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The Pick Me Dance for Fun and Profit

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iwinAfter the last couple batshit crazy OW texts I’ve put through the Universal Bullshit Translator, I was thinking to myself — why? Why do Other Women (and to my knowledge, it’s just women) indulge in these whackadoodle taunts? Moreover, why do they write those insipid columns on HuffPo or YourTango mooning on about their affairs?

It’s one thing to be fucking another woman’s husband. It’s quite another to want to rub her nose in it. (Ewww.) Or broadcast to your victims and the world that it was All Part of God’s Plan. Or You’ve Really Grown As a Person Thanks to the Affair! Or Crushing Your Children’s Souls Was All Worth It Because I’m So Much Happier Now!

What the hell is going on here?

Short, easy answer — they’re narcissistic loons. But a more nuanced, skein-untangling way to look at it is — they really enjoy the pick me dance. Some people just love to compete. That’s a fine quality in business or sports, where the rules of engagement are laid out. And where you know you’re competing. It’s not like you’re standing on a field and people are mysteriously lobbing footballs at your head — you’re a participant in the game.

What’s special (in the short bus sense) about OW, is that a) they want to compete for a partner; and b) they only want to do so on a very unlevel playing field. Somebody has to be chumped, so they can “win.”

What makes the Broadcast My Happiness OW so freaky, however, is not only do they enjoy the competition — they gloat. They’re going to spike the football, do the silly dance, and shout “Touchdown! I WIN!”

(Or in OW-ish “The heart wants what the heart wants. It’s too bad you’re so ugly, bitter, and sexless and can’t keep your man. But it’s all for the best!”)

Here’s my theory on this — most OW want a lopsided competition (or they wouldn’t be OW). They attribute great meaning to the crumbs they get (he loves me better! that’s why he won’t introduce me to anyone! I’m THAT special!) — but only the deeply crazy gloat about it.

They need the special validation that comes from being PICKED. Not chosen. Chosen means commitment. If you’re married, you were chosen to be another’s partner for life. Supposedly, the great dating competition was definitively ended. But PICKED means you won out over another contender. You danced your little tap shoes off, and you were the last one standing.

The more disordered you are, the harder you dance. It’s Riverdance for Kibbles. This is true for chumps too. No healthy person competes for another’s love.

Because no person, who truly loves you, would make you compete for their love. Love is given. Love’s words align with love’s actions. Love is not Caesar in the colosseum giving the thumbs up or the thumbs down if you live or die. Love doesn’t throw you to the lions. Love keeps you safe.

The only people who want to compete for “love” are people who value “kibbles” (otherwise known as narcissistic supply). To them, it’s all a zero sum solution. More kibbles for me, none for you. OW, like other narcissists, prefer kibbles to love. It’s easy. It’s flattery, admiration without accomplishment, esteem without character, a quick rush.

And who cares who gets hurt, so long as they WIN? Just more proof that they’re superior and you’re inferior!

Step away from the game, chumps. There’s no love here.

Rerun, got an early appointment today. If you want a Friday challenge, you can describe your Pick Me dance. Polka, interpretative, slow shuffle? TGIF!

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I shimmied, I shook, I twirled tassels from my tits while limboing under a flaming pole.

    Then I got tired of it and told FUU that I was no longer indulging his quixotic quests for meaning. To quit hiding from life and whining about how hard it all was when I was the one doing more than half of it and be a partner.

    Or don’t be a partner, but be elsewhere.

    There was no literal OW, but I was still competing with fantasies and escapism. It didn’t matter how he was distracting himself, the point was he wasn’t being a partner or a decent parent.

    I was on antidepressants, losing my hair, hating my life and tap dancing through his emotional minefield and one day I decided this was stupid. Stopped the antidepressants, told him he was a jackass and proceeded to quit behaving like an Appliance Spouse.

    Things improved. He’s still in the picture. He knows the door is WIDE OPEN and he also knows I’m smarter and meaner than he is so if he ever strays, he’s out. Which won’t fit in well with his life plans as not only do I have more money saved for retirement, I also have more money thanks to an inheritance that is not and never will be in a joint account.

    Having money in your name alone is imperative (IMO). Every stay-at-home-spouse should have a fully funded IRA ever single year. It’s a small price to pay for taking a huge financial risk for the family.

    • So wise, your financial clarity!

      Where I live, any asset or debt you gain during a marriage is jointly owned by law, as is any actual money, regardless of whose account it’s in. A lot of people don’t know about that, though, until they are getting divorced here. Your IRA is yours all yours, though, no matter what. That can be a critical distinction.

      This is just one of the reasons that I will never marry again. I never want to risk having to separate assets and potentially lose everything again.

      • In Canada its all joint monies while you are married. the x used the reconciliation to steal our retirement savings, get us into a million dollars of debt on three properties and have me pay off most of his business debts when his failing business was closed( I made him close it when I found out how much money was gone–500K). I got none of it back in the divorce and actually had to pay him his half of what was left… no justice here I’m afraid. Oh and the icing on the cake–no spousal support since he was an unemployed bum by the time we separated( ya 4 years of working part time and year of no income while he tried to start a “new venture” ie. rip his wife of 34 years off).

      • Here, property acquired before marriage and that received during marriage by gift, bequest, devise or descent (inheritance) is separate property. Earnings during marriage are community property owned equally by the spouses.

        But other arrangements can be made by prenuptial agreement. Mine gives me 100% of my retirement accounts/pension, no matter when earned. Remarriage isn’t a problem if you protect yourself.

        • But, “if you’re so worried about us getting married that you feel we need a pre-nup, then I guess we shouldn’t get married”.

          That was what I fell for.

          • You can get a post-nuptial agreement by leveraging their image management/guilt window. Not everyone has that option, but I highly recommend it if you do.

      • Amiisfree, I turned 60 in September so I don’t have the time to make up assets lost to the Twat a second time, but in any case a 2nd marriage will never happen here either.

    • NoShit, I went your route. He wasn’t cheating (since the first affair, years prior). But he was being a bad life partner and a bad father; moody, critical and selfish.

      I told him I was leaving, and he knew I totally would. He asked me not to. I told him the conditions of my staying. He super stepped up, treated us all so much better. The kids and I were wildly appreciative, everything in our life improved.

      Less than a year later, he had a golden cheating opportunity. He took it.

      The problem w/someone who behaves better because they are trying to avoid consequences FOR THEM, is that they are constantly re-calculating that equation, as conditions change.

      That’s not love. And it’s not safe. You deserve better.

      • “The problem w/someone who behaves better because they are trying to avoid consequences FOR THEM, is that they are constantly re-calculating that equation, as conditions change.”

        This is a *brilliant* insight!

        • This should be stitched on every nursery pillow, wrapped as an ad on the sides of buses, put on nationwide billboard campaigns, and sky-written over every important outdoor event in this country until our culture/society gets the message.

      • I agree, it could be better but as that was years ago I’ve made peace with it.

        For now. I may change my mind and pay him money to go away but as he pulled himself together and has stayed together, I’m willing to stick around/keep him around.

      • KarenE— wow! This is the reason I would never take X back and would never be able to trust him! Thank you for explaining why.

      • Totally agree KarenE! The X would change to get a better result from me but those changes were always temporary. He either couldn’t sustain the effort or he just didn’t want to. Making heartfelt changes because he loved me and wanted our and my lives to be better was completely beyond his grasp. He will never know how to fully love another person. While I learned that a little too late, it’s knowledge that I will carry.

      • Exactly. Behavioral change versus CHARACTER CHANGE. And how can one know which is taking place! I guess time (so valuable to those of us who have already invested decades) will really tell…but that’s a big chance to take. No good answers.

        • I agree, only time shows us. But I now also believe that character rarely changes, once you’re dealing with somebody over about 30 ys old. The capability for self-reflection, the capacity for empathy that makes us so uncomfortable being unfair to others, the balanced sense of entitlement, I don’t think these are things that come w/ experience or even therapy. Maybe Dr. Simon or Lundy Bancroft have a few success stories to tell, but I doubt it.

          So, as loving, caring, chumpy people, we need to give adults we care about who screw up a chance. A CHANCE. ONE. And when you’ve been with someone with poor character for many years? You’ve already given SO MANY CHANCES. And you know how I know that – been there, done that, too many times.

          • If you want a fixer-upper, buy a house.

            Don’t buy ugly houses. Don’t eat yucky food. Don’t listen to music that hurts your ears. Don’t wear uncomfortable, ugly clothes. Etc., etc. And DON’T hitch your wagon to a life partner who has two faces.

      • KarenE, I so needed to read what you wrote today! I left my husband 20 days ago. He had 2 affairs in the past (15 years ago) and a few social media events that were highly inappropriate and hurtful about 4 and a half years ago.
        Even though he wants us to be together and would “never leave me”. Say’s he will “die without me.” (his words). He is angry, distant, moody and self-absorbed. The only time I feel seen is when he is complaining to me about all of his misery.
        He asked me for 30 days to prove that he can change and to get into counseling for his anger and anxiety issues. But here we are Day 20 and no difference and no action. But when we talk he acts like we are together, everything is fine and he will get better eventually.
        If I’m honest with myself, I don’t even like who he is, never really have. I like who I thought he could be. He has poor character, no honor, no respect and is selfish to the core. I just don’t think I can live with “potential” anymore. He’s 46 and not likely to change significantly or permanently. Like you said, any changes are to avoid consequences FOR HIM not me or his daughters.

        • SMQ, 8 weeks ago, I overheard my fiance (we had been together for 8 years) on speakerphone talking to his married employee at 1:00 am. Long story short, yup, caught him in an affair. I told him, “You need to get the fuck out of my house!” Roughly a month later, he had moved out.

          Sounds like your man wants 30 days to hoover you…suck you back in. My fiance did the same thing. After DDay, he was oh so nice…walking on the street side of the sidewalk, giving me back rubs, helping around the house. It’s all an act to get you back under control. Don’t fall for it.

          If I was honest with myself, I would also say I didn’t much like who my fiance had become. Eight years ago? He was Prince Charming, but slowly morphed into someone I didn’t even like.

          I feel lucky he did me a favor…having an affair and being so flippant about it I would eventually find out. An affair was a deal breaker, and I had no choice but to kick him out. He’s been out of the house for three weeks and it’s been nice not having him around. I’ve learned (by his behaviors) he’s a narcissist. Our relationship was doomed from the get go.

          I hope his married employee keeps him close. I like that he’s distracted with her and staying away from me. I know he’ll treat her as well as he treated me 😀

          • YES!

            The term just came to me…..a year since the nightmare began….

            TWO-FACED!

            I CANNOT, WILL NOT, DON’T WANT A TWO-FACED HUSBAND!

            This was a huge insult in junior high school….funny that it took so long to surface in my mind!

        • @somanyquestuons If you already have your answer in twenty days, RUN don’t walk to the nearest exit. Chumps need to hone their instinct, stop giving the benefit of a doubt to those who keep spelling out that they are not worthy. 30 days to change?! It would take years! And they will not commit to that “jail” term. Hence giving you your answer from the start. I’m sorry you are in a malstorm of hurt, but you seem to have clarity. Trust your judgement as your resentment anger and disappointment will only grow. It sounds like everything is defined in terms of him – there is no empathy remorse or reciprocity. Just self-pity. Nothing to work with and lots of hurt and disappointment. That’s no way to live. I’ve finally learned to listen to those faint feelings of awareness that something isn’t “right” and stop it right there.

            • Big Hugs to you Sisu. I’m so sorry that you invested so much time and love, but applaud your strength. Thank goodness he showed this side of him earlier.

              • Thank you, NB. Yes, I’m lucky to have caught on before we got married!

                Being strong isn’t easy, but it’s what I have to do to take care of me.

                This blog and everyone who responds to posts have been GREAT helps. I had no idea about sociopaths before finding Chump Lady. Boy have I learned a lot about the man I was engaged to. It’s hard to believe there are people out there who have a gaping hole where their conscious and emotions should be.

      • @KarenE, thanks for sharing your story. As you know, I may be looking at the same situation now. Eyes wide open…

      • Brilliantly put, and yes, unfortunately you never know what will be the defining item that will be put on the scales randomly that will tip them into the ‘it’s now in my interests to cheat’ rather than the ‘it’s now in my interests NOT to cheat’ side of the scales. And the saddest thing, I’ve just realised is that they do couch it in those terms, rather than, ‘I really have no interest in cheating’, it’s always ‘should I or shouldn’t I at this particular moment in time?’ It’s always on the table, it’s whether they pick up the hand or not, rather than not even being in their realm of consciousness.

      • Wow! Are you married to my husband? If you look up narcissism, there’s his picture! He was always talking about others that are cheaters, and how they are “bad” and deserve what they get. All the time smoking pot and looking at porn like a 15 year old….. and texting ho workers….then would look at me and say ” you get to live with all this” and point to his body. ugh. gross

        • littlesigns, you must have been married to my Cheaters twin. He would also talk about others at work who cheated.. how bad he felt for their wives even.
          He watched porn when I would question it, cheater would tell me all men watch porn that I was lucky because he was honest and didn’t hide his porn like other men.
          He constantly looking at himself in the mirror pointing to himself, then say, “and you get to do this.., once as he was admiring his physique, yet, again.., he said he’d do himself if he could…

          • The funny thing is, his physique was pretty average. Man boobs, gut that hung over his waistband, and some weird skin conditions. He would hold up one side of his shirt and put his hand on what he thought was a 6 pack and say “My trainer is amazing. He’s making changes to my body that I can’t believe. Isn’t that a trip?” ewwww He would also talk about his truck like it was some kind of god. One time we were standing out on the driveway and somebody drove by slowly and he was sure it was “because they were looking at my truck and wishing it was theirs”. WTF. Narco the clown. The last comment he made when he decided it was over (I’d been doing the pick me dance for a long time), was “I just want somebody that wants to jump my bones when I walk in the door”. Narco is 53 years old and totally self absorbed….

