, no escape to Alaska clause.

    Hold her, hug her, love her, be there for her in what ever way she needs. And learn from all this for you.

    Your a good sis to be so worried. Hugs to you.

  • It always becomes kind of public, doesn’t it?
    If there’s not some mailer that the two of you collectively send out saying you’ve consciously uncoupled ( lol!!) it ends up being one of two things….
    The chump posting every meme there is on how cheating hurts like a motherfucker.
    Or…
    Your cheater ex agreeing that he’s not going to rub your nose in it ( he still needs that settlement signed, remember??) but the schmoopie tagging him in the pics of the gorgeous hotel suite that he got to take her away over….wait for it…..YOUR 17th wedding anniversary ( yep….that happened) and every other pic she took documenting their romance because ” his ex isn’t going to control what she posts”.
    It didn’t show on my feed, but my kids got them (dumbfuck claims he didn’t know the kids would see) and all our friends….which started the whole private message ” are you and shithead okay? Cause he was tagged in pics with another woman.”
    Made the discard super special to get to explain it over and over.
    I had almost forgotten how awful that was still I went to reply to this post today.
    At the time, I was so humiliated that he left me for another woman and he loooved that it hurt me.
    Now?? Who cares. He’s a turd…..she won….mazel tov.

    I hope the sister reads this, kicks his sorry ass to the curb and gets a great atty.

  • I don’t have a whole lot to add that hasn’t been discussed above. I just marvel at people who are so willing to make themselves look like complete asses (on Facebook no less) for something as ridiculous as this – trying to win over somebody else’s spouse. It’s like these people feed off of drama like it’s a drug, regardless of how absurd their actions are. I don’t get it.

    Sis, just tell your sister to look at this crap, look at what’s going on. I’m sure it’s hard for her now, and I understand she’s absolutely emotionally involved, but just tell her to look at this crap. If she can take her emotions out of the situation, and just look at this shit, then it’s much easier to walk away.

    I know, easier said than done.

  • Finding out about an affair at the same time as the rest of your world would be both humiliating and overwhelming. All eyes are on you as you navigate one of the most difficult moments of your life. I think that urge to “win” over the other woman would be difficult to overcome. It takes a while to understand that there is never a good time to walk away other than as soon as possible. There really isn’t any way to finesse this horrible mess. She will get there once she’s over the shock. And you will be there all along providing patient support. It is hard to watch but it is harder to be the one living through it.

    • That’s an excellent point. A lot of us had the benefit of processing time in private, but this poor Chump is being forced to deal with the betrayal while everyone else looks on. Thanks for this compassionate addition to the convo!

  • Your sister will leave when she’s ready to leave and just hope it’s sooner than later. Give her time and support during this delicate time.

    I did the pick me dance soon after I kicked him out and I won.The bastard returned home after 6 weeks but left 4 months later. It was my worst 4 months of my life. I won’t go into details but all chumps who’s been there and done that know what I’m talking about. I’ve lost 20 pounds and lost my job because if it. Then one day my son asked, “Where is daddy? Is he hiding?” as he looks under the bed. For some reason, that day I woke up and saw my worth. I got myself a great job within a month after he left and filed for divorce. He was pissed!!!

    Now 2 years later, he lost his job, no whore and living in his mother’s house. As for me, I’ve vacationed from Greece to Barcelona to California. I’m also in the midst of buying my own place. My life is good.

    Who’s laughing now!

  • I am not on social media so I wouldn’t know. Woo Hoo! And if it is posted anywhere where people who know us both might see, they are going to think the worst of him and her, not me. I think it bothers STBX that so far I am the one getting the sympathy from everyone but Schmoopie and maybe her friends and family but they are irrelevant to me.

    That helps.

    I will say that if I was on social media and saw something like this I would be thinking badly only of the cheaters, not the chump and that has always been true even when I thought my family was secure.

  • Here’s another way to understand your sister. My wise therapist told me about the parable of the ‘frog in the pot’. If you have a pot of boiling water and drop a frog into it – the frog will jump out. However, if you put a frog into a pot of cool water and then slowly turn up the heat, the frog will stay. That was me – the frog in the boiling hot water….I just didn’t see how bad my life had become.

