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One Off Cheaters versus Serial Cheaters?

Dear Chump Lady,

I was wondering about serial versus (presumably) one-off cheaters.

I know they both suck.

But it’s hard if your cheater only cheated (again, presumably… because they lie through their teeth to get one up on you) once. Versus the “bad guys” who cheated all the time.

Do you know what I mean?

Like, both types of cheaters suck — but I feel like Chump Lady could help clarify this for chumps like me.

When I was fresh out, it was like a huge head fuck — oh, he only cheated *ONCE*. It must have been my fault! They (cheater + shmoopie) truly do love each other! Etc.

Now I’m 2 years out and closer to meh every day.

I know you wrote a post on emotional affairs vs sexual ones, but maybe one on the serial vs one off cheaters would be great too.

Thank you,


Dear 99ProblemsButaCheaterAint1ofThem,

When I first started this blog, I did a post called “A Spectrum of Cheaters.” Now, five years later, I think the taxonomy of cheaters doesn’t really matter. What matters is YOU — your deal breakers and what you’re willing to tolerate.

Some people try to reconcile with serial cheaters, some people walk after the first lie. While I give you handy tools here to determine cheater remorse — is it real remorse or genuine imitation remorse? — your cheater’s depth of sorry  doesn’t really matter either. (Although it could help secure a fair settlement.) It always comes back to — is this an acceptable relationship to YOU?

The same goes for emotional affairs. The only argument I make there is that (if it’s TRULY an EA… and it often is not), there’s less physical harm to the chump — your health isn’t being risked. No one is getting pregnant or getting someone else pregnant. And depending on where you are in discovery, you may stand a better chance of walking this thing back and reconciling. (Which is why so many chumps cling to the minimization of “It was just an emotional affair!” after discovery. And cheaters cling to the “just friends” cliche.)

But affairs aren’t just about sex. It’s the constellation of behaviors around the affair, which constitute abuse, that make chumps leave. The gaslighting, the rages, the theft of joint assets, the secret debts, the in-your-face disrespect. Sure, the guy is just having an “emotional affair,” but he Facebook messages Schoompie on his phone at your mother’s funeral? Fuck that shit.

That’s the kind of everyday devaluing and mindfuckery that sends chumps over the edge. THAT is what you must weigh when you decide to stay or go. Can I ever trust this person again? How much of my personal safety did this person risk to fuck strange? How could they endanger our children’s intact family? Now what I know what the cheater is capable of, how do I know this all isn’t an act? I was snowed before.

Can you do the mental gymnastics required for staying? And if you’re truly honest with yourself, is this a relationship worth preserving? Even without the cheating, is the relationship toxically lopsided? Does this person have your back? Do they bring out the best in you?

Now back to your situation.

When I was fresh out, it was like a huge head fuck — oh, he only cheated *ONCE*. It must have been my fault! They (cheater + shmoopie) truly do love each other!

Oh, the magic fuck defense. And what an almighty fuck it was. One fuck and they’re IN LOVE. It was JUST ONCE! But suddenly in that perfect fucky moment he knew she was the ONE!


The affair probably went on for longer than you knew. Which brings us to — how do you define “just once”? Okay, it was ONE affair — but how many years did it go on? Was it just one sexual encounter? The old one-night stand excuse. (16 million page views, folks, hundreds of thousands of stories, I think I can count the one-night-stand affairs on one hand.)

If my blog numbers, and the Ashely Madison hack, have taught me anything, it’s that serial cheaters are way more common than we think. Cake is a preferred lifestyle for many. Most of the discourse around affairs is on the One Off Affair. The Wayward Who Strayed. When in fact cheaters like cake. They pursue cake, and having a main partner and a series of fuckbuddies is the actual normal with infidelity. If you want to believe the random sample of a blog with 16 million page views.

Which brings us back to you — odds are he wasn’t a one off cheater. And odds are he’s not going to find perfect bliss with Schmoopie. And guess what? It doesn’t matter. He destroyed your relationship and devalued you for the attentions of another woman. Because you’ve got self respect, that was NEVER going to be okay with you.

Quick untangling the skein of fuckupedness. Doesn’t matter what genus of species of cheater he was. Rock on with your new life.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Interrupting regularly scheduled programming with a request–if you haven’t already done so, please take a minute to NOMINATE CL for a Ted Talk. Tracy is willing to take one for the team if she is selected, and counter the damaging message of Esther Perel about infidelity with a Ted Talk.

    Here’s the link:

    Info you need:
    Tracy Schorn
    [email protected]

    Info about speaker: Author, Writer, Blogger about Infidelity and Divorce (Huffington Post articles, Her blog has over 16 (!!) million page views of her blogsite.

    What might the Ted Talk be about? [use your own words, but the effect of infidelity on partners, family; psychological traits that predict infidelity and/or serial cheating, etc.]

    Under which of the following categories? Social Sciences

    Has this person spoken publicly before? If so, where? Yes, presentation at the University of Texas at Austin, October 2014 & November 2015

    Links to online video: [videocast]

    Please provide any links to articles or web pages about the speaker: [instead of just, pick one of your favorite HuffPo or archive posts so that we have a variety of webpages being sent to the Ted Talks nominating board]

    • Done. It’s hugely important to counteract the puerile excrement pouring out of Esther Perel’s mouth.

    • Done!

      It would be amazing to have a TED talk that represents US!!!
      The ultimate validation of our reality.

      I added the categories of law, spirituality and business – infidelity impacts so much.

      Chump Nation,
      PLEASE take the time to nominate Chum Lady ????????

    • Done. She already has her entertaining illustrations to use up on the screen. Her wealth of knowledge and warrior mindset would benefit so many more people if she did this. Everyone deserves freedom from a cheater!

    • I just submitted a nomination! It only takes a few minutes (especially due to Tempest providing the bulk of the needed information). This seriously has the potential of positively impacting the lives of MILLIONS of chumps who feel/felt as alone as we do/did. PLEASE DO THIS CN! (If the worldwide exposure of the infidelity epidemic with an alternate healthy pathway for chumps to rebuild their lives in lieu of simply succumbing to the RIC route isn’t enough to convince you to nominate CL, then at least think of the fun we will have tailgating at the event if we can’t get seats!)

    • Done. Brilliant. I will be a walking, talking billboard for her TED talk if it happens. The Esther vs. Tracy publicity schism just shows that sin sells better than logic and morality.

    • As soon as I get home. I was thinking about this when I read Tracy’s post about that factory of bullshit, Esther Perel, who has a Ted talk

    • I nominated Tracy for a TED talk. If it weren’t for her book, I’d be playing the “pick me” dance & ultimately hurting myself more. Thank you, Tracy, for your straight-forward, warts-and-all approach to cheaters. If it weren’t for you, this chump would still be doing the dance

    • Done. I can’t wait to see this TED talk happen!!! Thanks for the easy to follow instructions, Tempest! (And thanks, Tracy, for entertaining the idea!)

    • Done! Thanks for the nomination guidance, Tempest. It really only takes a couple of minutes!

    • Thank you for posting this!! Every time I read one of her posts I say to myself, “When is she getting a Ted talk?”

    • Done. Thanks Tempest for supplying the info. The hardest part for me was finding which post I wanted to submit! I tell new chumps to go to the home page and scroll to the bottom. Reading all of these first will give you the foundation of what you need. I caught myself rereading them and was a good refresher course.

    • Done! WOW… found some classics in the Archives… took me back to my early Chump discovery days before I filed. Thank you CL and CN!

      • Me too ICanSee! I pasted my top four favorite posts on the petition to TED Talks. reading them took me back to D-Day. But it actually felt great to know I am strong now! It was a good flashback!

    • trying to submit her name, etc., but the page requires a telephone number. What to do???

      • Soldiering On – actually the phone number is an optional field. You should be able to submit leaving that field blank.

        • I tried that, but it wouldn’t let me move past that point. So, I lied. Heaven only knows who’ll answer that oddball phone number!!

        • The first fields are for you the nominator so you leave your phone number. There is no phone number requirement for the nominee.

    • Done!
      My hope is that Tracy’s message will reach even more millions! I love Ted talks!

    • I did it yesterday, Tempest. You made it very easy- thank you. I visualize CN in the audience en masse for CL’s first TED talk!

    • Done! Would do it under several aliases if I could…I chose the Huffpost column ” 5 signs therapy with a cheater is not working”. Let’s call it personal experience…

    • Done, done done! Thanks to Tempest’s prep work, it’s a quick task. Let’s go Chump Nation, and get our beloved Tracy a Ted Talk!

    • Will do. Thanks for the info Tempest. This comes at a perfect time- exactly 6 months today, I connected the dots and confronted my stbx about the affair. He confessed and I kicked him out of the house right about now!

      Out of the blue I reconnected with a friend who quit drinking about 7 years ago (who I’ve knew 24 years ago before I was married) and another friend I hadn’t spoken to in 4 years, until today- who’s husband quit drinking around 8 years ago and our daughters were buddies in preschool). My stbx was/is an alcoholic. More importantly he’s selfish and entitled no matter if he’s drinking or sober.
      The universe works in strange ways. Ill continue to put the right vibes out there and attract good people in my life.

      I’m good where I am now, look forward to tomorrow, and am totally excited about where I’ll be in another 6 months.

      I’m going to celebrate my year anniversary discovering the affair and good riddance to that lying cheating piece of sh*t!

      • Happy–you’re mighty for kicking cheater out of the house post-haste. The first 6 months are the worst, but you’re on your way to crafting a new support system and new life.

    • Done, I am so looking forward to Tracy eviscerating the likes of Esther Perel on TED!

    • Yes Tempest! Please keep posting this suggestion since some of us pop and out on an irregular basis.

    • It is so hurtful. My husband and I have been married for almost 3 years, been together for 4, and he abruptly mentions he’s been keeping secrets from his past from me (mind you we were just watching tv and he just says this randomly)! It would have never bothered me most likely but now he tells me this and I tell him it hurts me that he has no intention of disclosing them but most inform me he does and that he doesn’t care how it makes me feel. It makes you feel like you’re married to a stranger! I talked to a co-worker about it and they recommended i email EAGLESEYE.HACK at GMAIL dot COM, i did just that and he gave me real time access to my husband’s phone! Dear loard, i found out he has another kid outside our marriage. I felt like this was the worst thing that could happen to anyone.
      Well, all thanks to the hacker, i was able to find what my dirty husband was hiding, if you’re in a similar situation please do contact the Eagle, he’s the very best i must say.

  • Yep …. I was told it was a one night stand. Only to quickly work out it was multi year and am almost certain he wasn’t the only one.

    I would call BS on anyone who says that it was one night only, especially if they know each other – but it doesn’t matter anyway – they suck!!!

    • This was the tip of my iceberg as well.

      After 18 years of lying about a particular person I had had suspicions about way back then,” STBX finally came “clean” and admitted to a fling with that person. BUT, he absolutely swore it was “only 1 time.”

      What I found out by digging on my own:
      — Innumerable APs over 20+ years of our dating and marriage
      — Two kids named after him by 2 different APs WHILE he and I were married
      — He purposefully introduced me to a number of the APs while I was oblivious to what was going on
      — Daily, secretive use of porn/web cams, etc. and secret email accounts

      Oh, that initial AP … who he was with “only 1 time” … in reality, it was a year-long affair during my 2nd pregnancy and after I gave birth.

      Full truth:
      I will never know. I no longer give a fuck. He is a really horrible excuse for a human.

      • These assholes really are too much! What is it with them wanting to introduce you to their AP mine did the same? Must be some sadistic pleasure in seeing the two “cakes ” together but only one knows about the other, it is sick!

        • Mine did that too, w/OW #1. I don’t think he’d even fucked her yet at that point, but the relationship was already WAY beyond appropriate, and he had already been lying to me for quite a while about how involved he was w/her. I should have suspected; this man had very low social skills, and hardly any friends. Suddenly he was going out for beers ‘with the gang from work’ on Fridays, having lunches w/’work colleagues’, running at lunchtime with ‘a guy from work’.

          Ah well, live and learn ….

        • Definitely a trait of the extra-disordered. It is nothing more than a power trip for him and a way for him to get extra kibbles from the AP by sharing a piece of that power with her (well, multiple “hers”).

          How any person derives pleasure from degrading and humiliating an innocent and completely unknowing (about the situation) person is beyond me. And it is revolting.

          It’s even MORE beyond me (and even more revolting) how two people can share this degradation and humiliation of the victim — and to view it as an individual ego boost as well as a boost to their “relationship.”

          These assholes are Sick. Cruel. Demented. Horrifyingly immoral.

        • I could have had d-day a lot earlier than I did if i had made more of an issue about him keep looking over at OW when we went for dinner at the restaurant they worked at together. I had my mum and DS with me and he was denying looking over at her. I feel so stupid for not making more out of it but I was a chump who believed he wouldn’t hurt me or our children. The OW came up to our table at the end asking if we have enjoyed our meal etc. Makes me want to be sick thinking about it. It’s truely disgusting behaviour they are horrible people.

  • Yes I got that too–it was only once and because we got drunk( but they partied it up in our hot tub first and fucked in my bed and left their mess all over the bedroom). Ya it went on for a year… and chumpy my STILL let him stay after he begged to. Cue the massive financial abuse( hundreds of thousands) and every other type of abuse. Where was my self respect? No where to be seen I’m afraid. 36 years married now divorced since June 15. I’m happy to keep telling my story to wake other chumps up. Don’t do what I did… please ((((hugs))))

  • Yeah, don’t trust them. I thought my ex had an “exit affair”. Then I contacted his first ex, who told me he’d cheated on her for their entire marriage, not just with other women, but also with prostitutes. I also found out a lot of other shit about him. And honestly, it all makes me scared to trust another person again.

