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Dear Chump Lady, What do I say to the people who knew?

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Dear Chump Lady:

How is one supposed to relate to people the cheater told about his affair? These are people he burdened with his secret, for whatever reason (validation?), that then were faced with the uncomfortable situation of feeling like they needed to “keep it to themselves”, for whatever reason.

I actually confronted one of those people, a woman I considered a friend (I still do), and she cried. She said she didn’t know what to do. I will say that this friend has been one of the few that has actually been there for me since D-Day. Others who know treat me like I have the plague.

Cheater said that one of the friends actually said, “Oh, I really wish you had not told me”. And yet he continued to tell people while I remained — not clueless, since I knew something was up — but not as informed.

What really pisses me off is that while he was saying God-knows-what about ME, he wants to be able to have his own side told if I tell anybody.

Right.

Ivyleaguechump

Dear Ivy,

To be cheated on is to be conspired against. Which is why all the excuses about cheating being a singular crime are bullshit. It’s not some private matter between you and your husband — the creep had his enablers and conscripts. This particular horror — who knew and what did they know? — is suffering that pays dividends. You will keep discovering these people and every discovery is a fresh betrayal. Why didn’t they tell me?

Because it’s awkward and people tend towards gutlessness. And as you suspected something was up, they probably comforted themselves with You Already Knew.

So what to do with those relationships now? Let them go.

You can make some exceptions if you want to, but just like marriages, friendships are based on trust. It’s going to be hard going forward knowing that your friends are capable of conspiracy and feel close to them.

While you were unaware, their loyalty to you and concern for your well-being was being tested –and they flunked the test. Most people are going to find that sentence judge-y. They were put in a terrible position! It wasn’t their job to tell you!

Nonetheless they had a decision tree of options and they chose to harm you with lies of omission. Choices they had? Tell you in person. Tell you anonymously. Tell your cheater that if HE doesn’t tell you, they will tell you. Tell someone closer to you to tell you.

They chose silence.

One friend of yours has the human decency to feel ashamed and apologize to you. The rest treat you like you “have the plague.” Keep the human friend. Let the rest go. No need to confront — you know what they are. And so do they.

What really pisses me off is that while he was saying God-knows-what about ME, he wants to be able to have his own side told if I tell anybody.

Yes, he misses the power imbalance. That should piss you off.

A few words on the cheaters who conspire — it’s part of the abusive power trip. This is schoolyard bully shit. Don’t sit next to Ivyleaguechump, okay? It’s isolating you to harm you.

Every cheater narrative is going to spin this as hey, They Were Just So HAPPY They Couldn’t Contain Their JOY! So of course he had to flaunt the Schmoopie, or invite her in your stead, or gush with enthusiasm.

Isn’t love grand?

Not when it’s a triangle. (Or rectangle. Or dodecahedron.)  If “love” involves chumping, it isn’t love at all. It’s some abuser wet dream.

The irony in all this is that these “friends” aren’t friends of his either. They’re props. Things of use. They aren’t going to get loyalty from the cheater either.

Let them figure that out. You go gain a life without these losers. Good luck.

The Switzerland cartoon appears in Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life, and is copyrighted by Tracy Schorn.

 

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • In my case, the people who knew were my children. My youngest who was 12 at the time actually confronted his father as soon as he found out a few days before Christmas and his father proceeded to give him a good talking down and tell him to mind his own business. My Dday was on Valentine’s day and I learned by accident that my son carried the burden in late March. Fun times… My other children suspected but never confronted and never asked. I take comfort in the fact that my son is doing great now and has decided that his father is a role model for what not to do and what not to be.
    I’ve always said that were I to find out that someone I know was cheating on their partner, I would go to them and say they had 2 weeks to come clean or I would tell. I did not carry my ex’s shame and guilt, I will not carry it for someone else.

    • The children knowing is a whole other situation — and I think making your children conspire against a parent is horrific and abusive.

      My response is about adults and “friends” and acquaintances. People who don’t have huge things at stake telling you, just basic decency.

      ETA, I’m sorry your son was put in that position.

      • Thank you. I agree, it’s another kind of F’ed up.
        On the plus side, I have not lost one single friend since none of my/our friends knew. And when they found out, they all backed me up. The cheater is now alone while I am on my way to gain a life with my kids by my side.

        • My ex pervert/cheater/liar “Dancing Dick”- sent my neighbor 42 lewd, unwanted texts over the course of 3 months. Dancing Dick also made late night calls to her home when he knew her husband was out of town.

          The neighbor and her husband were afraid to tell me. It was embarrassing for the wife. Then one night, I caught in the back yard masturbating toward the neighbor’s window. It was game over for Dancing Dick.

          He couldn’t lie his way of that one. I only wish the neighbors would have told me. They saved all of the lewd texts- so there was plenty of hard evidence. They thought they were being kind to me by not telling me the truth about my ex husband (Dancing Dick). I understand the bind they were in, but by NOT telling me- they incidentally helped prolong the gas lighting, blame shifting, lying, deception etc.

          • Oh, I’m sorry you went through that.
            My assumption is that the thing you uncovered with the neighbour is just one of many other incidents. There are other victims…

      • My husband of 28 years and his stupid also married girlfriend 23 years younger than him; took my youngest daughter (20) to a local cafe to introduce her to their ‘love’ affair before I knew. Needless to say my daughter felt really betrayed by her father. My 3 adult daughters and I have just spent our first Christmas alone but together. Tough but happy. What can I say; never accept being treated so badly! I am so much better than that! As a parent I have a responsibility to practise the values I teach my children to hold

    • Better alone that is horrible, but I’m glad your son is doing ok and he sees his father for who he is. As far as I know no one knew about the affair. He doesn’t have friends and our mutual friends are mostly good people with morals. I don’t know if his family knew but I am totally no contact with them so I don’t care. The issue I have now with friends and aquaintances is trying to get them to see what he did as more than a mistake. He has ghosted most of the people we knew. This is good as I don’t have to hear what he is doing, but it means people still see him as the person they thought he was. They don’t understand or maybe care because it’s not their life what the impact is on me and my children.

    • Ex did the same thing with my oldest son(started at 12, I found out when son was 17), informed him for years that he was divorcing me and looking for new passion and even went as far as to tell him it was partially his fault because he was a difficult child. It took my son a long time to tell me after Dday, that he knew. he was humiliated and devastated when he seen how broken I was about Ex’s affair. He thought I was as unhappy because Dad told him I was. When he really thought about it after DDay he realized he was manipulated (his words).

      The problem was that right or wrong, I felt betrayed that my son knew and did not tell me. It took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I was not as safe in my own home as I thought I was. I felt like the worlds worse mother because my son was not PROTECTIVE of me and that I did not PROTECT him. As I healed I realized that it was all EX’s fault for putting us in this place and position. This was 100% on my abusive EX. My son and I have talked a lot about it and are doing very good. But what a horrible and abusive thing to do to your own kids.

      That was the betrayal that hurt the most.

      • Holy Mother of Christ.

        I am SO SORRY. That you lived through that.

        That is fucked up on another level. But your son can’t be blamed, he was a child – who is even less powerless against a manipulative narc.

        I’m so happy you’ve been able to communicate and rebuild your relationship. Without a grand puppet master pulling all your strings.

    • My middle daughter was 12 when she found the *video* her dad had made of him and his whore (our neighbor, and at the time, my daughter’s best friend’s mom). That’s something that will be in the back of her mind for the rest of her life. She was luckily very close with her school guidance counselor who thankfully she shared with her what she’d found, and thankfully, the counselor instructed her to tell me.

      My daughter would never have mentioned it to her dad. I can’t even imagine what would have happened had she done so.

      I don’t think anyone who I was friends with knew he was having an affair. But our neighbors, who all know about it now, tell me that they think what he and the whore did is disgusting and just horrible. But occasionally, I see a few of them still chatting with him, if they happen to be outside at the same time, or whatever. I don’t let it get to me, because I guess in their eyes, what he did doesn’t affect them.

      But both times, as soon as I had confirmation they were cheating, I told her husband. And if I ever found out about a friend or neighbor’s spouse cheating, I would tell. Although, I would do what some others had said, and tell the cheater that they had a week to come clean, or else I would do it for them.

