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Dear Chump Lady, I’m obsessed with the OW

Dear Chump Lady,

I know you’ve heard this saga for years. I just read a similar letter from a woman who was angry and jealous at the happiness of her ex and the other woman and the response from you. My situation differs in that my cheating husband did come home, he has changed his ways, and he is truly remorseful and trying to help me heal.

I can’t get over it.

Not only am I angry at him and his inability to truly get it, I hate the other woman.

I can’t seem to stop stalking her Facebook, and I am so filled with resentment and rage that she is happy.

She has a new man, they moved in together, she is more athletic than me, has a higher degree and a more successful career… I want her to be miserable. I want her to be lonely and sad and filled with self doubt and remorse.

This is quite the obsession, and I am miserable.

Do you have any advice?

Lauren

Dear Lauren,

The advice you want to hear… is sadly not the advice I’m going to give you. What you want to hear is — Pay no attention to the impression management! The OW is truly a miserable person! Deep in her husband-thieving shriveled heart exists a core of self-loathing and regret!

I can’t tell you that. A.) I don’t know the inner life of OW. And B.) On the off chance the OW is, or will some day be, lonely, sad and filled with self-doubt and remorse — I don’t control it. And neither do you.

For all we know, she’s blissful. Shitty people often are.

But, but! Sparkly turds!

My sparkly turd analogy is a warning for chumps. Pay no attention to the sparkles, at the center is crap. The question you’re asking Lauren is — does the sparkly turd know they are a sparkly turd? Does it torture them? I doubt turds care. Why examine your core, when there are sparkles?

What are your values? Who do YOU want to be?

The OW is someone who can blithely hurt people and be a-okay with it. What’s there to envy? Because you do not get the sparkles without the turd. She has a nice firm abdomen and she fucks other people’s husbands. She has to live with that dissonance — you do not. You can reject her, and people like her, and evict them from your headspace.

What does this woman have that makes you covet anything she has? That says more about you, than it does her. (And let the record show, she’s a piece of shit. We have established that.)

Set aside the cheating husband and the purportedly fabulous OW for a moment — what do you want? I know that sounds like a throw away question — but if you’re a chump, thinking about your needs and happiness is radical disrupting stuff.

What. Do. YOU. WANT ?

A faithful husband?

Dump the one you have.

To be athletic?

Work out more. Join a kickball league. Take up salsa dancing.

A higher degree?

Go back to school.

A better job?

Get that degree/certificate and aim higher.

You have agency. All that energy you’re directing at the OW, you could be investing in yourself. Not to compete with her (see “turd” above), but to work on your own awesomeness. THAT pays dividends. The pick me dance? Not so much.

When you feel jealous — ask yourself a couple questions.

1.) Is someone pulling puppet strings here? Are you in a pick me dance to prove your self worth? Are you agreeing to cage matches where the victor gets the fuckwit? Step away from the cage match. You don’t perform for fuckwits. People who love you don’t want you to compete for their love. Love feels safe, not off balance.

2.) What’s missing in my life that I want what this person has? A higher education? A better heart rate?

3.) Do I really need that? Some things are worth aspiring to — like a higher education or better fitness. Granite counter tops? No. If you covet granite countertops and feel weak with self-loathing because your kitchen is particle board, examine your life and stop watching HGTV.

Lauren, you won the pick me dance. Apparently that prize feels like misery. I suggest you examine your choices and make some new ones. Beginning with total NC with the OW’s Facebook feed. You’re better than that. A couple of losers cheated on you. It’s your choice to continue to give them both space in your life — and in your head.

 

 

Ask Chump Lady

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  • My cheating ex facebook friend requested me! Best decision I ever made was to say no. I knew myself well enough to know that I would end up checking it all the time, hoping for some sign that he is miserable. Making it hard to look at certain people’s facebook pages is a gift that you give to yourself.

    • I blocked OW (now married to cheater ex) on FB. She was always tagging my kids in her posts/photos, and I just could not. So I blocked her – easy peasy/problem solved. The less I see or hear from her or cheater ex the better.

  • I haven’t looked at either of their posts or profiles for over a year. It just hurt me to do so. Pain shipping. Don’t do it. Block block block

  • You have transferred your rage onto a person who doesn’t threaten you anymore. If you unloaded all of it on your husband you would probably destroy your marriage. You got had. You got taken. You got conned. Hmmmm, who did that to you? Her? Him? They both did but she never made promises to you and he did. You want revenge. There isn’t anything you can do to her that won’t involve lawyers, cops and possibly jail.
    I told my daughter once she would always be miserable if she based her life on who was prettier, or richer, or more popular, or smarter because someone always will be.
    Your rivalry is with someone who has something you want. She has a new guy and you don’t. Life is like that. Envy stops us in our tracks. She has skated away and left you in the rubble of your marriage. Hating her gets you nothing. She is not worth it.

    • “Your rivalry is with someone who has something you want. She has a new guy and you don’t.”

      Profound words and excellent insight!! In this case, new can be so much better…at the very least you get a chance with someone that hasn’t lied to you, made unilateral decisions about your health and your future, and cheated on you.

  • This is the real question, isn’t it? In this one go-round, what do I want out of this life?

    Its hard to come out of a 24+ relationship and be stuck with the same question I had going in.
    I “wanted” that marriage to work. I pick-me danced hard. Even (now that I can see it) when we were dating. That’s what I “wanted”. I was too stubborn to see the answer was always going to be “no”.

    Now I want the same thing — a great, lasting, loving relationship. But (I think) I’m brave enough to check in w/myself along the way.

      • The answer is always going to be no – but rarely a straight no. It’s going to be – not now – not yet – sometime – never. It’s going to be the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow sort of no. It’s going to be a yes-but sort of no. NO can be our friend…no mindfuckery – no pick me dance – no.

  • As someone else who ostensibly “won” the Pick Me Dance, I will vouch for the fact that it doesnt feel anywhere near as good as one would hope it would and when it leaves us lacking, we may make same mistake the cheater did – looking elsewhere for what we should look to ourselves for – our inner knowledge that we are plenty good and don’t need validation from some person with low morals.

    I spent too much time thinking about the OW…maybe because it was easier than admitting to myself what a dreadful partner I was beginning to realize that I had.

    Stop this now before it becomes an entrenched loop in your mind. Nothing good comes from this.

    • I chose ME in the Pick Me dance…..I decided to marry ME and be the kind of person to ME that I want in a partner. If there is anyone else in my life ever again, they are not going to be necessary but a desired choice. I was in this place when I met my husband 27 years ago; I can get there again. I also just realized that the OW was Pick Me dancing….very definitely not being authentic.
      Many years ago I realized that vacationing somewhere is VERY different than living somewhere…..affairs are vacations from real life authentic relationships and very appealing to people with zero long term relationship skills. I am starting to feel delighted in letting go of my husband because he is miserable having destroyed our family for a fantasy and the world is starting to feel like my oyster without him. I spent yesterday morning pruning the tree in my front yard, something he has always done. I did a better job than he did and enjoyed the satisfaction of more tangible proof that my daughter and I will heal.
      I also helped her with a support group….She has three teachers and a good family friend who are women whose fathers cheated when they were growing up…..we are putting those numbers in her phone today so she has a support group of wise elders to talk to….

      • PS…. I think winning is supposed to feel GREAT! Winning is supposed to eliminate the OW! The fact that it does neither of those things has my attention…..

      • Velvet Hammer-
        That was beautiful! Winning is so about creating a life for us. Guilty compliance is not love.
        I love reading your posts!

        • I bought myself a wedding ring!!! It is a beautiful oval London Blue topaz with a white sapphire bezel. I am hoping to add diamond guards to it, set in platinum. The topaz is my heart, ringed by sapphires which can be more rare and valuable than diamonds…and the diamond/platinum guards protecting my heart…wonder if I should write some vows to ME and have a Marrying Me wedding! 🤪

          • What a fantastic idea! Now I only wear the pretty, delicate gold and peridot ring which was the first thing I bought with the money my Dad left me. I know he’d have bought me something like that. I have a very old ruby and opal cabachon ring which I love (found it in a box full of plastic beads at a jumble sale, marked 25p, the guy refused to take any more!) and I think I’ll get it repaired as my wedding ring to myself. Nice one Velvet.

      • Pruning! Pruning makes room for greater, healthier growth.

        Take a big healthy pair of shears and prune that OW, thought loop, stalking and Cheater right out.

        • Good to have a PLAN for WHEN intrusive OW thoughts happen….I finally landed on “my Higher Power will bring me the news I need when I need it”. That has really helped me neutralize the OW thoughts.
          PLAN = Preparefor Loser Affairpartner Neutralization….

      • Excellent analogy. My cheater told me that he already realized he didn’t like me when we started having kids. Really? So you though real love was what we had when we were single and carefree, when our money was our own and we could do whatever we wanted together. Then, we had kids and I became a mother. Not so sexy anymore. A life of responsibility, career-building and home improvements is too hard? You don’t love me anymore?

        He has no idea what real love is. He thinks he’s in love with the OW now as he gets to be that young single guy again with no responsibilities because I still look after all the details regarding the kids, got the house and care for it, make more money. He doesn’t even have to pay child support because of how much I outearn him (for now). She doesn’t have custody of her kids and isn’t paying for her kids either as her situation gets dragged out in court. We’ve got two 40-somethings living the lifestyle of their 20s. No real world responsibilities beyond themselves and their “happiness.” But, I guess that’s love, right?

        • Two 40-somethings are old enough to be staring mortality in the face before too long. Not wishing ill on anyone but with age most often comes disease and disability. If becoming a mother isn’t sexy, wait till they are faced with urinary incontinence, blood pressure medication and the inevitable thickening of the waistline that goes with age.

      • Dear Velvet Hammer, I am very curious about the support group that you set up for your daughter? How are these adult children of cheating fathers doing now? Are they emotionally healthy and well? What words of support have they offered your daughter? I am concerned about the future well-being of my 9 and 12 year old daughters who felt their father’s absence, neglect, and hostility before and during his cheating periods and are now starting to ask questions (he moved out 15 months ago and we are in the final stages of divorce) about his absentee parenting all these years. Will you kindly let me know how your daughter is being supported and how the adult women are doing now. Thank you. ❤️

        • They are four women I know well and admire and consider friends. One was her third grade teacher…one was her fourth grade teacher, now retired. One was her school principal, who showed up in the biggest way on days when my daughter didn’t feel like getting out of bed or going to school…Principal K deputized my daughter with tasks to help her at school
          (She is a woman who knew all 400 kids by name on the first day of school….) and one is a dear friend who I met in my 12 Step recovery program. I have been clean and sober 33 years, with outside help the whole time. There is nothing like talking with someone who has been there…that’s been my experience for 33 years. In my daughter’s case, she has been in family therapy since she was in utero….she has had her first solo therapy session around the infidelity issue. She has also started Alateen….her dad is also in recovery (although I wonder if he is using again….lying and cheating is not recovered behavior). These four women are all doing well in life, inside and out, which is so important for her AND me to see and hear about. My biggest fear is how this will affect her life and we are in major recovery/healing tool school right now.

          • I think the best words of support anyone can offer is, “I have been there….”
            ❤️

      • Lauren: Listen to Velvet Hammer. You won the pick me dance but is this what you really want? I think you are taking the rage you have for your husband and converting it to the OW. I did the same thing. As you start to heal the rage will start to lessen but I’m not sure you can really start to heal while living with a cheater. Too much shit to deal with constantly. You need peace and serenity and time to figure out what you want for yourself. Would you consider a separation?

    • And Lauren, look deeper. You won the pick me me dance but are you really happy with the prize. Could you possibly be thinking OW has a better prize? and she doesn’t have your cheater.

      You are describing a unicorn, something I have not come across on this site. Unicorns seem to only exist on RIC sites. I have been reading this site for close to 2 years and have read countless tales of women who thought they won the pick me dance only to find out cheater was cheating again. This site really has proved to me what my mother always said, if he cheats, get out, no second chances.

      The other woman is not the problem. You may have an obsession with her but your fuckwit was the one who introduced you and you will never be able to undo that. Take a long hard look, is he really a unicorn or just another sparkly turd?

      • I relate to the obsession with the OW, I relate to feeling like I won the pick me dance. 3 years later, he did it again (with others) and offered me the shit sandwich of an open marriage. Luckily I had made him sign a postnup during wreckonciliation. He was making 1/3 of my salary when he left so the inexpensive postnup protected me from having to deal with the horrors of negotiating a settlement, proving the infidelity, paying him alimony, or giving him half my 401k. That, along with 4 STD tests along the way, taught me to finally trust that he and his entire family sucks. The best revenge would have been foisting him onto the first affair partner. But I needed to know, the hard way, that he was not a salvageable, flawed man, just a sparkly, entitled turd.

  • The best decision I made during D-day was to not ask any questions about the OW at all.. because I new that if I found out her name I would do precicely the same – stalk her on fb and instagram and everywhere else I could think of. Thank god for not knowing anything – ignorance truly is bliss.

    • I asked too many questions…. And got answers that I didn’t want to know. ” Sex with her is fun and energetic but I can’t finish because I’m thinking about you” . Yes, we need to free ourselves from the debacle.

  • Now in my case my skank of a cousin at this time is alone and miserable. She told mutual friends etc that I was a nut job. Yet her daughter recently was admitted to a psychiatric ward. She is in financial trouble and begs people on facebook for money. Note: I do not stalk her family has told me this. My oh so moral cousin is not prettier than me. I earn more money and she is alot heavier then me. I used to obsess on what did she have that I did not. I guess she has a talent to screw married men. My point to my rant is. You should not give a rats ads about the OW. Any women that knowingly screws a married man and assists in hurting you. Has no morals, empathy and obviously self esteem issues. Foucous on bettering your life for you and only you. The best revenge is living a better life.

  • Lauren

    You are focusing on the OW your HUSBAND fucked. It’s your first rodeo and in his awesomeness you know she’s the one who used her firm body to woo him into submission. WRONG.

    You husband FUCKED a woman. Not once or twice; he had an affair. He calculated and planned the timed he’d meet her, spent money on her, and LIED to you for god only knows how long.

    I’ve been right there in those obsessive shoes trying to figure out what she had that I lacked. And your brain will fill in all the ways you didn’t measure up. STOP THAT Lauren. HE doesn’t measure up. HE LIES, HE LOOKS.HE CHEATS. That’s what you’ve reconciled with Lauren. You’ve got nothing to work with.

    Make yourself a new life free of being second to whatever he drags into a hotel. Cheaters cheat. DUMP him.

  • Even if you have a true unicorn, you will most likely never trust them. You will always feel less than. Inadequate. It’s why CL preaches leave a cheater gain a life. I doubt after all the damage they created anyone can truly heal being around them daily. The OW is not the problem. He created the feelings of inadequacy and they will remain as long as he does.

    • ^ yes, what DavidB says above is true. It could have been any woman, more or less desirable than you (in your mind). If she was less educated, not as pretty, less fit than you, you’d still ask yourself why did he choose her instead of me ? In the end, it’s not about the other woman. It’s about what he did to you, how he made you feel, how he disrespected you, your love, your devotion to him, your commitment to your marriage. Now ask yourself, do you want to be with someone who makes you feel this way? You are worth more.

