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UBT: Cheaters and “Grace”

Today’s Chump Lady rant goes out to “Tim,” a therapist who left a thoughtful review of my book on Amazon the other day. He gave it 4 stars (out of 5), which was very kind of him. So it’s probably churlish of me to put his review through the Universal Bullshit Translator, but my blogging fingers got itchy when I read his criticism that I “leave no room for grace.”

Chump Nation, hold my beer.

Tim, how can I put this gently? I don’t write for nice, mild-mannered marriage counselors. I don’t write for cheaters. I write for chumps.

Meditate on that for a moment. Okay, maybe 45 moments. Now bill yourself $150.

The whole idea that a chump should “leave room for grace” for cheaters — is not the mission of this site or my book. The tagline is “Leave a cheater, gain a life.” I’m selling exactly what I’m advertising. I don’t review Amazon cookbooks on Texas barbecue and inquire why there aren’t more vegan recipes. Similarly, I wouldn’t come to a book, which brazenly encourages readers to leave cheaters, and wonder why it doesn’t discuss happily reconciled relationships. Or ponder the likelihood of their existence.

Now, maybe grace-for-cheaters is your job as a therapist, but I’m not a therapist, I’m a chump. Cheaters’ grace is above my pay grade. Moreover, the whole meta level idea — that any worthy discussion of infidelity must include a grace-for-cheaters caveat — is offensive.

Tim, consider our radical perspective here — an entire discourse around infidelity (blog closing in on 15 million views and God knows how many book sales) that does NOT revolve around what the cheater wants, needs, or might become. 


What makes chumps chumps is having spent entire relationships being lopsidedly, slavishly devoted to cheaters’ wants, needs, and potential. And now, having been fucked over, we reject cheater centrality — in our lives and in the greater infidelity discourse. Chump Nation is about what the CHUMP wants, needs, and can become (mighty). That distinguishes this place from 99.99999 percent of the rest of the infidelity resources.

Now to UBT further misconceptions from your thoughtful review:

:: Disagreements ::

> You are a “chump” if you focus on hope for your marriage.
From the author: “Asking a marriage counselor if your marriage can be saved is like asking a barber if you need a haircut.”

​Let me first admit that I am in partial agreement with what the author has to say on this point. Too many counseling services and products promise (for a fee) to help a betrayed spouse save their marriage without the cooperation of the betrayer. And when these methods don’t work, the wounded partner is left to shamefully conclude, “I couldn’t get that right, either,” accepting inappropriate blame.

We should probably throw religious leaders into this mix as well. Many well-meaning people are too quick to direct a betrayed spouse into attempts to save their marriage. That is a risk they are not required to make and should not be pressured to do so.

But denying hope for a healed marriage is a shift to the opposite extreme. The book leaves very little room for this consideration. In fact, the author wants to push chumps in the opposite direction. She writes, “I’m not here to help you save your marriage after infidelity. I”m here to help you save your sanity and protect yourself.”

Here’s the truth: there is hope. I’ve seen healing in marriages, the kind of healing that moves a couple back into connection and trust. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, many couples do not experience this. But marriage healing after an affair is not a foolish hope.

The best healing choice for some is to leave their marriage, but that is not only choice for everyone.

Tim, what makes someone a chump is NOT that they hope for their marriage. (That would make them an ordinary, married person.) What makes someone a chump is that they were PLAYED by a con. They were duped, lied to, had their health risked, were UNKNOWINGLY cheated on.

If that happens to you, and you want to reconcile? That makes you a volunteer, not a chump. Now you know. I might call you a unicorn (because I think your odds are long), but chump just means you were the victim of infidelity. Someone did this to you.

Also Tim, hoping to reconcile your marriage should NEVER be inconsistent with protecting yourself. Hell to the NO. I’m arguing that if a cheater resists you protecting yourself (particularly your finances) or setting boundaries like transparency and STD testing — you’ve got jack shit to work with.

But denying hope for a healed marriage is a shift to the opposite extreme. The book leaves very little room for this consideration.

I make logical arguments why reconciliation is a long shot, and that if you do it, do it with protection. Which I find preferable to slouching towards grace toking a hopium pipe.

Reconciliation is a myth.
From the author: “I liken successful reconciliation to a unicorn—a mythical creature that I want to believe in, but that is rarely sighted.”

There are many examples of marriages that somehow managed to avoid divorce after infidelity, but fail to experience a genuine return to intimacy. Online forums are filled with stories of people who tried to fix their relationship yet remain disappointed and frustrated. I can understand the tendency to conclude that reconciliation is little more than an empty dream.

But couples can and do reconcile in ways that are satisfying to both of them. Some of them are open about their stories, while many remain private about this part of their lives. Every decent affair recovery therapist I know can account for many marriages that are strong despite the devastation of an affair.

Reconciliation is not the only outcome, but it is a true one.

Yeah, about those “affair recovery therapists” — got any longitudinal studies on those marriages? Or just the self-reporting of people in affair recovery therapist offices who want to recover from affairs? Or the self-reporting from affair recovery therapists themselves? (“Oh yeah, we’ve got STRONG numbers! Short on the sides and longer on top?”)

Leaves no room for grace.
From the author: “This is what enforcing a boundary looks like—the cheater decides to commit to the marriage then and there—or you put their crap in Hefty bags and throw it on the lawn for the raccoons.”

This book is a great counter to the common tendencies of “chumps” to overlook the severity of the betrayal. Forgiveness and trust can be granted too quickly and easily.

But I want to live in a world that values grace and makes room for it. I know it is empowering to embrace justice and agree that many betrayed spouses SHOULD be taking a much stronger stand for their own well-being, but there is a way to balance grace and justice. I believe we are better people when we do.

To be clear, I am not suggesting that traumatized spouses should just roll over with an “It’s okay, I still love you attitude.” Real grace will still establish real boundaries. Grace is not the same thing as trust. Some cheaters should never be trusted again, but I would still encourage a consideration of grace, not just pure justice.

Well Tim, I want to live in a world where cheaters don’t fuck over vulnerable, trusting partners. Where men don’t rate sex workers like Amazon purchases, or pregnant chumps don’t discover abnormal pap smears at their pre-natal screenings, where faithful husbands don’t have to paternity check their children, or the middle-aged aren’t abandoned for much younger models, and families aren’t left when the new shiny wears off. Heck, Tim, I’m such a crazy dreamer, I wish child support was enforced!

We don’t live in that world.

What makes you think we didn’t already offer cheaters grace and get kicked in the teeth? Again and again and again and again? (Four D-Days here, Tim. FOUR. What’s my grace score?)

There is a way to balance grace and justice. Justice is just natural consequences — the relationship ends. Grace is — no one backs up over the cheater with a truck.

What’s grace to you? Wishing cheaters well? We don’t wish our exes ill — we just wish them nothing. We reject revenge. We reject their centrality. Meh.

You want “grace”? Meh is Really. Fucking. Hard. It’s a goddamn achievement.

Cheaters have one primary motive.
From the author: “Why do people cheat? Because they can. It’s that simple. People cheat because they value their autonomy to engage in affairs more than they value your well-being.”

No motive justifies betrayal, but it’s not accurate to say that every cheater is driven by the same reason. Every cheater is 100% responsible for their choice and its consequences, but understanding an affair means giving attention to the unique vulnerabilities at play.

These vulnerabilities are not reasons or excuses. The unfaithful spouse had a multitude of other choices they could have made, but understanding the various influences at play in a person’s life is necessary for healing, whether or not the marriage survives. Many cheaters did not choose to cheat before, even when there was an opportunity to do so. It’s important to gain insight into the vulnerabilities at play so that appropriate changes can be made and necessary boundaries established. Only then can there be a secure return to trustworthiness.

Yes, at the core of every affair is selfishness, but cheaters do not all pop out of the same mold.

This is similar to the grace point — it’s NOT MY JOB to ask what drives cheaters. Is the guy who pistol-whips your face and steals your wallet driven by his desire for cash, or how much he hates your haircut? Does it MATTER? Are you going to preach “grace” to the guy with a shattered nose? Or deliberate over mugger motivations as the victim lays there bleeding? Chump Lady is calling 911. Meditate on grace all you want to, I’m mopping up blood over here.

Dude, there are no “unique vulnerabilities” at play. There are only so many ways to manipulate a person, all of them very well trod. Cheaters say the same stupid, banal shit.

Cheaters don’t change.
From the author: “I believe people cheat because they give themselves permission to cheat—and that’s a matter of character… After suffering my own series of false reconciliations, reading infidelity boards, and running my own blog, I’ve yet to see the grateful, prodigal unicorn.”

I doubt the author would claim that a cheater could never change, but it seems clear that she believes it is so rare that it is a near-fantasy. I wonder if her story has attracted like stories.

Over 20 years ago, I was a cheater. I am not a cheater now. And I know many other former cheaters who have long years of evidence pointing to their trustworthiness.

Some spouses have always been and will always be cheaters. Some spouses cheat once and never cheat again. And some were habitual cheaters who, like addicts, become “sober” in their relationships.

Thank God there is hope for us!

I don’t preach “once a cheater, always a cheater.” However, I do think once a cheater, you’ve put a bullet in that relationship and no one owes you reconciliation. Your character may change (I’m glad it did), but the person you fucked over is still fucked, and shouldn’t be expected to invest in your potential.

I wonder if her story has attracted like stories.

Yeah Tim, millions of like stories. Or as scientists call it — “one hell of a data set.” Oh hey, here’s an actual scientist who did the largest study ever on infidelity that vindicates leave a cheater, gain a life. Psychologists asked over 5,000 women chumps about their relationship break-ups. Turns out the chumps fixed their pickers, learned from the experience, and had better future relationships. They also experienced more personal growth outside their relationships.

Five thousand people? Those are my numbers before noon. I got more chumps here than ever walked through your door or sat on your shrink sofa, Tim. I believe in the grace of self-worth. I see miracles of mightiness here every day. Cheaters are just the catalysts — the grace is all ours.

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  • I don’t get it. Why are chumps held by cheaters et AL to such high standard of perfection? The recant is the same no one will love us unless we are perfect. While cheaters are horrid persons who are given a bligh for their human failings but still deserve love. Fcuk that noise.

      • Yes and Tim is certainly one sad sausage!

        Curious, he claims he was a cheater 20 years ago but now he is not, sort of like I was a runner but now I’m not or I was a Bills fan but now I ‘m not. If that is true, what changed? Was there a consequence maybe? If you change once, do you think you could change again?

        We need more one strike and you are out and grace can’t be given unless someone is truly repentant and the surveys on chumps show these cheaters aren’t!

        • I honestly DO believe cheaters can change. Some of them can see the consequences of their choices, decide they sucked, and fix themselves.

          It’s just that they’ll end up applying that lesson in their next relationship, because I don’t see a way anyone could get over some of the crap that’s been done to people here, and I don’t think there ought to be any obligation to try. When you’re done, you’re done.

          • MightyE

            My advice to you would be to fix your picker. Are you with a former cheater? Most OW or the future spouses (victims) believe they are special. By the time a chump dumps the cheater they have learned to go underground and have been cheating repeatedly with multiple partners. The OW the Limited hooked up with shares your view. He sold himself as a victim of emotional abuse. Yet, he was dating/fucking multiple partners until he noted she was the most needy. Weeks after I threw him out I received copy of his health insurance statement. He was getting tested for HIV because he KNEW he was having unprotected sex with multiple women.

            Cheating is about a lack of character and gaining power and control over whomever they ‘select’. The only thing they change is partners and you can bet your ass if he cheated on a loyal spouse of many years, he has no honor to someone he just met.

            It’s a puzzle, mighty. However, if you read here you will see they are not unique in their lack of integrity. Read about the three phases of a narcissistic relationship and the types of narcissists. I was with a covert narcissist, the most malignant in my opinion. They mirror your love, kindness, and empathy. They open doors for the elderly, and YET can abandon their own children.

            If you are with a ‘reformed’ cheater you are wasting your energy. It’s always a lopsided equation. Read the verbally abusive relationship and learn about how an abusive person manipulates their victims. Con artists are very cunning.

            • Raising my hand–married Hannibal because he seemed to exhibit insight about his serial cheating in a former marriage. And now, here I am.

              For what it’s worth, I do think Once a SERIAL cheater, always a cheater. There may be some instances of one-offs, but there certainly aren’t many examples of those from CN.

              • “But denying hope for a healed marriage is a shift to the opposite extreme.”

                I believe what Tim is really promoting is the belief we have control over a cheating spouse.

                Shouldn’t a one time (that we know of) affair be weighted on a spouses ability to look, act on, lie and have sex with an AP?

                No he offers HOPE, not for the chump, but for the cheater. If only the chump chomps on that shit sandwich all will be well in fuck strange land.

                No he’s not the extreme cheater. He’s a one kinda bad day I fucked strange kinda guy.

                I see it as a lack of character and an indication of a poor investment. We can’t control the outcome. We DO NOT have that power. Cheating should be a deal breaker. Why run the marathon when the race is rigged?

              • Absolutely agree!! You don’t spend 20 years of a 22 year marriage serial cheating..profiles on Ashley Madison, Adult Friend Finder, and using Craigs List for random hookups…then magically, when caught, suddenly become the faithful husband. A 45 year old man who has spent all of his adult life cheating will not change, and nobody in this world will convince me that he will.

            • Yep, he cheated on last wife, too. Said he learned his lesson. Nope. He just learned how to give yourself permission to violate vows, lie, and deceive. Then hide it.

              • ^^^ THIS ^^^

                I could have written the same comment neverwouldhaveimagined…

                My biggest mistake was to trust my X, now I know better!

            • No, I’m very happily single, and it would take someone really special to change that.

              I just think people can grow if they want to. Trouble is not many really want to be better than they are.

          • My thoughts exactly, MightyE. Poor Tim. He doesn’t want to ALWAYS be a cheater because he cheated 20 years ago. Just like my ex. He’s a good guy. He fucked up and has worked bloody hard to apologise and understand how to never fuck up again (hint: just don’t fuck other people, works a charm for me.) But he never gets to be a guy who was faithful now. Despite his sad sausage, “but I loved you and was completely faithful for 27 years. I’m so sorry.” Just like I don’t get my lifetime of love and commitment. It fucking sucks. We had such a good thing going. My grace to him is that I still talk nicely to him and don’t point out his lack of character (often.) I’m actually sorry for him. And I do still care about him. Unicorns are pretty. But damned if I have time for all the bullshit that goes into maintaining their sparkling whiteness and redying the rainbows in its mane and tail.

            I’ll admire from afar, and congratulate the person who’s brave enough to take on that dented model. I’m sure never taking on an ‘ex’ cheater.

