Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Every Piece of Crappy Reconciliation Advice You Got

The Unicorn of ReconciliationRaise your hands Amazon chumps! If you’re the sort of person who responds to crisis with research, how many reconciliation books did you buy? Is “When Good People Cheat” still gathering dust on your shelf?

I have a job for you. Tell me what unicorn messages you got from the existing infidelity literature. Did you try any “affair proofing” programs and what was the outcome?

What were your feelings when you read these books? Hope? A nagging feeling that this was chump-blaming bullshit? Solace? A mixture of valid relationship advice, but directed to the wrong audience?

I’m doing some crowd sourcing here. I’m pretty sure this is one of the very few places that doesn’t ask chumps what you did to drive cheaters to cheat on you. Or ask you to “own” your part in not meeting their needs. Or doesn’t take the sad, broken sausage approach to “waywards.”

But please give me your own impressions. Bogus quotes, links, and resources if you can. I’m going to be giving a lecture soon (more details to come) and I need to be armed to the teeth with fodder for the Universal Bullshit Translator. Know thy enemy…

Thanks! And TGIF!

(We will return to our usual programming again on Monday. Thanks for the time off.)

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.
  • One of my friends and she meant well asked me when I was pick me dancing, “Have you thought about doing The Love Dare?” We saw the movie together when it was in the theater and it didn’t help.

    I essentially was already doing that! What he wanted and what I was willing to do (He wanted me to quit my high paying, breadwinner job in order to work for the family business so stroke his and his families ego) was two completely different things. He was already balls deep in the affair with Howorker, quitting my job would have put us in bankruptcy. Plus it would have allowed him and his family to continue the identity theft and continue to forge my signature on loans for said business.

    • I have read everything there is to read I first I almost bought the “what part did you play in forcing your spouse to cheat” bullshit.. I had a far shittier end of the stick in this unholy union trust me and I didn’t bang toothless skanks in dirty dank basements like he chose to do…now if I read anything that even attempts to point the finger at me I read no further. I feel 99.9% of that crap is written by cheaters for cheaters and is complete garbage. Love this place..need to be more sites for us by us!

      • I spent A LOT of time on the divorce busting website and am a “veteran” there. Reconciled for a DECADE and he did the same Alaskan adventure shit again, with a humiliating side of Tundra Schmoopie on the side.

        Here is what I USED to believer and tell chumps (I don’t disbelieve it all, but it’s so one sided I shake my head at myself time & time again. Amazing). A few tidbits –

        “While all affairs are wrong, they are not all alike. Most don’t happen in a vacuum.”

        If you know an affair is not a certain deal breaker for you, then don’t snoop/ bring more pain into your life. Besides, you need to do your our own personal work. ”

        “What would your spouse (CHEATER) say about the marital problems if HE/SHE were here? Are any of their complaints valid?”

        “Forgiveness is our way out of hell” – Marianne Williamson

        “Forgiveness is a learned skill. Your spouse may fear that you will hold the affair over their head like the sword of Damacles, or throw it in their face every time you fight. ”

        – “Affairs don’t happen in a vacuum, they happen in context.”

          • waffles,


            If it helps, I’ve figuratively slapped myself in the face a lot.

            • No, please don’t think I meant you.

              More of the it’s all your fault, and here is why ….

              The first few weeks after DD, I was completely blaming myself, as was cheater. If I’d been given that advice, I’d of prolly killed myself (since I was already inclined anyway).

        • They may not happen in a vacuum, but it still depends on character.

          It’s certainly tricky to discern, but I can say the way a “normal” person handles him/herself in a spot on the cheating spectrum will be different from the way someone who is disordered does it. Also, to make matters more difficult, most people who cheat will be of the disordered kind. I would agree that anyone who lets themselves fall on that spectrum is, at least temporarily, disordered/disturbed/has crappy life skills. But context and time will point out the differences. I saw that difference in my own relationship.

          With the disordered, generally the cheating is part of a bigger abuse pattern and in time they will repeat and escalate their offensive behavior, even in the absence of real marital issues. They don’t reform, they just take breaks and at best ditch one type of abuse (like cheating) to favor a different kind. You don’t get remorse in the form of accountability or making amends.

          A non-disordered person may have reasons (like abuse from their partner!) that lead him/her to be more vulnerable to someone preying on them (usually another abuser, because affair partners who know that person is in a relationship are also disordered people) and will quite quickly stop themselves, draw a boundary and respect their partner by either getting out of the relationship or truly committing to staying, which means never again repeating the behavior, as well as not engaging in any other forms of abuse of course. That includes allowing consequences and taking full responsability for however long to do whatever it takes. The disordered just goes in the opposite direction!

          One of the problems with reconciliation advice is that it neglects the existence of abusers/disordered people.
          The advice is directed to people with a relatively normal moral compass, or with the skills to build one. The abuser mentality is much more resistant to change, and the disordered mentality is near impervious to change.
          Also, many parts of that advice is the very voice of abuse (forgive and forget, don’t hold it over your partner’s head, etc.).

          Age/maturity is also a factor. It’s much less likely to see a 50-year old reform than a 20-year old (although the path of being disordered is already quite set at a young age).

          • JGirl

            I do NOT think the RIC believe in or admit that some people cheat. I’m not sure why the RIC is this way and I don’t think they are all crooks just trying to make a buck.

            But some spouses lie and feel entitled to cheat, and that is just how they are. I was loyal and committed to my husband and we went through a lot. Gotta admit, I’m surprised he’s been such a prick, but he has.

            I don’t know all the reasons why my husband lied or why he was so stunningly selfish. I don’t know all of his FOO issues, or when he started the lies or WTF happened. I just know he inflicted a LOT of pain on me and our kids, and none of us will ever be the same again.

            We are healing – thanks in part to NO contact with him.

            No longer matters why he is a bastard. I just want the money he owes me and to move the fuck on with my life.

            Good luck to the unicorns out there. I pray you exist.

      • iM GONNA BE USING YOUR WISDOM A LOT A L O T I have no angel to guide me through this shit

        • Chump Nation has your back lovely Linn Gee, we (and that includes you) are mighty! Hugs to you x

    • My/our marriage counselor asked my STBX if he was mourning his affair partner during a session. I got angry and yelled. There was that “look” between STB and MC that said “she is emotional and hard to deal with.” I felt set up and worthless. The MC suggested another time that I shouldn’t aim any anger at STBX as it would drive a further wedge between us. I wish I had that wedge so I could drive it up her ass. STBX wasn’t trying and was still seeing his piece of work whore. Good God he exposed me to STDS, used our money and emotional resources, lied and forfeited our financial future!

      We have to call out and expose people who act this way not pat them on the head and blame shift. MC did so much damage to me I should sue her for malpractice. I almost did not survive. After he left I had a few nights where it made perfect sense to be dead. I’m not a weak person and these affairs or what ever cute name you want to put on them are serious. They destroy people and families. They cost millions of dollars in therapy, doctors, lawyers. My 3 adult daughters don’t believe in marriage any more or church because of what he did to our family. But STBX praying for me.

      I’ve never hated anyone until him. I never wished anyone dead until him. I wish him an empty, pain filled lonely life.

      Isn’t kinda sad that we have to go to a web site to save ourselves. I’m so grateful for CL because I can say with all seriousness that I would have died if I had not found this site. I’m now in trauma therapy and am doing well. I’m on the down side of a couple of good weeks. Guess what?….I finally saw myself again if only for a little while. So I know I’m in there.

      • Yah, me too, I could also sue the marriage counsellor for malpractice, and I might still. Also, yes!!, “the look” between the marriage counsellor and my spouse!! I said to MC: I thought you were trying to reconcile us?! Why do you pit us against each other?! Going at each other like dogs?! How does that help us reconcile!?

        • Ours did too. She also jumped to massive conclusions – blaming me for being a boring disinterested housewife, when I’ve been the main breadwinner for over thirty years. It later turns out that we work in the same hospital for her day job and was unethical for her to even see us. When I told her that i was the one who worked she branded me as argumentative and immediately blamed me for not appreciating him slaving in the house while I’m out doing the easy job, and being irrationally jealous just because he once had a glass of wine with a tennis partner. He doesn’t do a thing in the house – even leaves his clothes on the floor for me to pick up. I reckon I’m lucky he even flushed the toilet.

          And the “single glass of wine” was a full blown affair that lasted over a year, and consisted of him hardly ever coming home before 2am, and then texting “sweety sweety night nights” – for hours, and included a blow job in the car park caught on the club’s CCTV.

          She told us – to his grinning face – that the right to happiness was written in the constitution and by trying to stop the affair that made him happy I was practically abusing him of his human rights.

          The dumb bitch left me suicidal!

          • GracieD, that is the most abusive, irresponsible MC I’ve ever heard of. Are you sure she wasn’t also an affair partner of your ex? That kind of hateful unprofessional style just reeks of disorder for her.

            I’m so glad you got away and found CN. Hugs.

            • I bought dozens and dozens of IRC books, went to marriage seminars, watched the movie “Fireproof,” tried doing the love dare, tried to light the original match, on and on. I no longer believe that one person can keep a marriage together when the other partner is an entitled liar with multiple addictions.

              But the worst “help” I received was a Christian romance novel that a good friend gave to me which was loosely based on the prophet Hosea’s life. The suggestion was even if my ex was a prostitute, God would want me to love him unconditionally and take him back time after time because look at how Hosea had obeyed the Lord and kept his wife, the prostitute. The book was typical Harlequin-romance level crap—it all turns out lovey dovey perfect in the end. I don’t know why I agreed to read it, other than I was desperate and my good friend was certain she could help save my marriage. But there is a reason this genre has never appealed to me–it’s rooted in fantasy. In the story, the “wayward spouse” whores around, but the protagonist just keeps taking it because it’s God’s will that he suffer in this way and remain faithful. Frankly, this mind crap is the Christian version of porn. And no, I don’t believe in that fantasy.

              • That book is soo crappy and cheesy — and completely unsupportable from any really close reading of Hosea. My sister-in-law gave it to me after my divorce, and I am still not sure what she was trying to tell me.

              • FindingBliss, I’m a Christian but have a problem with how infidelity is portrayed over and over as something a couple can get through with enough forgiveness. I’ve told many Christian friends that I’d like to see a movie where one person does everything possible to save the marriage as suggested by the church, and in the end they don’t end up reconciled. Because that’s what happened to me. The church makes it look easy and like any couple can overcome their issues. They don’t portray what happens when one person does all they can to save the marriage and the other person just doesn’t care what anyone including the church thinks and wants out.

              • There’s a book I found recently that’s called “When Sorry Isn’t Enough” that references the scriptures a lot, and in one passage says something like “when a pastor encourages a woman to forgive a man who won’t reform his behavior, he is asking her something God won’t even do himself”.

                I forget which verse this relates to specifically, but the bottom line is repentance and making amends is a staple requirement to obtain absolution even in Christianity.

              • There’s a reason divorce is allowed when there’s been adultery, and all of us can understand the wisdom of why that is.

              • Of course she was. She risked her professional license seeing you when it was unethical for her to do so. Why else would she do that and then tell you it was the jackass’s right to have an affair? Sheeeesh.

          • Call her up and tell her that she’s a shit marriage counselor as well as a fucking asshole

          • Gracie,

            I just read your post about the “MC” who was so NOT helpful to your shitty marital situation.

            I like to think of myself as a wordsmith, yet I’m left with only one question.


          • “She told us – to his grinning face – that the right to happiness was written in the constitution and by trying to stop the affair that made him happy I was practically abusing him of his human rights.”

            This just sent a chill up my spine. My adulterous ex-husband said exactly the same thing to me and our children. Word-for-fucking-word. It’s like they all share the same brain.

        • gotta give ALL 4 marriage counselors we saw, some credit. Each of them said in one form or another, that the DOCTOR was “thinking like a single man/not considering the other members of the family/not putting his wife first”.

          The DOCTOR asked the Christian counselor why I didn’t “have to obey” him. This was literally the ONLY time he ever quoted scripture, since he knew no other. Too bad for him, the MC pretty much applied the “big picture” and informed the DOCTOR that he “wasn’t looking at the entire chapter.” (I recall that the words freaked me out).

          I continued seeing the MC’s in 2 different states. The DOCTOR did not and when I asked him if he was going to return with me, he said I had “brainwashed them” and b/c I’m “good with words”, their opinions did not matter.

          Look, I know that few if any MC’s can change a disorder bastard. But I did feel validated and sane, afterwards.

          The male MC once told me in private that I was “ripe for an affair” and that I was NOT a “high need wife”, which I somehow needed to know.

          OMG what gas lighting the DOCTOR did to me.

          I may always regret that I let way too much slide and spent way too much energy on maintaining the illusion that my husband was invested in the marriage.

          My eyes are open now. Better late than never.

          • CL

            Not to whine (well, I do mean to whine a little), but I wish we had an edit button. Even if it only lasts a few minutes.

            How else will I show everyone how great I am with words, if I can’t edit? And the DOCTOR said that’s how I “Brainwashed all the marriage counselors into saying (he) was being selfish” – when he insisted we live in Alaska, again…

            Obviously, I need an edit button. Probably no one else does. Just me.

            • No, it’s not just yu (sic!!); there’s been more than one occasion that I would like to have been able to edit a post.

      • I don’t believe in marriage…or marriage counselling. If people want to be married in the sense of the vows they made when they got married, they know what to do. No need to draw a conflicted marriage counsellor into it. Spoonriver – that was not anger – that was your intuition rising up in righteousness because you were being abused. They interpreted it as anger. “Drive that wedge up her ass” hahahahahahahaha.. First and best laugh of my day. Stay strong sister.

        Why is it that when friends betray each other, there is no Friendship Counsellor and when employees betray their employers there is no Employment Counsellor? Employers fire your ass and walk you to the elevator, for alot less than theft of hundreds of thousands, exposure to disease, lying etc. Marriage counsellors are witch doctors peddling snake oil to hopium addicts.

        • Agree a hundred percent!!!! You either are committed or not…no middle ground..not sorta..maybe

      • That’s a tough story. Sorry to hear that and everyone here knows how you feel.

        Cheating and then divorce sucks more for the kids than for the chump.

        We can learn and grow from it and move on, and we don’t have to deal with the cheater so much, if at all.

        Our poor kids have to deal with the cheater and the AP going forward most of the time.

      • I got off topic but my STBX’s therapist gave him a list of books to read on rekindling love (married 30+ years). I ordered them all and read them he did not. I made sure he took them when he left.

        • I’m so glad you survived and are still here to share your story, Spoonriver. You were psychologically tortured by both your ex and that worthless MC. I wish I had that wedge too! I hope your trauma therapy is successful and that you recover your beautiful self once again. I do wish we could sue for damages!

          • You could sue for damages-read about “intentional infliction of emotional distress”. One factor necessary you have-the medical intervention. But be wary of the statute of limitations.

        • Very glad you found CL and are here to testify that marriage counselors can be enablers and abusers.

      • Spoonriver wrote: “I’m not a weak person and these affairs or what ever cute name you want to put on them are serious. They destroy people and families. They cost millions of dollars in therapy, doctors, lawyers.”

        Effin-A, sister! I’m no shrinking violet, but my now-ex-wife’s “adventures” completely gutted me and destroyed our family. And all the gaslighting, lies, deceit and hack therapists merely added galling insult to injury. Looking back at that long path I walked through hell, it’s a wonder I survived!

        Victims of cheaters are people going through immense shock and trauma and are in a weakened and vulnerable state. But what’s almost equally cruel (and evil) as the cheaters’ actions is that the RIC steps in and tells us victims it was somehow, or at least partially, our fault. F the RIC!

        CL & CN are a lifeline for victims drowning in emotional pain, self-doubt and abuse. It’s time for CN to rise up and shine the light of truth on the infidelity blame game and the carnival barkers like E Perel who seek to profit from other people’s misery.

        • Yes, so much of the RIC industry tells the Chump to be strong and detach at just the moment they are weakest and are being made to feel worthless.

      • So Well put. Thank you for writing this. Don’t give up. In our society marriages need to be set up as business contracts.