            • My Cheater had the same “look at me” mentality, his truck, his physique, wearing a shirt with Air Force imprinted on the front so strangers would ask if he was in the service giving him an opportunity to talk about himself.
              He worked out everyday, he has a weird physique, skinny with muscles, long neck, short thick waist, flat ass. We had a small front lawn, approximately 12′ x 12′.
              It would take him all afternoon to mow the lawn without his shirt so people driving by or neighbors would notice him and admire his physique.
              I personally find that repulsive. It’s only obvious that he’s looking for admiration. We have a day care in our neighborhood and I often wondered if he lingered out n the front yard without his shirt to see if he the mom’s who picked up their kids would notice him.
              Cheaters favorite shirts to wear are sleeveless muscle shirts. He’d wear them everywhere. There were a few times when other men (???) would ask if he worked out or said something about his biceps. He’d be so excited, and come running over to tell me all about it. He’d want to talk about it for at least a week afterwards. Did you hear what he said? he said my biceps looked good.. seemed weird to me. What guy thinks it’s great and wants to keep talking about another guy admiring his physique?
              Mine would ask, when you look at me don’t you just want to “grind one out,”
              uh.., no, not really…

      • Karen E that is genius.

        I had a mea culpa “I haven’t been the husband you deserve you are the centre of my universe” 4 months after I said the 20+year marriage was over (4 kids, one killed in accident). I fell for it. Then there was 6 months of him being NICE!! All I ever wanted. Geez was i spacking!

        But something was off, couldn’t put my finger on it. Until he went on a 3 day self-improvement course (“Become Your Authentic Self!”) and rang me late at night at the end of Day One.

        Ten years of hookers and gay clubs, and HEAPS of porn (and yes, “all men watch porn” brit and littlesigns). Which of course eventually was revealed as … because crappy wife. He was looking for “validation” and just trying to keep the family together after the death of our daughter (15 years ago). Obviously. (And Stig, that was the random “so it’s in my interests now. Can justify a decade of double life with omg poignant grieving father …)

        Explains why we never had any savings and hadn’t paid the mortgage off. If only they realised what pathetic carbon copies they are of each other.

        That was 18 months ago. But NOW: true love and soulmates with former v close widow girlfriend, who can see that he is just Tragically Misunderstood. Also, she has a sexual appetite to match his, unlike sexless harridan Ex-Wife. They have been Euphorically In Love for ten months now!! Endless weekends away, theatre opera cinema concerts 2 overseas trips ….(Shame about that 3 months he wasted trying to convince me to work through “the problems”. He told eldest son that his revelations would “bring Mum and i closer and strengthen the marriage”. Once he realised that wasn’t gonna happen … in her bed within 6 months. Now of course he can’t believe he wanted to keep stale old cake so much).

        So I have the post-cheating OW, it’s really weird. She’s happy to see my children’s souls’ crushed, despite watching her own kids grieve and suffer after their Dad died, because: “Life is Short” and they are both “Entitled to Happiness”.

        Eeeeerrggghh!

      • Karen E, I love the point you made. I believe my kids and I experienced similar “recalculating”. I’ll also bet you were very fair to him and had reasonable requests to balance EVERYONE in the households needs (rather than just his) and after he left he probably claimed you were “too controlling”.
        Thanks for the insight on the issue.

    • No Shit Cupcakes, I think that it’s so important for people to know that in the US, even in community property states, an inheritance that’s never put into a joint account is yours and yours alone, as long as it’s put into an account that has only your name on it.

      Keep your inheritance separate, chumps!

    • No Shit Cupcakes, I could have written this, almost word for word. I danced for over 40 years, although I didn’t know that I was dancing. I thought that he just needed more in the relationship than I did. Yeah, he needed more and I was willing to settle for much, much less.
      Now, after almost 44 years of dancing, I have hung up my dancing shoes FOREVER. It’s time he learns a few dance moves.
      I put up with so much awfulness, not including the cheating, lies, emotional abuse, STDS and rage and alcohol fueled tirades. Any one of his crap behaviors would have been grounds for divorcing him years ago, but I was in it for better and for worse.
      Now, with all my reading, therapist’s help and Chump Lady, I know my worth. He is and must continue to treat me like I am valuable to him (and not because of anything that I do, but because I am worthy just as I am).
      And he knows that I am smarter and meaner (hah!) than he is. Smarter, because my eyes are wide open, now. Meaner (not really ‘mean’ but I have boundaries where there never were before), because I will NOT tolerate his entitled attitude any more.
      He is the one “walking on eggshells” now. I don’t do that anymore.
      I treat him with love and care, just as I have always done, but I expect reciprocity now. I don’t sugar coat the past, like he wants me to. I let him know that my love IS conditional, now. I need to be treated with respect and to be shown love in return. I was always a great wife appliance, but those days are OVER. I don’t want a husband appliance, but I do want so much more than I have ever gotten out of the marriage, like respect, tenderness, care and concern for my feelings. You know, the things he got from me throughout our relationship.
      Can he keep up with the changes I demand from him in order for me to stay with him? Time will tell. But I know and he knows that I hold him to a much higher standard now, and any breach in trust or return to selfish actions will result in divorce.

      • Um, he has done all that for decades and you “treat him with love and care”?

        Oldcrone (and what’s with running yourself down? STOP IT!), you are so so high on hopium. Read ALL OF THESE comments about how fuckwits’ character DOES NOT CHANGE!

        Get real and have your life back before it’s over. How much time are you going to let trickle though the hour glass waiting to see if he can “keep up with the changes”?

      • The good behavior lasted a couple of months. Marriage 2.0, a required upgrade that included the new bonus feature of him having to meet expectations too, lasted only a few weeks.

      • @oldcrone I understand where you’re coming from. You’re staying with him, but as long as your relationship is acceptable to you, whatever it is, and you get what you want out of it, why not? He had that for years so I think it’s your turn now!

        Hugs X

    • “…Things improved. He’s still in the picture. He knows the door is WIDE OPEN and he also knows I’m smarter and meaner than he is so if he ever strays…”

      Wait a minute – you’re still with him? Hmmm, so how’s that marriage police gig working out for you, enjoying it? I read your post and it troubled me. I feel like it’s only a matter of time before you’re back to losing your hair and hating life. Perhaps you are still tap-dancing and twirling your nipple tassels, but don’t realise it?

        • left him at the airport – I wondered the same thing….they’re still together??

          When I read on here that couples are reconciling, it always blows my mind.
          For the life of me, I never once entertained that, it never entered my mind.
          There was zero trust left…and I didn’t like to live with mean from me or from him.
          Seems like you’re signing up for a bunch more miserable wasted years.

          Not criticizing, Cupcakes, but just find it curious. Thanks for the great financial wisdom. I put both my parent’s inheritances in our joint account – hey, we weren’t gonna divorce – ever!

          • Hey SheChump! Hope you’re doing well!! xx

            I, too, never had any plans of reconciling. Once I found out about his secret life, I was gone. Removed myself and the kids from that situation and left him to it.

      • Left him I read that and thought the exact same thing!! You’re still WITH HIM?! This is one tough gig, but I find that to be incredible. Once upon a time, years ago, I would read that and think… wow, such trust, such stick to it, such commitment!! Now, after this, I just think that is just crazy!! In the years since my own, long ago DD Day, the things that I have seen.. and heard women do when faced with infidelity is nothing short of shocking. Your husband has a three YEARS long affair with a co worker, so you speed dial the lawyer right? No, you make him post on Facebook shortly thereafter that you and he are remarried.. because he told everyone at work that you were divorcing. But… that was a total lie. So five years later, when you catch him again.. this time in a two year long affair…you post kissing photos all over your social media. The third time I believe it was crying, apologies and a new car. As the old song goes, you can’t make someone love you when they don’t…this kind of thing is just delaying the inevitable, and making it much, much worse. SO Sad!!

      • “Wait a minute – you’re still with him? Hmmm, so how’s that marriage police gig working out for you, enjoying it?”

        That’s a rather snide tone – any particular reason for it?

        No, I don’t police him. That’s not worth my time or effort. He will or he won’t. He hasn’t. His distractions are more about spending hours playing RPG’s online – that sort of thing.

        We’ve had separate checking for almost two decades and I never – ever – stopped working. Nor did I ever once stop contributing to my 401K. He’s contributed to his too, but not at the same rate.

        “Perhaps you are still tap-dancing and twirling your nipple tassels, but don’t realise it?”

        Nope.

        • “That’s a rather snide tone – any particular reason for it?”

          Any particular reason for it?
          Well what do you think??

          • Well, he never cheated on me. I simply didn’t like being the only adult while Mr. Rousseau did his thing. Being a grass widow sucks. It doesn’t suck as badly as when your spouse is doing the horizontal tango with someone else but it’s not fun either.

            So I told him I was no longer going to dance on eggshells and proceeded to stomp all over them. Things improved considerably.

            But I do not believe in joint checking accounts. My parents have been married over 50 years and have had separate checking for 40+ and I prefer it that way too. I don’t know if Mr. Rousseau prefers it or not but I suspect he does.

            • He never cheated on you? Then I’m confused as to why you’re here. I’m not saying that you’re not welcome here, don’t get me wrong. But I’m
              not sure you can compare being a “grass widow” to being chumped. Because that’s a whole other world of suck that you don’t understand until it has happened to you.

              • Are you saying because I’m not a chump I have nothing to offer? I’ll bear that in mind.

                If Tracy wants me to stop posting and would prefer I drop my patronage, I’ll do so. But I’ll wait to hear from her.

              • I’m sorry,Cupcakes, I’m with Left Him At The Airport (waves). You cannot equate your experience with ours, and by doing so I feel that you’re minimising infidelity. You had and have a bad marriage. We got betrayed.Different things. Obviously you are free to stay and read, but if you post you have to accept that you may attract some snarkiness and confusion. The rest of us are chumps, that’s why we are here.
                You’ve posted advice about how you managed your relationship- except he hasn’t cheated, so by definition your relationship is different to ours and your advice is not really applicable

        • You guys, everyone is welcome here. All I ask is that you not troll the site. My viewpoint is clearly stated — “leave a cheater” — I’m highly skeptical of reconciliation. That said, most of us tried it, and that doesn’t mean people in reconciliation can’t get something from CN.

          To anyone in reconciliation, I’d just ask that you understand the limitations of support CN can give. Like, I’m not going to a vegetarian restaurant looking for beef stroganoff. However, I might really enjoy the eggplant.

          We’re eggplant. Friendly eggplant. I hope that makes sense. Probably not.

          • It makes perfect sense and I have never once stated anyone should reconcile. Nor have I held up my FUU or our marriage as a shining example of reconciliation.

            So take my observations for what they’re worth.

            I still say everyone should have their own IRA, 401K and if you get an inheritance in the US NEVER EVER put it onto a joint account. Ever!

    • I agree about having money in your name. It makes me feel more empowered..the more I put in. One day I hope to reach appoint to tell him to fuck off. We don’t really have a marriage ..just a piece of paper. But I can keep putting more & more money in savings since he trust me with his money. LOL!!

      • Crazy Lady, have you checked w/a lawyer about that money in your name? Here, that is still community property. And if a court finds out you’re hiding it, there will be a penalty on top of the split, 50-50.

    • The parties can agree that specific property is individual property not marital property. This would have to be built into the setup of the account. I have never looked into it in depth but I think the concept of such an agreed-to savings account for a spouse who agrees to stay at home and forgo an income-producing job is brilliant and could produce a real power shift in the event of chump-dom.

  • Because no person, who truly loves you, would make you compete for their love. Love is given. Love’s words align with love’s actions. Love is not Caesar in the colosseum giving the thumbs up or the thumbs down if you live or die. Love doesn’t throw you to the lions. Love keeps you safe.
    This is perfect!

    • 👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻👆🏻 I thought the same thing about “Facebook worthy” but then I thought: I don’t have time to educate normies about X’s/cheaters’ disorder — too busy at meh now that I’ve built a life having left cheater 2.5 years ago.

    • Agreed, CL nailed it. I have to deal with a Wifetress and Narc exactly like this. I’m sure if CN ran a contest for most competitive OWife in history, she would win 1st place based on her Instagram alone (the number of hashtags on every “Twu Wuv” post would even make a 14-year-old cringe).

      The only reason I’m even aware of their social media trainwreck is was because I was forced, begrudingly, to collect evidence for the Narc’s zillionth custody battle. He’s rich and she can’t have kids, so they delight in dragging me through court for the most insane witch hunt in the history of planet earth. The courts can’t seem to grasp the agenda here is to bankrupt me, make my life as miserable as possible, to drag me back into the hellish circus that I previously escaped from. I’m the Grey Rock Boundry Queen and that is NOT WORKING for these two Narcs.

      Thank goodness Tuesday has come and gone because their social media is a total dumpster fire. Keep in mind I haven’t looked at anything they have posted on social media in years. (Truly – I was wise enough to get therapy for Narcissistic abuse ages ago)

      My first reaction was laughter mixed with shock when I realized that they have been posting over-the-top love declarations sprinkled with obvious digs and comparisons directed at me and proclamations of her superiority to me in all womanly aspects for YEARS.

