Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

UBT: Joseph’s Letter

If you’ve spent any time on reconciliation boards, you’re familiar with Joseph’s Letter. It was written by a member of a defunct forum “BAN”, but appears at Surviving Infidelity and Marriage Builders.

It’s a plea from a man (Joseph) to his “wayward wife” to please answer questions about her affair instead of doing the ol’ rug sweep. “I don’t remember” or “Let’s stop bringing this up and move forward” or “Telling you would only hurt you more.” Rug sweeping is the nice word for it. Minimizing, lying, and mindfucking are other terms. We don’t really know what kind of mindfuckery is going on in Joseph’s marriage, only that Joseph’s wife has been less than forthcoming and it’s torturing the poor guy.

Joseph’s letter is invoked as as sort of holy relic in unicorn circles. A resource by which chumps should model themselves when approaching “waywards.” (The nice word for cheater. Fucktard, liar, fraud are other terms.) That is to say, approach with deference. Assume the very best qualities in your cheater — that deep down they’re good people who love you as much as you love them, and are every bit as invested in the marriage. Acknowledge that the cheater’s pain is equal to your pain. Tell them how much you love them.

Joseph’s letter is quintessentially chumpy — kind and forgiving, and glazed with more spackle than an army of dry wallers. When I read it, my heart breaks for the man. He clearly has a big heart and he’s trying to share it with someone he delusionally assumes cares for him.

But it also makes me want to slap Joseph. “DUDE! She’s DOESN’T WANT TO TELL YOU BECAUSE SHE PREFERS YOU DON’T KNOW!” That’s what her ACTIONS say. Know why she doesn’t tell you the details? Because she doesn’t want you to know them. It’s that simple.

But Joseph persists. Maybe if I explain this thing like a jigsaw puzzle missing a few pieces, she’ll understand! Because that’s what she lacks — insight! Did it every occur to Joseph that maybe his wife prefers the power seat of knowledge over him? That talking about it makes her uncomfortable, or calls into question her self regard, so she puts avoiding her discomfort over his pain? Did it ever occur to Joseph that his wife is a selfish bitch?

So today I thought I’d put Joseph’s letter through the patented Universal Bullshit Translator.


To Whomever,
I know you are feeling the pain of guilt and confusion.

Joseph, your cheater isn’t “confused.” She knows exactly what she’s doing. Does her guilt pain her? Perhaps, but not as much as you knowing about her affair and nattering on about it pains her.

I understand that you wish all this never happened and that you wish it would just go away. I can even believe that you truly love me and that your indiscretion hurts you emotionally much the same way it hurts me.

Put down the spackle, Joe. Her affair doesn’t pain her the way it pains you — it’s NOT EVEN CLOSE. She enjoyed the affair — that’s why she did it. And went back for seconds and thirds. Ego kibbles and cake are awesome. That’s what her actions say — she had an affair because she wanted it, not because it “pained” her.

I think in your chumpy little brain you have to imagine your wife is in the same kind of pain you are, so there is some kind of justice. Gee, it’s all just one big clusterfuck and we’re all hurting! NO — she DID THIS TO YOU. And yes, herself. But for her to want understanding for her self-inflicted pain is like the guy who murdered his parents wanting clemency from the court for being an orphan. Fuck her, Joe.

I understand your apprehension to me discovering little by little, everything that led up to your indiscretion, everything that happened that night, and everything that happened afterwards. I understand. No one wants to have a mistake or misjudgment thrown in his or her face repeatedly.

Well, that’s true. No one wants their mistakes thrown in their face. But this wasn’t a mistake (singular) or misjudgment (singular) — this was an affair. It’s betrayal. It was completely pre-meditated, unlike a mistake — which is spilling wine accidentally on a friend’s sofa. You pay the cleaning bill, and yes, you hope no one mentions it again. But what you’ve got Joe is a much bigger mess to clean up. If you want to reconcile, she’s going to have face it (excuse me “have it thrown in her face”) for YEARS. Assuming the marriage ever heals in reconciliation. (The Universal Bullshit Translator is very skeptical.)

No one wants to be forced to ‘look’ at the thing that caused all their pain over and over again.

“Their” pain, Joe? There you go assuming again that she feels pain the way you feel it.

I can actually see, that through your eyes, you are viewing this whole thing as something that just needs to go away, something that is over, that he/she doesn’t mean anything to you, so why is it such a big issue? I can understand you wondering why I torture myself with this continuously, and thinking, doesn’t he/she know by now that I love him/her? I can see how you can feel this way and how frustrating it must be. But for the remainder of this letter I’m going to ask you to view my reality through my eyes.

And there’s your problem, Joe. She will NOT view reality through your eyes. To do that she’d have to have EMPATHY, which she just demonstrated through an affair that she is lacking. Now, I know to reconcile, you have to believe that this lapse in empathy was temporary, brought about by the fun of naughty sex and such, but consider that it might go deeper, that lack of empathy might be who she IS. That’s her character. And character changes very slowly and painfully and isn’t brought about by heartfelt letters, but things like consequences. The most empathy deficient? Consequences don’t even get through to those idiots. They keep doing the same stupid shit over and over again.

You were there. There is no detail left out from your point of view. Like a puzzle, you have all the pieces and you are able to reconstruct them and be able to understand the whole picture, the whole message, or the whole meaning. You know exactly what that picture is and what it means to you and if it can effect your life and whether or not it continues to stir your feelings. You have the pieces, the tools, and the knowledge.

You can move through your life with 100% of the picture you compiled. If you have any doubts, then at least you’re carrying all the information in your mind and you can use it to derive conclusions or answers to your doubts or question. You carry all the ‘STUFF’ to figure out OUR reality. There isn’t really any information, or pieces to the puzzle that you don’t have.

Joe, you don’t share a reality, or values, or much else. There is her reality and your reality. She’s looking at this through the lens of ME, and you want her to see her world through a lens of OURS. She doesn’t do that. She’s got her own agenda. Not telling you the truth is about her gaining advantage over you. It’s for her own protection, so you won’t know the full truth about your life and what she did, so then you won’t impose consequences.

Now let’s enter my reality. Let’s both agree that this affects our lives equally.

Let’s agree that leprechauns run the state lotteries. Let’s agree that I’m Baroness Penelope Snootypants and I live in a castle. Let’s agree that Tori Spelling is a Rhodes scholar.

The outcome no matter what it is will affect us both. Our future and our present circumstances are every bit as important to me as it is to you. So, why then is it okay for me to be left in the dark? Do I not deserve to know as much about the night that nearly destroyed our relationship as you do? Just like you, I am also able to discern the meaning of certain particulars and innuendoes of that night and just like you, I deserve to be given the opportunity to understand what nearly brought our relationship down.

Of course you deserve to know, Joe. It’s just that your wife (as you dimly suspect) doesn’t think you deserve to know, because you’re a lesser being. A chump. Not the sort of fabulous, deserving person she is. This isn’t a contest of equals here.

Also, you’ve got to let go of the idea that it was “a night” — singular. Where’d you get that nugget? Let me guess — the wife who’s lying to you and not filling you in on the particulars, right?

To assume that I can move forward and accept everything at face value is unrealistic and unless we stop thinking unrealistically I doubt our lives will ever ‘feel’ complete. You have given me a puzzle. It is a 1000 piece puzzle and 400 random pieces are missing. You expect me to assemble the puzzle without the benefit of looking at the picture on the box. You expect me to be able to discern what I am looking at and to appreciate it in the same context as you. You want me to be as comfortable with what I see in the picture as you are.

No, she doesn’t expect you to be able to “discern what you are looking at” or “appreciate its context.” That’s spackle for SHE IS STILL LYING TO YOU.

What she expects is for you to shut up about it already.

When I ask if there was a tree in such and such area of the picture you tell me don’t worry about it, it’s not important. When I ask whether there were any animals in my puzzle you say don’t worry about it, it’s not important. When I ask if there was a lake in that big empty spot in my puzzle you say, what’s the difference, it’s not important.

The puzzle is a nice metaphor, but this isn’t a children’s game. You’re not seeing a tree or animals. You’re not seeing unprotected sex, or multiple partners, or all the emails where she tells her affair partner what an asshole you are.

Then later when I’m expected to understand the picture in my puzzle you fail to understand my disorientation and confusion. You expect me to feel the same way about the picture as you do but deny me the same view as you. When I express this problem you feel compelled to admonish me for not understanding it, for not seeing it the way you see it.

You wonder why I can’t just accept whatever you chose to describe to me about the picture and then be able to feel the same way you feel about it.

She doesn’t care how you feel about it. You aren’t expected to understand the puzzle. That’s the POINT.

So, you want me to be okay with everything.

Now you’re getting it, Joe. Keep connecting those dots.

You think you deserve to know and I deserve to wonder.

Yes, that’s it exactly.

You may honestly feel that the whole picture, everything that happened is insignificant because in your heart you know it was a mistake and wish it never happened. But how can I know that? Faith? Because you told me so? Would you have faith if the tables were turned? Don’t you understand that I want to believe you completely? But how can I? I can never know what is truly in your mind and heart.

Oh, she totally understands that you want to believe her completely. That’s how you manipulate chumps and abuse their trust. They want to believe.

I can only observe you actions, and what information I have acquired and slowly, over time rebuild my faith in your feelings. I truly wish it were easier.

So, there it is, as best as I can put it. That is why I ask questions. That is where my need to know is derived from. And that is why it is unfair for you to think that we can effectively move forward and unfair for you to accuse me of dwelling on the past. My need to know stems from my desire to hold our world together.

It doesn’t come from jealousy, it doesn’t come from spitefulness, and it doesn’t come from a desire to make you suffer.

Joe, it’s not jealousy when your wife is fucking another man. That’s righteous anger at being betrayed. Who told you those feelings were “spiteful”? You deserve to be in a marriage where your wife isn’t fucking another man in secret. You don’t have a desire to make her suffer? Well, she sure as hell doesn’t care if YOU suffer.

It comes from the fact that I love you. Why else would I put myself through this?

Because you’re a chump and you’ve got spackle issues.

Wouldn’t it be easier for me to walk away?

Walking away isn’t “easier.” It takes a huge amount of guts. Keeping your 401K and your family together is the societally accepted path. But I’ll give you this, doing what you’re doing is self-inflicted torture and much more painful. You should consider walking away for your sanity and self respect.

Wouldn’t it be easier to consider our relationship a bad mistake in my life and to move on to better horizons?

Easier? No. Healthier? Yes.

Of course it would, but I can’t and the reason I can’t is because I love you and that reason in itself makes all the difference in the world.