    • Yes, the “exit” affair is often the “I got caught and now my marriage is over so I’d better hang on tight to this most recent one” affair. A person who crosses this boundary, often does so repeatedly. Once you’ve compromised your principles, it gets easier and easier to justify crossing that line over and over.

    • Yeah mine was looking like an exit affair, until I figured out that she spent the last 5-7 years of our marriage with this guy. If she was looking for the exit, then that was a mighty long time to find the door.

      • So my X had an “exit affair” with OW who was his secretary in another state 7 years ago. A few years ago she ended up moving to our new town and working under him again in a much higher position. But they only started their affair last year – the month X decided to walk away from his wife of 22 years and his children. “It’s just something that happened at the end of our marriage. It’s not something I planned.” Riiiiiiiiight.

      • Love this. Mine was with the OW for 4 years before I found out and shoved his cheating behind out the door. He is still with the Ow, in fact moved her in with him, at his parents house no less. Coward!!

        • My fucktard cheater got his parents to PAY for his shag pad! They are from a family that believes their children never really grow up and own their own shitty mistakes. (Hes 46) the tales he told about me before he shot out the door were enough for everyone to feel sorry for him poor sad sausage. I had never heard of a smear campaign that you would actually systematically start framing your wife years before to make your exit palatable to people. I am still hearing things about myself that make me want to scream “that was him not me!!” But i know it will have the desired effect of me playing the part of the crazy bitter ex.

    • Charlotte,

      From what you say, you were burned pretty badly, I sympathize with you, and respect your feelings. But I would suggest that while you should definitely be scared to trust him again, don’t immediately apply that to others. If you want to be in a relationship with a dedicated, trustworthy, honest partner, those people are out there. You just have to look more carefully, fix your picker, etc.

      As Mark Twain said: “We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it and stop there lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again and that is well but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.”

      Hugs. Strength. Peace.

      • Mark Twain and his wisdom aside—hot stove lid, cold stove lid, who really needs to sit on a stove lid of any temperature ever again?

        I’m with the cat, I’m done with ’em!


    • Mine insisted that the “Exit affair” was just the wrecking ball he needed to get out of the marriage. I talked to his EX wife also and found out he cheated on her the whole marriage, and that they were seeing each other still after we married on and off for 10 year of my 20 year marriage.

      Trust that they suck

      • Yeah, Mr. Sparkles first wife cared enough about me after he left me for the OW to call and tell me that she kept fucking him throughout my marriage. She wanted me to know because she “respected me” and all that I had done for my stepchildren.

        You can’t even respond to something like that. I just hung up.

    • I contacted the first wife, too, and heard how he cheated on her multiple times. He always told me so many bad things about her…and I believed him.

      I don’t have the evidence to support him cheating before he did the last time – but my gut KNOWS he did a few other times – he just didn’t get caught. He will never change. Thank God he’s not my problem anymore. Have fun, whore!

      • Haggar the Whoreables x-wife wanted to talk to me at the very beginning and made comments about how he had cheated on her. He explained away the accusations and turned it back on her cheating with the guy at the bowling alley.

        After Dday I tried to talk to her about their daughter and my wanting to continue to be part of her life (after so many years) if that would be okay with mom. Initial response was that it wouldn’t be appropriate to talk to me unless it was something specific to the daughter. She informed me that she was just told that we split up. I responded that I just had found that out as well. Surprise to me.

        Ankles won the turd. I should have talked to the X. I should have believed what he showed me when he lied about Ankles 6 months in. The time and money lost was huge and the emotional damage even bigger. I think he got off using his psychology degree as a way to torment me.

        I wish I had listened to someone.

  • I think there is a difference, and like CL, I don’t think that it really matters as far as the chump is concerned.

    There are sociopathic, cynical shits out there who carry on multiple affairs behind their partners’ backs, who live a double life, and even revel in wonderful system of cake-eating they’ve worked out.

    Then there are delusional and self-centered shits who convince themselves that for whatever reason, they’ve earned, or they need, or are otherwise entitled to this “one little dalliance,” or who convince themselves that they tides of destiny have fated them and their one true love to come together at a time that just happens to be a bit inconvenient (read: while they are still married to someone else).

    These are not exactly the same sort of person.

    But you know what? They’re both equally dangerous. The delusional ones maybe even more so. They’re the ones who are the most likely to blame YOU for their behavior, and while the abuse may not be stretched out over quite so long a period of time, it may be more severe.

    And in the end, I think they tend to wind up in the same camp anyway. My ex had one affair that I can prove, and another that I heavily suspect. The two would have been going on simultaneously. What’s wonderfully ironic is that the way that I found out about her infidelity was through an angry e-mail another friend of hers sent to her after she discovered that the two of them (my ex and her friend) were both simultaneously seeing the same guy. So let’s recap. She’s having two affairs behind her husband’s back with a guy who is seeing another woman behind her back. She gets pissed off at him because she thought they were “exclusive” (Yes she used that word!). Talk about a skein of fuckupedness!

    Who cares if she’s a psychopath or not. She’s dangerous. This is not a person anymore. This is a natural disaster. This is a tornado, and the only sane thing to do is get out of its path.

    • Cheating is lying, and that was always a deal breaker for me. I could never respect a husband I didn’t trust.

      While I could definitely have done without the emotional and financial abuse, and hate him for the continued attempts at mindfuckery and control over the kids, his cheating was the catalyst for me to finally walk away from a horrific, lonely life and rediscover the self worth I lostwhen I married him.

    • Mine was of the second variety – delusional and self-centered. And yes, very very dangerous. After admitting to and apologizing for two EAs (which for at least the second I don’t believe was just an EA), he denied that he ever cheated, stole money from our joint accounts, emotionally abused me and our two sons, refused to honor our religious marriage document that stated he owed me money if we ever divorce, and blamed EVERYTHING on me. The worst part is that this delusional man, who I strongly suspect actually believes himself when he lies, publicly pretends that he is a pious religious man and blogs life advice to many thousands of readers. He’s even done at least one Ted Talk and gets invited to speak all over the world. He speaks with a soft voice and displays modesty and humility in his mannerisms – but is really a heartless, cruel, and vindictive narcissist behind a carefully crafted facade. Very dangerous.

      • SevenofCups,

        “He speaks with a soft voice and displays modesty and humility in his mannerisms – but is really a heartless, cruel, and vindictive narcissist behind a carefully crafted facade.”

        ^^This is my Ex to a T. ^^ His impression management skills are very well crafted. Mine never admitted to physical sex but agreed that he cheated (as Tracy would say WTFever). Now he blames EVERYTHING on me. A bird could shit on his car and somehow that is my fault too.

        I am blown away how I could believe/trust such a person. How I could fall for his superficial love for me and our family. How I could justify staying married to person who showed me repeatedly that he was selfish and we were in no way a “team”. Currently trying to come to terms with all that now.

        The next time someone shows me who they really are, I will BELIEVE them. No more projecting my feelings onto anyone – not even my kids. Being a Chump really sucks.

        • One of the things that becomes apparent when you do any research is that those that go into public speaking are often very narcissistic. Many pastors, many CEOs, other business leaders and many, many politicians are extremely narcissistic. Mark Sanford’s wife said that she watched her husband become a different person when he started running for office. She said the syncophants came out of the woodwork and fed his narcissism until he was no longer recognizable. He believes his own shit. All of them do. Those of you married to these people do not put up with that shit so they dump you. Their behaviors are all focused on getting what they want but still being shiney and sparkly.

          • My exhole was a CEO. When I confronted him with the unfamiliar dirty women’s underwear I found on my closet floor, he claimed it was “just one time, with a woman he knew through work.” I had my suspicions about someone he worked with and told him so. He denied it up and down until I confronted him with undeniable evidence. He finally admitted that, yes, he had been having an affair with his VP of Human Resources for 6 months. She later called me to tell me it was more like a year and a half and that he told her she was the “love of his life.”
            Then, 4 months after the divorce was final, he sent an email to “come clean, out of respect for me,” about the fact that in addition to the affair with the howorker (now wife) he was unfaithful seven other times, starting in year 4 of our 16 year marriage.
            All of this was because I didn’t put out enough (or enthusiastically enough – I didn’t enjoy french kissing him because he never brushed his teeth, and that made him feel rejected), didn’t make him feel appreciated and adored. Because he felt he deserved to feel extra special every single moment of the day.

            • Never brushed his teeth? Ew. How can the other women stand it?

              Actually, I can’t understand wanting to swallow semen either, but evidently plenty of other people do it and are fine with it. I still don’t think that is a good reason to feel unloved, cheat and leave, however. I gave him plenty of other options. I guess they just always want what they don’t have.

              • Yes! I don’t know how old you are but I’m 30. I don’t believe in swallowing either eventhough everyone else does it. I can get pretty kinky but I have never ever done it and I’m happy about it! Thank God I was saving it for down the road. Idk… 50th anniversary maybe? Lol! Maybe one day with the right guy when it feels right. Up until now it never did and for good reason!!!!! And it’s ok to like it I get it. It’s just not me not not not with this pos!

      • Aren’t you tempted to out him to his followers? Heck, my STBX even has this posted on his social media profile: “recovering narcissist.” As if one recovers from that; well, actually he claimed to be recover 10-20 times (every time he’s confessed to infidelity in 30+ yrs of marriage). He’s developed his own little online community of strangers who praise his intelligence and religious views. I am soooo tempted to add the facts of how he practices his religion – he’s such a fake. One of his last (supposedly pregnant) shmoopies called me to say she wasn’t a monster. I calmly replied that I hope she gets professional help. She was surprised I wasn’t screaming and yelling. I guess I try to take the high road; I was raised with integrity, class & manners. But it’s getting really hard to bite my tongue around his minions.

        • Chumped4TheLastTime –

          YES!! I have so wanted to out him to his followers. But he is good. A lot of his followers would just think I’m the crazy/vindictive/scorned ex-wife. The odd thing is the more I talk to people we know at our kids’ school – y’know people who have actually met him face to face – the more I hear from them that they always thought something was strange about him. One lady yesterday told me “he was almost too nice… something about him always felt insincere.” I guess it’s hard to hide malignant narcissism in person, which is why they find most of their loyal followers online. Whatever, seems like a shallow existence to me.

          I did tell him that I will go public with our religious document and the fact that he is refusing to honor it by telling everyone he can that I was the cheater and “broke the contract.” Ha, except the money is a dowery, so I owned it the moment I married him under religious law. That little bit of information online will hurt him with the pious wealthy donors to his religious center. Sometimes I think I am being a little vindictive, and then I remember that he promised that money to me in writing when we were married. Holding someone to their word isn’t vindictive, it’s a consequence of his bad behavior.

  • I too struggle with comparing my cheater (who just had one short affair and ‘accidentally’ fell in love with his AP) and those who had numerous affairs or affairs lasting years. I don’t know if their relationship will last but I do know that I think he is pretty pathetic. He is only 28 so still young but he is acting as if he is a teenager again not an adult with 2 small children. I thought when you had kids you were supposed to grow up and put them 1st. Apparently I was wrong about this and I actually need to be more selfish and act like I don’t have any responsibilities. I am trusting he sucks more every day.

    • “I thought when you had kids you were supposed to grow up and put them 1st”


      • When we had children HE was upset that HE was no longer first! I should have run away then.

        • Mine was upset with me for not having more kids while being simultaneously upset that I gave the ones we had too much attention.

          I guess that is because Schmoopie has more kids than we do but still manages to neglect them in favor of him. From his perspective, she has it right.

    • Only 28? He will repeat with this one. Just watch. Cheaters cannot sustain a mature, loving relationship where they are not the center of the universe and everything is fun all the time. Plus, they need that new adoration-type of sparkly love feeling but want to appear respectable – so, cake. It becomes a cycle, pathological even.

    • “I thought when you had kids you were supposed to grow up and put them 1st. Apparently I was wrong about this ….”

      No, you’re right and he’s wrong. I get you were being sarcastic, but I think this needs to be put out there.

      More importantly, it tells you a lot about his values. Still interested in sharing a life with him?

      Hugs. Strength. Peace.

      • Nope not one bit. He is off on a two week holiday with schmoopie. He has not asked to speak to DS or asked how either child is. I will be sending the last part of the divorce decree off in the next two days.

        • pregnant chump,
          I know you are a very strong person.
          These are your hardest times, being the loving, sane, present parent.
          I tell you many times, you are a young me. Mine cheated, I did the pick me dance, he stayed, changed jobs, we moved to a different city, two tiny children.
          The following years were very very difficult. No more cheating, ( I KNOW, that I know of), but the type of character that a cheater is, a person who will initially cheat, well other parts of their character are horrible.
          It is always about them,
          See Tempest’s previous Lucy in the little blue dress:
          ME ME ME
          BLAH BLAH BLAH
          ( she post this to me and she is spot on as usual).
          I know at times I can go on and on Pregnant Chump, but I just so want better for you and for your son and daughter.
          It will get better for you, my dear sweet lady.
          You have strength, more each day.
          I am just so sorry it is so difficult for you now.
          Your cheater really is dirt in your rear view mirror.
          YOU will overcome this. There will be brighter, happier days in your future!
          YOU are mighty!

          ((((Many hugs to you ))), as you do your best to co parent with such a loser.
          his very very sad sad loss.

          • Peacekeeper, your online persona name fits you perfectly. Thank you so much for the support you provide to your fellow chumps. You are awesome!