            • He’s a good guy. He fucked up and has worked bloody hard to apologise and understand how to never fuck up again (hint: just don’t fuck other people, works a charm for me.) But he never gets to be a guy who was faithful now.

              ^^^^Yep, this.

              Just like my daughters step-mom will always be a woman who slept with another woman’s husband and played a part in the breakup of their family as they knew it. She can be nice, kind, and loving with them, and I am civil to her and him, but the facts do not change and they both know it.

              They did not offer me grace or hope while lying and cheating to my face, but I am supposed to extend it to them? Civility is all I have to offer.

            • “Unicorns are pretty. But damned if I have time for all the bullshit that goes into maintaining their sparkling whiteness and redying the rainbows in its mane and tail.”

              Exactly horsesrcumin. And I might add, in order to believe, you need to suspend or entirely change you belief system. Just for the unicorn.

              The thing is you need a lot of hopium to get there. I can’t afford that.

              • Lol. I spent five years desperately trying to will myself to suspend belief, Golfgrrl. Just not in me. Think I ways knew that. Ran outta my hopium supply years ago, and returning to the life that enabled the addiction? As we say down here, yeah, nah. Think I’ll pass on that, thanks.

          • Change? Nope, sorry, I don’t think so. Cheating is about selfishness, its also about inability to genuinely connect to another human being, its about preferring warm fuzzy limerence (projection) for true attachment to another imperfect person with faults.

            I don’t think that magically changes because the latest object that is making you feel good (projection) has darker hair, a few inches shorter or slimmer. He confessed to his two next soulmates that he had had an affair, they were horrified but decided they were special, until they ran into his inability to truly connect. Of which cheating is the finally unacceptably hurtful part of disconnect.

            They remain as deep as a teaspoon.

        • I got on this guys’ email chain about six months before I found chump lady. I can’t seem to unsubscribe. So I followed some of the crap he sends out. He wanted his marriage back but his wife said no. He has capitalized on his cheating. In one disgusting move last year he had his children do a podcast about how devastating his conduct was to them. Literally horrifying.

          Before I found chump lady and I was reading his website I just kept thinking to myself: “yeah, fucker, this would all be great if my husband felt as you do. But he doesn’t! He wants to fuck his whore! And he thinks it’s all my fault! And he doesn’t value his family at all! And I have tried until I’m blue in the face to talk reason to him!” Tim has no solution for my scenario. I felt like dying when all I had was Tim’s platitudes and his sugar sweet religiousness. I could not make my husband have Tim’s worldview. There was nothing to work with.

          Thank God I found chump lady, I woke up, realized that there was nothing to work with, that it was all on X, realized my worth, started the divorce proceedings, got divorced, and am busy building a life. I don’t feel like dying any longer. I have a lot of joy and peace and happiness. Still grieving the 25 years, the trauma, but I’m going to survive this.

          It’s been nearly 3 years. My ex is still blaming me -he has never once shown an ounce of remorse. And it goes far beyond me. He’s not even remorseful that his own children tried to kill themselves because of what he did. He’s not remorseful that our children do not have a relationship with him. He just blames and blames and blames and lies and lies and lies

          HE SUCKS ASS

          • I wanted to add: Tim, if you’re reading this, I have all the Grace in the world. If my husband had shown 1 ounce of the type of attitude towards what he did that you espouse on your website and in your blogs, we wouldn’t be getting a divorce today. But my husband refused to stop his affairs– yes, multiples! He refused to stop paying over $5000 dollars a month of our money for the apartment for his mistress of the day. He refused to use any protection when he had these extramarital affair’s and I got an STD. That didn’t stop him. He would text and sext whatever woman he was fucking right in front of our children so that they could see the texts over his shoulder in the car. He told our children he hated being a father when he got found out! He kept disappearing for days on end, I would later find out in our bank records that he had taken whatever woman he was currently fucking on a weekend trip. And I told him in marriage counseling and I told him every single day that I was not willing to live like that! I did not want an open marriage! Now I find out that his infidelities go back 25 years through all four of my pregnancies! So Tim, there’s literally nothing to work with! Again, if my husband was like you, I wouldn’t be here on this website.

          • This is litterally my life . I find solace in the universality of these wankers. Same extreme mental health issues with teen / adult children ….couldnt give a fuck . His new found happiness eclipses all. Not content with fucking me over (in every direction. .emotional…financial. probably more) he sits back while me and the kids are reliant on welfare to make ends meet…and hes on a 6 fig salary !? No shame from him but the dismissal of his own kids? ? Except for the crocodile tears and poor me retorhic you would think he was father of the year trying to reconnect with his kids except for his complete rejection of his responsibilities. We need to share these extreme circumstances between those that have been through it …no one in my day to day life even believes the nightmare me and kids are living.

          • Ya when he said that he was a cheater once, it explained why the spackled ” some cheaters are really good guys if you’d just give them a chance” bullshit!
            No contact is the only way to leave a cheater and gain a life! Richard Grannon is the narcisst expert.

    • I felt as though I was constantly getting this vibe, even from therapists. It was as if I was obligated to be saintly simply because they thought I had the capacity for it, and therefore it was incumbent on me to behave that way.

      I. Do. Not. Get. It.

      At what point are people of higher moral caliber no longer responsible for the shitty actions of assholes? My answer: when we decide that we’re no longer responsible for the shitty actions of assholes, and we can go about our lives channeling our efforts to those we feel actually deserve them.

      • Maybe it is similar to the same line “The reward for good work is more work.” We (chumps) do have the greater capacity to hold the relationship together (even if we shouldn’t). The cheaters don’t have a shot in hell of doing it. Therefore, the default is that the responsibility should fall on us.

        So, yes, I agree with your statement, Nanki Poo, that we are the ones who have the capacity. Best chance to save a marriage is through the chump.

      • Agreed. The Olympic levels of forgiveness and benevolence required from me seemed astounding. While my cheater just looked raw and kept repeating how “human” he was.
        I mentioned to the marriage counselor presiding over this bad soap opera that the thing that’s actually impossible to achieve is what’s needed- and unless he had a time machine or a memory wipe it couldn’t genuinely happen.
        I feel like the people I know who “forgave” & stayed in their marriage look haunted and beaten down like the crypt keeper. You basically have to conpartmentalilze (not too healthy) what someone did to you and pretend you’re ok. That’s painful and a full time acting job – it must be exhausting to give out all that fake grace

        • Every person I’ve ever met who told me they reconciled with their cheater exhibited the following behaviors:

          * They were constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. Lot’s o’ anxiety.
          * Had to play marriage police.
          * On some sort of anti-depressant or sleeping medication.
          * Eventually had to deal with another D-day.

          Every. Single. One.

            • Yes, because a parasite Appreciates you and your efforts but never Values you as an individual human host.

              • Parasites: they do want to keep their hosts alive (we are no use to most parasites if we are dead), some even make some vitamins for their hosts. But at what a cost….

            • I would also add:

              *Afraid to make any noise (as in, have needs, express wants, speak about feelings–cheaters OR the chump’s feelings, etc.)

          • I was always waiting for the other shoe but was still shocked when it did. ?

            • Me too, StaryEYe! But after the shock wears off, I concentrate on myself. And it is a good feeling.

          • The first phone call after D Day should be to a lawyer. Posting smiling pictures of you and your husband on social media, making him wear the wedding ring that he stopped wearing years ago, and dragging promises out of him accomplishes nothing. Well, nothing except the erosion of your self respect, your peace, and the gas lighting that will eventually ensue. The sparkly unicorn shares one thing in common with a happy, healthy, loving marriage after repeated infidelity…..merely a mirage.

          • Rumble kitty I think that is so true. I also believe that is why so many of the chumps that stay and seem SO happy… are merely trying to convince themselves that they have discovered a Super sparkly unicorn… Unfortunately, that enthusiasm is nothing more than industrial strength spackle. This is why so many here have experienced multiple D Days…leopards don’t change their spots. It matters not if it is a wife or the OW. They are all the same to someone who is very good at playing the lying, manipulation game.

          • Abso-fricking-lutley! Rumblekitty, you speak the truth. This was my EXACT experience.

      • Agree 100% Nanki Poo.

        I had a friend say “You will always have to be the bigger person” with regard to post-divorce interactions with x.


        No contact was a much better solution.

        • “You will always have to be the bigger person”
          Can the reconciliation apologists answer this: Why should the chump waste their life being the bigger person next to a loser cheater who needs them to be the bigger person when they could enjoy their life being happy among equally big persons?
          I’m now happy to give up the moral high ground for a peaceful life full of respect and free of exploitation.

          • Expecting the chump to take the high ground is part of the gaslighting. Ex (I refuse to say “my” he is nothing of mine) actually tried to write into our child custody document that all parties must give the other the benefit of the doubt even if it looks like one party is not following the agreement. I kid you not.

            He is a lawyer and tried to fuck me over at every turn. We are not responsible to make them good people, give them grace, the benefit of the doubt, try to understand them, or have anything to do with them.

            Our responsibilities are to heal ourselves and figure out how to sniff out and reject those who wave red flags at us in the future. In hindsight, ex treated me miserably from the start (flirting non-stop, leaving me at all social functions to hang out with other women, looking at me shark eyes, lying about wanting to work it out, lying in therapy, lying every minute for five years, making me think I was going crazy, yelling at me when I asked if he was having an affair when he was, being impossible to talk to about finances, never respecting my wishes for my son such as not wheeling him in the street—this is domestic violence, and he a complete asshole–just viscerally revolting). Knowing what I know now, I would not give him a minute of my time.

            I was not surprised to find that Tim is a cheater. Only a cheater would demand grace from a violated person. Cheating comes along with overall disrespect and violations. Ex too spoke like Tim. He wrote me a doozy of an email saying its been one year since the divorce and can;t things be more “pleasant.” I ignored him, deleted it. I have nothing to do with him.

            Great response Tracy. They speak to disregard chumps’ experiences.

            To life, l’chaim!

            • Of course, I’m not advocating being an asshole, but I’m not going to subject myself to more crap just for the sake of it.

              Example: I don’t speak to my cheating ex wife except via text and email and in those cases about custody matters only, no exceptions. This presumably drives her nuts, and probably gives her friends some chatter fodder about me being a meanie, but I honestly don’t give a flying fuck about either of those things. Not speaking to her is for my protection as the survivor of her abuse, and anyone who doesn’t get that can get bent. Why? Because their social comfort level isn’t more important than my mental health, that’s why.

            • Its just so lame …. after fucking me over and leaving us with $200 …. taking me off the health insurance. .. forcing the house into near repossession. …spreading lies about me and turning my remaining friends against me…he wants us to have a united front at daughters graduation. Really???? As if this was just a formality to cooperate over. I think it just helps to maintain that horrific mental map we have to remind ourselves of. These people are NUTS.

    • Thank you for stating something I have been feeling for a very long time.
      My cheater had a long laundry list of all my offences and shortcomings.

      The problem was that I loved him “as is”.
      He was looking for justifiable reasons to leave the marriage and pin the blame on chump-y old me.

      If I tried to change – the rules would change.

      He was a terrible person in many ways, but as Tracy said “I spackled ” over the whole hot mess and took him at face value.

      I will no longer try to fix, perceive potential or change a person to suit my needs.

      Why can they be such utter pieces of crap and demand perfection from us. No thank you. My give a fuck is broken and it won’t be fixed til Tuesday!

      • CL once said that to be codependent is to become addicted to the “potential” in someone else. We keep trying to change them.

    • Much in the same way some simpering parents explain their son’s poor behavior with “Oh, you know, boys will be boys” which also grinds my (_!_) no end and tosses their accountability right out the window! Is it any wonder we now have an entire generation of self-entitled narsisistic pricks who feel they deserve “it all” at the cost to everyone else around them? Grrrr…..

  • The slow clap starts here, folks.

    Today, CL wins the Internet.

    Sorry, Tim. You probably meant we’ll, but you are ignorant on the topic you addressed. Likely you are ignorant because you are lucky, for which I am glad for you. But the advice of ignorant lucky people to unlucky people still in harm’s way is bad 10 times out of 10.

    Chump Nation is flipping the script on indifelity therapy to focus on the chumps. The cheaters will lookout for themselves, as they always have. Therapists need to take note or risk becoming as irrelevant as leeches have become to modern medicine.

    • I want to defend Tim. I found his website before I found Chumplady, and I felt like he gave good advice, advice that was actually consistent with Chumplady’s.

      It’s possible that I held out too long trying to make it work, but that was my own fault; he spoke truth from the start on gauging the seriousness of your cheater and counseled cutting your losses if the sincerity wasn’t there. He said it more nicely than did CL, but he basically says the same thing.

      • Scuffy- You said you “held out too long trying to make it work, but that was your own fault.”

        Please help me understand how you stop an adult from seeking and obtaining sex outside the marriage. Drones? Super glue? Trained crocodiles? Mossoud agents?

        Do you see the self blame trick Tim has pulled that CL is exposing? When someone is conned with a love fraud, it is one of the rare, horrifying instances where there IS a black and white. No grey. There are not two sides to these pancake. There is a wronged party and a scumbag.

        One person is used, abused and kept in the dark so the other person can get their rocks off with strange ass. Which many of us would have liked to have done, could have done but decided to honor covenants, promises & vows.

        So, no matter how many mental leap frogs Tim tries to eek out, in his unwholesome obsession to show that a cheater could attain grace, absolution, atonement or enlightenment-

        for those who have trudged this nightmare, located on the corner of West Shit and I am in Hell Avenue- it is just another manipulation to push some blame/shame/fault back on us.

        NO way, No how- would I let his words penetrate my consciousness. We have come too far. It is deadly, deceitful and diabolical.

        • I remember thinking after DD1 that I’d love to take a 1 year sabbatical from our marriage so I could experience the high of a new relationship.

          My DD1 was the discovery of an “online affair” more than a year after it was over. In his effort to reconcile, he admitted to a short physical affair years before — which I rationalized as a reaction to the death of his mom. I probed to make sure he was not having one affair after another, since he travels almost weekly for business. His response was “No, I’m not a monster.” Of course, he lied in MC numerous other affairs which I discovered DD2.

          I thought I married a kind, gentle man. I now know he’s a narcissistic monster.

          • It is so true, Giddy Eagle! Who wouldn’t like the thrill of new lips, in the long slog of a long term marriage or relationship?

            We are not beasts. Men or women would gladly welcome us in their arms, their bed. We could ride the roller coaster of secret texts, lusty hotel sex and the biological excitement of new skin.