Love the all-powerful spackle. Joe, some love isn’t good for us. Some relationships are toxic and it doesn’t matter how much you love the person, you need to walk away, because they don’t love you back with mutuality and respect. They love you as a superior loves an inferior. They love that you’re of use to them. They love the kibbles.

Love yourself more, Joe and burn this letter. Stop spilling your guts to a woman who demonstrably doesn’t give a shit about you. You’re better than this.

This column ran previously, but the unicorn peddlers live on… so…

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • This was me almost 4 years ago when I first caught him on the phone with a woman which he said was his friends wife. Open the phone bill 200 texts a day! Fast forward to now and my umpteenth d-day and I’ve filed and told him to get out. He still in my basement and that makes it hard. I’m dreading what is to come but I’m also excited. I’ve done more in the last month since filing for divorce than I have in the last year. I already have days where I feel very happy but I know I haven’t grieved the loss of this and that is what scares me. Is it possible since I’ve been putting up with all of this for so long that the worst is already behind me?

    • You are on your way to “meh” and it feels good, doesn’t it? Feeling happy again about the little and big things in life is a sure sign of your coming out of the fog they throw on us. I chose to focus on gathering objective data that I could use in the event that my divorce went to court and if I chose to file under Adultery, as the state I live in has that as an option. Data gathering such as your phone record discovery also helps to spell it all out and serves to be a reminder of what you will be leaving behind. You can’t dispute the cold hard facts and if/when you reveal it to him, he may be speechless and you may be able to use the data to “bargain” a well-deserved divorce settlement. Good luck!

    • Hey Sayonara —

      My understanding is that pain comes in waves. So it rises and falls, in a wave pattern. As we recover from pain, the peaks and valleys become less drastic.

      So don’t be surprised if the pain peaks again, that is the pattern. The good thing is that you have a plan and are moving forward, That will help to work through your pain, and as time goes by, the swings from high to low will flatline. I guess that is when you achieve Meh.

      Those books on setting boundaries talk about holy pain and unholy pain. In an abusive marriage, the unholy pain is trying to move ahead when cheater has suffered no consequences. Holy pain is when the chump takes the difficult and painful first step in the process of ending the marriage that caused the pain.

      • I like the concept of “holy” and “unholy” pain. I can see the glowing halo around Saint Chump’s head…

        • Unholy pain, also known as dirty pain. Meaning pain that only fucks you up more, provides no healing.

          • Exactly why I like those words to make that important distinction. Seems like the sort of pain one would deal with by becoming a martyr…which I suppose is somewhat contrary to the whole “saint” image, but martyring oneself for a lost cause is just…well…unholy.

    • I am up and down day to day. Monday was spent grieving the friends who decided to remain silent with me and/or listening to and accepted his narrative about what happened. It was a horrible, horrible day…I was barely able to get my toddler fed and put to bed without breaking into tears (didn’t help that I had an awful headache, but that might be a chicken/egg situation). Yesterday, I was back to normal — headache cleared, energy back, feeling stronger and more positive about the turn my life has taken. I suspect the up and down will happen for a while. I’m not sure we ever stop grieving, but I can only hope that the intensity will tone down eventually. I am feeling more confident about that theory after reading about people’s “meh” achievements here.

      • I’m like you, ChumpOnIt, in that I have days where I feel great and only minimally think about the ex-douchebag and his whore. Then there are days where it gets to me and I break down. I hate those days. I know, after reading other chumps’ stories, that this will get better with time and get to “meh.” I can’t wait.

        • I hate them too. It makes me feel a little better to know that we all go through this roller coaster, even though I wish none of us had to (which makes me feel worse again, ha). Hugs.

    • I agree, the pain does come in waves.

      The waves become smaller and less frequent over time.

      As for the grieving, in my own experience, that comes in waves too, and much of the grieving comes after you are pretty far out from d-day.

      My own d-day was back in mid-2013. By early 2015, I was divorced and ensconced in a new life back in my home country. I had a good job, a new house, and even a new partner.

      It wasn’t until mid 2016 that I had a major wave of grief come over me. The early grief is very short and sharp and intense. It makes you cry. It is there as a survival mechanism to keep you going, but you don’t have time to actually process it, rather just react to it.

      This later, more constructive grief is different. You are finally distanced enough to look back with some perspective. You can finally use the experience to learn some valuable things about yourself and what you will and won’t put up with in life in the future.

      It came on in slower, longer waves for me. I felt “not right” emotionally for days, and until I figured out it was some sort of long – standing grief reaction, I couldn’t learn from it and shake it off. That had happened once in 2016 and once in 2017, and I’m still not quite sure what the trigger was, so can’t say that it won’t happen again.

      Richard Grannon would probably call it complex PTSD.

      Don’t fear it. By the time you get to it, you will realize it’s very constructive and worthwhile.

    • Sayonara

      I stayed for 18 months post D Day. then I kicked him out. While the time of kicking him out and immediately after was really scary and upsetting, I look back and re-read diary entries and stuff and my bad feelings were all about the fear of changing “practical” things – so leaving my garden, selling the house, where would I live etc. really not any thoughts or sorrow about HIM at all. I was NC straight away and what I learners on the grapevine made me roll my eyes rather than sear my heart.

      However, the pain immediately after DDay was crucifying. I have never known anything like it and hope never to again. And that pain lasted for months and months. I knew he had ruined the relationship forever. I knew my heart was not in reconciliation and I couldn’t look at him or have him touch me without feeling a mix of so many powerful feelings – 80% negative.

      So yeah, I think I processed a huge amount of my grief in that 18 months post D Day. By the time I actually got round to kicking him out, it was only residual sorrow I felt for him.

      Eight months later and I have not seen or heard from him. Settlement gone through. It’s weird because it’s like he never existed. Like “what was that?” An eight year brain snap.

      • Wow ZHUcHI this is very similiar to me. He has a son that lives with us (from his first marriage where he was also a serial cheaterpants) and so the son moving out is most upsetting but I’m good with his mom and I know I will be able to see him. Yes the pain processed after that first d day was horrible, looking back now I wish I had left him then but what can you do. I’m proud of us for standing up for ourselves even if it is later down the road. I hope you a new place with a beautiful garden full of meh!

      • Same for me but it was 20 years and POOF he’s no more in my life. Just gone. But not gone because all of the memories. The shit he left around that I am still finding. And living in the house we shared for those 20 years. Still watering the plants we planted. Staring at the walls we painted. The Furniture. The Artwork. And the missing furniture. And missing artwork. And the missing hugs and exchange of smiles. Missing the teamwork and not missing the policing.

        Back and forth and back and forth. It’s gotten easier but I don’t think it will ever really resolve.

  • This is the letter The Sprout feels so hard done by he never got from me! Not that I didn’t spackle enormously but even I wasn’t this bad. Poor man – I hope he came to his senses

  • Thats what I thought he lacked…INSIGHT ! If only he knew how his actions hurt me, he would surely stop <—- the assumption that ruined many years of my life.

    Oh but I tried and tried and tried again many many times. Tell him this write him that, get him a book.

    No, it wasn't insight he lacked…it was decency, accountability, a conscience and any respect for me…that is what he lacked.

    My letters sounded more like Joseph's than I would want you all to know, and it did NO GOOD. Divorce papers would have been a better use of wood pulp than the letters I wrote him.

    • Exactly, we think (not only after D-day, but throughout the years of our marriages) that if we can just get them to SEE how they are hurting us, if a marriage counselor can just get them to UNDERSTAND, that they will be sorry and change and treat us well….Hahahaha.

      Their ‘insight’ is not the problem. The missing empathy chip is the problem. The need to set up a power imbalance in their favor is the problem. Their thrill at having power over us is the problem. And nothing we can say or do will fix that. Run.

      • Gosh yes Tempest! Now my fuckwit has realized he is losing control of me and that there are consequences so he is laying his sights on the children. Sucking them in with promises that he has a reason for doing what he did but he can’t tell them. He says go to therapy with me and I will tell you. He tells them he is concerned for mom’s mental health. Well, it is all bullshit and I know it but one son is holding out to find the secret piece of information that is missing- that elusive puzzle piece. But it doesn’t exist. The puzzle is complete and what we see is real- that he is just disordered and doesn’t care!!!

        • Feelingit, I wonder if it’s tie to go “Oh no you don’t!!” on your fuckwit. . .

          All of that bullshit about explaining to the kids about mom’s mental health is a damn lie and is harmful to the kiddos.

          I’m wondering what would happen if you call out fuckwit? I did it with James Bond. I got emotionally bruised, and I had to be persistent and calm, but it did get him to back down. Also, he ramped it back up later, but I just stayed strong and called him out on his damn lies.

          • How did you call him out? My lawyer sent his lawyer a letter saying what he is saying constitutes alienation and slander and that we will pursue that with the courts but he hasn’t backed down much. He still acts like he has a rabbit in his hat.

            • First, I got the idea from George Simon’s book about the character disordered. X-hole and I were only communicating in emails (divorce was initiated, and settlement was in process).

              I would only comment on his behavior, and would not malign him personally (I didn’t call him an asshole, but I did state that his lying and cheating destroyed our marriage.) Stay calm, don’t get triggered.

              Their narcissism has an arc, you don’t want it to rise. You want it to stay low.

              • We are there. I am no contact but he is sending messages to the kids and talks to 2 of the 5 weekly. With the divorce, we communicate through lawyers.

      • Amen to this – lack of empathy — if you see it early in a relationship- RUN – it won’t get better- only worse !!!

        • I did the same. Over and over and over again, I thought, if only I could make him UNDERSTAND how his ignoring me/teasing, hurtful jokes/etc., etc. make me feel, then he would stop doing it. And it didn’t work. He’d change for a few days, try and make up for it, then right back to the same old, same old.

          No, not shame on you. Shame on HIM. We were acting out of love, trying to keep our marriage together. We TRIED. They didn’t.

      • “The need to set up a power imbalance in their favor is the problem”

        I am beginning to see that this was our problem even before we were married. Withholding of love and affection then love bombing was one method she used. I am still trying to understand why she would do this and worse – why I didn’t see it till now.

    • “Thats what I thought he lacked…INSIGHT ! If only he knew how his actions hurt me, he would surely stop <—- the assumption that ruined many years of my life."

      This. I was sure if I sent it in the right way he would all of a sudden realize what he had done. It cost me five years and greatly harmed my children.

      • Children definitely draw out this thinking. Surely he must see what a wonderful family he has made… I wanted it to be fixable so badly for our infant daughter. I wanted her to have what I had growing up. Problem was the “whole family” scenario only had one faithful and reliable parent out of two.

