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Monogamy Is Not the Problem

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I‘d like to give a shout out for monogamy.

It’s really been maligned of late, called “unnatural,” — or worse, hegemonic and bossy. It gets blamed for infidelity and divorce. Oh the Terrible Societal Pressure of Monogamy! the naysayers tut tut. It’s so very difficult, they sigh, as if monogamy was some high-maintence diva demanding the right sort of mineral water. It’s just impossible to meet the ridiculous expectations of monogamy!

Poor monogamy. Some find it freakish. “We did not evolve to be monogamous,” the critics cry, pointing to hedonistic bonobos and walruses, the Hugh Heffners of the animal kingdom. Don’t you want to be one of the fun animals? Who’s left with monogamy? Wolves and swans, that’s who — pretty creatures known for their savagery and aggression.

Monogamy, I’m sorry you’ve gotten a bad name. For what it’s worth, I think you’re cool. Hurrah for the faithful! Three cheers for the same ol’ same ol’!

I know it’s easy to dismiss me, a happily married, squidgy, middle-aged woman. Oh god, you would like monogamy. You probably have dial up. What other dorktacular, old school things do you enjoy? LP records and butter churning?

Maybe you think my husband is pussy-whipped because he’s faithful. If you do, please tell him that to his face — he’s a pick-up truck driving, “law and order liberal,” Texas trial lawyer who owns a gun. I had one of the other kinds of husbands once, the unfaithful kind, and I much prefer this one, thank you.

Clearly, I lack the sophistication and edginess to be polyamorous. If you’re polyamorous, I wish you all the best. Please enjoy your swingers parties in your shag-carpeted, sunken living rooms. Negotiate your open marriages, use protection, and rock on with your bad selves.

I just have one request — quit beating up on monogamy. Monogamy is not the problem. I’d like to introduce the real villain, the culprit behind infidelity and divorce — entitlement. Yes, entitlement, otherwise known as narcissism, selfishness, or “I need a few months living alone in Spain to find myself.”

Entitlement has unfairly framed monogamy for infidelity for quite some time and I’d like to set the record straight.

1. Cheating is about the thrill of being dishonest. To “cheat” you need an agreement to renege on, namely monogamy. There’s no frisson of danger in openness, no illicit sexual high to chase. A recent study “The Cheater’s High: The Unexpected Affective Benefits of Unethical Behavior” by researchers at the University of Washington, the London Business School, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania show that cheaters feel happier after cheating. Why? They feel superior, more clever than the people they just chumped. Screwing around feels awesome, so long as you’re short on empathy. You know who’s empathy challenged? Narcissists.

There is a power dynamic inherent in infidelity. The cheater wants all the perks of a committed partner, and the excitement of messing around on the side. The secrecy is about gaining advantage. You commit all your resources and I’ll just feign reciprocity. Cheaters don’t want a level playing field. It’s about control and entitlement. Cheaters give themselves permission to cheat, because they deem themselves more deserving than the chumpy people who play by the rules. (Rules the cheater agreed to, of course.)

2. If polyamory is “natural,” so is heartbreak. If we’ve “evolved” to screw around, well, we’re also wired to be jealous and suffer heartache when we are abandoned. Where’s all the talk of how unnatural it is to bond with other people? Gee, we should really stop doing that. This whole trust thing is really overrated.

Murderous impulses are also human, and felt very keenly after one’s been betrayed. When the cuckolded husband clubs his wife’s lover with a baseball bat, they can each claim they “evolved” to be this way — one to screw around indiscriminately, the other to react in a murderous rage. Let’s see how those arguments go over in the court of law.

We didn’t evolve to do a lot of things — farm, use indoor plumbing, wear lederhosen. Your Darwinian urges are no excuse for behaving unethically. Can we put this tired argument to rest already?

3. Monogamy is not difficult — honest conversations are. You’re not good at monogamy? Stay single or find a polyamorous arrangement. Things not working out in the marriage? Speak up and make it work or get out honestly. Unless yours was a shotgun wedding, no one forces you to commit to monogamy. Lost in the “monogamy is so hard” argument is personal choice. Don’t agree to be someone you aren’t.

Oh boo hoo, the pressure. Your parents want grandchildren and your girlfriend is obsessed with “Say Yes to the Dress.” Find your backbone, son. Don’t be a farce registered at Macy’s.

And if you agreed to this monogamy thing and changed your mind? You’re not doing anyone any favors by unilaterally deciding to betray them. Let them go live an authentic life without you.

This column ran previously and on HuffPo. Tune in tomorrow for a new column. I’m taking on the Trust Bank! 

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Agreed, monogamy isn’t the issue. Funny how cheaters treat it as such. The enemy is responsibility in reality for them. They hate society might actually hold them somewhat accountable for failing to live up to their own agreement to be monogamous.

    • The third time my ex begged me back I told him “if you’re not serious about this then there are lots of polyamorous women where we live. You can go be with one of them. I know myself and I cannot do polyamory but there is nothing wrong with polyamory if two people agree to it.” Of course he didn’t want polyamory. He wanted to be a cheater. He told me the first part outright (that he didn’t want polyamory) the second bit I had to find out on my own *again*. (the cheater bit).

  • “Natural”/”unnatural” can be such a cop-out. That said, I’ve definitely seen the opposite that CL described, where it’s not a matter of “Monogamy isn’t realistic”, but the offending party saying “Well you’re not sophisticated enough to understand.”

    Newsflash, assholes. We know you’re trying to have it both ways, and if you can’t pick whether you want to go back to being cavemen or living in an evolved society, you can fuck right off.

  • It is communication problem. No one likes confrontation, but it has to be done. Perhaps we have made the thought of confrontation to be something negative and avoided at all costs. Or maybe some people are just cowards. I don’t like uncomfortable situations, but what I don’t like even more is allowing something that needs confronting to fester. I tend to dive right in and get it all over with. My cheating husband was a poor communicator. Yet, amazingly his number one bragging point for work was how well he could write and speak at conferences and such. I thought his writing was circular and superficial but who am I? Apparently, I’m someone with so much personal power that he felt so threatened by that he had to cheat in order to feel like he got one over me. I would wish him dead if I wasn’t so bored with the thought.

    • Unflown Kite- I love that last thought! I imagine it goes something like this:

      UFK [Raging]: “I’m so angry!!!! I wish you were- were-”
      [suddenly relaxes, produces a huge yawn with eyes glazed over]: “eh, screw it. What’s on TV?” 😆

    • That was a big part of the problem with ex. We were both conflict adverse which certainly didn’t help our marriage. I would dive in and confront the issues when things got to a point where they couldn’t be ignored anymore. I tended to wait longer than I should have, however. Ex would never go there, he would just let things fester forever if I didn’t catch on and do something about it. I fully admit that I had my part to play in some of our marriage problems, but I am not the one who chose to blow it up in such a hurtful way because I was too cowardly to try and fix it.

      • If I would ask if anything was wrong or if he needed to talk about anything during his sulking fest, he would be all pissed off about it. It woud just infuriate him more because “you know I’m sensitive, especially if I’ve had to work more”. Reality check–he’s just a douche.

        • Absolutely agree twiceachump. You were trying to communicate like an adul. Him not so much. Sounds like sadz and anger on planet narc.

          X went ‘”I shouldn’t have to tell you” The stressful job “made” him angry moody and preoccupied. That and secret drama with OW howorker . #trustthattheysuck somuchbettrroff

    • Jellyfish was big on this “communication” towards the end. Not that he had a problem. He said I had the problem. But widowcunt was able to communicate. Uggghh. Ya. Wait till you join her crazy train with 5 kids. I’m good at communicating. Project much asshat. Fucker

    • I got blamed repeatedly that I wasn’t communicating what issues I had with STBX. And I admit that I was never one to bring up issues I may be feeling. But when I did, he’d gaslight and manipulate me into seeing how wrong I was, and how right he was, to the point that I truly believed him. Or he’d steam roll right over me, not letting me speak at all, and insecure, low self-esteem me, let him. I learned to avoid rather than ignite the rage (he never hit me…just verbally lash out, which was extremely unpleasant).

      Over the past few years, though, he tried to calm down and “let me express” myself, but the ulterior motive was that he’d then know what I suspected (that he was back with the whore) and how better to hide it from me.

      He’s such a jackass.

    • Cheater was absolutely conflict avoidant. With the help of his red pill IC, though, he concluded that “I did not give him space to talk”. Very funny, because the first thing his mom told me when I called her to say goodbye, was “my son does not speak with me”. He on purpose decided not to communicate with me and many others, but he was very capable of doing it, as it was very clear he was able to manage conflicts at work. He is just a lazy fucktard who didn’t want to commit with me, too much work, and the horror! of having to deal with my disagreeing with him and having emotional responses.

  • My 46 year old cheater wife went from lying to gaslighting to lying to blameshifting to lying to some semblance of honesty (although I think I still only know a fraction- I doubt she’ll admit to messing around during the Christmas holidays 2016 or Valentine’s Day 2017 or when I was by father’s hospital deathbed for a week at the end of April). What she finally admitted to after denying for about 4 months (some insight into a cheater):
    -she said she was addicted to it like a drug
    -she said it fed her ego
    -she did feel entitled to it
    -she thought I would never know and she would get away with it (even when I started questioning her)
    -but claims she was NOT bored with monogamy and liked our sex life but wanted to be “dominated”
    -claims it was a sexual act but she wasn’t doing it for a sexual reasons

    Side note: My cheater wife wanted to stay married to me (not be with her 24 year old AP massage therapist), doesn’t want the divorce that I’m currently pushing. Thinks it can all be worked out and she will DEFINATELY not cheat again. Marriage therapist diagnosed her as Borderline Personality Disorder, my therapist said get the hell out and walk away she will definitely cheat again.