    • totally and sadly relate. My children (27, 19, 15, 10) also found out on Christmas, confronted X, who threatened them if they told me. They told their dad that if he didn’t tell me ASAP they would. Merry Christmas shit sandwich! Abusive fuck.

      The mask was off, X was set to the rage channel with occasional 30 second self pity commercials, and full on blameshifting, gas lighting, discard was in all its horror. The pick me dance frenzy lasted 18 weeks until I️ was DONE! divorce followed.

    • I wouldn’t give the two-week grace. Because it gives the cheater and the AP time to deceive the chump further and destroy their lives further, and faster.

  • And this is also a prime example of how cheating is not just between the cheater and faithful spouse. It impacts “friendships.”

    Think of these “friends” were told that your cheater was stealing all your retirement funds…would you still consider them friends if they kept silent and you lost it all? Cheating is worse than simple theft, IMO.

    • Just been watching this very issue in
      reality TV show Real Housewives of New York (we’ve just started series 9 here in UK). The women all decided to tell Luann her fiance Tom had cheated on her. It made very painful viewing as seemed clear he was a serial cheater and total narcissist.

      At first Luann was pleased her friends had told her but later accused them of conspiring to ruin her happiness (!!). Course we now know she went on to marry him and marriage lasted only 7 months. Think was Ramona who said at time she’d be there when he broke her heart. Course she was right. That’s a true
      friend.

    • Yes. My husband’s cheatings definitely impacted a few of my friendships with mutual friends of ours. But what about when you permanently write off a friend for refusing to tell you about the suspected cheating even after you point-blank approach him for any known info, and that friend DIES shortly afterwards? That’s what happened to me, regarding a former mutual friend of my cheater husband and I. In light of this friend’s death, I now feel horrified that I never said goodbye or was there for him in what turned out to be his last days. When is going no-contact going too far? Or is it not too far? Perhaps I’m taking a non-“friend” and romanticizing (platonically) the situation in light of his death? In hindsight, I now feel like I took things too far in permanently shutting off this friend and will now never have closure. He was a good guy overall, and it’s possible (but unlikely in my opinion) that he really was clueless to my husband’s dalliances. How should I feel about this? How does untimely tragedy change this dynamic, or doesn’t it?

  • True that these friends were put in a difficult position, but character is revealed under pressure. These “friends” revealed that they have terrible character, meaning, they value their own comfort and convenience above protecting you from the devastation of your family, humiliation, financial ruin, and possibly the loss of your health. And character doesn’t get crappier than that without a felony indictment.

    I’d drop the whole lot of them. Even the one who apologized. After all, what she’s apologizing for is . . . HAVING SHITTY CHARACTER. And as we say at CL about cheaters, she’s not getting a character transplant.

    I got rid of all my Switzerland friends when I divorced. It was painful, but I found that the open space in my life that resulted is filling up with much better people. You don’t replace friendships of 20 or 30 years quickly, but knowing these new folks are thoughtful, interesting, and haven’t calmly accepted my potential ruin on a daily basis far outweighs mere shared history. The Hatfields and McCoys had a long shared history, after all. That didn’t make their relationship healthy.

    You can and will do better. Ditch all the Switzerland friends and start over. Oh, and as with any potential new romantic relationship, pick friends for their character. Do. Not. Settle.

    • >>”True that these friends were put in a difficult position, but character is revealed under pressure.”

      About the friends being put in a difficult position — I agree. But, with the character point you were making, they should be pissed at the cheater for this since the cheater chose to do the behavior and either tell the other people or risk them finding out.

      I’ve had this happen to me three times —
      *When I was nine, my dad introduced my brother and me to his fling (whom he later impregnated and she became wife #3). About a week later, he informed wife #2 he wanted a divorce — then he left the house with my brother and I still in the house with wife #2 and her kids. So, of course, my step-mom and her daughter wanted to know if he was cheating. They decided to ask me. I ran into the bathroom and locked myself in … because I didn’t want to lie. They wouldn’t stop asking. So, I finally chose to protect my dad (in my defense, I was afraid of him). I lied. I hated him for putting me in that position.

      * When I was in my early 20s, my brother called with his girlfriend on the line and wanted me to tell her that he had spent the afternoon at my apartment. This was not true. Obviously, he was cheating. I was enraged that he would put me in that position. I told her the truth and broke my relationship with my brother permanently.

      * When I was in my late 30s, my step-mom at the time said she thought my dad was cheating with a specific person. I knew my dad well enough to know he wouldn’t have chosen that woman. Besides, I had seen him acting overly friendly with a different female. So, I told my step-mom my suspicions and suggested she hire a private detective. I was NOT going to lie for him again. Asshole. (My suspicions were confirmed — he is now married to the woman I suspected).

      The cheaters don’t care what kind of moral quandary they force on others. Yes, that should piss people off.

      • JesssMom,
        WOW! I can’t believe you had to go through that. What a shitty dad. I can’t even imagine a father putting his child through that.

        So glad you now have the guts to stand up to him.

        • Thank you, GoWithYourGut.

          Even though I experienced it as a child, it still shocks me to read stories where other cheaters do something similar with their kids (there are numerous examples just in the comments to this post).

          It is such a horrendous thing to do to a child. It’s like the cheaters decided they’ve already sunk so low, why not find the rock bottom of horrendous, hurtful behavior.

          • “Sunk so low” and “rock bottom” are incomprehensible concepts to cheaters. THEY would never hit rock bottom. They are Not That Kind Of Person.
            Also if you have no moral framework you cannot have a bottom. They’d never know if they hit it.

    • I completely agree–wish I’d ditched the Switzerland friends myself rather than be tortured by their patronizing neutrality for 1-2 years.

      Nomar is correct that the space gets filled with high quality people, instead.

    • Love that Nomar, “the space gets filled with quality people”

      I had a friend that also knew what was happening, but decided to stay friends with OW, didn’t believe me. I dropped her like a hot potato.

      Then recently EX’s family all accepted Friend Request on Facebook from OW. I unfriended every single one of them, as well as other Switzerland friends, Nope they cannot be liking their pictures and mine too. OW and EX are blocked for life, but there’s ways around that, if people are not tagged in a friend’s picture, we can still see blocked people, I don’t want see the “happy couple” and do not want them to see a single thing about my life. This was hard and his family took it very personally that I unfriended them, I love them and always will, but I finally loved myself more. I don’t need daily reminders of that other life. Best thing I ever did!

    • I agree with you Nomar.

      My ex-wife cheated on me with my cousin. As a result, I experienced a large number of Switzerland family members from both sides.

      The best thing I ever did was to illuminate all of these Switzerland family members from my life. The ones that had my back from both sides of the family, I’m super close to and it’s great.

  • How many people knew about Narkles the Clown and the Flying Whore? I’m not sure. When it all came tumbling down (thanks to an anonymous email) I made the decision that if someone couldn’t be mortified for me they couldn’t be my friend. No Switzerlands, no those who knew and didn’t feel it was their place, no lack of empathy. With you held me as I cried, cried with me or embodied my righteous anger. There was no wait a minute, no lets think about this, no questions of how I could not know. At the time it was a way of protecting myself, it turned out to be a good boundary. This is the stuff that lets the cream of the crop of your friends rise to the top! Leave the rest behind.

    I think sometimes we turn our hurt into a contest of who has more friends, us or the cheater. We feel some sort of moral superiority is at stake, and we talk to all our friends like the first scene of Jerry Maguire calling around to see who will take our side. Just like the movie, you only need one really good friend to take your side. And if you don’t have one, keep coming here. That’s what the Nation is for.

    As you move forward into your new cheater free life you will have the chance to ask yourself, what kind of person do I want to be? You have the chance to become a better you with standards and boundaries as you play Phoenix rising from the fire. Part of that may involve becoming a better human with different friends who share your new values.

  • Count me as another whose kids knew. DD carried the vision of the sex pics on dad’s phone around in her head for months, and the damage was deep. DS was bullied back down and gaslighted to within an inch of his life after the cheater brought the slut to visit the poor kid d at college multiple times (WTAF), and will not recover from that without much therapy, which he is loathe to begin, and he has begun to join the cheater in finding me a convenient scapegoat. Simpler.

    As for the “enablers and conscripts,” no interest in them at all. Clearing my life of the lot of them, bit by bit.