      • I did send an email letter to SMH and ‘flipped the script’ of his ‘discovery’ of my hypothetically behaving as he did. His response was validating: he said he would be “destroyed” if the tables were turned, that his (initial) story “didn’t add up” and that I was “right about everything.” Not bad, huh? He’s in therapy & working with a sponsor. Says all the “right” things. But I’m so done. Just 40 days post d-day, he’s out of the house (I had attorney, therapist, cpa before I confronted him on day 4). The rollercoaster is real. My initial pain (before & just after confrontation) was excruciating. It was grief of knowing 31 years was dead and gone. I work with dying people, so I know about grief. And we had been here before (surprised?). It was 26 years ago and we worked at rebuilding the relationship. But, now, learning of 3 year emotional affair with a subcontractor at work just blew me out of the water! I found those other blame the chump sites and tried to buy into their crap until I found CL, savior of chumps like me. The empowerment! The real, ugly, unpolished turds of hope for a fucktard-less future! Thank you. I still engage with him briefly, trying to keep the focus on kids & practical issues. But his manipulations are…amazing! He knows all my buttons and plays me like a master. A bumbling, “humble”, I accept the consequences for my bad behavior and deserve your anger MASTER. He has been straightforward about details when I’ve asked…seems sincere. But that’s the cheater magic, isn’t it?
        So, I am torn. But only by a smaller percentage (12%?) than last month. Thanks to CL & CN. You all help ne SO MUCH! THANK YOU!

    • Having to explain how things he did were hurtful was pretty much the last straw for me. Explaining this stuff…to a grown-ass man. It was mind-boggling.

      • Yep, time to walk when you find yourself explaining emotional responses to an adult like you would to a child. Response a blank stare. No one is home, run!

        • Oh the Blank Stare! I tell my sister about things I say to him to try and get him to understand what he has done. She says, what did he say? I say, Nothing, just a blank stare…

      • Yes! Whenever you find yourself having to explain HOW to be a decent human being and WHY you should be a decent human being to a grownup, it’s too late. You need to just run.

        • I told mine, “It’s not my job to teach you right from wrong. You’re a grown-was man of 64. If you don’t know by now, there’s no hope!”

      • Agreed. I had read that quote by someone or other on how you have to teach people how to treat you. Sorry, there are some things that you just don’t have to teach people. Cheating, being a mooch, treating everyone like servants and denying your spouse everything in life are some lessons you should not have to teach your spouse. If that is what it’s going to take, I’m pretty happy being single.

        • That quote is total horsesh*t when you are dealing with the disordered or empathy-challenged. It’s based on reinforcement/punishment–you reinforce people when they treat you well, and confront/withdraw/punish them when they treat you badly.

          But there’s evidence the disordered are not subject to the same types of reinforcement/punishment contingencies than the rest of us (it was a joke in our household that Hannibal rarely learned from consequences).

          If you withdraw from them or confront them to teach them a lesson, they quietly retaliate or move on to the next victim.

          • You’re so right. The disordered play by a different set of rules. I always tried to be quiet, easy, non-confrontational, not ask questions or need anything… all so he would stay. I feel like such a fool now because once I started standing up for myself then 22 years of me sacrificing my very existence went right out the door. Now I’m getting that divorce that I feared more than anything, he wasn’t worth it.

          • I have also felt convicted by that “you teach people how to treat you” shit. I tried everything under the sun to get H1 to be civil to me and still he acted like I was a horrible burden. That is what I needed, more blame and accountability on my plate !

          • I agree! I fear my efforts are already wasted. I should not have to teach common courtesy to this man who is already past middle-age! He refuses to take accountability for his cruel words, deeds, and actions. He prefers to blame my response instead. I still get confused by it every.single.time. He has no problem pointing out others’ flaws and everything I’ve done wrong, yet when it comes to himself he says he’s “done nothing wrong”. He won’t admit or doesn’t know, due to lack of empathy, what he has bestowed upon and traumatized me with by his poor choices in cheating and more. I’m disappointed in him and I feel sad about that everyday. I knew from the instant I suspected he was cheating that I would have to be done with him. I told him this multiple times before D-Day yet that didn’t stop him. Even when I did manage to gain some freedom on my own, he somehow slithered his way back. What’s laughable is he described himself as a snake shedding his skin. Oh yes he did! Of course, he’s still a snake. Lessons, boundaries, and consequences are lost on this disordered selfish man-boy.

    • So true unicornomore, Tempest, and everyone on this thread, I knew from DDay #1 that I was done, but I too thought that if I could explain to him by sending articles and insights to him about conscious uncoupling, he would become a decent amicable ex and father…

      Nope, his losing control of me and of the narrative about the cause of our divorce showed me his true nature… It reminded me of the move “primal fear” when the true character of the main protagonist was revealed at the end… The only way to go was to RUN.

      I did and since divorcing him I have been validated in hundreds of ways about how much he sucks… I’m forging on with shared custody and being the sane parent is tougher than tough, but that remains better than being unknowingly married to a lying cheating coward…

    • Yes, I thought this very same thing. If ONLY he would see that these things hurt me so much. Nah. They don’t care about your pain, they only care about their own. Their empathy levels are zilch, and are imbalanced by their selfishness levels which are out of control. My X had that from the very beginning. He was the most selfish person I have EVER met and yet, for some funny reason I thought I could change that. Nopity nope nope nope!

      Save yourself, your paper, time and tears – RUN! Life without these losers is so much better – better than I could have ever imagined!

      • Marriage Detective: Yes, I only saw him feel pain when he was having a consequence of his actions. He never felt bad for the destruction of the unit, the loss of the house, never felt anything until some of his friends started to shun him. When some (very few) of our friends cut him out, he cried. The only time I saw him cry. They only feel pain at their own suffering. Period. Pointless to try to understand. It just doesn’t matter until they lose something they want. Whenever I look back to those losses, I focus on the smoke swirling around his face with that dead shark look in his eyes as the kids and I left our home, I was sobbing, he just watched, fascinated. That kills any pain instantly.

  • The way I see it, it may be someone’s first time here so revisiting classic columns like this is a good place to start.

  • The basic fallacy in this letter is that the cheater cares about how you feel. He (or she) doesn’t give a damn about your feelings. Someone who cares about you, your children and your relationship does not lie and cheat. Period.

    I know this statement seems simplistic, but the truth is often simple. I speak from years of experience. I was the one who cared about our relationship. X was just along for the ride. As long as I was willing to make all the sacrifices, do all the work and, of course make carrying that hundred pound rock up the hill each and every day look effortless, all was well.

    The minute his actions had consequences, the minute I was no longer willing to do all the work, I was somehow being mean and unforgiving. X wanted to pretend he was still a 40 year old swinger, with a bevy a women at his beck and call. I was window dressing to his respectability, nothing more. I was his beard.

    I am a free woman, now and one of the things I will never do is beg anyone to tell me the truth. Lying is a character flaw, one I am unwilling to tolerate. Love and lying are incompatible. No amount of begging or “calm discourse” is ever going to change that basic fact.

    This letter is pathetic and it pisses me to read it, because it assumes that there is an equal level of commitment between chump and cheater. There isn’t, there never has been, and there never will be.

    • “I was window dressing to his respectability, nothing more. I was his beard.”

      OMG Violet, yes.

      The military literally told them to marry a nurse whose father was in the military (thus knew about sacrifice for service). I was the right height, had a great butt and adored him. I was PERFECT window dressing for a disordered, selfish life…and he knew it. He jerked me around for a few years until I have him the “marriage – now or never” talk…which he later mutated into a “forced marriage narrative” that justified pretty much everything.

      At no point did he ever let me know that I was just a facade, I thought we were MARRIED, bonded, covenant and all. I dont know what the fuck that was but it wasnt marriage.

      • Unicornnomore,
        Mine was a military cheater too, and the military does actually coach officers like this! I was chosen because I was educated, presentable, and respectable. Officer’s wives have to be able to not embarrass them–above all. Luncheon with the general’s wife–no problem! At the same time there is a terrible wink and nod toward all kinds of adultery including my ex’s penchant for younger officers and hookers. It is a special kind of institutionalized mindfuck.

        • We did a military move once to a place with horribly inadequate housing and a hugely inflated local economy – you really had to work to get a place to live. Me and kids lived in another state with his parents for almost 2 months waiting for him to get us a place to live and he made excuse after excuse. We had 3 little kids and not having housing was so hard.

          I now look back and realize that he was fucking at least one of his coworkers and I now (DUH!!) realize that he didnt want us there…he subtly sabotaged every attempt I made to get us a place to live. When I look back on that time now, I am incensed

    • Great post violet. Self centered is an understatement with these fuckwits. They do care, they care about themselves.

      Reeling this morning because I got a letter from the lawyer that stbx’s lawyer is going to dispose stbx’s father because they want to preserve his testimony. He has ALS and can’t talk. He will have to write all his answers. It is horrible to put him through this and I have no doubt stbx will blame me. I, however, would not call him to testify. Stbx must want him to testify as to the transfer of business from father to son. Stbx wants to claim it as a gift and therefore it is not marital property. Even if this were true, it should all be legally documented and there should be no need for his testimony. Spoiled little brat wants mommy and daddy to continue to take care of him despite their advanced age and illness. Self centered much?

      • Feelingit, don’t worry about father-in-law having to testify and how it might negatively effect him. It might positively effect him, too. He might really need to get some business properly taken care of before he passes from this world.

    • “As long as I was willing to make all the sacrifices, do all the work and, of course make carrying that hundred pound rock up the hill each and every day look effortless, all was well.”

      violet, you just summed up my entire marriage with this statement. Damn if I didn’t do everything – even though it was still the wrong thing all the way around for him. He kept me running around in circles, that’s for sure.

    • “I was window dressing to his respectability, nothing more. I was his beard.”

      If you changed that to “we” you would have the exact scenario that my son & I were in with my ex.
      He was the star, hero & savior in his own theater of drama.
      So thankful he is gone & we are free of that

  • “I was window dressing to his respectability, nothing more. I was his beard.”

    Yup. That was me. My sunny, friendly personality gave him opportunity to meet our women neighbors and my friends that he could later hook up with. Yes! He loved my personality!! A gate to, well, I just can’t bring myself to say the word that he got from women who liked and respected me.

  • One thing that always puzzled me about reconciliation was the idea that you had to know EXACTLY what the cheater did with the whore so you could forgive it. “I “””**%% her crotch on the dining room table at 9:54 a m on July 10 , 2017 while you were taking our child to the zoo.”

