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UBT: Esther Perel on Beyonce’s Lemonade

moveonfrombullshitChump Lady had a very late night last night, and couldn’t craft sentences this morning even if you put a gun to her head or threatened to take away her pinecone elves. So today you get a rerun. But as the Universal Bullshit Translator has so many fans, I thought I’d run the greatest bullshit of all — Esther Perel’s cultural commentary on Beyonce. Enjoy.

The UBT can’t even.

An alert chump forwarded me this from Belgian cheater-apologist-therapist-thingy Esther Perel: “Beyonce’s Lemonade: A Refreshingly Un-American Affair.”

Un-American.

Because you Europeans, Africans, Asians, Latinos, and canucks are just invigorated by betrayal unlike us dim, moralistic Yankees.

Gentleman, if your kid looks like Guillermo the barista? Quit being a pussy. Just consider paternity testing the price of sophistication. Like ascots or those tiny yogurts in a jar.

Every time the Universal Bullshit Translator takes on Esther Perel, it has to tighten its sockets for the bullshit onslaught. Please quit sending it the TED talks. The UBT’s going to need a transmission overhaul before it can even face that mountain of crap.

Meanwhile, please accept this:

Dear friends and colleagues,

… deluded chumps, spambots, and assorted therapists who were dropped on their heads.

Like millions of people, I watched Beyoncé’s new visual album film, Lemonade, last month. Typically, I do not comment on the successive infidelity scandals that occupy our cultural stage.

Because I’m allergic to specifics. Comment on the Ashley Madison hack in support of Exuberant Defiance? Answer a direct question? You’d quickly conclude I’m a wingnut. Bombard your senses with nebulous zeitgeist-y word salad instead? I’m a subject matter expert on infidelity!

However, after watching the premiere of Beyoncé’s provocative new project, I offer some of my thoughts on the topic of infidelity, and its representation in contemporary American landscape.

I cannot resist commenting on the biggest contemporary reconciliation narrative on the American landscape that doesn’t feature a Duggar.

Beyonce is eating shit sandwiches and pronouncing them sophisticatedly delicious? Damn straight I’m talking. The recent scientific study, the largest ever conducted, by academics with actual credentials, which found that people who leave cheaters are better off? Shut the fuck up!

“Are you cheating on me?” Beyoncé asks. She throws open a door, and water gushes forth—an apt metaphor for the flood of emotions that her question, and its implied answer, unleashes.

As a couples therapist, I’ve sat with hundreds of women, and men, in the turbulent aftermath of infidelity. What struck me about Beyoncé’s album was both the universality of its themes and the unusual way in which it presented them. Whether autobiography or simply art, her multimedia treatise on unfaithful love represents a refreshing break with this country’s accepted narratives on the topic.

In the American backyard, adultery is sold with a mixture of condemnation and titillation. Magazine covers peddle smut while preaching sanctimony. While our society has become sexually open to the point of overflowing, when it comes to infidelity even the most liberal minds can remain intransigent. We may not be able to stop the fact that it happens, but we can all agree that it shouldn’t.

Condemnation, smut, preaching, intransigent minds…

We can all agree infidelity shouldn’t happen. But it’s not what cheaters do, it’s how you’re reacting that’s the problem. Quit judging!

Lots of things shouldn’t happen. Like tornados, the Zika virus, or my TED talks. It’s no use railing against natural disasters. Accept!

Another thing most Americans seem to agree on is that infidelity is among the worst things that can happen to a couple. The dialogue here is framed in terms borrowed from trauma, crime and religion: victims and perpetrators; injured parties and infidels; confession, repentance and redemption.

All those active verbs! It’s crazy! Language with accountability? Viewing infidelity as a choice and not an oops! I-slipped-on-a-banana-peel-and-into-your-genitals kind of serendipity?

Look Puritans — banana peels HAPPEN. No one is a victim here. Quit with your trauma talk.

As a European, I can testify that in other cultures, the betrayal is no less painful, but the response is more philosophical and pragmatic.

When we find our partners in bed with another, perchance we grimace. But then we offer our partner’s lover a cigarette, cook a perfect bouillabaisse, and retire to the sofa together to watch Jean-Luc Godard films.

Americans do not cheat any less than the supposedly lascivious French; they just feel more guilty about it, because the experience here is framed in moral terms.

Yeah, only in American is infidelity “framed in moral terms.” A couple millennium of major world religions condemning adultery notwithstanding.

As Brazilian couples therapist Michele Scheinkman has pointed out, the notion of trauma provides a legitimizing framework for the pain of betrayal, but it limits the avenues for recovery. This clinical approach denudes the pain of its romantic essence and its erotic energy

Being cheated on isn’t just painful, it’s sexy.

Focusing on pain and trauma is a buzzkill. If you want to reignite the sexy (so you can THRIVE! not just survive!) embrace the drama!

Don’t think of it in terms of betrayal, think how hot it is when your husband fucks someone else. Don’t you want to up your game? Let that jealousy fuel you towards erotic recovery!

—the very qualities that must be reignited if a relationship is to not only survive but thrive. Jealousy, rage, vengeance and lust are as central to the story as loss, pain and shattered trust—something European and Latin cultures will more readily admit than Americans. Infidelity is not just about broken contracts; it is about broken hearts.

These erotic aspects of the drama are unapologetically displayed in Beyoncé’s fierce performance. She does not present herself as victim, but as a woman invigorated and empowered by love.

Like that way she throws herself off a building. Empowering!

She even voices one of the great unspoken truths about the aftermath of affairs: the hot sex that often ensues. “Grief sedated by orgasm,” she intones, “orgasm heightened by grief.”

The pick me dance is hot. (To the cheater. Did you vomit afterwards and get the shakes? Quit being a victim!)

Don’t think about where that thing has been. Orgasms are heightened by STDs.

Has your life been shattered? Feeling humiliated? Disrespected? Shat upon? Hey, the important thing to remember is hot sex.

Perhaps most strikingly, she is unashamed to announce to the world that she intends to remain Mrs. Carter.

Millions of dollars and a global reputation at stake, it’s totally striking that she’d wish to remain Mrs. Carter. #whoddathunkit

“If we’re gonna heal, let it be glorious.”

Beyonce? Talk to the UBT next year and tell it how that “healing” and the hot sex is going.

Esther? You’re full of shit.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • It should be noted that Beyonce is pregnant with twins since I ran this. And is holding on dearly to her sunk costs. Still don’t think it will last, but hey I’m a crazy dreamer.

    • Should be noted that lemonade was cowritten by other talented people as well. Basically while there’s a chance its not all sunshine at the Bey hive, there’s a huge chance its all make believe and they’re sipping their tea as people eat up the drama.

    • Lemonade can stand alone as a piece of art; Esther can stand alone as a Piece of Shit using it for her own agenda. And she emphasizes the un-guaranteed hot sex as a consolation prize. Real classy.
      …is she really that corny, or thinks we are?

    • This proves how easy it is to sell a shit sandwich to someone who’s starving. Been cheated on? Roll with it sweetie, it even happens to Beyoncé! And you too can emerge empowered and invigorated! Is it just me or does anyone else notice how pop culture is pushing hard to promote the “notion” that monogamy just isn’t the natural order anymore? This EP chick is just another voice in the thunder screaming entitlement. Welcome to the new world order view on relationships, where the redistribution of wealth includes sharing literally EVERYTHING. I call it The Age of Icarus lol. Anyone with a half-baked idea that sounds even remotely enlightened can make it fly.

  • I like this choice for a rerun- I think that Lemonade as an album is still going to have cultural impact for years and as such, calling the BS where you see it is still important.

  • I must have missed this column the first time it ran. Ugh, Esther is horrible, but a fabulous job by the UBT! Somehow I missed out on the “romantic essence” and “erotic energy” when STBX took up with a bar whore…

    • My pick me dance “great sex” lasted for a little while before I though “what the hell am I doing”.
      Plus the fear of an STD. But of course, STBX never met his “sweetie “, didn’t even know what she looked like, only talked to her and told her he loved her over the phone. LOL!! STBX’S sweetie is nearly the same age as I am and married (no upgrade for him). I think she’s been married two or three times. But sluts get married too, several times, and still keep cheating.

      I’m tired of all the BS and drama.

      • Some good discussions regarding STDs today. I also want to make a public service announcement for another traumatic infidelity experience: going to the store to buy your wife a pregnancy test, not realizing she doesn’t know who the potential father is. That’s something you replay after the fact and you just get nauseous and angry thinking about the whole thing.

        • Ever wonder why in the US there are a number of pre and post natal tests-but not Paternity tests?
          Huh. Now, why could that be? It’s not like they cost a lot. Maybe in the “Race To The Top” there was a fiscal concern….

      • There was intensely hot sex in Basic Instinct, and I personally find keeping an ice pick under the bed during lovemaking leads to much more heightened arousal than sex after betrayal.

        • Yeah, but as long as someone signs on the Birth Certificate, they’re responsible. So we have the biological father, the putative father and the legal father.
          But once you sign? You’re IT!

          For men, it sucks. Sorrry, but in the US that’s reality.

    • You say windbag – all I can picture is a living bagpipe which is unfair, bagpipes are noble instruments!

      • Ah, no Buddy. Shoulda shot the Unicorn Counselor with some sappy pintrist or other social media “profound thought for the day.” Passive aggressive style, bitchspeak.