            Pregnantchump, you really do have an especially sparkly little turd. And his schmoopie must be soooo super sparkly (er stupid) to believe the amount of shit he must say for her to be willing to be with him). I only wish I had left mine early on with I smelt his stinch. Nope I gave him another chance too because I had small children. And he started screwing around with our daughter’s coach. But he was a shit husband the years in between. So freaking high maintenance and self centered.

            I feel like I only have my sanity this time around because of CL and CN.

            Formerly posting as MJB

            • Dear twiceachump,
              You and I so want a happy life for pregnant Chump and her two little ones.
              We never wish our pain on anyone else. We feel for others.
              We know it is very difficult for her right now, but sooner for her, than for you or me, there will be happiness and a special freedom because of the strength she faces bravely and with great determination.
              One day, hopefully soon, the horrible pain and confusion will be gone.
              Due to his non interest in the precious little ones pregnant chump will always be the present, sane, loving parent. As they grow older the children will draw further away from him, if they haven’t done that sooner.

              twiceachump, I have followed many of your posts.
              You are also a very strong woman.
              Don’t feel bad that you gave him another chance. I am just so sorry that he blew it in such a terrible way.
              His loss for sure.
              You grow stronger every day and YOU are MIGHTY. Never forget that!


              “Thank you” for your very kind words to me.
              I am going thru very worrisome medical times with my Grandchildren who recently lost their dear Father, ( his condition was hereditary and they have signs and symptoms), so your message to me was like a ray of sunshine.

              CN is a family we cannot see, but we always feel them in our heart. Where it matters most!

    • Mine had a long period of calm when our daughters were young and were cute little bundles of Daddy-worshipping joy. It was when they got to about 8 and 10 years old that Daddy got bored with his life and stopped coming home for dinner. The little girls were not so easily attachable to his charm bracelet any longer and the daily grind of the elementary school pick ups and drop offs and daily homework checks and after school-this and participation in activities-that became just too much boredom for The Special One.

      Within a few years, enter OW#1 and Daddy asked the now tween-aged girls if they would be OK with him moving out for a while. W the serious F? Yep. He did that. And he denied to me the whole time that OW#1 was anything more than just a friend. I should have left him when the truth came out but instead 9 years passed. I realized last night that it will be exactly 9 years to the day between my D-Day #1 and my official divorce decree.

      So no–kids may fill some part of the kibble supply but as they grow up they stop being shiny and cute and new supply must be obtained. Lack of supply and middle aged ennui of The Special One is clearly the fault of the long-suffering wife appliance. Cue the long devalue process and ultimate discard of the family. He thinks he only amputated the wife appliance, but he is finding out he is losing his daughters, too.

      The Special One is free to shag OW#2 and he is free to lose the relationship with his now-adult daughters. I know he will blame me for their disgust of his behaviors, he will never admit he owns any part of it. Whatevs.

      • Now I.C.
        All of this yes…Mr. Cheaterpants actually said- Nobody runs up to greet me anymore when I come home…waaaaah- What a fool! 4 kids, doing sports, working, doing homework and growing up like they were always supposed to is a porblem? They didn’t revolve around the Sparkly Turd like the old days. Nevermind that they all, as I did, still love and adore him and were way more attentive than the average wife and teenagers, he felt ENTITLED to more…Me, me, me. Do any teenagers have lives that revolve around parents? Did you not notice over 18 years that parenthood is not about you, but is about loving and serving and the joy comes from that- nurturing, building, and preparing them for adulthood in addition to taking care of yourself. Like marriage, there are good and bad day, trials and joys, vacations and sick days. Life. To be done together in commitment and fidelity. But, I digress…

        Cheaters – entitled, selfish, attention whores- no matter where on the spectrum.
        If you cheat on a spouse or partner you have vowed fidelity to, then I don’t need to know one more thing about you. You have shitty character and I don’t like you, or trust you or want to be in a relationship with you.

        And your Special One is free to blameshift all he wants. Hope it backfires right between his eyes!

        • ‘Mr. Cheaterpants actually said- Nobody runs up to greet me anymore when I come home…waaaaah-‘
          Rolling my eyes… They’re the type who want that but also complain that they don’t get a break when they come home and they just want to put their feet up and the kids want to play. Get a dog!
          Look, we all love a bit of attention but no demands sometimes, it’s only human, but GROW UP!

          • Fucker should have gotten a golden retriever if the missed that ruuning-up-to-greet him thing. And hey, the dog would sniff his balls too…..oh, wait, I guess he has OW for that now instead.

        • Me too, I keep looking for that karma bus! I will concentrate on the Living Well Revenge in the meantime but damn, I would love to hear he suffered even a fraction of the agony he has caused me.

      • “So no–kids may fill some part of the kibble supply but as they grow up they stop being shiny and cute and new supply must be obtained.”

        So true!! My Special One actually told me he wanted “a new wife and new children.” Wtf? At age 47? Apparently the four kids (now teens/tweens) we had over our 18 years of marriage no longer satisfied that kibble supply.

      • Now I.C.,

        You describe the little girls perfectly: “cute little bundles of daddy-worshipping joy”.
        Mine are 3 and 5, probably the peak of this phenomenon. I have often thought, what will happen when they get older, and actually talk back?
        I’ve already seen how he treats them when he’s annoyed or tired. He gets angry or waves them away like an annoying buzzing fly.
        Please pray that I have the courage to leave him soon. I don’t trust him with them, however and the lawyer said he would most likely get them every other weekend.

        FKA Differently Chumped

    • Yes, you are right that he sucks and probably always will. You might think things are bad now, with two small children, but if he’s anything like my STBX, he’ll be much more resentful of his kids once they are older, and develop enough critical thinking skills to not only steal his spotlight but actually challenge him like normal teenagers will. My shitbox, a shrink, in that situation directed every psychological weapon of mass destruction he could against them to beat them down and “win.” When I defended them from his abuse, and expected him to act like an adult role model instead of a selfish baby, he’d complain he was being “minimized”. He hated all 3 of the family therapists we wound up seeing for our daughter’s depression, who would tell him to sit down and shut up. Moral of this story: if you have a prima donna spouse who is jealous of the kids even when they’re small, leave NOW.

      • Absolutely. My daughters flat out told STBX that they didn’t want to hear about Schmoopie, he could stuff that shit and she was not to be mentioned. They set out the boundaries and he responded by having a little tantrum about it and kept bringing her up in childish ways, referring to her as “that person I am not allowed to talk about” (in a snarky sing-song voice).

        My daughters are old enough to tell him to go to hell –the older one is doing well at that but the younger (age 22) has always worshipped him and is finding it very hard to see the super-creep he has become. Him offering prescription drugs to one of her friends right in front of her (at a house party, trying to play the Cool Dad) helped add some clarity to what a total POS he is. It is all so horrifying and none of we three women can believe what has happened.

        • OMG – they are all so similar! X also tries to manipulate our kids into accepting the whore and ignores their boundaries and also refers to her as “that person” and “a person” also in that weird sing-song whine.

          It’s so bizarre!

          Kids are devastated and despise X now. Consequences…..????????????????????

      • Or maybe he can start porking hookers during the first pregnancy and get caught during a sting operation at the local motel by the police… Plot lines for a movie,I say. Such absurdity

      • Thank you for this. Exactly what I needed to hear (see post above). I know I need to leave but am so scared. Please tell me more if you are willing.

        FKA Differently Chumped

  • I think behind the one-time affair you have to take into consideration the background to the affair happening. A person doesn’t just get that “lucky” the first time out of the gate. The cheater has been laying the foundation to have an affair for quite a while before they find a willing partner and have dissociated themselves from their original partner. The cheater has tested the reception to an affair with multiple partners/targets until they find a willing host – emotional or physical.

    I applaud Chump Lady for her efforts. The question should always be “is it acceptable to YOU?”. Her words and blog posts thrust me into action. She gave a voice to my misgivings – do you or can you trust your partner and do you want to be the marriage police from now on. That crap is exhausting and the mental abuse of being disrespected in my own home was too much for me to continue.

    One affair or multiple isn’t where your mental energy should be expended. You and your mental/physical health are more important.

    • “A person doesn’t just get that “lucky” the first time out of the gate. The cheater has been laying the foundation to have an affair for quite a while before they find a willing partner and have dissociated themselves from their original partner. The cheater has tested the reception to an affair with multiple partners/targets until they find a willing host – emotional or physical.”

      Big 2×4 for me. I accepted long ago that KK’s first dalliance wasn’t simply the result of a chance meeting that led to attraction that led to curiosity that led to action, as she pathetically laid it out. I understand that there was some psychological groundwork being laid on her part, and/or there was some implicit encouragement from somewhere or someone — something she read, some comment from her cheater sister, etc.

      But your statement here really hammers home how long the planning likely took place, and how much effort she put into finding the perfect person and situation from which to launch her satantic mindfucking rituals.

      • Agree absolutely that there was groundwork laid. Princess YogaPants made sure that she had separate financials from the family for more than a decade before she found Moneybags. When I questioned it she said that it was so that she was protected in case I threw her out. Being as I never imagined doing this, I went along to give her that safety blanket. She also had a separate group of friends that I was not included in which I was happy about because I didn’t like most of them.

        Someone else mentioned about the cheater having other cheaters in the family. Absolutely in this case. A huge red flag should have been when suddenly the family members she despised became her “besties”.

        I did try to get her brother who wreckonciled with his wife after he found out she had all the money in her control (yes true – he admits it) to encourage the Princess to drop her fantasy land and turn back but he egged her on instead 🙁 Knowing him, his sense of entitlement and seeing and hearing the layers upon layers of spackle that his wife has applied in giving him excuses I’m tempted to invite her over here. I’m positive that he will cheat again and actually expect that he has already.

        I know positively (far too much) about Senor Moneybags. From what I’ve heard later there were a number of one-night-stands while she was on a “girls” vacation plus perhaps the men that she was friendly with early in our marriage who never seemed to visit when I was home.

        I’m a pretty good hand with the spackling trowel it seems. I wonder if Senor Moneybags is also as good. He’s at least 10 years than her 50+ and from the little I know about him, he’s also a quiet sort of guy who probably has little patience for a free-spending, materialistic woman who tends to attract the attention of clingy, needy guys (something that always bothered me).

        I used to ask myself the question that is the subject of this blog post fairly often. Yes – it doesn’t matter. Thanks Tracy! One more bit of the skein that I know not to care about. Pretty much the whole thing is just resembling something one of my cats might leave in the middle of the night during shedding season.

    • There is NO luck in being a Chump,but there certainly is good fortune in this happening at a time when there is a CL, CN at your finger and heart tip!
      PhysicsGal, YOU are mighty.
      I am sorry this happened to you, but I applaud your strength in dealing with it!

    • PhysicsGal – You are absolutely right about the cheater laying down the groundwork. Someone just doesn’t walk out of their home and land on sex. They have to lay the groundwork, and for men, they need to mentally and emotionally stimulate a woman before it can lead to sex. And this requires premeditation, intent, and daily choices. That’s why it’s never an accident.

    • “I think behind the one-time affair you have to take into consideration the background to the affair happening. A person doesn’t just get that “lucky” the first time out of the gate. The cheater has been laying the foundation to have an affair for quite a while before they find a willing partner and have dissociated themselves from their original partner. The cheater has tested the reception to an affair with multiple partners/targets until they find a willing host – emotional or physical.”

      PG, this is absolutely on point. The disconnect happens *before* the affair, not after. It’s the giving of permission, the entitlement, which is all about character. The affair, whether it’s one or many, is an expression of that. Thanks for putting it so succinctly.

    • “I think behind the one-time affair you have to take into consideration the background to the affair happening. A person doesn’t just get that “lucky” the first time out of the gate. The cheater has been laying the foundation to have an affair for quite a while before they find a willing partner and have dissociated themselves from their original partner. The cheater has tested the reception to an affair with multiple partners/targets until they find a willing host – emotional or physical.”


      Thank you, PhysicsGal. You described perfectly why his “one affair” hurt so badly. The laying of the foundation and the dissociation from our marriage finally made me realize that It. Just. Didn’t. Matter.

      One woman or one hundred women…he was willing and he found someone who was willing. The marriage was over before I even knew it was in trouble. Whatever brand of cheater we had, they just suck!!

      • Physics girl, you hit the nail on the head. I realized the the ex was fishing for years before ending up with the OW, in fact some people have come forward with some info showing he may have had at least 1 other affair, before the OW, with ….wait for it….the Ow’s identical twin. Yuk! Both were friends of ours so this was a betrayal of epic sorts….

      • This is probably true of many cheaters, but I think my cheater occupies a different sub-group. He doesn’t flirt or look around, he’s good looking but doesn’t have many social skills or much self-confidence, but EVERY TIME a woman hits on him, he goes for it. I don’t think he even thinks twice, just can’t believe his own good luck!

        It doesn’t matter who she is or what she looks like, doesn’t matter whether he’s already in a supposedly-committed, loving relationship, doesn’t matter what destruction that decision might cause not only to his partner and kids, but even at work, to his finances etc …. (Schmoopie #1 got fired shortly after their affair, supposedly because they weren’t satisfied w/her work (high quality there, guy!), but I think it was at least partly because she fucked a married boss – and the head of HR was the wife of the CEO.)

        Adoring eyes and open legs, that’s all it takes. Eventually I realized that that applied to me, too, I hit on him ’cause I thought he was hot, and he quickly told me he and his long-time girlfriend had broken up a month or so previously (she was working in another city), which may not even have been true. And then he was able to turn me into a wife appliance. Blergh. Sigh.

    • Thank you, PhysicalGal, for saying this. You are completely spot-on.