      • Spoonriver, I’m so sorry that you went through that too. I did make a suicide attempt during a very dark place of despair. Today I’m glad that I had the wrong size of bullets (they were so much smaller they fell straight through the revolver, lol). I didn’t want to die, per se — I just didn’t want to tolerate being in that kind of pain anymore, and it was a relief to realize, hey, I didn’t have to hang around if I didn’t want to. I could just not exist. I hit that point about a month after D-Day, right after one disastrous marriage counseling session when the MC tried to make his affair my fault for being too bossy and for the solution to be him “taking charge” more in our relationship. ………… Sure, that’ll help my self-esteem too (eyeroll).

        • You’re very brave to have come through that and be able to laugh a bit now.
          That counselor was ridiculous and full of it.

        • I too attempted suicide. Chickened out the first time & didn’t take enough pills to overdose the 2nd time. Ended in mental ward both times but the stay felt more like a punishment. It wasn’t that I wanted to die as it was I no longer knew how to live. Other than my therapist, I have told no one of how I tried to kill myself. Here at CN everyone understands & does not judge. I’m 5 years away from my darkest days so no need to worry about me now.

          • Reading these posts makes me think that it is so easy to misunderstand our marriages as “failed.” Their implosion wasn’t a good thing, but in retrospect we can see we never “failed” in them. We succeeded–but our spouse failed. In the moment, suicide attempts might have looked like a “failure,” but of course they weren’t. And it is lovely that you are all succeeding in living. Thanks for sharing your stories. I think this community works because people are so often brave about their pain this way.

        • Hey Effie, so glad you’re still here! Love your tiny bullets story – love you too 😀 XXX

      • I am so you!!!!

        20 years of marriage then Discovery of 10 years of lying and cheating followed by a year of ‘reconciliation’ (his plan was simply to work harder at hiding his other life) followed by a year of divorce drama and I still wish him every ill in the world. I’m having to visualize a huge STOP sign in my head whenever I start to stew on the past. It only eats at my soul and accomplishes nothing. It still sucks but I’m keeping my eyes peeled for the ‘meh’ I know is ahead.

      • Ditto 🙁
        That’s exactly how I feel. My son doesn’t believe in prayer or want to go to church after being in a living church family for 18 years. My oldest daughter has given up on finding someone and plans on just doing foster care. All because their father has no character, ethics, values, or decency. Just a gross, selfish fucking bastard. Who fucked the nastiest whores on the planet- traded a beautiful family for gross fucks.

      • Same here Spoonriver, MC ended with me planning to kill myself, and the Traitor and the Whore discussing my state of mind and suicidality while the Traitor ignored me at home. CL, a VAR, and finding my rage kept me alive. It was so obvious they hated me and had been conspiring against me for months if not years. First it made me want to be dead, but then I just wanted to survive to spite them.

      • I had a friend whose MC had an affair with her (Friend’s) husband during their marriage counseling! Just goes to show that some of the MCs are f-ed up! She sued the MC and receuved a financial settlement but the emotional damaged done to my friend is beyond what money could ever restore.

    • Gaslighted anyone? I was no saint. In fact I could be a flat out jerk. I was led to believe that I was emotionally abusive. To the extent that I ordered the book on how to stop being emotionally abusive. The problem was that I was actually reacting to my instincts on her infidelity… I had even apologized deeply for my ‘abusive’ behavior. I also started meds for anxiety and counseling. All along however, she was carrying on her affairs as usual… Hiding texts, staying out a little later than usual, exchanging glances with co workers, and on and on. I was tricked to believe that my reactions to her cheating were abusive (and she had already cheated before…but thats a whole other story). Yep the paranoia, the controlling tone, the lack of trust, the anger, frustration and irritability. I was going CRAZY!!!! Tricky tricky. So then she felt justified to cheat. It took months of more counseling to realize her piece of the responsibility pie is alot bigger than mine. And Im still working on not blaming myself. Thanks emotionally abusive relationship book. You really messed me up.

      • I know exactly how you feel! He made me feel like I was crazy, paranoid, depressed and should kill my self because I was so worthless and terrible. Just crazy and upset….I wonder why??!!! Living in this crazy fucking house of lies and deception.

      • Panchovilla I’m sorry you were carrying her weight of responsibility for her fuckedupness. It’s a reoccurring theme with these cheaters! I didn’t even know what gaslighting was 7 months ago. Thanks to this site, now I can make sense of many instances of that crazy shit. I hope you are giving yourself grace and mercy for having natural reactions to things that would bring out the jerk in most normal people.
        A few months before my last Dday I remember thinking “I don’t like who I have become. I don’t recognize myself. Am I CRAZY?” I came across verbiage some where (in the many 2am searches) that effectively said “there’s nothing that will make you feel crazier faster than not trusting your instincts.” Yep!

        • “there’s nothing that will make you feel crazier faster than not trusting your instincts.

          That is for sure a keeper!

        • And I failed to mention she got the kids, the house (which we built together), and I have to pay ALOT of money to her every month. Now Im in a 2 bedroom box 20 miles away and she had started dating my neighbor here. Her mom told me I needed to stop feeling sorry for myself and accept my responsibility in all this… what the fuck…?

      • Ah yes, I was told I was abusive too: and that was why he needed to be somewhere ‘safe’. Months of Gaslighting and financial abuse with close to a year of stonewalling from him and is it any surprise that I was emotionally distraught?

        Well thank God for his bs because now I’m free and life has become simpler, calmer, sweeter.

    • **howorker** LOL — I’m sorry for the circumstance but I LOVE your turn of phrase!

  • Every single thing on that bullshit website: Surviving Infidelity was horrible advice.

    • That’s where I learned that my wayward spouse was in a fog and I should do the 180 to help him.

      • Yes, the 180! Where you the faithful spouse do everything under the sun for the sad, wayward cheater, swallow your pride, hurt and resentment and “nice” them back to the marriage because they are the important ones here! Such complete bullshit.

      • I love how they try to minimize the cheaters title… he got lost on his way home from work and took a wrong turn down dirty skank lane and just couldn’t find his way back..

        • LOL best comment, really helped me today, thank you. I took all the blame, his family told him to “follow his bliss” and sometimes soul contracts end and supported his new solo life after 26 years. Affair, cruel discard, and NEVER an apology. Just ran away. Wayward makes me think of this old song… THE WAYWARD WIND

      • Whatever in the hell any of that meant. But that site did wake me up to just how many cheaters are out there. I felt so bad for the people who stayed, waiting for the mysterious fog to roll out. No, there is no fog. There is human agency and we all have it.

        The worst for me advice I got, though, was precisely as stated by Tracy, when I was asked to “own” my part of the affair. Because, of course, my marriage had to have been terrible for him to cheat in the first place. That certainly was news to me. The therapist didn’t want to talk about the affair, she wanted to talk about what “led” to it. Easy-peasy. X was an entitled asshole, who needed that narcissistic payday. Ego, pure ego.

        For me, the ultimate question was not what I had done to “damage” the marriage, it was why I thought so little of myself to stay married to a man who treated me the way he did. That was not viewed as relevant to the reconciliation process, but it damned sure helped the divorce process!

        • Violet, precisely this: “…it was why I thought so little of myself to stay married to a man who treated me the way he did. ”

          Thank you!

        • <>

          Violet, very perceptive. I’m still reflecting on this. I don’t get why the intrusive thoughts about the whole unraveling still hammer me even though I really don’t love him anymore and hope I never see him again, except maybe in court when the judge signs the divorce decree in January. Is it just that the trauma symptoms still need more time to work through? I hope it’s not going to be years of this. Already invested too many years in sunk costs and now I want to fly.

          • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is considered a leading approach for alleviating trauma & PTSD related distress. It is working for me.

            • Spoonriver, I’m glad EMDR is working *for* you, rather than against you. The last marriage counselor my ex-husband and I saw recommended it for me, to help me deal with the stress and anxiety that he thought were contributing to my depression. He totally played right into my ex-husband’s hands, because ex wanted to blame me and my (in his estimation) inadequately addressed depression for all the problems in our marriage. Depressed that then-husband was paying more attention to his best female pal/co-worker (yeah, the OW) and their close-knit group of friends than to me and our two sons? Yeah, that was MY problem.

              Then-husband and I went to the one session with that counselor because within a week or so I was told I was going to be laid off. The counselor was expensive, and our insurance didn’t cover anything related to behavioral health , so we couldn’t afford to go back. Even though I resented the implication that dealing with my depression took priority over getting then-husband to address his shitty behavior, we would have gone back if I hadn’t lost my job. I wanted to see if the counselor was going to keep his word about “calling [then-husband] to the carpet”. I really wanted to see if how that was going to fly.

            • You can find EMDR how to videos on You Tube. Some are far better than the others. I used them and they helped IMMENSELY. Highly recommended. I still use the technique at times of stress or when I’m having trouble falling back asleep.

              I would list the ones I used but the info was in my now deceased laptop…. 😉

          • Yes, it takes a long time to become whole again. I feel like I am there 99.99% of the time. There are times when I wish I had someone to walk this journey with me, particularly when I am facing certain challenges alone. I am not willing to sacrifice my own well-being and peace of mind to have a mate, though.

            It sounds like you are doing what is necessary to heal, and it is the desire to do so that will carry you through. It is perfectly fine to mourn the loss of something that was dear to you (your marriage), while at the same time knowing that you never want to reconcile with your X.

        • Violet

          Your question”…why I thought so little of myself to stay married to a man who treated me the way he did…”is one I have asked myself so many times. I completely forgive myself and don’t go there anymore. I hope you do too.

      • The 180 I think is one of the best things I ever did honestly. After being with an abusive scumbag for so many years I was a socially isolated, angry, self destructive mess. My 180 literally may have saved my life. By the time the reconciliation lost its allure to her, and she started fucking the elderly again, I had changed back to who I was pre skank and was not prepared to let that go for anyone again.

        • Gray Rock isn’t a bad thing if you go into it to protect yourself rather than in hopes that your cheater will want you bad and baby baby come back. Pretty sure that my attempts at the Gray Rock 180 were what led to his final discard of me after the long, slow devalue. When I wasn’t crying or being the pick-me dancer anymore or trying to get him to talk, he wasn’t getting the supply from me that he needed. He decided he must have had his affairs because he didn’t want to be married, I left, and now he has my 19-year-old niece looking adoringly into his eyes, trusting every word he says, and never challenging him on a thing.

            • I actually won her back for about 5 seconds. Looking back it’s clear to me that even the reconciliation industry understands that cheaters are cluster b and that’s why 180 works. You become shiny and new. In fairness on one of the sites, they say do the changes for you.
              Gray rock is also a 180 of sorts too but one that gets them nothing back. Btw the threat to her ns brought about so much rage this morning…..shes such a fucking pig.

              • Can someone enlighten us newbies to the meaning of “the 180”? I know that means an abrupt change, but from what to what?

        • Love this, DunChumpin! I’m glad your personal 180 brought you back to the original you, pre-cheater. They really do a number on us, don’t they? Welcome back! Enjoy your cheater-free life.

          • Thank you bliss. I ain’t free yet, but closer. At least she doesn’t live in my head anymore 🙂

  • I do think the worst was when I went into therapy initially. Why would I make him want to cheat? Really ME? I am the one that was shattered. A Tsunami crashed my world yet I was to accept blame. And worse divorce is not an option. Marriage is for life! And also the 180 bullshit!

    • My counselor through my EAP at work was amazing! I loved her.

      She was the one who point blank looked at me and said,”The affair was not your fault and you were in an abusive relationship.”

        • But the answer to Gone Y is “because he’s a worthless cheater.” You gotta love autocorrect at times.

    • Right! If I had such action-controlling powers to force a poor weak man to do things, wouldn’t I use it to benefit me, not destroy me and the kids? It’s not logical.

      • BAZINGA! Yes we failed miserably at being the controlling spouses they accuse us of being.

        • DivineDoorknobs…
          Do I detect a “12” in your nickname? Love that handle!

      • HollowBunny
        F yeah! What YOU said! I opted out of conjoint therapy this time (Dday3). I don’t care to “explore my part.” My part? I took back the known cheater 26 years ago after Ddays 1&2. Dumbass move! Now I know better. All cured. Yay. Thank you, CL & CN – the only effective antidote to RIC poisoning & hopium addiction.

      • Yes, yes, yes! Thank you for this. He is always telling me I “make him” do things. I tell him I cannot make him do anything. He is almost a foot taller than me and weighs just about twice as much.
        But this makes even more sense. Why would I use my magical controlling “powers” to screw up my own life?

  • I didn’t buy any books. I didn’t see the point. He said he was done. I can’t force him to do anything even being married to him.
    I was broke too. Idiot left bills unpaid and I was still on maternity leave so I didn’t want to charge a bunch of books I knew wouldn’t work.

    I went to the library and they definitely need a few copies of “Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life.” I think I’ll do that to pay it forward to the next chump in my town.

    I told him we were going to follow a reconciliation plan but not reconcile. We have 2 very young children together. I’m gonna have to co parent with this idiot for the next 18 years unless a miracle happens and the devil calls him home.

    I gave up on any sincere apologies or view into his choices. His mind is not rational, none of it would make any sense to me if he did. It’s Pandora’s box.

    Seriously though, we all need to donate copies of Tracy’s book to local libraries!! Poor people like me need to find her book there!

    • Here in Toronto, there’s a form one can fill out in any public library, suggesting books you think the library ought to buy. I imagine that most public library systems have something similar. Perhaps we could make a concerted effort to make requests, all around the world ~ as far as the long arm of Chump Nation reaches ~ to our various libraries. Wouldn’t that be a gift to future Chumps?

      • I’ll do that in my library at Richview. Thank you for the tip, Torontochump.

      • We had the same policy at the public library where I worked (slips for patron purchase suggestions). Direct donations are great, but they can also get rejected or end up in book sales if it’s determined they’re not needed. If enough people request the same book, that would help sway the purchaser too. There is a strong emphasis on what the overall population being served is interested in having at their library when it comes to collection development. …And that concludes my nerd-out.

        P.S. Not sure if Tracy’s book would have gotten patrons (in that community, at least) riled up with all the F-bombs, haha…

    • CheatersKilljoy, I have the same problem with my X asshat, “co”-parenting with this fuckwit for at least the next 16 years (we have a 2 yo daughter). Just when I think his decisions (i.e. hookers before/during/after my pregnancy) were bad enough, he manages to continue right along on his path of idiocy. Yesterday, when I stuck my head into his car to say goodbye to my daughter (haven’t had my head in his car since I don’t know when), and I’m greeted with a wall of cigarette smoke. He doesn’t smoke (to my knowledge), but apparently new chickie does. And when I said something, he half-heartedly pleaded ignorance, followed up by feigned surprise at the dangers of lingering smoke (we’re in our 30s — they lecture you about this stuff now from day one). Totally oblivious to what he’s subjecting our daughter (and dog) to…still. Yup. I’m right there with you, waiting for a miracle.

    • CheatersKilljoy….thanks for suggesting this! A great way to help future fellow chumps. I already gave a copy to the woman in the wine shop I frequent (LOL!). I had just come from kickboxing class, and we started talking about our gyms and how we got into it (anger management over divorce) and I point-blank asked her if her ex had cheated. Yep. So I showed up the next time with a copy of CL’s book. So gratifying to see the ‘light bulb’ moment after a fellow chump begins to ‘get it.’ I want to see that influence multiplied ten times over. The library is definitely one way!

  • “Only take responsibility for your fifty percent of the problem” from my pastor upon learning that my husband had left me with a one week old baby and a toddler while he ran off with his secretary. Much, much later I found out that said pastor had cheated on his first wife and that his currenct wife had been his mistress.

    “have you tried sex?” From my well-meaning mother-in-law two weeks after I had given birth and one week after he left.

    “give the boy some rope” from my cheater dad.

    • MissDeltaGirl, reading that made my heart ache for you. I hope you’re to Meh!

      I’m usually there. Only occasionally fall off the wagon. Saving a seat for you!



      • Glad to hear how well you are doing, MGM. For the record, I’m an “old-timer” here and I’ve been happily remarried for almost 10 years. I come around here to encourage the newbies.