    I knew very little detail for about a year into reconciliation because he lied about the person’s identify. He claimed they never screwed (which I told him I do not believe, and which doesn’t matter anyway cause what I do know is still unacceptable) so I don’t have those issues to deal with. But, what is the value in knowing this stuff??? We are not together but random thoughts still pop into my head now and then. That’s where whore worked. That’s where he took whore to dinner. On and on. I just don’t see how you can ever stay with someone knowing all this stuff. You are in bed, random thought. He screwed the whore here while I was at work. Looking back, I just don’t think knowing any of these details is useful.

    • Hey Anita —

      I guess in the reconciliation process there are many items on the check list. Most of the items are financial. Some are affair related. A few are family related.

      The items that are affair related, are concerned with who and when. If a chump should ever decide to reconcile, and all of the other boxes were ticked, this whole disclosure document comes into play.

      So, yah, I agree. Gross, who wants to know that shit?! Details about their depravity?! No thanks. (“Depravity” is a word I’m using here only for the act of infidelity, so it could encompass a broad range of actions.)

      But what the chump has to know, again, if all the other boxes were checked and reconciliation were even in the realm of possibility, what the chump has to know, before deciding if she would even possibly reconcile is: who and when. If the chump is not fully informed on this information, she is not making an informed decision.

    • We were all gaslighted for so long that the desire to finally have a firm grounding in FACTS is necessary, even when it comes with unpleasant details. For me, too, those details helped me emotionally detach–that my X could say THAT, do THAT to a 3rd person at my expense, allowed my heart to push him away entirely.

      • I understand what you are saying, Tempest, but personally if I could go back I would not attempt to find out any details. It helps push them away, but I could have done that without the price of knowing a lot of stuff. But this is going to be one of those issues that there is no one right path for everyone.

        • I agree; we chumps divide into 2 camps on this one–Must know details vs. Need to know enough to leave but no more.

          • I definitely needed to know, or, I couldn’t have brought myself to end it. I would have wanted to believe “It wasn’t that bad! Surely he wouldn’t do THAT.” Sure he would. And he did. And now I can go.

            • That was me too, Jojobee. I had to know the dirty details before I could accept the reality of who he really was. I wish I had not needed that, but I did. I used to really hate driving by the hotel he fucked her at that is on the way to my parents’ house. I mean, crazy hate the sight! I’m ok now, 4 years post divorce. Now…I think, what a sleezy asshole!

            • Me, too. I even paid for a PI after the divorce just to know if Hannibal’s current GF had been the final AP (who led to a devalue stage so horrific that it almost did me in). Yes, was the answer.

              Other details that I found out earlier definitely helped free me from any emotional ties to the X whatsoever; now I knew who he was at his most based and deranged level.

              In addition, since cheaters use deception to have power over us, knowing what they did in its full awfulness deprives them of that power.

          • Must know. Especially since she wouldn’t leave the family home and I was fighting for majority custody. Every little bit I could find out was more ammunition for me. Eneded up 50/50 anyway, but I was able to put the entire truth “on the table” for the court, and can now look at myself in the mirror for the rest of my life.

          • For me, the lack of the truth has been tormenting, and easily the biggest obstacle to my getting past all this.

      • I think I am in the details camp.

        A year ago, I essentially wrote that very letter, n endless versions, and even using the puzzle with missing pieces analogy. I definitely believed that if I could just find the right combination of words, they would magically free him from the web of lies, and return him to the land of truth and ethics and morality, and just normalcy, I guess, but of course that did not happen, and my inadequacy with words–or in any other arena–was never the problem.

        Ultimately, knowing that he wore the wedding ring I gave him–the one with, “Love always, Cashmere” inscribed inside the band–while soaping her up in the shower, while moving some of our retirement funds to a hidden account, while allowing my car insurance to lapse for nine months (just found that one out) serves me well. Painful, yes, especially during that first year, but now undeniable reminders of who and what he is and will always be. I need that grounding in reality.

      • Getting the details for me helps to know that I wasn’t crazy!

        I know…

    • I think it allows you to see the true nature of their selfish shallowness and callousness.

      Mr. Justification texted OW at 4am on a particular night. This is significant because we were in the hospital room and I had finally gotten to sleep after trying unsuccessfully to get our hours-old son to nurse.

      I birthed a 9+ lb baby without any drugs or stitches, then spent hours trying to feed him, and finally fell asleep. Mr. Justification spent that time being outwardly helpful and inwardly counting the moments until he could talk to his whore. There is no way to reconcile with that kind of fuckupedness.

      So, I think the details help us understand their true nature better than the 10,000 foot view of “he had an affair”.

      • That’s one of those details that it’s useful to know, but many aren’t, at least to me. The important thing to me about this is that he was texting ow, not WHAT he was texting her. Each person knows what is helpful to them and what’s not.

        • I was told way too much and it gave me nightmares for years. I truly wish he hadn’t given me the details. I couldn’t go many places without remembering that he had met one of his sex partners at Lowes, another one at a certain restaurant, another one he worked with when he was with a certain company. This all played over and over in my mind and it was like torture. Now, 6 years out, these thoughts have subsided. But I really could have moved ahead better without the details. If anyone asks now (which is very rare), I just say my X had many sexual partners during our marriage and his betrayal ended the marriage. I am so thankful to be divorced and free.

      • I’ve eliminated the word “affair” from my tale.
        It sounded too glamourous … too star-crossed-lovers …implies an element of Frenchness, of excitement .. nah.
        So, based on some great bits of commentary from CN, I’ve adopted “slept around” instead.
        I think someone a couple of weeks ago (in the one about re-marriage) said “married people who sleep around make terrible partners”.
        Much better. Suitably sleazy, implies unreliability, poor character etc.
        So now I say, “He was sleeping around, which is no good and not allowed”.
        Try it out!

        • Yep, Whynot, a very nice component of the website is the vocabulary, it gives meaning and definition to what we have experienced and it gives us ways to succinctly get the message conveyed.

          Drop the word “affair,” I like it!! Exactly for the reason you gave. Yah, “slept around” does sound dirty, promiscuous and needy.

          • Oh, yes! I intend to adopt this terminology change immediately. Love it.

          • and I quite like “fuckbuddy” to describe the AP. In my case, “gradwhore” works.

            • “Slut” is also nice, and will suffice. Bonus: accurate for both of them.

            • I usually stick with Schmoopie as I don’t like to be crude, but I was thinking “Succubus” is a pretty good description, at least for the female APs. I am not sure what the mail equivalent would be.

        • Thank you. From here on end I will not use the word “affair”. Sounds way too civil and polite.

        • Whynot! Haha. I simply say, oh, he had a girlfriend while we were married. Usually, their mouth drops open and I just smile. There is soooo much more, but that is all I say. It’s enough.

        • If people ask me why I got divorces I tell them that Firemedic814 (my exhole) screwed a nurse he worked with during his shift hours.

          I love the jaw drops on that comment. I mean, how sleazy and cliche can it get? A nurse and a paramedic screwing behind the fire house. GAG!

        • I had no choice when I stumbled across hundreds of photos on their shared g plus photo album, didn’t need anymore info, can still see those pictures in my head and feel my hands shaking whilst scrolling through them. did manage a laugh when I saw a pic of ‘I love you’ written in rose petals, sorry cheesy and cliched.

      • NotToday –

        You are not alone. My POS (piece of shit) started leaving me when I was 7 months pregnant. We had been married about 2.5 years been together for 9. Came out of no where. Up until then he was so happy about the baby. The night I went into labor I called him 6 times and finally text him “ITS TIME”. 6 minutes later he called me from his truck. I think we all know what happened right….he was with the OW and ignoring my calls. Then when he got the text he put his pants on and ran out to his truck to leave. Then calls me back. While in the hospital his buddy came up and they decided to go to a fishing store to look at fishing poles….really? Oh his buddy is a POS who according to my POS was starting an inappropriate relationship with this same OW behind his wife’s back. So is was this OW trying to find whatever married man’s pants she could get into…or was my POS lying to me and blaming his best friend POS. Its a clusterfuck to say the least. But he calls me crazy because I have no physical proof (you know the picture of their genitals interlocked) so he is able to come up with any excuse.

        I begged him numerous times “HOW WILL YOU FEEL IN 30 YEARS WHEN SOME POS IS DOING THIS SHIT TO OUR DAUGHTER?”. He always changed the subject back to that he wasn’t cheating he just didn’t want to be around me because I was obviously crazy for accusing him of cheating. He even went as far once to say “well if she acts like you do she will deserve it”.

        The whole time while reading Joseph’s letter, I kept thinking “dude there is no point. If she didn’t tell you what happened right after it happened she aint ever going to tell you”. Trust me I tried. When you are dealing with a narcissist, they want you to keep asking. Because if you keep asking that means you still care about them….CAKE!

        I think I might be getting to my MEH…..

        • You are mighty to have seen the truth and got away from this jackass.

    • I don’t think it’s wanting to know exactly what they did with their whores. At least not for me. For me it’s about when my world became fake. After DDay he told me that everything happened in January (around the 24th, this year), and it was a PA. My own recollection of those days told me it must have started before, as an online EA (they live in different hemispheres). By this time, I had done a good job protecting the past. I had decided to accept that the affair started mid last year, and that everything before was real. He wasn’t an abusive bastard, he seemed a good guy. However, later he monstered by email, and he told me he spent years holding on cheating on me (hm.. I’m not sure that’s proper English). Now everything is destroyed. After reading a post about it here, I’ve accepted that I was real, even if he wasn’t. So my life is real as well. But it would have helped in this fucking process, if at least he would have being truthful about everything. He will not because he is a selfish entitled asshole, and I have to live with it. But it would have been so much easier on me and my IC.

  • I think the RIC is geared to keeping you fucked up and seeking their advice as long as possible. I definitely think knowing the details fucks you up. Whether you stay with them or not. I believe it’s best to find out the minimum to get you out of there, and GO.

    • I agree, enough to know they are fucked and then run for the nearest exit.

  • I was told smugly by the Sluterus that there is so much I don’t know.

    Well, Duh, Toots! When two people sneak around and base their entire relationship on willful deception, my lack of knowledge is due to your intent, not my stupidity.

    Stupidity is waiting around with an Adultery Baby for three years while an Adulterer putzes about and finally Hoovers back round to your tired snatch.

    It took me two weeks to wise up. I don’t need to know the rest to make a better life choice. What’s your excuse, Tits Springsteen?

    • Oh Luz, I love your turn of phrase. I’m just going to hand the blog reins over to you. 🙂

    • Nice Luziana! Nice!!

      Nobody can fuck with you.

      Are you a champion of justice and fairness? Cuz I think chumps get training for taking a stand and doing the right thing. Taking no guff.