      Oddly enough, I have visual proof of the grooming you speak of (“laying the groundwork”) that my ex-husband partook in. A while back, I had to hunt for an old photo of my son. My ex, right before he left with his computer, gave me an external hard-drive of all our old photos on it. As I went through the files of baby pictures, vacations, etc., I noticed a couple of things. First, the only pictures of work friends he kept were with women. And, secondly, they looked exactly alike. As in, they could be identical septuplets.

      He had a type that he systematically groomed over the course of 25 years.

      It cannot be stressed enough on this site: This behavior is pathological.

      So glad it’s behind me now.

    • Bravo. I mean what are the odds? Their fuckbuddies are always the best at sex, best at loving, best at everything. It’s all so serendipitous. Somehow, magically, they knew this as soon as their eyes met and their genitals accidently made contact.

  • When you first discover the infidelity the shock is so traumatizing that you just want to believe anything to keep from experiencing the full-on rush of pain. Before I confronted my STBX I remember actually attempting to come up with viable excuses for her behavior in my mind. How f’d up is that? And her excuses (lies) turned out to be just as lame as the ones I conjured up. But in those initial days of discovery trauma your brain will almost accept anything, grasping at straws to avoid the pain and the unthinkable.

    • So true! There were so many things he told me that I knew in my bones weren’t true, but I was willing to go with them as long as he seemed willing to work things out and not break up our family. I consider myself a pretty smart cookie, but when I look back on that time I cringe at how intentionally stupid I was.

  • Mine was supposedly a one off too but chump lady is right. A) It probably wasn’t a one off and B) at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter. My ex’s affair went on for a few months before I found out so it wasn’t really just once-it was a long series of lies and exposing me to STDs. I struggled through wreckconciliation because I thought I “had” to give him a chance since he wasn’t a serial cheater. More lies the RIC sold me. At the end of the day cheating was a deal breaker for me. I knew I would never trust him again and I couldn’t be intimate with someone I couldn’t trust. Not truly intimate anyway.

    Cheating is NEVER the chumps fault and people who tell you that it was are lying to themselves because they are either evil or they want to believe that the cloud of infidelity could never descend on their household. If one believes that another can do something awful to “make” their spouse cheat it goes without saying that one believes they can control what other people do. We at chump nation know better.

    You are mighty! Rock on!

  • Everybody has a first time. That doesn’t mean there won’t be a second, third, etc. later. Just because he is a one time cheater now, that doesn’t mean he won’t be a serial cheater down the road. Do you want to be stuck with a serial cheater, or do you want to let Schmoopie deal with that?

    When STBX had his emotional affair I thought I had dodged a bullet and that it was a wake up call for me to be a better wife. Eight years of pick me dancing later he had two physical affairs and left me for slut #2. He said that just before the first physical affair he was regretting not going physical with the first one. Now I realize that the emotional affair was still an affair. That is the one that put him in the mind set of “if Chumpinrecovery doesn’t please me, I have other options”. Eventually he came to feel he was entitled to those other options. Marriage vows? What at those?

    As soon as they turn their attention away from you and give it to somebody else, they are devaluing you and your importance in their lives.

    • Mine was 8 yeas between his first EA and his first (that I know of) PA which was also his exit affair from our marriage. After the EA (who am I kidding, even before…) I didn’t trust him. I always was on guard. Always snooping through his email to see what I would find.. I couldn’t relax.. and with good reason as he proved himself yet again to be a lying cheat. Maybe he will convince himself that the next one is real and that he can be faithful, but I know that he is incapable of being faithful. If he couldn’t for me, when we had such a foundation of friendship and chemistry and partnership, with a child we made together – then he never will.

      • I think that’s what gets me too. It’s not like she is any better for him than I was. She is just new and was in the right place at the right time and willing to cross boundaries that neither one of them had any business crossing while still married to other people. We had a long history of supporting each other and working together. Then she waltzes in, sucks his dick a few times and suddenly it’s some magical, wonderful connection. Huh? Also, I remember how after several months he started to not like the EA partner so much anymore. I guess he forgot about that part when he was wishing it had gone physical years later.

        What is hard for me is recognizing that he and Schmoopie might actually last . Based on recent conversations I get the impression that he is actually starting to get a clue and figure out that he is responsible for his own happiness and that relationships take work. He might be willing to put in the effort next time. If she is willing to do the same, they might make it. He doesn’t want to go through all of this again (he can’t stand people thinking poorly of him).

        • I worry that my douchebag ex and his whore will last, too. Logically, I don’t see how it can as she has three kids still at home (and two very young ones at 5 and 6) and the ex does NOT do well with small children. But I know for a fact that my ex does not thing long term. He lives in the moment. He told me, “I don’t think, I just do.”

          For us, we need to focus on achieving “meh” so it won’t matter whether or not they stay together. All we need to realize is that it is NOT US in that relationship with the cheater. I remember being in the shower a few months ago and just sobbing that my ex was with this horrible woman and asking God, “Why? Why HER?” And in the midst of my grief, I heard a voice say, “Because it’s not YOU.” i.e., “I” am not the one who will have to endure more grief, more heartache, more pain. SHE will. God took me out of the relationship and AWAY from that toxic man who had destroyed my health, had put a wedge between me and my family, made me constantly on edge, was financially irresponsible, and so, so much more. “I” am the one who won here, not the whore.

          • This is the path to meh Keepin Calm. When you realize schmoopie lost by getting the cheater. It hurts like a MF’er, but once you start seeing this you are on the right path towards recovery.

          • This is so true Keeping Calm! I don’t want my STBX back at all. I actually feel nothing for him! But I don’t want him with this horrible psychotic girl!!!! I say because I don’t want her around our son (legally she can’t be for now), but the truth is I just don’t want her in his life at all. I hate that she thinks she won!!!! I know she lost bc she won a turd! But it kills me that they are together!!! Seriously the pain is awful!!!! Ugh!!!!!

          • Because it’s not YOU.

            When I read this, it literally took my breath away. I’ve been asking why her? For over a year now. THIS is the answer. I can’t thank you enough for that, Keepin Calm.

          • Because it’s not you!!!

            Made me cry immediately and realize my blessing!! THANK YOU THANk YOU THANK YOU for that sweet reminder!

            Really needed to hear this today!

            *virtual hug Keepin Calm

  • I’ll add that every serial cheater throughout history could legitimately claim “it was just once” their first time. Every cheater takes their first ride on the cheater bus. Problem is, they almost always get back on. So you could beat yourself up for being unforgiving of “once,” or you could pay yourself on the back for getting the hell out of it before you got to twice. I vote for the latter.

  • I was a very trusting wife. I didnt look for stuff and it turns out he was really good at hiding it. I was so blind to it that I didnt even look until I got the “Im divorcing you because you are a bad wife” speech.

    It took me 2 months to finally connect the dots that his desire to leave and his chumminess with Susan from work might have something to do with each other. I looked him in the face and said “you had sex with Susan ____” and watched for a break in his composure.

    Not as much as a wince on his face. Which made me believe him…I believed the “we never had sex” thing for a while. After a few months I accepted that they probably did have sex but it was his first affair in 18 years and I had sunk costs, so I wanted to reconcile.

    Fast forward through him moving away (prob lived with Susan but I dont know), returned, wreckonciled, lived miserably, he died and I found proof of deeper affair plus some gals pay stub and then whammo…his confidant told me “the first affairs were only about sex, it was that last one that got him, he thought he was in love”.

    He hid his last affair well because he was well practiced…he ate cake all along. That explains “friends” who came to other events but never showed at his funeral.

    Put me in the corner with the folks who believed in the “one off” for a long time but no longer do.

    • CLs example of texting OW at mothers funeral …

      He was always a reluctant spouse who reacted to the simplest family expectation like his teeth were being pulled out, but he faked well enough to hide it until my mom was in a terrible car crash (she was drunk…she is a cluster B) and in neurotrauma ICU on a vert in a coma. He didnt bother to go to the hospital with me…in fact, I didnt even ask as I knew hearing his excuse for staying home would make me feel even worse. He sucked as a husband.

      • unicornomore,
        I am so sorry for all your pain.

        I can relate to the partner lack of support pain,
        The not being there through the illness, death, visitation, funeral of Mother, then Father,
        Worse is in feeling relieved that cheater did not attend as fear of how he would act or what he might say.

        Makes the Chump a stronger person, but it sure hurts.

        unicornomore, you have been through so much,
        Wish I could give you big hugs in person.
        My heart is with you wonderful lady!

  • Even if its a one-time affair, those are daily betrayals the cheater is causing towards us. Every day, they make a decision to have an affair with the other person, every day, they choose to lie to us, to betray vows or a commitment they made to us. How is that any better? It’s still daily deceit, lying, manipulation. How does that make it any easier than several affairs. It’s still incredibly abusive and traumatizing.

  • Serial cheating requires pathological lying, which I believe is an indicator of being a Sociopath. Pathological liars lie about everything. Even stupid shit.

    Serial cheating vs ONS cheating are the same for me. Both require a lack of maturity, empathy and character. It’s impossible to build a strong relationship with someone like that.

    Don’t try to rationalize one fuckbuddy vs a harem. These people suck to the core.

  • Thx for reminding that’s it’s rarely TRULY an EA. And that what really matters is what the chump finds acceptable.

    I decided to divorce my wife not with NO SOLID EVIDENCE of a physical affair. She had simply refused to end her EA for six months. I deserve more than that. I’m supposed to be the priority, not her OM.

    The day that I told her we were getting divorced, my wife admitted to being “physical” but emphasized that they hadn’t had sex.

    And 1.5 years later, she finally “came clean” to her friends and family, admitting that she actually was fucking her OM the entire time. Neither I nor FreeVix were provided this mea culpa–only those who still believed her lies were deemed deserving of this “truth.”

    Emotional connections happen. People who care about their spouse, marriage, and family recognize the threat of these connections and close them off so they can’t do further damage. If your spouse instead defends his/her need for this emotional connection, or otherwise claims that they are powerless to cut it off, then that’s grounds for divorce in my book.

    Oh, and to anyone who left a spouse who was engaged in “just an EA,” GET AN STD TEST. ASAP.

    • Took me a long time to see the “truth” of his affair. When you spend 30+ years with someone thinking that they feel the same as you do but realize they never did is heartbreaking.

      When I caught him with the whore I knew my mental & physical health was at stake.

      He moved into her home but Karma hit… she died in an accident last week. How’s his life now??

      Fuck him..

      • Be strong, Kathleen. You may find a sad sausage at your door in the near future, seeking comfort for his loss. And cake.

        • JC,Keepcalm,ICanseeMehC..

          Yes that is Wrath of God. When Icaught him at her home.. she verbally attacked me (both of them actually ) laughing, saying sexual things they did together., etc I felt humiliated, pain in my heart. But I kicked his ass out months later then divorced the narc. He now has no where to go except sleeping on his brothers couch.

          I prayed they would get what they deserved.. guess she did!

          I would NEVER take him back!!
          I hate him.. 34 years with a cheating cold liar ????

          • Oh Kathleen,
            Your posts are shocking.
            I send you many hugs.
            Just believable, I don’t know what else to say.

          • Yes, do stay strong Kathleen. You hate him now for what he did to you but there is a very strong chance that he will come around , looking for a place of comfort, and you will be his first choice ( easy cake). It will be lies though, and it will be only until he can set up the next piece of cake. It isn’t you, it is how a cheater operates. It is only about their needs, never yours.

              • If he circles back, buy him a small dog electric blanket/heat pad so he can be nice and warm on his brother’s couch. Karma indeed.

      • There is some loss of life for which I find great difficulty drumming up sympathy… This is one. Am I cold callous and calculating? No. I am certainly however no bleeding heart.
        The wheels of natural justice/consequences are ever turning. No one escapes.
        I’m sure you won’t take him back. Not because you are cold or callous but because natural consequences mean that you cannot.

        • Mandie101,

          Your so correct in your post. I feel nothing in her death.I am not cold & calculating like you but I don’t want to be a hypocrite.. I feel nothing.

          Wraith of God, Karma? I don’t know but my ex invited her into our life with no remorse or care of destroying me. As terrible as it sounds, he deserves the wrath of God too.

          Thank you ..

      • Oh my gosh Kathleen. I follow you because our marriages are both long term 32 years. My cheater is living with his whore now too. She died. Karma.

        • My cheaters whore did not die. Geez that reads all wrong. I know you were married 34 years. But gosh you saw some Karma. just wow.

          • Livefortoday2,

            Yes I follow you also..but did your cheaters whore die too?

            I can’t believe that she died.. but a little part of me feels NOTHING. She was an evil, selfish person who knew he was married but didn’t care! I never believed in karma but now I think I do.

            I hope your cheater gets what he deserves .. their sick & as much as it hurts.. were better off alone than being lied to , cheated on & disrespected.

            Hugs to you ❤️

            • Nope. The whore is alive and well living with my X in a home he just purchased. She’s a real keeper. Gave up custody of one kid. Lost custody of two others – has to share custody now as that father did not approve of his daughters living with my X.

              X has basically abandoned his former life and adult children. Hasn’t spoken to his siblings.

              I am just saddened I wasted 32 years with this pretender.

              I really did make his life happen. Now he is paired up with trash.

              He thought he would just swap me out and everything would be the same.

              Karma for now is. His life is nowhere the same.

              Who knows? He is soulless. So probably does not bother him.


              Hugs to you also!

  • It doesn’t matter whether it is a one-off affair or many. For me, the deal-breaker is when the loyalty shifts from you and the family you two have created together. Loyalty shift equals deal-breaker. If they have made a commitment to you, and then they feel free to just abandon that and look for something better, we no longer have a deal.