    • Yes, reason cheater x gave for continued adultery was, “it felt good.” He told me he thought he deserved the devoted wife and the OW.

      He still believes he’s God’s gift to women. He is not. He has broken the hearts of 3 wives, our 2 daughters, and even his mother. He is so not a gift.

      Cheaters cheat. They lack a boundary there. I cannot count the number of chumps who told me they worked hard to reconcile only to have the cheater be unfaithful again years later. They lack character. It’s who they are.

      • Count me in the ‘only to have the cheater be unfaithful again years later’. I thought I had a unicorn after the first time. Ate that shit sandwich for years and really came to see how entitled and selfish he was. When I found him in an innapropriate relationship with our daughter’s 20-something year old high school sports coach, I felt both relief (almost fucking giddy about it) and sorrow. There was an out for me from the miserable, lop-sided marriage to a fuckwit and sorrow for my kids’ stable homelife (courtesy of me keeping it sane) and the future I imagined.

        I still grieve what I thought I had all while spackling my life normal with a fuckwit. Damn double-edged sword, Never know which way that bitch is swinging some days. But I’m praying she clears a path to meh.

        • I feel that. One day confident and happy at the thought of a better life without cheater wife, the next day low and grieving as my mind goes to the good moments of having a baby and wonderful family moments. It’s rough.

        • Boy, I get this. Sometimes it’s by days, but 5 months out (today) it can still be rapid swings hour to hour….
          Thanks for the validation…it means SO MUCH to know I’m not alone.

      • Another chump for the list – STBX cheated – after 7 years marriage – reconciled only to have him cheat another 2 times. Moved out 4 months ago – I’m soooo angry at myself for believing in him. Only reason he got caught after 26 years marriage was because ow found out he wasn’t being exclusive with her – also had another ho worker -so all came to light at work & I found out as we all work for the same large company…..nice

    • Attention seeking disorder! I’m sure she doesn’t want her youngster….. he doesn’t want her. Cougars are nothing more than a bucket list item. Mine found a 26 year old. She would pay for everything and blow him. Plus anything else he wanted. Long term relationship no. Heard a lot about f the same crap…. it was sexual but not about sex…. ego… etc. no we will never know the full truth, it is worse than one can imagine. Turns out during last few weeks of my fathers life she was attempting to set up some out of town work where she would have stayed with the boy toy! Borderline disordeeed? Hell no total and complete!

      • David, you have hit on something. The more I read online the more I am convinced that we are all so susceptible to tv and movies. Since most of us live from paycheck the fact that fact that people have enough discretionary income to cheat is hard to understand. Bungee jumping, hang gliding, roller coasting, climbing Mount Everest (with sad knowledge that many people die, or live with disfigured faces and fingers), and cheating are adrenaline makers. Boredom is now thought as a disease. I don’t remember the Constitution saying we have the right to get a rush every day. Boredom leads to thinking, and thinking oftentimes leads to new ideas. What shows up on our TVs, facebooks etc. are overhyped lives that are not true. Ads come at us like bullets. Most movies are made to keep us adolescents. We think we are so independent that we are not swayed by any of this. We all are. An immature person is going to eat all that up and find the quickest outlet, usually another cheater. When your spouse had rather hit the pub than be home with you something stinks.
        My ex s-i-l left her husband and children for that “high”. She lived from one crazy life to another. I guess she still does.

        • I think bouncing from thrill to shiny thrill keeps these people from having to navel gaze ever. (Which I consider valuable). They’re so afraid of who they are, and people finding out who they really are, that they hummingbird all over the place trying to prove that they’re so elevated, energetic, exciting and happy. Keeping so many plates in the air keeps them shallow. The other option is those who constantly have drama, the noise that keeps attention on you without any of the hard work or follow-thru or completion. It’s crazy how common this is once you’ve lived it.

      • crazy enough it turned out she told that to a female friend (who apparently wasn’t cool with adultery- lol- which was good for me). She said she had read an article about women in their 40s needing to have sex with a guy in his 20s and so now she could “check it off her sexual bucket list.”

        I’m getting out- only God knows what else is on that list. She’s going to do it no matter what and just lie, lie, lie to me. I prefer to not be dodging STDs in my marriage. She is an unraveling ball of yarn and just want a sane life with a sane woman that wants monogamy.

        • I found she surrounded herself with people of like mind. Cheaters. She had a little support group telling her how wonderful the lifestyle was and how it improved their marriages. I can tell you that during my PI day, I found that there was not just one. She was at minimum talking inappropriately to 8-10 guys at a time. Bar hoping. She became the trashy slut 20 year old she claimed to have missed out as a youth. There is a sickness in her I can’t fix. Once her kids didn’t need her, she went out and exposed her true self!

          • mine too had an adultery cheerleader and coach— a fellow female school counselor. My cheater wife also liked to talk dirty about other men to other women (probably to men as well). In 2011 I told her in marriage counseling I was not ok with that and it hurt me- she said she would stop- turned out she didn’t.

            My daughter still needed her. I would be ate home making dinner and help kiddo out with homework while cheater wife was out cheating. Daughter is getting pretty fed up with her self centeredness as well.

            • 46? Started in 2011? Banging 20 year olds? Did u cut and paste my life? That’s when my life went into a tale spin!

              • If you have an additional event in 2015 of her Facebooking her exboyfriend that she had claimed was a horrible abusive human being while they dated

                and/or

                Started taking anxiety, depression, and sleeping medication in 2006 then we are in the Twilight Zone.

              • Well
                Not quite…. but their is an ex bf. she started fb with in 2011…. that carried thru 2014. He was abusive… drug… alcoholic… narcissist type! In fact his dumping her led to her ego boost via 26 year old. What I learned (tough lesson) is that I was not even a consideration at that time. I was the kid sitter who cooked, cleaned, got them to school…. did homework… while doing full time job…. while she traveled for work. None of what she did was about me! I️ did not matter!

              • What you find out is, there is a FOG! It’s then exhibiting their true selves. And they do not love us! I was fortunate (i guess) to get a lot of information. They told people what the truth is. I never loved him, He was never what I wanted… or l just used him to get out of a bad situation at home. Best thing I read was when there was a chance i was going to be diagnosed with incurable cancer and she told someone when asked about how she was at peace with my potential death!

              • DavidB–that’s horrible that she said she was at peace with your possible death! That’s a strong indicator that you have nothing to work with in terms of morality.

            • I see this often. Thet AP was friends with a bunch of stb divorced or newly divorced women, a few of whom were actively in affairs. (All exposed btw – not by me!)

              It’s like they commiserate and help each other be scumbags.

              Gross.

              • Found some text where they were planning a trip (wink wink) because mine had an opportunity to play. Yes they help each other out. Damn sad how excited they seemed talking to each other about their affairs!

    • Ah, the inconsistency: she wanted to be dominated, but she wasn’t doing it for sexual reasons.

      If she wanted to be dominated, there were open, honest conversations she could have had with you about sex, role playing, trying new things, etc.

      Yes, I’m fully aware that part of wanting to be dominated is that the person doesn’t want to have to request it, as that loses some of the thrill.

      But this is a fucking MARRIAGE!! There are thrills, but some level of novelty is inherently sacrificed, including the novelty of suddenly new and different sex. You’re a unit with another person, and therefore changes to your sex life require communication and evolution, not revolution.

      In any other arena of marriage, if you suddenly dominated her without any discussion or communication about the change, she’d be upset and hurt. But she expects you to do so in the bedroom because…reasons.

      It’s all just rationalizations, Zell. My XW never complained about our sex life. In retrospect, yes, we’d gotten a bit stale. But that’s not why she cheated. As CL says, there was an entire decision tree available to my XW to address this staleness (if she even thought it was a problem—I’ll never know). Instead, she chose to cheat.

      Your wife sounds like she sucks. Keep at that divorce, and good luck to you!

      • Thanks. Surviving. One day at a time. Just need to keep going forward. After almost two decades with someone I am a bit scared, but I know I have to do this. The unknown is better than the known.

    • Your wife sounds very much like my STBXH. I got the “addiction” angle as well, and lots of blameshifting and lying, followed by surprising statements that actually feel true. They show just enough genuine honesty and insight to make us think, “Maybe this time…”

      But it’s ultimately another sign of their selfishness. If they really loved us, really awakened to the damage they’ve done, they would do everything they could to help us exit the marriage gracefully. I had this realization watching Mr. Justification crying when I told him I wanted a divorce (he had, of course, told Schmoopie that our marriage was already functionally over and he wanted to marry her). He sat there, sobbing, saying, “But I don’t want any of this!”

      Still about him and what he wants. Always was. Always will be.

      • YES. Bow out gracefully because how good we are and how crappy they are. But no- she wants to keep it all. Meanwhile I know in the back of her head she’s already contemplating her “dating” options. She’s not good at taking care of herself though. Both therapists that I’ve seen have told me she will eventually collapse.