    • Your dad had it partly right. He should have finished with “make him a nice necktie from the rope, and then find a high tree limb and a box. A garbage can will do in a pinch.”

      Hugs. Strength. Peace.

      • Bwahahahaha! That’s not what dad had in mind, but that’s what I ultimately did. Worked out great for me!!!

        • FYI not literally. But the court didn’t take to him not paying adequate support to the kids and me and that hurt him in the temporary support hearing and again in the final settlement. Then he made payments for a few months until the month he remarried. Over the years, he ended up racking up $66K in arrears and a pattern of not taking the kids during his time. I used these points as leverage to “give him the opportunity” to terminate parental rights so that my second husband could adopt the kids and we could move out of state. Worked out great for us! I still allow him contact with the kids and occasional visits so long as the kids want it.

      • Hah!

        My father had already died when CheaterX’s affair came to light. However, he would have had nothing good to say about CheaterX. When I told my family that I was divorcing CheaterX, they called him oathbreaker and collectively turned their backs on him.

        • kb,

          Love your family’s reaction-nothing like a good Quaker style shunning for cheaters !

      • LOL, my first thought too, Aeronaut. Give him some rope, and then give him a nice, tall tree.

      • Yah, what did Chumplady name the parent (mother in this case) who kicked the cheating spouse’s ass? Brunhilda? It was a great article. It says that mama is here to cut through the bullshit when spouse cheats, and give him no slack.

  • I just Googled “it’s unfair but the betrayed partner needs to do most of the work in reconciliation” and reading the first page of the search results made my skin crawl.

    Not on the Internet, but after calmly setting out (in a one on one meeting) to our briefly employed marriage counsellor all the abuse I had suffered – I was told that it’s “OK to stay in a relationship like that” . She was a fricken PhD psychologist. I am minded to report her for her utter disregard for my emotional wellbeing in suggesting abuse is ok.

    RIC fuckwits. They can do more emotional damage than many criminals who get jail time.

    • You have to really wonder what kind of moral bearings these assholes have (marriage counsellors). Did they receive no spiritual and religious training as children? Do they have no knowledge of the importance of marriage to children, to the community, to society, and yes, and to the spouses?

      • Preach, QueenMother! You’re spot on. Maybe the profession appeals to the disordered in the same way marriage does? To give them a cover and appearance of being good or normal? Clearly, there are good and helpful therapists and counselors out there just as there are good spouses and marriages. But it does give the disordered a good place to hide.

        • I know of one psychology major who beat her then-husband. When her three year old child’s behaviour was annoying her, she said, “Oh, [name], just stop being you.”

          She has worked with vulnerable people: the elderly, the developmentally delayed. I shudder to think … I think psych fields definitely attract the disordered.

          • OW to my STBX was a 23 year old (to his 45 years) who was getting her masters in mental health counselling with a focus on marriage and family therapy. She was screwing a married man with a family while his wife was pregnant. And now she is licensed to counsel couples and children. That is messed up.

            • Predators go where the prey is (e.g., child molesters go into teaching, coaching, scouting, the clergy).

    • That quote made my eyebrows ride up to the back of my head!
      Speaking of criminals, I’d much sooner hand my wallet over to some meth head than my soul to anyone who is not capable of handling it with care! Yet the first one ends up in jail, the latter sleeping soundly in their bed at night.

  • I bought a lot and there were bits of good and bad in all of them. Just the act of trying to “fix” things was healing (It led me to this site in its early days.) One book that did resonate with me was Transcending Post-infidelity Stress Disorder (PISD): The Six Stages of Healing” by Dennis C. Ortman. I found it very helpful. For me recovery was/is a spiritual journey and once I worked my way through the anger (it’s still there but no longer dictates my thoughts and actions) I saw it as a wake-up call to begin taking care of myself again. (I liken my own experience to Ulysses in the land of the Lotus-eaters.) Everybody’s journey will be different…

    • Funny, while the crap lead you to this website, it caused me to resist coming here the first couple months after I found it because it was negative and wreckonsilliation demands you be 100% positive to make up for all the awful things you did to cause the cheating. I must have been caught in the fog too!

      • Well, I came the week following DDay, and had to leave because the cheaters here seemed so horrible. I was under the impression then that mine had been weak, only that, even if he had stopped loving me and decided to leave me. It was only later, with the things he said, and how he went to the country of his cousin-whore to live with her, with me waiting for him to decide, that I started to see he was one of these monsters, although not a cluster B.

      • Yes. Same story here. I avoided this site until it got to the point where I realized I needed to get divorced because the limbo I was in hurt too bad. That’s when I started coming here because I knew this crowd would keep me on track.

      • I had the opposite happen! Had I found this website two years ago, I would have saved myself some time and pain.
        I don’t remember what I was googling (something about cheating) I came across CL’s column about the TFC (Timid Forest Creature) and it framed my ex irrevocably.
        I was looking for clarity on what I was dealing with, to know if I should stay or go.
        The magic word “entitlement” made my brain click and lit up like a slot machine!

  • My therapist absolutely was pedaling the notion that I could stop him from leaving. Dress sexy, break out some new sex moves, don’t upset him! Play the part of a wife he would want to stay with. Paint a picture for him where his future of staying with me is one of peace and not punishment. Swallow every bit of excruciating pain. Appeal to his sense of family responsibility. In other words, lie down and get abused some more!

    She never questioned, or encouraged me to question that reconciliation was a worthy goal. She never asked me, why in the world would I want someone who would treat me like this?

    Worst thing? She encouraged me to involve the kids in the pick me dance. So it became the Pick Us dance. She had me get the kids make him homemade birthday cards with pictures and heartfelt notes. And what was he doing on his goddam birthday while they were making these cards? That’s right, fucking his shmoopie. He came home from an exhausting day with her, spent about 20 minutes with his kids, and fell asleep.

    So this therapist (and I hate to pick on her, she was a well-intentioned loving person), this educated professional therapist is routinely counseling women to do the pick me dance. I remember her telling me stories of other failed reconcilliations, a whole group of cheaters she was unable to change with her magic words. Well imagine that.

    I wish I had found your book sooner Tracy (this was all two years ago), though I doubt I would have listened to you. I was so pathetically desperate, and this therapist was telling me what I wanted to hear, that I could save my marriage. I don’t know what’s more ridiculous: The notion that I could save my marriage, or that I should want to….

    • Also should mention she was my therapist but also trying to play marriage counselor. Yeah that was never a good idea

      • Struggling
        Your counsellor was not well-intentioned at all. She was intending to diminish your equality in a personal relationship. That’s what she thought was good enough for you. She was intending to sacrifice your self-esteem in exchange for hope. She thought that grovelling was good enough for you. She was intending that you sign up for a buffet of shit sandwiches for the rest of your natural life. She did not have your best interests at heart. Oh – and she took money from you for saying all this.

        • Well, this is a fair assessment. Chumpy of me to defend her, I know! I have a very difficult time not being a chump. I’ve been a chump my whole life. Every relationship. It’s pretty bad, such a habit, my knee jerk reaction is to trust and see the best in people. Wish I could cut that shit out

      • That just breaks my heart–for your kids. Kids are sorta resilient, but they are so hurt by being rejected by a cheater. It isn’t the natural order of things, to have a so-called “parent” put his or her wants ahead of a child’s (no matter how old) needs. Oh, the cheater rationalizes that the child can’t be happy unless the “parent” is happy, but we know the deal. The child’s concerns are a complete afterthought. Or they rationalize that kids are resilient, and the cheater isn’t rejecting the kids–they’re only rejecting you–but that often isn’t borne out by reality, either, sadly. (Or the cheater stays on, but only to use the kids as props or to torture the sane parent, or as emotional crutches, inappropriately, and in a further damaging way.)
        How tragic, to give kids–vulnerable, impressionable kids–the false and damaging hope that if only they do something vague and unknown and impossible JUST right, then maybe the walk-away “parent” will be able to love them. Maybe if they just smile and behave and make their needs small enough, they will be worthy of love. I am resilient enough to reason after so many years of trying that this is so many ways wrong, but will my adult children really ever recover from that rejection? It’s ongoing, too, as their father distances himself further. I wish their father would get mental health treatment. I’m actually beginning to be concerned that he is isolating himself and may be tortured inside like so many mid-life men are who go off a different deep end. Part of me actually hopes he is at least content and pacified, even if he is selfish.

        • I can relate to so much of what you just said. Ex does not and has never intended to discard his kids, and yet, they are not really the priority they should be. He put and is still putting time, energy and resources into a relationship that is of no benefit to the kids. They feel that and they can’t help but also notice that he is being friendly with Schmoopie’s kids too. No matter how many times he tells them they come first, it’s hard for them not to feel replaced as well. He has no idea of the damage he is doing to his relationship with his kids.

          I also feel sorry for him sometimes despite the fact that he deserves whatever he has coming. It’s just all so pathetic and sad. He had so many other options but he just keeps choosing wrong and digging his hole deeper.

        • If he’s half the narc he sounds like, mental health treatment will not happen. Never. NPD is really untreatable and permanent, but no one ever tells that truth because our society really doesn’t like to admit the existence of incurable disease and we collectively do not comprehend personality disorders. The part of your comment where you say you are concerned for him? Please consider this the legacy of his abuse of you. It’s showing you where you need to love yourself more. Narc men with sparkle and or money are never isolated. It’s in his interest for you to feel such authentic, lovingkind concern for him though— please keep that in mind. Your goodness shows through in this comment, be careful you aren’t still projecting your own goodness on to him as you did for years when you were married.

    • In what world does an intelligent/educated therapist think that you can control another persons behavior?

      • That was the very first thing I learned from my brilliant first therapist. “You can’t control other people.”

  • I remember laughing when I saw people on the internet advertising “magic potions” to bring back your cheating spouse. Now, I think why not? It would be just as effective as all the other advice for wreckonciling with the disordered.

    • Feeling it, I think you’re right — in fact the “magic potion” might work better since it would take magic to change these disordered characters.

  • Here are a few words of “wisdom” our therapist told me
    – Learn his love language, because that will help him to stop cheating
    – That he is going through a difficult time and it is hard for him to keep up 2 personas, I need to give him time
    – Allow him 6 months to figure everything out
    – Learn my part in how I led him to cheat

    Yep there are other key points, but those are the ones that killed me. 2 months of this crap and I said adiós and was done.

    • Yes, indeed, I have heard well enough of the Love Languages thing. I’m not saying it has zero merit, but it’s totally irrelevant to cheating, right up there with Mars/Venus and all the other “seek to understand rather than to be understood” stuff. Band aids are great for small cuts but not for broken arms.

      • Exactly, cheating is a whole different animal!

        My counselor said give it 1 year. I started the full on pick me dance which I realized I had actually unknowingly started months before day because he was treating me like shit and I thought it was my fault. I was done trying at 5 months and went greyrock and no contact as possible and by 9 months had to file.

        • Same timeline. 19 weeks of pick me dancing and trying to “fix” the moving targets that he put on my back.

          Surviving infidelity (Tim, thank God your wife left you), Marriage Builders (takes 2), after the affair (one prophetic sentence to the cheaters who probably never read this, mine didn’t: if you spend all your time and energy on the affair partner you will likely find your wife gone if you return…yup!)……

          It was so hard to put down the hopeium pipe….no contact is the only path to truth and light.

      • “Band aids are great for small cuts but not for broken arms.”

        Love this.

    • “Learn his love language, because that will help him to stop cheating”

      My cheater brought up love languages…which…yeah…does not get at the problem that you CHEATED. So I’m supposed to believe that if I hug him more, he would stop getting “hugs” from hookers? As they say in Jerry McGuire, you had me at hookers.

      • The X bought a copy of the love languages book for every wedded couple he knew. He never read it (why would he think of how to better relate to another person? That would require empathy!). He knew it made him look thoughtful. Nothing matters more to him than how he looks in the eyes of others. Everyone else but me.

      • Cheating is the 5th love language, it means “I don’t care about you at all. I just care about myself”.

  • The marriage counselor advised that I start having sex with my husband as soon as possible even though I had not yet been to my post-partum check up or been tested for STIs. I was so shocked and sickened. He had unprotected sex during his affair with his boss while I was pregnant with our second child. He came home and had sex with me. My water broke at 34 weeks so she came early but was fine. (No clear explanation why my water broke so early. There was some kind of infection in the membranes…) I found out about the affair when she was 3 weeks old. Her sister was 3 years old. I cried most times we did have sex for the better part of a year. I stayed in the marriage for almost four more years. I filed after DD #3 with coworker.

    • “I cried most times we did have sex for the better part of a year.”

      *hugs* I was there too, JustdoneJess. It’s not a good place to be, and probably turned me off to any intimate contact for a while. With the adjustment to motherhood/hormones, the knowledge of what he had done, how much it hurt, and how much effort it took to hold back the reality of the situation (i.e. that the relationship was over), it was just too much.

    • Similar here … ripped the stitches after baby #2 because I had to be a “good wife” and had sex far too soon. Then, pre-term labor with baby #3 … similar problems. Ahhhh … damnit. These assholes can ruin the most beautiful things in life. 🙁

      I also cried a lot during and after sex (silently) near the end of the marriage as I was just starting to unravel his shit. STBX pulled the rug out entirely for me on the subject. Hopefully it will get better, but after everything he put me through and what I’ve discovered lies underneath the mask (he’s one sick dude), even the idea of sex repulses me now.

    • Sex you don’t want is always interpreted by your body as a sexual assault — always, even if you choose to do it when you don’t want to. That’s why it leaves you traumatized and responsive to triggers.

      We should never have to make ourselves have sex. If you are doing this to yourself now, I hereby give you full permission to get out of that situation with all of your integrity intact.

      Would you ever, in a thousand years, want any person to have sex with you for any reason other than that s/he completely wanted to do so? Of course not. No reasonable person would ever want that from, or with, you.

        • Yes it is, so let’s repeat it. Copy this if you need it:

          “Sex you don’t want is always interpreted by your body as a sexual assault — always, even if you choose to do it when you don’t want to. That’s why it leaves you traumatized and responsive to triggers.”

      • Oh my gosh! Thank you so much for sharing this! Reading your first paragraph was a “holy shit” moment for me. That’s it! That’s exactly it. Nearly every single part of me was reacting to having “unselfish” sex with him as abuse. Of course it would! You just threw a bright light on the reactions and triggers I’m still having. My body was responding to ongoing assault! I wish someone had explained it like this to me 3 years ago. Thank you!

        • This is why many chumps really NEED therapy, but with an expert on trauma and recovery. First, they recognize trauma instead of denying it. Second, they know how to help us recover.

      • I am glad to help whoever this helps. I, too, wish I had learned this so much sooner in my life. So, now it’s one of the gems I try to pay forward. The concept was a total game changer for me. Hugs to you all.

      • Your comment was like a light coming on! You are so right! It is sexual assault to your body and mind- forcing yourself to have sex with your cheater so he will stay or not be mad …..or to appease his sickening behaviors,..
        It makes me feel like throwing up and just gross…I hope that goes away someday.

  • I didn’t read any of those books, but the ex husband was BIG into the verbage–“I have been acting out”, “I suffer from an addictive personality” were my personal favorites…two statements that may be entirely true, but that he said with an air of “it’s not my fault so you cannot get upset and must forgive me or you are just a bitter bunny!” Also, it stank of “I’m the REAL victim here!” Absolutely no real accountability or remorse. I think he may be a true cluster b because he really has no authenticity when it come to his character….it’s like he thinks it’s not even him…he believes his own smoke and mirrors of being a good person but then does horrible things to people and is a pathological liar.
    His parting words in writing were that he knows that he is a good person even though I may not believe it…my bitter bunny retort: “Your character is a measure of your behavior so you have shite character.”

    • Cheaters make the decision to cheat knowing the risks involved, One of the most obvious risks is divorce and destroying their family. Cheating is well thought out even before they find their prey. Making conversation, being charming, to the act itself takes effort and careful planning. The marriage at this point is over.
      Marriage, family, kids, a lifetime of memories no longer have value.
      Nejla, X was also big into verbage, X, he was seriously concerned for my mental health. He almost had me convinced that I had something to be concerned about. A pathological liar, and clearly a textbook narcissist/ psychopath/sociopath.
      X constantly lectured me on his character and integrity of which he has neither.

