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Dear Chump Lady, Where’s the data on reconciliation?

Dear Chump Lady,

Here is what would have helped move me forward, something that seems more rare than unicorns themselves: unicorn research.

I’d expected that relationship experts would have gobs of years-long, scientifically blessed research on topics that really matter when you’re struggling to figure out what to do, right? Because when you go unicorn hunting, investing a lot of time and energy, you have to think you have a reasonable shot at catching this creature.

But try to find very basic, non-anecdotal unicorn info: How many unicorns are there out there, for example? How many unicorns return and then gallop off again in 10 years? What are the costs of unicorn maintenance? And do they look ugly up close?

It does matter — I based my entire chump quest around a few unicorn stories and suspect many do. And isn’t the whole Reconciliation Industrial Complex based on the idea that reconciliation is possible and a reasonable goal? If so, Iets see what that means.

If you’re speaking to RIC professionals, ask for big long-term studies and numbers and data. And ask for data that reflects followup, not just the temporary patches that seem to characterize “success stories.” (Success stories are so hard to resist!)

Long Ago Chumped But Haven’t Forgotten

Dear Long Ago,

Well, you could ask me the same thing. Where are all your long-term studies and numbers? How do we know Chump Lady isn’t one anecdotal Gain a Life story? Where’s the research?

Oh hang on, here it is:

Intrasexual Mate Competition and Breakups: Who Really Wins?
Craig Eric Morris, Melanie L. Beaussart, Chris Reiber, and Linda S. Krajewski.

I wrote about it here  “Science Vindicates Leave a Cheater, Gain a Life

Psychologists asked over 5,000 women chumps about their relationship break-ups. Turns out the chumps fixed their pickers, learned from the experience, and had better future relationships. They also experienced more personal growth outside their relationships.

And karma bonus — the Other Woman who “won” the cheater?  They turn out to be the losers.

The study, led by Dr Craig Morris, an evolutionary biologist at Binghamton University in New York in conjunction with University College London, explored the experience of 5,705 women in 96 countries — and is the largest study ever on relationship dissolution.

The largest study ever on relationship dissolution. EV-AH. Gee, I’m surprised more RIC professionals aren’t citing it.

I could point you to my blog numbers (millions) which would be a nice data set on how that reconciliation thing is working for a lot of people. And your mythical researcher wouldn’t have to stop at me, they could visit the other infidelity boards and do a head-count of how many chumps there are.

I’m not a researcher, but I would love it if more professionals would turn their attentions towards this subject. I suspect they don’t for the reasons I wrote about the other day in The Silent Chumps — We. Don’t. Talk. About. This.

Which leaves the field open for wishful thinking and charlatans who would like to sell you $399 Affair Proof Your Marriage toolkits. And also probably scores of well-meaning therapists who think they are helping, and assume it All Worked Out when that couple leaves therapy.

I’d expected that relationship experts would have gobs of years-long, scientifically blessed research on topics that really matter when you’re struggling to figure out what to do, right?

Well, it’s not Consumer Reports. And if it were, that partner you bought would be a one-star lemon. The better analogy would be the Maytag repairman. Can this lousy appliance I invested in be fixed?

(How about you try a new brand of person?)

Because when you go unicorn hunting, investing a lot of time and energy, you have to think you have a reasonable shot at catching this creature.

Well, that’s the sticky wicket. People want to think themselves exceptional. But I do think research would help, like the warning labels they put on cigarettes. WARNING: Reconciliation has been linked to Bad Outcomes. Or on those RIC toolkits: WARNING: This product contains bullshit.

Could research really save chumps? I’m all for the informed decision and the longitudinal study, but when it comes down to it, there’s only one data set that matters — yours. Is this an acceptable relationship to YOU?

Everything else is measuring cheater potential and skein untangling. Okay, 13,457 cheaters have Changed For The Better in Columbus, Ohio. Do you want to risk your one precious life? You control your Gain a Life much more than you control their Gain a Clue.

Let’s hope science finds a cure. Until then I’m sticking with the success story of left a cheater, gained a life.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
    • Cheating is just like beating. If you stay with either, they will just be worse and worse. Even though they try to hide it (the cheaters). And to believe in lies will always hurt you.

  • Cheating is lying. Cheating is stealing. Cheating is psychological and financial abuse. How many second and third and fourth chances should people who lie, steal and abuse you get?

    There comes a time in every partnership when you have to ask yourself, “Is this person good for me?” When you can’t answer in the affirmative, it’s time to leave.

    • I briefly did MC. One of the first questions a still shell shocked me asked was ….. Do relationships survive this (ie at least two years of double life as a cheater)? Her response was telling – no mention of repair, healthy restoration – all she could cite were two clients who “didn’t get divorced”. That is success when you’re looking at Divorce Avoidance, but not a healthy authentic life. I wonder if her two case studies went on to happy ever after? I seriously doubt it as our MC didn’t do anything to do hold cheater to account and didn’t think it was that important when DD#2 arrived shortly thereafter…..

      • I kind of remember asking the MC that same question, had any of her clients successfully reconciled? I don’t remember exactly what she said, just that it was lame and didn’t make me feel better

        • I think s
          “succesful” reconciliation requires an ability to completely disregard imperical evidence and create alternate reality. Seriously.

          If you can take cheating as a blip or blimp in your relationship, accept the complete unfairness of it all, you can do it.

          That’s why most times reconcilliation is just divorce avoidance.

        • My therapist post discovery told me that a high % of his couple clients were dealing with infidelity in their marriages. He said about 10% remain together. So, despite his credentials, he could not fix this and he was honest about the prospects even though it undermined his success rate stats.
          Contrast this to the claims of the various ‘ pay for reconciliation services” sites and authors etc. They claim 85% stay married and most have “better, stronger marriages”. Those claims are bullshit. No one with an ounce of self respect let’s someone do this to him/her and then reap the benefits of a “better , stronger marriage>”
          I get banned all the time when I question the claims by these doormats that their marriage is “better than ever”. Who can look at him/herself in the mirror knowing you let someone get over on you like this?

          • Arnold,
            I agree with you 100%. That is why I am going to divorce after learning about a 5 year affair. I won’t do reconciling. He lied for five years how can any reconciling change that. He couldn’t even tell me. I figured it out.

            • Indeed. The risk of STDs alone is reason enough to walk away. But the lies they spin so effortlessly show that a relationship can not be had with them- they don’t possess the ability to be an honest and monogamous.

              • Zell,

                The asshole gave me HPV!! I warned the OW and the OW parents. Apparently, that doesn’t matter. Going to see if my body can rid itself of the virus. If not, maybe my test results need to be sent since they don’t seem to be too worried. Then again it really doesn’t matter what happens to me. My STBX never cared it was all manipulation and lies.

  • There’s a $3,700 “EMS Weekend” for desperate people who want to save their marriages at Basically, their business model is guilting people into “investing” in their marriages.

    • Geez! I’d be willing to host a retreat for only $100 per person (pay your own hotel costs), where we talk about the concept of Sunken Costs all weekend and drink margaritas.

    • My ex wanted to go to this expensive meeting. All the while keeping his Craigslist app and ding ding his messenger going off. I’m not the one that needs to be fixed. Adios jack ass. Fucker

      • Your ex wanted you to buy into the “I’m a sex addict- I have a disease” crap. Good thing you didn’t buy it. Sex Addiction is not real.

        The SA crowd actually thinks the betrayed, deceived spouse- should hold the lying cheater’s hand! All the while…..he is still going at it with the porn, lies, cheating etc. They call that a “slip.” And the spouse is supposed to be “understanding and compassionate.” Fuck that…..fuck them!

        • Even worse (IMO), is what I remember from the 5 minutes I bought the sex addict excuse – the SA crowd wants the spouse to “stay on their side of the street” (worry about their own personal failings rather than expecting anything from the SA) and “own” their responsibility (co-addiction nonsense) for their own betrayal. Fuck that noise. My only “responsibility” was staying as long as I did. Nothing more.

          • Holy fuck – I forgot about that. They drilled that into my head. I will need to work hard after all this time to get it out. Or who cares. It’s behind me now.

        • The scientific data on recovery from Sex Addiction is right next to the data on reconciliation. Doesn’t take up much space in a file cabinet.

          • Am I the only one gobsmacked by this in SAA? Every other twelve step program has the addict taking accountability, doing the work, making amends and yaknow, basically *owning their shit*. So you’re telling me that in Sex Addicts Anonymous, or their equivalent of Al-Anon, they tell loved ones to, in the words of Beth, “stay on their side of the street” (worry about their own personal failings rather than expecting anything from the SA) and “own” their responsibility (co-addiction nonsense) for their own betrayal. That is seriously fucked up and a BIG red flag right there. Foxes? Can you take care of this hen house for me? SMH

            • Oh the journey through “Sex Addiction” treatment is a real mind f– for the spouse. My favorite is the “don’t make any decisions regarding your poor Addict for a year” and “don’t tell too many people they just wouldn’t understand.” Both of these are designed to keep the partner from becoming empowered.

              • I’d actually like to thank Bellwood Health Services, “experts in treating sex addiction”, in Toronto for doing such a lousy job at MC as I may have been brainwashed into staying longer than I did. It was so lousy that in hindsight, I might even say they are unicorn-slayers in disguise.

                Private therapists and 12 step groups, not so much. It was all about doling out bitch cookies for not cheating.

        • I have such a hard time listening to the women in my CoDA group speak of sex addiction and “committing” to work in RCA (Recovering Couples Anonymous). I want to run up to them after the meeting, grab them by the collar,shake them and say “Wake up ! Read ‘The Myth of Sex Addiction’ and get away from the monster ! If he was beating you up would you go to some addiction group to own your part of the abuse ?”

          I have said to some during fellowship that sex addiction is not in the DSM and insurance doesn’t cover treatment ergo it’s not an addiction. Nobody wants to discuss this. It’s not my place to tell others what to do with their lives but I like to give another option outside the RIC.

          When I voiced my opinion to the Jesus cheater I briefly dated last year he angrily interrupted me and didn’t want to hear it. He painted his first wife as borderline and the second one as bipolar. “Did you ever apologize to your wife for endangering her health by porking hookers after your son was born ?” I asked. He was swept up in a sting operation and they went to some Christian treatment program on the other side of the country to repair their marriage. He responded “I don’t have to because Jesus has already forgiven me” Okay then,moving along.

          By the way,he met wife #2 (he refers to his exes as his axes) at the “treatment” center. Second marriage ended in divorce and he’s still in touch with both of them. He’s a pig in shit with all the attention.

          Nothing to work with there. Thanks Chumplady !

        • No. Sex addiction IS real. I have clients who are addicts. It is no different from being addicted to cocaine or alcohol. It is no different from asking yourself if you would stay with someone who spends thousands and thousands of dollars on cocaine.

          • I kindof agree with you here. Whether sex addiction is real is immaterial. I’ve known drug addicts who take linen from their mothers purse and leave their kids with random strangers. Not someone to trust or enable. Feel sorry for them, sure. Tolerate abuse, no.

          • Oh, I think it is real. My cheater thinks 4-5 hours of penile stimulation a day is “reasonable” (his words), and that he is compromising mightily to request only one hour per day.
            He has said on numerous occasions: “If I can’t have sex, just shoot me”. When I mentioned that to a friend, the friend gently said, “change the word ‘sex’ to ‘alcohol’.”
            He doesn’t think the hours he devotes to porn/masturbation have ANY room in our discussions. Those don’t count.
            And, just like any addict, he denies even the remote possibility he has a problem.

    • Actually I’ll stand up to defend this organization. I tried to get my ex to go with me to one of their retreats after D-day, but he was reluctant. I spoke with their coordinator, and then asked if he’d speak with my now-ex separately since ex was being a timid forest creature. I had to badger my ex for a week to actually make the call, and then the coordinator followed up with me directly. HE was the one who told me that my ex was most likely still seeing the OW (he was right) and that the workshop wouldn’t work unless both of us were invested in the outcome. He suggested that I back away from the unicorn hunt and focus on myself. He refunded my deposit and told me we’d be welcome in the future if ex comes around but that I can’t make him come around. That’s when I came here and gave up on unicorns.

      So while some RIC BS just pedals hope for a price tag, this organization ACTUALLY helped me. For free. And I am eternally grateful, because his assessment carried more weight in my mind than anyone else at the time.

      • Most of these type of programs make it clear that both partners have to be honest, open, and willing to put the other person and their relationship as the priority. That is not wrong. The person pretending to be those things is wrong. My STBX said all the right things and even did most of the right things for almost a year and a half. It wasn’t until he left the second time that he admitted that it was all bullshit done to keep me from divorcing him. I don’t blame the program we went through, I blame him. The only thing that should be added to these programs are individual break out sessions that focus on spotting the bullshit. But then again, some people are just that good at deception…

        • And the program we went through was run by volunteers. It was a weekend followed by 6 Saturdays. And it was only $200 plus whatever you wanted to donate. So, it was not about making money off of people’s hurt. And I happened to agree with most of what they communicated and had us do. I can honestly say that I am a better person for going through it. A bit of a fool for believing my STBX, but I can now apply what I learned about myself to the other relationships in my life.

        • This is a fair point. MC is predicated on honesty after all. Where these counsellors keep going wrong is they assume that both partners are honest and willing to work on the relationship (and ditch the APs), and they prove it by turning up at sessions. Are they just wildly optimistic chumps themselves, obsessed with always seeing some good in everyone? I think that would be a great motivation for entering this profession.
          But there many liars out there, who are happy to lie, and systematically choose lying over honesty.
          After disastrous MC and breakup, I tried to explain this to our MC. I emailed her and told her that I found out the extend of the Traitor’s lies and scheming with the Whore, how much he had deceived me and her in MC. I explained that while I respected her method and her effort to help us reconcile, it could not work with a liar (or two if you include the Whore) conspiring to deceive the chump. I got a little commiseration email back, about how she was sad for both of us…
          No sign of introspection about her work, or how she had been deceived.

          • Kiwichump,

            A lot of therapists like repeat business-if you stop attending,no more money for them.