    • She is full of shit. None of that made her cheat, or drove her to it. I was not especially satisfied with my sex life and spent years attempting to talk to my ex about it. I assumed that if I was bored, he probably was too, and I worked hard to try to resolve it openly and cooperatively. He mostly ignored me, told me he was perfectly happy with things the way they were, and blew me off when I told him I wasn’t.

      Early on in our relationship I met someone with whom I would have been more compatible in the bedroom, and I was presented with the same choice as your wife: should I cheat to have these particular needs met? I really thought about it, and made a resolute decision that my relationship and my ex’s wellbeing were far more important to me, and I said no. Instead of investing outside the relationship, I decided to work harder on communicating my needs to my ex. (Of course that went nowhere, but I don’t regret my choice because integrity matters.) My ex, on the other hand, both ignored my needs and looked elsewhere to meet the needs that he flat out refused to communicate to me whenever I asked. That kind of person does not make a good spouse.

      Your wife had a choice to work on meeting her needs inside the marriage or outside of it. But really, it wasn’t about that, as today’s post explains. Those are just the excuses that she thinks you’ll find excusable with enough pleading. The bottom line is that she felt entitled to hurt you for fun, and she did.

    • Running from disorder like BPD is saving yourself further years of pain. Ask some of us how we know, yes some disordered people do not to want their faithful chump appliance to stop, cue promises, excessive declarations and promises. But they certainly are capable of moving on fast. I guess it is consistent with them not being that invested, and their lack of character that let them to feel entitled to cheat.

      • I know. Despite everything though, I know It’s going to be rough seeing her move along to some other guy quickly. My therapist told me to prepare myself.

        • Keep it in perspective. She has already moved on to another guy. In my case it was multiple. Can’t really get any worse!

  • Isn’t it strange how if monogamy is so unnatural most cheaters seem to expect it from their partners? Course one set of rules for them and quite another expected of their husbands/wives. Whole time my ex was cheating with anyone who would give him 5 minutes of attention he was accusing me and acting like a jealous, possessive monster.

    CL has it bang on point yet again. Its the high they get from deception. It certainly was in his case. As a newly wed he couldn’t have had more love, attention or sex from me, and recalling duper’s delight grin he had across his face when seeing my trust I realise just how much whole thing was a turn on. I don’t think it was even really about sex with him as OW I did later know of were mostly cheap, rough types most men would be embarrassed by. The need to have control and feel superior was certainly his driving force. So messed up.

  • don’t knock on records, they have helped me immensely during this time, not to mention i have been able to triple my business selling them since we split…

  • and we wonder about the affair partner, right?
    How can they know they have a cheater and think that that monogamy thing ends ang better for them?
    They are either:
    1. Also a cheater and cut from the same cloth, so no surprises there.
    2. Convinced that it’s not monogamy that was the issue but a substandard spouse.
    “His wife was awful. With the right partner he/she will be faithful…monogamous…..nothing to worry about, cause I’m special enough to keep my man!”
    Till you aren’t.

  • And, in my experience with cheaters, they never once realize that they don’t like monogamy until AFTER they’ve (at least) begun to cheat … but, more often than not, it’s AFTER being busted.

    More often than not, I think the “polyamorous” excuse is just a pathetic attempt to cover their asses (not look like such an asshole), and — given the insane level of entitlement — I have no doubt that many of them hope to convince the spouse-appliance to allow them to continue both the marriage and their side-fun.

    A decent human who has a revelation that will impact the lives of the people he (or she) has committed themselves to …. would:
    1. Have the revelation
    2. Would NOT act unilaterally — destroying his commitment to and lives of his family behind their backs.
    3. Would discuss the revelation with his spouse — allowing her to express concern, ask questions, and make her own choices given that he is having to “take back” his original commitment.
    4. Together, but as individuals, the couple would make decisions for themselves and their family.
    5. If the decision is to divorce, then he would own that he alone changed the terms of the agreement and be willing to help his family emotionally and financially through the rough road ahead.

    Then he could go off into the polyamorous sunset with a clean conscience — human decency still intact.

    But that is not how the disordered roll. They do the exact opposite of what human decency would require. And they do it repeatedly.

    • When I cared, I asked myself what would have happened if X had just been honest and told me about his attraction to crazy AP. What a difference that could have made (had he been a normal human being). But instead, as CL explains, he loved the high, the power of knowing he had pulled something over on me. X was no sex machine and I have always felt the affair was about ego, ego, ego, in other words, kibbles. He’s not enjoying that dry dog food much anymore, especially since he is no longer eating the delicious meals I routinely prepared for him.

      • >>”What a difference that could have made (had he been a normal human being).”

        Heavens, yes. This is the deepest wound for me after the hurt to my kids — the fact that he stole my freedom to choose how to live my life. For decades. All because he refused to act with the most basic of human decency.

    • ^^^What JesssMom said….I was about to post the same. If they’re so against monogamy why did THEY choose to marry?
      BossHogg threw a bunch of innerchild psychobabble at me as if that would erase his 3-year “EA” (3d in marriage, 4th since we moved in, THAT I KNOW OF). I asked him if figuring out his father issues was his pickup line for Daisy Duke, now that’s a real turn-on, isn’t it?
      They conveniently float theories after being caught, but they do it bc the WANT TO and there is a higher adernaline/hormone higb when it’s hidden and lies are required. It’s simply ABUSE. And they get off on EVERY aspect of it (kibbles kibbles kibbles!):
      the planning,
      the texts messages,
      the acts themselves,
      the euphoric recall,
      the trophies or gifts they hide & stroke, the fantasy,
      the fear of being caught,
      the relief when they get away with it,
      the chance encounters when Schmoopie & loyal chump are in the same place,
      the visible signs of the hurt they cause (scars! I’ve destroyed you! I’m so powerful!)
      …the CENTRALITY. They may not ne much, but they are ALL they ever think about!
      Those monogamy busters are either cheaters, dishonest people seeking legit-appearing loopholes, or pandering to them for profit.
      Fuck cheaters.
      Fuck apologists.
      Long live FREE chumps!

      Loved this, CL!

      • Yes this! Perfect list… Can’t forget:
        -The excitement of someone new
        -Making chumps feel like crap and calling them crazy and insecure for questioning them
        -Trying to figure out how the chump is getting their information
        -Trying to dot all i’s and cross all t’s before an encounter
        -Laying low when they think the heat is on (waiting out the chump)
        -Saying things to throw chumps off the trail… (my cheater would simply agree with everything I said and adopt my philosophy on cheating that way he wouldn’t be questioned further. (watch how cheaters continue to revise the playbook, so chumps have to learn to stay quiet, pay attention, listen and watch actions)
        I could go on and on……………………………

    • My favorite poly story……. a first responder got bored so he cheated a little but decided he and the little woman could have a wonderful time swinging. She very reluctantly went along. Another man, whose wife wanted the lifestyle, went along as well. Something interesting happened. The two found each, turned their backs on their swingers ang got married! Big time Karma!
      I don’t know these people but I know their relative and she was gleeful that two Chumps found each other. This is why I seldom suspect trolls on here. There are too many real stories just like this one.

    • Does anyone know some one who has done this? All the people I know directly that are divorced is as a direct result of cheating.

      • In the case of my ex I think he sort of tried, but it was too little too late. He did eventually tell me we needed marriage counseling after he had already been cheating on me for months (unbeknownst to me. I was thrilled because I thought it meant he cared about us and we would have a chance to fix what was wrong). Then after a few sessions he realized that he wasn’t willing to give up Schmoopie 2.0. He realized that if he did, he would probably always wonder what if and would likely cheat again and that wouldn’t be fair to me so he moved out. Of course he still didn’t file for divorce because that would be work. I eventually had to do that myself. When I did, he didn’t fight it and was fair in the marital agreement, but I had to do all of the work gathering documents, etc. It is like he is sort of trying to do the right thing as long as he doesn’t have to show any humility or expend too much energy to do it. He still doesn’t want to admit that he behaved in a selfish and cowardly way when he made the decision to stray in the first place. He won’t admit that whatever unhappiness he was feeling at that time didn’t justify what he did. He is being the least assholish he can be under the circumstances, but somehow that doesn’t really make me feel better. He stopped being an asshole, but never really made amends for having been one in the first place and won’t just admit that he was wrong.

        • Of course somewhere it there he did make a play for the whole “open marriage” concept but not until we had already been in an open marriage for months and I finally knew about it. I said no.

    • It is kind of like the baby doesn’t know he doesn’t like peas and applesauce until he tries ice cream. The difference is the cheater should understand why you don’t try polyamorous relationships after you have committed to a monogamous relationship but they don’t because they have the same restraint as the baby.

  • I find their viewpoint to be arrogant. They look down on you as tho they have love all figured out. And there’s a spud-entendus shaming going on about having jealous feelings. They’re somehow above all that.

    • Yes, they are trying to teach you something about how life really is, you naive, frail creature! Meanwhile, they love that you are jealous!

  • I remember when trying to ask “why” to my STBX narc..he said “A lot of people go out with married people”. Then I knew who I had been living with for 34 years.

    An evil, cold, selfish monster who never loved or respected me.

    I’ll never forget the pain I felt. But kicking him out & divorcing his cheating ass made me feel strong.

    Should have done it sooner…👍🏻

  • My first house had a “shag-carpeted, sunken living room.” It was actually a nice place to entertain. I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing with it!

  • Those who admire the bonobo lifestyle should go live with bonobos.

    Funny how these “evolved” belief systems look to the caveman and/or primate lifestyle for guidance and example. Because cavemen and bonobos are the epitome of evolution.

