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Dear Chump Lady, I’m a chump, my brother is a cheater

Dear Chump Lady,

I have a problem that I am not sure how to deal with my brother is a cheater and I don’t hate him. A little background info — I am a chump. My husband of 28 years cheated for 2 years, I had 4 d-days and I finally left. I left 1.5 years ago and divorced and am really happy. (Mighty Me!) I know what it feels like to be cheated on and what happens with betrayal.

Fast forward to today. My brother and his wife are separated after 15 year. The marriage had problems, I don’t think they were happy for a long time. Neither spouse was perfect, my sister in law caused some family drama by forcing my brother to choose between her and some other family members. So admittedly I am not always her biggest fan, but I do recognize that my brother is in no way perfect either. They are separated because he cheated on her and wants out of the marriage. He and I have had some discussions recently and he acknowledges that that was a terrible thing and he wishes it had not happened, but he was not happy, yadda yadda yadda…… Unfortunately she has decided to tell everyone about the affair and why he wants a divorce, this includes their 9 & 11 year old children. I have maintained a relationship with her and like her as a person. I just can’t listen to her bad mouth my brother continuously, especially in front of the kids.

The problem is that this is my BROTHER & I love him. I do not want to cut him off. This is causing a wedge to between some family members as she is forcing them to be on one team or the other. I want to be Switzerland; is this possible? I don’t want to condone cheating, but i want my brother and his kids in my life.

This is causing a personal dilemma because I am not sure how to react. I understand the pain affairs cause, but when it is someone you care about I find I am sympathetic to the cheater. I keep going back and forth on what I feel. UGH!!!

Chump Big Sister

Dear CBS,

Well, I can’t tell you what to feel. I just decode stuff and snark. Let’s start with perfection.

Neither spouse was perfect ….I do recognize that my brother is in no way perfect either.

No one needs to be perfect. Were you perfect? Did you deserve to be cheated on? When discussing the demise of your marriage would you want the benchmark of “perfect” (and how far you are from it) to be invoked?

There’s no Perfect. There’s just what we do and how we react.

Your brother wasn’t happy in his marriage. He reacted with an affair. Not an ethical choice. Great, he admits that. Part of being a Big Boy and wearing his Big Boy pants is recognizing that he has to accept the outcome of his choice to cheat. That means he doesn’t control the narrative. His wife was chumped. That’s HER story. She can tell it. (More on the ethical bounds of that in a moment.) She is not his PR agency.

She also gets to choose who she wants in her life under what terms. You don’t have to like that and you don’t control it. She may decide that having someone in her life connected to her ex-husband is too painful. However, you still have your brother and his kids. You can maintain your relationship with those kids through him. So, really, you don’t need your chump SIL’s buy-in here. Your brother’s douchebaggery doesn’t revoke your aunt privileges.

Unfortunately she has decided to tell everyone about the affair and why he wants a divorce,

That’s her right. Her family has imploded. She can tell people why. There is no shared burden here of “it takes two” — your brother destroyed this relationship. By saying she wasn’t “perfect” is implying that she shares fault in the marriage’s demise — and in being cheated on. No one has a perfect marriage, and there are ethical ways to end relationships. When you don’t end things ethically, kindly, fairly — there is fall out.

If you want the narrative to be “we mutually decided to end our marriage” — the reality must be that this was a joint decision. Cheating is a unilateral act.

Your brother does not get to assume a mutual narrative when acting unilaterally. You shouldn’t either.

And I wonder about your brother. Is this is his first affair? Is he making demands that everyone be quiet about his cheating and fake-Switzerland-friendly For The Children?

this includes their 9 & 11 year old children.

I believe children should be told why their parents are divorcing in age-appropriate ways without editorializing. I don’t believe it’s okay to gaslight children, even with the best of intentions.

Your brother’s affair blew up their world too. I don’t think chumps should slop their grief on to their kids, or make them carry the burden of choosing between parents. But I DO believe kids should know — truthfully — why things ended. Choices have consequences, we all have agency, are important lessons at any age.

I have maintained a relationship with her and like her as a person.

I don’t get the sense that you like her — you said she “caused drama” and divided your family. And you sound uncomfortable about how she’s handling her grief at being chumped.

Consider that she might not want your Switzerland conditional kinda-like-you-kinda-freaked-out-by-you “friendship.”

I just can’t listen to her bad mouth my brother continuously, especially in front of the kids.

Yes, she should know how to read the room. And — for the record — I do NOT think chumps (or anyone) should badmouth the other parent in front of the kids.

“Badmouthing” is often in the eye of the beholder, however. I would define badmouth as “slut, whore, fuckpuppet, dead beat, loser, cheating sonofabitch,” etc. Invective. Name-calling.

I would say blameshifting is badmouthing. “Well, I wouldn’t have cheated if your father wasn’t such a control freak” or “I sure hope your mother can move past her bitterness and jealousy at my new life.”

What’s NOT badmouthing, IMO, is stating the terms of why you divorced. Mom or Dad has a girlfriend/boyfriend. Marriage is promising to be each other’s special person, and it’s not okay to lie and break promises. Mom/Dad is sad right now, but Mom/Dad loves you and isn’t going away.

Did your SIL fall far from the mark?

You get boundaries too! You can say, “SIL, I know your grief is raw right now. I’ve been chumped. And I feel conflicted because while I know what you say is true — he cheated — I can’t listen to you run him down. I know that makes me seem less than supportive, but I’m probably not the best person to support you now.”

Don’t deny her need for support. Just say you aren’t the person to give her validation that he sucks.

You CAN support her in TANGIBLE ways that matter more than agreeing he’s a cock-sucking motherfucker — offer to watch her kids. Make her dinner. Buy the kids school supplies. DO SUPPORTIVE I-love-those-kids things.

Actions speak louder than “I’m sorry my brother is an asshole.”

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at Read more about submission guidelines.
  • “My brother is a cheater and I don’t hate him.”

    You don’t have to hate him. You have to accept that his actions are part of the person that he is, and deal with that reality accordingly in your own life.

    It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to shun him or cut him out of your life. It does mean being true to your own experiences and what you value as a chump.

    Same goes for your SIL.

    • I find it helps to see cheating as similar to substance-abuse, as affair partners are often “fixes” or “highs” for the cheater. My STBXH once described the OW like heroine, he knew she wasn’t good for him or that not good could come from being with her, but the euphoria he feels with her is so addictive that all he can think about when he’s not with her is how to be with her some more. Yikes! This is addiction behaviour (but 100% his choice).

      If your brother used a substance as a means to address the issues of his life/marriage, I don’t think you would agree with his choice to use drugs to cope. You likely wouldn’t blame your SILs less than perfection for causing your brother to do drugs. BTW CL is absolutely correct in calling you out on your blameshifting your brother’s affair on to her perceived inadequacies.

      If your brother had a substance abuse issue, you likely would not condone his choice, but you would still love him. You would still have him in your life, but you would not welcome his drug use. You wouldn’t allow him to talk favourably about his drug use or justify it to normalize it. You wouldn’t allow him to bring the drug into your home. You wouldn’t spend time with him and his drugs. You would likely talk to him about why his drug use is destructive. How it sets a bad example for his children. How the choice to do the drugs and/or continue its use is wrong and makes him less a man. You would encourage him to seek professional help to deal with the issues of his character that drive him to make destructive choices. You would extend compassion to what his real psychological failing is and encourage him to do what is right in his own redemption to becoming a healthier person with better life skills. That is love without accepting the sin.

      CL calls it well that you are not to be the one to support your SIL by siding exclusively with her. But, she needs to know that you are a moral person who recognizes that a trauma was done to her (despite whatever shortcomings she has) or else you are contributing to the trauma. You know what your brother did was wrong. Do not defend his wrong-doing. Share that you hope your brother comes to redeem himself, and you hope that by spending time with him, you will provide a more positive sphere of influence in his life. If you don’t show that you have a moral compass, how will your SIL feel good about you or having her children spend time with you?

      She is going through betrayal trauma – the trauma of infidelity. Her mind is spinning. She is experiencing anxiety. If you’ve been cheated on, you must understand the level of mindfuckery she is working through to achieve sanity and safety again. Your judgement about she is going about this is unfair. Please check the following TED talk about this issue. I hope that it helps guide you in your attempt to be supportive.

      Best wishes. If you are a spiritual person, pray about what is the most loving thing to do in how you approach all of those involved. You are a victim of your brother’s betrayal too. What he did was not just against his wife, but against two who families that were united in this marriage.

      Hugs to you.


        I don’t know you and will likely never meet you. But know that your words touched me deeply. I NEEDED to hear someone say
        — “She is going through betrayal trauma – the trauma of infidelity. Her mind is spinning. She is experiencing anxiety. If you’ve been cheated on, you must understand the level of mindfuckery she is working through to achieve sanity and safety again.”–

        I am 22 months out and the divorce is final, and the DOCTOR married the OW and still lives on the tundra in Alaska and has not spoken to me or seen our kids in all this time.

        And I was blindsided. NOW I can say that I should not have been blindsided, but hey, I was ALL IN in the marriage and I believed what he told me and did not know I lacked crucial information.

        I am moving overseas in 2 weeks, to teach. But a big reason for this is to get a fresh start. I’m tired of triggers stopping me in my tracks in grief, and when I read your reply to CL I realized I can say YES it was a fucking TRAUMATIC ordeal.

        I think I have PTSD. I am a veteran of the Gulf War and when I say PTSD – I mean it quite literally.

        My world was shattered in a way I never knew possible and I’m still deeply, deeply hurt. I don’t mean that I want my Wasband back, I just mean I am far from healed. I could not sleep well, for well over a year. Even now I have at least weekly nightmares from which I awaken in a rage filled fury.

        Fortunately I can also say truthfully, yes I am healing. I (usually) know I’m better much off without the DOCTOR than I would be with him. True, my finances suck and his don’t, and Schmoopie New Wife gets the benefits of all MY sacrifices and the injustice of that is stunning.

        But I do not want him back. I do not want our marriage of the last 5 years back, and he is capable of cruelty I never expected. I know things I cannot “unknow.”

        I’d never be able to move overseas if I were still with him (though that was THE PLAN as far as I knew). I would never be able to move anywhere for MY own reasons as I followed him around for his career and whatever else he claimed.

        That’s done now. But the pain is real and it is still here, though thank God it’s lessening. I needed someone to say what I felt and why it still sucks and how the betrayal is only compounded by Switzerlands and those who try to say “there were problems in the marriage, right?”

        NONE like the problem of cheating and no, I did not think we had a bad marriage; I thought my devotion and forgiveness (enabling, I know now) would be rewarded and that he’d see the light.

        I was wrong. I forgot my worth. And I deserved much better than I got. Thanks for speaking truth.

    • My brother cheated on my S-I-L after 47 years together, and I hate him. He succumbed to his old high school flame’s siren call and wild sex, and walked away from his family to spend the rest of his life with her. I haven’t spoken to him in nearly 3 years. I learned about his affair just 4 months after my own d-day when I found out my wife had been seeing her ex. The worst “bad-mouthing” has been done by my brother, who bragged to his son about his ex’s body and how great the sex was, and has tried to engage me in conversation so he can try to sell me as well. Tough finding out he’s quite the liar and cheat, but I have had my own battles to deal with.