    • Ah…the bullying, gas lighting and blame shifting! The narcissist’s top three maneuvers!
      But…….re victimizing the victim is the cheater’s favorite! Straight out of their dirty little playbooks!

  • Cheaters/perverts/liars……always want to control the narrative of the story!
    In my case, the cheater/pervert/liar whined to every ear that would listen about what I a bitch I was. My bitchiness forced him to voyeur the neighbors and spend countless dollars on web cam hoes, prostitutes and anonymous internet hook ups.

    Sorry cheater/pervert/liar…..this is MY STORY- I get to tell it. I get to tell it with the truth- not with your manufactured lies . The story of you ….and what you did to my life- is MY STORY!

    Judge Roy Moore has his side of the story- his victims have the truthful side of the story.

  • My ex-wife used to tell me about what went on in her office. “So and so is cheating with so and so…..and they’re both married…..and they think nobody knows, but we all know…..etc., etc.” Then apparently she decided to have her own inter-office affair with a married guy, and for whatever reason thought that while everybody knows everybody else’s business there, nobody at the office would ever figure it out about her little side show.

    She had a couple of friends that she confided in, including one that would hang out with us (while the OM and his wife were also hanging out with us – she was friends with them too). I can only imagine what goes through somebody’s head while watching clueless me and the OM’s clueless wife sitting there while knowing that each of our spouses are sleeping with one another. And this went on for years.

    It’s just another situation I have a hard time imagining myself in. Even if I hadn’t gone through infidelity, I’m quite sure I would never have sat there and watched any of my friends pull that kind of shit. And if they tried to pull that, they wouldn’t be my friends anymore to begin with. I don’t have any use for that.

    If I ever did confront her “enabling” friends – who all consider themselves to be overworked and underappreciated mothers – I’d just ask them to think about what it would be like for them to only be able to see their kids for half of the remainder of their childhoods, split Christmas, split their birthdays, etc. and that there was nothing they could do about it, and that on top of all that, their husband’s buddies (that have nothing to do with them or their marriage) were doing what they could to help make that a reality. But that could never happen to them….

    It’s all juicy gossip and fun and games until it happens to you.

    • I doubt anyone actually knew, but surely the coworkers sensed it. They were too arrogant and dumb to be discreet. That always happens in the workplace. He confided in no one because she was ugly, uneducated and embarrassing to his elevated CEO self but she swallowed. God doesn’t give with both hands. I made sure everyone knew after the fact since when she was fired, my signature wasn’t required on the termination agreement (which stated no mention would be made of reason for firing – we own the company). Turned out this wasn’t her first rodeo, lol, what a shock. Nor her first marriage, nor her first boss, etc. He was a laughing stock until the next scandal. It’s an industry involving personal injury lawyers so it gets nasty every 5 minutes.

      I on the other hand have outed so many affairs, via letters, to unsuspecting bw (no bh yet) i don’t even know. Mailed letters cross-country after hearing at cocktail parties avpbout so and so having a side piece on the road. FWIW, every outed affair blew up due to the letters, which I don’t send without proof. Amazing how easy it is to find people with very little info. It’s been my therapy since I ignored my gut and could have caught him so easily.

      • “but she swallowed.” Too funny. When people tell me but she’s SO UGLY, I say she must look ok from the top of her head!

        • It’s hard to fathom, right? She’s not young by any stretch, and I guess walking around with knee pads and a bib gets her where she needs to go.

    • Blindside, all juicy gossip until it happens to you, isn’t that the truth.., my neighbors who I thought were my friends all knew and covered for X. Not one of them had the decency or empathy to imagine how they would feel if they were in my shoes. Having your world shattered, not seeing your children, having people you trusted lie for my X, the list goes on.

      One “friend” who I knew had known what was going on, I hadn’t seen her in some time, she ran up to me in the grocery store to give me a hug, asking me how I was doing, I walked past her not saying a word.

      There are no words to describe the devastation and humiliation of finding out almost everyone you thought were your friends knew your life was about to implode and not one of them had the decency to tell me yet continued to be my “friend.”
      I don’t talk to anyone of these people today.

  • Oh man I get this letter. My Cheater ‘confessed’ to my mother and his parents to save face. It made him look like the good guy. I had zero idea he was doing it until it was done. My mother thought it was ‘so sweet’ and showed what a ‘good man’ he was. His parents decided he was the victim. His dad still sends him virtual cards of encouragement and to ‘hang in there’. Not even my own mother reached out to me to support me.
    I tried telling a couple of friends in a subtle way. They said, “Yeah, that sucks that he was looking at porn, but he is a great guy. You got a good catch and I am sure he is very sorry for what he did.”
    He plays the ‘good guy’ role extraordinarily well. Even ‘confessing’ only after he got caught by me, only after I forced him to take a lie detector test, only after I let him know I was filing for divorce.
    I didn’t want to tell anyone the situation, because I pretty much knew what would happen – he would look like a misguided victim and I would look like a bitter b*&ch. It sucks realizing you actually don’t have anyone you can depend on. I know it sounds cliche, but my cheater really was my best friend.
    This entire situation has taught me the importance of developing true adult friendships. But, in the meantime – this sucks.
    I am thankful for Chump Nation – you guys are honestly keeping me sane!

    • I’m so sorry about your mother. That has happened to me my whole life with my mother and is the reason I never told her. That pain is so deep.

    • I’m so sorry you’ve been experiencing this.

      My story is much the same. I had already cut my mom out of my life because she sided with my molester (her husband). My dad is a serial cheater, so I didn’t have high expectations for his response … but I did hope he would care that my STBX came completely unhinged to the point that police and mental health workers told me that my kids and I were in danger. But, no. My dad just saw it as “unfortunate” that we couldn’t work it out “for the kids” — and then he refused to hear anything else about it.

      By the time the marriage imploded, I was completely isolated and living in a small town (I eventually discovered STBX had cheated with at least one of the women in town … and flirted with everyone, including my daughters’ high school friends … disgusting freak).

      So, my girls and I now have the “plague” and we’re overtly and uncomfortably ignored. I can’t even go to the local grocery store, but have to drive 30 minutes to the next town. I am looking forward to moving me and my girls far, far away.

      Sorry to ramble … I just wanted you to know that you are NOT alone. You have a whole army of people here who understand and we are on your side. (((HUGS)))

    • Coolbreeze–awful that your own mother won’t even support you. Fuck the lot of them; anyone shallow enough to buy cheater’s great-guy persona after knowing what he did is not worthy of your friendship.

    • Cool breeze really feel for you. Betrayed by so many. How can ANYBODY think that was sweet of him!! Total manipulation.

      I told my cheater’s mother. She claimed to be disgusted but said and did very little acting like nothing had happened. He was furious though as I told her all details which made him look pathetic, and he knew it. It all came out he was sexting for hours and hours a day anybody who would reply. Plus the meeting up sessions. After few weeks most 14 year old boys would have got bored with hours he was spending on it all but he’d done it whole time I knew him. Years on end. I told him that I told all & that everyone was laughing at him. It was true actually. His mother said he needed help and wasn’t right in head. He hated that

      • It is amazing how they feel like the victim when they have been the ones doing such stupid things. I was so much in shock when I found out my husband was spending hours and hours on porn it was unreal. I was thinking – wait, you neglected to tuck your own children in at night or read them bedtime stories so that you could watch porn? Really? He actually embraced the “porn addict” persona because he could say it wasn’t ‘really him’. No buddy, I don’t care what people label it – you still actively chose to do it all day every day.

  • We really didn’t have friends together. He took his… the ones who knew, and I took mine. There was one who worked with him and who would not exist if it hadn’t been for me ( I introduced her parents to each other in college. She literally would not exist) That was hurtful.

    I blocked every single one of them on my social media and we don’t run the same circles anyway. Made me sad, but I didn’t regret it.

  • After 21 years of marriage, my STBX and I have completely entwined lives, including friends. Everyone is shocked that my husband could do this to me, considering his participation in church and image as a handsome, loving family man. Not one person is surprised at my friend that had (is still having) an affair with him. Every single person who has talked to me about this says my hubs was just the next in line, and he fell for it hook, line and sinker.