      You heard that right – they have been actively, publicly campaigning for me to rejoin the pick me dance club – all while I’ve been over here completely oblivious to its existence. What blows my mind is their belief that I have been watching this social media shitshow this whole time and writhing in bitterness/envy over their sparkly glory. I can’t roll my eyes enough, lol. 😂

      Clearly, I’m the glue that holds these two freaks together.

      It is laughable and sort of sad that Schmoopie believes she “won” when the joke is on her. The reality is that she removed my shackles placed them on herself…WILLINGLY. I’m free!

      • I’m always suspect when couples have to post how in love & happy they are to the world. The more they post the more dysfunctional the relationship. My brother in law’s ex wife has mental health issues and drug problems. The new love of her life is on disability and also has drug/legal problems. Their life is an absolute train wreck yet all you see are facebook posts telling everyone how much they are in love and how happy they make one another. Pretty sure their communication is entirely thru FB. A dear old friend of mine has a son with severe psychological problems, unfortunately since he was very young. He is not yet 25, going thru a divorce, won’t go to school and can’t keep a job. He just started dating some floozy (she does have a job and supports him) and all they do is post on FB how wonderful they are, how much in love and he calls her his future wife. Mind you only a few months ago he was happily married, to the love of his life, according to his FB posts.

  • As you so often are, CL, this is very timely.

    The other night I competed in a MOTH event (the theme was “Disguise”), in which I told about how I grew a goatee as part of my pick me dance. An excerpt:

    “… and in that moment, looking at myself on my iPhone screen, all I could focus on was that goatee. That stupid, ugly manifestation of the fact that I was suddenly competing for the love and respect that were promised to me 15 years before — and that I was complicit in covering up my current reality: I didn’t have the life I thought I did.”

    • “and that I was complicit in covering up my current reality”

      ouch. This is the thing I needed to look at too. No amount of good attitude and trying to make it work for the family could make up for the fact that I was denying what was right in front of me. I didn’t know it was an affair at the time but I did know he was not a partner in the relationship in the way one needs to make a marriage & family work.

      • Lisa, your words resonate with me too… “… I was denying what was right in front of me. I didn’t know it was an affair at the time but I did know he was not a partner in the relationship in the way one needs to make a marriage & family work.”

        It’s hard to admit that making my needs so small, making my feelings irrelevant made me complicit in spackling my reality into the lie that is was. I allowed him to treat me without respect/love. He would bring up small things about the OW (who was an old HS girlfriend), her favorite band, her favorite food, a story about how he would ride his bike several miles every day to see her. How having pictures of them in an envelope by our bedside made me feel, how he spent 15 min at a restaurant taking with her parents leaving me alone at the table and then proceeded to go on about how her marriage was bad etc. These comments and actions made me uncomfortable, yet I didn’t say or do anything, I pushed my feelings/the hurt away – I made myself smaller and smaller saying it didn’t matter. But God-Almighty it mattered HUGELY! It hurt like a SOB. I should have got up and walked out of that damn restaurant, I should have told him to get rid of those pictures, I should have stopped him from prosing on about her and other girlfriends from his past – WTF!?!

        NEVER AGAIN WILL I TREAT MYSELF LIKE NOTHING!

        • Sorry. A person who treats another person disrespectfully is not a good person. If it would help, write a letter telling him off – you don’t have to mail it. Read it with a therapist. Best wishes for a happy life without this disrespectful person.

        • Shell

          Good for you!
          My story ( as 99%chump) was very similar as far as needs getting snooker and smaller over time…

          Never again.
          I’m teaching my kids the same thing- if it hurts- it’s not love. You matter, your needs are important, your hurt is valid…

          That knowledge would save me years of pain and becoming an invisible ghost of my former self….

          • A ghost, that is what I turned myself into. No one should do this to themselves. We are all special and worth love and effort!

            I wonder if I helped create the self-entitled ass he is today, by making his needs, wants paramount.
            Ugh! No more thought of him.

            Working on me so I develop healthy boundries!!

            I want that strength and peace Aeronaut is always wishing for us.

            • Beautifully said Shell-shocked-Chump ( and Aeronaut)!

              Cheaters never give us the love we are worth.
              That is why we are all here.

              • I die of embarrassment when I recall the awful OTT flattery that I supplied him with … knew nothing then what I know now about dynamics in relationships with narcs … oh boy did I feed that monster. Wince.

                Yes, shell-shocked chump – the shock at gradually seeing them for what they really are, as well as seeing what we became …

          • The kind of peace I’m seeking lies in deciding who I am on my own, figuring out my likes/dislikes, boundaries and feeling comfortable in my own skin. Confident and secure in my choices. Finding joy for life and the strength to stand for my core values.
            Never again will I “keep peace” by compromising myself.

          • The OW told me she had been sent many pictures of my kids and had, quote, ‘plenty of videos from inside your house too.’ There is crazy, and then there’s ‘where do you keep your large soup pots? Because I’m thinking of making you a delicious rabbit stew’ crazy.

            There’s no peace in engaging this level of batshit, but it took a long time to realize that.

        • We didn’t think that they were capable of it. I think we all ignored a lot of signs, believing that we knew them and their basic character.

          I think basic character is formed at a very young age. Before we even met them.

    • I was complicit too. I think many of us know that our spouses were not good people. They didn’t treat us with love and respect. They didn’t value us as people. I spackled the X so much I’m surprised he could even walk. He lacks compassion, loyalty, love, respect, integrity and empathy. I so wanted him and our marriage to be different but it was never going to be what I know a marriage should be.

      • Absolutely, Miss Bailey! I am appalled at how long I spent, thinking my ex was a good person, ‘deep down’. That he loved his kids. That he loved me and knew he had a good thing with me. That he valued the life we led, our family.

        His behaviour during our 14 ys together only showed those things sporadically, and when it worked for HIM.

        The rest of his behavior, that showed he didn’t actually care about anybody but himself, and was perfectly willing to throw other people under the bus at his convenience? Spackle, spackle, spackle!

        His behaviour since I tossed him out has clarified my view of who he is, so much. But I’m pissed at myself that I so didn’t want to see it, before.

        • Exactly the same here. I could not fathom that deep down he didn’t value his wife and kids enough to choose us in big and small things. I will never let myself fall for his con job again. I see him now for what he is and if it takes pulling out old emails or text messages from him or my journal notes to remind me, I will.

    • This remind me of how I felt when wearing ridiculous lingerie during my pick me dance phase. One time he took a picture of me in my lingerie and the girl I saw looked so sad. It was one of my lowest moments in life.

  • The few times in my life I have been propositioned by a married or otherwise committed man, I have been insulted and grossed out. In one instance, he was the chef at one of my favorite restaurants. I adored his wife. I was in for lunch and he came out and sat at the table to ask how the food was and then the conversation went There.

    “I need a woman.”

    “You already have a woman and her name is Carol.”

    I got up and left and was never in there for lunch again.

    You have to have rocks for brains to knowingly fuck around with someone married/committed.
    Why on earth would any sane person want someone who UP FRONT displays that they are unsafe and untrustworthy?!! And broadcasting how effed up you are?!! Just proving what a lunatic you are. Thanks for giving the decent humans a heads-up, mofo.

    I decided that they ARE soulmates. Neither of them has one.

    • Nervous Breakthrough report…

      Just realized the other day how much I was IGNORED. My feelings, what I want…IGNORED IGNORED IGNORED. How invisible I was. Years of being IGNORED. Thrown under the bus. And if he wants something it happens yesterday. Who in my FO does that remind me of? ALL of them. I was the youngest in the family. My cat was the only family member who I trusted and felt loved by. I had him from age two until age 17. Of course my cocaine use spiked every October, the month he died, until I got into recovery in October of 1985.

      Dear STBXH,

      Future relationship advice. If you want a great sex life, PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR PARTNER’S FEELINGS AND WANTS. The best aphrodisiac in the world. It would probably make your Stree Overlord Internet ED drug unnecessary.

      • Big Hugs to us VH. Back in the early days after describing my life to my aunt (I was never totally honest with anyone about how bad he really was), she said you must have been very lonely in your marriage. I had never thought maybe because the reality would have been too frightening to face. Yes, I was very lonely and often times, literally and figuratively, alone. He never really loved me.

        • Yes, and unlike him, I VOICED MY FEELINGS, I SPOKE UP, ALL THE TIME, FOR 27 YEARS.

          Occasional response, but 90% of the time I got the busy signal.

      • LOL at the advice for your STBX, Velvet.

        I told mine, “In your next relationship, please talk to your partner instead of finding numerous random women to sext. I’m sure your love life would benefit from being open with the next gal.”
        He responded, “Ok. Godd advice. Thank you :)” Wow. TOOL!

        • Oh you guys were TOO NICE to your exes!

          Months after separating STBEX cheating fwit was yelling at me from it’s car how unfair it was that I had a rich boyfriend lol… I wonder where he heard that? 😉
          Fwit said he’d been looking for someone else our entire relationship but there were only sl*** and wh***** out there and they “owned shit” (translated into English means didn’t own property like I did and still do! lol).

          My reply: sounds like they’re perfect for you then because that’s exactly what you are.
          Water ALWAYS finds it’s own level and your level is pond scum.

          In conclusion the only ‘relationship advice’ worth giving a lying, cheating spouse is by kicking their filthy butt out on the curb and taking the lot.
          No second chances.
          At least they’ll learn how YOU WON’T be treated.

          I’m Loving MEH BIG TIME!

    • Carol – I’ve been propositioned 3 times so far.

      Went to lunch with an older fella who was ‘mourning’ his deceased wife of many years.
      He was camping in a motorhome park down the street.
      “A lonely widower’. I didn’t think any harm going to lunch. During the lunch, he laughed and said his wife didn’t even know where he was…and he didn’t seem to know what he’d just said. I said, you’re married?! He admitted it. Well, lay me flat as a pancake. I walked right out of there.

      2 time – guy asked me on a date. I asked if he was married. He said – NO. But….umm..I AM separated. No points there.

      3rd guy, had a phone relationship with. A little older but single. Said he’d been married once before but for a very short time a very long time ago. After 1 months of chatting and texting…he blurted out (accidently) that he’d been married 3 times. Why the fuck lie? That was the end of him.

      Glad I’m happy with my dogs.

  • Still to today I can not understand the mind set of an another women. Do they not realize that they are being used? Or are they so desperate for a relationship they would basically date anything?

    When I found out about my STBX Hubby sneaking around with Skankella. I contacted her. She said that their was nothing going on. Then is the next sentence ask me to prove it. Then immediately contacted my husband via Facebook(I had his password) and started to bad mouth me. And she would tag him in posts. Even had the balls to post to pray for my father-in-law because he was going through surgery. Taunted me through Facebook. My husband with my pushing him blocked her. Fast forward to 18 months later after she was dumped by my husband. I received a text through my google account. “Stop spreading my number all over the place. I have proof and will press charges. Remember BITCH we will run into each other one day.” Classy lady. I just can not understand the mind of a women who basically gets off on cheating with a married man.

    • I was forced to contact mine to verify the truth. What was I thinking?! Of course she denied it, then proceeded to tell me how she had been clumped worse. Wtf?! My head was spinning with that one. Deny then compete in the pain olympics with someone that she “wasn’t chumping.” And she really believed that her’s was worse. Come to find out later that they had already been sleeping together. (Not that I believed her at the time.) But there is the whole other angle of feeling entitled because it had happened to her. You would think her experience would have inspired empathy and determination not to hurt someone else that way.. but I guess every woman for themself.

      • I’ve reached out to several of his new victims and/or former skanks via text and vm. I only do it after I catch my ex repeatedly lying to me. So I tell him flat out, when you lie to me I will expose you. And I do just that.

        I haven’t heard back from any other them and I don’t care. They can take it up with him, hire a private investigator or whatever, but they are now privy to information he doesn’t want them to know about. I sincerely wish another woman had done this for me. My ex has turned my life upside down as a result of his twisted mental abuse.

      • It was my ex telling me how hurt Schmoopie was when her husband cheated on her and how kind she was to have taken him back. All said with a straight face after DDay when we weren’t really reconciling. I guess he thought I would like her more if I knew we had shared experiences. Pfft.

  • My ex’s OW does this via Pinterest and Instagram. She has a picture on Facebook where she’s holding hands with her ex and my ex and they’re all wearing T-shirts at her kids dance recital. Let’s say her kid’s name is Nellie. The backs of the T-shirts read, “Nellie’s Dada, Nellie’s Mama, Nellie’s Step-Daddy.” And they’re all smiling like they’re one big happy, fucked up family. Her comments read something like, “In the end, it’s not about you, it’s about being there for your kids and setting aside your bitterness. Besides, being bitter gives one wrinkles!”

    She showed up to my kids’ first day of school having helped them make gifts for their teachers.

    She bought my 9 year old daughter bras.

    And the gut punch is that my kids like her and are too young to see the utter bullshit she is serving up.

    Sigh.

    My girls have to talk to the judge in our custody battle today. My 10 year old daughter wants to live with her dad because he and OW are pick me dancing HARD. They bought her a ferret, a bird, and have convinced her that she has no friends at the school she’s been in since Kindergarten. They threw her a birthday party at their house, invited kids from their town who were ‘nicer to her’ enrolled her on the swim team where I spent the summer driving over 100 miles per day round trip for practice during the weeks I had them.

    Last night Daisy told me that even tho she wants to live with her dad, she hopes he doesn’t ask her, because she doesn’t want to choose.

    I hate the ex so much for all this shit.

    • If you are a spiritual person , here’s one from Florence Scovel Shinn for today. It’s all I can think of to do for you…😔

      “The long arm of God reaches out over people
      and circumstances, controlling the situation and protecting my interests.”