            But we have those pesky consciences. We would feel like we had sludge in our hearts. We could not scoop out the ice cream and smile at our mates and children with the strange scent of another on us. Because we do not delight in deception.

            The moon can fall, the sun can melt, penguins can do calculus, but Giddy- I will never forgive. I don’t forgive monsters, as you aptly stated.

            • Wow…TINAT….amazing writing! You hit it out of the park! ???

            • THANK YOU!!

              I am so sick of everyone saying you have to forgive to move on. I will accept that what happened happened, but I will never forgive.

              Why would I forgive the ONE person who was supposed to live and protect me ended up being the person that abused me? Give me a fucking break.

              I am working on forgiving myself for staying in a marriage where I didn’t feel loved and didn’t feed my soul.

              But at least I know why. I stayed because I didn’t want my child to grow up without a father like I did and I didn’t want to be a single mother like my mother was.

              I had been married 10 years and together 13.5 when I had my child at 40. I thought I was in a rock solid marriage. Turns out he was cheating before we got pregnant. Who does that? A narcissist who likes his image and lifestyle.

          • And if you had, she’d have fucked you over again. Tim is a cheater whose wife left him, and in between making his children write testimonials about how her anger over his affair was so horribly damaging, he’s created a narrative of “Oh I stumbled and strayed, but I really was such a good man and I could have totally been a good husband if that unforgiving bitch hadn’t had kicked me out!”

            All his “guard your heart” shit is just elaborate justification so he can spin his narrative of “I’m not like all those other guys! I’m different!”

          • This comment will probably not go over well, but I think you get one mistake. You start an affair and you recognize what you’re doing and you either fix it or get out. It really is that simple.

            Ideally you figure it out before you actually sleep with someone… But there’s no rationalizing once the deed is done. Fix it or leave. Don’t string your spouse along for years. It’s cruel and narcissist.

    • Sadly, being a unicorn milkmaid pays better than unicorn slayer. How many places on the internet can you find a therapist that actually states, out loud, that cheating is bad without immediately minimizing or qualifying it in some way.

    • “But the advice of ignorant lucky people to unlucky people still in harm’s way is bad 10 times out of 10”

      Well said. But I would add that it’s more than ‘bad’. “Insert least favorite food here” is bad. The advice ignorant, lucky people give those who are dealing with the disordered is harmful.

      Very harmful. There is no safe dose.

  • Poor Tim…

    As I struggled through his review I kept thinking to my self: this guy is a cheater, wanna bet?! Well, there it is around his last words of wisdom. “Unique vulnerabilities” indeed.

    The content and condescending style of Tim’s poor review also makes me think that he is still a narcisist. More therapy for you Tim!

    As usual, brilliant logic from CL. Tim didn’t have the guts to give you a 1 star like he really wanted to.

    • Exactly. As soon as he got to the passive voice and repetition of “vulnerabilities at play,” I knew he was a cheater!

      Thanks, Chump Lady and Chump Nation, for teaching me this super power!

      • Agreed.

        He lost me at: “I was a cheater.”

        After that, his opinion means nothing.

      • Yes! I detected a bit of cheater speak in his “unique vulnerabilities” circle jerk because ….. this is EXACTLY the kind of language my cheater used.

        Telling it like it actually is what CL does. I was really convinced that my X was “different.” I was convinced that he was different from all the other cheaters out there. I looked everywhere and to everyone for my “story,” the one story that was identical to mine and then I wanted to know what people had done about it. The thing that I love about CL is that she doesn’t minimize any cheating. Cheating is cheating. But then she also goes on to talk about common behaviors that all cheaters seem to have in common. It’s those behaviors that send you over the edge. For me the behaviors were present BEFORE the cheating. I had plenty of reasons to divorce before I found out about the cheating. It was the cheating that really sent me over the edge and magnified the behaviors. Gaslighting, talking in circles and cheater speak (like what Tim is doing here), lying, stealing money, blameshifting everything onto me, treating me like absolute garbage, etc., etc.

        I gave 3 years of grace. My X never caught that virtue. But he did catch an even bigger sense of entitlement. Life on the other side is better. 3 years was 3 years too long.

      • Oh yes I thought the same thing….is he a cheater. then he confirmed it. Done.

      • Yes kaycan! I too noticed the passive voice and thought “this guy is taking the responsibility out of cheating” and so it was.

    • Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand… This. This this this this, this this this. Oh, and also, THIS.

      The only surprise his last statement revealed for me is that he openly admitted it.

    • I pegged him as a cheater too, he reveled way too much in the uniqueness of cheaters. He may not be cheating on his wife but he is a narcissist and one thing you cannot tell a narcissist is that they are just ordinary and not a unique paradigm of humanity with extraordinary pain that led them to where they are.

      • +1! This +100.

        I seem to recall the CL says something to the effect of letting them keep their cake means that we allow them to keep that image that we are gifted with the splendidness that is them. They all seem to have this complex and if I may, Tim is using that same language to continue to justify what he did. Now he’s so special that he completely and thoroughly understands all the dynamics in infidelity.

    • And this “former” cheater is now a marriage counselor….brilliant. Narcissist.

      • Indeed! Some convert to pastors, presidents and motivational speakers….All categories talk a good game

  • I left room for grace for 16 fucking years, so there. NaNaNaNa FooFoo!!

    • Yeah, SMO3, that’s a great way of gauging chump-grace.

      I gave my cheater THIRTY EIGHT years of grace. Now, maybe Saint Tim of Graceful Cheating should tell us chumps what the Magic Number is of grace-giving years before we give up.

      • 70*70. Like Jesus said. Cause chump is a synonym for martyr and when we show our human side are unforgiving, bitter, etc. We are not turning the other cheek. Funny how at that point in the circumstances cheaters can cue biblical references. They even know about grace and redemption. But never ever restitution, compassion, repentance.
        I’m not up for sainthood… God can forgive them. I won’t. Let that be my one mortal flaw. Toodles!

    • We had room in our marriage for Grace. I just didn’t realize that Grace was the name of a stripper.

  • BTW, post-nups leave room for grace, while reducing (but far from eliminating) the chump’s exposure to further devastation. And my guess is that the percentage of cheaters willing to accept an ironclad post-nup heavily favoring the chump is minuscule. Are therapists like Tim willing to counsel cheaters otherwise, so they might be worthy of grace?

    • Yeah Nomar, the Key Word here is: “worthy of grace”.

      Married for 38 years, my cheater wanted to reconcile, but did not accept my offer of a post-nup…..

    • Has a couples therapist ever recommended a post-nup to protect the chump? How about STD testing to protect the chump? They’d rather deal in nebulous issues like “offering grace” and “poor communication skills” than address the hard reality of harm reduction for the chump.

      When you feed off of suffering, the idea is to prolong it — how many extra sessions can you book when the pregnant chump finds herself with a gonorrhea diagnosis? Or that poor guy who finds out that his cheating wife was hiding $50K in credit card debt?

    • I offered my ex the chance for a post nup if he wanted me to put the divorce on hold and to give him another chance. His response? he called me a bully!

  • Well said, Nomar!!!

    “Flipping the script on infidelity therapy to focus on the chumps”

    We are a NATION because Chump Lady has given us a safe, supportive space to speak out and support each other. A place where the reality of what was done to us, without our knowledge or consent, is shared openly.

    Tim, you should check out the site’s metrics, including how fast this Nation has grown. We are making our voices heard and we will be louder than anything previously seen!

    Hear us roar!

    • “We are a NATION because Chump Lady has given us a safe, supportive space to speak out and support each other. A place where the reality of what was done to us, without our knowledge or consent, is shared openly.” THIS. This site helped save me after years of betrayal. It was the only place I could go where I wasn’t reminded that I was “at least partly responsible” for my partner violating our commitment and destroying our family. I offered nearly a decade-long “grace” period. That’s A LOT of interest to pay on that loan I took against my life.

  • I am a member of Tim’s site and have commented on his forum (encouraging people to visit here often). Let me say this – he may be a ‘former cheater’, but he was a HORRIBLE cheater. He has shared his story and he treated his wife terribly and she never, ever recovered. He turned her adult children against her – and admits it. He says she didn’t take the infidelity well and was unable to ‘move on’ as she should have. He moved in with his whore and left her alone to raise the children, then got upset that depression consumed her.

    He did a podcast with his grown children where he had them recount everything his wife ‘did wrong’ when dealing with his long term affair in which he finally decided to leave her and the children for his whore.

    He is now supposedly happily married, while his ex-wife still suffers from the emotional trauma and now has children that disrespect her ‘weakness’.

    He touts ‘grace’ while people are in their ‘affair fog’. Yes, you are supposed to give your cheater space while they decide if they want you or not. And, if you are honored enough to be chosen by them, be happy and ‘safe’ and don’t make them feel bad about what the ‘affair fog’ did to them. See, it wasn’t them or their failure, it was the fog!

    He may be reformed in his new marriage, but the fact that he left his ex-wife in shambles and mocks her inability to simply move on when he chose the whore over her means he is still very much a cheater at heart.

      • Yowza!! Tim sounds like a narcissist who reinvented himself to get more attention (not from his whores) My ex goes around with his sad basset hound face and tells everyone “I want to talk to her, but I can’t, because she HATES me”. THAT “sad sausage”. (Oh and he’s made absolutely no effort to talk to me … or “make amends” cuz he’s “working a program of honesty” – eyeroll.) The scapegoating/deflection that chumps have to endure is unbelievable-and in this case not only from their partner, but from the RIC.

        Now I’m going to listen to the grunge classic “in and out of grace” by Mudhoney on “11” and jump around the room. The only thing Tim gets thanks for is giving me that ear worm to start off my week with great rock n roll.

        Rock on Chump Nation!

    • Wow. If that’s true, Tim is a monster. No wonder he prefers a world including his concept of “grace.” Blech. Reminds me of my cheating ex-wife’s fondness for “unconditional love.” Emotionally immature and entirely self serving. I prefer to live in a world of integrity, reciprocity, and earned consequences. Most adults do.

      • If you can find his site, it is podcast 107 and it made my stomach turn. A good, reformed man would have had his ex-wife as a part of the conversation. Instead, it was his grown children recounting at the ‘ridiculous’, ‘inappropriate’ things his wife did and discussing how just was remiss in her parenting duties because she spent so much time in her bedroom crying.

        • So she was a bad mom for crying but he was just dandy even though he wasn’t even there.
          I can’t even.

        • We need to send the ex wife a copy of CL’s book!

          I have copies in my trunk!

        • Thank you, Coolbreezeout, for telling Chump Nation the TRUTH. This douchebag, Tim, STILL doesn’t care that half-truths are lies. We know this b/c he writes that he was a cheater, but now isn’t, but conveniently leaves out the facts that he is happily AN EMOTIONAL ABUSER of his x-wife, someone who pit her own children against her, and has no problem victim-shaming and blaming her for experiencing the mental and emotional trauma HE caused.

          Tim needs a good bitch-slapping, and then some healthy fingerpointing and disgust at his trauma when he experiences the pain. What a douche. And seriously?? He’s employed as a therapist??

            • Fellow narc or doesn’t want to take a good,hard look at who she married. Or $$$$$$

        • Yes, that’s were I went wrong, all that fucking crying in the car, in the shower, out on the farm. And the few times the kids saw it, that’s what doomed me.
          Because the chumps isn’t allowed to have feelings, their hurt doesn’t count. The chump is like an appliance, chattels. When they can’t perform their duties to their usual level, they are worth nothing, a new host is better for the parasite.

          • Oh kiwi chump, you couldn’t just stuff your emotions like a good little chump- how unattractive. You are not going to raise good little narcs if you let them see that it is ok to have feelings and express them. Go back to super Mr. Tim’s website and learn how to get your hair done, do your makeup and put on your happy face. Do not let your kids see you down- Life is all rainbows and unicorns

            P.s. Thanks for giving me a good laugh with your sarcasm

      • Was about to comment that reading Tim’s tripe I concluded that he was an unrepentant cheat. And even if he doesn’t cheat on his current wife (I doubt) he’s still an asshole who believes his own hype. Cheating (and the accompanying behaviors) is symptomatic of a very warped person. Therefore sorry but I don’t think that a cheater is ever cured.

      • Love between adults is inherently conditional. Unconditional love is for your children.

    • Thanks for the reminder cool breeze out. I listened to his kids on that podcast early on after day. They were cutting on their mom for crying all the time and letting her pain show. We can’t expect kids to be the caretakers of our emotions and problems and it is horrible for them to have to see their mom like that but if as adults, they can’t appreciate what she went through to some degree and realize your dad needs to take the blame for being out fucking around while mom was maintaining the homelife then I feel sorry for their spouses. It sounds like they got the entitled gene too! I feel my blood pressure rising!

      • Yup. I was horrified in hearing the podcast, because I could see the ex-wife being dragged through the mud yet again – years after the affair and relationship had ended.

        How can she ever get to ‘meh’ is she is being publicly made to look like a fool for having her heart broken by a man she loved.

        • Tim is a cunt.

          Yep. That word I used to clutch at my pearls about. I use it now, when it’s due. Tim earned the title. Don’t be like Tim.

      • Many children of narcissists tend to take the narc parent’s side just to stay in their good graces. They perceive the narc parent as the strong one and panic at the thought of discard. Please do not think that I am bashing Tim’s ex wife but his ex may have been a doormat throughout the marriage (narcs love doormats but not for long) and then completely crumbled when he cheated and left. She may have dropped the ball on parenting her kids as she was too wrapped up and depressed her husband left her. The kids would naturally resent the mom for not being supportive. Hopefully one day the kids will recognize their piece of shit father for what he really is but at the moment he’s all they’ve got, in their minds anyway.

        • I’m the one that went no contact with our father “Harlow” (nod to that experiment with baby monkeys and their wire surrogates) whilst my brother grew up to be a narcopath. Waiting for the shoe to drop in my brother’s marriage-he is entitled,selfish and lacks empathy but expects others to be there when he needs something.

      • +1000, FeelingIt, the apples don’t fall far from the tree.
        KB22, I hope you’re right, but if you’re not, heaven help their spouses, they’ve married narcs.

    • Tim’s stance falls into the excuse, “it’s not what I did, it’s your reaction, that is the problem.”

    • I was actually preparing a response until I read your comments CBO. Then I realized there was no point… no “pick me dance” for Timmo. You can’t have a rational conversation with an irrational person. He sounds cruel and disturbed. And, this only furthers my belief that out of all the “therapists” in the world, maybe 1% are really any good. CL, while not a therapist, is in the 1%. ‘Nuf said.

      I’m going to mosey on over to Amazon and leave my own review now.

      • Yes, I already went and clicked on “this review was not helpful.”