      • Nejla, One afternoon in tears, I questioned X regarding stories that weren’t adding up, after discovering he had lied I questioned his dishonest. I said I thought you were a man of integrity.
        (a line he often repeated) his response, “Brit, I’m comfortable knowing my integrity is intact.”

        Evidently he’s also delusional.

        • Wow! He sounds as awful as mine;)
          I have been thinking about this post because I know “codependent no more” is not a RIC book, but it made me feel like shit when I read it because although I was married to an addict, he lied so much I was in the dark about it and the cheating. How am I enabling something that I don’t know anything about?! But when I read George Simon there was a page that described us chumps perfectly. There were several different qualities like the “over intellectualizer” or “naive” qualities that chumps tend to have. The way he worded it did not make me feel like I was somehow responsible which is how I felt a bit reading the “codependent no more” book.
          I do accept that there was a dance going on in which he fucked up repeatedly and I tried to fix it all while making excuses for him based on what he told me. SO, I may have been naive to believe him when the behavior wasn’t adding up to how he portrayed himself and then over intellectialized the bad bahavior (bad childhood, depression blah, blah, blah).
          Thank God at over a year out from DDay, I am making strides and his abuse is starting to look like it is in the distance. And, who the duck cares what they say! He know well enough to not talk to me anymore;) I wish that for you too, brit!

          • Nejla, I read the ‘codependent no more’ book as well. Made me feel like shit but I did recognize my want to “fix” things for others when I need to focus on myself. And if I remember correctly, it seemed to indicate codependency was a need to control outcomes?? I keep hearing about George Simon. I need to check it out. My STBX (I refer to him as The Tweaker) is an addict as well and it brings another level to the trauma and recovery (in addition to the lies, cheating, gaslighting and abandonment). Did you have children together? How do you help a child’s relationship with what appears to be a functional addict? I say functional bc he can hold a job and people that know him (on the surface) wouldn’t suspect the drug use but the hair follicle test says otherwise.

            • It’s very hard with my little one because she isn’t age appropriate to discuss substance abuse. I have told her when she asked that her dad has some problems that he needs to get help for…She has asked if “daddy drinks drugs” and I told her that he did but I don’t know if he does anymore. She is convinced he doesn’t because schmoopie tell him to be good. Ugh. …also, I had NO idea he was using cocaine throughout our 10 years although I did know that he had gone to rehab for it before we met.
              Once I found out about the cheating (also had NO clue) and the drugs, I filed without telling him. In the settlement, X had agreed to take 4 drug tests after the divorce to prove he was cleaning up his act…he has yet to do one hair follicle test 9 months after signing on the dotted line. I was advised to just keep documenting and asking him for results every month. I have told him that because of this I do not trust him enough to travel with the little one out of the country (he is not from this country) and he hates me for it.
              I have absolutely no clue about whether he still uses but he has shown up to parenting time very hung over, so I doubt he is clean. It truly sucks. I am worried a lot of the time especially his driving which is terrible/road rage, past DUI and suspensions because of high points. I have no choice. His schmoopie is keeping him stable for now because my kid tells me he doesn’t yell as much or get so mad anymore. And, I made sure to put in the settlement that he and schmoopie are not allowed to drink around her…obviously I have no control over it, but he is showing up now (when he first left, he barely showed up for 6 months.)
              I get therapy to help me parent a child who has a substance abuser as the other parent and I will explain to her later, but itbis the hardest part of all this. The little one has a right to her own relationship with X and I have a right to no relationship with X AND to protect her from his bad choices.

          • Nejla,

            Did you want a divorce after DD#1? Or did you forgive him till he did it again? I apologize I am new the the Chump World.

            • No, I had no idea that he was a cheater until I accidentally found out about the last one just checking a phone bill (79 page bill-54 pages with one number.) I got 8 years of phone records and crazily looked up all the numbers I didn’t recognize…although it isn’t a smoking gun, that along with all the behavior over the years (working overnights all the time, driving friends home from work and then staying out all night but couldn’t call because “the phone died”-heck, in the beginning he would stay out overnight not answering my frantic calls-I had an infant at that time!-and his excuse was he had a few drinks and didn’t want to drive-“this is how they do it in england, nej! My sisters stay out overnight all the time! You are such a prude!”) I figure he was doing it from day one. He had already left me and my kid because “he has a right to be fucking happy”. He was staying (I thought) with a guy friend. Total bullshit. Once I phoned a couple Switzerland friends to ask what the heck was up, they told me that they couldn’t believe that I didn’t know he was an active drug user. I was absolutely shocked and had no idea. But, it really made all the weird behavior make sense-how he never had any money and I was responsible for most everything even though I made much less…I’m sure you know that if you are married to a user..I went totally no contact and filed. He left a ton of messes for me to clean up alone, but I’m glad he is gone. He got himself a Mercedes, a 20 year younger girlfriend appliance, went bankrupt and goes on fancy vacations AND after blowing off my kid for 6 months is now the quintessential Disney dad. He will never change. It’s all about how he is perceived.
              SO, to answer your question…I never believed in divorce until I realized I was married to a complete conman who only was with me because I was of use. A mirage. I am so much calmer and happier now.

              • Nejl,

                I am really sorry to hear about everything you went through. Mine is still very fresh and he is going back to the OW. All he did was lie and gaslight for 5 years. When I wrote the letter to the OW and her parents, he got mad at me and told me he was done and our relationship was over because I crossed the line and all I did the entire time was threaten and control. Narcissists have to be in control at all times. When they aren’t they leave you.

        • These idiots redefine ‘integrity’ to mean ‘being authentic’…meaning ‘free to be their true selves enjoying ‘twu wuv’ without a shred of remorse. On the contrary, a total LACK of integrity can allow someone to cheat, lie, steal resources, shit on their spouse, family, spread diseases, gaslight, traumatize, abandon, etc. etc. But in mind of a disordered fuck, all of that is just collateral damage in pursuit of self actualization.

          • Yes, it all comes back to the Esther Perel…”pursuit of self actualization”;)
            It’s just all too sophisticated for little ole me.

        • Thank you NOREGRETS for sharing this article! It hits home hard.

          Hugs to you and stay mighty! I had 21 yrs (14 married) invested with a covert narcissist. I always thought narcissist were loud and obvious – boy was I wrong!

          • NotaddictedChump

            Why do we stay? They promise they will change and you catch them in so many lies. Funny when you catch them they blame you and say you are threatening and controlling. God, if I only walked away. Now you live with no respect and no trust. Why do you stay????

        • Excellent article although very very triggering and difficult to read– too close to home.

          • Mother Chumper

            I am so sorry I hit a trigger that affected you. It was truly not my intent. Seeing that article triggered many things for me. I wish I had left him sooner. Now the OW can live it out with him. He has reached out to me since October 14th to tell me he’s done.

            • I meant he hasn’t reached out to me since August 14th and that is when he said it was over and he was done.

    • Oh yes, my X latched onto the psychological vernacular like it was his miracle get-out-of-jail-free cure-all. His shitty childhood led to his dissociative disorder, so, because it’s a mental condition, I couldn’t possibly be mad at any of the shitty things he did while he compartmentalized his “good” life over here while he fucked prostitutes over there, and vice versa. They are so delusional and anyone thinking any of that is “okay” makes me nauseous.

      • Omg! Yes! Blech!!! I am so glad to be rid of the constant talking about how HAARD his life was!

    • One of the best statements I heard–here–that helped me put his contradictions in proper perspective was Dr. George Simon’s line … It’s not that they don’t see; they just disagree (close paraphrase).

      My STBX loves to think of himself as a good person, but his most intense rages have come when I point out the discrepancy between how he wishes to be perceived and WHO HE REALLY IS (via his actions).

      Near the end, (for the millionth time over two decades), I explained — in the most basic language possible — that lying was unacceptable. I laid out the reasons (he agreed). I laid out the consequences (he agreed). He cried and gnashed teeth with his “remorse” and expressed his OWN pain for having hurt me and our children yet again.

      … and within one week, I caught him lying AGAIN. A new lie. To get what he wanted and to avoid my disagreement.

      He knew EXACTLY what he was doing. Fucker.

  • My mom and dad asked me what did I do to make him cheat. That, by the way, is their explanation for my dad’s cheating on my mom more than 15 years ago. She was doing a master, had two teenagers, taking care of my sick grandparents at their home, and doing everything at our home. And he felt “abandoned”. But of course, the solution wasn’t say something, nah. That would have removed my dad’s excuse to fuck another woman and have 2 children with her (and he adopted her first one).

    So they asked me what did I do. When I didn’t confess and exploded in rage, they stopped. But my mom told me I needed to take distance to avoid being even more hurt by his active affair with the cousin-whore, heal, learn to be happy by myself, so when he leaves the fog and returns, my love would be intact. My dad told me I needed to have a child with the asshole, for that “brings people closer”.

    I could not understand how they are so fucking stupid. Of course, I understand they would not be together if she asks for any accountability like we do here. He is the son of an alcoholic batterer and my family is super messed up. They are extremely conservative, so their reconciliation fits their world view. And while I believe he is sincere in his efforts to be with her, so I’ve called him an unicorn several times, he would not pass any Chump Nation test. Nor mine.

    • My family and I are extremely conservative and, trust me, reconciliation in no way fits our world view. My parents were both deceased when DD struck, but one thing that helped get me through the Pick Me Dance Stage phase and to the I’m Leaving moment relatively quickly, was remembering what they’d always taught me: that cheating was a red line that, if crossed, absolutely meant the end of the marriage.

  • I went to many websites, boards and blogs. Some websites were good and some were just fooey. I also came here but I was still buying the fog theory. I read Dr. Glass Not just Friends but all of it was common sense to me. I have excellent boundaries. I’m a hard person to get to know b/c of them. So I didn’t get too much out of her book.

  • Rejoice Marriage Ministries. com. I bought all the books and most of the cds. It was horrible. I “stood” for the marriage for over a year believing that’s what God wanted me to do. I was hospitalized twice barely making it out alive. I had a sociopath abandonment cheater and no chance from the beginning. I just didn’t know it.

    And this is the honest truth: I got better and became a force to reckon with when I found THIS website! Now the only book I have is Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life. I have a box of them in my trunk and I pass them out every time infidelity comes up in conversation or people ask about my story. No more hospital visits. Not on my watch!!

    • You are mighty, StartOfSomethingGood! Awesome idea to hand out copies of Tracy’s book – I’ll have to start doing that!

    • If you can comment, what was the trigger in your heart that led you to turn away from the covenant? I guess I’m not asking what the other person did or didn’t do, but what made your decision?

      • For me it was a more than one thing.

        1) I read “Love Must Be Tough”. I picked it up because I thought it was about disciplining children. Could not put it down because it sounded so much like my marriage. My eyes were beginning to open.

        2) I told my pastor of the abuse and asked his blessing to leave. He said if someone is abusing another, they are abusing the image of God in the other. And if your life is in danger then yes, you must leave.

        3) I came across the book “Redemptive Divorce”. You may want to check it out.

        4) I prayed for strength to leave. God opened my eyes to the reality of my marriage and that opened the door to anger. Not vengeful anger but primarily the type of anger aimed at injustice. It is very painful, but I asked for the strength to leave and this is what I got.

        I know my very conservative parents will turn their backs on me when I file. I will lose friends and some family. But I genuinely feel this is what God wants me to do.
        I’ve prayed about it intensely and received an unquestionable “yes, you must leave”. I even set out the fleece just to make sure the answer was from God and not myself. Got another strong “yes”.

        It is incredibly difficult when your tradition, family, and subculture tells you to stay in the marriage no matter what. I know. But that’s my story. I hope it helps. Pray earnestly with an open mind and you will know what to do.

  • While in counseling with douchebag, the therapist suggested:
    1. Stop obsessing over what happened
    2. Dress “sexy”- “you know, like when you two first met”
    3. Make time for sex

    Ugh, now I need a shower.

    I was in graduate school at the time, studying to become a therapist. There are some really bad practitioners in my field. I would never, as a counselor, suggest these things to a client. I would tell him/her to listen to their gut and physiological responses.

    • Here is my confession that I can never speak aloud. After dday when I was furiously pick me dancing, I was seducing him for sex (ewwwww…….!) and I said do you want to punish me- have punishment sex (something like that). And he said “YES!” How sick is that?

      I had felt like sex was violent for the last few years and frequently found myself praying for it to be over. Now I know why. Oh I hate him!!!

      • I was seducing mine, too, don’t feel like you’re crazy because of that. I remember feeling like I’d do almost anything, to get him to care about me again! Crying and agonizing over a glittered turd. Then, he loved it- two women performing for him daily. Yes, it’s very embarrassing to think about now. I actually think it’s pure evil, to do that by tricking partners with love and attention, and then drop it straight down into the gutter. It’s a view of sex as filth, and he needs a ton of therapy, which he’ll never get!
        I also bought into that love-bank stuff, I forget the website, and I was cooking favorite foods, never questioning anything, giving him smiles and massages…. trying to fill up that love bank! It took away all my humanity, it was so false, because I was in emotional agony (we had been together 32 years).
        Screw those fake RIC people, who don’t even want you to have human rights!

        • Look up hysterical bonding. It’s very common. I did it too and felt ashamed until I researched it and understood what was happening. Had never been so horny in my life! I couldn’t NOT have sex with him every day or I’d go mad, until that urge wore off. It was really just animal instinct, a primitive pair-bonding hormone thing, laying claim to your mate. If he were just a normal stupid guy who fucked up instead of a fucking narcissist, it probably would have worked if pursued along with work on communication, boundaries, etc. etc. But he didn’t want fidelity, he wanted cake and ice cream.

          • I had that too. What an unholy experience.

            When I felt the compulsion, I googled it and wrote to CL. It’s mix of revulsion and super horny. Sure, you could get off by doing the deed with the creep, but I felt the action would be soul crushing, AND I would have a 100% more emotionally and physically rewarding experience by having sex with a random stranger. However, I was still married to asshat and doing that would make me as base as him.

            So yeah, I am better than that fucker- my affirmation because he always tried the mindfuck of wanting perfection. Perfection in a relationship to me equates to honesty, loyalty, respect, trust. Cheaters aren’t capable of that by the fact they CHEAT.

          • I am a very balanced introspective person so looking back the “hysterical bonding” stage where my libido suddenly spiked to “teenage boy” levels is one of the most bizarre parts of the experience.

            I was trying to reclaim him (and thus the intactness of my family) in the most observable, physical way possible. It is so odd though that it rose in me with no conscious decision to do so and was it was something physical that I felt in my protoplasm.

            In the moment, I could not have been convinced to abandon that pursuit..I overlooked his abuse and abandonment and became the Queen Unicorn.

            • I had the exact same response, which seems revolting now, and it was combined with so many other unique responses such as rumination, obsession, 25% body weight loss with effort, sleeplessness, extreme energy (almost a mania) and a lot of daily crying and wailing/sobbing/screaming and falling to the floor in utter agony, but then being able to fake-function–get dressed, do hair/make up, cook, shop, go to work. But I could not read, watch tv, socialize, focus on work….. bizarre bizarre bizarre
              Thank God those dark days ended

          • I had the hysterical bonding thing going too and it was torture because I was so horny and he was refusing me. “I just don’t feel that way about you right now”. “That’s just not where we are”. He was too busy lusting after Schmoopie and that just made me feel worse and inadequate, etc. etc. The night he decided to move out he was suddenly horny for me and the thought of saying no didn’t even enter my head. I was actually “happy” afterwards because even if it didn’t fix everything I thought we had finally at least broken through his sudden lack of desire for me. Nope, the next day it was right back to “That’s just not where we are” and “I feel like I am lying to you if I kiss you”. About two weeks later he was trying convince me that if I let him continue seeing Schmoopie before he moved out, he would go to individual counseling. I said no to that, but I actually proposed that if he gave me another night (with lovemaking) I might consider it. My thought was that all I had to do was get him to desire me again and he would realize he didn’t need her so much. He refused. I feel so ashamed of even having suggested that now. So much humiliation.Honestly I am not an unattractive woman. Of course he continued to see Schmoopie anyway and didn’t go to counseling either. I wish I had just kicked him to the curb the day I found out about Schmoopie.