    Three things: 1. Check on her regularly to ask her directly how you can help; 2. Without being judgy, get her to the best advice and guidance possible; 3. Keep reinforcing positive messages (eg. I am worried this relationship is not making you your best self, you can love someone but that doesn’t mean you can make a life with someone, it isn’t failure for you to end this relationship).

    There is a lot of foggy thinking when we are emotional. Help her get her ducks in a row.

    If money is tight, offer to pay for her visit to see an attorney. This is the best Birthday/Christmas/Mother’s Day present you can ever give.

  • “The OW would like nothing more than her arch rival to leave the field in tears. And don’t think your sister doesn’t know it. Which is why she’ll be goddamned before she lets that bitch “win” and rewards the OW’s cruelty with her surrender.”

    I understand the whole not wanting Schmoopie to “win” thing. I no longer want STBX myself, but I still don’t want her to have him either. I want them to implode and then he can go find a new girlfriend who isn’t a selfish self-centered bitch. The one thing that is helping me to get over that desire, however, is that I am thinking it is cruel of me to wish STBX on some poor future hapless innocent woman. Maybe it is better for the current Schmoopie to be stuck with him. I told the MC last summer that the best revenge I could get on both of them would be to let them have each other. I am having a hard time getting my heart to be willing to accept that revenge, however. Hopefully with time.my heart will come around.

    • Hopefully with time (and NO CONTACT with either of them), your heart won’t care. Easier said than done.

    • I can totally relate to wanting them to implode. My XH married his predatory whore. But what you wrote made something click for me:

      ” I want them to implode and then he can go find a new girlfriend who isn’t a selfish self-centered bitch”.

      OW ARE selfish, self-centered bitches. I really should want my XH to have one of those. I have to hope they stay together. Like you said, that really is THE best revenge. He had a wife that was a kind, generous, and honest…ME. He didn’t see me for the wonderful person I am. He deserves a selfish, self-centered whore. 🙂

    • Chumpinrecovery I so get this! I no longer want the selfish asshole who fucked 8 other women over the course of our 16 year marriage, culminating in a long term affair and now remarriage to ho #8. But I really want to see some signs of the cracks in the “blissful” relationship they’re showing to everyone (which includes FB posts by the other woman showing off the love letters he writes her). My head tells me that they are two character disordered assholes who totally deserve each other, but my heart isn’t feeling it yet. I know someday I will get to meh and not give a crap whether they’re happy or not, but I’m not quite there yet…
      In the meantime, this post from happyhousefrau helps! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-ball/blind-faith-when-affair-p_b_9108052.html

  • There were several people that supported me in different ways as I was approaching the end of my marriage. You probably can’t be the only support, but think about what you can do over a period of time in short term crisis or a months long haul of your sister waking up.

    The first thing that helped me wake up was my sister labeling as “abusive” my husband’s using behavior towards me (disrespectful and demanding treatment). It helped me see him in a different light. I didn’t always keep to the assertive style I had before marriage, but I never forgot to look at his behavior through that filter again.

    Same sister took my calls whenever she could, which was nearly all the time, as I was reeling with anxiety and confusion about what was real. She listened, and then made gentle suggestions or questions about the next couple things I could do that would be in my best interest. She also was willing over a couple years to review a few versions of settlement agreements that I couldn’t wrap my head around (I negotiated a settlement directly with stbx, we didn’t have kids and had minimal shared assets).

    Three more close women friends always believed my truth about my feelings, experience, and choices. Each supported me in physical ways also:
    * Helping with deferred home deep cleaning, painting, sorting his hoarding and minor repairs so the house could be sold.
    * Place to stay for a weekend away from the home, allowing me to bring my dog.
    * An airline ticket to vacation with one so I could have a week off.

    It helped me also to learn some of the manipulation techniques stbx used so I could name a couple of them, and realize which ones hooked me. It helped me realize xh was a garden variety verbal abuser, and let go of some of my severe self blame. There’s a good list on the out of the FOG website. That’s where I came across a reference to CL.

  • Chump Sister,
    Sorry, I haven’t had time to read all the posts today as I’m busy trying to do this “build a life” thing now that I left my cheater.