        • WU, great idea – I did that too. Timmo is getting some feedback from others of us here, too, LOL…

      • No Pick Me Dance for Timmo! Woot! Agreed. You can’t argue with crazy. Throw your hands up and leave that cheater!

    • put this under his review on the site!!

      He’s making money out of being a nasty ‘man’ – what a weasel.

    • Oh my God, that is absolutely chilling. So he rips her to pieces then complains that he doesnt like how she acts in her destroyed state. monstrous.

      • Which is exactly how all other entitled cheaters act. Just like a spoiled child destroying a favorite toy then throwing a tantrum that it’s now non-functional.

    • Wow what an asshole! Blaming the chump for being weak because she couldn’t just get over and move on from the trauma he caused he. And her kids? What a bunch of stupid and ungrateful little gits. She is the one who stayed and took care of them even if she did feel the need to cry in her room sometimes. Would they have preferred that she cry in front of them? Its too bad Chump Nation wasn’t around 20 years ago to offer her the support she needed and to help her recognize the value of having his self serving ass out of her life..

    • I get Tim and David Brooks are best buds. They are certainly cut from the same cloth.

      • I posted the same about David Brooks a few posts up. It’s bad enough that you cheat and fuck over a spouse, but then you’re pissed because they’re upset.

    • Coolbreezeout, I knew there was a chump out there that he had harmed, felt it in my bones. I pray she finds us. That poor soul.

      I would like to hit Tim in the face, gracefully of course, with this beer I am holding.

      • I am not sure the rules of posting a direct link. But, the name of the site is affair healing. If you google ‘affair healing’ it should come up first for you.

        The podcast I was referring to was number 107

        There is a forum as well with a lot of hurting people that are being counseled to sit around and wait for the ‘affair fog’ to clear in the mind of their cheater.

        No contact is encouraged, but only to the extent that it keeps you from pressuring the cheater back if that isn’t really what they want. Basically – it makes you look needy and not as attractive to the cheater.

        Also, when you listen to the podcast, you will hear him laugh about lying to his ex-wife and the children about the affair being over. The kids said mom was driving past his house and saw the whore there and would see him with the whore. He admits (and chuckles) about lying to her and telling her he wasn’t with the whore, even though he was. So, he was literally driving this woman crazy and gas lighting her. However, he feels it was all just ‘affair fog’.

    • This is just awful! My heart goes out to the ex-wife. Poor lady needs to join our ranks.

    • O.M.G. I literally sit here with my mouth hanging open.

      This makes me feel sick.

      I found his site. Couldn’t stomach listening to much of the podcast, but I heard more than enough! I heard his daughter say about his affair, “REGARDLESS IF YOU MADE A MISTAKE…” and I about gagged. No wonder he’s OK with her talking about this for all the world to hear because he has obviously trained her to think about his affair as a “mistake.” Aaaaaargh!

      If his daughter had a healthier, more realistic, less blame-the-chump outlook on the devastation that cheating does, there’s no way he would have put her on a podcast because it wouldn’t have made him look good (narc much?). And I agree with Feelingit: it DOES sound like the entitled gene has been passed on. Daughter of cheater father, if your mother was emotional and overwhelmed at times, how can you gloss over the fact that HE did this to her, for crying out loud! He’s the asshole who wounded her so deeply.

      All that aside – REGARDLESS IF HE MADE THE MISTAKE of getting his adult children to talk in public about his mistake/affair – I’m still shocked at the idea that someone like him is doing post-affair counseling for couples!! If he had any concept of ethical behavior, he would not go NEAR that area. He has NO business COUNSELING anybody who’s been cheated on! How can he be fair in a couples counseling situation?

      Even doing individual counseling for cheater character-repair should be off-limits because he obviously has more work to do on HIS OWN character-repair. If he truly owned his asshole-ness and taught had taught his children more compassion and empathy toward their mother, THEN he might be ethically OK to do individual cheater therapy.

      But I’m not even sure he should be doing counseling AT ALL, since he’s not likely to help anyone who’s secretive or lying about anything, since that was his own MO and he doesn’t seem to have learned enough to know that behavior is atrocious – NOT just a “mistake.”

      • Does the forum have a list of wingnut therapists to stay away from ? Ethical or legal dilemma of outing trauma inducing charlatans ?

    • Coolbreeze — I’m curious, how do you know this Tim of the podcast infamy is the same Tim therapist leaving a review?

      Are there coincidentally more than one self-confessed cheater Tim therapists who do “affair recovery”?

      Seems a long-shot but I’d hate to tar the guy if it’s not him.

      • He posted the same review on his forum. There was a discussion about your book on the forum. He had originally said he didn’t finish the book at first because of your use of the word “chump”. He then came back and said he finished the book and had written a review. I actually thought you were talking about the review on his page – I didn’t know he review it on Amazon as well.

        Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life was the actual name of a thread:

        • I am not “coolbreeze” over there. My screen name that I use on that sight was taken when I registered here. So, I settled on coolbreezeout – which is another one with meaning for me 🙂

        • So it’s the “C” word that bothers Tim, eh? Why should it bother him so much to the point of not finishing a highly entertaining, brilliantly argued book?

          Chump, chump, chump, to you Tim.

          Funny, my ex hated it when I called myself chump and hates it when I call him cheater. He says he is NOT a cheater….

    • Oh, wow!!!!!

      That’s…unconscionable. I’ve often felt that the chumped spouse should “get” the kids when an affair leads to a dissolution of the marriage. For littles, that means the chump gets primary custody, (barring extenuating circumstances.) And, older or grown kids need to rally to the side of the cheated-on partner.

      The fact that these kids are Team Tim tells me that either he did quite a brainwashing job on them and/or they inherited their father’s “character”, (or, lack thereof.) Talk about insult to injury!

    • I doubt he’s reformed at all. What he’s learned is that his actions had consequences and he probably lost half his assets and had to pay child support. Plus his old stinky wife won’t give him a pass, a high five and remain besties with him while buying into the narrative that they “just grew apart.”

      That’s what he’s reformed about. He doesn’t want that to happen again and if that’s true then he learned a valuable lesson that he can use on his second wife. He never would have learned that lesson however if his first wife didn’t levy consequences.

    • That just makes me sick to think of him having his kids talk about his ex wife crying too much, etc.
      Typical cheater logic — the problem isn’t what he’s done, but her reaction to it. They always wonder why everyone can’t move on and just be friends?

    • Mic drop on this post!!!

      My favourite: “Chump Nation, hold my beer.”


      Tim is a classic, covert narcissist. His condescending tone in his review is clear and so blah blah blah. Tim don’t be a coward, spill the beans, drop the facade & mask… just say what you really want to say; Perhaps review the movie “Sausage Party” or the book “How Not to be a Wiener.”

      As an idiom, “saving grace” refers to a “redeeming quality” that makes a person or a thing acceptable. Hmmm … thinking about “the thing that makes it acceptable, aahh exactly, case closed.

      My favorite author Harry Ironside wrote, “Grace is not only undeserved favor, but it is favor shown to the one who has deserved the very opposite”… Tim please review one of his book.

      The word grace in the Bible means “unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification” or “God’s benevolence to the undeserving.” Biblically, “saving grace” is the grace of God that saves a person. Aahhh exactly, thank goodness, I am not God.

      My favorite author Harry Ironside wrote, “Grace is not only undeserved favor, but it is favor shown to the one who has deserved the very opposite”…review his book please.

      Saving my grace for myself and a better person.

      • I really want to know what this mans definition of “grace” is and how it’s supposed to be applicable. How does a “graceful” spouse behave in the face of infidelity? It sounds like double speak to me. You’re supposed to have “grace” towards your traitor spouse, but not at the risk of your own safety? In other words, act like you’re beyond the bullshit and be super spouse, but if the betrayer strikes again it’s now partly your responsibility because this time you knew better and chose to stay, aka, you weren’t “safe” enough.

        • I think “grace” to this guy is just accept the word of the cheater (as many therapists do) that they want to be better, without looking at the actions which show that they are not doing better.

          You want Grace?
          She’s in room 501 waiting for you for $150 an hour.

  • Tim was a cheater. So naturally he sees the whole thing from the cheater perspective. If Tim had ever been chumped, he would change his tune.


    • Asshats first two girlfriends cheated on him, he was heart broken. I was his third and was for 13 years, he cheated on me. Go figure, what an asshole.

      • Lady b, insane isn’t it. On dday, skankboy shares with me his ex wife had cheated on him. (Why he told me this on Dday is beyond me.) I said to him, “you do to me what Kathy did to you? I just shook my head and continued to throw his crap into garbage bags! There will be no Grace coming from me now or EVAH!!

        • Silly me thought he would never cheat because he had been on the receiving end,, how silly and naive of me.
          Not anymore this sucker has wised the fuck up.

          • I thought the exact same when XH said he’d been so decimated by ALL former GFs cheating. (First missed red flag) In retrospect, I think that was a lie. That lie is just the first step in order to line this chump up.

            I suspect they give you the sob story to gauge your reaction. Makes the kibbles so much yummier when they KNOW you aren’t like them. You’re just some naive oaf that’s buying their bullshit, and boy oh boy, isn’t DD so much fun for them when they see just how much they gutted you? Must make them feel almost godlike to make you suffer like that.

            How many of CN had a serial cheater that cried over how hurt they were when they were cheated on? I suspect it’s a tactic to lower your defenses.

            • The pity play…look out !

              Why does this person want me to feel sorry for him/her ? Because I can be of use to said person ! Money, a listening ear as s/he drones about life’s woes,take your pick.

              Run for the hills !

      • My wife claimed that her fiance before me cheated on her, and so she left him. Looking back at how she lied her way through the second half of our marriage, I highly doubt that’s what really happened. More realistically, I think she probably cheated on him.

        Heck she was trying to tell me I was cheating on her when I caught her, so I’m sure her story going forward will be that I was the cheater. I guess if you tell yourself a lie long enough, you’ll believe it. No thanks to that mindfuck.

        • I was cheating on him 25 years ago when we where friends and I was sleeping around being all boho and liberated. He was my friend not my boyfriend but this according to him was me cheating, wtf, grasping at straws or thinks he owns me.

        • You must have been cheating on her. She said so and she would know better than you.

      • Mine too! His previous girlfriend got pregnant with someone else’s baby, broke his heart. But even having experienced it firsthand didn’t stop him?! WTF?!

        Meanwhile, I had opportunities out the ass to cheat, and shut them all down cold. (I’m cute and friendly, what can I say?) I just made the mistake of assuming he’d do the same. :/

      • Ever wonder if your ex was ‘confused’ and that he projected his infidelity onto his then wife?

        Or that he cheated on her, but once he found out that she was cheating too, that became the focus?

        • That’s what I think happens more than that they were really cheated on. They projected their own cheating on the ex to excuse their behaviour.
          Traitor tried to claim that he wasn’t sure his third son was his. He was studying 300kms away while wife was at home with the first 2 little boys. Mr was enjoying the student life in his 30s, boarding with an old lady, left wife supposedly when the third boy was 3 months old, and only then hooked up with his landlady’s 24 year old grand daughter… Yeah, right.
          So what does he do? Starts insinuating that he wasn’t sure the infant was his son…

  • This dude doesn’t know that CL’s collective anger on will be blowing hellfire in his direction. ??I’m meh and happy today. Without this blog I would still be with a cheating drunk rude miserable lying abusuve full blown sociopath.
    This site saved me and gave me strength and clarity when I had nothing left to work with. I found out cheaters say and do the same stupid shit, kind of like this guy with platitudes galore for the RIC. Fuck that.

    • Oh yes, and they keep saying on the podcast that she is all cool with everything now and they are just one big happy family.

      Really? Let’s here that from from the horses mouth!

  • Infidelity and betrayal kills trust which is essential for a successful relationship. You simply cannot unring that bell. Much of his review pointed out your strengths followed by a “but” so he sounds like he feels guilty for cheating and needs to justify this unjustifiable behavior. His comment reads like he is still seeking redemption.

    Reading that “couples can and do reconcile in ways that are satisfying to both of them” really stuck a chord with me. I now know chumps who have shared with me that they reconciled with their cheater and stayed married but still suffer feelings of profound sorrow and are deeply unhappy. They still feel betrayed, bear a tremendous sense of loss, and constantly fear it will happen again. They fear they will never be truly happy, but they are loyal so they stayed. What a price to pay.

    I, too, have four DDays. I realized no matter what he said, his actions told me he did NOT want to honor our wedding vows. CL helped me understand the cheater wanted cake. That level of deception, living a duel life, is most definitely a perversion of marriage that jeopardizes the faithful spouse’s physical, emotional, and even financial well being. Pretending to be a faithful spouse while keeping someone on the side is a total mindfuck. And it is abusive. I lived it and survived by getting out.

    • Dual, not duel. (Well, not yet anyway. Lol)

      Coolbreezeout, your comment above was very enlightening. I will NOT be visiting his site, but I will take your word for it. What you wrote makes him sound like he is looking for a free pass. Cheaters don’t seem to get the trauma their actions have inflicted upon another.

      • His daughter talks about being 14 and being exposed to the ‘mom’s pain’ and that it was an unhealthy environment to have to deal with.

        He spent a significant amount of time talking about it being unfair that he had not been given an opportunity to tell ‘his side’ and that things were being said about him that weren’t true.

        However, he was moving in and out of state, shacking up with the whore, and he is still telling his kids that he had a ‘side’ and things weren’t all his fault.

        • I can’t count how many times stbx has told my children there are two sides to this story and you are never going to know mine. We want to put that on his tombstone when he dies!

          As my son said, we are never going to know his because it’s always changing.

          And follow the money Tim, first, betray your wife and now exploit her to make a buck. I just hope your royalties are part of her settlement.

          Can you ask for grace while you are still sinning?

        • I pity Tim’s kids and their chances of having healthy marriages.

          Welcome to Chump Nation, Tim’s chump!!! May you come here and find truth and enjoy a good belly laugh, and feel the healing from that alone.

          You’ll see that you are right and that Tim is a big, stinking turd.

          Come here, and join hands with us on the road to Meh, and the state of Mighty.

        • Yeah, being exposed to Mom’s pain was bad but that was Dad’s fault not Mom’s.

          • And, mom’s pain was not just a one shot deal – it was constant. He admits in the podcast that he was lying and telling her and the kids he had ended things with the whore. Mom would drive past (with the kids in the car) and see the whore was at his house or he was out with the whore.

            He literally laughs in the podcast when he tells the kids that yes, he was lying to them all at the time about the affair being over. So, he was literally torturing this poor woman. Of course she was acting crazy – he was literally gas lighting her!