        EP is another Victim In Waiting. Be glad you’ve served your time.

        “Windbags” are another term for Flatulent Fukkers. “Windsocks” are another term for “Exhaling APs” as a Cohort Group. They’re kinda like FDA “Approved Food Groups” with the same IQ.

  • No one but you ever seems to mention the STDs when talking about cheating. Maybe that is the worst thing of all. There are so many out there — without any cure. I still don’t know how women can look the other way with cheating when their actual physical health is at risk. Call me crazy, but it seems to me that humans weren’t meant to have sex with a lot of people — or there wouldn’t be all these diseases to catch.

    • Ooh, yes, I never felt sexier than when I got my cervix scraped after a post d-day abnormal pap…

        • My favorite was standing in line at the lab with my chlamydia pee cup, and being recognized by the lab tech who was SO EXCITED to seeeee me! She was calling to me in line and waving at me and my pee cup! Oh HAI!! Then her face went all sober when she saw the list of tests. “My husband’s been cheating,” I shrugged, then smiled a gaunt smile. What can you do? It was all so very humbling. I texted The Coward to let him know that I thought he was a fucking asshole for putting me in this position. But he didn’t care, wasn’t his problem.
          Coward.

        • Yep. Scheduled to get that done. Fun shit. Slut McCunty swore to cheater that I didn’t get it from her and he believes her!!! Have a positive HPV pap after never testing positive in the entirety of our relationship/marriage is a sure sign she’s a fucking liar but then again, she had no problem fucking a man who left his pregnant wife and toddler just a week before. (she’s a co worker, so I imagine they were probably fucking before he “left”. You don’t walk out on a 10 year marriage and growing family and directly into someone else’s vagina without some forethought on the matter)
          Yeah. STD’s. The gift that keeps on giving.

        • Had my third child 6 weeks premature. Spontaneous rupture of placenta. Undetected Pelvic Inflammatory Disease.

          He in the nursery and me with my condition – Mmmm. Hmmm. Super sexy.

      • Follow that up with surgery to remove precancerous cervical cells that almost prevented my ability to have a second child, and voila! Massive sexiness.

    • Absolutely!

      My now ex-husband’s secret affair partner revealed their affair to me about 1/2 through my 4th pregnancy. As a result, following what was believed by my OBGYN to be a first time, primary outbreak of the HSV virus, I ended up having to give birth via Emergency C-Section and my newborn daughter had to stay in the NICU for 10 days being treated with IV anti-viral medications.

      I remember being wheeled back to the surgery theatre when I suddenly went into labor. The physician asked me when I had last eaten, and I said that I had just eaten. I was told that was not at all ideal and to please try not to vomit and choke to death during surgery. I promised to try not to do that….

      My daughter was born soon after, with a large blister on her fist, and she was immediately rushed off to undergo STD testing and a spinal tap for meningitis. These painful procedures were her first human touches on Earth. I was able to hold her for the first time the following day.

      An army of specialists were in charge of our care, as it is incredibly dangerous for a woman to be infected for the first time with a new case of HSV towards the end of pregnancy. It is often fatal for the newborn. The mother has not had enough time to create antibodies to protect her baby. (Women with established cases of HSV can and do have VERY safe pregnancies and deliveries, the only danger is with primary infections at the end of pregnancy).

      A team of specialists called Infectious Disease doctors took my sexual history and created something called a “risk algorithm”. I was testing sero-negative for HSV in my blood work, however all sexually transmitted viruses have a period of incubation (sero-conversion) for blood work to show a truly accurate negative or positive. My now ex-husband was the only intimate contact of any kind I had encountered since I was a teenager, 15 years ago. It was determined that but not for the exposure of my cheater’s affair, it would be impossible for my daughter (or me) to have a primary HSV outbreak.

      I was so scared. I was also in the midst of a high conflict divorce made even more complicated because the OW is a divorce attorney who named herself as a witness in my divorce and hired her own attorney to represent her.

      All of the above information was shared with all legal counsel including the children’s guardian ad litem (GAL). I remember writing to the GAL from my hospital room and trying to explain the nuances of ST viruses and sero-conversion and just feeling so violated to be discussing my most intimate details so publicly.

      My daughter and I had a special “Infectious Disease” warning sign on our door and everyone who entered our room had to take special precautions like face masks, gloves, and a disposable coverall. Because I gave birth in a teaching hospital, all the student Pediatricians were brought into our room to learn first hand about congenital, neonatal Herpes, as it is quite rare.

      Happily, after 10 days of hell, it was determined that my newborn was negative for HSV and I was able to bring her home from the hospital. My daughter’s blister on her fist was just an innocent “suck blister”. After 3 additional months and many sleepless nights of worry it was determined that I was also negative for both types of HSV. My physicians believed my symptoms were the result of an innocent allergic reaction to something.

      Extra-marital affairs can and do cause serious physical and emotional harm. Every day I am so grateful for the gift of my daughter’s health (and my own. But I am still haunted by this hellish experience.

      • I’m so sorry you had to go through this. How dreadful! What a FUCKER he is. Him and the Lawyer Whore.

        • I am about to undergo my 7th surgery and 5th round of chemo/immunotherapy in 18 months from highly aggressive bladder cancer. It will be my 10th overall surgery since DD 18 months ago today. I have also undergone STD and a battery of other medical tests. XH was the only man I was with in 36 years.

          Cancers of the genital regions are on the rise, including bladder cancer. Numerous studies have been done and are in process seeking the correlation between multiple sexual partners (affairs on the rise) and those increases.

          There are many consequences to affairs, some can kill unaware partners. There isn’t anything sexy or fun about the burn of chemo, wearing a catheter or healing from yet another surgery. I must do these things, and many other things I’d prefer not to, in order to live.

          When I asked my XH on DD why he engaged in unprotected sex with multiple affair partners and prostitutes he said, “because it felt good and I deserve to be happy.”

          In my lifetime, may research study findings conclude these coward’s sexual acts cause STDs, cancers and other health consequences. Then may their acts, when affecting innocent people’s health, be punishable by law.

          Esther Perel maybe you’d enjoy taking my place next month for cancer surgery and chemo to see how sexy it is? How about a TedTalk on that?

          • Oh, I almost forgot…

            This…while fighting a narcpath in highly contentious divorce. He was so angry that I got cancer and couldn’t work so he had to pay spousal support. He wanted to continue to use “his” income (35 year marriage that I worked and equally contributed money until I got cancer) for his pleasure. He discarded me like yesterday’s trash. Cancer is so not sexy ya know; real buzz kill. Go on and die already.

            He even questioned whether I actually had cancer and served me 35 pages of interrogatories on eve of my 3rd cancer surgery while hospitalized, even though he knew he had taken everything from me. Home, retirement, savings…

            The happy ending here (no pun intended) is that I’m still alive, kicking, and he has to pay. I hold my head up, get out of bed and put one foot in front of the other. I have life, breathe and could not be happier being cheater free! I’m not looking in my rear view mirror, but at the beautiful road ahead. Every day I have sweet life I am so grateful.

            • Free Now, you are so mighty and amazing! After all you’ve been through, you still have such a positive outlook and appreciation for your cheater free life. Even though I rarely comment, I read ChumpLady every day. I think it’s safe to say you have a veritable army of Chumps behind you, wishing the best possible outcome moving forward with all life has thrown at you! Xx

              • I’m sorry seems and is so damn inadequate.
                That’s all I got.

                Just try to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
                And if you can’t we’ll do it for you.

              • Back at you Palmatto Chump! You are a survivor and heroine of your story. Thank you for sharing your story and pain. My heart and admiration is with you. We stand strong together.

      • Oh. My. God. That is scary shit. How you kept it together through that is beyond amazing. You rock!!

        I have PTSD just from learning that I’ve spend 25 years in a faux marriage. Oh yeah, that’s in the past. I’m supposed to just look forward to my wonderful live as a single mom in her mid-fifties who cannot recover her tech career after 15 years. But hey, I can go back to work in a fulfilling job as a Walmart greeter.

        • Giddy Eagle, thank you for your kind words. As you may have guessed, I don’t really “talk” about my experience and it is so liberating to share my experience here.

          I love that you’ve kept your humor despite what you have gone through (and PTSD is no joke).

          As far as single mothers in their mid-fifties who are mighty and leave cheaters in the dust, you are not alone. The lovely Sandra Bullock comes immediately to mind. You are definitely in good company! Best wishes!!

        • G. Eagle, hang in there.
          I too was diagnosed with PTSD after my 30yr marriage ended with ex and coworker immediately marrying. I am 6 years out and my roller coaster life is a much gentler ride. I actually enjoy myself most of the time.
          I am much more light hearted and HAVE humor without the ex in my life. Hugs to you!

      • That does, indeed, sound hellish. I hope the love you share with your precious daughter brings you comfort and healing. You are probably too kind a person to wish that kind of suffering on the people who caused it, but I’m happy to do it for you.

      • I’m sorry you had to experience that horror – to think that your X compromised you and your child’s safety!

        When my 2nd DDay came, I knew I’m in danger from the risk of HIVs – plus my lack of trust in STBX means there is really no point staying. I started to see him for the user that he is and started protecting myself from him (emotionally, physically) as he has become my enemy.

      • I am so very sorry that you endured such a horrendous experience. I was relieved to see that you and your daughter are healthy. God bless you.