      • EVERY RELATIONSHIP HAS PROBLEMS!! A good partner is someone you can work through problems with. A partner who has affairs is NOT a problem-solver! They are escapists! There is no bigger indicator of Unfit Relationship Partner than a partner who LIES and CHEATS (aka ABUSE). Let him take his relationship ineptitude elsewhere!

        • So true VH! The X escaped our marriage because it was going to take some work and devotion to stay on track and make it to the leg of our journey. It was too hard for him – shiny and new is much easier.

    • I thought that I had a unicorn after the discovery of the first long-term affair over 20 years ago. He left our three children and me for the married OW with two kids. He came crawling back after he found out he wasn’t the only fox in her henhouse. He didn’t want to be a cuckold and he knew that I would never cheat on him, so back to Plan B (his family). I loved him and was stupid and scared and took him back. He NEVER stopped cheating and lying, he just got sneakier. The latest long-term OW may have been younger (though not as young as she said she was; she would take silver in the lying Olympics while Golden D##k of course wins the gold), but she has NOTHING that I want or aspire to have. On the contrary, she wanted to be me and have my life. I guess she thought fucking my husband would be transformative. Instantly she would be respectable and tasteful (cue her purple lipstick at his mother’s funeral, which she was NOT invited to), get off welfare and climb into a higher tax bracket, live in a nice home, have great hardworking kids (instead of the drug addicts, prisoners and thieves she raised). Uh, no. Those things were the result of MY efforts. Girl, you should have slept with me not him! Only one problem with that: I’m not a lying, cheating asshole. I admit I did compare myself to her. What a mindfuck; I never thought he would stoop that low. She is truly awful. But even if she was all that and a bag of chips, he was MARRIED! She knew me as a neighbor and she was the recipient of nothing but kindness and caring from me for years while they both stabbed me in the back. So there was absolutely nothing I wanted of hers. Including him. Sadly, I got him anyway. Well, the last word hasn’t been written yet; he may be what he never wanted to be: alone and old.

  • The OW has something you really want at a subconscious level … she has your husband OUT of her life and she is happy with that situation! You should try it … I bet you would be happier too. The trust he broke can never be replaced, despite his sorries and humbles and recommitment. It is too bad, but I suspect your marriage can never be what it really never was anyway, if that makes sense. Perhaps you can remain friends, but your real unhappiness is not with OW, it is with your spouse. How many years would you like to feel this way? Not long, I hope.

    • Ding, Ding, Ding!!!!!^^^We have a winner. The OW’s life IS better–because she got rid of the cheater and the wife didn’t. That is why Lauren is obsessed with her. The OW did win. Lauren thought that the prize was her sparkly turd husband, but it wasn’t. So, she feels like she is STILL losing to the OW. Because she is. She now wants what the OW has, a great new guy who hasn’t cheated on her yet. The answer is: dump the cheater.

  • “Not only am I angry at him and his inability to truly get it, I hate the other woman.”

    You know who needs to hear this? Your husband. Not talking about issues can backfire.

    I can’t promise that disclosing to him the depth of your rage with him and her will make you FEEL better or fix your marriage but you weren’t hauling this around until he went a-whoring. It can be like lancing a boil. Drain the pus, heal from the inside out.

    Also, go buy a good pair of gloves and a punching bag. It’s very cathartic. Don’t forget to do squats & push-ups.

    • I second that! My daughter and I started taking karate instruction. One week in and we are feeling the mighty!! Their faces are on the kick targets….

  • You’re still married and you are trying to work on your marriage after the fall out of infidelity. You’re probably angry and the OW is an available receptacle to dump those feelings. If you’re reconciling you can’t hate your husband because that certainly wouldn’t help that process. Ask me how I know.

    I bought that t-shirt so I understand how that goes but the OW isn’t your problem. Block her on social media. Nobody, not even the normal folks who use social media, post the painful moments in their lives. It would be like taking a picture of one of your kids after they fell off their bike and broke their arm and using that for the family Christmas photo or even putting it in the family photo album. Facebook and the likes are just your family photo album gone viral. It depicts the best moments of your life and omits all the bad shit. Stop comparing your life to hers because no matter what she’s posting, you are not getting the full picture. She’s an interloper who knowingly inserted herself into the life of a married man. You win life by default.

    Now is the time to ask yourself what you want. Now is the time to take your energy and focus on yourself. There is nothing special or original about the OW so learn how to use the blocking feature and just do it.

    • So true about Facebook. Anyone looking on my Facebook page would think that I am blissfully happy and completely and long since over the demise of my 20+ year marriage. I am not going to publicly unload my grief onto casual Facebook friends.

      I will say though that getting a Facebook account has been therapeutic for me because I do post all of the good stuff. Every time I go to my page I am reminded of all of the positive things in my life and just how much I have to be thankful for. It definitely helps to focus on the positives but that may be hard to do when you are still stuck with the person who is responsible for so many of the negatives in your life.

      • Same here. People sometimes say it”s an image management thing, but I respond that the intimate details of my life aren’t everyone’s business and it isn’t my responsibility in life to use social media to normalize a lack of boundaries. With tongue in cheek, of course. 😉

      • I joined Instagram for this very reason. It was a way back to myself. I had really enjoyed photography before I met Figment and slowly, over time, I allowed him to suck all the joy out of that hobby for me (he played with my “not good enough” gremlin). Instagram helped me, one photo at a time, to enjoy noticing life again. I don’t do it for anybody but me. When I look back through my pictures, it always puts a smile on my face.

      • I used Facebook to expose my shit cheater. To unload. I didn’t give a toss. I was raging, angry, crazy, I wanted the world and his family to know about this slime. I outed him and he fled. I did not care how it made me look – the stupid OW replied to them, implicating herself…. It was cathartic. I’ve tidied up my page now that I don’t care to have any reminders. It was a useful tool but probably did make me look nuts. Anyone who new me, aquaintance or friend, would have realised this was not normal for me and that I was driven to it.

    • Cheaterssuck, excellent response! And the choice word, “receptacle” to describe the OW is on point.

  • Thank you for text response chump lady. I know you’re right. I’m not going to ditch my cheater, he’s done so far and I love him; our marriage is thriving. However, I AM going to get out of my own head. I like how you said a sparkly turd is still a turd. You’re right. I don’t know why I ever believed what she said about me. She is a whore who deliberately hurt me and my family.
    ‘Love should feel safe’ is a quote I’m going to think about. Do I feel safe? Do I feel loved? I know my husband is working to make me feel both of those.
    I appreciate your sound advice about getting her out of my head. I’m doing better with it. I suppose I wanted to hear someone else say she she is a shit who fucks oth r people’s husbands, but no, that is enough to help me remember that I don’t ever want to be like her. Thanks.

    • Hang in there, Lauren.

      You DON’T feel safe. That’s why you’re trying to blame the OW solely for something she and YOUR CHEATING HUSBAND did.

      You aren’t allowed to hate him, because he is doing whatever it is to try to glue back together the completely smashed stained-glass window of your marriage.

      You DON’T feel loved. That’s why you’re wasting time hating someone who doesn’t even know you’re doing it.

      “I can’t get over it.”

      No. You can’t. And you probably won’t, and you will realise this one day – maybe sooner, maybe later – and divorce his cheating ass.

      “Not only am I angry at him and his inability to truly get it, … ”

      Yes. Extremely angry, I’d say.

      “I hate the other woman. I can’t seem to stop stalking her Facebook, and I am so filled with resentment and rage that she is happy.”

      Yes.

      You CAN stop stalking her on Facebook. You just don’t want to. All that hate is keeping you warm as toast.

      And also, if you stop hating her, you might start hating your husband.

      Personally, I think your husband is a more worthy object of this much hatred, because he’s the one who promised publicly to be faithful to you, in front of all your friends and relations, and God.

      Your story is a cautionary tale of what happens when the Marriage Police turns outwards. I know you are doing your best, but please take care of yourself.

      • Agree 100% with LG here.

        Focusing your rage and jealousy on the OW is serving to divert you from examining if your husband – who broke your sacred trust – is a man worth keeping around. Such honest introspection is extremely painful to chumps, who always want to look on the bright side of life.

        But you’re going to spend the rest of your marriage doubting him. And miss out on the possibility of a relationship with someone who values you.

    • I don’t see what you have to lose to tell him that you are infuriated. It may ease the tension building in you, at the very least. I don’t suggest telling him in order to change him but only to help YOU.

      Then go beat the crap out of some defenseless speed bag. Don’t forget the gloves.

      If you stay married, then you only benefit by honesty. It’s a good habit. If you divorce, then you still benefit. Who wants someone who wants you to lie to them?

      Go stomp eggs and make an omelette with them.

    • You don’t feel loved or safe or secure. If you did you wouldn’t care what’s going on in the OW’s life because it would be irrelevant. You would be too happy with your prize to be focused on her.

    • If you know any couples who have reconciled, be sure to talk to them and pay very close attention to what they say (and what they don’t). Out of the 12 (!!!) women friends I have, one is still in the marriage. Ten years on, suspicion is still a family member. She trusts him “about 80%” ( I see trust as a yes or no question). Recently he has been texting a woman from the gym…going inappropriate places on the computer. I have a feeling a DDay is coming. So if you are going to stay in, be sure to talk to people who stay in and see if you want what they have. In the beginning I was in so much pain I would have done anything to make it go away…in my case I realized what I wanted was to make it so the affair never happened and my husband would be who I thought he was. Now 9 months after DDay, I feel very different….if he was drunk flirting in a bar one night, maybe I could forget that, but an entire relationship, (the one I know about!) that was months long (but only he really knows). I now feel I could never forget and I could never be 100% open to him in the way I want to be in a
      relationship. This is a MAJOR trauma and the way I feel shifts all the time; pay CLOSE attention to how you feel and others who have reconciled if you know any.

    • I get that there is a lot of truth in many of the responses – much of it is truth I also lived. I also get that everyone needs has their own timeframe and some of us need to go through the reconciliation process no matter what the outcome. I never could have walked out feeling complete if I hadn’t tried. In truth, I always knew the reconciliation probably wouldn’t last, but I had to try at the time, because I am me.

      I guess I am just saying that I support your empowerment to choose, now and later, what you need to do, and I hope our experienced words provide perspective without pressure. I do agree that it is unlikely that he has massively changed at a core level. This time you have the wisdom that comes from betrayal and your powers of observation will be more finely honed.

      Don’t let him get away with splitting hairs and not truly answering questions. If he is back to his old ways, that will be a big clue.

      • I too needed to attempt reconciliation for myself.

        Recently on this site, many of us shared how we grew from being chumped. Almost everyone said they learned to trust their intuition.

        Your intuition will tell you if he is splitting hairs and back to his old ways. Ask me how I know.

    • Lauren,
      I hope there is the happy ending with true repentance and reconciliation. However, I encourage you to “trust your gut”! The issues making you uncomfortable might not “just be your insecurities”! I learned the hard way that it wasn’t me being insecure, judgements, unforgiving…there was much more going on. X was unfaithful & betrayed me & kids in every way. I ignored the red flags & blamed it on my insecurities.

      Three red flags that I see in your case:
      1) He doesn’t get it.
      If he doesn’t “get it”, it could be because he doesn’t want to take a good look at his character or truly take responsibility and turn from his wicked ways.. He’d rather blame you or let you blame yourself for having insecurities than take full responsibility, be truly remorseful for his unfaithfulness & honestly repent.
      2)She has someone new. Who dumped who?
      3) Have you asked him where all the false information about you came from?

      I hope your husband is sincere and you can rebuild your life together. If he is a new man, than he would respect and understand if you have an honest face to face about everything. Then legally secure your finances and future should he ever betray you again. (Remember, the problem doesn’t stem from your lack of trust – he abused your trust – he broke it!) If he is sincere & his intentions are pure this will be easy for him. He should not hesitate to secure your future and peace of mind. Where our money goes shows where our heart is!

      • Great points, Nyra! I got 2 out of 3 already, but your one about “Who dumped who?” was an eye opener. That isn’t a “win” for the Pick Me Dance, not at all — the other team forfeited.

    • Lauren, be very watchful. Cheaters use “reconciliation” to line up their ducks to come out better in an eventual divorce. Watch the bank accounts, locate the physical assets (he may physically move them or “gift” them). Is he encouraging you to get a better job? Is he asking that you work now and you’ve been a stay at home mom? If you have kids is he spending unusual amounts of time with them on his own? Is he wanting to change anything fundamental about your living situation, such as moving towns or downsizing your home? Is he suddenly concerned about your mental health, wanting you to get therapy? These things, and more, are all action to reduce his financial burden for divorcing. They may not be significant moves, but if he is doing or hinting anything like this, or anything really out of the ordinary, he is thinking seriously or preparing himself to jump ship. Beat him to the punchline.

    • I have been in your shoes.

      Great news!!!! Congratulations!!!

      She has to be a piece of Dogshit for the rest of her life.

      You, My Dear, get to be anything you want.

      “I ain’t afraid to die anymore. I’ve done it already.”~~Hugh Glass “The Revenant”

      • Mwaahaa haaa – a piece of dogs shit for the rest of her life. Very good.

        Yes Lauren, it’s not easy, I mean you cannot help but look really and think all these thoughts. I mean everyone does. The OW in my life is everything you wouldn’t want her to be (usual list), it’s probably my worst nightmare come true. However, with enormous resolve I have stopped looking for anything to do with her/him on social media.

        I keep saying to myself it’s not really comparing apples with apples isn’t it. I’m 48 she’s about 36, she hasn’t got any kids and is just a little bit older than I was when I met him. Of course she looks shinier than me, I’d probably rather hang out with her than the miserable bastard my ex had become.

        But really of course it’s all more fun when you haven’t got a child to cart around everywhere, can walk away from boring family responsibilities. Course everything is more shiny. It’s easy, it’s fun, it’s tempting and you can just go down the road now and do it and say ‘oh well 50% of the population are divorced so it’s OK and kids adapt’ so why not.

        Why not indeed. Good luck to your both, now just go away and leave me alone and let me live in peace away from toxic dog-shit people like you who actually think they can justify what they have done.

        They do it, cause they can. Dreadful, but true.

        • I couldn’t even do the pick me dance moves because I had the kids. All the time. That tells me everything. I still have the kids, all the time, whilst he is off polishing his n hers matching turds.

          Sod them all!

    • A marriage takes two people. One of these people describes herself as “miserable.” Ergo your marriage isn’t “thriving” — unless your definition of thriving includes misery.

    • I’m right there with you Lauren. Aside from a few details, your letter sounds like I wrote it. In my case the OW is significantly less attractive, accomplished, and interesting than I am, and rather than finding a Facebook Official relationship she’s moved on to new married men. Her so obviously sucking doesn’t make it easy, though, and doesn’t make me hate her any less. Like you, I’ve heard all the lines about how I need to dump my guy and forget about her. “You’re misdirecting your anger for him at her!” they say. “You’re obsessing over her instead of what went wrong with your relationship!” No. We have dug to the bottom of our souls together these past few months and unearthed every imaginable little issue in our relationship for obsessive analysis. We have learned so much about each other and put our greatest fears under the microscope for brutal analysis. What he did was terrible, the worst thing he’s ever done by far. I believe he will never do it again, as much as I could possibly believe anyone. The damage to me is done, and finding a new man won’t undo it or make me not hate the OW. The only thing that can do that, I think, is time. That and salting all the plants in her garden when she’s not home, so that nothing ever grows there again.