    I think you are naturally full of rage about this. It helps me when I’m angry and feel powerless to take actions that I can take to help others. If I was your chumped sister, this is the support and help that I would cherish and would help me to make the decision to leave:

    1) do not tell me what to do — do not judge me for my actions. Rather, ask me every day how I’m doing, and ask me if I need anything;
    2) offer your time and money — cook meals, offer to come do household chores with me, plan a trip for us, start a legal fund (however small, its a start) for my divorce fees when it comes to that, offer to babysit as much a possible, offer to just come be with me and do fun things like shopping, cooking, watching tv, going to workout, having a meal;
    3) offer to help with housing costs if it comes to that — I’m worried about how I will live once I kick X out — how will I pay the mortgage, how will I get a job, how will I care for my kids. . . those are my concerns that are keeping me invested in a loser partner — I’m terrified — please do not be mad at me or punish me further — I’m being horribly abused by H and by society — by myself — I’m second guessing everything and in my heart I know I cannot tolerate this, but again, I’m terrified — how will I support my self and my kids? How will I raise them alone, or worse, battling my abusive H? How will I pay for my divorce? How will I deal with the loneliness and the overwhelming tasks?

    Reading what I wrote makes me cry. I had no one who offered to help me. My sisters are narcissistic cheating, lying, stealing abusers. My mom as well.
    My friends were burned out and couldn’t relate.

    Even 3 months after divorce I’m struggling alone. I wish to God I had a sister who actually helped me – maybe you can step up and stop hating on her and help your sister? She will be forever grateful.

    • MC, your post makes my heart hurt. I wish I lived closer to you so I could pop over one afternoon, blitz through your house with my Pine Sol and then take you out for nachos. As it is, I’ll just say I hear you–fellow single mom here–and I hope it gets better soon. Keep writing your book! ☺

    • MotherChumper99,
      CN Mega Hugs to YOU!
      I don’t know what to say to make things better for you.
      I hope it helps to say YOU are a very strong person and Mother,
      and that CN respects your strength and sharing by your powerful post.

  • Well, I have to say this shit is hard to watch. I’m a chump, and I watched my best friend get chumped, and I was honest with her, but also supportive. It was a hard line to walk. I had to tell her under no circumstances would I see her cheater again in a social situation. I would not pretend to be nice to him. I wanted to punch him in the face. I was mad, even if she wasn’t. In time, she left the asshole, and we both laugh about it now. It isn’t easy to watch someone you love struggle with denial and spackling. You want to shake them sometimes. I know I lost friends over my own spackling; not everyone can sit down beside a train wreck and stay engaged with you. They have that right. But I definitely couldn’t be strong-armed either, when I was going through my D-days. I was pregnant at the time and my hormones were a mess and I couldn’t just leave on a dime. It took a month or so, but I did leave.

    I stand by my decision with my bff, to support her but to draw boundaries regarding seeing her cheater. It preserved our friendship, and I’m so glad it did. Now we are both awesomely cheater-free, and going about our lives.

    • Your friend is so lucky to have you!
      Having someone that’s been through this to support you, it’s priceless.
      I had someone to help me relocate. Finally, he confessed he had been chumped himself. In that instant, it all made sense. Nobody else would have given me that kind of help, for free. I’m forever grateful to this person and I can’t wait to return the favour to someone in need.

      You are so right about setting boundaries. They do make possible to befriend someone on a train-wreck, without getting hurt yourself.

  • Ugh. I did exactly this. Pick-me danced for 2.5 years before I finally saw the light and got myself out of a terrible situation.

    I think Chumplady got the dynamic exactly right. The OW raged on Twitter, Facebook, called me out online, tried to contact me to “apologize.” She was aggressively determined to “win” my husband away from me, clearly.

    I thought I was rising above it by sticking with the marriage, going to counseling, reading the books, not responding to her taunts. I was dying inside, but I was damned if I would let her win this war. In the meantime, my 5′ 10″ frame was down to 118 pounds and I was googling “How to Get Happy” on a constant basis. I was in hell.

    Once I got the message that winning was getting the hell out and getting out of that dynamic altogether, my life got infinitely better. I’m so thankful for the friends who stuck by me through all of it. None of it makes sense when you’re not in it, of course. But you have to wait patiently in the wings for the pick-me dance recital to end.

  • Somebody has told me recently something wise:
    when someone makes some choices, which are obviously detrimental to themselves, it means they need to learn a lesson. Even if it’s someone we care about, we need to let them be.