      • Palmetto, I was going to make fun of “the betrayal is no less painful, but the response is more philosophical and pragmatic.”, but with your story it would be out of order. I hope your are doing well.

      • Wow, Palmetto Chump. How horrible for you. I’m relieved you and your daughter were healthy in the long run.

    • YUP… I refused to have sex with Mr. Sparkles after finding YET ANOTHER personal ad he had posted online. The MC suggested he get a blood test and wear condoms to “earn back my trust”. Mr. Sparkles refused because he said doing so would be an admission of guilt… and he never actually “cheated”.

      SO – the blameshift at the end of the marriage was “we stopped being intimate”… “our marriage had been dead for years”… and you know what… FUCK THAT NOISE. Rather the marriage be dead than me.

      Cheaters gonna cheat, liars gonna lie… right Beyonce?

    • Yea. I don’t find. Acquiring herpes from unprotected cheaterpeen erotic, Ester. Or asking for a complete STD panel as part of a routine physical from my GP.

      • So true. My 80 year old mother was so worried about me as we waited for my std test results. I was a virgin until him and I caught him cheating after 27 years together. She was so relieved when I was OK. She said never get back together with him because we will never like him again. Love you mom. She should not have ever had that worry.

      • Like ANC, I looooved asking my OB/Gyn of 15 years, who had delivered both of my kids, to run an STD panel. Pretty humiliating, even if it wasn’t my fault…

  • What a truckload of bs EP dishes out and all couched in neutral , higb sounding terms . Good grief , can’t stomach all the gaslighting from her !

  • According to this shyster, we should be thanking our cheaters! After all, their cheating reinvigorated our marriage and produced mind blowing orgasms, right? What absolute garbage. In reality, infidelity destroys one of the most basic foundations of any committed relationship-trust.

    When I left my marriage, I still loved my X, but I no longer trusted him. By his actions, he made clear that my trust was no longer important to him. What is love without trust? It is a life of hurt, of disappointment, of constantly questioning your partner’s actions and intentions. That is simply no way to live.

    I did not leave my partner to punish him, or because of some misguided “moral” judgement, although it would have been perfectly acceptable if those were my reasons. I left him because it was clear to me that we no longer viewed what a good marriage looked like. He did not understand that love without trust is like a boat without water. It just won’t float.

    • Well said, violet. A clear and reasoned explanation of the issues behind leaving a cheater, completely devoid of verbal obfuscation, with a clear explanation of your reasoning. Thank you.

      Peace.
      aeronaut

      • Trust is important to a cheater. Your trust. It is how they are able to have cake and eat it, too. When it is broken they lose as well. No more cake…unless they can convince you to trust them, again, then it’s back to business.

        Cheaters do not equate chump trust with love. They equate chump trust for potential trysts.

        Hard wired that way.

        • They also equate chump trust with chump utility. The more trusting the chump is, the more useful they are to the cheater. Yup…..cake!

    • ‘ What is love without trust? It is a life of hurt, of disappointment, of constantly questioning your partner’s actions and intentions. That is simply no way to live.’
      Thank you

      • And not just no trust, but no security. Will it happen again? When? The combination of perpetual pick-me dancing (hysterical bonding) and marriage police surveillance is totally not sexy. I don’t recommend it at all. And, stds are totally not sexy either. This author is loonybins.

    • Violet,
      Thank you for saying this, “it would have been perfectly acceptable if those had been my reasons.” I am so sick of hearing from people like Esther P and (well, MOST of our culture), that to have a moral objection to behavior is somehow ridiculous. It really pissed me off when people acted like that. One former friend said it would “Do me no good to be on a moral high horse about this!” Uuum, he told me those were his morals too! He grifted me into believing we wanted the same things. I wasn’t crazy or sanctimonious for expecting those things–it was what I was promised, in a church, in front of a priest and 200 witnesses.

      • My dad summed it up yesterday, he said the problem nowadays is people think everything is negotiable. With his generation no is a sentence.

      • UGH, yes. My asshole has been eating EP’s crap, and he told me the reason I reacted the way I did was because I had conservative ideas. Yeah, right.

    • Violet, that is so true! Part of the good sex I had with XH prior to D-day was having that trust and the mental and spiritual levels of sex that you enjoy with the ONE person you are in love with. After D-day, because the trust was gone, I was unable to feel the same way for him, mentally or sexually. So, uh yeah…if anything, it took away from the “mind-blowing orgasms.” I never had one with him again after D-day. EP is insane.

      • Hehehehe. After DDay, for Reasons, I had sex with him. He has said it was the best of his life, and the most wonderful thing that ever happened to him. The catch? I faked all my orgasms. My body just could not do that with him anymore. And the poor fool is convinced I could not have faked. For somebody who cheated because I made him feel a terrible lover, he is very, very cocky.

  • Just thinking of all the millions of her young, impressionable fans who follow Beyoncé..(women)
    realizing it’s ok to stay with a lowlife cheater..after all.

    Amazing to think even with all her money & power she stays with an adulterer…. unfortunately he will do it to her again!

    This time she’ll have kids . Sad.

  • Another part of all this that saddens me is this. Esther Perel has considerable talent as a wordsmith – take the quotes above as evidence – and yet chooses to use that talent to take simple concepts like betrayal, lying and manipulation, and express them in ways far more palatable to the reader, using expressions like
    “the turbulent aftermath of infidelity” to imply that the effects of infidelity are like the water in a rapidly moving river behind large rocks, and not a large collection of conscious choices made by the cheater. Her skill at this is quite impressive, putting aside the idea that she’s using this skill to recast cheating as the inevitable ebb and flow of human nature and not the deliberate actions of an individual.

    Suppose she used this skill to pontificate for elimination of genocide, or improving education among impoverished populations, or promoting better health care world wide? How much good could she help to accomplish? And instead, she does this. Just sad.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.
    aeronaut

    • So, you’re saying she has a talent for propaganda?

      I find her writing turgid and offensive. (Which admittedly, is a hard thing to pull off.) I’m not seeing the poetry, Aeronaut.

      • Chump Lady, did you have a European, faux-intellectual narcissist as a parent? I did. That’s why EP looked shiny to me once…

      • Agree, as both a scientist and a literature-lover, I cannot find merit in her ramblings on either count.

    • I hear what you’re saying, aeronaut. Like many narcissists she is adept at the skills of spin. She clearly *does* have a talent for propaganda, a “talent” that a lot of people wouldn’t desire for themselves, because well, it just means you’re really good at being fake. I’m grateful our Chump Lady (also a great writer, and with a much more lively vocabulary imo) uses her powers for good. ?

      • El has the gift of gab. She is a charlatan. Her words are honey coated but bitter inside. BS by any other name. I don’t know if she could take that ‘skill’ and put it for good since the very nature of her gift is to beguile.

    • Yeah. Awful.
      Unfortunately pain and the experience of such starts at Home.
      But let’s be all kinds of meta because it keeps it away from the personal.

      Once it gets personal, it gets real.

  • “Another thing most Americans seem to agree on is that infidelity is among the worst things that can happen to a couple. The dialogue here is framed in terms borrowed from trauma, crime and religion: victims and perpetrators; injured parties and infidels; confession, repentance and redemption.”

    Uh, duh, cuz it kinda violates the most sacred promise a human being can make to another. But let’s just throw out that small fact and put it out there with do you prefer whole milk or skim?

    Sacred is so yesterday.

    • Yeah, those better orgasms are the WORST.

      Which is it — invigorating? Or the worst?

      It’s the worst for the CHUMP — but hey, the pick me dance orgasms are awesome for the cheater, and that’s what really matters.

      • That’s what I find so offensive about EP…sure, cheating is probably erotic as hell for the cheater. The forbidden def has its sexy allure. But this translates not at all for us chumps. Make up sex might be hot for a minute but it starts to pale when you feel the effects of emotional violation start to set in. I think if people started to really get honest about themselves there might be a lot more divorces, but a lot fewer of this incredibly damaging betrayal experience. Which I’ll say until I’m blue in the face, NO ONE understands but firsthand chumps. It annoys the fuck out of me that anyone can claim to be an expert who hasn’t been on our side of this. Even my best friend didn’t get my anguish until she herself experienced it.

        • THIS… for anyone currently doing the pick me dance…

          “Make up sex might be hot for a minute but it starts to pale when you feel the effects of emotional violation start to set in.”

          Sex isn’t love, never was, never will be.

          • I’ve been working with Combat Vets since the mid-70s. They and Holocaust Survivors were the only Trauma Cohort Groups we could use as Reference Cohorts. Now there are more Survivor Groups than I can begin to name.

            Guess what? Trauma is a Human Experience.
            You wanna split hairs, fine.
            The symptoms are the same.

            So tell me, how are you gonna help them? Bet it never occurred to you to start with something so “simple” as “How are you sleeping? How are you eating? Whatcha drinking and whatcha using to medicate otherwise?” Because, Yk, too “easy.”

            There is nothing “easy” about Human Trauma. Tell me what you recommend for survivors of 9/11? Their families and friends? Because every one of these people are living a personal 9/11 every day. Every one of them are living “The Pulse” every day. Every one of them is living London, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, the Republican ball game yesterday morning ever damn day.

            Now you come talk to me.
            And I will nail your ass to the wall.

    • We Americans may be messed up in a lot of ways, but if that quote is true then at least we’ve got something right.