    • This. My sister is involved with a married man with two kids. When I found out I asked how does she feel doing to someone else what was done to her sister and niece and nephew. She had no answer.
      I said nothing more but when she starts to moralize on other issues I some how manage to find apt analogies relating to cheating….odd that.
      Anyways I don’t ask. I told her I don’t want to know anything. She knows I disapprove and has taken lengths to hide it from me. I know that in due course they will both reap what they have been sowing.
      I know of one cheater friend. He married OW. I don’t speak to her nor do I ask about her. I told my pal’s ex wife that she is still my girl and that I am backing her. I told my pal that what he did was wrong. He said to me after he married the OW that he should have stayed with his first wife but it was too late. He said that his friends had rightly advised him.
      I told him that I will not be attending another wedding of his.
      Is he happy? As can be. He doesn’t talk about this wife with the same love he spoke of the first. He has two daughters with the OW and they are his focus. I think he is making do. His ex wife , who truly loved him, she keeps active but I know it took something from her. We all lost some respect for him though we still speak to him.

  • Chump Big Sister, you say you find you are ‘sympathetic to the cheater’ when you care about them. I’m really intrigued by this.

    In what way(s) are you sympathetic towards them? Can you tell us a bit more about what you mean?

  • My sister is a cheater. She cheated on my ex-BIL multiple times with many men in their military unit. When he found out he was crushed. She stated the reason she cheated on him was because he was bad with money. Our brother (her twin) and I have virtually zero contact with her. She blew up her marriage and let her small son the product of a broken home.

    She’s a liar. She has no moral compass. She isn’t trustworthy. Family or not, she’s not the type of person that we choose to keep in our inner circle. (if she needed us in an emergency or whatnot we would be there for her). Yes she’s family, and unfortunately nothing will change that, but not only did she betray her husband, she betrayed all of us. That’s how we look at it.

    • Rose among thorns, you are a better person than I when you say “if she needed us in an emergency, we would be there for her.” I have been estranged from my toxic, cheating, narcissistic sister for 30 years. I stopped contact with her before I was ever chumped. She had always been a drama queen, using, backstabbing person, but when I was newly married to my first husband who worked on the road with construction she cheated on her wonderful husband father to her three beautiful young children. I had come back early from visiting my husband on the job and discovered that she had been conducting her random fuckfest affairs in my home when she knew I was gone. I couldn’t believe it! Then she lied to everyone about it. I cut contact with her and never looked back. She continues to plague anyone in the family who has anything to do with her. There really are too many lies and betrayals to even go into. I like your analogy about drugs. We wouldn’t tolerate someone defending their heroine abuse or tell their kids that heroine abuse is no big deal. There is one major difference between drug abuse and narcissism–drug abuse can be recovered from and narcissism has no cure. Even if the cheating narcissist wants to be cured, which they don’t.

    • My sister is a total narc who cheated on her husband, divorced him, remarried him when OM didn’t pan out. A couple of years later cheated on him again and divorced him. I took my stand against her actions and blame shifting. I never cut her off just made it clear where the fault lies. She cut me out and hasn’t spoken to me for over 30 years. Her choice. However I still have a great relationship with my former BIL.

  • When I was first chumped, I used a comment I found here at Chumplady on my SIL: how when someone dies people bring you casseroles but when a cheater discards their nuclear family everyone pretends nothing happened.

    She then sent me some boxed food/meal service deliveries. This was the nicest thing someone had done for me during this initial discard and helped me slowly climb out of my pit of despair.

    • I think you have the right of it. If LW wants to be nice, she should say “I’m sorry I can’t be the person you rant to,” and then send casseroles or help clean the house.

  • I needed this today so badly. My soon-to-be-ex husband is angry that I keep telling people that the reason I left was because of his multiple emotional affairs over the past 4 years and he continues to try and tell me what I can or cannot tell others, especially his family. Being honest (while not digging crazy into details or editorializing) has been the one thing I’m proud of myself for doing during this process and hearing it from this perspective was just what I needed. I know I am able to tell my truth and I do not need to control others reactions with it, I will lose some people in this process but the ones who are really there and really empathize/want to continue a relationship will. Neither myself nor his family/friends require unending approval from each other. This will be ok. thank you.

    • @twotimes -sounds like you are dealing with the rage channel. Cheater narcissists is their anger to try to control others—instilling fear is effective at manipulating and image control, that’s why they do it…unless you go completely NC — it works!

      • Thank you. Trying my best st NC. It’s hard with 2 little ones and 50/50 custody. Moving out 2 weeks ago was the best. Now we only talk through lawyers and about the kids during exchanges. Doesn’t stop him from trying to engage in other conversations. I figure as long as I stay neutral and not get to his level or flat out ignore the commentary/requests. That, that is the best I can do

    • Yep, he’s angry that you’re blabbing all that he has done. You are destroying his facade. FUCK HIM! You have the right to vent and you have the right to let people know just exactly WHY you’re divorcing his butt. When (there was no ‘if’ in my scenario) he tells everybody that you’re crazy and that was why you grew apart, tell them, “Of course we’re going to grow apart when he has a piece on the side!” He stole the love and attention that he should have been giving to you and showered it on a tramp. The time that he should have spent on you improving your relationship, he stole and screwed a tramp. He made a unilateral decision to destroy your family. And do not cut him a break. Continue to maintain No Contact as much as possible. As horrible as he is, he’s still your kids’ father and as such, he will always be important to them. Don’t bad mouth him, but don’t allow him to paint the picture that your divorce was a bilateral decision. Do NOT allow him to get away with saying, “We just grew apart.” If you do, you will wish later that you had told the truth. The truth is better than a lie any day.

  • My brother and SIL-2 are cheaters and have been married for 20+ years. However, I love SIL-1 and am still friends with her. She knew I thought what my brother did was crappy, and she was one of the first people I called for advice & commiseration after I myself was chumped. Before she died, my mother also maintained a good relationship with chumped SIL-1. Both my sisters are still in touch with SIL-1.

    It is difficult to fully cut ties with a sibling; perhaps over time it will be sufficient to your SIL, Big Chump Sister, that she knows you morally support her, even though you want to maintain a relationship with your brother (and don’t buy his “Twu Wuv justified what I did” narrative)

  • Being you were a chump at one time you must remember the humiliation & pain you felt. Your SIL
    is going through this now. Try to be somewhat understanding of that. Sorry to say but your brother is a lying selfish cheater. No matter how bad his marriage was there’s fair & decent ways to end it. He didn’t consider his children when he was screwing other women.

    I understand you love your brother but be honest with yourself & accept that he is a cold hearted cheater. If possible, be there for the children & your SIL. You can also still love your brother but stay neutral.

  • When my ex left, I knew he was going to his sister’s and would live with her for sometime. My ex-SIL was also a Chump. Her and I have mutual friends from prior to my relationship with ex. The friends all said that she would take his side. Foolish foolish me said, “I don’t expect her not to take him in or be his supportive sister. But she was chumped and I think she’lol understand my side of it and stay out of it.”

    She didn’t. She was angry that I told people he cheated and made him “look bad”. She thought I should have continued to protect his good guy image. So she decided to tell “both sides of the story” and went on the “unhappy sexless marriage” and “she wasn’t perfect” narrative tour. (She even made up some lies to make me look worse when people weren’t buying it).

    CBS, he’s your brother. You can be honest with him about how what he did was more than just being less than a perfect spouse AND support him through this. You can acknowledge your SIL’s feelings and continue the relationship or, like CL said, walk away with love, if you can’t be that person.

      • I for one do not support cheaters, blood or otherwise. They are the authors of their own (and everyone else’s!) misery. I pray for them if they are people I loved. But, I pray they see the damage they caused and truly repent of the evil they have inflicted on others. That is all. I am continually amazed by how deeply good most chumps are that they can muster any sympathy for these destroyers. I think it shows how fine of character most chumps had. I wish I was that good, but I’m not. The biggest kindness I can do when I know someone is a lying cheater is walk away from them.

  • This woman really wants to blame her SIL but isn’t honest enough with herself to admit it. She doesn’t like SIL, and probably never has, and is looking for a way to shift the blame away from her brother. I understand-he’s her brother and that is her bias. She should just admit that “blood is thicker than water” and quit trying to pretend she is trying to be objective about his conduct.

    Her letter reminds me of people whose children have committed a crime. While they often claim they do not want to blame the victim, in fact, they do. Otherwise, they would have to acknowledge their child’s criminal conduct. That is why family members are never allowed to sit on a jury.

    She should just own it! None of us are “perfect”, but there is no justification for cheating, even if the cheater happens to be a father/ mother/ brother/ sister/ son/ daughter. Her forced justifications do no one any favors. Sometimes, we are too close to a situation to maintain our judgement about it.

    • I got that feeling too. And I think you can not like someone and still feel sorry for them for being Chumped and not place blame on them for that.

      • That must be true. I don’t like Schmoopie but her house got swamped in a storm last week and I feel sorry for her and I don’t blame her for causing the flood. I didn’t ‘send a casserole though.

    • Agreed.
      I also think CBS needs to look at her family situation. Was she raised in an environment where cheating or other abuses were acceptable and normalized?
      We often repeat what we grow up immersed in because we feel how normal it is. This is why I always say you don’t stay for the children, you leave for the children. You break the cycle.
      I have a sibling with crappy values and when I step back I have had some crappy values. It’s hard to spackle without bending your values and making allowances when you know you shouldn’t. I don’t interact with that sibling much now, the same way I don’t interact with Narkles the Clown. I’ve also taken a hard look at myself and made a lot of changes. When you know better, do better. CBS, you now know better. Can you step away from the FOO issues and learn to do better?

      • Yep. We all made excuses for cheaters for years–our spouses! This lady just needs to realize that what she is doing right now is SPACKLING for her brother. We all want to believe that a person we love couldn’t REALLY do something evil. They couldn’t REALLY understand that they were destroying us and not care. But they do. And so does her brother. And frankly I am suspicious of the brother’s spouse being accused of causing family drama etc. Usually in a dysfunctional family that is what is said about any minimally healthy person who TELLS THE TRUTH ABOUT ABUSE.

  • People who openly state their departure from monogamy prior to ending monogamy agreements are people who want something different in life from what they have at this time. It hurts, but it’s honest and clear.

    People who sneak around to try to do what they want without getting caught so they can keep one thing going while also doing some other thing that violates their agreements are cheaters.

    Cheaters don’t get to judge the validity of who reveals their sneaky secrets. It is unreasonable to deceive a partner for your own gain, resulting in harm to your partner and your children, then expect that person to be your secretkeeping ally.

    Like CL, I get that I don’t know the nuances of this writer’s particular situation, and it is important to tell children things honestly and without vitriol.

    However, the cheating brother isn’t in control of that, and neither is our writer. Once the cheating brother cheated, he lost his position of cooperative negotiator of the relationship. I’m sure the cheap sex wasn’t worth it in the end, but that’s his to learn through outcomes. And barring criminal abuse, it sure as hell isn’t for anyone else to decide what his betrayed partner should or should not do in their presence — that’s his to try to resolve, and that’s dubious anyway at this point.

    If you don’t like listening to it, walk away from the conversation.

    Also, bear in mind that this is how your brother’s betrayal of his partner has harmed his whole family, including you. You don’t have to hate him, but put on the clarity glasses and see that his character isn’t different in one relationship than another. He may be seeking pity so others will take on his responsibilities. Before you resist that, sit with it for a while and watch him. Is he charming when he wants others to do things, pitiful when persuading, and defensive/blameshifty if anyone suggests he’s anything less than perfect?

    I know he’s your brother, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t immature or that he wouldn’t twist a story to get your sympathies. It happens.

    • “He may be seeking pity so others will take on his responsibilities.”

      Or seeking pity so others won’t give him a hard time about what he’s done, or try to protect him from the consequences of his own actions.

      • That’s exactly why my x told his adult kids that he cheated – the pity factor. He gets to writes his story making me out to the cold, sexless wife making his life unhappy and unbearable. He said that he told them (my stepson and stepdaughter) that they should keep a relationship with me if that’s their choice. But, he deliberately poisoned that well and he knows their loyalty lies with him, the father, not with me, the stepmother.

