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Dear Chump Lady. My husband cheated. My mother is disappointed in US.

Dear Chump Lady,

I am about to embark on a separation, which most of the time I feel is leading to divorce (I live in a state that requires a one year and a day separation before legal divorce).

About 6 months ago, my husband went on a cruise with a couple of his dude bro pals (ugh, red flag ignored). When showing me his pics from the trip my gut started slapping me in the face saying, SOMETHING ISN’T RIGHT HERE. Well, a few weeks later, after doing some detective work and finding a full-frontal nude photo on his phone (which wasn’t for me — I’ve expressed in the past that wasn’t really my jam), I found out he hooked up with (but he SWEARS he didn’t sleep with her!!) this drunken fart brain and continued carrying on a “friendly” relationship with her afterwards.

The next several weeks consisted of trickle truths (new to me) and therapy and soul searching within myself and eventually I decided to try to make it work… he was talking to me more, we began communicating better, having sex again, he was empathizing with me more, he even read, digested, and made references to an article on emotional labor that I sent him!!! Holy shit, I started to have hope that this really COULD morph our relationship into something better than it was before!!

Theeeeeeeeeen I found a condom in the washer. It took two therapy sessions and me saying I still don’t believe you to get the truth out… he had gotten wasted at some bar with his dude bro friend again, his uber was late, so he went back into the bar and some drunk girl was all over him, her friend slipped a condom in his pocket and invited him to their place to hook up with said drunk friend (who has friends like that?!), he got into the car with them, and then had a “wait I’m about to fuck up again” moment, and got out of the car. All of this bullshit within 5 months of the last episode.

After much deliberation and buckets of tears, I have decided to call it. He said he would do what it took to keep me, until I decided not to stay, then self improvement or addiction counseling is no longer a priority or pressing issue for him. I have worked through most of what I need to with him. I thought I had firmly decided that I was no longer going to allow this in my life. That, even though my cheating/lying husband story isn’t as extreme as others’ stories might be, that this behavior isn’t okay with me. I CAN’T trust this person anymore, no matter how much I love him or cherish our bond — the trust is gone, and I don’t want to play detective for the rest of my life. I came to grips with this, and it hurts SO.FUCKING. BAD. But I know it’s what I need to do.

Enter the parental units — both sides. Without going into all details of the conversations I’ve had with them, let me just give you the gist of how I feel EVERY time I talk to one of them about it. That I’M not doing enough to keep it together. That I’M quitting. That I’M giving up too easily. That this marriage deserves more than this. That if he puts in the work, then why can’t I give him another chance —  give our marriage another chance.

It’s got me all fucked up. It hurts and infuriates me. I told my mom I feel like she’s disappointed in me, she said she is disappointed in US. She believes that family and friends have a responsibility to speak up for their loved ones’ relationships. Am I giving this feeling of the parent’s opinion of my decision too much weight? or anyone’s opinion that doesn’t match what I think is best for me? Why am I seeking validation anyway, when I’ve already, finally, made the decision to not put up with this shit anymore?! Why do I have to be the one to “think about everything that we could lose” when he certainly didn’t think about that when he was cheating or lying?

I want to feel confident in what I’m doing and that this is the right path for me to heal. Does that confidence ever really stick?



Dear Chumpcat,

Fuck your mother. Oh I know I’m supposed to defer to her age and wisdom, and tut-tut how lamentable it is that she can’t understand your point-of-view. She’s Only Trying to Save Your Marriage! I should give her a break because she’s just spouting the accepted Reconciliation Industrial Complex wisdom — that it takes two to break a marriage, that you’re a reflection of what your husband does, that really if you just tried harder and put on some lipstick, Chumpcat, you could win this dreamy drunken douchebag back!

Perhaps she’s still thinking of what this wedding cost. Perhaps she was looking forward to grandchildren. Perhaps she thinks your divorce will reflect badly on her. Maybe she thinks you do something that compels your husband to get wasted and fuck around. Whatever it is, Chumpcat, WORK WITH IT, fold your needs into tiny origami shapes and store them there in your purse, next to your lipstick. Now comb your hair, sit pretty, and wait for your husband to come home. Don’t be a failure, Darling.

I’m sorry you got that mother. (And father, and in-laws…)

I’m imagining a new mother for you. Let’s call her Boudica. She’s one part Celtic warrior queen, one part Aretha Franklin, and several parts avenging angel. Oh, she’s waiting for your husband to come home alright… so she can cave his head in.

(Douche stumbles in drunk…)

“DID YOU HURT MY DAUGHTER?!” shouts Boudica, unsheathing her sword.

Douche stares at her blankly, then stumbles towards freezer for a Hot Pocket.

A mistake. In one swift movement Boudica is at the freezer before him, has the Hot Pockets, and has knocked Douche to his knees with the flat side of her sword.


“We uh, hooked up. But we NEVER slept together! She’s um, ah friend.”

Boudica slams his face into the frozen box of Hot Pockets.



Boudica crushes his head again into the frozen snack treats. “DO YOU NEED TEETH TO SMILE FOR FART BRAIN, OR DOES SHE LOVE YOU FOR YOU?” Slam!

“It didn’t mean anyfwing!”



Boudica gazes down upon the vanquished Douchebag, his face a swollen mess of sinew and pulverized Hot Pockets, and takes a picture to upload to Douche’s social media. Hashtag #dontfuckwithmydaughter #Boudicadoesntplay



More like that, Chumpcat. Less Nancy Reagan Stepford wife, more avenging mother who will burn Londonium to ashes for harming her children.

WTF is wrong with your mother that she can’t see your value, that she thinks a drinking, womanizing douchebag is all you deserve, and worse — after he’s humiliated you, that you should FIGHT to keep him? Where is HER fight to protect you from harm? Shame on your mother!

I’m sorry she can’t be Boudica. So, here’s what every daughter must do in your situation — be your own Boudica. You get up on that horse and YOU lead the liberation campaign. Does Boudica do consensus studies? No, she does not. I’m sorry your family doesn’t approve of your decision to remove yourself from harm. That’s fine, they can sit on the sidelines and enjoy the spackle — you’ve got a war to wage, called divorce.

You don’t need their validation that leaving a drunken man-child is for the best. This is YOUR life. Warrior queens know their worth.


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  • Absolutely amazing post, Tracy! And hilarious!

    ChumpCat, you are doing the right thing by leaving his sorry ass. This is YOUR life, not your mother’s! Stay strong and do what you know you need to do to be free from this jerk. You deserve better!

    • My parents after dday #1 – you should get into counseling and try to work things out because we don’t want you to have regret later.

      My parents after dday #2, 3, and 4 — he’s not allowed in our house anymore. We will give you money to divorce him. We were wrong to tell you to stay. We will sit with you in divorce court. If he is rude to you,we will kick his ass.


    • Ohhh I couldn”t agree more, my parents would be throwing him out, and my father would be choking him….to say the least…( we’re Italaian lol) wtf your mother should be backing your decision and keeping her mouth SHUT !!! PERIOD !!! at the end of the day it’s NONE OF….ANYONES..BUSINESS IT’S YOUR LIFE !!!

  • There comes a point in our lives, where we have to realize that just because someone is our parent, does not mean they know what’s best for us. Our parents are limited too and may give advice based on their own limitations. My mother would told me to stay with a cheater boyfriend, saying that he’d leave his mistress AFTER we were married. Yeah right mom! After that day forward, I never listened to her advice, but to my own gut feelings. Hasn’t steered me wrong.

    • I just lost my mother to lung cancer a couple of months ago. Ive always been disappointed that she never was able to give me “wisdom” — my life is so very different than hers. As I work through my grief, I am coming to terms with the realization that she didn’t have the wisdom to give me. I must say though, no advise is better than bad advice. She loved me unconditionally though and was proud of me. I found out through my brother how seething mad she was as my STBX. It’s good to know she was an angry momma bear, even if I didn’t get to see it.

    • Thank you Kellia and Giddy Eagle. I’m in the my mom gives bad advice but I realize now she lacks wisdom so I don’t listen to her club.

      I had to become my own Boudica. It almost doesn’t feel right but you have to do it. You have to assert your self that you are worth more, that you have value outside of being someone’s wife, that you, your feelings, and (let’s be honest because disease is out the) your life are worth respect. Your mother loves you but she is capable of being wrong. And on this she is wrong, you deserve better and I’m happy to see that you feel like you do.

      It took my mother awhile to come around. She’s no warrior out to protect me but she finally gets that I am happier not being mindfucked every day of my existence. It’s a step. The good news is I’ve learned to take my own steps. It’s unlikely she will ever be anything but disappointed my “marriage failed” but she has stopped blaming me in any way for that. Here’s to hoping your parents come around someday. Until then, keep coming back here, we’ve got your back.

      • Thank you! I do believe you are right… that deep down she won’t ever really feel some disappointment at this whole situation. But every day that goes by I get more hopeful for the future, and maybe when she sees how it turns out, she’ll understand more and forget to attach blame to it.

  • Maybe her Mother put up with crap that her daughter isn’t aware of. Sure looks like that to me. I can’t believe her parents would ask her to stay with this douche! In my opinion she has put up with enough and if she stays then douche will only get worse. Unhitch your wagon ASAP from this flaming turd lest you live a life of marriage police forever!

    • Even if her mom didn’t deal with infidelity in her own marriage, I bet she wasn’t happy in her marriage but stayed “because it was the right thing to do.”

      The RIC has a strong message that most people repeat, especially when they are not the ones in the situation. With that said, I am glad my parents are in my corner supporting me and my kids. I am grateful every single day that I have them to help me through this.

      • I am also fortunate that my parents have been so supportive of me. Any RIC issues I had were completely self inflicted. In my case it was my Dad who kept asking me every time we talked: “Do you even want him back?” like I was crazy for wanting to reconcile. Eventually I started to listen and realized that wanting him back, even if he could be convinced, didn’t really make much logical sense.

  • Cat, you do not deserve to be skinned this way. If you are to be a cat, be a panther! Best of luck. You are worth so much more than being turned into violin strings for this guy, which it sure seems like what your mother wants.

  • this post reminds me of this Meranda Lamberts song

    It’s so infuriating when other people think they know what’s best for your mental health. Stop second guessing what’s right because of society brainwashing that says, it’s not the bad behavior that’s the problem, it’s your contribution and response to it. Yes, the bad behavior is the fucking problem, and since we do not have the ability to control another person, we only get to make he best choice for ourselves

  • Wow….I’m only seven months out from D-day but I have learned a few things….once he/she cheats on you, you can never, ever trust that person again. If someone wants to be with you- he/she will make it known- you won’t have to look for signs- it will be obvious. I was fortunate enough that his sister and brother understood what I was going through and stayed friends with me. His mother is a whole other story. She was only told his side of the story and since there’s a language barrier- I don’t even bother with mine. I never had a “real” conversation with her in the 19 years we were together, why bother now? She could have her lying, cheating son. The only two people he has left is his mom and his mistress…poor sausage. My dad did ask me where I was in the year and a half my ex was cheating on me and I was stunned….but I can only do me. I’m at the point where I live one day at a time and I focus on me and my daughter. Haters can hate….unless you’ve been in my can’t know what I’m feeling….hence Chump nation. This place is my refuge and you guys are my family…everyday gets easier and in someways better…I’m excited about my cheater-free future!