      A feeble attempt at consolation, but better than nothing? I am saying it for you, for sure.

    • Kintsugi that sucks. There are no words that a person can say to make it better. I hope for your sake Karma gets the bitch and that your kiddos realize who and what she is sooner than later.

    • That is one painful shit sandwich to choke down and they are horrendous users and fakes. They are buying her love. Unfortunately she is too young to see it. I can’t f’ing imagine the pain you must feel over this. I pray one day she sees it for the shit show it is. You are super mighty for being there to support your child and be the sane parent!!!

    • In my experience, kids often want to go live with the shiny parent once they hit tween status, but it doesn’t last because the shiny parent turns ugly after they “get the win”.

      It is powerful that you can see it all for what it is, namely your ex’s image management and need to win at all costs.

      My prediction: Your stable love will be the landing place for the child whose heart gets broken and she will love and trust you more deeply for being solid while she struggled.

    • Seriously, they had T-shirts made! Nothing says “impression management” faster than a T-shirt that spells it out… literally!

      While you are in court, I hope you know that you have a whole crowd of people cheering for you!

      We chumps see past the “I’m so mature for my kids sake” Salsa.

      Oh the irony of being able to twist complete selfishness into the image selflessness! It really makes me want to puke! If cheaters were so concerned about their kids, they wouldn’t have put them in a position to have to choose in the first place. That T-shirt doesn’t read “I’m selfless!”

      I’d love to see that same T-shirt if the tables were turned.

    • Yes the pendulum always swings. What comes up must come down. Just live your truth kintsugi, it will guide you through and keep you sane. Big hugs.

    • Kintsugi–the norm in custody is 50/50, especially for kids 12 and under. I would have your lawyer argue very, very strongly for that.

      As for your X–he cheats on you, allows OW to go to your daughter’s classroom, and then tries to rob you of your children’s company in a custody battle? May an errant semi-truck have failed brakes as your X is in the crosswalk. Evil bastard.

    • Kintsugi,

      Please stand your ground and fight.
      1. Default for custody is at least 50/50
      2. You have RIGHTS as a parent! Unless there is abuse or some such a parent has rights.
      3. 10 years is too young to choose – in our state it is 14 years. Tell the judge it is traumatic to make a young kid choose. He/she should know.
      4. Please get a tough lawyer and tell him/her you want results
      5. Please let the judge know that the kid is being love bombed and that it is not healthy – write everything down and read it to the judge.
      I have some experience with this – it is in the interests of the child to spend time with the bio parent.
      GOOD LUCK

      • We already had the custody trial on the 9th. The judge wants to talk to the girls as a formality. I think I will probably have the girls the bulk of the time, but his wanting to talk to the girls is causing them some stress, particularly when their father shows up to have lunch with them in the school cafeteria and tells My 10 year old she needs to choose which one of us to live with… in front of her classmates.

        • “…their father shows up to have lunch with them in the school cafeteria and tells My 10 year old she needs to choose which one of us to live with… in front of her classmates.”

          Make certain your attorney informs the judge of that bullshit. No kid needs to hear that at all, particularly in front of their classmates!

        • Kitsugi, good luck with this, I hope the judge sees the bullshit! And I hope you told your daughter to tell the judge exactly what she told you; she doesn’t want to have to choose.

        • Oh hell no. He should not be putting her on the spot like that! In front of her classmates, no less!

          I agree with the others. I hope the judge recognizes and shuts this sh!t down.

          I’ll also echo keep being the sane parent. They want to make you compete. Keep showing them it ain’t working.

          • How evil that the father of these girls and his accomplice are working so hard to manipulate them. What he is doing is bordering on parental alienation and that is a big no-no with judges in court.

            I bet that he’s not being very cooperative with you when it comes to parenting with consistency – now that is in the best interests of the children and judges appreciate hearing that. Start journaling all the ways that you have maintained consistent routines with the girls, consistent teachings of values, consistent care for their education, health and development. Then, journal all the ways he has not done that – gone against long-established routines, said things to counter-act the parenting style that both of you had established when together and you continue to uphold. Record each time the girls have told you that he’s said they will have to choose or looks to be coaching them.

            Another issue that judges don’t like is when a parent is usurping a partner in the kids lives almost as a way to replace the other parent – that is parent alienation at its finest. Record all the ways that the girls’ father and the OW are trying to force her on them; for example, pushing the girls to call her mom, having the other woman do very personal child-rearing things that is not her place to do without first discussing with you – buying your child bras was NOT HER PLACE. These can all be examples of another person trying to replace you as the mother.

            If you like I can share with you a reading list of articles/studies about what is parental alienation and the psychological impact of that alienation on children. The parents of your children are YOU and HIM. She has nothing to do with it. If you have a pitbull lawyer who can start taking their “good intentions” (as they see themselves) and presenting it as it is – a form of manipulating the kids to usurp your validity as a parent – their game will start to unravel.

            I have a friend going through this (his cheater wife and the OM are trying to push him out of the picture entirely). One of his strategies is for him to email her requests to respect his place as the children’s father and discuss with the OM that he is not to X, Y, Z (eg: discuss personal issues with the children, buy them extravagant gifts, take them on outings that their real father has planned for them already). He uses information from these articles to explain why it’s in the best interest of the children to firmly establish that he is their father and why he needs to be the one to teach them these lessons and complete these activities with them. He also repeats that he would appreciate their respect. Of course, each one of these emails goes ignored, but they don’t realize that it builds his case of parental alienation. She will have to explain to the judge why she think its okay to ignore these requests by the children’s father, why she isn’t showing a willingness to co-parent, why she is emphasizing a relationship between the children and an “outsider” but not supporting/strengthening the relationship with their own biological father. She’s not looking good.

            You are in my my thoughts and prayers. I can only imagine how heavy your heart feels at having this trauma expanded to include your babies. Roar mama!

    • Kintsugi,

      I would respond to the indoctrination in some way. I know many feel this puts the kids in the middle and makes things worse for them. Just be the sane parent is the conventional wisdom. It has a lot of merit. But I think there is a nuanced approach to be employed because they are already in the middle and are being taught, not just manipulated. I wouldn’t sit by and watch a child be physically abused, I think the same goes for the abuse of teaching distorted thinking. And to be clear, I’m only saying I think it is good to give them some guidance. Not involve them in a full out war. For example I wouldn’t hesitate to correct the story about your daughter having no friends. This doesn’t mean calling the OW a liar. I wouldn’t even make reference to the OW or her comments on this. Just fully guide your daughter in her own conclusions and on how to see herself accurately. She shouldn’t be left thinking of herself as having no friends, defining her little self by their manipulative lies, having to face invented “problems” when she should just be free to be a kid…and to do so she should be helped back to a healthy self understanding. I, myself, having gotten her to see she has indeed formed solid friendships, would tell her it’s still fine should she choose to move. But I’d say it’s bad to decide so under a false version of facts. It’s like learning how to falsely justify what you want. I would teach: want what you want, but see it and yourself accurately. If she understood this much, I would probably then point out she ought to give careful thought to advice which would have caused her to misjudge herself. This last part however may cross the line. But three or four years older it probably would not.

      This is my own opinion and it’s an approach I have lived. There is a lot of nuance needed to walk the line I’m suggesting and maybe I haven’t described it so well in this limited space. But all I’m really saying is that there’s room for guidance and truth without it being tit for tat. I think being the sane parent doesn’t necessarily mean passivity alone. Just stick entirely to the abstract lesson at hand and leave the people out of it. They are your children and you are their only decent parent after all. They need your input because they are being actively taught harmful nonsense about themselves and about life.

      • We absolutely have the right to teach our kids clear thinking!

        Daughter; ‘I have no friends at my current school’.
        Mom: ‘Really? Hmmm. That sounds upsetting! When we’re thinking something upsetting, it’s good to look at the evidence. Grab a piece of paper. Now, let’s make lists; what evidence have you seen over the last few months that you don’t have friends at your school?
        Daughter: ‘Well, Lizzie was mean to me about her yogurt. And when OW threw me a birthday party, the kids from her neighbourhood were way nicer to me.’
        Mom: ‘OK, that’s good. The neighbourhood kids were nice to you, that’s super! But we’re looking at evidence you don’t have friends at your school, so that one gets taken off the list. Anything else for that list?
        Daughter: ‘list list’
        Mom: ‘Now let’s look at evidence you do have friends at your school.
        Daughter: ‘Well, Lizzie was nicer to me after the yogurt argument, and she invited me to go skating w/her’.
        Mom: ‘ Good, what else for this list? (Add good things mom remembers, as long as daughter remembers them too)’
        At end, Mom: ‘So what can we conclude from your evidence?’

        And of course, if your kid is a Sherlock fan, this is easier to introduce! And such a great life skill to have, no matter WHAT is going on in your kids’ lives. I can just imagine the ‘evidence’ for and against ‘you have to choose which parent to live with!’.

        They are assholes, these crap parents, but we can teach our kids ways to think that make them less easy to manipulate. Wish somebody had taught me those, as a child …..

        • Karen, this is excellent advice for all of us who are thinking of upsetting things!

          Thank you!

          ❤️

      • Yes absolutely refute things like “you have no friends there”. Not only is it creating a false problem to force bad decisions, it could be harmful to the kids own self esteem “I have no friends?” What an evil thing to say to a child for any reason. She needs to be assured that she is perfectly capable of making friends anywhere and she doesn’t need an OW to help her out with that.

    • Kintsugi….that makes me so sad for you. I am so sorry. I hope your kids figure it out some day. These assholes are so damn evil. The Karma bus can’t come soon enough for these people.

    • There is a special place in hell for people like that. I hope your daughter will see through it someday as she matures and starts to understand life better. Maybe you need to ask your daughter “Do you want to pick your own friends or do you want OW to do it for you?”

      Meanwhile, let’s see if OW is still wearing the T-shirt when your ex dumps her for the next best thing. If she wants you to stop being bitter then maybe she should stop screwing you over and leave you and your girls alone but then she doesn’t get to act all superior and all so what fun is that?

    • Kintsugi…

      An awful situation…. buying, spending, sparkling over a 9 year old? Of course she loves that! Kids are smart and will take advantage of the BS – shmoopie and your ex is serving…
      Just.
      Be.
      There.
      For.
      Her.
      Think about it.
      As a child, you would love to eat ice cream all the time, but parents won’t allow you, right?
      Right now, your ex is serving the candy fest 24/7….
      It won’t last forever, it won’t be enough to sustain a healthy well being, the child will vomit at some point- so to speak.
      Be the bread and butter- not exciting, but reliable.
      And IF shmoopie will treat your daughter with decency (🤮) at least you know, that your precious little pumpkin 🎃 is not mistreated( yeah…. unicorns and rainbows forever blah)

    • Oh Kintsugi,
      I send you love and many many hugs.
      Our children, our dear precious children, and how they are hurt by a cheater father’s actions, therein lies the greatest pain.
      Eventhough my girls were so tiny and they never knew about her adad’s affair their lives have been so affected by his narc traits.
      The pain is never over.
      I belong to the same pain club as you and other Chumps do, but your pain is so great right now.
      It will lessen in time, it will never go away, but it WILL lessen.
      Until then, I wrap you in my heart and hold you close.
      Be strong, never never give up sweet lady.

      Xxxxxxxx
      peacekeeper

    • @kintsugi Sweetheart, so very, very painful for you. My fear was that my kids will feel that this is ‘normal’, younger kids learn about life by seeing what happens around them. Mine are young adults and stbx was pretty disengaged so they don’t see him as quite so shiny. I really do believe though that as your kids grow and mature they will see through this. Like Amiisfree says, this is just another pick-me dance; if the kids want to live with them, THEY must be the ‘nice’ ones! Is your eldest mature enough for you to explain your fears? And again Amiisfree – if they win the pick-me, sustaining that will be very hard for them because they are not good people. The only way for you is to be there, that’s true for any parent in any situation isn’t it? Hugs to you xxx

    • I’m so sorry, I went though this with my ex. He played Disney dad with our kids. Did all kinds of spending and travel and breaking healthy rules to win them over. At the end of the day I know I could not win against a person willing to sacrifice their child’s mind for their own ends.

  • Since this specifically talks about the ow: I didn’t pick me dance because by the time he told me, it had been over for almost a year. What I was told about her was that he liked how competitive she was. I’m not, I don’t care about competition, never have. I focus on true connections in my life. I asked him how that could be true if she rigged every game she played, maritally, professionally, etc. She sounded more like a perennial loser if she could only compete when she set the stage in her favor. Since he was an industry punchline at that point because of his choices, I didn’t belabour the point, but I did ask him why this character trait had her at the exact same position she’d had for 20 yrs instead of being a ceo or whatever. Either way, her oral sex skills and/or work skills and competing skills hadn’t really gotten her much. He just looked at me and blinked. She’d been fired and they ended up having clients come back who’d left due to her. I do still wonder sometimes what her secret sauce was because she was not a hot young thing, but a married 50 yr old dirty pillowcase with a bad reputation.

    Besides that, the other common thread I’ve noticed with ow (in my life) is that they are terribly threatened by women, and always put men on pedestals. And in my experience, they’ve all worked in very women-heavy industries and worked to keep colleagues from being promoted. Terrified to hire women more skilled than they are. Just very insecure, ugly behaviour. Again, this is my observation only. Confident, competent women just are.

    • The secret sauce is, adoring eyes and open legs. That’s ALL IT TAKES.

      The narcs want to be adored and told how amazing they are, constantly, without ever having to do anything adorable or amazing, without even having to do the minimum to be a decent adult. As CL said above, narcissists ” prefer kibbles to love. It’s easy. It’s flattery, admiration without accomplishment, esteem without character, a quick rush”.