    • Lauren, you’re twisting yourself into contortions to force the marriage into the appearance of “thriving.” Do you want to be in a marriage where you have to pretend that you’re not as angry as you are? Where you have to pretend that you don’t feel inferior to someone else he fucked? Where you have a phantom third party planted firlmly between you and your husband, and you blame yourself for your inability to eject her from that spot? That’s not a marriage, that’s a chump desperately trying to buy what a cheater is trying to sell. The OW is a far more convenient nemisis than your husband, and as long as you’re hating on her you conveniently don’t have to hate on him as much. That, fellow chump, is going to bite you in the ass.

      My advice to you is to stop swinging at an invisible enemy and start opening your eyes to the one in your bed. I know you love him. That didn’t stop him from hurting you the last time, and it won’t stop him the next time.

  • I did this too, for over a year. The MOW was a close friend; our families vacationed together. When I found out, I contacted her husband to tell him what was going on, and he blocked me, so he never knew the full extent of the affair. I kept waiting for that moment for her to show up haggard and alone on her social media, her husband having dumped her, having to move back in with her duplicitous family like the trash I thought she was.

    It never came. Maybe it will. But it doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t think she’s trash. I think she’s damaged, and will always have a sharp edge inside her, an ability to suppress empathy, because that’s what she needed to survive a childhood with a raging narc of a dad and a mother who would never stick up for her kids.

    What she did will never be ok, and I will never have contact with her again. But I’ve stopped hoping for her demise. I hope she gets help and can be a better mother to her kids. They deserve a mother who doesn’t leave them alone in bed with the flu so she can flirt with a pregnant woman’s husband. I hope they get that.

    • That woman is an absolute shit. A shit friend, and a shit parent. I can’t even fantasize about sleeping with my friend’s ex boyfriend…! What kind of person would you have to be to think of fucking someone who is married??? And a friend’s husband??? Seriously fucked up. Many people grow up with less than stellar childhoods (dysfunctional parents, poverty, abuse, violence) yet still know how to treat others. Crap people choose shitty selfish decisions because most “want what they want when they want it” and to hell with the consequences. With all that…entitlement… it’s no wonder they screw over their significant others.

  • Lauren

    Take your husband off the pedestal. Read about the three phases of a narcissistic relationship. You will see the cycles once you are aware.

    You want to believe his words. Unfortunately our tendency is to focus on the OW and that guarantees one thing, he has no consequences. Think long and hard about the lack of respect this man has for you. He has broken the very foundation of a partnership, trust.

    His actions define him Lauren. Accepting him back restarts your relationship back to the infatuation/idealization phase. It’s not sustainable over time. Soon the devaluation sets in and it is often times subtle with coverts through undermining (jokes about your cooking, the curtains you picked out, your appearance). And there’s always a next.

    Then comes the next. Because there’s always a next.

    • Yes this. My pick me dance lasted 4 years and he took and blew our retirement savings—$500k in that time. The “wreckonciliation” was nothing but him putting his ducks in a row before nuking our family. Please get a post nup to protect yourself. If he objects you have your answer to how committed he is to you and your marriage.

      • This is the bigger picture NewLady. The cheating is in fact the tip of the iceberg.

        The Limited offered me a chance to co-sign a mortgage in a multi unit weeks before dday. At 57 he had nothing to show for himself. Earlier that year we planned on buying the ever elusive home I wanted since he forced me to lose my home while unemployed and finishing my toughest year of graduate school.

        I dogged that bulletin by saying no. The fact that they commit financial rope under the guise of reconciliation is common.

        Listen up Lauren. Protect yoursekf.

        • I’ll admit to even worse—in the 4 years during that wreckonciliation, we bought a second property, a bigger cottage, a house in Florida 2 brand new snowmobiles( I bought those) and a house trailer. A million dollars of debt—that’s platinum level pick me dancing. I was so in a fog and trying sooo damn hard to keep him happy which of course could never be achieved. It hurts to write and to read it.. if I can save one other woman ( or man from the same it’s worth repeating over and over again)

          • NL15 thanks for sharing. It does hurt to revisit some of the choices we made during the PM dance. I hope you are you looking back with empathy for yourself and not scorn. There is no shame in trying to keep a marriage alive longer than it deserves. We’ve all been there. I also think it can be cathartic to revisit these types of hurts so you know where to draw the boundary next time. That’s why CL’s site is so awesome. By sharing our stories we help others while helping ourselves make sense of the experience.

            • I don’t blame myself I blame him. It still really hurts as the betrayal was so catastrophic. The man I loved and trusted for over 30 years was not deserving of those special gifts. I am an extreme empath and people pleaser. It was my awful childhood that led me to accept abuse. I recently broke up with a bf that I was making life plans with because he is so selfish entitled and cheap( disfunctional partnership with his grown daughter was really the biggest issue). I’m proud that I finally recognized that he is not partner material ( hopefully it would take less than 18 months next time) I’m working on me again, as I think I wasn’t healed when we met…

    • Indeed, her response was pure spackle. It’s not up to me to tell people what to do with their lives, but the statistics aren’t on her side. I say get your ducks in a row in case he runs off. Start stashing money and dont fucking tell him.

      I’m sorry for the strong language. Other women ask me what to do in these situations all the time and they always tell their partner ab oi it the money. No people, that’s the f off fund.

      • I agree Demhoez! Almost all chumps feel the need to attempt reconciliation. I know I did. But often enough, while the chump is pick me dancing their ass off the cheater is draining accounts, hiding assets, and cooking the books to make businesses look unprofitable because they are planning an eventual exit! Chumps need to wise up, save money, know all the financials and get important papers together etc, just in case. Even if you don’t plan to leave for God’s sake be prepared to. I know my first time around I wasn’t and paid dearly. Frankly, I think so many of us are high on hopium that we just want to believe “Sure he cheated, but he’d never leave me financially destitute!” Um, yes he will. Once he rapes your body and soul (you did not consent to have sex with him knowing he had multiple partners so I consider that physical rape; you have been emotionally abused by layers of lies and betrayals and that is soul rape), why would he stop at financial rape. Cheaters are like icebergs, whatever you can see is about 10% of the story. GET STD tested; don’t sleep with cheater without protection; get a post nup; save some F-off money he doesn’t know about. Protect yourself because he doesn’t care enough to protect you Lauren. I too have told every cheated on spouse I know this same info. Sadly none have taken the advice.

  • OW may be athletic, may even have a better education and job. Maybe. Or maybe she excels at self promoting or flat out lying. We don’t really know. We do know that she is a POS that has affairs with married men. That we do know for sure. Maybe the new boyfriend looks good too, but maybe he’s a bum that needs someone to support him. You don’t really know. All you know is what she advertises on FB. Plus, she more than likely does not have children or many obligations, so she definitely has the time to take care of herself and work out. You don’t have to be a natural beauty today to look great, you just need lots of time.

    • THIS!!!👆

      I remind myself frequently when my ex and the OW put in a show (especially in front of their church) that no matter what the want you to see and think, inside, they are shitty people.

      • Oh geez… Don’t you love the shows in front of the church people.

        I suspected the former OW wasn’t living in her home anymore. She lives five minutes from me. Sure enough she’s not, after seeing pictures of her new place with her new plant. She’s so subtle.

        I can literally see her house from the road I drive on. I saw her husband in the yard. I stopped. Yes, I did. I figured what did I have to lose.

        He was in the driveway when I walked up. I had no idea what I was going to say so when I walked up, he asked if he knew me. I told him my husband worked with his wife two years ago. He knew who I was and started talking. I didn’t have to say a word!

        He told me they are getting divorced. That he is so done! He also told me he had asked his wife at the time if anything had gone on and she said no. He also mentioned in the next couple of sentences that she’s a liar!

        You could see and hear the hurt. He said he would have to have proof. I told him there was a lot of proof two years ago. I gave no details and he didn’t ask.

        He told me to get the hell off his property and I did! Let me tell you…. She puts everything up to make her life perfect. After breaking up her 29 year marriage and major screwing up her youngest kid!

        I’ve actually prayed for that man and been able to let her go! Apparently she did not leave him for my husband… She is sick!

  • The other day a friend told me, “ You did the right thing. I’ve never had someone love me like you love your husband.”

    I realize that I’ve never had anyone love me like that. And my husband has proven that he will never love me like that, either.

    I wish I had the courage to leave.

    • Big Hug to you Anonymous – I loved my husband too and still do despite his cheating. My meh will come one day.

      My husband didn’t love me like that either. Perhaps he loved me the best he could or maybe he knew what he was doing. I don’t know and I will never know the answer.

      I do know that I still want someone to hold his hand to me and say let’s do something today because being together with me makes him happy. I want someone who wants to make me happy. I want to part of a couple. The X was more interested in making himself happy. Our marriage and my feelings were very rarely a consideration.

    • The courage will come in it’s time, if/when it’s right.

      My divorce was over 15 years ago and I keep having new revelations. For example, reading all this today, this finally occurred to me…

      I used to struggle deeply with the thought that maybe he was right, that I never truly accepted him for who he was. I would push it quickly to the back of my mind because it would bring up all this circular thinking and I would end up spinning in a tangle of difficult thoughts and self-loathing. (Ah, the adult life of child sex abuse victims, living with the legacy of a lifelong tendency to believe your abusers. Sociopaths/narcissists are masters of spotting us and using that truth against us. Douchebags.)

      So, today it suddenly occurs to me that HE is the one that can’t accept himself for who he is. People who feel good about what they are doing don’t generally lie about who they are or what they do. Lying is actually a lot of work. And there are much more effective and pleasurable ways for manipulative people to gain power and devotion, like charm and seduction.

      Also, polyamory is all the rage these days (sorry, authentic and mature poly friends, but we must admit that calling one’s self poly with an understanding but magically inaccessible spouse online has become more of a fad in recent years…), so it’s not like you have to practice monogamy to have a partner.

      Anyway, I digress.

      Point is, if he had been a non-liar and shown me and the world who he really was without deceit, I could have accepted him. I likely wouldn’t have dated him and I would NOT have married him, but I could have accepted him. The things I couldn’t accept from him as a friend and partner were the lies and the lack of single-partner focus.

      I want honesty and a two-person relationship. I can accept that about me. He couldn’t. He didn’t want them. He lacked character and wanted power to have me and his secret life too, so he lied.

      He’s the one who can’t accept himself. I can accept people fine if they are honest, and I get to choose my partner based on what s/he offers to the relationship. Choosing not to partner with someone isn’t a negative judgment. It’s a very practical choice.

      Weird it took me this long to get that.

      I don’t mean to just ramble about myself, but rather to illustrate, using myself as an example, that the things that lead to leaving percolate over time and keep percolating, even years later. Maybe it isn’t courage you lack. Maybe it’s simply readiness.

      • I’m with you on your thinking and I’ll add that the OW regularly throws out that everyone has faults (meaning my ex) with implication that she accepts him with his faults and I didn’t. But what I’ve finally realized is that my ex never accepted MY faults. And that really burns me, that he describes me as a horrible person who just could not accept him when the reality was completely opposite.

        Something else I’ve noticed is that the OW is working really hard to change my Ex. He’s doing more for her than he ever did for me. So much for accepting his faults. Good luck to her on getting those changes to stick.

        • In the secret emails I discovered in the final months my STBXH sent to the other OW in the final months of 2017 (I thought I had won the pick me dance and that he had finally dumped the OW), I can see how he’s already trying to change her.

          He keeps referring to his natural beauty. She is a woman that wears very heavily caked-on make up. He never liked that in women before. So, he wants her to tone it down.

          He mentions that she needs to get rid of her motorcycle. He’s an accountant that initially helped her with all her business and personal finances. He makes the recommendation from a financial point of view, but I know that he hates motorcycles and is trying to image makeover her so she looks better to others before he starts introducing.

          He gives her lots of applause for volunteering at her kids’ school for the breakfast program. She lost custody of her kids and now does things with the purpose of trying to show she is a capable of mother in court (I’ve already heard from people at the school that she’s only really come out a few times to help because she is really unreliable). It’s a huge red flag that my cheater is wishing didn’t exist to work against her. How is he to explain to others why he left me (a woman who does everything for my kids) for a woman that doesn’t even have custody of her own three children? Well, he encourages her to be a good mother in the hopes that she’ll win joint custody. He starts spreading the narrative that she had a controlling and abusive husband who manipulated the situation and turned the kids against her. Well she’s the one with the criminal record for assault against her husband.

          The OW is rarely better. Things may appear better at a surface level, but it’s just surface.

  • The OW is not the one hurting you. Your husband is. Think about that. The one you trusted most in the world betrayed you. Focus your anger on him, not her. She’s a nobody.

  • All of the AP’s can offer a thing chumps can never offer: they can be someone else.

    It’s kind of that simple. We can be lots of things, but other people isn’t one of them. This OW is one of a zillion that might both catch the cheater’s eye and think it’s fine and fun to cheat. That, and a constant fear that he’ll be attracted to others and act on that (he will, as he’s already demonstrated) is what you get if you stay. Lot of years can roll by that way. It’s the opposite of getting a life.

    I don’t actually agree that chasing better education or thinner thighs or whatever is likely to bring you any peace. Better by far simply to go after your passions, whatever those might be. If being fit is legitimately a passion, then fine, and same with a degree. But if you think those might offer you any security against cheating, then no–don’t bother. And if you think losing a few inches or getting alphabet soup after your name will ensure happiness, then same–not worth it.

    To me, at least, peace and contentment are largely inner things, and nothing to do with what others might be up to. External measures–the bigger and better or fitter and trimmer whatever–just can’t cut it.

    A marriage in which you find yourself obsessing over the OW is not thriving, so that’s something to consider very seriously.

    • Or, to put it another way, his cheating is not about the OW or about you. It is about him. She is shitty–cheating is a team sport that requires at least two willing cheaters–but that’s the most notable thing about her as far as that affair goes. Your far bigger issue is that he is, too. And how “safe” can you really feel if you’re stalking the OW? Not very, I’d say. Whatever he might be doing to “work hard” at making you feel safe is, so far, failing. And maybe it always will. You know he is capable of cheating and lying. That capacity remains, so the question is definitely whether that works for you, especially because nothing you do–fitness, degrees, higher income–will ever change the fact of what he did, and what you now know he has it in him to do. So!

    • “But if you think those might offer you any security against cheating, then no–don’t bother. ”

      Definitely true. There are plenty of fit people with degrees who have been cheated on. I know because they post here. You are focused on her positives and think that you are lacking those things and that’s why he cheated, but you have plenty of positives of your own that she doesn’t have. If you had her positives and she didn’t, he would still have cheated. He still would have failed to notice your positives and been blinded by whatever sparkles he might have thought she had.