            Any ethical therapist should check in with their client regarding the efficacy of the therapy, asking the question “How to you feel about this therapy ? Is it helping you move forward and make better, healthy decisions ?” They have to put aside their ego and admit maybe they don’t have the training or experience to help a client and find another therapist for you.

        • Even my shitty MC, who repeatedly pushed an open marriage as a solution, assumed that my wife was being honest and was in couples therapy for legitimate reasons.

          During the last session I attended, I confronted my wife on some of her lies. She admitted to lying, and I asked both her and the MC how this was s’posed to work if wife was lying the whole time.

          The MC admitted she’d assumed truth and shared goals. And as much as she sucked, I believe her on that. Mutual problem-solving ASSUMES honesty as a starting point.

          Grrr! This gets my goat. (Sorry, these days I’m typically relatively Meh, but I’ve had a few glasses of wine.). Fuck you, XW, for putting me through those two months of MC for nothing.


      • How did that guy know your X was still seeing the AP? What tipped him off? Your XH must have said SOMETHING. So at least some of these RIC types know that not all marriages are salvageable.

        • When I first saw my attorney I told her I wanted her to write up separation papers. When I returned, she had Dissolution of Marriage papers written up instead. She said when she heard my story, she knew it was over and that not one of her other divorce clients ever successfully reconciled. A little presumptuous of her, but she was a lot smarter than me and I love her for that decision!

          • When I first went to see my lawyer, still wanting to wreckoncile but wanting advice on where I stood, he instead got the senior partner to summon me to a meeting where he explained how he had been chumped by his first wife, tried wreckonciliation for 3 years because of their children, but she continued cheating, and how I should end the relationship and settle finances ASAP and move on because it was hopeless trying to deal with a dishonest man.
            The firm also referred me to a barrister when things got nasty, and all in all, my legal bills were moderate. I got lucky with lawyers if not MC.

            • I also got lucky with lawyers. Mine divorced his epic cheater, and it was a crazy story that he waited to tell me until we were celebrating my settlement. He got sole custody of his kids which rarely happens in this state, where even drug addicts get some type of joint custody. The man knew what to expect from my disordered ex because he had lived the same dysfunction. Being chumped made him an even better lawyer.

    • $3,700 is cheap!! You can spend twice that amount at a Ranch Retreat outside of Amarillo, TX. You and Sparkles can spend a lovely weekend with 4 other fucked up couples enjoying cuisine, scenic beauty, and a sitting around a campfire. They even have WiFi so Debbie Douchebag can communicate with Captain Bigdick after her husband goes to sleep under that comfy, western quilt.

      Sadly and shamefully…..I won’t explain how I know this.

        • Glad to be of service!!!

          My life, is indeed, SUPER right now.

          Everyone deserves a SUPER DUPER life.

      • Been there…..but changecretreat for Carnival cruise and the added expense of ship WiFi.

      • Oh, and DebbieDouchebag can stir up a powerful pick-me dance with Capt. BD–“I have to give the marriage one more try….” Cue the AP pick-me dance.

      • Huh…I have to wonder if some serial cheaters actually hook up with other serial cheaters at these so called marriage reconciliation retreats…
        Wouldn’t that be the ultimate ego stroke and power trip for these assholes….

        • EMC,

          See above in my post about short-term relationship with cheater who met wife #2 at such a retreat.

    • We paid $1700 for Joe Beam’s marriage retreat. Not including hotel/food. Total crap.

  • Yes so much to this. I spent a ton of time and RIC sites and the biggest thing I found was people that were ‘successful’ in reconciliation actually meant the Chump lowered their standards so much that just having the cheater not cut their head off while sleeping in bed at was considered a successful reconciliation.

    It was heartbreaking and embarrassing to see just how little was required of the cheater in the eyes of many chumps in order to reconcile. For some, the absolute only thing that was required was an apology. I was on one site and there were people that stayed in the wings until the cheater got dumped by the OW/OM. Only then did the cheater come back and that was considered ‘successful’.

    The chump would be beat down to such an extent that THEY would be told to apologize to the cheater! I kid you not, by the time they got finished having their head put through the RIC blender, they believed they were 90% at fault for their spouse cheating. Everything from ‘getting fat’ (which could mean gaining as little as ten pounds over twenty years), to ‘demanding to much’ (which could be as little as asking the cheater to change diapers or mow the lawn), to being ‘too emotional’. It was the most victim blaming experience I have ever seen in my life.

    So, then – the defeated chump stays in the abusive relationship and – presto, a ‘successful’ reconciliation.

    • My observation was that “successful” reconciliation meant one of three things. Lowering your expectations of the cheater, wiping the slate clean and giving the cheater a fresh start, or resigning to a life of constantly verifying and monitoring the cheater’s every move.

      • I chose “neither of the above” and consider that a “success” from my perspective….

  • Gotta love the scientific lingo in that report (just read the abstract though):
    “… then emotions arising from the loss of a mate to a sexual rival may potentially motivate actions that could make one avoid this scenario in the future.”

    Potentially motivate actions indeed.

  • Accurate data is hard to obtain on we-don’t -talk-about-it subjects. Because victims don’t share. That’s why it’s important to share your story in a matter-of-fact way. . With your friends. With your family. With support communities like Chump Nation. We need to end the stigma around being a chump.

    One thing that amazed me when I opened up to work colleagues and friends was that many of them said, “Me too. I’ve been there.” In most cases, I had no idea.

    • There are more times than not that I wish my story would become one in the minuscule unicorn statistics file instead of part of the 0.13% where the cheater and AP live happily ever after which seems to be where my husband and OW are blissfully headed. I wouldn’t really mind the “unconscious” part of our uncoupling in the physical sense for a bit either as it would give me a break from my mind continuously racing about my husband’s abandonment of me. (Like others, I tried to post recently, but encountered error messages, so forgive me for veering off topic to express some of what has been on my mind).

      First anniversary of DDay is rapidly approaching and so many people in “our” lives still don’t know that I’ve been simply tossed away and replaced. Since my husband created a new world devoid of my existence and is living with OW in our vacation rental and working in an area where he pretended to be single all along while keeping me the shadows, he has spared himself even the remote possibility of ever encountering anyone who knew us as a couple whereas I get an almost daily dose of humiliation and shame when someone asks about him/us as I’m still where we spent the bulk of the past twenty years. This gives me the option of either facing my ultimate fear which is failure and telling others that he has ghosted out of our quarter century relationship OR just generically stating how wonderful he is doing (without any elaboration), which is the best way to describe his new life with young and vivacious former bikini model OW in comparison to the doldrums experienced with frumpy old me. This fork in the road “To Reveal or Not to Reveal” dilemma is bound to escalate with major holidays approaching which sparks invitations to gatherings and questions about “our” annual vacation plans.

      I feel absolutely worthless in spite of truly believing (thanks solely to CL & CN) that cheating husband and OW suck and that I should not bear any responsibility for their character disorders and deficiencies. Easier said than done though (as others have mentioned in response to recent posts) when you’ve been made to feel like you just weren’t good enough in a multitude of areas and this is validated by the cheater’s effortless discard of you and his/her lack of regret regarding the destruction of your relationship. I do however want to harness the strength to fully break my silence beyond just here in the cyber world as I’ve been inspired by #MeToo and its parallels to being chumped.

      • When my soon to be ex told me he was in love with someone else and btw had cheated for years. I told that to everyone I cared about and cared about me. I wasn’t embarrassed. I was mortified. I don’t think he really expected me to be so honest with everyone. I even admitted the one time I caught him cheating, and hadn’t told friends and family because I believed he could change etc. I admitted how stupid I had been. I’ve had great support. Even from his friends and family. No way was I going to let him get off that easy. You sing your story from the hill top. You own your truth. I wish you well on this journey. 🙂

        • The truth gets easier to tell the more you tell it. It is freeing. If people ask how my STBX is I tell them I don’t know they may want to ask one of his girl friends.

        • Well said menopausemommy. Like you, I told everyone. The words just fell out of my mouth in a matter of fact way. I did not have shame but that stunned – can-you-believe-this-shit – tone.

          My cheater also told me that he was surprised I told anyone. I replied that it was not my shame to carry. I will not, and did not, own that burden. That is his to carry. But of course he just denies it and goes about his merry little way.

          Great advice to Own Your Truth.

          • Yeah, always wondered why they were so reluctant to sing to the world about their new love. If it’s so good and wonderful and fated and meant to be and soulmatey and shit, why hide it? And funny how mortified they are when you tell the truth. They love to live in the darkness of the lies.

      • Still, I am in a similar situation, although at least cheater narc ex isn’t with the AP anymore (she dumped him. For another man. Twice.).

        He lives in another city (moved to be with Schmoops, abandoning our kids). He got a new girlfriend off Match within a week of Schmoops dumping him the second time, and god only knows what he told her, but I know it will have made him look GOOD! I’m betting he stuck with his highly-successful Sad Sausage routine with mirroring sauce, and told a sad tale of how he cheated and now realizes he should never do that again, but that he was SOOO unhappy in the marriage, and I was SOOOO difficult, and am now so bitter and angry that I alienated his kids from him. Poooor baby!

        So he has a girlfriend who appears to have lots of $$$$, he’s making lots of $$$$ while paying the absolute minimum child support he thinks he can get away with (lawyer says I should definitely be getting more, but I don’t think it’s worth the fight at this point), all new friends (who don’t know how critically he talks about even the people he likes, constantly, or that his very very few friends from the past got unceremoniously dumped when that was more convenient for him), lives a comfy child-free life, travels a ton, and sounds like a good guy. His mom still supports him (his father is a far worse sociopath than he is, so cares about as much as a sociopath can, his siblings never could stand him and that hasn’t changed).

        But ya know what? It doesn’t matter IN THE LEAST! To me, it’s as if he were a stranger. There are a ton of strangers out there who suck, but have a much better life than they deserve, and I can be bothered being mad about them. (Well, except some of the EXTREMELY sucky exes here at CN, they make me mad!!) It didn’t even bother me when he was still with Schmoops; they deserved each other. I really really wish he were a better father, but I’ve had to accept the reality that he sucks at that too, and only kept it together because of my support, pressure and spackling.

        You’ll get here too; once you can have very little to do with him, preferably nothing at all, and as long as he’s not actively harming or harassing you or anybody you care about, then soon enough, he’ll truly be ‘just somebody that you used to know’.

        Hang in there! It IS unfair, but in the end, it doesn’t matter.

      • If someone is able to be that conniving that they can, without a trace, discard their former life, to the extent of making an entirely new life with new friends, literally like a hermit crab discards its shell in favour of a new one, then it is simply a matter of time before he does it again. He may well have been cheating on you casually for years and years, but finally found a way to painlessly (FOR HIM) and seamlessly (FOR HIM), with very minor consequences (TO HIM) get a brand-new shiny life. If he can do it once so… sociopathically, he will do it again whensoever it happens to suit him.

        I’d also be devastated and stunned, as you must be, but don’t varnish the truth. Just tell people who seem to be genuinely interested rather than just gossipy, that your husband has been cheating and living a double life and has now decided to live at ABC. No need to say anything beyond that. Just tell the truth. How you look versus how she looks, whether you’re boring, old, whatever is, at most, icing. He has no moral fibre and a hollow character. A person like that can do a lot of things with no remorse at all, when it happens to suit their purpose. Change the locks!

        • Great point, Caroline! I didn’t realize ’til after this switch-out he did, that he had done exactly the same before meeting me – although possibly accidentally. He was new in town, so I didn’t realize he actually had no friends (the ones he referred to were his former long-term girlfriend’s friends, and had nothing to do with him once that relationship ended), no interests or hobbies or activities (mirrored mine just fine), and a history of hating his bosses and screwing up at work despite his smarts. But he applied everything he learned from that move, to his new life post-my kicking him out. So much easier to start afresh!!

      • Still,

        I suspect that my situation is very similar to yours. My ex-boyfriend will ride off into the sunset with my replacement who, to him and probably a lot of other people, is an upgrade from me. (She is childless (unencumbered), younger, slim like me, earns a few times what I earn, and works in his company–how convenient!) Ex-husband’s current partner also looks very sparkly (slim PhD with nice home and smart, talented kids). I feel like the most ‘dumpable’ person in the world, no matter how great I try to make myself and benefit the world.

        I wish that I did not want my ex-boyfriend, who told me both the first AND second time he dumped me out of the blue (giving me no opportunity to discuss/try to work anything out) that he ‘just wanted to be happy’ (as if I had caused all his unhappiness but he refused to tell me for years in spite of me asking) and ‘wanted to run away from me.’ I was shocked as he was still calling me twice a day, had gone out for a walk on which he held my hand, and told me he loved me THAT day! (What type of mind f–kery is this?) Obviously, I think about him (miss him, Dr. Jekyll, or at least his positive attributes and his ‘potential’ as a partner to me or hate him, Mr. Hyde, the guy who lied to me and cruelly disrespected and invalidated me) all the time in spite of having many worthwhile interests and multiple obligations.

        To help others and reduce my painful rumination, or at least do something positive while I painfully ruminate at night, I have decided to work at some shelters at churches in my area as an overnight supervisor on nights my children are not with me. I used to excitedly go over to now ex-boyfriend’s house on those nights. No longer an option as he is curled up with my replacement. I have always known that life was not fair, but I am feeling chronically very upset that liar ex gets to seamlessly move from one romantic/sexual relationship to another easy one without skipping a beat while I struggle alone and have lost hope of every having a happy, healthy committed romantic relationship. (I can’t even PAY someone who might be compatible with me to even date me.) Does anyone else feel this way?

        On a positive note, I admire the chumps on (and off) this site. You are such an inspiration!