  • I agree with CL (as usual). Do what you can to help the children. Your brother blew up their lives. You may not like your SIL, but, as a fellow chump, you both have a lot in common. Just keep your bother out of your conversations.

  • If your brother was unhappy in his marriage he had a right to divorce his wife but he did not have a right to go looking for her replacement first. That makes him a selfish coward. He is also your brother and those are strong bonds too. You can love your brother in spite of his faults, but you need to recognize that he did a terrible thing and there are consequences for that which include exposure of what he has done. Having been through infidelity yourself, how can you begrudge your SIL the right to tell the truth? All of that being said, if your SIL values her friendship with you she needs to recognize that expecting you to hate your own brother is unreasonable and perhaps you are not the one she should talk to about how evil she thinks he is. If she wants to be around you she needs to come up with other topics of conversation. That may be very difficult right now as that is first and foremost on her mind. Over time she will heal and be able to focus on other things. In the meantime, you need to be patient with her and show a little compassion because you know how much she is hurting right now. She will always hate your brother but over time she may learn not to express those opinions in front of people she can’t reasonable expect will share her view. Also be prepared for the possibility that she may in fact cut you out of her life because she can’t be friends with people who don’t think your brother is scum. She may make you choose and you have a right to choose your brother, flawed as he is.

    • You are so right of course that the brother should have filed for divorce if he was unhappy and felt the marriage was over. That goes for both men and women wanting out of a relationship. However, I have say of all the marriages I’ve witnessed over the years (decades) never once did a man proactively leave the marriage without someone waiting in the wings. The exception would be the wife being a cheater but I am talking about men that leave due to being unhappy. I am sure it does happen that men do leave without there being someone else but I have wracked my brain and cannot think of a single one I know of personally. I do know plenty of women that have left the marriage without there being someone else.

      • Maybe that is why more women initiate divorce than men. Women are less afraid of being alone and don’t have to track down a replacement first. That is actually surprising to me.

      • Queen – really? Since I totally agree with KB after witnessing this for many many decades, how did these ‘several’ men leave their wives? I am immensely curious because I’ve never seen or heard of it happen.

  • Chump Big Sister: It doesn’t help your brother to minimize what has happened to the innocent parties here–your sister-in-law and your nieces and nephews. We know your brother has abused his family by cheating. And we know that he minimizes and excuses the damage he has done. So that’s not saying much that’s good about his character.

    Here are some standards to apply:
    1. Is he being thoughtful and decent about a fair financial settlement?
    2. Has he agreed to generous child support? Because he wants a new life, his wife and kids should not have to suffer financially.
    3. Is he being kind to his wife about custody and visitation? That’s more complex, but it might mean listening hard to what his wife wants in this area. Her whole life has been blown up and she is no doubt terrified about losing her kids 50% of the time.
    4. At the same time, is he being responsibly connected to his kids? Has he told them he cheated? Has he explained that was the wrong thing to do? Is he consistent about showing up? Does he avoid playing games with pick up and drop off?
    5. Is he keeping his affair partner away from the kids? Is he going to give everyone time to heal before he jams his new life down their throats? Or is he out on FB showing off his Schmoopie?
    6. Encourage him to use email for communication and to be consistently civil and as kind as he can be. He broke this. But he can do a lot to fix this by not pouring gasoline on the fire by attacking her or defending himself. And maybe instead of a divorce court mediator, suggest that the two of them sit down with a counselor or pastor and work out money, property, custody and the like.

    The best way to love your brother is not to overlook the damage he’s doing. The best way is to do what you can to protect his kids: “Sonny, don’t fight your STBX over child support. Just pay up.” “It’s way to soon to take your Schmoopie to family Christmas.” And so on. The marriage is dead. But the kids have a mother who is rightfully angry and deeply hurt. You know that pain. The best way to help? Look out for the kids. If your brother is such a jackass that he gets angry at you for reminding him to be a decent human and not a selfish jackass, that’s the price you pay for doing the right thing. And it may take a year or two for your sister-in-law to heal enough to be able to respond in helpful ways.

    None of this matters, really, if your brother has a character disorder. If he has a character disorder, his thinking is that his wife is not the boss of him. Neither are you. But you can stand up for decency, kindness, and the truth without taking sides with anyone but the kids.

    • I wish my in laws had showed me and my children this kind of compassion and kindness. Excellent answer.

    • Precisely as LaJ said.

      You need to hold your brother accountable for his choices and decisions. If his family members will not provide tough love, no one else can.

      That involves making clear each and every time that his blameshifting is unacceptable, he must be 100% accountable for his actions, and he needs to make amends, and live a different truth.

      I think it would be reasonable for the family to push him to engage in some serious therapy with someone who deals with character disordered people (calling Dr Simon) and work on his behavior and be called out if he does not demonstrate a commitment to change and actions that demonstrate change over time.

      Your brother is basically like an addict or an alcoholic. Do not be the enabler of his abusive behavior even though you can continue to love him. And have deep compassion for those who suffered abuse at this hands.

      I doubt he is a unicorn. And don’t be shocked if he isn’t fair about inheritance. Just sayin’…

  • Cheating is mean. I bet if you stay neutral and watch very closley from the outside that he wants cake. He will say and do all of the usual stuff in the script. Yes it is a thing. No they dont have any originality.

  • My brother is not only a cheater, he is a baby-man who promised his wife before they wed that he was willing to have a child then proceeded to act like a terrible babyman whenever the topic came up all the way until her last egg aged-out…THEN he had an affair.

    He is my brother and I love him but honestly if she had shot him (in some non-lethal manner) and given him a painful flesh-wound, I would have bailed her out of jail.

    So , yea, I get it.

    They are together …perhaps not quite a unicorn as she is not the person she was before…she was such an optimist, pleasant, reliable…this wounded her and changed her and I understand.

    I think I am collateral damage in the mess. I belong to him and she resents needing to offer too much to his family, so I no longer rate much of her energy. Fair enough…I see how she got to this place.

    I like CLs advice. I think Chump Big Sister thinks she needs to referee this situation more than she really does. She doesnt need to figure out how to try to manage either of them, they manage themselves.

  • I’m not sure how I feel about today’s post. On the one hand, I understand life is complicated and not black and white. On the other hand, I feel like the advice here is counter to that elsewhere. That is, elsewhere (my read anyway) has been Switzerland “friends” suck too. But here it seems like an exception is being made to be Switzerland. I know it’s her brother, but it seems like (especially after reading a few comments) folks are willing to come up with ways to rationalize their actions (i.e., being Switzerland) when they don’t want the rules (i.e., Switzerland “friends” suck) to apply to them …

    • I think the difference is that it’s up to the Chump to decide whether to have Switzerland friends/in-law family. It’s up to the SIL to make that decision. That’s the way I took it anyway.

      Perhaps the letter writer should have got more of a blasting for attempting to be Switzerland? I don’t know. But CL does suggest that maybe the SIL won’t want to continue a relationship with her.

      Personally, I prefer things clearer cut. I don’t want any kind of Switzerlanders in my life, including cheater’s siblings. We can always be polite and cordial when we come across each other, but I couldn’t think of maintaining a relationship with anyone who still has a relationship with him.

      Maybe the letter writer should take a big step back after all. Maybe the best thing she can do is make sure her brother does the right thing by her SIL and leave the relationship there. What do you think?

      • I think this is certainly a situation without a good answer. I did like CL stressing how she can focus on the kids involved and still be a their aunt. They need all possible loving adults in their lives right now (including both their parents if it applies). So, meals and babysitting help the kids and can show the SIL empathy. But if she’s going to be supportive of her brother, which I absolutely understand, I don’t think she can be SIL’s friend. Part of the kids’ village, yes; but not her friend.

        And the sister needs to hold her brother accountable. Long-term I don’t know what that looks like. Short-term though I think it’s pretty similar to her actions toward SIL. That is, she’s there for the kids. Maybe she can have a beer with her brother and be there as he goes through the pain of divorce (without talking about his wife and their marriage). But that seems like a slippery slope because, I don’t think, she should listen to his self-pity.

        • I’m a bit iffy about this idea of supporting him through this. That is not the same thing as maintaining her relationship with her brother.

          But supporting him, what does that actually mean? He has to face up and deal with the consequences of his own choices. To ‘support’ him seems to me like condoning his behaviour.

          Can’t she maintain a relationship with her brother, but stay well out of anything to do with the divorce?

          If he was a criminal and was facing court action and prison, should she ‘support’ him in that? What if his crime was rape, or murder?

          I may be looking at this wrongly, but I would separate the idea of her continuing to have a relationship & loving her brother, from the idea of ‘supporting’ him in this. He is not a victim. It just seems wrong to ‘support’ him, to me. But I’d be interested to know if anyone disagrees and why.

          • I don’t disagree with what you wrote. I think it’s a matter of what is meant by “support.” It sounds like he is experiencing pain from his marriage ending. Hopefully that includes pain for what he did but, even if it doesn’t, I can understand someone wanting to be with there for their sibling. Again, have a beer, go out for dinner, take a walk, go to the park with him and the kids. But talking about anything related to the marriage should be off limits. Or, if she wants to listen, she shouldn’t mute her values. If he wants to be held accountable by his sister, I guess that could work. I don’t know how many people are that close to thier siblings.

            • It’s a difficult one isn’t it! You’re right though- there’s different definitions of ‘support’.

              On the one hand, the cheater is human and if he needs emotional support, shouldn’t he have it? Shouldn’t we have compassion for all human beings?

              On the other hand, he actually caused a lot of pain and harm unnecessarily to other people. You wouldn’t support a man in pain at his relationship ending, when he ended it by murdering his wife. So would you support a man in pain at his relationship ending because he ended it by having an affair?

              Clearly, one is illegal and extreme and the other isn’t.

              I’m actually quite confused by this, and would appreciate the perspective of someone more versed.

              ‘Support’ could also mean anything to do with helping him in his divorce – be it advice or financial. Regardless, it’s supporting him to fight against his wife, the Chump. Is that right? I don’t think so.

              • I absolutely share your thoughts about everyone being worthy (at some level) of compassion. I don’t know if we all have to provide it for everyone though … Then again, there are examples of family, and victims, supporting people who have committed horrible crimes. I hope to not find myself in such a position. If my brother, a friend, or one of boys cheated it would be tough for me to figure out exactly what I’d be comfortable with. I imagaine a lot of mistakes and false starts.

            • I think ‘support’ is too much of a generalised word in this context. It can mean all manner of different things and means different things to different people.

      • Nuances of what counts as “Switzerland” might help a chump decide whether to maintain contact with people who still have contact with the cheater.

        I don’t want Switzerland people in my life, either, but do draw a distinction between those who have indicated they are clearly on my side yet need to maintain contact with my X (usually for professional reasons) vs. those who want to maintain contact with both of us but have bought X’s “I was unhappy in my marriage” or “Tempest had flaws that led me to be susceptible to cheating” nonsense. Buying his narrative means you are no friend of mine (and frankly, most of the people who buy Hannibal’s narrative have cheating in their own background).

      • Off the Crazy Train, I couldn’t agree more. After my STBX cheated on me for the 3 rd time after our false reconciliation, I couldn’t stand Switzerland people. I even despised myself after his first affair for staying with him. I felt like I had abandoned my values. Now that we’ve been separated for 7 months and the support camps have been formed, I no longer associate with people who still speak with him.

        I was married for 19 years to him and crazy in love for 15 years. I have always been a leader in the company I work for, a mother of 3 kids and very present in my marriage. Made more money than he did, fantastic cook, never held him back. He wasn’t hurting for anything. I went to every work event he had and supported him. I fell out of love with him at year 16 when I realized he was mentally abusing me and was told I was being to sensitive. Now I know it was because I couldn’t stack up to his AP #1 and AP #2 so he made me feel less than for years. I didn’t realize he was doing that in small doses throughout the marriage and it got worse as he had his affairs.