      • LOL I have a masters degree and 15% body fat, and my husband of 18 years cheated on me. It is not about you, Lauren, it is about him. It will always be about him. I am very sorry this happening to you. No judgement here because I have been where you are. Good luck on your journey. We got your back! In case you are wondering… you matter!

      • Last summer, my cheater even came right out and said that I am a better woman than her. He told me that he knew people would think he was crazy to leave me for someone like her. But, it was all about the way she made him feel. He described her as heroine, “I know she’s no good for me and nothing good can come out of this, but the euphoria I feel when I’m around her is like heroine. When I’m not with her, all I can do is think about how I can be around her again.”

        Yeah, not normal thinking at all. And, rather than talk honestly with a professional about his own deep-rooted issues, he decided to run off to the heroin den and overdose.

        She is a definite trade-down on every level. There is just no stopping the desire for “happiness.”

        • This is what my X said to me too. He knows there’s no future with her but can’t give up “the way she makes him feel”. It’s hard not to hear that as I didn’t love him right, properly, enough to make him feel this loved, this good…:( It’s devastating really.

          • Lucky, read up about the hormonal effects of ‘ in love-ness’ and new relationship sparkles. You and x would have felt this way about each other once, I bet. Instead of labelling yourself a failure, think of his failure to have a mature, reciprocal love for you instead of his relying on hormones to tell him who he should appreciate and be with. Xxx

    • Spot the F on! You can’t become a stranger. If a person is motivated by novelty, the familiar partner is doomed.

    • I hope the other woman is extremely unhappy & rots in hell with my cheater husband. I’m tired of
      Being slapped in the face over & over with it. Yes, I’m still hurt and angry.

    • It’s not about education or thinner thighs — my point (probably badly made) is that if you’re okay with yourself and satisfied, you don’t burn with jealousy of other people. You know WHO YOU ARE and what your values are.

      Despite Lauren’s protestations that her marriage is “thriving,” I don’t sense a lot of security in that letter.

  • You won the pick me dance. OW lost the pick me dance. The OW is happy and you are not. What does that say about your husband? What does that tell all of us chumps about pick me dancing for sparkly turd prizes? I keep assuming that because ex and Schmoopie are still together that means they are happy but maybe not. She won an unhappy, resentful, never satisfied with life, very sparkly man who cheated on his faithful and devoted wife of 20+ years. He won a selfish, self-centered woman who tears families apart for personal gain (oh yeah, ex is that too). Must be bliss. If ex had picked me I would have spent the rest of my life pick me dancing so he wouldn’t regret it. What a way to live.

  • The more mental energy you focus on the OW, the less mental energy you have to focus on the cheater.

    Is he maybe doing a subtle mindfuck to keep your attention and anger deflected away from him and directed towards her? Either to avoid consequences, or to gain space to sneak and betray?

    I’d be especially wary of being directed and distracted. There are no former cheaters, only cheaters who are between OW.

  • It’s a tough climb out of the rabbit hole. Comparing yourself to someone who seems ‘perfect’. And the poor husband just couldn’t resist her. He’s really sorry. She looks great and makes a lot of money, but she doesn’t wash the skid marks out of his underwear or make meat loaf as good as the wife appliance.

    Dr. Cheaterpants would comment about DD14’s teammate’s mother and how great she was. She was a known cheater and her chumpy ex husband who was a doctor would do all the adulting for their kids. He still follows her around like a puppy dog after the divorce and her bringing the flavor of the month to watch her kids’ sports. She is the picture of perfection: she’s a personal trainer and tip top shape, hair is always done, make up perfect, nails never have chips. She’s a huge flirt.

    When cheater mentioned how she was a mom with 3 kids and still had time to take care of herself I felt bad about myself but also livid at him. If I had a chump husband who did all of the work and I worked when I felt like it, I’d be able to look like that too. But nope, I’m taking care of the home, working full time, do the grocery shopping and all the cooking, help kids with homework, etc…

    I’m guessing she’s no where to be found when those things need to be done. But hey, she’s happy. She’s taking what she wants, when she wants. That’s what it’s like to be selfish and entitled. I could never be her. It’s just not in my DNA.

    The real question is why is your husband so shallow to think that’s what he wants? I should’ve been asking myself that. By the second known schmoopie, I realized it’s him and not me. There’s always someone out there that will sparkle a little more than I do. I decided I can’t live my life worrying whether another sparkly would catch his attention.

  • Hi Lauren,

    I had a lot of trouble with this too. I fixated on the OW. Even though I know it happens every day (infidelity, I mean), I was still shocked that a well educated, seemingly-religious person would betray the system. I kind of expected “good” people to play by the rules.

    Well, the face you show the world may be “good.” It may even be pretty, well-educated, religious…whatever. But inside that OW is enough selfishness to betray a complete stranger–YOU–and that speaks volumes about her values, her self worth, and what she’s really about.

    I think CL’s advice is the best and of course OW may be rolling in self satisfaction right now. But I do want to chip in and say her core is rotten–either she is aware of this and deeply unhappy, or too stupid to even realize it.

    Lauren, you do you. You have the opportunity to do whatever you want with this situation. Look inside of yourself and do what will fulfill YOU, with no thought to what others care about. It is time to be kind and generous to yourself–nobody else.

    • “I kind of expected “good” people to play by the rules.” These defects (not only cheaters) use our being civilized, law-abiding and “playing by the rules” against us. And when we decide not to play nice after being screwed over by these defects, they scream from the roof tops we are unfair, unreasonable and of course crazy. Can’t win with these asswipes.

  • This reminds me of the scene in a scary movie where the girl is going down the basement steps and every is yelling no no no don’t even think of going down there.

    Lauren you have to stop going where you know you’re going to get freaked out. Every thought of her is one step down the creepy stairs. Stop. Flashlight up and out of there.

    The only person on gods green earth you should be competing with is yourself. One day at a time your goal is to be a better you than the day before. Maybe a little maybe a lot, doesn’t matter.

    Set boundaries. Own your choices. Fear only failure to be true to yourself. And allow others to do the same.

    Whatever anyone else is doing with their life is Not Your Circus.

  • It sounds like you might have a little self-blame happening here. Let’s be clear – he didn’t cheat because of a lack in you, he cheated because of a lack in himself. Her professional profile and abs didn’t make him cheat, his lack of character did.

    Behavioral self-blame is control related, and involves attributions to a modifiable source (one’s own behavior). It is associated with a belief of future avoid-ability … “if i only have abs or a higher degree, he won’t cheat again.”

    The belief that you can control the outcome of your spouses behavior, by

    The belief you can control the outcome of you spouses behavior, by watching more closely leads to hyper-vigilance – “If my lack of vigilance was the problem, I can prevent a future tragedy by learning what it was about the affair partner that was so attractive to my spouse.”

    Our self-esteem continually fluctuates and is affected by events and encounters with other people. We are constantly judging and evaluating ourselves, often in comparison with others. Observing ourselves in relation to other people can be a source of learning and feedback. When someone validates what you already believe about yourself, it is a measure by which beliefs are reinforced. Yet after infidelity, comparisons with the affair partner become a yardstick by which we evaluate ourselves as good or bad, competent or inadequate, inferior or lacking in some way.

    Self-esteem is what we think and feel and believe about ourselves. Self-worth on the other hand is recognizing “I am greater than all of those things”. It is a deep knowing that I am of value, that I am loveable, necessary to this life, and of incomprehensible worth. It is possible to feel “high self-esteem,” or in other words, to think I’m good at something, yet still not feel convinced that I am loveable and worthy. Self-esteem doesn’t last or “work” without self-worth.

    • You can’t affair proof your marriage. I learned that the hard way. When ex had the emotional affair it didn’t go physical (I am fairly certain) but I knew at the time that he was tempted. I thought it was a wake up call to me that I needed to be a better wife. I guess I “won” that time but I spent the next eight years pick me dancing. In spite of all of that effort, making my needs smaller, trying to be perfect, focusing on his happiness, it was all for naught. He ended up resenting me, blamed me for everything wrong in his life and regretted not having cheated sooner. I spent years trying to please him and he never even noticed. From the things he said to me after DDay you would think I was going out of my way to make him miserable when the complete opposite was true. Either I am woefully incompetent or he’s an ungrateful prick who is incapable of counting his blessing and being happy with what he has. After DDay, I so wanted him to get his head out of his ass and come back to me and yet there was that part of me that was afraid he would and I would spend the rest of my life pick me dancing. Sometimes our biggest disappointments in life turn out to be what’s best for us and getting what we want ends up making us miserable. I am still not going to give him credit for leaving me for Slut Face, however, and she’s still a sparkly POS as well. So there!

    • I love this. I LOVE THIS:

      “Self-esteem is what we think and feel and believe about ourselves. Self-worth on the other hand is recognizing ‘I am greater than all of those things’. It is a deep knowing that I am of value, that I am loveable, necessary to this life, and of incomprehensible worth. It is possible to feel ‘high self-esteem,’ or in other words, to think I’m good at something, yet still not feel convinced that I am loveable and worthy. Self-esteem doesn’t last or ‘work’ without self-worth.”

      I think there are ways to work on that “deep knowing,” Therapy with the right person is one way, if the focus is on building self-worth. Another way to work on that is to build “self-efficacy,” or “one’s belief in one’s ability to succeed in specific situations or accomplish a task.” Our CL mightiness posts are often about how chumps develop self-efficacy, from doing home plumbing to yard work to finishing major life projects like degrees or certification to learning to play a sport.

      • Yup, I just took a screenshot of Got-a-brain’s comment, and it has already been sent to my file of “Words to Live By.” Thanks so much for your insight, GAB!

  • Lauren,

    The infamous “Devalue & Discard” is the gift that keeps on giving, and it was handed to you by someone who promised to do otherwise. Only you can decide if staying with the person who delivered that gift on a shit platter lined with a doily of lies is worthy of your time, attention, devotion and respect going forward.

    I strongly suspect that if you get rid of your unfaithful husband, you’ll miraculously get rid of the images of the OW that you’ve been battling; if you don’t, they’ll always be inextricably linked in your mind and in your heart. This also means a lifetime of trying to untangle that pesky skein of fuckedupness. Why do that to yourself?

    Please listen to the CL’s wise advice; if you feel lacking in some way (physical appearance, education, etc.), then go out into the world and turn that around… just be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons – do it for you, not because you are competing against a ghost.

  • You can spend time hating the OW, but her life probably isn’t as exciting as it appears on social media. OW’s tend to believe that everyone loves them, but that’s not always the case. Usually other people have a better view of what they actually lack character wise. Most folks don’t bother to challenge these hedonistic types because they can become vile. My husbands OW made her life on Facebook sound so exciting, but he discovered the reality and she was nothing like her Facebook after he moved in with her. It was a “bait and Switch” kind of situation. He was extremely unhappy with her. Bottom line is they are just available as semen receptacles. Something to play with until the game gets old. There is no shared history or anything in common except the new feel of genitalia. That can get old pretty quick.

  • It’s only natural to compare yourself to the OW because the game was rigged that way. You’ve invested and damn her for fucking s married man.

    How’s the game rigged? We begin to twist ourselves into a pretzel because we decide to forgive.

    The truth wasn’t that I was less than; I was always better and deserved love and respect. Something inside of you dies and staying becomes a slow death as your very soul snd identity fade into pleasing the predator.

    Winning the pick me dance makes the soul crushing pain go away. Not facing the pain keeps you in a lopsided toxic relationship.

    The pain is finite. You get to gain a life. That’s the winning you should focus on.

  • I sent a msg to OW’s new husband. Telling him who and what he married. He responded and said he had no knowledge of his new wife’s past in that regard. . I offered to show him their mutual lovey dovey emails if he didn’t believe me. He said he was sorry I sent through this.

    Then I LEFT it alone. But, I did not want that slut to swan off to her new life scott free when she was a conspirator to the agony I went though!

    Wish I had been a fly on the wall when her new hubby asked her about her part in ruining a family.

    Now I seldom think of her, she is a low life. She actually has a very prestigious career, but she is a turd of a human being.

    • She more than likely told him you were crazy or something along that line. However, even if he goes along with her narrative, his antenna will always be up. I think you did the right thing by informing her new husband and now he has been duly warned.

  • Lauren – My heart breaks for you. I think we all understand the position you are in because most of us have obsessed about the AP – how can we not for a period of time? I’m in the midst of a divorce and learn new things about the OW. It sends me in a tailspin. I am learning to shut it down. My sanity depends on it.

    You are not happy with your situation. You need a relief for your resentment and frustration. You direct it at her for relief but it only results in you feeling worse. That is because what you are doing does not really address the real source of your resentment and frustration.

    You need to turn it full force to the source – your husband. I know you feel you can’t or shouldn’t do that. You’re worried he’ll get mad and leave. You’re worried you’ll turn him off. You are walking on egg shells at home because you are constantly afraid that if you say or do the wrong thing, he’ll get mad at you, turn this on you, and leave again. I’ve been there. I was there for almost a year, and it was soul crushing. I’ve been dealing with the trauma of that for the last eight months in counselling as my husband left for good after Christmas after I thought I had won the pick me dance.

    Direct your feelings and wants to him. If he is serious about returning and making this work, he will have to bear the consequences of his actions, and the consequences include supporting you in your healing process. If he’s not up to the task, then brace yourself to say goodbye. You are better than his half-ass attempt at reconciliation.

    Practice extreme self-care, put yourself first, go after those things that will benefit YOU. It’s hard right now to know what you want because your WANT is your marriage, and you’ve been focused on that for so long that you can’t see past that. This is of no help to a healthy relationship. You will not have a healthy marriage if you can’t figure out what YOU WANT for yourself (outside of the marriage). It’s time for you to ask for that separation from your husband to figure yourself out.

    Who is Lauren without the husband? What work does she go off to do in the morning that she loves? What goals has she set for the money that she earns and saves? What does she do for fun? What does she look like doing it? What will put a swagger in her step when she walks down the street? How do people describe this Lauren person?

    Figure this out and make it happen for YOURSELF. You let that schmuck of a husband know that this is your life plan for YOU and challenge him to figure out how he can fit into that plan in a way that is supportive and life-enhancing. It’s time for him to pick-me dance, but he’s not competing against another man, he’s competing with the light of your great awesomeness. You make sure that your light wins by making him rise to the occasion or getting out. Either way, you will come out ahead because the whole time you have been working for YOU.

    Big hugs!

  • Lauren says ” I’m not going to ditch my cheater, he’s done so far and I love him; our marriage is thriving.”

    So there is nothing more to discuss. You have chosen your life. Most of us have been there, some for many years. I wish you luck. Hint: It doesn’t end well and you will regret wasting so many years on this guy. But we each have to come to that realization on our own.

  • Lauren- Who introduced this putrid whore into your life?

    Who put you in this situation where you are obsessing over someone who is gloating over your misery?

    I think this 0W dumped your husband. And somewhere deep in your gut you know he is pining for her.

    You have lost all your power. You are sloppy seconds, Plan B, the flophouse he crawls back to you after the one he wanted got away.