        • People don’t change. If your ex is miserable with you he will be miserable without you. Unless a person is seriously disordered they are not powerful enough to make the person they live with miserable. If your husband is the one that’s disordered he probably drove you crazy and your ex-boyfriend sounds like a narcissist. They are out there in the millions. There is a book out by Dr. Drew Pinsky about narcissism growing rapidly in this country. It was published a few years ago but I think it is very apropos because of the Weinstein stuff coming out

          • I also recommend “The Narcissism Epidemic”. I see as narcissism becomes more prevalent people are more apt to see nothing wrong with cheating across the board (financially,romantically,professionally)

      • Yes, I am sure everything looks honky dory right now for your ex and ow. I promise you it will change. They are both on their best behavior with one another right now and we all know that a cheater and the other person are pieces of shit or they would not be a cheater and cheater’s affair partner. Even if they are together for a period of time is is more than likely due to one of them being miserable wanting out and the other one will be hanging on for dear life, also miserable.

      • Tell tell tell. You really have nothing to lose as you have already lost it and it turns out that what you lost is a turd anyway. If you tell, you may discover that there are those who will support you and you will not be so alone.

      • Still I Rise, I am sorry you feel this shame when you have done nothing to be ashamed of. OK maybe he gets a pass in places where he kept you in the shadows, but where you were known as a couple, it doesn’t have to be this way. You can be very classy and still say he has moved to XYZ your vacation home with his mistress. That’s all you need to say. MISTRESS or AFFAIR PARTNER. If she’s much younger, do specify her age. People get the picture.
        There will be some who think, go on him, wink wink, new woman.
        The good ones will know he is a traitor and an idiot.
        And you don’t need to get into any more painful details.
        Or some people say he’s gone because I didn’t get on with his mistress…
        Mine has handed me a gold nugget. I just say he moved in with his mistress into her grandmother’s house. 😉
        I get the classic Kiwi responses: stunned silence, chuckle, or…”I’m a little bit disappointed with that”. In South Island farmer Kiwese, that’s severe condemnation.

      • Claim your username and sing it out loud.

        into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear

      • Hey Still I Rise —

        If we look at Cheaterpants with Dumbass and think that the two of them have the happiness that we would love to have, one of the things that is happening is that we are looking at the situation from our perspective, a person who loves marriage and family life. Cheaterpants is not that type. Marriage and family he despises. Now to be roped into a “marriage,” which he has no skill for maintaining, and now must constantly pretend to be okay, ramp up the abuse when Dumbass doesn’t play her part, AND deal with the cognitive dissonance voices from his (neared) soul reminding him constantly of how he messed you over. Yeah, that’s a lovely life. Not

  • My mom and dad reconciled. He died young so there is no way to know if it would have held. My mom then became the other woman and is still with him over 20 years later, mostly as the OW, and even after his wife died. I filed for divorce because I didn’t feel safe. She was doing nothing to help and doing every red flag. Looking back I don’t think it stopped but now I think it’s over. I can’t see me ever trusting her. Forgiveness seems like a pardon and she has shown no remorse and always blames me (you went doesn’t stairs to exercise, you slept in to 8 am on Saturday) But still I don’t close the door but I am not waiting either.

    • My parents reconciled.

      I was 17, living at home, was witness to my father’s admission. He was about to be blackmailed with photos and he told my mother the truth about the blow jobs in the car, etc. Then I watched my mother beat the shit out of him with a wooden cane.

      Why my father didn’t send me out of the house is a whole other story…but he’s long dead so I cannot ask.

      After that, he retired, they moved to a new house and town and he was totally, absolutely devoted to her. Seriously devoted, deeply grateful and they were (in their own way) happy for the next 10 years until he died.

      When I had my discovery moment, I was shocked that the cheater just walked away. No admission, no begging! That is what I thought happened after infidelity.

      Each case is different but unicorns are VERY rare and not worth hoping for.

      • Asswipe happened to be in Las Vegas when my son told me about his father’s fuck phone. When I found out, I called dick head and left a voicemail asking what the fuck was going on. I never got a phone call from Judas the remainder of the time he was vacationing in Vegas. When he finally did get home, I expected flowers, an apology, an explanation, SOMETHING. Nope – what I got was him talking about divorce and basically how everything was MY fucking fault. I was flabbergasted!
        I divorced that Piece of Shit over a year ago. I have been seeing my new man for about 7 months now and he thinks I’m the best thing since Peanut Butter Twix. THIS is what I deserve. Too bad it took me so long to realize grass was greener on the other side. We just have to get up and over that hill to see it.

      • Thanks Dixie Chick,
        That door closed a long time ago and I’m in a whole new, wonderful life (financed by the cheater)!

  • I am a recovering unicorn. We tried counseling on 2 separate occasions after 2 d-days. His answer to most questions was “I don’t know why.” We never really moved past that. Unfortunately I did lower my standards and reconciled with him after this wealth of knowledge he imparted to me. We stopped going to counseling with our marriage considered “cured” but on d-day # 4….I realized “I don’t know why” I ever stayed with this cheater. So put me in the column of reconciliation counseling didn’t work at all!

    • Exactly “I don’t know why”. They truly don’t know because they are adolescents in a adult body. They never grew up just aged and when they get bored they act out ! They haven’t the maturity to value love of family they only see sexual fantasies as love. It is pathetic and I see that I spackled over all these glaring red signs right from the beginning.

      • I get what you’re saying but there’s a lot of pretty cool adolescents who value family loyalty and love. The cheaters are shit eaters.

    • I have heard that many cheaters do not have “empathy”. They cannot imagine and do not care what your feelings are. They only think about what they want and how quickly they can get what they want. Poor or non-existant impulse control. Makes as much sense as any other explanation I’ve heard. They probably think “I don’t know why” makes them look mysterious and awesome. Perhaps they are just another “player with a tragic flaw?” Perhaps they are just assholes?

      • This, and impulse control????! In our marriage, X made decisions that defined who he was…I spackled. When X had a choice and it was something he wanted, he went ahead and did it! #IwantwhatIwantwhenIwantit #entitled #you’renotthebossofme #trusttheyalwayssuck 33K truck? No matter we had three headed to college and three vehicles in the garage…done! Relocating for his job? That too was a decision he went ahead and made without any input from me. He was so unhappy being near family. Next thing I knew we were moving back to our old town, 500 miles away from friends and family. Looking back I realize he liked the freedom living far from family gave him. No questions, and he could sneak around more easily. Isolating us kept us in the dark and pedaled his narrative (we made him look good). Added bonus was that no one was aware of his double life. Every time he interviewed though he was compelled to mention “the wife and kids.” I’ve kept those articles for laughs some days. One of the kids recently carved out time in her busy schedule to visit him and he has changed even more. He drinks like a fish now, has picked up new friends that he is so enamored with (kibbles!) that he felt compelled to introduce them to her (and she was like WTF? Why are we spending time with strangers? because she just wants to spend time with her father) and it seems his new Owife is…ignored. Perhaps when you suck and are an empty soulless pod person you need others to cover it up. Not my monkeys…

        • When my X#1 was complaining one day about his life (I was trying to collect child support due, and had to listen to his BS if I hoped to be paid ) he had the audacity to tell me how hard his life was, that everyone wanted money from him. I pointed out to him that his children should have first priority over any one else who needed money, and that he had made that choice when we had decided to have children. He looked so surprised — he said, “You may have known that, I never thought about that.” It just goes to show how different we were. We were married for 9 years before we had children — and stability and economics loomed large in my decision process. He evidently just said “sure”, and had no thought at all about what it meant. Evidently he didn’t owe anyone priority, even his children, over whatever he wanted to do when he wanted to do it. It was one of those times that I realized just how much I had spackled, and how little I had truly known the man who fathered my sons. If only he had been the man I thought he was — aka “a better man.” (Thanks Little Big Town and Taylor Swift)

          • Truth, Portia. ???? and I am a big fan of TS’s Better Man? Little Big Town hit that out of the ballpark. When X left he spent a lot of time rewriting our years together and said he got married because “all our friends were doing it….” Like at 25 he had no choice ???? and this through an eight year long distance off and on courtship because we were young! and in the next breath stated that I was always so much happier and organized without him. Looking back on that I was like, duh, who isn’t a mess living with a Cheater!? ???? Our life together was a big fat hairy lie, I just didn’t know it. You know he once had a lot of great qualities but his need for kibbles trumps all else.

  • After D-day, as I was soaking up the stories on this site, my estimate is that only about 5-10% of CN ended the relationship on the first D-day; everyone else had reconciled 1 year before, 2 years before, 5, or 10, or 20 years before. And then they discovered that their spouse’s affair had never ended, or that the spouse was actually on affair #4. It was all I needed to solidify my resolve to divorce; no one was going to get a second chance to cheat on me.

    • Yep, 5 years reconciliation almost to the day. The funny thing is, I was just starting to feel as though, “yeah, maybe this can work!” But that was my confirmation that he was not going to change, and unlike the book titled “why good people do bad things” the answer is, they don’t! Sure, asshat is wonderful at supporting and being there for other people (impression management), so he looks good, but that doesn’t cruelly make him a good person. The way I look at it, a good person is someone who makes the right decision when no one else is watching.

    • Tempest, you were very very smart ! Good on you wished I’d done the same but onwards and upwards!

    • It really is about lowering standards. Over time with multiple days I realized I was doing all the fighting (pick me dancing) and nothing changed.

      Winning was never about keeping the cheater; it was about detaching.

    • My DDay occurred just before we were supposed to go on a pre-paid vacation. We ended up going anyway, but I made it clear that we were done and filed as soon as we got back.

      My parents divorced and reconciled at least three times, though my cheater mom was no unicorn. She blamed me for coming back to her unhappy marriage so all her subsequent affairs were my fault, tried to alienate me from my father (who was no angel, but a pretty decent dad), and she would run up the bills but take half of the assets each time she left. She ended up marrying a rich old man with a bad cough (her words).

      Having grown up with the chaos, I opted out of reconciliation. Everyone deserves better.

    • 3 years into reconciliation (nearly to the day as well) for me when I found in his journal (still marriage policing big time) that he was planning to leave me anyway after he had used me to get a 2nd college degree. Those were 3 very rocky years. I look back at my own journals now and think WTF was I even thinking to think that it could work with X?

      It’s a deal breaker in a future relationship for me. I don’t care if there is data that unicorns (or mermaids for that matter) exist or there isn’t. It just doesn’t matter! It is NOT acceptable to me! I don’t ever need to relive reconciliation again to know it ain’t for me.

      • “I look back at my own journals now and think WTF was I even thinking to think that it could work with X?”

        I did the same thing! I looked over my old journals and was like I *knew* that I had nothing to work with as he kept showing me who he was (before I found out about cheating, other red flag flaws). But damn it if I didn’t believe those actions and fell for those nice little words I wanted so to hear.

    • DDay 1 was just precursor to DDay2. In my opinion, my soft/weak reaction allowed number 2. All the bs advice out there just sets one up to get bulldozed. The RIC just plays on our weakness and our fears to make money. How to stop being a douchebag cheater probably wouldn’t be a lucrative business model!!! It is to bad there is not more CLs in the world. If I had found this back before or on DDay 1, things would have been different!

  • Prisons are full of repeat offenders. Cheaters also lie, cheat, steal and endanger lives. Only difference is there are no laws against cheating. If the threat of being locked up doesn’t change people, what are the odds of a real unicorn?

    • Wow great point.
      I was told that when the guards let a prisoner out of the gates after serving their sentence, they say ‘see you again’

    • Actually, most people who go to prison never go back. But cheaters don’t care that they’ve hurt others, and usually have very few consequences for their cheating, so why would they stop???? I ‘reconciled’ with my after DDay #1, by making that VERY VERY easy for him and doing all the work myself. Of course he had a second affair, 7 years later, and was actually SHOCKED that I didn’t let him come back once he decided he wanted to. Now he’s moved on, he’s fine. So why should he change? He had to move to another city and swap out most of the Lego people in his life, but he’s done that before, that’s not so hard to do ….

      Cheating WORKS for cheaters.

    • Recidivism is the norm. NOT returning to prison is the exception. Very few ex cons mend their ways and never go back to prison.

      Cheaters are the same. Like dogs returning to the same vomit…..over and over again.

    • Hey David —

      I asked the police officer down at the station if adultery is against the law. He said it is a misdemeanor in our state.

  • Like Chump Lady wrote in one of her other columns that has always stuck with me…
    “It’s like trusting the arsonist with the rebuild.”
    No thanks.
    Will the schmoopie intimately end up like me? Who knows.
    She’s just like him, firebombed her family too.Like speaks to Like.
    The best case scenario is that they have to endure that life sentence.

    • I’ve known several Schmoopie’s. Things never seem to work out for them. Maybe they initially think they have “won”. Usually, and it doesn’t seem to take long, they are SHOCKED I TELL YOU, SHOCKED to find that the Cheater cheats on them, too. Imagine, cheating on such a superior, special snowflake!!! I know, hard to believe, right?

      • So, so true! I know of one ow who became the wife after partnering with him in blowing up his family. She hung on for about 12 very unhappy years (he regretted marrying her and she knew it) before he had her arrested for domestic violence (I gather she found out he was seeing someone on the side) so he could kick her out of the new house they just bought and file a restraining order. Of course he had a girlfriend and the owife needed to go. He definitely orchestrated the arrest to get rid of her. Now she posts about being a victim of a cheater, narcissist, etc. Oh yeah and she is friends with his first wife on FB, you know the wife he dumped for her. I can’t imagine what the 1st wife thinks of her posts but then I can’t imagine being FB friend with the ow so who knows….

        • I can’t imagine Fakebooking with any of the OW! Anyone who knows he is married, and gives him advice about divorcing his wife, and believes any of the BS he says is setting themselves up as far as I’m concerned. I am all out of mercy for the devious, Chumps are another story, entirely. Divorce is an expensive thing — emotionally and financially. Surely he will lose out economically eventually. Emotionally, he is the walking dead anyway — but, really!

        • Bizarre right ?

          I stepped away from the clusterfuck of a man who is still in contact with both ex-wives that live far away and the women are friends on Fakebook ! According to him, axe #2 “saved” him from axe #1, a borderline.