      • YES. Amen. That’s exactly the case with my Cheater’s AP: it was adoring eyes and open legs/arms. And CL’s lines really resonated with me, too. *thinking thinking thinking*

      • Yeah, the neighborhood skank probably did start with the adoring eyes (she already had the open legs down pat). And he was sooo into her. But her mask slipped early in the relationship. She showed him her true colors after less than a year. By then, she was used to the money, gifts, going out, having a ‘handyman’ around to fix all the crap she and her kids broke. Not to mention that I helped her with her computer, phone, kid homework, watching her kids after school (she was a SAHM and I worked) and buying shoes, clothes and gifts for her and her kids. Since she didn’t want to lose all that, she resorted to extortion. Of course, this was according to him, a known liar. He stayed with her for a total of 10 years. If she was so terrible, WHY didn’t he just come clean with me, and tell her to fuck off? He already knew that I was the forgiving wife, as I had done so many times before. I guess free pussy, conveniently located right across the street was part of it. Putting one over on me was another piece of it. And if he told me, I might have found out about ALL the other fucking around with Craigslist men and women, the Snapchats, the phone sex, the random strangers he picked up in bars, and on and on.

    • Yes! Poor Me BPD hated other women, and in her post rants always accused other women of being jealous of any goodlooking woman, making them feel unwelcome and ignoring them in favour of the men around. She was a major projector if ever there was one. She thought that men held the power balance and always looked to manipulate them into giving her what she wanted. Self-identified feminist, but adept at manipulating men, then accusing them of being women haters when her sexuality didn’t get her what she wanted. Other women saw her coming a mile a way and avoided her, but I guess her accusing them of jealousy was both an unconscious thing, but also gave her an excuse as to why other women didn’t like her.

      • Yup. And this one works in social justice/women’s rights/social work, goes to ashrams, yoga, healing etc. so because she does all that, she can talk down to people who disagree with her, or worse, when she suffers consequences.

        • Ugh, the sanctimony really sticks in my craw. Yeah, and those that say, look what I do in my public life, how could I possibly do something that wasn’t for the greater good. I made the mistake of contacting Poor Me once and she told me to stop contacting her (it was one conversation), it made her feel uncomfortable, as if I was harrassing her. Mad.

          • My X and the OW are both working in “social justice” areas … So incredibly socially (and sexually) evolved.

            Except when it comes to behind-closed-doors parenting and integrity.

  • I didn’t pick me dance the the second time. (The first time I am ashamed of what all I did) This time I said let’s divorce the day I found out. The OW knew we had 5 children, she was almost 40 with none. In a way I’m lucky I guess because there was no custody battle, he barely wants them when he is supposed to have them. She wanted to meet me before she met the kids…I said no thank you, (I don’t give pieces of shit my time or attention). In my mind I won the “competition” she now has a twice (that I know of) cheater boyfriend and she has to spend half her time with him with 5 kids under the age of 13. The real losers are the kids…and what sucks is there is nothing I can do about it.

  • One of my biggest regrets was emailing young schmoopie to tell her my then husband, Dr. Cheaterpants, told me she was a huge mistake and he didn’t want to lose his family. I did it at my attorney’s urging and I so wish I had not done so as I didn’t want the marriage anymore.

    Dr. Cheaterpants, always bored and looking for something to pour his energy (read kibble seeking needs) into was volunteer asst coaching DD14’s sport in our teenaged kids’ Catholic high school. He used our DD as schmoopie bait to lure 20-something asst sports coach out to the most expensive restaurant in town. Planned a trip for the 3 of them overseas in which he had made plans for DD to stay with the person they were visiting and told DD it would be fine for her dad and ho to share a room because ‘she thinks of me like a dad’.

    She was the second known schmoopie in our 20 years together, but as I started reflecting back I suspect at least 2 more underlings from where we both work. One of them I kept from getting fired.

    After schmoopie #1 howorker nurse in the unit where he worked (twice divorced and history of cheating on both husbands), I thought he was naïve to women who wanted to use him because he was a ‘rich doctor’. When I discovered his thang with young schmoopie, dumsel in distress, because our iClouds were linked and I saw his texts to her, I realized he was a predator.

    I only dance for me these days!! So glad to be free of that high maintenance, black hole of a soul, never happy with anything, narcissistic fucker!!!

    • When you REALIZE they are a predator it is the scariest ‘oh my God’ moment. They have a secret life with a secret personality that they don’t show you. That was my discovery with XW. It still haunts me 17 months later to the point I try to shove it out of my brain.

      • In a similar vein, my younger DD shared details of a DV event that occurred when she was at her Dad’s. He called GF a f*ng c*, and threw something at her hard enough to leave a significant bruise. When they broke up, briefly of course, GF was threatening to press charges. I’ve been completely rattled to the point of nightmares, the kind where you can’t scream, because it confirms my underlying terror that something lurked in him. That he could just snap if I didn’t toe the line.

  • My resume of dances is pretty extensive.

    I can be sexier than porn salsa
    Marriage police polka
    Say no to hookers hip-hop
    Compete for the cheater cha-cha
    Gaslighting Tango
    I can be perfect for you pop and lock
    I can fix his sadz interpretive dance
    Chumpy contemporary dance
    Exhausted electric boogaloo

    And then I learned the best dance of all

    The Walk Away! It’s very progressive and gaining popularity!

  • Cant do the pick me dance if you never knew (or was never told) what was happening in your marriage. But, I do know that the moment I confirmed what and who it was, I received FOUR incidents of vandalism at my house! Divorced two years next Friday, and I am still in shock over the education that I received. I will NEVER do a pick me dance for anyone. For the rest of my life, I will take care of me (since no one ever has).

  • In my case the OW was a skank who broke up marriages with malicious glee. She went to great lengths to rub my nose in their affair…..like showing up at a Alanon meeting we went to regularly together, that I was chairing the meeting at that day. She plunked herself down next to cheater ex, and with her hand on his thigh proceeded to smirk at me through the entire meeting. He smirked too, asshole that he was. What did I do? I chaired the damn meeting! Looked at them with bored disinterest and took care of business.

    Afterwards, it was off to the bathroom to cry for a few minutes. Following a splash of cold water to my face, I marched by them saying their goodbyes on the porch, got in the car, and waited. He hopped in still smirking. I looked at him and told him,”You want her, you got her. We are going home to pack your shit.” He was all like …..Wait a minute! Wait a minute! I need time to make up my mind. I told him he had three days. Unfortunately he picked me. If that had happened today, I would have driven off and left his sorry ass there.

    She was screwing her way through AA looking for the most well off guy she could find so she could cash in. The marriages she broke up were notches on her belt. Cheater ex quit a well paying job to work as a janitor so he could get out of paying child support. (Didn’t work.) She not only dumped him, but told him it was because he wasn’t making enough money. ( Yeah, that’s tru wuv right there.) Maybe she just wanted drama from the triangulation and I was refusing to play. Who knows?

    I almost felt sorry for him…. Almost.

    • Yep, it’s not Well People Anonymous, unfortunately. But it looks to me like YOUR program kicks ass! 💪🏻

  • It has been over 15 years since my divorce from the cheater and I remarried around 10 years ago. I didn’t realize until I started reading CL a few years back that the pick me dance was a thing AND that I had been doing it all my life.

    Looking for dates? Check.
    Wardrobe choices? Check.
    Dating? Check.
    Friendships? Check.
    Coworkers? Check.
    Customers? Check.
    Self image? Check.

    When you learn to see it, you can never un-see it again. When you start changing it, the people who have been taking advantage of your goodness panic in a variety of ways (though they all boil down to charm, rage, and self pity.)

    CL and CN and a couple of hard-fought and brilliant therapists saved my soul from the middle aged self-imposed mind-prison I had built, saved my heart from the self-hatred I didn’t realize I harbored, and helped me have the courage to learn (far too slowly, but steadily) and set boundaries and the energy to maintain them.

    My whole life had to reset. I have been surrounded by narcs, always, because I have always been a narc target. Changing that has been hard and grief-laden, and pretty lonely at times, but it has also been a lifeline.

    • Yes! Changing those habits can be lonely. Because when you change the dynamic people respond even more strongly. For those of us learning new patterns, it’s a hard fought battle not to fold. I spent my whole life putting everyone else first. Squelching my resentment. Thanks to CL and my life saving therapist I’m learning to stand on wobbly legs that are getting stronger. But it’s still a struggle!

      • You know it! Love your username. And yes, all of this. We are fortunate – some people either don’t learn this stuff until much later in life or don’t learn it at all.

    • “When you learn to see it, you can never un-see it again. When you start changing it, the people who have been taking advantage of your goodness panic in a variety of ways (though they all boil down to charm, rage, and self pity.)”

      Powerful words Amiisfree! And a mind-prison is the best way to describe it! A geat title for a book!

  • I am divorced and so dang glad to be out and away from dancing the dance!!

    What’s funny is that the OW is still dancing, now demanding marriage. She has threatened, forced, and demanded from Day One. She even put her hands around my ex’s neck and screamed. And he gave in every single time. Two days ago he confessed to me that he does not want to marry her and is tired of being browbeaten (his word) into doing what she wants.

    She’s vile. He needs to grow a backbone. And I’m just glad to be living on the other side of the country, dancing shoes long tossed out with the trash!

    • The only words you need to use with your dishonest ex are ‘Wow, Cool ,or Bummer.’ Or even better no response at all. He has gotten what he deserves. He stabbed you in the back then wants to whine to YOU! ? It’s sickening. My ex would complain to me about how expensive it is to spoil our kids after he pulled out every stop to woo them away. I am no contact now.

  • I dance unknowingly for a week. That was it. She sent me long texts from my now ex-husbands phone that I didn’t respond to. Basically trying to goad me into fighting with her. I never have into that. She’s a deeply unstable woman. Likely borderline. She’s got two kids by two different men, has been married three times, and is still playing all three exes and the dumb one for money. That’s too much crazy to fight.

    I guess I should be sad I’m too ugly to play a bunch of men off each other, but I don’t have the energy 😂

    • DH, I know exactly how you feel. I did the pick-me dance for about a week, and then she left anyway. She told me that if I was as attractive as she was, she wouldn’t be fooling around. Clearly all these men wanted her because she had “traded down” marrying me.
      Though she ditched me for him, the OM didn’t bother with a pick-me dance when she told him he had to leave his own wife. (Apparently, my ex was under the impression they were divorced, and she bought his line that he only still lived with her as “it was hard finding apartments in our area.” Umm, no it isn’t). He just gave up when she put some actual requirements on him.

      Like you, I guess I should be sad that I’m apparently not attractive enough to “win” the pick-me dance, but I’m not….

      • On the real, she’s not even hot. I have a wandering eye so I’ve been called ugly since I exited my mom’s womb. I was born cross eyed 😂 she tried to clock me and I just died laughing cause she looks like a buck tooth porky pig.

        Alright, I’m wrong, sorry.

  • I knew he felt guilty and wanted to keep things quiet so his offer was initially quite generous. This wasn’t his first cheat rodeo and he’d always try harder. Til the next. Our kids were just off by then. But I knew the offer pkg wouldn’t last so I pretended to play the pick me dance knowing he was too wrapped around that tramp whore who liked to pretend she had nothing to do with destroying my family. But secretly, I was glad to be rid of him. Yeah it hurt bad and he tore my heart around. But it didn’t take long to realize how good being free of that walking fuck Up ego is. I never realized how oppressive he was til I got free. I’ve never missed him a day. Oh, I miss having my family and my home. I liked being that lady. Anyway, that part is gone but so is he. I just never let on that I’m glad he’s gone because i don’t want anything interfering with my money or health insurance I was entitled to which he was ordered to pay. But now he’d stiff me if he thought he could get away with it. The whore has been threatening to leave him so I just stay on the down low and don’t gloat or act like I know. But it’s rich watching his little house built on sand wobble. I’m sure if he was alone he’d come whistling around so I have to play it very carefully. I know I sound manipulative. But I learned from the master. Cheating Men, especially the older ones, are so full of themselves. They really do think women want them. But even us chumps just want the money. Dumb asses.

    • Oh Trudy, we could get together and write a secret manual for our fellow travelers on this one. When my cheater was finishing packing up his stuff in the garage, I stood in the corner, facing the wall with my hand on the door opener and gave out a few of those heart-wrenching sobs. I left notes for him about how scared I was of the future and how could I possibly survive on only half the money because I didn’t know how to take care of anything and I was obviously so old and fat that no one would ever be interested in me and so I’d be alone forever while he had someone to share living expenses. I poured it on thick. Made it so easy for him to leave and go live with her 1000+ miles away.

      Taking only 35% of our joint assets/money. I still chuckle over how hard he fell for it.

      Not to say it wasn’t painful; it was and still is. But I cherish my victory because it’s the only one I got.

      • Wow! Are you married to my husband? If you look up narcissism, there’s his picture! He was always talking about others that are cheaters, and how they are “bad” and deserve what they get. All the time smoking pot and looking at porn like a 15 year old….. and texting ho workers….then would look at me and say ” you get to live with all this” and point to his body. ugh. gross

    • You bet he will come back if it goes south with her. Who wants her sloppy seconds?

      You did what was best for your interests, something your husband would never do. Congrats 🙂

  • I was never one to want to compete for a man. I never thought it was worth it. I also had no desire to interfere in other people’s already existing relationships. In college there was one semester when every guy who made a pass at me had a girlfriend. This did not make me feel good. Never mind the fact that I didn’t want other girls hate me, it also made me feel like I was only good enough to be a side piece, not a girlfriend. I lamented to my friend “I don’t want somebody else’s boyfriend, I want my own boyfriend”.