            • Chumpinrecovery, you are mighty and I hope you don’t spend another second feeling humilated by the animal instincts that drove you. Forgive yourself. It was your cheater who put you in that abject position and now you’ve got yourself out.

        • FreeWoman, I did the same thing!! cooking all his favorites, not questioning where he’d been, house perfect, candle light all over the house, a smile plastered on my face.
          I also read to thank him for little things he did. I was thanking him for opening the door to let the dog out.., complement your spouse, so what did I do? “Did you get a haircut? nice hair cut” “I can tell you’ve been working out, especially your arms.”
          I could go on, I’m embarrassed that I was brought to that level. In our defense we made a commitment when we married and held on to that thinking they loved us as much as we loved them.
          They abused our trust.

          • Yup !

            Become a robotic Stepford wife/husband who adores one’s spouse and has no needs of one’s own. Become totally selfless

            F*ck that noise

      • another of your posts that strikes a familiar chord Feelingit. X got into watching porn and it seemed that it inspired less caring more aggressive talk and actions too. Seems like another way that the disordered show a lack of empathy and reciprocity.

        • TMI but favorite for stbx was doggie style in front of a mirror. Says it all: Dominance and look at me!

          • The few months before dday, ex insisted on doggie style only & it annoyed me. Looking back he probably didn’t want to see my face because he wanted to imagine the face of his OWhore. Makes me ill whenever the memory surfaces.

            • So – I may get put on moderation for this but “Bad Joke Time”

              Why do Americans like to do it doggie style?


              So they can both watch TV!

              (takes a bow – actually from a novel by Nicholas Monsarrat)

        • Turns out mine had been watching porn daily — after I went to bed and while he was at work — for decades. I never knew.

          It’s shocking how well he played “dumb” when it came to computers. He would even to ask me help him search for fast food numbers, etc. — because he just didn’t understand how those contraptions worked! Seriously, this STBX had a master’s in gaslighting. Asshole!

          But, definitely, he became more aggressive sexually over the years. I always thought my doubts and insecurities were from being abused as a kid. NOPE. In hindsight, I can see where he was objectifying the heck out of me. I just didn’t have the information to put the puzzle pieces together.

          BTW: when I discovered the decades of porn on our computers, I realized his “go-to” porn was violence against women.

          • What an asshole!!! And after knowing your history. Complete predator! I am so glad you are away from that sicko. Mighty!!!!

    • What I don’t understand about this angle my X was also trying to take is…I’m not a “sexy” dresser/persona, etc. I never was. So…how was I supposed to be something for you now that I never was anyway? He knew what he was getting. Not my fucking problem.

      • Yes. Ex wanted a cross between June Cleaver and Glam Girl and instead he married me. I never pretended to be either of those things. I thought he actually loved me for who I was. Turns out he just thought I had potential.

  • Before he admitted to anything but the emotional affair, the marriage counselor recommended ‘just doing things for HIM’ ( hand jobs).

    To make him feel loved.

    After finding out about the harem, different MC could only comment on how sad I looked.

    I read ‘When good people have affairs’. Well, I tried to. I got really angry, put it down, and read ‘Why is it always about YOU ‘ and then’Leave A cheater, Gain a life ‘.

    I found the latter two to be far more helpful than the first.

    • I have no idea how an educated, licensed therapist could possibly think such suggestions are helpful or valid. What the actual fuck.

  • A therapist gave me a xerox copy of an instruction sheet that was typed on a typewriter in the 1980’s and had actual hand drawn stick figures demonstrating techniques for sex with someone with ED and/or premature ejaculation issues. All this for the low, low price of $180.

    Absolutely none of those issues applied, at all. But the therapist said I should give it a try anyway as it would help “increase intimacy”. I really wish I would have kept that sheet, it was fucking hilarious.

    • The thing that always bothers me about these so called advisor’s, especially about providing sex to “increase intimacy” is that they don’t understand THERE IS NO INTIMACY with these freaks. They regard sex as some frenzied gotta have it porn inspired activity that is GOOD FOR THEM and ONLY GOOD FOR THEM.

      I’m sorry, but if I was in an otherwise loving and faithful relationship with a man who had ED or premature ejaculation issues, or had an illness, or had been in a terrible accident — I would be willing to adapt technique to assist, and keep the intimacy we had alive. But when you have a cheating liar who is never going to be satisfied no matter what you do, and who never was and never will be faithful no matter what you do, you might as well take all your “stimulating massage oils” and new oral vacuum techniques and put them in a toxic trash bag and get rid of them.

      Why should I pick me dance when I discover I have been trying to dance with an inept, corrupt, morally deficient LOSER, who wasn’t that good at the dance, anyway? Why would I want to continue to dance with someone so awful at dancing that he steps on my feet and drops me every time he attempts to do a dip? Why should I learn new techniques to “pleasure” him, when he has betrayed me and when he has marginal sexual skills at best? I don’t want to spend the rest of my life attempting to have sex with a partner who thinks it is all about him all of the time. If there is no joy and trust and true intimacy in sex, why bother? Reciprocity and true intimacy and loving and caring are what makes up good sex. If you can’t have fun without bells and whistles, leather and whips, trapeze’s and stripper poles — get some serious psychological help, but get it far away from me.
      One of the many things that helped me to feel good about the OW “winning” the prize was that she was the one who was going to have to churn butter and practice being a living hoover vacuum for the rest of her “relationship” with him. I also knew it would only be a matter of time before she found out she wasn’t the only starlet on his agenda. The moment the OW finds out that she didn’t discover “Twu Luv”, and she is not the only “perfect snowflake” in his life is the moment I used to savor. Kind of like, “I shaved my legs for this?”

  • The first of many books, articles, and web resources I read was NOT “JUST FRIENDS”: REBUILDING TRUST AND RECOVERING YOUR SANITY AFTER INFIDELITY by Shirley Glass. I thought it was a good book and could help us if Woody took it to heart. It shows how affairs can develop when people don’t maintain proper boundaries and uses a metaphor of doors and windows to let people in or keep them out of emotional closeness that leads to emotional and ultimately physical affairs. I recommended that my husband read it and he did start, but he stopped reading it a few pages in because he said it was about affairs at work and didn’t apply to him. (This was months before I found out about his affairs at work.)

    He also said it was written just for the betrayed spouse and not for the cheater, so it was accusatory and made him feel bad about himself. After that I reread it and typed up notes and quotations of all the passages that I considered to be helpful from the cheater’s point of view. Of course he never really wanted to discuss any of that, or any of the other approaches I desperately tried to pursue across all the DDays and wreckonciliation, although he said he would. Even reading about other cheaters triggered feelings of injury within him. None of the reconciliation advice was ever going to take with him no matter how many notes he said he took but would never talk about with me. I learned to believe only what he did, not what he said. Eventually I figured out that he was a covert narcissist and couldn’t bear to look in a real mirror. He was a walking talking robot of defense mechanisms stonewalling, projecting, gunnysacking, blameshifting all his bad behaviors, mostly onto me.

    I do think there are some cases of infidelity where reconciliation techniques can work–that is, when the cheater is a “normal” person with empathy who messed up, takes the affair as a wake-up call to fix the marriage or nix it, and puts in the effort prescribed. Our character-disordered cheaters will never do that. And part of the chump’s traumatic process is coming to that horrifying realization. The person we married isn’t the person we thought we married. In a way, there is no “person” there. Only a shell of a human being wearing a mask.

    • “I do think there are some cases of infidelity where reconciliation techniques can work–that is, when the cheater is a “normal” person with empathy who messed up, takes the affair as a wake-up call to fix the marriage or nix it, and puts in the effort prescribed”

      My pendulum has swung to believing that a “normal” person, meaning someone with character, would never actually cheat- might think about it but not do it. I have become an extremist.

      • I understand the extremist position and used to feel that way myself until I witnessed two situations in which someone I knew well had a brief affair, truly regretted it, learned from it, and would never do it again. One stayed married and grew closer to her husband; the other felt ashamed of herself, divorced, and then later broke up with her next boyfriend when she realized she was becoming attracted to someone else.

        I do believe people of good character have flaws and can do the wrong thing at times. The mark of true character is what they do about it.

    • You nailed it. Cluster B’s are a completely different scenario. Any reconciliation advice that fails to take personality disorders into account is, therefore, totally worthless.

    • Found that book after what I believed was EA. patiently explained about the boundaries, doors and windows. X Gaslighted. I pick me danced.

    • Mehtamorphosis, you wrote, “He was a walking talking robot of defense mechanisms stonewalling, projecting, gunnysacking, blameshifting all his bad behaviors, mostly onto me. “. Brilliant insight. Another Aha moment for me. Thanks. Enjoy your cross-country journey to Meh trip!

      • FindingBliss, thank you! I am reading this in a pub in Artesia, New Mexico. I’ve stopped here to see the bats flying out of the Carlsbad Caverns at sunset tomorrow night.

  • Ok. Never once was I reconciling with the fucker. But I was chump enough to go to a marriage counselor because I had never been that fucked over in a relationship and this was about my ‘marriage’.

    The piece of advice he wanted me to consider was shoving asshat’s affair into a “box and place it deep inside a closet”. This was before I had learned of the serial cheating throughout the 20+ ‘marriage’.

    Essentially, I was told to cultivate my already mounting Cognitive Dissonance of asshat and my last 20+ yrs and soldier on. I said No Fucking Way to that piece of detrimental shit. Thankfully, I listened to my gut. What a horrible piece of ‘advice’ for an abuse victim.

    • Good for you! Sometimes obscured bullshit becomes crystal clear when reiterated from an outside source. That therapist sucks balls, but it sounds like their idiotic response to your issue was an inadvertent 2×4.

      • Right. I spent the entirety of that marriage NOT trusting my gut because I had never encountered a sociopath up close and personal. When it comes to stuff like this, it’s black and white- you can’t be a little bit pregnant or situationally honest and trustworthy. My gut screamed NO!

        What an absolute damaging piece of advice. And a great way to cultivate a long term patient. Even that counselor asked me if I could tell when asshat was lying. At that time the answer was not at all. I’m more educated about freaks nowadays.

  • My cheater dad gave me the worst comment and the best advice:

    Worst- Where were you in the year and a half that this guy was cheating on you?

    Best Advice: When are you going to wake up and see that this guy is telling you through his words and actions- that he doesn’t love you and doesn’t want to be with you anymore?

    I guess it takes a cheater to know a cheater.

  • I got the you don’t meet my needs. I acted out. What I did along the way was…… the love dare…. counciling….. agreed to go to the church marriage class (she signed us up…. before second meeting was in hotel with her boy toy… who I did not know about). Did anything and everything she asked. Always a new demand each time never was enough. My favorite cheater statement is I made a mistake? 5 years of chasing dick is a mistake? No…. well planned out decisions! Chump denial was my disease!

    • Right. When cheating is done over a period of time, it is absolutely 100% no mistake. Probably the biggest 2 x 4 for me in coming to the realization that I needed to get out pronto.

  • From the 2006 movie, “The Departed:”

    “COLIN: If we’re not gonna make it, it’s gotta be you that gets out, because I’m not capable. I’m fucking Irish. I’ll deal with something being wrong for the rest of my life.”

    This quote pretty much summed up my long-standing response to my husband’s emotionally neglectful and then financially abusive treatment.

    Discovering his cheating was finally the deal breaker I needed to snap out of my religious-induced coma that justified staying in a REALLY BAD marriage.

    • Yeah, that’s me too. Except that even the cheating wasn’t a deal breaker. The final deal breaker was when I offered him months of opportunity to reconcile and he threw it back in my face but still didn’t file for divorce. I had already said no to open marriage and I realized that if I didn’t divorce him I would end up in an open marriage by default. It took me a long time to regain my pride, but eventually it happened.

  • Marriage Builders:
    Telling chump they were selfish for leaving cheater.
    Blaming a chump for giving up on marriage too soon. Accusing them of leaving right when cheater was ready to change!
    Rev Paul Trip:
    Blaming chump for destroying a marriage by not trusting cheater (Cheater was now doing “everything” to prove that he was a wonderful man & devoted husband). Her unforgiveness….was problem for her emotional state as well!

  • It started with any marriage retreat. The when he quit MC the counselor told me to read walking on egg shells. I currently have opened an online bookstore to sell the hundreds of books I bought on marriage, personally disorders, and reconciliation. The best book I have is yours and I’m not selling it! 10 years of pick me dancing and trying to meet his needs for “deep intimacy” (not possible) 200 books, 3 intensive weekends. What do I have? Less money and the blessing of freedom! Poor smoochie her time to do the dance. Cheaters gonna Cheat cheat cheat!

  • So much! DD1 was 6 years ago and I read all the books. The one that really spoke to me was My Hisbands Midlife Crisis. It is a christen book that talked about how silly husbands will eventually come back. I needed to be a friend to my husband, have dinner for him, allow him to come home or be gone whenever he wanted, sex whenever he wanted. My needs were on hold and he would eventually care about me and my needs if I tied hard enough. I tried to think of something every day to thank him for. My mom suggested that I be more carefree and fun. Turns out that’s pretty hard to do with a cheater. She also said I better hurry and move back in because men left alone for too long will find someone else. He already had someone else but I guess she wasn’t a sure thing. It’s pretty embarrassing now. After dd2 6 months ago I wasn’t going to do that route again.

    • And don’t forget to appreciated how much pain the cheater is in. Clearly they have extremely low self worth and we should be understanding of their pain and self esteem.

  • My EX-mil so kindly told me, “Maybe you should make your life more than, ‘I love my sons more than anything in the world.'” This was right before I told her, no, the problem was not a lack of date nights or my attention to our sons, but that her son was fucking someone else. And she accused me of lying because I had no photographic proof of her son “actually in bed with another woman.” WTFEver.

    • My ex-MIL told me that I should never bring up the fact that I was the breadwinner, because that made her precious son feel like less of a man.
      (If her son was much of a man, he probably wouldn’t have laid on the couch for 3 years while I supported the family single-handedly.)

  • Dr. Phil. I know, I know. Drivel from Dr. Phil?? Big shock, right?

    The article started out not too terrible, but then it barfs up this nugget:
    “What is your payoff?
    Do you want to get past this? Or is there a payoff you receive from the situation? Do you enjoy playing the victim or subjecting your partner to a life sentence? Do you fear that if you forgive a partner who truly is remorseful and has changed his/her behavior that you are “letting them get away with it?” ”

    Thank you Dr. Phil for the blatant blame shift.

    • And also, who in CN had a partner who “truly is remorseful and has changed his/her behavior”???

      • Not me. To my shame I spackled so well my cheater didn’t need to say or do anything. When I pushed for commitment he would say, ” come on, like I would ever have the opportunity to meet anyone else again.” That is not offering fidelity. I read many marriage books but they always assume you are married to an adult who wants to be there. Not a 40 year old kid who doesn’t know what he wants except “to be available if he meets his soul mate.”

      • Not me either.

        What I witnessed up close is a therapized sociopath with some cool psych lingo ready to have another round of mindfuck and manipulation under the covert guise of DARVO.

      • Yes- let’s get a list of those genuinely remorseful cheaters who have permanently changed their behaviour.

      • I wish mine could pretend to be remorseful!
        Not in her genes…..”I’ve done nothing wrong.”
        That statement always revs the rage engine.

    • MC and Stbx both said stop acting like a victim. If I could go back, wtf, I am the victim of adultery, lies and betrayal. He abused my trust. Son of a #$@*, mother &#$@#@!!! People kill over what he did.

    • In some ways, Dr. Phil gave me the worst and best advice: You gotta earn the right to quit.

      Downside: It made me hang in for 3 months of pick-me dancing / wreckonciliation, while ex did absolutely fuck all to save the relationship. He had one main job: don’t have contact with the OW, and he blew it.

      Upside: After 3 months I truly knew I had done everything I could to save my marriage, and it really sunk in how uninvested ex was. I had earned the right to quit, so I walked away with my head held high. I. Was. Done.