          Here’s to swinging a cat and finding a man who doesn’t have a history of cheating blamed on the woman

      • Haha!! “and it doesn’t seem to take long, they are SHOCKED I TELL YOU, SHOCKED to find that the Cheater cheats on them, too”

        and this is a funny name for ex-: “axe #2 “saved” him from axe #1”

        (I also really like “x-hole”)

  • Dump a unicorn, date a chump, and life is good. That’s my new motto, supported by empirical evidence.

    • Mehtamorphosis,
      While dating a fellow chump might be mutually beneficial for some chumps, my lying, disrespectful ex-boyfriend (after my cheater ex-husband left) was a chump and a friend (or so I thought) for a few decades. I was chumped by a fellow chump!

      • Rockstar, that truly sucks! Sounds like your X was a unicorn in a chump mask!

      • Me too, RockStarWife. The Python had been cheated on and oh, how he could go on about it.

        I was so sure that meant he’d NEVER put me through that.


        After he cheated on me, I checked with someone who knew both him and his ex back when they were married, and it was verified that his ex did cheat. I had to check on it because I’ve learned that he LIES about as often as he breathes, so I didn’t know if that story was a diversionary tactic – designed to keep me thinking he could NEVER do that to me.

        Sadly, one cannot assume a chump won’t cheat.

      • RockStarWife? I like the name “RockStar” for you!! I imagine that you are gorgeous and glamorous, kind and funny — whoever lands you will be happy and luck

        • Rockstar does sound sweet,sorry for what happened and that brings up a point. How do you attemp to trust a person? I got cheated from a 26 year marriage,my x wife now just side blinded me cold. I have not been the same,cried for 6 months????. I tried my best to hide it from my kids but my eyes were always swollen,so much for that. Here I am now struggling but I pray a lot and I forgive but the x still has hate towards me. Talks bad about me, I believe it’s because I caught her cheating. I just want to move on with my life and take care my children. She has her boyfriend and I have a lawyer, will see what comes out of this? Cheaters suck and cheaters diserve to be with cheaters! Hope they end up with incurable diseases.

  • Cheating is the only form of abuse the victims are encouraged (or even shamed) into a forgive and forget mentality. I have yet to meet a fellow chump that stayed where it worked out. The requirements needed to cheat are character flaws that are not easily fixed and we all know 99% of these cheaters are about as deep as a puddle so good luck fixing that.

    • So true beachgirl! If the babysitter stole Cash out of your dresser drawer, would the courts be encouraging you to take her back and let her keep watching your kids? Doubtful. If your spouse violates your trust, it is a whole different ballgame.

    • Sooo, now with all of this hubbub about sexual abuse (and forced french kissing counts), I can’t wait until the lid is blown on infidelity!! I can’t wait!! Please dear God, let it be in the next news round!!

  • I think that it behooves Chumps in general to be more analytical about how they approach relationships.

    I don’t mean this to remove the chemistry and magic that comes with genuinely connecting with someone. But I *do* mean that chumps would do well to go with the numbers, if their goals include having a fruitful, happy, and successful life post D-day. Clearly, those numbers do not support staying with a cheating fucktard.

  • “You control your Gain a Life much more than you control their Gain a Clue.”


    I still have a front seat to his Inability to Gain a Clue, as evidenced by his continuing narc antics with our kids. Just more confirmation that I did the right thing by hauling ass out of there.

  • More and more, as I get older, I realize that it really doesn’t matter whether the cheater can get their shit together. Potential is a fantasy. All that matters is whether what is true right now is acceptable to the chump. Deception destroys the heart. No amount of regret will fix that kind of damage, and a history of deception is a perfectly reasonable reason to leave a relationship all by itself. You can change, cheater? That’s great. Doesn’t make the past un-happen.

    • Many researchers say that best predictor of the future is the past. Sadly, I agree.

      • Best practices for those who have been cheated on:

        1. Get a post nup. Be ready…….when he/she cheats again- it’s all down in writing. Ready to make it’s way to through the divorce courts.

        2. Never let your guard down. Once you rebuild an ounce of trust- that’s when it usually happens. They need your trust in order to cheat.

        3. Stay with the cheater as long as you need to – but do not invest another drop of emotion in the cheater. Sometimes chumps must stay for kids, health reasons, financial reasons etc. Once you are in the clear to get rid of the cheater- do it …..when he/she least expects it. Give him/her a sucker punch from hell.

    • I made the mistake of “reconciliation” after I caught Dancing Dick …..jacking off at my teen age neighbor late in the night. He stealthfully hid in a dark corner of the kitchen …..with the curtains opened enough to get a view of the teen’s bedroom window. I caught him….covered in his own sperm- with the most lascivious- disgusting look on his face.

      That was after I caught him racking up hundreds of dollars in dial-a whore bills (before the rise of the internet). He never changed. He just learned how to hide it better.

      The pastor was wrong- Jesus could not heal my marriage. It was never the same after that. I stayed for the kids- lost all respect for him.

      • See?

        I had a similar experience. I know the teen’s family!! They are friends of ours. I should tell teen’s dad.

        • Gross. The teen’s dad needs to put up a HUGE privacy fence and get a security camera.

  • My friend’s dad cheated on her mom with numerous women early in their marriage. They reconciled and, I firmly believe, he never cheated on her again. There were years of counselling and apologies that helped rebuild trust and this was in an era where the wife couldn’t financially afford to leave. My best friend now talks about how lovely her parents’ marriage is: two good people who love each other growing old together. What I see is two loving people growing old together, but the mom STILL cries about about the 2 years of cheating and the disease she caught, more than 4 decades ago and how she wonders what kind of marriage they might’ve had if the cheating had never occurred. So, yes, even when the unicorn turns out to be real, the pain of betrayal poisons the entire union going forward. Keep that in mind, even when looking at the tiny percentage of “successful” reconciliations!

    • Cheating is traumatizing. It never leaves the memory.
      Same with molestation/rape- never leaves the memory.

      The human memory is NOT designed to forget threatening traumatizing events. The trauma gets stored away. We can sugar coat it…….ignore it….deny it…….but it’s there. It becomes a part of who we are.

      I once read an article on Holocaust survivors. Some of the survivors were quoted to say things like: “It wasn’t so bad in the camp,” or “We did have some good times in Treblinka/Auschwitz.” Researchers concluded that the phenomenon of “candy coating” trauma- is a defense mechanism. But it does not make the scars go away….nor does it change the truth.

      • Leavingthecrapbehind,

        Cheating never leaves the memory


        That is why we are all here!

  • I believe that RIC requires the chump to sink to their haunches and grovel, accepting the megar crumbs offered up by the cheater as proof that the marriage is salvageable.

    From what I saw ( thousands of dollars in MC later ), at no point does the RIC address the issues of the Cheater because they have nothing to work with.

    When my MC said “Lucky…what are you going to do to bring Mr.Minister back into this marriage ” , I stopped dead in my tracks.

    I had sunk so low that I had tried suicide ( thank a good friend for walking me out of that one ) and I had nothing left to give anyone.

    Thank God for CN and another site I had found earlier that gave me the strength to walk away from that shit show that was my marriage ( 10 years of believing he was having a mid life crisis / palm to forehead )!!!

    • What is it about ministers/pastors/churched men and women who cheat? I think narcissism is alive and well in the churching business. I am addicted to ID channel(murder and mayhem) and a whole bunch of cheaters/murderers are involved in ministry. If you look at 30+ women teachers who sexually abused their pupils you sort of get the idea that being publically revered is more important than being privately decent.

      • Spouse was involved in pastoral ministry for many years. I was the good wifey by his side. He could be warm and make empathetic noises and say something kind to a grieving person just one time, and he’d earn their undying loyalty. “But… he was there for me in my darkest hour!” Easy to be a hero and say the right thing, especially after a chaplaincy internship where pastors-to-be are literally and exhaustively trained to say the right thing.

        Took me a long, long time to realize that he has no capacity to address the hurt and grief and suffering HE CAUSES.

        He liked the automatic, or very easy to earn, respect and trust. “But, he’s a man of GOD, Not A Thing, and he’s so nice. Must be that you’re a bitch and don’t deserve someone so NICE.”

        After he got a different job, our marriage cratered. I wonder if it isn’t because I can’t provide the unqualified admiration he was used to.

        • I absolutely despise Jesus Cheaters. I am convinced there is a special place in hell for them.

      • Recovering pastor’s wife here. Ministry provides so many kibbles for narcissists what with the performance opportunity on Sundays (“wonderful sermon, pastor”) and sense of entitlement because they are “servants of God.” Plus—no joke—at pastors conferences we wives were regularly told to have more sex with our husbands (thank you, LCMS for that mindfuck) as if that would “inoculate” our marriages from any inclination to cheat (heads up, it doesn’t work). The thought of self-righteous drivel like the Fireproof and War Room movies makes me want to barf.

      • I will say this for my pastor, who also married us. When I informed him that Mr. Sparkles had left and we were divorcing, he said:

        “As Christians, we want to believe the God brings things/people to us. But, we must also accept that there are times when God loves us enough to push things/people away from us for our good.”

        I will never forget that. Interesting to note, he also ministered in a prison. I suspect he knew Mr. Sparkles absence of character long before I did.

      • Let Go,

        What a great watering hole for manipulative people ! A church,synagogue,mosque,take your pick. There is a huge assumption that a religious leader is automatically an emotionally healthy and moral person. Some of them wear their masks very well and prey on people who are hungry for community and spiritual sustenance.

        I was raised in the Episcopal Church (Protestant denomination) and wrote of “Judas Jack” the bishop who drove his wife into a mental institution with his philandering. According to him, his wife suffered from acute paranoia. Gee, I wonder if his screwing multiple women over the years had anything to do with that ! One of his OW was an ordained reverend-smh. The carriage house with an apartment for his royal highness down the street from the rectory was well used.

        I googled my youth group leader and discovered he was defrocked because of an affair with one of his parishioners. His wife died of cancer-the obituary didn’t say what kind but maybe she contracted a deadly strain from the cheater.

        Assume nothing and trust your gut.

      • yes ~ I just watched one of these shows where the young devout Christian couple were swingers. The wife found a new boyfriend and then conspired to kill the husband. The wife and boyfriend believed it would be ok with God since there is a similar story in the bible of a man killing his wife and God forgave him. These people always find a way to justify their behavior.

      • What is the name of that RIC retreat/books/therapy?! Is it “Faithful and True”? This was started by a minister who was a cheater, and his wife. I wonder what the data is for their clients?

  • The RIC also plays on people’s guilt, basically saying “RIC works, you must not be doing it right.”

    Chumps naturally assume the blame for being imperfect and not doing it right, and just keep trying harder with reconciliation. Which reinforces the chump blame-cycle. Ugh.

  • I belong to a FB divorce support group and yesterday a guy posted that his wife keeps saying in Counceling that she can see herself with this other guy. He said he freaks out and gets angry (well duh, of course). Of particular annoyance to me was one woman’s Esther-esk response.

    “Get control of your jealousy. Recognize that she is choosing to be with you. We’re all bound to be attracted to other people, but she is choosing you to be with. She’s sharing her feelings with you in openness. Getting angry will only cause her to hide her feelings from you.

    You don’t own her. My boyfriend says that often when we discuss these sorts of things: “I don’t own you. You could choose to be with someone else. It’s my job to ensure you continue to choose me.”

    This guy is in counseling I’m sure thinking he can save his marriage because “he has a communication issue.” Based on what he said, I’m pretty sure his wife is already involved with this “guy she can see herself with.” It’s so sad the the RIC encourages people to cower in the face of shitty behavior and peddles hope to spouses like drug dealers peddle crack to crack addicts.

    Do I personally know anyone who stayed after an affair? Yep, and she happens to now be addicted to pain killers. Gee, I wonder why?

    • Hmmm . . .

      I’m trying to imagine myself counseling a fucking cheater and his poor wife — what method would I use? How would I begin to approach it?

  • Not sure how many people here reconciled only to be betrayed again (or at least found out again) after many years. Exasshole convinced me he hadn’t gone through with fucking anyone the first time, looking back it is insane that I believed him. So 10 years later, I catch him again. Then people are willing to tell me he hit on them in between, and, I see with clearer vision that he was either trying or succeeding in cheating in between.

    I would like to see a study, have to be self report, but still. 10 freaking years.

    • It’s a painful realization after reconciling with a cheater, spending man more years investing in the marriage thinking you have that unicorn, only to find them cheat again. And looking back I now realize there were suspicious secretaries for those inbetween years (lots of gift giving that I spackled). Now ex is a doctor and I thought he was naive for these low life hanger ons. Now I realize he was the predator seeking these lowly women all along.

      • When you reconcile with a cheater… sit under Damocles sword waiting for it to fall on your head. You know deep down inside…’s not “IF” it will fall on your head…………its WHEN it will fall on your head. Usually when you let your guard down.

    • After I found out about Schmoopie 1.0 (several months after 2.0), I asked him point blank what else I didn’t know. He claims that was it. You know all of the players, nothing happened with the EA (not really true, he confessed to kissing her at the time). I wonder how many other EAs, stolen kisses, blow jobs (?) he had that he thinks don’t count. I also asked him how many women he hit on but was rejected. He said “nobody rejected me”. Well isn’t he special – not.

      • Goodness and gross. Can you imagine giving a bj to a guy you’re not even in an exclusive relationship with?