    I had one very good friend that I’ve confided in a lot since DDay1 18 months ago, tell me that she waved at him at a meeting the other day and she was upset that he snubbed her. This friend knows that he’s gaslighted me for the last 18 months was I was trying to reconcile with him. She knows of the mean comments he’s made to me (that I’m a wart on his back and will never move on, for one), the duration of the betrayal and has seen me sob in anguish over my broken heart. So when she told me about seeing him and her response, I asked why in the world she would even wave at him. I can see being civil since they were in a business environment, but a wave is a friendly gesture. She seemed surprised that I asked and said, “Well, he’s still a person, and we all have flaws.” I backed down and said, “You’re right, I guess.” But I’m still thinking about this and bothered…..I don’t know if it’s because I’m empathetic, see the good in people and understand her philosophy, or if I’m STILL having trouble enforcing boundaries and seeing my own worth. All I can say is that if her husband did this to her (and I’ve known him all of my life, her only the last 12 years), I would feel completely different about him and would certainly not wave and smile and act like everything was a-okay. I also wonder if this is worth distancing myself from her, and if I do, does it mean I’m not able to move on and live and let live?

    Here’s my biggest fear… that this is a small example of what is to come. My STBX left me and my kids six months ago and is “talking to” the OW, seeing where their relationship goes. Still won’t call it an affair, or even dating. I’m still being gaslighted. Her husband told me that she told him LAST fall that she and my husband were making plans to be together permanently. They have secretly carried on in the last year while I was trying to win his heart back, and I stood NO CHANCE. If my good friend can “condone” this, then what about other people in our community? My in-laws? My children? What if they all think it’s not so bad, and I need to just move on. If I quit talking to everyone who may potentially become Switzerland, then that could be everyone important in my life. But I don’t feel good at campaigning for people to “choose me”. I know this makes me look desperate and crazy. And adds to his image management. The kicker is my 12 yr old daughter told me last week (after I had asked her lots of pointed questions about if she’d ever be comfortable being around the OW) that I needed to move on, and be happy. That lots of people divorced and it wasn’t such a big deal because most of her friends parents are divorced. This broke my heart because I believe in the sanctity of marriage, and never thought this would be my life.

    • Thirty years here, since we were teens. So no separate friends and no cheaters or divorces in the bunch. They sided with me off the bat, although he apologized to all the couples for the abuse of making me look bad shit crazy while denying the affair. The only friend I lost was my college roommate who blamed me when i was at my absolute lowest and needed her desperately. Think i crawled out of that Starbucks on all fours i was so gutted. Surprise, turns out she’d been fucking married men for years. Good lord. Never understood why she thought it was ok to do that, since the men were CLEARLY married to harpies, yet she never thought to tell me about all these great men she was “saving”. Hmmmmm.

    • Creative Lifer —So sorry for your pain. It is hard to know if people just shrug infidelity off as yet another irreconcilable differences divorce -(eg. yawn – move on – get over it ) because they can’t fathom the trauma of our experience – your marriage ending without your knowledge or consent (add the outrage of not even having the chance to work on/fix things because the cheaters have already detached/moved on by the time we know of our betrayal) – or if people just can’t deal with our pain or their own fear “it” (infidelity) could happen to them. Either way the nonchalance of Family and friends adds another layer of pain
      Stay might and be happy
      Your husband and former friend suck!

    • One of the hardest parts for me is worrying about what my kids are going to learn from all of this. I do want them to love, feel loved by and continue to have a relationship with their Dad so they don’t feel abandoned by him, but I don’t want them to not take the sanctity of marriage seriously. I want them to know how hurt I am, not so they will hate their Dad, but so they will never repeat his actions. If/when they get married I want them to take their vows seriously and fully understand what those vows mean and that marriage is not always easy. I fear we live in a world with a collective entitlement mentality and that does not make for solid relationships. When you promise to “love, honor and cherish” somebody until “death do you part”, then, unless you are truly being abused, you need to make an effort to follow through on that. I hope my kids will get that.

      • I confess I’m swinging around to a tougher stance on the kids–WHY do we want them to have a relationship with the cheater? Do they really need one of their two main role models to be willing to savage other people (like their family) in order to satisfy their primitive sexual and domination urges? Do children need a parent in their lives who lies and lacks empathy?

        Does keeping such a parent in their lives make it more likely that the child will end up emulating the liar/cheater, or marrying such a person themselves?

        If the children themselves choose not to have a relationship with the cheater, then they are the ones with agency, and have not been abandoned.

        No answers, just lots of questions. I think I’d have been less likely to get into multiple relationships with narcs and mean men had my narc father been out of the picture during my childhood.

        • Mine treated me like shit, but he isn’t treating me like shit at this moment (beyond continuing his relationship with Schmoopie which hurts like hell, but at least I am not married to him anymore). He didn’t screw me or the kids financially. He isn’t badmouthing me to others. He does also seem to be making an honest effort to be a good dad as best he is able with his limited level of emotional maturity and being empathically challenged. He doesn’t always get it right, but I can see that he is making an honest effort to improve in that area. I hate to admit it, but I think he is a better dad when he doesn’t live with his kids. A lot of it may be image management, but I think most of it is sincere. That’s why I still encourage the relationship with the kids for their sakes because I have done the cost/benefit analysis and I think it is best for them in this case even if it is sometimes harder for me.

          Sometimes I think he really is a unicorn in that he is trying to do right by us without hoovering and trying to get me to take him back. I might even be all right with this and be willing to just view him as a poor broken creature who is doing his best to make amends if Schmoopie weren’t still in the mix. It’s his efforts to normalize that relationship and convince everybody that there is anything positive about it that keeps me from forgiving and moving on. Honestly if he would just end that relationship, wait a few months, and then go find a new girlfriend, I might almost be willing to be friends with him again. He insists on keeping the slut, however, which proves that he still thinks it was ok to hook up with her in the first place, so it may take me a while to get to meh.

        • I’m swinging around to a tougher stance on the kids too, Tempest. It certainly helps that my kids are adults in their 20’s and far more difficult to access and manipulate than young children.

          While I was married, I managed their relationships with their father. He was absent and uninvolved, so I conveyed news, arranged family activities, and put him on the phone when they called home from college. When we split up due after the cheating, I immediately stopped. For a while, he continued to tell me what to tell them, and I finally told him, “Tell them yourself.”

          I wouldn’t worry about your children repeating their father’s actions Chumpinrecovery. All you can do is love them yourself with all your heart. You can’t control how they and their father choose to interact.

          My kids manage their father quite well. They know who he is just as well as I do, and feel just as betrayed. As an emotional presence in their lives, he’s useless and always has been. As a human being, literally everyone is better off holding him at least at arm’s length, including his kids, and they know that.

          This is just another one of the casualties of infidelity—nuclear family bonds. But in the case of my x, those bonds were tenuous in the first place because of his disordered personality.

    • “She seemed surprised that I asked and said, “Well, he’s still a person, and we all have flaws.” I backed down and said, “You’re right, I guess.” But I’m still thinking about this and bothered…..”

      I’ve had the same experience with someone who I thought friend after sharing everything with her, thinking we were on the same page — and then bamm! Wake up call with the question “so are you able to get along with him now?” I will still be friendly because I am of the camp that some people will just never get it, it doesn’t make them bad, it just makes them superficial in a way. I almost think that were the circumstances right, this particular person would cheat on her husband. I of course don’t know and would never say she is a ‘cheater type’ but—— I think she would be OK with it morally, she’s just too practical family wise to try — good for her on that at least.

  • IvyLeagueChump–I know exactly how you feel. My X had an affair with a graduate student in 2006 (and it ended after 6 months without my being any the wiser); in 2014 he was called to the sexual harassment officer because there is no statute of limitations on harassment at the university. D-day was my finding the notes about the sexual harassment meeting plus condoms (he was screwing around with someone new) in his computer bag.

    For 8 years, I sat at dinner parties with people who knew of his gradwhore affair. Not a single one ever said anything to me. Although most of them were morally on my side, one member of each couple also worked with X. When I refused to be friendly with X after the divorce, Hannibal Lecher bullied every single couple into not socializing with me. One couple was staunchly on my side and braved Hannibal’s ire for a year an a half before they, too, couldn’t take any more of his bullying and dropped me.