            • I couldn’t bear to listen all the way through, but hearing that he chuckles about his continued cheating and lying about it to his family is SICKENING.

        • Does Tim realize that HE created that “unhealthy” environment his dear daughter was living in? Without he and his AP it NEVER would have existed! Sounds like he mindfucked his own kids! What a Prince!

        • It is extremely unhealthy that a 14 yo had to deal with her mother’s pain. Caused by her POS cheating scumbag father fucking her mother around. And either side of the story is the wife is being a wife, raising a family, MARRIED to that POS and he’s FUCKING AROUND AND LYING ABOUT IT. What more needs to be said? He was sad and wanted out? Then leave. He wanted more sex? Then get counseling or leave. He was unfulfilled? Then get counseling and take up a hobby OR LEAVE! It’s not a difficult concept. Unless he spoke to his wife and said “I need something else or this relationship isn’t working for me anymore” and then they had a rational discussion about him having a secret slut whore on the side and her being okay with it, this is all. His. Fault. His wife didn’t find his whore and hook them up, then take his pants off and force his dick in her. He wanted to cheat. He liked the power and kibbles. He freaking LAUGHS about it! Tim you are a fucking MONSTER! And your ex-wife is still traumatized because you TORTURED HER!

          • Guess my father’s expensive hobby of stamp collecting wasn’t enough…Needed that post box in town because of said hobby. Yup-hiding money from my mother and no doubt having affairs with the p.o. box !

  • Tim…you say that you want to live in a world that values grace and has room for it…
    So would all of us. I wanted to live with a spouse who valued me, our children, our commitment and didn’t have room for another man. I guess we don’t get what we want all the time, do we? And what do we do when we don’t get what we want? We understand the world that we do live in.
    My x was always asking when i would forgive her – forgiveness is not telling her that what she did was all right – forgiveness is me laying down my wrath and desire to hurt her back – people do not understand forgiveness – it is choosing to give up the innate desire to retaliate.
    People do not understand grace – they want a one sided grace – that what modern churches sell – one sided grace. One sided grace says – God forgives me, so…. It’s all good.
    Real grace profoundly changes the recipient – they see the depravity of their actions, the condition of their soul, the horror of their actions on others – and they are broken by it. Real grace is vary rare – because it has been so diluted these days – Think about it – Amazing grace, so sweet the sound – that saved a WRETCH like me…. Nowadays…pop in to church on Sunday – sing a few bars of some catchy tune about how God is my friend…hear the 7 habits of effective people… God loves you and forgive everything – done.

    That is cheap grace that mocks everything grace is.

    • Great comment!

      I’d add that the guy who wrote “Amazing Grace” had been a slave dealer. A wretched person indeed.

      • CL – do you track the comment rate?…i.e. comments per hour…i can always tell how deeply you have touched the nation by how quickly the comments flow…Bravo on this one – bunches of responses right away – a bad day for Tim…

      • From what I know of John Newton, he never got over what he had done while a slave trader. While receiving Amazing grace, John never ‘forgave himself’ from what he had done and it haunted him the rest of his life. That sounds like repentence to me.
        NOT this Tim therapist!!!!!!>:(

    • Real grace is amazing,
      Fake grace sucks the life out of you while demanding more.

    • Desert Guy,

      Your comment brings tears.
      So true about what true grace is.

      That is why I like, no, LOVE CL and CN. It really is all about honesty and true grace.

    • “Real grace profoundly changes the recipient – they see the depravity of their actions, the condition of their soul, the horror of their actions on others – and they are broken by it.”

      This right here. ☝️☝️☝️

    • Bravo desert guy bravo! Well said. Apparantly TIM didnt bother to read chump ladys story or any of us here. He would know way more of grace. Four ddays for me over 30 years. I gave him grace four times. No more. My best advice to anyone would be eat no more shit sandwiches from anyone.

      • This grace is sounding like a combination of rugsweeping and ‘forgiveness’. More kibbles.

    • Thank you!
      I’ve been looking for the perfect response for all the chuckleheads who are telling me I HAVE to forgive.
      My version of forgiveness is just what you wrote. I too have laid down my wrath and desire to retaliate because that level of hatred was unhealthy for me. Cheaty has more than enough hate and bitterness in his heart for both of us. I no longer see the point in carrying that burden in my own heart.

    • Desert Guy, I hope you write a guest column one of these days. Beautiful post. Thank you.

    • Your view on grace and forgiveness is right on the money, totally agree and well said

  • This:

    *You want “grace”? Meh is Really. Fucking. Hard. It’s a goddamn achievement.*

    Brava, Chump Lady!

  • Considering how many cheaters actually disguise personality disorders (or reveal through that very action?), perhaps all of them, encouraging people to stay and reconcile means ultimately becoming responsible for a certain number of assaults and homicides. It’s domestic abuse, let’s stop spinning this any other way once and for all, Tim!

  • Well, BAM!! For CL’s response !!

    “What makes you think we didn’t already offer cheaters grace and get kicked in the teeth? Again and again and again and again? (Four D-Days here, Tim. FOUR. What’s my grace score?)”

    Wanna hear about Grace? I will show you some Grace… I was a good and faithful wife for 26 years, I never even called my (then) husband a bad name. I went to daily Mass and prayed for his soul for 7 years – while he living 3000 miles away claiming to simply be working there but odd that his OW had also gotten a job in that city quite far from the city where her fiance lived.

    And I took him back and wreckonciled my family and later learned that not only did he never tell the truth, he had cheated for most of our marriage…his side of the marriage was a big giant lie, but I was all in. I was on my knees praying for his soul and I must have done quite a good job since God (who gave him more chances than I did) decided to end this charade and scooped his ass off of planet earth.

    He was a liar and cheat and rager. I stayed with him to his last breath and gave him a hero’s funeral – only yo learn that he had lied like a thousand times worse than I had ever guessed…I left lots of room for Grace, but my right to have agency in my own life was stolen from me.

    Most of us here left the door wide open for a long time and got kicked in the teeth for it.

    • I’m right there with you Unicornnomore, and many others at CN. Try as I might I just had to throw in the towel finally, but got hoovered back! I gave much much better than I got from him. Part of my resentment now is knowing he NEVER would have done for me what I did for him in the end. But if Tim wants to talk about grace then he should have been sitting with me night after night watching my cheater die. I didn’t see Tim at the beautiful funeral I gave my cheater! Where are you Tim? Mr. Paragon of virtue? I call BS on Tim and his crappy review!

      • Roberta

        I just love you! Your story has touched me since joining CL. When faced with the most devastating challenges you repeatedly showed strength and grace. What you did in the end was the most selfless act of kindness. You never deserved to be treated with such disrespect and indifference. You deserve to have peace and joy in your life. You are a mighty amazing woman I admire. Thank you.

        • Awwww, Doingme, thank you, but I’m just a regular run of the mill chump trying to do my best so I’m able to sleep at night! This blog is chock full of guys and lady chumps who are just amazing, including you Doingme! We all are dealing with the unimaginable end of our “dream” lives, but by God, we at least get to write the ending! And from what I see here we have so many Mighty heroes and I’m so proud to be associated with these chumps if only on a blog! This shit is hard, but we are facing it head on with CL’s help and getting up everyday and building that better life we all deserve! The best revenge is living well!!! It kills these cheaters to know they didn’t destroy you. They really resent us and it eats them alive to know we really can do very well without them!

          • “It kills the. Cheaters to know they didn’t destroy you!”

            So true Roberta.

            • I, personally think both of you rock, Roberta and Doingme! You are both examples of courage, grace and good character, and a great big hug to both of you. Count me in as a member of your fan club!

    • “my right to have agency in my own life was stolen from me.”

      So true.

  • Sounds like a poor joke…that was my life. Cheater got Grace, and then Brianna, Gabrielle, Anne, Scarlett, Dawn, Andrea….

      • Thanks, I hope that God forgives my profanity laced rants in the 2 years since I learned how badly chumped I was.

        I did pray for his soul and I meant it. Sometimes people tell me that they hope or assume that he is in Hell…I surely don’t want that…I worked too hard and sacrificed too much for that. I am convinced that he needed me to get to Heaven and I did my part. If I get there myself, I hope that Im not required to interact with him.

        I asked for truth and eventually got it, but it was cloaked from me for a while. Truth is so powerful that it took on flesh and walked the Earth…don’t forget that, Chumps.

        • lol, “If I get there myself, I hope that Im not required to interact with him.” My friend’s MIL was dying from ALS, quite religious family, and she was discussing Heaven with her grown son and he said, “yes, Mom, everyone you’ve ever known will be there with you” and she replied “Well, let’s hope not EVERYone… Let’s not go crazy with that”… 😉

        • UnicornNoMore, don’t worry, you won’t be required to interact with him because God is not marriage counsellor from the RIC.

  • Therapist Former Cheater Tim forgets to mention Empathy. As in where the Fuck was that from the cheater to the chump target?!!

    Why must the chump offer a cheater anything? They, the cheater, have already consumed the chump’s time, money and all sorts of emotional investments from kids to shared finances. Grace? Now you think Grace is what the chump must give to the cheater?

    What really needs to be served to the cheater is a lawsuit for fraud, theft and manslaughter (if the cheater knowlingly gave the chump an STD). Since that doesn’t happen in the Real World, Grace is best served to the chump to NopeTheFuckOut of a one-sided dysfunctional ‘relationship’ with a person who intrinsically lacks integrity, a moral compass and sound character.

    Reformed Cheater Tim-What I have seen from people in this profession who are dysfunctional is that they try their hardest to project their continued bullshit onto others via therapized speak. At their core they are still who they are; any therapist knows that one’s character is pretty much set between the ages of 3-6yrs old. What they do with their therapy knowledge is cover themselves with different frosting, facades, glitter to proclaim they are Healed or Aware. But their actions reveal they are the SAME manipulative, destructive person time after time after time.

    So back to Empathy. Without ever having been taught to consider the feelings of others during early childhood, cheating is a huge indicator of the lack of empathy, it is absolutely ridiculous for anyone to pontificate that a cheater be given a Period of Grace from their victims. Empathy is what distinguishes a cheater from a chump. The marriage or relationship involved BOTH parties and maybe it was horrible through and through but the chump didn’t cheat. All the ‘temptations’ in the World would not make a chump cheat on their partner because they were raised to be empathetic towards others.

    Leave a dysfunctional asshole and regain an authentic life.

    • Yes, ANC, all of this. Cheaters “lack integrity, a moral compass, and sound character” and are “manipulate, destructive” so chumps have the terrible choice ti leave or continue to be taken advantage of.

    • Just yesterday I was reading that teaching cheaters empathy only gives them new tools to manipulate you with, does not help them become empathetic.

      • Exactly. They learn to fake empathy better and thus seduce even MORE people. My X was so offensive to many people when I first met him that his family thought I was the best thing that happened to him as I didn’t tolerate his bad behavior. He improved over time, dramatically, but what I see now is that he learned from me to be diplomatic, to mirror people’s emotions, to feign empathy. His seduction abilities thus improved, and his impression management improved, at my expense.

        [And for the record–yes, I would like a time machine to go back and slap my younger self for staying with someone so obviously narcissistic and socially grating. No more ‘projects’ for me.]

        • My two year wreckonciation was basically a tutorial for my X to learn to feign taking responsibility, empathy, remorse etc. I went to his therapy a couple of times with him and was regaled by his therapist about how he “cries real tears every session”. Yeah, but his tears were only for himself. And I unknowingly taught him that. Damn!

        • And, if the cheater does group recovery work, the standard of care, they learn more and better ways to stay on the down low as they cheat. Win, win, win for everybody . . .

        • It took me more than two decades of slow burn to realize that this was true for my STBX as well.

          He was such an asshole to everyone (but me) when I met him … but, over time, he started mimicking my social cues. And, of course, once shit started to hit the fan he started to superficially co-opt my moral compass. So creepy in hindsight.

      • Yeah. Therapy for the disordered is a training manual to project Normalcy and manipulate others.

        • Yep, Lundy’s book “Why Does He Do That” tells you NEVER go to marriage counseling with an abuser. All you end up with is an abuser who has new tools to abuse you with.

          • I wish I had known that at our first attempt at MC a dozen year ago. Dick put on an Oscar-worthy performance for a few sessions and stated we were there to “take our marriage to the next level”… um, no, we were there because his disordered family was interfering in our lives in very negative ways.. When the MC called him out on HIS issues and the lack of boundaries with HIS FOO, he ceased to be interested in counseling. Oops, that wasn’t his intention. Then I just ‘hated his family’…not true, but I did hate their lack of BOUNDARIES and disrespect of MINE! I’m sure he picked up some new manipulative techniques for the price of admission ($150/hr).

      • Sam Vaknin calls this ‘cold empathy’ – and likens it to the skills a predator needs to capture prey.

        I def saw that in my ex (a narc). He used therapy to learn better behavior – at least for short spurts. Until the stress got too high one day and the mask fell off.

        Luckily for me, I had the good sense to run and never look back. Even more luckily for me, that was the phase I found Chump Lady add started flipping the narratives back into reality.

        Getting serious about fixing my picker is NO JOKE. I’m so proud to see how many Chumps are commenting here that their spider senses were all over Tim before his cheater reveal.

        We are mighty

    • My ex actually told me once he knew how to get his employees to do anything he wanted. When I asked, “What’s that?” He said, “I just have to act like I care.” I remember feeling shocked and answering, “No, you REALLY need to care.” Too bad I didn’t realize what his statement truly meant back then.

  • Spot on as usual, CL. Why do so many people misunderstand what you’re doing here?

  • Dear Tim,

    I assure you I offered him grace (5 years of ‘reconciliation’) and I got kicked in the teeth because he didn’t want to look at himself. At all.

    I don’t want a lot in life. But I do want to be respected and cherished. Infidelity really does the opposite.

  • Tim was a cheater. I am shocked!!! :-0

    No Tim, Chump Lady has never said “Once a cheater, always a cheater” and I don’t believe most of us here believe that either but cheating, even just one time, detonates a bomb over a relationship. Forgiving a cheater without levying big consequences just demonstrates to them that you’re willing to be a doormat. We teach people how to treat us and staying in a relationship after infidelity teaches a cheater to treat you like shit. Ask me how I know.

    The majority of the people here did give another chance to the cheater and showed them grace but they never found the elusive unicorn. The majority of who are left weren’t given that opportunity but they would have tried again. There are only a few who asserted their boundaries immediately. We call them mighty! We admire the GRACE they had for themselves.

    If you are a counselor Tim, take notice. The numbers are growing. The message is out there and its spreading like wildfire.