  • I can’t believe I’m going to put this into the universe, but I really want to know what goes on in the head of a mistress.
    Like, it’s not that I trip on the whole she “has” him. It’s really curiosity about what goes on with them mentally.
    Is it morals? Is it that I was “raised better”?
    In the early days of my ex leaving me for the schmoopie I snooped her social media. There were pics of her with her ex and the kids baking cookies and dressing her daughter for ballet and those could of been my pics. It wasn’t like she looked like a whore….she looked like a wife and a mom.
    Then I think of myself and I know in my heart that I would never of cheated on my ex. If I was single and I met a man that was married I would never consider a date unless he was living in his own place and his divorce was filed.
    I’ve never had a conversation with this woman that wasn’t us yelling at each other about something specific, but I would love to know what he told her that made it okay in her head to have a relationship with somebody’s husband.
    Are ALL affair partners narcissists too? Do they ALL lack the gene that makes them believe that my Christmas pics are legit?
    I know for a fact that she looked at my social media too. When she sees pics of my anniversary, of us painting the bathroom or buying our Xmas tree posted a week before he left I wonder if she has pause that perhaps it wasn’t as miserable as maybe he said??
    If I saw that I would say “ uhhh….wtf? You don’t look like you are about to get divorced.”
    I guess my point is….how do these women really think it goes any different for them? How do they know, even if it’s after the fact, that they got a guy who really was just gaslighting his wife and it wasn’t like he said and think “ when he and I post pics of us painting the bathroom, what if there’s somebody looking at my page knowing he’s about to leave me?”
    Do they really believe they are the superior of the species???
    If it blows up, I’ll be thrilled. Not very meh….but I’d love some Karma.
    Not because I personally got trampled, and probably not very healthy, but I have always wanted to know what goes on in the mind of a mistress. I can say woth100% certainty that no matter how attractive, charming, or successful a guy is,I would never date him unless he had documented single status.
    Any guy that says to me “ I still live with my wife, but she’s a miserable human…’s for the kids.”
    Bye. Go handle your shit dude.
    She’s probably “a miserable human” for a reason.
    So here’s some documentation. Did I fix my picker and am I better off? Yep, thanks to Chump Nation. Did the mistress end up the loser? Absolutely, she just hasn’t realized it yet.

    • I have the same unhealthy obsession with why on earth Schmooopie thought it was ok to fuck my husband and then encourage him to tear his family apart for her sake. What on earth made her think that was ok? She knew I still loved him and wanted to reconcile and she went out of her way to take deliberate action to ensure that wouldn’t happen. She knew the pain she was going to cause. The only explanation I have is that she is a selfish self-centered slut who doesn’t care who gets hurt in pursuit of her own wants. Nothing personal, I just had something she wanted. I get that she may have been miserable in her marriage, but that didn’t give her the right to participate in the destruction of mine. This is why it drives me crazy that ex tries to present her as a good person when she clearly isn’t. I guess it makes sense that ex would chose her over me, however, as he thinks kindness is a fault and selfishness is a virtue. Two peas in a pod.

      • In the early days when Cheater left, I was reading the Messenger messages between the two of them and Married Other Woman said to him ‘Should we move in together? What have we got to lose, besides completely devastating both of our families.’ This was followed by two emojis of the laughing-hysterically-with-tears person (not sure if it will work here ????????). I don’t understand either of them. They make me sick. And they are probably a better fit together…

    • Paint widow, due to some strange circumstances (my cheater dying) I did have opportunity to talk to his final mistress. I’m not being snarky: she wasn’t that smart, very beautiful, and he was a master liar. I very quickly read between the lines of her “story” and the truth was she just wanted my life and thought if she was just pretty enough and patient enough she would get my very handsome husband (he really was movie star good looking) and my beautiful life, house, fancy cars. What she didn’t know was he was a skilled sociopath,our lifestyle was all paid for by me and once I kicked him out he couldn’t figure out life. When he died and she found out “gasp” he was cheating on her too from almost the start of their “relationship” she was SHOCKED, I mean she was SHOCKED – so so dumb. she let slip that she looked me up on internet when affair started and thought I wasn’t pretty enough for him so I think she thought it would be easy pickings. Flash forward, he’s dead, she is battling breast cancer, had a double mastectomy (I would not wish her fate on anyone) and she is alone. These cheating participants tend to be narcissists themselves as they convince themselves they are better than the wife/husband and they “deserve” the prize. Peering into the sole of these jerks is not a place I ever wish to visit again.

        • I felt guilty thinking this was all the karma bus. Like I said I wouldn’t wish cancer or death on anyone. That said it did make me wonder if I had gotten sick would mistress whore had felt one ounce of sympathy for me. Sadly I think not, you know cause I’m not pretty enough to be worthy of loyalty from my husband. Blech.

      • My dad recently passed away. My mom divorced him after many years of his cheating. He didn’t want to divorce and enjoyed his cake. He married the young schmoopie who is about my older brothers age after she had ‘suprise’ baby #1 and was pregnant with baby #2 (both these kids were born in the same year!).

        When my dad was dying, he asked my mom to be buried next to her in the family crypt. Schmoopie wanted to be cremated. My mom had to go make arrangements with schmoopie and my aunt. Ultimately my dad was pretty much broke and my aunt paid for the arrangements. Schmoopie and my mom had to sign off on all the burial stuff. Schmoopie kept referring to herself as ‘the bad wife’. After 30 years of marriage to her! This is the outcome for my dad and his schmoopie (she tried to commit suicide every time he tried to leave her).

        My mom ate lunch in between appointments with my aunt and schmoopie. Mom had found ‘meh’ many years ago. When I asked her how that rolled sarcastically, she said she had not ever truly realized just how ‘simple’ schmoopie was. My mom’s nice way to say schmoopie is dumber than a rock.

        • I love the word “simple,” much better than “precious,” at describing certain types.

      • By most accounts I am a good person. Giving, emphatic, hard working, sober, responsible, helpful, generous, and loving. But, at least at present, I am all alone. I never quite got the knack of picking good relationships and realized only recently that even my friendships were not reciprocal. I was the one to make the plans, to keep in touch, did the heavy lifting of the emotional labor. And I’m tired. If I were to find out I had breast cancer, I’m not sure I could count on anyone but myself. It’s not karma. I didn’t do anything to deserve that. The difference is that I would be comfortable facing my end knowing that I was a helper, that I made the world a little brighter for someone else, and that’s I never deliberately hurt anyone.

      • The OW in my case was/is married. With two adorable looking kids! To a really seemingly nice and sweet guy! She lives in another state! She’s basically the exact opposite of me. She’s not cute, pretty or anything to write home about. I’m no beauty queen myself, but I try to at least look like I give a shit. She’s a musician, I was a musician and X is a failed musician. She’s religious, I had forsaken all religion for X. The fucking mess makes no sense whatsoever.

        What I’ve figured out is that it isn’t about looks or money or kids or no kids or married or not married or religion or anything else really. Every hole is a goal (or stick is a trick) with these quacks. The ONLY explanation that has made any sense is CL’s Theory of Cake (I’m thinking this should just be a law by now). If they can get more, they’ll take it. From ANYONE.

        I don’t think OW gave a rat’s ass about me. OR her family. She was under the impression that she wasn’t doing anything wrong. It’s just love. A love that was bigger than them both. Ugh. Enough skein untangling. I’ve almost made myself sick.

        • “I don’t think OW gave a rat’s ass about me.”

          Ah…no, she didn’t give a rat’s ass about anything but herself.
          These are people without reason and I feel strongly that they don’t deserve any head space whatsoever. They are just simply not important and not worth it. I could give a fucking shit what they are thinking or who they ‘are’. They mean nothing.
          Excuse my language, but they never gave a shit what they were doing to me, why would I give them any process of thought – ever? Beneath us all. However, if I ever saw her, she would regret it. hehe

    • They think they are special, more desirable than you and immune to the betrayal. Until they find out they’re not so special and got betrayed. Like my partner’s AP who whined to me that he lied to her betrayed her. But ma’am, you had no problem with lying and betrayal as long as you thought you were going to win the prize! LOL

      They find out they’re not so special after all and that does a number on their sense of self.

      • Also, I’m sure my partner’s AP probably thought she was so much better than me because she’s more educated than me, she has a more prestigious job (she’s a doctor), she’s thinner than me etc. She probably thought she could swoop back in and snatch him back and make him leave me, but got the shock of her life when she discovered he was playing her with a 3rd person & told this 3rd person that she was a ho’bag. Now all of a sudden lying, betrayal and cheating is wrong, but again, you were Team Lyin’ & Cheatin’ as long as you thought you were going to win. LOL & SMH.

        • She slept with a married man. No academic credentials or six figure salary can buy back her character. Not even a contest, Lurkmode–you are the better “mate.”

    • I actually had a phone conversation with the current Schmooopie a few weeks ago. I have no idea how long my STBX has been dating her, but she is the second woman since he left in February.

      She told me there were some concerns with getting involved with a married man, but she said we are separated so it makes it okay with her. She also told me there are two sides to every story, which is kinda funny since she only knows one side. And she reminded me that I’ve also done bad things in the relationship. I asked her what things I have done that equate to cheating and leaving a spouse who has cancer? She said it was not her place to get invloved and she feels really bad for my situation.

      She sucks and she deserves all the sparkly crap that is coming her way.

      • Yeah….the “two sides” bullshit.
        I guess to be a mistress you have to have the ability to adopt some altered reality.
        You know what my ex and I fought about?
        Three things:
        1. That I couldn’t trust him
        2. That he was never home and was pretty checked out even when he was.
        3. That his mother had waaayyyyy to much influence in our marriage.

        That’s it. If that’s what it takes to make somebody miserable enough to be a serial cheater….guilty.
        I guess that’s my part of the “ it takes two”.
        If nothing else I loooovvveeee that the mistress also got my MIL in the breakup.
        Tee Hee Hee….

        • Chump Lady,
          Please do a fun Friday game where we get to name the one thing besides the cheater that we rid ourselves of with the breakup that brought instant joy! It is the time to give thanks. Besides the cheater, I’m thankful I no longer have to…..
          Mine was the MIL
          I have to admit that the night I had the bomb dropped on me and I just wanted to cry, vomit, and die, that I did actually have a moment of clarity where it occurred to me that his mother would be out of my life.
          I may of actually smiled.

        • Paintwidow , those must be the 3 magic items because those are the same exact reasons my ex and I fought.

          Except if you ask him we fought because
          1. I was being controlling. (i.e. I wanted to know why he wasn’t home for dinner and when he would be coming home. )
          2. I wouldn’t let him help his mom as much as he wanted (i.e. give her all our money)
          3. I could not take his criticism on how to keep the house better organized.

          • Oy, I guess some of us are different.
            I got a long so well with my MIL and loved her dearly.
            It’s awkward to keep a relationship with her, obviously.
            I miss her and it’s just one more loss of so many people who were involved while we were married. It’s like he let off a bomb and his entire family disappeared. Same happened to him with my family who loved him. There was nothing good that came out of it.

    • I actually think that not all OW are created equally. There are a number of OW that are completely ignorant that they were OW until it was too late and they were in love and just as invested in believing the lies and shit sandwiches they were being fed by the cheating liar pants that we, as spouses, were. That may be controversial but liars lie and the OW isn’t immune from the lies or the charm of the cheater. Hell, I wasn’t immune to the charms and lies of my cheating exhole – OWomen sure as hell aren’t more immune than I am.

      I’m not making excuses for OW but I do feel somewhat sorry for the OWomen my exhole was talking to. He presented himself as single and healthy. All lies and damned lies. He could be incredibly charming and I have no doubt that these women were on the receiving end of his con job – heaven help the ones that may fall in love and then be invested in that cheating liar. Those OWomen will WANT to believe any words of love and loyalty that flow out of his lying liar hole – just like I wanted to believe them when I was in love with him. I place full blame for the shitty implosion of my life on my cheating exhole.

      Then there are the predatory OW that I have ZERO empathy for. Those f*ckwits deserve lying cheaterpants’. May they stay together forever in the world of Tru Wuv, entitlement and fuckupedness.

    • The APs are just as fucked up as the cheaters. They convince themselves they are special (the whole ‘soul mate’ crap) or this is a special circumstance or they just don’t have any integrity and don’t care. I don’t buy the ‘low self esteem’ excuse, that doesn’t cover integrity at all. The OW in my case is exassholes GF so far as I am concerned and years later he is still living off of her, she can have him.

      • oh, and any time someone immediately goes to the ‘no one knows what goes on in a relationship’ just say, TRUE and walk away

    • Paintwidow,
      The “mistress”,
      Never saw her, don’t know her name, know nothing about her.
      Was told she felt bad about taking him away from our little girl,
      Hmmmm, she had feelings,
      Doubt she knew about the child to be in utero.

      • “Doubt she knew about the child to be in utero.

        I would blame your asshole – BASTARD!

  • Great post as always. As the holidays approach and ive been feeling pangs of sadness i realize how lucky i am. We all are being free of that old shit. Been totally away from asswipe for almost a year now and im still busy rediscovering me and loving it. Ive been asked out a few times i politely say no. Im still healing and its gonna take awhile still. I believe i have to be really comfortable in my own skin and happy with who i am and where im going. Many have asked when will i start dating again? I just dont know maybe never. Ive learned so much from cl and all of you here and im so grateful. And especially to jeep tess! Love you girl! There are no unicorns but the wishes remain. I believe at least for me i do not wish to get involved with anyone from chump to average to loser until i heal and the other person understands and respects that. Oh crap im rambling! Im working long hours at the store which is closing so now im job hunting again. Im guess im giving my thanksgiving thanks here before i forget to you tracy and everyone here! Im so thankful for all of you!! Off topic but i wanted to say this.

    • Great to hear from you again, Kar Marie!
      Glad you’re doing well and are happy.
      You didn’t have one ‘fuck’ in that message either! lol

      Good luck with job hunting and what a bummer.

  • My favorite phrase used in analysis of this study is “low mate value.”

    The scientists use it in terms of being better able to detect it after a breakup (or in our case, divorce) but I think it’s a beneficial concept for us to acknowledge as it applies to those who have fucked us over in so many ways.

    Understanding that our (hopefully) now ex-sig others have inherent “low mate value” may be the one thing that gets us to meh more than anything else.

    • I think that my lying, cruel ex-partners have low mate value in terms of character. Unfortunately, I think that they and possibly many others think that I, chump and divorced mother of young children, over 50 years old, scary ex-husband, not earning much money as I work in non-profit, have low mate value. I am nowhere near meh in terms of my ex-boyfriend.

  • I reconciled twice after dday 1 at the 10 year mark (totally blindsided but willing to believe his lies and reassurances) and dday at the 20 year mark (sadly realized nothing had changed at that 10 year mark but now … child and sunk costs.) Attempted third reconciliation at dday 3 at 28 year mark … but just couldn’t do it after trying and being angry for two years.