    During that year and a half, I did ask the woman why no one had told me about his affair, even via an anonymous note. Her answer was insightful: First, people assume the Chump knows and is either looking the other way, or has forgiven the cheater (if the affair was in the past). People cannot envision that we don’t, at some level, know. Chalk it up to impaired theory-of-mind; they assume that if THEY know about the affair, surely the spouse does, too. Secondly, the woman said that since we appeared to be happy as a couple, no one wanted to throw a wrench into the relationship.

    That’s as honest an answer as any of us are likely to get. For many others, they didn’t tell me out of a lack of courage (as Tracy said) and/or greater loyalty to the cheater.

    • If those things are true — you know and you have forgiven — then no harm in mentioning it, right? Even in a “How are you doing? Are you okay about…?” kind of way.

      I realize people are lied to, but it’s such a violation, I’d want to check that story out.

      But that’s me, post-infidelity.

      • True, cowardice is usually the best explanation for why people don’t tell.

        However, it did give me an excuse to advance the chump cause, as I told the woman explicitly, “Always tell the cheated-on spouse. Always,” and she seemed to take this to heart.

  • I don’t really hold grudges against anyone who knew but remained silent. Can’t say that about the family and friends who not only knew but encouraged and provided cover for her!

  • Cheating encompasses the full gamut of sins/bad behaviors. Including neglecting your children and bringing disease into your home (STDs, skin diseases, public lice etc. )

    In my book- if you are a cheater….that automatically means you are a liar ( you have to lie to hide your cheating). You build layers of lies…..to cover previously told lies. You start believing your own lies.

    If you are a cheater- you are automatically a thief (pilfering from the family funds to pay for your cheating). Cheating isn’t cheap.

    If you are a cheater- you are automatically a person of low moral character. I do not want to you and- I certainly don’t want to hear about your dirty secrets. Keep it to yourself!

  • This post, today, really got me. Not sure why and my response is tangental. I was ‘best friends’ with two women, we raised our kids together, had great intellectual conversations, commiserated about our husbands. One of the women and her husband were starting a marketing business. I got them their first big account, with my X’s company. This was a big account, it changed their lives. The other woman, got trickle down economics as she was hired by the first friend. Fast forward, my life implodes. I told both women what was happening. One friend was truly horrified, saved photos I sent for safe keeping etc. The other was the one who pushed me to ‘reconcile, forgive’. My X was doing his thing: not coming home for days, not telling me about business trips, putting our child in a car with his drunk friend, you know, all the Fuck You behavior that comes from divorcing as asshole. I asked friend number one if she would please give me upcoming dates of business engagements so I could plan my life. I did not ask her for confidential information, I did not ask her to spy on my X. Nope, she could not, would not as it would “risk her livelihood” and “How dare you ask me to do something like that”. I pleaded with her, explained I was trying to keep my kids safe. It was a scene. I was upset, crying, frustrated. I threw my purse in the parking lot. My stuff was all over. I left. Fast forward several weeks and friend number two contacts me on social media, she doesn’t want to get in the middle, but she doesn’t want to have a ‘scene’ with me, she doesn’t want me to put her in ‘an awkward situation’. I explained that she had no idea what she was talking about, she obviously didn’t know what my request had been of friend number one. I was in the car, crying, talking to her. She asked what I had requested friend number one to do. I told her. I told her what my X was doing, how it was dangerous to my kids. I told her I didn’t need her to spy, to talk to my X, I just needed a heads up to plan my life and keep my kids safe. We hung up. Maybe a week later she called back. She gave me dates of my X business trips. I asked why, she said it was the right thing to do and she wasn’t going to let friend number one dictate to her how to manage her life. For two years she gave me a heads up as the divorce process dragged on.

    Two years in I got a non apology from friend one. It was a long DM on Facebook, telling me how I quit the friendship and threw it away, how I could not see past my pain that I had asked her to do an impossible task, that just because I was in pain, I had no right to ask her to take my side. The post went on and on. I re read it. She used the first person pronoun over and over. It was all my fault and we weren’t friends now, because I was unable to get over her working for my X. That I threw the friendship out. My response was that I was sorry she saw it that way, however, she was not there for me in my darkest moments and that I truly hope that she never has to go through the pain I did. UGH. Her response to me was that I was being selfish and insensitive to her needs, that I was not a true friend.

    I’m still friends with the second woman. She guards my kids privacy when asked to post ‘publicity photos of my X and my kids’. She called me and asked if I had signed a release for their images to be used and when I told her no, she assured me that she would never post their pictures.

    Not sure why today’s post triggered me so much. I’ll think about it all day. I’m a therapist, so I’ll probably dig it out of my subconscious at 2am.

    Hail to all the strong chumps here, who choose to move forward, creating a new authentic life!

    • OutWest–Friend 1 is a selfish, self-centered beeyatch who completely deserves to be thrown out as friendship trash. I’m sorry you had to live through that second betrayal. You can’t reason with selfish, unreasonable people, and did the right thing giving up on someone who never deserved your friendship in the first place.

    • That she posted that publicly on FACEBOOK show’s she is not only a bad friend but a FREAK. Weirdo. Wow. Stay away—— Believe me, there are many who saw that post and thought the same thing.

  • It’s wild to think about right??
    Friends of ours from the Fire Dept ( a family in itself) who would get together with my kids and I for holidays and other special occasions that knew my husband was getting laid at the station by his mistress.
    My INLAWS that came to my house for Christmas a week before my ex announced he wanted a divorce and knew he was leaving me for his mistress (who it turns out they knew….and liked) and sat at my table eating turkey when they knew my world was about to get firebombed.
    Other friends….who themselves got together as a result of an affair…..who went to the strip club with my ex and his mistress.
    Bye…
    I had my own circle of friends so all I had to do was discard his.
    I think the shitty part is that he had years of filling people’s heads about what a loveless, sexless, miserable wife he had to justify his cheating to people. They knew me, they were friends with me. I don’t know how they didn’t see that what he was saying about me was bullshit.
    Now when I see one of them I do come off as angry….I am. So they probably feel like what he said was true.
    Whatever.

    • Poptart i cannot believe the similarities to these disordered wankers . I had fucktard s parents to stay at Our house and 10 days later their vile son was walking out on our family. Story gets creepier. Mommy dearest made a fucking list of stuff golden boy needed to take with him as he moved into his new appartment (they paid for) . Then all our 5 pet rabbits died from poison … total coincidence….. funnily enough cheater dad of the year got on my case to sell the house weeks after he left . Who can find a rental with 5 free range rabbits in tow ??. Anyway there are no words.

  • As far as I know cheater wife only told one person (her fellow female school counselor) who thought it was awesome and coached and cheerleadered it on. I had met this woman a couple of times and had always been nice to her. But she apparently had cheated on a couple of husbands (she recently married #3). They both had a good time looking at the erection pictures the AP was sending and formulating the various sexting messages my wife was exchanging. After Dday cheater wife brought another female friend (another school counselor) into the mix and reveled in the adultery as well with her while I was devastated and destroyed. Cheater wife has proclaimed many times about the cheaters on her school campus so who knows how many other people she told – heck who knows if she’s had sex with some of those men also. I just don’t know why anyone would think adultery is good or anything to celebrate. It just blows my mind. I guess I just think differently than a cheater. I try not to have a negative view of the world, but it’s difficult some days. Some people are just really bad at being a human being.

  • I can also relate to ditching the “Switzerland” friends, people who knew and didn’t tell me, and anyone who tried to play the “there’s two sides to every story” bullshit. Eventually, I just told someone “how would feel if this happened to you, and that’s what I said?”
    I felt so much better…yeah, it is a tough spot to be in, but you don’t need people like that in your life.

    On the subject of kids being in the know…my 12 year-old son figured things out a couple of weeks after my D-day. He told me about what he found out. A few months later, he confronted my ex about it. She told him a bald-faced lie, that I had made up the whole thing to make her look bad. (For the record, she confessed to the whole thing, as well as 2 other AP I didn’t know about. It wasn’t much of a confession as I had PI pictures. But I digress).
    But what was really twisted was she had the gall to complain to ME that I had confirmed this with him after he asked about it. Since when am *I* bound to step up and lie for her, especially about something that has wrecked both my life and his?