      • Same here – 18 weeks of trying everything. X did nothing but continue to lie and blame and cheat and gaslight.
        Nothing to work with.

    • Hold on, back up the truck. Dr. Phil, probably none of us chumps mind forgiving a partner who is truly remorseful. We just haven’t seen our spouses be “truly remorseful.”

    • FarBetterOff, I clicked your Dr. Phil link and was surprised. I expected blame shifting for cheaters but actually he’s pretty clear that the cheater is solely at fault. For what it’s worth (not much) he also instructs them to get “drop-dead honest”, that they have no right to harm the victim or their children this way, etc. He tells the victim point blank they are not to blame for any of it. He tells them “get real” however, warning that “the best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour” (much like CL). I only point this out because I knew nothing about how he’d advise on infidelity until I read the link, and I think it’s actually pretty helpful to our side. Here’s a well-known pop psychologist whom we can all reference who basically has it right. I mean some people we have to deal with might be persuaded by virtue of hearing it from a TV personality.

      I see your point about his “What is your payoff?” paragraph. It’s pretty bad if that is how he meant it. But reading the whole piece sort of made me take that part of it as though he’s saying to victims: “Why are you staying? Get clear on what you’re doing here.” Similar but not as powerfull as CL when she asks “Is this the kind of relationship you want for yourself?” I don’t think he’s blame shifting for a victim’s lack of forgiveness as much as he’s saying to victims that they might be inadvertently soothing a wound in a way that has no clear benefit or ultimate freedom for them. In other words, if they’re going to stay with a cheater, good luck, but it shouldn’t be in such a way that the victim adopts ongoing fears and resentments as a new way of life. I don’t think he’s recommending that they stay however.

      I could be wrong in my take on it, but I now look forward to telling any members of the RIC I come across that “even Dr. Phil understands it better than you”.

  • Yes, unfortunately I went all in on divorce busting, including paying for a coach! Omg. The worst part is it all sent me way deeper into self blame, which I was already deeply in. Took me years to crawl out of the ugly self blame abyss, I’m still not 100% out of it. Yuck

  • The first book (of too many) that I read was ‘How can I ever trust you again?’ by Andrew Marshall who in UK is a really well-known, well-published (and, I should imagine, rich) marriage guidance ‘guru’. I accepted the bad with the good, the ‘50% your fault’ kind of thing, and it is the only book that my husband dipped into, to get justification for his theory that the 25-30 years of his cheating were partly my fault, in a ‘chicken and egg’ kind of way (his words), but he ignored anything that he didn’t fancy, i.e. that he should answer questions honestly when I was in the ‘questioning phase’ – i.e. wild with grief and incomprehension. Marshall is absolutely clear that affairs stem from ‘unmet needs’ and that he has never in all his years as a marriage counsellor met any couple where the blame was entirely with the cheater (whom he calls the ‘discovered’ – mustn’t use derogatory language of course). My husband leapt on this and has never read anything else – he shudders at some of the stuff on my bookshelves (‘Men who hate women and the women who love them’ – whoah, misogynist? Moi? With all those women I’ve slept with?) and of course Tracy’s book, but most of them would be perfectly safe and encouraging for him, but he can’t be bothered to read even them. Reading between the lines, I think most of these ‘gurus’ have been cheaters in their time and have seen how to cobble someone else’s pain into a money-spinner. None of these books points out that cheaters engineer unhappiness at home in the ‘primary relationship’ (huh? So I didn’t get married – I agreed to a primary relationship, but let’s leave that aside – I’m catching the jargon) so that they have an excuse to storm off and meet up for some stranger sex without guilt. So yes, I was cold and standoffish after my husband had come home in a fury and shouted at me and the children for no apparent reason, I didn’t feel like being loving and seductive. I didn’t know he was having affairs, I just thought he was being nasty, violent-tempered and unpleasant, but as I thought he loved me, I put up with it, but I couldn’t pretend that I hadn’t noticed he was being a jerk and I suppose I wasn’t perfect sunshine. That is how these books convince us that we’re guilty – if you’re not a doormat, you made it happen. Tracy’s book was a breath of fresh air, a voice telling me that I didn’t have to feel bad about not liking being sh*t upon. It’s vital to bust the jargon.

    • Actually you will be accused of causing the affair by being a doormat too, because being a doormat is not attractive. There really is no way to win.

      • Wow Tracy – I have never seen this article – I had no idea he was even worse than his books suggest. This stuff really makes you want to puke. The idea that it’s wrong to be involved with your (his!) children at the time when they’re most needy and vulnerable…Men need to grow up and create a nest, a cocoon for the wife and children at these times, not feeling miffed and left out like great overgrown babies themselves so that they ‘need’ to go after some strange.

    • So much this!!!!: “Cheaters engineer unhappiness at home…so that they have an excuse to storm off.” It drove me nuts that NO source seemed to acknowledge that the cheater/cheating was causing the unhappy home (even when you don’t outright know about it). The assumption underlying almost every single source I read was that the marriage was terribly unhappy for completely unrelated reasons and all of THAT led to the cheating. It was like they could not imagine any scenario except some horrible spouse driving some otherwise deeply good spouse to cheat. Sometimes you drive them to cheat because your spending energy on other things leaves them feeling abandoned. Sometimes you drive them to cheat by focusing on them too much making them feel like you are too clingy. Either way the assumption is you drove them to unhappiness then they just had to cheat.

      • Yes, Jojobee, Cheater creates unhappiness where there was none, in order to justify his bad behavior.

    • Speaking of guru’s who are probably cheaters in their past, I just read a blog from Steve Pavlina who writes a relationship blog. The article was supposed to be about how to improve trust. He divorced his wife and started having open relationships. I sense a cheater. He said he had trust in the universe so he doesn’t have a problem having open relationship. Wonder how bad trust issues are with his ex wife. Does this make me a bitter grump if I now see the world different now?

  • I racked my brain trying to figure out “what I did to cause my spouse to cheat.” Of course I had plenty of his reasons to fall back on

    Here’s my conclusion about reconciliation advise. It causes a lot of damage and is a “professional” continuation of the cheaters insistance that chumps ignore their intuition. There are some fears that should be challenged, and then There are those fears that are reality screaming at you to
    “wake the fuck up!” Hey why don’t we encourage the chumps denial and then blame them for it when reality slaps them in the face.

    I feel like undertone of the RIC is “if you can’t move past cheating, it is essentially you who ruined the marriage. Not everyone is mature and emotionally healthy enough to save their marriage.” That’s what kept me plugging away, day after day, until the revelation of D-days 2,3,4 all in one sitting, and all with different people. I’d like the RIC to explain that one away with “the Cheater has a real emotional connection to their affair partner and is grieving too.” WTF EVER!

    The RIC is simply a continuation of using human compassion and empathy promote manipulation. Guess what the healthy response actually is? when someone cheats on you, they lose the expectation of your empathy!

    So RIC, you want to know what role I played in my spouses cheating? I was too fucking nice – I was too loving, too caring, too gullible, too empathetic, and too willing to chase a goalpost that was always being moved. So in other words I DID NOT CAUSE, CONTRIBUTE, OR OTHERWISE PLAY A ROLE IN SOMETHING I HAD NO CONTROL OVER, OR KNOWLEDGE OF! Sure I have my flaws, I’m not claiming to be perfect, but I also have enough sense to know the simplest rule of relationships… don’t control, direct and implement behavior that YOU KNOW will be completely devastating to your spouse. It’s pretty simple, no gray area in that!

    • Got a Brain, Bravo! We were all too up fucking nice… And we need to remember that. Too many chances, too many excuses, too much forgiveness. I often wonder if the shoe had been on the other foot would I have been given a second chance? Not bloody likely.

      • Ah yes, that’s a thing she literally told me when I once said: “What if the roles were reversed?”.

        At least I guess she’s honest on that. Oh well, too little too late. Next week we’ll probably settle the mortgage with the bank and then it’s just minute details for the rest. I might be a free Dobby before the end of this year. It’ll legally be the end of 2,5 years of emotional hell for me. 2 DDays, Open marriage between those two, which of course I didn’t make use of because I was still broken from DDay 1 (and can’t say I ever saw me really make use of the arrangement because it’s not for me), Blameshifting, and all the dysfunction that comes with this.

        Yeah, I was codependent, but mostly only after DDay 1. I picked me danced hard.

        Time to heal is fast approaching.

        Oh and fuck Michelle ‘Weiner’ Davis or what’s her name. Fuck the 180, such drivel. Even when I was desperate to save the marriage, I always felt like making my needs even smaller was not ever going to change this. The 180 makes you a doormat essentially, even though it doesn’t look like that on the surface. Worst RIC ever. It’s not going to bust your divorce, It’s going to bust your marriage. Lying @#%$$#.

        There, that’s out. My apologies for this, normal transmission resuming shortly.

        • The notion of being a Free Dobby is the happiest thought I’ve read all week! Thank you for sharing the Chump Nerd joy ^_^

    • This! Except in my case, I would add “too loyal” to the list.

      I learned of D-Days 2-14 in one sitting. It hit me like a nuclear bomb.

    • I have a real emotional connection to excellent chocolate. I grieve when I consume an entire bar in one sitting. Do I lie, cheat and steal from my family members to get my fix? No. Do I fail the marshmallow compulsivity test when I walk down the aisle of chocolate? Maybe a few times a year. And to I covertly blame my kids for having to have IT? Never. My choice, my decision, my planned action.

      What a bullshit statement.

    • Got-a-brain you just described my experience with the RIC. Only difference is that my ex swore to have broken it off with the AP. That was a lie right to my face and the MC. How could I stay with someone who would break my trust and then continue to lie on top of it? Oh that’s right, it wasn’t about me, it was all about the ex and her happiness that she wasn’t getting from me. I was just the idiot who was paying the bills. So glad I got out of that (thanks to Chump Lady) instead of listening to the RIC.

  • OH this is good. Went to reconciliation counseling on twice after 2 d-days. Here are some of the pearls of wisdom I received.

    1. Write your forgiveness letter with all the transgressions to God so he can take the pain and you can truly forgive. My spouse was to write a letter to God about all the things he did wrong, begging for forgiveness. I wrote my letter, thought I felt better, then I find out he still has the girlfriend.

    2 . Every one or 2 days my spouse was to ask me how my “recovery” was going. This was to show that he understood the pain I was in. That never happened. ( The counselor never used words like anger he called it RECOVERY- I think that is to make the cheater feel better)

    3. The worst thing that happened in counseling was that at the end of one of our sessions (after months of seeing him). The counselor asked my husband at the time if he knew someone and if he could set up a meeting with him to help him in his business. So I knew then I was screwed! He literally was using my husband to get ahead in business.

    • Your “recovery”? That makes it sound like you were the one who had a problem and needed to fix yourself. How demeaning.

  • I think things are getting better out there because I didn’t run across too many of the “own your part it this” sites. But I did end up on a lot of, “you need to give him time to grieve his affair” and/or “he’ll come around if you just wait it out” sites. In fairness, most of the advice was to go grey rock but then just wait it out instead of divorcing. The sites I went to made it clear that there really wasn’t anything you could do that would make a difference and that time and distance was the answer. I was planning to do just that until he came back to me. Eventually it became clear, however, that the trend was definitely away from me not towards me however slowly he might have been doing it. The other thing about time and distance is that it makes it easier for me to recognize just how badly I was treated and perhaps I shouldn’t want him back.

    In all fairness, when I went surfing I was looking for ways to save my marriage so if I ended up on what could be considered RIC sites it’s because that is what I was looking for.

    • Actually I think most of the hopium came from googling things like “regret leaving my wife for the other woman”, finding long essays, poems etc. from those who did have those regrets and imagining that ex would turn out to be one of them and would be so grateful to me for sticking around waiting for him. It took me a while to remember that ex isn’t ever grateful for anything and would never admit having made a mistake either.

      • I think I have googled every combination of – will he regret, how to save, do they come back…
        Its all bullshit, but pain will make us cling to any old crap. Then eventually time marches on and the pain recedes and you can start to see clearly. We miss the promise that our old lives offered, not the reality . The pain of not being loved by them is slowly replaced with the hope of being loved by self – something i think few of us felt when we were with them.
        Like all of us – there was NOTHING we could have done to stop them cheating – there is no affair proof method (well there is but keeping them locked in a room is illegal) someone is either a cheater or they are not. Makes me wonder what they are looking for …most of them had unconditional love, good lives, great families and children – why the need to destroy that .. for something unknown . I am glad I am me – I would hate to be him, even when its hard or lonely. Im glad that somewhere in the depths that I had enough self preservation to chuck him out and not let him back. I had a great therapist – she basically gave me the tools, this site has been my rock and Baggage Reclaim is also good . The rest …..PURE SHITE

        • DebbieChump, I always tell people it took me being thrown away like so much trash to realize I had worth. Learning to depend on myself has been an unexpected gift. I still miss the innocent, trusting person I used to be sometimes, though. These days, nothing surprises me. I rarely cry at things that used to tear me to pieces (like the shooting in LV). Once, when I was thinking about missing that innocent part of myself I realized that I’d traded her in for a stronger person, so maybe that’s okay. Maybe that’s the way life works.

      • Chumpinrecovery…..I had a VERY VERY active fantasy life where my cheater would be the guy who came back around and had DEEP regret over his abuse and then invested himself fully into a marriage that would be wonderful…we would be one of the couples who ran marriage retreats at Church and we would go on the show they had on the Catholic tv channel where troubled couples told of the renaissance of their marriage.

        What I never admitted is that nothing he ever did gave me a single clue that he had the capacity for that sort of change. My hope was completely dependent on God performing a total personality transplant on him. I prayed desperately for 7 years (the number of completion) whereupon my cheater dropped dead. If my story isnt an object lesson in the fact that you cannot change these people then I dont know what is.

        • That’s what is so helpful about this site. It really rubs your nose in the fact that the odds are against you. We all had similar fantasies that didn’t work out so well, especially for the one’s whose husbands/wives did come back.

        • I prayed my cheater would see the light aswell. I really believed he was the good person he pretended to be and how he treated me at the beginning. Didn’t realize narcs are incapable and it was all a pretend. Didn’t realize that people who “promoted themselves” as good people were actually pieces of crap. They don’t want to look at themselves. And then they are incapable

  • I didn’t buy or read any books other then Leave a Cheater Gain a Life. I had been down this road once before 20 years earlier and we went the wreconciliation route, little good it did. I was so angry that cheater would do this again after taking him back and wasting another 20 years, there was no way I was going to take any blame whatsoever for his stupidity.
    I looked on line and saw all the books that everyone here has talked about but Tracy’s book stood out. “A Cheater” that’s exactly what he was! I bought the book on line and read the whole thing in one night. It saved my sanity and I decided to check out this blog. I had no idea I would see my story played out over and over, sometimes different circumstances but basically the same, immature, cowardarly, narcisistic behaviour over and over and over.
    Some stories are just too horrible especially with children and abuse. I consider myself very fortunate that I found CN and all the support you folks provide. Mostly I’m at meh but this last week has been difficult, September is a sad month for me I have three grandchildren with birthdays in days of each other, one died from cancer shortly after his 4 birthday so it’s bitter sweet trying to celebrate 2 birthdays while remembering my little lost fellow. We usually went to Maine for a week at the ocean it somehow soothed my soul. Of course this year cheater took Schmoopie just to add a little salt to the wounds. There is no end to his betrayal.

    • Don’t know why my comment is awaiting moderation ??? Never had this before?? Wonder if it an auto correct thingy?

    • I’m so sorry about the loss of your grandchild, lyndaloo. I can understand how difficult it is to be happy celebrating birthdays at the same time you’re grieving the loss of one too. Add infidelity and the never ending loss of family and it’s tough. You are doing well to put one foot in front of the other right now!

      • Thank you Lyn, it’s tough every year at this time but with the holidays approaching and we’ll just the whole mess he’s created, I’m a little sad this week. I try to keep a positive outlook for my son and his wife who lost the child, I know they are upset about my situation as well. Talking here helps as you undoubtedly know. Forward is forward no matter the speed!