    • Nothing said “loyalty shift” to me like when he supposedly “ended” it with ow last year because we were going to work on our marriage, and I caught them together at her house. He said he felt bad for ruining her life (he’s her boss and she knew full well he was married with children), and he “had to let her down gently”. I told him sure, meanwhile, he threw me off a cliff without any warning, after 20 years and 3 kids! But SHE needs to be let down gently. (turns out they were just plotting how to keep going – after I forgave the @hole and going to MC for a while to fix things, I found out they are still together, and he thinks he’s “in love”). Douchebag.

  • I have realized that his affairs were not the problem, not even his decades long “light of his life” affair. Nope. The problem is that he is a Narcissist. No amount of effort on my part can cure that one!

    • Yes this!!!! I am starting to realize he is seriously sick and I can’t cure him! It’s painful but I’m happy I’m getting out!!!! Him and his AP are both cluster b’s. Good luck ????

  • One night stands? Rarely ever exist. Usually, it’s more of a tip-of-the-iceberg thing. If you know about one hookup, there are many, many more that you don’t know about.

    Cheating feels good to the cheater. They love getting their ego stroked. They love getting their sexy-parts stroked. They love getting one-up on their imperfect spouse. It’s a win-win-win for them. So they don’t stop after the first time. They keep going. Gladly.

    • Its only now a couple of years out that his leaving line about having “contempt” for me makes sense reading these posts…in his reality he was getting away with all shades of covert abuse to me and over the years of me lining up to take it completely unwittingly of course he must have viewed me with contempt! !! For him getting away with it.! It is the same as duping delight which is why it is scary these empty souless turds are so close to psychopathic.

  • I never thought in a million years my ex husband was unfaithful to me. We were married for more than 20 years, and I now know, that for most of the duration of the marriage he was cheating. He did an excellent job of keeping me in the dark.
    When I found out through a third party, it was far and away the most traumatic experience I have ever had. Like most chumps I suspect, it was almost impossible for me to function for several months as I came to terms with the shock and what was for me and our 3 young children beyond devastating.
    He got his last schmoopie pregnant, begged her for a termination which she wouldn’t have and has since married her and who knows if they are happy or not (I am thinking not) He left the country and now has only occasional contact with the 3 children we had together. I could have never predicted this was to be my future, if you had asked me before it actually happened.

    When we were still communicating – he told me he had been unfaithful ” a handful of times” but that must have been only the tip of the iceberg, and in the end it doesn’t really matter. The result is much the same for me. It was the end of what I thought I had (but clearly didn’t)
    My rather vindictive comfort is that if he cheated on me then I am almost 100 percent he will just continue in the same way in his new marriage. I almost feel sorry for her. But then again – I don’t. If you play with fire be prepared to get burned. I guess I feel almost at meh now – 6 years on, rather a slow journey, and like a sudden tragic death, to be honest, it will always be with me. Like a scar on my soul.

    • “My rather vindictive comfort is that if he cheated on me then I am almost 100 percent he will just continue in the same way in his new marriage. I almost feel sorry for her. But then again – I don’t. If you play with fire be prepared to get burned. I guess I feel almost at meh now – 6 years on, rather a slow journey, and like a sudden tragic death, to be honest, it will always be with me. Like a scar on my soul.”

      You said this so well. I’m pretty sure my ex was unfaithful to me before I found out about the last one – and the only reason I found out was because my daughter found naked pictures of the whore on her iPad which was still synced to her dad’s iPhone. If she hadn’t found them? I bet I’d have NO IDEA that he cheated. He was that good at keeping secrets and lies. Except…my gut instinct told me something was wrong. And it told me something was wrong several times during our marriage.

      Your ex will cheat on his schmoopie just as mine will cheat on his (or she will cheat on him). I don’t feel sorry for her at all. She knew he was married, went after him with a vengeance, and now she got what she wanted: a hollow shell of a man with no capacity for love, a narcissist who puts himself above all others. She can have him.

    • Don’t feel sorry for her. She got exactly what she bargained for. And she’s probably cheating anyway.
      I know someone who worked with the Traitor’s whore. She’s cheating and her nickname is the Whinging Whore (WhWh) around the hospital. I wish you could see the grin on my face.

    • When I was married to nowdeadcheater, I cried all the time…he was mean and distant and critical. The day I learned he was a serial cheater, I was past crying…I didnt even know that there was such a place, but Im there. I want to call it Meh, but I dont think it is actual Meh, its kinda preMeh.

  • CL has a great point, “what is acceptable to you”, but I would also like to point out something that took me a long time to get. None of his extracurricular behavior was acceptable to me, so I bitched, confronted, discussed, compromised, and allowed myself to be mind fucked. Like a frog in a pot on a slow boil (15 years to be exact), I didn’t realize my intention to “work it out” left me open minded to the mind fuck. Think Esther Perel inhabiting fuckwits mind here.

    -fuckwits hours of porn viewing locked in the bedroom while I took care of three toddlers. Nope, not okay with me, so I confronted, listened, heard all about how it had nothing to do with me, was completely normal for men, I had the problem and my disgust was mine to fix… not his issue, it was my insecurities.

    -finding emails set to random young 18 year old girls describing all the sexual things he wanted to do to her. Not okay with me… confronted, discussed and told ” it’s not cheating, it’s fantasy, stop trying to control his fantasy life, it’s abusive”.

    … years of steady escalation of these behaviors, confrontations, and more mind fucking.

    -finding emails indicating adult profiles on hook-up sites, confronting, church interventions, false remorse, feigning concern for my mental health, and progressive increases in technology allowing fuckwit to better hide and have mobile access to his side life.

    finally, in the 12th year of marriage, the discovery of an affair with a stripper. By this point, who do you think had been conditioned to think the problem lay with them? Yep, me! Actually 2 weeks before discovery I walked into a therapists office and declared I thought I was crazy. Of course there wasn’t really time to delve into why I thought this, because my life and therapy turned marriage Counceling were consumed by his affair.
    Bought into the RIC’s notion that it must have been something lacking in the marriage (aka… me), add the years of constant invalidation, insinuations that I was the problem, my issues and his behavior not being okay became a symptom of “my problems” that needed to be fixed.
    4 years of therapy and lots of self help books later, I understood the abusive nature of the relationship. What I found is… if you stick around long enough, cheaters will cheat again…. and of course he did.
    finding texts between him and an escort bargaining price, his hotel location and meeting in the bar before their scheduled hour of sex. Did I confront, debate and call him out? Nope, I printed that shit out and drove directly to my attorney’s office.

    Here’s the thing… knowing something is not okay with you is great (none of his behavior was okay with me) but assuming that cheaters play by the same moral rules you do is where the mind fucking gets good. NORMAL people care about not hurting the ones they love, and the assumption that a cheater cares that their behavior is NOT okay with you, is where you open yourself up to the mind fuck. You care, you want to compromise, you want to understand… but they don’t! They want to do what they want to do! Trying to change that because you love them DOES NOT WORK!

    is this an acceptable relationship to YOU? … and if not, don’t try to understand, compromise or work it out! The only thing to be had from trying is compromising your morals and opening yourself up to mind fucking!

    I think the societal push to “be open minded” makes us believe that not even considering another persons perspective means that we are somehow dark ages behind “enlightenment” …. (aka Esther Perel).
    I read a good article about open mindedness which I’ll post below so I don’t chance losing what I just wrote by switching screens on my phone.

    • What a horrible experience you had to go through. I hear you about the crazy-making…it’s one of the worst parts of the whole thing.

    • Got-a-brain,
      You are so correct. My path has been much the same except I haven’t left yet. He has always cheated and blamed me. Or refused to talk about it. Over and over and over. I honestly thought I had a responsibility to make my marriage work despite his horrible treatment of me. It was not until I found this CL and CN that I knew that divorce was actually a viable option. He has never even apologized really. Never volunteered an apology at least. He would only pretend remorse if I confront him. After finding out about this most recent long-term affair and 2 children produced from it (We have 7 together, 6 living children together) he admitted he has never “done right” by me but “he has always loved me”. Vomit. You spent the last 14 years cheating but you have always loved me? No, you loved that I forgave quickly and allowed you to abuse me. You loved the power of saying, yes I cheated but no I will talk about it. You loved the power of knowing something I did not know. You loved to sit around with your crazy OW (I have a restraining order against her and she has been convicted of menacing me) and laughing about how pitiful your wife is. But I am making plans, lining up my ducks and I will be mighty!

      • Cmh2015,

        Once you step outside the mindfuck and you have time to get away from the constant critisim about how you drove the cheater to their behavior, your mind will clear up. Though I’ve found when something happens and I’m questioning my own behavior I have to debate “who’s critical voice is in my head” … his or mine. So many years of being told you are defective has a way of perpetuating second guessing yourself. You will second guess yourself, but is it your morals talking or fuckwits voice in your head. Here are a few key takeaways I live by when I’m second guessing… (because co-parenting fuckwits never stop critiquing and projecting onto you).

        – Is my behavior/response an act of self-preservation, or am I seeking power over?

        – Boundaries to protect yourself from abusive behavior are limits, not abuse. AKA … no contact is not the same as the silent treatment/stonewalling (which “IN” relationships can be seen as emotional abuse). Trust me, they will want to make you question your own behavior.

        – Remember it’s no longer about “the relationship” (aka… we should be friends for the sake of the kids), it’s about your own sanity and self-preservation. Just the facts, minus the emotion.

        – Just like they slapped you in the face “during” the relationship… with your feelings being your problem, their feelings and criticism are now their problem… they are no longer yours! The relationship is over and they don’t get a say in what you do or how you do it. According to fuckface, my letting the kids have a soda is akin to dumping poison over their meals. His opinion, his problem; that reasoning should sound familiar to him… but of course it doesn’t, because that only applies to everyone else.

        Buckle-up… you are in for a long ride, but you are also mighty!

        “Leave a cheater … Gain a life!”

    • “Here’s the thing… knowing something is not okay with you is great (none of his behavior was okay with me) but assuming that cheaters play by the same moral rules you do is where the mind fucking gets good. NORMAL people care about not hurting the ones they love, and the assumption that a cheater cares that their behavior is NOT okay with you, is where you open yourself up to the mind fuck. You care, you want to compromise, you want to understand… but they don’t! They want to do what they want to do! Trying to change that because you love them DOES NOT WORK!”

      ^^^^Absolutely spot on. I ALWAYS assumed my ex played by the same moral rules as me – or at least, I wanted him to. He showed me again and again and AGAIN throughout out 18 years together that he most certainly was not.

    • So sorry Gotabrain, and your story demonstrates why we need CL to get a TED talk. There are so many forces besides the cheaters, pushing us to accept these behaviours and think we are the problem.

  • I’ve said before in this blog, I found CL and the nation early on after Dday#2 (separated by years and different schmoopies). I initially didn’t trust that he sucked. I thought my cheater wasn’t like all those creepy, skanky types of cheater. Mine just got caught up in the excitement of a female giving him attention. He’s a super geeky nerd type. Late 40’s now. Bald. Fat. Walks with a limp. Has MD at the end of his name.

    Our kids were 2 & 4 y.o. with he ditched us for his twice divorced, history of cheating ho worker. And we work at the same organization. Real nice shit sandwich to walk into everyday.

    Now as teenagers, TeenageBarbieSchmoopie (OMG thank LAJ from the forums!) is our daughter’s 20’something assistant soccer coach. He was volunteer coaching at our kids high school. Real nice shit sandwich for the wife AND kids to bring that to their school and their sports.

    Looking back I think about the hidden porn use throughout our 18 years of marriage, the strip clubs early on. And now with time and distance, 1 year divorced, I can clearly see he has sucked in so many ways. He is a bottomless pit of need, can’t go to the bathroom without asking someone how he should wipe his ass. He is a middle-aged, angry man that complains about everyone and everything in his life. I didn’t realize that was me too until I happened upon his texts with young schmoopie discussing how much I sucked as a wife.

    Whatever way they have to justify betraying you and their life, that’s within them. Maybe they have only done it once and are sorry. But they have shown you who they are. They have some error in their coding that lets them continue down a path that is destructive. I do believe it’s a sense of entitlement on their part. And when things don’t work out with schmoopie, they feel entitled to their old life back.

    Really the affair fog is not the ho high for them, it’s the fog you are in that they are that important and central to your life. You deserve better than that. Will you be without a marital partner the rest of your life? Maybe. But you don’t have one now. They don’t do reciprocal. They are takers. When it’s time for them to give, they don’t. Best to get as far away from that sinking Titanic ship before it sucks you under too.

    • ‘Will you be without a marital partner the rest of your life? Maybe. But you don’t have one now. They don’t do reciprocal. They are takers.’

  • Even if it’s a one night stand, AND they just got lucky, it still involved a series of choices:

    decide to have lunch at the conference with strange
    decide to sit next to strange in afternoon session
    accidentally on purpose meet strange in bar, because strange said they might go there after
    decide to have drink with strange
    decide to have several drinks with strange in a group, so it’s all ok
    rest of group decide to go to casino; you and strange decide to sit it out
    decide to see strange to their room
    decide to go in room for nightcap
    etc etc etc

    At any point, the cheater can decide to walk away. But they didn’t. They kept on choosing, and then had the gall to tell you it was an accident.

    • Omg, that’s like 90% of asshat’s encounters with co workers, clients and randos. The remaining were sex workers, AFFers, pornhub babes (literally underage teens). This is, however, the tip of the ice berg. I quit digging a while ago and the roaches still spill out of the woodwork.

  • Marital fidelity is a lot like virginity (or, like a hymen). Once it’s broken, it’s broken. You can’t undo having sex with someone.