    What allowed full reconciliation the first two times? Pure exhaustion. I thought of nothing but his deceit and betrayal night and day for weeks until my brain just said “GACK!!!!” and so I put it aside and just accepted the lies I wanted to believe so badly. I waited patiently the third time for that same event so that I could have the “sunset golden retirement years” for which I had so patiently invested. After two mind-numbing years, I finally realized the only way out was … out. I am really embarrassed to report that I didn’t pay anyone for a good unicorn brainwashing … I did the dyi version right at home. Twice. Face palm.

  • I love one quote in particular from the article. It uses terminology for the cheater as a “low value mate”. It’s so great as an official clinical term used in an authoritative study. It’s a scientific given from which the study proceeds, like “high cholesterol subjects” or “lactose intolerant patients”. How great would it be for this to become the standard way of referring to them – not a pejorative (heavens no) but a technical-biological term for identifying a factual characteristic: Low Value.

    ‘Our thesis is that the woman who “loses” her mate to another woman will go through a period of post-relationship grief and betrayal, but come out of the experience with higher mating intelligence that allows her to better detect cues in future mates that may indicate low mate value.

    ‘Hence, in the long-term, she “wins”. The “other woman”, conversely, is now in a relationship with a partner who has a demonstrated history of deception and, likely, infidelity. ‘Thus, in the long-term, she “loses”.’

    • I’ve done a lot of research on this, and defining “mate value” is no easy thing. Some researchers do take into account the traits of compassion, empathy, kindness, etc. (which puts cheaters staunchly in the “low mate value” category). But others merely rely on more superficial measures, such as looks, fitness, youth, educational attainment, & income.

      Hannibal Lecher is VERY low mate value in terms of interpersonal ability to be a good emotional partner. After I’d said I wanted a divorce 3 times, he begged for MC; we went once. When I later met with the MC alone, having already filed, she described him as “not relationship material.” Master of understatement, that one.

      However,….his superficial “mate value” is extremely high–very big income, highly educated, good looking & dresses well, travels around the world, etc., etc. He has had no trouble getting women to fall all over him, even women 34 years younger than himself.

      “Mate value” needs to be focused on the former traits–empathy, kindness, etc.–but there is still a large segment of the population focused on superficial traits.

      • Tempest, I’m glad you are in the position to teach younger people what emotional abuse is and what to look for in a mate.

      • Tempest, agreed. The superficial traits are not nearly as important longterm as kindness, respect, loyalty, accountability etc. My cheater had all the superficial traits, too. Fat lot of good that did for me!

      • “Mate value” or “attracts a lot of attention value”?

        Being very good-looking is sometimes considered a deduct for mate consideration: “If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, never make a pretty woman your wife.”

    • Correct. The “other woman” can never rest easy after she’s “won” the man because she knows he lies & cheats. They pump themselves up thinking they are special and better than the wife/girlfriend because they were able to snatch the man away from her. It gives them a sense of power. But when he starts lyin’ and cheatin’ on them, they get destroyed because they realize they’re not that special after all.

      But that’s none of the wife/girlfriend’s business because hopefully she’s moved on.

    • TKO, we must have been thought syncing and typing at the same time see my take on, “low mate value” above). Love when that happens.

      • Yes, sorry. I didn’t refresh my phone until after commenting. But obviously your point was pure genius!

  • I loved Long Ago’s question and I loved Chump Lady’s answer.

    My country is no fault (“no one is obliged to love someone”) and so assets must be divided 50/50 unless there is an agreement (usually delivered with forceps if the lawyer is good, like in my case). But if sparkledick did to any other citizen what he did to me he would be sued for fraud in this same country.

    So here is one parameter to include in the unicorn study: the correlation with the growth rate of uni-horns and fraud history.

  • This is probably the wrong topic to post this on, but I have a thought about the Do Not Talk About it and the victim shaming that happens. What about the Children. They are putting our Children thru HELL and these tiny victims are being told “its your father/mother, you have to talk to them, respect them and forgive them”. Society and the community turns a blind eye to how much damage are being done to the children with these messed up cheaters.

    The cheater is not following the rules of do not talk bad about their EX any more than the follow the rules of marriage and decency. The kids are encouraged to forgive over and over again for all the slights, lies and stealing of money the cheater does to them and yet expected to still talk to them or at least send a fathers day/mothers day card. The kids are victims of the up and down mentality of the cheater, where they love bomb and then discard when a new shiney comes around. The lose security and a life style too, we just expect them to adapt also but without a CN supporting them.

    Spouses are not the only ones who are encouraged to forgive and forget, kids are expected to “put up” with the abuse of cheating even worse than the Spouse. They get to go stay with disordered cheater and their OW who is too willing to slam their mother/father when ever possible. I have see the results of this long term with my sister (a chump) and SIL (the cheater). The courts make it happen and do not care the damage that is done.

    • I am patiently waiting until my child turns 18 (he is 16 on Saturday) so that (1) parent alienation lawsuit is no longer a possibility and (2) child is more mature and more likely to understand. At that point, I will provide him every detail of what happened. His father is a shit and I believe he has a right to know it. He can then better decide how much time and trust to invest with said “father” going forward. And he will have a more accurate view of why such severe consequences occurred. I expect he will still love and adore his father, but perhaps he will be less likely to follow in his footsteps. I want him to learn that someone who is sparkly and charming but does evil things in secret is … evil. Because his father is certainly not the only such person he will encounter in this world, sadly.

    • The shame adultery brings on children (especially teens)- is heartbreaking. It’s humiliating to them to have a parent who cheats. Nothing will ever change that.

      • Out of all these comments about divorce, it is truly the kids I have worried about the most.
        They suffer the most and carry scars for a lifetime.
        No, they are not that resilient. They are kids, teenagers, youngsters…usually messed up with hormones when they learn mom or dad have been screwing their basketball coach.
        I don’t have kids, and my parents never divorced, but every day I read about how the kids suffer, right here on this blog. It absolutely should be a crime against children….to CHEAT on the family.

        • I will take it a step further (since I’m feeling like a smart alec tonight) and make a slogan against cheating. Like an ad – or whatever (Forrest Gump did it) . CHEATING – with a logo….Cheating………Hurts everybody.
          (maybe combat AM along with it)

  • My X’s grandparents divorced over infidelity and from the vague story i think it happened early in their marriage then the reconciled but the grandmother was never the same. Then grandfather found sparkly lady who made him “happy” and left his sad wife (sad from his abuse most likely). He died of cancer not long after and eventually grandmother emotionally recovered but late in life sadly.

    • I agree with you SheChump, it’s hard enough to maneuver through those years without a parent “falling in love,” fucking over your other parent, then abandoning you cause they want to “be happy.” I am still mad about how badly he screwed us over financially too. Like who does this???? WTF?!?! Cheating cheapens sacred vows and makes a mockery of marriage and in most our cases nothing seems amiss till Dday. Our kids were finishing up high school and one mid way through college when our lives were upended. It’s been a challenge…. Eight years out and my kids still struggle; two are simply not dating at all. ????

  • Ironically the link to “turns out to be losers” has a side bar: “CAN ADULTERY LEAD TO A HAPPY MARRIAGE?” brightly posted in pink, too, like it will make it more woman friendly or something. So very much damage control, so tired of the blame shift industry that masks itself as the reconciliation industry. So glad I found this page and your book.

    • My dad left my mom for his AP and now 41 years later they are still together and appear to be very happy. I don’t know if my dad has cheated on her over the years as well, but they have never seemed to have any problems and now well into retirement together. This is the one case that always messes with my mind when I want to believe that it will never last with exes and their affair partners and that they are doomed to misery. In my dad’s case it sure doesn’t seem like that and I’m trying to wrap my head around that.

      • Just wanted to add that it does prove to me that it was good that my mom didn’t wreckoncile and did eventually divorce his cheating ass because obviously he was never going to truly cherish and respect her and be faithful to her. My mom has never remarried, but she’s still so much better off without a lying, cheater.

      • hey no more evil — my dad did the same thing and it looked the same way, until we found out that he was a closet homosexual, an incurable alcoholic, and stepmommy had non-stop migraines. My daddy made a deal with home wrecker (tact, or spoken, don’t know): you can marry a man with kids, and you provide an image for my career — Mom wasn’t about to do it!! So yah, it looked fine from the outside, by stank like hell inside.

  • To any RIC peeps trolling the site… I’d be happy to participate in any research or focus group you want. I’ll gladly relate my my 4 D-days because I bought into the notion a pathological lying bisexual whore could be changed by my love and honesty and compassion.

    Sign me up… I’ll even waive the standard participant fee. C’mon… millions of us here just waiting for your Survey Monkey.

    • Ditto here ICanSee.

      Marriage ravaged by adultery/perversion ….and or pornography can never be restored to it’s pre adultery stage. Anyone who says is lying. They won’t admit that they worry about reoccurring cheating. It’s impossible to fully trust a spouse- once they cheated on you. Impossible.

  • How many unicorns return and then gallop off again in 10 years? What are the costs of unicorn maintenance?

    My experience – DDay after about 8 years together followed by Sex Addiction Recovery Ranch, group therapy, couples therapy, individual therapy, SLAA meetings. And then he galloped off 10 and two kids later. CL hits it on the head – he did it because he could – maybe he cares for you, but Not Enough.

    To anyone after the first DDay – fuck reconciliation – you don’t have a unicorn. Don’t keep investing. The cheater showed you who they are – believe them and move on. They do not care and never will. Look for someone who will or care for yourself.

    • Chumpdad,

      THIS! ‘Unicorn maintenance’ over several decades cost me a king’s ransom in time, energy, money, and self-esteem.

      My ex-liars may have ‘cared’ (for me) a tiny bit (while they thought that I was there only provider of sex, ego stroke, and companionship), at least until they discarded me the last time. (Now ex-boyfriend who regularly told me that he loved me (as a friend) and talked to me at least twice a day every day for two years refuses to talk to me even over the phone about positive things. So much for ‘friend!’) I am still working on believing the character disordered the first time they show me who they are. Have such a hard time believing the ship has gone done and cannot be brought back up with survivors!

      Working on caring for myself because I see no signs that I will ever find someone with whom I can ever form a happy, healthy ‘permanent’ romantic relationship. I FAILED Committed Relationship 101 in spite of taking it a dozen times, studying morning, noon, and night, reading extra books, getting tutoring (psychotherapy, support from support group), etc. Time to drop out of Romantic Relationship University. Really heart-breaking!

    • The Recovery Ranch! The expensive place well heeled perverts/liars/cheaters go AFTER they have been caught. They get to ride ponies and do arts and crafts there.

      The betrayed spouse gets to get bopped around and further dragged through the mud by their phony “disease” philosophy.

      Sex addiction is NOT real. It’s the invention of Patrick Carnes- a pervert/adulterer.

      • Exactly. I need to understand that. But the recovery ranch SLAA model wants me to believe he didn’t “cheat” – he has a disease. He couldn’t control it so I should not feel hurt or even hold him responsible. Yes, they actually did say at the ranch, he is still responsible, but that seems inconsistent with the entire model that I a the “co-addict” and has something to do with it. That was 10 years ago and he left anyway. Fuck me.

  • My ex’s grandfather and his brother both cheated on their wives at least once (don’t know if it was more or not). They both remained married for over 60 years until death. I don’t really know if the marriages were “happy” or not. They seemed son on the surface, but I didn’t know about their cheating until my own marriage blew up. Looking back, they may not have been miserable, but I can’t say there was a lot of joy either.

    In the case of the grandfather he cheated while deployed over seas, fathered a child, but it ended when he returned home and it is at least somewhat likely he never cheated again. I don’t know if his wife knew about it or not. His daughter (ex’s aunt) found out when she visited the couple, wife being the fellow cheater and saw pictures of “their” son who was the spitting image of her dad (ex’s grandpa). Apparently the woman had her husband’s “permission” to have an affair at the time although probably hadn’t expected an extra child.

    Meanwhile the brother’s wife had tried to divorce when she found out but ended up staying because she couldn’t afford a lawyer. I don’t know how happy their marriage was after that or if he cheated again because I only met them once when they were both in their late 80’s. Clearly they didnt’ talk about it. I heard all of this from ex’s aunt when she was trying to convince him not to be stupid by leaving me.

    Meanwhile, same side of the family, ex’s grandmother’s father left her mother for when she was a child. I am going to assume infidelity was involved. The aunt (granddaughter) blamed the mother for driving him away because she was clearly such a bitter woman (I personally think bitter probably came after discard, not the other way around). I guess I am lucky she isn’t blaming me for ex running off.

    • Congrats on taking a chainsaw to the narc branches of your family tree ! Any good arborist would have done the same to save the tree and roots from that fungus

  • Cheating is a form of abuse. It causes physical, mental, and emotional damage that can last forever whether you divorce or not. We don’t expect people in other forms of abusive relationships to stay. We shouldn’t expect victims of adultery to.

    • Totally agree. Would anyone say “He only pushed you down the stairs that one time. You should forgive him and give him another chance. And maybe you should think about what part you played … maybe he pushed you down the stairs because you made him feel unhappy? And if you tell anyone what happened, it will make it more difficult for you both to go forward happily.” Please.

    • Ding ding ding! A winner: “We don’t expect people in other forms of abusive relationships to stay. We shouldn’t expect victims of adultery to.”

      In a nutshell.

      • Adultery is indeed a form of domestic abuse. A very insidious form too. The lies, gas lighting, and blame shifting often leave the victim (the chump) feeling – dazed, confused and even crazy.

        Anyone who would inflict that kind of psychological abuse on someone they are supposed to love- should be charged with domestic violence. It is a form of violence.

        Personally, I would rather be punched in the face- than jerked around by a lying, deceptive, blame shifting cheater.

  • I’ve spent a fair amount of time on a RIC site and being a “sciency” kind of guy got hooked initially on two “facts”.

    The first was a statement that “affairs don’t last and usually burn out in under a year”.

    The second was a discussion of the “stages of mid-life-crisis” where the individual comes out of it, shaken, bruised but a better person.