    If he has any idea, at all, that you are obsessing over this stupid CUNT -it makes you look even more desperate. It falsely raises her value. It fits their delusional narrative that she is a prize.

    I would be livid, too. You have placed yourself in an unwinnable situation.

    But there is a way to get your power back- Leave.

  • Hi, I have learnt as a chump, the ow probably give you a second thought, horrible as it sounds, cheaters aren’t known for their standards, you may think she’s better than you, but her standards are probably lower. If you want to be healthily for yourself that’s your choice. Her having a firm stomach probably means she is either fixated with her looks . What type of person has a affair with someone who’s not really available, she probably has issues, we all do really but we all don’t cheat. I wish you luck. I would be watching out for red flags, ask him if you loved me, why did you cheat

  • Lauren
    I know the feeling of hating the Owhore but your anger should be towards your cheating ex. He can never be trusted…you want to look through rose colored glasses & think he’ll never cheat again? He will do it again in time. Why should you live like that? Your self esteem is no where to be seen. We all loved our ex & wanted it to work but he threw away your marriage with no concern for you,

    It’s onky a matter of time before another ow will be in your marriage this time he’ll take it further underground
    & you’ll be in the dark. Put yourself first & live a better life without a lying cheating manipulative man.

    Good luck 👍🏻

  • “Not only am I angry at him and his inability to truly get it, I hate the other woman.”

    Here’s a waving red flag. You say, on the one hand, your H is “truly remorseful and trying to help [you] heal.”

    These statements are incompatible. If your H is “truly remorseful” and will “get it.” One thing you can do to help yourself is to look very closely at his “inability” to “truly get it.” What’s is he doing or failing to do? (Because words, Lauren, are cheap).

    And I’d go a little beyond CL: it doesn’t really matter if she is more athletic or has more education or a more successful career. What matters are:
    1) You’ve take on the job of devaluing yourself by constantly comparing yourself to someone who has poor character;
    2) You’ve learned that getting your spouse back is a mixed blessing. You don’t ever get back the marriage you wanted or even the one you thought you had. You get to lay your head every night next to someone who is capable of betraying you.

    There’s no unknowing what you don’t know. Put your energy into building your own life.

    Make sure H’s remorse shows in his financial dealings. Run a credit check on both of you. Make sure he’s not hiding money. Make sure you know account numbers, passwords to financial websites, and where all your investments are. Make sure you have a budget and you know where all the marital money goes. Do you have a post-nuptial agreement that divides assets if he cheats again, and that (if there are kids) provides child support and is based on a way to maintain your home? What are you you doing to make sure if he cheats again, or if you can’t get over this, you don’t have to also drag him through a contentious divorce?

    What do you want to be in five years? Forget measuring yourself by all the external measures. I have a doctorate, I’m very athletic, and Jackass still cheated. XH the substance abuser still drank. It’s not about YOU. It’s about their shitty character and lack of ability to really bond. But your discontentment with yourself is may be rooted in allowing the outside world to determine your worth, as if people with advanced degrees are better than those who don’t have them. You may be projecting your anger at the betrayal on yourself (self-blame as someone above says). But for sure, keeping your attention on the OW keeps you locked into this hell. Turn your attention to your own life—not what he is doing or your marriage, but to YOU and what you want in your life. Do you know who you are? Who you want to be, rather than just someone who envies the woman your X chose to cheat with? What if she had been his secretary? Or a prostitute? A SAHM? Someone who hates dogs? You get one life. Make yours what you want it to be.

    • This, so much this. LovedaJackass is spot on.

      Lauren, I’m not going to tell you to divorce your husband. I am going to say that you do not OWE him reconciliation. Even if you still love him, even if he is truly repentant, his actions broke the marriage. You will never, every have the same marriage you had before he committed adultery. You can never “put it behind you” or “get over it.” You can get through it, but not over it.

      For your cheater to help you heal, he needs to own what he did. Not say he’s sorry (words are cheap), but be upfront and honest. Take a look at CL’s articles on “Reconciliation and entitlement” as well as “Genuine Remorse or Genuine Imitation Naugahyde Remorse.” If you are Christian, you may find David Clarke’s post on the need for the adulterer to own their sin.

      Think about what it is that he is or is not doing that tells you that he doesn’t get it. Is it that he doesn’t want to listen to you talk about it? Is it that he guilts you out for still talking? Even if he doesn’t say anything, do you feel free enough that you can communicate openly about your feelings?

      In a healthy relationship, people can talk about what’s bothering them. They can tell the hard truths. If he truly gets this, he’ll listen without judgment. He’ll understand that part of the process of him helping you heal is that he needs to hear what YOU think and feel. He will acknowledge the validity of your feelings and will act accordingly.

      Are you seeing an individual therapist? Is he? Are you doing joint therapy? Does he book his own appointments and keep them without your reminders? There needs to be a YES answer for all of these.

      Block the OW on all social media. Instead, follow LaJ’s advice when she suggests that you ask yourself what you want to be in five years. Focus on you and your wants. Then take action.

  • Lauren,

    I am sorry that you are in this situation. I have compared and contrasted myself with the partners of my adulterous husband (now ex-husband) and my post-separation boyfriend (now ex-biyfriend), always asking ‘What has she got that I don’t have?’ In most cases, the women are younger than me (I’m in my fifties), don’t have kids (and thus have much more time and money), earn much more money than I do, and met my partners at work. In some cases, these women are more educated than I am. I will never know whether these qualities/conditions were factors in my partners choosing them over me. Not much I can do about the situation–Pick Me Dancing failed. I cannot be younger and childless. I probably can’t considerably raise my IQ. A year since my last boyfriend left, I think that I am gradually reducing how much I compare myself to his new partner. (In a way, I felt more upset about my ‘competitor’ for my boyfriend’s attention winning my boyfriend than one of my husband’s APs ‘winning’ my husband as I automatically thought that the AP was a loser due to her character but couldn’t necessarily think the same about the woman who won my boyfriend as I don’t have proof that she was an AP (even though I wonder about a woman who spends the night with a man when the previous woman’s stuff is still at his house. He may have hidden my stuff. Who knows? I would not want to get into bed with a guy whose previous/current (?) partner’s stuff. even if there wasn’t much was still there.) What bothers me now are my ex-boyfriend’s willingness to lie to, insult, contol me, and unwillingness to truly love/emotionally bind with me and be completely open/honest/and forthright with me when I asked him if things were ok between us. He was willing to hide the truth. Sounds as though your husband is, too. Is that acceptable to you?

    Last night I cried when I read the statistic that only 12% of women who become single in their fifties and 4% of women who become single at 60 can find a sexual partner (and I don’t believe that only 12% and 4% want to have sex with a man and a happy, healthy committed relationship with him). I don’t know what exactly the statistics were based on, but my observation tells me that these figures are probably fairly accurate. Do I think that I can ‘beat the odds’ (be in that 10% of women who win the ‘golden ticket’ of good intimate partnership)? No. Although I think that I have some positive attributes, I am not so arrogant/deluded to think that I am ‘that special.’ So although I grieve the loss of the chance to have had a healthy, loving intimate relationship probably ever in my life, which could last 100 years, I am going to try to re-direct my focus. I decided to every morning ask myself the question, ‘What an I going to do today to make my life a life I love?’ I probably won’t be able to make everything turn out the way I would like it to, but I can optimize my life.

    Lauren, I hope that you find peace and happiness, and no matter what, let us know how things go.

    • RockStar…..I think you are special and encourage you to agree with me. If affair partners had true self esteem (feeling special) they would never settle for banging a committmed person. I think not feeling special is a problem! (Special doesn’t mean arrogant). We are all unique and special! Instead of thinking “no one will like me” try “there is no one like me!” Which is true! Even identical twins have different fingerprints! I don’t listen to statistics…if any of us had the capacity to know for certain what was going to happen five minutes or five years from now, we would never be on this website. My dear friend who was chumped six years ago by grown man teenager is now remarried to a retired Navy SEAL who flies them around on frequent vacations. She is in her 60’s. “How To Lie With Statistics” was an actual course at my university when I was in school. My goal now is to get strong on my own again. I would like to be in a relationship again someday, but I am going to listen to my gut and my Higher Power….not some BS statistics that can in no way be regarded as fact. Anita Moorjani was admitted to the hospital to die from cancer…she went into a coma and emerged three days later cancer free. So much for statistics as facts. The longer I live, the less I know, which makes way for the miracles I was shutting out with so-called statistics and conventional “wisdom”!

      • Hi Velvet Hammer,

        Thank you for your support and happy stories.

        To be clear, I did not say that there was NO or zero chance of finding a (good) intimate partner. 12% means that 12 out of 100 fifty something year old women in the sample will find intimate partners. I was relaying the likelihood of finding an intimate partner, not saying that there was zero chance–just, unfortunately, a very low one, which is probably why I hung onto last somewhat abusive, dishonest partner as long as I could. And as a mathematician/data analyst who works with statistics full time, I know a few things about them. I agree that people can make statistics show various things, but reliable, sound statistics are helpful (for example, that’s how insurance companies decide how much to charge each of us; that’s how physicians/researchers to some extent decide what type of treatment to provide seriously ill patients.)

        That being said, I completely agree with you that it is very important to do what is healthy and reasonable to feel as good as we deserve to feel about us!

        • Not dissing your stat info or cred…I do know what 12% stat means….I didn’t think you meant zero….ust couldn’t help myself when I read that you cried. My apologies.

    • rockstar wife. Thanks for this. This is what is making me feel very sad right now. My bf was not partner material but he was affectionate and I felt desired. I am almost 58 and I also feel it is unlikely I will find a decent man to spend my retirement years with. I absolutely am partner material–too much so in the past, but with newly formed healthier boundaries that bf tried to cross.

      We have to love ourselves enough to know that we are worthy even if we don’t find a new partner. (((hugs))) friend.

      • As a new divorcee in her early 60’s, I get well-meaning acquaintances all the time asking: “hey, are you looking to date? I know someone…” and my answer is always a resounding, “No! You gotta be kidding me. What the hell do I want with relationship responsibilities in my life right now?” I’m not bitter either, I’m just really enjoying my empty-nest freedom to get out there and do stuff with my friends, etc., without having my wet blanket of an X around to deal with. (Because let’s be honest, narcs are never easy to live with). So I think the statistics are influenced by the fact that many well-established, happy folks in their 60’s aren’t pairing up again because they are very happy to be free of all that and are just Not. Interested.
        I think your best bet is to work on really good platonic friendships; those can last for life!

    • I don’t for one minute believe this set of statistics: “Last night I cried when I read the statistic that only 12% of women who become single in their fifties and 4% of women who become single at 60 can find a sexual partner (and I don’t believe that only 12% and 4% want to have sex with a man and a happy, healthy committed relationship with him).” Think of how many widows remarry. I can think of a dozen in my own acquaintance. I think many women, though, choose not to pursue relationship as their central life purpose. Stop reading about this stuff! Get to work on healing yourself and the rest will follow. The people who CAN’T get into relationships are those who are stuck in the past, in old patterns, in the desperation to be in a couple. And these statistics may also be skewed because people over 50 may value other things as highly or more highly than sexual activity.

      I truly enjoy the Very Kind Man that I spend time with. We are sort of past “dating” but not on a path to marriage. But if that relationship ended, I would get on with building friendships with all sorts of people. Yesterday at my ball game, I had interactions with not only my own team, but with 4-5 people on the OTHER team, one of whom looks like she might be friend material. Plus my good friend who got me involved in the first place was there, too. Lots of these people are younger, but there are guys who could become friends or dating partners or introduce me to dating partners if I were interested. All from doing something that makes me happy all on its own.

      Please put yourself first. You aren’t ready for a relationship yet. Don’t catastrophize. A healthy, happy RockStar will be a woman who attracts the right kind of man.

  • All I can tell you is that in my own PERSONAL experience, it took quite a while to start letting those types of feelings go. Just the thought of being expected to move on without revenge made me more angry than I’ve ever been in my life and the more I thought about missing out on revenge, the worse it got. I just had to allow myself to feel what I felt and live with it, but I didn’t live with it forever.

    As time went on and I moved on to my own social circle away from him and away from the people he’s charmed into believing he’s God, I started to feel a little better. I have a few close friends with whom I’ve shared my story and with whom I could get things off my chest. Then I had other friends whom I’ve shared very few details with regarding my marriage which feels nice because we can simply chat and hang out without all the soggy wet baggage of marital laments and occasional questions about it.

    My advice: get yourself some distractions. Tons of them. Get that life of yours back. Don’t give them what we all know would be the satisfaction of seeing you still broken and limp. I swear, they enjoy the pain and heartache they cause. They literally revel in it, almost like it was their sole reason for doing what they did. Find more friends and meet up with them often. Go on casual dates. Live it up and give yourself something to think about other than the ex and his silly whores.

  • I could have written your post, Lauren. Like you, my husband came clean, turned his life completely around, is remorseful and has helped me heal. Still, three years after the fact I HATE the OW and her ability to go on in her life seemingly without consequences while I have to deal with the cleanup. My husband and I have reconciled and, like you, I have no plans to leave him unless it happens again (that has been made crystal clear). We continue in therapy and continue to move forward. That said, I do not think I will ever completely trust him again and I will never be completely ‘over’ the affair — even with forgiveness. Our therapist has confirmed that, in her many years of clinical experience, once someone has been chumped, trust never completely returns and the hurt never completely disappears — it just lessens considerably and you learn to live with what is left. Just dumping him and moving on isn’t a solution either though in my opinion…I’ve seen the matrix. I know it’s there. I can’t unsee it. I don’t think I will ever trust ANYONE again so naively. The unsettledness that you feel and I feel I think is a result of having our worlds shattered by actions completely out of our control and needing to rebuild. I will never feel completely safe in a relationship because now I know that sometimes even the person closest to you lies and cheats and shits on you. I never in a million years would have guessed that he would do this to me. Even if I move on to another, I will always be wondering if I’m being chumped again by someone new. The thing that I have learned through all of this is that even if you win the pick me dance and you actually have a unicorn in your hands, all is not right with the world. I have SEEN the matrix. It’s not going away.

    • “Just dumping him and moving on isn’t a solution either though in my opinion…I’ve seen the matrix. I know it’s there”

      That’s what this whole website is centered around. Leaving the cheater and gaining a life.

      When I read your post, I cringe with shame and pity for you.

      You say you resent having to do the cleanup and the other woman has no consequences. You chose that cleanup.

      Nowhere in there are you mentioning the person who calls to the catastrophe – Your cheating husband.

      I think you should be careful what you say on this website. Just because you are rolling the dice with your very life with a known liar and cheater doesn’t mean that it is the only sane choice. My God – Living with that would be hell on earth.

      You are globalizing- Essentially stating that because this jerk cheated on you and everyone else will too. I don’t believe that is true. And I don’t believe it is kind to make people second-guess actually getting a life for leaving a lying piece of shit.

      • “I think you should be careful what you say on this website. Just because you are rolling the dice with your very life with a known liar and cheater doesn’t mean that it is the only sane choice. My God – Living with that would be hell on earth.”