  • I guess EP is telling me I am just not sophisticated enough and worldly enough to have enjoyed being betrayed. OMG! I wasted all that heartbreak and got terminally ill and then I missed the big payoff of HOT sex! What was I thinking? I feel like some country bumpkin!

    • Yeah, what a bunch of rednecks we all are. ? Btw, it occurs to me how sad it is that while in a lot of other cultural arenas, the concept of Standing Up for Oneself is very much in vogue and having a “moment.” But in this arena, EP wants to keep self-respect far from the forefront, and keep the environment as oppressive and disempowering as ever. Who’s the redneck now?

      • As a non-American, I am immensely grateful to you “redneck” Americans, to “redneck” Chump Lady for creating this site. It is the only place where I found complete understanding and compassion, plus the necessary education to deal with the trauma, the shit storm, the grief and my suicidal thoughts. So much better than the laissez-faire that surrounded me and made me feel even more alone and hopeless.

  • So elevated and sophisticated, unlike the toddlers of the new world. My European cousin (all of my family is over there) vomited and broke down when her husband cheated and left her and she lost the house. How unpatriotic of her. My other cousin’s husband hanged himself. But that’s on him right? He didn’t possess the euro-fortitude. I lived in the land of EP and I hated it. I hate her. Love the chocolate.

    Being uncaring and unaffected is twisted by narcs into being above others emotionally, free spirited, super cool, sexually liberated (except for the wart, that’s an American thing, said with a spit), flowery and sophisticated in that old world way. It’s really just detached and mean, nothing more. I spend time on both continents, have lived in several countries, I proudly possess more than 1 citizenship and I can tell you that her thinking is a way to blame the victim for his pain, it’s not European, it’s barely human. We hurt because we are weak. They hurt others because they are stronger. It’s tripe, which some of those fuckers eat over there anyway. She’s having a moment, bully for her. People like her don’t feel pain because they stuff it down like corn down a goose’s throat, not because they have more inner strength. Meanwhile, she’s doing a very American thing by making fat stacks $$ off other people’s pain thru every sort of social media out there, so she’s soooooo international and worldly that way.

    • Thanks, I was wondering how our many European chumps feels about this nonsense. I never heard of Esther Perel before reading CL, but I totally don’t get this European-sophistication-blah-blah-blah crap at all. From the many postings here by European chumps, it’s obvious this cheater apologist victim-blaming fake intellectual is full of shit. She possesses NO education in the field of mental health yet calls herself a “couples therapist?”

      And really… “unfaithful love?”.. I can’t even.
      Is that what my chump friend’s husband was doing for 15 years on Craiglist while she unwittingly raised their sons, mowed their lawn, made dinner every night, etc? He was out there practicing “unfaithful LOVE?”

      Unmitigated bullshit.

      • Well, I’m European. Do I not bleed? Like hell I do. Two decades of betrayal, emotional abuse, and exposure to STDs did not make me more sophisticated — just left me with a bunch of letters, like PTSD and HPV 16. My cheater even tried to use this crap on me, saying that my culture was so much more forgiving of infidelity. Must have read that in a bad guidebook, cause it ain’t so.

          • Hahahahahahahaha! European and Romanian chump over here! Almost sounds like we come from another planet, granted, it is in fact the way many people view western Europe countries. Actually, we are not that different. No way is this accepted, but after my Dday I’m horrified by how much of a common fact it can be, I must have been living in a bubble until that moment, now I find out how everybody seems to know somebody that was cheated in the most horrible way, and very few are surprised. My opinion is, the less educated, the more likely you are to be a cheater because stupid people don’t understand the value of things or relationships. Although there are some famous people, influencers and sorta’ New Age preachers that talk about cheating and polyamory like it’s a very common and normal thing that just happens in life. To everybody! What kind of a retrograde shit are you, thinking that relationships should last a lifetime? everybody knows it’s not in human nature to be monogamous! it’s what Esther Perel is preaching also.. cheating is normal, it is a part of life, it happens, stop bitching about it already!
            Sorry for the bitterness, but somebody recommended EP’s videos a few months ago, after leaving the loser and it made me think about giving another chance to the fuckwit. Lucky for me, the OW contacted me to let me know that during our wreckconciliation month, every time I was at work or visiting my family, licking my wounds, they were together. She also told me the affair starded 5 months previously than what he had told me which was 3 weeks prior to Dday and that was basically my closure. She stated that she couldn’t believe how proud he was of his lies because he would go to her, after begging me with crocodile tears to take him back, and brag about how good he is at lying. Because I wanted to believe him, and he thought I bought every word. However, I sensed he wasn’t very invested in our “new” relationship, he just didn’t give a damn, didn’t make any effort. I left the country and him, but I still had hope that he may come to his senses. That is when EP came in, and after that the precious info from the altruistic OW. Yes, they are still together and yes, I hope they get everything they deserve. THE END.
            Not so different from your average chump, is it?

            • ZENMaster… think about that… the OW was still with a man who was BRAGGING TO HER about how well he lies… and she is telling you (to hurt you?). Face palm.

              Yup… looks like twu wuv to me.

            • Zen, u still in Romania?

              My cheater is highly educated and eloquent word twister as well, a la EP. Education does not matter. The common thread is entitlement.

        • Mine span crap about ‘moving towards love and that I was unevolved’ I responded with wtf looks. Since finding out he was a cheating douche I know what he was on about.
          Total horse shit disguised as boho open mindedness.

      • Yes, Dutch here. This is just cake eater bullshit. I thought I was able to rationalize the shit out of the things RIC fed me, but in the end, I suffered 1,5 years more than I should have. It’s one big shit sandwich that EP put out there. It’s detached narc bullshit. If you have an ounce of empathy and compassion, you might fall for this nonsense, only to be hurt more than you should have.

        I hope you get an STD, EP.

  • She is freaking peddling delusions.

    An in the translated words of a quack ….

    Hey, don’t be all doom and gloom… don’t feel what you feel. That anger – the biologically wired response to alert you there’s danger, yeah… ignore that! Let’s instead condition that biological response and have that anger make you super horny! No, no, there isn’t any dysfunction in that! When we talk about the dysfunction of abused children, or captives of war, or anyone who adapts to trauma for survival, and all the later problems that follow… we’re saying that’s bad because they didn’t chose those things. But this infidelity thing, you get to choose… are you going to let it make you HOT OR NOT! Hey, if Pavlov can condition your dog to salivate to the sound of a bell… surely you can learn to let the anxiety and anger you feel at your spouse for cheating make you horny. There’s function in that you moral idiots. Whoever said positive thinking can become delusional, hey they’re just not framing things the right way! So you got an STD from your partner, think of it as sharing everything about yourselves. Don’t dwell on the anger and pain those festering sores bring, let those sores bring you closer! Talk about how you are so glad they shared this lifelong condition with you the happiness it brings that you can both experience it together.

    Sick… just friggin sick!

    • Narcissist’s Prayer
      That didn’t happen.
And if it did, it wasn’t that bad.
And if it was, that’s not a big deal.
And if it is, that’s not my fault.
And if it was, I didn’t mean it.
And if I did…
      You deserved it.
      -Author Unknown to Me.

      • Wow great stuff. Thank you. That helps whenever I start feeling guilty for not trying to reconcile anymore. Hugs

    • “Peddling delusions”

      Brilliant, Brain!

      Tie this together with Chump Lady’s nugget from the other day, “Cheaters have crap life skills” and the puzzle is a little clearer.

      Cheaters have crap life skills so their whole skein is dependent on your delusion. On the whole world’s delusion. The more of this delusion-laced kool-aid our popular culture/moral framework drinks, the more isolated each Chump gets from the reality that they have been predated, are being used, and will eventually be discarded.

      So it’s like this sick, perverted law of the commons. EP is making the world a sicker place so her shit won’t stink so bad by comparison.

      I feel sick

    • GAB – love this nugget:

      “But this infidelity thing, you get to choose… are you going to let it make you HOT OR NOT!”

      I can see a gameshow host looking square in to the television monitor with the Gold Pick Me Dancers grinding behind him.

      I needed that laugh!

  • I wish Beyonce would have kicked Jay to the curb, but nope. Ugh.

    Esther Perel is harmful and yet people buy her slop. I don’t get it, thankfully. I guess I’m just not that enlightened.

    • If I wrote a book about how eating cookies all day made you thin? You’d probably buy it, even though it goes against common sense. But hey, I WANT a cookie diet!

      Same with the RIC. They peddle that betrayal is really good for you, and you won’t have to lose anything, and you can keep your relationship, in fact, it will be BETTER than before! With hot sex!

      Who wants to buy that nonsense? Hurt, scared people in the bargaining stage of grief.

      A cookie diet is benign compared to that.

      • It’s not RIC I should thank, but I thank you. I’ve kept up for the past 1,5 years with your site, dealing with unending torment. Every time I read one of your articles it helped me keep going for a bit more. But no more as of today.

        The betrayal ended up being good for me, because I would’ve killed myself when I get to be 60+ years of age and only then having realized this shit ain’t gonna fly. Thank God I can try and start again at 36.

        Thank you again for putting some realistic viewpoints into my everyday. /Hugs

        I’m done with my stbxw’s narc bullshit sandwiches she tries to feed me.

        Thank you CL, you’re mightiest of mighty.