    Just admit its about your entitlement of getting your rocks off with as many partners as possible, as many times as possible before yoy die already! Admit a 15 second orgasm is completely in charge of all your happiness and choices. You’re making the bonobos look bad.

  • My ex’s marriage before me ended because she had an affair. He always lamented that he felt robbed of 10 years of his life. Then I discover 11 years into our relationship that he’s been seeing prostitutes and using porn since we started dating. Empathy challenged? Check.

    He only cheated with sex trade workers and liked young vulnerable prostitutes, particularly in foreign countries. False sense of control and power? Check.

    Wrote all about the sexual services he had purchased on escort review boards and kept lists: women he had seen and how many times, a TDL and a TDAL. Narcissism? Check.

    Smiled when he said I had more past sexual partners than him. Duper’s delight? Check.

    On the surface, he’s a sensitive, kind and accomplished man, but at his core, he is insecure, depraved and entitled and sadly, I don’t see that ever changing for him.

    • Oh my gosh, did we marry the same guy? Because – exact same thing except his sex workers were in another state instead of another country. Even let me think I had been the ‘wild one’ while he was sexually inexperienced.

      He didn’t have an ex-wife, but was Mr. Nice Guy. So sweet, so loving, so kind, and so innocent. Except, he was really a porn addicted liar who got off on having sex workers on their knees to please him – even when he couldn’t get it up for sex with his own wife.

      They say women like bad boys. Nope, not at all. It is just that some bad boys absolutely know how to personify the good guy image.

      Even after his pathetic ‘confession’ to his parents to maintain his image, he still came out looking like the good guy.

      • I was wondering the same thing: did we marry the same guy? And then I remembered they are all soulless clones. So yeah. We did.
        His scorecard:
        Lack of empathy? check.
        Porn addict? check.
        Screwed around with sex trade workers? check.
        Currently living with his most recent stripper gf? check
        Kept disturbing 1000+ line spreadsheet of personal details of porn stars? check
        My scorecard:
        Happier without him? Check
        Better off emotionally, mentally, financially and physically without him? Check
        At meh? CHECK!!

        • OMG THIS!!! but with a few extras
          I was wondering the same thing: did we marry the same guy? And then I remembered they are all soulless clones. So yeah. We did.
          His scorecard:
          Lack of empathy? check.
          Porn addict? check.
          Porn was real to him? check
          Hooker/Massage Parlor addict with barely legal girls? check.
          Multiple stashes of porn with his ratings written on the DVD’s-great, good, bad, etc? check.

          My scorecard:
          Happier without him? Big Check
          Better off emotionally, mentally, financially and physically without him? Big Check
          At meh? Big CHECK!!

      • I married a sweet good guy. Had me fooled for a long time. Was he always this way and hid it or do they become crazy later?

        • That’s the million dollar question Spoonriver, and I don’t have an answer based on hard data for you, but in my opinion, they were always like this but hid it. I thought I married a good guy too. We were friends before we dated, we dated for a long time (5 years dating, 2 years engaged) and were married for 25 years. Was he always so lacking in empathy that he could cheat on me, risk my health and possibly my life and steal from his kids to support his porn and stripper habit? Did not just me but my entire family miss some warning signs? Quite possibly. I trusted him completely until it was clear that I couldn’t. My feeling is, just like you can’t grow a conscience, you can’t lose one either. You either have one or you don’t. You either have empathy or you don’t. And if you lack those things, the only thing that makes you toe the line is fear of consequences. In my ex’s case, I think he wanted a wife (wife appliance) and kids because it suited the image he wanted to project but when it became clear how much I trusted him, he felt entitled to take whatever he wanted outside the marriage simply because he felt entitled to “treat himself” for being a good provider. Eventually he got lazy and let the “good guy” mask slip and that’s when DDay #1 happened. One thing I realized after I was out of the marriage was how much emotional abuse had been going on throughout our entire relationship. The “good guy” never yelled, never called me names, certainly never hit me, but there was a subtle but systematic tearing down of my self worth that started when we started dating and didn’t end until the marriage did. I’m hoping I have enough years left (I’m 55) to overcome the effects of that abuse but it’s been and continues to be a battle.

          • Oh my gosh, this so much!

            My ‘good guy’ also seemed so sweet, so nice, so soft spoken. Well, why did I always feel subconscious about my weight? Even when I was below a healthy weight? Because he would take subtle digs that didn’t ‘sound’ bad. Little things that would mess with my head because they weren’t exactly a put down, but could be taken more than one way.

            I would sit there genuinely confused as to how our bank account could be low when we both made good money. Maybe “I” was spending unconsciously. There wasn’t a crazy paper trail and no big new shiny toys came in the house. Did I indulge the kids too much? Nope, Mr. Nice Guy had a secret credit card to pay for porn and private chat sessions with webcam girls.

            Our credit card gets stolen. Hmmm? Where did that come from? I am sitting there feeling guilty, like maybe the new gas station I went to was shady. Nope, he used it to put up a profile on a hook up website. That ‘strange’ charge wasn’t someone hacking our card – he freaking did it!

            My ‘prude’ husband was sending dick pictures to women while we were on vacation. I had ZERO clue. I still sit back wondering how someone can have such distinctly different personalities. This man who had the same boring sex routine whenever he could manage to get it up was doing private cam-to-cam sessions on our children’s computer! Then when one of the kids’ stumbles onto a porn site accidentally – ‘we’ are both shocked and have to sit down. The kid didn’t stumble unto the site, Little Dick left it open! And absolutely let his own kid take the fall.

            But, I have gone over and over and over in my mind and I still cannot think of one clue I got the would have revealed how sick he was. Even today he can make himself look like the victim in all of this. The ‘good guys’ are much scary than the outright people.

            • CBO, maybe we actually were married to the same guy – little dick + same boring sex pattern every freaking Saturday night?! They sound identical. 😂 You’re also right about the seemingly good guys being much more scary than the outright bad people. If I ever get involved with someone again, it’s going to take a good long while for me to believe that goodness isn’t a mirage.

        • Spoonriver,

          I also married a “good guy”. He was the sweet guy that everyone loved. I’d always marvel that he never had enemies or complained about co-workers or family (I mean, come on. Everyone works with someone that they don’t like to an extent). Come to think of it, he didn’t have any deep friendships either.

          I don’t think they’re sweet as much as they are void. I think (at least in my situation) that I projected good values onto an blank canvas/mask. It’s easy to not have enemies if you never talk or express opinions. I assumed he was a good guy. He never said anything that made me think contrary. But his actions were what I missed. He never defended or protected our marriage or me. His boundaries were shit (especially with XMIL – who was emotionally abusive to me and then with his psychotic whore). He was lazy and content to allow me to do the heavy lifting in our marriage.

          In the end, he just “appeared” to be the nice guy. He really wasn’t/isn’t. He is much better off with his twin flame, evil OW. They are kindred spirits, no spousal projection needed there. He can finally be himself.

          • NK4U, “His boundaries were shit (especially with XMIL – who was emotionally abusive to me and then with his psychotic whore).” Yep, I had one of those emotionally abusive XMILs too. I was never good enough. Didn’t dress nice enough, didn’t wear enough makeup, didn’t raise her grandchildren properly, was too charitable, etc., etc. And then I divorced her precious only child and he took up with his stripper gf who definitely wears enough makeup but is completely substandard by every other marker my XMIL has. She’s very into her own social standing and image so her 54 year old son having a stripper gf and being cut off by his kids doesn’t play well. My kids tell me that Yiayia (Greek for grandma) has finally realized I was a pretty great member of her family afterall. Too bad I have no fucks to give her or her son. 😀

        • I married a sweet, good guy too… so I thought. We never argued. What I found out was that he was always a dog… Essentially, he was passive-aggressive and his way of releasing his anger, besides feeling that I wasn’t the boss of him, was to cheat. I was totally blindsided, but of course, thinking he was a reasonable person, I had many Ddays before I finally said ENOUGH. I will NEVER AGAIN try to convince anyone to not cheat on me again. Once they cheat, they never change. Just exit stage left and let them deal with consequences. And boy did he not like those! Didn’t want a divorce, just wanted to keep f-cking around.

    • Was it your ex that told you his first marriage ended because his ex had an affair? Or do you have that info from a more reliable source?

  • Ah, the thrill of being dishonest.

    Kunty Kibbler asked for an open marriage. She got it, with conditions. When that turned out to not be the thrill she assumed it would be, she went underground with the Carrot Singer . . . because there’s no thrill in “bad” behavior with “permission.”

    The fact that Rider of the Purple Dildo was still married (they showed up together at my story slam events, for crissakes!) while carrying on with KK tells me that she found a degree of thrill in being the OW as well.

    While forced to share the same house for 10 months while the divorce played out, KK would have phone conversations with RPD in which she would wax poetic about thrill of her new “life of crime” with him — apparently several instances of “chew and screw” and the like.

    Pathetic.

    You know what gives me a thrill? Genuine gratitude for small gestures. Watching my daughters exhibit sincerely empathetic behavior. Reading stories of chump mightiness on this blog. Not catering to KK’s petty demands or caving to her abusive words and actions. Being a man my dad would be proud of.

    • So basically stealing? Another hallmark of the entitled. My ex would steal steak knives from restaurants. When he surprised us (sometimes our children were present)with his wares in the car, I’d be called every name under the sun for showing the slightest hint of disapproval. I was no fun I guess.