        I think what Chump Mama is saying is that dumping him isn’t her choice (perhaps based on her religion, her convictions, her tolerance, whatever, we don’t know … she didn’t say it is the only choice), so she is living with her choice, and she is experiencing problems with that choice. I think she knows it is her decision to let him stay. She is balancing the feelings she has now with what she fears might happen, she is discovering the trust issue, she is processing and arriving at the decision best for her, in my opinion. Her problems are good to hear for others because it’s not all rosy, and she makes that perfectly clear. It’s similar to if someone said on this site that “God will see me through” … well, I don’t believe in that, but it’s her/his opinion, and it guides them in their life, so you can’t call them out on that if they’ve given you the disclaimer up front that that’s what they believe.

        I don’t think she needs to be careful what she says on this site unless she is a troll. She doesn’t sound like she is. Some of us on this site are hoping to reconcile (due to any number of reasons), and we are smart enough to know that this site is the best there is … it is open, loving, and gives us sound advice for not staying. It takes the side of leave a cheater, gain a life, but it doesn’t push it down your throat, but it informs us of the RIC sites … it advises you, and people are free to say what they want, unless they’re a troll.

        I, too, wanted to reconcile, and a piece of me still does … but this site helped me see both sides, not just one side, so I’m finding peace living with the arrangement I’ve made for myself.

        I don’t know what Chump Mama means by “the matrix” either, it is vague, but let’s wait until she explains that.

        • Well said, Champ.

          Do you know the film, ‘The Matrix’? In it, everyone on earth believes that their ordinary lives are the reality. In actual fact they are all living in a construct and what they experience as real is false; in actuality they are being farmed and their lives are complete illusion. That illusion, computer generated, is called ‘the matrix’. I think Chump Mama means that she’s seen past the illusion of her happy marriage, no more spackling or hopium.

          We should all take the red pill!
          (Google it if you don’t get my reference either 😁💖)

          • Yes, Matrix for sure. Creeperpants had me programmed into his Mr. Super Christian Lily White Boy world. He even got up and left the toom during the Superbowl half-time show, because of Beyonce’s almost-naked dancing. He said (verbatim), “This is terrible! I’m not going to watch it, and I won’t watch it!” and went in the kitchen. Little did I know he’s been a raging porn dog all his life, and hunts for girls at church, bible study, retaurants, on campus, you name it. Matrix indeed! Red pills, as hard as they are to swallow, taste way better than poop sandwiches!!

        • I agree. I don’t perceive that Chump Mama is a troll at all. She’s doing the work to preserve her marriage, and her eyes are WIDE open to truth now. When I hear these stories, I’m very skeptical and wish the chumps would just leave the relationship, but if I had been married to Cheater #1 or to Mr. Creeperpants, who knows how long I would’ve stayed. I respect Chump Mama’s decision, and I bet she’s respecting herself more than ever. Hugs to you, Chump Mama.

    • Just a thought, I too was chumped 20 years ago. I was 53 and I took him back because it was easier. I didn’t want to blown up my family, I had a stressful job, my mother had dementia, I had young adult children to deal with, so he apologized we went to counselling and there you have it. Fast forward 20 years…………one morning he states he wants a divorce no warning, no he’s in love again. This time it takes all of 3 minutes to desolve 40 years of forgiveness. I tell him get out and he is dead 15 months later from cancer.
      The funeral is a shit show (I don’t go) but my adult kids do and the whole mess is now causing all kinds of family issues. My advice get out while you can he won’t change and even if he does who wants leftovers! Yuck.

      • Both Chumped Mama & Lauren will eventually leave their Cheaters someday. Don’t be hard on them, we all have to get there in our own time. I’ve shared here before I was chumped TWO times and forgave my Cheater TWICE, once in my 20s and once in my 30s before the third time happened in my early 40s and I said “that’s it”.

        I was a super, super slow learner, and there was no CL back then. Cheaters can’t hold it together forever, they always, always, always screw up again. My cheater took almost 5-8 years between cheating episodes (and they were all different OW’s).

        But I was never right in the “I’ve forgiven him phases” in between OW’s. I was a twitching, sleep-deprived mess, doing variations of the marriage police all along. I wasn’t my best self, and I wasn’t even whole. But, during those periods, nobody could convince me to leave him.

      • I think she should open her own account, put as much money as she can get in there and get a postnup. In the future whatever money comes in she gets half of it. They pay bills together and then they divide up the rest. If there is one thing I have learned from reading so many chump letters here, and all over the Internet, is how much financial theft is done by cheaters.

    • I disagree with your premise. I don’t worry at all about being chumped by someone new. First, even if it happened, I know I am strong enough to survive it, to learn from it and move past it. But I’m not the same person. I don’t fall for what’s on the surface. I’m not needy or desperate to be part of a “couple.” I know what a red flag is and I have an executive capacity to recognize if I am tempted to spackle. It’s possible to set your picker for “honest, faithful, kind” and then to recognize it when it comes down the road.

    • Ok. So here’s a question for you and Lauren. Why should the OWs suffer consequences but the husbands get off scot free? I don’t like my OW either, but I don’t think she should suffer any more than my ex should suffer. I want them both to be miserable together. If ex and I had reconciled, however, I likely would have been thrilled if Schmoopie had moved on because it would have made her less of a threat to my marriage.

    • Ah the old “It’s better to dance with the devil you know” and “No sense leaving a cheater, because everyone else cheats too.”

      Two very basic tenets of the Reconciliation Industrial Complex and both are very WRONG. Dancing with the devil that cheats, is well dancing with the devil that cheats. You already know that their response to real life problems is escapism to an affair. I think statistically you are much better off starting with someone new who hasn’t cheated on you because Not. Everyone. Cheats.

      Being chumped is a trauma and potentially one that changes us forever but some of those changes are choices. I can see why one would never trust a cheater again, but I am befuddled by someone who just assumes everyone else on the planet (besides themselves presumably) is a cheater and insists they’ll never trust anyone again.

      Intimate relationships are not possible without trust. And can we stop trying to add modifiers to trust? You either have it or you don’t. It’s not blind or naive; it just is or it isn’t. Partially trusting someone is like being partially pregnant.

      Just my two cents

    • Jessie wrote,

      “That’s what this whole website is centered around. Leaving the cheater and gaining a life.

      When I read your post, I cringe with shame and pity for you.

      I think you should be careful what you say on this website. Just because you are rolling the dice with your very life with a known liar and cheater doesn’t mean that it is the only sane choice. My God – Living with that would be hell on earth.”

      If the only purpose of this site is to cater to those who have left, then that is a determination made by Tracy. I haven’t seen any statement from her that indicates others aren’t welcome.

      Also, you are talking over Chumped Mama. That is rude, at the very least. It’s also creepy. I bet she has had a lot of people, one in particular, telling her that whatever she sees, feels or believes is wrong. Do it *this* way.

      She may come to the conclusion on her own or she may not.

      Chris W. wrote,

      “Both Chumped Mama & Lauren will eventually leave their Cheaters someday.”

      That simply isn’t true. One or both may leave their Cheaters, or maybe one or both of their Cheaters decides to leave. It may be the best thing outcome. Or maybe they won’t and it may or may not be the best decision they made. We simply don’t know and just because the odds are stacked against all four of them doesn’t mean they won’t do it.

      I agree that it’s unlikely but I refuse to be one of those people who invalidates their choices because they don’t align with mine.

      If they find themselves with a FuckedUp Unicorn who never again strays and gets over their sense of entitlement – that’s great. It’s not likely but it would still be great. If it turns out that their cheater is like most cheaters, that sucks but there is no point in gloating or shaming them for their decisions at this time.

  • So much of what we suffer as chumps could be avoided by internalizing this one simple but powerful message: “Love feels safe, not off balance.” In the years since D-day, this has been my litmus test for *every* connection, no matter what kind, and it has been amazing to live without the vertigo of unstable relationships. I hope the OP will find the same peace for herself.

    Thanks as always, CL.

  • Ah. I took my cheater husband back. Then 20 years later he did it again. Now I wonder how many affairs there were in between that he was successfully able to hide from me.

    Lauren. Run.

    • Yep. I took my cheating fiance back. 16 years later when I found out about #2, I immediately lawyered up. Wasn’t going through that shitstorm again. Then while going through things when packing to leave, I found proof that he kept hidden away of a #3 that I didn’t know about which occurred during those 16 years. Trust that they suck.

      Divorcing him was the best thing I could do for myself. It freed me up to meet my second spouse, who also was chumped by his first wife. I completely trust him, and he trusts me. I’m 63, retired, and having the best time of my life.

  • Lauren, I’m 7 years in reconciliation, and I understand your feelings. It’s natural to hate her, and blame her, but the truth is HE cheated and if it wasn’t her it may have been another her. The OW is not some perfect flower, she was just easy pickings. I don’t know how far you are into your recovery, but it’s a long long process! My best advice is let him have your anger when it arises, Stop comparing your life with hers, give her a nickname that the 2 of you call her( ours is the demon) this really helps to hear him call her that , and most important . make sure you have a postnup! Slowly, your trust will improve, but that scar will always be there, and when it hurts share it whatever emotional outburst you need to express.
    One other point, I was at the PGA golf tournament this weekend. Tiger Woods has a giant fan base behind him again, but I bet his exwife, probably wishes him to be hated and keep failing. The truth is there may never be a karma bus, so try your best not to obsess about it.

    • The best thing Tiger Woods does is to be financially successful. His ex wife exited that marriage with a fair settlement and they still had children to support.

      • He might have fans but he doesn’t win anymore. That golf club through the back window of his car should be the symbol on some Chump tee shirts.

        • Oh, his winning or not winning is not karma, other than in the sense that he made a lot of choices that made very high-level performance at a game that is both mental and physical impossible. But those choices, of course, are indicators that he was truly a f*cked up person. Infidelities were part of that. There are no indicators that he changed. The fact that he has “fans” is utterly meaningless. Many people in the world live at a low level of character and consciousness. We don’t have to be among them.

    • Living

      What’s it called, the demon compact? You’ve got 7 years into reconciling? And yes it’s s long process until the next easy pickings comes along. I had a pair of those blinders.

      This isn’t a reconciliation site in case you haven’t noticed it’s leave a cheater gain a life. What’s making it worth it to you living? What’s a soul worth?

      • Doing
        I rarely post on here since I reconciled, but I still read CL daily. She’s brilliant, and her advice on reconciliation including the postnuptial is the only reason I even tried. I mean no offense.

        • Living

          Here’s what she said, “My situation differs in that my cheating husband did come home, he has changed his ways, and he is truly remorseful and trying to help me heal. I can’t get over it.”

          To me a post up has to do with assets. And demonizing the OW is the opposite of what this chump is looking for, right? The whole pet name thing (demon) rubbed me the wrong way. That’s what you share? It’s fucked up.
          Cheating is abuse. I don’t believe in reconciliation and in my opinion there’s no dollar amount that should sway a chump into believing in unicorns.

    • “If you wanna be like Tiger Woods
      Poking all the holes in the neighborhood
      Tell your wife how it’s gonna be
      Your driver is community property.”

      One of my most favorite Steel Panther songs….

  • OW – who knows? Maybe your husband conned her? Maybe she serially dates married men.
    OW who date married me are . . heard on Doctor Radio….n.u.t.s. They got issues of absent father, looking for patriarch guy, that they can’t get into a relationship with because they are scared to death. Until they deal with their issues, they will keep picking the wrong man.
    OW is skiinny. Of course, she’s on the hunt.
    OW is smart. There’s book smarts and street smarts. She lowered her standards to date a married man. Any woman worth her self respect, wouldn’t date a married man. Did he con her?
    Look, even if you were a witch and 99% responsible for making him unhappy (which I’m sure you are not), he could have said, “Counselor” or “Divorce”…before cheating. You may be x% responsible for the affair, but he is 100% responsible for cheating.
    Either way, I bet she never trusts her boyfriend either. And, maybe karma will serve her the other side of the plate. Or, her boyfriend trust her….

    How will you know if your husband will never cheat? idk
    How will your husband know if you’ll ever trust him again? idk

    But, it’s unhealthy to keep obsessing on her. Maybe talk with a psychologist, yell “STOP”, block her on Facebook . . .

    • “Look, even if you were a witch and 99% responsible for making him unhappy (which I’m sure you are not), he could have said, “Counselor” or “Divorce”…before cheating. You may be x% responsible for the affair, but he is 100% responsible for cheating.”

      Have you heard of the no fly zone Maneater? You’ve reached it. We take 0% responsibility for affairs. And 99% responsible for making him unhappy? That’s TROLL speak.

      • No relationship is perfect. Every person makes the other person mad or grumbled at some point. The cheating partner has to BLAME the faithful spouse for something, even if it’s made up. What have I heard? “You don’t have any girlfriends, so I can’t stand being with you because you have no friends.” “You drink a beer, and I don’t like alcohol.” “We grew apart.” “You are of a different religion.” or the unspoken….”You make more money than me.” “You’re more famous for me.” (think movie stars like Sandra Bullock..) I own up to the fact and just put that argument out there that YES, I do make more money. Or, Yes, I am a different religion. It takes it off the table. Then, I add…
        But, just because someone else makes more money than I do, I don’t rob them of their stuff. I don’t act on the feeling. Just because someone is a different religion than me, I don’t burn or trash talk their religion. Cheaters ACT on the feelings as justification for the cheating, instead of working out their “injustices.” There is ALWAYS going to be a separate point of view between ANY two people. But, it’s that cheaters don’t resolve the difference. They act on it. They are entitled. They don’t have have to work anything out. They move on. To the next victim. Because they are never a victim.

  • I knew the OW for 14 years prior to them sleeping together (I’m still not sure on the timeline of their affair). I know one thing for sure … if the OW appears to be smarter, leaner, richer, prettier, it will bother you. BUT if the OW is dumber, fatter, a golddigger, and has a face like a cow patty (as is the case in my situation), it will bother you. If Karma bestows the OW, will that tragic event lead to your husband feeling sorry for her and ditching you again? You can drive yourself crazy no matter what you think about her. Triangulating will drive you crazy … it’s not acceptable that your husband did that, so don’t be doing that to yourself either.

    Facebook’s driving me crazy. If instead of Facebook, someone wrote a letter to 400 friends, it would be 2 inches thick, with pages and pages of pictures, memes, and diary of that person’s day-to-day activities. If you got a letter like this from someone once a week, what would you think? What would you do? This is what you’re basically doing, is sitting down to read a 2-inch thick letter from someone who hurt you. Don’t do it. Don’t waste your time.

    • Good points.

      In my case, Schmoopie was a dozen years younger than CheaterX, which makes her definitely younger than me. She is also 3 inches shorter and 60 lbs heavier. I’m more active, and I don’t have chronic health problems.

      That didn’t matter to CheaterX. I could probably untangle the skein of fuckedupness that made him feel attracted to her, but frankly, it’s not worth it. What really matters is that he decided to fuck around, and to me, that’s not acceptable.

    • With the first schmoopie, I thought Dr Cheaterpants was naive and couldn’t recognize a cray cray ho. This howorker has a history of cheating on both her husbands, apparently couldn’t have children, and was nicknamed crazy by her nursing peers.