        • I thank GOD I have the good sense to not go for the “cookie diet.” I love the idea of it, but in practice not so much. :))

          My cheater freak actually had a copy of her book on hand when we were in the midst of our difficulties. I read her “work” and considered it bullshit. When I went to discuss the book with him he said that discussing it would be a “boner killer.” (He was mature like that.)

          Seriously therapists (or anyone) who recommend this shit ought to have their head examined.

  • My first thought, on the admittedly rare occasions I think about the subject, is that if Beyonce can be cheated on, anyone can be. It must be so humiliating to have all that nonsense going on in the public eye.

    • Like Jennifer Gardner, Jennifer Aniston, Halle Berry, Gwen Stefani, JoLo, Shania Twain, with her Best Friend, her Mutt ugly husband and BFF…….beautiful, accomplished women who have gone thru shit storms.

  • Not to defend Beyoncé…not much of a fan as I was in the beginning of her career…. but was the Queen B going to let Becky with the good hair get one more swig of her Lemonade???
    Gurl…hold my earrings….Hell to the No. That’s HER MAN……..her $$$$$$$$.
    Again, not defending…..but felt that too. He may be an asshole, but he’s MY ASSHOLE. It took me a long time to realize he did me a favor. My life isn’t on the same display as Beyoncé, but we chumps sometimes try to save face……and she made tons of money off Becky with the good hair and CheaterJZ I’ll give her that.
    Ester is a Wordy McWord who loves the sound of her own drool. Give the UBT a vacation to get detailed and tuned up after that word vomit.

  • The sad thing is that if STBX had shown any real willingness to reconcile, I would have totally gone along with it. I so wanted those orgasms. I didn’t get them because he decided he would rather give them to her.

    Sometimes I wonder if he really is the good guy for discarding me instead of making me suffer through wreckonciliation. Then I remember that he did make a play for the “open marriage” option and I had to initiate the whole messy divorce thing.

    • Oh yes, 3 months after day my stbxw tried this and I rationalized it to the max. Weak chumpy me. Wreckonciliationd and discardment after 1,5 years. I did it all, I don’t regret any of it in the end. I was empathic, compassionate, forgiving. I will use these beautiful skills on someone deserving next time. Fix my picker.

      Damn open marriage play. The audacity. Narc bullshit sandwich.

      Hope you didn’t eat it. You’re mighty.

    • OMG so did mine. When I said no, that was the end of him. He literally ran away. FOR REAL. Open marriage, polyamory, monogamish. All the crap to be spewed was spewed at my most vulnerable. Talk about picking the wings off a butterfly! The only strength I could ever muster up was to say NO NO NO. NEVER. I am not an option, I am not sharing my husband OR my body.

  • Entertainers live under bright lights, wear lots of glitz and make up.

    Most chumps live in ordinary houses. Make up is usually for special occasions.
    Our ordinary, everyday life, is not glitz and glamour.

    However, no covering up the betrayal pain, no bright lights or make up for that.

    “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust”, the same for each worldly creature.
    Just saying….

  • Is she talking the erotic energy of hysterical bonding? Because I had/ did that, and at the end of the day it was as meaningless as the vows he took. I Might as well have been a blow up doll for the amount of emotions that existed there. Didn’t see it until I had distance and clarity.

    • Me too. It was horrible. Humiliating, desperate, insecure “love”. Broken contract, so no trust or stability. Mountains of lies, layers of rotten onions to peel back, revealing more deceit, all while trying to provide “that thing” your spouse needed. Never knowing when he’ll return to his old ways, so keep trying harder. No security, no trust. You can’t even stand looking at him. This is horrible. I hate that I spent as long as I did trying to reconcile, but eventually I realized there wasn’t enough alcohol on the planet to make it acceptable.

  • While scrolling through my Facebook, I noticed that something being hawked by Esther Parell, some video, keeps ending up in my feed as an ad. I tried to block it, saying that it was offensive and spam, but I keep seeing it.

    I really, really thought her 15 minutes would be up by now.

  • I went to the ER vomiting blood as a result of the stress brought on by my XW having an affair in my face. She took this opportunity to try and have me stay in the hospital and transferred/committed to a psych hospital so she could hang with the AP unimpeded by her husband. That was so erotic and totally not traumatic! Pffft.

    • Not much surprises me, but that’s really horrible David. I’m so sorry. Nothing like committing your husband to the psych ward so you can fuck around.

      • Thank you. To fill out the story: after they did an upper GI on me and I came to, I was informed that I could not leave until the attending psychiatrist saw me.

        After determining within minutes that I was fine–for god’s sake I was there for a GI issue–he of course discharged me.

        It dawned on me with horror what had occurred while I was unconscious–that my wife had conspired to have me committed–and I called her. She was shocked and furious that I was being discharged.

        So I went home only to find an empty house. I called my neighbor, who informed me that my wife had dropped our children off with her (they were five and eight) and left with the AP.

        I called my wife who tore into me, demanding I leave the house since I was “unstable.” I told her if I was unstable then she certainly should call the police and/or at the very least come for our children. She didn’t, and the kids came home to me and their mother stayed out all night with the AP.

        This episode was a very special one that I consciously call to mind whenever I start spackling my marriage, feeling guilty, etc. What a monster.

        • Omg. This is just inhuman. Glad you’re still here. This is indeed monstrous.

          The gall.

          Keep on being mighty.

        • David, there are no words. What a horrible, spiteful, cruel woman your X is; so glad you have her in your rear-view mirror.

        • Pure evil. I don’t remember the details or your story but I hope you have full custody of your children.

          • I have slight majority custody.

            Thank you. Fortunately time has done its thing and the whole episode feels more and more like a distant nightmare I once had. I have seven years to go (when my youngest is 18) till the day I can move far far away from and truly remove her from my life.

    • Gaslighting 101 right there.

      The cruelty of these shells should cease to amaze me, but it doesn’t. I guess that’s a good thing, to never get too jaded.

  • Was there some hot sex during the pick me dance? There was, but that is only for moments when the other 23 hours and 50 minutes of the day, my stomach was in knots and I was prone to cry with very little provocation. Also, it was a direct result of the love bombing my STBX was doing to ensure that I did not divorce him. Had he treated me special that way throughout our marriage, the sex may have never gone stale. So is good sex really a result of the betrayal or the result of the love bombing and hoovering?

    I would rather forgo sex and live without cheater. There is just something about living honestly without all those stupid games. I like to call it maturity and being free from drama.

    • Here’s what I think about “hysterical bonding” now. It’s no different than “He hit me, and then he went out and bought me a pretty dress.”

      • Exactly. You are hurting so badly. The person you normally would turn to for comfort is the one who betrayed you. And then there they are showering you with attention, gifts, and physical touches. It momentarily makes that pain and rejection go away and makes you feel special.

        It is sick really. They harm you beyond imagination and then you turn to them to validate that you are worth loving. It IS just like physical abuse. The only way to make it better is to leave the cheater.

        • I had two rounds of hysterical bonding. One passed muster (drunken sex on the laundry room floor, wahoo), the other didn’t (early morning sex in the living room while the teens were in their bedrooms). Yeah, in the competition, he let me know, she definitely won the second round. You see, SHE had sex with him for hours–all day, even, so, she wins. Also she didn’t live in a small house full of her adolescent children, and she met him in hotels while *I* took care of my kids (his kids, too, but you wouldn’t know it). But those are just excuses. Hurt like a motherfucker at the time, to be judged like that. Oh, and the consolation was a post-sex admonition, about how I had caused my husband to cheat on the home-wrecking whore. Almost needed duct tape to keep my head from exploding with that one.
          Well. He has lots and lots of time for sex.
          So do I, bitch. So. Do. I.

          • My hysterical bonding? I was raped, pure and simple and it was ugly, hurtful, painful and not in the least bit sexy, exciting or sophisticated. I too knew who had won in the moment (OW). My X had never done that to me before. He told me it was his way of letting me know that our sex life had been a complete drag up to that point (7 years married, 9 years together). AHHH! Just thinking about that time makes me so angry! I already felt like scum because of the affair and then to be raped and told that our sex life sucked was just so intimately cruel. But the worst part is, I bought it, hook, line and sinker for the next year and a half or so. I upped my sex game. I begged for sex because that’s the kind of woman he wanted.

            I have to believe that there are men out there who would not ever do what my X did. And I guess if there isn’t, being single is ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS compared to life with X. And hey, I’m even living with my parents right now…

            • MarriageDetective–so sorry for what you went through. The worst feeling a person can have is helplessness, and sexual helplessness coupled with violence is worst of all. Hugs.

            • What he did to you was criminal. No, most men are NOT evil. I’m sorry you were abused by a horrible shell.

            • MarriageDetective – What he did to you was beyond cruel. I completely get been fine with staying single for the rest of your life. I am right there with you. I do still believe that that there are good men out there who treat their wives and girlfriends with the respect and love they deserve. These wounds run so deep that it is hard to imagine trusting someone even if you would find them.

              • So sorry that happened to you Marriagedective. It leaves great big scars for a long time afterwards. Same thing happened to me and I still trust very few people. I’m sending you hugs.

      • No amount of Olympic fucking can undo betrayal. Don’t beat yourselves up, chumps. We never knew we were placed into a competition with magical genitals until we found out about our SOs deceit.