    You made your point with your sister, you gave her your advise. Now you need to find the strength and sit by sides without interfering. This is her struggle.
    The best you can do is be there for her when she needs you, the shoulder she can cry on. Whatever she needs to learn, she needs to do it on her own.
    Set boundaries if you have to, find your own limits. This is a lesson for you too, something to learn about yourself.
    I hear you and my heart cries for her children. You can be her voice of reason, the slap on her face to wake her up, but nothing more. This is all on her.

  • Haven’t read all posts, so apologies if I’m repeating others. Support your sister through all her emotions, she’s not ready to listen to your advice about leaving, to face the fact she’s living with the enemy and has bred with the enemy.
    If you do all that, you can hope that she will listen to your financial advice in the meantime. If you focus on telling her to collect all financial and legal info, get half the savings into her own account, collect proof of his dissipation of assets on the whore, while she’s still “working on the marriage”, at least she’ll be ready and armed against the 2 sleazebags.
    Emotionally, she’s not ready to let go of her tormentor.
    She’s lucky she has you and you can be the cool headed advisor. Like CL said:
    ‘We won’t judge her pick me dance, or her broken heart. We’ll just tell her again and again and again that she deserves better, until she believes it. And when she believes it, she’ll leave. Until then, keep loving her through this.”
    Perfect as always.

  • Sis,
    Of the advice I got when everything went down in flames, I am most grateful for the advice of people I trusted telling me “don’t worry, you can get out.” I would bet that, like most of us, your sister is a cauldron of conflicting emotions, tugging her every which way. Your voice, consistent and caring, can eventually help her get pointed in the right direction.
    Yes, please show her to this site. We’ve all gotten through this (or are getting through), and she can, too.

  • Dear Sis,
    I remember my own sister being there for me in the beginning. I was stunned and she was my call to action. I was paralyzed with fear and disbelief, she metaphorically shook me. She was my investigator and finder of information (truth). She brought me food even when i didn’t want to eat. She was so damn angry for me.

    I was lucky for 2 reasons:
    1. My ex didn’t want me to pick-me dance. He was an abandoner.
    2. I needed someone to tell me what to do and she was good at it.

    You will need to be ready to help guide your sister. I like the advice others had to have paperwork and names of lawyers at the ready. A checklist of sorts. Do research for her. I also think telling her she needs to get STD tested now might be a wake up call. Help her to take steps to save her marriage like asking for that post nup, credit card report, access to his phone, etc. If she wants to stay (even though its crazy) help her ask him for the right things that SHOW he wants to stay. She may find her answer in his non-committal, do nothing attitude.

  • Chump Sister–So many good things here. I hope your sister can read them.

    The best thing for you to do is be her support. It is often the case this early in the knowledge of the betrayal to focus the blame everywhere except on the Cheater. Your sister very likely blames OW for taking advantage of her husband, and she also very likely blames herself for somehow not being “good enough.” Every night she stayed up with a sick child instead of fucking her husband now feels as if she were driving nails in the coffin of her marriage. And then she’s now been publicly outed as having a cheater for a husband. All her friends are wondering “what went wrong” instead of reassuring her that her husband is a POS.

    Encourage her to seek therapy with someone who’s experienced in dealing with trauma and abuse. Your sister won’t want to recognize that she’s being abused, but really, an affair is emotional abuse. She needs someone objective to help her figure out that she deserves better.

    Suggest she talk with a lawyer to find out the process in her state and what she could expect should her husband file for divorce tomorrow. Remember that she likely blames the OW for the affair, so indicating that it’s a good idea to protect herself in case OW is pressuring her husband to get a divorce might be a good tactic here.

    Support her as she processes what’s happened and lines up her ducks. Eventually she’ll see that he cheats because he can. That’s powerful. We Chumps didn’t cheat. We very likely had the opportunity, but unlike our Cheaters, we couldn’t because we honored our vows.

    If/When the topic of “winning” comes up, gently remind her that being cheater-free, with a favorable settlement and custody–that’s winning. On the other hand, OW gets a man who cheats on his wife while BiL gets a woman who likes fucking other people’s husbands.

    For what it’s worth, in my case karma bit CheaterX in the arse. While Schmoopie was egging him on to pick her over me, arguing that she knew what a man needs, etc.–all that time she was fucking someone else! Yep, she was cheating on the cheater. They had an expensive wedding, went on an expensive honeymoon, and 8 months later, she’d moved out and filed for divorce.