        He’s a police officer in my small town so he’s really great at creating an image and getting people to stay Switzerland with him. My true friends and my family want nothing to do with him. If one of my family members cheated, I would be done with that relationship despite how I feel about my SIL. No one deserves this mental abuse.

        I filed for divorce this week. Chumpdom is done for me.

    • I agree as well. I found out my one and only brother was having an emotional affair with a 20 year old receptionist at his work (he was 45????) at the same time as my DDay. My SIL believes in unicorns and danced so hard she gave herself a “widow-maker” heart attack last winter and almost died. My brother never once offered any support to me or my four kids after I kicked X out. He is like this to everyone in the family. He is a miserable, selfish person. I keep a far distance from him. I don’t care that we share parents. He sucks and I will never “take a cheater’s side.” No. Just no.

        • Mine isn’t. Evil destructive behavior is always wrong. Every cheater has people who love them. Every serial killer has a mom. I don’t believe in situational ethics. Yes, it is uncomfortable when it is your family member who has done the bad thing. But it is still a bad thing. To suddenly blameshift and say it is now an understandable thing is cowardly. I think she should leave the sister completely alone–because that poor cheated on and already harmed and humiliated woman doesn’t need her “support.” She needs people who will champion her and prop her up until she can find the internal fortitude to champion herself and her children.

  • I think this is important because all chumps are going to come in contact with people we love who don’t … meet the boundaries we have come to realize we internalize but others haven’t. Or don’t have the character we take for granted.

    I think CBS you may have hoped that CL would answer exactly as she did. She has often said- Switzerland friends…. aren’t.

    You want her to call you on your bullshit. To help you realize which boundaries are looking grey because, frankly, you’re human and when you love someone you get a little grey about things you were certain were black and white for everyone else. And she has. Love your brother. Support your brother. Encourage him to fix his shitty character because he has two kids who are going to be influenced by his very terrible decisions. Tell him to be a good ex. To give the right support and accept that he took the shittiest route and it makes him quite the turd, but you’re aware he could and should be better and he needs to fix that shit, because you’ve been there and you know that no amount of crap in a marriage makes it ok to fall in a vagina.

    CL is right about telling the kids. Hiding that shit is septic. If your SIL is being septic about it, make sure she knows about this place and encourage her to find counselling or some friend outlets who willl accept her rage and sad, so she has somewhere to vent, and makes good parallel parenting choices because that’s also possibly septic.

    I can’t imagine the conflict this causes for you. How much it makes you think about your pain. How much you might struggle with your brothers place. Your strong protective stance of him, all the victim shaming stuff that’s coming up- means he’s been a good brother. Been there for you.

    But being there for him means challenging him to not be the douche he has very arguably been.

  • My step-daughter is in the same position choosing sides with her mom. I understand that. She told me that she didn’t agree with “how her mother handled her affair”- whatever that means. I raised her from about 14 years and up with my biological daughter as a sister.
    My xw’s narrative with step-daughter I am not aware of. Don’t care. If she feels the need to talk I’ll listen. But I don’t see that happening. She knows I love her as my own but she has issues that I cannot become self-involved in.

    I’ve kept the peace and stayed NC with both step for Christmas and birthdays. Step has 4 kids (my grandchildren). I want to be a part of their lives but there is drama and conflict in her family, mainly kept stirred by Her husband- a drunk. So I choose to stay silent. They live a 3 minute walk away.

    I got Step a birthday card and gave her a $20 Amazon gift card last month. Not a Thank You issued. No Response. No appreciation.

    Oh Well, I guess it’s part and parcel of the “taking sides games”. But I don’t have to play. I don’t hate her for her behavior. She’s stuck.

    So I’ve decided to let her go, and my grandchildren due to the friction caused by her husband. I have reason to believe xw slept with him too. I’ll be cast as villain but that’s OK too. I don’t control that. She knows who I really am and I demonstrated what a good man looks like. My job is done.

    • A divorce where stepchildren are involved is a no-win situation, at least for me. The X and married when my stepdaughter was 4.5 and my stepson had just turned 3 (today is his birthday, 22!). I cared for them as a mother and loved them as my own as I chose to not have children. In 2009, they came to live with us after a contentious custody battle.

      The move caused irreparable damage to my marriage. The X was not prepared for the stress of living with teenagers who had baggage and emotions. I did everything for those kids but I was under no illusions that their loyalty would ever be me and it’s not.

      I told my husband that what we did for them was good. The stepdaughter was heading down the wrong path and we got her graduated without being on drugs or becoming a single mother. My stepson became a wrestler in his freshman year and went on to the state championship by his senior year. I am so proud of both of them and love them with my whole heart.

      I am left with empty hands – no husband, no marriage, no family, and I was going to be a Nana (my stepdaughter had a little girl in early June). That river is too wide to swim and I know that they are torn with loyalty to their father. Yes, it sucks.

      • I an so sorry to hear this Miss Bailey. That’s a shit sandwich for sure, it hurts my heart just to think of it! My son lost his step grandma in our divorce and they adored each other! Maybe you can be adopted grandma to my two kids ????… they would love it.

  • “Unfortunately she has decided to tell everyone about the affair and why he wants a divorce, this includes their 9 & 11 year old children.”

    I don’t know you and this will sound harsh but my gut reaction is how dare you criticize a Chump for telling the truth? Not her truth but THE truth? I find the word “unfortunately” very upsetting.

    Isn’t that what CN is all about?

    Your SIL has the right to be honest with everyone about exactly what happened to her and her children! When you were chumped, did you tell the truth? If so, did you want anyone to consider telling the truth as an unfortunate occurrence? You cannot have it both ways

    I understand someone wanting to maintain their relationship with a sibling, but that relationship has to be based on the truth of what happened, not how the cheater wants to spin it.

  • My CS engaged in a smear campaign, and portrayed me as a horrible person who was the cause of all of his woes and that I would rage and use the kids against him to his family. And that was before he was caught with the in an affair. It didn’t matter to them. They closed ranks, shut me out and accepted the AP into their circle (and pushed me out). They even alienated the kids because they supported me after the affair came to light. They claimed that they “didn’t get involved” in personal affairs.. but isn’t that just that?! Not one of them called him out or defended me. AFTER 30 YEARS of trying to please them and participating on their terms. When I tried to express how hurt I was to my MIL, she let me know in no uncertain terms what a bad DIL I had been. Not my viewpoint. Holidays and visits were always on their turf. And I always tried to foster their relationship with my children, as family was THE top priority to me. Boy did I learn my lesson regarding being true to myself. SO when my brother had an affair 9 months after my DDay, I left him with no uncertainty as to what I thought of it and where my sympathies lay. Prior to all of this I may have acted in a more unconditional loving way towards my brother. But not anymore. I know the pain of a family torn apart, and the FURTHER trauma of having people who supposedly “loved” you, suddenly treat you like the root of all pain and evil.

  • Reading this post made me so angry, I began just skimming and then I had to walk away steaming. It is a complete double standard. I bet anyone could say the same thing about your marriage that wasn’t your friend or didn’t like you. You say their marriage was different, they weren’t happy for years. Your ex would have said the same. SIL was not nice. Well, did she cheat? She doesn’t deserve to be cheated on.

    Badmouthing is in the eye of the beholder- a chump lady gem.

    All chumps should stand up for one another. No, that doesn’t mean you hate your brother. It means you hold him accountable. You don’t don’t welcome his cheater partner with open arms. Maybe you never liked SIL, and you don’t have to suddenly become BFF’s but you can acknowledge her pain and what your brother did was abusive and evil no matter how you slice it. He owes everyone an apology and more.

  • I still have a good relationship with my in laws but it only works because I recognize that he is still their son/brother/nephew and they are still going to think he is mostly a good guy (he was the golden child before all of this) even if they are disappointed with some of his choices. Meanwhile they recognize that I am no longer going to think he is as awesome as I used to think he was. Early on, when they were as dumbfounded as me we did discuss him somewhat, but now I avoid talking about him and we have plenty of other things to talk about when we get together.

    Unfortunately, ex knows we did talk about him in the past and doesn’t realize that this is no longer the case. I get the impression that he is really uncomfortable with my relationship with them. He is pushing Schmoopie hard on them. He wants them to love her as much as they love me. I know they are going to be nice to her and include her when they get together with ex. I prefer to think that is just because they know they have to in order to maintain a relationship with their son/brother/nephew and not because they actually like her. If that isn’t the case, well, I don’t have to know about that. I know they love me and I love them and that is all that matters. I don’t want to put them in the position of having to choose between us because a: I would probably lose as blood is thicker than water; b: I don’t want to cause them that kind of stress; and c: I don’t actually want ex to lose his family because I think they are one of the few good things in his life aside from his kids.

    • Chumpinrecovery, your approach sounds similar to mine. I remember telling my MIL, who I considered a second mother, that if it was my son in the same situation I would support him too. At the time, I knew my ex had few friends and that he needed his mother’s support.

      My MIL told me “we can still be friends,” but I pointed out that she was my children’s grandmother, and I was her grandchildren’s mother, so we’d always be family. However, I declined to retain a close relationship with her because it was just too painful. Interacting with her set off terrible longing and grief, so I stopped. Now we just send cards to each other on special occasions. Really sad, but I accept that’s the way it is.

      Luckily I’d experienced the fallout after divorce in my own family and knew how it worked. Even with the best of intentions, I lost contact with my aunt after my uncle cheated on her and married his AP. There was no illusion on my part that a close relationship with my inlaws could be maintained, so I let that go right away.

      • I fear it may eventually come to that. I think ex is afraid I am trying to put a wedge between him and his family (I am not) and so is pushing back with a few wedges of his own. Right now I almost feel that I am the one sneaking around having an affair with his family. I am going to my SIL’s birthday celebration an hour early so I can leave before ex and Schmoopie show up so SIL doesn’t have to be in the awkward position of having us all there at the same time and possibly having people’s feelings get hurt if she is giving attention to one side vs. the other. I am happy to accommodate as I don’t want her to feel uncomfortable on her birthday but feel bad that she has to make extra time to fit me in. I told her I would understand if she preferred that I just don’t go, but she insists she wants to see me. Still, I don’t want any of his family to have to feel stressed out about maintaining a relationship with me while still trying to keep him in their lives as well. They have been wonderfully supportive of me through all of this. They still send me birthday presents (not just cards) and I remember them on their birthdays as well. SILs kids are the only nieces/nephews I have and I enjoy them too. I am grateful to them, but I would understand completely if it eventually just becomes easier to let our relationship slip away, sad as that would be.

        • It sounds like you and your SIL are handling the birthday celebration as well as possible. My SIL told me not too long ago that I was still part of their family. I thought that was sweet, but not true since I no longer participate in family events. It’s the strangest things that my new DIL’s are now part of the family I was with for over 36 years. They don’t remember a time when I was part of it. I really miss seeing my kids interact with each other and with the extended family. My family is much smaller and sickly, so I miss the big family gatherings I’m no longer a part of. I’d say enjoy your time with your SIL as long as possible, but understand that it’s hard to maintain ties when you aren’t around as much.

    • You are so lucky that your in laws have treated you so well. And you them. Three years age, I was just cut off. Not a phone call, a card, nor email or text. They are all local. Of course, if their magnificent son/ brother cheated, I must have been just a horrible wife/ mother/ person.

      • The same with me. Three years ago. They also blamed me for his unemployment, financial worries and mental health. They welcomed her in to save their son. What they didn’t know was that he had a mental breakdown directly after the affair became physical. I had a wonderful therapist who helped me to understand scapegoating. Because I was really buying into it all.

      • Me too. 28 years total with that family and it was like I died. Nothing. Nada. And yes, they also welcomed the OW into the fold with open arms.