      When I discovered schmoopie #2 twelve years later because I got a new phone and our iClouds were joined, I could see him as the predator he is in action. Even using DD14 as schmoopie bait since she coached our kid. I had heard about how no one ever thought about her and she really needs someone to advocate for her (dumsel in distress).

      Two suspicious secretaries in those between years once I started reflecting back. But you have to know this is who they are and see them for their shitty character. Schmoopie isn’t better than you. She’s just easy and willing to settle for a married man. Or too stupid to believe his lies.

  • Can we stop saying “facebook stalking?” All that information on Facebook is put there by the individual for the public to see. I would wager that if you have 500 FB friends, then at least 1500 people have already seen it.

    Stalking is harassing someone; contacting them when they have you asked to stop doing so.

    Gossiping, a research tool from the predigital age, is far more invasive than looking at someone’s FB wall. You can never know what people say about you whether it is even true; and especially when dyou did not give them permission to do.

    • The OW had a very public page – anyone could see her stuff. I suspected she was the OW based on the fact that X started liking everything she posted. I accidentally “liked” a photo and promptly unliked it but she already had notification. The next day her page was shut down like Fort Knox. But, it confirmed what I had already suspected – yes, she was the OW, my X’s exit affair. About a month later, I blocked the X, the OW’s two FB accounts, and the X’s sister on both Facebook and Instagram.

      Hell, she wanted people to see her shit. I don’t consider that stalking.

  • I really hoped that my ex and his mistress stayed together. It hurt thinking about them together and I hated them, but honestly, it kept him “busy” and off my back during the divorce. I also did not think it was fair that she just got to fuck him and move on with her life while I had to pick up the pieces of mine. They’re married now. Good.

    I always thought that aside from the whole shitty-person-homewrecker aspect, we torture ourselves with the idea of the affair partner because they needle with some aspect we feel insecure about. I projected more shit on my husband’s mistress than magical powers she actually had. CL’s advice is perfect.

    I don’t believe in karma because we end up waiting on the sidelines for it to show up. Everybody has ups and downs. Nobody gets a free lunch. She may be blissfully ignorant, arrogant, and happy or miserable. It really has nothing to do with you and how you go forward with your life.

    But really, stop torturing yourself. Block her on social media. Clear your browsing history. Even get a new email address. Vow not to taint your beloved smartphone or laptop with the mention of her name. She really doesn’t matter.

    (PS: As someone who works in higher education, don’t be dazzled by a “higher degree.” There is such as thing as dumb-smart people. I’ve met plenty.)

  • Trust your intuition, cheating is emotional abuse. Time to go when others (regardless of the “invested time, sunk costs”) willfully harm us. Parking our anger with the OW is a side show to the main event. Saddle up, it’s time to go. Try it for 90 days. If you’re not happy, a “misery refund” is always available.

  • I will never, ever understand the Facebook thing. To me, it seems to be nothing more than an online world where people desperately try to mask over the reality of their lives. And why would you ever want pictures of yourself and your loved ones floating around out there in the ether?

    I admit that I was obsessed with the OW as well. I made up a Facebook identity stalked her Facebook page and saw pictures of my then-husband on it, on this vacation and that vacation, smiling and drinking and happy. But it was ALL image management, pure and simple. He ended up cheating on her and dumping her for another woman, what a surprise. When that happens, you realize how truly dishonest people are on Facebook.

    • I wouldn’t call facebook dishonest, just incomplete. It’s not meant to be an accurate portrayal of all your life – just vacay pics, pics of kids and pets, funny life anecdotes, etc. No one’s interested in your posting about having to scrub off the mold in the bathroom, your ingrown toenail, or your personal emotional troubles. That doesn’t mean that people don’t have troubles, just that facebook isn’t the venue for sharing them.

  • Lauren, I have been exactly where you are. My ex came back after Dday#1 and I was obsessed with the OW as well. She was out of the picture, yet I kept trying to figure out why he wanted her in the first place. What was I missing? What was I not giving him? And I was miserable too. Every. Single. Day. It clawed in my gut.

    Then Dday#2 happened 2 years later, and now I am free. And as hard as it was, after 2 1/2 years, I am no longer miserable. Listen to your gut. It is telling you something. If you feel miserable, there is a reason for that.

  • I think most of us can identify with this obsession–it seems to rear its head at particular moments of the healing process.

    I decidedly did *not* win the pick-me dance–STBX refused to dance with me. He told our couples’ therapist he was a “0” on a scale from 1–10 re. interest in trying to repair the relationship. He told me he decided to end our marriage as soon as the affair began. So you can bet I was consumed with self-abusive comparative thoughts about this woman. Knowing my insecurities, I kept myself from pain shopping for 6 months, at which point, I couldn’t bear my wild imaginings any longer–and some information was starting to reach me through my son. So I looked; I was a brilliant sleuth, if I do say so myself, given that I didn’t know her name, where she worked, etc. I found her. And guess what? She is precisely the kind of bitch I have spent my whole life not giving a fuck about. Now, she has certain marks of “value” conferred by the majority culture that some people might get hung up on, but I am clear on *my values* and I can say with confidence that Becky sucks.

    • “She has certain marks of ‘value’ conferred by the majority culture that some people might get hung up on, but I am clear on *my values*.”

      One of the most important things we can learn from being betrayed is not to put stock into the values of the majority culture.

  • Sadly, these men will cheat with someone else even if she hadn’t given in to his advances. I guarantee you that. Don’t obsess about her because she’s more than likely one of many. She’s just the one you know about. I was cheated on and I also was an OW. Turns out there was more than just one that I was cheated on with and found out I was a succession of OW with the man I thought loved me. However all this came out 15 years later so I wasted so much time thinking it was the one specific woman fault for carrying on a decade long affair with my husband but I learned there were others during the times she tried to walk away.
    I would be more obsessed with finding out how he’s going about cheating because even though he came back and is seemingly working on fixing the married, he’s about 99.9% of a chance cheating again but he’s just got better at hiding it. When I was an OW, he met me during his lunch hour and contacted me via wifi calls and hidden burner apps for texting so his wife wouldn’t find out. Men who cheat only get better at hiding it, they absolutely do not stop cheating!

  • I found myself ruminating about the OW even after he said it was over and he had picked me. I realized that in my life, when I find myself ruminating, this is the sign that I am clinically depressed and possibly need an anti-depressant and therapy. When he came back, I started taking an anti-depressant, hoping to be as cheerful and fun as the OW (how he described her as better than me). Guess what? For years, he was still with her, continuing to cheat, lie, and steal my life. He stole my JOY. It took years to get the divorce because I was numbed by the meds and he was very clever about hiding his cake-eating. Time passed. Years and years passed. Finally, when I discovered he had several OW simultaneously, and thanks to some really great individual therapy, I filed for divorce and ended my marriage. And the best part? I no longer needed or took an anti-depressant and no longer feel depressed. I reclaimed my joy! The moral of the story is that you too could be depressed because it’s depressing to live with a narcissist and cheater. Even on meds, your body knows. Listen to it.

    • Amen. So glad you’re now feeling great. There’s a reason why “parasitic living” is one of the definitions of The Disordered. They literally suck the joy and life out of you.

  • Ohhhhh, Lauren, Lauren, Lauren – so many questions for you! – So few details in your letter to CL. How long have you been married? How long has he been back? Are you healthy? Is he physically healthy? (I can’t say much for his mental health as he’s a cheater) Do you have children together? Are you working? Do you own a home? Are you financially solvent? Do you have the support of family and friends? Have attitudes toward you and him as a couple changed since the cheating?

    More importantly, how do you feel when you get up in the morning as you go forward from this experience? Are you blissful, happy, content, wary, worried, upset, confused, sad? Gauge for yourself what you want each day to be like for the REST OF YOUR LIFE. If whatever you imagine for your best self and being happy isn’t the way you’re living your life now, get out, move on, be over it.

    They never change. My mother was married for 27 years to a serial philanderer who finally ran away with her best friend. I was married for 36 years to a man who always pined for his college huny and guess what? Off he went, when he reconnected with her on FB. The truth is, the faithful partner and all the goodness that goes with that concept just doesn’t matter to a cheat. Honesty, love and fidelity just don’t matter to them in the same way or to the same degree. Ever. You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t. You will tolerate anything, until you can’t.

  • Last week, I retained a law firm who filed and served on the OW a cease and desist letter regarding her defamation of me on Facebook.

    Now- here’s the helpful part.

    I have never met the other woman. She has never seen me or heard my voice. I am 17 years older than her. I was essentially ghosted.

    I took no actions of revenge against her or the douche bag that cheated on me with her. Notwithstanding that I had very vivid and graphic fantasies about hurting them, I did nothing.

    Now, let this sink in. The way I discovered the other woman was slandering me is due to a background check and the LEXIS-NEXIS search. This woman actively pursued a married man, sent him filthy texts, attempted to harass me and told me to kill myself.

    I did nothing to her. Let me repeat that: I did nothing to her.

    So you can imagine my absolute amazement when she had posted on Facebook the following about ME a few weeks ago:

    Crazy bitch
    Whore
    Life ruiner

    🤯🤯🤯

    I was absolutely blown away. I had no idea I was even on these freaks radar for 2 1/2 years ! I do not have their phone numbers, their addresses, their social media. I have no presence on social media.

    So what does this say? It tells us everything we need to know about a sick and weak and wicked person that would sleep with someone who is married.

    For some reason in her wormy brain, I am still there. I believe it is because the worst punishment you can dish out to a pathological sadistic narcissist is to ignore them.

    I have done many things wrong in this chump journey- but I never picked me danced. When I discovered the hard proof that he was having sex with someone else, I exited stage left. I never went back. They never heard from me again.

    This clearly has driven her as insane as she secretly made me. I just never showed my hand. My poor family and friends had to suffer through my obsession. But she never knew nor did he.

    Lauren and anyone else who hates the other woman, I know it is so hard – But to truly ignore them is the most delicious punishment to dish out to them.

    I did decide to take a legal baseball bat upside her head. Simply because her audacity and slander is too much to stomach. It is from the lawyer and the letter is vicious and threatening. I have taken enough abuse from her, and I don’t deserve to be called a crazy bitch and a whore on a social media platform.

    I’m not saying that every other woman is miserable. I remember a woman my social worker sister helped who was living in the floorboard of her home with a rat living in her hair and feces under her fingernails. And she was jolly. It takes all kind of crazy to make the world go around

    But I am saying that there is something profoundly wrong with a man or woman who gleefully delights in destroying a marriage. They are a person you would run from- clutching your children. A deep rot, an unholy funk… a person who makes you want to take your brain out and scrub it with bleach after you interact with them.

    And the critical point is – if your spouse ran to them…Tasted them, fucked them, collided with them, laughed about you with them ( believe it) …. how could you ever stomach him or her?

    What’s the upshot of staying with someone you can’t trust?

  • My ex said plenty of insensitive things to me but one thing he told me that stuck was “She looked good on paper.” I am a single working mother with a comfortable life but no frills. She is a self proclaimed trust fund baby who gifts my ex with trips to Europe on a whim. When he said that to me, I felt reduced, unworthy, not good enough. I became mildly obsessed with who she was, what she had that I didn’t. And she plasters all of it all over social media, an obvious effort to draw attention to her “fabulousness”. In all the attention I gave to her, trying to figure out how I also could “look good on paper” I forgot something essential….I look good in real life. Sure I don’t have a fancy car or the ability to never work, such as she. But I have genuine friendships and real accomplishments. I have self respect. I don’t have to poach other peoples boyfriends/husbands to validate my existence. And I don’t have to sit at home all day painting a white picket fence life for people on social media whose opinion will never matter in the long run, this is what her existence is comprised of. She has all day to sit at home and play relationship police to a man who has the emotional depth of an ice cube tray. So to the person who doesn’t know any better- yea, she looks good on paper. Maybe enviable. But the reality behind that faux white picket fence is that she is spending an exorbitant amount of time trying to convince people she has a great life and a great relationship. She’s not actually living a great life.That’s how I moved past the hurt and the jealousy. Do you want a life that just looks good? Or do you want one that feels good?

  • Dear Lauren,
    I respect what you have written in your posts. Perhaps, because I am a Chump who remained with her cheater, I am better able to understand some of your statements.
    On DDay, and after, I confided in no one. Cheater changed jobs, we moved away. The years following I was busy caring for my young children, taking care of the household and working in a very rewarding career.
    My children, never ever knew of their father’s affair, I believe to be with a co worker.
    I know nothing about her, absolutely nothing.
    I have forgiven cheater. I did not say those words to him, but, I live them every day.
    Forgiving is one thing, but forget! I will NEVER forget!
    In the years following the affair, I didn’t really think about the OW. Now, years later, I honestly would like to know her first name and I would like to know what she looks or looked like.
    Of course, in private conversation, I have asked cheater about her, but in true cheater-narc like character he denies, denies, lies, lies. So I don’t ask. It is just easier on my mind and on my heart this way.
    As for leaving cheater, after I have found CL, CN, all brave Chumps here, that is not in my intentions. I have no desire to create pain for my daughters, especially the younger, who I was expecting at DDay time. This beautiful child he did not want. No, I would never hurt her, or her loving sister.
    Of course, I have lost the true love, the true respect, that I showered abundantly on cheater early in our marriage.
    The fact that any cheater can do such an act against a loving, faithful wife and innocent children, is disgraceful. This leaves, wounds and scars on a chump’s heart that last forever. That is why we are all here.
    Although too late for me, I was so happy to find CL, CN. They taught me that the cheating was never my fault.
    I come here to encourage new Chumps to leave a cheater, gain a life. I praise them as Mighty, the ones that do! The Chumps, who have been left by cheater and they bravely pick up the pieces, putting their children first and building a new cheater free life, well they are so Mighty also. I encourage them, I salute them every chance I get.
    Each one of our struggles is different, but the DDay pain, the lasting effect that we face each new day is a shared life happening.

    As for OW, she owes me nothing.
    I owe her nothing!
    Cheater is the one who carries all the IOU’s around in his pocket.
    ( I say pocket as that is where they must be, as they are not in his heart).
    Just saying.

    I wish you peace and contentment in the days ahead Lauren.
    Xxxxxxxxx
    peacekeeper

    • I can see the X reading this and also gaining inspiration because this applies to him as well. However, he needlessly hurt a lot of people as he exited his old life and threw away the people that truly cared about him.

  • This post reminds me of that scene in the movie Office Space where one of the Bobs says to Peter “looks like you’ve been missing a lot of work lately” and Peter responds, “I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it”.

    OP “I’ve won the pick me dance!”
    Chump Nation “I wouldn’t say you’ve won”

    It’s like all of those sayings for weight loss “Win by Losing”

    #notwinning

    • I don’t really want to talk about my flair.

      😂😂😂
      Damn it feels good to be a gangster.

      I LOVE that movie.