      • Hysterical bonding with a side of Stockholm syndrome.
        It is psychologically disturbing to seek comfort in the person who is literally killing us, but so many of us chumps do just that. For some of us the fog lifts almost immediately and for others, the dissipation is slow. But, I think for all of us, clarity is reached sooner or later and we leave our killer behind and seek life over a slow death with our cheater.

  • I wonder if she would have the same opinion if she realized that her husband was plowing some sank in her bathroom while she slept at night completely unaware he was gone.

  • Every time I get exposed to EP, I wonder what she’s hiding? Like, is all this whole ‘married in captivity’ schtick her own Lemonade or is it rationale for her own extramarital sex?

    But that’s the healthier me wondering what EP is hiding. This healthy skepticism was present only in shadowy whispers before wonderful people like Chump Lady helped me flip that narrative back into its normal form (and banish the shame in questioning the status quo of my upbringing).

    The old me can still mistake arrogance for shiny – but I’m much better at catching myself at it much sooner now.

    My mental health needs as much maintenance as my physical health. I much prefer this middle aged creep that inches me to mental strength to the one expanding my waistline.

    • Oh me too! What poisoned cool-aid did she drink, or is she the one poisioning the cool-aid?

      Alas, I guess that’s just another version of untangling the skein of fuckupedness

      … just trust she sucks! I for one find the reference to my moral peabrain lacking enlightenment hysterical.

      Hey Esther I’m selling oceanfront property in Arizona really cheap! You want to buy it? Oh, you don’t believe me? Well I guess trusting your instincts … err, I mean – lack of “personal enlightenment” would leave you skeptical. Trust what I’m peddling… I’ve been enlightened, and you…. you are sadly a peabrain! I’ve got video … (and lots of views) to prove how many enlightened people love what I’m selling! It’s on the internet… it must be true!

      https://ispot.tv/a/7VOE

      • Funny thing, Brain. I was just responding to a comment of yours above as you were responding to mine. And we both used kool-aid references.

        Great minds!

  • Miss Esther clearly got fucked over righteously and to this day is trying to justify why she is now the cheater rather than the chump.

    A converted cheater. The worst kind.

    • I read this as ‘covertcheater’ . No European that I have encountered thinks infidelity is sophisticated. I’ve lived all over the place. The reaction to learning about a cheater cheating is not a pat on the back, smug wink of a cultural elitist like an EP. It’s more like Forest Gump, ‘stupid is as stupid does’.

      • I agree. The emotional reaction to betrayal is evolutionarily programmed into us. All EP’s pseudo “cognitive restructuring” of the event is like trying to push a boulder up a steep hill (and more dangerous).

  • There was one sentence in EP’s slop that has truth:

    “As Brazilian couples therapist Michele Scheinkman has pointed out, the notion of trauma provides a legitimizing framework for the pain of betrayal, *but it limits the avenues for recovery.*”

    That is because there is no recovery from infidelity.

    If I throw diesel fuel on your face, light a match, and watch your face melt- how do we come back from that? Intellectual dialoguing? A couple’s retreat? A prayer circle with crystals and chanting?

    Cheating is the kill shot. It is the death blow to love and joy with that person. It is over. EP can be easily understood with the old journalist mantra: Follow the money.

    Substitute infidelity with the word cancer, and imagine her in a dirty store front shop with some sketchy powders and juices, and that is who she is. A filthy, grandiose snake oil salesman with an accent.

    • “Cheating is the kill shot.” How very well put, TINAT. Fucktard was fucking me when his “romance” with AP began and then he was doing us both for at least two years. Every time we had sex, I felt used–my body keyed into the betrayal long before I did–and immediately jumped into the shower afterwards. I could not come to an orgasm with him either. HOT SEX?!? Uh, no. One of these days I will have HOT sex again and you can be damned sure it won’t be with a Cheater.

  • I was very disappointed that NPR is hosting EP’s new “show”– sickening concept. Capitalizing on abuse–I wrote to NPR and complained. I also wrote to Oprah magazine and complained about that abusive cheater Elizabeth Gilbert’s platform there, but I digress.

    Here is the front page for EP’s new gig– I cannot pain shop and retrigger myself so I will not be listening in:

    Hello and Welcome to Where Should We Begin,
    Too often couples live like isolated islands. We think what we’re experiencing in our own relationship is unique to us, and we don’t know that our neighbors and friends are experiencing the same longings, laments, deprivations and disillusionments in their own lives.
    There is no school for relationships, no place for us to learns the tools for rebuilding and repair, to learn to straddle the many contradictions that roil in all of us. Where Should We Begin? is a way for me to create meaningful, deep and open conversations. As you listen to these intimate, unscripted sessions between real life couples, I think you will find the language you’ve been looking for to have conversations with the people in your own life.
    Enjoy,
    Esther Perel
    2459_EstherPerel_LPDT_sneakEp3._CB509850674_
    We are looking for couples for Season 2.
    For more information and to apply CLICK HERE.

    • “I think you will find the language you’ve been looking for to have conversations with the people in your own life.”…. clearly she’s never had a conversation with the person who’s every word is Ally, a manipulation, and attempt to gaslight. What a fucking waste of time.

      The only useful conversation in that equation after DDAY was the one I had with my lawyer when I said, “FILE!”

    • This is truly frightening! And sickening.

      I’m not trying to minimize infidelity, the act itself, but if the one time infidelity were the only thing, that would be something and possibly you could still work things out in your marriage. But one of the biggest issues I see and have read about here and have witnessed myself is that the infidelity act is usually a symptom of much larger problems – problems with the cheater and their continued abuse of chumps. They have serious entitlement issues, they blameshift, they gaslight, they lie, there’s usually financial infidelity, they are jealous of their children, they don’t work well or at all with others, they take and take and take and NEVER give, they force the chump to contort to their will, etc., etc. Esther might possibly have an argument if it was JUST the infidelity. But even she concedes that there are a lot of other factors at play here.

      I was talking with my parents several nights ago and my mother talked about how the infidelity with my X was one thing and definitely enough to divorce over, but there was a list 9 miles long about all his other offenses. In my opinion, it’s never “just the infidelity” with these disordered fuckwits, it’s everything else ALONG WITH the infidelity that makes the entire situation truly, truly insufferable. The infidelity is probably THE catastrophic event that awoke us to all to the real dynamics at play in the relationship – the cheater takes all, the chump gets nothing.

      • 100% TRUE! Preach!! SO true, and most people really don’t understand this–not even newbie chumps. It takes a minute to put two and two together, and is a HUGE part of the healing process, to finally realize that it’s not just the genital act that makes the cheater a problem. That’s just the LAST straw. Cheating is an opportunity to finally recognize what you’ve been working with all along. When it finally clicks, it’s a huge “ah-hah! ahhhhhhhhhhh!” moment. It was THIS forum that taught me that. RIC wants us to believe it’s some sort of isolated aberration, on the spectrum of normal human behavior, but it isn’t. Cheating is just the most glaring symptom of disorder. It’s the line you don’t get to cross, but, unfortunately, there are people like EP working really hard to remove that line.

        This far out, I’m just over here all, “Yeah, go ahead and justify it all you want. I’ll be off doing my thing because I don’t HAVE to put up with abuse. Good luck y’all!”

        • MD and Stephanie, yes, Yes and YES! It wasn’t just the bumping of their ugly genitals, it was the lying, stealing of assets, devaluation, disrespect that was my main problem. The discovery of the cheating was just the nail in the coffin. Friggin’ Hasta La Bye-bye, Babeeee!

      • Well stated.

        I don’t explain what caused the demise of my marriage by starting with “he cheated” … instead, I list the other, equally crappy behaviors first. Then I mention the infidelity. This approach allows me to avoid the hasty “is that all?” types of responses from others.

      • Was The straw that broke the camels back for me and explained his abuse of me for the past year and a half, even before that I put up with way to many antics. EP makes it all so simplistic and people’s hearts are not.

    • Ugh and I thought it was just weird and awful coincidence when I read today’s CL article then opened my podcast app and found EP was this week’s guest on Wait Wait. Guess that explains why she was on there.

      Glad I didn’t go to THAT live recording.

  • This drivel is so terribly offensive. Honestly, I don’t know what I’m offended by more: the idea that as Americans, we feel too deeply or that as Europeans, they don’t feel enough, because those seems to be the hairs she is trying to split here. A little cloak and dagger ethnicity card that she’s trying to pull.

    I would imagine that on the level of all human existence, betrayal deeply wounds all of us, whether we are European, South American, American, Asian, etc. A few weeks ago, CL posted about open marriage and there were several in the comments that stated that they had an open marriage and yet even within that framework, there was betrayal. And it HURT like a motherfucker! So in the case of betrayal, you can’t even pull a sexual orientation card!

    Esther has a bad case of word salad. I’m not biting.

  • It seems to me to be a desperate attempt by her to show how hip she is by listening to and analyzing youth culture. She knew that there were enormous amounts of net searches for the word ‘lemonade’ after the release of the album and she wanted to capitalize on it. Then she threw in some continental nonsense to try to give it an air of sophistication.

    This current sexual ideology is just a rehash of the sixties, seventies, eighties and once again a misdirection from the whole issue of lying, cheating and treating people poorly.