    • CS, wow! “There are only a few who asserted their boundaries immediately. We call them mighty! We admire the GRACE they had for themselves.” I love this! I never looked at it like that.

      • I kicked cheater out the day I discovered his double life, after 44 years of marriage. I see him most days, briefly, and I am civil. We share family holiday events. That is more grace than I would ever expect from him.

    • On this ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’ milarky; I think there’s a slightly different way to frame it.

      Someone that commits murder once, and only once, will forever be a murderer.

      I don’t think the point is to say that people can’t change, people can’t better themselves. I’m sure that they can. I prefer optimism.

      But the point is, that be it cheating or murdering, you have demonstrated that you are capable of acting out behaviours and actions that harm other people. Harm on a completely different scale and spectrum, of course. But still- it IS knowingly and willingly harming someone else.

      So when we say ‘once a cheater, always a cheater’ I personally don’t take that to mean that person will cheat again, but that they have the characteristics, capability and have actually put those into action.

      I’d be wary of a reformed murderer, and I’d be wary of getting involved with a reformed cheater.

      • Good point off the crazy train! I will add that “once a cheater, always a cheater” were the exact words my cheater used when he wanted me to kick him out and I was trying to give him another chance. Now, I don’t trust anything he says but I do believe him on that!

        Also, I have been reading here for a few months now and nothing has touched a nerve like today. Tim represents the jackass therapists and people who blame the victim all the way to the bank. They populate the web and prey on chumps at their weakest moment like ambulance chasing attorneys. They are sick , twisted and greedy.

      • Exactly!!!!!!!!!!!!! We can never unknow what we now know. And cheaters can never unfuck that whore.

      • As it has been put to me: once you see what someone is capable of, you can never unsee it. That goes for terrible things like cheating and betrayal as well as awesome things like mightiness. I look at the “once a cheater, always a cheater” thing more like addiction (and NO, I’m not saying sex addiction is a thing)–like and alcoholic may never have another drink in their life, but a true alcoholic always considers themselves such no matter they’re 20 years sobriety. A cheater may never cheat again, but 9 times out of ten it’s because they had the fear of god shoved into them…not because they truly don’t want to cheat because they know the pain it causes and it because it just feels wrong. So, in essence, they aren’t reformed, they are just fighting on the reg to abstain for their own safety. I’ll save 1% for the real unicorns…but we all know how rare those are.

        And then the question my therapist would have you ask yourself: Is this acceptable to you?

        My cheater stopped his affair and did not pursue another until the day he asked for a divorce, but I could tell for all those almost 3 years what a goddamn struggle it was for him…to just be a decent human being and husband in this regard. Because once he cracked that door into cheating, there was not closing it, not really. And that is not acceptable to me, at all.

        • “Because once he cracked that door into cheating, there was not closing it, not really.”

          Recently, I found out that my XH cheated on his first wife with an “exit” affair. I believe opening that door creates an easy way to deal with things. So when our marriage hit a slump, instead of discussing it, going to counseling, or working at it, it was easy for him to cheat.

  • If Tim wants a blog to support reformed cheaters, he should start one.

    He might be surprised at what he finds.

    Great response, Chump Lady.

  • As my ex stood outside the courthouse (minutes after our divorce was finalized) blubbering because he “didn’t feel good about this” and asking me to give him a hug, I had my epiphany.

    I don’t feel sorry for you, you sad-sausage, lying, cheating, disordered human being.

    You blew up our lives (mine and our son) after 16 years of emotionally abusive behavior. I don’t feel sorry for you.

    My ex was on the receiving end of thousands of moments of grace that I gave him with my love and trust. He willfully stomped all over them. So when I finally, finally had my moment of clarity-I don’t feel sorry for you, my ex-I had earned it. Shame on you, Tim, for trying to make us question those hard-won moments.

    • kmanning

      When I was waiting for MY lawyer to give me and the cheater a copy of the settlement he pathetically said, “I think about you all the time.” I raised my arms, gave him my back and shouted, “I’m single.” He was so entitled he couldn’t believe I would ever divorce his sorry ass.

  • Difficult to read, I find these articles insulting to us chumps. Discovering your spouse has been fucking around.. sometimes for most of your marriage.. is the worst thing that someone can do to you.

    Tim, either your a cheater or intend to become one- stop writing reviews in something you know nothing about.

    • Kathleen, I found this one difficult too. Scroll up and find the post from Coolbreezeout, he is a cheater of the worst kind….he used their children against her. 🙁

      • GraceInMotion,

        OMG! Just read it… son of a bitch He’s
        he has the “balls” to print the article?

        Tim… you are a fraud, cheater & a 100% NARC
        Keep your opinions to yourself. Used your kids against her??


  • OMG! Yes.

    Where is the cheaters grace towards the faithful spouse when they are emotionally spent trying to work out what the fuck is going wrong behind closed doors in their publicly perfect marriage?
    Where is the cheaters grace when the Chump is left to question their sanity, to the very core of who they are because the cheaters capacity to lie and deceive in order to keep their kibble supply is academy award winning?
    Where is the grace for the Chump who has to pick up the pieces of their shattered life while the cheater acts like they have no idea what the problem is? Who then begins to draw battle lines amongst family and friends because they need to be seen as the victim, to minimise possible consequences.

    I have grace for myself, forgiveness for myself, and hope for myself. I have non of these things for my cheater because despite his claims he does not need them from me, because he got them from a God and The Church, I have learned not to cast my pearls before swine.

  • Tim,

    Let me tell you about grace.

    A decade ago I received a bill for an STD screen in my husband’s name. We’d been married for 16 years at that point, with two small children. The tests, luckily, were negative.
    I loved him, and believed we could make it through this difficult patch with the right help. We went to marriage counselling.

    The unique vulnerabilities at play, according to the marriage counsellor?
    His lack of self confidence.
    His need to ‘explore outside the marriage’ with prostitutes.
    My inability to put my career as a doctor aside.

    I dug deep. I internalised blame and found forgiveness. I took a step back from my medical career. I made room for grace.

    We rebuilt trust and intimacy over ten long years. Ten long years in which I believed he was committed to change, and I basked in the glow of our hard-won grace.

    Ten long years in which he continued to pursue high-risk casual sex with men and women outside our marriage, without my knowledge or consent.

    I made room for grace, and look where that got me.

    Fuck grace. Get mighty instead.

    • Exactly this. After years of internalizing and accepting blame for my ex’s abusive behavior, I finally got to the place where I rejected that particular mind-f*ck.

      And now Tim is gonna tell me it’s still all my fault?

      No way. Cheaters make their choices time after time after time thinking only about themselves. Now that I claim myself as a priority in my own life, I will not apologize for it or backtrack.

      • I took mine back after throwing him out thinking it was an Internet affair because she lived in Germany. He had the perfect opportunity to commit to his family and kiss her ass goodbye. He did not and I found out it was a full affair and promptly kicked his ass out again three weeks later. He played my grace. I remember sitting in the car the moment I said he could come back after thinking I had been to harsh about an EA and he smiled and said ‘you are too good for me and Im a fuck up’ sooo true.
        It’s a rigged game, chump only wins by regaining their life, hard and painful but you got to look at the long term.

    • Stormyweather, your story makes me think we need a whole re-work of marriage counseling. We need therapists who live in this century, who know this reality, and expect men to become equal partners.

      Why oh why would a therapist countenance that a wife who is a doctor put aside her career? That is some fucked up advice. Make the wife less, so asshole can be more? Sick.

      Therapist should have told him to give you emotional and mental support and encouragement. Therapist should have encouraged him to think about the marriage as a unit and what he could do for the marriage, instead of focusing his thoughts on himself as being in need of confidence boosters.

      If he needed confidence boosters, why couldn’t he look in the right places?

      Why would that therapist let you internalize blame? If the therapist was out of the picture, why did the therapist let that happen and leave you to yourself?

      Chumps, could some of you consider becoming the new therapists that our world needs, and start a new therapy / healing modality? I think one mark of the new therapy would be straight talk to the cheater. Just saying.

      • “Therapist should have told him to give you emotional and mental support and encouragement. Therapist should have encouraged him to think about the marriage as a unit and what he could do for the marriage, instead of focusing his thoughts on himself as being in need of confidence boosters.”

        Our therapist did try to do that. Actually he told us both that we needed to do that. Guess which one of us was ready and willing and eager to commit to the process and which one decided that was too much to ask and ran away?

        • They shy away from anything that would make them look too deeply into themselves! They’d rather bail or blame.

      • I think therapists should handle cheating the same way they should handle physical abuse. Absolutely refuse to have both partners in couples counseling and only require both to be in individual counseling for at least a year. Use individual counseling to boost the chump and gauge the authenticity of the cheater’s desire for true reconciliation before making a verdict regarding the appropriatness of couples therapy for that specific relationship. Anything less than, is irresponsible and perpetuating further abuse on the chump.
        I’m still trying to decide if I’m going to write letters to my 5 former therapists, asking them if I repeatedly came into counseling sessions with a black eye or fat lip, would they have taken the same approach with me. Because in between sessions that’s exactly what stbx was emotionally doing to me. I reported that I was waking up in panic attacks and/or hysterics from the nightmares I was having ONLY when I slept in the same bed as him. For 8 months I some how found a way to survive off of less than 4 hours of sleep a night. When I finally took up a friend’s offer to stay in her home, I automatically started sleeping 5-6 hours a night. After I got my own place from the first night on I’ve been sleeping 7-9 hours a night. My heart AND my mind may be a pair of dumbasses, but my.body sure as hell knew that what the fuck was going on.

        • Yes, Spackley–write to those therapists. Educate them individually & advance the Chump Revolution.

        • I wonder if they can be sanctioned, or at least give you a refund.

    • Yep I ate that shit sandwich for 10+ years. During that time, I did start to see his character. Really it was all about him. Never about me. So why should I be surprised he would do it again? I couldn’t believe he would chose schmoopie over his kids. I found out he’s trying to screw around with a young schmoopie at our kids high school. Who does that? Who thinks their wants or needs outweigh those of their wife and kids? How fucking embarrasing!! I don’t owe that loser anything. Not grace, not forgiveness.

      To those out there reading this and trying to untangle that skein, don’t buy this bullshit that you can control the narrative and if only you’re willing to offer grace. I know you’re grasping at straws. But you didn’t cause this, you can’t control this. This is who they are. Whatever reasons they give themselves to cheat doesn’t matter. This is who they are. Whenever the situation arises again, and it will, this is what they do. This is who they are.

    • In the first few weeks after D-Day I questions myself constantly over whether or not I caused the problems in my marriage by not giving in on a handful of things he wanted that would have required me to give up a part of my identity, including giving up my career as an engineer when my daughter was born. He wanted me to be a SAHM and I refused. Did I cause a rift in my marriage because of that? He did list my career as one of his resentments. According to him he cheated because my career got too much of my time and he felt unloved.

      I am so sorry that you did put your career on hold for your asshole and it wasn’t worth it. Stories like yours make me so glad I didn’t do the same as it clarifies the fact that my marriage would have blown up anyway. He would have found some other reason to resent me. I am only sorry that there are so many stories like yours out there to help me realize that.

    • Same, forgave and learned to trust the cheater at year 7. Ten years later found out it was a sham, years of my life wasted on an asshole. Maybe a cheater can reform for someone else, but not for you. Once you take them back they think they know where your boundary is and they will almost certainly fuck you over again.

    • “Fuck grace. Get mighty instead” I want THIS on a T-shirt!!! 🙂

      • Me too kimsoverit, and on the back of the T-Shirt, I would add “That’s what “we’re over” looks like…”

  • Oh, boy. Grace, is it? I extended grace–not even of the “let’s reconcile” variety, but merely of the “I support your healing” variety–for nearly a year.

    That made plenty of room for the cheater to lie, blame, continue his affair, mess with the kids’ heads, and engage in legal and financial shenanigans for that entire time period.

    True grace? Finding CL/CN, disconnecting from all abuse, and getting on with a cheater free life.

    • “True grace? Finding CL/CN, disconnecting from all abuse, and getting on with a cheater free life.” X 1000000

  • I went to two different MCs with Mr. Sparkles. The first one identified my “righteous anger” about the online activity (I was still in denial that he actually fucked somebody)… but he was winding down to retirement so he passed us along to another MC.

    The new MC said that it will only work if we both come prepared to work. If only one person comes, one person will get well and the other one won’t and the marriage will fail. Mr. Sparkles refused to go back after 4 sessions and so did I (though I knew by then I had married a serial adulterer).

    After Mr. Sparkles announced he was leaving us, breaking up his THIRD FAMILY, I found my own therapist. She called him a NARCISSIST in our first session and my life only get better from there.

    CHUMPS… if you’ve got a reconciliation focused MC, I challenge you to find one for yourself that understands the personality disordered… those with aggressive personality (no, that doesn’t mean violent)… manipulators… controllers. I dare you to not sit in those sessions like a bobble-doll. The chump struggle is real AND we must change the narrative for future Chumps.

    Tim – sorry buddy. We’re not your tribe. We are warriors for the truth, love, honesty and being our own saving grace.

  • Ya I tried grace–4 years of it( you know the convo–I can’t “nag” and can never refuse sex because it’s soooo important to him) What did it get me? Four years for him to commit massive financial abuse, stop working so I wouldn’t get spousal support and every other type of abuse, years in which I was abjectly miserable and almost went crazy( something he wanted me to believe anyway). Things would have been very different if I had known about post nups(likely it would have ended the marriage when it should have ended–after the first DDay). And tim you are just another sparkly turd…

    • If I hadn’t found this site I would have gone insane living with him and buying the mind fuck, guaranteed!

  • Hmm, I wonder if “Tim” has ever asked his chump of a wife how she feels about his betrayal 20 years ago?

    • He never does mention who he cheated on or if he’s still with her. I think that speaks volumes right there. If he was still with her he would have said for sure.

      It doesn’t fit his narrative to be with someone else so he leaves that salient point out. My bet is that he’s not with her anymore which makes Chump Lady’s point.

    • According to the post by CoolBreezeOut at 6:42 a.m., he abandoned his wife and married the affair partner. He continues to drag ex wife through the mud through podcast interviews with his (now) adult children. AND he evidently runs an infidelity site. See the post for all the details. He is a horrible, horrible person.

      • He abandoned them to keep the ‘relationship’ with the whore. He eventually decided to dump that lady and married yet another one. The new one had originally been married to a cheater and got a divorce, then found ‘reformed’ Tim. They are both counselors whose entire practice is built on showing ‘grace’ and to be patient while the cheater is in the ‘affair fog’ and better yourself so that when they come out of the fog and pick you, you will be a ‘better spouse’ for your magically reformed teacher.