    • Karma! Got to love that! Hopefully someday my ex married man who decided to stay with his wife gets a taste of the pain he put his wife and myself through. He caused a lawsuit and I took the blame. What an A$$.

    • “Every night she stayed up with a sick child instead of fucking her husband now feels as if she were driving nails in the coffin of her marriage.”
      You’re so right kb, that’s part of the RIC and cheaters’ mind fuck. Just another revolting distortion of the reality of parenthood.

  • There’s no way to sugar coat it. This is a horrible situation for your sister, and I can feel your hurt and frustration, as well. We deal with pain and grief in different ways, and it’s definitely going to take time to process all those feelings. All you can do is be there for support and plenty of tissues and hugs. Continue to hang in there as best you can, and as KB mentioned, there’s lots of wonderful info from these great friends. Hugs…

  • The OW was more than likely hurt by the married man and venter on FB. It wasn’t to hurt the wife. Funny how one side sees things totally different than what it really is. I think your sister needs to choose what she wants for her life. It’s not your life to live but please be supportive to her when she needs someone to listen. Love her and listen. That’s all you need to do.

    • “The OW was more than likely hurt by the married man”

      Assuming they know about the spouse from the beginning, APs lose the right to not get hurt the moment they decide that fucking (or otherwise having an intimate relationship) with somebody else’s spouse is a good idea. Every idiot knows nothing good ever comes from that.

  • I didn’t have time to read all of the responses, so excuse me if someone else commented similarly.
    I see both sides. In my own dealings with adultery in my marriage, I was ass backwards, as in i did the pick me dance all throughout. I actually stopped immediately upon DDay. Dday freed me from trying to be Miss Perfect Wife so my husband would never cheat or leave me. When he cheated anyway after working myself to the bone to be the perfect wife and stepmother, I was D.O.N.E! Done done done. Tossed him out in his ass the same day.
    Now, on the other side, having learned everything I did about infidelity and the soul sucking abuse that comes from the cheater, I’ve been in this sisters shoes. My own sister was in a very abusive relationship with her cheater. On three different occasions I’d put myself in front of her husband and fought him. Her choice to stay with her cheating abuser put my safety at risk. And I knew the pain of betrayal would kill her spirit if she stayed.
    It literally hurt ME to see her choosing to continue her emotional and physical abuse. I knew first hand what her struggle was, but I also knew first hand that the pain would be finite once she finally walked away and divorced him. The last fight, he had a knife and I had to shoot him with my gun. I had no choice.
    I know that this isn’t the same situation exactly, but it was still her choice to stay. I finally had to tell her I loved her, but I couldn’t stand to watch her continue making the choice to stay with him. Seeing her hurting from his infidelity, and seeing those bruises he kept putting on her broke something inside of ME. I felt utterly helpless to help her until she was ready to help herself.
    I let her know I’d always love her and I’d fully support her should she decide to help herself by getting out of the abuse and infidelity, but her choices literally put my life in danger too.
    So my advice would be to support your sister, but not to the exclusion of neglecting your own pain. If it becomes too unbearable to stand by and watch her do this to herself, step back and take a break for a bit to heal your own spirit. When SHE is done, she will know it. But sometimes loving family so much we become too invested. Sometimes it’s best for all involved to take a break. It’s especially true if you are just no longer capable of being supportive because your own spirit is drained.

  • Chump Sister,

    Be her anchor in this adulterous storm. I’m sure her head is reeling from the realization that her marriage is a sham and she also has to contend with the lunatic o.w. who sees fit to act as the town crier. She will get her bearings on her own schedule,not yours.
    Criticizing her is just piling on more pain,in my opinion, and sounds a little codependent. Look at the control patterns and characteristics of codependency. You’re attempting to convince your sister what to do and when to take action. You have become resentful that she is declining your help and rejecting your advice.
    In the past, I have found it very easy to look at another’s situation and start to solve the problem. I now strive to let others have the dignity of their own experience and feelings without judgement. I can ask what they need and decide if I’m willing to provide that and if I feel overwhelmed I can set a boundary. “I’m not willing to do such-and-such but I can do this.” “I can listen to you vent for so much time and then I have to go”
    My chumpy self has been a magnet for narcissists (self-centered) and borderlines (super needy) and I’m fixing my picker.