        It makes me sick and I don’t understand it. I mean, I understand dumping me. But welcoming her?

        My own brother cheated on his wife and divorced. Not a single one of my other siblings or father would have anything to do with the OW. Ever.

  • Brava!!

    Chump Lady, this is an excellent untossing of the word (sh!t) salad surrounding the betrayal narrative.

    Thank you

  • This addresses a dilemma I have been having. I was married 28 years. My xhusband’s AP outed him on Facebook a year ago and I received a lot of support at the time. We are now officially divorced. No comments from them since. They live a 4 hour plane flight away. We use to take family vacations when kids were small. I wanted to visit a few years ago but X did not. I feel the need for a quick visit. Sort of to say goodbye. I did have a good relationship with them. Is this a bad idea. Kids are not able to go.

    • I suspect it is a terrible idea. If they wanted a continued relationship with you, you would have heard from them. It is impossible to know why they have not reached out to you–they might believe packs of lies about you; they might know their son is a jackass but feel a strong need to side with him; they might be ashamed of their son and want you to move on unencumbered by EX-inlaws. In all likelihood, their silence is probably due to a variety of factors.

      Their silence may also just be about self-interest. People are hurt in all kinds of ways when a relationship within the extended family ends. My ex-MIL was furious with me. Part of her anger was simply fear. I know she had expected to be cared for by us in our home as she aged. Then I left her cheating son. She knew she couldn’t count on her son, but rather than be furious with him, she was mad at me because she had to face the reality of planning for a retirement community, etc. From her point of view, I had betrayed her trust by divorcing her son. Your EX-inlaws may have all kinds of personal reasons for being upset with their son’s divorce and the ways it is impacting them. The experiences of your EX-inlaws aren’t your fault or your business or your worry any more.

      If you need to say good-bye, write them a card telling them so. But do not go visit without a firm invitation (and a good escape plan).

  • My husband was watching a documentary about Hiroshima a few weeks after DDay, when we were in wreckonciliation. When we got to the scenes where everything was flattened for miles around Ground Zero, I said, “this is what an affair does.” I know no other more apt description, and I saw that destruction rippling outward when I read this letter. Thanks, cheaters, for destroying and complicating the ever-living-fuck out of everything. You “weren’t happy?” So your solution was to have an affair and pull everyone for miles around into your pit of misery and steal their peace of mind, security, and joy. To inflict major league life altering psychological collateral damage.

    This messy sad complicated situation is one I
    would use an awesome therapist to help me navigate. I don’t do anything this big and complex alone, for sure. Get outside help, get competent wise support, be honest, be willing to learn, be willing to practice, be willing to make amends during the process and be accountable because there will be missteps.

      • PS….
        My house looks like an atomic bomb went off. I told my daughter it’s common for your house to get messy when life gets messy. My daily practice is to find the motivation to dig out. For inspiration, watch Madonna Badger’s TED talk on resilience. She lost her three daughters, both parents, and her home on Christmas Day 2011. AFTER a divorce. AFTER realizing she had been sexually abused as a child. She is a lighthouse for me.
        And I want to report a trigger victory….it’s taken me since last November to learn to use another freeway exit to go to the place of business I own with my STBXH. One that doesn’t take me past the hotel, restaurant, and Asian massage happy ending parlor that are all crime scenes. The affair fog is real….for the CHUMPS…..
        ❤️ to all…..We just have to do TODAY.

    • Noun: censor
      Someone who censures or condemns
      A person who is authorized to read publications or correspondence or to watch theatrical performances and suppress in whole or in part anything considered obscene or politically unacceptable.

      Point taken. Have a great day.

    • I think it’s a fairly common simile, and that Hiroshima is widely used as an agreed upon shorthand for complete devastation.I was nodding when I read Velvet Hammer’s post because that’s how it felt to me too- but at the same time I am aware that I’m not making a factual comparison of suffering with someone who experienced it. I think your reprimand was unduly harsh, although I understand your wish to explain your friend’s history.I think you are attempting to hold back the tide on that particular language use,
      We say that someone met their Waterloo, for example- but waterloo was a real battle where people suffered and died, and not just an Abba song.Even using Dday- hello, Dday, horrible experience for the troops trying to reclaim Europe. We are not intending to disrespect their suffering by using it as shorthand for an emotional event

      • ❤️ mooin….for your extremely educated elegant and eloquent response which eluded me…..I felt assaulted…..

    • For fucks sake. She didn’t say cheating is exactly the Hiroshima!!! She didn’t say cheating is worse or even the same as dying of radiation poisoning.

      She said when she say the footage of the flattened landscape that is what it infidelity felt like to her.

      The landscape. Utter destruction.

  • CBS, where did your brother and SIL stand when you were chunked and going through your own divorce? Were either of them Switzerland?

    Let’s not forget cheaters engage in crazymaking, blameshifting, and justify behavior. They create drama and often times have already established themselves as victims. I experienced this for years wondering why I was treated poorly.

    While I disengaged from his family years ago, it’s obvious they have their own lives and don’t have a real relationship with him. They aren’t supportive of his actions or respect him as a person.

    Personally, I’d offer her support and call your brother out on his actions. On the other hand if you’re not fond of her I’d still call out the cheaters actions. How can you trust him? He lacks character.

    • Doingme raises some excellent points. Maybe a lot of the drama you witnessed in the family that is blamed on the SIL was actually created by your brother? Narcissists are superb at driving wedges between family members and creating the impression that they are innocent/charming/agreeable and that the partner is the one who is difficult/unreasonable/cause of marital problems.

      On reflecting on this, it does sound like the typical covert narcissist has even turned his chumped sister into one of his flying monkeys.

      He may look like a great guy to you as his sibling, but my guess is that he is just another Jekyll and Hyde and that his wife was treated to much worse behavior, as well as emotional abuse, that you do not know about and she herself may not have recognized. Your brother is not a good man.

  • I’m a chump and the X is a cheater. By his own admission, him, his two sisters and both parents were all cheaters. What a family.

    When D-Day, I reached out to my two cousins, both were like sisters when we were growing up. I couldn’t figure out why cousin KA was sympathetic was but not too involved. I had forgotten that she cheated on both of her husband. While she knew I was in pain, she probably saw herself in my X. I understand and have tried to dial it my anger. I can tell that she’s uncomfortable and would rather not talk about my problems. I have others who understand and are willing to let me vent.

    Thank you goodness for cousin KE who has been my lifesaver, my confidant, and my support system. She’s a lovely person who lost her husband to a heart attack at the age 45. She understands my grief even if it’s from cheating.

    I will say that I’m not shy about being a chump. We had two sets of close friends who started out being friend with the X. After all this, I can say that they are team MissBailey. His selfishness and callousness has tainted his relationships. And it really doesn’t matter to me what stories he chooses to tell. I know what happened, I know the type of person he is, and I know how he talks about others.

  • My brother cheated on his wife. It happened about 1 year after I left my kids dad, and my brother called me daily, crying about losing his family for about a month.

    The clincher: he never told us that the reason she left was because she caught him cheating. That was not revealed until this year (4 years later).

    He told me that he had come home from work and the house was clean and she had sent their son to her parents. He asked if they were having a date night and she replied that she was leaving him. She had been moving stuff for a few days while he was at work and he had not noticed.

    His sad sausage story to everyone was that he was blindsided by her leaving him, he had no idea WHY, a week prior, they had been house hunting and actively trying for baby 2. He convinced evenyone that he was devastated and begged her daily for 6 months to take him back. During this time, she revealed she was pregnant with baby 2. He put doubt in everyone’s mind that the baby was even his (smear campain) however this little girl is his spitting image.

    Because I had left my kids dad by doing a midnight move, I remember questioning him about this- telling him that SOMETHING must have happened- women don’t just move without good reason. Especially because her move parelled how I left my ex. He claimed he had no idea why she left.

    I was not particularly close with my brothers wife. Our family viewed her as a lovely woman and a good mother and breathed a sigh of relief when they got together because she was a step up from his previous gfs and would be good for him.

    It came out later that he and his wife met at work by having and affair. He had been dating “A” and cheated on “A” with his wife. Guess who he cheated on his wife with? You guessed it: “A”.

    I love my brother and he emotionally supported me during my horrendous breakup with ex narcopath. However, during that time is when he revealed why he and his wife really broke up (his affair). He makes $70k a year and is constantly broke and I am always lending him money. He usually has 3 or more women on the go. He is an alcoholic.

    I felt very betrayed when he revealed his cheating. I have distanced myself. We do not have the same parenting styles and his kids bully my kids so we do not do play dates. He is vindictive to his ex.

    All in all: his is a clone of my ex narcopath.

    He recently started dating a new woman whom I have met twice. I have invested 2 hours getting to know her and realized during this time that she did not ask me ONE question about myself. I do not care for her and I see a lot of red flags in their relationship (she does not like his kids).

    I feel she is a very toxic person and ironically, he is deeply infatuated with her. Perhaps they will be a narcissistic implosion. Perhaps she is his karma.

    Like someone above wrote, I would be there for him in an emergency, but no longer wish to associate with him on the daily.

    As for his exwife, she has never reached out to me and we were not close. My parents have remains friends with her and they inform me that she has met a man and seems happy.

  • One thing I notice in this thread is a lot of chumps have cheating brothers, (I note that there are some cheating sisters as well). But my thought goes to, do the families hold the sexes to different standards. Girls become chumps and boys more likely cheaters. The chumps are brought up to cover for their brothers/fathers behavior.

    2 of my closest staunchest supportive friends have cheater brothers. I never would have known if not for my situation. One covers for brother like this big sis while the other thinks her brother is a jerk and is mostly no contact. Her mother sided with her brother’s chump and they stayed together till the kids were grown. They now live 2 hours apart but are still married. Tells me once a cheater/chump always a…

    • Society might have different standards, but those brothers cheated with (I think it was implied) women who may have been in relationships or, likely, knew the brother was (or didn’t bother to ask). Sure, people can be duped into being the AP but it’s not usually the case. I bet these women have siblings too …

    • Well, in addition to a brother, I also had a cheating father and a mother who buried her resentment. She counseled me to put it in the past and move on (six months out). When she found out about my father’s involvement, she “put on her make up and neglige to seduce him back to her.” She still resents him to this day (probably herself even more). But when she learned of my brother’s affair she supported his wife and called him out on his behavior. To his credit he never tried to defend himself or denigrate her, and we all love him. But that doesn’t mean we will support him unconditionally. The OW was not welcome. And we were in close contact with his wife. I hope that I will hold these lessons closely. And I wish I had supported my mother more.

      • I would also add that I was raised a catholic and taught not to judge and to turn the other cheek. But boundaries and self esteem… I don’t recall those lessons. I was always taught to forgive and forget. And to always apologize for my part in things (of course, resentfully when I felt that I was not at fault). No wonder I became such a Chump and didn’t know how to stand up for myself!

        • I don’t know what the answers are here. I too am a religious person and believe in the values you expressed. Luckily, I can try to forgive me too when I’m not feeling very compassionate about my ex’s feelings, disorder, etc. But her parents and family support her. Frustrating as hell, but I get it.