    • “Since when am *I* bound to step up and lie for her, especially about something that has wrecked both my life and his?”

      Indeed. This is something my cheater wife wants me to do for her as well. I’m not looking to put a bunch of mental stuff on my daughter’s plate (about to turn 13) but I’m also not going to allow my cheater wife to brainwash my daughter that breaking up our family and getting a divorce was my decision. She wrecked the family not me. When daughter is having to transport back and forth between two houses and not have those that she loves together for the holidays there is no way I’m going to be labeled the bad guy. For goodness sake cheater wife even INTRODUCED my daughter to her affair partner!!

      • Its best to tell the kids in a controlled manner. I had held off on telling the kids but was encouraging ex to come clean with them. I stopped nagging after a while, however, because although the divorce was proceeding, I wasn’t sure how much Schmoopie was still playing a role in that. When I saw the credit card charges for Valetine’s day flowers for Schmoopie on our joint credit card, realized the affair was still going strong and I was paying for it, I totally lost it. My daughter overheard and that’s how she found out about Schmoopie. It was the night before a big physics exam which she failed due to being too emotionally distraught to study, concentrate or even care. I don’t feel bad about outing ex, but I do feel bad for causing my straight A student daughter to get a C in physics because I didn’t tell her about Schmoopie at a more appropriate time in a more appropriate way.

        The kicker is that she actually did suspect before I did. A couple of months before my DDay she asked me “do you think Dad might be having an affair?” I knew our marriage was having difficulties at the time, but I still trusted him and I told her “no, he wouldn’t do that”. She believed me until her DDay

  • My neighbor saw him out with one of his AP’s but said she didn’t know what to say to me. At least she confessed after I kicked him out. She cried and was very sorry. However, she is no longer my friend. It no longer felt right to me.

  • Wow, I’ve been on both sides of this when I was younger and much later when I was chumped.
    I know all about “Switzerland Friends” and I detest them. Many people who I thought were close friends were not at all. My Ex’s cousin who I have known since she was young secretly told me about the Ex’s cheating and I am forever grateful that she did.

    That said, I have to make a point about telling people that their spouse is cheating. If it is a close friend or family member then I feel you have a duty to do so but otherwise I’m not saying anything. The reason is that if there is any chance that the chump stays then YOU are the “snake in their garden of love” trying to “ruin their happiness”.

    I’ll use a recent reality TV example that displays what usually happens perfectly.
    On The Real Housewives of New York, Luann has a whirlwind romance with a guy and gets engaged. Her friend Bethany has a picture texted to her of Luann’s fiance making out with another woman. She agonizes over the decision to tell Luann. She finally does and asks Luann would she want to know if Tom was cheating. Luann says yes and Bethany shows her the picture with the timestamp.
    Luann is sick and fights with her fiance but then she pulls out her bucket of spackle and all of a sudden Bethany is the bad guy who is trying to ruin her romance. Bethany is not invited to the wedding and is snubbed. Right before the wedding Bethany again tearfully tells Luann NOT to marry Tom because he is a cheater and Luann is going to get hurt. Luann tells Bethany that she is just bitter because she was chumped and had an ugly divorce.
    Luann has the big fancy wedding and just months later it is all over the press that her husband Tom is cheating like crazy and he is even hitting on women right in front of her. Luann finally moves out and files for divorce. In the end, she says that “Bethany was my only true friend”.

    My point is that that story shows that if you tell someone there is a greater than 50% chance that you will be demonized and that will be the end of the relationship. Telling the chump is the right thing to do but it it often will not be received well.

  • My ex was using our DD14 as schmoopie bait to get 20-something year old assistant high school coach to go to expensive dinners with him and planned an overseas trip for the 3 of them. He told DD14 she should stay with the friend they were visiting and he and coach could room together because this young coach ‘thought of him like a dad’. When DD14 figured it out, she was completely freaked out and didn’t speak to either of them for months. Now ex and young schmoopie are including my teenagers on their dates and planning a trip to Hawaii for next year.

    Initially I felt like I had been gutted by my kids. But I’m not sure what I really expect them to do otherwise. They do not come home talking about them. I think they are just trying to stuff down the shit sandwich. Ex is supposed to pay for son’s college. Daughter sends pictures of stuff she wants dad to buy her. They are most comfortable at home relaxing with me. Going to Disney dad’s is like a mini vacation.

    This isn’t the first schmoopie, but it’s the last one I will have ever deal with as we’ve been divorced for a year. Ex and I work at the same company but different departments. We have overlapping work colleagues so I try to keep it ultra professional.

    I know how ex’s family responded after the first time he left me and small kids for his twu wuv many years ago. I didn’t even bother reaching out to any of them. It’s part of the shit sandwich buffet that goes with the territory. You will have to rebuild everything, but it’s the only way forward. You just have to let pieces of it go and say goodbye to that chapter in your life. Many people don’t realize just how awful it is to be married to these people who can do this. They conned us and we were married with kids. Just imagine how they can con someone who doesn’t have that much invested.

    As a chump it’s very eye opening once your tears dry up and you can start to really see. Life is too short for shallow people.

    • I’m still at the beginning of all this but my cheater wife also uses money/buying things as a means to win over my daughter and I’m sure it will continue after the divorce. It’s manipulation and image management. I’m the sane functional parent that makes sure the kid gets homework done, eats healthy, and gets enough sleep. One day when she is older I hope she can see things clearly. I don’t need her to hate her mom, I just need her to be a quality person and not adopt her mom’s ways.

  • My cheater then husband told his co-workers, friends, and the godfather of one of our kids that he was having an affair (probably out of ‘necessity’–WTF?). I am sure that everybody at work knew as he was sleeping with his affair partner in a bunk in a tour bus that carted around the crew. For a long time, I was upset that the godfather decided not to tell me. I imagine that he made an excuse not to tell me like, “It’s none of my business.” Wonder how he would have felt if I had contracted one of several incurable STDs (including HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, HPV) and died from that disease. He probably would have made an excuse in that case, too, to ease his cognitive dissonance.

    Don’t know if post-separation ex-boyfriend’s colleagues, several of whom I considered my friends, knew that my then boyfriend was lining up my replacement. I suspect that they knew as ex-boyfriend’s company is very small and virtually everyone is in an open area. Ex-boyfriend likes to delude himself that people don’t know the obvious, though. He would tell me things like, “OK, she stayed the night at my house (after I caught him in a lie), but nothing happened!” A bit like, ‘Yes, I put a joint in my mouth, but I didn’t inhale.’ How stupid do these liars think we are?

  • It’s hard to even say how horrific it is for any parent to ask a child to keep secrets from the other parent–whether the parents are still together or not. It’s triangulation of the most damaging sort, a kind of emotional incest combined with parental alienation. I suspected both of my parents of cheating but I will never forget the moment I caught my mother holding hands with another man or how I felt about the whispers that she was involved with someone in town whom my father thought of as a “friend.” I never told. Kids never forget the guilt and fear and torn relationships.

    • So sorry, LAJ, you had to go through that horrific experience with your parents. I think these scars stay for life.

      I would appreciate your insight on this. Cheater STBX’s father cheated multiple times on his mom, but it’s not the reason his parents divorced according to his mother’s account. She would have tolerated the cheating if her husband was less abusive, both physically and emotionally. So they divorced when the cheater was 12 and then they both remarried. Cheater’s cheater dad spent 15 years as a vegetable in a wheelchair in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s before he passed away last year. His second wife did not take care of him since day one of his diagnosis but has been fighting for her share of assets with my cheater STBX who became the custodian for his parent. All these years, cheater was taking care of his dad, being away from his family and in another country under that justification that he needed to be there for his dad. Now he only saw his dad maybe 10-12 times a year, but he “needed to be in another country”. All this time, he also blamed his mother for cheating on his dad. While the entire community and friends support his mother’s story, cheater is convinced that his mother cheated on his father while they were married. He carried this hatred/love towards his mother for his entire life (48 years). I hear from different sources this is because his dad used to pump him with all sorts of lies about his mother and cheater confronted his mother in a very ugly way about this a few years ago.

      So having witnessed that dynamic with my cheater and his parents, I am still at a loss of what to do when it comes to our 9 year old son.