  • My screen name is apropos to being manipulated and betrayed. The day I realized I had been played for a fool,via Facebook, I felt very lightheaded and turned pale. A colleague was in my office and instructed me to lie down. “And she’s down for the count !” I took up kickboxing for a bit to work out the anger.

  • As shocking as this is, many many women and men stay with people who cheat. We, on the board, are outliers. My data samplings are not scientific, but they are mighty thorough. I have found many more people who see cheating as a bump in the road, a sin, a huge wrong against them or even the nauseating “boys will be boys”- but they do not react with the horror that “we” do. They don’t pack up and leave. They stay and are bitter. Some shrug it off. Some cheat back. Or lead lives of “quiet desperation.”

    This means that Sis may have to accept that her Sister may never leave this Cheater. And this cannot become a deal breaker in the sister bond. She cannot get smug, or judgmental or outraged if she decides to stay. She cannot make it the focus of every phone call, or do an eye roll when the Sister says something positive about her husband or her marriage.

    Ever tried to talk an adult about a different course of action regarding a matter of the heart? Almost hopeless.

    In the nicest, most old fashioned way, Sis will have to mind her own business. Sweep her own front porch. No one knows what goes on between a man and a woman. She will have to just be a sister, not Xena the Warrior Princess Infidelity Avenger. It is not her marriage to grieve.

    One of the toughest lesson I have learned as I get older- is that our families/friends do things that will confound, enrage or dishearten us. It is too late in the day to throw away these ties because of choices they make that are not “ours” to make. The only thing we can do is be a calm source of energy and support, and cut our tongues out before we say “I told you so.”

    • It’s difficult to walk the line between being supportive and pointing out reality. It certainly is her sisters life, marriage and decision, but it becomes especially difficult when you are asked to do what she has…pretend it didn’t happen. Continue to socialize and share holidays with creepy BIL all the while being nice and polite and fake. To try and stomach the happy front they will put on to make her feel better and maintain his image, all the while knowing those smiling FB couple photos don’t reside even fractionally in reality. So you love your sister, but you also must be honest and tell her that you will never desire a friendship with her husband.

      • We have to realize that our zealous vigilance and outrage about cheating is not shared by most. Is it worth it to create a rift between two sisters- Christmas, birthdays…because the BIL is a snake? Especially if she chooses to stay with the snake.

        There is a difference between being civil for the good of your sister and a scorched earth policy because we ourselves have been wronged. I would never suggest fawning over the BIL or even being friendly, or fake. You could treat him as you would a stranger on an elevator. Distance, civil, removed. If asked about the truth about the BIL, she could simply state the facts.

        The point is that it might take her sister years to decide she deserves to be treated with dignity. If she never makes that decision- it can’t become the elephant in the room every time the sisters get together. It is simply not worth it.

        My sister made a decision to homeschool her son. We all knew it was a catastrophic mistake. His homeschooling became sleeping everyday until 2pm and then playing video games and being obsessed with Japanese anime. One of my sister’s has gone through a cycle of trying to fix it, then vigilance, then preaching, then judgement, and now silence about the issue- they do not speak. It is a tragedy. (It is also codependent. We cannot change other adult’s behaviors).

        I believe as time passes, they will regret the 3 years they have not spoken. I am viewing it from 30,000 feet. If the sister never leaves the Cheater, the Sister who wrote in cannot let this affect her relationship WITH her sister. She has to accept her decision.

  • Gotta love Facebook! Skankawhorus posted updates on CH and her relationship. She even had her phone number listed on fb. Between Verizon phone records and fb I had tons of evidence. Sadly, I live in a no fault state.
    CH still hasn’t realized there was no private investigator.

  • No pertinent advice, but I remembered something last night which I thought I should share.

    As a teenager, I once let a good friend know that her boyfriend was an asshole. It did not have the desired effect. My friend did not leave her two wuv of that time. She remained civil with me too, but I became distant to her. We went to the same school, were in the same group of friends, but I never offered anything more ever to her. Also, I realized that several of our mutual friends were more on her side, so it created a mental wedge for me. Point taken.

    Today both of them are married to other people, and well, she remains the pious housewife that she was expected to turn into.