    As far as I can tell this is complete and utter bull-shit and is not borne out by scientific evidence. However, and I worry about this a lot there is a thing called “confirmation bias” where a researcher will find results that support their thesis. If you google and read a lot, you can find lots of empirical evidence to support those two claims.

    On the particular site where I was, anyone who questioned the dogma was generally told to focus on themselves and that “true success” came from becoming a better person. A second part which is in part because of the commercial focus of the site (I understand – bills gotta get paid) was the controlling nature that seemed to be pervasive. There was a lot of “don’t tell anyone else”, “only come here for advice” and any time that someone challenged the tribal lore the seagulls would descend to peck at the person’s entrails and crap all over them. I was at one point told that I was a controlling abusive man just like the other poster’s ex and by another poster who was a student of psychology that unless I got a complete personality replacement that I would never find love. One of the “arguments that they were right and that I was wrong” was that these people had been on the site for years and so knew everything about my life from a few hundred words that I’d written and that honestly they did have friends of their own. Sound like a cult or an abusive relationship itself perhaps?

    With the current level of science I had suggested to a fellow sufferer that it would be an interesting study to mine the data on these boards and run them through a variety of machine learning tools to identify trends, seasonality and outcomes. We both thought it would have been a fun project but it never went anywhere but it could indeed be a great source of some raw data for researchers. Anyone have some time to write up a grant proposal?

    Oh well. It’s now been roughly 2 years or so since Mme YogaPants decided that Senor Moneybags was a better place for her. I have no clue on how or if that’s working out for her. For me, I still like me and am liking me the more I get to know myself outside the shadow I was living under for over half my life. I do also still spend perhaps far too much time on the RIC site trying to pay forward the very real kindness that some of the people gave to me. Once my own divorce is done – hopefully by my birthday in March if not before, I will probably step back from there and yes, even from CN and walk freely in the sunshine.


    • BT, thanks for your well thought out post. I find so many people on this site to be very intelligent and thoughtful about what they write. I hope you continue to learn more about yourself and that your self-love grows more every day. Once we figure out we can give ourselves the love we were looking for from another person, we get a lot stronger and more content.

    • I am still cracking up over the visual of the seagull flock assault
      Great research idea and hilarious witty writing

  • After bogus reconciliation ended, cheater told his family that since I KNEW what he was, I really had no business complaining. And you know what, I eventually came to realize he kind of had a point.

    My guess is they all think that, but most don’t say it.

    Cheaters view reconciliation as the chump saying it’s okay to cheat as long as the cheater is more careful not to get caught next time.

    • On 2017 Dday when I brought up to cheater wife that I knew she was lying about stuff back during her 2011 incident she said “yeah well you should have been tougher with me”

      Its weird- its like for a moment you get to peer into their dark mind of being a conartist

  • I see two schools of thought responsible for the misinformation. The damage to the marriage can never be truly repaired.

    The “Sex Addiction” supporters (although there is NO such thing as sex addiction)- are the worse. They actually expect betrayed spouses to stay with liars, cheaters and deceivers. They actually re victimize the chump- by assigning half of the blame for the cheater/pervert’s behavior squarely on the chump.

    Stay away from the Sex Addicts Anonymous/COSA crowd- or you will blamed and re victimized. And you will be called a “codependent”- as if you co conspired with/enabled the cheater. Tell these people to go fuck themselves!

    Next comes the church. While the church probably means well- the pie in the sky “God can heal your marriage – after you’ve been cheated on”- is bullshit. Even Jesus said – get rid of the cheater (paraphrased).

    I know these things because I have been down both roads. The cheater cheats- because he wants to…..because he can…..because he feels entitled to do so. No therapist, church or bible will ever change that.

  • Low Value Mate (LVM)= people who feel entitled to cheat. (Saith most of the human race).

    Mate Poachers (OM/OW)- are Low Value Humans (LVH). (Saith most of the human race).

    How’s that for a study!

  • I ultimately decided after when my cheater was at it again many years after the first discard for his schmoopie, and finding him with yet another schmoopie (DD14’s 20 something year old high school sports coach) that whatever mechanism he had of thinking his wants/needs were more important than the family’s needs were his faults and his to own. I look at it like he’s radioactive or carrying an internal bomb just waiting to detonate at any time. I don’t want nor need that in my life!

    I’m still trying to learn (spackle for untangling the skein), and was reading on the Infedility Help Group site. This site was really helpful to me in the early days, and before I was ready to admit my cheater was as bad as those I read about at CN.

    This article on cheater think has been helpful for me. It really talks about the kibbles these cheaters seek and are willing to steal at any cost.

  • Oooh, oooh, oooh, a scholarly article (please enjoy the juxtaposition of ‘scholarly article’ and monkey noises, …) Gotta give that a read.

    Chump Lady, you didn’t get the whole gist of it. I haven’t read it all yet, but the last line of the abstract is telling:

    “This essay argues that there are consequences of female intrasexual mate competition that may be both evolutionarily adaptive and also beneficial in terms of personal growth and that may expand beyond mating and into other realms of personal development.”

    A hasty rehash of this would say that chumps are more highly evolved than cheaters, and that that state is beneficial to the species as a whole as well as the individual, including in areas other than being chumped. Maybe we should change our slogan to, “Leave a cheater, gain a life, and make mankind better.”

    I’ll give the full article a read over once Iliad gets it to me (advantage of being an academic), and report back, probably on a new thread in the forum.

    Hugs. Strength. Peace.

  • Marriage is based on TRUST- not love….not money.

    Once the trust is broken- the marriage can never be truly restored.


    You dropped a china plate on the floor.
    It shattered into 59 pieces.
    You got out your crazy glue- because you read it helps put broken plates back together.
    You glue your china plate back together
    Your china plate is in one piece…….with 59 glue lines…chips and dings.
    You tell others that china plate has been restored.

    You want to see a brand new china plate- but you can’t- not really. So you kid yourself and tell yourself that the plate is as good as new.

    • And guess what ? You can never use that plate again to serve food. Maybe you prop it up in a stand on the mantle or hang it on the wall so you can’t see all those cracks.

      Better to just throw it out.

  • I wish there were good long-term follow-up data on this, because I think it would be really important to inform and train couple therapists. If they’re all thinking reconciliation is common and usually successful, they will go with the bias that it’s easy and straightforward and a realistic goal. If they know it’s rare and difficult, they will deal with couples who come in after infidelity in a very different way. They will develop tools to help predict when there is likely to be successful reconciliation, and when not (start from CL’s GINR post!), and what strategies actually encourage healthy marriages (accountability, post-nups!) and which don’t (spackle, easy forgiveness!).

    I think it has to be like seeing the oncologist; this is the type of cancer you have, this is the stage, these are our treatment options, and these are the stats on outcomes at 1 year, 5 years and 15 years.

    Then you decide whether you’re jumping on board with effective treatments and good chance of still being around in 5 years, or you start planning for palliative care and who will take your cat. If outcomes are unclear, you know what to keep an eye on, and when to either relax or give up hope. And anybody who tries to sell you a magic treatment that will keep you alive for 10 years despite your Stage 4 lung cancer can be pointed out as a fraud.

    • Isent it as simple as reconciliation = more appointments = more money
      If you tell me reconciliation is not likely – I’ll go spend with my lawyer instead

      • I don’t think there’s any dearth of potential patients for counsellors. And the good ones help people as fast as they can, so their former patients will send along all their friends and acquaintences! Most MDs manage to be honest about treatment outcomes, despite possibly making more money by stringing people along. Why wouldn’t most counsellors? I think it is mostly ignorance, which is fed by their fairly low level of training.

  • If we have evidence-based medicine, I don’t see why we can’t have evidence-based marriage counseling. Chumps, already wounded, are taking on the risk of being wounded again. Is this so much unlike undertaking chemo for cancer? It is…with little info on side effects or odds of success. How hard is it to do a prospective study on the 5 year survival of marriages after infidelity? How hard is it to also consider quality of life? Medicine does this all of the time…drugs won’t get approved if they don’t pass safety or effectiveness testing.

    At the very least, the MC ought to be required to disclose success and failure rates up front, or to say they don’t know, before chumps undertake what could be a long, painful, and expensive risk.

    I suspect we’ll never see such studies because 1) who would pay and 2) who, besides chumps, really wants to know?

  • Oh oh oh!!!!!!!!!

    The women in those COSA groups use tracking devices on their cheater/pervert’s cell phones, computers and cars. They demand all the pass codes and banking access. They literally track the cheaters- as if they were children.

    Why would anyone want to live like that? If you have to track your husband like a child- you don’t trust him. Your marriage is NOT restored. So knock off the bullshit.

    • Exactly!! Every day checking their phone, checking their email, checking their social media, checking their texts, checking their bank account, checking their credit cards, installing recording devices in their car and around the house, tracking them with GPS!!! When they come home make them go through cheating screening, like a TSA agent at the airport. Pure insanity.

  • I suggest an individual research project. Separate from that cheater. Make him pay child support, maintenance, etc. File for divorce or be ready to. Go no contact–no sad sausage story hour. No listening to the rage channel or the charm channel. But tell Cheater: “Let’s see how much you want your marriage and family. Here’s the visitation schedule. Here’s what you need to pay me in support to convince me you’re serious. Let’s see what you, on your own, can do to earn my trust over the next two years.” Then let cheaters manage their relationship with their kids, and demonstrate their faithful adherence to custody/visitation rules, to paying support, to stepping up in emergencies, to treating his betrayed spouse with care and respect. Let the cheater run a full credit check and share it every year and be transparent about money. Hire a PI to check periodically to see what’s going on in his social media, Ashley Madison, Craig’s List. See whether there is a Schmoopie in the picture. I don’t mean “marriage policing.” I mean get on with their own lives and carry out this research to learn if the Cheater is serious. Leave the detecting to the detective, but Chumps who think they want reconciliation would do well to get out of that living situation, one way or the other, and find a place to look objectively at who their partner is.

  • It’s been a very emotional soul crushing year attempting to R with my wayward spouse after the last dday. When she says, “I love you honey bunny”, most of the time I want to throw up in my mouth, or say something snark back, instead I swallow the shit in my mouth and mumble extremely enthusiastically “I love you too”.

    I want to find the unicorn, I want to run carefree and happily ever after with the unicorns, I want to find the pot of love-gold at the end of a rainbow, but I don’t think it is going to happen. It is very hard to forgive and forget, I don’t feel safe in my marriage. Chump Lady accurately said that trying to help your wayward understand the pain they caused you is like trying to teach a pet rock swahili. They don’t get it. I asked my wayward spouse if she understands how hurt I am and she said no because she was not the one who was cheated on.

    • They don’t change. You think she can change and be a good person because that’s how you are. They are a totally different breed. I caught my cheater wife in 2011 trying to cheat. She cried, apologized, said nothing physical happened, said she would never hurt me again, I could look in her cell phone whenever I wanted, etc… I though for sure this woman that I have loved for so long would NEVER hurt me again. 2015 I busted her communicated through Facebook with her exboyfriend….again same I’m sorries, I will never hurt you again lovebombing, more dates, etc….(but I also sensed annoyance from her). 2017 full blown sexual affair that went on (under current timeline) for 5 months. They don’t change- it’s not who they are. It’s like trying to turn a crocodile into a pet. In the words of my therapist after talking to our marriage counselor “Walk away ! These disordered people do NOT change. She will keep doing this to you. She will continue to abuse you.”

    • … which is why we don’t usually use the term ‘wayward’ here. Wayward is a bad parking attempt, or a cocktail too many before dinner.

      We prefer ‘cheater’. ‘Disordered’. ‘Sociopath.’ ‘Habitual liar.’

      And ‘abuser’ is a good one to learn as well.

    • She sounds as dense as a rock. Who is never going to learn swahili.
      I’m so sorry you’re seeing the unicorn fade away. We’ve all been there.
      For her to admit so candidly she doesn’t get your pain is disturbed!

  • I said it once….I will say it 10,000 more times:

    Cheating is NOT a marriage problem. It is a moral deficiency within the cheater

    No marriage counselor can fix that. No pill can fix it… religion can fix it….no 12 step group can fix it.
    The cheater is an irredeemable, un-fixable creature of low morals- nothing can fix him or her.

    • Correct. Thankfully I had a marriage therapist that saw through my cheater wife’s BS!

      • There is a reason in the bible God asked the Israelites to kill the adulterer and the affair partner. Not a word was ever said about the innocent spouse. Adultery is a character problem, not a marriage problem, and that is something that can only be owned by the one doing it, not the innocent spouse.

        So I divorce the idiot and he moved his ho in….they have been playing happy family for the last year. I hope the OW enjoys it, because the man that my ex is….she has it coming…..leopard does not change its spots….

  • I think the data is probably there if we only knew how to lasso it into the corral. When I was investigating MC, I had 10 minute phone conversations with 6 therapists. One of them told me straight up that based on my thumbnail description of the relationship (and, boy, I had only told him the tip of the iceberg), the marriage could probably not be saved. Eventually, my EX and I briefly attended MC with a therapist my EX selected. (That ended at session 2 when the EX stomped out in a rage).

    But, after the separation I took myself and my kids to they guy who had been so straight with me. He was great.

    I think people–from CL to therapists to spiritual leaders who know the score have the data. These people are driven by ethics rather than by the need for financial gain, the need to demonstrate that faith can fix anything, the need to always generate “successes,” etc. These practitioners can all demonstrate with data based on sometimes decades of experience that a healthy recovery from cheating is impossible for most marriages. There are pragmatic reasons that chumps choose to stay with cheaters. There are delusional reasons that chumps choose to stay with cheaters. But choosing to stay is not the same thing as restoring a marriage to good health.

    Too many people view marriage mystically–and that is an error. In fact, it is an interpersonal relationship that shares qualities found in many other relationships. We don’t expect business partners to stay together when one steals from the other. We don’t expect friends to stay close when one lies to the other on a daily and systemic basis. We don’t expect patients to stay with doctors who knowingly allow them to be exposed to disease and don’t order testing and preventative measures. Yet cheaters do all these things, and the marriage mystics tell victims in all these situations that they should “do some work” with the flawed partner and friend and doctor in hope of triggering marriage magic.