  • I was chumped by a South American man with whom I was deeply in love, married for 22 years and had four beautiful children – 3 teenagers and one young adult when D-day happened a year ago last week. I have struggled a lot, and made nearly all the chump mistakes, but luckily learned of Tracy’s book and this blog. Before then, I had been wounded by these theories that are swallowed whole and spouted by many ( not all) of my friends from my stbx’s part of the world about cheating and how it’s partly my fault for being somehow inadequate, that infidelity is not such a Big deal, that every man is selfish and you just have to chew on the shit sándwich and try as hard as you can to win the pick me dance. If he abandons you, his reputación as the ‘Good guy’ must be kept in tact for the children’s sake, so keep quiet. Chump Lady, can you have Leave a Cheater translated into Spanish?

    • The audio book rights were just sold, so maybe with any luck foreign rights will be sold. (The agent and publisher control this.) I am, however, considering a plug-in that will translate the blog into foreign languages. Still doing some research on that. I’d hate if it was poorly translated.

      • Or I should say, more accurately, the audio book rights are in the process of being sold. I don’t have more information on it at the moment. But I’ll be sure to announce it when I know for sure when it’s coming out!

        • Thank you, Tracy. As you say, It needs to be well translated, but I can think of many slang expressions in Spanish that could parallel some of those in the UBT! It can be done, and would challenge the culture of turning a blind eye to entitlement and dishonesty.

  • In lawyer-speak, “I had a REASONABLE expectation of fidelity and monogamy” as per our marital vows spoken before a rabbi and signed in our “contract”. Apparently, there was an EXPIRATION date, as my STBX hub said, and he wanted to RENEGOTIATE our marriage vows after 26 years (monogamish the new word in his vocabulary) so he could see what else was out there…oh, and to bring in a third party, polyamory, have both of us, cos his love for me was separate from his LOVE for this homewrecking sociopathic slunt he had known for a handful of weeks. He’s such a good compartmentalizer, top notch! At the top of his game! When I said NO, but he’s more than welcome to have whomever he wants BUT not ME too, he went into a typical narc rage/word salad/cake eating/ hope that grass was greener but I think it’s been mowed too many times–that’s lasted for more than a year. Stalling the divorce, acting like a baby, and trying to harm me financially. I do however, want to thank him for my weight loss that’s allowed me to wear double zeros for the first time ever–glass half full!

  • She was on NPR’s ‘Wait, Wait..Don’t Tell Me,’ I think it was last weekend? I threw up in my mouth a little, hearing her.

    And now I know, it’s “Es-taire Perel”. And everyone mistakes her for being French! (of course, they also mistake her for knowing anything worthwhile, or having a conscience.

  • Funny how EP never mentions that infidelity is the #1 reason for divorce in that most sexually sophisticated of countries … France. Also the biggest cause in … Brazil. So you can say what you like, but infidelity destroys marriages. Couples are neither rejuvenated because of it, nor complaisant about it.

    You know where infidelity doesn’t lead to divorce that often? Highly patriarchal countries, where women have very little power, money, access to education and property (and often even no custody rights in case of divorce). In those countries, women who are cheated on often put up with it, because they have no other choice. Women who cheat often end up … discarded or dead.

    But you know, it’s all fun and games! And so ALIVE!

  • Yes KarenE, and even amongst the more well off and ‘educated’ in there countries, the mentality that aims to justify and blame shift is rampant. Really accommodating to cheaters.

  • I love this one and can relate! One of our friends (no longer mine) tried to do an intervention on my cheaters behalf. He said my cheater did nothing wrong and I must have known or allowed it! He, a Belgian and a known cheater, then wrote me some weird “advise type column” emails and blind copied the cheater and several of my friends! It started with a bogus letter to Dear Abby asking for advise, “she is angry and filled with hate… what can I do?”. And finished with comments from psychologists, also probably bogus. It was bizzare! I now know where he got his inspiration, from the great EP! He signed off like this- “While ego and suffering dance their tango with endless embellishments we wait for the music to stop.” Wow, how romantic is that?? Makes me feel like jumping back in the cheaters arms!

    No no no, the music stopped on D-day and I’ve been laughing ever since I got his BS.

  • Two things:

    1–why would my wife having sex with another man turn me on? Frankly, during my pick-me dancing stage, I tried more romance and sex. But it was forced, and disingenuous. I like sex as much as the next guy, but having sex with your wife while thinking she may have had sex with her OM yesterday is NOT thrilling.

    2–what’s all this talk about revenge? Is Esther saying that I should have taken up one of my less-classy friend’s offers to have the OM “messed up”? Or is she saying that I should have cashed in my chips as a known devoted and attractive husband to land a few local tramps and “even out the score”?

    Which of these are the enlightened, sophisticated way that I should have handled the situation? And why the fuck does Esther get the right to tell me how I should have felt (lustful, vengeful!) about my wife fucking another man?

    I saw one of her TED talks. Within the first minute, she blew up her whole speech by asking, “Why do happy people have affairs.” There you go, implying that cheating is justified for the unhappy.

    She also compared choosing to have an affair to being diagnosed with cancer…as if these are at all comparable situations.

    What a joke. I can’t believe people eat this shit up.

    • Chump Lady needs a TED talk. Nobody is saying what CL is saying with such clarity.
      Really this blog helps me be a better person, have boundaries.

    • The whole pick me dance sex thing is the worst. I did have a bout of hysterical bonding (weeks on end after d-day of wanting to sexually maul someone ?) and we did have some hot sex afterwards (I know. I’m shameful!). BUT during that time and even now I totally get triggered and have anxiety attacks and get dry heaves when I picture what happened between idiot cheater and the whoremat. I literally don’t know any details beyond it happened in a hotel and what the whoremat looks like but I still have mental movies and it’s AWFUL!

      I also get that revenge feeling. I just want him to hurt like I hurt. I want to fuck someone and I want him to have that mental image of his wife naked and moaning with some other guy, laughing it up in bed together. But it’s not the same. We’d only been with each other before now and I’m too awesome to sell myself out to some rando for the sake of “revenge” that won’t even make me feel better. It doesn’t get revenge on him. It doesn’t make him hurt like I hurt. It doesn’t make me feel better or sexier or worthy of love or desirable or special. I think when you are lost and hurt and feel like you’re dying after d-day the idea that ANYTHING will make you feel human again seems worth looking at. Even if it is all a load of garbage!

  • Do you ever wonder if the ones that serial cheated throughout the whole marriage will settle down once they leave for the AP? I ask because maybe there’s something about me that drove him to do this? He discarded me and our young adults sons, He will only communicate with our 24 y/o DD at her work. As for me I was blocked immediately after the discard and I have not seen him since. I have been treated like I don’t exist and been betrayed in every way imaginable. I feel so lost and hurt and I miss him terribly.

    • I’m so sorry for your pain. We have all been there. Time and support (this blog and the book!) are the best healers. Did you read “Leave and Cheater, Gain a Life” book yet? Helps to see who you were REALLY with, not who you THOUGHT you were with.

    • Ugh Heartbroken I am so sorry for all your pain. The complete discard is absolutely devastating and left me questioning everything about my reality. One of the most difficult things for me was “if he was the wonderful, amazing, honest, decent man I thought he was, then I must have been the problem”. It took me a while to see that it was my image of the person I thought he was that I truly missed. He, in fact was a lying, deceptive, selfish, asshat who only cared about what I could do for him and not actually about me as a person or the marriage we had built.

      I was able to project good character on a skeleton of charm and wit for many years. That was my fault, but I did nothing to be discarded so thoroughly and thoughtlessly. Even if you are imperfect like me you are not responsible for another adults poor behaviour and terrible character.

    • Sorry for your pain. It hurts, but over time there are some positives: 1) you are better off without him and will not have to deal with his continued abuse, whereas many who have been chumped can’t get their cheaters to leave them alone. 2) it’s probably not really “him” that you miss but an idea of him that never really existed. You did experience a great loss, but with him out of your life, you do not have to relive the loss any more.

      Instead, learn to take care of and give to yourself. You deserve it! You can do it!

    • Your pain still sounds so raw. I remember that and I feel a twinge of the hurt.
      Hug. Be gentle with yourself. Treat and talk to yourself as you would a Friend who was experiencing this. It’s not you…It’s him. Mark my words,one day you will believe this because it is truth.
      In the meantime do one thing daily that is a treat to you. Try to have good experiences even through the pain. When you look back on this time the memories won’t all be sad.
      I let some friends take me out. Forced myself. Felt like I was taking it and I was. But now I look back and I smile can smile. Bought myself a new outfit every month. Treated myself to smoothies and lunch. Took to the beach. Joined quiz night. All while struggling in my quiet moments. But I’m glad I distracted myself.
      You will be forever different but not like you imagine. The future is uncertain…As it ever was. If you think of this life as an adventure you will come to embrace with time the next chapter. It will be good. Be encouraged.

      • Yes to this. Do something for yourself. Me and a girl friend travelled to Italy together. It was a great memory and served as positive distraction from the pain. In time, when you look back, those memories are incredibly healing and you will remember them more than the ‘loss’.