    I suspect one night stands do exist. Say a cheater decides to hook up with someone. Eventually they do. And it’s just flat out awful. Well, there you go, one night stand. But if the sex is good, and both parties get something out of it, they’ll try to repeat it. Once they do it the first time, there’s no stigma to overcome, they have already cheated once, and can be labeled as a cheater for life, so they might as well reap the ‘benefits’ of the cheating.

    Would a chump say that if they only did it once, that was forgivable, but not a second time? Or maybe three times is forgivable, but not four. Where does one draw the line? We know the answer. Zero times is acceptable, because there’s nothing to forgive. Which brings us back to my first point. Either you’ve cheated, or you haven’t. The ‘EA’ adds a wrinkle to this, but it’s still not a physical affair (unless it is, of course).

    In practice, the EA tends to be an excuse, along the same lines as ‘We were drunk and made a bad choice.’ That one usually is crap too, because enough alcohol to blur the lines of morality enough to cross them (for a decent person) is usually enough alcohol to render one incapable of performing well, if at all.

    In general, I’m not one to cast an issue as being black and white. There are always nuances, variations, and complications that make a situation unique. But for a physical affair, it’s pretty clear cut. You did it, or you didn’t. A one night stand is clearly in the ‘did it’ category.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.

    • I don’t think the sex even has to be good in a ONS. It’s the titilation of predator and prey, I would guess. What a dopamine high!

      • Same for the EA. The rush of knowing that if your SO were next to you in the same room, the SO would not be happy with the mutual flirting.

        It’s kind of like what I tell my kids, if your mom would be upset with your choice of behavior, that’s your indicator to not do it.

        • And to think I’ve had to explain this to a therapist!
          He was minimizing about inappropriate interactions and questioning EA’s on the whole.
          I took me spelling it out to him that if you wouldn’t be comfortable doing it in front of your partner, then you know it’s inappropriate!

  • My only regret is wasting my time trying to salvage my marriage. Had I known earlier that this is the MO of cheaters then it would have saved me financially and health wise. I personally don’t think it matters if it was a one off or a full blown long term affair. Once you find out they are cheating then kick them out and file! Reconciliation rarely, if ever, works.

  • Dear 99,

    As CL says, it does not make a difference.

    The last words I heard cheater say as he stamped indignantly and righteously out of what was our home until the first rays of D-day were dawning: “I am NOT a chicken” (the slang in my country’s language for men who run around with a dozen of women at a time).

    Wow, what a redeeming quality.

    He was cruel to me in our divorce, lied to the judge and to our sons. Etc.

    There is no such thing as being “a little pregnant”. He caught and gave me HPV with one flatterfuck at a time.

    Trust that they suck

    • Clearwaters, I love the expressions you translate from your language! They’re so funny everytime. And I imagine him running around like a headless chicken still saying that. “I am not a chicken!!”

  • I am nominating CL, also!!!

    CL is part of my posse that helped free me from my abusive cheater! She joins a police detective, my sisters, my mom, my 2 best friends, and a domestic abuse legal advocate who showed me- the abuser isn’t special- there is REAL hope vs the false hope things would get better. I believe God workers through CL and all of these women- to help save me, and by extension, my 9 year old son.
    -I have a 4 yr restraining order against abuser-cheater
    – guilty in criminal court of DV (tho, only on 1 count)
    -almost divorced
    -I’m finding my voice
    -Unfortunately- 50/50 placement because my county doesn’t give a shit about DV

    Not a meh- but I believe it exists!!!
    THANK YOU, CL!!!!!!

    • This comment makes me so happy! Stay strong! I’m so glad you’re leaving the motherfucker! YEA!!!!

  • All I know now, three years down the road, is that I didn’t feel loved for the last several years of our marriage and now I realize it’s because he was never invested and was looking for some external thing to fill up the void inside him. The fact that it turned out to be OW (now New Wife) is almost irrelevant. I was not enough for him, and honestly? I’m pretty awesome.

    He seemed to want something else, ANYthing else, so why stand in the way of that. Then, go, sir, off into the horizon with Schmoopie. I, for one, was tired of trying to justify my worth to him. If he couldn’t see it, then good riddance. Whether it was one AP or multiple, whether only EA or physical, whether with men or women, is irrelevant to me. His choices, decisions and actions offended ME, and that was enough reason to be shut of him. Even on Dday, I knew my worth. No matter what else, I was certainly better than THAT kind of disrespect.

    • >>”I was not enough for him, and honestly? I’m pretty awesome.”<> He was never invested and was looking for some external thing to fill up the void inside him.<<

      And this is a painful truth I'm coming to accept.

      Why stand in the way, indeed?

      I admire your strength and insight.

      — HeChump

    • NWBiblio, ❤️ This! So much truth! I don’t believe anybody “can ever be enough” for someone who is lacking what makes us human. I felt this too. That I deserved to be treated well. By the time Dday rolled around (that crap ILYBINILWY/divorce speech) Fucktard had already destroyed our marriage in myriad other ways. (I guess being a lying entitled two faced bastard will do that…????). In spite of his narrative, many in our community came up to me later and said he was only ever “out for himself.” Lesson learned.

  • I’m skeptical of, well, just about everything a cheater would say. Standard operating procedure is to reveal only what they think you already know…so, maybe this really was just the one time, but, then again, he or she can make a safe bet you don’t know about the other 57 times previously.

    I have to say I’m also skeptical about claims for something to “only” be an EA. I don’t think they should be treated any less than a PA. First, they still hurt like a you-know-what; it’s still a violation of the marital boundary.
    Second, see my previous comment about cheaters only revealing what a chump already knows. For example:
    Cheater has PA.
    Chump gets suspicious by reading a zillion texts professing Twue Wuv. Chump has no other evidence to go on.
    Chump confronts Cheater.
    Chump babbles. Cheater guesses Chump might be less angry if Chump thought it was “only” an EA.
    Cheater tries that angle. Chump buys it.

    Moreover, I think every EA is just a PA that hasn’t reached maturity yet. Barring being separated by a great distance, they eventually turn into the other sort.

    • I do agree with your comments about EAs. Mine had two ( at the same time) one lasting a year or so and the other three. I knew about them, let him know how much it hurt, he refused to stop. Never got to be a PA but I know he tried cause I saw the texts. The only reason they didn’t is due to distance and timing not working out I think. Plus I was on alert.

      But it HURT big time that he would devalue me this way, as much as if he had completed the act. I had never, in 42 years of marriage, even considered cheating on him. He is now my X, and I am free of the pain and drama and much, much happier!

    • From my own experience and the collective experience I’ve gathered here on CN, I now think it safe to assume that the cheater’s operative standard, when pressured repeatedly, is to confess to an EA when confronted about a PA, and to deny involvement/minimize to friendship when confronted about an EA.
      If you recognize this pattern, your accusations are generally true.

  • Yes, what are the stats on “I Tripped And Fell Into A Vagina”? Pretty high, if my ex were credible. Even now, he will only cop to three “girlfriends”—only three!! Like the Unholy Trinity.
    The man has lied and gaslighted for so long, he’s even doing it to himself. Still coming up with pathetic blame shifting excuses (I only did this because you xyz or didn’t abc,etc) and can’t hear the silence on my end over his own voice. Or properly interpret it. After his latest plea, in which he laid out all the reasons he was wrong yet why I should pity him and call off the divorce (which he keeps stalling) I kept silent. Then I got the texts a week later asking why I chose not to respond. Um, kind of busy here. Cancer survivor, busy crazy understaffed job. I barely have time to read the news and certainly not time for social media and definitely no time to read/refute his BS. I guess I should submit it to CL and the UBT. My point is, there were never ‘only three’. And as CL points out, was I better with him? No. Is the relationship (such as it was) worth salvaging? NO!! And in his typical fashion, he tried too little too late. And it’s only too little because he’s still juggling other relationships. He can’t ‘let go’ unless he has someone there to feather his best. Too bad this bird has flown.

  • When I first discovered (about 3 years in to the marriage) that Mr. Sparkles like to create online personal ads, chat and masturbate with women on Adult Friend Finder, make appointments with women from Craigslist… ah, the good times… I thought our marriage was salvageable. I thought, maybe I was spending too much time with the baby and my stepchildren and working and managing the house… where did that fun, single girl go that he fell in love with… find her!

    Flash forward to my final D-day and what I learned during the divorce… he had already secured new Supply (he is a narcissist)… he was telling her that we were taking separate vacations with the kids… he told her the kids knew we were divorcing… he told her it was over. What he was telling me though was… I want you and I want our marriage. He came to church again. He bought me a bronze statue of two lovers for our anniversary and said he wanted that to be us again. AND… during all that time he was mindfucking me and the OW… he was running a personal ad on Adult Friend Finder looking for men, women and couples.

    I guess what I’m saying is, when it comes to someone who is willing to cheat, CL is right… it means they are willing to do a whole lot of other shit without any concern for you.

    He’s getting ready to move in with yet another woman (the OW dumped him). And, part of me is envious (not at meh yet)… but a bigger part of me knows that she has already had the best she’ll ever get from him. It is downhill from here. Kind of like Michael Keaton in the movie Pacific Heights… he will now systematically destroy her. It is what he does. It is who he is.

    Know your worth. Know your dealbreakers. I could’ve saved $100K and years of stress and chaos if I had known mine on D-day 1.

  • 99 Problems – Supposedly mine was a “one-off” thing too. However, it had gone on for five years before I discovered it. We were married for 33 years and dated for 7 years before getting married. This “one-off” made me question the relationship my ex had with every woman he seemed to think highly of from the time we were dating until this deal breaker. My young adult daughter tells me that there were flags that I should have recognized and my son tells me he had suspected the “one-off” long before I questioned anything. I wanted to think the best of someone I had invested 40 years in.

    Like you, I wanted to think that this couldn’t be a serial thing but in the deepest recesses of my heart and brain I know I was lying to myself. Yes, he got caught in “one” but I’m sure he had other affairs even if they weren’t “physical.”

    One of his final remarks to me was, “you act like you don’t trust me.” My response, “Really, Ya think?!”

  • My ex cheated with someone in my family and destroyed a 24 year marriage. Once she was caught and couldn’t deny the affair she tried to sell me that this was a one off affair with a Twu Wuv.

    Later on I found out she banged a guy down the street, and one of my ex-college roommates, and a couple of guys she worked with.

    One of the lessons here is always trust you gut. Her tactic at the time was to attack me for cheating even though I’ve never cheated on anyone in my life. All the while it was actually her who is cheating.

    Live and learn. We’re living in exciting times.

  • “Sure, the guy is just having an “emotional affair,” but he Facebook messages Schoompie on his phone at your mother’s funeral? Fuck that shit.”

    This was my XH. We went to Maui to have a service and scatter my beloved mother’s cremains (she died suddenly of a heart attack 10 months prior at age 64). He was texting his whore the entire time we were gone. He was having a full blown affair, left me for her 6 days after speaking (with tears) at my mother’s memorial service. My family and I watch the recording of him speaking/crying and just gasp. Sociopath. Total sociopath.

    • This is unbelievable. He was crying at the funeral while he was engaging with the whore during the one of the worst times of your life. This is so low. This is a personality disorder trait, to abandon you at your time of greatest need. Wow, just wow.

      • My therapist described X as a “social sociopath”. He’ so much better suited for the Borderline Personality Disordered Other Woman/Wifetress! 🙂

  • Bringing up cell phones reminds me. I heard on the radio yesterday that being on technology around your partner is bad for relationships because it causes you to tune out the person you are with. I couldn’t help but think “yeah, especially when you are using it to communicate with some other woman (or man)”.

    This was then followed up with “it is as damaging as having an affair”. My thought was “especially when you use to facilitate an actual affair”.

    • This is so true, ChumpinRecovery. For these narcs, all this technology makes their cheating so easy-access, literally right at their fingertips!

  • My wife and I (same sex couple) have been married 3 years and together 8 – I am 34 and she is 38. We now have a 9 month old baby. I found out in July that my wife had engaged in an affair (emotional and one-time physical) with a woman who had spent May trying to poach her to join her lawfirm. When I discovered it (by going through her phone after getting suspicious), she had been in the affair for about 3.5 weeks (so it began when our son was 6 months old, just a few weeks after she stopped breastfeeding). I won’t even go into the details of how this revelation utterly destroyed me. We immediately sought couples therapy. The affair was described by the therapist as a “symptom” resulting from a confluence of underlying factors: transition into motherhood, disconnection from me, my anxieties, her hormones, having a longterm relationship and the monotony that goes with that, etc. I bought this symptom description and agreed to work through things and began to forgive my wife. During therapy, both I and our therapist understood that my wife had cut contact with the affair partner, and my wife told me we were working toward the same goals of saving the marriage and working on our pre-affair issues. However, I discovered last week that she had never actually cut ties – they had been speaking on the phone at least twice a week ever since they began the affair, discussing the status of my marriage, among other things.

    I have discovered so much about my wife and this other person over the past couple months and all I can say is HOLY. SHIT. There are some insane forces at play here. They told one another “i love you” about two weeks in; the other woman told my wife she is the love of her life; the other woman asked her long term live-in girlfriend to move out; even though she’s in her mid-40s and childless, the other woman told my wife she is “intrigued” by the idea of kids, whatever that means; meanwhile, my wife has asked that if we do separate if I would allow her to use the embryos we created together (what!) which she and I had planned to use to grow our family this fall; they’re both very worried about their reputations and the other woman fears being known as a homewrecker but said she will live with that label if it means she gets to be with the love of her life; the other woman was previously married, and cheated on her first wife; she also learned all about me and our son during the lawfirm poach attempt and STILL went after my wife – who goes after a married woman with an infant at home? And what married woman w new family doesn’t first try to save the family before engaging in an affair? Why even start a family w me if you’re really that unhappy? On top of these major red flags, the other woman is objectively very unattractive physically, and her long term gf and prior wife are butch lesbians in their late 40s/ early 50s while both my wife and I are feminine lesbians, for what it’s worth. I’m shocked on all fronts (physical AND character issues considered) that my wife is interested in this person — and, given the character issues, I’m downright terrified and angered that I may have to co-parent with this person and my baby son may very well be raised under her influence.