  • Excuse me, but as the mom of a grown daughter who is about to get married, I am FURIOUS for you! Shame on your mother,and everyone else trying to guilt trip you, for that matter. I would never tell my daughter to stay with her fiancee if her cheated and I love him like one of my own sons!

    First of all, that “story” that your STBX concocted is pure bullshit. His friend just gave time a condom (some friend), the Uber was late, blah, blah, blah. Always a convenient excuse. Minimal effort to repair the damage down. Zero acknowledgement of his conduct. No remorse, only regret that he got caught.

    Second, your mother is wrong. Dead wrong. My grandfather used to say,”You don’t invite a snake into your house.” Your husband is a snake, and he is harming you. Your mom is urging you to glue a plate together that has been smashed to pieces. Glue all you want, it’s still going to be broken!

    My mom was a lot like your mother. Everything was my fault. If I had just worked harder, lost some weight, paid less attention to my kids or my job, X would not have cheated. It was just her way to undermine my confidence. Fortunately, after years of this behavior, I saw it for what it was.

    Just the other night, I found a ten year old card from her. It brought a grim smile to my face, because even back then, before the cheating, she was telling what I should be doing to make X happy. Fuck that and fuck her.

    Now, your relationship with your mom may be much better than the one I have with my mom, but please, please do not allow supposedly well-intentioned people to second guess you and your very wise decision to leave this marriage Do not wait like many of the rest of us have, much to our regret, hoping against hope for a changed person.

    • violet, soooo right. I don’t have kids, but I know when my a couple of my beloved friends got cheated on, I wanted to pulverize the assholes! I supported them in whatever decision they made for their lives, but the whole time I would think, LEAVE THAT ASSHOLE, HE IS NOT WORTHY OF YOU. Now I am taking my own advice. The shit would have just kept going on had I not listened to my gut and found out… and eventually would happen again if I fell back into the RIC again. Well, NEVER AGAIN I SAY!

  • That was amazing. Five stars, CL. Also, they TOTALLY HAD SEX. And he’s trying to pin all his bad behavior (not just the stuff you caught him red handed on) on the dudebros. I can smell the lies from here. Yeah right, he only is occasionally talked into bullshit by his horrible friends. As MY mommy would have told me, “If they told him to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge…?” He’s doing this himself, and probably a lot more often than she even knows. Run, Chumpcat, RUN. Be thankful you don’t have kids. You can cut this guy out of your life and literally never even see him ever again. Speaking as another “year and a dayer” (Yay, Maryland!) get that countdown clock started.

      • It’s called the Party Barge and I went once (NEVER EVER AGAIN, it was awful – rum bottles and vomit sloshing all over, naked idiots hooking up in the hot tub…….ugh).

        Good imagery Tracy! I lean towards Mama Grizzley but Boudica is great too! Sometimes we need to be our own fierce moms.

        Pick up the sword Cat! The nation is behind you!

        • I’m personally picturing the Aretha Franklin part coming out, and Aretha stuffing frozen Hot Pockets down his throat as she says, “My daughter deserves some R-E-S-P-E-C-T!”

        • My Italian mother wants to get some “friends” to beat the living shit out of my ex. In fact… my entire Italian family insists that he doesn’t exist. I am told to just think of him as a “petrified mummy.”
          And that’s how my family deals with liars, cheaters and pieces of shit.

        • I am thinking he is fucking one of the dudebros. Did anyone else get that thought while reading? Either way, it really doesn’t matter.
          Listen to your instincts. Get away.

      • you know, i felt really good about being the “cool wife” who would trust her man on a cruise with his single friends… how blind and naive I was. Anyone who gets on a cruise as a single person or without their SO is prooooooobably looking to get drunk and GET LAID.

        • No good EVER comes out of being the “Cool Wife”
          They just use it against you to do their dirty deeds-ask me how I know!
          I tried to be the cool wife & let him go to strip bars with his friends & international trips with his boss (a multi-millionaire) Although I did draw the line at Amsterdam & Thailand.

          I truly believed I could trust him & that he would never cheat on me…….only to find out later that he had cheated on me multiple times-AND had a hooker & porn addiction! His boss is a scumbag just like he was! Looking back, I’m sure he was cheating the whole time we were together.
          Glad to be free & thankful he didn’t pass on any lasting “gifts”

          Face Palm 2 times………Ugh!

          • Oh yes, tried to be the cool girlfriend and then wife. It got turned into me not being ‘cool’, but proof that I didn’t care enough. *face/desk*

            So if I call and check up on him at 2am when he’s still not home, I’m a jealous suspicious bitch who can’t just be cool. If I don’t call and check up on him, I clearly don’t care about him.

            I’m so glad I washed my hands on that gaslighting asshat.

            • Yes, absolutely. Before the EA I trusted him completely. I couldn’t imagine him ever cheating. He just wasn’t the type, so I didn’t bother to be jealous and had no concern at all about female friends.

              When he had the EA it completely changed my world and my view of him as I realized he might be vulnerable to cheating after all. I tried to be the trusting wife. I feared that if I was too forceful in keeping him away from her I would be accused of being too controlling and increase the odds of an affair. Eventually, I put my foot down because I couldn’t stand the time he was spending with her instead of me. Back then the response was “well finally, it’s good to know you care, I could have used your help sooner”. I am pretty sure that one never went physical, but it put the idea in his head and he continued to ruminate about it and ultimately regret not having had a PA.

              Fast forward 8 years when he finally did decide to have the PA’s because he obviously missed out on something important before. When I got worried one night and started calling him over and over again while he wasn’t picking up when he had been gone for 3 hrs on a nighttime dog walk, he wasn’t happy I cared, he was annoyed. “Good grief, it’s a nice night. I was just going for a long walk with the dog.” “I thought something terrible had happened to one of the kids when I saw your calls.” How could anybody be so hostile about someone showing concern for his safety? Three hours with no warning and no word is a long time. Is it not reasonable to be concerned in that situation? And yes, the thought did cross my mind that he might have been with someone else but at the time I didn’t pay attention to that nagging little doubt.

              What jerks these guys are.

              • Haggar the Whoreable started going to AA meetings that lasted until 10pm. Then was supposed to be at the massage therapists and “decided not to go and just drive around and think” but the best was when he was needing to work on his issues and look for an apartment. Yep, apartment hunting at 9pm on a Sunday night. You know how those leasing agents open up late to show apartments…..but I was doing the understanding pick me dance and didn’t know that Ankles was the dance partner yet. *DUH – forehead slap*.

        • You shouldn’t feel bad that you trusted your husband. You didn’t do anything wrong. He should feel bad about being a piece of shit. If he travels for work or does anything at all without you, how exactly would you be able to stop him? his actions are his responsibility, not your responsibility for trusting a person who entered a legally binding contract where one of the terms was sexual fidelity.

          Next time, If you don’t like something or it feels wrong you don’t need to be “cool” about it.

      • LMAO..JUST.the …TRICKLE TRUTH ALONE !! …(how dare you insult my intelligence (I’d feel) …is enough for… a punch in the face..a punch in the wallet….demolish there image…(as long as it doesnt hurt… there wallet if you need it :)…….ohhhhhhh the rage……he’s a piece of shit…as the saying goes RUN DONT WALK….LAWYER UP AND HAMMER HIM IN COURT

    • Emphatically agree. This is totes just the tip of the iceberg, Chumpcat. He’s still lying to you, there’s way more, and that condom story is rifuckingdiculous. Take out the trash guilt-free. So sorry your mom sucks 🙁 Mother doesn’t always know best. And trust me on the dude bros, they are always a sign your cheater is stuck in college and never intends to grow up. Kick Peter Pan and his lost boys to the curb.

  • Omg chumpcat im sad for you. Your mom will come around but it’s best to wage this war away from her for now. Tracy! I’m sitting at Mickey d’s laughing in my breakfast! Today I feel like I’m at meh and it’s Wednesday not Tuesday. My divorce was final on Monday. Chumpcat it will get better I promise you that. Come here every day CL and CN rock and will help you get through it with healthy doses of snark and humour throughout the darkest days. Go no contact as soon as possible it is the way and the light. (((Hugs)) to all. I love each and every one of you..

      • Thanks so much Tracy the wackjob is out of my life(and all his toxic flying monkeys too–good riddance!). I had the sadz on Monday for a brief time. I’m now in full celebration mode yahoo!!

    • Newlady15, I am imaging you laughing into a bowl of cereal and it flying everywhere haha! So happy for you. Best wishes for a fabulous, fuckwit-free life ??

      • Thanks everyone it already is turning into a wonderful new life/-new (to me) house new guy( not a narc but stepping carefully). Rebuilt business, travel with old friends and new.. it’s good!!! Muwahhh!

    • Congrats NewLady!!! I’m now looking forward to my Tuesday AND my Wednesday…just some more paperwork wars to wage…

  • Awesome response, CL! Boudica — yeeessss!!!!

    Chumpcat: It hurts horribly to have parents like this — and I’m very sorry you have the added stress of dealing with that (because this wasn’t stressful enough, right!?).

    A cautionary tale:
    About five years into my marriage, I wanted a divorce from my husband. I had strong suspicions he had cheated — but he denied, denied, and deflected. He flirted with other women in front of me and our kids. And, when I finally had enough and told him I wanted out — he raped me. I basically had a nervous breakdown (not hospitalized, but all of the symptoms were there).

    So, I told my dad — who was the primary caregiver for myself and my siblings during childhood. His response was to tell me that I would be a terrible mother if I broke up the family. And, it would be my fault, since my husband didn’t want a divorce. I the let guilt and shame my dad imposed on me to make my decision for me. I STAYED.

    Almost two decades later, I discovered my husband had been cheating the entire marriage; he indulged in porn daily (but kept it completely hidden from me); and he’d been secretly skimming bill money to buy stuff for himself (leaving us unable to pay bills at times). When the shit hit the fan, my STBX came unhinged, went into a blind rage, tried to commit suicide out of revenge, and I had to get an order of protection against him.

    I would give just about anything to go back in time and be the BOUDICA for myself — to tell myself to ignore the really shitty advice, even though that advice is coming from my dad.

    I spent almost twenty years living with an abusive asshole because I let my dad’s imposed guilt and shame guide my decision. I didn’t listen to ME. Your gut reaction (which is completely rational given your situation) was to leave. Trust that. Trust YOURSELF.

    • Oh @JesssMom, I’m so sorry this happened to you. Thank you for having the courage to share, so that others can benefit from the knowledge you’ve gained. The way that your dad’s spirit of “hiding the truth to keep up appearances” harmed you and your family exponentially more in the long run, is another reinforcement of what CL always puts forth about parenting through cheating and divorce. That we should be honest, and only accept honesty from others, and tell the unembellished truth always — that in that way, as much as it’s in our control, be a good example of how we want them to live to. We can’t stop others from treating our families like garbage, but we can refuse to be a part of it.

      • Thank you for your kind words, chump-tastic. (((Hugs)))

        You stated this perfectly: “That we should be honest, and only accept honesty from others, and tell the unembellished truth always — that in that way, as much as it’s in our control, be a good example of how we want them to live to.”

        What we model to our kids is often “who” they become. Just as we internalized what our parents modeled to us. In my case, largely with CL and CN’s help, I’ve gained so much clarity on this. Now, I’m intensely motivated to stop the multi-generational cycle. I’ve slammed on the brakes — and the family dynamic is getting a complete overhaul.