  • It’s really hard for me bc I’m in a 12 step fellowship and a big part of that means taking a look at MY part. Well that is what people should be doing- that’s the whole point of the fellowship but it seems less and less people are doing that nowday. You ask yourself questions like “where have I been selfish, self serving, angry or afraid. Do I have kindness and tolerance for all? For Even sick people?” I mean I tried to live and be the model tolerant and kind unselfish person. He along with his arsenal with buddies would tell me I was selfish defective etc. and when I shared what had happened to me with people in my fellowship the first question is “what was your part in it?” Hmm I don’t know- assuming the leech had a soul? Not understand that people are so shitty in the world. Loving someone and wanting to have a stable reciprocal relationship? What gets my blood boiling the most is that he is so popular in the fellowship and people think he’s so great but he just goes around and around hurting women, being a dick, not paying bills, not contributing to society. Etc

    • Our MC was going to have us work with the book “Fighting for Your Marriage”. The basis of the method was that each of us would focus on improving our role in the marriage without dwelling on how well the other was doing. I think that would work beautifully if you had two people who both cared about the marriage and wanted to save it. Ex didn’t even get through the introduction. As soon as he found out he would have to do work too, he bailed on MC.

      There were two things that precipitated his decision to give up on reconciliation and run off with Schmoopie (er move out so he spend some time on his own “reflecting”). First, he found out that reconciliation wasn’t just all about fixing what was wrong with me but that he would have to improve himself too. Then Schmoopie (who had backed off for about a week and a half) suddenly sent him an invite to a movie and dropped by to see him at work. This worked beautifully to get his thoughts back on her again. He decided to take the selfish cowardly path. It’s probably just as well as I don’t think he had the strength of character to be a unicorn. At least he realized it and didn’t waste any more of my time pretending that he was (I wasted my own time by imagining that he might still come around in the end).

      • Thanks- the leech is also in the 12 step fellowship but like your cheater he thinks the problem lies solely with me. I asked the leech that “if we both worked on ourselves maybe we can give it a shot” his response was giving me short curt distant convos and letting me dance like crazy working with my sponser, getting a therapist, going to al anon getting involved. All waiting to see “if my
        Behaviors have changed.” Wow acting like a good girlfriend and having normal expectations are such terrible behaviors. Jerk. He always wanted to say it was my fault

        • Fifi, having been around the program for many years, I am here to tell you there are many personality disordered people in it. Those are the ones who talk a good program but don’t walk the walk. They attract others of their kind like shit attracts flies. Watch what they do, not what they say. They will stick up for each other.

          The other thing that comes to mind is that if he has done a good job smearing you, you may be in a no win situation. It may be wise to find a new group.

    • Your actions may be awful (but I doubt it) because no one is perfect. Wrongs(sin) is never justification for wrong(sin).

      The embezzlement analogy is the best I have found. If someone is caught embezzling money from his employer, I was underpaid is not a valid defense in court.

    • crushedfifi,

      “What was your part in it ?” What,your part in being abused ? Sounds like you need healthier people to do fellowship with Fifi. What kind of 12 step (CoDA) program are those folks working ?


      • Is this RCA (Recovering Couples Anonymous) ? Any other 12 step program (AA,NA,etc) would lay down the three Cs-partner didn’t cause the addiction,can’t control it and certainly can’t cure it.

  • “A mixture of valid relationship advice, but directed to the wrong audience.”

    This is what I got, from the church. Sincere people who really thought they were helping. And if I hadn’t been married to a malignant narcissist, it might have.

    But all the recommendations (Pray for him. Love him. Have lots of sex with him. Be happy and fun to be around. Forgive.) only gave him more CAKE and placed the responsibility for our marriage on my shoulders.

    He continued fucking around and just got better at hiding it. Once I figured that out, I stepped out without a glance backwards.

  • Beyond Affairs by Peggy and James Vaughn was hands down the worst of the worst of the many books I so chumpily turned to, but at least I saw how horrifying it really was right from the start. Basically, the long and agonizing tale of her eating dirt over and over again to try to become the kind of person who is not hurt by his affairs. That’s the “Beyond” the title points to–not stopping, not becoming the kind of person unwilling to inflict that harm, not becoming the kind of person unwilling to accept the unending abuse of it, but deciding it does not matter, because, hey, sex with lots and lots of schnoopies is dandy fun and no big deal for the sufficiently evolved. Only those with sticks terminally implanted in their unenlightened asses are bothered by it, poor backward things. Yup. She even allows herself to be coerced into having a sexual fling of her own. But she hates all of it right to the bitter end, and he is a hopeless douche all the way. Seriously the most toxic thing I have ever read.

    If you want to brave a ramble through it, I suggest putting on your hazmat suit and ensuring that the UBT is well fueled and oiled first.

    • BTW, part of the pain of reading this, for me, was recognizing that I was a lot like her, believing that if I were only sexy enough, independent enough, perfect enough, I could fix it. But nope. That the cheater is an eternally entitled asshole of an abuser is the problem chumps face. The schmoopies can’t fix that, we can’t fix that, and cheaters are both unable and unwilling to fix it.

    • Yikes! My 30 seconds with a marriage counselor had me read “After the Affair”.

    • OK – now i have to poke my eyes out and get a new computer – I got through three pages….UGHH! What a load of crap – you can tell where they are headed immediately – I throw the BS flag – penalty – five yards…end of game.

  • The RIC has a continual story that the marriage can be “better” than it was before. To the chump – who is at that point – in the most vulnerable place in their life – this sounds like a great thing. When we hear that, we are often actually thinking that we have a pretty good marriage, that somehow – some horrible thing just happened. We don’t have the language that we need. We don’t have the anger that we need. We have been accommodating and working on the marriage for years – we have been spackling and covering for bad behavior. By promising that our marriage will get better – we hear that what will happen is that the cheater will start doing some work on the marriage also. We buy the lie from the RIC because we actually do want a better marriage. Our counselor told us that our marriage could get better. that lie was the crappiest piece of advice ever. The other piece of advice that was crappy – but really started me down a path of health – “Fake it till you make it!” When I was struggling with having loving thoughts for the woman I loved for 33 years – who was f%^&king an alcoholic ex-con on a stained mattress in a cheap apartment and then coming home to our nice house and telling me that she loved me… Fake it till you make – Wait – pretend that what she did does not hurt me? Dumbest thing ever to say to me. Honesty means that I need to be honest with my feelings also. How about if I fake pay you for the hour – how’s that work for you? How about if you fake it that I paid you – just till you understand that you don’t need the money!

  • Thankfully, I never went into the RIC or purchased any “save your marriage” lit.

    The only thing I did along these lines is forward a podcast to KK about a couple who supposedly had a successful polyamorous/open marriage and asked her to listen to it. I told her in advance that when we discussed it, I was going to ask her what pieces of it she thought would resonate with me.

    When it came time for the chat, she focused exclusively on the parts about overcoming jealousy and working hard on understanding the reasons why the instigating partner (bisexual, and wanting to date other guys) needed to “open up to others.” KK ignored all statements about how trust was (again, supposedly) never violated once the agreement was made, how it took several years of negotiation to make it work even on a basic level, and how the person who suggested it agreed to stop seeing others entirely and “let (the wife) drive the relationship” until she was in a better place about it.

    In other words . . . UXworld needs to let KK do what she wants, and if he has any issue with it, he just “doesn’t get it” and needs to work on himself.

  • I read everything, from books about forgiving after infidelity, to books about being a better stepmother, since obviously I was the one at fault for everything wrong in our relationship. I have to say, this one is probably the winner, considering that I was raised by a single mom and have always believed in being a strong, independent woman:
    “The Surrendered Wife,” by Laura Doyle. Here’s a gem from this one:
    Trusting is magical because people tend to live up to our expectations….if you expect him to succeed, he is much more likely to do just that….You can sleep with both eyes shut, knowing that everything is going to be just fine.
    Ha! If only it were true.

    • That’s pretty funny! Obviously the author wasn’t acquainted with people who just take advantage of people who believe the best of them.

    • Yeah, that works on us. I definitely am the type to want to live up to people’s expectations. That doesn’t work on cheaters. I am also discovering that it doesn’t work on my teenagers either. Some people do need boundaries to behave.

  • I went to a marriage program called Retrovaille (French for “rediscovery”). It’s a world wide organisation that supposedly takes an entirely unique approach to the problems within marriage. In its retreat-like weekends it takes the position that one of the “four stages” of marriage is Misery, and with proper “communication techniques” it can be worked through to a reawakening. This would be fine I suppose if they explained at all that their grand assumption is that neither party in the couple is personality disordered. I mean, there is misery, and then there is MISERY. Going back now and reading their website is almost laughable. At the time I took it fairly seriously. This organisation may in fact help many people who fall within a narrow band of imperfect but operating in good faith type couples. But they are seemingly ridiculously ignorant or naive to the fact that their offering is necessarily going to attract large numbers of empaths unknowingly being parasitically manipulated by mentally disordered predators. These victims show up and receive zero information or tools to realize this type of usage and abuse even exists much less to discern it may be their case. Instead you are made to feel like these are the experts and theirs is the full landscape of the dark side of marriage. Sort of like a zoo tour guide giving advice to people who haven’t quite figured out yet that they live in the jungle.

    • TKO, I have come to the conclusion that none of this RIC stuff works, MC is just a big waste of time and money. You either want to be married and be faithful or you don’t. It’s just too bad the freaking narcs that we married don’t have the intellectual ability to honestly say what they want and if it’s to fuck around then say so and get the hell out of the marriage. It’s immoral to drag their partners through the muck and mire of their sordid dramas. I’m really pissed with this RIC shit!

      • I completely agree; faithfulness is a binary concept–you are or you are not.

    • We did Retrovaille back before I had ANY CLUE WHATSOEVER that our unhappy, abusive (that I would have termed “borderline abusive” since I was optimistic) marriage included long term cheating. He had lived a double life for YEARS and that weekend was, for him, an exercise in keeping his mask firmly in place and placating me.

      At the end of it, he appeased me by setting me off on a world class wild-goose-chase of “getting along better with my parents” (narc and alcoholic Borderline folks) who could keep me occupied into the next millennium while he fucked his coworkers.

      We went out to dinner at the end of it and I have a clear memory of my emotional state at that dinner…right when I should have been the most optimistic and relieved, I remember being deeply fearful to the point of foreboding that I was doomed… which I was. In reality my problems with him were MUCH MUCH MUCH worse than I had any idea.

  • We had a “koombaya” New Age type MC and he was against any “negativity” and bought into my Narc Ex’s blameshifting everything on to me. Note that this was months before Dday just we had been married for 15 years and had 3 young children and I wanted to “fix the problems in our marriage”.
    Somehow all problems in the marriage were my fault and I needed to work on “my being judgemental” and “stop being negative” by pointing out the problems we were having.
    The two of them would gang up on me and make me feel like a horrible person. What’s funny though is that I was the only one who admitted that they weren’t perfect and wanted to correct any behaviors that were upsetting her. She was perfect and a victim in her eyes.

    This went on for months until Dday and then I had had enough. That MC in my opinion caused harm and did not help. Luckily, I never went back to Mr Koombaya and found a good therapist that I went to alone during the divorce and after who really helped me.

    After Dday, other really bad advice I received from our pastor “Pray for your marriage” and “what did you do to drive her to adultery” ?? Funny how I’ve never been back to that church again.

  • The most persuasively well-written, yet unintentionally harmful to chumps RIC advice came to me in the form of a very eloquent 2009 NYT essay called “Those Aren’t Fightung Words, Dear” by Laura A. Munson.

    Basically, don’t believe him if she says he wants to divorce you. DA FUQ??!

    Spoiler alert: Munson’s husband was cheating on her the whole time, which came out much later and did not make the NYT. Munson has since left a cheater and gained a pretty cool life as a writer’s retreat host in beautiful Montana.

    • Unintentional because until you’re there, you have no idea how it feels or what one goes through. Sadly she went through it.

    • Thanks for posting Jo and giving us the conclusion to that f*cked up story

      As the author wrote “I simply had come to understand that I was not at the root of my husband’s problem”


      • I love Munson’s excellent writing, she is worth a google. Reading her again through the wisened eyes of a Chump, you can clearly see, lurking in the background of her story, the same awful patterns we’ve all read here, and lived through, so many times— she thought she had an awesome union then gets blindsided by his sudden, nonsensical hatred, automatically thinks “husband must be having a midlife crisis? Career setbacks hurt his self-esteem?, so she offers to pay for him to go on fun international trips not at all realizing there’s a Schmoopie going with him, she keeps having sex with him as she does the pick me dance, and spackles that fact out of what she wrote in the NYT because she said she was afraid of being judged… then the truth eventually comes out and the inevitable discard and divorce commences once Schmoopie is all lined up. But her original 2009 NYT piece is still cited everywhere as hopium for the RIC masses who think waiting a disordered person out is the answer. I wish Munson could someday write a follow-up piece in the NYT about gaining a life and what had really been going on unbeknownst to her. She would write it amazingly well, too.

  • Knew a few days after dday that there would be no attempt at reconciiling (pre CL & I was trying to hang on to any bit of crumbing stone as my world collapse underneath me). I asked if we could see a therapist & his response was no because it would just give me hope & there wasn’t any.

    • It’s amazing how direct they can be after they know they have Schmoopie waiting in the wings! They just can’t be direct and talk prior to the affair because what if Chump said, yeh I’m not happy either, so let’s call it a day! Gosh they’d be out in the cold by themselves. It’s all about their happiness afterall.

  • I was mindfucked by people who I thought had my back into believing that I owed him a chance at reconciliation.

    I was told that if I refused to give him another chance, then he was better off without me because it meant that I wasn’t really committed to the relationship by accepting the bad along with the good. I was told that the best relationships are the ones that stick through rough times. I was told that a loving and kind person has the ability to forgive anything. I was told that it takes a strong person to work it out and a weak one to walk away.

    Even after I gave him a chance at reconciliation and he blew it, they still tore me down for dumping him. So my circle of family and friends got a lot smaller after that.

    • Sounds like you are much better off without these mindfuckers! Why is it people don’t see these asshole cheaters as just that cheaters.
      Why is it incumbent upon the Chump to fix everything. These assholes cheat walk away and tell everyone they haven’t been happy for years and all is ok. Because cheaters deserve to be happy right?! The chump, well she/he didn’t work st the marriage, too independent doesn’t need the connection that these poor asshole cheaters do. Whenever I hear anyone say ” well these things happen ” or “there’s always two sides to a story ” I immediately correct them with “yes well it’s takes two to make a marriage but only one to destroy it” and I write those folks off immediately. I refuse to listen to that crap. I’ve eliminated a few Swiss from my circle as well.

      • Yes, it makes me so mad that Chumps are made to feel responsible for their Cheater’s decisions. Plus, after discovering their infidelity we are criticized for not taking it gracefully and forgiving them. All we need to do is deny our feelings and “fix our part” of the problems in the marriage.

        • Oh, and lyndaloo, my husband’s therapist told him that he needed to be happy so the people around him could be happy too.

    • Remember that Narcs are experts at image management and manipulation. People outside the relationship all think “Bob is a great guy and a deacon at the church, there is no way he’d cheat unless SHE drove him to it”. Que Bob whispering into ears and voila why many Chumps get the advice and scorn that they do even though they are usually the victim.

      • A friend of a friend husband of 25 years suddenly told her he was leaving seems he’d been having an affair with the singer in his band and now the kids were off to college he decided it was his time to leave. Well his wife was totally devastated and was very angry. She took a sledge hammer to both his car and Schmoopie’s car as well. This was before my own Dday revelation and the affair was being discussed at a dinner party. One of the guests a man said well ‘she was really a bitch.’ It took the asshole 25 years to figure out he wasn’t happy! I was quite taken aback by this comment and responded that the cheater and Schmoopie were lucky she stopped at the cars. People don’t get how much pain this shit causes and how people can react. While I haven’t resorted to violence I’m counting on the Karma bus. As CL says people kill over this stuff!

        • This absolutely cracked me up even if it wasn’t meant to. It took him 25 years to figure out he wasn’t happy struck me as funny- like he had a very slow learning curve. Upon learning of affair, she immediatelately runs out and takes a sledge hammer to the cars. I would have told the asshole her called her a bitch: just because she has a much faster learning curve, doesn’t make her a bitch.