    During what has been a soul crushing couple of months, I’ve received very little sympathy or comfort from my wife. She’s turned rather cold and says things like: the fact that I hurt you shows me that I don’t really care about hurting you and it’s freaking me out. And: the fact that I had this affair says a lot about us – I did this for a reason and it has opened my eyes. And I don’t regret it, bc it will serve a purpose – either you and I will work out our pre-affair issues or I will be with this other person. Ugh. But then like a pendulum, sometimes within a few hours, my wife would swing back to me, initiate intimacy, tell me “you’re my rock”, that she wants this to work out, etc. I can feel the energy between us shift on the days where she and the other woman speak, as my wife withdraws from me. My wife, it appears, is incredibly weak and easily influenced by this other person. Meanwhile, for two months I remained strong, loving and loyal (I thought we were working on reconciliation, and I wanted to stay positive for my son.)

    My wife told me last week she doesn’t know what she wants, and has requested a one-month informal separation so she can “gain clarity,” during which time she may or may not pursue the other relationship (both her individual and couple’s therapist have advised her to stop contact with affair partner). She said she feels like the other person and she are “meant to be” and that she has felt disconnected from me for a long time (which is not true – we had fertility struggles that strained our relationship but she is 100% failing to recall all the positives and all the times she even told me how connected to me she was (like at the birth of our son) at a weekend vacation we took earlier this summer, etc.). She also said that 0% of her wants a divorce, she gets teared up at our memories, which she brings up a lot, tells me she loves me so much, that she doesn’t want to lose 50% time with our son, that she doesn’t want to lose our home– but at the same time she says she cannot commit to me or our marriage and we have ended couple’s therapy. She believes this other person has opened her eyes to what she wants but didn’t have with me – a “deep emotional connection.” She’s not convinced that we could ever get that back, hence her internal struggle. She admits I check all the other relationship boxes and then some.

    Anyway, we are currently on day two of the physical separation. She’s staying at her parent’s condo down the street while I am continuing to live in our marital home. We are dividing time with our son 50/50, where I will take the first 4 days, and so on. She has texted me a lot these first couple of days and requested to come over to see our son this morning. I told her no – that she (and I) needs to use this time to understand what it would feel like if we were to get a divorce. She’s very needy and I’ve been responding firmly – stick to the terms, get clarity, figure yourself out, etc. I feel like this is the first time she’s actually felt some of the consequences for her actions.

    Her behavior is not acceptable to me but given the context of having just welcoming a new baby I keep hanging in there and I’m nowhere near ready to throw in the towel. If you have any advice for how I should navigate this incredibly difficult situation, I would love to hear it. I am numb and have moments of clarity but not enough to really think straight on what I need to do for myself and my family. My gut reaction is to save this family given that we have a baby, but seems like it might not be up to me to save. On the other hand, I’ve learned a lot about my wife that I don’t like and not sure I’ll be able to ever accept. I do feel confident that I still have a decent shot at finding someone else who would treat me better, and also continue to grow a family with. But with a little infant I’m desperately in love with, and a wife I still love, a deeply intertwined and generally happy life with her, it very well might take me a decade to get over leaving this behind.

    -Destroyed New Momma

    • Spend some time on this site and look under the Early Discovery section for archives. Also home page for articles. IMO, see a lawyer and run a credit report, and secure your finances. Protect yourself. That is ESSENTIAL if you stay or go (or she goes). It sounds like you’re in the bargaining stage of grief, trying to make this work, when you have NOTHING to work with. Her “neediness” is kibbles and her seeing if you’ll be Fall Back girl and Plan B. Don’t be.

      I’m sorry. The early days are very hard. Get on the forum here for support. However, we are not a reconciliation site. We’re a save YOUR sanity site.

    • So sorry Destroyed New Mamma. No disrespect but just seeing the length of you post is a flag that you are in the early stages and desperately trying to untangle the skein. It’s classic and so is what she is doing. Most of us have been through this.
      So try to focus on your interests, your finances, your child and protect yourself. In the meantime you can pretend to listen to her bullshit and allow her time to make up her mind. Line up your ducks. You need a very good lawyer.
      If you have to, sit through the counselling bullshit about how this is due to the huge life changes happening right now (hormones blah, blah) while you get your ducks in a row. The problem is her character, or lack thereof: she chose to put her impulses before your child’s interests, never mind your interests. Who does that? Someone you don’t want in your life.
      Sadly, she will be as you will have to co-parent or parallel parent with her. So welcome to the club none of us wanted to join. At least you’ve found CN and it’s a club full of people you want in your life. Hugs.

      • And frankly DNM, the new baby hormones excuse has just got me fuming at your counsellor. We read cheater apologist bullshit all the time but this one takes the cake (pun intended) for blame shifting. It’s the baby’s fault. We should have a Fun Friday challenge about lame cheater apologist excuses the RIC and Esther Perel come up with.

      • That is so true about the length of monologue when you are still reeling in shock. I feel for you so much!!. I used to write epically long emails to prople we knew trying to get them to understand what was happening. Now i realise he had set the ground work for me to look deranged and unhinged while i ranted at his blowing up our family.
        What was reallt happening is that his new choices were exposing for the first time to me of how little he cared about us the whole marriage. Clever coverts can give off the impression that you are an intact family because they are image managing for everyone else but you.and you feel saft because you take that as evidence for yourself it is safe. Its not until they pull the pin on your relationship that you get to see how little you really meant. I was convinced hed changed overnight…i was wrong. He was simply rearranging the chess pieces in his life and i was in the out pile. Like they all say on this site…be shocked by her behaviour. .this is what she is telling you she is really like and dont make excuses /spackle over what you imagined she was like .actions not words.

    • You sound a lot like me in the first few months after DDay. I thought he had gone mad. He would tell me that he loved me but he was “passionate” about her. I couldn’t believe he would want to leave me for some fantasy. I thought I just needed to give him time to get his head out of his ass so he could focus on our family again. In trying to turn him around I was trying to save my marriage, but I was also trying to save him from himself. I truly felt that in the long run she wouldn’t make him happy either. Meanwhile he was so conflicted between what he knew we had and the possibilities of what he might have with her. Eventually he chose to go find out about those possibilities. I now realize that I am better off not having to live with someone who would always wonder “what if” and resent me for the choices not made. I already know this because he already resented me for his decision not to turn the EA into a PA years earlier. It is hard for me to accept that because he would say the same thing “you are better off without someone who is hung up on another woman” and I don’t like having to agree with him on any part of this. He is still an idiot who will be just as miserable with Schmoopie in the end and a selfish jerk for putting himself in a position where he might fall for someone else in the first place while still married to me, but yes, he is correct that I am better off without the person he has chosen to be.

      Your wife is the same except that she hasn’t made her choice yet. It is time for you to make the choice for her and divorce. Get as much custody as you can. Stay tough. Let her resent someone else for the choices she made. If she does come back, you are the one she will resent. Eventually she will feel compelled to go find out “what if” with some other Schmoopie, only it won’t happen until you have put in several years of pick me dancing to prove she didn’t make a mistake in sticking with you the first time. She won’t even notice the effort you put into your relationship during those years because she will still be stuck in the fantasy of what might have been. The only way out for you is to let her go find out her fantasy is a nightmare. By that time, you won’t care anymore because you will have figured out that you are better off without her.

    • ((((DNM)))))

      Reconciling with a cheater, even briefly, is hell. Ask me how I know. Consider if you really want that in your life now, on top of the stresses and strains of a new child. Co-parenting with a fucktard–even in separate homes–may be a big enough challenge.

      If you’re determined to try reconciliation, demand a post-nup agreement that gives you a very advantageous arrangement (childcare and financial) in the event reconciliation fails. Sounds like your wife is a lawyer, so make SURE you have your own lawyer negotiating for you. If your cheater balks, you know she’s not fully committed.

      Wishing you strength for the difficult journey ahead. People here will always have your back.

    • I’m sorry for what you’re going through. I haven’t posted in such a long time, but your post resonates in my heart because you described what I went through last year. I’m sorry your wife is behaving this way. My exwife did the same, and she also suggested separation to work on herself and for clarity. I played the role of a loving trusting chump to perfection, trying my hardest to keep the relationship afloat all by myself, similar to what youre doing now. Eventually I saw the light….she has mentally left me the moment she have herself permission to cheat, and to deceive me about it. Your wife is not on your team any more, as painful as it is…. She has already decided to be with the other woman, and her ambivalence is to maintain cake.

      If you take her back, you don’t get to go back in time. You will just have an entitled spouse who thinks it’s ok to cheat and be forgiven. It’s time to take care of yourself and your baby. You are the strong and responsible one, with integrity and honesty, and another person will be lucky to treasure you.

      • “You will just have an entitled spouse who thinks it’s ok to cheat and be forgiven.” It’s worse than that Destroyed New Mamma. She will think it is your responsibility to keep her happy and fight for her because she has other options doncha know. If you ever question her or disagree with her on anything, she will use that as an excuse to go off and be with somebody who “appreciates” her. Do you want to live like that? She is the one who should be fighting for you. She is only fighting for cake.

    • New Momma, (((hugs))). Disordered people will always sabatoge life’s most beautiful moments. (Ask me how I know….) Your wife is doing this now. For Cheaters, there is never enough drama, never enough attention, never enough kibbles. When she should be loving you up and spending days with your beautiful child, she is disengaged, absent, and cruel. This will not change. Let her go. And you? Know your worth and keep on being your beautiful kind loving righteous self, because one day someone will come along who will treat you well.

    • This is similar to what happened to me. I took him back after DDay 1. He seemed to genuinely be apologetic, told me I was his soul mate and love of his life. He went to personal therapy and couples therapy. We were engaged during wreckonciliation and both seemed genuinely happy. He told me the girl meant nothing to him and he felt he had a nervous breakdown. I believed all of this!!!! He said he loved my son and I and just wanted to be a family!

      Flash forward 8 months and his AP called to tell me they started seeing each other again. I threw him out and filed for divorce. According to him he loves me and regrets what he did but he loves her and since he knows I won’t take him back and he’s co-dependent he is staying with her. She is a supposedly reformed drug addicted escort with a current online escort ad with naked pics. She has harassed me by sending dozens of messages including lies she is pregnant. She is a psycho and he even admits she might have borderline personality disorder!

      Yet he has no problem that this psycho may be in his 9 yo’s life in the future. He thinks she is not that bad. These things would be deal breakers for any normal person. But I realize now and through personal therapy that he is cluster b and as much as I want to fix him for our son I can’t. He is seriously sick!!!! I do not want him back at all!!!! I just want him better for our son and this toxic person out of his life so she won’t be near our son!

      My point is that reconciliation does not work!!!! You deserve someone who really loves you and treats you well!!! Please do not settle or accept this because you have a family. There is nothing you can do to fix her! Please move on with your son! Sending you hugs.

    • You have the clarity, DNM. You’ve said it yourself, of course you want to save your family, especially at such a delicate juncture, but it’s not up to you to save.
      You have a homewrecker on your hands, and one who is particularly keen on bullying you, since she hasn’t even had the decency to pause. What she has been doing is abuse. Abusive mentality can be changed, but requires immense and very directed effort from your partner’s side. That’s why CN encourages chumps to respond to their reality, in the here and now, not their partner’s reasons (untangling). You will do the untangling anyway and at the core of it, you will find there is abuse. You cannot change the way they think and what they think is it’s perfectly fine for them to do what they are doing. Consider whether this is acceptable to you or not. I’m hoping it’s not and that you have higher standards for you and your baby, even though this is the most painful experience you could be going through right now. You deserve better, we all hope you see it soon, but only time (and some untangling, admittedly) will help you wrap your head around this and propel you forward.

  • As I prepare to watch my wife (finally) walk out the door, I’m fending off similar thoughts: Well, it was her only affair. And she truly seems to have lost her marbles and morphed into another person…so maybe she really did just have a mid-life freakout, because, gee, she doesn’t *seem* to be a sociopath. Maybe there’s a way we could come back from all this, if she committed to transparency and somehow demonstrated epic levels of remorse. Maybe I should leave that door to my heart just the tiniest bit ajar…

    I’m worth more than that. I know that intellectually. But my reflex is to accommodate, forgive, and munch shit sandwiches if it might save our family and make this whole nightmare go away. Wish I were wired like someone of the “you fuck with me, you’re dead to me” ilk, but I’m not. Wish it were natural for me to know my worth and proceed accordingly. Somebody wise on this site recently theorized about how family of origin dynamics teach some of us to ignore abuse to preserve “love.” To, in other words, step over our own crumpled bodies and make ourselves a Hot Pocket. It’s helpful to me to imagine what I’d want for my daughter if she were experiencing what I’ve experienced. My Daddy Grizzly would take no prisoners. And I’d remind her in no uncertain terms of her worth. So I’m trying to “parent” myself the same way. Today’s post helps.

    • Well said. I think adult children of alcoholics are especially adept at “ignoring abuse to preserve love.”

      I am proud that, by finally divorcing my ex wife, I gave my kids a better model of healthy, loving relationships. Which have boundaries, and consequences.