          • I expected his family and sibling to support him… but I never expected the venom against me. I know that he poisoned the well, but they knew me. At least I thought they knew me better than that. We all fail, but I believe it’s how we respond that redeems us. Forgiveness to me is a gift to myself because they never apologized or asked for it. If I become bitter and judgmental than I am them. I don’t want to live with that ruling my life and thoughts. But I struggle not to harbor anger and resentment. The empathy factor is lost on CS’s family, and they have never personally experienced the fall out, so I “forgive” them, but hold grey rock boundaries. I am learning to shut the door on my thoughts of I’m not good enough….blah blah. As for my brother and my father, I know that they love me deeply as I do them. Forgiveness is not mine to give them. My father’s is long past (I hope!) and my brother is still married. That’s between him and his wife.
            Funny when my foundation was destroyed and I was unable to get off the floor, my brother was sympathic, but not empathetic. Saying “it takes two to make or break a marriage…. a forshadowing? When he had his affair 6 months after my DDay I couldn’t believe that he had seen all of the fallout and still pursued the affair. But of course his relationship with the OW was “profound.” He witnessed my pain but never thought it would equate to his family.
            So I am working on boundaries with my brother. I will always love him, and he has paid a high price. But he was aware that I would not support his behavior or talk to him about how special his relationship was. I still support his wife and children (who shut him out while they dealt with their pain)
            I think we can find workable answers with the lessons we have learned, but still find

  • I’m a chump – D-Day was 16 months ago, lived in limbo for 1 year, separated for 3 months. My older brother is a cheater and he knows I detest his shitty behavior. What baffles me is my brother and SIL’s complete acceptance of my cheater STBX. It’s beyond Switzerland – he’s still invited to family gatherings, while I’m told to “let it go and forgive.” Fuck that!
    I’ve gone gray rock with all of them to maintain my sanity, but it is truly depressing to not have their support during this difficult time in my life.

  • Apply the Golden Rule here, CBS. That is really the gist. The last thing a chump needs is people in his or her life suggesting they are to blame for being cheated on. Think how painful that was or would have been for you! As CL so aptly stated, perfection ought not to be the benchmark to avoid being cheated upon. That is not fair nor part of the vows.

  • My ex W came from a large family who I came to know and love over 20 years. Whilst they were kind and supportive to me and initially angry with their sister I suspect that has tempered with time and I know some of them have said they want her to be happy. I get that, they are siblings after all and as much as I have love for them I have decided to gradually let them go. I really don’t want anyone in my life ( except for the kids) who have much to do with Queen of the Shitheads.

    • Realmonkeylove……….my ex-inlaws showed me much love after the initial outing of their sons affair. They eventually met the OW and accepted her as my replacement. It was extremely difficult to watch that happen after our 30 year history. It felt like just another blow to my already damaged soul. I eventually had to step away from the relationship with them because it continued to hurt me. Affairs are far reaching when it comes to family and friends.

      I do feel some sympathy for the letter writer and can understand why she is torn. However, regardless of who the cheater is, they need to own their choices and accept the consequences, even if that is the wrath of close family members.

  • My Sister cheated on her husband and I had a really hard time with it. Our Dad cheated on our mom when we were teens and it is just so wrong. My Sister ended up divorcing and re-marrying. He is a much better match for her but cheating was the wrong way to go about it.

    Fast forward 8 years and I’ve just been chumped. My Sister helped me detect and decipher my spouse’s behaviour and actions It just feels odd to receive sympathy from my sister while I am going through this when she caused the same pain to her ex-husband. I had previously not answered my ex-BIL calls because I didn’t want to be in the middle of everything but now I have felt this pain, I am going to reach out to him and apologize for not answering.

    So, she’s my sister and I still love her but I didn’t support her cheating and made her aware of how I felt. Also crazy that my spouse knew how I felt about cheating but still made the choice to do it and lie about it. I guess they’re in the same bucket.

  • Personally I agree with your former sister in law I would have nothing more to do with your brother but that’s just my opinion. Your brother had the choice to divorce and he took the cowards way out.

  • Two things to remember: You cannot control what other people think and do, and, you can love someone even though you don’t love or approve of some of their decisions. As long as someone I love can be truthful with me, I do not have to agree with all of their actions or decisions. I do not expect them to do that for me, either. So if my brother says, “yes, I cheated, and I regret my behavior, it was wrong,” I don’t need to hear anything else. His actions or opinions do not affect the way I feel about his ex. Her words and actions would determine how I felt about her. Same if she was the cheater. There is an old saying, hate the sin, not the sinner. We don’t have to agree about what constitutes sin to agree with the idea expressed. All of us make mistakes. I sure have, and I have plenty of regrets. I hope my errors in judgement do not keep others from loving me. I feel love does not equate to condone. My family is far from perfect. I don’t choose to see all of them or consider them all to be friends. They are still my relatives. I am not responsible for the choices they make in their lives. I am responsible for my own choices. I am the only one who decides whether or not someone else is toxic for me, regardless of whether we are related. They decide the same thing about me. There is nothing “fair” about any human relationship. Having a relationship is a choice.

      • Just an extension of Life is not fair. CL has pointed out that adult relationships need to be reciprocal. I don’t disagree with that, but I find it is an ideal to strive for, and easier said than done. Sometimes in my relationships one person is more giving and or forgiving than another. Some facts of life cannot be changed. For instance, I love my sons, but I don’t always approve of what they say or do.. I love my mother, and know she cannot help slipping into the mind wandering and mood swings of old age. It is not fair, it just is. I no longer have a spouse, very little was fair about that relationship. I still have the capacity to love, or have loved, even though life was not fair.

  • Ask yourself this: what message are you sending to your nieces and nephews by excusing your brothers behavior?

    You love him. Do you love them?

    Do you love them enough to do the hard thing and reinforce that what their father did was wrong?

    Or would you rather take the easy road at their expense?

    If you skew things to excuse his behavior, you are teaching those kids to be cheaters or chimps. Don’t be surprised one day to find you contributed to their pain.

    What you do right now, what you say right now, how objective you can be right now is laying the groundwork for their future.

    Do you love them enough to see that?

    • So, has your brother called it quits with Schmoopie? Or, is he going to present Schmoopie to the family, and is the family buying that she’s all “nice”? Are you and Schmoopie going to post on each other’s Facebook pages and follow each other on Twitter? Perhaps he will cakewalk between Schmoopie and SIL?

      You need to take the high road. Be a big sister and a human. Tell your brother you don’t agree or support the Schmoopie relationship. Just like if he was a heroin addict, would you supply him? Take a firm stand against WHAT he has done because of WHO he is and WHAT HE struggles with. Don’t let him deflect to the argument onto SIL. No one is perfect, not even Schmoopie. When the newness wears off of whoever, how is he going to solve conflicts, Schmoopie 2.0?

      You need to stay in contact with your SIL and support her with doing something for the kids. You can’t listen to her, you already sound like you don’t like her. I’d say, “I understand, you were cheated on. I don’t agree with what he did. But, he’s my brother and let’s not dwell on him. Find other friends to talk with. He ain’t worth it in my book. I’m here to help you with the kids, if you need anything.” You don’t know if he’s going to lose custody of his kids… You don’t know what all he has been up to…now, do you? You need to do this for your niece and nephew. Because, you also don’t know what type of bad decisions your SIL could make in the wake of this disaster.

  • Also, I think you need to objectively look at some of what you call her bad behavior.

    Forcing him to choose her over family? Might be her issue. Might be her defending herself from dysfunction.

    I get a hint of the “but, faaaaamily” culture in your description of the situation.

    Placing family above all else is not healthy. Family should come first, but it is not an absolute.

    Also, when one marries, the spouse become the primary family and the parents and sibs take a back seat.

    When that is not the case, there is disfunction:

    I think you might benefit from counseling or talking to a friendly and objective person about your family because I worry you are not objective about healthy boundaries.

    This may sound harsh, but a lot of us come from situations like this and it is so difficult to see it.

    • Also, when one marries, the spouse become the primary family and the parents and sibs take a back seat. When that is not the case, there is disfunction.

      This!! I don’t think the X ever made me and his kids the primary family. It was like we always took a backseat to his sinister sister. To this day, I doubt the X functions without getting the OK from big sis who is also a cheater. Her husband was willing to forgive and he’s got lots of money.

    • Yes, this exactly: “Forcing him to choose her over family? Might be her issue. Might be her defending herself from dysfunction.”

      XH’s mother was horrible to me. For 18 years I put up with her passive-aggressive comments about me. I had no idea what passive-aggressive was at the time, but knew I always felt tortured when I was in her presence. Finally, after begging XH for years to tell her that her behavior was not acceptable and him doing nothing, I told him: “I’m opting out of that relationship. You can have a relationship with your mother, but I’m done.” He left me 10 months later for his whore. His family welcomed whore into their home 2 weeks following our 74 day divorce.

      • That statement reminded me of the story from a chump the other day who had to ask her then husband later devaluing/cheating/discarding scumbag to tell his mom to back off when she made derogatory race based comments about their son (MIL’s own grandson!). Was she asking her then husband to choose her and their son over his mother? Yes she was and she was right to do so. This could have been a similar situation for all we know.

        • I agree, she was right to ask her husband to choose her over MIL.

          My therapist had me talk about this over several visits. He told me the healthy response would have been to remove that woman from my life years earlier. My brokenness allowed me to stay far too long. Never again.

  • J, it seems that by “forgiving and forgetting” they are really trying to normalize what happened between them. It’s do difficult to separate with family in addition to dealing with the betrayal pain. Grey rock will be good and it is admirable that you have the wherewithall to hold that boundary. I’m sorry for your pain.

  • If my brother acknowledged his wrong doing I would maintain a relationship with him. But it would never be as close as it was likely. As for his wife. I would at some point have to tell her that I want a relationship with her, I agree that what my brother did was horrible, but I can’t keep going over and over it. That would be my boundary. She can accept that or not.

  • This one hit home a bit. Its puzzling and realistic when the blame sharing continues on even with a chump! I had a very smart friend tell me to ‘take his entire family off my plate” while I was divorcing. It felt so good to do this after over 3 decades that I have continued that advice for almost 3 years after divorce. LOL They adored me 😉 and really worked hard to try to keep the “we love you both” flag flying. No thanks, I’m good.

    Less triggers for me while the roomed spinned and I was so off balance. Its tough navigating the truth, the lies, the future and be guilted by X Family. To this day, my X family and even my adult children have never confronted or blamed the cheater. I can’t control anyone but me ……. Take them off your plate!

    • I unfriended the X and all his family (cousins included) and his friends on FB shortly after he said he wanted a divorce. A couple of weeks later when D-day hit, I blocked the X, the OW and the X’s sinister sister on FB and IG. I also blocked the sister’s phone. I don’t see to see their stuff. It’s just pain shopping for me and what happens in their lives has no effect on how I decide to live mine.

      • Me too, I unfollowed everyone in his family. Too painful to navigate how to be pseudo-family with people who WERE my family for 30+ years. Too hard to see them all having fun with my kids and grandkids while I’m not included. No thanks.

  • My XSIL was my best friend. I cut her out for a lot of the same reasons posted above. I didn’t need Switzerland people in my life even if he is her brother. I get it but it didn’t work for me. I also felt betrayed by her because of that and the fact she knew more than told and hung out with some of his whores because they all worked together. ( she denied that) In reality she wasn’t actually the best friend I thought I had. So she and any other Switzerland people were cut off. It would hurt too badly to have kept those people around anyway. But it sucked to have lost 2 supposed best friends at the same time.

  • Interesting. Asshat’s sister cheated on her then-husband a few years ago, and her husband divorced her. She’s now “so happy” with her OM (I should say ‘man/child’, he’s an alcoholic idiot whom I am certain won’t ever marry her, but will happily let her pay his bills and bail him out of trouble for however long she puts up with it). She and her husband were not a great match in my opinion, and though I NEVER support a cheater, I was happy that she finally left the marriage as it seemed healthier for the both of them and their kids.

    Anyhow, Asshat threw her situation in my face when I firmly refused to be “happy for him” for “finding twu wuv” via his own cheating. “But…you are still ‘friends’ with my sister!” No, we actually are not ‘friends’. I tolerated her and her idiot ‘soulmate’ at family functions because she is your sister and I am your wife. I soon will no longer be your wife, and I don’t need to do that anymore. And I won’t tolerate your or YOUR squeeze of the week on any level. The only person I need to be ‘happy for’ is ME.