          Guess they just have incompatibility issues.

          • Mine was even a slower learner took him 40 years yikes! Mind it was in two installments 20 years apart! What jerks these idiots are they think their going to get to keep doing the same shit over and over and over and they’ll never grow old. Ha!

  • This isn’t a reconciliation written source, but our couples therapist told me I needed to recognize that her time is her own and so long as she comes back to me afterwards, there is no problem. And that asking her to cut all ties with affair partner is unreasonable and I should realize how much pain that puts her through to do that.

    Basically I’m so unfair, ignoring how much she gaslighted and verbally abused me and straight up pulled threatening frightening behavior if I questioned her “friendship” with her ex, despite the fact that I’m immune compromised so any cheating or agreement for multiple partners is a direct risk to my safety and my life….

    That therapist did NOT help.

  • I met with my ex’s therapist (at that point he said he wanted to reconcile-changed his mind when he found out it meant he would have to work at it too) and the therapist said that I should go ahead and trust him because “if he cheats again you’ll find out about it.” Apparently it doesn’t matter what that would have done to me emotionally.

  • The website…..Surviving Infidelity kept me in denial for a LONG time. But, I found Chump Lady because of it. One poster on the site mentioned Chump Lady and and reading one of Tracy’s posts spoke to me. Every article, website and book I read on the topic of cheating left you feeling as though you could somehow FIX the damage of an affair or stop it from happening. What I have learned over these past eight or nine years since the infection of infidelity invaded my life is you cannot control anyone else but yourself. Wish I was wise enough on dday #1 so I could have lessened my pain.

    • Sounds like more people from CN should visit the RIC sites and post about A whole lot more of us!

      • I agree. Posts about CL often get moderated on these sites, but anyone who reads the recommendations before the posts are deleted may get curious. We could save a few from prolonged anguish.

        • Surviving Infidelity forbids any mention of Chumplady. (She who must not be named!) They will delete your post and threaten to ban you. But occasionally I have posted a suggestion that folks Google “A Unified Theory of Cake” or whatever CL post is most on point. That seems to fly under the radar.

  • The counsellor who after I stumbled across DD1 EA (that much later turned out to have been more) advised me to talk to him about it and let him know how it made me feel. And didn’t suggest lining up ducks or offer support or action in case X might lie, gaslight and be really angry that I had read his ‘private communication” and “wasted money” seeing a counsellor. That counsellor assumed adult-adult conversation with empathy and mutual respect. Other books gave advice to try harder and be more loving that fuelled my determination to ‘win’ the pick me dance, now I know some ‘prizes’ are not worth winning.

  • When I was feeling desperate and searching for help on the internet (before Chumplady) I paid around $80 for a video that basically explained the 180. I can’t find it anymore, but it was basically the stuff on this list:

    I tried saying and doing things totally out of character to my husband during this time. One thing I remember saying is, “Don’t worry about leaving me, I’ll be fine.” Of course, I didn’t believe this at the time, and I went into the laundry room and sobbed for a few hours.

    After he left I attempted to tell him how much pain I was in due to his decisions. His answer was “But you told me you were going to be fine. You were very matter of fact about it.”

    It just adds to the craziness of their gaslighting to say things that you don’t really believe when you’re still hoping for a unicorn.

    • Lyn, horrible that he turned your good intentions back on you.

      Here’s the best marriage advice: Be Honest.
      Here’s the best infidelity advice for chumps: Run.

      Both are probably too short for a book, but perhaps posters?

  • Esther Pearl, I was buying into it. About infidelity and how its been around forever and its part of human nature, to paraphrase. This was before I discovered CN. When I listen to it now, i wanna throw something at the screen. But my screen is innocent so I refrain. I wanna throw something at her. And she’s not the only one. A lot of online so called advice is all bullshit because it comes from sources who have never been through this. Maybe before I became a chump, I would also feel that there is a reason why people cheat and they can be “fixed” or whatever. I know better now.

  • I’m sure that you have seen most of these before but wow, did I ever buy, buy, buy the entire library on how to catch a Unicorn and ride it back into my marriage. You have done the 180 and man did I buy in to that line of bullshit but I did meet some amazing women in the chat that used to be on the site with whom I am still very good friends. Also two main set of idiot Unicorn Hunting materials:
    Hours of reading and listening to free podcasts about how, yes you all by your little lonesome, can save your marriage if you just try hard enough and be better and ….oh its just exhausting to think about now. I have since canceled my subscription.
    And all the books that followed the first one.

    Also tried marriage counseling. That was a huge waste of time. Narcula used his individual sessions to manipulate the counselor into believing of course I was the insane one and that “he didn’t want to divorce me just wanted me to not be so jealous of his female friends, i.e. his fuck buddies and new potential fuck buddies that he had in the cue, and to be more sexual, thinner, younger, work harder to make more money so he could spend more on his multiple smoopies, and change the color of my hair to match the one who was his current fuck buddie who was also a “good” friend of mine.

    Of course there are also the plethora of self help books too. Way to many to list. Once I walked out of the marriage counselors office after she said one to many demeaning remarks about how he would not have attacked me if I had only not/ordid……blah blah blah….and I was the reason he cheated, I found myself a new individual counselor that I never told Narcula about. She turned me on to the concept of narcissism with much better reads such as “Disarming the Narcissist” and “Why Does He Do That?”. And I found Chump Nation.

    When I caught him moving out items of value last October to be with Me Version #4, yep there have been 4 that look like me that he has had affairs with, well 4 that I know of, I let him go No Contact. My world has gotten quietly better since then. I let him have items that revealed his financial infidelity and amounts he spent on his fuck buddies come to the house. I let him get a lawyer that he only took 6 days to find help him draw up separation/divorce papers. I let him wait while I took 6 months to find my barracuda. I let him announce his engagement with pink ring #2, yep nothing original here this idiot Unicorn hunter is the 2nd one he has gotten a pink stoned engagement ring for while we are still married not even legally separated yet, and then announce it on facebook so I could show it to my barracuda who simply asked, “Is he stupid?”. It the little things. Now I am working mightily towards Meh and being Chumpy No More.

  • I’ve had a lot of pretty terrible advice, most especially from the MC we were seeing during false R and after the affair. Mr. Justification set up the marriage counseling after 3rd DDay, lied to me and the MC about the fact that he was still engaged in the affair, and presumably would have gone through months of fake MC with me until he left for Schmoopie. But then I backed him into a corner and discovered it all. MC’s advice to me? “It’s not really helpful to dwell on the details. If your marriage is going to heal, you need to have both feet in for reconciliation. ” This was 1 month post-DDay4.

    But the absolute worst was the crisis counselor at the ER. A subsequent betrayal pushed me to the edge, and my counselor sent me to the ER, thinking they would admit me. After sobbing my way through my whole story until I was throwing up, this woman patted me on the back and told me to focus on my children and on Mr. Justification’s positive qualities. She said that marriage was fundamentally unfair for women in this way and that most women have to deal with this at some point. Instead of admitting me, she sent me home. I was so numb. I don’t think I’ve ever been closer to checking out of this world than I was that night.

    Fuck the RIC.

    • NotToday, I can’t agree more with you. I have been through a lot in my life, deaths of close friends and family, job loss, moving across country, money problems, health scares, etc yet nothing affected me like my Ex’s betrayal and subsequent divorce did. My whole World came crashing down around me and I like you was physically sick. I lost 40 pounds and had hair falling out I was so stressed. I was actually contemplating suicide yet so many people either didn’t understand or want to understand. I think part of that is relating but also they are terrified deep down that that could happen to them.

      I often think of how those of us on this board are the lucky ones in that we found support and got through it where many don’t and either commit suicide or stay with their abuser and live a life of Hell. I wish that the RIC would understand the horrible damage that they do to people and I’ll say it, to make money they push wrong damaging BS that hurts the people they are supposedly trying to help !!

      • Thanks, Laughing Gator. My mom died a couple of years ago, and I remember in those first few weeks after the last DDay, thinking, “Why does this hurt more than my mom dying? Is something wrong with me?”

        There’s nothing wrong with us. We watch the deaths of the life we thought we had, who we thought we married, who we thought we were, and the future we planned for. It’s no wonder that we could stare into that and only see darkness going on and on forever.

        What pulled me out was realizing that I don’t like who I’ve become being married to him. Having my emotional landscape scraped to the bedrock may give me the chance to build a new, better self that can raise better kids and stop this cycle.

        I can’t remember who on here posted it, but one of CN wrote, “I’m going to make this the best thing that ever happened to me.” That has stuck with me and become a personal mantra. And the darkness has receded.

    • We need some scientific studies into reconciliation that marriage counsellors can use, instead of their simply making up shit.

  • I had a good therapist for the most part. He told me that I was only guilty of not being a good mind reader. (I had one of the sociopaths that just walk away). He told me that ex was “fucked up” and that whore was full of “daddy issues” and probably a borderline. He told me about my emotionally incestuous now ex MIL and sociopath abandoner ex FIL that came back after divorcing ex MIL

    One time, though, when talking about what was happening that year, the therapist did tell me that: “You fell down on the job.” This was during a conversation where I was telling the therapist that during the months preceding the discard, I was grieving the sudden loss of my mother, tore my ACL, had prehab, surgery, then rehab. I was also charged with the task of coming up with a place to scatter my mother’s cremains and arrange a memorial service. In between, I’d visit my dad and sick brother out of state. All of this while working full time. My ex? I guess he didn’t fall down on the job. He was so involved in his marathon running and training. He ran a marathon every single month for six months. He ran them out of state several times over the weekend.

    To be honest, I didn’t fall down on my job. I wasn’t rolled up in a ball in the corner. I was still cooking dinner (and baking Christmas cookies for HIM days after the ACL tear). I initiated sex, only to be rebuffed by him. I had planned a vacation to Australia for us – and had even arranged for him to run a marathon during the trip – which meant that I’d fly around the world by myself…on my birthday. I was being not only dutiful, but involved. He didn’t suffer a bit.

  • I almost regret not taking a picture of the box…the one which held the books I purged all at once…

    It started with “how to have a happy marriage” books followed by “how to cope when your spouse is mean” and “Love language” books followed by “how to fix your marriage after an affair”. “What to do when a spouse wants out” then “widowhood” books (which were almost as crappy as affair books – they told me to learn to write checks and make a budget…ignoring the fact that I might miss sex).

    I had a fantasy of what some guy at the donation center might think if they took the time to look at the arch that the books covered…they might have mistakenly assumed I hid the “how to kill your husband” book but alas, I didnt…he died of natural causes, but still….it was all quite an evolution.

  • I read the divorce busting book and had sessions with MWD. I’m sure many of you will recognize those initials.

    I was a virgin chump at the time so the RIC thought process seemed to make sense and did offer me hope. And I was in so much pain that I wanted to believe.

    Needless to say, I soon figured out what bullshit the whole RIC program is.

    We also went to a MC. I really liked the guy and his approach to our situation. However, I’m sure you all know, that the cheaters have absolutely zero interest in reconciling anything.

    She bailed on the guy and the sessions, and I kept going by myself and it really helped me get locked and loaded on dealing with this bitch.

  • K – Tracy – I’m going to put myself out on a limb here.

    I am indeed more of a Google Chump than an Amazon one and spent a huge amount of time trying to understand the “why” of things. I even spent some time here earlier in my journey but since your message didn’t resonate to the answers that I wanted at that time, I moved on.

    There’s a principle in scientific research called “confirmation bias” and I worried about it a lot and still do. It’s where you search for answers but your search methodology leads you to answers that support your theory, and not the facts.

    My own case was a lot milder I think than many here but I was indeed a full-on pick-me dancing chump trying to attract my special unicorn. As part of that I ended up on where I do still post regularly. I think that MWD is perhaps the grand-mother of much of the RIC. The messages there are that drew me in were “any marriage can be healed”, “affairs don’t last”, “if you were attractive enough she’d come back”, “it’s a problem with FOO / mid-life-crisis” yadda yadda yadda. There are / were a couple of unicorns on there who help give hope that such things can in fact exist. They are volunteers and see a lot of pain and should be given a special blessing for that. I believe though that people there are initially mis-led that unicorns are common and can be found if only they buy the books and sign of for the counseling. It is pretty obviously a commercial enterprise at heart which I don’t really have a problem with. Computers and websites cost money and golf-green fees don’t pay themselves.

    Among other adventures, I had a number of sparring matches with a lady on there who kept pointing out that she didn’t think that I was attractive – not manly enough for her, as well as with quite a number of people that wanted me to “get a life” and start posting my exercise routine and “meet-ups”. So many attempts to fix me by making me into someone that I wasn’t. Being a peer supported environment I believe that it attracts all sorts of codependents who have a big pool of people that they need to try to “fix” – keeping fairly carefully within the gospel according to MWD. And heaven help you if you start pushing for real answers on “what works” from people who have “succeeded”. They aren’t there although there are usually a few who are in the midst of what looks from the outside like a standard “wreconciliation”. Don’t get me wrong, a lot of the base messages there of “detaching” and building up yourself are good. But they are wrapped in shiny unicorn paper telling people that if only they do all these things (and buy the books – I bought 1 to be a good sport) then magically your unicorn will appear.

    As someone who tends to even now write long rambly introspective posts (try to conceal your shock people) I attracted quite the flock of what for the lack of a better word, I call “seagulls” (imagine in Finding Nemo). Vultures have a purpose and are part of a well balanced ecology. Seagulls just fly around, make noise and peck at the entrails of whoever they happen to come across and then shit on it. And where one seagull shows up, lots follow around. Because there is a real mix of people there, many of whom aren’t dealing with infidelity, the quality of advice can vary a lot and in many cases be inappropriate. I’ve actually used this power for good because so many people who post on these peer support forums don’t get any responses and if I saw one, I’d try to post something encouraging to them knowing that very likely a crowd of seagulls would swing by to see what I posted and they would usually post something encouraging as well. One of the biggest difficulties that I think most of us face is the feeling of being alone – and that nobody understands.

    So Tracy – You’ve asked for links so I’m going to put myself “out there” and link to part of my story. I have literally thousands of posts, most of which go on at great length. In this particular episode almost exactly a year ago, I’d started getting tired of the dance and am trying to justify giving up. I was feeling rather good about myself. And then the seagulls arrived. It hurt a bit to go back and revisit this time where a well-meaning group of people on 4-Oct -2016 start pecking away at my entrails to get me to admit that I am a horrible person and that my wife was justified in leaving me and that I should have understood all the things that she was “saying” despite the fact that she wasn’t saying anything. The other part of the seagull message was that because I wasn’t willing to change who I was (I quite like me and always have) that reconciliation was impossible. There also followed a number of personal attacks and baiting. Sigh. There are great people there too and some of the ones who piled on were well-meaning so after things calmed down I went back. I did learn the valuable lesson that I can ignore people I don’t like or don’t want to engage with which would normally be impolite but is just part of the scab that I had to build against the wounds.

    If people from here do go over there, please be kind. There’s a lot of fabulous people there and people who are hurting. Many of whom are not ready to hear the Chump Nation message and are still chugging the hopium. A lot aren’t even dealing with overt infidelity, just broken marriages. Many of them, I think of as friends. If anyone from there is here and is offended. Well – “tell me when I’m wrong” …

    One thing I’ve realized in recent months about and the related sites that mainly seem like spin-offs though is that the espoused “strategies” and “rules” are quite probably in reality nothing more than a mechanism to make the victim more appealing to a narcisist to hoover around on. Making yourself more physically appealing, being “mysterious”, changing behaviours that your spouse may not have liked, all of those are the cha-cha steps for a pick me dance that in some cases that I’ve read do have the “wayward” spouse hoover back. In most cases it has no effect at all though. More and more I am coming to believe that this is actually dangerous to the mental well-being of the chump. Yes – I did for quite a long time believe that my marriage was “worth saving” – but even if I did – what cost would I have ended up paying in the long term.

    Spending time there, and chugging the hopium did help me heal. I often wonder if I would have healed faster if I had taken a different path. But as Robert Frost so wisely wrote

    “I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.”

    A bientot mes ami.