      • No, it appears that he has been married three times (thank you Indiana). Original wife (whose heart he stomped), second wife (who knows where he found her) and now wife #3 whose husband cheated AND she is an RIC therapist.

        Or maybe only twice, but there are only so many of them with the same first name and middle initial.

    • He left his wife for the whore (he calls the affair partner). He ended up marrying someone else, who had formally been married to another cheater. His new wife is also a counselor along with him – talking strongly about grace and the need to pick me dance until the cheater decides to come out of the ‘affair fog’.

        • I looked up this dude and think I found him. I think this is him. @CoolBreezeOut let me know if this is not the correct affair recovery specialist with a podcast interviewing his adult children re: mom’s poor response to the affair and divorce. Chumps, be warned:
          Tim Tedder

          • Ok. Just realized DatDamWuf already posted further down. Sorry for the repeat.

  • I was thinking about this just this morning, and I think it is absolutely correct that There is no grace for cheating. I think it is a marriage ending deal breaker of the highest order. U think any cheating should end any relationship.

    Once a person has broken your trust, you need to get them out of your life. One and done, the end. This, for me, applies to all levels if cheating. One thing that seems to confound chumps and keep them stuck with these losers us that the cheater convinces them it didn’t get “physical”. Well, so fucking what? That shouldn’t be your tolerance any way. Your tolerance should be that the person you married , lived with, was monogamous with yourself is sneaking around in a pseudo sexual/romantic relationship with another person. That is ALL you need to know.

    I had what appeared to be a successful reconciliation, but guess what, it wasn’t. There was nothing that could ever undo the shit that was done. Why even bother. I did not trust him, I did but ” love ” him, I lost my will to commit to him. Things can never be right after cheating, and I don’t think there are any exceptions.

  • A therapist told me that in his whole time practising as a therapist, he only ever came across a marriage healed after an affair once.


    Why? Because the cheater got it. He got what a truly horrible, shitty thing he did to his wife, and he showed her that he got it. They would come to therapy and apparently he would sit there and sob, session after session.

    All I got was self pity, ‘when are you going to stop making such a fuss’ and refusal to examine himself.

  • Tim writes: “But couples can and do reconcile in ways that are satisfying to both of them.”

    WHERE IS HIS DATA? And especially, where is his long-term data? Because even if we admit that those of us in Chump Nation are self-selected because we married (often) massive serial cheating fuckwits, the data from this site is overwhelming that (a) people who cheat in a relationship are VERY likely to cheat again in the same relationship; (b) reconciling leads to an emotional excrement buffet worthy of a cruise ship, sans the ice sculptures. Until the chump finally wises up years down the road and tosses out the cheater once and for all.

    Tim will think me even meaner than ChumpLady–I do not, under 99.9999999999999999999% of circumstances, think a person who has been betrayed should EVER reconcile. The power imbalance in a relationship is so altered by deception and cheating that it cannot be re-balanced. Nor is it worth it to try and re-balance it. Game over.

    • Right?

      Tim did not reconcile with his chump, so end of discussion.

    • Yes, this N=1 would have been in the “successful reconciliation” drawer of the therapists seen over the years (to their knowledge and mine for that matter).

      Annnnnnnnd, it coudn’t have been further from the truth.

      Time to shine a bright light on such therapists – especially those that are cheaters who have, cleverly, found a way to flip the script and make money off of their “mistakes.”

    • Schmoopie reconciled with her husband after he cheated. See how well that turned out? All it did was make a cheater out of her too (although I still like to think I would not have done that if STBX and I had fake reconciled).

    • I agree. 12 years of wreckonciliation and I didn’t even get a lousy t-shirt. I wasted those years and provided myself as a target for heaps of lies, blame and more gaslighting.

      It was not ever satisfying to me. I made the best of it and he dragged me down. I am so much more without that anchor.

      It sounds like mr. Sparkly reviewer is still torturing his ex, why not just leave her alone and move on already? Oh, because he is still a cheater at the core and feels entitled to a movie script post divorce where “mistakes were made, but we are now BFFs.” Centrality.

      • “12 years of wreckonciliation and I didn’t even get a lousy t-shirt.”

        Excellent, Aletheia! That should be on a T-shirt….oh, wait…..

    • You are so right, Tempest. My thoughts toward x were totally different after i found out he was actually a lying cheating whoremonger. I never would have married that. I think I hated him from the first moment I knew it but convinced myself otherwise. I fell into one of those false love situations you hear about. All those really take to hum along is some sex, and lovey dovey actions, and some dysfunction. Just like an affair. Ugh disgusting!!

  • I love the sound of a mic drop in the morning!!! Great job, CL!!!

  • Dear Tim, No one comes here hating their cheating spouse, although lots of us are devastated and angry in equal measure. We come here in shock and despair. One of the most common phrases from chumps in the beginning and middle of the experience of being betrayed is: “I want my old life back.” Most of us want to turn back the clock to the point where we were telling ourselves we were loved, the point before we knew we were being betrayed.

    One thing your response doesn’t consider is how cheaters have to devalue their spouses in order to cheat in the first place. There must be a moment in which the cheater says, “My interest in sex with another person or the thrill of the chase is more important the deepest, most vulnerable feelings and needs or my spouse. This person I married is less important than my need for excitement and external validation.” This devaluation shows up in criticism, in treating the chump like a “spouse appliance,” in a home life where one person’s wants are catered to while the other one’s legitimate needs are ignored. That kind of life leaves chumps in a bad way, not only broken-hearted but broken down. In the aftermath of discovering the affair, it’s almost impossible not to feel like a bag of trash that’s been tossed to the side of the road, without worth or value.

    The problem with reconciliation is that chumps never really gets a chance to heal. The focus is on saving the marriage, rather than allowing those who were betrayed to take the time to look at what the betrayal involved, how it happened, and what it took out of them to live in such a marriage. I think reconciliation is possible, but only after chump have learned to separate their own survival and self-interest from that of their betrayer. Truly remorseful cheaters will understand this and see time apart as a chance to deal with the character issues that led to this exploitive, abusive behavior. And that’s the real problem with reconciliation: unless therapists and cheater start to see cheating as a form of emotional and psychological abouse (and physical abuse, for those who end up with STDs or stress-related illness), reconciliation will always be more about saving a marriage than healing the people involved in the marriage.

    Finally, if the cheater is disordered (a substance abuser, a psychopath or someone with a serious personality disorder), the chump just needs to walk away. These people aren’t really available for healthy relationships. The first thing my therapist said to me was, “You can never go back.” Because her primary concern was not a marriage or relationship, but me.

    • Thank you lovedajackass!! Love this:

      One thing your response doesn’t consider is how cheaters have to devalue their spouses in order to cheat in the first place. There must be a moment in which the cheater says, “My interest in sex with another person or the thrill of the chase is more important the deepest, most vulnerable feelings and needs or my spouse. This person I married is less important than my need for excitement and external validation.”

      THIS resonates so much for me in trying to work out why cheating is so so sooo horrible. My ex completely devalued me in order to justify everything, reasoning that even the birthday gifts I thoughtfully chose for him just weren’t what he liked. They will take everything and anything you do as justification for cheating. And if you had done it the opposite way, that would not have been what they wanted either.

      My mom just told me this morning that my dad had recently told her the last time he felt truly connected to her and valued in their partnership was on their honeymoon. Also known as, that’s the last time he wasn’t cheating on her. He has been gaslighting and devaluing her my entire life to justify his cheating, no matter how she acts, no matter what it is, it will never be what he wants. He has spent probably tens of thousands on sex workers over the course of their marriage and yet it has always been my mom who is completely wasteful and spending all their money, to the point where I would go to sleep as a kid to the sounds of his yelling about the credit card bills. Fuckwad.

      • The spouse who can never be please is an abuser, albeit one that isn’t using his or her fists. I feel for your mother. And this is truly a case that shows that cheating and other forms of abuse (verbal, financial, psychological) appear together.

    • So powerful, LAJ. To be validated rather than exploited finally came when I found my kick ass therapist who told me, “If you go back it will kill you.” It took me a few months to accept the fact I was married to a toxic narcissist. I filed still loving my abuser. He also recommended finding a blog; this is how I found CL/CN.

      Tim states, “To be clear, I am not suggesting that traumatized spouses should just roll over with an “It’s okay, I still love you attitude.” Real grace will still establish real boundaries. Grace is not the same thing as trust. Some cheaters should never be trusted again, but I would still encourage a consideration of grace, not just pure justice.”

      To this I say, “Cheating is a deal breaker, always.” Cheating is always about power and control. Real boundaries: recognize cheating as abuse, it requires agency, every action is planned and executed repeatedly. Justice is gathering evidence, documentation, and serving up consequences for the disordered in getting child support, alimony, and a favorable settlement.

      Just laughing at the thought of his expectation of the VICTIM having grace. RUN, gracefully and leave the scorched earth behind you as MEH awaits.

  • Wow so Tim thinks the chump should extend some grace during the affair fog (or what I call the ho high). If so, his ex wife may have been able to bring him back to the marriage versus him ruuning off with the ho? That’s just blowing smoke up the chump’s ass that they might control the outcome. Maybe the cheater will chose the chump over the ho. Who can make their needs smaller while throwing more kibbles? Ho? Chump? Who is willing to eat the shit sandwhich and keep it down and actually look/fake like they are enjoying it? Eeny meeny miny moe pick a doormat by it’s toe…

  • Dear: Tiny Tim

    “Grace” is not putting your adult children on your “show” and publicly shaming your chump ex wife.

    Seems you’re still a prick.

  • I damn well knew from the first paragraph you are a Cluster B Personality Disorder, Tim. A walking talking shitting pontificating malignantly terminal asshole. Oh but indeed I DO have the letters behind my name to make that (horror of horrors!) ass-essment and decades of experience to back it up. I have time on mah side, baby and after spending the better part of several decades with people whose job description is succinctly described as “I kill people for a living,” I’m well versed in the various forms of asshattery people assume to cover their lack of conscience.

    Tim, the simple reason why you’re allegedly not cheating now is you can’t afford to unless you wanna pay for it. Upfront, cash, credit card “will do nicely thank you. Would you like to see me do the shimmy again?” (Props to Tina Turner, “Private Dancer.”) If you were ever hawt, now you’re not. Twenty years puts you solidly in the demographic of: On the downward slide of middle age, not quite yet to decrepitude but working on it. Simply put, your opportunities have become far more limited numerically. In view of your age you damn well better ante up more for your 401k and pay off the vacation home and the only way you could figure out to to achieve that is to become a snake oil peddler. You pay yourself for telling people, very vulnerable people not only what they wanna hear but by dumping the responsibility for someone else’s morally and ethically bankrupt choices on the victim. That dawg don’t hunt in my world.

    There are some behaviors that are simply wrong. Period. The people who have engaged in these behaviors KNOW they’re wrong. How do we know that? Oh, what a thorny academic question, let’s ponder deeply what a 5 yr. old already damn well knows: If ya gotta hide what you’re doing, you KNOW IT’S WRONG. Full Stop. Considering you’re suppose to evolve (along with Individuate) even further morally from your five year old self, you’re a pre-school Head Start flunk out. Congratulations. Don’t you dare sit there and tell me “I didn’t kill anyone.” Yes, you did. Infidelity like suicide always kills at least two. I deal wth people who have enough of a conscience that when left to their own devices (and sadly, many HAVE been) would kill themselves for the self-lacerating guilt they experience living with the after effects of what we might euphemistically call a “A Rather Robust Diplomatic Failure to Communicate.”

    Tim, sell as much hopium and bulk shit as ya can. If you weren’t so transparently hiding in plain sight (and thus illuminating the military definition of “Stealth”) you’d be walking up and down 7th Ave. sporting a sandwich board that says “Slippery When Wet, Greasy when Dry” for Col. Sanders Chicken Fry. One quick read of your excuses and a 5 yr. old could determine you’re a couple French fries short of a small, oily gas bag.

    And make sure you tell em about the DARVO Special. Wouldn’t want people to die for lack of self-flaeggelation.

    • TW

      ” I’m well versed in the various forms of asshattery people assume to cover their lack of conscience.”

      Just love your entire post TW. You nailed it.

      • It’s an acronym for: Deny, Attack, and Reverse Victim and Offender.

        This is a tactic used by abusers to turn the tables on their victims. “I don’t spend too much time golfing with Schmoopie. I’m not the one who never wants to go out. You’re the one who spends all her time taking care of the kids…”

        It’s a form of blame shifting and gaslighting. Abusive and manipulative.

    • TW, your assessment even more brilliant TGIF not CL’s.

      Thanks for putting this self-important, over-the-hill has-bag in his place.

      • That was supposed to read “more brilliant than CL’s”. I think my autocorrect is a cheater too!

    • I was recently having a conversation with my mum who was married to my serial cheating father until he left for his last OW. This was 16 years ago and he is now married to OW. He has basically told my mum that the only reason he hasn’t cheated on OW is because he is old and no one would want him now. As well as the fact that she has no children and does everything for him.

    • This is the best thing I have ever read on the internet. I am crying happy, healing tears from laughing so hard. And trust me, I have read A LOT on the internet!!

  • CL’s best point, IMO, is that we ALL left room for grace.

    I gave my wife multiple chances to be graceful, do the right thing, and recommit to the marriage. To “encourage” her to do this (back when I mistakenly believed that I could control someone else’s actions), I pick-me danced like crazy. I also attended marriage counseling. I even left her once to “scare” her into seeing what she was giving up.

    At every one of those decision points, of which there were several major ones and thousands of little ones, my wife chose to be graceless.

    …And that’s not the end of the story. As fellow chumps know, after I left my wife for good, she continued her lack of “grace,” helping to destroy her AP’s engagement and marriage…all while asking me for more chances and claiming she’d changed.

    I wholeheartedly agree that there’s ample available “room for grace” by cheaters: recommit, beg for your marriage, be humble and admit your mistakes and faults, don’t blameshift, don’t lie. Or, actually admit that you are not capable of being faithful to your chosen spouse and therefore must divorce openly and honestly.

    The room for grace is right there, staring cheaters in the face. My ex wife avoided that room at all costs, as did ‘most every cheater discussed on this site.

    • This is exactly what jumped out at me, too. I gave my ex Olympic pools full of grace, and he squandered every drop. And yet the RIC holds no expectation that the cheater should ever have to act with grace themselves, only the Chump. My ex offered me not an ounce of grace for the years of perceived wrongs he believed I committed against him. (How dare I ask for help or expect him to use words when discussing important subjects.) While I offered him grace time after time, he instead kept score and exacted revenge.