      • My ex also enjoyed stealing. A bit of a problem for a law enforcement officer, and it cost him a job once when he had to undergo a lie detector test as part of his interview. That always bothered me, but I spackled. It was a big red flag I should have paid attention to.

  • It has never, ever been hard for me to be monogamous. Even when my cheater was being unloving and emotionally/physically unavailable (because porn is apparently exhausting), I still never even considered not being faithful.
    Monogamy felt so liberating, so wonderful, so freeing. There was no pressure to pretend to be something you weren’t. I enjoyed finding new ways to love a person I had known for so long. I enjoyed the comfort of laying in the bed with this man – the one I had built a family with. I knew, no matter how difficult the road got, there was no place I would rather be for the rest of my life.
    When I was a little girl, not once did I fantasize about waking up in the bed next to different men every night. That was not what I ever desired for my life. My dream was always loving, living, and growing old with the same man.
    The beauty of monogamy was that you were going to go through life together – take on the world together. No matter how tough things got out there in life, you had someone to hold hands with and take on any of life’s challenges together.
    It was the challenge and pleasure of turning on the same man for years to come. Wanting to giggle about doing a nice strip tease a decade or two or three or five into the marriage. It was the cosmic euphoria of knowing that out of all the billions of people on the planet – you two chose each other and were going to make your mark on the world together.
    There was a sense of peace that could only come for a safe, secure, and exclusive relationship. It was looking someone in the eyes and thinking, “I am his and he is mine and we get to live this life together.” It is thinking about adventures to have and goals to accomplish, funny little secret jokes, making memories, being each others rock.

    I never understood the concept of monogamy being ‘tough’ or ‘boring’. For me, it was the complete opposite. Even after d-day, the thought of revenge cheating never even entered my mind. I will never understand and I won’t even try to understand what could be good or fun about being a grown ass adult, with kids, trying to get f*ck buddies. I can never understand wanting sex that needs a condom when you are married and can have all the SAFE sex you want because you have been faithful to each other. I will never understand how my husband found pleasure having a prostitute give him a blow job. Like, dude – how many different people has this women sucked off before? How could you relax knowing she could have just sucked off some flea infested, roach licking, non-bathing weirdo thirty minutes earlier – without brushing her teeth, as long as he paid the same price you just did. How he found that more romantic than the marriage bed is beyond me.

    The truth is, I will probably never find love again, but that is okay. I might be hurt, angry, even bitter – but I am still going to teach my kids that love is real and monogamy is best and doing the right thing is still better than doing the wrong thing. I may be having a lonely existence right now, but it is still better than lowering myself the way little dick f*ck boy did.

    • Cool Breeze,
      I felt the same freedom in my monogamous marriage. I felt I could be myself and we had chosen each other above all others, and we “meshed”. In small, romantic, silly ways. We made a life together, and I found comfort in knowing that we had all the time in the world to find out new things about each other. I was very aware we were different people, separate, and I liked that. I was an independent woman in my 20’s and didn’t marry until age 30. I come from a strong line of free-thinking women. But I made the mistake of relaxing, giving unconditional love, and taking his commitment for granted. But don’t we all do that in good marriages? Let our guards down?

    • Coolbreezeout, thank you for writing this, it is a beautiful description of the way marriage should be (and how I thought mine was, for a few years). It’s the goal and why so many people do remarry, even after chumpy disaster. Happy marriages are a reality.

      But it also explains the depth of our grief, and why “just cheating” is NEVER just a dismissive, glibly forgivable “oops” or “mistake” or a “slip” or…UGH…an “accident”. We grieve the death of a UNIT…often with young humans who count on us for leadership & character, who often have to witness their parent reel with grief and sho.
      ~ We grieve the loss of ALL the memories prior to Dday, since we will never know the extent of their deceit.
      ~ We grieve the loss of the dearly held ILLUSION of a “best friend” or partner [the person we would most likely turn to to help us to heal from very the wounds they just inflicted on us!].
      ~ We grieve as we take down the family portraits with the dipshit grins & kids’ funny haircuts or missing front teeth.
      ~ We grieve as we try to ferret out details that we hope will comfort us, more often to find just thicker shit sandwiches of clues to the scope of their betrsyal.
      ~ We grieve the social ties lost in the rubble, and discovering that many friends…just aren’t.
      ~ We grieve the loss of the dreams we had for the future and in anticipation of the pall cast over evety family milestone: divided holidays & grandbabies, awkward weddings, tense moments when family unity is normally a balm in hardships.
      I coukd go on, but you get me. That’s wjy I’m here. Y’all saved my life.

      • That was beautiful CBO.
        That was exactly the kind of marriage I always wanted but now that it’s over with the ex, I know I never had that with him.
        I still believe that monogamy/marriage could be amazing with the right partner, I just chose poorly the first time around.
        My ex never completely accepted me for who I was & couldn’t change me into what he wanted.
        I still think I have a lot to offer the right person someday although I am focused on my son first & foremost.

    • Cool Breeze, I couldn’t have said it any better. Everything you said, I looked forward to also and thought that is what I had. I loved what I thought was the “exclusiveness” of us. Today is my 39th wedding anniversary to my STBX. I was absolutely and totally faithful to him since the day I met him. He has already found my replacement. Hope the replacement model is ok with his affinity for strippers.

  • EXACTLY! Hey, if you and your partner went into a “mutual” polyamorous agreement, great, everyone is getting what they want, no-one is having their reality denied, and aware of the sexual risk they are taking in the relationship. There is open discussion about boundaries, and mutually agreed upon rules – hopefully both are abiding by them! But the kicker is, there are people who live this lifestyle that also feel betrayed.

    Betrayal is about leading someone to believe you are in agreement with the rules of the relationship, and knowingly breaking the rules without any discussion or consideration of your partner. Betrayal isn’t exclusive to romantic relationships, it exists in any relationship where there is an agreement between the parties.

    By virtue of living in society, there are basic assumptions about self and other, act and rule, reason and emotion, absolute and relative, universal and particular. Just because there is no verbal agreement does not mean that we are to assume there isn’t one. Every time I approach a green light, it is my assumption that the person who has the red light is in agreement that they will stop, and I can safely proceed through the green light. Even if I never made a verbal agreement with that person, the assumption is they will follow that rule. Assumptions are often used as justification for betrayal. “Hey, you assumed I would be monogamous, but I never actually said I was committed to monogamy, your assumptions are not my problem.”

    Part of the assumptions of ethical behavior is to assume
    We will be other-regarding (take the welfare of others into account)
    We will have good intentions in all acts that affect others
    We will never treat others as means to an end, but ends in themselves
    We will seek ways to promote the “good society” and the “good life”
    We will “do no harm”

    Trying to explain ethical behavior to a cheater is like hitting a dead horse over the head; debating the importance of communication, agreements, and assumptions is a moot point. As CL says, what it all comes down to is entitlement. Cheaters think they are entitled to the freedom from the responsibility of considering others … It’s all about them! If they don’t understand it’s not all about them by this point in life…well, you know the old saying goes, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

  • It took me a long time to realize all the accomplishments I made, the way I handled things (life) didn’t make Cheaterturd admire or love me more. It made him despise me and the only way his lazy ass could figure out how to feel superior to me was to lie and deceive and make me feel crazy. It made hm finally feel like he was better than me because wasn’t he clever to be able to do what he did. Sad to think the more sane approach would have been to find his own success in a career, contribute equally to our marriage (vs floating from job to job, watching porn all day, video gaming and endless Southpark episode watching) but no, way more fun to gaslight me and take out all his passive aggressive rage by cheating on me. He did get high from it and liked that high. Monogamy wasn’t the problem, his ego and lack of personal drive was.

  • This is Mr. Sparkles to a T.

    He rolls from marriage to marriage, relationship to relationship… not to be monogamous, but to retain that “cheater’s high”. Plain and simple. Entitlement is his heroin. He has no intention of being monogamous or openly polyamorous. He has EVERY intention of lying, misleading, manipulating, to anyone who loves him.

    So grateful to God, CL and CN that I am away from that… mostly NC (we share kids) and black belt in grey rock.

  • Oh the red flags you are uncovering for me today. My Stbx always would frequently comment on men being pussy whipped or gown bound from the beginning in a way that labeled these men as weak. Just an open window into his misogynic, narcissistic self that I missed along the way. It is just another one of those things if confronted, he would say “I was just joking.” Well haha, that is some covert gas lighting.

    If I want to psychoanalyse, I am believing more and more that his issues come from his controlling, passive aggressive mother whom he could never win her love and approval because she is a cold bitch.

    I also think there is an Oedipus complex at play because he said to me many times over the years that one of his friend’s mom was the “hot mom” in elementary school. She was only 16 when he was born so she was young. STBX’s mom was only 5 years older though but she would doubtfully ever fall into the “hot” category. Anyway, thinking about this now, I cannot ever recall thinking of any of my friends dad’s in this way. Maybe I am wrong, I know some kids have crushes on teachers but I still think it is a little off that he seemed to fixate on her and so many years later.

  • One of the things that sets us apart from animals is our self-awareness, our understanding of right and wrong and our ability to rise above our instincts and live in a civilized society. Selfishness and entitlement pull us backwards to our animal roots, empathy and caring for others move us forward to a more evolved state.