        • JesssMom, I’m so sorry for the years of abuse, but so grateful that you share what you’ve learned in order to lift others up. I always gain something from your posts (generally an “Ah-ha!!! So that’s why…”) I too am trying for the “family dynamic overhaul”. My boys will not repeat my mistakes. I will be the Mamabear they deserve and they will KNOW THEIR WORTH. And mine 🙂

          • I have been extremely fortunate to have CL and CN — the many courageous people willing to share their stories, validate my perceptions, and grant me kindness and support when I had none in my every-day life. I am eternally grateful.

            It is such a pleasure to be able to pay it forward … and to carve something good from some horrific choices and experiences. It does me a world of good to know I’ve helped, even in a small way.

            I love your determination, SomethingNew: “My boys will not repeat my mistakes. I will be the Mamabear they deserve and they will KNOW THEIR WORTH. And mine.” This is mighty — and beautiful.

            Sending all my best thoughts and wishes to you and your boys. (((Hugs)))

        • JesssMom, I am so sorry you had to go through such horrendous abuse, I am in awe of your mighty spirit!

          I share your goal of breaking the multi-generational cycle of abuse. If she decides to get married or have kids, my kiddo is probably going to be embarrassed to no end when I present her with a pre-nup that is thinker than a PhD dissertation… It’s years away, and in the meantime, I am doing my best to validate her feelings and support her as she navigate her relationship with her cluster b dad…

          Sending my best wishes for you and your kids to build a wonderful family life in spite of your X’s nocuous presence.


          • JesssMom…what a life, lady! My hat is off to you. You are a role model for me. My STBX raped me when I shared about my flashbacks of incest, but I was too regressed to even call it that or defend myself. I’m just now seeing the past 30 years with clear sight. Who gets turned on by someone opening up to them? Narc fucktards, that’s who! I’m Dday3 + 57 days and met w attorney to start the divorce ball rolling. Not-S-enoughTBX is still playing sad sausage, hoping for a “miracle” to save the marriage. He’s one of those “nice guys” that “everybody loves” (some a little too much!). I’ve lived the truth and no one outside of a marriage/couple can know what’s inside. I’m convinced my snake would pass a lie detector test if asked if he loved me and was devoted to the union. BARF! Just more proof of the power of self-mindfuckery that justifies destroying the loyalty and trust of a partner and not BAT an eyelash. But my own toxic family sided with him Dday 1&2… At least 2 decades later, my (narc) mother can say that she knows I’ll survive this and be all right. That’s monumental for her. She even apologized(!) For assuming that I was at fault for financial problems we had in the past, when it was all him. I live CL & CN! Y’all are my island of snarky sanity in the shitshow of my rubble. Like Danearys, I will emerge the flames…with some freaking dragons!

            • That’s so awful JM and CD! My heart is so sad and MAD for you both to have had to endure that horrific abuse and then more abuse after that by the people who should’ve helped you.

              You are both mighty to have survived and courageous to keep going no matter. Then to come here and share such difficult things that could help others? The strength of your character is obvious and those abusers don’t have any, which is why they’ll flame out eventually.

              Bravo sweet chumps on taking your lives back! Brings tears to my eyes to imagine you snatching it back – carrying a flag and flash in your eyes that says “burn in hell you heinous asshole!” ((Hugs))

    • God Jess, I’m sorry. I know it was before my time but I want to time travel and shake your father.

      • VulcanChump — thank you. The kind feedback means more than I can possibly express in words. (((Hugs)))

    • OMG. I am so, so sorry you had to endure that, JesssMom. I’m also so, so glad you are free from him now!

      • Thank you, Keepin Calm. It is such a relief to finally see it all for what it was … and to be free. 🙂

    • “tried to commit suicide out of revenge” Ugh JesssMom, the ultimate narc move – “punishing” you by removing their sparkly self from your life. What a POS. And don’t get me started on the rape… I am so sorry that you went through all that but with every post you seem stronger and more sure of yourself and that is great to see.

      P.S. Every time I see mention of the daily porn and the siphoning of money I think that somehow we were married to the same douchebag, but then I remember they’re all reading from the same narc script so it just seems like they’re the same awful fucktard.

      • You wonderful people are bringing tears (of comfort and appreciation) to my eyes. (((Hugs)))

        Thank you for mentioning that you see me becoming stronger … though there are bad days and good days, overall — I feel much stronger. This whole process has been like a long line of switches needing to be flipped for reality to really sink in; for me to be able to find the strength to refuse to be abused any longer. I’m sure there are more switches to come, but the pace is accelerating and I can tell — it’s profound enough to almost be physical — that I’m finally setting a healthy coarse for myself and my girls.

        And, oh heavens, yes — the narc script. Seeing the commonalities was one of the first “switches” in my head. In the early stages, it’s so helpful in seeing that they truly suck. Every single one of them.

    • Oh JesssMom! your story… it hurts my heart and I’m so sorry you went through all of this. What. A. Fucking. Pig. I’m so glad you could finally get out!! And your dad… i hope at some point he has apologized to you.
      Thank you for sharing your story- so very happy you are free and I’m sending you so much love!!!

      • chumpcat:

        No — my dad never apologized. I naively assumed that almost all parents have their children’s best interests at heart … so it took me a very long time to accept “who” he is (a serial cheating narcisstic asshole who finds everyone around him to be either useful or in the way). I have only minimal contact with him now — and I use the gray rock technique when there is contact. It’s part of the family dynamic overhaul. 😉

        I hope you keeping reading here and post in the forums for extra support. (The community here is fantastic!) Stay strong — and please keep reminding yourself of your worth. I promise you — you are valuable. You did not deserve this.

        Sending love and (((hugs)))!

        • My favorite new narc-parent story…I have become a successful person despite the soul crushing actions of my parents. I am also financially solvent because I work hard and make good decisions (and dead cheater had great life insurance). Anyhoo…my parents lived high-on-the-hog for a long time despite the fact they couldnt afford it. Now, living on their last dime their new thing is “We must be successful, look at what our kids have!” (lets go into deep denial about our horrible life decisions.

          Mom, now that she drank enough to become truly demented, not only waxes nostalgic about virtues that she never had, she has commandeered my life tragedies. The other day she told me that her first husband died. “For the love of God, mom, your first husband is sitting next to you, MY first husband died”. Never underestimate the amount of shit some folks will present with.

  • “…her friend slipped a condom in his pocket and invited him to their place to hook up…he got into the car with them, and then had a ‘wait I’m about to fuck up again’ moment, and got out of the car”

    Yeaaaaaaah, I call bullshit on his story. Sounds too fishy to me. He probably had a supply of condoms for every time he went out, to prepare for random hook-ups.

    When I read this it reminded me of my experience finding condoms in fucktard’s briefcase. He said he had them “for clients that flew in for business meetings, incase they hooked up with a bargirl” during their karaoke sessions. Yeaaaaaah, right. And these guys were married, too! I was disgusted over their lack of morals and would query him as to WHY he supported their cheating. He said they were his clients, and he “couldn’t be seen to be passing judgment on them”, lest he lose their business. He really had me convinced this was the truth. Until I caught him out, but kept it a secret that I knew, then hatched a plan to escape, and one day….left him at the airport! Mwahahaha, I love saying that. I left him at the airport, and had the last laugh ?

    Chumpcat, don’t listen to your mom. I know that’s hard, especially if you are close to her and have always looked up to her. It’s hard to come to the realisation that mom doesn’t always know best. She comes from a different generation, one that put up with a lot of sh*t from the men in their lives. Divorce that asswipe! Go and gain a life! Thank your lucky stars you didn’t breed with it ?

  • ChumpCat – Well, it is not your mother’s life, it is your life. Get out now and start living your life. Your cheater is such an incredible crybaby, his Uber was late so he goes back into the bar and lets himself be picked up by a drunk chick???? Seriously? How old is the asshole? 12? 14? Nope you deserve way better! You seem to be very reasonable and you have the courage to end it now! Go for it retake your life

  • WTF is wrong with your mother that she can’t see your value, that she thinks a drinking, womanizing douchebag is all you deserve, and worse — after he’s humiliated you, that you should FIGHT to keep him? Where is HER fight to protect you from harm?

    This is exactly what you need to say to your mother and if that doesn’t wake her up to the truth, it probably shows why you picked this douche in the first place. You may have been raised without appropriate boundaries.

    From the sound of her reaction, she is more worried about her image than your well being. Time to start setting with the boundaries. I am Magent it will be a tough road but you certainly sound like you have a good head on your shoulders and are already seeing her atrocities.

    Continue on the path to get out of the situation and good luck. Chump nation is rooting for you.

    Btw everyone needs Boudica mom!

  • I’m with CL, who goes on a cruise with his “bros” and leaves his wife at home?? And if your Uber is late can’t you find something else to do while waiting for your ride to arrive? If my ride was late I wouldn’t immediately think about “hooking up” (hate that term) with someone to pass the time!!! It’s all too ridiculous to believe. She needs to dump this case of arrested development like yesterday’s trash!

    • These are just VERY small glimpses into the life this man leads. I guarantee he has been doing this and much worse for a very long time. He has just kept his wife completely in the dark about it until she discovered a crack.

      • Yessss, agreed ?? And then the crack opens a fraction wider and you start finding out more and more about this secret life being had behind your back that you had no idea was going on. And you’re completely dumbfounded. And you look the bastard in the eye as he confidently tells you yet another lie, directly to your face. And you wonder – who the hell is this loser?!? And how does he sleep at night?! And how I did I end up with such a dud ??‍♀️

        • My experience exactly, although I haven’t quite made it to the “dud” part. I knew more than he realized. He confidently looked me in the eye and told me he had been at therapy, when I knew in fact he was with AP. I looked at him and thought WTF??? How can he look at me and lie so calmly.

    • Roberta, I concur, who goes on Bro Cruises? Huh? Any woman who goes along with that has decided that she deserves nothing. I know, I did that, but no ‘cruise’, just always being left at home, so X could have freedom to go play without me. I had very low self-esteem then. I don’t regret spending time with my beautiful sons, while he bar-hopped, but I was young and missed a lot of fun! My BF now takes me dancing, romantic dining, camping, etc- this is NORMAL. Cruising with guys, not so much!

      • Exactly. Judas would go to Vegas every year….without me. Then during our divorce he said “You were always invited to go, but you don’t like to fly, so….” Therefore it was MY fault he let some skanky whore convince him his life (wife) sucked and HE deserves SO MUCH BETTER. And like you FreeWoman, my bf and I do our best to do things together. Not what is best for HIM. My guy even opens doors for me. Weird

  • “Does Boudica do consensus studies? No, she does not. I’m sorry your family doesn’t approve of your decision to remove yourself from harm. That’s fine, they can sit on the sidelines and enjoy the spackle — you’ve got a war to wage, called divorce.” This made me LOL and do a fist pump. YES!! This is totally in keeping with my “Queen of my own life” philosophy. I settle my crown a little more firmly on my head and make my own decisions about my life. Encouragement is welcome, criticism not so much.

    My 23 year old daughter brought her first really serious boyfriend home for the weekend a few weeks back. He’s a wonderful young man. He brought me flowers and wine. 🙂 That’s not what makes him wonderful though. What makes him wonderful is that he treats my daughter with respect. If that ever changes, I will hunt him down and make him very, very sorry. My hashtag on his social media would be #mamabeardoesntplay

    • My sister has a granddaughter who dates the kindest, most sensible young man. We all say, “We love XXX.” But if he hurt her, in any way? #mamabeardoesntplay indeed.

  • “….fold your needs into tiny origami shapes and store them there in your purse, next to your lipstick.”

    This. I did this. For YEARS.

    NO effing MORE.

  • You see your husband for who he really is now. And there is no way to un-see this truth. Maybe you should ask your mom if this is the sort of creep she wants you to spend the rest of your life with? It doesn’t sound like my idea of “happily ever after” . You caught him a few times, SO FAR. But it is just a taste of what the future holds. No mom should want that life for her child. Buy your mom Chump Lady’s book and give her a some time to get her priorities right.

    • My experience is that if you stay and he “gets away with it” this time, it will just give him a sense of entitlement to not only continue the behavior but will probably just ramp it up. Break free now. He has just proven by doing it again that he is not trustworthy…EVER.

    • YaYa I should!! She says she is just so sad because we have always been 2 peas in a pod, best friends, we are each other’s “person”… You don’t lie to your best friend, you don’t fabricate stories and cheat on your “person” because even though the fallout will suck and you’ll have to sleep on the couch for a while, you know they’ll forgive you and everything will eventually get back to normal so you can (safely) slip up again in the future. No, we may have been compatible and comfortable together, but no, no, no, I’m not playing that way ANY. MORE.

  • Run, Honey, run. Divorce his lying cheating ass and go on to your own fabulous life without him. You deserve so much better.

    I had a mom like yours. She was a covert narcissist who was NOT in my corner in any way. Now I’m not saying that your mom is personality disordered, but the behaviour was similar.

    I had a short marriage to a cheater young in life. He was very abusive and I left him two years in. I called her one day to tell her he had begun to hit me. All she had to say to me was what did I do to him. I never trusted her again. I knew it was all on me to save myself, and I did.

    Good for you, throwing in the towel, and standing up for yourself. As a mom myself, there would be no way I would tell my daughter she should stay with a lying cheater. Healthy parents are fierce in their defense of their beloved children. I’m sorry they are not. Hugs.

      • Exactly. And healthy aunts, uncles, grandparents and siblings. They don’t enable bad behavior but they defend their loved ones when someone abuses them.

  • Chumpcat, your mom isn’t the one married to this cheating jackass. She isn’t the one in pain. Leave him for YOU.
    A silver lining to this — which may not become evident till later — is that you will find out which of your friends and relatives will stick with you through thick and thin.

    And, as everyone else has said, cheaters only reveal the tiniest amount of truth based on what they think you already know. So, YES, he’s been cheating, multiple times, maybe with multiple women. I would bet that one woman even went with the “dude bros” & hubby on the cruise.

    You will get through this, and you will come out stronger than ever.

    • At least one woman. And the dude bros set it up that way. Can you imagine that the cruise was their first experience like this? No way.

      • Agreed, LaJ. My heart wrenched for her as I read the letter … I remember being in a similar place as I started realizing what my STBX had been doing. And then I found more. And more. …

        This seems to be a very common theme with the asshole-cheater behavior.

  • We all know he screwed those women! That said, why was he placing himself in those situations in the first place? I call BS, too!!!

  • I just find her Mothers attitude astounding! I have three grown daughters and I can assure you that this would NOT fly in my hemisphere if this happened to them. I’d help them pack, move and finance the divorce immediately! I’m appalled at her Mom’s stance on this!

    • I know, right? I don’t have grown daughters yet, only little ones, but you better believe I could produce some real flames flying out my nose if someone put them through this in the future. It feels like my heart is ripping out of my chest when I have even an inkling of one of them being harmed, so I can only imagine what it would be like to see them going through some real trauma. I would turn my pain and anger into heaping kindness on them, and be the one pulling up in the moving van, tooting my horn gleefully. Life. Is. Too. Short. Cut your losses and move on, kids.

    • One of the Many things that kills me about having given my kids a stinky cheater for a dad is knowing that they are now, statistically, more likely to grow up to become cheaters, chumps or the “other women/ men,” themselves because of this nature & nurture. It’s simply a fact. Even though they’re now small, I’m already thinking about how I’d react if any/all of them becomes any of the above. I pray that I will encourage all Chumps to walk, immediately, head held high.

      Oh, and ugly, unnecessary swipe at Nancy Reagan. She was one of the only First Ladies, EVER, who wasn’t a Chump. In return, she also stuck loyally by her husband through his years of dementia and was very involved in his day-to-day care… which many wealthy spouses simply pay others to worry about.

  • “That, even though my cheating/lying husband story isn’t as extreme as others’ stories might be, that this behavior isn’t okay with me.”

    ChumpCat, hooray for you! He cheated and you believed you could work it out with a marriage counselor, was willing to address it as an addiction, and still at the end of the day you were still sitting in a massive pile of shit. You could no longer minimize his actions, the lies, and gaslighting.

    You are an adult with agency. Your mother and in laws want not only to spakle, they expect you to accept blame.

    It’s not that bad. Really? Let them know cheating isn’t measured by the extremity; it’s measured by a lack of character.

    You are a warrior.

  • Chumpcat, if it feels hard to leave now, imagine what it will feel like in another 20 years. CL and all these commenters have given you awesome advice. You can pull yourself out of this muck, because in the end it comes down to what *you* say is an acceptable way to be treated. The thing I always come back to is, what if this were happening to my best friend? Would I counsel her to stay with the cheater? Shouldn’t I treat myself at least as well as I would treat her?

    And you said it yourself, you don’t want to play detective for the rest of your life. It’s freaking exhausting, right? That was a big part of me giving my ex an ultimatum too. Life’s too short for that crap.

    As conservative as my parents are and as much as that’s driven me nuts in the past, I have to say I’m really grateful that when I told them what was going on with my ex’s cheating, they said a few things: (1) that unfortunately they weren’t very surprised given his clear total disinterest in his family (2) that I was doing the right thing, and (3) that they would support me / babysit / come to court if necessary / etc. And they expressed proper indignation about all the fake-friends who supported cheater ex. After a young adulthood focused in many ways on shedding their influence, in that moment, their support meant the world to me. I wouldn’t wish the opposite on anyone.

    Here’s hoping that you can have the strength to put your parents aside (quite literally, like sidestep them altogether for some months if you need to) to do what needs to be done right now, and the grace to accept their awkward apologies when they finally realize that real-life actions and choices are what make a man, not fuzzy ideas of what *could* be. If no change materializes, you will distance yourself appropriately and only associate yourself with people who value you.

    Don’t forget, we’re here for you! We’re on your side, and we will walk through the fire with you.

  • Let’s look at the cruise. Lots of single women go on cruises to find a sig. other. Men go on cruises to screw. These men probably hooked up with any woman willing to lie down for a minute. Also…..ports of call. Who hangs out there? Why just lil ole prostitutes, that’s who. This was a smorgasbord of free sex with a few paid for side trips. Go get tested.

  • Given the statistic that 50% of marriages break up, and a good number of the ones that don’t are not healthy, why is society so obsessed with sacrificing individuals at the almighty shrine of Marriage? Who gets sacrificed? Oppressed spouses (like Chumpcat and all the rest of us, because infidelity is emotional abuse, and emotional abuse is a form of oppression), children’s health & well-being, tons of dollars to maintain the almighty principle of Marriage, probably even puppies.

    Stop the slaughter of innocents. When a relationship makes one sacrifice one’s self-respect, the relationship needs to go. It does not matter what incident or chain of behaviors is causing the loss of self-respect–infidelity, neglect, constant criticism–that is sufficient to end the marriage or relationship. And yes, I think that even when there are children involved. Children do not thrive from having a semi-broken parent.

    • Oh, Tempest, you are singing my song. I feel so bad for chumps and their friends and relatives who think a legal relationship is more important than a person. And to those who cry “marriage is a sacrement,” please note that even the Catholic Church offers ways to end a marriage in which one partner never fully committed. And that is a description of every marriage with a cheater in it.

    • Tempest as usual saying what needs to be said. A marriage is only as good as its weakest link. It pisses me off too that some ideal of marriage seems to be worth more than the mental and physical wellbeing of chumps and children. WTF?? It’s exactly what perpetuates abuse. For a lot of us, divorce was liberation.

    • This is SO true….there are no trophies given out for remaining in a marriage with a spouse who does not love you or respect you. If you can’t bring yourself to leave for you, then perhaps realizing that staying in that situation with children involved is tantamount to abdicating your parental responsibility of raising emotionally healthy children. The repercussions will continue for years……..

  • My mother first response to stbx cheating was… You know how men are. (I live in a country where men are expected to cheat ) I said to her no,it is 2000s and too many diseases to accept that nonsense.
    But since she got a glimpse of his true colours, she probably is more disgusted by him than I am. She is a big support to me. But her view was what she knew.
    My father, when I told him that I was leaving the marriage because of cheating he suggested staying… For the children. But when I told him that my stbx was leaving, he asked me what had I done?!
    I had his head for that…
    Yes. However well meaning the advice they don’t live with the consequences in the same way we do.

  • What a breath of fresh air!!


    That’s what i was trying to get at with “QueenMother.” I’ve been trying to do the Boudica thing for myself.

    Love ya lots and lots, ChumpLady!!!

  • With enough women’s lib, equal pay for equal work, equal education and learning that the children of working mother’s do not turn into homicidal maniacs or hookers and camp followers, we women no longer have to listen to that age old whisper, “you cannot live without a man… that age old whisper needs to die with a stake through its heart. My son called me and said, my girl f cheated on me. Even though she was quite charming, hard working etc, my response, Fuck her, walk and don’t look back, you are worth so much more. I will never do to them what my mother did to me, “perhaps if you had taken his last name, he wouldn’t have done this.” Gaaah! I think we need a Boudica cartoon, with hot pockets F’um, Chumpcat! F’um

  • Took the words right out of my mouth, CL. As I was reading I thought ‘Fuck him… and fuck your Mother!’

    Get your Boudica on ChumpCat and come here to CN for more Boudica inspiration!

  • Tell Mommy if he’s so great, she should fucking marry him. You’ve got this. Also, Lols @ fart brain. 😀

    • This, my thought exactly. Maybe Mommy would like the wedding ring, too, since she is clearly so attached to the guy.

  • ChumpCat

    Agree 10000% with Chump Lady: “I’m sorry she can’t be Boudica. So, here’s what every daughter must do in your situation — be your own Boudica.”

    Your husband is cheating on you. 10000% chance this is a fact. It sounds like you are young and do not have children. Get out!!!!!!!!! Dude Cruise!? The dudes were on a floating whorehouse. See a doctor ASAP.

    Do not spackle like I did until I turned 64.

    And when it comes to most parents, just the address changes: most are NOT Boudica, even if they do worry about us, they see this kind of crap through their own lenses.

    When I was 50 I complained to my parents that I wanted out because my husband was keeping us in debt and using MY resources to help out his narcissistic brothers and parents with their debts. He would bully me and devalue me when I complained. And little did I know that part of our debts was due to cheating. Well, my father said “stop being such a judgy ogre”; my mother: “who is going to keep your feet warm at night?” Well, my mother cheated on my father for decades and my father was the world’s champion spackler. He had a bad end of life with my mother cheating on him in many ways until the very end.

    Get out Cat!

  • I was the most naive of all. For a while. I believed his lies…”we didn’t have sex, just extreme passion. “I fell in love”. Until I saw the invoice for HIV testing, i really believed he didn’t have SEX with that whore. Who gets tested for stds if they didn’t have sex? NO ONE. Oh, and then I got tested and learned I have Hep B. After being monogomous and faithful in every way for 25 years. When he learned I was infected, I never heard from him again, but he’s trying to harm me financially in the divorce. THEY LIE. Trust that they do. Summon up your inner warrior and don’t look back.

    • Did you decide to sue him in a civil suit for battery or fraud or negligence or intentional infliction of emotional distress or outrage? I recall that you were considering it.

      I’m very interested in these kinds of claims. Because of no fault laws it seems there is little judicial remedy for the harms suffered.

      I’m sorry this happened to you.

    • Beowulf, how absolutely cowardly and selfish and just straight up mean what he’s done and is doing to you… I SO agree with motherchump99, pleeeease press whatever charge you possibly can for someone knowing that they have a infectious disease and knowingly passing it off to you. I’m so sorry this happened to you. Make that motherfucker pay!

  • This! Omg if only I had this imagination a decade ago when I found my ex hooking with a drug addict!


  • This may be one of your best, ever! Powerful. Right up there with the one about de-colonizing your mind – My Useless Masters Degree in African History Explains Infidelity.
    I hope you are getting strong and healthy sinuses!

  • My mother said she always knew my marriage wouldnt last because he was too good for me and I made no effort to rise.
    W T actual ever-loving F
    Parents (shakes head)
    You can pick your nose but not your family.

    • HAW HAW HAW “you can pick your nose but not your family” HAW HAW HAW HAW. I sooOOOoooo love the humor of chumps.

      Chumpcat, next time you are looking for confirmation on leaving that asshole come here, not to mom. She sounds like she has been dealing with her own bag of turds and spackling it from the family for years.

      Please don’t separate. Leave. The only thing chumps feel staying with a cheater is regret.

      CL, you had me at “Fuck your mother”. I know that was said with all due respect, but it was exactly my thought after reading this letter. Damn I love it when you burst out with a good four letter in the first sentence!

  • I’m old. Just about everyone I know is old. Age results in a lot of things like lines, wrinkles, hearing and vision “challenges,” mobility “challenges,” false teeth, guts (but not the kind one would appreciate), prostate problems, bladder control issues, telephone scams and other ways to keep you damn well occupied. Your Mugger needs a hobby. Send her to a couple of Old Fart Book Clubs or Bunko/Poker games. Or maybe a casino buffet All You Can Eat for $5.99 so she’ll stop cannibalizing her young.

    What I’m trying to say is Age does not automatically confer Wisdom. In scientific fact, you loose grey matter, your telomeres shorten, your synapses misfire etc. Translation: You loose your mind and every damn pair of “reading glasses” you bought at The Dollar Store.

    Your Mugger is an asshole. How you turned out to have such an abundance of common sense and good judgement is a miracle of DNA Evolution and the Laws of Probability. If I were you I’d petition the Court for a BOGO and divorce her saggy ass too. She’s failed at one of the two most fundamental responsibilities of a parent: Protect your offspring even at the cost of your own life-not their’s. Wild animals demonstrate this principle daily. She doesn’t even approach the level of a slime mold-which has no brain or CNS. Shame on her.

    And Brava for you-a class act. Sometimes Starter Marriages (as I think you young people call them?) are a necessary step on the way to “Stayer” Marriages/Relationships. If you’d known this was a Catch and Release Immature specimen you wouldn’t have married it. If you had known your Mugger was a DNA Deviant, you wouldn’t have listened to her-and she is, and no, you don’t take advice from the Village Idiot. You’d have better luck paying a visit to Ms. Cleo and her Crystal Ball. At least she doesn’t pretend to be anything but what she is: A Fraud and Bull Shitter-but a fun one! And way cheaper than anything involving lawyers or courts.

    Hold your head high and walk away as fast as your hooker heels ? (aka “Fuck Me”-and you too, looser STB ex) will take you. Add yo Mugger to the equation. They deserve each other; a “mother and child reuinion is only a (court) motion away.”

    This mother cheers you on wildly-while making obscene hand gestures at all of the females and that STB ex and “bros” involved in this sordid compendium of STD Transmitters and DNA Deviants.

    • “This mother cheers you on wildly-while making obscene hand gestures at all of the females and that STB ex and “bros” involved in this sordid compendium of STD Transmitters and DNA Deviants.”

      I love you, Tundra Woman (Platonically — and with an enormous amount of respect). 🙂

    • “…Or maybe a casino buffet All You Can Eat for $5.99 so she’ll stop cannibalizing her young.”

      Damn, Tundra Woman. Great stuff.

      — HeChump

      • Hilarious Tundra Woman! Love the idea of a “catch and release immature specimen”. I think Catchump’s STBX, like the other cheater partners here, won’t ever mature past this juvenile stage.

  • There was no CL when my husband was fucking Karen in my bed while I was working three jobs to buy a home for my family.

    My mothers advice, “He’s not that bad.” Sometimes we come from families that tolerate abuse. We learn to measure by that yardstick, comparatively. She was a battered woman. I loved her dearly. She was wrong. There is a line in the book, The Verbally Abusive Relationship that says something like, ‘staying is the hardest part’. My mother was unable to leave, her abuse was life long.

    If a parent has no value in their relationship they teach their children to accept breadcrumbs instead of authenticity. They teach us our self worth is dependent on others. Know your value CC. You deserve better.

    • And exactly why chumps and emotionally abused people need to leave their marriages/relationships–don’t set the children up to accept the same poor treatment. Release the inner Boudica that we all have.

      • Yes. This is precisely the dynamic I’m determined to end.

        Grandparents — All but one were cheaters; two were physically abusive; three were verbally abusive.

        Parents — Both cheaters; one physically abusive; both verbally abusive

        Step-parents — One physically abusive; one sexually abusive; three verbally abusive (Only one was fairly benign even if un-engaged); one cheater

        NO MORE. There is no fucking way I’m passing this crap on to my kids. Between getting my own sea legs out of this, CL and CN, my therapist, and my new library of books on overcoming this crap … I will put an end to this horrific dynamic.

      • Yep. I’d truly rather die alone in that bunker of cats then accept abuse or infidelity in a marriage again. Plus, there’s lots to life besides romantic relationships. I have hobbies, I have wonderful friends and colleagues, I have a great career, all of which give life meaning. Abuse is a legacy I refuse to pass on to anyone.

  • My mother is not June Cleaver, but when I told her I threw skankboy out for cheating, she said, “Good for you!” She is very, VERY supportive of me and my decisions. GO, MOM!

      • JessMom, she said much more than that! She has supported far beyond what I expected! That woman most certainly has my back! 🙂

        • I have one son. He was in a long term relationship. Their breakup came as a sudden event. I asked him, “was she cheating on you?” He said “No, Mom, just didn’t work out.” As a nurse, *I* said, thank God I don’t have to make it look like an accident! We both laughed, what a bonding moment!

  • Awesome column!
    I don’t eat Hot Pockets but I’m going to buy a box today and keep it in my freezer.
    Every time they catch my eye I’ll remember the image of Boudica smashing a cheater’s face.

    Cat, you deserve better.
    Your husband’s stories look like lies from where I’m standing. IDK why, but when cheaters lie they try to make it sound like they were wise, in the stupidest possible way. “oh, I realized at the last drunken second that it could hurt you if I slept with her, so I didn’t !! Some drunk girl was all over me, and I didn’t cheat on you!! Be amazed at my willpower and foresight!”

    It’s amazing in its selfishness and immaturity. Why is he out drinking and cruising with his bros? To hone his superpower of not fucking drunk Hot Pockets?

    Chump Lady’s right. You deserve better from him, and from your family.

  • ChumpLady, I just fell in love with you all over again. Hope you’re healing up well, because you sure are helping me heal up well! Laughter really is great medicine…

    Chumpcat, he slept with her and some others. Those excuses are both long and lame. This behavior doesn’t just spring up fully-formed like Athena from a god-forehead. He’s always been a douchebag, he just used to hide it better. The fact that he has been “getting away with it” makes him think that he’s good at this shit. By that I mean fucking around on his spouse makes him feel like James Bond. (Yes, James, you are managing to successfully fool someone who has every reason to trust you, why don’t you level up and start stealing candy from babies and defrauding sweet little old ladies of their pensions now, hmm?) What a winner.

    As is The Entitleds’ MO, James Bond is now ramping up the douche-baggery enough to get caught. (You know enough of what’s going on to make your decision, as CL says: LISTEN TO YOUR GUT.) If you go back to him, it’ll just validate to him that he can treat you like this. You teach people how to treat you by what you accept.

    This one will sound harsh, but same goes for your family. You don’t want to hear the same litany over and over again? You have to shut it down. They will either listen to you and accept that you’ve made your decision and need support, or they won’t. There are family members I haven’t spoken to in over a year, for this very reason. (Yes, it sucks, but cutting those people out of my life has let me spend my time and energy on those who lift me up, rather than running me in mind-circles and making me stay in muck.)

    That being said, I really wish you had a Boudica-mom. Or friend. Or second cousin twice-removed. I evicted STB-wasbund out of my life after the first affair (that I found out about, there had been plenty before that one, I just had no idea) in large part because 10 years ago, after 26 years in a shitty marriage I saw my mom walk out, go no contact and never look back. She’s now the happiest I’ve ever seen her and I knew if she could do it, I, being her daughter, could do it too. (As an aside, if as a parent you ever wonder if walking out of an abusive relationship is the right thing to do for your kids, the answer is for fuck’s sake YES!!!!! Be a SuperModeler! ;P ) So if you can’t have a Boudica-mom, you’re going to have to be one. You can do it. You’ve already started!

    And btw, just because other peoples’ stories are worse (and there are some truly awful stories here, my heart goes out to each and every one) doesn’t make what he did one iota less get-the-hell-away-from-that-horrifying-mess-of-a-human(ish). Which brings to mind yet another of my internalized CL Truths… The only relevant question is: Is this acceptable to YOU?

    In summary, the wonderful people here at CN have lived through every permutation of your story.

    We KNOW.

    And we validate you.

    • You made me fall out laughing!
      ‘He’s always been a douchebag, he just used to hide it better. The fact that he has been “getting away with it” makes him think that he’s good at this shit. By that I mean fucking around on his spouse makes him feel like James Bond. (Yes, James, you are managing to successfully fool someone who has every reason to trust you’
      Did you know the X? This is him EXACTLY. Thanks for the laugh this morning ?

  • CL this is awesome!!! My first marriage was to an alcoholic abuser. My mom advised me not to marry him. Being an 18 year old know it all I did anyway. When the abuse got to much I left. My mother was from a different generation. All about what will the neighbors think. She told me I made my bed now l had to lay in it. That I needed to be a better wife. My mom was awesome in many ways but her reaction left me feeling so alone in the world. Like I said she was from a different generation where you kept your vows no matter what. My saving grace was a priest who told me that God gave us one life, it was a gift. And to live that life in misery was an insult to his gift. You know what’s right for you. No one else has to live your life. Do what is right for you. My daughter was with a worthless man who guilted her into thinking she was not enough. The first time I heard his bullshit I packed her up and moved her out. I told him I didn’t raise my daughter to put up with fools like him.

    • “The first time I heard his bullshit I packed her up and moved her out. I told him I didn’t raise my daughter to put up with fools like him.”

      This is so friggin’ awesome. 🙂

    • I heard that too from my mother ‘you made your bed, you lie in it’. A very wise older woman then told me ‘you made a bed that turned out bad for you, you get out and make it again’. And I did just that! You don’t have to stay with these cheaters – whether you catch them red handed or not – if you feel it, it is so. Make your plan and get out.

  • My mother was an often-malignant narcissist. My dad was a detached workaholic big “drinking with his buddies” guy. Many years ago, I had surgery for what was suspected ovarian cancer (and thank God was not). My parents were staying at my apartment and the man I was married to and separated called the apartment to threaten me. They went nuclear on his ass and got me an armed guard in the hospital.

    Your parents. Chumpcat, should be firmly in your corner. You are married to an abusive, lying serial cheater. You have nothing to work with here. If I had a daughter, I would go Mama Grizzly on your husband’s cheating ass.

    I’m giving you a 6-month vacation from talking to your parents. You can email them and tell them so. Here’s the text:

    Mom and Dad, I’m brokenhearted that I married a man who has repeatedly cheated on me and lied to me. He continues to cheat and lie, even after being caught. This behavior is dangerous and disrespectful to me. It indicates not only that he doesn’t love me, but that he might not be capable of love. I would never want children to grow up in a home where their mother accepts this sort of emotional abuse. Moreover, he has exposed me to deadly sexually transmitted diseases and will continue to do so if I stay in this marriage. He has refused counseling or therapy for his problems, which shows a lack of interest in changing.

    I’m also brokenhearted that you would judge me for deciding to end my marriage. You are not the only ones disappointed that my dream of happy marriage to this person is shattered. But you don’t seem to realize that there is no “Us.” There is only me, because Cheaterpants destroyed the Us.

    I love you, and l longed for your love and support during this horrible time. I’m taking a 3-6 month vacation from contact with anyone who values my marriage more than me, my health, my sanity, and my future. Letting you know so that you don’t worry about not hearing from me. I love you but I will be busy saving myself and building a new life. Should you change your mind, let me know. I would be grateful for your unconditional support. Love, your daughter.

    I’m serious. Stop talking to them for now. You are doing a mighty and powerful thing. And sadly, you’ve learned that your parents are not all-knowing, all-powerful, all-wise people. You’ve found that they love best when you conform to their ideas. Join the club. There’s lots of us who have learned that sad fact. Doesn’t mean you won’t love them in spite of their limits and failings, but it does mean that right now they are no help to you. I once gave my mother a 6-month time out and it did wonders for me and re-set my relationship with her. She knew that I wouldn’t put up with her manipulative, guilt-inducing shit. You picked an abuser in part because you are used to being dominated. It feels normal. First step to fixing your husband picker is to set some boundaries with the parents and stick to them like you life depends on it. And please don’t speak to his parents at all. They don’t want their little boy’s failures out in the world for all to see. You are doing the right thing. And for the next year or so, you will spend some part of your time sorting out who has your back and who does not. Hang in there.

    • Drop your mic LAJ, you nailed it.

      One of the benefits of going through what we’ve been through is that you learn to not take shit. From anyone. Not your parents, not your friends, and definitely not a significant other. No shit is taken. And, no shit is given if they don’t like it. That’s tough shit learned the hard way.

  • Your mother needs a remedial math class. You actually did give him a chance. ONE. Singular. And he used it to get in a car to go hook up with a drunk girl he met in a bar.

  • You say ”mom. I understand you come from a generation where women just looked the other way and ate down their sadness and pain, because, appearances, but I happen to believe I deserve to be happy and that I deserve someone who sticks to the vows we made so recently. Even in quite religious circles, adultery is considered a deal breaker because it breaks the marriage contract. Anyway, I’m sorry you feel I am somehow at fault here and I’m sorry I can’t rely on your for support. I always thought I could and that you’d have my corner. Please understand I can’t be in touch with you for a while, just until I consider what kind of relationship we might have going forward. Somehow I got raised to have personal boundaries and standards, so I suppose I should thank you, but you’ll forgive me if I don’t pile on the warmth, because I feel quite betrayed”. Then end the call very politely and calmly. Go on. Read this out next time she calls and starts in. I dare you. Be mighty.

  • “Does Boudica do consensus studies? No, she does not. I’m sorry your family doesn’t approve of your decision to remove yourself from harm. That’s fine, they can sit on the sidelines and enjoy the spackle — you’ve got a war to wage, called divorce.”

    Because we can’t read these words enough.

  • Some thoughts:

    1) “… the accepted Reconciliation Industrial Complex wisdom — that it takes two to break a marriage,”

    This is actually true, when taken literally in this context. It takes a cheater, and their affair partner. Realistically, though, we all know that it’s not about the AP, it’s about the cheater’s character. As soon as he or she starts the cheating’process’, he or she will eventually find a willing AP and cheat.

    Imagine a post like this:

    Married M(W) with drug and alcohol problem, limited finances, and poor to middling physical health and appearance seeks W(M) for cheap tawdry extramarital sex, lies, and financial and emotional support. Prefer partner with financial assets who is easily manipulated and controlled.

    Maybe the worst possible tinder profile ever (I don’t know what they call these things on tinder or whatever site cheaters use). But the bottom line is that even with a post this awful, the cheater would get replies and interested parties. The shallow end of the ethics (and common sense) pool is all too well populated.

    2) Chumpcat: If your mother is disappointed that you finally decided to give up on the marriage, suggest that she live it instead of you. In the final analysis, you’re the one who has to live your life, and you decided that a lifetime of distrust and marriage police wasn’t for you. Good for you for making a decision like that, understanding that you still want a relationship with him but can’t have one that you’re comfortable with, and are sacrificing that possibility for your long term happiness. The people around you should respect that decision.

    Maybe spin is the key to this. Tell your mother that you’re not giving up on marriage, you’re giving up on this marriage. The failure is not your inability to stomach lies and infidelity from him, it was your choice to marry him in the first place. You didn’t fix that mistake before marriage, so you’re fixing it now, so that you can try again, find the right man, and have a long happy life with him. Probably best not to dwell on the notion that you want to work on recovering from this trauma, fix your picker, and get emotionally healthy (or at least healthier) before you embark on that journey.

    If mom is worried about what she’ll tell her friends, just suggest that she say, if asked, that your husband cheated on you, and you decided to divorce, because you’re a strong woman with a well developed sense of self and low tolerance for bad behavior. But, sadly, if her negative reactions to your divorce persist, minimize your contact with her, and try to find others to give you emotional support.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.

  • Your mother’s lack of “Mama Bear” instinct is astounding. She gets an “F” in parenting. I have sons, if their wives cheated, emotionally or otherwise, my advice would be to get out. One of my son’s girlfriend cheated when he was in HS. It took everything I had not to go to her father’s house and give him what for for raising a slut. I wanted sorely to give her the ass whooping he parents should have. I maintained self control, after all she was only 17, but only by a thread. I cannot imagine one of my children making vows and then their spouse cheating on them. And, if one of my own cheated, let’s just say they are never too old for “La Chancla”!

  • HOLY. SHIT. I, probably like most who have posted, commented, written letters, am absolutely overwhelmed by the outpouring of support.

    Tracy, thank you a million billion trillion times for this site and for your hilarious, intuitive, and oh so effective response! And thanks for the new motto…


  • Chumpcat – stay strong and do what you have to do. Take the sage advice from here and rebuild. You are doing the right thing.

  • This might be my favorite ChumpLady post ever. And “drunken fart brain” might be my new favorite phrase.

    Chumpcat, I agree that your Mom is wrong, and I, too, encourage you to set whatever boundaries are necessary for you to trust yourself, move forward, and heal. I’m going to tell my mom about my impending separation this weekend, and it could go either way. She could be Boudica, or she could, in her reflexive, self-loathing, chronically ashamed way, blame me, even just a little bit. Thanks to more therapy than I care to admit to, I’m ready either way.

    One observation for Tracy and everyone else, and potentially a tangent: Boudica is a great model to aspire to. Especially for women. As a man, I find that I constantly tamp down my righteous anger for fear of being perceived as violent, abusive, or bullying. Boudica’s strength and no-bullshitedness are considered virtues in women. In men, particularly in the context of a relationship, those traits are often considered repugnant or even dangerous. I get the difference, of course, between literally and figuratively bashing somebody’s head into a trove of Hot Pockets. I’m not suggesting I want to do that in real life (much). But I swallow a lot of my fierceness, despite the fact that my wife, a strong woman, has it in spades, and takes great pride in pointing it at me like a flamethrower.

    Just an observation, and something for me to mull.

    Chumpcat, I think you’re doing the right thing all around. Do it with or without your Mom’s support. Hang in there. I’m sorry you got chumped.

    — HeChump

    • I totally get your point HeChump and I think it’s a very valid one. The anger of a male, even a chump, towards a female, even one who is a cheater, can be twisted by the cheater to be something that it’s not. It’s definitely a fine line that male chumps have to walk in that regard. But a Dad Chump who goes full on King Boudica on behalf of his daughter is another story. I have no problem at all being the Mama Bear and protecting my young but I am sad that my kids will never know the comfort of a protective dad like I had. My dad died before my cheater revealed himself as the Edgar Suit that he is. I do like to imagine what my dad would have said and done if he knew. It would’ve been ugly and I would have enjoyed every second of it. If you have kids, keep that box of frozen hot pockets handy so you are ready to protect their hearts from predators. 🙂

      • Beth, same here: my dad died before I found out that my H was really a sparkledick. I often wonder what he would do.

        But, given that he was a champion chump himself, I think he would retreat because life would have no meaning for him if he could not love my mother.

        As I posted above, my father called me an ogre and petty for complaining about cheater’s and cheater’s family’s financial abuse of me. But he was enduring this double abuse from my mother and knew it and did nothing but spackle. I hate to remember the number of times my father asked me if I thought that my mother loved him. What a role model. This point could be a whole new chapter for a new edition of Tracy’s book.

        • ClearWaters, I hate that for you, that you dad would call you petty for complaining. I was one of the lucky ones – my parents and grandparents and greatgrandparents (who were alive until I was in my teens) all had happy, faithful marriages. Of course,since that was all I knew, it was pretty easy for my fucktard cheater to pull the wool over my eyes. I had no idea what to look for. I guess the moral of the story is, there is no way to be prepared for duplicity from the person you love and trust the most.

      • Except a father is more likely to be able to get away with protecting a daughter against a man than a son against a woman.

        Momma bears can get away with either.

    • HeChump–I’m so glad you’re announcing your separation this weekend, and all my fingers are crossed that your mother is Boudica.

      I think anger is, indeed, perceived differently when exhibited by men & women (and not always in women’s favor). It’s a much maligned-emotion, even though anger (like all feelings) evolved for a reason. When exhibited in extreme form, anger is dangerous from either sex, but anger (especially as righteous indignation) might be making a comeback as some therapists and researchers are finding it has benefits:

    • HeChump,

      “But I swallow a lot of my fierceness, despite the fact that my wife, a strong woman, has it in spades, and takes great pride in pointing it at me like a flamethrower.” Make it ex-wife (over 10 years now), and that’s my situation.


  • Long, long ago, in the early 1950s, when divorce was scandalous, my grandmother convinced my aunt to stay in a horrible marriage with a horrible mother-in-law because ‘we don’t get divorced in our family.’ I never knew this aunt because she committed suicide while pregnant with her fourth child because she saw no alternative. My grandmother never forgave herself.

    We have come some distance since then but obviously, not all the way we need to go.