        • No! 10000000xs no. A serial cheater will NEVER change. Not for you. Not for the whore. Not for anything or anyone. They have a bottomless chasm inside of them that they try to cram with all the love. All the adoration. All the affection. All the sex. And it will NEVER be filled by anything or anyone. And they will just keep grabbing what they can and trying to cram it in there to feel good just for one second. You are not to blame. You could have been a bad wife, you could have been the worst wife in human history, you could have been an amalgamation of Hitler, Bin Laden and Satan lord of the underworld himself and it did not give him the right to cheat on you. It gave him the right to speak up for himself to ask for the situation to change for the better or he could leave. Someone else can correct me but I’ve never heard of any country that TRAPS a man in a marriage he no longer wants. He wasn’t powerless. He showed that when he left. NOTHING you did or didn’t do invited this, don’t listen to him or anyone else including that cruel little voice in your own head blaming you for what happened. It is not your fault. You did the best you could with what you had available at the time. And it is not your fault.

  • Talking about translation & Spanish. I do not know where this came from. But in Hispanic countries when there is a betrayal we said: ” Me pegaron cuernos” = “Putting Horns” (I got horns without asking ????) & it is a public humiliation of course for the men. For wowen: ” You look for them” for XYZ reason. Esther Perel would be happy with this kind reasoning. I think there is a mythilogical reason for that phrase. ANyway, nowadays it is related with the bullfights. There is a betrayal. We are the bulls being bullies by the “Bullfighter” (cheaters) we try to avoid being killed and some times we hit them with the horns that “we got” in the back with no luck while they keep waving the “red cape” in front of us.
    The bullfighter/cheater tried to kill US but they got distracted & WE hit them with my long horns in the back!! Boom! In real life some “toreros” bullfighters die because of the injuries but why do they keep mistreating the bulls ?? Over & over in front of thousand of people clapping to the bullfighter (cheater) . Guess what?! no more flashing the “red cape” ( for us the red flag)! Let’s Kill the toreros= Narcs, cheaters, bullies & liars‼️??? Olé❗️

    • I like the image of me as a Texas longhorn (I know it’s not the correct type of bull for fighting) prancing around skewering all the cheaters I can find ?????? ¡Olé!

  • “The dialogue here is framed in terms borrowed from trauma, crime and religion: victims and perpetrators; injured parties and infidels; confession, repentance and redemption.” says Madame Perel. True, but that’s not what I am most pissed off about. I’m pissed about exploitation. The exploited is the injured party Madame Perel. While one partner is cavorting having fun, being selfish, the other is holding up the relationship and the family alone and undermined, not to mention the butt of jokes for the cheaters. Oh, that annoying boring other half at home, doing all the chores, while we are such exuberantly defiant sparkling creatures. That’s what pisses me off. Sometimes I think it’s an even bigger lie, worse lie than the lies told to the chump to get away to see the AP. The character assassination perpetrated on the exploited chump makes me sick with rage.
    And once again, the sophisticated European stereotypes are trotted out while she knows very well that a lot of European countries have kept adultery as grounds for divorce, even when they’ve given the option of no-fault divorce too.

    • Please do not byte the European theme here. She uses it just to make herself look interesting.
      The truth is Europe is the land of religion: Orthodox, Catholic. Greece, anyone? How about Poland, with 98% of people declared Catholics? Marriage is a must there. In fact, Orthodox priests cannot get a parish without being married. That’s how important family is!
      So Esther, don’t f u c k with family or religion, especially in Europe!!!!
      Instead, go read some history books. You’ll learn who took care of the invaders at the gates of Europe, so you could enjoy the thrill of calling yourself an European!

  • And one more thing…The pickmedance sex sucked. Sex with the Traitor when I trusted him, believed in him and felt really safe and loved in the first couple of years was great. Being undermined, yelled at, discarded, exploited and betrayed is simply the worst foreplay.

  • I will admit last year when I was working on my Phd on how to fix the marriage that my asswit ex had ruined, I did come across one of Esters ‘s TedTalks and I was invigorated and revived. Even forwarded it to dickwad. Doubt he ever listened to it. You just wanna hold on to anything that gives you hope or a perspective where you believe you can survive or even thrive after such an event. Reality is that if youre with someone who can intentionally hurt and betray you, no matter how exciting or hot the sex is, the relationship will forever be broken. EP prob has never gone through infidelity. You don’t really get it until you’ve been there. And we get it.

    • I’m sure she did. Just on the other side of the fence.
      I cannot shake the image of her riding someone’s husband while preaching the world about the erotism of being duped. Erotic intelligence. I’m done here!

  • Even when you are not from Amercia the cruelty that is infidelity is still incredibly painful. I have never heard of EF and based on this I shall not give any of her works the time of day, unfortunately my countries legal system, like a Switzerland friend doesn’t judge. ‘No fault’ divorce are you kidding me? Tracey maybe a useful post would be what enlightened laws are there out there and what do we think there should be? I would love to see more teeth in the law to benefit chumps particularly financially disadvantaged ones. My dependent but too old for support teens are with me full time and I scrimp to feed us healthily and heat our old home in winter while cheater STBX spends up big with his new female appliance. I appreciate that I’m better off in many other ways but it is yet another unfairness.

  • She’s right about something: in Europe, the response to infidelity is more pragmatic. Things such as alimony being enforced by law, forfeited from the other parent’s paycheck. 25% of a cheater’s income for his child? Pragmatic!

  • God I hate her sanctimonious pseudonintellectual self appointed expertism. She has GOT to be a cheater. or she’s the most ignorant fuck of an expert I’ve ever encountered.

    So only Americans rage about infidelity? Last time I checked in this site hosts the broken hearts of South Americans (the most “hot blooded and sexy” people in the planet, French, German, Canadian, British, Irish, Australian – so explain how we don’t fall under you sweeping generalisations you sweaty lipstick smudged potato.

    To minimise the trauma issue? Well thanks once again you re-traumatising half wit, go shred your counselling diploma you got from the Kellogg’s box coupon collection. And Celebrate the masters you received by smudging your lippy on the dicks of Bruges finest minds.

    Fuck off back to the nipple of the finest Belgian pilsner and keep your hobbyism to within the confines of the under street level smoky bar you’ll be earning your PHD in.

  • “She even voices one of the great unspoken truths about the aftermath of affairs: the hot sex that often ensues. “Grief sedated by orgasm,” she intones, “orgasm heightened by grief.””

    The discovery of infidelity initiates the grieving process. We are shocked and in disbelief that our partner could do this. Pre D-Day, our partner may have been abusive, but at least we thought they were faithful. Sex may have been one of the few occasions we “got along.” It may have given us hope that the loving, caring relationship we wanted could be achieved after all.

    With Post D-Day sex, in the grieving stages of denial and bargaining, we think if we can just get our partner back and if we are able to have hot sex with our partner, then we can have our old pre D-Day life back. We realize during sex we must not focus on the affair if we want the old relationship back and the old sex back.

    However, the old relationship is gone forever and is not coming back. Triggers will now come, perhaps at the worst times. The position he wants to have sex in is one you know or suspect he experienced with the OW. Suddenly, the desire for hot sex has waned as the mind movies begin.

    You steel yourself and the result is totally orgasmic. Then post-coitus, he uses a word to describe the sex that has been previously used in regard to OW. Another trigger, the mood is broken, and cold chills run down your spine. You realize that you have pulled out all the stops to make this work, and he is taking subtle delight in rubbing your nose in his affair. He really doesn’t respect you for offering your vulnerable, betrayed self to him. It is just proof of his greatness, that you will take him back no matter what he does, and he can treat you any way he sees fit, even if it is to disrespect you after hot Post D-Day sex.

  • My ex was so contemptuous and dismissing when it became clear that I expected remorse and real efforts toward redemption, when he wanted to come back (after realizing the grass wasn’t actually that much greener on the other side …). He was also highly contemptuous of my attempt to explain to him why lying is problematic in relationships. (Even today I’m impressed with my level of chumpiness; explaining the value of honesty to a 45 year old man??????)

    That’s when I realized that
    a) it was EXTREMELY convenient for him to take the approach that the best way to deal w/his (2nd round of) cheating was to put it aside, move on, let the past stay in the past, and btw, it was just a symptom of the problems in our relationship.
    (Worst of all, I had actually taken that approach after Affair #1, six years previously. Found out how well that worked ….)
    and
    b) I no longer needed to try to explain to him why his attitudes and behaviours were problematic, how they wouldn’t lead to the outcomes he wanted, never mind the ones I wanted, and why I thought it was important to be and do differently.

    I finally realized that he and I simply didn’t share the same values, the same goals and plans for our relationship and our family. That’s it, that’s all, nothing more to discuss! I don’t need to convince Esther Perel why she’s wrong, or convince others that I’m right. I express my values (also because it’s important that people know that it’s not everyone who thinks like this amoral, exploitative fuckers), and then I can walk away.

  • KarenE if you have to explain why family is important to someone and are met with blank looks, there is nothing to work with. I had the same experience, it was like teaching small children. He now wants to talk but I have enough info to conclude we do not hold the same things dear, he is a selfish short sighted dickhead and I’m not, end of.

    • That blank look! Agh! But he mirrored my desire for family, my values, so well in the beginning. He spoke of his fucked-up family in such a way that I believed he was very invested in doing differently …

      In the end he was a mixed copy of his sociopathic, cheating, violent, abandoning father and his emotionally abusive, abandoning step-father. LOVELY combo, as you can imagine!

      I don’t MIND that there are people out there who do not share my values about relationships and family. I just want them to stick to each other, and stop lying and manipulating to get what they really want, by convincing me (and other chumps) that they want the same things we do!

      And I really, really wish somebody had taught me that people like this are out there, and can make themselves look very normal and caring, for a while.

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