  • Let’s hear it for monogamy. We’re fed the cheap story that the world of cheating, lies and STDs is somehow more sexually vibrant and fulfilling than the security of love and fidelity. But it isn’t. Monogamy is exciting and passionate. Yes, it is a profoundly sexy state. It is catching the eye of your gorgeous man or woman across a crowded room and knowing that whoever he/she might be talking to and however hard that other person is trying to sparkle and entice, your one-and-only is going home with you – and is thrilled to do so. It is being able to think ‘that’s my man’, or ‘that’s my woman’. It’s thinking ‘I know that body like my own – and no one else has access to it’. It’s reading ‘The Song of Songs’ and crying at the beauty and sensuality of it, the celebration of the marriage of two bodies. It’s the layers of love and shared experience that make the trust, self-abandon and vulnerability possible that lead to passionate sex. Now, we can all weep knowing what we lost with our uncaring partners, but at least these self-absorbed losers should recognise that with all their ‘self-realisation’ and ‘self-seeking’, there’s something that they can’t have, that they simply can’t understand and will never experience and remains forever beyond their reach – the sheer sexual joy of monogamy.

    • This is beautiful defeated chump! losers should recognize- keyword should but they won’t as they write their stories to suit themselves.

  • I don’t think all cheaters get a thrill out of chumping the chumps. In ex’s case it actually caused him a lot of stress trying to live a double life. He certainly had the entitlement thing going. He had this notion that he was always the one doing things for others and nobody ever did anything for him (not true) and so he was entitled to do something for himself for once in his life. He was also curious. He hadn’t had much experience with other women before me and he seemed to think he had missed out on something very important by not having had the chance to “sow his wild oats” in his younger years before settling down to monogamy. He couldn’t stand to have missed out on something other men got so he decided to do it at 46 instead of 16.

    It didn’t work out so well for him. He couldn’t handle more than one woman at a time and the secrecy did not do good things for him. It made him depressed, angry and physically ill. In the end he chose to return to monogamy. What I struggle with is that he chose to leave monogamy with me (his faithful wife of 20+ years who gave him so much support and put up with his crap) and be monogamous with a selfish self-centered nitwit slut instead.

    • Your ex fuckwit sounds somehwhat similar to mine CIR. That’s why I had a really hard time seeing my cheater like these other cheaters initially when I found CL. I finally realized with my ex though, he had been the victim his whole life–always. Through several bosses, with his family, with his hobby, with his friends–I would constantly hear about how no one appreciates him and no one listens to him, everyone else sucks because of x, y, z. He was a miserable middle-aged man. He would bore easily and constantly needed attention and a new challenge, but not with work.

      I didn’t see it with the first time he chumped me. The second time he chumped me many years later, I realized he is always the victim and never understood and that included by me in his mind. He was pouring his soul out to some 20-something year old girl about how miserable it was to be him. Although he’s sure does like his porn, he’s not a horn-dog out trying to screw everything that walks by. He needs a connection for that. Hope that young twit is everything you thought she’d be you nasty ole fucker.

      • And to clarify, my ex is not a better kind of cheater. He’s a cheater. Self centered. Entitled. Probably a Cluster B, vulnerable narc? No matter. The end result is the same.

    • I think in these cases, where the ex marries the OW and “seems” to be committed and marries, it about sunken costs. He’s all in, made tons of decisions to be in an affair. I look at it like a tipping scale. Wife? OW? At some point, I think cheaters think they’ve either 1) invested too much into the affair to back out and keep it quiet and their reputations intact, or 2) they’ve gone down the wrong road so far that they know that it will never work out with their wives, so they ” settle” for the OW but pretend it’s what they wanted the whole time.

      I just made myself sick even trying to think like a cheater. My head is burning, literally. Some days I ruminate for hours, untangling the skein, and I’m crazy and sad. Other days I’m like…. who cares what they think, why they did what they did, and what are they going to do now? The bottom line is that it’s sinful and no excuse can cover it.

      I agree that there is no logical reason that your husband would choose a bj from a prostitute over a loving wife. I think it’s living on the edge at best, and very self destructive at the worst. It’s like walking on a tightrope over the Grand Canyon. Maybe it looks edgy, freeing, brave on the one hand – but it’s also a death wish, or willing to risk death for a weird thrill. And not caring that your death would devastate your wife and kids but you still walk out on that rope. It’s just my opinion, but someone who would do that is either addicted to the thrill and needs drama to feel alive, or is tempting God, or is just crazy. In either scenario – you on the edge of the canyon are the SANE one. Doesn’t mean you aren’t fun, adventurous and interesting – it just means you aren’t willing to kill yourself for a strange, disordered thrill.

      • So true CreativeLifer – we go mad trying to work out WHY? and there is no answer. I’ve realised that some men like promiscuous women. It may be that they feel they don’t have to be responsible for these women’s emotions (as they have sex without connection);it may be they get a thrill from doing it with a woman that other men (maybe more powerful men) have had, almost a homo-erotic thing; it may be simply that it’s just available on a plate. But even so, how can they find that tepid bacterial soup inviting? Bleugh. And you’re right – a faithful partner is the one that is ‘fun, adventurous and interesting’.

      • I think that first paragraph actually sums it up pretty well. He doesn’t feel that he could ever do right by me again so easier to try and make it work with Schmoopie. Although he may have hurt her poor wittle feelings by attempting to reconcile with me and not divorcing me fast enough, he has never really done anything he truly has to live down with her. He has with me, and he would always feel lesser in our relationship because of it. He would have to humble himself and he isn’t capable of that.

    • So much the same! I got the same excuses: I didn’t have enough time to sow my wild oats, he was always doing stuff for others and wanted to put himself first for once (SOOO not true) and wanted some time alone to “find his own identity” after 26 years of being married. That identity included a unilateral decision to cheat and then want his cake by demanding I become polyamory and going on an 18 month angry, vindictive rant because I filed for divorce. Apparently he wanted to come and go with no consequences for his choices and for once in our marriage, I said NO. So entitled, not caring that his D-day confession almost killed me. All about him all the time. He’s the victim – he’s not very happy right now. A 55 year old Peter Pan lost boy who doesn’t know how to say I’m sorry, I screwed up. He’s an angry little man who sends random I’m sorry emails along with how dare you do this to me emails. No contact no contact no contact for my own sanity.

  • Lying is the problem.

    “So, yeah….I’m not going to take that late shift at work, I’m actually going to f*** my coworker tonight, after I’ve paid for dinner with our marital funds. Will probably f*** her in her car, and then again in her apartment.”

    That wouldn’t go over so well? You don’t say. Don’t be a wuss. Tell the truth.

    Like CL says: Go, be free. Own up to what you want. Be single or find someone who wants an open marriage.

  • “Maybe you think my husband is pussy-whipped because he’s faithful. If you do, please tell him that to his face — he’s a pick-up truck driving, “law and order liberal,” Texas trial lawyer who owns a gun.” This made me laugh. And also wish I could order a similar model from a catalog – replace Texas with Ohio but otherwise “I’ll have what she’s having.” 😀

  • “Your Darwinian urges are no excuse for behaving unethically.” This drives me nuts. Not only because it is used to excuse unethical behavior but because it inaccurately characterizes science.

    Evolution does not judge. Science and biology do not judge. They describe and explain. Darwinian imperatives for rape, racism, and a host of horrific human behaviors have been made and the scientists were unfairly maligned for implicitly advocating it merely because they explored it objectively.

    Just because something is natural does not make it ethical. Poisonous mushrooms are wonderfully natural. They are not recommend as a tasty side dish.

    We fight “natural” urges all the time because those urges are unethical. Yes, we are close cousins of the bonobos, but so what? As a highly evolved shaved ape, I choose to exercise free will and behave according to the laws of man, not the mindless dictates of nature—at least when it comes to hurting people.

  • “Cheating is about the thrill of being dishonest”.

    After D-day, my (wonderful, sweet, beautiful, widowed) Mom revealed to me that she had once come by my house to drop something off, and the kids and I were out. My then-husband came to the door and made small talk. When it was time to go, my Mom thought he was about to hug her and give her a kiss on the cheek. Instead, he kissed her on the mouth and FORCED HIS TONGUE IN MY MOTHER’S MOUTH. She was shocked and horrified and ran off!

    I was near the end of my pregnancy with our 3rd child, and my Mom knew he would deny what he did and call her a liar. My Mom knew that I would be put in the difficult position of choosing to believe either my Husband or my Mother and knowing one of them was lying to me (all while vastly pregnant).

    My Mom stopped coming to my home, and I never knew why. My Mom started out very diplomatically calling my husband out on his BS bad behavior, and laying the groundwork to help me be mighty when D-day did come (before I found CL and CN).

    After D-Day, when she finally revealed to me what he had done to her a few years earlier, I felt so bad for her. My family was very supportive of me during the divorce process, and I feel so fortunate to have their unconditional love and support.

    And by the way, my cheater ex-husband does deny the incident with my Mom ever happened. I believe my Mom completely and feel so badly my abusive ex-husband forced her into such a terrible position.

    • Oh dear God, that’s revolting. Your poor mom. How brave she was to keep that to herself until the time was right to help and support you getting out of the marriage. It’s so nice to hear about a great support system like you have!

  • The argument for monomgamy:

    I love monogamy because of the thought of absolute loyalty. The two of us against the difficulties of the world. Hand in hand. Working together. A mated pair. Being there for each other when we are down and being there together to enjoy the successes. Someone to snuggle up against and feel warm and content and happy and safe. Someone to trust. Someone to count on. Someone to laugh with- even if you are the only two that get the joke. Someone to have fun with and have simple adventures. Partners dealing with the good and the bad, the happy and the sad that is life.