    • “My lack of knowledge is due to your intent, not my stupidity”. YES. This is a great line to remember for whenever I’m feeling dumber than dumb for missing flags and not finding out sooner.

  • “But for her to want understanding for her self-inflicted pain is like the guy who murdered his parents wanting clemency from the court for being an orphan.”


    Never have I read such an apt comparison that explains why his “personal pain fog” never quite jived with me.

  • On the recommendation of one of those “save your marriage” books, I started writing one of those letters. I told Sluterella how much work I was willing to do, and how much I wanted her back, but I would not work on anything until she ended things with the other man. From a certain chumpy perspective, this was actually something of an improvement over “I’ll do all the work and see everything you do in a positive light.”
    As I read over the first draft, I got nauseous. I could feel what little shred remained of my dignity and self-respect going down the drain. I’m sure the counselor knew what he was doing, but this was ludicrous. *I* shouldn’t have been the one writing the groveling letter, Sluterella should have. And what kind of relationship would we have had if Her Sluttiness did decide she wanted to come back?
    I just cringe every time I think about that letter and how low I stopped in writing it. I’ll say this much: though I didn’t call it that at the time, the moment I crumpled it up and threw it in the trash was the first step to “meh.”

    • Hey Traveling — what would a woke marriage counsellor say? Something like these?:

      “Stop your damn lying!!”

      “You know you cheated!! I’m not going to support that shit!! Get out of my office if not you’re not willing to tell the truth!!”

      • Oh, I’m sure a GOOD counselor would say something like that, but he or she probably wouldn’t sell many books :(. This was a book I read, trying like a good chump to fix everything myself. I’m sure the guy that sold the book knew what to say to get cheaters to come back, but that of course doesn’t resolve the bigger issues of whether or not chumps should LET them come back. The Wreckonciliation crowd is just selling people what we poor chumps think we want.

        I was SO lucky we had a really good marriage counselor (for the whole 2 sessions we had, before Sluterella bailed). She told me point blank “Don’t you even THINK about taking her back unless she comes back with sincere apologies and proof of all the work she’s going to do to shape up. Frankly, pigs are more likely to fly than that.”

  • “I don’t need to know the rest to make a better life choice. ”

    Preach it, Luiziana. All I really needed to know was my Whoremonger x was pursuing a whore while we were married. That is the absolute extent of what I needed to know. Notice I said “pursuing”. To me that is the new standard for ending a relationship and the one I’m passing to the younger generation. It’s not even necessary that the person they pursue reciprocate, or they have sex, or anything beyond that.

    If I could selectively go back and scrub my memory, I would definitely get rid of anything related to the ow cause she’s not worth my brain space.

    • Anita – Very well said. They are “pursuing” another person, in that they have the intention to actively seek someone else to be affectionate with. Whether the other person reciprocates or not is not the issue. It’s our partner’s intent in seeking someone else. It puts the accountability on the right person.

      Otherwise, you can have other women hitting on our partners, and he should be shutting all that down. Not actively pursuing with the intent of it leading to something more.

      • Yes, x maintained he never did “anything wrong” cause the whore supposedly wouldn’t have sex with him due to her high morals. First let me stop lauge about her high morals and his stupidity before I continue.

        The wrong doing is is that married men should not know whether a woman will have sex with them because they should not be asking!!!

        • What an idiot! He did nothing wrong. Yeah right! Doesn’t he know that people are found guilty based on intent.

          If they “intend” to murder someone, act on it yet they fail at killing the person, it’s still considered attempted murder and they will go to jail for it. Even if the criminal was not able to carry out its plan and kill the person, they are are found guilty for having the INTENT. So the fact that your ex-husband didn’t have sex with the whore, still makes him 100% GUILTY of pursuing her with the intent of having sex. And he is guilty as charged. Nice try, but his logic is nonsensical and fails on all counts.

      • I lost a girlfriend about 10 years ago. I asked him repeatedly what happened and he always said nothing other than flirting. He even did a 3-way call and asked very specific questions. “Have we kissed? Have we slept together?” I pursued in MC. He lied.

        After DD#2 I reached out to her and found out he had pursued her for a year! She walked out of our life in the middle of the night when he tried to fuck her in our house while both my daughter and I were sleeping.

        What a piece of work. And he tries to say he’s not a bad person, he’s just done a lot of bad things. No you are a bad person — a selfish, evil, POS. Go live your sick life trying to quench your thirst for accolades and fill the void in your soul. And good luck to the OW, who thinks she’s finally found her life partner.

    • Yup, good, Anita. “For me that is the new standard for cheating: pursuing.”

      That is now my new standard too. Thank you.

        • These APs consider themselves soooooo important. I never engaged with The Sluterus because I felt she had inserted herself quite far enough in my life uninvited. Central to me was my broken marriage, not the pile of shit sweepstakes she eventually won. It wasn’t her splendidness, because she is in every respect a downgrade. It was my ex husband’s awfulness. I was too focused on accepting his complete moral bankruptcy to fiddle with the cookie jar his hands and dick ended up in.

          And the waxing poetic years later about how The Adultery Baby was a brushstroke of destiny? Homie, plz. Litters of feral cats are born in barns every fucking day. That’s simple biology, not Destiny. You put the figurative lime in the coconut and you shake it all up.

          Again, pardon, I’m the Stupid One?

          • “The figurative lime in the coconut…”

            You date yourself, Luz, but I love it.

          • Luz, you speak my language.

            I found this site today by accident and I tell you what… you people are my spirit animals.

            I thought I was alone. I couldn’t understand why no one else but me was so angry.

            I am so glad to know that I am dead center on in knowing his bullshit was just that.

            • You’re not alone, Sunflower. People here saved me. It’s real. You matter.

            • Welcome. Happy to have you join us, but sad that you’re dealing with this crap too. It’s a total shitshow and we’re all in different phases but we are real, honest, willing to share and here for you.

  • I know this letter has been around for some time. I wonder if anyone has followed up with Joe? Does anyone know if he and his cheater reconciled, divorced, or what? My gut tells me that they eventually split up, and all the members of the RIC who keep trotting this out as an example of how to reconcile would probably not like knowing that Joe and his cheater ended up apart.

    So, any follow up? Joe, are you out there reading the words you wrote so long ago, and wondering what you were thinking then?

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.

  • Yep, I wrote one of those tear soaked, heartbroken letters too. Yuck! Cheater carried around in his suit pocket. He said, ” it meant so much to him!” Yeah, right! Schmoopie probably read it too and got a cheap high off my pain. I eventually got it back from cheater boy and destroyed it.
    I could just kick myself for writing it because although he said it meant so much to him it sure didn’t keep him out of her bed! I just wish I had followed through on the first D Day and kicked his ass out, but I gave him months of my time. He abused the crap out of that by swinging in and out of my life for nearly two years! He constantly was able to relight that hopium pipe I held. I could just kick myself for that. What a waste of my precious time!

  • Dear Joe,
    There’s a reason for everything. The only reason you’re in the dark is because she’s turned your home into a mushroom farm which she liberally fertilizes with copious amounts of bull shit. Must be bulk quantities considering the prolific content above. Everytime I think “Ah, c’mon guy, we’ll go have a beer” you’re all “Wait! But one more thing!”

    Wake me up when we get to the part, “hey Joe, where ya goin with that gun in your hand?” That song cut right through “cause” to “effect.” It makes more sense than just pleading with a shit shoveling whore. Your use of words like “innuendo” sound so benign one would think it’s the name of a home made instrument one plays at a Renassiaance Faire. Me thinks you plead-eth too much. That faire maiden-head dissolved in a fit of teen-age whoremones decades ago. This ain’t physics, buddy. It’s gravity: She slipped and fell on some guy’s dick, OK? Hasn’t that ever happened to you? Me neither. It took a bit more planning and preparation to ambush the thing. But that’s her story and she’s stickin to it like strange pecker tracks to her panties.

    So let’s go have that beer now-and please, Staaapppppp! You’re bleeding all over my screen. The best revenge isn’t “living hell,” it’s “LIVING WELL.” Because it appears you need some directional encouragement in that endeavor, Imma turn you into a Tinder-fella before the night’s over.
    And that’s a promise ;–)

  • I remember seeing this letter early in my foray into internet infidelity research. Joe’s letter was one of those nuggets you cling to early to give you hope.

    But Joe is/was mainly afflicted by the same thing that I suffered from – projection. And Joe sure has a whole lot of projection – his letter is oozing with it. I can’t criticize him too much though, I pathetically wrote something very similar. He mistakenly thought his spouse shared the same values/emotions/morals as he had, so he couldn’t understand her behavior and indifference.

    It’s hard to understand when you’re married and you’ve got the love goggles on, but your spouse is not the person you think he/she is. It sounds like a cliche. It’s something that’s really hard to wrap your head around at first, after all, you married this person. How could they be so different from you? How could they be capable of such deception? How could they live a double life for so long? How do you just take advantage of somebody – every day? I know I would have had a nervous breakdown if I lived my wife’s life for a day – so I couldn’t imagine her doing the same. But….she could, and she did. For months and years. So did Joesph’s wife. And so did your spouse. That’s just who they are.

    I know it’s hard to accept, and it took me over a year of limbo to figure it out. But understanding that your spouse is not you, and that he/she is capable of pulling off shit (on an everyday basis, no less) that would make you sick to yourself if you even attempted it once, is a big step towards getting yourself out of the mindfuck.

    • Thanks for posting this, Blindside. This is a lesson I need to learn more fully: people do not think or behave like me and I should not make the assumption that they do.

      I’ve often projected my own values on people who have poor character (some who very skillfully pretended to be something they were not), and did this to my own detriment. Now I’d rather assume anyone new I meet may not be like me at all and then work my way up from that point, via proof of their actions over a long time.

    • Every time I read Joseph’s letter, I have a strong urge to go kidnap the poor man, stage an intervention, and infuse him with some BadAssness. Dude, kick her to the curb!

    • Blindside…… true. The disbelief is real. I just didn’t think my wife could do it. But she did. For months. It takes awhile for the disbelief to wear off. It takes awhile to realize WHO they really are and WHAT they really believe in. It’s a person that they have concealed from you for decades. I’m still working on wrapping my brain around it.

  • Oh boy, I can not read that letter again. Read it endlessly in the aftermath of DDay#1 and used it as a model for my own letter which I gratefully “unlettered” here a few weeks ago. Maybe even stopped pick me dancing long enough to copy and send it to my cheater? Those days are a blur. Poor deluded Joseph. Poor deluded Beth. RIP She’s long gone thank God.