    In spite of all of that, I did find myself in a relationship or two where I never knew where I stood and I felt like I had to work hard and make sacrifices to maybe keep the guy’s attention. I hated it. One of the reasons why I loved ex so much was because back then I didn’t have to compete for him. He wore his heart on his sleeve (or so I thought) and I knew where I stood and that’s exactly what I wanted. That’s part of what made it so heartbreaking to have things end the way they did. After his emotional affair I was pick me dancing for eight. That isn’t what I signed up for when I got married, but I did love him and I didn’t want to lose him and I thought I really must not have been a good enough wife if he almost had an affair. Then he had two physical affairs and left me for Schmoopie 2.0 anyway. After DDay I just danced harder initially. I felt that I had to prove that I loved him. After a short bit, however, I saw that the game was rigged. I was worn out from dancing so hard and Schmoopie was fresh to the dance. There was no way I could compete and I realized that I should never have had to compete in the first place and a competition for a man was never what I had ever wanted and continuing to dance would just be humiliating. At that point I stopped actively dancing. Unfortunately, I wasn’t done with the relationship yet. I still smoked the hopium for a few months hoping he would come to his senses all on his own and come home. In reality I was still passively pick me dancing by not just filing for divorce. I let him know I would still be there if he changed his mind and then backed off. Even after I stopped actively competing I was still miserable, however, because I was still tied down. It took a while, but I eventually did get around to divorcing him so that I could be available for a decent man who wouldn’t make me compete.

    • Some (idiotic) women seem delighted when they get hit on by a man who’s married or has a girlfriend. As you said, it’s insulting. I used to think, what is it about ME that makes these jackasses think I want to go slumming as their sidepiece? Thanks to CL, I realize it has nothing to do with me.

      Not long after I got divorced, after 18 years of marriage, I went on three dates with a man who had a girlfriend – but I didn’t know about her until after the fact. They married (his third trip down the aisle), and she divorced him less than three years later. He came circling back a few months ago and it felt great to tell him that I have zero interest in being his Plan B. Or C. Or D. Or K. He apologized for “not handling me right” the first time around. ???

  • That distinction between “picked’ and “chosen” is stunning. It’s the difference between healthy and disordered. Between surface and depth. Between momentary and lasting.
    And what you have to say about “no sane person” pick me dancing or asking for it is just as stunning. I thought I’d chosen and been chosen, but I lived decades in an unsatisfying marriage, manipulated into and constitutionally prone to wondering what was wrong with me, pick me dancing without realizing that was what I was doing, before it was made clear to me, and then demanded of me. And wow, did I. Clothed, naked, you name it, I did it and more.
    Then I chose myself and my self respect and my values over the pick me dance and the chance to be picked.

    • My problem is that ex was in love with what he imagined to by my potential. Unfortunately, my life goals and aspirations did not match up with his expectations. I tried to be me while he was trying to turn me into somebody else. I did my best to make him happy as best I could but I wasn’t willing to give up my soul to do it. It’s heartbreaking because all along I thought he loved me for who I was but he only loved me for who he wanted me to be. Eventually he figured out I was immutable and went looking for my replacement without bothering to divorce me first so that I was under the mistaken impression that he loved me in spite of my faults.

  • I know it’s not entirely on topic, but my ex was this woman. She took delight in fooling around with other women’s husbands as it showed she was prettier, more interesting, or something like that. Among all the other things that made me nauseous, I was disgusted listening to her brag about how much more of a woman she was.
    For my part, I think the reason OW do this is poor self-esteem. They’re not the prettiest one in the room, so they get a thrill out of “defeating” another woman in the “contest” for men’s attention. As the CL says, though, the deck is stacked, the 1/8 (or whatever fraction) of the man’s attention they’re getting isn’t something to brag about, and any man would do such a thing is hardly a prize.

    • Traveling, the idea that they do the crap they do because they have poor self-esteem, that they need to ‘win’ and to constantly gather adoration and other kibbles so as to try to fill that gaping hole from childhood is being set to rest by a lot of recent research.

      Narcissists and sociopaths really do, deep down, feel great about themselves. They believe they are better than others, and that they are entitled to more than others. They are FINE with the way they are.

      Then there are the ‘vulnerable’ narcissists, the ones who aren’t outwardly self-confident. Their focus is on how others treat them badly, unfairly, what victims they are. But this is also not a problem of self-esteem, They truly believe they deserve better, no matter what the evidence, and if you dig a bit, believe they deserve to be treated better, to be more successful, than other people, for no identifiable reason. They feel entitled to get others to help them, protect them, bolster them, and hold them up – without reciprocating or doing anything much to deserve this, either. And they think THEY are just fine; their unhappiness is because of other people.

      If it were the low self-esteem? The real love, support, and investment of chumps would help them feel better. It doesn’t, because they either feel great already, or their difficulties are legion, but never their fault.

    • CIR,

      Ungh. Everytime I read your posts I can relate so much. But how about this? How about you not having to make him happy and meet his expectations all the time and he just loves you for you? Just. The. Way. You. Are. Wasn’t that what your marriage vows are all about? He didn’t promise to love you until you didn’t meet his expectations. He even promised to love you if you were sick or poor.

      I know that I was confused half the time feeling like he loved me for me (aparently image management) and him resenting me for not being as good as him (his true hidden feelings).

      Sure would have been nice for the guy who put me on a pedestal for just existing on the planet to still feel that way about me. Now he just looks at me with disdain. It’s so degrading. Hopefully the love will fade for me someday and I can look at him with the same disdain. I mean, at least his is earned.

      • Hello Unexpected Chumpiness,

        Hope you don’t mind me commenting. This concept of a cheater looking at a chump with disdain or a cheater looking at a chump with disgust is something I have been thinking about. (Especially when a chump was formerly put on a pedestal.) I have found that men who put women on pedestals seek to do this because they are looking for a woman who they think is perfect. Once they see someone they think is perfect, they project all these perfect qualities onto her (that they define as perfect, but the woman is NOT aware of… in fact in their minds since the woman is perfect she is also a mind reader and is already supposed to know what he defines as perfect). At one point a woman will not meet this definition of perfection (that he never even passed along to her) and he will start to look at her with disdain because she was supposed to be perfect and thus meet whatever uncommunicated needs he has. But she didn’t do that and he feels duped. Instead of looking at himself, he always looks outside himself. But he cannot recognize that because he doesn’t know how to look internally — if he did, he would have done so already. And this led to him to looking outside himself to find that perfect woman who would “make America great again” or “make him great again.” I couldn’t help myself from making a Trump reference because it’s driven by the same combination of narcissism + lack of accountability + entitlement + lack of insight + lack of wanting to look internally that leads to “pedestal thinking.” By the way, this is NOT necessarily about your spouse. This is something I have been thinking about a lot lately. So this is not necessarily about you and your spouse, but your comment triggered a concept I was researching for a while. (That is looking at that knotted up ball of yarn and asking myself, “what the hell am I looking at?”) I have been following that thread of looking at disdain and disgust for a while. None of it is rational (the people who cheat or someone like me who follows the thread of psychological pathology). However, I do like to own my part. And so I am always asking myself “Did I cause that OR was that someone else?”

        Huge caveat: It is IMPOSSIBLE to make your spouse/fiancé/boyfriend/girlfriend cheat on you. That is 💯% on them. But I look into their pathology occasionally to try to understand it enough to recognize it “next time” and avoid it.

        As for your husband, don’t feel fooled by the ultimate “dark side Jedi mind trick”: to look at you with such disdain that you internalize it. He is projecting his (subconscious) inner disdain at himself onto you and hoping you will believe it. The ultimate antidote is looking at him as if he were the biggest piece of filth on the planet (since he earned it). I do know this is no easy task.

        If you don’t read the Out of the Fog website it might be good to look at their definition of “fleas.” He is hoping you will catch them and adopt them as your own. Resist the fleas!! And even if your love for him has not faded, please know on an intellectual level there was nothing there to love. It may have been all a social mask.

        In my own situation, it took me years to realize I had fallen in love with a social mask. That person who was my fiancé had such a water-tight, air tight, (nearly) stress-tight social mask. It took me years to understand that I was engaged to a “non entity.” It reminds me of the T.S. Eliot poem called The Hollow Men.

        Big Hugs to you,
        Sarah

  • Why oh why are the OW compelled to taunt?
    1. Tho confirm they are indeed special.
    2. To justify their actions.
    3. They are narcissists.

    Long after I passed the torch, batshit crazy Nanthony wanted me to engage as she harassed me in public places, by phone, and by making false claims to the police.

    At first it was tips on how to color my hair and gloat.
    Then came the cutting remarks. Cunts gotta go for the jugular. She brought up my mothers passing, money, and my granddaughter (big mistake).

    All through this I ignored, reported, and researched her arrest record.

    The laundry list of what I’m NOT missing no longer hasto be reviewed. Loving my life!

    Still she persists. #focusonyourprizespecislone
    Don’t care.

  • When I found out that CheaterX was having an affair, I didn’t confront him about it nor did I Pick-Me Dance. I chalked the affair up as being a product of a predatory woman playing on the vulnerability of a man reeling from the death of his parent and the stress of a dysfunctional workplace, but I also knew I’d not be able to trust someone whose coping toolbox included “have an affair” in it.

    Later on, I realized that I was spackling for him. He felt entitled to the affair; otherwise he’d have said no and held his ground, no matter how often Schmoopie flung herself at him.

    But this is about Schmoopie. Schmoopie loved the Pick Me Dance. And that’s what she wanted CheaterX to play. She’d constantly threaten to break off the relationship with him because she thought he was spending too much time with me.

    Once I divorced him and moved out, she moved in and they were married shortly afterwards. She immediately accused him of cheating on her with me (as if I’d ever want him back!). She was, of course, cheating on him the entire time with an old boyfriend, also a married man.

    For her, it’s all about the Pick Me Dance. Once she wins, she’s bored.

    • YES – thanks for sharing, @kb! Your experience with CheaterX is exactly what I’m going through with my own Cheater – although I never did hold OW responsible for the “seduction.” If anything, Cheater used OW too, though obviously OW chose to put herself in that position. I used the word “entitlement” the other day in a conversation with Cheater and she bristled. Maybe I should dig more into that, with or without her input.

      • My own take at the time was that CheaterX’s cheating was his choice, but that he was stressed out and that Schmoopie, one of his staff, was with him a lot of the day and lent a sympathetic ear. Additionally, CheaterX felt sorry for Schmoopie. She was a twice-married single mom with a medically-fragile daughter. She’d had a track record picking lousy men, and in my then-naive eyes, would have been attracted to CheaterX as being a decent guy. I still knew he was a cheater. I knew that he had cheated of his own choice, and that I would not be able to stay married to someone for whom that was okay.

        When I was shopping for lawyers, I mentioned to one that Schmoopie had a track record of picking lousy men. I was going to say that CheaterX was her first decent guy, and the penny dropped that her picker was still on target.

        CheaterX was a lousy man.

  • I danced and I danced HARD. Looking back, I’m so embarrassed by how I begged and pleaded and fought for a relationship that was clearly already over. I try to be gentle with myself now though – I was traumatized and not in my right mind. I’ve read here and elsewhere, that the betrayed spouse is really the one experiencing the “affair fog.” And it’s so true. As soon as the fog started to clear and I could focus and see my ex for who he was, see his behaviors for what they were, the path forward became clear. Painful still, but clear.

    It’s amazing now that he’s gone just how much I am capable of doing at work, at home, for my kids. I have so much more energy now that I’m not spending all of it trying to convince somebody else to treat me with love and respect.

  • I never pick me danced. I had a 24 hr period after DDay where I thought that we had to go to counciling because, who throws away a 6 year relationship and a 18 year friendship impulsively over someone you just met? But when he told me “counciling doesn’t work, I tried it with my past marriage and it was pointless.”, I finally saw him for what he was, got really mad, and knew what my course of action had to be. I got the fuck out as fast as possible.

  • I guess I got lucky. The married OW blocked me on social media WAY before I knew she was having an affair with my fiance. I kicked him out of the house the moment I found out. She can have him…they deserve each other. I hope he treats her as well as he treated me.

    My pick-me dance…the middle finger.

    • You hit the nail on the head. That’s all malakas such as this deserve – our middle finger. Best comment of the day!!!

        • Definitely not Greek but I grew up around a lot of Greek people and they are legends at insults and do it so well

          Normally I keep my mouth shut when my ex dribbles on, but one time he dribbled on that much and my shit tolerance was at an all time low so I called him a malaka. You should have seen him scratching his head – normally it’s his balls so thank god for small mercies.

          If you’re gonna insult them you’ve gotta make it memorable – it’s even better done in another language. My other go to is Du bist ein großer Arsch which is German for “you’re a big dickhead” or my other personal fave is Je t’emmerde, connard! which is French for “fuck you asshole”. The fun part is watching the confused expression on the fuckers face because they don’t understand that you’re on about!

  • Some jewels I heard from ExN and Howorker…..

    His explanation of why her, “She does what I tell her to.” My response: “She’s an employee! She’s supposed to do what you tell her to!”

    From Howorker, “I would be honored to coparent with you.” Ignored that. Screw that, these are MY KIDS, not YOURS.

  • My sister has been the OW as long as I can remember. She married one affair part. He was married at the time, he had two grown kids older and two younger. He’s 87 and she is 63 now, married 25 years. Being married never stopped her. He has a nice nest egg, had a good job when he worked. She stayed because she could look respectable, enjoy a nice life style and have sex on the side. She feels no guilt, everyone is just jealous. Rewrites any history that makes her the bad guy, goes to church every Sunday, believes she should be happy. No matter what happens to others. These people live in their own world. Best to live in a different world, for your sanity, safety.