    • Zell,

      Thank you for voicing many of my thoughts. I am heavily grieving the loss of my lying, emotionally unavailable (to me) ex-boyfriend. I miss the ‘good’ parts of him, the good parts of our relationship, what I wrongly thought were the good parts of him and our relationship. I feel sad that at 51 I will very likely never again experience a happy long-term romantic relationship, but he will most likely blissfully ride off into the sunset with my replacement.

      I also feel guilty for inadvertently driving him away by crying on his shoulder about problems he did not cause (abuse by my ex-husband, job challenges). (I wasn’t ‘fun’ enough, for my boyfriend to stick around instead of looking for other ‘opportunities.’ He left me twice.) I apologized and tried to be/look upbeat, but I still could not save the relationship. Probably wouldn’t have been able to no matter how perfect I was, but I’ll never know.

      • RSW–let’s even assume you got into a relationship too soon as your divorce was happening, and thus were less upbeat than you might have been. That does not justify ex-BF’s duplicity.

        As for “never experiencing a happy romantic relationship,” I don’t think that will be the case at all. There are growing numbers of people in their 50s in the dating market because of divorce. I know of several people who have found love 50 and older (including a former colleague who found true love in his 70s). Never say never.

        • Hi Tempest,

          Good to hear from you.

          I’m glad that your male colleague found love in his 70s. However, based on my research in gerontology as well as time spent in nursing homes, I see WAY more women over 50 than men over 50. Have read that odds of women at age 50 finding a mate (not even necessarily a good one) is only 12%! At my grandmother’/ nursing home, there were 30 women for 1 man! Plus, older and middle aged men, for the most part, want to date 15-20 years younger and the ones who are attractive, talented and rich CAN get younger–as did my ex-husband and my ex-boyfriend. I realize that we cannot predict the future, but based on evidence, I think that my odds of finding that good long-term romantic relationship are very poor. Need to focus on other facets of life.

          • I agree there are men out there looking for younger only (one only need read the singles ads). But someone in their 50s is “younger” to a 60-year old, and there are desirable (and good) men in their 60s.

            Mainly, though, “need to focus on other facets of life,” is a good idea. Frankly, immersing yourself in things you love to do is not only satisfying, but the best way to find someone compatible (and whom you can observe over time to make sure of their character).

            • I agree, Tempest, that being able to observe someone over time can be useful. What concerns me is the fact that I ‘knew’ my ex-boyfriend for 30 YEARS, we shared a long history, seemed very compatible on paper, and yet I STILL did not really know him and fully realize that I should NOT enter an intimate relationship with him!

        • My grandparents know a woman who married for the first time at 80. She said it just took a while to find the right one. Nobody can accuse her of settling. She probably avoided a lot of trouble by waiting.

      • He probably wanted to play hero and thought that he was such a stud that all he had to do was bless you with his presence and you would be happy. He didn’t realize that you would still be sad for a while and that he could make it better by being patient and present. Nope, the fact that his presence didn’t make you forget all about your troubles “poof” made him feel inadequate. He clearly doesn’t know how to be in a relationship. He thinks it is supposed to be all sunshine and roses all of the time and it doesn’t work that way.

      • He and the relationship weren’t worth “saving”. Life is filled with downs and ups. I was there for my wife during her downs like her brother dying. But when my dad died she was sexting the AP two days after the funeral to set up her next hookup. She’s not worth staying with. Your ex isn’t either.

        You WILL find someone else. Join groups that do the things that you like doing. Meetup.com provides these kinds of opportunities in your area. There may be some other sites as well. Just people getting together to do something specific like hiking, art, pets, trips, some are age specific etc….

        Hang in there!

        • Yes. Meetup.com is a great place to start. I joined a hiking group and it has been a godsend for me. I don’t know if I will meet my future “soul mate” there or not, but I am getting out, exercising and socializing and it sure beats sitting at home feeling lonely when ex has the kids. Just get out, do things and don’t even worry about whether or not a future mate will come along. Have fun anyway.

        • I am always cautious of telling people they WILL find someone else, because:

          1. Their determination to find/keep a partner – any partner – is what landed them here in the first place.

          2. Their picker is not yet fixed, and usually needs time to recalibrate.

          3. It keeps feeding the idea that another person is the solution to inner loneliness, old fears, and anxiety about the future.

          The idea is to gain a life, not another romantic partner.

          But it can take people a while to learn to stop thinking of singleness as failure, and start seeing it as a wonderful opportunity to find out who YOU actually are. Especially when you’ve spent your whole life being someone’s partner.

    • Zell, I love monogamy too, but I also love being single. Excellent, trusting friendships and a dog can give you most of what’s missing!

  • Hopefully in your selfishness you didn’t screw other peoples husbands. And like other cheaters, you really hurt yourself too while all the while justifying it in your mind as a good and righteous deed. I’m not in a forgiving mood while people justify their shitty behavior.

  • One of the most difficult things to process and ultimately accept as a chump of a spouse who lives a double life is that what you thought you were experiencing in life was not what was actually happening. The reality was hidden from you and you can never go back and relive it in real time with real understanding – that’s why discovery is so trauma inducing.

    After Dday and during our false reconciliation, I would beg Cheater X to tell me any lies he told me over the years – anything he could think of – just to help me piece things together. He told me he “lied like breathing” – that he would lie over anything that made his life easier. Any little stupid thing. I thought and thought about the last 10 years – how could I ever call to mind some moment in the minutia of everyday life that would point out – oh yes, he was lying then.

    Then one day during reconciliation X came in wearing a green plaid shirt (I have always hated it with a passion) and a memory came flooding back – of him wearing that shirt MANY times and walking with an oddly exaggerated masculine walk. Like strutting with his chest pushed out and his head thrown back. I remember commented at the time, “X what is going on – you are walking so funny. It’s like a peacock strutting!” It happened maybe 5 times over the years. I am grateful for the memory because it is one time where the 2 worlds – the two realities – almost collided. I couldn’t put it together then but a few years later I would! It was the cheater’s high. He was strutting and preening and he wore that shirt to meet men off craigslist in hotel rooms. He felt awesome and superior and clever. Of the 30,000 lies he told me (yes, I guesstimate 30,000), it’s funny that I feel empowered by that memory. But all you need is one memory to help calm the trauma of having your reality stolen.

    • It is mind boggling. I was in a daze for at least a week after Dday. It amazes good people how bad, bad people are capable of being.

  • My sparkly tumor didn’t blame monogamy, instead, it was all my fault. I made him uncomfortable during the marriage because I called him out on his behavior. When he went to endless happy hours and spent $250 a month in the bars, while I was trying to pay bills, I called him on it. I felt alone in my marriage, unsupported physically and emotionally, and this caused me to occasionally be angry towards him. This, of course, caused him to lie, withhold sex and information and treat me like someone who was not important in his life. It caused him to criticize me daily — my job wasn’t good enough, I didn’t leave the house for work at an approriate time, I didn’t dress well enough for work, I didn’t clean the house well enough and I didn’t take pride in our home. Some days, after he made me angry by his lack of partnership, he would scream in my face “Are you getting mad?” “Do you want to hit me?” “Go ahead! Hit me!” He did this because he knew my mom hit me when I was younger. To use this term from our last conversation, he is not around for me to kick around anymore.

    So, in my case, he didn’t claim monogomy to be the problem. I treated him poorly and this entitled him to seek kindness and sex somewhere else. My treatment of him is why according to him, I deserved to be left during cancer.

    • No, CC, your sparkly tumor left when you needed his support most because he couldn’t bring himself to be supportive of anyone for any reason. Because supportiveness cramps his style and cuts into his entitlement. Trust that he sucks.

    • CancerChump–most of these cheaters, if they cannot find a “reason” to cheat will create one [not that I think there is reason to cheat, ever, but they want some excuse to glom on to.] It sounds like your cheater was not only evil enough to use confidences you had told against him (such as your mother hitting you), but that he manufactured situations to get you to react to him that he could point to as salient flaws you had, thus giving him excuses to cheat.

      Pure evil.

  • I think you actually proved CL’s point. You literally just said you cheated and you don’t feel bad about it. Like – what? You ‘believed in marriage’, but you were cheating. How is cheating ‘believing in marriage’?

    Like – wow. You are setting here bragging about the ‘good sex’ of cheating. Wow.

    • You came on a site specifically for chumps and expect us to see gray on the cheating issue? Seriously? I don’t like framing good or bad as black or white so I’ll reframe it this way: You either ARE a cheater or you are NOT a cheater. Pretty simple. We don’t really do gray area cheating in Chump Nation. For cheaters everything is a gray area.

      • You can see your husband’s behavior are wrong, but see nothing wrong with your own behavior. Really?
        When you found out your husband was gay and stayed in the marriage, unless you negotiated an open married – you committed to a sexless marriage. You had other options and you chose to become a cheater yourself.

        And, you never did answer the question about if you cheated with married men. The fact that you are on a site like this, and trying to get sympathy when you are a cheater, is mind boggling. You admit that you don’t even feel bad about cheating. What in the world can you be getting from CL if you can cheat and not feel bad about it? There are not levels of cheating.