  • Roberta,

    Another interpretation of that two years is that you needed that time to fully break away from him, to fall out of love, to prepare yourself to move on. Don’t kick yourself, respect that you’re human, learn from the mistake, forgive yourself, and work towards your own happiness.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.

  • Does anyone else ever fantasize about spending their lottery winnings on creating a no-cost self-care and boundary-setting education program for people aged 0-25? Honestly, it should not be true that this many of us spend so many years of our lives being treated like we don’t matter, then eat a shit sandwich just so we can hold on to a big turd whose main purpose is to serve as the prime ingredient in our future shit sandwiches.

    I know I did it, and I am a smart, mighty, reasonable, practical person. That is true for so many of us. Nobody effectively taught us that we matter. We learned it through betrayal trauma and ongoing recovery. I wish I could give young people a broad reaching education resource that speaks to them so even if nobody else in their lives knows how to teach them these things, there is an accessible place they can learn them.

    “Speaks to them” is the key, I suppose. 🙂

    • Amiisfree,
      I was thinking of something similar due to my current unexpected reality. My STBX is going after my pension (I’m an educator in California, a community property state entitling him to 1/2). I in turn will have no claim to his Social Security benefits whatsoever (what little he has accumulated anyway). He has no other retirement funds due to his virtually being self-employed during his entire working life so that will allow me to obtain 1/2 of his NOTHING as far as retirement goes in exchange for 1/2 of mine…which is 20 years worth! I believe that prenup/postnup discussions should be a mandatory component of all new teacher training in my state and any other places where this injustice occurs. In California, a non-educator spouse has the potential of walking away with 1/2 of the CalSTRS benefits of the educator spouse, PLUS 100% OF HIS/HER OWN Social Security benefits! When you’re embarking on your first teaching job around age 22, self-preservation from the aftermath of becoming a potential Chump in the future is typically not on your mind. (Add this topic to your boundary setting program!)

      • Exactly. When I married the first time, I assumed we could reasonably work everything out no matter what. I didn’t ask the tough questions or insist on reasonable transparency. Those choices harmed me, but I was being the wife I was taught I should be. I thought my trust was owed, bit earned.

        I’m different now. Sometimes people say I am jaded. I respond that jaded is born from living bad experiences. I prefer to call it “wiser” and “cautious”, and if there’s no reason to hide anything, my quite reasonable boundaries shouldn’t be a problem.

      • Also, without revealing too much about my actual career, this is precisely why I will never legally marry again. I am remarried now, but at this age, if I lose him, I will never mix my assets again.

        • ITA. Stooopid me, lost 1/2 with Cheater #1, who then proceeded to piss it all away (over $600k) within four years.

          Went to the lawyer after Cheater #2 (yes, I’m a slow learner…) and learned what kind of financial bath I would take. Some people stay together for the kids, I’m here for the assets. How absolutely fucking SHIT is that?

          That’s why a prenup is needed in a no-fault, even split state like California. If *rewards* cheaters with half, straight down the middle.

      • StillIRise–under NO circumstances allow the clause disallowing his Social Security benefits to you when you are ready for retirement, into the Divorce Decree!!!!

        And he is a dipshit for even suggesting that as a bargaining point–if you have been married for over 10 years, at retirement, you may opt to receive EITHER your own Social Security benefits, or half of your former spouse’s (as long as you have not remarried). If you opt for the spouse’s, it has NO impact on his social security payout. The only reason he would want this in the decree is because he is a power-oriented fuckwit who wants to maintain his thumb on your back.

        (Please respond to this post so I know you got the message; the issue is important enough that I would otherwise go through CL to get your email to make sure you get the full benefits to which you are entitled).

        • Hey Tempest, can you explain more about the clause? I am divorcing in CA,married more than 10 years.

          • I’m not an accountant or tax specialist, but I did do a lot of research (including about recent changes to the soc. sec. laws surrounding divorce). As long as you are not married to someone else at time of retirement, you are entitled to half of your former spouse’s social security benefits, *as long as you were married for 10 years or more.*

            You must choose your spouse’s retirement though; you can’t start taking out from your Social Security and then switch to your ex-spouse’s (or vice versa). It does NOT affect the social security benefit of the ex-spouse, so they should not care one iota.

            Another reason not to burn the marriage licenses, folks; you’ll need that to claim an ex-spouse’s social security.

        • Thanks for the outstanding information and support Tempest. Navigating this entire divorce process has been daunting to say the least while simultaneously coping with the decimation of the relationship I thought I had. I don’t have any accrued Social Security benefits myself (other than perhaps from back when I was a waitress during college). In California, educators only get CalSTRS (our retirement program), no Social Security at all. My husband has been a real estate agent for the bulk of our marriage, so the only pension/retirement funds for him WAS what he had in his savings account which he lost due to poor investment decisions done without my agreement (attempted house flips, etc. due to “peer” pressure from parasitic twenty somethings who have latched onto him…LONG story). He was a self-employed disc jockey at the beginning of our marriage so I don’t believe he has any Social Security accrued whatsoever. (I will definitely have that confirmed though). It appears that all of the community property assets were painstakingly earned/saved by me, while all of the debts were of his doing. The “cheaper to keep her” adage is not applying for him. He’s probably going to make out like a bandit and be “rewarded” for discarding me and cheating (to coin Her Blondeness’ phrasing RE: no fault divorce community property states).

          • Still I Rise–you can check how much each of you has accrued in Social Security; if it isn’t much then obviously you’ll need another source of income for retirement. However, it does mean there is NO reason to sign away your rights to your STBX’s social security. If there is nothing much in there, why is he forcing this issue?

            I know it hurts when the chump is the one who loses financially; in the cost/benefit analysis, though, calculate how much you are losing & divide by number of years left in your life expectancy. Framed this way, it is a bargain to live fucktard-free for the rest of your life ; ).

    • I agree education on boundaries and relationships is hugely needed for young people. I’ve added a ChumpLady/infidelity component to one of my classes, plus a section on “what a healthy relationship looks like.” Among the most popular parts of the course to students, and I can only hope it helps some of them avoid what we went through.

        • Amiisfree–Your idea of a resource (web-site?) catering to young people to have healthy relationships really appeals, and has been occupying my headspace today. Up to my eyeballs in a new project this upcoming year, but your idea is connected to my project. If you’re serious, let me know, and we could email.

        • Tempest and Amiisfree,
          You are my idols.
          I love who you are.
          There are so many Chumps in the future who will be spared so much pain and suffering because of you both.

          All you have been thru and you just turn it around to something very positive, very very positive.
          I have been down in the dumps recently, but your post just gave me a shot of adrenalin.

          Love to you MIGHTY ladies.

          Dirt in the rear view mirror your cheaters are, smaller than a spec even!

          You make my ❤️ Sing!

          • My Lord, some may not ever become Chumps even!


            Words fail me to praise your enormous heart and caring!

          • Peacekeeper…hugs to you. I hate the down days, but you are always cheering the rest of us on, I want to cheer you on. Whatever it is, it shall pass. We always think what we are feeling now is how we will feel forever…at least I used to. Now I understand that like a cloud, it will slowly move along. Just watch it float away. Hang on and hang in doll. To quote a smart lady I know, “you are MIGHTY”.

            • Patience,
              I haven’t seen you post for awhile. I missed you.
              I thought of you on your daughter’s wedding day, it was a beautiful sunny day and I knew everything would be perfect for you.
              I am mostly strong, just sad Family happening recently. Grief is exhausting.
              My daughter lost her husband suddenly, tragically, young children.
              I said to myself he wasn’t even a cheater.
              I help her as much as I can. It is going to be a long haul.
              The cheater tells us what to do, but is no hands on help.
              I am ok with that, nothing new there.
              My two daughters are very strong and I have amazing wonderful friends.
              I also have you and CN. I truly am blessed.
              I hate myself when I am feeling down.
              When I read of the struggles of other Chumps my fingers just try to type encouraging messages to them. I feel I have come to know so many Chumps piecing together their struggles as I read their posts and I am amazed by your and their strength!
              I tell my daughters where there is life there is hope and we help each other the best we can every day.
              Life is precious dear Chumps.
              YOU are mighty!

      • I love this idea too. Last year I asked the domestic violence center if they had any seminars or classes on healthy relationships. Their answer was yes but only for teens. I asked if they were going to expand the age for those of us who have been emotionally abused. They said no. I was quite disappointed to say the least.

        Thank you for doing this for young adults!

    • Amiisfree,

      Check out Donna Anderson’s website “Lovefraud”-she’s developing training programs for licensed health care professionals to help clients who have been victims of narcissistic abuse and I think she has/had something in the works for high school students. She posted about Jen Waite’s book a couple of days before Tracy did. and are part of my daily reading, to keep my senses sharp about disordered people and how not be sucker punched !

  • “You have given me a puzzle. It is a 1000 piece puzzle and 400 random pieces are missing”

    Today as I walked through my living room I had a flash back when I glanced at my living room drapes. I had spent a a geat deal of time painting the ceiling, woodwork and walls when I moved in my current home..

    I searched for weeks to find curtains that allowed some privacy yet offered a view of the outside. I was so excited when I found them and hung them later that day.
    My brother was visiting and the Limited, knowing how excited I was about my find, stood laughing and making jokes about the curtains to my brother.

    Joseph, the trouble with the puzzle is there are an infinite number of pieces that will never fit as there are multiple pictures thrown into one box. The piece with the curtains goes to the undermining picture; the perfume on my pillow, the gaslighting scene.

    Most of my memories are ones of having joy and excitement followed by disappointment. The last year of living with him was the worst and the best. I filed.

    I’m painting my living room walls and buying new curtains this month.

    • Doing, I think the best way to deal with a piece of shit is to say, “Shut the fuck up.”. They usually do. If they ya ya at you just repeat. You might have to repeat several times. They usually leave because you are not engaging, or crying, or apologizing. You are just calmly telling them to shut the fuck up. I have gotten pretty good at this. I do use some common sense when it comes to cursing but you do not ever need to stifle that impulse with him.

      • Thank, LetGo. I filed in 2014 and have celebrated three years free of the abuse. Often times we look at the ‘event’, the other women, and are shocked at their behavior.

        Prior to the event there were many other abuses the covert used. I believe Jen might have been describing it as feeling it in your stomach in yesterday’s post. For me it was that sinking feeling of disappointment and having witness to the subtle abuses as he smiled, laughed, knowingly causing me pain and disappointment. At the time I didn’t see it as a piece and wanted to highlight that fact. That type of undermining over time was constant. Slowly, but surely it’s always there in hindsight.