      • I don’t have any relationship with her. I have seen her 4 times in those 25 years, at weddings/funerals. The person she was having an affair with and later married, was high profile. Affair was on every newspaper/ tv station. They tried to contact me for days to get the scoop. She felt picked on and people didn’t know the “whole “ story. Said everything that every narc says.

        • Ugh makes sense. It is rough to have that in the family. I have a hard enough time thinking my kids are his progeny.

        • My ex is on a social list and some of his OW are ex wives of CEO’s and get photographed in society pages.
          They all suck. I honestly don’t know how his world hasn’t imploded yet.
          I’m broke as shit, trying to regain my happiness again and I struggle everyday, but I know I don’t have his cheating noose around my neck anymore. I left him and his undisclosed STDs behind. Jackass. Sometimes I feel like I just want to leave my private shell and broadcast to the world I was deeply mentally abused by a sociopath. It’s a HUGE problem that most people don’t understand but has a HUGE number of victims. It’s like another wave of the #metoo moment will happen…

  • I said, “I am not going to fight for you.” And I didn’t. We went to counseling and it opened my eyes to who he really was. It was a great counselor, he confirmed we were done after 5 months of “trying” because my ex wasn’t actually. And I moved on with no regret (much pain and heartache and recovery needed but not regret). And I think he was surprised I said that at the get-go. But I don’t kid myself that he has any insight into anything that resulted. I am glad to be here, minus the continuing legal bullshit.

  • Poor Me BPD revelled in the competition. She loved the fact that she had the power to ‘steal’ someone’s partner and destroy someone’s life, even though she had never had anything to do with me other than a few brief social media interactions as an aquaintance (or so I thought) in my husband’s sport’s circle. She knew we had a newborn and that we were having a challenging time, knew intimate details of our life thanks to their heart to hearts and she was merciless in her advice to him. The only times she got upset was when she thought that she wasn’t going to get her way, and then she threatened and abused him as much as me. And when they split after it all came out, her anonymous calling out posts on FB were legendary. She couldn’t believe that she couldn’t just split us up and move into our house and take over my life. I guess that’s what it ultimately was a competition for, not necessarily for him, but for my life. That concept just blows my mind, that someone could be so lazy and entitled that they think that they can just swoop in and take over where I left off. Major disorders. That’s okay though, because now she’s quit her second job in two years after ‘disagreements’ with the bosses where she was being victimised, and had to stick up for herself, and angling to become an Instagram star. Have fun, hunty. I can’t believe the delusion, but also can’t look away.

    • All this comes down to validation for her, as, being a narc, she has a yawning hole where any sense of internal self-esteem is. Validation for being so super-duper irresistable that a married man destroys his life for her, and now the social media stuff. Likes equals love, dontchaknow.

    • This has been the creepiest part for me. My Other Woman slept in my bed, accepted my hand-me-downs (from him; I thought she was just a neighbor going through a rough time), and even went cake and flower shopping with him for our wedding. Of the many ways I felt violated by the affair, I think the creepiest was knowing that he presented OUR life to her as HIS, and let her fall in love with that. Knowing that she came into our house, which I decorated meticulously with family heirlooms, travel souvenirs, and other very personal items, and felt that she belonged there with him, is sickening to me.

      • That is just a person with no sense of self and poor self-worth. Please do not be sickened – it is her illness. I hope you do not have to see her.

      • Oh Nadia, that is awful, and beyond creepy. They love the sense of power they feel in having something over someone else, even if the other person doesn’t even know they exist and their advantage is ill-gotten. What a loony.

    • “knew intimate details of our life thanks to their heart to hearts and she was merciless in her advice to him. The only times she got upset was when she thought that she wasn’t going to get her way, and then she threatened and abused him as much as me.” My experience exactly. I was pick me dancing (shimmying, pole dancing, you name it) and on one of his swings back to me he told me about their “heart to hearts” and her advice on how to divorce me. During this swing she was furious that he had been unfaithful to her and that she was being played. WHAT?! She had experienced being chummed only a year earlier?! I still can’t get my mind around this. Having been through it herself, how could she not have empathy and a conscience in regards to others?! Being PLAYED? How can she believe such a one sided smear campaign having been in the reciprocal side? The mindfuck is not just from him, it’s from both of them. No wonder we feel so gaslighted and destroyed. The crazy is coming from all sides. He eventually left me for her and “NewBoundaries” had a painful birth. Love is NOT unconditional unless you are willing to trade in your soul and values for the 1st Place Award #I finallytheprize

  • So the general consensus is that they never loved us chumps – but is it possible they love the other woman or the woman after that? Someone who they connect with later in life?

    • I also have this question. Maybe they just didn’t love us and so didn’t treat us right? But would later fall in love with someone else and treat them well.

      • I don’t think it’s “Maybe they just didn’t love us and so didn’t treat us right.”

        I think it’s more a case of “they didn’t love us AND they didn’t treat us right.”

        Even if you decide you don’t love someone, you still don’t get the right to treat them badly. You do, however, have the obligation to be honest in the relationship. You tell them that you’re no longer in love with them and therefore cannot hold up your end of the “love, honor, and cherish” part of the marriage vows. Offer an honorable and generous divorce.

        Sure, this will hurt to hear it, but at least you, the Chump, aren’t being asked to Pick Me Dance, and your spouse isn’t exposing you to STDs.

    • Nope. Not a chance if they’re a narcissist. They are totally incapable of caring for ANYONE except themselves, and that includes parents and kids. They use people for their personal gain, and then discard them when they’re no longer useful. (Check out psychopathfree.com for more detailed information on narcissists.)

    • Please don’t overthink this. A narcissist isn’t capable of knowing LOVE. A narcissist identifies love as that feeling of butterflies after a first kiss, the excitement of the chase and the initial thrill that someone is so into them. That’s all shallow.

      We sane people know real love is a deeper experience. It’s a daily dedication, rain or shine, for better or for worse. This is completely lost on a narcissist. They simply just don’t get it. They can recite the words but they truly cannot understand the language.

    • No, they love and worry about themselves only. Eventually they realize they look ridiculous and stay with a partner. Or that partner has money or looks good on their arm in their mind.

    • Cheaters are cursed to not know what love truly is. Which is why they can devalue and discard you, their companion for many years, and the mother of their child. Would you be able to do the same thing when some new flavour of the month comes along? Didn’t think so. It’s not a case of twu wuv, as much as they would have you think.

      It’s always about how the AP makes them feel. The AP is just an appliance, like us. When the old one is worn out, they get a new one.

      And APs are stupid, desperate and available. Throw in low self esteem and being willing to spread their legs to a married men – that’s who they are. They desperately want to believe that they are so special that they can lure men away from their marriages, because fate and twu wuv. They WON! So SPECIAL!

      This line from CL nails it succinctly: “OW, like other narcissists, prefer kibbles to love. It’s easy. It’s flattery, admiration without accomplishment, esteem without character, a quick rush.” They did NOTHING to earn what they thought they were getting. They didn’t stand by the cheater like you did through hard times. They didn’t invest years into them. The cheating fuckwit doesn’t even know them very well. And the AP think they deserve the admiration, the flattery, the attention instead of the chump? How magical do they think their loins are? They’re deluded.

      They’re nothing but a pile of horseshit, just like the cheating spouse.

  • I picked me danced like it was my job and made myself very small in the process. Even before I had absolute confirmation of the affair. I knew in my heart there was someone else.
    For year, I was emotionally abused and gaslighted into doing exactly what my STBX wanted. I was never heard, my needs not met, and my hobbies and job were ridiculed. I was simply never enough. I remember that a few months before DDay1 I broke down in my closet crying and wondering if I should just become a “crazy cat lady” . I was so convinced I was not good enough for anyone and that the only people that would love me were cats. My STBX had over the years with every fight and with every thing he told me I did wrong removed a piece of love until he showed only contempt. He treated me with disrespect or ignored me. I felt so lonely.

    And then found myself a week before DDay 1 thinking that I had turned into those classical abused women (there are many in my family). Not showing any needs and hopes of her own, hiding behind her husband’s charm, always excusing him and his whereabouts, and stating things like “I need to check in with my husband” all the time… I hated myself.

    DDay 1 came. And I was so happy. For the first time I had clear evidence that I was not the one at fault and that my husband had done something horrible.
    So I did the obvious thing that only a chump would do…

    I started the pick me dance.
    I asked for reconciliation. He agreed.

    And had me and the OW fight for his love. I did not know the OW was still in the game. He had promised he would go No Contact with her. Boy, was I lied to. Two months did I pick me dance so hard that I essentially completely forgot who I was.
    He essentially pretended that things are not working out… and he needed to break up with me. I filed for divorce, when he rented a house.

    He had the house, but did not move out. I became suspicious, because he became increasingly comfortable. He did not need to pretend to try with me, but then… he would go out, have beers, and work trips. Nothing made sense.

    DDay 2 came a couple of months later. He had continued seeing her. And the affair was going strong.

    I threw him out of the house.

    Because of the law I cannot keep him out. He is allowed to come back the weekends (he and I agreed that he stays away during the week on pretend business trips and that he can come back on weekends to be there for the kids). I hate that the law requires you to do in house separation. I talked to my lawyer and there is nothing we can do to keep him out. It really breaks me mentally to have him here. It is torture. I try to ignore him, but how well can you?

    I really have to learn to be myself again, to set boundaries, not to try to please him… often enough I catch myself in mini dances.
    I really need the separation to be able to get enough distance.

    • Inescapable

      CL is one of the rare places in which people understand…I’m still amazed how much “ under” I was for the past 12 years… how is it possible not to SEE abuse, gaslighting( ok I didn’t even know what gaslighting means)… basically nothing was making sense….
      Do I see it know? You bet
      Is it clear? Oh yeah…
      It took me countless number of books , bs, internet resources … to finally KNOW what living with narc means, what abuse looks like, what spackling can accomplish….
      PTSD, depression and anxiety, panic attacks later- I am able to teach my kids, what to look for and avoid.

      Middle schools should have a mandatory classes for recognizing narc personalities… it would save so many people
      Cheers and keep walking…..

    • My story exactly. I made myself smaller and smaller until I almost disappeared. And I was still vilainized. The game was rigged

      • The villainization is the hardest to get… However, it also helped me to see that he was completely disordered. I had picked me danced so much that I for sure knew that for at least 3 to 5 years I made myself small and my needs nearly invisible. He even admitted that we fought less. So, in all the blameshifting he always referred to how bad I was 5 years ago and how much he hated his life then.
        Nothing made sense, because all the things he cirticized and addressed had not existed in a while. Him claiming the affair was only two years also did not make sense. I honestly believe the affair started a lot earlier and he just enjoyed parallel lives. The comfort of home and her for fun.
        I have to accept that my STBX is completely disordered and I have to expect that he will continue to spin everything so it benefits himself.

        It is hard to grasp.

        • Yes it’s rigged so that you can’t win. Because their justification would not hold up. I didn’t even know until later what a narc smear campaign was. And then I just couldn’t believe that it had happened to me. That my spouse could make me into such an evil person. It took counseling to get my head around it. It was devastating to believe that someone that was so close to me could do that, and that people would actually believe it. What a nightmare. I was so entrenched in the dysfunction that I couldn’t see it.

  • Mine is currently in the process of trying to win over his family so OW so can attend family events which I am still invited to. Skankalicious is feeling very put out by the fact that my ex-MIL hates her and does not want her around.
    Apparently threats were made that ex-MIL would not get to see our DD if she didn’t agree to include her (she would always see her anyway while DD was with me) but also that OW was prepared to sacrifice their twu luv so exH and his mum could have a relationship again! (Cough..bullshit..cough)
    OW is 40 next year, she’s screaming for acceptance because she wants them to move in together and get the big proposal on her birthday.

    Me, I’m just sitting on the sidelines with my cute rental, my fat bank account (that I work bloody hard for) being the sane, calm parent to our DD watching the game with half-hearted disinterest.

    Dance Skankalicious Dance! I’m sure you’re used to keeping those legs pumping.. 😂

    • You go Auschump. And yep, fat bank account too – it’s amazing isn’t it when you’re no longer funding their toys/lifestyle/whores!

      • Or finally take control of my own finances! I (chumpily) let him look after the finances after he insisted he was better at it than me, then let him drive us into debt. Luckily he couldn’t touch my super and I have (and am still growing) a nice little nest egg for retirement even though it’s still some years away.

  • “Love keeps you safe.”

    Cheaters make you not safe. They literally place your life at risk. They are destroyers of everything you hold dear. And the most horrifying moment of all is when you realize they were never on your side, always working against you. But with knowledge comes discernment and from discernment comes healing and strength. Always judge others by their actions, words are meaningless.

  • https://streamable.com/b48t8?fbclid=IwAR2K248UJDkDfSYzAIlMXYJyeUeFxXEF8v7B8fYbS9G8flBSb656AW1Q6Gk

    When you said goodbye, my whole world shines
    Hey hey hey
    It’s a beautiful day and I can’t stop myself from smiling
    If I’m drinking, then I’m buying
    And I know there’s no denying
    It’s a beautiful day, the sun is up, the music’s playing
    And even if it started raining
    You won’t hear this boy complaining
    ‘Cause I’m glad that you’re the one that got away
    It’s a beautiful day

    This is the only dancing that’s worth doing! 🙂

    • I LOVE THIS!!! Something happened to me yesterday when I was reading CL post of the day and all the response. Something settled around me- it was like peace, understanding, a letting go of the sadness, a movement forward, a heart getting in line with my head. It was taking a step into Meh land and seeing what life will be like without him, what life will be when I take care of me.