    • Relevant. Like many here, I grew up with two parents who modeled Sparkley and disengaged (read that absent, disengaged workaholic Dad and alcoholic self absorbed cheating Mom). They were people who grew up with much the same dynamic in their own families of origin. Wanting marriage to be successful, yet not recognizing the power they had to change their lives, or walk away. They loved me, but were not able to model a healthy marriage. My folks took little interest in what I was doing because they were absorbed in their own busy lives and sometimes I felt I didn’t matter…enough. Even as a child, I made excuses for them. I never understood why they never came to my school or to watch me play. I bent over backwards to do well. Made myself that perfect child (though was made to feel far from it by a Dad who loved his son more) because I wanted what everybody else seemed to have: a happy family. Dysfunction but what I saw modeled growing up. So no wonder I thought I could work with the first person who showed me many of those same qualities. He was Sparkley, and aloof, and this is what I knew. He grew more disengaged after we married and had children. I didn’t listen to my gut though, even when I recognized red flags; I just thought, ‘I can fix this!’

      • Yes. This could have been my own story, except my mom is a narc, not a drunk.
        Ignore abuse to preserve “love”. Only after hearing it said that way can I see that clearly.
        It’s what I was raised to do and is exactly what I’m doing in my marriage. I committed a long time ago to break the family line of fuckupedness. However, this is far more difficult than I expected.

        FKA Differently Chumped

  • I think the only difference between the 1’st time and a zillion times is that there is an increase in chances you will be exposed to something dreadful or even deadly with every additional partner and all of the partners of the partners. Of course, that can happen the 1’st time, too.

    That they would sexually cheat at all is just an indicator that they will cheat in other areas, too. They have to be adept at lying to get away with cheating, also they will steal money if they will steal time. They will blame you for their lack of sexual fulfillment — but it’s not that hard to satisfy yourself by yourself, so the emptiness they feel, or the feeling they are missing out on some new twist, and must have it — that is all inside their empty heads as well. Really, no matter how hard you try, you cannot MAKE Someone Else Be Happy. It is up to you to choose to be happy yourself. It is up to the other person to do the things they need to do to be happy. If they cannot be happy without making you unhappy — why would you want any part of that?

    Choice. Owning the decisions you make. Willing to accept the consequences of your actions. We all can and do make mistakes. What we do next is what shows our character or lack thereof.

    I believe the first time you find out, for sure, you want to believe it is the first time. It is probably not. But even so, any consequences from that is like sending a young criminal to reform school. There are classes in advanced criminality there that accelerate the learning curve, and they learn new and better ways to lie and cheat. The impulse to take that which they are clearly not entitled to is the telling thing. No matter how many times they do it, or how many times they get caught. The first time is the first of many times, and there is no stopping, or remorse.

    A chump wants to believe in the basic good in people, wants to give a chance at redemption. That is part of what makes us a chump. We don’t have to keep on and keep on, and keep on doing it, though. We are allowed to protect our hearts and assets, and do a better job screening the other before we give that someone a chance to hurt us. We can choose to make better choices. Maybe we didn’t do that the first time, but we can change for the better the next time.

    • “Choice. Owning the decisions you make. Willing to accept the consequences of your actions. We all can and do make mistakes. What we do next is what shows our character or lack thereof.”

      Words to live by.

  • Here’s my x’s timeline:
    – Leaves marriage, claiming no other woman involved.
    – Gets busted on exit affair, claims it didn’t start until after he left marriage.
    – Gets busted with secret 13-year-old illegitimate child, claims it was a “drunken one-night stand.”
    – Claims child’s conception was “the only time” he cheated.
    – Gets busted on timeline of exit affair, then claims child’s conception and exit affair were the only two times he cheated.
    – Blames everything on me because I didn’t make him happy.

    He went from faithful husband, to one-off cheater, to serial cheater as more and more information emerged and he desperately scrambled to manage his image. After I found out about the two affairs, I had enough information to be done so I stopped searching. But I’m positive there were others I’ll never know about.

    I don’t believe there’s such a thing as a one-off cheater. They’re all serial cheaters who have only been caught once. Or else they’re just starting, have only cheated once and will inevitably cheat again.

  • Cheaters are liars. I found one was two. Two was possible 10. Anyone who wanted in her pants was at minimum toyed with on text. Will never know how many. The one was enough.

  • Cluster b had a first wife who “was his best friend who helped him out with a green card.” They were roommates and dated other people. I actually believed that even with the big red banner that was flying over his head as he told that whopper. Forget the fact that I had a problem with his way of getting a green card! I write this shite and am totally embarrassed that I went against my values time and time again with this conman!! I could go on and on about the BS he told me and I so wanted to believe that I just did. I think that is why, when he had his affair I did not care to find out the details. In that moment I figured everything out of his disgusting mouth was a lie. I knew it. When he admitted to “acting out” I asked him to give me the courtesy of letting me know how many partners he had…all he said was “that was never my thing”. I knew immediately that he had most likely been cheating from the beginning. It doesn’t matter though. Would I like to know the truth? Yes, but I’ll be damned if I ever give him the satisfaction of asking that question again. They absolutely drool over controlling the flow of info whether they have an exit affair or are serial cheaters. That is their true high.
    I cannot wait to nominate CL for a Ted Talk!!!!!!

  • The emotions that make us human and allow us to love, nurture, have empathy and which really define our humanity are the things con artists use to manipulate and con us. Cheaters are con artists. The level of betrayal of infidelity is so trauma-inducing, the cognitive dissonance so great that we latch on to anything that will make us believe that we have not been deceived and the Cheater is not who they have shown themselves to be. My grandmother cautioned me to never, ever trust anyone who was comfortable lying. She repeatedly told me, “If you lie, you’ll cheat, if you cheat, you’ll steal and if you steal, you’ll kill.” Even though she never took a psychology class, she understood the basic set up of human nature. People have a way of going about in the world, and unless there are some early consequences for that behavior for those who are not obvious sociopaths, their ways of thinking and going about in the world become cemented over time.

    This is why it doesn’t matter if it is one time or one hundred times. I do not view cheating as a “mistake” because of the myriad of deliberate decisions that are made before the cheating itself actually occurs. IMHO those deliberate decisions indicate a pattern of thinking that will leave the Chump unsafe. It is their thinking that allows them to give themselves permission to cheat. Anyone who can convince themselves to betray the person who is or should be closest to them and are comfortable using family resources, which by definition will subtract value from the lives of their children, how can they ever be fully trusted again? Just like there are the proverbial “Beer Goggles” that render everything better sounding and better looking when you’ve had too much to drink, “Chump Goggles” make the Cheater look better long past his or her expiration date.

    I wish I had this wisdom when I was married – I would have opted out much sooner.

    • Brilliant! “Chump goggles”, indeed! My STBX cheated 2x that I’m aware of when we were married less than 3 years. Post DDays 1 & 2, I did file, but wreckonciled w pressure from well-meaning supporters. Ffwd 26 years to Dday3, when I learned about most recent EA (only, he insists, but I doubt). Duration? 3 YEARS! Even IF what he says is true -no other affairs in the interim – it just doesn’t matter. The level of deception and the utter fucking consistency of his efforts floors me! He thought he could get away with it because he had before. THEY DO NOT THINK LIKE US.
      Now, there are 2 children – one adult, the other teen – and 31+ years investment. NOPE – not one more day! I’ve got nothing for him now. He’s doing his remorse dance, but I don’t care. I already know WHO he is & WHAT he’s about. NOT my values. Not my goals.
      I DO know my value. And it’s worth more than a dozen of him and every cheap schmoopie imaginable combined! I’m better off alone than in that hell where, it turns out (as I tried to unravel the skein of fuckedupness), I just didn’t factor in much at all to his decision-making or concern. He sure seems concerned now, but I don’t care. He killed all my concern off one deceptive decision at a time. It broke my heart at first, but I was grieving the image of a relationship, not the real one, not the one I had been in.
      Thank you, every single CN member – your sanity and joy are magnetic! Our pain connects us and our queat for freedom ignites my fires of self-respect & self-love. I trust that he sucks.
      Thank you!!! Some 90+days post Dday3 – and having been stuck in a house without power WITH STBX (both evacuated to son’s house during hurricane) – I feel strong, powerful and on my way to meh via some mighty! Divorce papers will be filed ASAP, but not before all the ducks are in line.
      Thank you for clarity, sanity & recovery from hopium addiction! Freedom has never looked better!

      • I had to evacuate for the hurricane too and I am 3 months post DDay 2 and kicking him out also. I know I deserve better and am already happier but it’s hard!!!! Hang in there – sending hugs!!!

  • I’m certain he had several one-night stands, emotional affairs, attempted probably hundred times more; however, he still denies all if it despite my evidence.

    Two year anniversary about to come up since would-have been 15 year together and the very next day is the anniversary of our divorce being final, and he still refuses to admit anything.

    Pfffftttttt, whatever. I know the truth, he sucks and I’m free living over here in Meh-topia

  • Pretty darn sure cheater ex had more than the final affair that became his exit affair. The proof was the incurable STD he shared that suddenly made it’s appearance a good two years before the final schmoopie.

    In the long run, EA, PA, doesn’t matter. It’s breaking a sacred promise to the one person they swore to put first before all others.

    Before we got married, I had said that he had better not make a promise of fidelity to me if he didn’t think he would keep it. Went through that crap once, never again! Break that promise, it’s over. The fact I loved him wouldn’t figure into the equation. My absolute – non – negotiable – we are – done – in – this – marriage was cheating……so you know he just had to go there. He was so arrogant he thought he could con me well enough to sit still for his mistress. Ahhh, nope! Bye bye asshole.

    I used to be very accommodating, a bit gullible, and oh so kind, ever willing to be understanding. That lasted through my very short marriage to cheater # 1. My boundaries got much better afterwards in some ways. In others, not so much, unfortunately. Cheater # 2 was much more subtle, and whole lot sneakier. I still trusted him until he just had to show me who he really was by rubbing schmoopie and his affair in my face. After that, all bets were off. He was pretty shocked when I got my ducks in a row, took my kids and left his sorry ass. I dealt with the heartbreak later, where he couldn’t see it and gloat.

    Now, these days, my boundaries are iron clad. I’m bunch more picky about who I let in my life. As my standards have improved, quite a few narc so called friends have gone by the wayside. It’s nice, having all that drama and chaos in the past. Life is much more peaceful now.

  • “One off” cheaters have the same character issue that serial cheaters have. Take advantage of their guilty feelings just after discovery, move divorce quickly and get a fair settlement. Grieve after the papers are signed. Stay STRONG during the legal arrangements.

    Even if they only really cheated one time, they WILL cheat again. If you decide to stay, do not do so without a post-nump.

  • There does seem to be a difference in how the story of a one off cheater and a serial cheater is received. Initially, after final Dday, people would often ask questions basically to find out if it was ‘only’ a one off — and thus in their minds, I suppose, potentially forgivable. Their attitude would abruptly change when I told them it had gone on for years and that when I finally got some information, I needed to create a spreadsheet to keep it all straight. No one speaks up for serial cheating, at least to my face. Though after having to mulch most of my social circle because they went Switzerland to the max, I don’t have much faith in what anyone thinks or says in private after hearing my tale.

  • No fun like chumpily it was an EA you discovered then finding out it was a PA…when you stumble across another EA…
    me X you agreed never again!
    X it is not physical like ‘howorker’.
    me [stomach drop] you said ‘howorker’ was not physical
    X spackle…spackle..anger, self pity, charm, anger…

    Posted a TED submission as you per your post Tempest. Tracy has a wonderful way with words and a valuable message to share.

  • It would be interesting to see a poll of chumps. I’d like to know how many consider their cheater one-off, and how many would categorize their cheater as “serial”. It wouldn’t be scientific, but chump nation certainly has the numbers for a reasonable degree of certainty!

  • Serial cheaters should be left but I think one-off cheaters should be left also. I do believe one-off cheaters are real because I am one. I am ashamed of my decisions. I can’t change the past – I can only learn from the crap I did. However I ended up being the one who initiated divorce and my husband desperately didn’t want to. My affair partner and his wife are trying to work it out. In the aftermath of it all, it finally hit me how messed up all of this really is. I can see clearly now how my husband wanted me to stay with him for all the wrong reasons. If someone cheats on you, they don’t respect you. If they cheat on you and never confess or wait a while until the guilt compels them to confess, there is something seriously wrong. There is always something seriously wrong when someone has an affair. I read Chump Lady and IHG to learn and to understand my role in everything. I do know that if I am in a relationship in the future and am betrayed, I will move on even if I’m deeply in love with the betrayer. I’ve been on the side of harming my spouse and there is no reason why he should want to work it out with me. It blows my mind to realize people lie to themselves so much in order to keep a failed relationship going. Move on. Divorce is terribly hard. It’ll hurt but you’ll be better in the long run.

    • “I read Chump Lady and IHG to learn and to understand my role in everything.”

      Normal people can help you understand. You chose to abuse your husband over sustained period of time. Simple.

      “There is always something seriously wrong when someone has an affair.”

      Yes, you’re right. A cheater’s emotional regulation, maturity, empathy and communication skills for starters.

      “If someone cheats on you, they don’t respect you.”


      Your husband is much better off without you.

    • I am here for the exact same reason as you are, Christy. I am getting a divorce. My AP’s partner found us out and apparently he denied nothing when she confronted him, but I can’t even imagine how much he omitted in order to get her to agree to work on it. They are waiting to start couples therapy and it shocks me that she hasn’t walked out on him. He betrayed her daily by having a long-term affair, and he betrayed her many times by how insignificant in his life he made her out to be when she came up in conversation. The only reason it ended was because she found out, and somehow she’s staying. In my mind, the only sane thing for her to do is get out.

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