        • Another ‘piece’ I found was the day he came home excited about a house he had found for sale. He said it was open and knew it was exactly what I wanted.

          We made an appointment and I loved this house. It WAS exactly what I wanted.

          That joy was crushed immediately. The complaints began and he listed one thing after another blow by blow.

          This was intentional as were all his actions. And months before Dday he wanted to buy a two family home knowing he was dating multiple women. I said NO, thankfully. Nanthony was announced shortly thereafter.

          He was hedging his bets and picked a total loser.

          I kept asking myself over the years how others could make buying a home look so easy when my experience was such a nightmare

          He never wanted one. I’m sure he continues the mindfuck with the one who according to him “doesn’t even make any money.” Her future now.

    • Doingme, this sounds so much like my experience. There was so much abuse and controlling behavior when I was married to my X. It has been so strange to not have that in my life anymore. I haven’t cried a single tear over our divorce since we completely split about a month and a half ago. But I cried and cried and cried when we were married. So much crying! He would berate and belittle me everyday and it was so covert, that I didn’t even realize it was going on. I won’t say that everyday is puppies and rainbows, but damn if it isn’t so much better than I even realized it was going to be. Just to be free from the crazy is the biggest burden taken off my shoulders!

      • It is so much better MD. I just attended a ADA meeting this week to further my healing. I have to say I cried but found strength listening to others. At the end a woman gave me her phone number and wrote, “You will never be alone.”

        I’m still on my journey and from here on in my tears will be for myself and for the joy in knowing we are worthy.

      • marriagedetective said:
        “I won’t say that everyday is puppies and rainbows, but damn if it isn’t so much better than I even realized it was going to be. Just to be free from the crazy is the biggest burden taken off my shoulders!”

        This ^ multiplied by 100!!

    • This reminds me of shortly after we bought our house. STBX was out of town and we were having a major heat wave. The master bedroom was the attic room in a house with no central AC. I went out and bought an AC unit. It was too big for the window with the frame, but I was able to jury rig it so it fit in the window and was sealed all around. Relief! The room was no longer a sauna. I was proud of myself for successfully getting cooling in the room. STBX gets home, takes one look, and the first thing out of his mouth was “God that looks terrible!”

  • I am in the throws of this right now. I’m on an emotional roller coaster with it. Held no contact for six weeks and broke down after running into ex partner and her little girl ( 4 year old whom I adore) at local 4th of July festivities. Little one embraced me and didn’t want to let go. Super rough stuff. I was the only live in father she has known- until I caught her mom cheating with her chiropractor in late May. The past week has been a complete hell with intense anxiety, spackling, trickle truth, and other blatant lies. Apparently she moved this guy into her home with her daughter days after I left. (who does that???) I had to uncover the lie of them shacking up with him myself, (she claimed it was long over) with a little light detective work. She accused me of stalking her, I told her tough shit, that’s what happens to liars, they get busted.

    I guess seeing me well and happy, and the love her daughter has for me, rocked her world a bit. We have met a few times to talk, nothing physical, but definitely highly emotional. She professes her love for me, but has shown little to no remorse, or desire to discuss what has happened. Classic rug sweep, and gaslighting. Torture. He is still there living with them even though she told me that she has asked him to move out because she wanted to fix “us”. She claimed he was just renting a room from her at this point because she needed the money. Obviously… since her human ATM walked away. Today is supposed to be his move out day. I know the story she is painting to friends and family, jack is a crazy control freak so we broke up, the affair never happened, I just needed a room mate to make ends meet, then we fell in love, no harm no foul, no damage to her reputation. What a cute story! My therapist said it best yesterday. She is a mess, and I need to break away fully unless I want to stay and be a mess with her. I bought it all for the past week because hey, I’m a chump. I’m not buying it anymore. My sanity cannot afford it. Back to NC, and hopefully a life.

    • Jackbenimble,

      Jack, if you’re wanting your partner to not fuck other people makes you a control freak, well, then so is most of the world. Too bad about her daughter, though. Maybe you could still have a role in her life for a while. She doesn’t deserve what her mother is doing to her. Neither do you.

      Good luck with all of it.

      Hugs. Strength. Peace.

    • Hey Jack — Yah your ex is definitely a piece of shit. I really like the part about her daughter, though, and I think her well-being could be a part of your divorce strategy.

      I wonder what your options are with her? Could you get visitation?

      If you can get visitation, you can be a real source of stability for the girl. On down the road, when mom wipes out again and again, you could be there, and maybe if needed, she could live with you, or you could get custody. Just wondering . . .

    • I’m thinking that cheater ex absolutely hones in on your affection for her daughter (and hers for you) and will wring every possible drop of mindfucking advantage out of it. Proceed extremely cautiously here.

      • Agreed. Also, it can be harder on the child to suffer multiple abandonments from a trusted adult (because when a person who uses the child as a bargaining chip cuts off contact, to the child, that trusted adult abandoned him/her…) than to have one clean break.

        I intimately know your devastating grief. It is no small thing. We still have to think of what we can best do for the child since we can’t control the other adult.

        • There is nothing I can do. We weren’t married and she is not my biological child. I’m having a rough go of it these past few days, especially accepting the fact that I know the right thing to do is to walk away so I don’t get hurt anymore. There are no ties other than holding on to what was my reality, or so I was led to believe. Thank you to everyone for the kind words of support.

          • Jack, my heart hurts reading your post. I know I have felt the pain and anguish you speak of, I only wish I had a wand to wave it all away. Baby steps, one at a time. Be patient with your heart, you are a good man and have a huge heart for a little girl who has no say in what is happening in her world. Breath. I get feeling torn about NC and then the child. “Do the next right thing” are words I lived by. Getting up, taking a shower, going to work. I just focused on what was right in front of me, sometimes an hour at a time. Treat yourself like you treat your good friends. Don’t beat up on YOU because she is selfish and cruel. Keep reading this blog, you will gain strength, knowledge and slowly begin to heal. Even when we trip up, we are all still here cheering each other on to a better life.

            • Thank you so much Patience. I am turning everywhere I can for guidance in this mess. I should just walk away. The door is open. That’s my head. My heart says wait it out. My Chump’s Heart. I pray about it a lot. I’m going to detail up my story and send it to Tracy. Maybe it will be a good lesson for those fellow chumps that find themselves attached, but not married. Peace and love to you all.

  • A bit same here, purchased a house two years ago and whilst I painted ceilings and kids room asshole was on his phone to whore bag, couldn’t help because you know he was soo tired. Didn’t give a shit that I would come home from work and clean out the gutters, he pissed and moaned about moving the wheelie bin near me so I could tip the leaves from my bucket in. Jesus and now the glitter has blown off the encrusted turd that was his affair, I’m the cats meow and he’s hoovering like a champ. Answers still NO.

    • Yup, cheater now goes in the wheelie bin, headfirst, with leaves from the gutter on top. You’ve got this, Lady B.

  • Thanks for rerunning this column on “Joseph’s Letter,” Tracy.

    When I read this letter, I hearken back to the wonderful column on “untangling the skein of fuckedupness.” That’s what Joseph’s trying to do here. He makes such broad assumptions about how his cheater wife feels. He’s trying so desperately to show her that he understands her and that he’s trying oh so very hard to work with her. All he wants is this small piece of recognition so that they can move forward because, hey, she has to love him, right? I mean, he loves her!

    This is so typical of a Chump. We’re trying so damn hard to understand our cheaters, and we’re determined that if we understand them hard enough, they’ll throw us a crumb and we can Heal and Move On.

    This is hubris. When we try to untangle the skein of fuckedupness, we’re superimposing our own narrative on events. We’re trying to uphold both ends of the conversation. Do you see how very little Joe’s wife needs to contribute to make Joe feel better? Joe is doing absolutely all the work here. When we try to untangle the skein, we’re taking on the burden of fixing things all on our own.

    Cheaters don’t want to fix things–at least not unless their kibble supply is threatened by nasty consequences like divorce, losing 50% of their assets, loss of prestige, etc. They don’t feel the pain of betrayal. They don’t feel the “loss” because to Cheaters, sleeping around is a gain.

    So the Joseph letter is a shining example of Untangling the Skein, and the UBT does a stellar job of showing just how one-sided the relationship truly is.

    New Chumps, if you’re reading this, the only real way to untangle the skein is to focus on yourself. You just found out you married a Cheater. Is cheating okay? Are you willing to put up with an Emotional Cheat, but not a Physical Cheat? Even if your Cheater confessed to every sordid detail and never fucked anyone afterwards, would you be able to stop obsessing about phone logs, emails, etc.? Is your idea of marriage playing Marriage Police from now to death do you part?

    If you answered “no,” then you can see why Joseph’s Letter is bunk.

    Lawyer up, line up the ducks, and file. You are MIGHTY!

  • I still get uncomfortable when I read this. It reminds me too much of the conversations (both in-person and over e-mail) that I had with my then-wife: full of building a framework and presenting logical arguments…all predicated on the false assumption that she wanted to share the burden of fixing whatever was wrong with our marriage, and that she had OUR best interests at heart.

    She had no such thing. No cheater does.

  • I think playing that damn “be nice” game is what causes chumps to be seen as “bitter” in the future. No I’m not fucking bitter… I was betrayed over and over again, and mindfucked into conditioning myself to go against my instincts, because some asshat somewhere decided to write some theory about negative emotions being an indication of an immature response to stress, and causing interpersonal aggression, lacks diplomacy, blah, blah, blah.

    Go ahead, feed the chumps some more mindfuck, you know they’ll work really hard to try and be a “good person”. “Expect the best from them” the RIC says, “don’t assume they don’t love you” (believe in unicorns and project your morals onto them)! I tiptoed around fuckwits feelings, as to not upset HIM to try and save our marriage.

    I love how these so called “professional” quacks try and use everything from evolutionary biology to moral theory; “hey, they fucked someone else because of their monkey kin! Hey, roosters will screw like champs if you introduce new females” and “cheaters are not independent moral agents, something in their environment caused them to cheat, and it was probably you!” Oh give me a friggin break! I can give you an excuse for any behavior, that doesn’t mean it’s true, or that because there is an excuse it’s somehow justified….

    and that’s how they get the chump, hook, line, and sinker! Let’s focus on what you did, or the marriage environment, or the mating habits of roosters, and even puzzle pieces… anything other than the fact that you’ve been chumped! Be Switzerland chumps, don’t have an opinion, keep an open mind (oh and an open mouth, we’ve got a really good shit sandwich to feed you!