    • The fact that any cheater would suggest that their chump should be happy for them for finding “Twu Wuv” in the wake of infidelity just shows what stupid, cruel, soulless twats they really are. They really don’t get it and that is pathetic.

      • It really isn’t all that far fetched. Cheaters are accustomed to having their chumps support them in all they do, often at personal sacrifice. Why WOULDN’T the chump continue to view their happiness as paramount?

        They just don’t see us chumps as existing outside of their own needs.

  • Could just be the way I am reading this, but with all the negative implications of the OP’s SIL’s behavior (‘they’ weren’t happy for a long time, I’m not her biggest fan, she caused family drama, she is ‘unfortunately’ telling the truth), it makes me seem like OP is looking for a justification to blame her brother’s affair on her SIL, so she can continue a relationship with her brother as though reality doesn’t exist – i.e., he is cheater who deliberately caused deep emotional harm to his wife and children through unilateral decisions they were helpless to prevent. He is an abuser – full stop.

    I understand the impulse, as facing facts about someone we love is a very hard thing indeed, especially if it nags at us in a way that makes us question if we can have a full relationship with that person going forward.

    I have personally never known a chump (and I know a lot of chumps) who is so cavalier about a cheater’s infidelity, no matter who that cheater might be…but that just goes to show that Chumps come in all flavors just like everybody else.

    I keep coming back to the line about how the wife has “unfortunately…decided to tell everyone about the affair and why he wants a divorce, this includes their 9 & 11 year old children.” Unfortunately? The truth is unfortunate? This boggles my mind. We know that telling the truth does not equal “bad-mouthing,” and we know that telling anything but the truth to children when they are navigating a deep trauma causes direct and long-lasting harm in addition to the harm they have already experienced. Calling it “unfortunate” says more about OP’s frame of mind on this more than anything else in the letter.

    I would try and give some sage advice about how to navigate this difficult situation, but I think OP has already decided her loyalties lie exclusively with the cheater and his narrative, and all the other concerns about having a relationship with the SIL and the children are just platitudes.

    Put it this way: If you offered up that you would love and interact with your brother like you always have, but you also made clear that you would not support a narrative that cheating is anything but wrong, harmful, abusive, destructive, and never justified…would your brother continue to want an unchanged relationship with you? If you stood by a decision to be truthful to his children (should they ask) about the demise of his marriage, would he still want you at Thanksgiving dinner? I think you would find that your relationship with your brother would be strained simply by nature of standing for what is right. I did this with my SIL after her multi-year affair was discovered, and she has quite naturally stepped back from her relationship with me and mine because I will not lie to her children as she does.

    Which means your relationship with your brother hinges on normalizing his abusive behaviors to anyone for whom he deems it necessary to normalize it, including (maybe especially) his children, as well as supporting his blameshifting narrative about his (hopefully STBX) wife.

    And it seems to me you have already decided to do that. That is all fine and dandy, but don’t pretend you want what is best for the kids. What you want is to remain comfortable.

    • If she was a chump with four DDays she was probably good at spackling. Now she it trying to apply that spackle to her brother. She probably spackled her ex’s behavior because she didn’t want to lose a relationship that she thought was worth more than it was. Now she is doing the same with her brother. She is afraid of losing another person she thinks she is close to and who she thought was worth something.

  • Wow! This makes me really angry. Obviously you’ve already forgotten the pain and grief associated with being cheated on. Your brother is a lying, cheating SOB. I feel very sorry for your SIL. She didn’t cause your brother to cheat. Just because things may have been a little rocky, doesn’t give him permission to go out and cheat. She didn’t get a vote or have a say so in the matter. He is 100% responsible for ruining his family and the lives of the SIL and children. Your brother is a loser and I can’t believe you are taking his side. Why would you still want a relationship with a piece of crap like him? Just because you are siblings doesn’t require you to be in his life. I hope the next time you are cheated on (and it could happen) you are dumped like you are wanting to dump your SIL. Think back to when you were in her position and how you felt. I’m very disappointed in this post. How soon we forget…

  • I can totally get all of this. I have an aunt, whom I love and who is our family hairdresser, that cheated on her first husband. She is a cheater. She works on this everyday and from what I can tell, it’s hard work. It should be. Cheating is second only to murder in my opinion because of the destruction it leaves in its wake. I still love my aunt, but she did a super shitty thing a very long time ago and you know what is crazy? Her kids are STILL paying for that to this day. They appear OK on the outside and they’ve all married and had families, but there is some very real consequences that her children have paid and continue to pay for the shitty things she did in her first marriage.

    CL said it and I’m reading a lot in the comments about getting out a marriage the right way. My marriage dynamic was such that my husband cheated on me, but wouldn’t leave me. I was the meal ticket for one thing and so staying with me was a means of survival and he told me that in so many words. I stayed for 3 years after DDay 1. I had massive guilt because I felt bad that he would have to get a job, and/or worse that he wouldn’t get a job and end up on the streets. And I had massive guilt because I heard everyday why it was my fault that he cheated. I didn’t do this right or that right and really anything right. The day came when I just couldn’t stomach the relationship that our marriage had become and I sat down with him and as hard as it was and as awful as it was, I told him that I wanted a divorce and that we needed to work through what that would mean for both of us. It was HARD WORK getting rid of him. But I set him up the best that I could. I took on all of the debt from our marriage and gave him our savings account. He got the best of our household items (we had no assets or kids) and honestly, I did my best to do right by him because I still loved him even though he had treated me like garbage. ANYONE would treat me better than he did. He’s horrible. But what I’m trying to really say here is that YES, there is a way to end a relationship honestly without resorting to cheating. He cheated on me, I didn’t cheat on him, but I ended the marriage.

    LW, your brother has seriously shitty character. I get that you still love him. I still love my aunt. But don’t make excuses for him. Do not get behind the “no one is perfect” arguments. They don’t hold water when you can still be imperfect and get out of a relationship honestly. You can still love your brother and support his efforts to be a better person, but don’t ever be OK with stupid reasons for cheating. There aren’t any.

    • Bless your heart – seriously. You are a gem. You could have handled all of that a thousand different ways but you held tight to your beliefs, morals and values. I can’t even imagine how hard that was. But you got out in a way and manner that was true to yourself and no one can ask for more. Blows my mind that he was the cheater, he didn’t even work and was emotionally abusive – all of which would have me kicking him out and locking the door behind him – but you made sure he was taken care because you loved him. You are a so much bigger person than me, but I admire what you did SO, SO MUCH!!! I hope you have happy and peaceful days now. Much love to you!

  • If I’m honest, I would still love my brother on some weird level, but I wouldn’t like him nor would I have any respect for him. I would find it hard to tolerate him and be in his company. Cheating is a willful heinous act of inflicting pain and suffering on the deepest level all without a care for anyone but yourself. It’s hard to be in the company of someone who does that…

    Apologies to the other poster with a similar name. I’ve since changed mine.

  • The thing is, maybe we didn’t have any sort of alliance with or feelings of loyalty to the faithful spouses prior to becoming chumped ourselves. But once we know better, we should do better. In my case, virtually everyone in my family has been unfaithful to their respective spouses at some point. I went from not really caring to what they’d done (I naively tried to minimize their actions as not being personally relevant to my own life) to suddenly being horrified that I was even related to them. Furthermore, I warned them that I would not be having any of their blameshifting crap. Some respected my boundary, but my aunt and my grandmother (whom I was very, very close with) just kept pushing their narrative of how I was at fault (convenient for former OW to think that way, right?) so eventually I cut them off. My grandmother recently passed away and I still don’t have any regrets. Maybe that’s taking it too far, but as DM just wrote, I want a heart that hates what God hates and they were simply too mired in the justifications of their own infidelities to see the evil and destructive consequences upon innocent spouses and children. But whereas before I could ignore their adultery, now there’s no way. I know better. I refuse to allow anyone, relatives or otherwise, an opportunity to slander a faithful spouse or trash talk the marriage which they detonated through cheating. If they haven’t repented and made restitution to God and those they hurt (and realistically, how many ever do?) then I don’t want any association with them.

  • My father cheated. I love him and he’s still my father. I don’t condone his cheating. I would never support him against my mother if it came to that. He knows how much I hurt. We don’t talk much about. But he’s still my Dad. Luckily my Dad owned up, made up, and got back together with my mother, and there were various other extenuating circumstances, such as that they were separated for a year at the time because they weren’t getting along, which makes it easier to work out some kind of excuse for him. I can see that he is my Dad without condoning everything he does.
    My mother-in-law fully supported her son when he cheated on me after 20 years, including spewing horrible lies about me to the entire family, eagerly welcoming the OW as her ‘new daughter’. This despite the fact that she herself was cheated on and suffered acutely for the past 20 years and still suffers. But in her son’s case it’s different. Because… she doesn’t employ logic, only emotion.

    • Yes, I guess that’s the crux of it. Cheaters’ narratives have to change and In laws that lack introspection have to change their narrative too. Otherwise they would not be supporting their family member. Mine welcomed the OW before I even knew about the affair. But as I said earlier, they “don’t get involved” in their children’s private lives. It really does add to all of the trauma. Even more betrayal from “family members.”

    • Yep, my XMIL was a chump as well. XFIL divorced her and then came back. She knew what it was like to be a chump. Didn’t matter. When XH left me, XMIL told people that she had called my home and “a man answered” shortly after XH was gone. That never happened. She lied and tried to create a narrative that I was the cheater. She also welcomed the whore and calls her “daughter” now. I agree, OW is Satan’s spawn, so daughter indeed!

  • I am not getting the problem in this letter.

    When someone behaves badly, what relevance is it that they are related?

    I would have no hesitation in telling my brother that he behaved badly, deceitfully and had caused a lot of damage. That there were many honest ways he could have dealt with this issue, but now all were involved with the fallout.

    I would have no hesitation in letting my SIL know that I had said that to him.

    Anything else would be enabling.

  • CBS’s only REAL “personal dilemma” is whether or not she is going to be strong enough to do what she knows to be morally right; even if it makes her, her brother, and any other disordered or enabling family members uncomfortable. And no, their comfort (and hers) is not more important than the truth.

  • On the idea of “some marriages and people are perfect”:

    When people ask me “what did you do to cause your ex’s affairs?”, I always respond, “I was as perfect in my marriage as you are in yours”.

    Even the *idea* of perfection is amorphous. I could’ve been a size 4, made a million dollars a year, had sex with him 5 times a day, had a house that was Architecturally Digest photo worthy, had children that were photogenic and never cried or pooped or made a mess, had multiple degrees, spoke several languages, read 200 books a year, and was an ambassador for World Peace, and the Cheater would’ve come up with *something* I didn’t do: “Sigh, you couldn’t control the weather”.

    *Perfection* is in the Eye of the Beholder. And when the Beholder is a dishonest, disgusting excuse for a human like a Cheater, you’ll never get an honest response.

    • Then he would have cheated because you were too perfect and you made him feel inferior. I think that is the actual truth even for those who claim we had some kind of superficial failings.

  • “Unfortunately she has decided to tell everyone about the affair and why he wants a divorce, this includes their 9 & 11 year old children.”

    I fail to see why her telling ‘everyone’ about the affair is a bad thing.

    Ditto for telling their children that daddy had a girlfriend and a wife, and that wasn’t acceptable. It doesn’t sound as though she’s relating her STBX’s sexual misadventures in graphic detail.

    Cheating and lying have consequences.

    In fact, in a small way kids can be taught the same lesson long before infidelity is on their radar. If you accept an invitation to go to M’s party, then you DO NOT skip M’s party in favor of hanging out with so-much-cooler friend or frenemy, P. You made a commitment. Either don’t go out at all (and clean your room), or go to M’s party.