  • I suggest that you direct that anger where it belongs… your “husband”. Either decide that you can deal with what he did, or leave. Have an honest conversation…. with yourself…and determine what you are willing to live with. He can apologize, cry, make promises…it does not matter.. none of that will make what he did disappear. NOTHING he ever does will make what he did not happen. While a very small percentage of marriages will recover from this, NONE of them will EVER be the same. I’m sorry for your pain, but now is not the time to sugar coat your feelings, your life, or your marriage.

  • Lauren,

    What if we were to look for opportunities and ways for the obsession to fuel you?

    I get that you are staying with him and will never fully trust him again. I get that you feel like you’ll never trust any man after this, so better to keep the devil you know than the devil you don’t. I get that it is infuriating to watch her image management, and it would be seriously awesome if she grew a giant nose wart with a bunch of hairs sprouting from it, got unceremoniously fired and got dumped in favor of a midget queen in drag. You are justified in feeling that.

    But really here we only care about Lauren. Not her
    What is it about her that pings your sensitivities? Let’s identify and work on those things, no judgement. Men gauge body, brains, beauty and boobs. What is it about her that is bugging you? ( men could give less of a shit about professional success btw. It’s the 4Bs)

    I use this thinking in reverse. I know my life continues to freak out the OW, who became the second wife. I know she watches me. I use it as fuel! I think of her occasionally while on the treadmill, or when killing it at work, or when my daughters are thriving, or when I feel pretty on the beach. Certainly not always, but every now and then. She got the guy – I won, and wound up with a man 10x him too. What would it take to reconstruct your frame and use this obsession to infuse your desire to make your life amazing?

    I’m having an awesome lioness hair day. I’m off to post it on Insta. That curdled bitch hates her hair. What a bummer for her. My 50 closest friends will heart it and they matter far far more – but heck yea, I know who’s watching.

  • Of course I have feelings of anger at an affair partner as I would have feelings of anger at anyone who assaulted me or ripped me off. The word I learned is COLLUSION. Compoundin it is that my husband was complicit. His lies kept me involved in a false relationship when I could have been down the road living an authentic life of my choosing. My gallows has two nooses for the co-conspirators. Of course affair partners who are unaware that their lover is in a committed relationship are excused. Lying is one of the worst forms of abuse as it is invisible and causes radical psychological damage (denying reality). I am angry at BOTH of them and handling it like Thich Naht Hanh suggests.

  • I was married for 37 years to a serial cheater. No real sexual affairs that I could prove until the last one but there were 3 sexual harassment charges at work, questionable text messages, inappropriate cards, caught him in a chat room, went through a period where he stalked me but I loved my husband. I had an advanced degree, earned 75% of the income, gave him the most beautiful daughter anyone could ever want, have the figure of a 25 year old but nothing was ever enough for him. When I caught him texting a married co-worker 2 years ago I knew that wasn’t the life I wanted. Kicked his ass out the next day, changed the locks, and good riddance to his ass. Can’t say it hasn’t been hard, so much in my life has changed. Trying to dissolve a 39 year relationship is hard and our only daughter is getting married this November. I just turned 60 last week and I wish to God I had left his ass all those years ago. My daughter’s name is Lauren and my advice to her would be to get away from him!!!!!!!! They never change!!!!!!!

    • Ihatehim – I admire your strength. You are mighty and you deserved way better than that fuckwit. I raise a glass to a chump toast that your best years are still to be! Congratulations to your daughter on her upcoming wedding!

  • Lauren
    I understand how you feel. But that feeling comes from your lack of self worth. Who destroyed your self worth? That fuck wit!!
    Take up yoga, read about mindfulness, shut down your Facebook till your better. Your brain will thank you.
    She is not better than you, you are both different people (with a very different moral compass) . You work hard on being where you want to be. Ow in my scenario was certainly not better than me, we were miles apart and if I were her I couldn’t sleep at night knowing what I had done. That’s your betterness!
    Be kind to yourself, your not here for a life of purgatory.
    Much love

  • How can your marriage be thriving if he stuck his dick in someone else? Doesn’t sound like a great marriage to me. Why would you want that?

  • One thing to note is that a lot of times, you’re not really “obsessed” with OW, you’re currently just trying to process the traumatic upending of your life, and one of the only non-violent ways it can manifest is in you doing discovery on OW. What I’ve seen a lot is that this impulse will eventually (slowly, slowly) go away as you heal and have other things come up that take up your attention.

    But the OW may stay obsessed with you, stalking all your social media presences etc. for years on end because she still has the toxic ex in her life, so it’s impossible for your ghost to stop haunting her. I rarely think about my ex’s gf but she has started a blog where she talks about all her historical…um…exploits, and references their relationship and my daughter a bunch, and even me (indirectly but you know who she’s talking about). When someone brought this to my attention I was like “Oh lawd….she’s really investing a lot of time into rationalizing her life choices. Good grief, who has time for this?” ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  • You may not believe it but a day will come when you will laugh at and pity the OW.

    She is getting exactly what she deserves and as you already know it is no super prize.

    I myself am laughing now.

    • I agree. When I was lost in the fog, convinced that I was just a dull, ugly, boring old woman, and she was the vibrant, spiritual, beautiful, clever, fascinating YOUNG being, with a life that I envied, fated to be with my husband, I was in despair. It was something the OW said herself to me – “If I’d known you, none of this would have happened” – that opened my eyes. Yes, now she’s on a 1000 mile horse trek raising money for charity with her new boyfriend (not the ex, that was all a fantasy of his) and next year she’ll be doing another horse-trek in a European country I’ve always wanted to visit and planting a forest there. And eveybody, but everybody, adores her. BUT she’s still a naive, interfering, boundary-less, emotionally unintelligent, self-promoting child who failed to learn a vital lesson from an EXACT SAME entanglement with another couple that happened before she ever met us, and which meant she had to move hundreds of miles to avoid the fallout.
      I do pity her. I hope she has had the same agonies of regret that I have, not because I hate her but because she needs to grow up before she destroys any more lives with her ‘unconditional comfort’ that she offers to her friends, like the STBX. Plenty of women told me that they saw her as a loose cannon and didn’t trust her. I didn’t see the red flags, but now I never miss a single one, in any field of life. I’m proud of how I’ve matured and grown in wisdom without bitterness.

      Lauren, our only job in this life is to work on ourselves and our own is the only life we can save. Please remove your gaze from this person and look at yourself instead, love yourself, be compassionate to yourself, grow your own self. Much love to you. XXX

    • Same here. About the time I realized ow was nothing to be jealous of, I realized that ex was definitely nothing to be jealous of. Kind of a package deal.

  • I have not read all the comments but i am sure mine will be very different from the norm…

    First let me state in all capitals I DO NOT WANT MY EX BACK. NOR DO I WANT MY EX IN ANY SHAPE OR FORM…

    That being said.. .. . i STILL want the OW to crash and burn.. .. i am NOT jealous of her in any way. i KNOW i am the better person. He left me because i “wanted too much from him” (you know because asking him to come home every night, be loyal and honest , pay his bills first and to put the family first was “too much”.. *eyes roll) so he downgraded to someone who did not ask “too much”… .. in fact, she has zero expectations from him at all except maybe to score some weed/meth and share his beer. So my desire for her to crash and burn has NOTHING to do with me being jealous or her having something i want.. .. .. .

    My desire for Karma to hit her hard is based on the fact that i was taught that bad things happen to bad people.. .. .. which as an adult i realize is a crock of shit adults feed children about being fair and good.. .. but even knowing it is unrealistic there will always be a small part of me that is rooting for inane justice to happen to the cruel and heartless woman who thought it was ok to have sex with a married man before he went home and who also has no issues with pulling that man away from his wife and children. The kind of woman who knew that we were struggling after the death of my 25 year old daughter and still believed it was perfectly fine to insert herself into his life as side chick.. .. . the same troll that look me in the eye and told me that she knew we had children and she knows all about how children are because she has children too. (of course she abandons her 4 kids regularly to chase after married men .. . . ours was not the first marriage she wrecked).. .. . this thing also heard me pleading with my thenhusband not to leave us and she thought mine and my children’s pain was amusing and entertaining… .. . and something to throw in my face later on… .

    i also am one of the few people who put the blame on the other woman as much as the man (or vice versa for the male chumps).. .. just because she was not the one who promised to me and made vows to me does not excuse her shitty behavior. .. . people who KNOWINGLY chase after and hook up with married people are worse then dog shit. (NOTE THE WORD KNOWINGLY, as i am aware of some chumps who are tricked into a relationship with a married man/woman unknowingly and i am not counting those types). If a woman knows a man is married, it really doesnt matter what lies or stories he tells her, she is just as guilty as he is in wrecking the marriage.. .. hence home wrecker. In my opinion, she is a demon, the evilest kind of being on earth and deserves to be burned alongside the cheater. .. . i do not excuse or advocate for a woman (or man) who KNOWS she is breaking up a family and has no heart or care that she is doing so. .. ..

    In my case, i have been blessed to watch their downfall from the side lines. they are both miserable and inflict emotional, mental, financial and physical pain on each other. they live with suspicious and lies and mistrust. they talk about the other behind their backs and have nothing to show for their 4 yrs together. they can not keep a job, a vehicle or an apartment. they get kicked out of family’s houses where they sponge off for months. people are tired of their lies and being used by them. her kids want nothing to do with her periodically (unless she brides them with something) and his kids could care less if they see him anymore. they live in constant turmoil and fight every single day. he cant go anywhere without her up his ass, he cant talk to anyone on the phone without them going thru her screening first — even his mom, sisters and our 2 boys have to answer her questions on what they want to talk to him about, what are they going to ask him, why do they need to talk to him…etc.. .. .. .. .. they are still together, 4 and 1/2 years later. but they break up at least once a year or so.

    so maybe she has not crashed and burned yet. it is only a matter of time before it happens. i dont watch anymore (although i still get random updates from the locals in my small town before i can shut them down).. .. so even thou i have moved on and i have found my peace. .. .even thou i live each day being happy with what i have and enjoy the life i have.. .. there will always be that small part of me just wanting for the troll to lose it all and pay the price for what she has done.. .

    • P.S. i had to remind myself the first 3 years that i did not want to live that way.. .. it gets better. especially if you go no contact and move on with your life without him/the cheater and his lies

      if you are still worried about it, it is because there is something not right in your head. either you STILL feel threatened on some level (even thou he went back to you or is still with you) or he is sending out some signal that all is NOT ok.. .. you might be unconsciously picking up on it. .. .. .. most of the times he does not STOP cheating, he just takes it further underground and harder for you to find out.. .

      good luck. i hope you find your peace

    • I totally understand. Ex’s whore was one vile bitch. She did stuff to me, directly and indirectly, and I hate her nasty ass. And it has absolutely nothing to do with jealousy. There is nothing there to be jealous of. If your idea of success in life is getting a married man to fuck you for free with no commitment or obligation, you’re in luck (as she was). It’s cheaper than a prostitutute.

  • it sounds like Lauren is looking for something she can control. because she can’t control whether her husband cheats.

    control is basically a codependency work around to not having boundaries. perhaps we believe we’re not allowed boundaries.

    I bridled a bit at the part of the letter where he is helping the chump recover, because it’s like the problem is with the chump. surely he should be doing deep work on himself and his entitlement? after all, he is the one with the problem. is there any sign of him taking responsibility for himself?

  • Imagine being so selfish that you don’t care about how much hurt you cause.

    Imagine having such Daddy issues that you find being triangulated and competing against and teaming up with ‘naughty boy’ against ‘mummy’, fine.

    Imagine being so stupid that being used by someone who is ultimately unavailable, who is using you to keep someone else at arm’s length, you think is a legitimate and beautiful relationships.

    Imagine being that shallow that you have no idea what real intimacy, loyalty and reciprocity, means.

    Imagine being so inadequate and lacking in integrity you fling that amount of pain and damage into the world.

    Nah. OWs are pitiful.

    • I screenshot this and saved it to read whenever the green eyed monster reads it’s head. Thank you for the perspective- it’s easy to forget these people act out of complete misery sometimes.

    • As if chumps know what real intimacy, loyalty and reciprocity, means.😂 being married to a lying cheat and all…😂

  • I get how one can be completely obsessed,at first with the skank other woman, bc I’ve been there myself, but never for very long. I like that I have a strong value system and I will always be able to say, “I never cheated.” That skank whore will never be able to say that ever. She will die being a skank.

    Integrity is free. It’s a choice to keep it or lose it.

    And as a side note: the fact your husband just doesn’t get it is telling. My scumbag ex never got it either and I’d find myself having asinine conversations with him trying to explain right from wrong. Ugh. What a waste of time. I thought it was bizarre he just couldn’t get it but then it dawned on me, he is just a selfish asshole without a conscience. The world is about him and his happiness. He’s never going to get it. I had to accept he falls into that camp of not normal and walk away

  • When I was reconciled with the whore mongering ex, I also was obsessed with the ow, and thought I was “jealous” of her. Even though I’d known her casually for years and never even approached being jealous of her till she started Dating my husband. What does that tell you? Ex was orchestrating my Jealousy. His continuous subtle (and not so subtle) digs were designed to let me know she was perfect and that my flaws were the cause of his whoring. I couldn’t really totally express my anger and hatred of him and be married to him, so I transferred it to her. I came to my senses one day, and realized this perfect broad was just an over the hill whore who couldn’t maintain any normal relationship so she had to lower herself to adulterers. Nothing to be jealous of there.

  • I blocked my stxw from facebook for my own good! I found myself looking at her pics and friends list. Best decision I ever made! I’m 4 months past D-day and am feeling great. I don’t need her or her lying bullshit anymore!

  • I used to look at her social media often, I admit. Now I have almost no desire to do that. Why? Because now I know I’m better than she is…despite what he told me about myself. I’m now with somebody who is way better than he ever was. So that helps, too. My husband values me in a way that my ex never did.

    I used to obsess over her because back then, I was still hurt from his abusive treatment of me. I was still hurt by how his family and friends had treated me too.
    I thought, “wow, these people treated me like shit”. But you know what? That’s on them. It had nothing to do with me.
    My “replacement” was nothing special. I was prettier, in better shape, smarter, nicer, etc. She had bigger boobs but that was it.
    What’s funny is that I could see in some of her pictures that she was trying to be like me…trying to be thin like me, trying to wear more feminine clothes, etc.
    All of the things that I had been made to feel ashamed of, things that came naturally to me. She was trying to do CrossFit to be leaner and wear dresses (that were way too small for someone her size) in an attempt to be like me.

    Back then, it bothered me. I could imagine him telling her that she was better than me. It hurt that he had a child with her. But now I have NO ill feelings toward her at all.
    Karma hit them both. I’m not saying that my life is perfect…I still battle with depression and other issues. But I can say first hand that karma is real. Some of you may not believe it, but it’s real. You simply have to be patient.
    And like Chump Lady said, don’t waste time comparing yourself and being obsessive over the OW. That is time you can use to improve yourselves.
    In 2012/2013/2014, when I was most actively looking at her social media, I made a choice to practice self-care as a way to deal with my feelings. I exercised, I took better care of my skin and hair, I tried to focus more on doing what made me feel good.
    When you focus on healing and being at your best, the OW becomes a non-factor. Then you can look back and laugh about it all.

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