    Here’s the conclusions I’ve come to…

    It’s not my job to be diplomatic – I’m not directing the United Nations here

    It’s not my job to figure out why the cheater cheated – hey, I can sit around and wonder what the hell happened to those missing puzzle pieces for that puzzle I bought at the dollar store… but really, isn’t it better to realize, “hey, I wasted a lot of time putting this incomplete puzzle together, but debating the reason I’m missing pieces isn’t going to complete it. Time to just chuck-it in the fuck-it-bucket!”

    It’s not my job to be nice – call me old fashioned, but “an eye for an eye” makes a hell of a lot more sense to me than understanding how some guy sitting around examining the mating habits of a fruit fly, roosters, or primates translate into an explanation as to why my primitive brain is holding me back from the enlightenment of pure cheater acceptance! Guess what, anger is the proper response to injustice, and again, I’m not directing the United Nations.

    Cheater may “do” everyone else, but my only job is… to do me (not in a weird kind of way of course) “you do you, and I’ll do me”

    • Got-a-brain, that sure sounds reasonable to me and way better than trying to unravel why people are so fucked up that they have to hurt others and then justify it. Hell no to that.

    • Don’t forget to trot out the Coolidge effect as some lame ass excuse to cheat…

  • A great rerun! Takes a minute to understand one truth, they will NEVER tell you the truth! The world is on their side. It gives them cover. Oh the FOG or I don’t want to hurt your feelings any further. All the great BS lines they learn via Google post DDay! Everything I know came from my PI days. She never has told me one nugget of info I did not give her. I would guess I known 10 percent of the truth because the 90 percent I don’t know, is much worse than what I know. Saving their own ass is their top priority. If we had the luxury of a science fiction movie and could connect them to a brain machine and see the truth, no one would ever stay with them!

  • Once I knew about the MOW, the only thing I wanted from Jackass was an explanation for what he did to me and when he started up with her. I asked for that but of course he refused for the reasons CL outlines in this post. My true healing started when I grasped that Jackass is not capable of or interested in empathy, that he was perfectly fine ripping out my heart and dragging it for miles behind the pickup truck he bought with my money.

    KB’s idea here is on point: “We’re superimposing our own narrative on events” when we try to untangle the skein of their fuckedupedness. We don’t understand, in a very primal way, people without empathy or conscience or capacity for love as we know it. So asking for explanations is not only useless; it keeps us trapped in a worldview that has the cheater at its center. Letting go of the need to know (beyond what we can find out on our own, which in some cases is considerable) is a major step on the road to Meh.

    • Yes. There really is no reason except that they care only for themselves. I never asked for many of the physical details, but I wasted many a breath asking why? Sometimes he would give answers, usually contradictory to the ones he gave the day before. Sometimes he would blame shift, sometimes he would blame himself. More often than not, he just would not answer at all. I don’t think he really knows.

      • I absolutely get the whole need to know the details. I spent a lot of time pouring over my CheaterX’s phone texts, emails, etc. I really wanted his financial info, which was very difficult to get and I never knew the exact amount he spent on OW.

        Especially in the early days after Dday, it’s so easy to lapse back into thinking that really you didn’t see what you saw. It’s really useful to go digging for more info. Heck, I screenshotted the texts. I wanted to be able to remind myself that yes, my cherished husband and partner was cheating on me. That helped sustain the burn in my anger to keep me on the path toward divorce.

        But I think that while it would be great if our Cheaters confessed the details to us, we must understand that they will not. Joseph, poor guy, thought that he could appeal to his Cheater if he laid bare his soul. Surely empathy and common decency would compel her to come clean!

        Our Cheaters lack both empathy and common decency. If they had either of these qualities, they’d not cheat.

  • I thought I needed the details. I still wanted to believe so much… So much that it seemed plausible that he hadn’t had sex with another woman at the same time as me, and hadn’t started anything physical until the night he decided to leave me.

    I got some details the first time I saw him after he left – about two weeks later. By this time I had spoke to OW’s STBX and had his side of the story and knew a lot of the details anyway. We were stood in a cold rain as it got dark and he was shivering but for some reason stayed for the conversation. It still took about an hour of saying ‘you’re a liar’ ‘you’re lying’ to every response of ‘I don’t know’ and ‘I don’t remember’ and ‘no it wasn’t like that.’ When it came I wasn’t prepared for the difference in suspecting it and wanting to believe compared to confirming it. He left with tears in his eyes that I need to know where for himself rather than for me. I couldn’t breathe when I got home.

    There are still no doubt many details I don’t know. But I confirmed enough to know I needed to get to the clinic for an STI test, so there’s that.

    For me, the details have helped me return to ‘trust that he sucks’ again and again when my chump brain wants so badly to try to remember that he was a nice guy and he cared about me and maybe it really was just this one woman who he fell in love with, his soulmate, and he couldn’t help it… AHAHA.

  • Oh, how I wish I’d found this place five years ago, after DD#1. It certainly would have helped me take the F’n rose colored glasses off. Or at a minimum, put a post-nup in place.

    Like most here, I got sucked into the reconciliation dance. Made him read “Not Just Friends.” He said it was “painful to read and recognized himself.” Any details? Nope. Any explanation? Nope. Went to marriage counseling, where he continued to lie but would provide no details. MC said he wanted to stay married and the decision was up to me. Yes, he wanted to stay married because I WAS OF USE.

    Fast forward five years to DD#2 and another 1.5 years since. I cannot get over the RAGE I feel about the time I’ve lost to this ratbastard. Time I could have been doing something that fed my soul, not beat down my spirit.

    I’m on the brink of picking myself up and moving the fuck on. I’ve got good temp support so I’ve been stalling on moving forward on the perm support. But I recognize my mind is continually replaying my story and arguments over and over and over and over. I’ll never be able to move on until I wrap this up.

    What an asswipe. I did not deserve this. None of us did.

  • Personally, I don’t want the details. I can think of nothing more painful that getting a view of the entire disgusting picture of how little I mattered to him, how little he cared for me, how little effort he could be bothered to put into our relationship compared to the effort he put into random women he cheated with. I don’t want to know the number of times he lied to my face, took my money and wined and dined other random women. I don’t want to know the sweet words he spoke to them while telling me I should get my hearing checked, I never listened, not to talk about that interest I had again – you know, the devalue stage that I unwittingly endured and put down to him being tired and irritable from radiotherapy.

    I don’t need the whole picture. I know enough – he just didn’t think or care for me at all while he was pursing other women for the express purpose of replacing me with a shiny new partner of use.

    Fuck him. Answers will only hurt me and show me how little I mattered. I refuse to see the depths of his contempt for me. It’s enough that I know there was contempt and that I deserved so much more and so much better.

    I don’t need the whole picture to torture myself with. I put down the rock. He lost his partner of use. I doubt he will be able to find a better one. I win.

  • I just want to know which one is being the manipulative one. He implies he took advantage of her, but I have seen some pretty clear signs of manipulation on her part although he denies it because she is innocent of any wrongdoing doncha know.

  • Sometimes the Cheatfest in a Body even seemed to snicker or smirk when I caught him in a lie. At one point I even thought I must be misreading that…no one could be THAT cold, right? Wrong again!

  • I must be one of those unicorn peddlers, but I am different to Joseph. I don’t need details. I find that the relationship with my husband is better when we DON’T talk about his affair. He is living with me again, and not talking about it keeps the atmosphere positive. I’m tired of yelling, screaming, crying at him. So we have stopped talking about it at all. I don’t need to know as it will just hurt me and make me sad. I got my husband back, that’s all that counts.

  • “but the unicorn peddlers live on… so…”
    This right here. I wanted so bad to believe. For 35 YEARS I believed. After DD-1 all those years ago, I thought I had a unicorn. If it were up to him, we would still be together. I was such a chump. I swear if you looked up the definition of chump in the dictionary, my picture would be next to it. My adult children want us to be friends. I finally had to tell my daughter I need to stay away from him for my health. That I need time to heal. I asked her why should I want to hang out with someone who had lied to me and disrespected me. She said, “good point.” I’m just so pissed tonight. Mostly at myself. Tonight I’m sad, mad, hurt. I don’t understand why I wasn’t enough. I will never understand. Apparently for him, it was always about the sex. No schmoopie. Just a willing hole. They don’t change. They just get better at hiding it. Trust they suck.

    • “…why I wasn’t enough”..JustBreathe YOU * are * enough *.

      He’s just a fucking asshole who could care less that he was with a woman who IS ENOUGH when it came to his dick.

      You gave him enough but pigs like him eat whatever is thrown in the trough whether they have had “enough” or not.

      Trust me on this.

      Fucking asshole. I get so angry they are able to make great woman or men feel like they is not enough.

        • CalamityJane, thank you. I needed the reminder and I think you gave me the perfect name for my STBX. Henceforth, he shall be known as The Pig.

          Hugs to you, my friend.

  • “Joe, you don’t share a reality, or values, or much else. There is her reality and your reality. She’s looking at this through the lens of ME, and you want her to see her world through a lens of OURS. She doesn’t do that. She’s got her own agenda. Not telling you the truth is about her gaining advantage over you. It’s for her own protection, so you won’t know the full truth about your life and what she did, so then you won’t impose consequences.”

    This is a powerful thought. I have been looking for the right words to describe it and that is it. We don’t live in the same reality, we don’t have the same values. We have different goals in love and expectations for marrige and life. I have been assuming he sees the world the same as me. My mistake. Today wasn’t a good day for the rolller coaster of emotions. So much shame and embarrassment for being tricked and gullible. Guess I am supposed to feel my feels and let it go. I love that the CN tells me that it’s not all my fault. My ex is a disordered person who made bad choices not me. It’s not because I need to lose those 20 pounds or my failure to take more interested in his odd hobbies. I don’t regret anything since I know I did everything I could to make him happy and nothing worked. He sure didn’t feel the need to make me happy. I believe that when two people want to make it work can find a way, but I was the only one trying. My payment is him going back to OW.

  • There’s a couple of problems with trying to get the truth from cheaters.
    One, they are Liars. The AntiTruth.
    Two, having them know you want info gives them Control over you. Especially when you will never know if what they are telling you is true.
    My advice is Assume the Worst. That probably is the truth anyway. Protect yourself just like they confessed to that shit. This takes the control totally out of it for them, and the opportunity to lie to you even more.

  • I, shamefully admit, that 3 years ago, I wrote one of these types of letter. To make matters worse, I placed it in a Hallmark “I love you so very much” card and left it with a rose on top. While reading this post today, I wanted to put a paper Bag of Shame over my head.

    I honestly believe the World Championship Chump Travelling Trophy should be on my mantle this year.

    • World Championship Chump Traveling Trophy


      My God, I love chumps!!!!!

  • >
    %d bloggers like this: