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Dear Chump Lady, My therapist thinks I’m responsible for my husband’s cheating

shrinkDear Chump Lady,

I just finished reading your book. Your words about using caution when finding the right therapist were life changing for me. I found out after 24 years of marriage that my husband had been having an affair for over a year. In the many counseling sessions I have attended since D-Day, I found my self getting worse instead of better. I would wonder why I felt enraged after every session. Was something wrong with me? Was I crazy?

Then I read your book and it as if the clouds parted and I could see. As your book mentioned, if my husband had pushed me down the stairs, people would not be asking me what I may have done to cause myself to be pushed. And yet for over a year I had been seeing therapists who asked me to spend a lot of time thinking about what I may have done that pushed him towards cheating. One therapist even suggested that my husband may have been struggling with depression at the time and being mad at him over depression would be like being mad at him for having diabetes. What? Some of this therapy hurt me worse and made the recovery more difficult.

Jones

Dear Jones,

You’re not alone. One sad motif on this blog are the vast numbers of chumps who got the victim-shaming shrinks.

I’d like to take this moment to ask chumps about their D-Days. Folks, when you discovered you’d been betrayed, and the bottom fell out of your world, your marriage was at an all-time low, and you were nearly paralyzed with depression — was your first response to go fuck another person?

No? But you had EVERY EXCUSE! Clearly your spouse didn’t love you! You were depressed! Your marriage SUCKED!

But you didn’t blow your boss, did you? No, you danced furiously to save your marriage, didn’t you? You booked those shrink appointments and bought 50 infidelity books on Amazon. You asked yourself what you did to be so unlovable and how you could change.

Now then, cheaters — let’s say for the sake of argument — were confronted with the same stressors: depression, lack of love, sucky marriage — so why didn’t THEY dance furiously, book shrink appointments, and ask themselves how they could change?

Character.

This is fucking common sense, therapists! I’ll say it again — we don’t MAKE people hurt us. You no more made someone cheat on you than you made them shove your head through a plate-glass window. I’m sorry, you were irritating me with your Donald Trump memes… I had to hit you. Look, you might seriously be irritating. You did NOT make that person HIT you. They CHOSE to hit you. That was their crappy response to perceived irritation. Should you stop sending Donald Trump memes? Perhaps you should. BUT THAT WON’T PROTECT YOU FROM BEING HIT. Next it will be the way you cook oatmeal, or part your hair, or parent your children. Until the abuser’s ENTITLEMENT to hit (cheat) is addressed, the “provocations” are moving goal posts.

Here’s an example of this horse shit someone sent me this morning, from “AH Resources.”

Perhaps one of your greatest challenges in the recovery process will be accepting your own responsibility for the past condition of your marriage. I am in no way suggesting that the affair was your fault. It wasn’t. However, if you hope to enjoy a restored (and, perhaps, improved) intimate connection with your spouse, you will need to recognize your own missteps in the dance of your marriage.

The affair isn’t your fault, except that it is. We only ask people to “accept responsibility” for things that ARE THEIR FAULT. Otherwise, why mention it?

I’m not saying that meteor hit was your fault. I’m by no means suggesting that 700 burnt acres and that crater had anything to do with you. But one of your greatest challenges in the recovery process will be accepting your own responsibility for the condition of your planet.

Yes, if you’d only practiced better forest management, that meteor would never have obliterated Caldwell County.

Jones, you didn’t really ask me a question, but you did give me an opportunity for this public service announcement. We Don’t Make People Cheat On Us. It’s on THEM.

Thank you.

This column ran previously, but the need for this public service announcement remains.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I am currently on a annual vacation with extended family for the first time without my cheating spouse. I have no kids and everyone else has thier spouses so I feel a liitle out of place. Fighting the self pity..and in doing that I sometimes catch myself wondering if I had done something different I wouldnt be on this trip by myself. Then I catch myself thinking WHATEVER I didnt cause this… but Im the one dealing with it….and frankly that does suck.
    I know in my head that I will not stop going on this trip because that would just allow him to steal something else from me.
    It still hurts though. Just wanted to share with CN because I know theyll get it whe. My family doesnt.

    • Trust me, it wasnt anything you did or didnt do, but… even IF you did do something, they didn’t talk to you about it like a healthy adult. Knowing my cheater, they probably acted like they were happy, loving & you were thier soulmate. AND, whatever it was you might or might not have done, cheating is so massively disproportionate that it can never be justified like that.

      Basically what I’m trying to say it, you can peel back the layers of that particular onion all the way, and you would still hit the conclusion that its them, not you. So, there’s no point peeling the onion at all; you’ll still get the same end result, but without painful tears and sore, red eyes.

      • We get it – it’s hard being the only single parent. But the good news is it gets better, the first time going alone to something you usually did as a family is always the hardest. I remember feeling so awkward and miserable the first time I went to a school function alone, and cried all the way home in the car. Last time I went to one, I didn’t give it a moment’s thought, and was amused by the married parents who were hypersensitive about going solo (because partner was away for work etc).

        • The poster says she is not a parent. OOA is incredibly brave. I recall the first family event I went to after D-Day. A family wedding where my kids and I were seated out in the hinterlands at a table with parties who called off. My children were asked away to sit with their cousins. I was left at table alone, and anytime I tried to get up and socialize I was immediately asked where my husband and stepdaughter were. My stepdaughter had happily attended the shower for the wedding but her dad had since told her Schmoopie and he were a family now.

          I went outside and discreetly quietly sobbed behind a decorative wall like I had never before. I forced myself back into the ballroom bathroom to try to face my kids after my presence had been noted. My sister in law pulled a place setting from the empty table and had me join the aunts and uncles.

          I was so embarrassed. But I have never felt more entirely alone in my life. OOA, you’re an absolute Rock Star!

          • I feel ya, Luz. A friend invited me on a trip to Hawaii around my first birthday after Dday. At the last minute, another couple also came along, so it was my friend and her husband, and the other couple… and me. Jesus. I remember sitting around a bonfire one night, everyone all snuggled together and I could feel myself losing my composure. Asked my friend to drive me back to the cabin, though that was embarrassing in & of itself. But by that time I felt like I was already walking around naked, for all the world to see my pain & shame anyway, so I was left trying to keep the most private bits covered, if you know what I mean. — Since then, it’s better. But I confess there’s still a part of me that sometimes looks at other couples and wonders why I don’t get to have that anymore. Then I remember I know nothing about their actual marriage and people would have said the same thing about me & XH not six months prior.

            • Me too. I really envy people are together on a daily basis. I miss being attached…actually I miss what I thought I had…which wasn’t real. My imaginary husband was a fantasy.

              I have a boyfriend…but God, it’s just so much work. If we don’t work out, I just don’t think I will ever go to the trouble again.

              • The sad part for me is that I was already at that point when I started dating STBX. I told myself that if this one didn’t work out I was done with men. I thought I was so fortunate to have finally found a keeper and now this. It doesn’t exactly give me confidence for the future. My dream man turned out to be a nightmare.

              • I totally agree with the amount of work! I’m also in therapy and apparently the research shows this:
                The happiest people to the least happiest:
                1. Married men
                2. Single women
                3. Single men
                4. Married women
                I thought this was interesting! For what it’s worth.

            • Your Hawaii story made me realize something.

              When my ex and I were together, we had a number of single friends, some quite bitter about it, so I was always considerate of their feelings and didn’t do many PDAs with my ex in front of them when we were doing group things with these friends.

              After I found out about my ex’s affair with one of the aforementioned single friends, one of his many lame excuses for it was that he thought I didn’t love him anymore because I was rarely affectionate with him in public. So to follow that crazy thought to its logical completion, I am responsible for my ex’s cheating because I was too considerate of his affair partner.

              ::eyeroll::

          • It’s stories like these that make me wish there was one of those terminator machines going around the world executing cheaters and their APs

          • Thank you! I dont feel like a rock star so that is great to hear. 🙂 It just sucks that we innocent ones are the ones left holding the bag.

      • Thank you! He did all those things during his 5 year affair. So everytime a “soulmate” memory pops up from that time period I have to tell myself.. Hey that was a lie and he sucks! I try not to go deeper. It only hurts me. Like you said there is no point in doing so.
        It just hurts more some days more than others. Blahhh

      • Even if you had done the same to them, they are still responsible for their side.
        It gets a little paradoxical of course in that scenario, but it’s still true.
        You’re not excused to cheat, ever, not even if you were cheated on by that person. You still have to make that choice for yourself, that’s why they will always be at fault for what they did.

    • Out of Ashes- I get it! I have been there too and it sucks feeling that way. Keep going on the trips and doing things that get you out of your home. In time, it will get better and you will think less about your X. If you go on this same trip next year, it will probably be better than this year – I can’t say it will be 100% better than this year but it will be better. Good luck on you journey!

        • Keep reclaiming the places, the trips, the dates. One day I will reclaim the Maldives and will raise a glass of fizz in honour of your awesomeness, OutofAshes.

          • Thank you Gin! Thats what Im attempting to do because in my mind it is just letting him steal further! You go to Maldives and take it back!

      • Hey Chumped,

        Why is it so important to get out of the house? I’m staying home. I visit with my neighbors, go for a walk with a neighbor, give the kids cookies, go to church, on weekends. But now that meh is rolling in, I am feeling content at home. I’m painting a picture. Trying things that require solitude. And liking it.

        • Getting out of the house being a good thing probably depends on a number of factors. Like, are you an extrovert or an introvert? Are there still painful memories in the house, or are you in a new place? If you are content at home, that’s great.

    • Out of the Ashes
      You will rise like a Phoenix. One way to heal faster is to move. I mean move your body around as much as you can. I am not a scientist and I believe there are some on here and perhaps they can explain it. But when we move around a lot I think it pushes our brain forward out of that stuck devestated groove. Think of an old record player stuck. Think of exercises as a bump to move you forward.

      It’s the closest thing to a magic bullet I found. I don’t know where you are vacationing but if there are trails or an ocean start walking every morning. Invest in an iPod or other listening device and some beatz headphones. Load up on rocking music and zone out. You are totally worth it. 😉🙂😊

      • Totally get it! My dday came two months before I gave birth. So I spent my maternity leave dealing with the pick me dance, the divorce, and going no contact. No one at work knew but everyone knew and loved him. So of course when I came back to work all I got was “How is Daddy doing? How are you and Dad doing? I bet she has him wrapped around his finger”. It was TORTURE! It was the most heart wrenching thing ever to have people ask about the POSH when I wanted to scream “HE FUCKING SUCKS. HE WAS AT SLUTFACES APARTMENT THE NIGHT MY WATER BROKE THEN ABANDONED ME IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT WHEN THE BABY WAS 2 WEEKS OLD BECAUSE HE WAS PISSED OFF THAT THE BABY HAD A HARD TIME LATCHING TO MY BREAST”. But because I didn’t want anyone to know I just smiled and said “he is doing the best he can”.

        It does get easier. Through all of this I have developed anxiety. I get really bad anxiety attacks when I’m in public. But I have found that forcing myself into situations where I know it may come up makes me face it and get over it quicker. I now take the baby to all work functions, I go to family functions, whatever it is I try to go (baby permitting of course). Its awful each and everytime. I still cry, get upset, and let my mind wander into the WHY ME trap. But its delayed a little bit longer each time. The anxiety use to set in before I even had to leave the house, now its usually around the end of the event. And when that anxiety sets in I know its time to go. and that’s ok. At least I went.

        And when it comes to comparing yourself to other couples, just remember all the shit that went on between you and the POSH behind closed doors that you haven’t shared with other people. Remember those happy couples have their skeletons too. This is harsh but my dear 78 year old grandmother gave me some tough love when I was upset about now being alone “Well shit honey we all thought you and him were happy and the whole time you were going through hell. you think every happy couple you see has rainbows over their house like we thought you did?”. Not wishing what happened to us on anyone else but it reminded me that appearances aren’t everything.

        • It’s really not my place… and your situation is so much more complicated than mine…. but in your shoes I would consider who you’re concealing the truth of your situation for. For awhile I carried on like I had a husbandly duty to protect my partner. Then I realized, I didn’t owe them that loyalty anymore. So now if someone asks, “how’s married life”, I tell them – it’s crap, i’m getting divorced. “Oh no, what happened!?” they say. “She cheated” I reply. “Oh no, I’m so sorry…”. “Don’t be, shit happens, I’m better off getting out”. I don’t ask for people to pity me and they don’t.

          Obviously, like I say, not my place…but it reads as if you’re adding extra stress to yourself or taking on an unnecessary load by feeling like you ought to keep schtumm, and I’m wondering why you feel like you need to do that.

          • IIWII – there’s a special place in hell for asswipes like yours who not only cheat on their pregnant wives, but abandon them with along with the newborns. You should not ever feel the need to conceal his truth from anyone. In fact, I’d mention to every co-worker that ever inquires of him again EXACTLY what he did.

            Them: How’s XX doing these days?

            You: Actually, I should have mentioned this the last time you asked about him when I was pregnant, but he’s a serial cheater who killed our marriage by cheating on me while I was expecting his baby, and then abandoned me and the baby after he/she was born. Sorry if that’s uncomfortable to hear, but I’m done hiding his truth from people who may have really cared.

            The more you say it, the more you release bits of the shame and his disgusting truth that ONLY belongs to him. I know that burden of shame and humiliation, and I was only able to release it, bit-by-bit, by offering up HIS truth when people asked what happened. After that, whatever they think – who the freak cares? Those people don’t have to live with you as you take care of your baby after the trauma that fucktard caused you.

            Do your mind and body a massive favor and speak the truth about it. Eventually the words “abandonment” “cheating” “betrayal” “affair” and all the other words that describe why we’re all here become just that: words. They won’t sting as much over time by using them, as when you kept their horrible secret. Release them, and yourself. (((Hugs.)))

            • MightyChris & KibbleFree_MightyMe – Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. I’m starting to tell people…..if that flat out ask. I absolutely agree I was keeping his secret. I was embarrassed, dealing with crazy hormones and I just did not want people asking me every single day “how are you doing? Are things getting better”. And I was still in the angry pissed off stage so I knew if I started talking about it I was go into way too many details like “oh and one time he said it would be better if me and the baby died because it would just make things easier” or when I asked him “how are you going to feel if in 29 years some POS treats your daughter this way” and he said “well if she is anything remotely like you she will deserve every ounce of it”. or when I deleted my snapchat account he text me “me and my family are sitting here laughing our asses off that you are so immature to delete your snapchat account because you have nothing to post anymore now that you have a miserable life”. (see i’m still a little bitter about these things) but I wanted to get to the place like KibbleFree describes. And I’m getting there.

              Actually yesterday a coworker asked me “are you ok? I’ve been a little worried about you. and want you to know that i’m here for you”. I said “thank you I appreciate that. I’m not great but doing ok. POSH abandoned us. He decided a wife, a kid, and house wasn’t the life for him. So he left the kid, exchanged the wife for a girlfriend and the house for an apartment.

              I SAID IT WITHOUT CRYING!

              Thank you Chump Nation. Without y’all I don’t think I would be where I am at today. And special thanks to ChumpLady for pulling us together!

        • He is doing the best he can is one classy understatement. You are so mighty going out and about. I have read stuff about accessing each of the five senses to ground and reduce anxiety. Love your grandmothers summary too.. Go well with your gorgeous child.

          • But it is the truth. I really think the best he could do for us was leave. Luckily he filed for divorce so I know have child support and a custody arrangement.

        • I truly agree with you about the reality of what goes on in a lot of relationships (not all).
          People are frequently using each other in various ways and it is not necessarily true that a single person is any lonelier than a coupled person.
          There is still, despite this, much joy to be found in ties with others and the little things in life.

      • Im walking every day on the beach… my struggle is he and I did that! Im trying to do it at a different time of day. Im also going to rent a beach bike cause we never did that! Lol. 🙂

    • Our MC wanted us to acknowledge my STBX’s grief over the loss of his AP. I lost it. I yelled that he didn’t get the luxury of mourning. WHAT THE FUCK. Sorry I won’t abbreviate my outrage. Stupid made a choice to put us in this mess. How about lying, cheating, unprotected sex? Do I get to mourn my trust, good health and end to financial stability? WHEN YOU ARE MARRIED YOU DO NOT GET TO FUCK WHOEVER YOU WANT. End of story. Our MC should have told him he was a baby man child who needs to grow up, but we don’t want to call him out on his behavior because he may feel bad about himself and our relationship. Bad counseling is as bad as the gaslighting ..no worse. CL gave me my balance and sanity back. Thank You!

      • namuelle, you deserve credit for not throwing something.

        Grief over the AP? Sounds like the counselor has been in cheaterland. How could any mental health professional who has even basic understanding of the emotional trauma you’ve been put through SAY something that STUPID, unless he or she had been a sad sausage cheater?

        • Counselor read the RIC sites. That nonsense is all over those sites. I did try to give STBX the chance to grieve AP but there was nothing to grieve because he never ended it with her.

          • Namuelle to counselor: I’m going to beat your ass right now. When I’m done, I want us all to acknowledge MY grief over losing my perfect score of never having beat someone’s ass before. How will that work for you? Now f-off and give me my money back – quack.

            Sorry you had to deal with TWO f-tards in that room at once.

      • A couple of things explain this consistent bias against the victims of infidelity. One is that marriage counselors exist to fix marriages. It’s like the old adage that to a hammer, the whole world is a nail. So a cheater and his spouse go into marriage counseling and the focal point is not the cheater’s disorder or poor character or abusive choices but in getting the chump to “forgive” because without that, the marriage can’t be saved. Lots of cheaters, though not all of them, are happy to save the marriage if it means they get to keep the house, access to the kids, and pay no child support. Meanwhile, cheater can go after cake on the side because ChumpySpouse has caved in and “forgiven.” So now the cheater knows there is pretty much nothing short of killing that will end the marriage. Some of these couples’ therapists may even find the cheater (sparkling away) more attractive that the chump and consciously or not favor him or her.

        The other possibility is that the therapist just generally thinks that people want to–and should–save the marriage at all costs and everything therefore is geared to examining the “chump role” in the affair. That’s just another way of examining what the chump shoulda woulda coulda done. That idea also feeds on the notion that in relationships, everything is 50/50, so each partners shares the blame. My own therapist listened to my sad story of what went on with Jackass but all of the therapy was about ME–but it wasn’t about why it was my fault. It was about how I could move forward without ending up with another jackass. She didn’t see the problem as 50/50. I was sitting in therapy. He was on his phone with Schmoopie. Not hard there to figure out who was the lying, backstabbing, gaslighting freak. We had been working together for a long while and she was visibly thrilled to see a crack in my “gotta have a man” armor. But her first words? “You can never go back to him [Jackass}.” That shocked me but kept me sane until I found CL and started learning about disordered people.

        • Good points LAJ. My experience with MC was a disaster. But I admit that I went in desperate to save the relationship, that she probably was trying to deliver this result at first, and I bought into it wholeheartedly for the first 4 months. On the other hand, she is a clinical psychologist and registered psychotherapist as well as an IMAGO counsellor.

          During our 2nd session we each made a list of our partner’s behaviours which bothered us. His consisted of me being rigid and rule-bound, being asexual, falling asleep on the couch in the early evenings, not having faith in him, not trusting him, not being open, being tight with money. Number one on my list was his anger and yelling. She asked us to score them. I score this at 10/10. I explained that his anger scared me, that I froze and couldn’t function when he yelled at me, just like his working dog does. I pointed out that yelling isn’t good foreplay or conducive to me wanting sex. I finally said that when I jumped to stop some sheep escape and broke my arm 5 years earlier, I did it without looking where I was jumping because he had just been raging at me and I was afraid he’d get angry at me again.

          I still can’t believe that a well qualified professional did not flag this as abuse. I didn’t, I never used the word abuse, it’s taken me months on CN and Tempest’s 2x4s after he left for the penny to drop. However, I believe any counsellor should have recognised this.

          Our counselling went on for another 9 months going nowhere. After about 4 months I was really feeling manipulated and that he was using the sessions to badger me while refusing to even set boundaries with the Whore. So I stopped feeding the beast, would say very little hoping that he would fill the silence with more nonsense and it eventually would become glaringly obvious that it was all bullshit. Hoping that she would finally challenge the Timid Forest Creature who claimed he was afraid of me, I would harm him while cutting his hair with a buzzer, I was trying to poison him, I was emasculating him…
          Never happened. But I was still desperate to save the relationship, convinced he was having some mid-life crisis madness. You can imagine how much all this cost over nearly 10 months so that the Traitor could have time to decide what he wanted, lawyer up 4 months before telling me he was leaving, etc.

          I accept responsibility for going to MC with an agenda: I love, I love our family,save the relationship. But I will never accept that a competent professional could not see what was going on, no matter how gifted a gaslighter the Traitor is with his crocodile tears. He couldn’t even fool my dog, she’d started sitting on my lap (she’s a lab cross, not a lap dog) and growling at him when he came near. She’d never done that before and she doesn’t sit on my lap all the time now because she knows I’m safe.

      • Our MC said the same thing while counseling me to let exasshole continue to email the OW, because, you know, the poor sad sausage was in pain over losing his ‘friend’. Fuck to the NO, he never lost her to begin with. I hate that stupid therapist. After he gave me an STD she counseled me to stick with him. After I got the PO, bitch billed ME for the last session. I told her to bill exasshole and that her advice had nearly gotten me killed. Never heard from the soul sucking MC again.

        NEVER go to an MC who is invested in saving the marriage, never. The MC is not supposed to be doing that shit.

      • Exactly! No, you do NOT get to mourn the loss of the affair partner. FUCK THAT! Wow is that a fucked up therapist and I am so sorry for that.

        Reminds me of my ex-therapist. She told me that not only do I need to be empathetic regarding my cheater’s feelings for her affair partner, but that I need to recognize that her time is her own to do with it what she wants. And so long as she comes back to me during “our time,” then there are no problems. In other words, SHE TOLD ME TO JUST ACCEPT MY CHEATER’S CHEATING!!!

        Fuck that noise. And fuck couples’ therapy.

        • Mourn the loss of the affair partner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fuck that! And fuck any therapist who thinks that is right to do.

      • Thank you! Im doing my best 🙂 all we can do really. Sadness has gotten better since the first day. Doing different things from past trips.

  • The old Depression.
    Must be chapter 1 in the Cheater textbook.
    Before I put all the pieces of my wife’s affair puzzle together, I could tell something was up. I asked what going on, “I’m just depressed.”
    Told her she should try therapy, she tried another penis instead.

    • I bought into the whole RIC and examining what I may have done wrong, too, after DDay#1. Didn’t stop DDay#2 from happening and everything else since. The two positives that came out of it were:
      1. I was able to set boundaries the second time and when he crossed them, recognize him for the POS he is
      2. That self reflection and personal change improved other relationships in my life as well

      I am not at Meh, but at least I am slowly healing without STBX in my life.

      • sidenote getmefree- wanted to let you know that after cheater’s 6 hour to be continued deposition my lawyer took me into his office and said “you are going to get a good settlement. Still a long way to go but encouraging!

        • Yay~ I’m so happy to hear the update! You may recall on the general forum I had shared my experience — I fought for what was fair until the very end of trial. X was trying to steal everything we had worked 25 years for.
          Judge ruled immediately after X’s attorney sat down: 70% of everything for me.
          He said he didn’t believe one word out of X’s lying piehole!

          Thank God I did not cave out of fear. In divorce, you only get one chance to get it right and the financial effects will last a lifetime.

          • Thanks to all of you for your support- it makes me tear up! Motherchumper99, I hope I can be so fortunate. My lawyer hopes he will be scared into settling because we have evidence of at least two scams to hide assets so far and if it does go to trial, a judge might give me more than 50% because of that. We will see. He is doing the narc thing and playing to win.

      • Yes. I notice thst I don’t tolerate toxic people and their behaviors anymore. I also don’t let them blame for their poor behavior. I tend to tell people exactly how I feel and how inappropriately they are acting. I’ve become bitchier and have pissed some people off. Oh well. It makes me no longer have to deal with them. Freedom from crazy is worth it!

    • Me, too, 50. Though when I suggested therapy my ex-wife’s read-between-the-lines response was plainly, “No, wrong answer. What are YOU going to do to improve this situation?” That is, instructions to dance faster. Of course, she gave zero consideration to the idea of addressing her problems with therapy.

      One of my takeaways is that anyone who balks at the idea of therapy is incapable of benefitting from therapy. Like forcing kids who hate music to take piano lessons and practice etudes: You can lead a cheater to therapy, but you can’t make them have character. And what we are dealing with cheaters, after all, is a mindset that is juvenile and oppositional. #makemehappynow

      • STBX said he had got 6 sessions of free therapy from work to help him with his gambling problems. This was in June and he was still gambling at D-day which was the beginning of January. I can only imagine someone finding out about it and encouraging him to see someone. It obviously didn’t work and my guess that’s because he didn’t really want to do it and so was not going to benefit from it.

        • Pregnant Chump

          Your is not the type to work on anything, PC. At best someone else will get to tolerate his behavior. It’s hard to sort out the person from the addiction and addicts will always have highs and lows. It will be his ride not yours. Be very careful PC. My life living with a father who gambled was not something I would wish on any child. You need to have minimal contact with him. Don’t let him suck you in when he’s on the up. The down always follows. Stay clear of that chaos.

          • Thank you I made the mistake of trusting him and his gambling problem once and that is what led me here today. He showed me who he was before I married him but I spackled over his lying and addictive behaviour. He stopped for a while (or at least he didn’t lie to me about doing it) he then was able to take it underground and found new ways to hide it from me. It was only on d-day that it all made sense again. He knew I trusted him and he used that to his advantage (he told me this on d-day like it was something to be smug about). I won’t make the same mistake again. I am as minimal contact as possible and I do not rely on him for anything. He is young schmoopies problem now no coming back from this now.

      • Or, you can lead the cheater to therapy (my chumpy chump self) and then the cheater uses therapy to mindfuck their host.

        Chumps- don’t find the resources for the cheater. Find and use the resources on yourself and kids to get mighty and kick the poo to the curb.

        • Mine did this as well. I have finally discovered he takes things in (whether things therapist said or I said) and then pulls them out later with a twist.

        • “Mindfuck their host.” Love your insight ANC. Stbx stopped arranging therapy appointments for 2 of my sons. He said it was because each had missed an appointment and he still had to pay. On further reflection this weekend, I think that was just an excuse. If he thought that therapy was going his way, he would have eaten the coast of two missed sessions. He wanted therapist to tell the kids it was mom’s fault and be nice to dad. When that wasn’t happening, he bailed.

        • Since Ddays 1 & 2 (overlapping) 26 years ago, I BECAME a therapist myself (went to grad school after wreckonciliation to protect myself should day 3 come). So, by Dday3, while shocked because of seeming unicorn life and being the couple so many others admired…UGH…my response was quite different, shall we say. I lined up lawyer, therapist & CPA before confrontation. No dancing here. When it appeared schmoopie “didn’t understand” his breaking up, I threw hom the FUCK out & told him to find someone else to lie to and somewhere else to live. Filing is in process.
          Sad sausage involved his childhood abandonment issues and being “lost.” I told it its psychobabble meant nothing to me. He just used crap from our former therapy to try to get me to reconcile, but I won’t budge. Ugh! What is there to save? I know who & what it is. FUCK his AP grief! How about my grief over the loss of trust, security, partnership, the death of the marriage AND the illusions of that marriage? I’m just getting started, folks! No, no conjoint sessions with my therapist. Bad therapists abound. Lots of them are narcs, too, and cheaters, enjoying that old power differential and hero image. I’m so glad CN is here for us…RIC almost sucked me back in, but you all deal in Mighty. I’m on a shit-sandwich free diet today. Color me grateful. Not yet to meh, but doing all I can to get to my Tuesday.
          Fellow chumps, I feel your pain. Thank you for your courage to share it here and offer true hope and freedom to the rest of us.

      • Nomar
        This is so true. My cheater promised to go to therapy and managed two sessions before stopping for never really explained reasons. I think the therapist was not the soft touch for his sad sausage act that he had expected.
        I was well up on CL then and did not make any comment, just watched to see if he ever went again. Nope and now we are divorced it seems even less likely he will go. He mentioned it himself only once more when being very ‘cheater sad’ about the lack of interest (0) in him from our boys. It was making him ‘down’ but as I didn’t reply in any way I’m sure he was just flinging out a lure to see if I could still be hooked by that kind of message. If they don’t see the need or see any benefit or can’t be bothered then it is pointless to either expect them to go or to get anything from therapy. Mine even asked what he should go for, what should he say! I was stunned at that time at the complete cluelessness of him.
        As a therapist myself I would say that relationship therapists are exactly that – they are looking at how to work on the relationship, their focus is not the one shitty person in it. Also therapists are people with their own views, prejudices, blind spots and gaps in training and experience. Find an individual counsellor that you trust and can work with. It’s worth a good search to get the right fit for you.
        Therapy isn’t a panacea. Sometimes friends, family and a good pair of running shoes are enough.

        • “Therapy isn’t a panacea. Sometimes friends, family and a good pair of running shoes are enough.”

          Thank you for saying this, Capricorn. I am not a therapy person. I am tired of people making telling me I need to go. I am trying to feel my way around on my own. Are there setbacks? Of course. But I feel the same would be true if I did weekly therapy. If I need to try something else and I’m finding no direction, I know it is always still an option (and I will try to keep an open mind about it and find the right fit for me). There is no cure all for this, but there is some merit in making a go of trying to make some sense of (or, more likely, accepting that there is no sense in) what happened and moving forward on your own. I don’t like feeling like just because I’m faltering that I need to be shoved into therapy and that’s the best I’ll ever be able to do.

          • Also, I seem to have had a backward experience from most here in that I refused to do the heavy lifting of saving the marriage right up front and put it square on him to start the process, since he was so hell bent in subversively destroying everything. Cheater, who is (now, post DDay) totally up on therapy…for himself…used the excuse of “you don’t like therapy!” as to why he wouldn’t take care of the particulars when seemingly so bent on making amends. Yup, just use my previous bad experience with therapy (from my teen years!) as an excuse why he wouldn’t take the reins and ownership of having shattered our marriage. From what I can gather, he either doesn’t get very helpful advice from his therapist (or is telling them what they need to hear so that he can hear what he wants to hear) or is just not listening to them. From “sex addiction” right into a relationship (possibly even started before our divorce was even finalized). Sounds like he’s just using therapy for his image management.

            • Much like you I refused to do the heavy lifting and put the onus on her to prove to me that she was doing stuff to save the marriage. But, I got 1-1 therapy for my own sake. It will depend on the therapist and how you use them/what you want to get out of them what your experience.

              For me, what I needed was a neutral soundboard. If I took my problems to my parents, they had their own upset (they utterly loved my wife as a daughter-in-law) & their own baggage. My sister, the same. My brother is so loaded with baggage that talking about my cheating wife was me having to talk him through it. All my friends had opinions. The only person I had who would just listen to me talk, replay what she thought I was saying back to me, and not pass judgement (obvious judgement, anyway), was my therapist. It helped me put my own thoughts in order.

              Not saying it would work for you or everyone, but this sounds very different to couples counselling (which, since I left it to STBX wife, never happened) or other’s experiences of counselling, where people have actively been given advice or told what to do.

              • Thanks for the insight, MightyChris. While there are family/friends who are good at listening and try to provide neutral feedback as well as they can (just had a good discussion about it all with my grandma during a visit to my grandparents’), I know that I will eventually wear on my parents/friends/etc. at some point. I did experience my own parents’ baggage with the whole thing up front — they were struggling through it too…X had really blown us all out of the water. I know it’s not a question of being “strong enough” (I know strong people who are in therapy to work out/process the screwed up shit around them — because this stuff can be a mindfuck for all), and more having that neutral, non-judging party (if you’re lucky and have the right therapist!) who is paid to handle this heavy stuff…whereas our friends/family, as much as they want to, can’t necessarily deal as well as a professional. I suppose it’s partly how tired I feel just thinking about trying to find the right person…much like selecting medical doctors, not one of my favorite activities…then squishing it into my schedule when I don’t have full care of my daughter (which might be about 10-25% of my time). Sounds like excuses…just…not sure how/where to invest myself. It feels like the reservations I had about marriage counseling post DDay (part of why I put it on his shoulders)…I didn’t know if it was even worth saving at that point. Not that I think it’s not worth me trying to fix myself now, just that I’m not totally sure how to go about it. I’m trying to physically hash it out for now (boxing class, for the anger) while I mentally/emotionally process it a bit myself up front, at least.

              • I was very fortunate to have a good friend who’d been through a complicated and difficult divorce refer me to her therapist. The woman was absolute gold. She made a huge difference in my recovery and helped me navigate the results of a difficult childhood that caused difficulties in my life. She told me not to focus on what made my ex act the way he did, but on why I stayed with him.

                I referred a friend of mine who’d been seeing counselors for 5 years and felt like she wasn’t making any progress…she saw my counselor and made progress in leaps and bounds over the course of a year.

                I believe the difference is that this counselor was very good at working with family of origin issues. Just wanted to let people know there are great counselors out there, so if the one you’re seeing isn’t helping keep looking until you find one.

          • ChumpOnIt
            I am also not much of a ‘therapy person’ and have not had more therapy since my ddays. I look at this like a normal grief process – it hurts but that’s normal. If I had got to six months or so and still felt I wasn’t getting anywhere then I might have considered that I was stuck and considered therapy to sort out my logjam but as it is I seem to be gradually improving. Therapy, good therapy anyway can be really tough and sometimes that’s not the best solution early on as much as finding a sympathetic ear and doing lots of self care. Deciding not to have therapy can also be part of unchumping yourself too IMO, gaining autonomy and deciding what’s best for you regardless of what others might think. Good luck!

            • Totally agree Capricorn! I did try some therapy in the wake of DDay and honestly, felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was in deep denial and honestly, I don’t think what I was hearing from the therapist I went to was going to help me get out of denial. Plus, X and I were living on practically nothing and so I had to ask my parents for money for therapy and that is not a bottomless well. So, I had to do the hard parts on my own. It took me a long time to get out of the denial phase of my relationship and start working with total lucidity as CL puts it.

              One thing that really awakened me to the fact that my marriage was completely dead is that I kept saying over and over and over, “I just don’t know what to do.” I would explain my situation to close friends and family and I would say that every single time at the end of the conversation. Finally it dawned on me that it wasn’t that I didn’t know what to do, it’s that I didn’t want to do what was necessary, which was divorce. I didn’t want to say that I dumped a huge investment + 12 years and never ending loyalty into a guy who wasn’t worth the bat of an eye. I didn’t want to admit that I was wrong and that everyone else was right about my X. I didn’t want to start all over again with my life and have nothing to show for the last 12 years except a pile of bills. I totally get why I didn’t want to admit all of this to myself, but once I did, things started falling into place.

              I may not be better for having been played a fool, but I am better for being honest with myself. Could a therapist help with that process? I think so, but sometimes figuring it out on your own gives you such a sense of tenacity, you almost feel invincible. Like, I got this.

              • “[S]ometimes figuring it out on your own gives you such a sense of tenacity, you almost feel invincible. Like, I got this.”

                Exactly! I don’t mean for it to come off the way I do with therapy. I just want more ownership, and I feel like that means for me that I have to make headway myself. It might come more slowly, but seeing as how I don’t think the fallout from something like this ever goes away entirely, I’m fine with that.

              • ChumpOnIt, It’s great if you felt that you wanted ownersip on your recovery process. I think it helps if a chump has a strong sense of self-efficacy and has some solid support from people who don’t fall into a lot of the bad assumptions people make about infidelity, “forgiveness” and divorce.

                Where therapy can help a lot is if chumps struggle with denial or simply fail to see what is right in front of them. A good therapist helps you see from another angle and try healthier ways to make choices. It was very helpful to my that my therapist was crystal clear on the damage to me if I entertained reconciling with Jackass (not that reconciling was ever an option). For those who have been beaten down by manipulation and gaslighting, by abuse of one kind or another, and by spending years bending into a pretzel to please a sociopath, a therapist can be the guide to finding normal, healthy thinking again. There’s a lot of trauma involved in living with anyone who has personality disorder. And while some people can power through the flu or pneumonia on their own, others benefits from medical treatment; I think that hold true also with the psychological and emotional and physical damage from living with someone who has personality disorder.

          • I went to therapy for about 8 months. Did I have a good therapist? Who knows…..I had nothing to compare him to aside from the two times I dragged my ex to MC, but since he lied the whole time, I have no idea.
            I took some things from it that were helpful, I felt some sessions were a waste.
            I feel like I’ve gotten more education and therapy here to be honest. I wish I had found Chump nation a little sooner.

            • I have gathered a lot of helpful information here too…a lot of it having to with re-framing the situation, which is what I needed right up front to put a damper on all of the sadness and anger (still there, but lessened greatly). I feel like that’s basically what therapy would do. Sure, therapy is neutral, but I’m not sure if it would feel too removed…as opposed to when I read what everyone writes here and contribute myself, I know that I am in a safe and understanding place because you all know firsthand, and there is real emotion, experience, and empathy from which to draw and share. Then again, I suppose there is something to be said for having a “straight” person to foil my angry, grieving mess when that crops up…

              • Not to say I can’t find that here. I’ve greatly appreciated the wisdom of those here who are years out and stay to provide guidance for the newly chumped. Chump Lady sowed the seeds for a very good thing.

        • “Therapy isn’t a panacea. Sometimes friends, family and a good pair of running shoes are enough.”

          Yes! I have to admit that the dysfunction stopped when X left. I thought I could maybe use some therapy/counseling, but have found that being around my family, seeing friends, delving more into my hobbies and yes, a pair of running shoes really give me what I need. I feel like what I’m going through and my reaction to what I’ve been through is normal – that is a key thing. Sure there are days that are hard, but most days, I feel incredibly grateful that I don’t have to deal with X’s bullshit. Sigh…. It is the most liberating and alive I have ever felt!

          Now, X on the other hand. He’ll never go to therapy, but boy, does the man child ever need it. As many others have shared here though, that’s the problem. It’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they disagree. I say, go disagree somewhere else then. I’m not doing that anymore.

        • Yep, therapy is no panacea — well said! That’s coming from personal experience — my cheater IS a therapist, which hasn’t personally stopped him from sex addiction, alcohol addiction, tax fraud, lying addiction, you name it (it just taught him how to be more clever about hiding all the above).

          BTW that karma bus is gaining on him. The credit card records we just got through the discovery process confirm an embarrassing at least 5 cruises and 20+ airline tickets spent on his favorite Nevada legal-brothel queen, and their side is now talking settlement…

        • The Traitor loved counselling, had counselling in his first 2 “marriages” too, had therapy for himself, all sorts, medication, etc. Said in MC that the only place he felt safe talking to me was in MC. See above what I said about his anger. He’s a genius at playing the therapist. IRL he uses all the psycho jargon, but in counselling he never did, pretended to be completely naive of the system. MC bought it.
          He did say when we were first dating that one therapist had called him abusive, and ridiculed the suggestion. He played the poor alienated dad who lost his kids to the evil first wife.
          Read Lundy Bancroft (Why does he do that), his book details the Traitor song sheet.
          Every woman should be given a copy on her 16th birthday along with a contraception and safe sex package of goodies.

      • “You can lead a cheater to therapy, but you can’t make them have character.” Perfectly said! Love this, nomar!!!!! I got the “what did you do to contribute to this situation” crap in counseling with cheater as well. BUT, he started his second (that I knew about) affair DURING COUNSELING! Yeah, analyzing my failures is gonna help this situation…whatever. When we got married, nowhere in those vows did either of us promise to be perfect spouses. I distinctly remember “for better or worse,” but tough times bring out people’s true character, and he chose to cheat rather than have any character or integrity. That’s on him, not me.

      • Amen Nomar.
        And most important thing for new chumps is that if you go to therapy/marriage counseling – and your cheater hasn’t stopped seeing the affair partner – the cheater is not working on the marriage so there is nothing to “counsel.”
        A good therapist won’t provide marriage counseling if one party is actively engaged in an affair, or suffering from untreated addiction or extreme behavior. The person needs to solve those issues first before the marriage can be improved or changed.
        Yet most marriage “counselors” will keep taking your money and offering sessions as if some progress is being made!
        In the end, the cheater keeps cheating, but can claimed they “tried to work on things” because they went to a few “marriage counseling” sessions between horizontal therapy with their OWs.
        GAckkkkkk….makes me crazy.

        • Yeah, and also beware if your therapist makes a big deal about preferring CASH payments, considering what I know of therapist STBX. Just sayin…

      • Personally….I would rather see a shaman than a Western trained “therapist.” Every kook, flake, whack-job and nutso I went to college with …..went for the psychology degrees. Scary.

    • Yes, I certainly got the “depression” excuse and I bought it …until he made it clear that his method of treating it was a plan to leave me and the kids. He refused to even try antidepressnats, at one point I said “So you are depressed enough to leave your wife and kids but you wont even try antidepressants?”

      Yes

      well there you go

      • My husband was depressed all right. He was depressed that I discovered the existence of the OW. He flailed about for a while trying out different excuses (“I didn’t meet her until we were separated,” “She has lots of boyfriends (THAT’S an excuse??),” “She’s not the kind of woman I would marry (WHAT? You’re already married!),”She’s nothing (well, that one was true),” until he hit on “I’m depressed.”

        He was so convincing in his presentation of depression that the kids and I started to worry he might hurt himself. (Looking back on this now, I can’t believe we actually fell for this schtick.) I urged him to get on Zoloft, which had helped me. He said he wanted to start therapy. He did try an antidepressant, for one day. I got a text message from him the next day asking if I experienced nausea on my antidepressant. I said no. The next day I asked him how he was doing, and he texted back, “I’m not depressed, I’m only depressed when I’m with you.”

        That was the end of the “depression” excuse for him. He never went to therapy. It took a few days, but he accepted the fact that the Homely Homewrecker was now out in the open and he never looked back.

      • Yes apparently mine was so depressed he was going to kill himself…so he said to my daughter way after the fact of him leaving. She even called him out on the obvious….”why didnt you mention it to anyone then dad “??? Good question. Better to piss off to the OW and live in your special shag pad on our joint money. Suddenly sad sausage isnt depressed anymore. News flash…depression doesnt switch off like a light. What he was describing was entitled frustration that he couldnt have what he wanted on his terms right now with no financial consequences (spent all the money before he left) and with his sparkly image intact . No wonder the fucker couldnt sleep properly before he left.

    • 50Chump, she probably thought you meant penis therapy. You know, the female version of the vagina therapy my ex tried when he was “increasingly unhappy in the marriage”. Or maybe they mistook “coupling therapy” for couples therapy? 😉

      • LOL… this one Beth: “They mistook “coupling therapy” for couples therapy.

        Mr. Sparkles must’ve thought “couples therapy” meant having adulterous sex WITH other couples (and women, men, groups, etc.).

        Should’ve bought him a dictionary for Christmas.

        • As a librarian I have to protest the waste of a good dictionary – unless you were going to whop him up the side of his head with it. If that was the case, by all means. 😀

    • OH YES! That was the first thing I got too…”I’m really depressed, I don’t enjoy anything anymore” Chumpy me said “Is it me? Do we need to go to counseling?” How would I not know if it was me… He agreed to go to counseling said it’s just everything. It took me a few weeks to get an appointment and he asked what was taking so long. I said well I thought a male therapist would be more comfortable for you. His reply…”Doesn’t matter, this isn’t going to take long?” I said what is that supposed to mean??? Duh…
      His reply “Oh nothing, it’s just a few issues to work through” Righto dude. He destroyed me in the 2 sessions we went to! It was ALL about me, my failings he was a complete innocent victim. I had no clue, could not stop sobbing. Then he wanted to know if I was OK? Ummm, NO! All before I found out about the affair. He attacked the very essence of my life work, which was being a wife and mom to our blended family of 8 kids for 19 years. “Oh everything you did backfired, We had a bad run, You are always trying to make everyone happy and you can’t!” So sorry pal…Live and learn!

    • Oh yes, he said he was depressed and didn’t want to end up like my parents….and cried. I bought a book on depression (from Amazon) and the depression story changed. He was pissed that i bought a book for him. The story changed from depression to “we’re just friends” in the mater of a month. Depression all gone!! Well, in the middle of that month, he contacted a therapist. I wasn’t invited to go. He did go to at least one session. But hat was after I kicked him out.

      It’s all about character….theirs. Or lack there of.

  • I went to a therapist – basically I couldn’t function – he had destroyed me. Blindsided did not see it coming could not believe that he could do this to me and our children. A man I loved and thought was my best friend was a monster and acted accordingly.
    She asked what I needed from therapy (I wanted him gone and for me to cope with the loss) and she gave me the tools to cope – CL is right, choose your therapist wisely, the right one can help you survive til you are mighty enough to live again. My therapist gave me this poem and a year on – I still read it – maybe it might help someone else

    I walk down the street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk
    I fall in.
    I am lost…
    I am hopeless.
    It isn’t my fault.
    It takes forever to find a way out.

    II

    I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I pretend I don’t see it.
    I fall in again.
    I can’t believe I’m in the same place.
    But it isn’t my fault.
    It still takes a long time to get out.

    III

    I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I see it is there.
    I still fall in…it’s a habit
    My eyes are open; I know where I am;
    It is my fault.
    I get out immediately.

    IV

    I walk down the same street.
    There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
    I walk around it.

    V

    I walk down another street.

  • Oh god, this one pushes some buttons.

    Its the first thing someone whose never been in our position seems to assume; “There must have been some reason”, “I’m sure she had her reasons”, “You must not have been fulfilling her needs”, “She wouldn’t cheat if there wasn’t something wrong in the relationship”.

    I get it; people on the outside don’t want to cast blame on a particular person, so they comment on something being lacking or wrong in the relationship. Only, they don’t seem to get that by saying there is something wrong with the relationship, it shares out responsibility and blame, & pretty much says that the victim spouse did something wrong too. That effectively, we caused it.

    Honestly this is just… look, we as a society and culture have a tendency to fall into the “middle ground” fallacy. You can’t say ‘well Bob is right and Alice is wrong” anymore, the common narrative goes more like, “Well, im sure that there are parts of both that are correct, & the truth must be somewhere in the middle”. It’s a societal problem, but the logical fallacy is easily demonstrated; Alice says 1+1=2. Bob says 1+1=4. Our therapist/middle ground fallacy would insist that the real answer must be 3, or at least somewhere between 2 and 4. But we all know that Alice is right and Bob is wrong.

    Here’s a radical idea. Maybe the relationship was fine – until the cheating asshole decided to trash it. Maybe the cheater is fucking disordered? Maybe there is no justification for lying, cheating and deceiving. Maybe its nothing to do with us?

    Now, I know this site is maybe 70% women at least, and I know I’ve read similar things from our female posters, but particularly as a cheated-on man, I constantly feel the judgement that as a man, it somehow must’ve been all my fault. If I manage to tell the full story, I usually get to the point of “oh, no, it sounds like she has issues”, but 1st reaction is still that I must have been a bad huband or somehow inadequate. Its only through having been able to see that, it was nothing to do with me, apart from happening to me, that I was able to find peace.

    And of course, (some of you have seen from my other posts), my wife leant into that. She’s told her family that “we were having problems”. Strange, because right up until I caught her she was telling me I was a wonderful husband and soul mate – I even (sensing something was wrong (actually suspecting what it was but not letting myself believe it )) asked her a few times if there was anything she was unhappy about in our relationship, & she said no.

    Honestly I’d focus on getting 1-1 counselling over couples counselling. Post affair relationships are a power battle for control of the narrative, & it just ends up being another platform for the cheater to exercise control & excuse themselves from taking responsibility for thier actions. Another trend for cheaters; avoiding responsibility at all cost.

    Sorry if this isnt as eloquent as usual, this is a hot button subject for me. But boy does it feel good to vent.

    • FWIW, according to Google analytics, the site is about evenly divided on gender. But women comment more.

      Cheating is a character problem — not a gender one, or an orientation one.

      • Good to know, I’m only surpised since I read that the % of men who cheat is higher than the % of women. So i’d assume being a cheated on man is less common. But maybe its just underreported, especially since I think men are more likely maybe carry a misplaced sense of shame.

        I mean, I talk openly about whats happening to me and the people around me tell me I’m ‘inspirational’, ‘dealing with it in such an amazing way’, etc, in a way that makes it seems like what I’m doing is unexpected and not normal. It’s normal to me! But, I do also get a very fine sense of ‘are you sure you want to tell people about this?’. For me, I know its not my fault, I just had the misfortune to fall in love with a bad character who was going to cheat sooner or later, its nothing to be ashamed of.

        I guess I was referring more to the way society judges the chumped. I know some women feel judged in a similar way, but particularly as a man I feel there is judgement as being weak & inadequate, even though I know I’m neither of those things. Note the horrible creep in usage of the term “cuck” as an insult. I think women get judged as being to blame as well, but in a different way. That’s all I was getting at.

          • It would be interesting to study this based off of CL data; it would completely shift the narrative.

            Hypothesis:
            -Men are more likely admit being a cheat bc they feel on some level it shows ‘dominant’ traits
            -Women are more likely to report being cheated on, because women are less irrationally concerned with losing face that men
            Result: Man on Woman cheating is highly/accurately reported.

            -Women are less likely to admit to being a cheat bc they feel more harshly judged than men for infidelity
            -Men are less likely to report being cheated on because they feel there’s a taboo in being a cheated-on man
            Result: Woman on Man cheating underreported.

            Overall: Distribution of bad character is probably much more even than previously understood.

            Conclusion: All cheaters suck!

        • “I just had the misfortune to fall in love with a bad character who was going to cheat sooner or later, its nothing to be ashamed of”

          Yep, my Cheater actually said to me… “if it wasn’t her, it would have been someone else.” How’s that for a quick look into the disorder mind! And I actually stayed another 4 years until he did it again 🤷‍♀️… I cringe just thinking about that!

          • You are not alone! My cheater said those same words to me. I stayed four more years and he continued with the same OW. It took me a very long time to forgive myself!

          • Yeah I also got “if it wasn’t her, it would have bene someone else” as a reason not to blame her. He didn’t like it, however, when I said “well then there is really nothing special about her so no reason to stick with her”.

            This also means that she didn’t have to take on the role of selfish self centered home wrecker. She could have let someone else take on that role, but she chose to take it on herself so now she gets to live with title. He gets to do the same as he conspired to break up her family too.

            • Hilarious comeback “well then there’s really nothing special about her…”

              You can almost hear the gears grind in his underpowered cheater brain the moment you said it.

          • My cheater never said that to me, but on reflection I believe it to be true. It’s simplistic, but given how much of the cheater behaviour reported on here is shared and common, I’m just going to assume that if one person’s cheater was fool enough to admit it, the rest are probably thinking it, but are more discreet.

            • I think what that really means is “this is just the one you caught me with, there were others” but hell, I’m cynical that way.

              • My cheater said this to me, verbatim.

                “If it wasn’t her, it would have been someone else.”

                I had no snappy comeback at the time; gobsmacked as I was.
                But like DatDamWuf surmised:
                “This is the just the one you CAUGHT me with…”

                Yep. Turned out this was true.
                I am only today finding out the full extent of his escapades. Hindsight being 20/20 and all…

                Thank goodness I am at “meh” and couldn’t give a rat’s ass anymore.

              • You’re probably right. At least my STBX was so inept at cheating that I can’t believe there were others! For all her faults, I knew her so well that it was immediately obvious – the thought kept crossing my mind for about a month, but I refused to believe it.

                I pity the guy that follows me. She’ll be practiced at hiding it.

        • Like all things, unless you lived it you don’t understand it. It really doesn’t matter what other nonchumps think, they haven’t walked the betrayal maze of pain, home destruction, violation of space, health, etc. it also does t matter what sex you are, this is a nondiscriminatory action. I have been through4 therapists. The first three wanted to talk about him and why he was cheating, or our marriage relationship. I started thinking I really was the problem since I couldn’t even relate in a therapy session. Then I went to a hypnotherapist who is dealing with my pain and perspective on my self worth and vision for the future. That works because I don’t want to talk about the past. This is different experience from other therapy situations-it is more like PTSD. You don’t keep taking the injured soldier back through the experience. You have to relieve her/him of the vision. Maybe one day, right now I need to get out of bed and go to work, and put one foot in front of the other to get through each day. And I have to get my mind off the cheater and his whore. I’m feeling better. It is a fucking shit show for awhile. It is like the song. Don’t count your cards at the table-the time for counting is when the dealing is done. I’m still at the table. Hugs all my fellow chumps. Find joy in today!

          • That’s why GREAT individual therapy can help even if a chump isn’t sure about what comes next. Great therapists help us figure out who were are, what got damaged, and where we want to go in the future. My therapist almost never talks about the past; I was refer to it and she draws the line from there to today and tomorrow.

          • I agree. People really don’t know what being in a cheating marriage/relationship is like until they have been in one. I’ve talked with a lot of people about getting my divorce and the reaction I see more often than not is blank stares. As in, “What? I have no point of reference for what you are talking about?” They tend to start forming a point of reference as I continue talking, but really, it’s just not something that has a point of reference until you have it done to you. Admittedly, I thought the same thing before DDay. I thought there must be some sort of culpability in the un-offending spouse. I was completely naive to anything else. Our societal influences really really do infidelity a lot of disservice. Media paints the picture that infidelity is sexy and that spouse over there behind the curtains, you know that forgotten sod in the wing, they are the worst kind of person alive. They MADE them cheat.

            Can’t thank CL enough for helping to change that narrative.

          • I too am a hypnotherapy fan! About 2 months ago, I was the first person on scene to the aftermath of motorcycle meets car, and I had to do CPR( with others) for 15 minutes on someone who had clearly died 5 minutes in-the emergency operator was insistent to keep going until the ambulance got there, it was a country road and the ambulance took a long time…Anyway I had anxiety to the max, i thought my head was going to explode, i had flashbacks , driving was awful-hypnotherapy saved me. I had booked in before all this happened to help me deal with bad habits, and I turned up a quivering wreck- My poor hypnotherapist got more than she bargained for! 3 sessions and the anxiety has gone- and the bad habits are improving, I’ve never had such rapid relief from anything before- and I’ve had counselling, antianxiety drugs, antidepressants
            Hypnotherapy is awesome!!! I only wish I had tried it sooner

        • Mighty C I think I get exactly what you are describing. Thank you for expressing it so well. I think we all (men and women) receive what you call the “middle ground fallacy” where the assumption is that the victim must have contributed to the crime. That is a great term for it btw. But I agree, I think men face this default assumption more pervasively and more stubbornly. Think of physical domestic abuse. The generic image that pops into mind is that of a drunk man and a frightened woman. Yet statistically men are actually slightly more likely to be the recipients of such abuse. It may be a bad example, but I think public perception is like this…more inclined to accept women as victims and men as perpetrators. And when you add to that the overall public ignorance about the existence and nature of personality disorders, you get an uninformed public imagination that sees everyone as largely being like themselves (mentally healthy) and then has to make sense of evil by inventing a cause. “I would never do this unless I were driven to it, if even then…so there must be a reason.” Chumps are the nearest proximate origin for that cause. When you take knowledge of cluster B out of their calculations, they have nowhere else to go in comprehending it but to assume some sort of vague shared cause. And this is nothing less than a revictimization of us borne of ignorance, all to often a smug ignorance. To clarify, I think this is faced by all of us. And not saying men have it worse in all aspects of being cheated on. In fact, I think there’s a chauvinistic element in society that generally dismisses women by saying that “its natural” to expect a man to cheat. But on this point – the shared blame fallacy – it certainly feels like it’s a taller order for a man to get out from under it.

          • I think you got me perfectly there. Not trying to say it’s overall better or worse for women or men just…different. It’d be like comparing your dogshit sandwich vs my catshit sandwich … a shit sandwich is a shit sandwich…Something we’re all very familiar with.

          • TKO, other info aside, your assertion about domestic abuse is completely false. Do some research, sounds like you are getting some of your information from MRA sites that post bullshit statistics.

            As a survivor I take great exception to your statement: “Think of physical domestic abuse… Yet statistically men are actually slightly more likely to be the recipients of such abuse.”

            That statement is false and does a lot of harm when such violence is still not taken seriously enough. Women are far more likely to be the recipients of physical abuse and more likely to be killed or suffer major injury.

            From current DOJ reports:
            • In 2008 females age 12 or older experienced about 552,000 nonfatal violent victimizations (rape/sexual assault, robbery, or aggravated or simple assault) by an intimate partner.
            • In the same year, men experienced 101,000 nonfatal violent victimizations by an intimate partner.
            • The rate of intimate partner victimizations for females was 4.3 victimizations per
            1,000 females age 12 or older. The equivalent rate of intimate partner violence
            against males was 0.8 victimizations per 1,000 males age 12 or older.
            • Female murder victims (41.5%) were almost 6 times more likely
            than male murder victims (7.1%) to have been killed by an
            intimate.

            • Datdamwof, you are incorrect. Women are NOT “far more likely”, in fact they are less likely, to be the victims of domestic physical abuse. If anything is not taken seriously, it is violence against men. Societally, wife beaters are rightfully considered a pariah while abused men are just a punch line. Your attitude of calling it “harmful” to correct that double standard with facts is shameful.

              Your data from 2008 is outdated (where you even manage to relate it to my point which is about DOMESTIC ABUSE). The latest report on such violence from the CDC in 2010 shows that the public campaign aimed at male perpetrators has worked in reducing domestic or intimate partner violence against women. But the rate of intimate partner physical violence against men has continued unchanged and now exceeds female victimization. Here is pasted a part of a summary of their study. The full CDC report (see Tables 4.1 and 4.2) is here:

              https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_report2010-a.pdf

              Please be sure to read the CDC’s report for more information about how men are ALSO more frequently the victims of domestic psychological abuse:

              SUMMARY: According to a 2010 national survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Department of Justice, in the last 12 months more men than women were victims of intimate partner physical violence and over 40% of severe physical violence was directed at men. Men were also more often the victim of psychological aggression and control over sexual or reproductive health. Despite this, few services are available to male victims of intimate partner violence.

              Physical violence

              More men than women were victims of intimate partner physical violence within the past year, according to a national study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and U.S. Department of Justice. According to the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (hereinafter NISVS) released in December, 2011, within the last 12 months an estimated 5,365,000 men and 4,741,000 women were victims of intimate partner physical violence. (Black, M.C. et al., 2011, Tables 4.1 and 4.2) 1 This finding contrasts to the earlier National Violence Against Women Survey (Tjaden, P. G., & Thoennes, N., 2000)(hereinafter NVAWS), which estimated that 1.2 million women and 835,000 men were victims of intimate partner physical violence in the preceding 12 months. (One-year prevalence “are considered to be more accurate [than lifetime rates] because they do not depend on recall of events long past” (Straus, 2005, p. 60))

              • Please do NOT bring men’s rights bullshit on to my page with this domestic abuse crap. Women are hugely, disproportionately the victims of domestic violence — NOT MEN. I am NOT going to litigate this here. You have been warned. Anyone who wants to read more on this can check out http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/01/warren-farrell-mens-rights-movement-feminism-misogyny-trolls/

                This site is a safe place for EVERYONE who has experienced infidelity — which is abusive. But I STOP at the nonsense that men experience more physical abuse than women. STFU and go away.

              • For those following this particular thread, please see CL’s comment below. There is no reply option to it so I’m doing so here.

                I am sorry I went too far afield in making my point. I am not trolling here to advance any “men’s rights” agenda. I have been physically attacked by a cheating and professionally diagnosed BPD wife. I had long ago heard of the statistics on this Intimate Partner Physical Violence and was amazed by it. I used it as an example in my first comment above. I even thought at the time it might be a flawed analogy. When told however that is was wrong and I was “harmful” for mentioning it, I went too far in expressing my anger at this kind of denial of my experience and the experience of far too many like me. The fact I stated is accurate and comes from the CDC report, not a men’s rights website. But I got off my original point and probably sounded like I was in turn denying the full picture of what women face. That was not my intent The stat I offered was accurate but it is only a small part of the whole story. The same CDC report I referenced additionally shows the number of women who have been abused “in their lifetime” far exceeds that of men. Women also experience a clear majority of the most serious harm from both rape and physical abuse. While I never claimed men “experience more physical abuse” it could be loosely taken that way. I was referencing a CDC stat that showed men currently (for the 12 months preceding the 2010 study) experienced intimate partner physical abuse in greater numbers than women. This doesn’t mean it’s more abuse. It isn’t. I would expect and the data shows men are not the worst harmed. It also doesn’t encompass all forms of abuse (rape, stalking, etc). I didn’t mean it that way either. And it doesn’t cover all of history by any means. Not even close. I simply meant what I actually said. I didn’t mean to demean the excessive and more often more damaging abuse faced by women.

        • @MightyChris – I’m so sorry that there does indeed seem to be a disgusting tendency to treat lady, but not gentlemen chumps, as victims. I’ve heard the (false, cruel) assertion that, “Men ~ even those in happy marriages ~ cheat because they can, whereas women only cheat as a ” Terrible, untrue hogwash.

        • “Chris The Mighty”,

          I know Tracy is in now happily with another male Chump.

          I am too.
          His story of betrayal is different from mine (as newlyweds, rather than 30 years in) but no less horrific.

          From what he’s said, I think male chumps are less likely to speak out because of the assumptions as you described above. But more than that, it’s the “Guy Code” of never showing any weakness or deep emotion that might prevent their reaching out more.

          I know that in the case of my personal He-Chump, most people had no idea the depths that he suffered because of his Ex.

          But I know for a fact they ARE out there, and suffer just as much as we do.
          They might just need to give themselves permission to use self-release valve for the emotional vomiting… 🙂

          CN is good for that.

      • I assumed (wrongfully) that it was more men than women cheating, but there have to be a significant amount of women cheaters for all of those asshat men.

        Of course my luck is that my fuckwit’s 2nd schmoopie a 20-something singleton fawning over a married man. I did have lunch with a friend over the weekend that helped me open my eyes to some positives in this (and she hates the asshat now). Schmoopie doesn’t have her own kids absorbing Dr. Disney Dad’s resources. Kids are teenagers so can care for themselves when dad is too busy banging schmoopie to be a dad. She obviously has poor judgement but doesn’t have a drug problem or criminal history as she passed the background check to be an assistant soccer coach at the kids school.

        MightyChris, after the numbness and shock wore off and I started feeling again I started worrying what everyone would think. How humiliating for your wife and kids to shit where everyone eats. Either people think you’re a horrible spouse or people feel sorry for you. I didn’t want any of those options. I love how you’ve changed from Chump to Mighty!!

    • The asshole I’m divorcing actually told me that in this society it was always to be my fault that he cheated on me. It was such a childish thing to say, and it had the automatic effect of making me lose all respect for him. I could be responsible for the death of our marriage. But I always refuse to even have the small influence over his behavior. As we say in Spanish, pendejo.

    • Mighty Chris,
      I couldn’t agree more. A friend of mine many years ago was accused of inappropriate behaviour around a female colleague. He had a hard time knowing that most people would assume ‘there’s no smoke without fire’ or ‘it’s a bit him and a bit her’. He was adamant that he was completely innocent of any wrongdoing. It was not 50/50 or any variation of but 100% vs 0.
      After a year he was completely vindicated and yet many colleagues felt really sorry for the woman as she must have ‘issues’ and condemned him still for not seeing that and being more careful.
      Taught me a lot about this kind of thing.

    • You should vent. Cheating isn’t a gender issue, as CL states.

      I hope that more women chumps read posts like yours and from other male chumps to realize then entire male human population is NOT made up of assholes. I have my own real-life examples who I have known my entire life and also a significant portion of my adult life, so it’s crazy to say all men suck. Just the male sociopath I married and his enablers suck.

      Vent away, male chumps!

    • Couples counseling works if both are sincere. X manipulated our first therapist playing the role of the devoted husband/victim. In our session X began rubbing my back, telling the therapist how beautiful I am, and how much he loves me, pretending to wipe tears from his eyes.
      Therapist turns to me and tells me how fortunate I am to be married to X, who has so much love for me (in therapist slow quite voice), then asked me how much I drink.
      Sociopath X had the therapist convinced I didn’t appreciate X and was drinking. No mention of X’s porn obsession and lack of interest in our relationship.
      Clearly I was lying, therapist witnessed X proclaiming his love for me, and how in awe he is of beauty while rubbing my back with tears in his eyes.. unbelievable.
      X and I get to the car, proud of his performance, he bursts out laughing.

      • Well that’s a problem; finding a sincere cheater!

        Sounds like you are well shot of your X! What a sociopath.

      • Our first therapist asked him point blank: was there any cheating? (we were discussing lying and withholding information from me about his social apps use). I will never forget his resounding “no”. It felt true, but at the same time didn’t. I learned 2 years later, through my own devices, that he had something going on again with a coworker (different one). No cheating technically, as she confirmed, but still an involvement (that he tries to give unbelievable excuses for – my friends dared me). So then I remembered that “no” and was able to understand what it meant. It was “no, but…”. Another lesson in trust your instincts, you don’t need to wait to understand why they “ping” (chumps, justifiably, wait for rational reasons to finally emerge all the time). You just need to abide to the fact they do.

    • Must agree, Chris, with your recommendation about 1-1 counseling. As an uber chump that went through 3 marriage counselors post D-Day, I only began to heal when I got an individual counselor. Each of the three marriage counselors began sessions with focusing on my issues and getting my ex to talk about what was wrong with me. The second and third one said to me that in situations where one spouse has cheated, therapy is usually more successful if the therapist can make the cheater feel safe in therapy (timid forest creature) before we start to focus on how the cheating has destroyed trust and what the cheater needs to do to work on restoring it. In all three cases, when we began to get to that part is when my ex said that this therapist wasn’t working for her. Could not stand the focus being on her and what she did.

      • THIS… our marriage counselor said that if we stopped coming as a couple, and only one of us (me) continued to pursue therapy… that it goes to reason that one person will get well (me) and eventually leave the marriage.

        SO… we stopped going and I didn’t go without him because I didn’t want to lose my marriage. How fucked up is that?

        On the last D-day, I got a great therapist and have only moved forward since. Mr. Sparkles, still treading water doing the rinse/repeat approach to relationships. Kids are horrified. What can you do.

        • Here’s now I know that I have a quality therapist: I started seeing her on my own after DDay #2. After we did the whole “sex addiction disclosure” thing, ex wanted to drop his therapist (not coincidentally, ex’s decision to drop came when his therapist said the next step in his treatment was for him to look at all the pain and trauma ex had caused me and the kids) and do couples counseling with my therapist. My therapist said no. She said she was my therapist and would not be comfortable trying to counsel us as a couple. She viewed it as a conflict of interest. We never did do any couples counseling for which I remain very grateful.

          I’m so glad you found yourself a great therapist ICSTMC. Full steam ahead!!

      • What a Kibble Fest that must have been. Probably the only reason a cheater ever agrees to therapy is that they’ve monetized it (with kibbles and bitch cookies).

      • Meanwhile, the therapist screws over the chump again while waiting for the timid forest creature to feel safe. I wouldn’t ever ever go to couples’ counseling unless I was looking for someone to help us through a specific disagreement.

    • I don’t know if this will make you feel any better or not, but for everyone who might or might not be judging you there are those who admire you.

      A number of years ago, long before my own marriage blew up, I knew a man whose wife had left him. I didn’t know her, but I knew him. I knew he was a good man and an excellent father. I admired how he carried on in the face of something that must have been a very painful experience. I admired how he took care of his daughters and made their life secure. I never knew his ex wife, but I “assumed” she was a total bitch and a horrible person for walking out on her family the way she did. I don’t even know whether or not adultery was involved although its seems likely.

      Anyway, there are people out there, even those who have not been through this, who will assume the worst of her not you.

      • Chumpinrecovery, I agree with this. I have dealt with both since my marriage blew up. I do not go into details but I am upfront about what happened and how he barely sees the kids now. There are those that want to stay Switzerland and those that think he is a POS. Regardless of which camp they are in, as long as they know me, they have told me that they admire me for holding all the pieces together. Those that don’t know me and are friends with STBX can think what they want as they don’t really have a place in my life.

    • I’ll add that I know as many male chumps in my personal life as female chumps, and they are all good men who were totally devoted to their wives. Chumps are equally blamed across the board, regardless of gender. Male chump? You should have cherished your wife, taken better care of her, and stopped being so jealous and controlling. Female chump? You were frigid and demanding, and you shouldn’t have been so shrill and unappreciative. The common narrative cares more about your status as a chump than your gender, in my observation.

    • “Post affair relationships are a power battle for control of the narrative, & it just ends up being another platform for the cheater to exercise control & excuse themselves from taking responsibility for thier actions. Another trend for cheaters; avoiding responsibility at all cost.”

      Ha! I am starting to see this now, as X picks right up with another “relationship”, despite it probably being for the best if he didn’t for a while (prostitute use over most of our 6 year marriage). You word this insight into cheater logic very well. I also see it as a “Look! I’m good and/or worthy! Where’s YOUR new person? Oh, you must not be as good/worthy as I am” sort of slap. Joke’s on him…sure it would be really nice to have a partner (you know, like that one I had before and then lost/never had), but I don’t validate my goodness/worthiness via having an SO (or, from his perspective, a complementary set of genitalia).

      • Absolutely. Loads of them just slither between relationships, with no gap. They must interpret it as being in high demand. I see it as a person with a void in their soul.

  • OutofAshes….. You are not alone!! You. Did. Not. Cause.Him.To.Cheat!

    They chose to do it. Their character! Their choice! You are not responsible!!

    I have struggled with those same feelings. I realize that I did everything I could to encourage mine and help him when I thought he was going through a depression. Obviously it was not a depression.

    Long term marriage here with kids. When thing began to unravel and I questioned some things, the lies, gaslighting began. He has denied an affair and I’m still here for now.

    I’m so sorry! I’m praying for you! Please understand this…….. His character deficiencies!! Not yours!! It still hurts I know!!

  • “Now then, cheaters — let’s say for the sake of argument — were confronted with the same stressors: depression, lack of love, sucky marriage — so why didn’t THEY dance furiously, book shrink appointments, and ask themselves how they could change?”

    Oh, how many times I asked myself this question, even years before learning about the betrayal going on (but while it was going on). Later he will claim that he needed to look for comfort and attention outside the relationship because he felt “not accepted at home and like he couldn’t talk to me”. He never ever even tried to talk to me about anything! I never got a chance to fix his “unmet needs”. I always tried to confront him about our issues, but all I got was stonewalling and denying there was ever something wrong. I asked questions about our relationship, including the presence of other women, and got gaslighting and paltering.
    How many times I wished I was with a real man who would sit me down at the table and tell me we had stuff to discuss. I thought he still had to mature (we were young).
    After the biggest D-Day, he was taking initiative and doing the work, and I was proud of him for that…only to learn he was still lying through therapy. He never came clean on his own. The behavior maybe stopped, but the entitlement sure didn’t and still lives on strong to this day. I hope he enjoys the company of his large ego now that he’s alone with it.

    • Exactly, when I asked cheater if he would go with me to counseling (he was already cheating unknown to me) he said, “you need to get help, this is your problem!”

    • Hahahaha! Cheater DID tell me we needed to talk about HIS unmet needs, which were MY problems. What he didn’t tell me was that he had been cheating the ENTIRE marriage. No joke.

    • “He never ever even tried to talk to me about anything! I never got a chance to fix his “unmet needs”. I always tried to confront him about our issues, but all I got was stonewalling and denying there was ever something wrong. I asked questions about our relationship, including the presence of other women, and got gaslighting and paltering.
      How many times I wished I was with a real man who would sit me down at the table and tell me we had stuff to discuss.”

      Yes! The idiot poofed and blamed me for everything. He never, ever indicated we were headed to the abyss, and I remained under the false idea that we had recovered from his OW#1 nine years earlier. When asked direct questions about our status, he lied to me. And lied, and lied, and lied. For my fuckwit, it was not because he was a Snidely Whiplash, it was because he is an incredible coward who will cut his hand off before he dared to be vulnerable with me. Such a coward and a child. Passive aggressive, withholding, lying coward.

      • Hugs, Now I.C. I experienced the same bullshit (questions with no answers, when he knew damn well what he was doing) and feel the same exact way about my X. Passive aggressive, coward pieces of shit.

  • Those misguided therapists are right about one thing. There is something you can do that will make the person stop doing to you what s/he is doing to you.

    You can leave.

    (You can leave the cheater and the therapist, indeed.)

  • You know my favorite thing (besides CL and CN) is the fact that I finally have words to what I inherently felt after DDay. Once I read the book and educated myself on cluster b’s (or just people with shite character), I had a vocabulary to protect myself against these knuckleheads. I believe that the marriage dance between a character disordered person and a overly responsible empathetic type is a real thing. BUT, taking it to the next level by saying that the behavior of the character disordered is somehow shared with their spouse is utter horse shit. I am not afraid to enter in to any conversation with any person who tries to sell that crap. Most people I have challenged really are just repeating what they read in some rag and get a look on their faces that let’s me know that they really didn’t think it through before our discourse. Others are either cheaters or affair partners of cheaters.
    I am in healthcare and have come across numerous “therapists” who are of the “Esther Perel -I’m a more evolved and sophisticated person than you and your antiquated opinions” variety. I don’t give a shit. I still back them into a corner.

      • CL-
        Thanks for winding everyone up on a Monday. Awesome energy and insights to help us all get MIGHTY! Cuz on top of the betrayal, we have all heard some version of “well, you never know what goes on in a marriage?’ which can basically be translated in any language as some combo of “you were 1/2 the reason it happened” and “how could you not have known?”

        In my mind, the slop the cheaters/therapists and “friends” slime you with is like punching an assault victim who is still laying on the ground….

    • I have heard it from others on this site as well that people such as Esther perel ( even her name is dangerous) are putting their agendas out as fact and people just mindlessly accept them as authority. Bad spouses cause cheating is absurdly taken as truth.

      By the same token, I think children need a relationship with their parents at all costs is another one. I ran into an acquaintance I hadn’t seen in a couple of years this weekend. I told her that I was divorcing because stbx was a cheater. She asked about his relationship with the children and I told her that it was not good. Immediately she said “children need a relationship with their father no matter what and that he would come around because he loves them. “. I said I hope so and stopped talking because I knew at that point it was hopeless.

      Later, I told my adult daughter about the encounter and she angrily said why does everybody think you have to have a relationship with somebody who treats you like shit?

      We had just gone through a week where stbx had sent her a text complaining that he had to discuss the $15 fast food gift card which he gave her for her birthday in a deposition that cost $2000. Per hour. No, how can I make it better?, just blame for costing me money. She broke no contact and replied and he told her she learned from feeling it.

      He is mean and hateful and has now cut off all 5 of his children because they do not respect him which is 100% my fault. Society dictates, however, they need that relationship at all

      • FeelingIt–your daughter is right; no one needs a relationship with an abuser, even if the person is their parent. This is one of those outdated canards spouted by people who don’t know the research. Much of the dire news about “single parents” is confounded by the fact that too many single parents are in dire poverty, with very little support system or safety net. Yes, under those circumstances, only having one parent is not a great scenario. That info can’t be used to generalize to children who willingly forego contact with a parent who has betrayed the family.

      • Feelingit, my son won’t have anything to do with his dad either. He is 15. I asked him yesterday if he missed him and brought up that the longer he goes without speaking to him, the harder it will be to ever bridge the gap. I was in no way trying to force him into a relationship with him but wanted him to understand the consequences of his choice.

        I then asked what upset him the most…what his dad did to me or how he has not even tried to become part of his baby sister’s life or if it was how he treated my son? He replied that the thing that bothered him most was his dad’s treatment of him. Why would I want to spend time with someone who cares so little for me and disrespects me (even though his text messages spout that he loves him, his actions and choices convey the real message). I can’t argue with that.

        I do not spew everything about his dad, but if he asks me a direct question, I do answer it honestly. I know what it feels like to be lied to and manipulated so that you don’t have the information to make sound judgements. I can only pray and hope that the long term effects of his choice won’t mess him up too bad down the road.

        • I am finally coming to the realization that despite all these well meaning people telling me how important it is for the kids to have a relationship with their father, it is doomed to failure because he is disordered. It is like thinking you can make rocks float by continually throwing them upward- somehow gravity always wins.

          My 2 oldest sons were making the effort to have a relationship, going to his house for dinners, going to therapy, trying to include him in their lives. As soon as they expressed any disagreement with his choices or expressed that they might agree with mom on something, he dropped them like a hot potato. They come to me wondering why he is texting them in the fashion of a 14 year old with hashtags and calling them dude. Why does he text them “stop the bullshit” and then accuse them of being disrespectful. He tells them they will never be respectful as long as they are receiving hour by hour propaganda from me. Son says, that is all in his head. Stbx thinks I badmouth him constantly. I am not going to say it has never happened but it certainly isn’t on the daily and most anything I say is in response to questions from sons about his behavior. He considers disrespect not agreeing with him. He has now unfriended son from Facebook and told both he wants know relationship with them and told them it is all my fault for alienating them.

          Everything is feelingit’s fault. I wish I felt as powerful as he is making me out to be. I could rule the world💪🏻.

          • Makes you wonder how they functioned in the family and marriage as long as they did. Was that just us smoothing things over or bridging the relationships? Was it just impression management that we all bought into? I mean, if this is who they truly are, why did it take so long for everyone to see it? The $50M question we all ask ourselves.

            My oldest daughter (age 14) goes to dinner with STBX a couple times a month. Never lasts more than 1-2 hours. She says that they chit chat but never talk about anything important. She wants to keep him in her life, but a couple times a month is good with her. I can’t even fathom not trying to plan something more or longer, but if it works for the two of them, so be it.

    • Videotape those encounters. Watching cheater-apologists get back into a corner with your awesome verbal skills would be great entertainment!

  • Ahh yes the good old depression card. My response: oh here let me take on even MORE responsibility so you dont have to do a thing. Let me take your daughter out (was not my child nor were we married) so you can rest or get your own things done, here let me do all the laundry and take care of the animals, here let me research therapists while you keep your depression mask on ONLY for me and give you time to make arrangments with your side whores.

  • “I’d like to take this moment to ask chumps about their D-Days. Folks, when you discovered you’d been betrayed, and the bottom fell out of your world, your marriage was at an all-time low, and you were nearly paralyzed with depression — was your first response to go fuck another person?”

    YES! I think whatever the first response of the chump is at finding out they are married to a lying dirtbag, is very telling of the state of the marriage.

    Let’s look at the logic behind the RIC on their theory “what did you do to contribute to this?”

    So by all accounts the RIC is working from the ASSUMPTION that cheating was an out of the ordinary behavior for the cheater…. a response to something you’ve done/not done, so the same must be said for the chumps response to the cheating right???
    – The scramble to understand your spouse when you found out you’ve been cheated on… nope, not a symptom of a long term pattern of the marriage… simply a fluke brought on by the situation. Sounds like the response of a terrible uncaring spouse right? Not!
    – The utter devastation at finding out the love of your life has been lying and deceiving you. That all sounds like the response of a cold hearted asshole right?
    – Taking the reins, buying books, setting up therapists appointments… again sounds like the response of an univested spouse, right?
    – The harsh smirky attitude of the cheater, insisting you must mind your own business and get over it already… nope, couldn’t be an indication of the state of the marriage because of their character, it’s simply a fluke brought about by a dense FOG surrounding the affair.

    Listen up RIC, what does adding up all the intital responses tell you about the state of the marriage? It tells you who’s invested and who’s not! People invested in the ones they love don’t go out and cheat, they stick around and tend to their marriage. People not invested in their marriage don’t rush around buying up infidelity books and scheduling marriage appointments.

    The LOGIC of the RIC is so ass backward I can’t believe anyone even falls for it, but they know desperation will have you consider even the most fucked up logic.

    Speaking of logic… has anyone heard about the recent study that says cheaters are 3.5 times (I think that was the stat) more likely to be repeat offenders. Hmmm, this new research seems to be following a pattern of REAL logic. I think the tides are slowly shifting Around the infidelity topic … keep it up CL, I think we chumps might be making headway in shifting the infidelity narrative!

  • From the cheaters’ mom (who happens to be a shrink, coincidentally), I got:

    “What he did was wrong. Understandable, but wrong.”

    • That’s a tool for her to not have to act on her own initial opinion. Yes. It was wrong. But I’ll say “understandable” so I don’t have to face that my son is a shithead and throw some blame your way. Blech.

        • Lol! Ah, we can dream of having supportive MIL’s. I got crickets from my in laws. Trouble is, they know he is an incurable shithead, but they would rather not face it by complete silence. Let the shithead move on with wife appliance number 3 and see if SHE can change him…just as long as he doesn’t move back home!

      • Yes. In-law Family of therapists from low tier schools (as my kids say, Cs get degrees, and they’re proof) and he cheated with a therapist. When he begged to go to therapy I said “no female social workers” since Oedipus clearly knew what buttons to push. Then my female social worker therapist pulled the same crap on me – “he’s clearly told you the whole truth, why don’t you believe him? Has this been a pattern, your insecurity? I believe he’s being honest.”

        Uh, no, he was lying thru his teeth the entire time. Ill never see a social worker for therapy again. It’s a narc-y field and too triggery for me, although I know there are great ones doing great work. It was a colossal mind fuck.

        • After I told theThe ric mc I went to during the pick me dance that I believed Styx had been cheating longer than he admitted, he responded: why would he have told you he started cheating two years ago if it had been longer. Now, I think, I don’t understand why he lies at all but he does. He is disordered, why would I think he would tell the truth is the better question.

  • It’s funny how when these cheaters are depressed, they truly have so much energy to spend on laying the ground work to pork someone else. They have to establish the mental connection with the person, as sex just doesn’t land on their doorstep when they exit the home. And after that, they need to interact with them, text, have phone calls, clandestine dates, etc. I’m amazed that they can do all this in their depressed state. So they are depressed when it comes to their partner, which is really another term for not wanting to be with their spouse or partner. Yet are so ingenious when it comes to finding someone else to have sex with, when the depression is non-existent then…

    • Leila, yes, it takes effort to cheat, make contact, flirt, planning, scheduling, conversations.
      Imagine if they’d invest 1/2 the effort to make plans with their spouse or on their marriage and family.
      X also claimed to be depressed, his mother was suffering from dementia.
      Being a super Chump I made the extra effort to make his life easier, encouraging him to spend time with his mother. He snapped at me once saying I should be more understanding and not question him about our marriage. He isn’t that kind of guy to cheat, he has integrity!!
      I walked on eggshells, not questioning him, giving him time alone to reflect, not asking prying questions, thinking I was helping our marriage only to find out later I was helping him Cheat.

      • Yes Brit, they claim depression, so we can leave them alone. Depression is also code for them not having to spend on ounce of effort on us. It’s basically, I’ve checked out, leave me alone as I don’t want to have anything to do with you anymore = DEPRESSION. And what do we do? We leave them alone and not bother them, poor souls, all the while they are perpetrating a fraud on us, by giving ALL their attention to someone else. How nice to be depressed huh… these cowards get their cake and get to eat it to.

        • Spot on, Kellia, “…. they claim depression, so we can leave them alone………..And what do we do? We leave them alone and not bother them, poor souls, all the while they are perpetrating a fraud on us, by giving ALL their attention to someone else.”

          And then they later come back and excuse their behavior further by claiming “All you did was ignore me!”

  • Another miserable part of therapy is when you rattle off all of these soul crushing betrayals that the cheater has en acted on your life and the therapy gives you a milquetoast “hmmmmm” or says how did that make you feel? Well, bitch it made me feel like shit.

    I can remember the exact moment when the healing started. It was six months from DDay #2 and I met one of my more colorful friends for a drink. I told him everything that happened and he said quick as lightning: that son of a bitch needs his Jaw broke. He didn’t blame me or asked me what I had done or even the old infuriating standby: How could you not know?

    • “Well, therapist, it makes me feel a deep-seated rage, as if I want to put a pillow over his head and then bury him in the Pine Barrens.”

  • In a weird way, D Day was liberating. Not that I didn’t dance, I did, but at that moment I realized everything she had said and done, all the abuse, rage, cruelty, mind fucking, all of it, was bullshit. Complete bullshit. Every time she tried to make me feel horrible, the premise was based upon the fact the she was a long suffering, devoted wife and mother. Yet, on D Day, I found out she wasn’t!

    Here’s an example-when I grew weary because of the abuse, I withdrew. She’d say my depression sucked all the joy out of the house, but for since over a year before making that comment, she was fucking someone else.

    It took a while to internalize what I knew to be bullshit, and some days are better than others, but I know she’s a piece of garbage now.

    • Two years ago I would’ve never been able to conceive of it being liberating. But you are right. I feel like I have a superpower now and maybe others on this board feel it too. It was hard one but it is real. When someone starts to bullshit me or gaslight me -I see it immediately.

      I’m not bragging or trying to sound arrogant because I went through absolute devastation to gain this power. When I have ventured into the dating world and someone starts to lay some bullshit on me, or they start painting their Xs as this absolute villain’s villain, I just smile and I get this sense of peace. I see right through it.
      Likewise it is helped me to Identify between sparkly sexy people and people who are salt of the earth but perhaps maybe dress like a 1940s house frau. And that’s OK. I’m going for the real thing. No more time for the pod people.

      I’m going for character. 🙌

      • I’m conscious of the absolute villian thing being a red flag, and it’s a tough juggling act because twatty is pretty fucking horrible as far as human beings go. I explain that my stbx is really a pretty terrible person. It’s who she is but that’s that.

        BTW my reaction to bullshit doesn’t surprise me. It’s my reaction to basic kindness.

  • There’s very little understanding amongst psychiatrists about cheating and these sorts of dynamics; I didn’t hear one word of it during training. When we discuss or present cases where a spouse is accusing the other of infidelity and the other is denying it, the first conclusion people jump to is “delusional jealousy”. I point out that cheating / lying about it to their spouse and gas lighting them to the point of questioning their own sanity is far more common.

  • I believe that cheaters fantasize about cheating their entire married life, it’s a no win situation. You don’t realize that they are unhappy because they aren’t. They’re basically shallow people, who are just keeping their options open by never really committing to their marriage. They don’t discuss how they feel about things, because ‘what if their partner decides maybe they don’t want to be in a relationship afterall’ ? Then they’d be alone and they can’t have that. No, better wait until they find the illusive ‘dream girl/guy’. Understand , its not that these cheaters don’t think who they have isn’t good; it’s just, maybe there is someone better, more exciting, out there. If not, we’ll they can always stay in the marriage, right? No point in taking unnecessary risks! So instead, they troll around for years always on the lookout for a willing conspirator and as soon as they find one, they’re gone! Cheaters have huge character defects, they are self indulgent, jealous, immature beings with no moral compass. They have no idea what happiness is really about and frankly most of these so called therapists are just selling their crap theories to make a living. It’s not complicated one person cheated and destroyed the marriage and it’s their fault, PERIOD!

    • lyndaloo- What a great post! You are right, they aren’t committed from the start. And they do troll around for years to find a willing participant. And as soon as they find one, they’re gone. Your entire post resonated with me.

      • They are not committed. The script is written the day they say I do. Think about how fucking selfish and entitled you have to be to cheat. Going out and getting laid takes time. Seriously. I need to figure out where to take time from to date and often I just can’t find it. Take from my kids? My job? Friends and things I really enjoy doing too?
        But these fuckheads banged how many people for how long before we even became suspicious? Why? Because we committed our time and efforts to the marriage and they did not. They reserved time to fuck around or do whatever the fuck they wanted to so we didn’t notice when they didn’t answer the phone or missed a pick up or weren’t home or spent x hours at gym/store/office party wherever. I bet that wasn’t what made you all suspicious right? It was probably the little extra dose of abuse they showed us when they were gaga over a fuck buddy that got your gut tied up. If they had just kept smiling you wouldn’t have thought anything.
        Bet they’d have noticed if you didn’t answer though, or went out longer than reasonably expected.
        They planned this shit. Maybe not consciously but definitely on a cellular level. It’s what they are.

        • Lightning bolt insight from your post, DunChumpin.

          “I bet that wasn’t what made you all suspicious right? It was probably the little extra dose of abuse they showed us when they were gaga over a fuck buddy that got your gut tied up.”

          This. Just this. I might have stayed forever with that lying excuse for a human but he just had to ramp up the abuse because he enjoyed gloating. Taking time away from me and the marriage? Par for the course. His job always needed him, right? I might have hung on even longer than the 30 years that I did. Thank you for this. I already trust that he sucks, but this put a laser on it.

        • DunChumpin! You are spot on! It’s the abuse and the rejection that makes us suspicious. They can’t help themselves, because they tell us they’re depressed and so we leave them alone, but that isn’t enough. They need to pile on the rejection, a/k/a abuse so we stay away from them completely. It’s flat out rejection how they behave towards us, all the while they keep their physical environment in the status quo. They remain in the house, their spouse likely cooks and cleans, does the laundry, etc. That has to remain unchanged, but they don’t want anything to do with you. Total and absolute users, selfish and entitled assholes.

          • Later in MC they will spout off about how you weren’t “communicating” and you were “emotionally distant” and uninterested in sex etc. “we were living parallel lives”. They will actually believe that and won’t get how their own behavior lead to it all. They have no sense of cause and effect.

        • This: “the little extra dose of abuse they showed us when they were gaga over a fuck buddy”

          I had already divorced my X on the basis of his 8-year prior affair with gradwhore when I learned more about the devalue. It allowed me to realize X had been in another affair for 8 months before I found out about gradwhore, because he had been treating me abominably the entirety of 2014. Had a PI do some digging, and lo and behold, he had been screwing his then-married GF (now current live-in GF), the one he is now trying to pass off as “a woman he met after the divorce.”

        • Sadly, you’re right.

          My cheater admitted that he began to fall out of love with me 10 years before the “I’m unhappy” talk. Yet in our talks afterwards, as I was trying to make sense if it all, he mentioned having feelings for a mutual friend of ours at the time of our wedding. He made it sound like she liked him in return.

          I asked her about it shortly after he confessed this to me, and she was shocked…. horrified to the point of tears at the thought of being somehow in the middle of this mess of ours. It was one of those situations where a guy thinks that a girl is into him, but he totally misreads the signs. She is younger than us and was a bit flirty with everyone back then. He, being a cheater by nature although not technically a cheater yet at the time, assumed that she was into him. She was 19 or 20 at the time of our wedding, and she never saw him as more than a friend. He was/is such a self-absorbed idiot. When I talked to her recently, she said that this confession of his brings to light something he said to her right after our wedding. He had danced with her at one point in the evening. Later, after our honeymoon, she innocently asked him how he enjoyed the wedding, and he told her, “It was okay, but I could have danced all night.” She thought that was a bit odd, but naively didn’t think much of it. It was only after talking to me last year, nearly 20 years after the wedding, that she realized that he was expressing his feelings for her.

          So… yes, even on my wedding day, when I thought I’d just married the love of my life, my then-husband was lusting after our mutual friend.

          He wouldn’t become a full-blown cheater until many years later, but it was always in his blood. He was NEVER as committed as I was.

          • Yet another gift she gave me. She told me how (2 yrs into our marriage) I wore a pants and shirt she hated. She was crying when she said, “you wore that outfit I hated, instead of throwing it out. I watched you walk down the street, and I knew I didn’t love you anymore. ”
            What got me, was not that the felt that way, but she really expected me to say, “Eureka!!!!!That makes sense now!!!!” Cruelty I can forgive, that level of stupidity, I can’t.

            • Evidently STBX felt justified in cheating because I made the mistake of getting a grease stain on my pants biking to work one day and he saw it before I could change. “Is that supposed to make me want you?” He was seriously angry as if it was a personal slight against him. Like that was a justifiable reason to leave your wife of 22+ years for some slut who knows better than to be seen in stained clothing. She is clearly a superior person as long as you value appearance over character.

              • Pants you can change. A stain on your soul, that shit lasts, like the blood stains on Lady Macbeths hands.

          • Yup, this was me too. All in with a guy who would never be that for me. With just a few detail changes (the OW was a high school friend of his who stood up for us at our wedding!), this was the dynamic. I know in my heart if she had said, “Run away with me,” the morning of our wedding, he would’ve been gone. I do believe he loved me but his eyes were always searching, searching, for something a little more sparkly. It’s a bummer that I recognized that and settled for it for so long. Never again. Your whole last paragraph, JAS: spot on.

            • There’s a convenience factor involved. My cheater is a coward and never takes initiative, even now.

              His unfaithfulness was in his lack of attention and commitment. Eventually, it led to webcam girls. Again… easy, no initiative necessary.

              His full-blown cheating was with a co-worker, someone he knew for many years and who he knew had already cheated on her husband. She and her husband wreckconciliated, and you know how well THAT works. The EA between her and my ex eventually turned physical. I think that the AP probably initiated it, but my ex was extremely willing. Or comfort of the years they had worked together added to their combined moral cesspool led to it. It doesn’t really matter at this point.

              Some people are simply flawed from the beginning and willing to cheat when the circumstances are right. In the meantime, we chumps are their best option.

          • re: “He wouldn’t become a full-blown cheater until many years later…”

            Yeah, but that just means that he didn’t get the chance earlier. I mean, clearly he was trying at the wedding – sending out feelers and seeing if he got a response.

        • My winter tires are still on the car because I don’t have time to spend 1/2 hour loading tires and 3 hours driving over there, waiting to get them switched, and driving back. No way I would have time to cheat…

    • AGREED!

      When I look back on my marriage, I realize he set the stage from the start: No one from his work was invited to our wedding (but random people he hadn’t seen in over 10 years were), I was told that spouses were not invited due to cost at a big awards banquet that was held every year with an after bar and hotel stay (just learned this is absolutely not true and I could have gone this year with a friend)…all of this and more were to separate home and work, which is where all his affairs were.

      In addition to that, he never did anything as a family that he didn’t want to do and he was always unavailable when I needed him. Sick kid calls from school? Never answered. Could you pick xyz up on your way home? Heck, whenever I called, he never would answer unless I called or texted repeatedly. All signs of a person who was never committed to the relationship.

    • “Self indulgent, jealous, immature beings with no moral compass”: How perceptive — I’ve never seen a better summary of STBX’s personality in a single sentence. Amazing that there are so many of them out there.

  • I can’t tell you how angry it makes me to hear about people who have encountered so called “therapists” who try to blame them for their spouse’s poor behavior. It’s totally ridiculous and these people should know better. I might expect the ignorant “enlightened” masses to think this way, but not licensed therapists with psychology degrees who are supposed to understand these things. What bogus universities are these idiots coming from anyway? What kind of idiot therapist would condone abuse? Even before my own marriage blew up, I never blamed the cheated on spouse in these circumstances. It doesn’t make any sense.

    I have to say, I personally have been very fortunate. None of the councilors I have spoken with over the last year plus since DDay have ever come close to suggesting that I am responsible for his cheating, not even the ones who were neutral. Even the idiot who was telling me I should encourage the kids to have a relationship with Schmoopie (for their sakes) didn’t try to suggest that I drove him into the arms of another woman. In fact I have not yet personally run into anyone who has suggested that including mutual friends and his family. Even STBX gave up on that within about six weeks of DDAy (of course he doesn’t blame himself either, we just weren’t compatible, nobody’s fault). And yet just knowing that there are people out there, who I will hopefully never meet, who would blame me for this makes me insecure. I keep thinking that people might be judging me when they probably aren’t. I need to get away from that kind of thinking, however, because that is one of the things that made STBX go bad, always assuming people were judging him.

  • The crisis therapist I saw immediately following fuckwit’s cruel abandonment didn’t believe me, she couldn’t grasp that I was on a business trip and came home to an e-mail from him and not a thread of his things left in the house, 31 years of his stuff and himself were poof, like he was some sort of fucking refugee or battered husband instead of a sniveling, cowardly worm with no conscience. With no warning, no fighting, just warm hugs and kisses goodbye in the early dark on Monday morning and a fucking e-mail on Thursday afternoon when I landed from my cross-country trip. Yup, after 4 crappy, non-helpful sessions the therapist dropped the, “Well, if things happened the way you say they did…” blah blah blah.

    The role of the crisis therapist should have been to keep me from offing myself in those first stunned, sleepless, starving days of confusion. Especially when he came back 4 days later to stand in the kitchen and scream at me about all the ways I was a horrible wife and was Controlling and Judgmental and our adult daughters hated me, too. I had ruined his life and was being amputated from the family, and he and our daughters were going to live 300 miles away from the Wicked Witch that was me.

    I couldn’t believe what had happened to me, and desperately needed someone to say, “Yes, this is real. This sucks. It WILL get better, you have great things ahead of you, you are WORTHY. Let’s make a list of the ways he is a huge fuckwit.” Nope, instead I got an absolutely dumb ass who didn’t believe my story.

    My current therapist is really good. She gets it. And my daughters and I are closer than ever, they are disgusted with their father. As I said before, I predict that Daddy-O will get a goddam e-mail from my daughters one day about some significant event (hey, BTW, I got married Dad, or hey, Dad, just thought you should know you are a grandfather). The fuckwit has earned that, he and Schmoopie will be oh so very happy together as they read about their lives in texts.

    • My god I am so sorry you had to go through that. He acts as if everything’s fine and then suddenly you are a horrible person and everybody hates you? I am so glad your daughters set him straight on that point. And breaking up a long term marriage with an e-mail? Even doing that with a short term girlfriend/boyfriend is considered poor etiquette not to mention cowardly. What a cruel, cruel person and what a total fuckwit of a therapist. I am glad you found a therapist worthy of you. Is there a way to warn others away from the other one? Can you launch a complaint? It’s just unbelievable that a therapist would kick you when you were down. Some people just shouldn’t be practicing.

    • Blindsided also. Came home from work to find bank accounts emptied and him gone with our best friends wife. After 30 plus years I got a scribbled note telling me to take care of the parakeets. It was hard when he left, it was hell when they came back to town. People have a hard time believing it because it is so freaking evil.

      • I hope you are better now. Take care of the parakeets though…. What are these people? That needs to be part of the chump lady movie.

    • Now IC – I can really relate to that – although only 18 years and no kids but the crisis therapist I saw was useless – I could just about make it to her appointments and she just shoved photocopied sheets about mindfulness at me and really looked bored when I kept explaining how blindsided I was. One of the biggest mindfucks of being blindsided is that years later you just give up trying to explain it to others because it sounds so unbelievable they think you are a Nutjob! So like newdaydawning says above – it reallly is an evil cowardly thing to do and worse for us chumps because no one except CN here can relate or believe the way we say it happened.

    • Now I.C. and newdaydawning, I’m so sorry you both had to go through that. What a nightmare. You deserve better. We’ve all been through our own special kind of hell here, but what they put you through is above and beyond. How mighty you are for making it through that!

  • “Is cheating abuse?” is a great screening question for any prospective therapist. Walk (run) away from any who respond with, “Depends”

    • Thanks for this – I’ve started seeing a new therapist (2nd visit tomorrow) and want to screen for the “it takes two” attitudes towards cheating. Nope, I wasn’t perfect in the marriage, but I did not cheat. Didn’t even think about it.

    • That is an excellent therapist interview question. I’ll add it to my list since every good one I find seems to move to another state in a few months

  • I dealt with one of these piece of shit counselors for a year. “We” were trying to repair “our” broken marriage and I busted my ass trying to do everything that goofball said I needed to do “in order to never allow this to happen again.” According to him, I “created an environment of vulnerability in my marriage that allowed an affair to happen, and I needed to acknowledge it as “our affair.” Yep, it was my fault she was boinking Dr. Feelgood while I was at work.

    Btw, Chump Lady…..that bitch couldn’t even cook oatmeal worth a damn.

    • After reading your post and that of Now I.C.’s above, I would be sputtering in disbelief at the ignorance and cruelty of these two therapists if I hadn’t already spent over two years with Chump Nation on this site. Still, why do these people go into the counseling field? Do these people have a brain? A heart? A conscience? I’m so sorry for the pain you and I.C. endured from someone who posed as a helper.

      “Created an environment of vulnerability?” Because adults need other adults to soften the world for them and make life easier, right? The lying cheater who is now my ex certainly created an environment of vulnerability in my life. I kept trying to communicate to him how his years of withholding sex and affection was setting me up to be vulnerable to any attention a man might pay me. I begged him to touch me, to tell me an occasional kind word, to spend more than 10 minutes each week talking to me. I worked in an all-female office, and was too busy doing all the adulting in the relationship to have any time to go out looking for strange, and had deeply held convictions against doing so, but I naively thought that sharing my pain and making myself vulnerable would lead to him understanding and/or discontinuing his behavior. Nope, he just ramped it up, spent even more time away from home at “work” and increased his snide, hurtful comments on everything he thought I was not doing right. And yet I never went out and had an affair. Never sat in a bar or coffee shop with someone of the opposite sex sharing about my horrible marriage. All I can say is, I might be lonely now, but never as lonely as I was in that sham of a marriage to a cruel, verbally abusive cheater.

      It’s not that they don’t see, it’s that they disagree. I forget if this is George Simon or Lundy Bancroft. Better communication DOES NOT work with a cheater.

  • In praise of my therapist:
    – she told me none of this was my fault
    – she said I couldn’t change him and she worked with me to help change myself
    – she let me go at my own pace
    – she encouraged me to cry it out
    – she showed me it was not only expected but important that I get angry
    – she told us to stop the marriage counseling because I was the only one working on it
    – she taught me to love myself
    – she must have read CL’s book because. . . Wait! Her first name is Tracy! Hmmmm . . .

    In praise of my priest:
    – he told me I had done nothing to deserve this treatment
    – he referred me to the woman who became my therapist

    • My poor therapist had to work really hard to get me to admit that STBX might have “narcissistic tendencies”. She helped me to recognize that at the very least he was selfish and emotionally immature. More importantly she pointed out all of the ways in which I was emotionally mature and how often I was the one carrying the weight in our marriage and cleaning up his messes. Before that I bought into the narrative that he did everything. He did do a lot, but they were just physical things. I am the one who was holding the fabric of our family together. She helped me to feel better about myself and better about losing him. She validated me and my worth and the role I had played in my marriage to someone who wasn’t capable of appreciating it because of his own shortcomings that would never go away. She helped me to take the focus off of him and his feelings and happiness and onto me and my feelings and my happiness. Early on I almost thought of switching therapists because this one seemed so down on STBX and the idea of reconciliation. Now I am grateful to her. She did what a good therapist should do.

      • Mine has done the same thing! In fact, last week she pointed out that I was still caretaking for him by knowing when he was going to have conflicts in the parenting schedule before he brought them up. I told her that I did that so I could plan ahead and she pointed out that it was not my concern if did not ask for a change to the schedule with enough time. If I can’t accommodate his last minute changes, it is up to him to fix it.

        During the time when I was trying to work on the marriage, she never told me to consider it being over or to work on it, she just merely pointed out when his behavior was selfish. I am so thankful to have her.

      • This was my marriage as well — DH did “things” but no emotional work whatsoever. But everyone told me how “lucky” I was to have such an “involved” husband and father.

        I’ve only been to a few therapy sessions so far, but thank goodness I seem to have found a good one who validates me and does not blame me at all for him being an ass.

  • Repeat after me…

    I did not cheat.
    I did not lie.
    “I wasn’t happy either in my marriage, but still I managed to keep it in my pants, funny that.” (CL’s words of wisdom)

    I’m one of the lucky ones… I stumbled on a good counselor… she identified his narcissistic tendencies immediately and it felt as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. STILL… I had to process what all that meant… the things I had overlooked in my marriage, the ways I let my boundaries be trampled upon, the lies that I KNEW were lies and still I stayed.

    I was not responsible for Mr. Sparkles cheating. I am not responsible that he is still a shitty parent and grownup. I am not responsible for the new woman he is abusing.

    Another great line from CL’s book, and I paraphrase, when they cheated, they fired you from the job of taking care of them.

    Find a therapist who understands righteous anger, gaslighting, internet porn addictions, bisexuality (ok – this is my list)… but you see what I mean. Find the one who wants to work with you on you… not someone who wants to untangle the skein of fuckedupedness of your cheating partner.

    You do you. It’s your 50 minutes.

  • Although I haven’t encountered victim blaming in my current circumstances, I do have some idea what that is like from other circumstances. I dealt with three instances of sexual harassment as a teenager and young woman. One was the technical drafting teacher in 9th grade. He made many sexually suggestive comments and whenever I had to go to his desk to go over my work he would rub my thigh. The first insult was that the other students (mostly boys) noticed and assumed that was why I was getting an A in the class, never mind that I was getting A’s in all of my other classes too (mostly taught by women). I ended up finding subtle ways of dealing with it. When I had to go to his desk, I started standing across the desk from him where he couldn’t reach me. I also made sure that I was never the last student there if I stayed after school to work on my projects.

    Anyway, several years later, I was confiding this experience to some of my college friends. One of them, a guy, was suggesting that I must have done something to provoke this teacher. I must have been flirting or dressed provocatively or something. I found this attitude very hurtful. I told him that at the time I didn’t even know how to flirt and if I did I would have used that power on the cute guys my own age, not some middle aged ugly jerk who chewed tobacco (yuck!). I wasn’t dressed provocatively either. We had a dress code and it wasn’t allowed. He still insisted that it must have somehow been my fault. I was fortunate in that at least the girls in the group knew better and defended me.

    The only thing I do feel bad about was that I didn’t report the guy. This was before the phrase “sexual harassment” became a household term and I didn’t know there was anything I could do about it other than to try and avoid him as much as possible. Unfortunately, this man continued to harass other girls until he eventually took it too far and was convicted of sexually assaulting another young girl several years later. More proof that it had nothing to do with me, or any of the girls he was harassing. Assholes will be assholes because that’s just who they are.

    • We need to change this but it’s very hard. I hate reading the comments on articles in the paper about rape. It’s sickening the amount of victim blaming that (mostly men) do. It’s worse when women buy into this bullshit. Jedi Hugs!

  • Cheaters cheat because they’re depressed by their marriage due to some fault of spouse? Ah, no, cheaters act depressed as a side-effect of being empty narcopaths leading a secret life of deception. Once they’re found out, they get increasingly depressed because they’re having to deal with their betrayed spouse’s trauma symptoms and losing their narcissistic supply.

    Here’s some required viewing for all marriage therapists who think the betrayed spouse is equally responsible for the state of the marriage that sent the cheater into a life of lies and blameshifting.

    • It’s funny he referred to them collecting stuff. All these cheaters do. Twatty and grandpa do. I don’t. I have 3 things that I collected with the intent of them being passed down to each kid. That’s it. I wonder if it’s just anecdotal or if it really is universal-cheaters collect (shoes, boats, cars, shoes whatever) and chumps don’t.

      • Narcissists collect, yes. To them it’s supply. My first Narc, we were teens and he actually explained attachment to his scooter in the same terms as he would a person. If that’s not proof that people ARE objects to them, I don’t know what is…

      • I don ‘t know if it counts as collecting but my cheater took great pride in his sports plaques and trophies from High School (He’s 42). He insisted on finding a place in the house to display them, which I found odd because it was his house before I moved in and they weren’t displayed on a wall then. He even added his college diploma to this display.
        I on the other hand always tried to collect things but never found anything that I was that dedicated to, to maintain a collection of, nor did I think it was important to display any awards I received in high school or my college diploma.

      • Not universal; my X was a minimalist (not attached to much of anything), whereas I have tons of collections–my kids’ artwork, Christmas ornaments, thimbles (inherited from my mother), unusual teapots, …(I’ll stop now before I embarrass myself).

        • Bettas… are kinda tempestous

          Let’s not get to odd here. Exasshole collected fucked up things, he had intimate stuff from previous relationships that he stole from them. Found that out toward the end. He stole all DVDs & CDs before he was forced out.

          I’m not a collector, I do have a light saber and a few robots, like R2D2

  • What are the chances that in the course of our adult lifetimes we will never be unhappy, we will never go through a midlife crisis, we will never have an argument with our spouse or an extended difficult series of arguments with our spouse, we will never encounter another attractive person, we will never go through periods of intense work and distraction, we will never become overwhelmed with childraising, we will never have an extended illness…. yet these are all excuses for cheating. I spent endless months going over what I might have done or what my ex had been experiencing to cause him to cheat. And then I realized that since he had no boundaries, he was inevitably going to cheat at some point in his life. Lack of boundaries is the only thing that matters.

    • Lack of boundaries AND a sense of entitlement.

      My cheater was entitled to relax after work or hang out with friends after work. He was entitled to his happiness at the expense of others.

    • I keep saying: I want to see a post on ‘All The Times You Could Have Cheated, But Didn’t’.

      So many chumps had all the excuses and all the opportunities, but somehow managed not to. Very mysterious.

  • CL thank you for pointing out that chumps face the same pressures but don’t cheat. x had the usual claims of not feeling loved, kids being a hassle, life was hard etc. well guess what, yes one of our kids went through a hard time but I was the one taking them to counseling and dealing with it. Yes life is hard but I was the one you dumped it on and who fixed the little annoying things in life. He didn’t fell loved by a wife who made a point of getting up extra early to have morning coffee with him before she went to work and who would listen to his never ending complaints the minute I got home. The last two years of our marriage I would come home from work to find him already asleep and ate dinner by myself. It was lonely. But I never ONCE thought about fucking someone else. Not once. We ALL have problems and stressors, I’m sick of hearing about these delicate creatures who think they have to be coddled because life is hard. You know what is hard? Living with a self centered, negative man child who thinks the world revolves around him. The man couldn’t handle paying bills or calling the credit card company to dispute a charge but could organize a ten year affair. Not fucking other people is easy, living with someone who fucks other people is hard.

    • I actually do think STBX is going through a mid-life crisis. It is almost as if he checked off all of the boxes. Buy sports car (ok, he bought the Cesna instead but same concept), quit the job, move half way across the country, swap out the wife, etc. He is the one who would poo poo that idea because that would imply that there is something wrong with him and he is behaving irrationally. He would rather it was years of being miserable with his marriage that lead him to stray. I don’t think he had any reason to be that miserable in his marriage, however.

      I still maintain that he is having a mid-life crisis and he is acting irrationally, but the more I read up on midlife crisis the more I have come to realize that only selfish, emotionally immature people have them. My life gets stressed too. Sometimes the idea of just giving into insanity and running away from life does have its appeal, but I have never done it because I am a responsible adult who knows better and doesn’t think my stress gives me the right to hurt other people. STBX is also lucky in that the only reason he can get away with it is because he knows there is a responsible adult left behind to clean up his mess.

      • Is OW a lot younger ?? If so, definitely Midlife crisis.

        He’ll be one of those late Middle Age guys who is in his 50s with a young wife and young kids who has a constant miserable look on their face and far too late realizes the terrible mistake they made.

        • And she’ll be one of those 50 year old wives of an 80+ year old sick man, who get stuck with caregiving nursing duties for the rest of his life, complaining about how unfair it is. If they even last that long together.

        • Actually no he didn’t get that one quite right. She is actually a year older than me (as is he). That makes it even worse for me because “he left me for an older woman!” Quite insulting. She does have five kids though so no need to create more and he still looks pretty miserable whenever I see him.

          It had to be an older woman, as he needed one who might buy into his antiquated notions of gender roles. She was a SAHM and always wears a skirt. She is willing to go along with the notion of the man being king of his castle and it’s the woman’s job to revere him (at least for now). She also shares some of his more “we are superior and therefore entitled” attitudes towards the rest of the world. More importantly, she was willing to fuck somebody else’s husband while still married herself. In other words, a good match.

      • I don’t think of this behavior as a “mid-life crisis.” It’s more like what happens on HGTV when someone takes a nice house, tears out walls for the “open concept,” and glams it up with all the new, popular “finishes” that will similarly be out of date in 4=5 years. Hey, granite is out. Quartz is in…no, marble! Waterfall counter…These cheaters have a faux persona. They wear one out and create another. That’s it. Some of them manage to get the kiddos out of school before they have to molt their faux identity for the next faux identity.

      • Fuck a bunch of Midlife crisis. We all have points where we’d like things to be different, usually easier. It’s not a fucking crisis. It’s just how humans are. When you get to feeling like you wish things were different, you buy a damn lottery ticket and pretend it will be right up until the drawing. Then you keep doing what you need to do. And if you really want a change you find a ethical, rational way to do it.

        Midlife crisis? No, that’s total bullshit

        • I call bullshit on the midlife crisis too. Just another asshole changing around his life because something gave him the feels. The central theme is, it’s all about them and since there’s no real them, that shit changes too. You can’t keep up.
          One of daddy issue’s things was starting a home project, then just stopping and moving on to something else. That is symbolic of everything in her life including love, marriage, kids.

  • After my ex’s cheating I went straight into the arms of the RIC. I learned that I have to watch my spouse all the time and make sure he never has an opportunity to cheat or to encounter the OW again. So I was supposed to work full time, take care of our young children, while he sat at home not working, and in addition to this I was supposed to watch him all the time to ensure he had no contact with other women, and I was supposed to make sure he was always 200% happy. And if I didn’t then his continued cheating was my fault. …?

  • So timely. Yesterday I stumbled upon a focus on the family episode with a reconciled couple, Bob and Audrey meisner . The wife had had an affair which produced a son who the husband and she are raising on their own. They managed to through some blame the husband’s way for driving her to cheat. When she took to hogging the conversation and rehashing the affair almost gleefully, I was off her. Worth a listen for those who can stomach it. Good insight. They also have a website cause yes… They help couples in trouble. She has a permanent fake smile and he has a permanent haunted look.

    In any case she was full of ‘reasons ‘ why she cheated… Including the fact that she saw herself as a ‘people pleaser ‘. As I listened to her I realised behind it all it was all about her and her husband over 15 years later is still emotional over the whole thing. He is a true chump and a man with a big heart.

    I’ll admit his level of forgiveness tugged at my heart strings and if I weren’t so far out I too would have been looking for my unicorn. He raised a good point about our fatherless homes and taking a generational view. Then I thought, but what are you showing your kids? He seems to be taking one for the team. He is her salvation… But she is not his.

      • No clue. They have a website. You can google them. I wanted to punch her. The husband seems more interested in the child from her affair than she is.

        • People pleaser my ass, goes right along with what exasshole said, he insisted he was ‘codependent’. The only thing worse that a cheater is a therapitized cheater who uses psychobabble to excuse their shit and blame the chump

    • Worth thinking about why that husband “has a permanent haunted look” about him. He’s living with a soul-sucking entitled cheater who is actually more empowered by his “forgiveness.” He’s learned to eat shit sandwiches; she’s learned how willing he is to eat them. So I wouldn’t be too moved by his “forgiveness” because he’s in a one-way relationship.

    • “she saw herself as a ‘people pleaser'”

      ‘Pleasing?’ We call that ‘cocksucking’ where I come from, but I suppose it’s a regional thing.

    • Ok, that made me physically ill.

      “I am one of those moms, I love my kids more than anything.” (So much that you jeopardize their stable home.)

      “It was inappropriate.” (It was the deepest form of betrayal.)

      “I was afraid he would yell at me so I didn’t confront him for 17 years.” (It is his fault I didn’t share my feelings. My vagina, though, I can share that.)

      “So much laughter” (So much nauseating bullshit.)

    • Nothing worse than a Jesus Cheater!

      She cheated because:
      A. She wanted to
      B. She felt entitled to

      No other reasons under the sun. The woman needs to stop using Christ’s name in vain. Shameful!

  • Marriage counselors taking on cases of infidelity is tantamount to podiatrists performing neurosurgery.

    MFT licensing boards–unbelievably–don’t understand the Law of Instrument (aka, If You Give a Man a Hammer…).

    They should prohibit MCs from working on cases of infidelity and send the cheater to a one-on-one therapist to deal with his entitlement. OR, as I believe was CL’s experience, they should just use each session to emphasize to the chump who the cheater IS, as opposed to what they chump wants him to be.

  • Thank you for this!!! On my FB group we don’t even allow mentions of that codependency horse crap. 100s of times a month I have to remind members THEY DID NOTHING WRONG and they are NOT MAGNETS FOR PSYCHOS. A

    Thank you again

    • Yes Barbara,

      It always triggers me when some newcomer in my home meeting in CoDA arrives labeling themselves as codependent when they are involved with a “sex addict”. I want to say “No sweetie,you’re being abused. Don’t waste money on the retreat,don’t fritter away precious time in RCA. Get yourself a good therapist and get the f*ck away from the monster as soon as possible.”

      btw, it’s a women only meeting open to transgender and lesbians. Abusive cheaters come in all genders !

  • Jones–Depression does not entail shoving your genitals into someone else. That symptom is not listed in any version of the Diagnostic & Statistic Manual under “Depression” nor under Bipolar Disorder, nor under any other disorder in the entire history of the DSM.

    Do you have a remote control for your husband, with receptors implanted in his diseased little brain, so that you can make him do things against his will? Right, then you did not CAUSE him to cheat.

    Tell the therapists that an entire community of infidelity victims thinks they are abuse enablers, heartless, and possibly stupid. Then leave and post unfavorable reviews of said therapists on Yelp or psychological sites.

    I’m sorry you were subject to blaming the victim from multiple so-called professionals (who sound better suited to finding the right size screws for Lowe’s customers).

  • Ah, yes. The depression. In my douchebag’s case, it was possibly a midlife crisis, or so he thought. He wasn’t happy with life, with our marriage, with his job (but he was happy sneaking around with the whore!). It was a total mindfuck for about a month while he stayed with a friend to “decide” whether or not he wanted to stay in the marriage. It was horrible. And during that entire time, he was seeing the whore. Yeah, he sure was depressed and having a midlife crisis!

    Thank God I have a therapist who immediately told me it was not my fault, that it had NOTHING to do with me. It was all the ex’s fault. HE was the one with the disordered character, not me. It really was what I needed to get me on the path to healing. My therapist, combined with CL and CN, has gotten me to this point on my recovery journey. I’m not to meh yet and still have days where I feel my recovery has taken a step back, but I keep on moving forward. I WILL get over this man and the despicable things he did to me. I am worth more.

  • I’m no licensed therapist, but watching my wife run around the last few years of my marriage, the last thing I would have called her was depressed. She was “living her authentic life”, getting plastic surgery, and working out 3 times a day, 5 days a week. “I just want to be happy!”

    Now when did she become depressed…..when I found out she was lying to my face every day.

    Like CL says, it boils down to character. I lived in the same marriage, in the same house, with the same kids, with the same issues, with the same stress, etc. Yet somehow I avoided sleeping with other people’s spouses and hiding money away.

    And here’s the question for the therapists. If our spouses were so unhappy, then why not divorce us BEFORE the affair, and BEFORE they hide money, and BEFORE they waste years off of our lives gaslighting us? Cake is the answer, but that’s apparently a foreign concept to a therapist who’s been trained to be an arbiter rather than a realist.

  • I’ve read enough here to know this is really unusual, but ex cheater and I went to a MC shortly after I agreed to work with cheater on bogus “reconciliation.” We sat in that MC’s office for over an hour while ex went on and on listing all the cheating he had done with both men and women. I don’t think I even got a word in edgewise. It was horribly painful, because I hadn’t even known a lot of the stuff cheater admitted to in that session.

    Anyway, at the end of the session, the MC said he did NOT recommend we reconcile and he gave us our money back. God, I wish I had listened to that therapist. Instead, I stuck it out with cheater for eight more months of abuse.

  • Whenever an infidelity book or article states, “I am in no way suggesting that the affair was your fault”, prepare for excuses why it is your fault to follow. Sadly, it’s a given nowadays that chumps have to “share responsibility” for cheating.

  • This is the one obstacle thats been hard to overcome. WTH is wrong with people, do they not have common sense when it comes to shared responsibility, After 31 years with someone who was very good at living a double life, why why why does it always come back to me. I DIDN”T KNOW most of the shit he was doing. Pastors, all counselors, family members, friends etc. They are stuck on it takes two to screw up a marriage.
    I now live in MEH and its great but the other day at work a stupid ass guy says to me snarkely that “Im only divorced bc I wasn’t giving my xh what he wanted and needed” After shredding him for his ignorance I was realized, this shit is never going to end!!! In this crazy, stinking world its a waste of my time and effort to explain WHY non of this was my fault. If I was laying in a fucking coma, he still did not have the right to cheat! He was too big of a coward to divorce me so he could F’ around.

  • After meeting with my then husband and I for the second time, our marriage counselor asked to speak to me alone and sent my husband into the waiting room. She asked me if I was prepared to divorce my husband if counseling didn’t help. I responded yes!!! She told me to get a good lawyer and stop wasting my time. We never went back!!!!

    What’s funny is…….when I joined my husband in the waiting room, he looked super pissed and told me he had no intentions of coming back to therapy. He told me the therapist was a _ _ nt!

    HAHAHA! She pegged him for an asshole in two hour long sessions!!!

    • Ha! She nailed it on the first try! I had one like that a while back. She told me, “There’s nothing to work with- get an attorney.”

  • Therapy is expensive. I wouldn’t waste a dime on sending a cheater to therapy.

    For me the first visit to any therapist is their job interview. They want you to give your background, but they are going to answer my questions too, so I don’t waste any money on a Quack.

    Question 1 – When a spouse cheats, who’s fault is it?

    • It sure is expensive. And by the time a cheater cheats, he/she no longer wants to be with us. So the cheater is not going to agree to therapy, meaning work on staying together. That’s exactly what they don’t want, to stay together. They are exactly where they want to be.

  • Kellia,
    “They are exactly where they want to be.”
    Truer words never spoken!
    EXACTLY! Right where they want to be!

  • It was hard for me to build the courage to talk to a therapist, it was hard to get the EX’s to a therapist. I wanted to fix what was wrong, and was willing to work on it, because I thought “we” had something worthwhile, and I didn’t want to throw it away if it could be salvaged. My mindset was entirely different from the Ex’s — and even though they were different men in many ways, they, were surprisingly alike in their attitude toward therapy. The therapist was simply someone else to manipulate if possible. If they could work the sessions to their advantage, get an ally to help them direct my focus onto “fixing” myself or a problem, buy more time to use me and any assets I might provide — then they would go and make empty promises to work on the relationship. If they couldn’t recruit the therapist to their side — then they wanted to ditch the therapist and find that particular one incompetent. ” Lets find someone better, someone who . . . .” This bought more time. For they did have something worthwhile, something they wanted to keep. Me. They wanted me to continue to be a chump and feed them cake. They wanted pick-me dancing. They wanted me to stop invading their privacy (Marriage Police) and stop discovering their lies. They wanted to keep up a facade of normalcy — married, nice house, kids, newer cars and clothes. They were con men, who were willing to use any tool available to keep the nice life they had, and still be able to get a little strange on the side. They wanted me to do the heavy lifting, so they could get in another round of golf, or line up a weekend of strange while on a “trip with the boys.” Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . . the chump was keeping the house, taking care of the kids, paying the bills. Conman Cassanova. No regrets or remorse, not a trickle of character or decency. It’s all about them, all of the time.
    If the therapist cannot recognize this syndrome, I have to wonder about the quality of their training and education My Ex’s didn’t cheat and lie because of anything I did or did not do. They did it because they knew how, and they could get away with it for a good while without getting caught. A good therapist will know that, and help you see that.
    No one wants to admit they were conned, but that is what it is. When you find out that there was never anything worth saving, because all that was good or sweet was existing in your interpretation of events, in your imagination of how life would be, then you know you were conned.

  • There is simply no cause and effect. I haven’t had time to read all the posts, but I’m always reminded by this blameshifting, of another analogy. Say an employee embezzled money from my business. She took the money to gamble with because that was thrilling and exciting, and fulfilled her dreams of being a high rolling rich person. She resented having to work as a wage earner in my business. So she stole checks and made them payable to herself, or her friend, who then cashed them and gave her the cash. When discovered (because of course, she didn’t confess), she said, “but you are a really shitty boss! you make me do things I don’t want to do! I don’t want to sit in a cubicle in an office all day! gambling is fun!.

    Would anyone in their right mind accept that line of thinking? Never!
    Yet people (switzerland friends who I long ago cut out of my life) pointed this out to me, too, after D-Day and the nuclear breakup – “[Ex] must have had his reasons.”
    Reasons to leave, certainly, if he truly hated being with me so much.
    Instead he chose to stay and STEAL from me, my time, my trust, my love, my financial resources.
    I may have been the worst wife ever, just as I was the worst boss ever to the emblezzler.
    That was no justification for cheating, as it wasn’t for stealing.

    • Wised Up …. Very good analogy! I too heard that “he must have had his reasons.” Can’t imagine what other reasons there were except to get off on STEALING, my youth, my trust, my love, my financial resources, my heart, my friends, my family, AND he waltzed off without batting an eye. SMH

      Completely incapable of being loyal!!

  • I was very fortunate. Both my marriage counselor and individual therapist had my back 100%.

    My therapist was awesome. He would always remind me that I was not responsible for her cheating. He would remind me that her decision-making processes were horrendous within a marriage.

    I would tell him flat out that I was going to kick the APs ass, who by the way is my cousin. He would say that he totally understood and would feel exactly the same way, but stop and consider how I could lose custody, my home and show for us if I acted on it

    The therapy was so helpful in every way. I was totally prepared going into the divorce and the legal unwinding couldn’t have gone better for me.

  • I had similar experience to those of you who asked direct question but got lies or no answer. I was WORRIED about my partner because she was so anxious all the time, claiming it was due to work stress, when really, she couldn’t manage her own game. “Passive aggressive, coward pieces of shit.” Spot. On. I also attended a support group for family members of addicts and had the facilitator (whose formal qualification was that she was a former middle school guidance counselor) tell me, “Well, BOTH people are equally responsible for the relationship AND its demise” even though we were sitting there in a group full of women whose ADDICTED partners had lied, cheated, put them in debt, put their health in danger, put their kids’ safety in danger, etc.

  • Chump Lady, on a completely unrelated note, how about this whole media circus surrounding Kevin Hart? If he isn’t the poster child for the serial cheater. Even his apology sucked!

  • There are good therapist’ s out there! I found one, that I am seeing on my own. I knew that she what the right one when after sitting and crying and sniveling my way through what happened and why I was there, she looked at me, smiled, and said “I want you to know that you have done the right thing”. There was something so comforting about those simple words. After years of thinking that I was the problem, blaming myself, and trying to put on the happy face for public while getting screwed over time and time agian it was a light at the end if the tunnel and gave me hope to start the healing process for myself. I wish you all the best and hope that you find an awesome therapist!

  • Our first therapist talked for an hour about how his wife cheated on him and he took the kids away from her. Needless to say we moved on to therapist number two. Therapist number started out okay. Then about $5,000.00 down the road I was told I was just as crappy as my husband (now ex husband) because somehow things I had done wrong at 17 years old trumped his affair with a married woman nearly 30 years into our marriage. Should’ve of used that damn money on a nice vacation instead…would of been more helpful.

  • Sounds very similar to mine; I was worried about her, because I knew her very well & something was the matter. It crossed my mind repeatedly that it could be an affair, but I pushed it down. She had just gotten turned down for 2 different jobs at work, then a guy (rolleyes) from another team had reached out and created a role for her – $50k payrise and a team of 60 to manage. But she was still having to transition from her own job. Leaving at 7 in the morning and coming home at 6 at night…. then it turns out she was taking time off right, left and center to spend with the other man. I’m sure she got a lot more from the bargain, too! But there’s naive little me trying to be understanding of the stress of moving jobs, etc.

    It really is abuse. She used my caring & understanding nature against me, there I was trying to make what I thought was a really important career move for her as easy as possible. There was she fucking someone else.

  • Any well trained therapist should know that couples counseling is contraindicated in cases of domestic abuse (emotional as well as physical), not only because it is ineffective but also because it involves a high risk of additional harm for victim of abuse. This explains a lot of MC horror stories.

    https://www.dhs.state.or.us/caf/dv/desktools/couples_counseling_12_reaso.pdf

    http://www.thehotline.org/2014/08/why-we-dont-recommend-couples-counseling-for-abusive-relationships/

  • I can so identify with this post. One counselor told me I am “too dominant” (I had placed my hand atop my husband’s new super-short haircut and ruffled it for a sec while talking about how I liked it.) Her solution: We were to hold weekly couple’s meetings to improve our communications, with him deciding what we talked about and “leading” the meeting. Him, the cheater. Fuck that noise.

    Another individual counselor (one-on-one sessions with me) latched onto something I told her in confidence about one of his very unappealing hygiene issues, and from then she on INSISTED I was “too harsh” and that she would be inconsolable if her husband talked to her that way. (Bitch, was I talking to him? He’s not even here.)

    A third counselor was a great conversationalist about anything other than my issues. ::eyeroll::

  • We saw a counsellor who saw through my ex. I had a friend who had divorced and said once you have kids do not do it unless they beat you up or are an alcoholic, its not worth it.
    The counsellor said he would add serial cheating to that list.
    He got it.
    He was a counsellor who also did not say run for the hills after 1 affair. He did however recognise a liar when he saw one.

  • I would also say to any counsellor who tries to blame the chump. ” nobody is perfect, but I did not tell lies, spend marital assets, risk STD’s, and put my selfish enjoyment ahead of my family”.

    It’s all bollocks.

    Not happy? Do something about it or ask for a divorce. Fact is, most ARE happy. They just want to scratch an itch, and get more more more. Mine certainly had a lovely life.

    Now he has lots of money, a hideous girlfriend and a v v poor relationship with his children.
    I have no doubt he continues to lie and cheat. Its who he is.

  • Someone please explain to me how I:

    Made my ex perv voyeur a teenaged girl in our kitchen window in the dark
    Caused my ex perv to run up hundreds of dollars in dial-a-porn phone bills
    Forced my ex perv to post pictures of his penis all over the internet
    Coerced my ex perv into sending my neighbor unwanted, lewd texts
    Made my ex perv sign up on Sugar Daddies and other web cam hoe sites

    Any “therapist” who blames me should be ashamed of their own stupidity!

  • From what I have learned about cheaters/pervs…..CSATs are their friends. A CSAT is a “Certified Sex Addition Therapist”….. a follower of Patrick Carnes (a so called sex addict himself). These clowns are big on blame shirking……forcing the betrayed/traumatized spouse to share the blame. Stay away from these bozos! They do more harm than good to the betrayed spouse. Revictimizing the victim is plain wrong.

  • Using the logic of these so called “therapists” ……we can go back to blaming women for being raped. We can also blame theft victims for being robbed while we are at it.

  • Dear Half Assed Marriage Counselors,

    Cheating is NOT a marriage problem. It is a moral deficiency problem- on behalf of the cheater.

  • If it were true that “unmet needs” make us cheat………then I should have been jumping on every penis that walked by.

  • nothing like being gaslighted by a cheating spouse and a counselor. SMH. Sure it was MY fault he fell into someone else’s vagina because I mentally pushed him away in 2014. wahhhhhh! Well he gained 30 pounds, couldn’t keep it up and smelled like a toilet so yeah, didn’t want to screw him then, so ok it is all my damn fault that he chose to ignore hygiene, meet a desperate translator and fawned all over her (she ugly as f*ck) and fall in love with her and spent a night or two in her Kiev apartment. swore they never had sex (yeah right, liar) he is STILL gaslighting me over it!!! 2 years later! I need to kick the asshole out for good. This chump is done! Anyone can have him and his 2 inches of lameness.

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