      There is no room for grace when it is not valued by the cheater. There is no room for grace when the cheater refuses to act with it. There is no room for grace when it is used to manipulate rather than to heal.

      I have good friends who are a unicorn couple. Like most chumps, he offered grace. It only matters now because she valued it, worked hard on personal change, and acted with grace in return. This is where most cheaters fall short. They expect all things for themselves, and usually refuse to act with reciprocity.

      So go stuff it, Tim.

      • FreeVix,

        There are a lot of great posts, but this one really spoke to me!

        >>>There is no room for grace when it is not valued by the cheater. There is no room for grace when the cheater refuses to act with it. There is no room for grace when it is used to manipulate rather than to heal.<<<

        Yes! I took a screenshot for posterity!

  • There is an article at titled the secret family I hid from my wife. If ever an article that needed to be put through the UBT, it is this one. This guy has the audacity to try to get his wife to return to the workforce so that he could support his mistress and love child they so badly wanted. I would link it, but I don’t know how. Could someone please get this one to chumplady?

      • And I think these quotes will give a pretty good indication of the author’s morality and character:

        “So, I decided to marry the girl I was dating. She was no better or worse than the scores of other girlfriends, whose names I have long forgotten and whose faces I cannot remember. I guess marriage to me was like musical chairs — when the music stopped, I married the one left standing.”

        “I grew up in the U.K., and though I moved to the States, I never much cared for American women. I found them too materialistic and emotionally needy, spiritually warped by commercial television.” [cuz we’re all the same, dontchaknow?]

        “[OW’s] Her friends, weaned on the cheap morality of tabloid TV and glossy magazines, believed there was no greater crime than a man cheating on his wife.”

        • Yeah, it’s definitely the tabloid TV and glossy magazines that make cheating a bad thing. Definitely.

          • Exactly. Blame People magazine.

            Signed, your materialistic, emotionally needy, spiritually warped American friend ; )

        • Wow, this is horrible. Yea, blame it on “reality” you delusional psychopath.

          Some credentials he boasts: PJ McDowell is the pen name of an East Coast writer and blogger. He has four children and two estranged partners.

        • Whoa, just found this little nugget from the salon article, with denial, projection, rationalization, DARVO all rolled into one:

          “But the most important rule for me was that I would never hurt my kids. Many times Lisa and I had rued how society insists if a partner is unfaithful, the next stop is the attorney. That’s whom my wife would call if I told her. Why, we asked, could grown-ups not just agree the magic was gone and find others to fill that emotional need but still keep the family together? The truly selfish act wasn’t infidelity; it was putting your own hurt and sense of betrayal before the children’s interests. Kids need the reassurance of stability. I’d seen statistics that children from broken homes show higher rates of drug use, psychological and other emotional issues. Wasn’t I taking the ethical road — putting my desires and dreams second, even if others disapproved, even if it meant Lisa and I only got to see each other a few days during the month?”

          In other words, his WIFE would be the selfish one for divorcing him due to an affair, and “putting [her] own sense of betrayal before the children’s interests?” There are some people lightning bolts should hit just on principle.

          • This kind of logic astounds me. Several months ago, I read an article about a man who had been married for years. The marriage had gotten progressively worse. They tried counseling, but to no avail. Both spouses were miserable, though neither cheated. In the article, he claimed that she eventually became emotionally abusive, and they were both miserable. Though the thought was that they would stay for the kids, it became apparent that simply was not the appropriate choice. So, he finally left and filed for divorce, and his wife told all of their friends and family that he was a “bastard.” In the article, he said that in his opinion, it is the men who are miserable in marriages, yet stay for their kids, and become serial cheaters to cope with their unhappiness that are the bastards. An interesting thought…..

            • Yeah no. We didn’t have kids. He wasn’t staying for the kids. He was staying so he could have lots and lots of kibbles from different sources.

              What I’m finding, when I have discussions with chumps, is a lot were similar to my marriage. The cheater continually set up situations to make the chump angry and then the cheater could claim being unhappy because of a miserable marriage.

              And the situations were sometimes big, but often small things that just added up and up. Example, chump asks cheater to do something to help with the house. Cheater doesn’t do it. Chump asks again, cheater does it but wrong. Chump does it his/herself. Next time, chump ask once, twice, third time it gets done but wrong. Chump has to pick up the pieces. Chump gets angry. Cheater is hurt! “I can’t do anything right to make you happy!”

              Wash, rinse, repeat. Over and over. Now Cheater is justified in their cheating. Their SO can never be happy! They give and give and give and get nothing but anger in response.

              • So true. I got up on Sunday morning to the smell of coffee brewing, he didn’t drink coffee so that was a treat. Only problem? He neglected to put a paper filter in the coffeemaker, so I had an overflowing mess of hot, undrinkable “coffee” on the counter, dripping on the floor, and a coffeemaker I had to completely disassemble to clean out. Took 1/2 an hour to clean up the mess; fine way to start an early Sunday.

                And, did he apologize – offer to clean up or at least help? Nope. He sat with the TV on, computer in his lap, and moaned about “losing all his husband points because he never does anything right” and how he could never please me despite his best efforts and he’d stay out of the kitchen forever now. Like he ever helped before.

                It was just one more log on the fire of “She’s NEVER happy with anything I do and she thinks I’m stupid!”

              • This could’ve happened between me and Ex-Hole! Well, he would’ve said he was sorry. But he said it like a robot, with no sincerity behind it. He said he was sorry the exact same way, whether is was “forgetting” to get something at the store or cheating.

      • Oh, barf. I couldn’t read more than a couple of paragraphs before I had to quit. What a smarmy bastid (as the fully evolved Brits would say as they’re screwing around on their perfect spouses.)

        • I made it to the end.

          Congratulations “PJ McDipshit” You have four children and two estranged partners-don’t you sound like a catch ?

  • “Over 20 years ago, I was a cheater. I am not a cheater now. And I know many other former cheaters who have long years of evidence pointing to their trustworthiness.”

    Straight from the mouth of a cheater. Yeah, Tim that’s what she said. “He will never cheat on ME.” Personally, I do believe ‘once a cheater always a cheater’. And the reformed cheater narrative? First this comment blames the innocent spouse. I only cheated on HER. The luck cunt gets the new improved pedestal of my wonderfulness. Secondly, your evidence is supported by former cheaters/predators?

    Hey, Tim when I say Grace every night I thank the lord for all the blessings in my life. That would be my cheater free life.

    Chump Lady, I can’t thank you and the mighty chumps enough for saving my life.

    • And Tim, I give you ‘0’ stars for your cheater ‘vulnerabilities’ bullshit. Straight out of the cheater’s handbook. Sad, sad, sausage.

    • He speaks often of “affair fog”, so there is a built in ‘get out of jail free’ card for all cheaters. While he does encourage no contact, it is to give space to the cheater to allow them to figure out what they want. So basically, don’t hound them into staying with you.

      He believes that the chump must provide full forgiveness, which means not requiring any form of restitution if you do accept the cheater back. Well, really – if the cheater decides to ‘pick you’ instead of the affair partner.

      He is a Jesus Cheater and was working for a church at the time of his cheating. He admits to lying to his ex-wife and children for years even after d-day. He said the relationship had ended when he was still actively seeing the whore and claiming to have been ‘restored’. So, why we are supposed to believe him now is crazy.

      I belonged to his site early after d-day because he was saying what I wanted to hear – that marriages could survive. When I found out he was a cheater, I went back through all of his blogs and writings and saw the craziness of it all.

      • These losers come out of that affair fog pretty quickly when you apply consequences to them, and throw their asses out. No more affair, no more fog.

      • Scenario one: driver A runs his car into the back of Driver B’s car on a foggy day.

        Scenario two: driver A runs his car into the back of Driver B’s car on a clear day.

        I’m pretty sure the cars are wrecked in both scenarios.

  • I’m at work so this is going to be short.

    Gave him grace and he gave me another kick in the teeth: another woman yet again plus Craigslist meeting with a garter belt wearing man at Red Roof Inn.

    Gosh, maybe I just don’t know how to give grace properly. My bad.

  • MY first d-day was 9 years before MY 2nd d-day. In reality my 1st was his 4 long term affair, and who knows how many strangers in hotel lobbies at “work” conferences and trade shows (he traveled constantly; (now I know some was for work and some was for his “hobby.”). There were also hooker(s?) in Las Vegas trade shows. Between MY 1st and 2nd d-day there were more and more of the same. My “grace” (I call stupidity) cost me 9 more years of my life, 9 more years of lost career and money making potential (which I could really fucking use now that I’m a single mom w/ 3 jobs. returning to work after being a sahm for 18 years. I made more money and outranked him when I quit to halp him feel like a manly provider. I had a personal secretary; now I basically am a secretary. That “grace” fucked me over. It cost me my heart, sanity, happiness and years of my life. It cost my childrens’ ability to have moved on and given them a non raging, actually home occasionally, loving, good example of a man, stepfather.

    This “review” by a cheater really hits a hot button with me! This POS therapist is out there costing other chumps years of their lives to under the guise of grace. What sad, vulnerable, new chump who feels like yesterday’s unworthy garbage wants to say, ” yeah, on top of being unsexy, unattractive, dumb for not knowing what was going on in front me, I feel like hell and I think being hot by a truck must feel better than this. Oh, and guess what?! I also am such a loser I have no grace.

    No one in that seat needs to be told they have no grace! They are already looking at pulling the plug on their kids’ whole world and in my case, their kids’ financial security as well. They feel as low as a person can feel. Ugh! This Tim guy SUCKS!

  • Grrr, thanks for decoding that review Chumplady. Most of us on here, I don’t doubt, left ample room for “grace” – whatever precisely that may be.

    For me “grace” meant being willing to believe that there was a future with my lying, cheating horror show of a husband. It meant sitting through ghastly counselling sessions, where somehow I seemed to be to blame for his cake-eating habit. It meant over-coming my physical revulsion and sharing a bed with him again. It meant not telling all our friends and family immediately what an utter arsehole he was to try and preserve some chance of ‘making a go of it’. I managed that state of “grace” for one awful year. What a TOTAL waste of my time. What a horribly, humiliating year of private stress and grief.

    Where was his “grace” for me? Blame shifting bastard didn’t show me any at all.

  • In my own experience, hypocritical Christian cheaters are full of expected “grace” … or maybe it’s simply entitlement wrapped in the words of religion (because grace is something extended to someone else, not demanded of them). Chew on that little nugget Tim. In the words of CL, how exactly is my “grace score” calculated?
    10 (years of obsessive porn use)
    +5 (years of hook-up sites, church interventions and extended “grace”)
    +1 (affair with stripper 20 years his junior) + 4 (years false reconciliation)
    + 1X (variable number of escort services contacted [phone bills and google are a chumps friend]… and 1 text message negotiating and sealing the deal with time, cost, and location of sex).
    + X (variable number of times cheater had STD testing and failed to mention, hey… I might be putting you at risk. But hey, I’ll play Russian roulette with your health and hope you don’t get a bullet in the chamber).

    I’d say anyone who’s score is over 1 (which IMHO is way too high a score) has passed the “grace test”. Guess who deserves a chumps grace? A chump! Yes Tim, grace placed appropriately is lacking, because as the name “Chump” suggests, way too much grace is misappropriated to cheaters. All these warm and fuzzy words… “grace, forgiveness, healing, vulnerability, respect” , those things that are assessed as the end all be all of a marriage… yes it’s true, it is the “end all” once a chump learns to extend those things to themselves. The marriage the cheater attempted to murder, hanging by a thread in the ICU, becomes just another death statistic. At some point you have to realize there is just nothing more you can do besides save yourself, by extending yourself some grace!

    My grace score…. ? %

  • Tim, here’s something I’ve learned from being part of CN: 1- Don’t listen to relationship advice from someone who derives their income from being part of the Wreakonciliation Industry; they care more about earning money then they do about a Chump’s personal wellbeing. Afterall, their livelihood depends on “fixing marriages” not fixing people. 2- Don’t listen to relationship advice from a Cheater; they’ve already shown their needs are paramount over everything else. 3- NEVER, EVER listen to relationship advice from cheater who is part of the Wreakonciliation Industry. They may sugarcoat it a little like you tried to do, Tim, but in the end it still comes down to the Chump eating a giant candy coated (GRACE) shit sandwich.

  • How many of us found the truth of Chump Nation difficult to swallow at first? Tim did that rating to boost his own.

    I hope grace kicks him in the ass.

  • Hey, a long time ago I worked in a small office where the bosses found out the bookkeeper had been embezzling. The bookkeeper apparently had a secret “vulnerability” of lots of gambling debt. The day the bosses found out the bookkeeper had been stealing, they fired him and told him to put his personal items in a cardboard box and get out of the office then and there. The fact that the bookkeeper wasn’t a thief many other times that he had the opportunity to steal, didn’t compel the bosses to show “grace” and consider the vulnerability and many life issues of the embezzler.

  • “The unfaithful spouse had a multitude of other choices they could have made, but understanding the various influences at play in a person’s life is necessary for healing, whether or not the marriage survives. Many cheaters did not choose to cheat before, even when there was an opportunity to do so. It’s important to gain insight into the vulnerabilities at play so that appropriate changes can be made and necessary boundaries established. Only then can there be a secure return to trustworthiness.”

    Wait what? Necessary boundaries??? Like . . . don’t fuck other people? Was I supposed to say that out loud so he’d understand what fidelity meant?

    So much word salad. I’m still trying to understand just what the fuck this means, but I’m clear that I needed to gain insight into “the vulnerabilities at play” here so I can understand why my X stuck his penis in a vagina that didn’t belong to me. Turns out, there were multiple other vaginas. Had I untangled the various vulnerabilities, we might still be together today!

    Oh noes!

    • I”m thinking that the marriage ceremony itself is supposed to establish the “necessary boundaries” of not having sex or been emotionally intimate with other people in ways that threaten the marriage and expose the marital partner to all sorts of pain and risk.

    • “Many cheaters did not choose to cheat before, even when there was an opportunity to do so.”

      Sounds like a bitch cookie!

      • Yep.

        “Look at all the times I could have fucked around on you but I DIDN’T See!? See how good I am!?”

      • HA! Thought the exact same thing! Here’s your bitch cookie, Tim! Go choke on it!

  • What motivates a therapist to promote grace as a response to being betrayed in the most intimate possible way? He’s a cheater, that’s what.

    • That is not a thing

      MONEY! I believe these cheater therapists are losing ground ($$$) with their reconciliation con. What does every naive chump want more than anything? To believe there is hope. It’s outdated to sell snake oil. He’s selling hopium pipes. Another con artist justifying his actions manipulating innocents.