      I told him his father cheated on me repeatedly, had multiple girlfriends and this is the reason I am divorcing him. Son asked lots of questions in the beginning, i.e. how I found out, if I cried when I found out, if I was upset, etc. and I was very upfront with him. A year and a half later into this ordeal while we continue living separated in different countries and cheater visits once in a while, I am stuck with my son feeling that he is shutting down on me. He would ask me a question pertaining to the divorce, or our relationship, or make a statement like “but you are not divorced yet, you have not signed the papers yet”, and then when I start responding he would shut me up and say he does not really want to hear “bad things” about his dad. I don’t editorialize. But I also feel frustrated that he does not want to listen to me. I understand he loves his father. He is sparkled out by his father as I was once. His father is a fun Disney dad – he never lived with us to be the sane everyday parent, and so when they see each other it’s always vacation and fun. And this is how he remembers his dad, fun and adventurous, while mom is boring, homework, routine, disciplining, etc.

      It pains me to see how my son shuts down his little heart to me every time I try to explain why having affairs on the side when you are in a committed relationship is wrong. His dad told him, “it’s like you like a girl in your class and you want to play with her all the time, and sit next to her, and then one day you don’t want to play with her anymore and you want to play with somebody else – didn’t it happen with you?” and DS relates to this kind of BS.

      So from the perspective of a child that had cheating parents, and looking at it from your age and experience now, what would you say? Shall I shield my son from all this and pretend that all is well? Shall I refrain from talking about this at all? Shall I be friends with his dad as my son has repeatedly asked me to do and I said no to? Shall I pretend that it’s not a big deal? I am at a loss here. Help please. Anyone.

      • Tell your son that being a liar is not a good thing, and that you cannot trust his daddy not to lie. He’s only 9 y.o., but he will understand about lying and trust,

        And yes, tell him that you are getting divorced from his daddy because of the two things, but that doesn’t mean he is divorcing his daddy.

        Little ones desperately want their birth parents to be together (I know I did when my mother divorced my abusive father), so this phase might last a while, but just stay calm and firm.

        Hang in there, Kid.

      • He is his father. (sounds like an irritating ridiculously stupid one but—-) A son needs to feel good about his father. I agree with what you said in your last paragraph about backing off. You have already told your son the facts and it may be best to not speak about it anymore at all. If your son asks questions, you can be simple in your answer. Even stating that “affairs are wrong” is hard for him to hear in relation to his dad doing it. If you state the facts, “dad chose to be with someone else and that is not what a marriage is so I can’t be married to him”, for example, then your son will see stability from you, which is what he needs now from you. It doesn’t hurt to say you will be friends in regards to you both loving him and working together for what is best for him. (but no, you won’t be hanging out with him, but you don’t need to say that) He will decide for himself many years from now how he feels about dad’s cheating, but if you try to convince him Dad was wrong, it could end up turning him away later. That is the only dad he will ever have and it hurts him to think you are angry at him. It is a real mind mess but I have learned to separate my feelings of “dad” my son’s father, and “dad” lying, cheating, betraying, family destroying Cheater. So far so good, son is happy. These losers have no idea the mess they leave behind—– Not even a thought in their mind, so sad. Good luck and take care, you will get through it how ever you end up dealing with it, there is no perfect answer.

      • You can actually use your ex’s example to demonstrate your own point. “If your friend lied to you and treated you badly, would you want to be their friend anymore? Your friend can say ‘I’m sorry’ but you now know that this friend lies, should you trusr this friend again? If Daddy did not want to be friends anymore he had the option to tell mommy instead of lie and he could make new friends all he wanted”

        It’s crude, but you get the point. Your ex is not thinking about how he can trap himself in this example. You can also say, “I don’t want to be treated badly anymore, he’s hurt my feelings too much” Im not a parent, but those statements seem simple enough for a child to understand.

        I’m sorry for what you and your son are going through and I’m sorry your ex is giving your son warped views of friendship and marriage (and the difference between them).

      • I’d stop talking about it. Your son knows his Dad cheated – there’s no need to go on about how wrong it was. Your kid will figure out on his own that it’s not nice to be cheated on. Just focus on being a good mom and let the kid work out his own feelings towards his dad.

        • Stop talking about it with your 9-year-old child and start talking about it more with other trusted adults and/or a therapist. It is not your son’s job to do any emotional caretaking of either of his parents. Look, I made this same mistake early on with my kids, too — I wanted them to be on my side because cheating is wrong! No. I should have never made my kids do any emotional caretaking of me! Because a child who does emotional caretaking of a parent, instead of being a carefree child, becomes narcissist bait as an adult, who has no sense of their own emotional needs.

          “then when I start responding he would shut me up and say he does not really want to hear “bad things” about his dad. I don’t editorialize. But I also feel frustrated that he does not want to listen to me.”

          Let your sweet child shut you up! Find a way to manage your frustrations in a way that spares your child being put in the middle. This is the hardest thing you will have to do as a sane parent. I speak from my own mistakes here.

  • My definition of a friend is someone who ALWAYS has my back, who will tell me things I don’t want to hear, and who will defend me from sneak attacks (so to speak). That’s why I only have a couple of true friends. They are rarer than rubies.

    Other people? I don’t expect much. But if I found out someone knew or they were socially OK being around an affair partner or they enabled the affair? Dead to me. No regrets. Not a one.

  • I have told my ex repeatedly “It’s not my job to be your PR agent.” So if he didn’t want family, friends, the random woman who works at the bank, or his own daughter to know that he was cheating then maybe he shouldn’t have cheated. I’m not working for free as his PR agent to make him look good. I will share the truth, I won’t editorialize around my daughter, but other than that she can draw her own conclusions from the information. I’m not going to keep his dirty little secret.

    • thank you StrawberryJellyfish……….^ ^ ^ 100% thumbs up ^ ^ ^ Especially if they are trying to manipulate the kid. My freaking cheater wife introduced my unsuspecting daughter to her affair partner. What kind of weirdo glee was she getting inside out of that? … and now she wants me to cover for her.

  • My son was using the computer and found the sites where his father was talking to OW. He told me immediately but made me promise not to tell his father that it was him who spilled the beans. Makes me sick to think what my son saw in the messages to his skanks. Apparently XH was talking to quite a few gals but only one Schmoopie (the 50 year old with the pigtails) was stupid enough to rescue him from his evil, sexless wife.

  • My cheater’s formula was “wife+long-term AP+short-term flings+Tinder” – that’s what I know. Dodecahedron indeed!

    I am glad I am not part of his math problems anymore. He has all of above and minus wife.

  • Most of my cheaters long time friends are disgusted with his behavior. But his work friends are another story.

    When he first left me, one friend in particular gave him a lot of support. Even though she knew he cheated and knew I had cancer. She even said to me “I’ve been cheated on. No one deserves to be cheated on.” Beyond that she offered me no support beyond that. Instead she hung out at bars with my STBX and let him spend nights on her couch. Which I found odd.

    Fast forward a few months, he is hanging out with her and her friends regularly. She moves to CA and he helps her pack and attends numerous going away parties for her. He even tries to take our 7 year-old daughter to one of her parties without mentioning it to me. I find out and question it, since it’s an adult party and his AP might be there. The friend (who is not the AP) blocks me on FB after I say my child cannot go. At this point I’m thinking she is also an AP.

    Immediately after she moves, he starts a relationship with her friend! This woman knows of his cheating and my cancer (she feels really bad about that) but in her mind she is okay with it because we are seperated.

    To sum it up, none of the people he is currently friends with are people I want to be friends with.They enable his bad behavior. His family also enables his bad behavior and I have also cut them out of my life as mnuch as I can.

    My family frustrates me because they are all still FB friends with him. They still like his posts. I don’t feel like I have a right to tell them to unfriend him, but it really bothers me that they do.

  • These people. I myself really only have a few friends. They were not aware of anything. Her friends, which I knew some of, were pushing her and helping. I’m pretty sure she did not tell any of the ones who would have told me or told her she was wrong. Overall she was good at separation of our life and her sick life. She did not hook up with anyone who lived close or might get attached. In that way I guess I am lucky!

    • I have found it so disheartening that there were people helping and cheerleading. It’s just so disturbing to me. How can people be like that?