        No one in their right mind would have judged you for divorcing a gay man that was acting out on his sexuality by having ongoing and consistent affairs. Instead of taking the high road, you became a cheater yourself. You then come on this website and declare – you aren’t sorry about it. You talk about “stopping extra-marital sex in your early thirties” – okay, so you were a long term cheater. Instead of being humiliated about it, you declare how you are glad you did it.

      • Cheaters are masters at believing that their kind of cheating was somehow the “right” kind, the justified kind, the morally superior kind. And what is it with cheaters who believe that just because they were willing to accept consequences that it was somehow OK? That doesn’t make it OK any more than being willing to go to jail makes committing a crime OK.

        Your ex doesn’t sound like a prize, nor was my ex. He also did lots of rotten and abusive things to me. That doesn’t give anyone free license to be a jerk in turn, nor to gloat about it on a site like this.

        • EXACTLY FreeVix! “Cheaters are masters at believing that their kind of cheating was somehow the “right” kind, the justified kind, the morally superior kind.” That is the reason we’re all here – our “special” cheater felt entitled to cheat because of _______________ [fill in the blank]. We’ve heard it all before. We’re not buying what sjha14 is selling. Been there, done that, kicked that shitty excuse to the curb.

    • But surely sjh14 you could have talked to him and told him you couldn’t carry on in a sexless marriage? That may have provoked conversation and his own issues being discussed.

      I think there are different degrees of cheating. CL has written an excellent post on it too but surely deception in any circumstances only leads to more pain in the end.

  • My cheater once insisted I read “Sex at Dawn,” which is an admittedly well-written book with lots of pseudo-science claiming that Monogamy is Unnatural. Fuck me for not paying attention to that red flag which was more like a road flare. Polyamory and swinging don’t bother me (genuinely, not at all, I have zero judgement about these lifestyles, which are legit), but attacks on monogamy based on dicey science DO. Hey, I’m not attacking your lifestyle, please don’t attack mine armed with random studies that don’t prove anything conclusively anyway. It all comes down to choices and values; if you find monogamy hard or impossible, it’s pretty simple: Don’t do it. Find partners who support your lifestyle. Don’t trick people into living incongruently with their values. News flash: some of us find monogamy pretty doable and even prefer it. And when/if we do find it hard, we talk it out honesty like adults and don’t unilaterally decide to change our relationships based on sexual whims.

  • Was it your ex that told you his first marriage ended because his ex had an affair? Or do you have that info from a more reliable source?

  • A sexless marriage is a fabulous reason for divorce, absolutely justified. It is not a reason to have sex outside of marriage when divorce is, frankly, moderately easy.

  • CL…so, while you are taking on these big things like monogamy (I can’t believe how much I see this ethical non-monogamy crap everywhere I look), would you consider a column about pornography? I seriously think that part of what is going around is the early and often exposure to porn and the result is unrealistic expectation about sex, intimacy, etc. I think some FW (your favorite words) do not actually understand what true sex and intimacy is supposed to be like, and as a result, neither do us chumps. Just sayin’. Ding Ding….time to jump in the ring on this particular one. And, I apologize if you have already jumped in on this subject and I just missed it.

    • I agree COMPLETELY with you TimeWasted33!!! So many studies done that PROVE that pornography messes with you brain big time, especially because of their visual hard wiring. It’s been proven that porn addiction is harder to recover from than heroin and that even viewing women in bikinis enforces objectification of women. How do you feel empathy for a “something?”
      I’ve been taking crap for this viewpoint for a couple of decades, oh well I guess I’m a Prude. I don’t buy overpriced, uncomfortable underwear from Victoria’s Secret and support their sexualization of ever younger and younger girls.
      When some female friend would ask why I dislike VS I would just ask them “what would you think if some strange woman just walked into your home and proceeded to strip down to her teeny panties and push-up bra and started to pose seductively and writhe around on the floor in front of your husband and kids with her pouty “fuck me” face” firmly in place?
      Because that is exactly what is happening every time one of those commercials comes on tv in your living room.
      But women are supposed to be so unsophisticated that they don’t take offense to their husband leering at another woman right in their own home, not to mention the messages things like that send to our children.
      Society doesn’t hold monogamy in high regard anymore because media tells us not to.

    • 1,000 times yes! The “Your Brain on Porn” site is great for information on just how much it messes with a person. Mine started with porn and then had to go deeper and deeper until he was trying to re-enact what he saw on camera with strangers.

      I think he always had the propensity to cheat, but porn was the spark that started the flame. Especially secretly using porn. You are a grown man, why are you using porn in secret? All of his ‘affairs’ were virtual or with massage parlor girls. He actually truly thought he fell in love with one webcam girl. Thought their ‘relationship’ was special – until she ghosted. I laughed and told him that story – these women are actresses. Once one persona stops making money, they delete all that and start again with a new persona. That fool really thought of her as he special girlfriend. Dude – you pay her tokens to masturbate on camera, but you blew up your family for this virtual woman?

      My biggest warning to anyone – if your partner is ‘secretly’ using porn, using more than once a week, or spending any money on porn – LEAVE. Their brain is being absolutely turned to mush and there is no where for them to go but down.

      • Know for a fact that the STBX is way into throwing virtual coins at the performing online sluts, and that this is fully in the context of his new and perfect true luv deal with the slut, who puts those purchases (hundreds upon hundreds for coins)–made on the biz card–down as “software expenses,” which is kind of true in an epically ironic way. So, hey, they deserve each other.

  • What a rotten thing for you to do. I have a gay male friend who went through something similar with a cheating ex-wife, and she is perfectly happy to use his homosexuality to justify her shitty character and her terrible behavior. I can’t imagine that it was an easy marriage for either of them, nor was it for you, but the answer to dealing with something difficult isn’t to be a flagrant ass about it. That’s Adulting 101.

    • Was your gay male friend faithful even though he clearly couldn’t get all he needed from his wife? If so, then he was modeling the proper way to be married if you chose to stay married when your needs are not being met.

      I saw the movie “Battle of the Sexes” a few weeks back. I wasn’t at all bothered by the whole lesbian thing, but the infidelity part was definitely triggering for me. I felt so bad for the husband and every time the “other woman’s” face came on the screen I wanted to claw her eyes out. I saw her as a selfish intruder causing unnecessary distraction and hurt. My daughter tried to justify it because “it was a case of repressed sexuality” and “that situation was much different than Dad’s.” No, still not ok and I told her so in no uncertain terms.

    • There is nothing unchristian about saying one sin does not justify another.

      You had several one night stands in your 20’s and 30’s because you craved sex and male attention? As my son’s friend says “use your human brain and control yourself.”

      “I was a virgin until almost 20.” Is there a prize because I was a virgin until I was 22 and I have a feeling that I wouldn’t there are others who out age that.

      “I never drank, took drugs, or had any fun growing up”. I figure you must you must be in your 60’s now. I can’t even fathom that you would think this was a bad thing. I am not sure if you equate drinking and taking drugs with fun. I never took drugs and I am thankful for that. Never had any fun- really?

      I am not perfect but I stand with the zero tolerance for cheating group on this site. My Stbx’s ap is a cheater and she was cheated on and I would say she has no business on this site.

  • X also belatedly justified that monogamy was unnatural and besides we had married very young. That does not excuse him for not having an honest conversation and communicating his changed ideas or departing, what hurt so much was finding out he had secretly chosen to cheat, and that he felt entitled to do so, and to lie and gaslight, meanwhile I was faithfully following our promises and putting all my energy into the relationship when he wasn’t. It was a painful prolonged awakening about how my marriage actually was (so many sunk costs, years, 2 kids) and that my agency was merely to accept it or not. it has been a tough year logistically since separating but there is a sense of peace and joy in moving on from that deception and disrespect.

  • Hey most of us discovered we were in an open marriage! Unknown to us at the time! They do believe it’s a one way street. We are supposed to be monogamous to them. It’s seems that half is natural in their minds. Even when 99 percent sure she was banging other guys, i would run away from any and all opportunity. It’s character, morals and basic human decency which they lack. It would have been easy and justified (kind of) for me to do the same. But I can’t and won’t ever cheat! Difference between us and them.

    • Some do try to justify it with “well I thought you were cheating too” or “I thought you didn’t care”. They never bothered to find out if any of that was true, however.

      • Yes…. she claims she was sure I was cheating. Not sure when I had time. She traveled. I worked full time plus took care of two kids and my father. Just more excuses!

      • Mine never thought that about me. She knew what kind of person I was.
        Mine went with: “I thought you were going to divorce me”

        I am now!

        • Mine knew I would never also, she just went to grasping for straws once I found evidence of what she was doing she could no longer deny. All about the blameshift!

          • Mine did that, too, DavidB. “You always looked so nice–I thought you must be cheating, too!”

            Smh. You can’t make this shit up.

  • I never had a problem with monogamy. I did however, have a problem with a deceptive, lying perverted cheater who brought disease into our marital bed.

    Gays fought long and hard for marriage- they must know something cheaters don’t know about monogamy. Monogamy brings stability to people and societies. Marriage is never the problem- cheaters and their silly excuses for cheating are!

    What will cheaters/swingers/porn pigs do when they are old and sickly? Maybe they can look up people they had group sex with 30 years ago to help change their diapers ? Maybe they can look up some of those web cam hoes? Or they can track down the people met on the internet ……to them their medications and drive them to doctor’s appointments. Married people who respect the boundaries of marriage take care of each other til the end……………… Something cheaters/swingers/porn pigs never learned.

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