    Don’t pick and choose and leave someone hanging and likely very hurt just because whatever is behind door #2 (or in bed #3) is twinkly, new or looks like it will be more fun.

    Don’t be a jerk training starts in elementary school.

    As for your brother – you love him. Okay. That doesn’t mean you have to give him a pass on crappy behavior or buy what he’s selling (the marriage had problems, I don’t think they were happy for a long time. Neither spouse was perfect. They are separated because he cheated on her and wants out of the marriage. He and I have had some discussions recently and he acknowledges that that was a terrible thing and he wishes it had not happened, but he was not happy, yadda yadda yadda…). None of that was an acceptable reason to cheat on you and it’s still not an acceptable reason for him to cheat on her. I don’t care if you didn’t care for her at all ever, or sometimes, or currently.

    “Actions speak louder than “I’m sorry my brother is an asshole.””

    This. One million times.

  • I was chumped after 24 years of marriage – 28 years with him.

    My brother cheated on his wife. I know what you are going through in a lot of ways other posters don’t. For me this isn’t a hypothetical question. This is what I did.

    I reemed his ass out. I sent him two emails detailing exactly what was going to happen if he left his wife for that whore. I let him know how he could salvage his relationship with his kids and at the very least maintain a decent co parenting relationship with his wife. I do believe I used the word ‘fuck’ many, many times.

    It didn’t matter. He wouldn’t listen. It was true love. He was happy for the first time in years. He deserved this.

    I cannot adequately express how unsettling and deeply unnerving it was to hear the same bullshit coming out of my brothers wife that came out of my husbands. It truly is as if they are all issued a script somewhere. The bizarre thing is, I think they actually believe it. It feels like a psychosis, almost. I can’t begin to understand it.

    But by god I can judge it.

    I don’t talk to my brother. Every single one of my siblings told him he was a fool/a fucking fool/a god damned selfish bastard for what he did. Every single one of us have zero respect for him. We still love him. But it’s not the same and it will never be the same again.

    Even my elderly father told him that while he still loved him he is not to ever bring “that woman” to his house. None of us would ever meet her. None of us would go to his wedding if it came to that (thankfully she dumped him, but still..). Is it hard? Yes. Can he ever find redemption? Of course! But that is a long hard road filled with humility and cheaters tend not to do humility well. I am not holding my breathe.

    What did your brother have to do to gain your forgiveness, OP? Other then not being your cheating husband. Oh, that’s right. He gave you a story about his mean, cold, nagging, combative, alienating, thin skinned wife. And you bought it. You do realize that is the same bullshit story your ex told his whore, right? Ah! But that was different. Your brother is telling the truth!

    See OP, the difference between you and I is that I don’t buy into situational ethics. Infidelity is wrong because it is harmful, and abusive. We all know the games cheater’s play and we all know it doesn’t begin and end with banging strange. Because to do that they have to devalue us. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. Except for CFMD and Fucktard.

    You seem to believe that infidelity is wrong *when it happens to you*. Otherwise there are reasons. There are no real bad guys or good guys. He said/she said. Blah, blah blah.

    Do your SIL a favor and cut ties. Otherwise you are going to try to undermine her with her children (daddy left because mommy is a she-cunt!), and I have no doubt that you will soon if you haven’t already start socializing with the Whore….I mean, the virginal girl friend who rescued your brother from his Evil Troll Wife.

    Go be Switzerland somewhere else.

    • “You seem to believe that infidelity is wrong *when it happens to you*. Otherwise there are reasons.”

      Nailed it.

    • @Calmafterstorm – you nailed it. Absolutely nailed it. Playing neutral in the face of abuse is gross, no matter what ties us to the abuser.

    • I agree 100%. It IS black and white.

      A cheater is an evil, selfish abuser. I cannot continue to have a relationship with a cheater or an abuser.

      But for me it’s easy because I came from a family of narcissists and enablers. I an no contact with them. They took the side of my X-Cobra and they even used my young kids to triangulate and punish me. The whole time they pretended to be ‘neutral’, just concerned about the kids. It was a major mindfuck for years.

      Switzerland people suck, no matter what excuses they give.

      • Exactly what Calm said. Who feels it knows it and she been through it.

        I’m perplexed why the writer is waffling about this matter . I agree it seems to come down to the fact that she never liked her sister in law buy image! She doesn’t want to to look like the bad guy along with her brother.

  • Grown, self sufficient adults make their own decisions. Right, wrong or indifferent. Do you call, email or send by pony express your non approval? Do you threaten and articulate exactly what you will do if they follow their own free will? I should certainly hope not. It is not the business of anyone to make decisions for other adults. To be absolutely clear, I am not condoning cheating. But neither am I condoning others pushing around, threatening, or ordering other grown adults to do or not do anything. If there is a cheater in your family, friend circle, or social group, it is your prerogative to not continue to have a relationship with that person.

    • Exactly. That’s why it is so shitty when cheaters try to force their APs down everyone else’s throats whether they like it or not. “Accept her or I will disown you”. The cheater is trying to force his will on everyone else. Those family members (including children) are then put in the horrible position of making nice with someone they really don’t like and dissing someone they do or losing cheater in their own lives. For many family members this is not an easy choice and it’s one they shouldn’t be forced to make.

  • Yes, that is exactly what I do Queen Bee. I send out the pony express (because I am an old busy body? Was that a dig, dear sophisticated Queen Bee?) to harass and harangue them thar evile doers!

    Grown adults will do what they will. I have found that grown adults who surround themselves with people who mind their own business and would never presume to pass judgement on whether someone else’s actions are morale or not tend to behave very, very badly. Why not? There are no consequences when all choices are valid, right?

    My brother is someone I know. I know his wife as well. I saw how it played out, and it was ugly – as we all know. Now, some of us know that infidelity is abusive and wrong not just when it happens to us but when it happens to anyone. You apparently don’t agree. I’m sure your story of being cheated on was quite horrible. Everybody else’s? Not so much.

    My brother double downed on his fantasy and it destroyed his family and I’m afraid it destroyed him, as well. I tried. My sister tried. My dad tried. We know we did what we could to stop the trainwreck from happening. It didn’t work, probably nothing could have. But at least we know we made the attempt.

    • Clearly you missed my point. You cannot possibly believe that the only thing that is required to solve all of the problems of our society is for everyone to condone, threaten and pass judgement. Incredibly, it is not your job… nor anyone else’s, I might add… to determine the actions of the world. Of course infidelity is wrong. It was wrong when it happened to me, just as it is when it happens to anyone else. Everyone choses their own path. Some families may disown their own family members when infidelity occurs… others would never dream of cutting their loved ones out of their lives. The point is, it is an individual choice. I have a very good friend of mine who was divorced over fifteen years ago. Her ex husband still regularly spends time with her sister, because her sister’s husband is very good friends with her ex husband. My friend loves her sister, and has no desire to ostracize her, or create more family drama. That doesn’t make her wrong. A life spent trying to control others is purely futility.

      • Jesus fucking Christ – I am not trying to control anybody.

        I don’t want cruel people in my life. Infidelity is cruel. Ergo, I do not want my brother in my life.

        You do you. Whatever the hell it is that makes you happy, go forth and enjoy. But I have to say that interacting with you has proven to be an exhausting task. Don’t respond to me in any form again.

  • well he can always do what my STBX did…. have his attorney threaten her with a GAG order and defamation lawsuit if she tell the TRUTH to anyone. That way, she’ll be forced into silence while he rounds up the support he needs and she is slowly shunned. She’s scared to death to truthfully share For fear that telling the truth to the wrong person might get back to her stbx. Resulting in the threatened loss of custody should she speak ill of a cheater and he finds out. Slowly people she thought were her friends will drop away because it kills her not to be able to share the biggest thing happening in her life, and what’s the point of reaching out when you can’t even be honest. The cheater can spread his “version” of her defects and play sad sausage to those who get the omission version of the truth.

    • Does she have a lawyer?

      My ex’s OW threatened to see me “living in a shack on the street”. My lawyer said it ain’t defamation if it’s the truth.

      Tell your friend this — if he doesn’t want her telling her friends he cheated he sure as hell doesn’t want to go in front of a judge and a roomful of people as she tells her story and his mistress(es) are on the stand under oath.

      • I think Got-a-brain was referring to herself.

        I’m sorry, Got-a-brain; the isolation as friends drop away because of the cheater’s smear campaign (and in my case, outright edicts to our friends not to socialize with me, as my X has professional power over many of them) is cruel. You are a warm and wise woman; new and better friends are in your future. Hugs.

        • Thanks Tempest. My stbx also has professional power over many of the people whom no longer speak to me.

  • CAN SOMEONE PLEASE HELP ME – HOW DO I UNSUBSCRIBE FROM CHUMP LADY EMAILS? I have looked everywhere but cannot find where i can do this
    BTW I have found Chumplady to be the most awesome AWESOME resource for ANYONE who has had the misfortune of being cheated on. Chump lady you saved my sanity and helped me move on so much quicker than any amount of ‘reconciliation BS’ would have by a long shot. So much so that i no longer need to read every single entry like i use to – your blog was my daily lifeline for 3 years straight so wanting to unsubscribe is a positive thing! much love to you Chump Lady you are really doing a great work and saving alot of women (and men) from unnecessary pain caused by the ‘reconciliation unicorn industry’

  • I feel like I could have written this exact letter. The only difference is that my brother just remarried. A few months before the wedding, he called me to tell me that his fiancee was cheating on him. I told him that he couldn’t have been been too surprised, since that’s how they got together (if they cheat with you, they will cheat on you)… They stayed together and got married anyhow. I attended the wedding, bit my tongue and smiled for the pictures. It’s really hard to stay silent and pretend “it’s all good” when you’re boiling on the inside. I guess the rest of my family is ok with pretending they don’t know the back story.

  • For someone who knows the trauma of being cheated on, you exhibit zero empathy for the same curse that came upon your sister in law.
    Then you contradict yourself: you like her, later you say you don’t like her.
    You want to be with your nephews, but you don’t mention any action towards them: visit or babysit them.
    I’m sorry to say, but you don’t seem to have a moral compass. Your ambivalence and need for approval (this letter) speaks about your weakness. I hope you find the root cause of this within yourself.

  • It would be one thing if brother was truly sorry and didn’t do any blame shifting but that’s not the case. Choose the person you want to be friends with. Do not go Switzerland on your SIL. She has made it clear she doesn’t want that, she needs to feel safe and needs true friends. RESPECT her boundaries.

  • I think this speaks to a basic tension in the CL philosophy. it is ok to end a relationship but it is not ok to cheat. commenters sometimes seem to me to not believe that it is not ok to end relationships and that relationship ending took away things they had a right to. here the LW can see that the relationship was problematic and as a bystander is able to accept that they were not compatible. the LW sees the cheating as a bad way to end the relationship but there was incompatibility there anyway. I would guess the wife doesn’t.

    when I was 19 I had a narcissistic boyfriend and cheated as a way of ending the relationship, for all of a month. it was a miserable experience and I didn’t enjoy cheating at all. but I learned from it and would never cheat again. ironically after the relationship finally ended it transpired he had been cheating throughout. the relationship didn’t contribute to the conditions where I could be my best self.

    cheating is a wrong and cowardly way of ending a relationship but it doesn’t make the cheater solely responsible for the incompatibility, in a way no-one is responsible for the incompatibility.

  • Calm, the only thing that is exhausting is looking for your intelligence. It’s also futile, as it doesn’t exist. Also, as a life long Catholic, I find your use of the Lord’s name in vain, and in such a disgusting way, repugnant. You are ignorant, disrespectful and not worthy of being addressed here, or in any other venue. The next time you erroneously believe you control anyone, I suggest you think twice, and shut your mouth.

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