    • I forgot to add…the *boyfriend* was told what I had told my friend. He and his friends had a name for me, not a pleasant one.

      Now that I think of it, it was hard on me, but I must have been more emotionally tough to have faced that.

  • I also just want to say that I am glad you have your sister’s back. I think she is not absorbing it the way you want because, she is overwhelmed at this moment.

    a. She is shocked to learn about the affair.
    b. She did not find it herself. The information was shoved in her face.
    c. It was not shoved at her in private. The OW made a spectacle out of it. People who shouldn’t know, know it too. It’s so embarrassing.

    Your sister is trying to eat point a, b and c together. Imagine how hard it will be.

  • Chump sister thank you for being a support for your chumped sister, I hope she finds CL and mightiness to look after herself. My sister was a comfort support and voice of reason even though she lives in another country far away. She was the one person I confided DD1 too and respectfully told me she didn’t think it was just an EA – turned out she was right but that didn’t become apparent to me till DD2 much later. Her care and insights strengthened me through the challenging time following DD2. The concept of dealing with the complete disruption and trauma with denial and in small chunks, while building to strength to take the action also may be relevant here. Wishing your sister strength. Your support will be helping,

  • Use the fb post as proof of Adultery. It does help in the settlement process. Document Document Document is the name of the game in divorce. As far as helping her….she has to do that. Unless you’ve walked it….you can’t talk it.

  • All,

    Most of us (including myself) have missed one key point here. We’re not advising Chump Sister’s sister (the chump), we’re advising Chump Sister herself. Sure, we can rattle off the reasons she should leave. But that’s not the best approach.

    Chump Sister, the key thing is to be there for her. Listen to her rant, let her cry on your shoulder, let her know you love her and her kids no matter what. Let her know if she wants to leave, you can put her and the kids up in your house (if possible). And when she’s exhausted you venting about the injustice and cruelty of it all, and you can’t take any more, come here, you vent, and then get back to supporting her.

    Don’t try to get her to commit to your plan of action. She has to walk that road by herself (the mental part, deciding a course of action), and get to where she needs to go. You can offer good advice – get the financials in order, document everything (including the ugliness on Facebook, in case it goes down,) protect herself and the kids. But let her decide to stay or go. Maybe she wants to fight long enough to get the OW to give up, and then dump his sorry ass – if that’s her plan, let her work it. Eventually, one way or another, she’ll find the endgame, and you will be there the whole time to support her. Once she’s through this nastiness, she will love you all the more for the support you gave her. And more importantly, she will be more confident, more herself, and more functional because of the support you give her.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.
    aeronaut

  • Hi Sis,

    CL’s advice is spot on. OW outed the affair because your BIL did not leave the marriage for OW. OW has thus made it clear that the marriage is the main weapon your sister has that injures OW. While your sister is wounded, asking her to lay down her main defensive weapon against the attacker feels just as dangerous as it would if there was an intruder in her house. Her body and mind anticipate – and reject – the further injury she will suffer if OW and BIL waltz off into the sunset. So, help her heal her injury by nurturing her good qualities – like intelligence, a skill, a talent, a career – that are independent of BIL. Taker her to the spa or gym or on vacation. Feed her healthy food. As she heals, she will feel strong enough to see BIL for the buffoon he is. Her mind and body will eventually shift and reject BIL as something dangerous to her.

    I experienced a version of public outing 3 years ago. An email came to my office computer. A nasty co-worker saw it, told many and later falsely accused me of not working enough. I was written up for searching divorce finance on my computer. I did the faux reconciliation; hanging on in the face of further humiliation; gained weight; forced myself to file, but wavered. Finally won in court, kept my house, lost the weight, and now look at ex the same way I do a couple of old boyfriends from my youth: a bad idea from which I have learned what to avoid. Sis is lucky to have you. Give her time.

  • This. This happened to me.

    My husband was working out of town, and I thought everything was fine. Then my friend noticed some exchanges on my Husband’s Facebook Wall. I went to go see, and he had blocked me.

    I asked him why and he said it was an accident… lol

    Then a day or two later the bomb dropped. His AP posted ‘In a Relationship’ on Facebook with my Husband. We have been together 21 years. All our friends and family, even our children are on Facebook.

    It was horrifying and humiliating to say the least. That is actually how I found out my husband was having an affair. So cruel.

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