  • Zell,
    I did tell the OW about my STBX as well as finding out that I have HPV now. Never had it ever in all these years or any other diseases. Think my STBX gives a damn, nor does the OW. I’m the one that was played in every way possible by the two of them. Yet, I am telling them and they could give two shits. Face it they would rather I be dead.

  • I can only repeat what I said on yesterday’s post:

    What the ones who knew are saying is, in capital letters:

    DON’T MAKE US FEEL UNCOMFORTABLE.

    WE LIKE THE WORLD THE WAY IT IS.

    WE ARE OK WITH WHAT HAPPENED.

    THE NEEDS OF THE MANY OUTWEIGH THE NEEDS OF THE ONE.

    When you get served that up as a response, you have to decide if you agree with any of those statements as well. And a lot of us do, to our terrible pain and shame.

    But then you fight your way out of the cave and into the sunshine.

    BUT: As someone who outed a cheater at the tender age of just 20 (my friend’s fiance hit on me about a month before the wedding), the chump didn’t want to know about it. She said a few stern words over the phone, and the wedding went ahead, and that was that. But that could be because she was herself an OW – her fiancee had been engaged to someone else in his home city, but broke it off to be with her.

    And then a year or so later she told me that her husband – who travelled a lot for work – went back to his home city for business and stayed at his ex-fiancee’s house while he was there. But of course it was All Right because they were Just Friends, and Nothing Happened. And it was such a nice opportunity for them to catch up.

    All I could say was – well, nothing, but inside me it was a case of things that make you go hmmm.

    They are still married, and I can only assume that she has either got the blinders on, or she has accepted on some level that he’s unfaithful, and can live with that.

  • I would venture to say more than a few don’t tell because they figure the chump won’t listen anyway. There have been a few people in my life over the years that outed cheaters and were rewarded by losing a friendship with a chump in denial. Sad but true.

    • This is very true. Denial is a powerful force and people proverbially shoot the messenger— which is why I’m a fan of telling anonymously but with a lot of details so that the recipient knows it’s true.

  • Hi Tracy, just more of an admin note – I’ve noticed I can’t seem to post from my mobile or my home computer since about last week. I’m having to write this from my work laptop. Not sure what’s happened with the site, but it gives a message that Javascript and Cookies need to be enabled to post (which, they are) and if they are enabled and you’re seeing this error message, to contact the site administrator.

    I’ve noticed the number of comments on recent articles is also far lower, so maybe i’m not the only one with this problem. Did you do a site upgrade recently or something?

    • MightyChris and Tracey,

      I have had the same thing come up on my phone that is why I haven’t posted as of late. Last night was the first time I was able in awhile.

  • I’m curious what people think of this?

    My wife cheated on me with my cousins and destroyed our family

    My cousins brothers were always very close to me.

    My wife moved far away and my cousin moved in with her.

    My cousins brothers seem to have no problem going over there to her house and visiting them like one big happy family.

    I realize that it is their brother so there is a bond, however I stopped communicating with the brothers because I refuse to be part of a toxic situation, and I’m disgusted that they are OK with what happened

    • I think it sucks big time, but probably can’t expect the brothers to abandon him. You probably need to just write off the low-life and his family, and find other real people to replace them in your world.

  • I’m distraught about this topic because it caused me to lose a friend forever who is now no longer alive. Yes, I believe at least some of our mutual friends knew about his strip club dalliances but kept me in the dark like a small child. One of these friends was very close to the family my husband and I have with our children. This friend was our best man and the godfather of one of my children, even helped us out immensely when I was in labor with that child. In turn I helped him get help when he had a serious personal crisis later on. At times I wondered how much he knew about my husband’s at-time suspected cheatings (which turned out to be ACTUAL cheatings), especially since he worked with my husband during the day, when I (correctly, it turns out) suspected my husband had been taking lunch breaks and work breaks to the strip club.

    After many months of suspecting my husband of cheating and catching some pretty revealing evidence of his ill intentions, I decided to broach this friend to see if he had any helpful hints or “heads up”s for me. After all, this guy had already told me how indebted he felt to me for basically saving his life during his crisis a few months prior. Back when that was happening, I remember a mutual acquaintance spilled the beans to my husband and I about how our friend was secretly becoming self destructive. We were forever thankful that someone finally spilled the beans on a serious issue that no one else had bothered to clue us in on despite their knowledge. I guess I was hoping he’d give me the same courtesy his acquaintance had given us about him.

    Instead, it seemed like he was somewhat evading me and my phone calls. Or maybe he really was just really busy at his job. Meanwhile, my husband claimed the friend wouldn’t talk to me because I’m “crazy” (textbook gaslighting). When I called this friend from a different phone number, he answered right away so I point blank asked him about my husband. He claimed to have no idea. I then asked if this friend had really told my husband I was “crazy” or if that was another lie my husband probably made up. My friend just snickered mockingly and said nothing to refute this, which gave me my answer. So I hung up on him mid-snicker and never spoke to him never again, not even when I happened to unintentionally walk by him a few times in our town.

    That’s exactly the recipe Chump Lady says to do, right? Cut concealers who take the cheater’s side out of your life and don’t turn back? The problem is, this same friend encountered an unrelated tragedy exactly 3 months later and died at age 30. I now feel horrible that I never got to say goodbye. Given how good natured this guy generally was, I do believe that if he hadn’t died, we probably would have eventually started talking again and perhaps I would have found out that my husband was the one who told HIM I was “crazy”. Idk. Or am I (platonically) romanticizing a situation simply because untimely tragedy was involved? How do I wrap my head around this? I feel like thanks to my husband’s cheating, I lost a friend, made a fool of myself, and now have to live with the guilt that I was never there for him in his last few days. This friend is NOT the only friend or relative who’s died very young and in a way that gives me no closure. Please help and advise. Thanks.

    • Lucinda – I am so so sorry that your friend died; that’s so sad.

      Let’s look at the imaginary future another way:

      Six months down the track, you meet this ex-friend by accident, and he blanks you.

      Or, you meet him, and he admits he called you crazy, but says it’s because he really likes you himself. You begin a romantic relationship, only to find that he and your ex remain friends and are comparing notes about your sexual performance behind your back.

      Or, you gradually begin talking to him again, but you find out he has cheated on every woman he’s ever been with, but you never knew this before now. Also, he is wanted in another state for carjacking.

      See what I mean? The imagination plays tricks on us when a person is dead – we never, ever want to think ill of them because it makes us feel guilty.

      The truth is that the dead are just like – well, just like us. They are capable of doing shitty things and letting us down. Death doesn’t turn them into flawless people, except in our grieving imaginations.

      He snickered at you mockingly, Lucinda, when you bared your heart to him in a time of crisis. What kind of friend does that?

      I am sorry you lack closure. But ChumpLady has taught me that we have to make our own closure. If you believe in praying for the dead, then pray for him, and forgive him for letting YOU down. That’s what he did, and no, he may never have apologised to you in life.

  • Our next door neighbor for the last 15 years knew, my wayward told her and she didn’t tell me. My wayward and the neighbor are good friends, however I thought I was in the circle or trust too. Apparently not, so now I don’t want my wayward going over there to visit and chat which is triggering arguments. We spend holidays with our neighbors watched our kids and their kids grow up together, I thought we were like family. My wayward tried to defend our neighbor, “she told me that everyone she knows that left their husband for another man it didn’t work out”. Well then OK she forgiven, NOT!! She should have told me, or told you to stop or she was going to tell me. But no, I know what happened, she got a kick out of it, she wanted to hear the drama, the excitement. I bet my neighbor asked my wayward questions about her affair partner, like where does he live, what does he do. My wayward admitted that she did show her a picture of him on her phone, so I know that giggled about the betrayal, and found it entertaining.

  • My ex got away with flaunting the OW because he told everyone that her kids were biologically his, that I was being a bitch about it and wouldn’t let him see them. As they were 3 and 5 and the time, he would’ve had to cheat on me twice with her during our 9 years together to have made them. People didn’t care about that tho. That was the past and why couldn’t I just let him be a dad? Only some of them weren’t ok with the affair after they found out that the kids weren’t his. Including his family… most people he literally bragged to about the affair just didn’t want anything to do with the situation.

    I ditched the Switzerland friends soon after I threw ex out.

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