    The truth is out there. But naming it upsets a lot of beloved cultural myths (and more than a few income streams).

          • Reminds me of the story of my cheating father’s cheating business partner.

            He thought he was a Jew through and through yet found out soon before his mother died that he was the result of an affair she had with a Chinese man she met in Panama in the 1930s. He had a nervous breakdown of sorts and started an affair with a Chinese woman young enough to be his daughter. His wife stayed for financial reasons and at the time they had two teenage boys. He had been briefly married before so I wonder what happened with that marriage.

            He turned away from his wife after learning of his mother’s deception and toward another woman.

  • I’m left with the thought that there’s still so much undetected deception in this former relationship, things I was blind to. It stands to reason he’s a more horrible person than I know. That he was/is capable of taking my trust & practically killing me with lies tells me about his character & how I need fixing. I can as easily hope he changes eye color as character. Words. Mean nothing, but the secrecy of which I’m only barely aware screams how capable, able & above all, willing to watch me die for his purpose. Denial is a fatal condition.

  • I feel like I didn’t gain a life. And the dating pool is hard. This is what I mostly hear:
    “Why weren’t you taking care of your man? He wouldn’t cheat if you just give him what he wants”
    Wow, I gave him everything I had and it was never good enough. I never neglected him or gave him a reason to cheat. He was a narcissist and needed to feel wanted from everyone. He loved attention, except when I wanted his attention, then I was just being too needy.
    So now in the eyes of most guys I meet I am used goods with baggage. While my ex is the “victim” and he already had a girlfriend while we were married. And now he’s getting married to her.
    And it pisses me off that I’m here seen as a loser. While people see him as a great guy, yet he has three baby mamas and doesn’t pay child support or see his kids and I’m the loser???
    I give up. I’m fine by myself. And my kids are taken care of by me. And if that makes me a loser. So be it.

    • I hear you and feel this also. It seems like society blames us- like we weren’t good at relationships or sex or something. In addition being a man and getting cheated on- you are like a laughing stock amongst other men. You don’t feel like you can tell anyone. It’s the ultimate emasculation. I fear the dating world ahead of me in the future. I will wonder if women will look at me and think “Why did his wife cheat on him? Was he crummy in bed? Was he a horrible man that deserved to be cheated on?” At a group therapy session I attended just about everyone there agreed that in their next relationship it would be better to find a fellow infidelity victim because they would be the only ones that would understand the pain.

      • Anyone who would throw being cheated on in your face is most likely a cheater themselves. Get rid of them and go on about your way.

        • Exactly Zell. Look at it as a test of their character and capacity to be empathic

      • Zell, thanks for sharing your point of view from a male perspective. I think it’s been echoed here many times that lots of chumps would only trust another chump after being cheated on. I can’t imagine thinking that an ex wife cheated because her husband wasn’t good enough. But then, I’m a chump. I’d assume an ex wife cheated because she sucks and has shitty character. I’d probably go too far in the other direction, and probably ascribe super powers to a male chump. Look what he put up with, while paying all the bills and doing the dishes and being the same parent!! Swoon!

      • Zell, take it from a fellow male chump who is WAAAYYYY down the road from where you are now that in my experience this doesn’t happen. For me at least the women I’ve been with have never judged me on not being good enough and my fellow brethren do not treat me like a laughing stock.

        Peace Bro

        • No, it’s doesn’t happen for males. Just females! That was my point!
          But I’ve been alone for 4 years and I am content with that. I just thought I’d try to find companionship, but unlike their father, my kids are my priority

      • I know this is probably not helping, but since there are so many of us chumps out there, I just want to put forward that, sorry as I to admit it, I’m so biased now that if a man told me he was cheated on, my immediate thoughts would be “I bet it was the other way around” :(((

        I can’t imagine what a man who DOESN’T cheat or abuse looks like, I certainly have never known one.

    • JustMe–any guy who would view you as used goods with baggage because your divorce ended due to infidelity just flashed a HUGE red flag your direction. Best to avoid such people (but there are great guys out there).

    • What are those people thinking? You’re not negotiating the release of hostages…”give him what he wants”. Well, was he giving you what you wanted? I bet not. But you didn’t cheat! Those people never ask that question…

  • I think Chumplady has said it best. The only way reconciliation works is if the cheater does the following

    1) Admit they cheated
    2) Have a very sincere apology
    3) Eat any shit sandwich they get from their spouse
    4) Keep eating that shit sandwich until their spouse decides its over or to keep them as a partner

    The problem (as Chumplady points out) is that cheaters are not sorry about cheating, the are in fact sorry they got caught. It is (and always has been) about them and what they want and whatever joy (or rush) they get from it.

    I can tell you from first hand experience Reconciliation does not work. In my case it did not work the way my x-wife was hopping it would. In the process I listened to her and the therapist talk and the therapist ripping her stories apart and while I listened to all of this I found myself slowly tuning the two of them out and then a big question came to me.

    Do I really want to go back to this nonsense?

    The answer NO

    As soon as that session was over my x-wife was doing her usual temper tantrums etc…. posting all blame on me and no blame on herself. At one point she realized I was not responding to anything she was saying (we were in the car at this point). It was at that point she realized I did not give a shit about her anymore and BOY DID THAT INFURIATED her. I spent the 30 minute drive back home being cursed at in both English and Spanish and I just sat there and posted no defense to her nonsense. This in-turn infuriated her even more.

    When I got home, I walked into my house and gave my daughter a hug and went on with my day with a nice smile.

    Point is 99.9% of the time the cheater is not going to want to do steps 1-4 (as stated above) because it requires to much work and in their mind they did nothing wrong.

  • Everything I have read before I started reading Chumplady was reconciliation can work and makes your relationship stronger….REALLY? How do you deal with the thoughts that keep coming into your head is he cheating? Or I need to check his phone or computer to see what he has been doing? Or I need to be vigilante on checking the bank accounts to see where money is going? Or should I track mileage on the car? Or what new on-line accounts has he found. Or looking for another phone perhaps? These are just some of the thoughts. Once the trust is gone how can you get it back even if you go through reconciliation. You just can’t especially knowing the affair was five years long. The saying, “one and done” applies to me. I’m done and I won’t experience anymore DDAYS. One was enough. I’m going to gain a life. Love ❤️ Chump Nation! You gave me the courage and strength CL!!

  • I remember reading about all those that stole, had multiple partners and other goodies. I remember thinking that thankfully she wasn’t that bad. Except she was I just didn’t know yet.
    See, when it’s about control, and this is, once you’ve accepted the cheating, it no longer control you. There’s no rush for them. So the behavior has to become even more egregious, and it does. So yeah, forgive them, they’ll love bomb for a bit then come back worse than you ever imagined.

    • Dun, this was my experience. Every time it was worse than the last. I was unable to do so many things as an adult because of his actions. The biggest mistake was believing I was in control. I lost more and more each time I forgave. I became invisible wanting things to change.

      K, I applaud you for being honest with the Chumps. The first therapist that was honest gave me the first sign of hope I’d had for 36 years. He said only a person with a personality disorder, a narcissist behaved the way he did. He as well as CL/CN saved my life.

      And my lawyer who was previously a judge told me I had Stockholm Syndrome confirming what my therapist said. As the divorce proceeded she asked what was wrong with him. She spoke with him once on the phone when he was representing himself and she hung up on him becausse he was Abusive. Validation both traumatized me and freed me from my abuser. It was hard to accept the fact I had allowed this to happen.

      Now I’m finally free living and loving my life.

  • During my wasted year with cheater ex-husband I asked this very question in marriage counseling, about finding statistics on successful marital reconciliation after infidelity. I was essentially told to stop being so “analytical” by him, what difference does it make. The counselor said we have a 50% chance, which looking back now that seems like a cop-out answer on his part. As software developer being analytical kind of comes naturally to me, so it was perfectly logical to me to want to have this information in my decision to continue with this nonsense. Had I known that the chances of successful reconciliation being so slim (or the chump nation for that matter) at that time things would have been very different, I would have been done much sooner.

  • I too wasted more time in “reconciliation.” DD1 2007 he had been flying all over the country meeting a married OW. He swore they didn’t have sex, just fooled around for almost a year. Rigggght…. He was so sorry blah, blah, would spend the rest of his life making it up to me, blah, blah… I bought this shit, (mostly because I had 2 small kids, no family, no money as he convinced me to quit my job where I made more money than him and out-ranked him.) We went to MC where he lied, I spackled. Things not great for 8 more years; he also abuses alcohol, has major rage issues, etc. He goes undercover and learns to be better at hiding his double life and lying. 2015 shit hits the fan and DD2 except now I start asking questions about all the hotels that have called, the women who claimed he was screwing them, the work rumors – basically I face the reality. What comes out it more horrendous than I ever imagined. He has has affairs since we met and first dated (when I was 18 him 25), he really likes screwing strangers in hotel lobbies during “business trips” has screwed multiple clients, co-workers, subordinates. Then his co-workers who mostly hate him fill me in on hookers in Las Vegas, even more work relationships. He tried to tell me I’m prude because I don’t want to have group sex and watch him screw other people- men or women, he doesn’t care. WTF?! Current OW and he are “in love… though I find out from another co-worker than he has already chested on her. I doubt she cares. She was sleeping with her also-married boss just a few months before switching to X. She is clearly in it for the money. We are this totally boring middle class family in an upscale neighborhood with 2 great kids to the outside world.

    There is so much more, but the gist of this is I wasted 8 more years of my life. Impaired my career 8 more years, was financially hurt for 8 more years, was abused 8 more years, and opportunity loss of 8 more years where I could have found someone else. RECONCILIATION is a joke. It just prolongs the inevitable.

    • At work I had to deal with a man who sounds exactly like your pos. He is a sociopath. They aren’t all murderers but they have zero empathy. Just run like hell away from him. Scary.

  • Anecdotally, I’ve professionally handled more infidelity than I’ve ever bargained for, and out of those hundreds of cases, only TWO couples I can think of actually got through the infidelity successfully (as least, as long as I was able to track them). And these two men did all the things Chump Lady recommends: re-wrote the prenup, did everything asked of them, didn’t blameshift, stayed in therapy, and were accountable to their spouses and children. That’s a very low percentage. As a result, I just flat-out “don’t recommend staying in a relationship after infidelity” because the odds are a) so high it will happen again and b) rebuilding trust is difficult to impossible. You’d be surprised how many chumps leave my office and never come back after I say that, but it’s the best advice I can give even just based purely on the odds I’ve seen, and I don’t regret giving it, ever.

    • I believe that unicorns have to exist if for no other reasons than anomalies do exist. They are just that, anomalies.

    • K, they may leave your office and not come back, but you have planted the seed in the mind of the chump, and THAT will be very helpful down the line. You can’t make them see reality, but you do turn a light on it, so they probably end up seeing it sooner than if you hadn’t. AND you have maintained your integrity! I hope more and more therapists do this.

    • K–I completely agree with you. Applause for your professional honesty & integrity.

  • I read somewhere that only 30 percent of marriage survive infidelity at all, and out of those 30%, we do not know how many of them are happy.I suspect very few…..

    As K said above, the few marriages that I know cheating occurred, the cheating partner paid through the nose…for years in order to keep their marriage. Most cheaters were too lazy to work on their marriages in the first place, so to expect them to fix what they’ve broken now, and the marriage….tall order.

  • Academics who conduct legitimate research disagree on the prevalence of cheating because CHEATERS LIE, and surveys are based on self-report information. John M. Grohol, Psy.D., argues that cheating is much less prevalent than we are led to believe by the mass media. “…we can conclude that over the course of married, heterosexual relationships in the United States, extramarital sex occurs in less than 25% of committed relationships (Laumann et al., 1994; Wiederman, 1997).

    • though the trend would be for cheaters to lie and say they did NOT cheat (rather than to lie and say they did cheat when they actually had not).

      This link was posted in the forums a week or so ago, and confirms the stat you mentioned above for marriages only; 57% and 54% of men & women respectively admit to cheating in ANY relationship:

  • Conscious uncoupling is impossible when only one participant actually has a conscience!

    (a little play on words fun)

  • Cheating is linked to abuse. I like Bancroft’s advice of never giving cheating a THIRD chance.
    Let’s be generous and assume once in a lifetime someone might find themselves in a compromising situation, maybe they don’t have the strongest boundaries or lack the life experience to navigate a time of confusion, are in a difficult relationship and find themselves doing things they regret. Ok, then what comes after is they do everything in their power to mend what they broke, they lead with humility, transparency and obviously never do it again. They actually improve as human beings, whether they get to continue the relationship they hurt or not. There are no other signs of abuse and this person actually tries hard to be a great partner. This is a Unicorn.

    What generally happens, however, is cheating is just the tip of an abusive iceberg, only the chump was oblivious to it all. Or he/was aware of the signs, but spackled. Used the word “maybe” a lot in his/her head when thinking about his/her partner’s actions, motives, behaviors and feelings.
    The cheater continues to be abuse and/or to cheat after being found out the first time (he just got better at hiding it this time) and applies the well-known disordered repertoire to handle the situation after. Blameshifting and devaluing/discarding are the hallmark here. Anyone who respects you so little to blatantly and ungratefully take for granted his/her second chance is someone too committed to abusing you. This is a Cheater.

  • I am so grateful for CL and this place, and I am so glad that in my first days I somehow found this site right off the hop!

    After reading several mentions here of other sites, I decided to visit SI (I was having a rough day today). Posts from people in their reconciliations actually made me feel physically ill. Betrayed spouses: 2, 3, 5+ years after dday still playing marriage police, still not recovering, feeling disgust for their spouses, needing to be medicated, in the thick of managing their spouse and questioning everything!

    I am struggling with no contact, but my visit down that rabbit hole of reconciliation hell made me glad I did not choose that route. From my looking around that site, unicorns are rare. Someone needs to compile stats on the shit people live with daily for years on that site and make a report.

    Thank you so much CL and CN. I am here every morning and evening reading the archives and your comments. ❤️

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