      • Amen, MissBailey! I’ve never watched a Michael Buble video until Friday after he posted a carpool karaoke with James Corden. I watched this video for the first time and it’s the perfect leave a cheater gain a life video for me, set to music and dancing. And like you, I had yet another shift in my thinking and more ground covered in the Land of Meh. It’s been a very long process mourning all the losses, including the realization that I married a covert narcissist/sociopath. It’s a Beautiful Meh and I laugh and smile, because I’m no longer chained to a serial cheater, serial adulterer and pathological liar.

  • “Its no wonder he came to me if the choice was go home to you”
    That was supposed to hurt me. It might have if she was the first, or even in the first ten I knew about. But coming from number about 30ish it was pretty lame.
    I know why he went to them. They had open legs and no expectations.

  • Since I stayed 3 years post dday I definitely did the pick me polka. I continued to work full time and an hour away from our home, while I got up early to cook him breakfast and make sure that I cooked meals in the beginning of the week so he would have something better than a sandwich to take to work for lunch. I also made sure I had something cooked for dinner every night and I was at his beck and call for anything. I was a champion dancer. I was careful not to bring up the affair outside of marriage counseling and I even stopped that after not very long. Blech!!!

    Of course, I was NOT happy and he took zero responsibility for what he did. He heaped all the blame on me and I took it outwardly but I knew deep down it was all wrong. When I finally bought a clue and told his sorry ass I wanted a divorce, I stopped dancing but that’s when the OW started again. When we decided to “work it out” he met her for lunch to tell her their twu wuv could never be. He told me they both cried. She went back to her husband-she told him she wanted a divorce then miraculously changed her mind. She also lied to him when he asked if there was another man. My ex was actually pissed that she went back to him and didn’t pine over him while we tried to work it out. Can’t make that shit up.

    When we split he contacted her again and she quickly dumped her hubby and moved in with the ex. Twu wuv found it’s way again. I felt bad at first until I confided in someone at work about it and she opened my eyes to the ultimate pick me dance. She said “Think about it. You tell him you want to work it out and he dumps her. Then when things don’t work out, he runs back to her. Nothing says you are second choice louder than that and you can bet she is always pick me dancing now.” I hadn’t thought about it but it’s true. Plus they both cheated on their spouses so I’m sure that plays into their fucked up dynamic. I’ll never know for sure but I would bet all the money in my retirement accounts that there is much pick me dancing going on and it will continue as long as they’re together.

    Me? I’ve hung up my tap dance shoes for good!

    • Good news is that OW’s spouse is finally free as well. So you freed two people when you decided to get out though I do not know if he will see that way but he may realize that after a while!

  • I spent some time watching some cringey pick me dancing from episodes of “Cheaters”, a reality show on VH1. I was channel-flipping for something to have on TV while I did some housework and, voila! A REALITY SHOW BUSTING CHEATERS?!! I am so in!

    Something about watching this really helped me.
    They are all the same. Yes, my “Nice Guy” husband is just like the cheaters on Cheaters. No, I do not want to be married to THAT. I have never wanted to qualify for appearing on Jerry Springer.

    If you need some help quitting your Pick Me dancing, tune into “Cheaters”.

  • The reason I never pick me danced much for cheater ex # 2 was that I did for cheater ex # 1. Learned my lesson as to how shitty it felt, and how fruitless it was. The last instance with # 1 was a set up. He called, begging me to meet him at the train station meeting. He was sober, turning over a new leaf, wanted to be a family again, yadda, yadda, yadda. So here was I with our year and a half old baby standing on the platform. He gets off the train, sees me and his son, and proceeds to walk to the other end of the platform to the OW who was also there waiting. He went home with her. I swore after that not only were we done, but I would never humiliate myself for any one again. He showed up at my door a few hours later. I told him we were done. I filed a week later.

    One of the hard parts of all this is how it touches every part of our lives and psyche. Unlearning codependence is a bitch. Doesn’t matter how it’s prettied up, for me it’s my codependence. I am having to face it in myself again with my son who is a practicing alcoholic in the process of drinking himself to death. I love him dearly, but as much as I want to save him from himself, I have to let go, turn him over to Spirit and get on with my life. For me pick me dancing was codependence. For the sake of my health and sanity, I had to stop.

    Another one of the fix my picker truths I had to face was that I picked and married two men who hated women. I had to confront that in myself and own it which was tough. Then I had to untangle my own skein and fix it, with the help of therapy. Don’t know if things are all the way fixed, but all the narcs have been weeded out of my life at this point. Progress, not perfection.

  • These insights are powerful. I have codependent tendencies myself – apparently, it is common! The ex#1 is weird and also misogynistic. Why go to all this trouble to set you up and humiliate you! Makes no sense to anyone but him.

  • Learning about the existence of the Pick Me dance was my turning point – and not just because it brought me to this website.

    I had been doing it in romance since the age of 16, and I didn’t even know it was a thing. Then I realised I had been doing it at work, at home, and in every setting where I had to interact with people.

    I was a professional, Olympic-standard, ocean-going class Pick Me Dancer – one of the Solid Gold Pick Me Dancers, in fact. You name it, I could morph into it. I had no needs, except the bottomless-pit need to be seen occasionally.

    It still feels weird not to do it sometimes. Weird but good. And it was really good to discover Lola Granola inside me, and to do the therapy that uncovered the Long Lost City where she lived in freedom and ballsiness.

    I dance for different reasons now.

  • Thank you Chump Lady. I’ve been perplexed as to why an already married woman would go after my husband, a NEWLYWED! She bought him coffee, baked him pies and gave him cards, all to show him how much better she was than me. It was a game I didn’t even know I was playing. Silly me, I thought I was a happily married woman who had already been picked.

  • Hello All,

    I have been researching “spouse poaching” for a while. Evolutionary biologists like to come up with all kinds of BOGUS theories presented as truth about why it’s normal for single women to poach married men.

    Here is an example:

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.fatherly.com/health-science/science-of-why-women-are-attracted-to-married-men/amp/

    I talk to my mom and my 90-something grandma about these things. I ask, “In your day did you prefer a man just because he had a wedding ring on his finger?”
    And they look at me as if I have gone crazy.

    Hint: In their day, married men were off their radar. In their day, you were taught to find a single man and get married. In their day, only horrible women went after married men and these women were outcasts in communities and shunned by everyone. In their day, the commandment “thou shalt not commit adultery,” which extends to forbidding single women to cheat with married men, was drilled into their minds before puberty.

    Did people cheat? Absolutely! Was it as much as today?
    No, it was not. And when it was done, there were CONSEQUENCES and such consequences were upheld by the community at large.

    An (alleged) Stanford study found 90% of young, single women preferred a man who was married. There is important context here: this was a study done in a lab using college students and the men who were presented to them were not real people, did not have the jobs they were said to have, and were profiles on paper. They were given photos of men (who did not exist) and who were said to have jobs in high tech or other high paying industries. The women were asked if they found these men attractive. When these men were said to be single, about 50% of the female respondents said these men were attractive. When these same men were said to be married, about 90% of the women found them attractive. So we have an artificial environment with hypothetical people. There is more to attraction than can be measured on paper and anyone who has ever tried online dating knows how very different the profile and the profile photo are from the real person.

    Having said that, these findings are EXTREMELY troubling.

    Evolutionary biologists are writing bogus articles about how it has always been this way. But there is more to a person than a ring. Still, this raises huge flags. I do not understand why women find taken men attractive. I have always been in the (alleged) 10% of women who are repulsed by men in relationships. Trust is and was a huge element in my finding another person attactive. If they are in a relationship and looking at me, they are untrustworthy people. And if I were to attempt to poach one, there would be no attraction to do so if they were interested in me. Married men are not attractive to me. But even if they were, I was raised to abide by the 10 Comnandments. That’s what my rational mind says. But, emotionally speaking and when I was single, even men who were dating someone were off my radar. I found them gross. I can’t tell you why. I just did. Men who were taken were gross to me. My best friends are the same way. They find taken men repulsive.

    I am not sure how to explain the rise in spouse poachers. It’s makes me extremely sad. As a woman, I cannot think of hurting another woman in such a way. That idea repulses me: to be the cause of a married woman and her children’s tears. It’s so disgusting I have no words for it. And when I was single, men were put through a long screening process to find out if they were truly single. I am not trying to sound judgmental. I just couldn’t be the cause of another woman’s pain.

    That goes for everything. I am the lady who catches spiders and puts them outside. If I find garden slugs, I move them to a wild area away from homes and gardens. I cannot be the direct cause of the pain of another being. And yes I am a vegetarian for the most part. I take supplements to not be anemic and fish oil. Hence, the for the most part comment. I also do not physically punish my children. They have never been spanked. They have gotten time-outs and I model how to treat others. As they get older, I reason through things with them and show how all behavior (whether good or bad) has consequences. I will throw a rock in the lake and show them the ripples and how far they extend. I tell them every act creates a ripple and I ask them if they want to leave ripples that are good or ripples that are bad.

    I am not trying to sound better than anyone. I don’t judge people for spanking their children or having different methods of discipline. I just cannot bear to internationally harm an innocent being. (Malevolent beings need consequences and I avoid them as best as I can.) I do set boundaries with people who are harmful.

    I just cannot feel comfortable being the person who harms the lives of innocent people or animals. I am a wife and mom. But when I was a single woman, I would tell men off who approached me (if they were taken.)

    If the (alleged) Stanford study is true and most women prefer married men, this has many implications for society and not just for marriage. It has implications for female friendships, for the workplace, and of course for marriages and families.

    Speaking of that. There is an issue in my husband’s workplace. The male boss (allegedly) won’t report it because he is scared of the female ringleader. This ringleader is very combative and has sued prior workplaces. So here is the scoop. I will call her employee Z. Employee Z fancies herself an “artiste.” She has created a photography studio in her large home and a side business: a boudoir/pin up, nude photography business for female clientele. She has rounded up the married (would be) spouse poachers and some of the single spouse poachers at work and has asked them to be clients. She has taken nude and pin up photos of them as a way to start her website.

    How do I know? Employee Z had her website up on the work computers and was asking all the male and female coworkers to take a gander at their female coworkers who posed nude for her site. One female coworker (employee A) was outraged and reported it to the male boss. Allegedly, the male boss looked the other way. So employee A told my husband what employee Z did and my husband told me. And I googled the full name of employee Z and her website pulled up because she uses her full name as her domain name. So, now various female coworkers are posing for employee Z and she is putting them on her site. I have seen it all for myself. Employee A remains outraged because she is a single mom who was cheated on and he left her to raise her kids on her own without paying child support. As you can imagine, the website is a huge trigger for employee A.

    To put this in a larger context- these are not a bunch of bored students working at 7/11.

    All of these people work in a large hospital system in an emergency room, including employees A and Z. The way the area is set up, patients can see computer screens. So when employee Z is showing off the latest female coworker who flashed her (fill in the blank) for the website, employee Z pulls it up and everyone can see: coworkers, patients, anyone.

    So everyone tell me, is this odd what employee Z is doing as an employee of an emergency room while she is working? Is her shift at the ER really the appropriate place to show off her boudoir photo skills (of coworkers) to other coworkers and patients?

    Am I just too gosh darn conservative since such things to hit my radar? These folks are supposed to be focused on saving the lives of very ill patients. Could such a website and trying to get business for one (while at work) be a distraction from a job where someone is tasked with caring for ill individuals?

    Is ANYTHING sacred anymore?

    Don’t they have lives to save?

    Anyone?

    Sarah

    PS- I have been holding this story in for quite a while and I CANNOT stand it any longer.

    PPS- We watched the documentary called All the Queen’s Horses. It is about an employee working in a government position in a small town in Illinois and she was embezzling 50 MILLION dollars over 20 years. One woman became a whistleblower after she found out. At one point the makers of the documentary asked the whistleblower why she reported it. She said, “My parents told me don’t take something that does not belong to you and if you see something wrong or bad happening, report it.” If everyone lived just with the first rule: don’t take things (situations or people) that don’t belong to you, the world would be a different place.

    • I think finding married men attractive and making a case for mate poaching is a big jump. Let’s say I am part of the study that found married men more attractive, just because I find married men attractive doesn’t indicate that I am trying to woo one. I have strong boundaries and morals and just because you can acknowledge an attractive person does not necessarily mean you have romantic interest. There seems to be a missing link between these two factors and I’d be careful with interpretive statistics.

      • To expand on what StandingTall said, I think married men are viewed as more attractive to single women as women are wired to settle down and nest, most preferably with a good, stable guy. A man who has made a commitment to a woman is viewed as more attractive because he’s shown he’s a good, stable guy. That in no way means these single women will go after him to steal him away from his wife.

        I agree with StandingTall, there’s a bit of a leap in the mate poaching theory here.

  • PPPS-
    The article I had included wasn’t as bad as some. There are many of varying degrees and different articles cite a different source for the (alleged) idea that 90% of single women prefer married men. There are many articles, just google “single women prefer married men” and a hundred will pop up.

    https://www.thecut.com/2016/07/why-married-men-get-hit-on-more.html

    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.newsweek.com/married-men-single-women-dating-relationships-797380%3famp=1

    Sadly, I knew one man who spoke of this phenomenon many years ago. And he got divorced about 8 years ago. (And his wife was totally blindsided. 25 years and three kids. The way he spoke about it, she knew they were having issues. But when he served her with divorce papers she had no idea whatsoever.)

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