    • Oh, LittleLove, that’s horrible. It really is time to rectify the helplessness that so many spouses felt in the past when married to nasty, controlling, abusive people. “Lives of quiet desperation,” captures what so many lived through. No more.

  • I too struggle with thinking that my situation is not as bad as many that I read here. I struggle with naming what I experience as abuse because he didn’t hit me or rage in a verbally abusive way. I do think maybe I’m just overreacting to some things and it’s really not as bad as I’m making it out to be. I think that is because of others reactions to it that make me think I’m wrong for feeling like I do.

    I think you are mighty for realising that your marriage is not acceptable to you even if you have no prove of actual cheating. You have enough evidence of inappropriate behaviour and like many others have said his stories just don’t add up.

    • I get you there. Mine didn’t abuse me physically or rage, he just undercut my confidence with constant criticism and a general sense that he was disappointed in me or even embarrassed by me. The kids too. He is actually a lot nicer to me generally than he was before he moved out. He is certainly better to the kids. I often have to remind myself of many of the cruel things he did to me in the past, however, subtle and even now through the constant reminders that he is still with Schmoopie and wants everybody to accept their relationship. I have to remind myself that I really am better off without him even if that is what he seems to want me to think just so he doesn’t have to feel guilty anymore. He should still feel guilty even if he did do me a favor by leaving and not hoovering.

      • He should most definitely still feel guilty for what he did to you. He will of course do anything to try and make everyone see how happy he is with schmoopie. Then he will have a legitimate reason for leaving you and the kids.

        Mine was similar in his bahaviour, he would do things very covertly so I didn’t know it was happening. I would just give in during an argument because it would just go round in circles. He is also a pathalogical liar which is why I have gone as no contact as possible.

    • ^^ I felt exactly the same with everything you said, although now the fog has lifted l see how much l was was emotionally abused and gaslighted and still am.

      How is your baby girl? Mine is a dream bub, just perfect ?

      • She is lovely thank you, so glad yours is too. I know what you mean about the fog lifting and realising things. I keep having those moments of clarity when you read something and you go wow. It doesn’t help you understand why but it helps you realise it wasn’t your fault.

  • Of course he fucked her. And the condom in the pocket? Oh, I got that one to. He was GOING to fuck her but changed his mind. Because having enough intent to have a condom in your pocket it OK. Riiiiiight.

    Your mom just doesn’t want the “shame” of divorce on her family. Either that or she is fucking him too and wants to maintain her “post-Thanksgiving turkey coma sex while everyone else is napping” fucks with this douche nozzle.

  • Chumpcat, at the end of the day, the only person that has to live with your decision to leave is you. Many of us had several Ddays because we didn’t heed the warnings our gut screamed…Get Out!!! It really is true that the only regret that some of us have once it is done is that we didn’t shove him out the door immediately. I did in house separation for 5 months and I swear it was the 5 longest months of my life. He wrecked my credit in the divorce and almost bankrupted me. But you know what, at the end of it all, it’s just money…I have a career,I can rebuild. And because I got out, I am sane and my Tuesday is coming…and I am one of the unfortunate ones who bred with him.

    As for the Mom issue, shame on her. I understand that our previous generations were taught to tolerate abuse, but this is a new age. My Mom, God bless her soul raised me with a West Indian saying “Make sure you have it together so man can’t make style on you”. I remember my mother told me that about age 9. On DDay, I hugged her and thanked her for giving me the advice that allowed me to kick that nasty whore to the curb. My mother was disabled by this time, but it didn’t stop her from cussing him something serious. I don’t think he ever really talked to her again….and she told me that she would never trust him again either. It really is true that infidelity shows you all your real friends and family. Maybe it is time to separate from your mom at this time. What you need is support at a time like this, not more abuse.

  • The Hot Pockets tho… Tracy, you slay me in the best way. Having had a Hot Pocket cheater myself, every time you use this phrase I erupt with laughter.

  • I am so sorry. I can’t imagine not having your mom to lean on. My mom and dad have been my rock. Dday came when I was 7 months pregnant. I ended up telling my parents because I was terrified being alone when he started “going to stay at a hotel” 2 nights during the week and all weekend (totally gaslighting that he just needed space). My parents kept telling me “we don’t think he is cheating. he is just scared about being a dad. once the baby is here his world will change. he will love the baby and realize whats important in life” On no, he left when she was 2 weeks old and had me served divorce papers 3 weeks after that. Now they believe me that he sucks.

    Now as for the in-laws. They are the root of the problem. They have 3 boys the oldest calls his wife a “fucking fat ass” at the dinner table in front of their 10 year old daughter. Who literally looked at me rolled her eyes and said “dad will have to put a quarter in the jar”. She hears it so much she is use to it. The younger brother has been caught cheating on his wife multiple times. On now this POSH cheated o his pregnant wife and left his daughter at 2 weeks. Now that I am a mom, I hate judging other parents, but I think its very ironic that all of their boys have such little respect for women. I feel that must be a LEARNED trait.

    Case in point: two weeks before giving birth the inlaws came to visit and help me get baby stuff ready (POSH sat on couch and yelled at me in front of them…they said nothing). I tried to ask his mother for help and advice. Her advice “well when he tries to leave don’t let him. Get in his truck and say you are going with him”. HOW THE FUCK AM I GOING TO GET IN HIS TRUCK AT 9 MONTHS PREGNANT when he locks the door? When I tried to talk to his father he LAUGHED AT ME and said my expectations were too high.

    Thank goodness they live 5 hours away. Mother in law and two sister in laws can keep their fucktards. There is a reason their surname is on track to die out. As far as I know, there are only two girls as grandchildren right now (they have all cut communication with me) so hopefully my daughter and niece will marry men that treat women with respect and their will be NO more people with this last name in the world. THEY ARE AWFUL!

    • IIWII- that sounds like a NIGHTMARE family. Glad your parents came around and you got the hell out of that situation… I see your daughter growing up to be a strong, independent woman with a Boudica outlook AND a Boudica mum!

  • My mother passed two years ago, and today is her birthday. She was chumped before chump was a word. She was very broken, and I’ve always felt less than when people talk about what they learned from their mom and how their mom was their best friend and their biggest champion. I found your site a couple of months ago, and at first I’d think to myself, “Why am I getting so much out of reading Chump Lady?” But so many stories have shed light on why things were the way they were growing up. I have felt like Mom has been like “Here, read Chump Lady. They’ll tell you all the things I couldn’t say / you couldn’t hear from me.”

    Thanks for the birthday present, Mom. And if your bio mom can’t hold you up, let Boudica-mom mother you.

  • Chump Lady! You made my day!!! I can’t tell you how much I laughed and enjoyed your portrayal of what a a good mother should do to protect her daughter from a drunken cheating douchebag!!

    Chumpcat- you sound like a really smart woman, who has strength and a good sense about her. LISTEN TO YOUR GUT ! Run, get out of there!!! Go no contact, and get everything in order so that you can file in a year once the state requirements have been satisfied. I can’t reiterate rate how important no contact is, especially if you don’t have children. Don’t let your mother, friends, or family’s opinion influence your decision to divorce him. Chump lady explained it in a very funny way about needing to be a warrior to deal with cheating, the loss of your marriage, and the betrayal, but it’s actually very true. Put your boots on, grab your shield and sword, and get ready to fight for your life, because that is really what you’re doing. Your future and life are at stake, don’t ever forget that for a second. Always remember your worth more, and you don’t want to spend the rest of your marriage policing him, and living in fear wondering when you’re going to find the next condom or nude text message. YOU ARE WORTH MORE. ?

  • Be your own Boudicca! I love the Aretha part, and I see her with sword in one hand, cactus in the other!

    Chumpcat, get away from this clown. So what if your Mom sucked it up? So did mine, but when the final humiliation came, she Boudicca’d her way to a much better life, and when my Dday happened, it was lucky Mr Fab was in another country or it would have been needles, snot and hot pockets everywhere…

    I am so sorry your Mom is being like that, but you have a ton of Boudicca mommas and daddys here.

    Love to all Chump Nation!

  • Assuming your mother is a good person, one of the blind spots of good people is they tend to think other people are also good and just make an occasional blunder now and then and that with some simple explanation, that other people will default to doing the right thing.

    I.e. Your spouse fucks another person – you explain that that guests your feeling and isn’t proper marital behavior, and then a light goes off over their head, they apologize and life is great going forward.

    Yeah, that’s how a good person thinks because they wouldn’t want to hurt anyone and they feel bad if they do something dumb and it hurts someone else’s feelings.

    What they often don’t get is that a lot of cheaters simply don’t care and that it is an ingrained character flaw and I sort of who and what they are.

    It’s basically like the French negotiating and appeasing Hitler because they thought Hitler and the Nazis would think and act like they would so they tried to appease them. Yeah that worked out well for them didn’t it.

  • Additionally many people of previous generations grew up in an era where divorce not only brought deep social shame and dishonor to the family, but it was also truly damaging to both parties and to the children.

    In our grandparents era, in many cases it was better to live with a disrespectful, cheating drunk than it was to divorce.

    Women typically did not work outside the home or have livable incomes of their own and between alimony and child support, everyone lived in or near poverty following a divorce.

    Divorce was mainly in the upper classes because they were the only that could afford it.

    75 years ago it may be worth staying with a drunken louse or a gutter slut because if you stayed together at least they both had a roof and food on the table. It may have sucked getting lied to, disrespected and cheated on all the time but it didn’t suck as much as starving and living under a bridge.

    But today there is really no excuse for being mistreated by a person of low character.

    We have countless more options than our grandparents did. Today we can say,”no more” and walk away.

    Yes there may be tears in the pillow at night and yes it may cost a few thousand in lawyer fees and court costs and it sucks to divide the furniture and sell the house and change the names on the titles of the cars. But no one is going to starve.

    We live in a different world than our parents and grandparents.

    Their fears and angst and dishonor are no longer relevant today.

    Today the shame is staying and taking the mistreatment rather than walking away.

  • My Mom, may she RIP, HATED Mr. Sparkles. She walked around my wedding reception telling anyone who would listen that I had just made the biggest mistake of my life. That said, she still helped me pay for the wedding and she walked me down the aisle. She was Boudica, but she was also letting me make my own decisions (I was 36).

    I am convinced that when she died, the FIRST thing she did was assemble a little pow wow with the Big Man and put my eventual abandonment and divorce into motion. Boudica from Beyond 🙂

    I only wish I could love myself every day the way my Mother loved me. Might never had married Mr. Sparkles if I did.

    ChumpCat – know your worth. Don’t let anyone put baby in the corner.

    • My grandmother always told the story of how her dad told her on her wedding day, which he had paid for, plus an enormous dowry, that if she wanted to back out now, she still could. He didn’t trust her fiance. She went ahead with the wedding and a miserable marriage with a cheating wife beater, wife rapist, fraudster who almost killed my mother with one of his “remedies” once he decided to become a natural healer/herbalist snake oil merchant with his latest mistress. Sadly my great-grandfather died a year after the wedding and wasn’t there to defend my grandmother and her kids. Her mum died soon after.
      We all need a Boudica or two in our lives. I wish I had one.
      Chump Lady, what did they put in your medication? Is your Boudica on steroids? Awesome post, glad to see you’re in such great form.

  • My daughter is 15 and starting to date and my son is 13 and starting to notice girls and Snapchat etc with girls.

    I teach both my kids that if someone mistreats them or treats them with dishonesty and disrespect to walk away and don’t look back.

    I am both shocked and dismayed that I have heard parents of my daughters friends urge them to “work things out” with their teenage boyfriends when their boyfriends are mistreating them.

    The Reconciliation Industrial Complex is even teaching our teens how to Pick Me Dance, appease and negotiate with bad behavior and bad character.

    I’ve had parents look at me in shock and horror when I say to walk away from those who mistreat you.

    My children will never hear me say to appease or negotiate with tyrants.

    • Neither will mine.

      Those who would cheat on my kids will curse the day they did.

      It would take everything not to show up in full armour LOL.

  • I wish I had one Boudica in my life. (Sorry, pity party of one here, Chumpcat.)

    My mum had been dead for a decade when the cheating was discovered. I am 100% sure she would have been my Boudica. Everyone else, and I mean EVERYONE, continues to blame me for his cheating and lying with my ‘friend’ while I (THE best partner ever prior to that – even he used to tell me that quite regularly, and I bloody was) was trying to recover from a different bomb he exploded in my life. Oh yeah, and never wearing a condom even once in the 15 months of fucking her, while I was obliviously still inviting her to all our social events, oh, and on family holidays – giving me diseases that I still deal with the consequences of.

    One fucking Boudica! Is it too much to ask??? When your self worth is on the floor, and the town is gossiping about what a terrible lay/partner-in-general to MAKE such a fabulous guy cheat (I have that superpower, yassss me!) you must be, one fucking Boudica? Nope. Just me. Just me to fight for me. It’s been exhausting and fucking lonely (IRL.)

    • Oh, Horsesrcumin, reaching out to you with a massive hug. It truly boggles the mind how friends cannot recognize immorality, injustice, and the need for the victim to have support. May they all choke on Hot Pockets.

      You have been a valued voice here since I arrived at CL (and it turns out, on another site we were both on sporadically). Your courage, wisdom, and strength have been a big source of healing for many of us, I’m sure. Try and find some chumps in your area; there’s no substitute for IRL friendships from people who get it (especially as most of us would love to meet you).

      • Well, wasn’t I the sad sack? Lol. Just had a self pity moment whilst reading this, Tempest.

        I’m fine. Just been disappointed about loyalty, and the lack of since all this blew up. To be honest, because I stayed (3 separations in first 2 years…) I guess people felt they couldn’t be my Boudica as well. Hard to punch a guy in the face for breaking your friend’s heart when she’s still sleeping with him! ?. All the more reason why you don’t stay. I think I always knew that. But tried anyway.

    • I get it, I hope you find some sort of Boudica in your life, My mom passed away 3 years before d day. She would have supported me but I think one of the reasons I am in this situation is because I never felt good enough. She constantly compared me and my sister to others and was always raising the bar. I think you can trace it to her mom who lost her mom when she was only 3 years old and then shuffled around between relatives and it probably lead to some attachment issues.

      I have been fortunate to find supportive Boudicca as well as chump nation.

      Good story of the day: I have periodic counseling sessions with my priest who fills some of the Boudica role- today after telling him one of my seemingly infinite stories about how stbx deals with sons, the priest started shaking his head and then he put both hands on his head and said I probably shouldn’t say this but, (dramatic pause) ” I don’t know Stbx, but unless there is a miracle of the magnitude of the parting of the Red Sea, you are better off without him and your children too.”

      Chumpcat that applies to you and the rest of chump nation.

      This priest has been nothing but supportive. His own mother was a chump who was in the process of divorcing when her husband died of an alcohol related issue so he can relate to my kids very well. He is proof that you can find good fatherly figures other places and break the cycle.

  • Horses, you have a super power because you have been dealing with all this, and you are building a new life, finished your masters (or almost? not sure where you’re at just now). You are your own Boudica, because you have to be. One woman wolf pack! Except when we come to CN where the rest of our pack lives…

  • Today’s post makes me want to hug my mom!

    I remember how nervous I was to call my parents when my XH and I first separated. Even though it wasn’t my fault, I still felt ashamed. She was shocked (because it was sudden… none of the “growing apart” crap my ex claimed to have happened to back his narrative). And she was sad because she liked my ex.

    But she never, ever questioned me or pressured me to get back with him. She didn’t complicated things by getting involved or contacting him. (No, I don’t need the drama of Boudica.) She firmly supported me and made me feel loved and accepted when I needed it most. I’ve never questioned her love in the time since then.

    While other friends and family may be Switzerland, my mom is NATO. She always has my back. 🙂

  • You are so mighty for leaving your awful husband!!!! Do not listen to your family – they are wrong!!!! You deserve so much better than this!!!! Keep being mighty and move on!!!!

  • I so LOVE LOVE LOVE the Boudica story!! I felt it! I saw it as I read it!!

    Thanks CL; yet another good post!

  • Oh my, Chump Lady!!! You had me at “Fuck your mother.” lol!! 🙂 I have two pharm test to study for so I’m so so sad that I can’t read the comments quite yet. BUT! There’s tomorrow after school! I can’t wait to read what everyone said. 🙂

  • Reading these letters and replies is like a breath of fresh air every day. I love how you just cut to the chase and call it like it is Tracy! It’s the best antidote to all the wishy-washy RIC waffle and ignorant comments from smugly married friends about “people just lose their way” and “marriages are complicated”.

  • All I have to say is “Hell yes!” to wanting a mother like Boudica. I didn’t, so I’ve had to be my own Boudica.

    Chumpedcat, honey, tell your mom and all the rest to take a flying leap!!!

    Rock on, CC!!! You are mighty!!!

  • Oh Chumplady, after a tough day, I have just laughed out loud as I pictured my cheating, arrogant fraud of a stbx lying prostrate before my mother dressed as Boudica! Mom has been a stalwart defender of her daughter’s honour since D-day last year. When I pathetically turned to hopium on various occasions; when he played me again and again during our divorce (which is still in progress), Mom was always there on the other end of the phone, reminding me of my worth and the responsibility to my sons and daughters to be strong.

    Chumpcat, you are so strong! You made it to the right path, and got there in spite of poor advice. I have found it had to stay on the path sometimes, but CL and CN are a huge help. Stick to your conviction and remember your worth.

  • My mother is deceased and I did not learn that she was a narcissist until after her death. She was a narcissist and I was her scapegoat daughter. My mother never liked my ex-husband. When I told her that someone else had called him a turkey, she started referring to him as “The Turkey.” She disliked him so much that she did not attend our wedding. When he refused to maintain gainful employment, she encouraged me to divorce him.

    It was after about five years of him being unemployed on and off, refusing to look for work, me looking for work for him, him quitting jobs after 2 weeks to 3 months of employment, that I helped him to find another job. He talked morning, noon and night about a female co-worker. He was very excited and animated whenever he talked about her. When I would ask him if he had feelings for her, he would say that he did not, protesting that she was ugly and had a boyfriend. He invited her and her boyfriend over to meet me one night. She was 15 years my junior and ugly. Her boyfriend was more attractive than she. At this visit, my then-husband acted as though he and the female co-worker were the only ones in the room. He stared at her intently and did not take his eyes off of her to look at me or her boyfriend. He talked only to her, repeating her name over and over, in a very animated fashion. My heart broke for myself and her devastated boyfriend. It was clear to me that they were having an emotional affair. (Years later, when I told my divorce lawyer that I thought it was only an emotional affair, he looked at me in such a way that I thought, how gullible, of course it was physical.) After a half an hour of watching my then-husband fawn over this woman, I told her and her boyfriend that we had a prior commitment and had to be across town in 10 minutes and that they would have to leave. I still remember the scrawny little troll sidling up to me before they left to say a rather unfriendly good-bye. After they left, I told my then-husband, “It’s her or me” and he quit the job the next day. I attempted to sleep on the couch that night, but spent most of the night screaming and crying.

    My mother was still alive; it was 17 years ago. I went to her house to tell her how devastated I was that my then-husband had feelings for a horrible little troll. I told her how hurt I was by his actions and that I was seriously considering divorce. Her response was, “Oh, but he LOVES you!!” Basically, she gaslighted me. She tried to tell me that somehow I had misinterpreted the scene that had played out before my eyes. I have read that abusers do not have empathy for their victims but they do have empathy for other abusers and will always take the side of the other abuser in any conflict. In this case, my narcissist mother took the side of my then-narcissistic husband. Because she was my mother and I wanted to believe what she told me, I decided against divorce at the time.

    • So wait, she hated him until he cheated and then thought he was just dandy? That’s messed up.

      • She never stopped hating him until she got dementia and forgot who he was. It was only in that particular incident that she stood up for him and it was not because she thought he was dandy. That incident was about her invalidation of me and my perception of reality. She knew enough about our marriage to know that he was abusive, even if he wore the mask around her. At one point, prior to this incident she told me, “He will be your murderer.”

  • ChumpCat that’s a lot of smoke around that man. It does not smell good. Sorry but I strongly suspect that what you have found is likely to be a small portion of his betrayal.
    Glad that you have found here. CN make fabulous surrogate family as you get mighty.
    Wishing you confidence in your choice to gain a life.

    PS Love your brilliant letter LAJ. an extract might make its way to my Switzerland aunt.

  • I’m lucky – it’s been a struggle to keep my mum away from the POS! I’d love to be a fly on the wall the day she finally runs into him (it’s a small town and it will happen eventually) – he won’t stand a chance!

    Chumpcat – your mother’s attitude has left me completely stunned. Good for you for having the strength to do absolutely the right thing in getting yourself away from the disordered jerk. Keep strong.

  • One of the clues my marriage was wretched came when my mother discreetly mentioned it would be okay with her if I “ever divorced.” I knew then that she must think my marriage was terrible if she was giving me “permission” to divorce.

    But I was more than 10 years in before that happened (and hung on for another couple of years). I wish I had left years earlier without needing so many clues and forms of support (I’m glad I had it, but having my own backbone earlier would have been better!)

    So, I think you should pat yourself on the back for being smart enough about your own needs to recognize that divorcing is best FOR YOU. I am so sorry that you don’t have the familial support you deserve right now, but you do have intelligence and integrity–and you should take pride in those. Make your own best decisions–the rest will just have to follow.

  • I am so proud and privileged to say l have a Boudica mother and father.

    I recently went to visit my parents and mum had got a black marker and blacked out stbx face in the photos, when l asked her about it she said ‘ l couldn’t stand to look at the cunt’ l haven’t laughed so hard in ages.

    I don’t know where I would be without my parents, they helped me see him for who he really is, a horrible human being.

  • Could not stop laughing…..YES, WE NEED TO BE OUR OWN WARRIORS. And we need to teach it to our daughters! Thank you Chump Lady!

  • I got a phone call one day from my son’s GF. She was balling her eyes out, I had not yet met her, but she was calling me for advice. Because, you see, my son turned out exactly like my ex. The apple did not fall far from the tree, and try as I did for 20+ years to raise a responsible decent human being, there is only so much you can do. And what did I tell her? Those same exact words. I told her that I was sorry, but that I couldn’t make him a better person, and that she needed to do what she needed to do. He is my ex, reincarnated. He looks like him, sounds like him and acts like him. Even though my ex did me the favor and drank himself to death, (sorry to ya’ll who still have live ones to deal with ?) I am stuck with the replica as a son. But I would never, as a mother and a woman, even suggest to another person that they should stay in an emotionally abusive relationship. I love my son for the fact that he is my son, I don’t have any respect for him or his actions and no one should suffer just because he is my kid. #fuckthatbullshit

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